Monday, December 31, 2007

And a can of corn

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 30, 2007

These are not resolutions...

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

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

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

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

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

Fun time is [almost] over

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

Friday, December 28, 2007

Brain damage

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Old Data

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

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

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

Sunday, December 23, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Last one.

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

I've done this before.


(Eye) Contact

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

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Downside

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

I also need a new pair of bunny slippers.

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

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

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


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

Fox on the run

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

I'm just... waiting.


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

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

Monday, December 17, 2007

Those That Can't Do, Teach

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


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

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

Julie, you're next!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blogging While Buzzed

I shouldn't hit publish tonight but I will.

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

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

Friday, December 14, 2007

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

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

Library Thing

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas Card Outtakes

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Making Plans

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

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

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

Now it's time to bed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ask Paul: "Doctor My Eyes!"


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

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

Pauly's response:

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

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


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

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

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Saturday, December 8, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

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

I like that the CMAs are mostly performances.

Friday, December 7, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

From Wikipedia's entry: "Left-handed"

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

Fortunately there's also this:

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

And of course, then there's this:

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

And, then, there's this:

Famous Lefties:

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

Monday, December 3, 2007

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

Sunday, December 2, 2007

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

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

A disclaimer before I commence with my report:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such saps.

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

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