When Imitation Is Better Than The Real Thing, or “Where I Get My Food”

May 19th, 2011

I just got back from the faux-op, aka Trader Joe’s. I’m onto you, faux-op: I know you train your employees to be all the things that are great about hippies, without being any of the things about hippies that are hard to take. (I think the word “skippy” actually describes them better than does the word “hippie”.) I know someone in Corporate at Trader Joe’s has been refining the initiative to invoke just enough of that co-op atmosphere to make me feel like I’m buying the best for my household, even though I’m barely looking at the packaging, because I’m trying to get out of your crazy crowded-ass aisles and away from your skippies who are ringing up and bagging my items and acting like they have been my neighbors for 20 years, asking me about my weekend plans and telling me which items from the frozen foods section they like best.

And I love you! I LOVE YOU, TRADER JOE’S! I’m onto your gimmicks, and I still love you. I don’t find you an imitator at all; in fact, I think you represent an intelligent alternative. I like Whole Foods, and I go there sometimes, but the grocery industry is a money making industry, after all, and oh, Lord, have they made some of my money theirs at Whole Foods. It’s true, the 365 brand is affordable. It’s true that nothing else in that store is (for me, anyway).

I enjoy the Farmers Market now and then, but it’s gotten fairly corporate itself in places, and I don’t have the time or interest to get to know the people in the stalls to keep it all straight. Also, the prices are pretty high, and the crowds sometimes make me want to scrap it all and go back to the days (last Saturday) when I ate exclusively what was available in Aisle 11 of CVS. (If you lived across the street from a CVS, you might do this, too.)

As for the co-op, it’s great, and I do shop there, maybe once a month. I don’t want to badmouth it one bit. But here are five things I personally prefer about Trader Joe’s, versus the actual co-op:


The employees at Trader Joe’s are ambitiously efficient. They’re kind of dorks for efficiency, and they are nerds for groceries. The members working their shifts at the co-op are cooler than that, it’s true, but when I need hormone-free milk and free-range eggs, I need them stocked and scanned and in my car in the least amount of time possible. I don’t care how cool, versus how skippy, the people are who make that happen for me.


I feel constant co-op guilt when I’m there, because I did have a membership for a few years, and now I don’t, and maybe I should? I should support the co-op, here I am shopping at it, shouldn’t I let everyone who sees my keychain know I want it to be an option for all of us, always, like NPR and the Natural History Museum? Even if the savings don’t add up for me, shouldn’t I take up the cause? I hate feeling guilty the whole time I shop.


While Trader Joe’s may not have every brand I like best, they in most cases have an alternative that works. Where I prefer Prego, Trader Joe’s offers me its own brand of pasta sauce that tastes similar. Where I prefer Sarah Lee, Trader Joe’s offers its own soft whole wheat bread. But where I prefer Honey Nut Cheerios, the co-op offers me kasha. Or quinoa. Or a bin of brown nuggets I don’t want to dig into with the community scooper.


Sweets. Trader Joe’s has the world’s most awesome frozen cakes, pies, and such, and its selection of baking mixes and chocolates and candies is terrific. Not all of them are outstanding, but most of them are. At the co-op, the new baked good, box of cookies, or candy bar I decide to try always ends up tasting the way it smelled in GNC in the mall when I was a kid.


Finally, there’s the customer base. This may sound judgmental, but I’m going to own it: I like it best, when grocery shopping, to be among people I feel are similar to me. By that, I don’t necessarily mean my own “demographic” 100 percent. I don’t mean people of the same economic circumstances or family situations or ethnicity (although let’s all be honest, no one wants to shop with Canadians, they’re like natives for God’s sake). What I mean is, I like not having to navigate around extreme nutters. And there are always half a dozen of these, minimum, in the co-op, like the guy in the yellow tie who told me the Russians are still dropping nukes on us. Or the woman who had an employee cornered by the hand creams for my entire visit, asking about ingredients and basically trying to squeeze an education in dermatology from this poor guy. Or the lady in line at the register in front of me who felt the need to include special instructions for each and every item, like “That’s a very ripe avocado, so please handle it carefully.” Don’t these people have text messages to send? Because I do, and I’d like to get done with my grocery shopping and send them.

This does make me sound like someone who isn’t very “in touch” with where my food comes from, and that would be a fair accusation, and one I would like to work on, in ways that suit me. I love the farm tours we have gone on and would love to do that often. I also want to get cooking more, even though I hate it … in all reality, what I would love most is if Stevel got cooking more. Until Violet is eight, then it’s Chore Time, and chores include duck l’orange (it’s from Trader Joe’s, Violet, so you can juts unzip the packaging, chuck that duck in the slow cooker, and head off to soccer practice, NO BIG DEAL. Earn that allowance, Missy!).

Grandma took a little spill at the sand dunes today. Broke her coccyx.

June 13th, 2008

Today I had my sixth doctor’s visit, including that fun day at the ER . This time, I think we’re getting somewhere. My doctor feels fairly certain it’s a case of inflammation in the connecting tissues around my coccyx bone. Basically, arthritis. Treatment involves anti-inflammatories for two weeks and hot baths twice a day. I asked if a heating pad would do the trick, and the doctor said, “Why? Are you too lazy to take a bath?” So there’s just no getting out of it, I must take my baths, DOCTOR’S ORDERS.

The kicker is that this coccyx-bone inflammation? It’s not common with my stats. Specifically, the doctor said he hasn’t seen someone my age, with the size baby I had (small), and with the short delivery time (about 20 minutes), have this issue. My sister said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think you’re just not really built to have babies, after all.” No. But to make milk? YES. Without getting into details, I’m quite the surprising success at that.

If the anti-inflammatories don’t work, an X-ray would be called for, but he is very, very sure it’s not a fracture and that I’ll be just fine in two weeks. Which would be GREAT. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it more than a few hundred times, but I am in PAIN.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen “Napoleon Dynamite,” you probably don’t get that title. Also, your life is just a little less rich with laughter than it could be.

And now Vibb and I are off to Michigan. AKA the Mitten State … and if you’ve never seen a field of ripe mittens, you haven’t lived!

Your Proverbial Mother Was Right

May 26th, 2008

Today I went back to the doctor’s office about my mysterious illness—the one with the baseball bat and the tailbone hammer. It just wasn’t getting better.

That was at 11:30. That doctor decided I should get a CAT scan, in case something was wrong in some vital organ, namely a reproductive one I don’t ever care to use again (i.e. my uterus). Since it’s SUNDAY, the only place to get a CAT scan is the ER. Here’s how I passed the ensuing NINE HOURS in the ER today:

- Listening to the same poor old woman ask for a glass of water—yes, for all nine hours (she wasn’t allowed to, because of certain tests she had to have)
- Joking with my sister about the doctors’ finding Violet’s twin—a little knot of hair and bone with a face—in the CAT scan
- Noting what a dump the ER is in so many respects
- Using the bathroom once and then eventually having to pee again but holding it (see above)
- Feeding a smuggled-in Violet while wearing a hospital gown … ah, memories
- Counting my blessings, like the one about how I was not having contractions, and the one about how there was no blood gushing out of my mouth
- Holding onto and caressing my cell phone like it was a security blanket
- Eating nothing except the two granola bars Steve smuggled in for me … what’s with our hospital trying to STARVE ME???
- Resisting the urge to push buttons on machines with which I was left completely unsupervised for hours at a time
- Listening to a crazed drunk man having an exchange with the nurses about signing himself out, a decision the nurses forbade
- Listening to another man get scolded for trying to sneak out to have a cigarette as nurses were waiting for his Dilantin levels to stabilize
- Watching my first nurse prove her ineptitude several times in ways I don’t really want to talk about here … All I’ll say is, she repeated this phrase: “It was the wrong anatomy” enough times to take me beyond Mission: Decode into Mission: Escape With My Life.
- Watching the security guards chase out two twenty-something guys and tell them not to come back again … one of them was wearing a Penn State hat, which I wanted to snatch off with the indignant explanation that he was shaming the Lion
- Missing Violet
- Feeling mad that my visit with my sister has been all about my being ill, again
- Eventually finding out nothing is wrong with me. Nothing. At all.
- Wishing TO GOD I had thought of the old warning to always wear nice underwear in case you get in a car accident or, say, end up in an ass-bearing gown in the ER … Of all days to be laundry-down to the old red pants!

Why I Don’t Like Squirrels

May 18th, 2008

[1] They are vermin
[2] They have claws
[3] They hiss and are cranky
[4] They run in front of cars
[5] They infest

The Sleepiness Game

October 6th, 2007

When I can’t sleep, I play a little game whereby I choose a category, like cities of the U.S., countries of the world, movie titles, animal species, clothing label names (Stevel once played it with classic Arcade games). Then I go through the alphabet trying to come up with an example that starts with every letter. It’s pretty boring, so often I’m asleep by, like “L.” This morning at 3:15 a.m., though, I made it all the way through the alphabet playing “shades of a color”—I imagine I’m putting together a new line of specialty crayons in which there will be 26 shades of each color, and today’s color was red. So I give you your new box of specialty red crayons:


American Flag Red
Birthday Balloon
Don’t Go
Georgia Dirt
Hot Stove
Inner Organs
Jolly Clown Nose
Lover’s Bouquet
Mustang Convertible
Opie’s Hair
Queen’s Carpet
Underground Pipe
Wild Strawberry
eXit Sign
Yard of Autumn Leaves
Zesty Salsa

The Creepiest Place on Earth

August 30th, 2007

Today I wandered innocently into the creepiest place on earth. My thinking was this: It’s a store with baby dolls … my niece, Dani, turns five in a few weeks … Dani LOVES baby dolls (passionately). But WOAH. We’re talking about a multi-story clone factory in which a little girl is meant to create a lifelike version of herself—she even buys MATCHING CLOTHES for herself and her baby—for hundreds of her parents’ dollars. There are glass cases all over the place with little clones inside them, and special theme rooms depict clones eating ice cream, driving cars, and doing other bizarrely lifelike things. The many uniformed employees encourage you to enter “the theater,” but I was much too wise to fall for THAT. Brainwashing Center, more likely.

Now I have been to a Build-a-Bear Workshop with my nieces, and I can see that parallels might be drawn. But BaB is nowhere near as expensive or detailed as this nuttery. You do not schedule a stop for your bear at a Hair Salon counter. You do not discuss plans for activities with your bear with a CONCIERGE. BaB is a treat. American Girl Place is a Stepford-like debt-hole.

Stay away, people, and keep your precious kids far, far, FAR away.

Overheard at the Laundromat

July 10th, 2007

This woman in her 60s was at the Laundromat around the corner when I went there to wash some comforters just now. She asked me a lot of questions about how to use the washers, and her tone was always exasperated and rude, as if I had personally made the machines complicated to torment her. After I ducked her by moving to another area of the Laundromat, she found another young woman to ask for help/blame for her frustration.

Finally, her loads in the dryers, she sat on a bench and proceeded to call a number of people. To each one, she repeated these statements:

“I’m here at the Laundromat. I tell you, it’s torture. It’s torture, and it’s highway robbery, is what it is.”

“I would never subject Ben to this. It’s just torture.”

“I’m never doing this again. I told Ben he had better get that washer fixed or else buy a new one. IF he wants clean clothes.”

“You wouldn’t believe how much it costs and how long it takes. You have to just sit here with it. I mean, no one wants your laundry, you don’t have to worry about that, but things can get mixed up, you know.”

“I’m being tortured.”

Apparently, her listeners were sympathetic to her shocking experience in the Real World. The families in the Laundromat, who don’t have a choice but to launder there at “Torture Central,” ignored her stupid conversations. Most wore iPods. I think that’s where I went wrong; I had an available ear. Anyway, I tried to orient her to the triple-loaders as best I could before deciding her entitled attitude was more than I wanted to deal with. In a way, I did feel sorry for her. I think the Laundromat is a cool place, and I can’t imagine feeling like Laundromats are alien establishments contrived for their clients’ persecution. I thought of this woman at home in her lace-curtained laundry-room, a lonely prison of comfort, folding Ben’s undershorts and feeling like she had control over everything in her environment. It didn’t sound like such a great life to me.

Things that are cool about the Laundromat:

My neighbor’s dad owns it, and sometimes I see him there, in which case he monitors my laundering and scolds me if I fail to follow the directions on the machines in precise order. He also provides advice about how to build wealth in real estate, and, while I’m not interested in this per se, it’s nice to learn things from the wise.

There’s a candy machine.

Front-loaders. LOVE ‘em. Watch the Laundry Show.

I can stock up on quarters for meters (sorry, Laundry owner guy, I am ashamed).

It’s sunny in there with a nice breeze.

It’s clean.

People smile at you.

Sometimes there are cute kids running around being all cute.

Laundromats are places where all walks of life are accepted. While I was there, I shared the place with a couple of Spanish-speaking families, the other young woman who helped Ben’s wife, this young woman’s husband, a young man in his early 20s who was very attractive and extremely thin, a man in his maybe late 40s with a beard washing a lot of T-shirts, all of which looked new, a HUGE fat man in shorts and very white sneakers, a man who walked in off the street with all of his stuff in a dilapidated baby stroller who tried to get stains off of clothing he had in plastic grocery bags, and the attendant, a woman who is very nice and who does laundry-by-the-pound. There was a tone of contentment in there, a hum of productivity. Who doesn’t feel happy with a basket of clean clothes in hand?

“E.T. iPhone Home”

July 1st, 2007

This is a delicate blog entry to write. The arrival of the iPhones has slaked a long-standing thirst among some people I know, and they are protective of their enthusiasm. They are sensitive to any discussion about iPhones from non-iPhone owners right now, just in case that discussion is meant in any way to make fun of their enthusiasm.

So let me say first off, their enthusiasm is AWESOME. I do recognize that it is anything BUT “blind fandom” for a major name brand, and I think it’s very cool to anticipate something with happiness and then revel in the satisfaction of its arrival. And the iPhone itself IS awesome. It is truly the coolest little gadget I’ve ever seen, and it is more than lifestyle-improving for its owners; it is going to change the way we use cellphones—and think about how much we use cellphones. That’s huge. One day not long from now, every one of us will have either (a) an iPhone, or at least (b) a MUCH BETTER cell-phone from another company, the inspiration for which we can thank Apple for. (I mean, do YOU like your cell-phone? Really? It’s annoying, right? Imagine holding one that’s PERFECT instead.) This is a far-reaching technological evolution happening in front of our eyes. And I recognize that, and I do not think any iPhone passion misplaced. So I hope my friends will not take it the wrong way if I indulge in a little teasing about things like, “The ladies room is out of toilet paper; can you push the button on your iPhone that spits out a roll?” and “Can I get a piece of iGum? I’ve got Ranch-dressing taste in my mouth.”

Here are the reasons I don’t want an iPhone right now:

1] It’s more expensive than other phones
2] I tend to wash phones in the laundry (see 1)
3] I like to chuck my phone in my purse, my backpack (say, under some books and a computer), and in the backseat of my car (see 1)
4] I already have a phone, an iPod, a camera, and a computer, and I’m not quite at the point yet where I wish a lot of the time that they were one device. Soon.
5] I sometimes lose my phone for days at a time (see 1)
6] I like to let my nieces play with my phone (see 1; review it again)
7] I can enjoy the benefits of Stevel’s iPhone as a secondary user for now and be satisfied

I’m told the iPhone is very durable, anything but “precious.” So at some point I will get past all of this and go for it. Just not yet.

And anyway, I am already enjoying a benefit of the iPhone that was never advertised: Stevel will TAKE IT WITH HIM, he will ALWAYS CHARGE IT, and he will ENJOY USING IT. This means he is now available to me at all times. So yes, I too am a fan.

I Have Arrived

June 6th, 2007

Today I witnessed something we in Los Angeles consider akin to seeing the Queen Mother incognito in big sunglasses and a Yankees hat shopping at Herrod’s. Yes, bored with same-old-same-old celebrity sightings, mundane talk of investing millions in the next big action feature, and the [yawn] repetitive monotony of gorgeous weather, we crave something more … immediate, more … visceral.

In short, we, like no others on earth, crave a good car chase.

I had just parked at a curb in Culver City today when I heard a megaphone-voice say, “Stop your car.” Looking over my shoulder, I noted traffic stopped at a red light. Zig-zagging out of that traffic came a blue subcompact piloted by a twenty-something guy, his companion in the passenger seat. Close behind them came a Culver City police cruiser.

Let me interject here to say this: You do NOT want to fuck with the Culver City Police (shown here issuing a jaywalking ticket to an unlucky elderly woman). They are the most bad-ass, ON-your-ass cops on the West side, and if they issue you a six-hundred dollar ticket for driving on the wrong side of the road while you are simply sitting, parked, in the Target parking lot, you take that ticket, and you say, “Yes-Sir, thank-you Sir,” and you PAY it, and you even add a TIP, because they are fucking West-side federales, and they will Santeria your ass.

Back to my story. So the blue subcompact gets into the open intersection and does THREE DOUGHNUTS!!! Wooooo! On the third doughnut, they clipped the police cruiser on the front bumper! [Crunch] This all happened INCHES FROM MY DRIVER’S-SIDE WINDOW! And was I scared? NO! Because nothing would make me more acceptable to my fellow Angelenos, more consecratedly authentic “L.A.,” than being INVOLVED in a POLICE CHASE!

So, anyway, the subcompact sped off, weaving in and out of traffic. The cruiser burned rubber and gunned it after the guys, sirens wailing. It was SO EXCITING! I got out of my car, and those of us on the street were just abuzz with the shared excitement of having witnessed it. The only thing that could have made it better would have been possession of a video camera, so I could call Laura Diaz (whom every Angeleno has programmed into our cell phones) (“Hey, Laura! Where you at, dog?”) (*chirp*), and stream it to her so that current CBS programming could be interrupted to allow us all to bathe in the moment shared. Ah. L.A. pride. I’ve got it.

Ross Rant

June 4th, 2007

Yesterday I went to Ross Dress for Less. It was supposed to be a relaxing outing, one in which I enjoyed the immersive wonders of glorious bargains. Not even yet TO the store, however, I encountered an omen in the form of this event:

An ambulance came wailing along from behind. I, along with both lanes of Wilshire east-bound traffic on the block on which I was driving, pulled over to the right. The ambulance went on by us. And THEN a green Jeep Cherokee, which was behind the ambulance, came along. Did the driver pause to allow these two lanes of people on my block to return to our lanes and proceed? Um, not quite. Instead, he blew past us, forcing ALL OF US to remain pulled over so that he could use this opportunity to advance himself ahead of us. Nice. Luckily for the vigilante spirit in all of you reading this, we wound up side-by-side at the next traffic light. And yes, he got the bird. And yes, he was probably all, “What the—what’s that for?!” But I felt somehow relieved, having transmitted rage.

But oh, this was only the beginning of my nightmarish outing! Once in Ross, I browsed and shopped and found many delightful bargains. Among them was a blue shirt with a puppy on it. On the tag was the brand name: STEVE! It was so very cute, and so very fun-PJ-ish, and I tried it on in the dressing room and everything. It was a “Wanted” item!

Among my other intended purchases was a pair of PJ shorts, the tag to which read, “Two-piece Set.” Since the shorts were solo on the hanger, I searched high and low for another “set.” What I found were three more pairs of the same shorts, all also solo on hangers. I tried asking someone on the floor for help with this situation; she said only the people “up front” could help me.

So “up front” I went, with my marvelous finds and my credit card. Here, the cashier told me she’s not allowed to sell one piece of a two-piece set. I explained my search for coupled PJs and my discovery of several pairs of the same shorts by themselves. She called the manager over. At first, he was reluctant. I insisted that I had made a sincere effort to find the shorts’ partner top in his PJ department. Finally, he marked down the shorts, saying, “But you won’t be able to return them.” OK, fine, Dude.

But THEN the heartbreak … turns out it had escaped my notice that the “Steve” brand puppy shirt was ALSO sporting a “Two-piece Set” tag. Oh NO!!! The cashier looked at it carefully and then called the manager again. This time, no amount of argument from me would convince him to sell me this shirt. “We’re not allowed to sell one piece alone,” he said, and TOOK MY SHIRT FROM THE COUNTER AND HUNG IT BEHIND THE REGISTER IN A SPECIAL NOOK!

I said, “I looked for other colors of this shirt, so I can tell you there aren’t any others back there. In sets or alone.”

He said, “We just got in a bunch of PJs. We have ten days to match them tops to bottoms.”

I said, “Well, it seems like while you’re working on that, they maybe shouldn’t be out on the racks. Anyway, I will pay the two-piece price. I didn’t know it was part of a set, so I was prepared to pay the price on the tag for it. When you find the bottoms, you can just throw them away for me.”

He still said no!

I couldn’t help my growing anger. “You mean that I went to all the trouble of trying on this shirt and deciding against other items, and I want this shirt today, and I can’t buy it, but you might sell it to someone else tomorrow morning when you get your act together in the PJ department?”

Nope, no shirt for me.

“So wait, you put things out on the racks, and the customer is taunted by these items—made to think she can actually, oh, PURCHASE them—and it’s not true, because your store can’t manage to match the tops to the bottoms?”

“Sometimes the customers mix them up,” he said. (This was clearly not the case. All three pairs of striped shorts? The customers?)

“Not my fault! Not my problem! I want this shirt. Sell it to me.”


So I got his store number and his name, etc. And as I’m leaving, he has the nerve to say, “When you call to complain, please tell them how I let you buy the shorts.”

As IF! “Oh, why don’t you fill them in on that part?” I said, huffing out of there. (Steve cringed when I told him this part, so I recognize that I should probably be embarrassed about my behavior, but somehow I’m just not.)

I realize this guy was just trying to do his job, to follow company policy, and now that I’ve calmed down, I have better things to do with my time than to get him in trouble, or to try and influence Ross’ PJ protocol. I even recognize now how petty all of this is. A PJ shirt sent me over the edge? Really? But even now, 16 hours later, I wish I had that shirt in my possession, and I’m still mad at that stupid manager, who obviously COULD have sold me my shirt (since he sold me the shorts), and didn’t. But perhaps he has severe OCD, and unmatched tops and bottoms torture him in ways I can’t imagine. Maybe I should have gone easier on him.

Visual DNA

May 3rd, 2007

Read my VisualDNA     Get your own VisualDNA™

How fun! Thanks, Megan!

Science Un-Fair

May 1st, 2007

Over the last week, these chemistries have conspired to make me insane:

[1] my usual cocktail of moodiness
[2] migraines
[3] the moon

I hide it well in the company of others, other than Stevel. (It seems only fair that if I’m going to have to have his tender skin in my face all the time—taunting me, taunting my collection of Lotion bottles—he should have to tolerate something equally difficult to endure.)

I have eaten the traditional medicinal chocolate. I am eating it right now.

I have been listening to PB&J:

“And the question is, was I more alive
then than I am now?
I happily have to disagree;
I laugh more often now, I cry more often now,
I am more me.”

You should too:

Objects of My Affection
Young Folks
Amsterdam Lyrics

The whistling is cool, no? My grandma taught me to whistle (same grandma with the bargains and the organizey drawers). We are outie whistlers. Innie whistlers seem to do better, overall, but my grandma can whistle like a champ. I did not inherit the family’s musical talents. Or the curves. But I have the best vision.

Can you whistle? Are you any good?

The Thing That Can Make Rush Hour Actually Blow

April 13th, 2007

High winds in L.A. meant for some treacherous driving yesterday. Things I saw fly by me as I drove:

[1] a big purple rope
[2] a plastic grocery bag
[3] a curly black hair extension
[4] numerous pieces of palm bark, up to about six feet in length
[5] dirt—insane clouds of it

Disturbing things I saw drivers do:

[1] hit the brakes every time the wind blew against our cars, as if the same wind blowing sticks out of trees might threaten to carry away her 5,000-pound minivan, and as if braking might stop this from happening

[2] encounter a traffic signal that isn’t working due to the power outages, and act like idiots who have never seen a driver’s test, let alone been given any common sense whatsoever—listen, folks, you treat it like a four-way stop; you DO NOT just barrel forward and hope no one collides with you, SOMEONE WILL COLLIDE WITH YOU, and then guess what, you will have created, before my very eyes, a situation that further compounds the backed-up traffic causing me to spend an hour getting three miles, and what kind of accident witness do you think I’m going to be when your insurance company calls me

[3] become apparently annoyed by the long line of traffic waiting to go through the intersection and decide, while chatting on a cell phone, to avoid it NOT by taking a detour but by—get this—USING THE ONCOMING TRAFFIC LANE, the very lane in which I am COMING TOWARD HER AT 40 MILES AN HOUR HOLY CRAP! YOU ARE NOT AN AMBULANCE, and you should at the very least be LOOKING WHERE YOU ARE GOING AND NOT AT YOUR CELL PHONE AS YOU DO THIS LOBOTOMY-CONFIRMING MANEUVER!!!

[4] stop in the middle of moving traffic to crane his neck and look out all of the windows, apparently for a twister

[5] roll down her window in stopped traffic and toss out FOUR Q-TIPS (I’m not sure this has anything to do with the wind, but it’s CERTAINLY CRASS, CALIFORNIA PLATE 5XZR746!)

It was a trying drive. I’m always amazed at how ill-equipped to think on their feet (wheels?) drivers can be. Some drivers will sit in stopped traffic, creeping along to squeeze by an accident, when parallel detours aplenty are available to them. Some (and I saw this just last weekend) will DRIVE THROUGH the scene of an accident that clearly happened moments ago—as in people are lying on the pavement, and no ambulances have arrived—thereby adding danger to the situation, rolling their tires over broken glass, and choosing to do all of this rather that go one block out of their way.

Thankfully I am not JUST going to rant. I HAVE A SOLUTION. If you find that you are one of these drivers who, confronted with the unexpected situation, the situation that is outside-routine for you (e.g. high winds, accident scene, RAIN), cannot function like a thinking being, don’t worry. All you need to do is find the nearest Starbucks, park your car, and remain there until the situation has passed. In the familiar womb of Starbucks, you can safely use your cell phone (you’re smiling, I know you are), drink a lulling, brainwashing beverage (mmm, right?), and you can even, in the privacy of the Starbucks washroom, clean your ears and then deposit your Q-Tips hygienically in the trash. And think of all of the added safety—mine, yours, that of those poor people lying on the pavement—you’re providing with this service. It’s going to be easy. I’ve even written this little poem to help you:

When driving gets icky,
and you want to say, “Boo,”
when traffic gets sticky,
and you’re not sure what to do,
just sniff the air
north, south, east, and west,
and travel one more block
to a place you can rest.
Park out front;
if you’re towed, no big deal.
You shouldn’t be driving, anyway,
because you’re an idiot.

Right Now

April 11th, 2007

Mia is sitting behind me on my desk-chair. It’s just about time for another hypodermic smoothie.

Stevel’s computer is making a vibrating noise that’s driving me toward madness.

It’s very windy. My neighbor’s giant wind-chimes are alerting all of us to this fact.

I am off my feed, having two days ago reheated leftover crab-fried-rice from Thai Dishes restaurant and since finding all thought of food that isn’t plain noodles or pasta is horrifyingly nausea-inducing.

I have a lot to do. I’m not going to do any of it until tomorrow. I feel like I have the flu-aches.

Sarah-Architect needs a good local hair stylist, and we are IM-ing about it. She has a wedding to go to in two weeks, and we just discovered that our wonderful stylist, Adena Miller, has left Kenneth George Salon. The meanies at Kenneth George won’t tell us where she went. MEAN HAIR BITCHES!

Sarah-Novelist is recommending her guy, Stev, who only takes referrals. That is SO L.A. OF YOU, Sarah-Novelist!

Do you know what’s eeerie? Thai Dishes and Kenneth George Salon are in the SAME BUILDING! That building has bad ju-ju.

High Up On the List of Things I Dont Want to See Hanging by the Toilet in a Public Restroom

March 3rd, 2007

Salad tongs.

Unisex bathroom-slash-box-storage-room at the 99-cent store in Culver City. EW!!! WHY!!!

Overheard and Over-shopped

December 12th, 2006

Overheard one professorly looking man say this snippet to another in passing:

“… global warming in Europe and places like that …”

Yes, all of those places like Europe.

I may have been cranky. I was fresh from Toys ‘R’ Us, where the brilliant decision-makers in Corporate have decided the fire-code-defying crowds of the holiday season require even more of a challenge in the form of giant, stacked displays of extra toys that make it so only one cart can fit through any aisle at a time. What results is a situation in which you enter the store with your cart and hook yourself onto the train of shoppers weaving in and out of the aisles single-file and at a pace determined by whomever needs to pause and peruse the Barbie accessories for ten minutes. It’s not her fault that no one can get by her—there isn’t even room for her to LET anyone by. And what’s she supposed to do, reach out her arm and grab a random toy as she slides by behind the man testing the tires on the Spider-Man bike? I don’t blame her. But I do blame the parents who drag their tots in there, like that’s a fun experience for them. Hey, three-year-old kid, I have an idea: Let’s spend 45 minutes in a store full of things you want but can’t have, and the whole time, I’ll just get more and more testy with you. Then there’s the staff. I pity them, but why was my line, which was comprised of not one but TWO cashier stations, moving more slowly than any other SINGLE-cashier line?? It’s called, “I need to bag this set of fake plastic Subway food in s-l-o-o-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n.”

Nothing like a good rant about the nation’s most fucked up toy store to get you into the holiday spirit, huh?

The Downsides of Having a Favorite Shirt

December 4th, 2006

1] I have to wear a towel for 30 more minutes while the dryer finishes. Because I had to wash it. Because I wore it from early Saturday, slept in it Saturday night, and didn’t take it off until yesterday evening.

2] It was the only one in its size on the clearance rack, so I can’t get backups or refills (Upside: It was only $6.99).



December 1st, 2006

I’m glad the semester is nearing its end, because I can’t stand sitting in traffic anymore, and if I continue to have to travel at speeds of under two miles an hour for 30-minute stretches for much longer, I’m going to get out of my car somewhere around Lawndale and start screaming at the sky.

Attention Target Team Members

November 9th, 2006

Today in the Target parking lot, I saw a man walking to his car with nothing but a suitcase, tags on. As in, he went to Target to buy a suitcase, and that is all he bought. How does this work, exactly? I can’t go to Target without buying enough stuff to FILL a suitcase. The only thing that slows me down is that shopping at Target has a mysteriously laxative effect. Every single time. I literally know where the bathrooms are in every Target store between my house and Long Beach, and I know where the opportune cart-parking nooks are NEAR the bathrooms, and I know if I’m making a quick trip to Target that I need to allow time for this. I know this is a lot of very personal information, but it all fascinates me—the man buying ONE ITEM at a store with THOUSANDS of NECESSARY items AND the mysterious qualities of this chain. Maybe they produce something at Target Headquarters, some chemical meant to induce purchase … some chemical with strange side effects. Hm. I’m onto you, Target.

Mix Day

November 4th, 2006

I’m making a mix CD for myself today of songs I’ve been really enjoying lately. I can make many copies. If you want a copy, reader of my blog, please comment or e-mail me. I will be happy to supply you with one. It is easy. My one disclaimer to my design-savvy friends is that the only “design” program I know is Word, so the CD jacket I “designed” is quite rudimentary. You may laugh at it, but not to my face, please.

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