Monday, March 31, 2008

Hello, cruel world: The Hills recap

The Hills has left Paris and returned to LA.

Yay! Says Lauren.

And it's been cut back from the ungodly duration of one hour that I barely made it through last week, and is now back to the much more appropriate 30 minute dose.

Yay!!! By the way, I submit to the Wonders of the World Committee, the phenomenon that is my ability to sit through 6 hours of The Hills in marathon form, but to find a one hour episode insufferable.

So anyway, Auhhhdrehnahh is just thrilled to bits to have her pal back.

Who knows what would have happened if she was left on her own another day. Perhaps she would've returned to that butt itch Justin/Bobby. (Secretly, I really want him to come back to the show. He's just so...fascinatingly empty. And I like his knit, floppy hats.)

The big news this week is that Whitney is planning to leave her job at Teen Vogue. But first, she has to meet with her boss, Lisa.

I sorta forgot all about Lisa in the time since last season, but now that I once again gaze upon her furrowed brow and look of disgust with her employees, I realized how much I missed her.

So Whitney comes to her, ready to discuss her future.

"I really like it here, but I think my future is in stylingk, and I have an interview for a job but I need your blessingk first."
And then Lisa's like, "Ok, whatever. God, what has happened to my career? I work for 25 years, crawling and fighting my way to the top, and now I'm reduced to playing the villain on some pretend reality show on MTV. How did this happen, Whitney?"
"So, can I have your blessingk, or....."

But enough about Whitney. (Let's face it, she's smart and I like her, know, nobody cares.)

Heidi is back at her fake job following an indeterminately long hiatus. Her coworker is like, "Yeah it looks so different here, doesn't it?" Which, to me, says that the whole office was renovated. And that means that Heidi must have been gone a while. But the last episode made it seem she was just gone for a week while Lauren was in I am so confused. Can someone from The Hills please email me a timeline?

Now that Heidi is "back at work" she dives right in like a true career woman.

"Here are those files" she says as she approaches her coworker's desk. Seriously? Here are those files? Can we get some better writers? What will Heidi say next? "Can you get the buyers on the phone?" "When are we going to the big meeting?" "Let's talk about the bottom line."

Meanwhile, Spencer is busy not working. And he's gone to visit his sister Stephanie.

Stephanie's apartment looks exactly like Spencer's apartment.

"Ehhh. I don't know what to do. Heidi is the only person in the universe who likes me, kind of."

So he is planning on moving in with Stephanie now that Heidi has kicked him out so that they can continue to date and be in love, even though she's called off the wedding and wants nothing to do with him. Very practical, Heidi. Practical like your new lips.

And by the way, does anyone remember that this was Spencer's apartment? That he owns and invited Heidi to come live in? How does she get to keep it? Spence, grow a pair.

Whitney is off to her interview with Kelly Cutrone, who is, I guess, some important fashion person. And given that, I don't know why she's chosen to dress in a smock from Supercuts.

But I guess bad outfit and cringe-worthy, bullshitting interview skills aside, Ms. Cutrone has decided to give the Whitster a chance to work for her. And then she says my favorite line of the episode: "You're making a deal with the devil. You have to give up your life. The good news is, you get a whole new one."

Is Kelly the new Lisa?

In a restaurant across town, Heidi is having brunch with my new favorite person, Stephanie. And Steph is just delighted about the menu.

"Ooo they have Eggs Benedict. This is like my new favorite place." Hmm, really? This impresses you? Denny's has Eggs Benedict. The buffet at Gold Coast in Vegas had Eggs Benedict.

So then Heidi chimes in.

"I remember when me and Spencer came here, and he was like 'Im gonna order the muscle breakfast,' and I was like, 'Why, cuz you don't have any muscles?' And he got so mad."

Awesome story, Heidi.

Bored already, Stephanie decides she needs to stir things up by telling Heidi that Spencer plans to date other people. And while this isn't exactly true, it's just nice to see her trying to cause trouble.

Go Stephanie! Although, I don't really understand what's going on with your shirt here. It looks like something from my 6th grade teacher's "vacation wardrobe."
Night falls and it's time for the girls to go out on the town.

And where else do they go, but Les Deux. Because heaven forbid they go to one of the other approximately 3000 bars in LA.

Soon, they are taken by surprise when Brody and pals arrive.

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world...

Lauren narrows her eyes and denies him a hug and gets ready to do her favorite thing: feel betrayed by friends and get all worked up about it even though no one really cares any more. What was she mad at Brody about? I forgot.

Oh right, he had a girlfriend or something. And so she confronts him, and then they get in some falling out, yaddi yadda. And who invited the muppet?

While I'm not the least bit interested in this guy trouble of hers, I know one girl who is just dyyyying to listen.

Lo goes to lunch with Lauren and is so caring. "Lauren, tell me what troubles you. Please, you can count on me. Brody doesn't deserve you. You're so great. Please put me in more episodes. Please."

But too bad, this scene was just too boring, Lo. You're on thin ice.

Besides, the episode's coming to a close and there are some important farewells up ahead.

First, Heidi watches on as Spencer moves out.

Dear god, Heidi. What's happened to your face? Just leave it alone aleady.

Good bye, Spencer. And good luck.

I've heard it can be rough out there for rich douchebags living off their parents' money.

And it's time for Whitney's last day.

As sad as I am to see her go, I know this isn't the last we'll see of her.

And I know this because right after this episode ended, a new one started right up.

I'll have to cover that one later. The red wine's kicking in and I'm getting drowzy.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Weekend Wrap Up or I Think I'm Sweating Pinot Noir or I May Never Grow Up or What's Wrong With Me?

Remember how I bought that hamper a while back? The intention being that once I had a terribly neat and proper place to put my dirty clothes, I would then always stay on top of the insurmountable pile of laundry, and thus the apartment would be forever clean and therefore I would live in a place that reflected my level of responsibility and maturity and so at last I could consider myself a real Grown Up and leave behind behaviors I'd always meant to rid myself of since college.

Yes, I may have laid too much stake in the hamper as an indicator of the advancement of my adulthood...but just look at the sorry state of it as of this weekend.

Good bye, bright future! I mean, there are clothes near it when they could just be in it, but noooo that would take too much effort. And the top of the hamper isn't even on correctly. Good grief, I give up. (5 points if you noticed perfect Midge the Cat.)

Another indication of my pathetic ability to grow up was the drunken behavior of me and my friends when we took a train to Santa Barbara on Saturday to go wine tasting. I'm pretty sure that when Grown Ups go wine tasting, someone actually makes it home with the bottles purchased along the way, rather than drinking them all while lingering around outside the front entrance to the tasting rooms. And I'm also pretty sure that when Grown Ups go wine tasting they never hear the phrases "Before we move on to our next winery, I've been told that one of you has a bottle of wine that hasn't been paid for" or "Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to behave or we'll have to let you off the train at the next stop." Ok, in fairness, I hadn't actually meant to leave the tasting room without paying for the bottle of chardonnay. I'd tried to hand over a debit card but none of the employees were paying attention to me and after a while I realized that everyone else was already outside, enjoying the sunshine and I didn't feel like standing inside any longer. If they didn't want to charge me, then who was I to argue. And in Devin's defense, the only reason he got in trouble on the train was because he was responding to the behavior of some lunatic woman who stood up at the back of our car and starting spewing crazy talk about Jesus and so the only logical recourse was for someone to stand in the aisle, holding his hands above his head like horns and doing a little dance while screaming "Shut the fuck up!" Perhaps he was further motivated by the entire bottle of sparkling rose he drank while I was passed out in the seat next to him, leaving him, unfortunately, quite bored.

Anyway, I have to say that yes the weekend was fantastic, and although I'm sorry to say that I have yet to act my age, I'm glad none of my friends are grown ups either.

Friday, March 28, 2008

In Memory of Conspiracy Theory Brian

Those of you who actually know me (lucky devils!) have seen that I live in an apartment building that can best be described as "whacky. " I don't have neighbors, but rather "a cast of lovable characters." And because of the building's set up - open hallways, all facing a big courtyard with a pool -it seems that you can't step outside without running into one of them. There's Terry, the old woman who stands at 4'10", wears a terry cloth tube top/shorts one piece year round, and sells her prescription pain killers to my friends. And Melanie who lives upstairs, a former child actor who takes our bottles and cans to the recycling center for us, and has a talkative parrot with no feathers.

In college, a friend of mine asked, "Why is everything in your life so weird?" I still don't know the answer to that, but I believe that my neighbors help me uphold that standard of weirdness.

And one of the best, one of the classic neighbors, Conspiracy Theory Brian, died last week. And so to say goodbye, here is a little story about him.

He lived alone, and was probably in his sixties? He could've been 50 for all I know. He was sick with kidney problems and just looked really unhealthy so it was hard to tell his age.

Some things about him:

He claims he was given the death penalty in Texas for smoking pot but used his charm and savvy to con his way out of it.

He said the CIA came to him for answers.

Several times a week, he would tape newspaper articles to our front door when the topics concerned big entertainment companies, particularly NBC. He was trying to warn Devin about the secret plots of Jeff Zucker and Ben Silverman.

He feared the Scientologists were out to get him. Now this, I believed. I'm pretty sure they're after all of us.

So one day a few months ago, he told Melanie, who lives in the apartment next door, "If you ever see the newspapers piling up outside my front door, you'll know something's wrong. You'll know they've come for me."

And of course, in the next few days, one newspaper after the next collects at his doorstep, causing Melanie to panic. She pounds on his front door, nobody answers. So she calls the fire department. They show up, and break into his apartment...and he's just sitting there, watching TV. Perfectly fine (you know, as fine as he could be). He apparently just felt like keeping to himself for a while.

Now, few people had ever been inside his apartment. And when the fire fighters broke in, they were, I'd imagine, pretty horrified. Reportedly, his place was unfit for human life. Filthy. Full of bugs. Decades worth of newspapers stacked to the ceiling. He'd rigged a booby trap at his front door- needles swung down to prick the intruders, thus capturing their DNA for him to inspect later and make a positive identification.

The owners of the building were called in, and they were furious at the sight of the place. They told him he had 4 days to get it in proper condition or he'd be kicked out. And this, in actuality, would probably mean he'd end up on the streets. There was no way he could handle apartment hunting, no way he could afford anything but the rent-controlled place he'd been in for 30 years. And he had no family or anyone to help him out.

But he did have his neighbors! And we all cared. Our friend a few doors over called in a cleaning crew to scrub down the place. Of course, when they showed up and saw the state of it, they refused to take the job for their original quote. They'd need hundreds more.

Fortunately, and quite miraculously, Conspiracy Theory Brian was able to come up with the rest of the money needed to pay the cleaners. But he didn't pay by cash or check. No, a man like him could only find that money from the most unlikely source...

A Gold Coin. Conjured up from the depths of his apartment. And then pawned for like $800.

Ah, we'll miss ya.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The only thing that could make Paris any worse...

The new season of The Hills premiered Monday night with an episode that takes Lauren to Paris, Heidi to Colorado, and, mercifully, Audrina out of the picture.

And if you enjoyed my irrational obsession with ScottBaio's reality show, boy are you in for a treat now that The Hills is back on TV. I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't love or hate Lauren. I've never been so passionately indifferent about anyone before. I just. Can't. Stop. Watching.

But perhaps you had something to do Monday night, so let me give you a little recap:

Lauren and Whitney have been sent to Paris by Teen Vogue to cover some debutante ball that Americans obviously care about.

They arrive in Paris, where a private driver awaits them.

"YAY!" says Lauren. Now what are we supposed to do?

Oh! Just look in front of you, for you've been provided an itinerary, neatly stored in a little leather folder.

You know, I thought you had to be an international spy to have the experience of your personal driver giving you a typed itinerary, but apparently you just need to be an intern at a teen magazine. Boy am I in the wrong line of work! James, where's my itinerary? When will I receive my new assignments? Have you heard from HQ? Drive me to the supper club.

Uh, where was I? Oh, right, my boring life where I blog about TV shows.

So at the end of last season, Heidi decided to take a break from her fake job and her skeevy fiance to go hang out with her parents in her home town Crested Butte (MAN that name is hilarious), Colorado. Now we join Heidi and her mom, as they duck into a lodge following a day of skiing that has left them completely uncovered in snow and their cheeks very un-rosy.

The ladies strike up a spontaneous conversation as authentic as the scenery out that window between them. "Mom, I don't know what to do about Spencer," says Heidi.

"Why don't you tell me what you're thinking, dear. And please explain it to me as if I weren't your mother and didn't already know all of the details. In fact, pretend I'm like a...uh..viewer...who just watched you from afar...and had maybe not really heard about you and Spencer in a few months...and just needs a little refresher."

Ok, back to Paris. Apparently the girls have disregarded their fancy itineraries, and decided to pick up their ball gowns before picking up shoes for some of the debutantes, when in fact they are supposed to do those things in the opposite order.

But when they get to the shoe's closed!

Girls, girls girls. Haven't you ever heard the expression, "Don't get your ball gowns before picking up the debutantes' shoes"? Oh well, serves you right for being so unappreciative of your kickass itineraries.

In Hollywood, Spencer is so depressed, he's just hanging around at home. Yeah, I mean, I know he doesn't have a job to go to or anything, so he doesn't have much choice but to sit at home...but it's clear he's upset. Good thing his sister Stefanie decides to come over to cheer him up!

Based on previous episodes, I'd concluded that Stef was the worst person in the world. But after this episode, I've decided she is the BEST. Because when Spencer tries to unload all of his lame shit on her, homegirl is mean. Every time he opens his stupid mouth about Heidi she's like "Mmmm, no." Until she finally advises, "I guess you can just write a list of everything you've done and then do the opposite."

Look at his face!

Ah ha ha. Tool.

Anyway, there's only one thing Spencer can do! He must go to Colorado and reclaim his bride!

So some time later he rolls up to Heidi's unimpressive house. Honestly, did anyone else shit a brick when the show visited Heidi's childhood home for the first time? I wanted a palace! I wanted extravagance! I wanted some kind of house that would justify Heidi's grossly inflated sense of self.

Well whatever. Back in Paris...oh, wait, I just have to show you a title card from this episode and what it says about the intelligence of The Hills target audience.

Anyway, the girls are hard at work. That is, until Lauren gets a super important call. Oh hey! It's Audrina. God bless it, she's still alive.

"Eh meh gaahd, heh, it's Audrehneh." She breathes into the phone.

"What's up?" asks Lauren, completely concerned, but also, deep down, excited for some other crisis to befall her.

"I was ouuuuut. Aaaand, I saw Brodeh and heh was wih this girrrrl and heh was telling people tha she was his girlfriend."

So Lauren's feathers get all ruffled, as usual, because why oh why can't she ever find a trustworthy boy. Yaddi yadda. I was over this problem of her's last season. Next issue, please!

But that very night, she meets her newest douche, Mattias.

Yeah, I know. That name. Priceless. And he's apparently some kind of musician.

So he pretty much just leers at her all night like that. And she keeps raising her eyebrows and giving him cheeky glances.

I guess when your hot Parisian love interest has already been hand picked by the MTV machine, you don't have to put much effort into flirtation. And btw, Lauren, red lipstick's not your thing. And you look tired.

On another evening, or maybe the same one, it's never clear, Mattias sends Lauren an email inviting them to some kind of dressy club. "Did you pack going out dresses?" asks Lauren to Whitney.
"Yeah, but did you?"
"My dresses are like pencil skirts."

How is this even a conversation? Anyway, Lauren has a brilliant plan to sew her designer ball gown into a cute cocktail dress.

What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Spencer is attending an uncomfortable dinner with Heidi's parents.

You know what? Fuck this. I am so bored with stupid Heidi and her saaaaahga. I can't even discuss it any more. Let me wrap it up by saying that after like 5 more heart-to-heart conversations, Spencer leaves and Heidi stays in Colorado and nothing's resolved. I'm telling you blondie, you better get interesting soon...

Ok, back to the A Story. After a long night of bizarre French club music and forced romance, Whitney, Lauren, and Lauren's Ball Gown make it back to the hotel safely.

BUT THEN when the girls get dressed to go to the ball, Lauren discovers a mysterious stain!

I know what you're thinking, she brushed up against Mattias and his nast rubbed off on her. But the culprit was actually an unattended curling iron left too close to the delicate fabric.

"But I can't go the ball without a gown!" she laments.

Fortunately, Whitney jumps into action. "Everythingk will be ok." She puts a call into the gown's designer, who agrees to hand over another freebie. Wow, that worked out nicely, didn't it?


And so the girls are off to the ball. Where everything runs pretty smoothly. And before the night is through, Lauren's Parisian Prince shows up to whisk her away from the ball on his Vespa.

Sigh. Seriously?

Lauren gathers up her gown, eager to ruin it, and hops on back. And off they ride into the night.

The title of the episode was "Paris Changes Everything."

What. What changed, Lauren? You were there a week. Brody's still not your boyfriend. You still never learn your lesson. Whitney's still your sorta friend.

Drama level of this episode: 2 out of 10.

Better step it up next week.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Time I Wanted To Become A Lawyer

Just under two years ago, I was going through a really pathetic existential crisis. It began while at was at work, and back then I worked for a film/tv production company. This was the job I'd always thought I wanted and I was now about 6 months into it, and starting to get restless (note: my attention span = 1 hour, max). On this one particular day, I was putting together a script for a very important person, and I was trying to make it look as perfect as possible. I checked to make sure no pages were missing. I checked to make sure that no page had a smudge or had come out of the copier with crooked lines. I double, triple, obsessively checked that I'd typed the right address on the label attached, carefully, evenly, to the outgoing package. I wanted to believe I was doing this to appease the higher-ups at the company, but really, I myself was beginning to really really care about this. I recognized that I was tense, and my palms were sweaty. I was freaking out over making sure that this script arrived flawless at the doorstep of this very important person because obviously the whole world would end if the ink printed too lightly in one section of one page.

Suddenly, it hit me like an elephant on roller skates: It just doesn't matter! (Yes, like that scene in Meatballs.) It just doesn't matter! It just doesn't matter! Maybe it all mattered to my job, but it didn't matter to the world. A bunch of scattered images flashed through my head accompanied by honking car horns and train whistles and church bells. Starving children. War torn nations. Grieving families. And so who cares about what I'm doing? And why is this my job? And can anyone have a job that matters, really, to the world? Unless you are like working for the Peace Corps or something. All you're doing is just contributing to a pointless cycle of making money to spend it...Yaddi yaddi yadda.

It was like one of those moments when you feel as though you're being sucked backwards through the universe.

"Holy shit," I said to myself. And then the phone rang, and I remembered that I still had to carry on with the day.

Unfortunately for an acquaintance of mine, he was scheduled to have networking/schmoozing drinks with me that evening. The poor soul had to sit there, eyes glazed over, idly sipping his black & tan while I ranted on like a lunatic. "WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!" "DON'T YOU THINK YOUR JOB IS STUPID?!"

I'm used to having these moments of intensity, followed but apathy, followed by "wait, what was I mad about yesterday?" and so I knew that if I just took a moment to look at the positive (i.e., Movies are glamourous. People think my job is cool, maybe.), this would all blow over.

And it did, sort of.

My mother came to visit a few weeks later. And over margaritas I unloaded all of my bullshit on her.

"Well, maybe you should be a lawyer," she suggested.
"Yeah, ok." I confirmed.

And that's pretty much about as in depth as that conversation was. I'm not exaggerating.

The next day at work I researched the LSATs and different law schools in the area. I was nervously excited as I researched, checking over my shoulder to see if anyone could see what I was doing. "Suckers! I'm planning my escape!" I thought to myself. By the end of that June day, I'd registered for the LSATs in September. This was approximately Hour 19 of my dream of being a lawyer.

That night, over dinner, I announced proudly to my mother, "I signed up to take the LSATs today."

She finished chewing her food, her face unimpressed. "Yeah?"

"Yeah! Cool huh? And so then I'll apply to schools this fall. I only have a few months to prepare, but I know I can do it."

"Oh. Ok." Was about her reaction. The tone of her voice was something that suggested "I wasn't totally serious last night, but ok whatever."

The next few weeks, I was high on my new, terribly important life plan. I couldn't focus at work because I was too interested in my next step.

But whenever I told anyone I was applying to law school, I was met with a certain level of incredulity. "Oh. Yeah? Really?" and then a halfway disgusted, "Why?"

To be honest, I wasn't sure why. My reasoning was weakly based on the notion of "I want to change the world!"

But also on "I want someone to pay me lots of money"

and "When I tell people I'm a lawyer, they will be duly impressed"

and, mostly, "I feel like going back to school because it's better than working and probably I've grossly underestimated how difficult law school will be and I may have watched Legally Blonde too many times in the past year."

And then the people who really knew me would say, "I thought you wanted to be a writer" or "Aren't you more creative minded?" and "Are you sure about this?"

But I didn't pay too much attention to them. After all, I am, if nothing else, a bad decision-maker. And also, now I'd told too many people that I was going so I had to.

So I studied for the LSATs. And took practice tests. And by the time September 30th rolled around, I was pretty sure I was going to do poorly, but there was nothing I could do about it.

I took the test. It was lame. I totally mis-timed a whole section. I left the test with a general feeling of, "oh well," and I got in my car and drove home.

Only, before I made it there, my car died on the freeway. And then I got hit by a car going 70 mph, and my little car spun around so that I was facing 4 lanes of oncoming traffic, with cars swerving to avoid me at the last second. I hate being serious so I'll just stop my explanation there, but I will tell you that I pretty much thought I was going to die. By the way, what goes through your head when you think you're about to die is this: "Welp. That's it then."

By the time I was out of the hospital- I was pretty much unharmed -I had concluded that I didn't care about law school. In fact, I was pretty resentful that I could have just spent my last day on earth sitting in a stuffy classroom, taking a big test. Also, my last meal would've been jalapeno poppers from Jack in the Box. I was equally disturbed by both notions.

As the days and months went on after that, I came to a few conclusions, which all rolled up into a big philosophical ball that I now chase after every day.

This may sound totally standard, but basically I decided that work is just work, no matter how great or shitty the job is. And life is life, and it's the only one I have, so I should probably try to find work that interferes with life as little as possible.

This whole experience freed me from the burden of having a dream job. If I had a choice, I'd be independently wealthy and just never work a day in my life. How's that for work ethic?

And that's the story of The Time I Wanted To Become A Lawyer and How I Decided To Be A Slacker Instead.

the end.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

California is good to the homeless

I feel really bad for the homeless. I really do and I always have. When I was little, we had this graduation from 6th grade and we all had to say where we thought we'd be in 20 years. I wrote that I would win a lifetime achievement award in music (deluded much?) and end homelessness in New York state (awwww). Most of the time, when someone asks me for spare change, I dig something up for them --even as much as $2, which is generous when you consider I could buy a whole bottle of Charles Shaw (oh, how I love thee) with that cash. I realize that on any given day, the only thing separating me from a homeless person is a checking account containing about $86.

And I understand when people say they are just going to use that money to buy drugs or booze. I know this from personal experience because once I offered a beggar my french fries and he turned them down. And another time I bought this woman a piece of pizza and she totally gave a flying fuck about it. So now I know that actually I waste even more money buying food than just giving them cash for drugs and booze. And you know what? I'm fine with that. What do I care? None of my business. They got themselves into this mess and now things suck for them and that's too bad. I hope they've learned their lesson. And so if they need a little money here and there, I'll help when I can. I'd prefer to just give them a hand than have them stealing or whoring themselves out for it.

Yet despite my good intentions and sympathy, I'm finding it harder and harder to give a shit. Sometimes they don't say thank you, and sometimes they yell scary things about the apocalypse at me and call me a sinner. And sometimes they leave their shopping carts on the street in front of my apartment building, making my neighborhood look even worse than it already did. These are all really general statements, but I also have 3 specific encounters with homeless individuals that really pushed my buttons. Here they are, in chronological order:

1. My first apartment in L.A. was in West Hollywood. I, naturally, was in the dodgy end of the community, and occasionally would hear shouting matches in Russian coming from the streets in the wee hours of the morning, or would encounter half-dressed, wigs falling off, tranny hookers making their way home as I embarked on a jog before work. But it wasn't particularly a dangerous place, and so I never felt too weird about walking to the 7-11 a few blocks away at night. So one night I went for a walk to buy some wine. On my way back, I saw a man walking toward me, muttering all kinds of crazy to himself. I tensed up and kept walking. Then he stopped, stood really close to me, and I just froze in place. "It's all your fault!!" he screamed in my face, and then moved his arm in toward my stomach in a fast, thrusting motion that one would use to, oh, stab someone. In that split second I held my breath and thought "this is what stabbing feels like," but then looked down and saw he was unarmed. He had just mine stabbed me. That asshole! So I shrieked and took off in the opposite direction. He chased me for a few steps, and then when I looked back, he had stopped and was walking the other way. I ran the rest of the way home and poured myself a big ol' drink.

2. Two summers ago, I was studying for the LSATs (Why? Well, that's a whole different clusterfuck I'll get into some other time. Maybe tomorrow.) I found that my favorite place to do this was in the library downtown. It was really big, like 5 floors, and not too crowded and had nice big windows to sit by. Also, downtown intrigues me because I never go there and it feels like a whole different world and I like exploring. So I'd always be in good spirits while studying in the library. Feeling busy and productive and, well, studious. This one day I found a good little space in some remote corner of the 4th floor, sat at a study carrel, and began taking a practice test. I get halfway through the analytic reasoning section, when I hear this weird noise coming from across the room. A weird noise and the occasional Ha! Ha! I peer up over the wall of the carrel and don't immediately see anything. Oh well, I have no time for this. Eleven minutes to go on this section. But the noise is distracting. Thap thap thap thap thap. HA! HA! Thap thap thap thap. I stand up this time and look around. Then I spotted him. The homeless man masturbating happily in between two book shelves. I fought off intense nausea and the feeling I might faint, gathered my stuff and ran for the kids section, where it might be loud, but I'll bet the library staff keeps an eye out for such creepy men.

3. A couple months ago, I stopped at Starbucks on my way to work. There are usually roughly 4 homeless people lingering around the front entrance. [Look, I don't live on skid row or anything. L.A. just has lots and lots of homeless people. Approximately 400 per square mile, I'd guess.] After I got my mocha I exited and was walking through the outdoor seating area when a man stepped right in my path, leans his dirty face toward me and asks "can i kiss you?" "NO!" flew out of my mouth, at the top of my lungs, before I could even think about how thoroughly disgusted I was. I stepped to the side and walked away. "GOD!" I screamed back at him for good measure.

So I'm conflicted. I may start calling them bums instead of homeless. I know there are always some bad apples, so I shouldn't start being so negative. And I'd be kidding myself if I said I'm going to stop giving out money. I'll never actually stop caring...

But, WTF?! You know?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Garbage Pail Kid

Last night I was a human trash can. When I told friend Anne this, she said, "You mean like you ate a lot?" Ordinarily that would make sense, but that's not what I meant regarding last night.

No, I was literally a human trash can. I worked at a catering event and my job was to carry around a tray so that people could put their trash on it. I smiled and actually said "you're welcome" to the 4 people who thanked me. Actually, even worse, I thanked people when they picked something off of their cocktail table for me and then put it on the tray. I said thank you. THANK YOU for the gnawed stems of your chocolate dipped strawberries. THANK YOU for your little plate covered in sauce with a balled up napkin stuck to it. I fought the urge to curtsey sarcastically. I mentally made people drop dead. I don't know if you've ever done this (and I hope that you have so I don't feel like a psychopath), but I do this thing where I glare in someone's direction and picture invisible laser beams shooting from my eyes and making them fall to the ground and have seizures. And to the party planner who yelled at me for carrying a tray of food off of the buffet table and back to the kitchen, even though I was just doing what my boss told me to do, I want you to know that mentally I set your hair on fire.

About 5 minutes into the event, and before I'd been assigned to the human trash can task, I'd already text messaged Anne "I can't do this anymore." And I really can't. It's exhausting and holding trays all night makes my shoulders and wrists hurt. And it's like embarrassing. Look, I don't know how I got to be this way, but I'm really prideful. (Although anyone who came to my last birthday dinner and watched me drunkenly mash my hands into the ice cream cake would probably question such a statement.)

Also, it' really hard to work with some of the other servers. I mean, I'm sure that they are just like me and are nice and fun in most circumstances, but showing up at these events just sucks the life out of them and turns them into assholes. Ok, I'm actually only talking about one girl in particular here because everyone else is pleasant most of the time, and I've even started to like the bosses (Stockholm syndrome?), but this one girl...jeesh. High strung. Snippy. Weird.

Actual conversation overheard with her and another server.

Her: So are you an actor too like everyone else.
Him: Yep. I am. Are you?
Her: No.
Him: Wow, yeah it seems like almost everyone is at this gig.
Her: I'm actually doing something really cool, maybe you should ask me about it.

Who says that to someone they just met?

Also, we are hired to work a minimum of 5 hours. This means we are paid for 5 hours, even if we only work for 2. It also means, like last night, that they try to get you to work for as long as possible to fill out the 5 hours and get their money's worth. This means standing around trying to load things into a truck until 12:30 am, when I'm freezing and my feet hurt, and it's obvious that I don't have the arm strength required to lift all that crap and so I'm pretty much useless so they should just let me go home.

But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. And this girl's gotta stop being broke. So I press on.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Vegas Is For Losers (Says my mom)

Well, the verdict is in. I'm an old lady. In case my affinity for whisky sours, black licorice, and staying in on weekends hadn't already made my senior citizen status evident to you all, I can now support my case by telling you about my weekend in Vegas. Basically, it involved a lot of conservative betting on the penny slot machines, two hours playing bingo, dressing up about as sexy as I dress for work, being in bed before 2am, and tsk-tsking at the sight of drunk, slutty girls.

I want to lie to myself and say that the reason for my acting three times my age was because I was on this trip with my parents. But there were plenty of opportunities for me to catch up to the groups of shouting, staggering drunk people wearing funny hats and sipping from tropical drinks in 4 foot long glasses, and I turned them all down. I have been to Vegas before sans parents and I was just as depressing that time too.

But I had plenty of fun in my old lady way. I actually won $100 playing the big-spender quarter slots. That was exciting! Of course, that money has since been spent on plenty of other things (more slots), but that was the first time I'd ever won any considerable sum.

The fam, the boyfriend, and I stayed at the Gold Coast. Heard of it? I hadn't either. It's across the street from the Palms and next to the Rio. It's affordable/full of old people. We spend the weekend calling it the Gold Post or the Goal Post or the Old Post or the Cold Toast. My favorite thing about it was the 24/7 special on Coronas in the casino- just $2 a bottle!

On Saturday we played bingo from 1pm to 4pm. My aunt suggested it and at first I was really excited about it because I find it fun to pass my time in ironic ways. At 12:55, I strolled into the enormous bingo hall at the Gold Coast. The room was filled with old white-haired ladies. All had apparently come alone. And most were smoking long cigarettes. "HaHA" I chuckled to myself. "They don't even know what's about to hit em! There's a new player in town." I'm young(ish) and (marginally) fit! And (probably) I can react faster when the numbers are called out.

My confidence immediately plummeted as I approached the window to buy my cards. 1 pack of blue for $4. Or a pack of red for $8. And then the special black box at game #8 was $1 per extra card. And the power-ball number was $1 and your card had to be verified. It doesn't take much to overwhelm me, and this was like melting my face. My sister asked the couple in line in front of us for an explanation. They gave one. I still didn't get it. So then I asked the woman at the counter and, with saintly patience, she again explained everything. I still didn't get it, but now I had what looked like a big pad of paper. On each sheet was 6 little squares of numbers. And then I had to buy one of those bingo daubers (the ink things) out of the vending machines in the back of the hall (or, about 3 miles away). As I was picking out my dauber color and with no warning, the first game started. We all rushed to our seats and tried to catch up. And for like the next three games I kept asking, "Wait, what?" and craning my neck around to see what card the old ladies were playing on.

Here's the thing: much like poker, with bingo there are all sorts of special terms and rules and no one tells you what they are. There are phrases like "bingo the hard way" (sounds sexy, no?) which means getting bingo without the free space. NO FREE SPACE! Why don't you just rip the heart right out of my chest? And when they switch to a new game, sometimes you have to change cards and sometimes you stay on the same one and go for double bingo. But they barely tell you which way they're going. They announcer mumbles it at the same time that papers are shuffling around and drowning it all out, while simultaneously sending telepathic instructions to the old ladies so that they're always on top of it.

The experts weed out the novices by surveying the room to see who's sweating and panicked and laughing at themselves and who's cooly sipping a diet coke while manning 240 bingo cards at once.

Also, the experts are apparently the only people that win. The same people just won repeatedly. No one in my fam won. And only once did I see a non-aged person win, and he didn't even bat an eyelash. No smiles. No high-fives. This was like $500 he just raked in and he didn't even care. Wasted on a lousy winner.

And $500 was like the second highest prize they gave out. Most of the time the jack pot was a measly $50...which was often split between three winners. There was one game for $46,000. You had to cover your whole card after 4 numbers were called, or something equally impossible. Nobody won that, thank god. I may have run across the room in a jealous rage and punched the winner right in her face.

And so after 2 hours of bingo, and after the many $2 coronas, we went out for over-priced, not-as-good-as-L.A. (but I'm a snob) sushi. Then, we happened upon this out door tent with a live band and a dozen guys, apparently a bachelor party?, wearing customized hockey jerseys with names across the back like "Johnny Wad," "Ass-assin," "McLovin" (eye roll), and my personal favorite, "Captain Stabby." After about a half hour of watching the worst dance moves I've ever seen in my life coming out of the audience, the 3 worst people in the world stumbled in. The 3 worst people were: 1. Some guy with gelled hair, intentional stubble, and an Ed Hardy blazer over a pink shirt. 2. His brunette girlfriend in clear plastic platform shoes, a black dress about as long as a sports bra, and some serious hair extensions. 3. His blond girlfriend, same deal, but shorter. They all had apparently just snorted their weight in coke, which sounds drastic, but this was probably only about 67 pounds for each of the girlfriends. After making out individually with the guy, the two girls then made out with each other, and then the three of them made out together in one big mouth mess. Now, had I seen this spectacle under most circumstances, I would have just watched on with an odd curiosity and a tempered annoyance. But watching this while in the presence of my parents pretty much made me want to throw up and then die.

I suppose at least they were having the sort of Vegas experience that the "What Happens In Vegas" ad people would like us to think we should all be having. But they didn't get to have scrambled eggs, cheese enchiladas, and lo-mein for breakfast at the Gold Coast all-you can eat brunch buffet. Twice.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.

Yesterday afternoon, I took a late, slightly drawn out lunch break to shop at Marshalls for a few new things to wear for my trip this weekend. By the time I was returning to the street where I work, I was all red faced and sweaty from the heat (like 85!) and also kinda, sorta really late. I parked my car on the street because our parking lot is really sketchy and I suspect that ne'er-do-wells lurk under the cars, holding knives in their teeth like Captain Hook's pirates.

So I'm half-running back to the office, when I see this kid walking in the middle of the street up ahead. I slow down, for some reason. And then he starts to walk toward me. He must be like 6 and he's carrying this little wooden box. Oh dear. He's going to try to sell me something. Oh I can't say no! (Also I'm sort of hoping he's peddling bags of peanut m&ms because those would hit the spot right about now.)

"Would you like to buy an Easter card for charity?" he mumbles shyly. Well isn't he just precious. And when is Easter, btw? I have no idea. Maybe I should buy a card. "It's one dollar," he says.

"Uh. Sure." And I beging rummaging in my purse for a dollar bill. Seeing as I have cash on me about .2% percent of the time, I wasn't surprised when I couldn't find a single freakin' bill in my wallet. But I had lots of change floating around in there and so I dug up four quarters. (And parting with quarters in these paying for laundry times is a grand gesture, let me tell you...)

By the time I had all of the quarters in my hand and looked back down at him, he was holding out the card for me. It was homemade. All white, with the face of a dog drawn on it with black marker and a little speech bubble coming out of its mouth saying "Happy Easter."


So part of me was like, "Cute! He's making his own cards and selling them. How productive and artistic."

And then, honestly, part of me wanted to revoke my offer and lecture him about making false claims about charities. But of course, I didn't. I'm not a jerk. I get that it's better to support his efforts. I bought his little card and we went our separate ways.

When I told a coworker about this encounter (because I feel the need to tell everybody everything that happens to me in order to share my wondrous life with the world), he suggested that perhaps the kid was only earning 10 cents on that dollar and forced to give the rest to some drug lord. So, apparently, the reality of the situation is some combination of these three things:

1. I am tragically naive.
2. The world is worse off than I'd originally suspected.
3. My coworker grew up on The Wrong Side Of The Tracks.

And this whole experience got me thinking about the way we as adults react to kids selling things. I can recall my sister and I, sitting at the end of our driveway when we were like 8 and 6, selling snow cones made from our Snoopy snow cone maker. And nobody bought them. Or when we painted rocks that we'd collected from Myrtle Beach and tried to sell them --considering them works of art on imported stone-- and nobody bought them. And then as I got older and had the ability to grow bitter, I'd walk from door to door selling candy to raise money for marching band, and one neighbor after the next would say no and I'd wonder why they couldn't find it in their hearts to buy some stupid candy just to save me from having to walk away from their house feeling bad about myself. Seriously, you give me one lousy dollar and you get to enjoy a king size pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. That's 4 cups. You can eat them all now, or eat them later. You can put half of them in your freezer. You can give them to your grandkids for snack time and then they will love you even more. Just buy my fucking candy you assholes!

In fact, the only time I didn't have a hard time in sales was when I was a girl scout. Everyone wanted to buy cookies. They'd order themselves 20 boxes. "I freeze them so I can eat them year round," they'd say. Hoarding food like bears preparing for hibernation. And so they throw their money at the girl scouts. Devoted customers year after year even though the price per box consistently increases and even though they keep changing the names of things and even though they sometimes get rid of the good cookies and replace them with weird lowfat ones that are always lemon flavored. Who the fuck craves lemon? Have you ever heard a woman say, "God, I have my period this week. I seriously need some lemon heads." No. You haven't. Which is why they need to make more chocolate flavored cookies. But they don't care what YOU want.

You know who does care? The other kids who are selling m&ms and kit kats and crunch bars. But your dollars are too good for them. You're saving up for the girl scout cookie feast.

Anyway, my point is: Give a kid a fucking break and buy something once in a while. It's good for their work ethic. Maybe if more people had bought stuff from me when I was a kid (and maybe if I drank less these days) I wouldn't have lost my desire to work hard.

Also, would anyone like an Easter card? I've got to give this thing to someone to get my money's worth.

UPDATE: My sister Katie requested to see the card. Here it is. Not bad, eh? Better than my artwork.

Monday, March 10, 2008

"A Poorly Outlined and Disconnected Post If There Ever Was One" or "Hideous Portraits, Handsome Pups, and Impending Obesity" or "A Weekend Wrap Up"

There will be many pictures and few words.

Part I, pUpdates: I've promised to get you some pictures of Seamus. Here he is, sitting with us outside.

As you can see, he has a bum eye. We're working on it. In fact, there are a few kinks we're still trying to work out. He is a bit growly and bitey with strangers, which is nerve-wracking and embarrassing. I think he was hit while he was in the bad house before he was rescued, because he reacts very poorly when someone sneaks up on him or touches the top of his head without letting him sniff them out first.

Also, he chewed up one of my flip flops as well as my glasses.

Part II, Drawings
On Friday, I left work and headed for Timmy Nolan's to meet my sister and our friend Kes. When I walked into the place, I spotted them at a table by the front window, completely cracking up about something. "What's so funny?"

My sister shows me this:

A picture of her, drawn on a coaster, by one of the two men sitting in the corner booth. Apparently they'd been drawing monstrous sketches of people from across the bar, writing "This is you" at the top of the illustration, and then handing it to the unsuspecting patron, who'd laugh and act in good spirits while also doubting their appearance.

I looked over in the artists' direction and saw two men hunched over, with charcoal, and markers, and coasters scattered all over their table. Periodically they would glance up at their targets. I think my sister was one of their favorite subjects, for there came a second drawing.

And then in an attempt to seek vengence, she started to sketch caricatures of the two artists. But before she could finish her art project, they drew one of her drawing them.

I had my back to the artists, and so I thought perhaps I'd be safe. Then again, I was curious to see their rendering of me as an ugly human. I was sure the second they put pen to paper, they'd find it impossible to capture me as anything less than stunning. Maybe the sketch they handed over would look like Jessica Rabbit or one of those ridiculously proportioned anime porn chicks with huge boobs, and long eyelashes and a heart-shaped mouth.

Instead, there was this:

Sort of like that comic book character Cathy, no? When the guy handed it over I was like, is this ME? And he, because he was apparently mute or something, points aimlessly over toward the bar. "Someone over there?" I ask and start looking for a fat woman with terrible hair...I didn't see one. "Wait, so this IS me?" I ask him again, but by now he'd moved on and was looking down at his next work-in-progress.

Part III, A new entry in my food journal.

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

I could go down the entire list here, and you'd be impressed to find that it includes 3 different varieties of corn chips, but I wanted to focus on my two main concerns- chocolate frosted mini donuts and tater tots. Who eats this shit?! Who?! The last time I recall eating either of these items in such gargantuan quantities was in 8th grade when both were available daily in the cafeteria.

You see, we were hosting a bbq on Saturday and so went to the grocery store that morning to buy supplies. The donuts were an impulse purchase, spotted in the bakery aisle when I was seeking hamburger and hot dog buns. I walked over to them and then back to the cart, and then over to them, and then back to the cart. And then stood halfway between them, shifting weight from foot to foot until I decided that I will buy them, eat a few, and leave the rest out with the lunch spread so that everyone else would finish them off. Instead, I think I ate approximately 20 of them over the course of the weekend. I'm not kidding.

The tater tots were Devin's idea. While at the grocery store we wound up in the bulk frozen foods aisle some how. And in one swift, fluid motion he spotted them in the freezer, made the decision we must have them, grabbed them and put them in the cart. We didn't even stop walking. And so we have about 10 pounds of tots. I ate them on 7 different occasions this weekend.

And so I may have gained 5 pounds of tot and donut, but I begin this Monday with high hopes to deflate a bit before my trip to Vegas this weekend (although, that place is full of fat tourists so I'll blend right in).

This is going to be a busy week for me at work, so apologies in advance if I don't have many updates.


Friday, March 7, 2008

"The Time I Watched A Penis Get Pierced" or "My First Summer Internship"

From the time I started touring colleges during that summer between junior and senior years of high school, and all through my freshman year, I was told over and over how important it was that I get an internship during the summer breaks. I needed "real world" "hands on" experience. And I was told that I needed to apply early because everyone would compete for all the good positions. And I understood what they meant, I really did. I just didn't feel like applying until late, late April.

What I ended up with was a position in the marketing department of a local radio station. I did not have any interest working in radio nor in marketing, so clearly this internship was just perfect for me. Oh, and the station was one of those Top 40 formats. I learned this means they literally have 40 songs that they play. I spent the summer drowning in Eminem and "Lady Marmalade." But I'm getting way ahead of myself here.

The first few times I reported for duty I "shadowed" the marketing director. This meant sitting next to her while she typed emails and talked to her boyfriend on the phone. And while I liked my appointed mentor as a person, she was not such a super leader, or teacher, or delegator of responsibility. Often, I would sit in her office for hours while she went to meetings or went to lunch or forgot I was there and took a half day. During these times, I would stare at this one No Doubt poster hanging in there and peruse the stacks of throwaway crappy CDs --she said I could take any I wanted. I wanted zero of them. Oh, and remember that Peanut Butter Jelly Time song with the dancing banana? Apparently that was an actual song made by two rapper kids that are like Kris Kross for the new millennium.

Anyway, my supervisor kept assuring me that things would pick up once the summer really started and then I would go on location.

So June hit and I got to be an official member of the Street Crew. This meant that I was outfitted in a t-shirt with the station's hideous logo (available in XXL only and dug out of the storage closet) and sat in the back of a van with the other interns, while one of the part-time employees drove us to various awesome, exciting locations, where I would stand in the smothering humidity and summer heat, handing out bumper stickers to people who could give a flying fuck.

Oh, and in case you didn't know, when you listen to the radio and you hear a DJ say he's live on location, this doesn't mean that somewhere there is a set up with turn tables and giant speakers. It means that there is a foldy table with a boombox playing Top 40 hits at a reasonable volume, and that the DJ shows up for 15 minutes, just long enough to call in from his cellphone and say "Hey everyone, we're hanging out at the grand opening of the new Cingular Wireless store..."

Some of my on-location moments:

- Inside a custom car detailing store, sitting in the corner, being glared at by various "tough guys" and "gangstas."

- By the check out aisles of P&C supermarket on a Tuesday afternoon, where we were surprised to find very few members of our target audience of 14 year old girls.

- Outside of a cell phone store, where we competed for attention with another table --girl scouts, selling not only their signature cookies, but also HOT DOGS.

- Sitting by the side of the road --we'd forgotten the foldy table that day-- handing out bumper stickers at the entrance to Balloon Fest.

- At the finish line of a 10k charity race, attempting to get the attention of any runners who may want to head for the free bumper sticker table instead of the free water and protein bar table.

-In the dairy aisle of a small family grocery store. Actual line from the DJ during his call in "Hey come check us out, we're right by the butter."

- A donut eating contest, during which one contestant vomited all over the floor.

And then there was the time we went to the grand opening of a piercing place/smoke shop. All day long I manned the stupid foldy table, right between the bong display and Tool t-shirts, congratulating myself on outgrowing the alternative phase in 10th grade. Eventually the DJ for the day strolled in. This guy was a total douche, but sort of in a lovable way. He was like 40 but acted 20 and had a serious case of big-fish-in-small-pond complex.

He'd never really communicated with me the whole summer, so I was intrigued when he told me he needed me to come help him with something. So he leads me to the back of the store, where a man is sitting in a chair with his pants around his ankles, and a woman I presume to be his girlfriend is leaning against the wall. In the corner, a store employee has his back to me. The DJ says, "I need you to watch this for me. I can't look and I have to give a prize to most outrageous piercing." I look at the man in the chair, then at his penis, then at his girlfriend who narrows her eyes at me, and then at the employee at the table just as he turns around, holding the biggest fucking needle I've ever seen in my life.

"K thanks," says the DJ as he darts off.

So I stood there, my face frozen in a pained expression, watching this astonishingly calm man. "Do you mind that I'm here watching you?" I ask him.

"I'm not paying much attention to anything else right now" he says, gesturing towards his penis, giant fucking needle half-way through. Ah, point taken.

About 4 minutes later, they let me go home.

Oh, and btw, there was no Most Outrageous Piercing contest.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

There appears to be something living in my car and it keeps opening the hatchback door.

I first noticed this phenomenon a few months ago. I was driving to Santa Monica to meet my friend Shannon for lunch (and many beers). Shortly after I got onto the 405, I began hearing a noise coming from the back of my car. It sounded like someone was shaking a plastic grocery bag. I put up my windows and turned off the radio. Scratch scratch. Rustle rustle. What the fuck?

I'm a nervous driver under the best of circumstances, and a have-a-fucking-heart-attack driver while on the freeway, so I did not appreciate this extra source of panic in the form of a mysterious, small creature. But I needed to stay focused on the road, so I stopped paying attention to it, turned my radio back up, and hoped it was not a car gremlin that eats brains.

And then, there was a beeeeeep. And a dash board light. Does this make anyone else immediately freak out even if it's just alerting you that you're low on gas? Anyway, I look down and see that it's telling me that one of my doors is open. Knowing that I hadn't opened my door or the passenger door since I got in the car, I realized the light must be indicating that the hatchback door was open. But how? Why? The creature!

I had 1.5 miles until the next exit, where I could get off and address this matter. I drove that stretch while clenching every muscle in my body --an action I did not do consciously, but which I must have thought would hold the door closed so I didn't spill the contents of my trunk across 4 lanes of traffic.

I exited the freeway and drove a little ways into Brentwood before pulling onto a side street to inspect my car. Before opening the hatchback door, I wondered if I should arm myself in case of attack. What I needed was I big frying pan. What I had was the car manual sitting in my glove compartment.

Let me be clear on this for a second: I'm not actually insane. I didn't really think I would find a gremlin, or a troll, or a gnome, or a tiny unicorn in the trunk of my car. (Although, how much would THAT rule?) I was expecting maybe a wayward bird. Or giant wasp. Or a rat. I saw this episode of Pimp My Ride ages ago where the west coast customs guys found a rat and like 6 pounds of rat poop under the car seats of this old Nissan Stanza.

Yeah so there was nothing in the trunk. At least, nothing that I could find. So I gave up, closed the door, and made my way back onto the 405.

I drove passed 2 more exits on the freeway when there was that beeeep again. The "open door" alert. No fucking way! So I pulled off at the next exit, near Westwood. Again, no creature. Then I took a weird wrong turn and ended up at the VA hospital, which has an eternal span of parking lot, apparently, for I got very lost and couldn't seem to find my way back to the freeway. Over time, however, I stumbled onto a street I recognized and was able to make my way to lunch only like 45 minutes late.

After this day, there was no similar incident for about a week. But then I was driving to Target one afternoon and I heard a rustling. Then, like magic, my hatchback door unlocked. Since then, I've been on high alert. There have been many mornings when I'm driving to work and hear the little monster shuffling around in the back. I can only assume, since I haven't been attacked, that this creature comes in peace. Also, that it is invisible. And also, that it subsists on the discarded taco bell receipts and gum wrappers it finds under my seats.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

And so they named him Seamus

The dog's name is Seamus. Pronounced Shay-mus, of course. I've had to correct a few people so far who think we've named the dog something that sounds like semen. Doesn't everyone read Gaelic?

He has a Seamus face. It suits him.

Oh, and that picture I had to go on? Inaccurate. Don't get me wrong, he's still devastatingly handsome, but he is about 3 times the size of the dog in that picture. He is like a grown up already. When I got home on Friday night, eager to meet him, I could hear Devin saying "Mommy's home!" as I approached the door. I expected to see a clumsy pup come bounding into the living room, perhaps slipping a bit on the hardwood floor. Instead, this tank rounds the corner in the hallway and nearly gives me a heart attack.

Why don't I have a new picture to show you? I tried. Believe me. I know this whole thing would be better with one. I spent the morning chasing Seamus around the apartment, but he's dark and kept going into shadowy spaces, and he just wouldn't sit still. I was late to work because of this endeavor. Do you see what I do for you people?

Devin is completely enamored with Seamus already. He is very attentive to his sleeping/eating/crapping needs. And he plays with him and talks to him and brings him everywhere. I wasn't present when Devin and Seamus first met, but I imagine the moment to be reminiscent of the scene in Raising Arizona where Nicolas Cage has just kidnapped the baby and he hands it over to Holly Hunter, who clutches it to her, and immediately begins sobbing uncontrollably, wailing, "I love him so mu-u-u-u-uch!" Yeah, it was like that.

And while the two of them have bonded, I'm still getting there. Seamus is undeniably a sweet little guy. And he really seems to like me a whole lot. The other morning he hung out with me in the bathroom while I did my hair and makeup. And yesterday when I got home, he was really excited to see me. Yes, it's safe to say he is winning me over. But I don't really know how to pet dogs. This sounds dumb, I know. See, I'm very used to cats. You just scoop them up and then rub the sides of their tiny little faces while you hold them. Or you pet the length of their sides while they stretch out and lie on the floor. But Seamus comes up and I just tentatively pet his side. And then he immediately turns and starts licking my hand. So I retract it and try to pat his head, thinking his tongue won't be able to reach me up there. Of course, that's not the case. Also, he smells like dog, and so then I end up smelling like dog. I'm just not exactly used to him.

Nor are the cats, who I think will take a very long time to warm to him. Sarge has been living under the bed for the past few days. This morning he ventured out, mistakenly thinking Seamus was out for a walk with Devin. Poor thing got quite a scare. And Midge the Cat just hates him. When he first walked into the apartment she gave him a good punch in the face. She's one tough old broad.

So a few growing pains, but lucky for Seamus, I am a serious animal lover. Also, he is really stinkin cute. Did I mention that?