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 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.