Monday, January 05, 2009

2008: the year in review

JANUARY: On the first morning of 2008, I woke up to scrambled eggs and cinnamon French toast lovingly prepared by Madre. Later in the afternoon, G and I caught our flight back to Los Angeles, and after a lousy flight that included a bad movie, horrible food, and a nasty headache for G, we finally arrived home. Unfortunately, I brought a rotten souvenir back from New Jersey in the form of a bad cold, and I reluctantly called in sick to work the day after returning. Went to Little Tokyo to see the fun Giant Robot exhibit at the Japanese-American National Museum; while there, I also stocked up on magazines and junk food. Daddy-O came out for a short visit, and we pigged out hardcore at some of my favorite restaurants. Received the sad news that Padre needed a quadruple bypass, and G flew back to New Jersey for the surgery and recuperation. Padre's surgery was scheduled for the same day as my brother's surgery to remove a malignant growth on his leg, so I was a nervous wreck; fortunately, both surgeries were successful. The Giants won the playoffs, earning them a place in the Super Bowl. I spent the last 2 weeks of January in a G-less funk, but I tried to keep my mind off his absence by shopping, sleeping, reading, logging countless hours online, and watching movies. Heath Ledger died. Rain pounded Southern California for days on end. The douchenozzle with the assigned parking spot next to mine left a note on my door claiming I damaged his car; after several letters were exchanged, I finally put the matter in the capable hands of my insurance company. Read 7 novels, 2 non-fiction books, 4 graphic novels, and one volume of manga; watched 11 movies.

FEBRUARY: To my (and everyone's) astonishment, the New York Giants won the Super Bowl. I joyfully welcomed G back home. Barfed during a matinee of Cloverfield. Valentine's Day was wonderful, thanks to a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, a delicious dinner, and excellent gifts. Finished God Hand. Went through an embarrassing flatulent phase, much to the horror of G and my massage therapist. Read 8 novels and 6 non-fiction books; watched 10 movies.

MARCH: G lost a bet and had to take me to the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner; I got my carbs on hardcore. My brother was officially diagnosed with Aspergers. Daylight Savings Time kicked my ass. Art Model moved out. Became obsessed with video poker. Spent a glorious Sunday visiting Little Tokyo and the Hustler Superstore, and the next day, I bought Juicy Couture sunglasses and four pairs of jeans, so I did my part stimulating the economy. Celebrated M's birthday with a pinata, a Mentos fountain, and a trip to Hollywood, where we took a bus tour of celebrity homes, posed with Angelyne's pink Corvette, and got skeeved out over a junkie in a McDonald's bathroom. Finished Silent Hill Origins. Went to the Third Street Promenade. Read 6 novels, 2 nonfiction books, 3 volumes of manga, and 2 graphic novels; watched 7 movies.

APRIL: My apartment became infested with boring beetles, turning me into a nervous wreck. I discovered a tantalizing locked case at the library filled with intriguing books, but the embarrassment of being escorted to the front desk to check out Black Hole by Charles Burns kept me from asking for anything else. Made Bailey's French toast for Sunday breakfast; was shocked when it actually turned out well. Finished Obscure. Was shocked to discover that Pizza Hut's pasta was actually good. For Administrative Professionals Day, I received a coupon for a whopping hour off work, but I was slightly mollified to receive a $20 Target giftcard two days later for helping my boss with a project. Scored a gorgeous Anna Sui dress on sale for $88. My brother had to go to the ER with chest pains, and my dad found out that he had to have cataract surgery. Read 6 novels, 7 nonfiction books, 28 volumes (!) of manga, and one graphic novel; watched 3 movies.

MAY: Did some house/catsitting for C and M and took full advantage of their much nicer bathtub. Got hooked on Dead Rising. Went to Sawtelle Boulevard to check out the Giant Robot store; while there, I chowed down on a Beard Papa cream puff and a delicious curry lunch. We also saw a tiny crepe store with a sign in the window that said "We do not appreciate IDIOTS who laugh at sign and not order, know what you want before coming in or go away and not waste our time!" I desperately wanted to take a picture, but I feared the wrath of the Crepe Nazi. Much to my horror, the beetles that invaded my storage closet in April relocated directly over my BED. Fortunately, my landlady got an exterminator to come out immediately and spray the little bastards into oblivion. Had to go home from work a mere 15 minutes after getting there because I broke out into a cold sweat and got dizzy and nauseated; afraid to drive, I asked K to take me home, which she did. Oddly enough, I started feeling better almost as soon as I got in her car! Not dedicated enough to return to work, I bought the new Shojo Beat at Borders and read it at home while eating a Subway sandwich and a red velvet cupcake. I reluctantly returned to work the next day, but happily treated K to lunch as a thank you for her help. Daddy-O broke off his engagement to Saint G. G and I went out for a fancy dinner with C and M, and strangely enough, an unknown person had put a leftover container of chocolate cake on the passenger side of G's car! We were stumped; our best guess is that he left his car unlocked, someone got in by mistake, and fled in such a hurry after discovering their error that they left their dessert behind. G and I started watching Marronnier, a Japanese horror movie about wax dolls, but it was so shitty that we turned it off, even though we were buzzed on cheap red wine at the time. Was embarrassed to be caught singing along to "Brown Sugar" by my section manager. Read 3 novels, 5 nonfiction books, 1 graphic novel, and 1 volume of manga; saw 6 movies.

JUNE: The Cube Farm celebrated its anniversary with a huge catered lunch; I ate so much that I practically went into a food coma, and was completely unproductive for the rest of the day. G2 came to town, so G, C, M, and I hung out with him, eating, laughing, watching movies, and playing Frisbee. Went to see John Connolly for the fifth time, and after I got my copy of The Reapers signed, I posed for a saucy snap with him. My thighs broke out into a lovely mottled red rash, and I made an appointment with a dermatologist to get it checked out; fortunately, it turned out to be nothing worse than a bad case of heat rash. Was horrified by my addiction to the Denise Richards reality show. G’s sister, brother-in-law, and nephews came for a visit; we went to Little Tokyo, which the kids loved. A heat wave hit Southern California; sadly, although I moved them to the coolest part of my apartment, Bruiser and the Ebi Twins died. After two weeks of guests, I was excited to spend a weekend completely alone with G, but our joyous reunion was marred when I got sick. Finished Lost: Via Domus. Martin Lawrence was in line behind us at the movie theater. Read 7 novels, 5 nonfiction books, and 3 volumes of manga; saw 10 movies.

JULY: Spent the 4th of July in Santa Barbara eating, shopping, and watching fireworks. Spilled a bowl of miso soup all over myself and G; fortunately, neither one of us was hurt, although we smelled like soy until we were able to go home and shower. Brought my jujitsu-practicing neighbor running to my door when I screamed over a huge spider that landed in my hand when I was unrolling toilet paper. Spent C’s birthday in Malibu and Santa Monica. G decided to keep his birthday low-key, so we went to dinner and a late showing of WALL-E. I took my birthday off from work and spent the afternoon shopping, reading, and napping. Later, I put on my new Anna Sui dress and we went to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. I had a Milky Way martini, margherita pizza, and bread pudding that came with a sparkler in the middle. Thanks to several coworkers taking vacation at the same time, I was a frazzled mess. Took a CPR class and started snickering during the instructional video because the “choking” victim sounded exactly like a Resident Evil zombie. Went to the Third Street Promenade with G, C, M, and R; to my delight, the man with the monkey was there, and I got to touch it again. Read 7 novels, 4 nonfiction books, 11 volumes of manga, and 5 graphic novels; saw 7 movies.

AUGUST: Started off the month feeling even more stabby than usual towards my job…a feeling that was only enhanced by a horrifying motivational meeting where I had to participate in inane group activities. After almost six months without a trim, I finally dragged myself to Supercuts and got my shaggy mop cleaned up. Finished Eternal Sonata. Spent an inordinate amount of time laughing at Batman GIFs and macros online. My brother came out for a short visit. Had a fantastic time at the Ventura County Fair, going on rides and gorging on glorious food ranging from roasted sweet corn to a red velvet cupcake the size of a softball. Had to get my CA-125 blood test, which left me feeling weak, so I replenished myself at the Chick-Fil-A down the block. Daddy-O came to California, took G and me to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner, and then headed up to wine country for a few days. Much to my incredible joy, Douche Nozzle moved out. Went to my oncologist’s for my annual visit, and fortunately everything was fine. Had a massive allergy attack; cause unknown, but Claritin helped. G and I celebrated four years of unwedded bliss. Read 7 novels, 3 works of nonfiction, 6 graphic novels, and one volume of manga; watched 6 movies.

SEPTEMBER: Spent Labor Day at a local park with G and our friends, watching a Motown concert and enjoying a picnic. Much to my dismay, they discontinued the alternative work arrangement at the Cube Farm; no more Monday matinees for me. G and I went to Little Tokyo and I burned my tongue on an extra-hot plate of curry. My boss tried to move me to a department I loathe; I managed to sack up and tell her I didn’t want to, and she picked someone else. Victory! Caught a nasty cold and called in sick to work; spent the afternoon on the couch slurping down a Jamba Juice smoothie and alternating between napping and Law & Order SVU reruns. Read 6 novels, 3 nonfiction books, and 4 volumes of manga; saw 2 movies.

OCTOBER: After over a full year of having no neighbors at all, a noisy family moved in below me. Went to a local fall festival with G, C, and M; we wandered through the corn maze, ate tons of junk, took a tractor ride, and marveled at Sky Goat, the Evel Knievel of goats. G and I went to Washington DC and had a great time. We walked about ten miles every day, saw an amazing glass exhibit, went to the various Smithsonian museums, awww’d over the baby panda at the zoo, ate the best Chinese food I’d ever had, went to a trendy restaurant with glorious desserts, and spent time with friends and family. Unfortunately, my trip back to California was unpleasant, thanks to turbulence, waiting over an hour for the flyaway bus, and nasty traffic due to the wildfires. Finished Resident Evil: Code Veronica (which I had played numerous times before, of course, but not for almost ten years) and Princess Debut. Sadly, one of my favorite local restaurants shuttered its doors. Spent Halloween in West Hollywood with G and our friends, drinking and admiring all the outrageous costumes. Read 6 novels, 10 nonfiction books, 8 volumes of manga, 3 graphic novels, and one comics anthology; saw one movie.

NOVEMBER: Went to the Day of the Dead festival on Olvera Street. Finished Silent Hill Homecoming. Much to my delight, Barack Obama won the Presidential election; much to my disgust, Prop 8, which prohibits same sex marriage in California, passed. Went to Little Tokyo, where G and I scored several bags of our beloved jyaga bata potato chips. A wonderful woman at the Nordstroms perfume counter gave me a big bag of assorted samples, which was akin to giving a vial of crack to an addict. G and I went to Florida for Thanksgiving, and although there were some snags during our vacation, one thing made it all worthwhile: Monkey Jungle. Finished Unsolved Crimes. Read 5 novels, 3 nonfiction books, 9 graphic novels, and 5 volumes of manga; watched 3 movies.

DECEMBER: When G and I were waiting for our flight at the Miami airport, we were treated to a woman screaming “I wasn’t on board because my daughter had to take a shit! Can YOU wait when you gotta take a shit?” at the ticket agent. Our flight back to California was no less fun, thanks to twin babies sitting behind us and a rude guy next to G, but at least C was nice enough to pick us up so we didn’t have to dick with the flyaway bus. Sadly bid goodbye to my AWA days, but at least my last one ever was very productive. Got a tetanus shot that left my arm sore for a week. Traded in my 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier for a 2009 Honda Civic, which I promptly named Ginji. Dropped a heavy perfume bottle on my bathroom vanity; the bottle was unbroken, but the vanity cracked like an eggshell. Finished Dead Space. Housesat for C and M and loved up on their cats. Spent Christmas with G, watching movies and eating rotisserie chicken from Ralph’s because every restaurant in the area was closed. Spent New Year’s Eve drinking and then falling asleep on C and M’s couch, but at least I woke up in time to see the ball drop, officially ending 2008 and ushering in a new (and hopefully better) year. Read 7 novels, 9 nonfiction books, 4 volumes of manga, and 7 graphic novels; watched 4 movies.