August 18th, 2003


The Happiest Of Birthdays.


The photo was taken Saturday at my sister’s birthday. Don’t mind the hand gesture – just her way of reppin’ FOBcienda Heights.

The past twelve months between this birthday and her last were important for me. Because, as many of you know, one year ago we found out my sister had cancer. But as pre-molester Michael Jackson would say, she beat it.

Right after she was done with her final session of chemo in January, however, the doctors found a lesion in her brain. And inside it they detected what might be a tumor. But then it began to shrink, and a couple of days ago the latest MRI revealed that the “tumor” was gone. That was the best birthday gift of all: because now she can really put the cancer behind her and go on living more than ever. More than even before that agonizing August twelve months ago.

Tonight I went back and reread those entries. I tend to forget that one of the main reasons for having a journal is to be able to look back and remember. For instance, I realized that it’s been four months since Gary died.

Below are some of the August 2002 excerpts that stood out.


The doctors detected a mass about the size of an orange around the uterus and left ovary. My baby sister was amazingly calm. I told her everything would turn out fine. I didn’t say this just to make her feel better. I utterly, positively, absolutely believed this.


While driving to the hospital, Louis Armstrong pissed me off.
"And I think to myself, what a wonderful world," he sang.
"You’re full of shit," I replied.


The doctors said the orange had doubled in size. That’s what my baby sister and I had been calling the thing, an orange. But now it was much bigger than that.
"I guess it’s a small cantaloupe now," I said.
"More like a papaya," she replied.


A normal life would be bliss right now. A life where all one has to worry about is psycho exes, credit card bills, or what’s on TV that night. I want my baby sister to get back to that. It’s what everybody’s been praying for the past few days.


In the mean time, my baby sister had asked for a stuffed dolphin, so that’s what I was going to get her.

A part of me was focused on this task, because throughout all this you feel utterly helpless. You can’t grab cancer by the throat and beat the shit out of it. You can’t re-boot life, and start all over with a happier cancer-free version. But you can buy your sister a plush marine mammal.


My baby sister had still lost an ovary, but I’d never been so happy in my life. I grabbed his hands until I almost crushed them. "Thank you. Thank you so much," I said.


She had a button that she could press every ten minutes for more morphine. But I could tell she probably would’ve preferred every ten seconds. Her face would twitch with pain every so often, so I told her to grab my fingers. And she squeezed them, like she did when she was one month old. She fell asleep that way.

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Coming To Terms With Metrosexualism.

I had the following elevator conversation with an art director this morning:

ME: Dude, did you do something with your hair?

ART DIRECTOR: Uh … yeah. Of course only a metrosexual like you would notice.

ME: You’re calling me a metrosexual? You’re the one with the fricking new hair color, you metrobastard.

ART DIRECTOR: No, you're the metrosexual!

It was all in good fun, of course. I call everyone in my department “bastard,” except for Chuck, whom I greet as “bitch” and occasionally “whore.” But calling a guy a metrosexual is totally uncalled for.


This whole metrosexual crap is getting out of hand. And that TV show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” isn’t helping matters. See, it’s based on the idea that gay guys are the true experts of making men more appealing to women, because they dress better, cook better, and interior decorate better. Of course this isn’t the real reason women find gay men so appealing - it’s because they can’t fuck them. And because they have hard, sinewy torsos.

The show’s concept of turning a straight guy into a pseudo gay guy is hugely popular with chicks though, because women have been trying to pseudo gay-ify their boyfriends and husbands for thousands of years. Even the earliest cave painting depicts a Neanderthal female trying to talk her boyfriend Gronk into wearing a more form-fitting sabertooth shirt.

Fast-forward a few millenniums and you have my girlfriend reconstructing my entire wardrobe from the shoes up. And I’m grateful for her expertise, because I absolutely don’t know how to dress myself. When my ass is single, I don’t even know how to wear clothing period. I’d just grab whatever I could find lying around and attach it to my body with duct tape. The night I met my girlfriend, I was wearing two pizza boxes taped together around my midsection, plus two plastic supermarket bags with yarn tied around my ankles for footwear.

Today, she is the reason why I have co-workers constantly saying “Nice shirt” or “Nice shoes” in hallways and office kitchens. In the beginning it was great because the complements were always coming from hot women, but now – and I shit you not – it’s been mostly guys asking me where I got my new clothes. Not dudes who’ve come out of the closet either: but dudes who want to change their closet. Ad agencies are hotbeds of metrosexuality.


My girlfriend’s still working on my hair though. Earlier this year she attended several hairstylist conventions in LA, NYC and Chicago and came back with boxes of state-of-the-art hair care products. The first thing she had me use was this gel that never dried. Seriously, it was constantly gooey as if some giant with a head cold grabbed me and stuck my head up his nose.

I eventually figured out how to use it (I think), but then I ran out. So about a month ago she gave me yet another product called Water Wax. This one is a bitch to use. If the snot gel was like a riddle, Water Wax is a puzzle sent from an alternate world where up is down, illogical is logical, and the NBA is dominated by Koreans.

There are times when I think I’ve finally got it down. And maybe, just maybe, the hair looks like it’s supposed to…

But when I’m not looking, the Water Wax instantly rearranges itself into the worst configuration possible, and soon I go from Brad Pitt to Buckwheat …

Someone told me it’s because I’m supposed to start styling from the back of the head, then style forward. I’ve tried that and then I end up looking like Buckwheat with hat head.

I think the problem is either my hair has to be dry to begin with – which is impossible since I shower in the morning – or I have to start using a blow dryer. And that would make me one of those spiky-haired Asian guys who spend a good half-hour trying to look like “Dragonball” characters.

For whatever reason, though, I cannot convince myself that my hair’s worth blow drying or more than two minutes of styling. Because although my girlfriend has been able to change my wardrobe, she hasn’t been able to change my mind. And my mind is still looking around for a pizza box to duct tape to my ass.

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