Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One in Six Latina Teens Will Contemplate Suicide

Check out this piece I wrote for the CUNY health and minorities site JustGarciaHill.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm the Angriest Bird Ever

I feel this bird's pain.

I too feel rather grumpy, pudgy and like pecking someone's eyes out. Not sure what changed my mood from sunny with a chance of clouds to "Get the fuck away from me" with a chance of "Go fuck yourself."

Due to a "miscommunication" with my doctor's office, I'm a few days off schedule on my birth control. I recall the days of feeling blue, forgetful and fighting the need to ram people with my shopping cart at the supermarket. Those were the days before I went on the Pill. Since then, it's changed my life. Less crazy, less spaced out, less uncontrolled sobbing and, unexpectedly, larger breasts.

Just to be off schedule a few days and to feel as horrible as I do now is quite alarming since I am considering (CONSIDERING) whether or not I want to be a mom one day. This will require me going off birth control and, if impregnated, being swept out into a terrifying sea of hormones. Combined with having to off my anti-depressant, I can see the future. And it is pretty terrifying.

There's been a lot written about taking Prozac while pregnant but I fear Cymbalta will one day be shown to grow tails on humans. It's not for me to worry about yet, but today and yesterday have been a sneak, bleak preview of life off the Pill. Bah. BAH!

It is a terrible thing to be dependent on drugs for mental health. Obviously I'm not ashamed of having chronic major depression, it but I can't understand why anyone would want to take any kind of drug that affects one's brain chemistry if they didn't have to. Why put up with the side effects, the cost, the aggressive marketing, the insurance problems if you didn't have to?

Anyway. Hard at work on my "practical, humorous guide for young people coping with depression" book proposal. Can you taste the irony? I can. It tastes like burning!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Sad State of Affairs

* Today, none of the MTA vending machines in Union Square would take credit cards, debit cards or bills. The lowest amount it would let me purchase a Metrocard was for $4.50. Which I had to pay for in coins. I don't know what was more pathetic the fact that none of the machines were working or that I actually had $4.50 in coins rattling around at the bottom of my pocketbook.

* I watched The Lives of Others last night. Creepy, claustrophobic, horrifying at parts. Just a little too long with an ending that seemed a bit tacked on. But recommended.

* At some point in every girl's life, she has to ask herself: Which member of the Monty Python troupe would she sleep with. This week, I choose John Cleese.

* If books are like food, then a novel by Martin Amis is like lobster. Hard to get into, often messy and filled with fluids and you really hope you'll think all the work was worth it. Sometimes it is sublime. Sometimes, it is like bashing at a vile roach-like sea creature with a crushing instrument while wearing a bib.

I starting reading Time's Arrow and I immediately longed for something more soothing and simple like a biography of Stalin or a raspberry smoothie with glass in it.

* I saw a man standing on line purchasing a bottle of Dove body wash for Men. Part of me was disgusted because he was buying into the hype of the Super Bowl commercial. But then I thought, I shouldn't I be happy for him for having soft skin?

* I feel bad about Alexander McQueen. Poor, poor guy. About 12 years ago, I wandered into his store in the meatpacking district just to see what all the fuss was about. I came upon a corsetted denim jacket that still haunts me. It sounds hideously tacky but had I the $1500, I probably still wouldn't have bought it. Had I $1,500,000, I would have considered it.

* I wish I could get another cat. But for a 1-bedroom apartment, that's a lot of cat hair. And a lot of cat hairballs.

* I really hope Bill Clinton doesn't die. Besides having affection for the old coot, I just don't think I could stand the media coverage. In fact, I now dread all world events, happy or sad. Thank you, 24-hour news cycle.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Musings: These People Look Alike to Me

I won't call them "separated at birth" but, dang it, these people look alike to me.

Melanin-enhanced Ohio Rep. Jim Boehner looks a lot like...

American actor and Warren Beatty B-clone George Hamilton!

Author Jonathan Ames looks a lot like...

Adorable Monty Python-er Graham Chapman !

Director James Cameron's third wife, actress Linda Hamilton looks an awful lot like...

... Cameron's fourth wife, Suzy Amis!

"Loverboy" era, pre-rhinoplasty Patrick Dempsey reminds me a lot of...

NYC Congressman and Bloomberg-basher Anthony Weiner!

I just can't look at U.S. Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham without thinking of...

... Brit-comic Ricky Gervais!

Lucy and Angela, Two Sisters

When we moved into our apartment in Astoria, we got to know our elderly neighbors, two sisters named Lucy and Angela. They were nice ladies, very independent, both around ninety-years-old. My husband would always bring them their NY Daily News when the weather was crummy or when the elevator was out. They looooooved him. They were both tiny, under five feet tall and they used to go out together to the supermarket and errands. They didn't want you to hold the door for them, they could do it themselves, thank you. Two sisters, sleeping in twin beds. Always chatting about something. Big Obama fans.

We used to stop by their apartment once in a while. They had a great apartment, beautifully furnished, lots of books. Lucy told us this great story about how she worked for years for Parks Department and just loved visiting the big cats at the Central Park Zoo. They ended up naming one of the lions for her. Pretty cool.

So anyway, Lucy died before the holiday, which was shocking because she seemed like the healthier sister. My husband felt really bad. I felt bad too but then my grandmother died just before the new year. That wasn't so much of a surprise but it hurt a lot. My mother said something really great at her funeral. "My parents are doing the merengue in heaven." Romantic, right?

Anyway, I hadn't thought too much about Angela, I'm sad to say. This week, my husband asked me to stop by and see if she was okay. I have to say, I was dreading it. But she let me in and we had a nice talk. She was very brave and funny but she was also very sad and cried a little.

She said that her own life, she'd always wanted her own apartment and how that she had it, she didn't know what to do with it. Her mother and sister always cooked for her so she never learned. She just kept expecting Lucy to walk in the door.

What was strange to me was how happy I was to be sitting in her warm living room. It was nice to talk to her, even if she was sad. I think it has to do with not having been able to say good-bye my grandmother. It was always my biggest fear that she would die when I was out of town. I would give anything to have been there at the end and held her hand. So I held Angela's hand today. It wasn't the same but how could it be?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Morticia Addams Takes Manhattan

Winding down my hectic day in the Jefferson Market branch of the Public Library. It's really a fascinating place to get some work done. Like updating your Facebook profile in a gothic tower.

Click here for its fascinating history as a women's prison and its place in NYC labor history. This branch also supposedly houses a substantial collection of rare Weegee photography books.

Stripper photo above, by Arthur Fellig, AKA, Weegee, date unknown.

I totally overslept and ran out the door to make an appointment all the way on the west side coming from Astoria. Realized that one black garment too many can transform an outfit from "interview chic" to "Morticia Addams collection." Or Wednesday, the Christina Ricci version. Lisa Loring, the TV actress who played her just wasn't creepy enough for me.

With my newly dark hair, sheet-white complexion and interest in writing about mental illness, it can make for a spookier impression than I hoped for. I can't say I mind all that much!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

100 Years Ago, The LA Times Was Bombed

Read American Lightning by Howard Blum! Great historical nonfiction page turner on the 1910 bombing of the Los Angeles Times and the characters that became associated with the labor crisis at the turn of the century: Clarence Darrow, Harry Chandler, D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford, Samuel Gompers, Lincoln Steffens, Edgar Lee Masters, Eugene V. Debs, William Mulholland many others.

The trial of the McNamara brothers was "The Trial of the Century" (who could have predicted O.J. Simpson then?) and the fact that its largely forgotten shows how little our country remembers the violence and furor behind both sides of the movement to unionize.

Also interesting to note how the U.S. has coped with domestic terrorism in the past. Lots of parallels to today I find. And really, this book sheds a lot of light on how fucking ludicrous those "socialist" accusations against Obama were back during the elections.

There is an amazing memorial to the 21 employees of the L.A. Times that died in the 1910 bombing at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. I can't seem to find a photo of the actual words dedicated to the men who died but it's written in some pretty amazing anti-labor rhetoric.

Amazing times, totally forgotten about.

I've been a bit spotty with my updates these days but only because I've been so busy. And busy is good! I'm kind of like those idiotic plastic dancing flowers from the late 1980s. Once I stop moving, I fall over and end up weeping into my cat.