Friday, December 21, 2007

Preparing for take off

Today I got an email reminder from the website I used to buy my plane tickets for a trip home for Christmas. "Prepare for your trip!" was the subject line. And inside, "Just a reminder there are only a few days left until your trip." I thought to myself how lovely it would be to be the sort of jet-setter that needs reminders of an upcoming flight. As it is, I fly about 1-2 times per year.

But even with my meager traveling expertise, I have come to the conclusion that I don't actually hate flying, like most people do. I kind of enjoy it. I enjoyed it more before terrorists mucked everything up and made the idea of getting on a plane seem like certain death. But still.

I particularly like drinking in airport bars before the flight. The idea being that it will help me sleep better. But that doesn't happen, it just makes everything seem fun. And it makes me hungry. Indeed, it seems everyone has their little tips and tricks for flying. Many have their advice for how to get bumped up to first class. These tips are always really stupid and unhelpful. One friend tells me that if you just offer to be moved to the next flight, they will put you in first class. But that just means sitting in the airport for another couple of hours! And I imagine you must kill the time by telling other travelers how clever you are, getting yourself upgraded. Another friend told me once that if you just go up to the desk and ask to be bumped up, they will do it right away, for about $300. To me this sounds an awful lot like just buying a first class ticket, but ok whatever.

Today a coworker started to tell me her secret tactic for first class bumpage. It sounded really complex and backwards and I stopped paying attention almost immediately.

Her: "When you get to the automated check in kiosk, declare that you have more baggage than the baggage allowed, then you'll be asked to go to the check in desk..."
cue daydream:

"...And that's how you get bumped up to first class for free!"

Me: "Cool! Thanks!"

Hopefully I won't encounter any bad weather that leads to flight delays. Now THAT is the worst part of flying. I have had to sleep on airport floors because of snow storms and the like. And then you never know where the heck your luggage has gone when you start missing connecting flights.

[Although I was told before that when you have connecting flights, your luggage isn't on the same plane you are on anyway. Didn't you always think that while you were flying, your suitcase was in your plane's underbelly? Instead, they stick it on all sorts of different flights and then it gets there when you do. Apparently this is somehow more efficient, but to me it makes no sense. How does that work? Isn't the plane you're on the only plane getting into that city's airport at that exact moment?]

I actually wouldn't mind if weather delayed me from getting back to LA at the end of the trip because then I could call into work and be all, "Hey bad weather. Can't come in because I'm on the wrong coast! Whatcha gonna do?" But there is nothing worse than being delayed when you are all revved up and ready for a trip!

Now that I've expressed my few flying concerns, I feel 100% ready to tackle my flight tomorrow. (And by "tackle" I mean "eat constantly during.") And I leave you with this airplane recommendation:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thoughts on the Holiday Season #2: You're all a big bunch of scrooges!

Some cynical jerkfaces will lament that every year the Christmas decorations and ad campaigns start earlier and earlier. These are the people that will shake their heads in disgust when they turn down an aisle at their local drugstore to see that it's filled with gift wrapping supplies and little robotic snowmen that dance and sing. "It's not even Halloween yet!" they will grumble to themselves or, if they are reeeally bad, to their fellow shoppers.

And to these people I say, "Hey, you, get offa my cloud!"

I think these people perhaps weren't hugged enough as children. I mean, really, what is the problem with seeing pretty lights covering every surface of every mall and city-owned tree in town? Why do you hate joy?

These bah humbugs are usually the same sort of people who fret about the commercialization of Christmas. "Santa Claus is a false idol," they say. "And Christmas cards should all have pictures of mangers and baby Jesus, not penguins wearing scarves!" They get all upset that every year moms and dads camp out in the Best Buy parking lot for 3 nights just so they can get the newest $700 video game system for their unholy kids.

Ok, we all know that technically the whole holiday is supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus. And it always was and it always will be. No one really forgets this. But, come on, where's the fun in that?! If all we did was celebrate the his birth, we'd just wake up in the morning, go to church, and come home to exchange gifts of frankincense and myrrh. No, I don't know what frankincense and myrrh are, but I can't imagine they're any good, especially myrrrrrrrh. Instead, modern day commercialized Christmas offers presents! and cookies! and candy canes! and santa! and santa hats to wear to the office! and special holiday lattes at Starbucks! With all of these bonus things--oh I almost forgot, Christmas bonuses! Cha-ching!--everyone is more than happy to celebrate Christmas. It's nice insurance for the Christian faith that followers don't observe Christmas the way they observe Lent, by either completely forgetting about it or half-heartedly intending to give up chocolate...during the week...but not dark chocolate...and not if it's a gift from someone because that would be wasteful.

The commercialization of Christmas means that the holiday can become an American holiday for everyone to celebrate together. So many non-Christian families have a tree and exchange presents. And what's so wrong with that? No one says you can't still put lil' baby jee in the limelight. In fact, that's a very nice thing to do too.

So let's all celebrate EVERYTHING about Christmas.

Ok, Linus?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Thoughts on the Holiday Season: I'm just soooo busy.

Every year, when the holiday season rolls around, we all wrap ourselves up in the joy of feeling so effing busy. There is this general understanding that from Thanksgiving to the New Year, everyone is absolutely swamped, stuff. We say things like, "You know how it is this time of year!" or "I can't believe Christmas is in two weeks!" and then we roll our eyes and twist our faces into an expression meant to indicate exasperation. I am guilty of this nonsense. I pull this shit every year and you know you do too.

And I ask, what exactly is keeping us so busy?

Shopping for gifts?
Hmm, that's probably the most time consuming, but really I've never had to give up more than a weekend or two.

Wrapping presents?
An afternoon.

Attending holiday parties?
Oh woe is me. And who has more than a handful of these things to go to anyway?

Bah. Sitting on a plane for a few hours.

Baking cookies?
Voluntary. You did it to yourself.

Hanging up decorations?
Watching Christmas specials?
Painting your nails a festive shade of red?
What? What? What, I ask you!?

If I had to estimate, generously, I would say I spend about 20 total hours during the holiday season doing the above items on that list. And this doesn't count participating on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when my only purpose is to do things like cut celery into snack size sticks, dig out the Christmas carol cds, and admire neighbors' light displays.

20 hours. Here is a list of things I have spent MORE than 20 hours doing this December:
Watching The Hills
Recovering from hangovers
Exercising? Sure why not...
Perusing MySpace
Making lists

See? So what's the big deal with a little shoppity shopping and eggnogging? Relax.

But then, if you're like me, this whole matter is even more complicated than just needing to relax. You are also using your fake busy-ness as an excuse to turn down dinner invitations and call in sick to work with exaggerated claims of fatigue and "coming down with something." You are using the holidays, quite cleverly, as an excuse to do nothing. And if you aren't doing it, you should be. Everyone else is. It's addicting.

So what do we do about all of this? Well, I do solemnly swear not to talk about how busy I am this time of year. Honestly. It's annoying. And if you catch me, you can dock me two candy cane points.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The follow-up to the shoe crisis

It turns out that people at the event last night had better things to do than judge my footwear. Yesterday's panic was all for nothing. Last night was fun.

When attending these types of things, I believe you are supposed to pretend to be too cool for school and act like it is perfectly natural that you are in a room full of movie stars. While at the movie viewing portion of the evening, I attempted to adhere to this etiquette, but the only action I could think of to feign nonchalance was to eat my popcorn. My plan sort of worked. I'd see Samuel L. Jackson, my mouth would open in surprise, I'd fill it with popcorn, then chew. And then suddenly I'm all, "Samuel WhoInTheWhatNow?" By the time I'd nearly plowed through my tub, it dawned on me that if I kept this up I'd never be discovered by some important director. Unless he happened to gaze across the room, see me, and gasp, "Who is that captivating young woman methodically shoving handfuls of popcorn into her fat face?"

So when I got to the party, I abandoned this whole principle and made it a point to stare at celebrities. Or, if possible, hover near them. Or, when they were less impressive, to point them out to my friend and without lowering my voice, say something like, "Hey, that guy next to us was on Heroes."

I didn't get home until about 2am, and thus went to bed about 6 hours after my usual loser bedtime. And so today I am exhausted, and I believe perhaps technically asleep right now, so I'll stop writing now.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Tonight I am going to a movie premiere. It will be full of movie stars and Hollywood bigshots. The after party will be held at the fancy (pronounced fan-say) Roosevelt Hotel. There will be paparazzi, adoring fans lining the red carpet, and most importantly, an open bar. Last night I realized that in order for lil’ ol’ me to fit in with all of this fabulousness and glamour, I’d need to make some serious preparations.

So I made a trip to the ultra-hip Payless Shoesource in Burbank.

With a new pair of shoes, however potentially cheap-looking, I could spruce up my boring black dress. (Also referred to as my “nice dress,” which in worn approximately once every 2 years, whenever I have to go any place where a pair of stretched out jeans and pilled polyester Forever 21 shirt are not allowed.)

Although I was tired from a longer than usual day of work, the promise of a new pair of shoes –plus a second pair at ½ off! –gave me a second wind. I think I was actually smiling as I walked into the store.

Now I know Payless does not have the best reputation. And I admit it’s a little weird that shoes and brunch are the same price. But I know plenty of people who shop there. People who don’t otherwise give off a “cheap-plastic-shoe-sewn-by-southeast-Asian-orphans” vibe. Yet, every time I shop there, the place is not full of young, fashion forward professionals. Rather, it’s full of moms with young kids who could care less about what shoes they’re wearing (I guess I’m referring to both the moms and the kids here).

All in all, my mission last night did not go well. Payless had plenty of casual shoes, and work shoes, but the selection of formal shoes was abysmal. It didn’t help matters that I was trying them all on while wearing those little pantyhose looking socks they provide for you. I’ve always called them peds, though I don’t have any real reason to believe that’s what they’re called. Is that their real name? Anyway, they make it impossible to seriously consider a shoe because they look like sagging support hose and turn every foot into an old lady foot. But I really didn’t want to take the “peds” off, merely out of consideration for my fellow shoppers because my feet were nasty, sweaty stinkbombs after a whole day of being crammed into ballet flats. Honestly, the power of my workday foot odor never ceases to amaze me. And I know I’m not alone. It’s because you can’t wear any nice work shoes with socks. I don’t know why socks stop feet from smelling but they do.

But ballet flats are the biggest cause of foot stank. They are made usually of synthetic material that doesn’t breathe at all. And then the bottoms don’t have that nice spongy insole that sneakers do. Ballet flat bottoms are like smooth and shiny, so there is nowhere for the sweat to go, and then your poor foot just slides around inside, all the while producing more sweat.

Okay, so with formal footwear off the table, I decided to switch gears and shop for something else. Since I’ll be going back to the east coast for Christmas, I thought I’d get some nice boots to wear. And somehow things just get even worse here. May I present the oddity that Payless calls The Bootine.
WTF? This looks like what I draw on my stick figures when I want them to have shoes.

Moving on, I was drawn to a pair of almost knee-high gold boots. Well, a dark gold. Old gold. Iridescent brown. I know, this sounds awful. But, they weren’t that bad.

I took a picture with my phone and sent it to my sister. She never responded. But, while waiting for her to respond, I had time to think of all of the criticisms she may have about these boots. And then I too grew very critical of them. Really, gold boots? I made a mental list of people who have any business wearing gold boots.

1. Drag queens
2. Strippers
3. Superheroes
4. David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust years

I don’t really fit into that list so I abandoned ship on the gold boots. Instead, I ended up with a comfortable, foot-colored pair of shoes suitable for work. With their sweat absorbing insoles and breathable canvas material, I’d put them at about a 6 on the foot stank potential scale.

When I go to the premiere tonight, I’ll be wearing a pair of shoes that I’ve had for about 2 years. They are black and plain. What’s worse? I actually POLISHED them last night. Ugh, it’s so lame. I don’t think anyone but wealthy businessmen of olde timey days should be polishing their shoes.

Tomorrow I’ll let you know if anyone looks at my feet and laughs. Or spills a martini on them, resulting in shoepolish runoff and a sludgy black puddle.

[Side note: When I was retrieving the picture of the gold boot from my phone, I came across a picture I took to send to my sister this weekend of the bottom of my shoe after I’d stepped in a giant heap of dog poo. (I know, gross.) This reminded me that when I got home that day, I left the pooey sneaker outside of my front door. This means it’s just been sitting in my courtyard for like 4 days. Whoops, sorry neighbors!]

Friday, December 7, 2007

American Idol Losers: The Album Covers

Ah, American Idol. The last season is but a foggy memory. The imminent 30th season is eager to descend upon us in the New Year. So here we are in the inbetween. The American Idle, if you will.

Last season I probably paid more attention to this “phenom” than in any previous years. I would usually just watch the first few episodes, when it’s just a parade of wildly depressing individuals presenting themselves to their fellow Americans in all of their freakish glory. Then they weed out the good ‘uns and the rest of the episodes are just people standing around singing. Bleh. But last season I stayed tuned in all the way to the end, though this was somewhat involuntary since my coworkers were obsessed and discussed it incessantly. Hey, when in Rome, right?

And no, I have nothing to say about stupey-poopy Sanjaya. I am so bored with that twit.

Remember last season there was that little dude with the big eyes who wore that polo shirt that sort of looked like a burger king uniform? And Simon called him a bushbaby and everyone got all upset about how he was a big arsehole and then Rosie O’Donnell took the kid and his portly friend on a cruise to cheer them up. Or maybe it wasn’t Rosie. I don’t know it was something like that. Well they became these big celebrities just because someone was a jerk to them, just like that William Hung fellow is something of a pop culture icon for making a she-banging mess of himself. But really, this is what American Idol is all about, isn’t it? Celebrating America’s losers. Like, who really cares about Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard? Or the asexual Taylor Hicks?

That said, I’m not so sure the losers are really making the best name for themselves, judging by the artwork of their post- AI albums. Perhaps they don’t realize they are walking very thin ice here, that there is a new set of hopeful losers ready to take the stage next season.

To wit, this guy:

Blake Lewis. Or, "that beat boxing guy with the highlights." He was last year's runner up to Jordin Sparks. What the heck is going on here? This head to the front/head to the side double exposure is reminiscent of those Sears portraits in the know where it was like one picture for real, and then in the top right hand corner of the page was a fuzzy edge, tiny version of that person, looking sort of off to the side. That's what we have here, with Blake standing infront of the default desktop background of Mac OS X Leopard.

When I first saw this album cover, I thought it had to be some kind of joke. It reminds me of something you'd see in a comedy movie epilogue that revisits the lead characters 5 years down the road, revealing that little Blake Lewis quit his job at Pac Sun to release an album of dance hits. The audience all says "haha, what a tool!" Roll credits. Everyone goes home happy. In fact, perhaps what I recall here is BBC's The Office Christmas Special, when Ricky Gervais's David Brent confesses he released a single.

Moving on, does anyone remember Corey Clark? He was that contestant who allegedly had an affair with Paula Abdul, and then randomly brought it up to the media like 3 years later. Anyway, he made an album:

I think I was shopping at Hollywood and Highland the day Corey had his buddy/manager T-Dawg borrow his niece's digital camera to snap his album cover shots. I was standing there with my Auntie Anne's pretzel and he was all, "Yo T, get one over here by the Kodak theatre. No wait!" He then grabbed a fedora off of one of those kiosks that sets up in mall hallways to sell hats. "Ok ok, ready."

And now, Constantine:

Do you remember this guy? No, me neither. But I think homeboy needs to pick either that name or that look. He can't have both. Two negatives make a positive, or something. Anyway, I just want to laugh in his face.

This is getting tiresome, so I'll just do one more.

Chris Daughtry, who the devil do you think you are? I mean really. It takes balls to name your band after yourself, and I realize than Van Halen and Bon Jovi were also nobodies when they started their bands, but I bet they were at least cool. And you, Mr. Daughtry --Oh, whats that? Just Daughtry. Fine-- And you, Daughtry are not cool at all. Your band should be called Douchey. You make Nickelback tolerable. You shave your head but not your face.

If you look in the background of this cover, behind Douchey's denim ensemble, you'll see a few sad looking blurs. Ghosts? Fans? (yeah right.) Oh, wait, isn't Daughtry supposed to be a whole band or something? Where are your band mates?

OH THERE they are. On the back cover. Nice move. Look at them, they are trying so hard not to look hurt by this.

Anyway, next season starts January 15th. I can't wait.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I wanna forgive you, and I wanna forget you

I live in L.A. So does Lauren "LC" Conrad of mtv's The Hills. Her show and my blog are both (sort of) about life in LA. So I want to be sure to start this off by clearing up any confusion one might have between little miss headband and myself.

Ways in which my life in no way resembles the life of LC:

-LC has greater than 10 work outfits.
-LC's bank account doesn't have "good weeks" and "bad weeks."
-We live on opposite sides of the titular "Hills."
-The plumbing in LC's apartment can be described as something other than "questionable."
-I don't know where the club Les Deux is located. (And I'm not really sure I spelled that correctly. And I get uncomfortable saying it out loud.)
-I have a boyfriend. (Take that, byatch!)
- I think pinkberry is a frosty, fruity bowl of disappointment.
- LC does not wear clothing completely covered in cat hair.
- I don't have a sleepy-eyed, mentally limited roommate.

Ok. Play ball!