Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What my CD changer looks like

The new Foo Fighters album, In Your Honor, rocks my fucking world.
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I dig both discs, although I find that I am partial to the more mellow-stylings of the second. Specifically, track 6, "Over and Out." If my life ever becomes a Cameron Crowe movie, that's the song I want on the soundtrack. It's just.... I just want to hug it! Love.

And since I haven't done a CD review since that first one, I'll go ahead and add the following new albums to the list of Love:
Coldplay, X&Y
Gorillaz, Demon Days
Audioslave, Out of Exile
Nouvelle Vague
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm

There, now you know what my CD changer looks like. Now go get yourself some good music.

Feed my addiction

The cast list for Big Brother 6 is up on the CBS web site. Aw yeah.

You didn't know about my addiction to Big Brother, did you? It's true, I love it. I love Julie Chen with her bad outfits and body glitter. I love the cheap-ass, badly-decorated, Ikea-crap house they live in. And I love the contestants. I mean, I generally HATE the contestants, but I love them for all the stupid, self-righteous, entitled, mean, stupid, ugly, bitchy, scary, stupid, adorable, cute, disgusting, horrifying and mind-blowingly STUPID things they do.

Normally, reality TV is not my thing. I've only dabbled enough in Survivor to know who a few contestants are and to know how rad Sue's "snake and rat" speech was. I've barely dipped a toe in The Amazing Race waters, even though I hear it's excellent. I've tried on the Surreal Life and America's Next Top Model and Kept, and they're all amusing at first, but I get bored quickly.

Big Brother, on the other hand, holds endless fascination for me. It's all about how the game is played. Yeah, they throw in a couple meaningless challenges here and there to pit people against each other "physically" or "mentally." Of course, mental challenges usually entail "remembering shit you heard or saw earlier today." Physical challenges run along the lines of, "stand there and try not to pee yourself."

The true fascination, however, comes from the pure psychology of it all. Ultimately, winning the game has very little to do with winning challenges, and everything to do with personality, strategy, and relationships. Which is interesting enough, but with these people? Oh, these people are special.

If you picked out 14 random people, put them in a room, and said, "Get to know each other, then start voting people off for a chance at $500,000" you would see some interesting stuff happen, right? Alliances would form, people would start bargaining and reasoning and generally doing whatever it takes to win.

Now, imagine that on TV. With a bunch of vain, vapid, misguided fame whores. Who not only want to win, but they also want people to like them. They want fans. They want their decisions to be perceived as good and right, whether they are or not. The most despicable contestants (or hamsters, as we fans like to call them) are the ones who believe that everything they do is good and right and, as such, they are entitled to win. The other contestants, really, should just step aside and hand over the prize.

The likeable contestants are generally the ones who don't give a shit what people think.

In time, however, everyone on the show reverts into the worst versions of themselves. And that's when the show gets really good.

I am not alone in my obsession. There's a whole crew of groovy people over at a site called Hamster Time that recap the live feeds (!) and help feed my addiction.

Call it a guilty pleasure, call it a sickness, call it whatever you want. I don't care. The cast list is up, Julie has a whole new closet of fugly, and my kitchen is stocked with some PB & J. As the hamsters like to say, "It's Aawwwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnn!"

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Today, a coworker sent this out to the group:

"Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing. But they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs."

In other news, Crate and Barrel has launched a new line of mod home furnishings called CB2.
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Pretty groovy, huh?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Mix of the Month: May

mAc & Dinah: The Soundtrack
(We gave these out as favors at our wedding. The cases doubled as programs.)
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You're the First, the Last, My Everything . Barry White - If there's a better way to kick off a celebratory mix of love songs, I don't want to know about it, because I think this one is perfect.
You're the Boss . Brian Setzer Orchestra featuring Gwen Stefani - When I first heard this, I just thought it was a cute, flirty duet between strong-willed lovers. And then I grew up and realized that might a little, um, dirtier? "Well maybe tonight, I'll be the boss. And tomorrow night... I'll be the boss."
Happy Together . The Turtles - From the Muriel's Wedding soundtrack, and one of many anthem-like songs on this mix. I love the change in dynamics on this track the best. I walked down the aisle to another song off this soundtrack--the remix of Dancing Queen.
In Your Eyes . Peter Gabriel - Because, as Erica says, "What straight woman didn't get moist watching John Cusack holding the boom box over his head blaring Peter Gabriel in Say Anything?"
Just the Two of Us . Bill Withers - This is Amy & Chip's song, but we borrowed it for the mix because it's just so darn sweet and sexy.
Thank You . Dido - This song was actually featured in Sliding Doors before Dido's "No Angel" was released. I expect to get shit for liking Dido, maybe justifiably so, but I don't care. I'm grateful for mAc, and we're grateful for the friends and families that have given us so much. "I just want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life." I danced with my dad to this song.
Such Great Heights . Iron & Wine - There's a moment in Garden State when Zach Braff and Natalie Portman are just laying down, facing each other, enjoying each other and the stillness surrounding them, with this song capturing the moment. A brilliant remake of a great love song.
Come What May . Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman - This style of song is the least us, what with its overblown lite rock Celine-type qualities, but it still gives me goosebumps. I think Moulin Rouge is fabulous, and this song is just a pure, unabashed declaration of love.
At Last . Etta James - One of my all-time favorite songs, period. Now even more so, because it's the song we danced to for our first dance as husband and wife. (And let's face it, given mAc's love of dancing, probably our last.) This song was also featured in Pleasantville.
True Love . Pat Benatar - This one was a present from my friend Mikey many years ago, before I ever met mAc. Today, the lyrics are kind of perfect for us: "I called the man at the video store and said, 'Cancel my membership I won't be needing it no more.' There's a man to occupy my nights and, baby, it's just the right amount of true love." Well, that and he has a collection of over 3,000 DVDs.
Let's Stay Together . Al Green - Because when I think Pulp Fiction, I think of great love songs. Actually, I kind of do. "Son of a Preacher Man" almost made it on this mix as well.
Fever . Peggy Lee - Was any love song ever so sexy? "We give you fever til you sizzle, but what a lovely way to burn." Hot, sweetie.
Oh My Lover . The Detroit Cobras - My sister Amy walked down the aisle to this song. 'Cause she's cool like that.
Everlong . Foo Fighters - This is mAc's favorite love song. We also used it for our recessional. I'm crazy for lyrics like, "The only thing I ever ask of you / You gotta promise not to stop when I say when."
All I Want is You . U2 - I've loved this song ever since it made me ache watching Ethan Hawke and Winona Ryder pine for each other at the end of Reality Bites.
Can't Take My Eyes Off You . Frankie Valley - It's like two songs in one: the low-key, yearning love song, and the loud, shout-from-the-rooftops declaration. Teen movie aficionados like myself may also remember Heath Ledger's performance of this number in 10 Things I Hate About You.
I Melt With You . Modern English - Because it's the love song at the end of Valley Girl.
I Love You Always Forever . Donna Lewis - I just, I don't know. I just love it. It makes me happy.
Running . No Doubt - The perfect love song for the couple on the go. No, really. "We're running, running / Keep holding my hand / So we don't get separated."
You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You . Dean Martin - The Swingers soundtrack has several great love songs to choose from, but this one is the one to finish the mix.

So May's mix of the month is both late and mushy, neither of which should be surprising. We were really busy and lovey in May. Of course, I think we still found a way to include some fairly rockin' tunes. We might be in love, but we're still us.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What a freaking drama queen

You don't know. Unless you get them, you don't know.

Mine start with seeing spots, or what's called an "aura." Hang upside down for awhile, then get up really fast. The black, spotty fog clouding your vision? That's what I see. For about 20 - 30 minutes. This is when I usually take something, and it usually curbs the pain. Sometimes, I'm not so lucky.

Like today, for instance.

If I'm not lucky, the spots are followed by waves of dizziness and nausea. And the lights have to go out and the music has to turn off and the phone has to be turned down because lights feel like daggers in my eyes and everything sounds like it's been turned up to 11. If I'm home, this is a good time to just go to bed.

If, like today, I'm at the office and have no way of getting home (drive like this? No, thank you), this is when I'll shut the door like I'm about to hop on a 4-hour conference call and pray no one disturbs me. Then I'll curl up on the floor, weep quietly and wait for the sweet release of sleep.

The pain itself is really special. Imagine you have the worst hangover you've ever had, only this time you've decided to take a small, rubber stocking cap and shove your hungover head into it, clench your teeth like you really mean it, then bang your head against a wall for good measure. I've never actually done this (nor do I know where one could find a rubber stocking cap), but I bet that would come pretty close to a migraine. If, of course, the resulting pain lasted for about 3 hours and wiped you out for the rest of the day.

That said, unless you're a migraine sufferer, you don't know. Nor will you ever. The worst headache you've ever had doesn't compare.

And before you ask, yes, I've talked to my doctor. Yes, I've investigated the prescriptions. Yes, I've read the books and I've probably done whatever else you would like me to do so my blinding headaches are less inconvenient for you.

Oh, that's not what you meant? Well, that's how it feels sometimes. Sometimes, I don't tell people when I get them, because it's embarrassing. I hate being the invalid, the "migraine sufferer," the person with the problem. Or else I'm just sick of feeling defensive about my pain, my treatment of it, and my (personal) medical reasons for why this is the treatment I use. Even if the questions are meant to be helpful, I just hate talking about it with people who don't get it, period. It's just easier sometimes to shut my door, hope no one asks, and sneak out early after the 8th Excedrin Migraine allows me to drive. Because I can't take the questions and, what's more, I can't take the looks I get that say,

"She's faking. It's not that bad. She could just take something. Why doesn't she just go to the doctor and fix it? Why is she so lazy? Does she like suffering? She's probably not even in that much pain. She's probably just in there sleeping off a hangover. What a freaking drama queen."

To which I can only say, you don't know, nor, if you're lucky, will you ever. Now shut up and let me sleep.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Cry as you kiss all your money goodbye

We bought a house!

That's right folks, after several long months of hunting and searching for an affordable, non-grody condo in a non-sketchy area of Los Angeles, we finally gave up. And bought a non-affordable, kind of grody house in North Hollywood instead. We are officially in escrow.

Escrow (noun): A period of time that begins with having your offer accepted and ends with getting keys, and is filled with lots of document signing and faxing, inspections that will make you cry as you kiss all your money goodbye, day dreams about paint colors and new floors, several magazine purchases in the Elle Decor/Home & Garden vein, misguided notions about how you can not only save a dead lawn, but convert it into a lovely, landscaped paradise, and lots and lots (and LOTS) of general anxiety.

We're very excited. The neighborhood is good, the neighbors are a mixed bag of families, young adults and geezers that have lived there since their house was built in the 50's. It needs a lot of work, as it hasn't experienced any changes--other than a gradual nicotine staining on the walls--in about 20 years. The good news, however, is that the things we need to do to get it up to code are not that bad, and the rest can be washed off and covered with a fresh coat of paint.

As for the outside, we really just need some new plants and flowers in the front, and a complete overhaul in the back. You know, little things. But with a little vision, a few hundred trips to Home Depot, some hired help, and more cash than we actually have, I think we can really make this place shine. Behold, the house with some initial paint/gardening plans, courtesy of Microsoft Paint:
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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Who needs bat-shaped throwing stars?

Pity, party of One
I'm sick, and totally feeling sorry for myself. What's worse, is I'm not just feeling sad because I'm sick and really don't want to be, but I'm feeling completely frustrated by the fact that it's been a really busy week at work. In other words, no sick day. Not only did I not get a sick day, I had to work really hard on Wednesday, when I was all snot-filled, oozy, woozy and high on DayQuil. Imagine my tears of frustration when I got home from work, LATE, exhausted and hungry, wishing desperately that I'd been able stay home, nurse my head cold and watch my Season Three Girlmore Girls DVDs all day.

I enjoy watching the Gilmore Girls, but I'm starting to suspect that it's really bad for my self esteem. The reason is that while I like to think I identify most with Lane, with our shared rock & roll history obsessions, the truth is I find myself unwillingly identifying with Rory. And often when I watch the show, I don't like Rory because I find her passive, unoriginal, and a weaker character than her friends and family think she is. A fraud, even. So when the over-identification occurs, the self-esteem plummets. Yes, it's irrational. Shut up.

Of course then I quickly get over it because, like Lane, I can find unending solace in the right musical selection. Today it's Nouvelle Vague, and a big thank you to Amanda for hooking me up. Moving on.)

Okay, so then yesterday, still sick, I had to dope the hell up on 3 different kinds of shit so I could fly to Vegas, do a client presentation, and fly back. Which was The SUCK, as both flights helped to build up so much pressure in my already congested head that I seriously thought I was going to have an aneurysm. I didn't, however, so today I'm back at work and blogging defiantly, because I still feel entitled to the Sick Day That Never Was.

I'm a Dork
I've actually been trying to figure out how to blog this little "I'm a dork" story, but it involves me going out of my way to sit near a cute guy on the plane, which I happen to think is perfectly innocent but, well. Tell me if you agree.

It's a Southwest, choose-your-own-seat kind of flight and there are two window seats left at the front of the plane. One is next to old fat guy, the other is next to cute college athlete (who looks like an old high school crush). What's a girl to do? Be a dork, take the window seat near the cute boy who may or may not be Samoan or Brazilian, be totally disappointed when the 50 year old mom-type woman takes the middle seat between you (stupid full flight), and spend the rest of the hour between Las Vegas and Burbank trying to find a way to insert yourself into their conversation, even though it's totally boring and about him going to college in Utah and playing sports or whatever. And then, after landing, realize that you are a dork for wanting to sit next to Cute College Guy in the first place, as he says his super sweet goodbye to the woman and tries to recruit her by giving her a freaking Book of Mormon as a gift.

Which, by the way, is totally uncanny because not only did he look like that cute Shane Magalei from high school (Samoan, total Renaissance dude, sweetheart), but they both went to BYU. Are the Mormons, like, actively recruiting super-cute, super-tall, exotic-looking athletes? Because, if so, it's not a bad strategy. These guys could convert a bunch of cute little wives that way. Each.

I'm Also a Geek
That's right, I love comic books. I do! When I was little I used to read all of my brother's Star Wars and Indiana Jones comics and as an adult, I still read all my husband's DC and Marvel comics. Granted, I'm not so obsessed that I can name all 6 Green Lanterns or whatever and for the love of GOD do not correct me because I don't care. But I do enjoy the stories behind comic book heroes. In fact the more backstory the better. Unlike my friend Alf, I prefer the Marvel universe to the DC, because the heroes use their pain to become better people/crime fighters. (He, on the other hand, doesn't like his super heroes to have "issues." Although, looking at some of the DC outfits, I'd argue they do whether they've been explained or not. Red panties OVER the blue tights? I'm just saying.) That said, there's one DC character I love: Batman.

So dark, so mysterious, and seriously? A bat? Why a bat? Catwoman, I get--cats are slinky, mischievous, playful and viscous. Bats, on the other hand, are flying rodents who get in your attic and have to be chased out with a tennis racket.

I have other questions about Batman. Like (to quote The Joker) where does he get those wonderful toys? Think about it. There's Bruce Wayne with his bazillions of dollars, ordering all of his crime-fighting shit from wherever. How exactly does that conversation go?

Bruce: "I'm going to need 200 grappling hooks, 4 boxes of smoke bombs, a flat of bullet-proof car armor (black), and 6 cases of bat-shaped ninja throwing stars."
Supplier: "Not a problem Mr. Wayne. If you don't mind my asking, though, what's all this for?"
Bruce: "Nothing! Nothing at all! Just a hobby!"

Well, my friends, if you have ever cooked your noodle wondering the same thing, do yourself a favor and go see Batman Begins. If not for the imaginative back-story, killer sets or the understated Gary Oldman performance, then go for Christian Bale. Because seriously, who needs bat-shaped throwing stars when your cheekbones can cut glass?

Jones? JONES?
Finally, I have to tell you about the best celebrity sighting EVER. I have been dining out on this story for weeks ever since I heard it. I just discovered today that I got it ALL WRONG. To get the full scoop, here's what you do:
1. Read the story told by the person who actually had the sighting, Amanda, in her blog entry entitled "Surrender Dorothy."
2. Come back here, and discover that I thought she was actually talking about this guy.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Mushiness. Suck it up.

I've talked about this before, but I just can't help myself.

It's not cool or snarky or funny to talk about love, so if you come to this site to be entertained, then you are SOL. Today, at least. Maybe tomorrow I'll tell you about some of the outfits I saw at this beer-launching party I attended last night because hoooooooWEE are Angelinos lost without some crappy trucker hat/Ugg boot/Kangol/frilly mini skirt trend to follow. I'm talking Laura Ingalls Wilder in the same room as Humpty Hump, y'all, it was NOT pretty.

Where was I? Ah, yes. Love.

Basically I was reading this forum online and people were trading their ideas on what love is. Really insightful stuff, actually. I started to compose my two cents, however, and it turned into, like, a buck fitty. Then again, I am a newlywed and, as such, madly in love and prone to mushiness. Suck it up.

I have so many details I want to share about our wedding which was, in my mind, perfect. Not because everything went without a hitch, although I'm pretty sure it did. And not because it was everything a "perfect wedding" should be although, for us, it totally was. What was perfect about it, really, was how very US it all felt. The venue, the food, the music, the attire, everything. Even the ceremony, which is one of the last details we hammered into place.

We talked a lot about what we wanted for the ceremony. "Short" was the first word to pop out of our mouths, followed by "meaningful." We wanted something that encompassed us, our relationship, and the reasons for why we were making this commitment to each other, in front of all of our family and friends. The theme quickly became, simply, "Love."

mAc's dad, our officiant, talked about the Bible verse Corinthians 13, the whole "Love is patient, love is kind" thing. But he also put it into context, telling the whole story for why Paul was writing that letter to the Corinthians, and exactly what form of Love he's referring to.

Because there are different kinds of love, right? There's a brotherly, familial love, there's romantic love and there's the plain ol' horny "Naked, please!" kind of love. But in this verse, the Love he's referring to is actually called Agape, which is the word for a love that is both unconditional and a conscious choice. It's a good word.

We also had two readings, from mAc's sister and from one of my best friends. My new sister-in-law read a quote from, of all things, Captain Correlli's Mandolin. I know, Nic Cage's accent, but seriously? Check it:
"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because that is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That just being 'in love' which any of us can convince ourselves we are.

Love itself is what is leftover when being in love has burned away, and that is both an art and a fortunate accident. Both of your parents have it, they have roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from their branches they found that they were one tree and not two. That is what we see in you."

Great, right? Our other reading was also love-centric, although it ended up taking a slightly different approach. I tasked my dear friend Mike with finding something that described love, marriage and commitment, and he ended up not only reading the Bruce Springsteen quote I suggested, but the accompanying email that I sent him as well.
Bruce: "See, bands get formed by accident, but they don't survive by accident. It takes will, intent, a sense of shared purpose, and a tolerance for your friends' fallibilities...and they of yours. And that only evens the odds."

Me: "Even though he's talking about a band, the same concept applies to lasting relationships and, in this case, marriage. Maybe mAc and I came together by accident; maybe it was fate; maybe it was God's Plan. But no matter who or what gets credit for two people coming together, they don't stay together out of luck, they stay together out of will, intent, a sense of shared purpose and a tolerance of each other's fallibilities.

And then, when you take that and elevate it so that instead of tolerating each other, you celebrate each other, and your will and intent and shared sense of purpose is focused on how you will love and cherish and support the other, well, then. I think you've gone from a marriage that will probably work, to a divinely blissful union that makes you thank God (or fate or chance) *every day* that the two of you were able to find each other.

So there's that."

So, overall, what is love? For me, it boils down to one thing: choice.

Sometimes it may seem like love has chosen you, especially when your beloved is singing badly or snoring or farting or slurping and you find yourself thinking, "Awww! He's so Dreamy!" (Followed immediately by, "The hell? Ew!" And then, "But still... hee!") It's a weird phenomenon that happens to a person in love, and it's easy to write it off and say, "Yeah, but I'm in love," as though it's something that happened to you and it just can't be helped.

But the truth is the good stuff? The true stuff, and the lasting stuff? It is a choice you make, and it is unconditional.

I love you, baby.