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Archive for May, 2010

For those of you paying attention, you’ll recall I’ve mentioned that I’m going through a divorce.  I will not be maudlin and pontificate about any of the details here.  I am only writing about it at all because Tuesday was the day when I got to file the paperwork making our divorce final, which involved a trip the Burbank Court House.  And hilarity ensued…

It seemed wise to get a leg up on the lunch-time crowd, so I left work at 11:15 to file my one form. The experience started with the security guard at the front door, a 300+ pound African-American man, 60 if he was a day, who looked me up and down as I walked through the security gate and said in a slow drawl, “I like your shoes.”  Eew.

I made my way upstairs to the Clerk’s Office which was blissfully free of people.  I walked up and handed my form to the woman at the counter. She didn’t even glance at me before she stamped it and handed it back and said, “We need three copies and two self-addressed stamped envelopes.”  Excuse me?  “Where can I do that?” I asked, to which she replied, “There’s a Fed Ex Kinkos down the street.”  Great.

So I made my way back downstairs, past the creepy security guard who leered at me the whole time, out the door and down to the next block to the Fed Ex Kinkos. I made my copies easily enough, bought an entire box of envelopes (a pity, since I have thousands at home that my Mom gave me after an unnecessary trip to B.J.’s Wholesale Club about 9 years ago), and asked the man at the counter for stamps.  The whole time there was some woman who thought she was ahead of me in line yelling at the poor guy.  He instructed me to the ATM machine next door to buy stamps (how convenient!).  Done! Easy peasy! Crisis averted!

I made my way back to the court house and walked through the gate as the security guard said, “There’s those shoes again.” Eew. Back upstairs in the Clerk’s Office, it was starting to get crowded – they had one window of a possible seven open and there were about four people in line.  I hastily started filling out my two envelopes, at which point my pen ran out of ink.  I grabbed one of their pens which was out of ink too. I finally found a working pen, finished filling out the envelopes and added an excessive amount of stamps to each just to be on the safe side.  This task completed, I got back into the line.  It was at this point that I looked down at my three copies of my form and noticed that I’d left the original form on the copy machine at Fed Ex Kinkos.  I believe my reaction upon realizing this was to yell “Damn it!” and run out the door, but I can’t be totally sure since I was getting into a bit of a tizzy by that point and actually contemplated pretending one of the copies was the original so I wouldn’t have to walk by the security guard again.

Of course, being a perfectionist and a nerd, I didn’t do that. I marched myself back downstairs and was relieved to see the security guard leaving – it must have been his lunch break.  I ran by him in case he was thinking of asking me to join him.  Then I ran to Fed Ex Kinkos, grabbed my original form, and ran back into the court house.   Back upstairs in the Clerk’s Office, the line was literally out the door. There had to be at least ten people in front of me. 

And this is when the story takes an unexpected turn for the better. A woman at the front of the line said, “Ma’am, you can come up here.”  I think I looked at her like she was from another planet, and she said, “You didn’t hear me before, but I said I would hold your place for you.”  I said, “But what about all of these people?” And she said, “It doesn’t matter, you were here first.”  I’ll never see her again, but I kind of love that lady.  

I am often reminded that so many things in life come down to your own perception and choices.  My grandfather, 96 years old and an inspiration if ever there was one, is forever telling me to be happy and to “always laugh.”  Sometimes it seems like goofy or trite advice, but he’s clearly on to something.  There are so many things about this divorce scenario that could make me feel horrible about where I am in my life, and there are certainly lots of reasons I could dwell on the entire ordeal. However, I prefer to talk incredulously about the pervy security guard, laugh at my own stupidity (I left the original on the copy machine! It’s a rookie mistake!), and feel ever so grateful for the kindness of strangers.  It is truly all about how you choose to look at it – “always laugh” indeed.

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I’ve purchased a few albums in the past couple of months and have been defunct in sharing my findings.  A few of these albums came out somewhere in 2009, but I am a little slow on the uptake. So, apologies if this is old news for the more hip of you in the crowd, but they are definitely not mainstream bands so some of you may not have heard them before.  Also, I am on an “electropop” kick, which will explain some of my choices below.

* Miike Snow (self-titled):  A trio of guys from Sweden (none of them named Miike).  Of 11 songs, there is only one I’m not crazy about, which seems like pretty good odds.

* Broken Bells (self-titled): This is a duo composed of Danger Mouse and James Mercer from The Shins.  They are so hip and cool that the first song on this album was used in an episode of the hipster-centric show on HBO, “How to Make it in America.”  Hearing and recognizing it while watching that show was a proud moment for me.  The mid-point of the album drags a wee bit, but it opens and closes strongly. The last track is my fave.

* The Temper Trap (“Conditions”): I bought this album based on being in love with one of the singles that’s been getting some radio play out here, “Sweet Disposition” (apparently it was featured in 500 Days of Summer).  It’s really an amazing song.  The rest of the album is very good with a couple of other notable standout tracks and a surprisingly good instrumental song at the end.

* Passion Pit (“Chunk of Change” and “Manners”):  They are my current obsession.   I think “Sleepyhead” is their most popular track, which is on the EP “Chunk of Change,” my first PP purchase.  The six songs were so incredible, I bought the full-length album “Manners” – but the version with some bonus tracks.  It’s got a stripped down version of “Sleepyhead” – think instrumental with piano – that is surprisingly beautiful. The person who first turned me on to them thought I wouldn’t like the entire album and explained it as “experimental.”  I disagree with that and was pleasantly surprised by how good these songs really are.  It is by far the best music purchase I’ve made in quite a while.

* Run Toto Run (various): The way I found them was kind of by accident.  My hipster friend (who I rely on for any and all new music recommendations) turned me on to this cover of “Sleepyhead.”  Being generally ignorant of the hipster music scene, I misread the name of the video and thought that this trio was Passion Pit and they were covering a song by a band called Run Toto Run. Turns out Passion Pit is 5 guys from New York who just sing really high and that this adorable group were the ones doing the cover. They do not have a full length album anywhere (at least not one that I could find), so I bought an EP, “Plastic Gold,”  as well as a few random singles that were on iTunes. Their sound is really great – string instruments and this woman’s soft vocals, which are beautiful. They seem to have experimented a bit with electronica for their newest single, “Hater,” which is an awesome song and may just be the new anthem for my life.

So, there you have it.  It took me almost six months, but I eventually pulled it together.  Hopefully I’ll have another list by November or so.

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