On Getting Up

I hate having to wake up in the morning. Note the word choice: this is not a Depression post. I can rise early if I am excited about something, or even through force of habit, and be fine with it. It is the obligation of waking up that creates the bitterness in me. The notion of leaving my warm comfortable bed to go somewhere I don’t want to be and do things I don’t want to do struck me ludicrous as a child and strikes me ludicrous an adult.

I’ve been spoiled, of course. When I was a child, my mother would wake me with a mug of cocoa in bed and possibly some Girl Scout cookies. My mother is one of those rare unicorns who enjoys waking up early. I don’t know what trauma made her that way but she seems to cope. Perhaps 4 AM is simply the only time no one asks her to do anything.

As I get older, getting up became harder. I devised increasingly elaborate schemes to make myself rise when I meant to. In college, I started setting three alarms every morning to factor in the time I spent complaining about getting up into my routine. Now I store my alarm in the kitchen to force myself physically out of bed to turn it off. This stopped working the minute my morning mind discovered I could just go back to bed after turning off my alarm and repeat the action when my other alarms go off. I have started putting the kettle on to make coffee immediately upon waking so that if I back go to sleep my apartment will burn to the ground. The thought fills me with foreboding. At some point in the future, I will seriously weigh the horror of getting out of bed with the risk of pre mortem cremation.

I sabotage all my wake up plans. I buy some, luxurious sheets and memory foam mattresses. I fantasize about sleep  number beds and massage beds and hibernating like a bear. I know I need to get up but I do everything in my power to make the joy of sleep even more heavenly for myself.

“But Kate,” you lament fruitlessly to your computer, “you are an adult now! You’re old enough to decide what you want to do and young enough to do it! You’re getting paid for it! Surely you wish to seize your life and truly live!”

Technically, yes. Technically I am in Los Angeles pursuing my version of the American dream, using my English degree, generally being a more for filled person. But, you forget nameless Internet reader, or my mom, I have no ambitions  at 5 o’clock in the morning. Talk to me at 5 o’clock at night, particularly if I started drinking at 4:30, and I will regale you for hours on the power of stories and how entertainment has become America’s largest, non military export so people need to take it seriously. At 5 in the morning, I’ll throw something at your head. I’ll miss but you’ll get a good idea of my hate.

Now, I’m not claiming I’d turn down my own network show if they made me wake before the sun but I feel like I can write scripts just as well, if not better, at noon. After all, time is just something humans made up to explain our decaying bodies and to ease scheduling confusion (I will admit that 6:45 next Sunday, while ghastly, is infinity preferably to “at the cock’s crow ‘pon the day of our lord”). Maybe when we had predators 6 am to 6 pm was better than noon to midnight but now we have electricity and people worry about the decline of wolves. As much as I complain, we live in an age of wonder. I survive one of the most expensive places in the world through a combination dog walking and reading.  Someone in this country makes their living compiling lists of the best cats on the internet!

Of course, we all know the only reason we can do this in the US is because some poor children in another part of the world slave in dystopian labor conditions that would make Upton Sinclair vomit. No one is denying that, except perhaps the GOP. I’m just saying that perhaps we could push our fellow human beings further into hell while suckling at capitalism’s teet after 10 o’clock. Just until the worker’s unite.

Of course, the real problem isn’t mornings or society. In my freshman year of college, all of my classes started after 11 AM and I was perpetually late. Sleep is amazing! If I am forced to wake before my body tell me to, at 6 AM or noon, to walk a dog or accept an oscar, I will be bitter about it! Disregarding the joys of not talking to anyone and not wearing pants, I don’t even have to support my own head! Beds are glorious! Every night, my bed welcomes me like an old friend, invites me to cast aside my burdens and let go of the weary waking world. If a day goes poorly, a nap will restore me. Bed is there for me when I need it. Bed has seen me through every one of my crises. Even when I have nightmares, all I need to do is go to sleep in the dream and I will wake up in my beloved bed.  It’s okay, says the bed. Go to back sleep. You are safe and warm. and I believe it.

Like most good things, I recognize that sleeping until I feel like getting up is a but a dream. Even if I get everything I want, at some point I will have a meeting that can’t be missed or held on my sleep number.

Yet the fantasy still haunts me. Lounging on fresh sheets as the sun drifts past my window. It’s not laziness. I’ll get up to use the bathroom or refresh my mimosa. I’ll have a laptop and a shelf of books nearby to get some work done, if I feel like it. I’ll be productive, I’ll just be horizontal and well rested. It is an excellent dream and I have no desire to wake from it anytime soon.

Categories: funny, Money, philosophy, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Static

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. Nothing gold can stay. The AUX cord, which allows me to hook my iPhone to my car stereo, is wearing out.

 

Right now it still works if its held in the exact right position. If not, a speaker will give out or static will punctuate the songs. I’ll replace it when it gives out entirely but more likely two weeks after it gives out entirely.

 
While I admit I spend far too much time fiddling with the cord to fix my sound, I also enjoy the static. When I was a child, the family took long annual road trips to visit my mother’s parents and siblings in South Dakota. To get there we had to drive through Nebraska which, largely due to such trips, I now hate. Texas could restart the civil war and Nebraska would still be the worst. When I die, bury me in Nebraska; I will get up and walk to Colorado.

 

Nebraska is void of three things: pleasure, anything good to look at through the window and anything worth listening to on the radio. When we drove through, we held on as long as possible to NPR or the rock stations my sister and I enjoyed but eventually static over took them and we were left with christian rock, the Nebraska of musical genres.

 

 

Understand the Canter family has been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. It was a red letter day when my parents purchased a used car with a built in cd player.  Before we had survived long road trips with only the radio and a boombox in the back seat which I kept stocked with D batteries and musicals. Before we got the boombox we would drive through the Nebraskan hellscape every summer with nothing but silence or our own voices. I assigned my parents parts in The Lion King, only to become frustrated at their refusal to memorize the lyrics and sang everything myself. My mother asked hypothetical questions where in we figured out what she would do with a million dollars (refinish the basement) and her eventual funeral plans (cremation but serve my father’s favorite food at the wake). When the static over took the radio and the conversation lulled, we read or slept or just sat with our own thoughts.

 
I was driving to my sister’s when I noticed the static on my AUX cord. The California coast is much more interesting than Nebraska but there’s little call and some danger to take one’s eyes from the highway. In those moments where the static over took the songs, I thought of my mother driving us across Nebraska to see her sisters. How she must have made the journey alone, before and after we came into her life, with only static and her thoughts as company. What did she think about, beyond her gas tank and the speed limit? What goes through my sister’s mind when she drives to visit me, or my father’s when he’s alone in the car?  Most of America’s history involves risking life and limb in long, boring journeys. That was me and my mother driving to LA with an AUX cord and a California play list in 2014. My grandmother rode a train to DC to help the war effort with only the noise of those around her and room waiting. Lewis and Clark tramped over the Louisiana purchase in silence, blithely unaware that Nebraska should have come with a receipt.

 
I am the first to defend destinations and music and modern technology but the spaces between, the journeys and silences and decaying AUX cords also have their place. Boredom births brain storms, static silences or signals sound as we push toward our destinations.

 
I’ll probably buy a new AUX cord though.

Categories: funny, philosophy, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Death by Inaction

The following contains mentions of depression and frank discussion of suicide and suicidal thoughts.

I’ve tried to kill myself twice. The first attempt was purposeful. Without getting into detail, I made a plan and wrote a note. As suicide attempts go, it was standard. The second time I tried to kill myself I did not even realize what I was doing.

One might argue that the defining quality of suicide is intent but I’ve been suicidal for a long time. Death was an ambition for many years. After my first attempt, I used death as a carrot to get through my life. Once I graduated college, published my novels and became an international success so that my death would be mourned by thousands, then I could slip into that sweet eternal sleep. Maybe once I got everything I wanted, I wouldn’t even want to kill myself.
This line of thinking worked, in that I stayed alive, until I started getting what I wanted. Success in publishing and relationships did not give me the euphoria I expected. I questioned if anything could ever make me actually want to be alive. If nothing would ever make me happy, why should I do anything? I stopped trying on beyond the most basic levels. When I showed for class, I doodled or slept through lectures. When I remembered to eat, it was junk food and booze. I went to work with irish cream in my coffee, principally because I didn’t want to be homeless in Iowa winter. My suicidal thoughts became almost constant. My reasons for living narrowed down to avoiding pain for my family and seeing how my tv shows ended.
Most people have had some form of suicidal ideation in their lives. Suicidal thoughts are generally divided into active and passive. An active suicidal thought would be “I am going to slit my wrists tonight,” where as a passive thought would be “I wish I’d get hit by a car.” I’d like to think most suicidal thoughts are passive and rare, products of temporary emotion. Generally, passive suicidal thoughts are not taken as seriously as active ones.

This is a mistake. The underlaying goal of all suicidal thoughts is the same: you don’t want to be alive. Being alive requires work, work that people will avoid if the end result seems pointless. At my second suicide attempt, I could not cross the street without hoping a car would hit me. I could barely preform the necessary functions of living for months. It was suicide by inaction and it lasted for months. Had I not recognized and gotten treatment, I am convinced it would have killed me as surely as a gun or a razor would have.
Depression is an insidious illness because it is invisible. Symptoms are dismissed as sloth or selfishness. For many years, I felt guilty for my condition. My death wish was an insult to people who had actually suffered. I hadn’t earned the right to feel worthless because I had a loving family and achieved what most people consider success. Even though it took years to admit my Depression to myself, let alone other people, I was making it up for attention. Any praise or love or reassurance I received, I undercut with self loathing and there was no reason. Intellectually, I knew I was smart and funny and kind but none of that mattered to my emotions because I felt fundamentally unworthy. Nothing I did mattered so I did nothing and hated myself for my lack of productivity.
One never gets over suicidal depression. Even if I never want to die again, I will know those hopeless feelings lie dormant inside me. Years of my life have been lost to an accident of brain chemistry. My saving grace was recognizing the problem was an accident of brain chemistry and not truth.
I’m not seeking sympathy or admiration with my story. In fact, I wonder if I’ve made any sense at all. If people see themselves in my story, I hope they can seek help.  Talking about a problem is the only way to start the coping process. You don’t have to talk to a therapist or even anyone you know. The suicide hotline gave me concrete, practical advice when I felt my lowest. Even a journal can help until you’re ready to talk to another person. There’s no simple solution but silence and inaction will kill you as surely as any bullet, blade or pill.

Suicide Lifeline: 18002738255

Categories: bodily functions, School, serious | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Letter to My Five Year Old Self

Dear Kate,

It’s 1996 and you have been five years old for about three weeks. This is right around the time you learn to read.

I am you, 20 years in the future. I will keep this short and limited, as I remember my own attention span. I also don’t remember following much advice, so do with it what you will.

You are finishing kindergarten right now. You have a teacher who you’re still resentful of 20 years later. I know she keeps telling you to sit down when you are. This is the same woman called your parents in when she thought you made up the echidna. You are a tall child. That’s why she thinks you’re standing, why you get in trouble. Do not make yourself smaller for this woman. Do not make yourself smaller for anyone. Later you will learn what a metaphor is but this is the first one I will remember.

What else? You’re doing pretty well actually, if memory serves. Dragons are still awesome into 2016. You are still best friends with Danielle. You’re actually about to see the new Star Wars with your sister! There’s a new Star Wars! (you skip the prequels and it’s the right decision) You have an apartment and a job and a college education.

Of course, I know you don’t care all that because you’re five and you’ve probably wandered away by now. That’s fine. Milk the days you can play outside and not worry as much as you can. Things will get harder soon but it will make you stronger. At least it will make you me and I generally enjoy myself. You’re gonna get sad and there won’t be a reason for it. That’s okay.

You’re right when you think that brains and personality are more important than being pretty but you’re wrong to think you’re ugly. You’re beautiful. You don’t become beautiful by dressing in the clothes you hate right now or bathing regularly, though it helps. You’re already beautiful. It took me too long to realize this.

You’re smart too. I know other people have told you that but you need to know that it’s not because you’re doing well in school. Smart isn’t about knowing things but learning things. Books and school will take up a lot of your life and they’re important but learning about yourself, other people and the world is just as important. There is so much inside you and so much in the world. Enjoy it.

All My Love,
Kate

PS. Ok, in 1998 a couple guys in Stanford, California (like 500 miles from your aunt’s house) are gonna come up with a company called Google. Their names are Larry Page and Sergey Brin. You have two years to convince your parents to invest in that company. It’s gonna make a lot of things a lot easier for you, trust me. Tell your parents you from 2016 said it was a good idea. I’ll remind you again in 2013, before they go public.
Ok?

Categories: Kinda Funny?, School, serious | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

On Giving And Recieving

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As Halloween fades into spooky cobweb covered memory, the annual gift giving season of merriment is upon us. I refer of course to my birthday, Katemas, on December 5 but I believe there’s also some sort of minor religious celebration a couple weeks later. Invested, as I ever am, in public service, I have put together a small treatise on gift giving.

Giving is an art more than science. Like most arts, giving presents is incredibly frustrating due to the sheer amount of opinion surrounding the activity. My opinion, the only one that matters, is that the ideal gift is a luxury that the receiver would not purchase themselves. Socks do not apply, unless they are the special kind that infuse lotion continually into one’s skin. I am a great pleasure to stop shop for because as there is very little I buy for myself.  Anything more impressive than canned peaches or instant coffee is a decadence.

I should point out that giving something a person would not purchase for themselves does not mean buying whatever pops into your head. Do not buy a stake of the month club for a vegan or a vampire.  A relative who shall remain unnamed, persisted on getting me a pajamas every holiday for at least three years. The only time I wear pajamas has been during school spirit week when it is apparently inappropriate to show up nude.  When at last I asked why she kept getting me pajamas she said, “Well, you never wear them!” The silence was deafening.

The trick is to find something the person wants but either cannot afford or doesn’t believe they deserve. I am the truest millennial so I deserve everything. I would be difficult to shop for except I am the truest millennial and can afford nothing. Last week I “treated” myself to canned peaches for a $1.87 at Food 4 Less. Food 4 Less has replaced words with numbers and passed the savings on to me.

Ideally, a gift will reflect the person receiving it. Often, I will purchase trees in national parks for my sister. She cares about the earth and has no space in her apartment. If you are put in the appalling position of buying for a stranger or acquaintance, there are certain fail safe items. If I ever met someone who kept track of their headphones and didn’t break them for a full year, I’d burn them as a witch. Similarly phone and laptop chargers are always needed. Likewise very good chocolate or liquor or chocolate covered liquor are safe bets across the board. Just go with the real necessities of life.

The dismal truth of modern life is that so many people can’t afford their real necessities or worse don’t believe they deserve to have them. The most ideal present for many people would be payment of their bill or forgiveness of a debt. Indeed, what gift could be more valuable than financial freedom? I once believed that money was the most impersonal and therefore worst gift one could receive. Now I know better. A gift of money says “I know you have needs, and I trust you to fulfill them as you see fit.” Gift cards do not have that effect. A gift card says, “I decide where you spend your money and it’s here in this random store three hours from your home. Here’s $10 for a place where everything is $30. Enjoy your errand.” A gift card is a plastic invitation to hell.

Of course, there are always those infuriating individuals who are content with their lives and genuinely want for nothing. My father is one of these degenerates and its always brought a rift between us. Were I a wealthier woman, I would give experiences; trips abroad, theater tickets and elaborate schemes of intrigue. I am, however, the truest millennial and worked all day for a tank of gasoline. As a compromise, I’ve started stealing my father’s possessions and giving them back with gift wrap.

Incidentally, don’t ever give gift wrap as a present. It sends the message of “I only want to prepare you for giving me more things.” And it’s that kind of honesty that ends friendships forever. My family has an obsessive need to save every piece of wrapping paper they come in contact with, to the point where buying more would be excess. My mother prefers to gift bags. There is an ongoing cycle of the same five gift bags given and returned between her and her sisters which no force could tear asunder.

Of course, Katemas is about more than gifts. It’s about me and giving me gifts. Whether it’s money, or headphones, or chocolate liquor, or the complete Jurassic Park DVD set, the important thing is that you’re thinking about me. Ultimately, I am a gift just by being here, which is why it’s called a presence.

Categories: Family, funny, Money, philosophy, serious | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

1 Year

I have lived in Los Angeles for over a year, as of August 15th. The anniversary passed with little fanfare, since both my roommate and I were working at the time. Much of the last year has been spent working, or worrying about not working when we didn’t. In spite of the worry, the work, the clogged sink and the parking tickets, it has been a good year. For the first time in a very long time, possibly twenty four years, I feel like I am at home here, like I will be staying.

LA is by far the strangest city I’ve ever visited, let alone lived in. It’s huge, ever expanding like  a 1950’s movie monster. A five block walk can take you from a mansion to a cardboard box to a penthouse apartment to a man selling oranges from his car. I walk dogs in Los Feliz and see chicken coops next to a BMW. Yesterday, a coyote came down from Griffith Park to wander past an artisan cafe at eight in the evening.  Everyone is on top of each other and absorbed in their own little world. We have a doughnut shop on nearly every street corner, despite being the home of an industry obsessed with being thin. We live next to an ocean and worry constantly about a drought. Our lives are contradictions and change at the drop of a hat.

I love it. It’s loud and bright and mean but there is always something going on. Most importantly, it’s filled with people who came here to do something. Whether they’re going to top the billboard charts, win an Oscar or just become a citizen, people come to California, to Los Angeles, because they have goals. So many people just stay where they are, wishing to have something without making any effort to get there. I’ve spent so much of my life wanting to be somewhere else, to be doing something else, moving just so I would be somewhere else and then dreaming about the next place. It’s a privilege to stop and enjoy exactly where I am.

This is the third longest I’ve lived anywhere, longer than the three months I interned in Washington DC and the four months I studied in Mysore. In another three years, I’ll have lived in Los Angeles longer than I attended The University of Iowa. In another 18, I’ll have lived here longer than I lived in my parent’s house in Denver. I loved Denver, and Iowa City, and Mysore and DC, but they did not feel permanent. Much of my childhood was spent day dreaming about the future, where I would go and what I would do once I had the time and resources. I always knew I would attend college out of state. to figure out who I was without the safety net of my family and friends. It could have been anywhere but I chose Iowa because it was reputed to have the best writing program in the country. I didn’t get into the writer’s program but I did learn who I was in those years. For the most part, I liked her. I took her along with me when I left for Mysore and DC. Each place taught me more about myself, what was essential and what I could leave behind whenever I packed a bag. I gained knowledge and strength with each knew experience and by the end of my time in DC, I had a goal.

In Washington, I interned with Voice of America, a news service the US government provided to countries where dictatorship or lack of infrastructure did not allow for wide spread, competent reporting. There I got to play with cameras, report on my own stories and learn about the role media played in the world and in my own life. I realized while I was there that TV had always been a comfort to me. When I first moved to Iowa, I watched every episode of South Park to cope with missing my friends in Colorado, and I met my group of friends after bonding with a girl in the lunchroom over Will and Grace. In India, watching old cartoons helped me relax after a long day in a new place. During the darkest parts of my Depression, TV kept me alive. Literally, my logic for not committing suicide was that I wanted to see what would happen on Supernatural. In DC, now on anti-depressants and almost making television, I decided that was what I wanted. I wanted to write shows that would reach people all over america, to tell the stories that needed to be told to those who needed to hear them, like I had.

I told all that, condensed, to one of the senior producers at VOA. She said if I wanted to work on fictional shows, I would have to chose either New York City or Los Angeles and get a job out there. As anyone who has spoken to me about weather knows, I would not survive a New York City winter. I chose Los Angeles.

There was another year in between where I stayed with my parents and saved up as much cash as I could, along with my current roommate, one of my oldest and dearest friends. Without his support and the continued support of my other friends and family, I would not have made it out here, let alone survived a year. Their encouragement helped me find a job, helped me push myself through the various mundane trials and tribulations of young adulthood and kept me from worrying too much. When I do get worried, my roommate reminds me that we are doing more for ourselves and our futures here than we ever have in our lives.

He’s right. There’s no rush. There will be many years in Los Angeles, many trials and opportunities. LA is wild and fast and difficult to find your way through, literally and metaphorically. It’s not a place I would want to visit, but rather the place I would like to stay.

Categories: Money, movies, serious, travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Time

Where does the time go?

Seriously, I could have sworn I was updating earlier.

People like to think of time as a straight line. Birth followed by childhood, childhood followed by teendom followed by adulthood, old age and death. Actually, time is a huge mess of experience and memory. I’ve known people who remain 16 years old for decades. I was five for a couple hours in 2014 when I watched Guardians of The Galaxy. Yesterday, the sun went down at 3:30. Apropos of nothing, my phone has been acting weird.

Anyway, the point is, if it seems like I haven’t updated in a while that’s because time is strange and we don’t understand it. Also, I have been busy lately.
Since my last update, I lost the Freeditorial contest. The final tally was ninth place and a little over one thousand downloads. I’d like to thank everyone who supported me! I won’t pretend I’m not disappointed with the result. The winning story definitely deserved the prize but I still wish I had won instead.  Still, failure is an inevitable result of trying. I have lost before and I’ll lose again before I succeed. Then I’ll lose some more and succeed again as is the way of things.

Another thing is that I started a sound internship at an L.A comedy club. Every Saturday and Sunday, I check the mics, run the music and bitterly mumble to myself when audience members text through the show. On Mondays, I call comedians to make sure they come to the show.

Beyond that, my life has been taken up by well… life. Every so often, one must, to paraphrase Thoreau, stand up to live before sitting down to write. The philosopher was likely not referring to dog walking, internet dates and relaxing with friends and family but these are the moments I choose for my life. I hope to share them with you soon!

Categories: Kinda Funny?, philosophy | Tags: , | Leave a comment

I Was A Teenage Despot

The Names Have Been Changed To Protect The Guilty

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This is me in 2009, 18 years old, wearing a homemade dress that cost me 80 bucks for materials and drunk with power. Also there was a very real possibility someone spiked the punch and/or the chocolate fountain. Through massive voter fraud and intimidation (look at those flabby guns!), I had become Prom Queen, with all the power that entails.

Weeks ago, like two weeks, my friend Gabby came into our European History class with a stack of nomination forms. She looked at me, beautiful eyes ablaze with purpose. “We’re gonna make you Prom Queen,” she said, dividing the nomination forms between our friends.

I had already raised several objections to the position of Prom Queen, and King to a lesser extent. Principally, Queen is not an elected position. It’s inherited or earned via marriage. Americans should have a Prom President and Vice President but apparently we live in a world where words don’t mean anything. We did actually. The more I look back on it, the more High School seems like  an alternate dimension of absurdity, the most absurd part of which was their insistence that it made sense, but that is the subject for another post. This post is about my glorious ascent in to Prom Power.

By the end of that period, my friends had filled out more nomination cards than there were students in the senior class and we had learned nothing new about European History. In hind sight, it probably would have been a pretty good opportunity to talk about political corruption but I think my teacher was upstairs bothering the literature class at the time. High School, right?

I didn’t think about the election much until a week or so later when I was preparing to read the afternoon announcements. I read the afternoon announcements my senior year of high school because I was Captain of the Speech and Debate team and because no one else wanted to do it. The ladies in the front office told me there was a special announcement that I shouldn’t read.

I knew what it was without reading it. Still I made sure to act surprised when my name, along with three other people who didn’t matter as much, were announced as the nominees for prom court. The Small Folk must believe that their voices matter, that their elections have meaning, else they fall into despair in the face of their realities and the cogs of my glorious prom machine cease to turn.

As Prom drew closer, I made my preparations, which is to say I got a dress and a hair cut. My victory assured by Gabby, and the debt of University already looming in my future, I resolved to spend as little money as possible on Prom. The dress was constructed by my grandmother and I merely purchased the materials. The forty dollars given by my aunt for a manicure went straight into my bank account. I caught a ride with my friends and ate at a franchise buffet with them. A small child approached us, asking if we were princesses.

“Yes,” we said, and laughed.

For now, I added mentally and my laughter turned sinister.

Our Prom was held in a Double Tree Hotel ballroom. The theme was Fire and Ice which meant I had to recite the classic Robert Frost Poem at least six times.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

I alternated between that and the classic Mitch Hedberg Double Tree joke.

“What should we name our hotel?”

“How about Tree?”

“No.”

“Double Tree?”

“Yes! Meeting adjourned!”

“I had my heart set on Quadruple Tree.”

“Well, we were almost there.”

No one asked me to dance, which I was fine with because there was a chocolate fountain. I am by no means a dancer but I can eat with the best of them. Chocolate fountains are one of the things that inspire me to work harder and live a life that allows me to have them all the time. Enormous flowing chocolate fountains that I can dip everything I eat into before I die of diabetic shock at the age of thirty five. That is the American Dream.

In addition to the fountain and the various foods that could be dipped into it, the ballroom was decorated in reds and blues with fake ice and real flame to demonstrate the shocking lack of foresight in our prom committee. The DJ played a mix of censored hip hop, slow jams, techno and ignored my requests for “Baby Got Back” and The Bloodhound Gang’s “Bad Touch.” All the while, my comrades filled out ballot after ballot with my name for Queen and a boy named Billy who just got tacked on to my rise to power.

At last, the end of the evening drew nigh. It was between me and a girl named Ariana Abetta and two boys who really aren’t important to the story. Now, background: I had not spoken to Ariana in many years and I continued not to speak to her to this day but we were in girl scouts together from like third to fifth grade. We did not like each other. I can’t really think of any incident that caused this, it was more that we were on opposite sides of the social spectrum. I distrusted her because her hair was always perfect and she looked like she walked out of a GAP commercial. She was also bratty to my mom a couple of times that I recall and just generally not nice. I’m sure she remembers me as that weird girl who mumbled and made up a boyfriend in fifth grade (which she called me out on. Rude, right? We’re both trying to navigate a sexist society that pressures girls into romance before we’ve hit puberty, you don’t need to thwart my efforts.) or doesn’t remember me at all which is almost worse. Anyway, she was my opponent for Prom Queen and I kicked her ass.

Thanks to over whelming voter fraud, I claimed my crown and Billy claimed his. The Prom Prince and Princess were an actual couple who slow danced which was gross. I did the robot poorly which is the only dance I can do while Billy tried some interpretive nonsense.  We were amazing.

Afterwards, I saw a really pretty blond girl crying with her friend. It was probably something else, but I like to think it was about me. Later, I fell asleep in a both at Boondock’s Fun Center. Stealing an election and crushing dreams really takes it out of a high school senior.

After that, I wore my tiara in class for the rest of the week. I was Prom Queen. I earned it… kind of.

Now why would I relate a story of people filling out my name over and over again to get me a prize right now, with only three weeks left in the Freeditorial story contest? It couldn’t be because my story To Move On is in eleventh place and needs a bunch more downloads to get to the top three and win me prizes. Nope, nothing like that. I’m certainly not advocating that my followers download it over and over again on, say, all the computers in their library or school so that I can get a bunch of money to pay off my aforementioned student loans. That would be ridiculous. 

Seriously, download To Move On. Your Queen commands it. 

Categories: funny, Politics, shameless self promotion | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day in The Life: Broke in Los Angeles

It was a sweet day when I realized that I could decide when my weekends happened. Days, I should say, since I’ve been realizing this for a few years now. I fondly recall a semester of college that I managed to have no classes and only a few hours of work on Wednesdays, leaving my days open for reading, homework and anything else which struck my fancy, usually sleep.
Here in Los Angeles, by some dark magic, i have managed to take my weekends on Mondays and Tuesdays, making it easy to run errands and appreciate the wonders of the city with fewer tourists in my way. I read once, in a book called How To Be Idle which my mother thought encouraged bad habits, that goofing off is great but the real pleasure comes from goofing off when everyone else is toiling away. Or something like that. It’s my day off, I don’t have to cite anything.
This monday, i had planned to take the train to San Diego to visit my aunt and sister but sudden illness on my aunt’s part forced us to postpone. As disappointing as it is to learn of her cold and not see them, there is a certain joy in canceling plans. Like freeing a butterfly from a glass jar, time that was tied down is now open for any possibility.
Having embraced this possibility, I leapt back to sleep for an extra couple of hours. My roommate’s plans remained undisturbed. He went out to spend the day with his boyfriend. I made pancakes.
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Once when I was child, I ate 13 pancakes in one sitting earning a place in Canter/Hebbert family legend. I ate six this morning, listening to Welcome To Nightvale as I cooked them and watching Futurama as I ate. Pancakes/waffles are probably in the top ten greatest human inventions, all of which are food except for indoor plumbing and soap, and I am always proud of myself when I manage not to ruin them.
Once I’d eaten my fill, I hopped into the shower, because i have never been able to eat pancakes without making a mess, and decided my plans for the day. I’d go to the bank because I need quarters to do my laundry and then find my way to The Last Bookstore. I like my plans vague enough to change. As long as I got to the bank and bookstore today, everything else would be gravy.
I elected to take the metro rather than drive. I appreciate my car because it allows me freedom of movement but so does a working knowledge of the metro and parking in LA is stressful. A quick google told me I’d made the right decision since the station is only a block away from the bookstore and i didn’t even had to make a transfer. On the ride over, a man who looked like Jeff Goldblum tried to sell everyone of the subway a fifth of stolen Jack Daniels. When we all refused he reasoned that we were probably all “on that AA shit” because who else but a recovering alcoholic refuses a shot from a stranger at 11:30 in the morning?
The bank was a bank. I didn’t get the cute teller but I did get quarters for laundry which freed me up to go to the bookstore.
The Last Bookstore is one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. It’s independently owned and offers a wide variety of books and art. The ground floor is fairly standard with a children’s section, a comic book section and a new rare books annex surrounding a main floor where the modern fiction, non fiction and classic literature. The Last Bookstore also boasts a stage, presumably for readings, and a variety of arm chairs and coaches putting them a step above most other bookstores and some libraries I’ve been to.
The second floor is the real star though. That’s where the used books, the sci-fi, fantasy and crime novels are stored. They call it the labyrinth with dozens of twists and turns and little in the way of organization. The first few sections are reasonable enough, all of the sci-fi, fantasy and crime in their respective places, but once you get into the used section it’s anarchy. A few shelves are organized by color creating a rainbow of self help books mixed with bad romance novels, technical manuals and diet books from the last two decades. A copy of What To Wear: A Los Angeles Buyer’s Guide for 2004 sat across from the bench where I sat to read Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic.
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The Labyrinth is filled with books and art installations. My favorite are the art installations made out of books. As you circle around the lower level, through the genre fiction and the chaos of used books, you stumble into the artist’s alley. Here, Los Angeles painters, photographers, sculptures and printers ply their wares. They were out to lunch when I arrived, all but the very end shop selling yarn. I fantasize, periodically, about buying exclusively from independent artists but i walked away empty handed. The downside of my wandering Los Angeles should be as obvious as the tragedy of a diabetic kid in a candy store or the comedy of a straight woman at a gay bar; i want the things i cannot have. I look and imagine but having is for others for  now.
Fortunately, Los Angeles is a great city for looking. After leaving The Last Bookstore, I wandered a few blocks, taking in the town. I found the Grand Central Public Market, a collection of produce stands and restaurants ranging from tacos, chinese food, burgers and something called Eggslut.
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Again, I couldn’t buy anything but I walked though, enjoying the scents, sights and sounds. After the market, i walked alongside the length the Angel’s Flight, the world’s shortest railway line. Apparently its been closed down since 2013 when it derailed (it’s like 200 feet) with no plans to reopen. I am amazed the city can function without the smallest railway in the world. Perhaps when it reopens, if it ever does, I will go on a ride for 25 cents with my metro card. I live here. I can do that.
I rode the subway back to Hollywood as my phone battery dwindled away. The trip left me with only a dollar on my metro card so I refilled it at the Hollywood and Vine station. For change, the machine spat back these gold dollar coins including but not limited to Sacajawea and Andrew Jackson which I feel like is an awkward  combination. They do feel like they will be harder to spend so who knows? Maybe this is a new way to save money? By exchanging it all for doubloons or Chuck E Cheese tokens.
Now I am home, eating left over pancakes and recording my day so far. Way back in 2012, when I started this blog, I held onto a fond hope that it would stop people asking me personal questions since they would have presumably read about my thoughts and ideas here. Alas, people persist in caring about me and expressing it through words and actions beyond point and click. The quote underneath my name “Write Something Worth Reading or Do Something Worth Writing,” from Benjamin Franklin has guided more of my better actions the last few years, from my internship in D.C to moving to Los Angeles to todays visit to a bookstore. I forget too often that I control my own life, that I can make the decisions that guide me to happiness, not just for my over all life but from day to day which is just as important. Life is only a collection of days. Make sure to enjoy them where ever you can.
If you liked this post and want to help me really REALLY enjoy the days of the near future, please download my original story To Move On, FOR FREE!!! There are only a few more weeks to the contest where the downloads determine the winners of fabulous cash prizes! I could really use some fabulous cash prizes, you guys, and you can make that happen by downloading, liking, sharing and telling your friends about it! Thanks so very much!
Categories: Day in The Life, funny, Kinda Funny?, Money, philosophy, shameless self promotion, travel | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Clever Girl

On June 9th, 2015, I went to my first ever red carpet movie premiere!

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Well, technically it wasn’t MY movie premiere, nor did I technically attend the movie, but I did see a red carpet for the first time. Actually, no, I feel like I saw a red carpet in a store somewhere but this red carpet was actually at a movie premiere and it was a big deal.

It was not a big deal.

 You guys get this joke, right? It says Fossil and there's a movie about dinosaurs about to premiere? It's a visual pun?

Since August, I have lived a stone’s through from the Dolby Theater on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame! Like many of the landmarks on the walk of fame: The Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium, The Hollywood Museum, either of the two Scientology centers and The Chinese Theater, I have never been in side. I did not go inside this time but I did walk around the red carpet of the premiere of Jurassic World. 

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I will see Jurassic World eventually because it is the latest in one of my all time favorite franchises, stars the talented Chris Pratt among other glorious actors, prominently features giant dinosaurs and because my mom gave me a gift card. Thanks, Mom!

I went to the premiere not for dinosaurs or special effects but because I wanted to see a famous person. I had been living in Los Angeles for ten months and the only famous person I’d seen was Timothy Omundson (King Richard in Galavant and Cain in Supernatural) and I had to look him up when I got home. My roommate, who claims he isn’t interested in famous people, recently met and spoke with Amy Adams, Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster) and Lea DeLaria (Big Boo from Orange is The New Black). He didn’t even try to see these people! He just finds them in Target and I hate him for it. I suppose I did meet Damon Waynes Jr. (Coach from New Girl) at a Comedy Show I was a part of but I want more.

I want to see Famous People. I want to see people that I can talk about and not have to explain what they’ve been in. Individual Celebrities do not hold my interest long but the concept of celebrity does fascinate me. It should fascinate you that there are a select group of people that are known by millions around the world for their deeds or talent or complete lack there of! What is so special about Chris Pratt that hundreds of people with stand around a theater for hours just to see him step out of a car and then go online and brag about how they just saw Chris Pratt step out of a car. It is mind boggling and I want in on it.

I did not see Chris Pratt get out of a car. I arrived at the theater, which is literally a ten minute walk from my apartment, at 4:30. I wore a brilliant ensemble of skinny jeans, a black tank top with spilled BBQ sauce on it and an unwashed black hoodie. The internet told me the premiere would start at six thirty and I foolishly assumed that the famous people would arrive early to complete all of their famous people chores like interviews and smiling and yelling at their assistants before the movie started.

The famous people did not arrive early but everyone else did. The Dolby theater was almost entirely surrounded, except for those places guarded by stylishly black suited security. I found a spot on Hollywood Blvd, where traffic was being redirected, and waited for an hour and a half. I stood between two girls who had brought an actual glossy picture of Chris Pratt for him to sign and two other girls who were from England and had never watched any of the Jurassic Park movies (their words; not mine). Behind me, a local news anchor tried to set up in the slight Los Angeles breeze and the even slighter, nearly non existent LA drizzle. There were two drops, more than we’d got in the last four months.

Around 6;45, the rich people begin to show up. Note that I said Rich People and not famous people. I suppose I should have drawn more inspiration from them since I’d rather be rich than famous (ideally, I will be famous for how rich I am) but rich people are easy to find in LA. They congregate in stores where the jackets cost six months in my apartment and sometimes they pay me to walk their dogs.

Every time one of these rich people drove up, everyone would lean forward to try and see who they were. Then, once we didn’t recognize them, we all leaned back together and sighed. It became clear to me that when someone famous actually did show up, all I would see would be the back of a british girl’s head and a dozen selfie sticks. Like the wily raptor, I decided to circle my prey.

The Dolby Theater has three levels, not including the ground floor with the red carpet. Nearly all of the good vantage points were taken but the impeccably dressed security people made sure no one could stand on the escalators or the walk ways that would lead to fire exits. I felt confident that once a sufficiently famous person showed up, the crowd would cheer and I could take a picture while walking in one of these free areas. The only flaw was that my phone battery was dying, as I had been passing the wait with a combination of Fanfiction and tweeting Jeff Goldblum to ask if he was coming to the premiere since he is the best part of the entire franchise. He did not respond.

Like a raptor peering into a computer control room before she figures out how to open doors, I could see little bits of the inner circles from various vantage points. I could see the various movie specific trappings, posters of Dinosaur skulls, hanging fines, a jeep, as well as reporters and cameras all set up for interviews. It was inspiring. I hope one day to actually attend a the premiere of a movie I helped make, to have hundreds or thousands of people showing up to hear my words, see my ideas come to life on a big screen. I now know, at least more than I did before, a little of what that might be like.

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At one point, while I was circling the gated entrance to the premiere, I saw a bit of red carpet, sticking out from beneath the fence. I crouched down and touched it, whispering “soon… ten, fifteen years, give or take…”. Other people walked quickly around me. One day, I imagine, any number of common people will be able to claim they saw Kate R Canter being a weirdo on the streets of LA.

Finally, at seven o’clock, with 10% battery life left, I began to come to terms with the fact that I might not see any famous people. It also occurred to me that there were plenty of famous people that I could not, in fact, pick out of a line up. So I just started taking crowd shots and hoping there were some famous people in there. Are there? I don’t actually know.

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I returned to Hollywood Blvd with 5% battery life because people started yelling. I have discovered that people often yell when something happens. My hypothesis was proven when I actually saw a famous person I could recognize. Retta, from Parks and Recreation! She was gorgeous, obviously, but apparently, she just went to the premiere and is not actually in the movie which is a damn shame as she is impeccable and I had to explain who she was to way too many people!

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Then, with just 3% battery life, another miracle! Judy Greer! She voices Cheryl Tunt in Archer and she’s going to be in Ant Man and Tomorrowland and she’s done a lot of walk on roles on The Big Bang Theory, Two and A Half Men, House MD and other shows that my parents watch. She’s great is my point and I got her picture before my phone died.

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So she’s one up on Chris Pratt.

I went home, satisfied. I still search for that elusive celebrity whose filmography I don’t have to list after I name them but I saw people I recognized after other people said their names! I circled a Hollywood Premiere like a terrifying dinosaur! Where else but in Los Angeles? New York? Probably, but it’s cold there.

If you enjoyed this post and want to help me pay of student loans and effectively stalk minor film stars, please download my story; To Move On! It’s free and every download gets me closer to fabulous cash prizes which I will use for bills, pretty much. Loans are bills, you guys. 

Categories: Day in The Life, funny, movies, screenwriting, shameless self promotion, Television | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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