Monday, October 29, 2007


Does anybody out there remember the SNL spoof of "Ghost"? I can't remember if Patrick Swayze was the guest host or if it was Demi Moore, but they did this thing where "Sam" is a ghost, watching "Molly," who doesn't know she's being watched. Instead of sobbing and mourning her dead boyfriend as she did in the real movie, she's like, laying on the couch in huge sweats and picking her nose and stuff?

OK, so minus the nose picking? That's kinda exactly how the last three days have been.

Right now? I'm wearing Pat's Old Navy sweats, sitting next to a huge empty bowl that once contained enough popcorn to ship a rather large TV. I washed all the dishes. (Okay, so that's not gross but it is unusual. Highly unusual.) I super-washed my face: no masque (because I don't have any), but still: spent a good ten minutes exfoliating. I watched "Samantha Who?" I just watched "Friends," "Reba," "Two and a Half Men," and "Dancing With the Stars" (and I even voted. Go Kelly Taylor!), all shows Patrick hates (neither one of us has made a decision about "Samantha Who" yet. I want to like it; I love Christina Applegate, there are definitely some cute moments with Melissa McCarthy [Sookie lives!]) and which I, under normal circumstances, don't like to admit to watching.

Anyway, what the hell. I'm even watching "The Bachelor" (though I think my eyes are bleeding...?). Tomorrow I have my first lighting/sound rehearsal for "The Bald Soprano," and it's kind of the end of my freebie nights for a little while.

I suppose I could be doing something more exciting, but honestly, I can't think of anything. We're even out of beer.

Guess I'm just resigned to being boring. I think I'm gonna go now. Franny is looking at me, and she looks like she wants to play.

Comdial phone, and a random bunch of other news: now with photos

I'm not sure exactly how old this phone is. Maybe it's not that old; Patrick just told me that his office has older ones. Personally, I can't believe it. This phone is pretty much on it's last legs. Oh, and believe it or not, that's a new cord. I managed to get the new one all tangled up in about a week. Now when I stretch it out to try to untangle it, the cord is about 12 feet long. That's about 8 feet longer than it was when I first got it.


The other photo is half of a pile of my work - I couldn't fit both piles in the photo at once. I suppose it's not that huge, either. But on the day I took this photo, it seemed insurmountable. Luckily, lately I haven't had such a pessimistic view of the items on my desk. This week I finally took the time and went through all the surplus supplies that my co-worker has been hoarding for who knows how long (possibly since at least as long as that phone has been in use by all the people who came before me). I got myself super-organized and cleaned out my drawers, file cabinets, and supplies. It made me feel incredibly - what's the word? - industrious.


In other news, Patrick leaves tomorrow for a trip to Monterey. He's off to Internet Librarian - he goes every year. I've been about three years, and I have to say, as beautiful as Monterey is, I'm over it.


This final photo is a terrific example of things one shouldn't have in one's bedroom. Can you name them all?

Oh, Stewart...

Friday, October 26, 2007

One mystery solved, one mystery unsolved

I've been cleaning my living room and sorting through everything and moving furniture around and generally scaring the hell out of the cats, who now sleep on the chair behind me, snuggled together, trying to understand just what in the world is going on.

In the course of my fall cleaning (well? What the hell else should I call it?) I found...

My copy of the 6th Harry Potter book, which had disappeared and that I had been blaming said disappearance on various friends ("Didn't I loan you my copy of...? No? Are you sure?").

Still missing: my DVD of "A Concert for George." Seriously. Whoever has it, 'fess up. And bring it home. I miss George. I miss him bad.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Southern California is on fire

I usually try to stay away from any type of commentary on events that don't originate in my own head; I doubt seriously that I possess the writing skills necessary to offer a world view or philosophical discussion that would interest many people. I don't trust myself to write something true about stuff happening to other people.

That said, I just wanted to point out that as I write this, there are fires burning in Malibu, Irvine, and near Magic Mountain; none of those places is particularly close to my home, yet this morning I walked out to a dull sky and a car covered with black ash. Last night when Patrick and I went to bed, we could both smell the fires, and I half expected to look out the window and see bright red and orange flames on the horizon. Of course I didn't; we are lucky enough to be far away from all the activities. And it is those words - we are lucky - that I'm sort of focusing on right now. I'm thinking about everyone not lucky right now, all those who are packing up their families and their treasures, and moving themselves without knowing what to expect, or what will be waiting for them at the end of all this.

More than reports of my own activities, my own silly problems and obsessions: I hope that the brave men and women fighting the fires are successful and safe. I hope this all ends very soon.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Quartet" is Over

Tonight was the final performance of "Quartet" at City Garage, and I have to say, it was a good show, but felt rather - for me, anyway - anti-climatic. Aren't most things that way? I was excited about it, and it was a long time coming, what with the extension and everything, and now I have a week off before tech rehearsals for "The Bald Soprano" begin (do I have a career in "lighting/sound operator"? I think not. I'm just hoping the next show is as easy as this one was), but otherwise it was kind of just another really good performance. I was just a little sleepier than usual, with a killer sinus headache.

Though, last night's performance was rather stellar, and comparisons are never fair. Troy made me cry, actually, last night, at one point. After seeing these shows multiple times, there are always moments that I totally identify with, no matter what the subject matter is; there's one section in Quartet that's always sort of sounded familiar to me, but last night he delivered his lines - it felt like, anyway - right at me. Not the words or the subject, necessarily, meant for me, but maybe generally speaking.

Here's what he had to say that was so interesting:

Life accelerates when death is reduced to a spectacle, the beauty of the
world doesn't cut as deep into the heart - have we got a heart, Marquise - while
we watch its destruction...

It's a good part of the show. Which, if you didn't see yet, well, you're out of luck.

I'm going to bed now. I have a feeling tomorrow's going to be busy at work.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Two more chances

I just wanted to be sure I got this out there...

There are two more chances for you to see "Quartet" at City Garage... this is the closing weekend. I know I've been going on and on about the show, but I'm very proud to be a small part of this production. Maybe because it's the first show that I truly understand; maybe that sounds totally nuts: it ain't a nice show. Maybe I'm not a nice person.

Anyway, here's a tantalizing quote from the LA Times, if you need more convincing:

There is nudity, yes, and even simulated sex, but don't expect titillation from these concupiscent charades. Müller seldom mentions sex without a graphic reference to death. These pre-Revolutionary French aristocrats, so deftly portrayed by Dunn and Gardner, are keenly aware of the impending deluge that will soon land them in the tumbrels. Until that final deliquescence, they will continue to "rub their hides" together -- soullessly and tragically.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lazy Day - Updated

Spent the morning asleep. I can think of no better way to spend the morning. Woke up to the sound of someone either revving the motor of a very small motorcycle or wielding a chainsaw. Eventually that noise stopped, and I went back to sleep. Then I woke up with the Who's "Going Mobile" in my head. I've been a bit obsessed with it this week - of course I knew the song before, but I'd never really paid attention to the lyrics. They're not all that profound, but Pete Townshend wrote a very funny song.

Beep beep!

I think I've been awake now for about 30 minutes, and I'm hungry. I have a book to read (The Three Musketeers!) and a ton of TV to catch up on. I missed not only Heroes, but also the Bionic Woman and -gasp- we have two weeks of Ugly Betty and the Office to watch. And the house to clean. And laundry to do. The neighbor is mowing his lawn, the cats are dozing still, and all I'm thinking about is what's for lunch.

What's for lunch!


Okay, so I kinda lied. Lunch is not the only thing on my mind. Yesterday I realized that I had forgotten to pay the other traffic ticket I got this year (yes, I was the proud recipient of two speeding tickets within a span of less than one month. and yes, I learned my lesson and slowed the fuck down). I think maybe I was sort of hoping it would go away.

Yes, I am a grown up. No, this is not how I deal with everything.

Anyway, so the notice I got and finally read stated that due to my, uh, what do you call it, negligence, notification had been sent to the DMV and a hold placed on my license.

Since I had to leave for the 30 mile trip to Culver City and flute choir within an hour of reading the notice, and "leaving for Culver City" was going to require me to drive -well, panic ensued. "Panic ensued" are two words that do not come close to describing the feelings I was feeling. And you all know how I feel about feelings these days. Anyway, not wanting to freak out Patrick, I went online and paid it. It was quite a bit of money, and I'm definitely feeling bad about it. Obviously for this one I can't do traffic school. And: I'm not going to lie: I'm definitely feeling bad about it.

Let's make this the last fuckup on my part for awhile, shall we? I mean, I can't rule out that I won't do or say anything stupid, but I'm going to at least try. Really. Really!

So. This is a lesson in two parts, isn't it.

A. One should not speed; and,
B. If one does speed, and one gets caught, one should pay up in a more timely fashion.

So. What's for lunch?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Because Seeking Confirmation is Very Healthy

A note from Pauly:

Okay, so I had to look at your blog to get what you were laughing about Saturday night. And because I was trying to be nice and polite to Ms. Crazy Lady, I totally missed that she had asked "how big are you?" But now I get it. And it's funny.

Monday, October 15, 2007



Traffic school. I know I did this online before, and it was cool then, but if I'd gone to a regular traffic school, like on Saturday, with normal people, I'd be fucking finished already.

Instead, here I am, on day FUCKING THREE, still sitting here on the couch, still waiting for this class to end. Watching "The Bachelor." I do not want to watch "The Bachelor," and now... 28 minutes in, these chicks should all be put out of their misery. Seriously.


Okay, surprise surprise... traffic school? Traffic school is done. And now one of these bitches on "The Bachelor" is crying. Well? Better her than me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sometimes I Can Be Funny

I'm sitting out in the garage, checking out Patrick's new set up out here, and I have to tell you, my office may be a mess, there may be a hundred pairs of shoes under the desk, there may be cats and cat hair all over the place, but it's way more comfortable than his desk.

Then again, his machine kicks my machine's ass. There is that.

I'm also doing laundry, listening to Pandora radio, and looking outside at the beautiful day today is working out to be. I just hung up on some guy who was calling from the Democratic National Party - I let him say his thing, which of course ended with, "Most people have found that they can give $100. How much of a contribution would you be willing to make?" I said, "Okay, no thanks, bye," and hung up. Patrick's taking a shower, and in just a little bit, we're going to have some dim sum, probably in Downtown LA, but possibly in Cerritos, of all places.

My vote is for Ocean Seafood, our old standby, but we'll see.

Anyway, so last night before "Quartet" got started, one of the old-school Santa Monica-ites walked into the theater. When I say "old school Santa Monica-ites," I mean, the type of woman who has lived there in a rent-controlled apartment since before Santa Monica became the home of Hooters and The Gap and when you could walk down Third Street at 9 o'clock on a Saturday night without a bodyguard holding onto your belt. The type of woman who's a tiny bit off her rocker.

So she comes in, and I'm sitting on the bench in front of the box office station, drinking my "Citrus Squeeze with Immunity Boost" Jamba Juice, and Paul is perched on a stool (the brother of the stool I sit on in the booth. I am finding that stools are incredibly uncomfortable to sit on for more than five minutes or so), working the box office. Yes, I did say "working." You know what I mean.

Anyway, so he's talking to this lady, and he's managing to be quite polite, but see, I was in some sort of weird mood - everything was making me giggle. And then this weird lady asks him, and I swear to god these are the exact words she used, she goes, "And how big are you?" Of course they were speaking of the house, and how many seats, but of course I was feeling particularly juvenile and ridiculous, and well, I had to leave. I went out into the alley, and laughed for awhile, and then after I'd calmed down, I went back in and sat down. The lady left.

I walked up to Paul, and said,

"Paul, the next time a woman asks you how big you are, you should be thinking inches, not seating."

He claimed he didn't get it; I think it was just so stupid that he chose to ignore it and move on.

Still. I thought it was funny, and obviously here, my opinion is the only one that matters.

Ah. Raw power.

Now I must go listen to some Iggy and the Stooges. And then we're off for dim sum.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

You leave me in a daze

Home from the theater. A good show, though, not enough people were there tonight. Let me spell it out for you guys:

"Quartet," by Heiner Muller, now playing at City Garage Theatre in Santa Monica. It's a terrific production, and has received good reviews all around:

LA Weekly
Los Angeles Times
Backstage West

The show was extended, and now closes next Sunday, leaving you with three more chances to see it. City Garage is a funky little space in Santa Monica, California - located in the alley between the Third Street Promenade and 4th Street, and Santa Monica Boulevard and Arizona. If you're walking west down Santa Monica, and you get to Hooters, immediately make a right and head down the alley. Before you get to Arizona, look for the red doors and the sign over them that says "City Garage." Come on in. I'll be in the booth. We're running this show Saturday and Sunday only right now: tickets are $20 on Saturday, and "Pay-What-You-Can" on Sundays. Give 'em a call and make a reservation: (310) 319-9939

OK: I'm done now.


So now that I'm home, guess what am I doing right now? Well, right now I am typing these words, what kind of weirdo are you? But I am also watching "Everyone Stares" (again), and I am also drinking a beer, and I am also doing traffic school. I've gotten quite good at it.

While I would certainly never recommend drinking a beer while sitting in traffic, I would definitely vote for a beer while sitting in traffic school. If, that is, traffic school consists of you sitting on the couch watching Stewart Copeland on TV and answering some easy questions on what to do if your brakes go out. And of course, speeding is bad. I mean, do I have to even say it? Slow down.

No, I'm not gonna tell you. You just have to go out and get your own ticket and find out on your own.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Even the Losers (Get Lucky Sometimes)

Friday night.

Patrick's in the garage, where he recently set himself up with a super fast, super loaded computer with two giant monitors and all his new fancy music equipment. He's having a fun time figuring it all out.

I'm laying here on the couch, the cats are nearby, completing my traffic school obligation, watching The Old Grey Whistle Test: Tom Petty. I'm not exactly sure why, but I've always had a crush on Tom Petty. He seems cool, no? Right now he's wearing a blue and white seersucker jacket and a button-down shirt in a darker shade of blue, and jeans. He's also sporting Patrick Supple's (that's a real name, people: some guy I've known since kindergarten) haircut. He looks great, but boy, is he skinny. I think the thing about him that I'm attracted to is his nose. He has a great looking, pointy nose.

I know I'm weird.

The reason I'm here, blogging, is that I guess I'm a faster reader than Easy Fast Cheap Online Traffic School was expecting. They won't let me proceed from the lessons to the quizzes until I've spent a certain amount of time on each page... and sitting there waiting for a couple minutes to pass so the slow readers can catch up is kind of lame.

Tonight's trip to traffic school is for the speeding ticket I got a few months back right in front of the entrance to my work... the motorcycle cop parked in the driveway next to ours, caught me in his trap, and followed me into the parking lot. He was no Tom Petty - he was a jerk. I was totally embarrassed. And I was totally speeding.

Oh, Tom: you should smile more. I wonder what he's really like. I'd love it if they'd do "Stop Dragging My Heart Around," but who would he pull out to do the girl's part? Tom, I'll do it with you: I can sing the hell out of that part. Honest. I always forget what a great singer Tom Petty is. "Breakdown" is an incredibly simple song, with like 20 words or something in the lyrics; there's not a whole lot going on, but he makes it interesting.

Well, that's over... so I'm now watching "Rock Goes to College: The Police." I recorded this awhile ago, and won't let Patrick delete it. A couple of things I love about it:

-How young and totally adorable Andy looks. I guess Sting had started his "beautiful man" campaign around this time (well, maybe right after), and he looks like a rock star, even in his weird mechanic's outfit/flightsuit, but Andy, short little Andy with his pick in his mouth and his high-waisted trousers and his Harpo Marx haircut - totally cute. I think his shirt might even have a Peter Pan collar. Sweet!

-Stewart's classic tube socks and short-shorts - he's all in green for this concert, and he's absolutely beautiful. Even green shoes! Some woman must've dressed him: personally I think it's a bit much. And I wish directors of music videos and live concerts would figure out that we don't want to see the fancy stick work or shots of blurry cymbals. Give me some face, some neck, some forearm, and a lot more face, please.

-The Police lack the ability to creatively end a song - it drives me crazy. And I love having the same complaint, over and over, and after it drives me crazy, in a strange way it also keeps me sane. Well, mostly sane. Keep reading...

-I LOVE the way Stewart has to arch his neck to reach the mic to sing backup on "So Lonely." It looks a little uncomfortable. It makes his neck all long and white, and totally sexy. Have I mentioned I have a rather odd fixation on Stewart's neck? Later the way the vein sticks out is particularly thrilling to me. And the Adam's apple business...! Well. It doesn't hurt that this is possibly my #2 favorite Police song.

-The little "call and answer" section in "So Lonely." Sting asks the English college kids how they feel, and they go, "Lonely!" He does it twice. If Sting ever wants to know how I feel, I wonder if "lonely" will be the first word on my lips? No, I'll probably just say "wow."

-The way Sting seems to think "Fallout" is a good song.

-The way Stewart adds what seem to me to be superfluous "Yeahs" to "Hole in My Life," right before Sting throws in a little "Fixing a Hole," by the Beatles. I see the connection, but it's so lame. Wait, this list is supposed to consist of things I love? Okay, I guess what I'm saying is, I love the extra "yeah"s.

-The way Sting adds extra words to the song titles: "This is called, 'I Hope Someone Gets My Message In a Bottle.'" I hope so, too.

(Oh, wait, I've used that line here before, haven't I?)

-The way Stewart sometimes bites his lower lip...

-The way Stewart's left forearm hits his thigh... it might be that he's a little tired or maybe it's just bad form, or maybe he's too tall, or maybe it's none of those things. His forearms are sexy, too. Should I shut up now?

-Andy's guitar solo in "Peanuts." Peanuts is probably my #4 favorite Police song, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't do the solo this well on the album. We'll just ignore Sting throwing in a little bit of "Tequila!" there. This time.

OK, so that's over, and now I'm watching their Live Earth performance. Somehow Sting manages to look as if ony five years have passed since their performance on "Rock Goes To College," and Andy, while a tad jowly, looks darned good for a man of sixty something. Though... did he get a nose job? Stewart... well, Stewart looks way better in person. His playing is amazing, but the shirt, the gloves, the headband, the earpiece... it's all a little too geriatric drummer in space for me. I'm sorry: I had to say it. I still love you, Stewart, you and your splash cymbals and your weird tempo variations: you are gorgeous.

"Driven to Tears," the song they opened with: it's not a particularly exciting song to me, but I can see why they chose it for this occasion. I wish Stewart would lose the headband. On the other hand, Andy's solo? Yes, of that I am a fan. Patrick's in the other room now and he keeps calling out to me, "What happened to that song?" I'm not sure, either. They've obviously played around with the arrangement...

Now they're on to "Roxanne," and I wish Sting would listen to himself sing this, with me. So I could point out to him that he's totally lost the feel for this song. Wait, did I just intimate that I could teach Sting a thing or two about singing his own song? Yeah, I guess I did. Sorry, I guess I got a bit ahead of myself there. He's singing it so straight now it's killing me. His "I won't share you with another boy" is just awful. In fact, I started singing it the "right" way... and Patrick just told me to stop because the neighbors can hear me. It is Friday night, after all. Well. Maybe I need a beer. And please. Don't even get me started on the new stupid-ass "interlude" they've added to the middle. I'm sure Stewart and Andy are contractually obligated to play this crap, I really hope they're not in love with it. And then the whole thing just slows down so much... it's sounds a little tired. They must have perfected this by now, after all this time on the road. I don't remember how it sounded at Dodger Stadium. Roxanne-o!

Next up: "Can't Stand Losing You," probably tied for #2 as far as my favorite Police songs goes (somebody compile that list for me, will you? I've totally lost track). Andy is totally off, and Stewart is sticking out his tongue, and his eyes are closed (right before "and my LP records and they're all scratched"). He must be thinking very hard right then. He's not singing along during the "e-yo, e-yeah, e-yeah yo" part. And: again with the slowing down. Jeez.

John Mayer's added his touch to "Message In a Bottle," and I love, love, love, the push he gives this song. I worried that they would take it slower or somehow fuck up my favorite Police song, but no: it sounds terrific. Sting seems to have remembered the proper title of his song. Even though Sting's body looks totally ripped and yoga-licious, I've noticed that his arms aren't very muscle-y. I'm a little surprised. He's getting those weird long David Bowie arms. And now: Kanye West adds his gross "uhs" and I have to mute it, because the way he rhymes "bottle" with "tomorrow" seriously makes me sick. Physically ill. Who the fuck does this guy think he is, saying, "throw up your arms like you just don't care"? To this crowd? At this concert? And please don't say "irony" to me. I seriously doubt it. Oh! Kill him! Get him off! Where's your gong now, Stewart?

Well, even though I have vowed to sleep in tomorrow, I do have an 11:30 waxing appointment scheduled for tomorrow, so unless I want to be doing traffic school all fucking weekened, I'd better get to it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Say I'm the Only Bee In Your Bonnet

So, I think I'm finally getting back to normal. Well... maybe. I don't know. It's been a rough time, lately. I had about a three or four weeks of total craziness, and I think I might be coming out to the other side - but I'm not sure.

I don't really know what it is that had me all frazzled and crazy. My job has gotten quite overwhelming, so I don't think it's exactly right for me to say, "I don't really know..." But how I got into that position, how I let it happen, well, I'm not sure, exactly. With every new task, with every new request, I felt myself totally slipping into a hole, and I was starting to wonder how the hell I was going to dig myself out.

I've probably written what I'm about to write before: I know that I think of myself as being lazy and a flake, and sort of a laid-back person. I also know I could probably not be more wrong in my self-assessment (maybe not the flake part)... yet I'm surprised by how I react to stress.

Which is to say, BADLY. I lost it, a little bit, there for awhile. I fell so behind that things that couldn't be forgotten, things that needed follow-up - those things got out of my control. I was working hard, but instead of getting through my whole in-box and actually completing every task by the end of every day, instead, there were days when I hadn't touched all the papers in my in-box, I had no idea what was even in there. And I was starting to self-judge based on the amount of things I did or didn't accomplish that day, and it was making me very unhappy, tired, and a zombie once I got home.

There was also that incident with a co-worker about my priorities, and who sets them for me (um, that would be me, and my boss, which this person is not). I didn't write much in detail about it before, but I think now might be a good time for an excerpt. So let me set the stage...

I was assigned to work on a project with this person by my boss. This was during the height of me feeling overwhelmed, and overloaded. We had a meeting with some other staff to discuss our project, and when we returned to the office, she handed me a folder full of these forms she had the attendees fill out with their contact information, and she goes, "Irene, since you're so good at it, could you make a spreadsheet of this information?"

And at first, I was like, OK, I can do that. I am good at it, it's easy, it'll take a few minutes, what's the big deal. But then I sat down at my desk and saw the 50 emails I'd received in the two hours we'd been gone, the items I'd been pushing around on my desk but hadn't actually made any progress on, and I kind of started to hyperventilate.

And it was right then that I started analyzing the way this person interacts with me, the way she works it out so that I end up helping her with technical things at the drop of a hat, the way she started using my form for tracking assignments, the way she speaks to me. And I will admit that I started to get a little pissed off. So I set her folder aside and started working on my other projects, the things that my boss needed that day, that hour, and I tried to forget about it.

Later, we were working with the information (our project involves signing up our staff to work with this online program. It's turning out to be a huge pain in the ass because many of the staff interested in participating don't have access to the Internet at work (experience has shown that no-limits access to the Internet is just way too tempting for our employees), we were running into a lot of problems, and she asked me, in an email, to contact the people we'd been working with outside our department to set this thing up. She had been the main source of contact, and I'd had a minimal amount of contact with these people, and, as I was working on another "need it right now" project for my boss, I couldn't just stop in the middle to do what she needed.

And I said no.

This is what I said when she asked me to contact them:

Right now I am working on a couple of priority assignments for my boss, and I will be out of the office tomorrow in training and unable to follow up. Have you tried contacting _____ from ___ for assistance? ___ probably doesn't have any info about ___'s email system. We may not be the only ones with this problem. I'm sorry that I'm unable to provide any further assistance on this right now. If it can wait until Monday, I would be happy to make the phone calls then.

So that's me, saying no, politely. Maybe a bit too detailed, I should've just said "Can't do it right now, but will follow up on Monday." Anyway, here's the response I got:

Irene: Please do not send me another email expressing that you are unable to assist with this Program as you are working on a special priority assignment for _____. Well I am too. And I am sure every one else is as well. I would think as the co-Director, this is the least you can do to assist with the program.

OK, so I know it's not that horrible. Looking at it now, it still pisses me off, but at the time, I was really, really angry about it. I was angry because this person cannot write. I was angry because of the first line - "Please do not send me another email..." is just a fucked up way to address someone who has responded to your request with an apology and who offered to help you at a later date. Her response also lacks the neutral tone that I was taught one should affect when writing email to co-workers. Her saying "please" does not make this go down any easier. "This is the least you can do" is just adding insult to injury.

So I sat at my desk for about five minutes and feverishly typed out a response, and then I deleted it. And then I sent this message to her and cc'd my boss:

"This will have to wait until Monday. I'll meet with you then to discuss."

And then I took a walk.

I guess what I was pissed off about was that I didn't really defend myself. Yeah, I said no, and I didn't drop everything to do this one thing for her. I certainly didn't apologize again. But it made me review all my past interactions with this person, and I realized that I had sort of been flattered into working for her on more than one occasion. I accepted that she was technically deficient, and instead of scorning her for her lack of computer (and writing) skills, I came in all gallant and helpful, and I did her work for her, because, I'll admit it, she sort of intimidates me.

So whenever it is that this happened, not only was I mad about what happened, but I was disappointed in myself. And that lasted for awhile.

I've probably had a few moments lately like this. And I'm sure there will be more. It's just a shock to me, a little, when I lose control of my own perception of who I am, and how I'm supposed to react. And it makes me a little afraid of how I deal with stuff. Stress, and change, and intimidating people, and deadlines, and pressure.

I'm still thinking about all that stuff, and I haven't been writing about it. Maybe now I will. Or maybe now this is all I have to say on the subject.


So, I'm still working in the booth at City Garage for Heiner Muller's "Quartet," which was extended through next weekend, and closes on Sunday, October 21. You should really go see it, because it's an awesome show. I've also signed on to work in the booth for the upcoming show, Ionesco's "The Bald Soprano," which opens sometime in November. And flute choir is under way again, and I'm excited about that, because we have a couple of new players, and that's always fun. And I've backed off of flute lessons for the time being because practicing, or rather, not practicing, was making me feel an enormous amount of guilt, yet, I was not compelled to practice. Obviously guilt alone is not compelling enough to make me do (or not do) something. And it was sort of making me crazy. More on this another time.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Why I Love Road Trips with Patrick

Tonight, while driving back to our hotel from dinner, Patrick told me the following story:

"Back in 1985 or so, when I was working at the Marina Library, this lady used to come in and tell me I looked like her husband [Rod Stewart's song "Hot Legs" was playing on the radio], Philip Chen, Rod Stewart's guitarist."

At first I was confused - I thought he had said the lady was 85 or so, so I had to ask - wait a minute, how old is Philip Chen if his wife was 85 way back then?

He explained it again, and then he goes, "Yeah, I was probably too stupid to figure out that she was flirting with me."

He doesn't realize how cute he is now, let alone how he looked in 1985. And of course the truth is, he looks nothing like Phil Chen - that lady was either high or actually coming on to him.

Stolen from Food Network

Age: 35

Hometown: Culver City, CA

Occupation: Fixer

Favorite restaurant: Ton Kiang, in San Francisco

Food specialty: Popcorn, Mrs. Santa Cruz's baked beans, cranberry compote

Interests: Music, reading

Favorite Food Network chef: Amy Finley, Tyler Florence, Sara Moulton

Favorite Food Network show: Iron Chef, Food 911

Three people, alive or dead, that you'd like to invite to a dinner party: (Hopefully one at which I am not doing the cooking) - Patrick, my uncle Alfredo, and Stewart Copeland

Three foods you can't live without (other than bread or water): Corn, chocolate, chicken

Culinary inspirations: Growling stomach

Culinary secret weapon: Rice cooker; Patrick

Favorite food: Brussels sprouts

Food you won't go near: Veal, brains

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: Snails, rabbit

Favorite food destination: Downtown Los Angeles - Little Tokyo

Friday, October 5, 2007


A couple of weeks ago I got a much needed haircut... I wasn't intending to go short. Bill, my stylist, wasn't intending to go this short... but one thing led to another, and here I am.

It hasn't been this short for awhile, and I'm just not sure. I'm still getting used to it, I guess. I'm not gonna cry about it: maybe it's not even that much different (the weekend after I got it cut, no one at the theater noticed. Only 2 people at work have even said anything. Either it's not that dramatic a change or it looks like shit and people are just being nice).


I'll get over it.

I've been saying that a lot lately, haven't I.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Kiss Me I'm Irish?

Ask Paul is back!


When you lived in NY, did you ever go to McSorley's Old Ale House? I have had about four different instances where this place has been mentioned to me lately... and the quantity of times is striking me as more than just coincidental:

It's the subject of a Joseph Mitchell story in "Up in the Old Hotel," a collection of stories that I think originally were published in the New Yorker - I've read the book before but had gotten it out because I re-read everything (as much as I hate and despise short stories, short stories require just about as much concentration as I can muster right now), also, these are some very well-written short stories (I wish I had such an eye for detail); over the weekend, I watched an online "behind the scenes" thing about the sets used on "Heroes," and the set designer said she modeled a pub that's supposed to be in Ireland on McSorley's in NY; then of course during last night's episode, a character was mentioned (who didn't appear onscreen) named McSorley; then, in a NY Times story I was just now reading, about these Ukrainian women who make dumplings every weekend for some church, it was mentioned that the church is right next door to McSorleys... It sounds awesome (so did the dumplings).

Or maybe I just need a drink (or some Ukrainian dumplings)?

I think that judging by the extreme (what was it? four?) amount of times it's come up in the last couple of days, it's obvious that I am due for a trip to New York, no? Or Ireland, I guess, if you wanted to look at it that way: but I'm not greedy. I mean, could there be any clearer sign? Do you believe in coincidences?

Or should I just shut up and buy a six-pack of Guinness?

I know this is pretty silly: I just needed something to write about today, and I'm avoiding telling the truth about my job and how I'm feeling these days (stressed, overworked, a tiny bit blue, etc.). So instead I'm focusing on things that bear no importance, and working them up to operatic stature. I'm finding that I'm quite good at it.

Paul's Response:

Well, Irene, I was not of age during my New York Captivity, and you might be surprised how tightly NYC's finest enforce underage drinking laws in publick houses. However, I did have the chance to visit McSorley's when I traveled with four of LA's finest to the St.Patrick's Day Parade in 1998. It was one of the first stops during a long weekend spent almost entirely in bars, taverns, and police stations (all friendly visits between fellow boys in blue, to which I was privy only by virtue of my companions).

One of the guys with me on that trip was a transplanted NY Transit cop who lived in Marina del Rey and worked the Hollywood Division. His name happened to be McSorley. No relation. And when he flashed his ID, the wait-staff was more impressed with his cop-ness that his name.The place has charm, just two types of ale, and sawdust on the floor. The history is palpable, but at this point also palpably commodified. It's a place people go to go to an Old Place, not an old place people still happen to go to. And certainly by the standards of the old country, 160 years isn't all that long to be pulling pints.So I wouldn't say it's worth the trip on its own, even if the existential riptide seems to be pulling you thither, but if you're going to New York anyway it's definitely a worthy stop.