Saturday, January 23, 2010


(2010: anaheim, ca. the view outside my balcony. palm trees and a perfectly clear, blue sky. mmmmmmm. this is what i's talkin' 'bout, yo!)

fuck yeah!


THE SKY IS BLUE (i no longer am).

and my will to live is BACK!

you know, i'm from southern california. before socal, i was on the pacific beaches of costa rica.

i am not used to rain.

i am especially not used to SIX STRAIGHT DAYS of rain.

(or, you know, uh, tornado warnings in the next town over, long beach, which is only 15 minutes away!)

if we'd had another day of rain, i may have had to kill myself.

fortunately, the gods have smiled upon me and i live to whinge another day.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010


("deluge" by brij sondhi. meerut, india.)

kid: ms. banana, did you know it's going to rain about 10 feet this week?!?!
me: oh, yeah? how do YOU know?
kid: i read about it.
me: (i call bullshit!) no way.
kid: no, seriously.
me: no, i mean, there's NO WAY you actually read something . . .

so, yes, it's been pouring in el lay since monday. the rain has washed away roads, houses, hillsides, people, my will to live . . .

Sunday, January 17, 2010


when did i exchange fearlessness for fear?
when did i exchange courage for apathy?
when did i exchange hope for despair?

it is little wonder i am left with nothing.

poor of spirit.
poor of heart.
poor of mind.

a beggar at life's table.



the bitches' cooking club met last night.

yes, i agree, i probably shouldn't be part of a group that meets expressly for the purposes of getting drunk and stuffing their collective face.

but it's only once a month, so i think i'm safe.

(uh huh, this is what addicts tell themselves, too. i know)

anyhow, it was delicious, loud, rude and funny.

fifteen women and more university degrees than you can shake a stick at, but no outside observer would ever have guessed we're a supremely gifted group given the topics we covered:

1) why bacon makes everything better. possibly even sex. (maybe THAT'S my problem. i clearly don't eat enough pork.)

2) how robert redford is still worth fucking, even though the skin on his face looks like shoe leather.

3) a lengthy discussion on heidi montag's new plastic surgery . . . the consensus was that plastic surgery is cool if A) you do it for YOURSELF and B) you're aware it won't make up for your lack of active synapses . . . no matter how big the implants.

4) 80s movies really are THE BEST.

5a) REEEEEEEAAAAAAALLLLLLLY nice furniture makes up for not having a steady, solid, solvent, sane, sensitive, secure, sweet boyfriend ANY DAY.

5b) we all wish we liked pussy as much as cock because then we could be lesbians and generally avoid dealing with the opposite sex.

and last, but not least, we need a new name.

"cooking club chicks", we all agreed, sucks.

so, if you have any suggestions, we'd love to hear 'em.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


true story (i have to say this 'cause with all the craziness that goes on in my life, y'all must think i make this shit up. well, i don't):

on thursday of this week, ms. teacher x (not her real name), who teaches next door to me (american literature, ages 15-17), sees a flash go off in her first class of the day. it's early and there are only 5 students in her room.

mx: you cannot take photos of me or of my classroom. you know this. it's in my syllabus. and it's against school rules to have your phone out in class. please delete that picture from your phone at once.

kid: sure, no problem. sorry. there . . . it's deleted.

mx: show me. i want to make sure it's gone. bring me your phone.

kid: sure. here's my phone.

at this point, ms. x takes the kid's phone and scrolls through the photos as the kid watches over her shoulder.

she doesn't find her picture, but she does, suddenly, see a photo of the kid's penis.

yes, the kid's penis.


ms. x summarily clasps the phone shut, thrusts it back into the kid's hand and looks away.


kid: i'm so sorry, ms. x. i forgot that was on there. i'm sorry. i'm sorry. it was for a girl, she asked me to do it.

mx: i understand.

then, she picks up the phone, calls security, who confiscates the phone and escorts the kid down to the dean of discipline, where his parents are called and asked to come to school for a conference with THE WHOLE WORLD.

if that'd been me instead of ms. x, i would've died.

to ms. x's credit, she was calm and composed . . . the consummate professional.

after the kid leaves, the other students ask, "why'd you do that? it was just a picture!"

yeah, JUST a picture that can JUST be photoshopped in JUST about a million different ways . . . some of which could get her fired.

anyway, the kid went back to class yesterday. he was, according to ms. x, good-natured and mature about the whole thing. apologized to her, again. understood why she had to turn him in . . .

i mean, can you imagine if she hadn't?

kid: hey, guys, ms. x saw a picture of my wang . . .

and then the whole thing gets all out of whack.

the moral: if you're gonna take pictures of your privates, make sure you delete them afterwards. hmmm?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


i confiscated this from a male student in my english I (ages 13-15) class. i was lecturing and saw he was feverishly scribbling in the back . . . at first, i was flattered, thinking he was so diligent in his lecture notes, but then . . .

verbatim (mistakes and all), you know, except the names, 'cause i'm a bitch, but not that big a bitch:

"Dear Jane,

To start I LOVE YOU! I wanna spend the rest of my life with you because you make me happy and when I'm around you I feel like if there's butterflies in my stomach.

I thought I would be able to stop loving you, but it is impossible. I grew too attached to you and I have so many great memories with you.

I'm so thankful that I met you because you're different from every other girl because you're beautiful, smart, brilliant, caring and you're just a "keeper".

I'm sorry for all the harm I've caused you. I wish I could just take all of it back, but like you told me, "You learn from your mistakes."

I look forward to the future. Do you think we'll ever get married? I guess we'll find out when we're older.

Remember that I promise you that we will never ever leave each other or break apart. I'm keeping my promise forever and ever. Just remember that even though we're fighting, I'm always going to be right here for you no matter what happens.

I want you because I notice that when you are around me you're happy and I always want you to be happy. I want you so I can spoil you with love and everything you need. I want you because I know I can treat you better than those piece of shit exes you had, who hurt your heart. I don't want you to go through all of that again.


By the power in vested in me, Bob, I give you, Jane, my body, my heart and my soul. The only way this contract can be broken is if the owner of Bob, you, Jane, decides that you don't want me anymore.




Ummm . . . I love you, Boo.


Let's get married?


You have BEAUTIFUL eyes!"

now, why can't i get men to say/do this kind of shit for ME?!?!

wait, don't answer that.

ps: i gave the kid his letter back.

pps: but not until i'd read it and transcribed it for posterity.

ppps: yeah, ok, I AM THAT BIG A BITCH.

pppps: fuck you, you'd have done the same thing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


(harvey milk: 1930-1978, civil/gay rights activist.)

the gay community is fighting for their right to marry, again. this time in federal court.

what the fuck?

i mean it: WHAT THE FUCK?!?!

are we really doing this?

are we really denying gays the rights we extend to everyone ELSE, just because some of us are uncomfortable with someone ELSE'S sexuality?

"you're gay, so therefore less than someone who's straight, so you deserve less. period." is that the opposition's argument? more or less?

fuck off with your blatant discrimination.

you know, someday we're going to look back at this debacle and feel the same way we do when we look back at slavery and segregation: STUPID.

what's so "sacred" about marriage, anyway?

there is a 50+% divorce rate in america! doesn't that tell you something? you can get married in VEGAS! doesn't that tell you something? britney spears was allowed to marry! hell-fucking-o, people! as far as "deserving" things goes, she hardly deserves to breathe, much less marry . . .

give gays the same right to be miserable as everyone else!

but that's not even the point, is it?

even if every heterosexual couple who ever got married lived in complete bliss, that STILL wouldn't mean gays should not be allowed to enter into the same social contract and receive the same benefits under the law.

i mean, we are talking about GROWN, TAX-PAYING, AMERICAN men and women here, are we not?

whatever happened to separation of church and state?




that we have to go to court . . . and likely the supreme court at that . . . just to figure out that denying a person rights based on color, creed, gender, OR SEXUAL PREFERENCE is . . . i don't know . . . TOTALLY FUCKING WRONG . . . just seems to me pretty pathetic.

but if history has taught us anything it's this: battles are not won by those who sit and wait for change, who idle on the sidelines, but by those who make their voices heard.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


thanks to sion barry, i've now received various inquiries as to why, specifically, my mom and i did not have a good trip in wales last spring.

let me clarify: we didn't have a good trip. period.

it wasn't wales, per se, it was the whole of the united kingdom.

my mom just hates great britain. end of story. i don't know why. i don't even think SHE knows why! she just does. i love it. she hates it. that's all there is to it. no rhyme. no reason. just an instant, inexplicable, visceral reaction to the place.

now, true story . . . i did have one very bad night in cardiff during that infamous trip, which has forced me to sort of loathe the place.

here's what happened . . .

my mom had fallen asleep at like 6pm because she thinks wales is shit and there was no good reason to walk about because there was nothing really good to see (her opinion, not mine). so, at around 9pm, bored nearly to the point of insanity, i dressed up and went out for a stroll, alone.

at one point during my walk, i was standing across the street from the seaside of cardiff castle on a tiny piece of bridge overlooking what i think was millennium stadium (not sure, it was very dark and close to midnight).

then, two groups of twenty-something (about 10 and 10 each), highly inebriated boys dressed in roman outfits (no, i'm serious), loudly crooning rugby songs came walking towards me.

i stayed on the bridge, looking towards the sea, not really paying them any attention.

as the first group approached, they stopped singing their rugby tunes and started singing this little diddy, "JUMP, JUMP FAT CUNT! JUMP, JUMP FAT CUNT!" (it's all the rage in underground clubs, i hear.)

yeah, i know, right?

not even i could make this kind of shit up.

i looked around to see if i could spot the fat cunt that was apparently on the verge of committing suicide, so that i could talk her out of it, but didn't see her anywhere.

look to the left. no.
look to the right. no.
behind me. no.

OHHHHHHH, wait, the fat cunt to whom the stupid cunts were referring was ME!

but before i could muster my best go-fuck-yourself look-of-death, the boys had already passed by me.

fortunately, i was to get a second chance when the second group of twats came nearer to me and, having heard the first groups of boys singing the cool, new song, likewise joined in for a chorus.


this batch, though, was sweet enough, courteous enough to ask me if i'd like some assistance over the bridge.

i graciously declined.

yeah, you know, if there hadn't been 20 of them and just one of me, i'd have fucked some people up.

and yes, i may be fat, but 20+ years of martial arts have not gone completely to waste. and while they'd have gotten the upper hand, i, ms. banana, would have gone down in a blaze of glory.

what did i actually do, though, throughout the ordeal?


i stood there and said nothing.

then, shaking, i hailed a cab, even though i was just down the street at the hilton, and cried.

so, yeah, suffice it to say i have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth when it comes to cardiff.

BUT . . .

for the record, i love wales. and i love the welsh, save those fuckers on the bridge that night. and i love the welsh language. and i'll keep loving wales and telling people about all of the great times i've had there. because it's true. the good times i've had in wales far outweigh the bad . . . and what more can you ask?

cymru am byth and all that jazz.


went to disneyland last night (yes, alone. i could have gone with a friend, but there's only one thing more pathetic than a 32 year old, single woman at disneyland and that's TWO 30 year old, single women at disneyland).

i live maybe 5 minutes away, so i caved-in and bought an annual pass. figured i'd mix-up my cardio a bit and run around there. (ps: by "run", i mean walk at a brisk pace. if i actually ran, i'd have a heart attack. plus, i'd lose all the fat on my ass and then where would i be? i'd have guys pawing and jockeying for me and shit . . . and maybe i'd find a true soulmate, someone who would love me and see how funny and smart i can be when i'm not trying to be self-deprecating and emotionally distant as a means of avoiding further disappointment and rejection . . . and what? wait. oh, i'm digressing, aren't i? fuck.)

$439 later: i parked in the wrong parking structure, had to shove my way past stupid, slow-moving tourists clogging downtown disney's mile-long promenade, took the WORST ID photo ever known to mankind (is that me or is that me after i've been shot and left for dead, floating about in a florida swamp during the peak of summer? holy rotund face, batman!), got barf on my shoe from a little kid who happened to throw up just as i walked past (no, it's ok, these shoes are only $200 trainers), and sat next to another "single rider" on splash mountain . . . who felt it was important to tell me his whole life's story before the ride ended, even if it meant screaming over the voices of the animatronic characters.

but the coup de grace came while i was standing in line at indiana jones and the temple of doom and a person who, by their scent, i could tell had NEVER seen the inside of a shower, much less used one, stood SO CLOSE to me that i could have comfortably performed a physical on them. within the span of 5 minutes this person must have bumped into me at least 7 or 8 times. i thought they were trying to obtain carnal knowledge of me, which under most circumstances is fine, but not on this particular occasion.

today, i'm trying to figure out if there's any way i can cancel my pass 'cause, frankly, i pass.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


i wish i knew a lot of things.

i wish i knew how to speak french (although, recently, a very delightful person taught me how to properly fake a french accent. not the same thing, but pretty close).

i wish i knew how to cook beef bourguignon, just like julia child, except faster.

i wish i knew how to be myself without all the profanity.

i wish i knew why the fuck old, douche bag boyfriends feel fucking compelled to fucking call me every fucking january (so much for not cussing).

honestly now, how predictable!

so far--AND IT'S ONLY THE 9th--i've received:

a text message: "hey, long time. hope you are well. happy new year. miss you."
what i'd reply, if i could be bothered: not long enough.

a voicemail: "lana, it's mr. douche (not this person's real name). not really sure why i'm calling you, except that i've been thinking a lot about us. blah, blah, blah, you probably don't want to speak with me . . . blah, blah, blah."
what i'd reply, if i could be bothered: hey, douchie, i'm not really sure why you're calling me, either. i haven't been thinking about you, at all. allow me to clear up any doubts you may have: i don't want to speak with you.

an email: "it's the new year and i'm reflecting on all the great times we had. i would love to make more."
what i'd reply, if i could be bothered: it's the new year and i'm reflecting on all the great times i'm about to have . . . without you.

1) some audacity to think i'm still available!!! (ok, so, i'm STILL available, but that's besides the point!)

2) we broke up for a reason, guys! (actually, A LOT of reasons.) and while i may be a glutton for some sorts of punishment, y'all are way beyond my scope of enjoyment.


here's a smattering of shots i like from my april 2009 trip to the uk with my mom . . .

(st. fagan's welsh life outdoor museum, cardiff, wales.)

(cardiff centre, wales.)

(why should i smile? i'm in cardiff!)

(tintern abbey, chepstow, wales.)

(all over the lake district, england.)

Friday, January 8, 2010


(april 2009: lake district, england. mom and i. this is one of MAYBE two pictures in which my mom actually smiled in 10 days . . . probably because i was squeezing her really hard. and you know what? if i'd known she was going to snooze and whinge most of the trip, i wouldn't have dropped a small fortune on those badass versace glasses she's sportin' just so that she could see everything more clearly and in style. fuck!)

a distant second to andre's death is reason number two as to why last year sucked . . .

but first, a little background.

for over a year leading up to april of 2009, i scratched and scrimped and saved $10,000. and rather than selfishly blowing it all on myself (believe me, there were some very cool jimmy choo and manolo blahnik shoes calling my name), i prepared a week and a half long, first rate (or at least to the best of my ability), SURPRISE, 70th birthday trip to england for my mom. her FIRST ever to europe.

though i couldn't afford business or first class plane tickets, i made sure everything else was awesome. we flew non-stop on british airways, lax to heathrow. i booked us into all of the best hotels in wales and old blighty, including several nights at the sofitel london st. james, juuuuuuust steps away from trafalgar square. in the lakes, we stayed in a suite at the linthwaite house hotel . . . i even booked two private, day-long tours in cumbria. you name it, i did it. the best restaurants, the best tours, the best hotels, the whole matzah ball.

it was supposed to be the ULTIMATE mother-daughter adventure. it was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime. it was supposed to be fucking amazing.

my mom was supposed to have the greatest time she'd ever had. my mom was supposed to applaud and adore me. my mom was supposed to give me all her pearls of wisdom.

i was supposed to show her all the sights. i was supposed to duet "begin the beguine" with my mom across the uk. i was supposed to fall in even deeper love with my mom.

instead, my mom complained the ENTIRE trip, from the moment we landed in heathrow until the moment we landed back in lax.

she hated everyone--especially me--and everything. she hated wales, she hated cardiff, she hated tintern abbey (MY second most favorite place in the universe, next to sequoia national park), she hated the lakes, she hated the food and the crowds, she hated london, she hated the tours and the weather.

and my mom NEVER hates ANYTHING! that is, until i took her to great britain.

the ONLY thing my mom liked was coming BACK home. no, wait, not true: she liked bath abbey. in fact, she LOVED bath abbey. but that was it.

(my mom in bath abbey. THE ONLY THING SHE ENJOYED. truthfully, i think that when i told her we were going to "europe", she was expecting italy, not england. or maybe spain or something. she obviously doesn't share my views on how great great britain really is. alas.)

never mind my planning!
never mind the posh hotels!
never mind that i sucked down close to 40 hours of driving, while she snored and slept in the passenger seat!
never mind that we never made it to a single restaurant i'd hand-picked for her tastes!
never mind that i paid an arm and a leg for special tours i thought she'd love!


essentially, she thought the uk was shit and that i was even shittier for taking her there.

now, she didn't SAY that, exactly, but her face did!

you don't believe me? just take a look at the majority of the photos. in most of them, she looks like she just ate camel shit pie and washed it down with horse piss.

god, she doesn't know how lucky she is that she's the greatest mom who ever lived or else i'd have drop-kicked her into her 80s!

what's that old saying? ah, yes: "no good deed goes unpunished."

*note: pictures of my mom looking like she's having a colonoscopy are forthcoming. probably tomorrow. it's almost 11pm in california, i've had a long day and i'm still not done selecting photos . . .

ok, i'm back. here's the first batch. and just to prove my point, i'm going to start with a photo of my mom IN EL LAY (BEFORE) and one IN ENGLAND (AFTER):

(BEFORE leaving los angeles):

(AFTER arriving in england):

can you see the difference already? and that was just after landing! that's not even into our trip yet! it's like she aged an additional decade by simply breathing british air. ok, so the flight was long, but still, couldn't she muster a TINY bit of excitement?

you know what? fuck it. i can't be bothered to post more pictures of my mom looking miserable at my hands. i lived through it once already.

in my next post, i'll put up my favorite pictures of the trip and be done with it. if i'm gonna look at something, i want it to be pretty.

just trust me: it sucked.


(2009: whittier, ca. my 4th period sophomore english class, wishing andre a speedy recovery that wasn't to be.)

last year, i lost my first student. it's one of the major reasons why i hated last year.

he died over the course of almost two months from horrific injuries he sustained in a car accident . . . his name was andre and he was 15 years old.

for weeks after his funeral, i'd wake up in cold sweats, crying. in class, i'd think i'd see him, still, sitting in the back of my room, smiling. (i'd have flashbacks, as well, to my father's own death, since he too died in the same gruesome way.)

how could that happen to him? how could that happen to someone so vibrant, funny, caring, sweet and young?

at his service, his best friends took turns telling funny stories about him. between tears--tightly clasping students' and colleagues' hands--i laughed. my favorite tale came from his closest friend who said that EVERY TIME andre would sleep over at his house, he'd wake up in the middle of the night and ask for a glass of chocolate milk . . .

the last thing andre wrote in my class was research paper on child soldiers in the congo. i gave him a B. his writing was concise, logical and lucid. i still have the essay, tucked away in a drawer of my desk--i keep it to remind myself of what's REALLY important (ironically, it ain't essays).

i'm writing about andre tonight because it's a new year and i was remembering what i'd told his 4th period classmates at the time: the best way to honor him, is to live the life he didn't get; live your best life.

starting this year, i am going to live MY best life.

andre was the first student i ever lost, and unfortunately, he isn't the last.

with a school community of over 2,500 students, tragedy is bound to strike and all any of us can do is love each other, work hard, and, yes, live our best lives. that is, love and laugh and learn. simple, really.

i love you andre and i will never forget you.

(2009: whittier, ca. andre.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010


(some chick who, allegedly, lost a bunch of weight eating tacos at taco bell. riiiiiiight. and i'm fat 'cause i DON'T eat tacos at taco bell. yeah, that's it.)

so, i live in bullshit town, usa. also known as: los angeles. having lived here since i emigrated to the united states with my family in 1984, i've become pretty adept at spotting the bullshit.

most recently, i caught this on my radar:

yes, y'all, you read that right. it's the TACO BELL DRIVE-THRU DIET!

holy shit. are you fucking kidding me?

you mean i've been eating spinach and 3oz. portions of fish all this time when i could've been at the taco bell drive-thru?

wait 'til santa hears about this! he's been trying to lose his gut to no avail for years. surely this will work, right? i mean, it says so right in the commercial!

"7 items under 9 grams of fat!"

wow, really? one item for each day of the week! plus, ONLY 9 OR SO GRAMS OF FAT FOR A SINGLE ITEM!

not to mention . . . it's FAST! it's CHEAP! it's EASY! and, gasp, it's TASTY!

so what if nutritionists recommend eating less that 30 grams of fat or less per day for weight loss? go ahead, snarf down three, small, pathetic tacos a day 'cause they're only 9 grams of less of fat each! so what if you'll still feel hungry afterwards and won't be learning any healthy eating habits?

it's fast! it's cheap! it's easy! and, it's "tasty"!

maybe the tooth fairy and the easter bunny will want to join santa and i for dinner . . .

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


first day back at school and i didn't kill myself (just kidding, i really DO love these kids. yeah, even THAT one). this is a good sign.

i won't bore y'all with the details, except this brief conversation between one of my students and me:

kid: hey, ms. banana, happy new year! i really missed you.
me: that so?
kid: uh, huh. you're the only teacher i missed.
me: liar.
kid: no, seriously.
me: you just want an A. well, you can't have one. flattery definitely isn't gonna get you there, neither.
kid: i already have an A, ms. banana.
me: hasn't the bell rung, yet?

Monday, January 4, 2010


(if i ever have kids, i hope they turn out like these two. frankly, i was probably too much of an asshole as a kid myself to get that lucky.)

school starts up again tomorrow.

i'm excited. we're wrapping up the first semester and heading into my favorite part of the year: harper lee's to kill a mockingbird and shakespeare's romeo and juliet.

i love, love, l o v e teaching those two pieces. and even if the kids hate them, my enthusiasm seems to carry them through.

i'm blessed, i think, to be able to find joy in even the smallest things. don't get me wrong, i can get my whinge on with the best of them, but when my head is not too far up my ass, i can usually see pretty clearly . . .

Sunday, January 3, 2010


i knew my dad for just 10 short years, but we packed a lot of great memories into that brief decade.

one of my favorite memories is of when he would pretend to go to work and instead pick me up from school and take me to magic mountain, just the two of us.

it really was magic . . .

the picture below comes from maybe a 1x1 inch negative and is over 20 years old. it came in a tiny, pink view finder, which one would hold up to the sun in order to see the image. for years i haven't looked at it because of its fragile state.

it's one of my most prized possessions.

i always wanted to have it restored and made into a photo, but i was too afraid to entrust it to anyone for fear i'd lose the picture forever.

but i met someone, finally, whom i knew i could trust . . . and for christmas/my birthday, they gave me this . . . and so much more besides . . .

(circa 1985: valencia, ca.)


so, you know how i said that 2009 was shit? well, it was. but NOT all of it.

specifically, december 18th-23rd . . . those six days (spent in and around san francisco) were fucking stellar and made the other 359 days of 2009 totally worth it.

thank you--you know who "you" are.

(all photos december 2009: napa, ca.)


happy new year!

wow, so, yeah, i disappeared for a year. 2009 was spectacularly shitty and i needed to go away to sift through it, but i'm very happy to be back.

my hands are clean, my head is clear and i can see the path again.