Tuesday, June 30, 2009
$50.3 million has been spent between the two candidates–
$11 million (at least) has been spent on the recount–
2,424,946 votes were cast–
312 votes separate the candidates (Franken leads)–
239 days since Election Day 2008–
34 weeks since Election Day 2008– 7 months, 27 days since Election Day 2008–
4 seasons seen since Election Day 2008 election.
Check out the price tag on this. It kind of makes me sick.
On the other hand, yay!
Monday, June 29, 2009
This morning it was explained to me quite nicely by James, yet another bike shop employee with whom I am now intimately acquainted (when I pretended to whine, "but I want my bike now!," James laughed, as I wished for him to do, so that he would not think I was a) crazy, or b) demanding and difficult. I want these guys to love me. I want them to GET ME MY BIKE. Following my lame comedy cues makes us "intimate," and hopefully endears me to him). Obviously these people are immune to my charms, whatever they are. Or maybe I need new charms.
Anyway, apparently waiting a couple of days and piggybacking some other customer's order on mine makes the whole thing faster and cheaper this way. Cheaper and faster for whom, I wonder? Certainly not me.
I'm not really sure what they meant by "faster." Sure, maybe if you consider that they had the exact bike I wanted at their store in the valley, and if I had decided to, I don't know, walk there to pick it up, barring a heart attack on the ride home, I would have a bike sooner than I do now, which is not soon at all, because my bike is still NOT MINE YET.
(Google maps says it would take the average person 15 hours to do this walk: it is 49.7 miles from their store in the valley to my house in Long Beach. If I took the 405, I could ride that distance in about 4.2 miles or so, if there was no traffic? Hey, I might be new to cycling, but that sounds doable, no? What? No?)
Anyway, I am going to sit my ass down and continue to wait. I am not patient, however. Oh, no. You should know by now not to expect patience from a woman like me.
(I don't know what that means, either: "a woman like me." Maybe one of you can figure it out for me. On second thought -)
Came home from work. Did a few necessary things, including petting Franny and Puma (Dora ran away from me, as usual). Started a load of laundry. Came in, saw the answering machine blinking. "Rocco" (surely that isn't his real name?) from the bike store called - my bike is ready for pick up. Where do you think I will be tomorrow night? Fighting the traffic to and from the bike store. One of those trips? I will have a bike in my trunk.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Feeling realistic that day, I ordered a large.
This may have been a mistake.
I tried it on tonight before Patrick came home from work. I got home from our first rehearsal of "The Emperor and the Bird Of Paradise" with David, at his house (more on this in a sec), and there was the Priority Mail package on the porch. I went into our messy bedroom (I really need to do laundry; there's a pile of towels that's been mocking me from the middle of the floor for about 5 days now), took off my comfy jeans, and pulled up my bike skort.
For those of you wondering what the hell a bike skort is, I'll tell you: it's a pair of padded bike shorts under a wrap skirt. The bike shorts are typical bike shorts; the skirt part is adorable. It's made of a light, ripstop like fabric. I have no idea if it's aerodynamic, and I don't care. It secures with a little luggage bag-type plastic belt thing (great explanation!). The whole thing is really cute; the skirt covers my fat ass and it looks like it might be very comfortable to bike in.
The only problem is, I am currently in between being a large and a medium. And so the bike shorts, which are supposed to be snug, are a little baggy. And they're the perfect awkward length that they don't cover as much of my thighs as I would like. The skirt covers them, but it's not good.
And so, the question is, if I keep it, how long will it be before I'm a true size medium and this (rather expensive) skort is really too big? Or if I return it, will the medium be ridiculously too small and uncomfortable? Isn't being a medium the whole point of getting my fat ass on the bike to begin with? But if I can't wear it right away... what's the point?
The truth is, I've been putting way too much thought into my size and my shape and aging and feeling fat and unattractive and WOW, I just want to ride my bike and have fun. I don't really want to be so invested in how I look. I wish I could just concentrate on how I feel. I had hoped that my bike would be ready for pickup today, but unfortunately it wasn't. I guess the guy didn't lie when he said "Monday."
Last night was the flute choir concert. We played well, I think. We usually do, but I felt great about this concert. We ended the concert with a silly adaptation from "The Magic Flute." It was called, "The Magic Flute in 5 Minutes." Julie and I shared the first flute part, and it's always nice to play with Julie because we tend to play in tune together, and to have a good partnership. Truthfully, I could've pulled my weight a little more and practiced with a bit more regularity (sorry, Juls!), but we played it well in rehearsal, so I wasn't too nervous about it. Unfortunately, for the concert, I kind of screwed up the last four bars of the piece, which was disappointing (it ends in a big flurry of notes, including a high C at the end, which I did just fine, but was kicking myself because I screwed up the sixteenth notes). After the concert, though, I was talking with some of the other flutists, and they claimed not to have noticed, so I don't know, maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought. They were surprised to hear me say that I still get nervous, which is what I think went wrong. Usually a little burst of nervous energy works to my advantage: it helps push tempos, it keeps things exciting, it brings out emotions that carry through to the music, but this time, I think it just short circuited my fingers.
I thought that was pretty funny, because if you're looking for a picture of "confidence," I'm not it.
Before I came home and tried on my bike skort, I met with my friend David and we rehearsed "The Emperor and the Bird Of Paradise." His wife had gone out to lunch with the baby, but they were home before we started. I felt a little guilty, because their baby was, I think, ready for a nap, but we went ahead with it anyway. This kid came to her first flute choir concert last quarter, and she was quiet and content for the whole thing, but today I think she was a bit out of sorts. Anyway, we did one run through and David's wife, in the other room, was having a bit of a time with the baby in the bedroom. For the second run through, David went and got her and brought her out to listen. He held her the whole time, and at first she was a little unsure what the hell was going on, and was a little squirmy, but David's voice, doing the narration, seemed to calm her down. She did cry, but it was on cue, at the "scary" part of the music (the wolves were howling!). Seeing them with her (I think babies under a year are at their absolute sweetest), especially David, holding her while reading his part and following mine - I think these two new-ish parents know what they're doing.
In other news, last night I told someone that I was considering going back to school, and was thinking about a writing program. Still no idea if this is yet another iteration of my usual "I think I should go back to school" deal-io or if I'm just highly susceptible to the power of suggestion (someone else says "writing program" and I say "writing program," just like commercials for KFC always make me want KFC, even though I know it's horrible. My own personal slogan for KFC is "where every piece has a spine!").
Oh, and totally unrelated but a nice change of topic: due to circumstances beyond our control, Patrick and I are taking a break from cable channels (I'd tell the story but then I'd have to kill you). For about two weeks we've been watching basic tv channels. No Food Network, no HBO, no Discovery Channel. I'll tell you this: regular TV kind of sucks. While I was eating lunch today, my choices were basically "The Peoples Court" and "One Life To Live." Given such choices, I decided to read. The upside is, I'm watching an episode of Star Trek and a pair of Twilight Zones every night. Star Trek (the original, with Kirk and Spock) is immensely entertaining, in spite (or maybe because) of the horrible sets and backgrounds. Last night's episode took place on another planet. The other planet consisted of a purple landscape, dotted with fluorescent green cactuses. For those of you who care about such things, this episode was "Metamorphosis." It was great. I last watched the old Star Trek episodes with my friend Serena and her dad. In the 7th grade.
Anyway, it's not so bad, this no cable TV stuff. I may exaggerate. Now, Patrick has gone to bed, and the "Living Doll" episode of the Twilight Zone is on, and I don't think I want to watch alone... so I'm off to join him.
Patrick said that yesterday, when talking to his co-workers about Michael Jackson's death, that a lot of them were hung up on the controversies and scandals. That's too bad, for them.
I was thinking about all the millions of people who were made happy by his music and his performances. NPR ran a story last night about how an empty dance floor was suddenly swamped with dancers when the DJ started playing his music, one hit after the other.
I don't dance.
His music is not exactly of a genre that I normally enjoy. But still, I loved it.
He brought magic to the world. It's good to recognize that, and only that, for awhile still.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The story would've been sad but unremarkable, but they went on to talk about how the boy had created a CD of original music that he recorded in his own home that is now being distributed by Luaka Bop.
His parents knew he was intelligent and serious. They didn't know he was musically talented, and they didn't know he was suicidal. The NPR story stated that, knowing his fragile state of mind, his parents tried to stay with him as much as they can. There's some discrepancy there, isn't there, but who knows what their family life was like? He spent a lot of time on the computer, in chat rooms: music chat rooms, and suicide chat rooms. I didn't know there was such a thing; I'm not surprised. His screen name was Yoñlu. I'm listening to his music right now.
The NPR story wasn't long, and I arrived at the parking lot of the restaurant where I wanted to eat lunch a few moments before it ended. I sat in the car and watched an overweight woman assist an elderly lady in a wheelchair into a van, as a bearded man with an incredible upper body climbed into the truck parked facing me, while listening to Marco Werman tell the story. Marco told the story unemotionally and without, I don't know, breaking a sweat. I had sunglasses on. I cried.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I think she's around 10 or 12 years older than me, in the 47-50 range. She's Chinese, and came to America by way of Vietnam. I think she spent most of her life (until she was in her 20s) in Vietnam. She and some of her other family members were stuck for a long time (she's always vague about just how much time) on a boat, waiting to be allowed into the United States. Another time, when we were talking about vacations, she told me about a disastrous cruise she was on once, and how sick she got, so I can only imagine that the time spent on that other ship was pretty horrific. She's a sweet woman, and I really enjoy our walks. She talks about her two sons a lot (both are super-smart; one is at UCLA and the other will be a senior in high school), and they sound like nice, responsible boys. The one at UCLA is a really hard worker, and serious. Her stories about coming here, and her father (he had a pharmacy back home, and as a girl, she used to help him mix up the herbal prescriptions; I think this is really interesting because her son is studying to become a pharmacist) are so inspirational. She didn't have an easy life, but she and her husband work hard, and her boys sound appreciative.
We talk about lots of stuff: the gym, food (I had another Chinese/Vietnamese co-worker once who used to take me to this great tofu restaurant in Koreatown, and I learned a little bit about that kind of food, and cooking. She used to bring me "leftovers" of her mother's dinners, and I thought I died and went to heaven. I don't think Hung likes to cook that much [she's said as much], but one day hopefully I'll score some more homemade Chinese tamales), work, whatever. She's a really kind woman, and she likes to laugh. Ah, now you know why I really like her.
Anyway, yesterday we were talking about music, and I asked her what she liked to listen to.
Do you know, she couldn't think of anything? I was kind of surprised. Finally, after thinking about it for awhile, she mentioned that she was in Vegas while Celine Dion was still doing her shows, and that she likes her voice. She told me that her sister, who lives in Canada (are Canadians constitutionally obligated to like Celine Dion?), was a big fan. We talked a little about Celine Dion. I'm not into that style of music but I listened to a ton of her music when I worked at Rizzoli. We had her earlier albums and of course the current (now 8 or 9 years out of date) stuff. Again: not my thing, but I appreciate her voice.
So now I'm wondering what type of music a middle-aged, Chinese/Vietnamese woman might like. I'm curious about classical Chinese music but don't know anything about where, exactly she's from and suspect that might make a difference. Anyway, I want to surprise her and if I start asking a bunch more questions, she might get suspicious. I'm going to scour my music and go online and see what I can find.
Maybe she'd like Bette Midler, or Cat Stevens and Van Morrison-type stuff... well, I have to start somewhere. Maybe not there, exactly. I will put more thought into this, don't worry. Her younger son listens to rap (she says she can't understand what the rappers are saying, and I don't doubt it). I think this will be fun. I'll let you know if I hit a match with anything, and if anybody has any suggestions, post a comment.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
(I just looked at it [it's a "Flex"] and it looks like a slightly less obnoxious and slightly more upscale version of the Honda Element.)
Something I thought was really funny was, out of all the so-called cool features the Ford Mommy (Buy your 2010 Ford Mommy today!) talked about, the one that really caught my attention was the fact that you can change the color of the interior display lights.
Oooh, that's really cool.
If memory serves me correctly, Drew's 1990 Toyota Tercel (hatchback, stick shift, manual windows, vinyl seats, tape deck; we changed the oil and burnt out bulbs ourselves; I once put chains on the tires when we drove to Oregon because my hands were small enough to fit in the little spaces and his weren't; he let me drive it but mostly only when he was drunk: we had a lot of fun in that car) had that feature.
But I'm not talking down Ford: I think they've made some pretty cool looking cars lately (my college-age neighbor Carina has last year's Ford Focus, and it's the perfect car for her. Very cute. Also "Carina" would be a great name for a car). I have no idea how reliable they are. Would I trade my Honda for one? Probably not, but only because my next car is definitely going to be a Hybrid, and I probably won't be buying it for a few years still.
In other news: I want my bike.
I really hope it's ready by Friday.
Bike update: I called the bike shop today because someone had asked me a couple of questions about my bike that I could not answer but that a responsible shopper should've known.
The questions were:
Q. If the bike's not the right size, will they re-order the right size for you?
My original answer: Idunno.
My new informed answer, thanks to speaking to Mike (Mike! Rhymes with BIKE): Yes.
Q. What kind of pedals does my bike have?
My original answer: Pedals?
My new informed answer: Standard pedals. No clips, nothing fancy. That's fine with me.
Q. When will the bike be ready to be picked up?
My original answer: I'm hoping it's ready Friday (or even Thursday!) because I am going to Culver City anyway and that would be TOTALLY AWESOME because I want my bike, dammit!
My new informed, highly disappointed answer: Mike told me that Eric didn't place the order (well, maybe Eric doesn't place the orders himself, so I will give him the benefit of a doubt) for my bike, which I BOUGHT and PAID FOR on Friday until yesterday, which was Monday. Three whole days elapsed between the paying and the ordering, which seems highly... slow. So it's unlikely that my bike will be ready for pick up by Friday.
Don't worry, though, the excitement hasn't abated yet: today I ordered a (padded) "cycling skort" from REI, which was kind of expensive and will be, I promise, the last piece of clothing I buy that is specifically tailored for the act of cycling, well, at least until I've put a few hundred miles on it. Also I'm sure I'll feel like a horse's ass in it (the skirt. I will feel like Dave Stoller on my actual bike). Rest assured that you will have to track me down to see it because there will be no photos. Just knowing that they make cycling skorts made me kind of happy, though. I don't want to wear those gross shorts.
Well, it's true that it's not really the shorts that are gross, but rather...
Anyway, look. I don't care about the skort or the shorts or my fat thighs or any of that. I just want. My freaking. BIKE.
Actually, right now what I really want are some M&M's.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Today was pretty much awesome. Watch that word, awesome: it will show up again later. I got up early (for a day off: 8:45 a.m.) and quickly took a shower, played a few moves in my Facebook Scrabble games, goofed around on the Internet, wrote an email which was a continuation of another message that I may regret later, and got myself all worked up about my new bike, which I planned on driving up to Culver City to buy (there are bike stores in LB, but I have a sentimental attachment to Wheel World, where I have gotten all my bikes, including my dearly departed, beloved red and white ten speed).
I've been thinking about my new bike for awhile. I talked to Patrick about it on Wednesday, and he was okay with the idea of me getting a rather expensive new toy. I've discussed it with my friends Patty and Judy and my co-worker Jesse, and I am obsessed with the idea of my having a new bike. I can't stop thinking about the rides to Seal Beach or here in Long Beach, and in Culver City with Patty, and she wants to maybe do one of those bike tours, and if I can hang with that much time on a bike and how much I want to ride and when, and dude: I actually was thinking about it so much I kind of gave myself an upset stomach.
OK, maybe the bike didn't upset my stomach, but I don't know what else to blame it on, unless you consider the Chipotle steak burrito I had for lunch yesterday (or possibly that damn email). I was excited!
On the drive there, which was surprisingly not as traffic-y as I expected, I made a couple of phone calls (one regarding the aforementioned email), listened to The Veils, Afghan Whigs (I have had their album Up In It for maybe 20 years? I forgot how awesome it is. No. This is not the awesome you are looking for. Move along), and A Tribe Called Quest. I also tried to relax. I'm not sure it worked.
You didn't really need to know what I listened to, but it's these details that make this blog truly interesting. ...Right?
Anyway, I pulled up in front of Wheel World, put my 75 cents in the parking meter and walked up to the door. It was 10:15. They open at 10. The sign said "closed." I looked at the sign, said, under my breath, all crazy like, "What the fuck?" And then I noticed that the door was open. So I went on in.
(Again, more detail than necessary - actually, I think I only put 50 cents in the meter - but really, once you start, you can't stop.)
You know how when you're really super-excited about something, you lose the ability to speak? No? Is it only me (actually... it might be. I was a little tongue-tied and searching for words all week. I swear I think my co-workers thought I was high. I'm not, seriously. This may be sinus-related)? Anyway, I walked in, and saw that there were three young guys behind the counter. Two of them ignored me. One of them, who shall be known as Eric (because that's what he told me his name was, but not until later in the timeline of events that I am about to detail for you. In excruciating detail, yeah), was a young guy, maybe in his mid to late twenties. Tall. Brown hair. Scruffy but not in an off-putting way. Cute. I don't know, maybe I've hit that age where all guys in their twenties are kind of cute. It's possible.
Eric waved at me, and I walked over to him, and commenced The Great Bicycle Purchase of 2009.
These are the first words out of my mouth: "I um, hi, I was here to look for a bike?"
Yeah, that's fucked up.
The thing that worked out so perfectly was the pairing of me with this particular guy. Eric as Salesman and me as Customer: we were the perfect pair. We were a match made in heaven, because as silly as I was (I was like this crazy combination of excited, nervous and self-deprecating), he was almost right there with me (except he was young and cute, and so for him, it was more like a sweet performance of youth. For me it might be pathetic and old, but let's move on, shall we?). One of the first things he asked me to do was be patient, because he had to use the computer that was being used by his co-worker at the moment because he "has a tendency to crash the other one, just by breathing on it." Come on. If that's not adorable, I don't know what is. So we waited. While we waited, I told him what I wanted, or what I thought I wanted. So he took me over to the rows of bikes, and pulled out a Giant for me to try out for size, and to keep me occupied while he did the thing with the computer.
When you try out bikes at Wheel World, they make you fill out a form certifying that you won't sue them if you get injured, and you have to give them a credit card and your driver license. I joked, is this all so I won't sue you, leave with the bike or get hit by a car? Eric (still didn't know his name at this point) looked at me very seriously said, "Please don't do any of those things." I gave him my keys and said, Hey, if I don't come back, you can have my car.
He said, thanks, but I don't drive anymore.
Then, since I was handing this guy my whole life (wallet, keys, flute bag), I asked him his name. Once I knew his name, I proceeded to use it every chance I got. I don't know why. I just like calling people I just met by their names.
Eric walked outside with me and showed me how to use the 21st century shifters. I asked him about the brakes (my 10 speed had hand brakes on that top part of the handlebars, and this one didn't). He explained that you can get them added on, but that for this one, I'd have to use the ones that were placed on the lower part of the handlebars. And then he goes, "you know, when you're feeling 'race-y.'" Because, you know, you have to get all aerodynamic to use that part of the handlebars. Jesus Christ that was adorable, because I don't think he was thinking of the definition of the word "racy." He had that LA guy lazy delivery when he talked, and he spoke either very slowly when saying few words, or in quick, low bursts. Usually he was fast when he was funny, and slow when he was serious. There's no way he was flirting with me, but it might be at this point that he realized that I would be a pretty pliable customer.
Anyway, I got it, then waited until he went back inside before heading off, northbound on Sepulveda, on the sidewalk. I rode it around the block a couple of times (thank God Tito's wasn't busy or I could've been hit.)
I hated it.
Now it is entirely possible that all I hated about it was the color (teal. Teal and white. Hideous). But also, I felt weird on that bike. Eric sized me up before I got on, and he set the seat height for me and asked me how I felt, sitting there in the store, and it seemed okay, but I knew this wasn't the bike for me.
I walked it back into the store, and told Eric I didn't like it. We discussed the Allez, the bike I had gone in specifically to see, and he pulled one down for me, but it was a hair too big (literally, a hair. I asked him what the difference between the sizes is, and he said "about 2 centimeters." I thought he was pulling my leg. Apparently he was not. He could've, though. I would've gone for it. And if he did it right, I might've been tall enough for the bigger bike). We talked some more about the Allez, and he went back to his nemesis, the computer, and looked at their inventory.
They had one in my size, but not assembled. In fact, it was in a crate somewhere in the back. It was a red one. Pretty, but too flashy for me. We talked about short people for awhile, and his lack of sleep, and something else kinda personal about him that I shouldn't reveal here (I was surprised he told me, actually), and bikes with straight handlebars (he likes them, I don't), and red bikes versus black bikes (we both prefer black bikes) and though I knew I was taking up a lot of his time (I'd been there for about an hour and a half by this point, asking questions, trying different bike), I also knew I'd make it worth his while, so I didn't feel rushed.
In fact, I still felt pretty stoked - I was getting my bike! Finally, I figured out exactly what I wanted, and Eric ordered my bike.
The one I'm getting is very similar to the one I showed a photo of yesterday, except mine will be black with some subtle (?) flashes of red. It should be ready for me to pick up sometime next week. Hopefully by Friday, because that's the next time I'll be down there (actually, Thursday, but not sure if I'll have time), with time on my hands for a ride.
Then we went around the store and picked out all the other stuff I wanted: helmet (can you believe I've never had a helmet? Also? I've never been in an accident on a bike, and I guess I've been really, really lucky, because a lot of people, including Eric, have told me how a helmet saved their life), lock, those brake things, a light. The only thing I didn't get was a bell! Damn! Anyway, Eric was looking out for me, because he didn't pick out things for me that were super expensive (when we were looking at helmets, he said, "I have a black one for you that will be awesome!" and he was right. It was awesome. In fact, I'm wearing it now).
He said the same thing when I was looking at lights (my neighborhood is so quiet and safe that I feel totally safe at night, except that I know people can't see me. Or maybe because I know people can't see me. anyway, it seemed like a good idea). Eric picked out the "awesomest" one for me. By this point we were laughing at things being "awesome" and "race-y." And I did get a cool light.
Seriously. I think I need to interact with more people. I may be Eric's newest, biggest fan. I wonder if he's on Facebook?
All in all, it was a satisfying purchase. I might exchange the bike lock for another one - the one I got, while definitely one of the smaller ones available, is kinda heavy, and I don't think I want to be dragging that thing around with me everywhere.
Now all I have to do is count the days until I can pick up my bike.
Until then, my head will be fully protected. I should've bought a helmet years ago.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
It has been so long since I rode a nice bike!
This may be the one I get.
Isn't it pretty? And black! like my heart!
40 years ago it was easier to get to the moon with technology that didn't exist or wasn't intended to do what they wanted it to do than to figure out how to get California a high-speed rail to travel what, 400 miles? They're talking about the year 2030 in this paragraph, but talks and planning for high speed rail started 10 years ago.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
This person has been blogging longer than I have. She has more than one blogging project. She gets paid to blog. I think she might be a bit of a minor celebrity, in the oh-so-exciting blogging world. Writing her daily blog is her job (along with raising her kids). Most of the time, I sit here reading her blog, I get a little jealous at how many comments she gets and the paid ads and product placement, and then I think a little more about what her content has become (mostly about her two kids; one has some kind of un-diagnosed, un-diagnosable learning disability/or something. When she isn't writing about the exploits of her kids, she's posting photos. Really, maybe it's charming, and I'm just a Scrooge), and I think, well, okay, there's obviously a market for this, but I am not it.
(Confusing? Yes. Sorry. Send me a check and I might sort that paragraph out a little better.)
Don't get me wrong: I like reading about other people's experiences about things that have nothing to do with me or my experiences. I'm just not so sure I love reading about your kids. Not that I'm not interested, it's just that I'm not sure how fair it is. And truthfully, this person writes many, many words about her kids. So maybe I'm not that interested. But then again, my friend Julie writes about her children but she keeps their names private and writes about them with a much lighter touch than the other person I'm talking about. Julie's kids have a level of privacy. I don't think the other person's kids do.
Yeah, yeah, they're not my kids; I don't need to be comfortable with it, but still. It bugs. Look, I get it: parenthood is rough. Write about it, I think that's great. But it feels a bit shameless and exploitative sometimes.
I am not trying to be overly critical. I don't know her. Maybe she does hold some things back, what do I know? She has two kids and a life and experiences that are foreign to me. She has a hell of a lot of readers. She may well be the Maureen Dowd of the Mommy-Blogging set (you know, I don't really know what I mean by that, except that Maureen Dowd is another one of those writers I don't really enjoy yet can't stop myself from reading).
(By the way, when I said "Maureen Dowd," I didn't mean, "alleged plagiarist." I just meant, someone who writes compellingly, but who irritates me most of the time.)
Today's post was about a particularly trying time she (the blogger. Not Maureen Dowd) had recently while running an errand with her kids and her pet. She wrote strongly and with a lot of detail about her patience level and about when it all, exactly, went to hell in a hand basket, and then what happened. Almost all of the comments were like, "sorry but this is really funny and you're such a good writer and you'll think so too after a glass of wine." While I can't argue with the idea that alcohol and laughter can cure most everything, I think maybe these people missed the point. Sure, she could chill. Maybe she overreacted. The writing wasn't that great. Nothing truly bad happened. But the detail, the level of, what's the word? spleen with which she described her kid and what happened, I don't know, man. It was too much.
Sure, it was justified, but I think maybe totally justified to feel. And to talk to her real friends and family about, maybe. But to describe her kid and his tantrum or whatever it was for the whole world, well, I'm not sure.
OK, so we all agree that this person is probably an Expert Blogger and if I had a kid and other things to write about besides music and my cats and my lack of motivation, maybe if I was lucky enough to do it as well as she does, I'd be just as popular, with a paycheck for this shit to boot. Maybe I should have a kid just to, you know, have some new content and increase my readership.
As someone who has written about personal things way too much to a much smaller audience, it makes me wonder. I'm only exposing myself and my own faults and foibles (and maybe those of my cats). I don't think I've written anything that would embarrass anyone else (Stewart Copeland? Are you embarrassed by anything I've written?), but it's definitely something to think about.
I enjoy writing this blog, and I try to do so intelligently (or at least, amusingly, or at least, barring that, slightly amusingly), and I'm sure I tell you more than you ever wanted to know about me... but I'm not a member of any club. I don't do this for money, or fame, or fortune. Why do I do it then? Dude: I do it to write about Stewart Copeland and hope that he somehow finds me and reads the ridiculous things I've written about him and the way I feel about him and then he decides to propose to me and whisk me away to Italy (um, okay, whisk me and Patrick away to Italy; if that's how it has to be, fine).
It's nice that she was honest, and felt comfortable telling this uncomfortable story. Her hardcore readers and fans will stand by her. And I may read her again. But for me, it's more of a warning. If her level of openness bothered even me, the tell-all girl, well, I need to be more careful. I would hate to have even one of you turn on me. Or if you do, I'd hate to know about it. I'll be watching your blogs.
(And now the word "blog" is really blothering me. Blech.)
Monday, June 15, 2009
Jesus, why does this keep happening? I used to love browsing Virgin and Tower (and Arons!), and making special trips to go to Hollywood where we would make fun of the fashion sense of the kids working there, while secretly wishing I worked someplace I could dress like that, and getting recommendations from those very same people. I also remember hanging out in the Santa Monica store on my lunch break when I worked at Rizzoli, stalking cute guys in the jazz section.
Ah: the good ol' days.
Is it really the consumer's fault that these stores close, or is it a combination of bad business and whatever (the economy, iTunes, illegal downloading...)? I know people blame stuff like this on the Internet, and maybe that is it, but: sad. I mean, we get screwed when places like this close, including all the bookstores I've ever worked in. Does New York City really need another Forever 21 (that's what they're building in the space)? Does any city need another Forever 21?
Then again, on our recent flight home from Washington, D.C. on Virgin America (and I have no idea if these are actually the same company; please don't look to me for your business commentary), when I realized that they were so freakin' money-grubbing that I'd have to buy my own (wildly overpriced) snack-size bag of Dorito's, and I wasn't offered the whole can of Diet Coke (Jet Blue, I love you), I thought, well, that's not endearing at all nor will I fly again (or will come armed with my own snack items and cans of soda, if I can sneak 'em past the TSA) unless the price is just too good to pass up.
So there you go. Because I was too cheap to buy an $8 bag of chips, a whole industry goes down in flames (perhaps not a good choice of words considering I was just talking about an airplane. My apologies).
OK, so another thing I've been doing is thinking about music I never used to think about. Patrick has been listening to a lot of Steely Dan lately. When he first started playing it in the car when I was riding with him, I have to admit that I let fly with some of my patented sarcastic comments (the lyrics to Deacon Blues are so ridiculous that I crack up every time I hear that song), but then the other night on our way to the movies, we listened to the song "Peg." "Peg" also has laughable lyrics, but musically, it's a really happy, fun song. We had a fun time singing along. It's one of those songs where I pay more attention to the actual music than the singing - the bass line is gorgeous. I watched, from VH1's Behind the Music on this album, the section about this song. I love those shows, because it's almost always totally cool to hear the musicians talk about how they came up their parts or what it was like. Rick Marotta came up with a pretty slick drum part, and hearing how the bass player snuck in some of his own ideas is fun. The two guys who are actually all that is really "Steely Dan" (Donald Fagen and the other guy) seem like perfectionists. Well, just like Captain Beefheart, James Brown and Lawrence Welk.
Also, Heart's song "Love Alive" is another forgotten (by me) song that I've become a bit obsessed with - it's one of those dynamic, pretty, rockin' songs that has cheesy lyrics ("baby I want you to roll me, hold me in your love, no more habits, promises and jive") but wow, the phrasing and the way Ann's voice fits with the guitar's rhythm is beautiful. And I kind of really love that whole middle section before the whole thing gets hard - before the "you're up there under the spotlight" section. And hey: there's flute in there, too. Also, Ann makes such good use out of words like "yeah." She really works it in so that it fits perfectly with the melody or whatever she's singing. I watched some of their old videos from the seventies over the weekend, and Michael DeRosier (the drummer for Heart in the 70s) was working a major beard. Guy was pretty cute back then. His kit was like, a snare, a bass drum, one tom, and a couple of kettle drums. Pretty cool.
These hundred year old songs, while not exactly what I like to readily admit to listening, are gems. And just to let you know that I haven't had a stroke or anything, the other things I've been listening to are The Veils, the Jesus Lizard, and Jeff Buckley.
God, please protect Finn Anderson from drowning, accidental overdose, or suicide. Thank you.
Patrick was still fixing that person's computer and was in the other room with all the cats.
(To be honest, I was hoping I might find a rerun of "She's Got The Look" or the new Bravo show with Isaac Mizrahi - I really like him!, or even "Top Chef Masters," but I didn't flip much and was lazy and just went straight to Food Network.)
At 10:30, I got up and went into the kitchen to look for some chips (I just bought some delicious baked Kettle chips last week) or something else crunchy (pita chips: yummy, but all gone) or even to make some popcorn (we're out, and I'm trying to give it a rest), but we didn't have anything. Perhaps I could've made some toast but I'm not even sure we have bread. We need to go to the store. So instead I ate a nectarine. I don't know what it is about nectarines; this is the second one I've had since buying them at Whole Foods last week, but my sleep since then has been totally screwed up.
Yes. I'm talking about two nectarines within the span of about 7 days, disturbing a grown woman's sleep pattern.
Here's what Wikipedia had to say:
The nectarine is a cultivar group of peach that has a smooth, fuzzless skin. Though fuzzy peaches and nectarines are commercially regarded as different fruits, with nectarines often erroneously believed to be a crossbreed between peaches and plums, or a "peach with a plum skin", they belong to the same species as peaches. Several genetic studies have concluded in fact that nectarines are created due to a recessive gene, whereas a fuzzy peach skin is dominant. Nectarines have arisen many times from peach trees, often as bud sports.
As with peaches, nectarines can be white or yellow, and clingstone or freestone. On average, nectarines are slightly smaller and sweeter than peaches, but with much overlap. The lack of skin fuzz can make nectarine skins appear more reddish than those of peaches, contributing to the fruit's plum-like appearance. The lack of down on nectarines' skin also means their skin is more easily bruised than peaches.
The history of the nectarine is unclear; the first recorded mention in English is from 1616, but they had probably been grown much earlier within the native range of the Peach in central and eastern Asia.
Not very helpful in this instance, but I do like the words "fuzzy" and "peach" combined like that. Very cute. "Fuzzy peach" is one of those phrases that kind of makes you happy just saying it. Also, who knew that the "down" on a peach is what protects it from bruising? And "bud sports" is adorable. Seriously, how cute is that?
Anyway, I am glad I read that, because I slept poorly last night (Patrick says I was kicking him, but I don't remember doing that), and I was feeling blah today, but "fuzzy peach" is cheering me up a little.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Day-dreamy. A little sleepy. Lazy. The sun is out and that's different from yesterday, which was overcast and cold. Today it's sunny blue skies and breezy. It's how I feel, too.
We went to Baja Sonora for lunch today, and I had a Negra Modelo with my burrito. Both were delicious. The beer could be contributing to my lack of motivation. Currently I am consolidating my iTunes folder ("This Cannot Be Undone!") and am about to embark on backing up my iTunes library. I just got up from a nap I was taking out on the swing in the backyard (I woke up because Patrick was testing out his new double bass drum pedal. Killer calves, here he comes!). He warned me so interrupting my nap wasn't a big deal, but now I feel like I should be more productive... and I'm not.
Later on, I'm going to drive up to Westwood to see and hear my friend Cristina, who is singing in a concert. I'm excited - this is the first concert of hers that I've been able to go to. Patrick is staying home to repair someone's computer (and yes, to watch the Laker game, about which I don't really care. Sorry, everyone) that's been taking up space in our living room for a couple of weeks now. I don't know what's wrong with it.
Last night we went to see the movie "Moon," which was directed by Duncan Jones, AKA, Zowie Bowie. Yes, David Bowie's kid is a filmmaker. It was an okay movie - we love sci fi movies, and Sam Rockwell was terrific, but there were definitely things in the story that didn't make any sense. I hate to spoil it for anybody else, and we did really enjoy it, but just now, thinking about it, there are some things that are bothering me.
Also, Trudie Styler, Sting's wife was the producer, a fact which I found interesting. It's the first movie of hers that I've seen - in fact, I haven't seen anything she's been associated with (including the episode of Friends she was on), though I have "A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints" in my Netflix queue. It doesn't mean anything, that it was Trudie, I just happened to notice her name in the credits.
So it's going to take another 48 minutes for my backup to be complete. I don't have to go anywhere for at least 2.5 hours. I could do some laundry, or practice, or straighten up the bathroom... there are lots of things I could be doing, instead of sitting here watching the status of my backup.
45 minutes and counting.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Full-on D.C. photos coming soon.
Last night and the night before we both had strange dreams (mine on Sunday: my [deceased] grandma was advising me to plant purple flowers in the yard of a house that was our house in the dream but is not our house in real life. Is this a "you should have a baby" dream, or what?), and Patrick didn't get very much sleep the night before, so him still sleeping is fine. "Him still sleeping" sounds vaguely cave-woman.
Today my plans involve, now that I'm awake too:
- perhaps popcorn for breakfast
- uploading all our pictures
- a pedicure
- lunch or dinner at Souplantation (depending on when Patrick wakes up)
- possibly scoping out a new bike.
Monday, June 8, 2009
See you in Long Beach!
Sunday, June 7, 2009
this better be some good falafel.
Update added later:
While doing research for this trip, we both came across rave reviews for Amsterdam Falafel. Not really knowing exactly where it was (nor, apparently, bothering to consult a map) we got it into our heads that we wanted to go there once we were in town. Arriving on Friday, we kind of got a bit obsessive about it. Well, I did. Learning that it was not an easy Metro ride from our hotel, we sort of abandoned the idea, but by Sunday, I was a little tired of shuttling everywhere underground on the (beautifully maintained and easily navigated and affordable and lovely but UNDERGROUND) Metro, and I was ready to ride a bus or hail a cab or rent a pedi-cab or do anything but go somewhere easily accessible by the Metro.
So today, after doing most of the things we said we wanted to do, while sitting in Union Station (resting our feet and snacking on Godiva chocolate... do we know how to live it up or what?), I picked up my cell phone and called the place, asked the very friendly guy who answered how to get there via public transportation, was told exactly which two buses to take and how far to walk, and we set off.
Friday and Saturday were mostly rainy days - not very hard rains, but steady. We spent most of our time on Friday in the Smithsonian, and Saturday was spent in museums as well, but walking between, and we were tired of rain. And our feet were tired. Today was very hot, and the humidity was high (we were sweaty all day), and like I said, our feet were tired. But, with new springs in our steps (powered by thoughts of falafel, which, truth be told, we don't eat very often while in LA) we hopped on those two buses and walked about four blocks, and met the very dude who gave me those perfect directions. He was super-nice. You know what he wanted to know when he found out we were from LA?
He wanted to know if we ever go to In N Out Burger.
falafel, here we come.
(The following momment added later:
If you should click on this photo and make it full-size, let me just state right now that neither one of us has the amount of whiteheads and pimpular eruptions that my cameraphone appears to have added to our faces. I have no idea what the hell is going on but believe me, while our skin ain't perfect, it's also not that bad. I suspect that a comment I made about Ronald Reagan while we were visiting Union Station may have been overheard and some overzealous undercover agent [possibly the woman who directed us to the proper Circulator bus stop], hit my phone with some sort of secret agent malicious software that makes it look like you've got a face full of zits when clearly you do not.)
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Our feet hurt. Mine feel like two pieces of bread. Two very flat, throbbing pieces of bread.
We went to the Arlington National Cemetery (where we heard the Netherlands Carillon and saw the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldiers and the Iwo Jima memorial), we walked over the river back into D.C., we saw the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monuments again, we saw the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials, I bought a hot dog on the street, we rode the Metro many times and I messed up my card with $9.75 remaining and got to talk with the station manager guy, we ate a delicious dinner at an unexpected place (Gordon Biersch; who knew?), I unknowingly flirted with the waiter (Patrick claims I was, I don't think I was, but he did look like Rick Bayless...) and scored Patrick a free coffee.
Various words and phrases overheard on this trip:
Patrick: Excellent. [In response to most everything, including the news that his coffee would be free.]
Irene: I did not come all the way to Washington, D.C. to jay walk.
Patrick: Which way do we want? New Carrollton or Vienna?
Tomorrow our plans involve finding this falafel restaurant I read about online called New Amsterdam Falafel (or something like that) and a bunch of museums and various other places we didn't manage to hit today (my feet are wondering: where didn't we go to today?).
We're having a fun time. Today was super long and, as I said, involved lots of walking, but now we are back in our hotel and getting ready to veg. The hotel is fine (we're at the Hilton, in Arlington, VA) and our room is nothing special, however, it's very clean, and our bed (a king) is most comfortable, so I will bid you adieu and go up to join Patrick.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I’m reading Gene Cernan’s memoir, “Last Man On the Moon,” and Patrick is trying to stay awake. We’re both people watching. LB Airport is so easy.
My allergies are pretty bad today, so I have pockets full of tissue. I brought allergy medicine but unfortunately packed it in my luggage, which has already been checked. So I bought a single tab of Claritan at the snack counter. And a huge bottle of water. Patrick seems to think the water was a mistake. We'll see.
This morning, Patrick removed the cool clear doors from the kitty litter boxes. Apparently he found a large turd on the floor. One of the cats was confused by the doors. Oh, my kitties are geniuses. Can't wait to see what they get up to while we're gone. We always talk about setting up a webcam but forgot about it. Ah, well. Next time.
I'm just glad the weather seems a little better than yesterday.
Now, we wait.
More later, maybe from the sky!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
- I'm still doing laundry.
- I'm nowhere near being done packing.
- I have to get up very early to catch an early flight.
- I'm getting the funky dry lip thing I get every once in awhile (and no. It is not herpes, it just gets a little irritated and ugly). Lovely. It will be in all the photos we take in D.C.!
- I somehow managed to scratch my right eyelid today. It's not as noticeable but still kinda icky.
- I still have a slightly sore throat.
- I sneezed so much at work a man in the office next door said "Bless you."
- We had delicious, yummy Thai food from a new restaurant in the neighborhood and all's fine but my tummy is slightly upset now.
- We bought the cats two new litter boxes, and they have clear plastic doors. Franny manages to go in, but when she's ready to come out, will stand inside patting the door with her paw until one of her claws gets stuck. Then she just stands there, motionless. Eventually she figures it out but man is it funny. Bo (the catsitter) is gonna love that.
- I still have to finish laundry (one more load) and packing. Shit. Got to go. <--Stole that line from "The School For Wives."
We're going for fun.
Today I woke up with a headache and a sore throat, which serves me right, and I'm really worried that I'm going to be sick on this trip.
Now I go to get ready for work, where I will wrap up all my loose ends (work-wise, anyway), and write next week's wellness article. Woo-hoo. Then home to finish up laundry, cleaning, and packing, and hopefully sleeping. Since we're there such a short amount of time, we know we'll be cramming a lot of stuff in each day. We're coming back Monday, but I've also requested Tuesday off. I will rest Tuesday.
I always worry a little about flying, too, but I'm not going to think about it just yet.
Oh, and a word about all the sideways photos on my blog recently: I haven't been taking the time, as I usually do, to re-format my cellphone photos. It's no big deal but I haven't done it. So my apologies if you've been craning your heads to the left. I'll fix it when we get back.
Now. It would be nice to be on time at least once this week to work, so I go now.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I am going to miss those people and that show. There will ll be other shows, I know, and I'll see all of them again, but still... shows end. It's bittersweet.
Anyway, it's 5 a.m. and I left that piece of paper in the car, but it doesn't matter because if I looked at it now I wouldn't be able to read it, as I left my glasses on the bedside table and am typing this by touch.
After dropping off Bo last night, I remembered why I don't drink champagne (I had one small glass, in fact, small is too big of a word, it was a tiny amount, less than you would gargle, if it had been, say, Listerine) - I had a terrible headache. I drove off with more Corrosion of Conformity (I'm obsessed, a little) blaring (I think the song was "Doublewide" for those of you keeping track), and if you've been in Bo's neighborhood, you know that worse things than COC have been heard at midnight on that street. It helped with the headache, believe it or not. I came home, Patrick was still awake, and we talked a bit about our separate nights, and then we went to sleep. I slept until about 4:15.
I've been up since then, knowing that at 5 my alarm would go off and I would need to get up and wake up and take a shower and get ready for work, but you know what?
I still have that headache.
So instead, I am going to finish this, go back to bed, and when I wake up, hopefully much later, start getting ready for our trip, which means: laundry, cleaning up for Bo the catsitter (these cats love him like he loves his friends at City Garage), and walking to the library, and possibly, Souplantation.
Typing without seeing (the forgotten Jamiroquai album) is harder than you'd think so I'm going to do the number 1 item on that to-do list.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Thursday, June 4 High 64 / Low 59 Showers
Friday, June 5 High 72 / Low 60 Few showers
Saturday, June 6 High 80 / Low 64 Partly cloudy
Sunday, June 7 High 84 / Low 67 Partly cloudy
Monday, June 8 High 84 / Low 67 Isolated thunderstorms
I hope the "few showers" predicted doesn't screw up my plans to see the Marine Corp band perform on Friday night!