Movin’ it and losin’ it

For three days now, I’ve been packing up my life and depositing it, box by box, back in Green Valley. Tomorrow seals everything– the landlord and I go through the inspection and I hand over the keys and wave a casual, tear-free good-bye to Anthem.

All satisfactory goodbyes such as this one, of course, should have some sort of ceremonial ritual. And so I hearken back to another experience which was marked by a "Good-bye? More like good riddance!" feeling: high school, where we could publish our good-byes in the school newspaper via "Senior Wills," or, as the journalism class’ resident cheerleader wrote on the advertising poster (the cheer teams had, after StuCo, the best poster-making supplies), "Senoir Wills." Our journalism teacher smoothly shrugged it off– "It’s French," she would explain to those who questioned it (and a good majority believed her).

And so, being (still) of hidden body and crouching mind, I leave the following pieces of words of… something:

To the people at Home Depot: Thank you for being open at 6 a.m., and thank you for being so nice about getting me adequate supplies for fixing the holes I left in my walls. Even though I was wearing gym pants and a tank top and a crabby expression.

To the chick who bought my couches: Man, you’re a bitch. At first I thought you were just having a bitchy moment when we talked on the phone yesterday (and even then, you pissed me off because what right did you have to be a bitch to ME just because I informed you that other people were trying to buy these couches? I don’t know you, I had no obligation toward you, and considering the fact that you were trying to get something FROM me– look, I don’t know what you do for a living, but when it comes to responding to classifieds, being a bitch really doesn’t help you get what you want), but when I met you this morning, you totally confirmed your all-around, 24-hours-a-day, full-time bitch status. I feel sorry for your roommate, who seems the type to let people, especially women, walk all over him. However, thank you for being such a grand and overbearing bitch, because you subsequently made me feel a whole lot better about myself. I wish all my ex-boyfriends could meet you so that I could say to them, "SEE? You complained that I was a lot to put up with, BUT SEE WHAT ELSE IS OUT THERE? I’m an ANGEL compared to her!"

Oh, and waiting until the couches were already loaded into your trailer before having your roommate offer me less than the agreed selling price? I bet you put him up to that. The poor sap. And you probably chewed him out for not hassling me more after he got into the car and told you that I refused to back down from my price. Such a bitch.

To my couches: I’m sorry I sent you away with that bitch. But maybe she’s nicer to furniture than she is to people.

To the indoor house walls: Thanks for, um, you know, keeping the roof up and all. I had fun fixing your holes, and believe me, if I hadn’t been so pressed for time, I would have loved nothing more than to just start drilling more holes into you, just so I could keep spackling and painting.

To the air conditioning here in the GV house: Why aren’t you working? You make Kipper overheat and I don’t think my plants are too pleased with this change in climate. Not to mention you make sleeping very uncomfortable. Work, dammit!

To my former roommate: You suck and you’ll be lucky if you get any of your security deposit back. Do you not understand the process of moving OUT? Contrary to what you obviously believe, moving out includes moving ALL of your belongings, as well as all of your trash, OUT of the house. It also includes CLEANING, something which you not only failed to do upon moving out, but which you clearly never did while you lived in that house. Because, oh-my-god, your bathroom was disgusting. I don’t understand how a person who showered practically twice a day could have such a filthy shower tub, but buddy, you managed it. And you may have had a toilet brush next to your toilet (I know this because you left it there, along with a caddy that took way too much effort to get off the shower head and a really dirty bathmat), but did you ever USE it? Like, with a TOILET BOWL CLEANER? I’m going to go ahead and answer for you with a resounding NOPE.

And thanks for leaving all your shit on your bedroom floor even though I’d been telling you for over a week that the carpets were going to be cleaned on Wednesday afternoon. Not to mention never vacuuming, even though you’re the one who brought the vacuum into the house. Oh, and I guess I should also express my gratitude for your leaving your ugly window blinds behind, still drilled into the window frame. And speaking of windows– what the fuck did you do to your window screen? I didn’t even know it was possible to bend something that way. I sincerely hope you’re living alone now, because to inflict your presence upon someone else is just unnecessary torture. Then again, if you do have another roommate, I hope that roommate is ten times worse a roommate than you are. And I hope that roommate has a dog that pees not only on your bed, but on you, because that would so totally rock.

To Cox high-speed internet: I love you. No, really, I mean it. I love you. I think we could be together for the rest of my life and I would never want for more. I understand that you’re not all about the contractual commitment thing, but I see no reason for why we can’t have an unofficial civil union. Thank you for coming with me back to Green Valley, I can’t begin to tell you how much easier you’ve made this transition for me. Billy Jack, my desktop, which (sigh) is a PC, has never been on a cable internet connection before, but I’m pretty sure that it’ll love you as much as Kipper and I do. I look forward to hooking you two up, just as soon as I get the kinks worked out (again) with my wireless router.

And to whoever owned all those newspapers and kept them in a loose pile outside, which allowed them to fly into my backyard on windy days, which was pretty much every day, which meant I was constantly picking up trash that was never mine to begin with: You should be shot and I hope you go to a hell run by evil, genetically-spliced-and-mutated tuna fish. But only because the hell run by monkeys dressed up in banana suits? That hell’s reserved for me.

Roll that beautiful bean footage!

"I don’t think that’s what’s needed to win an Oscar for me."

-Lindsay Lohan, on her decision to never do a nude photo shoot (or at least, her decision to never allow a nude photo shoot to be published).

On the other hand– fake boobs, blonde hair (and an otherwise normally striking resemblance to Frankie Muniz) and a filmography that lists gems such as this movie and this movie? She’d best start looking for a trophy case big enough to handle the masses of golden statues the film industry is quivering in anticipation to throw her way.

In other corners of teenage pop-tart glam-rock fandom, corners I don’t inhabit but admittedly watch because they produce masses of fodder for fun mockery and grand condescension (yum!)– is Lohan’s Big Competition for an Oscar, one Hilary Duff. I recently unearthed an old review for "A Cinderella Story"– the only bit about it which I remembered was the closing, the reason I went through the trouble of digging it up again in the first place:

"But if the filmmakers were in any way
interested in depicting realistic teen life (which they claim to be),
they’d take my advice and end the film like this:
Austin and Sam get together. They break up. They get back together.
Princeton rejects them both. They get really drunk at a party in a
hotel room on graduation night. They both end up at U.C. schools, but
different U.C. schools. They say that they’re too young to pursue a
long-distance relationship and decide to see other people, but still
hook up when they’re home on winter break. Austin gains a gut and gets
early male-pattern baldness. Sam is treated for an addiction to
exercise. They both lose interest. The end.
" (

The rest of the review, of course, is just as worth reading. The reviews for this movie were so collectively terrible that they pushed me over the edge of curiosity and into the pit of temptation, as confessed here. But, to my resurfacing disappointment, I never got to see the whole thing, and I’m thinking I know what I’m going to have playing in the background this afternoon as I pack up all my things. Faboo!

Fudge brownie mix-a-lot

-Tommy Lee Jones is not to be confused with Tommy Lee, who is not to be confused with Jason Lee, who is not to be confused with Jason Scott Lee, who is not to be confused with Jennifer Jason Leigh, who is not to be confused with Rachel Leigh Cook. As tempting as it may be.

-Not a good train of thought: "Ice cream is practically the same thing as frozen yogurt, and frozen yogurt is just yogurt, frozen, so let’s put nuts and hot fudge in the Yoplait and it will be SO delicious!"

-Grilled peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches are better than sex, unless there’s no milk in the house, in which case they’re just pieces of heaven. All the same, the dish has bananas (B-A-N-A-N-A-S!), and mashed and warm to boot, so mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm is all I have to say about that.

Babysitting in the late ’90s means getting to learn every Barney song ever made

Highlights of the last three days:

Thursday:

-Stayed out until 2:30 a.m., the latest I have stayed out on a worknight in the last eight or nine weeks. Got home a little after 3 a.m. Slept for four hours.

Friday:

-Went to my first TKB class in over six months. Subsequently got the shit kicked out of me. Decided after the class that it didn’t qualify as sufficient substitute for my typical workout and proceeded to do my typical routine (30 minutes cardio and lots of weights). Have not been getting more than four hours of sleep all week long, have been working no less than 10 hours a day since Monday.

-Went to Summerlin at The Guy’s request. Sang at the top of my lungs, deliberately off-key, children’s songs. Some of the lineup (each song accompanied by wild, frantic gesticulation and wiggling):

  • "Bagel, bagel, yum yum bagel, yum yum pumpernickel, pumpernickel bread!"
  • "First you take the peanuts and you PICK ’em, you PICK ’em, you PICK ‘EM PICK ‘EM PICK ‘EM and you SMOOSH ’em, you SMOOSH ’em, you SMOOSH ‘EM SMOOSH ‘EM SMOOSH ‘EM and you spreaaaaaaad it out, and you spreaaaaaaad it out– and you’ve got peanut! Peanut butter! (and jelly!)"
  • "Bananas, unite! Bananas, split! Peel, banana, peel peel banana! Smoosh, banana, smoosh smoosh banana! Eat, banana, eat eat banana!"
  • "I used to think that mousse was an animal; rocky road was just a rough place to ride. Black forest was somewhere very far away and chip was a good friend of mine… CHO-COLATE, gimme CHO-COLATE, I’ll eat it in a shake or a German chocolate cake!"

-Saw "Batman Begins," also at his request. Made up a song about meatloaf during the ten-minute drive to the theater:

Me: "Meatloaf is neat, meatloaf is fun, it gets its energy from the sun!"
The Guy: No it doesn’t! That’s it, you’re not allowed to write lyrics for children’s songs anymore, not when you tell lies like that.
Me: What!? It does!
The Guy: Uh, no. Meatloaf is just a blob. A DEAD BLOB.
Me: But it used to get its energy from the sun! Yeah, back when it was the grass that got eaten by the cow that got turned into the meatloaf. Yeah! See, kids need to learn all about the whole food chain reaction thingamabobber whatsit.
The Guy: Right. No more singing lies for you.
Me: FINE.
[beat]
Me: "Meatloaf is neat, meatloaf is fun, UNLIKE [THE GUY]."
The Guy: Nope, doesn’t work, it doesn’t rhyme.
[pause]
Me: Okay, how about, "Meatloaf is neat, meatloaf is tryin’, meatloaf is fun, UNLIKE [THE GUY]."
The Guy: [having stopped listening to me minutes ago] Uh-huh.

As for the movie– liked it, loved it, was writing a raving review for it in my head, and then the scene where Batman gets gassed for the first time happened and the hallucinations started and I slowly began inching down in my seat until, swear to god, the back of my neck was touching the bottom of the chair, I was turned sideways (thankfully the two chairs to my right were unoccupied), and on occasion my purse was flung over my face so I couldn’t see what was happening on screen. I sat like that for maybe an hour. Would have left, but The Guy drove and I didn’t remember where the stupid car was and I didn’t want to wander around the casino for however long it would take. Plus, he would probably insist on leaving with me and, as he had paid for both our tickets and had been the one looking forward to this movie, making him leave prematurely didn’t seem fair.

-Spent the next three hours shaking uncontrollably. Goddamn movie. Also spent the next three hours REALLY, REALLY PISSED.

Saturday:

-Woke up, thinking it was going to be a great Saturday and I was totally going to keep my shit together. Ten hours later (including but not limited to: eating a quarter-pound of muenster cheese, cutting The Guy’s hair for the first time ever and constantly panicking that I was going to shave a bald spot into the back of his neck, looking at home improvement stuff on the Internet, reading, and reprising all the songs from Friday night but adding a score of Disney songs to the lineup), the delusion passed and it was clear that I was totally not keeping my shit together and I was totally in a bad mood. Left Summerlin approximately one hour ago, around 2 a.m., got attacked by a cockroach on the way to my car (okay, well, if it had kept running in that direction for another 100 yards, it so would have been right in front of me and it would have jumped at my neck in an attempt to rip out my jugular), drove home and wondered if I had somehow gotten drunk earlier in the evening? because I was all over the goddamn road for reasons I couldn’t understand.

Anyway. Also on Friday night, I discussed an old episode of "Viva Variety!" which had a sketch, infomercial-style, concerning a meat-like substance called "Veat" (I think it was supposed to be Virtual-meat, this was way before the popularity of soy substitutes began). The female host is asking her male counterpart (or maybe the American guy) questions about the product:

(The former) Mrs. Laupin: Dahs eet baaaaouuuhnce?
[He looks quizically at the lump of meaty substance in his hands, then throws it forcefully to the floor, where it lands with a big SPLAT!]
Johnny Bluejeans: [grinning while excitedly shaking his head, ever the product endorser] Nooo!

But maybe the humor doesn’t translate without being able to hear the ridiculous accents.

And, more quotable essence from Ded regarding the people she encounters at The Coffee Bean:

"Oh, you need my name for that drink? It’s Sam. S-A-M."   Thanks for the breaking news. S-A-M is sweeping the nation.

When “Why not?” is SO not a suitable answer to “But why??”

Nothing much good ever came out of liking to work yourself to death, which in this case would be represented by a 57-hour work week distributed ridiculously unevenly across five damn days.

Now, liking pina coladas and dancing in the rain– that’s a whole different game. People write catchy songs about that kind of ish.

And speaking of songs (and speaking, I guess, of ish)– the only, and I cannot stress this enough– the ONLY thing that makes Gwen Stefani’s "Holla Back Girl" song worthwhile is the part about bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Enlightenment

Fifteen minutes from the freeway, driving down the long, unlit road with nothing but desert surrounding me and mountains in the near distance, the moon shining bright and full above me in the night sky free of light pollution: "You know, I’m going to miss living out here, just a little."

Ten minutes later, still in the middle of nowhere and still not yet home: "No, no I’m not, not at all."

Special edition: Chicken of the Sea

Right after the speed-dating scene in "Hitch" finishes, The Guy decides to pause the movie and, inspired by the chick’s moping scene, I enthusiastically suggest we go out to Vons to get whipped cream and bananas. For whatever reason, he agreed.

[in the car]

The Guy: I think we should make it a rule: from now on, we stop watching the movie as soon as there’s conflict.
Me: But what about different levels of conflict? What about movies like "The Lion King"?
The Guy: Simba dies. Movie over.
Me: NO, it doesn’t work that way!
The Guy: Simba dies.
Me: Well, what about "The Little Mermaid"?
The Guy: She dies. What’s her name?
Me: Ariel, and SHE DOESN’T DIE.
The Guy: Yes she does, it’s in the sequel.
Me: No, she has a daughter in the sequel!
The Guy: That’s who I meant, the daughter. Didn’t you know? The daughter dies. Yeah. She, uh, falls out of her bowl.
Me: SHE’S NOT A GOLDFISH.
The Guy: No, no, see, she falls out and gets caught, she gets caught in a tuna net.
Me: Oh, like the dolphins?
The Guy: Yeah, except, the fisherman throw all the dolphins back. But they keep her.
Me: Yeah, okay. Mmm, tuna.

Thank you for peanut butter and hot dogs

Parents

This picture is of my parents, taken from a Caribbean cruise they went on two summers ago. The one on the left, obviously, is my dad.

A few days ago, I went back to my parents’ house to do some cleaning before my mom returned from Honolulu. I was clearing the kitchen table of the daily newspapers that had accumulated into a tall pile, and as I removed them, I noticed a printout from an Internet site. Upon closer examination, I realized it was an article, a tech column, on Apple’s recent decision to switch to Intel chips.

About two weeks ago, I had briefly mentioned to my father this decision in an attempt to lure him into conversation, an attempt which failed to procure more than a few words and maybe a nod from him. And instead of engaging in dialogue with me then and there, he went home, did his own research, and printed out his results for me. Because that’s how he works.

I’ve been told by friends and boyfriends that I’m a very generous person, very giving, very thoughtful. I used to always attribute this to my mother, who truly is an incredibly selfless soul, but lately, I’ve begun to suspect that my father has been a factor in this trait of mine, as well. I can’t begin to count how many times I would mention something to him– some new technology, a computer game, books, some tech-y toy– and shortly after, I would come home to find it in the family room or the kitchen, he having silently gone out and bought it for me. Last summer, I was trying to teach myself Javascript, and I was having some difficulty with the books he had on the subject because they were written in the early ’90s. After he had identified that as the problem, I just shrugged indifferently and figured I’d just do it without the CD accompaniment and adjust accordingly; he had a different agenda. No more than a week later, a package arrived from Amazon.com, and inside were two updated books on Javascript, which, I learned, he had purchased specifically for me.

When I was younger, he was always taking me to the library, and occasionally there would come a weekend when a computer show was taking place, and he’d let me accompany him on those trips as well (we still have all the computer games he bought for me from those shows). Books and computers– the two major objects of his fixation (though the books have, over the last few years, been replaced by movies), a passion I gladly inherited. I’ve been on computers for as long as I can remember, and he gave me my own when I was seven or eight (maybe earlier). He also used to be very involved with ham radio and encouraged me to get my license, and though I studied and tested twice, I always came up short on my scores (unlike my sister, who I believe got her license on the first try). And though my mother claims I taught myself to read when I was three so I could master the TV Guide, I know I wouldn’t have thrown myself into the world of books if it hadn’t been for my dad, all those trips to the library, and the fact that he always had a book with him, no matter where we went.

Without question, he is highly intelligent. My mother likes to say, from time to time, "Thank god you got your father’s brains!" and she seems confident that this is so, but I think when I was younger, he worried that this wasn’t necessarily the case, and therefore battered me with IQ tests quickly after I became literate. I always scored well, but his response, then, was a guarded, "Well, scores aren’t always accurate when you’re younger than 11." Even now, once in a while I’ll take a test online and send him the score ("Look, I got a 152!"), but there’s never any enthusiasm on the receiving end; if anything, it’s a sense of quiet relief, like, oh thank goodness, I didn’t produce a brainless child.

When I was little, I used to anticipate his coming home by positioning myself at the far end of the hallway as soon as I heard the garage door open. He would come into the house, appear at the other end of the hallway, and I would sprint down the carpet and literally jump on him, delighting in his return while simultaneously fearing the stubble of his five-o’-clock shadow. Other times, I would wrap myself around his leg like a bear clinging to a tree branch, and rather than shaking me off, he would oblige me and limp around the house as I kept my hold.

He’s impossible to get satisfactory answers from. If you ask him where he’s going, he’ll tell you he’s going "out." If you press him for details, he’ll either motion vaguely in the direction of his destination, or he’ll pretend he didn’t hear you. Ask him what he considers to be a stupid question, and he’ll give you his signature look– one eyebrow furrowed, face filled with suspicion and curiosity, as though he’s thinking, "You didn’t really ask me that, did you? Do you really expect me to answer that? Because that was a really stupid question." And he will, on occasion, eat his hot dogs with not only ketchup, but with ketchup AND PEANUT BUTTER.

And I am his daughter.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. Thank you for everything you’ve done for and given me these last 21 years, and sorry if there were any typos in this. I love you.

Till they need another burst of publicity do they part

Apparently, Tom Cruise has proposed to Katie Holmes.

He’s 42. She’s 26, making a 16-year age difference between them.

I don’t know why I feel so scandalized. The Guy is 14 years older than I am, and except for the few occasions on which I’ve gone off in tears (my own doing, naturally), screaming that I’m too young and naive and stupid for him (or the times when he tries to tell me about movies and celebrities and TV shows and music groups of which I’ve never heard), the age thing has never been a problem for us.

Then again, The Guy is a lot more attractive than Tom Cruise, who admittedly can be quite handsome, but only from certain angles, because I’ve definitely seen some shots of him where my first reaction is, "OH MY GOD! THERE’S SOMETHING ON HIS FACE AND IT’S EATING HIS– oh, wait, no, that’s just his nose."

So, yeah.

Dans quel je m’excuse

My life has of late taken a few turns that have tossed it into a state of, which for the sake of simplicity and for the desire to not have to explain or summarize or elaborate I will call, Blah. And I recently bought a weighty amount of books, so… let’s just pretend I’m going on vacation. To a land devoid of internet access. Like… Botswana. Or Boca Raton. (No, the *other* Boca Raton. The one devoid of internet access.)

But: actual signage indicates that my mother was right all along when, some years ago, she said she heard a Cheesecake Factory was going to be built in Green Valley, somewhere near the District. (I mentioned this to someone else at the time who said he wouldn’t be surprised, as there’s already a P.F. Chang’s there and apparently the two restaurants are always situated close to each other, which, when I think of all the P.F. Chang’s (P.F. Chang’ses?) or CF’s I’ve ever been to, seems to be true enough.)

And not only is a CF going to be installed in GV, but we’re getting a Whole Foods Market as well (and with Trader Joe’s right up the street)! All we need now is for Ralphs and Henry’s to leap out of SoCal (along with IKEA) and settle here, too. And then California can break away from the mainland and I’ll have my ocean back without ever having to leave this city, and with my favorite food chains in close proximity to boot.