Monday, November 30

Bad things come in threes.

It's true!*

The visiting fam and i rented 4 movies from Blockbuster to fill the void left by the fact that i don't have television (apologies to anyone who ever stays with us in the future!) to help entertain. Here's how it went down:

Year One: Jack Black literally eats a piece of shit in this movie. Is there anything else that needs to be said? (Although, one small concession offered here, because the first shot of Michael Cera shows him gathering strawberries while talking to them lovingly. So delightful and tender.) To be fair, i was in the kitchen for about 85% of this film, and only listening, but the review stands. Also: David Cross plays Cain, and is tragically not funny, something i'd heretofore thought impossible. Sort of an ADD version of Mel Brooks' History of the World.

Echelon Conspiracy: So, the half-nerdish half-suave techie "hero" looks and sounds exactly like Doogie Howser here, and that's the only thing this movie's really got goin' for it. Which is sad, considering that Ving Rhames and Martin Sheen are also present. What a terrible waste. Think Bourne Supremacy as a student film. Also, texting plays a major role in this film. Ouch.

Sunshine Cleaning: Can i have this hour and a half of my life back? Please? This was one of the worst films i've ever seen, in almost every way: Terrible script, annoying acting, hollow premise and character development, wasted talent (Steve Zahn and Alan Arkin both), just– everything. The best part was the one-armed man, although when is that ever not the case? i learned from this movie that i want to kill Amy Adams, even adorable children cannot save a waste of celluloid, and that maybe i don't want to be involved with crime scenes in any way, after all. (used to watch C.S.I. and dream, who didn't?) The only memorable or moving scene was Emily Blunt hanging from an elevated train track at night, train flying by overhead and sparks being thrown about. But still, i do not forgive.

Worst. Movie. Ever.

Our fourth and final selection, a wildcard movie about used-car sales called The Goods, ended up being the surprise favorite. Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames (again!), Ed Helms, and Craig Robinson (as a highly unstable, yet dedicated DJ) wound up making our night. A team of crack used-car salespeople converge on Temecula to save a friend's car lot. The comedy is a little hard to pin down–base? raunchy? something like that, only better–but the wit is sharp and you are definitely rooting for these people, although you will never, ever, understand why. i read a review somewhere stating that only people with mental problems would find this film funny. Guilty as charged.

*NOTE: i found this Thanksgiving-era post in my 'drafts' folder. oops! Bet you're wishing i'd left it there, aren't you? AREN'T YOU?! Well, too bad. And since you made it this far, i will reward you with this, via flaunted's photostream on Flickr.

Tortoise Burger by flaunted.

Just look at all that turtley goodness.


Sunday, November 22

Sing a song of sixpence.

"Four and twenty blackbirds, bakin' up a pie."
(this is how Nat and i always sing it– so much more wonderful to imagine a throng of them in the kitchen; sifting flour, measuring spices, and rolling out dough.)

Anyway, here is an interesting little piece about crows (and how rather rad they are). Our avian friends never cease to amaze me. Make sure to scroll down and take the identification test, too. It's a touch one! Nat and i guessed the first one correctly, but it became more and more difficult after that. i'm convinced that it's in the eyes, and the beak feathers.

In other news:

i received a gift of (flowering) narcissus bulbs from a friend recently, and couldn't be happier.

Last night, after dinner with friends, we listened to An Elvis Christmas–loudly–on the drive home. Now we're dreaming of snow... hopefully this winter we will make it up North again. Unfortunately, during dinner, one of our servers decided it would be really great to brush his arm against our dining companion's breasts– three separate times. The table was crowded, and the space limited, so she told us not worry, that he was just trying to find a place to set down the rice, aloo gobi, dal... It was difficult not to storm out; i suppose, though, that if she was not upset about it then i should not have been. But how awful! As someone with very, er, minor amplitude, i have never had to worry about this particular offense. But seeing it happen in person was rather disgusting. Thank goodness i was able to quell my rage with my appletini.

And will someone please watch the movie Kontroll, so that we can talk about it here? What the deuce is happening at the end? There are too many possible scenarios for us to be happy with any one choice... definitely an enjoyable film to watch, though. Thank you, Netflix, for that "Dark/Psychological/Foreign" category you came up with, there. Bravo. Keep 'em comin'.

Thursday, November 19


Fuck. My toilet has a leak.

The HOA was giving out dye tablets to check for invisible leaks, and it just felt... irresponsible not to do it. i dropped 'em into the tank and swirled 'em around. Within minutes, there was a little bit of blue in the bowl, and when i asked my dad about it over the phone he schooled me on the few areas where there could be a leak. i went to have a look at the three bolts that hold the tank to the bowl, and wouldn't ya know it? There was blue. A tinge of blue on all of the threads– one of them was even collecting a drop of water that threatened to fall. I suppose it's been dripping that way, infinitely slo-o-o-owly, for quite some time. It's an old toilet. But it never made a sound! How was i supposed to know?!

Anyway, now that i do know, it's DIY fix-it time. Normally, i don't have a problem with this option since i hate
a) strangers in my home and
b) spending money,
but a toilet (my only toilet!) is not something i want to ruin. Reading up online, it has become apparent that while fixing this leak will not be an impossible task, it will be time-consuming and labor-intensive, not to mention the fact that i own one hammer, six or seven screwdrivers (?!), and a pair of pliers, but not a single wrench. Damnit!

So things will be interesting. Waiting for Nat to get home so we can discuss the sitch. Unfortunately, i'm not all that sure that we solve problems well together, so i'm leery of venturing into this project together. But i suppose that's just the way it will have to be! We're going to have to learn eventually, right? And what better place to have that lesson than in the Tiniest Bathroom Known To Man? Sounds like a rollickin' good time.

(By the by, you don't need dye tablets– powdered drink mix (like Kool-Aid), instant coffee, or food coloring will also work. Do it! Save water!)

This thrilling and entertaining Toilet Post has been brought to you by:

Orange Juice. Now if you'll excuse me, i have to go pee.

Monday, November 16

(Are you watching the Leonids? i hope so.)

"Outcry Over Obama's Bow"? Really, Yahoo! News? Really. Sorry, but i'm pretty sure that the nearby article "Why Girls Love Twilight Stars" will make for a much more intelligent and insightful read. Perhaps it's time i switched free email providers- YEAH, i said it! Although, if only there was some kind of assurance that i wouldn't be forced to read asinine article headlines every day. Dang.

In other news, they are announcing Chubbo McCubbo's official name tomorrow over at the San Diego zoo; if the idiots voting chose "Blissful San Diego" i am officially fucking moving.

Also, i have a question: does anyone out there soak and cook their own chickpeas? Because i'm pretty sure that you could set up a fairly accurate test of whether or not someone has Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder by setting them in front of a bowl of soaked chickpeas and observing what happens next. If they have issues, like me, they will sit there for an hour and methodically peel off all the damn skins, one, after the next, after the next... after the next. Or, maybe this is just my glimpse into what my Own Personal Hell will be like: a never-ending bowl of chickpeas, with the skins still on.... Nat always tells me to leave them on BUT I CAN'T, I CAN'T!!

...please send help.

Saturday, November 14

Stuck in the middle with you.

So the better half's family drove down from L.A. this afternoon so we could all celebrate his mom's birthday. Our adventures started out well enough: first we hit up the charming, dusty bookstore DG Wills, where nat's parents hit it off immensely with the owner (who was sitting outside drinking wine with friends when we arrived, !). You would be hard pressed to find a nicer fellow anywhere.
(Incidentally, when nat and i first moved down here, i went around applying at every bookstore i could find, and when i asked this man if the place was hiring, he chuckled and said, "nope... it's just me." Damn. There is exposed wood everywhere, and so much bric-a-brac!)
The place is filled to the gills with books: poetry anthologies, new literature, old kids' books, dictionaries, latin, greek, maritime, art, classics, and so on and so forth. Various antiquated metal objects are everywhere, even up in the rafters; a typewriter, an anchor, an old iron stove.
i snagged a Valentine postcard from 1911 Minnesota:

Dear Mrs. Doll How are you? We are all well We are having lovly weather It will soon be spring than I will expect you down. Mrs. Beebel (?)
[Check out the abbreviation for Cincinnati ("Cin'ti") and the postage square (i assume someone already pilfered the treasure that was the stamp): "United States and Possessions". Awesome.]

Also, a first edition of a late-discovered Wilhelm Grimm tale, Dear Mili, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. i am super excited about this one. It's in great condition, and i hope my kids will read it someday in the wintry light on the floor of their bedroom.

After that, we thoroughly discombobulated a young counterboy at the cafe next door (ugh, we were totally That Annoying Family Who Are Ordering Together But Not All Ready At Once. Sorry, dude.), and then raced to the shore to try and check out the seals. The light was fading too fast, but we managed to enjoy 15 minutes of seal silhouettes and intermittent barking. We then made the poor decision of taking nat's mom to the British pub we recently discovered. We couldn't sit inside because nearly half of the tables were "Reserved" (for a giant group of assholes on a pub crawl, we later discovered), and the space heater near our table outside wasn't working. Then nat's mom's chips were cold, as was her fish, AND her peas... The usual '80s alternative radio they play was, instead, atrocious contemporary light rock, and two of our meals came out ten minutes after the rest. It was tough to enjoy the evening, but then nat's mom called basketball "netball" and everything was well again. Also, we all ended up eating cake and watching Eddie Izzard at home afterward, so who's complainin'? i think a valuable lesson for me to learn, should i ever give in to it, is to quit convincing myself that everyone else is having a horrible time and just enjoy myself. Magnifying and lingering on the tiny problems is never a good idea, and even if i'm not the one doing it, i always manage to convince myself that it's my fault anyway. Good times!

Thank goodness the NyQuil dependency i've built up all week has finally (mostly) disappeared. Gotta get up nice and early tomorrow; my first day back at work after a week of being ill. Let me just say this: i am not excited, not even a little. Especially considering that we're having an employee meeting an hour after i open the shop, which is about the time i'm done opening in the first place. This means there will be no "settling in" period. Better make sure i bring an extra cup of coffee to work; my boss is the type of woman who thinks that saying "Ow! Charlie bit me" is (and ever was) hysterical, and told me that her costume for Halloween was "a Chinese lady".

i will need all the help i can get.

Friday, November 13

Dear Diary,

So, the incredibly sweet and rambunctious grimalkin that we all got to meet last christmas was hit by a car a few days ago, and has moved on from this earthly life.

He was lanky, and feisty: self-confidence was not lacking in this one. One (cold) morning i went down to the microwave in the garage to re-heat a cup of coffee, and i heard scritch-scritch-crunch-scritch. There was Bugsy, behind the recycling, eating a bird he'd killed, and one that was about his size, too. The feathers were black and white, spotted and striped... he looked up at me plainly, alert: what? i'm just down here eating. But each night he would dial back up the kitten-tude, and paw open the bedroom door so he could curl up at our feet, purring and kneading, hungry for love.

He was a very special cat (i know: which ones aren't?), and i can't decide if i was lucky to meet him, or if it just made this loss extra sad. Nah, scratch that. i was lucky, for sure. And apparently, i was also the only one who ever took a photo of the little guy, which i am now using as a motivation for finally getting my 9,000 rolls of film developed. We need to fashion a little shrine, a place to hold and resonate our collective grief.

Meanwhile the dog, beforehand a snubber of the cat's affections, has now taken to sniffing around Bugsy's food bowl, and checking for him around the perimeter of the house. She's gettin' it.


Decided to try and drink some coffee today, unfortunately i don't believe that my system was ready. Just feel jittery and gross. Can't wait for things to be back to normal. The holidays are coming; my boss is asking me about scheduling on Thanksgiving. It's sure to be a whirlwind. Before we know it, christmas will be here again, and then gone. Don't believe i'll even have snow to show for it this year. Ah, the passing of time. Pay attention– it's quick.

A friend has sent me two old manual cameras. Sure wish this gladdened my heart instead of filling me with dread... when's the last time i even snapped a picture? It's been ages. Perhaps that's part of the problem. Need to get out more.

Love to all.

Thursday, November 12

Marginally better.

Wow, so i just bit off a righteous hangnail and let me tell you, there is little more disturbing than blood spatter all over the keys of a bright white MacBook. (Nat, if you're reading this, don't worry: i used the 180 proof.) ::shudder::

Spent the day tiptoeing around the place, trying my best not to cough. You see, i sneezed so much in the past two days that the slightest cough (or giggle) sends me into the higher levels of my pain threshold. Not fun times.

Decided it would be best to spend the evening in bed, watching Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte, since my mom and bro have been pestering me to watch it since forever, and really– who can ever have enough Bette Davis? What a talent.

(still bleeding over here, by the way.)

Not much more to say today except that it will be so nice to taste my dinner. i really hope that gets to happen tonight.

And, just because (i had to!):

Tuesday, November 10

you know you're sick, when:

~After a full (9 hours!) night of sleep, you wake up feeling like you've just taken a long tumble down an extremely rocky cliffside.

~Your face is leaking.

~Parts of your back hurt that you never even knew existed. (Are those actually internal organs? Maybe.)

~One minute you are throwing open windows and stripping to a tank top, and the next you are wearing two sweaters, socks and sweatpants, curled up in bed under the Extra Blanket.

~Your brain's processing power is so feeble that you find yourself watching "Bolt" on your computer. (Thanks, Netflix!)

~Your go-to meal is toast, toast, and more toast.

On the other hand, being ill offers up a great reserve of time in which to read all those books you have laying next to your bed. i just finished reading Logicomix, wherein i learned a great deal about Bertrand Russell (and logic/math in general), through the über-accessible vehicle of the graphic novel. Also interesting has been Oliver Sacks' An Anthropologist On Mars, where i've just heard the tale of the man who was in a traffic accident and afterward became (completely!) colorblind, seeing the world in only shades of black and white (and grey). Ugh! If you think that sounds nice, well– you're mistaken. Just check out his offering of fruits, all pieces of which he has painted grey. Try and salivate over that leaden orange. No really, go ahead! To make matters worse, this man was a painter and could no longer enjoy his craft, or the works of others (unless they were black-and-white photographs, which remained unaffected). He even noted a distinction in tone between black-and-white TV and color TV with the color turned all the way down.

Also reading There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. Bone-scraping stuff. Real, and harsh. Much less magical than, say, Angela Carter. More bleak and numbing. But good.

Listening to older Animal Collective and newer PJ Harvey. One is emotional, palliative, and jubilant, while the other is rough and unsettling. Actually, they both are all of those things.

Off to tea and... well, toast.


Illustration: PESTLE AND MORTAR.