Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Fabulous Patti!

Today marks the anniversary of the birth of my sister, Fabulous Patti. To the left is a photo of her and our grandmother, Toni, at my birthday party back in December.

Tonight, to celebrate the day Patti graced the world, we met Anne, Ann Marie, Carolyn and Carolyn's sister, Isha, at the Ferry Wine Merchants in the Ferry Building. After sipping wine and indulging in gracefully brilliant conversation, Ann Marie, Patti and I bid Carolyn, Anne and Isha farewell and made our way to Town Hall, where we met Bill and Kim for dinner.

Have you ever eaten at Town Hall? If not, I'd highly recommend it because oh, my goodness, it is delicious. I had mushroom soup that tasted like God himself had prepared it, followed by fried chicken and then apple bread pudding for dessert. My meal probably had about 3,000 calories and 400 grams of fat, but I haven't eaten so well in months. Yum-mee. It was a meal almost as fabulous as Fabulous Patti herself.

We were also celebrating Fabulous Patti's close-to-last San Francisco hurrah because she is moving back to L.A. for a fancy-schmancy job. It's a job only available to those in the world with medical degrees and master's degrees in public health. It's a good thing Fabulous Patti has both. She's moving to the lovely neighborhood of Los Feliz; so you can bet I'll be visiting often.

Speaking of L.A., the annoying but addictive Fake Band is playing there this weekend. To that end, tomorrow morning I'm hopping a flight down to Burbank. I'll stay with my brother, sister-in-law and the lovable Mikey Jet for a night, and then I'll meet my fellow bandmates in Universal City on Friday. I hope the show goes well and that I don't want to murder anyone in Fake Band before the weekend is over. Here's to hoping, anyway. Now, I'm off to bed. However well we are or are not getting along, I have to be well rested for the Fake Band tour.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Marathon Woman

The world called in sick at my job today.

That probably comes as no huge surprise. It is late February, and many workplaces experience mini-epidemics once one person falls ill. However, there are many positions at my job that cannot go unfilled. So if the people who normally do them call in sick, they must be replaced. There simply are no other options.

To that end, one particular woman called in sick, but so did the woman who normally replaces her. Two other candidates to fill this woman's shoes were also unable to join us this morning. So in what can only be described as a fit of insanity, I volunteered to step in. What made my offer insane is that this woman's shift starts at 4 a.m. My own shift ended last night at 1 a.m.

That's right, I had a whopping three hours off between shifts.

It's really not that big a deal. I took a little nap at work instead of going home, and I was ready to roll at 4 o'clock. I did learn that the floor at work is a much colder sleeping place than my bed at home, but I don't hold that against it. I have been working in my 24-hour industry for 15 years now. So I'm used to occasionally crazy schedules, and it was actually pretty fun to run my little work marathon. When all was said and done, I had worked from 5 p.m. on Sunday afternoon until 10 a.m. on Monday morning, with just a short three hour break.

Good times, my friends. Just call me Marathon Woman.

Anyway, since 10 o'clock this morning, I have pretty much lived in my pajamas... with the exception of a very brief run I took this evening. You know what? Running is harder and not nearly as rewarding when you've had very little sleep. So I'm a little punch drunk right now. Oooh, but guess what? We just had the coolest little hail storm. Sure, I think it was cool because I'm safe and warm in my little apartment. But it was neato; it looks like it snowed outside.

By the way, Fake Band has succeeded in annoying me again. So the high from Friday's show is officially over. Two and a half days that happiness lasted. Actually, that's not bad for this band. Lordy, some of those boys are beyond irritating. As my brother, who has been a musician for about 20 years, just said to me: you're seeing all frustrations of being in a band without any of the successes. He couldn't be more right.

Okay, off to bed.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hooray for Hollywood

Call me cheesy, but I adore the Academy Awards, and they are tonight! Unfortunately for me, I have to work during the ceremony, but the good thing about my job is that I'll get to watch at least parts of the event. I'll consult my vcr tomorrow for any moments I may have missed.

As I have told you before, I'm incredibly lazy about seeing movies in the theatre. So here's what I've done to prepare for Hollywood's biggest night. Yesterday afternoon I went to see The Queen. It was good, and Helen Mirren did a nice job as Elizabeth II. The most interesting part of the film to me, however, is its incredibly sympathetic portrayal of Tony Blair. Who knew back in 1997 that such a popular Prime Minister would turn into Bush's lackey. What a terrible shame that turned out to be.

I also watched yesterday's Independent Spirit Awards as both a warm-up to the main event and an opportunity to see the honoring of actual good cinema. And there's nothing wrong with a truly live awards show that allows swearing. I hardly have a potty mouth, but sometimes more colorful language is necessary. I also intended to see all the Oscar-nominated short films at The Lumiere Theatre this afternoon, but a combination of laziness and a laundry crisis put a stop to that plan. Ah, well. In addition to The Queen, I've seen Little Miss Sunshine, Dreamgirls and The Pursuit of Happyness. I'd say that's a decent combination of indie and mainstream films which are up for awards.

So color me prepared. Bring on the red carpet, babies!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

To Be A Rock Star

Being in Fake Band is not without its frustrations: we argue over the silliest things; there are some rather healthy egos in the group; often times not everyone can make it to rehearsal. To that end, I have to admit that I wasn't really looking forward to our show at the Red Devil Lounge last night. I had been in a somewhat foul mood all day and just didn't want to deal with performing. Not to mention that we had a rather abbreviated sound check because the club was running behind. Plus, there was some odd conversation about where the microphones should be placed to maximize time in "the spotlight." Whatever.

But then, we stepped onstage.

I can see why bands stay together even if the members all hate each other (for the record, we in Fake Band do not hate each other... yet, anyway). Performing is a really heady drug. I only sing lead on four of the thirteen songs we have learned, and we did an abbreviated set last night, so I only sang lead on three. But those three numbers, combined with my Sassy tambourine styling throughout the show transformed me into a rock star.

And I absolutely loved it.

Our show was not perfect. Because we have a hard time gathering everyone for rehearsal, some of our songs are a little ragged. Case in point: our lead guitarist seemed to forget his part on our cover of "Band of Gold." In fact, he also seemed to forget when and how the song ends. It was a little awkward, but one man's memory loss was another girl's extension of her rock star belting by repeating a verse to save the number. And I was okay with that. We also played that song way too fast, so it was like Freda Payne meets the Ramones, but hopefully, we'll work that out.

What was tremendous was seeing a bunch of friendly faces in the audience, as Fabulous Patti, Carolyn, Wendy, Tom, Eric, Anne, Helen, Doug, Liz, Erin and Neal all came to the show. There really is no point to being a fake rock star unless your family and friends show up to cheer you on. Plus, I got what I consider to be the highest compliment from some random guy after we were done. He not only told me that I had been good, but he added, "Thank you." Why is that the highest compliment, you ask? Because music is so important to me that when I go see shows, I will thank the musicians afterward when I sincerely respect their talent and/or performance. Now, for all I know, Random Guy was just trying to hit on me, but his words landed on me like the highest of compliments.

I think it's fair to say that I had been suffering from serious Fake Band burnout, but I'm over that for now and can't wait for our show in L.A. next Friday. Everyone should become a fake rock star; it's super fun.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Girl Groups at Casanova

Carolyn and I made the most excellent of discoveries Tuesday night. We wanted to go out but were decidedly put off by the idea of any drunken mardi gras parties. So we chose to spend our Fat Tuesday in the Mission and wandered into Casanova. That's when we learned that on the third Tuesday of the month, Casanova features the most sublime of pop music: 60's girl group tunes. It was tremendous, with one great two and a half minute confection after another.

Sadly for us, the girl groups in Casanova were a little on the loud side, and we couldn't hear much other than the music. The draw of hanging out with Carolyn is our brilliant repartee, so we went to Dalva after one Casanova cocktail. But I will definitely revisit Casanova's girl groups night. I'll just have to make sure I go with someone boring, so I won't worry about the fact that I won't be able to hear the conversation.

Speaking of music, Fake Band has a show tomorrow! It should be fun, but unfortunately, a tiny BART disturbance today forced me to cancel my singing lesson with Best Friend. Plus, three of the seven Fake Band members have to miss rehearsal tonight. We should be fine anyway, but that's a little disappointing the day before a performance. Well, I can still practice at home, which I'm about to do, and then I'll spend the rest of my free afternoon shopping for a rock star outfit to wear tomorrow night.

When life gives you lemons, after all...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Plan In Motion

The bikini has been acquired; the vacation days have been approved; and last night, the airline tickets were purchased. All the pieces are coming together for the Grand Sassy Return to Hawaii.

Believe it or not, last September was the first time I had ever paid the Hawaiian Islands a visit, and I started making plans to return as soon as I got on the plane back to San Francisco. In just over a month, I again will be taking residence on Waikiki Beach for six glorious days. I'll pull myself away from the sand and surf from time to time for exercise, snacking and other sight-seeing purposes, but in general, if you need me... look on the beach.

My life is not terribly taxing, but I nonetheless will welcome a vacation. Plus, I'll get to see the lovely and talented Diva Mommy, and my sister, Fabulous Patti, will be joining me a couple of days after I arrive. Sadly, we'll miss my friend Tom, who will be on the North Shore for a wedding about five days before my sojourn. He and I had talked about coordinating our trips, but that didn't work out for us. However, perhaps I can make some new friends while I'm there. Diva Mommy is already talking about setting me up with some guy named Kenji. I have to admit, that prospect is a little frightening, but heck, Kenji lives in Hawaii. How bad or boring could he really be?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Fancy and Official

A few days ago, I got an email from a senior at Brown asking if she could interview me for a class project. I suppose it's no surprise that she found me, as I keep my contact info current in the alumni directory. But I was both flattered and a little embarrassed that she had chosen me. As I may have mentioned before, I engaged in a mild career shift a couple of years ago. I work in the same industry but in a slightly different type of job. The Brown student was looking for information on the specific job I have now, so I would have to tell her I have limited experience with it.

That's no big deal, really, so I agreed to the interview. And I have to admit, I felt a little fancy and official, being asked to talk about my career. But then I wondered why she wouldn't want to interview someone older, more seasoned, perhaps, dare I say, even wiser than me? I am, after all, still a spirited, passionate youth. Then I remembered what I thought of 37-year olds when I was in college. Hell, I remember what I thought of 30-year olds. Those were, in my head, real adults with real lives. They had been out of college for years with one foot possibly in the grave already.

I am practically a senior citizen compared to this woman.

That realization didn't stop me from answering her questions, though, and I hope her project turns out nicely. As a matter of coincidence, I was looking at some old photos today and found myself seriously wishing I could be in college again. I entertained thoughts like, "If I knew then what I know now..." and "It all went so quickly; I should have taken more time to enjoy it...". And so on and so forth.

Ah, well, at least I have a reunion coming up in May. Then I can get really nostalgic and subject you to Brown stories all over this space. Something to look forward to, huh?

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Good Life

It's been two days since Valentine's Day, and I have been consuming my weight in chocolate. Not a bad way to live, except that it flies in the face of my promise to myself to eat better. Ah, well, what's a few days of chocolate? Okay, perhaps a lot since I just bought a bikini for my upcoming trip to visit Diva Mommy in Hawaii.

Yes, you read that right: I wrote the word bikini. It's cute, too, and I didn't run out of the Bloomingdale's dressing room in horror when I tried it on a couple of days ago. Hopefully I'll still feel good about it after the chocolate scarf-athon ends.

Anyway... I got to interview Petula Clark at work this afternoon. I can't say I've ever been a huge Petula Clark fan, although I enjoy the catchy, sing-along goodness of "Downtown" and "I Know A Place." But I just very much respect talented, creative people, and Petula Clark is not some manufactured pop chanteuse. She is also an actress who had been a child star, and she writes songs, as well. All of that made me really excited to meet her, and she was super nice and not at all stuck up.

My interview with Petula got me thinking about the things that would make my life perfect if I got to do them, and I realized the list has some pretty good implications for the life I already lead.

1. Live somewhere fabulous that I love. Two words: San Francisco. Hawaii would be better, but having a mother who lives there is a decent consolation prize.
2. Have a career I enjoy and that doesn't feel like work (most of the time at least). I can claim success in this realm for the last 15 years.
3. Get to sing. Thanks to Fake Band and vocal coaching from the Best Friend School of Music, that's become a reality recently.
4. Get to write. In addition to my little newspaper column, this space exists as proof that I regularly indulge in this one.
5. Get to meet and talk to incredibly talented, creative people. I would like to do this more often, but so far, I'm doing pretty well. And it's not about fame. I've met a lot of famous people in my time (honestly), and they're no more or less interesting than people who aren't famous. It's about talent and creativity, and I include everyone from mega stars to local actors and musicians in this desire. I admit, part of this is about me wanting to know the cool kids, but the cool kids don't need to be famous.

I'd say this sassy existence lives up to that checklist pretty well. Speaking of cool kids, however, I now have to scoot. I'm meeting Helen and Liz for a night of bonding and discussions about boys, and I am about to run the risk of being tardy. So away I go...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Give Cupid A Kiss

It's Valentine's Day, and that means nothing but good things! We get to celebrate love and happiness with cheerful abandon all day and night. Plus, the secret that no one tells you is that none of the calories consumed by eating chocolate today count. Very sweet, indeed.

As for me, I am slowly, but surely emerging from the illness that felled me last week. Last night, I ventured out to a co-worker's book signing, after which Terry, Patti, Katie and I went to Colibri for snacks, drinks and witty repartee. Today, I'm treating myself to the gym and some shopping, followed tonight by a Valentine's Day cocktail party and Wendy's birthday party.

What's not to love, my sweeties?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It's Official, I'm Sick

And with my infirm condition comes extraordinary boredom.

For the life of me, I don't know how couch potatoes do it. I have been apartment-ridden for only a couple of days, and I am already stir crazy. Honestly, I haven't even been totally apartment-ridden. Yesterday morning I went out to buy groceries, rent movies and load up on cold medications, all of which took almost an hour and a half. My errands completed, I then tried to take a short run.

That didn't go very well, and it ended up being more of a short stroll.

Last night I was feeling a little better, so even though I skipped the wine and chocolate event (boo!), I did go see Paula West at the Plush Room with Terry. Paula was, of course, wonderful. She is one of the people in the world I wish I could be. Or at a bare minimum I wish I could sing like her. As much fun as seeing Paula was, though, it probably wasn't the best idea because I woke up this morning feeling much worse. I took another short walk to buy a few more groceries today, but otherwise it's been just me, my pajamas and my couch.

So here's what I've done so far:
Researched my little newspaper column.
Edited a letter to my college classmates announcing our upcoming reunion (somehow, I have ended up on the reunion planning committee).
Lamented the fact that I had to miss my singing lesson today, not to mention that I'm too congested and sore to practice.
Watched Little Miss Sunshine and Sherrybaby, both of which are very good. Maggie Gyllenhaal is another person I wish I could be. She just may turn out to be quite the amazing actress.
Worked my way through an entire box of Puffs tissues (aren't you happy to know that?).
Wrote some emails and surfed the web to the best of my ability. You know what? There really isn't that much interesting stuff on the web.
Napped some more.
Enjoyed the brilliance of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
Am writing this post.

I called in sick to work for tomorrow, and I have no idea how I am going to entertain myself. I also rented Thank You For Smoking, so I can watch that. And there are always books to continue reading. I also have an audition on Saturday, so I need to brush up on my monologue. But who knows if I'll even feel well enough to make the audition. Of course by Saturday, I may need to get out of my apartment just to save my sanity.

Again, I don't know how couch potatoes do it, but I salute their stamina. It takes a lot to be lazy.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Mayor's A Drunk, But My Friend Is A Star

I admit that the title of this post is a cheap shot, but I couldn't resist.

Well, it wouldn't be politics without a scandal, would it? For those of you gentle readers who do not live in San Francisco, please let me fill you in: our mayor has been having a few... issues.... lately. Last week, word got out that he'd had an affair with the wife of one of his top aides about a year and a half ago. Word got out because the aide resigned once he learned of the affair.


Were that not enough, yesterday the top manager of our fine city announced that he is seeking outpatient treatment for alcohol use. Rumors had been swirling for weeks, at least, that perhaps the mayor hits the bottle a little too hard. So there you go. I give him credit for getting help.

In significantly more positive news, my friend Assaf is famous! This is his photo; watch for him on a television or movie screen near you. I have written about Assaf on this space before, but allow me, if you will, to refresh your memory. He's an actor friend of mine who moved to L.A. a few years ago, and he has become one of those rarest breeds of humans: a real live working actor. Tonight he was on NCIS. What is NCIS, you ask? Well, I didn't know either, but I learned this evening that it is a television show starring Mark Harmon. I only saw the first few minutes, but I think Assaf played a bad guy.

Actually, I've seen Assaf in a few shows and films I would have never seen otherwise, including Numb3rs, Half and Half and Flight Plan. But he's also been on 24 (he played a bad guy on that show, too, and got shot by Keifer Sutherland) and is going to be on Entourage at some point. Okay, I don't watch those shows, either, but I used to watch 24, and I recognize that the world loves Entourage. If that weren't enough, Assaf is also in a short film that has been nominated for an Academy Award. How cool is all of that?

Assaf is a really good guy, so I'm very happy for him.

Come to think of it, my friends Schleevin and James are also working actors. Schleevin mostly does theatre in New York, but he's been in some films and on television as well. James has been getting a lot of work as a commercial actor in L.A., and I see him on TV all the time. And acting is how all these gentlemen make their livings. No "day jobs," as far as I know.

As for me, I am very excited this evening. I have two days off ahead of me, and I am already in my pajamas. Plus, I received my first issue of The New Yorker in the mail today. While it's true that I have a hard time keeping up with the other magazines that already come to my door, I have been meaning to subscribe to The New Yorker forever. After I'm done here, I'm going to curl up with said first issue.

Tomorrow night I'm going to a wine and chocolate event with Denise and Allie and then to see Paula West with Terry. At least in theory that's what I'm doing. You see... I think I'm getting sick. Shhh, if I don't say it very loudly, it won't be true. I can't really complain. I managed to avoid illness through December and January, even though most of my co-workers have been sick. So it just might be my turn.

To be honest, a couple of days in my pajamas while I recuperate doesn't sound all that bad, either.

Monday, February 05, 2007

One Big Ship

Make no mistake, size does matter.

We Americans love things that are big. Case in point: The Queen Mary 2, which is docked at Pier 27 here in San Francisco today. The world's largest ocean liner arrived yesterday afternoon, passing under the Golden Gate Bridge with a scant 30 feet to spare.

People are going nuts over this thing. Crowds have been swarming in to look at... well, just a really big ship. I have to admit, as Pier 27 is on my running route, I stopped mid-jog this morning to take a gander myself. And yes, it's pretty damn large. When the QM2 arrived, I could hear, from inside my hilltop apartment, the horn exchange between the ship and the Golden Gate Bridge. With that, I knew she was in town.

Since we use female pronouns when referring to ships, I think it's a shame the same reverence is not paid to real women who are big. I'm just saying.

Anyway, the Queen Mary 2 will be gone tonight, and all will return to normal.

How was your weekend? Mine was lovely, if a little bit mellow, due to work. On Friday night, I met Erin, Doug, Neal and some friends of theirs for live music at the Red Devil Lounge. Unfortunately for me, I didn't get off work until 9 p.m. and missed the first band, Justin King, which apparently was the draw of the evening. Oops. But the second act was Shannon Ferry, a friend of Doug's, actually, and she was amazing. As Doug says, "Shannon can crazy sing."

One day I want to sing that well. I wonder how many lessons that will take...

I will say Ms. Ferry did cover a song I despise (the insufferable "Black Velvet" by Alannah Miles-ick), but her original material was great. She's got an alt-country kind of sound; very Neko Case-esque. Good stuff all the way around.

On Saturday, I met my aunt Mary, uncle David and cousins Anna, Ian and Eliane for brunch at Momo's in celebration of Eliane's birthday. We ate, we laughed, all in honor of Eliane. It was very fun, but then it was off to work for me. Yesterday was all errands and work, but my version of the weekend is coming up soon, and it's shaping up to be excellent. How does chocolate, wine and Paula West sound to you? Stay tuned for details.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 27

Just about an hour ago, I heard "Turn To You" by The Go-Go's in the locker room at the gym. Not necessarily my favorite Go-Go's song, but an enjoyable pop number a little off the beaten path. So it put a smile on my face. I'm always very grateful when I randomly hear music I like, and I'm extra grateful when I catch any Go-Go's tune in public that is not the overplayed, insipid "We Got The Beat" (the original Stiff Records version notwithstanding).

Yes, there's actually a Go-Go's song I don't like that much, and yes it was their biggest hit. Plus, the original version of "We Got the Beat" really is superior to the one that made it up the charts.

So today it's back to work after two glorious days off. Ah, well. Days off, vacations, leaves of absence from work... they all always fly by. Tonight I'm meeting Erin, Doug and various others for live music. I think. I'm not actually in charge of the social plan, but I trust it will be fun.