Thursday, January 31, 2008

Piccolo marching band

Not going to say much here right now, but these three words are very, very exciting to me right now:

Piccolo marching band.

Piccolo. Marching. Band.

Piccolo marching band.

14 Things

I do have other things to write about but due to laziness coupled with sleepiness, I prefer instead to hit you with this list of things. Done first by Julie, as are all things worth doing (iPhone! Darn you!), on her blog.

1. Name your 2 favorite scrapbooking topics:
a. I do not have the patience nor the necessary creativity for scrapbooking.
b. See "a."

2. What are the 2 best places you've been to?
a. New York
b. Paris

3. Name 2 things you do every day:
a. Read something.
b. Eat something. Duh.

Oh, is that not what you were getting at? Okay, I'll play:
a1. Wash my hair.
b1. Kiss Patrick goodnight.

4. Tell us 2 things that pretty much everyone knows about you.
a. I play the flute.
b. I love Stewart Copeland.

5. 2 places you wish to visit:
a. Greece
b. Canada

6. 2 things you may not know about me are:
a. I'm a huge fan of Tolkien's LOTR and hobbit crap.
b. I've never in my entire life worn a bikini.

7. 2 nicknames you've had at some time in your life:
a. Bean, the Bean, Beansie, etc.
b. Bunny. Only one person called me that, and never will again.

8. Name 2 of your favorite drinks:
a. Gin and tonic
b. Diet Coke

9. What are 2 interesting (in a good or bad way) jobs you have had in your life?
a. Video store manager
b. Pizza maker!

10. What are your top 2 fun things to do after work?
a. Play with my kitty, Francisquito
b. Eat dinner and watch tv with Patrick

11. What are 2 things you would like to learn?
a. The drums
b. To set up a PDF form so that people can fill it out and then email me their answers and it's automatically set up to compile the answers to a spreadsheet or a database. I understand the concepts, I have instructions, but haven't had the time to sit around and mess with it.What, too nerdy?

What are the last 2 songs you downloaded or last 2 CD's you bought?
a. Pearl Jam's "Pearl Jam" album
b. The Police's "Outlandos d'Amor." I used to own both these CDs but they've vanished. Anyway, the Police one was purchased way back in the 90s and probably was scratched or defective by now.

13. Name 2 movies you could watch or you have watched 100 times in your life and still watch again, no problem:
a. Moon Struck (I have no defense. It's a good movie)
b. The Kids Are Alright

14. What 2 kitchen items do you not need, but you love anyway?
a. My "Magic Bullet." My brother's friend Joe gave it to me and I finally started using it, and it's pretty damn cool.
b. My black and white kitty spoon rest that my brother gave me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Morbid Curiosity?

I already knew about Laura Ingalls Wilder, but the others are news to me. I mean, Jim Varney! Damn!

132,088 People

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Remedial Math For Those Who Chose to Daydream Rather Than, Um, Learn Something

Yes, just call me "Butthead."

Last week I started my math class. It's amazingly basic and simple and I've already proven that I tend to make tiny stupid errors that can escalate into disaster, and oh, were we talking about math?

One of our books (I'm not even gonna tell you the title of the actual math book. Suffice to say, my nine-year old niece will be qualified to tutor me in about two hours) is called, "Becoming a Master Student." I suppose the logic behind giving us grownups who should honestly be ashamed of our issues with math a book called "Becoming a Master Student" is that obviously we have grown up without the skills necessary for being a master student. The books is geared toward, I think, high school students who need to hone their study skills and logic (don't study in bed! don't study in a noisy dorm room!), but some of it applies to anyone trying to apply themselves in perhaps a new way and succeed at going to college or passing an eight week remedial math class.

One of the exercises we were asked to do this week for homework is complete a journal entry about our "feelings" toward math. I did it last Friday, figuring that if I didn't do my homework right away, knowing me, procrastination would kick in and I would be doing it, like in the parking lot before class. And I didn't want to do that (again).

They made it easy for us, and asked us to answer questions, rather than write an actual journal entry (which obviously isn't hard at all. See this blog, and any email you've received from me in the last three or four years). The answers I gave last week (written in pencil on college-ruled paper in a spiral notebook. Nothing says school to me like a spiral notebook. I love spiral notebooks. I bought two last week and am in heaven. I can't wait to start doodling in class tomorrow) are not exactly the answers you will read below, if you stick around long enough.

Journal Entry 19

Most of us can recall a time when learning became associated with anxiety. For many of us, this happened early with math and science. One step toward getting past this anxiety is to write a math or science biography. Recall specific experiences in which you first felt stress over these subjects. Where were you? How old were you? What were you doing, thinking, and feeling? Who else was with you? What did those people say or do? Describe some of those experiences:

I have always loved to read. I'm a reader! My mom encouraged me and read to me when I was just a tiny kid. My brother Dan taught me how to write (print, and write, in cursive) my whole name the night before kindergarten. Letters I had no problem with, and by the third grade was in a really high reading group, and in fact, was the only kid in that high of a reading group. But then in the third grade you start learning the multiplication table, and it all went to shit.

I don't know exactly when I figured out that I sucked at math, but I think it was the day Mrs. Plotke (a tiny, Hawaiian lady who wore huge wooden platform shoes and sported a giant hairdo; she was also my teacher in the second grade) pointed out to me and the whole class that I was the only one who didn't know the sixes. You know? 6 times 6 is what? 36? Well, sure, I know now. Mrs. Plotke stood behind me, all four feet of her, and said to me, "Irene. Matt knows his multiplication table, Joanna knows her multiplication table. Shevaun knows her multiplication table. Why don't you know your multiplication table?"

So it was over then. I hear you saying, "Yeah? So what?" And that's the deal, exactly. So what.

No more Mrs. Plotke. Maybe she was a good teacher at some point, but my experience says, no. But now I don't care.

I don't care, I don't care.

Now recall any incidents in your life that gave you positive feelings about math or science. Describe one of those experiences in detail.

When I took algebra at West LA College, it turned out that Drew had the same class (but at a different time). Drew was really serious about school at this point in his life. Surprise surprise: I wasn't. I was, however, willing to do homework in order to hang out with him. I was, in fact, willing to do homework with him and his friend Mark. Honestly, I can think of no other occurrence in which I was willing to study for a boy. I mean, I was willing to do lots of things for boys, but study? The thing is, he actually made us study. Mark and I might joke around or act silly, but unless we were breaking for a meal or a snack (Drew also took snack time seriously), Drew kept us from totally knocking off and drinking beers at 2 in the afternoon.

Anyway, all that studying paid off, because I got an A in math for the first time, ever. The thing about this story is, yeah, it's positive because I accomplished something, but my reasons for doing it aren't that honorable. Yeah, I was proud but obviously I didn't retain anything I learned (or else I wouldn't be in the Math for Stupid People class, now would I). So doing it because of some guy seems like a not-so positive thing. I have to figure this out and really look at my motivation. Is that positive? Self-awareness is always positive, I guess.

Now sum up the significant discoveries you made while describing these two sets of experiences.

Um, I think I summed up rather nicely. No more Mrs. Plotke! And no more doing stuff for guys! (Well. Within reason.)

I discovered my biggest barrier in math or science is...

I totally don't take it or this class seriously ("Math for Stupid People"?). I'm lazy and unmotivated most of the time. I am perfectly satisfied to coast, until I look around and realize that I'm way too old to be coasting, and then I have regrets. No more fucking regrets.

I discovered the most satisfying aspect of doing math and science is...

Not being embarrassed about doing simple math in front of people. Calculating tax, tips, etc. Working on stuff in Excel and using functions and actually knowing how it does what it does. Not being such a mathematical dork. Getting more enjoyment out of math rock.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Guitar Hero, Update

I just finished, successfully, "Rain of Blood," by Slayer, on Medium. Patrick is in the living room, trying to finish it on Easy. This is his third unsuccessful try.

I still can't beat Lou on "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" on Medium. I'm just not getting how the fuck I'm supposed to do all those consecutive fast notes. It seems impossible, but I know there's a way to do it. I think I'm working too hard.

It kind of reminds of me how I refuse to double-tongue, and instead single-tongue my way through fast passages on my flute that other people choose to double-tongue. It makes it easier for them, but not for me. I think all those years playing piccolo trained me to have a fast tongue. And suddenly this got dirty, which was not my intention. Or was it...

Anyway, now I go to bed. And you should, too.

Most boring life, ever

So. Here's what I did this past three-day weekend:

Saturday: Patrick went to the NAMM show. I slept in and read, and listened to one half of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" while I took a shower. I love Roy Blount, Jr. I watched all the reruns of "Reba" I taped during the week. I also love "Reba."

At 6 I got in my car and drove to Santa Monica, where I ran the lights for "The Bald Soprano." The director was a little late, so I spent about fifteen minutes shivering in front of the theater with the cast, while they ran lines. I shot the shit with my friend Bo, now playing "Mr. Smith" (before the break, he was "Mr. Martin"). I think I made somebody laugh. Ding-dong, ding-dong! It was a fine performance, and damn cold in there. Afterwards, I drove the director home and met her new kitten, a tiny black ball of fur named Sasha. I started planning how I might spend more time with Sasha.

Sunday, Patrick slept in, and I got up at some point. I listened to the same one half of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" (weekends suck on KPCC). I took a shower. I read some more, watched some trashy TV, plucked my eyebrows, and reminded Patrick that we were both going to Santa Monica, as we had planned the 10th annual (I don't know how many years it is. It ain't ten. But "10th Annual" sounds better than "4th Annual") Rizzoli Christmas get-together. Well, not really "planned" - someone (me) sent the following email to the former Rizzoli crew:

Your former management team is currently starring in/playing a behind-the-scenes role in the play "The Bald Soprano" by Eugene Ionesco at City Garage Theatre. The show just wrapped up eight weeks or so of a highly successful run (packed house, turning people away at the door, excellent reviews - go to to read them, and for contact info to make your reservation!) and is on a break for the holidays... but will be returning January 12, 2008, for another four weekends. Bo Roberts [former music manager at Rizzoli] will star as Mr. Smith, a man with a wife "more intelligent and feminine" than he. And that wife is played by our very own, the lovely David E. Frank [former general manager]. Paul [former holiday worker/worst Christmas wrapper, ever] will most likely be running the place, giving the actor's "places" and keeping the not dimwitted at all [that wasn't self-deprecating humor, I was talking about the young guy from the company who really isn't dimwitted, not in the slightest; I used "dimwitted" for comic effect. yeah, yeah] box office person in line. And me [former operations/boutique manager], well, I'll be in the booth, running the lights and sound and making sure nobody's standing there in the dark or waiting for a doorbell to ring.

That email was enticing to three people: Sarah, Maria, and her new fiance. Afterwards, we went to dinner at Johnnys New York Pizza (the food was good, service was terrible), and it was fun to all be together again in Santa Monica. David's wife Susan tried to convince Patrick that we should move home to Venice (she's English; she and David have lived in Santa Monica, the Palisades, and Venice. I appreciated her vigorous-ness, but it isn't going to happen. The house I would like, in Santa Monica (just up the street from Sasha the kitten) is going for 2.2 million. If I can't have an $11,000 bass flute, what do you think the odds are of me having a $2.2 million dollar home?

Yeah, no.

Monday was spent in bed, watching about 12 hours of America's Next Top Model (the one where Nicole won from out of nowhere). Literally: IN BED - I got out of bed just to get more food. I slept a little, but mostly I watched television. I think maybe I was a little upset that we had to go to work today. I can't wait until our holiday in February, when we go to El Paso.

Today at work was busy. Lots of crap to do, lots of people to talk to, and I was a tad bit grumpy. After work I got a hair cut, and I love it. New guy named Carlos, in Downey. He's fun, and showed me how to do it (though, part of doing it involves hot rollers, and seriously, what are the chances of that happening? How's that $2.2 million dollar house looking now?), and showed me photos of his dog Sheila. I liked him, and I like my hair.

And now I'm home, where I just finished a dinner of a chicken breast cooked on the George Forman grill, some garbanzo beans, and a piece of yummy ciabatta bread. I re-read "By the Shores of Silver Lake," just because the book was lying there (I had loaned my hardback to my niece and had not yet put it away). And now I'm doing laundry and considering washing the dishes.

Tomorrow we're going to David and Susan's to play Guitar Hero. Last night I played a little, and couldn't beat "Lou" on Medium ("The Devil Went Down to Georgia" is a tricky song! Who knew, what with that stupid solo of the devil's being so laaaame). But it doesn't matter, because David's still on Easy.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Killer Pinky

Yesterday was the first time I played my flute for an extended amount of time after we started this whole Guitar Hero business, and I have to tell you, at the beginning of the night I was a little worried. For one thing, I knew I was hurting my hand while I was playing Guitar Hero, yet I continued on anyway. For another thing, my left hand has been really sore since Tuesday night, and I should've been practicing the real instrument I actually play... so did I? No. And there are some new very good players this quarter, not to mention the ones who've been around and know me: I gotta be on my game. Yep, all this means is, more long tones and less trying to master that damn Slayer song on Medium. I finally beat Tom Morello and his idea of "music," but yeah, I gotta play the flute, not the plastic guitar. Anyway, the good thing was, at the end of the night I wasn't as sore as I thought I would be.

Oh, and Roland let me play his bass flute (not the big contra or double contra, the bass is the lower one that you play like a regular flute, but about 2 times as big, and just one octave lower than the C flute), and he played his C flute on the opposite side of the room... after we were done (the piece had a beautiful lyrical bass part, instead of the oom-pa-pa parts the basses usually get stuck with; I was very lucky), he goes, "Wow Irene, that sounded good!" Okay, maybe he didn't say "wow." I'm not good at direct quotes. Whatever.

I've considered getting a bass for awhile now but they're expensive and it's kind of impractical - and then he offered to pick one up for me this year at the flute convention in Kansas City, and it would only cost me $11, 000. "Only." My car "only" cost me $21,000, and I'll be paying that fucker off until 2009.

I know there are cheaper, perfectly good basses out there, but this is a typical reaction from me: I can't have the best? Then fine: I'll have nothing, instead. Anyway, if I think my hand was sore from stretching it out to play a game, imagine how it will feel after an hour or two of playing bass: that thing weighs a ton.

In other news, Patrick has been at NAMM the last couple of days (yesterday he saw Tony Levin, today he got a glimpse of Slash [photos when I upload them], and Vinnie and Carmine Appice, Derek Roddy, John Tempesta, and Herbie Hancock; and tomorrow he's all excited because Lenny White is going to be there), and I think he's been having a lot of fun. He's been hanging with his friend (and MTP guitarist) Chris, and Chris's friend Danny. Chris and Danny were in a band in Santa Cruz called Honkey - before Honkey was Honkey, they were Titty.

This reminds me, I've been meaning to compile a list of the bands Patrick's been in.

Patrick's first band was called "Fester." He was only 16; they started out playing covers of stuff by The Lovin' Spoonful and The Who. Then they started writing their own songs; one title was "Funk Bitch." After that, he was in "La La La." La La La was the same people and music as Fester, but Fester didn't play any shows. With La La La, Patrick played his first gig at Club 88. He was still 16, 17, and even though they were underage, they still got to play.

Sometime around this time, Patrick first saw Dave (the bassist from MTP) and Chris and their friend Jon play with their band, "Killer Gumbys" at a private party, and he was really impressed. They were playing all 70s punk songs.

After that, he was in The Kine Boys, and they were a ska/reggae band. Hence the name. They played places like the Troubador and Madame Wong's. It must've been sometime in the 80s. Patrick says there was one rehearsal at the singer's house where Angelo and the keyboard player from Fishbone showed up, he says they lived in the area and knew his singer.

Then he was in Magnolia Thunderpussy. Better writers/historians have told that story, which you can read at their website (see "Cool Stuff" on the right of the screen).

Then he was in Spleen Ripper, then a party band called "Third Notice." After that, he was in Halfway to Cleveland. After that, Pipsqueak.

I love those band names. I think Spleen Ripper is my favorite. They were a speed metal/punk band. I only got to see him in Halfway to Cleveland once, and MTP only for the 20 year reunion tour shows. The other day we were discussing band names for me, and I came up with "Killer Pinky" and "Toxic Babies." "Killer Pinky" has potential. I may have t-shirts and stickers made up.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sitar Hero

Over the weekend I mentioned to Patrick that I couldn't remember any of my dreams from last week, which is pretty weird. After that, though, I was back on track:

Not only did I have the weird dream about finding money Sunday night, last night I dreamed about David Grohl and Stewart Copeland (separately; there were two parts to this dream. I think I woke up in the middle to use the bathroom, after the Stewart Copeland part, and when I went back to bed, I dreamed about Dave Grohl.)

As we all know, Dave Grohl is the man I love to hate, and Stewart Copeland is the man I love (love, as in I love cookies; Patrick is the real man I love). It was pretty silly.

The Stewart part was just me seeing him outside a building. The Dave Grohl part involved me somehow hanging out with him at his house and seeing what a mess his place was, offering to help him clean it, and instead talking about music all night.


Patrick bought Guitar Hero III for the Wii last week, and we're obsessed. I mean it, we're like two 12 year old boys with that thing. I don't want to brag, but I'm doing much better than Patrick - he's mastered the techniques (hammer on!) but I have what he calls "flute fingers" - I can hit the fast rhythms and complicated patterns of "Medium." I beat Slash! Now, I'm sure this isn't that great of an accomplishment, but when you think that I spent 40 hours at work last week and will again this week (probably more: I worked two hours of overtime tonight finishing up a report), and that left me with just about 6 hours total of play-time... well, it's still not that great an accomplishment. But we have a ton of fun. I even went online and battled strangers! Sure I lost, but so what? Practice makes perfect.

Now if only I could apply that logic to the real instrument I actually do play...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Guess what

Today I got a call from my aesthetician. She called to let me know she's taking a break from the facial business.

We talked for a little while, and even though I'm disappointed (I haven't had a facial since before Thanksgiving!), I guess I'll get over it. She's got good reasons, and I"m glad for her. Sad for me, but glad for her. She's very talented and kind - I made sure I let her know I know she'll be successful at anything she tries. I'm gonna miss her, and my facials. Then again, not getting a monthly facial will put quite a bit of money back into my pocket.

Speaking of money, last night I had a dream that I found a shit-load of cash. I looked it up, and dreaming of finding money means, if you go by one website,

In particular, finding money indicates your quest for love or for power.

You all know me and my mad hunger for power. Later, I found the following definition on another dream dictionary website,

If your dream is of finding money, you will have much happiness in your domestic affairs.

I could keep looking, but what for? That's a pretty damn good definition.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

But Not For Me / And, Another Missed Opportunity

The other day I was wandering around the supermarket, and I'm not sure if I've told you, but starting with January 1, I decided it was time to reverse the effects of Thanksgiving and Christmas (I gained 4 pounds) and get back on track, food-wise, so when I came across Pepperidge Farm's 100 Caolorie Pouches - I was pretty excited.

The version that I was particularly excited to see - Chocolate Chunk - is only 2 Weight Watchers points, and I took home a package. Five bags later... (no I did not eat them all in one sitting) and I realized that some things just aren't worth it. Robert Heinlein has been telling me there's no such thing as a free lunch (TANSTAAFL!) since the 7th grade, but you know me and applying knowledge to everyday life...

So I don't know if my reaction is due to a fast, uh, metabolism or just an incompatibility between my digestive system and whatever ingredients are contained in those tiny little bite-size mouthfuls of yumminess (because they are very tasty), I just know that my reaction was unpleasant and rather graphic and will not be described further, here.

So. I think the thing to remember here is yes, portion control is very important. But I'm not going to waste my time with low-cal cookies anymore. If I want a damn cookie, I'm going to eat a damn cookie. A real cookie. Maybe one that I baked myself.

Just to be clear, this isn't some kind of low-key rant against Pepperidge Farm. I love their products and part of the problem in the last couple of months has been my inability to say no to their "Mini Milano" cookies. I'm not saying you'll experience the same thing I experienced from eating their Chocolate Chunk cookies, I'm just saying that my personal experience was no fun for me. Eat what you want, I'm not here to tell you what to do.

On Tuesday, Andy Summers did a book signing at Amoeba Records in Hollywood. I didn't go - Patrick had a cold - and now I wish I had. Meeting tiny adorable Andy (I seem to have an odd affinity in today's post for things that are "mini," hmmm...) would probably have been a very interesting experience, and it would've been good for me to speak to a member of the Police to whom I am not, well, let's just say "attracted" (let's get it straight - I'm not attracted to Sting, either). There's nothing wrong with him, he's just not my cup of tea. My heart belongs to Stewart, what can I say?

I'm sure Stewart did not attend (Andy wasn't in attendance at his Guitar Center signing), but it would've been fun for me to peer around excitedly, looking for him.

Also it looks like Andy was not as uptight as Stewart was re: photographs. Click here to see some.

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Night in Malibu

My earlier post from tonight got me to thinking about working at Crown in Malibu and the cast of characters and pains in my neck I got to know there. I took that job because I had just recently gotten a car, and because the video store I was managing had been sold to a man who thought good business meant not paying your employees. He was also fond of leather pants (what is it with me and my former - male - bosses and their damn leather pants?). Anyway, when Mitch, the slightly older married man who was fond of baby blue v-neck sweaters, Foosball, and the band Cheap Trick quit to go work at some satellite TV place (I don't know, exactly), and suddenly I was in charge... it was fun for awhile, but it wasn't the same.

I guess being the boss has it's bonuses (any schedule I want! hiring people! firing people! wearing jeans and clogs to work every day...!) but working for a tall blue-eyed funny man with a deep voice was more fun than working for myself. Anyway, so I went to Malibu to work for another tall, deep-voiced man, named Alex, except Alex was certifiably a nut job. Alex hired me, having had no assistant managers for awhile (I should've realized that something was wrong with him when I heard he'd come into that store from another location and both assistants quit at the same time), and I got to know his staff, who were reasonably capable. Things were fine, and then he brought on a girl from his old store named Beth, who proceeded to make my life a living hell.

But this is not a post about crazy-ass Beth and her stupid car named Marilyn (please don't name your car, my friends. Seriously), or her sidekick, Half-a-Brain Jessica. Both of them were pure evil. Or red-headed Cheney (Cheney's password to the system was "Kurt," after Kurt Cobain; he did a hell of a job vaccuming that store every night). At first he was the hardest person to talk to but ended up being my best friend for about three months. We used to wear each other's aprons and yes, I realize that's a weird detail. No, this isn't about him either. It also isn't about Leigh, an artist, calligrapher, amateur guitarist, and very sweet young woman who I am friends with, still. I look forward to her handmade cards and notes that she sends on occasion from her new home in Hollywood. Nope: tonight's story is about Will.

Alex hired Will after I'd been there for awhile. He was a local, and I think he might've recently graduated from high school. Surprisingly not a lot of local Malibu kids wanted to work at Crown - most of our employees came from Pepperdine (though, I have to tell you, those kids tended to be flakey, and definitely not Jesus-y) or the valley someplace. He was probably about three years younger than I was - so if I was 22 or 23, Will was 18 or 19. He was moderately responsible, not very knowledgable about books, funny, and honest. We weren't especially close or really, friends, but he was easy to work with, and interesting to talk to during the slow periods.

At that time of year everybody who's ever worked in retail looks forward to - inventory - Alex scheduled everybody to come in early. Because I worked the night shift with Will the night before, I wasn't looking forward to the drive all the way home and then back to Malibu the next morning, so - and I don't even know how I asked him this - I invited myself over to Will's house. He lived with his mother and stepfather (a well-known psychic, and New Age writer; Karen the Born Again had a kiniption fit when she found out who his family was) and, I don't know how many siblings or dogs and horses in a big beautiful Malibu home. I remember being introduced to people and feeling a tad bit awkward about it all (he had a girlfriend and I knew she spent the night often; I think she was out of town or something when this happened), but it was late when we got there and I was tired and worried about getting up early the next day, so we went right to sleep.

Okay, so I know what you're thinking, but quit it. Here's what I remember (it was a long time ago): I slept in his room, which was decorated all over with those stick on glow-in-the-dark stars and planets, and, I have to admit, as lame as it sounds, it was totally cool. I think he also slept in his room that night, which was large, commodious, and just what you'd expect an almost 20 year old guy living at his mom and dad's house in Malibu to be like (see "Two and a Half Men" for the decor, only their house was bigger and more beautiful). We were not in the same bed, but I don't know how we were situated. Maybe he had a very comfortable couch in his room or something? I had the bed. We didn't know each other very well, and he was a nice person with a good heart. Also, his girlfriend was young, blond and gorgeous, and I am easily intimidated by the blond. And: I wasn't interested in him, and he wasn't interested in me, and I had nothing on my mind except not being late to inventory, and I trusted him. Nothing happened. But thinking back on it now, it seems funny to me how this worked out - and I don't remember the details.

Anyway, Will and Cheney and this other guy we worked with who's name I've suddenly forgotten - these guys were the sanity in a store full of crazy chicks - Beth and Jessica, to be exact. And I'll never forget meeting Mark Hamill one night, and the guy who's name I've forgotten said to me, "Irene, that's Luke Skywalker!" I was all, "na-uh" (this guy was a stoner and not very, um, smart), so he walked up to Mark Hamill (maybe not smart, but fearless!) who was shopping with his kid, and goes, "My boss doesn't believe you're Luke Skywalker!" and Luke Skywalker whipped out his wallet and his credit card, and showed it to me, and right there in raised letters: "Mark Hamill." No named guy was from the valley, but Will, who'd grown up around celebrities, was never star struck around movie stars like I was (Kevin Bacon, for example). He was a cool guy. I hope he has a nice life now.

Why I Refuse to Vote for a Presidential Candidate Who Says "Dudn't"*

This has been bothering me for awhile, but it really started to get on my nerves yesterday, when Patrick and I were listening to the debates on NPR while we drove down to the South Coast Plaza so I could visit the Apple store (mayhem! and - does Apple only hire emo man-boys? Even the girls working there yesterday were man-boys. What does this say about Apple? Or Costa Mesa?) and so he could go to Puzzle Zoo. Oh, and I have never felt so under dressed in a mall in my entire life. In our jeans and sneakers, Patrick and I looked like we should've been pushing mops - everyone else shopping at the South Coast Plaza was dressed to impress, and impress they did. Now I understand how my mother felt when the West Side Pavilion first opened and she refused to take me and my friends there, telling us, "Fox Hills is good enough for you!" (Not a direct quote.)

Anyway, so the first person to overuse "dudn't" in place of "doesn't" in my presence was a woman I used to work with named Karen. Karen and I met at the Crown Books in Malibu, when I trained her to be the Second Assistant Manager (I was the First, a fact I never get tired of mentioning). She was a born-again Christian who smoked menthols, sported a female mullet and dressed like Minnie Mouse (yellow polka dot dresses, white high heels, Peter Pan collars... for once I do not exaggerate). She drove a broken down Ford Taurus that was full of literature on abstinence and the wages of sin. She was probably my age now (I was about 22 when we first met). She was a nice lady who prefaced her speeches on why I was going to hell with "It's because I care about you honey," which always seemed to me to be just another example of why most Christians are sick and twisted and not to be trusted. She also hired me away from the piece of crap bookstore I was working in a couple of years later and got me the job at the optometrist's office, so when I say she was nice, I really mean it. She looked after me, and I truly liked her, when she wasn't lecturing me on Jesus. She was also from a well-off family in the Pacific Palisades (estranged, yes, but still, she grew up, compared to my childhood, in the lap of luxury, here in Southern California. If you went by her accent, though, you would've thought she was from the Land of Dixie, and grew up barefoot, wearing overalls, with a brother named "Jem" and a childhood pal named "Dill."

I never figured out why she had adopted that style of speech: twangy, full of folksy colloquialisms, annoying... but I've always thought that she thought it softened her wacked out Christian message of conditional love and "this is why you're going to hell," and made it all a bit more palatable. Honestly, I don't know. Maybe it's like when Dr. Drew, on Love Line, takes a call from a female with a high child-like voice and automatically assumes that the person was abused or has daddy issues. I don't know. I'm definitely not board-certified to make assumptions... but as sweet as she was, she could've been totally off her rocker (the evidence, not submitted here for your perusal out of respect for her right to privacy, supports this supposition). Anyway, I understand that some of the presidential candidates participating in the debates (I'm not sure where Dennis Kucinich is from, but it doesn't matter now, does it) are actually from Southern states, but still. It grates on me worse than an unsolicited treatise on God's plans for homosexuals.

*Obviously I am not the first person to think of this... just one link today (and it's from 2004) because, frankly, I want you to read my blog, not theirs.

And by the way, the Apple store employees were wearing blue t-shirts with little tiny Apples ("open apples," if my memory of Apple iconography is correct) on the sleeves. As devoted as I am to my PC and as silly as I feel the whole "genius bar" thing is (all the people waiting for assistance yesterday seemed to be having iPod problems, which, unless it's totally broken [Patrick said once somebody's way too expensive piece of technology is totally inoperable, you can refer to it as a "brick," which cracked me up], seems like going to the doctor to help you trim your toenails), I would LOVE one of those t-shirts.

My birthday is next month. I'm just sayin'.

Finally... this photo was taken at the Apple store in Santa Monica, which answers the question: it's not just Costa Mesa. Click on today's post's title to read the blog I stole the picture from.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The most frustrating ride home ever

So today at lunch, I ran an errand for work and went to the post office. It's the first lunch I've spent away from the office all week, and I got a bit giddy. Instead of heading back to the office for my previously planned Smart Ones, I decided to go to Chipotle, which is nearby.

Unfortunately, Chipotle was way too crowded, so I ordered a Burrito Bol, which seemed easier to eat in the car while reading a one-month old newspaper (I keep forgetting to grab my book on the way out the door in the morning). So picture me: in line at Chipotle, my umbrella under my arm, my food ordered, standing in front of the kid at the register, digging through my wallet, looking for my ATM/debit card and not finding it.

I recently used up all my cash and change somewhere (the track?) so I was a bit panicky. I thought, jesus, will they take a check? But then I remembered, and I'll tell you why I didn't think of this in the first place a little later*, duh, I have my other credit card on me. I never use the other credit card, which is a real credit card, and God knows I never use it for food. But, there you go, I found it.

On the way back to the office, I phoned Patrick at work to see if he had my card for some reason (he didn't), decided not to worry about it just yet (and in fact I'm still not worrying about it just yet. I will commence worrying once I actually start looking for it and don't find it. Right now I haven't looked and therefore it could still be in any number of places, even in my wallet with a receipt or a piece of paper with a random address written on it, hidden in plain sight), and went back to work to sit in the still dry parking lot (it didn't start raining until it was time to go home, when I realized that I had parked my car so successfully and strategically that in order to get to it, I got to walk through each and every puddle in the lot) and eat my yummy lunch.

See, but this isn't the point of today's post.

Because after I ate my Burrito Bol (seriously, Chipotle is the best thing ever) I went back to work and dealt with the ridiculousness of my job and my co-workers for another few hours until it was time to go home, and that's where we arrive at the purpose of today's post.

At 5 p.m. I went out to the car, got totally wet despite my umbrella, and remembered that I needed gas in my car. I called up Patrick, because I had also discovered that he had the gas card (we used to have two... it's a long story), and arranged for him to meet me at the Chevron station. It seemed like a good idea, because I also wanted him to check my front left tire, which was low, and I worry about things like that, especially when it's all rainy.

The gas station we chose is closer to my work but it is on his way home (and therefore convenient for us both), so I drove over there in the pouring rain and pulled into the parking lot to wait, and started reading the same one-month old newspaper (there was a great story about Travis Claridge, a former USC football player who recently died. Timely? No. Interesting? Yes. The story is so old I can't find a legitimate link at, but I did find a photo of him. You can see it, here). About five minutes after I got there, Patrick called me and told me that his car had died in the middle of the road (actually a highway; it's a big busy street, not unlike Sepulveda Blvd., but, um, not), and that he had his hazards on. Then he said, "wait, I got it started," and I asked him where he was, told him to pull over, and to get off the phone and that I'd be there in five minutes. And then I prayed that I had enough gas to drive back past my own job halfway to his.

I did.

By the time I got to him, he had pulled into a parking lot and was sitting in his car, revving the motor. He decided that we'd better stick to the original plan, which was to get me gas and air, so we left his car there and drove back up the road to the gas station. He gassed up my car, and checked the air, and said it seemed to be okay but that he'd keep an eye on it, and we drove back down the road to pick up his car, which started right up.

In a caravan now (yes, two cars counts as a caravan), we drove home. Slowly, because I was still worried about my tire, and because it was rainy and there were a lot of cars on the road. We stopped at a car parts store so that Patrick could buy something for his car, and he left his car running while I waited in mine, parked next to his. He was afraid if he shut it off, it wouldn't start again. So when he came back out, he checked my tire, and realized that it was really leaking air now. We were just a few minutes away from home, though, so it seemed okay.

Trailing him, with my tire apparently leaking air, with his car starting and stopping at will, I thought, jeez, some parade this has turned out to be.

One block later (two blocks from home), he called me to say his car was dying again (I fucking hate his car). He pulled over, with me right behind him, and we both turned our hazards on. Patrick got out to talk to me, and then he took another look at my car and decided that my getting home with all four tires inflated was iffier than we first believed, so rather than wait for his car to start, I should get going without him.

Which I did.

I pulled up into the driveway, and while I was walking up to the door, he turned the corner and pulled in after me. We survived a trek home that should only take 8 minutes (on the freeway), or 20 (on the streets), and we did it just over an hour.

Tomorrow we're going to fix the tire. His car may be dead forever. I can only wish.

*Yesterday Patrick came home and opened the mail and discovered that someone had opened a credit card in his name, and spent about $2,500 on computer equipment. Then, his mom got a bill from Verizon wireless, and our new friends have purchased a phone and made a bunch of calls and sent text messages from some place in Lakewood to someplace in Northridge. Luckily they don't have acquaintances in, I don't know, Ireland. Needless to say, we both freaked out a bit, calmed down long enough to take action, and promised to secure the credit cards we still do have with our lives. And then what do I do? I misplace my ATM/debit/credit card (whatever the hell it is). Yesterday my co-worker told me a terrifying tale of someone somehow gaining access to her checking account and how they drained her account, and that scared the living hell out of me. I need for all my money to be exactly where I left it, thank you. Anyway, we're dealing with it, and as long as our friends don't go crazy, I'm sure this will all be fine.

I hope I'm not being naively optimistic here, but we have done everything we can do at this point and as a wise person (my sister-in-law, the most patient and practical woman I've ever met) once told me about something else I have no control over, don't worry about it until you have to worry about it. So. I take that under consideration, and commence with not worrying about it. Oh, and by the way, I remember where my ATM/debit card is: early this morning I walked over to Carl's for a Diet Coke, and rather than take my whole purse, I put my card in my pocket. My ATM/debit card has been in my pocket this entire time.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

How fast are you?

Because honey, I am fast.*

89 words

Learn Touchtyping

*Fast not verified. I'm sure there are faster typists. Typers? Whatever.

Today I asked Paul to be a reference for me. A character reference, as it turns out, because the one time he and I worked together (at Rizzoli, where we received paychecks. At City Garage, where he's the General Manager and I am an itinerant booth worker, we do not. Apparently this does not count), technically, I was his superior. Hey, he said it, not me. Oh, just read for yourself:

[Insert gross, overly sticky thank you from me for his willingness to be a reference here.] Be sure you say that I am responsible, hard-working, willing to work for free, sometimes extremely funny in a highly inappropriate way, good-looking, clean, and that you've met no one in your tenure at City Garage who pushes "go" with the same amount of professionalism and verve and aplomb that I do. Oh, and modest: don't forget how shy I am about tooting my own horn. Add that I smell good occasionally (not all the time, let's not go overboard) and I'll buy you lunch if I get the job. No, wait, please just tell them the first two things, if they even call. That I can write halfway intelligently and have never killed anyone will probably secure me the position (but let's not get cocky, Irene). You have my permission to wax poetic.

What does working together for money have to do with anything? What do you call all that cash that passes through my hands when somebody wants a Diet Coke or something? Sheesh.

Pauly, keep in mind that no matter where we go, I just might still be your superior, so let's just cut out the "were" business, buddy. And, yes, in the absence of David E. Frank, manager extraordinaire, I think the definition of " boss" did apply to me at the time. You seem to forget who wrote the schedule and processed the timecards, but I will forgive you for your failure to remember the inner workings of my duties as the "Operations" manager. We can agree to disagree on this one, and without the slightest bit of torture I will even cop to being wrong. However, I'm not changing whatever it was that I said that made you doubt that I was your boss once upon a time. I stand by all my ridiculous statements. I'm a straight shooter: I shoot 'em straight. I have, like, moral rectitude, such as, and/or whatever.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I do not want

I do not want to go back to work today.

For the full extent of this, click here. Unfortunately I have a ton of shit to do, so off I go. Oh, how I wish I could do my work in my sweats and robe. I would be so much more productive if only I were wearing fleece and slippers.