Sunday, July 26, 2009

Million Dollar Idea Up For Grabs

Lately, at least three times a week, I've been waking up at exactly 4:00am. Usually, I'm just cranky because I'm awake so early. This morning, I had an idea brewing, so I didn't mind being awake.

As you know, the parking situation on my street sucks. There are three bars/ clubs within walking distance whose patrons like to forgo valet service and find street parking. Residents of my street petitioned the city and went to meetings until we finally got it zoned as a Permit Only area after 6pm. This doesn't stop the club goers from parking there, but it gives us a small satisfaction knowing they are likely to pay $53 in parking fines. However, the clubbers are not my biggest enemy. No, it's my neighbors who don't understand the finer points of parallel parking, like if you're the first one on the street, pull all the way up to the red zone. Or, if you're second or third, pull up to the car in front of you leaving adequate (NOT AMPLE) space between the cars for you or them to pull out. Last night when I got home, I noticed that the car in front of me was getting ready to pull out. I sat in my car and waited so that I could pull forward. The woman in the car gave me dirty looks (like I was stealing her spot even though the rest of the street was empty) but finally pulled out, after which I proceeded to pull forward. An hour later when I went out to take my trash can around back, the woman had returned and left enough room for half a car to fit between us, thereby cutting the parking area on the street from 7 cars to 6 1/2.

So, here's my idea--movable plates (or something, although not a conveyor belt because that would not work for step 2, which you'll see later) on the side of the road would move the parked cars closer so that everyone is equally spaced and you can fit the maximum amount of cars parked regardless of any driver's skills. The first car pulls up all the way to the red (or not, it won't really matter), parks, gets out, and walks away. The automatic car mover would move it forward (or back if the driver overshot) so that it is perfectly aligned with the red zone. The next car pulls up behind the first and does the whole parking thing. Then the car mover moves that car so that it is right behind the first, leaving enough room fore and aft so that cars don't get scratched. See Exhibit A.
For the purpose of demonstration, only four fit on this street. Nina, in her pink Mini, wants to leave. She gets in her car. The automatic car movers sense the shift in weight (not saying anything about the driver, the movers are just very sensitive) and begins moving the other cars in line forward and backward, giving Nina sufficient space to pull out of the spot and --beep beep--she's off to someplace fabulous or possibly work. The automatic car mover then readjusts the cars. See Exhibit B.
You get the picture, right? Now, go! Run with it! It's yours for the taking. I have no inventor-type skills and still believe things run on Elfin Magic, so it's of no use to me. If you can make this work, I will not ask you for a cut of the profits, just that you install the first one on my street and name it something cool like the AFPA* or NMD**. Maybe then I won't get the hairy eyeball from the lady in the white "Jesus Saves" Xterra when I wait to pull forward.

*Asshole Free Parking Apparatus
**No More Douchebags
Obviously, these names would not work for the mass marketing of said invention, so I'm not holding out much hope on you using them.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Beach Baby

I'm going to San Diego tomorrow. Nope, I'm not going to Comic Con, but I am going to be near Comic Con, so if I see anyone exciting, I'll try to sneak a photo. I'm all set with my SPF 1 million sunscreen, plenty of water for hydration, and a plethora of road trip snacks that are both delicious and low calorie. I'm still torn on which sunglasses to take, but I probably won't bring a hat. I know! Crazy talk! I don't wear hats well. Apparently, I never have.

In honor of Vintage Photo Friday, I give you an adorable photo of me at approximately 8 months old at Beach Haven, New Jersey, clearly unhappy with the hat on my head.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, July 20, 2009

More strangeness afoot at Chateau de Frau

Guess what I learned this weekend (well, I already knew it, but it was confirmed this weekend)--You all have much more interesting lives than I do. Y'all are out doing and being and all I accomplished over this weekend was to read a book I bought several years ago. It was so hot in my apartment that every time I tried to muster some energy, I simply collapsed on my bed with the fan blowing full-force over me while sipping ice water or the lemonade I managed to make on Sunday night. Yes, folks, it's that time of year--the "Laurie Ann's apartment is powerful hot" time of year. I'll try not to dwell on it.

For some time now, I have been feeling what I assumed were little earthquakes. I've lived in LA long enough to know what it feels like. I'll be lying in bed or sitting on my sofa and feel the familiar rolling shake, but I've thought nothing of it because they are never strong enough to be concerned. Sometimes, especially when I feel a few of them in a row, I think, "It's just me. I'm making the bed/ sofa move." But then I look around the room and other things will be moving, like the necklaces that hang from nails in my bedroom, or the antenna on top of my TV. Last night, I felt a fairly strong rolling shake. The antenna moved, the lemonade in the glass on the coffee table swayed, the Mardi Gras beads that hang from my CD tower were clanking against the metal--in short, all signs that the earth was indeed moving. I heard no helicopters overhead or large trucks on the street. However, upon checking the official website, no earthquake was recorded. Hmmm, peculiar.

This morning, while in the bathroom doing some paperwork, I felt it again. The liquid soap in the dispenser and the Listerine in the bottle on the sink were both swaying. Clearly, the house, if not the earth, was moving. After it stopped, I rocked and stomped and tried to make the liquids move but to no avail, so I know it wasn't me. I checked the website again, and no earthquake reports. I returned to the bathroom to shower and found the pom pom hanging from a shelf (don't ask) swinging wildly. The soap and mouthwash were sloshing. What the ?

So, I have some theories.
A) Chateau de Frau is haunted and the poltergeist just likes to rock.
B) Chateau de Frau is located over a hell mouth and the Seal of Danzalthar is fixin' to blow wide open.
C) Chateau de Frau is barely held together and the whole building sways in the slightest breeze until the day a good strong Santa Ana blows it down.

What do you think?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday--Every kid needs a cool aunt in California

My mother was born in New Jersey, but spent her tween and teen years in southern California (Taft and Hemet). She moved back to Pennsyltucky at the tender age of 19 and was a young bride not too long after that. She met my father when she was a child (5 or so) when my father's older sister married my mom's older brother (Don't think about it; your head will explode) and a romance kindled when she came back to town. The rest of the family (except the two sons who lived in Pennsylvania and Hawaii) remained in California. Mom has/had two sisters--Frances (aka Wicki), who is about 14 years older, and a twin, Janet. Just saying "I have relatives in California" made me feel cooler than the other kids.

Growing up, we never met Aunt Janet but Aunt Wicki visited quite a bit and each visit was like Christmas. Aunt Wicki is the sweetest woman and cute as a bug. My first memories of her are when she was going through a divorce and spent a few weeks (if not longer) visiting Mom and Uncle Bill. She went camping with us and joined us on this trip to Gingerbread Castle* in New Jersey.So young and already seeing pink elephants. Tsk, tsk.

Aunt Wicki was married again in 1970 to a man named Harvey. Here's a photo from their wedding day.Uncle Harvey was very religious (a little too religious), but he was fun. They would drive across the country in a camper/van which they parked in our side yard when visiting. We kids were allowed to hang out and watch TV in the van, which gave the adults some time to play cards and enjoy adult beverages. Aunt Wicki always brought fixings for burritos and we thought it was the most exotic food ever. You couldn't get the good stuff in Pennsyltucky. Aunt Wicki was cool just because she lived in California (even though she lived in Corona). Of course, swinging outfits like this didn't hurt, either.
Aunt Janet, Mom's twin, was single most of her adult life, but married twice later on. There's hope for me yet! Here's a photo of her on her wedding day in 1974 in Las Vegas with her new husband, Tiny.While I looked just like my mom when I was younger, I think I look a lot like Aunt Janet now. I finally met her at her brother's 50th Wedding Anniversary party. She was a hoot, if a bit eccentric. Sadly, Mom and her twin didn't get along, but Aunt Janet always tried and sent us wacky gifts, like a crate of raisins when she lived in Fresno or an electric hair detangling comb which just got caught in our hair most of the time.

Now, I'm the cool aunt in California. I hope I can live up to the legacy Aunt Wicki left, although I don't think I could rock a zebra print quite like her.

*I encourage you to click the link and check out the photos. See the gingerbread men? Somewhere there is a photo of Kate and me holding hands with them. I'm totally into it and smiling. Kate, however, hated it. It's the funniest picture. Right, Katie?

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Sun is shinin' in the sky
there ain't a cloud in sight
It's stopped rainin'
ev'rybody's in a play
And don't you know
it's a beautiful new day*

After very many bad days, things are starting to look up.
First, there was the super nice parking officer who warned me about the impending impounding so that I could save Jamie from jail time.
There was a delightfully good time had with my friends on Sunday.
Despite having meetings upon meetings all week long, it's been pretty stress free.
There's a new temp at work who is available to do my bidding.
My friend, Toy, made me some beautiful earrings, which I don't have photographic evidence of because I haven't worn earrings in so long I had to re-pierce my right ear and it's swollen and red so I took the earrings off. Trust me, they're spectacular.
I had a delicious dinner with some lovely ladies tonight and it was fun (Thanks again, Ellen).
The parking guy at the Farmer's Market let everyone who waited in the long line out of the parking lot free of charge (and I had been there for over three hours).

Thank you, PTB**, for seeing fit to make things brighter in Laurie Ann Land.

*Mr. Blue Sky--ELO
**Powers That Be

I have found my soulmate

Unfortunately, he's back home.

I read the following article on my hometown newspaper's website:

A horse is dead after it was hit by a car in Eldred Township on Thursday afternoon. According to witnesses, a horse got loose from a property on Kunkletown Road just west of Country View Lane around 3 p.m.

A woman — who may have been speeding, according to witnesses — driving east on the road hit the horse when it wandered out onto the road, knocking it back 30 feet. The unidentified horse owner was following the horse in a golf cart, and was hit by the horse in the cart when it was thrown from the road.

Okay, it's kind of sad, but kind of hilarious at the same time.

Then I read the commentary and this one just killed me.

Farmboy3, will you marry me?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

No one to blame but myself

I want to thank everyone for the sympathy over my tire situation. It means a lot to me. I realize it was my fault in the first place for not getting the alignment fixed sooner. After all, it's been a year since I hit the pole in the parking garage which caused the alignment issue in the first place.

In other "ain't life grand" news, my poor little car was seconds away from impound, or a good booting at any rate. "Again?" you say. Yes, I am, well, sometimes not the most responsible person. It's a long saga of an expired parking permit compounded by many parking tickets that I couldn't afford. Well, as I was getting into my car on Thursday morning to come to work, a very kind parking enforcement officer pulled up alongside my car and told me, "You know they've been looking for your car?" I said, "They have? It's always here." He then told me that it was supposed to be booted or impounded today and that the other officer parked up the street was waiting to do just that. "I wouldn't park here until you get it taken care of," he warned. I thanked him profusely, because really, they could have been dicks about it, and drove off. I had to borrow money from work (an option I was hoping to avoid unless I found an awesome apartment without a Frau landlady) and go pay the past due parking tickets to save Jamie. I also got a new permit so I could park without fear. Hooray.

Now, I'm at work doing inventory. Well, sort of doing inventory. I can only do so much by myself and the person who said he might help me isn't here yet (and may not show up at all). I have counted what I can but I have big plans for the actual storage room which require manly types to assist me. I shall have to wait until Monday...or Tuesday.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Apparently, the Universe didn't hear me

[or the Universe does not respond to threats]

Last Wednesday, I lamented the many pitfalls of June and asked, nay, threatened July to be a better month. So far, July is not being especially cooperative. I was going to try to drive on the spare (since it was a full-sized Goodyear and all) until mid-week when I could get some money and head to the tire store. But this morning on my way to work, the spare was making a funny noise and a motorcyclist driving alongside of me was looking mighty concerned. At the light he tapped on my window and told me "your tire doesn't look good. You might want to have it checked." So, I drove around the block and up Highland to the Just Tires store and waited for the nice young men to open the doors so I could get a new tire. They took one look at my tire and said, "Uh, yeah, your alignment is way off. Your other tire is ready to blow,too." So, that's two new tires at $103 each, and I had to promise them I'd come back on payday to get my alignment done. Mind you, the money I spent on tires was earmarked for my electric bill. A friend (Thank you!) paid my electric bill on his credit card and I'll pay him back when I get my check. Is it really only July 6th?

Dear July and the Universe in general,
Please accept my apology for that mild threat I issued on July 1st. I understand that you are in no way obligated to "shape up" on my account. If it pleases you, I would be most grateful if you were to ease up a bit on the awful things and maybe even send some goodness and positive humors my way. I will in turn make a concerted effort to be kind and considerate to others and to make the world better.
Thank you,
Laurie Ann

Sunday, July 05, 2009

I wouldn't mind being a little dependent

My friend Tina is great. You may remember her from the wedding in Jamaica. Truly awesome gal. Salt of the earth, she is. And her husband Gary? He's a sweetheart and treats her like a princess. Tina and Gary throw terrific parties and game nights and they always invite me, but I often decline. Not that I don't want to hang out with them, because I do. It's just that, well, how can I put this...they live in the freakin' Valley toward Woodland Hills. However, I've been a bad friend, so when Tina asked me to come out for a 4th of July party, I said "Yes, Indeedy. What can I bring?" I brought dessert--festive cupcakes and cookies.

The traffic sucked (of course) and it took an hour to drive from Hollywood to Winnetka in the heat. My ball of yarn tattoo is now a red ball of yarn tattoo. The cupcake frosting melted a bit by the time I arrived but we just put them in the fridge and headed out to the pool area. The party was great and the Holy Handsome neighbor who joined us for pool volleyball made it even better. Seriously, this guy was just ridiculously handsome but also really fun and considerate. And straight! I know!!

Okay, so short story long, the night wound down and I headed out around ten o'clock. I made my way down to the freeway entrance and as I was getting on the freeway, I heard an awful noise. "What is that noise?" I asked Jamie. I popped open the sunroof. "Is there a helicopter overhead? Who's car is making all that noise? It's so loud." Oh, it was my car. The rear passenger side tire had blown out and the awful noise was me riding on the rim until I could get off the freeway, which fortunately, was not that far but still far enough that I'm sure I didn't do it any favors. I called AAA and they sent someone right away. Yes, I know how to change my own tire, but why do that when I pay good money for the AAA service. I'm glad I called, though, because they lug nuts were rusted on there pretty tight. The tire was changed and I was back on the road in no time flat with a full sized spare, no less. Thank you, VW.

Anyway, the point of this story is that it was late and dark as I sat waiting for the mechanic and I couldn't get in touch with Tina to tell her what happened. I was going to call Criss just to have someone to talk to but I remembered she's in Georgia this week. I couldn't call my family since they're all on either Central of Eastern time. And that's when a little self pity crept in. Ordinarily, I'm okay with not having a someone. I'm fairly independent and I'm okay with being alone. But it would have been really nice to have someone to call, someone who was waiting for me to come home and worried, or just someone to come home to so I could say, "You are not going to believe what happened..."

So, pretend y'all are my roommates and I just came home, stormed in the door, tossed my keys on that table inside the door, dropped my back pack by the chair, flopped down and said, "You are not going to believe what happened." (now go back and read the third paragraph and say something encouraging and/or commiserative)