Monday, November 30, 2009

guest posting and new blog look

So how was everyone's Thanksgiving weekends? Cooking disasters, dog ate the entire sweet potato dish, somebody stole your parking space, I want to hear all about it. One of my best friends once had her aunt break a plate over her father's head during Thanksgiving dinner...I really don't think anything can compare to that story. Gotta love family!

My Thanksgiving was lovely - I spent it with the people I love, I wasn't in charge of cooking anything except heating up appetizers, I introduced about half my family to the glory that is pita chips and hummus, and my family thoughtfully brought brownies for me while they all munched on pie for dessert (I'm not a pie person most of the time).

I also avoided Black Friday like the plague, mostly because a) I love people, and b) I want to continue to love people. And c) I'm not a shopper. I don't go into a store to lovingly browse or try on every item of clothing for two hours, I'm a Get In Get Out kind of shopper, unless I'm at a book or music store. If you're at a book or music store with me, I am so sorry, I hope you brought along your copy of War and Peace to read through.

In other news, I changed my blog look and I'll be adding more pictures and quotes in the next few days. I've been itching for a change for a while, and yesterday I finally had some free time to just sit down and find a new blog background and add some more pictures I've taken over the years. I like how it looks so I hope you guys like it too.

And finally, FINALLY - I was asked to do my very first guest post, by the always wonderfully creative and adorably affable Jonas over at Beyond Wunderman. I got the email yesterday, he asked if I could guest post today, and I was so incredibly excited to be asked to post on someone else's blog (oh the thrill!) that I immediately said yes. And then wondered what the hell to write about. Jonas' helpful suggestion was, "Whatever you feel like."

(Jonas, I adore you!)

So I hope you guys like my travel story over on his blog and continue to check out his writing in the future - Jonas likes to meld fantasy, reality, alcohol, and occasional threesomes into his blogs, and I always get a kick out of the way he spins his tales. And if you're in the mood for some straight-up fiction, check out the novel he's working on, Pomponne. I think you guys might like it.

Happy Monday and I'll be back tomorrow with more weekend and Thanksgiving details - including the blog title that my mom made me change. ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

giving thanks

“Herein lies the well of life; let us laugh and let us sing for in truth we are blessed by everything.” - Isadora James

Sometimes, when I am stressed, I take a very deep breath and let the air fill every single inch of my lungs and then I am able to find myself deeply affected and moved by how beautiful the world really is. In reality nothing has changed, but when I breathe I find myself looking at the world differently. Time slows and where once there was impatience and frustration in my heart, I look again and find grace. There is enough, there is always enough; enough time to do all the things I want to do, enough love so that I don't have to worry about competing for it with others, enough space to move around in, even if it doesn't always feel like it in Los Angeles. Enough supply to help me get through each day without feeling lack, enough challenges to keep my mind and body working hard, enough meaning in what I do, even in the smallest of actions, so that I am able to move confidently through this world, knowing that I have a purpose.

When I inhale and exhale and follow my breath as it moves through my body, uncurling and relaxing muscles I didn't even know were tense, I suddenly feel very small, but not in a bad way. My body has made room for all the little surprises and small moments of happiness that flitted my way during the day, the ones I brushed off impatiently because I had different expectations or didn't want to be bothered with such tiny acts of kindness. I am aware, almost simultaneously, of how unimportant I am, and how much I have to offer to this world.

I think this is the nature of gratitude as well. It helps me make room in my busy life, it stills the pointless noise in my head and refocuses me; it reminds me that my drama is unimportant but my love for others is more needed than ever.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone.

Monday, November 23, 2009

closer to where we want to be

I'm not a cook... I'm a baker.

Yesterday, for our own private Thanksgiving before we have 3000 miles between us on the actual day, Benni and I cooked cornish game hen, a green bean casserole, corn, stuffing, and for dessert: Trader Joe's Spiced Apple bread.

So freakin' good, that meal. And then we watched Elf, which I'd never seen before, during dinner, and it just made everything absolutely lovely.

And as Benni whisked around the kitchen doing eight things at once (I can't even do one thing at at once) and eye-balled olive oil and milk measurements (I have to measure out EVERYTHING) and as he substituted dry vermouth for white wine ("But it's not the same thing," I said. "Doesn't matter," he said) I realized that I'm not a cook. Not at heart, anyways.

Cooks can improvise, and substitute, and guesstimate measurements, and do eight things at once and look at a fridge full of random food and leftovers and somehow come up with an amazing meal to create out of it.

I can't do these things.

I follow the recipe exactly, I don't taste my food until it's done, I don't snack and sample while cooking and I can screw up a grilled cheese sandwich. I can't substitute, I can't improvise, I can't make it up as I go along. I can't look at a bunch of pieces and make a whole out of it. All I can do when it comes to cooking is follow orders and look at what is supposed to be versus what actually is.

Thanksgiving is hard for people like me. And not just because of the cooking.

I'm betting, against all odds, that your family is weird, and complicated, and layered, like mine. It's got a past, it's got a present, nobody's quite clear on the future, and these are all people you're supposed to feel close to but don't always quite understand. Sure, you love them...but you don't always like them.

How am I doing so far? Guessing fairly accurately? Yeah, I figured.

This Thanksgiving is going to a particularly weird one with my family. I'm doing my best to hang in there, to let people be who they are (as a friend once said to me: "You have to forgive people for not being you.") and to be a cook, not a baker. Oh sure, I've got gravy and cranberry sauce and some appetizers to contribute the day of, but that's not what I mean.

What I mean is, when it comes to family gatherings, it's much better to be able to improvise, play along, guesstimate, drop your expectations and not stick to the recipe as much as listen to what other people actually need from you.

Toss the recipe out, sample and snack as you go along, and just let it be what it will be...and let people be who they are.

Bakers tend to follow directions and measurements exactly, place it all gently in an oven and trust that because they did everything right, it will turn out perfectly, and they only get to taste it once it's done (unless they lick the batter, like I do.) And there IS a time and place for a baker's attitude and instincts.

But spending time with your family requires the flexibility and spontaneity of a cook, not a baker. It asks that you look at all the random and leftover pieces (and people) and make something amazing and unique out of it.

Thanksgiving demands that we leave our expectations at the door and leave room for something greater - and therein lies the reason for our gratitude. Because what we usually get out of life, and our family, and the people we love, is infinitely better than anything we could have planned.

I think that's what family, and cooking, and Thanksgiving is all about.

Friday, November 20, 2009

screwing with your work productivity...

So most of my friends who can actually bake are huge fans of this website because it's too damn hilarious to witness other baking disasters...especially when disasters are covered in frosting and are supposed to be for a special occasion. And instead they make you want to run in terror or slap your local bakery with a public indecency fine.

Ladies and gents, check out Cake Wrecks...and just be prepared that at some point, one of your co-workers or your boss IS going to catch you laughing hysterically.

You have been warned.

Creepiest engagement party cake EVER:

Okay, who gives someone a birthday cake with tombstones on it? RUDE.

I...I have no words.

Happy Friday, everyone! Have a great weekend :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

what a wonderful world...

Apologies again to all of you guys not in SoCal...but here's the coolest stuff going down for the next month or so in LA and the surrounding areas. Please note that not all the prices are under $15 this time, due to the fact that when it's the holidays, apparently people get to charge whatever they want. But I made sure to include as many free and super cheap stuff that I could here, so don't throw any snowballs at me, k? :)

Nov. 17th - Yes, we all know how awesome the concerts are at the Hollywood Bowl. So why don't you go check out the concert posters for the Bowl's Poster Art Show, premiering at the Hollywood Arclight movie theatre tonight at 7 pm - there are 13 commissioned posters from the Bowl's 2009 lineup, along with vintage works from the Hollywood Bowl's earlier days. And since you're at the Arclight anyways, check out a movie or stop by Amoeba Music, the coolest record store in all of Los Angeles. Admission is free; the exhibit starts tonight and goes through Jan. 5th, 2010; and if you attend the opening party tonight you gotta RSVP to this email address: with the subject line RSVP to Hollywood Bowl Poster Show Party 11/17

Nov. 15-20th - Get your art on for free! The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is celebrating their first 30 years by doing two awesome things: a) putting on an amazing exhibit showing off more than 500 works by over 200 artists (the exhibit goes from Nov. 15th to May 3rd, 2010); and letting you in for no admission charge during their regular hours all this week until Saturday, when the price goes back up to $10/person. MOCA's hours are Mon: 11am - 5pm, closed Tues and Wed., Thurs: 11am- 8pm, Friday: 11am-5pm, and Sat. and Sun.: 11am - 6pm. You should also know that if you miss this free week and don't have $10 to spare, admission is free every Thursday after 5pm as well, so no worries.

I've blogged about this in one of my previous About Town blogs, but if you haven't checked out this venue yet, you really should: The Edison Lounge in downtown LA. Yes, driving and parking there are hellish, but hear me out:

Every Wednesday in November, the Edison hosts DJ Imagika and a group of what they call "Fliers and Eccentriques" for Incandescence: The Dark Side of Light, to entertain you and bring you back to the old days of cabaret-style entertainment - it's $10 to get in, but if you bring an unwrapped, brand new toy in before 9 pm, you get in for free.

Every Thursday from 5-7pm at The Edison, they have a mixologist on hand creating a unique happy time drink - that they sell for only 35 cents. Yes, 35 cents.

And every Friday, they serve FREE grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, depression-era drinks at depression-era prices, give 25% of the proceeds to a local soup kitchen, and forward on any letters the customers wrote about their feelings on the economy to LA's Congressional reps. Kick ASS.

Maybe tea is more your style - ever checked out the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens? It's a wee bit on the expensive side - general admission into the gardens is $20 for adults (parking is free) and it's an additional $24.95 to take high tea at the Rose Garden Tea Room, but I've heard the food is amazing. And good GOD but are my nerd senses tingling - two exhibits are on rotating display in their library, and I don't know which one to freak out over more: a) The Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (c. 1410) or b) Original poems, notes, and manuscripts from one of my favorite cranky and bad-ass poets of all time, Charles Bukowski.

I am in nerd heaven.

Also, admission to the Huntington is FREE every first Thursday of the month during its regular visiting hours (10:30 am to 4:30 pm) but you do have to make a reservation for their free days.

Nov. 21st - Dec. 27th - ever wanted to see How the Grinch Stole Christmas, performed live? Sure you did... we all still do. :) If you're in Orange County or the San Diego area, go catch it playing at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego - tickets range from $39.00 to $49.00, and kids aged 3 -17 years cost $20.00 to $30.00. Is the price of admission probably worth it? I'm betting yes.

For those of you who still get all warm and fuzzy when a Christmas tree lights up for the first time - I know I do - The Grove in Hollywood is celebrating their annual Tree Lighting ceremony on Nov. 22nd at 7:30 pm with musical performances and maybe a few celebrities - all you gotta do is pay for parking and somehow withstand spending the rest of your money at the Crate&Barrel store.

If you haven't gotten your fill of museums lately, or you need a place to take visiting relatives over the Thanksgiving weekend, consider this - from Nov. 26th through Dec. 9th, 20 different LA institutions threw this together: Holiday MADness (Membership Appreciation Days). Basically, a bunch of museums and other art institutions in Los Angeles got together and wanted to give back to their membership - so if you're a card-carrying member at any of these museums, you can get in for free on the days listed - AND you get 20% off all merchandise at the museum stores, which we all know is the coolest place to get gifts that nobody else will have.

Thursday, Dec. 3rd - the annual Griffith Park Light Display starts up again! For one night only on the 3rd, bicyclists are the only ones allowed to tour the Crystal Springs Drive light displays - and then for the next two weeks, Friday Dec. 4th through Thursday, Dec. 17th, it's only pedestrians. Finally, beginning Friday, Dec. 18th through Dec. 30th, cars will be allowed to cruise slowly through the brightly lit streets. This is a huge hit with most Southern California residents, so do NOT wait until the last minute to do this one :)

Dec. 5th, Saturday - if you've ever felt particularly crafty during the holidays, hop on down to Descanso Gardens in La Canada and for the (somewhat steep) price of $35, materials and an instructor will be on hand to help you make a beautiful, fresh Christmas wreath to hang on your door and greet your holiday guests.

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, are curious about celebrating it, or just looking for a really good party, look no further than Fiesta Hanukkah!, which is the Skirball's way of blending Jewish and Latin American traditions into one really awesome party. Join the festivities on Sunday, Dec. 6th and learn how to play Jewish Latin games, taste yummy food, and listen to Latin American bands put their own spin on traditional Hanukkah songs. Adult admission is $10, children under 12 years old are free.

And finally - if you are in a singing mood this holiday season but don't want to get made fun of (or dress up like an extra from Scrooged) this might be just the thing: The Walt Disney Concert Hall puts on two performances of Handel's Messiah - and YOU'RE the chorus! Whether you want to sit in your seat and just enjoy the music or stand up and sing along, you're welcome to either way - just make sure you've got your ticket for either the Dec. 12th, 2 pm performance or the Dec. 20th, 7 pm performance, then sit back, enjoy the soloists and full orchestra on stage, and sing along with all your heart if you feel moved to do so. Tickets start at $24.

So there you go, folks! Long blog, as usual, but tons of stuff to do this holiday season. So go forth, eat, drink, and help others be merry.

Monday, November 16, 2009

two weddings and a refund

Happy Monday, everyone! And I can wish people a happy Monday because I had a kick ass weekend shooting not one, but TWO weddings!

Both weddings were set in Malibu, and as I was driving in the late afternoon sunshine on Friday afternoon heading to the Bel Air Bay Club for the first wedding, my car cruising down Pacific Coast Highway as it overlooked the Pacific Ocean sparkling in the sun, I got all grateful and mushy for how awesome my life is and how many cool opportunities I have already had - and how many more I'm probably in for.

I'm also grateful that for both the Friday and Saturday weddings this weekend, the brides were just about the coolest, most laid back ladies I have ever met. The bride on Friday, who wore The.Most.Gorgeous.Dress.Ever (it was made entirely out of cream-colored peacock feathers. I know it sounds like it wouldn't work, but trust me, it worked) kept exclaiming, "Everything is so beautiful!" And it was. This wedding had the feel of a dance party, especially when, for the first dance, a choir came out of nowhere to sing the couple's song, then burst into a rendition of Ain't No Mountain High Enough and welcomed the guests to jump up and dance and sing along. So the happy couple went from dancing alone on the dance floor to surrounded by a choir and hundreds of guests who were singing and dancing and laughing and crying and I got to photograph all of it - it was an incredibly perfect night.

Saturday night's wedding also had a total party-vibe feel to it after the bride and groom were married in the Stauffer Chapel at Pepperdine University (if you are in Southern California and you haven't been to this chapel you are missing out - huge, gorgeous stained-glass windows overlooking the ocean in the afternoon sunlight - one of the most beautiful places in all of California), then moved the reception to one of Hollywood's hottest clubs, the kind where they don't have the address or any sign on the building - why does LA think that if it's hard to find, it makes it cooler?

I think the highlight of Saturday night's wedding (besides the swanky club and amazing food) was me helping the chief bartender tape up the wedding coordinator's sprained ankle with electrical tape, all while being stuffed into a small utility closet so no one would notice. Yup, definitely the highlight of the night. I got a free Shirley Temple out of that one.

I didn't take this picture. But this is what the Pepperdine chapel looks like on the inside. Gorgeous, no?

So those were my two weddings - I had a fantastic time, took tons of photos that I'm not allowed to show any of you (wah! Client releases!) and spent half my weekend in hip, trendy clubs and beautiful chapels, listening to sentimental toasts and photographing crying family members and stealing slices of wedding cake. Um...scratch that last one.


And in other news, do any of you remember that total BS speeding ticket I got way back in June of this year? I blogged about it here and finally decided that I wanted to fight it in court - something about 98% of the rest of my family and friends (and my insurance agent) told me not to do.

I fought it anyways. Maybe it's a New Englander thing to want to naturally do what other people tell me I can't, or to fight back against what I feel can occasionally be a corrupt bureaucracy of people more interested in creating excess paperwork to get more money for the city than in the general safety of the public. Whatever happened to that catchy slogan "To protect and to serve?"

Either way, civil disobedience is in my blood, so I started doing some research. And I have to apologize to my non-Cali readers here because the following laws I'm going to be talking about are only California Vehicle Codes, so you guys that live in the rest of the United States can feel free to go grab a soda or something while I give my fellow Californians a quick lesson in Fighting Your Speeding Ticket 101. Ready?

1) Let me guess. You were told that if you fight your ticket and declare yourself Not Guilty you waive your right to go to traffic school, thus making it appear that fighting your ticket is a huge gamble that you can't afford. In reality, when you make your argument to the judge, you can ask that if in the event that you are found guilty in a court of law, your monetary fine be reduced (hey, it never hurts to ask) and that you be allowed to go to traffic school if you do not have a violation on your driving record within the last three years.

2) You were probably also told that it's a pain in the ass to show up in court and fight your ticket. Contrary to popular belief, police have a few very good reasons to show up in court if you decide to fight your ticket in person, the main two being: a) a cop gets paid OVERTIME to show up in court, and b) the court date scheduled on your ticket is always going to be one of the officer's days off.

What you might not know is that to initially contest your speeding ticket, you DO NOT have to appear in court. Pay your fine in full once you get it in the mail (declaring yourself Not Guilty on the check and in a letter), then request a TWD in that same letter - a Trial of Written Declaration. The court will mail you a pre-existing form (bet you didn't know they had those lying around) where you get a chance to explain your side of the story and offer up any proof, including recent road surveys, photographs of the speed limit sign, the road, etc. Instead of being paid overtime to show up in court and intimidate the hell out of you, now the police officer's job is to prove that the violation he issued you was correctly and legitimately issued - and he has to work to gather the proper paperwork on his own time.

3) I was issued a speeding ticket for going 61 mph in a 55 mph zone while accelerating up a hill - and I used these two CVCs (California Vehicle Codes) to argue my case. The first being CVC 22400, the Minimum Speed Law. The Minimum Speed Law asserts that a) No person shall drive upon a highway at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, unless the reduced speed is necessary for safe operation, because of a grade, or in compliance with law. Using this law, I argued that because everyone else behind and around me was driving faster, if I were to actually drive the speed limit posted, I would have been a hazard to the traffic behind me and attempting to pass me as I would have interrupted the flow of cars heading up the hill, so I instead chose to increase my speed and thus stop being a burden to the traffic behind me.

4) I also used CVC 22350, the Basic Speed Law, which states that if weather conditions are dry and clear, and traffic conditions are light and easy, I am allowed to drive at what I may deem a safe and reasonable speed. I noted that the officer failed to mark down what the weather and road conditions were on my speeding ticket, as he is required to do, and then I sent in my TWD (along with a copy of my ticket to show where he failed to note the weather and traffic conditions) via certified mail and waited nervously.

This weekend, I received a letter in the mail that notified me that I was found Not Guilty in a California court of Law and that my traffic fine was being refunded to me. Wooohooo! Who's got money for holiday presents now? (::points at myself::) I do!

And that, my friends, is how each and every one of us can sow just a tiny little bit of anarchy into a world that has long forgotten to put common sense above legality.

Thus endeth today's lesson. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

birthday layers

Today is my oldest brother's birthday. I've got two older brothers, so I'm the baby, and the only girl, and before you think yup, she was a brat may I also ask that you add tomboy to that mental picture. So I'm a brat tomboy, which should explain a lot. Rest assured that if I ever break my hand punching someone's face, I'm gonna pitch a fit.

Growing up, whatever my brothers did, said, wore, or listened to, I desperately wanted to as well. I grew up wearing black and refusing to wear skirts and listening to heavy metal music and rocking out to Anthrax, Metallica, and Motley Crue, and then as my brothers' tastes varied as they got into college, I started getting into Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc. Come to think of it, I STILL wear black and refuse to wear skirts and am still listening to all those bands. Hmmm...

Anyways, both my brothers are amazing guys, honest and direct, hilarious and stubborn, hard-working and incredibly talented (one is an 3D effects animator, the other focuses on graphics. I can't even draw a stick figure very well). I look up to both of them very much, but here's the thing...I don't know them very well.

Oh, it's not for lack of trying, I promise. But there's a bit of an age gap, and I'm, well, a girl, and I've got my own stuff going on in LA. But most of all, there's a little bit of distance because that's how we were raised. And this isn't going to turn into a post about my crappy childhood, because this isn't a blog where I dump that stuff on you guys. But I will say, of all the things that make me the most heartbroken about how the three of us were raised, you know, besides the physical abuse and stuff, is the fact that my father pitted the three of us against each other. We were taught that our siblings were never our allies -- they were our competition, our threats, and it was made very clear that there was only so much love to go around and that we had to compete for it.

Fuck that. And I hardly ever swear on this blog so you can get how pissed off this makes me.

Anyways, I'm steering this post in the wrong direction, as I'm trying to make it lighthearted and instead heading really quickly towards an Epic Fail on that one. Because the point is, of all of this, of everything that I am saying here:

If you really, truly want to get to know someone, check out their wish list on

We had asked my brother a while back to get us a list of stuff he wanted for his birthday, since we usually try to celebrate it on Thanksgiving because that's the date closest to his birthday when we're all gathered around the same onion dip, and lo and behold, Sunday night an email appears in our in-boxes with a link to birthday bro's Amazon wish list. And I'm scrolling through it, noticing the usual stuff, like some Godsmack albums and Pink Floyd posters and Boston Bruins gear, and then there's the Salvador Dali print of Swans Reflecting Elephants WAIT WHAT?

And there is it, both Swans Reflecting Elephants and Van Gogh's Starry Night, on his wish list. And I know my brother is incredibly intelligent but I'm still like, How does he even know who Dali is? In my entire not-that-long life we have never had a single conversation where he expressed interest in any type of art that was created long before computers, in the dark age of paint and brushes and women who weren't the size of starving Abercrombie and Fitch models.

And as someone who loves art (in a pedestrian, hey that looks familiar, must be whats-his-name kind of way) this absolutely blows me away.

But then I think about it - isn't my Pink Floyd, Boston Bruins, Battlestar Galactica and Godsmack loving brother allowed to have layers, just like me? I wouldn't want someone to look at the things I like and assume I don't know a Jackson Pollack from a Monet. Or that I'm just some air-headed blond who doesn't know the difference between Picasso and LOL Cats.

It got me thinking - what else don't I know about him? What else will I find out about my brother, if we just keep talking, if I don't let my busy life and my brat tomboy persona and the past get in the way?

So happy birthday, big brother. Here's to keeping people on their toes, and never, ever apologizing for being yourself. Your talent and your drive make me so incredibly proud to be your little sis.

And can I borrow that Godsmack album sometime?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Saturday is alright (for fighting)

Okay, so did everyone have a good weekend? Because I spent 8 hours on Saturday working with Escrima sticks and training knives and I can barely type, my fingers and knuckles and hands and forearms are so sore.

So this post is gonna be short (by my standards) because I'm a whiner. And a wimp.

I've been studying Escrima for about three years now with my friend Isaac as my instructor, and one of the things I love most about Escrima is that I don't have to be incredibly strong or huge to be able to take someone down. I have to be fast, and I have to be efficient. I also have to not flail my arms as much, but I'm working on that last one.

Escrima (sometimes referred to as Kali) originated in the Philippines because, um, lots and lots of countries were lining up to try and slaughter their people and take over the country, and the Filipino people were all, um, no thanks? So they borrowed from a ton of different martial arts and whenever they'd be taken over for short period, the Filipinos would practice their sword work in the fields along with practicing it through, ahem, "dancing." If you guys know anything about Capoeira, you'll notice some similarities - mainly, a subjugated group of people pass along their martial arts training through the art of dance so that their stupid masters don't notice anything, then one day they rise up and kick ass and everyone's like, Wow, didn't see THAT one coming. I just thought they were being moved by the holy spirit.

Anyways, my point is, Escrima is bad-ass and it teaches you not only sword fighting, but because it's based off fighting concepts and not fighting techniques (something our guest instructor, Guro Lewis, kept drilling into us on Saturday), you can use it at any time with any object. Our Guro demonstrated this by taking down one of our students using a pen - and if you've seen The Bourne Identity, you get to see Jason Bourne use Escrima to kill someone with a rolled up newspaper. Finally, a use for all those old Wall Street Journals you've got lying around.

So Saturday was a good day of working sword and then knife fighting techniques, because, again with the idea that any weapon can be utilized with Escrima concepts, Escrimadors make really, REALLY good knife fighters. I learned how to stab, poke, hack and slash my way through the human body, and I had an absolutely fantastic time doing it.

And this is my blog post about how I spent my weekend learning how to kill people more effectively. Why can't I just scrapbook like everyone else?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Monday night I found myself irrationally angry. I'm not really an angry person, as I was raised in a family of angry people so I sort of side-stepped that whole thing by becoming an Uber-Communicator. You know who we are, we're the ones whose buttons are impossible to find and we talk about our feelings and we drop our egos and focus on solving the problem? Or when we're really upset we go for a walk and come back and everything's okay? Yeah, we're an endangered species. Sorry, I'm working on a breeding program as I type this.

And Tuesday night I was really super sensitive and kind of...sad. Benni and I are brushing our teeth and I sort of turn to him and say, "I'm irrational," almost in a curious observer kind of way, because the thing is, most of the time I am not irrational. At all. I am the cool, collected pragmatist who likes to combine organized with spaz and see how many people I can weird out. Like, yes, sometimes I end up wearing two different colored socks the entire day without noticing (I only did that once), but I have never missed paying a bill on time in my life and my entire book collection is organized according to genre and then the author's last name. This really freaks people out.

So I know what's going on and what's coming up, so to speak, and I don't have to get all TMI on any of you. I guess I'm writing this because it can be treated as a kind of field/survival guide for girls and guys. So listen up as I give myself advice that you too can benefit from.

Girls: just because you feel an emotion doesn't mean you have to ACT on it. The anger might be there, the moodiness, the sadness, the urge for a bacon cheeseburger, whatever. I don't know where society got this "It's okay to express whatever you're feeling, whenever you're feeling it" mantra but NO. You don't get to throw a temper tantrum like a small helpless hungry 2 year old when you're 25, you don't get to act fully INSANE and expect your loved ones to have any sort of coping mechanism set in place whatsoever. You also don't get to say a bunch of really mean crap that you don't mean and expect it to blow over the next day once you feel fine. That's not cool, ladies.

You're an adult. Take responsibility for your actions. If you are in a bad mood, tell people you are in a bad mood and apologize in advance if you feel you are going to take it out on them. Or better yet - don't take it out on them! Create some sort of happy space for yourself, go out for frozen yogurt, go work out, snuggle with your puppy, kill lots of people in Halo 3 or go watch Quantum Leap re-runs. It doesn't matter. Just don't justify why you are entitled to go from mostly sane human being to raging bitch, because guys have bad days too and we chicks don't put up with their crap for very long.

Guys: Calm down. Nothing sets off an already-emotional woman like fear, or panic. This whole "Oh my god, is this what the rest of my life is going to be like" thought process does NOT help. Oh, and I know you want to fix it. Of course you can fix it! You fixed the dryer, didn't you?

No. You can't fix it.

You have to just shut up and listen as we sob uncontrollably about the latest love triangle on Grey's Anatomy or rage against the injustice of push-up bras or whatever other stupid thing has set us off, and you cannot fix it, you can only support us as we sit in the weird, irrational emotions and let them pass like a storm in the night. You don't have to be the hero, you don't have to rationalize our irrationalities and above all do not tell us we are overreacting. BE YE NOT SO STUPID as to tell us we are overreacting. Breathe. It will pass, we will feel better, and everything will go back to normal.

Unless you're dating a bi-polar chick, in which case all I can do is say I am very sorry and they have support groups like that for a reason.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween town

Sorry I'm late with this post - there were a ton of photos for me to upload over the weekend and the first of the month is always a little crazy for various reasons, but here you go! As promised! Photos! Yay!

Thursday night Benni and I carved pumpkins while sipping hot chocolate and humming the Nightmare Before Christmas theme song to ourselves, because we're cool like that. Here's me carving my pumpkin:

and here's Benni's pumpkin:

and here's the four of us, creators and creations, together:

but let's face it, jack-o-lanterns look better in the dark :)

On Friday night we headed over to our friend Zak's party, where we ate too much and watched cheesy slasher flicks playing in the background while bobbing for apples and generally pointing and laughing at other peoples' costumes. Most people got that I was Harley Quinn except for one chick that guessed that I was Mrs. Incredible.

Really? Really?? Last time I checked Elasti-Girl did not wear fishnets. Of course, Harley technically doesn't either, but still...

Benni was kind enough to take some pictures of me getting ready for the party, most without me noticing:

And then we were off to the party!

Benni and I had decided to go into West Hollywood for Halloween - every year, up to 400,000 people (nope, not making that number up) show up and crowd into three or four blocks and it's supposed to be absolutely insane. It's also supposed to be a fantastic way to celebrate Halloween if you can deal with the crowds and parking and insanity and riots and male nudity (West Hollywood is, uh, very liberated). Having been warned to show up early and make a day of it, and having never planned this sort of thing before, that's exactly what I did. If there's one thing us A-types are good at, it's getting into Tour Guide/Cruise Director mode. I can plan with the best of 'em.

So Saturday morning I decided to make breakfast for Benni (see? I do my share of cooking!) and made him poached eggs on english muffins spread with goat cheese, and fresh homemade chocolate croissants right out of the oven. It was yummy.

We headed down to W. Hollywood early, arrived at noon, and parked in a parking structure so we wouldn't have to deal with drunk jay-walking pedestrians when we tried to leave that evening, then we walked up to Sunset Blvd. and caught a movie (New York, I Love You) at the movie theater.

After the movie, we headed back to our car and got changed into our costumes. Now, as an actress, I am fairly skilled at changing my clothes and putting on makeup in my (parked) car, but my costume involved a skirt, two layers of tights, boots that reached to mid-calf and a corset, so there was some...maneuvering. Let's just say I got a good abs workout.

We barely made it to our 5:30 dinner reservation on time, so this is us finally leaving the parking structure, fully (and finally) in costume once again:

and as we headed out of the parking structure towards the restaurant, we literally crossed the street, walked ten feet...and were there. Can I plan like a bad-ass or what? I'd had no idea the restaurant and parking structure were that close. Apparently I'm just that good. (And yes, incredibly humble.)

After making the reservations, I had called the restaurant (Cafe La Boheme) to make sure dining in costume was okay, and the guy who answered the phone practically screamed, "Is it okay? The entire wait staff is going to be in costume!!" So I already knew this was our kind of place.

We walk in, and I kid you not, we are the first ones there - so the staff lets us choose where we want to sit. We end up choosing a small, intimate table on the balcony of the restaurant, over-looking a huge fireplace and gorgeous, blood-red chandelier - this place was practically MADE for Halloween, and it's decorated with spider-webs and glowing pumpkins everywhere. As we pass our waiter, he exclaims, "Awesome, I get to wait on Super-Villains!"

We loved our waiter.

The food was incredible, we were waited on by a shirtless cowboy, the dessert was to die for, and the restaurant was about fifty feet away from the start of the celebration. It was absolutely perfect.

So after dinner, the carnival was well under way, so we started at one end and just slowly walked down to the other, making our way through the thousands of people crowding the streets. The best thing about the costume parade was the fact that everyone was supporting and loving each other's outfits - there was very little ego, just tons and tons of people taking pictures of costumes they thought were cool. And guess who was the hit of the night?

You guessed it. Out of the thousands of costumes we saw, Benni was the ONLY classic Joker, and people went nuts. People followed him down the street, yelling "Joker, over here!" before pulling him aside to take pictures with him. Most of them didn't know who I was at all (HUGE bummer at first) but I got over it fairly quickly because I was just really happy to see Benni getting a ton of attention for his fantastic costume.

There were a lot of Batmans who wanted to take pictures with Benni, and a rowdy group of Australians found him and pulled him into their group for a picture (they had a Batman in their group), but when I tried to step out of the picture all the guys started yelling, "No, you too, you too!" So that was nice. Somewhere in Australia there is a picture of me looking surprised.

Here's a very sweet girl who wanted her picture taken with both of us:

And yes, I'm aware the picture is a bit blurry, but this is what happens when you let 6'4" drag queens use your camera.

That's a West Hollywood Halloween for ya! How was everyone's Halloween??
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