Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TOP 10 OF 2008

I know you're wondering to yourself, "Self, what could Shawnté possibly be listing here?" You may be confused and/or confounded, and that's understandable since, of course, I could very well be presenting any one of my well-researched lists of:

* Top 10 Cheeses of 2008
* Top 10 Words Created and/or Smooshed Together With Kathy in the Hackmart Office
* Top 10 Terms of Endearment Cooed Whilst Snuggling Eddie Cat Halen
* Top 10 Daydreams About Chocolate
* Top 10 Methods for Procrastinating When There is Work to be Done
* Top 10 Lusted-After Items from Anthropologie
* Top 10 Scenarios Cooked Up in Head for When the Day Comes that I Meet Joaquin Phoenix
* Top 10 Beats Created on Steering Wheel and/or Thighs While Driving To and/or From Work

But alas, you will have to wait another day to learn what might comprise those extraordinary lists. Instead, I'm going to go out on a limb here and gift you with my totally subjective list of my Top 10 Albums of 2008.

Surprise, surprise.

In No Particular Order
(Ok, in alphabetical order)

I wish I'd taken Caitlin's advice sooner and given these Carolina mountainboy-lovehunks a listen a few years back. Luckily, fate intervened when I discovered that an entire chunk of my LA posse was in love with these (mostly) brothers and their harmonious punk rock-meets-back porch holler. When Mo gifted me a "Favorite Avetts" mixtape (er, CD...), I was hooked...and just in time to be wooed at Red Rocks during the Monolith Festival. I would marry them all if I could. Long live the Avetts!

Dude, THANK YOU, Danger Mouse. For reals. The Black Keys were great before, but this album was positively stratospheric. Sometimes, when I closed my eyes, it was like Cee-Lo was right there, wearing a tu-tu and bowler hat, singing right alongside with The Black Keys. This was space-jam blues-rock at its best. Holla!

With Amy Winehouse up shit creek without a paddle or her Blake incarcerated, thank Wales for producing this little Lulu for the aughts. Her songs aren't anything new, per se, but with her vocal chords wrapped around that slinky 60's girl-group production, ain't no one gonna mind if she's sangin' the same old songs. Bonus points for the infectious title track and how I think of it every time we're recording the iTunes Weekly Rewind and David says, "What's happenin', Rockbarry?"

You gotta see 'em live. Leila Moss is a slinky little minx on stage, all legs and attitude. Oh, and fucking ridiculous pipes. The rhythm section steals my heart every time I give this CD a listen - the build-up in "This Ship Was Meant To Last" gives me goosebumps and would totally make my "Top 10 Beats Created on Steering Wheel and/or Thighs While Driving To and/or From Work" list if that was a real list. This album makes me want a set of floor toms in my bedroom.

Thank you, blogosphere, for bringing me Fleet Foxes. Listening to this album transports me to the forests ringing the outskirts of Portland, where I have never even been. It's that powerful! What made me even happier and further ensconced this band in my Yes Yes YES file was watching them live and realizing that if angels were bearded, wore flannel, sported hippie hair, and were total geekboys, this is how they would sound. Good lord, those harmonies! Good, good lord.

Whenever I listen to my husband (Jemaine) and his sidekick (Bret), it's business time. I had no idea such wickedly gifted musician/comedians existed on this lonely planet until the land below the land Down Unda unleashed this freakishly talented and gorgeously hot-like duo upon us. Are your nipples hard, Bowie? Are your rhymes bottomless? Is that why they're called business socks? Is it the Year 2000, the distant future?

This is one of those rare albums that makes me want to do some sort of delicious combination of dancing, playing the drums, and making sweet dirty love. In fact, after seeing them live, I kind of wanted to make sweet dirty love to Jamie Hince, because about three chords in on their opening song, he started looking ugly-pretty like Tyra always says on ANTM. I love blues-dance-electro-rock. I really, really do. I don't care if it gives me fugly rock musician goggles.

In the efforts of full disclosure, my name is on this CD packaging, and about 9 months of my life was put into promoting this damn album. But you know what? I fucking LOVED this album. Syrupy sweet Beatles-esque Zeppelinified dancey-dancey pop rock n roll to soothe my soul. Even though half of it is in Japanese, I still sang every word, even if it sounded like "lame in like I did it, same on I three days punt" when I sang the Japanese parts. I still don't understand why "Everybody Needs Somebody" didn't end up on an iPod commercial. Damn the damn.

Oh, Nick, you sexy menacing man, you. I thought you topped it all with Grinderman. Clearly, I was wrong. Here, you bring back some of that dirty carnival barker-meets-seductive señor magic you did so well in the past, and allowed the Bad Seeds to grind out the rock. I know that I'd probably have nightmares if you sang me to sleep, but I wouldn't mind one bit.

Do these guys ever make non-genius music? If so, they must hide that shit away because this album, like their others, blew me away with the first song, "Halfway Home," and just kept on going until the end. Walls of noise, layers of sonic fuzz, loud hints of disco, and ridiculously smart lyrics...and even some Massive Attackian whispers, like on the addictive "DLZ." Plus, it's so much fun to say "Tunde Adebimpe."


BIRDMONSTER - From the Mountain to the Sea: San Franciscan Fugazi folk rock

BON IVER - For Emma, Forever Ago: Enters Northwoods Wisconsin cabin a heartbroken boy, emerges a heartbroken man

BLITZEN TRAPPER - Furr: Like snuggling under a fleece blanket with a stubbly-faced mountain boy

THE BREEDERS - Mountain Battles: Because they didn't give a fuck about critics, they made this avant-garde delight

THE CURE - 4:13 Dream: I love you, Fat Bob. Marry me.

DEVOTCHKA - A Mad & Faithful Telling: Haunting gypsy chamber pop for lovers

THE EXPLORERS CLUB - Freedom Wind: Carolina boys channel Brian Wilson & the gang to marvelous effect

GNARLES BARKLEY - The Odd Couple: Eerie-hop from two of the freakiest minds in music

MY IMAGINARY FRIENDS - This is My Knife: A honey-voiced Erin Armstrong wins with heart-on-sleeve and fingers-on-piano

THE PRETENDERS - Break up the Concrete: Chrissie still has the mojo, baby!

THE RACONTEURS - Consolers of the Lonely: The White who?

SCARLETT JOHANSSEN - Anywhere I Lay My Head: Listen, haters, I liked it.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - soundtrack: Made me want to scoop up everything A.R. Rahman's ever scored...

TEDDY THOMPSON - A Piece of What You Need: A late find, but a hot one - Richard & Linda's baby boy has The Gift

So...now get all of this on iTunes or at Amoeba! NOW!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


It’s been a good one, I must say—probably the best in memory. As always, it’s been a year of changes and adjustment, but it’s also been a year of incredible good fortune and fun:

1. Having the best family & friends in the universe. I win.

2. Participating in the birth of my dearest friend Christy’s baby boy, Oliver. Speechless.

3. The whirlwind Denver music festival adventure that was Monolith. Now Ric Baca, The Avetts, and Sputnik mimosas hold a dear place in my heart.

4. Being home in Wisconsin. Camp & GC Crew reunions were topped only by a mother-daughter day in Door County, complete with fish boil and sunset on the shore of Lake Michigan.

5. Watching my job at HackTone Records segue into two amazing new opportunities, allowing me to remain pleasantly swamped under a deluge of music every day, all day.

6. Voting for Barack Obama and for the first time, being overwhelmed with emotion as I marked my ballot.

7. Getting a handle on this gluten-sucks bizness and watching my body return to full health.

8. Waking up each morning to Eddie Cat Halen, the most loving ball of fur to trot on four feet.

9. Driving across these great states with MaryEllen & Max, through rainstorms, dust devils, hurricanes, missing headlights, monsoons, and handicapped-accessible rest stops in Mississippi. We made it – with style, and more than a few mementos.

10. Spending my 30th birthday at a cabin in Big Bear with some of the best people I’ve ever met, who created for me the best birthday treat I’ve ever eaten, and even provided shiny unicorn-themed party hats.

11. Riding a beach cruiser around the gorgeous streets and alleyways of Charleston with the two most lovely ladies, on the loveliest spring day – then chowing mushy, salty boiled peanuts on a curb in our skirts, bikes at our sides, totally carefree.

12. Returning to New York after two years’ absence to vague terrorist threats, alone time at the Met, gluten-free pizza, Gencarellaville, scenic Montclair, my old blue casserole dish, and a lot of ridiculously great people.

13. Enjoying Disneyland 5 times in 12 months. This needs no further explanation.

14. Being very pleasantly surprised at the power that is Patti Smith, and remembering that music can often make times and friends far away seem completely within reach.

15. Experiencing a 4 Non Blondes weekend in Encinitas, and being in awe of both Henry Herms’ tortillas and Henry Herms, himself. Always knew Mo came from great stock, but that made it crystal clear.

16. Interviewing my dream man, Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords. We briefly touched hands while I asked him dumb questions about banal subjects for a magazine that wouldn’t care. It was magical.

17. Discovering the Museum of Jurassic Technology on an In-N-Out-fueled day with Alex. Then going back with MaryEllen and discovering that the place was a WHOLE lot bigger than I realized.

18. Watching the Cure at the Hollywood Bowl. I cried during the encore (ironically, “Boys Don't Cry”).

19. Cracking eggs, singing karaoke, drinking tequila, rolling baklava, and delicately peeling off browned spit-roasted crunchy delicious lamb-bits during my first Greek Easter.

20. Enjoying a wine-and-cheese-fueled weekend spent at a faux-gypsy encampment nestled on a lake outside of Paso Robles.

So - thanks to all of you who were a part of all of these memories and the quadzillions more that would have taken up too much space here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Apparently it only takes a few days back in New York City to set my mind at unease.

Laura and I hustled over to Penn Station Wednesday evening to meet up with Cousin Kevin, so that we could all journey on down to the Dirty Jerz, where copious amounts of delicious Gencarellaville treats and booze were laid out in preparation for our impending arrival. Osso bucco. Jigsaw puzzles. Whiskey. All for us to consume.

We were on a mission. We fought our way through an extraordinarily chaotic and packed terminal and tried to find the ticket line. ANY ticket line. Any line. Any ticket.

Me: Laura, it's kind of busy in here.
Laura: Well, it's the night before Thanksgiving, of course it's busy.
Me: But it seems kind of weird, like something is wrong -
Announcer: Attention all...jumble...due to...mumble...there is only one track...jumble mumble...in and out...mumble...Penn Station...

No. There was not ONE train track in operation on the busiest travel day of the year. LIES. I couldn't have heard that right. There was tender veal an hour away. It couldn't be.

Me: So, hey, Laura - did you hear that? I think it said something about there being only one track going in and out of Penn Station.
Laura: No, couldn't be. Let's get in line and get our tickets. We'll figure it out.

We get in line. This line goes on and on and on and on and on. I suddenly feel as if I've been deposited in the train station of a third world country, left to fend for myself in the massive herd. No matter - I'll look at the Departures board and see what track we'll be leaving from:

Departures Board: Cancelled. Delayed. Cancelled. Standby. Standby. Standby. Standby. Cancelled.

Hm. I start to get paranoid here. Wondering, worrying what might happen if there really is only one track in and out of Penn Station tonight, if that sweet, tender, juicy veal will be cold when I finally take my teeth to it.

Nonsense. We ask a guy next to us what's going on.

Guy Next To Us In Line: Oh, well, I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but did you hear about Mumbai?
Us: No?
GNTUIL: Oh, well, there were some major terrorist attacks there. And there's some sort of terrorist alert for New York right now.

This is when I whipped out my iPhone (dear, sweet electronic manna) and started reading. Oh dear. Oh jesus. Oh lord. What is the world coming to?? Those poor people in Mumbai. And what's this...credible information about a terrorist attack on New York? Around Thanksgiving? On the rail transport? ON PENN STATION?!?

Sonofabitch. I want to go. Now. I do not care about veal. I do not care about Thanksgiving. I do not want the terrorists to get me.

Oh man. I'm afraid. They've already gotten me.

I keep these thoughts to myself and Laura buys the tickets. We spot Cousin Kevin. I start having a meltdown about how we will never leave Penn Station and we will never make Thanksgiving and we will never eat veal or drink whiskey or make puzzles and I'm thirsty and I'm hungry and WHY AREN'T THE TRAINS LEAVING? DID THE TERRORISTS GET THEM???


I shut up.

When they finally call the next train for the one track that was both going in and out of Penn Station, there was a massive rush of people. Laura muttered something like, "This is how people get killed," and then right away, all I could think about where those holy pilgrimmages in India where the people got killed in a stampede and if anything, it made me stop thinking about terrorists for a minute.

They finally called our train and we boarded. I sat across from Mac McAlcohol-Breath, who reeked of day-old Popov, with a hint of Coors Light. I didn't care - we were on our way to veal; the terrorists could not stop us.

And then we sat.
And we sat.
And we sat some more.

And then the conductor made vague allusions to some problem on the tracks being the reason for the delay, and once again I thought that the terrorists were going to get me and most of all that my mom would be pissed that I was dumb enough to take public transportation when the terrorists were totally waging jihad against Penn Station. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Sorry, mom.

I did not tell Laura or Cousin Kevin about any of my paranoid thoughts, because I think I came about 2 tiny little filaments of angel hairs away from Laura slapping the shit out of me on the platform, and I didn't want to encourage that trend.

We sat in silence, Kevin at the front of the car, Laura across the way, and me facing Mac McAlcohol-Breath, who was having a field day taunting the restless grade schoolers across the aisle. We had been sitting there an hour. The children went rogue; their father's head was laid gently in his cupped hands; their teary-eyed mother was searching for valium, and Mac McAlcohol-Breath was threatening to pop their balloon.

Then the train moved!
I cheered.

Train Conductor: Sorry about the delay...as we mentioned, there was a fire in the tunnel, but now we're on our way!


And then I settled in with Sudoku.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Dateline: Saturday, September 20th - Liam Finn at the Echoplex

After watching his surprisingly high-energy magnifico set at Monolith, I wanted to see Liam Finn bust out his crazy shit here in L.A. I won a pair of tickets online and took my dearest MaryEllen for a night of Kiwi rock.

Towards the end of the Veils' set, before Liam's set, MaryEllen and I went for a lil rester and sat down to chat about our extremely awesome and exciting lives. That's when I saw him again...

The same guy we saw earlier, lounging in a dark corner by himself. He was wearing skinny jeans, a ruffled shirt, and a piercing stare. He looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn't figure out why. He was slightly disturbing. Also, he was walking toward us. Kind of lumbering straight for us, like a tall, skinny, dark-haired Igor with a ruffled tuxedo shirt on.

Ruffled Shirt Weirdo: Excuse me, do you mind if I awkwardly join your conversation?

Me: Um, I guess you just did.

He sits. We exchange pleasantries and realize that he, too, won tickets from the same blog.

Me: Um, well, didn't you win TWO tickets? Why isn't anyone with you?

RSW: Oh, well, no one wanted to come with me. They were all busy.

Awkward silence.

Yeah, they said they were all busy, dude. That's what they said.

MaryEllen: Well, I guess let's do the basics - where are you from, what do you do?

He lets out a squeaky, George McFly laugh.

RSW: Well, I'm a writer.

Me: Oh, ok. What kind of writer?

RSW: [Fidgeting awkwardly whilst awkwardly conversating] Well, a screenwriter. But I have a day job to pay the bills, since it's not working out so well yet.

Me: Oh, I know a screenwriter.

Awkward silence.

Me: Um, so what's your day job? Doesn't seem like you like it too much?

RSW: Well, I work at Universal Studios, on the back lot tour. I play Norman Bates.


Me: [Incredulously, realizing that there was a reason that he was so eerily familiar to me] OF COURSE YOU DO. YOU LOOK JUST LIKE NORMAN BATES FROM PSYCHO>

He smiles. Awkward silence.

Me: [To MaryEllen] Um, I think I hear a guitar tuning. [I didn't actually] I bet that's Liam Finn. We should go. [To RSW - ] Enjoy the show!

Norman Bates Ruffled Shirt Weirdo: [Stands, follows us like a zombie about to siphon our souls from our bodies using only his teeth and a thin piece of cheesecloth] Oh, okay!

He parks himself squarely behind us as we wait for Liam Finn to appear magically and save our souls. I realize that I am in desperate need of some Chapstick, but remember that I lost it at a luncheon on Friday. At that luncheon, you see, I sat next to the son of the founder of Tacori Jewelry, who offered up his Chapstick without a second thought when I realized that I lost my own. Yeah, that was weird.

So, anyways, MaryEllen looks at me, clearly sorry, and says, "No, I'm sorry - I don't have any."

Then I hear a voice from behind me. Oh, dear.

NBRSW: Did I hear you asking for chapstick?

Awkward silence.

NBRSW: [Pulling something out of his pocket] Well, you can use MINE.


Me: [Digging frantically for anything I can find in my purse to smear on my dry, cracked, parched lips] Oh, no, no, no, it's okay. They're not really dry or chapped, really. I'm fine. I'll just put some of this on. [As I smear on the driest lipstick ever formulated in a factory full of Chinese peasants]

When MaryEllen needed to use the bathroom shortly after Liam's set started, I felt a ball of fear grow into my stomach. I dare not turn around, lest Norman Bates Ruffled Shirt Weirdo Chapstick-Offerer Man try to kidnap and mummify me. MaryEllen returned; she ran into our friend, J. Lynn. Cool.

Then J. Lynn appeared and hugged us both. And Norman Bates Ruffled Shirt Weirdo Chapstick-Offerer Man bolted away like he just realized we had Asian Bird Flu. It was awesome.

MaryEllen and I physically ran out of the nearest exit as soon as Liam left the stage.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Dateline: Saturday, September 13 - Monolith Festival @ Red Rocks, CO

Though Monolith was a music festival of epic proportions, the availability of foodstuffs totally blew. My fellow festivalgoers and I decided to wander down to the VIP lounge for some tender vittles (i.e. things that weren't fried and/or grease-choked).

Sadly, it was explained (rather rudely, I might add) to my compatriots that they were no longer serving food, but that perhaps there were some crusty old hot wings left over.

After some time and deliberation, the rest of my pack procured some shitty burritos and I settled down for a dinner of potato chips and empty dreams. Then Giselle noticed the chef behind the salad bar...

Giselle: Just go ask him for a salad - you know all the food is still out. And he's looking right at you.

I threw him a quick, hungry glance. He certainly was looking straight at me, almost straight through to my empty chamber of an acid-churning stomach.

Me: I don't know...[Giselle interjects with repeated encouragement]...Oh, OK."

I wander over and upon closer inspection, the "chef" looks like a younger, rangier Christopher Lloyd, perhaps just sprung from jail or the halfway house across the street from MaryEllen's apartment. I cleared my throat, and set my chin on the counter, trying to look as pitiful and starving as possible...

Me: Hi. Um, I know you're closed - but, um, I'm allergic to wheat and I can't find anything to eat upstairs that's not fried or breaded...um...uh...I really just wanted a salad...

Chef Jail Break Lloyd: [Leaning in, conspiratorially] Say, what if someone was to go back and tell the chef that there was a lady out here with low blood sugar, who needed to eat...what would that lady want?

Me: [Ah - I see - he doesn't want everyone else to know that I'm getting an after-hours food gift!] Oh, just a salad is fine - whatever's easiest.

CJBL: Ok. Go back and sit down. Look for me.

Then he retreated into the kitchen. I sat down with a smile and informed the group - and then he came back out and I walked back up.

CJBL: [Leaning sideways, speaking in a whisper, eyes glancing at me, sidelong] Chef says three-fifty.

Me: [Totally grateful] Ok!

CJBL: That's three DOLLARS and fifty cents.

Me: [Still totally grateful] Hey - no problem - let me just got back and get my wall-

CJBL: Yeah, but if it were ME, I wouldn't make you pay nothin' for the salad. Ok? You understand?

Ok, that was a little weird, but whatever. I went back and got a fiver, since none of us had exact change. That way, I could tip Chef Jail Break Lloyd and feel good about the deal I just scored on a salad. I love salad! Well, unless it's a free salad that a man in a squad car is trying to give to me, for no apparent reason.

But that was Brooklyn and this is now. I walked back up with my five tucked in my palm and slid it across the counter.

CJBL: [Noticeably angry] What is this?? I told you THREE-FIFTY. THAT'S ALL I WANT. THREE-FIFTY!!!

Is this guy for real?

CJBL: Whatever. Listen - what do you want on the salad?

I tell him. He asks what kind of salad dressing I want; I say Italian.

CJBL: What KIND of Italian?? Jesus, there are like three kinds of Italian dressing here. [Looks wildly at the dressings below the counter]

Me: Um, a light Italian is fine.

CJBL: What about balsamic? Or how about honey mustard? Jesus, there are SO MANY SALAD DRESSINGS HERE.

Me: [Not wanting to instigate his looming madness] Sure - honey mustard's great.

CJBL: [Clearly not believing my desire for honey mustard] Are you sure? There are so many fucking salad dressings here. Ok, fine. Do you want me to...[he pauses]...toss your salad?

Really? Really, Chef Jail Break Lloyd? Did you have to go there?

Me: Yes, please.

He snickered.

After integrating my dressing with my lettuce and all the other shit he threw in there, he did that sideways look again and whispered:

"See that basket over there? There are TOOLS in that basket. GET A TOOL."

I looked to my left. There was a small basket. Of forks.

I grabbed a fork.

It only seemed right to tuck it inside my brochure, hidden from prying eyes, since this was clearly a crazy-person crusade to give me this salad without anyone else knowing what was going on.

CJBL: [With the conspiratorial voice again] Now listen carefully. LISTEN. I'm going to give you this salad. I want you to take it back to your seat and eat all of it. ALL OF IT. Ok? Now, if anyone asks you where the fuck you got this fucking salad, you tell them to fuck off, OK? TELL THEM TO FUCK OFF."

I nodded, suddenly really glad that there was a giant counter separating me from Chef Boyardbatshit.

CJBL: Now, take this to your seat. When you get back, make sure no one is looking, especially those fucking waitresses, and slide it over the counter REALLY QUICKLY. I MEAN IT. SLIIIIIIIIDE IT OVER QUICKLY. And then walk away."

He nodded at me once and disappeared into the kitchen. I took my salad and sat down.

I have to say, for a salad made by a raving madman, it was pretty damn tasty.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Dateline: A Rest Stop Somewhere in Alabama/Mississippi, August 29, 2008

I was driving cross-country with MaryEllen and her handsomely awesome border collie, Max, when we decided it was time to relieve the bladders. We parked at this lovely little rest stop somewhere in the Southland, MaryEllen went to walk Max, and I went inside to pee.

When I entered the bathroom, all stalls were occupied, except for the handicapped stall, from which emerged an old ass lady hunched over a cane. She motioned for me to use the toilet, rasping out, "Go on, no one's gonna be upset."

Now, I've seen that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I do NOT want to be that person who goes into the handicapped stall for the extra luggage room or the supreme grip support of those nice bars and then emerges to see a very angry person in a wheelchair glowering down at me. It is not my bathroom to use, so I don't use it.

I kind of shook my head at the old lady, who then egged me on even further, "Come on, GO ON." So I did, knowing that 45-55 seconds later, the whole thing would be behind me - no harm, no foul.

I stepped inside, sat down, and went to work getting rid of three coffees, one orange Vitamin Water, and some Coke Zero. (Hey, a woman's gotta stay alert on the road you know?)

I heard some movement in the bathroom, but didn't think much of it. I wiped, pulled the drawers up, and unlatched the door.

To my infinite terror, standing in front of me was:

- Not 1, but 2 old ass ladies
- 1 young person with Cerebral Palsy
- 1 young person with Down's Syndrome
- Not 1, but 2 people in wheelchairs
and their various handlers.

Sweet baby Jesus, was this a guilt-induced mirage? Could there really be SIX FREAKIN' PEOPLE WAITING TO USE THE HANDICAPPED BATHROOM??????

For a moment, I considered limping away, but my asshole sensor ruled that out.

Therefore, I muttered, "Sorry," and ran past all six and their handlers, and out the door, into MaryEllen and Max, both of whom looked at me quizzically.

"My worst nightmare just happened," I explained.
MaryEllen went in to confirm.
Then she laughed at me for the rest of the day.

Later on, when we arrived in a ghost town, pre-Gustav New Orleans, we checked into our fancy schmancy hotel and took the elevator up to our room. Before I got close enough, MaryEllen doubled over with laughter:

"No fucking way!" she laughed, pointing to a brass plaque on the wall next to our door.

I stepped closer.

It read: "Room For Handicapped"

Yes. It did.
Yes, in that nearly entirely empty giant fancy pants hotel, the room they gave us was the handicapped accessible room.

You may have already guessed this, but we went out and drank after that.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Inspired by yesterday's earthquake:

Building is surfing
On a seismic wave of earth
Got your surfboard, brah?

5.4, they say
Well, felt like a big mo fo
Despite the Richter

Hey - shakey, shakey!
It's a tectonic party!
So pump up the jam.

Whoa - is that a truck?
NO. That's a freakin' earthquake.
Oh. Now it's over.

Can't focus on work
Must Google "L.A. earthquake"
Until I go home

Doorway or sub-desk???
Or run out into the street???
Just stood there, instead.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


When my mom came to visit last year, she remarked that Hollywood was nothing like it looks in the movies; no glitter, no glitz, no glam. And that's the truth - there's an overwhelming amount of artifice glazed over public perception. Living in Los Angeles is not like living in a movie...

...Until it is.

I sat on my couch last night, watching (for the first and last time, most likely) the ridiculously awful nosedive that is Denise Richards: It's Complicated, stealing furtive glances at my window to be sure the neighbors didn't see me engaged in such shame. Oh, the guilt!

During a particularly awkward sequence in which Denise's mostly-sweet-yet-hint-o'-creepy-Joe-Simpson father stands in his undies, receiving a spray tan, I thought I heard a strange noise...like...a megaphone? Like someone making an announcement to a stadium...

I figured it was just the neighbors' TV and when I turned back to my own, Father Richards was getting some sort of massage. Gross.

There it was again, that megaphone voice, more urgent...so I turned down the TV and what I heard was:


Then something to the tune of:


Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.

And then I noticed all of the cop cars lining the street and the alley...circling my apartment.


I did what you think you might do when you watch a movie in this situation. I grabbed my phone, my purse, and a pair of flip flops, turned off the lights, got scared and turned them back on, then sat on the floor of the bathroom and called my neighbor:

Me: (Whispering, so the baddies wouldn't hear me) Melinda! What the hell is going on??????

Melinda: I don't know. This is freaking me out.

Me: I know! I'm sitting in my bathroom!

Melinda: Ok, I'm going to let you go - I'm gonna grab my nunchucks.


Then I called Mo, who recounted a particularly morbid story about an old roommate being shot on their steps in Berkeley, which didn't particularly make me feel better, but still, always good to have someone to chat with when there is some sort of maniac running around your neighborhood.

After some silence, Melinda and I both cautiously ventured out of our apartments. The upstairs neighbor peeked out. Melinda asked one of the officers what was going on - apparently someone had jacked a car, crashed it, and was hiding out somewhere near our apartments.

We all went back in side. I sat in the bathroom some more, talked to Mo some more, and then made the assessment that the police activity seemed to be diminishing.


Suddenly, a line of cop cars came streaming down our street, floodlights on...parked right in front. Then came the police, many, many police, THROUGH OUR FRONT GATE.


I put the cat in the bathroom, since he had taken to stalking me around the apartment in the excitement, and periodically biting my leg, which was doing nothing to soothe me. Then I thought better of it, and just put myself in the bathroom again and texted Melinda:

Me: They keep yelling 2 come out w hands up...so freaky!

Melinda: Dude look across to my apt

I looked. MORE COPS. Dogs! Lots of barking dogs!

I listened. There had been a girl at the front gate, crying and telling the police that a man tried to come into her apartment!!!

Back to the bathroom for me. I plotted my escape - I had my purse slung across my shoulder, my computer bag sat next to me...and I wielded a cheapo flashlight. I have no idea why I had the flashlight, but it made me feel better somehow. I kind of wish I had Melinda's nunchuks. I mean, that would freak someone out, yeah? Can't you use those to whip a gun out of an intruder's hand? I fantasized about that for a moment.

Well, I guess I could blind him with the flashlight and I could count on Eddie Cat Halen to at least bite his leg really hard, then we could make a run for it.

Back to reality. The police were still gathered, but seemed to be leaving. When my heart rate slowly descended back to normal, I peeked my head out of the door and asked one of the cops if they found the guy-

Cop: Uh, no. Well, we looked for the one here, but we think they both got away...but you're safe. Don't worry.

There were TWO of them???

So it was that I slept on Melinda's couch...nunchuks at my feet. For real.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Forever? Forever-ever?

Scene: Standing in long line at Post Office, attempting to ignore Long-Haired Hippie Lady scold Short-Haired Neurotic Lady about not returning her Bible in time. Line moves slowly, but finally, Medium-Haired Average Lady steps up to the counter...

Disgruntled Postal Worker: (Clearly looking at clock, which reads 4:45pm; possibly wishing for sweet release from the shackles of government servitude--then realizing that will only mean joining the long, slagging line of cars crawling down the interstate. Considers how much he hates life. Wishes he could punch out every customer that walks up between now and 5pm.) M’am, how can I help you today?

M-HAL: Well, I need some stamps! I have to mail some letters now, and some letters later!

DPW: (Thinking to self: "No shit, lady. This isn’t Home Depot. You’re not here to buy a shovel. But if we did sell them, I would hit you over the head with one.") Sure thing! What kind would you like?

M-HAL: I’d like some of those "Forever" stamps! Um, how much are they worth?

DPW: (Itchy government-issue button-down, collared shirt barely containing the rage that boils within. Wishes he could snap the neck of every godforsaken customer, just like he snaps the rubberbands off of the piles and piles and piles of filthy parcels he must deal with every day.) Well, right now they’re 41 cents.

M-HAL: Oh, perfect! I’ll take a book of them. Well, maybe two. I’ll need to mail some letters later. How long can I use these for? For...

DPW: (Blood shoots to surface, threatening to pump furiously through every pore and splatter the entire decrepit concrete box he’s forced to work in, day in and day out, with gore.) ...EVER. M’am, the Forever stamp lasts FOREVER.

End scene.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Office: A Reality Series

Just a short hot while ago, I emerged from the bathroom to find a youngish man clutching a clipboard and speaking to my coworker Kathy in that faux-official voice that marks the telemarketer and his brethren.

Kathy appeared confused and slightly reluctant to be talking to this youngish clipboard-carrying man, so she referred him to another coworker, Aleeta, who courteously rose from her chair and said, "Yes? How can I help you?"

This is where it gets special.

The youngish man looked straight at Aleeta and, using his clipboard, gestured toward her and said, "May I approach?"

Yes, folks, the dweeby polo-shirt clad 22 year-old solicitor man-child asked if he could "approach."

Somehow I managed to sit back down at my desk without belching laughter and I whipped off a quick IM to Kathy to the effect of: "Did he just say ’May I approach?’"

"Yes. Hee hee," was Kathy’s reply. There might have been an emoticon in there somewhere, but definitely no LOL or ROTFL. We’re adults, people.

Using her superpowers, Aleeta eventually turned him away and we all went back to work. Approximately seven minutes later, when I felt the timing was ripe, I gingerly strode to Aleeta’s desk-area and said, "May I approach?"

Wild laughter ensued.

Wild, wild laughter.

Each of us took turns, howling, asking, "May I approach?"

Bellyaching laughter. Gregarious laughter.

Then we looked to the doorway, only to see Señor Salesman looking in at us before walking outside.

Uh. Apparently he was next door all along.

Like teenage girls, we all ran to the back of the office, behind the cover of a concrete wall, where I proceeded to lay down on the floor and laugh my ass off. Aleeta and Kathy followed in suit, alternately leaning on the wall and a bookcase for support.

"Oh man, that was bad," Aleeta said. "Now we’re gonna get shot."

Kathy and I looked at Aleeta: "Um, I think he’ll be okay. He doesn’t seem very dangerous...I mean, he’s a bottled water salesman."

Aleeta: "Oh, right!"

Dissolve into 60 more seconds of laughter.

Epilogue: Later, a drunk guy came in off of the street and looked at our O’Jays Survival poster, resplendent with afros and naked people, said "Damn that Eddie Murphy!" and kicked the wall.

I’m so happy to have blog fodder again. You have no idea.

Friday, March 14, 2008

is that a burqa or are you just happy to see me?

My bulky Cameroonian trainer Parfait really came up with a zinger this week:

As I straddled a stack of step platforms, squatting until I was pretty sure some muscles were going to start stripping away from the bone, Parfait shot me a very serious look and simply asked, unprovoked:

"Mademoiselle - are you a Muslim?"

I squatted my ass right down onto that stack of steps.

Me: "HUH? Did you just ask me if I was a Muslim?"

Parfait: "Yes, mademoiselle. Well...ARE you?"

Me: "HUH?? Are you serious?"

Parfait: "Yes, mademoiselle. You maybe are a Muslim. Like from Zaire or Congo."


Me: "HUH??? WHAT??? That is the weirdest thing I’ve heard in a long time. No, I’m not a Muslim. Was there any reason you wanted to ask me that?"

Parfait: "No reason, Mademoiselle. I just thought maybe you were." Enter high-pitched laughter. And then he moved me on to do lat raises, end of topic. What the hell? WHAT THE HELL?

Two more training sessions to go, people. I have a feeling that after the last one, he’s going to ask me to be his fourth wife or something. Oh, the many adventures of Parfait.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hyperion Tavern, Den of Hussies

If I was into short 23 year old video game dorks, Hyperion Tavern would be the best pickup joint.

As it is, within 45 seconds (literally) of me walking in the door last night, I got these two awesome lines:

Said by a short guy wearing flannel and rubbing on a small white dog: "I like your tattoo...it looks good with your face!"

Said by a short guy who bumped my ass with his motorcycle helmet: "So, do you wanna ride on my motorcycle sometime?"

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Send them all to Africa -

Again, from the Parfait Files:

Yesterday, as I convinced my thigh muscles to pleaselordpleasepushthatgiantstackofweightsupandawayfrommybody, Parfait was in an inquisitive mood.

Parfait: "Mademoiselle, I bet you read those magazines about all of the crazy people, like 'Oh, what is he wearing?' and 'What is she doing'...?"

Moi: "Um, are you talking about celebrity magazines?"

P: "Oh, yes, Mademoiselle. They are all about Britney Spears and Brad Pitt."

Moi: (struggling to prevent a large quantity of weight from tumbling backward into my fragile knees and crushing my lower extremities) "Um..."

P: "You know what I think they need to do with Britney Spears?"

Moi: (Setting lock on weight machine as to prevent the aforementioned leg-smashing from happening, knowing that this will be a good one) "No...what?"

P: "I think that she should go to my country."

Moi: (delighted that my prophecy has come true) "You want them to ship Britney Spears to Cameroon? What would she do there?"

P: "Oh, Mademoiselle - she would find peace. Britney Spears could have peace in my land."

I dissolve into laughter.

End scene.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Swing, batta, batta...

From the Parfait Files...

On Friday, I lugged my tired, germ-ridden body to the gym for the first session in several weeks with the one and only Cameroonian trainer, Parfait.

While exhorting me to pump it up during a particular exercise, Parfait inquired as to whether or not I liked playing any sports besides soccer. I do, and I told him as much. I then added that one sport that I've never, ever, ever been good at is baseball (substitute softball, if you will) - I just lack the stick-ball coordination necessary to even corner first.

To this, Parfait had an immediate response:

"Oh, mademoiselle, I must be slow or maybe retarded because I cannot understand why American men like to take that little stick and hit that ball. I just do not understand."

[Enter signature high-pitched laugh]

I did what anyone would have done in that situation--I dropped my weights and laughed my ass right off.