Drive In, Drive Out

It's been a movie weekend. Last night we went to the drive-in and saw a double feature of Over The Hedge and MI:3. Yes, there are still a few drive-in theaters around. Two that I know of, the Vineland and the Mission Tiki, are not too far outside of Los Angeles. I honestly never went to these type of theaters as a kid, except once with my grandmother to see E.T. It seems that a lot of people are fairly nostaligic about the drive-in and they are making a comeback in one form or another.

Besides the family four screen set up, like both the Vineland and Mission Tiki have, there are various guerilla or independent drive-ins popping up. Eric is still scouting some locations for his mobile drive-in, Hollywood Mobile Movie, or Hollywood MobMov for short. His Scion Xb is outfitted with a power source and is his mobile projection booth. If you are in the L.A. area, go to the website and sign up on the mailing list for notifications of upcoming screenings.

Over The Hedge is a really cute movie. The cast was great overall, but William Shatner, as Ozzie the possum, and Steve Carell, as Hammy the very hyper squirrel, really stood out for me. The film is based on, and is sort of a prequel to, the comic strip of the same name. The fact that Ben Folds did five songs, including an awesome cover of "Lost In The Supermarket," for the soundtrack was a great bonus.

MI:3 is like an extended episode of Alias with Tom Cruise instead of Jennifer Garner, minus the funky wigs and sexy costumes. It was entertaining, but it has gotten to the point where I can't get past the Tom Cruiseness of Tom Cruise. I didn't really see his character, just him. Oh look, there's Tom Cruise brooding, and there's Tom Cruise grinning maniacally, and there's Tom Cruise running in his oh-so-Tom-Cruise way, with elbows flexed at 90-degree angles and so fast you expect him to leave a trail of get the idea. I must say I was very pleased to see Simon Pegg, playing the Marshall-esque tech guy and offering a bit of comic relief. Too bad he was only in a few scenes.

Oh, and it's only $6 per person to see a double feature at the drive-in. Quite a bargain!


Remembering Our Tax Refund

It's kind of a good thing I have to work most of this "holiday weekend" (yesterday and tomorrow) because we've spent a ton of money over the past few days. We're having some much needed tree trimming taken care of, which is costing a couple grand. We have lovely, large trees on our property, but they've been growing like mad the past few years and a couple had extended over our roof.

In the unexpected expense category was a costly trip to the vet for our 13-year-old dog Cosette. She'd been limping a little for a few days and it got a lot worse on Friday. I couldn't get her in to see her vet until early Saturday morning (which made me late for work...grrr!). The vet did Xrays (including the lungs) to rule out any sort of fracture or metastases from the cancer she had a year and a half ago. The films only revealed arthritis in both hips and in one area of her spine. Quite a relief considering the alternative possibilities. After a day of glucosamine and baby aspirin, she is limping less and even jumped up on the bed, which is actually something I'd rather her not be doing.

My Sweet Cosette


For Those Of You Going To Comic Con...

One of Eric's short films Serial Killer Cereal will be screening at this year's Comic Con International Film Festival. I believe it's in a block of shorts at 6pm on Friday. It's only a minute long, so if you don't have something really, really important that conflicts or you aren't too drunk, come support him!

Just Do It

Even if you don't usually do so (and even if you have to pee really badly), please stay through the credits for X-Men: The Last Stand. The word is getting around that there is a scene after the credits and there is. And it's worth it. You will regret not sticking around for it.

We always hang in for the end credits. Often we have friends who have worked on the film and it's fun to see their names on the big screen. Also, there often is a little tidbit at the very end.

P.S. I enjoyed the film very much. The guys behind us seemed pretty upset that it deviated from the comic, but hey, I luckily don't bring that kind of baggage into it.


Make With The Clicky

Okay, I totally stole that title from Ren, but only because I love it so much! I don't know why, but it just makes me giggle.

I know there are at least a couple of Duranies (current or former) who stop in here from time to time and most have confessed to being John Taylor girls. I'm personally a Nick Rhodes girl . There's a free podcast interview with John and Nick about a compilation album they released of music that inspired them. It's Part 1 of the interview, but I can't seem to find a Part 2.

Have you heard the story about the guy whose apartment was turned into a hamster cage, complete with human-size wheel? Revenge can be so sweet.

Speaking of hamsters (yeah, I didn't hold out that long), the Brits really have an affinity for the adorable little rodents. MTV UK televises hamster races! Check out this promo. Good times!

I spent some time reconfiguring my photoblog. Take a look and let me know what you think. The archived stuff looks pretty bad, but reconfiguring it was screwing up my links that have gone to various photo challenge websites, so I just let it be.

Please consider seeing An Inconvenient Truth this weekend. It is playing in Los Angeles and New York right now. It will open in other cities soon, so in the meantime, if you can't see it, at least check out the website. I have made it sort of a rule to not write anything of substance get very political or whatnot on this blog, but I really believe this is an important film about an issue that means a lot to me.

Since I've seen An Inconvenient Truth already, I may just have to check out X-Men: The Last Stand this weekend. Even if the movie sucks, at least I know there will be some eye candy.


Thank You, Al Gore

Please run in '08. Please! I will vote for you, I promise.



Tuesday was one of those gorgeous day-after-rain days in Southern California. We had a brilliant, clear blue, cloudless sky. I was fortunate to have the day off. After sleeping in, I stepped outside and was inspired to go on a bit of a photography walkabout in and around my neighborhood. It was great fun and if interested, you can check out the photos I took.

I ended up being gone for a little over two hours. I rehung my comfy Air Chair, that I had brought in from the rain, from our big carob tree in the back yard. I sat in it and promptly drifted off for about an hour. That wasn't my original intention, but it wasn't a bad way to transition into the evening.


I'm Back

I realized just how sad and pathetic dorky I really am. Over the past few days, it has been driving me crazy that I have not been able to get on my computer to post videos, post photos, read blogs, answer some emails, etc. Crazy! I had a serious hard drive malfunction, but thanks to Eric's mad computer skillz, I'm up and running again with a new hard drive.

As I mentioned before, Ami was the big winner for the Syrian ("teddy bear") hamsters in last Saturday's Hamster Ball Derby. I don't think he really won, but oh well. It was a bit chaotic and they were doing all these run-offs (roll-offs?). In the midst of the activity, I believe Woodstock, clearly the fastest hamster in town, was left out of some of the final races. He probably should have won, but that's life. I didn't even realize it until after the fact.

Ami won a Critter Operated Chopper, aka hamster motorcycle. Since he already has one, I gave it to another participant and she gave me the bag of hamster chow she'd gotten as a consolation prize. One of the store workers thought it was cool that I'd done that and let me pick out a new hamster ball. I got an orange one.

Here is some video I shot at the event. None of it is great and Ami is only in one of them. I kept turning my camera off, accidentally, in all of the excitement.

2006 Hamster Ball Derby at Petco in Burbank, CA
Our friend Bandito is the hamster on the far left. Bob is on the right.

These dwarf hamsters just weren't that into the race!

In this heat, Ami came in second to Rocky, a dwarf hamster that got a 10-second head start. She did a proud run right back to me too!

Now, let's see how long I can go without doing another hamster post. I am very excited to have a ticket to see An Inconvient Truth tomorrow night. I tried to see it at Sundance, but got shut out. I just wish I could get some of my SUV-driving co-workers to see it too. Particularly the ones who are single and have no kids or big dogs and aren't in a band.


Of Hamsters & Hard Drives

I'm typing a quick entry from a very slow computer that sports IE and Windows 98. Ugh. Anyway, the Hamster Ball Derby went fabulously and my little Ami won overall for the Syrian/Teddy Bear hamsters (there was a winner for the dwarf hamsters too). More later, possibly with photos and video.

My main computer, my laptop, is having a major malfunction so I won't be able to access the above-mentioned photos and video yet. Or some other fairly important stuff. Luckily, I do have live-in tech support, who is dutifully working on the problem.


Just When I Thought I Could Get Away

I keep thinking I can give up the Starbucks and they introduce new drinks that rope me back in. I couldn't resist the Banana Mocha Frappuccino and it was delicious. Yeah, I know, I could have not gone to Starbucks, but I had to stop at the grocery store this morning to get sodas for a work lunch party (yes, I always sign up for something easy like drinks or plates) and walked in by the in-store Starbucks. So, I have a new favorite beverage there, for now.

And now, for something completely different:

This is perhaps the funniest hamster video I've seen. Go on, click on it. You won't be sorry!


I'm Going Back To Bed

I only worked a half-day today. I was feeling horrible, but instead of calling out sick, I went in for the morning to get things in order. Last night I thought I'd just eaten too much at dinner with Ren and her Other Half, but no, that severe cramping sensation was coming from something else. Ugh.

On another note though, I have been able to wake up the last couple of mornings due to finding an old alarm clock when house cleaning last week. It's very loud and so far does the trick. It'll only be a matter of time before I learn to sleep through that too though.


Weekend Update

Jenn was right. I need one of these. I did wake up this morning, around 5:30, when one of my five alarms went off. I even got up to pee and then decided I could sleep for another 20 minutes. So, three hours later, my cell phone wakes me's a co-worker calling to see if I'm coming in. I should have arrived at work an hour earlier. Happy F*&#ing Monday!

I did have a very busy and fun weekend, which could account for the start-of-the-week fatigue. I'm off on Fridays, so my weekend usually starts on Thursday evening. Since we had some friends coming down from San Francisco on Friday, my weekend started with a cleaning frenzy. We stayed up until 4:30 am Friday, got a few hours of sleep, and then resumed readying the house until that evening when our guests arrived. The four of us had a fun dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, Ruen Pair.

Since the purpose of D & R's visit was to find an apartment to move into next month, my Saturday was fairly open. I took advantage and slept in, really late. Then, I teamed up with Ren and headed over to Felt Club, a mini craft fair behind Meltdown Comics. No crafts were obtained, but I did buy a few books. There were several other things I wanted to purchase, but am holding out for Comic Con and/or freebie hand-me-downs from Ren. I was drawn to a little indie book called "The Suicidal Dog," and knew I'd probably buy it before even looking at it. (Yes, I do occasionally judge a book by its cover or title!) So, I picked it up and it turns out it was written by a friend of mine who I haven't seen in awhile! That sealed the deal for sure.

Following our perusal of the glory of Meltdown, which may now be my second favorite store, behind Amoeba Music, we headed back over the hill to Yummy Cupcakes in Burbank. I had a brown sugar cinnamon cupcake that was delicious! I'm not quite the cupcake connoisseur that Ren is, so I was surprised to see how she ate hers. That Ren is always the practical one! My cupcake lunch was followed by a lovely little nap, as Eric had gone out with our friends to show them some different areas of town.

Once Eric, D, and R came back, we made plans to go to the Arclight and see Thank You For Smoking. The movie is a brilliant satire and is laugh-out-loud funny. However, it also makes you think, so you get a little bit of everything. Great cast and performances too. We followed the movie with a late-night dinner at Fred 62. Our houseguests were exhausted and got some sleep before driving back up to the Bay Area Sunday morning.

As usual, my sweet dogs got me a couple of cute cards and gifts for Mother's Day. They gave me A History of Violence on dvd and a fun Punkee Monkee. I'm not sure if the recent gender confusion issue is to blame, but there was no acknowledgement from my hamster. Hmm...let's see who gets to roll in her his ball tonight!

Eric and I spent Sunday at the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market (I picked up some old Duran Duran buttons!) and the Renaissance Faire. An old friend is the general manager of the faire, so we got comped in. After a quick jaunt around the event, we headed back to Hollywood for AsssCat, a free improv show by the Upright Citizens Brigade. We finally tried the chicken at Birds, which is what the restaurant is known for, and it was really good.

So, yeah, I guess I have reason to be tired. But, there is no excuse for going back to bed once you're already. That just makes me a loser.


Hamster Balls

I think 'Ami' is a boy. Now I'm in a pickle over the name.


Hamster Ball Derby

I'm not kidding! I hope I'm in town next weekend, because if I am, Ami and I are so doing this! And there are a couple of you who I expect to come cheer us on! I'm thinking we may start training tonight!

Extra energy banana chip for really fast ball rolling!

I'm catching hell at work tomorrow for this, for sure. I already have people telling me that their boyfriends, sisters, etc. want to meet me because they can't believe someone who is so dorky is a real person!

Maybe I should just go to bed.

I Feel Nekkid

I'm constantly changing bags, so I grabbed a different one today and not only do I not have my cell phone with me, but I don't have a camera either. Gasp! Okay, lots of women I know would be freaking out if they didn't have their lip gloss (which, by the way, I also don't have on me today), but that isn't such a big deal to me. The phone isn't horrible, except that I'm not going home for a few hours after work, so it would be nice to have it. But no camera?!? That is just unacceptable!


Nothing To Do With The Price Of Tea In China

Now that gas prices keep rising, I seem to be driving all over the place. What's up with that? I know that compared to Europe's gas prices and what you pay for a latte from Starbucks, gas is a relative bargain. This past weekend, for example, I drove to Santa Monica sat on the 405 twice, both on Saturday and Sunday. I saw friends on both occasions, so it was worth it. Oh, to compensate for higher fuel cost, I've cut way back on my Starbucks intake. Jen, you'll be proud of me.


Slappy, I Never Knew You

Video clip from the Skullmonkeys game, created by Doug TenNapel of Earthworm Jim and Gear fame. Features Slappy, who according to Doug, was an actual hamster that lived for 3 years in the Neverhood studio, until his escape. Fate unknown.


Blast From The Past

I had the opportunity to spend a few hours today with a friend who I haven't seen for 20 years! Elsa and I were great pals in 8th, 9th, and 10th grade, when I lived in Texas. Our houses were walking distance apart, so we spent a lot of time together. We walked to and from school together. On weekends, we rode our bikes all over the small city where we lived, just south of Houston. If we happened to see one of the cute boys we had crushes on in his yard, our day was made.

When I moved to another state after 10th grade, Elsa and I kept in touch. I went on to college in New York, while she attended one in Texas. Afterwards, she ended up going to grad school in Europe and kept me posted on her adventures there. She returned to the States and began working for the government, which again took her out of the country, working and living in the Middle East and Europe, where she currently lives.

I was so excited to hear from her a couple of weeks ago and learn she'd be in Los Angeles for a visit. Due to some unforseen circumstances, it looked like we were not even going to get to see each other, which was very disappointing for both of us. However, a few things changed, we were able to spend the afternoon together, and it was wonderful. Admittedly, mixed in with my excitement about our reunion, was some nervousness. I couldn't help but wonder what it'd be like if we'd both changed so much in the past two decades that we had nothing to talk about.

I picked Elsa up at her hotel near the airport and we went to Santa Monica. We walked along 3rd Street Promenade a bit and found a place with outdoor seating for lunch. We had no trouble finding things to discuss and it felt very comfortable. There were updates on our families, our careers, our significant others. She told me about life in the Middle East and Europe. I told her about life in L.A. I brought along some old photos and we laughed at the hairstyles and fashion. We talked about everything from former classmates to religion to music to politics.

Elsa on the Santa Monica Pier

In many ways, Elsa and I are different people than we were all those years ago. But, we must be the same in some ways too. It's so nice when an old friendship is as comfortable as a broken in shoe. I'm so happy that it went well and am even more excited about keeping in touch. I'm just bummed about one thing. Elsa and I never did get that apartment in London that we were going to share after graduating from high school.


Urban Nature

I always think it's kind of cool that even though Los Angeles is a city, we have a lot of 'nature.' I remember playing tennis in Griffith Park a few years ago and within ten minutes I saw a skunk, a coyote, and a deer. I've also seen tarantulas and rattlesnakes when hiking there. Ew.

Fortunately, I don't live in a neighborhood that coyotes like to visit, even though I have seen one as close as a mile away in my grocery store's parking lot. Even if they wandering over to my place, I have a six-foot wall around the back yard to protect the dogs. That wall doesn't keep everything out. We have visits from squirrels, neighborhood cats, and frequently possums. I see the occasional rat running across the telephone/electrical lines at night. There has also been the rare large lizard, which freaked me out. I thought it was a snake at first, until I saw the legs.

Last night, Eric and I went to meet up with a friend he is doing some work for and then get some supplies to make dinner. Our current protocol is to put Cosette and Little Guy in their crates, due to some behavioral issues. Rusty gets to stay out and "guard the mansion," as we tell him. When we returned home last night and opened the front door, Rusty bolted out past us, an unusual behavior for him. He seemed frantic and turned back and went in, but continued acting weird. We just kind of stood there, watching him, wondering what was going on.

The lights were dim, but I could make out a shape on the carpet, near the dining room that I knew was not one of Rusty's many chew toys. Because of the shape and darkness of color, I immediately said, in a wigged out voice, "THERE'S A DEAD BABY POSSUM IN THE HOUSE!"
So, we turned the lights on and investigated. Yep. There it was, a dead baby possum. Ugh. Nasty.

We knew there was only one possible culprit, who was acting so incredibly guilty already. Rusty clearly didn't kill it (we've found dead baby possums in our yard before, but not for several years), but he had obviously been the one to bring it in. He seemed to know that what he'd done was not such a good idea, in hindsight.

Eric went outside to get the shovel (Ren, I'll tell you where we keep's actually Steve's shovel that we borrowed years ago! case you need to do this sometime when we're away), and I got a big black trash bag. We disposed of the poor critter and I can only imagine how horrific my outdoor garbage can must now smell. I set about spraying, scrubbing, disinfecting "the spot" where the thing had been placed.

I lost my appetite and it ended up being quite awhile before we made dinner. I guess my conclusion is that urban nature is not always so "cool." Oh, and I hear the black widows are going to be especially numerous this summer.

P.S. No, I did not take a photo of the dead baby possum, but the thought did cross my mind as I photograph just about anything. I was too grossed out to even go there.


Nuts For Mutts

I got my sunburn on Sunday, hanging out at New Leash on Life's Nuts for Mutts event. It's an annual fund raiser for the rescue organization and is basically a dog show for mixed breeds. There are many silly categories, like Fastest Eater, Best Kisser, Best Chihuahua Mix, etc. I've entered Rusty in the past, but we (Rusty and I) only went to spectate this year. We met up with a friend and her dog, Hidalgo, and had a good time.

Rusty and Hidalgo got along really well, but wouldn't pose for a decent photo together!

Rusty getting combed by a new friend.


I Know, I Know (And It's None Of Your Business)

Warning: Peeve Ahead

Yes, I am fully aware of the very bad, painful sunburn I got on my forearms yesterday. Every time you point it out and comment on its severity, it hurts even more. So, thanks for that and no, I'm not telling you where I was. You wouldn't care otherwise. Just suffice it to say I was outside.


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