Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of the year "best of"

What's the end of the year without a top 10 list? For those of you who are recently joining me I thought I'd pick out my favorite posts from 2008. If you're interested in what I have to say, this will save you some time and help avoid the posts where I write about my cat or something.

For those of you who have been around for awhile, and have already read these entries, well, now would be a great opportunity for you to go out and get something frothy and alcoholic to drink. Happy new year, everybody!

10. January 4, 2008
The most frustrating ride home ever
I lose then find my ATM card, Patrick's car craps out on us, and I eat a Burrito Bol.

9. February 5, 2008
Vote, Part II
Because election day deserved more than one entry ("Vote, Part I" is not all that interesting, I can tell you right now)?

8. February 24, 2008
Updated profile
Wherein I took a question posed by the powers that be at Blogger and created a whole fantasy world in which I recorded an album with Stewart Copeland called "I Can See Now" with a listing of what are quite possibly the worst fake song titles in history.

7. March 1, 2008
Fake Interview with Terri Gross, Part 1 and Part 2
I was apparently on a roll with the fantasy world stuff because in this entry, I made up a whole interview of me by Terri Gross on NPR about my "relationship" with Stewart Copeland. During the interview, I apparently was overcome by emotion or something. Oh: I did a good job on this, I can admit it. And I seem to remember laughing almost the whole time while writing it - and that, my friends, is the only criteria that I care about.

These two separate entries count as just one item on the list because I'm pretty sure I wrote it all in one sitting, during one night. Oh, I don't know why they count as one, but this is my damn list. I make the rules.

6. April 13, 2008
A long, rambling post about the cue-to-cue for THE MISSION (ACCOMPLISHED), a show at City Garage for which I did the lights. I talk a lot about parking in Santa Monica, not reading the script, the fact that I was listening to "In Rainbows" and finding a love letter Patrick wrote me back in the old days. Well, not exactly a love letter, but sort of.

5. May 29, 2008
Subect: FW: Telephone Message: Performance Evals
A series of emails between me and a bone-headed dork guy from the IT department at my old job.

4. June 24, 2008
Standing up for myself, one tiny step at a time
Another rambling long entry about a little thing that happened at work where I finally stopped letting people walk all over me. Well, not really, but that will do for this synopsis.

3. August 14, 2008
Someone going berserk
Patrick demonstrates that he can sleep through anything, and I demonstrate a will to wake him up.

2. September 16, 2008
Great gig in the sky
I talk about the moon, LA, Pink Floyd, and BAD PENNY, the show I was helping to run at City Garage at the time, and even include a couple of blurry photos.

1. October 27, 2008
But I'm so glad it's Friday night! To be! A centaur!
Many disparate subjects are discussed in this entry; among them: tires, walking, music that is or is not appropriate to walk to, "Bye Bye Birdie," old high school cheers, and tech rehearsals at City Garage.

So you can see, unless I miscounted (always a possibility) I have 10 items here and we're just to October. Having two favorites from February was probably a mistake, but whatever. November and December were so recent that choosing a favorite from those two months seems almost like cheating.

All I can say now is, at the end of the year and the end of this entry: read this stuff or don't read it - it's up to you. But to those of you who join me here, thanks. It is my pleasure to act the fool for you. I think I've gotten pretty good at it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I am a total wimp yet still I am proud of myself

For Christmas, Patrick and I got ourselves a gym membership. I've been talking about it for awhile, just me going alone, and that was fine, except that I didn't do anything about it. Then I thought, well, wouldn't it be more fun for us to go together? then I thought, hmm, wouldn't Patrick like to lose some weight, too?

The answer to all of those questions was "yes," so, on Friday, I went in and signed us up. We talked about going (together) on Saturday, and (separately) on Sunday, and, until I remembered that tonight I am playing flute quartets with Patty, Judy, and Greg, we were going to go tonight after Patrick gets home from work. Instead I went by myself (I'm off this week!).

It took me about 4 hours after waking up to actually get dressed to go, and in the meantime, I decided that I would complete the task I have been putting off for weeks, namely, cleaning the bathroom.

Let the record show that I would prefer to clean the bathroom than go to the gym.

It wasn't that I was afraid of the workout or anything; my goals are not very high - just to go and spend some time there is all I'm after right now. I don't want to look like Madonna. I just want to get my heart rate up and I want to do it in an environment that allows me to read or listen to my iPod instead of watching for cracks or tree roots in the pavement (by the way, I totally forgot that I could read while walking on the treadmill; I will definitely take some reading material with me next time). Anyway. After cleaning the bathroom, including scrubbing the tub and toilet and the floor, and disposing of all our expired medications, I finally got up the nerve, resigned myself to looking like a dork, put on my shoes and my Police t-shirt (and pants, too), and went.

I scheduled me and Patrick for our 1 hour orientation (where they take our measurements, and boy, doesn't that sound fun) for tomorrow night, I got some guy to show me how to use the treadmill, and then I set off for a 2 mile walk that had I done in real-life would not have even gotten me to the gym at all. Actually: it was 1.9 miles. I didn't even get to the 2 mile mark. Other people were running, other people were gorgeous - I was slow, sweaty (I forgot my towel) and thirsty (I also forgot my water), and breathing funny. I didn't realize that the machine would automatically "cool" me down after 30 minutes, so, after 35 minutes, my walk was over, and I hopped off to go home.

It was at this point - the hopping, actually - where I realized that walking 1.9 miles in real life and walking 1.9 miles on a treadmill at a pace I would never maintain on the streets (red lights, kids on bikes, stopping to pet dogs, etc.) are two entirely different things, because first of all, the step down from the machine to the floor seemed suddenly about 3 feet, and the floor, once I got there, seemed much harder than I remembered. And my legs were much wobblier. Much, much wobblier.

Eventually I would like to maybe use some of the weight machines or do something else but for now, 35 minutes was about right. And next time I'll bring a towel, my iPod, a book or magazine, and a fanny pack for my keys.

Yes, you read that right, I said "next time."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Semi-Fake Bio

My bio in the program for shows at City Garage is pretty simple. I made up the following fantasy bio out of fear. This was for "The Bacchae," where I appeared as the flutist. Typecasting sucks, no? This bio has been updated to include the work I've done since.

From the concrete slab of Culver City, California (home of the Scarlet Lady Saloon), Irene graduated Culver City High School (Class of 1990, best known for its delusions of grandeur), where she acquired a taste for cute boys with hair in their eyes, sarcasm, Kurt Vonnegut, drummers, jeans that zip up at the ankles, punk rock, the film "Harold and Maude," and the joy of run-on sentences. In high school, Irene played flute and piccolo in the semi-terrible marching band, and in the pit orchestra for the musicals "Cabaret," "Leader of the Pack," "Little Mary Sunshine," and "Anything Goes;" her fondest memories from doing musicals include getting yelled at for burning gummy bears on her stand light and mocking the twin girls in the violin section for flirting with the drummers. She also spent two seasons as second flute in the Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic, and with them, performed at the Pantages Theater. Her costume for the LA Jr. Phil consisted of a floor length custom-made black satin gown with a sweetheart neckline and 3/4 length sleeves that puffed at the shoulder.

Yes, it's true - that description has not been exaggerated for comic effect. Photos exist but, alas, have been confiscated by the authorities.

After graduation, Irene received an invitation to audition for the Marine Corps band, which she declined, due to a fear of having to run and/or wear yet another ugly uniform.

For several years after graduating Culver High, Irene worked at various low-paying retail jobs until she auditioned for and was accepted to Cal Arts where she ostensibly would have acquired a B.A. in Music Performance, had she not balked at the tuition fee. In the years between graduating high school and not going to Cal Arts, Irene attended many lackluster Community College courses, finding them excellent opportunities for catching up on one's sleep, lacking the one thing she had counted on in high school: the opportunity to sketch Sean Leys' head. Also during these years she learned to drive, and to appreciate dark beers and slightly older men with blue or blue-green eyes. She was in the orchestra for the Culver City Civic Light Opera's production of "The King and I," however, she doesn't recall the exact year that happened (1994?); she does remember the cute smiley-face paper plate thing the clarinet player made for her mic, to assuage her rather unrealistic fears of being amplified.

Since 1995 Irene has performed in the following small ensembles, on a mostly yearly basis: Sacred Heart College reunion; playing with various other flutists for the old lady's women's club's (exact name unknown) Christmas brunch, Christmas caroling in Brentwood on flutes with the only two music teachers she's ever had (sorry Mr. Gregory), and at various weddings and funerals (mostly during the winter months).

Since around 1992, Irene has been the website administrator, secretary, and de facto "tuner" for the Culver City Flute Choir, a group of adult amateur flutists. She is quite proud of her ability to sustain a mostly solid, consistent A for the time required to tune up to 13 flutists; some of whom, and it is questionable, may or may not actually possess the ability to hear. She intends for that last comment to be taken in the nicest possible way.

She has worked at various retail establishments, making friends and enemies indiscriminately (Beth, I'm speaking to you). She would also like to point out that should you wish for your bookstore (independent or not) to succeed, do not hire her. While her work performance was in all instances excellent (except for her inability to be on time), every single bookstore she worked in has since closed. In spite of her outspoken stated love for books and bookstores, it has been speculated that Irene is intent on taking them all down, one by one. Personally, I would keep an eye on her when she even shops at bookstores. Or libraries.

In 1996 she, as a surprise to everyone, canceled a wedding (her own) two weeks before the date (heartbreak #2), and, a fairly decent amount of time later took up with a red-haired, chain-smoking, possibly depressed, 18-year old (heartbreak #2.5). Irene quit working retail in 2001 (heartbreak #4), and works now at a job about which she will only say, pays better than any bookstore she ever closed (as stated before, that would be... all of them), and is happily married to a very talented drummer, a member of the band Magnolia Thunderpussy ("the best SST band you never heard of"). She resides somewhere in Southern California with her husband, three cats, a mortgage, a lot of books, CDs, an obsession for obtaining more MP3s than anyone else, and a very eclectic record collection.

In 2001, Irene appeared in THE GERTRUDE STEIN PROJECT, wearing a pair of tuxedo pants and a corset, where she played flute and Patrick's big ol' Paiste Rude cymbal (her fluttering trills were mentioned in the LA Times and LA Weekly); and in 2004, she worked behind the scenes as Assistant Director for PATRIOT ACT. In 2006, Irene returned to the stage as the Flutist in THE BACCHAE, where she was the only female member of the cast not asked to make out with Dionysus, a slight she still feels to this day. Irene has been the sound/light operator for IPHIGENIA, RHINOCEROS, QUARTET, THE BALD SOPRANO, BAD PENNY, THE MISSION (ACCOMPLISHED), THE BOURGEOIS GENTILHOMME, and THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES.

She is very pleased to work again with us here at City Garage while wearing slightly more clothing (though it does get rather hot up there in the booth).

(Original post date: 9/7/06; updated 12/27/08)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Second time not exactly a charm

So today was my second mammogram of the year. I have a feeling I should've asked the question - is this a good idea, doing this again in just two short months? but I was a little nervous and that meant I was talkative, and the ladies in the Mammography Center were nice but not interested in my long-ass stories, so I didn't ask.

It took much less time this time around, but it was a bit less comfortable, if such a thing is imaginable. The lady performing my mammogram (are these people ever male?) was exceptionally nice, though I couldn't understand at first her accent when she was telling me not to breathe. I kept wondering, wait? Breathe? or not breathe? But it seemed to go well, and she was happy with her initial scan of the images because she let me leave without re-doing anything. Which was good.

I just want to state for the record: I like my breasts. But that doesn't mean anything - my liking them doesn't mean I'm about to be punished or taught a lesson. There cannot be any such thing as retribution for liking your god-given gifts, now can there? I mean, life is not "The Princess Bride." It doesn't mean that because I think they are good (and let's be honest, I need to lose 20 pounds, I'm crosseyed and pigeon-toed and my hair looks good about once a week and my eyebrows are too thick and long and I still shop entirely too much at the Gap-so my thinking they're okay is just fine and not the work of a vain person; not that vanity is a bad thing, all the time, I guess, I'm not judging vain people either) they will be taken away from me or disfigured or, um, you know: scarred or something. That is not why women get breast cancer. It does not work that way. And you know, there's that whole thing wherein you have to say to yourself, I am not my breasts (or my hair or my waist or my mole or my whatever).

I know this.
I know this.
I know this,
I know this.

Rational, Irene. Rational.

Afterwards I went to Walgreens and bought some facial lotion, some eyeliner, and something else I've forgotten about, and then I treated my friend Bo to lunch at Jongewaard's Bake N' Broil, a restaurant I have been wanting to visit since a co-worker brought quiche from there a couple of weeks ago (awesome quiche). It's near his house, and it was truly yummy. We didn't have anything miraculous that couldn't be had anywhere else (I had a turkey sandwich and bowl of clam chowder, he had a roast beast sandwich and fries), but then we decided to have pie, and that's when things got interesting.

If you like chocolate, I highly recommend the chocolate brownie pie. It's decadent, heavenly and - dare I say it - yummy.

After that I signed up me and Patrick for a gym.

After that I went to Target and used some gift cards on implements of house-keeping and cleaning.

After that I came home and had a beer. One can only be so good for so long.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

No news means they lost my film

In October, when I got my mammogram and breast exam, I was told by the technician upon her initial inspection of my film, that all looked okay, and that, after whatever more detailed review they had to do occured, if nothing showed up, I probably wouldn't hear anything for awhile.

She then told me:

"No news is good news."

Since time subsequently passed and I received the proverbial no news, I ceased worrying about it and moved on to other things (the blackness of my soul, for one. It's a recurring theme, that one).

Yesterday Patrick told me that the mammography department had called, but he didn't remember when, so I listened to all the old messages on our machine. Turns out they called twice, the first time a week ago, and the second time, Monday. Patrick is hereby banned from listening to the machine. I didn't yell, but I put on the Serious voice I've been practicing for if/when we have children. I can tell you this much: it doesn't work on the cats, but Patrick was adequately affected. Anyway, he didn't do it on purpose, so he's forgiven. This morning I called the mammography department and was told that I have to go back and re-do everything, because they lost my film.

They lost my film.

This wouldn't be a big deal, I suppose, for a person who is skilled in the art of positive thinking. I also suppose in order to acquire that skill, like any other, one must practice. One could also remember, as I so cheesily stated earlier, that "now starts now" and begin the positive thinking with this experience.

I could, and perhaps I still will. But right now I am thinking the following things:
  • That something bad is lurking on that film
  • That what someone told me last year about my "karma" (based on comments and emails I had sent to this person which have all been physically deleted but which still exist in my silly little head) - which is bullshit, I know, because that person isn't allowed to mess with me anymore - might be true (hence the black soul thoughts) <--Badly written, vague, stupid thought, this second bullet item.
  • That Something BAD is lurking on that film
  • Something bad is lurking on that film

On Friday I will return to redo everything, and I'm sure it will be fine, but I've just never been good with the waiting and seeing part. And I get that stupid mammograms are a part of life and that I will be doing them every few years for the rest of my life: I see the logic in it, I see the sense, but this is the first one, and it's all fucked up right now.

So, I spent a good part of the morning reading a year's worth of Daisy Owl. Daisy Owl is genius, and I feel much better now.

I will calm down. But it looks like I get a mammogram for Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On your mark, get set:

Ever since I had to watch this online training course on driving for work, where the narrator told me that I should be looking "10-15 seconds ahead" when traveling at a high rate of speed on the freeway, I've been thinking a lot about distance and time.

At 80 MPH, I travel 117 feet per second. If I'm peering ahead 10-15 seconds, that means I am looking forward into time, approximately 1,755 feet. That's pretty far into the future, for someone who couldn't plan her way out of a paper bag (should planning my way out of a paper bag become a necessity, however, I do know who to call).

If I do a stupid thing (such as sending an ill-advised email, or saying something too personal to someone who clearly did not wish to know what a jerk/dork I am, or being ugly to Patrick), the next 10-15 seconds are spent biting my nails, hunching my shoulders, daydreaming about smoking a cigarette (which never pays off: I've finally learned that the thrill of wanting one is almost immediately made null by the disgusting reality of actually smoking) - multiply that by the dozens of times per day I do something idiotic, and suddenly you're looking at whole hours which are wasted while I'm a total mess. If instead, I had thought ahead into the future, 10-15 seconds before doing/saying the stupid thing, the whole thing could've been avoided.

Instead of cars or hazards, I visualize my own personal obstacle course of regret and shame.

I mean, I have made some good decisions, but on the other hand: I've made some bad ones. And then there are all the decisions I chose not to make. This is normal, right? The danger is in questioning it, I guess. Happy people do what they do and live with it, good and/or bad. Or is this me, just guessing? Unhappy people, on the other hand (and not wishing to sound like too much of an expert on unhappy people, forgive me if I prevaricate or get a bit dodgy here) - I think unhappy people question it.
  • 1,755 feet is about 1/3 of a mile.
  • It was 1.25 miles, walking (my usual mode of transportation), from my childhood home to my high school.
  • After leaving home, if I walked 1/3 of a mile, taking the route I normally took (using the bike path), I'd end up at (approximately) the bridge that links the school with the Lindberg Park neighborhood across the La Ballona Creek.
  • Still not quite at school, and in fact, this was a point at which some days I made the decision just to not go to school at all. This seems important for some reason.

I'm still trying to work out what, if anything, this all means. I think the main idea is that I need to look ahead, 10-15 seconds at a time, and stop questioning my past decisions, and start making better ones in the future. Now starts... now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Waiting for the UFO's + Hierarchy/Never Fall In Love Again + I'm a Boy + Countdown + Liar + In My Tree

I thought this was so fun, I'd do it twice three many times. The answers are totally silly, and I think you should at least get to hear a little bit of these songs, so maybe I'll do some links. My second set of answers is below the first. And the third set, etc., below that. Boy, you catch on quick!* My friend Adam did it too (see comments section). Both our answers to numbers 3 and 18 are pretty funny.

I may am definitely abandoning all attempts at writing anything else and will just do this until Christmas (liar liar pants on fire). I need playlists, and this is as good a way as any to get some. Otherwise I'll be listening to every song on my iPod in random order, going quietly (or noisily, depending on the tune) crazy.

Also, I'm adding artist information.

My friend Jeff posted this as a note on Facebook, but I decided to post it here. He didn't tag me or anything, I just thought it looked fun.

I. Put your iTunes on shuffle.
II. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
IV. Tag 11 friends who might enjoy doing this.
I tag Julie, Andrea, and Michael. I don't think I know 11 people.

Note: I just remembered that my friend Julie is having twins any minute (literally: any minute) now. So, Juls, you are excused from this exercise. Michael, if you don't have an iPod, feel free to hum. Also? Time 4? I am totally buzzed.

-Obstacle 2, by Interpol
-I Zimbra, by Talking Heads
-Piccadilly, by Squeeze
-King of Pain, by the Police
-A.C.D.C., by Sweet
-Get Into Yours, by Mudhoney

-Tadd's Delight, by Miles Davis
-Windows, by Missing Persons
-Not a Virgin, by Poe
-Kiss On My List, by Hall & Oats (I got the Hall & Oats from Paul, and while I adore Paul, I also LOVE MOCKING HIS MUSIC. However, his music is now my music thanks to his generosity, and I love Hall & Oats. There. It's out.)
-To Bring You My Love, by P.J. Harvey
-Morning Theft, by Jeff Buckley

-Dirty Boots, by Sonic Youth
-King Kong, by Bow Wow Wow
-From One Cums One, by fIREHOSE
-Back Door Man, by the Doors (this answer scares the shit out of me)
-The Width of a Circle, by David Bowie
-Beliver, by Mimi

-Behind Blue Eyes, by the Who
-E-Ticket Ride, by Mike Watt
-Ignore Land, by R.E.M.
-I Will Follow, by U2
-Congregation, by Afghan Whigs
-Monday, by the Jam

-Immigrant Song, by Led Zeppelin
-Coal-Train Robberies, by Elvis Costello
-About a Girl, by Nirvana
-5:15, by the Who
-Whatever, by Gnarls Barkley
-Optimistic, by Radiohead

-Woman, by John Lennon
-Do What You Want, by OK Go
-Have I Got a Deal For You, by Abby Travis (I think I'm going to start saying this to people at random points in our conversations. "Have I got a deal for you!" is awesome.
-Cathedral, by Crosby, Stills & Nash
-A Rose In April, by Kate Rusby
-Statue of Liberty, by Descendents

-If Only Tonight We Could Sleep?, by the Cure
-Nightswimming , by R.E.M.
-Is That All?, by U2
-Peace Train, by Cat Stevens (this is just wrong. And funny)
-Lovers of Today, by Pretenders
-Elephant Stone, by the Stone Roses

-Mystery Dance, by Elvis Costello
-Go-Go Gadget Gospel, by Gnarls Barkley
-I Can Learn, by the White Stripes
-Trampled Under Foot, by Led Zeppelin
-History Never Repeats, by Split Enz
-Tomorrow, by U2

-I'm Old Fashioned, by John Coltrane
-Eruption, by Van Halen
-Cool Blue Stole My Heart, by Joan Armatrading
-It's Hard, by the Who (random choice, that)
-Suffragette City, by David Bowie
-5:15, by the Who

10. WHAT IS 2+2?
-Ziggy Stardust, by David Bowie
-Wild Sex (In the Working Class), by Oingo Boingo
-Hungry For You (J'Aurais Toujours Faim de Toi), by the Police
-Tangent, by Beth Orton
-Talk To Me, Dance with Me, by Hot Hot Heat
-If I Didn't Love You, by Squeeze

-Freddie Freeloader, by Miles Davis
-Lilac Wine, by Jeff Buckley
-Karma Police, by Radiohead
-Good Night, by the Beatles
-Prison, by Big Boys
-Sky Blue and Black, by Jackson Browne

-Have A Cigar, by Ira (Pink Floyd cover - I'm not allowed to listen to Pink Floyd in December)
-Masoko Tanga, by the Police
-A Million Miles Away, by David Byrne
-Someone Else's Heart, by Squeeze
-Baby Plays Around, by Elvis Costello (these answers are a little scary)
-Safe, by Travis

-Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, by the Beatles
-Serve the Servants, by Nirvana
-Cakewalk Into Town, by Taj Mahal
-Get In Or Get Out, by Hot Hot Heat
-Chinatown, by Joe Jackson
-No Aloha, by the Breeders

-Sweet Jane, by Mott the Hoople (obviously I need some Velvet Underground...)
-Here Comes That Feeling, by Squeeze
-No Action, by Elvis Costello
-The Hanging Garden, by the Cure (how does one dance to this song?)
-Love Gets You Twisted, by Graham Parker
-Magnolia Caboose Babyshit, by Mudhoney

-Within You Without You, by the Beatles
-Love Like Laughter, by Beth Orton
-Plans I Make, by Hüsker Dü
-Vervacious, by James
-We Work the Black Seam, by Sting
-Murder By Numbers, by the Police (CREEPY answer!!)

-Anti-Misogyny Maneuver, by fIREHOSE
-Across the Great Divide, by the Band
-Generals and Majors, by XTC
-Big Love, by Fleetwood Mac
-No Time Soon, by Gnarls Barkley
-Fall On Me, by R.E.M.

-Red Mosquito, by Pearl Jam
-Fa-Fa-Fa, by Datarock**
-Baby Let's Play God, by Big Boys
-Planet Telex, by Radiohead
-Poison, by David Byrne
-Ballet For a Rainy Day, by XTC

-Lazy Bird, by John Coltrane
-Cover Me Slowy, by Deerhunter
-Accuracy, by the Cure
-The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead, by XTC
-Everybody Hurts, by R.E.M.
-I Put a Spell On You, by Creedence Clearwater Revival

-His Wife Refused, by David Byrne
-Hidden Track, by Abby Travis
-You Make My Dreams, by Hall & Oats (embarrassing!)
-Goodbye Stranger, by Supertramp (fuck. I have Supertramp on my iPod??)
-A Place Called Home, by P.J. Harvey
-Drowned, by the Who

-Sequestered In Memphis, by The Hold Steady
-Bewildered, by James Brown
-Swampland, by the Birthday Party
-Last Boat Leaving, by Elvis Costello
-Close To Me, by the Cure
-Addicted, by Kelly Clarkson (Yes. I have Kelly Clarkson. Shut up.)

-Do You Know Where You're Coming From?, by Jamiroquai
-Be Sweet, by Afghan Whigs
-You Said Something, by PJ Harvey
-Time To Move On, by Tom Petty
-Capitalism, by Oingo Boingo
-I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, by U2

-Check the Rhyme, by A Tribe Called Quest
-Everywhere That I'm Not, by Translator
-Got the Time, by Joe Jackson
-Denmark Street, by the Kinks
-Heartbreaker, by Led Zeppelin
-As Ugly As I Seem, by the White Stripes

-Toes Across the Floor, by Blind Melon
-59 Times the Pain, by Hüsker Dü
-Kiss the Floor, by the Afghan Whigs
-Is This Love, by Bob Marley and the Wailers
-Dream Time, by the Jam
-Low Budget, by the Kinks

-Waiting for the UFOs, by Graham Parker
-Hierarchy/Never Fall In Love Again, by Noisettes
-I'm a Boy, by the Who
-Countdown, by John Coltrane
-Liar, by the Cranberries
-In My Tree, by Pearl Jam

*A line stolen from Covielle, from The Bourgeois Gentilhomme, playing tonight and tomorrow at City Garage. This is your last chance to see the show in 2008! We reopen January 10, 2009. The show is getting great reviews (see links below), and is a lot of fun.

LA Times
LA Weekly

**The Datarock belongs to Patrick!!

I picked a fine day...

... to wear my floods!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


As a grown woman with a perfectly good vocabulary (meaning, I've never said "sweaty" when I meant "sweetie"), I've discovered that sometimes I get lazy in my choice of words (certainly not quantity... read ahead if you don't believe me). I don't expect to to pepper every conversation or paragraph with five dollar words (and couldn't, even if I did expect it), I'm just saying: I thought I had standards.

I never, ever allow myself to use a double negative, for example. I can't say "ain't" (or even consider saying it) without hearing the voice of my eight year old self saying, "Ain't ain't a word!" I don't consider myself to be a wordsmith or even particularly smart (we will not be submitting SAT scores), I'm just saying that I like words. I like using them correctly. I get embarrassed if I say something wrong or stupid (hence my near-perpetual state of embarrassment, I guess). This has nothing to do with slang or curse words, either: when I discovered just how much it irritated my mother when I used the word "suck," you can only the imagine the things I had tolerated before that suddenly acquired suckitude: green beans, catechism, my mom's lousy taste in my clothing - those things all of a sudden had a name, and that name was Suck.

Lately, however, I've been replacing specific words with generic ones, and I'm not exactly sure why. My go-to generic words are slightly more interesting than "nice" and "okay" but they're still pretty vague, and plenty juvenile:
"funky," "icky," "yucky"
Sure, "funky" is a pretty adequate descriptor if you're discussing the mélange of scents wafting about the fitting rooms at Ross, or the purple jumpsuit and beaded scarf the bass player is wearing. And of course, if you're listening to the right music (James Brown, Tony Williams), what word other than "funky" would you use? But I've been known to use funky to describe a strange noise my car is making, my poor math skills, or a challenging rhythmic section in a flute choir piece. Take my word for it: none of these things could ever be described as funky.

"Icky" and "yucky" are interchangeable, it's true, and while there's no question when you declare something is icky/yucky, that you're not talking about something it would be safe to, say, put in your mouth, these are not words for a woman over the age of twelve. Since when did it become acceptable for me to call a dirty towel "icky"? Or to describe Patrick's green plaid fleece jacket as "yucky," even if he's wearing it with those awful, hundred year old brown jeans?

I hereby declare that I will make an effort to raise the level of my vocabulary.

But man: this cough and the accompanying phlegm I have all of a sudden? That shit is yucky.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Merry freakin' Christmas

I haven't had much to say, lately, and I offer up the following not as a an excuse, really, but as an opportunity (yet again) for you to laugh at me:
  • I have a zit on my cheek so big I swear it has a pulse. I think it's trying to signal the mother ship.

  • Pauly just emailed me the photos from the most recent Flute Choir concert and I am so pleased to find that I actually look as fat as I felt. I think I like it better when I'm just delusional and experiencing a mild attack of body dysmorphia.

Work has begun "the 12 days of Christmas," which means every day since last week until Christmas at least two different people will be bringing in food for the entire office. And tomorrow and Wednesday we're supposed to go out to celebrate two separate events (birthdays and someone's leaving). Plus, last week we had our Christmas party, which was fine, until someone decided it would be a good idea to have a room full of adults play "musical chairs."

  • Patrick and I just put up some outside decorations we purchased tonight at Target. In the dark (put them up in the dark, I mean, Target was well-lit as usual). I'm sure our neighbors were laughing at us. In fact, I'm pretty sure we were entertainment for at least 3 households.

  • Last night we finally watched the latest Indiana Jones movie on Pay Per View. Harrison Ford is old, and he still has no ass (anybody else remember the shots of Han Solo running around in any of the original Star Wars movies? No? Surely it's not just me). And yes, that's my only commentary on the movie.

  • We also saw "Fred Claus." That's got to the be the dumbest movie ever made. The Val Kilmer classic "Real Genius" has been on for the last couple of weeks, and while that's certainly no "Citizen Kane," I would still rather watch "Real Genius" over pretty much any Vince Vaughn movie, ever.

  • Did I mention I have a HUGE ZIT and that I've been eating everything that's not nailed down? Yes. Fat and pimply makes for a very Merry Christmas, indeed.
Actually, this is all a cover, because to tell you the truth, I really do feel the spirit of Christmas this year, and I've done a few things outside my normal scope (for instance, on the way to Target, I sang "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" with Patrick, who corrected me on a couple of lines I had remembered wrong; this is not a real example, but a placeholder for actual things that I've chosen not to enumerate here today) and there are some other things coming up that I'm excited about. So mostly I'm just faking it, the grumpiness. I'm not really a grump, I just play one on TV. Though if I were really on TV I'm sure there'd be some sort of makeup person who could COVER UP THIS ZIT FOR ME. Hello? I think I just heard it order a Diet Coke.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Another dream

No, this is not the start of another week's worth of silly dreams, but the one I had last night was pretty fun, so I'll share it.

I was starring in some sort of French movie. Yes, me, but a thinner me, with bigger breasts (or amazing bras) and a very nice wardrobe of simple but elegant navy blue dresses and high heels. Let's assume that I also had some acting ability as well. Also starring in the movie was a woman who looked just like my mother looked in photos I've seen of her from when she was 25 (before I was born). That part is interesting because of course her character was supposed to be older than me. The movie, apparently a love story about my character and some unidentified French guy (my "mom" was my best friend in the film, sort of like the Carrie Fisher role in every Meg Ryan movie) had this one sort of funny scene (that I remember) in which my character and her love interest guy are riding in a boat on the Seine which happens to be an oversize bathtub equipped with a park bench. In fact all the boats on the Seine were crazy little "boats" like that. On my one trip to Paris, years ago, we took a boat tour, and I do not recall riding in or seeing anything like that. In fact, I don't think you'd want to get that close to the water, unless what I've heard about the pollution is untrue.

The other scene I remember involved me making dinner (well, I was standing at a stove, with a pan. I was probably "acting" like I was making dinner! Watching all those cooking shows surely paid off) in a spectacular halter dress with little sailboats on it, while talking to my friend (the woman who looked like my mom) about another friend, who was having a birthday that day. My friend was concerned because the other friend hadn't been picking up the phone and she had made statements that led my friend to believe that she was in some sort of trouble. Only it turned out, when the two of us went to check on her, that the only trouble she was in was that she was with the guy who was supposed to be my love interest.

It's interesting that in my dreams, what I think is a "French" movie is really just a very bad episode of "Friends."

Then I was awakened by the alarm, which, after four days off, I barely remember how to turn off (snooze button, snooze button... where is it), though by the second time the alarm went off I was once again a pro.

Now I'd better go get ready for work.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another photo from the booth

The things I need to work in the booth: my script, an icy cold Diet Coke, a pack of gum, a rubber band for my unruly hair, a coffee can full of pens and pencils, and a pink pearl eraser.

Does anybody know what the switch that's to the left of the coffee can is for? I have been dying to flip it.

Oh, and I left out: I also need the Post-its (you do not know how vital those Post-its are. Having them in the booth might be my very own innovation: I use them to mark the audio cues in the book so that I know what's coming up even if I'm not there yet). And I should've gotten a shot of the types of pens and pencils that are actually in that coffee can: most of them lack erasers (hence the need for the pink pearl eraser); some of them are grease pencils (cool! real theater paraphernalia!), some of them are huge gigantic Sharpies, and some of them are the mechanical pencils I brought from home.

I like these.

I don't know why I thought anybody would care, but there you go.

Finally: today I finished re-reading "The Mists of Avalon." I suppose I first read it when it first came out (wait, that would mean I was 10. I was an advanced reader, but I'm pretty sure my mother, who was relatively strict with my reading material until junior high, would've caught this one), well, maybe shortly after it first came out. I know also that I re-read it at least twice during my teens and early twenties (because that's what I do with books. I'm definitely a re-reader), and for a long time I got a lot of enjoyment out of it, and I know the reviews on it were always good and that Jean Auel thinks it's her favorite novel ever (then again, Jean Auel wrote all that soft porn caveman junk, so who really cares what she thinks*. And yes, I realize that is a simplistic criticism that can only be made by someone without a full-on college education who read some of those novels merely for the titillation. Yes. I was a fool. So were you, I would suspect) or something--but this time through (and I will admit I fast-tracked this reading; I think I started it on Sunday of last week and finished it today, after staying up until 3:30 this morning) because I was looking for the hook, the thing that made me love it.

I couldn't find it.

*Wikipedia tells me that Jean Auel is a member of Mensa. So she's way smarter than I am, obviously. Still, I do think "Clan of the Cave Bear" is an icky book.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I want (updated)

I want to listen to songs that have the words "I Want" somewhere near the front of the title. "I Wanna" counts, "I Don't Want (or Wanna)" doesn't.

So far I have the following songs on this playlist:

  • I Want To Hold Your Hand, by the Beatles
  • I Want You (She's So Heavy), by the Beatles
  • I Want Candy, by Bow Wow Wow (listen to that rhythm section!)
  • I Want Someone Badly, by Jeff Buckley (Jeff is the man. Or was the man, obviously)
  • I Want You, by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
  • I Wanna Be a Bear, by Descendents
  • I Want You, by Marvin Gaye (smooth!)
  • I Want To Tell You, by George Harrison
  • I Want You Back, by the Jackson 5
  • I Want You, by the Kooks
  • I Wanna Be Loved, by Ricky Nelson (wasn't he dreamy?)
  • I Want You Back, by Graham Parker
  • I Wanna Be Your Dog, by Sex Pistols (classic)
  • I Want To Take You Higher, by Sly and the Family Stone (my bad, skipping this one!)
  • I Wanna Be Adored, by the Stone Roses
  • I Want To Be the Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart, by the White Stripes

Songs not on this playlist, or any playlist to be created by me:

  • I Want To Know What Love Is, by Foreigner: I've got a pretty good idea of what love is*, and I have to say, I don't think having to listen to this song has anything to do it
  • I Want a New Drug, by Huey Lewis and the News: You might need drugs, after listening to this song.
  • I Want a New Duck, by Weird Al Yankovic: I was tempted to download this song. Something is seriously wrong with my sense of humor tonight.
  • I Want It All, by Queen: Cheese on a stick!
  • I Want It All, by Ashley Tisdale, et al, from "High School Musical": Not the same song. Not at all.
  • I Want To Break Free, by Queen: Clearly Freddy Mercury had many wants and desires; I, however, have no desire to listen to this song
  • I Want To Live, by John Denver: Jesus Christ, this song makes me want to slit my wrists and get it over with
  • I Want You, by James Blunt: A Bob Dylan cover. I want neither Bob nor James.
  • I Want You, by Third Eye Blind: Not now, not ever
  • I Wanna Rock, by Twisted Sister
  • I Wanna Get High, by Cypress Hill: I don't need the power of suggestion working on me
  • I Want Your Sex, by George Michael: this song just confuses me.
  • I Wanna Be Committed, by Sweet: hell, no
  • I Wanna Be a Cowboy, by Boys Don't Cry: too many weird memories with this one
  • We Want a Rock, by They Might Be Giants: Obviously doesn't fall within the parameters; good title, though
  • I Want You To Want Me, by Cheap Trick: I've heard this song enough times to last me the rest of my life. And the Dwight Yoakam version is just silly. We will not speak of the Lindsay Lohan version.
  • I Want To Be Alone, by Green Day: I don't get why Green Day was (is?) so popular.
  • I Wanna Be Sedated, by the Ramones
  • I Wanna Kill Sam, by Ice Cube: I'm just glad I'm not "Sam"
  • I Wanna Marry You, by Bruce Springsteen: this is a perfect example of why I do not like Bruce Springsteen
  • I Want To Take You Higher, by Tesla, Billy Hinton (WHO?), Brian Auger (see note for "Billy Hinton"), Elusions (?), Gougoush (??), John Scott Soto (???), Sonia Dada (great horn section, whoever she is)
  • I Want, by Face to Face: I knew somebody at some point who liked this band, but I don't know who it was, or why
  • I Want You, by Kings of Leon: I suspect that Kings of Leon is a band I would really enjoy if I would just sit down and listen, but I haven't gotten there yet.
  • I Always Get What I Want, by Avril Lavigne: if I were 12 I'd be all over this; also, not exactly working with the aforementioned parameters
  • (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea, by Elvis Costello: my favorite Elvis song, again, not fitting the rules, but man, what a great song. Maybe I'll do "I Do Not Want" songs next...
  • I Want To Be You, by Hamfatter: I had never heard of these guys until I started this quest, and just from the couple of songs I've heard, including "The Girl I Love" and "Do Something Stupid Tonight," I'm curious.

I will accept suggestions and/or requests. If you've got your favorite "I Want" song and it's not here, let me know, and I'll consider adding it.


I also wanted to mention that I just finished watching the two episodes of The West Wing that follow the episode where President Bartlet is shot (for some reason either Bravo didn't show that episode or the DVR didn't pick it up), and I sobbed like a baby when Toby came across Josh with that big ol' wound in his abdomen (later they said "chest" but he was holding his side, no?). Sure it was only for a second (my bawling), but still. Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman might be the perfect man. I don't know. I love him. See, Foreigner? I do know what love is.

*It's a nice tub of Ben & Jerry's "Cherry Garcia" ice cream, right?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Me, at work in the booth. / False ending

I know I've been mobile blogging a lot lately. I admit that it's easier to take a photo than to write something, right now.

There's probably more to this story.

Good night.


This post is going to be confusing. I sent the photo from my phone at 9:10 p.m. I wrote the words below the photo at around 12:30. "good night' is bullshit because I've been awake all this time, and now it's 2:06. Tomorrow I have to get up kind of early, but I'm not sleeping, yet.

I don't have much to say, but I can't go to sleep. Patrick went to Mr. T's Bowl tonight with his friends to see the band "Carnage Asada." I didn't go because of the theater, of course. I like Mr. T's Bowl - there's a great restaurant next door that I can't remember the name of. Anyway, he wasn't home, so when I got here from Santa Monica, I ate a late dinner. Oh, and I watched two taped episodes of "Celebrity Rehab." Dr. Drew had been getting on my nerves but these two episodes he was less sarcastic. They're an interesting group of people on this show. Amber Smith has some real problems, same with the girl from American Idol (I think her name is Nikki). Tawny Kitaen will probably be okay: she seems like she has it in her to get through this. Jeff Conaway and Gary Busey make me sad. Rod Stewart's kid needs to grow up. Rodney King is way more interesting than I thought he would be, and I hope he makes it (I hope they all make it). But the one I really wonder about is Steven Adler. I guess he was in a coma? Had some major health issues? And the stuff with his mother is really sad. Between the two of them, there are some serious problems. He seems very real, and very hurt, and man, I wonder about that guy.

It made me sad, for some reason.

Now I have to try to go to bed!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The fog

The scene on my way to work this morning.

It looks less mysterious in the photo than it did at the time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I saw this on my way to Culver City tonight, off the 10 freeway around Hill Street

What are "A-shirts," I wonder?

Also, totally unrelated: I started to realize just how crappy the economy must be when I went to Target in Culver City and there was nobody in there.

Also, and again, totally unrelated: while shopping at Target, one person I did see, a woman about my age or older, who was pushing her young child in the Target shopping cart: she had some kind of elaborate quilt thing that her kid was sitting on. Slightly padded, yes, but I think rather than being concerned for her kid's comfort, she was more concerned that her kid didn't have to have the cold and hard plastic seat come into contact with his/her skin.

Look. I know it's a new day and that parents don't do the dumb-ass things they did when I was an infant. Yes, I grew up in the fucking dark ages: it was a time when mothers smoked in the hospital while holding their newborns and fathers allowed their kids to ride in the bed of the pick up truck on the freeway (what? like that was just my family?). But I do not understand this quilt-y thing. In fact, this woman, who purchased some sort of organic cleaner for her bathroom and Frosted Mini Wheat cereal, seemed like a nice lady. But come on. Use the 21st century wipes they have at the front of the store and get over it. I once almost lost a finger riding in the shopping cart, and at Pic N Save, not fancy schmancy Target, and I made it this far just fine.

Finally, one other thing, yes, totally unrelated: I know I mentioned some grumpy thing earlier today about the weather and seeming pissed off that I can't wear my new coat because it's so damn hot. I wrote that and about one second later realized that, thanks to this weather and the fires, many people in Southern California right now don't have a lot of things. A useless winter coat is the least of their problems. So yeah, I felt like a creep instantly after writing that. Making a donation to the American Red Cross helped alleviate that feeling, well, slightly.

You don't need to feel like a jerk before giving to the American Red Cross - that really only works for me. To make your own donation, click here.

Adventure at the post office

At lunch today I went to the local post office here in East Los Angeles...
  • There were many, many people in there getting passports. Most of them were teenagers.
  • I've never seen anybody selling socks and various household items from a shopping cart in front of the post office before.
  • The older, cranky woman in line in front of me, who dealt with the Asian lady I eventually got, was very funny. She kept making fun of the way the postal lady spoke (which was actually quite clear), and even said at one point, in her awesome thick ELA accent, "Me and you don't communicate, do we." (I wish I could fake that accent. It's totally cool.)
  • They were out of the flat rate Priority Mail boxes. Another clerk gave me an empty box that previously held some sort of postal supplies, which was nice of her. I had brought some bubble wrap with me, so I wrapped the piccolo up in all of that (it looked like a very fat box of See's Candy). The box had some empty areas, though, and I wanted to fill that space with popcorn or newspaper. The post office had neither. Not even for sale.
  • I went outside and found EIGHT different newspaper machines, but they were all empty (one was for free porn or something; that would've been interesting packing material, esp. since the guy who bought the piccolo got it for his young daughter), so I went to my car, expecting to find a magazine or a newspaper... except I cleaned out my usually dirty car of crap yesterday.
  • I ended up using a bunch of Google maps that were floating around under the passenger seat, some empty plastic bags, and a paper J. Crew bag I've had in my car for years (I usually use it for my dry cleaning). Pretty much cussing the whole time (yes, I know I said I cleaned my car: I meant I cleaned it of reading material).
  • Because there was no parking at this post office, I was parked about a half a block away, which isn't a big deal, except that it's unseasonably warm in Los Angeles, and I wore a sweater today because I am willing it to get cooler with my winter clothes (dammit, when do I get to wear my new winter coat? Will we ever have a winter? Is this why that $400 coat was so cheap at Macy's?). It's November and 84 degrees outside, and that's just wrong.
  • I went back to the post office, and expected them, because they were the ones who didn't have the right (free) supplies, to charge me for the flat rate box, but no: clearly I was dreaming. I had to pay $3 more than I charged the guy I was shipping to (and did he have to live clear all the way across the county? Really. There are high school piccolo players in LA County, aren't they?), which made me kind of mad. Not hopping mad, no. Just kind of mad. But the Asian lady, who smiled all through the cranky woman's teasing, could've cared less. At this point I had been in and out of the post office for the past 45 minutes... I just wanted to go.
  • If not for the beautiful and cheering smells emanating from the panaderia next door, I would've been a lot more grumpy.

Whatever. It's mailed. We are once again a one piccolo household. All is right in the world.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Left turn

Taken at the corner of Lakewood and South Street. Trying to get to the post office by 6:30 - didn't make it.


I'm a cow, I'm a cow, I'm a cow-cow-cow, I'm a cow, I'm a cow, I'm a cow...


Feeling slightly less self-condemn-licious, and maybe just a little bit silly:

I'm a poi, I'm a poi, I'm a poi-poi-poi, I'm a poi, I'm a poi, I'm a poi...

Monday, November 17, 2008


On Saturday, I had an acupuncture appointment. I've started up again, and I love it. My acupuncturist is an RN with a PhD in something, and she rocks. She always starts out my sessions with asking me how I'm doing, and if I feel better since my last meeting with her. On Saturday we were talking about my weight.

See, I'm up about 10 pounds from where I had gotten, thanks to Weight Watchers. I stopped Weight Watchers a while ago, and had kept off the weight somehow, but in recent months, I've gained back some of what I had originally lost. And even then, 10 pounds lighter, I still had a way to go. Lily asked me (and by the way, I always trust people named Lily/Lili now. I've had good luck with them) how I feel about my weight, and if I wanted her to target some area on my body that helps with suppressing your appetite. I told her that I know I need to lose weight, but that I haven't really changed anything that I'm doing yet. She said, "Oh, you're not serious about it yet." She didn't say it meanly, just - Okay, you're not serious.

After she inserted all the needles and hooked me up to the machine (I've forgotten already what the machine is called, but it stimulates the needles for some sort of added benefit), Lily left the room. So I layed there and thought about what she had said.

It's true. I'm not serious about it yet. I guess I would prefer to talk shit to myself than actually do something about it. I left the following message for my friend Bo (I leave weird messages for Bo all the time; a couple of weeks ago I sang "Like A Virgin," and told him it was part of my "Praise and Worship Series" because the week before I sang "Like A Virgin," I had sung an old hymn we used to sing at the wacky church my mother attended in the 70s): (Imagine the following sung to the melody of The Who's "I'm A Boy") "I'm a cow, I'm a cow, I'm a cow-cow-cow, I"m a cow, I'm a cow, I'm a cow..."

See, that might be funny. In fact, I know it's funny, because I laughed about it. But it's probably not a good idea. And the really bad part is, that's the least of it. I mean... I've been having some pretty bad conversations with myself about this.

I'm not sure why I'm doing that. Oh. That's a big fat lie: I know exactly why I'm doing it, and I know I need to stop it.

I'm going to try!

(Nice Dream) - Last one

Even though the week is over and so technically I am not required, by my own rules, to share with you any more dreams, I thought in order to make up for the couple of days last week when I couldn't remember (or didn't have any) dreams, I'd give up one last silly example of what goes on in my mind when I'm not controlling it:

Last night I dreamed that Patrick and I were in the White House, cleaning out the refrigerator.

I guess this is what comes of watching so many re-runs of The West Wing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Bourgeois Gentilhomme



Because of the way the schedule with Charles has worked out, though the show is now in it's second weekend, last night was my first night in the booth. The photo above was taken with my phone - for better pictures, to read the excellent reviews, you can of course visit the City Garage website.

So, in the foreground there is my book - it has the entire script in it, and my cues and notes. This show is fairly simple, technically, and fun for me, because I have a lot of time to watch.

Friday, November 14, 2008

(Nice Dream)

It's finally cold enough for the flannel sheets, and I have to tell you, the bed is now my favorite place in the house. It feels like I'm enveloped in a nice toasty warm grilled cheese sandwich (I've given up cheese. I don't miss it at all. Can't you tell?). And all that cozy sleeping apparently means I'm having strange dreams. So let's do this on a daily basis this week, shall we?

Sunday night: I can't tell you what I dreamed about.

Monday night I thought I had lost the keys to my office's vehicle (long story... we're remodeling, and I remembered putting the keys in my pocket and walking around with them for most of the day, but it wasn't until 6 a.m. this morning when I woke up from the dream I am about to tell you about when I remembered that I had given them to Janet to keep safe in her desk drawer. Janet's cubicle is getting moved next week), I dreamed the following dream (and no, you can pretty much rest assured that this dream isn't going to change anybody's life):

I was hanging out with some of the females of the cast of The Bourgeois Gentilhomme - these are lovely ladies, with terrific personal style - and they were giving me a makeover.

It's rather telling that the makeover consisted of hair and makeup, and these clothes:

a pair of black tights, a black skirt, the raddest black boots I've ever seen,
in a dream or otherwise, and a big black sweater.

Dreaming of a makeover that includes an all-black outfit (one that I could pull off now, should I find those awesome boots) seems a bit... boring.

Ah, well. It's the dream I can't tell you about that was interesting. Some things are just for me.

Tuesday night: Obviously I didn't think this through very well, because I have no backup plan should I wake up and can't remember my dream at all. We got in bed a bit earlier than usual - I was reading something and Patrick was watching television, but we were in bed before 10 p.m., which is quite a feat for us. I think I turned out the light and put in my earplugs around 9:45. Then I went to sleep, and I'm sure there was some sort of dream in there but I have no idea what it was.

I can say that I woke up with "Why Are Babies So Wise" by Bow Wow Wow in head for some reason. I heard that song on my way home from work on Monday night, and it's been percolating in my brain ever since.

Wednesday night: Last night's dream was kind of long and disjointed and I'm not sure how much I accurately remember that makes sense. I remember this: I was staying in some kind of homeless shelter that vaguely reminded me of the house my Aunt Esther and Uncle Tony lived in when I was really small. That house was a rambling, one-story, dark and cool house. I don't know why in my dream I was homeless. My friend Paul was running it. I haven't seen or talked much with Paul lately, but in the dream, he was letting me stay there for some reason. I got into a fight (verbal) with a couple of guys, and was so indignant about the way these guys were talking to me that I called for him. "Paaauuuuulllll!" I even noticed how ridiculous it sounded in the dream.

After that, I was somewhere else entirely: walking through a beautiful park or something - I was outside, and there were lots of hills and streams and beautiful places, and people were camping and hanging out in hammocks and stuff.

There was one more bit that I remembered in the shower but have totally forgotten now.

Thursday night: Well. We stayed up super late last night, and even after I got in bed at 12 I kept reading for a bit. Patrick stayed up, too. I don't remember what time I went to bed, and I don't remember my dreams. I only know that when I woke up at 10:30, the dog(s) next door were barking. Now, 30 minutes later, they're still barking. Usually on Thursday nights I try to remember to wear earplugs but last night I forgot. So I awoke to the longest doggy conversation ever. I don't remember my dream, but I think there might've been dog barking in it. What could they possibly have to bark about? Are they telling me it's time to get up?

Friday night I dreamed that Patrick and I had moved into a new house. It was a pretty cool place, bigger than our current house, which is a two-bedroom, 1-bath. Our house is cute, but tiny. The dream house, which isn't necessarily my "dream house" was still nice. The style, which I've been having a hard time describing, was sort of "refined log cabin." The whole dream was Patrick and I walking through, looking at it and deciding what we wanted to change, if anything.

Saturday night I had the high school dream again. Except, this time, instead of me being 16 or whatever again, I was my age now. A couple of weeks ago they had their homecoming game, and I had been invited by a current member of the marching band to go. I say "I" but she invited as many band alumna as she could. I wasn't able to go because it was opening night at City Garage. I guess I wished I had gone, because here comes this dream, right? Anyway, I have seen photos of but not actually heard the 2008 Culver City High School Centaur Marching Band, and in the dream they were small but mighty-sounding. They were still playing "Minnesota Rouser" as their fight song, but I suspect that's been changed in recent years. Culver City, for those of you without a map, is nowhere near Minnesota.

They're way more casual than we were - I don't think they wear anything close to the dorky uniforms we wore (polyester. Bell bottoms. Furry hats. Epaulettes). Anyway, the dream was about the game, and the band, and I think I might've had fun if I had been able to actually go in real life, which is funny, when you consider that when I was in the band I used to think the alumna band members who came to homecoming were old, losers, and total geeks.


Stay tuned for the rest of the week's night-time private movies.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

...doesn't mean it's fair...

Today was weird! I felt rushed, frantic at times, behind on things, and forgetful. I don't know why - it was all foreseeable, none of it should've been a surprise... yet I found myself taken aback.

Yes. I was taken aback.

Last week they remodeled my half of the office, and this weekend they're doing the rest of the work. They didn't exactly complete the work on my half, either, so there's more shit they need to do. Mostly it looks nice, but it's been hard to tell. I still have boxes in my cubicle, and this big ass pale of filing, and they left off a shelf they're supposed to install, and a couple of file cabinets were ordered incorrectly... so the people who were supposed to be packed up for today either neglected to pack up the communal stuff in our office, or they didn't know they were supposed to, or they expected me to do it.

I'm not sure which it is. I only know that I had to pack up about 8 boxes of someone else's crap.

But the thing, I think, that got me off to a bad start was that I had forgotten that I was scheduled for 3 hours of customer service training in the morning. I had a shitload of stuff to do and while the training (mandatory) was actually interesting, it totally fucked my morning.

Then, as the rest of the day went on, I just found myself in the middle of projects, then asked to go in a million other directions, and I just never got caught up. Usually I can roll better than this, but today was just hard. Then, I had to drive to Culver City, which went a little better than usual (took 45 mins. instead of an hour), which meant I had time to get gas before flute choir (instead of after). At the gas station (which was the cheapest station I know of) some weirdo guy on roller blades (hey, even beggars need wheels) asked me if I had any money, and instead of giving it to him, I turned around and looked at the moon.

That was pretty cool.

I even had time to go to Mi-T-Mart (seriously: I do not care what the new owners call it, it will always be Mi-T-Mart to me) and buy my water, a pack of gum, and a banana.

But once flute choir was underway, it turned out to go the same way the rest of the day went: I felt scattered, unfocused, and impatient.

And of course the drive home was typical Thursday traffic. I honestly do not understand why there's so much weird traffic at 9:30 on Thursday nights. It was all bunched up again, and people were all over me, one guy was playing psychological games with me (the blinker as a huge mind-fuck), and I just wanted to get home.

So. Now I'm home, watching the Tonight Show with Patrick, and I realized something that's kind of ironic, considering all that I've just said:

I've decided that the reason I like staying up at night is... it means the day will never end.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Great Yard Sign Robbery

If you, having not visited me in awhile, were to stand in front of my house, you might not realize that things look slightly different. Actually, when I came home today from lunch at Souplantation and errands, I didn't notice things looked slightly different either, but that's because I was thinking about cleaning my car of some of the junk I've been lugging around for a couple of weeks, and because I saw that Patrick was standing on the driveway talking to our neighbor Ron. I didn't look very carefully at the front of the house.

After Ron and Patrick finished their conversation, and Patrick helped me bring in the bags from Target, he asked me if I had taken down our Obama yard sign.

I didn't.

Someone STOLE our yard sign.

Fucking sore losers.

Patrick thought we should put up the other signs we have, but I said no. We can rest easy that Barack will be in the White House soon. That's vengeance enough.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post-election recap - UPDATE

Yesterday I worked again as a poll worker. This time I signed up to be a clerk - last election, I was an NVC director, which required me to direct voters, within one voting place, to the correct table. That was pretty boring, though I did get a pretty cool map and stuff. This time I worked with a woman named Nidra, who was awesome. I was in the same neighborhood as before, which, well, let's just say is not my neighborhood. Everybody was super nice, and Nidra, who kind of bribed us with donuts, pizza, and ice cream, knew her stuff. She was also funny.

The day was mostly smooth, and my fears - that we would be overrun with voters - came true, but the part I didn't consider was how easy it could be with a well-run team. There were again, three precincts in our location, but our table easily had the most voters all day. At 6:45 we were told that there was a line around the block, which scared me, but once we got started, people mostly were patient. There was some grumbling but people react well to a smile. I had a good time.

There was, however, one interesting moment. I think I mentioned how, during my training, they mentioned electioneering? They emphasized to us the importance of not allowing voters wearing buttons or pins into the polling place, or to ask them to remove their campaign items. During kind of a slow period, a Hispanic guy and his girlfriend walked in and were talking to one of the clerks at my table. I noticed his t-shirt right away: it had a huge, bigger than life-size photo of Barak Obama's head on it. The guy himself was slight - he was shorter than me, younger than me, but he had a hard look. I walked over to Nidra and said, "Nidra, there's a guy over there wearing a big ol' Obama t-shirt!" I hoped Nidra would say, OK, I'll be right over, but instead she said, "You can ask him to take it off." O-kay... so I went over, and explained to him that campaign items weren't allowed in the voting area. He agreed to go outside and turn it inside out (he had another t-shirt on underneath), and then I noticed that his girlfriend had one on too. Hers was different, and I didn't realize at first what it was - his was more obvious. So I stood there for awhile next to Tracy, one of my co-workers, who was answering his questions, and he still didn't leave. Then he goes, "How come they didn't tell me outside?" (there were poll workers stationed outside the room to help the flow and answer questions). I said, "Maybe they didn't notice it." He looked at me like I was crazy, but eventually they left and came back in with both their t-shirts on inside out.

They voted, and when they left, he passed right by me, gave me a big ol' smile and waved good-bye. Everyone was all, "Ah, that's your new best friend, Irene." I said, "He probably thinks I'm a Republican!" Not five minutes later, he returned (with shirt turned right side out) and gave Tracy a pen. He said, "Oops, I stole your pen!"

I'll give him an A for effort and execution. He played us very well.

After the day was over, and I came home to watch CNN with Patrick, I can only say that seeing all the people come vote (the father who voted early in the day, and then returned a few hours later with his entire family, including his young sons who were obviously voting for the first time; the little old ladies; the guy in a wheel chair with an oxygen tank; the gay and lesbian couples; the hip 20-somethings - we had over 500 voters in our precinct) was pretty inspiring. I've worked elections where not even 100 people show up. It means something. It makes me proud.


In my super positive mood, you know, when I was feeling all joyful and hopeful for my country, I neglected to mention the following things. Now that I've started menstruating, however, it seems appropriate to tell you:

1. At least three people who voted in the middle of the day reeked of alcohol. We're talking, before 5. Before 3.

2. One lady got down the line to the kid who was handing out the ballots, and she goes, "I'm just voting on one thing! I mean, I don't know about the propositions!" The kid, who was raised well and was polite, said, "Me neither!" Then the lady said, "I mean, doesn't Yes mean No and No mean Yes?" The kid looked at me all terrified (he obviously hasn't read 1984 recently) and mumbled something about not really thinking so... I told him later he should have asked her if 2+2=5. He laughed but I'm not sure he got the joke. I suppose I could've hummed the Radiohead song.

3. Many people came in prepared to be treated poorly. The news made it sound like they would have to wait hours to vote. Except for the very early morning (7 a.m.) there was only one other time during the day where we had a line (around 4 p.m.) of more than 10 people. We worked fast, and pushed them through. But lots of people were grouchy or pissed off, without anything we did. They were just expecting to be hassled.

4. I know it's the law that you don't have to show ID at a polling place, but everyone who didn't have their sample ballot (name and address and table on the back) had theirs out ready to go. I felt uncomfortable with it, but it really did speed up the process. And many people who said they registered a month ago weren't in the roster. Someone told me those rosters are printed up 4 months ago, which surprised and perplexed me. That timing seems silly.

5. Speaking of silly: those stupid ballot readers. What's the point? They're supposed to read the ballot and let the voters know if they over or under-voted, or made an error, but the voters are suspicious of them. Even the Inspector at my table was suspicious of them - she thought maybe they were counting the actual votes and reporting back somewhere throughout the day (via undercover Wifi, obviously). Sure, knowing if the voter fucked up before they walked away seems like a good idea, but the kid who was feeding the ballots into the machine told me that everytime an error message popped up, the voter elected to override the error and vote that ballot anyway. What's the point? Technology is cool but this seems wasteful. Stupid, even. What happened to our touchscreen technology? How much money does the County spend each year on new stuff? I don't miss the hanging chad controversy, surely (and every asshole who made a joke about it yesterday thought they were the funniest thing in the room), but come on. There has to be a better way. Voting by mail gets my, ahem, vote. I did it two weeks ago, and I had time to make my choices patiently and thoughtfully, in the comfort of my own home (I did it at work, whatever). Slap a stamp on it and I'm done. Only flaw: no "I Voted" sticker. I got one yesterday. So that's easily solved, right?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This year's model

In two weeks my office will be undergoing a major remodel. We have to fit 4 more people into a space already housing 13, but it shouldn't be too difficult, because there's a lot of wasted space in here. It's an old office, with old partitions and heavy, ugly file cabinets and half-assed design (things don't exactly match).

My cubicle, for instance. My cubicle, which is home to just me, my predecessor's files, my sneakers, my one pile of work, and my computer equipment, has room enough for at least two. And for some reason she (my predecessor) collected quite a few boxes of extremely large envelopes, which are now my albatross. Who needs 11 X 15 inch envelopes? What kind of mail are you sending, anyway? So my point is, my cubicle is so large, you could quite comfortably fit another person in here. As well as quite a few more boxes of 11 X 15 inch envelopes.

But that's not what they're going to do. Instead, they're going to tear down the existing walls and offices and install the Herman Miller Vivo system. I've seen it online: space age technology and hip design! It's pretty cool. Some of us are getting smaller cubicles, but the space planning seems a bit more, shall we say, logical. And I'm getting a chair for guests. For guests.

Now. I have friends who have their own offices. Like, with a door and everything. And that is duly impressive. Those friends also tend to have degrees, but I have friends with degrees who stare at a 15" monitor in a dungeon-like office under fluorescent lights 8 hours a day. So let's not judge.

I am impressed with those of you who skip to work in your electric cars, wearing your fancy outfits and perfect hair, and then get to go in your office and close the door. It's cool, and I think you should know that I think it's cool. Then again, I also have friends who work in their own home, wearing God only knows what, eating or watching television as they please, greeting the mailman by name ("Hi, Cornbread!"), with a kitty or two on their lap while they, you know, work. I have other friends who stand behind a register while they work and bemoan their aching feet; friends who get to play their instrument for a living; friends who work with children, which sounds fun and all, until someone pukes or poos on you (perhaps now you see why I never liked babysitting. And why I don't have children, yet), friends who stay home with their kids. I have friends who would like to work who are without jobs. Think about them for a minute, and then come back and keep reading.

I have a cubicle. I didn't scotch tape out a fake door line a la Less Nessman; I don't have to write my name on my (very own Swingline) stapler. I don't have a designated parking spot, or a window. I have a cubicle, a name plate, a pretty big monitor, and a scanner at my desk, and that's just fine with me. And soon, I will have new furniture, and I'm pretty psyched.

See, the thing is, I really like my job. It's been a long time since I could say that. I've been here almost two months, and I really like my job. It's kind of hard to get up on time, it's a bit further than I'd like, just this week I got a peak at something that indicates that things aren't as happy-happy as I thought at first, but I like my job. Most people are really nice. I find myself smiling at people in the hallway, saying hello to dudes in the parking lot. My inner voice, which tends to be overly critical, is quiet much more often. This is a nice place. I want to stay here for awhile.

Monday, October 27, 2008

But I'm so glad it's Friday night! To be! A Centaur!

This was an interesting weekend, if you ignore the fact that Patrick and I both were enormous slugs and sloths - literally human burritos - on Sunday (excitement of the day: I killed a big black spider in the garage all by myself).

On Friday, I returned to Sam's Club to change out my previously new tires. Based on my complaints, Sam's Club Employees of the Month Larry and Kek replaced my so-called new tires, which have 5,000+ miles on them already, with brand new ones. They're the same exact tires, which, as it turns out, are just fine for my Honda-mobile. In fact, as far as Michelin is concerned, for my car there are no better tires. That previous set may have been defective. But: I still feel the same problem on the 605, the 10, and the 710 when I am driving in excess of 60 MPH, but I don't feel it on the 405 or the 105 (yes. These are the freeways I drive regularly. Please make a note of it). The alignment is perfect. The wheels are balanced. So after a little deductive reasoning I've determined that the problem is not the tires. Oh, no! The problem is the road. (Who said the problem was me? In the back there! Yes, you! Stand up you big jerk! I am a perfectly good driver.)

Still. New tires is new tires. And free new tires? That's cause for celebratory shopping. After that adventure, I went to Macy's and bought a gorgeous $225 Martha Stewart quilt (and two shams) for $164 and $80 flannel sheets for $25 (perhaps unfairly. They pulled the shelf signs after my transaction; I had only gently suggested that they had misread the sale signs. I spoke to another person who visited Macy's on Fridays, and she too was of the opinion that they were practically giving the stuff away). Still, I prefer to think that my Jedi mind trick ("You will give the sale price plus the special Martha Stewart buy-one, get-one-half-off deal on this purchase") worked. Friday was my day. I was the man on Friday.

Now if only it would get cool enough for flannel sheets. We also need a new down comforter and/or mattress pad but I didn't want to press my luck.


I think I've mentioned this in the past, but really, any good story bears repeating, no? My friend told me a pathetic story about forgetting her iPod at her last trip to the gym, and finding the ambient noises there too darn boring for words, she proceeded to have a dull workout. I exhibited my usual lack of sympathy and told her that I just rely on my whacked out brain for entertainment when I work out (sure. I work out. Why not?). You may remember that I like cheesy songs ("Feels Like the First Time" has a nice beat, or maybe "Working Man" by Rush; and there's always that old favorite, Christopher Cross' "Ride Like the Wind"); or a Radiohead song (Hail To the Thief has good tunes for walking), or Stewart Copeland's "Too Kool to Kalypso." Today's song of the day for my AM walk with Ana, Hung and Alicia was "We Love You Conrad" from Bye Bye Birdie (I've been thinking a lot about Bye Bye Birdie today. More on this later). Not the dirge version from when the fan club realizes Conrad is joining the army, no - this is the peppy version they sing before Conrad arrives in town in his metallic jumpsuit and melts the crowd with "One Last Kiss." Ooh, that would be a good walking song, too. Maybe a little too sashay inspiring. In my head, of course. Ana, Hung, and Alicia would probably signal for the fire department guys to cart my ass to the hospital in the helicopter the sheriff's department is always landing and taking off not far from our morning route if I started singing out loud.

My friend asked, when I walk with the girls at work, if the fact that there are four of us constitutes a "gang." We're not a gang: Ana's always about a streetlight ahead of me in the morning (skinny so-and-so!), and Alicia and Hung like to talk, so they're a bit behind: really, we're more like a very strung out, out-of-step platoon. Ana went through the Sheriff's academy (or something), so in the afternoon, when we walk through the building (too hot for Hung to go up the hill) and turn around for another lap, she likes to show off with a very military about-face. I, a former marching band geek who never found the militaristic characteristics of marching band "charming," tend to kick out one leg and spin around. It's a very stylized, very Bugs Bunny move. The guys who work in that building (it's a warehouse; all our shops are in there) seem to find it amusing, and I live for their entertainment. The only thing I liked about the actual marching part of marching band was yelling at the rest of the flute section to straighten up, and terrorizing them into memorizing their music, the lazy talentless bums. Sure, on piccolo I was louder than the whole rest of the section (and some of the clarinet section as well), but still. Is that my fault?

Tyrant: that's me.

(How did that old cheer go? "My feet hurt, my belt's too tight, my something swings from left to right? But I'm so glad it's Friday night! To be! A Centaur!")

The reason I was thinking about Bye Bye Birdie is because yesterday I got a comment here from my friend Damon on a previous post (the "I should" post). Damon has grown up to be a successful, educated person who wrote a book on deleting the "shoulds" from one's life. It sounds like a fine idea to me. I should really pick up that book, huh.

Anyway, Damon may not appreciate the story I am about to tell -

When we were in high school, the school put on for the spring musical, a version of "Bye Bye Birdie" that was pretty darn awesome. Now. Our music program was crap: we had a tiny, unmotivated marching band (unless by "motivated" you mean, boy crazy; and that would just be me, thank you), no orchestra, a jazz band full of talent (surprise, surprise, considering the teacher's professional jazz background), but in spite of ourselves, every spring we never failed to put together a pretty good pit orchestra for whatever musical had struck Mr. Mortenson (Morty) the drama teacher's, fancy. Sure, we had some ringers, but mostly it was student power blasting away in Robert Frost's cool little half-moon sunken orchestra pit.

Damon was cast as Randolph MacAfee, Kim's pesky little brother. He was adorable, and perfectly cast. I don't remember who played Conrad or any of the other parts (as a band geek, I didn't run with the drama kids; either too nerdy or not nerdy enough, I do not know, but, um... THANK GOD); I do recall that it seemed to be a very successful production, and Damon did an amazing job. His pitch on "Ed Sullivan" was pretty dead-on.

Speaking of musicals... on Saturday I went to the cue-to-cue for The Bourgeois Gentilhomme. Rehearsals are winding down and they're getting ready for their November 7 opening night. The show's not technically a musical, but Frederique, the director, always finds a surprising way to incorporate music and dance. I'm sort of kicking myself for not participating onstage - I was asked, but I said no. It's such a huge commitment; I think for now I can be happy in the booth. As I've said before you can't really get a feel for the individual performances at the cue-to-cue; what you can see (and I always find this stuff interesting) is to get an idea for the actors: who's a good listener, who doesn't take criticism well, who knows what they're doing, who naturally finds their light without being told a million times, who's flirting, who maybe shouldn't do accents. Many people in the cast are new, and I like seeing them, too, finding out what they're like. At this point they've all been together for something like eight weeks, so to them I'm just a ponytail in the booth, murmuring to and being murmured at by Charles, the production designer (we lucked out: the new headsets worked perfectly. It's such a drag when he has to yell at me in the booth from the audience, where he watches the run through with his cup of coffee).

Tonight's my first real tech rehearsal - I'm pretty sure the plan is to run the whole show with the light and audio cues, which will hopefully be triggered (by me) at the right times. I have rehearsals, I think, every night this week and next week. How those kids have done this for all this time amazes me. I'm kind of already tired just thinking about it.

Update: rehearsal for me ended at 11:20 (the cast had to stay to get notes); I got home by 11:51, and was in bed by 12. However. It was perhaps a mistake to eat 4 peanut butter chocolate chips and drink a mini can of diet coke at 10 o'clock, because I couldn't sleep. I was up until, I think, 1:15. Getting up at 5:30 this morning was a drag.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Today's the day...

I should be getting off my ass.

I should be dressed, and ready to go get new tires (again).

I should have eaten breakfast, I should have shaved my legs, I should have gotten more sleep, I should have read "A Tale of Two Cities," I should have thought before I jumped, I should've done something with my hair after getting out of the shower sooner - now I'm going to have towel hair and I hate that, I should have considered that if I didn't particularly like one Wilco album, I probably wouldn't like another; I should have used more semi-colons in this sentence.

I should be practicing my flute and piccolo parts for the upcoming flute choir concert (December 4 or 11, once we FINALLY PICK A DATE ALREADY).

According to my friend Damon, I shouldn't be saying "I should." He's probably right about that. But without those two words I'd have no entry today, and I feel the need to write something.

This was a long week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday - where did the days go? I went to work, I smelled breakfast in the City of Cudahy again, I bought a Wii Fit with Patrick, I talked to my friend Roland about buying his piccolo, I did a load or two of laundry, I read a book, I had a flute rehearsal, I went to flute choir, and I tried to get geared up for the next two weeks of tech rehearsals at City Garage.

It's that last one that's going to kill me. How the fuck am I going to handle that? My father got up at 4:00 for something like 40 years, but he went to bed by 9:30. Rehearsals are, I suspect, not going to be over by 10. And then I have to drive home from Santa Monica, converse a little with Patrick (husbands are so needy), and try to wind down before going to bed, and then be up by 5 so I can be at work at 7. On time! (I struggle with being on time. I can do it, mostly, but seriously, whoever said 15 extra minutes of sleep didn't make a difference was a big fat liar).

OK. I can do it. I can do it. Other people do harder stuff. I'm not a wimp, I'm not a wimp, I'm not a wimp...

I don't think I mentioned earlier this week that on Sunday I saw my cousin Gloria? Gloria is my age. She has five children and looks like a supermodel. She also has no husband anymore but who's keeping track? I remember when Gloria got married (she's 6 months older than me, actually; I was a junior... and she was a senior in high school when she got married), and how I was a little freaked out about that at the time. Seeing her again after a long time of not seeing her... with her oldest daughter, who is now 20, I think? Freaked me out again. This story has nothing to do with anything. Well. Maybe.