Friday, November 30, 2007

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

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

do you know how to shoot a bow and arrow?

My overly wordy response:

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

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

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

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

could you envision me as a cage fighter?

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

Here's my response:

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

Her reply:

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

Again, my overly wordy response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

America's Next Top Annoying Model

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

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

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

The Cure

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 26, 2007

Everybody Wants Some - Follow Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that's when things got scary.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Friday, November 23, 2007



I guess I overate today.

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

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

One more thing that I am thankful for this year:

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

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

"The Bald Soprano"

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

Information, reservations, photos:
City Garage Theatre

Monday, November 19, 2007

Irene the Bean-Ology

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Q: Has someone ever saved yours?
A: No


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Q: Would you live with roommates?
A: No

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

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

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


Q: Last Friend you talked to?
A: Pauly

Q: Last person who called you?
A: Bo

Q: Last person you hugged?
A: Patrick

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


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

Q: Season?
A: Fall


Q: Missing someone?
A: Sometimes

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

Q: Listening to?
A: The Who

Q: Watching?
A: Bull Durham

Q: Worrying about?
A: Thanksgiving


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

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

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

Q: Do you smile often?
A: Yes

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

Sunday, November 18, 2007

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

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


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

Thursday, November 15, 2007

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

[Context removed to keep things interesting.]

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

"I suck at math."

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


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Heroes marathon

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

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

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

"My voice is my passport?"

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Attitude adjustment

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

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

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

Perfection overrated.


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

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

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


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

Good night.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Skinny jeans

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

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


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

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

Friday, November 9, 2007

Jelly Donut

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

Friday, November 2, 2007

Bòn Mót of the Day

An actual conversation with my co-worker:

Eileen: "If I was an ice cube I'd be a perfect square."
Irene: [Not really listening.] "Hmm-hmm."


Irene: "Wait. What?!"

Don't Speak

I had a moment today.

I think I mentioned the soreness in my left arm earlier this week or sometime before... now? Well. It's been ongoing. It's made sleeping and driving (two things I never do at the same time) particularly painful. Work has been OK but I've been walking around with some serious tension. On Wednesday I put in a request for an ergo study on my desk and workstation.

I know one thing for sure: I will soon be getting a chair with arms.

I had been figuring all this time I've been having this discomfort that it was stress-induced, and I kept telling myself that it would be away, because "I'm not that stressed." Then, on Wednesday, I went to my Weight Watchers meeting, and I talked about it to Leslie, the leader of my group, and she told me these horror stories about people she knows, my age, who had the same problem and ended up having strokes and heart attacks and stuff.

And don't think that that hadn't occurred to me. I was just ignoring the idea: alternately blowing it off as insane, and then once in awhile, thinking, well, who knows? I mean, maybe it wasn't very nice of Leslie to say all that stuff (because telling someone who is already stressed that she may be having a fucking heart attack doesn't seem like the best way to calm that person down), but it did get me thinking. Ah: thinking. Thoughts. Logic.

So that afternoon I called Kaiser and made myself an appointment for Thursday.

Obviously I am fine: I'm not having a heart attack or a stroke; my blood pressure was it's usual low number, and I didn't even have a fever. However, my arm continued to hurt, and now it was a little more advanced: my hand was tingly, and my leg (all on the left side) and foot, too. I was given a prescription for a muscle relaxer (which I will bet you a million dollars I will never take), advised to find a yoga class, and told to get an ergo study done on my workstation (hey! I did that already!).

Today I went to the chiropractor, and they had me lie (lay? I never use the right one, do I) on the water table. After setting me up, the girl left me in the darkened room with these words:

"Now I want you to relax."

Dammit, doesn't she know anything about me (uh, no)? Telling me to relax is about as useful as telling me to grow another head. I just can't do it on demand (now, when I'm not thinking about it, growing another head is like breathing...). And then, as much as I love my chiropractor's office, they play the absolute worst music. I don't know what station they were playing on the radio, but it was terrible. When I get a massage, Bruce plays his mellow didgeridoo "music to be massaged by" music (I don't really know what it is. It's like a higher class version of the music they sell at Target of rainstorms and babbling brooks). The combination of the not-very relaxing tempo of the water bed coupled with No Doubt's "Don't Speak" (I find Gwen Stefani to be rather high on my list of "most annoying female singers ever"), Hall & Oates' "She's Gone" (Hall & Oates are typically very relaxing but this particular song has a push and pull that just isn't soothing), followed by Elton John's "Daniel," a song guaranteed, every time, to make me cry.

Which it did.

So I'm lying (laying?) on this stupid water table, and my back is being pummeled by whatever the thing is that pummels you on a water table, in the dark, listening to Elton Fucking John, crying, when the water table stopped. Abruptly. To me, at that moment, it was like being hit by a car. I was afraid the doctor was going to walk in and I'd be all teary-eyed and freaking out, and I didn't want to to have to tell him what my problem was (my problem was, that I had envisioned myself telling him my problem, which is that I really don't have any problems, but that the ones I do have, I'm just not handling them very well at the moment, which, seemed to be, at the same time both incredibly pathetic and very profound to me for some reason). I knew I was being silly. But I was afraid of talking to this young doctor (my usual chiropractor wasn't available today; he has a very gentle way with me and isn't scary at all. The young doctor isn't scary, either, but he's young) with this soundtrack of sappy love songs. Anyway, the thing that always annoys me about the chiropractor is that they put you in this tiny dark room and then they seem to forget about you for what feels like forever (but is really only, I don't know, 20 minutes), but today, I was glad for the, what do you call it? Alone time. I had gotten a grip, mostly, by the time the doctor came in, and he proceeded to adjust me.

And then I paid, left, sat in the car with my sunglasses on and the sunshine from this beautiful day hitting me, and I felt a little better.

My fucking arm still hurts, though.