Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lazy Day Stream of Consciousness

This is pretty rare for me. I feel like blogging, but I have no particular topic in mind. Yet, I'm just going to keep typing until something starts to flow. Heh. The word 'flow,' always makes me think of periods. Periods, and Progressive insurance. Either way, not a pleasant association...

HAHAHAHAHA! But also, kind of depressing if you think about it too much.
So, it's Easter today. I suppose I could write something Easter-y. But I did that last year. Or was it the year before? Except that the only festive activities I've accomplished today entail eating the Robins Egg-shaped Whoppers I bought myself, and the mini-Cadbury Eggs my mom hid around my apartment whilst she was visiting me. (Thereby re-creating my dad's tradition of hiding treats around the house for her to find when he goes away on long trips). I don't think watching massive amounts of Buffy and lazing around in bed all day is particularly reminiscent of the Resurrection or pagan fertility symbols of rabbits and eggs. I definitely enjoyed it though!

"Grape nuts are neither grapes nor nuts."
I suppose I could branch out and write about my Passover experience last Tuesday. Seder dinner is always (and by always, I mean both times I've gone), a treat. Fascinating cultural ritual (which involves a lot of interactive drinking of wine, which we all know is right up my alley.) It's also a fun fish-out-of-water experience for a former Mormon-turned-agnostic to participate in a Jewish holiday extravaganza. I also got to hear an older Jewish lady say, "this brisket is like buttah," thusly invoking childhood memories of Mike Meyers in drag on SNL. But for realsies, the brisket really did taste like buttah. Kudos to my sister-in-law's stepmother on a fantastic meal!

This cake better be worth it...
I could also use this platform to call out my fella for texting me a picture of cake at three in the morning.  AND for refusing to give me any of said cake. Not cool, friend-o. Our relationship is officially on the rocks. (Sidebar, he just now texted me saying that if I was nice, he would bring me a piece. Apparently being nice means either giving him a back massage and/or buying him new underwear. Worth it?) (Second sidebar, he also texted me not to blog about that particular negotiation because it makes it seem like he uses "food for clothing like a hobo with magic." And then I called him a ninny. I'm pretty sure he'll never date another writer ever again.) What a couple of weirdos.

Things also accomplished today:

1. Multiple hours spent on reading my new favorite blog, Brittany Herself. Thank you Kelly Bean for introducing me to Brittany. If I lived in Ohio, had three kids, and a flair for plus-sized fashion, Brittany is who I would want to be when I grow up (even though she's only like five years older than me).

My mom and I are terrible influences on each other when it comes to shopping.
Aaaand... that's about it. I fully intended to clean my apartment today. I'm surrounded by discarded DSW shoeboxes, yogurt cups, and various items of clothing flung carelessly about my room. But some days I'm in the mood to clean like some kind of germaphobic demon (still in Buffy mode), and other days I'm totally happy to just wallow in filth. But at least I completed a blog! Even if it was completely incoherent and babbly, just like me!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why My Mom Is Awesome

I originally posted this as a Facebook note (the second prototype to Sporadic Sporkitudes following the decline of my many ranting Myspace blogs) on October 25th, 2008, just before the vote on Prop 8. It is just as relevant over four years later as it was back then. 

My mom is down in Pasadena for a short visit. Naturally we're spending quality time together in our PJs watching the Notebook and Beaches, and eating whole wheat blueberry pancakes. We're sitting side by side on the couch with our phones out, scrolling down our respective Facebook pages. While mine is practically bleeding with all the variations of the red equality symbol, hers is covered in anti-gay outcries. My mom, like me, worries too much about offending people with her opinion, but she is allowing me to re-post the following: 

"I just want to share how incredibly proud I am of my mother. She wrote the following response to a friend who was sending Yes on 8 e-mail chains out. As a heterosexual, usually conservative, white, middle-class woman with five children who's been happily married for over thirty years, this is the last person you would expect to see the light about this incredibly important issue. But she stood up for what she believes and that proves to me that people's minds can change.

'I know this is a huge issue for you, and I respect that. Your answer was carefully thought out and shows how much you care about this. There was a time when I thought the same way. In fact, I thought the worst thing that could happen to our family would be to find out that one of our children was gay. (That didn't happen). It is also a huge issue for me. Enough that I left a church I loved my whole life over this as one of the key issues.

I'm sure this is not the case with you, but many people have a distorted view of gays. They only see the extreme and think that's how the majority of them are. Most of them live in our neighborhoods, work around us, and you would never even know they are gay. Many are intensely spiritual people with extremely strong moral values. Many are still Christian, while others have been completely disowned by their churches and family causing tremendous heartbreak. Many Christians don't know the Bible well enough to know that Christ never spoke a word about the subject. Paul did, but then he never even met Christ except as a vision on the road to Damascus long after Christ was dead. It is talked about in the Old Testament along with several other outdated laws that don't apply and are not practiced in this era. The form of homosexuality talked about in the Old Testament is really pedophilia. That is certainly not acceptable in this day either! Some people assume that all gays and lesbians are pedophiles which is absolutely not true. This is not directed at you, but I just get frustrated with the ignorance and superiority some people feel over their way being the only right way. There was a time when good Christian people believed in the the right to own slaves using the Bible as their support. I feel like this falls into that category, and hopefully some day will be looked on the same. To deny them this right is essentially saying they are not as good as the rest of us, and I believe that not to be true.

It was nice to get to express my opinion. I haven't been able to do that before over this particular issue. We can respect our right to differ. I should have just let the email slide, but I felt I had been silent on the issues long enough. To say nothing would be like saying I agreed with it.

Life would be pretty dull if we all agreed on everything. You know how much I care about you, and hope you know none of this was directed at you personally. I just needed to vent as did you apparently!'

Yeah... my mom is cooler than your mom. Don't hate.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Playing Ketchup Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

As promised, here is the sequel to Playing Ketchup Part 1. Things get a lot cheerier in 2013. I decided to follow through on my recurring New Year's resolution to do more awesome things. So far, I think I've been doing alright. Here is a list of the cool stuff I've done:

1. I stayed in a hostel when I was in San Francisco visiting Eric. Even though I was only there for one night and I spent most of that night throwing up, it was still cool to harken back to my backpacking days. The tiny dorm rooms, the familiar silver Ikea bunk beds, meeting cool people from other countries (my roommates were from France and Germany), and the cute guy at reception with the adorable accent. I never get to travel for real anymore now that I'm broke and have a grownup job. Even though San Francisco was only a few hours away from my hometown and I had been there several times growing up, it still felt like a vacation.

That's my girl, killin' it!
2. I got to see my homegirl Kelly Bean in a creative re-imagining of Twelfth Night set in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Needless to say, she NAILED it! This was another mini-vacation all the way in Camarillo. Our best friend Jenna also came down from NorCal for the event. We needed a girls' night something fierce and celebrated afterwards with wine, cheese, and other delicious treats. We also watched "She's the Man," since you know, Twelfth Night. And if you haven't seen it, it's pretty frickin' epic. Tragic what happened to Amanda Bynes, isn't it?

3. I re-enacted the Ferris Wheel scene from Season One of "The OC" at the Santa Monica Pier. Check that one off the bucket list. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't even worry about it.

Damn good chicken and damn good waffles. Still not sure they go together.
4. I finally explored Downtown LA. I had never seen the Library, ridden the Angel's Flight trolley, hung out at the swanky Bonaventure Hotel (with the terrifying glass elevators!), explored California Plaza, and walked down Olvera Street. I also took the time to really check out Union Station and not just rush to and from the Gold and Red metro lines. I've always found it sad that if a place isn't on my way to work or not an Irish pub, I probably don't know it exists. Sidebar, I also finally went to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, another LA landmark.

5. SOCIAL DISTORTION!!!! AAAAH!!! I saw them once in college at the Disneyland House of Blues. And that was the last concert I had been to. Until I saw them again at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip (Which is another area I've hardly ever been to even though I've lived in LA for years). I don't care if Mike Ness is as older than dirt and shorter than I am. I would do awful things with that man. Especially in his Machine Gun Blues gangster getup... We were about five feet from the stage which was super awesome except we were right in front of the mosh pit. I got kicked in the head by a crowd surfer, had at least six drinks spilled on me, and spent most of the time being knocked over. Soooo worth it!

This was at the Eddie Izzard venue.
I don't know what it is but I find it simultaneously terrifying and hilarious.
6. Eddie Izzard. What what??

7. Anaheim Ducks vs. the Los Angeles Kings. Hockey is the world's greatest sport. It has everything I love. Canadians. Burly men. Violence. It's glorious. Plus I was a Ducks fan sitting in a major Kings section. Gotta love crosstown rivalry games. It was a good one too. We scored in like the first 10 seconds, and then it was back and forth until nearly the end when we stomped on them. There was an insulting mass exodus of Kings fans when they realized they couldn't win and left before it was even over. (Sidebar, I'm usually a Kings fan, but the Ducks will always be Mighty to me thanks to Disney). After the game, we went ice skating at the Ducks practice rink in Anaheim. It turns out that skating is hard and dangerous.
I also shot at a zombie I named Hank. Because I'm also awesome.
8. LA Gun Club. Best. Date. Ever. Me and the Fella (oh yeah, did I mention there was a Fella?) got to shoot a Beretta handgun at a surprisingly popular gun range in the scary part of downtown that has also known visitors such as Queen Latifah, Exhibit, and Ryan Gosling. I'm not a great shot, and it felt a little like being in a war with so many guns going off (I left a bit shellshocked), but it really is a fantastic feeling. Amazing stress release. I have no interest in owning my own gun, but in a controlled environment it's AWESOME.

It's even cooler inside!
9. I saw Noel Cowards "Fallen Angels" at the historic Pasadena Playhouse. Oh the witty banter and the hilarious drunk old British ladies brandishing umbrellas at each other. I literally live around the corner from this beautiful historic theater and I had never ever seen it. I was also going to see Jekyll and Hyde at the Pantages, but I was too sick to go. Boo.

10. After my dear friend (and the woman responsible for my gainful employment) Allison, had her going away party (at where else but our favorite karaoke dive bar, Gabe's), I got stranded at Union Station at 3:30 in the morning. I had read the metro timetable incorrectly and missed the last train. I decided just to take a taxi, since it would take at least a half hour for the fella to come rescue me. I ended up waiting even longer than that for the taxi to come pick me up until I realized that I was on the wrong side of the station and that there were five taxis standing by the whole time. And I had to work four hours after arriving home at last. While this seems like a bad thing, Union Station after hours is truly a magnificent thing to behold. I got hit on three times (I must have looked like a fairly expensive prostitute I guess, though I didn't think my outfit was revealing at all), saw two people without pants on, and witnessed what I'm pretty sure was a drug deal. Fascinating I might have to go back on purpose sometime just to observe.
Meet CJ, the classy, blind, anorexic business fish.

11.  I bought a fish and named her Claudia Jean after my favorite character on the West Wing. Sadly, she died the other day because I can't keep a fish alive to save my life. Which is too bad because I'm not a cat or a dog person and cage animals like hamsters and birds freak me out. That leaves fish. Which are the least commitment possible. Speaking of low commitment, seven-day Betta food blocks do not work. Ask your roommate to feed your fish if you need to leave town.

I have this admittedly cliche poster on my wall and I was so excited to see that there was a statue of it! I tried to get homeboy to recreate the pose with me, but he would have none of it. Even after being shamed by a random Midwestern lady. Men are useless sometimes.
12. Speaking of leaving town, after living in Southern California since 2005, I finally went to San Diego for the first time. The fella and I decided to get the hell outta dodge and go exploring down Mexico way. (Without actually going to Mexico because despite being of Mexican descent, he doesn't have a passport and wouldn't be allowed entrance). Since we're both poor, kind of lazy, and didn't bring proper walking shoes, our exploration was somewhat limited. But it was lovely to take a Bridget Jones mini-break regardless. The beauty of San Diego is that it's so close, we can always go back. There wasn't so much pressure to fit in as much sight-seeing as is humanly possible, which is the speed I'm used to when traveling. San Diego in March is also bloody cold at night, which I also didn't prepare for. But I scored a $90 white Burberry-esque pea coat for $46 in under five minutes, so I think I just won at shopping.

I think this lists covers most of the awesome/interesting events of late. Basically it's a compilation of status updates/tweets/iPhone photos to serve as a memoir for a much happier time than the previous crap-tastic era. Let's hope the streak continues! Next on my list of conquering Los Angeles is to finally go to a Dodger game (or any baseball game for that matter. I'm a bad American for never having been...)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Playing Ketchup Part 1

I've definitely been through some crap in my life, but the Universe (my arch-nemesis) decided to throw my way a rather eclectic slew of challenges both big and small within a relatively short period of time. With every new shitstorm, I would chuckle and utter, "Well played, sir, well played." Then I would burst into tears because eventually even the most minor of hiccups would send me reeling at the cruelty and injustice of fate. Once the clock struck 2013, however, life became just a little bit brighter. (After I stopped vomiting all over San Francisco, details to come). I know it's insane to think that things magically change when one year ends and the next begins. But the proof is in the pudding. Mmm... pudding.

Playing Ketchup

How do I summarize six months worth of drama, heartbreak, transition, and triumph? Why, let's make a list! (I feel like this is the start of a very bizarre musical number, but then again, that's how I feel about 90% of the time).

1. My Body Has Declared Mutiny

After hardly being sick a day in my life (other than a random week of vertigo in high school during which I tried to walk down the hallway and ended up swaying and stumbling into lockers like the love child of Lucille 2 and a drunken sailor), I managed to end up at the doctor at least a bajillion times (more like 7 or 8, but still). While the issues I faced were in no way serious or life-threatening, (trying to maintain perspective), it definitely felt like it at the time. Ultimately I blame the stress from my job at Studio City for completely fucking up my immune system. I'm still dealing with some health problems, but everything seems to be under control at the moment. Of course now I find myself frantically WebMDing even the slightest twinge, cough, or tummy rumble. The experience has made me a raging hypochondriac, so thanks for that new diagnosis as well, Universe.

Lucille 2
My imaginary mother
2. RIP Stan 1989-2012

My beloved car and oft-mentioned Partner in Crime, Stan, perished on October 5th, 2012. I was coming home from Sally Tomatoes practice late at night when I noticed he was making strange chugging noises up the 405 near Sherman Oaks. All of a sudden, the lights went out. Whatever strange car disease he caught must have been contagious, since he sidled up right behind another car that was also stopped dead in the right hand lane. They had to shut down the whole frickin' freeway which was still crowded at 10:30pm on a Wednesday, so a CHP car could literally push me up the hill and roll down the other side to the offramp. It was very dramatic. While I waited in the cold for a tow truck, I curled up in a ball in the front seat, sobbing. I had a feeling this was the beginning of the end for my dear friend. Sure enough, Pep Boys would have had to basically rebuild the whole frickin' engine. Not worth it for a car this old and admittedly shitty. So I donated his body to charity and adjusted to the harsh reality of being a pedestrian in LA.

3. The Schlep

I had only just transferred to my new property in Pasadena, originally a mere 20 minute drive from North Hollywood, when suddenly I had a two hour commute on my hands. This involved two trains and a thirty minute walk through ghetto NoHo. Because LA public transportation is stupid. Adding two hours on either end of my work day was just killing me. Not literally. But it did suck.

4. My 25th Birthday

Speaking of suck, October 16th was my 25th birthday. Arguably the last milestone birthday I will ever have (if you consider finally being able to rent a car as a milestone). I had to work that day, so I carried my party dress, cute shoes, and makeup all the way through the Schlep for my birthday dinner at Cheesecake Factory in Old Town Pasadena. I invited fourteen people. Guess how many showed up. One. My dear gay husband Eric, who still made the whole affair fabulous. But when you're already having a hard time, you just want to have fun and cheesecake with the people who love you. While I know that this is not the end of the world, especially compared to everything else that was going on, it was definitely the rancid cherry on top of a crap sundae.

Fun Fact: My birthday was at the same Cheesecake Factory where Penny works in the Big Bang Theory. It looks nothing like this and I'm not sure why on earth she wears that ridiculous uniform that also bears no resemblance to the real thing. In any case, the more you know!

5. The Big Move

This one is actually a good thing. Because I could no longer stand losing four hours of my life commuting, I knew I had to move to Pasadena STAT. Ever since I left UC Irvine, I vowed never again to have a roommate. Not that my experiences with roommates were so bad, but I love being Queen of my own castle. I finally came to the realization that I could either spend $775 for a terrible one-bedroom in the ghetto with no A/C or heater, but plenty of cockroaches, or spend substantially less to share a discounted luxury two-bedroom in glorious Pasadena at one of my company's properties. Needless to say, my place is BOMB (to borrow a 90s colloquialism)! Also, my roommate Smita is awesome. We very rarely see each other, but when we do, we hang out and watch Say Yes to the Dress or forensic cop shows.

Another Fun Fact: the exterior of City Hall from Parks and Rec is also in Pasadena. I fucking love this town!

6. Boy Drama

a. Winston.
I took a break from boys while I was figuring some stuff out. But once I thought I was back on my feet,  I met a guy named Winston. He was very sweet and I thought the name Winston was the best thing ever. Sadly Winston gave me the creeps. I could never put my finger on why exactly. I tried to give him a second chance by inviting him to watch Community over at my place. I was still commuting at the time, so I ended up falling asleep on the couch halfway through the second episode. Yes, I was exhausted, but I have a feeling if I had liked him more, I probably would have powered through. Poor guy, will probably always be traumatized by that. He tried to kiss me good night and my gut instinct was to basically shove him out the door. The last time that happened was with the French Creeper. Has this impulse ever happened to anyone else?

"Are there other black nerds, or is it just you and Urkel?" -30 Rock
b. Patrick
Patrick was a good guy. Imagine Toofer from 30 Rock, only slightly less pompous. We went on a fantastic first date to a South American BBQ place that must have been really expensive. (I'm not used to that). We got along great, talked for a few hours at Starbucks, and he walked me home in the rain. Then I was an adorable romcom heroine and couldn't get the damn security gate unlocked with my fancy new laser fob thingie. I ended up having to call myself on the intercom to buzz myself in. Which he thought was hilarious. And then I never heard from him again. At least not until a few weeks ago. I was used to guys disappearing though it always drives me nuts. But he sincerely apologized and explained himself to my satisfaction. When I told him I was dating someone else, he gallantly said, "I knew I couldn't be your only fan." Sweet, right? Though now it sounds kind of creepy and stalkerish. But I swear, it wasn't like that. I hope.

c. Matthew
Frickin' puppet master. Not even worth a whole paragraph.

I find this picture highly unsettling...

d. James
The first time I ever said "Fuck you" to someone, and genuinely meant it. I guess it's my own fault. Damn those twinkly blue eyes and devilish grin. That boy is poooooiiiisoooon.

7. Family Drama

I don't really want to go into the details of this one. Basically, the one thing I always thought I could count on, my family, nearly fell apart around Thanksgiving. As a whole, we seem to have moved past it, but it's still not ok with me.

Corporate espionage!!! Dun dun dun!

8. Selling Out

The Monday after Thanksgiving, my company found out that our two biggest competitors bought us out and were going to divide us up 60/40. The well-established, flourishing company that I finally had grown to love (after transferring to Pasadena and realizing that it was just Studio City that was Hell on Wheels), no longer exists. Imagine if McDonald's and Carl's Jr. randomly decided to buy out Burger King. It's kind of like that. No one saw it coming. At the time, we didn't know if we were all still going to have jobs, or what the new company would be like. The term "drinking from the firehose" was thrown around a lot. The sale is finally complete, but we are still in the painful process of transition. It's turning out to be ok, just awkward. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether I my kickass employee housing discount will be cut in half. That would suck. But we shall see.

9. Grief

Not long after attending a friend's funeral, I lost two members of my own extended family. Some of my other friends have experienced similar tragedies and my heart just breaks for them as well. It definitely comes in waves.

I wish I looked this pretty when I'm sick...

10. Vomitting on BART

To top off a truly banner year, on New Year's Eve I christened a Bay Area Rapid Transit train with the contents of my upset stomach. Specifically, copious amounts of pasta mixed with vodka. Sorry about that, people of San Francisco! But that's what you get when your best friend who moved to San Francisco leaving you alone and miserable in LA is a former alcoholic and drinks vicariously through you and you just happen to be a lightweight. After a lovely day visiting with Eric and exploring the city, we had decided to watch the midnight fireworks over Fisherman's Wharf from on top of a faraway hill. But the entire time the fireworks were exploding and Eric was sharing the traditional New Year's kiss with his boyfriend, I was blorching like a champ. I like to think that I was vomiting up everything bad about 2012. I still had a nasty hangover on January 1st, but once it was over, a fresh start lay ahead.

So that's just a sampling of everything that sucked about 2012. This is already a really long post, so I think I'll leave the sort-of happy ending for next time. Ta da!