Thursday, March 26, 2009


Because of limited budget, limited imagination, and limited time, I repeatedly prepare and eat the same 6 or so things for dinner. Pasta. Buffalo fake-chicken sandwiches. Salads. Trader Joe's frozen pizza.

And most of the time I don't mind that it's so boring. But then whenever I go over to my sister's she whips up something delicious and fresh and that contains more than 4 ingredients. I'm always impressed, and it inspires me to put more effort into my dinners.

I went shopping on Tuesday night with this in mind. And also, in my head I've told myself I'm on a diet. I'm all up on my high horse, saying to myself "I'm eating right. Getting in shape!' But I haven't actually altered my behavior. Yet.

While walking through the grocery store aisles, I tried to come up with some healthful and complicated meals. Unfortunately, I was also starving and had to pee so I was distracted.

I did come up with one dinner, however. A salad topped with fried calamari rings and tossed with homemade dressing. (I know, the fried part isn't terribly healthy, but it did meet the quota for complexity.)

I wandered over to the frozen seafood section. There was only one calamari option, which was a colorful package, the shape and weight of a brick. You couldn't see what, exactly, was inside it. And the copy offered no explanation. It was simply "calamari."

I presumed inside this brick would be delightful little rings. Last night, when I finally opened it to prepare my masterpiece, I discovered the brick was actually comprised of 4 whole squids, frozen together, with a wad of tiny tentacles at one end. Clearly they'd been shoved into this rectangular tray before they were frozen. And now they were holding its shape.

I stared at the squidbrick for a moment, debating how to proceed. I supposed I would just thaw it and then slice it into rings. I didn't have time to stand there and wait for it to thaw out, so I figured I'd just run it under water for a while.

I removed the squidbrick and brought it over to the sink. After holding it under running water for a minute, some of the outer portions of the squid began to thaw out. It was then I realized how squiddy this was, because I began to see its flippers. Or whatever they are called. These things:

So the flippers starting flapping around under the running water. And then a tentacle chunk fell off and landed with a slap in the sink. And then another. Plop. I realized then that the tentacles were those tiny spider kind that normally come with fried calamari at restaurants, and were not a part of the same 4 squids whose heads I was holding. Which was good, I guess. But weird at the same time. Where had the big tentacles gone?

At this point Devin wandered into the kitchen, wondering what was taking me so long to "throw together a quick salad." He looked at the squidbrick in my hands, fins flapping in the breeze, and the tentacle deposits in the sink. He made a face. "Don't worry," I said. "It'll be good. Just gonna fry it up. Just like a restaurant." And then, "If it doesn't work I'll make something else."

After about 5 minutes, I could sense the ice at the core of the squidbrick was beginning to melt. I applied pressure to try to separate the 4 of them and soon they snapped apart.

I was relieved none of them had eyes or beaks.

After slicing them up --I ended up with rings after all! --and battering and frying the pieces, I was quite surprised that I'd actually managed to make something that looked just like regular fried calamari. And it even tasted good!

It took 1 hour of fussing around in the kitchen in order to produce 2 salads which we ate in about 6 minutes. I'm not sure it was worth it. Tonight I think we'll stick with frozen pizza.

Friday, March 20, 2009

You're Not Fancy Enough

I'm on blogging hiatus until one of the following things happens:

1. I have free time again.

2. I get far enough into the script I'm writing to feel like I'm not cheating on it by blogging.

3. The Hills starts its new season.

This hiatus may only last another week, but who knows. Until then, here's something for you:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

They All Wanna Take My Picture

Living in Los Angeles, you grow accustom to seeing members of the paparazzi occasionally darting about here and there as you go about your daily life. Sometimes they are in big packs, hanging around outside a popular night club. Sometimes it's one stray photographer running madly down the street, steadying his massive camera against his chest, chasing some irresistable target. Once, I saw a swarm of them in Hollywood, taking pictures of Paris and Nikki Hilton getting into a Hummer limo.

And it's always just a teency bit thrilling.

On Sunday, mere hours after the invention of the sauceholder, I was walking down Robertson in West Hollywood, leaving my friend's birthday gathering at The Abbey. Up ahead I spotted the bright lighting and red carpet of some sort of highly publicized, celeb-attended event. It was at an art gallery, and the party must have started much earlier because there was no one standing outside except for a guy with a clipboard and two paparazzi types.

Walking right in front of me was a couple holding hands. I watched as one of the photographers eyed them, trying to discern if they were anyone of note. But they just passed him by and he did nothing.

Then as I got closer to him, his eyes locked on me. His hands reached for the camera hanging around his neck. Without taking his eyes off me he lifted the camera, then hesitated, then just as I was right next to him he lifted it up and FLASH! Instinctively, I tilted my head and smiled, then kept on walking.

At first I thought, "How flattering!" I was mistaken for someone famous! But who? Some seriously misguided strangers and a few friends have told me I sometimes look like Audrina Patridge (and that would be fine if what they meant was my boobs looked like Audrina's).

Even if this guy didn't peg me for a specific celebrity, then I must at least carry myself in a way that suggests I could be seriously important and famous. And to think I hadn't even washed my hair that morning.

But then as I continued the walk to my car, the inevitable self-doubt and paranoia set in. What if he went to a meeting the next day, projecting all of his pics from the event on some big screen, flipping through them one by one in front of 5 or 6 tabloid editors.

Paparazzi Guy: Here we have Eva Mendes, and Russel Brand, Bradley Cooper, aaaaaand then there's this girl. I wasn't she someone?
Editor 1: Her? Nah.
Editor 2: With that fat face?
Editor 3: And look at that oily hair.
Editor 1: She looks like the kinda girl who'd put marinara sauce in the cupholder of her Ford Focus hatchback.
Paparazzi Guy: Yeah. What was I thinking? She's a loser.

Okay, you're right. Why would this scene ever actually take place? Well, it probably wouldn't (I hope). But you never know.

So I guess what I'm saying is, if anyone sees my face or my torso in a "What Not To Wear" person-on-the-street, tabloid photo ensemble... burn the magazine immediately and don't ever tell me.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

New Advancements In Fat Slob Technology

At the little cafe by the checkout of Target, you can buy an order of Pizza Hut breadsticks and a medium soda for $3.  It's the perfect treat for late afternoon shopping and it helps dull the pain of spending $200 on stupid crap like laundry detergent and cotton balls.  

Today, after pushing the World's Loudest Shopping Cart around Target for a half hour, I hastily purchased the breadstick combo on my way to the exit.  

After cramming all of my shopping bags into the trunk and backseat of my car, I got behind the wheel, eagerly dug out the first breadstick and the marinara sauce cup, and started to chow down.  Ordinarily, I have very strict rules about eating while alone in a parked car because...well...have you ever seen a woman doing that before?  It's super sad.  But today I was positively starving.

With one breadstick down and two to go, I realized it was getting late and I needed to bust a move to The Abbey for a birthday party.  I'd need to take this show on the road, but mobile breadstick consumption seemed challenging.   How does one dip and drive?  

First, I dug around in the back seat and tore open the 8 pack of paper towels I'd just bought.  I used two sheets to fashion a placemat like so:

With my lap safely protected, things were looking up.  But there was still the problem of the marinara sauce.  Foregoing it was simply not an option.  Balancing the cup in my lap seemed too risky.  I could try holding it, but this would hinder my steering.  

After 2 more minutes --or the time it probably would've taken me to just eat the damn breadsticks-- I finally figured out how I could take them on the road.

The sauceholder:

Ah!  A brilliant, and only slightly embarrassing, solution.  Now I can add Target cafe Pizza Hut breadsticks to my list of foods I can eat while driving.  [Previous items on the list include french fries, breakfast sandwiches, the filet-o-fish, the bean & cheese burrito. ]