Friday, October 28, 2005

There goes that idea.

Lately I've been thinking a lot (okay, just a bit more than a little - so a moderate amount) about how people on Vespas always seem to have good posture and maybe, just maybe, owning a sleek little scooter of my own might be the trick to cure what 24 years of my mother's scolding couldn't.

I was really jealous last month when my friend Kenny got a silver one. All of my jealousy and 99% of my general Vespa-rider-envy subsided when some friends and I visited him tonight. Turns out, sexy little Vespas and left-turning Honda Civics don't mix at 40mph. Kenny's mostly okay, aside from a bone in his shoulder that's broken in four places after breaking the car's windshield with his body. So instead of a Vespa maybe I'll just write myself a postit to sit up straight.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

$300 car wash

About a year ago I happened upon what appeared to be a bunch of synthetic blonde hair stuffed in the tailpipe of my car. It was weird, but it was proximate to Halloween and followed on the heels of a late night karaoke binge in Koreatown. I chalked it up to a harmless cult initiation ritual and forgot about it.

Until last weekend. The culprit was back, only now she'd gone gray. My muffler was unraveling on the inside. Now, if you're my parents (but you're not, because if you were, you'd still be calling it a 'blob'), you'd say, "Well, Kelly, did you just get a new muffler just last year?" "Yes,", I'd reply, "I did just get a new muffler last year. You may not be aware however, that my car has two mufflers." I never knew this until this morning. Although it's never delightful to hand over my Visa at Santa Monica Volvo/Saab, noticing that my previously dirt and tree debris encrusted car was gleaming at me from the parking lot certainly put a little pep in my step. I have no idea why a $16 car wash makes up for a $300 repair, but I do know that I'll always give the repair shop plenty of extra time for my dirty car to sit on their lot - just in case they get any ideas.

I ate this banana today - it was enormous.

Tonight I saw a screening of New York Doll, a documentary about New York Dolls bassist Arthur Kane. If you live in LA or New York where this movie opens this weekend, go see it! Well done by a Mormon filmmaker who met Kane at church.

On the way to the screening I took a wrong turn and drove down a mostly deserted street in West Hollywood. I noticed a random strobe light type distraction outside a building. It wasn't a strobe light, but a small mob of paparazzi leaping and bounding around in their black t-shirts and big cameras to photograph a pink-hoodied celebrity getting into her silver Landrover. For my I've-already-seen-too-many-paparrazzi-photos-of-her-car-on-Defamer money, it was Jennifer Aniston. But geez - totally uncivilized and off-putting.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Do your part to stop PSC today.

Men walk for the cure. They speak out against rape and intimate violence on behalf of their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters. Ladies, it's time we return the favor. If not for yourselves or your boyfriend, do it for your brothers, fathers, coworkers, and hapless neighbors. We must unite in our stand against poor sock choice.

It's very simple. If you're a dude and you plan to engage in any type of sporting activity, wear your white socks with pride. If not, don't even wear them. At all. Not even with shame and embarrassment.

Appropriate sock choice

If your footwear was designed specifically for sporting activity, white socks are acceptable. A hint - if the outside of your shoes are made of any variant of dark leather (including suede), they're probably not made for sporting activity.

Poor sock choice

Here's the good news. Socks do come in other colors. They sell them at all kinds of stores - in departments stores, in discount stores, and even at Costco. You too can own socks that aren't white. Rid yourself of the uncomfortable and unsightly bulge around the ankles resulting from poor sock choice. Try it; I think you'll like it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Good things happen to those who support public radio.

I've seen a lot of movies lately. Here's what I have to say about them:

Grizzly Man: Well done. Timothy Treadwell is a complete lunatic, which is demonstrated fairly-well in the movie. There's some really good footage of brown bears. Like the Milgram studies, it's not ethical/smart to replicate these videos, but since it's available, you might as well see it. Complete, flaming-but-straight, egotistical, maniacally effusive wackjob.

Junebug: Seventy-five percent of the reason I went to see this movie was because Kara told me Matt Besser is in it at the beginning. Of course I got to the theater late (and had another near miss in the crosswalk with a Volvo) and missed the first 5 minutes, so I didn't see him. Premise: Cosmopolitan art dealer (Embeth Davidtz) meets new in-laws in the rural Southeast. Decent idea, disappointing delivery. The main problem was that the screenwriter seemed to forget to write a part for the husband/son, you know, the impetus for this whole 'cultural clash' in the first place. A secondary problem is that the guy who plays the husband/son is a terrible actor.

Waiting: The quarter-life crisis approach to the teen gross-out movie meets Office Space. Well-done by an ensemble cast (Ryan Reynolds, Luis Guzman, Andy Milonakis) if this is your thing. Or if you have ever worked at a chain restaurant. Or if you hate chain restaurants.

Elizabethtown: Really terrible for a lot of reasons. I recently told this couple, in detail, exactly why this movie is bad. The guy goes, "Oh, yeah; I thought so." The girl, "Oh, so maybe we should wait until video then?" NO!! Never see this movie.

We have arrived at the heart of this story. Last night was a KCRW movie screening/private afterparty with The 88 and "very, very special guest". Given that The Flaming Lips did the soundtrack for I Love Your Work, and that they were due to disembark from this Long Beach - > Mexico concert cruiseship yesterday, my hopes were high that they would be the very, very special guest.

Upon entering the screening, I was struck by a mildly familiar blonde woman - she also looked familiar to my friend. It was Judy Greer, the neurotic sister from Elizabethtown. Also in the lobby hanging out were Giovanni Ribisi and Adam Goldberg. I spent the next two hours trying not to feel awkward about (a) Giovanni Ribisi having so much sex onscreen when he was sitting in the audience and (b) Adam Goldberg's movie not being that coherent when he was also sitting in the audience.

My patience was duly rewarded, however. The 88 put on a great show at The Knitting Factory. Between sets, some guy that had talked to me at the screening bought me earplugs after hearing me say I had set mine out only to forget them. The best part was that he didn't even stick around to make small talk. (I wanted to thank him after the show, but I didn't see him.) I also recognized the people who coordinate the on-campus concerts at UCLA and chatted them up about bringing LA's catchiest indie rock band to campus. By this point it was a secret anymore, but The Flaming Lips went on next and certainly exceeded my expectations with the video screen, animal costumes, enormous balloons, the giaganto-enormous balloon, confetti, and a nun puppet. A super excellent show, complete with video footage of their mid-nineties appearance on 90210.

So, um, hooray for NPR & KCRW.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

At the keyboard with nowhere to click

I'm a big proponent of knowing when to say when. In the headiness of an unexpected open bar or the warm glow threatening to make a two margarita happy hour into an ill-timed pub crawl, it's easy to overlook the law of diminishing returns - after a while, even the good stuff isn't so good anymore. If I eat all the chips, I won't be able to finish my enchiladas. Watching more than 4 consecutive episodes of Queer as Folk depresses me. The thing is, usually I try to leave my addictions before they totally consume me, this time I'm the one who's jilted.

That's right, my addiction to the internet is definitely fading. For example, I can't remember the last time I read Defamer. And when Friendster caught everyone with their pants down last week over the whole retroactive "who's viewed you" feature? I couldn't have cared less. I haven't taken any cleverly-disguised personality tests on OkCupid lately and I couldn't tell you what new jobs have been posted in the Daily Bruin classifieds or what the kids are talking about in Rants and Raves on Craigslist if my life depended on it. Websites like this are going unrefreshed. And ones like this aren't even being savored for their sheer obscurity and pointlessness.

Now that I've got all this "time" on my hands I've been reading the news instead of doing work. And what did Salon give front billing this morning? Only a story that Grant Stoddard covered 2 years ago for Nerve. Clearly all this "time wasting" online was actually keeping me ahead of the curve.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Five years didn't sound like such a long time then.

At their worst, blogs become venues for excessive whining, bitching, bragging, pretention, and self-disclosure. The good news is that the first step to recovery is acceptance.

Ever since returning to my 'real' life at school (i.e. classes, 'research' - that I'm supposed to 'conduct') all I can think about is leaving it again. Having a slightly kickass end of summer has resulted in a serious case of GSM (Graduate School Malaise). I've tried to ward it off with caffeine, alcohol, dental work, and dropping a few bills for SXSW tickets, but so far nothing's done the trick.

Thus, in addition to spending my free (and also some of my not free) time inappropriately stalking people I met over the summer, I'm also obsessively checking airfares to places that aren't Los Angeles. Long weekend in Cabo, anyone? $173 roundtrip. Perhaps a little Guadalajaran getaway or some Salvadorian sunshine over the winter break? $250. If only the government paid me to make *my* world a better place instead of furthering science. In that case I might spring for the $556 to Hong Kong.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Coming soon - the barefoot & pregnant bake-off.

Yesterday morning my marathon training group was responsible for the water stations for the LA Leggers. In other words, the 9 minute/mile group had to meet at 6AM instead of 7 to pass out water to all of the other pace groups as they did their 10 mile runs; we had to wait until it was nice and sunny at 9 to do our own 10 miles. In addition to a prime view of the sunrise in Marina del Rey, the extra hours provided a chance to get to know the members of my running club in earnest, which can only augment the pretend stories I make up about them while passing the minutes on long runs.

My weekly sweating companions did not disappoint. In my car to the water station were a PhD student in math, a general surgeon, and a Grammys employee.

After our hydrating duties, we returned to Santa Monica for our run. On the way back, the Grammys employee mentioned her friend's completion of the Nike Marathon last year. It's an event held in San Francisco that's only open to women. Not a bad idea. Most marathons award medals to finishers to commemorate their achievement and hours of agony on a Sunday morning. The Nike Marathon, however, has hunky tuxedo-wearing men folk at the finish line. Hunky tuxedo-wearing men folk holding Tiffany's boxes at the finish line, that is. Instead of medals, finishers are awarded "26.2" pendants designed by Tiffany & Co.

My internal dialogue: "WTF?!@#*?!"

My well-modulated, external dialogue: . . . pause. . . pause. . . "Hmm. . . that's curious. The Nike Marathon seems like it's an event geared toward mobilizing and empowering women, but when these thousands of women achieve this impressive goal, they're rewarded by men? -- who are giving them jewelry?"

And the highly-educated folk in my car chuckled in acknowledgement. But not outrage.

And I good-naturedly remarked on taking seriously my duties as the feminist psychologist of the group.

But really, come on, Nike. You're onto something with this whole celebrating women en masse through physical and mental determination thing -- don't blow it. Please try to be less lame.