Thursday, September 29, 2005

The last frontier, revisited.

Here are some photos from Alaska. Maybe you're not that interested, but I don't have anything good to say besides that it seems to be Abandoned Couch Week here in Los Angeles. There are about 30 couches, loveseats, and whatnot on my running route.

Also, it's freaking hot here. And really smoky.

But back to Alaska. . .Jessie and I won some stuff in a silent auction to benefit Hurricane Katrina victims. This 3 liter bottle of wine I bought for $65 was so hilarious that night. It became increasingly less so as all the beers I drank for the Red Cross starting playing for Team Hangover rather than Team Euphoria. All of this wine did manage to make it back to LA with me. I've been threatening to have a party all summer, maybe this could be the final straw. . . Jessie's purchase was much more practical - an entry to the Tour of Anchorage, an annual ski race. She saved money on her entry fee AND gets Tour of Anchorage paraphernalia to boot.

Over the course of several days in Anchorage, I spent a significant amount of time biking and running and disc golfing in this awesome park. Fall was definitely in the air and on the ground.

This is the park entry that's just behind Jessie's apartment. Idyllic, no? I asked about the frequency of proposals and chewing gum commercials taking place here. Apparently, smoking pot is a more frequent park pastime than either of the above.

A bonafide leaf flurry!

We ate at Peter's Sushi Spot twice. The first time was on our own before the benefit concert. The next time was when I came back to Anchorage when my uncle had to do some psych evals for the Anchorage Police Department and I spent the day with Jessie. Just before this lunch I made the mistake of agreeing to accompany my uncle on a tempo run in Earthquake Park. We were supposed to run a mile slowly, and then a few miles at 8:30, followed by another slow mile - I think. Well, because of the park conditions, the plan changed a bit and we were running 7:40 miles after a shorter warm up. I choked and cut back to a regular pace when we had a fast mile to go. I waited too long though and as I sat down to lunch was quite concerned about the possibility of seeing my Luna Bar or sushi lunch again. Not to fear, I drank some elixir of general well-being and sustenance, otherwise known as Sprite, and was able to polish off my share of sashimi like a (lightweight) champ.

I don't have any pictures from Kenai or Cooper Landing, the other places where I spent my time, mostly because when I was at those places I was under the impression that my camera was missing.

Oh, I got a free running shirt from a real world class runner who works at this running store called the Skinny Raven. He had mentioned that I could get a free shirt if I came by the store. This free shirt was not the average, run of the mill, size XXL lima bean green shirt - it's a $40 Asics shirt with cute capped sleeves. Hooray for free stuff.

Leaving Alaska turned out to be a bit of an ordeal when my Era (small branch of Alaskan Airlines) flight from Kenai to Anchorage was 35 minutes late leaving on Sunday night. Despite breaking into full-on nerd run in the airport, I missed my 12:50AM flight. This was potentially deep shit time for me as I had some study abroad applications I had arranged to turn in the following day. According to the weathered United woman, my options were a 11:40 PM flight to Denver the next night or the next night's 12:50 flight to LAX. I asked about making up the fare difference to take an earlier flight -- yeah, so those were their ONLY flights. The punchline is that I spent about half an hour finding a cheap and centrally located hotel and took a taxi to the Inlet Inn, which smelled like a veterinarian's office. In the spirit of getting what you pay for, the room cost me $48.60. The remaining $50.40 it would have cost to stay at the Hampton Inn instead might just have been worth most every dollar. The person in the room next to me watched television and took showers all night while I fretted about on the scratchy sheets, trying not to touch the outside of the bedspread. A few frantic phone calls to friends in LA and one reassuring call to the study abroad coordinator the next morning, I set off to run some errands and catch up phone calls I didn't make the previous week. By the light of day the Inlet Inn definitely appeared more halfway house and less best-hotel-deal in town. Nonetheless, I had an excellent extra Alaskan day - phone calls, errands and lunch with Jessie, and finally some disc golf, a shower and a nap before getting the red eye right the second time around.

That's more than enough for now. I will close by saying that a dad I had noticed on my flight being extra caring to retrieve his kids' crayons from the overhead compartment lost all hypothetical credibility with me when he pulled out a copy of Maxim and asked his sub 3-foot-tall son if he thought some woman was pretty. Yelch.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Items, Installment 2

1. I have to go to the dentist, like right now. Before heading north I went for a checkup for the first time in about 4 or 5 years. Holy fuck was that painful. One filling is being replaced and another is being installed this afternoon. I'm glad I got the first bagillion cavities of my life on my parents' insurance. By my calculations, soon all my teeth will be filled and there'll be no more room for new ones.

2. My parents had to evacuate last Wednesday. They have lots of tales. They took their dog Hank. They returned to their house on Saturday. They let Hank play with some other dogs for a while. All the dogs ran away. Hank was the last to return home, on Monday morning. They haven't had electricity this whole time and cook their food on propane fish fryers on the back porch. It's hot and sounds pretty sucky.

3. I snuck onto a minor league baseball field in Alaska last Sunday to retrieve my disc golf disc. I was not caught or arrested. I hate getting in trouble. Disc golf is really fun but I'm not very good at it.

That's all. I'm going to the dentist now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


is awesome. I never want to go home. I don't even want to talk about how cool it is because that would be like trying to tell your school friends about your camp friends and we all know that goes nowhere fast.

I think I've misplaced my camera, but Jessie and I did well for ourselves at the Katrina benefit last week. We brought home a couple treats to enjoy after the show. . . Also we each placed winning bids on some things in the silent auction.

I would like to take this opportunity to rescind any negative statements I've ever made about boys who spend "too" much time working out, are "too" into personal hygiene, and are professional athletes. Turns out, they're not so bad after all. Silly me.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fishing dishing.

Hullo from Anchorage, where I've stopped for a couple of days to hang out with my friend Jessie before heading to Kenai tomorrow morning.

Yesterday I went biking for most of the morning while Jessie was substitute teaching Algebra II. After hitting some trails in the extensive park system, I rode downtown and parked my bike next to the Anchorage Convention Center, where the 135th meeting of the American Fisheries Society was taking place. No kidding. Just when you think you've pigeon-holed yourself in the most esoteric field, you happen along a Fishery Society convention. There were a ton of fishery folk - the young were pretty hip with their plastic framed glasses and Vans. More hip than the kids at the last psych conference.

Yesterday afternoon Jessie and I went back to the park for a round of disc golf. You can drink beer in the park here. Tonight we're going for a little hike, getting some sushi, and going to a benefit show at a local brewery. I'll report later if any of the band members are half-Jewish or curly-haired enough for me to add the to evangelized crush list.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Yep, these here are your tax dollars at work, folks.

Lately my aimless internet addiction has manifest itself in the form of Ok Cupid! - the nerdliest of internet meet-n-greets. Created by some math dudes from Harvard or MIT or the like (hey, it's summer - no homework), you can take tons of gimmicky and fun personality tests and let their algorithms match you up with other people wasting their time just like you. So far the political attitudes test tells me I'm a socialist and the death test says I'll live until I'm 87, which I think is conservative b/c my browser was freezing up during the reflex part. The interface leaves much to be desired and everyone seems to be a 23-year-old-wanna-be-musician, but it's still pretty fun.

Should you tire of wasting your time like that, check out the other thing I do to keep myself from finishing the one last thing I need to get done before I leave for Alaska tomorrow (that's right, suckas!). Why ponder children's gender and ethnic development when I can search for seasonal jobs all over the world, like oh, say, teaching English to kids in Italy via musical theater?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Dog tales.

I'm dogsitting today. In addition to washing the things in the very bottom of my laundry basket and blowing my nose on real Kleenex instead of toilet paper, I've been thinking a little about MY-MOST-TERRIFYING-DOGSITTING-EXPERIENCE-EVER.

I was studying abroad in Spain and this girl at the gym noticed the English on my t-shirt and hired me to read British Vogue with her to improve her English. Elisa was about 26, really hot, and a fashion design student and sometime model. Reading magazines for money was pretty fun, but she had an intimidating and sharp-fanged black Husky named Luna. Elisa complained that her gay best friend/fashion design colleague was too wimpy to dogsit for her because he was uncomfortable with the dog tampon. Yes, there are dog tampons. This came as big a shock to me at 20 after growing up with more than average animal/farm experience as it was when I was 8 and realized Heaven wasn't a physical place in a distant blackhole with a supersecret zip code that had been stumping astronauts.

It's no wonder that Elisa's friend was scared of Luna. As a fashion designer, he knew that without his hands he couldn't even stock at Zara, much less draw cutting edge designs. Because I was even more impressed by cool people then as I am now, I agreed to walk Luna when Elisa went to the south of Spain to a wedding for the weekend. It was during the "instructions" talk that she mentioned that the dog that barked ferociously every time I came over had already bitten 2 people and if it bit a 3rd, she would be required to undergo pysychological testing to see if she was purposely harboring a malicious animal.

Let's just say Luna had minimal walks over those few days. I would wear a leather jacket and gloves when I put on her leash to defray the impact of any teeth in my direction. I kept her far away from other dogs and people at the park and strollers on the sidewalk were the stuff of nightmares. In the end she didn't bite anyone and I didn't have to deal with the dog tampon.

My current dog-charge Ellie is much more low-key: she spends her days taking naps and likes to rest in the shade when we go on walks in the neighborhood.

Monday, September 05, 2005


Hooray! Friday morning brought a very special delivery to the arrivals deck of LAX. The woman my 14 - 18 year-old self passed notes to during class, conferred with between classes, and still managed to find reason to talk to on the phone after school came to visit me!

It was a weekend of hard core LA evangelism at its finest. We had happy hour at the esteemed Gyu-Kaku before catching the even-more-esteemed Matt Besser's one man show on the separation between Church and State. Providing more support for the idea that adolescence is characterized by feelings of invincibility, feeling extra-bold in Kara's company I approached Matt Besser after the show and told him I liked it. Of course I said something much more lame than the thousands of versions of other things I worked out on the drive home.

Saturday was filled with eating and lots o' thrift store shopping. Sunday we drove out to Malibu for what I assumed would be a really easy walk on some trail I'd found online. It wasn't bad, but it was really really dry and we had to do some minor rock scrambling (note the gulch pictured) in a few places that provoked some pause given our attire of skirts and flip flops.

I sent Kara back to Austin this morning and spent more time than is not embarrasing seriously bummed out about her departure. I'm usually not that sad about friends' coming and going, but it's been years since we'd spent so much time together and maybe part of it was saddness over all the time in the interim that we hadn't kept up as much.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Attention please.

If you can walk down the street with this song on your iPod and not look like a total tool for all your dancing and twitching about, then your heart is stone. It's even harder if you caught The Blood Arm show the night before and added the lead singer to your ever growing list of crushes on talented, curly brown-haired men. Maybe you've seen high energy bands before. Maybe you've seen people jump around on stage. Maybe you've seen someone who can dance like a gay man who just landed a stint on Broadway. This guy will put them to shame (and according to my online stalking and Elena, last night was a relatively calm show).

You heard the lady, folks. Are you too a minor celebrity in a niche market looking for someone to stalk you online? Act now - call Kelly to have her evangelize to all of her friends and acquaintances on your behalf.

Post-show diner dining:

Maybe it stems from my own insecurity issues but I am really attracted to people who know their element and succeed it in - especially if that element entails performing before an audience. I mean, I'm good at eating sunflower seeds and writing kiss ass letters to companies that make my day and all, but neither of those are especially marketable these days.

My last day of nannyhood, a friend of my nannykid made a self-deprecating remark about not being good at Slapjack (really, get with the program, buddy. . .). I said something about pursuing lots of things despite not being good at them. My nannykid interjected with the one of two nice things he said to me all summer, "But you're great at baton twirling!" Yes, that's it, I AM great at baton twirling! Now there's a marketable skill.