It was very “Closer”. He was disarming.

I had a great weekend. You know what I did this past weekend? I kayaked for four hours and fed a bouncer/door guy M&M’s. Plain *and* peanut. And I got to go dancing! At an Indian reservation casino! And I ate at Bogart Yogurt, Valentine’s and the Julian Cafe.

But the highlight was really the door guy. Or the feeding of the door guy. We were walking back from Ralphs and I had two packets of M&M’s in my hand– we’d been eating them since we left the store– and I ran back and offered him some. I’d noticed him on the way to the store and noticed him again on the way back; as they say in baseball, he was "caught looking", you see. Granted, I was out with The Wife, and 11 times out of 10 when guys look our way, they’re looking at her (she insists it’s the other way around, but if they are looking at me, it’s because they think that if they get on my good side I’ll introduce them to her), but in the end, I didn’t have enough of a reason not to turn around and chat him up. Because you *know* it was a good weekend when you can return home and announce to people that you fed the door guy at the Bitter End M&M’s.

And then next weekend– this coming weekend– I’ll be in Arizona! In Tempe/the general Phoenix area! Home of the Sock Zombie lady! (And, apparently, scorpions.) Summer. Yum!

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Now accepting letters of rec and CV’s

Seeking: a dude geoscientist specializing in geomorphology [1] — in particular, the geomorphology of southern Nevada and southern California– amenable to being held hostage in a car for weekend road trips with nothing but M&Ms [2] and water for sustenance. Expert knowledge combined with an ability to explain on educational levels ranging from 2nd grade to post-doctorate required, or a combination of sufficient knowledge and immediate access to further (expert) knowledge. Ultimate bladder control also required, as pit stops will be limited to whenever the car runs out of gas.

*****

The lamest part of this is I am only maybe 10% [3] joking.

The entire drive back today, I stared fiercely out the window trying to decipher the history of the landscape around us. How did those mountains get there? Intrusions? Sedimentary deposits? Thrust faults? What caused those to tilt in that direction? Where did those boulder deposits come from? Is that shale? Plateaus make no sense to me. Where did that lake come from? What feeds it? Were there glaciers here once upon a time? Is it a kettle lake? Are those scarps or just really weird weathering?

It was, frankly, entirely annoying. I used to just enjoy scenic drives without having to think. Now my brain just won’t shut up, tripping over itself with question after damned question.

Clearly, I am in urgent need of a personal geomorphologist. Or a book, a really good couple of books, but in spite of my magical multi-tasking capabilities, I am *not* the World’s Greatest at driving a car and reading a book at the same time. And I don’t do audio books. So, human version of a book, complete with portability on a whim. On my whim. Need one. ASAP. [4]

[1] A sub-specialty in botany would be a major brownie-points bonus.
[2] Or Starbursts. Or Kashi/Special K.
[3] Give or take 70%. Wait. Well– wait. Wait. Can a person be -60% joking? Would that make me 60% un-joking? Uh, okay, yeah I guess that’ll do.
[4] Ooh. Or, like, the Six-Year-Old’s Aspiring Geoscientist’s Illustrated Guide to Field Terminology, emphasis on the "Illustrated". I want pictures. Hand-drawn. Basically, a picture dictionary. For 2nd graders.

Just a concrete monkey looking for a concrete tree

I’d forgotten how much I love Los Angeles. Which is to say, I’ve been well aware that I love this city; just not the full extent, perhaps. Or in any case, I’d forgotten said extent. But I’m here again now, here after many, many months of absence (has it been since October? I think that’s right), and, oh, my heart feels full.

I love this city. I love everything that is wrong with this city, every crappy design and traffic flaw and architectural eyesore and personality pain. By circumstance, Las Vegas is home for me now, will be home for me for I don’t know how many more years; but L.A., oh, L.A. is home for me by birth. This is my city. Hello, my city. How I’ve missed you.

On, oh, about forty-five minutes of half-sleep. I packed in five minutes.

It’s five in the morning and I have nothing better to do than post here. I feel like such a stereotypical Millennial (freaking fantastic piece, that one). Boo to that.

I should clarify: it’s five in the morning and I’m at the airport waiting for a 6:30 flight to LAX, and I have nothing better to do than… well, this. Because someone forgot to grab a book as she was flying out the door. At a quarter to FOUR A.M.

Anyway. I’m grinning like an idiot because I just read the scores for the Lakers-Spurs game last night. Whoa! Lakers! When did you stop sucking? Every year, I keep swearing that I’m giving up on the Lakers, and apparently last year I actually held to that promise because I haven’t been following that team at *all* this year, and now all of a sudden my boys are in the West Conference finals? Hey! Wow! And, *dude*, they trumped the Spurs every damn quarter last night. Amazing!

So, yes. I’m being a stereotypical 24-year-old (doing this on a Mac, no less; I could only make appearances worse if I were plugged into a damn iPod) and looking ridiculous doing so. I can’t help it. The Lakers! Are doing really well! Hooray!

Okay, I’m ready for bed.

Oh hell, why not throw in a post about books, too.

My mom came back from San Diego and told me she’d just finished a book– "Dog Years"– that she thought I’d like because the author’s writing style was similar to mine. I was puzzled; I have a writing style? Yes, she said; but then she couldn’t describe it, so she just pushed the book onto me.

I’ve had it since Monday. I cracked it open and peered warily at the first two pages– and froze. Long, never-ending paragraphs. Big, fancy dictionary words. Poetry-as-prose. I quickly shut the book; it was more than my little brain could handle. I didn’t touch it again until Tuesday night.

It’s taken me two days to get through the first chapter. Fourteen pages.

On the one hand, I should be flattered that she thinks our writing styles are similar. I mean, this guy’s won awards for his writing, this *book* has won awards of distinction; a comparison would be a compliment, right? But on the other hand, aw man, I do not want to read this. Not now. Do you know what I’ve been reading, lately? "Harry Potter" (re-reads, naturally) and Augusten Burroughs (ditto). That’s like making someone watch "Schindler’s List" right after "Bio-Dome". Not going to happen. Not so much.

I’m sure it’s a lovely book. I’m sure once I get through it, it will have earned a spot in one of the corners of my heart. I’m sure there will be passages I will want to memorize and carry in my stream of consciousness constantly. But right now? Oh, right now, I don’t want beautiful writing full of sentiment and depth and poignancy. It’s summer, and I have five weeks of Calc III to look forward to pretty soon. READING LEVEL 5, THANKS.

There was one Saturday in April when I played DCFC’s new album from dawn to dusk. *That* was fun!

When you’re not exactly in the mood for the Cary Brothers or the Shins, when you can’t take any more Jack Johnson, when Dave Matthews won’t do it, when you’ve even outplayed Mason Jennings (I know! But it happens)– when your heart feels small and in need of smoothing over and you just can’t find the music to heal the cracks and rough edges– solace can be found, surprisingly, in Ray LaMontagne’s "Trouble".

Feather and I saw him live when he was an opening act for Anna Nalick and Howie Day and we were severely unimpressed (Missy Higgins also opened; she, however, was amazing). Granted, we were giggly and hyper and thus not a suitable market for his mellow tunes, but if I remember correctly, he also lacked any modicum of stage presence. Dude. If you are going to just stand in front of a microphone and strum your guitar, um, maybe stick to coffee shops.

I do remember a year or two (or whatever) ago, the Hazmat (my taste-trustworthy music pimp) telling me I should listen to Ray LaMontagne, to which I replied, rather scathingly, that I’d seen the guy perform and didn’t care for him much, but thanks for the recommendation.

But then in Ulta the other day, The Wife and I heard some song being pumped in through the speakers, and it was slow and kind of scruffy James Taylor-y and we just looked at each other and were all, "We need to own this song and play it on repeat at home for hours on end." Or at least, that’s what *I* was thinking; she might have been closer to just "hey I really like this song". I looked up a line of the lyrics on my [trusty, very non-gay] phone and found out it was "Hold You In My Arms", by one Ray LaM. Which, when we got home, I found out I already had, because it was on the "Last Kiss" soundtrack. Oh, Zack Braff. You dear little noodle.

So now I have his full album, "Trouble", and I’ve been listening to it over and over again. And, you know? It does the trick. His funny folk-y music, it does the trick. Savage beast = soothed.

*****

Also: I did this with Ingrid Michaelson during the winter months. Mostly in my car, but sometimes at home as well, I would just play "Girls & Boys" on repeat, endlessly. As a result, I associate that album with winter and thus feel weird listening to it now, in these warm summer months. Oddness.

Movie spoilers. OOH EVERYONE GET THEIR PANTIES IN A BUNCH.

The first time I watched "Little Black Book", I was peeved. I mean, what– what the hell kind of ending was that? No! Girl gets boy! Always! That’s why it’s a *movie*! I don’t want real life, dammit. Girl does NOT dump boy (who loves Girl) and tell him that he belongs with his ex.

Three years later and I’m still obsessing over this movie. It’s really not that good of a movie and parts of it are painful (much like "Autumn in New York"! Which I own! And paid, like, full retail price for it! Willingly!), but… I don’t know. There’s just something moving about the scene in the end, when Brittany Murphy’s character gives her big speech and does what she knows is best even though it means she sort of gets the shaft– it’s relatable in a painfully honest way. There are countless movies that have those happy little love scenes that make my insides all gooey because, oh, I remember those moments and those feelings and they were good; there are few movies that have those really difficult scenes where someone has to muster up the courage to say, "Hey. This isn’t working out. I love you, and it’s because I love you that I’m telling you I think this needs to end, and I’m so, so sorry and it’s killing me to say this, but I can’t be with you anymore."

A few days ago, I finally watched "The Break Up". And, again, the ending frustrated me to no end. They were so happy to see each other again! Why didn’t the movie show them getting back together? He’d changed! He was a changed man! He was the changed man she wanted him to be! But no; camera shows her walking away, then credits. What. The. Crap.

I was so mad. I was so, so mad. The next day, I was still mad. And then the day after that, it started to sink in that probably a good percentage of why I couldn’t accept the movie’s damned storyline was because I related too much to it. When she tells him, after he’s finally opened up to her and told her he’ll do anything for her, that she just doesn’t think she can do it anymore, that she just doesn’t have anything left? God, have I known that feeling– the giving and the receiving.

But– the ending, too– I’ve known even that. The happenstance running into each other, the startled "Hi!", followed by the intensely sincere "Wow! It’s been so long. How are you? You look fantastic!" and ending with "We should definitely catch up more sometime." Except– and this truth makes my heart twinge, just a little– that "sometime" almost never happens. You’ve both mended the rips that the separation caused, learned new habits and developed new patterns, new lives. There will be no reconciliation. And… that’s okay. That’s normal. You know? Not every love is the only one, the last one. What they did is what we– what most of us– do. We heal, we learn, we grow, we move on. We find others.

Here is another truth: sometimes, when you do run into that other person randomly, and they do look fantastic and it has been so long– sometimes, you start remembering all the reasons you fell for that person in the first place. You remember mornings together and sunny afternoons spent outside holding hands, you remember how perfectly their face fit inside your hands. But after those initial thrills of remembrance have faded some– you remember, too, why it ended. There were reasons for why it ended, and sometimes, a lot of times, those reasons aren’t reasons that can be nullified by time.

And then I think of "Eternal Sunshine" and *that* ending, how Clem argues that it’s pointless for them to try and be together again because they both know how it’s going to end and the ending isn’t pretty, how they’re just going to get sick of each other– and Joel just half-smiles and says: "Okay." I adore that. It makes me wonder if I would say "okay" too, and… I think I would. Because even knowing things will be crap at the end of it all– knowing all the good moments that will come in the meantime would make it all worthwhile. Walks on the beach, trips to Lowe’s in the pouring rain, falling asleep in the front seat listening to U2’s "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb", hoofing it– slightly drunk– from south MB to north PB: I have known the heights of happiness in the hands of another, and maybe that happiness came at a price, but it’s a price I was glad to pay then– and will be glad to pay again.

Also: drink namers, STOP with the “peenya” spelling already. REALLY.

Smoothie places ought to have little roulette wheels with all their drinks on it. The counter people try to be helpful, but really, asking me "Well, what’s your favorite fruit?" isn’t going to get us anywhere. I, um, love all fruits. Equally. (Except grapefruit, but I’m convinced that’s not really a legitimate family member. If it has to assert in its own name that it’s a fruit, something shady’s going on. There was ALREADY a fruit called a grape BEFORE you came along, monsieur "grapefruit". You, sir, are a fraud and there is no love here for you.)

They get so skittish when I ask them to just choose a drink for me, too. The counter people, I mean, not the fruits. I don’t think the fruits really care; if they’re not doomed to be pureed for my drink, they’ll meet their tragic fate at the hands of the person behind me. So! Conclusion: roulette wheel. The Wheel O’ Smoothies! Which tasty fruit blend will be quenching your thirst and supplying you with more than 7 essential vitamins and nutrients today? Spin to find out!

I’m pretty close to just searching for a good random-picking algorithm and writing a damn program. I can’t keep doing this, strolling into smoothie places only to be caught like a deer in headlights for ten minutes by the menu of sixty-three billion choices.