Saturday, September 29, 2007


Excerpts from some emails I wrote yesterday:

Irene the Bean to Paul (10:04 a.m.):

Hey, Paul, is "Max Molina" a stage name?

Irene the Bean to maxmolina (10:09 a.m.):

Max are you sitting in an Adobe Acrobat 2 class right now? Or is it your twin?

I'm feeling so twilight zone right now...

Irene the Bean to maxmolina (10:24 a.m.):

His name is "Hector" and he winked at me. Impostor!

Paul to Irene the Bean (11:07 a.m.):

Did you just see the name? Or did you go to the class and it was totally him and he pretended not to know you?

Irene the Bean to Paul (11:15 a.m.):

No, he winked at me (!) and I thought it was him, but then I saw the name ["Hector"] and now I'm tripping. I am so confused. In profile it's totally him and the facial expressions are perfect. Guess it's a replicant.

Irene the Bean to maxmolina (2:05 p.m.):

Max, I have to apologize. If it's you, and I'm totally shining you on, I'm sorry. I'm having a mental block with facial recognition today! If it's not you, well, I've been giving some strange guy a weird half-"hey dude, how are you?" smile all day.


At the break, right after I sent the above message, I stepped out into the hall to go buy a Diet Coke, and I stopped and talked to Hector. First of all, I never do stuff like that. I learned well the message, "Don't talk to strangers." And maybe I'm shy (you think?). Anyway, turned out that Hector wasn't Max (of course), but merely a very nice guy who looks just like him.


Irene the Bean to maxmolina (bcc: Paul) (3:28 p.m.):

(As if you didn't already know) - It ain't you. Spoke to Hector the Impostor at break and we figured it out. Turns out he said I look like his friend Max's ex-girlfriend. Max! Who knew it was such a common name? Well, sound like a line to you too?

Did I mention? I'm having a very strange week.

All the best,

Friday, September 28, 2007

From the "Stupid Things I Could Like, Totally Get Behind" Category:

Read this diatribe on the stupidity of "LOL."

I've been mounting my own private battle for awhile now (by "battle" I mean, "refusal to use." And since nobody cares what I don't do, I'm sure nobody noticed or thought about it! But I did!), and I'm glad to know I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE.


Bad week, for me. More later, if I feel like writing it all down. Will just say that someone at work overstepped their boundaries and it caused my hackles to rise. Yes! I have hackles! And after my hackles were raised, I have pretty much written this person off as overpaid-incompetent-technically-deficient-not-the-setter-of-my-priorities-not-my-boss and therefore someone to whom I need pay the least attention. Make your own Excel documents, my friend, because you just lost your little assistant. Nope, no time to help you solve your stupid computer problems; you'll just have to figure out where you saved your file yourself.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Active for Life!

This week my department started a program called "Active for Life." Designed to get employees off their butts and to encourage us to increase our activity, I was "volunteered" by my boss to participate in planning and coordinating the department's participation (I'm not doing it all by myself; a co-worker is actually doing it with me; we are officially "Co-Directors" of this event).

We went to a meeting a couple of weeks ago, and truth be told, it's a pretty cool program. If I'm a little less than enthusiastic, I guess it's because in the last couple of months, as my assignments get more complicated and require me to work with others in the department, I'm finding that getting what I need, when I need it, is totally an uphill battle. Everyone really delights in throwing up roadblocks or withholding information - delaying completing their assignments is truly an art form that my co-workers have perfected. They're also experts at making excuses, passing the buck, and ignoring repeated requests for status.

To make sure that my department participates as well as the rest of the department at large, I decided that I would be the "team leader." There are about 80 employees in my department, but I figured that participation would be limited to less than 15 - a manageable amount for a team. Yesterday morning I sent out an email invitation, to see who might be interested.

Coincidentally, yesterday I received an email from somoene else in my department inviting me to join a committee called "Women Empowered!" I'm not a big fan of committees; I'm also not a big fan of superfluous punctuation (that exclamation point pissed me off). Along with the email, they sent along a flier that didn't really explain exactly what the point of the committee was; I'm assuming it's an excuse for women to meet and... well, honestly, I don't know. I wondered if it was like the women's group in that book "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" - they learn the art of self-defense and examine their genitals in order to take back their feminine power.

Honestly, I was knocking "Women Empowered!" quite a bit, and joking about it with my co-worker, Andrea. There was a lot of giggling going on there.

She sent me this message in response to my "Active for Life" email:

so you opted for this instead of W.E.? you're like a committee junkie. do you need a brochure? help line?

My response:

I did not "opt" for anything. I am not a joiner, Andrea! Half the people on committees were "volunteered" by their boss, don't you know anything? :-)

I would probably much prefer to burn my bra with a bunch of man-hating, hirsute, whiny broads than monitor the progress of my fellow lazy-ass co-workers.

I'm glad that in spite of having a ton of shit to do, I still have my sense of humor.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Halfway to Cleveland, Plus "365 Days/365 Plays"

In the 80s and 90s, my husband Patrick was in a free jazz band named "Halfway to Cleveland." Led by a saxophonist/flutist/cellist/provocateur named "Doc" (last name unknown), "Halfway to Cleveland" played some crazy, spacey, not-of-this-world jazz.

Their concerts were always in some sort of make-do place; an abandoned house, a house under construction, a vacant lot somewhere. They rehearsed a lot but the music had a decidedly unrehearsed sound - Doc's leadership involved a lot of staring, a lot of steering, and a lot of audience participation. If it seemed like a free-for-all, it surely wasn't - the direction was always deliberate, but free from constraints. Over the years, Patrick has shared with me some of Doc's teachings on improvising; I wish I had gotten to meet him. The music was free, but it wasn't free. If I'm describing it right - I only got to hear them live once, in 1989 or '90, with Adam, in a vacant lot in the Venice canals (these days I'm sure some multi-million dollar home stands there); this was a couple of months after Patrick and I met, I guess. It's possible he still liked me, but he was shy, so who knows. The concert that Adam and I went to was, for me, a trip - I wasn't familiar with any kind of jazz, really, let alone jazz of the "free" variety. It was just space music, to me, performed by aliens, and I'm sure when we left that concert, that I was totally freaked out. It didn't help the out-of-this-world feeling that the only light shining that night came from the moon and this huge mushroom shaped lamp that sat on the ground between us and band - it looked like a tiny spaceship landing there.

Tonight while I was at the theater, Patrick went to a birthday party for David, the guitarist of "Halfway to Cleveland," and was given a VHS tape of one of their concerts. We're watching it now. The music is exactly as I remembered it. It's funny to see Patrick from 18 years ago - thinner, with shorter (but still long) hair. My goodness he had some skinny arms. (You can't tell in the video, because obviously he's sitting down, but I remember him having [and he still does, of course] these amazing calves - he played double bass drum and I guess that gave his legs quite a workout. They were impressive.) He's playing a lot of stuff with mallets and brushes. He's wearing funny sunglasses and a blue t-shirt, black shorts, and white socks. The rest of the band is totally wearing what guys in a band in 1989 would be wearing... high waisted ripped up jeans, enormous eyeglasses. Doc was older than the other guys, and in the video, he brings in some audience participation - at one point he passed out various books and objects, and gives people a microphone with which to read out loud, whatever passages struck their fancy. One beautiful girl (in an outfit I'm sure I had in 1989 - black leggings, a gray t-shirt, and a big over-sized green cardigan) reads from the side of a caulking gun (this concert is in a half-built house somewhere; there were probably lots of building materials on hand). At some point the camera catches someone's big yellow Labrador walking through the space. The audience was a mixture of hip young people and slightly older people, with one white-haired lady for good measure. She had a wonderful speaking voice, and Doc hit her with a lot of delay and effects while she read from what sounded like some sort of new age self help book. Other people read bits of the newspaper or from the other books. The words weren't always clear but the sounds of their voices worked with the other musical things that were going on.

Other than all the MTP shows I got to see when they were still playing (in their "reunion" concerts a couple of years ago; MTP started the reunion craze!), I hadn't really seen Patrick play drums since the concert that me and Adam went to - the one that blew my mind. I wish I hadn't been such a scared-y cat - it looks like this stuff was a lot of fun.


Before tonight's performance of "Quartet," City Garage did their version of Suzan-Lori Parks' "365 Days/365 Plays" - Week 45. This project is the realization of Suzan-Lori Parks' decision to write a play a day. There are various theater groups participating, and I suppose someone could conceivably see all of them (but I don't really know...). Honestly, I was only interested in seeing what Frederique would do with this material. Some of the plays, which I got to read last year, were very short, very minimal - I couldn't visualize what they would look like. My favorite performance was from my friend David Frank. There was one wonderful, long moment in which he stood at the front of the stage with the rest of the company behind him. To tell you the truth, I wasn't really sure exactly what they were up to - I couldn't take my eyes off of him. He didn't say anything, but his face and his expressions were beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen him that way before. I can't describe it, really - I don't know what technique he was utilizing, if any, or how to say what looking at him made me feel. But I'm glad I got to see it.

(The funny thing is, I'm pretty sure this performance from David was in no way dictated by the material. I'm sure that it was all him, all Frederique. That's the reason I love going to this theater, even though I'm pretty much a theater novice. I'm learning, though.)

Tonight was to be closing night for "Quartet," but we've been extended through October 21st, with a one week break through next weekend, starting up again on Saturday, October 6. I'm glad for the break, but I'm also kind of wondering how I'm going to fill up my weekend, next week. Well, I'm sure we'll think of something.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Ice Princess," plus another story from my past

Not sure if you remember that about a month ago I found myself laying on the couch, watching "Ice Princess," a Disney movie about a high school physics whiz who finds out that she's also a beautiful and talented figure skater.

It's on again.

However, in my defense! I changed the channel. I feel no need to watch that movie twice. Instead I am watching the first episode of "America's Next Top Model," which I DVR'd last night. Is that better?


OK, I lied. I did watch ANTM, but then it ended. Now I'm watching an old re-run of "Designing Women." I really do like Annie Potts.


So I came up with the title of today's post without really thinking through exactly what story from my past I would share. I know that real writers write outlines and plan out their stories, and hey, that works for some people. But I'm not kidding myself: I'm no Philip Roth or Jane Smiley. The writing on this blog is meant to amuse and entertain me.

Now that we've got that straight...

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago to my friend Paul, sort of in passing and while we were being silly, that my mom had once taken me to a faith healer. We were at the theater and there were other people around and also talking to us, so I didn't go into it. Now I've been thinking about it for a while, and maybe I can tell the story now, in a hopefully slightly amusing way.

It is amusing, though at the time I was mostly mad, and embarrassed. After my mom decided to quit Catholicism, she started going to a whole range of new churches. They were mostly Baptist, and some of them didn't even have a building. My mom's friend Shirley Baker used to host a service at her house, and me and Shirley's daughters Emma and Kim would hide in their room, waiting for the moment when Shirley would call us in to help pass out the cookies and punch.

Then Shirley decided to move back to England with her daughters, and my mom was on her own again. It was tough for me, too: Emma was my best friend.

After that, for awhile we went to this church that was upstairs from a vacuum repair shop. I hated going there. There was something about it that I just couldn't get past. Yes: that something was the fact that it was upstairs from a vacuum cleaner store. Yes, that something was the fact that I was afraid people from school would find out about my mom's weird church. I know this sounds terrible, but I was just a kid. I didn't want to go to church - any church. And I'd spent nine years in Catholic church where not much had been expected of me. Now there was a lot of really enthusiastic singing, a lot of fire and brimstone, and a lot of speaking in tongues. I was a bit freaked out.

Every once in awhile they'd bring in a guest speaker. Sometimes it was someone who was just visiting, to share their testimony with us. Sometimes it was a visiting pastor, there to share the pulpit (there was no "pulpit." Nor were there pews. There were folding chairs arranged in a semi-circle). Sometimes it was someone who could "heal."

I'd seen a bit of this on TV - my mom watched Praise the Lord all the time, and Shirley Baker knew people. I'd seen the whole, "by the power of the name of Jesus! I heal you!" business, and thought it was weird. Maybe it scared me a little. And then? My mom decided that I needed "healing."

See, I'm pigeon-toed. Always have been. When I was little, I wore the ugly brown shoes, but other than that, my being pigeon-toed didn't really affect me much. Lots of kids are pigeon-toed, it's no big deal. Erica Heckman, my best friend in elementary school was more pigeon-toed than me, and she was the fastest runner in school. Oh sure, Chris Schaffer, Clint Love, and Brett Manuel made fun of the way I walked, but Chris, Clint, and Brett made fun of the way I breathed. I'm pretty sure that had I been graceful and beautiful as a child, those three would've found something to make fun of. As it is, wearing glasses and funny shoes just made me an easy target.

I guess I should be glad that my mom found something physically "wrong" with me that needed healing; I'd seen some crazy exorcisms on TV, and I'm very glad my mom hadn't decided that it was my soul that needed healing.

So... one Sunday the church had a visitor who specialized in the "laying on of hands."

I'm not exactly sure how it all happened. I just remember laying on a table, with some man looking at my legs, and he decided that my legs were two different lengths. Nobody had ever examined my legs, and I'd never noticed a problem - I'd never noticed a problem because it wasn't true. I'm not saying this man's heart wasn't in the right place: I don't know who he was or what his story was. But that guy decided he knew what was wrong with me, and he thought he knew how to fix it.

Besides him, there were other people standing around me, including my mom. Following the healer guy's lead, they all started praying - in English, and in "tongues."

Look, it's not my thing. I don't believe it is what they say it is, but I don't know. It doesn't scare me, and I don't really think it's funny. I'm not making fun of it. I don't know what it is. But I do know that my legs are perfectly the same length now, and they were then. I know that I'm still pigeon-toed, and I know that other than embarrassment and a strong desire to be someplace else, I didn't feel anything that day. Was I healed? What do you think?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I just want to know:

When am I going to get used to being so busy at work? When am I going to stop cherishing that hour I stay late after everyone else has gone home so that I can work, unmolested (yes, I did say "unmolested")?

I know people are busy. I know everyone has hard weeks at work. I know there are way more stressful jobs than mine and people who do harder things for longer periods, yes. I know. I'm talking about my week, though, and it's been hard. It was hard, last week. It will continue to be hard. So when the fuck is this shit going to end? I mean, I can handle being busy for a limited time: I much prefer being busy to being bored, any day. I hate having nothing to do. I will admit that I love being a little bit indispensable. But Jesus Christ! I need a fucking break! I can't do it with no goddamn end in sight! And with all the interruptions, changing gears every ten minutes, following up... it's just a bit mind-spinning. My mind spins. Maybe I'm a bit goofy right now: I will admit to not really being myself. But at work I think I've been handling it, mostly. Except for those moments when I can't handle it, mostly. Am I making any sense? No? I think I've contradicted myself several times already...

I've just been so tired, lately.

I don't know what came first, to be honest. Am I tired because my days at work are stressful? Or am I stressed because I'm tired? Monday, I think Patrick was really worried about me: I was pretty down. So what'd he do? He took me to Home Depot, and to Target. And he put up this hook thing I've been wanting, for my bags and belts and stuff. And he helped me with the laundry. And tonight? He made me chicken mole (1 cup = 8 weight watchers points, but oh! so worth it).

I don't know. I think I'll get over it. Things will calm down. But until then... Be prepared for me to be a little crazy. And to maybe start drinking a little more.

I do know this much: the next time someone approaches my cubicle and says, "I just have one quick question," and their question is for me to like, I don't know, do their fucking job for them, for which they get paid a whole lot more than I do, I'm going to just get the fuck up out of my chair and leave.


Relax. I will relax.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I said howdy, he said hi

A man (or woman... it's hard to tell) in a white Ford-type vehicle just pulled up in front of my house and is sitting there, picking his (or her) teeth. He or she appears to be on the phone. Quite a bit of body movement - agitated.

Oh: off they go. Now I'll never know the sex of my mystery visitor.

["Paul Revere" by the Beastie Boys is on the radio. Do you think I scared them away?)


In other news: my headjoint case arrived today.

Maybe I didn't mention that I purchased a headjoint case at the flute convention? Ah: I still haven't finished writing that post, have I. and well, now? who cares? Anyway, I'd been wanting something a bit more substantial to store my old headjoint in - my silver Muramatsu headjoint has, I'm ashamed to say, been protected by only the funny quilted sleeve they sent it to me in. See, when I got my new headjoint (three years old now. Older than my car) I had to mail them my flute; and rather than keep the old headjoint here with me (logical, no? that must be why it never occured to me), I sent it off to Texas with my flute. I did kind of imagine that the new one might've had a case and therefore it would've just been a simple act to switch them out, but I guess not.

At the convention, the guy I bought the case from had sold out by the time I made up my mind (they are handmade, covered in leather, lined in velvet. They're quite nice, and therefore a bit expensive), so I had to order it and trust he would take my money and then mail it to me.

Today it arrived.

It's perfect. It looks like the world's tiniest coffin...

Hero Rat!

I found this website about these awesome giant rats that are trained to sniff out landmines in Africa, thanks to the writer of Days of Thundercheese, another blog I read (I think she posted something related to Stewart Copeland once, which is how I found her; unfortunately, it's been a hundred years since I've been on LiveJournal, and I don't remember if you can search so I can't link to her Stewart story), and I am about five minutes away from sending a donation and "adopting" a rat. All I have to do is get up and go out to the car and get my purse. Being as it's way early in the morning, and I'm (of course) sitting here in my PJs...

Oh, yes. I can't sleep. Did I forget to mention that?

The bedroom is cool and dark and Patrick isn't snoring much, and we have the radio on - KPCC at the lowest volume possible - but there's a bit of a breeze outside, and it's making the bush outside the window, which normally I love, because it diffuses the morning sunlight so prettily, bang against the screen in kind of a creepy way.

I finished re-reading Anne Lamott's awesome book, "Rosie," for maybe the 11th or 12th time. She's a wonderful writer, and this one is my favorite book of hers. But it's not exactly a happy book, and reading it now, I picked up on some references and things that I didn't understand or notice before. But now I'm done and I still can't sleep.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Boring Sunday - Updated

This weekend wasn't especially busy, but I'm worn out.

Yesterday ran some errands, and hung out at home before heading up to Santa Monica for "Quartet." It was a good night, fun in the lobby before the show: I have to admit that I love the screwing around we indulge in before getting down the seriousness of the actual performance.

Today Patrick and I got up early and went to the LB Antique Market... he wanted to go the Cypress Swap Meet, but I just couldn't face the swap meet today. The flea market feels so much more genteel, which is, of course, bullshit, because bargain hunters = bargain hunters. They do sell beer at the Antique Market, though, which is definitely a plus. Anyway, after that, we headed down to Broadway for lunch at Olives, which was delicious. After that, down to Fingerprints, for U2's "Boy," and The Jam's, "Sound Affects." Finally, home for a short (too short, as it turned out) nap before back up to Santa Monica for another terrific performance of "Quartet." I personally was feeling a bit out of it tonight, but the show itself was stunning, as usual.

Now I'm home, watching the Emmy's, wondering who hired Ryan Seacrest as host, and wondering what's for dinner.

I go now, to dig up something to eat, and to prepare for the week ahead. I hope it's calmer than last week.


Oh, and while last week I was rather proud of my surprising ability to contol my tears, tonight I lost the battle. No real reason, just tired. And, that salad dressing commercial where the guy misses his family? Heartbreaking.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

trying something

Ignore this.

It will disappear shortly.

I promise.

Bad Girl, by Devendra Banhart

I love Devendra Banhart. He could be a total wack job - his music is beautiful, but there's this element in there that whispers, not quite balanced. It doesn't matter, because who is? Anyway, check him out. Gorgeous. And I don't mean, physically.

Anyway, he has a new album coming out this month, and "Bad Girl" (now playing on my MySpace page) is one of the songs, and I love it.

Wah, wah, wah, wah. Yep.

Bad Girl, by Devendra Banhart

I've been a bad girl
I ain't playin' fair
I want you to be free
But I don't wanna share
No don't wanna let ya go
But it's about time I do
I can't blame ya anymore and I still love you
Wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah
I know it ain't easy being left on your own
Why did you leave me
Well I don't really know
Why wait another day
When a day won't change a thing
Please don't ever let me say that again
Wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah
Mama I ain't waiting but I'm still holding on

He's going to be on Conan O'Brien later this month. I suggest you check him out.

Devendra Banhart: Official Website


Devendra has also just introduced me to the word saudade, something I've never known the word for, and for that I'm not exactly grateful, but rather something else, instead.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The week that kicked Irene's ass

This was the craziest, busiest, one-thing-after-another week in recent history. (At work, that is. Privately my life is peaches and cream, thank you.) I won't bore you with all the details, but will just say, that at one point, I walked into my boss's office with a report I had worked on for her boss's boss, and I was standing at her desk leaning on the wall, and just telling her all the crap I had to tell her - relaying messages, informing her on the status of other projects and reports - I had fucking tears in my eyes. Not from anything bad happening. Just: if I had to do one more thing right then, I would've lost it. She knew I was beat up: I think she felt the same way. I didn't cry, though, and I am proud of myself. I came close.

(Funny example of how lame my co-workers are: I collect everybody's timecards. It's the least exciting, least brain-involved job I do. It's a little time-consuming, but otherwise it's just checking off everyone's card on a list and reviewing them for accuracy. Really, an ITC should be doing this. But I do it, because the last person to do it didn't do it very well. So one of the timecards, for someone who my boss has to sign off on, she handed me her timecard without accounting for the two hours she was late that morning [this is poorly constructed sentence. Screw it]. I took her call when she said she would be late, and our boss was standing there when it happened: it was no secret. Several people heard me say, "So and so will be late." So I walked into this woman's office, which she shares with another lady who is from a different unit. Nice lady. And I say to her, "_____, did you talk to [our boss] about this morning?" And this woman, she goes, "No. Did you?" and I said, "No, but she's going to notice when she signs the timecard." I mean, what the fuck did she think? That she could just not put it and get paid for the full day? She said, "I'm going to work through my lunch," which is like, a big no-no. Maybe if she'd talked to my boss, I wouldn't care. But she put this on me, right, by not saying anything, and it's MY JOB to look at this shit. I would rather not be so anal. But then I lie awake at night going, I'm going to get fired because I let so and so falsify her timecard, which is what this is. So I took it in to our boss, and I told her. I didn't make a big deal out of it, I just asked if they had a pre-arranged thing. She said no. She said, "Our employees are not allowed to work through lunch." She thought the whole thing was pretty funny, actually. My boss is totally cool, and she says "fuck" all the time, which I fucking love. I went back out and gave the timecard, and said, "[Our boss] told me that you can't work through lunch; you'll need to account for this time." No big deal, right? I mean, there was no animosity. And then the rest of my day was what, it was like that Mike Watt song, "Chinese Firedrill." It was just crazy. So I stayed until 6, and everybody went home, and me and this woman are pretty much the last ones out of the office. She calls me into her office, and she goes, "Irene, next time, I would appreciate it if you would discuss things like my timecard with me in private." Then, to maybe make it seem less heavy, she says, in kind of a jokey way, "I'm a private person." I said, OK, and left.

Fuck that. Get over yourself, lady. It was not like I said, "Are you going to account for the two hours you were late because of your heavy period" or something personal like that. We all knew she was late. And this person asks me all the time for assistance on the computer - yesterday she couldn't figure out why, when she clicked on an email, her little track ball thing wasn't working. I mean, COME ON. I love helping people learn stuff on the computer, when it's something real. But if you can't operate your fucking track ball, hey, you know what? Stay home, because you're too stupid to be working.

Okay. Rant over. )

I'm home now, relaxing: Bob Marley, no, the Pixies, no, Paul Weller [loooove Paul Weller. Gotta add "Hit Parade" to my Amazon wish list!) on the radio; Patrick's out front mowing the lawn, and there's a beer in my future.


Later we're going out to dinner, and while I found out Wednesday that in four weeks I have gained four pounds (huge, big-ass bummer. Another episode of almost crying in front of people I would rather not cry in front of. I haven't been good about what I've been putting in my mouth [not intended to be dirty, but if you want to look at it that way, go right ahead] for about a month, so of course this comes as no surprise...I should've expected it. We went around the room to talk about what we're going to do to improve this week, and all these great, chubby [but less so each week] people who are so inspirational usually, and are so nice to me, are saying how dedicated they are and how they've lost like 50, 100 pounds, and me, probably the smallest person in the room, is a big lazy-ass who wants to eat popcorn every night. Which I have pretty much been doing. It's not like I'm wondering, gee, why'd I gain 4 pounds? I get it. But I'm disappointed in how totally lazy and indulgent I've been. So while I was talking about getting a better attitude and about moving around, I got teary-eyed), I am still able to wear my favorite black jeans (my only black jeans), and goddamnit, I want ribs or something. And a baked potato. I want a fucking baked potato.


Finally, to offset all the Jesus crap I've been letting U2 feed me ("Like a Song" is, in my opinion, the second best song on "War," and I'm sick of "Sunday Bloody Sunday," so really, it's the best song on "War;" however, it's also totally jesus-y), read this story about Kathy Griffin, who is perhaps my new hero.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Project Speak Less - Be Adored

It's in process, people.

But there's no need to wait for me to reach completeness - you can go on ahead and continue/start adoring me anyway. Really, I'm sure I'll have this whole "speak less" thing perfected any day now.

Oh, and just to clarify: I'm the one, not Patrick, who said that horoscopes are for losers. I was mostly kidding, though.


Just got off the phone with my mom. She saw her GP today, who reviewed her PET scan with her. Dr. G. told her that the results were good. There's one detail we're still waiting for clarification on, but for now, I'm going to keep it to myself until we know more. Dr. G. said it wasn't necessarily something to be concerned with, but I think I'll hold that one close until we find out for sure. Anyway, in a bit of a teasing tone, I asked my mom the same question she always asks me when something good happens in my life: "Did you thank God?" She said, as I knew she would, "Of course!"

And then I told her, "I know you don't believe I do it, but I prayed for you about this." I followed that up with, "Maybe I don't do it for myself, but for you, I always pray for you."

Now, why I told her that, I'm not really sure. Anyway, she goes, "You should be thanking God for all the good things you have - your job..." I said, "But you're way more important."

Anyway, we talked some more about this and other stuff, and then we got off the phone. When I said what I said (see above: pay attention), I wasn't really thinking first. Now, I hoped to sort of point out to her that I'm not some fucking foul-mouthed heathen (she doesn't know about my foul mouth. I think) and to sort of ease her mind... but I think maybe all I did was just freak out myself instead.

See what happens to me when I start listening to U2 again?? I hate this shit.

Monday, September 10, 2007


A couple of weeks ago, I read my horoscope.

First of all, I guess I should point out that it is Patrick's firm belief that only losers read their horoscope. This, coming from a guy who has successfully called the star sign of each and every one of my friends.

Anyway, maybe I'm paraphrasing. Perhaps he doesn't exactly say "loser."

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I read my horoscope. Now, I can't recall which day, exactly. I wish I could. But I was a little embarrassed by it. And as you know by now, my friends, embarrassment = blog post.

So what did it say? Well, see, the problem is, I don't remember that either. Well, not exactly. It said something like, Speak less, be adored.

Speak less, be adored.

Speak less, be adored.

Update on the whereabouts of my grandma:

Because "where is your grandma" was recently asked of me -

She's here. Mystery solved!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

LA County Fair

Patrick and I spent the day at the fair today. Since I had to sleep in (had to. I had to) we didn't get moving until about 11:30, but it turns out that six hours (oh, maybe seven) is just the right amount of time to spend at the fair. I was really, really tempted to try a deep-fried Twinkie (one regular Twinkie = 3 Weight Watcher points; deep fried Twinkie, well, who the fuck cares), but we ran out of money. And we ate a ton of other food.

Two highlights:

I placed my first bet on a horse race. I decided to try for the trifecta, and picked three horses after reading about them in a racing form that someone left. I picked them based on a little research (they give the horse's last performance stats) and, I'll admit, because I liked the names. My horses were "Velvet Moonlight," "I Can See," and "Debie Ginsburg."

I placed a $6 bet - I decided to go big. All this was actually quite exciting - I had no idea what to expect. Two of my horses came in - "Velvet Moonlight" and "Debie Ginsburg." "I Can See" was nowhere near being in the top three - instead, "Quiet Kim" came in number 1. Oh, well. So close! We weren't sure, but we think that if I had gotten all three that I would've won $250.

That $250 would've come in handy for paying my speeding ticket. Oh, well.

The other highlight was, I joined all the little kids and went into the petting zoo. I wanted to, but then I got weird about being the only adult without a kid; Patrick kind of forced me to do it because he knew I really wanted to. We spent a good part of the day checking out the animals, but the LA County Fair doesn't give you the same kind of access the Orange County Fair did - which makes sense, because it's a way bigger enterprise.

It was awesome. I think I spent a good 30, 40 minutes, petting each and every goat (there were about three different types of goats [beats me what kind they were; I'm just going by the different types of coats they had]), the baby pigs, the kangaroo (they had a kangaroo!), the deer, and the sheep. No lambs, unfortunately. I stayed away from the llama, he looked nice but kinda pushy. They also had a couple of chickens, but I ask you, who the fuck wants to pet a chicken? They were cute, but still. (Oh, god, I just had a flashback to that disgusting scene in that horrible movie, Pink Flamingos, which I wish to god with all my heart that I had never, ever, seen. Happy thoughts, think happy thoughts.)

Anyway, it was a good day. Now all I have to do is take a shower, get ready for work tomorrow, and go to bed.

Friday, September 7, 2007

I still haven't found what I'm looking for - UPDATED

Patrick and Chris are still working. I'm alone in the living room with the cats, watching, for the first time ever, U2's "Rattle and Hum," while Franny plays with my hair.

I wrote, "for the first time ever," which I really can't believe, but it's true. I was IN LOVE with U2 when this came out, and I don't know why I didn't watch it in 1988, but I didn't. I did have the soundtrack. On cassette. I went with my parents to visit some family friends of ours who live in Palm Springs; I remember riding in the back seat of their car, listening to this on my hand-me-down walkman, on both the ride to and from the desert, thinking, OK, this is the perfect music for this particular car ride. I didn't like everything... I'm not crazy about "Bullet the Blue Sky," or "Silver and Gold," and maybe their version of "All Along the Watchtower" is a bit cheesy (and way heavy on the bass line... a tiny bit repetitive), but I do love watching them play, and listening to them talk (so Irish! I wish I had a Guinness! Unfortunately I do not; a Fat Tire from Colorado will have to suffice).

Since I started writing this, things have moved along, and it's "Angel of Harlem." But so far my favorite part has to be the choir doing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," which, before they did it, the Edge explained had been written as a gospel song. Of course it was a gospel song. And normally, I don't know, normally I'm not sure if I'd be down with that.

Tonight, however, this version made the hair on the back of my neck and my arms stand up. Just: beautiful. I love how the band stops playing and lets the choir take over...

Now I know it's probably silly of me to say this, but even though I know Bono, as the front man, probably is the one I'm supposed to have been in love with, or, knowing my penchant for drummers, you might think Larry would be my guy (though, he seems to have a funny personality, which counts for much), but I have to say, the Edge, even with his silly hats and suspenders, even with that huge foxtail ponytail, even in black and white, has got some seriously beautiful eyes.

Burned by the fire of love, indeed.


This live version of "Bad" is pretty damn good, too. Watching the Edge shake his butt in front of the drum stand? Not hurting anything, either.

I'm just waiting for Bono to sigh out, "America..." It's gonna happen, you know it is.


Update added Saturday, September 8 @ 4:40 p.m.

I have become a re-believer in the U2 schtick that I once loved but had renounced for oh so long. I have seen the light, thanks to David (the Edge = dreamy), Paul (Starring Bono as Jesus!), Adam, and St. Larry. Hey guys! I'm back!


A teenager "friend" of mine posted this on MySpace as a bulletin at 12:11 in the morning, and I liked it so much I decided to steal it. Here's my version.

Do you get distracted easily? Yes. Then again, I'm also able to concentrate too. So, yes, and no.

When is your next vacation and where? No current plans to go anywhere; we're discussing a train ride up the coast but not sure when.

Do you ride roller coasters? I used to but it's been some years since I've been on one. Then again (which I'm saying a lot today, am I not?) the 405 freeway could qualify, couldn't it?

Who was the last person you yelled at? It wasn't yelling, but I had a very serious conversation with this guy at work about why he and his unit let my boss's gas card expire without notifying her.

Are you wearing a necklace? I very rarely wear necklaces.

What family member do you look like? My whole life everyone has said I look like my grandmother (dad's mom); however, my grandma had this crazy nose, with like, one nostril bigger than the other? and I really don't want to be mean, she was a beautiful woman, but I just can't get behind that. My nostrils are the same size, thank you.

Do you take any daily vitamins or pills? Last time I tried vitamins I broke out in a rash. None since.

Where does your grandma live? Neither grandma lives anywhere. Why this sudden interest in my grandma?

Are you friends with your neighbors? Yes. Except when they're parking in front of my fucking house or blocking the driveway.

Where have you lived throughout your life? Culver City, Mar Vista, Long Beach. Does the two weeks I spent in San Jose with Drew count? Nah, I didn't think so.

Do you have a routine before going to bed? Brush teeth, wash face, read, talk to Patrick.

Have you ever tee-peed someones house? No, but I egged someones car once. Fun!

Have you ever had a crush on your sister's/brother's friend? When I was very little, my brother's best friends were Mike and Greg Romano down the street. They were both huge troublemakers, but I wanted to grow up and marry either one of them. I wasn't picky back then. And then there was Kyron...

When was the last time you drove more than 30 minutes? Last Sunday, coming home from the Marina after having dinner with Sarah and Pauly.

Do you have any enemies? Not that I know of? OK, now I'm scared.

What is your usual breakfast? Cereal or a Special K bar.

What are you doing tonight? Normally on a Friday night I'd be either going to the theater to do the lights for Quartet or heading down to Culver City for a flute lesson and after, karaoke or something. Tonight Patrick's friend Chris is coming over and they're going to be working on the computer, so... I guess I'll be nerding it up with them.

Would you date the person who posted this? Only if I wanted to GO TO JAIL.

What's for dinner? Patrick and Chris usually get Baja Fresh when they're working on the computer, but maybe I'll cook something? (and maybe pigs will fly?)

Anyone close to you ever died? Family...

Who's always there for you unconditionally? Patrick, Patty, my sister, my dad.

Are you ashamed of your past? Certainly not all of it. Maybe one or two not too great moments, but hey, nobody's perfect.

When was the last time you saw your best friend? A couple of months ago.

Do you use lyrics to express how you feel? I don't write lyrics, but there are definitely times when I hear a song that totally says exactly what I'm thinking or feeling.

When was the last time you cried? I made the supreme mistake of watching "Beaches" on television the other night. I may have also been suffering from PMS.

Do you swear often? Fuck yeah.

Who was the last person you had a sleepover with? Did a nine year old write this question?

Do you like messages or comments better? (my "friend" said, "Fuck this question," which I love. However, I do like messages and comments, so...) I like 'em both. Means there's someobody out there.

Do you still talk to the person you LAST kissed? I hope so. I like how "last" is in caps.

What's the last thing you ate? (what, for the autopsy report?) I had a bowl of Raisin Bran with soy milk. And I'm considering going back for more.

Last doctor's appointment or hospital visit? I dunno... couple months ago.

Do you know anyone in the military? I don't think so.

Is there anything silver near you? Huh?

When was your default picture taken? I just changed it, so maybe it was last week? Or the week before?

What do you like on your pizza? Sometimes pepperoni, sometimes mushrooms, sometimes pineapple, sometimes all three. Sometimes sausage. Sometimes just tomatoes.

What bill do you dread paying? None. Just shut up and pay 'em all.

Did you ever go through an awkward stage? Perhaps if I hadn't I might not be here? And... maybe I still am?

Have you had braces? No.

Do you have a green thumb? Absolutely not.

Ever tied a ribbon on your finger to remember something? No.

Last video game you played? Scrabble, on my phone.

Do you want another pet? Yes, please! I want a bunny, a rat, a goat, a dog, and about ten more cats.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Making music?

Patrick and his friend Chris have started fooling around with some computer programs for composing music. Chris is the former guitarist for Magnolia Thunderpussy (he has devoted himself full-time to classical guitar; a bout with tendonitis has kept him from playing much in the last month or so), and Patrick has a head full of computer know-how and a whole lot of eclectic musical knowledge.

These guys have just started to play with these programs, and they have, neither one of them, never studied composition or music theory. However, they're both very talented musicians, extremely creative, and right now concentrating on figuring out how these programs work. They've taught themselves an incredible amount, and even with our limited computer audio equipment, I'm impressed with the stuff they've come up with.

Patrick and I have never worked together musically - to be honest, I'm a bit intimidated by him. He has played in punk bands and avant garde jazz bands for close to 30 years - he has much more experience than I do in creating music on the fly - he can improvise, and his standards are high. Plus, he's a drummer - that in itself is intimidating to me - and he can look at music in a totally different way than I can. He has confidence in his musical skills that I never have; I know, when I practice, that I'm pretty good myself, but I don't think he questions it. That he has skills. I've played the flute now for a very long time, but aside from my last experience at City Garage, I never really try to create my own music. I suppose I could, and certainly when I'm practicing, there have been moments when I've tried out things. But it's just noodling - no one would ever want to hear it. And to be honest, I'm not sure that the flute is the best outlet for me to get creative. I love playing other people's music, but I just don't think about it that way, that I could make something new. Maybe I should, but I don't. Some of the bands that have opened for MTP have included a flutist, and I always made fun of them - it's just not right. Could I do it "right"? I don't know. I could never allow myself to be seen making that huge of a fool of myself.

(Once, when I was in the 12th grade, my friend Jay invited me over - or maybe I invited myself over? - to work with him in his parents' garage with a guitar player friend of his. Jay, also a drummer, with interesting taste in music, encouraged me to sing, which I, and I am soo embarrassed to admit, did. I believe I requested that the lights be turned off. I guess the way it worked was, Jay and his friend would play stuff, and I chimed in whenever I had something to say, which, I hope, wasn't often. I came up with one line about "I am the Queen of salvation!" but I don't know about the rest. It was pretty cheesy. Jay, bless his heart, once gave me a shout out on my old Friendster account, and he mentioned that session all those years ago; his comment shined a rosy light on the experience, but I mostly remember feeling pretty stupid. Maybe one day I'll work up the courage to ask him if he has the tapes.)

Anyway, the other night, I sat down with Patrick and listened to something he had been working on. He had about 12 bars put together - drums, percussion, guitar, bass. The guitar was pretty rhythmic: there was no real melody. I sat down and listened, and came up with a marimba part, which was cool, because I've always wanted to play the marimba. After that, we decided to try out a melody. Patrick bought a cheap keyboard, so he's been picking things out - he doesn't really know the notes, but he has a very good ear. I can find middle C and work my way up or down from there. So it took a little while for me to play something that fit. We decided we liked the sound of the melody on muted trumpet. After that, Patrick showed me how to edit the line - so we copied it, lowered it, changed a note or two, and added the same line, on English horn. We named the file, saved it, and for the last three days I've had that song in my head.

OK, so we a lot of fun doing this, but our "song" is pretty silly (though, Chris claimed to like it. I believe he called it "our sad Caribbean melody." I don't know what's "Caribbean" about it, but OK). It's very much not anything remotely professional sounding. We're not composers. We realize this. Jack and Meg White can rest assured knowing that Patrick and Irene are not hot on their trail. It was fun, though.

Last night, Patrick took the music we created and re-arranged it a little bit - he turned about 16 seconds of music into two or three minutes. He kept all the elements that were there before, but now it's a full-on song. We listened to it before we went to bed (twice, because I liked the way he layered the marimba and the trumpet; he changed my original placement of the melody. It works really nicely) and yes, once again I have it in my head.

Maybe after we tweak it a little more, we'll upload it. Then you can have it in your head.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Ghost In the Machine - Updated

I ran the lights and sound last night at the theater, and a strange thing happened, at the very end of the show.

But before I tell that story, I have to tell you that the LA Weekly ran a feature on City Garage and this show, and, well, in light of all the other positive reviews "Quartet" has been getting, it should come to no surprise to you that the feature was equally, if not more, positive. Also? HUGE photo (way to go, Pauly!), in color, of Sharon and Troy. Very nice.

So as you know, I've been thinking quite a lot about the ending of the show - I think I mentioned in earlier posts that I was out of town during most of the two weeks' worth of tech rehearsals, but this is an easier show, and apparently I'm now considered to be reliable in the booth (Frederique told me again last night - and I could listen to this all day long, let's be honest - that "Charles LOVES working with you," giving the word "loves" as much emphasis as she can with her French accent). However, in spite of the praise and approval, I still lack some confidence, just because I'm that kind of person. And because I like to do things over and over again: repetition, with me, is the key to learning anything, it's just going to take some time before I can sit up there and relax a little. Though, I have to say, in spite of my nerves, it was a good show, last night, and technically, I was fine. The actors and the stuff on stage: it's beautiful - really, this is a great production.

ANYWAY, so we get to the end. Those last five pages move along pretty fast, until the final moments; I'm holding for the last audio cue, which is given to me by Sharon. She takes her time and doesn't rush, and she makes a beautiful moment there, and I'm, you know, standing there with my left arm poised by the "play" button on the player, waiting to go. I'm learning to take my time, too - this is what I learned the other night, from how I was doing the curtain call, and I wanted to really get it right. For me, and for the actors: the change I needed to made is really pretty minute, and the audience would never notice the thing I'm talking about. This is just me being a perfectionist. So Sharon gives me the cue, and I waited a second. Maybe two. And then: PLAY.

Now, there is not a lot of music in this show. But what there is, really makes an impact, and it's impressive. But just hitting play is not the end of the show - I had to go on to the curtain call, and it's exciting for me, to see the end of these 75 minutes and to hear the applause and feel proud of the actors - and I want to usher them off stage appropriately. So I'm a little excited. You know? Heart beating, toe tapping excited. But last night, when I hit play, the strangest thing happened:

The door to the booth, which is just like any other door, with a knob and everything, had been closed - closed by me, clicked tight, you know? But when I hit "play" that door swung open - not gently, but as if the cops were coming in, as if this were a raid, as if I were about to be thrown to the ground and sniffed by police dogs, and it slammed against the wall (well, it's not really a wall, it's a bank of switches and giant breaker things and light stuff that I never touch and don't understand) with some force, and knocked there a few times. At first I thought it was Frederique, coming to tell me something, but I realized two things in a split second - that this would be a horrible time to come SPEAK TO ME, and that she was sitting out in the audience, watching the show.

Luckily that audio cue is a fairly loud one, because I did gasp quite audibly, but luckily I kept my wits about me, and I went on to do the thing I thought I might not do satisfactorily, and it was fine. Though I will admit that I may have been a tiny bit freaked out, it didn't have any effect on my performance.

After the audience left the theater, and I was shutting things down, I thought about it a little, and tried to reason it all through - of course there are no ghosts in the theater - but still. It was certainly startling. And who else would've come in like that? So now the thing to find out is if the theater is haunted.

Now, see, I don't really like shit like this. I'm not a ghost story kind of girl. I don't listen to Art Bell. But I do recall, last year when I was doing The Bacchae, that there was one night, it might've been a Sunday because the theater wasn't completely pitch black, when I was getting into my place on stage, at stage left, before the start of the show (I came out in the dark with a few other girls; I took my place, seated on a couple of tires, and they took their places, displayed artfully in an old beached fishing boat), and I thought I saw someone standing in Frederique's office (the office is behind the left side of the audience, with glass windows); from my position, it was right in my line of sight. And then the show started, and I forgot about it.

Until now.


Update added 9/2/07 @ 12:17 a.m.

Tonight, I realized that of course I had forgotten that Frederique, when she gave me my cue to "go" last night, the cue that starts the show, that she would've been the one to close the door, and maybe she didn't pull it closed all the way (the way that I would have), and so, when the loud music started at the end of the show, the force from the speaker (which is directly over the door, outside the booth, in the lobby) could have caused the door to swing open.

And Pauly thinks it may have been him, himself, in the office that other time.