Happy Christmas

Little Guy & Cosette
Little Guy and Cosette still don't really like each other, but now that they are old they don't bother quibbling so much. They would have never shared a blanket in the past. Makes me happy.

Rusty's Happy Christmas
Rusty went nuts all day with a chewie that Santa Paws brought for him. He frantically searched for a place to hide it throughout the day. Actually, he's still looking, now in the back yard.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!


Ferris: Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Ferris was pretty wise. I wasn't feeling it in 1986, but my mother always told me, "The older you get, the faster time goes." [insert surly teenage eye roll here] I'm certainly feeling it now, more and more every year. I hate talking about it as it's kind of like discussing the weather or Tiger Woods' indiscretions, but I do. Lately I'm hearing "I can't believe it's December already!" and I understand.

Big Bear Clock

I'm not sure if it's an aging thing or the fact that almost every minute of a modern day is spent occupied. I commend those of you who take more time than I do to relax, zone out, go off the grid, get bored. Often I'm not doing something productive or a task that I should be taking on (waves at the basket of laundry waiting to be folded), but I always seem to be doing.*

More and more, I'm stopping to appreciate the things I get to do and make time for other things that I need, want, and have promised to do. Recently, I've been to a couple of fantastic concerts, watched two amazing fireworks shows within the span of a week, partied with the lead singer of one of my favorite bands, at his house, with his dogs (!), gone to Disneyland twice, attended my second taping of The Big Bang Theory, and chatted with Jabba the Hutt's chief puppeteer (who also did some sculpting and puppeteering of Yoda). Some of it was surreal.


By no means less exciting, I've also gotten to celebrate my dog Cosette's 17th birthday, take another hiking class with Rusty, learn to pan for gold, get to know some of my neighbors better, go to a brunch with co-workers, spend quality time with E, and take part in a small book club.

That Looks Yummy!

There is still much to be done, some fun of course as we move into the season of holiday parties, and much mundane because that's just how life it. The carpet's not going to clean itself and as much as I may try to train them, the guinea pigs aren't going to freshen up their own cage. I've got a lot of household projects to tackle, as well as Comic-Con prep that needs to start yesterday. There are appointments to book, stuff to organize, and basically shit to get together. My goal is to find some balance, waste less time while being more productive and having as much fun as possible.

The question isn't "What are we going to do?," the question is "What aren't we going to do?"

*Yes, napping counts as doing.


Their Bottoms Are Made Out Of Springs

We did indeed have our annual Thanksgiving outing to The Happiest Place On Earth. There was no repeat of The Great Pumpkin Pie Incident of 2006 as there wasn't a single slice to be found in all of Disneyland. I tracked down some pumpkin muffins, but that's just not the same.

I did treat myself to this lovely, tooth-rotting confection:

Tigger Tail

Marshmallows, caramel, orange candy coating, chocolate stripes. On a stick. YUM! I ate about three-quarters of this and suddenly felt like Tigger! I got such a sugar rush that my head was spinning and I just wanted to bounce around. Hoo Hoo Hoo HOO!!!

Now for the embarrassing part. I got to the front of the sweets line and very proudly ordered my "Tiger Tail." This is what followed:

"Excuse me," said the cast member working the counter, "don't you mean TIGGER Tail?"

Me: "Oops! I'm sorry! Yes! TIGGER Tail! Am I going to get kicked out of Disneyland?"

C.M.: "Well, no, but I don't think Tigger would be very happy to hear you say that."

Me: "I think you're right. I'm sorry."

So ridicurous!


I was just totally clueless...

Recently, I think went on a foodie outing and I didn't even know it! Anyone who knows me understands that while I (obviously) like to eat, I don't cook and I'm no gourmet. On the rare occasion I do "fine dining," I have to look up menu ingredients on my cell phone under the table!

Hello Kitty recently came to town to celebrate her 35th birthday. For three weeks, the Royal/T café/store/gallery hosted an amazing event that included displays of past and present merchandise, works by over 80 contemporary artists, special menus, and various affairs to showcase different aspects of that kawaii little cartoon cat-with-no-mouth that many of us have loved for years.

Hello Kitty items from Japan

I was so excited for this! I love Hello Kitty and a couple of my favorite artists contributed to the exhibition. I really looked forward to checking out the array of memorabilia and the modern artistic interpretations and tributes. Jenn had been a few times, but suggested a brunch there with friends. Great! In addition to checking the place out, what a great opportunity to hang out with some friends I hadn't seen in a while and meet some new ones.

Painting by Luke Chueh

It didn't sink in when after the meal I was ready to peruse the exhibits and everyone else was kind of ho-hum and went along for a bit before scurrying off to do other things. I knew several of them had been before, so figured they didn't need to see it again. I can be pretty daft so it didn't strike me until I read this post and then this one and then finally this one. Duh.

Hello Kitty pancake and fruit

We were gathered primarily for the food, which included a special high tea and other themed offerings (see photo above). Everyone enjoyed the adorable eats.I did have a wonderful time and hope my friends will still include this food challenged dork in future gatherings!


Cosette, I Love You Very Much!

Cosette, our American Eskimo Dog, was born 17 years ago today. It was also a Friday the 13th. She came to live with us on January 3, 1993. I was so reluctant to get a dog at the time, but E was really missing the two out of three he grew up with who were still living with his mom. For the holidays, I gave him a "Certicate" I printed up on the computer and presented to him, complete with the misspelling. We still joke about that to this day. It was good for (1) American Eskimo Puppy. Within a week and change, an 8-week old ball of fluff joined our family.

Cosette is responsible for my love of dogs being rekindled after it had been soured in high school. As is common with her breed, she has always highly intelligent and trainable, agile, and protective. She's definitely a "daddy's girl," positioning herself to be the alpha female of the household. We'll just let her keep thinking that, okay? And it might sort of be true.

We moved across the country with Cosette when she was not quite two years old. She reluctantly let Little Guy join the clan several years later (once she put him in his place) and became a mom to Rusty when we adopted him later. Cosette has survived mammary cancer nearly five years ago and came through a bought of Old Dog Vestibular Disease a year and a half ago.

There's no denying that Cosette is OLD. Among other things, she's deaf, has arthritis, sleeps a lot, is very skinny under her fur coat, and is not quite as sharp as she once was. If you go by the old standard 1 dog year=7 human years, she'd be the equivalent of 119 years old! However, veterinary research has shown that the correlation can be related to the size of the dog. Going by the standards I've found, she is more like a 92-97 year old human. Okay, so that's still pretty geriatric!

I have no idea how much longer she'll live, but I'm not going to dwell on that. I appreciate every day we have with her and let her know that the best I can. Tonight, she and her brothers will have cake and ice cream and if they tolerate it, wear party hats to celebrate a long, beautiful life!


Maybe I'll See You There, We Can Forget All Our Troubles, Forget All Our Cares & Go Downtown

From a downtown rooftop
Taken with low tech cell phone camera from the rooftop of the Downtown Independent

I've been falling more and more in love with Downtown L.A. lately. Maybe it's because I've been spending a lot of time there. It's been undergoing a revitalization for years now and truthfully, still has a long way to go, but there is plenty to enjoy.


The Girl With The Orange Hubcaps

A couple of years ago, E and I attended a Scion owners' event that was really fun and sent us home with lots of goodies for our cars. I won a really nice set of rims, which sat in the garage for over a year while I hemmed and hawed over whose car to put them on (they fit both). I finally decided to give them to E since his car needs to look nice for his drive-in movies. I didn't mind as to me, while a car can definitely be an extension of someone's personality, it is primarily utilitarian.

When the Scion brand first hit the market in '03, they campaigned as being the cars ideal for personlization. Again, that was never really my thing, but I enjoyed looking at the stuff other folks did to theirs whenever we attended gatherings. There used to be a lot of nifty events, but things changed. There were design changes in '08 that I'm not overly fond of and just looked at the 2010 xB, which is not attractive at all. But, I still love my xA and E's first generation xB.

Orange Hubcaps

Before & After

So, what in the world is this all about? Orange hubcaps? What. Well, when I was leaning toward giving up the rims, E suggested I could so something funky such as painting my hubcaps orange. Feeling a little guilty owning a Scion that I never modded, I thought it might be a fun thing to do. We had extra hubcaps so figured if it didn't work out it would be no big deal. Eventually, we found some spray paint I liked--"pumpkin orange"--and E finished them up for my birthday. If you know me at all, you know I love orange. I've gotten several compliments, as well as a few snide comments, but whatever...I like 'em. Now maybe I'll get around to putting on the spoiler that I also got for free.


Freefall On A Windy Morning

I started this post in October...I swear...and now suddenly it's November!

In some ways, I can't believe this last month is almost over. It's gone went by incredibly fast, but I shouldn't be surprised as it's been was one busy month. It started, literally on the 1st, with my free birthday excursion to Disneyland. What a fantastic way to kick off October! Among the many fun and exciting things we did, there were also taxes to finish and work presentations to prep, but those things are behind us now.
I could probably dedicate a stand-alone post to many of our activities, but no. Perhaps I'll expound on one or two in the near future, but not now.

Music. We got to hear some pretty cool live music. Fountains of Wayne and Aimee Mann at the Wiltern. I love, love, love those boys and my only complaint is that they were not the headliner and had a shorter set. I'm not sure any of my three readers are fans, but if you are check out this video of a 70's medley version of "Radiation Vibe" they've been doing on the road. Aimee was also wonderful and performed a nearly all-request show that last two and a half hours! Highlight: She sang my favorite 'Til Tuesday song "Coming Up Close." I cried.

The Founding Director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and my favorite conductor, John Mauceri, premiered the fantastic Disney Symphonic Legacy at downtown's Walt Disney Concert Hall for We got "cheap" seats behind the orchestra, but that was fine because we could watch the maestro at work and he was the main reason we went.

We enjoyed more music at W00tstock at Largo from the dynamic duo Paul and Storm, Hard and Phirm, Felicia Day and others. The night included a very amusing slideshow of 100 Things Mythbusters' Adam Savage would like to do/have. Sheer nerd brilliance and entertainment. I laughed a lot.

Other good October times included one of Johannes Grenzfurthner's outstanding lectures, a rant about failing, at Machine Project, a quick couple of hours at The Brewery's ArtWalk, finally posting my Comic-Con photos from July, a one-year old's birthday party, a couple of plays including Nevermore and Steve Allen's Meeting of Minds, a picnic in a lovely canyon park with lots of friends and dogs (and a few strangers), and an outdoor Laurel and Hardy movie at Heritage Square Museum. Our 3-D Club participated in Pasadena's ArtNight and hosted an evening of Halloween themed 3-D short films at the Downtown Independent. We went to the same venue the following night for Kogi BBQ and NoiseFeratu, which thanks to E, was also shown in 3-D. Tired yet? I am.

The Big Bang Theory Cast

I was quite excited to finally make it to a live taping of The Big Bang Theory! It was a lot of fun to see the cast in action and yes, as they've said in panels I've attended, Jim Parsons definitely flubs the most lines! Katee Sackhoff was a special guest, but unfortunately, her scene was done the day before and we only saw it on playback. I have a one word mini-spoiler: bathtub. It was a really funny episode and I can't wait to see the final version.

Now is it any wonder why I never got around to coming up with a Halloween costume or make plans to celebrate? I often have at least 3 costumes for various happenings and places to go. I was kind of bummed, but realized Thursday and Friday downtown were geared toward the holiday, even if we didn't wear costumes. I did wear my Hamtaro hat, which I've never worn outside of Comic-Con, to work yesterday. In the spirit of doing something festive, we did ride the Ghost Train that was running at Live Steamers in Griffith Park. It was kind of like a Disneyland laugh-in-the-dark ride, but four times as long and a quarter of the wait! It was a nice way to cap off a hectic, but really fun month!

Sure eyes awake before the dancing is over, wise or naked in Secret Oktober...



When Duty Calls...

So, what do you do with that jury summons you most likely get in the mail every year? I know a lot of folks who throw it away. I don't know that the government has the funds to track down and prosecute, but that being a possibility, and the feeling of civic duty, compels me to report. I'm not sure how it works in other states and counties, but here in Los Angeles County, about 10,000 people serve each week. We do have this nifty "one day-one trial" thingy, but that often ends up being kind of bogus in that you'll be brought into a courtroom, sworn in, and then told, "Oops, we're too busy and will get on with this jury selection tomorrow. Buh-bye." And that's after you've been through a jury selection in the morning. One day? Well, whatever.

Los Angeles City Hall aka The Daily Planet

As some of you who follow me on various social media outlets know, I recently served on an actual trial. I've been summoned many times in the past, randomly called to sit in the jury box, but always released during the voir dire, which is where the lawyers from both sides interrogate
question the potential 14-16 people (includes alternates) who will hear the trial. I was not kicked off this time and participated as Juror #4 in a criminal case in which the defendant was charged with three felonies. For the record, we reached unanimous verdicts fairly quickly, but took a lot of time going over and over everything just to confirm. Not guilty on two counts, and guilty on one is how we ruled. Though not necessary, our judge did agree with our decision.

If you were reading my tweets or Facebook updates, you saw lots of complaints. Overall, it was a great learning experience, one I think everyone should do if able, but there were a lot of inconveniences. There is a lot of "hurry up and wait," much like on a movie or tv set, but without the craft services, as a friend pointed out. It's completely understanding why so many people say the stupidest things to get out of it, especially if they don't get paid by their employer.

I get 5 days covered a year. I had to go for 6 days, but 2 of those were on Fridays, my day off (yay!?), so I only had to use 4 and no vacation time. You can insist that there is no way whatsoever that you can follow the law (defendant is innocent until the State proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt) and that "he HAS to be guilty since he was charged with three things" and ensure not being chosen for the jury. When your lunch buddy says the exact same thing during her questioning, you both just look like the frakking idiots you probably are.

So yeah, the traffic, the rain, the endless waiting and waiting were painful. But, the chance to sleep in some days, the time to read a book, and the chance to have lunch in the shadow of one of my favorite downtown landmarks (see above) every day made it more tolerable. Oh yeah, and seeing first hand how our justice system, no matter how inefficient, works was definitely valuable.



Beware Elevator Robot


Robots Have Taken Over Los Angeles


Here We Go!

I received 10 cards for my birthday last week.
  • 8 feature one or more hamsters
  • 1 of the cards speaks when you pull a tab on the hamster's chin

I can understand if you are shaking your head and questioning your friendship with me. Well, hey, two of the hammies have cupcakes and that's cool, right? I know...*sigh*...I know...

♫Dit-a-dee da de-de do do dee-ba-dede doe...Dit-a-dee da de-de do do dee-ba-dede doe...♫


Happiest (Birthday) Place on Earth

I took advantage of the free birthday admission to Disneyland yesterday. I really hope anyone who can has done this or will if your birth anniversary falls in the latter part of the year. Since we couldn't really swing buying E a ticket when we'll be buying our annual ones for Thanksgiving, I got my friend, Jenn, to agree to brave the heat for a few hours since she has a pass. And since we hadn't hung out in ages and thought it would be a fun way to get together!

Since I go to Disneyland in November every year, I get to experience the wondrous Christmas decor, but had never seen how they do it up for Halloween, which is actually my favorite holiday. It is AMAZING. If you know me at all, you know I love, love, love pumpkins and the color orange. Both were everywhere! I'm going to try to post more photos soon, very soon.

It was lovely spending time with Jenn until she had to go and pick up her kids. She was happy to ride a couple of things that she just can't do with the youngsters. Being a frequent visitor, she also had a lot of insider tips, like a good, shady place with lots of open tables for lunch and what gift shop had G-Force merchandise. I had to splurge on at least one gift for myself! : )

Once Jenn left, I spent several hours there alone, which I thought might be kind of weird. I actually had a great time, riding a couple of rides, such as my favorite Indiana Jones, again and walking around taking photos without making companions wait around for me to get the perfect shot. I stayed for the special Halloween theme pyrotechnics show, which was pretty much the standard high quality Disney fireworks, but with lots more, like projection, actual fire and Zero the ghost dog flying around near the Castle (you may have seen Tinkerbell there!). Amazing!

So, if you do go, make sure you wear your birthday button proudly. All of the cast members say "Happy Birthday" to you (I'm pretty sure it's required of them), as well as lots of strangers, especially others celebrating the day too. There were TONS of October 1st babies in attendance, which makes sense. Count back to New Year's Eve. Uh huh.



In the next week or so, there are a few important markers of the passage of time.
  • Tomorrow, October 1st, my precious Little Guy turns 13 (well, that's our best estimate anyway). I suppose we should be doing a Bark Mitzvah, now that he's a(n) (old) man-dog. However, I think that kind of thing goes along with the mother's background and I'm not Jewish. Not that any of that stopped me from dressing Cosette up like it was her quinceañera, or caninceañera, because apparently I'm Mexican. So, perhaps I will throw a yarmulke on his head and snap a photo. I imagine he will protest.

  • This Friday marks the 15-year anniversary of our arrival in Los Angeles. E, Cosette, who was almost 2 at the time, and I were packed into the Honda Civic I had at the time and had spent four days driving across the county, with a brief little side trip to the Grand Canyon. To this day, when I drive west on the 134 and curve around the hillside while descending toward Glendale with downtown glimmering in the distance, I recall that day and doing the same drive. With nervous excitement, we checked out our Burbank apartment, which we hadn't even seen. I don't think I knew at the time how much I would fall in love this city*, the place I've lived far longer than any other in my lifetime, and that I'd be proud to call it "home."

  • Next week, I will celebrate my 15-year anniversary at work (and a little over 17 in my career). It's difficult to comprehend, with some days feeling like I've been here forever and others still mistakenly thinking I'm one of the newer staff. While I'm not necessarily exactly where I'd hoped to be at this point professionally, I have accomplished quite a bit and am proud of the job I do. In these tough times, I am very lucky to have fairly stable employment. For various reasons, I don't discuss details of my work here, but I'll say I'm very happy and honored to affect young lives, in a positive way. What I do might be small in the grand scheme of things, but it often feels huge when taken down to the individual human level.

*We only lived in Burbank for a couple of years and now do live in the City of Los Angeles, for whatever that's worth.


Furry Friends

*I know at least a couple of my handful of blog readers hate birds, so I apologize for the new template. No offense intended, I just thought it was cute. You know how fickle I am anyway and that it probably won't last long.*

I am planning to write something with a *little* substance soon. I hope. Anyway, in the meantime, enjoy this photo of Rusty and his therapy animal buddy, Oreo the rabbit. They visited some kids and families at the L.A. Ronald McDonald House this past weekend and had a great time.

Photo by Marcy


Hope. Pepper Haz It.

So this cool friend of mine, in spite of being a weerdo, was over at Disney and snagged this t-shirt for me from the G-Force visual fx crew. I couldn't resist doing a little photo shoot. I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm losing my dorkiness. Pepper was very interested, while Pickle couldn't have cared less. Maybe Darwin isn't her choice for leader of the guinea pigs.



Cosette and Little Guy

This is a crappy cell phone photo, but I captured the rare moment while still in bed yesterday morning. If I'd gotten up to get the real camera, they would have moved in anticipation of something to eat.

Cosette and Little Guy have merely tolerated each other for the eight-plus years they have lived together. Cosette had been an only dog for about seven-and-a-half years and it was a big adjustment. Little Guy came into our home thinking he'd suddenly take over as alpha dog. This did not go over well with the true leader and he was soon put in his place. When Rusty became part of the family a year or so later he bonded immediately with both dogs. He and Little Guy became playmates and Rusty took on the role of the puppy Cosette never bore. Little Guy and Cosette haven't fought since the very beginning, but they simple coexist.

I think that's why I was a little surprised to see them lying so close together, which is something they just don't do. Cosette kept getting bopped in the face when Guy would wag his tail, but she'd simply move her head position and that was it. At first I thought it was a really sweet moment and perhaps it was. In reality though, I think it was more likely that nearly seventeen-year old Cosette and almost thirteen-year old Little Guy, who is still recovering very slowly from his knee surgery, have difficulty moving and can't be bothered to get up for such a trivial matter.


Silly Little Contest

Tell me about the tag line on my blog header above and you can win an autographed copy of my latest self-published book, Piggie Poems. What I'm looking for is a genuine winner here, so no cheating! I'll know, trust me. You can leave a comment here or email me jodi [at] snarkydork [dot]com.

Winner will be chosen at random from correct entries.

You have until Sunday, September 6th, 12pm PDT. Go.



As you may or may not be aware, back in January of this year, I joined a group of esteemed local bloggers to contribute to L.A. Metblogs. Metblogs is an ever-growing international network of city-based sites where authors give first-hand accounts of their urban lives. I still feel like a guppy in a school of bigger fish, but was honored to make the cut and am inspired by the other writers.

I don't know if you read any of my stuff, and if not, that's okay. I'm not fishing for readers. However, if you do and have ever been inspired to leave a comment (again, no worries if you haven't), but were turned off by the need to register, I have some good news. Along with a general redesign of the entire site, commenter registration was nixed. If you're local, I encourage you to check out the site for cool events, contests, rants, and more. You can also follow us on twitter for alerts on posts that pique your interest.

For those of you elsewhere, check the list to see if your geographical area is represented. I know I do have some readers based in Philly, Orlando, San Diego, and even New Zealand. Not all cities have as many authors as Los Angeles, but that may just mean that you need to apply and share tales of your own beloved hometown. Unless you hate where you live.

P.S. We're adding L.A.-based blogs to the reinstated blogroll. If you'd like yours put into the mix, let me know and I'll see what I can do.


Where There's Smoke...

View of the smoke from the Station Fire, one of several blazes burning in Southern California right now, from the end of my street on Saturday afternoon. Bright white towers of smoke arose periodically from the black and gray stuff. It has seriously been looking like we've been nuked.

All fires are bad. The Station Fire is really close to where several of my friends live. The fire is barely contained and, today alone, it has tripled in size and burned down some homes. This is the one season I hate in SoCal and the one time of year I really wish for rain.


Eight Nights A Week

No, this isn't an early Hannukah post...

A lot of our friends always say things like, "You guys do SO much." I often downplay it and insist that sometimes we do sit at home and drool in front of the tv, but come to think of it, that is more the exception. This past week leaves me defenseless as we did something every single night.*

Monday: Neil Finn @ Largo, who was joined by his son on the drums and Largo's favorite son, Jon Brion, on all sorts of instruments. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that the show was amazing.

Tuesday: As part of the Downtown Film Festival-Los Angeles, E and several members of the L.A. 3D Club , put on a special screening of independent 3-D short films at the Downtown Independent, a really cool, fairly new film and event center. We had a great turnout and a reception on the roof. (I had to go back to work from 11:30pm to 1:30am).

From a downtown rooftop
View from roof of Downtown Independent

Wednesday: VisionFest is the annual Filmmakers Alliance (FA) event which gives an award to a prominent figure in the world of independent film (this year's recipient was producer Ted Hope), a presentation of short films, followed by a party with food, booze, and mingling. During the festivities, E ran a video theater to show other shorts by various FA members.

Thursday: Of course we attended the 3-D Club's annual officer installation and awards banquet. Not only are we members, but E is the VP and usually the projectionist. One of our members was quite boisterous this year, making it a unique occasion, but that's neither here nor there. The important thing of it all is that I not only got my participation ribbon for entering each , but I also got a 3rd place medal for the newbie group!

Friday: It was Avatar Day and by the time we remembered to request tickets, the only place left in the L.A. area to go was Long Beach. That was fine since some friends who are also into 3-D live there and joined us. We made the trip worth our while and had some Peruvian food with them after the sneak preview. We stopped at Scoops once back in L.A. & I got the last of the Brown Bread for the day! P.S. Avatar looks pretty effin' cool.

Saturday: After a long, exhausting day at work, we went to closing night of the DFFLA. We got a very rare glimpse at a dated, but fascinating, documentary called The Jackson 5 in Africa. The footage from 1974 had only screened once before in New York and it's unknown when or if it will ever be seen again. Unfortunately, the after-party was a bust, but we ended up going to Wurstküche, an exotic sausage restaurant in the Arts District. We'd heard wonderful things about the place and they were all true!

Sunday: After sleeping in a little, we decided to drive down to Laguna Beach to catch the soon-closing Sawdust Art Festival. We strolled around the art galleries along the ocean first and then took in the arts and crafts. There was also a lot of candy, but I don't want to talk about that.

Laguna Beach, my favorite place in the O.C.

Monday: Now we're up to last night. We met up with an old friend from college, who will soon be moving back to L.A., and a couple of his friends. It was a good time and even though some business-type stuff was discussed, the hours flew by as we indulged in good food and conversation.

*You may have heard me complain about being broke and that hasn't changed. We're very fortunate in that a lot of these fun things we do often cost very little to nothing, for a variety of reasons. We did pay full price for the sausage, though, and it was worth it.


The More You Know...

I sat down to do a big essay about my feelings on Michael Vick, but ending up rambling for paragraphs about growing up in a football fanatic family, being a fan myself by default, and coming to dislike the sport and its violent nature many years later. It was becoming an epic post and way longer than anything I would take the time to read.

When it comes to hearing Vick's name in the news whether he's going to court, leaving jail, getting a provisional reinstatement into the NFL, I just think of those dogs. Those innocent, tortured, indescribably mistreated dogs. The recent news has coincided with something in my life that lead to a lot of friends and colleagues ranting about how much they hate Pit Bulls and how evil they are by nature. My attempts to speak up on the unfair rap this breed have been ignored. I passive-aggressively printed out information from, well, the website called Bad Rap and posted them with photos of me being licked on the face by one of my best Pit friends. Obviously, not out to make friends, but if I could change one mind...

Me And <span class=
Daizy and me

We all have our prejudices and might be easily influenced by the fear-mongering media. If you aren't sure about Pit Bulls yourself, take a couple of minutes to read up on the breed and the crazy myths surrounding them. Yes, dogs can hurt you. ANY dog of ANY breed of ANY size can hurt you or another dog. Certain breeds have some traits that might not be a good match for you and your family as a pet. That's why people should educate themselves, make well-informed decisions before obtaining a dog, and commit to training that will help your canine become a good citizen. This goes for any dog from a teacup Poodle to a Great Dane to the I-have-no-idea-what-kind-of-dog-this-is Mutt. My cute fluff ball of a dog, Little Guy, is often horrible around other dogs, in spite of training efforts, so I purposefully avoid precarious situations as much as I can.

My creation
The many, often goofy, faces of Daizy

Personally, I don't think I would want to own a Pit Bull, but not because I'm afraid. I've just become fonder of smaller, long haired, pointy-eared dogs, in spite of growing up with and loving German Shepherds. I've spent a lot of time with my friend Daizy, above. I've walked her in the hills, played fetch with her, cuddled and snuggled with her as well. She is full of energy and love. She does like to jump up and say hi, but you tell her to "sit" and she does. Daizy has training, Daizy has responsible owners, Daizy is loved as much as she loves back. Daizy sometimes mingles at parties and is well received, especially when she's disguised Petey from The Little Rascals. Daizy's "parents" do encounter hate and prejudice though when in public, which shows how truly ignorant people often are.

I did end up rambling, but sometimes we have to speak up for those who can't for themselves. I understand that a lot of folks don't like or understand dogs period. Just because I'm a self-proclaimed "crazy dog lady," I really don't care if they aren't your thing and won't try to convince you otherwise. Talk to me about cats sometime. Or don't. Please don't. I just get really peeved that negative untruths being propagated by the ill-informed.


Dog Tired


Piggie Poems!

I've neglected a bit of self-promotion here. I put together a new book for Comic-Con this year called Piggie Poems. It was inspired by my former and current guinea pigs and contains original poetry and photographs.

As with my other books, it appeals to a select audience. Hamster Haiku was the best seller for me this year, with one person telling me that she bought it a year or two ago and still uses it with her elementary school students. Aw. So, if you a guinea pig enthusiast, or happen to know one, you might want to check it out. Feel free to contact me as I do have copies on hand and will offer free shipping. Or you can order it directly through Lulu, the self-publishing site I use. Admittedly, it's silly, but cute!


I'm in a comic store lookin' for some mistakenly priced comic I could make a fortune on & in walks the Fantastic Four. I say...that last issue is cool

I'm still trying to process what was the last five days of my life. I don't know if it's that I'm getting almost too-old-for-this-shit or that I was coming off of being really, really sick, but during this year's San Diego Comic-Con I was in some sort of daze. I'm not saying it was bad, I'm just so exhausted. I wanted to jot down some highlights before I can't remember any of it!

The Table: For the 4th year, Tired Girl Collective had a table in Small Press. For the 2nd time ever, we had a 4th Tired Girl, who happened to be a boy. For the 1st time ever, we had an honorary 5th Tired Girl who didn't sell any of her own merchandise, but was a great help to us (and fun to hang out with!) Every year, we've been lucky with neighbors on at least one side (and not so, never mind). Last year, both neighbors were excellent. This year we were on an end, so only had one chance and it worked out really well. I loved listening to Canadian accents all weekend!

The Friends: A huge aspect of Comic-Con for most people I know is getting to see friends. It's a little sad to say, but I see some of my L.A.-based friends more during the days of the convention than in the rest of the year before the next one. And then, of course, there are the out of town buddies, who make it a really extra special time.

The Panels: Thanks to some extra help (see The Table, above), I got to sneak away to a few more panels than I usually do. High points included the first-ever studio previews of upcoming in 3-D, including Q&A sessions with Robert Zemekis, Tim Burton, Joe Dante, and others, Caprica/Battlestar Galactica, Big Bang Theory, Chuck (complete with a performance by Jeffster!!!), Family Guy, and a cool TV Guide Sci-Fi hot list panel.

The Photos:
Looking through the photos I took, I'm finding they are mostly of the panels and actually quite boring unless you are into those particular shows
. It will be a while before they get uploaded anyway, as I'm still working on those from Maker Faire (which was in May!) and others between then and now. I'll make sure I link to friends' sets of the cool costumes, etc.

The Scavenger Hunt: One of the most fun things E and I did was a nighttime event to promote the upcoming Tron sequel, which had us running around the Gaslamp District with black lights and ending up in a replica of Flynn's arcade. Here's a great recap of the event.

The Celebrities: Comic-Con and celebrities go hand-in-hand. I'm generally not too star-struck, but was more amused by some of the folks who strolled, or were whisked by security, by our table. It seemed like more than in the past, which probably has to do with being located right by the back door. Adam West, Ron Jeremy, Richard Dreyfus, and Ray Bradbury passed through. In another part of the hall, I saw John Landis taking Matt Groening's photo. We saw Tania Raymonde (Alex on Lost) in an ice cream shop. Oh, and we saw Chuck Lorre and a few of the Big Bang Theory cast members in our hotel lobby (see below).

The Stalker: Okay, I just said I don't get star-struck. It's somewhat true, but I do tend to get really nervous, and sometimes just plain ridiculous, if I decide to approach someone and talk to them. Let's just say I *may* or *may not* have sort of stalked one of the people in the photo below:

A few of the folks above might have been in one of the bars in my hotel and I just possibly (with some prodding) may have approached and babbled. Oh, and then there's the part where a mutual friend called _____ and was told, "I'm hanging out at the bar with Jodi," on my prompting.

I'll post something once I have photos up, hopefully no longer than two weeks from now. For now, I will sleep and dream of superheroes, standing in really long lines, Adam Baldwin, Hello Kitty Stormtroppers, giant hamsters, half-naked Pikachu, vintage 80's video games, and onions.


San Diego! Here We Come!

Believe it or not, it is that time of year again...San Diego Comic-Con. I'm still busy getting stuff ready, between hacking up my lungs (a different story), and hope to have lots of goodies by Wednesday when I head down for set-up and Preview Night. All the cool kids will be at Blogger Prom that night, but hey, I was never accused of being cool. I'll be hangin' with the dorks, nerds, geeks, and dweebs. And loving it.

You can check out the Tired Girl Collective site for specifics on our location, etc. We'll be joined by our buddy Nathan Hamill, who will be selling his newly released vinyl toy, Boris. Of course there will be lots of other cool people I can vouch for that you should also check out including JustJenn and Paul Horn, as well as many others I'm sure I'm forgetting.

Frank the Pug and Jodi
From the vault. Frank the Pug and Jodi
San Diego Comic-Con 2002


Brushing Away The Cobwebs & 4th of July Recap

*Gently taps screen* Hello! Hello! Anyone home?

I've been neglecting this blog a lot lately. I don't have a lot to say at the moment, but in an effort to get back the groove of working on my many projects and interests, here's a glimpse of how we spent our 4th of July in a fairly non-traditional, but oh-so-fun way in Echo Park.

Echo Park 4th of July
Click on photo to see a larger version

Echo Park 4th of July, left to right, starting at the top:
  1. Machine Project's members-only Freeze-B-Q. Everyone brought food and beverages and we experimented freezing them with liquid nitrogen. I now think I know how the marshmallows in Lucky Charms get their texture! Not everything worked, but a blended mix of fruits with a little rum thrown in seemed to turn out great.

  2. Machine Project from the street.

  3. In the evening, a group of musicians lead folks in a sing-a-long. Lots of traditional songs. It was bizarre and fun. People really go into it and I felt like I could sing out in my out of tune voice.

  4. Independent (*ahem*...illegal) fireworks over the Echo Park Lake. Downtown L.A. in the background. Every year, lots of people put on their own displays of fireworks in Echo Park for hours and hours. We walked down to the lake, which was interesting as we walked right by some fireworks being shot off. I'm a little twitchy about that sort of thing. It was lovely until the po-po kicked us out of the park for "trespassing." It was bogus because it was only 9:30 and the park is open until 10:30, but arguing with the LAPD never seems like a wise idea.
We topped the night off with dinner at one of our favorite Thai restaurants.


May The (G) Force Be With You

So, Disney is promoting the hell out of G-Force, which if you ever open your eyes when you venture outdoors-especially in L.A.-you know.

Gadgets. Gizmos. Guinea Pigs. In 3-D.

A collage of some of the ads I've snapped photos of around L.A.

I just had to ask myself a few questions.

Will it be stupid? Probably.

Will Tracy Morgan annoy the bejeezus out of me: Most likely.

Am I afraid kids will do really stupid, dangerous things with their guinea pigs after seeing it? Unfortunately, yes.

Will I bother seeing it? HELLS YEAH!

They had me at Guinea Pigs. 3-D is a nice, nice bonus.


Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

Update 06/29/09, 6:45am: Even though the results are somewhat tied below, I concede that listening to someone read a book to me is not the same thing as me reading that book. Sort of. I'm having trouble accepting the fact that I have to make two lists now: "Books I've Read This Year" and "Books Someone Else Read To Me This Year." Seems awkward.


Will I Ever Ketchup*?

When I have a lot going on that serves as actual blog fodder, I don't seem to have time to write about any of it. Various topics in the queue include a proper wrap-up of Maker Faire, a quick trip to the adorable City of Orange, the drive-in series that ended last week, the Hot Dog Death March*, an update on the beasties, the L.A. Film Festival, Comic-Con, which is approaching ever so quickly (!), and who knows what else.

In lieu of an actual post, I leave you with a photo that I took in Orange. Feel free to share your thoughts and/or title or caption suggestions.


So Say We All

Check out the video that my buddy Erik shot at the free downtown L.A. Grand Performances "Music of Battlestar Galactica" show this past weekend. Yep, that's the back of Katee Sackhoff you see on the opening piano bit with composer Bear McCreary.

There's another cool one he posted of the first ever live performance of "Prelude to War" from the episode "Pegasus." Good stuff.


I've played my role in this farce - a dying leader will guide the people to blah, blah, blah... frakking blah blah! I've been there, done that...

Mary McDonnell
Mary McDonnell aka Battlestar Galactica's Laura Roslin
PaleyFest, March 2006

I met her last night. She is warm and kind and beautiful and all of the things you'd hope and think she might be in person. She held my hand and had genuine appreciation in her eyes as I tried to articulate how much her amazing performance of the character Laura Roslin meant to me. I couldn't quite get the words out through the tears, but she said she felt and knew what I was trying to say and didn't make me feel silly or stupid at all.


"...think about new & creative ways to engage young people in science & engineering, like science festivals, robotics competitions, & fairs..."

I know I bitched a lot about Maker Faire on twitter. I spite of that, I did actually have a good time. I mainly complained because it was a non-violent outlet for those moments when I really felt the need to stab people. Most of the folks I met were polite, intelligent, and eager to learn about our array of 3D displays. Then there were the a-holes. We had a lot of electronics at our table, such as projectors, LCD shutter glasses, paired still DSLR cameras, several video cameras. I was amazed that in the first half-hour an ADULT threw a pair of the expensive glasses across the table. I said "Dude!" and he mumbled "Oh, sorry" and walked off. Jerk. I grew weary of telling kids to stop pushing our tables. Most of their parents were present and watched as the kids continued to push the tables 4-5 times. Next year, we will put up a barrier. Oh, and SO many pairs of the plastic glasses we borrowed from the L.A. 3D Club were broken. We've been using them at the club meetings for years without such breakage.

While Comic-Con is a haven for geeks, Maker Faire is all about the nerds. Hardcore nerds. One of my favorite things at the event is the t-shirts. And they're nerdy, not ironic. Since I had my own hectic craft exhibit last year and worked at E's even busier booth this year, I only have a photo (above) from 2007. I made a mental note though of a few of my favorites over the course of this past weekend. I really wish I'd taken snapshots of them.

The cutest was one that luckily E pointed out to me. I would have missed it. The shirt had a schematic of a turbine engine, which contained a hamster wheel. Next to it was a little hamster dressed like an aviator. Unfortunately, it was a Shirt.Woot exclusive.

Seen on a shirt somewhere in San Mateo:

SCIENCE. It works, bitches.

When I was your age, Pluto was a planet.

Every time you call tech support, God kills a kitten.

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary and those who don't.

I'm trying to catch up on life after the blur of the weekend and get moving on the next things, on which I'm already behind. Sometime in the near future, I'll try to post a couple of the five or so 3D photos I took at the faire. I know at least a couple turned out fairly decent and I still have a few to download. In the meantime, grab your red/cyan glasses and check out E's blog where he posted a 3D video of Eepybird's Diet Coke & Mentos fountain.


You need anything dampened, or made soggy?

From BoingBoing: "Moist, and other words people dislike."


An excerpt from Ben Zimmer's essay at Visual Thesaurus proclaims:

"Many people feel quite strongly about moist — there's even a Facebook group called called "I HATE the word MOIST!" with more than 300 members."
I think I know a member (or if not, a soon-to-be one).

I personally don't have a problem with the word and do, in fact, taunt my friend with it from time to time. Because I'm a little bit evil like that. One of my favorite characters in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is Moist, played by Simon Helberg. Too bad there's not a song about him.

I'm not sure how one goes about describing the perfect cupcake if they can't use the word "moist." Mushy? Soft and fluffy? (okay, maybe). Cloud-like?

I should stop now. I've probably just lost one of my three loyal readers who is, or was, a very good friend. I need to go water my vegetables anyway. Got keep that soil nice and moist! See? I can't quit and may get punched.

What word do you hate? I can't promise not to torture you with it.



Your Sunday afternoon dose of adorable!

Pepper and Pickle
The Insane Piggie Posse

The guinea pigs are doing quite well. They continue to grow and thrive. Pepper, in particular, has become quite demanding and wheeks* loudly when one of us enters the room. This means she wants something, either greens or fresh hay. Pickle does it too, but rarely at the bossy volume Pepper does. The thing is, they often get something, so she has us trained. I do ignore some to teach her it doesn't always pay off!

*Not my pig, but an example of the sound. Mine are freaked out by the camera and freeze in silence. I need to try to sneak some video!


See chameleon lying there in the sun...

I've waited almost a week to publish this so I don't get melodramatic when describing an event that could have possible had a tragic and life-changing ending. I want to preface the story by stating that I am extremely thankful for and relieved by the end result. That said, I started last Wednesday by feeling like my heart might stop.

I was off to a good start that morning. As anyone who knows me is aware, I tend to run late most of the time. I was in sync with the clock though and got out the door at the exact right time. Depending on how things are going, I go one of two ways to exit my neighborhood. I briefly thought of turning my car around to go out the easier way. Thinking it would be okay since I was leaving right at 7am, I just went straight. I headed up the street, past the four houses between mine and an intersection. I looked further down the street, gasped, and slammed on my brakes so hard my car skidded.

Across the intersection, I saw Rusty, one of my dogs (which any reader probably knows already), trotting along side a woman and the yellow Lab she was walking. He had the biggest smile on his face and was obviously having a grand old time. WHAT THE...??? I jumped out of the car, screaming, and running toward him. He looked, but didn't come to me, which was probably okay considering he'd be going over a cross street. I ran up to him like a raving lunatic shouting, "What the hell???" I'm sure the lady thought I was insane. My heart is palpitating a little as I recount this.

I scooped him up and plopped him onto the passenger side floor and drove back to the house. I was reprimanding him, as if that was helping at all. He was clearly having a blast and had also rolled in something as his entire body was wet. I got him into the house and immediately checked that Cosette and Little Guy were still there. I then had to figure out how in the world this frakkin' happened. None of my dogs has ever gotten out.

My first thought was that I hadn't latched and locked the one side gate after bringing in the garbage cans the night before. Nope. Latched and locked. I went into the back yard and briefly had an absurd thought that somehow Rusty had climbed up our huge carob tree, which has a branch near the top of our 6-foot wall. Um, yeah, right. I was really shaken and clearly not thinking straight. I made my way over to the other side of the house, where our cinder block wall does not travel the full distance to the gate in the front, so there is a gate in the back. Well, lo and behold, the wooden gate had split down the middle and half was on the ground, opening a passage from the normally confined back yard. The gate was fairly rickety, but had been latched and secure last we checked.

Since Rusty was safe and I was now running late to work, I closed the back door and awoke E and barked out the story. He later repositioned the gate and blocked it so it's impossible to fall again before we repair it.

My mind raced on the drive, imagining the horrific possibilities from Rusty being run down by one of the huge SUVs that tend to speed down our street to him being kidnapped. He loves people, is a size that can be picked up, and would easily adjust to a new family. Although we live on a relatively quiet street, aside from the occasional speeders, we are a block away from an extremely busy, highly trafficked thoroughfare.

In retrospect, I kind of think the woman may have been herding Rusty toward home. He has tags with our address and I've never seen this woman in the neighborhood. I pretty much recognize all of the dogs taking a stroll, especially in the early morning. I feel like an ass because I didn't even talk to her, partially due to my car still being parked and running in the middle of the street and well, also due to general freak out.

Rusty is a good boy and was so frazzled by my overreaction. E said he acted out of sorts all day. When I got home, I picked him up and he "hugged" me, making these little noises as if to say, "I'm sorry, don't be mad at me." If you've made it this far, I commend you. Personally, I hate long blog entries and would have stopped reading by now.

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