25 December 2010

Of Leopard Print and Rats

Way back at the dawn of time, or perhaps early October, I visited a wedding gown salon in Tarzana colloquially known as Lili Bridal. While I ultimately ended up getting my dress elsewhere, my majestic mom and bouncy bridesmaids will be ordering their delightful dresses there come early January. Why am I only mentioning this pertinent information now? Well, last weekend my only in-town bridesmaid decided to ruin all of my plans and get sent on an involuntary business trip over the weekend she is supposed to be ordering a dress. Aside from being very inconvenient, it meant that we spent last Saturday getting her measured so I can order all three dresses at once. Stupid dye lots. But anyway, being at the store reminded me how amazing the staff is, even knowing that my dress is coming from a different store, so I've decided to tell the world about my first visit.

Per my personal requirements, I arrived around ten minutes early for my eleven o'clock appointment. As I neared the shop door, I was greeted by what could only be part of a tv crew. Uh, okay. I peered through the glass door and saw three females, perhaps early 20s, giggling over bridesmaids' dresses while two cameras looked on. Seriously? And more importantly, why on earth is one of them wearing a leopard print overalls type thing?

A lady saw me peering in the window and opened the door to ask if I had an appointment. Upon hearing that I did, she informed me that the reality show was supposed to finish for the day at eleven and that she would inform them that their time was up. I mentioned that I did not want to be immortalized on some Lifetime show and chose to wait outside. Sure enough, the crew and "stars" paraded out a few minutes later. Honestly, I wasn't expecting them to leave so quickly. What I was expecting even less was two rodentia in what looked like my neighbors bird cage. Okaaaayyy.

My curiosity got the best of me and I asked what the overgrown gerbils were for. For the record, I phrased my question much more politely.

"They're our rats. They're famous."

Well that cleared everything up.

Later on, I found out that they were shooting something for "Lory and Dean," which, I must confess, was about as useful to me as was the rat description. It all fell together as I left the store and saw a tall woman with short blonde hair. "Wow, she looks likes an aged Tori Spelling wearing way too much makeup," I thought to myself. As I passed by her and her minions, it dawned on me - "TORI and Dean."

The intartubes later confirmed my suspicions, which could mean only one thing - the lady managing the shop kicked out Tori Spelling's reality show for me! Take that subspace!

18 December 2010

There's no such thing as a free lunch

One of the best things about my job is the free food. Not just instant mashed potatoes and bags of cheesy poofs, but delicious gourmet cooking everyday. And if you don't believe me, just ask my mom about toasted almonds.

Last week I grabbed chicken for lunch on my way to a meeting. About an hour later, Matt stopped by for a free lunch to say hi. I mentioned that I had the chicken, which prompted him to look at me as though my nose had retracted and come out the other side of my head. While I confirmed that my nose hadn't gone walkabout, he pointed out that it reeked of bacon.

"No, it's chicken. It says chicken. And the first ingredient is... bacon!. WTF?!"

"How could you not have smelled it?"

"My nose is still stuffed. Stupid useless nose."

Well, that sucked, but at least I learned my lesson - always read the ingredient lists.

Fast forward a week, and I found myself staring at a glorious pile of ice cream sandwiches.

one unit of Glorious Pile

Being the patient and practical being that I am, it seemed perfectly natural to have one before even considering the standard entrees. After all, ice cream sandwiches is a subset of sandwiches, and sandwiches are perfectly reasonable lunches. Not liking chocolate, I chose the snickerdoodle one. Everything was going splendidly until one of the food workers asked me if I liked the bacon ice cream.

Cooking chicken in bacon fat is one thing, but bacon ice cream? Who on earth expects little piggy particles in their desserts? The loons over at Coolhaus, that's who. Lesson double plus learned.

how not to make an ice cream sandwich

Later on I found out that the candied bacon bits were very obvious in texture and taste, so I managed to eat the part of the sandwich without my current arch nemesis. As a side note, since when did people candy bacon? Eww.

08 December 2010

Victory is Mine!

Months and months ago, Zero and I dressed up as Futurama characters for Halloween. I was Turanga Leela, and Zero was Nibbler. He was a good sport while I made his costume, so I promised him steak if he won the dog costume contest at work. The competition was fierce, but he beat his sole competitor, Poppy, who was dressed as Christmas. Yay $50 worth of victory in the form of a prepaid Visa card!

Nibbler/Zero and Christmas/Poppy

Sadly, the best picture of Zero was not the best picture of Poppy. But since Zero won, the Poppy part is not particularly important. Sorry Poppy!

Now you may recall that I promised him steak, so Matt and I were forced to dine at Boa. Oh woe is me! But alas, Zero earned his steak. I ordered a bigger steak than I could eat, which also happened to be my favorite cut that isn't available in a smaller size, leaving plenty for Award-Winning Zero. The best part? While he may not have bothered to chew, he didn't choke!

Why did I wait so long to share such cuteness with the world? I forgot, of course! What could have possibly reminded me of this grave oversight? This past weekend's Holiday Party. The theme was MadMen, but I wanted to wear my awesome hat. So I created my own theme known colloquially as A Dress That Matches My Hat.


While waiting for dessert to be served, Matt and I were sitting at a random table near the dance floor. A random guy I had never before seen came over to ask if we were going to enter the costume contest. Uh, no? Spent the next few minutes trying to convince me with promises of great prizes. Eventually, I was forced to relent.

I nonchalantly sauntered onto the dance floor to await judgement. Okay, that was a complete lie. It may be slightly more accurate to say that Matt alternated between pushing and shoving me. Either way, there were a few other people milling around in the appointed spot, waiting for something interesting to happen. Luckily the wait was only a minute or two, not enough time for me to nonchalantly saunter away.

The random guy who coerced me into standing took the microphone. He started with third place, which went to a smartly-dressed lady in blue. Second was given to a man dressed in a cardigan. And first was bestowed upon me?! What? I know the hat is truly amazing, but I had no idea that it is awesome enough to beat hundreds of other, including a significantly percentage of whom dressed in accordance with the official theme.

You will note that I have refrained from making any jokes about a feather in my cap. You will also note that my prize is a ridiculous bottle of whiskey, specifically a Macallan 18 year.

Award-winning Hat!

16 November 2010

Ruching Galore!

About a week ago, my mom visited for wedding dress shopping. In between forbidding me from wearing black shoes and arguing over who told daddy about the local hotels, she approved the ONE DRESS TO RULE THEM ALL! That's right, I had it narrowed down to ONE, as in singular, dress BEFORE she arrived. And the moon didn't fall out of the sky and land on anyone's head!

So what does this mythical dress look like? Well, as a show of good faith, I've decided to let you, Oh Great Internet, have a little looksee:


Pretty, no?

11 October 2010

Wedding Dress Shopping For Dummies

In preparation for my mom's visit early next month, I've been running around trying to find wedding dresses that I like. The first thing I learned is that the bride wears a gown, not a dress. What's the difference? A couple thousand dollars.

After much ado, I found five dresses that I liked. Some personal reflection combined with the vocal opinions of others lead me to admit that my favorite dress doesn't look as good on me as the others, knocking the list down to four. Then I decided that there is no way in hell I am spending $5000 on a dress to wear exactly once. Maybe if I was going to wear it every day for a year, but the odds of that occurring are fairly low. Ergo, down to three! A nice, prime number. Unless I can have a custom dress made that is similar to the first eliminated. Make that three and a half dresses.

I was not so subtly told that if I posted pictures of the dresses, especially ones containing me, the world would be ripped apart and I'd fall into an abyss containing burning dresses. I mean gowns. So no pictures for you. Just use your imagination and then assume that whatever you are picturing is completely wrong.

Now that you know exactly what gowns I am considering, I can move on to the exciting part of the story.

I visited two of the shops on my own. Everyone else had to work on a Friday morning! The nerve! Oh, and they were NOT shops, they were salons. Wedding gowns are sold in salons. Anyway, the second shop has parking in the alley behind the store. At the time of my arrival, it was completely blocked by a large moving truck with its hazard lights on. The car in front of me pulled all the way up to the truck and honked. Nothing happened. I left about 20 feet between myself and the car. If the truck continued to show no signs of intelligent life, it would be nice to have some room to turn around. Another car pulled into the alley behind me and immediately started honking. I had this crazy idea that he was honking at the truck-shaped impediment, for which I didn't really blame him. Now I was extra glad for the breathing room, since now I was about to take advantage of it to get the hell out of there.

Someone knocked on my passenger window just as I was about to plot my escape. I rolled down the window and my car was immediately filled with what I can only assume was Russian profanity. Huh? It dawned on the lunatic that I don't know Russian and he switched to English. The gist of his tirade turned out to be that I'm a stupid moron and why hadn't I pulled up all the way yet? I had enough room to pull up, so he wasn't blocking the sidewalk. I tried to explain that I left the extra room on purpose so that escape would be possible should the truck fail to move. I doubt he heard a word I said since he was too busy ranting about how this country was so stupid for giving driver's licenses to little girls.

I raised the window and reassured myself that the doors were locked. I faced forward, ignoring Mr. Nutjob, who continued to stand there screaming. I didn't feel like pointing out to him that if I did decide to pull forward, as he demanded, his feet would be quite squished afterward.

Thankfully, the truck driver finally appeared, sending the mad Russian back to his commmie mobile. The truck moved, the car in front moved, and I was more than happy to put distance between myself the last car.

I was a bit shaken inside the store, but I was fine by the time I left. After leaving the parking "lot," I realized I had no idea what my next destination was to be. I parked in front of a house on a side street and consulted my phone. Suddenly, there was a knock on my passenger window! After narrowly dodging cardiac arrest, I glanced over. It turned out to be a lady who was waiting for a delivery truck, and would I mind pulling back about 10 feet so the truck would have enough room to park? I told her that I was just trying to figure out where I was heading and would be gone momentarily. She smiled and offered directions! Maybe it wasn't the Russian disguised as a housewife after all. Either way, I decided that maybe it would be best if I ate somewhere closer to home, such as my kitchen.

The moral of this story is that you should never, ever go gown shopping by yourself in Studio City.

Adventures on the Spanish Main

The following account of our June camping trip in Point Reyes is set to be published by the Inverness Yatch Club [sic] in next month's newsletter, possibly after some editing for brevity's sake.

Since we live in a marina, our adventure began with a hurried trip to the airport, as do all good sea voyages. Upon arrival at the correct boat-launching port, Captain Sondy led the effort in making our boat sea-worthy via the applique of shiny new numbers. I, the First Officer, led the effort in talking like a pirate. Ensign Matthew received a field promotion to Second Officer, entitling him to carry the heavy stuff. Our fourth, Chief Petty Mutt Zero, toured the boat yard, alternating between claiming his domain and working on his tan. As he is somewhat of a ladies' man, he couldn't help but chase some female tail. Luckily, she remained loyal to her chauffeur and left with him before she could make any regrettable mistakes. But I digress.

Our fearless leader and soon to be muddy second officer managed to launch our very recently renumbered boat in six inches of what could be generously described as water. Since the Captain had no idea what the actual name of the boat might be, and CF3888CE is rather klunky, I named her Bob. Why, you ask? Because no one stopped me.

After the sails and approximately seven miles of rope were properly attached, it was finally time to set sail. Despite looking ridiculously cute in his life jacket, Zero quickly decided that he should have joined the Air Force instead and hid under a bench. To be perfectly honest, there were more than a few moments when I entertained thoughts of joining him.

Our intrepid Captain turned out to be correct in that the boat did not capsize after every tack. Just as I was getting over my fear of having to rescue Zero from inside a flipped boat, a new terror appeared from under the waves. The bottom of the boat kept rippling. "It's just the waves," Sondy claimed, but I already knew the truth: THE DREAD PIRATE ROBERTS! No, wait! It was Inverness's Introvert of the Sea! A giant octopus with a famous taste for human flesh!
giant octopus
Inverness's Introvert of the Sea.

Tentacles and boat hooks flailed everywhere! At one point Second Officer Matt found himself ensnared in octopus suckers, but Captain Sondy tickled the octopus until it released him. Unfortunately, she forgot about the four other tentacles with which she had been battling. Almost immediately I found myself being flung through the air! Egads! I expected to make a rather large splash with my grand entrance into the waves, but that failed to occur. In lieu of even the tiniest splash, the tentacle monster caught me by the ankle! Apparently I was to be the ball in a solo game of catch! Boo.

Just then Zero barked, "Anchors away!" as he heaved the anchor at the terror's head. Apparently Mr. Octopus wasn't in the mood for a new eyebrow ring as he immediately swam off in the direction of his plastic sturgeon.

Other than needing to rebraid twelve feet of rope and swab a distrubingly large puddle of octopus blood off of the bottom of Bob, we survived with nary a scratch! Once again Zero saved the day, this time with his 1337 braiding skills.

Miraculously, we soon arrived at the beach without any further death-defying incidents. Sondy dropped the slightly dented anchor while the rest of us set up camp. Zero found, and claimed, the perfect spot. We opted not to put our tent there.
the crew
The crew, shortly after setting up camp.

Our evening repast was interrupted by passing sailors, one of whom turned out to be the infamous Gentleman Caller. As they brought oysters for all to share, we let them join us around the grill/bonfire. I must admit, our Captain seemed to be falling for the Caller's wily ways, but as she never jeopardized the crew or Bob, I chalked it up to some harmless fraternization with the enemy.

After a rather lumpy nap, we woke bright and early to face our perilous voyage back to the mainland. At my suggestion, we spent hours arming ourselves with makeshift spears and heavy rocks. At the Captain's suggestion, we abandoned the rocks so as not to sink Bob. But after all that preparation, we had a disturbingly uneventful trip back. The wind was even blowing in the correct direction! Zero took this as a sign to remain above-deck and inspect the air.
sniff sniff
Zero sniffing for octopi.

Not only was the return trip painfully boring, but it was lightening quick. This meant plenty of time to go into town and observe stereotypical Italians failing to march in proper order. Oh the shame!

After a recent discussion, the Captain and First Officer decided that Hyperbole is a much better name than Bob. The Second Officer quickly agreed, and she was immediately rechristened from 400 miles away.

21 July 2010

Apparently engagement parties require registries

My parents are throwing us an engagement party at the end of the summer. I'm not even going to try describing the ruckus over the invitations to avoid melting your brain. I will, however, mention that a certain mother of mine started bugging us about wedding registries before the party date was officially set. I opted to ignore this apparently necessary excursion in favor of playing video games for as long as possible. This was an excellent plan until relatives started asking where we registered.

"You said we didn't have to register until mid-July!"

"Well, I didn't take into account Grandma telling everyone immediately."


But wait! We don't actually need anything! Couldn't we just pick a charity and tell people to donate there? Apparently not. People still prefer to give actual gifts, even if they donate something, and without a registry we'd end up with twelve olive green bread warmers. Oh fine.

So here we were, in early June, with no time to spare. I picked Crate & Barrel and Bloomingdales because I did. After a Tuesday full of work, we went to Crate & Barrel to begin scanning that which we don't actually need. We reconnoitered the entire store and found a few things that we could actually use, somethings that were sharp and pointy, and many things that are best described as completely random. Fifty-six items in total. That was more than enough for the time being, right? RIGHT?

The store was about to close and we both wanted to leave. Matt put the scanner in the machine, and I poked options on the screen. Hmm. This doesn't look right. I must have hit the wrong option. No matter, I'll hit the back button.

You have zero items.



The geniuses who made the machine apparently thought that deleting everything off of the scanner immediately was a feature. And if that wasn't bad enough, the back button was not accompanied by any sort of persistence. In other words, after two hours of scanning barcodes, all was lost.

Two employees tried intrepidly to recover that which was lost, but with no success. They were, however, nice enough to let us stay past closing to rescan everything. We ran, and I do mean ran, around the store, quickly rescanning everything. After round two, we only had fifty-one items. Oh well, close enough, let's go.

When half of your items are three dollar napkins, fifty-one items is no where near enough, sadly. In other words, Thursday was Bloomies day! They take registering VERY seriously there. This includes a personal shopper and a bag of goodies, including a $70 bottle of Vera Vang eau de parfum.

We set a world record for making a decision and chose a kate spade china pattern called Crescent Drive. The registry assistant set a place setting with our fancy new plates so we could see how different flatware styles worked. That didn't go quite as well so we put off the decision.

The registry assistant next turned to crystal. Ack! No! No more crystal! We already have sixty-two place settings worth of Waterford; what on earth could we possibly do with more? Collect dust? The assistant was incredulous at the idea of not selecting crystal, but I stood firm.

Another fifty or so items, registration complete.

28 June 2010

I promised my mom I'd yap about wedding planning on the internet

The title pretty much says it all. Well, not even remotely near all, but it does provide enough of an explanation as to what's in store for my intrepid reader. And who is that reader? Why, my mom, of course. Hi mom!

So where did this craziness begin? Gee, probably with Matt buying me a shiny engagement ring. I could be wrong, but I tend to think the two have a high correlation. Ergo, it's all Matt's fault.

The first thing that every single human being on earth asks when they find out you are engaged is "Have you set a date?" Giving a random answer gets more annoying each time, so by the eighty-second time giving people non-existent dates seems only fair. This is especially true when people start writing down 31 September 2011. I'm not entirely sure how people found the appropriate space to pencil in the event, but if they can't read a calendar, then it's their problem.

After about two weeks, I went completely bonkers. As proof that every last shred of sanity had dripped out my left ear, we quickly reached a decision. And so 17 September 2011 was selected. To further prove just how loony I had become, we then reached a consensus as to where the event would take place. The engagement party would be on the east coast, the wedding ceremony and reception here. Impediment removed.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll regale you with stories of finding the perfect venue without eviscerating anyone in the process.