Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Overheard in L.A., whilst eating brunch:

(Scene: Two butchy lesbians seated to my left at a Carribbean café, discussing lesbian sex in VIVID DETAIL, then diverting to a discussion of their mutual circle of friends...)

BL 1: So, my friends all came up with nicknames....like Shayna is Sheniqua and Laura is Lakisha...

BL 2: Well, what is YOUR nickname?

BL 1: (Appearing confused) Um, I don't HAVE a black nickname...because I'm BLACK.

BL 2: (silence) Oh. Right.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Rejoice, women of the world, for I have found the best place to meet men:

Venice Blvd. between Robertson and National, I swear.

It is in this glorious stretch of semi-abandoned wonderland that I have been flagged down not once, but twice by nubile young male motorists.

Today it began with a technique I refer to as The Parallel Drive...the car on your side (most usually the passenger side, which makes this maneuver all the more special), suddenly slows down and starts driving as if magnetically attached to your vehicular forcefield.

After this slick move came the come-hither hand motions; I glanced once, to be sure I wasn't hallucinating a hawk or something fluttering outside my passenger window (it had been a long day), and then again, locking eyes with a dude sporting a serious fade and driving the auto world chick magnet, an Aztek.

This is where it gets tricky, my friends. I was about to dive into a road rage-reducing book on CD, when I realized that I actually had to roll my window down and find out why Kid n Play was wildly gesturing in my direction -

You see, the last time a gentleman flagged me down on that particular stretch of Venice Blvd, it was to tell me that my right front hubcap had flown off somewhere near Overland and bounced off some guy's rims before boucing off some other guy's bumper.

Concerned Motorist: M'am, you should probably go back and get that.
Unconcerned Motorist: (Crawling in rush hour traffic) Yeah, sure. Thanks. (Sacrificing wayward hubcap to the gods of the roadway in order to avoid slowing my drivetime commute)

So I couldn't risk not knowing whether or not my car was once again producing projectiles.

Vaguely Concerned Motorist: (Keenly aware that it is impossible to keep one eye in front and one looking at homeboy) Yes?
Aztek Warrior: I'm sorry to bother you, m'am. (Always with the "m'am") You are just so beautiful.
VCM: Wha...? (Stopping at red light)
Aztek Warrior: (Joining me at red light) I mean, if you don't mind, I'd like to ask you a question...
VCM: (Driving rapidly through green light)
Aztek Warrior: ( Engaging in The Parallel Drive) You're just so beautiful - can I take you out for a fine lunch or dinner sometime? Or maybe invite you to one of my concerts?"
VCM: (Putting book on CD into player, rolling up window)
Aztek Warrior: Wait...wait....girl, you'd get to come backstage, I promise...

The left lane. Hot new pickup spot. Just make sure you have automatic windows, or else you're screwed.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thome pretty good pathta

Today began with yesterday.

And an ill-fated piece of chicken.

I sat in a borrowed chair at my own dining room table, supping with a fine selection of Katy's ex-roommates and such, when I speared a ricotta-smeared cut of chicken. I registered the fresh basil, the tomato, something herb-y, and then pain.

Oh, the pain.

A sharp, horrid pain that shot right down the right side of my tongue, where I'd mashed it between my ravenous molars. I shot a panicked look at Jonathan, to my right. I said, "I think I may pass out." I saw quick flashes of bright light. Jonathan looked confused.

Then I just looked straight ahead, focusing hard on my tongue, trying to will the pain away. Meditating on that hunk of pink flesh and muscle, half-panicked that I gnawed a chunk of it off, effectively cannibalizing myself.

Then I ate some decadent, silky chocolate mousse pie, because what the fuck else are you supposed to do when you chaw half your tongue off? Chocolate is the food pyramid's equivalent of Vicodin, I am sure of it.

I woke up this morning instantly aware of my tongue, of my saliva sort of pooling around it. I am a serial teeth-gnasher at night and I did myself no favors during my slumber. The entire right side was sort of...well...scalloped. I stared at myself in the mirror. My tongue was deformed.

And it hurt like hell.

I went to work, conscious of my mangled tongue every long minute of the drive. When David arrived at the office, I felt compelled to explain what happened:

Me: "If I thound funny, it'th becauthe I bit my tongue latht night."
David: "Wow, what were you eating?"
Me: "Thome pretty good pathta."
David: "Well, that's all that matters, then."

Yeah, I gave myself a temporary speech impediment.

After slurring myself through our Monday staff meeting, I went to Costco for an eye exam. While I filled out the paperwork, I noticed a vaguely elderly gentleman with a sort of neo-jheri curl staring at me. Once caught, he blurted out:

"I am so sorry, but you are really beautiful."

Me: (Checking "No" next to Glaucoma) "Um, thank you."
Neo-Jheri Man: And you have really nice skin. Just great skin."
Me: (Checking "No" next to Cataracts) "Thath's really nithe of you. Um, thankths."
N-J Man: "I don't mean to be rude, but are you a model? You look like you could be a European model. You just have grrreat skin!"
Me: (Checking "No" next to Old Guy Hitting On Me) "Uh, no."

I made it through the appointment unscathed and presented my Amex to pay, but alas, it was not allowed.

"You take Vitha?"

Yeah, they took Vitha.

Except for my card was declined...twice. I called the company and they explained that I reported my card lost or stolen....in early August. Which I never did. Because it was right there in my wallet, accounted for. My Vitha, nestled in its little pocket.

After twenty minutes of my spitting out of the right side of my mouth and hassling the call center lady, I convinced her to at least accept the transaction for the sake of my continued sight, especially since one sense was already impaired. Then I was home free.

My last errand of the workday was a trip to mail out approximately 11 large boxes. I stood in line next to a bouncy girl dressed in the color wheel equivalent of Pepto Bismol and a decidedly hairy dude in a festive mix of tie-dye and paisley. And sandals. With socks.

While I stood behind my tower o'boxes, the two of them forged an inexplicable bond and the girl began yammering about Burning Man:

Pinky: "Oh my god! So you've been to Burning Man, too! So you get it! It's all about love and peace and we're out there in the desert just building our own utopia, and when we're in that dome, with the rainbow ribbons flying around, spinning and holding fire, that is what society is supposed to be like. You know? Yeah, exactly. And I just think that people have the wrong view of us, like we're some sort of cult, like a gang or something just out there in the desert. They don't understand our true spirit. It's not like we're all camped out there in these little groups, like, planning bad things to do to people."

Clashing Patterns Man: "So, well, uh, I'll see you there next year..."

Pinky: "Oh, yeah, well, look for our group. We all dress the same--all pink!--and kind of have our own secluded area that we camp in; we're called the Pink Ladies."

CPM: "Oh."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Two Things That Brightened My Friday Even Further Than I'd Imagined

1) When I was listening to the radio and a guest on the show was making up his very own version of The Kinks' "Lola" and rhymed "LaVar Burton" with "Beef Curtain."

2) When I was doing some sort of sadomasochistic thing at the gym (wherein Parfait instructed me to pull the weight of 10 oxen whilst squatting at an uncomfortable 40 degree angle whilst thrusting my chest out like a tranny with overfilled implants), and said instructor suddenly initiated the following conversation:

Parfait: Mademoiselle, do you have any brothers or sisters?

Mademoiselle: (Grunting like an overworked Romanian peasant girl, straining under weight of oxen) Uh, yeah. A sister.


Mademoiselle: (Inner monologue realizing that P-Diddy wants me to ask if HE has siblings) Do YOU have any brothers and sisters?

Parfait: (Signature, high-pitched laugh emits from giant head) I have twenty-four.

Mademoiselle: (Dropping oxen, feeling tiny muscle threads start to splinter away from the pack) WHAT? All by the same mother and father? Or different ones?

Parfait: (Clearly bemused. SO VERY HAPPY that we have the chance to discuss this; not paying attention to my crumpled body leaning against the wall in the wake of oxen.) No, no, no, Madame. My father have three wives.

Mademoiselle: (Clearly shocked. Eating flies. Making undecipherable sound. His father have three wives.)

Parfait:: Yes, in my village, polygamy is normal. (Leaning in uncomfortably close, swishing his finger around in the air in front of my nose) In my village, the more wife and children you have, the more respect you have. The chief, you know how many wife the chief have?

Mademoiselle: (Inner monologue only making mumbling sounds now)

Parfait: Mademoiselle! You look so funny! The chief have 200 wife! 200 wife!

Mademoiselle: (Finally realizing that this may be the only time I get to interview a Cameroonian polygamist-in-training; seizing the opportunity; regaining use of voice) So, Parrrrrfait, how many wives do YOU want to have?

Parfait: (Emitting that high-pitched sound again, like he's a pec-heavy helium balloon slowly losing air) Madame! I think you are afraid of many wife in this country. I am not married now. But, if I meet a pretty girl, why don't I marry her, too, instead of cheating on my other wife? The whole word do it this way; only America is backward. The world would be happier place if we all had big family.

There you have it, folks. The secret to world peace, as told by a hulking, log-necked Cameroonian personal trainer at LA Fitness.

Friday, June 8, 2007

je t'adore l'eau!

This week was the week that my cat picked to start rubbing his wet little cat-nose all over my face at approximately 5am - each morning. Without fail.

This week was also the week where I accidentally deleted all of my work mailboxes from my mail program.

This week was also the week wherein a dirt-caked dude motioned and attempted to whisper sweet nothings to me whilst peeing on the sidewalk in front of the post office; incidentally, the post office where I was nearly escorted out after engaging in a verbal disagreement with the very stupid postal worker lady behind Window No. 1 who insisted that I needed a pin number to use the work-issued, specifically-for-the-post-office-so-I-can-mail-packages-to-dudes-like-Ben-Fong-Torres-which-I-did-this-week gift card that said "Gift Card" on it.

However, this week was also the week that, at 8:30am, a man sauntered into the office and said that he had free water for me...

Oh yessss... FREE water. For me.

The upside had arrived.

Aqua Delivery Man: Hi, I'm (insert generic, one-syllable name here). I have your free water sample from Contrex.

Still Half-Asleep Me: (Dude, CONTREX? Sounds like an incontinence drug). Uh, I don't think I ordered free water.

ADM: Well, I spoke to Allejandra...Allejandro...Allegria...

SH-AM: We don't have an Alle-whatever here... (Reconsidering, after brain finally computes word "free")...but, say...what kind of water is that?

ADM: Contrex! It is natural French mineral water designed for women! It will [insert catch-phrasy crap here that sounds totally bogus]! How many cases do you want - there are 12 bottles to a case.

SH-AM: (Considering how we already get overwatered bi-weekly by a different, overly-zealous ADM) Um, one is fine.

Time elapses. Consider the bad choice I made in "brewing" the instant-decaf coffee that was hidden behind the shiny foil party hats (yes, really) and plastic plates. Stomach starts to turn. Eat a chunk of dark chocolate sitting next to the Maker's Mark (yes, really). Wonder when I'll wake up.

Suddenly - a noise from the doorway -

Contrex Man: (Wheeling in a giant palette of boxes) How about 4 cases! So thats...12 liter bottles in each case. Where should I put them?

SH-AM: (Holy Jeezus, that is a lot of freakin' Contrex Water.) Uh, in the store room.

Contrex Man cheerfully dropped all 20 tons of Contrex Water and, no joke, 30 pamphlets (for our large office of 4 staff) and bid me adieu. I stared at the space that used to be the storage room, now occupied by a mountain of Contrex. I took a bottle. I sipped. It was weird. I kept sipping. It was free.

As luck would have it, none of my co-workers enjoyed the mineral-y tastes of fresh French Contrex. I am now the proud owner of 48 liters of weird-tasting water. FREE water. My week has been redeemed.

Monday, April 23, 2007

making enemies, with a cherry on top

Oh, the gym....land of opportunity, land of pain.

Now that I'm a bona fide gym-goer, I've been assigned a regular personal trainer (sadly, I bid adieu to Rico/Fox, as he has other potential suckers to lure into this den of sweat and beefcakes).

The name of my new personal trainer, you ask?


It is pronounced like you think it is pronounced.

I approached the training desk for my first session with Parfait, and asked for her as such. The swarthy dude at the desk laughed and said, "Hey, Pudding, your 5:30 is here."

Parfait/Pudding turned out to be a big, bald, burly, brusque, beefy black man.

My internal monologue raced, as it tends to do in these types of situations:

Ha hahaha FUCKIN HA that man's name is Parfait!

Do I have to call him that?

No, no, no. His name CAN'T be Parfait. That guy is obviously joking. This man looks like an American Gladiator with a steady stream of adrenaline flooding his bloodstream and an appetite for big slabs of protein. His name isn't really Parfait. They are fucking with me.

Pudding/Parfait: [In indecipherable Germanic/French accent] You are Shawn?

Shawn: Té - Shawnté

P/P: Okay [mumbles something similar to my name] have a seat. We talk about how you eat. Do you eat good? Tell me what you eat.

: [Dying to say, "Parfaits," but my angel side told my asshole side to shut up] You know, I eat pretty good. Healthy-like. Um, you know, vegetables and fruit and granola and stuff. Crackers. Pasta.

P/P: [Face blanching when I mention Crackers, Pasta.] No, no [again with the mumble], that is why you are tired and want to lose weight-

: [Imagine me, but indignant] - Hang on, I don't want to lose weight. I just want to be....[thinking of what Rico/Fox said the last time]...deeeelicious. For the beach.

This is about when Parfait (Ha! Hahahahaha! HA!) and I walk towards the free weights and I suddenly can't control my inner monologue anymore; dear god, it just vomits out:

"Your name isn't really Parfait, is it?"

He stops. Looks at me. I suddenly wished I was beached on my couch instead of cowering in the shadow of Parfait's steroidally ripped physique.

He says, "YES, IT IS," and then proceeds to work me out so hard I grunt "FUCK" no less than 20 times in a 30 minute span.

It is 4 days later and even my armpits still hurt.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

sea legs on the head

So, today I was supposed to be camping in Joshua Tree, eatin' s'mores, roasting hot dogs, drinking whiskey, running around like a headless chicken in the desert...you know. However, I did not confirm early enough and wasn't no room for me to cop a ride, so I accepted a ride on a yacht instead.

Yeah, baby. A fuckin' yacht!

There were only a few rules on this yacht:

1) Flush the toilet with the foot pedal
3) No falling overboard

Easy as pie. Right?

About five minutes after this speech, I visited the loo to prepare myself for an afternoon of alcohol and sun (superb combo, if I might add). I did a quick tinkle, wiiiiped, and...threw the paper into the toilet...

NO! Nooooooo! RULE #2!!! SHIT! (Not literally...at least at this point.)

I made a power dive and caught the last dry corner of the TP and just held it there, over the bowl, thinking, considering my options...

If we aren't supposed to put the toilet paper in the toilet...where are we supposed to put it....?

I looked around, still gingerly holding the dripping tissue above the bowl. I pulled open a cupboard. No. I slid open a door. NO. I looked to the side and saw...

A garbage can. The toilet paper needed to go in the garbage can.

Well, fuck. It is sopping wet.

I flung the TP into the can and stared at it.

I need to cover that with something. Anything. Tissues! Yes! I will just ball up tissues and throw them on top of that sopping wet, used TP and it will be fine!

Wad, wad, wad...throw...

...right into the fucking toilet.

How is this possible???? I haven't even started drinking yet!! SHIT!!!

I made the second rescue attempt of the afternoon, but I wasn't so lucky with this one...it started to go under, slowly, slowly....so I grabbed even more tissue and started wadding it up to try to fish this tissue out of the toilet. Pieces started splintering off, floating around in the bowl.

Then, as if things couldn't get worse, there was a knock at the door. I banged my elbow on the wall. Yacht bathrooms are tiny. A line was forming outside. Now they were going to think that I was taking so long because I was taking a shit in there. GREAT. 5 minutes into my virgin yachting experience and I was ruining not only the septic system, but also my reputation.

Fish, fish, fish....finally I had a large enough wad of dry tissue that I was able to sort of dredge up the wad of tissue I inadvertently dropped in the tank. God, wet tissue is heavy. I whipped the whole mess into the garbage can, flushed the toilet, threw down the lid, and stuffed several more wads of dry tissue in the can to cover up my mess.

Then I went and drank 4 bellinis in a row. Because that's what you do when you're on a yacht and you just spent 10 minutes fishing used toilet paper out of a toilet bowl and everyone thinks you have irregular bowel movements.

And now I think I have the flu.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Falafel is the New Ceviche

You'd think "once bitten, twice shy" for me when it comes to replicating my favorite foods outside of their natural surroundings (See: Ceviche), but alas, it's more like "twice bitten, maybe the next bite will be better."

It was a sunny afternoon earlier this week that I decided to make a combo bank-food run (there is a natural relationship there) near my Culver City workplace. I parked my car without feeding the meter, because I like to tempt fate and I give a silent victory call each time I return after a prolonged, unpaid absence and find my car sans ticket. Suck that, meter maid! Also, I just forget to plug the meter sometimes, because I can be kind of spacey when it comes to those kinds of things.

Anyways, after depositing the equivalent of a month and a half's worth of unemployment income into my account (the process by which I had to find the one, singular Chase ATM in ALL OF LOS ANGELES in order to withdraw the money from my New York State WorkForce card was a struggle, let me tell you), I strolled across the street to Daphne's Gyros. Mediterranean! I love Mediterranean food!

Let me preface by explaining that not only did I live in New York for a chunk of of time, but I also worked for a Jewish organization for a chunk of that chunk of time, so I have developed a sophisticated taste for hummus, falafel, tabouleh and their culinary kin. (Why I never pursued a food writing career path is beyond me...and you, as well, I'm sure...)

I scanned the menu...Yes! A falafel sandwich on pita! With...french fries? Okay, I'll take french fries. I would rather have an Israeli salad, but okay, Daphne's, I'll take the fries. (Strike one for authenticity, but I was hopeful.)

I waited and waited and the hostess finally called, "Shwantee?" Because my mother used to force me to do this as a child, I muttered a quick "Shawnte'" and grabbed my goodies.

As I approached my car, I saw an ominous figure...nofuckingwayametermaid!Shitshitshitshit! I tried to run over to my car and...tripped. In front of a patio full of lunchtime diners. Nice, Shwantee, nice. But, as I am a trooper, I brushed myself off, ignored the guy at Table 2 who whistled "Niiiiice, baaaaybaaaaay..." and made it to my car right before it was about to become victimized. Whew.

I put my blinkers on and, unable to resist, I tore into the takeout box. The fries were coated in paprika, but I didn't care about fries...it was the falafel that I wanted. I slowly unwrapped it....

...why is that tomato green? Did I order the Southern falafel? Hmmmm. Is that...a wedge of red onion in there? Like a quarter of an entire red onion? Okay, I can separate that out myself, I don't mind a D.I.Y. lunch. And....wait...what are THOSE???

Apparently, when they said "falafel" they meant "tiny, flat discs of burnt, greenish chickpeas." I tried a bite and until that moment, I never before considered that falafel could be considered "tough."

I wrapped it back up and drove straight to work. I will never eat another falafel in this town again.