Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006: the year in review

JANUARY: 2006 got off to an unpleasant start, thanks to a supremely aggravating trip from New Jersey back to California. G got so pissed off over the outcome of the Giants/Panthers game that he dropped an F-bomb…something he never, ever does. Went to Little Tokyo and discovered the glory of baked potato and butter-flavored chips. I was accosted in Long’s by a man who kept rhapsodizing about my “creamy” skin; this was ironic because I had the most colossal zit of my life at the time. Enjoyed a full month of getting paid to do nothing but sit on my ass, reading and surfing the internet. Went to Claim Jumper for a work-related luncheon and had a lemon bar brulee which almost made me pass out with ecstasy. Interviewed for a job in fire claims which ultimately went to the wife of a team manager. Got an unexpected e-mail from Wad, which sent me into a frothing rage. Auditioned online for Jeopardy! G’s dad came to California on a business trip, and we went out to dinner, took a long walk, and played Taiko Drum Master. Read 12 books and 12 volumes of manga; saw 12 movies. (Okay, that’s kind of weird…)

FEBRUARY: My boss, T, rudely pimped me out to another department which I absolutely loathed. Went to a goodbye dinner for G and C’s friend D, who was moving to Italy; had a big bowl of utterly delicious Greek soup with an unpronounceable name. Stopped going to the chiropractor, who wasn’t doing much other than emptying my wallet, and started getting biweekly massages instead, which was almost as expensive but much more enjoyable. Went to Culver City to audition for Jeopardy! in the flesh. Not content to force me to endure one shitty department, the powers that be voluntold me to work in the mail and file department for a couple of weeks as well. G sent me gorgeous flowers at work on Valentine’s Day, and then I went to his place after work for pizza and presents. Finished playing Indigo Prophecy. Went to the Huntington Gardens with G, C, and M. FINALLY scored a new job in the department I’d been gunning for, although I had to finish out my time in the other crap-ass departments first. Tried Tab Energy and stayed up all night twitching. Got my taxes done, and although I owed federal, I got almost the exact same amount back from the state, so it wound up pretty much even. Read 9 books and 4 volumes of manga; saw 4 movies.

MARCH: My bedroom window and the kitchen window began leaking during the rainstorms that plagued SoCal throughout most of the month. Watched the Oscars and almost threw a Papa John’s box at the screen when Crash won Best Picture. Had my first Luther. Finished Fatal Frame. Had to work mail and file all by myself one day; survived relatively unscathed, aside from several paper cuts and a nasty blister. Gleefully said goodbye to the craptacular departments to which I’d been pimped out and settled into my new job. G and I bought M silver candlesticks for her birthday; awww, our first joint present! Went out to dinner for M’s birthday and shocked the table by professing my preference for Steve Martin over Johnny Depp. Bought an iDog. Read 9 books and 8 volumes of manga; saw 7 movies.

APRIL: G played a mean April Fool’s trick on me by claiming Southwest had gone under and our trip was cancelled. Saw Shannen Doherty outside a local movie theater and the bitch gave me a look that could freeze lava. Screw you, Shannen Doherty! I was a Melrose Place girl anyway. Had to explain Prince Alberts to my sweet Filipina coworker. Went to New Jersey with G for Passover, during which I finally got to try a Magnolia Bakery cupcake, survived my first encounter with his cousin’s evil kids, and got horribly sick. Our flyaway bus was rearended at LAX by an incredibly unobservant man. Went to the doctor because I could barely speak; he diagnosed me with acute bronchitis and sent me to Long’s to pick up a slew of prescriptions. Had a geekgasm over the Silent Hill movie, although it needed more Pyramid Head. Read 11 books and 11 volumes of manga; saw 7 movies.

MAY: G’s friends G2 and R were in town, so we all hung out, talking, playing The Great Dalmudi, and laughing until our sides hurt. Had a kobe burger at Cheesecake Factory that gave me the shits something fierce. My jeans ripped up the back when I was getting into my car after a massage. Since that was my one pair of jeans that fit, I had to go shopping the next night, and wound up getting a migraine when I accidentally looked up at the light in the changing room. Clothes shopping + migraine = my personal circle of hell, if you add spiders, clowns, and onions. Went to the Third Street Promenade and the Century City Mall with G, C, and M. Went to a new gynecologist and was horrified to see a picture of Matthew Mc Conaughey on the ceiling, but at least it wasn’t Colin Farrell. Daddy-O went on a business trip to China, but someone forgot to tell him to get a visa (oops!), so he had to fly to Hong Kong to get one. I had a fantastic weekend with G that included two of my favorite things: monkeys and French pastries. Read 13 books and 7 volumes of manga; saw 9 movies.

JUNE: A simple trip to 7-11 became an occasion for joy when I found white chocolate M&Ms, a Cadbury Crème Egg ice cream drumstick, and the premiere issue of ultra-trashy magazine Shock. G surprised me with a trip to Old Spaghetti Factory, one of my favorite restaurants. Renewed my driver’s license; when it arrived in the mail two weeks later, the picture made me want to cry. An employee appreciation BBQ at work left dozens of people with horrible food poisoning; fortunately, neither K nor I were among the afflicted. Went to G2’s surprise party at Morton’s in Beverly Hills; chowed down on double-cut filet mignon, the best key lime pie I’ve ever had, and constant refills of red wine. In a perfect example of “good news/bad news”, my least favorite coworker was moved to a new position; unfortunately, this meant that I inherited her massive workload. Observed the 9-year anniversary of my mom’s death by sitting in my room, lit only by a candle, and telling her how much she meant, and still means, to me. The heat made it borderline impossible to do anything during the day. Read 12 books and 9 volumes of manga/graphic novels; saw 8 movies.

JULY: Drove up to Sequoia with C and met up with G and his sister’s family. We spelunked, hiked approximately fifteen thousand miles (many of them uphill), and communed with nature; it was exhausting but fun. On the way back, I finally got to sample Sonic, and found all but the cherry limeade disappointing. G and I had a lightsaber battle in the toy aisle of Rite-Aid. Celebrated C’s birthday at Café Fiore; I gave him a book on understanding Finnegan’s Wake (hey, that’s what he wanted!) and gorged on Milky Way martinis, margherita pizza, and an enormous goblet filled with gelato. Three days later, we celebrated G’s birthday. I gave him Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams for the PS2 and two Lee Oskar harmonicas in keys he didn’t have. Won a cheesy astrology book in a magazine contest; why can’t I ever win the spa trip or the Sephora giftcard? I turned 35, and celebrated the occasion by taking the day off work and treating myself to shopping sprees at Borders, Beautyhabit, and Target. Later, G, C, M, and I went to dinner at Kate Mantilini’s, where I had filet mignon and cheesecake on a stick and opened my goodies. Mercilessly teased Daddy-O, a very unlikely boy band fan, when Lance Bass of *NSYNC came out of the closet. Played an insane amount of Taiko Drum Master and actually got perfect scores on several levels. Thanks to an ungodly heat wave, I got more reading/movie viewing done than usual; I read 16 books and five manga volumes/graphic novels and watched 11 movies.

AUGUST: G and I went to Little Tokyo, but sadly we could not find the baked potato and butter-flavored chips that we swooned over back in January. The Giants won every preseason game, putting an enormous smile on G’s face for the entire month. Went to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with G, C, and M to see an outdoor showing of Psycho; unfortunately, we had to sit next to a group of drunk, boisterous, rude guys, and by the end of the movie, I was about to inter them myself. Discovered my journal from 1994 through 1996 and spent many hours reading it and alternating between shaking my head, laughing, and bursting into tears…sometimes all at once. Went into a fit of rage when Major Victory, my absolute favorite contestant on Who Wants to Be a Superhero?, was inexplicably given the boot by Stan Lee. Went to a dinner party and washed down ultra-spicy Cajun food with almost a full bottle of wine; remembered the next morning why I shouldn’t drink anymore. G and I celebrated our second anniversary with gifts and dinner at Cheesecake Factory, the site of our first date. Read 9 books, one graphic novel, and 10 volumes of manga; saw 7 movies.

SEPTEMBER: Finished playing Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly. Since September was an unusually good movie month, I spent a lot of time at the local theater. Daddy-O shocked the shit out of me by getting engaged to his longtime, on again/off again girlfriend. The return of football necessitated many hours in front of the TV. Had to restrain myself from committing violence against a claim rep who decided my cube was his personal supply closet. Tearfully said goodbye to one of my favorite coworkers, who left for greener pastures. Got cholesterol and bone density tests and accidentally flashed my bukiluki at the technician. G’s friend R came out for a weekend visit, so we went out to eat several times, sat around and shot the shit, and saw a performance of Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along” at our local arts center. Claim Jumper gave me diarrhea. Read 10 books and 3 volumes of manga; saw 8 movies.

OCTOBER: Finished Rule of Rose; cried. When I went to get my hair cut, I decided to have the stylist dye it as well, and until the color faded a little bit, I looked unnervingly like Severus Snape. K and I went to see 80's cover band Mini Driver, and we were surprised when two guys dressed as pimps in red velvet coats and zebra platforms strolled in. Went to a corny (but fun) fall festival with G, C, and M. Got horrific food poisoning at a Chinese restaurant and G once again proved his worthiness---not that it was ever in question!---by cleaning up copious amounts of puke. Daddy-O, his fiancee St. G, and my brother came to California for a brief visit, and G joined us for Daddy-O's birthday dinner in Santa Barbara. I had the pleasure of playing skeeball with B, a fellow blogger I’ve read for years. During a team meeting, a coworker passed an envelope to me, thinking it contained work, and it turned out to be a $20 bill. When I ran into her in the bathroom, she asked for it back; I laughed in her face. Returned to Minnesota to help take care of Daddy-O after his hip replacement surgery. We had a couple of days beforehand to hang out; he treated me, R, and St. G to dinner at one of my favorite Twin Cities restaurants, and I finally got to try authentic kobe beef, which had me moaning like a porn star. I was a nervous wreck right before his surgery, but thankfully---a few snags aside---he came through it like a trooper. Read 10 books, 1 graphic novel, and 1 volume of manga; saw 3 movies.

NOVEMBER: The beginning of the month found me still in Minnesota, helping Daddy-O recover after his surgery. There were a few really bad days, and my return to California was delayed due to a problem with his incision, but eventually he was doing well enough that I could leave without guilt…well, too much guilt, anyway. My reunion with G was glorious; I almost squeezed him to death as soon as he opened his door. Played lots and lots of Bully. Spent Thanksgiving vacation in Florida with G and his family, visiting Epcot Center and the Wild Animal Kingdom and scarfing down ungodly amounts of food. Much to my dismay, my boss reshuffled my job responsibilities, saddling me with something even more annoying and shitty than I’d been doing before. Read 5 books and 4 volumes of manga; saw 3 movies.

DECEMBER: Went out for D’s birthday; afterwards, at C and M’s, I peeled about five layers of paint off their bathroom walls, thanks to a sudden attack of the squirts. Treated myself to an early Christmas present in the form of a silver iPod Nano. Finished Bully. Despite being a very inexperienced cook, I managed to make passable roast lemon chicken for G as a surprise. Watched lots and lots of football. Feigned pleasure over the Secret Santa gift I got at work. Spent Christmas weekend with G, watching movies and playing games. Picked up the slack at work for everyone who was out on vacation. On the day after James Brown died, I freaked out when I put my iPod on shuffle and the very first song to start playing was “James Brown Is Dead”, a techno song from the early 90’s. Against all odds, the Giants made the playoffs. G threw a New Year’s Eve party, and I was privileged to ring in 2007 with some of my favorite people in the world. Read 11 books and 1 volume of manga; saw 6 movies.