Because Susie Told Me To

Stolen from MathisSexy:

(A) First, recommend to me:

1. a movie:
2. a book:
3. a musical artist, song, or album:

(B) I want everyone who reads this to ask me three questions, no more, no less. Ask me anything you want.


(C) Then I want you to go to your journal and copy and paste this, allowing your friends to ask you anything.

Um. Thanks.

the lilly EP

So pretend for *just a minute* that you'd actually get up and leave your boring-ass desk job (the one that has you reading these pages at this exact moment). And you got to live out your rock star dreams (Hi Gene!). If your first album had to be a cover album, what would you do? If you said "True Colors", spank yourself. Not even Phil Collins can get away with that. (And before I go on, whoever points out that I myself sang True Colors onto a PRIVATE tape for my mom, which she then used AGAINST MY KNOWLEDGE as a soundtrack for a video she shows to guests now, you can KISS MY ASS.) If you are thinking of covering "I Drove All Night", you, Celine, can go back to your thirteen "bruvers and seeesters" in Canada, do not pass go, do not collect $200. I'm talking about covers that won't make us cringe, cry, or get self-abusively violent. Everyone has different ideas of what's an okay cover, but let's use the above as a baseline.

So here's the list I have so far:

1) "Stay" by Madonna, done in a slow smoky jazz bar style. I'm debating actually asking my friends to help me do this. One of my fave songs by her (along with Pretender). I choreographed the 50's-style backup singers already. No, I'm not joking. I'm very productive in the shower.

2) "Whoever" by Lewis Taylor. I'd do it as a duet, though, with me singing to him (duh), then him singing back (longingly. Obviously there would be a video as well) about how each has done the other wrong. Oh, don't I know that road. We'd get Stevie Wonder on piano just for the hell of it (Stevie "I may be blind, but I know when I'm with a fine woman, Lilly" Wonder, as he will thereafter be called). If not that, I'd gladly do a cover of his new song "Lovelight". As the token dance song for my album. How it is that we import Simon fucking Cowell and can't import some decent British music is beyond me.

3) "Dear Mr. Man" with Prince and his horn section (he can only join me on choruses, though. I'm not trying to get outshined). That's by far my favorite song on his new album, and one of my faves of him ever. I love the song "Adore", but can't imagine covering it (would rather have him sing it to me?). I could get into Dear Mr. Man. Full live crazy brass section, though, don't forget. Oh, and Sheila E. on percussion. Just because I could.

4) "Hello it's me" by Groove Theory. In my next life, I will have Amel Larrieux' voice (apostrophe s?) Or her face. God's gotta pull through on one or the other, no?

5) My EP is taking a distinctly r&b direction at this point. Should the label heads give me a hard time and want me to reach a wider audience (they are priming me for the big time in this fantasy), I'd cover "What You Give" by Tesla. What, you didn't know I was a heavy metal hoodrat? Didn't know? Now you know. I know deep down I'd want to cover GnR (GnFnR if you're in the know), but after Sheryl Crow did it, I'm afraid to. You know, the straw that broke the camel's back and all of that...

6) Speaking of which -- a surprise entry on my album would be "My Favorite Mistake" by Sheryl Crow. I think I could actually pull it off, it's a great girl anthem, etc. She did a version with just a keyboard and it sounded better than the full-blast one. I think I'd do it that way. I'd put, oh, Elton (John) on keys.

7) "Chloe Dancer/ Crown of Thorns" by MotherLoveBone. The Singles soundtrack. Can't go wrong. I love love love that song.

8) If I woke up with the ability to do glass-shattering vocal stylings, I'd take on "Alone" by Heart. Hell, I'll do it anyways.

I already know what some of you would do, via outings we've had to karaoke bars (some more recently than others) -- or, God help me - car rides with y'all. But entertain me with your list. I mean, I still have the desk job in the meantime. I've got all the time in the world.


Why do people always ask if you want the good news first or the bad news first? More to the point, why do we always choose the bad news first? Everyone does it, the logic being that you're getting the disappointment out of the way. So you get your bad news and you sulk about it, and when the good news comes, it's never as good as what you expected (it never balances out, does it?) and usually your mind just goes straight back to the bad news. On the other hand, if we mixed things up a little bit and asked for the good news first, at least we could genuinely enjoy it. It wouldn't be poisoned by the bad news, and then when the bad news came, you'd experience that set of emotions. You'd probably worry a little bit, but if the good news is genuinely good, you could at least have the excitement about it. Thoughts?


So Thanksgiving has come and is on its way out by the time I wrap this up (okay, and grammar check myself because I'm anal like that). Today was Morality Movie Day at the G household. Well, to pick up where I left off: "In the last episode of Thanksgiving At My House, Lilly's mom decided that she wasn't going to cook for the family. The only thing she was making was a reservation..." We ended up at Hotel La Jolla, a highrise with a gorgeous view of the cove. There was no waiting around for food to be prepared. No screaming down the halls for CJ to get off his computer. No whining to my dad to put down the Newsweek and start serving himself before it got cold. Mom wasn't an exhausted slave to the oven, watching 2 days of work be devoured in 15 minutes or less or your money back. And for me, the compulsive dishwasher, there was really nothing to do but to sit back. We had a great little lunchy lunch, complete with lounge pianist, and then headed home.

Fast forward- we began our movie-watching escapades today with "Elf". I'm not sure what the moral was, and it wasn't actually that funny. I guess the moral was that Santa does exist. Or that yellowbrick tights are a no-no. But we'll save that blog for another day. After a brief break where mom taught me the secrets of her apple crisp recipe (which I will use to win people over, just you wait and see. I plan to take full credit for it...), we adjourned and returned to our places on the couches.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind came next. The basic premise for anyone who hasn't seen it (in which case you'd have to be more film-ally stunted than me, and that's hard to be), it's about a guy who goes to get his memories of his girlfriend erased. Then, mid-process, he realizes he doesn't want to erase her, that there are beautiful and important memories -- even teensy ones -- in a relationship that later went to shit, and so he begins an internal process of reinvesting her into his other irrelevant memories. The cinematography was absolutely breathtaking unfuckingbelievably gorgeous. As might be predicted, they find each other again (both with 'spotless minds') and begin to fall for one another. Inevitable? The denouement (yay! wanted to use that word. Je parle francais! woo hoo!), involves them hearing their pre-operation tapes where they vent about the other's quirks and faults. They decide that yes, they will bore each other, and yes, they will do things that annoy and hurt each other, but that, shit, that's the ride, so, shit, let's do it (my eloquent paraphrasing, of course). It was such a weird, weird movie. But its colors and oddity and imbalances and back and forth and dizzying pace were right on par with life. Or what life should be. Or what *I* think life should be.

Would I erase my relationships? Nope. I mean, I've dated some real buttfaces, but the way I see it, if you don't learn from it, then you've wasted your time, and I'm all about efficiency. Your memories and experiences make you up. I've always thought people with scars are more interesting that people with perfect faces and bodies. Wear and tear is part of the game, babe. The object is to make it through, but if you make it through without some dirt on your face and a few kicks in the ass, you haven't *really* gotten game time. It does make you realize how much of life is about perspective. When I break up with a guy, I am pretty loathe to remember the nice things they did for me (did they do ANYTHING? see, like that) or kind things they said, or any sort of gushy moments. I'm an automated Spotless Mind in that way, I suppose. But what if I thought about the nicer moments and just moved along? What if I didn't need to feel disdain for Psycho Jobless Boyfriend or Workaholic Buster or Narcissism Embodied in order to move on? What if I just locked away the gentler memories and still had the benefit of finding Prince Charming Enough? Food for thought. Not turkey, but it's something.

But, as powerful and entertaining as it was, it made me sad to watch it. I found myself wishing I had been in love -- to go back to Elf, the "I'm in love and I don't caaaaaaare who knows!" twirling around in my elf suit love -- even just once -- so I could apply the film's philosophies more closely to my life. And then, not having been in love (but rather having had "a shitty romantic life" as my mom called it yesterday, always one to call a spade a spade, thanks Mom), I became very sad about being unlucky in love.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I just mean that it made me want to go back to Vegas...


Strikes are apparently the word of the day. I read that some tollworkers out somewhere (New Jersey?) are on strike, so tolls are free. The spirit of rebellion has touched home, however, as my mom is on a culinary strike. This wouldn't normally affect me, as I live on my own. But tomorrow, as some of you may know, is THANKSGIVING. The day upon which I give thanks for her secret stuffing recipe, her mashed potatoes with a touch of milk, and her marshmallows-and-yams combo.

This year I will be giving thanks to some pizza joint. She has decided that, since Susie isn't coming home, she isn't going to cook. On one hand, I can't fault her. She doesn't want to cook for 2.5 people. When I asked her who the half was, she said Cyrus. Which is probably inaccurate attribution, given that my *dad* is the one who eats like an engineering exchange student - ramen noodles, microwaved hot dogs, can of tuna, oh my! Any way she counted it, 2.5 people wasn't worth the effort. And I'm incapable of turkey-basting at this early stage of my budding cooking career, so that's the final word.

So the bottom line is that mom isn't making us turkey this year because of Susie's absence. Let me take a moment to note for posterity that SUSIE IS A VEGETARIAN. So that's some buuuullshit right there.

I keep reminding myself that Thanksgiving is a shitty holiday that was once characterized by betrayal and the passage of diseases, so it makes me want to celebrate that much less. But for real, NO MASHED POTATOES? sigh.

I Didn't Know How Lost I Was Until I Found...

The mic in my hand. Let me recap that for you. The last thing I clearly remember, I was doing sake bombs at Sushi Deli Two. Fast forward, and I'm onstage at Lamplighter, a bar in Hillcrest with a men's bathroom. Only. I'm up there, standing next to Des, our honorable Retired Sorority President, and we're belting out "Like A Virgin" to a wall-to-wall packed audience. Not singing, BELTING. Like you do in the shower, or in your car when you're on a late-night road trip and are too scared you'll fall asleep. I think I saw some people cringe. I must have gotten lost in my thoughts about this (during the "aw, can't you hear my heartbeat... for the very first time" stanza) -- because next thing I knew, Des was screaming at me -- into her mic [ because if anyone, sorority presidents know how to use those things] to "Sing, Lilly, SING!". I did. Like it was my job. Problem being that I have a totally hoarse voice today (and that's putting it nicely) so I was the real deal -- "Like a (Prepubescent) Virgin (Boy)". Think Peter Brady.

There's something liberating about singing in front of a crowd. It was definitely a test of my starpower, and I'm glad to say that the place was still full when we stepped off. No one threw anything, anyways. Well, nothing that hit the stage. Not that in my numb state I would have felt it. I suppose it's a cost-benefit analysis you do in these situations. Listen to girly girls belt out songs, bopping and looking at each other doing the white girl dance (although neither is white)? Or leave and risk never getting to sing *your* song? We're attention whores, the lot of us karaoke bar goers, aren't we?

We were hoping for Jon to show up so we could set him up by signing him up for "She Bangs", but alas, he was a no-show. That's always how it goes.

In any case, it was a good vibe. A good start to a weekend I wasn't feeling great about. The other day someone observed that San Diego is really a locals' town. You have to know the places to go, or otherwise it doesn't look like much is going on. If you do, it's awesome. That's true. But it's really also a smart peoples' town. Because, 5 years ago, I would have been shoveling a driveway until I cried with frostbite, cursing my life and my crystallized nostrils, all for the love of getting myself over to drink cheap beer in a sleazy local bar with friends. And once there, I'd hear who was pregnant, who'd gotten fat, who was ugly. The good, the bad and the ugly of Highland Park, 60035. Per usual, the highlight would be watching an elementary school friend's mom with an uncanny resemblance to Roseanne and a denim sleeveless shirt (just painting a picture for ya, folks) picking up greasy men in the corner. My how things change.

Let my thankfulness begin right there.


I was reading a book that mentioned a Leo Buscaglia story. Backtrack: Leo Buscaglia is an author, maybe a psychologist? His name is familiar to me via my parents and PBS-type shows. He is lumped in with calm entertainment a la Garrison Keillor and Ella Jenkins, back in the Chicago days. In any case, cool name. Moving on.

So when Leo was young, his father would ask him every night (Hello, there are parents who talk to their children on a daily basis?!) "What did you learn today, Leo?". And Leo would have to tell his father something new he'd learned about. If he hadn't learned anything, he'd scurry away (paints more of a picture than 'walking', don't you think?) and read something new in the encyclopaedia and report back. He credits this interaction with his love of learning.

I credit it with leaving me to some hard-hitting questions. Shit, I mean, do *I* learn something every day? I mean, something I'd be proud to tell someone else (moreover, my FATHER?). "Dad, I learned how to say 'shit' in Tagalog today." "Dad, I learned that if you eat asparagus, your pee will smell funny." Or "Dad, I learned that Plan B is basically a double-dose of birth control. Whaddaya know!". The pressure would be on. Reading this heartwarming vignette (retch, retch) makes me reflect upon what it is I *do* learn on a daily basis. I have lots of pop music knowledge (I just typed 'poop'. Coincidence? I think not). I can tell you who is married to who, who produced and album, what a song is written about. But outside of that, I don't know what I learn on a daily basis. I email my friends a lot. Maybe I should email strangers. Instead of hearing what my friends bought themselves on their various lunchbreaks or reading the "Guys' Rules" email forward for the millionth time, maybe, just maybe, I should find a penpal.

My first thought is to call back the customer service guy I dealt with at Netgear last night. The amount of time it took for him to pick up combined with his pristine Britain-o-Indian accent makes me think that, like HP, their calls are taken in India. He obviously knows things I don't, like how to wirelessly route my computer. Maybe we could be friends. I could learn science-y things. Computer science was never my forte. And then, after he had enlightened me with his techno-intellect, I could sweetly coo back to him (or write, if we decide to be penpals) about the reason why the Detroit Pistons love Anita Baker or the finer points of the state of Gwen Stefani's marriage.

Although, given how I hung up on him last night, maybe not.

What did I learn today? Hm.... (looking around). I learned that you can drive like a bat out of hell and not kill yourself because God is feeling particularly generous on that day. I learned that you can fry apples. I learned that Kinko's has become a very lazy establishment where you do your own copying (what is THAT all about?). Lemme think, lemme think. I learned that SDSU has an MBA in Sports Business Management in partnership with the Padres, the first program of its kind. I learned how to use a knife sharpener. I learned more about Steven Jay Gould's theories (not that I could recite them to you right now). I learned that fanatic Christians may be the downfall of scientific education in the United States (come on, people, I grew up in a Jewish town). Oh, and I learned that three Iranian women attempted a suicide pact after the fourth wife of their husband bought expensive shoes. (We Iranians are nothing if not dramatic.)

And I heard someone say "you don't have to like someone to learn from them". So maybe I'll start learning that much more.


I took a little break and made a trip out to the east coast. Now that I'm back, I'm finding it exceedingly difficult to get back into the groove of working. Shh, don't tell. When you're on a roll, you're not supposed to take breaks, and I broke that cardinal rule. The last time I was on a roll, though, it was an academic one, and I was nudged in the direction of law school. Yuck. We all know how that ended.

Tonight I went to dinner and a movie with a friend. Nothing on the silver preview screen had particularly caught my eye as of late, so I let her pick. In to ALFIE we went.

Big mistake.

Think big American film stars being shepherded by an Iranian film director. By the end of the film, all I needed was to beat my chest and cry and moan for the plight of Alfie. Note: If you're planning on seeing the movie, skip the next bit. Better yet, go lie down in traffic.

I should have known. You know how they say there are signs all around you, if you choose to pick up on them? Well, the first preview was a Natalie Portman flick. Not a fan. And yet I had to watch her *repeatedly* pole dance. Barf bag please, here comes my tikka masala dinner. If that wasn't a cosmic nudge, what is?

Lights down, time for the real thing. You'd think once Jude Law was on screen, I'd melt into oblivion and not even notice the plot. But I had to. It was like a horrific television movie that I couldn't turn off. Watching an interpersonal car crash, you know? Here's the story: Alfie doesn't call girls back. He has sex with them and lets it go, doesn't commit. This movie is a woman's fantasy, much like a 'fat girl fantasy', as one of my friends dubbed the book GOOD IN BED. It just doesn't happen. You want me to believe that Jude Law gets dumped? Ok, let me suspend belief and examine the film a bit more closely. Who would dump Jude Law? Oh, apparently everyone from a kimono-obsessed American woman Susan Sarandon's age (who cheats on him with a younger guy. I kept laughing til I realized it wasn't a joke) to a homely but charming single mom (who then picked up with the screenwriter of Traffic, apparently). He gets to dump the homeless manic depressive girl who just got done cooking him a candlelit dinner, but we all know that Jude is dating her in real life, so that doesn't count.

But Alfie doesn't just get dumped. Enter Hollywood flair. God really sticks it to him when he takes his best friend's ex-girlfriend to get an abortion because, OOPS, Alfie impregnated her the night he went to talk her into taking back his friend. Oh, wait, PLOT TWIST, she didn't have the abortion after all, and, no, she doesn't want his help. SHE still has a boyfriend (the guy married her, found out, and kept her anyways -- WOMAN FANTASY, I told you!)

And Alfie?.... alone again. Well, not totally. He has a moment writing poetry with his boss, played by the illustrious Gedde Watanabe (reprising his role as Long Duck Dong). He has also befriended the bolo-tie wearing geriatric Joe, who he met at his doctor's office when he stopped through for a penis biopsy.

No, I am not making this shit up.

The slutty married woman who wore summer dresses in the deep of winter also ditched him. Once upon a time, she was tucking her undies in his jacket pocket as a souvenir, and now she and her smudged, clumpy mascara are swaying booty in the 'away' direction, back to the husband who won't shag her. At that point, I knew something good had to happen. And it did.

The credits began to roll.

Literally. That was the end of the movie. No happy ending. That WAS the ending. I mean, how brutal is that to release a movie of this caliber right before the holidays? What, enough lonely people aren't killing themselves right when xmas lights are going up around town? Are they going to release the DVD during Valentine's Day weekend? I mean, really people. Call the UN, we have a crime against humanity.

I suppose in this situation the female fantasy is supposed to triumph. We're meant to be thrilled that Alfie, who has played women for the fool all along, is going to end up alone. Alfie is every guy who has ever broken our hearts. Alfie is every guy who showed up at the door empty handed, ate our food, slept in our beds, listened to our thoughts while thinking of another woman. The man who was ungrateful for the little ways you made his living space look better. Who took for granted the sparkling smiles you flashed him, and the adoration you showered him with.

Revenge should be sweet, right?

And I'm the dummy who left the theater a little bit sad for him.


Belatedly, please allow me to throw my hat into the political blogging ring. "If everyone else is doing it, why can't I?"

CNN just announced that Iowa isn't going to give a call til tomorrow. Why? Because of the "fatigue" of poll workers. You know what fatigues ME? The fact that millions upon millions of Americans turned up at the polls to make sure, lest there be *any* doubt, that President Bush knows that it's okay to lie to them, okay to wage war on a country composed of defenseless people who have done nothing to you, okay to make unilateral decisions and not offer explanation or remorse. We support you. In some cases, we will stand in line for 9 hours to make sure you know that. Thanks George. The fact that even *one* person felt confident in slipping a ballot with his name firmly bolded in into the box absolutely boggles my mind. THIS is why he smirks. Hell, I would too if I were him.

Perhaps my mind has been, as conservatives love to tout, shaped by liberal institutions. You know, the ones where they let black people and women in. Nudge nudge, wink wink, THOSE liberal institutions. The ones where you know how to knot a tie but are lost on how to chew tobacco like a REAL man. Guilty as charged. This educational path has allegedly encouraged me to look down on people from lower-class middle America who vote against gay marriage when they don't even know a single gay person, and in the process, forget that they'll probably lose their job and, oh yeah, their health care, for doing so.

What I'm left with at this hour of the night is the incomprehensible fact that the future of our country- particularly women's rights, gay rights, and the economy- lie in the hands of Ohio. This raises concerns for me. I've only been a few times, and I have nothing against it. Pretty land, nice Midwestern people. Once through Toledo to go see a Dave Matthews Band show. Then to see Hudson Falls, which had a cute Starbucks. Let us rally this evidence to suggest that they're not *that* far off the beaten path. But honestly, what else do we know about Ohio? Why Ohio when you could have big-breasted Cali or sassy New York -- states that ANY American could find on a map (remember, we're using our 'average voter' as a marker here) -- make our decisions for us? Naturally, as a Wolverine, I fear the future being held in the hands of Buckeyes. For the first time, I'm required to have unrelenting faith in the enemy. But more so, how did this happen? Ohio is The Swan of this election, and I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

If I didn't love my family so much, I'd move. No question about it. Je parle francais and they like my Persian ass a hell of a lot better there...I have to admit, I did a test run in February. Expensive and rude, comme d'habitude, but the food is good and rednecks are detained at the border. Funny how today it's a *choice* whether I want to stay or go, and with the same Administration next year, they may well come up with another fun policy, perhaps "If your skin don't burn when the sun shines on it, consider yourself deeeeeeeeeeported!"

I wish I could offer something punchy and cute this evening, but I really don't have much. When I feel really down, I remind myself of the St. Louis Cardinals player named Albert Pujols. Rather than leaving it nebulous, he offers a pronunciation key on his website: "poo-holes". Pooholes. Albert Pooholes. That makes me smile. But just a little bit.