Monday, December 31, 2007

And a can of corn

Last night, I was having a weird dream, though, the only part I recall involved my standing in my kitchen opening a can of corn.

At the very moment that I opened the can of corn, Franny - Little Miss Stinkerpussy - leapt down from the shelf above the bed onto my face - my nose, to be exact. Claws Out (a Radiohead song, no?). [Note: the song is "Knives Out"]

Of course she planned her leap so that she pierced my nose exactly one hour before the alarm was to go off - waking me at that critical time when I usually awaken anyway, disappointed, needing more sleep, yet unable to fall asleep again. Patrick heard my squeak of pain, and apparently I said to him, "Franny knew I was opening a can" - because everyone knows all cats run to the kitchen when cans - any cans - are opened. Of course he had no clue what I was talking about, but once we were both fully awake, we laughed about it.

I gotta go now. I think there are some tamales in the refrigerator still.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

These are not resolutions...

Rather, this is a list of the things I will and won't do in 2008:

1. I will cut down on fast food, and will restrict it to the following restaurants only: Chipotle, El Pollo Loco, and Subway. I reserve the right to the occasional taco from Titos, and Fatburger only when accompanied by Patrick, David Frank or Bo Roberts.

2. I will stop fantasizing about music and will either get a grip and accept that I am a flutist and PLAY MY FLUTE, or sit down behind Patrick's kit and bang away, hopefully less self-consciously than the last time I tried it.

3. I will read more and watch less TV. If the writer's strike continues, maybe I'll even go out and take a walk or something...

4. A friend recommneded that I try mediating or exercising to, um, keep my mind from going where my mind usually goes (isn't that a Beatles song?). Meditating seems like a bad idea (my head might explode) but exercising seems like it should be doable. Patrick has already said yes to joining a gym. We're looking into things we can do together. I'll keep you posted...

Fun time is [almost] over

I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.
I do not want to go back to work tomorrow.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Brain damage

All of a sudden, I can't remember two minor things, and it's making me feel very stupid.

1. The name of the little clover thing in a deck of cards. Hearts, diamonds, spades - what's the other one? This has been bothering me all week. What the hell - ?

2. What city is St. Louis in? Today I'm watching Judy Garland in "Meet Me In St. Louis," and I have noooo idea.

I'm sure at one point in time I knew both of these things: I'm not stupid (I'm not! I'm not!), but they've totally slipped my mind. Is that what happens with old age?

1. Clubs!!
2. St. Louis is in Missouri. I never said I was good with geography.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Old Data

For Christmas this year, Patrick got me an iPod. I knew about it since Thanksgiving (because he wanted to be sure I got the one I wanted), and I'm unabashedly in love with it. I didn't open the gift until last night, though, so I was really excited to finally get to play with it. Last night I downloaded iTunes and bought some music with a $15 gift card a friend very thoughtfully had given to me. Tonight, after we got home from visiting all day (we spent most of the day with my parents, and then the evening with Patrick's family. The kids were awesome, and didn't want us to leave, but I think their parents were ready for a break from house guests!) I came home and uploaded a bunch of CDs and sorted and added album art to the albums that iTunes didn't have, and then...

Patrick reminded me to check the free space on my hard drive. It wasn't totally filled up, but getting there (I have more room on my iPod than I did on the laptop. I know I shouldn't probably be using the laptop, but I just hate to sit in the office when I could be out in the living room with Patrick, watching TV). He borrowed the laptop and went through and cleaned up some large old files that could be deleted, and while doing so, unearthed an old folder I had forgotten about with old data in it. There were pictures, some of which you may have seen already, and some I hope you haven't. They're here.

Merry Christmas. It's been a busy day and I'm getting tired. Patrick has to work tomorrow, but I'm headed up to Culver City to hang out with my mom and have lunch. So I get to sleep in a little... but not enough.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


On Saturday, I had my first appointment for acupuncture. I have Kaiser, and getting them to approve and refer me for acupuncture was pretty much a six-month long process, but there I was, approval forms in my hand, heading in for my appointment.

Um, I think I'm gonna keep my reason for wanting acupuncture to myself. You'll just have to live with my decision to keep at least one thing private.

Anyway, so there I was. The acupunctur(ist?) is also an R.N., which makes her seem way trustworthy. Patrick has seen her, and our friend Chris, and even if I didn't know how successful their treatments had been, just her demeanor and way of dealing with you as a patient really put my mind at ease. Her name is Lily, and she's from the Philippines. She totally reminds me of my old boss Arlene, one of the nicest people I've had the joy of working for. Anyway, it was quite an experience, and I have to say, after just about 30 minutes of treatment, I felt like a million bucks. Before we got started, Lily talked to me for awhile about my concerns, and then she had me change into a gown and lie down on the table. She put some warm blankets on me, and when she came back into the room, she started with the acupuncture. I'm not sure how many needles I had but there were at least 35, maybe more. I was feeling pretty relaxed and had my eyes closed, so I'm not sure. I was laying on my left side, with my knees bent and my arms in kind of a crazy position, crossed over. It seemed like it should've been uncomfortable, but - it wasn't. I was curious about if inserting the needles would hurt, but it didn't. There was some tiny discomfort in some of them - the ones in my hands were a little prickly, and one in the top of my foot - but her technique seemed very gentle (not that I have anything to compare it to) and like I said, she herself is very calming. So she left me there in that sort of strange position, with classical music on the radio, for about 30 minutes. I didn't exactly fall asleep, but as I lay there, every ten minutes or so, I could feel my body relax. I mean, it was totally discernible. I'm not sure if that was because of the needles or what, or if I was just ready to relax, but it was great.

After the 30 minutes were up, Lily came back in the room and removed all my needles (actually she left one in; I was putting my socks back on and I caught one she forgot! She took it out for me), and then she did some cupping on my back, which wasn't exactly pleasant, but over soon enough. After she left the room, I took a look in the mirror at my back, and it's covered with purple round marks, but Lily told me they should fade over time.

I'm interested in seeing what the long-term effects of this will be. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Last one.

Brilliant & cheeky = Andy Summers (and so cute I just want to put him in my pocket)
Passionate & crazy = Stewart Copeland
She lost me when she started talking about "Fiction Plane"

I've done this before.


(Eye) Contact

At about 0:54, he looks up and straight into the camera. And then again at the end.

I've got a lump in my throat...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Downside

The downside, if indeed there is one (and it depends upon which side of the thing you're on) to having been drunk pretty much every day since Friday (not Saturday, though: Saturday I was stone cold sober; and never, of course, when driving a car. Not when playing my flute, or operating the sound and lights at City Garage. I can be a professional at times) is that I am no longer funny. Yes, I recognize that I may not be funny other times, but right now? Buzzed? I am rather the opposite of funny. I am tired and cold and not funny. I may be tiresome, as well. Even I am getting sick of my own schtick.

I also need a new pair of bunny slippers.

And a gang. I want a fucking gang to run with. No, not car thieves or drug dealers. Me and Patrick are mostly all we need, but sometimes - on very rare occasions - I would very much like to - you know? - work up some new material. Hanging out with work people is not the same. I want to, on occasion (not too often, I'm not greedy) make those people laugh. And I want to be silly amongst people who are not shocked when I say "fuck."

I'm sick of people all not knowing me. Wait did I go too far with that one? See what I mean when I say "tiresome"? Yes. I know what it means, and no, it's not a euphemism.

"Not A Euphemism" is going to be the title of my first book.


Jesus Christ, Patrick is playing Dave Brubeck, and while, thankfully, he is as sick and tired of "Take Five" as I am, it's all feeling a bit too groovy in here for me right now. I gotta go to bed.

Fox on the run

So I'm not sure if you heard.... but "The Bald Soprano" has been extended. We sold out pretty much all weekend, which is totally cool. We're done until next month, though - there's going to be a casting change, and you know, with the holidays and everything - so right now I'm feeling a tiny bit... on hold. I'm totally not ready for Christmas, and I'm going to be off work all next week, and I'm totally not ready for that either.

I'm just... waiting.


Today was my work's holiday party. It went pretty much the way holiday parties go... on top of all the drinking, there was dancing, which, normally, I have nothing to do with. However, everyone was getting down, even the other girl at my table who said, like me, that she "never dances," so when Maribel, a very sweet girl pulled me onto the dance floor, I had to go. It took me a minute to get comfortable (and I kept saying to her, "I'm so lame!"), and to be honest, I never was very comfortable... but I had just sent a text message to a friend of mine that said, "I want to be more like Susan" (Susan is the wife of my friend David and she's totally cool, not afraid to make a fool of herself, can dance, etc.), so I figured, well, all these other people are total dorks, too - it won't kill me to dance.

It did not kill me. And in fact, I felt better, because I had been quietly mocking all the other dancers all day, and by dancing myself, I knew that somewhere, someone was quietly mocking me. I only hope no one took a photo.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Those That Can't Do, Teach

Updated 12/17/07 after watching John Cusack on Inside the Actor's Studio. My answers alongside John's.


This post stolen from Bean Baxter's new blog, "Strongly Worded Letter." And yes, that includes the title. (Welcome back, Bean! I missed you!) Bean posted his answers to the questions James Lipton asks every guest on his show, "Inside the Actor's Studio." I used to watch this show all the time, but then the guests started being people like Teri Hatcher and Ben Affleck, and I kinda lost interest. And I don't find Will Farrell funny, either.

Anyway, here are my answers to James' questions. Nobody cares, but whatever. Bean practically dared me to do it, and when there he is, in all his tall glory, egging you on, it's kind of impossible to refuse. Seriously. I dare you to refuse Bean anything.

Julie, you're next!

So. Read the questions in your best James Lipton voice. And then read my answers in whatever voice you imagine I have. Then bring it down a notch. Jeez.

What is your favorite word?
Irene's answer: Francisquito
John Cusack's answer: Kinkajou

What is your least favorite word?
Irene's answer: Whatnot
John's answer: Ferret

What turns you on?
Irene's answer: Fresh breath, a little neck, and a lot of forearm
John's answer: Energy

What turns you off?
Irene's answer: Refusing to signal lane changes
John's answer: Passivity

What sound or noise do you love?
Irene's answer: Franny's purr; MTP on iTunes at Best Buy; my headjoint when I'm warmed up and practiced
John's answer: I like hearing the sound of a home run.

What sound or noise do you hate?
Irene's answer: The obnoxious, repetitive, electronic sounds that are supposed to pass for music on the Wii; the loudspeaker at WalMart
John's answer: When it's against the Cubs.

What is your favorite curse word?
Irene's answer: Motherfucker
John's answer: Three top contenders: Fuck, motherfucker, and cunt.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Irene's answer: Photographer, musician, designer, writer, massage therapist. Student.
John's answer: Musician

What profession would you not like to do?
Irene's answer: I wouldn't want to kill anything.
John's answer: Anything dealing with morgues and dead bodies.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you reach the pearly gates?
Irene's answer: Nobody's perfect, Irene, not even you.
John's answer: What happened?

Blogging While Buzzed

I shouldn't hit publish tonight but I will.

Tonight was the closing night of "The Bald Soprano." It was an excellent show with a full house and afterwards we all met up at my friend David's house for a birthday/closing night/holiday party. Despite a few moments of feeling alone and loserish (because I have a hard time talking to people I barely know) I managed to have a good time. I drank rather a lot of champagne, which David's wife Susan was embellishing (not the right word) with Chambord. I mostly hung out with Pauly and his new girlfriend Cristina (who I love), and then later with David's wife Susan's brother in law Russ (a drummer from England who is now a screenwriter!) and Barry, a friend of theirs who does I don't know what, exactly, but is funny and tall and sarcastic and Irish and has green eyes. He told me: I couldn't tell, really.

This was a good weekend. I rather like getting drunk. Friday night I went to karaoke (also in honor of David's birthday) in Culver City, where I didn't sing, but had fun, anyway. Photos when Susan emails them to me. Saturday I played with the flute choir at Lamp Village in skid row, and we were accompanied by Nathaniel Ayers, the violist that Steve Lopez writes about in all his columns (links tomorrow when I'm not buzzed). That was pretty cool. Tonight was closing night of the Bald Soprano (but we might be extended, in January) and it was a very good show. Frederique gave to me as a present a beautiful velvet cape thing (but it has sleeves?) that I may not ever take off, I love it that much. David's party was fun. I made it home safely. Patrick is watching Radiohead on TV and it's time for bed. All in all, a nice weekend.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Did I Mention I Was Killing Time? says I'm an Uber Cool History / Lit Geek.  What are you?  Click here!

Re: that math score. Um. Remember I took a math assessment last month? I got my results the other day, and I was placed in a "Basic Math" class, which means that for this particular course I'm taking, I'll have to take two math classes instead of just one. It would be embarrassing had I not clearly stated that I suck at math. Remember? I suck at math. So. There will be no public flogging, only, maybe a little quiet blushing.

Library Thing

I'm just killing time until I can leave for Santa Monica. I am really looking forward to Fatburger, can you tell?


These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing's users (as of today). As usual, bold what you have read, italicize those you started but couldn't finish, and strike through what you couldn't stand. Add an asterisk to those you've read more than once. Underline those on your to-read list you intend to read (again if necessary).

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion*
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice*
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities

The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler's Wife*
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
Atlas Shrugged*
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead*
Foucault's Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange

Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility*
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park*
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest*

To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver's Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay*
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time*
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela's Ashes : A Memoir
The God of Small Things
A People's History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon*
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey*
The Catcher in the Rye*

On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an Inquiry into Values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity's Rainbow
The Hobbit*
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Christmas Card Outtakes

Checking the camera position, before I decorated (ahem) the tree.

Test shot. Patrick is unhappy with his left hand, and I look dorkier than usual. Can you tell that only the side of the tree facing the camera is actually decorated? Yes, that's a half naked tree, my friends. Also, I was unhappy with all that glare from the lamp, but I learned somewhere that when lamps are visible in a photograph, they should always be turned on. Patrick didn't like the golden hue but I thought it looked warm and pretty. Check out the mysterious kitty tail poking out from behind the loveseat. And... dig my psychedelic socks.

Wardrobe change and look, we can stand. I look rather fluffy in the tummy area. Well, I did gain 4 pounds... All belly, apparently. The tree was turned, but not enough, apparently, I see some bald spots. In the end we went back to our original setup.

The final product in true (or truer)-color. Only a little bit of Photoshopping went on, but I'm not telling where. Look for us in your mailbox soon.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Making Plans

I'm totally looking forward to the weekend. Tomorrow is my day off, and in the morning, we're having the cable company come by and install our new digital cable phone. We decided to give it a try, and I'm curious. I'm leaving for Santa Monica early to meet my friend David at Fatburger for a highly fatty and delicious dinner before the show. It's David's birthday, and after the show I think he and his friends are planning a trip to the Scarlet Lady for karaoke. I haven't yet decided if I want to join them.

Saturday is the Flute Choir's annual "Southland Tour" (I think I called it that for the first time, and now it annoys me) - after meeting up in Culver City, we'll caravan to Skid Row, where we'll play for the residents of LAMP Village. It's always nice to go out there and play for these people, who are so nice and seem to enjoy our concert. Then, back to the West Side and we'll put on the same concert for the mother of one of our members - she lives in a senior citizens home. They're fun to play for, too. After that, the second to last performance of "The Bald Soprano." Yes, I'm throwing in one more reminder to you: this is the closing weekend! I'm in the booth all weekend.

Sunday, I need to finish decorating the Christmas tree and maybe do some grocery shopping, and then, more Bald Soprano, followed by a birthday/cast party at David's. I think Patrick plans on going with me, even (shocker). I can't say what it is right now (because Dave on occasion reads this blog) but I got him a great birthday present.

Now it's time to bed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ask Paul: "Doctor My Eyes!"


I'm sure that despite evidence to the contrary, I do know what I'm talking about (keep reading, I'm getting ahead of myself)... and I'm also sure you're much too busy to answer such a silly question as this (one to which I'm practically positive I already know the answer to, did I mention that already?), but...

People who have their Ph.D., in addition to being workaholics and showoffs, should always be addressed as "Doctor," no? Frankly, thinking about this is giving me an excuse to put off writing this stupid letter my stupid co-worker asked me to write ("because you're so good at it!"), so that she didn't have to. (Truth is, even if she did write it, I'd have to re-write it anyway -boy I'm in a bad mood today.)

Pauly's response:

I think the Ph.D. question can be a real can of worms. After someone refers to a non-M.D. person as "Dr. So & So," there will often be a person in the room who will respond, "Yeah, but he's not a real doctor." (Assuming the Ph.D. in question is not also in the room, in which case that would be just plain mean and rude). As with any social situation where sensitivity is called for, I generally try to take my cues from the person holding the degree. Do they refer to themselves as "Dr." or do other people who know them better do so? What does their letterhead say? Professionally, there's nothing wrong with erring on the side of professional courtesy. If the individual doesn't like/use "Dr." they'll probably tell you.

Having put all that out there, I'll also point out that the guy saying "Yeah, but he's not a real doctor" is often me.


And with that final sentence, Paul, you have unmasked yourself at last: the Peanut Gallery has finally been identified!

Something for us both to think about: Joseph Goebbels was also a Ph.D. Remember him as the man who, among all his other terrifying accomplishments, talked his wife into murdering their children.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Saturday, December 8, 2007


I'm watching a rerun of the Country Music Awards. I turned it on during Sugarland's performance of "Stay." I didn't know who Sugarland was until I saw an episode of "Crossroads" they did with Lindsay Buckingham. Lindsay got old, has anybody else noticed? Anyway, I thought they were perfect.

Yes, today I am blogging about country music. What's the problem?

I've been fast-forwarding through some of the performances: I'm never gonna like Big & Rich or Brooks & Dunn or Montgomery Gentry. I was curious to see the Eagles, who also performed (I like it better when Don Henley plays the drums). Keith Urban came on, and about all I really know about hm is he was in rehab and he's married to Nicole Kidman. Plus, I've always thought he was really good looking (neck? check. forearm? check? add "nose" to that list, and I think we may have the perfect man. Matt Damon's got nothin' on him). Anyway, enough on how cute he is, I thought his performance at the awards show was pretty darned good, too. I think that Bono better look out: Keith has that same type of "I'd follow you anywhere" charm. His song had a lot of the same anthem-y type things U2 songs have (the marching band/military style drum section, for instance); I was impressed.

Carrie Underwood just won an award - she's adorable, but her performance, complete with about 12 string players - was a little shaky. She's cute and talented, but I like the stripped down performances better.

(Oh, shit. I think I messed up. Lindsay Buckingham did his "Crossroads" with Little Big Town. Oh. So where the hell did I see Sugarland? Anyway, I like them. LBT is a bit too Bon Jovi-lite for me.)

Now I gotta get ready to go to Santa Monica again. See you later.

I like that the CMAs are mostly performances.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Very Little to Say and Many Words With Which To Say It

So, here's my Friday update, which I haven't done in ages:

Thursday was the flute choir's holiday concert. The night started out iffy - when we all showed up at our new, earlier time, the elementary school cafeteria/auditorium ("cafetorium," and if that word doesn't cause you to visualize some truly delicious school lunches, well, you just have no imagination) that we've been having our concerts in for the last few years was occupied by about 100 little kids and their parents. They were having an assembly or concert or something. I was a little panicky because I was running late - as usual, my contribution to the treat table was four bottles of juice, and I had thoughtfully planned my day so that after I left work an hour early, if traffic was in my favor, I would make it down in Culver City with 10 minutes to spare, 10 minutes that I would use to brush my teeth, use the restroom, fluff up my hair, and purchase four bottles of juice. Hey: in a perfect world, it could be done. But yesterday traffic was hell because Culver City - my home, the town I would move back to in an instant if given the chance - is congested, crowded, overpopulated: the street lights are in cahoots. There are just too many damn people living in MY town. Anyway, I pulled into the parking lot of Ralph's at about 6:01 - pulled in next to Howard, also from flute choir, who was just pulling out (smart man lives about three minutes from the school). I dashed (yep, I dashed) into Ralph's, headed over to the juice section (hoping they hadn't remodeled again since the last concert; they do that periodically and then I waste 10 minutes wandering around the story wondering why the bottled juice isn't next to the sodas and bottled water), grabbed my four bottles, bought 'em, and dashed back out to the car.

And then I drove on over. Now, the school where we perform isn't the elementary school I attended (I went to El Marino and El Rincon. El Marino was perfection; El Rincon took a lot of getting used to), but still, we've been playing there for awhile: I know where it is and could find it blindfolded (I miss the days when the flute choir would play at Robert Frost Auditorium. Now that place is fucking awesome. Rent "Sleeper" if you have no idea what I'm talking about. Also, I can't believe there are no freakin' photos of it on the Internet. I may have to remedy this and bring a camera next time I'm in Culver City) and it's just next door to where we rehearse... but I missed the turn. No biggie, in fact, it's safer to take the next block anyway (there's no light at that first left turn onto Farragut), but being late was a bad idea. So if you saw me seemingly wandering around Culver City at 6:05 last night, no, I wasn't lost, I was just, ahem, taking the scenic route.

Anyway. If you're still reading this, well, you must really be bored tonight, because this has to be the lamest story I've told in ages. How much worse can it get? I don't know, let's try.

So we worked it out. We rehearsed in our regular location, and then headed over to the cafeteria. The kids cleared out at about 7:30, which gave us a bit of time to set up the treat table, but no time for a sound check (which we needed). We started about 15 minutes late, which is about the same delay on Sunday nights at City Garage, while we wait for all the old ladies to pee. Patrick didn't go last night - his friend's blues band was playing on the west side and so, having been to at least 10 years (and probably more) of holiday concerts, he got a pass. But my friends Paul and David attended, with their significant others (Paul with Cristina, a very sweet girl I've met a couple of times but never really talked to; I'm looking forward to getting to know her. Also, her dad plays the flute, and so we tried to talk her into talking him into joining us. He might do it). David was with his wife Susan and their friend Jenny Mack (I always have to say her full name. Otherwise I don't know who I'm talking about. Jenny is a completely different person than Jenny Mack. And of course I take great comfort in saying, "Jenny Mack is a detective down in Texas" every once in awhile. I don't overdo it). Seeing the five of them at what is always potentially a very annoying concert (see how many times we can say "merry christmas!" in a song!), with generous, happy, open faces: they made my night. Also, I know they love the treats, especially the fried chicken. Note to David and Paul: I can buy you some fried chicken. But I'm very glad they went. Unfortunately my feet were killing me, I was tired, hungry, and a bit spacey. I actually got a little woozy at one point, and considered sitting down (that would've been interesting). I think this is not the first time this has happened. I need to be mindful of this and figure out why it's happening.

Work today was busy, full of meetings and errands with my boss. She took me to Johnny Carinos for lunch, and it was great. The wedge salad was practically perfect (minus all the bacon, which, surprisingly, I wasn't that into). I'll definitely go there again.

Tonight I drove back down to Culver City, same time, and traffic was surprisingly light. Go figure. I stopped at my parents' house to drop off my sister's laptop, where my father insisted I have a bowl of soup with them. And then headed to a rehearsal. My flute teacher is having a workshop this weekend, and even though I'm taking a well-deserved break, I'm supposed to play in the big ensembles with everybody, which I was excited about. It was all fine for 45 minutes, and then my cell phone rang.

Things you need to know: I hardly ever take my cell phone with me when I go places. Usually I leave it in the car. I hate to be that person who gets an obnoxious phone call in class or a restaurant. I'm not that important that I need to be accessible all the time. And to tell you the truth, unless I'm speaking with a couple of exceptional people, I don't really like talking on the phone all that much. And the people who need to find me know where I am, and how to contact me in an emergency. But for some reason I threw it in my pocket when I went in and there it was. So we're rehearsing a very silly rendition of "Carol of the Bells" (which always reminds me of horror movies) when I hear my phone buzzing, across the room. I go to pick it up, and it's City Garage. Wondering where the hell I am.

So I had to pack up my flute, my stuff, and get my butt to Santa Monica from Culver City in 15 minutes. And surprisingly, I did it. Yes, I caught myself going 90 on the 10 at one point (and the only reason I noticed it is because some asshole was tailgating me and I looked down to see if I was going too slow. Um: nope), but then I fixed it by slowing down, getting over, letting him pass, and then getting back in the fast lane. When I got off the freeway, apparently my "I will find a parking spot, I will find a parking spot" chant worked (usually I say it with the emphasis on "find," so it sounds like this: "I will find a parking spot, I will find a parking spot"), because I parked in Parking Structure #3 (right next door to the theatre) instead of somewhere further away (and free) on the street. And: I ran. I do not run, but tonight, I ran.

I feel bad that I missed out on the rehearsal, but there was a houseful of paying customers wanting to see a great show, and even though the mix up with the night off wasn't my fault, I would've felt terrible. The backups weren't available, and I could be there. You could be there, too - what the hell are you waiting for? You have five more chances before it's too late. I'll be there tomorrow, and then all next weekend.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

From Wikipedia's entry: "Left-handed"

In 2007, researchers discovered LRRTM1, the first gene linked to
increased odds of being left-handed. The researchers also claim that possessing
this gene slightly raises the risk of psychotic mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.

Fortunately there's also this:

A person who is left-handed uses his or her left hand more than the right
hand. Writing is not as precise an indicator of handedness as it might seem. A
better determination of left-handedness results when the differentiation between
an individual's major motor activities versus fine or small muscle motor
activities is employed. Thus the applications of one's left-hand for eating,
writing and similar fine motor activities would be differentiated from major
motor activities such as throwing a ball or swinging a bat, etc.

And of course, then there's this:

In his book Right-Hand, Left-Hand,[27] Chris McManus of University College
, argues that the proportion of left-handers is rising and left-handed
people as a group have historically produced an above-average quota of high
achievers. He says that left-handers' brains are structured differently in a way
that widens their range of abilities, and the genes that determine
left-handedness also govern development of the language centers of the brain.

And, then, there's this:

Famous Lefties:

Larry Bird
Bill Clinton
Kurt Cobain
Phil Collins
Matt Dillon
Benjamin Franklin
Uri Geller
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Matt Groening
Dorothy Hamill
Mark Hamill
Joan of Arc
David Letterman
Marilyn Monroe
Martina Navratilova
Ross Perot
Joe Perry
Luke Perry
Robert Plant
Prince Charles
Keanu Reeves
Rip Torn (Rip Torn!)
Dick Van Dyke

Monday, December 3, 2007

I've got a little black book with my poems in

KLOS was playing Pink Floyd's "The Wall" (Patrick said, "When are they not playing "The Wall"?) during my drive home from Santa Monica last night, and I switched on during "Nobody Home."

I like this song, and I was thinking about the lyrics and how the song basically is a list. I like lists. So I tried thinking of more songs that list things, and came up with, for now, just these two:

"Tempted," by Squeeze
"Girl of 100 Lists," by The Go-Gos (this is an obvious one, no? And, granted, it's a pretty stupid song, not really in the same class as Squeeze's classic "Tempted," but still, it's a list)

Anyway, I've been thinking about trying to find some more. I'm on it, now.


Patrick and I went to Fresh & Easy after work today. It just opened in Lakewood, and we've been curious. We spent about $30, and bought a few very interesting things (organic, free-range chicken chorizo, for instance. Tell me you're not intrigued!). They had many good things, but it felt a little cold. I guess it's supposed to be in competition with Trader Joe's, and while it was way less crowded and had a ton of interesting products, and, frankly was easier to navigate and find things, and the self checkout was convenient and easy... I think I prefer Trader Joe's.

Though, if the organic free-range chicken chorizo is any good, I'll be going there again. And soon.


Does anybody else wonder why Apple didn't spell the name of their new operating system, Leppard?


I just got back from a walk to the mail box. It's about four blocks, but man! It's cold outside! 55 degrees. I had on my gray, hooded, zip up sweatshirt, jeans, a white t-shirt, sneakers, and the Burberry scarf that Patrick gave me for Christmas two years ago, and is quite possibly the warmest thing I own. I had it wrapped around my neck, one tucked in the front of my sweatshirt, and one end tossed over my left shoulder. My ears were cold, though, so then I pulled the hood up. It kept flopping down, so I had to pull the strings. Then I tied a big bow. Then I felt like a huge gigantic dork.

So, right before the mail box, I passed by a house where a young blond girl (I say "girl" but she was probably 21) was sitting on the front porch talking on the phone. She was smoking a cigarette. It's really a lovely night: the sky is blue/black and there are a ton of stars, and it's cold, but gorgeous. And I thought - yeah, I've done that (except I do it off the side porch, not the front porch, and when I've done it, I usually have a beer in the other hand, and a book is usually involved), and when I passed her on my way to the mail box, I considered the idea of asking her for a smoke for the way back home, but then I took a good whiff, and thought about it, and instead, decided to run all the way home. Which I did. Well, not all the way.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Because the only musical event I could attend that could top Van Halen was... Sir James Galway at WDH

On Friday, Patrick and I saw James Galway perform with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall.

A disclaimer before I commence with my report:

Though I am a flutist who performs mostly classical music, I don't really listen to classical music. Sad, but true. I know what I've played (to the extent that my mind retains past performances, which is to say, not much), and I know what I like, but I'm not a huge listener. I'm also a huge gigantic sap. Keep that in mind.

So Friday was my RDO, and it rained, all day. Lotta rain for Los Angeles, and I had errands to run, one of which involved an appointment at Kaiser - I've been trying to get Kaiser to write me a referral to get acupuncture, and it's been a time-consuming effort. Friday I had an appointment with Dr. Jan Li of the Pain Management Department, and Dr. Li was awesome. She listened, she wasn't condescending (another doctor I had to see with the PM department was), and she totally got where I was coming from. In two weeks I should be receiving my referral, which is totally cool. So that's a huge relief. Anyway, after that, I went to the Post Office, Trader Joe's, the Christian bookstore (on an errand for my mom. I swear to god the woman who greeted me crossed herself when I walked in the door).

Anyway, after all that I came home and did my usual activities for my day off: paid bills, watched TV, sat around, took a nap, played with the cats, and got ready to pick Patrick up at work so we could head downtown early, in one car.

Traffic was surprisingly light, so we got downtown early, and did a few things like eat dinner and wander around, and then it was time for Galway. I had decided to buy $40 tickets, figuring that there can't really be bad seats at Walt Disney Hall... and they weren't terrible, if you consider that the place isn't that big. We were in the last row, though, with actual wall behind us. We've sat all over the place there, and except for the Orchestra View seats (which are cool, visually, but hurt your butt), these were the worst seats we've had. However, I was optimistic.

(Spotted at WDH, one row in front of us: David Shostac. Our seats sucked, I'm not sure why he was up in the cheap seats with us, but maybe he knew something about the acoustics we didn't. It was pretty cool to see him: I haven't seen him since the flute convention. He doesn't know me.)

This was a casual Friday, which I really like. The orchestra was in their street clothes, and that's really the only reason I wished I'd had some binoculars: there was one player in the viola section who looked like she was wearing something Bjork would be comfortable in. She looked cool. The rest of the orchestra was basically dressed like I had been when I was running errands: jeans, sneakers, fleece sweater. (Galway wore a baby blue suit with what appeared to be matching shirt, and shoes. Yes. Baby blue shoes.)

He switched the order of the program, and instead of starting with the Mozart Concerto in D Major, he started with the other Mozart on the program, the Andante in C. It was kind of cool to hear music that I am so totally familiar with. I've played both these Mozarts, and when I bought my headjoint in 2004, the D Major was the only piece of music I remembered well enough to know if I was getting something magical out of it (does that make sense? I mean, I could've played anything, I guess), or if I was just fooling myself, or if magic was even possible. Player optional. Anyway, Patrick, who, throughout the years has heard these two pieces performed many times as well (all Patty's students perform them both, as they should!, at some point in time, so he's heard all sorts of different renditions), was just as familiar with them. But I keep digressing, don't I. So he comes out, and he plays the Andante first. And the first notes out of his flute - those familiar, notes! - were beautiful. Having an orchestra backing him was different, for us - we're used to hearing the piano play all the orchestra parts, so having the orchestra was a treat. But it was the flute part that got us. It was as wonderful as I'd hoped, and yes, we were both crying.

Such saps.

Unfortunately the rest of the concert was kind of a let-down. I am not a professional classical music critic, so maybe it's because of where we were and the nature of the instruments in the orchestra... but during the Concerto, we both were disappointed. The horn section was just so loud, and Sir James was covered up more than I would've liked. Now, maybe that's because brass instruments carry and are naturally louder than the flute. But it was distracting. Maybe down on the floor in the good seats it wasn't an issue. And, while there were moments in the Schubert where the flutes and the oboes and the clarinets were perfectly together, totally in sync and gorgeous, there were also moments when the orchestra was just off. After the genius of the first piece, I got a little squirmy as the night went on.

Still, I'm not complaining. Galway was inspiring and charming, and has a gorgeous, sweet sound that speaks beautifully. Of course he does. He is who he is, and I'm glad we went.

Friday, November 30, 2007

As you already know, when I can think of nothing good on my own to write about, posting funny emails from my friends is always a sign of something

I received the following email from a friend yesterday, kinda out of the blue:

do you know how to shoot a bow and arrow?

My overly wordy response:

No. But I can sing that ABC song...?

Oh, wait - I went to summer camp once, when I was 9? I remember there was a solar eclipse while we were out on a hike... And they taught us archery, which I was surprisingly good at, considering my vision problems and awkward hand-eye coordination.

So, to answer your question: hook me up with a child-size bow and arrow, and just tell me when and where...

Later that day, she sent me this message, again, "out of the blue:"

could you envision me as a cage fighter?

I wondered if she was considering auditioning for "American Gladiators," which, I had heard, was auditioning people to be the new Gladiators. My friend is tough. Then she asked me if I remembered "GLOW," which, I am ashamed to admit, I did not remember.

Here's my response:

You know there's also roller derby, which seems to be enjoying some sort of renaissance right now...

Her reply:

I look like a baby giraffe on roller skates. I can't even walk straight, why do you think wheels would enhance my gross motor skills?

Again, my overly wordy response:

...they just go in a circle and beat each other up, don't they? Is there even a ball or some sort of goal involved? [My apologies to anyone out there who actually roller, uh, derbies. I'm sure there is skill involved. I'm ignorant and shameless.] Looking good in the uniform and not being afraid to throw an elbow appear to be the only requirements (though, I haven't seen roller derby since the 70s; there may be actually skill involved in the new 21st century roller derby... what do I know?). Surely you have been trained to knock other women out of your way with grace and aplomb? Even I, with my pigeon toes and lack of depth perception (you should see me parallel park!) can skate. OK, well, I could - but with some practice, I'm sure both of us would be killer skaters. And I'm not talking Dove shorts, Venice Beach, and disco on the boom box (actually, my friend Tali, from Israel, was always trying to get me to go with her. Her music of choice was the "Xanadu" soundtrack. I think she had it on 8-track).

A little while later I suggested to her that she try out to host a TV show (my friend has appeared on quite a few commercials and game shows; she's probably famous in China). Here's what I said:

Are you seriously considering trying out for some sort of fighting show? You should start auditioning to HOST a show. Then you don't have to get dirty, bruised, or eat disgusting things. You've gotta revise your plan. And of course, you could always contact TLC and see about getting a tattoo from Kat Von D...

I guess before she replied, she took the time to read these entries, because her response was this:

Is there some kind of secret in connection to the amount of fried egg sandwiches you seem to be consuming?

Lordy Glordy... a tattoo from Kat is what dreams are made of.

Hosts of those shows are plasticized or created of some other man-made material. They are petite and perky. In case you haven't noticed, I am not. Along with having to get tucked, lifted and stuffed, I'd probably have to have a few ribs removed to fit the size-4 Lycra spun web of sluttiness. Participants on those shows on the other hand, are the wonderful freaks of nature that I more closely identify with. I'm not looking for the famous factor - just extra holiday spending money. I like being creative. I'll juggle my options.

So. I disagree (re the nip and tuck she thinks she requires, but then again, I know zip about being on TV), but I'll let you know when my friend can be seen on "Survivor" or "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

America's Next Top Annoying Model

Well, it had to happen at some point, and this week wasn't Heather's (though, what, she's won every "Cover Girl of the Week" thing, hasn't she? Or are they not doing that anymore and just keep showing the same thing every week?).

This is another one of those moments where I was pretty sure I knew what would happen in the episode, but because I didn't tell anyone, I get no credit for it. OK. That's fair. But I knew she'd be out this week. Why? Because with the exit of Lisa (my favorite from the start, until I saw Heather's photos), last week, these are the most annoying "Top Model" contestants of all time. She just didn't stand a chance. I know that the other models were crying "favoritism," and maybe they're right: Heather was, by far, in my opinion, the most beautiful model I've ever seen on ANTM. But more than Asberger Syndrome, I think Heather's problem was just that, in spite of being 21 years old, she's really a kid. She took amazing pictures, but her insecurities and inexperience kept her down.

I'm sorry to see her go. Now if only she'll get some life-experience and independence, maybe she'll really get to be a model, and not just another ANTM wannabe.

The Cure

Since technically this is a short week, and, thanks to all the recent holidays and me working the awesome 9/80 work schedule, I haven't really worked any five day weeks in quite some time - and therefore what I'm about to say is going to sound remarkably selfish, considering that there are people out there who either don't have the cushy work schedule I do or who don't have jobs, period... But I'm tired. It's only Wednesday, and tomorrow I have to get up early to be at a meeting downtown by 8:30, and hey, guess what, after that, I'm off on Friday for yet another three-day weekend... And: I'm tired.

What can I say? At 3 o'clock this afternoon I told my co-worker, "OK, this is what I want: a plateful of warm chocolate chip cookies. And I want to be eating them in bed, with a nice big glass of cold milk, a couple of kitties, and a warm blanket."

After my proclamation (read: description of paradise) my co-worker told me a crazy story about a cat she knew who once got out of the house when she was exiting it with a friend of hers. She completed the story by acting out the facial expressions of the escapee. Yes. There was more than one facial expression. That must be one talented kitty-cat.

Anyway, I'm sitting here on the couch, waiting for Patrick to be ready to go to Fingerprints to look for a birthday present for a friend of his, watching the Cure's appearance on MTV Unplugged. I'm not exactly sure how old this is, but considering that Robert looks fresh-faced and less pudgy than I remember him looking recently, I'm guessing it's from about 1994 or or maybe earlier.

They just finished doing "The Blood," which I have to admit, is one of my favorite songs. And now they're doing "The Walk." Love the kazoos. Puma and Franny seem to really be enjoying this, too. Well, if cats don't like the Cure, then they're screwed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Everybody Wants Some - Follow Up

[Originally posted Wednesday, November 21, 2007. Scroll down for update.]

So last night was the Van Halen concert at Staples Center. Patrick picked me up at work, and we drove down to the Wilmington Blue Line Station. It took us about 30 minutes (maybe less), but soon we were downtown, across the street from Staples. Cost us $2.50.

Neither one of us has been to Staples, so we walked around a bit. The opening band (some spawn of Bob Marley... Damian Marley?) went on at 7:30; that seemed like a great time to buy a couple of overpriced hot dogs and a couple of beers. We stood around and ate our dinner, people watched (the crowd was younger but not as hip as the people we saw at the Police show), and after the opening band cleared out, we went and found our seats. These are the seats Patrick "accidentally" spent twice as much as he intended. They were pretty good seats, and we had a clear view of the stage. The band wasn't tiny, and the screen behind them gave us a good view of the facial expressions. Seeing the camaraderie between Wolfie and Eddie was fun, and they looked and sounded awesome.

I realized that Van Halen with Sammy Hagar is easily avoided - and in fact, it's advisable to stay clear - but Van Halen with David Lee Roth is something else, entirely. I wasn't prepared for just how good Eddie Van Halen looked last night. He came out in camouflage pants, shirtless, with clean short hair, and he looked like a million bucks. David Lee Roth was a bit too metrosexual for me - throughout the night he switched jackets (beaded, shiny jackets), and I wondered when he adopted this highly obvious look. He sounded incredible, though, and musically, he did not disappoint.

So, after the concert, we headed back to the Metro station, accompanied by way more people than I expected. I think most of them were heading in the opposite direction, though, because aside from a band of Mexican kids, there was no one else in our car from the show. The trip was uneventful until the stop before we had to get off.

A young person (I thought it was a kid, a boy, but Patrick says it was a girl) got on, with her bike. A heavyset black kid stood in the doorway, before the doors closed, and was talking to her. When the doors closed, the black kid reached out and grabbed the rear tire of her bike. They were going back and forth, talking shit - at first it was just annoying, but I wasn't afraid. The driver got on the loudspeaker and told the kid to back away, but the kid didn't.

And that's when things got scary.

Patrick and I were standing in the area by the doors; I was behind him, close to the doors on the other side - the ones that didn't open. I never looked at the kid with the bike; I moved away when the the other kid started pulling on the bike tire. Patrick stayed where he was. This went on for a while - the driver again told the kid to get off, and now the other people in our car started telling the kid to get off. One person, a black lady sitting across from me, kept telling the kid not to be a fool. Then, this woman from the rear of the train came stomping up the aisle, and, I kid you not, she had, in her hand, her high heeled shoe. I'm not sure where she got it from - she had sneakers on her feet. Anyway, she got in the kid's face, and she had a shoe. Then, this quiet Hispanic guy who had been standing right behind Patrick the whole time - apparently he did something, because both the kids got off the train.

Now, I don't know exactly what happened. I didn't see anything. I was scared because altercations on the train in a sketchy part of town at 11:30 at night are scary. People were yelling, the kid seemed a little unpredictable, and there were no cops or authority figures other than the other people on the train. Patrick says that at this point (he was facing me) my face was all eyeballs. I was pretty freaked out. As we pulled out of the station, the kid slammed the doors and the windows of the train. Then the woman across from me said to a man sitting behind her, "Hey, if you're gonna show it, you should use it." I had no idea at first what she meant, until the man say, "Yeah, this is the wild west." And then she said, "No, I didn't mean it [probably seeing my freaked out face]. We don't need no more shooting around here."

I looked at Patrick, who was right in front of the man who apparently had pulled a gun on a couple of stupid kids, and I thought to myself, I am never riding this fucking train again.

Once we got to our stop, and got off, I walked us as fast as I could to the car, where it took me awhile to calm down. Patrick, a child of Venice, was laughing it off, but it took me longer to get over it. I was a little angry at him for not moving away with me, but he rationalized it by saying that everyone who scattered caused more panic. I don't know. Maybe.


The following is an excerpt from an email to my friend. I was describing to her the concert and the aftermath, we kind of got off on a tangent. I love tangents. I love people who make me feel funny. I do not care if you agree.

Patrick and I found out later we both had the same idea about what the newspaper article would say if the scene had erupted into something really serious: BLOOD BATH ON METRORAIL. COUNTY WORKERS KILLED IN GUNFIGHT INVOLVING MISCREANT YOUTH. Or, COUNTY WORKERS KILLED AFTER ROCK CONCERT. Or, MAN SPOTTED WITH GUN ON METRO. NO ONE HURT. WOMAN PANICS. FILM AT 11.

(No, they wouldn't print that last part in the paper, would they.)

As scary as it was, I wouldn't give up the image of that woman charging down the aisle with her high-heeled shoe in her hand for anything. It was almost worth dying for. And it was a white shoe, no less - and this, after Labor Day! The rules just do not apply to some people. I wish I had noticed if she also removed her earrings. Next time!

Tickets to the coolest reunion rock concert of 2007: $149, each
Amount saved by having the "good sense" not to overpay for public parking: $25
Cost of two beers and two hot dogs at the venue: $28
Cost of two tickets on Metro Rail: $5, roundtrip
Seeing a real-life cliché in full-on color: Priceless

I should send this in to American Express or whoever does those commercials, no? When they start hiring actors for the reenactment, would you like to play the part of the woman with the shoe? No, you're too tall and model-like (she was short and squat and couldn't look less like you if she tried). I know, you can play the part of the chick who said, about the man with the gun, "If you're gonna show it, might as well use it!" She was pretty cool: in all black, wearing black patent leather boots and a jaunty beret. Why I notice details like that is beyond me. Patrick thought she was at the concert. Could be. Demi Moore is already on tap to play me. She'll have to get a tan and gain about 50 pounds, but still -


Later she replied and told me that she promised to bring to the character of "Woman On Train in Beret" a bit of the wise-ass and fiesty attitude similar to that of "Willona Woods" from TV's "Good Times." Now I think I might seriously try to write this up. I see Oscar nominations in our future.

Friday, November 23, 2007



I guess I overate today.

Somebody log on to the Weight Watchers website and input all the food I've eaten today into their online tracker. I'm too tired.

1. Fried egg and ham sandwich on toast
2. 1/2 bag (approximately 3o) of Pepperidge Farm mini mint milano cookies
3. About a cup and a half of leftover greenbean casserole
4. About 1/4 cup of assorted nuts and raisins
5. About 2 cups of mashed potatoes
6. About 1 and a 1/4 cups of Bobby Flay's Country Bread and Sage Dressing (look! I found the link!)
7. Cheese and crackers (actually haven't eaten this yet, but am considering getting my ass up off of the couch and heading back into the kitchen...)
8. A Weight Watchers 2 point ice cream bar

One more thing that I am thankful for this year:

I can cook! I may have to start doing this more often, because you know what? I CAN COOK!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2:22 p.m.
Today we're having my family over for Thanksgiving. Included in "my family": my sister's friend Martina, who is sort of an adopted sister to me. Martina has been friends with my sister forever, and the two of them are very close - Angie is godmother to Martina's daughter, and my parents and Angie make many trips during the year to Sacramento, where Martina lives. I'm excited that Martina is coming - she's never been to our house before.

Preparation started on Monday. Since we knew we would be out all day at work and at the Van Halen concert on Tuesday, we wanted to get a jump on figuring out the dining table situation. We don't have a big dining room - in fact, we don't really have a dining room at all (and you can bet if we did, there'd probably be a drum set in it). Sometimes I eat in the kitchen, but most of the time we just (and I'm a little ashamed to admit it) sit on the couch in front of the TV. We have a borrowed long folding table, which, if we rearranged the couch and the loveseat, would fit in the living room - but getting 8 chairs around it and leaving each person enough room to actually eat wasn't going to work. So instead we took our awesome Ikea kitchen table (I've forgotten it's Swedish name, and I don't think they make it anymore) and unfolded it and then got our old kitchen table from our apartment, which I had forgotten about but which Patrick had, stowed away in the garage... and we managed to put the two together in a way that works.

I know, I know, long story about what? Tables? But that really was a huge issue for us, and now it's settled.

Last night I started the cooking. For the last few years I've been making a recipe for cranberries that I got from Ina Garten, over at It's super-easy, and yummy, and way better than that weird stuff that comes from a can. So I made that last night. And then, this year I decided not to stuff the turkey - I usually stuff the turkey using a recipe Patty gave to me, which is simple and easy to make, and delicious. But this year I decided not to stuff it, and so, in keeping with my Food Network theme, I found a Bobby Flay recipe (I can't find it on the website anymore, so if anybody's interested, email me) and made that last night. I plan on reheating it in the oven after I take out the turkey. Speaking of the turkey, that's also an Ina Garten recipe, and it'll be done in about 2 hours. We decided we wanted to eat later this year, at what was more a traditional "dinner" time.

I spent the morning cleaning, cooking, and setting up the table (ironing the tablecloth and napkins...), and now I am sitting on the couch with the laptop, watching an old episode of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. I guess I'm late to this party, because that guy is really funny.


Friday, November 23
Okay, so I had to get off the couch, because my parents showed up 30 minutes early. They caught me in my sweats and t-shirt, but they were super-excited to be here. I was really proud of the way I'd set the table and that I had everything under control. My mom got right to work, and started helping me wash some dishes, and my dad settled in on the couch with the remote (Patrick was finishing up something he had to do for work in the other room) and a bowl of nuts I'd prepared for him (my dad loves nuts. Don't all dads love nuts?). The cats were locked in my office (my dad's allergic, and also, it's not very sanitary cooking with them around: they're not very clean helpers). A little while later, Angie and Martina came by, with Martina's bowl of candied yams. They looked wonderful: she doesn't mess around with the mini marshmallows. I'm going to get the recipe from her - they weren't too sweet, but were delicious.

Later still, my brothers came over, and they brought a surprise guest: the dog. Patrick and my brother Dan got Goldie set up in the backyard, and my mom and I started preparing the potatoes for the mashed potatoes. I kept checking on my turkey (my brother works at Sur La Table, in Santa Monica, and last year he bought my mother a fancy meat thermometer - I've been jealously eyeing that thermometer for a year, and hoped she might "forget" it last night when she was packing up, but, alas, she didn't), which was golden and beautiful, but at that point (around 3:30 p.m.) only at around 160, 165 degrees.

Amazingly, dinner was ready at the time I was shooting for. Somehow the turkey was done about 30 minutes earlier than I thought it would be, but we were ready with everything else, so we were actually able to sit down to eat at 5. Everyone loaded up on food, the table was big enough, the cats got a few bits of turkey (Patrick bought them some special turkey-flavored cat food, too), and we all ate to our hearts content.

But before we ate dinner, Martina said grace, and asked us, around the table, to tell the family what we were thankful for. We gave thanks for each other, for the food, for our health and jobs and happiness, and I truly felt blessed and grateful for all the wonderful things I have. I hope your Thanksgiving was as nice as mine was.


This morning, we got up relatively early (9:00) and crashed on the couches and ate leftovers (I had a fried egg and ham sandwich on wheat bread; tell me you're not jealous) and watched two weeks' worth of taped "Ugly Betty" episodes. Patrick is playing with the Wii and I'm already planning to make the second batch of stuffing I should've made yesterday (we ate all of it: no leftovers!). No "Black Friday" shopping frenzy for us. Today is all about relaxing, the cats, and maybe a nice nap, soon.

Photos later. I think I'm still in a turkey-induced haze, and should avoid operating technology. The laptop is the only exception.

"The Bald Soprano"

To read the terrific reviews:
Los Angeles Times
LA Weekly
Backstage West

Information, reservations, photos:
City Garage Theatre

Monday, November 19, 2007

Irene the Bean-Ology

[I've really been wanting to do another one of these lately; Patrick's cousin Adrian had this one posted on his MySpace page, and I decided to recreate my own version, here. Enjoy. Would be totally cool if Julie could do the same on her blog!]

Let others know a little more about yourself; repost this as your name followed by "ology."


Q: What is your salad dressing of choice?
A: 1,000 Island

Q: What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
A: Fatburger, Pink's

Q: What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
A: For some reason I'm having a hard time answering this one. Used to be Cora's in Culver City.

Q: On average, what size tip do you leave at a restaurant?
A: 15-20%

Q: What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of?
A: Corn, popcorn, garbanzos, turkey sandwiches on ciabatta bread

Q: What are your pizza toppings of choice?
A: Pineapple, or mushrooms

Q: What do you like to put on your toast?
A: Butter and strawberry jam


Q: What is your wallpaper on your computer?
A: Stewart Copeland, looking hot

Q: How many televisions are in your house?
A: 2


Q: Are you right-handed or left-handed?
A: Eat, write: left-handed. Practically everything else, right-handed.

Q: Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
A: Well, there was that alien abduction...

Q: When was the last time you had a cavity?
A: Couple of years ago

Q: What is the last heavy item you lifted?
A: I rearranged the living room furniture, and pushed everything away from the walls so I could vacuum. Not exactly lifting, but still.

Q: Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
A: No, but I fainted once. I had just given blood at the VA Hospital, and was sitting down at the table drinking my orange juice and eating a cookie. Drew was with me, and he was doing his homework, as usual. Apparently I stood up and said (I don't remember this), "I don't feel good" right before I fell in a heap on the ground. I came to with a roomful of nurses and Drew all looking down at me. Fun!


Q: If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
A: Hell, no

Q: If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
A: Valentine

Q: What color do you think looks best on you?
A: Blue

Q: Have you ever swallowed a non-food item by mistake?
A: Is this a serious question? Because, seriously...? Wait. By mistake....? No.

Q: Have you ever saved someones life?
A: No

Q: Has someone ever saved yours?
A: No


Q: Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100?
A: Maybe. No tongue.

Q: Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000?
A: No, way. Little fingers are hard workers for flute players.

Q: Would you never blog again for $50,000?
A: (I actually sat and thought about this for awhile!) Yes!

Q: Would you pose naked in a magazine for $250,000?
A: The magazine would never make back what it spent (because it would have to hire a team of highly qualified makeup artists and Photoshop experts), but sure.

Q: Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1,000?
A: Only with a team of doctors standing by

Q: Would you, without fear of punishment, take a human life for $1,000,000?
A: No


Q: What is in your left pocket?
A: I'm taking a break from cleaning the house. I have a rag in my left pocket.

Q: Is Napoleon Dynamite actually a good movie?
A: I have no idea. I've never seen it!

Q: Do you have hardwood or carpet in your house?
A: Wood

Q: Do you sit or stand in the shower?
A: Stand. I'm not 80.

Q: Would you live with roommates?
A: No

Q: How many pairs of flip flops do you own?
A: At least 4

Q: Last time you had a run-in with the cops?
A: Got pulled over (speeding) twice earlier this year

Q: Who is number 1 on your top 8?
A: Uncle Pauly, soon to be replaced by Magnolia Thunderpussy (sorry, Pauly!)


Q: Last Friend you talked to?
A: Pauly

Q: Last person who called you?
A: Bo

Q: Last person you hugged?
A: Patrick

Q: Last person to stick their foot in your face?
A: Not sure that anyone has ever stuck their foot in my face


Q: Number?
A: 2,3, 9. You didn't ask, but 12:34 is my favorite time, day or night.

Q: Season?
A: Fall


Q: Missing someone?
A: Sometimes

Q: Mood?
A: Busy. Leg is asleep.

Q: Listening to?
A: The Who

Q: Watching?
A: Bull Durham

Q: Worrying about?
A: Thanksgiving


Q: First place you went this morning?
A: Target

Q: What can you not wait to do?
A: Eat

Q: What's the last movie you saw in theater?
A: Ratatouille

Q: Do you smile often?
A: Yes

Q: Are you a friendly person?
A: I try...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Can't Stand [Meeting] You, Part 2

Yesterday I had my second celebrity encounter of the year; it went much better than the first one, and yes, I did manage to get a photo.


Did you know Elmo's real name was "Ben"?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Response to the question, "How do you like them apples?"

[Context removed to keep things interesting.]

I don't understand your questions, sir. Was this addressed to me?

...them apples seem fine, though, personally I prefer Fiji apples (or is it Fuji? I always get them mixed up); my father knows, amongst his "friends with weird names," a guy named Fuji (also in this group: Wing and Junk - these guys call my dad "Flash," or at least that's what he told me when I was a little girl. I believed him, but now I'm not so sure), which doesn't really explain why I get confused by Fuji vs. Fiji, but still, it's a nice story, with a trip down memory lane and a nice, happy ending, isn't it. No, wait, we haven't gotten there yet, have we.

("Junk's" real name is "Chauncey." Cool, yes?)

And, whereas the phrase "timing is everything" has gone a long way toward explaining my life's journey and the side-trips I have and have not taken, having you in the booth with me on November 17 and 18, 2007, will cause me to double up on my antiperspirant application and ensure that my breath is fresh, and that's about it. As I'm sure you know already. Well, and it will require me to know just what the fuck I'm doing.

Ah ha! The happy ending! It has been found! Joyous applause, everywhere.


I took a math assessment today for a class I want to take. There are several components (or "modules" as they are referred to) and unfortunately math is one of them. I didn't even try to study - math has never, ever been my strong suit.

(Just a question... what are my strong suits...? Oh, yes now I remember...)

Anyway, there will be no grade or repercussions for my idiocy (no hanging, no public flogging), just, depending upon my performance, I will either need to take either just one, or two, math classes. We weren't allowed to use calculators or anything, but were provided with scratch paper, upon which, among all my ridiculous attempts at calculation, I drew my infamous little clock, and wrote these words:

"I suck at math."

Then, forgetting all about it, I went about the task of wildly guessing the answers to questions I haven't seen the likes of since, I don't know, 20 years ago. Once I completed the test, I turned in my scantron, my test booklet, and my scratch paper. Upon which I had written, "I suck at math."


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Heroes marathon

Patrick's not feeling well, so he's sacked out on the couch. I just ate a delicious dinner that I made myself: chicken salad on ciabatta bread, with my favorite side of garbanzos and corn, and a small bag of baked chips. And now I'm watching the second of the third episode of Heroes I recorded.

I've heard some grumbling about this season of Heroes - but I can't agree. I think it's just as good as last season, except maybe for Maya and Alejandro, who I could live without. Mr. Bennett is so hatable, but Maya is just a fool.

I think it's funny that the hapless science guy from "Sneakers" is now Bob from the Company.

"My voice is my passport?"

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Attitude adjustment

I realized a couple of things this morning while I was in the shower, listening to "Jenny," by Tommy Tutone and singing along.

1. I gotta start listening to more music and less NPR.
2. I'm taking a break from my flute lessons, but I miss them. I think this is a serious mistake, but one that I can actually fix. I'm busy for awhile, but as soon as I get my head on straight, I'm going back to my old schedule, if I can. I miss it.
3. Everybody fucks up. I don't know why I'm being so hard on myself, but I'm going to try to stop it. You all probably don't know what I'm talking about. But I do.
4. I'm going to stop accepting the crap my work is handing me. I'm not that old. I can change. I can learn. I can do something else. I'm good but I'm replaceable. I like the sound of that.

Okay, so maybe four things is two things too many to be a "couple." But. I feel way better today.

Perfection overrated.


Can't write this, in detail. Just: remember how I like to play myself off as being a flake and a free spirit? I know, I know: nobody's buying it, Irene. But I like to pretend to be that way, at least here, where I know that when you read it it might sound more believable in your head than it does, you know, in my actual voice (I've been saying "actual" a lot lately, haven't I).

The point is, I'm not. I'm not a free spirit. I am a flake, but it's also because I'm a procrastinator. Yes, this is a that list. Anyway. See, I'm a human being, yeah? I mean, it might say "...the Bean" in my blog title, but truth be told, I'm not a bean. I'm a 35-year old person who will soon be 36 who feels old and a little bit, um, OLD. I'm someone who makes mistakes. And lately, I might be making a lot of them. Lots and lots (and no, I will not be making a list of them to go with this list. What, am I talking crazy tonight? Yes?). See, and I guess I think that "flakes" and "free spirits" make mistakes, but the difference between them and me - the difference between THEM and ME - is... I imagine that they don't care, that they make a mistake, learn from it, walk away carefree, and either don't commit the same mistake again, or they do, and they shrug it off.

I've not been doing much shrugging, lately (read: ever).


I've had to pee since about 20 minutes ago. And now? I think I'm gonna go do that.

Good night.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Skinny jeans

The other night when I was in Santa Monica, I went for my usual Jamba Juice before rehearsal (though I think I'm gonna switch out my Citrus Squeeze at Jamba for hot chocolate for this chocolate joint that's on the corner of 4th and Santa Monica... had some last night after the opening of "The Bald Soprano," and that hot chocolate kicked ass). While I was sitting there waiting for them to make it, in walked this guy.

I've never seen this particular guy before, but I have definitely seen his counterpart, many times, around town. You, too, have seen this guy. He had his longish dark hair in his face, bangs brushing his eyebrows. He was on the phone. He was wearing a grayish t-shirt that said something that, if you said it outloud in company, people would look at you like you had pink smoke emanating out of your ears. I don't remember it, exactly, obviously. He had a black studded belt on, and that belt was about 4 inches wide. He was on the thin side. And? He was wearing black skinny jeans and Vans.


So being as non-judgmental as I possibly can (but honestly? I'm pretty judgmental. Get over it), and remembering that I am probably at least one generation beyond this guy's experience, I just want to state, for the record, that skinny jeans only look good on A. Girls B. Thin girls C. Girls sporting Pat Benetar hairdos or girls who look like Edie Brickell.

Skinny jeans on guys just doesn't do it for me. Unless it's 1982 and your name is Terry Bozzio, please, for the good of everyone who has to look at you, leave the skinny jeans for the chicks.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Jelly Donut

Someone brought in donuts today, and I scored the only jelly one in the box. It was pretty good, and went quite well with my diet coke. The only thing that would've made this breakfast more memorable would've been a cigarette, and I haven't done that in years. Ironically, in the days of a cigarette (or two. or three) and a diet coke for breakfast, I weighed about 20 pounds less than I weigh now. How does that work? Well, I was also about 7 or 8 years younger. I was working in Beverly Hills ("the land of milk and honey" - I was listening, non-stop, to Blind Melon and Radiohead, and reading Philip Roth's "The Human Stain" for the first time. I still had the Celica. Stewart Copeland was less old, and very good looking, as usual, of course) at Rizzoli Bookstore, for an inept manager who surrounded herself with staff who were quite possibly criminally insane. The one good thing about that job was the weekly trip to either Rite Aid for Thrifty ice cream, or 31 Flavors, with Bo, when we'd ditch everybody and disappear for a half hour or so. We did have fun, in spite of the manager and her posse of nutjobs.

Anyway, so I'm sitting there, eating my donut, which, by the way, the donut-to-jelly ratio was skewed in favor of donut - I was disappointed, but only just a little; when my co-worker stopped by my desk. She started telling me a long rambling story about the bagel she had the other day from this place called The Bagelry, which she bought in the morning but didn't eat until the evening (dry. She eats her bagels dry. Which, I must say, gives you quite an insight into this woman's hang-ups). It was a fascinating story full of rich color and vibrant characters. Anyway, her story reminded me of going to Dana Parmet's house after school in the 8th grade, and hanging out in her kitchen. In the 8th grade I possessed pretty much the same skills in the kitchen I have now: can opener, popcorn, etc., but I rarely had the need to make anything more complicated than a bologna and cheese sandwich (the thought of which grosses me out now. Let's not think of all the bologna I've eaten in my lifetime - !). Dana, on the other hand, had more experience in the kitchen. Her specialty was bagel pizzas. I think maybe I ate my very first bagel, ever, in her presence, in her kitchen, in the 8th grade, sitting there at the table waiting for her brother Barry (on whom I had a crush) to come home (another crush in the 8th grade: Eric Taylor, which had started the year before. Eric was tall and funny and blond and blue eyed and beautiful, and walked by my homeroom every day on his way to class. Informing me of Eric Taylor Sitings was a fun game for my friends, who claimed to see him everywhere. I was less lucky. Barry was short and brunette and funny and sarcastic and smart; he looked a little bit like Jason Bateman. Eric looked like my own personal Jesus).

Dana's bagel pizzas got us through quite a few afternoons. It was a weird relationship, mine and Dana's. She was a year younger than me, and sometimes kind of got on my nerves, but she could be a lot of fun, and really, she was a very nice person. I'm sure my crush on her brother wasn't her favorite part about me, either. She and her brother were in band, but Barry, a year older than me, was in high school. Dana played the flute, like me. She and I would work on stuff together, but I wasn't really qualified to be her tutor. I liked those moments, though. I think I did help her a little, but she didn't seem to be into it as much as I was. The playing, I mean. I think she liked the tutoring. Barry was quite a musician, and a bit of a sarcastic jerk, but as the years went on, we did become sort of friends. Unfortunately, I think I did to Dana in the 11th grade what my friend Shira did to me in the 6th, and I sort of stopped hanging out with her, for no good reason. While Shira ditched me to actually run with the actual popular kids, I think I thought my other friends and I were destined to "become" cool the minute we became seniors. I had a rather exalted view of seniors, before I actually became one. I'm not proud of this. I'm certainly not very cool now, and I definitely wasn't then, especially in the 11th grade. It surely didn't happen overnight when I stepped onto campus as a senior. Unless sleeping through class and ditching fifth period makes you "cool." If that's the case, well, then: maybe I was and I didn't know it. I do miss her, actually, and now I feel like a jerk. I would love to hear about her life now and her family, who, for a while there, I got to hang out with on a regular basis.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


On Monday, I brought a new pencil sharpener to City Garage. The one they had has been guzzling pencils for the last four or five shows, at least.

Charles got out his electric drill, removed the old one, and installed it before we started the run-through, and then before we started (I was sitting in the audience talking to Martha, the AD), he said to me, "I was so excited about the new pencil sharpener, I sharpened all the pencils!" (He didn't sound like a dork in real life; just in my head, and only just now. Under normal circumstances, Charles is about as far from "dork" as I am from "genius.")

I said, "Wow, that's great! Tell Frederique she can thank me later."

(Do you get it? Because I thought it was really, really funny.)


Earlier this week my co-worker told me she was considering going to see Slash from Guns N' Roses at a Borders in Torrance. Her funniest line: "I've been exercising my 'wow' all day!" Here's my response:

Have fun with Slash! You'll probably have an incredibly interesting and erudite conversation with him and wind up singing backup on his next solo album (the scenario I envisioned with Stewart Copeland; except for me it was all, "Irene the Bean and Stewart Copeland will be debuting his Solo for Flute and Percussion at Walt Disney Hall…" Ah: dreams. Who would I be without my Walter Mitty moments?)...


The funny thing about Slash is, I always imagine that if you were to remove that stupid hat and brush aside all that crazy hair, peeking out at you would be... Juan Epstein.


I've been thinking about the writers' strike a bit this week, and had the idea of writing an email to Spike Feresten. I've been sort of mentally (you know, in my mind) composing the message, and planned on asking him why late night talk shows need writers. What's wrong with the idea of just sitting there and talking to somebody? Terry Gross does it all the time on the radio, doesn't she? And Larry King (just because I find him incredibly annoying doesn't mean he always sucked at his job)...? Anyway, I've been sitting on this for a while, and then this morning on NPR, I heard them talking about how when the last strike happened 22 years ago, Johnny Carson had this same idea and actually did it. Now, 22 years ago, I wasn't really a hip enough teenager to be staying up late enough to watch Johnny Carson or Letterman on a regular basis, and if you'd told me then that those guys had writers, I would've been totally shocked. I probably thought that they were, like my cousins Miles, Dominique and Stefan, and my friend Missy's older brother Todd and his friends Greg and Ernie, just spontaneously funny. Todd, Ernie and Greg used to call me "Mickey Mouse." <--Not an example of just how funny those guys were. Also, Todd was a hell of a trumpet player.

Anyway, now we have to just sit tight and see if they go for it.


Tonight I carpooled to Santa Monica for rehearsal with my friend Bo (look up "carpool" in the dictionary and you will see a photo of me... behind the wheel. Because I always fucking drive), and because we were a little worried about traffic and the time, Bo made me drive in the carpool lane. I hate the carpool lane, and never use it. My hands were so tight on the wheel and my windshield is so dirty right now, by the time I got us to Santa Monica, I was totally stressed out. Luckily Bo cracks me up about once every 10 minutes, so you know, it all works out in the end. Plus, going to his house gives me an excuse to go to the 7-11 gas station, which I, for some inexplicable reason, am in love with.