Wet Bums

A couple of weeks ago, my little sister Caroline asked if I’d like to go to Disneyland for my birthday. That’s one of the perks of living in SoCal, being near my sister. Oh, right, & Disneyland, too!

I said sure, as long as we went on a Saturday so I’d have plenty of time to recover from the inevitable fibromyalgia flare before work on Monday. My birthday being the 28th, she suggested the 26th. It was a date.

Caroline kindly picked me up, even though she technically lives closer to D-land than me, and this turned out to be a prescient decision. We were headed toward a pre-Disney lunch at Clay Oven when she said “Wait a minute. Is that a Marmalade Cafe?” We would not even have been on this part of Ventura if Burbank hadn’t been closed for rain, so I confirmed that it was and, after some epic turning around maneuvers, we valeted & went in.

We were told it would be a 10-15 minute wait, so we went outside where I was instructed by Caroline to talk like Rex Harrison in order to amuse her. This was inspired by my tucking my kitten umbrella under my arm “like an Englishman”, apparently. Two minutes of me using “blasted” as an adjective later, we were told we had a table.

I ordered the bacon spinach goat cheese fritatta, she ordered the 7 grain almond pancakes & stuff, & we shared the amazing artichoke spinach dip. We then easily launched into a discussion about puppetry, her teaching job while she works on her master’s in playwriting, whether or not Jim Henson was on acid, how puppet Yoda is superior to CGI Yoda, how the Rankin Bass cartoon of the Hobbit is horrendous, and I sang a snippet of “The Greatest Adventure” to sell the point home. We were taken with two small children & laughed loudly, like we do. The dip was so filling I had most of my brunch boxed.

We got on the road for Disneyland, which, being off the 5, was at a slow crawl. This gave us plenty of time to sing. Our whole family sing, but it’s only the women on my mum’s side who sound any good, & we all spontaneously harmonize. Additionally, I was trained to do Broadway & Caroline did medieval hymns w/ Occidental’s glee club. So, bitches, we BRING IT. I love singing with my sister, & she can pop in a new harmony when I’ve already found the one I’m comfortable with. So we’re singing Depeche Mode, Radiohead, whatever & we’ve got three part harmonies of righteous beauty going with Dave Gahan & Thom Yorke. We’ve previously done this with Jeff Buckley, David Bowie, & pretty much anybody who doesn’t suck. We should actually be a thing, but we’re both quite busy as things stand right now.

Anyhow, after much driving (or rather edging forward on the 5 for miles), we make it to Disneyland. We queued up for the tram & invented the Middlearth theme park while waiting. Trust us; it’s freaking awesome. We’re doing lines from the films & imagining rides all the way to the ticket counter. Caroline tells the ticket lady “It’s not quite my sister’s birthday yet, but we’re here FOR her birthday, so can we have a birthday pin?” The lady carefully writes out my name & draws hearts & Mickeys on it, then I put it on my coat. Immediately, five employees said Happy Birthday to me. Disney really goes all out! You can kinda see the pin in this photo:

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There was a high school marching band from Japan playing as we entered. We made our way toward Pirates of the Caribbean only to find it temporarily closed, so we headed directly to another of my 3 favourites, the Haunted Mansion. Let’s just say that stereotypes about line cutting hold up at Disneyland. Also I said “Fuckin’ A” in front of a small child & started a little game on Twitter, “Guess Where We Are?” Here’s the first photo I posted, from the line for Haunted Mansion:

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The park was filled with cheer teams, high school choirs & orchestras that day, on big class trips, and all the cheerleaders in the Western Hemisphere were in our group for the descending room. They found it necessary to scream. We enjoyed the ride, got frozen lemonades, & decided now was as good a time as any to stand in line for an hour for Indiana Jones.

I posted a new “guess” photo to Twitter:

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Caroline then said “Oh look! Cobras!” to which I immediately responded by looking up through the trees into the skyline. I have no idea why I did that. Neither does my sister. But it did prompt me to sing, to the tune of “You Can Fly” from ‘Peter Pan’:

It’s a wonderful snake
It can fly above a lake!

Caroline doubled over in laughter & pulled her shoulder, in fact, the knowledge of which prompted me to add more:

Think of all the leaves you’ll rake
When you surely bake a cake
And throw it in the sky–y!
Snakes can fly, snakes can fly, snakes can fly!

We finally stopped laughing & singing my idiot version when we ended up high enough on the waiting ramp to be nearly eye to eye with a tall planter. We were still on about the cobras, so I sang another verse:

It just landed on this thing!
Luke Skywalker flies X-wings.
He goes into outerspace
Just like all those clever snakes
And cake is made of pie!
Snakes can fly, snakes can fly, snakes can fly!

Caroline knows all the special things in the Indiana Jones line to touch & pull, so she got to freak out the blonde Filipino nigh-tranny behind us a LOT. He was so gloriously effeminate, he made Pamela Anderson seem brutish. He was draping himself over things like a cheesecake model while his straight friends took photos. It was a real delight. I’m sure he loved our song.

We finally got to the John Rhys-Davies seatbelt film & of course said things like Gimli. After going up & down two flights of stairs, we finally got on the ride, which is freaking awesome. It takes nearly as long to get through the passage out as to get in.

We then headed to the Jungle Cruise next door.

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I’ve been told by my friend Dan & also seen from Zac Levi that this can be THE best ride in the park if you get the right host on your boat. Ours was decent, & had gems like this: “Be careful near the gorillas, people in yellow shirts. Don’t make any banana noises. It’s too appealing.” Oy vey.

Here’s an elephant.

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We now found that Pirates was open.

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Yes, this ride has been Johnny Depp-i-fied, but it’s still the closest thing to a rollercoaster my condition will allow. And it’s a motherfucking boat. Speaking of, we got to sit up front this time, though they wouldn’t let us get on two of the boats that lined up for us. I thought it was because they were so wet inside, but that theory went out the window the second we got into a third, approved boat, which had a puddle on the floor and, we realized upon sitting, on the seat. My sister made a wet bum comment I dare not repeat, as she is eleven years my junior & I find the whole thing a tad disturbing.

Sitting up front is great in summer. When it’s chilly out, getting a hairdo &, sometimes, mouthful of chlorinated park water is not as lovely. But it’s still way more fun up front.

Next we purchased my oft talked about cotton candy (which was incredible) & lined up for this:

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Some of the smart arses on Twitter described this as the 7th circle of hell (&, oddly, even ones who aren’t following each other). I might have cynically agreed with them several years ago, but the hell with it. I love It’s A Small World now. Maybe because it has corporate sponsorship now (Sylvania, if you were wondering). Or maybe because it has Stitch now:

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But honestly I think it’s more that, after years of viewing & reviewing seasons of The Simpsons, I can’t help but hear, instead of the usual song, the Duff Gardens version:

Duff beer for me
Duff beer for you
I’ll have a Duff
You have one, too!

And then Aunt Selma making Lisa drink the water, & Lisa saying “I can SEE the music!” And also, It’s a Small World is a boat ride. I love boats. So back off, haters.

You know what I hate? When a loud ignoramus chick sits behind me “explaining” each culture to her friends, who for the most part do not want to hear it. She failed to identify much of what she was looking at, & even when I turned around and said “That’s Greece & Turkey”, they kept going on about “Holland, or should I say The Nedderland, but also Russia.” She also apparently identified the Jewish diaspora in this series of singing puppet children, & seemed boggled by the entire concept of Africa, & did not note that China & Japan are separate nations. She then had the audacity to suggest that “most people viewing this attraction would not catch the subtle cultural nods”. I felt like I was in a fucking Brett Easton Ellis novel.

I now had 19% charge on my phone, so I stopped playing the guessing game with Twitter. I had never been on the Winnie the Pooh ride, so my sister took me. It is relaxing & adorable. If I’d seen a Pooh today, he’s the only character I would have done a picture with. I prefer A. A. Milne’s Pooh, but I like him, period.

We then bought ears. My sister got herself the red sequined Minnie Mouse ears with black sequined hat & stand up flower, & I got this:

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She also got me a silver tiara comb I’m gonna wear to work on my actual birthday.

We then saw there was no line for the Haunted Mansion. BOOM! Second time!

We caught some fireworks, got Caroline a hot dog, and had a couple of fountain Cokes. I was aware my fibro body was betraying me when I found I could sometimes not swallow. We heard a little ragtime piana, then lined up for Alice in Wonderland behind a five year old barrel racer who climbed everything & accidentally punched her very sweet mother in the nose. After Alice we did Pinnochio, Buzz Lightyear, & Nemo. I remember when it was better & called 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, but it was still fun.

The park didn’t close for another hour, but my sister had stuff to do & I could barely walk. Although I’d entered the park 8 hours before skipping & jumping, I was now hobbling & shuffling like an old woman. It was time to leave.

Thank God my sister drove. My legs and feet were cramping sporadically & my neck & shoulders were in agony. An hour drive back to Los Angeles would have been brutal if not impossible. We sang some Cure & Beatles on the way home & it was one of the best days ever and I love my sister so much. She is the awesomest sister that ever was.

Licensed to Drive

Yesterday I participated in that holy American rite of passage: the obtaining of your new state’s driver’s license. I must say, the Californian DMV experience is superior to that of the Nevadan. It was less “cattle call” and more “extremely popular Kosher deli”. I was in & out in 2.5 hours, all said & done.

I therefore had plenty of time to tweet. Here are my comments in time order, locatable under the hashtag #KJAtTheDMV. Keep in mind I had 3 hours sleep the night before:

I am currently in line to get in line.

I am one of four people here who speaks English, including the spritely little dude who issued my waiting ticket.

It’s inevitable; when I meet valley people & they find out I’m English, they go “Ohmigod, where’s, like, your accent?!”

Only 37 people before me! Luckily I am in the fastest queue.

There is a loud guy on a phone here who has apparently never been to the DMV before & boggles at the options.

I know enough Spanish to know this guy thinks I’m hot. Either that or he has a heat rash.

The impatient guy in my queue who went across the street to get a bite to eat is gonna find out soon that he is screwed.

B070’s number was called & he just screamed “YES!” like he just won the California Lotto.

Apparently the momentum of the G line (mine) has been usurped by the treacherous B line. We hatesez!

G line is back in business! They must have gotten sick of those cretins who did not do their registration online.

That guy is wearing a flap hat, smells like bubble gum, & is singing soft jams to himself in a falsetto.

I hope I get the feisty Korean dude as my DMV worker. He’s my DMV rock star.

I just realized that a baby is like a cat you can bring anywhere. This chick is holding her baby to keep her hands warm.

Dear G111, window number 9 ain’t gonna wait forever. Love, G117.

Lots of Tres Flores up in this mother.

I have determined that J line is for those who need to reinstate. They appear to be old Hollywood ladies w/ spendy head scarves.

OMG giggling Spanish speaking baby!!! *asplode*

Now in line to do my photo. Anything has to be better than my NV photo, where I look like a stoned cadaver.

They do the photo before the exam here. So you can look extra nervous & shifty, like when you’re pulled over.

OMG PERFUME. And “Empire State of Mind”.

Super Grover ring tone is WIN!!

Angry Korean lady is angry at clueless Filipina. “ID & license are NOT the same! What do you WANT?!”

I passed first attempt, homies! I iz a real Californicator nao!! WOOT!!!!!

This next series of tweets can be located under #IfKJWroteTheDMVTest:

After taking the CA driver test, I have a few suggestions for new questions. Most involve things not in the handbook…

When a delivery vehicle, [of packages/tourists/elderly/Kardashians] blocks all lanes of a street, how to proceed?

A Lexus is going 20 on a 40mph street. Do you: A. Pass when safe B. Dick punch the driver C. He controls your career.

When a woman is walking in 6″ spike heels & gets stuck in the tar at a crosswalk, do you A. Laugh B. All of the above?

It is legal to discard a lit butt out the window: A. When it’s raining. B. Next to Oprah’s house during fire season.

When you are Robert Loggia, you are legally allowed to A. Sell orange juice. B. Pistol whip a tailgater.

When valet parking: A. Talk on your cell phone & fail to hand your keys over. B. Assume gears will be stripped.

If you have to get to a yoga class: A. you always have the right of way B. SUVs can’t hit you. C. All of the above.

When parallel parking a Mercedes or SUV: A. Be sure to spend 20 minutes. B. You’re allowed a little red. C. All above

Since I’m on my blog now & not limited to 140 characters, here’s a bit more.

Choose the best answer for Beverly Hills road conditions: A. Lines delineating lanes are mere suggestions B. If an oncoming car is making a left turn, slow down on your approach, then speed up rapidly, or inexplicably stop C. OMG Henri Bendel!!! D. Rules do not apply. You haz Mercedes.

When raining: A. It is in fact the apocalypse. B. Lines delineating lanes are mere suggestions, though honestly it IS very hard to see them. C. Don’t go anywhere, ever. D. You should stop frequently for no reason.

A pedestrian approaches the cross walk. Choose the best response: A. OMG OMG it’s yellow! Gun a left turn! B. All Santas are cops. C. ¡Hey, mami, muy caliente! ¡Que tetas! D. Bump Weezy.

An alley must be traversed: A. At 15 mph maximum speed. B. Because it might have coveted free parking C. To see if Little Squeebo’s got the cheese D. As though you are making a run at the Death Star exhaust port.

Single Broad

Power is sketchy in Los Angeles’ odd rainy quasiapocalypse, so I thought I’d write some crappy poetry while the phone can actually charge.

The finite days of my life stretch out before me without foreseeable end
What is the use without the time when I am for you
Why else exist but to prepare
For when at need you call me
And I ease the passage of your time with quiet watches or cheerful musings
And prepare the hour of your greatness with bravery & unquestionable love?
When you come to me I will leave it all
A cocoon I’ll shed of this preparatory existence
My past of errors and lessons will I use to serve you wholly
And made to do your bidding will I absorb in full
As only God can know where you are waiting
And how you’ll recognize my heart I cannot tell
I pray you comprehend it when you see me
And in your heart will know it fully well
For I am not well versed in understanding
How these things appear to well trained minds
I flail & wonder where the light is streaming
From a distance patch of warmth I’m ill equipped to note and find
And why does this now have a rhyming scheme
When earlier it seemed as prose to come
It’s probably because I’m very silly
I hope you never mind that I am on occasion really, REALLY dumb.

My Brain is a Meme DJ: Mash It Up!

Despite everything that happened yesterday, I didn’t dream about Sunny, which tells me she’s in a place of peace. Meanwhile, I had one of THE weirdest dreams I’ve had in a while, & that’s saying something.

It started with me just hanging out with a friend of mine I haven’t seen in a while. We were in one of those little hole-in-the-wall restaurant/coffee shops where one wall is a chalkboard w/ that day’s menu. It was positively Beckian in proportion. Friend & I were talking casually, but it was awkward. In a good way. We didn’t need to say the things that were apparent. It was mostly BS about the issues of the day, & we were comfortable & happy. I also know I’m missing a crucial piece of dialogue. I was hoping by writing it down, it would come out. No dice.

Things then got very odd. I went back to my loft apartment, which was awesome & does not exist in real life. Instead of my actual sister, there was this tiz-wad who in the dream was my sister. My sister has not been annoying or shrill since she was 4 years old. This dream “sister” was 800 kinds of shut-the-fuck-up. And she shared the loft with me.

She was freaking out because she was inviting her new boyfriend over for the first time. I helped her tidy the place, then the guy popped by. He was amiable & affable & other words beginning with A. He looked a lot like the guy who played the robot boy in that one 80s film. So…not hot.

My fake dream sister saw that the two of us got along swimmingly & were joking immediately & got screamy jealous. She accused me, in front of him, of trying to gank her man. He took her flailing arms & calmed her. “KellieJane isn’t interested in me, sweetheart. She has someone else in love with her. Someone who loves her very much. She doesn’t need me.”

In the dream, I was single. Just like real life.

Upon that last line, there was a dissolve (yes, my dreams have camera directions & cuts) & I was backstage at what appeared to be a mash-up musical of “Sweeney Todd” & “HMS Pinafore” & “Oliver!” Yeah, I know. It was a hot mess. I was not in that production, but the friend from the first part was. It was several years later. He was grey & wearing a Victorian-era sea captain’s garb. I was inexplicably in overalls, carrying buckets of paint. He yelled to me as I went by. “Hey, kid!” (Men have always called me kid. I’ve no idea why.) I turned around. “Hey, you! Lookin’ grizzled!”

We had a conversation about the production. It was opening night, & things weren’t even done yet. We talked about how Ian McKellen was brilliant but crotchety (I hope this means he’ll still be around in 20 years!). We talked about the probability of all the sawdust being removed before opening curtain. We made fun of some divas. He was quiet & sorta sad for a minute, then said “I love ya, kid!” and I cheerfully said “I know. Break a leg.” And I turned and walked away…

…into a wipe. Pan across a giant iron gate in a dark, decaying land. There is a high, blackened stone wall & two letters were welded into the spiked gate: “SS”. I shit you not. It was *that* bad of a World War 2 sci-fi action musical. Oh yes.

In the dream I was aware I was starring in a film. I was dressed like freakin’ Sailor Moon. I did some kind of anime/Kung Fu movie flip over the wall & hid behind a pillar. There was a cast of like a thousand Nazis doing Rockette-esque kicks while singing “The Nazi party is always a party/It’s the party that never e-eh-ends!” [OMG it’s so much worse than “Springtime For Hitler”].

As the Nazis (sequined Nazis) do their number around this large reflecting pool (hello Ziegfeld!), I snuck around into a pogrom full of poor & destitute, miserable people. I start leading them out & to safety when the Nazis discover us & light the homes & shops on fire. What follows is a truly insulting action sequence where I kick all their asses John Wu style while the Chemical Brothers or The Propellerheads plays loudly on amongst a ton of foley. By film standards it was pandering & insipid. It was also kind of awesome. I got the people to safety. Another fade…

My mum, my actual sister (though she’s always 11 to me), my brother, & my fluffy liberal cat Persephone are on a plane. We are flying to Japan. We stay at a 5 star exclusive hotel on the ocean (I know, I know). I am staying by myself in the penthouse as I’m expected to do interviews there following the success of my truly awful Nazi sci-fi musical action film. My family is staying one below. As we rode up on the elevator together, my mum said “Oh lah ti dah, Miss Movie Star.” Then she was pissed off that it let me off at my floor first, even though I was the highest up. “Stupid bloody backwards country,” she snipped.

The concierge has placed Persephone on the balcony of my suite for some reason. I do a little bungee jumping off the balcony to the entertainment of delighted diners below (this would NEVER happen in real life) & I pop back in & enter the room. It is freaking amazing. There are four types of baths, & each sink & bath has fully stocked top end grooming products AND a featured bottle of booze to go with each experience. There are TWO recording booths, a Tinkerbell guitar, and total bliss…NO tellies. I’m on my cell with the friend. “Dude, you should come out. This place is freaking amazing.” He says he might if he can swing it. I call another male friend, who can’t make it but thinks it sounds rad. I call Kinsey Schofield, who says “Oh my freakin’ God. I will be there as soon as is magically possible.”

I then entered another bathroom & this was one that hadn’t been cleaned. It was clear the prior occupant had been eating Indian food in there & also had explosive diarrhea. I was about to call housekeeping when, of course, I woke up.

So. That was lovely.

Deja Vu All Over Pain

I’m starting to believe that fibromyalgia flare is the memory of pains past. Many neurologists & even rheumatologists believe that FMS is triggered by past trauma, as is evidence by many abuse survivors developing it, as well as those in car accidents and soldiers returning injured from combat.

More & more my flares are starting to feel like things that have already happened to me. Today, when I managed to get up for a hot shower, I noticed my left knee was inexplicably twisted in addition to the neck, shoulder, hip, & ribs aching, plus the palms of my hands burning. So that was like the time I tripped in a pot hole & went flying to the pavement.

People ask me from time to time what it feels like. I’ve said it’s like someone has a voodoo doll of you, but most people can’t relate to that. I’ll try to relate my pain to you in terms of what I’ve experienced, since I’ve never actually been hit by a train. I hope you cannot relate.

Sometimes it’s the mild pain & fatigue of the flu. In that case, I get up, have a hot shower, & go to work.

Sometimes it’s like when you were six, climbed to the top of an armoire, & fell off on to your back & couldn’t walk for days.

Sometimes it’s like when you were 13 & someone picked you up & hurled you against a wall, then dragged you up some stairs.

Sometimes it’s like when you were nine and rolled down a steep hill & sprained your wrist and your ankle.

Sometimes it’s like when you got in a car accident going 15 mph & ached for days after. I can’t imagine what people at higher velocities suffer.

Sometimes it’s like when you were 16 & someone beat the crap out of you for several minutes.

Sometimes it’s like when someone picks you up & drops you from over their shoulders.

Sometimes it’s like being punched hard in the gut.

Sometimes it’s like when you were three & went tumbling down a full flight of concrete stairs.

And sometimes I wonder how I ended up with fibromyalgia. Hah!

These are just the most relatable snippets for those who wanted to understand what it feels like. Why did I go into flare this time? Well, sir, I went to Ikea, and then to Trader Joes. I carried in everything by myself. Yup, my body has become THAT stupid.

Of course I went to work Tuesday on wobbly legs & made myself worse. C’est la vie.

In happier news, fibromyalgia has never killed anyone. It’s not like MS or ALS or MD; it is not degenerative that anyone can tell. It’s kind of like a pain seizure, which is why seizure meds work on some of us. Most of us can manage with diet & mild exercise, plus occasional narcotics & relaxants. Some are on 24/7 narcotics. Some are on disability.

Me, I have more good days than bad now. But sometimes I wake up & it’s like past events have happened to me all over again, like today. Today I am naming Pothole Redux. Which, incidentally, is a great name for a Cars cover band.

Ass Slapping. For America.

What follows is a transcript of my Twitter feed during Stephen Kruiser’s birthday party at a West LA eatery Friday, March 4. Most of you know Stephen Kruiser as “that guy with the hair” on Fox’s “Red Eye” and “the super king of Twitter #ForAmerica #AlsoButNoPelicansForOilBlameBushPalinHitler”.

Sadly I am almost completely deaf in my left ear & hence, awful in crowds. But I managed to tweet some of the more brilliant things I caught Kruiser saying, plus some other gems. I’ve put them in correct chronological order rather than Twitter order, & cleaned them up for readability without changing the actual spoken content. Enjoy guilt-free, as Stephen has already gone to confession for all of this:

“I crap baby tigers & then beat them to death with hobos.” –SK

“She’s fucking Charlie Sheen?” –Kinsey Schofield
“Aren’t we all? With our minds?” –SK

“I’m pretty sure someone at the other end of the table just said bi-fisting & I’m pretty sure it was @stephenkruiser.” –my tweet, sans tweetness

“That’s a fucking ballsack full of winning.” –SK
“Full of weiner?” –I *think* this was Tish.

“We are winning the Asian hooker future!” — SK

“Fu Man Cheinstein.” In re: @stephenkruiser’s manscaping.” –my own tweet

“‘Hey Jude’: THAT’S about oral sex. Ah ah ah AH AHA HA LAAAAA” — SK [The visuals here were stunning.]

“I just sizzled my own man clit!” — SK

“It took me two years to figure out the Mormons were running a human zoo in Hawaii.” — @ktabin

“My Adonis DNA is gonna drip right in your face in a minute, homie.” — SK

“You know what to hashtag that. #SFK.” — SK as he received a free glass of wine.

“They’re out of paper towels.” — me
“C’mere. Wipe your hands on my junk.” — SK

…and then he spanked me, in accordance with the prophecy.