Thursday, April 26, 2012

Goofy Gladiators

Last night was my last night, and what a swan song it was. Of course I’m talking about the weekly Cage Match show at the Upright Citizens’ Brigade Theater. I am an unabashed Heather & Miles fan-dame. (I can’t say “fan chick” for obvious reasons.) With four exceptions, none of you ever heard of either Heather or Miles, and for that you have Auntie’s sympathy.

Although they won to face the final gauntlet next week, I won’t be there. Not because of last night, I have what grown-ups call a "scheduling conflict" for the next few Wednesdays. And without Heather and/or Miles, there’s no way I’m trying to park in Hollywood at eleven o’clock at night ever again. It’s been a captivating experience. I mean like Stockholm syndrome, but we’ll get to that.

Normally, to attend Cage Match, you make the reservations sometime before the day of the show, show up about 20-30 minutes early, wait in line, pay $5 and voila. Each week Heather & Miles ascended, the reservations went faster and faster. Last week it took 14 minutes to sell out. We arrived about an hour early, waited IN THE RAIN amid a crowd of noisy cool kids. Imagine being jammed next to a moderately stinky trashcan, in the rain, for an hour, for a titular 11 p.m. show time. We were the last two to get in. There were 40 or 50 people in line behind us hoping for stand-by seats. Inside, it was standing room only.

I have a love/hate relationship with the audience. It’s 98% twenty-ish hipster, and they are amazingly annoying. They pose and they sneer and they get up my nose. But pack a room with them and their enthusiasm is infectious (literally, my throat is sore and I’m coughing today) and fun. That’s where the Stockholm syndrome comes in. Even your cranky old Auntie screamed “Luchador mask!” at the appropriate moment. I can’t tell you why without violating an unspoken covenant.

Harrison Brown is in charge of the show. He’s cute as a button and a shrewdly good host. I’d watch his stand-up anywhere, if it started at least before 9 or 10. Every week he puts together a brief montage of the show and posts it on youtube. Don’t look. Improv isn’t funny without context. It’s like reading a list of punchlines without setups. Please don’t tell Mr. Brown I said that, though. I like him, and he works very hard.

Last night Heather & Miles were so good, so in sync and so funny that even in shallow, superficial, star-fucking Hollywood, they beat out two current sit-com stars and their really funny team-mate. I love Heather & Miles. I miss them already. They had damned well better win next week, even without me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

More Boobs!


Wacky Hijinks At The DMV

There’s a dirty little secret that isn’t a secret at all about jury duty. Go ahead, turn and spit, I’ll wait.

Done? Good. Now, some people get called more often than others to do jury service. I’m one of them. (God forbid, knocking wood, oh wait, I’m clear til October – nah, knocking wood anyhow.) Well, during my last interminable day in the jury room, I found out that there are two pools whence summonses come, one is the DMV and the other is the registrar of voters. If your name is different on your license than the way it’s listed when you vote, you’re called twice as often. The Jury Room Nanny herself told us to fix it.

You can be sure I checked. Of course my full name, with middle name, is on my driver’s license. I’m registered to vote with just my first name, middle initial and last name. Since I’m not a complete idiot, I opted to change the voter registry. After all, why deal with the DMV if I don’t have to? Turns out the voter registration form only has room for the middle initial. Sigh.

Today, for reasons which are not mine to tell, I ended up taking someone on a mad last-minute dash to the Pasadena DMV. What the hell, I was there anyhow.

I waited in the non-appointment line, got up to the window, and asked the man to change my name on my driver’s license. He demanded court papers. I had none. I explained about the court telling us to change our licenses to match our voter registration. He said that I couldn’t change my license without a court decree showing my new name. We went back and forth. The line behind me was ready to do me grievous harm for blocking the window.

“Please, it’s still my name. I just want to list it under my middle initial, not my whole middle name.”

The DMV man replied, “You want! You want! I don’t care what you want!”

It didn’t take too much begging to get a fresh voter registration form. You know, the one with only enough space for a middle initial. I think I’m going to have a two-part first name. Maybe if I toss some salt over the form and cross my fingers whilst I fill it out, or hold my breath or turn my clothes inside out. Hey, you never know. Besides, it's the best I can do.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Boobs! Boobs! Boobs!

Yeah, well, turns out I’m not above a bit of pandering.

There’s a post I put up back in January of 2009 called “Mardi Gras Boobs”. I haven’t read it since then, although I do recall the gist. It’s not really about boobs, but there is a reference to someone’s boobs.

It took a while for me to figure out how to read the stats, but that is definitely my most popular post.

Ergo, the pandering. In conclusion, let me say once more, “Boobs!”

Monday, April 16, 2012

Auntie Says

Your lives are so good you don’t need help. Mazel tov! Auntie is going to help you anyhow. But unlike all those people who are trained or inspired or otherwise motivated, I’m just going to ask you to do stuff.

Today’s request is something that turned out to be a bit of a life-changer for me, and I think it might do the same for you. If not, remember, you didn’t even have to buy a fortune cookie.

Instead of checking Facebook again or watching that movie trailer for the fifth time, try this: I want you to ask someone a question.

No, it’s not that easy. Here are the rules:

1. The question can’t be about you. Not even in a cute passive implied way.
2. You have to ask one person, no posting online for the community to see.
3. It has to be a real question. This means you don’t already know the answer. If you think you know the answer but aren’t positive, pick another question.
4. You have to listen to the answer.

That’s it. Hit up a stranger on the street. Text your buddy, or leave a voice mail for your mom. What time is it? What phase of the moon? What’s your sign – no, maybe not that one. I’m not handing you the answers, which in this case, like on Jeopardy, are the questions.

Oh, and of course it would be nice if you said thank you, and maybe even responded, but that’s extra credit and not part of the assignment. Good luck!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Never-Ever Land

Once upon a time while I was living in San Diego, they built a Mormon temple. It was open to the public for a limited time. Tickets were free, but you had to sign up, dress appropriately and wait in line for about two hours. I had no problem with any of that, and it was near where I lived, but I never went.

There was a surfer dude in my kung fu class. I don’t remember his name. He lived across town from the temple but he went on the tour. He even borrowed a button-down shirt so he could dress properly. No, he wasn’t Mormon. He wasn’t even a Christian. He went because after the building was consecrated he’d never be allowed in again and he couldn’t stand that.

He couldn’t explain why it was so important to him, any more than I could explain why it didn’t matter to me. ‘Twas a mystery, but I think I solved it after all these years. I think he was afraid of “never”. A lot of people are afraid of “never.” Tell someone that they’ll never do something and suddenly they want to. Not me, I’m fine with it.

But for most people, normal people, “never” is a scary word indeed. Our hiney brains still believe the child’s propaganda that’s it’s possible to be anything we want to be, which also implies going anywhere we want to go and doing anything we want to do. That false promise, or those false implications, did more permanent damage than a shelf full of meaningless trophies.

There’s lots of stuff you’ll never do, lots of places you’ll never go and lots of stuff you’ll never be. Suck it up. I will never be a ballerina, and I live with that every day.

Still, sometimes when I see a particularly nice picture or read an interesting history of a place I have zero interest in seeing up close even if I could, I remember the Mormon temple. And if I had it to do over again, you know what? I still wouldn’t bother.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

She Said

I took Melva to the doctor today. (Just a check-up, thanks for asking.) I waited with my book in the waiting room. A young woman ignored the row of empty chairs and sat right next to me. She was on her phone loudly, not using her indoor voice at all.

I had to close the book after a couple of minutes’ noise, not that I cared about the custom designer couch she’s buying. I glanced around. She was getting evil stares from the receptionists and nurses, as well as the other waiting patients. Oh, did I mention that she was very expensively dressed? The rest of us weren’t. She seemed to think that it somehow justified her disruption of our environment.

I swiveled in my chair so that I faced her, my book closed on my lap, openly watching with polite interest and a smile. She interrupted herself mid-sentence and said to me, “Yes?”

“Since I can’t read while you’re talking, I thought I’d listen to you instead.” I answered courteously.

“Fine.” She nodded. She did not lower her voice. She continued the call as if I wasn’t there.

Maybe she’s used to ignoring servants at home. Luckily she was summoned into the doctor’s sanctum before she could finish dialing her next call. It’s just as well. Everyone else was getting restless and for posterity’s sake, I don’t think a revolution should ever start in a gynecologist’s office.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Puzzler

Two women were fiercely circling a large car that was parked halfway up my street. They were on foot. Both of them were taking pictures with their phones, and not just of the outside of the car. One stood as close as she could get to the window without actually touching it, her flip phone held out to catch the interior shot.

But why?

They couldn’t be professionals, pros would use real cameras or at least smartphones. There had been no collision; both bumpers were as virginal as an (insert unpopular stereotype) in a (popular situation). I’m sure neither one lives around here, at least not on my street. And they were both very angry.

The whole scene reminded me of the caption contest on the back page of the New Yorker, except for one thing: I can usually come up with a funny-ish caption for the contests in the back of the New Yorker.

It’s now four days later and I still haven’t figured it out, and until I hit the “publish post” button, I won’t have told anybody about it either. It’s too trivial, too ridiculous. But it’s bugging me. Why would two angry women want interior shots of someone else’s car?

If you figure it out please let me know. It’s a puzzler.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Void Dance

Here’s where I justify that title, purely because I liked the sound of it: We all dance in a void, sometimes but not necessarily of our own making.

I am SO deep.

Sarcasm aside, it’s true. Think about all that hard work you do. Does anyone react to it? Probably not, and if they do, their feedback isn’t commensurate with your effort. You’re lucky if they notice you. Then again, maybe you’re luckier if they ignore you.

Technology doesn’t ignore us. Between security and social media, the options for observation are nearly infinite -- unless you’re a blogger. That moment has passed. Blogs are the Crocs™ of the Internet. You have better things to do than read this.

Having a blog is a rare moment of online privacy.

I’ve always said that a blog is just ranting into the void. With this post, I’m changing the image to a dance. My words now waltz to the implied beat of blah, blah, blah instead of one-two-three. My metaphors have more freedom than a hippie at Woodstock.

You do some things just because they’re fun, or they matter to you, or it seems important that someone does them. I’m not sure which category a blog fits into, probably none of the above. But after three and a half years and 364 posts, I’ve come too far to stop now. I needed to remind myself of that, as I dance clumsily into the void.