Monday, June 28, 2010

What's up with the wacky dreams?

It's been about a month or three weeks and I've been having some seriously strange dreams lately. Luckily for you I don't feel the need to share all of them with you, but it's getting... crazy.

Last night I dreamed that I lived in this huge, beautiful home that was a little bit like Fallingwater. It was built on a hillside and had lots of glass and terraces but the lines were softer and there was no rock or brick decoration. Also missing? The awesome "falling water." Still, it was Fallingwater in spirit. It was painted in the softest white you can imagine, where everything had what I think construction people call a "bull nose" finish. I have done no scholarly research on Frank Lloyd Wright's opinions on bull nose finishes. This dream was probably not architecturally accurate.

Anyway, I lived in this gorgeous house with my parents, my brothers and sister, and (of course) Patrick, but the place was so huge it was like we were living a few blocks away. We had our own driveway and garage and terrace - bigger than a balcony, surrounded by glass. There was little furniture - everything was minimal and soft and some shade of white or cream. I suspect Robert Heinlein's descriptions of the furnishings in the "Church of All Worlds" headquarters from "Stranger in a Strange Land" had something to do with this.

But it wasn't just a beautiful house that I was dreaming of, no, there was danger, too! I woke up at 2:22 a.m. with a kitty on my left arm and lay there for a long time trying to remember just what was going on. Here's what I came up with: a group of men were seeking to invade our home, for what purpose, I have no idea. They actually succeeded in entering the house one time, and were somehow repelled. I was the only one home who understood that they would be coming back (there seems to be a theme in the two back-to-back dreams I've had this week, wherein I hold the answer to everything. That's pretty funny, isn't it!), though I do recall talking to my dad (in the dream) about it.

I was in my room, alone, at the top of the house, when I realized a breach was in progress, and I was standing on the terrace that connected to the top floor garage where our cars were parked. I could see down the hillside to where the intruders were attempting to get in. I had my iPhone in my hand, and even though the intruders were very far away, I was being cautious about what I actually said as I talked to the 911 operator I'd called.

I snuck into the garage, which was accessible through an old fashioned wooden garden gate off the terrace (the gate was the only thing on the property, besides me of course, that wasn't white. It was painted a very dark shade of green) and got into a sparkling pearl-silver Mercedes (our neighbor has a silver Mercedes; in real life I drive a 6-year old dark gray Honda) and sped down the winding driveway (all the while with 911 on mute on my phone; I could hear her but she couldn't hear me. Interesting way to summon help!), where I intercepted the bad guys, relieved them of their guns, embarrassed them mightily by running them off the property, and finally told the 911 operator that her services were no longer needed.

I was surprised, when I woke at 2:22 a.m., that it was so early. Patrick and I have been trying to go to bed earlier these days (I really need more than 6 hours of sleep, especially on workdays), but even after turning off the reading lamp and being sleepy at 10:15, it was hard to go to sleep right away. I couldn't get comfortable. I don't know what time I actually fell asleep, but the dream had me convinced that much more time had elapsed. I was glad it wasn't 5 o'clock yet though, and I did eventually go back to sleep, where I either didn't dream any more or I didn't record what I had dreamed. Instead, I guess I cuddled up to Franny and just... slept.

When it was time to get up, my alarm was no longer set, which I found curious, because I had been careful to turn it on and set it for 5:30 (the absolute latest I can get out of bed and into the shower) before shutting off the light. Did I turn it off in my sleep? Did Franny? Or was it one of the intruders?

I believe MB calls this color "iridium silver." Pretty, no?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Last night I dreamed....

Last night I dreamed it was the final performance of The Marriage of Figaro (again), only this time everything went wrong (instead of the perfect final show we really had, last Sunday). From the moment I started the overture, the beautiful choreographed opening was jacked up by technical problems with the sound system and the lights. It was total disaster, and the cast and the audience started yelling at me, Paul, and each other. The show was ruined, including some relationships; everything was chaos. There were audience members in the booth and backstage, and people were screaming at each other (I think Laura McCann was there), and I was at the center of all of it, telling people off, wielding a fire extinguisher, making inappropriate comments, and pouring glasses of two buck Chuck (and charging them $3).

Oh, and at the end of it all I had a proposal of marriage and an invitation to go to Hawaii.

It seems stupid to have the anxiety dream after the fact, doesn't it? Not that I'm going to Hawaii, I just mean that show was pretty successful, my job was easy and mostly unseen and stress-free... and it's over.

Until next time, I guess!

Friday, June 25, 2010

We know where we're going

Hey, there,

So have you been wondering where I've been? Today, I can say with absolutely 100% accuracy, that I have been sleeping. Oh, I got up once or twice to read, use the restroom, hang out with a kitty cat or two, and eat something, but other than that, I think I probably spent about 10 hours in bed.

My very comfy, cozy bed. Franny approves.

Monday, June 21, 2010

So I guess the only solution is to wait for those of us who took typing in school to just up and die?

It is a personal pet peeve of mine when people double-space after a period.

Yeah, I know, there are more important things to worry about but this one thing drives me crazy.

From Wikipedia's entry on "sentence spacing" (also, I know, Wikipedia... right. This is a long sample. I suggest you skim):

James Felici, author of the Complete Manual of Typography, says that the topic of sentence spacing is "the debate that refuses to die ... In all my years of writing about type, it's still the question I hear most often, and a search of the web will find threads galore on the subject".[4] This subject is still widely debated today because many typists were taught to use double sentence spacing in school.[74] As a result, there is a common misconception that double sentence spacing is "correct", even given modern technology and proportional fonts.[14] This is similar to other obsolete typewriter conventions, practiced in deference to its "severe technical limitations", that are still used by writers. These include the use of prime marks (or "dumb quotes") for quotation marks, underlining words in place of italics, and using hyphens to approximate en and em dashes.[75]

Many people are opposed to single sentence spacing for various reasons. Some state that the habit of double spacing is too deeply ingrained to change.[18] Many claim that additional space between sentences makes text "look better" or easier to read.[76] Proponents of double sentence-spacing also state that some publishers may still require double spaced manuscript submissions from authors. A key example noted is the screenwriting industry's monospaced "standard" for screenplay manuscripts—Courier, 12-point font—although some works on screenwriting indicate that proportional fonts may be used.[77] Finally, although some reliable sources state simply that writers should follow their particular style guide, proponents of double-spacing caution that publisher's guidance takes precedence, including those that ask for double sentence-spaced manuscripts.[78]

In opposition to these ideas, many experts state that double sentence spacing was only relevant when faced with the limitations of the typewriter, and is now obsolete for most uses—especially given the capabilities of modern computers and digital fonts.[79] Although typewriter users had only two choices (to strike the space bar once or twice), modern proportional fonts allow users to manually adjust sentence spacing to thousandths of an inch for visually pleasing typesetting.[80] However, it is acceptable even for monospaced fonts to be single spaced today.[81] Another consideration is that, since terminal punctuation marks the end of a sentence and additional spacing is itself punctuation,[8] additional spacing is redundant.

Some assert that, because the double-space typewriter convention is still being taught widely in school,[15] students will later be forced to relearn how to type.[82] Although a small number of style guides in the United States allow double sentence-spacing for draft work, no known style or language guide indicates that double-sentence spacing is proper for final or published work today—and many state that it is incorrect.[83] Publishers usually require manuscripts to be submitted as they will appear in publication—single sentence-spaced.[84] Many writing sources recommend that prospective authors remove extra spaces before submitting manuscripts,[85] although publishers will use software to remove the spaces before final publication.[86] Finally, some experts state that, while double spacing sentences in unpublished papers and informal use (such as e-mail) might be fine,[87] double sentence spacing in desktop-published (DTP) works will make the final result look "unprofessional" and "foolish".[88]

I learned to type in 1988 or '89 in a class where my work was routinely posted on the wall with all the other perfect work (I think it's very funny that the teacher never noticed that interspersed with all the examples from the book that I'd typed correctly, I almost always included the lyrics to whatever Cure or R.E.M. song was taking up space in my brain. Rock of the 80s!). We've previously established that for the most part I love to read and to learn but I'm not a big fan of school. I tend to fall asleep in classroom situations; I can't help myself. My typing class was a big loud room full of like-minded bored students, and I, for some reason, excelled. Maybe it reminded me of the noisy band room. Whatever. We were taught to double-space at the end of a period because we were typing on 50 year old machines that always needed a new ribbon. They were called "typewriters."

(This is a photo of Philip K. Dick's typewriter, which is probably way older than the electric ones we had. We weren't allowed to drink in class.)

Years later, in 1997 I took a job working for an optometrist in Sherman Oaks. I'd kept up my typing skills thanks to an (ex) fiance who was studying for his Master's degree in Sociology, and his typing skills weren't as good as mine so I did a lot it for him. It was while typing his papers that I learned of the lack of a need to double-space at the end of a sentence. (I also did some of my own college work, albeit, much less enthusiastically.) Anyway, working for Dr. Pearl (no, not that Dr. Pearle) required me to type a lot, and I did it uncomplainingly, though I'd since broken up with that guy. Still, there was no extraneous spacing going on and we were all happy. Well, maybe not my ex.

Then I had to leave that job when Dr. Pearl sold his practice, and I went back to the world of retail (where my manager hand drew his sales reports) and my typing was limited to inter-store email, which were always formatted correctly, though the subject matter was usually silly.

When I got my County job, I had to type again, and a lot, and I found many people still clutching to their double-space at the end of a sentence habit. I ignore it when I can, but sometimes, if I get to edit something, I get rid of them, quietly, with little fanfare or griping.

It wasn't hard for me to quit doing it. I think it took less than a day to get over it. You can too. You are not a typesetter, there is no need for it. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fun show, great audience. I think I'm gonna make it.
Maybe the two chicken tacos I gobbled down from Baja Buds before the show were a mistake?
Here's a unique situation: about 15 minutes ago I started feeling decidedly yucky.
Before coming up to SM tonight, I spent quite some time shredding old useless paperwork at home, and figuring out what needs to be filed. It started off fun but began to get overwhelming. We need to be more organized. Leaving the job to come here was a bit of a relief.
By the way... this show closes on Sunday.
The Count's hair is so sleek and shiny tonight he looks as good as the Cowardly Lion after his makeover in the Emerald City!
I love the way the show opens with the Countess.
Nice big audience tonight, including a famous person!
Live blogging the marriage of figaro from the booth begins... now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This morning

This morning I woke up a little worried. More on this later. Anyway, we didn't sleep very well. Monday morning the cats woke us up meowing every fifteen minutes and walking all over us, and 12 hours later we had an earthquake (I didn't feel it, but Patrick, who was rehearsing with his band in Bell, thought that someone was driving a car into the building--literally INTO the building--he was in), and he texted me to make sure we (me and the cats) were okay.

When he got home, I had just indulged in a feeding frenzy (a bowl of pasta, a very small chicken burrito that consisted of just chicken and a wheat tortilla and was surprisingly delicious, and an endless supply of chips and salsa), as well as a whole episode of "Intervention" on TV, a show he doesn't let me watch when he's home because it's too intense. Well, yeah. A show about boring interventions wouldn't be very good TV, now would it? Oh, yeah, and I also watched Bradley Whitford's new show "The Good Guys." I liked it. Anyway, we finally went to bed, where we tossed, turned, and somehow managed to push all the blankets to the foot of the bed (when I got up at 2:30 to go to the bathroom, I had about two inches of sheet clenched in my hand; I tripped over the other blankets).

Anyway, I got up eventually and and came into the office, where I sat down and wrote this.

This is what it looked like while I was writing (except that instead of my friend Hollie's blog, the left monitor was showing the Blogger screen). That kitty is the most important thing in the picture. Before she hopped up on the shelf, Franny had been standing to the left of the keyboard, sniffing the leftover milk from my bowl of raisin bran. I was petting her, and she started licking my hand rather aggressively. My hand was pretty clean, so I couldn't figure it out, but man was it cute.

Yeah, I know: that plant looks pretty dead to me, too. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My battery won't make it to the end of the show so I'll sign off now. Haven't said anything particularly amusing anyway! Good night!
The Countess wields her red fan with elegance... and deadly aim!
The role of Marceline has been played by three actrsses; all of them brought something different and fun. I love the way Cheryl Scaccio says the line, "Old! Who are you calling old!"
Seriously, he's a cross between John Edwards... and Eddie Munster.
Dr Bartholo's hair has the distinct feel of Southern politician tonight. I'll be listening very carefully for references to the Appalachian trail later when he's back on stage.
Lights up.... Getting ready to start the overture. I wish I was playing it for real instead of just hitting "play"!
Nice big crowd in the lobby tonight for The Marriage of Figaro!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


As County employees, we're encouraged to help out at election time and volunteer to be a Pollworker. It's a great opportunity, and I've done it, I think, almost every election since 2001. I was scheduled again for this election, but on Wednesday of last week, I got a huge assignment due tomorrow that I was told was my priority, outstripping every other thing on my desk.

I realized that there was no way I could complete it and be off all day on election day (today) so on Thursday, I contacted (by email) the person at the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office who had been assigned to me. She wrote back and confirmed receiving my message, and I thought she would contact the inspector running the polling place I'd been assigned to and let him know he was down a man, or assign someone else to his location.

As of 6 a.m. this morning, he knew nothing about that. He called the house (I was gone already, on my way to work) and left a message. Patrick called me and gave me the guy's info, and I called him back. He said that there were only 2 people at the location, and that he hadn't been notified that I wasn't coming. I was sorry, but you know, work comes first, and I did let them know.

So. Now my work day is over (assignment completed! Yay!) and I'm about to head over to that polling place so I can vote.

I just hope it doesn't go this way:

We should take a cue from the state of Oregon and let everyone vote by mail. Wouldn't that be easier? and cheaper? From my experiences as a pollworker (always just a clerk: the responsibility of being an inspector just isn't worth the tiny bit of extra pay), it's a complex and incredibly intricate operation. Anything can go wrong, and often does. The training is a joke (there's so much to know and so little time to absorb it all), and by using volunteers, well, let's just say that while some people are responsible and conscientious... some people just aren't, and the county doesn't seem to do a great job of weeding those people out.

I don't know. There's got to be a better way. Did you vote yet today? You have until 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cooking tip of the day

When I make popcorn (which is at least twice a week... I'm hooked on popcorn and always have been), I melt the butter on the stove, not the microwave. Let it brown just a bit - but be careful not to burn it. This not-quite classic "brown butter" (don't go as far as the "just right" photo on the Chow website; I bet that's great on fish but not for our more simple purposes here) adds a nutty flavor that goes so good with a shake of salt or two.

And don't even think about putting margarine on popcorn.

This cooking tip has been brought to you today by... and by... and by... and by...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Live blogging, or whatever

All the posts from Friday, June 4 were sent via iPhone to blogger. The latter ones are from the Smell, where Patrick's band played. The others were from my morning and afternoon with my mom.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I think the singer of this band just announced that the song they're doing now is called "The Gods of Alliteration."

I must've misheard him, right?

And anyway, weren't the gods if alliteration the dudes from XTC?

I think I've heard enough Metallica covers for the rest of my life. But thank you anyway.
Close up, Patrick's lookalike looks like a wolf. At that age, Patrick looked like a big pussycat in a Saint Vitus t-shirt.
Pat's mini-me's band is looking for a volunteer to sing "Fade to Black" with them. They'd be better off asking for a volunteer to tune up that bass. Jesus.
Pat's mini-me's band is looking for a volunteer to sing "Fade to Black" with them. They'd be better off asking for a volunteer to tune up that bass. Jesus.
I forgot to mention that the singer of the first band said, right before their set, "As you can tell, we're from Compton!"

Actually, no, I couldn't tell. There may be distinguishing features that over time I might learn to recognize... but to me they looked like very young Hispanic kids with the Metallica songbook memorized, rocking some very cool hair.

Patrick just sold one of Sean's beautifully crafted, handmade CDs. Seriously, these things are works of art.
The floor at this place is crazy uneven. Seriously. Cal/OSHA might need to know about this.
The Smell is all ages, so come on down. Suffering Luna on next.

Unfortunately I appear to be 15-20 years older than everyone here. Fuck it.

Patrick's mini-me plays guitar AND sings. Scary.
There's a kid here at the Smell who looks just like Pat, circa 1987. If he's wearing Chinese shoes I am in big trouble. Luckily he plays guitar. And I am old enough to be his mother.
The shoe repair place sure is busy!
My mom is getting a pedicure. The salon is packed so I'm sitting outside, watching the cars and people go by.

A tall, beautiful African-American woman, probably in her 50s or 60s, just walked by. Her hair was short and almost bouffant-like. She was wearing a long floaty lime green cotton dress that reminded me of a muumuu. It had delicate cut outs at the neck, and triangular shaped sleeves that came to the middle of her forearms. Her shoes were gold flip flops and she was accompanied by an older gentleman who limped. He was wearing sunglasses, faded blue jeans with suspenders, and sneakers. They went into the shoe repair store but came back out almost immediately.

People watching sure is fun.

Suffering Luna plays tonight at the Smell!

Tonight's show was picked as one of LA Weekly's "Recommended Events": (interestingly entitled: "Compton Metal Night").

Look for me: I'm the drummer's roadie.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wellness Fair

I went to a Wellness Fair today for work. It was downtown, and I got to drive our assigned vehicle, a 2009 Prius.

I probably shouldn't tell you that I was slightly more worried about the "How Am I Driving" sticker with telephone number (which rings at my desk anyway) than the whole "runaway" Prius thing, right?

Anyway, I made it downtown and back without a complaint.

The fair was fun - the usual vendors were there (our healthcare providers), including Delta Dental, Kaiser, Cigna... and there were live demonstrations of the Boot Camp training and Zoomba classes offered for downtown employees, which were... amusing. Oh, and off in the corner they were having a hula hoop contest. I steered clear of that one. But my favorite thing at Wellness Fairs is always going to be the free chair massage. I waited in line for about 20 minutes for a 10 minute massage with a man named Terence. He did an excellent job.

After that I had my cholesterol checked (good! Yay!) and my glucose level (also good! Another yay!), and then... and then I went to the strength training booth, where they test your muscular sttrength by making you grip this handle thing.

I did extremely poorly on this one. The guy wouldn't even give me my results out loud, for fear of embarrasing me. Dude: I'm not embarrassed. I know. How do I know?

I bought this tube of cherry flavored Carmex yesterday and I've been trying to unscrew the top all fucking day. I need some help over here. Seriously.

My lips are dry.