The Patron Saint of Butthurt


A friend of mine stopped by the other day with a cigar and some 12 year aged bourbon. We lived together for five years and I’d forgotten how I missed our evening chats. It’s funny how, sometimes, you don’t miss someone until they suddenly stand before you.

It makes me wonder how much I would miss Male if he could suddenly show up at my door with a cigar and bourbon. Then, I think that every neuron, neutron and quark of the meatsack that is me already misses him as much as it possibly can.

Eventually, I won’t even remember what his face looked like without the aid of pictures. The entirety of Male is already fading. I can picture his lips, hands, chest and eyes with utter clarity as if he’s in front of me, but the whole of his meatsack is a little blurrier. I can’t remember his feet or ears.

My friend and I got to discussing another friend of ours whom we’ve both known since she was a teenager, or at the very least, since her early 20s. That is to say, he’s known her since she was a teenager, but I came later. I’ve only been in this group of friends, Male’s group of friends, for about fifteen years since I moved to Los Angeles.

The friend we were discussing used to be cool. She was fearless and fun and didn’t mind fun being poked in her direction. When I met her, she was a virgin. She lost her virginity in film school and she changed. I’m not sure if it was the loss of virginity, the film school or some combination thereof that did it, but she changed.

She became someone who harped on and on about whatever thing she was into without any regard for whether or not her audience cared. She became one of those film school types, a phrase that makes utter sense to anyone who has lived in Los Angeles for more than a minute, but doesn’t mean a lot to the rest of the world.

A film school type is not dissimilar to any other type of person who goes to school–this predominantly applies to post-graduate study, but not exclusively–for one obscure thing they’re really into that the rest of the world doesn’t much care about.

For example, I’ve run into quite a few philosophy major types. They talk a lot about philosophy. I like philosophy as much as the next guy and I’m rather well-steeped in it for an autodidact, but I prefer making my own, not picking a store-bought one from the shelf. I’d rather read an autobiography than a biography.

You’re probably thinking, well, I like films. I even like talking about films. Film talk doesn’t sound as boring as philosophy talk. And, while it’s true that most people prefer moving pictures to philosophy, film school types take it to the extreme. They don’t talk about films like the rest of us, e.g. I like David Fincher movies; they talk about films in technobabble that I can’t even replicate with any degree of accuracy, because it tends to go out the other ear. There is a vast difference between movies and films.

They will point out flaws in your favorite movies so that you also notice those flaws. They will ruin your favorite movie for you. They always have obscure, but awful choices of movies “you need to see.” The movies they like are technically correct, but terrible to watch for anyone who isn’t also a film student. Do not watch a film-student recommended movie unless you are also a film student, in which case, I won’t watch anything you recommend.

My friend with the bourbon and I were discussing our film school friend. He and another friend have given her a new title: The Patron Saint of Butthurt. I laughed, but then I thought about it, and it’s perfect. Film school friend is perpetually butthurt about something or other. A breakup, the destruction of some archival film print, the state of bicycling in LA, the fact that I never call her… there’s always something to be butthurt about in her world.

He said, “We decided that she just isn’t built for LA. She would do much better in some small town somewhere, preferably with lots of film festivals.”

I said, “I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m not built for LA either.” Unintentionally, all the hurt over Male’s death spilled out into my voice.

He ineffectually tried to collect it in his old fashioned glass, “Perhaps that’s true, but I can’t see you in a small town. You need a city.”

“Perhaps a small city. I should light a candle to The Patron Saint of Butthurt for guidance.”

What was unsaid spoke volumes. He and I both know that a change of venue won’t help anything. I’ve tried that twice before. That old adage, “wherever you go, there you are” is entirely too true. No matter where I go, the hurt will follow. The only difference is that there won’t be anyone to try to collect it for me.

Seasonal Goldilocks


When I lived back east–a term, which to Californians, means everything east of Las Vegas–I hated winter. I always said that if winter was the length of a normal season, it wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s not.

The first year I lived in Boston, it snowed every single month from October through May. 107.6 inches of snow fell that winter, a record that was finally broken last winter by one inch. When I lived in Detroit, I remember going to see the Tigers play on opening day and it snowed. There’s no snow in baseball.

If it was just freshly fallen snow that’s all white and crispy, that would be one thing, but no, after a day or so, this scenic winter wonderland…


… is transformed into this dirty pile of ick.


Everything, including the snow and sky, is a different hue of gray.  All the gray gave me seasonal affective disorder on top of my already festive major depressive disorder, so that was especially no fun.

In winter, you can’t really do anything outside without bundling up like the Michelin Man, because it’s too cold.

What do you have to be so chipper about? (

Your windows are shut up tight as you rush from one warm place to another. There’s no lollygagging outside, because it’s so damn cold that you could die just from being out in it too long. There’s no “I’m just going to take a walk.” There’s no going to a park and enjoying the day. October through May. That’s not a season; it’s a hostile takeover.

So, fuck winter.

But, now that I live on the left coast, I’ve just swapped seasons. I feel the same way about summer as I used to about winter.

In summer, you can’t really do anything outside, because it’s too hot. Your windows are shut up tight as you rush from one cool place to another. There’s no lollygagging outside, because it’s so damn hot that you could die just from being out in it too long. There’s no “I’m just going to take a walk.” There’s no going to a park and enjoying the day. May through October.

We had a heat wave ten days ago, during which, my air conditioning died. We’re currently in the throes of another heat wave, our nth this summer, and this one will last through the beginning of next week. Since yesterday, this has been in effect:

Screen shot 2015-09-10 at 1.33.59 PM

So, fuck summer.

It seems I’m a temperate sort of girl who is just sissy enough to not be able to handle extreme cold or extreme heat. Given a choice, I prefer neither. If it’s hotter than my body temperature outside, I’ll have none of it. Extreme heat makes me sleepy and cranky. Extreme cold makes me mopey and suicidal.

Where can I move that’s between 50 and 90 F (10-32C) year round that still has a fair bit of sunshine, preferably with a cheaper cost of living than Los Angeles? I’d even be willing to go so far as 30-98.6, but I cannot handle these extremes anymore. I’m too old and temperate for these shenanigans. I’m like the Goldilocks of weather. Where is my “just right”?

What’s it like where you live?

Listening To Los Angeles


You are going to Reseda
To make love to a model from Ohio
Whose real name you don’t know

The dentist is in Reseda, and every time I go there, I die a little more.

It is 5am and you are listening to Los Angeles.

The local anesthetic wears off completely in the wee hours, giving me pain instead of numbness. I didn’t bite the inside of my cheek this time. I made sure not to bite the inside of my cheek.

And the radioman says
It’s a beautiful night out there in Los Angeles!

I hear the distant hum of cars on the freeway, crickets and nocturnal birds that all sound like doves or owls. I listen to this song like I always do when it’s 5 am in Los Angeles and I’m awake.

I don’t turn on the radio.

We are all in some way or another
going to Reseda someday
To die

Male didn’t die in Reseda. He died several thousand miles and one time zone away. He would have smiled at the notion of dying in Reseda. This was one of his favorite songs about his city. I should spread some of his ashes in Reseda at 5 am.

Los Angeles beckons the teenagers
To come to her on buses
Los Angeles loves… love

It was 5 am when I first drove into Los Angeles, when my belly went flip-flop at the enormity of it. I passed Reseda, but I didn’t stop there.

I am going to Los Angeles
To build a screenplay about lovers who
Murder each other

Los Angeles loves love… and murder.

I am going to Los Angeles
To see my own name on a screen
five feet long and luminous

Everyone who says they don’t want that, wants that. Even me.

It is 5 am and the sun has charred
The other side of the world
And come back to us

The sun isn’t up yet. It’s still so dark.

And painted the smoke over our heads
An imperial violet

There is no violet; only a smoggy orange.

It is 5 am and you are listening to Los Angeles.

Random thoughts brought to you by Soul Coughing and Los Angeles and 5 am.

You are listening.

People Of The Dog Park Part 4


With the exception of terribly inclement weather or illness, I take my dog to the off-leash dog park every night. I do this because I don’t have a yard, and other than walking her five miles a day (which I’m not likely to do because I’m lazy and who has time for that?), it’s really the only way she gets any exercise. Plus, the social interaction is important, since dogs are pack animals. Also, I’m a total sucker. Around 5:30 pm on any given day, my dog starts pacing. She won’t stop pacing until we go to the dog park.

Below are the rules posted on the gate of my dog park. They might as well be in Sumerian for all they’re read and adhered to. Today’s list of dog park people deals with violators of these rules.


Rule #1


There are many people who break this rule since navigating the dog park is like navigating a mine field where the mines are piles of crap instead of incendiary devices. Sometimes, your dog poops and you don’t notice it. It happens. This is when the people I call the Poop Patrol step in. They will let you know all about your dog’s poop. There always seems to be one member of the Poop Patrol on duty at any given time.

There’s one Poop Patroller at my dog park who speaks with a thick eastern European accent of some sort; possibly German, but I don’t want to presume. It seems she spends most of her time scanning for pooping dogs. Mid-poop, she will let you know you need to clean up after your dog by saying “You dog take a crap.” It sounds a lot like “you dowg tik a crep,” and then she’ll point to where the offending pile is. If you don’t immediately move to clean it up, she’ll repeat “you dowg tik a crep” until you do.

Rule #2


This one is probably the single most broken rule on the list. About half of the dogs at the park at any given time don’t have collars on for whatever reason. Out of the ones who are wearing collars, over half of those don’t have ID tags or licenses on them. I reckon less than 10% of all dogs that go to the dog park actually wear collars with license tags. My dog is part of that 10%.

One day, there was a dog loitering outside the gate without a human. Someone let him inside, because it was safer than having him wander the streets. He was wearing a collar and a leash, but there was no tag or license. What is the point of putting a collar on a dog if there’s no identifying information on it?

Almost an hour later, his owners showed up. They were moving from one apartment to another and had tied the dog to the fence, whereupon he Houdini’d his way loose.

If they had put an ID tag on him, we could have called and they would have had their dog back immediately. Instead, they drove around frantically looking for their dog for almost two hours.

Rule #6


I cannot even begin to tell you how many dog balls I’ve seen at the dog park. I’m sure there are a lot of female dogs who haven’t been spayed at the dog park, too, but they’re harder to spot what with the lack of dangly balls.

The reason for rule #6 is that a lot of times, spayed or neutered dogs don’t take kindly to dogs with balls. It riles them all up, and that’s how some dog fights start. Can you really blame them?

Anyway, bringing a dog with balls into the dog park is against the law, but people do it all the time. They don’t fix their dogs for any number of reasons. Often, it’s expense, laziness or ignorance. Sometimes, they intend to breed them, because we totally need more amateur breeders in the world.

A lot of times, they’re waiting for their dogs to get old enough to neuter them. The people in that last category think you shouldn’t neuter a dog until they’re at least a year old or older. I don’t know what the correct procedure for ball-choppage is, since it’s been a very long time since I had a male dog, but I know many male dogs who were neutered before a year old and their heads didn’t explode or anything. The animal shelter spayed my dog when she was a month old, which by all accounts is far too young, and she’s fine, too.

In any event, whatever your opinion on the right age to spay or neuter, please, do. Also, please, don’t bring your intact dog to the dog park, for his or her own safety, if nothing else.

Rule #7


Pffft. That’s funny.

My dog has a best friend who is almost her doppelgänger. Every time they’re there together, they play and they play hard. If you don’t know the dogs, you’d think they were actually trying to kill each other, but they’ve been playing like that for over two years and they love each other.

One day, my dog and her friend were playing when a stupid little Boston terrier decided he didn’t like their shenanigans and wanted to break it up. My dog is 70 lbs. Her best friend is over 80 lbs. The Boston terrier was small even for a Boston terrier. I’d say he wasn’t even 20 lbs. Derp.

So, this little shit went up to my much larger dog and bit her hind leg. My dog never starts a fight, but she’ll damn well finish one, so she went after the little shit. Look here, sir, I don’t appreciate you biting my leg when I’m playing with my friend. Kindly put your tiny head into my mouth, please.

In the process of trying to separate them, this happened:

One of these days, I'll figure out how to take a proper picture (not likely).
Like how the foreground is blurry while the background is in focus? I don’t even know how to do that on purpose. One of these days, I’ll figure out how to take a proper picture (not likely).

That’s the back of my ankle sporting a rather large bite wound from a little shit of a dog. That fucker bit me! That bite was through a pair of jeans. Thankfully, I was wearing jeans or it would have been a lot worse. He might have ripped my Achilles tendon instead of my pants.

Owner of little shit 1) didn’t even ask if I was alright, even though I was clearly bleeding 2) refused to exchange information with me 3) refused to prove that her dog was licensed and therefore, current on his vaccinations and rabies shot (of course, the dog wasn’t wearing a collar) and 4) ran the fuck away!

Quite literally, she scooped her dog up and ran away like the sissy girl with the sissy dog that she is. One of the dog park regulars ran after her and took a picture of her license plate. Ha!

Fortunately, my sister is a nurse, so she kept a close eye on it until it healed. It did leave a lovely scar. By the way, I was the only one injured in that fight.

Rule #8


This is the saddest rule that gets broken. I can think of at least three dogs who were found abandoned at the dog park.

One of the poor creatures had three broken legs. They figure someone dumped him on the street near the dog park–not even in, but near–and he got hit my a car. Fortunately for him, he was found by a really nice lady who fixed him up and kept him. He had to have major surgery and he will always walk with a limp, but he can walk, he’s still alive and he landed in the best possible home.

Two other dogs that I know of were adopted by dog park regulars who found them when inhuman scum dumped them there. I guess people are too afraid or lazy to drop animals at the shelter, so they leave them at the dog park. I suppose they reckon that people who come to the dog park are dog lovers, and therefore, they’re likely to take care of them, which as it turns out, is true, but that doesn’t make it right.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3