Best. Birthday. EVAR.

Yes, even better than the birthday a beloved TV star ordered pitchers (literal pitchers) of the best tequila, followed by a separate event in which I received countless gin & tonics & a lesbian lap dance (which was not so much a dance as my lap was a bounce house for a tiny butt).

The deciding factor was of course the presence of my boyfriend, who was able to drive down for the weekend. Plus also Jesus. I shall explain.

A theme was set Friday when a beloved client popped in with this: 


and if you know me, you know I love me some flowers. Especially roses. My camera phone cannot do them justice & my arrangement skills are for shit, but trust me, these are gorgeous.

Saturday was my actual birthday. I turned 41, if you must know, & I happened to note about a month before that my beautiful church, Saint Thomas of Hollywood, was having a Latin vigil mass the same day with none other than LASchola. They are a choral group that sings ancient church music with such sacred harmonies that you will cry. Shut up, you will. Anyhow, a number of my friends keep making noises about joining me for a church service, as it is pretty much the only thing I ever talk about, but few have followed through.

So I thought “What better way to spend my birthday than with Jesus & my boyfriend & my family & 200 of my closest LA friends?” Out went the Facebook invite. “Come! Reception to follow. Bring cash for the plate in lieu of gifts. Jesus gives infinite plus ones, so bring everyone!” but more articulate, sort of. 

The Los Angeles rule of invites is it’s ok to invite everyone because maybe ten people will respond & of those, 5 will show up. Well, not including church friends, I bagged exactly 7! And we partied hard, y’all. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The point is, 7 of my non-church friends, plus my mum, brother, sister & her boyfriend came to a Latin mass, the most massy of all masses, on a Saturday night, when they could have done virtually any other thing with their time. I am blessed & honoured.

We always have a reception in the parish hall when LA Schola sing, so we walked up in da club to a wine bar. I am abstaining for Lent, but my friend (acolyte, vestryperson, future bishop of Los Angeles if there’s any justice) explained to me canon law & how yes, absolutely I can & in fact ought to have some wine. She then handed me a giant bunch of flowers, as did my sister (left to right, respectively):  


so we took over a table & piled flowers & presents & were joined by my dear church friends & talked & laughed & ate cheese & delicious gluten free cupcakes for hours. My brother signed (in ASL) that he was happy, bear hugged Father, challenged us to a mild dance off where we had to wiggle our bums, & displayed his ominous psychokinetic powers when Father turned to the exact page in his birthday book that is my brother’s birthday.

I was achy, so we didn’t stagger around Hollywood after as suggested. We eventually made it home, watched Lost Highway (one of three David Lynch films gifted to me by my roommate, which she now probably regrets), & finally went to sleep.

I awoke Sunday morning very sore, but to glorious cuddles from the boyfriend & Persephone (Girl Cat) on his chest. We decided brunch at Hugo’s was in order, & he got me my favourites: gluten free eggs benedict & almond energy pancakes. (Celebrity sighting: Jackson Galaxy). We then drove up Mulholland Drive to Outpost to see a house we had fallen in love with online. Impressed by the secure, high walls (i.e. you can’t see shit from the street), we returned to the Valley in a circuitous route taking us past unique & beautiful homes. A set of octagonal pod apartments jutting over a canyon here, a house entirely covered in mosaic tile there. 

We came home, & my roommate consented to Blue Velvet, which again, you know, she probably regrets.

The boyfriend & I had dinner at our new favourite Chinese restaurant, watched The Walking Dead finale (highly satisfying), & said goodbye to each other as he was returning this morning.

I got to spend my birthday with many of the people I love, & it was fantastic.

Sage & Frankincense

Today we had a requiem mass at  my church for Chief James LaCroix, a long time parishioner. I don’t think I ever met Chief Jim, as his friends called him. I am familiar with his brother, Albert, a parishioner I see every time I’m there. I attended because I respect & like Albert a lot.

Albert, it seems, is our link to the homeless population of Hollywood. An ombudsman, if you will. I don’t entirely know his situation. I just know that he always says good morning & always has a joke ready & I’ve watched him jump up immediately & protect his fellow parishioners when disturbed persons have wandered onto church grounds. 

He’s a fricken bad ass. He & our sexton, Eddie, are fearless knights in shining armor. Albert’s armor just happens to be a black leather jacket.

You know when you’re stuck behind a broken down Budget Rent a Truck on Highland & are freaking out because you’re going to be late & not get a good seat at church where you can both see & hear? Well, maybe you’re familiar with the situation. Anyhow, that happened. And I am so glad it did.

Because I was stuck behind that broken down truck, during rush hour traffic in Hollywood of all places, I ended up getting there just before 7 & right as Albert was talking in the car park with his friends Mikey & Phillip. Bless you, broken down truck! Albert introduced me to his friends, friends of Jim, & I noticed he was holding a smudge stick. “You’re saging!” I said.

“Yes!” said Albert with a smile. “It’s a Native American thing, & I’m pretty native.”

I told him it was nice to see someone using it in context, as opposed to how it’s usually used in Los Angeles. Which is to expel the negative vibes of an argument with your agent.

Albert & I walked to the church & he told me the true use of sage, which in this context was to help Jim’s spirit go to the good afterworld “with Jesus”, & to send the bad spirits away, so they don’t keep him here on Earth. He told me he had saged the whole church already & had come out to prepare himself. I asked if he wanted to sage me, & he did. Properly prepared, I went in ahead of Albert, Mikey & Phillip so they could prepare.

The whole church did smell like sage, & not the usual frankincense/lemon scent. This did not change the sacred aura of St. Thomas at all, it just changed the flavour. Albert then came in with Mikey & Phillip & they saged the pascal candle.

I have never been to a requiem mass before, or a funeral. It was very peaceful & similar to the regular mass (even down to the whole thing coming to a screeching halt so Father could give me gluten free host). I found I knew what to do most of the time. The regular church incense mingled with the aroma of sage, & I felt very much as though the world was still for James.

The sermon was replaced by Father’s remembrances of Chief Jim & how he & Albert represented the homeless breakfast club at his dedication as the new rector of St. Thomas. Father also remarked that Los Angeles’ homeless population is double the entire population of his hometown in Wales. I think Father choked up a little bit during the Kontakion. It was a wonderful service, blending a little of James & Albert’s traditions with old school Anglican & Orthodox liturgy.

Afterward Christopher & I stood in the car park & talked about being nerds while it started to rain. It was a long day. It was a good day.

Let light perpetual shine upon Chief James LaCroix.

Back On Me

I keep forgetting I have a category on here for music I’ve recorded. Subsequently, I keep forgetting to talk about the band that graciously allows me to sing harmonies with them, The Army You Have. I’ve even recorded a couple of tracks with them, duh!

Anyhow, if you like The Pixies, you will probably enjoy this very much. It’s fun to back Gary & Shelli with harmony because I get to play different roles. When I sing harmony with Gary, I have to channel a gritty chanteuse who sips apple pie ‘shine & smokes Marlboros. When I back Shelli, my inner Kim Deal comes out. Can’t be helped. You get both on this track.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy.

Back On Me–The Army You Have

Bonus track: I’m not on this recording, but it’s my absolute favourite TAYH song & it is utter ecstasy to do live: Hold Your Fire

An Honest Answer

Dearest Normal Humans, whose rituals & customs confuse & bewilder me to this very day, please explain the following scenario to me:

You show up at an event where you don’t know many people, like a friend’s performance or a church coffee hour or a Tupperware party. You end up standing next to someone & you introduce yourself to each other. Then the person you just met asks “And what do you do?”

Not “How do you do?”

What do you do?”

This is very Los Angeles, bee tee dubs, & is always answered with aspirations & outright lies. “I’m an actor/writer/producer” which translates to “I was in a student film/I have a blog/one time I filmed a squirrel with my iPhone” because nobody wants to say they wait tables. 

But it’s also correct.

Because you don’t wait tables. That’s not what you do. You dream. You plot. You conspire. You walk the dog. You binge watch Justified on Netflix.

This is not limited to people with “day jobs”. Doctors, lawyers, therapists & the like also hate this question because the answer inevitably is followed by a request for free advice. Hey, when I come into your restaurant, I don’t ask for unlimited, free globs of goat cheese. So stop now.

The truth is, nobody likes the question “What do you do?” but you assholes ask it anyway, like what a person does matters if you’re not at that very moment purchasing a good or service from them. Yes, how you contribute to society is important, but it is only 1/3 of who you are. 

I don’t understand why the “go to” question for meeting new people is not “What brings you here?” Because that makes sense. “Oh, I’m with the DJ/I’m a huge Gotham fan/they have amazing latkes” are all way better conversation jumping points than how a person earns money.

From now on I’m going to answer “What do you do?” with such raw, brutal honesty that heads will spin & genitals will literally dry up & drop off. I will say the first thing that comes into my head. Here are some examples.

What do you do?

  • Listen to The Killers “When You Were Young” on repeat.
  • Imagine complex post apocalyptic scenarios in my head, not to write down, but simply to amuse myself.
  • Pray.
  • Hate small talk.
  • Think about what it must be like to be a cat.
  • Fantasize about avoiding men I find attractive.
  • Attempt to see the universe as it truly is by taking on the perspective of a quantum particle. Which is some rabbit hole shit, FYI.
  • Post random shit on Twitter.
  • Admire Albert the Great.
  • Survive.
  • Ponder how much Jesus must love our stupid arses.
  • Wonder if my friends love me as much as I love them.
  • Try to figure out what my style is.
  • Lie awake at night wondering why Daryl won’t shower.
  • Avoid editing a novel I wrote 3 months ago.
  • Become annoyed by a number of smells and sounds.
  • Wonder if rich people ever feel uncomfortable.
  • Use every fibre of my consciousness to not worry about germs.
  • Imagine dancing.
  • Try to figure out what I can eat.
  • Pray for death. And other people.
  • Hope my family are okay without being so obtrusive as to ask them, because that wouldn’t be very English.
  • Try to remember things I’ve forgotten.
  • Walk around the house talking to myself in different accents.
  • Wish my boyfriend lived here.
  • Keep secrets.

If you are a normal human, please explain the “What do you do?” thing in the comments below. If you are not a normal human, try my technique above & report back with results. Let us change the status quo!*

*”Change the status quo” is a totally legit response to “What do you do?”


There is an incredibly fine line between sociopathy & empathy. Some of you immediately grasp the truth of that sentence. The rest are aghast.

First, to the people who grasp it, I’m sorry. You either distrust anyone who is kind to you, imagining there is an angle, or you are a caregiver of some kind, & you know how you get when you’ve given too much. 

To everyone else, here’s a quick run down of the surface characteristics of a sociopath & an empathetic person.


  • Seek to soothe you by identifying with your issue & offering a solution.
  • Are charming & engaging.
  • Appear calm in a crisis, detached from chaos & pain to get things done.
  • Move from one issue to the next without taking energy from the last one with them (let things go).
  • Avoid conflict.


  • Seek to soothe you by identifying with your issue.
  • Engage you.
  • Approach crisis and chaotic energy by matching it and appear to detach when things are done (let things go).
  • Move from one issue to the next with no fluctuation in engagement.
  • Avoid conflict.

These lists seem similar, & they are, but the subtle differences betray the motivation of the sociopathic and the empathetic. The main difference is that the sociopath is self centered, but the empathetic person is other centered.

The sociopath wants something from you. They have studied how normal people like to be received, & they have become masters at gaining your confidence. They’ve learned to be people persons exactly how we learned our times tables: by rote.

The empathetic person wants something for you. They have no idea how normal people work, either, because they feel best when the people around them are content. They can’t ignore pain, & they want it to end. 

Frequently the sociopath is more attractive. They know there is a formula to making others feel important. They make themselves look like someone you want to know, & say things designed to make you feel special.

Empaths are usually unconcerned with appearance & have no idea how to be fake. They sometimes say very awkward things or delve into serious issues without the buffer of small talk. This is incredibly off putting to most humans, who devise a carefully constructed identity for the outer world. There’s nothing wrong with that; it is a survival technique. It’s also a technique the empathetic don’t often learn.

Why isn’t she being funny? you whinge in your head. Ok fine. Let me introduce you to two people.

Tom sees a young attractive woman typing furiously into her phone. He straightens his suit jacket collar & approaches her. “Wow, somebody fucked up.”

She looks up, huffy, then softens slightly at his well coiffed appearance & brushes an errant hair behind her ears. Still, how dare this weirdo interrupt her? “I’m sorry? Did you need something?”

He smiles, embarrassed. “Oh, no, I’m sorry. I noticed you from over there & you just looked so annoyed. I thought What kind of ignorant asshat would piss off this beautiful creature? And I admit I had to find out.”

She blinks up at him for a second and half smiles. “That’s an awful line.”

He rubs the back of his head and looks down, still smiling bashfully. “And you’re smarter than me, too.”

See?! Already half the women reading this are like OMG he sounds dreamy get me one & the men are like “That works?!” & my answer is “If you look like Tom Brady, yes. If you don’t, you will have to work slightly harder. But the technique is the same.”

This is still not funny, KJ. Where is the wackiness I pay good money to see here?

You pay nothing, so screw you. But I will give it to you anyway.

Terry (combonamed after his mother, Teresa, & his dad, Ryan, so his life already started out ridiculous) sees a young attractive woman typing furiously into her phone. He comes over and stands about three feet in front of her. “Hi.”

She looks up huffily, flits her eyes warily over his jacket and t-shirt, then goes back to her phone before saying “Hi.”

He continues to look at her. “Are you ok?”

She looks up again, confused and annoyed. “What?”

“Are you ok? You seem really upset.”

She glares at him & goes back to her phone. “My mother.”

“Ohhh. Is everything ok?”

She looks up. “Who are you?”

“I’m Terry. Your mother loves you. You guys just have a lot of baggage when you communicate. Ok, sorry to bother you. Bye.”

Terry is now either perceived as an intrusive creep (valid, as many Terrys would just secretly pray for this young woman’s happiness & go on with their lives), or as some sort of mystic angel, which he might be. A slovenly mystic angel at a bar, for some reason. But Tom is less likely to be perceived as a creep, because Tom plays the human game.

The human game has rules everybody knows, so they are more comfortable with it. Everybody plays a role & advances according to the dice rolled. People who are good at the human game tend to go pretty far. The unscrupulous ones know how to game the system to their benefit.

The angelic approach (there’s no game) is confusing and weird because it’s like the Spanish Inquisition: nobody expects it. Some people actually react hostilely to someone acting completely outside the rules of the Human Game, even when they are totally benevolent.

Here is your wacky analogy, jerk. You’re playing Clue with Tom & Terry. Tom shows you his cards with a reluctant, play-acted mortification. How dare you be figuring out what I have, his devious winky eyes say. Terry meanwhile is showing you extra cards and skipping his turn so you can go again. 

Immediately register your reaction to Terry’s game play before scrolling down…

This is exactly how you are looking at Terry.

Terry isn’t being fun! You ask Terry “Bro, what the fuck are you doing?” and Terry says “I know it would make you so happy to win!” And you say “Bro, not this way. Not this way.”

And yet, he genuinely wants you to win. And it makes no sense.



Thank you for indulging me.


*Your angry comments will be mocked. In a loving way.

*Also this is why you hate empaths.

“Ha Ha, Your Potentially Fatal Disease is HILAIR!”…

…is what I hear when y’all make gluten jokes. That’s because I have celiac disease, & am not on some trendy, totally misguided diet.

“Celiacs can’t touch this!”

I talk about fibromyalgia a lot. I published a book of my experiences with it & I have an entire blog devoted to it. I don’t talk about celiac because, I realized a few days ago, it’s the one thing I’m actually kind of sensitive about. And then I realized it’s because it’s the one disease (or rather its only treatment) that the first world makes fun of all the time. Constantly. Without end.

I empathize with why you do. The type of people that go on & on about gluten are exactly the type of people everyone hates. They end to be upper class white people who also rabbit on about eating raw, locally sourced, fair trade, cruelty free everything & wax rhapsodic about colonics, vaginal steaming, & Pilates. They say “Namaste” as frequently as the rest of us say “What up?” 

They appropriate cultural staples & turn them into fads. They are history’s greatest monsters. I get that. I’m with you on that.

I confess we celiacs also secretly love these people.

Why? Thanks to their deep pockets & frivolous spending habits & mouthiness, they have greatly expanded the number of options people with celiac disease have for getting super fat. It’s awesome. Because these munificent harridans wave their credit cards at every damn thing that seems “clean”, the market has responded by making actually edible gluten free baked goods. Donuts, bread that doesn’t have the consistency of dry wall, cakes, brownies, cookies, tarts, pasta, cereal, pie crusts…it all exists! A copious bounty of ready-made, ridiculously expensive treats are now available in nearly every supermarket. It’s a golden age for our potentially fatal disease.

Wait, what?

Yes. Because the only treatment for celiac disease is avoiding gluten completely. If we don’t avoid gluten completely, let me explain what happens. It’s very different from what people who are just cutting out gluten experience.

After ingesting gluten (a protein present in all wheat products, including soy sauce & damn near everything else in the West), our immune system trips out & attacks it. It does this in the small intestine, which makes the villi (tiny projections on the intestine wall which do all the work) freak out & flatten. Then we stop digesting fat.

“That sounds great!” you say, like some kind of idiot who doesn’t understand human biology. No, it is not great. Aside from bloating, gas, & yellowy diarrhea coming out of you at rates that would make laxative abusers envious, fat is essential, essential, for brain function. It also makes you feel full, so if you meet a fat person with celiac, they are feeding their constant hunger with sugar, which the body stores as fat faster than fat becomes fat, thanks to stupid evolution.

Additionally, the part of the intestine that is damaged by celiac disease also generates most of your serotonin. Yes, much of your neurochemicals are made in your gut. So after the sexy, sexy gastric symptoms comes depression (like, crippling depression), cognitive issues, & lovely additional neurological symptoms like falling, aching, loss of grip strength, fasciculations, etc.

Many people with undiagnosed celiac are worked up for MS or ALS first. This is why. There is mounting evidence that celiac causes permanent brain damage. Those of you who know me are probably not surprised.

Side note: I was also deemed infertile because I did not ovulate during my peak childbearing years. This is not uncommon in undiagnosed celiac because the immune system in your abdomen is so freaked out, it panics all over your ovaries, too.  You save money on tampons, but no baby. Well, crap.

Untreated celiac kills because the cells in the small intestine, after years of abuse, just give up being normal cells and frequently turn into bowel cancer. Those are everyone’s favourite two words: Bowel Cancer. That’s of course if you survive the suicidal depression & the falling & whatnot.

So when you crack your super funny gluten joke on Twitter or Facebook or your high profile late night TV show, what you are saying to people with celiac, unintentionally, is “You’re hilarious for trying to not die of bowel cancer!” I am not asking you to not crack your jokes. You do whatever you like. Just be aware there’s a population of us out there who cannot do stuff you take for granted. Here are some of those things:

1. Attend a food-oriented event without concern.

I hate any event associated with food, because I hate being that stupid girl asking about gluten. If you want me to come to something in a totally carefree spirit of learning/socializing/worship, don’t provide food. Snacks, “dinner included”, & “pot luck” all create 100 scenarios where I am saying “No thank you” repeatedly to people who see that I am fat & just assume I want food. No, I don’t want food; those 36 years where I was turning sugar into fat made it so I don’t need food. I don’t want to talk about food or explain a disease. How are you? Put the cookies away & just tell me about you. No for fuck’s sake I don’t want a sandwich.

2. Order at a restaurant.

I have to be that stupid girl who asks about gluten. The wait staff assume that I am that stupid girl on a stupid diet who will eat her carefully prepared gluten free quinoa goat cheese salad, then take a sip of her friend’s beer & a bite of her friend’s cake. No. So I have to start each order (at a place without a designated gluten free menu) with “I’m so sorry, but I have celiac disease.” Sometimes, I have to explain celiac disease. “Which of your menu items can be made gluten free?” Then the poor server has to figure that out, which usually means asking a chef, whom I envision swearing loudly & throwing a handful of wheat flour into the air.

This is 800 times worse when I order somewhere that the server has English as a second or third language, if at all. I love food from other counties as it is delicious & frequently gluten free, but of course all the best authentic “ethnic” food comes from businesses that employ almost no one from America. This situation is my own damn fault. And they are frequently stuck using American ingredients, which may have wheat/gluten as a binding agent. I have come up with creative ways to ask about this, but I feel like an asshole every time.

Then the people at the table launch into their good humoured “You’re so difficult!” ribbing, & even though I know they’re kidding because I am usually the one accommodating others, I want to crawl under the table & stab all of their ankles with my fork.

3. Sit at a common area without worrying about breaking out.

This is going to sound stupid to y’all, but if I brush crumbs off a desk, table, or bench with the side of my hand, I break out in nasty little itchy bumps right where my hand touched the crumbs. A lot of us do. This rash can last weeks, & is the opposite of sexy unless you like your hand jobs with extra texture.

4. Use soap/moisturizer/shampoo/make up/sun block without reading the ingredients.

Do you know all the chemical names for wheat? I don’t yet, as there are many. Skin absorbs 70% of what’s on it. If I slather or lather on wheat, it’s just as bad as if I accidentally ate a piece of cake, yet 600 times less satisfying. Wheat proteins apparently make everything soft & youthful, so y’all put it in a lot of shit. It’s “all natural”.

5. Digest other foods.

Yup, when your intestine is compromised, dairy, other grains, sugar, & pretty much everything is harder to digest & absorb. We are frequently deficient in something even when we’re doing everything right. We also get a lot less fiber than the rest of you, which is why you see us inhale vegetables.

As diseases go, celiac ain’t the worst because the cure is free: don’t eat gluten. You can also reverse a lot of the turmoil you suffered most of your life. There’s a lot you can’t, though, & you must be in a state of constant vigilance. You also have to put up with people’s little cracks.

Nobody else will understand how irritating this is until another disease’s treatment becomes a trendy weight loss method. Gangrene sufferers, you’re next. Wait till the Goopers of the world figure out you can lose ten pounds in a day by cutting off your lower leg!