Monday, November 30, 2009

In case you were wondering

You know that plot device you see on TV all the time, where there's some emotionally distraught kid who is lashing out at whatever's nearby; and the adult who is nearby pretty much lets the kid hit him over and over again, until the kid just breaks down in tears and lets himself be hugged by the adult?

Don't try this with a cat.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Reason #1 Why I Am Glad Jasmine Is An Indoor Cat

Woke up this morning to find something on my pillow that wasn't me.

About two inches from my eyes, there was an offering from the feline.

A toy mouse.

Thank goodness.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ow Ow Ow Ow Ow

I just broke a nail.

That is a major understatement.

Before I went to NY, I got a manicure.  One of my nails had a little chip in it, so the manicurist repaired it with all that powdery stuff that ends up making your nail twice as thick as a normal nail.

And just now, I was having a fight with some plastic wrap on a cardboard box, and ended up snapping the nail backward.  And since it had all that heavy stuff where the prior break was, it broke lower.  Nearly halfway below the quick.  And it didn't completely break -- it split about halfway across.  Blood all over.  In fact, one might say that the dried blood is the only thing holding it on.

I think I should probably cut it as low as I can, but I don't even know if my clippers can make it through the extra-tough nail.  (Not to mention it'll probably start bleeding again.)  And, um, that is so going to hurt.

Shoulda just cut it off when it first started splitting and saved myself all this hassle. 

Edited to add:  Oh, that didn't go well at all.  My clippers couldn't quite cut it.  I tried some really heavy-duty scissors, gritted my teeth, and applied them.  Result:  more blood and the nail still isn't short.  Instead, I've got two big old gashes taken out of the nail, which will now get caught on everything.  And pain shooting down my finger whenever they do.  On the plus side, my neosporin apparently has a topical analgesic in it, so as long as I don't catch the nail on anything else, the throbbing has stopped.

Or... there's another interpretation

Caught a little bit of Fox News the other day.  The commentators were gleefully reporting that a majority of Americans are not happy with the job Congress is doing.  Indeed, a lot of Democrats are not happy with the job Congress is doing.  And since it is a "Democratically-controlled Congress," the talking heads over there at Fox interpreted this as meaning that Democrats themselves are fed-up at the liberal agenda which the Democratic leaders in Congress are trying to force down our throats.

Well, sure, that's one way of looking at it.

Then again, Democrats might be unhappy with the job Congress is doing for a whole boatload of reasons.

Honestly, it isn't that I want to dump the Democrats in Congress and replace them with Republicans.  It's that I want to dump every single individual -- of whatever party -- who thinks his or her job is to grandstand and make speeches geared toward getting sound bites on the evening news, rather than to do the damn job of hammering out legislation.  

Poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans agree that we need some sort of health care reform legislation -- and this weekend's vote showed us that the Republicans would rather not debate the current proposal at all, rather than sitting down around the table, and still trying to do their best to create the best piece of legislation for Americans, (recognizing that, since they don't have numerical superiority, they're not arguing from a position of strength).

For myself, I'm fiscally conservative and socially liberal -- I think the best health care plan can only be generated if the interests of providing health care coverage for all Americans are balanced with the interests of not overly burdening those individuals and businesses who will be asked to pay for it.  This sort of solution requires the good faith participation of both sides -- not one side steamrolling its legislation over the other, and not one side taking its toys and refusing to play.

I damn near want to lock 'em in a room, take away all the cameras, and not let 'em out until they have a piece of legislation which satisfies each and every Senator -- or, at least, with respect to which each Senator can say, "I've made this as good as I can possibly make it -- given the interests of the 99 other people in there."

Yes, I know -- I'm idealistic and naive and all that.  But I'm disappointed in Congress in the same way a parent might be disappointed in a child who won't do his homework.  I just expected better of them.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I want "PC" points for not laughing.

(Back this story up to when I flew out here....)

Flying out of Burbank, the airport is only one-story high, so you pretty much walk on the tarmac to your plane, and up the stairs.

We're sitting in the terminal, while they're "pre-boarding," waiting for them to call our rows.

The JetBlue rep says, "If you're sitting in row 15 or above, you can use the other gate and enter the stairs at the back of the plane."  I like this plan.  I jump up and join the line at the other gate.  I'm about third in line.  Two guys -- probably a gay couple -- ask if they can cut in line in front of me.  "Sure, go ahead," I say.  The JetBlue rep takes our tickets and sends us to the stairs at the back of the plane.  This is WAY easier than boarding from the front of the plane, where they've actually set up a ramp (with many switchbacks) going all the way to the door.

So, I'm behind the gay guys and one of them says, "This is great!  I love entering from the rear!"

Another Type of Standing Ovation

In this post over here, I mention the "I Can't See" ovation, whereby the audience ends up giving a standing ovation just by virtue of everyone trying to see around the one dork standing up in front (sort of a reverse domino effect).

Today, I saw a new kind of unintentional standing ovation.  This was at Hamlet.  Here's how bows generally work at productions of Hamlet:  The whole cast comes out, you applaud.  They drop the curtain (you keep applauding) and then they lift the curtain again and the lead actor is standing there alone.  You applaud some more, the lead actor magnanimously waves in the rest of the cast from the wings, and you applaud them all once more.  The curtain falls; the house lights go up; everyone goes home.

OK, here's what happened at tonight's performance.  The whole cast comes out, we applaud.  A few people stand up.  The curtain comes down.  It's still dark, but at least half the audience stands up and starts putting on their coats in the dark.  The curtain comes up again, with Jude Law standing there, and a good deal of these folks are still facing their chairs, putting on their scarves.  They have to turn around to applaud for Law (and company) before the curtain comes down, the lights come up, and they can leave.  

Apparently, after sitting through 3 hours and change of Shakespeare, these folks just couldn't wait to get out of there.  And ended up giving a "Putting on Our Coats" standing ovation.

New York Day Two

Well, all by myself, I found an activity for the day.  Seems the folks at Discovery bought the old New York Times building (an interesting enough location all by itself) to set up "Discovery Times Square Exposition."  And they had a new exhibit opening today, so I thought I'd check it out.

(I checked their website to see if I needed to pre-order tickets.  They were sold out all afternoon, so I had to get an early ticket.  Turns out the place was empty.  They weren't sold out -- they were closing in the afternoon to prepare for the Grand Opening tonight.  So, there's an extra $4 down the toilet for pre-ordering unnecessarily.)

Anyway, the exhibit was called "Da Vinci's Workshop," and had about 20 (only a handful full-scale) of recreations of some of Da Vinci's mechanical designs.  Also reproductions of pages from his notebooks, and various computer displays that let you flip cyberpages in one of the notebooks, and then zoom in on a particular design for a 3-D model.  All of which was quite cool, but if you ask me, it wasn't really worth the $20.  Because, I mean, it's $20 for a lot of reproductions and recreations -- that sort of thing should be cheap.  You want to charge actual money, display some actual notebook pages in one of your glass, temperature-controlled display cases.

Thereafter, I decided to walk over to Bryant Park.  There's a "free" ice skating rink there, and also lots of little artisan shops set up for your holiday shopping pleasure.  The "free" is in quotes because, while skating is free, skate rental is $12 and, while locker rental is free, a lock is $9.  In other words, free for locals, $21 for tourists.  Note to self:  bring skates and a lock next time you go to New York in the holiday season.  I poked around the shops for a bit -- bought the perfect gift ... for someone I'm not entirely sure I'm exchanging holiday gifts with -- and then got the hell out of there when I realized I have 2 scripts (in pdf) I have to read tonight (critic business).

It was about 5:00.  I have a show tonight at 7:30, and couldn't figure out how to read both scripts and grab dinner before the show, without carrying my netbook to the restaurant and then take it with me to the theatre.  And my netbook won't fit in my purse, so I'd have to take a backpack, which they'd make me check, and damn, damn, damn.

Checked the email (which transmitted the scripts as an attachment) on my Droid and...

Holy Crap, the damn thing reads pdfs.

I love this phone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig

(And I ask myself, which of my two posts tonight is going to get the most comments?)

OK, so I watched A Steady Rain, which was an interesting little play, although I did wonder (along with, I imagine, everyone else in the universe) exactly what it was about this piece that attracted two major stars like Jackman and Craig to it.  And, in some ways, I wonder why it was that they were cast.  (Well, no, not really -- they were cast because they sell tickets.  Duh.)  But, honestly, you're casting two Chicago cops, so you immediately go for ... a Brit and an Aussie?  Really?  I think I might have found just a teensy bit easier to get into the play if I wasn't so distracted by, in no particular order: (1)  the actors' interesting take on what a lower-class Chicago accent actually sounds like; (2)  wondering if I heard that right, and that not only am I supposed to believe Hugh Jackman is a Chicago cop, but also that he's Italian-American -- how far do these people expect me to suspend disbelief; and (3)  the script clearly says that Jackman's character regularly beats the crap out of Craig's, and looking at the two of them next to each other ... sorry, no, just not seeing it ... Lord, do you see the biceps on that man?

Which leads us to the widely-reported post-show Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS auction.  Post-show, Jackman and Craig both unbutton their shirts (insert appropriate audience reaction here) revealing "wife-beaters" beneath, and explain that they're auctioning them off for BC/EFA.  For the low, low price of way too much money (look, autographed posters were $300), you'd get to go backstage, take pictures with them, and leave with both their wife-beaters, signed and dated.

(I was sitting in the mezzanine.  There was no bidding from up in the cheap seats -- the only time someone said anything was when an usher yelled at someone who was surreptitiously trying to snap a picture.)

I believe the funniest moment was when the bidding appeared stalled at $5000, so Jackman (who was pretty much auctioneer), said, "For $6000, you'll get to watch Daniel take his off."

Man, that $6000 bid came fast.

Ultimately, they sold 'em for $7000, and actually convinced the second-highest bidder to go to $7000 for a second set.

(As an aside, I totally respect the way they did this.  I went to an auction once where someone bid something like $1800 for a trip to Africa, and then they offered a second trip to the next-highest bidder, at the price of the second-highest bid.  Winning bidder went freakin' ballistic.  What happened at A Steady Rain was, when they had bids of $7000 and $6000, Craig went out into the audience to talk to one of them while Jackman spoke to the other and got them each to agree to the $7000 for two sets deal -- and I'm sure something was worked out regarding who got which shirt which was worn on stage.)

They also let anyone who had a spare $2000 to donate to go backstage for autographs and photo-ops; and for those of us who are not independently wealthy, they sold autographed Playbills for $60.  (Someone I know ... who doesn't read this journal ... just got a birthday present.)

A Thought About Creationism

OK, I'm about as agnostic as a Jew can be without actually falling into the atheist column -- so, clearly, whatever I've got to say about Creationism doesn't come from a point of view of, y'know, belief.

But, up until today, I'd figured that religious beliefs could pretty much happily coincide with scientific knowledge if you just start with the premise that G-d put everything in motion.  A divine hand lighting the fuse on the Big Bang, if you will.   

(Besides, "Sister" told me -- in Late-Nite Catechism -- that it's totally cool for Catholics to believe in evolution.  And why on earth would a play lie to me about somethihg like that?)

But after poking around the American National History Museum -- and generally being amazed by the wealth of knowledge there -- I had another idea.  Here's the thing -- I saw something there that said the first planet orbiting another star wasn't actually discovered until 1995, long after I'd graduated (and many years after my last science class).  Or the currently accepted theory for how the moon was created, which is based on knowledge regarding the composition of the moon -- which, obviously, we couldn't have known until we'd actually been there.  So, I mean, our knowledge of the universe and big ol' scientific truths about how it works is continuingly evolving -- and while we still don't have the complete picture, we're getting closer and closer.

And in thinking about where a Divine Creator fits into all this, I have to assume that the Almighty is not, in fact, a moron.  And when putting together Genesis, it probably struck the Lord that His audience at the time -- comprised, I would imagine, of largely uneducated folk, whose scientific knowledge was largely limited to the effects of weather on crops -- wasn't quite ready for the truth.  I mean, hell, you can't really expect a bunch of peasants to understand, say, stars going supernova over 10 billion years ago, and in their fierce explosions creating heavier elements out of hydrogen and helium, scattering them around the universe and giving us the building blocks for things like the earth and, uh, us.

No.  If G-d had any sense at all (which, we assume, He does), he'd give the people the truth they can understand, and let us discover the rest of it when our puny little brains are capable of wrapping themselves around the concepts.  It's a giant cosmic game, with clues scattered out there for us to find them.

And you're probably doing something wrong if you just sit there and accept the story that was good enough for the people of a few thousand years ago, rather than joining in the journey of discovery with the rest of us. 

Oh! And this time it was.....

On every trip, I forget something.  It varies (last time, it was my watch) but, nine times out of ten, it's something that sends me to the nearest drug store upon arrival.

So, last night, I opened up my toothbrush holder, in which I found a toothbrush which . . .

Well, let's just say there's no way my mouth would be cleaner after that thing went inside it.  In fact, there was no way that toothbrush was going inside my mouth.  I tried washing it in really hot water, but no go.  So, today, the first thing I did was hit the local drugstore and buy a new toothbrush.

So, you may wonder, what did I use to brush my teeth last night (and again this morning)?



A Q-Tip

And for tomorrow?

I've adopted Peggy's suggestion and am now blogging from the Hayden Planetarium at the Natural History Museum. Where should I go play tomorrow?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

5 hours and 500 calories

Yes, by the time I landed at JFK at around 9:00 p.m., I was operating on 5 hours of sleep and 500 calories.  (My breakfast yogurt, a bag of pretzels, and a bag of chocolate chip cookies.)  

I'm not entirely sure what my minimum necessary caloric intake is in order to function (particularly on minimal sleep), but I'm pretty sure it's more than 500 calories.  It's totally cool of JetBlue to give free snacks, but it is way not cool that they don't even offer meals for sale.  Because when you get on a plane at noon (departure local time) and land at 9:00 (destination local time), you've missed out on at least one, and arguably two, meals.

And (as I'm sure I've mentioned here before), that business about New York being the City that Never Sleeps is a load of crap.  New York sleeps.  Try to get dinner at 11:00 and you'll see my point.  (I actually managed to get a table at Olive Garden at 10:55 -- right before they closed the doors.)

The biggest issue facing me right now is what the hell to do tomorrow.  I plan my New York trips around the plays I'm going to see -- and while I've got a show booked for tomorrow night, I haven't given much thought to what to do before then.  (Other than, y'know, sleep in.)  It may rain, so I'm thinking maybe something indoorsy, but I'm having a heck of time finding something unique, fun, and maybe a little active in this extremely touristy town.

Three. Thirty.

Got to bed at 3:30 last night.  This morning.  Whatever.

On five hours of sleep, I'm not all that clear on details.  I'm one-thought-in-my-head tired.  (Like, when I got in the shower, all I could think was "Fast shower; fast shower; fast shower" -- because if I let my mind wander to anything else, I'd end up missing my flight.

Free Wi-Fi in the airport!  (Thanks, Google.)  Joy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Procrastination Begins

I'm flying out tomorrow at, er, let's see here, 12:30 in the afternoon.  It's about 10:20 at night just now, so, give or take, I've got about 12 hours between now and when I hit the door for the airport.

Number of suitcases currently packed:  zero.

Number of bras that are currently clean:  one.

Yeah.  So clearly this evening's activities will begin with me putting a load in the washer.  (At least I had the good sense to wash, like, ten pairs of jeans last night.  Yes, I own ten pairs of jeans.  Eleven, actually, as I'm pretty sure I was wearing a pair.  I, um, wear a lot of jeans.  A casual office will do that to you.)

And it's also going to involve charging up the netbook, refilling itty bitty shampoo bottles, and all that other crap I do when packing for a trip.

And what am I doing now?  Blogging about it, of course.  I'm a world champion procrastinator at the best of times, but when the matter turns to packing (and its partner in crime, unpacking), my procrastination hits new and exciting heights.  It actually isn't so much procrastination as focussing on the little details so much that the main task doesn't get completed for about, oh, six or seven hours.

(I mean, I can't pack until I have clean bras, now, can I?)

I'm gonna try though, which basically means you're going to be spared the rant you were going to get at Verizon Wireless.  Well, OK, here's the condensed version:

Friday:  Want to order accessories for new phone; want 25% government employee discount.  Would've ordered them when I got the phone, but they can only be ordered them from the special government employee discount website -- the link to which is sent to my government e-mail address via super-secret email, so I must be at work when I do it.  Order accessories (with alleged free overnight shipping).  Receive receipt which does not include 25% discount.  Call Verizon, "where's discount?"  Am told there's a delay in the system processing orders, but once my order is processed, they'll be able to fix it.  

Monday:  Apparently, the order never processed.  Am told to order the accessories again.  Try to use government employee discount website, but my link to it was only good for 48 hours, so the link has expired.  Must get approved for new super-secret email.  Apply immediately; Verizon takes two hours to turn this around.  Get link.  Order accessories again.  Again receive receipt which does not include 25% discount.  Call Verizon, "where's discount?" The order has not yet gone through, but I'm assured that when it processes, I'll get the discount.

Tuesday:  And yet, still no accessories.  Call Verizon -- the second order never processed either.  Now I'm pissed off.  Ask employee if I can order the damn things on the phone because clearly, there's something screwed up with the government employee discount website.  Employee on phone says she'll transfer me to person who can order accessories.  I tell person who can order accessories that I have a meeting in 10 minutes so let's do this fast.  I tell her the accessories I want.  She places the order and asks if she can put me on hold; I say, "Only briefly; I've really got to go to this meeting."  My phone keeps track -- she has me on hold for 10 minutes.  I hang up.  (I am never called back to finish the order.)  I call later and ask if I can get the employee discount if I buy the damn things at a Verizon store.  I am assured that the discount is in my file, so it will be applied.

I (more or less) finish work at 8:30 -- the Verizon store closes at 9:00.  I violate a few speed laws and hit the door at 8:57.  I cannot find the accessories I want.  I ask the nice employee where the accessories are.  He says they're out of stock.  He says he can order them for me, and give me a 25% discount for my trouble.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

On Standing Ovations

I generally think people give too many standing ovations.  My general rule for a standing ovation is this:  if you have to think about it, the show doesn't deserve it.  You should only stand up when you're actually brought to your feet subconsciously, on a tidal wide of enthusiasm.

That's what I aim for, anyway.  And when I'm seeing a show as a critic, I try extra hard to keep to it.  I mean, you don't want someone seeing you giving a show a standing ovation, and then they go home and read your review and you panned the show.  Giving a standing ovation tips your hand -- if you're a critic and you give one, you damn well better be prepared to go home and write the rave you've just promised.

So, here's me tonight at the Los Angeles premiere of Mary Poppins.  I enjoyed the show, but (unfortunately for my opinion of the show) I'd seen it before in London, where it had been better.  So I was a bit disappointed, and there was no way the fine folks at Disney were going to get me out of my seat during the curtain call.

Oh, they tried.  After the curtain call, the cast started singing again -- reprising some of the best numbers from the show.  (This often makes me stand, in what is known as the "I Can't See" ovation.)  But I stood-- er, sat strong and refused to move my butt, even though it meant missing most of the dancing.

And the number was over, and there was more applause.  And then the applause changed -- and if you've had any sort of experience with crowds, you can read it, and this applause was excited, surprised applause.  I craned my neck around the impossibly tall guy standing in front of me, and saw that they'd brought Dick Van Dyke on stage to say a few words.

And I immediately found myself standing.


And... there's another weekend in the dumpster

OK, sure, it isn't quite over yet.  But this weekend is definitely shaping up like so many before it, in which I get not a damn thing done.

It generally starts with staying up very late on Friday (2:00 or beyond), then sleeping in very late on Saturday (1:00ish).  Not actually getting dressed or doing anything till around 3:00, then trying to put together plans when the day is pretty much shot.  Repeat again on Sunday.

To be fair, I actually managed to haul my sorry butt out of the house yesterday around 4:30.  There was just enough time to grab some food at the mall food court, catch a movie (The Men Who Stare at Goats, which neither as funny or OMG-Did-We-Really-Fund-This scary as it should have been), and get my nails done.  (Seriously, it was a two-hour manicure/pedicure.  Gotta love people who take pride in their work.)  Came home after 9:00, fed the cat, watched some TV, and somehow ended up calling it a night about ten minutes before 2:00.

And today, although the alarm went off as planned at 9:30, and although I was actually awake before it went off, I somehow didn't get up until around 11:00 anyway.  It's now nearly 3:00, and all I have to show for the day are some internet message board posts, and two so-far-unsuccessful attempts to find someone to go to an opening night with me tonight (as my guest cancelled sick).  I've actually put on clothes and began the process of taking out the trash, but the trash is still inside.

The bills are unpaid; the laundry is unwashed; the big pile of paperwork I intended to deal with is undealt with; the dishwasher is unemptied; the thermos is unwashed; the boxes are still packed; the last chapters of the book are still unread; ... and I've got less than 3 hours before I have to leave for the show.

On the other hand, I've downloaded some music onto my Droid, so I can now have "Life on Mars" as my ringtone, so, y'know, all is right with the world.

Friday, November 13, 2009

And now we can blog

Seriously. I so adore this phone.

(I imagine I could find an app that lets me set it on vibrate and commit a "crime against technology" with it. It's that good.

Geek Joy!


I am so in love with my new Droid, I'm probably in violation of several laws.

(It is somewhat ironic that I can't post here from the Droid, despite the fact that the damn thing's operating system is, y'know, owned by google, which also owns blogger, but, hey, someone's probably built an app for it.)

But, seriously, compared to my last phone, this phone changes everything. I honestly don't think I've felt this way about a new piece of tech since I got my first DVR. I mean, I'm going to change the way I deal with some basic tasks (like email and calendaring) because it handles them so much better than my usual methods. It's astonishing.

Not to mention how much it will enable my "web use for incidental personal purposes" at the office to drop way down -- because I won't be checking my personal emails, or even news, on the web anymore. My phone will do it. Oh boy oh boy oh boy! (No more embarassing memos saying, "These are all the websites you've visited this month. Please review the list and make certain you are complying with our web use policy.")

This is one seriously cool piece of tech.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not Ready For Christmas

I am so not ready for Christmas.

It dawned on me, over the weekend, that I should be thinking about Christmas now. (It also dawned on me that I somehow forgot my traditional Columbus Day holiday shopping trip. Oops. Looks like I'll have a use for that furlough day after all.)

But it wasn't until this weekend, when I innocently entered my neighborhood OSH (for trash compactor bags) and saw aisles upon aisles of holiday lights ... sitting underneath an oversized inflatable snowman ... that the impact of the entire situation really hit me.

See, the house I bought is in a "Holiday Happy" neighborhood. Which is to say, everyone here decorates for Christmas. Indeed, when I bought the house, I was given my street's standard piece of decor, and reminded to put it out every Christmas season. (Everyone on the street has the same plywood decoration -- then you go off on your own from there.)

Being, y'know, Jewish, I don't have a whole lot of experience with Christmas decoration. And, just from scoping out OSH, it appears that, even if I had been familiar with this from my childhood, things have changed quite a bit. I mean, you've got your regular mini-lights, your LEDs, and your solars. You've got your strings, your icicle lights, and your nets. All of which have their own pros and cons from an aesthetic, price, and power-consumption point of view.

I figure I'll try something simple this year -- just a line of lights along my roofline. (Probably white ones. Or those white & blue icicle lights -- that says "Winter" and "Jewish" all at once!)

Of course, "simple" is in the eye of the beholder. I mean, how do I attach the lights to the roof? How do I get the cord down to that outlet? Do I need a timer to control when they go and off? Is my ladder tall enough to get me up there?

Came home from OSH with compactor bags and a feeling of being totally overwhelmed. I was kinda pleased to discover, when I took a closer look, that there's already a row of nails running across my roofline.

It's a start.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So, my boss had stepped out...

... and I noticed that this meant I probably had at least a half hour before he'd be back. So I said to his Administrative Assistant, "Meg and I are going stalking; I'll be back soon."

I actually got a good four steps out the door before she said, "You're going where?"

See, here's the thing about living in Los Angeles. They're always filming stuff. In fact, as I work in a part of L.A. that is full of old buildings which are kinda grimy and run-down, they use it for filming quite often, as the environs can double quite easily in for L.A. in the 1940's. Or present day New York.

Here's the other thing about living in Los Angeles. They're never filming anything you care about. (It's some Murphy's Law corollary, I'm sure.) Which means that the default attitude one goes to when one finds out about a filming on one's street is an mild sort of annoyance. We tolerate it; we know it brings income to the City; but it screws up traffic, parking, and sometimes lunch. (I'm still annoyed at the weasel who thought we were trying to intrude on his set when we were just trying to go to Quizno's for a sub. Give some low-ranking employee a megaphone and all of a sudden he's Master of Fourth Street, ordering pedestrians away despite the "open for business during filming" signs. Jerk.)

So, this morning, one lane of our street was coned off. (Although nobody was using that lane in our block, the cones technically blocked the way into our parking garage. Someone had already registered a protest by running over one of the cones, which made it somewhat easier for the rest of us to park.) See? Annoyance.

And then we learned that, for what had to be the first time in about 15 years, they were actually filming something cool on our street. Castle. (A couple co-workers discovered that this morning. The lunch hour was spent passing around one of their cell phones and admiring their photos of Nathan Fillion. Apparently, it doesn't take much to turn 10 otherwise professional women into giggling fangirls.)

So, after lunch, Meg went out there on a short recon mission, to see if they were still shooting. She reported back that they were apparently lighting a scene with the stand-ins; the actors weren't anywhere to be seen. I figured we weren't really going to take a whole lot of time out of work, so we waited what appeared to be a reasonable amount of time, then decided that it was such a lovely sunny day out, we might as well go out and take a little post-lunch stroll.

Truth be told, I am a crappy stalker. I'm as fangirl giggly as the rest of 'em, but I don't actually want to interfere with people doing their jobs. And it isn't like they have a "fan viewing" area conveniently set up outside the range of the shot. Still, nobody made any attempt to stop us as we walked down the sidewalk and the people on the sidewalk became more and more ... dressed for New York. (Those poor extras! Heavy wool coats in 84 degree weather.) The actors, of course, were off in their trailers. But our timing was good and it wasn't more than a minute after we casually stopped and leaned against a building that the stand-ins were pulled out and the actors came in. So, Meg and I watched Nathan Fillion joke around; Stana Katic look pretty; and the guest actor (who we're pretty sure was Carlo Rota) have to get stood on a box because, apparently, Nathan Fillion is even taller than you might think.

Right before they were actually going to shoot the scene, a very nice young lady waved over to me and Meg and walked us through the set so we could continue on our merry way. (Amusing that she thought we were just waiting for them to finish so we could cross, when we were really trying to watch what was going on; while that Quizno's cop guy had assumed we were trying to watch what was going on, when we were really just trying to cross.)

This left us with a small dilemma. Because she'd politely escorted us right through the set -- when we actually worked in the opposite direction. Now, we wouldn't want to actually admit that we were there because we were trying to get a glimpse of their stars. But we'd also like to get back to work. So we walked down another block (until we were safely out of view of the nice set lady), decided that, "gosh, we're kind of tired now, perhaps we should head back" -- crossed the street and headed back to work on the other side of the street, careful not to gawk.

By the time I left work at 7:00, they were still out there (with those really big bright lights). Was tempted to drive by for another peek, but didn't. Because, y'know, filmings annoy me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Really? REALLY?

Ah, the things we discover when we have the California Penal Code on our desk...

OK, so I wanted to look up the penalty for shooting an endangered species (btw -- don't shoot an endangered species). I figured I'd check the index under "Endangered Species." There was nothing there. So then I thought I'd check the index under "Animals" (hoping for an "Endangered Species" subheading). And I'm reading all the entries under "Animals" and I hit upon "Crime Against Nature," which refers me to Penal Code section 286, which is the California sodomy statute.

Now, let me be perfectly clear here. In its current form, the sodomy statute prohibits forcible sodomy, or sodomy with someone under the age of consent, or sodomy with someone who is unconscious, and so forth. And, y'know, I'm against all those things. Forcible sodomy -- not good.

But we all know that sodomy statutes weren't always just about forcible sodomy, and it sure isn't forcible sodomy that went by the "crime against nature" name. (By the way -- we have a different statute that prohibits sodomizing animals -- I think that one
probably would count as a "crime against nature.")

But, here, today, in 2009, it's probably time that we stop using the "crime against nature" name to refer to sodomy -- and we sure as hell shouldn't be cross-referencing it under "Animals."

Loose Ends

Apparently, the people at my local Verizon Wireless store are hooked up to the same unforgiving computer system as the one I access as a lowly customer. They're not budging on the $50 -- although my local Verizon guy told me to be sure to come back and he'd "work a deal" for me on the 12th, when I'm eligible for my discount. Exactly what sort of "deal" he intends to work (other than, you know, giving me my damn discount) was not made clear.

Still, I'll likely return to him (if I don't order the damn thing on the web). This because his store was virtually empty. Compare with the other Verizon store in Pasadena which had additional staff to deal with the crowds, and even set up a tent outside the store with sample phones so you could play with them. It's Droid-Mania over there. Seriously, Verizon has done a very nice job putting together a product and a campaign that makes people want to spend money -- not an easy thing to do at this point in time.

And since you're
not all theatre geeks (Hi Lori!), I supply the Hamlet and A Steady Rain links. And I appear to be attending at an interesting time, as Broadway shows are engaged in a fundraising competition for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The stars of A Steady Rain have a good shot at a new fundraising record -- the events reported here seem to be repeating nightly at similar prices. Now, I have, once or twice, spent what I would consider an insane amount of money on a piece of memorabilia -- said number has always had three digits in it. When I read about what's going down at A Steady Rain (eight times a week), I can't help but ask myself, exactly how much money would I have to be making in order to think, "Yeah, I'd dump five grand on that for charity."

It's a very large number indeed.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Adventures in Customer Service

A part died in my fridge. It died a few months ago, but I'm still under warranty and it didn't seem all that important. It was the part that controls the digital temperature display/controller. The death of said part started to become problematic recently, as my fridge decided it should be colder. And since I had no way of telling it not to be colder, it was time to call the GE Service Technician.

Actually, it was more a matter of filling out a form on their website. I scheduled the appointment for this morning (Saturday hours! Woot!) and my tech arrived at 8:45 -- not bad for an 8-12 window. GE had been pretty good about confirming the appointment, too. Two phone calls and an email. Each one reminding me to leave my pets behind a locked door.

Really? The tech is afraid of nine pounds of cat? (Well, I suppose if he has an allergy or something.) Still, it's a pain in the butt to lock her up. She doesn't like it and associates it with being punished, so if I put her behind a locked door, she'll claw at it and whine for the duration. Besides, she still has that healthy fear of strangers (and the doorbell), so can usually be counted on to run and hide once the tech rings the bell.

I'd checked the little box on the form saying "Call before coming," figuring I could ask him then if he minds the cat. Tech arrives at 8:45 without calling. First thing he says when he hits the door is "Sorry I didn't call; I forgot my cell phone." Which was terrific because it gave me an excuse for, "OK, but I didn't have a chance to lock up the cat." And, of course, he didn't care. Gold star!

He replaced the main circuit board in my fridge, which somehow did not solve the problem. Apparently, I need a new circuit board for the temperature controller. He has to special order this; they'll FedEx it to me and he'll come out next week and install it. On his way out, I pointed out (laughingly) that the little "GE" logo on my fridge is falling off. He promised to order me another one of them, too. Because (as he put it), I should always be telling the world that I buy only the best appliances. :) Nice tech; I hope they send him again.

In the meantime, I may spend part of this afternoon playing a game of, "Who wants my business?" According to Verizon's website, my "New Every Two" contract will give me $50 off a new cell phone on November 12th. And as the website is, y'know, an impersonal thing, it can't be convinced to to just move that up five days in order to make a sale. Let's see if the fine (commission-based?) folks at my local Verizon Wireless store are feeling a bit more flexible.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Well, that was a fun blog share! Although I confess to spending way too much time yesterday lurking around the page where my anonymous post was posted to see what people had to say about it. :)

OK. Now, since the following conversation took place between two theatre geeks, it totally worked. But since I am, personally, one of those theatre geeks, I'm not entirely sure if the subject matter here has made its way into general non-theatre-geeky-consciousness. I'll give it a try anyway...

At lunch, a co-worker says we'll have to talk about what's in New York in the spring, as she's planning a trip. I said I'm planning to go in a couple weeks. She asks, "What are you seeing?" And then she answers her own question with, "Superior Donuts ... and what else?"

She is correct. I am seeing Superior Donuts. However, with that already on the list, I am forced to look down at my shoes, shyly, and say, "I'm so shallow -- Hamlet and A Steady Rain."

It took her all of a second to process this and burst out laughing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Family -- Blog Share

Here is our blog share guest anonymous author post:

I recently learned that a woman I know is leaving her husband and three children and moving across the country to be with a guy she met on the internet. I can't imagine what she is thinking - That somehow life will be better with this new man, without her children, that it's a good idea to tear up her children's lives this way for a chance at her own happiness. I can't imagine how she could do that to her family.
Growing up I didn't have any siblings. Well, that's not true. My dad had a daughter from a previous marriage. No one ever explained this situation to me fully, but the bits and pieces I got were that there was some mental illness in the girl's mom, and she disappeared never to be heard from again, and that my dad decided it wasn't fair for my mom to have to raise this other woman's daughter, so the girl lived with her maternal grandparents. To the best of my knowledge, there was not child support. Maybe this was before the days when they mandated that, or maybe there was support and I just never knew it. We didn't have much money most of my childhood, so maybe he didn't have it to give? Essentially, we saw her twice a year, on her birthday and around Christmas. I remember once when I was 6 and she was 9, her asking why I hogged our father. I remember feeling hurt - I didn't keep him from her, at least not in ways I could help. I can remember a few times when my mom took the two of us to a movie, or to fly a kite. When we were teenagers, we tried to be friends. I think she resented me too much. I remember once she walked past the place I worked right out of high school and yelled "B*&#h!" so loud that I could hear it through the glass door. She hated me for being the daughter who lived with her father. A couple times in adulthood, though not in the last decade or so, she has tried to forge a relationship with my dad, but nothing ever came of it, and as far as I know, no one has heard from her in years.
I don't have a close enough relationship with my dad where I would be comfortable asking him this, but as someone's child and as someone's mom, I've never understood how he could let one of his children grow up not really being a part of her life. Nor can I understand how this woman can move away and leave her children without a mom in their lives regularly.

Welcome to Blog Share ...

Hi all.

The next post you'll see is not written by me -- it's by a guest anonymous blogger participating in "Blog Share." And, sometime tonight or tomorrow morning, an anonymous post by me will be magically appearing in the blog of someone else. (See how that works?) The list of blog share blogs is at the bottom of this post. Check 'em all out -- just don't try to guess who wrote what.

If you're a regular reader of So, this is a treadmill (which, really, should be called "So, this is an elliptical," but no matter), please (1) make our anonymous guest blogger feel welcome; and (2) feel free to check out all the other blog share posts.

If you're clicking through here because of blog share, welcome. Please feel free to poke around. You'll find the usual mix of travel diaries, rants, attempts to gain (or give) insight, totally random stuff, and stories about my cat.

Here's the blog share list -- and a big thanks to -R- of And You Know What Else for putting this little party together.

Not the Daddy:
O is for Olson:
Red Red Whine:
Rediscovering Me:
Reflections in the Snow-covered Hills:
The Reluctant Grownup:
Sauntering Soul:
Serendipity Now:
So, This Is a Treadmill:
Thinking Some More:
Time for Change:
Together They Come:
Wondering and Pondering:
And You Know What Else:
Andrea Unplugged:
Bright Yellow World:
Did I Say That Outloud?:
Dispatches from the Failed Mommy Club:
Full of Snark:
Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men:
Just Below 63:
The Little Goat:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fitness Update

Yes! I've done it!

I've finally mastered using the elliptical machine for 40 minutes -- the entire length of a one-hour TV drama!

Well ... more or less. The "weight loss" program on that thing is pre-set for 28 minutes (Lord knows why -- all the other programs have variable times), and it has a five minute "cool down" thereafter. Once I've finished that, the pedals keep ellipticalling (can't say "circling," now, can I?) with no resistance until the show ends. So I s'pose I'm really only "working out" for 33 minutes. (The thing of it is, in order to actually lose weight on this thing, I have to keep upping the time or the resistance, so the ne
xt step is to clearly increase resistance on those last seven minutes.)

Still ... being able to use this thing for the duration of a TV show saves me from looking at the "time lapsed" all the time. I'm done when the show is done.

(Of course, compared to my initial "12 minutes per day," this is also making me late for work. But at least I'll be fit when I get there.)