Photo by James BunoanNew Year's Eve
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Charles ShawI turn 30 and get unengaged. The county proposes $97.9 million in cuts from clinics, social services (like investigating child-abuse claims), disease control (just in time for smallpox!) and water-quality monitoring? This, from the home of Surf Shitty and Aliso Creek. The very same week it's reported that Orange County is spending $207 million (including $135 million in debt from the previous owners) to buy 10 miles of 91 toll lanes from a private company. Perhaps it's silly of me to conflate the two; at least the Los Angeles Times, in its coverage, never mentions one with regard to the other. I'm sure there must be subtleties that I just don't understand. Math is hard. Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who's old and fat, knocks up and marries local beauty Nadia Davis. Nadia is a former Santa Ana School Boardmember who co-hosted a hagiographic fundraiser for fellow board member Nativo Lopez; when Lopez was recalled by Santa Ana voters, Nadia drafted a lengthy piece for the Times that made her out to be Santa Ana's Patty Hearst—turns out she'd never liked Lopez. Lockyer leaves his wedding reception to announce a break in the Laci Petersoncase. Putz! Yup, engaged again! The American Idol Tour at the Pond features plain, bespectacled middle-aged women herding large groups of girls into something resembling order. Very, very loud order. One mom-type lady holds a banner. Clay, it reads, These Girls Are Yours. It's kinda funny, the unintended paternity-suit quality of the language, except her own long-dormant sexuality is the last thing on her mind. Rather, she is offering to turn out any of these Ashleys, Brittanys and Caitlyns in her charge. At what point do you decide it's time to draw the attention of a doubtless deviant pop star to your Girl Scout troop? And would she have raised the same banner at an R. Kelly show, or is Clay just totally nonthreateningly gay? Hey! Guess what? People are all crazy about The O.C. I haven't seen it. You can ask Mary Reillyabout it if you want. She cares about that kind of thing. People wave guns in front of my SnoopTown house, so I move to Santa Ana, where it's safe. My small buttercup of a son goes to school in Floral Park, where the moms are outrageously rude to the teacher at Back to School Night because they are all rich and letting her know who's boss. My ex-fiance and I are happy together. I attend the Republican Election Night Party in Costa Mesa! Assemblyman Ken Maddox (running for state Senate against John Campbell) tells me he used to play bass for The Ziggens. Garden Grove City Councilman Mark Leyeswanders in and tries to look convivial but doesn't quite succeed. He tells us the sad news about Wally George. Maddox makes a really funny joke about getting dogs drunk. Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected governor of the golden dream by the sea. He reneges on every campaign promise he can remember making, and then reneges on other candidates' promises for good measure. Everyone is thrilled to pieces and blames the legislature, except Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-The Taliban), who blames Bill Clinton. There are scary fires. People notice that the Vehicle License Fee (or "car tax") is what's used to pay for all the heroic! fire services in the state. But, not terribly surprisingly, they don't particularly care. I attend the Rush Limbaugh Fan Club monthly breakfast in Laguna Niguel! Next to me, a man talks to himself. "What's that thing where the Japanese stayed in the planes?" he grunts. "Kamikazes?" the others at the table offer quietly. "Kamikaze," he says. "Okinawa's where the kamikazes are." And then he laughs with himself as he makes plane-crashing-into-the-table motions. "Kamikaze," he says again. Hey! Guess what? At the Balboa Fun Zone, we see promenading a nice skinhead family. Let's see: Tattooed neck? Check. Fat blond wife? Yep. The next generation of Li'l Hitler-Lover? Check, check and check. And emblazoned on the proud dad's clean white T-shirt: "Visualize World Hatred." How fun is that? Fox's Arrested Developmentpremieres. It's set in the Balboa Towers and the Fun Zone, and stars Jason Bateman (It's Your Move)! After I break off my imaginary relationship with Six Feet Under's Peter Krause, Bateman and I get imaginarily engaged. Bob Dornan announces he's running for Dana Rohrabacher's seat. The press corps rejoices and waits for Dornan's looney kids to start throwing (actual, non-metaphorical) punches like the ones they threw at my ex-fiance on Election Night 1998. I was in the press room eating free sandwiches; it would be three years before we met. But still, how cool is that? Six free sandwiches of separation? It was like a Friendster for the '90s. State Senator Gil Cedillo (D-YummyTown) stops returning my calls when I subtly mention to him I'm now single. Troubles in the Sheriff's Department, what with cops covering for that alleged rape boy and all. Still, the sheriff is smokin' hot! Has Bruce Willis coughed up those million bones yet like he promised? West Coast Choppers, LBC headquarters for Monster Garageand its sexy thuggy genius Jesse James, proclaims in eight-foot lettering on its store windows, "Santa Is Fake." That's pretty funny now that my kid's nine. Last year? Not as funny! Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected Pope as Maria Shriver delivers a dramatic reading: a Maya Angelou poem in the Voice of Death. Everyone wants to know who dressed her (Armani!) and where they can get a Voice of Death. Easy: Fashion Island!CommieGirl99@hotmail.com. is invented, and the people frolic. The Montage is invented for those who've never heard of Two Buck Chuck, and frolicking is frowned upon. Do the Raiders implode in the Super Bowl? Oui, they implode, surpassing even my expectations of suck; commitment to my ass.Following them will be the Mighty Ducks, the Lakers, and the sad, sad Clippers(who really don't implode so much as partial-birth-abort themselves). But everybody better get their season tickets for the Long Beach Jam yesterday. Rodman's back, y'awl. Which hopefully will keep him from sitting in with the band at Josh Slocum's. World Series MVP Troy Glaus (Angels third base) and American League Championship Series MVP Adam Kennedy(second base) hang out in the much-velveted VIP lounge at The Grove of Anaheim while Scott Spiezio's metal band, Sandfrog, pops eardrums onstage. Sadly, the infield is not complete without our favorite Angel, spunky shortstop David Eckstein—who, when decked out in an oversize ballcap, is a ringer for South Park cripple Timmmmmay! We miss Eckstein terribly, but lurking in his place are vacant-eyed wannabe baseball groupies with ginormous bazooms barely restrained in black-leather vests. Photographer James Bunoan reports that one lovely miss told him with studied ennui that she has "partied with" Hugh Hefner, Kid Rock, and Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe. What a treat! Has anybody got a 10-foot pole? , 2002: I get engaged!