December 30, 2013


I don't think I'm good at giving people the stink eye. When I try to do so, I somehow send a message that says, "talk to me...especially if you're crazy." 

As I was travelling this weekend I was determined to avoid the crazy people that usually approach me. Even if they were sitting right next to me on the airplane. And the crazy people always sit right next to me on the airplane.

I determined that the cause of this is because I smile too much and I don't like to hurt anyone's feelings. This is a blessing and a curse. So, I tried to not smile and attempted to look really really mean. In fact, I glared at anyone who came near me. I also had a cold so I made sure not to hide my coughing and nose blowing. And it worked. I got on the airplane and NO ONE sat next to me. Usually people scramble to sit next to me because I'm small and I look like I don't smell. LITTLE DO THEY KNOW. Just kidding, I don't smell. I think.

So everyone is seated and then suddenly a last minute passenger bursts onto the plane and the flight attendants rush her down the aisle. She has eighty things in her hands and is panting and sweating. Everyone hates her because it is now obvious that they were holding the plane for her. And of course, the only open seat is next to me.

She reaches my row and tells me not to get out of my seat, but there is no way I want her butt in my face as she crawls over me with all of her earthly possessions falling on me so I get up quickly and let her in. She finally settles down and our plane is allowed to taxi out and take off. She thinks she lost her cellphone and starts panicking but then realizes it's in a brown paper bag (why???) that is sitting on top of her laptop, which she proceeds to rest her feet on. She and I are in the emergency row and I think she will be of no help if we have to work together in an emergency.

As we reach altitude, my sinuses start hurting because of my cold and my ears start to plug up.  I try to keep popping them but it is no use.  My ears are soon completely plugged and I can't hear a thing. 

The woman sitting next to me turns to talk to me and her voice sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown. I try to tell her I can't hear her but I must have been shouting because she looks very affronted and doesn't talk to me for the rest of the flight. Success. For once my wee ears that plug up all the time have done me a favor. I read a book in peace. Until the descent of the airplane, which makes my ears and sinuses feel like a thousand drums are being played in my head. I look over at the woman sitting next to me who now appears to be talking to the person in front of her through the crack of her seat so I think the drums are still better.

We land and I exit the plane. I'm not sure if anyone talks to me on my way out cause my ears are still completely plugged. I take a taxi home. I have no idea what the taxi driver is saying to me and he too is startled by how loudly I'm telling him where I need to go. I then finally realize via his wild gestures to the radio that he is asking me if he can choose a radio station for me. He picks one and looks at me and I give him a thumbs up. It could have been the sound of nails on a chalkboard and I would have given the thumbs up.

I'm trying to pop my ears during the taxi ride as I'm starting to get very disoriented not being able to hear anything.  I finally yawn a big yawn as we hit a bump on the freeway and suddenly my ears unplug and the music in the taxi is blasting all around me.  It is the song All By Myself.  I realize the taxi driver chose for me a radio station that plays sad love songs.   He looks in the rear view mirror and gives me a thumbs up.  

December 26, 2013

The Driveway

There are a lot of things I learned as a kid from my parents that I thought were normal until I went out into the world and realized those things may not be that normal.  

One of these things was the use of our driveway.  Everytime we had a visitor, family, friends, or even the UPS man, we walked out to the end of the driveway to walk the guest to their car.  And then we all waved at the guest until their car was out of site.  The reasoning behind this was to give our guests a proper send off.  Which I think was a very nice thing to do. 

Except for when we waved at the UPS guy, who was probably really creeped out.

Or the people who were frequently at our house. That probably got a little old.

As I grew up and started to have friends over on my own, I would wave at them from our driveway until their moms drove them out of sight.  And when we all started to get our drivers licenses and drove ourselves, I still did so. No one ever said anything about it and my friends would always wave back.

Then I got to Los Angeles. The land where the only reason someone could possibly be waving at me was if they were flipping me off on the 405. Or if I was a celebrity. Which I'm not. And the world as I knew it came crashing down.

When I lived in a dorm my freshman year of college I would naturally walk any of my new friends who visited out of the building and then wave at them as they crossed campus to their dorm. It was a very long campus. Sometimes people would jump behind buildings as they walked away just to make the waving stop.  This confused me because in my world, everyone likes waving. It's friendly and can be used in numerous settings.  It builds upper body strength. It means hello AND goodbye. It means "I love you" and "I'll miss you."

But in this new world I had entered such actions now meant "I am weird" and "Okay CALL ME!!!!" 

When I moved off campus I would still walk my guests to their cars. But this was seen more as a measure of safety rather than a grand goodbye gesture. I would not wave as much and would force myself to turn around and walk back inside before the visitor was out of sight.  Which felt wrong. 

And then when I left college and moved again I started to only walk visitors to my front door. But I would watch them out of the window to make sure they got to their cars. This was probably more creepy than waving.

Soon I couldn't even remember why I had been waving goodbye in the first place. When I went home to visit my family I would stand in the cold waving goodbye to everyone who left our home, not feeling the same confidence. What was the point?

I forgot about the practice of driveway waving completely the more time I spent away from home. 

Just the other day in LA I was sitting in my car at the longest stoplight in the world. It's one I go through every day on my drive to work and if I get stopped at it I always know an aggravating wait is in store. I was settled in at the light grumbling to myself that I would have to wait a whole THREE minutes.  A young couple was crossing the street with their baby in a stroller. For whatever reason when I looked at the baby she looked right at me and stared at me with wide eyes. I thought she was challenging me to a staring contest.

And then she raised her little hand and started waving. Her hand was facing her own face so she was doing it wrong but she was looking right at me. I waved back meekly - afraid someone in the cars around me would see this foreign gesture and not understand what it meant.  The baby continued to wave at me all the way across the street and onto the opposite sidewalk. I felt this inherant need to wave more strongly back at her now, the farther she got away. She continued down the sidewalk waving and now her parents noticed and they started waving too. 

I opened my sunroof and waved broadly as they rounded a corner. I saw the baby's little hand waving and then they were gone.

The light finally turned green and I drove on. 

There are some people in my life that I would have liked to wave to forever like that, unabashed and with joy, thinking I'll see them again soon.  But sometimes people move on, they change, or they leave us. 

That crazy baby made me realize I don't want to stop waving like a maniac to my loved ones as they drive away from me. Because they are there, and I can in that moment. 

So watch out friends.  I'm going to be pretty embarrassing next time you visit me and you might have to turn a corner so that I will stop waving.

December 24, 2013

The Portuguese Hour

I have spent most of the day today with my father, going over his geneology charts of the Portuguese side of my family and looking at family photos from a very long time ago.  Putting together the pieces on how they lived their lives has really informed me about my life and why I am so crazy.  Just kidding.  Maybe.  I'm still searching for the reason why I don't like melted cheese, and I know it's there somewhere.  

I kept annoying my dad by making wild conclusions based on the facts we uncovered.  We found out that my great great grandma had at least 6 husbands (that we know of) so I shouted loudly that she must have been an international spy.  My dad stared at me and shook his head.  I still have not thrown that idea out of the window until I have proven that she was not a spy.  But I'm sure she was.  I'm sure of it.

Among the most interesting of my family was my great great grandma spy's daughter:

My great grandmother Lena Lema.  First of all, best name ever.  I wonder if she married my great grandfather Lema just so she would have a first and last name that rhymed.  She was also clearly a bad ass that didn't take crap from anyone.  She had her own radio show in the 1930s and 1940s called the Portuguese Hour that was all Portuguese, all the time.  I have heard recordings of it, but can't understand a one word.  Maybe I should learn Portuguese.  I think she started the radio show by broadcasting out of a gas station.  I like this picture of her because she looks like she has a sense of humor, but also that she is not to be crossed.  

She played the ukulele and had a strong alto voice (may explain why I sing like a man) and also used the radio station as a recording studio.  We found boxes upon boxes of records, some of which were simply recordings of my entire family drunkenly telling stories on Christmas in the 1940s.  That in itself was the best Christmas present I could have gotten.  

Lena Lema's nickname on the radio was "Miss Sunshine", although it's possible that that was supposed to be ironic.  She also owned and operated a club by herself in the 1930s after divorcing my great grandpa Lema, joined the Women's Army Corp in the 1940s during WWII, ran a drill team performing in parades and venues all over California, and as if that wasn't enough she was also the Portuguese interpreter for the Governer of California in the 50s.  No idea how she got that job.  (My dad stops me before I suggest that she too was an international spy.) Oh and she had two more marriages.  And that is just a sampling of all of the things she did as a woman in the early and mid 1900s.  

It made me realize how much I want to accomplish in my life time.  And she did all of these things in stockings and heels, and without the internet.  Raising five children and running multiple businesses.  Serving her country. Looking sharp at all times.  I mean the woman had great style.  It seems to me that she never had a break and never stopped pushing boundaries and never, never took no for an answer. Some days I feel accomplished if I simply got myself off the couch to get groceries.  Lena Lema puts me to shame.  

I'd like to think if she were alive today she would walk up to me, give me a big hug, and then smack me upside the head, and yell at me in Portuguese that I am too lazy and need to get my act together.  

December 23, 2013

The Perfume King

I was at the mall as one does around the holidays and was unknowingly coming dangerously close to the carts in the middle of the mall that sell products to unsuspecting shoppers.

Each cart has a gatekeep, a person who keeps its treasures safe, yet also peddles those treasures like there is no tomorrow.  Most obnoxious among the gatekeepers of these carts are the beauty product sellers. They know they have to work.  The iPhone case sellers, not so much.  Those bad boys will sell themselves.

Of the beauty product sellers there is the girl who accosts you with a hair straightener, and the guy who tries to put lotion on your hands (lotion that will surely give you a rash) and the old lady who insults your brittle hair while offering you conditioner.  But all of these gatekeepers bow down to their king.  And the king of all of these terrifying and obnoxious people is the Perfume Guy.  The Perfume Guy has no shame.  He will spray you right in the face, before he lets you walk by without smelling his product.  He is forward, yet also cool, calm and collected.  He always calls you "miss" or "sir" no matter how old you are.  Sometimes if he is pulling out all of the stops, he will go full creep and call you "beautiful lady." Which in itself is a lovely phrase, but the way he says it makes you feel like you need to take seventeen showers and then jump into a pool of lysol.

Now on this fateful day, I made the mistake of wandering too close to the land of mall carts.  Once I was near, I could not draw back.  They all beckoned to me.  There was no where else I could be. And nothing else mattered but mall carts.  And then there he was.  The Perfume Guy.  He was standing at the end of the lane, in all his glory.  Spraying his magnificent perfume on everyone within three feet of him.  I was drawn towards him as I walked slowly by all of the carts and got pummeled with hair products and lotions, but I barely noticed.  I stopped a little bit away to watch his mastery of obnoxiousness.  

He said in hushed undertones to people walking by:

"Miss, please try this."  SPRAY.  "Miss, this fragrance is calling to you." SPRAY.  "Sir this is what you need to smell like." SPRAY.  Most people managed to jump out of the way before they got a spray of perfume to the face, except one guy who dodged, but the Perfume Guy was too quick for him and recalculated and got him right on the neck.  The guy grabbed the perfume bottle and threw it on the ground.  At which point the Perfume Guy pulled out an identical bottle and continued spraying.  

I then noticed that soon people were turning around to go the other way to avoid the Perfume Guy.  Or just running at a dead sprint before he could spray them.  I myself started to inch back before he could sense my presence.

Being avoided seemed to frusterate the perfume guy and he started to act more aggressively. He started saying things like "This is YOUR perfume now."  Then, "You will be nothing without this perfume."  Then, "Try this perfume right now."  Then he was just simply screaming "TRY THIS!!!!" over and over again while continuously spraying perfume into the air.

At this point I could smell the perfume wafting over and it was NOT a good smell.  I started to feel sorry for the perfume man.  I watched him sit dejectedly on the mall floor, spraying his perfume into the air aimlessly.  He had given up.  I thought he was the king of the mall cart gatekeepers, the most popular, the most confident of them all.  Instead, I think this man just really needs a friend.  So I took a deep breath, held it, and walked right at him.  He looked up at me in surprise.  I said loudly, "That perfume smells great.  Please spray me."  The Perfume Guy burst into tears and then sprayed the perfume all over me.  The smell made my eyes tear as well and then we were both crying.  "Thank you," I choked out as I wondered if I would ever not smell like this perfume again.  

The Perfume Guy then jumped up and started spraying people walking by again, and though they dodged him, he didn't seem to mind.  

So kids, even if it means smelling like axe gorilla mist cantelope body spray all day, do something kind for a stranger.  It is the holidays after all.  And you could make someone's day that really needed it.

December 22, 2013

The Nerd Card

There is something that has been bothering me. Lately I have heard a lot of people using the term "nerd" in vain. For example, a girl will say something that could be categorized as nerdy (such as an interest in comics, or hobbits, or storm troopers) and then follow that with a loud explanation of "oops, just revealed my nerd card!" or "I know, I'm such a NERD!" As if it was a mistake that they said the nerdy thing. Or even worse, proclaiming what they are about to say is nerdy so that everyone knows. As if EVERYONE doesn't already think all of those things are awesome. Cause all of those things ARE awesome. But these things were not always thought of as awesome.  Or cool. Nerd is the new cool.

Listen. Real nerds don't proclaim their nerdiness to everyone- you know why? Cause then they'd get beat up on the playground. Real nerds stay invisible and unseen. Slowly plotting and becoming smarter and growing up to rule the cool kids. I wore full headgear, had backne by the age of 10, and literally thought I could be one of the Ghostbusters. But I did not brandish it. No.

When a girl says "I'm going to play the nerd card" like she's embarrassed and then makes a reference to comics in front of a group of guys, she knows exactly what she is doing. Bitch you're not embarrassed. In fact, you are smug. You know this nerdiness is now hot to guys and you are smug. Somewhere between Steven Urkel and The Big Bang Theory nerds became cool. So the cool kids took it over. And now the nerds are just cool kids in disguise. I say thee nay, cool kids. Take off your fake glasses. It's no longer a feat that you got the hot girl or guy even though you are a nerd because you are JUST AS HOT.

And don't get me started with the sexy nerd Halloween costumes I saw milling about this year, for boys and girls. I should take this moment to admit that a nerd was one of my last minute costume options so perhaps I too fell into this misguided fake nerd phenomenon. But then again I still wear my retainers at night, and that is real. That is very, very real.

The bottom line is, the things real nerds have liked for years, nay centuries, are now cool to everyone. Let us all stop calling ourselves nerds in fake embarrassment or exuberant pride in order to sound cool. Let us stop using it to look more attractive to the other sex (if only nerds of yesteryear could know that one day that would work.) Let us instead just be ourselves and know that there is a nerd in all of us.

August 9, 2013

Jerry, the Exorcist Roommate - Featured on Funny or Die today!

This isn't your usual Bean blog post.  I am proud to announce that the comedy short I worked on is featured on Funny or Die today! Written and directed by Kevin Oeser, and featuring Thomas Lennon (of one of my fave shows ever, Reno 911), me, and the awesome Eliza Skinner and Joel Spence!

July 24, 2013

Speed Bumps

One fateful Monday I drove into the parking garage at work and was met by an unsightly surprise.  Speed bumps.  There is nothing that can enrage an employee more than the addition of speed bumps to a once carefree, uninhibited parking garage.

But these weren't just any speed bumps.  These were evil, soul sucking speed bumps.  They were narrow and tall and might as well have had nails sticking right out of them.  There was a speed bump at EVERY turn.  And two speed bumps in every aisle.  To get to the next level of parking I had to go over ten speed bumps.  And I usually park on the fifth floor.  That's fifty speed bumps.  FIFTY SPEED BUMPS.  Is that really necessary?? 

Instead of forcing me to drive more safely, by the fiftieth speed bump I was contemplating all sorts of dangerous methods to avoid the speed bumps.  Like driving around them if no one was parked in the area.  This requires skill and maneuvering that no one in this office was trained for, but we will all do it.  Because we'd rather take twice as long driving in an S formation around the speed bumps than going over the speed bumps directly.  I also contemplated taking a bus to work.  Or parachuting in.  Or moving to a small island where speed bumps don't exist.

Every day I had to go over all of those speed bumps, I started to go a little bit crazy.  At first I would joke to myself and do dance moves as my car rocked back and forth.   I'd commiserate with my co-workers.  We'd all talk about how the "powers that be" were going to remove the speed bumps as soon as they realized they were too much for anyone to deal with.  Then we remembered that the "powers that be" all park on the first floor.

Soon after this realization, I started to dread facing the speed bumps.  They were a sign that we had all done something wrong.  What did we do to deserve this?  Was it crazy Larry driving recklessly in his giant pick up truck with tires so large that when he ran over my foot I didn't feel a thing?  What did it all mean?  

Was this a metaphor for my LIFE??

Soon each speed bump felt like every failure I'd ever had.  Taunting me.  Oh you want to move forward hmmmm?  First you must be jostled and jolted and prodded FIFTY TIMES before you get where you want to be.  And even then you'll get the WORST parking space.

I saw others trudge from their cars into work after having faced the same demons.  No one spoke about the speed bumps anymore.  It was too painful.

After facing my failures for many days, I got angry.  I decided I was just going to plow through them.   I talked to my car and told her we were in this together.  I cackled manically as I tried to run over the speed bumps as quickly as possible.  Which, due to the extreme effectiveness of the speed bumps, got me nowhere any faster.  I started to look for signs of weakness in the speed bumps.  I would kick every one I walked by.  Just in case.  I hurt my foot.  They had no weaknesses.  No one could destroy them.

Finally, I gave up.  I resigned myself to the fact that these speed bumps were going to be here whether I liked it or not, so I was just going to have to deal with them as best I could in order to move forward.

So, every day before I enter the parking garage, I turn up Club Can't Even Handle Me by Flo Rida and bump that shit over every speed bump like a freaking bad ass and enjoy the ride.

July 23, 2013

The Screen Jumper

At my office there is no privacy.  The building was designed to foster a creative community, with low walled cubicles and fish bowls for offices.  Thus, all of our computer screens are facing out to the room at large, in all their glory.

Now, I am no stranger to logging onto Facebook at work.  And anyone who says they don't log onto Facebook at work is not to be trusted.

However, one must not be too blatant when one logs onto Facebook at work.  One must respect the code. Yes, we see each other slyly liking photos and posting comments on other people's pages in the News Feed on the down low, BUT WE MUST NEVER ACTUALLY SEE IT ON ANOTHER CO-WORKER'S COMPUTER SCREEN.

At first, I tried to be discreet when I would check Facebook in our new creative arrangement at work.  (And to be clear, I don't check it THAT often, guys.  I swear.)  I would politely check behind me to make sure I wasn't inadvertently breaking the code by letting someone see that I was on Facebook.  Once you see Facebook on another person's screen in the office, then you start to judge that person, like that person doesn't have enough work, even though you know you yourself get on Facebook even when you're really busy.  And then the whole carefully constructed ecosystem is broken.

For that matter, since everyone's screens are out on display I make it a point to not look at any screens at all when I walk by, as a matter of respect, so as not to see anyone on Facebook, or even worse, TMZ.  Then I will really judge them.

After a while I began to trust that everyone would follow the "no screen gazing rule."  So I threw all caution to the wind and would check Facebook (again, only during my allotted break time, guys, I mean come on) with complete abandon.

The ecosystem ran this way very smoothly.  Until today.  Today, I was walking back from the office kitchen and accidentally dropped my cell phone next to someone's cube.  I ran to pick it up and as I rose from the ground, my line of vision came directly in contact with a computer screen.  But before I could see what was on it, the owner gasped and threw her body onto the screen, ripping the power cord out.  We stared at each other for a long time.  She looking like a panicked animal, and I wondering WHAT THE HELL WAS ON THAT SCREEN.

I mean.  This was on a whole other level.  I mean....WHAT are you looking at at work that is so bad that you would rather have no screen at all than let someone see it?

In the end, if what's on your screen is in fact Facebook, and someone breaks the code and looks at your screen, god forbid, you just click out.  You do the sly ol' click out and then you move on and pretend like nothing happened.

But that computer screen body slam she pulled was something much more.  We continued to stare at each other.  I wanted so badly to ask.  But I knew I had already done too much.  The ecosystem was broken.  People all around were starting to turn shiftily as they worked, looking over their shoulders.  The trust was gone.  And it was all my fault.

But seriously,  WHAT THE HELL was that woman looking at on her screen.  I will never know.  I will never, never know.

July 22, 2013

The It

A few nights ago I was awoken in the middle of the night by a loud, continuous sound.  I could hear a clanking that vaguely resembled the sound of a door knob being turned. Over and over again.  But I couldn't tell what part of my apartment it was coming from as my bedroom door was closed.  

I sat up slowly in bed.  My bed made a creaking sound and the clanking noise stopped.   Shit.  It heard me.   For some reason in my mind whatever was making the sound was an “it," some monster like the Boogey Man in Ghostbusters, and not an actual human being.  

I reached for my glasses on my nightstand.  The noise started again.  I somehow managed to jump out of bed, catlike, landing like a frog in a squat with my arms in front of me.  I frog walked to the window and peered out to see if anyone was on my front porch trying the door knob.  Nothing.  Which means….it’s INSIDE.

I was going to need something to whack the crap out of it.  I scanned my bedroom.  My first thought was my television screen, but then I thought about the 80 cables going from the screen into the wall and how long it took me to set it up.  I also wasn't sure how this would affect my saved DVR programming.  Not worth the risk.

I finally settled on my lamp, cursing myself for buying an awkward lamp shaped like an S because I thought it was funny at the time.  I grabbed my phone in one hand and the S lamp in the other as best I could and frog-squat walked to my bedroom door.  The noise had not stopped.

I then took a brief moment to think about every horror movie I've ever watched where the stupid girl in the beginning goes TOWARD the danger.  Instead of away.  I always thought, if I were that girl, I would get the HELLLLLLLL out of there.  Yet, in this moment my instinct was still to go toward the danger.  To "check it out."  If I were watching myself in a movie, I'd be yelling at the television screen right now, "Turn around.  NO.  Don't go through that door! Are you an idiot?  Go out the window.  Do. NOT. Go through that door!" But I couldn't stop myself.  I WAS that idiot girl in the beginning of the horror movie.  Only I should have been wearing skimpy underwear instead of sweatpants and an Angry Birds t-shirt.

I slowly openned my bedroom door.  The noise continued so I peered out.  I could now tell that the noise was coming from my living room.  But now it sounded more like scratching than the clanking of a doorknob.  I would have preferred the doorknob.  

It was time to take action.  I burst out into my living room like a freaking warrior.  My warrior call sounded like a tiny, confused dinosaur.  I held my S lamp up, ready to whack the thing that was making the sound.  But the noise still continued.  

I realized the noise was not coming from inside my living room.  It was coming from above the ceiling.  The attic, more precisely.

After battling my imagination for a long time as my heart rate went down, I resigned myself to the logic that there was probably some sort of nocturnal animal scratching away in the attic.  YUCK.

I called my landlords immediately and left a message on the emergency line, lest the animal scratch all the way through the roof and fall on my face.

True to form, my landlords NEVER CALLED ME BACK.

Days later, I got a call from the pest control company - apparently my landlords had gotten my message and passed it along, they just forgot to tell me.  I described the situation to the pest guy.  There was silence.  And then: "RATS!! YOU'VE GOT A RAT IN YOUR ATTIC!!" the pest guy yelled, his volume unnecessarily loud on the phone.  We set up an appointment for him to check it out.  

Suddenly I felt very bad about what I did.  I had to warn the rat.  So that night when the scratching started I went into my living room and told the rat that it better get out of my attic.  That I wanted to give it a head start, out of respect.

And you know what?  I never heard that rat again.

July 21, 2013

On My Level

Recently I went to a house party, which I haven't done in a long time.  It was a cute house with mostly late 20s and early 30s hipsters (lots of flannel and skinny jeans.) Great people, very relaxed and fun.

Except for one, who stood out among the group.  We shall name her, Twenty-One Year Old.  Or Twenty for short.  Because I'm short, I think she immediately assumed I was the same age as her.  Which didn't seem like that much of a difference.  At first.

I was grateful for Twenty's presence as I didn't really know anyone at the party and her conversation provided for a little less awkwardness on my part.  Great.

I was sipping on a beer and noticed that Twenty was more "gulping" her beer than sipping.  Fair enough, it was a Saturday night after all.  And I am no stranger to gulping beers in my days past.

But the more Twenty gulped, the more I could tell she was on a mission.  A quest.  A quest to the land of drunkenness.  A gleam formed in her eyes.  And I felt a sense of knowing.  Oh yes,  I know where she's at right now.  There is no going back for her at this point.

We talked of pop culture and she said I looked very "LA."  Which made me simultaneously disgusted with and proud of myself.  I realized I had been in LA for 10 years and I felt wise.  She had only been here for a year.  Oh young one, the things you have yet to see and learn from this beautiful horrible wonderful place.

An hour or so later, as I was still sipping my first beer, she on another concoction of a drink all together, our conversation got significantly more difficult to follow.  At a certain point, I had no idea what we were talking about at all.  I merely uttered phrases like "RIGHT?!" and "SERIOUSLY.", which were always perfectly timed and made Twenty laugh.  I felt like her cool older sister.  Listening to her troubles with understanding and offering guidance when I could.

And then she made a choice that is not uncommon when you meet another girl at a party and there is no one else to talk to and drinks are had.  She crowned me her BFF.  It only comes at a certain point of drunkenness when you decide someone is your BFF for the night.  Usually you will never encounter these girls again.  You talk of going to the beach and starting a web series about dating, but these things will never happen.  These are just best friend pipe dreams that will disappear as the sun rises.  I recognized this right off.  But dear Twenty, dear sweet innocent Twenty,  whose real name I cannot for the life of me recall right now anyway, she believed in the BFF dream wholeheartedly.

And then she said it.  "Girl, you need to get on my level."

Oh no.  I was afraid of this.  Then Twenty started talking about shots and how I hadn't had enough shots and how she needed more shots.  There were a lot of things Twenty needed, and shots probably weren't one of them.  But in Twenty's mind, shots were the only thing to be had.  Ever.

I quickly deflected by changing the subject.  Which Twenty didn't notice.  But she also didn't forget that I wasn't on her level.  As if always a new thought, Twenty suggested I needed to get on her level numerous times.  No one else would take her up on it.  So as her older BFF sister for the night, I said finally "Okay, Twenty, one shot."

The shot went down like dragon flames and poison.  It was some sort of vodka.  It was terrible.  I wondered how I ever took shots of cheap liquor before this.  And how I ever did so with such reckless abandon as Twenty did.  When did I cease to have that ability?  I looked at Twenty and saw myself years ago.  I felt a little bit of nostalgia for my college days, my first years in LA.

Then Twenty went for another shot.  My nostalgia disappeared and my sensibility kicked in. She started to pour me one but I grabbed her arm and shook my head.

This was as far as I could go with her.  This was not my life anymore.  And I am okay with that.  I will go home remembering the evening.  I will be able to work tomorrow.  I will go home NOT looking like I got run over by a bus.  And even more simply, I will...go HOME.  I won't wake up on a couch spending 30 minutes frantically searching my phone for drunk dials and drunk texts.  I won't have to walk to my car in the morning as the bright sun burns my skin and blinds me, only to find out that my car has been towed.  I felt proud of how far I have come and how ten years in LA has brought me to this wisdom.  I felt like I had become Twenty something's BFF for the night for a reason.  I was her Gandalf.

So I said to her,  "Go forth into drunkenness young one.  For I cannot follow you further on your quest.  You must take this journey on your own.  It will be treacherous and you will be very alone.  You will fight many demons.  You will face regret.  You will probably vomit.  Twice.  Once on or near a toilet, and once on something or someone who did not want to be vomited on.  For no one else at this party is on your level.  And Twenty, I will never be on your level again.  I must leave you now."

I walked away from Twenty as she blinked in confusion, vodka bottle in hand.  I joined the rest of the party, among my new people, who were sipping beers and making jokes about current affairs and referencing NPR.  I never saw Twenty again.  But I know she's alright.  She'll be here one day years from now, in this same sea of flannel.  And maybe, just maybe, she'll find her Frodo, to guide down the path we all must walk.

But damn it all, I guarantee I was still more hung over than her the next day.

May 22, 2013

Spider Bite

I was bitten by a spider four times on my leg.

So I thought I'd give it a few days for my spider powers to set in.  Sometimes these things take a while.  After time went by, I started to try to run up the sides of buildings.  But I only got a few feet up the wall before falling awkwardly back to the ground.  Then I tried shooting spider webs out of my wrist.  Nothing.  I tried taking off my glasses to see if my vision had become perfect.  Then regretted it as I did this while trying to run up a wall.

The spider bites got itchier and redder and I noticed they were in the shape on an "S."  "S" for Spider of course. Or maybe, Spiderbean.  Yes.  This was a sign.

I prepared myself for what was to be a turning point in my life.  The day I become a superhero and then am like "what is HAPPENING to me???" and then after brooding and feeling like an outcast but not being able to tell anyone, I adapt to my new powers in a montage accompanied by rock music, and then without thinking I save someone's life, someone who is dangling off a bridge, a building, or an airplane.  And people notice so I have to develop a disguise so that no one will know who I really am.  And the disguise will end up making me look anonymous, and more conspicuous at the same time.  It will also give me a wedgie.  And then the person closest to me will start to put together the clues of my new spider powers and figure it out just as I meet a villain and that villain kidnaps the person closest to me and then I have to save that person and the world at the same time, cause those two things are always connected.

So I waited for all of this to happen.

But lately the spider bites are starting to fade.  The "S" looks less threatening, and more pimply.

So today, I have finally decided to come to terms with the fact that that useless spider bit me four times and didn't even have the decency to give me even a little bit of its spider powers.  Can I get some web throwing capabilities up in here?  Rude.  Spider who bit me, you're the worst and I'll never forgive you.

May 5, 2013

The Ultimate Stand Off

You haven't lived until you've seen a security officer on a segway and a gardener in a golf cart get into a collision in their respective vehicles.  Going 5 miles an hour.  On a deserted 4 lane side street.  After they had tried to go around each other for ten minutes, backing up, moving left and right at the same time and accidentally blocking each other, apologizing, and then trying to give the other the right of way.  Not realizing that they both could pass at the same time, even if they were driving semi trucks.  And then colliding with such precision that the vehicles lock in an embrace as the screeching sound of metal on metal rings into the air.  Followed by the security officer on the segway tottering and falling over.  Never letting go of his segway.  Followed by the gardener looking over in shock as if he can't believe what just happened.  Followed by the security officer standing up and staring at the giant scratch on his segway.  Followed by the gardener getting out of his seat and staring at the damage on his golf cart.  For a very long time.  Completed with them shaking hands as if they were lucky to be alive, getting back into their vehicles, and driving off proudly.  With nobody watching except me.  The lucky one, who got to see this event and know that it happened.  And remember it forever.

April 3, 2013

My Hot Trainer

There is simply no way to look attractive when you work out, if you want to work out in the way that will actually build muscle.  I’ve never really been to a gym until recently and have instantly become aware of how disgusting most people look when they work out.  As it should be.  Sweating and straining may not be pretty in the act, but it will produce good results for your body if you know what you’re doing, or if you have an excellent trainer.  Which I do.  The only problem is…my trainer is hot.  I mean…most trainers are hot I suppose.  That’s kinda their job.  But my trainer is particularly hot, so naturally I wanted to look attractive as I began working out with him.  That notion of “looking attractive” gave out about 10 minutes into our first session. 

Our first workout is a night run.  I fancy myself a runner as I’ve continued to run throughout the years after competing during high school in cross country and track.  So I am ready to go into “mind over matter” mode and push myself to excel in our first run.  Which is all well and good, except it is about 30 degrees outside.  Which is REALLY cold for Los Angeles.  (East Coast and other cold area people insert scoff here.) And I am just getting over being sick.  So within minutes of the workout, my nose is running out of control, my tear ducts are out of control, and the phlegm in my throat is out of control.  I am out of control.  So – it is time to make a choice.  Slow down the run and look cuter and control the phlegm, yet look like a wimp, OR bust through the run like a champion and throw looking cute out the window. 

As my trainer gives me various tips on how to posture myself during the run, it takes all of my mind power to concentrate on those things and cute goes out the window whether I like it or not.  It is kind of liberating!  I look disgusting and my trainer (who hasn’t broken a sweat and does, in fact, NOT look disgusting like I do) is not judging me.  Well maybe he’s laughing inside at my attempt to spit off to the left and then accidentally spitting on myself, but he doesn’t show it and for that I respect him.

We finish the run with a short sprint and my legs are just about to collapse.  We finally stop.  I am proud of myself.  I am exhausted but pleased that I didn’t stop.  I look at my trainer triumphantly, thinking about food and water in my near future.  I look a mess and can’t remember ever looking not sweaty.  My shoes are coming untied.  My pants are giving me a wedgie.  My beanie is pushed back on my giant forehead and is pointed in the air.  I look like a garden gnome.  But I have conquered my first workout with just enough energy to spare.  On the other hand, my hot trainer looks like he just got done with a nice walk on the beach.  Then he says to me, “Great job.  Now let’s hit the gym.” 


It wasn't over.  In my already sweaty and disgusting (yet oddly freezing due to the weather) state, that’s when I knew my trainer means business and I will never look cute working out ever again.  And I am okay with that.  Maybe one day I’ll catch my hot trainer also not looking cute as we work out, but it hasn’t happened yet.  

March 7, 2013

Never Say Bieber

I was texting back and forth with my friend Coco yesterday, talking about how we had both been neglecting our blogs over the winter time.  Coco said "I haven't written a lot this year."  And I went to respond by saying "Neither have I."  But instead, my phone auto-texted "Bieber have I."

I have never felt so betrayed by my cell phone in my life.  I can't recall ever texting or emailing about the Biebs in the past - which brings me to question why my cell phone a) knew the word "Bieber" and b) thought the word "Bieber" would be more useful to me than the word "neither."

My only conclusion is that the Biebs has now begun his plan to take over everything in the world, even our personal devices, and by his design, years from now the only word in the English language will be "Bieber."  And maybe also "baby baby baby AW."  And yes, I hate myself for knowing that song.