Friday, July 31, 2009

Special tickets for special people!

Get your 2 for 1 tickets to "The Chairs" at City Garage! Friday, July 31. Show starts at 8 p.m.
The code word for the tickets is "sweet potato."

See you there. And don't forget to wave at me in the booth.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Review of Fox Sierra Bike Shorts - Women's


These women's Fox mountain bike shorts have what it takes for a variety of riding adventures, from quick rides in the park to all day on the trail.

Not necessarily used "on the trail"

Newbie Cyclist Long Beach 7/30/2009


3 5

Waist: Feels too small

Length: Feels true to length

Pros: Good Padding, Breathable

Cons: Seams Come Undone

Describe Yourself: Casual/ Recreational

These are my first bike shorts ever, and I bought them with the understanding that because my body isn't perfect (not even close), I would never be happy with any bike shorts. I'm working on getting a smaller size, but for now these shorts are just fine. I wish the waist band was more comfortable but again, that might just be me. I didn't want anything too tight and so got stuck with these patterned shorts (not my style, either!) but again, these are serviceable, relatively comfortable, and not ugly. The padding is great, and definitely prevents a sore tush.


Left turns

I recently contacted a cycling website's answer guy with a question about left turns. Here's my question and his very informative answer. I've been trying to make a point, when I have to share the road with cars, of being totally alert, making eye contact (even waving) with drivers, and trying to anticipate hazards. It takes a lot of concentration.

Hi, Jack,

I recently started biking again after about 15 years off (I was strictly a commuter back then but now I'm more into having fun on my sporty new road bike), and I'm wondering about left turns. In the old days I'd get in the left lane and turn with the light right in the thick of things (no helmet, either: I was stupid/lucky)... but I'm older now, and have actually driven a car (which I hadn't back then!) and know how distracted drivers are these days. Is it safe? If I do it, where's the smartest spot to place myself in the lane? Squarely behind the car in front of me? What if I'm the first one there? Everybody has to wait for me?

Jack's answer:

Since we are classified as vehicles under most state and municipal laws, we're required to make a left turn just like a car would...using the left lane, signaling our intention, etc. It's much easier at intersections where there is a green left turn arrow, of course, but this applies at all intersections. Squarely behind the car in front is the typical place to locate yourself...but what I prefer is to hug the very inside (stripe side) of the lane a few paces behind the leading car. That way, oncoming motorists across the intersection have a better chance of seeing you and you're out of any blind spots. I don't bother with the 'traditional' hand signals -- I'm afraid that most motorists no longer know what those arm positions indicate. For left turns, I simply point my left arm and hand in the direction I'm going. No ambiguity there (I hope)! If you are first on the line to turn left, then yes -- everyone else waits for you. You have just as much right to be turning left as a car does, and if there is oncoming traffic that needs to clear the intersection before you can complete your turn, the cars behind you would be waiting anyway. Although it might "feel" like you're gumming up the works, you're not. Make your turn when it is clear and things will sort themselves out behind you. Of course, I strongly encourage anyone to familiarize themselves with the applicable vehicle laws in their area. We have a handy state-by-state law guide on our website on this page: Simply select which state you're interested in and viola!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why am I so sleepy today?

These things are lifesavers today. The cranberries are good at distracting me from chocolate. For now.

Today's bullet points:

  • For some reason I am barely awake!
  • We had a fire drill!
  • I saw a many-legged insect that I thought was a millipede outside my office in the hallway (yesterday... or was it Monday)!
  • I just found out that it wasn't a millipede because I did a Google image search for "millipede" and millipedes are disgusting looking creatures. The thing I saw in the hallway was about 1.5 inches long and almost cute. The things on the Internet would suck your blood out through your nose and leave you with an empty husk for a body!
  • One of my co-workers insists on talking about all the current gruesome news stories about children, in spite of my VOCIFEROUS and LOUD requests for him to please talk about something else!
  • My grabby co-worker enjoys reading my computer screen while she stands too close and chats with me, while I am thinking (VOCIFEROUSLY and LOUDLY in the privacy of my own head), "please go away now"!
  • "The privacy of my own head" sounds like a joke but seriously, there are people everywhere today!
  • My tummy is upset!
  • I composed the following poem:

    "Dear Co-workers:

    Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut
    Up shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up,
    Shut up shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up.


I know this isn't very nice, but -

My co-worker is going through a bankruptcy. Rough on her, and while I don't know the details I know it's involved many phone calls and her being broke all the time. I'm not blaming her or casting aspersions: I know stuff happens. People file for bankruptcy all the time. It could happen to anybody.

She spent the better part of the day on the telephone with a car dealership, making plans to buy a brand new car (her old one got repossessed). Her boyfriend is helping with the payments. That's great, but I don't know. Is this a wise thing to start? She needs a car, no doubt, but brand new? That's a whole new financial headache, isn't it? What if her boyfriend decides to stop making the payments? Or what if they break up? It's none of my business, I know. Maybe if she conducted this business elsewhere, I wouldn't care. As it is, it makes me nervous.


In other news, apparently neither Patrick nor I slept well last night. I talked with him a little while ago and we're both basically sleepwalking today. I remember waking up twice last night, once around 1:30 a.m. and once around 3 a.m., thinking it was time to get up (my alarm goes off at 5:05. Believe me, I need those five minutes). Even after eating lunch I felt ridiculously sleepy. I need a nap, big time.

I'd planned going for a ride tonight, but we'll see. Sleep might be a better option.

Monday, July 27, 2009

This blog is not about cycling.

Even though it sure looks like it.

I got home from work today at around 6:30 and decided that, having figured out that the sun would set tonight at 7:57 p.m. according to some potentially unreliable Internet information, that that gave me plenty of time to go for a bike ride.

I was right.

I set off towards the bike path and headed south (west?). I didn't want to go the other way (towards the horses) because that section of the path, though lovely, was still unknown territory. Also, there were some tunnels and really narrow spaces below the boulevards and I wasn't comfortable with that in broad daylight; I didn't know how I'd feel at dusk. The other way was just fine.

I had a good time pushing myself, but I have no idea if what I was doing was good for me as a cyclist or not. I can only tell you that I had a ball. Once I was actually on the path, I got my speed up to 20 miles per hour. That's pretty fast for me. That's really fast for me. I knew couldn't maintain it, so I set my sights on doing just a minute at that speed. My bike computer is awesome for that kind of thing. I did it and then I slowed down, and then I tried it again. 20 mph was crazy, so I lowered my standards: my new goal was 18 miles per hour. I told myself, "18 is the new 20." I did that for about five miles, off and on, resting, speeding up, maintaining a speed, resting, etc.

And then the unthinkable happened:

I passed a dude.

I think I was going about 16 miles per hour, and I realized I was gaining on some guy. He was riding a nice bike: he had the bike shorts on, gloves like me (I like my gloves), he was cruising along - and I passed him. I fuckin' passed him. Not only did I pass him, I smoked him! I almost laughed out loud (remember this detail). Now, who knows, maybe he'd just ridden 100 miles. Maybe he just had surgery. Maybe he was, I don't know, tired. Up until now the only people I've been passing are like, children, the aged, people on beach cruisers or piece of crap mountain bikes, people towing trailers. This was a middle-aged, reasonably fit guy on a real bike. I think he was shocked, too. It was awesome.

Then, later, I got yelled at by a different guy who I'm sure thought he'd schooled some newbie idiot - I was going down one of those hills that go under the major streets, and I was following a man and a lady who were on bikes. The man was towing a kid in one of those bike trailers. I realize now that passing them while going down was probably a bad idea, but I was impatient. I didn't see the real cyclist approaching me until we were heading back up. We passed while I was on the left of the woman. I was definitely in his lane. He yelled at me, "Try to stay in your lane!" I called back, "Thank you!" as un-sarcastically as I could - he was right. But later, when I saw that same couple with the kid on my way back, and they smiled and waved at me, I thought, what a jerk that guy was. Sure we were in his way, sure, we could've all collided, sure, a collision with a baby involved would be bad news - but if he had time to yell at me, he had time to get over. Whatever. I decided that I am not going to be that guy. Ever. The bike path is for everybody, not just the "real" cyclists.

After awhile I realized that sunset and dusk are two separate things. Sure, it was still light out, but the sky was darkening and there I was, on a secluded bike path. I'm not saying I was worried for me or my virtue: I was worried about my beautiful bike. I started imagining that on my way home, I would be beset upon by marauding gangs of juvenile delinquent bike thieves and that by then I'd be so tired I couldn't outride them. So I turned around and headed home. I thought I'd take it easy but there is something about riding a bike that is so much work and so much fun at the same time that I can't help it: I want to go fast. I wanted to feel my legs burning. Remember I took those spinning classes and how much fun it was? Imagine that feeling with the sun setting all around you, beautiful El Dorado park on your right, the wind on your neck. It was gorgeous and yet I didn't want to be a tourist.

So now 14 miles per hour was the new 20, and I let that be my goal. I kept it at 15 for awhile. Then, I heard a noise, and I looked behind me. A guy (another different guy) was approaching. I got over and prepared to let him pass. He did. We went down one of those hills and up under the boulevard, and then I started keeping up with him. I think we were going about 18 miles per hour. He was taking it easy, I could tell. I wondered if he knew I was behind him? Not close enough to touch or anything, not drafting, just keeping up. It was fun.

And then?

Then we passed another pair of cyclists, and suddenly, I was the second cyclist in a group of 4. Then another cyclist caught up with us, and I was the third cyclist in a group of 5. Then, I had this ridiculous thought: "I'm in a fucking peloton."

And the silliness of that thought made me laugh.

I kept up for awhile, and then those two peeled off and, as they say, ate my lunch. It was fine, because I had to turn off to go home, and then I soon realized that the sound I thought was laughter was actually me, gasping for air.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A closer look at my bike

It's a gorgeous day. Having a bit of a break. 10.53 miles, maybe will do 10 more. Not the fastest or fittest but having a ton of fun. Okay. Breaktime is over.

Oh, and when I pulled over to stop at this park (it's called Liberty Park, and it's very pretty), a man who was (unfortunately) using a leaf blower on some leaves asked me how far I'd gone. Maybe taking a break after so few miles was wimpy, but oh, well. The last time I rode my bike, I didn't stretch (I stretched today), or, I think, drink enough water, because my left calf kind of cramped up on me when I got home. I didn't want to push it.

Today's ride was a little different. I headed out from home to the bike path (I live near the San Gabriel River path). Usually I head (west?) toward the beach, but this time I went the other direction, basically toward the city of Downey. I was surprised at how pretty it was going that way. Somewhere between my house and Rosecrans Blvd., there are a ton of horse stables and yards with horses and people riding horses and it was really cool. The horse poop on the bike path wasn't cool (nobody was riding a horse on the bike path, this must've been from earlier). I headed five miles in that direction. I saw quite a few people riding the other way, obviously going to the beach. The other riders were super friendly, lots of smiles, and hellos. I nodded and said hi when I could but at certain points my his sounded more like "hhhhhi". I was breathing hard again. After five miles I turned around (at Rosecrans) and headed back towards the beach.

The third coolest thing I bought (after 1. my bike, and 2. my helmet) was a computer. It calculates my trips, my speed, my average speed - it's totally cool. "Hey, I'm going 20 miles an hour!" (usually going downhill) makes my rides really fun. Or if some real cyclist passes me, I try for a few moments to keep up, until I lose him, and then I realized, shit, that guy was going at least 18 miles an hour. I can do it, but it's really, really, really hard, and I can't do it for very long!

Anyway, the wind was really blowing in that direction, and my plan had been to go at least 3 miles out and 3 miles back so I could, in theory, have ridden 20 miles by the time I got home (it's 2 miles from Carson to my house), however, I was kind of getting beat up by the wind, I was thirsty and possibly drooly, and so my math might have been faulty.

Let's see.

2 miles to the bike path
5 miles to Rosecrans
5 miles back to Carson
3 miles out
3 miles back
2 miles to my house
20 miles

Yay! Is computing simple sums a sign that I didn't have a stroke or anything?

Anyway, the wind was too much, so I punked out and headed back 1/2 a mile early, and instead rode around my neighood, where I practiced making fast, low turns. Fun!

Now I'm taking a shower, and then I'm getting me and Patrick something to eat for lunch.

Opening night - great show

Well, all my nervous energy went to good use, because last night's opening of "The Chairs" at City Garage went perfectly.

(Just so you know, I have never done the tech for opening night, and certainly never ran the show with less than 5 rehearsals. This was a pretty big deal.)

Patrick even said it was his favorite show that he's seen there, so far.

Felt very proud of myself, and now I'm just glad opening night is over. All that's left is to do it about 30 more times.

My friend Paul took this photo last week. That's me, Bo Roberts (Old Man), Cynthia Mance (Old Woman), Evan (one of the ADs), and Garth Whitten (The Orator). As the light/sound operator, I don't usually get a photo with the cast. This one is special.

Also, yesterday Patrick was listening to KPCC, and Patt Morrison was speaking with LA theater critics Stephen Leigh Morris, Wenzel Jones, and Dany Margolies, and a mention was made by one of the critics about looking forward to seeing the Chairs, and the "good work" that's always done at City Garage.

If I did this right, you can listen here. It's the tail end of the story.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Book Review: Worst Book, So Far

The other day my boss and I were riding in the elevator together.

I like my boss. She's nice, she's competent, she cares about her job, she doesn't hold a grudge, she's fun to talk to, I can make her laugh, she always asks if I'm "too busy" when she asks me to do something outside my normal activities - she's perfect. She's also started talking about retiring next year, but I keep telling her she's too young. Good managers where I work are few and far between; I'd like to keep this one for a little while.

Also, following my big fuck up the other day (I forgot all about preparing these reports that she needs every month for a regularly scheduled meeting until the morning of the meeting. I walked in, my usual 15 minutes late, and had five minutes to do it. Needless to say, I failed to meet that time frame - I'd like to see you print, collate, and staple 16 sets of 8 page reports in five minutes - and had to finish it after she left, which meant I had to hand deliver the reports during the meeting. This meeting usually consists of about 15 other managers. That day, however, there were about 45 execs and big wigs in attendance. Embarrassing), she has not mentioned it or otherwise tried to impress upon me any kind of retribution or punishment (my co-worker also forgot her reports, but she gets to work a full hour before I do and so had more time to catch up). So I don't know. Will I do that again? You bet I won't.

Anyway, so I like my boss, and we're riding up in the elevator, and for some reason, we started talking about books. I don't remember why. And I mentioned that in high school, I had read all of Stephen King's novels (up to "Misery." And then I stopped. I don't know why), and how "The Stand" was one of my favorites. I also mentioned how I had enjoyed "From the Corner Of His Eye," by Dean Koontz, and some other titles, and also Stephen King's book on writing.

OK, so there were key words in that conversation that my boss didn't pick up on: "high school," and "I stopped." Don't get me wrong, I'm not a snob - I like horror when it's not too horrible, I really like the "Green Mile" books, I like cheesy sci fi and fantasy, too. Whatever. But then my boss asked if I'd ever read anything by Robert McCammon. I said no. We got to our floor and walked to our office.

The next day, "Swan Song" was on my chair.

I started reading it at lunch, and it's pretty horrific. In a nutshell, it's a World War 3 book. It's about the end of the world, caused by idiot politicians. There's an evil face-shifter dude who wants to kill everybody, an empathetic little girl who can grow things. A giant. A group of survivalists. A misguided youth modeled a la Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris (this book was published in 1987, 12 years before Columbine so my example is a little dodgy, I admit). There's a "crazy" woman who believes in Jesus, and a wise old man. It's post-apocalyptic cliche after cliche and it's horrible.

Today I went to lunch and had a little more time to read. I got through about 150 more pages. And now? And now I am going to stop reading it and instead, maybe, bone up on the synopsis at Wikipedia, and perhaps skip to the end so that I can at least make it look like I read the book before I give it back to her. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but damn. This book sucks.

Oh, and it looked like a brand new copy. I hope she didn't buy it specifically for me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I finally did something I've been saying I'd do for awhile now - I took my bike out at night. Technically I didn't actually see the moon, but I'm sure it was up there somewhere.

Rehearsal got out at 9:20 p.m. (for me anyway, I think the actors had a bit more work to do), so when I got home from Santa Monica at 10 and Patrick was in the garage playing his electronic drums, I decided tonight was the night.

I put on an old pair of sweats, my cherry blossom t-shirt from D.C., sneakers and my helmet, turned on my bike lights, and headed out. It was about 10:08 p.m. My house is near a couple of major boulevards that have huge bike lanes. They're reasonably well-lit. I wanted to ride in a little traffic, to get more comfortable making starts and stops, to get to know my bike better, to gain some confidence riding around cars. I used to do it all the time (and this, without a helmet), but the streets of Culver City in the 1980s and 90s were possibly tamer than those of Lakewood/Long Beach. I don't know, our neighborhood is quieter and safer, but those same major streets with the big bike lanes have very fast traffic on them. Riding my bike to Patty's or school or work as a senior in high school was a much less exciting ride. In my neighborhood, the blocks are long between lights so I got to work up some speed, and I even made a left turn in the left turn lane with the light (following a Ford Thunderbird). Luckily there was no one else making a left behind me, because I couldn't decide if it was safer to ride on his right or left side, or right behind him, where I was. Surely that's an important decision, and I'll look it up later. Anyway, once I made that left, I got off the major streets and cruised the neighborhood. Still, lots of long blocks, hardly anybody was out and about. I made it a habit to make eye contact or wave at the few cars I did see. One car really liked that - as they drove away, they honked at me in a friendly manner. I felt like Dave Stoller. Ciao, papa!

After working hard I decided to head closer to home (I don't think I've even driven my car through those streets), and on the way there, passed a kid on a dirt bike (I say "kid" but it was dark, he could've been 45 years old). He was riding on the wrong side of the street, and when he saw me, he stood up on the pedals and started going faster. I think he wanted to race me.

I, of course, laughed in his face. Me? On my beautiful racy new bike? Against a dirt bike? Not a chance buddy (note to self: next time I see Eric at the bike shop, let him know just how often it is that I feel "racy." It's probably about 75% of the time. God I love my bike).

The other day I was talking to my co-worker Jesse (he's a cyclist) about how panty I get, and he reminded me of that simple breathing technique I know from somewhere of breathing in and out through your nose. He told me to control my breathing, not to ride along all open-mouthed and flailing. But see, I want to go fast, and I'm not fit enough (yet) to do that without gasping. As a musician I do know how to breathe, but as a cyclist, I want more wind in my face, I want speedier speeds, I want to take the turns balanced and free and fast, and if that means pumping harder than is currently comfortable, well, then so be it. Working hard pays off on a bike with speed! I told Patrick I'd only be gone 20 minutes, but 20 minutes turned into 50. If I didn't have to get up at 5 tomorrow, I'd probably still be out there somewhere. Night riding is awesome.

I had fun. Can you tell?


Oh, and here's a follow up to my earlier post about how "easy" it will be in the booth: I had a rough night tonight at rehearsal, and made a couple stupid mistakes. Felt a little bummed about it because I have one more chance - tomorrow - before we open. The actors did a great job as usual, and it was just stupid that I screwed up. The show is easy, but I'm not comfortable with what I see and how what I'm doing connect with that in a couple of key spots. The view from the booth is different than the view from the house or the stage and they're all way more familiar with things than I am. Ah, well. It'll be okay. The bike ride certainly helped, as well as listening to "Concert For George" on the way home. Why is it, do you think, that the Indian music portions of that CD always make me cry? I have no idea.

Cue to cue, tech rehearsals, "The Chairs"

I started working on my 11th show at City Garage last week, and I usually write something in this space about that experience, so I thought I'd try to come up with something interesting this time.

Yep, what a concept. An attempt at being interesting means I'm not going to express disbelief at that huge number (11 shows! How can that be?) or re-tell what I did on each one, or talk about how darn tired I am or how late I've been getting home. Instead, I will shock and amaze you when I say that by now, having done the tech for 8 out of those 11 shows, and having suffered not a small amount of anxiety over my own performance in the booth, this time, I feel more comfortable, more knowledgeable, and kinda like I might know what the hell I'm doing.

I'm a slow learner, obviously. Where have you been?

As always, the director and her husband have made something amazing. I love the minimal set and just the way things look on that stage, the way that Charles lights stuff up. The way two of them work together is beautiful.

Because the tech side of things got off to a little later of a start than usual, I'm not quite getting the same amount of rehearsal time that I usually get. Surprisingly, it seems to be working out okay. But, not wanting to jinx anything by sounding too confident, I will only say that I'm having more fun at this point than I normally would be having, and I'm seeing more of the show than I normally would, because my head is not buried in my notes.

On the other hand, the booth gets incredibly hot. My fan sometimes obscures the voices of the actors, even with the monitor on, so I wind up hot and bothered and sweaty. But you know what? It's kind of worth it.

The show opens this Friday, July 24th. Call the theater for a reservation. And, as always, look for me in the booth - I love it when people wave at me when I'm up there.

The Chairs, by Eugene Ionesco
July 24 - September 13

City Garage
(310) 319-9939

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Subject: FW: Andrea Sangria also commented on her status...

This is what happens when I drink a regular Pepsi instead of Diet Coke:

From: Irene
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:54 PM
To: Andrea
Subject: RE: Andrea also commented on her status...

See? The truth is I hate your co-workers and truly enjoy mocking them. Your co-workers make my co-workers look good. In comparison with your co-workers, my co-workers look like, how do you say? Geniuses. If I had to work with those cretins on an ongoing basis I would be very, very unhappy. There would be scratch marks on my arms. I would hide food in my desk. I would cry in the bathroom on a regular basis. I would start smoking again. I would develop a hacking cough recognizable to the whole department. You, my friend, in enduring the parade of ignoramuses that makes up the No Name Department Human Resources Management Office, are a saint. You deserve a treat. For pointing this out, I deserve a treat. Oh, for a field trip to Rite Aid for some chocolate malted crunch.

On my walk this morning, the Sheriff's were training their new recruits on the art of clearing or searching the trunk of car. It was exciting to watch - out of a group of about 15, the instructor had all the women doing the exercise. One had her gun out, and somehow opened the trunk from the outside. Two other women were about 25 feet away, and were in that crouched stance that's so recognizable from cop movies like "Running Scared," also with their guns out. The other recruits watching looked scared. The instructor asked, "Is this how you're comfortable doing it?" I suspected that if the answer was "Yes," that it would be wrong. As I passed by, an instructor not actively involved in what was going on was standing by where I was walking. He was talking on a cell phone. He was built like - like - damn, he was built. Dude looked at me in my goofy floppy hat, waved at me, and said "hi."

How do I sign up to be a Sheriff? I love how I look in hats and khaki.

From: Andrea
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:48 PM
To: Irene
Subject: RE: Andrea also commented on her status...

HA HA HA HA!!!!! Why didn’t I think of that? It works with Hugo!

From: Irene
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:37 PM
To: Andrea
Subject: RE: Andrea also commented on her status...

You should print out your emails and walk over there with your hot little feet and say, "Hi, there, [ Maria ]. Did you get my email? I need an answer, you deadbeat loser, or else I'm putting you in a sleeper hold."

Or perhaps you could bribe them with food. At the very bottom of all your emails, or maybe in your signature, insert a message like this:

Irene's Full On Name, Irene's Title
Company Irene Works For / Department Irene Works For
Division Irene Works In / Section Irene Works In
(800) 555-1234 / Telephone
(800) 556-1234 / Fax

If you read this entire message, understand what it is I need from you, and send the answer to my enquiry within 24 hours I will give you a cookie. Good dog.

From: Andrea
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:35 PM
To: Irene
Subject: RE: Andrea also commented on her status...

Yah. The bottoms of my feet are hot!!! Feels like I’ve been walking barefoot at the beach.
How can I get people to read my emails? Both the [Deadbeat Unit No. 1] and [Deadbeat Unit No. 2] are ignoring me. Constantly.

I’m starting to take it personally.

From: Irene
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:22 PM
To: Andrea
Subject: FW: Andrea also commented on her status...

Are you at work? What are you up to?

Monday, July 20, 2009

From a NY Times article about... the Iowa State Fair, and whether or not they should have a butter statue of MJ:

“It’s a fine line we must straddle of maintaining the traditions that we know are important to our fairgoers,” Ms. Chappell said.

Yep, nobody wants to offend people looking for deep fried Snickers bars.

This is from Wikipedia about the butter cow and the current controversy:

The butter cow has been a Iowa State Fair staple since 1911. In 1960, butter sculptor Norma "Duffy" Lyon created her first bovine masterpiece. In the following 45 years, she sculpted all six breeds of dairy cows as well as Garth Brooks, a butter version of Grant Wood's American Gothic, Iowan Brandon Routh as Superman, the Peanuts characters, Iowa native John Wayne, Elvis Presley, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, various animals and a butter rendition of Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper. Her butter sculptures were featured in national magazines and radio programs, as well as on The Today Show and The Late Show with David Letterman. Following Lyon's retirement in 2005, longtime apprentice Sarah Pratt took over the sculpting duties. In 2007, Pratt paired the butter cow with a butter Harry Potter followed by a butter Olympic gymnast and native Iowan Shawn Johnson in 2008. The 2009 butter cow sculpture will be of a Jersey.[4]

The overall butter sculpture theme for 2009 is a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk, and planned to include an homage to Michael Jackson's moonwalk dance.[5] Controversy arose as to the state fair putting Michael Jackson in the state fair. On July 9th, fair officials announced that fair goers could vote on whether or not to have Jackson in the fair. On July 17th, fair officials announced that Jackson would not be featured in the fair as a result of the vote. [6]

Personally, I'd like to see a butter sculpure of Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. Yum.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stewart's moving out!

I, in my infinite wisdom, have created a separate abode for my silly writings about Stewart Copeland. Stewart and I can be found, here. We are still in the process of moving into our new pad, so there's not a whole lot going on there right now, but would love if it you'd check back soon. Perhaps it would be best if you knock first. We might be, um, busy.

I'll tell just one final, kinda funny Stewart Copeland-related story now, in this space. After this I swear I'll keep the fantasy life separated. Well, I'll try.

Patrick was talking dates with his new bandmates for future gigs and rehearsals. We have a bit of traveling and stuff scheduled for August, and those guys are busy too, so laying out dates takes some discussion. Patrick mentioned that on August 21st, we're driving down to San Diego to hear Stewart's newly commissioned work at SummerFest. The guitarist, who doesn't yet know me personally, said that was cool (or, thinking Patrick was into Stewart Copeland, didn't wish to insult him). Then my friend Jeff, the bassist, who has been here before, commented,

"You don't know about Irene and Stewart Copeland!"

When Patrick told me about this, I cracked up. Luckily, so did he.

Patrick's thirsty.

It's a good thing he doesn't drink milk or we'd have to travel everywhere with a cow.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another bit of something from the stuff about the ninth grade

(Start here, if you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about. And here, too.)


Thinking about it now it's no surprise that it was boring. We didn't know each other. If I'd been a gregarious, confident girl, maybe we would have had a chance, but a confident, gregarious girl would not have needed the secrecy and subterfuge that led to this moment. The secrecy is what made it all interesting, the buildup was what fed into this, and it turned to be a big flop. And it's not like he was making it easier. If I was shy, he was quiet. One of us was supposed to make a move. I'm not saying it should've been him: I could've made a move. Well, I did make a move: I had a crush and I admitted it. But further moves were never made and it fizzled out before it even got started.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


My coworker Alex and I went to Subway today to pick up some sandwiches. My boss wanted to know if I was taking Alex for protection from "La Raza" (Alex is a big strong young man. I took Alex because Alex was willing to go). I said, "Who's going to protect them?"


Random old photos from my phone

that guy in the navy blue shirt was exceptionally hairy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Glad my name isn't

"Jan Fish." Dodged a bullet there, didn't I.

Even though I haven't

smoked a cigarette in ages (and the last one was Nasty), Orbit gum packages get me almost craving one. I'm chewing 3 pieces right now. Is that a problem, you think?

Another sneak peak at "The ninth grade."

This is a work in process, and full of stuff I'm not going to share (yet, or ever). But I do like these couple of paragraphs, so far, and I think they're random and vague enough to keep what needs to be private, if not exactly disguised, then at least maybe a little interesting.

If you knew me in the ninth grade (bless you), it might be violently clear to you what I'm not talking about ("who I'm not talking about" would be more correct). I'm working something out in my own head and heart, so please keep the not-so-secret secret, secret, would you? You'd think after all this time the ninth grade would be long forgotten, but I guess I don't move that quickly.

These three paragraphs are here in the right order, but stuff's been taken out or changed slightly. They don't really make sense as a group.


I think boys wore their Levi's baggy in those days because parents bought them a bit bigger, hoping the kid would grow before the jeans were destroyed or too ratty at the knees. At least, that's what my parents did. It wasn't a fashion statement, it was realistic shopping for a growing kid. His Levi's were baggy because he was a lanky guy, not necessarily tall, but gangly nonetheless. He had bird legs, is what I'm saying, strong from all that skateboarding I guess, but skinny. And no ass to speak of, not then, not later, and, probably, not now (though this cannot be verified, as checking out his ass would be verboten. At least, should the opportunity arise - it won't - I won't be reporting about it, here). He wore t-shirts and OP shorts, and Vans. He had brown hair, and blue eyes. It was a nice face, with a slow, sweet smile, and later, quite a bit of acne.


Just a year before I had stood in the foyer of this classroom, supposedly there to lock up my flute before heading to my own, later-starting first period class, but really hoping to watch and hear the exciting older kids play "real music," like Sousa marches, "El Tigre," and "Have A Coke and a Smile." Now, as a freshman, it was me those little kids were supposed to be idolizing. I don't think it ever really worked out that way. Maybe because as I got older I became sarcastic and dissatisfied, instead of sarcastic, funny, and cool, like the kids I had idolized.


I was always aware of where he was, though. I kept an eye on him, somehow. I was a skinny girl with gigantic hair and glasses. I was cross-eyed; I learned early to keep my eyes down or to cultivate my bangs to cover my right eye. It was the 80s and I had bad style - I come by it naturally: my mother has bad style. I disliked my looks but I was too stupid to figure out how to change them. I played the piccolo. I had weird clothes and I walked around with my head in a book, and that year I became obsessed with this one boy...


Ah. So now you know where this is going. Well, to be continued. Or not.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The ninth grade

Because of something I found out yesterday via somewhat sneaky channels that I can't share with you ("sneaky" doesn't make me look good, does it... keep reading, and then judge) but that made me feel like dirt because I am a selfish pig who doesn't think about what other people really mean when they're all vague and cryptic and shit, I started thinking about the ninth grade today, which means, I started writing about the ninth grade today.

"The ninth grade" is a topic rife with challenges. Writing about the ninth grade led me down a path best left unexplored for now, or if explored, than at least, unpublished here.

However, out of all the words I wrote, I will share the following, because it made me feel nice, and there's nothing wrong with that, now is there.


"Piccolo requires self-confidence, a willingness to be heard, to be a little obnoxious, an ear for playing in tune. I already knew, technically how to play the notes, but I needed to grow the attitude, develop the ear. I could be shy and quietly boy-crazy (obsessively boy-crazy; scary obsessively boy-crazy), but I needed to learn to punch it when I had to punch it. Who wants a mousy piccolo player? Nobody. Strong, but sweet when necessary: that's how the piccolo should be played. It was a good time to learn these particular lessons, though I have to admit that some of it took many, many years to sink in. Or maybe I'm still waiting for it to sink in.

My tutor in the ninth grade was an older girl named Deb. Deb didn't guide by way of criticism or abuse; I learned mostly by watching and listening to her example. She was good, and funny, she played in tune, and, best of all, she was encouraging. We became friends, and I became a piccolo player."

Thanks, Deb.

A Missing Post about The Doll Hut from May

Way back in May, Patrick and I went out to see some bands, and I started this post and apparently forgot all about it. I just today found it in my drafts folder. Oops! It ends kind of abruptly while I was talking about our friend Dave Jones' band Carnage Asada. I can tell you right now that you have an opportunity to see Carnage this Wednesday, July 15, in Venice at The Air Conditioned. I don't think Patrick and I can go - he's got a band rehearsal of his own - but if you're interested (and you should be, they're awesome), I say check 'em out.

Live dangerously.


Last night [May 22] Patrick and I went to see his friends' band, Carnage Asada at a tiny little bar called The Doll Hut in Anaheim last night.

When I say tiny, I mean, I think my living room might be bigger than this space. And I have a small living room! What the Doll Hut lacks in space, it made up for in friendliness and volume - the band playing (we could hear them as we parked the car, and we were immediately interested) was Stab City [it's true: I think my ears rang for like a week]. They are three young guys, and they kicked ass - I wished we hadn't missed the beginning of their set. My eye, as usual, was drawn to the drummer, a skinny guy with straight shoulder-length black hair (all these guys look young; he's barely 27 years old) playing the fuck out of his drums. Smiles and happy punks all over.

After Stab City, The Stains (from East LA) played. Patrick told me that these guys were heavy duty early punks from the 80s and they put on a fun show, too.

Following them was Carnage Asada, and I so wish there'd been more people there to see them. Awesome noise, these guys. Not only do they sound wonderful, they look like they're having a great time. We definitely had a terrific time. I love seeing bands in friendly little places that aren't all hipstered out. I don't need to mingle with the beautiful people. If I can't hear myself (or my friends) talking, there better be a great band playing. This time, there were three great bands playing, and I got to drink a beer (Newcastle) for each one.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's over!

Today was the workshop at City Garage. Big deal for me up until it was over. How is it that it worked out that way? All those nerves for ten minutes. I played okay - kinda slopped my way through a few moments of the hard stuff, but I'm not sure anybody noticed. I did play one really hard section just perfectly, and actually thought to myself, "well, at least that was perfect." I don't know that I usually have that much space in my head for those kinds of thoughts while I'm playing something. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. That moment came rather early on; the rest of the performance seemed a little hazier.

(Don't get me wrong: I'm not under the illusion that perfection is the goal. Oh, no: I'm much too lazy for that kind of delusional thinking.)

Anyway, we did it, it's over, and I didn't start coughing uncontrollably during it or fall down or split my gorgeous dress or totally fuck up, and people seemed pleased with it, so there. It's done.

After our little bit (we were the "curtain raiser" or whatever that phrase is), Bo came on stage (I helped him out with lights and sound) and did "The Fetishist," by Michel Tournier. He was amazing, and I wish I could climb in my time machine and take you all back to 1999 so you could buy a ticket and see him do it at City Garage, the first time around. This time was pretty darn special, though, so maybe it's just as well I haven't gotten the time machine quite up to, you know, traveling through time just yet.

After all the festivities, I had to wait for him to help clean the theater (I suppose I could've stayed and helped, but no one seemed to mind me slipping away). I walked out to the promenade. It was a gorgeous day in Santa Monica, and I walked around to The Gap (stocked up on new v-neck t-shirts for the summer, and a little dress I might return) and Anthropologie (I pretty much wanted everything, including a $158 pair of jeans, which, when I looked at the price tag, made me snort. I snorted in Anthropologie over a price tag!) and Sephora, where I sampled all the Murad products until it was time to go home.

Then I came home, and fell asleep on the couch while watching Rick Steves' travel show. He was in Brussels, and showed (I saw this before I fell asleep) the Magritte museum. My dream was of headless blue women and strange white dog-people. When I woke up, I knew I needed Mexican food to clear my head. It worked.

This is the dress I got, except mine is a very pretty French blue instead of gray flowers.

I wish I had this chick's hair. And legs.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Free slurpees at 7-11 today.

Unfortunately the free ones were too small for our greedy American appetites. Mine's Coke, Patrick got banana.

Trying to get geared up. And a book review. UPDATE

The next two weeks are going to be busy, busy. Today is the cue to cue for The Chairs (opens at City Garage on July 24!), tomorrow is the workshop, Monday I start two weeks of evening tech rehearsals for The Chairs...

When am I going to get any bike riding done?

I did, however, possess the forethought to get up early this lovely Saturday morning and start doing laundry.

Yay for me.


Thursday I ran a bunch of errands (I found a spectacularly boring little black dress for tomorrow's performance, which was ridiculously marked down, at Macy's. I wonder if Calvin Klein knows what they're doing over there? Anyway, I'm sure I'll be trotting that dress out on other occasions, too, so I expect to get my money's worth), and one of them involved lunch at Souplantation. I didn't have any reading material in the car (shocking), so I made a quick stop at Borders. I didn't feel like looking too hard for something to read, so I picked up something that was near the front of the store: Julie & Julia. I'd heard about it, but then I saw that it was turned into a movie, so I was curious. The girl at the register seemed to be very excited about it, so I was pleased with my purchase.

Until I started reading.

(Disclaimer: I haven't actually finished the book yet. I have about half left.)

Reasons I was curious: this book is about Julie, a secretary who is bored and hormonal (and also mean, quasi-alcoholic, sexually frustrated, rife with drama queen-itis, and not a very good writer. There. I said it) and who has a history with Julia Childs' famous book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She turns that connection (thanks to her husband Eric's suggestion) into a blog. Blog becomes this book. Book becomes moving opening soon (?) starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep.


Anyway, the point is, Julie decides to cook every recipe in the book, and does so in a kitchen that, as she describes it, I can only imagine makes my kitchen look like the birthing rooms at Cedars Sinai. In the process, she learns about, I don't know, life, love and bone marrow. I'm a little pissed off at Julie right now, to tell you the truth. She weaves into the stories about the cooking and herself (which I don't mind) descriptions of her horrid little friends and their lives and her comments about them make even me, a professed snoop and nosy person, groan.

Anyway. As a blogger without a theme, I think it's pretty darn cool that she got both a book deal and a movie out of it (and Amy Adams is a totally cool actress to play her), but unless things turn around soon, this book is going straight into the "donate" pile. I should've known better when I saw the reference to Bridget Jones in the reviews on the back cover.

Book finished. Yay for Julie Powell - she got what she wanted. Who wouldn't want a book deal plus movie? But I am still not a fan. I think she would not care and would go fix herself another gimlet. Or no, she would make Eric do it for her. Whatever.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Long bike ride + allergies + a shitload of traffic =


But, the bike ride was awesome, if a hair too long (Culver City to Redondo Beach). And speaking of hair being too long, I was supposed to get a hair cut and color tonight but it took me an hour and a half to get home instead of the usual 45 minutes I'd planned for, so I missed out on that treat.

Anyway, we started off in East Culver City (around Duquesne, for you Culver City aficionados), at around 10:40 a.m. and got to Redondo Beach, with a couple of short breaks, at 12:15. I have no idea if that's fast or slow, but I'm guessing, slow. There was a lot of wind in our faces, and Patty rides too fast for me so I didn't get to practice drafting. Actually I think we were going about the same speed, but somehow she always manages to be ahead of me. It's fine, because on the ride home I needed her there ahead of me, a reminder that I needed to keep moving. My headache started about where the smokestacks are (what is that? the waste water treatment plant?), and it's my own dumb fault for not remembering to eat breakfast (though I did remember to take two Advil. Lot of good that did me).

I was excited about this ride. I had cycling dreams last night, and woke up at 3 a.m. panicking because I hadn't set the combination to my groovy new lock yet and I was afraid Patrick had thrown away the instructions during a fit of cleaning he had the other day. Usually I can throw off late night panicking and go back to sleep, but this time I actually got out of bed, found the instructions and the lock, and sat at the dining table and set the combo (wouldn't you like to know?).

You might remember that I tried this cycling thing with Patty before (in 2007! Wow! time flies! also, again in 2008). Back then I had a crap bike and needed more breaks. She's still in front of me, but her natural athleticism (and indomitable spirit!) is inspiring. I just might catch up.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Follow up to yesterday's freak-out:

Heeding the advice of my friend Deb, I took a deep breath, relaxed, and tried to get logicalized.

That's not a word, but whatever.

After work yesterday, I came home and hopped on my bike (well, I changed my shirt and my shoes. My pants were bike-friendly) and went for a 45 minute bike ride. Totally awesome. It was sunny but not hot, gorgeous, not too windy, and perfect. I'm so glad I bought this bike.

I came home, and found out that Patrick had been gracing the neighborhood (meaning, the surrounding 4 or 5 miles) with some double bass drum playing. Yay for him! He warned me that the neighbors might be all musically tapped out, but what could I do? I had to practice. I wanted to practice.

So, like the day before, after a too-quick warm up (god I hate long tones), I hit the hard parts, hard. well, hard-ish. As hard as I felt like hitting them, okay? And then I worked on the little cadenza-like ending (so much fun to play!), and then I played the whole thing, mostly straight through (I think I laughed at one point at the way I made up one little spot rather than playing what's exactly on the page there), mostly successfully.

It'll be OK. I'll have fun, I'll wear whatever, and it'll be fine. Realizing this, I put my flute away, patted the kitty who was sitting next to me (her ears must be ringing!), and called to Patrick, who was in the garage, that it was time to go to Chipotle. Baby needs a burrito.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I am starting to get nervous.

A while back I mentioned wanting to play a piece I bought a few years ago at the Flute Convention (I think it was in Nashville, but might've been San Diego, it wouldn't matter except I bought it because, if I remember this right, the guy it was composed for [Paul Edmund-Davies] was the performer, and I was very much impressed) for flute and narrator. It's called "The Emperor and the Bird of Paradise." I've been working on it, and will perform it on Sunday (with my friend David doing the narration) at City Garage at their workshop. It's a special workshop - there'll be a lot more people there than usual, and I never go to workshop.

The story is silly; the music is both silly and hard all at the same time. I get to evoke an army of soldiers with clashing swords; a forest full of wolves; a magical piper; a childish, bratty Emperor; and a sad, lonely, and beautiful bird of paradise. Actually, it's a lot of fun to play and has some great technical stuff and really pretty parts, and is exciting, I think, to listen to. I think I can maybe pull it off, but I have to break out the flutter tonguing for a couple of bars, and that makes me really, really nervous.

Why is it when I hear other people flutter tongue, it sounds so lovely and trilling and perfect, but when I do it, it sounds like Charo getting dental work while wearing a suit of armor? Luckily the part with the flutter tonguing is a really dynamic section (the Emperor is angry; "Charo getting dental work" is strangely appropriate!) but it's so hit and miss with me, I'm considering just leaving it out. If I don't like how it's sounding on Saturday, I'm just going to hit those notes really forcefully... and fake it.

Usually I don't get this nervous this far ahead of a performance... but for some reason last night I started thinking about what it means to me to have this opportunity to play at City Garage, for these people. And then all the stupid details: what I'm going to wear, what the acoustics will be like (it's been awhile since I played there), if they'll have an extension cord for my stand light (of course they will), what the light situation will be like for David (Dave said he's wearing a tuxedo, which means I have to wear something that I will be comfortable in and is also at tuxedo-level, which means I have nothing suitable in my closet, and very little time to shop), and all these details probably aren't even my business to be worrying about... but I am.

(By the way, I would be comfortable in flip flops, my ratty jeans, and a black v-neck sweater. I don't think I can wear that, and I hate having this be an issue, but my clothes suck.)

Last night I practiced for awhile, and I concentrated on the sections that are hard but aren't scary-hard, first. I was fine. Then I heard the little girl next door crying, and their dog barking, and I thought, oooh, that's not a good sign (it was so hot, I had all the doors and windows open. This is not a delicate piece, for the most part; it's loud). Then I went back and shut the little girl and the dog out of my mind and worked the hard parts, and I mean worked them out... but I am stuck, because they're not perfect, every time; because time is running out, and I don't know if I'll be at the "play it ten times perfectly" place by Sunday.

It's totally stupid, because I rarely, if ever, get to that place anyway, and maybe it's an unrealistic goal for someone like me, and to be really honest, I'm not exactly known for my work ethic (I have been really, really lucky), and maybe I'm being hard on myself... but I am scared! I want it to be impressive and beautiful and a gift to those listening, because I love them, and I don't know if I can do it, given the amount of time I've put into it. David will be perfect: he'll be funny and dramatic and just right. If I keep thinking the way I am right now, I will be my usual prickly, imperfect, ball of nerves and doubt. Maybe that will make me play better. But maybe it will make me miserable, too. See? This is why I don't perform so much. Even though I not-so secretly love it.

Ah. I know it's not as big of a deal as I am making it out to be. But at the same time, it is.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Add another 90 minutes to my time on my bike

After Friday's two short rides, my, ahem, ass was already sore. I took an Aleve and instantly felt 20 years older. I gave the bike a rest yesterday, but this morning, woke up early and kind of knew that if I let another day go by without a ride I'd feel guilty and it would start this weird cycle (seriously, no pun intended) of knowing I should go for a ride, and wanting to ride it but finding multiple lame reasons not to, even though I knew how fun it would be to go out.

This is what I do with things that I love, such as flute playing. I am my own worst enemy, yes, thank you, I know.

Anyway, I sat around the house and read for awhile, and had a bowl of cereal, and some strawberries, and then I tried on my goofy bike shorts (I didn't wear them Friday, and knew I needed the little extra padding they provide), and my Powell's Bookstore t-shirt, and got on the bike and went for a ride. Oh, and this time I took an Aleve first. Smart? Yes, us old people are smart. It's how we got to such an advanced age, junior.

The bike path in LB is pretty cool - lots of green stuff and ducks and park views, and dudes actually fishing, and there were a ton of other bike riders (am I supposed to refer to us as "cyclists" now? Well, maybe they are, but I don't know about me yet) and a few joggers and one guy who looked unconscious (I hope) lying on the rocks. The path I was on is the San Gabriel River bike trail. I caught it at Carson and road (west?) toward the beach. It took me about 40 minutes to get to whatever street it is that crosses the bike trail after Pacific Coast Highway. The bike trail ends there, and you can ride in the street for a little while before you get to the beach part of the bike trail, and from there, head to Seal Beach and Huntington Beach and various other southern beaches. I've done that before (on a much crappier bike, and regretted it), but the wind had been pretty much in the my face the whole way and I was tired.

There are some pretty good photos, here. I was nowhere near Downey - scroll down until you get to the photo that says "the bike trail turns into leaves at El Dorado Park." I'm not sure about that - you can get off and ride through El Dorado Park (it's beautiful!) but you don't have to. I considered it - again: I was tired - But I didn't.

So, everybody (my family) seems to be concerned that I am going to take a spill on my bike. I haven't yet, but I did have two close calls. When I got to that street at the end of the bike path, I was moving a little faster than I thought, and there's not a lot of room to maneuver there - if you don't stop, you will get hit by the cars. So of course I stopped. I've still not gained back the mobility I used to have, so hopping off my bike sometimes looks awkward and stupid. I may have uttered an "Oh shit." But I didn't fall, and the guy who watched the whole thing smiled at me, so I felt fine.

The other close call involved my shoelace and my pedal, and turned out okay. I am much more limber than I appear, I guess, and I didn't hurt myself or my bike. It was fine. And my shoelaces have been tied much tighter and will be under control next time.

The ride back home (without the wind in my face) was a lot more fun, and I pushed myself as hard as I could. I felt like I was going pretty fast (my speedometer had me at 17-19 mph a few times) and sure, I passed a few people. Mostly people with children, or riding skateboards! One or two joggers. There were a lot of cyclists out today, though, and they all sped right by me. That's fine. I like seeing them out there. I have to say that my favorite part is going fast, and I'm going to work that up as quickly as I can, but I realize that my idea of "fast" is probably nowhere near their idea of fast.

Oh, and the other thing I want to work on? I have some seriously white legs.

Friday, July 3, 2009

First 60 minutes on bike

Wow, what a fun day!

I drove up to West LA this morning a bit early to drop off a birthday card and gift at my mother-in-law's house in Venice. Visited with her for a bit, and then off to the bike store. Then I realized that I had no change for the parking meters, so decided to see if anybody was home at my mom and dad's.

Everybody was home, so my dad drove me to the bike store and hung out while I picked up my bike. He was mightily impressed. Eric was there and talked to my dad about electric bikes (?), but he (Eric) ignored me. OK, fine, maybe he doesn't remember from 2 weeks ago. Whatever. Instead, James, the guy I talked to on Tuesday, talked with me and also Max. Max helped me adjust the clip things on the pedals. Then, I gave my dad my eyeglass case and wallet, strapped on my helmet, and hit the crazy streets of Culver City.

I took the only logical route: straight down Sepulveda. It was around 3:15 p.m., and there was quite a lot of traffic on that stretch of Sepulveda between Washington Blvd. and Sawtelle. I've been reading a few articles about riding in traffic, so I pretended I was confident and also made myself as big as I could. I wanted those cars to see me. I tried to remember how I did it way back in the 90s when I rode all over the place, but then I realized that back in those days I didn't drive, and I wondered if my mentality as a driver instead of a rider would be detrimental, and then I realized that there was a car that wanted to pass me but there was no room for me to get over so I sped up instead and then I realized that while I had only ever had one sort of bad crash from the old days, that the chances of me falling now were rather high, and then I made it through all the green lights without having to stop and then I was there and it was all fine.

I arrived home about five minutes after my dad, and after showing off my bike to my mom and my brother, filled up my water bottle and headed east on the bike path to see if Patty was home.

She was home (I interrupted her practicing: long tones, which she claims to love. How can you love long tones? I get so bored! But this might be why she's a much more talented flutist than I am, and why she works so much! And maybe I have undiagnosed ADHD or something), and came out to the driveway to check out my bike. We chatted for awhile until her student arrived, and then I set off again, this time west, back to my mom and dad's.

My dad showed me how to take the front tire off (as easy as I remember) and after lowering the rear seat of the Honda (totally cool feature!) and loading in the bike, I headed home.

Patrick was suitably impressed with the bike, and I set off for another quick ride.

Both rides were about 30 minutes each. I got a really cool speedometer that I'm still trying to figure out. My average speed for the hour I rode is 10 MPH, but there were definitely some really fast times (for me) there a couple of times. When I was coming back from my ride here in LB, I was waiting to cross Woodruff with these three teenage boys (they all looked like extras from that movie "Napoleon Dynamite." One kid was actually wearing huge white sunglasses). They were all riding old 10 speeds, and they all had their shorts or pants rolled up to their knees. While they sound totally dorky, they were actually kind of cool looking. They were ahead of me at the light, so I could hear their whole conversation. They were talking about drafting, and one kid (the one in the sunglasses) said, "I think I get it now!" Then the light changed, and they noticed me, so they moved over so I could cross the street, too. I was behind them for a second, and then I decided to pass them (it's a super wide street there, with a bike path, and there were no parked cars to worry about). One of them was kind of in the way, and I am still a bit shy about announcing my presence with "On your left!" but his buddy said, "Hey, man, look out." So I passed them, and it's such a nice straight stretch of road there, decided to show off a little. I got up to 17 miles per hour, but then when I was just about to the street where I would turn to go home, I heard another bike behind me.

It was one of those teenage boys, drafting off me.

He stayed with me, and when I realized what he was doing, I started cracking up.

I waved and made the turn to go home.

I think this is going to be a LOT of fun.


and upper arm flab are free on Fridays.

No I didn't fall.

At last!

Photo by mom. As is to be expected, she got more of me and my dad's truck than the bike itself. If you look closely, I think you can see it's rear light.

Melic Sub Rosa: What is it?

Hey, thanks for asking. I will tell you!

Melic Sub Rosa is a band Patrick's been playing with for a little while now.

My old friend Jeff Schwartz from high school is the bass player, and Patrick and Jeff are joined by Darryl Kanouse on guitar.

It's pretty damn exciting stuff.

If you received a Facebook invitation from me to attend their gig on July 25 at the American Legion in Highland Park, and were wondering what the heck this is all about, well, this is it. Patrick's on the drums again!

If you didn't receive a FB invitation from me and you're interested in going, here are the details:

When: Saturday, July 25 @ 8:00 p.m.
Where: American Legion
227 N. Avenue 55
Highland Park
Who: Melic Sub Rosa, Yawning Man, Hollywood Squartet (featuring Joe Baiza), Carnage Asada

See you there, maybe!

Here's a video.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thinking about...

I am in love with my bike.

So... last night I left work at my regularly scheduled time and managed to get to the bike shop by 6:15, a whole 45 minutes before closing. I found a great parking spot, changed my work shoes to my Keens and went in. The same guy I spoke to on the telephone the other day (James, the one who laughed at my lame joke) pulled my bike down from the rafters where they were storing it, and I got to see and touch my bike for the first time.

I sat on it, because I was really worried that it was going to be too big, but James and some other dude who worked there (guy looked about my age; this will be important, later) assured me that it wasn't. It felt good, though I was concerned about having barely a toe on the ground (again, they said that was right. I might still have them lower it but I'm willing to try it this way, at least until I crash my lovely new bike). James walked it outside with me, and I went for a spin around the block (to Tito's, if you're wondering, though, I didn't stop). It was a lovely evening and not at all dark. I was tempted to cruise over to my parents' house but didn't want to press my luck. They closed at 7 and we had stuff to do.

By "we" I mean of course, my new best friend James and I (Eric was nowhere to be seen).

I went back in, and James and I looked at the things I had purchased before (I exchanged the big ol' honkin' lock I'd bought for a lighter one), and then we went around and picked stuff out that it had occurred to me would be fun to have: a odometer/speedometer thing (wireless of course), a saddle bag, a bike pump. Then... I found out that the brake levers I thought could be installed for me (new road bikes don't come with the levers on top of the handlebars like my old 10 speed. They just have the ones that you have to lean over to reach. This seems fine for professionals or even people with experience on these bikes. I would like to feel safe and know that I can reach the brakes if I need to. If this makes me an old lady, well, fine) were the wrong size. James offered to order the right ones. They may or may not arrive in time for my scheduled pickup date of Friday, July 3. I don't care. I'm going to have them do what they can with the other stuff (I suppose I could've figured out how to put the odometer on myself, but I'm holding out hope that they'll get the levers in time), and they promised to have it ready for me to pick up at 1 p.m. on Friday.

So, I'm standing around while James was conversing with the bike mechanic guy, putting my pickup date and time in stone (I offered to bring donuts, or Tito's. Apparently this won't be necessary), and while I was standing there by the cash register, the other guy (the one "about my age") rang up a customer. Here's what occured during that transaction, from the moment I started paying attention.

Cash drawer closes.

Salesguy: Want a bag?

Customer: [silence]

Salesguy: What am I saying, "Want a bag"? Would you like a bag for that, sir?

Customer: No, thank you. [Customer stomps off.]

Salesguy: [to me] That was rude of me.

Me: No, it was funny. I used to work in retail, and rang up the actor Eric Stoltz. Instead of asking him if he'd like a bag, I asked him if he wanted a ride.

Salesguy: Ha! Who's Eric Stoltz?

Me: Oh, lord.

Actually, I messed my story up. While it's true that I did indeed once offer a customer a ride, it was not Eric Stoltz, but rather, just a very attractive young man (ah, I was young too, once). Oh, well. During my encounter with Eric Stoltz (at Rizzoli; I sold him a book on divorce, the only one we had in the store) I was too tongue-tied and confused to say much to him at all. That guy was very attractive in person.

Anyway, once I actually have my bike, I'm sure these daily missives detailing my love for and anticipation of having it in my possession and riding it will trickle off, and I will return these blog posts to the topic of... whatever it is I used to write about.

It's possible.

On the other hand, picture me, riding my bike along the Santa Monica bikepath, a flash of red and black, and there, on the bike path approaching me, wearing a green bike helmet and olive colored shirt (and hopefully not those teeny tiny shorts from the 80s), grayish-blond hair poking out, is Stewart Copeland. He catches my eye. I crash into the sand (no scratches on my bike, please). He stops and pulls me up. I say "Wow." One of history's greatest friendships is born, and Stewart and I, plus our bikes and our respective spouses, go to Europe.

Hmmm. Now that would be a great blog entry.