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May 18, 2012

It's not who gets there first that matters.

Facebook is going public today. While I am not a Facebook aficionado (yes, I read your notes, no I will not set up a profile anytime soon) I do appreciate the concept from a purely optimistic viewpoint: Facebook did not arrive first but still dominated.

Remember MySpace? Classmates.com? Reunion.com? All existed prior to Facebook, and all have been made obsolete since the "like" button.

How is that optimistic? It proves that you do not have to be the first one with the idea, the first one to invent a thing, the first one to walk on the moon. All you have to do is walk on the moon best, or most interestingly, or most inventively. Or do it most relentlessly or with panache.

Recently Jen came up with the coolest idea I have seen in a long time and I can't tell you the details yet, but wow, it is a good one. Maybe it's not the first of this concept on earth, but it's the funniest and the best. When she is ready to release it to the world I will tell you all about it. I love it. You will love it. When she first told me her idea I didn't know how she would even begin to implement it. How would someone create that? It boggled my mind. I moved on to to think about other things such as shoes and how I will ever fit into those pants I have, you know the ones, you have them and also cannot figure out how to get back into them. But she kept slogging on with her project, she did the work, she had moments of doubt and pushed past them. She didn't get discouraged along the way just because someone else had once had a similar idea a few years back or because maybe someone else may do it in the future. (How many times have we all used that as reasons to quit an idea?) She did the work.

Last night before I went to bed she texted me an image of the prototype. This morning I woke up thinking about her cool project. It inspired me. Listen, I know other people have written amazing, bestseller spy novels and other people have led great lives and other people speak fluent French and have thin thighs. Just because someone else did it already does not mean my shot at the ball has vanished. Just because someone else already wrote the Great American Novel does not mean there are not more, better Great American Novels to come.

Here is what I am thinking: when someone has a similar idea or style or concept to yours and they succeed, it does not diminish your chance at success. It just means it's possible for someone like you to make it.

HAPPY FRIDAY!!! Have a fabulous weekend. Go forth and make your idea come to life! I will do the same. Pinkie swear, innernets style.

Posted by laurie at 6:40 AM

May 14, 2012

Stuff we said that time

"So has it improved or is it still weird?" Jen asked.

"I can't tell," I said. "It's like being trapped inside a black and white farce movie where everything is -- oddly enough -- subtitled in porn Ukranian with typos."

She paused for a moment.

"I have no idea what that meant," she said, "and yet I know EXACTLY what that meant."

- - -

"That's right, boys and girls. Misspelled porn Ukranian is a problem. Give to the Meow Mix Fund and eradicate this scourge. I am Bob T. Cat and I approve this message."

< outtake >

Did I do it right? Do I get Meow Mix? What is You Kranian? Can I stop posing like this now? Is the teddy bear here?

Posted by laurie at 9:51 PM

May 11, 2012

City of Studio keeps me rockin' knows how to party

The leader of the free world came to Studio City yesterday for a dinner event at George Clooney's house. There were Secret Service people all over the Boulevard and surrounding side streets, police were everywhere, news and paparazzi helicopters began flying overhead at dawn and everything south of the boulevard was locked down after rush hour.

All day there was Obama Traffic -- a Los Angeles situation that involves citywide gridlock, mass complaining (also, coincidentally, the only real bonding experience we have in this city: "Were you stuck in Obama traffic?" "Like, totally!") plus protestors, weird off-ramp closures and minute-by-minute breaking news coverage. There were urgent messages from our City Council representatives to stay home and lock down. At about 7 p.m. I actually saw Marine One fly over accompanied by a massive convoy of military helicopters and that was cool and everything.

But the only important detail here is:


How have I lived in Studio City for twelve years (minus the Encino-Adjacent period, "Divorce Blue") and not known that GEORGE MUTHALOVIN CLOONEY is my neighbor-adjacent?

If George lives here, can Al Gore be far behind?

I did just write that whole selfhelpy crap about "... some dawns wait." I'm just saying is all.

Posted by laurie at 6:12 AM

May 9, 2012

Hey, baby, what's your sign?


Do you come here often?


What, can't a brother get some love?

Posted by laurie at 9:07 PM

May 8, 2012

Some dawns wait

If we are being honest and not-smartypants I did not think of that title. Probably it is a line from another Langston Hughes poem since that is all I am reading in the bathroom while being literary fancy with expensive tea in a Beverly Hills chair.

But you know what? Some dawns wait.

Not everything you want happens right now.
Not every plan you make gets put into action today.
Not every list you make gets checked off one by one today.
You may not get it all done.
You will never get it perfect.
You do not have to finish life to get good at it.
You may not get it today, but tomorrow is a whole new dawn.
Maybe tomorrow it will work out.
You never know.

The living experience is the one where we mess up. Others mess up. We figure out what we will and will not accept. Today someone treated me horribly and I said to myself, first: "WOW! I cannot believe you did that! It is kind of stunning how much you suck." (Oh, I used more colorful words.)

And later I said: "I will never treat another human being that way." This is why the dawn waits. So you can decide who you will be when it comes.

I do not yet know the outcome, the dawning realization that will come with time, the dawning knowledge that will make this small little blip fit into my life. Some dawns just take time. We do not get the download in one day.

Oh! Here it is, I found it, the Hughes piece I ingested whole. I cannot explain why he is my daily devotional right now. This is a black man born in 1902 who came of age at a time when there were no civil rights. How do we connect? Words, that's how. The longing, the want, the aspiration, it's so resonant.


Tomorrow may be
a thousand years off:


says this particular
cigarette machine.

Others take a quarter straight.

Some dawns

Write what you must, say what you can, be who you are. You never know who it touches. Dude was writing about a cigarette machine and I extrapolated it into my LIFE.

You can do this.
Me, too.

Dawns wait.

Posted by laurie at 9:06 PM

May 7, 2012

Monday morning, she's a cool cat

Clearly Frankie T. Cat also appreciates The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.


Shis a hip cat, a cool order, a fluffy tail, of course she likes poetry from the 1930s. Her current fave:


Folks, I'm telling you,
birthing is hard
and dying is mean --
so get yourself
a little loving
in between.

Bob agrees.


Posted by laurie at 6:54 AM

May 5, 2012

Mean Girls

You expect mean girls in junior high, high school, and the hallowed halls of freshman rush season. It's like acne or failing driver's ed, a stumbling bump on the road to adulthood. The pleasures of getting up in age are many: you never have to parallel park for a DMV tester again, you don't get prom-night acne, and you outgrow the realm of the mean girl.

So when you meet up with a tiny pack of rabid mean girls in your grown-up life it's a disconcerting shock. People like you and me just assume we misinterpreted the conversation. We make allowances. We give the benefit of the doubt. We don't expect mean girls at our age. We think, "Oh, she must just be going through a situation."

Then one night you bolt awake at 2 a.m. and realize there is no benefit of the doubt. There is no situation warranting this behavior. Those bitches are just mean girls!

You don't intend to get sucked in but you do. They get to you with their gossip and their sneaky little "let's bond over a shared hatred of so-and-so" and the fact that they run in packs. They must run in packs, because they can't take you down on their own. They're like ants that way. One ant is annoying but a pack of ants is jihad situation requiring spray, bait and chalk.

And just like ants, you can get rid of mean girls. It takes patience and the willingness to cover up all your sweet stuff. But you can get rid of them.

I have spent enough time on earth to understand karma and its delicate churn. Recently I made a mistake. I have not been myself these past few weeks, I've been trying my hardest to be nice to a tiny pack of mean girls who I did not want to realize were mean little girls. It does not work. You can't ever befriend a mean girl, they just talk shit about you behind your back and they still hate their lives and complain about every.damn.thing.

I like my life. I don't want to talk about people behind their backs. If I have something mean to say I want it to be pure Southern, "Bless her heart, could you pass the ham?" and be done. I do not care about gossip, unless you are Kanye or a Kardashian. I do not want to trash the boss, bitch about so-and-so's clothes, or ice out the new girl and pretend we're all going home while really we're going for drinks. That is 9th grade behavior. I am grown. I do not want to relive 9th grade.

This is my statement to the universe: I will not mean girl you. I may fail at many things in life, I may mess up, be accidentally rude, get flustered or mistakenly cut you off in traffic especially if you are on the 101 and don't merge in a timely fashion. But I will not be a mean girl. And from now on when the little pack of mean bitches tries to get me to gossip with them I will take an important phone call or have a delicate underwire emergency or hear someone calling my name elsewhere or excuse myself to go cure cancer.

No more meangirling. Bless their hearts.

Posted by laurie at 9:05 PM

May 1, 2012

Dig and be dug in return

Now listen, I am not what you would call a poetry lover. In my world only two kinds of poetry exist -- remarkable poetry, which is so rare it's almost extinct, and the other crap. The other crap is all horrible poetry that makes me physically endanger myself with the dramatic amount of eye-rolling which accompanies each and every line.

So it's not often I get wrapped up in a poet, but it happens. It's happening now, and my current obsession is Langston Hughes. I woke up one morning about a week ago reciting the lines to my favorite Hughes poem, Motto, and since then I have been on a Langston Hughes binge, re-reading his work and all the biographical pieces I can get my hands on. He was a fascinating guy with some crazyass politics. I can appreciate that. You have to be a little insane to be able to zip words together so beautifully.

I wonder what ol' Langston would make of all the May Day protests and traffic snarls and malodorous anarchists who line the sidewalks downtown every May 1st?

He'd play it cool, that's my bet.


I play it cool
I dig all jive
That's the reason
I stay alive
My motto
As I live and learn
Is dig and be dug in return

The best place to start your own Langston obsession is with The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. Once you dig in, I also highly recommend The Ways of White Folks: Stories. You can also pick up The Big Sea: An Autobiography (American Century Series), a fascinating look into his life and a must-read for writers.

Imagine the blog this guy would have had.

Posted by laurie at 7:15 AM