Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mooninites Invade Boston

Four 'Hoax Devices' Found in Boston

( - Four suspicious packages found in Boston, Mass., Wednesday turned out to be "hoax devices," the Boston Police Department said. The devices were found in four separate locations and were reported around the same time. One package was described as having wires and tubing around it, similar to an IED (improvised explosive device). The incident prompted the shutdown of an interstate, a main road and a bridge between Boston and Cambridge. Subway service was also shut down for some time across the Longfellow Bridge between Boston and Cambridge. The Coast Guard also shut down the Charles River on news of the incident.

While I certainly don't take terrorist threats lightly, I do find it amusing that the devices were actually light boards that looked like this*:
He's doing it as hard as he can, too.

*edited to protect the impressionable young persons who may see this.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

100 block of N. Park View, Los Angeles, California

We'll be right back after these messages.

I love commercials. You know how some people can tell you about every video that played on MTV during the 80's? I can tell you about commercials. I love them. I'm an advertisers dream. In fact, when I tape a show, I don't fast forward through the commercials, unless it's late and the show is LOST and I really just want to find out what happened.

So, with that in mind, and with nothing else to say, here are some commercials that are tickling my fancy lately:

Don't you want me, Baby?--How cute are those Chips Ahoy cookies in their little red convertible with their little seat belts singing along to their "Totally 80's" CD--until a dark shadow descends upon them and they are picked off one at a time by a ruthless killer. I love the look on the driver's face as he realizes what's happening a second too late. A thought occurred to me last night: What's going to happen to the car? It's going to plunge over that cliff. I can hear the highway patrol now, "There's no evidence of foul play, but it appears the passengers were eating cookies before they abandoned the vehicle."

Helpful Honda Salesmen--There's a new series of Honda ads in which people complain about dishonest car salesmen and the Honda salesman apologizes and ends up doing some dirty job around the house to be helpful. So the one in which the guy gets the bait-and-switch on a truck deal, he calls the dealer a tool. He actually says, "What a tool." (hee hee--he said "tool.") I don't know why, but "tool" used in a derogatory manner makes me giggle involuntarily. Roy, back me up here. We all know he means, "What a dick." I can't believe they used "tool" instead of "jerk" or something. I'm still giggling. Also, I love that he makes the Honda guy put together Ikea furniture.

Vons Super Bowl--This one will only make sense to Angelinos, unless there's a Vons sister store like Albertsons/Sav-On has Jewel/ Osco in the Midwest. Okay, so you know the commercial with the paper doll people preparing for a Super Bowl party? Listen carefully when the marching band comes out of the cooler and marches across the living room. I think it's supposed to be a tuba, but it totally sounds like the band has the walking farts. Oh, don't look at me like you don't know what I'm talking about. Farts make me giggle, too. I'm right there with you, Laurie. [If you really don't know what the walking farts are, listen to a Larry the Cable Guy CD--don't you dare judge me. Rednecks is funny.]

Vee Dub in da house--How great is Peter Stormare in those Volkswagen "Unpimp your auto" commercials? Rockin' da German engineering, yah? Volkswagen always has some great commercials, and I'm not just saying that because I drive one. Does anyone remember the Cabrio ad in which these 20-somethings drive at night to the backing music of Nick Drake's Pink Moon? It's beautiful. Or the ad when they were introducing the new Beetle convertibles to the tune of ELO's Mr. Blue Sky? I've been practicing making the VW sign with my fingers, but haven't quite mastered it yet. Plus in LA, it might get me killed.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The cell phone ad in which the Dad text messages his kids at the dinner table. The son's delivery is perfect.
  • The T-mobile ad in which the younger brother picks his sisters hot friends to be in his five. I like the mom's nod at the end.
  • The other T-mobile ads with Charles Barkley and Dwyane Wade (yes, that's spelled correctly), especially the one where the waitress thinks Barkley is his dad.
  • The Honda Element ad with the crab (I Pinch), and the newer one where the crab is jealous. Okay, I like the French penguin too. I hate the Element though. I mean, what's with that plastic door?
  • It's late now, but the Staples Christmas advertising with the panel of experts. I especially love Engerbert's winking and saying, "Take this to your mother."
  • The Cheez-It commercial in which the little girl explains how they get the big cheese taste into the tiny crackers. Her face at the end is one I make almost daily because people just don't get me. (again, Laurie, I feel you)

We now return to our regularly scheduled program.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

While my alarm gently beeps...

Just once I'd like to bake something without the sound of 8,000 smoke alarms in chorus. Okay, Dane Cook, there were not 8,000 alarms, but you could have fooled me. I am in no mood for noise today, so I ran from room to room removing batteries from every offending alarm and silence prevailed...for 10 blissful seconds. Then the wall alarm in the hallway beeped. ??? How can this be? I removed your battery? Why are you still beeping? HOW are you still beeping.
It turns out that this particular alarm is wired into the electrical system. I wonder if that has anything to do with the hall light not working, considering how Frau Pennypincher doesn't exactly hire the cream of the crop? Hmm...
Anyway, one tiny beep every 15 seconds is far more tolerable than a cacophony of beeps, so I went about my business. I baked brownies for Terrell at work, who's been bugging me about ba
king more ever since our company Christmas party, and chocolate chip cookies just because.

Last night, I braved the rain and headed out to the Knitting Factory, where there was no knitting going on, but wouldn't that be fun? All you Frolic Room-ers, we should try that. You know, show up with our knitting bags and act all confused when they tell us that it's just a name.
Anyway, the always-hot Tim Weber
was playing with his band, SpectraSonic. I have to admit that I missed their first three songs because I was waiting in the wrong room. They were supposed to go on at 10:30. When has any band in LA gone on at the time they were scheduled to go on? I looked in the first room, and that wasn't them. I looked in the Main Stage room, and that wasn't them, but my God was the singer of that band hot. I checked my phone and it was 10:40. Hmm, maybe I'll look around some more. That's when I found the AlterKnit lounge (again, I really want to show up with yarn and needles. I mean, they're just asking for it.) and there was Timothy on stage rocking out and flirting with all the "mom's night out" women in front of the stage. I sneaked in, found some folks I knew and pretended I had been there the whole time. Timothy was great, as always. Honestly, I've seen Tim play rock and ballads, and even a classical piece, and he is fantastic every time. Plus he has a great stage presence.

After Tim's band, Sideshow Bob's new band took the stage. No, really.
Here' s a bad cell phone picture of their lead singer. Somewhere in that blob of hair on his shoulders was a face. They spent 10 minutes saying "Check, check 1-2" into the microphone, to the point of being ridiculous. When he finally stopped, my friend Robin quipped, "That's our new song. It's called Ch-check, 1, 2." Once they actually started playing, they weren't so bad, but seriously, get the sound check over faster.
We left and outside the kids (Robin, her man, Sam, his wife, Destin and Aaron) were all heading to the Powerhouse, that dive over on Highland, which isn't quite a dive anymore. I wanted to move my car closer, so I said I'd meet them. Then, on my way to my car I got horribly dizzy and realized I hadn't eaten since breakfast at 8:30am. After 20 minutes trying to get from El Cerrito to Highland (2 stinking blocks) I gave up, flaked on my friends, and went home to eat a PBJ sandwich. Sorry Robin and Co.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I'm cranky, and you're stuck with me.

I'm cranky, folks. Lord Almighty, I could bitch for days...and I probably will, but not here. Here I'll just bitch for a few inches. What's got your favorite Gingham-clad blogger's panties in a bunch? Well, let's start with my asshole neighbors.
Somewhere in this pile of illegally dumped Christmas trees is a fire hydrant.
Can you see it? Neither can I, and I'm betting the fire department would be hard pressed to find it as well. These trees--there are five of them--have been piled along along the sidewalk here since just after New Year's Day. It should be noted that three of these trees, which are piled in front of my walkway, belong to the apartment complex next door. I know this because before the gardening company that services that complex showed up, they were piled in front of that complex. Then the gardeners decided that rather than dispose of the trees, they'd just moved them in front of my house. Thanks, Dick! I told my downstairs neighbor, as he was dragging his tree to the pile, that the city won't pick them up this way. He shrugged and tossed it on top anyway. That's his with the green stand still attached. I'm going to print out the flyer in English and Spanish and leave them in everyone's mailbox tomorrow, because I am sick of looking at and tripping over everyone else's fucking trash!

What else is on my list? Parking. I know, I know--"Parking in LA sucks" is a perennial gripe, so why waste blog space. Well, I'm not talking about parking in LA in general. I'm talking about parking on my street, a privilege for which I pay a yearly fee. Then this place opened and every trendy yahoo in the city has to stand in line for the right to be denied entrance. But first, they must park--badly--on my street. Tonight I drove around the block for 30 minutes to finally park a block away. I could have parked only 1/2 a block away, but the people on that street decided to park their trash cans in every viable parking space. Bite me!

Next up? Zachary and Sarah's Grandpa. This geezer has been in front of me on the 101 on two separate days. What are the chances? Now aside from the fact that he's driving around with the license plate frame that says "Happiness is...being Zachary and Sarah's Grandpa", he's brake happy for no apparent reason. Grandpa, I drive a stick. You remember them, don't you? from back in the good ol' days? Well, it's a pain in the ass when you brake for bingo. Cut it out!

I'm getting sick. I think it's bronchitis, since I'm prone to that sort of thing and my lungs hurt. I was in a bad mood all day today, until I noticed this in our bathroom at work:

I don't know why this delighted me so except that it reminded me of home and childhood. It's a hanger for a Dixie cup dispenser, in case you don't recognize it.
Also, on my way home, I drove past this:
A Carnival!!! Everybody loves a carnival, right? Well, except for you, Tina. It was small, but they had The Zipper, a Merry-go-round, something that look like that Bobsled ride, and a giant slide! (See Tina, not everything just goes around). Then I went to see my knittahs and spoke with my Katie on the phone, and that made me feel better.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Revolution Begins...

Empire Center, Burbank, California

And completely unrelated, who drives this car? Sir Stinksalot? Can you see all the air fresheners inside?I count at least seven.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Thus ends my life of crime...or does it?

I was fingerprinted today. It was all very cool and electronic, so I didn't end up with inky fingers. Although, I think the man doing it was getting a little annoyed as he (pardon the expression) manhandled my hands to get the best prints. You know how it is when you're trying to dress a child and they stick their legs out straight and refuse to bend their knees? So you secretly end up wishing their legs were removable because you're already running late and it would be so much easier to put the pants on that way? What? I nannied. I have nieces and nephews. (Not you, Roy. You were an angel.)
Anyway, I think the fingerprint guy was secretly wishing he could pop my hands off my wrists. I wasn't trying to be difficult or anything, but he wasn't really forthcoming with the directions so I couldn't understand what he was trying to do. Now my prints are digitally winging their way to the FBI and Department of Justice for to have my background checked. I hope they don't find out about that time I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

Afterward I looked at my watch and it was Noodle Time! mmm, Noodle Time--serving the finest in Thai-Japanese-Chinese noodles. I got the Beef Chow Mein (it's not just for British werewolves anymore). It smelled so good driving back to the office that I nearly pulled over and ate it in the car. Alas, I held out until I got back to my desk.

For the past couple of days, everywhere I look I see some cafe/coffeehouse/eatery advertising Boba. "What the heck is Boba and why is it so popular," I've asked myself. While waiting for my order at NT, I saw a poster that actually read "What is Boba?" I sauntered over. Boba, it seems, is tapioca. (insert involuntary gagging sounds) Tapioca? In drinks? (gags again) In case you haven't guessed by now, I loathe tapioca. Someone ordered a boba drink while I was waiting and the mixing and sealing machine was fascinating, but still, EW.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What the hey? (Obscure reference alert)

This is the conversation I had this morning with someone, approximately my age:
Me--Yesterday it snowed in Malibu. Today it's 75 degrees. Looks like Mikkos didn't die in the explosion on Cassadine Island after all and is using the Ice Princess for evil.
Other Person--(blank stare)
Me--You know, from General Hospital?
OP--(looking warily at me while inching toward the door)
Me--He had a machine that made snow? He was going to freeze the world? It was very Austin Powers/ Dr. Evil but in the 80's.
OP--Uh, I guess I'm too young.

Great! Now I'm the strange woman who makes obscure references. Sometimes I hate how my mind and mouth don't work in harmony.

In other news, I haven't had time to go to the car wash, so Jamie is filthy. I'm fully aware of this, but do other drivers have to not-so-subtly point this out? On the 101 this morning, every single car, without fail, who merged in front of me from various on ramps decided to wash their windshields, thus splashing my car with wiper fluid. EVERY ONE! It was both annoying and hilarious at the same time. And really, what's with the high-powered wiper fluid jets? I mean, this stuff flew right over the roofs of the cars in front of me to hit my windshield. Their evil plan backfired, however, for while I have the cleanest windshield this side of the Grapevine, the rest of the car remains filthy.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Just because

Your 80s Theme Song Is:
Rock Me Amadeus by Falco
Sadly, I actually DID love this song when it first came out. I know. Shoot me now.

Colder than a witches....

I never got that saying. Why a witches tit? Aren't witches human beings? Shouldn't their tits be relatively the same temperature as the rest of their bodies, a nice humanly 98.6 degrees? How about "Colder than the look Angelina Jolie gave Ryan Seacrest when he asked how many more children they were planning on having?" Yeah, you're right. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.
But, dang, that look was downright Arctic.

Anyway, it's pretty freakin' cold over here at the house that Gingham built (a balmy 49 when I woke up), so I bundled up and went off to watch the Golden Globes with Tami. We got pizza--Brooklyn style--and ate Reese's Pieces. I finished the Knucks. Here's a picture of Tami, the proud recipient, modeling them for me. I don't like the cable cast-on for the fingers, as called for in the pattern; it made them too thick. It was probably just the yarn, as I didn't have this issue with the sock yarn.
I used Twize's 100% bamboo yarn in "Twen." It's a blend of white, red, black and gray stands twisted together, which made it kind of splitty, but I got used to it and had no problem. They are very thick and warm, which will be perfect for Tami's smoke breaks out in the always-windy land of West Hills.

In other news, my tire is all better. There was a nail in it, but the nice men at Just Tires fixed it up right good. And, the $19 I paid to have it repaired will count towards a new tire, should I need one in the future. My mind is eased, and Jamie Jetta is once again hitting top speeds on the freeway. Okay, 65--sheesh, I drive like a grandma.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I hate today.

The upstairs printer is offline and will probably remain so until next week. Poop. All of us upstairs now have to go downstairs to get our printed stuff. Sure, on the surface that doesn't seem like much, and admittedly, I'm WAY out of shape, but just look at the stairs!
That's four angles equaling 20 steps each way! Every time I wrote a letter today, I had to run downstairs, insert letterhead paper, tell everyone not to print, run back upstairs and click "print", run back downstairs, insert envelope, run back upstairs, click "print", run back downstairs, collect my printed materials, tell everyone it was okay to print again--lather, rinse, repeat.

Yesterday, I went out for a Starbucks run and found my tire was flat. I had just enough air to get to the Arco down the street, put some air in the tire, get the coffee and make it back before the Directors meeting. I checked the tire pressure this morning before I left for work and again when I parked. All seemed well. Then, at 5:15, it was flat again--well, flattish. This time I drove down the street in the other direction to the VW dealership. Unfortunately, it was too late to get the tire changed, but the nice men there put more air in the tire and told me it should hold up for a day or two for me to get a new one. Which is going to suck because a) I have to get coffee and stuff for a committee meeting tomorrow; b) I have $2.43 in my checking account; c) I have plans for tomorrow and Saturday and Sunday. When do I have time to visit the tire store? I could drop it off tomorrow, but that will require some creative errand running as well as my getting up early--really early. Hmmm....

Then, I forgot to take the trash out until I was already in my jammies, so I thought I'd run out quickly. It was late. Who could I possibly see? Oh, only my neighbors--three of them! Any other day these people are Johnny-on-the-spot getting the trash cans out to the curb, but Nooooo, on the day I look like crap, they all decide to wait until
midnight to take out the trash. Here's a little sample of what they saw.

I'm going to bed now. Things had better start looking up tomorrow or I just may have to get mad.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Not quite so Fetching.

Sometimes it's really, really cold in our offices. Last Friday was one of those days. Poor Stella. Her fingers were freezing. So, I decided that, taking a cue from Uccellina and Annika , I'd knit her up a pair of fingerless handwarmers called "Fetching" from Knitty. It was a simple pattern, even though I went one less on the wrist cables, and I was done in no time. Then I tried it on. Even taking into consideration that Stella has smaller hands, I think something's wrong...

I'm starting over, with three sets of cables at the wrist, and I'm going to actually, oh, I don't know, CHECK MY GAUGE. Hopefully, I'll have them done before the next cold snap.

Monday, January 08, 2007

This post brought to you by First Alert smoke alarms

I live in a one-bedroom apartment. I have SIX smoke alarms in said apartment. This is not of my doing. Frau Piss-me-off is solely responsible for this. When I moved in, I had two. One in my bedroom and one in the hall. I now have two in my bedroom (believe me, things NEVER get that hot in there), two in the hall, one in the living room, and one on the way down the stairs. (I live on the second floor and the stairs are part of my apartment.) Every time I bake or fry something on the griddle, one of the hall alarms goes off. I don't even have to be burning anything (because I don't. I'm a good cook), it just goes off at the first hint of smoke. Opening a window usually helps.

Last night, after Catherine browbeat me into seeing Children of Men, I came home and made breakfast for dinner. Eggs, sausage, pancakes--the works. Naturally, Mr. Sensitive hall alarm went off. That I expected; I opened the kitchen window and closed the door to the hall. Then, it was joined by the living room smoke alarm, followed soon after by the stairway smoke alarm. It should be noted that these three are all the same brand. The other hall alarm and the two bedroom alarms are a different brand and never go off.

So, I'm running back and forth between the various smoke alarms waving two magazines to create a breeze enough to dissipate the smoke. But I'm still cooking, so I have to run back to the kitchen, flip a pancake, run back to the various alarms waving frantically, when the doorbell joins the chorus. Oh look, my nosey neighbor, the Latina Gladys Kravitz, is wondering if the house is on fire. No, I'm just cooking dinner. Go away now. A pancake is burning. I finally had to turn on a fan and aim it toward the kitchen so it sucked any smoke out the kitchen window. Now my neighbors think I'm a bad cook, and that's worse for me than if I had actually burned down the house. But dinner was delicious.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Oh, the eyes, my eyes...

"Bambi" has always been one of my favorite Disney cartoons. I used to walk around quoting Flower all the time. I had a bunny named Thumper. I cry at just the thought of Bambi's mom dying. I use the word "twitterpated" on a regular basis. Therefore, you'll understand why makes this me so happy.