Friday, December 30, 2011

LAPD's New Wake-Up Call Service

It was already a restless night with several bizarre dreams and a headache that wouldn't go away, so I was in no frame of mind to receive a 5am phone call.  All of my family members are either in Pennsylvania or Illinois, and calls at that hour usually mean bad news.  But my family knows to call my cell.  This was my home phone.

The handset on my home phone is broken, so I can't answer the phone.  I have to wait for the caller to leave a message.  This is the message I received:

"This is an emergency message from the Los Angeles Police Department.  In the past three hours, LAPD's Hollywood Division has had approximately 11 suspicious vehicle fires.  You are requested to report any suspicious activity by calling 9-1-1, or (800 number)."  

I've lived in Hollywood for 16 years and have never once received an emergency message phone call from the LAPD.  To say it was disconcerting is an understatement.  As I climbed back under the covers to try to get that last hour of sleep before my alarm, I heard a series of sirens, helicopters, and police cars racing by.  Needless to say, I didn't get that last hour of sleep in.  To make matters worse, my friend's car is parked at my place while she's back east visiting her family, so I lay awake listening for strange noises out front and periodically checking to make sure our cars were not, in fact, on fire.  

It seems like the arsonists were concentrating on cars parked under buildings in carports, with the exception of Jim Morrison's former "Love Street" home, which sustained damage from a car fire that did not start in a garage. I'm selfishly glad I park on the street and right across from the Hollywood Division station.  My heart is going out to all those people whose cars were destroyed and apartments damaged.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

After tonight, I don't intend to go anywhere until Sunday

I took the day off to run a bunch of errands.  Not shopping errands, but legitimate things like renewing the visitor parking pass so Christina can park at my house, and returning a library book to a library that is not open late.  Unfortunately, I fell asleep on the sofa last night and then didn't get up early today like I wanted.  By the time I showered and got dressed, there was no time to do anything, except drive my friend to the airport.  Her flight left at 4:30, but she wanted to get there early since she just had surgery and moves slowly.  

We left my house and got on the 101.  I know. What was I thinking?  I was thinking I'd take the 105, since I can take the carpool lane with passengers. That's the freeway from Speed that "is finished on the map."  I guess everyone had the same idea because 20 minutes later we hadn't even made it to the Vermont exit.  Crappity.  So, we exited at Vermont (when we got there), headed south, and took the 10 to the 405, which was much smoother sailing.  I got Christina to the airport by 3:00, which is not as early as we'd hoped, but still plenty of time.  

Then, I decided to stop at the LADOT office on Pico to get a parking pass, so I headed back up the 405.  Or rather, I sat on the 405 forever until finally being able to exit on National and get my arse to Pico and Roxbury, where I secured rock star parking right up front and was in and out in five minutes.  

But I didn't make it to the library and now I'll have to pay a fine for Modelland.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Muse needs an intervention and an off switch

Here's an excerpt from an email I sent my sister a week or so ago:

I'm in full-on crazy knitter mode right now.  My muse (she inherited all the crazy from those southern women in our background) decided at 1am Saturday (11/26) morning that I absolutely HAD to make something (a specific something that shall remain a mystery for now), and that this something needed to be done by December 1st.  Four days?  No problem since I don't have anything to do at all.  Christina laughed at me and said, "Why on earth would you even attempt that?"  Christina clearly does not have a muse, or at least not a crazy ass Southern one like me.  "

That project?  I gave up. It's obvious I was only fooling myself if I thought I'd actually get it done in time for Christmas (December 1st was a pipe dream), or even my sister's birthday, which is December 30th.  I'll complete the project for next Christmas, but for now, I'm on to Plan B.

What's Plan B?  Well, my crazy muse decided I needed to learn a new knitting technique, master it, and make gifts for everyone on my list.  She decided this yesterday at about 11:30am.  I learned the technique.  Master?  We'll see.  But I have started one of the gifts.  I have to download a pattern for another one.  Oh, and there's these mittens and gloves I've yet to finish.  Damn, what is my problem?  And there's the so-soft-and-pretty-I-had-to-buy-it yarn I picked up last week, because I need to make myself something, right?  Did I mention the Holiday cards I'm making?  Because it seemed like a good idea?

Please, if you see my muse, get her black-out drunk, then lock her in a closet somewhere.  I do not need any more projects at this time.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

You say pretty tree; I say seven feet of fresh cut evil

It's that time of year again, when folks feel the need to litter public places with pine trees.  The lobby of our office building has been sporting wood since the day before Thanksgiving.  It was only a matter of time before my co-workers decided to spring for a tree for our own marbled entrance.  Damn you all.  

Before you think I'm all Scrooge-like and Grinchy, I'm not.  I'm super allergic to pine trees.  I know, it's ridiculous and it sucks. Just ask my siblings who had to settle for a fake tree every year. Eventually, I built up a tolerance while living in Northeast Pennsyltucky, but I've been away from the flora and fauna of the Poconos for some time now.  I just can't handle the pine anymore.  Unfortunately, I have to cover our front desk for an hour every day while the receptionist goes to lunch.  

About 20 minutes in, my head gets instantly stuffy, my face flushes, my throat gets scratchy, and my eyes start to burn.  Yes, I can ask someone else to cover, but not every day for the entire month of December. We just don't have that kind of staff.  I really should put my foot down and tell them, "No,  you cannot put a fresh tree in the lobby if you want me to continue my duties," but I'm basically a pansy and I don't want to sound like a bitch.  I mean, no one believes I'm allergic in the first place.  "What? How can you be allergic to Christmas trees?" has been the usual response.  

Next year.  Next year I'll put my foot down.  

Monday, December 05, 2011

This is payback for those ten years of feeling smug about not having to deal with parking in LA.

I'm pissed. No, that doesn't cover it. I'm FURIOUS!  Here's the story:  I got a hankering for something sweet last night around 7pm and headed out to 7-11.  As it was dark and my neighborhood isn't the best, I decided to drive. I got in the car, looked up and saw  a parking ticket on my windshield.  What?  Dude, why did I get a ticket?  I have a permit. I'm not parked in a driveway. It's not street cleaning day. Why?  I looked at the ticket and it said "Preferential Parking," which is silly because I have a parking permit, it's right there, see?  
That's me, all slack jawed, because someone stole* the parking sticker off the back of my car!!  Stole it! Right. Off. My. Car!  Now, the sticker is useless to them because even if they DID manage to get it to stick back on a car and look like new, not stolen and reapplied, the sticker has my plate number on it.  Of course, that is only a problem if the parking enforcement person actually compares the sticker to the plates.  I'm doubting their diligence as I have seen cars with other districts parking permits not get tickets and also because the ticket I have in my possession says my car was parked on Leland Way when it was actually parked on DeLongpre (a parallel street).  

So, now, I'll be spending my lunch hour at the parking office trying to reason with them about not getting this ticket, and paying for a replacement sticker, which I will affix with superglue and then score like folks do with their registration stickers.  Why does this shit always happen when I can't afford it?  Balls!!!

*I say it's stolen because in six years of car ownership and parking on this street through all kinds of weather and countless car washes, I have never had a sticker just fall off.

Friday, December 02, 2011

"Best Selling" is not synonymous with "Really Good" (Or "The Empress's New Clothes")

Long time readers know I love me some "America's Next Top Model."  It's pretty much the ONLY "reality" TV show I watch (mostly because I don't have cable, but also because I love Miss Jay).  This past Wednesday, Tyra had the four finalists posing and acting out scenes or themes (I was unclear) from her own work of fiction, Modelland.  Yes, my friends, Tyra Banks wrote a novel.  I'll pause here while you recover from this news.  

The scenes she had the girls doing were ridiculous and became more and more absurd.  Finally, Christina, who was watching it with me, and I decided we NEEDED to read this book, if for no other reason than to openly mock it.  I searched every library in the city and county and found two copies at two separate branches.  They are now in my possession.  

I have read the first chapter, and while I don't want to give anything away because Christina hasn't started reading yet, I think my title up top gives you an idea of what we're up against.  Remember, TyTy...even Snooki "wrote" a best seller.