Sunday, October 26, 2003

The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get

The term "psycho" has become so overused that folks forget how ass-clinchingly scary a real psycho can be. Folks use the word psycho to refer to that jerk of a boss that yells so much you want to do the #1 in his coffee and the #2 in his ferns. Or they use psycho to describe the ex who kept talking about her ex, took three hours to order a meal and cried when she didn't come. OK, the boss, the ex, are these people annoying? Yeah. Does a slight shudder go through you thinking about them? Sure. But your blood pressure drop with fear when you see them coming down the hall?

Obviously, the term psycho is short for psychotic. The definitions of psychotic are all variations of "has a psychosis." So to get across the impact of a real psycho, the clinical definition of "psychotic" is the best way to begin: "Mental disturbance of serious magnitude that may be characterized by loss of contact with reality. Delusions and hallucinations are often present." OK, so the term has been watered down by media portrayal as well. Talking to yourself is played out as a wacky eccentricity in a sitcom. Most dramas present them as so over the top to be unbelievable. It's only when they get the reality dysfunction right that portrayals of psychotic people become uncomfortable (Law & Order nails it on the head once in a while), and not some David E. Kelley sanitized villain crap.

So where am I going with this? Well, Ford Festiva chick is a psycho, and I mean that in the original crap I'm looking over my shoulder I hope she doesn't hunt me down and boil my cat sense.

During my last couple of weeks at ContractGigByTheOcean, a majority of the female staff and attorneys have told me more stories. Several have told me that, when they've been in the restroom, they've heard Ford Festiva chick laughing out loud in the stalls to no one, or seen her talking to herself at the mirror. NMBL (and yes, I feel bad for insuating that she would ever be unfaithful because she is a very nice human being--stupid her having a likable boyfriend) told me that she was working late one night, and caught Ford Festiva chick talking to herself at her computer. At a farewell party about a week and a half ago, Ford Festiva chick was sitting by herself smiling and laughing. And she has the crazy eyes. What do I mean by that? OK, open your eyes. No, I mean really open them, as wide as they can get. Now keep them open. Walk around in public like that. Try to make eye contact and see what kind of reactions you'll get. That's what I mean by crazy eyes.

Earlier this week, Ford Festiva chick walked passed my cubicle and then stopped at the neighboring cubicle. I saw her look down and smile. She was there for a good minute or so. Then she started laughing. I talked to the secretary in the neighboring cubicle the next day. "I thought she was reading something on my ledge, but there was nothing there but a phone book" she told me.

My last day at ContractGigByTheOcean was Friday. Ford Festiva chick asked me if I had any lunch plans and I said I did. Then she said, "Well, I'll talk to you tonight then." A few of the female staffers, knowing the 411, were then cool enough to have lunch with me. That afternoon, Ford Festiva chick kept passing by my cubicle to give me a creepy smile and stare. If she saw me in an attorney's office, she'd try to make eye contact. Then she moved from her cubicle to another cubicle next to mine. One of the secretaries told me that Ford Festiva chick had a lot of scanning to do, and the scanner was in that area. But then I found out that the scanner was not at the cubicle she was using. She was using the cubicle next to mine for no apparent reason at all. OK, there probably was a reason--a scary fucking reason. So I moved offices.

There was a farewell shindig at a local bar for me as well as NMBL and two other attorneys. One of the secretaries told me that she overheard Ford Festiva chick talking to herself, saying "Yeah, I think I'm going to go home after this." I thought I was in the clear. Then she walked in, her neck craning above the crowd in hunter-seeker mode. I ducked, crouched and made my way to another table that was full and away from Ford Festiva chick. I spent the next half-hour in crouch mode, making my farewells. NMBL gave me sympathetic glances. I managed to sneak next to NMBL and her friend from college who was visiting. "Hey, we're leaving in about ten minutes. You can sneak out with us," NMBL said. And sneak out I did. I managed to leave without Ford Festiva chick getting my digits or causing a scene.

I'd hate to be such a chickenshit, but I have dealt with borderline psychos before. Yeah, even before Bee's Knees. And one thing I've learned, the direct "fuck off" route is dangerous with psychos.

I've had certain guys tell me that I should've just banged her and be done with it. Psychos are great in bed. But one of those guys backed off wid a mad quickness on that advice seeing Ford Festiva chick's behavior first hand. And I doubt those guys have actually bedded someone who was clinically psychotic. And if you haven't reached the "hey, that horse is dead, stop kicking" point yet, or haven't gotten that fact that this girl was bigf~ck, let's put it this way. You've all encountered that bag lady, muttering to herself on the street, menacing people for change. What if she followed you to work? What if she passed by your office on an hourly basis? What if it was clear she got wet everytime she saw you? How's your libido doing now?

Friday, October 17, 2003

Shock The Monkey

Yeah, I know, buying something from a shop that suddenly appeared in a back alley on Melrose and Fairfax at midnight under a full moon was probably not the best of ideas. Especially when the name of the shop was "Dread Goods--Like Pottery Barn But Evil." Especially when it literally appeared out of nowhere, twisting reality with the shrieks of the damned (I think it was the cast of the American version of Coupling) as it came into this world between Golden Apple Comics and the vintage t-shirt store. Especially when it befouled the air with a stench like rotten eggs and the dorm bathroom after Burritos Burritos & Beans night. But feh, I was bored so I went in.

The store was very Pier One Imports, so it least it had truth in advertising going for it. Furniture made out of wicker, but eeeeeevil wicker, was strewn tastefully throughout the floor room. Dark wooden masks and jars filled with organs and animal fetuses lined the walls along with glazed faux-hand crafted pottery. And, shudder, there was track lighting along the ceiling--very 80s.

At the counter was a bored hippy surfer.

"Hey, I thought you were supposed to be a mad Arab," I said.

"Dude, you mean Ali? Fucker retired from the Evil gig back in '65. He runs a Ford dealership in Dearborne, Michigan now. I knew I shouldn't have walked into this place after that commune in Goa closed down. Shit, never believe a mad Arab when he says, 'Oh hey, this magic lamp isn't evil. Go ahead, wish for a roof over your head for the rest of eternity. C'mon.' By the way, wanna rub this magic lamp?"

"Uh, no."

"Man, I suck at this gig. Hey, have they made it legal yet?"


"This just isn't my day. Well, can I help you with anything?"

"Nah, just looking around."

"OK dude. Wavy gravy. By the way, you might wanna check out the bargain bin. Headquarters is trying to make some room for new stuff, you know, cursed plasma-screen TVs that play only Golder Girls, the next Microsoft Windows."

The bin was nothing special. Bluebeard's socks, a vial of the blood of the cousin to the hairdresser of the beast, a kids book by the author of the Anti-Bible entitled "Baby's First Book of Evil." I was about to head out when I saw the Monkey's Paw. On the price tag, the word "Soul" was crossed out. Beneath that, "Very Disturbing Ending" was crossed out as well. Beneath that was "Sorta Karmic Ending--Kinda Creepy but Really Annoying" written in red pen.

"Whoa dude, good choice. Last dude who had it wished for his dead son back, but like, forgot to mention the words 'just as he was while he was alive and not like a rotting corpse,' and, ummmmm, hey, never mind dude. Crap I suck at this."

"No worries man, I'll take it," I said.

"Aw cool, hey, sure you don't wanna rub this lamp and wish for eternal shelter?"

"Don't push your luck, hippie."

"No need to harsh my mellow man. Go ahead and take the monkey's paw. Have a toke for me when you get out, and, ummmmm, have a really evil night."

The shop disappeared as soon as I left it, exiting this reality with the cackle of the damned and the rumbling of a stomach with munchies.

When I got home, I put in the DVD for the original BBC version of Coupling. I find that British humor tends to sharpen my mind. I wasn't going to make the same mistake as the other dude and his dead son. Unfortunately, I also had a couple of Guinnesses. By a couple, I mean eight pints. In one hour. Yeah, the law is stressful. Practicing the law while being single and pining after a blonde in the office with an opera singer boyfriend is really really stressful. It was time to move on and the monkey's paw was going to help me with that. Well, it would've had I been sober.

I held the monkey's paw in front of me and said, "I wish an artsy single slender intelligent blonde blue-eyed woman into music was into me." Then I promptly passed out.

When I woke up, the monkey's paw was gone. Now I realize I should've clarified my wish even further. I realize I should've added "and who doesn't talk to herself, giggle maniacally for no reason whatsoever, and doesn't so much look at you as look through you in an attempt to communicate with Planet Freakah."

So now you know how Ford Festiva chick came into my life.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Old Moon Fades Into The New

Nope, I'm not turning 31 tomorrow. Nope, you can't make me. NANANANANA--see, I'm putting my fingers in my ears so I can't hear you say "Face it, Marty, you are turning 31 tomorrow." NANANANANANA--Hey, whudya have in your hand, Father Time? Is that, is that a cattle prod? Well, I don't care. I'm still not turning 31. Gonna be like Peter Pan, my man. No, not "light of foot" smartass, though I do have rhythm for a yellow brutha. I mean I'm gonna be a forever young sociopath with poor impulse control--hmmmm, OK, not the sociopath part. But you know what I mean. Hey, back off with the cattle prod! Really! I know, like, secret martial arts and stuff! Hmmmm? Why that's nice of you, Father Time, offering me a nice Guinness. Gosh that's good. You know, there was this chick I saw in Orange County drinking a Guinness once, and she . . . whoa, I feel kinda funky. What did you put in this? OOOoooOOoooohhh, hey dude, I can smell the colors man. And AAAAAAAGGHH, dude, what's up with the cattle prod? You friggin drugged me already. What's the AAAAAAAAAAAGH! Hmmmmm, what's that smell. Ooooooooogh . . . .

Monday, October 06, 2003

My Left Brain Knows That Love Is Fleeting

An Open Letter from Marty's Left Brain to Marty:

Hey there Hipster,

Yeah, I know you're bummed that NMBL uttered the b-word today and that, right now, all you want to do is take your $50 bottle of scotch, hide yourself in the closet and weep softly. No, don't deny it. I know you Marty. After all, I am your left brain (look, that stuff you do with your right hand? Wasn't me--go blame your amygdala for that, that dude is a big perv). But you know it's for the best, yo. I mean, take a look at her office--the woman is into sailing, wine etiquette and fine art, oh, and she's a Republican. You, Mr. Vote No On The Recall, are into the latest import CD's, Guinness and fine art (OK, so you share one thing in common, but whereas you'd prefer buying one of those Taschen coffee table books, she'd want to buy the actual print). She's Spiegel catalogue, you're Ben Sherman. She's In Style, you're Rez.

Let's say you two did hook up. Dude, she'd be the Christie Lee Brinkley to your Billy Joel, and we know how that worked out for Billy Joel. C'mon, what the fuck was up with "Uptown Girl"? Saccharine pop crap even crap for 80s standards. OK, Billy Joel wasn't all that good before hand, but the album Piano Man is still ten times better than Innocent Man and he wrote that when he was broke, playing bar gigs and not pulling leggy supermodels. And then there's the travesty that is The Bridge, a middling lukewarm attempt at blues-infused rock--remember the big hit from that album, "Matter of Trust"? Well neither do I. And how about his next two albums, Storm Front and River of Dreams? Geez, like you're really going to have a pop hit singing about the plight of fishermen who are overfishing their stock and have been doing so for the last two generations so why the fuck should be bail out their fucking "tradition" and "lifestyle"? Then Christie did the horizontal mambo with some uber-rich jet set dude and everyone said with much sarcasm "Ooooh, that's a surprise." Now look at Billy, divorced, a supposedly recovering alkie (the "supposedly" modifying "recovering" because even undiscovered tribes in Papua New Guinea know he's an alkie), and fucking up his wrists on supposed non-alcohol related mishaps. Right, Christie was a great influence on Billy.

I guess what I'm saying Marty is that if you hooked up with NMBL, you'd begin to write happy middling crap all for the sake of having NMBL fuck around with some investment banker or real estate mogul which will cause you to go into a spiral of alcohol and depression and broken wrists. Fuck that noise! You know you'd rather be Elvis Costello than Billy Joel anyway. At least Diane Krall has a voice.


Your Left Brain

P.S. -- Although NMBL might be out of reach, don't give into Ford Festiva chick. I mean, you wouldn't be doing Courtney Love if she was pawing all over you, whudya?

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Battle Without Honor Or Humanity

Back when I was in high school, I had this nasty summer gig at this microfiche business. It had about six women who, for eight hours a day, fed documents into a high speed cameras, sheet by sheet, over and over and over again. My job? I had to take the staples out of the documents before they were fed into the cameras. Boy was that mind-numbingly dull. So mind-numbingly dull it made people insane! Well, maybe not. But one of the women who worked there, a buck-toothed bee-hive hairdo weirdo, was friggin' insane. She would talk to herself while working, and once in a while, laugh in a horse-like bray at what she said. We called her Mad Mary.

OK, that rather non-cryptic entry a couple of days ago using the metaphor about the chick in the Mercedes and chick in the Ford? Ummmm, someone told me that the chick in the Ford was smiling and laughing to herself for no apparent reason today. Memories of Mad Mary came flooding through my head. Great, why can't a nice stable chick dig my scene? And what complicates things--she sits in the cubicle across from Non-Married Blonde Lawyer's office.

Everytime You Produce An American Version Of A British Sitcom, You Make God Cry

I love the original BBC version of Coupling. It's funny, sexy, and clever. Sure, once in a while, the dialogue tries too hard. Once in a while, the setup is too cute by half. But most of the time it's hilarious.

I finally saw the American version last night on Bravo. About half the script is word for word from the British version. So why does most of the American version suck ass? Hmmmm. A couple of notes to the executives: 1. Get rid of that obnoxious laugh track. Look, a large part of the humor and what makes the British version work is that the dialogue is clever and casual--it's the dialogue you have with your buddies or girlfriends when everything just clicks. When you put the laugh track at 10, it's like that dim-witted friend of a friend that keeps poking you during the conversation asking "Hey, did ya get it? Did ya get it? Unflushable!!!! Bwahahahahaha" and then keeps laughing for another five minutes. 2. The operative word is CASUAL. The characters in the British version do seem like folks you would meet on the street. The characters in the NBC version seem like folks you would see in a sitcom. The lines come out over-enunciated and brash. We're supposed to see friends talking, and instead we see people who are engaging in an acting exercise of friends talking. 3. OK, I know you need to cut out at least 10 minutes from the original BBC scripts to fit American television, but for Christsakes--remember pacing! Geez, most the show was a rat-a-tat-tat of dialogue trying to fit in as much as the BBC version as possible.

P.S.--If you want to know what Bee's Knees looks like (and acts like when she wasn't on low self-esteem mode), check out Jane in the NBC version of Coupling. Man was I freaking.