Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Live Next Door To A Dirty Joke

Ah, North Hollywood. The place I call home.

It's nice enough. I like it. But that's the extent of my praise for this little hood o' mine. It's no paradise. It's no Bel-Air. It's no Malibu.

Yet there must be some brilliant real estate moguls out there with extensive reality-skewing skills because developers are buying up property all over North Hollywood, convinced that it's the next big thing.

Look, I really do hope it is as cool as they think it's going to be. But I'm doubtful.

So between now and a few years from now, when everyone realizes the new condos they built were a huge waste of money, I have to suffer, as my street has been turned into one giant construction site.

This began months ago, when three small houses adjacent to our courtyard were sold to real estate developers. The people who lived in them, whoever they were, must have been paid some good chunk of cash to go elsewhere.

And then the houses sat abandoned for months. With their residents gone, there was no one to feed Los Gatos Locos, the gang of feral cats that live in the front yards and under the cars of that section of the block. I worried they'd starve before they had the sense to move on to another area. But I clearly underestimated these cats, for they somehow managed to multiply and grow bigger and stronger.

Also, homeless people found their way inside of the empty houses, as evidenced by the row of shopping carts parked in the driveways like so many cars.

A few more months passed, and the abandoned houses were finally torn down. Slowly. For days at a time, heaps of wood and partially dismantled structures sat there, looking hideous. Then it rained for a while. It turns out that wet, old, rotting wood and insulation smell terrible.

By the time spring rolled around, the houses were totally removed from that lot. Somehow, in the midst of all this destruction, they'd even managed to displace Los Gatos Locos.

Ah, finally, just plain dirt. A smooth field of it, with a huge heap at one end.

I was sure to enjoy this reprieve from construction and all manner of dinosaur-like vehicles digging around just over the wall. I thought the Dirt period would be brief. And that in a matter of days, building would commence, and for months we'd have to listen to hammers and drills and saws buzzing around. All ending with a 5-story structure that would block the sunlight from our courtyard and kill all of the plants within its four walls.

Well, I was very wrong. Since the spring, nothing has happened. Nothing but dirt.

Los Gatos Locos returned. From the second floor of my building you can see them laying in the field of dirt. 10 or 15 gray blobs clustered together, lounging in the sun.

I haven't even seen any workers coming by. No men with shirts and ties, holding out blue prints in front of them and making arrangements. Indeed, no sign that there will ever be anything but dirt and cats in that lot.

That is, until 3 days ago, when I finally spotted a sign of life. A man standing on top of the heap of dirt--a heap about two stories high --wearing one of those day-glow orange construction vests. He worked alone. And he was, apparently, watering the dirt. Just waving the hose around, on a mission I don't understand.

The next morning, he was back on top of that heap. Watering away.

It was then that I realized perhaps all of this construction, this odd project that's taken place gradually over the course of a year, is not to build condos at all. But rather, to create room for some great tree about to grow from this dirt pile.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008


News from over here. Earthquake! A 5.8, which didn't feel as bad as I would've thought.

I was just sitting at my desk and then everything went wobbly. There was a collective "Uhhhh...guys?" from all of my coworkers, and then we stood up and looked at one another. No one knew what to do. I know this because we each asked, "What do we do?"

I started to crawl under my desk, but then decided I didn't feel like being under there. So I stood back up and thought Doorway? Outside?

After a few seconds, everyone from upstairs had come downstairs so there were 8 of us milling around like a herd of lost lambs.

By the time we decided that, yes, we should go stand outside, the whole quake was over. It probably lasted 15 seconds.

This is the second earthquake I've felt since I moved out here. The last was in October. The short period between these two indicates that California is mere weeks away from breaking free from the mainland and floating gracefully off to sea. I hope we end up being part of Hawaii. Or perhaps we can become our own nation. We won't pay taxes and we can prance around in grass skirts.

One last note on this matter before I get back to work. I went on MSNBC, curious to see what news types had to say about the earthquake. Off to the side of the article I spotted this little menu. It's the third item that gets me.

I mean, really. We all know they occur when the subterranean elves are displeased with their selection of tree roots.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I know, that title promises a lot more than this post is going to deliver.  

The latest show I'm covering for TVGasm is MTV's Buzzin, a show about that guy with the weird balls that Mischa Barton used to boink...and his friend, Shwayze.

Yeah, I don't know.  But my recap is up here.  

Friday, July 25, 2008

Let Them Eat Weird Cake

With our wedding location selected (but not actually paid for...yet), I'm left wondering what, exactly, I'm supposed to do now.  The wedding isn't for another 14 months, an unbearable length of time that I wouldn't have committed myself to if it wasn't for the fear of having to get married in the hot hot heat of the summer months.  No one likes a sweaty bride. 

So now I just have this motley messy to-do list.  And no item on the list needs to be checked off at any point soon.  

-Pick out flowers for me and my bridesmaid's bouquets.  
[Can be done morning of wedding.]

-Book a DJ.
[Can't be bothered right now.]

-Buy a dress.
[Done.  Sadly.  I think this is what I'm supposed to be fixated on for the next three months.]

-Make guest list.
[But I don't know who I will stop liking between now and then.]

And so instead of accomplishing anything meaningful, I just research everything I possibly can.  I watch TV shows and I peruse websites about weddings.  

But I don't look for ideas I want to borrow for my own wedding.  On the contrary, I seem to be taking a decidedly negative approach to this planning.  I only care to read about weddings gone wrong.  About evil mother-in-laws.  About brides who got too fat to fit into their gowns.  About receptions that cost $60k and are tacky as hell.  

I participate in several different bridal discussion boards.  But my favorite is "the bitching forum," where I just read about everything that's pissing brides off.  

It's much easier for me to look at pictures of centerpieces and bridesmaids dresses and color schemes and go "Blech!" than to try to make any actual decisions about what I like.   Besides, at least I've figured out what I don't like.  

Today, my research brought me to Cake Wrecks.   A website of horrible cakes.  Oh the delight!  

And so I present to you the best worst wedding cake I've ever seen.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Legally Blonde Finale

Ah. Another show all wrapped up. Catch my last recap on TVGasm here.

Up next, I cover MTV's new show Buzzin'.

The Human's a play on words. You'll see.

About a month ago I informed you all that my running group turned out to be some serious bullshit. They wanted me to pay out of my own pocket the money that I didn't raise through donations in order to meet my fundraising goal. At the time of that post, it would have meant paying them $1000.

Ha! As if!

After writing all of that, I sent a strongly worded email (we all know there's nothing scarier...) to the director of my team telling her about my predicament and asking her why I'd be required to shell out my own cash. It went sorta like this: "Hey, this sucks! I'm broke! What gives?"

I waited and waited for an email response. And then after several hours, she called me. Called! Ack! What ever happened to the wussy protection that email offers those of us who fear confrontation? How am I supposed to speak to her about this? I cannot be eloquent and intelligent-sounding when I'm upset.

But I forged ahead, certain that I could convince her to see things my way and she'd bend the rules just for lil' ol' me and let me slide through without paying her. Or maybe her voice would drop to a whisper and she'd say "'s okay we just made up that rule to see if we could get people to follow it. Some people actually pay, can you believe it? Suckers. But no, you're cool."

Unfortunately, things did not go as I'd hoped. And the conversation came to a close when she told me, "Well, I think that you've come so far you'll be able to raise the rest of the money."

To which I responded, "You don't understand, I'm out of people to ask for donations. I know no mo' people."

"You can get corporate sponsors or host a fundraising event."

Oh man did that sound awful.

"No...I just. I don't know."

"Okay well think about it and let me know. Bye."

And that was that. No "Thanks for raising all of that other money though!"

Just like that, I was off the team.

For those of you who donated, don't worry, your money went straight to the American Stroke Association and only a teency part of it went to the butts who ran my team. So I feel good that I still helped raise money for a good cause.

But after that quitting business, I felt like the world's biggest failure. Is there one thing, just one thing I can see through to the end?

In the next two weeks I didn't run at all. I was too resentful. Apparently it was running's fault.

Then I started to feel fat and lame so I started up again. But now I was set back a bit in my training and worried I'd never reach 13 miles by race day. And even if I did, I didn't want to show up at the race and see my old teammates and their stupid faces. I felt stuck.

Starbucks to the rescue! Last week I was putting milk in my coffee and noticed a stack of pamphlets next to the napkin holder. They advertised the Nike Human Race 10k. It's a race taking place in 25 cities all over the world on the same day as the race I'd originally plan to run- August 31st.

It is so much cooler! And there's a free Kanye West concert at the end. Well, at least in LA. There are other bands in the other cities. And you only have to pay $35 to race.

I'm back on track now. And for those of you in NY and Chicago, there's a race taking place in your city too. So look into signing up and you guys can be my new teammates.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Maybe I Should Just Marry the TV

I've always been a little obsessed with wedding reality shows, even though the couples on them are always incredibly corny, the wedding planners are over-the-top obnoxious, and the decorating ideas are always hideous. These days I watch Who's Wedding Is It Anyway?, a show about wedding planners and the brides that hire them, Bridezillas, a show about bitches, and Rock The Reception, where a couple works with choreographers for a crazy first dance.

And now that I'm (slowly) planning my own wedding, I've been even more addicted to these shows. I tivo them and watch 3 or 4 in a row.

The other day, I came across a wedding show I'd never heard of before. It was called Wedding Altered, and I believe it originally aired in 2004. The premise of this show is that a couple gets a free wedding and a free wedding planner, but the bride has to hand over the reigns to the groom. He gets to make all of the decisions and she doesn't find out anything until she shows up on her wedding day, at the terrible place he picked, and is handed her terrible wedding gown.

In this particular episode, the groom was a complete douche who wanted the theme to be reminiscent of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, specifically the part when you first get on the ride and it's a night-time scene and your boat floats by the patio that's a real restaurant. And you can smell the water that hasn't been changed since the 1950s and you can hear the little machine sounds of the robot villagers. He wants that.


Also, he picked a freaking site that's just in a heap of dirt on some kind of park grounds that look like a day camp, even though the bride's one request was to not have an outdoor wedding. He picked shrimp for the dinner even though the bride hates shellfish. And the wedding gown he selected was this tight little number with a slit that went from hip to floor, even though the bride did not want to look like a whore.

Then the bride showed up and cried and cried all her way through the ceremony and the groom, with his head still totally up his ass said, "I can't tell if she's crying because she hates it or because she's so happy to be marrying me."

It's because she hates it.

This show got me thinking about what would happen if I left Devin in charge of all of our wedding plans and I didn't have a say. Could I, hypothetically, be on this Wedding Altered show and stay sequestered in my apartment while Devin trounced around town with a wedding planner catering to his every whim?

What would that wedding look like?

-Groom wears Wilco t-shirt, camouflage shorts, flip flops.
-Bride wears Princess Leia gold bikini.
-Wedding party walks down the aisle to Rocky theme song.
-Food served: chicken wings, hot dogs, and freezer burnt old ground beef, cooked in a frying pan with tomato sauce and seasoned with everything in the spice cabinet, particularly garlic salt.
-Entertainment provided by bagpiper and man in a yetti costume.

Well, I guess that doesn't sound SO bad.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Take THAT!

Of our three pets, Sergeant Laser J. Fletcher, or "Sarge," is the worst. I say this lovingly, of course, but he's a real asshole. He doesn't let you hold him. He tries to bite your hand when you pet him. Every morning he jumps up onto my bedside table and screams in my face until I feed him. He doesn't come out of the bedroom unless he's hungry. I'm pretty sure none of our friends believe he exists. Whenever we mention him they ask, "Where is he?" Oh, he's just where he always is, sitting on top of the shelves in the back corner, by the air conditioner, where he stares at us and occasionally emits little squeaking noises when he yawns.

Why do we tolerate such lousy pet behavior? Because of this:

And this:

And this:

He is so impossibly cute.

So anyway, yesterday morning, I was getting ready for work when I heard Devin in the other room. "Sarge peed on the floor."

"No he didn't." I walked out, mascara wand still in hand, to inspect the alleged pee. There was a small puddle on the hardwood floor.

"That's not from him. It must have been Seamus." Now I don't know why I went and blamed the dog when he has no history of ever having an accident inside the house. In fact, it is Sarge who has peed on things many many times, though that was when he was still a kitten. (And a few months ago in a pile of dirty laundry...)

"He must not like the new litter you bought them," Devin concluded.

In one of my recent I'm Going To Save The Environment moves, I bought natural pine pellets from Trader Joe's instead of their usual Arm & Hammer cat litter. I figured they'd enjoy using natural pine instead of whatever mystery substance makes up regular cat litter. Perhaps I was wrong about this...but the jury was still out on who peed on the floor and why.

Then this morning as I was in and out of sleep, I felt Sarge jump onto the bed. He sat still for a moment down by our feet. "Oh yay!" I thought to myself. He never sits on the bed with us. This is such a treat. And just like that, he hopped back down.

I fell back asleep.

It must have only been for a few minutes, and then I opened my eyes again and immediately noticed something felt weird down at my feet. No, wait, not weird. Wet. Yes it's wet.

I sat up and noticed there was a big ol' puddle on the blanket.


So this morning I made a special trip to the store to buy his precious normal kitty litter. I was afraid if I left it until after work, he'd spend the day peeing all over our new couch.

When I got back from the store, I changed his litter and put out a new dish of food. Then I walked into our bedroom where Sarge was sitting, as usual, on top of the shelves. I stared at him. He stared at me. Then he made a "AAaaannnmmm" sort of noise.

I decided to take that as a thank you.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Freedom of Choice

In college, I was a women's studies minor. I just found the field of study fascinating.

Only problem is, outside of my women's studies classes, no one, not even my girl friends, ever wanted to talk about feminism. Not while at happy hour after on Friday night, not on a cigarette break while pulling an all-nighter before a big paper was due, and not while meeting for coffee in the student center. Indeed, there was no place for all of my feminist opinions on the college campus, which was odd, because I thought that would be the one and only place to share them.

So anyway, then I graduated and years went by and life took over and I may have sold my soul just a teency bit (no more than the rest of us), and I pretty much had to push all of my women's studies knowledge deep into the recesses of my brain.

I mean, I didn't totally let go of my beliefs and forget everything I'd researched and read. I'm still me. And that feminist in me comes out every now and then, like when I have to remind men that strippers aren't stripping just for fun. No stripper wants to be stripping. I assure you that something went wrong at some point in her life and she is not happy that she is sticking her boobs in your face, dude. And she doesn't go home and soak in a tub of bubbles and glitter. She sits at her kitchen table with all of her bills spread out in front of her, trying to figure out how to pay them.

And the other night that "What the fuck?" feminist part of me was stirred up once again. 

In the bathroom at Cat & Fiddle at Hollywood.

I ducked in there to pee and saw one stall door closed and the other door open, but the floor was covered in purple puke. Wine vom, obviously. And feeling quite certain that I'd be the type of girl who'd slip on the puke and clunk my head on the toilet bowl, thereby knocking myself out, leaving me to be found by the next person who walked in and then thought that the puke was my own, I thought I should just wait for the other stall to open up.

While I waited, I saw this:

Yes, it's a tampon and pad dispenser that offers women a freedom of choice. A freedom. Of choice.

The wording. Oh sweet mother, the wording of this freaking thing. How obnoxious. As if there was no other freedom of choice that already gets to be The Choice that women are concerned about their freedom to make.   A right to choose something more important than a tampon or a pad.   

Well, ladies, rest easy. Your freedom of choice is safe and secured to the wall of the bathroom at Cat & Fiddle.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Look Away!

Devin subscribes to Rolling Stone. I think I've mentioned this before when I discussed my shock at noticing the sirens from The Hills gracing the magazine's cover.

What I did not mention back then was that all issues of Rolling Stone are stored on the back of our toilet. A few weekly issues gather at a time, until the pile of them becomes too unruly, at which point I throw them out and hope Devin's already had a chance to read them.

The thing about keeping them on the toilet is that there is always a face or faces staring up at me when I'm doing bathroom stuff. (This only includes brushing my teeth and styling my lovely hair. Got it?)

It's an odd feeling when I'm trying to go about my bathroom business with Bono staring back at me. I often end up flipping the magazine over because an ad for the Toyota Matrix is far less intimidating.

This week, the Rolling Stone-cover-staring-at-me-issue reached new heights with Barack Obama.

Do you see how he's just glancing downward? Peering at me? Judging me?

I feel like I'm disappointing him. And I can only imagine how it must feel for a guy, who has to look back at him the whole time he's standing over the toilet...brushing his teeth.

Here's hoping the next cover features someone I'm not so concerned about impressing. Like Will Smith or Ellen Pompeo or someone.

{Note: Yes, that is a brown shag toilet seat cover. But please don't go thinking the same think most people think when they see it, which is, "Why did they decorate their bathroom in brown?" We bought the brown shag toilet seat cover to be ironic. Or something. But there's no place for irony in the bathroom.}

Monday, July 7, 2008

Say Cheeeeese...Wait did somebody say cheese? Oh that was just you. I thought there was cheese...


Yesterday there was a wedding planning breakthrough: We picked a place! And, sort of, a date!

The location is on top of a hill in Calabasas, overlooking many other hills. It's quiet and beautiful. And the date is October 3, 2009, selected because it is just one day shy of a full moon. I don't know how official any of this is since we haven't paid for anything, but it's now set in my head and this means trouble.

Because now I've moved on to panicking about something else. Something even more difficult to deal with than finding a wedding site that doesn't have required caterers or noise restrictions or predetermined wedding packages.

I'm now concerned because I'm not photogenic. At all.

Like really.

It's bad.

Every time I see pictures from a party or a night out or a family gathering or pretty much any occasion when I left my house feeling that I looked just fabulous, the photographic evidence surfaces in the days that follow, as a friend sends me a link to flickr or snapfish. Turns out, I severely overestimated my rank on the hotness scale.

And now I worry that I won't find a cure to this affliction before my wedding. And whereas every other bride ends up with these glorious, sun-kissed photos of herself in her flowing gown, her head turned just slightly to the side, I am instead going to have something that resembles this:

Here I am at Miriam's wedding last Saturday, with a napkin tucked into my dress. I seem to be playing with a fork. My hair is matted to my head because it was about 98% humidity that day.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Surely you won't be doing stupid things in front of the camera when you pose for your wedding pictures."

No, I won't. But that doesn't protect me from candids. And I was going to tell the photographer not to take any posed pictures because I wanted him or her to capture all of the real life moments.

So now I think I'm going to have the photographer spend six hours trying to get one good picture of me. And then when he does, I will immediately send him away from the site, lest he sully that impeccable image with one of me doing something like this:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I Promised A Story of Gray Fish Pasta. I Promise A Lot of Things.

When I arrived at my parents' house on Wednesday morning, I went through my usual arrival routine.

It goes like this:

First I throw my bags down and kick off my shoes, managing to distribute a trail of stuff from the front door through the living room, and ending in the kitchen.

Once in the kitchen, I lean against the counter, chatting with my parents about my flight, while glancing behind them at the fridge, eager to make a snack, but at the same time restraining myself so I don't look like some savage who just burst into their home to ransack the place.

After a few minutes, they lose interest in me and get back to whatever they were doing before I arrived. This is when I finally get to find myself some food, sit down on the couch, eat my snack in about 4 seconds, and then I watch TV for approximately 7 hours.

And on this particular arrival on Wednesday, my mother came to sit with me at about hour 6.5 of my television watching.

Her topic of the conversation: What's for dinner tonight.

This topic is a favorite of mine.

I never want to outright tell my parents to take me out to dinner, but it's always what I really really want. Fortunately, Mom was on the same page this evening.

We debated back and forth about where to go because she has put nearly every restaurant in Onondaga County on her "No" list, for assorted reasons.

Finally we decided to go to Blue Water Grill in Baldwinsville, which is one town over. I'd been there once, about six years ago, but I remember the food being pretty good, and the atmosphere--a big deck overlooking the river--to be pleasant.

My friend Seth came along because my mom wanted to hear about his recent travels to Italy. It seemed she'd already tired of hearing about what I'd been up to. Maybe because I hadn't been up to anything. And I'd already spent half an hour ranting about how my wedding plans were shot to hell. (What wedding plans? There aren't any. And that's what was making me so upset.)

So my parents, Seth and I arrived at the restaurant to find that the name had been changed to Edgewater Grill. I found this name change peculiar. Why would an establishment want to lose the lovely imagery conjured up by the name "Blue Water"? The name Edgewater made me think of the foamy green water filled with detritus that laps up against the poles of a dock.

"I wonder if it's under new management or if it's just a different name," each of us wondered aloud, one after the next, without acknowledging that anyone else had already said this same thing.

We were seated, quite fittingly, at a table right at the edge of the water. From our seats we had a view of the river, and the enormous fish that were jumping from the surface. And not in a graceful, playful dolphin way. These fish appeared to dying. Or at least very sick. Or ill at ease. I felt bad that I'd wanted to have some seafood for dinner.

It was a busy night and there appeared to only be 2 waitresses covering the deck. We waited and waited. It was a hot night, and I was dying of thirst.

At last she came and took our drink order. I ordered some wine, and everyone else ordered Blue Moon drafts.

When she brought back our drinks, after what felt like an hour, I tried not to glurp down my glass of wine straight away. My parents complained their beer tasted funny and that also their glasses were only filled to within 2 inches of the top. According to my father, this is a nationwide problem. Bartenders are deliberately underpouring to save money.

The beers were sent back. And I'm sure the restaurant was now on Mom's No list.

Still, I tried to keep everyone positive. I truly believe that the moment someone at your table complains during dinner, it starts to make everyone else notice problems. And then everyone starts complaining-- this sauce is too peppery, my soda's a little flat, the waiter's been gone 5 minutes and he just needed to get a napkin, etc.

I refused to let that happen. We looked over our menus and I tried to narrow down my options to something called a fish trio --which sounded like a flavor of Friskie's cat food --or some other thing with scallops and shrimp baked into a puff pastry. It sounded a little nuts, but I was curious.

There was a time when I had a knack for ordering the best thing on the menu. When food was brought to the table, my dining companions would envy my choice. They'd want to sample it. They'd feel their food was inferior.

Well, that time of my life has passed. And lately I have been incapable of ordering anything even remotely appetizing.

We order our dinner and I go for the extravagant fish thingy.

Then I drain my glass of wine, just as my dad finishes his beer. He decides we should order a whole bottle of wine.

And so we do. Things are looking up! ...For about 2 minutes, and then the waitress comes back to tell us that I had been served the last available glass of that particular type of wine.

Ok then. We pick a second choice. A pinot grigio from Italy, in honor of Seth's Italian adventures.

The bottle arrives. It is not from Italy, it is from California. I'm pretty sure it was also not even pinot grigio.

Sigh. Well whatever.

The waitress comes back, now looking flustered.

"We're out of mashed potatoes too."

This upsets Mom and Seth, who had ordered the mashed potatoes.

"But we do have baked potatoes."

The whole table silently wonders to themselves why said baked potatoes can't just be mashed up.

They order alternative side dishes. A few minutes later the food comes out. Looking pleased with herself, the waitress says "I was able to scrape together a half order of mashed potatoes!"

She'd awarded Seth the potatoes. She must have liked him better. Or disliked him, I suppose, seeing as she gave him the nasty, crusty dregs of the potato vat.

Then she sets my dish infront of me. I saw no puff pastry. I saw no delicate arrangement. And where was my side of steamed fresh vegetables?

Instead, there was a giant bowl of pasta, covered in a pink creamy slop. You know when you have fish and you don't really eat the whole serving of fish you're given? You pick out the good parts but occasionally there's a slimy end. And underneath, there is the gray skin that you don't eat? Do you know what I mean? And so you leave these bits on the plate. Well, the fish I'd been given was sort of like all of those scraps taken from about 15 different plates.

And no shrimp. And no scallops. Just visibly grayish mystery fish.

I tried it. It didn't exactly make me want to throw up...but it came close. I poked at it. I tried a few more bites.

Finally I gave up and admitted. "Mine is gross."

"It is?"

My mom tried some.

"Oh god. That's bad."

"Send it back," says Dad.

"Noooooo," I respond. I am incapable of sending food back. It may have to do with all of the years that I waited tables. Or, realistically, it is this deep-seeded desire not to hurt anyone's feelings. Not the waiter's or the chef's or the poor fish who had to give their lives for my dinner.

"If it's really bad, you should send it back."

"It's fine. I didn't feel like eating anyway."

"Well my food's great," offers Seth. Always a big help.

Everyone else continues eating while I dig through my food with a fork, half expecting to find an eye ball or small octopus or something.

Finally the waitress comes to collect our plates.

"How was everything?" she asks.

"Fine. Fine." I just want this nasty plate out of my sight.

"That was awful!" my mother says, pointing at my gray fish pasta.

"It was? Oh no," the waitress responds.

"No. It was just...not my thing...I'm trying to diet anyway."

"I'll take it off the bill for you."

Crap. That's all I need. Now she's just gone and proven my parents' point. She didn't take it personally, and we'd even get our money back.

I waited for one of them to say something.

"See," says Dad.


As we all walked back to the car, my mom said what she says nearly every time we leave a restaurant.

"Well, I wouldn't go there again."

And for once, I replied, "Neither would I."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Here's a problem with me. (One of many.)

I can't write about big things that happen. I can write only about small things. And when I write about these small things, I write so darn much that the total time it takes to read my story is longer than the time it took for the story to unfold in real life.

Most of the time, it's okay that I am like this.

But it's a horrible curse whenever I do something really great. If I have a lot of fun or a really busy day or do something so momentous that my whole life is forever changed. Because then, I clam up. And I can't think of a way to properly convey my emotions or my reactions. Indeed, I think I am incapable of writing about any states of mind other than "miffed" or "sorta baffled."

And I can't pick out the highlights of my day and put them all into one really great post. For example, about a month ago I went on a wine tasting trip with a bunch of friends for Miriam's bachelorette party. (My second wine tasting so far this year...ay yiyi.) And while the day was full of fabulous moments (scenic views, gossipy girl talk, Victoria's Secret bags full of vomit being thrown out of limo's sun roof), I couldn't find a way to frame the whole thing. Or, as we in the news business say, I couldn't find an angle.

I'm not really in the news business. I just made that up to say angle.

So I never wrote about that day.

The reason I'm talking about this is not just to take up space. (Okay, it's part of the reason.) It's to explain why, now that I'm back from visiting my parents for a few days and going to Miriam's wedding, I can't particularly think of what to tell you all about it.

And so for now, I'm going to tell you about what happened in the bathroom of Hancock Airport after I'd just arrived in Syracuse.

Btw, isn't it so great to pee after holding it for a whole plane ride?

So I'm in the stall, buttoning my pants back up (aw yeah, it's sexy time), and I'm waiting impatiently for the wooshing sound of the automatic toilet to flush behind me.

Finally, I turn around to see a handle on the back of the toilet. "Oh right," I thought. "Those things." So I lean back and press down the handle with my foot.

Then I step out of the stall and walk up to the sink. I put some soap on my hands and then shove them under the faucet. I wait. I wave my hands back and forth under the faucet a few times.

And then I spot the handles on either side of the faucet. One labeled with an "H" and once with a "C."

"Oh right," I thought. "Those things."

It's not that I think of myself as too good to flush my own toilet or wash my own hands, it's just that I've gotten so used to all of these overzealous little automatic devices in public bathrooms. Soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers. They are everywhere, particularly in airports, where I'm surprised you have to even wipe your own ass any more.

I sound like a grumpy old person. But I'm sick of being made to look like a fool because I'm waving my hands wildly in the air, desperately trying to get the attention of the paper towel dispenser, and then grunting in anger when it only gives me a 2 inch portion to work with.

Anyway, so I stood at the sink and said "huh." Not huh with a question mark. Huh with a period. It's an important distinction. And I said huh. a lot over the course of my time back in central New York.

But most of the time, I had fun.

Tomorrow: the story of how I got stuck with gray fish pasta.