Fat Tuesday

It seemed appropriate to have dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants, Mardi Gras, tonight. We usually get a table right away, but of course there was more of a crowd and a wait. I didn't mind and, as a bonus, we still got our favorite waiter, Tom. I had hush puppies, fried alligator, crab cakes, and banana custard with vanilla wafers. So good. So filling. I probably don't need to eat for a few days, but of course I will.

Let the good times roll, as they say.



It's hard to fathom that it was an entire year ago this weekend that we saw Duran Duran in concert, were given a brand new car, and had our huge 10th anniversary party. Where did the 365 days in between go?

Now I'm struggling to wrap my head around the fact that it has been eleven years since we got hitched in a Vegas chapel, surrounded by a few friends. It amazes me how so many things have changed in that time period and then how many others have remained the same.


Now Playing: Golden Star Shorts Fest

The Golden Star Shorts Fest has opened! It's the inaugural year of this event showcasing short films from around the world. If anyone is local and looking for something to do this weekend, it's taking place at the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

This festival is important because four of my husband Eric's short films, The American Infant, The Ends of the Alphabet, The Switch, and the super-short Serial Killer Cereal, are screening there. We were pretty astounded that they decided to program everything he submitted.

If anyone makes it to any of the programs, be sure to say 'hi.'


L.A. Woman

...or, My Pepto Bismal Bottle Exploded All Over Me This Morning.

I feel the need to post this photo for those of you who have not ventured onto my flickr site, my photoblog, or seen the link on Ren's blog. It's not a high quality snapshot even, it's quite blurry, but I do think I captured the essence of this Lady In Pink And Her Little Pink Dog Too.

Ren and I were having tea with some friends at the Chado Tea Room on 3rd Street this past Sunday as this vision in pepto-pink strolled by on the opposite side of the street.

Have I told you lately how much I love L.A.? I do, I truly do.


Those Who Can't Do, Teach

I remember being fairly clumsy my whole life. One of my earliest memories is tumbling down a big flight of stairs and then taking a ride in an ambulance to get Xrays. (I was fine). This is a trait that runs in my family, at least in my mother and sister. Another event I remember very clearly from childhood was my mother falling in our dining room and cracking a rib on one of the chairs. It knocked the wind out of her and she couldn't get up. There was no 911 then (or at least in the very small Virginia town where we lived). So, I called the woman who lived next door who promptly came over to help.

I frequently discover "mystery bruises" and have no recollection of how I got them. Other times, I clearly recall running into objects, tripping on something or, more often than not, falling with nothing at all causing it. Often my accidents can be chalked up to me not paying attention and/or rushing. However, there is the pure klutz factor at work as well.

My latest fall was this past Sunday. I was hurrying to get ready for an outing with a friend and slipped on some water that was outside of the shower in the bathroom. I fell hard, onto the tile floor, mostly on my left side. Eric wasn't home, but Rusty, one of my dogs, came running when he heard the commotion. I was fine, just shaken up a bit. The soreness began setting in yesterday afternoon. By the time I left work, I was hurting from my neck on down. My shoulders and ankles were particularly painful. I ended up staying home today to rest and feel much better.

It amuses Eric to no end that I, who can barely walk in a straight line, make a living teaching other people how to walk again. It does seem somewhat counterintuitive, but I haven't been fired yet.




Life, In A Nutshell

The past week has been a busy, hectic blur. I'm exhausted. I should be snoozing in my bed, but have been wanting to do at least a brief entry. I can not guarantee that it will be coherent at this point. Those who know me already understand that is often a problem I have anyway.

Last Wednesday night we saw Great Big Sea at the El Rey Theatre. It was a great show, probably the best one of the five we've attended. Apparently, Alan Doyle, one of the band members, agrees: "The show was probably our best ever in Los Angeles, a city that has shagged us more times than not. It's tough to sell tickets there and there are so many entertainment options that putting your stamp on the LA evening is a tough chore. I felt like we finally did it last night."

Being at such a fun show really made me miss our friend Bill, who is now living in New Zealand. He introduced to GBS several years ago and went to the other four shows with us. I got some decent photos that night, but have only managed to get one uploaded to my flickr site so far. Long ago, Eric staked out the perfect spot for me to stand at the El Rey and be guaranteed a view of the stage, since I'm so short.* I don't want to publish this kind of valuable information, but if anyone is in need of this tip in the future, feel free to contact me.

Another notable event of the week was the drive-in screening of Re-Animator that we participated in at our home away from home of late, the Steve Allen Theater. Eric coordinated the outdoor screening through his organization Hollywood MOBile MOVie. The film was also shown inside the theater and he was very involved in that aspect as well. In spite of a little rain, the drive-in was a smashing success. There were somewhere between 35 and 40 cars in the parking lot, seeing the movie projected on the wall of a building, and listening through their fm radios. Following the screening, director Stuart Gordon and actor Jeffrey Combs participated in a Q&A.

There were a few celebrity sightings this past week, nothing too spectacular, but kind of fun anyway. Jason Gray-Stanford, who plays Lt. Disher on Monk, was spotted at the Great Big Sea show. On Friday afternoon, Parker Stevenson was looking at a puppy with a couple of kids in a local pet store. After the screening Saturday night, Fred Armisen, a regular on Saturday Night Live, arrived at the theater to perform in the midnight show.

On a completely different note, Ami, my new little pet hamster, seems to be adjusting well to her new home. I finally got to do some shopping on Friday for a few more supplies that she needed. Two of my dogs are not so thrilled that some other little beastie is getting my attention though.

*I am very short (5 feet, 0 inches). The other day a 13 year-old dwarf said to me, "How come I'm almost as tall as you?"
How sad is that?


My Puffy Valentine

I'd like to introduce the newest member of my family, Ami (full name Puffy AmiYumi):

Yep, I got a hamster, a ham-ham, a fluffy little hammy. It was my Valentine's Day present from Eric and quite a surprise! I do appreciate the advice Chris, Ren, Joanne, Steve, Stacie, Mandy and others gave me to not get one. I guess I just have to learn some things for myself.

The photo is a little blurry as I was taking it through her plastic habitat (that is complete with a very quiet exercise wheel). As the books I'm reading suggest, I'm not going to handle her for a few days until she's used to her new home.


Valentine's Day Haiku

Flowers and candy
Do not prove love, Valentine
But they do not hurt

George Bush Doesn't Care About Black Puppets

Farewell Arrested Development. I thoroughly enjoyed the four episode season finale. So sad to see you go.


It's Better To Laugh (At Least When You Are At Work)

Things that have made me giggle on this otherwise craptastic Monday:
  • 60 Jack Bauer Facts (thanks justJenn!)
  • Hamster in a coffee mug!
  • The Empire Strikes Bates...oh, Lava Bear, I think we may get in trouble!
  • Dick Cheney "accidentally" shot his friend. (I can laugh because the guy is "very stable.") Okay, so now the guy had a heart attack (2/14/05-some Happy Valentine's Day, eh? So maybe I can't laugh?)
  • From my dear Ren, a movie she watches a lot: Spice World! (loveyourenpleasedon'thit!)
  • An oldie but a goodie from A Softer World. It just never gets old.

Go forth with laughter. It's good for you.


Happy Darwin Day!

Today is the anniversary of Charles Darwin's birthday.

I volunteered at the event held at the Center for Inquiry-West. Various people ranging from community members to scientists to authors to actors took turns reading The Origin of Species from cover to cover.

Dr. Peepers, a squirrel monkey, joins in the fun! More photos here.


Of Nerds And Geeks (and Dorks Too, Of Course)

Ren started it! All this talk and debate about nerds, geeks, and dorks. (Hey, what happened to dweebs? Did that ever get defined?) I typically refer to myself as a dork, occasionally a geek. I tend to not give myself any credit for being sort of smart, so I discount the nerd factor. Well, thanks to Brenda who found a test to determine this sort of labeling.

Here are my results:

Pure Nerd
69 % Nerd, 43% Geek, 43% Dork

Compared to others in my demographic:

I scored higher than 71% on nerdiness.
I scored higher than 60% on geekosity.
I scored higher than 78% on dork points.

I'd really hoped to be a Modern, Cool Nerd like Ren, Brenda, and Chris, but I know I'm not cool, do I'll live with my results.

Eric took the test and tested as an Outcast Genius, high on the geeky side, just as I figured.


4! 4! 4! 4! Let's Sing A Song Of Four! How Many is Four?

Four Jobs I've Had:
  1. Babysitter: I had paid babysitting jobs, many regular, from the time I was in 6th grade until I graduated from high school.
  2. Shoe Salesgirl: It was cool to work at the mall, but traumatic to put shoes on old guys wearing shorts and no underwear.
  3. YMCA Reception Desk: Not only did I sign people up for memberships, but I had to wash the sweaty towels too.
  4. Student Dining Hall Cook: My college job was one of my most fun. I hardly ever cook now.
Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over:
  1. Empire Records
  2. Sixteen Candles
  3. Napoleon Dynamite
  4. Shaun of the Dead
Four Places I've Lived:
  1. Richmond, Virginia
  2. Galveston, Texas
  3. Downingtown, Pennsylvania
  4. Jacksonville, Florida
Four TV Shows I Love:
  1. 24
  2. Lost
  3. The Shield
  4. Scrubs
Four More TV Shows I Love:
  1. My Name is Earl
  2. Arrested Development
  3. Battlestar Galactica
  4. The Simpsons
Four Radio Shows I Love:
  1. Car Talk
  2. This American Life
  3. Jonesy's Jukebox (I just found this blog!)
  4. Science Friday with Ira Flatow
Four Places I've Vacationed:
  1. Cambridge, England
  2. Toronto, Canada
  3. Savannah, Georgia
  4. Oahu, Hawaii
Four Of My Favorite Dishes:
  1. Frito Pie-Texas delicacy
  2. Pizza, just about any as long it doesn't have onions, mushrooms, peppers, sausage, or fish on it.
  3. Orange Peel Shrimp at PF Changs
  4. Vanilla latte with soy milk
Four Sites I Visit Daily:
  1. Cute Overload
  2. The Peevery
  3. Flickr
  4. All Most of the other links to the left.
Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:
  1. In my bed, sleeping.
  2. New Zealand
  3. England
  4. Costa Rica
I didn't actually get tagged to do this meme, I just nicked it from others' blogs, so I won't tag anyone either. I modified it a bit too, adding "Four More TV Shows I Love" as I couldn't help myself and "Four Radio Shows I Love" just because.

Four banana cream pies!


Tips For Beggars

I'm not necessarily opposed to occasionally helping out a person begging on the street or a freeway off ramp. I am more apt to give food, such as my doggie bag if I'm leaving a restaurant or a even granola bar from my car. Of course I also tend to be a sucker for the guy with the dog. I've even given money to some of those folks. Good marketing on their part.

I have noticed a couple of strange incidents with panhandlers lately, particularly on Fairfax Avenue near Canter's Deli, which is why I started thinking about this.
  • First of all, don't refuse food. If you are begging for money, I will assume you are hungry.
  • You might have better luck getting some sympathy (leading to money, food, drink, etc.) if you don't sit there on the sidewalk talking on your cell phone! I know this is L.A. and even 5 year olds have cell phones, but come on! I'm walking on by.
  • Do not sit there on the side of the road counting your dollar bills! You aren't making yourself look so needy and again, I'm moving along.

I'm not a cold-hearted, unsympathetic bitch, but I'm just saying...that's all.


What Is Love Anyway?

Check out this link for some Valentine goodness. Click on the big VD on the left.

Warning: Depending on where you work, use caution.


What I Did At The End Of My Vacation

I did survive my First Day Back To Work. I rarely take 2 full weeks off, so it's a big deal. I have quite a bit of paid-time-off accrued, so maybe I'll make it a more frequent occurrence.

This past weekend was The Weekend Of My Notebook Computer Dying. Eric revived it, but it is still sputtering a bit. Quite a bit. Grumble, grumble. It is nice having live-in tech support.

I was going to do a post on Superbowl commercials I liked. It's the only part of "the big game" I watch. It seems too late and like lots of others have done so. I will give a shout-out to McDonald's though for their most excellent spot with the guy in a hamster costume!

I've gotten somewhat caught up on my photo challenges. I got behind this weekend. New topics for Monday and Tuesday (yesterday and today) have not been posted yet.

This past Saturday, we saw Howard Jones play at a ghetto casino in Gardena with Ren. It was a strange place. The showroom was fairly intimate with red half-circle booths like I've seen in Vegas showrooms on tv. There were bordello paintings on the walls and red twinkle lights as a back drop on the stage. Cheesy goodness.

Last night Eric and I saw a free screening of Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit. It really held up for me and in fact, I think I enjoyed it even more this time. Co-directors Nick Park and Steve Box did a Q&A afterwards, which was pretty informative and entertaining.

I ended my day today with a nap after work, followed by an art opening at Gallery 1988 for "Plush Week." All kinds of original plush dolls were on display. We ran in to a few friends and I snapped a photo of Roman Dirge, who was also hanging out. Yep, that's me. Stalker fangirl.

The night was topped off with some pizza slices at Albano's on Melrose. Not bad for the end of my time off.

Maybe I Should Market It

Hey, I have a great new plan for dieting!

Get into the elevator to go to the workplace cafeteria while it is filled with the aroma of poopy diaper mixed with cheap, flowery body spray. Oh yum.

Back to work today.

It's not working.


What A Girl Wants

Most of the time I'm quite satisfied with what I "have" in life. Right now though, I've really been craving a few new things.
  • A new car. I have my heart set on a blue, Scion xA. It'll cost around 14 grand, minus whatever trade-in I can get for my Jetta.
  • A new camera. Again, I know the model I want. The Sony DSC-H1. It has been on sale and/or had rebate offers I missed out on. I'm looking to drop $350-400 for it.
  • A new pet. No, I'm not getting rid of my dogs, but I really want to get a hamster. So many people have tried talking me out of this foolishness. I was never allowed to have any type of "rodent" as a child and for whatever imbecilic reason, I now want one. They are on sale at Petco for $8.99-19.99.
At this point, I think I'll do the wise thing and purchase none of the above. I think I should wait on the car until we get our tax refund and finish paying off Eric's student loan, which will be very soon. I do need to consider the impact of adding a hamster to a three dog household and if that will cause problems. My dogsitter has begged me not to get a cute, furry little rodent and will probably no longer feed my dogs if I do.

The camera...well, Valentine's Day and my anniversary are both in the near future, so...

We'll see. I have a full life and lots of pets and gadgets. My Jetta is currently running. I don't need anything else right now.*

*Except for a big bag of money. I'll take one of those.

Everyone Else Is Doing It

Just because I want to be like the cool kids, I put my non-iPod mp3 player (okay, so I guess I lose a bunch of cool points right there!) on "shuffle" and these are the first 10 songs I got:
  • "Walk On" - U2
  • "Tango: Maureen" - Rent (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
  • "No Spill Blood" - Oingo Boingo
  • "In This World" - Moby
  • "World Party" - World Party
  • "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" - XTC
  • "Scotch and Chocolate" - Nickel Creek
  • "No Time" - Frente!
  • "Goin' Up" - Great Big Sea
  • "Love Is Driving Me Insane" - Stephen Duffy
I hope Ren isn't too disappointed by the lack of Xmas tunes. I'm not even sure I have very many among the 4,000+ songs on my player. Bah humbug! I'm disappointed that no Duran Duran popped up. Well, I certainly heard them plenty in the car this past week.

Eric and I listened to his mp3 player a lot on our recent road trip to and from Utah. It's funny how certain pairs or patterns seemed to crop up. Some days, it really seemed to be in a Peter Gabriel mood and played a lot of his songs. On the way home from Vegas, it was early Police. We also got some interesting pairings like a Todd Rundgren song followed by an XTC song he produced. Maybe we were just bored and reading way too much into the randomness!


Home Where My Music's Playing

We arrived home last night to three very excited dogs! You'd think we'd been gone for a year, or that Ren had abused them while we were away. Eric and I snuggled with those canines a lot and caught up with our Tivo. We still have quite a few shows to watch. It was so nice to sleep, for the second night in a row, in a real bed! My back was just on the brink of getting really sore, but is feeling so much better now.

Our trip to Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival (followed by a one-night stop over in Las Vegas) was awesome! Good, good times. Three of our condomates were the same as last year. Added to that mix were two new ones and a few (two friends of ours plus one) who only stayed for part of the time. Everyone seemed to get along and we made do with some cramped quarters. I'm looking forward to hopefully renting a bigger place next year and getting a full bedroom.

My time consisted of little sleep, watching a lot of movies, and drinking a fair amount of alcohol. I initially forgot that we were in the mountains and couldn't figure out why I got so drunk so fast at the Filmmakers Alliance party. Oh yeah, the altitude. Duh. I finally felt like I was living up to my New Years' motto of "Eat less, drink more!" Well, the drink more part anyway. I did eat quite a bit too.

Here's a list of the Sundance films I saw:
It feels like I saw more than that, but I guess that's it. I'm glad I saw all of the ones I did. I was somewhat disappointed by both The Darwin Awards and American Hardcore, but I don't regret seeing them. Both films were quite flawed, but had positive attributes as well. My favorite was definitely Forgiving the Franklins, which I only hope gets some kind of distribution. I'm not much of a writer or film reviewer, so check out my friend Matthew's review if you are interested. He sums it up quite nicely.

I did get shut out of two movies I wanted to see. The World According to Sesame Street, which Eric saw and enjoyed, and An Inconvient Truth, a documentary about global warming that was narrated by Al Gore.

I shouldn't forget to mention CondoDance, a private party/screening we hosted at our condo. I did watch several short films there, including a hilarious one about two serial killers trying to off each other. I can not remember the title though.

All in all, the trip was well worth it. We had smooth driving both to and from Utah, aside from some high winds leaving L.A. last week. Luckily Eric, who was feeling quite ill a few days prior to and the day we left, feels better and is now only plagued with the lingering cough that all of us who have been sick this winter seem to have. I did lose my Jack Skellington skull cap somewhere in Park City and had to buy a new hat at Albertson's. It was much, much colder this year and snowed quite a bit more. I didn't mind it though, as I knew that I'd be returning to the warmth and sunshine of Los Angeles!


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