Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Scourge of Summer Television

I'm really scraping bottom in my television viewing of late. In the past 24 hours, I've tuned into both Scott Baio is 45 and Single and Rock of Love with Bret Michaels. The question begging to be asked is what's the story with VH1 making reality shows with all of Pam Anderson's exes? Tommy Lee's already dabbled in reality TV a couple times, so surely, Kid Rock is up next.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Questionable Music Purchases

Diane had a brilliant post on her blog the other day which I am taking as a meme. Going through her CD collection, she found some items that made her ask herself, “WTF?” I thought I’d go through my collection and show you a few of my own questionable music choices.

Zebra. No clue what I was thinking.

I was a big fan of Miami Vice, and therefore, purchased the soundtrack to the show as shown. It’s dated, but it’s undeniable that Michael Mann changed the face of television by scoring it with popular music.

Unfortunately, I took a good thing way too far, which is the only excuse I have to explain my ownership of Philip Michael Thomas’ album, “Living the Book of My Life.”

My worst lapse in judgment to date, yes, it's Jingle Cats. I vaguely recall thinking it would be funny to play it for my cats. God, I must have been lonely and bored.

Acquired during my grunge days when I was buying up everything that came out of Seattle or anyone signed to Sub Pop, Candlebox holds up worse than Pearl Jam, who I was surprised to realize recently aren’t holding up well for me at all. I’m less surprised about Candlebox.

In my own defense, I didn’t actually spend money on any of these. I have a friend who was an intern at a local radio station. He’d just grab whatever promos he could get and leave them at my house. He’s given me a lot of good music, too, but this grouping represents an era best forgotten. (Goo Goo Dolls aren’t too bad, actually… I might exclude them from this mix.) The worst of this pile (yes, “pile”), obviously, is Creed. Someone punch Scott Stapp in the face for me.

I wanted to like this, although considering I don't love Janes Addiction, I'm not sure why I was so enthusiastic. But I really couldn’t get into Dave Navarro’s self-indulgent solo album, Trust No One. It’s completely forgettable.

I’m probably going to take grief for this, but here goes. I’ve come to DESPISE anything Billy Corgan-related. My disdain began when he fouled-up Landslide with his toneless and nasal “vocal.” (Was it truly a vocal? Seriously, it’s more like he vomited out the lyrics. I’ve heard more pleasing sounds come from tracheostomy patients.) Then, the more I saw him posture and listened to him brag about his unparalleled talent and genius, the more intolerable I found him. My intolerance blossomed into white hot hatred. Jack White is what Billy Corgan thinks he is. Corgan is a legend only in his own mind.

Mental Health

Did you guys know Sarah McLachlan is nuts? I read in a magazine that she named her new baby daughter Taa-Jah. Yeah, I’m thinking that royalties from Sarah’s next record should go straight into “Taa-Jah’s Eventual Psychotherapy Fund,” because you know when that kid reaches puberty, there will be some rage issues. I speak from experience. I have an unusual name (though it’s more common than Taa-Jah), and I hated my parents for throwing that burden on my shoulders. I was well into adulthood before I had any appreciation for my Hawaiian name while living on the mainland.

Update - Okay, looks like my source - People Magazine - got it wrong, and Sarah's daughter's name is actually Taja, not Taa-Jah. Much better. There's nothing worse than having nonsense do-re-mi syllables for your name.

Speaking of therapy, I should actually consider some mental health assistance myself for the bonehead move I made Friday night. I’ve yet to read or see a single Harry Potter book or movie. That’s not to say I never will; I just haven’t done so to date, and I’m not part of the frenzy. So imagine the look of horror on my face when I entered Barnes & Noble around 9:00 p.m. Friday night to quietly pick up a few books. It was like opening day at Disneyland, except the kids running around, diving into the backs of your knees were garbed in round glasses and maroon and gold scarves instead of mouse ears. Literally, I may well have been navigating through a Chuck E. Cheese on the first Saturday of summer, such was the chaos. It seriously ranks up there in Bad Decisions Potentially Leading to Bodily Injury with the time my friend had gone swimming at the USC pool the afternoon the Rodney King verdict was read.

Friday, July 20, 2007


...ever hire Starving Students Moving Company. They suck harder than a Hoover.

The actual guys who came to do the moving were great. I have no beef with them. In fact, they told me that my experience with Starving Students was unfortunately very typical, and that they have to deal with angry customers on a daily basis.

My brother and his wife got new living room furniture, so they offered me their green sofa I've always coveted (shown here with Cleo already stepping on the back cushions to find her perfect sleeping spot) to replace my beat-to-death red one. I called a few moving companies and got quotes. I called Starving Students first, and explained that I wasn't moving a whole household, just a single piece of furniture with the addition of hauling out a couple pieces from my house. They told me that their rates were hourly ($75/hour) with a 2-hour minimum, so even though my job was "light," it was no problem, but I would be expected to pay the minimum. Everyone had a 2- or 3-hour minimum, and Starving Students had the best hourly rate. When I called them back to book the job, I was told I'd get a confirmation call later that day. When the confirmation call came, I was then told about the additional charges, the "double drive-time" charge, plus a service charge that covered insurance or something. I had been quoted the double drive-time charge by other companies, but I was still pissed that these additional charges hadn't been explained in the first place. To keep my business, the guy offered me $10 off the hourly rate, so now I'm at $65/hour, and I did some quick math and determined that this was still cheaper than the other companies, and ended up hiring them, even though a bright red flag had just been waved in my face.

The next day, I received a call from the "Starving Students concierge," offering to help me with changing my utilities. WTF? I explained that I wasn't moving and ended the call, but I didn't like being telemarketed and noticed on my caller ID that the call came in from out of state. Has Starving Students sold my phone number? Probably.

Sofa-relocation day comes, and remember they are starting at my brother's house. My sister-in-law calls because they have shown up with three guys and are now quoting her an hourly rate something like $110, and is that okay? OH HELL NO it's not okay! She puts the guy on, he calls his main office, and they agree to not charge me for the third guy, that it was their bad. A few minutes later, I get another call, and they want to be pre-paid by my sister-in-law. I ask rhetorically how they can determine the drive-time before they've made the drive. Further negotiations ensue, and they agree to take a check from her which they'll give to me when I pay them on my end.

The guys arrived at my house and all was well, oh except for the extra charge of wrapping the sofa in plastic. Like I said up front, the movers themselves were great. But the business practices of Starving Students, in my opinion, are totally suspect, and I'd NEVER do business with them again. If I can forewarn others, I feel something good has come from my bad experience.

Next time, I'll just buy new furniture.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Emmy Mania

Emmy nominations were announced this morning. I'm going to comment on the main categories plus a few extra that probably won't be televised but are still noteworthy. Please heckle or agree as you see fit. Let's get to them, then, shall we?

Outstanding Drama Series

Boston Legal - Love this show
Grey's Anatomy - Jumped the shark this season, doesn't deserve the nod
Heroes - Don't watch it
House - A little too formula for me, but I think Hugh Laurie is fantastic
The Sopranos - Will win

Outstanding Comedy Series
*Entourage - Love it.
*The Office - Never miss it, always funny, had a great season.
*30 Rock - Very funny the couple times I've seen it. Waiting for the DVD.
Two and a Half Men - Really? I think this show sucks hard.
Ugly Betty - Don't watch regularly.

*I think it will be one of these. Too close to call.

Outstanding Lead Actor on a Drama Series
James Spader, Boston Legal - He's consistently awesome, brings it week after week.
Hugh Laurie, House - He's great.
Denis Leary, Rescue Me - Never seen it.
James Gandolfini, The Sopranos - Will win and probably deserves it.
Kiefer Sutherland, 24 - Oh, do I have a story about this guy. Go here and scroll down to get to the diary entry dated April 18. "Kipper" is code for Jack.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
*Ricky Gervais, Extras - In my Netflix queue, but I hear great things about his performance in Extras.
Tony Shaloub, Monk - Never seen or heard about this.
*Steve Carell, The Office - Great.
*Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock - Great.
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men - The fuck? NO!

*I think it will be one of these. Too close to call.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Sally Field, Brothers and Sisters - I like this show, and Sally is doing a great job as the matriarch.
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer - Never seen.
Mariska Hargitay, Lay & Order: SVU - Never seen.
Patricia Arquette, Medium - Never seen.
Minnie Driver, The Riches - I hope she wins, she's great in this. Why wasn't Eddie Izzard nominated?
Edie Falco, The Sopranos - Could have an edge as I think there could be a Sopranos sweep.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Felicity Huffman, Desperate Houswives - NO! DH should get ZERO nominations!
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine - Probably not.
Tina Fey, 30 Rock - I think she's gonna take it.
America Ferrara, Ugly Betty - Didn't she win last year?
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds - Never seen it, but I know she's already won.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

*Kevin Dillon, Entourage - My favorite guy on the show, tough competition.
*Jeremy Piven, Entourage - Piven is Ari Gold. I think the Entourage vote might split between Dillon and Piven.
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother - Completely over-rated.
*Rainn Wilson, The Office - I think Rainn's gonna win.
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men - FUCK NO!

* Too close to call.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
William Shatner, Boston Leagal - This is my pick. I know a lot of you don't watch this terrific show, but Shatner has created an iconic character in Denny Crane.
TR Knight, Grey's Anatomy - NO!!!! He seems like a good guy, and I'm sorry he got outed by a jackass cast mate, but he's NOT an Emmy-quality actor. Sorry, TR.
Masi Oka, Heroes - Doubtful, but he used to have a recurring role in Scrubs, so I kinda like this guy.
Michael Emerson, Lost - Don't watch it.
Terry O'Quinn, Lost - Don't watch it.
Michael Imporioli, The Sopranos - Might benefit from Sopranos sweep.

Oustanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Jaime Pressly, My Name is Earl - Jesus, I don't think so!
Jenna Fischer, The Office - Team Pam!
Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men - This show SUCKS!
Conchata Ferrell, Two and a Half Men - See above.
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty - She's plays evil very well. I think she could win.
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds - Don't watch it, no comment.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers and Sisters - Love the show, hate her character and performance.
Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy - Weakest Grey's nominee in this category.... no.
*Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy - She plays Bailey well.
*Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy - She's excellent. I think she's the best actress on a now-shitty show.
Aida Turturro, The Sopranos - Probably not.
*Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos - She'll probably win.

A couple extra categories I'm interested in:

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series
30 Rock • The Breakup • Scott Ellis, Director
Entourage • One Day In The Valley • Julian Farino, Director - Definitely a strong episode.
Extras • Episode 1 - Orlando Bloom • Ricky Gervais, Director, Stephen Merchant, Director
Scrubs • My Musical • Will Mackenzie, Director - This was awesome. I hope to God it wins!
The Office • Gay Witch Hunt • Ken Kwapis, Director - A great episode of The Office!
Ugly Betty • Pilot • Richard Shepard, Director

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series
Entourage • Martin Landau, Martin Landau as Bob Ryan - Please let Martin Landau win!
Extras • Sir Ian, Sir Ian McKellen as Himself
Monk • Stanley Tucci, Stanley Tucci as David Ruskin
My Name is Earl • Beau Bridges, Beau Bridges as Carl Hickey
My Name Is Earl • Giovanni Ribisi, Giovanni Ribisi as Ralph Mariano

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series
Boston Legal • Christian Clemenson, Christian Clemenson as Jerry "Hands" Espenson - This guy was so great that he's going to be a regular cast member this season.
ER • Forest Whitaker, Forest Whitaker as Curtis Ames
House • David Morse, David Morse as Michael Tritter
Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip • Eli Wallach, Eli Wallach as Eli Weintraub
Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip • John Goodman, John Goodman as Judge Robert Bebe
The Sopranos • Tim Daly, Tim Daly as J.T. Dolan

Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics
Family Guy • Peter's Two Dads • Fox • Fuzzy Door Productions in association with Fox TV Animation
Walter Murphy, Music
Danny Smith, Lyrics

MADtv • 1209 • Fox • Girl Group Co.
Bruce McCoy, Lyricist
Greg O'Connor, Music Composer
Jim Wise, Composer/Lyricist

Saturday Night Live • Host: Justin Timberlake - Song title: ÒDick In A BoxÓ
Katreese Barnes, Music By
Andy Samberg, Lyrics By
Akiva Schaffer, Lyrics By
Jorma Taccone, Music & Lyrics By
Asa Taccone, Music By
Justin Timberlake, Music & Lyrics By

Scrubs • My Musical: Song Title: ÒEveryting Comes Down to PooÓ
Debra Fordham, Lyrics by
Robert Lopez, Lyrics by, Music by
Jeff Marx, Lyrics by, Music by

Scrubs • My Musical - Song Title: ÒGuy LoveÓ
Paul F. Perry, Lyrics by, Music by
Debra Fordham, Lyrics by

These three were genius. Any one of them; or better yet, a 3-way tie!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Medellin the Film

Hey Entourage fans, check it out. Medellin the Film.

I don't have HBO, but I started watching the show ironically enough about the same time I ran into the crew shooting an episode. Now, I've watched every episode that's out on DVD, and I'm totally hooked. Johnny Drama is definitely my favorite (he's the heart of the show) with Ari close behind (whoever is writing Ari's dialogue is a freaking genius).

Now that I'm addicted to Entourage (and digging Flight of the Conchords), can an upgrade in my cable service be far behind?

World Clock

Be sure you play with this a bit; for example, reset it to NOW (on the top row) and watch the statistics.

(Damn, that clock is really wide. I'm going to have to write some long posts to push it down on the page where it won't block anything in my sidebar.)

Created by

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Suzanne Whang, Rescue Me!

If buying a house was as easy as an episode of House Hunters makes it look, I'd be a very happy girl. Of course, the reality is much more complicated. You might as well grab a beverage, this is a long post even though I've edited it considerably.

It’s been a week now since I made appointments with a couple realtors and looked at eight condos in the LBC. Seven of these eight were in downtown Long Beach in four pre-war buildings, now designated historic, that were constructed in the 1920s. To top it off, the realtor who showed me around these buildings is a preservation enthusiast like I am and had a lot of useful knowledge to impart, both historically and practically as a potential buyer in an old building. I’ll give you a tour of the buildings, all but one photo from multiple listings.

The Lafayette – The Lafayette is a complex of three adjoining buildings (the Lafayette, the Campbell, and the Broadway) that sits in the heart of the trendy East Village Arts District of town. The realtor I mentioned above is actually the president of the Lafayette Historical Preservation Group, and he keeps a business office in the commercial section of the complex. Of the three buildings in the complex, the unit I looked at was in the original Lafayette hotel which is the central portion of the complex and boasts an incredible Art Deco facade and detailing throughout. There is a gorgeous rooftop solarium in the adjacent Spanish Renaissance/Baroque-styled building called the Campbell (I’d have access).

The unit itself was a 1 bedroom just under 500 square feet and had original Deco tiles in the living room and bathroom. It had large windows in the front of the building overlooking the action on the street. The downside is that the kitchenette needed to be completely renovated. I don’t mind that it was small or that the appliances were the size of my Barbie playhouse when I was a kid, but the refrigerator and oven/stove are going to need replacing probably two nanoseconds after the deed is signed over to the new owner. There was also some other aesthetic work I would need to do, for example, one wall in the living room was completely mirrored. God, I hate mirrored walls. Otherwise, it was clean and bright and offered at a fair price.

This photo was taken from the solarium in the Lafayette on a gorgeous, sunny, Southern California day. Yes, the view is to freaking die for.

The Sovereign – I didn’t expect to like this Renaissance Revival building as much as I did. Although it has an extremely desirable Ocean Blvd. address, it always paled in comparison to the neighboring Villa Riviera along the Ocean Blvd. corridor, so I never gave it much more than mild curiosity at best. So The Sovereign turned out to be a treat for me. It has a fantastic rooftop solarium with ocean and city views. The lobby is quite grand and features an original Batchelder tile fireplace. I looked at two units here, one of which I hated and needs no further description.

The one I liked is up on a high floor in the corner with huge wraparound windows and million dollar views of the ocean, the Pike, the bridges, and the grande dame herself, the Queen Mary. It was the largest condo I saw that day at nearly 800 square feet with a huge main room featuring hardwood floors, high ceilings, and sort of a New York apartment feel (the bathroom window actually opens to an air shaft). There was a separate bedroom that adjoined to a wonderful old school dressing area and huge walk-in closet with access into the bathroom (think Carrie Bradshaw’s closet space). The kitchen had new appliances, but otherwise needed some cosmetic work. Other than the kitchen, it was awesome. It was also the most expensive place I looked at and is possibly a little bit outside of my budget.

Here's the view on a gloomy day from the unit I like in the Sovereign. Angelenos - If the camera was moved an inch to the right, you'd see that the rest of the view includes the sunset over Palos Verdes. I'm seriously in love with this place.

This photo is of the Sovereign's solarium. The view is similar to the picture above, but grander because it's a 270-degree ocean view.

The California – The California is the least impressive of the historical buildings I saw, but one that is still completely livable. I saw two units, both small one bedroom/one bath properties. Both were cute, but one really stood out because it had old school exposed brick and an updated kitchen and bathroom. They were the same price, and although I think they are too small for me, I’d definitely choose the one with the great kitchen, exposed brick, and stained glass details. I'd just have to sell all my furniture and start over with new, small-scale pieces. Right next door to the California is my favorite building of all...

The Willmore –I had high expectations for the Willmore, and frankly, the building was even grander than I had imagined. If you want to read about its architecture, I’ve provided the description from the Long Beach Historical Society in italics below. It’s lengthy but describes its palatial Italian styling better than I ever could.

To a layperson like me, it was simply stunning, and best of all, it was impeccably maintained. Hallways in these old buildings tend to be pretty cavernous and stuffy. In the Willmore, the hallways are freshly painted, clean, and brightly lit. The elevators are updated and not scary (the elevator in the California is terrifying). Like the rest, there’s a happy rooftop solarium. The downside? This building started life as a hotel, and therefore, most of the units are studios. They are largish studios, they have tremendous storage, but they don’t have a separate bedroom. Keep in mind that I work at home; that would mean my life would exist – working, sleeping, living – in a single room. I saw two identical units, one vacant, and one owner-occupied. The vacant one has been for sale for more than a year, it needs updating, and is priced to sell at a significant 20 percent reduction in price from the owner-occupied space. The owner-occupied unit was beautifully appointed and updated, and it is brilliant example of efficient living. Seriously, it should be featured on HGTV’s show “Small Space, Big Style.”

Here's the solarium at the Willmore. Obviously, the city solarium was de rigueur to gracious living in the 20s and 30s. What the heck, let's look at one more view of it.

Yeah, it's sweet in the extreme. And now for something completely different...

After my tour of the downtown buildings, I went and saw a "newer" condo, and by newer I mean 25 years old instead of 85 years old. It was nice if not somewhat generic. It had popcorn ceilings and beige carpet instead of hardwood floors and plaster walls. It's in a nice bedroom community instead of the urban scene. It also had a boatload of amenities which are really attractive including central air, an in-unit washer and dryer, a dishwasher, travertine floors and counters in the bathroom, underground parking without an additional fee, a fireplace, a skylight, and a private balcony.

Therein lies the crux of my dilemma, one I'm no closer to solving than before the day began. Do I want the charm and culture of the urban address (pictured here is the Sovereign unit with the million dollar views) or do I want the amenities and easy living of the burbs (see interior photo in last paragraph)? I don't freaking have the answer!

If you've made it this far, here's the info on the Willmore from the Long Beach Historical Society and even more pictures of this fantastic building.

Description of the Willmore - Architects in the early twentieth century were confronted with a major dilemma when designing buildings in classical style: How could they use the historical forms originally meant for one- to three-story public and religious buildings in the tall modern structures meant for contemporary functions? The Willmore offers an example of the solution: A careful copying of a fifteenth century Italian palace, with the middle heightened to accommodate the required stories.

The first two floors of the Willmore tower serve as the palace base, with the heavy stone foundation - quoining - and large windows terminated by the molding above the second floor windows. The third through the eleventh floors are the body of the palace, relatively devoid of ornament to strongly state the height of the building. At the top there is an implied entablature and cornice at the parapet wall. Here, in plaster, the cornice ledge is held up by braces fastened with three bronze rivets. Befitting a palace, surfaces between the braces are decorated with shields and fleur-de-lis above a hound's tooth border.

The colonnade, an attractive feature of Italian architecture, is used at the lobby entrance and again at the solarium at the top of the building. The lobby colonnade is in actual scale and gives an accurate replication of an Italian building. Featured are a tiled plaza, a fountain with mosaic decoration, and arched openings into the base of the tower. At the top is a smaller scale colonnade repeated as windows and balcony for the solarium.

Italian palace ornamentation is used on the friezes at the base and lower molding, typical balconies at the third and seventh floors, and on the complex cornice at the top of the tower. The required mechanical enclosures on the roof are housed in a replication of a typical Italian village - small white houses randomly ordered with small windows and rustic tile roofs.

Palace scale ornaments and furniture are used inside the lobby and faithfully preserved to this day. The terrazzo floor, a priceless example of 1920's craftsmanship, is black and white squares set diagonally to the building grid - a hallmark of Italian style. Balconied windows and a grand fireplace with a black onyx facing reinforce the style. The ceiling of a palace is reproduced in plaster and decorated in colors typical of Mediterranean style during the Renaissance. At the center of the lobby is a huge amber glass skylight which floods the room with light during the day. Residential rooms are finished in generous wall base molding, clean wall surface, and well detailed trim at the ceiling.

In summary, the Willmore is a significant architectural landmark because it is a good representation of Italian Renaissance palace style, it is rich in palatial detailing, and it is a well preserved example of a luxury residential hotel in Long Beach in the 1920's.


Today's supposedly a lucky day, so I picked up 7 mega million quick picks (you get an 8th free, no clue why). Hopefully, I'll be the sole winner of the $126 million jackpot. Then, my pathetic little house-hunt will be much less stressful, and $30,000 won't seem like such a big deal, and $50,000 won't cause me to have palpitations.

What would I do if I won? Day one, immediately, I'd take a leave of absence from work. (A testament to how much I like my job that I wouldn't just up and quit without a second thought.) After that phone call is made, first up, I'd buy a new car. I have no clue what kind of car, just something NEW with functioning air conditioning. Then, I'd drive in air-conditioned comfort to Duxiana and buy a Dux bed. To the uninitiated, a Dux is the greatest mattress in the world. They also cost about $5000. A friend of mine has one, and before she moved out of town, I used to house-sit for her when she traveled so I could sleep on it. So my first action items would be to attend to my immediate comfort. Then, I'd gather my family together to celebrate with a blowout meal that first night at a fabulous restaurant. I'd tip the wait-personnel extravagantly as I've always wanted to do that. Besides my family, I'd keep my good news to myself for awhile.

The rest of the first week, I'd pay off the (very little) debt I have and any that my siblings and mother may have. I'd make donations to the charities I support and the ones I always wished I could support but could never get to. And the house-hunt would begin... not the house-hunt by today's standards, but the search for the dream house. Or maybe I'd just get a fabulous penthouse loft to tide me over in comfort until I could envision exactly what I'd want in the long-term. I'd order everything on my Amazon and iTunes wishlist. I'm not some crazy shop-a-holic, I'd just get through my list of CDs and books I keep all at once instead of a couple a month. That's how I envision the first several days.

Regarding the real house-hunt, the one on today's budget, I looked at eight condos yesterday which I'll post about later. Right now, I'm going to go practice The Secret and Visualize myself depositing $63,000,000 into my bank account (yeah, I'd take the lump sum cash out over the 26 annual payments).

What would you do if you hit the jackpot?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Two Funerals and a Period, Redux

I realize I’ve written very little lately. My last post, “Two Funerals and a Period,” was brief not because I didn’t want to write about it, but because I was so freaking exhausted, physically and emotionally, from two funerals and a period all within five days’ time.

Briefly, the first funeral was a memorial service for the husband half of my parents’ best friends who died in January. I wrote about it at the time and won’t rehash it here. His widow wanted to have the service at her summer home up at Lake Almanor which is a couple of hours northwest of Reno, driving back into California. It was a fantastic weekend in a gorgeous setting and a true memorial to a life well-lived of a man well-loved. My mom flew in, and we traveled en masse as a family. Actually the day we flew back to Los Angeles, we flew over the Lake Tahoe fire. It was impressive from the air above it, and this was the day before the massive destruction of homes began. I can’t imagine what it looked like the day after we saw it. Anyway, before and while I was traveling, one of my neighbors who wasn’t sick at all collapsed suddenly and was in a coma for a week before she died the night I got home from Reno. Her illness and subsequent demise totally sucker-punched me and the rest of her friends in the neighborhood, not to mention her family. I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating… shock and grief are two separate things, and her family has a long road ahead.

All in all, the week entailed lots of early mornings and late nights, not to mention travel and elevation changes. Add hormonal shifts to that formula, and I was beat by Friday. I spent the weekend recuperating, my most ambitious activity being hosting my knitting group on Friday afternoon and watching the first season of Entourage on DVD on Saturday.

I had one slightly interesting celebrity sighting last week. I was at my Wednesday night knitting group, and they were filming something in the marina where the yarn shop is located. A couple of us went over to find out what was filming (Entourage). Kevin Dillon walked by us, and he’s not much taller than me (5 foot 2), although I’m sure his IMDB page claims differently. (I just checked, and it says he’s 5 foot 9. That, my friends, is known as fiction.) No sign of Grenier or Piven, and I was disappointed by the absence of the former. I would have enjoyed feasting my eyes on his fineness as I am a fool for dark-haired and –skinned men with light eyes. If I have a “type,” that’s it. Anyway, if you are an Entourage regular, watch for a yacht party scene with the revelers dancing atop the boat and Johnny Drama donning a light-colored suit. LA and the knitting posse were there.

Oh yeah, I saw Knocked Up with my brother, sister-in-law and mother. It was the perfect comedy to see in the middle of an otherwise heavy week, but I should offer this warning. You might not want to see Knocked Up with a parental type sitting next to you. My brother and I were laughing our collective asses off, but some of the pot and sex humor was kind of uncomfortable with our mother sitting between us. And in case you don’t know, there is a scene where they actually show part of the birth. I understand Katherine Heigl was wearing a stunt vagina, but my brother is not yet a father, and he’d never seen a woman crowning before. Good times.