Tuesday, July 31, 2007

media update: July + bonus tsuris

Last night, when I flushed the toilet, it wouldn’t stop running. Okay, no sweat, not like I’ve never dealt with that before. I jiggled the handle vigorously and went back to the living room to watch TV.

Still running.

So I went back to the toilet, picked up the lid, and looked inside to see if the chain dealiemabobber had come loose or something. Nope. I jiggled the handle again, and when it became obvious that I couldn’t do anything else about it, I wrote a note and took it down to the landlady’s office and slipped it in the mail slot.

Can I just mention how FUCKING IRRITATING the sound of a constantly running toilet is? I closed the door and I could still hear it. To add to the joy, the toilet wouldn’t flush either, so it’s a good thing I tend to be on the constipated side. Wouldn’t want to sour my relationship with my new landlady by leaving her a bowl full o’ bowel babies.

Anyway, the rest of the night was uneventful. I ran some errands, I did some cleaning, I read a mediocre book. I stayed up a little later than usual because I was taking the morning off to deal with the internet installation dude.

This morning, at about 8:45, I was awakened to the sound of knocking on my door. I was disoriented as hell, since I’d been in the middle of a dream, and I staggered to the front door just as it unlocked and my landlady stepped in.

I’m not particularly vain, but I was really embarrassed to be seen in such deshabille. I was wearing a really tight shirt with a gold foil print of Foxy Brown on the front and flowered pajama pants. My hair was a tangled mess and I had eye boogers and a truly exquisite drool crust on the right side of my mouth.

“Eeeek!” I squealed.

“I’m so sorry, I thought you’d be at work!” P said. “Do you need me to come back later?”

“No, this is fine,” I said. “I’m usually up and around by now, but I’m taking the morning off for the internet guy.”

Anyway, she fixed my toilet while I hid in my bedroom. She left about ten minutes later, and I emerged to wash up and get dressed.

The Time Warner guy showed up at 11:15AM and promptly said, “Okay, so I’ll install your cable and then do the internet.”

I honestly thought my head would do a Scanners.

“I already told one of your phone reps that I only needed internet,” I said in as pleasant a voice as I could muster.

“Oh, okay,” he said, and got to work.

I’ll spare you the boring details, but let’s just say I still do not have internet. No, apparently there’s some problem that requires a bit of ironing out. They’ll be back on Monday to (HOPEFULLY) get everything taken care of. I already have Monday off, so that’s not a problem, but my god, what does a woman have to do to get some fucking internet already? I can lug my laptop to Whole Foods and take advantage of their free wi-fi, sure, but everybody looks at my screen as they walk by and that bugs the hell out of me. True, I’m not exactly peeping hardcore porn or anything, but I still don’t need the trophy wives of my little burg poking their perky noses into my business. Or I could go to the library, but the odds of getting a computer are always pretty slim, and when I tried to go to Perez Hilton, I got a screen saying it had been blocked for “provocative attire”. (I guess they didn’t have a category called “cum dribbles drawn on with Microsoft Paint”.)

Okay, so that sucked, but worse things have happened. On the plus side, I wouldn’t have to blow an entire vacation day, so I got dressed quickly and headed to work. I scored a nice spot in the covered garage, and I thought to myself, Not too bad…I only had to use three hours of vacation for this foofaraw.

And then I realized that somehow, in the rush to get to work, I LEFT MY GODDAMN PURSE WITH MY GODDAMN GLASSES ON THE GODDAMN COFFEE TABLE.

So I had to go back home and get my fucking purse.

As I drove back to work for the second time in twenty minutes, I took deep breaths and finally calmed down…

…just in time to get pulled over by a cop.

Long story short---and yes, it’s a bit too late for that---I managed to get off with a warning, possibly because I was literally on the verge of tears. And that three hours of vacation turned into four.

And I still don’t have internet.

But after tonight, I might just have a drinking problem.

Enough bitching, and on to the media update. Fear not, Gentle Reader, there are NO spoilers for the last Harry Potter book contained within this entry. In fact, to be on the safe side, I'm not going to say a word about it; I'll only note that I read it.

I'm ashamed to admit how much trash I read this month, but I needed some serious escapism. Work was way busier than usual, and most of my free time was spent either doing things related to the move or finishing the last season of The Sopranos. I know the finale was very hotly debated, but I'm coming down squarely in the "Holy Shit, That Was Actually Really Fucking Brilliant" camp.

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.


1. A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans: The narrator is a man who begins going to a therapist to figure out why he's afraid to hold his infant son. He starts thinking back to his childhood, during which he insists he was plagued by a demon...or was he actually losing his mind? I thought this book was pretty meh until I got about fifty pages from the end, and then it started to freak me the fuck out.

2. Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon: This is a ghost story/murder mystery hybrid about a woman who comes home to take care of her mother, and shortly after she arrives, a teenage girl is murdered. The narrator's friend had been murdered in the exact same way decades earlier, so the narrator tries to find the killer. Decidedly mediocre.

3. Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagan: During the summer of 1959, two young girls are left to their own devices when their mother is hospitalized and their stepfather turns to the bottle. But there's someone murdering little girls in their Wisconsin town, and the older sister is determined to protect the younger one at all costs. Eh.

4. The Manny by Holly Peterson: A wealthy woman, whose husband is too preoccupied with his job to pay attention to their son, hires a "manny", or male nanny, to keep the boy company. Of course, she soon finds herself attracted to the manny, and complications ensue. It's like injecting cotton candy directly into your brain.

5. The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan: You can totally tell the author was trying to write the Indian version of The Joy Luck Club.

6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows* by J.K. Rowling

7. Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins: Makes The Manny look like Proust.

8. Because She Can by Bridie Clark: A woman begins working for a famous editor (rumored to be based on Judith Regan), and her dream job soon turns into a nightmare when she realizes just how nasty her boss really is. Sounds a lot like The Devil Wears Prada, doesn't it? Well, it's not nearly as good. It's unbelievably predictable, but it has its moments.

9. Party Girl* by Anna David: A woman who loves partying and cocaine winds up in rehab after a particularly grim experience with Special K. When she emerges, newly sober and proud of it, she's offered a dream job writing a nightlife column under the guise of "Party Girl". But when her sobriety starts to interfere with her glitzy job, she has to decide which one's more important. I really enjoyed this book; it can get a bit preachy, but for the most part, it's smart and funny.

10. No One Belongs Here More Than You* by Miranda July: Even though I generally don't like short stories, I wanted to get this because Miranda July wrote, directed, and starred in Me and You and Everyone We Know, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. I'm pleased to say this book did not disappoint. She has some truly amazing turns of phrase, and she is now officially my girlcrush. (Which is, of course, different than a turnable. I don't want to boink her, but I do want to go to the Huntington Gardens tea room with her and have weird conversations that last for hours.)

11. Dedication by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus: A woman gets the chance to confront the man who broke her heart when they were both teenagers...and then went on to become a huge recording star whose biggest hits are all about her. First of all, this book should have ended one chapter sooner than it did; second, I couldn't really get into it because I kept wanting to grab the narrator by the shoulders and shake some sense into her.


1. Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez: The author went to Afghanistan to open a beauty school in order to help women gain some measure of independence. It's a fascinating look into Afghani culture.

2. Train Wreck: The Life and Death of Anna Nicole Smith by Donna Hogan: I think reading this actually diminished me as a human being.

3. Down the Nile* by Rosemary Mahoney: Man, this chick has stones! She rowed a small boat down the Nile all by herself, encountering creepy fishermen and battling an almost paralyzing fear of crocodiles and scorpions. I found it hard to put down.

4. Behave Yourself! by Michael Powell: An informative guide to etiquette around the world.


1. Better Luck Tomorrow*: A compelling, often funny, occasionally disturbing look at a group of Asian-American high school honor students who get involved in drugs and money-making scams. Imagine a Bret Easton Ellis novel or a Gregg Araki film with half the nihilism.

2. Half Nelson: Ryan Gosling is fantastic as an inner city school teacher battling drug addiction, but I thought Shareeka Epps, as the student who discovers his secret, was almost as good.

3. 1408: A man who writes about supposedly haunted places checks into a hotel room with a dark history. He's unable to leave, and he must find a way to escape while battling supernatural phenomena. I'd say they were borrowing from the plot of Silent Hill 4, but this is actually based on an old Stephen King short story. Not a bad movie, just not as scary as I hoped it would be, aside from one really creepy scene and a couple of cheap jump scares.

4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix*: The book was by far my least favorite of the series, so I wasn't sure what I'd think of the movie, but I really enjoyed it. The ending seemed a bit too rushed to me, but the rest was great. I especially liked the wall of meowing kitty plates in Dolores Umbridge's office.

5. Black Snake Moan: A weird Southern gothic potboiler about a young sex-crazed woman and the older black man who aims to cure her of her sinful ways. Christina Ricci desperately needs a nice sammich.

6. The Host*: Okay, imagine if the cast of Little Miss Sunshine was Korean, and instead of rushing to get their daughter to a beauty pageant, they're rushing to save her from the enormous mutated tadpole monster that's terrorizing Seoul. That's The Host in a nutshell. See it now, before some American studio remakes and ruins it.


1. Make Up the Breakdown by Hot Hot Heat: This album's peppy, 80's flavored songs made it an instant classic in my eyes. My favorite tracks are the organ-driven, jittery "Bandages" and "Oh, Goddammit", which mixes an upbeat melody with rueful lyrics. I have a burned copy of this somewhere, but I can't find it, and I had a sudden urge to hear these songs again. Sorry, guys; you deserved my money a long time ago. Their follow-up album, Elevator, wasn't nearly as good, except for the following three tracks.

2. "Ladies and Gentleman" by Hot Hot Heat

3. "Goodnight Goodnight" by Hot Hot Heat

4. "Soldier in a Box" by Hot Hot Heat

Thursday, July 26, 2007

it's been one week since you looked at me*

EDITED TO ADD: Time Warner can suck my succulent left titty! When I went to the library on my lunch break to use the internet, I realized that I'd never received a confirmation e-mail from them as promised. So when I returned to my desk, I called them and had this VERBATIM conversation. I'll skip past the pleasantries and get to the annoying part.

TIME WARNER DRONE: Okay, we have you down between 10AM and noon on Tuesday, July 31st.

ME: Oh, that's great. [Note: I was pleased as punch because this meant I wouldn't have to take a whole day off. Not that I wouldn't like a whole day off, mind, but I need to save up as much vacation time as possible. I still harbor hopes of going to Costa Rica some time in the near future.]

TIME WARNER DRONE: All right, we'll be there to hook up your cable and internet.

ME: Uh, no, I just wanted internet.

TIME WARNER DRONE: Oh, I see here that your apartment complex pays for cable. Do you still want cable?

ME: No, just internet, please.

TIME WARNER DRONE: So I'll go ahead and cancel your order.

ME: No, no, I still want internet; I just don't want cable.

TIME WARNER DRONE: Oh, you want the internet still?


TIME WARNER DRONE: You can add cable for only [whatever it was; I blanked it out in my white-hot rage] extra a month.

ME: Well, like you said, my apartment pays for cable, so I only want internet.

TIME WARNER DRONE: Would you like to add long-distance phone service?

I saw a Live Journal icon once that said, "Whoever invents a way to stab people over the phone will become a millionaire."

Wiser words were never written.

(Apologies for getting Barenaked Ladies stuck in your head.)

Man, not having internet access at home blows. I thought I’d be okay, since I can access 90% of my favorite sites at work, but it’s amazing how many times I’ve needed it outside of business hours. “Hmmm, I feel like a game of Alchemy! Oh yeah, crap.” “What time does that movie start again? I’ll check the LA Times website…oh, wait. Shit.” Fortunately, Time Warner is coming out on Tuesday between 10AM and 7PM. Way to narrow it down, assholes!

Anyway, that’s a long-winded description of why I’ve been scarce around these parts. What about writing at work, you ask? A fair question, but I must remind you that as an upstanding employee of the Cube Farm, when I’m on the clock, I’m doing my job.

…okay, fine. Truth of the matter is that I’ve been unbelievably swamped at work recently. Several people have been out on vacation, including the evil malingerer I call Giggles. And check this shit out, on the day she was supposed to return to work, she called to say she wouldn’t be in because her kid was sick. Sure, right, uh-huh. That’s the breeder version of blaming the dog for your farts. She’s such a goddamn douchebag I always expect to see a trail of vinegar behind her as she clomps down the hall.

Okay, enough of that. What have I done in the last week?

I turned 36 on the 18th. I took the day off because I don’t think anyone should have to work on their goddamn birthday. I slept in late, ran a few errands, went to Borders, came home, and climbed into bed, where I alternated between reading and dozing. G, C, and M picked me up at 7, and we went to Suki 7, a hip new Japanese restaurant. The place was utterly gorgeous (peep it here), and I wondered if I could pry a Buddha picture off the wall without our busty waitress noticing. I had “kobe-style” ishi-yaki steak, which I cooked myself on a hot river stone. This was fun until hot grease started to spatter all over my bare arms and new silk dress, but my potent sake and champagne cocktail helped take a bit of the sting out of it. For dessert, I had almond cake with orange shiso (an herb from the mint family; thank you, Wikipedia!) compote, and they also brought me a martini glass full of candied ginger ice cream with a candle in it. They’d also used chocolate to write “Happy birthday” in Japanese around the rim of the serving dish, so that was a nice touch. The food was excellent, and the company, of course, was stellar.

On Friday night, I went to Borders early so I could pick up my reservation wristband for the new Harry Potter book. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to say a single thing about the book; this is strictly about getting my hands on it.) Unfortunately, for whatever reason, my name wasn’t on the preorder list. They were nice enough to write my name in, though, and with my bright pink wristband fastened securely around my wrist, I walked back out to my car so I could go home and kill some time, with the intention of returning around 12:45AM. A man offered to buy my wristband, but his offer was too low to entertain.

So I went home, booted up my computer, and tried getting online in the vain hopes that one of my neighbors had an unsecured connection. Nope. I put iTunes on shuffle and cleaned and organized until 12:45, and then I returned to Borders. I knew there would still be a line, but I figured it wouldn’t be too bad.

One hour and twelve minutes later, I was practically sprinting back to my car, book tucked under my arm like I was Tiki Barber making a touchdown. I went home, read until I could literally not keep my eyes open a second longer, and then I crashed for seven hours. When I woke up, I showered and then I read until it was time to leave for G’s. He already knew that I planned to finish the book before anyone could ruin it for me, so he read his book and I read mine. We stopped for a nap, dinner, and a movie, and then we continued reading. I finished at around 3:30AM on Sunday morning.

Yesterday, my neck, back, and shoulders were so knotted you’d think a Boy Scout had been practicing for his merit badge using my spine. I went for a massage after work, where I was mercilessly pummeled by a large black woman for a full hour. I practically had to be poured into my car.

I tipped her 30%.

Monday, July 16, 2007

weekend six

1. For C’s birthday, we went to Kate Mantilini’s, a lovely restaurant in Woodland Hills. I had a Willie Wonka martini followed by a filet mignon sandwich and, for dessert, chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick. At one point, I laughed so hard that I got tears---and Great Lash---in my eyes, and I ruined one of their nice cloth napkins with mascara stains. Oops.

2. On Saturday, my move from the Merry Mansion to the new place was complete. Because we had six people helping, and the use of three cars and a truck, it only took about an hour. My friends for the win!

3. G won two tickets to the John Williams concert at the Hollywood Bowl. When the theme to Star Wars began, the pungent smell of nerdjizz filled the air.

4. G and I went to Casa C yesterday so he could hook up my VCR, hang up a picture, and put together my bedframe. When he was done, I made my bed with the pretty purple comforter I’d just bought, and we stood back and admired our handiwork. There’s still much to be done, but it’s coming together nicely.

5. We saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last night. It was by far my least favorite of the books, so I didn’t have high hopes for it, but it was pretty good.

6. This morning, I was getting ready for work when I heard G say, “Oh my freakin’ GOD.” I trotted downstairs, and he said, “I just took the lid off this new tub of cream cheese and it looked like this!"

“Holy crap,” I breathed. “Too bad it didn’t look like the Virgin Mary instead, or we could have made a fortune on Ebay!”

Monday, July 09, 2007

I can has nervous breakdown?

By my estimation, I have climbed at least 25 flights of stairs over the last three days. No wonder my thighs feel like I rode a horse ten miles to a 2-hour Pilates session!

On Sunday, G and I went to Target to find what they annoyingly call a "window solution" for my new kitchen window. For some reason, the complex didn't supply blinds or curtains for anyone's kitchen windows. Some people have cafe curtains up, some people have mini blinds, and some people just said fuck it and left their windows alone. I would have gone the latter route, since I'm on the second floor, but my kitchen faces west and the sun gets mighty hot and bright in the afternoon.

Anyway, I found mini blinds for a whopping $3.99, and I threw them in my cart next to my other purchases, which included essential items (TV stand, shampoo) as well as things I really didn't need (two novels, Trident Cool Colada gum). We had an early dinner at Daphne's Greek Cafe and then headed back to Casa C so G could hang up my new blinds.

He tried to drill into the windowframe, but there was some sort of metal reinforcement and the drill wouldn't go in. (I watched with my fingers spread over my eyes, convinced that at any moment the drill bit would come loose and maim him.) Somehow, he managed to find a way around the problem, but it took about an hour to get the stupid things up, and he was standing in my sink with the blazing hot sun cooking him like a Ball Park frank.

When he was done, he wiped the sweat off his face with the proffered paper towel, and then he put together my new TV cart and hung up a plate holder for me.

Yeah, he earned a gold star and then some.

I took today off work because my new refrigerator was scheduled to be delivered between 8AM-12PM. I went straight from G's place to my new home and got to cleanin'. The place actually wasn't in bad condition, soda-splattered blinds aside, but I still wanted to give it an intensive cleaning. I cleaned the windows and the sliding glass doors, scrubbed the kitchen counters and stovetop, and scoured the tub. I was in the middle of this last task when the delivery men arrived and brought in my gorgeous new stainless steel fridge. When they left, I gleefully slapped all of my magnets on it, and then I finished the bathroom tub and hung up my new shower curtain.

By this time, it was around 10:30AM. I went home, showered, dicked around online for about an hour, and then headed out on errands.

I bought C's birthday present.

I picked up two books I had on hold at the library.

I went to Vons and bought ice cube trays, plastic cups, and wrapping paper.

I came back home and ate lunch before putting away my laundry, making dinner reservations for my birthday, and wrapping C's birthday present.

Then I took a glorious nap.

THEN I got up, had dinner, and carted six boxes and one suitcase full of stuff over to the new place. As soon as I'd dragged everything up to the apartment, I turned on the air conditioner and took off my shirt and bra. I hung up my clothes. I replaced a couple of electrical outlet faceplates because two of them were cracked. I went through a pile of boxes, writing down the contents of each one and taping it to the outside before putting it in the storage closet. I had my iPod hooked up to some cheap speakers while I did all this, and I found some things I thought I'd lost, so it wasn't quite as boring as it might have been otherwise.

Around 9:30PM, I yawned, stretched, and decided I'd had enough. I went into the bathroom to take a whiz. As I sat there, I frowned at the shower's odd setup and thought, "Just how do you turn that thing on, anyway?"

(Okay, I know, that makes me sound like Mensa in reverse, but I assure you that not all showers are easy to figure out right away. The one at Daddy-O's place is so complicated that we always have to make sure to school guests on proper usage.)

So once I'd finished my business, I knelt at the side of the tub and turned on the faucet. With a little jiggling, I managed to find the doohickey to turn on the shower...


Apparently the showerhead was not properly connected to the wall, because water sprayed everywhere. I shrieked as I frantically tried to turn it off, which was no mean feat. By the time I got the water off, I was thoroughly drenched. Water dripped from the ceiling and the walls. The toilet paper roll was ruined.

Fuming, I grabbed a towel out of the linen closet and dried myself off (good thing I hadn't put my bra and shirt back on yet), and then I cleaned the bathroom as best I could. I opened the window for ventilation, and then I got dressed and composed a nicely yet urgently worded letter to my landlady. I locked up, took out the trash, put the note through the mailslot in the office door, and returned home, where I took my second shower of the day.

Tomorrow I have to work (goddammit), which promises to be a real treat since I had to cover two other people last week, and my own work piled up in the meantime. Then I plan on taking yet another carload of shit over to the new place.

But you know what I'm going to do on Wednesday?

Absolutely. Freakin'. Nothing.

Oh, sure, I have to work as usual (goddammit), but I'm not going over to the new place at all. Instead, I plan on enjoying an hour-long, full body massage after work, and then I'm coming home and watching The Sopranos while lounging in my underwear.

Too bad Haagen Dazs doesn't make a Fudgy Valium Swirl flavor; I'd be pounding that shit down by the gallon right about now.

Friday, July 06, 2007

your opinion plz kthx

I went to the store tonight to buy bread, milk, cereal, a protective mattress cover for the move, and cat food, and something happened that I would really like to get all y’alls opinion on.

Although it was 10:30PM, there was a sizable line, and only one checker. I had been standing in line for about five minutes when a man who smelled like he’d been marinating in Axe body spray and cigarettes got in line behind me. I discreetly tried to breathe through my mouth as I scanned the covers of all the weekly rags. I was glad when another cashier came up to the man in front of me and told him to follow her to the next register. Because the guy in front of him had approximately two thousand items in his cart, give or take, I followed…

…and the stinky motherfucker behind me cut in front of me, put a bottle of vodka on the conveyor belt, and STARED ME RIGHT IN THE EYE, SMIRKING.

I couldn’t believe the nerve of this cocksucker! (No offense to literal cocksuckers; it just has such a nice snap to it.) To not only steal my place in line, but to actually SMIRK at me as if to say “Hey, bitch, I’m a rude son of a bitch, but what are you going to do about it?”

Oh, you have no idea how bad I wanted to say, “Excuse me, sir, but I was next.” But even though this guy was shorter than me, he had a definite air of menace about him. He was very muscular and had a number of piercings that must make going through airport security a bit of a hassle for him. And yeah, I doubted he would do anything physical to me if I spoke up, but I didn’t exactly want to get in a verbal confrontation either. But I’m really kicking myself for not being brave enough to say anything.

So, dear reader, I’d like your opinion on this matter. Which of the following choices would you like to say to me?

A: Jesus Christ, woman, grow some stones! Like you said, you were in a public place and it’s not like he was going to break that vodka bottle over your head or something. If you don’t stand up for yourself, don’t expect anybody to feel sorry for you when you get taken advantage of.

B: Ever heard of choosing your battles? Well, this is kind of the perfect example. It totally wouldn’t have been worth the risk of Stinky McSmirkerson going medieval on your ass, or saying something nasty that would ruin your entire night. Just take a deep breath, wish him a case of explosive diarrhea while stuck in rush hour traffic, and move on.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

welcum to the neighborhood!

About a week after K and I moved into the Merry Mansion, someone took a dump on our doorstep.

I must attract bizarre housewarming gifts, because when I went over to my new place the other night, there was a Mexican porn magazine in my parking spot. I didn't look inside, of course, but the cover model---a busty Latina in a black bra, thong, and stockings---and cover copy featuring the words culo and puta left no doubt as to the steamy contents within.

Whatever happened to blenders and silverware, for God's sake?