Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Secret Name

Earlier this month, I saw my niece (she's 8, in the 3rd grade) at my brother-in-law's house. She was very excited because she'd been assigned to do a "diorama" on the Little House books (Patrick says they're not called dioramas, but isn't that what they are? it's when you make a 3D display of a scene from a book, usually placed in a shoebox. Right? I don't know, that's what we called them when I was little). The library didn't have the first one, Little House in the Big Woods) so she did Little House on the Prairie instead. She illustrated the scene Mr. Edwards describes of running into Santa Claus in town during a big snowstorm (remember? when he has to hike through all the snow to bring the girls their presents, which are shiny new metal cups of their very own?) with one of her old Barbie horses and some stuffed Santa. Anyway, I told her when she was ready, to give me a call and I'd bring her Little House in the Big Woods.

Over the weekend, she called and asked for it, and I dropped it off on Sunday. On Monday, we got a message from her. She's all, "Hi Aunt Irene, I just wanted to know if you had a secret name, what would it be? And I want to know if, can you be in a book club because I have no one to be in it with? Okay? So, bye."

Last night I called her back, and said hell yes I'll be in your book club (okay, well, I didn't say it quite like that). I asked her what her secret name was; I wasn't quite sure what she was getting at, and I'm not sure why we need secret names but I'll go for it. Now I have to think of one.

She said her mom told her that because I'm so busy, what we should do is each one of us read a book, then call the other once a month and tell each other about it. Anyway, I've been thinking about it, and for one thing, Stacey called it: I am busy. But reading a book and then telling my niece about it sounds like the funnest thing I've ever been asked to do. And then I get to hear her tell me about her book? I would almost pay money for that. So sweet.

I think she was surprised because when I was over their house, I was all up on my Little House trivia (I asked her, what kind of dog was Laura's dog, Jack?" She didn't know, but I did!). Maybe she wasn't expecting an adult (who, me?) to be so interested in something that interests her.

I can't wait. I think the thing to do is make sure I know what book she's reading, read it myself (or re-read it...) so I can ask intelligent questions. Our first telephonic meeting is this Saturday - we're going to choose a name for our club, and tell each other what books we're reading. Oh, and I have to come up with a secret name. I have a request of my one reader (hi, Julie!) - if you think of a good secret name for me, tell me. I need some help.

I can't wait for that phone call.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Julie has tagged me, so I now I have an assignment. I'm supposed to come up with six idiosyncrasies. I've been thinking about this a little bit for a couple of days, and I think I've come up with exactly three. I'm sure Patrick could name a few more, but I'm having trouble.

Anyway, here are my idiosyncrasies. If anybody thinks of any more, send 'em in.

1- I like relish, but I don't like pickles.

2 - I hate telephone books. Patrick, for some reason, likes to stockpile them. If I don't stay on top of it, some day I'll open the cupboard door, and there are like 12 of them in there.

3 - I can't eat alone without something to read. No book or magazine? I'll buy a newspaper. No newspaper? I'll read anything free with words within reach. I always have a book or something in the car. And it takes me like a week to read one days' newspaper, because I read all of it, during lunchtime only. All of it: the sports page, the business section, all of it.

4 - And on that note, I've been known to read the Lysol can (and other similar handy objects) while in the restroom. Public restroom with no spray cans nearby? I'll see how many words I can make out of whatever's in there with me, usually the toilet seat cover box. How many words can you make out of "PROTECTO"?

5 - I cannot stand Oprah, Larry King, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, Andy Rooney, Rachel Ray, Giada De Laurentis, or Huell Howser.

6 - I can't stand the following words or phrases:

"good times"
"it's all good"
that sound people make when they think other people are being "catty"
"shout out"
"mad skills"

Saturday, January 27, 2007

An Actor Prepares...?

My friend Bo, before the show. He plays Menelaus, and does a wonderful job being a bad-ass. He's a good actor, because most of the time, in real life, he's a bit of a clown.

No, wait, I don't mean that the way it sounds. He's terrific.

The other photo is of the feet of my friend Paul. He too is terrific. I'm blessed with good friends, aren't I? He runs the place some of the time, writes a lot of stuff, works hard onstage and off, and is generally (do I mean "generally"?) indispensable to the theater. He's also "Ask Paul." I hope he doesn't mind being shown here. Guess I could've asked him, but where's the fun in that?

He got hit with way too much flash in this picture, but I like the sort of half-smile he's wearing here. His feet are my way of saying, listen, even the feet - even the floor at City Garage has character.

P.S. Dude, get a haircut.

Maybe this is a good time to remind you that IPHIGENIA closes next weekend. So get off your butt and get down to Santa Monica to see it.

Tonight's Pictures of Me

My friend Paul took this one and the next one, at the theater tonight. This is me, in the light booth. Patrick wondered why you can't see more of the light booth. Well, it's pretty small. Paul took the photo from below - you have to step up about 4 steps to be where I am, and there's not a lot of room to maneuver. Maybe Sunday I'll have him take another.

The light board is right behind me. It's not very large... maybe the size of a 3 regular-size computer keyboards. One night it did this really wacky thing on me, before (thank God) the show started. Not sure if you can see, but there's a teeny tiny light attached to the board. It's got some kind of wiry, bendy thing, so you can move it. During the show, I use that light and another goose-neck lamp on the wall by the audio equipment (to my left in this picture, not sure if you can see it). Anyway, one night (before the show, thank god) I needed to move the teeny tiny light. That's the one that shines on my notes (I wondered, the other night, if I could do the show by heart, and I think maybe I could, now). So I nudged it a little with my finger.

Nudging that light was a BAD idea, because somehow (and I hear you saying, Irene, there's no "somehow" in electronics) that caused the board to shift into the next lighting cue, and took the thing out of the right mode, WITHOUT my touching the "go" button.

Needless to say, that freaked my shit out. I got it all back to normal in time for the show. But you bet your ass I didn't touch anything on that board other than the "go" button all night.

Self portrait in car, after dropping off Bo. We carpooled tonight. I enjoy carpooling with him more when he drives.

This one was taken while in line at El Pollo Loco. I found out minutes after taking this photo that they were out of ice cream. Needless to say (have I been saying, "needless to say" a lot?), I got out of line and drove to another Pollo Loco. Because ice cream? Totally necessary tonight.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Franny's been spayed

I picked up Franny from the vet today while on my lunch break. I took her yesterday morning to be spayed.

God, I missed her in that one day she was away from home! Anyway, I took off a little early from lunch to pick her up and settle her in at home. She sat in my lap while I ate my lunch (her favorite, a turkey sandwich. Of course she had some, too) and now she's sleeping on the chair in the office with her teddy bear and a blanket (and shaved tummy... she's had a hysterectomy, which seems funny to me, because she's only 7 months old! Never to be a woman, and no longer a little girl, could Britney Spears write a song about her?). I have to take her back in 4 days to get the pain patch thing removed. And then in 2 and 1/2 weeks to take them a stool sample: fun!

I wish I could stay home with her but I have to get back to work. If you saw the stack of stuff I have to do today... You would know that this week I definitely earned my money.

Oh, and there are only 19 days until we got back to Colorado! I can't wait (except... if I missed Franny this much in 24 hours, how much will I miss her in a week and a half!?).

[Photo added at 12 a.m. Dora is taking good care of the kitten, isn't she!]

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Day I Stopped Watching "Gilmore Girls"

Well, it had to happen someday (didn't I use those words elsewhere in my blog this week?)... After something like six years of watching "Gilmore Girls" and not-so secretly aspiring to be Lorelai Gilmore (minus the 21-year old daughter), last night I taped GG and watched only 15 minutes before stopping the thing and deleting the episode.

Yes, I was tired (and therefore punchy).

However, in my defense (I may have also been menstrual), the show sucked. After being off forever, they return to... Rory coming home from visiting her punk-ass boyfriend in London (and she still has those goddamn bangs, and the Prius from a hundred years ago. Hello, all the cool kids are driving the Civic Hybrid), and she finds that Mom and Dad (newly married, remember?) have refrained from celebrating Christmas, denying Dad's other little daughter (Lorelai's step-daughter) from celebrating Christmas (and, this child apparently still believes in Santa Claus, so what horrendous lie did they tell her, anyway, and do you think that qualifies as child abuse? And if so, if I call it in to DCFS, will this show GO AWAY?). Anyway, Lorelai and Rory (party of two) dig up all their hundred year old Christmas crap (one box was overlowing with that paper garland stuff you make, you know, with a stapler, and I want to know: what kind of people re-use that? I mean, you make it, you staple it together, and come New Year's Day, you throw that shit away), and talk about their very precious Christmas traditions, and pull the "oh, Christopher, you don't know anything about what we do, so don't come to us with your crappy nouveau riche velveteen Christmas stockings and rain on our Christmas parade."

Argh! I mean, fuck, the guy's your dad, your husband, and he's living there, and he wants to participate, so would you PLEASE ACCEPT HIM INTO THE FAMILY ALREADY? God they were both annoying the crap out of me, and this is only like, I don't know, 10 minutes in.

Then sometime later (time seemed to pass in strange ways during this episode), we're at the Dragonfly, where Lorelai still pretends to work, and Luke shows up, practically in tears, begging her to write a character reference for his lawyer. He needs it for when he takes Sherilynn Fenn to court to sue for some kind of partial custody of his daughter, which is fine, but I don't know, why does Luke have NO other friends? It's a small town, and he's the town grinch, but come on. Maybe he could've gotten Jess-the-small-press king to do it. I mean, the guy's a writer, is he not?

Anyway, I watched about 10 seconds of beautiful Lauren Graham struggling to write the letter (while Sookie slaved over a hot kitchen. Lorelai seems to be going to work merely to get dressed in pretty clothes these days) before I stopped caring about anyone and everyone. Oh, there was a scene in there with a very pregnant Lane harassing the diners at Luke's (who must go there for the salt that gets poured in their wounds by either Luke or Lane) but I refuse to write about it anymore than I just have, because... This. Show. Sucked.

And now? I am FREE! Free of Star's Hollow and Rory and her dumbass friends with their dumbass nicknames for people (Boyfriend!) and fucking Gramma and Grampa and Logan and Taylor and oh, my god, no more goddamn Kirk, and Pat Sajak the dog (whatever)...

Hooray for me!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Short List


1. Finish the never-ending laundry. Not sure how I'm going to accomplish this; but it must be done. Maybe will have to enlist the help of Franny the kitten.

2. Practice more than once a month. Seriously. My flute teacher wrote these words on my sheet (it's the reminder page she writes out with stuff for me to do on it) last week: "Practice! The World Deserves It!" Pretty cool, no? And she believes it. So, hey. Whatever tiny part of the world that hears me play the flute better watch out because I'm going to start practicing. Tomorrow, though, 'cause it's way too late now.

3. Watch more movies. The last movie I went to the theater to see was "Little Miss Sunshine." It was terrific, but had already been out for like 4 months by the time I got off my ass to see it. There are a ton of great new movies, but we never go. Honestly, I think we're too cheap, and that's just wrong.

4. Drink more beer. I've started drinking Newcastle again, and I think I'm hooked.

5. Be better about keeping the house clean. I've made this comment about my mom's house: "You could eat off the floors." Normally I follow it with, "But why would you want to?" because I've been pretending to be a slob. But actually, and this was proven by Damon in the 10th grade, I'm pretty damn uptight. And what are uptight people? Uptight people are clean (or they should be; messy uptight people tend to be suicidal. It's been proven in studies). So if I want to embrace me as I really am (the me I am today, not the me I could be tomorrow) I gotta take the uptight by the hand and make it make me clean my bathroom more than once every six months.

6. Remember that I can be funny! This post may not be an indication of my sense of humor. Or it may be an excellent indication of my sense of humor; I'm not sure. I'm very tired, you see, and it's been a long day.

Prom 1990

OK, so my friend Julie posted her prom photo on her blog (click on the title, and you will see what I mean; by the way, GREAT HAIR Julie! You really knew what you were doing with that curling iron! I paid someone for my Cher hair, and had to come home and flatten it out before prom because I looked like a fucking valley-girl, which would be okay, I guess, if we'd lived in the valley), and I figured since I took down all the pictures from my now-defunct Yahoo! blog, I could maybe get away with re-posting my own prom photo. Also, maybe I never told the (mostly boring) story of my prom night. Nobody's fault, but we just weren't the type of kids to go crazy. Oh, well, maybe we were, but I think we had our own schedule for stuff like that: group activities like the prom weren't really our scene.

So here's the story. Me and Adam have known each other since Mrs. Smith's 5th grade class. He was a little punk-ass smart kid, and I was developing my slacker tendencies. I went to his birthday party, and wore this horrible outfit that I can't even bring myself to describe. His mom served sloppy joe's. I didn't know him very well.

He hadn't shot up to the height he is here (tall, man! and I'm wearing heels!). Tall is good, just in case you're wondering.

Junior high: we knew each other, were friendly, but (sorry if I'm totally remembering this wrong, Adam) but not exactly friends. We were in band together. There were other boys I couldn't talk to as easily as I could talk to him, but those were the boys that interested me at the time. It took awhile, but I eventually learned my lesson.

High school: we had a lot of friends in common. Jay, Damon, Sean, Josh, Rachel, etc. We were still in band. Total geeks (well, I guess I should just speak for myself). He lived across the street (the big street, not the little one) from me and at some point in our high school lifetime we started walking to school together. These were the days he used to listen to "The Wall" on his Walkman. I recall biking to school myself, but not sure if we did that, too. We left our hand/footprints in the freshly poured cement when they re-did the bridge by our neighborhood. At some point he made me a mix-tape.

In the 80s, giving a girl a mix-tape meant only one thing, and if you don't know what that one thing was, well, you weren't a kid in the 80s. Also, if you don't know what a mix-tape is, go read a book or something.

I loved that mix-tape.

I wish I still had it. It was decorated and written in his cool writing, and very sweet. I can remember only a couple songs (Adam, write a comment if you can remember any of the other tunes on that tape, because it would be fun to recreate a play list for the two people who read my blog):

"Best of Times," by Styx
"Got My Mind Set on You," by George Harrison

Anyway, that mix-tape kind of came at me from left field, because up to then, I was used to me liking guys who either didn't like me (or know me), or liked me but turned out to be, oh, I don't know, rapists, or drug addicts or something. Or engaged. Me and Adam had known each other forever, and I had no idea you were allowed to like someone you were actually friends with. Adam was in all the smart-kid classes (since I slept through all my AP classes in the 10th and 11th grades [or drew pictures of Sean], I figured out that I didn't want to work that hard anymore by the 12th grade), and the smart-kid classes were full of the pretty girls with pretty hair and pretty clothes, who were in sororities and had cars, and oh my fucking god, I'm sure my life was not a John Hughes movie. I just didn't have any kind of self-awareness in those days, didn't know where or if I fit in anywhere. I knew I was smart (if very lazy), and that I could sometimes make people laugh (people other than Melissa, Michelle, and Rachel - we had fun, didn't we), but I was still too awkward around boys to understand that laughter breaks all the barriers.

So one thing led to another (I don't remember the exact way it worked. We must've discussed it, but ? I don't remember) and we were a couple. Senior year was fun, because he was fun, and had good taste in music, and took me to shows (Firehose!), and to Mama Pajama (a funky little coffee-house/vintage clothing store) for the coolest open-mic nights that a couple of high school kids ever went to, and he put up with my teenage girl emotional problems, and inability to learn to drive. I think we had a lot of fun, actually.

Around this time I met up with Patrick, at my job as a page at the local library. Patrick was 22, and - I have to say it because it still kind of blows my mind, as it did then - apparently in love with me. He was also a little bit scary looking, and did I mention how old he was? I was very happy to be able to say to him, "I have a boyfriend!" The three of us were sort of friends, and Adam and Pat actually wound up playing music together (Patrick had some evil plan to befriend my boyfriend and then make his move. It took awhile, but in the end, it did kind of work).

Adam and I went on road trips (again, how I got away with this is totally beyond me), and hung out in the park, and played flute and clarinet duets (he could count better than I could), and ditched school to watch Mr. Rogers, and went to the drive-in, and the Marina, and the library parking lot, and the movies, and the arcade to play Tetris and Centipede. We went to orchestra rehearsal (the LA Jr. Phil), and were still in band together. He wore plaid pants or shorts with a different Fishbone t-shirt almost every day. He had this really soft paisley shirt from the Gap. He wore Birkenstocks and made me laugh. He never ever commented on my clothes which were probably atrocious. And we had no plans whatsoever to go to our prom.

Then his mom found out about it, and she got involved, and Adam was set because he had a tux for the orchestra, and she somehow managed to borrow this kind of ugly off-white dress for me (strapless! I had never worn strapless anything; and haven't since) from someone at her work, and the person who loaned it to me allowed me to alter it (it was too big and too small in certain key areas). I bought some cheap-ass shoes, some pantyhose, and a strapless bra. I got my hair done. I wore lipstick and the world's biggest glasses. And he picked me up in either his mom's red Datsun/Nissan or his own beige Chevy Citation with the Colorado plates and the KXLU sticker (I can't remember which car he had at this point), and we posed for all the requisite pictures (there are actually better ones than this one, but I like the reflection in the window). He bought me a very beautiful red wrist corsage with a sparkly ribbon thing and a minimum of baby's breath (I despise baby's breath), and it was actually a little bit romantic.

Our prom was absolutely nothing like anything I had imagined. There was no live band. The music sucked. It was 1990: music sucked in 1990. It was held at the LAX Hilton, a truly disgusting hotel (since remodeled and quite nice; my in-laws had their 50th wedding anniversary there). The food was awful. I felt self-conscious and unpretty and kept worrying that I had lipstick on my teeth or that I would trip in my heels. The popular kids were dancing their weird dances and acting like assholes. Afterwards, we went to an after-prom party at this kid Charlie's house. I forget where we told my mom and dad we were going. In any case, it wasn't memorable in any way, shape, or form. I don't know what Adam was expecting; I remember being tired, and falling asleep on the floor.

So anyway, nothing lasts forever, because eventually we graduated, yes, even me, with my 42 truancies in 5th period (thank you, Mr. Girls-Basketball-Coach/History-Teacher for not failing me). Adam and his folks had moved to another part of town: near the Trendy Contemporary New Age Furniture store... we still saw each other of course, but he was getting ready to head off to college, and I was making plans to, um, work at the local bookstore and take a few classes at SMC or West LA.

And then off he went to college, and that was that.

[There's a story about a trip I made to his college with Sean and his girlfriend that is rather memorable for it's sheer awful-ness, but I'm not gonna tell that story now. For one thing, it's a hundred years ago and doesn't really paint anybody in a very nice light, except maybe Sean. And for another thing, I'm telling a nice story, not a shitty one. And for another thing, it turned out that what happened had to happen and if I could make it not happen, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't. So there.)

And we're still friends, and Patrick and I went to his wedding (where Patrick uttered the most awesome words my man has ever said in my presence, which were: "Thank you for leaving Irene for me," which, by the way, he said in the receiving line after we shook hands with the new married couple), and he and his wife came to ours, and all is right in the world when you can still be friends with people like that. I grew up with Adam, and that's no small thing, knowing the people who knew you when you were young and stupid.

And thin.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I received the following message in my Yahoo inbox. I've copied and pasted it below for your enjoyment. (Control-V seems to be playing an important role in my life these days. I'm not going to explain that actually, but will just tell you to be careful when you "copy" and "paste." Pay attention.)

Anyway, re: the following message. I don't know what to say, except, why would anyone in their right mind A) reply to such a message, and B) WRITE such a message? I realize that English is not everyone's first language. I get it. But the text below kinda screams wacko to me, and I hope to you too. I mean, who hasn't seen those stories on TV about lonely women falling in love with some guy on the Internet based on a photo? And then it turns out that the photo is some model who had no idea his image was being used to lure people into online "relationships" they end up literally paying for? I mean, jeez. I'm sorry people are so naive. And I'm kind of sorry I'm so cynical.

And I mean, god, spelling and grammatical errors aside, just what does this person want, anyway? Video? Pictures? To be my "friend"? Honey, I have friends, thanks.

(Several hours after posting this message:)

I've had some time to look up the dude who sent me the following message (the message came through via my now defunct Yahoo! 360 blog, so it was easy to link back to his page). He has 27 friends, all of them, um, let's just say, zaftig. They're big girls. And kinda slutty. But it all seemed sort of stupid and totally un-sexy. I'm wondering what it was about my photos or blog that led him to believe I might fit in with his other "girls" (I mean, yeah, I could stand to lose 10 pounds but "Emmanuelle" is not listed in my "Favorite Movies" list). Anyway, fuckin' creep. What is it with people?

Here's his message:

very important for the pretty queen hello pretty queen ..i was very lucky to see your profile on yahoo your pic attracted and excite me soo much ...ohh iam sorry my name is Ahmed iam 37 years old , bussines man from Dubai ,single, i wish that you add me to your yahoo messanger and to join my dear freinds who gives me cam shows and of course it is payed ones as i do pay for each 1800$ + special Gifts per month for 10 shows each show is 30 minutes and they do recive money throw western union so i wish that you do accept to be my freind add me in your yahoo messanger... [email address deleted by Irene the Bean]...and we will be both lucky but if you are not intrested then ignore that message and we will lose both of us but belive me you are lucky to recive my offer ...[Guy's name deleted by Irene the Bean] - Dubai

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Top Chef

So, last night I didn't watch everything (I DVR'd it, though, and will watch when I get a chance), but I did see the second half, which is where all the action was.

Really, I couldn't believe what I was watching. It almost seemed like a set-up. When I turned it on, I didn't realize that Ilan was filming when Elia shaved her head. I even said, "who's filming that?" Because then when he shaved his head, I figured she was the one holding the camera. I knew something bad was going to go down, and in Marcel's direction, but I never would've imagined it would've gone that far. Cliff was stupid but Ilan, Sam, and Elia (my precious Elia! Damn, girl!) fucked up too. Didn't look like any of them got the talking-to they deserved for just sitting there. I mean, what's up with that? Were they so wasted they couldn't help him? And then for Marcel to apologize to Cliff later - that was unbelievable.

OK, so here's a couple of comments I left on Harold Diterle (last season's winner)'s blog on Monday. I'm posting them here because, I don't know, I like what I said, and I'm glad I said it before I knew what was going to happen.

Irene wrote:

The judging on this show is just so unfair. Gail and Tom are completely unlikable. Their comments are never helpful, and come off as accusatory, every time. On Project Runway, when a designer fails, the judges never really seem to lose faith in that person as an artist. Here, it's a total hanging at the judges table. Needles to say, watching that is no fun. Only Ted Allen has any air of fairness and thoughtfulness, and he needs to be on more. And I'm not sure if it's true, but Padma's opinions seem to flow with what the rest of the group says. These chefs are mostly just being slammed. The thing with Marcel is ridiculous. I wish someone would stand up for him (Elia, what's up with that?). I'm not sure any of these people deserve to win. I love Elia, but the Marcel-baiting isn't proving that they (Sam, Cliff, Ilan) have the maturity to handle running a business, and watching them melt down into spite and petty childish acts only makes me like Marcel more. They may be talented chefs but this show is proving that they will crack under the pressure of real life, if they can't handle the unreality of this reality TV show.
posted on January 13, 2007 at 1:24 PM

Irene wrote:I just wanted to add one more thing. Harold called the guest judge's food "dog food," which I took to mean, food you serve TO dogs, not food made of dog. I understand that there could be some sensitivity there but perhaps a little closer reading of Harold's original comment would show that he was dissatisfied with the guy's product, not bashing him because of his nationality.

posted on January 13, 2007 at 1:46 PM

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And so continues my new neverending fascination with Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner

Last week's "One Punk Under God" was really sad. I guess it was filmed in the summer, and so I'm taking comfort in knowing that "Celebrity Death Beeper" hasn't notified me of anything bad having happened to Tammy Faye, but boy, by the end of the episode, I had to go check to make sure she was still, you know, alive.

During this episode, Jay was over there, visiting with his mom before the move to NY with his wife, and she (Tammy Faye) was doing an interview with some guy, and in the middle of the interview, she had to stop because she couldn't breathe. I mean, she was sitting there on her couch in the middle of her very middle-class looking living room, with her eight tons of makeup on, the tiniest person, ever (smaller than Nicole Ritchie), and she was holding on with both hands, to her composure, to dignity, to life, to God. She seemed afraid, but not-afraid. In her weakness she seemed, I don't know, not resigned to whatever's next, but up for it, in some weird way. Like she knows she doesn't have to go through it alone. Maybe all that is bullshit, my own dream of what a real born-again Christian would think at what is probably the end of their life (because it's the opposite of how I imagine I will be), but wow, she totally had me in tears.

And right there in the middle of her living room, with the Sundance cameras rolling and the guy sitting there (granted, I think he was from some religious publication), without any kind of warning or "excuse me while I pray," she closed her eyes, did the palms-raised-to-heaven move I've seen my own mom do thousands of times, and started praying to Jesus to heal her body... speaking to him like she was on the telephone. No - speaking to him like she was sitting at his feet and he had his hand on her head.

I'm telling you, I was pretty much a mess at this point. I mean, I couldn't talk. Actually, I couldn't talk right now, and I'm sure this post is going to be extra-gooey sentimental, and I'm sorry, if I don't write about it all cleverly and to the point. Can't do it.


I am so lucky. I am sooooo lucky my own mother made it through chemo and radiation, and all the shit she went through last year. My own mother who believes in the same guy Tammy does, who prays the same way she does, who maybe didn't go through the same exact shit she did in life, but still - my mother made it, and I am so lucky, and thankful.

If you click on the title of this post, you will be taken to Tammy Faye's official

Monday, January 15, 2007

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to do

Wait, did I misquote that...?

We've done absolutely nothing today. This is the most glorious day in my recent memory:
  • I took a shower.
  • I ate lunch.
  • I ate several (you know, several: more than ten) Oreos.
  • I played with the kitten.
  • I read a little from my book (The Ghost Map).
  • I read Television Without Pity's recaps of all of last season's Top Chef episodes.
  • I played a game of online Sudoku at
  • I ate.
  • I watched the guys making our new redwood fence in the backyard finish (they did a great job, and yes, I did feel slightly guilty for doing nothing while they did something but in the end, I had another Oreo and forgot about it).
  • I Googled "harold dieterle," "stephen aspirino" and "tiffani faison."

Oh, and I appear to be coughing up little tiny bits of blood. I'm not going to think about that anymore, though.

I slashed my ankle shaving in the shower and now have a hand towel strapped to my leg with rubber bands because we ran out of band aids. Fucking cheap-ass single blade razors. What was I thinking? Oh, and it's not like I've never cut myself in that same exact spot before, either, so I'm sure the scar will be extra thick and yummy.

I also listened to Dr. King's speech on NPR - they've been playing a recording from an appearance of his at a temple in Hollywood back in 1965, and I've been thinking about that quite a bit, but I think I'll leave the details out of this silly blog entry.

It's nice to have this day off to chill and re-charge and just stay home from everything; I haven't forgotten why I'm here, though.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ted Allen Should Replace All Three Judges On Top Chef

While I seriously doubt that online petitions effect any change in this world, here's something totally silly that I am behind, 100%; because, well, if you're going to get behind something, why not make it something totally ridiculous?

We've been watching Top Chef since Harold Dieterle won the first season. Last season wasn't perfect, but this time around, it's even worse. I mean, I don't know, maybe chefs just aren't nice people. Maybe lack of sleep does turn everyone into backstabbing, petty, tantrum-throwing jerks. What do I know?

Anyway, I've developed a serious dislike for the judges this season, and would love to see all of them get thrown under the Top Chef bus. These people should not be called upon to judge a peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich making contest. They suffer from the same malady as Rosie O'Donnell, Katie Couric, and Donald Trump: they take themselves way too seriously. Except that, the accomplishments of Rosie, Katie, and The Donald trump (get it?) the accomplishments of Gail, Padma, and Tom: I mean, they have at least some excuse. This season's Top Chef (and I'm not even talking about the total circus that breaks out whenever the cheftestants have to actually interact with each other) has just been dismal.

The best episodes have been the ones that have Ted Allen taking the place of Gail Simmons. Gail may be a nice person in real life (again, what do I know) but on this show, she has her nose in the air and a look of disgust on her face the entire time, and she seems to consider herself an expert on everything. Tom seems to let his preconceived notions get in the way of judging things that don't go the way he thinks they should go fairly, and Padma, well, don't get me started on Padma. I think all in all, I prefer Katie Joel.

Can't believe I just wrote that.

Anyway, so there's this online petition (click on the title of this post) that seeks to install Ted as Top Chef's "Tim Gunn," relieving Tom of the need to spy on the chefs backstage during the challenges. "I am not here to mentor anyone," he says on his blog. Well, good, because it's pretty clear that you'd suck at it. Ted, on the other hand, who treats everyone fairly, and critiques the work of the chefs with integrity and dignity, would bring a level of class to this show that it's totally lacking.

Oh, and please accept my sincere apologies for the typos in the comment that I left on the petition's website. It was an accident.

P.S. I forgot to add Kelly Ripa to the list of insufferable famous people who think people care what they think or do.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Let this be a lesson to you!

Tonight was our first show since the holidays, and all went well. However, as I have developed

\\The Cough//

I was a bit anxious about making unseemly noises in the booth.

So after work, I zoomed home and took my medicine (Entex LA), threw on more layers, and headed off to the wilds of Santa Monica, where the weather tonight is 44 degrees. Not freezing, but it feels like it could be close. I also threw into my pocket, my little liqui-gel packet of Nyquil.

OK, so Nyquil makes me sleepy, and I knew I didn't want to be sleepy in the booth, but I also knew I didn't want to be coughing, and

\\The Cough//

doesn't care if I'm driving, in a meeting with my boss, or what. \\The Cough// lives to make me stop breathing. \\The Cough//'s only joy is to make me make the hacking sound - the oh, so lovely hacking sound that my co-workers recognize even if they cannot see me (yesterday, I was hiding out in the restroom, coughing \\The Cough//, sounding as if I'm about to expel a lung, and this very nice woman, two stalls down, said, "Is that Irene?" She identified me by my fucking \\The Cough//).

All day long people have been leaving me little gifts of cough drops on my desk, not knowing that the drops make \\The Cough// only stronger. \\The Cough//, it laughs at your "cough" drops.

\\The Cough// sucks.

So I took one of the Liqui-Gels (C), thinking one might just prevent me from hanging myself, put on my Dickensian gloves with the fingers cut out, and got into the booth to run the lights for a show I haven't seen in something like six weeks.

It could've been a disaster. But those performers are good, and they did an excellent job, and it was a great show.

Me, too, man, I did a good job.

Then, on the way home, I was feeling fine, but I started getting drowsy, and the discussion about the new Apple iPhone, on KPCC, was interesting, but not quite interesting enough - so I switched to KLOS (usually a fatal mistake), but Jim Ladd has a theme, and tonight's theme is apparently songs with the word "bad" in them. (Who sang that "She's a bad mamajama" song? Bet you won't be hearing that on KLOS tonight.) Anyway, the song playing when I switched over was by the Grateful Dead, and now, I understand.

Thanks to the pharmaceutical assistance provided by 1/2 dose of Nyquil, I now understand the Grateful Dead. I believe the song Jim was playing was "Two Miles of Bad Road," but I could be wrong. It was one of those songs that's really two songs (two, two songs!) in one, and I forgot the name of both of them.

All I know is, I felt that song. My hands on the wheel felt that song. My left foot, pressed up against the little foot rest thingy, felt that song. My eyes, focused on the back end of the car in front of me, felt that song. It was amazingly beautiful.

And then I thought, Oh, shit, am I having a psychotic episode from NYQUIL?

What a lightweight I am.

And the funny thing is, I saw the Grateful Dead, at Cal State Dominguez, with Adam, sometime in high school, and while I guess my lack of fun time can only be blamed on myself, it just wasn't my scene. Truthfully, I am not a hippie-chick. (However, there was this girl, Lisa Jackson, who I knew in the 9th grade. She was sort of scary-nice, and for about two weeks, she sort of took an interest in me. She was a senior, I think. Anyway, she tried to get me to go to a Dead show with her, way back then, but I knew my folks wouldn't go for it. For one thing, she had long dreadlocks and smelled like patchouli. They would've known something was up. But I've always wondered if going with her to that concert - or anywhere - would've changed my life at all. I doubt it.) So here I am, many years later, having a breakthrough moment on the freeway, not far, actually, from the site of that very concert, and finally, finally I got it.

I'm just happy that I got home safely, and in time to blog again. I'm sure we're all glad. Heh, heh.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I'm doing it again... eBay here I come!

Click on the title of this post, and you can see the four eBay auctions I have going.

Seriously, I want to sell these so I can go to DSW and buy some new ones.

I also spent a good deal of time today working on my Amazon Wish List, so I'm posting it here, too. As obnoxious as that is.

Also, just as a reminder: after taking a hiatus for the holidays, IPHIGENIA will re-open at City Garage this Friday (1/12), and will continue running every weekend until sometime in February. Meaning... you still have a chance to check it out. I haven't asked for any nights off yet, so most likely it's gonna be me in the booth. It's a very good show, and I recommend it. But don't take my word for it, read the reviews on the website.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Spike Feresten

We just started DVR'ing this show, and I am in love with this guy. He's really funny. His show is on once a week, and it's only a half hour - you'd think it was too short but 30 minutes is just long enough. I think they're operating off of the "leave them wanting more" principle, and it works. I mean, we've all sat through the super-long, super unfunny SNL segments, grinding our teeth and itching to change the channel, but there's none of that here. He's good. Check him out.

He's totally wearing lip gloss in this photo.

Click on the title of this post, and it'll take you straight to the official website.

Saturday nights on Fox, after Mad TV.

Early to rise, early to bed*

(Actually we stayed up until 10 last night, watching "Iron Chef America." Then, once we turned out the lights I couldn't sleep. I also couldn't breathe. My nose is totally stuffed. And when it's not totally stuffed, it's totally running. It's not a good scene, here. Oh, and once I finally did fall asleep, I had a weird dream about living on a boat. And my dad was making counterfeit quarters.)

Today I got up early because I have to be downtown in two hours to take a test. If I do well, I could get a promotion. I wouldn't have to leave the job I've only been at one month, though: they could just promote me.

I have no idea what's going to be on this test. They provided no study materials or even subject matter. Since I'm still sick, I don't really care. I just want to get it over with, with the least amount of coughing and nose-blowing possible. And then I have to go back to work, but we'll see. If I'm feeling like crap it would be nice to just go home.

This weekend we all went to the Castaway in Burbank for my brother's birthday. If you haven't been there, drive up. There's an amazing view. The food was fine... we went for brunch, which in my opinion, was just OK. Then again, I'm not a huge brunch fan. The place was very crowded, and I'm also not a fan of weaving through people's outstretched legs and oversized purses in the aisle on my way to the food.

Anyway, I'd better go. I have to finish getting ready. I used to work downtown, near where I'm going to take this test, but I haven't been there in a long time, and I have to remember how to get there from here (cue R.E.M.'s "Can't Get There From Here").

*And seriously, if that title doesn't have you humming the theme to "Alice," I don't know what I'm going to do with you. You can, "kiss my grits," I guess. Oh, and click the title. You won't regret it.

Friday, January 5, 2007

The Big Apple

I think I've mentioned before the big caramel apple we get every Christmas? It's from Williams-Sonoma. My sister-in-law's brother and his wife started giving it to us several years ago; it's awesome. It's this huge apple, dipped in caramel and chocolate and then almonds - it's delicious. The apple is actually the best part - it's always so crunchy and yummy. The only thing is, you have to take it out of the refrigerator an hour before you want to to eat it, to make it easier to cut.

I can never plan ahead that far, so we end up eating half the apple at like 10:30 at night.

Hey, check the time: gotta go.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

One Punk Under God

Patrick and I have been watching this show on the Sundance Channel, called "One Punk Under God.: It's pretty entertaining. I grew up watching Jim and Tammy Faye with my mom on TV. I had their kids' album when I was really little, and I really liked it. In fact, I'm bummed because I don't know what happened to it. But then my mom started dragging me to church with her all the time, and making me sing in front of people, sometimes dressed as a cowgirl (I swear I don't know why I had to wear a cowgirl costume; however, it's not the outfit that's the problem. It's the fact that I was actually singing in front of people. "Let the Sun Shine In," was a big favorite of mine. You can hear somebody with slightly more talent that I had singing it here), and she would have people in these weird store-front churches [usually next door to vacuum repair shops] lay hands on me for problems I didn't have, and it just got all weird and uncomfortable, and I hated it.

Don't get me started on Pioneer Girls, or Vacation Bible School... Being dragged somewhere I didn't want to go, doing things I didn't want to do (mostly because at Pioneer Girls, they made us play games before the Jesus stuff kicked in, and I sucked at dodgeball) didn't make me want to buy what they were selling. It was just so not cool.

I mean, when I think about it, I realize that all this stuff was new to my mom, too: she'd been Catholic all her life, where they avoided touching her - touching her physically (my mom was lucky) or touching her heart. She was looking for something different, and boy, did she find it. She's settled into a church that's not as wacky as some of those first places we went to, but yeah, they still stage the Crucifixion every Easter: you can always see some guy dressed as Jesus with a fake crown of thorns, walking down the aisle of the church with fake blood dripping out of his side. I mean, it's still out there. But it's not supposed to be acceptable to me. I have to find my own thing, or determine whether or how I even want it.

I'll tell the truth: all that Christian stuff bugs me. Really, really bugs me. I distrust those televangelist people, and because of their mistakes and what looks like hypocrisy, it's hard for me to take any of it, even the sincere people. And please don't even get started in on religion + government. I turn away from it. I don't like discussing it, because I feel like I always take the defensive side, even if that's not how I really feel. I don't like having it foisted on me (unless the person doing the foisting is Anne Lamott. When it's her I'm pretty much on board. But her last book was disappointing), some medicine that will save my ruined life.

And then, you know, in spite of "having faith," sometimes my mom seems to not have a whole lot of peace. And it seems to me, I mean, if you believe as hard as she does, you should have a little peace from it. But I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. I mean, I don't know how it really works.

I used to make my mom mad, because whenever she said something I took as "judgmental," I would "remind" her (with what was probably a really annoying manner) what the bible says about judging. I used to tell her: You don't know what God thinks. You don't know what God has in store for you, or me, or that person: you don't have the authority to tell me that I'm going to hell. Or that because people don't believe as you do, those people should be converted, or argued into submission, made to believe what you believe. She used to get really pissed off, because there I was, telling her that her faith wasn't good enough for me.

So the thing is, we've been watching this show. At first I wasn't sure how I was going to like it. I mean, the only thing punk so far about Jay Bakker is his look (his wife is a really interesting character on the show, and very pretty). The show basically has no soundtrack (or else I've been too busy listening to him talk to the music... on the Sundance website, his bio lists his favorite music, and there's not much punk listed there). Anyway, last week he made an announcement... he told his church, his financial backers, his father, that he doesn't believe that homosexuality is a sin.

It was interesting to see that the immediate result was that his church lost pretty much all of it's funding. I'm waiting to see if he can back it up - if he can make it, thinking these inclusive thoughts and saying things like this - or if he's going to be beaten down and silenced. I want to see him fight this one out, and succeed.

I'm not sure about him still. I mean, I'm not jumping on the bandwagon just yet. But I think I'm getting close. This guy really seems to have an attitude about religion, something I've always been drawn to, in spite of my wanting it to look like I've rejected it, that's kind of attractive. I don't know. Don't expect me to get all weird about it. In fact, I hope to not mention it again. I guess the thing is, I have preconceptions about it too. And they're based on my experiences, but that doesn't mean that I'm judging it fairly: "it" being - God, Christianity, religion. I mean, I could be wrong about it, too.

I have to really think about it - just because I had a crappy experience when I was nine doesn't mean that's what it is now. Or that I'll stop saying "fuck." Or that I'll be unafraid. Or change.

I don't know. We'll have to wait and see.