Thursday, December 31, 2009

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, goodnight 2009

Between breakups, breakdowns, old jobs, new jobs, road trips, broken bones, broken hearts, meditations, revelations, friends gained, friends lost, new babies and more, 2009 might have been the most eventful one of my life. I can't say I'm sorry to see it go, but I do think I'll look back on this one as a watershed year, and I think that as painful as it was, I learned lessons and took steps that will make me stronger and happier than ever.

Here's to 2010 - may it be happy, healthy, and prosperous for everyone.

Posted via web from Jane Donuts is Starting Over

Friday, December 11, 2009

Decisions, decisions and the frittering away of time

Things I've done while procrastinating writing this post:

  • Read a blog post by David Byrne on the ramifications of digitization and computer networking (interesting and scary)
  • Tried to find online evidence of David Byrne's sexuality (indeterminate, as far as I can tell)
  • Listened to the Police song "Miss Gradenko", which was in my head when I woke up this morning (decent little song that I haven't heard or thought of in 20 years or so)
  • Read the NY Times review for "Up in the Air", which I saw at the Arclight this afternoon (I give it a B+/A-)
  • Read a bunch of crap on Twitter, including a story about penniless brothers who were living in a cave in Hungary and who have just inherited a billion dollars from their long lost granddaughter (!!!)
  • Listened to Ode to Joy (uplifting)
  • Read a bunch of "best of 2009" music roundups (a colossal waste of time once you've read a few, as the indie music media/blogosphere is mostly a big echo chamber)
  • Sought out the MySpace page of local LA band Warpaint, based on recommendation from aforementioned lists (decent)

All told today, I've probably spent five hours meandering aimlessly online, and, truth be told, that is probably less time than usual. It's the result of a combination of a surfeit of time, chronic laziness and plain old fear. Time because I'm not working right now. Laziness because I'm not being disciplined about the use of my time - because I have so much of it, I squander it, whereas if it were more limited, I would probably be more efficient and not, say, spend hours reading blogs that give advice to writers (ha.) Fear because, let's face it, I'm terrified of this whole business of being a writer.

I have known that writing is a calling for me since I was pretty young - probably since second grade, when I "published" my first story, a mystery revolving around an international jewel thief. (My aunt, a lawyer, had her secretary type it up and bind copies for my family.) In the years since, I've stumbled in and out of writing - I've taken classes in creative writing, screenwriting, memoir and "writing from a spiritual perspective"; I've had at least four blogs that have never really taken off; I've written freelance articles for a few publications here and there; and I've entered (and lost) short story writing contests. But I've never been able to commit to a regular writing practice, and that is my biggest struggle of all.

And now here I am, having completely burned out on my career in public relations (which is a story in its own right, but for another time,) and feeling like the only thing I'm sure of is that I want to focus on the craft of writing. Great, right? Right. But then there's the problem of making a living. And here's where it gets tricky. I know for a fact that I need a full time job so that I stay out among the living and so that my time is structured, so this is no lament that I don't want to work. Rather, my dilemma is deciding exactly how - do I try to get paid to write in some way? Or do I go for a job that pays the bills, is not too mentally taxing, and allows me to write whatever I want in my free time?

More to come.

Posted via web from Jane Donuts is Starting Over

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Job posting of the day

Check out this website I found at

"taking care of udders"???

Must be the weed.

Posted via web from Jane Donuts is Starting Over

Wine is not vegan, for fuck's sake. What, you didn't know that?

So, I've been volunteering at a literacy organization in Echo Park, and they regularly host drop in drinking nights, during which they invite volunteers to meet up for drinks at a bar of interest. Since this week's bar was just down the road and since I would have otherwise spent the night watching Pride and Prejudice for the 47th time, I decided to check it out.

I knew within two minutes of walking in that I was doomed. First of all, most of the attendees were in their early 20s, which would have been fine, but they were also the kind of socially awkward, aspiring hipster twenty-somethings that used to wreak havoc on my self-esteem, and hence my social life. I immediately had a (very unpleasant) flashback to being 22 and having a vague sense that something I was wearing was hopelessly uncool in ways I could never even imagine. What's funny is that I have spent the last ten years living in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and LA, epicenters of hipster attitude, and I have long since learned how to not let it bother me. It is, after all, a manifestation of profound insecurity on the part of the perpetrator, and over the years I've found it's easiest to deal with it by keeping in mind the fact that deep down these people are absolutely terrified that someone will discover that 311 was their favorite band until well into college.

But man, there is something about these early 20s hipsters that still kills me. They're especially vicious -- it's as though they're testing out how badly they can behave without making other hipsters think they're total assholes. (That can be pretty bad.) And although, to be fair, there were only a couple of these types present tonight, they were enough to make the whole affair insufferable. The general disinterest each person displayed during introductions was annoying, but things didn't get really bad until the table talk turned to beers. One girl mentions that not all beer is vegan - did we know that? Fortunately we were at a German bar, however, and they had centuries old quality standards to ensure that our brews would remain untainted by animal products of any kind. Nods around the table. So I'll drink beer, this same girl continues, but not wine. Wine is not vegan, because some winemakers use a filter during processing that is made out of fish parts. It's very sad.

Mind you, this was all stated in the most supercilious way possible, and accompanied by looks around the table to make sure that we were all aware of this unfortunate fact. If I had had a taser available to me at this point, I would have straight tased this bitch. WINE IS NOT VEGAN! You pretentious loser! You pompous, humorless dreg of humanity! Oh, to think of all the fish that have suffered for all the wine we humans have been consuming for the past several millennia. So heartless, so tragic.

And in this way, I was undone. No, I didn't laugh and ask her to repeat herself to make sure I heard it correctly. No, I didn't look down my nose at her and make a snide remark about how I felt sorry for her and all that she was missing. Instead, I went into a fugue state for a full five minutes. The world went black. I had a vague sense that I should say something to make it clear that I was not complicit in this nonsense, but the enormity of the reality that some people actually hold this view stunned me silly. Stupefied me. I'm still processing it.

As soon as I recovered my senses, I laid down a ten and fled the scene. And thus ended this week's (and possibly this entire month's) attempt at networking with like-minded people. I got home, poured a glass of cab and set about hoping 2010 would bring more wine and less assholes.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jane Donuts is thankful

For my health, which has improved greatly this year, both physically and mentally.

For my friends, who are tremendously supportive and cool and funny, and were thoughtful enough to hire a housecleaner for me at one point. Those are good friends.

For my family, who are always there for me no matter what. And always entertaining.

For the things that I've lost that weren't good for me.

And for the things I've gained that are.


Posted via web from Jane Donuts is Starting Over

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mind Control

I like working. I like being industrious and getting things done, and I like the feeling of accomplishment I get after a long day's work or completion of a project. A lazy day to me generally still consists of things like running around, going for a hike, going out to eat, reading a book, watching a movie, surfing the Internet, and hanging out with friends. Not terribly productive things, usually, but also not sedentary. I like to be active in some way. 

But over the last few years, I started to notice a feeling of resentment about the diversion of my thoughts during the workday that made it very difficult to get anything done. I really began to despise using my mental energy to think about things that I thought were meaningless. Things like figuring out how to promote products I didn't think were useful, which, sadly, was something I routinely had to do. Things like engaging in really, really inane email exchanges with clients that were too disorganized or short on time to effectively manage their projects. And it got to be so overwhelming that I started to kind of grind to a halt. My pattern would be that I would get into work, read emails, open up a few documents I should have been working on or reviewing, but then spend the first couple of hours messing around online, fielding emails as soon as they came in, and not diving into the work I should have been doing. (I'm realizing as I write this that this sounds like that scene from Office Space. Damn that movie is brilliant.) And then I'd basically play a frantic game of catch-up in the late afternoon hours.

I know the general reaction to such an admission is that I need to face it, work is work, and that I just need to learn to cope with this unfortunate fact. BUT I CAN'T.  If I've learned anything from this period of searching and exploration, it's that I cannot force myself to do things I don't care about. It just doesn't work for me the way that others seem to make it work. It ends in me breaking down. But I like to think I'm pretty realistic about the ramifications of this fact. I'll probably be broke, at least for the next few years. And I don't expect that I'll ever have a job that will feel like a picnic. In fact, I feel like whatever great job that I do end up with - and I will end up with one - will feel torturous a lot of the time. But in the best way, where I know that when I've finished my efforts will actually be worth something. At least to me.

So I know that whatever I end up doing, it won't be something that drains my thoughts without some kind of payoff. This means I could well end up doing something mindless that would let me focus on what I really want to do, which is write. The hard part now is to decide in what capacity I want to write. Whether it's for work, or whether I keep it in my own time, I don't know. All I know is that I have to do it.

Also, just came across this quote on my Google homepage. Nevermind that I have no idea what "phlogiston" mean - I'll look it up.

"The real writer is one who really writes. Talent is an invention like phlogiston after the fact of fire. Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved." - Marge Piercy



Posted via web from Jane Donuts is Starting Over

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Twitter, and why I love it

I'm a full on Twitter addict. I love it. And I love it in ways I've never loved a social network. Not Facebook, not MySpace, not even the thrill of newness that was Friendster.

But it's not a love that came easily. In fact, I signed up for a Twitter account in the spring of 2007 after reading about how it caught on among festivalgoers at South by Southwest, but got confused and abandoned it for a year and a half. It was only in late 2008, when the site really started gaining momentum and getting love from the media, that I got back on the horse and started tweeting.

And I'm not even sure why I did, because it seemed like my words were just going out into the great chasm of the Internet. Hell, they were. I had maybe five followers at that point, none of which were actively logging into the site. But I just kept tweeting on, and tweeting about stuff that I liked, stuff that pleased me. Anything from music I was listening to, to curious sights I came across in day to day life, to rants, to notes from my travels, and a lot of other stuff in between. And along the way, I started following people who were doing things that interested me. Writers, mostly. Reporters I followed for my career in public relations, music bloggers, novelists, cultural observers, and Twitter celebrities.

Very few of these people followed me back, but I didn't care. I just kept logging on because I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed reading their daily observations and making my own in relative anonymity. (Very few of my connections on Twitter are people I actually know, and I kind of prefer it that way. Facebook is tiresome because no one really says anything that interesting - they're all afraid of offending their 'friends.' But I digress.)

I also enjoyed following and unfollowing people with impunity. Unlike Facebook, if someone I am following starts tweeting annoying/obnoxious/irrelevant/uninteresting shit (ahem, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, many other celebrity twitterers), I unfollow them with a quickness, and no hurt feelings or harm done. And basically, after a year of cultivation, I am following and interacting with some really interesting people who are bringing really interesting, relevant information into my life. It brings me so much knowledge and wisdom, it's like a personal Internet butler service.

And then the other amazing thing is that along the way, other people started to follow me. I have 189 followers right now, and granted, a lot of them are spammers or companies who are probably gathering info on me for marketing purposes, but still, there are a lot of people out there who actually might be reading my tweets! Thrilling. Even more thrilling is that some of them are published authors/writers I admire. Susan Orlean! Laura Zigman! Virginia Heffernan! Following little old me. Little old Jane Donuts. Who'd have thunk it.

Posted via web from Jane Donuts is Starting Over

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh and then also

Download now or listen on posterous
08 We May Be The Ones.m4a (4049 KB)

I can't stop listening to this song.

We May Be the Ones

Paul Westerberg is a singer I always come back to even after months or years of not listening to him. Sometimes it surprises me. He's got the jaded-but-still-romantic combination that I find irresistable (see Jeff Tweedy also,) and a catalogue I've still not exhausted.

Posted via email from Jane Donuts is Starting Over

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yesterday by the Numbers

Approximate time of waking up: 7:45

Approximate time of exiting bed: 9:10

Number of iced coffees drank while watching the scene at Intelligentsia: 1.5

Number of careers contemplated: 5

Number of random mailbox/copy places visited in frantic effort to send fax: 3

Number of old copies of Domino magazine found and subsequently lifted from aforementioned copy places: 2

Number of libraries visited: 2

Number of times around the Silver Lake reservoir: 1

Number of hours spent lying on the couch absentmindedly surfing the internet while wearing a bathrobe: 6.5

Approximate time of falling asleep: 11:30

Certainly not the most productive day, but, sadly, not atypical either. Right now I have the luxury of a totally open schedule and plenty of time with which to contemplate my next career move, and it's wonderful but also, dare I say it, a little tough. In the past I would have hanged myself with so much rope, but these days I'm mostly ok with it. I try to be fairly constructive with my time, and I am making some progress - have pretty much ruled out being a librarian and teaching as career options - but I definitely feel like I'm not making the most of a very rare and precious opportunity to do whatever I want ALL THE TIME. Don't get me wrong, for the most part I have it pretty nice - sleeping a lot, naps, sunny mornings with big mugs of coffee, running, yoga, meditation, fiction reading, all the web surfing one could possibly want or need - but I'm not really accomplishing anything. At least nothing I can really point to, with this blog, if I actually keep at it, as the only possible exception. I'm full of ideas, but not always so good on the follow through.

Current career ideas I'm working through:

  • In house blogger at some large company
  • Writer/editor for online news or cultural commentary
  • Reseller of antiques and vintage furnishings and home decor

Those are the "career" paths I'm looking at, but I'm also considering waiting tables, working retail, selling Christmas trees, applying to be a census worker, etc. etc. So, at this point, a lot remains up in the air.

Monday, November 9, 2009

So I did a weird thing

And have been blogging, half-assedly as usual, at another site, Posterous. I read that the platform was great, convenient for posting, innovative, and generally all that, and so I decided to take Jane Donuts to another venue for a topical blog on my current career search.

But then I discovered that I could just use Posterous to update this site, which means I'll resume writing (or not writing) here. Sometimes about the career change, sometimes just about stuff. Sometimes vulgarities, sometimes high brow cultural criticism and ranting. And, also as usual, I'll vow to be more prolific.

One of these days I'll succeed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jane Donuts is Still Alive

Thanks to serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and a lot of therapy. That and a massive road trip and some time off work, which, thankfully, I still have more of.

More to come.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oprah asks, Jane Donuts answers

Saw this question on

Question: Can we talk about past loves with present-day sweethearts?

Answer: No.

(Disclaimer: JD hasn't read the article and furthermore doesn't care what it says.)

OK, fine, I skimmed it. But when does that ever do anything but create paranoia and unrest?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Jane Donuts Reminds You that Anything Can Happen at Any Time

Jane Donuts indulged in a spur of the moment subscription to HBO last night. Since then, during the hours when she wasn't working or walking around the Silver Lake reservoir with friends and the neurotic dog of said friends, she has watched a series of programs including Eastbound and Down, the network's new ode to rednecks in the American south, The #1 Ladies Detective Agency, a charming show about a lovable, portly African lady detective, the tail end of the dreaded Knocked Up (less awful than the first time around but still vaguely misogynistic drivel) and In Bruges, a surprisingly entertaining and thoughtful crime caper set in the eponymous medieval Belgian city. In addition to being immensely watchable (begging an encore viewing, even) and finally introducing to Jane Donuts the heretofore misunderstood appeal of one Colin Farrell, one scene in particular stood out to her.

During a pretty true to life depiction of a coke binge with a random cast of shady weirdos, Farrell's character at one point delivers a completely unexpected and uncalled for karate chop to a fellow carouser, who also happens to be a midget. The swift act of violence is so startling that it reminded Jane Donuts of the magnificent unpredictability of the human animal. One minute you're sharing beers and stories and generally communing and reveling with your fellow humans, and the next one of them strikes you and leaves you rumpled in a heap on the floor of your hotel room writhing in pain.

It can happen, and it sometimes will when you least expect it.

In fact, the scene was strangely echoed when JD stepped out on her porch for an illicit smoke, which she shouldn't be doing anyway, yes, she is well aware, and came face to face with a well dressed man of questionable sexuality in a nicely tailored pinstripe suit. The man was vaguely handsome and clearly of some means, but the reason for him being out there on a Monday night at 11:20 was not immediately clear. After a moment of tense and uncomfortable small talk, it was revealed that he was there to see her upstairs neighbor and had at one point lived in the apartment above her own, and the neighbor came down to say hello, and Jane Donuts was able to sneak back into her apartment without incident. All in no, no blows were thrown, no harm done, but for a minute there, she wasn't so sure.

So Jane Donuts urges you all to be careful out there. And be alert. You just don't know what's lurking.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jane Donuts is off the meds

Well, not really. But maybe partially. Or at least considering it? Came across the card in the picture above the other day - actually came across it numerous times in unrelated public places. Is not wanting to talk about it a good sign or a bad sign? Jane Donuts is thinking of intensifying hibernation. Jane Donuts should probably go ahead and get a new therapist. Jane Donuts doesn't see the point of any of it in the end. Jane Donuts keeps looking for it though.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Point to Ponder

With the economic downturn in full effect and expected to get much deeper, Jane Donuts wonders what effect that will have on the ever evolving ideal of the woman's physique?

In the way that the skinny, flat-chested flapper ideal of the roaring 20s gave way to the curvy, ultra-feminine silhouettes of the more fiscally conservative 40s and 50s, could the bone-starved status symbol thinness of the 90s and 2000s give way to a more lush form in the 2010s? Out with the Gwenyths and Jennifer Anistons, in with the Beyonces? Don't think we'll ever quite prize a rubenesque figure again, but how about less bicep, more boob?

A girl can dream.

p.s. Holy shit! This article just came up at the top of Jane Donuts's gmail page. Wow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Oh right.

The sights here trump anything Jane Donuts has ever actually ingested, but are fascinating nonetheless.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fashion Show at the Gym = Ugh

As if getting there wasn't hard enough, now one has to feel like one must be wearing stylish attire? Well, let Jane Donuts tell you something. She goes to the gym in a goddamn ratty t-shirt and plain old black stretch pants.

Although truth be told, she wishes the 80s thong leotard would come back just like she wishes NBA players would bring back short shorts. Because how much more entertaining would the gym be?

Jane Donuts would even give it a go.

p.s. She did see someone wearing stirrup pants the other day. But it was a little too American Apparel to be cool.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Jane Donuts Loves Animals, and So Do Some Presidents!

Thanks to the Discovery Network, Jane Donuts has learned about pets owned by various presidents:

Thomas Jefferson- pet bear cubs
James Madison- parrot
John Quincy Adams- silkworms, alligator
Andrew Jackson- fighting cocks, a cussing parrot
Martin Van Buren- tiger cubs
William Henry Harrison- pet goat
John Tyler- first president to own a canary
Abraham Lincoln- loved animals and owned many, including a pet rabbit
Andrew Johnson- white mice
Grover Cleveland- mockingbirds
Benjamin Harrison- opossum
Theodore Roosevelt- a full house with a pet garter snake, pig, rat, badger, guinea pig
Calvin Coolidge- pet raccoons, goose, bobcat, lion cubs, wallaby and a pygmy hippopotamus

Never having been much of a student of presidential history, Jane Donuts never felt much kinship with any of these gentleman, with the possible exception of Andrew Jackson, who always struck her as kind of a thrilling individual. (And judging by his choice of pets, perhaps he was a little too thrilling. Fighting cocks? Unnecessary.) But it's funny how knowing what kind of pet someone owns tells you something about their character.

Lincoln? Lovable.
Quincy Adams? Weird.
Harrison? Funny.
Roosevelt? Mischevious.
And Calvin Coolidge? Wild. (Who knew?)

No wonder the Obamas are dragging their feet on the dog decision. So much riding on it. If they get, say, a maltipoo, we'll all lose respect.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jane Donuts Has a Conversation

So the other night, Jane Donuts attended a work social function. Jane Donuts works deep, deep in the heart of corporate America. More corporate that you can imagine. Depths you have (hopefully) never seen.

Several glasses of $14 Pinot Noir in she had the following exchange with an older, Southern male colleague.

Weirdo: So, you look like someone who likes music
Jane Donuts: Yeah, I'm kind of a nerd about it
Weirdo: Oh yeah, so who do you listen to?
Jane Donuts: Oh, well, some of my favorites historically are REM, the Pixies, the Beatles
Weirdo: Do you like Staind?
Jane Donuts: Um
Weirdo: Yeah, I've been into them lately. I love Live, they're one of my favorites, but lately they've just started making vaginal rock.
Jane Donuts: What?
Weirdo: Just, you know, for pussies. Just really vaginal and I've just totally lost interest.
Jane Donuts: ...

This was after a chilling conversation with a deposed exec who was still drinking the kool-aid but before a series of blatant propositions from an older, married, avowed Catholic. All in all, an interesting evening.

Monday, January 26, 2009

On undergarments

A lot of times, underwear seems unnecessary, and that's why Jane Donuts often forgoes it. Barring a few essential days of the month, it's mostly a nuisance and just another item of clothing to be paid for, washed, folded, stored, etc. Who needs it? Plus there's the semi illicit thrill of going commando.

But then I read this account of one of the passengers on US Airways Flight 1549, and, although he survived, his pants were ripped off in the impact and he was forced to pull himself to safety bare bottomed and exposed to the elements and the stares of his fellow passengers. Yes, yes, they were extraordinary circumstances and probably the last thing on anyone's mind was whether the guy's ass was any good, but still in all, this was a horrifying account.

Jane Donuts finds herself reconsidering underpants in the mornings now. Just another small decision to be made.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Watching Rome Burn

An overwhelming day for Jane Donuts.

Ominous headlines from the financial world. Dramatically receding hopes for exiting credit card debt in the near term. Shame over poor financial choices in the past. Colleagues who showed themselves to be incredibly, maddeningly short-sighted and disappointing on many levels. The locking of eyes with some poor bastard on her floor walking down the hall with a McDonald's bag. The wrong outfit worn to work. And then there were the cravings for chocolate, which were ultimately induldged.

These people with the relentlessly positive attitudes, where do they get them? And how do they maintain them? And how does one balance being content with reality?

It's about developing some kind of filter, isn't it? What to process and what to throw out. Jane Donuts has a long way to go here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jane Donuts remarks upon the specter of death hanging over Hollywood

Jane Donuts doesn't feel bad about this. Watching the Golden Globes with the sound off, beneath the glamour of the gowns and the sparkling jewels, what is most obvious is that some of the most watchable, less than perfect women in town have transmogrified into thinner, blonder versions of themselves, and then some are just outright dying. This is no way to live. (And why would Drew Barrymore want to turn herself into Phyllis Diller anyway?)

Jane Donuts, on the other hand, started the day off with a cupcake and later paraded her sturdy, brunette form through Downtown LA's Grand Central market, where along with several hundred fellow mortals, she indulged in pupusas and heavily sugared dulces. And after that, as she sunned herself in the grass under a clear, 75 degreed, smogless sky, she looked down at her non-pedicured feet and thought to herself, life is good.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

JD Says: Happy New Year

New Year's resolutions, in no particular order:

eat less meat (just cause)
do more squats (on account of future bikini appearances)
blog more (Jane Donuts needs oxygen)
make more friends in the blogosphere (see above)
spend less money (no explanation necessary)
own it (whatever "it" may be)

Wishing all others a Happy New Year too, except for the phonies. And you know who you are.