Friday, February 29, 2008

Bow wow wow yippee yo yippee yay

For 25 years I have happily been a cat person. Growing up, our family had two cats that lived until I was out of college. And we adored them and talked about them like they were people.

Naturally, when I moved out to LA and began imitating a grown up, I got a cat of my own, Midge. She is perfect and I've convinced myself that she is able to communicate her thoughts to me telepathically.

And then a year ago, I got a kitten. And boyfriend named him Sergeant Lazer J. Fletcher, or Sarge for short. The kitten had big feet and ate a lot. Now he's grown up, and enormous, and sort of a dick. He doesn't let us hold him and he refuses to sit with us on the couch. But he does do cute roley poley maneuvers all over the apartment and makes funny noises, so we like him just the same.

I've settled into the idea that I am bound to be a crazy cat lady, and really it's only my age that prevents me from wearing that title right now. So content was I to be a cat person, that when I read this post on the very good blog survivingmyself, I laughed. How foolish! Don't get a dog if you want to be happy! They take up too much time. And they are always THERE, at your side, wanting things. Or not wanting things. Just happy to be there.

One day later, Devin informs me we are getting a dog. This guy.

Yes, I know he's very cute. But I don't even know what I'm supposed to do with him! Fortunately, I get the excuse to be the bad parent because I never had a dog before. We haven't met him yet. I just borrowed this picture from the adoption site. He is 6 months old. I hope he likes me. He arrives today at 4:30.

He's a labrador/boxer mix. I want him to have one of those jazzy mixed breed names like labradoodle or puggle. I was thinking maybe boxador or lobster.

Last night, we ventured to Petco to buy supplies. In the times I've been there shopping for my perfect cats, I have always resented that like 75% of the store is dog supplies. I feel really bad for ferret owners though, they only get like one shelf's worth of supplies. Anyway, this time I got to shop for dog things.

Apparently I'm not very good at this. And after Devin vetoed my selection of an argyle patterned collar and a yellow hooded rain coat, I thought maybe I better stay on the outskirts of Project Puppy. So I ambled around the Petco, entertaining myself. I came across this on the aforementioned ferret shelf.

Howdy, partner. Cowboy Ferret is lickin his chops. Adorable.

And then there was this guy:

He was trying to catch some zzzz's, but the asshole albino rats next door were making quite the ruckus. Seriously, both times I visited the small animal section they were fighting and tumbling around. I felt bad for one of the rats, he was sort of getting pummled, but I don't think there's anything a girl can do in such a situation, except to get one of the stoned petco employees leaning against the jumbo cat condo to come over and break the two of them up temporarily. And that seemed like a pointless effort. For all I know, these rats were working out a very important matter (or RATter, as it were).

[btw, do you see what I spend my time thinking about? It's hard to be so intelligent...too many brain cells at work.]

Oh hello!

I liked this guy. I wanted to take him home with me. He has the same coloring as Midge the Cat and Nameless Dog, so he'd match perfectly. But I suppose the animal-to-person ratio in our apartment is getting a little out of hand already.

There were about 6000 different dog toys for sale at Petco. My least favorite was this monster:

Besides being hideous, the tag read "Releases bacon-scented air from nostrils when squeezed!" Awful! Oh, and guess who just HAD to put her stupid face under it and test out the bacon-scented air...

After roughly 4 hours, we finally left the store with as many dog supplies as we could stuff into the car. We got the puppy a crate because allegedly he is already crate trained. I had always thought it was mean to put dogs in cages, but according to boyfriend and the booklet that came with the crate, dogs like to have their own little spaces because instinctively they like dens. It also says they keep their crates clean, because they don't like to shit where they sleep. I guess this is nice of them, but how about no shitting ANYWHERE in the house, as a general rule. In fact, now that I think about it, it's kind of lame that he will stop himself from shitting in HIS OWN house, but not in ours.

Anyway, we meet him tonight and despite my groaning and ineptitude, I am really very excited! Updates to come.

Advice, anyone?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hair of the Dog: Valid Hangover Cure or Are We Just A Bunch of Alcoholics?

A Thursday Debate.

With many a drinking enthusiast planning to tie one on during the coming weekend, I thought it would be a good time to find out your thoughts on the Hair of the Dog idea. Does drinking more really ease a hangover? Or do you have a drinking problem?

On Sunday I was fantastically hungover. A real doozy. The kind I'd avoided having for months. I moaned, I groaned, I stumbled through the apartment. I tried all of the usual cures: Hydration, greasy food, bitching, taking a shower to wash off the residual booze and smoke stink. At one point I stood in the courtyard for 10 minutes, leaning against the gate by the pool because the cool metal and morning air felt soothing. Nothing seemed to be working.

At about 3, my friend Kristen called. She'd been out with me at the club the night before, also being really cool. After the bar, she, my sister and I had a Del Taco feast at 3 am that resulted in squished french fries all over my kitchen, lettuce all over the interior of my sister's car, and me waking up the next morning with hot sauce and refried beans still caked on to my face and fingers. She'd slept on my couch and, in true Kristen fashion, vanished quietly in the wee morning hours. Leaving a neatly folded blanket on the arm of the couch as a little message to me, "No, you didn't imagine that. I was here."

So when she called me at 3, I was surprised to hear she had already been up and about, participating, however slightly, in society. She told me that she and her boyfriend had gone out to lunch and she ordered a bloody mary. "Ah-ha" I thought to myself. Maybe that's what I should be doing. Drinking again. But here's the thing: she didn't exactly say it worked in making her feel better. And she still sounded beat up.

Later, I was having coffee and french fries (proven cures!) with my friend Amanda, when I got a text from my sister, inviting me out for healing margaritas. Never one to resist a margarita, I almost texted back something like "yay," but then stopped myself. Really? Are they healing, really? Or will I just be drunk again? You can't be two things at once. Hungry or full. Hot or Cold. Drunk or hungover (is there a 3rd option?).

It was revealed that she had left the bar Sunday night, still feeling exhausted and terrible. Healing margaritas my ass.

Doesn't seem like the Hair of the Dog theory is holding up so far, folks. And I have more examples.

I recall being on spring break in Acapulco my sophomore year of college. I was lying by the pool one afternoon, feeling like crap and shielding myself from the sunlight that seemed to be going directly through my eyes and punching my brain. I was tightly clutching a bottle of water. Though surrounded by friends, the act of communicating with them seemed too taxing. From the corner of my eye, I spotted a plastic cup full of pale beer. "Mwu mah mah wah" I heard in the muted tone of headphones not fully plugged in. "Mwu wu wah won?" I sat up straight. FOCUS. "Do you want one?" asked my friend. So I drank one, then another, then a relaxing pina colada. And then next thing I knew it was like 10pm. I'd gone from hungover, to nauseous, to hungover again.

Hangover cured? Or time wasted?

Last summer, I went camping with the boyfriend and a bunch of friends. I hate camping. And I was cold and afraid of yeti and mad ax murderer perverts. So while I sat around the campfire, I thought I better just get drunk. So I did, and woke up the next morning at 6am, right about the same time as the sun woke up and started burning into our tent and turning it into an oven. I unzipped the little door flap furiously, gasping for air, to find my cohorts already sipping bud lites and bloody marys. It seemed to be the consensus that these beverages would be just what we needed to be back on top, and also were the right way to prep ones self for a hike.

Hangover cured? Or napping on a rock at 12:30, wondering where your life went wrong?

Ok, enough of my examples here. I'm really not making myself look like a worthwhile human being. I think I've made my case. The Hair of the Dog does not cure a hangover. It's just an excuse.

So, what do you think?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Can't Have Nice Things

On Saturday morning, I woke up feeling oddly refreshed and perky. What a difference a non-hangover makes, eh folks?

After watching TV for a short while in the dark hovel that is our apartment, I realized I better put this energy to good use before the couch sucks me in and I lose my urge to shower and communicate with the outside world.

But what to do...what to do. Oh! Of course! I must spend money on stuff!

So Devin (the boyfriend) and I made our way to Target. After buying a new mop, broom, an enormous box of cat litter and an even more enormous bag of cat food, we moved on to housewares for the apartment. For as long as I've been out of college, I've had in my head that I want my apartment to look like an actual grown up's apartment. Yet despite my forbiddance of unframed posters and mismatched bedding, I have never been able to achieve this.

But I made some small strides while at Target. We bought a paper towel rack. Also, some new glasses, which all match one another, to replace the embarrassing assortment previously filling our cupboards: plastic cups with faded Baja Fresh and Subway logos, two glasses with the playboy bunny logo inhereted from our neighbor, a beer stein with a plaque that says "James," leftover from a previous roommate, and a few pint glasses featuring a high school photo of Devin's cousin.

Feeling quite unstoppable, we then moved on to Bed, Bath & Beyond, where, much to our dismay, the only trash cans they sell are made by Simple Human and cost $100. Designer trash cans. Well, fuck me.

While Devin sampled the massage chair for 20 minutes, I picked out new pillows and a mattress cover. And, yes, I was terribly excited about my new bedding, but I was over-the- moon excited about the new hamper! It was wicker! And pretty! And had dual compartments for sorting clothes into lights and darks...or hot and cold...oh the choices! Certainly this glorious new hamper would at last usher me into proper adulthood, as, logically, the reason I only do my laundry once a month is because my old hamper is so ugly.

Cut to several hours later. Most of the shopping bags are unpacked. We've been cleaning the apartment to make way for our cool new things. I'm in the bedroom, trying to find mates for all our socks, when Devin walks in.

D: Did the hamper make it in here?
Me: Uh.
D: I don't see it with this stuff.
Me: I guess it's in the car.
D: I don't remember putting it in the car.
Me: Well...
D: Did it make it out of the store?
Me: I remember you saying it was really heavy. So yeah.

So he leaves to see if it has indeed been left in the car. While he's gone, an awful thought pops into my head. And when he returns to the apartment without my lovely hamper, I share this awful thought.

Me: Do you remember when we were backing out of the parking spot at the mall. There was this noise?
D: Yeah like we hit something.

My eyelids: Blink blink. Blink blink.

D: We ran over the hamper.

Do you see? I just can't have nice things!

[If you're wondering how we could have run over a hamper without noticing, you should know that it was folded down into a very flat package that was only a few inches thick.]

So yesterday during my lunch break, I drove back to BB&B, armed with my receipt. My plan was to go to customer service and say, "Um, I bought all this stuff on Saturday, but when I got home, no hamper! It's the weirdest thing. Please help me."

And then, in case the cashier responded with, "How interesting. We found a totally crushed and destroyed hamper in the parking garage" I would respond with, "HaHA! Isn't that something? So THAT's what happened...heh" and hope they take pity on me for being so special.

And if that didn't work, I'd grab a new hamper and make a run for it.

When I walked back into the store, before heading to the customer service desk, I went over to display of the hampers to see if there was one there that looked like it may have been run over by a Volkswagon. And guess what. There was! I took pictures of the damage with my super shitty cellphone's super shitty camera, so I'm sorry if they don't look like anything. (Also, while I was crouched on the floor taking the pictures, two different employees came over and asked if I was ok.)

Ok, I know what you're thinking. "Shouldn't that be more fucked up if it got run over by a car?" I thought the same thing. I was expecting something more like this:

But I told my coworker about it and he says that if you run over something flat, the only busted parts are at either end. And that's exactly what happened here, as you can see.

Anyway, they let me pick out a new hamper (I obviously didn't take the busted one. Suckers!) and everything was fine. But now I can't help but wonder if that was my runover hamper on display.

Does anyone want to volunteer to go to the Bed Bath and Beyond in Burbank, find an employee, point to the hamper and ask, "Excuse me, did someone run over this? "

Monday, February 25, 2008

I'm Not Cool

On Saturday, I went out with about 8 other girls to a club in Hollywood. When I wasn't busy making disgusted faces at my friends in response to the unfortunately gelled hair stylings of guys passing our table, I was slumped in our booth, thinking of what angle I would take when blogging about the evening. I decided on, "No One I Know Is Cool." And at the time I was certain that "No One I Know Is Cool" was a clever title sure to precede a work of literary brilliance. But now, in the light of day and with the self-congratulatory drunken fogginess all cleared, I don't know exactly what I was talking about.

But maybe what I meant was, I'm Not Cool. Because I'm not.

Reason #1- That night, underneath my knee-high "suede" boots from Target, I was wearing 2 different socks. One was Halloween themed, and featured smiling bats and pumpkins over a yellow, orange and grey argyle pattern; the other was Christmas themed, with a smattering of tiny candy canes and holly clumps. And I can't even spin this to say that it's because I'm cool in the way that I just like to wear weird socks. No, I really just couldn't find any matching or non-holiday socks while I was getting dressed.

Reason #2- In front of the club were two lines. One, the long line for people who didn't have bottle service and who had to declare how many girls were in their party before being considered for admittance. The other line was short, and all you had to do was give your name and presto! you're in and the envy of your peers. I, by some odd turn of events, was actually in the short line. This makes me cool, right? Not so much. It started to rain, lightly, before we entered. While some of my friends moved under a nearby tent, I decided instead to block the rain by putting my hands over my head. And then when rain started getting through the spaces between my hands, I started waving them wildly around in the air, thinking that this would guarantee more overhead coverage. Cool.

Reason #3- At some point in my old age, I've become a bad dancer. I used to be good, really! Some (none) would even call me sexy! I blame this on my background in ironic dance moves. You know what I mean, when you make a funny face that says "I'm just kidding about what I'm doing right now" while you move your legs and arms in terribly off-beat and exaggerated ways. Or, and this is too uncool even for me, you do moves like Shopping For Groceries or Driving the Bus. It was something I discovered during middle school dances as a way to cope with how extremely uncomfortable I was. But now I don't even MEAN to dance ironically. It. Just. Happens. I try to move my hips and be very serious about it all, but it just ends up looking like I'm joking. Or, if I'm really really not paying attention to what I'm doing, I end up busting out with the Mom Dances. If you don't immediately know what I mean, perhaps you can recall going to some kind of outdoor festival with your parents as a kid. Like a jazz festival or state fair or community picnic. Something with live music, a band that plays Dire Straits covers, perhaps. And you'd look around at the crowd, all of the moms with a few draft beers in their system, just happy to get out of the house. Feeling young again. And then they do the Mom Dance. And it's all stepping from one foot to the next. And clapping. AND THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS NOW WHEN I DANCE.

Of course, I had fun anyway. But I have concluded that perhaps I am better suited for, and indeed prefer, what I call "sweat pants activities." These include: watching TV, eating while watching TV, drinking while watching TV, and playing Rock Band with the neighbors.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Good news, everyone!

Peace on earth! At last! Have you heard?

All wars have ended on good terms. Everyone on the planet has converted to a wondrous new religion. We've got a cure for cancer, a cure for AIDS, a cure for every major disease, in fact. Hell, we've even cured obesity. Go humans! Universal healthcare for everyone! Genocide? A thing of the past! And the economic crisis? Solved! Seriously. No more poverty. The third world has been upgraded to first world. Clean drinking water for everyone! Child labor and child prostitution have given way to child cookie decorating festivals and water slide races. All terrorists have died from syphilis. No one makes crystal meth any more- they mix up pitchers of refreshing crystal light fruit punch instead! And while we're on the topic of drugs, did you know that no one is addicted to anything any more. It's the weirdest thing! I mean, sure, everyone is smoking pot now that it's been legalized here in the U.S., but since pot heads aren't considered criminals any more, it's done wonders for that teency problem of over-crowded prisons. Well, and really there is no crime any more now that everyone is given a fair shot in life. This, of course, solves the problem of gang warfare-- and perfect timing too, because they are going to need plenty of teenagers to fill the classrooms of the new, state of the art, spacious, well equipped and well funded public schools that are springing up all over the world! And what a beautiful world it is, too. Especially since all cars run on garbage and that whole global warming thing has cooled off. I think it helps, too, that everyone decided they preferred the look of forests, wet lands, and deserts to Wal Marts and cookie-cutter housing developments. And when I came into work today, I didn't see that a swastika had been spray painted on the wall of the warehouse across the street. What am I forgetting? Oh yeah, our government has TOTALLY righted itself. Every country has a democracy. Everyone agrees on everything. All music sounds great, all food is good for you, and once a week we have global "hug a stranger" hour.

Or at least, this is what I am left to conclude after last night's ABC News decided there was no better way to fill an hour than to spend 2 whole minutes on a piece about how 40 years ago, the movie Mary Poppins made a mistake.

I know, alarming! Apparently during the song Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (or however the fuck it's spelled), she made a mistake in the part of the song where she sings it backwards. HOLY CRAP!

You can watch this critical news story here. (I think you have to watch a commercial first.) If you look into Charles Gibson's eyes, you can see he is dying a little bit inside when he introduces this piece.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Foods I Apparently Felt Were Absolutely Necessary To Shove Into My Fat Face Today

If you ask any nutritionist, they will tell you that keeping a daily food diary is a really helpful tool to help you with dieting and eating right. No, I haven't personally asked any nutritionists about this. I don't know any. Perhaps this is a problem.


And here is what today's entry would look like:

- 1 glazed Krispy Kreme donut (Purchased separately from the dozen I picked up for the breakfast meeting at work because I wanted one right then and there.)
- M&Ms (Because it's cool for an adult to eat candy before noon.)
-1 bagel with lots of cream cheese (Because no one at the breakfast meeting knew I'd already had breakfast.)
-1/2 glazed Krispy Kreme donut (Because it was sitting there in the box with a bunch of icing clumps, looking leftover and pathetic, and I guess I found that appealing.)
-Good n' plentys
- 1 Taco Bell bean and cheese burrito (Because it was 3:30 and therefore a perfectly reasonable time to leave the office for lunch or maybe because I confused Taco Bell's 4th Meal ad campaign and thought they meant between lunch and dinner, instead of their intended late night 4th meal when you are really drunk and therefore you have an excuse for eating again.)
-1 Taco Bell cheesy fiesta potatoes
-1/2 sesame seed bagel (Consumed without cream cheese or butter or anything, mindlessly put in my mouth while I leaned on the counter talking to a coworker.)

And it's not even 6 o'clock yet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

ScottBaio is 46 and a Big Stupid Baby

I thought I'd gotten it all out of my system the first time I wrote about ScottBaio. But in the episodes since then, he's continued to amaze me with how utterly useless he can be. I can't even think of the right word for him, but I'm hovering somewhere in the neighborhood of "crapface."

Ok, so when we last left ScottBaio, he had just thrown his juice box on the floor and was threatening to hold his breath forever if he didn't get his way. But ScottBaio, my sweet, you don't need to panic. Honestly, no one expects ANYTHING of you, so don't put so much pressure on yourself. Even Renee says when she comforts you during your half-hourly freakouts, "I know what I signed up for." See? So relax.

In episode 4, Renee and ScottBaio head to the last ultrasound before their baby is born. While Renee enjoys a virtual reality helicopter ride through her magic glasses, the doctor points out the face, and the fat cheeks and ScottBaio is all, "Yeah yeah, I get it. The baby's healthy. Now, what exactly is an episiotomy?"
"Well," the doctor explains, "that's when a cut is made near the vagina to give the baby enough room to come out."

Aaaand commence freakout. I mean, really, ScottBaio, we're barely 5 minutes into the episode. And why are you freaking out so much anyway? It's not like anyone's cutting a hole in your vagina.

On the drive home from the doctor's ScottBaio fills us in on his problem with episiotomies. "How do you spell episiotomy? I know how to spell it. L-O-O-S-E-V-A-G-I-N-A." Charming, ScottBaio.

After a really hard day of driving Renee to and from the doctor's, I think ScottBaio deserves a little R&R, don't you? And there's no better time to go than right now, while your fiancee is busy wobbling around, trying to prepare for a baby shower. So ScottBaio and his pals, Johnny V, Wayne Arnold, and Steve (maybe?) pack their bags and head to Vegas for a "man shower."

While the guys gather in ScottBaio's room and enjoy their first of about 46 cigars they smoke during the episode, ScottBaio is in the background freaking the fuck out. But this time, it's not about the baby; he is really really upset about the static cling on his pants. Cheer up, ScottBaio, Johnny V has planned a non-stop, VIP weekend for you!

We begin at the...diner. The magical diner where all of the waitresses are strippers and the tuna melt comes with a side of cocaine? No, no, this is just a regular diner. But Johnny V can't be expected to have planned out EVERYTHING for the weekend. How was he supposed to know you wanted dinner?

So after ScottBaio freaks out about eating at a diner, Johnny V leads the gang to Body English, one of the best clubs in Vegas. Only problem is, it's like 8:30 and the doors aren't even open. With hours to kill, the boys all begin gambling and drinking and before he can say episiotomy, ScottBaio's back at Body English, in the VIP lounge, three sheets to the wind and $5000 in the hole. Suddenly it dawns on him, "Hey, Johnny V is really fucking annoying," and so ScottBaio leaves the club and makes his way back to his room.

But not before stopping in the casino to solve that pesky static cling problem once and for all.

Feeling guilty about losing so much money when they're about to have a baby, ScottBaio drunk dials, er I mean drunk video conference calls Renee to spill the beans.

Basically he says, "Hey baby. Hope you had fun at the shower today. So, turns out I'm drunk. Oh, and I lost $5000."
To which, Renee replies, "That's okay, money isn't everything."

Oh, whatever, Renee. Why don't you just give me $5000 then?

I'm really undecided about Renee. She's sorta full of shit, but she's also an angel for putting up with this crapface. Oh hey, crapface does suit him nicely after all.

And thus episode 4 comes to a close. In episode 5, it's baby time!

But first, ScottBaio has some more freaking out to do.

It all begins when Renee and ScottBaio go to the hospital to have a look around the maternity ward. A doctor leads them into one of the rooms, and the sight of... the bed and the... couch just make him dizzy and nauseous as he thinks about how he'll have to do all that standing around while Renee's in labor. Oh, the horror!

There, there ScottBaio. It's all right. Lots of men have an intense fear of hospital tours.

Oh look, sweetums, that nice doctor lady brought you some ice cream. Now what do we say...? "Thank you, doctor lady."

With that crisis narrowly averted, Renee realizes she better get ScottBaio out of the hospital before he wets himself. They almost make it out safely, when they run into a couple who has just had their first baby. They exchange congratulations and pleasantries and then ScottBaio asks the new dad a very important question: "Do you still have time to play golf?"

"No. No more golf. You don't want to anymore, you want to spend time with your kid." OOF. You putz. Do you realize what you've done? We just calmed ScottBaio down and now you've gone and riled him all up again.

Wow. You've had a rough morning, sport. Why don't you go be useless at the racetrack with Wayne Arnold and Steve (?).

"Where's Johnny V?" you ask. Well, these guys start wondering the same thing. The little pork pie hat-wearing knucklehead's been M.I.A. for over a week. So they decide to go check in on their pal.

ScottBaio says Johnny V lives in some place called Old Hollywood. Now, I'm not exactly sure where this is. I've been to Hollywood plenty of times, and I've never seen anything quite as nasty as this "Old Hollywood" they showed during the episode. But anyway, the boys head down the alley where Johnny V lives. No, seriously.

They find Johnny V living in squalor in his studio apartment.
There are about 40 chinese take out boxes strewn about and he's hung newspapers all over the walls like a conspiracy theorist or that guy from the movie Seven. Also, Steve (?) finds a half eaten can of cat food, which is alarming since Johnny V has no cat.
So the guys are all, "What the fuck?" Turns out, Johnny V has been feeling really left out the past month. Awwww. Poor wittle thing. Two man-babies in one room!

Johnny V doesn't seem to get that ScottBaio needs to focus on the whole rest of his life and his impending fatherhood. Johnny V just wants someone to go out clubbing with. Preferably someone who will buy all of his booze and bring girls over to their table. ScottBaio, he does have a point. You two aren't even 50 yet! Live it up!

But ScottBaio doesn't have time to deal with Johnny V's lameass meltdown. He's got bigger fish to fry! He's still stuck in that stupid Daddies To Be class with stupid Dr. Bill and all of his stupid charts. Really, if there's one thing ScottBaio hates, it's charts! He spent the whole episode yammering on to everyone he knows about how he hates the charts that he has to sit through during all of the classes.

Now, Dr. Bill, don't feel stupid. I too would've thought ScottBaio would respond positively to colors and shapes, but I guess he's not yet familiar with those concepts. So let's just skip the charts for now. Maybe you've got something else to share with the class? Ok, actual close up photos of a birth in progress. I'm not so sure that's a good idea. But hey let's give it a shot.

Oh, nope, that's no good. ScottBaio's freaking the fuck out again. And this time, I think he's gonna barf.

My favorite part of this scene is the guy sitting next to ScottBaio who leans over and is like, "Dude, you don't have to do it. She does."

I LOVE you, Gray Shirt Guy. But you weren't much of a help in stopping the temper tantrum. Now ScottBaio's up and quit the Daddies To Be class.

Now what? Well he drives around in the car for a while, freaking out of course. Then he makes plans to meet up with his life coach, Doc Alley, from last season.

Btw, can we just take a moment to discuss why 46 year old ScottBaio insists on dressing like a 15 year old?

Anyway, safe in Doc Alley's dimly lit den, ScottBaio can finally let it all out.

Feels good to finally freak out, huh buddy? Yeah. You've been so strong. Solid like a rock this whole time.

Doc Alley wonders what exactly has ScottBaio so upset.

"Oh, it's awful," ScottBaio moans. "I have nowhere to go. No one will give me any answers." (Actual quote.)

Pa-lease, ScottBaio.

"What about your Daddies To Be classes?" Doc Alley asks. Yeah, what about your Daddies To Be classes? "Uh, I quit them. Dr. Bill had all these stupid charts. And I hated them. And he was mean to me. He made me keep a journal."
"Oh, that awful awful man." So then Doc Alley has a look at ScottBaio's journal and the To Do List that Dr. Bill made him write out in anticipation of the baby.

Now let's play a game. Which of the following are actual items on ScottBaio's To Do List, and which ones did I make up?

1. Go to Brooklyn
2. Get married
3. Get my shit together
4. Get vasectomy
5. Shit a brick
6. Realize that I'm not the first man who has ever had a baby
7. Share feelings
8. Be there for Renee
9. Take gun and kill myself
10. Help giant pregnant wife paint the nursery because it's hard for her to get around and also so she doesn't inhale all the paint fumes and possibly do permanent damage to our unborn child

Scott Baio- 1,2,4,7,9
Me- 3,5,6,8,10

Doc Alley, miracle worker, calms ScottBaio down. And just in time too! The baby is on her way!

Nearly everyone is present for the birth of ScottBaio's first child. There's Wayne, and Steve (?), and Renee's daughter who flew home from college just for the occasion.

What the shitfuck? Maybe I missed the episode where Renee explained that she had a baby once already, 20 years ago when she was like 12. A few times I've heard Renee saying things like "I can't believe I'm doing this again," or "Well the first time I was pregnant..." and I have always been sort of curious where this little tike has been all this time. But ok, so her daughter's a grown up. That's probably a good thing because somebody needs to help Renee out during labor while ScottBaio has gone missing.

Where oh where could he be?

Why, he's freaking out in the hallway. Duh!

Good thing ScottBaio's pals are there to comfort him.

And by comfort, I mean stand around sending text messages. And placing bets on when the baby would come. And saying really helpful things, like this gem, which Wayne says after hearing Renee's cries of "Ooooh oooooh" during a contraction, "The sounds she makes while having a baby are a lot like the sounds she makes while making the baby." Ugh. Eye roll.

In the end, the doctors send Renee in for a c-section. As ScottBaio accompanies her to the O.R., Wayne Arnold is ready with more helpful commentary. "Go bring that baby home." "The next time ScottBaio walks out of those doors, he'll be a dad."

And into this, young Bailey Baio enters the world. Stupid fucking name if you ask me. But no one asked me, and that was their first mistake.

Coming up on the next episode, the new parents hire a British baby nurse to help them out. Because I guess even though the two of them don't have jobs, they still need a little help during the day. ScottBaio, you KILL me.

Stay tuned...

Monday, February 18, 2008

And then there were the Matterhorn Bobsleds

Usually when the boyfriend and our neighbors smoke pot, the outcome is annoying and/or messy. But on Saturday afternoon they actually had a bright idea: Let's all go to Disneyland! True, the idea would've been brighter at 11am, rather than the current time of 3:40pm, but eh, why not? I desperately needed something to do, seeing as my only accomplishments for the day so far included watching 2 movies and making my way through an entire tray of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits (3 down, 5 to go!).

Here is a timeline of the rest of my day.

3:45- The boyfriend leaves the apartment to tell the neighbors I am in on the plan. I turn my attention back to the TV, where I had been watching The Last Kiss, which despite Zach Braff's complete lack of charm, has been thoroughly entertaining me for the last hour.

4:00- Shoot. I was supposed to get ready. I call my sister to rope her into this, and while on the phone I begin ransacking the dirty laundry pile, desperately searching for something to wear. Why, oh why had I wasted all morning when I should have been doing laundry?

4:10- The boyfriend returns to the apartment just as I'm about to get in the shower. Never one to shower unless it's absolutely necessary, I check with him that we are definitely still going. Yes we are. Really? Yes. Ffffine.

4:25- Now dressed and in the middle of applying mascara, the boyfriend announces, "I don't know if we're going. I mean, I'll go check with those guys. I don't know." Hmm, outstanding. Oh well, I suppose I needed to get dressed anyway.

4:30- Ok, yes we are still going. So ready set, 1-2-3, let's go!

4:40- No progress. I am now pacing back and forth while eating biscuit number 4.

4:50- We stand in the courtyard. Everyone is present and ready to go.

5:00- We actually leave the courtyard and head to our cars.

5:03- At last, we're on the freeway. In just 30 minutes we'll be arriving in the happiest place on earth. (Is that the slogan for Disneyland, btw? I couldn't really recall. It's either that or "Disneyland: It's magical" or something)

5:45- Ok, so we clearly underestimated the traffic situation and we are barely out of downtown. The sun is setting. I am sleepy and wondering what movies I'm missing on HBO.

6:45- We approach the Disneyland exit. Having been here about a dozen times, I know exactly how to get to the parking lot. Yet when neighbor honks his horn and tells me I'm in the wrong lane, I move over and follow his lead anyway. Follow his lead in the completely wrong direction, while wondering exactly why I doubted myself and trusted him when the last thing he said before we got in separate cars was that he hadn't been to Disneyland since he was a kid.

7:00- At last, our cars are parked and we wait for the tram to the main entrance.

7:10- Tram arrives.

7:15- We're in line for tickets. Do you know how much it costs to go to Disneyland? $66! It's even more if you want to go to California Adventure too. And there is no discount even though we're the late night stragglers who are only going to have a few hours of park time.

7:20- Hooray, we are here. Now everyone has to pee. Find a bathroom, ASAP.

7:25- We all reconvene after the bathroom.

7:30- We're cold and need hot cocoa before we go any further.

7:50- Clearly everyone else had the same brilliant idea because the coffee shop was swamped. Anyway, to Space Mountain!

8:45- Five hours after deciding to go to Disneyland, we are nestled in our carts for Space Mountain, the best ride ever.

8:48- The ride is over. Now what?

8:55- We get in line for the Matterhorn Bobsleds since they are close by.

9:15- The ride's over. I remember that being a lot better. Ok, now everyone is starving. But we all want proper dinner later so we go on the hunt for snacks.

9:20- Somewhere near It's A Small World, we take a disastrous wrong turn. Apparently everyone else in the park is standing by the castle awaiting the fireworks because there is NO ONE else back here. Are we supposed to be here? It's scary in the Disney badlands. I keep picturing at any turn I'm going to see Donald and Pluto sitting against a building, smoking crack and coming on to that girl dressed as Princess Jasmine. Or worse, maybe the Small World children will all grow fangs and come to life.

9:27- After 2 hours of driving, two rides, and $66 a piece, we decide we're over Disneyland.

9:30- We're approaching civilization, or Main street U.S.A. I'm busting a move for the exit to get out of this damn place when I notice one by one, my companions have all fallen behind. Where are they going?

9:31- Everyone is standing in line at the cart that sells turkey legs. Sick.

9:35- While gnawing away on slimey, enormous turkey legs and schmearing fat and sauce all over their faces, my friends and I look up to the sky to watch the fireworks. Our view is 65% obstructed by trees.

9:45- The fireworks are still bang banging away. God these are boring. Fireworks are so fucking boring. My sister, the only other person not embalmed with turkey grease at this point, is equally as bored out of her skull and so we attempt to shuffle our gang toward the exit.

9:46- No luck. They are transfixed.

10:15- We've finally made our way out of the park, over to a restaurant in Downtown Disney, and at last, I have in front of me the one thing I came to Disneyland for: a dirty martini.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Regarding rich people and their wasting of my time

Happy Valentine's Day. I have a giant zit on my face.

That's not all I got, though. I also got some very pretty roses from my boyfriend. (awww)

I noticed today that everyone's posts were about Valentine's day so I thought I should join in. But I really have nothing to say about it other than the aforementioned roses and face tumor.

So, instead, I'm going to write about my experience catering last Saturday.

If you've been reading Hollywood Sucker, then you may recall I've started working catering jobs on weekends for some extra money to rid myself of the back monkey. The first event I worked was sort of fun, and so I wasn't really dreading my second event with them.

So Saturday afternoon I find myself on the 405, making my way to the fancypants, richy rich Pacific Palisades neighborhood to work at a private party in someone's home. The 405 was a parking lot. Why? Because everyone else in LA was making their way to the beach. Why? Because it was the first beautiful, perfect day of spring (take THAT, east coast!). The sun was shining, there was not a cloud in the sky, it was about 75 degrees. And I was sitting in my car, sipping on the remnants of a diet coke sitting in my cupholder since last night's taco bell run.

As I arrive in the neighborhood, I begin driving approximately 3mph, gawking at the beautiful houses and wide, pristine streets. I'm jealous. I'm so depressed by this. After spotting the correct address, I find a space to park on the street. The instructions from the caterer said to be sure to park at least 40 yards from the house. Gee, I feel special. Well to make sure I keep my apparently hideous car away from their beautiful party, I must have parked about 300 yards away from the house. It takes me like 5 minutes to hike back there from my car. Just as I approach the front gate, a man with the valet service stops me. "The staff is supposed to park north of the house," he informs me.
"Well it said to park 40 yards away. I'm like really really far away."
"Yeah but we reserved everything south of the house for valet parking."
"Ok well but I am so far you can't even see my car from here."
The man gives me a look of disgust normally reserved for someone with bbq sauce all over their shirt.
"Fine," I say with a sigh. Then I march all the way back to my car and then park "north" of the house. Whatever that means. Not that I wanted to split hairs with Mr. Valet, but this was an east/west street.

Finally, I am done with the parking disaster. And now I'm sweating bullets from all of this walking "north and south" while dressed in head-to-toe black.

I head to the house and find the makeshift "kitchen," which was actually a shed approximately the size of my apartment, filled with kitchen equipment and busy chefs. Some woman tells me to go inside to find Greg. I don't know who anyone is that's bossing me around here, but fine. So I go inside. Greg tells me to go to the kitchen outside. Ok...

Eventually I connect with him and introduce myself and he marks me down on some kind of roster. The day begins. I'm unwrapping plates and moving chairs around and trying to look busy, all while pretty much having no idea what I'm supposed to be doing. Thankfully, the rest of the staff shows up after an hour (I was sent early to "help") and so I can finally lose myself in the crowd. Then, Greg signs everyone in. He gets to me, having forgotten my name. Then he checks me off on the chart saying "Ok, 3:30 start time."
"2:30," I interrupt.
"3:30," he says again.
"Yeah, but I got here at 2:30."
"Did you start working at 2:30?" What? Yes. Have you not noticed me?
"Do me a favor. Next time let me know when you're early. Not a big deal, but just, you know."
"Well Sven called me at the last minute and asked me to come earl--" but he had moved on to examining a table cloth by then.
What is it with these people?

Working a private party for rich people is not fun. Rich people are assholes, and why shouldn't they be? Maybe I would be too. Actual snippet of conversation overheard while I was squeezing through the crowd carrying a tray of seared ahi appetizers:
"I mean, I grew up in this neighborhood too and it's just a really great place to grow up. Big back yards, big closets."

Ok I don't know why I am so resentful, and maybe I shouldn't be. Too bad.

Here are the highlights from the rest of the day.
- Greg finds a cluster of 3 waiters standing to the side of the house. "2 people is a chat, 3 people is the start of a union!"

- I spot a familiar face in the distance. Oh no. Oh no. I KNOW her. Oh how mortifying. She spots me and I make small talk while self-consciously checking if I have any sauce on my shirt. Also, I debate if it's worth getting in trouble with stupid Greg to ask her for a sip of her wine.

- After running around in the fucking heat all afternoon, I am completely parched and may collapse without water. I ask 3 different supervisors where I can get some water and no one gives me an answer. So, I lock myself in the bathroom and drink water from the faucet for 10 minutes.

-Greg finds me and 6 other waiters standing in the prep area, taking a quick breather between tray passes. He tells us, "Um, just so you know, no one is standing around right now."

-Megabitch chef tells all waiters they are rinsing the trays improperly. "Everyone come here NOW!" she commands. Rolling our eyes, we all move over near her and the pan of warm water. "It's not that hard. You take a paper towel, you wet it and--" She stops when she sees me standing behind her. "What are you doing back there. GET OVER HERE." Excuse me?
"I'm just trying to stay out of the way," I explain. There were already about 12 people in 3 feet of space.
"No you're not you're being lazy. Get in here!"
So I squeeze my way into the group. But of course there are no available trays to clean so I am left STILL standing there as she gives us instructions.
"WHY AREN'T YOU DOING ANYTHING?" she shouts at me.
"There are no more plates."
To this, she makes an awful sighing/growling noise, grabs my arm, and thrusts it towards to roll of paper towels.
"I can move my arm myself!" I yell, in what was one of the approximately four times in my life I've stood up for myself. Too bad she didn't hear me because she was busy criticizing someone else. But guess what? A minute later she cut her finger open while slicing something in the kitchen. Karma's a bitch, bitch.

Thankfully the day FINALLY came to a close after a party that lasted for the longest 3 hours of my life. I can't imagine why all of the supervisors were so mean to us...especially since really no one was doing anything wrong. We were on their side! And helpful.

All day long a little voice in my head kept saying, "Just go. There's the front gate. Just walk through it. You don't have to be here. They can't stop you. They won't even notice you are gone." I mean, unlike my real job that pays all the bills, this is just a little bonus fundage. No one can force me to stay at any of these events. And that thought, the knowledge that I can just leave whenever I feel like it, is what will get me through all of the future events.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hey, everyone. Point and laugh.

"This will make a good story for your blog," my sister said.

Last week I went with her to The Comedy Store to watch her coworker's brother perform in a stand up comedy class's first live performance. Yeah, sounds promising.

The show isn't on the main stage (surprise, surprise), but in a back room called "The Belly Room" that apparently got its name because during the 1940s, actual belly dancers took the stage. I wish there were belly dancers tonight, I couldn't help but think.

We're seated in what I guess would be called the mezzanine level, to the side of the stage. (Stage right, maybe? I've never gotten the stage right/stage left thing.) Though we aren't necessarily THE front row, we are completely visible to the audience and performers.

We got settled and ordered drinks with the waitress. I'd been to The Comedy Store before, and there was a 2 drink minimum. This is pretty standard for comedy places, but a little ballsy to ask this of patrons for a show of way way amateur comedians. This was like a middle school band concert. The freshman players' production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The spring tap dance recital at the Palm Springs Senior Center.

You need to order 2 drinks and you need to order them upfront. Whatever. 2 whiskey sours please. And then, we wait.

Across the room from us there's this giant wall o' mirror, and so I can see my reflection and the whole row of people I'm sitting with. This will obviously distract me for the next few hours. I know I'm not alone when I say I can not be anywhere near a reflective surface without looking at myself. Have you ever been in a restaurant where you are sitting by a wall with a decorative mirror, and your dining companion has his back to the mirror, so that the whole time he is chatting you keep stealing glances of yourself and wondering if he notices? (yes, he notices) Or have you ever walked by a giant storefront window and been so interested in seeing what you look like while walking that you nearly or actually run into other pedestrians and/or trash cans and/or mailboxes and/or lamp posts?

See? Even talking about mirrors distracts me.

As I'm looking in this mirror at The Comedy Store, I notice that the person seated to my left looks a little familiar. It's hard to really make out his face because he's wearing a hat. So I very sneakily look over to my left. I turn back to front. Wow, I looked way too fast, I didnt see anything. I'm so lame. Ok, let's try this again. And, ah-ha! It's my friend's ex boyfriend. Jeesh. Well, maybe he won't notice me. It's a pretty out of context situation. And we haven't seen each other in like 2 years. He may have been drunk at every encounter and so perhaps doesn't even know I exist. Brilliant. So you can probably get out of this without saying anythi--

"Oh Hiiiiiiii" I blurt out. Good work, nerd.

"Um..." He looks from side to side.

I clear up our connection and then realize that unlike running into an old coworker or college pal, running into your friend's ex is not a desirable scenario and he is probably wondering why I am so dern excited about it. Little does he know, I am not excited, I just behave really poorly in awkward situations.

So he and I make really (really really) strained conversation for about 3 minutes. "Where are my 2 drinks?" I keep wondering. Then, thank goodness, the lights go down and the crappy show starts. I put on my glasses to see better. (I got glasses like 6 months ago after I realized I couldn't read any street signs while driving.)

The hostess of the evening is blabbing on and on for a while. "White people do this; black people do this" etc. etc. I keep thinking this would be tolerable with my drinks. It's been at least 20 minutes since we ordered them. I start thinking then about how I read this checklist of 10 Warning Signs of Alchoholism (I may have about 8 of them) and recall that one of the signs is the instant you walk into a bar or other social setting, you become preoccupied with getting a drink. Is that what I'm doing now? No, wait when I first walked in I was preoccupied with finding the bathroom. Ok, phew, I'm safe.

Finally the first comedian comes to the stage. As he begins his act, the temperature in the room goes down about 10 degrees (I'm assuming this is unrelated) so I take out my wool scarf and wrap it around my neck. I glance, of course, in the mirror on the opposite wall. With my glasses, and pulled back messy hair, I look sort of like this:

Hot, right? Well, I wasn't worried about it. After all, I'M not the one on stage. And that wasn't MY ex-boyfriend I just ran into.

Then the comedian on stage, who has been talking about the differences between Catholics (his wife) and Jews (him) for about six minutes, starts doing that bit where they pick out people in the audience and lightly make fun of them. I start to sweat, and not just because I'm engulfed in 7 feet of wool scarf. I am in the front row. I am clearly visible. I am a target.

So the comedian starts talking to a table up front and saying things that I'm pretty sure are racist, but they don't seem to be pissed. Then he turns and throws his arm up in our direction, "And then we have the librarian up here." It takes me a second to realize he means me. ME! The room turns to look at me. I'm going to vomit into my scarf. I react by frowning. Not frowning as in making a sad/displeased face, but like an actual downturn of my mouth like on a sad faced emoticon. Do people even do this?

"And where do you live?" The comedian presses on. What is this? An effing inquisition!?

"Uh, North Hollywood."

"Like. North Hollywood," he parrots back in some kind of bad teenage girl impression. He is mimicking gum smacking noises. I wasn't chewing gum. "A valley girl, huh?"

"Yeah, I guess," I say. Oh I hate him. I hate him so.

"Are you actually a librarian?" He asks. What? Is anyone actually a librarian? I should have said yes. I wanted to say something back, but all of my truthful explanations for why I looked this way sounded worse than not saying anything at all.

Option 1: I just need these glasses to see distances better.
Option 2: I don't care what I look like.

He gave up on me after that. Clearly I was no fun. I suppose I should have played along, but then again I hate the audience members who try to be comedians too.

Finally, my drinks arrived. They were probably about 1 part whiskey to 98 parts sour mix. I tried to choke them down anyway during the next TWO HOURS of bad comedy we sat through. Highlights from the assorted comedians were:

1. The man who was talking politics but kept referring to the candidates as Hillary and "Baramba." No, he wasn't kidding.
2. This joke- "I like to ride motorcycles, but I always get bugs in my teeth. You know what I'm talking about. You have to floss with Raid." Uncomfortable silence.
3. The man named Alicia who was talking about how he doesnt think babies should be aborted because they are a form of life right from the beginning, and then introduced us to his "kids" - 2 jizz rags he pulled out of his pocket.

As the night wraps up (praise the lord), the hostess is doing jokes about getting it doggy style and is acting it all out. Then she looks over at me and is like "This girl's just thinking, 'I want better things for women.'" I felt like standing and addressing the crowd. "Look, despite what you may think, I'm actually really fun! I didn't think anyone would care about what I looked like in glasses, and I got these ones with the thick rims because I wanted to look like my hero, Tina Fey." Instead, I faked a laugh.

Additionally, a creepy, jockey-sized man was staring, STARING, at my sister the entire evening. She kept pointing him out to me. He wouldn't stop. At the conclusion of the show, she wandered to go find the bathroom, and he headed straight for me.

"Where's your friend?" His breath smelled like poop. Not poopish. Not like bad breath. It just was poop.

"She's in the bathroom..." And then I shuffled my way into the exiting crowd. Of course, I end up directly next to my friend's ex boyfriend. And this was like 2 minutes after I'd already done a nice enough job of saying bye to him and looking cool. Now we were trapped in that post-goodbye epilogue you sometimes find yourselves in. "Here we are again," someone will say. And then you have to talk more. In this particular case, we talked about how he'd moved to Santa Monica, and then just sort of ambled off in different directions as the crowd shifted.

My sister finds me and tells me that ol' poopbreath found her too and that she told him that he was creepy for looking at her the whole time.

Then I see one of the comedians, this guy who played a guitar and talked about having sex with his mom or something. And he says to me: "nice glasses." I realize he is wearing ones sort of like mine. Outstanding.

And then, to cap off a glorious evening, I come face to face with the comedian who called me a librarian.

"Thanks for being a good sport," he says.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Car bombs and blow jobs

Some of you (and by "you," I'm referring to the approximately 4 people who read my posts) may be wondering why someone who calls herself Hollywood Sucker writes so little about Hollywood, and so much about her boring ol' life.

Well, first of all, Hollywood is annoying. Secondly, I am not so immersed in all of that any more. Not that I ever was hanging at the cool table with Ms. Lohan, but I used to work at a job much more in the trenches. And I would have had loads of stories of why celebrities are nuts, and how most scripts are really terrible and 95% of writers suck. But then a few months ago I got fed up and so I took a job on the peripheral of the entertainment industry. And thus, my life is now focused on Ikea furniture, my cats, what I'm going to eat for lunch/dinner, and what I'm watching on tv.

One can not live in LA, however, without still coming across the Hollywood lifestyle you hear so much about on E! or Extra. This was the case SORT OF on Friday.

But first there is back story. About 2 months ago, I was with the boyfriend and a bunch of friends, standing in line to see a show at UCB. My friend Tomas, ever the flirt, strikes up a conversation with the girls standing behind us. Because I don't care when other people are getting hit on (who does?), I don't pay much attention and resume conversation with the rest of the group.

Cut to Friday night. My sister calls me to say that Tomas has been given $300 to take everyone out to the bar, but we all have to drink baileys and he is going to film the whole thing. Huh? "Yeah I don't really get it," she says. And I don't get it either, but I'm already salivating at the thought of free booze.

So we get to the bar and Tomas tries his best to explain it. Apparently he stayed in touch with one of the girls from the UCB line, and she works for some huge ad agency in the midwest. One of her clients is baileys, and they are trying to gather research on what people are drinking and how they like baileys. So she wants him to film our honest reactions to baileys and then she's going to use this footage in some kind of presentation. (ok, er, whatever) Even better, we only have to drink one baileys drink on camera and then we can just drink whatever we want the rest of the night. Yippee!!

Except that some how, because it was just too funny to resist, baileys keeps creeping it's way into all of the drinks anyway. I can't tell you the last time I did an Irish car bomb and a blow job shot, but Friday night brought the pain. And it's all on tape! Now I can never run for Congress.

We head to UCB after the bar, to see our friend in a show at midnight. After rushing to get there, we find out that his show has been pushed back an hour til 1, and so now we've got time to kill. To the bar!

So we go for drinks next door. Baileys rears it's ugly head yet again. I feel like I've had a big nasty milkshake by this point. Now we are all much too silly for our own good.

Tomas disappears outside for a few minutes and comes back in, saying, "I just got in trouble. I guess."


"I was standing outside, using my blackberry to take pictures of the bar to include with all of the footage, and this girl was like, 'stop taking pictures of me.' And I'm like, 'Um, I'm not.' And she says she is going to call her body guard if I don't stop. So then I ask her friend if she is drunk or something, and her friend just kind of laughed. I'm so confused."

So then he points out the girl, who is sitting at a table outside, and from our booth we can see her perfectly. Can see her turtleneck sweater and glasses. Can see her stupid face. So we commence blatently staring and pointing to make her uncomfortable.

(Look, normally I am not at all confrontational, but I can be super obnoxious if the situation calls for it.)

After a few minutes of this harassment from a distance, her "bodyguard" comes over to our table. This man is also the bouncer for the bar. What a coincidence, Danielle. (Oh yeah, we named this girl Danielle.) So her bouncerguard tells us not to get the wrong idea about her, she is really a great girl, she just gets nervous around paparazzi.

The table is amused. Paparazzi? Tomas? We start cracking up.

Now bouncerguard looks a little thrown off, and as he continues talking, I get the sense he is trying not to betray his friend/bodyguardee, but he knows that bullshit is just flying out of his mouth. He continues, "She just saw your camera and got concerned."

"Oh, is she famous?" We ask.

"No. But she is friends with a lot of celebrities."

"Oh. Who is she here with?"

"Well, no one."

The table, again, loves this. Poor bouncerguard. "So anyway, just give her some space. Anyway, she's really nice...."

We have already drowned him out, preferring instead the sound of our own voices making fun of Danielle and her unjustified fear of the one man blackberry paparazzi. The nerve!

Realizing we need to leave in about 10 minutes, and that we are going to have to pass right by her table as we exit, we begin formulating plans to bother her. Throw things at her head! Kick her chair! Wait no...we have a better plan.

As we leave the bar, all six of us take out our cellphones and pass her table, getting them all in her personal space and pretending to take pictures. "Look who it is!" we shout. "Oh my god are you getting this!" "We're gonna be rich!"

"Oh look, you're all bitches!" Danielle calls out after us. Whatever, she started it.

Blame it on the baileys, sucker!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Ikea Project From Heck

There sure is a lot going on these days, eh? What with the elections yesterday- Super Tuesday! And word is the writers strike is coming to a close so pretty soon all my pals will be back to work and TV will resume normal.

But I'm not going to be writing about either of these major news stories because I have been distracted the past 2 days by The Ikea Project From Heck.

Like many a disaster, The Ikea Project From Heck began with the best of intentions. The office needed a better, bigger storage and filing system, and so my boss and I went to Ikea and bought a whole bunch o' stuff from the Effektiv collection. There will be drawers! And shelves! And big cabinets! And little cabinets! It will be so organized and glorious!

On Monday, the Effektiv parts were delivered in 30 boxes (not exaggerating). And so I eagerly began tackling this beast of a project.

Why me? I don't know, I just sort of became the default furniture assembling person of the office. Which is funny because nothing about me would categorize me as "the handy one" or "the one who is good with power tools." But by this point I've put together a couch, 2 lounge chairs, 2 end tables and a laptop cart, so I guess I'm not THAT useless.

However, this Ikea Project From Heck was no ordinary chair or lil' table. This would require me to put together 30 boxes worth of furniture. And none of the drawer fronts or cabinet doors came with pre-drilled holes for the handles, so I was going to have to measure out and drill holes in 10 different things. This would be serious carpentry.

And so for the past two days, instead of putzing around on the internet from the comfort of my ergonomic desk chair, I've been crawling around on the cold cement floor of the loft space where I work. I have bruises on my elbows and knees and butt from rolling around in all manner of ridiculous positions, trying to get teeny tiny screws in remote corners of cabinets.

So yes, I'm really cranky from this whole thing. What made it all worse were the stupid directions that came with all of the various Effektiv parts. As I'm sure you've noticed in your young adult, crappy furniture lives, Ikea directions have no words. Just pictures. Just nonsensical, no labels, arrows pointing in all directions pictures. The point of this, I imagine, is so that Ikea can toss the same directions into every box they sell in every country from Singapore to Finland, and everyone can be equally confused. It's a small world after all.

Now, call me a snob, but I believe that since I went to all the trouble of being literate, I should be rewarded with WORDS to help me through The Ikea Project From Heck. But instead of words, Ikea offers a blobby little character that I call Gus.

Meet Gus:

Gus can't really speak, but he tries to communicate with you nevertheless. Here, he is telling you that you will need a screwdriver to assemble the furniture. He should probably also be telling you that you need a drill because later on you will discover that Ikea has only provided pre-drilled holes about half of the time and there is no way that man power alone can shove a screw through 2 inches of wood.

Now, here Gus is telling you that if your furniture arrives all beat up and crappy, you'll be sad. So, somehow go get furniture that is in good shape.

And here, he wants you to know that if you have a question, you should get on the nearest phone attached to an Ikea.

While these illustrations were obviously completely helpful, they did not fully prepare me for my Ikea experience. So I've drawn up a few more pictures that illustrate my journey through the assembly of Ikea's Effektiv office furniture. You should find these helpful the next time you undertake your own Ikea Project From Heck:

"Spread out in the middle of the office floor so that your coworkers have to step over you, the tools, and the furniture pieces all day long."

"Ask coworker who is clearly really busy with something else to help you change the drill thingies."

"Conceal mysterious 'extra parts' from onlookers who may start to question your abilities."

"Finally get the hang of drill. Commence power trip."

"Frustrated and near tears, bother coworker again because this one door just refuses to attach to its hinges no matter what you do and you are certain that Ikea just made it wrong."

"Do not stop at gym on way home because probably the day's activities count as exercise."

I still am not done with this project. I've spent a total of 17 hours assembling stuff. Lucky for me, I have to wait for the electrician to come in and move a lighting fixture that is in the way, so I am spending the morning relaxing and admiring my handy work on the other side of the room.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Let the record show, I apparently hate freedom

Every so often, usually around election time, petitioners will appear in front of super markets and drug stores, holding clipboards and shouting something inflammatory like, "Save children and families. Sign our petition!" or "Don't you hate terrorists? Sign our petition!" And they always end up luring me in, and they always trick me into signing away my soul for some cause that I don't support. Some cause that I loathe with every ounce of my being.

I first encountered one of these petitioners a few months after I moved to LA. I was with a coworker on our lunch break and we were going into a Rite Aid. A sweet old woman was positioned outside of the front entrance, behind a foldy table covered in papers, displaying a big sign STOP PROPOSITION 84. "Girls! Hello!" she called out to us as we approached. I began veering towards her when suddenly my friend grabbed my arm and pulled me away. "No thank you!" she shouted toward the old lady. Then, under her breath, "We don't want that." She was the protective mother and I was the stupid toddler about to eat some old gum I'd pried off the sidewalk.

As we walked into the store, I kept looking back at the earnest old woman and her display. Certainly she was not up to anything devious, was she? But my friend was a few years older and wiser so I thought it best to follow her lead.

But if there's one thing I've learned about myself, it's that I never learn my lesson. Ever. Never ever.

And so the next time I came across a petitioner, I was again lured towards her. Another sweet old lady. A sweet old lady who was trying to make abortion illegal. Ah! "No thank you!" I shouted at her, just as my friend had done the last time. I handed back her clipboard and pen and shuffled into the grocery store. Oh dear, that was a close call. I better stay away from these guys from now on!

But I never learn my lesson. Ever. Never ever.

About a year ago I was on my way into the supermarket and I saw a petitioner standing near the front entrance. I panicked and began to head for the door on the other side. But standing in front of that door was the guy who always tries to sell me his R&B cds and packages of dress socks. Drat!

I started heading for the petitioner's entrance. I'd now zigzagged my way across the parking lot. As I approached him, I took in his appearance. Young, maybe 27? Shaggy hair. Stubble. Is he actually wearing tie dye? Ohmygod he is! How stinkin' cute. Well he can't possibly ask me to sign some ultra conservative petition like those crabby old ladies. He's probably trying to end the war and save the environment.

Wait a second. How does the expression go? "You should always always judge a book by its cover. That never fails." Oh perfect. Sign me up, you magnificent hippy!

"Stop government fat cats from taking over California," he says and he sounds like Jim Breuer in Half Baked. Fat cats! "Send a message that we aren't gonna take it." Right on, brothaman! Vive la revolucion!

"They're trying to turn our state into one giant casino." Heh?

"The state assembly is trying to make it legal for electronic gambling machines, like video poker, to be installed in any place of business. We're talking gas stations, shopping malls, even right here at your grocery store."

Is something wrong with me that I didn't find this to be a big threat? Is it any worse than selling lottery scratch-offs at all of those same venues? I am sure that in my travels I've been in states where there were video poker machines in the corners of diners and liquor stores. And I remember seeing them just collecting dust and wondering if anyone ever used them. And if they did, what do I care? It's their money. It's their lame ass way to spend it. What states had I seen this in? Definitely Nevada. And was it Texas? No, that's not it. Louisiana? That seems possible...

Then it occurred to me that the hippy petitioner was just standing there impatiently waiting for me to respond, in some fashion.

"Uh," I eloquently began, "I don't know if I really care about that happening."

"But if they start with these places of business, what's next? Gambling in our libraries, in our schools?"

"Why would that happen?"

"You never know what they'll do next. Especially if we give them the power to pass these bills without putting it to a vote. All you'll be saying, if you sign this, is Hey man, put it to a vote."

"Oh, well I guess that makes sense." I think. I don't know what the hell this guy is talking about anymore. He smells like wet moss.

So I just sign the dern thing and go about my shopping, wondering what exactly I'd gotten myself into. I am never talking to one of those petitioners again.

But I never learn my lesson. Ever. Never ever.

So last week I am on my way into my beloved Trader Joe's, when I see a pleasant looking old man with a clipboard up ahead. Oh no, here we go again. I willed myself to stay away. But then I saw his smile, and his kind eyes. And his FUCKING ADORABLE DOG sitting on a little table next to him. "Help stop animal cruelty!" the man shouts as I get closer. Ack! My weakness. If there is one cause that I will fight for it is to stop animal cruelty. And ohmygod, look, that dog is wearing a little sign around his neck that says "Please end cruelty to animals." Give me the fucking pen! As I'm signing my name and filling out my address the petitioner is going on about abuse on farms or something, but he doesn't even need to waste his time because I am already totally buying what he's selling.

Afterwards, I pet the dog, puff up my chest, and march into Trader Joe's feeling exceedingly pleased with myself. So not all of these petitioners are evil tricksters. I will have to stop being so cynical. Then I recall seeing "4H" somewhere in the fine print as I was signing. "What are those 4H brats up to now?" I wonder. Gosh, are they abusing animals? What are they teaching these kids? Or have I just signed something making 4H clubs illegal, taking away the one source of healthy amusement for children and teens in rural areas and thereby leaving them with no option but to turn into a bunch of meth Well no matter, I've got to buy stuff for dinner.

Then, on Friday, I'm making an after work stop at the supermarket for beer, cat litter, and frozen pizza, when I see a petitioner up ahead. A sweet looking 20-something girl in a hoodie. Hmm, she's probably not up to anything reprehensible.

"Keep solar energy free!" she shouts. Is someone making people pay for it? Is anyone actually using solar energy? Oh well, I guess it should stay free. "Sure, I'll sign" I say. After I fill out all the stuff, she lifts up the petition and folds it over the top of the clipboard to reveal another one underneath. "This one is to protect marriage in California." Wait, what? Why would marriage be in danger? I better read that fine print that is wedged under the clipboard's clippy thing. Ah ha! You trickster! You are trying to stop gay marriage. "No thank you!"

She sighs, then lifts the petition to reveal yet another one underneath. This time, she offers nothing by way of explanation, so I read the fine print and discover this one is to force minors to get parent's permission to have an abortion. Oh good grief. You mean force a teen in an abusive family to make a choice between telling her parents she's knocked up and getting beaten and/or kicked out of the house, or running away and having the baby in some restaurant bathroom and tossing it in a dumpster. Gee, bright idea. "No thank you!" Now I'm wondering what the twist was in that solar energy thing I signed.

She turns the page to present one last petition. Oh no. Oh no no no. It's that animal cruelty one I just signed the other day. This means there is some downside somewhere in the fine print. Unless this is the one honest to goodness, actually bettering the world petition mixed in with all those other ones. Oh crap, I can't even look. I shove the clipboard at her and practically run away.

I think, I HOPE, I have actually, finally learned my lesson here. But you can never be too sure.