Monday, October 29, 2012

Green Day cancels tour dates

... due to Billy Joe Armstrong's drug addiction treatment. Click it!

Not to be mean-spirited or anything, but wow, that's just one more cliché for them, isn't it? Their lack of originality is all-encompassing... at least they really go for it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A dream, pianos, and a pretty dress (not mine)

I had strange and highly detailed dreams last night.

Before I went to bed, I watched a movie my friend Adam had recommended, called "Pianomania." It was full of beautiful music and obsessive, brilliant musicians. I really enjoyed it. I actually started watching it on my iPad (oh, yes, we got an iPad!) on Sunday, but I finished it up last night. Adam recommended it because I was thinking about piano hammers and wrote about that the other day on Facebook, and the movie shows the insides of pianos quite a bit. The master piano tuner dude in the film was kind of a superhero for pianists, wasn't he? It was a good movie.

I don't know what the movie had to do with my dreams, if anything.

It started out with me accompanying my old friend Missy to an awards ceremony. It was like the Oscars for dental hygienists. She's a dental hygienist, obviously. She was getting an award and so was getting all dressed up and her hair and makeup done. I met her there - I looked like my normal self (a little messy, a little wrinkled) but she looked like Demi Moore. Except Demi usually wears dark colors, and the last few times I've seen Missy, she's been wearing bright pink, so in my dream, she was wearing a bright pink gown with a black ribbon design all over it. I think I saw a dress like that on Tom and Lorenzo the other day but I can't find it now. She looked beautiful.

We went into the auditorium, which, now that I think about it, looked like the concert hall in Vienna where a lot of the film I watched took place, and it was packed with, I guess, lots and lots of dental hygienists. Then that was the end of that part of my dream.

Later I was riding my bike north on the bike path in the La Ballona creek, near the Culver City Library, but the water was so high that it was up to my thighs. I kept on pedaling, though. There were dudes sitting on the edge of the water, flying model airplanes.

Later still, I was leaving my mom's house in Culver City and went out to find my car, and it had been stolen.

Then I woke up late, and JP was still sleeping with Patrick, who took a shower (but I did not, and so I feel like crap), and I changed Jules' diaper and clothes (which he hated) and nursed him (which cheered him up) and got dressed and a little cleaned up (but I still like like hell) and made my coffee and left for work 40 minutes late.

And then I heard Rufus Wainwright's cover of Leonard Cohen's song "Chelsea Hotel" on my iPod (I actually was listening to it a little last night on the way home; it continued from where it left off, near the beginning): nobody should listen to Leonard Cohen first thing in the morning; even if it's Rufus' beautiful voice, the story still made me cry for some reason. I think it's the line, "and I never heard you say I need you, I don't need you." Man, Rufus made me feel that line. Thanks, dude. Anyway, I tried to alleviate that with some Concert for George, forgetting that "My Sweet Lord" has the same effect on me (but I guess it's a happier song), so I started my work day in a total weird place, mentally.

Now I am going through old files at work, seeing what I can shred to make some room for new stuff. My filing is piling up. Later I'm leaving early, because we are going to the Melvins tonight at Hollywood Forever with some friends. I need a better mood, right away. I'll go work on that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Work-related rant

So, I just got a little pissed off.

One of the Human Resources section managers called my boss about a meeting our HR director's secretary scheduled in Outlook. She and I were working on scheduling it because it involves my boss and some of her employees. The meeting subject was left vague, because it involves another HR employee. She didn't put the employee's name in the meeting request. The HR section manager called because she wanted to make sure my boss knew who the meeting was about.

My boss had just stepped away when this call came through, so I was taking the message (my boss's secretary was on another call; ordinarily I don't take messages unless both of them are away from their desk. I'm not a secretary but I have no problem helping out, unless it involves answering the door). When I take a message, I always ask the caller what their call is regarding. And I never assume anything about the caller (i.e., if she has their callback number, etc.).

This woman would not tell me what the call was regarding! She said, "She knows who the employee is."

This made me so frustrated! If I can't be trusted to take a message and keep it confidential, what the hell am I doing answering the phone? At every other department I've worked at (and this is the first department where my classification is not secretarial; except for a brief job I had at Rancho Los Amigos, where I worked in Finance, as a secretary, I've always been in Human Resources. This is where all the confidential crap happens!) I've been trusted with intimate and confidential information about EVERYBODY. My ability to keep shit close has never been questioned, even by the Worst Boss in the World, who I had at my last job. In fact, she was the one who really told me all the dirt on people. And did I tell anyone? NO. Anyway, as HR employees, we all sign a confidentiality agreement! Not that I need a piece of paper!

So when my boss got back to her office, I gave her the lady's message, but then I told her that the woman wouldn't trust me with the full message. "She knows who I'm talking about" is so lame! Why even call, then? Send her an email! I got a little grumpy about it. I asked her to let that woman know that she can trust me with details. I mean, come on! I have no idea if she will or if I was stupid to even say something about it, but give me a break. It's a waste of everybody's time if all the messages I take are the same:

Me: Can I tell her what the call is regarding?
Whoever: She knows!

I mean, who looks stupid here? Me for asking, or the caller for assuming my boss is a) psychic and b) keeps all those details in her mind about everybody? The woman is really busy. It's silly to think she's going to remember everything.

Anyway, rant over. Return to your regularly scheduled whatever.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


JP has been falling asleep so early the last couple of days. Both Sunday and Monday nights he fell asleep before 7 p.m.. Then, he wakes up every couple of hours.

"Milk?" he says. Or sometimes he says it this way: "Milk!"

At first his exhortation of "milk!" was pretty cute. And, it still is... during daylight hours. When my eyeballs are wide open. But at 2 a.m., it's not as cute. Nope, at 2 a.m., the cute factor decreases pretty rapidly.

He's nursing a lot at night lately, and I suspect that it's a growth spurt, or maybe he's fighting a cold, or maybe he just misses me more than he used to. All those reasons are fine, and I'm okay with that, logically, now, at 11:34 in the morning. He misses me? Sweet boy!

But at 2 a.m., when he's been nursing for what feels like a solid hour, switched from one side to the other ("Milk!" as we roll over), man, I feel like a deflated balloon. I feel like, if I could just get more than two hours of sleep at a time, or fall back asleep after I've been woken up... I feel like if any of those things could happen, on like, a regular basis, I would be so, so happy.

And it's not just me: Patrick is not getting any solid sleep, either. This morning, when JP started to wake up at 5 o'clock, and was calling for "milk!," Patrick brought him to me to nurse, but when I had to stop so that I could get ready for work, and Patrick bundled him up in a blanket and went into the other room, and JP stopped crying the second he was more than 3 feet away from me... well. How does that make me feel? Let's just say, not that great.

Same old mantra I've been saying for months now: I'm not ready to wean. I'm not emotionally ready to stop nursing him. I know he's not ready either: obviously he needs it. I get it. But I'm so, so tired. Every morning I wake up and think, I gotta call that La Leche League lady. It's been awhile. I just need to hear some encouraging words (right now all I want to hear is "You're doing great! This won't last forever!!!!!!" Yeah, it doesn't work when I say it to myself. Believe me: I've tried.)

My co-worker told me that a good way to wean might be to get pregnant again: she read somewhere that some babies don't like the way mama's milk tastes when mama is pregnant. Right. And start this all over again??? Nice try, lady!

A nap would be so nice. Hmmm... doesn't a nap sound awesome? Cozy clothes, a soft blanket, the nice clean pillowcases and sheets I put on the bed on Sunday... But nooooo... I have to be here, at work today! Stupid work always gets in the way of all the fun I could be having!

Oh, and the other thing? Since he's been on his night nursing marathons, I have the hugest, biggest sweet tooth imaginable. Cookies, whatever: I can't get enough. I'm just now putting 2 and 2 together (hey! maybe if I was getting more sleep I'd be faster on the uptake!)... or maybe there's no connection? I'm not (thank God) gaining any weight, so I don't know what the deal there is. Maybe I need to think about this some more.

Anyway, there's my story for today. I need some sleep. I need a cookie.

The end.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


My co-worker is responsible for making reports for our office on employee leaves. She uses Excel and Access for this. It's a huge process - the amount of data she has to review to do this is incredibly time consuming. And accuracy, of course, is a big deal. However, one thing you learn the minute you start dealing with employees' time off is that things sometimes get screwy. What was accurate yesterday is not necessarily accurate today.

I'm an intermediate Excel user - maybe at one time I was more advanced but I don't use it that much anymore. I know how to make graphs and charts but it's been awhile, I would need more time now. I have zero experience with Access. One day I guess I should look into that but for now I'm okay without it.

Anyway, my co-worker's reports were created for her by an intern we had working with us for awhile. Her main report is in Excel, and it grabs data from four different sources. Three of them are other Excel reports, and one is in Access. The formulas for pulling the data have errors in them. According to my co-worker, this part of the plan "never" worked, not from day one. The intern has since moved on, and so she's stuck updating, manually, this report that was supposed to change her world. She has to do this every month.

I took a look at it for her today, and that thing is fucked up. Someone (me? Should I volunteer? Do you hear me laughing?) needs to start all over. It's just too confusing to look at that report and try to fix it. For one thing, the intern (a very nice guy who I first met at the baby shower they had for me here, which was quite well attended, surprisingly. I didn't really understand why he wanted to come to my baby shower, but he did, and I thought that was nice) made the thing "pretty." I hate pretty Excel reports, especially when they're just dealing with data. Nobody looks at this thing except her. Does it matter if each row is an alternating shade of blue? No. And then, it has a lot of duplicated information. None of the calculations work right. I mean, that's a huge problem. And the thing is sooooo big. And even being so big, it doesn't do what it needs to do. My question is, why do they need 5 reports in the first place? Even if they're tracking different things, wouldn't it make sense to create one big "master" report, and then pull from there? Why have so many separate documents? It all has to do with leave, just different types of leave.

Then, she has to take the data (which she has to enter herself, not automatically, as it's supposed to work) and create another report.

Do you see the issues here? Maybe I'm not explaining exactly where the problems are very clearly... but even though I didn't really want to, I'm now thinking about this thing more and more. I'm wondering if I could figure out a way to make it better.

The thing is, whether or not I wrote about it correctly here, or explained it well enough, or conveyed the idea that I might have the capacity to fix this, I think I could. I think I could unravel this particular ball of rubber bands.

Hmmm. The question is, do I want to volunteer to do it?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"My shaving razor's cold, and it sings!"

Funny how I attributed a little bit of psychedelia to that sweet song by the Monkees... It's just more fun to think of a singing razor, now isn't it?

(The real word is, ..."and it stings." Duh!)

Go on, I'll wait a second while you cue up "Daydream Believer" by the Monkees on your Spotify or iTunes.


This day of cooler weather (yesterday was so lovely! Today is too, but I'm feeling a bit more of a chill today. It's 72 right now, which is perfect. It might just be because I'm wearing a skirt, or maybe they haven't adjusted the air conditioner in my building yet. I can't wait to go outside for my afternoon walk) has me in total daydream mode. I guess when the weather is warm, or downright hot like it's been lately, it's just not as much fun for me to fantasize about cuddling up in a bunch of blankets, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and leggings. And a nice pair of tie dyed socks. I get them in Monterey: I'm due for another trip, I guess, because last time I looked, I was missing a pair. Oh, yes, that's my cozy outfit, right there (and my brother just handed down an awesome "Brooklyn" hoodie that I can't wait to wear): now you know. 

Don't get me wrong: I have no desire to hole up in the house: I'm imagining me, my hoodie and sweats, my pile of blankets and pillows outside. On the grass, in my beautifully landscaped backyard, which is now getting a little wild (exactly how I like it, please put down the clippers, Mr. Palma!), with a book in my hand, a Tupperware container full of cookies or maybe grapes and cheese, maybe both, and a beer. Oh, yeah: a beer would be so nice in this little scenario. With the computer in the garage playing a Pandora mix of XTC or the Cure or Roxy Music or Lysa Flores (or all of them).

I'll just lay back with my book and gaze up at the fluffy clouds and be in total heaven. I would be so snug and cozy, my hair a mess, my head full of words and music, my eyes full of sky. Is it just me, or does that sound perfect?

To quote the guy who wrote "Daydream Believer" (that person's name is not Mickey, Peter, Michael, or Davy): but how much baby, do we really need?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shoot to chill

The other night while giving JP his bath, we heard AC/DC's song "Shoot to Thrill" on the radio. Thinking "Too many women, too many pills" were not lot appropriate lyrics for a 20 month old, I changed it (because you know I sing along while bathing him) to "too many cookies, too many bills."

But is that truly a better message?

Parenting is hard.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Crosseye of the tiger, and other things

Sunday afternoon, when I was driving home from theater with Bo, we heard "Eye of the Tiger" on the radio. I don't remember the radio station we were listening to, but he has some strange pre-sets in his car. The guy listens to weird music. I hadn't heard that song in awhile, and I found myself compelled... to sing along.

I am not a very good singer, but sometimes, and very infrequently when actually in the presence of other people, the urge to join in hits me very hard and very, let's just say, enthusiastically. It's something to see (and hear).

Now, Bo claims to like the band Survivor, but when I quizzed him on other songs by them that I might know, he couldn't think of any. So I don't know - my theory about them not having any real fans rings true. Oh, you never heard that theory before? That's because I just made it up.

Sunday was actually very fun - Charles agreed to run the show so I could watch from the audience. We used to do that all the time on opening night, but this time we didn't. Because I'm a nervous nellie in the booth, even with the new, beautiful set up, I still can't see the show the way it's meant to be seen. Mostly because I'm following along still, making sure I'm in the right spot and set up for the next thing.

Since I wasn't running the booth, I sat outside in front of the theater and chit chatted with a lovely Schnauzer who belongs to the guy in the space next door. His name is Chuckie (the dog, I didn't meet the guy: he was on the phone everytime I saw him walking around). I love Schnauzers - we had one when I was a little girl. She was a great dog. Chuckie was friendly, but aloof.

I took my seat early, on one of the new, awesome leather love seats. No one sat next to me. Now the audience is allowed into the theater about 30 minutes before the show starts, so that's different right away from the old space in the alley. I don't want to give anything away but it's really interesting to be seated early like that.

The first time I saw the show was in tech rehearsal. Like I said: I don't really see much from the booth. I hear the performances, and yes, I do "see" them - but I'm thinking about me, and pressing my buttons and setting levels. I'm not involved in the story. I could tell that it was beautiful, but I didn't feel it. Watching from the audience is totally different. I know that the actors can't really see us (and are not supposed to look at the audience anyway) but there were a few moments when I could've sworn someone was looking right at me. Piercing me, to (sort of) quote Jane Austen. There's an exchange between "Nikos" and "Clio" about "being in love that way" that hit me in an emotional way that I wasn't expecting. The actor playing Nikos is very good (all the performances are good ones! but Nikos says a few things that really speak to me personally).

Anyway, all that happened before my attack on "Eye of the Tiger," so I'm not being a very good storyteller today, am I. Oh well!

The show is getting good reviews. You can read some of them, and make reservations and learn more about City Garage, here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

What's the big deal?

I just read this article (along with a lot of other people; it's in the "most emailed" section) in the NY Times about how some city governments think that if they don't require cyclists to wear helmets, more people will be interested in biking around town. They even quoted some statistics about how when helmets are mandatory, fewer people ride, and obesity and diabetes and other weight-related health problems increase.

(For fun [not], read all the comments from people reeling from the irresponsibility of advocating against helmets: these are mostly accident survivors, or written by the families of those who did not.)

There were other "facts" given about cycling in Europe and places with better biking infrastructure and women on bikes and blah blah blah, but you can read it yourself if you want to. The only fact I care about is, if I'm in a bike accident, and I'm not wearing a helmet, and my brain is all squished out on the sidewalk, is that my fault for being an idiot or is it the government's fault for not requiring me to wear a helmet? Oh, wait, it won't matter by then, will it.

In California, the law requires people under the age of 18 on a bike to wear a helmet. What does it say if you make your kid wear a helmet but you won't yourself? You put your seatbelt on too when you drive the car, don't you?

Right... I understand: you rode your bike for 30 years without incident, and bike helmets look goofy, and you're not trying to be Lance Armstrong, but that's not the point. Are we trying to look cool, or do you want to go to your kids' weddings? Seriously: head injuries are no joke. Mandatory or not - don't be reckless. Protect yourself. It's so simple.

Life is full of risk and I don't believe in being overly cautious or scaring people with cautionary tales, but the thing is, if a simple thing like wearing a helmet will protect your beautiful and silly head, do it. Pump up your tires, put on your helmet, and get out there and have fun. It shouldn't be a big deal.

Finally, if you needed more convincing:

  • About 75% of all bicyclists who die each year die of head injuries
  • 85% of head injuries in bicycle accidents can be prevented by wearing a helmet
These statistics came from The Center for Head  Injury Services.