Sunday, October 31, 2004

Previously, on "The Valley"

The start of 2005 will see Robert finally moving out of the apartment we've shared since last May. I really thought we had something special, but apparently he's had a girlfriend for about 10 months and it's time for him to move in with her. And her sister, because they needed sitcom potential.

Anyway, this leaves me the obvious three options.

1) Find another roommate. No. Not happening. I have no homeless friends, and I'm not doing open calls. I don't want to try to get used to sharing a bathroom/kitchen/TV/parking space with a stranger, especially when the apartment is really not all that big to begin with. Which leads us to...

2) Stay in the place and cough up the rent on my own. Never having had a place of my own, I've kind of coveted this idea for a while; and now that I have a steady job in a nonvolatile industry, it's a viable option. I'd have a second room to do whatever I want with, total dominion over everything apartment-related, and tons more closet space (Robert's room is the one with the giant sliding-door closet; mine is the one where the closet is almost too small to even hide in). But the rent -- while pretty low for a 2-bedroom -- would eat up more of my salary then I'd prefer. (Okay, "prefer" isn't the best choice of words; technically any amount of rent would eat up more of my salary than I'd prefer, since I'd prefer to live rent-free, but... back to topic.) Saving, for example, wouldn't really be happening much.

(Drumroll please)

3) Find another place. The problem with this is that I'd be breaking a promise. After the second time I moved (June 2002), I promised myself I'd never move again. Because it's impossible for that process not to suck. I mean, I've seen "Newlyweds"; it's even hellish when rich people move. I really dont' like to think about trying to schlep a big TV and half the Ikea catalog to another part of town. But if I could find a place I like better than this one while also saving a couple hundred dollars a month, then it might be worth biting the U-Haul bullet. So, to that end, today I officially started looking. I paid my $60 for the two-month membership, pretty much the one unassailably sound investment one can make in the moving process, and I clicked the search button. Unsurprisingly, there is very little to be had for under $1000 in the "cool" neighborhoods such as Larchmont, Fairfax, etc; and even here in Palms they're fairly pricey for what you get. I went back to the main search page and check out... the Valley. Like most City-dwellers, I hold the Valley somewhere between Scientology and low-carb candy on my offensiveness scale. But offensive or not, it's got a lot of potentially nice one-bedrooms for around $850. And I'd be walking distance from friends. And people wouldn't have to drive around for 20 minutes looking for a parking space every time they visited. And the drive to Ikea would be much shorter.

But... god, it's the VALLEY, right? How did it come to this?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Maybe I left that town a little too soon. Like, four years too soon. Then again, I have an idea what the streets of Boston look like right now and of the likelihood of my surviving them. I don't know. I don't know what the hell to say right now. Maybe I'll think of something later.

Monday, October 25, 2004


It's mean, but I can't help it. I love reading the other team's newspaper when they lose.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Game 2

Watching the Red Sox in the World Series for the first time since I was eight is pretty amazing. But you could not ask for two worse announcers than Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Thanks, Fox, I really like listening to these aggressively bland guys you've hired, at least one of whom is an obvious Yankee fan.

And hey, I just noticed that Tim McCarver looks a lot like Michael Palin. And then I thought about how much more fun it would be to have Michael Palin announcing the game. Even if he had no knowledge of baseball whatsoever. In fact, especially if he had no knowledge of baseball whatsoever and just made witty asides for three hours.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Donald Effect

I just saw some older-middle-aged guy in the bathroom with an enormous gut and a hideous combover. The gut part isn't such a big deal; I mean, who in America isn't at least somewhat overweight in these supersized days? But the combover part... it made me realize. I think The Donald's success on TV may have convinced balding men everywhere that they can totally get away with the combover. They say to themselves, "Well, that guy's pulling it off, so why not me?" Don't they understand that The Donald could wear a wreath of dead sewer rats on his head and still inspire hyper-religious levels of ass-kissing? Ah, well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

In the next couple days you will probably see all kinds of articles all over the place with flowery dramatic language about how the Red Sox have defied the odds, made history, blah blah etc.

That's all fine, but I don't think any of them will do anywhere near as good a job as this.

(Thanks to fellow ex-Massachusettsian Rossanna for the link.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Why my team/city is better

I'm watching the Red Sox - Yankees game on Fox right now, and I don't know how it's going to end. But the security people are apparently so worried about what the fans are going to do if the Sox win that they have posted riot police along the lines of the field.

Now, I'm not going to say Red Sox fans are exactly a peaceful bunch. Most of them are fairly insane. But, a few drunken tussles aside, they're capable enough of keeping order among themselves as not to require the presence of dozens of armed law enforcement officials.

Yankees suck. Good night.

A poem

Since Karri wrote a poem yesterday, I figured I had to write one myself. It's a competitive writing thing.

It's called "Afternoon Drink."

I love you Diet Vanilla Pepsi, oh yes I do,
I don't love any carbonated sugar-free phenylalaninated artificially colored and flavored bottled mass-market consumer beverage as much as you.
If I were drowned or strangled or suffocated or otherwise deprived of oxygen such that my lungs filled up with toxic carbon dioxide, I would turn blue.
Oh, Diet Vanilla Pepsi, I love you.

The end.

That was fast

There is now a rumor that Mary-Kate is dropping out of NYU.

Maybe too many of the other students were teasing her for looking like this. You know how vicious those kids can be.

Or maybe she already blew her half of the fortune on one of these sites.

Monday, October 18, 2004

More weirdness from the mass consumerism front

Okay, now, what the hell is this? It's 7-Up, apparently, but it's... like, healthy, or something. What's next? Low-carb Captain Crunch? A fat-free Quarter Pounder with Soy Cheese? Can't anything be allowed to remain bad for you?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Poker and 911

First of all, the 911 part. I'm driving home on the 405 tonight and all of a sudden the cars start slowing down. Then I have to maneuver around a stray bumper panel. Probably not a good sign. Then I see the source of said bumper panel: a flipped-over car on the side of the freeway. The driver appears to be okay and has made it out of the car on his own, and two other cars are pulled over near him, so I figure the situation is probably under control but I decide to call 911 to make sure it gets reported. I dial 911 on my cell phone. It rings. It rings again. It rings five or six more times. Then I hear, "You have reached the 911 emergency line. All operators are busy. Please wait." Then some recorded loop message that I can barely make out about how the lines are always busier when there's been an accident, etc., etc. Then, every minute or so, "All operators are still busy." After at least five minutes I hang up, figuring the accident has been called in. But I'm not exactly left with a whole lot of confidence in the whole 911 setup. I mean, thank god I wasn't calling because I'd been shot or stabbed or something. When 911 keeps you on hold longer than IBM tech support, something is not right.

Anyway. I also lost $10 in poker. Here's how it went down.

9:00 - leave with Eti and Randy to drive up to house in Valley where poker is being played
9:30 - arrive at said house, meet other players; we are told that the current game will be over soon and we can get in the next one.
10:00 - still waiting.
10:30 - still waiting.
11:00 - game finally ends and we all buy in to the new game for $10
11:10 - and, I'm out. went all-in before the flop on a pair of queens, beaten by a pair of kings. (miraculously, I was not the first to go out)
11:10 - 1:45 - watch everyone else play until the game is over.

That's my night.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Never eat a muffin lying down

I have now completed the whole platelet-giving process outlined in the previous post. It went pretty well, and I got to watch my A Few Good Men DVD for about the 2,184,375th time while the blood-and-platelet-pumping-and-separating-and-pumping-back-in machine was doing its thing. (I'm very glad I brought my own movie rather than picking one from their library, because the other two donors were watching Legally Blonde and Anger Management, and if those are good representatives of their selection, yikes.)

I said it went "pretty well." Actually, it went really well for about 45-50 minutes. Then it started getting a little painful. Not excruciating, but not comfy. The nurse figured out what was going on -- she said the needle had "infiltrated," which of course, to someone with zero knowledge of medical terminology except what I've learned on Scrubs, is not a very comforting word. Then she explained what she meant by that, and the gist of it is that it was my fault. I moved my arm a little too much, and the needle slipped away from the vein and was pumping blood into non-vein areas... which means, basically, there's going to be bruising. I'm supposed to ice my arm for a day or so to minimize the black-and-blueness.

Once they disconnected me from the pump, they put an icepack on my arm and brought me a muffin and orange juice. The muffin was top-notch but, being that I was still lying down, there was no place for the crumbs to go but my shirt. I feel this was a pretty good illustration of the notion that muffins are really more of a sitting-down-at-a-table food.

Friday, October 15, 2004


Mailing stuff at USA Network was easy. We just wrote a mail code on the envelope and some other person or department with a lot of money got charged for it. You could mail personal stuff to Egypt if you wanted; nobody would ever notice. At UCLA Development, things aren't quite like that. We use stamps. Stamps that we buy from the post office and then get reimbursed for. I don't quite understand that system yet, so another assistant was nice enough to lend me a sheet of stamps until I can figure it out. It's a sheet of American Indian-themed stamps with different pictures of American Indian artifacts on them. And in sending important business communication, I'm trying to use the blandest stamps possible. But eventually I'm only going to have one stamp left, which means I'll have to use the one that says -- and I am in no way kidding --

"Ho-Chunk bag"

This is the kind of expression I would imagine J.Lo using back when she actually was from the "block." As in, "Yo, that ho-chunk bag better not be talkin' shit about my boyfriend!"

Yeah, I think it's time to go home.


The days of free parking at the ArcLight are finally over. It's a slippery slope from here.

As a valued member of the ArcLight Hollywood community, we want to let you know that beginning Wednesday, October 20, 2004, due to a recent rate increase by the City of Los Angeles (the owner/operator of our adjacent parking garage), our validated parking rate will be increasing to $1 for four hours of parking, with purchase of a movie ticket. Validation is still required. We will continue our practice of covering a portion of the cost charged by the City for our guests to park in the garage.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Back to school

Since I started almost a month ago (yikes) at UCLA, a good amount of my time has been spent in training or orientation classes. It's sort of like being back in school: not college, where I was in classes I had chosen out of interest, but high school, where every class was chosen for me and I had nothing to do but sit, tired and bored, trying to think of something interesting to think about and usually failing.

So what I've been doing these classes is just trying to imagine ridiculous things happening, things that would completely break the stoic, academic, businesslike mood.

I'll give you an example. Today I was sitting for about two and a half hours in a training class learning how to do online expense reports. And as the instructor was introducing herself, trying to ingratiate herself and gain our trust or whatever, I thought it would be really funny if right then, I started vomiting explosively and then my entire body exploded. I don't know if that's funny to anyone other than me. But it was funny enough to me that I had to stifle a giggle, and kept stifling it, and then I did one of those things where you're holding in your laughter for a long time and then someone says something only slightly funny and you just burst out laughing because it's your only chance to, but the level of laughter coming out of you is completely inappropriate to the joke that wasn't even supposed to be that funny.

I have really thick veins on my feet. What if I get cut there? Will I hemhorrage uncontrollably?

Speaking of hemhorraging uncontrollably (am I not the king of segues?), I'm donating platelets on Saturday morning at the UCLA blood donation center. They'll siphon a bunch of blood out of me, then separate out the platelets, then pour the platelet-less blood back into me. And all the while, I'm strapped into a chair watching a movie. Just like this guy. But at the end, I get four hours of vacation time credited to me, and also a cookie. It should really be ten cookies, since donating platelets takes ten times as long as donating blood and they give you a cookie for donating blood, but I'll take what I can get.

Now I really need to turn my attention back to The Apprentice.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Observations in Westwood

Remember the Gap in Westwood? No, I never bought anything there either. I lived in Westwood for almost two years, I certainly bought plenty of clothing from the Gap during that time, and yet I never went to the one Gap store that was easy walking distance from my apartment. Anyway, sometime around a year ago they shut it down. I blame myself. Because now they are putting up a Bebe in its place. In the same row of stores that includes Victoria's Secret, Ann Taylor, and like five salons.

Am I the only one who sees that Westwood is slowly being transformed into the set of Legally Blonde?

Sure, they've also installed an Urban Outfitters, but come on. Trying to find actual clothing there is like trying to find actual music videos on MTV.

Also: Haagen-Dazs? Please stop claiming you sell gelato. I refuse even to try it because I can see with my own eyes that it's only ice cream that was left on the counter too long.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Badass record collection update

Good haul at Amoeba this afternoon. The results:

Dead or Alive - Rip It Up
Bryan Adams - Reckless *
Steely Dan - Can't Buy A Thrill *
U2 - The Joshua Tree
Don Henley - Building the Perfect Beast *
Hair - original Broadway cast recording **
The Big Chill - original soundtrack
B52's - self-titled (debut)
B52's - Cosmic Thing
AC/DC - Back In Black

* - Shut up, it was a dollar.
** - Okay, a dollar may have been too much.

For the love of god and all that is holy!

Does Scott Bakula even have a publicist anymore? Is he aware of this?

I don't even know where to start.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


I haven't written anything since Tuesday, but that's mostly because there hasn't really been anything to write about. The debates? Everyone pretty much already knows how they're going, and this isn't a political blog anyway. (You can tell because the word "outrage" doesn't appear in the title, which it would if this were a political blog. But it's not. So I'm going to stop talking about it as if it were. Because it isn't. Okay? Good.) My beloved Red Sox are kicking some Angel ass, which is a good thing (and no offense to any Angel supporters; I'm just telling it like it is).

Also, y'all should check out Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Westwood, because they have a fairly interesting employee there. No kidding, he actually works behind the counter. I was just there tonight.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Bad-ass record collection, part the third

Four more.

Styx - The Grand Illusion ($1.99)
The Pretenders - Learning to Crawl ($2.99)
Dire Straits - Money For Nothing ($3.99)


Björk - Post (import, limited edition heavy vinyl pressing - $23.99)

Yeah, that last one cost about as much as the rest of the record collection combined. My reasons for buying it were threefold:

1. After all these scratched-up old records, I really wanted to hear what a brand new one would sound like.

2. I bought the turntable mainly for the purpose of listening to older records; most of today's bands don't really seem appropriate to buy on vinyl. Björk is one of the few that does. I can't really explain why. Maybe it's because she kind of seems to exist outside of time and space completely, so she doesn't really fit under the whole umbrella of "today's artists." I don't know.

3. The last thing of Björk's I bought was her debut album (Debut) back in 1993, when I was not yet fifteen. I think it's about time the honorable Ms. Gudmundsdottir got a couple more dollars in royalties from me. And the record is pretty cool. The heavy vinyl pressing really is... well, heavy. You have to hold that sucker with both hands.

Bad-ass record collection, part the second

Today I visited the venerable Rhino Records on Westwood Blvd. and conducted a mini-raid of their 99 cent record bin. The results:

Journey - Escape
Billy Idol - Rebel Yell
The Pretenders II (this one, happily, NOT suitable for framing)
Yes - 90125
Rush - Permanent Waves
Footloose - Original soundtrack (Hey, quit laughing. Did you not hear me say they were 99 cents?)

I should be adding more to the list after tonight's trip to Amoeba.

Friday, October 01, 2004

The many faces of Courtney Love

Sorry, I'm on a pseudo-celebrity kick here.

On trial for renegeing on a $50,000 travel agency bill, Courtney Love has taken on the look of a middle-school substitute teacher.

I no longer have any reason to live

When I can no longer look to Paris Hilton as a morally upright beacon of goodwill towards man, then all hope is lost.

Time to go stick my head in a gas stove. I'll be seeing y'all.

I just remembered...

...why it's a bad idea to drink coffee when you're wearing nice clothes. The shirt I have on is going right back to the dry cleaners tonight. My last shred of dignity is going with it.

Frick on a stick, as Dr. Elliot Reid would say.