Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Empire State of Embarassment

Since I have nothing interesting that is going on right now, I will share an embarrassing story. And yes, there is a point to why I am sharing this story.

It was my first trip to NY and, being from Los Angeles, I had never ridden public transportation before. Yes, people in LA really don’t take the bus unless they absolutely have to. Even then, they usually find someone else to give them a lift. Therefore, a subway turnstile is not something I had ever needed to conquer before.

I decided that best course of action was to just follow what everyone else it doing. It looked simple enough. Swipe your Metrocard(which I had already purchased on my very own, thank you very much!), proceed through to the train. Easy and painless.

Not for Kimmi.

It was a busy day so I knew that I had to move my ass. I walked quickly down the subway with the rest of crowd and pulled out my Metrocard to make sure that I was ready to go. I did not, however, check to make sure that my Metrocard was facing the right direction. So, when I got to the turnstile, I swiped my card like a true New Yorker and then ran directly into the turnstile, so hard that I almost went over it to the other side. (I wonder if that could be considered jumping the turnstile?) Not only did I have a bruise forming on my upper thigh(Yes, I am that tall), but I had angry, pissed off, loud businessmen yelling at me to get out of the way.

I managed to get my Metrocard turned around and get through the turnstile, but I will never forget how it felt to think that I was doing so well and to be knocked down to reality.

Now, what was the point of my sharing this little story? I have since developed a great love for public transportation and have not had an incident like this again. (At least not while sober) However, this Thanksgiving, there is a chance for a repeat. I have been living back in LA for almost 2 years and have not had to navigate public transportation in a long time. Basically, this is all a long winded way of saying that I am going to be in NY to spend Thanksgiving with my sister-from-another-mister! Now October just needs to hurry up and pass…

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's all Mervyn LeRoy's fault...

I have had a somewhat irrational fear of birds for as long as I can remember. People always ask me where it comes from. Was I attacked by a bird when I was a kid? Did I watch The Birds too many times? I have never been able to pinpoint exactly where this phobia came from...until the other night.

I went to see The Wizard of Oz on the big screen, which was all kinds of awesome that I can't even begin to describe. I have seen this movie so many times that I could probably do the entire thing, word-for-word. I was sitting there and I was just like a child. I even managed to turn off my analytical brain so I wouldn't think about all the ways in which scenes could be viewed as offensive. It was great.

It came to the part in the enchanted forest, when the witch sends the winged monkeys to get Dorothy, and I felt the familiar sense of fear I feel every time I see a pigeon near me when I sit outside at a cafe. My heart rate goes up, my face gets hot, and I have a feeling that I should go the other way.

I couldn't believe it. My favorite movie of all time has caused one of my silliest phobias. The funniest part about it is that they weren't even birds!

Maybe now that I've figured out where this fear comes from, I'll be able to eat outside again without the fear of being attacked by crows who mistake me for a piece of bread and poke my eyeballs out.

Maybe not....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I get a little too much pleasure out of making other people uncomfortable...

Every week at Starbucks, the tips get split among all the employees based on the number of hours you work, which isn't necessarily fair, but it makes things easier, and, let's face it, in a corporate business, it's not about what's fair. Moving on. Every week, the shift supervisor tries to buy as much of the small change (coins, $1, $5) for the safe so that people don't end up with 3 rolls of quarters, 2 rolls of dimes, 3 rolls of nickels, and 1 roll of pennies. However, there are always a ton of $1 bills. Therefore, some weeks, I will end up with $36 in singles.

Now, this is not a bad thing. It makes me feel like I have more money than I actually do and it makes my wallet look full. Also, it gives me the chance to make old ladies at the supermarket totally uncomfortable, and slightly offended.

I was in line, buying some basic stuff that added up to $25ish. The cashier is a girl I knew from high school and we joke around whenever I have to pay in all ones, usually making some obvious joke about my job as a stripper. This day, however, there was a woman who had to be at least 75 in line behind me and I caught her giving me a strange look when I pulled out all my ones. Normally, I wouldn't pay much attention to some old woman who is so interested in everyone else's business that she has to notice when the girl in front of her pulls out a bunch of $1 bills. But, for some reason, I just could not resist.

Cashier: So, good night huh?

Me: Yeah. You know, it's really the lap dances where I make the big money but, to be totally honest though, I have more fun on the pole. It really lets me be creative.

The woman LITERALLY inched backwards to get away from me. The cashier laughed so hard that people in the lines next to us turned to stare. I walked out with a big grin.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thank god it was only $6...

This whole week, I've been working full time at the paper, which means I've been waking up early and going to bed early. Therefore, I looked forward to sleeping in today. Guess what time I woke up? 7:30 a.m. I was so determined to sleep in, I just stayed in bed until 8:45, trying to will myself to go back to sleep. It didn't work.

I decided that since I was up so damn early on a Saturday, I would go see a movie I had been wanting to see for a week: Julie and Julia. The plus of going early on a Saturday? AMC does this thing where any movie is $6 before noon. It's pretty great if you’re broke. Or cheap. Or if you wake up early for no fucking reason on a Saturday morning.

I really wanted to see this is because I thought it looked like an interesting idea, combining two life stories of women living in two very different times with two very different lives. Plus, anything with Meryl Streep I will see because, well, it's Meryl Streep!

I don't want to say I was disappointed, because there was a lot about the film I really enjoyed. But, about half of it I thought was pretty disappointing. Want to guess which half?

Meryl Streep was amazing. She was natural and did a great job portraying Julia Child as a woman who struggled with a lot but was grateful for all the amazing things she did have. Julia Child is a true legend and no one other than another legend could have played her so well. Stanley Tucci was a great choice to play Paul Child and there was an intimacy between the two of them that made the scenes very real and wonderful. It wasn't necessarily passion or fire, but more like that of a couple that has been through a lot together and are truly in love and happy. I would have been so happy to see a movie about Julia Child with just the two of them.

If Nora Ephron(writer/director/ruiner of Bewitched) had any sense, she would have just made the movie about Julia Child and left it at that. But, can I really expect that from someone who completely messed up a chance to remake a classic? (If you haven’t seen Bewitched, don’t waste your time.)

Now, I really like Amy Adams. I think she is cute and full of energy and has a lot of potential. However, this was not a great role for her. I didn’t fall in love right away like I did when Streep came on the screen and the entire movie I kept waiting to really feel something positive for her, but I just couldn’t. In a nutshell, Julie Powell wanted to be a writer but no one would publish her book, so she just goes day to day feeling bad at her job until she decides to take on this enormous task of cooking her way through Julia Child’s cookbook and blogging about it. If felt that she just was a self-loathing pathetic character who is shown sitting inside an apartment writing instead of going out or doing, or hell, even cooking. Almost all the scenes are of Adams at a laptop with a voiceover of what she is writing. The best scene was when she has to boil lobster and that is just because Ephron actually showed it! As much as I love to read and write, making a movie where someone spends her time writing her blog is not entertaining.

Plus, when you look at the great relationship Paul and Julia Child had and the way that Tucci and Streep played these characters, you look at Adams and Chris Messina and feel like you are watching two high school actors playing their first romantic role. It’s so forced and you don’t really feel like they are in love or understand why they even got married. I looked up more about Julie Powell and found out that she had an affair shortly after this year of cooking was over, which made the distance between the two make a little bit of sense. However, since Ephron did not include this, the couple just did not work.

Like I said, I only paid $6, which is half of what AMC charges for a movie. Therefore, since I only truly enjoyed half of the movie, I think I got my money’s worth.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In lieu of an actual post...

So, I'm too lazy to do an actual post so instead I'm doing one of those stupid things you get on Facebook...although this one I actually like... Plus I've added my priceless comments, so it's really a win-win!

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?
Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Look at the list and put a 'Yes' after those you have read. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so i can see your responses!"

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - Y (This was the first Jane Austen I read. Molly made me. My arm is still sore from the twisting she did. Although, I've totally converted.)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien -Y (I know...I'm a big nerd)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte -Y
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling - Y (Duh...)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - Y (Once again, I say Duh...any kind who went to high school in America has read this)

6 The Bible - (Sorta. I've read it in parts, but never as a whole. Plus, I didn't get into the Bible as Literature course I had wanted to when I was at Cal. Apparently I wasn't the only person who wanted to critically analyze the Bible.)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - Y (I read this when I was 12 and didn't get most of it. Then I read it again when I was 16 and enjoyed it. Then I read it for a class and fell totally in love.)
8 1984 - George Orwell - Y
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman - N
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens - Y (I hate Dickens. HATE.)

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott - Y (I wish I could tell you how many times I've read this but there is no numerical value large enough)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy - N
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller - Y
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - Y (Yeah, even Titus Andronicus.)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier - N

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien - Y (Once again, I display my Dork Card proudly!)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk - N
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - Y (I actually didn't get it until I was in college...)
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - N (Should I?)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot - N

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell -Y (My dad made me.)
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald -Y (I know it's kind of cheesy with obvious symbolism, but I still love it)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens - N (Once again, I hate Dickens.)
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy - N (Not that I haven't tried...)
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - Y (This one does not get my Dork Card approval.)

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh -N
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Y (For a class. I would not have read it by choice.)
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck - Y
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll - Y (If you think the movie is a druggie's dream, read the book.)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame - Y

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy - Y (Do I make up points I lost from War and Peace)
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens - N (For the 3rd time, HATE Dickens!)
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis - Y (I actually haven't read all of them, but I have read the majority of it, so I count it as a yes.)
34 Emma - Jane Austen - Y (SO funny...I never knew...)
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen - N (Not yet...It's on my list!)

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis - Y (Duh...)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hossein -N (Once again, I say, Should I?)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres - N
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden - Y
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne - Y

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell - Y
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - Y (Yes, and I would like my 4 hours back please. Dan Brown is everything wrong with writing, cuz he's TERRIBLE.)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Y
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving - N
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins - N

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery - Y (My sister used to have the whole series and I would swipe them when she wasn't looking.)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy - N
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood - N
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding - Y (I still get all teary when I think about Piggy)
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan - Y (I would recommend this to everyone. It's like SVU without all the overt evil.)

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel - N ( I tried and failed)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert - N
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons - N
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen - Y (My second attempt at Jane Austen. I loved the movie too...)
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth - N

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon - N
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens - Y (Still, nuthin but hate for you Chuck)
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - N
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon - N
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Y

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck - Y (And there is totally a guy who works at another Starbucks that we have dubbed can imagine why!)
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov - Y (Beautiful. And creepy...)
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt - N
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold - Y
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas - Y

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac - Y (Ramble much?)
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy - N
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding - Y (I'm not proud of this fact...)
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie - N
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville - Y (You kind of have to...)

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens - Y (For someone who hates Dickens, I really have read a lot of his work..)
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker - Y
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett - Y (One of the first books where I had seen the movie first and then read the book.)
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson - N
75 Ulysses - James Joyce - Y (Unfortunately.)

76 The Inferno - Dante - Y (Not only have I read it, but I have several analytical papers on it.)
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome - N
78 Germinal - Emile Zola - N
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray -Y
80 Possession - AS Byatt - N

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens - Y (Ok, this one I actually liked)
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell - N
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker - Y (Hello, only one of my favorite books)
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - N
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert - N

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry - N
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White -Y (How has anyone NOT read this book??????)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom - Y(Once again, I'm not proud.)
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Y (and I'm totally excited for the movie!!!)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton - N

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad - Y (This and The Waste Land duked it out for the bane of my English major existence...)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery - Y
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks - N
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams - N
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole - N

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute - Y
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas - Y
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare - Y (Again, I say duuuuuhhhhh)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Y
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo - N (Nor do I want to...)

Grand total: 51 1/2 (The half is the Bible)

BBC...I say I proved you WRONG. Although, I was an English major so I guess I cheated.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Where the hell have you been????

I know....I know....I haven't posted in forever. Here's why:

I have 2 jobs now.

Yeah, you read it correctly. In these troubled times where people are lucky to have one job, I have 2. There's been accusations that I am hoarding all the jobs for myself, but nothing's been proven. Yet.

Job #1 is still Starbucks, where I now work almost every night. They started doing this thing called "optimal scheduling" which means that you have the same shifts every week. It's easier for the managers because then, instead of having to come up with a new schedule ever week, all they have to do is switch people around to accommodate time off requests.(Not that my new store manager actually pays attention to such things....But that's another story.) It sucks for everyone else, though, because then you are stuck working with the exact same people every week, so if you work with someone you don't like or with, say, someone who moves at a snail's pace and then moves even slower when you point out how slowly he works, you're stuck with that person until he requests a day off. However, I no longer have to wake up at 4 am to be at work, so I'm totally fine with all of this.

Job #2 is working at a newspaper, where I was originally doing an internship. I was an editorial intern, but now I am working as an administrative assistant part time. Yup, I have the big fancy title that almost all 20-somethings have. It's a nice way of saying "I answer the phones and am just paying my dues until I can get the job I really want or find something that pays better." I don't mind it too much, though, because I am getting to learn about the business side of newspapers, which I wish I could say was interesting, but it's not. The more I work at the paper, the more I realize that newspapers are just for advertising. That's where the money comes from and it really isn't about the news or the stories. But, if it weren't for the money, then no one would ever get the news. I guess it's just a vicious circle, much like everything else in life!

So, you ask, how do I have any free time? Well, I totally do...not at all. When I do have free time, I have to spend it catching up on all the stuff I don't have time to do, like laundry. It's amazing how quickly someone with a million clothes can end up with nothing to wear. But, some of it is my own fault, since I kind of pack up my free time, so much so that I can no longer call it "free" time.

I'll start from my last post, which was about 3 weeks ago.

My sister came down from Sacramento, so I spent the time I wasn't working hanging out with her. By "hanging out" I mean driving her around to see her friends. I think it's revenge for when we were younger and she had to drive me around. But it's ok, we had some good sister-time, like going to a movie-in-the-park and eating delicious corn and BBQ.

The next weekend, I was off on Friday and Saturday, so I went to see my grandparents. Going to their house is always fun because we just sit around and talk and catch up. We went to see The Ugly Truth, which kind of horrified me at first because I had read that it was a raunch-com. But, it was more of a raunchy chick flick. And the raunchiness wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, so there was really no awkwardness with my Grandma after. On Saturday, my grandma and I had lunch with her sister, my Aunt Peggy, aka me in 60 years. No joke. She is loud and inappropriate and doesn't hold anything back, which I LOVE! The first time she met me as an adult, it was at my cousin Cheryl's wedding and I was wearing a particularly low-cut blue dress, so naturally my boobs were the prominent accessory. Before the ceremony started, she turned to my Uncle Greg and said, "Who's the slut in the blue dress?" Therefore, everytime I go to my grandparents' house, we try to get together with Aunt Peggy, if for no other reason than she's entertaining!

Then last weekend, well, that was just chock full of fun! Saturday was Alec's birthday, and, naturally, we ended up at Timmy Nolan's. I will spare Alec's dignity and keep the antics of the evening to myself, but needless to say, we had a good time.

Sunday was Torrey's wedding reception, basically the wedding minus the boring ceremony part. (I'm sorry, but let's be honest, the ceremony is boring. It can be lovely and moving, but whatever. I'm here for he party.) Torrey and Stephen got married in Hawaii, so my broke-ass, in addition to many other broke-asses, could not attend. Therefore, her parents threw them a reception here in Burbank so we could all celebrate their new togetherness. It was soooo much fun. Richard Blade was the DJ (If you don't know who Richard Blade is, then you didn't grow up in LA.) We all just danced and ate and drank. Then, that night, 6 of us went bowling and I got to show off how awful I am at bowling. I mean it. I'm terrible.

So, there you have it. I will do my best to update more often mainly because it drives me nuts not writing. I wish I had a better excuse other than "I'm busy" but the whole point of this blog is to write about living, so sometimes the "living" gets in the way of the blogging.

Friday, July 17, 2009

This is a Harry Potter Post (I'm sorry)

Yes, I am one of millions of people who read and love the Harry Potter series.

Yes, I am also one of millions who loves the Harry Potter movies.

I'm sorry. But I just can't help it.

I didn't actually start reading the books until after I watched the first movie on HBO with my friend Kasandra. I knew what it was and I knew that it was this huge series of kid's books, but I was a little old for it, so I had never actually read it. Well, she had and she insisted that I would LOVE the books and they were all amazing.

Begrudgingly, I borrowed her copy of the first book and read it. Despite that it was written for children, I thought it was written really well. It had interesting characters and a great plot. I'm not that into science fiction or fantasy, but for some reason, the first book caught my interest. So I bought the second and read it.

Then I bought the third and read it.

Then, I bought the fourth and read it.

Then, I went with Kasandra to reserve my copy of the fifth and I have been a fan ever since. I know that I'm a little too old for it, but to be honest, that's half the fun! Sometimes I need something that reminds me that there is a lot of fun in the world and all I have to do is let myself find it.

I really think JK Rowling did a great job with the series. Not only do the kids develop and grow up, but the writing actually grows with them. The books do not all read like children's books, but instead, well, grow up. Granted, they are not Ayn Rand, but there are subtle complexities that anyone can appreciate.

Now, the movies.

I treat these as a seperate entity becasue they have to change so much to make it translateable for the screen. If, after every movie, I compared them to the book, I would drive myself nuts. Plus, I would never enjoy the movies and it would be pointless to spend the money to see it. But, so far I have yet to be disappointed.

I think they did an amazing job at casting. Everyone, from Harry all the way down to the guys who play Crabbe and Goyle (the kid who plays Crabbe just plead guilty to growing pot. Just an interesting side note.), is cast exactly how I imagine it when I read the books. Alan Rickman as Snape is probably my favorite.

The effects and the acting can be a bit, to be perfectly honest, bad at times, but I really think they make an effort to stay true to the book, even if that means some things have to be cut out. It might be frustrating, but overall, I think they have done a great job so far.

So yeah, I'm a nerd. I like to go to the midnight showing the day it comes out because I get to see all the big fans who dress up and I can cheer without distrubing everyone. It's ok, though. I enjoy it and, at this point, I am not ashamed to admit it! (Although, up til now, I never wrote a blog about it. I am a nerd, aren't I?)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Don't you ever stop readin'?

It has been a really long time since I have written about what I'm reading, so, since I feel like writing something but don't really have much to write about, I figure I might as well write about the books I'm trying to get through right now.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. This is one of those books that got such great reviews from so many people, I finally caved and picked it up. It had nothing to do with the fact that it was on sale at Target. So far, I'm only about 70 pages in, but it really is interesting. He is talking about how the correlation between the month kids are born and their likihood at being successful hockey players. It is all very interesting, but I'm also finding it hard to read more than 20 pages at a time because I end up thinking too hard about it and losing focus. We'll see how it goes.

Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth Gilbert. My friend Cierra talked me into this one. She actually didn't talk me into it so much as insisted that I read it. Plus, I found it at the dollar book store. Anyone else sensing a pattern?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I'm seeing it at midnight next Tuesday! I can't wait!

Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown, Jennifer Scanlon. Helen Gurley Brown is a bestselling author and was the editor of Cosmo for 30 years and is overlooked as a great feminist. I read the review for this book in the NY Times Book Review one Sunday and, rare thing for me to buy hardcovers, too. I am about halfway through and I really find her when a book I'm interested in reading gets a good review from the Times, I go buy it. It's a very fascinating. Jennifer Scanlon has a tendency to be redundant, but overall it is written well and interestingly.

Slumberland. Paul Beatty. So one of the things I miss the most about working at Barnes and Noble are little things called Advanced Reader Copies. The publishers send these out to authors and bookstores to get feedback on the book. When the book actually comes out, they take quotes from this feedback and put it on the cover to try to intice you to buy. Well, once again at my trusted dollar bookstore, I found an ARC of this novel. It is not even out in paperback yet, so it was a major score for me. (Have I mentioned I hate hardcovers?) I read Beatty's White Boy Shuffle in my contemporary African American Lit class and fell in love with him. He writes very lyrically and I think the way he infers rather than tells with his satirical style is brilliant. This is about a DJ's quest for the "perfect beat," which leads him to West Berlin. I think the writing is beautiful, but I'm not quite sure about the plot yet. I just need to keep reading.

Now, here's my dillemma: I can't read fast enough! I want to finish all of these books because I have about 108 other books I want to read, not to mention the fact that I haven't even read the NY Time Books section yet today, which means there will be another 100 books I want to read.

This is just another reason I need to start waking up earlier.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Just because I get lost doesn't mean I don't enjoy it...

This past weekend I went up north for my good friend Molly's Welcome Home soiree. You know me, if there is a party involving a good friend and wine country then I’m so there. I hopped on a plane, rented a car, and headed up to Sonoma.

And promptly got lost.

I had no troubles getting from the Oakland Airport to the 101 and then on to the 37 and the 121. Then, when the signs said “121/12 to Sonoma/Napa” I decided this must be the “slight right” Google Maps was talking about. Not so much. (Sidebar: Yes, I know I’m from SoCal because I put “the” in front of the highway/freeway numbers. Thanks for pointing that out, Molly.)

I started noticing that there weren’t any street signs, at least not any that were visible from the highway. After about 2 miles I decided I was going the wrong way and turned around on one of these small roads. It turns out that these “roads” were actually DRIVEWAYS to wineries. No wonder I couldn’t see the street signs. They weren’t actually streets.

Once I got back to the correct highway, I found the “slight right” Google Maps was talking about and took that. Now, the street actually looked like streets and there were houses that I could see. But then I got nervous that I had passed the street I was looking for and called Molly.

“So..I’m like 99% sure I’m lost. I just passed Petaluma Road but I think I missed…”

“Kimmi. You just haven’t gone far enough.”

As soon as I hung up with her, I saw a car pulling out of one of these streets, and sure enough, that was the one I was looking for. Which I realized as I was passing it. I turned around and got onto the correct street and found Molly’s house really easily after that. I’m sure it was all my navigational instincts that told me which house was the correct one. It had nothing to do with the Cal decals on each one of the cars in the driveway.

This got me to thinking. Why is it that when I am in a city like LA or San Francisco, I feel more comfortable, even when I am lost much worse than I was in a small town like Sonoma?

I always hear people talk about how independent they are in “the City,” but if you think about it, they are actually incredibly dependent. In San Francisco, driving along the Embarcadero, there are 100 signs telling you where Fisherman’s Wharf, the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Exposition Park are. There are even signs with “alternate routes” to the 80. Even outside of the tourist-heavy areas, there are a ton of signs pointing you in the right direction. In Sonoma, there were no signs like this. There were a few signs advertising delicious wine, but, for the most part, I was on my own.

So what’s my point? I don’t really know. I just think it’s so interesting that I rely so much on signs pointing me in the right direction when I’m at home or in SF, but when I get outside, I have to rely on my own sense of direction. Although, when I do get lost, I am then able to find my way much easier the next time.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Journeys are not what it's all about

You know that saying “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”? Well, in my opinion, that’s bull. I hate the “journey” part of traveling. I hate the airport and I hate flying.

My hate for the airport is not necessarily for the “hassle” as much as it is the reasons behind the hassle and the idiots who don’t get it. You have to put all your belongings on display for some stranger to X-ray and then, if you’re lucky, another stranger will then make you open your bag and display all your stuff for the rest of the travelers as well. Then, once you get past the humiliation of walking through a public facility with no shoes on, you must pay $3 for a burnt, tasteless cup of coffee. Plain coffee. It’s another $2 for cream and sugar. All of this “hassle” because a small percentage of people decided they needed to fly planes into buildings to make their point. Or because a few people decided that blowing up a plane with liquid explosives would be a good idea. Thanks.

Then, the other source of the hassle is the fact that people can’t seem to comprehend that 3 oz in a clear plastic bag means 3 oz in a clear plastic bag. Not a big bottle of shaving cream shoved underneath all the stuff in your already too large carry on bag. And yes, ma’am, you do need to take your shoes off. Just do it and stop complaining.

Overall, the “hassle” at the airport is something that is manageable. I hate it, but I handle it.

The act of flying is the other part of the “journey” that I am not in love with. Somehow the idea of being 36,000 feet above the ground is not comforting or exciting. Plus, the seats are so close together that your either have to get really comfortable touching the person next to you for the duration, or you have to fidget like the lady in the hemorrhoid cream commercials in order to avoid physical contact.

Then there’s landing. Racing toward cement at hundreds of miles per hour with only a few small wheels to save you from slamming into the asphalt.

Even with all of these fears and concerns and discomforts, I still do it. I know that, in order to reach my destination, I have to put of all of this scary, uncomfortable and stressful stuff in order to get to where I’m going.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

One more way I annoy all the people that hang out with me...

The other night, I went to see The Taking of Pelham 123 with my friend Ricky. The movie was pretty freakin' awesome and I have to say, John Travolta is the best bad guy ever. When the movie ended, Ricky got up to leave and I didn't.

"What? You're not ready to go?"

"I sit through the credits."

"Haha...what you think there is going to be something at the end?" When I don't move, he gets very awkward and looks around at the rest of the moviegoers filing out of the theater. "You were serious?"

"Yeah I was. I can meet you outside if you'd like."

He then gave me the look that many people do. Bewildered and annoyed.

So here's the thing. I know a lot of people who work in the entertainment industry. And not just actors or directors but teamsters, set dressers, grips, and even caterers and assistants. All of these people get their names in the credits, but 90% of people that go to movies don't bother to sit there and see the name of the guy who drove the truck or the assistant the assistant of Denzel Washington. These are the people who make less than a sixth of what everyone else is making and they are doing the worst job possible and getting no respect for it.

Therefore, at the end of a movie, it is all I can do to spend an extra five minutes to watch the credits and see the name of the guy who picks up the poo of John Travolta's dog. Even if they get no respect from anyone else, they have mine while I watch the names go up to the top of the screen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I will always be a Zack Morris kind of girl...

In the 10th grade, my Pre-Cal teacher, Mr. Peebles, issued us a challenge. We had all completely bombed a test and, since tests were 90 percent of our grade, he decided to offer up a chance to get some extra credit. The rules were simple: come up with a question about Saved by the Bell that he could not answer. Only questions having to do within the realm of the show were acceptable, therefore no bullshit questions like “What was the name of the actor who played the nerd Screech took Tori Spelling away from?” (Jeffrey Asch). Being the competitive person that I am, I decided that I didn’t want to win for the extra credit. I wanted to crush Peebles.

Peebles was one of those teachers who taught you by forcing you to grow up and take responsibility for the work you did. Or don’t do, as was the case with me. He was also a bit of a jerk who knew which buttons to push in order to make you work, but somehow keep you motivated instead of making you want to quit. He could joke around with you and insult you and yet, you came out of it feeling like you were smarter. However, I don’t like cocky people, so my goal was to make sure I brought him down off of his high horse.

I grew up watching Saved By the Bell. The only reason I would wake up before 10 on a Saturday morning was to watch. (Ok, maybe I also got up to watch Power Rangers. Whatever…Tommy was hot….and still is based on the images I found on Google…) So, when Peebles brought up the challenge, I reached into the farthest corners of my brain to pull up that useless knowledge taking up space I should have been using for Pre-Cal.

We had one class period to come up with our question. We were not allowed to check the Internet or go home and do research on our stash of videos. With 20 minutes left in class, we all started asking our questions. As he worked his way around the room, I realized that there really wasn’t any question Peebles couldn’t answer.

Who were the original cast members? (Zack, Mr. Belding, Lisa, Screech)
Where did they live when the show originally started? (INdianappolis, Indiana) What was the name of the all girl group Lisa, Kelly and Jessie formed? (Hot Sundae)
What was the name of Tori Spelling’s character? (Violet Bickerstaff)

None of these even made Peebles hesitate. I was the last one to go and I smiled my most vicious smile. “What was the name of Jessie’s stepbrother?”


“Umm…Hang on.” He was sweating. “I know this.” More sweat and now a bit of a nervous shake. “I….don’t…know?” Yeah. I stumped him.

Here’s the problem though: I also stumped myself. He never said anything about having to actually know the answer! I left class feeling horrible. I had done the impossible in stumping the self-proclaimed King of Saved By the Bell trivia, but I had lost on a non-verbalized technicality.

Two classes later, it was still bugging me. I was in Spanish and should have been focusing on how to conjugate verbs, but all I could think about was the name of Jessie’s brother. I was deep in thought when the door opened. I was Peebles. He didn’t say anything, just walked up to the white board, wrote “Eric” and walked back out. Needless to say, I still wasn’t focusing on the correct conjugation of “trabajar.”

Now, almost 10 years later, I am back to thinking about this story. Why? Jimmy Fallon is trying to get the class back together. Only two more cast members need to confirm and those of us who are Bayside Tigers at heart will have our dreams come true. Now if only Jimmy Fallon would reunite the original Power Rangers…plus Tommy.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

How House became a Home...

For some reason, I’m really good at enjoying shows that have been on for a long time or are about to go off the air. I didn’t start watching Sex and the City until it was off the air. I didn’t get into Gilmore Girls until the last season. I didn't even start watching That 70’s Show regularly until Donna went blond. So, now I am of course into House.

The first few times I watched House I did not enjoy it. I thought House was a jerk no one could ever like. He put everyone down and is rude and mean and has a drug problem. He might be brilliant but I didn’t find that enough of a reason to watch. I remember thinking that glorifying someone like this is a bad idea. The only reason I was able to get through those first three episodes was, to be completely honest, Omar Epps. Shocking right?

Then, of course, USA started airing the repeats. Normally I wouldn’t watch the show that is taking away the airtime of my favorite show to watch in syndication. (SVU) But, I was bored and sometimes House can be funny. (“Yeah, I’ve been training for Pants Off Dance Off.” Anything with a Pants Off Dance Off reference is good by me.) (If you don’t know what Pants Off Dance Off is, Google it. Your life will never be the same. Whole different blog…) I slowly realized that House, while an expert in misanthropy, is actually the most honest character on television. Anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy nothing more than brutal honesty.

Yes, there are times when I think he goes too far and when I don’t actually believe any human being could be that mean or break that many rules. But there are also times when he gives in and becomes human and that what makes it brilliant. TV shows are entertaining because of the unpredictable, and no matter how well I can correctly guess how the plot of an episode will go, I have yet to guess how House’s character will react and the direction he will take. It keeps me watching and hoping that he’ll one day get out of his misery and hoping that he never will.

Which is why I bought the first four seasons at Target in the past two weeks. Best money I’ve spent in a long time.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A little picky is fine...High maintenance is not

It takes a lot for me to find someone truly high maintenance. I am used to people being uber picky about how they want their drinks, but every once in awhile, I get a customer who makes me glad that I only have to deal with them at work. If I had to hang out with these people, I'd probably be in jail for murder.

The other morning, this guy came in. He was wearing a nice striped button down with navy slacks and really didn't have any of the tell-tale markers of a high maintenance person (Bluetooth headseat, executive notebook, very large purse with three different agendas, and pretty much anyone who, at 5 am, looks like they've been up for 2 hours to put themselves together). Then he orderd, and it was a whole new level of fastidiousness.

"I'd like, in a paper cup, a Venti Coffee Frap." Pause to make sure I got that he wanted his cold drink in a paper cup. I kept to myself the fact that if you put a Frap in a paper cup, the cup will become soggy and leak all over his perfectly-pressed pants. (Yes, after his first sentence I started noticing all the little things that made him picky. He didn't keep cash in a wallet but kept it in a money clip. All of them were new bills. God forbid there's a wrinkle in that 20.)

"With no Whip." Pretty normal for, well, everyone in LA. Not too annoying.

"With an add shot blended in." Pretty normal for anytime before 10 am. Again, not too annoying, but getting there.

"With one and a half scoops of tall ice." Shit. Just when he only borded on picky, he became high maintenance.

I know what you're thinking. How come with just one line he became high maintenance? Well, here's the thing. If I have to walk over to the bar and read the instructions to the person making the drinks, your bitchass is high maintenance. Demanding, picky, stubborn, controlling; all of these are understandable, but just plain high maintenance is not. You're holding up everyone else and you are making my job a lot tougher than it needs to be. Not to mention the fact that you're getting shit you don't need in a very complicated way and it makes you look like a complete fool.

So, the next time you are in Starbucks or at a restaurant, think about what you're ordering. If it involves changing more than two things, don't get it. You probably don't need that decaf, half soy, half nonfat, 190 degree, no foam, one pump mocha, one pump cinnamon dulce, no whip latte. Save your money for something imporant. Like shoes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reason number 898,974 that proves people are idiots...

Guy in line to Bianca, who is at the register: Tell me about your Shaken Iced Tea.

Bianca: Sure. What would you like to know?

Guy: Is it iced?

Bianca: (Without smiling or showing any sign of her assessment of what an idiot this guy was) Umm...yeah....

I let out a snort that I tried to cover up as a cough and the girl with the guy in line just went "HA!" The guy didn't get it.

What I really wanted to say: No, dipshit, it's called Iced Tea because we enjoy fooling customers and then answering dumb questions to waste our time and frustrate our employees.

By the way, anyone who told you "There's no such thing as a stupid question" is someone who asks stupid questions and you should never take advice from them.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why Living in LA Sometimes Doesn't Suck

There are very few things that are truly cool about my dad being a teamster for ABC(i.e. one of the guys in the trucks who drives all the shit needed for the show from one place to the set) (AKA, that asshole who just cut you off when you were getting on the freeway because he's bigger and stronger than you. You know you've seen him). Honestly, the production of a TV show is REALLY boring and tedious, followed by about 20 minutes of actual action. It involves sitting around waiting to do your part on the show, whether it's decorate the set, set up the lights, or do the actual performing/directing/acting, and then waiting some more to do the next part of your job. Trust me, even if you are a tourist and someone takes you backstage to see your fave show, you're getting the put-your-best-face-on-and-make-it-look-interesting version of how it all actually works.

That being said, one of the best things about my dad being a teamster is that he works on Jimmy Kimmel Live sometimes, and therefore knows everyone that works there, including the security guards. Therefore, when someone I really want to see is going to be performing, I can not only get in to see the show, I can get in to see the sound check.(And they don't say anything about my expired ID) (Did I forget to mention that I sometimes work as a teamster? My bad) Well yesterday, one of my favorite groups was performing. You may have heard of them...The Black Eyed Peas. (Insert envy here.)

The best thing about seeing the sound checks is getting to see what the performers are really like. Not the "performance" part of the person, but the "professional" part of the person. When I saw Maroon 5 do their sound check, it was more entertaining than the actual show because they were just jamming, playing everything from Metallica to the Beatles. They were all having a good time and seemed like a cohesive group. Usher was the most professional person I've ever seen. He was insitent on doing all the choreography and making sure that everyone was singing on pitch and that the drums weren't too loud. Jay-Z was scary because there were "security" guys on the roof guns. BEP was a different story.

Not to say they didn't get along, but you could see that Will.I.Am is kind of a diva, Fergie was, well, confused and had obviously not rehersed much, Taboo couldn't say focused for more than 2 seconds and was a bit, um, out of place. (The backup dancers, who had been going over the routine before the band came on stage, looked like they'd been doing it for years, even though 2 of them had just learned it.) Will was running around and saying hi to everyone and not doing any of the choreography, instead choosing make inappropriate hand gestures with his mic. And yes, I laughed at each one. Fergie just looked baffled. She couldn't get all the moves and couldn't remember the lyrics a few time through. Taboo kept looking around and talking to anyone within a foot of him. I can't tell you how many times the manager had to yell "Tab!" during the sound check to get him back into place. Apl kept bouncing from working on the choreography to leaning on one of the giant blow up robots, to messing with his mic and, my favorite, standing there like the kid at a party who doesn't really know where to go so stares at the ground instead.

Through all of this, they still put on a good show. "Boom Boom Pow" wasn't as good as I thought it would be, but I think it's becuase this was their first time performing it and they, obviously, didn't go over it enough. They did a few of their other songs and that's when it was really entertaining. They looked like they knew what they were doing and were really into it, making the crowd get into it.

I did catch a quick glimpse of Fergie when she was walking back from the stage and I got a nod and a smile. She is MUCH prettier in person. Being the professional that I am, I refused to turn into a screaming fan so I just smiled at her and tried not to tell her she looked like the alien version of Princess Leia with those wierd green things on her ears.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Offense sells tickets; defense wins games

With the NBA playoffs well underway and the WNBA season coming up (Ashley Paris in LA...I can't wait to see how she does!) I got to thinking today about all the reasons basketball is my favorite sport. I came up with a lot. The most important one seems, to me, pretty basic: it’s completely fair.

First of all, if one team scores, the other gets the chance to retaliate instantly. There aren’t three more outs to wait for or 100 more yards to get through to even the score. It's your five against a theirs. If you can’t score the next time down, it’s on you. The other team might have played awesome defense, but just the same, you get the chance to go down to the other end and play defense just as well.

Secondly, it’s FAST! I’ve seen teams come back from a 20-point deficit in just 5 minutes. Or execute a last-second-timeout drawn up play in only 5 seconds. There is so much going on that it’s very hard to get bored. Even at a blowout game, there are a few minutes when the underdog starts to comeback and you think the game might even get interesting.

Finally, it’s not all about being the biggest or the best; it’s about heart. Well, ok, having true talent does make it a lot easier. However, there are plenty of times when The Best are brought down by those who just wanted it more and worked harder for it. I will never forget when I played against a team who had beat us at home 100-28. (That’s not a typo. We lost by 72 points. At home. It SUCKED) But, when we went into their house, we didn’t have anything to lose. So, we came out and kept them from scoring the first 5 minutes of the game and, even though we lost in the end, we only lost by 15. The fans did that annoying thing where they stand until their team scores and I have to say, it felt good to see that half their fans sat down before they scored. Those are the best games to watch and the best games to play. (And it’s always fun to walk by the smaller gym during the men’s game and see the other team running lines.)

Now, I’m not trying to say that other sports aren’t as fair. But, if you take away all of the other factors (excuses), at the end of the day all you need is a ball, a basket, and an opponent, even if that opponent is just you.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Birthday Story with a Hobo Twist

There is really small Mexican restaurant in Silver Lake that my dad found and that we all thoroughly enjoy now, so, when my mom asked where I would like to go to dinner for my b-day, I said “Casita Del Campo.”

We went and the food was delicious and the margaritas strong, as usual. I ate too much and felt a little sick and tired afterward, which is the true way to know you’ve had a great meal.

On the way home, there is weird turn you have to make in order to go underneath a bridge to get to the freeway. Sitting on the divider of the strange turn was a homeless man. Not a rare sight in Los Angeles, but he had a sign that said, “Why Lie? I want a beer!”

I kept watching him while looking for a few dollar bills to give him and I realize he’s working ON A LAPTOP!! Then, he picks up a PDA and sets it down next to the laptop. Most normal people would this was wholly unacceptable because what the hell kind of homeless person has a laptop and a PDA (and a cell phone, as l later found out). Not me. I thought it was great!

As we make the turn I say, “Dad, let’s go the liquor store and buy him a beer and bring it to him and take a picture with him for my birthday!” To my surprise, my dad pulls over at the next liquor store! We make my mom go buy the beer and she walks out with a tall can of MGD. “It was only $2.25 for the 24 ounce can, so I figured that’s what I should get.”

We pull back around and pull up across the street. I look up and say, “Umm…Dad. There is no crosswalk…How do we get over there?”

“We run like hell.” I’m in heels mind you.

We sprint across the street and come up to the guy. I hand him the beer and say, “I liked your sign so much that I went and bought you a beer. But you can only have it if you take a picture with me.” He laughed, picked up his sign and posed for the picture.

But the best part is when he starts to ask me what I do for a living and go on about how he’s doing his “paperwork for the Oval Office” and that people call him “Number 52” because “52 is the number of everything.” 52 cards in a deck, 52 weeks in a year, something about Jesus was the number 52. I don’t really know.

Dad and I go sprinting back across the street and hop into the car, where Mom is giggling and calling us crazy. Dad pulls through the 76 station to make an illegal U-turn and who should be on the other side but about 6 of Glendale’s finest! They were too busy having their powwow to notice the red car with the three people laughing hysterically.

Now that’s the way you should spend your b-day. Doing something illegal, stupid and kind of offensive with your parents. Classic.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Top Ten Ways to Prevent Something Gross From Being Done to Your Drink

I was at work today and, as usual, I’ve decided that I completely agree with House. People are idiots. So, in order to help all of you not be so damn stupid, I am going to list all the common idiotic behaviors and tell you what you should do instead.

1. It’s so damn simple. BE NICE!!!! I’m not saying you need to listen to your barista tell you her life story, but when she says, “How are you today?” don’t just look at her like she’s inconveniencing you. Say, “I’m good. I”ll have a….” So simple.

2. It’s perfectly fine to have a complicated drink. What’s not ok is to have a complicated drink that you don’t tell the person at the register. I can’t tell you how many times a day people will order something basic, a latte let’s say, and then walk over to the bar and say “Oh, can I have that decaf? With nonfat milk? And no foam? With only one shot?” In my head, I say, “ You dumb bitch. No, you’re getting regular with heavy cream and extra foam” but out loud, I say, “Sure, no problem.” Because I have to.

3. On those same lines, do not have a super complicated drink and then quiz the barista about it. “Is it nonfat? No foam? Decaf?” Yes, you stupid fuck. I just called all that out and now you’re asking me to repeat it again? Pay attention the first time and then you won’t have to worry about it.

4. Another so simple one: PAY ATTENTION. Names are put on cups for a reason, so DO NOT WALK UP THE BAR AFTER “BOB” HAS BEEN CALLED OUT AND ASK “IS THAT MY DRINK?” IF YOUR NAME IS STEPHANIE. No, it’s not your drink. Yes, sometimes the names are misheard, but usually it is easy to figure out that, whoops, “Bob” should have been “Rob.” If your name wasn’t put on your cup, then pay attention to the drink the barista calls out.

5. The next is know what you order and NEVER walk up and say “Is this mine?” I HAVE NO FRACKING CLUE IF THAT IS YOURS BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU ORDERED. Instead, say, “Is this my nonfat latte?”

6. Ok, I know that we screw up drinks. Remember that everyone is human and, sometimes, we have been up since 4 a.m. and are suffering from sleep deficiency. The proper way to handle this is to say, “Excuse me, but I asked for 2 extra pumps and this doesn’t taste right.” Say it very nicely without attitude and be understanding about it. You have every right to be angry that your drink wasn’t made correctly the first time, but the more angry you get at us, the more fucked up that drink will be. Just because you’re staring at me watching make your drink doesn’t mean I don’t know how to screw with it. Not that I ever would. Hypothetically.

7. PICK UP YOUR SHIT. There are trash cans all over the place, so rather than leaving your empty cups and newspapers on the table, drop them in the trash can on your way out. Your mom doesn’t work here and won't pick up after you. I ain't your mama either, so I will hate you for the rest of the time you come to my store if you don't pick up after yourself. This also goes for spilling sugar on the condiment bar and not cleaning it up or dropping something on the ground and leaving.

8. TURN THE VOLUME OF YOUR CONVERSATION DOWN. I’m telling you, if I hear one more conversation about whether or not that girl's boobs are real or that you have some sort of rash on your “hidden areas and aren’t sure which guy” you got it from, I’m going to give my opinion. (Yes, both of those have been real conversations I overheard.)

9. DO NOT MOCK, CLOWN, HATE ON, OR TALK SHIT ABOUT THE PERSON SERVING YOU FOOD. Especially when she can hear you. It makes an already thankless job even worse and it is what causes bad customer service. If you go everywhere and everyone treats you badly, it’s not them. It’s you.

10. DO NOT COMMENT ON THE PRICES OR HOW LONG THE LINE IS. We cannot control the prices, so don’t complain to me. I agree that it’s expensive but you’re choosing to spend $5 on a drink, so just accept it and move on. Same with the line. If you walk in and there are 10 people in front of you, realize that there is going to be wait. You’re choosing to get in line and wait for a drink, so if you don’t wanna wait, go to 7-11.

That’s it. It’s simple and easy to have a good experience. Then, when someone is truly rude to you and you have done nothing, you can do what I do: make a scene.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Books, sunshine, writers and lectures: what more could I ask for?

It’s Saturday and a beautiful, clear 75 degrees outside. So what do I do?

Go to the LA Times Festival of Books of course!

I had planned on going for quite sometime, mainly because, well, it’s a festival of BOOKS! But then I found out that there would be a lot of great writers and publishers there, so I got even more excited.

It was held at UCLA and, even though I’ve been to UCLA more times than I can tell you, I realized today that I had never really seen it. The buildings are beautiful and, although the campus is huge, it was easy to get around and find my way. (Plus, there were no major hills, like at the better UC up north) It was the perfect venue to hold a festival like this and it made me miss school a lot.

The first panel I went to was called “Fiction: the Re-imagination of a Life.” Now, I’m not a fiction writer. I wouldn’t say that I suck at writing fiction, but I could name a few who would. But I am always curious to learn new and interesting ways to write, so this seemed like a great place to start. The panelists were people I had never heard of, but am now interested in reading. They brought up a lot of good points about character and theme and I got a few ideas for some fiction I might one day actually sit down and write.

Then I did the less intellectual part of my journey. I went to see Alyssa Milano talk about her new book. I wasn’t going to but I caught the end of the speaker before her (Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years!) and a seat opened up so I sat and listened to her. I’ve always been pretty indifferent to her, but today I realized just how cool she is. Her book is about baseball and how it helped her form a relationship with her dad, which is something I can totally relate to. She was very entertaining and interesting and, even though I considered this the less stimulating of my journeys today, I felt like maybe I should go buy her book.

The next panel I went to was a discussion with Ray Bradbury. Yes, as in Fahrenheit 451. (!!!!!) I was very excited, even though I had to choose between him and Gore Vidal. To tell the truth, it was kind of boring. It was more of an interview than a discussion and it was crowded and hot in the auditorium. Plus I had a man next to me who obviously thought that sporting sandals and socks while wearing no deodorant is an appropriate thing to do in public. But, how many people can say they got to hear Ray Bradbury speak for free? Well, probably about 500 because that’s how many the auditorium held.

The last panel I went to was called “Publishing: the Big Picture” and it was very interesting. They talked about how the problem isn’t really that Americans don’t read, it’s that they don’t buy books. They also talked about how the main reason people don’t read is because there is so much to read and people are overwhelmed by choice. It really made me think because, for me, when I walk into a bookstore and see all the choices, it exhilarates me. I love that there is so much to read and that there are endless possibilities. But, I do understand how hard it can be to have to choose when there are a million options.

I didn’t end up buying anything because I got turned off by the amount of people crammed into the little booths. I did, however, write down some presses to look up and a few authors to google. I had a great day there and am glad I went.

I also thought about how happy I am to be the kind of person that can go do something like this without needing someone to be with me. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t see it as fun or would think it was pointless, even scary.

But honestly, I do kind of wish someone would have gone with me, because there was tremendous mocking potential. I didn’t know you could still buy Hammer pants and Keds, but boy-o-boy was I wrong!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Just keep your mouth shut until you get in the car and are on the freeway!

I have discovered somewhere that is incredibly dangerous. It is a place that is a comfort for most and even a safe haven, but for me, it is a place to be feared and avoided at all costs.


I didn’t grow up with a WalMart down the street, so I have never really found a need to go there. I have Target, which is just as good. Not to say that I have never been in a WalMart before in my life, but this weekend I got the true WalMart experience. And IT FREAKED ME OUT!

My sister got a new apartment and we were shopping for stuff like bookcases and trash cans and pretty much the necessities. We went to Ikea and then decided to head to WalMart right next door to see if they had the other stuff we needed.

We walk in and I am instantly overwhelmed. There is so much stuff! To my left, the produce aisle. To my right, the lingerie section. In front of me, all the morally appropriate CDs I could ever ask for. Behind me, the poor greeter to whom I said, “Holy shit, this is white trash heaven!” I’m surprised I didn’t get a riffle pulled on me by some of the guys who no doubt had them in the back of their raised pickups.

As we are walking through, we can’t find anything! It takes three times as long to find things as it would in a supermarket or a drugstore or even in Ikea! Plus, there were about 200 workers but, because if it's gargantuan size, you couldn’t find a single person to help you! Crazy!

Now, I understand why WalMart is potentially so fabulous: convenience and price. You can find a new outfit, accessorize it, do your grocery shopping, get an eye exam and a physical, fill your prescriptions, have your hair and nails done all to have a wonderful dinner at Blimpie with a little ice cream from the frozen food section, while your tires are getting rotated. All for under $50. Why go anywhere else when everything you need is right there?

Oh yeah, maybe because “convenience” is not always convenient. Or pleasant.

There is so much stuff that it is hard to find even one thing. I would rather go 10 places that specialize in what I am looking for and I can go in, get it done and leave, rather than spending 20 minutes wandering around looking for stuff or being horrified by the hairstyles people are getting in the “salon" and wondering if the potato salad really is any cheaper than the stuff at Safeway. (I didn’t know that “feathering” was still even taught in beauty school.)

I think that the cherry on top, however, was that when we were walking out, there was a very large family walking in front of us. (I mean "large" both in numbers and actual size. But, let's be honest, who am I to comment on "largeness"?) The mom had bleach blond hair with long, airbrushed acrylic nails, a spaghetti strap tank top with her bra hanging out, cutoff shorts and flip flops. The dad was wearing flip flops, cutoffs, a beater and his sunglasses on his head. Then, there were 8 kids around them, in addition to a baby in the cart and a 2ish-year-old in the mom’s arms. The little boys all had faux hawks and the little girls all had fake tattoos. The contents of the cart are what truly solidified their white trash standing: beer right next to the diapers. There was also three times as much beer as there were diapers. I started laughing rather loudly and the woman turned around to stare at the crazy woman who is guffawing to herself. I had to bite my tongue so I wouldn’t blurt out “Spending quality family time at the WalMart huh? Are the kids going to help you drink the beer and change the diapers of the other kids while your husband gets the little girls real tattoos to match their fake ones?”

WalMart is a dangerous place for me.

Friday, April 10, 2009

It was only supposed to be a simple trip to San Diego

It started innocently enough. Go down to San Diego for Lisa’s baby shower, then have dinner with Iisha, then go home. I should know better than to expect that anything will be as uncomplicated as it appears to be.

Here’s the thing. My car had a small coolant leak that my dad thought he had fixed. Fixed as in “it’ll get you there and back but I don’t know how much longer it’ll hold after that.” So we figured we were fine.

We got down there in pretty good time and I had a great time. Let me rephrase. I had as great of a time as one can have at a baby shower with a bunch of people one does not know. I spent a lot of time with my cousin Maddy and I got to see pretty much all of my family, so I really have no complaints.

I left to go out to dinner with Iisha. We hardly get to see each other, so I was very excited. She chose Cheesecake Factory and honestly, who am I to argue? We get there and, well, shocker of shockers, it’s packed! We decide to head back towards her house because it probably won’t be as busy and it might even be cheaper, which is always a plus.

As we are driving on the freeway, I notice that the temperature gauge starting to climb. I think that I need to get off, but being the queen of procrastination, I keep going until I have no other choice but to get off. We pull into a Burger King parking lot, where a ton of steam comes out of the engine. It was enough steam to keep a sauna going for quite awhile.

I, of course, call my dad and inform him that his quick-fix blew up in my face. Almost literally. As he tries to figure out a way to get the car home, I call my grandma and tell her that someone needs to come pick me up. Here’s what the conversation sounded like:

ME: Hey Grandma, are Derek and Lisa still there?
GRANDMA: Why? What happened?
ME: My car broke down and I need someone to come pick me and Iisha up.
ME: Yeah Grandma, we’re cool. But I need someone to come pick us up. Dad is trying to figure out a way to get the car home.
GRANDMA: Why don’t you just call AAA?
ME: I don’t have AAA
ME: Because you don’t love me enough to pay for it. Can I please just speak to Derek? Or Lisa? Or Mark? Or Cheryl?
GRANDMA: Well Grandpa will come get you. Hang on give Mike directions. (Like I said, my WHOLE family was there) MIKE, KIMMI’S CAR BROKE DOWN AND SHE DOESN’T HAVE AAA AND NEEDS SOMEONE TO PICK HER UP….NO SHE DOESN’T HAVE AAA….I DON’T KNOW WHY…NOW COLLEEN (my mother) DON’T WORRY SHE’S FINE…YES COLLEEN WE WILL EAT EVENTUALLY…Ok honey, here’s your Uncle Mike.

Ten minutes later, my phone rings

GRANDMA: Derek and Lisa are coming to get you and Grandpa’s coming too because he has his AAA card and I might come too to make sure you’re ok and your mom is hungry so she might come so she can get something from Burger King and…
Grandma: Well…Grandpa has to come because he has the card…ok…the three of them are leaving now.

After a lot of phone calls and texts to Alec, who was working at AAA at the time, we finally found a way to get my car back to LA and get Iisha home. (Thanks fave cousin!) The catch: I have to drive up to LA in the tow truck. By myself. With some random guy. (Ok, so technically not by myself, but you get it.) Now, I hadn’t even thought of this, but, of course, my Grandma had.

GRANDMA: Are you sure she’s going to be ok riding all alone with a truck driver back to LA? Aren’t you worried about her?
DAD: No BJ, I’m more worried about the tow truck driver having to drive up to LA with Kimmi. She’ll be fine.

Oh yeah. It was fabulous. (BTW…My mom finally got food because Derek and Lisa are the Dynamic Duo. Thanks for the concern, Mom.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

I love LA...sorta...

The funny thing about living in LA is the amount of things we see that, in an other city, would be totally ridiculous. Or insane. Or just plain weird.

For example, size DD boobs and long blond hair on a woman who weighs 100 pounds walks down the street in skinny jeans and sky-high heels. In any other city in America, she would illicit stares of envy, jealousy or anger from women. Men would pretend not to stare, but as soon as they thought no one was looking, they would sneak a peak at her peaks. The women would talk about unhealthy she must be to be so skinny or how much her feet must hurt from wearing those shoes. The men wouldn’t talk about her, they would simply think about her later that night, if you catch my drift. However, in LA, the men would only glance at the woman because there would be another one looking just like her coming from the other direction. The woman wouldn’t talk about how unhealthy she looked, but would instead ask where she had “them” done or about how “hard” they look. No one would think Barbie looked strange or unreal. Ridiculous.

In any other city, sitting at a red light watching people run across the street would not seem at all odd. Yet, here, those people you see running across the street are not running to catch a bus or because they are late. In fact, these people are carrying three different kinds of cameras, including telephoto lenses. These people are sprinting across the street at full speed with total disregard for the lights or their safety in order to get a picture of a person society deems newsworthy. By getting that great picture, they can make thousands of dollars. Thousands of dollars for taking a picture of someone who does nothing of note but do drugs, drink, party and illustrate how money and neglect can truly fuck you up. These paps are sprinting to get a picture of nothing more than a woman shopping with her boyfriend. Insane.

Then there’s the characters on Hollywood Blvd. When I say “characters,” I mean literally. Any day, you can walk down to Graumen’s Chinese Theater and be hoodwinked into paying to take a photo with a crack-head dressed up as Spiderman. These people, many of them homeless or out-of-work “actors,” dress up like the characters from movies, whether it’s Spiderman, Batman, Wonder Woman or even Captain Jack Sparrow. The best part, however, isn’t that you can get your picture taken with them. It’s that you might be there to see a fight between Darth Vadar and Superman. Or you might catch Chewbacca sexually assaulting Marilyn Monroe and then get to testify in the pending trial. Anywhere else, these people would be either arrested or committed. Hey, they don’t call it “Hollyweird” for nothing.

I know that I am always the first person to say how fake LA is and how intellectually numbing this city can be, but, truthfully, all of these absurdities are what make this city fascinating. You never really know what is going to happen or who that person really is. “Barbie” might be the next Jenna Jameson, enabling you to tell people how you saw her with her clothes on. Those paps might get the photo of Brad and Angelina pre-Aniston breakup, making you a witness to a huge piece of pop culture history. Finally, those costumes characters are a part of the reason tourists still come to Hollywood and are helping tourism stay alive.

In the end, these eccentricities are what make up the unique culture of Los Angeles. No matter how much I complain about LA, it does have some interesting assets that I have grown to love.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I went on vh1 and got the love of my perfect man! (and an STD)

"Reality TV" is an oxymoron. I don't care how much everyone wants to say it's not, it is. In the same way that you are always watching what you say around your boss, if there is a camera in your face, there are certain things you wouldn't normally do or say. Therefore, it's not real. Ever.

That said, I do sometimes enjoy these shows. They are funny and are usually like watching a car crash: no matter how hard you try, you just can't look away! I really enjoy the ones where they are competing for a prize, like on ANTM or Project Runway, or just The Real World where drama always happens. I'm even kind of enjoying Tough Love (a new vh1 series) because, unlike other vh1 series, this one is not about 15 girls all vying for the prize of one man. It's about these girls finding in themselves that they are worth love, and even though it is cheesy and stupid, there is some good to it.

Now, the shows that I absolutely cannot stand anymore are all the ones where a bunch of guys/girls fight for the "love" of one person. The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Flavor of Love, Rock of Love, For the Love of Ray J, Joe Millionaire, Shot at Love, etc. I won't lie; I have watched and sometimes enjoyed these shows. But the more I think about it, the more I am truly disgusted by it.

Here's the concept: (I'm using a male example because, let's be honest, these are more common. Women are more willing to do stupid shit for "love") A guy is tired of playing the field and wants to find "true love." Somewhere between 10 and 20 women are then moved into a house and proceed to compete for this ONE guy's love. They go on various "dates" and constantly try to break down the credibility of the other girls in order to win this ONE guy's "heart." In the end, one girl gets the “love” of her Prince Charming.

Here's the problem: You go on this show to fall in love with the same man. Then that man goes on various "dates" with these other women and, once again let's be real, probably has sex with them. So, if there are 20 women on the show and he has "sexual relations" with even half of these women, that's 10 women in the course of six weeks that he has had sex with. And I'm not including you. Then, at the end, it's just you and one other girl and he chooses you! Happiness ensues. You're thinking, "Finally! I get to spend some real time together! We are in love and everything is going to be great and wonderful and we are going to be together forever!" The end.

Or not.

Sure, you're going to be able to spend a lot of time together. At the free clinic. Because you know his ass did not use protection with all these girls and now you both got somethin' that you don't want to go to your regular doctor about. That's real.

Sure, you're in love. With the person he played for the cameras. What happens when the cameras aren't around? Who the hell is this guy? Is he different when cameras aren't around? Yes, he is different. He's no longer getting paid to do slutty things with you, therefore he's going to go back to doing slutty things with the other girls that weren't hot enough to make it on the show. Or, he's going to go back to the girlfriend he was going on reality TV to support because he's washed up and can't make any money otherwise. Yeah, it's true.

Now, I know that this is all for entertainment value, but come on! There is entertainment, and then there is stupidity. I can’t even watch them for entertainment value anymore because I just feel pity for the people on there. Half of them will go back to being nobodies and will be worse off than they were before the show started. It ‘s sad.

That said, all of you are going to continue watching because you’re entertained by it. That’s fine, but the next time you watch, just remember the old saying: When you have sex with someone, you’re sleeping with every single person they’ve ever slept with. And if you’re on Rock of Love, you’re also sleeping next to her on the bus.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ok, sometimes work doesn't totally suck...

I know that I talk a lot of shit about my job. There are, of course, a lot of things I hate about it. But, every once in awhile, I talk to someone that makes me remember that my job isn't as bad as I like to say it is.

First of all, I have to mention Mike. Mike is a writer who, before he abandoned us for the fabulous life in San Francisco, would come in everyday for his triple Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte. He's an uber-cool guy that I would always complain to when I'd had a particularly annoying customer or if someone had something stupid. We actually exchanged info when he moved so we could keep in touch. I'm glad we did because now I can enjoy his musings on his fave San Francisco coffee shop!

One of our "weekend regulars" is this guy who sits on the patio and plays his guitar. He only gets a cup of coffee, but he always pays for it and doesn't try to scam us out of cups or milk or anything. He just parks himself on the patio for a few hours and plays his guitar. He doesn't do it for any money, he just plays because he likes it. He always comes in and asks about me and my life and what's new, and he usually likes to add something about how much he likes tall girls, which makes me a little uncomfortable because he's old enough to be my grandfather, but that's ok. He also defends us when someone is rude or inconsiderate and he has some great stories to share. His music isn't too bad, either.

Then there's Chyna. Yeah, Chyna as in the wrestler turned reality TV star turned addict who then went back to reality TV. She lives in the area and works out at the gym across the street. She is probably one of the sweetest people I've ever met. She is super chatty with me and always remembers our conversations. When I was studying for the LSAT she would, without fail, ask me how it was going. She gets either a mocha with soy or a caramel macchiato with soy and, apparently, will ask for me if she doesn't see me. She might not be the best role model, but by getting to know her just a little bit, I'm rooting for her to pull through and gain success.

It's people like these that really make me appreciate working in customer service. Every time I see one of them, I'm reminded that if I were working in any other profession, I wouldn't meet such interesting characters, and we all know that the characters are the ones that make life interesting!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ok, if I only have $20 to last me the week, should I save it for gas or should I get the cute top?

Don’t you hate it when the things you think you’ll love, you actually end up hating? Ok, maybe not hating, but really not enjoying as much as you had thought you would?

I went to see Confessions of a Shopaholic with my mom recently and, even thought the clothes were great, I wasn’t very happy with it. Actually, I was rather frustrated.

For those who live under a rock, here’s the deal: Rebecca Bloomwood is a journalist who can’t control her spending habits. She buys things she doesn’t need with money she doesn’t have, thus leaving her in debt. She loses her job and, after embellishing her resume a bit, she finds a new one at a financial magazine. Needless to say, hilarity ensues while she finds success at the same time drowning in debt.

I’ll start off with the good: the clothes! Patricia Field, as per usual, does a fabulous job of styling Isla Fisher’s Rebecca Bloomwood. She puts together outrageous things that no one in real life could wear, but somehow work so brilliantly on screen. My personal favorite had to be the white suit worn with a huge blue anchor pendant necklace. It was a really simple suit that, without the necklace, would have looked almost practical. But, add this huge chest-covering necklace, and you get a sense of a woman who is extravagant and stands out.

Another thing I did like about this film was its star, Isla Fisher. I don’t know much about her, so I can’t say I was going in expecting anything. She was funny and charming, even if I wasn’t that fond of the character or the story. I am interested to see what else she does down the line.

Now, on to why I didn’t like this film.

I pride myself on being logical and financially conscious. I might not be "savvy," but I do know what I spend and why I spend it. I don’t go shopping when I don’t have money and I don’t buy things to make me feel better or more complete. I might not know anything about investing or IRAs, but I know that if I don’t have enough money to pay for a new pair of shoes, I shouldn’t buy them. (Unless they are super-cute and on sale, in which case, I remind myself that credit cards were invented for such occasions. But even then, I have to really be in love, and since I’m a commitment-phobe, it’s kind of a long process.)

Anyway, I knew going in that this was a movie about a woman who couldn’t control her spending. She can’t stop herself from buying crap she doesn’t need and gets herself into all sorts of predicaments due to her debt. But, I really didn’t think about how it would make me feel. She uses labels and worthless items to validate who she is. No matter how entertaining the movie was, I couldn’t believe her total lack of self-control and how frustrating it was for me to watch. I just wanted to shake her!!! Even though she eventually grows and realizes what she has been doing, it didn’t seem to me like she had really changed. She ends up with a man who could totally support her shopping habit, therefore making the need to change unnecessary. Plus, he's her boss, so it's not like she has an issue with job security.

I had started reading the book before I went to see it, but have since stopped. The same issue that I had with film—of her not truly changing—I’m sure I’m going to have with the book. Especially since it’s a series. I understand that this is a common problem with people in America and that’s why the series is so popular, but when I’m being entertained, I rarely want something realistic. Hence the reason I watch The City.

(A little footnote: John Salley plays a former NRebbBA basketball star who attends “Shopaholics Anonymous" with Rebecca. When he came on the screen, I was the only one that laughed. No one else had any idea who he was, and, consequentially, turned and looked at me like I was crazy. Which made me laugh even harder.)