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Archive for the ‘Personal Faves’ Category

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 have been very busy at work lately. So busy that all my creative energy has been tapped and I have not written a new entry in quite some time.  So busy that between 9 AM on Monday and 6 PM on Friday I think of little else besides my job.  So busy that today I had the genius idea to answer the phone while simultaneously licking the envelope to my Mom’s birthday card.  This caused me a large paper cut on the side of my upper lip.  It hurts a lot, not least of all because pretty much everything I have done today has aggravated it. Laughing, smiling, talking, eating salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and eating salted Smokehouse almonds (this actually makes it sound like all I did all day was feel happy and eat, which I assure you was not the case).  I’m wondering how it will ever heal since I cannot very well put Neosporin or a band-aid on my mouth and it seems destined to keep stretching (eew).

Of course, this got me to thinking: exactly how much time did I save by answering the phone while licking an envelope?  .00428 seconds?  Is that worth the eternal pain of mouth trauma?  Let this be a reminder to all of us that it’s ok  – if not preferable – to slow it down every once in a while.  Next week I will probably not even remember what I worked on today, but it is likely that my lip will still hurt.

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Right before Christmas, I received notice from American Airlines that my paltry amount of airline miles was about to expire (I’m a Jet Blue woman, really), but I could trade in some miles for magazine subscriptions. This was especially fortuitous since I’d been meaning to sign up for a subscription to Entertainment Weekly ever since I’d lost access to that magazine in my divorce. I’d become especially fond of it over the last few years and have been feeling a little lost without it.  But after signing up for my EW subscription, I still had miles to spend with limited choices (I mostly avoid women’s beauty magazines because I subscribe to the same philosophy that was mentioned in that “Sunscreen” viral email that went around in the mid-90s: “Don’t read beauty magazines; they will only make you feel ugly.”).  I decided it was about time to start getting in the loop on what was happening in the world by getting a subscription to The Economist.  My partner in blog crime and I had a chuckle about this over the holidays, but truly, my choice was in earnest.  My inclinations news-wise are to keep up with what is happening in entertainment and pop culture, but lots of times I feel guilty about this and like a typical stupid American for not having a better sense of what’s going on with the rest of the planet.  

Last Friday my first issues of each publication arrived. I can pretty much blow through EW in a day or two.  The Economist is another story. The type is tiny!! And the word to picture ratio is way higher than most magazines I’m used to reading.  My routine this past week has been to come home from work, watch some TV, and read The Economist before bed.  I have not made it very far. In fact, as of Friday, I was on page 33 out of 80-something.  And then a new one arrived!! Now I’m feeling really overwhelmed and am wondering, how am I supposed to have time to read this?  Should I start leaving work early?  I really do want to be better informed about world politics, business and economics but I’m just not sure if I can find the time.  There’s lots of stuff on TV I need to watch.

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We watched the movie Taken the other night – the one starring Liam Neeson, not the Steven Spielberg-produced miniseries about aliens.   I was not impressed, although will readily admit that Liam Neeson was pretty kick ass as an action hero. Overall, however, this movie didn’t really cut it for me. Here’s why:

1) This is probably unfair, but when I was in grad school and took an Entertainment Marketing course (as if there is any rhyme or reason for the bullshit that is this industry), I learned some interesting things about what a release date says about a movie.  Big, splashy mass appeal movies are released in the summer.  Thought-provoking Oscar contenders are released in the fall/winter.  And January and February are when the studios unload their crappiest movies because it’s a slow box office period anyway.  This movie was released on January 30th.  Enough said.

2) The script was pretty weak.  While watching the movie, I was imagining this is how the project came about: “Hey, I have a great idea for some awesome action scenes! And we should get an older actor like Liam Neeson to be the slightly unlikely action hero!  Write a script around that!”

3) My husband disagrees, but I think this was a propaganda film made by the conservative right.  The plot centers around Neeson as some sort of retired government agent trying to make up for lost time with his teenage daughter.  The daughter goes to Europe with a friend and they are almost immediately kidnapped, putting Neeson’s character’s ass-kicking skills to good use. Turns out, she was kidnapped by the Albanian mob for their underground sex slave trade.  Now, it has been established earlier (via flimsy dialogue) that the daughter is a virgin, but her friend is kind of slutty (she wants to have sex with a boy she just met!).  So Neeson’s race against the clock to save his daughter is essentially his race against the clock to keep her purity in tact.  As you might expect, he does so in the nick of time.  The other part that killed me is that ultimately, the bad guy who bought his daughter — and was mere moments away from deflowering her — was a Middle Eastern sheik.  Of course he was.  Because people from the middle east are terrorists, right? And terrorists want to take away our freedom!  Oh, and the slutty friend is found dead.  Apparently, that is the comeuppance for being slutty.

4) I love Lost and accepted Maggie Grace’s character Shannon as the spoiled little rich girl the show wanted me to believe she was.  As Liam Neeson’s 17 year old daughter, this 26 year old actress made me wonder if she wasn’t, in fact, being typecast as a whiny bitch. Also, if you are 26, you really shouldn’t play a 17 year old, and if you are in this position and struggling with how to make it authentic, the answer is not to run around with your arms flailing like a crazy person in the hopes that it makes you seem young.  You just look stupid.

Granted, this genre is not my favorite – give me an indie film about a dysfunctional family over a shoot-em-up/blow-em-up action flick any day.  But, I like Neeson as an actor and think he deserves better than to be mired down by this silly piece of crap.

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Rather than having lots of bitchy and whiny entries on this thing, I decided to try to also write about stuff that is fun and makes me laugh (although, honestly, I do have a lot more to say when I’m bitching. That can’t be good).  That led me to think about this sketch from Saturday Night Live.

In general, I’m a huge fan of Jon Hamm – Mad Men is one of my favorite shows.  But who knew he had such a gift for comedy?  His stints on 30 Rock were hilarious (the visual of him unsteadily driving down the street on his motorcycle still cracks me up), and he was surprisingly impressive when hosting SNL

Anyway, when you first watch this sketch, you will think it’s stupid.  But let it sit for a while.  It is eight months later and I will randomly remember this and laugh out loud.

Enjoy!

http://www.hulu.com/watch/41101/saturday-night-live-jon-hamms-john-ham

PS: Apparently I am a moron and cannot figure out to embed a video in an entry, which is why you’re getting a link instead.  I will learn some day.

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Sharing Sucks

I’ve always hated sharing.  This is illustrated by two stories from my childhood:

1) When I was 4, I found a penny.  My mom told me I should put it in the poor box at church, and then explained the virutes of being selfless and helping out the less fortunate. I listened to her, and when she was done replied with “Let the poor people get their own penny. This one’s mine.”

2) When my sister and I were about 5 and 6, our parents had gone food shopping and had bought us each a yogurt (apparently we’d not had it before, because at the time it seemed exotic and exciting).  My sister had strawberry and I had raspberry.  She offered me a taste of hers, which I gladly accepted. Then she asked for a taste of mine.  I told her to smell it, which she did, and then I told her, “It tastes just like it smells” and continued eating.

To this day, sharing is still not one of my favorite things. I am not a big food sharer (unless there is a pre-determined plan to order multiple items and split, but even then it depends on the people, because some people take too much), and I still have a hard time even sharing stuff with my husband (i.e., the “good” shampoo, my dark chocolate bars from Trader Joe’s, etc.).  And, yes, I am aware that this trait is irrational, childish and kind of rude, so even though it makes me cringe inside, I’ll still let people try some of my dinner at a restaurant, but I am not likely to try their food in return.  I am no hypocrit.

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