Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another ethnic day at the gym....

The last time I blogged about a trip to the gym, I talked about my first-ever viewing of the craziness that is Walter Mercado on Telemundo. Today, at the humble 24 hour fitness I go to in the ghetto of Altadena/Pasadena (Whenever I mention the ghetto of either 'dena, Ro laughs at this notion. But yes, there are undoubtedly ghetto parts of my town), I ran into a celebrity...of sorts. I think 'celebrity' is a bit generous, so we'll call him a 'recognizable face'. Nevertheless, it's the only 'recognizable face' at the gym I've ever seen. This afternoon, striding across the cardio floor in his basketball shorts and t-shirt, was none other than this guy:

That's right ladies, eat your hearts out. Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite goes to my gym. Don't be jealous. There is a total lack of hot guys that work out at my gym, so it's about par for the course that our only celeb would be this unimpressive. But if I see him there again, maybe I'll ask him if he's taken his elliptical machine off any sweet jumps.

"Listen Pedro, I don't know how they do things down in Juarez, but here at the Magic Johnson 24 hour fitness, we have a little thing called pride."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oh come on, people!

Tonight I went to the Dodger game, and discovered proof-positive why people should need a permit to procreate. Give these idiots a lengthy application process, and a little red tape to wade through, and we might all be spared this horror:

Remember: Friends don't let friends give their 2-year-olds a mohawk. This should also apply to kiddie mullets. Because let's face it, these hairstyles aren't attractive on anyone at ANY age. But at least spare the children, for God sakes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I've found the new Atkins diet.

A couple weeks ago, my roommate went to the shooting range with her boyfriend for some target practice. She was so proud of the fact that her cute little pink bullets shot the scary man picture on the hay bale, that she brought it home as a sort of trophy to show off her shooting prowess. Since then, it's been on our refrigerator as her proud accomplishment, much as a third grader slaps up a stellar spelling test with a check-plus-plus score on it. "Look Mom! Aren't you proud?! Me is smart!"

Never mind that it's blocking my magnetic '08 Dodger schedule. Let's find the good in the situation. When I come to the refrigerator in boredom for food that I don't really want or need, this is the picture that greets me:
I have to say, seeing this is much more effective than what other women do to stop themselves from raiding the fridge and going on a of ridiculously fat women that insult them or swimsuit models to inspire them. This just scares the hell out of me and makes me run the other way.

Thankfully, the visibility of my bitchin' Dwight K. Schrute magnet had not been compromised. Otherwise it would have been an all-out war.

*Please notice the proportion of big buff perp in comparison to his gun. The gun looks to be about the size of those cheap waterguns you win as a consolation prize at a church carnival at the 'go fish' booth. If only the gun was clear plastic and hot pink, then the lameness would have been complete.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The flight home...and PICTURES!

I returned home from Spain on Saturday night...and this time my luggage was waiting for me on the other end. BONUS! Our flights were on time, and we made our connection in Chicago with plenty of time. The only negative was having to navigate the ridiculous rat maze of the Madrid airport again, which I mentioned in a previous post that it reminded me of an Ikea. Once we checked our bags and went through security, we were sent up and down several escalators, a train, countless turns, and numerous passport checks before we reached our terminal, and of course, our flight was at the very end of the terminal. The security there was noticeably higher than anywhere I'd flown out of before (this includes Washington DC, which is TIGHT), but maybe that's just how it is in Europe. Some of those pesky Basque Separatists had been setting off car bombs in the northern part of the country the day before, so maybe that had something to do with it. I started reading up on them a little more tonight...I'm really glad that I read this article from 2006 AFTER I got home. Explains why they're a tad uptight with airport security in Madrid. Yikes.

Many of you know that I'm not a very good flier. In fact, I have to take meds to have a non-anxiety riddled experience. I know all that extra security should make me feel better, but it just makes me wonder what security knows that they're not telling the rest of us. While I was going through my 389th checkpoint, having my passport scrutinized for the umpteenth time, I started to feel really uneasy. And of course, I'd taken my anti-freak out pill much later than I normally like to, and it hadn't started to kick in yet. By the time I got in line to board at the gate, I was doing everything I could to keep it together. I sang show tunes in my head, thought about the people I was excited to see at home, chatted up my co-workers I was traveling with, whatever I could to distract myself and keep calm. But it wasn't going away, and of course, we were seated in the back of the massive A340 jet. Being stuck in the back of a plane does wonders for someone with some claustrophobia/flying issues. And when I say we were in the back, I mean THE EFFING BACK. I'm 99% sure we passed by Rosa Parks sitting in a seat closer to the front than we were. After an eternity, and another 1/2 of a pill to keep me from literally running off the plane, the doors finally closed, and we left. Shortly after takeoff, I thankfully knocked out for much of the beginning of the flight, waking up only when I smelled the food cart come by. I may have been a basket case earlier, but there's always room for free food. :)

We finished our teacher interviews on Wednesday afternoon (the day after my drunken flamenco post), which then gave us until we left (Saturday AM) to explore Madrid. Here's a few pictures from the fun we had in the city....

Enjoying my suckling pig meal on Monday night at Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world (according to the Guinness Book of Records). And while it was an amazing meal, this was the last meal of pork I had in Spain. When you're offered dried, cured ham 3 meals a day, and it's hanging in every restaurant window you pass by, you tend to develop an aversion to it. I've been home two days, and I'm still on a total pig embargo. I can't stand to look at it, taste it, smell it, or think about it.

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Del Sol...the city center.
The Royal Palace...over 2,000 rooms inside. What a total hole, right?

The Sunday Flea Market...a weekend tradition in Madrid. Notice the outfit I'm wearing...if you can see the stench waves coming off me, it's because it's the same outfit I've been wearing since Friday...our luggage didn't arrive until later that night.
On the bus tour of Madrid...I just thought this was pretty.

The Madrid Botanical Gardens

I know these are just dying tulips, but they looked like they were on fire....

The trumpet man outside the Prado.

The crazy drunk hobo from Plaza Mayor that tried to steal my waffle. What fool thinks it's a good idea to steal food from Jen? THIS dude...who before he came after my waffle, attempted to steal a guy's bottle of champagne (pictured below). And yes, those ARE shoe boxes on his back, held in place by packing tape. And to complete this sexy look, his fly was down too, but I wasn't lucky enough to get it in the shot.

A nun outside KFC. Because you just don't see that every day.

Our Friday trip to Toledo, the medieval walled city....

The streets are so tiny here, I could touch the wall on both sides.

And although ham and I are currently not on speaking terms, my love affair with cheese continues. I had to get a picture of this cheese-filled store window in Toledo.

And finally, the main staple of my trip to Spain...chocolate con churros. The hot chocolate is's the consistency of cake batter. Then you dip the fried churros in the chocolate...unreal. I had it as often as I could, at every cafe possible, so that I could become an expert on where the best one was served.
Time for bed, and having sweet dreams of swimming in vats of chocolate con churros. Or nightmares of being chased by pigs. I hope it's not the latter.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Went to the flamenco show. Slept through the second half of it, thanks to jet lag. After, we went to the bar across the street, and powered down several bottles of red wine. We met a gypsy. He was nice. He did not pickpocket us. Then I got drunk with my co-workers, and here we are now! My first drunk post.

Somehow, through the events of the evening, I now have the nickname "Corn Nuts". I'm not certain how this came to be.

More to come...good night. I have to look impossibly fresh in about 5 hours for teacher candidates.

Day 3 in Spain...or rather...Dia Tres en Espana (I'm sure that's not how you say it)

A couple notes from our interviews with teachers...

Several English words, when spoken by Spainards, end up sounding a tiny bit different.


FOCUS...ends up sounding like 'Fuck us'. Um, no thank you. This is an interview room, not a sex den.

SUCCESS...sounds like 'Sex Ass'. These people are just very subliminally sexual. Or maybe my mind is just in the gutter. Maybe both.

Things are going well...we've gotten some good teachers so far. One bummer was that our two best teachers-a married couple- we hired yesterday (which also teach math...VERY tough to find GOOD math teachers) just faxed us to say they decided to back out of the program. Eff. Better to know it now than later when we return to the U.S., but it's a disappointment nonetheless. It's ok...we still have two more days of interviews, and hopefully they are fruitful.

Last night's dinner at Botin was awesome. Turns out it's not just the oldest restaurant in Spain, but in the WORLD (in fact, it's in the guinness book of records). I did end up having the suckling pig....but I'm officially porked out. If it wasn't their specialty, I probably wouldn't have ordered it. But it was REALLY good...I guess after being in business almost 300 years, you've perfected your recipes. And the bottle of wine Jesus picked out for us was fantastic....when translated into English, it's called "The Blood of the Bull", or something to that affect. Please note that it did not actually taste like blood. Much. I just re-read this last paragraph about Jesus picking us out wine for dinner that has the word 'blood' in the title. Oooo, biblical....

Monday, April 14, 2008


Since Thursday night, I've been sporting the same stupid outfit because Iberia airlines can't get their baggage handling together. Do yourself a favor if you ever fly into Madrid airport...pack a change of clothes in your carry on. Apparently lost luggage is a very regular occurance in this airport. When we met for our teacher meeting on Sunday night at our hotel, there were four of us from the western states reps (which was out of 15 total reps) that didn't get our luggage. Luckily it showed up last night, and I've never been happier. Of course, we'd already gone out and spent money on new stuff to wear for the interviews...but I think I'm going to keep what I bought. I worked too hard trying on so many ill fitting outfits in the last 48 hours, that those clothes I bought are my trophy. I'd mentioned in my previous post, but the clothes in Spain are not very big. It's really hard to find anything over a size 6 or 8. And if you do, it's cut really funky and doesn't hang right anyway. I was dreading going in another dressing room just to stand in front of the mirror in something that I feel like a stuffed sausage in. And I'm fully aware that I'm not fat...but I'm a normal sized American gal. Our co-worker's wife was telling us that there is a real problem with women and eating disorders in Spain. I believe it. You have no choice but to starve yourself if you want to wear anything besides a burlap sack. What a horrible message they're sending out to these women.

So when my luggage arrived, you can imagine my elation. The luxury of actually getting to change my clothes was like being an Ethiopian kid invited to Souplantation. Oh, the choices I had! It was glorious. And I realize I might be a little dramatic (shocking), since it was only 2 days, but the last thing you want to wear after being in airports and on planes for 15 hours is the outfit you had on. Plus, there was something very unnerving about being in a foreign country and not having your personal items. And as anyone knows that's met me for more than a couple hours, there's nothing I hate more than not being in control of something.

And the language barrier makes it hard to understand what's going on. I will forever kick myself for not taking Spanish in high school. Both the co-workers I'm with are fluent Spanish speakers, and it's so nice to have them around to translate, but it's frustrating, and I feel like a total idiot. I hate having to ask for help, and being the only one that doesn't know what's going on. I wish I'd at least gone and bought a Spanish dictionary/phrase book, so I could at least TRY to communicate, but time did not allow it before I left. I feel like such a stupid American when I have to talk to someone and ask if they habla English before giving them the courtesy of trying to speak in their native tongue. It's mildly humiliating.

I hope these posts of mine don't reek of negativity, because all in all, this has been a great trip so far. But the quirky experiences must be shared. I've eaten amazing food, the weather's been fantastic, and we hired 3 AWESOME teachers today (for those of you who don't know, that's why I'm interview/hire Spanish teachers for my company). Tomorrow night, we're going to a dinner/flamenco show, which I'm really excited about. Tonight we're going to a restaurant called Botin. It's evidently the oldest restaurant in Spain, and Ernest Hemmingway used to hang out there when he used to live here. AND their specialty is serving a whole roasted suckling pig on a tile, so of course that's what we're going to order. If we have leftovers, I plan on dropping them by the Jewish retirement home after dinner. I'm so kind to the elderly.

I'm going to end this post here, and go change my clothes. Maybe twice. Just because I can.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spain...first impressions

Buenas dias, dear reader(s)!

I only have a few minutes to jot down some thoughts on my first 24 hours in Spain, and already there´s been some fun to share from my flights to my first day....

-The Madrid Airport looks like Ikea, only there is nothing to buy. You have to take a train to get to the baggage claim. Yes, a train. And incidentally, only one piece of our luggage made it. And it was the piece that had all our paperwork and my shoes. Both mine and Norma´s clothes are currently having a grand time without us travelling the globe. And our interviews start tomorrow (Monday). I´ve been wearing the same outfit since Thursday night. Gross

-Never did I think the first stop in my glamorous trip to Spain would be to a thrift store. But it was. We need SOMETHING to wear. But we didn´t have any luck. I ended up buying a little outfit for interviewing up the street, as well as a pair of jeans and another sweater to change into for sightseeing. I also bought a pair of underwear, which were bedazzled (yes, BEDAZZLED)with the image of a guitar on the front. I feel terribly hip wearing them. ***side note: I´m fat in Spain. Nothing goes over a US size 8. The jeans I bought were an Extra Large.

-Advice: Don´t come to Spain if you are a pig, or trying to keep kosher. If you are a pig, you WILL become someone´s dinner. Or breakfast, or lunch for that matter. And since ham (jamon) is part of every meal, orthodox jews are guaranteed a tough time.

-like most of Europe, the anti-smoking movement falls on deaf ears in Spain. This bodes terribly well for my limited clothing options, which don´t need any extra help in starting to smell.

-Apparently, the subway is a romantic place. Just in one day of riding the rail, we´ve noticed several young couples macking in the subway. It´s THE place to get romantic. Is it the florescent lighting? The recycled air? Who knows? But I know this observation is accurate, as it was confirmed by an american student who was snickering at us as we discussed this revelation.

-anything can become jerky in Spain. They think outside the box here. It goes beyond beef and turkey. Pigs (obviously), goats, and wild boar are all victims of jerky.

-The list is quickly growing of all the food I want to eat before I leave. Unlimited ham? Cheese? Ham AND Cheese? Sangria? Cheap beer? Yes, Spain and I are going to get along juuuuust fine.

I already love it here, and the lack of clothing is just a minor hiccup compared to the amazing place I´m in. Nonetheless, please pray my luggage arrives soon!! More to come...time for breakfast! Perhaps I´ll have...ham.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Dishwasher Standoff

2 posts in one day. Aren't YOU the lucky ones?!?!? Well, this one ain't going to be pretty. Buckle up, bitches.

For anyone that knows me, you know that I don't have the most ideal living situation. My roommate and I don't have a lot in common. For the most part, our situation works because we don't cross paths, and I otherwise hang in my room. It's not unlivable, it could be much worse, but I hate it sometimes. And tonight is one of these nights that I hate it. I should be going to bed...I have to be up early. But I have to get this out. I'm mad. So this may not be a particularly witty or edgy blog, but dear God, it will be a rant.

What does the 'dishwasher' title of this blog mean? For AT LEAST the last week, the clean dishes have been sitting in the dishwasher waiting to be emptied. I was starting to realize I was the only one ever emptying it, so for once, I wasn't going to do it this time. Not a dish will be moved into the cupboards by my hands. And I might note that approximately 4 dishes in there are ones I'd used...the rest are hers and her boyfriend's. This dishwasher thing will come into play later...but let's back up a bit, for the sake of those that aren't familiar with my apartment setup.

I'm a good roommate. Maybe too good. Seriously. I keep a low profile, I don't get in people's way, I do my dishes, and I keep my crap out of the common living areas. I'm clean, but not anal. I respect the apartment knowing that it's someone else's living space, too. Tonight, I realized that I'm TOO respectful, to the point of being a pussy. Too accommodating. A pushover. When I moved in, she had already been living there, so I was coming in to an established household. I tried to respect that she was here first, so I made sure I was considerate of her and her habits. But I forgot that it was now just as much my place as it was hers. However, a precedent was being set from day one. I made her the alpha. Whether she ever realized it or not, I bent to accommodate her. Bad move...because I now know that I live with someone completely incapable of looking outside of herself.

My roommate and her boyfriend live together. In mine and her apartment. This was not the original living arrangement when I moved in. He spent the night at our place a few nights a week, then they went to his parent's house the other nights. Slowly, the nights at our place began to increase, and the nights at his parents' began to dwindle. Now I've been here almost a year and a half, and I'd say for the last year, he's been here every night of the week (with the exception of the nights that they have a fight). And when they fight, it's epic. WOW. She screams and's apparently the end of the world. Any other couple would break up after some of these fights. Not these two. They're both incredibly insecure, convinced one is cheating on the other...and I just hang in my room, because I can't take the annoying bickering, her incessant high pitched cackling, or bad choice in TV. There's a limit to the amount of Spike TV, Rock of Love, and I Love New York that a normal person can watch. There's no point in going out there to be social, because one's on the couch and the other one is in the armchair. There would be no where for me to sit but on the floor. Me. The one who pays half the rent. And IF I'm lucky enough to get home first to get a few precious minutes in front of the boob tube, they'll come home, plop down, and talk loudly over whatever show I happen to be watching. Not worth it.

Two weeks ago, I'd had it. I sat her down and told her that her boyfriend needed to start chipping in for our rent if he's going to be essentially living here. If I could go back in time, I would add that he needs to take care of his dishes too, and pick up the stuff they leave in the common living areas, because it's my house too. But I didn' took EVERYTHING I had to mention the rent. And she was cool about it, she really was. Her boyfriend is now paying me 100 bucks a month, and while I think it should be more, it's a start. Of course, if he was any kind of man, he would help out with her rent too, seeing as she works multiple jobs while he works a fraction of that amount, and has a setup here AND at Mommy and Daddy's. Now, I feel like if I bring up more things that bother me, then I'm just the whiny, complaining roommate. I'm the first one to tell people to stand up for themselves, and I wish I'd take my own advice. But whatever I say, I have to be firm and stand my ground. And still face them the next day. That's what much as I hate it, I don't want to make it more unbearable for me by adding conflict and tension.

Tonight, I went out to the kitchen to look for a martini shaker a friend thought she'd left in our kitchen, and I realized my hesitation as I went out there...I was afraid I might disturb them as I search through MY kitchen for MY friend's belongings. I thought, "Hey, this is my house too. What law says I can't go out there?" So I did.

That's when I saw the dishwasher. STILL, not a dish has been moved. It's been over a week, and now it's become a complete and total mexican standoff. (Ro, don't get mad...I heard the term at a party...apparently it's legit...I hope!) It's to the point that if either person gives in, it's essentially conceding to the other. But luckily, I only have to deal with it for 48 hours, as I'm leaving for Spain! But so help me God, if that dishwasher is STILL full when I get home... there will be hell to pay. (I know I sound like my mother right now, but I don't care)

Now I'm officially sick of this set up. It goes beyond the stupid dishwasher. I live in my bedroom and my bathroom. If they're home, the living room is automatically theirs. They've staked out their places in front of the TV, and I'm left with nothing but the option to go to my room. Because that's the habit that's been established. They're out there every night of the week, and I'm the anti-social one in my room.

And the worst part about it is...I'm the most mad at MYSELF. I've created this living situation. I've allowed for these habits to be established. I've allowed myself to be the person who just 'rents a room', rather than being an equal resident. What I want to do is start getting home before they do a couple nights a week, and camp out in the living room with a friend, occupying the common seating areas. So, if anyone feels like standing their ground with me in my living room, let me know. We can treat it like a sit-in for Greenpeace, only we won't be chaining ourselves to oil tankers, it'll be lounging on our nice, cushy couches.

I do have perspective on this. I realize they're not smoking crack, selling cocaine off our balcony, or having loud parties until 3am. I'm just at a place where I'm almost 30, and I'm DONE with dealing with this shit...all the little insignificant things that alone aren't that bad, but together add up to pure annoyance, and every day I wish I could afford my own place.

Burgers, Bingo, and Drag Queens...OH MY!

This post is going to have to be a short one...I'm running SO low on time this week. My company is sending me to Spain for a week to interview some teachers, and I leave Friday morning. I'm SO excited to go! It's not my first choice of places to go to in Europe (I would probably high tail it back to Italy or Austria, given the choice), but I'm BEYOND excited to go, as I wouldn't probably get there otherwise. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm complaining, because that's not how I want it to come off. This is such an awesome opportunity, and I'm so thankful to have a job that's helping me reach my goal of getting back to Europe this year...and to somewhere I've never been to before! I've heard SO many great things about Spain, so who knows? It may end up as a favorite spot of mine to visit. Plus, I know a little Spanish, so I'll be able to get around ok. Actually, if I use the Spanish I know, I'll end up in jail. Ro only teaches me the bad words. Hmm...better add "Buy a Spanish phrase book" to my list of things to do before I go.

But tonight, I'm here to talk about drag queens. As you know, Marin is training for a triathalon in Maui in June with Team in Training, which is a GREAT organization. They had a fundraiser on Sunday night in West Hollywood at Hamburger Mary's. Once a week, Hamburger Mary's does a Drag Queen Bingo night, and it's a RIOT. The proceeds from bingo night went to Marin's team, so we all turned out to support her, as well as watch the drag queens. It was awesome. Belle Aire, a sassy drag queen who is nothing short of a (somewhat scary) force to be reckoned with, called the bingo numbers. And let me just say, this ain't your grandma's church bingo. One of the bingo games was called "Rimjob". Uh, yeah. Rimjob. And when someone gets a bingo, you get to ball up your bingo card and chuck it at the winner as they run through the restaurant. Very cathartic. And every 3 games or so, they had an amateur drag queen competition. Fan-freaking-tastic. I didn't win any of the games, but both Jeff and Gordito won big gift baskets full of great stuff. In fact, this was one of Gordito's prizes, the Double Dolphin...let's just say it was from a sex toy shop, and leave it at that:

And believe it or not, at the end of the night, in the middle of West Hollywood, I got to take a man home with me. Barry Manilow. That's right ladies, Barry Manilow. Don't be doesn't look good on anyone. Part of Jeff's gift basket had "Barry Manilow: The First Television Specials" in it. Apparently, he didn't want it (I have NO idea why), so he was sweet enough to give it to me. I was elated!

Here's a couple other pics:

Where do you think this disco ball is in the restaurant? Dance floor? Maybe even the lobby? Oh's in the can. Whilst you pee, you can feel like Andy Gibb from the Bee Gee's. Welcome to West Hollywood.

And here's an admittedly BAD picture of the drag queens that competed. I wanted to get a picture with Belle Aire close-up after the games, but frankly, I was afraid of her. Um, him. Sorry, I don't know. I'm new to this. "Excuse me,, -tress?"

Anyway, I hope this was a successful night for Marin and her team. It was packed, so I'm sure they made some good money. When all is said and done with this, 75% of the proceeds Marin raises goes straight to research to fight blood cancers. If you or someone you know has been affected by blood cancers, and you feel so inclined, donate HERE, and help an amazing cause, and help further the goal of an even more amazing person that has the motivation to commit so much time to training and fundraising for this race.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Today, on a very special Saved By the Bell....

Jessie Spano is the reason I don't drink caffeine to this day...or dare to wear straight leg pants with a floral print vest.

Saw this as someone's avatar on a message board, and I immediately wanted to plaster it all over t-shirts and make a quick buck. Turns out that's where this came from in the first place...the shirt is already out there, making someone MY well-deserved money. Bastards. As soon as I fix the flux-capacitor, I'm taking my DeLorean back in time and claiming the idea as mine.

*thank God for spell check...I'd initially spelled it t-shits. Which wouldn't have been so bad, I suppose.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My date with Grandpa.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I had a date tonight with a guy from Match. Let's call him Bob the Mini-Blind Builder, because he postponed our meeting from Monday to tonight because he's remodeling, and wanted to get some mini-blinds installed. So, in "Bob's" opinion of me, I ranked below his mini-blinds. Clearly, we're off to a great start. But I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, so I was still looking forward to meeting him, since he looked pretty cute in his pictures, and we'd had some good conversations on the phone.

I decided that the outfit I was planning on wearing wasn't jiving with me, so I did what EVERY single girl has done in her dating career...made a run for the store in the hopes of finding a cute, last minute top. (Admit it, you've done it too!) I was actually able to find something for 14 bucks at Old Navy within a few minutes, and I headed home to get ready. If I do say so myself, I was looking good. The hair and makeup was cooperating, and the new outfit was working for me. Score. We planned to meet up at Bodega Wine Bar at the Paseo in Pasadena. Great little place. I headed out, and arrived a few minutes early, which yes, makes me look courteous and prompt, but it drives me batty when I'm early for things. Which explains why I'm 10 minutes late for almost everything. I hate to wait...I get all nervous, antsy, and ADD. Which is a stellar first impression to make, but I don't think it showed when he arrived.

When he walked up to me, I didn't even recognize him. In fact, I'm sure I looked either royally confused or surprised. That's how little he looked like his picture. As I studied him, I started to see the resemblance. However, the picture he used on his profile HAD to be 10-15 years old, and 30 pounds lighter. I felt like I was on a date with the father of the guy in the picture. Looking back, I remember thinking, wow...he looks young for 36. And the reason was....ANCIENT PROFILE PHOTO! And when you're expecting someone to look a certain way, and they're nothing like it, it makes a bad first impression. So, listen up, Internet yourself a favor, and make sure your picture looks like YOU. Have a couple friends look at your profile and give you an unbiased opinion. And it's not that he was totally bad looking...he set up an impossible standard to reach. You can't turn back the hands of time, people. Don't kid yourselves.

In all fairness, the date itself wasn't that bad. The conversation was slow to start, which is expected on a first date. Your standard questions...tell me about your job...oh you're a wedding coordinator...tell me a weird wedding story. And then they ask me if I've seen the Wedding Planner, and if I wear a headset like J. Lo. This happens literally EVERY time I meet someone new. Granted, it's a unique job, so people want to know about it, and it's really nice to have them be interested in what I do. But first dates can become quite predictable in terms of conversation. And tonight was definitely one of those.

I don't know how to feel about him. He seems to be a nice guy, but I can't say I was terribly attracted to him. However, according to the Four Man Plan, every guy deserves two dates. And he definitely is interested in me. When Bob said he'd like to see me again, I gave a polite "Sure, that would be fun". He's an engineer (good job), volunteers at Toys for Tots and Meals on Wheels (cares about those around him), and can carry on a conversation that was fairly enjoyable once it got going. He held open doors, pulled out my chair, and picked up the check for our drinks. He did ask for a dollar from me to help out the tip, and I was happy to oblige. It's a buck...big deal...I'm not that stuck up! But for those of you familiar with last year's dates with Dollar Guy*, it did give me a chuckle when I thought about that in the car on my way home.

*DOLLAR GUY- Oh, dear Dollar Guy...this dude is a favorite amongst my friends at work. We split the bill in half on our first (blind) date, and he snatched up the one dollar that came back from our change.(Hence the nickname) I guess I asked for it, since I did the "purse grab" and offered to pitch in. I have a hard time assuming someone is going to pay, nice as I think it is for them to do it. Second date: at the advisement of friends (both female AND male, by the way), I did NOT offer to pay or do the purse grab. The check came, he glanced at it, and he slid it across the table saying, "it came to about 40 bucks." Ok. So we split the bill in half again, even though what I ordered was TINY and no more than 1/4 of the total bill. Classy, man. No third date for Dollar Guy...because that was apparently everything in the hand he was playing. He had no ace in the hole. And there was zip in the chemistry department, at least on my end.

The lesson here: Don't ask a girl on a date you can't pay for. Maybe it's old fashioned of me, but that's part of the whole courtship/chivalry thing. I'm into that. A lot of girls are...and that doesn't make us high-maintenance, it makes us ladies. We're not asking for dinner at the Ivy. If you're po', get creative and pack a picnic. Make it happen, but don't expect me to pay for my dinner and half of yours. I'm worth it, dammit! Please note that I do NOT think Bob the Mini-Blind Builder is the same as Dollar Guy. It just made me recall the memory of that legendary set of encounters with DG, and I really wanted to share it with you all.

Off to watch this week's TV "bedtime story", more of the Muppet Show DVDs...tonight's guest stars: George Burns and Madeline Kahn. Awesome.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A picture's worth 1000 words....

There's been several things to update you all on, so I'm going to do one monster post and be done with it. Most events were captured on my digital camera. I'll let the pictures do the talking, although God knows I'll have a few things to say here and there. I always do.

Let's back up to St. Paddy's Day weekend. That Saturday, I started out the day coordinating a wedding. The weather was nothing short of the absolute WORST case scenario...VERY long story short, it rained and hailed for what seemed like an eternity on impeccably set tables with satin linens...everything was ruined. I'd give more detail, but I still don't like thinking about it, much less writing about it. The upside was that my amazing crew was able to pull everything off and move it inside, the guests had a great time, and most importantly, the bride and groom were happy. But at the end of a night like that, I was beyond happy that I'd arranged to leave early for a St. Paddy's party at a co-workers house in Long Beach (which is ALWAYS an event). Needless to say, I did the healthy thing, and drank my troubles away. A couple shots:

My first keg stand:
The obligatory drunk photo with Bill (our host, and school superintendent) and Lancie. At that moment, this pose seemed as dignified as posing for an oil painting:
And some people wonder why I work at a lower paying job instead of making the big bucks somewhere else. It's because I work with these crazies, and there's a guaranteed company kegger on St. Patrick's Day. Find THAT in a benefits package with a Fortune 500 company. You can keep your damn stock options, we've got Harp on tap.

Now, fast forward from there to this past weekend...Saturday, 3/29. Any baseball fan heard about the big exhibition game at the LA Coliseum between the Dodgers and the Red Sox. Dodger owner Frank McCourt wanted to hold an exhibition game to celebrate the Dodgers move to LA 50 years ago, launch his new charity, and break the record for most people attending a baseball game. We had to be there. But Marin and I took our lives in our hands by attending this event of total disorganization and mayhem. Yes, MAYHEM. Our first mistake was arriving to the shuttle at Dodger Stadium late ("late" was arriving an hour before game time). Marin is currently training for a triathlon, and between training and fundraising, her afternoon was packed. As for me, my day was going to be clear until my car battery decided to die on me. I ended up taking my car to the dealer to be fixed, and in exchange, they rented me a Ford Focus for the weekend. Another rental car? AGAIN? And it was a Ford Focus? Really, I would have been happier if they gave me a bus pass. I would have taken a picture of the car, but my camera flatly refused to do it. It actually gave me the finger. Back to the game....

So that was our Saturday before the game...needless to say, when we rolled up to Dodger Stadium for the "fast, easy, convenient, FREE" shuttle to the coliseum (that we had no choice but to take because the parking at the game was full), we were none too pleased by what we saw: the line from hell. It was EASILY a mile long, maybe are below, but it was impossible to capture the entire line in one shot, or convey the overwhelming amount of people that were there. The Dodgers were expecting 5,000 to take the shuttles, and 35,000 showed up. You can guess what overload. We spent the first 3 innings of the game in the Dodgers parking lot.

The view when we first got in line. You know you're in for a long line when there seems to be a vanishing point. With the number of times this thing wound back and forth through the lot, we literally couldn't figure out where it ended.
Another view of the line. The buses/shuttles are at the center-right of the picture. It gives you a perspective of how tiny they were, and the huge volume of people waiting for a ride. Notice that it's bright and sunny outside. When we finally got to the front of the line, it was completely dark. When we arrived, it was an inundation on the senses. Being loyal Dodger fans, we were not about to miss being a part of history, but I know I don't just speak for myself when I say I wanted to leave about 10 minutes after we arrived. All we could think about was the potential shuttle line at the end of the game. It was fun to see the crowd, cool to see the Dodgers back in their first Los Angeles home field, interesting to see how they dealt with having only a 200 foot left field with the 'mesh monster', but beyond that, it was just too much. There were people everywhere. When you shove 115,300 fans into an 85 year-old facility built for 95,000 people, you're bound to feel a bit crowded. Did LAFD just turn a blind eye to the fire code/max capacity violations for one night for the sake of a world record? Well, apparently.
The best part of our odyssey to the coliseum was that they were selling these babies, which I can only assume are the South Central LA version of Dodger dogs: The weird part was that in a crowd that huge, we actually ran into my brother, who was standing in line for one of Derrick's Big Sausages. Bubba, I'm not judging your choice of ghetto phallic food. Ok, I totally am.

We made it to the end of the 6th inning before we were ready to jump out of our skins. We saw people starting to leave at that point, and we thought that we'd better high tail it for the shuttle line that would soon have 35K people in it. We were not getting stuck in that. And yet we still were. We waited for an hour and a half for a bus. When we finally boarded, I'd never been so happy to be on a shuttle bus full of strangers rolling through South Central, listening to La Raza at high volume.

But there is a silver lining...Jeff and I went to Disneyland on Sunday! It was a beautiful day!
We got to go on all the rides we wanted to, and also went to things we don't normally do. For instance, we went over to Tom Sawyer's island (which has now been renamed "Pirate's Lair"). Jeff had NEVER been there, and it had been at least 10 years since I boarded the motorized raft to cross the 'river'. This picture was taken on Pirate's Lair. I think this is the closest I'll get to sitting on the piles of gold on Pirates of the Caribbean (what kid DIDN'T dream of jumping off the ride to swim through that gold like Scrooge McDuck?) Wow, I need to have my roots done.I think you're now sufficiently caught up on what's going on in my world. If you've made it this far, I suppose I'll share with you all that I have a date tomorrow night with a guy from Match. I'll let you all know how it goes! But now, I'm off to watch Muppet Show reruns (thanks Jeff!) and fall asleep.