Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Doody...Heh (I'm 12)

It is with much glee and relief that I can now make this announcement and do the happy bloggy dance/fist pump/Roger Rabbit/running man/moonwalk: I have successfully "served" a term of jury doody. I didn't want to mention that there was a possibility in any way, shape or form until I was officially in the clear, lest it jinx things.

I can't believe what I did even counts as "serving," since all I really did was call every Wednesday at 4:30 to find out whether I'd have to get up at the waytoofnearly o'clock the following morning to sit around all day, only to be told it wasn't necessary. There was a bit of a scare last week when I called and they read off a laundry list of people who had to show up. And the names weren't in alphabetical order, so they could have lowered the boom at any moment. I held my breath and name wasn't among those called. "Poor bastards," I thought as I hung up and made my alternate Thursday plans.

While part of me was vaguely looking forward to having an excuse to sit around and catch up on my reading, I think it's far preferable to sit around and catch up on my reading and sleep in and get civic duty brownie points either way.

I'll give my apologies to Starbucks, however, as they stood to profit heavily from me in the month of June. I hope this doesn't throw their projected quarterly earnings all out of whack.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


"Will you take my picture?"
"What would you title it?"
"Ummm...'Man Sitting on a Tree Stump'? "
"What?! That's not good."
"Sorry. I'm not very good with the picture titles."
"How about calling it 'Asshole'?"
"Hahaha. I don't know you well enough to make that judgment, but if you insist..."
"Just give it a good title," he said as he boarded the bus.

Solving the World's Problems, One at a Time

Over dinner with the Mr. last night, I proposed the following solutions to the Movie Theater Talker Problem. I think it was the salsa verde that brought out the inspiration.

1) Screenings with Age Limits
At first, the Mr. got all Snarky McSnarkerson with me and said, "Yeah, they're called rated R movies." But I elaborated: how about for any movie rated PG and higher, theaters have at least one or two minimum-age screenings a week? Say, 25 and over. After hearing me out, the Mr. dubbed my idea "brilliant." Aw.

Not that I haven't been trapped in a theater with a person well older than me who wouldn't shut the hell up. The movie was Castaway, and my brother's girlfriend and I had the misfortune of sitting right next to this old man who kept a running commentary on every little thing that happened. "Oh! What's this? It's a watch! Wow. What is he going to do with that?...A volleyball. Now. That's interesting. ... Why doesn't he open that package? I wonder what could be in it?" Despite repeated pleas from both us and his son, the man refused to keep quiet. We couldn't move because it was a packed theater on a Friday night. I guess we could have just left, since the movie was fairly stupid anyway. I mean, I love how right after he's rescued, the next scene with him is on a plane. And not only that, but he's perfectly OK with it. But the sushi in the hotel room, that he has trouble with.

Anyhow, my point is, minimum age screenings aren't going to take away the Castaway Color Commentators, but I'm willing to bet 4 out of 5 theatergoers will agree that 99% of theater talkers are under the arbitrarily chosen age of 25. And that 5th theatergoer who doesn't go along with the program is probably somehow related to the 5th Dentist who is anti-Trident, and we all know he can't be trusted.

2) The Rat Out Your Neighbor System
The idea here is simple and fun for all: reward theater patrons for ratting each other out with free movie tickets. To cut down on friends "ratting out" friends, my plan is that there must be a minimum of two verifiable complaints against a customer to earn a free movie pass.

The Mr. and I think that as entertaining as this has the potential to be, there are still some holes that leave it vulnerable to major abuse. So, for now, it's probably not going to work. I mean, feel free to rat out your neighbor. Just don't expect any tickets.


So, the guy who voiced Tigger died the other day. RIP and all.

But Tigger is totally the most annoying character in all of Winnie-the-Pooh, at least in the Disney-fied versions. I'll even take that whiner Eeyore or know-it-all Owl over that freaking spaz. Was it too much to ask that he just sit down and quit flapping his trap for 5 seconds?

Exciting Plants

Monday, June 27, 2005


This is one of my favorite buildings. But I was just having one of those days yesterday -- not feeling particularly inspired or at one with my camera and every single image was coming out looking like butt. The series of images I got here pretty much said it all: either the sky was all cool and dramatic and the building was dark, or the building was fine but the sky was washed out. I'm going to get out tomorrow and perhaps wander around downtown, get some people shots. Hopefully no one will go all Sean Penn and/or Cameron Diaz on me. But it's time to start conquering this fear, no?

Maybe Sid & Nancy Hung Out Here and Shot Up

The Mr. told our Awesome Neighbor George, who is awesome because he clears our walk after it snows without even being asked, about our little encounter the other night.

George theorized that they were friends of one Crackhead Todd. Literally a crackhead. Who hasn't lived in our house for, like, 2 years. So, they couldn't have been very great friends if they haven't gotten the message by now. I don't think crackheads leave forwarding addresses, either, because we still get his mail.

We didn't buy the house from him -- he neglected it in favor of the crack, naturally. Another Todd (shall we call him NotCrackheadTodd?) bought it from him, restored it and sold it to us at a profit that made us wonder if we were in the wrong line of work. Still wondering that.

If you ever own an old house, maybe you wander through the rooms and think about what may have taken place there in the days of yore. Maybe a couple danced a minuet in your dining room before the husband had to ship off to the Revolutionary War. Maybe that worn spot on the floor is from some sassy flapper dancing the Charleston circa 1929. Perhaps there were wounded Civil War soldiers in our living room, marinating in morphine. Maybe George Washington had some friends who lived here, and he liked to swing by in the middle of the night after a long day of riding around on his horse and pound on the door in search of a light for his pipe, and hop back on his horse in a huff when the tenants wouldn't answer.*

I can't say I ever pictured a crack den, but it sure is cute, isn't it?

*OK, our house isn't really this old, but the flapper thing was the only cool thing I could think of that happened in the 100 years our house has existed. I mean, it's not like Andy Warhol and Nico stopped by here or anything. Don't be ridiculous.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

I Regret My Major In College, But Am Still Thankful My Parents Didn't Let Me Major In Music, Because WHAT Was I Planning To Do With That?!

I forgot to write about the time a couple months ago where I peeked into our pantry and saw a box of the Mr.'s Triscuits.

On the side it said: "Will fill you up...but not with regret!"

I wasn't really thinking that they would, but...thanks for having my back, Triscuits. I've got enough regret without getting any more of it from crackers.

Now whenever the Mr. or I eat crackers, we check in on each other.

"Are those filling you up? And not with regret, I hope?"
"Mmmmm, I'm full. But not of regret! Just crackers."


The next day, I saw that either someone moved this hat to a bench, or it got up and walked there on its own, and kicked myself for not having my camera with me. I threw a tantrum right there in the park. It's the Incredible Migrating Hat! Must get pictures of this.

Holy cow, how awesome is the new photo upload tool? Give it a try if you haven't. No more bouncing back and forth from other upload programs and back to blogger. They totally did not pay me to say that, either.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Friday, June 24, 2005

So, That Was a Little Scary

Every once in awhile, we get strange visitors on our doorstep. At 1:30 a.m.

The first time, it was this lady I had run into on the street a week (in daylight) or two prior. She had told me some wholly unbelievable story about how she locked herself out of her house and called the cops, and they tried to bust in to her place, but were unsuccessful, and now she was taking to the streets to gather enough money to buy a new key. I was so irritated with the non-believability of her story that I didn't give her anything. I mean, even those, "Hey, I was on my way to Santa Cruz and dude, I just ran out of gas!" stories have a ring of plausibility.

(Funny aside: my grandmother was approached by one of those guys at a gas station, and I'm not sure if she gave him money or not, but the following week, she was approached by the same guy telling the same story and she said, "You're still here? You must be having a very hard time collecting enough money!")

The second time, it was around 1:30 a.m. She knocked on the door, and of course, Nabby went nuts. I peeked out the window to see who it was. Her back was to the door, and from that angle, she resembled my neighbor, so I opened it. Otherwise, I never would have. She turned around, and it was Lying About the Key lady. Her story this time is that the city had just turned off her gas, so her house had no heat. She and her grandchildren were driving around looking for money (I saw no car, but she said it was around the corner) so they could go pay the city and have their heat back. Again, I say, at 1:30 a.m. I had to hand it to her for sheer inventiveness. She asked if my neighbor's car was my car. I said no, and she left. I've since learned that she's gone to other houses telling similarly insane stories.

Last night, the Mr. and I were reading in bed when someone began pounding on our door. It seriously rattled the house. It's times like this I reallyreallyreally love having Nabby, because I like to believe her bark sounds bigger and more ferocious than she is. Especially when it's the "I was just starting to doze off, and you woke me, jerk" bark. The Mr. jumped up to see what was going on, and I hid in bed. Those are our respective jobs. And if he's not going to kill bugs, the least he could do is face off potential burglars. He started to go down the stairs, but instead came back (I didn't ask him, but it had to have been instinct to do that) and looked outside our bathroom window (which faces the street) and some guy was standing on our sidewalk holding up a cigarette as though he wanted a light. Oh, of course. Whenever I need something random, say a corkscrew, and it's the middle of the night, I go around and knock on people's doors. They understand. Boy, I wish there were some 24-hour convenience stores or something.

I don't think I need to tell you we didn't open the door. I'm still kind of spooked. Something about the knock -- it was so aggressive and unecessarily loud. It wasn't a "Say, I'm sorry to wake you, but do you have a light?" knock. Not that we would have opened up for that, either. The Mr. travels for work a lot, and I'm often here alone (although, thankfully, not for the next 3 weeks or so).

Good thing we have an alarm, and I'm going to start sleeping with the hammer again, too.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Squirrel and/or Bird Watch

Popsicle of Love

I Needs a Valium

Is there anything more stressful than an internet presale? I highly doubt it. Even eBay isn't this stressful, because at auction close time, your internet connection runs at the same speed it did 5 minutes prior to auction close time. But the presale. The presale. *Pulls hair and screams*

Presale tickets go on sale for the White Stripes and the Shins in t-minus 4 minutes. This lineup is seriously challenging my previous all-time favorite lineups of Pearl Jam/Nirvana/Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1992 (I think?) and Ben Lee/Fountains of Wayne in 2003.

Jack White is not a muffin basket of puppies, however. He's, like, an anvil basket of wrenches and a banjo.

Note to maliavale: things in a basket=funny.

Update: Got them! Yes! Now I'm going to collapse and fan myself.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

California, Knock It Off

Dear California,

Now, you know I love and miss you, and if I could afford you or if I had a million dollars to burn on a shanty, I'd go back. But something has been bugging me for awhile. Since I was about 5 years old, to be exact.

You're still talking about The Big One and how it's coming, how it will kill us all, how it will splinter you from the rest of the nation, and we'll be set adrift in the Pacific to become our own country. Which actually might be OK, if you can guarantee that L.A. wouldn't be joining us. No hard feelings, L.A., it's just that it's in my contract as a primarily-Northern Californian to dislike you. Your sushi and Mexican is delicious, though. Keep it up.

So, California. May I call you CA? You had me when I was a kid. You had all of us. We did earthquake drills monthly. Every little tremor was met with, "This is it! The Big One! We're goin' down!" Even if it was only caused by a passing truck, no matter. It's really not believable anymore, so seriously, just stop. Please? If you could narrow it down to a particular day, or hell, even a month, then you might have my attention.

But to make a threat so vague as the Big One is coming? Well, yeah, of course it is. It's not exactly a bold prediction. That's like saying there will be a category 5 hurricane strike somewhere in the south within the next 50 years. Or...somewhere in the Great Plains, an extremely destructive tornado is going to strike. It's going to demolish houses and throw cows through the air. Mark my words!

Thing is, earthquakes are actually pretty cool, and you know it. I mean, the small-ish to mid-size ones. I don't think I'd like to be in one that rates 9.5 on the destructo scale or anything, especially if I were in a skyscraper. Or directly below one. But why are we keeping this a secret? I see a major tourism promotion opportunity here. "If the state's rockin', you should come a-knockin'!" Um, yeah. That's all I got. You can use it for free.

People who are scared of earthquakes perplex me. I'd rather experience an earthquake than a hurricane or tornado. Look at the advantages: they're sudden, so you don't have weeks of tracking and obnoxious buildup and TV news theme songs. There's no "season." For many of us, it happens when it happens, and when it does happen, it's exciting for a day or two, we all talk about where we were, some people claim they could tell it was coming because of the weather or somesuch, and then we get over it. For the most part, of course. If a freeway collapses, sure, it's a bigger deal.

The best part is the safety measures, which amount to: Get in a doorway and get in a freaking doorway now. Can't get better than that. No need to hide in a shelter or tape your windows or sandbag the house.

So, CA, I will be your ambassador. I will help spread the good news on earthquakes, and you stop making everyone pee their pants over the Big One, yeah?

I'm glad we got that sorted out. Let's go eat some sourdough.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Love Just Leaves You Bruised

Yesterday, I got what I deserved. For the last five days, I've had to give Nabby an antibiotic every 12 hours in preparation for her teeth cleaning. To get her to eat it with as little fuss as possible, I dip it in a little peanut butter. Who am I kidding with that, anyway? She'll eat anything, with or without peanut butter. There is no need to truss up anything. The thing is, though, she's hilarious with peanut butter. The gooeyness makes her frantically stick her tongue out to twice its usual length while she tries to get it free from every nook and cranny in her mouth.

Last afternoon, I decided to put some on her snout and watch what she did. The poor thing just sat there doing the same motion with her tongue, unable to get it up and around her snout to the peanut butter. After laughing at her for a minute or two, I finally bent down and put it on my finger so she could eat it. Then I stood back up and WHACK! My head hit the cabinet, full force.

I went around telling everyone about my head wound, but not really mentioning exactly what I was doing when it occurred. Guilt eventually got the better of me, and I fessed up.

The moral: teasing of cute dog=more painful punishment+less sympathy

The NotMoon

They had these big ballooney things at the Ben Lee show last weekend. Every time I turned around I was like, "Whoa! Look at the moon tonight! Wait." Every. Single. Time. I'm a little slow. But then Aimee Mann, bless her heart, said they were weirding her out, too. Apparently they use them a lot in L.A. to simulate the moon in real-live movies, so you'll be driving along and all of a sudden, there's the moon. Except, not so much. Which is probably a metaphor for many, many things in the L.A. area.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Ralph Macchio and His Muscle Shirt

Did you see Ralph Macchio last night on "Entourage"? Holy crap, he's still really cute, isn't he? In fact, I'm finding it kind of odd that he starred in a movie about a man who ages at an accelerated rate, yet he does not age at all.

He also has the same tics, too. That kind of twitchy head thing and the shoulder shrug. Back around the time Karate Kid came out, I was completely obsessed with him so much that I'd memorized everything about him and would walk around spouting random facts to anyone who would listen. "Hey, mom. Did you know Ralph Macchio really loves Haagen Dazs ice cream?" "Hey Aunt Janine, did you know Ralph Macchio is from New York?" And because my family is nice, they would listen politely, say, "Hmm, I don't think I did", then promptly turn back around to do whatever it was they were doing before I arrived to fill them in on Ralph Macchio minutiae.

The biggest Ralph Macchio obsession of all was that of his muscle shirt. You know the muscle shirt. In the scene of the movie where he and his mom pull up to the apartments where they're going to live and where Daniel meets Mr. Miyagi? Daniel gets out of the car, and there it is. Siiiigh. A blue muscle shirt, showing off his spindly little arms, which at the time, I thought were giant and muscular and on a par with Superman's.

My best friend Andrea and I became hell bent on not only seeing Karate Kid as many times as the theater would allow us in, but also, it was mandatory that we get to the theater right on time, so as not to miss one second of Ralph Macchio in his muscle shirt. I believe we had some chant we even made up about the muscle shirt, but it escapes me now. You probably think I'm just claiming Alzheimer's because I don't want to embarrass myself, right? But that couldn't possibly be true, because look what I'm admitting here. I'm making a damn fool of myself.

One day, we decided we just had to see Karate Kid for the 800th time. I lived in Clovis, CA, at the time, and if you know anything about Clovis, you will understand. It's a little cow town right next to Fresno, and the only thing there really is to do out there is see movies 800 times and up. Or you can pet the horses that live next door. Whatever.

Arrangements were made for my mom to drop us off at the theater. When we got there, we walked up to the window to buy our tickets and were informed that the movie had already started. "But. long has it been running?" I asked. "Probably about 10 minutes," said ticket guy.

I looked at Andrea. Her eyes were wide in horror. Mine started to tear up. "The muscle shirt," I said. She nodded: "I know." And she began to cry, too. It was the end of the world. Without anything better to do, as we certainly weren't going to go in late, because we had already missed the high point of the movie, we just huddled together and wailed.

Just then, mom pulled up. "I had a feeling something was wrong," she said. An understatement, but yes, nothing was right. Grateful for her sixth sense of knowing when there was a muscle shirt crisis somewhere, we piled into her car, and she took us back for the next showing and that time, we made sure we were early.

Hair, Hair

At this time of year, Nabby sheds like a mofo. You can try it for yourself: reach down, grab a chunk of hair. You'll get a nice handful, and strangely, she still won't have a bald spot. In fact I'm not even fully convinced yet that she's made of anything but fur.

We're always winding up with hair in our food, which doesn't bother us, but I get a little mortified when, say, I bring cookies to work and one of my colleagues pulls out a little white hair. When I get a tickle in my throat, I'm almost positive I'm gagging on one of Nabby's hairs, and this is the way I'm going to die.

Once in awhile, I get a reminder that Nabby isn't immune from Hair In Mouth disease. I mean, check out that thing up there. And she's probably thinking, "Look at this mass of hair hanging from my mouth. And I can't even pull it out, because I have stubby little legs. You don't hear me complaining, do you, you big whiners?"

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Muffin Basket of Puppies

Ben Lee takes a leap. And yeah, I brought my camera in, disguised as food in a white plastic shopping bag at the bottom of a tote bag. "Wow, I am so clever and stealthy," I thought as we took our seats. I sat there giving myself a big old pat on the back and demonstrating my Mission: Impossible-like camera-sneak technique to the Mr., when I took a look around and saw many, many people wearing their cameras brazenly around their necks.

For pete's sake.

I'm still not clear on whether they technically were allowing pictures or not. Before the show, they announced that flash photography wasn't allowed. Which is fine, because I didn't necessarily need it. But the announcement was followed by, "So, please put your cameras away." I decided to interpret the rules in my favor. They're not the greatest, as I wasn't super close and didn't want to make myself obvious. But, here you go, regardless.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Some of the graves in this cemetery are so old, the writing is completely obliterated.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Signs You're Not Really a Child Anymore, But You're Not Exactly An Adult, Either

You have recently bought a concert poster (and it's actually quite nifty). To your credit, you don't tack it up above your bed so you can drift off to sleep staring into Simon Le Bon's dreamy 2-D eyes. Rather, you lovingly frame it and hang it in your hallway.

You don't really wonder anymore why anyone wouldn't want toys for Christmas, but dammit if you can't help coveting that cute little ice cream cone holder from Williams-Sonoma, which would probably get no use whatsoever. But that's not the point.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Concert Report

Last night the Mr. and I checked out Modest Mouse and Camper Van Beethoven, who opened.

Seeing Camper was so very cool, because I never got to see them before they broke up, and when we saw Cracker about 6 years ago, Dave Lowery was very pointedly refusing to play any Camper. So they came out and introduced themselves, which I personally didn't think was necessary. As Ryan Adams said about Caitlin Cary, "They need no f'n introduction." I didn't recognize 3 or 4 of the songs, but they did play Tania and Eye of Fatima from Revolutionary Sweetheart, Pictures of Matchstick Men from Key Lime Pie, plus Take the Skinheads Bowling and their awesome cover of White Riot. I could have left then and been completely satisfied.

But! Modest Mouse was still to come. I know they get a lot of flak, and yeah, Isaac Brock screams a little more than he should, but I happen to like them. The Moon and Antartica is a great album -- full of musings on life and death. Good News is good, as are the other, earlier ones, but the third one remains my favorite. You can imagine how excited I was that they opened with 3rd Planet, the first track off Moon, and it sounded amazing. After that, they bounced around between new and old, and at some points added so many people to the stage to play instruments that it resembled Polyphonic Spree. They came back for one encore (departing the stage with the least convincing pretend goodbye ever, "Thanks. Bye."), playing Float On and the World At Large, and then they left the stage one by one. Overall, pretty good show, and they did a great job of creating a really rich sound. I did miss hearing Cowboy Dan and Convenient Parking, though.

I don't have much to report on our fellow patrons, either. The Mr. expressed surprise that they were so young and normal. Before the show we played one of our favorite games: "I Wonder If They Know This?" where we ask that question about old rock songs playing and watch the young'ns around us for some reaction. The Clash and X got none, but the Mr. said when "Stonehenge" by Spinal Tap came on, a guy behind us asked, "Who is this? It sounds like a new age Jethro Tull."

Talking Point

Seersucker Suits: Seriously, what is the deal?


Grave Two

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Rose For Emily Was OK, Though

So, when did Oprah begin to hate her audience? I'm just wondering, because at Target yesterday, I strolled by the books and saw the dreaded words "William Faulkner." I thought my eyes were deceiving me. Faulkner? At Target? I backed up. Sure enough, not only was it Faulkner, it was a Faulkner Box Set. I almost screamed. It had the "Oprah's summer reading" label. I mean, yeah, Faulkner is a fantastic choice for summer reading if you want to get the full Hell effect of summer and the heat alone isn't doing it for you.

I've hated Faulkner since junior year of high school when we were assigned to read "Intruder in the Dust," an absolute nightmare of a book that totally wouldn't even be published today. I would hope, at least. The run-on sentences. The parentheticals that go on so long you forgot you were in one. And need I mention the parentheticals within parentheticals? It's a disaster. I blame that book for getting me grounded because my teacher sent home a note saying I wasn't doing so hot in class, which was entirely because of that book. I couldn't understand it if I tried. Maybe somewhere in there was a good old Southern yarn, but dude needed an editor, big time.

So, yeah. The only explanation for all this is that Oprah hates you, people.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Just Call Me Bruce Vilanch. OK, Please Don't.

Last week, I got another one of those letters that says I've got a bunch of airline miles and they're about to expire, and would I like to convert them to magazine subscriptions? Ordinarily, I would have been jumping for joy and hoisting a celebratory glass of champagne. I mean, free magazines. There's not much that's better. Maybe Hostess Sno-Balls. But I just got one of these same letters from another airline (which I don't even recall flying recently) and got about 12 million magazines out of that deal, plus a few for some friends.

I wasn't sure if I really wanted to sign on for yet more magazines. But I couldn't let the miles go to waste, and there were several of them that I know friends would want, but I was already getting those and passing them on. Why does it always have to be magazines? Why can't I convert them to a $50 gift card to Target or something? These people must think I have hours upon hours to sit around. Wait, maybe they read my blog.

Anyway, I was backed into a corner, dammit, so I bit the bullet and signed on for more free magazines. God, why me?! Oh, cruel fate, cursing me like this! I did get Golf Magazine for my stepbrother, but he doesn't know it yet. The post office is going to have to start sending out a special truck just for us, and it's probably going to need two trips.

So, we're now getting or going to be getting: Entertainment Weekly, Spin, Wall Street Journal, Smart Money, Shape, Esquire, Jane, Newsweek, Budget Living, Everyday Food, Lucky, Star, W and Wine Spectator. Too bad I ran out of miles, because I didn't get to order any gems like Arthritis Self-Management and Nursing Made Incredibly Easy.

The upshot is that if I read all of our magazines from cover to cover, I'll pretty much be perfect.


  • I finally settled on a nice bottle of cabernet for dad. From the reviews at, it sounds like it could cure all the ills in the world, make you appear ten years younger and 12 pounds lighter with just one drop. It's magic wine! If he doesn't like it, he can ship it to me. Thanks for the ideas. I'm very anti-gift certificate, for the record, unless I'm totally desperate. Which is weird, because I totally love getting gift certificates. They're the best.
  • Um, no picture today, because I had intended to post one of Kim's brand-spanking-new baby, the adorable Keira Avery, but didn't e-mail the photo I had touched up to myself at home. Congratulations, Kim! And Kent!
  • It's going to be 95 degrees today. Death. My brain is at a low simmer right now and will probably reach boiling point in the next hour or so.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Father's Day

I think of all the holiday's, Father's Day stresses me out the most. Don't get me wrong, I love my dad. He's the bestest. The dad of dads. But I never have a single freaking clue of what to get him. Every year, I agonize, and it goes down to the wire. Less than a week, and I don't even have an idea yet.

He likes being a handyman and barbecueing, that much I know. They like to travel, too, but I think I've exhausted all the gift options for travel-related presents, which were: nifty monogrammed travel bag. He's set for the next 10 years, after which I'll get him another nifty monogrammed travel bag.

Generally I think I'm a pretty good gift giver. I start thinking about Christmas presents around June, and I'm always keeping an eye out for potential gifts for people, which I note in a log I carry in my purse. It seems I'm always stumbling across gifts ideas for everyone, except dad.

Gift suggestion articles piss me off, because they're always suggesting something absurdly extravagant. I just want to know who, outside of movie stars and CEOs, actually buys this stuff for their father. "Do you love your dad? Do you? Only someone who really loves their dad would spring for a 7 days all-expenses paid trip to Fiji (with dear old mom. You know, if you love her, too)."

I'll think of something. I always do. I just hope it isn't so lame it gets me written out of the will. But I would understand if it did.


Sunday, June 12, 2005


Something to Remember Me By

It would appear that I am utterly unmemorable.

Saw Ben Lee aka the cuddly teddy bear made of rainbow muffins (TM Aimee Mann) again last night with Jasclo and Maliavale. You know, from now on, just assume that on one of my days off each week, I saw Ben.

My first night as a supposed camera renegade didn't go so well. The venue seemed to be a place where they were seriously strict about the rules, so my gut told me to just leave it in the car. Good call. Some lady next to me snuck in her camera, snapped a picture of Aimee and got hauled off by security 10 seconds later. The venue was also strict about placing personal items on the stage, which brought out the 10-year-old in me. I hovered my drinking glass over the stage and said, "Can't get mad! Not touching the stage! Can't get mad!"

Ben's show was not really my favorite set of all the ones I've seen. He seemed to be in a foul mood when he came out, and he pretty much stuck to the set list. I was kind of hoping he'd throw in a cover or something, like he usually does. S'okay, we all have crap days. I did get to meet the lovely Princess Genevieve and hang out with Matt again.

After the first song, he looked at the couple to my left, smiled and said, "Hey! How are you doing?" Now, I may be getting my facts wrong, because they only told everyone in our vicinity this about 4 times, but let me try ... they hung out with Ben and Aimee's band after the show in Northern VA. They're BFF, y'all! Matt summed them up pretty aptly, "I'm the bigger fan! No, I am! No...!" Their nickname for the rest of the night was SUPERFANS (TM). Anyway, I suppose it figures that Ben would remember them. They're nuts.

Midway during Aimee's set, I saw Ben back at the merch booth, so I took my CD covers over there for signing, and he was gracious. I didn't say much other than "thank you, great show." Maliavale thought I should have told him what his music has meant for me, but hearkening back to an earlier discussion we had about "breaking the seal" when drinking, I didn't want to break the seal with Ben and turn into a blathering, gushing idiot. And believe me, I absolutely would, because I'm a spaz like that.

After the show, the gang wanted to say goodbye to Ben. As Matt was saying farewell, Ben said, "Hey! You're Angie Hart's friend! I remember you! How are you doing?" Matt was beaming, I was scowling.

Normally I wouldn't expect Ben to remember me, or anyone else for that matter. But he seems to have a fantastic memory, so therefore I'm demanding to be noticed, rewarded for my unwavering devotion all these years. Jasclo suggested I be psycho and/or weird, which would definitely make me memorable, but also a person to avoid at all costs. I believe maliavale suggested wearing a funny hat. I thought since Matt's association with Angie Hart worked so well, perhaps I should tell Ben that me and Mike Watt are supatight.

When I got home, I whined to the Mr. that Ben remembers everyone but me (I'm a big fat baby, yeah), when I realized that he probably does remember me: I'm the tool who keeps requesting "Brain Damage" despite the fact that it's fairly obvious that he either doesn't remember it anymore or doesn't want to play it, period. I'm also the one with the giant camera who was firing a flash in his face for two straight nights back in April.

Yep, he hate me.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

I Could Spend Three Dollars and Sixty-Three Cents on Diet Coca Cola and Unlit Cigarettes

Friday, June 10, 2005


You can't have a bad day when you know there's a margarita somewhere with your name on it.

Tip Profiling

Last night, the Mr. and I went to our regular Chinese spot for some takeout. Next door to the takeout side is a restaurant, and neither of us has ever seen anyone in there, nor have we been in there ourselves. The takeout side does really brisk business, so maybe that's how they can afford to keep the restaurant side open.

As we were leaving, the Mr. wondered aloud yet again, "I wonder why there's never anyone in there?" We have to ask this every time we go there, because it really is weird. When I drive by, I'll often glance over to see if they've finally gotten a customer in there.

As we headed back to my car, we passed a sign on the restaurant door, then backed up and read it.

"If you prefer not to tip, we have takeout next door. For no-tip repeat offenders, we will add an 18% gratuity to your bill."

I guess that answers that question.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Best Place Ever

There it was, like a beacon in the night, calling to us: Sheetz. Not just any Sheetz, though. The Best Sheetz Ever. We heard angels sing as we pulled up, and knew this was going to be a night to remember.

The Evidence.

The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Getting Your Camera Into a Venue

OK, I've had it. For the second time, I have been robbed of taking pictures, and that does not please me. We saw Ryan Adams last night (who played for just shy of 3 hours). As is my custom before the show, I contacted the venue to inquire about their policy on cameras. "We don't allow pictures. Sorry." came the reply, which is fine. Nine times out of 10, that is the policy. Then we get to the show, and of course, there are dozens of people with their digital cameras and camera phones.

They were taking pictures with the flashes all night, some of them near ushers, some of them right in Ryan's face. No one said anything. Every time a flash went off, it was like a knife to my heart. I really enjoy shooting concerts because I find it a big challenge, and I'm nowhere close to having mastered it. And there were so many great moments to shoot last night: Ryan's piano and mike surrounded by little lights, sometimes even supplying the only light on the stage...Ryan writhing around the stage with his guitar (I thought he was going to start smashing it for a second). It was a great show in every sense, even if I did wonder a few times whether he was possibly high.

It was small consolation that most of those people were probably getting pretty lousy pictures, anyway.

I'm pretty much done following the ostensible "rules." I don't want to get my camera taken away, and if someone asks me to stop, I will. But I'm bringing the damn thing in with me. Saturday will be my first day as a camera renegade, so I very well could be moblogging from jail.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Wave Hello to the Nice Internets, Nabby



"I don't do those tricks for nothing, lady."


Oh, the Excitement

It is, of course, never too hot to remember that Ben Lee shall be appearing on David Letterman tonight! Ow ow! .


Oh my god it's so hot I can't even think straight make it stop.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Random Acts of Not Holding the Door (Pay It Forward)

I really hate it when I hold the door for someone and they fail to thank me. Almost as much as people who don't hold the door for others. The "I didn't know you were there" excuse doesn't wash, either, because I'm always in the habit of checking behind me. I understand, not everyone can be as great as I am, right?

It happened again this morning: some guy was coming up the stairs while I was exiting the gym, so I held the door. And frankly, it was one of those situations where you could go either way: if I decided to not hold the door, I don't think anyone would have thought it rude. What the hell, I thought. The sun's shining, it's a nice day, he's wearing a suit that looks ridiculously uncomfortable, what the hell, I'll wait a few extra seconds and hold it.

Aaaand he just wanders into gym with nary a word or glance in my direction. So I leaned around the door and hissed "You're welcome!" and left in a huff.

What I hate more than the rudeness is that mometarily, the rudeness makes me not want to do nice things for other people anymore.

Next time, I shall gracefully, calmly and pleasantly smack the next offender over the head with an Emily Post book.


Sunday, June 05, 2005

Giant Scary Girl

That's what the Mr. and I call her because, just look at her.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


I don't know what he's doing here, but he's really, really funny.

So, Just Shut It, Carly

The thing that has always annoyed me about "You're So Vain" is that, well, it is about you.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bathroom Graffiti Project

I had been looking around for a photo project for awhile, when it finally occurred to me that I get way too much enjoyment out of reading bathroom graffiti. I love the variety of messages: pithy and/or hilarious observations, off-the-cuff and kind of offensive remarks and well-thought-out works of art. I look forward to lots of confused stares as I haul my camera into bathrooms 'round the world.

(Updated 8/19) Guest entry from Jurgen Nation, who adds this note: Isn't this wild? I especially love the divergent arrow as a whimsical reminder that, once it hits the hole, it's anyone's guess where it goes. A social commentary, really: where does it go when flushed? No one really knows, but it goes somewhere. Ah, such is life.

I, personally, would like to express horror that someone stuck their hand in there to bring us this message. Way in there. Also, I haven't forgotten about this project. It's just that people all of a sudden seem to have stopped bringing their Sharpies to the bathroom. Come on, philosophers and artists! Where are you hiding?


Photo Friday entry for Symbol.

Ted Leo + Pharmacists

Last night, me, maliavale and her brother Mark had the pleasure of seeing Ted Leo. I only discovered him a few weeks ago, but liked his music enough to go check him out when he rolled into town. Before the show, Mark (a big fan of Ted's) spotted him by the merch table, so we wandered over to say hello. After snapping a picture of them, we pressed him on the band name issue: is it Ted Leo/Pharmacists or Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. He warmed me and maliavale's grammar and punctuation geek hearts when he said he was very insistent on the slash at first, but he has since eased up a bit and doesn't care as much anymore. But, he confided, he is now employing the plus sign: Ted Leo + Pharmacists. I likey.

I took lots of pictures, but 90% of them came out looking like butt. Thankfully, there were other, better photographers there, one of whom was more than happy to show me a few things. Thanks, guy whose name I forget!

In other news, last night was a veritable "spot the twin of a famous person" extravaganza. You'll be pleased to know that I got through the night without telling a single person who they looked like. But, seriously. Look below. Someone was trying to torture me here...

Is this not Adrian Grenier's twin brother? (Really Ted Leo's bass player, Dave Lerner).

It was nice of the kind folks at San Quentin to let Charles Manson out for the gig. I really, really wanted to request "Helter Skelter." (He's Ted Leo's drummer, Chris Wilson). He injured his hand toward the end of the show, left and never came back. But I prefer to believe that he spontaneously combusted, a woefully common fate for drummers.

So, this is what Dale Earnhardt Jr. does when he isn't driving in circles all day. I don't think that's Budweiser he's pouring, though. I kept trying to get a better shot of this guy, but he was moving so fast that in most of the pictures, he's just a blur. And then he started noticing me fixing the camera on him, and I began to feel uncomfortable.

We spent the better part of the evening snickering at this guy's mohawk, if it can accurately be called that. It's the saddest, wispiest mohawk I've ever witnessed on a person. Mark dubbed him trichotillomania, or trichot, for short. We went to a bar next door after the show, where we encountered him, and it turns out he's kind of a jerk, too.