Thursday, May 29, 2008

So Wrong, But Oh, So Right

Okay, I might officially be a huge geek.

I have mentioned on this space before that I rarely, if ever, see movies in the theatre. The only film I've seen on the big screen this year is Juno, and that was back in January. And frankly, I can't recall if I set foot in a movie theatre at all last year.

Well, my 2008 tally is about to double because the Sex and the City movie comes out tomorrow, and you bet I'm going to see it. In fact, I am going tomorrow night. And I already have my tickets.

That's right, I purchased tickets in advance. For a movie.

I will, in fact, be spending more than two hours on a Friday night, prime cocktailing time, in a dark theatre.

This isn't like me, but it's Sex and the City, for cryin' out loud. Maybe I'm the cliche of an urban single girl, but wild horses wouldn't keep me away from this film. I was feeling a little embarrassed by my advanced ticket purchase until I learned that my friend Megan is going to see Sex and the City tonight at midnight. Plus my coworkers Christine, Angela and (the other) Christine all have an enthusiasm for the film similar to mine.

So at least cosmo-swilling geekiness loves company.

***Edited on May 30th to add*** What a shame the movie turned out to be such a disappointment. It doesn't do the series justice. However, before the film, I saw one woman slap another... hard... because she thought the second woman had taken her seat in the theatre. Needless to say, the slapper was removed and the police were called. This at an 8:30 p.m. screening of Sex and the City in San Francisco, the city of peace, love and happiness.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Fifteen Pounds of Bacon

Everyone has traditions. Some people take the same vacations every year; some stick to the same holiday rituals. As for me, one of my traditions is to attend Tom, Chris and Nick's annual Memorial Day weekend barbecue. They've had eleven so far, and I've been to every one.

Between the three of them, Tom, Chris and Nick generally invite about 400 people to this party, ensuring it is always a well attended affair. Snacks are plentiful; libations flow; and kids and pets are always a hit. Easily the most popular guest this year was the puppy pictured above with Elena, Dave, Katya and Eric. That dog probably got more love than all us other partiers combined.

The rest of us did have fun, too. And as the afternoon became the evening, several things happened: it got a little chilly (read: downright cold); we continued imbibing with everything from vodka punch to beer to hot toddies available; Roach, Tom and I posed for this photo; and Kevin threw fifteen pounds of bacon on the grill.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Apparently, another guest brought bacon to last year's party (I have no idea); so Kevin took upon himself to make sure this year's soiree was similarly stocked. After finding a $100 bill on the street, he spent 44 of those found dollars on fifteen pounds of bacon purchased from a Mission butcher. Don't worry, he didn't try to cook it all at once. The bacon was grilled in the very civilized manner one would expect of barbecued bacon. I have to admit, it looked kind of gross, but it tasted delicious.

There are occasions when I always seem to eat things I never would otherwise, like hot dogs at baseball games. And barbecued bacon at Tom, Chris and Nick's party.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Sub Rosas Take the Mission

We came, we saw, we rocked the house.

Okay, not really. Given that the Sub Rosas play music more of the emo/indie and pop genres, there was no rocking involved at all. The closest we came was getting our legions of fans to bop on their barstools and even dance a little to our renditions of "Someday, Someway" and "Different Drum." That's close to rocking the house, isn't it?

Whether we "rocked" or not, the Sub Rosas debuted at the Blondie's Volume One Music Showcase on Monday night. No three-song open mic appearance here; this was a full 40-minute set gig. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in our performance, but it's possible I'm being overly critical. Especially since Doug, who joined us on bass, hadn't really practiced prior to 24 hours before the show. Given that, we probably did really, really well.

Rosa sang several of her original songs and one cover, while I played the role of a low-rent, indie-type American Idol contestant by singing only cover tunes. It's because I don't write music. Yet. You never know what might happen tomorrow. As I mentioned, Doug played bass, and Jackie generously offered us some lead guitar lines.

Regardless of what I thought of the performance, the audience loved us. Yes, the audience was mostly comprised of our friends, and a few of my friends were drunk, but still. We'll take the love. I will tell you that after our set, I was approached a random guy who wanted to know when our next gig was or if we have a MySpace page. Embarrassed that my answers to those questions were "I have no idea" and "Um... no," respectively, I took the guy's email address and promised to add him to our mailing list.

I guess I have to start a Sub Rosas' mailing list.

Regardless, given that he was a stranger, I'd call that guy our first official fan. Yay! Unfortunately, I'm serious when I say that I don't know when the Sub Rosas will perform again. Or if we'll perform together again.

In the meantime, I'm headed back to the open mic circuit, bolstered by the knowledge that I, as a member of the Sub Rosas, have one fan.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Best Policy?

Sometimes being honest is quite the challenge.

I should know this already, as my tendency to be honest actually has gotten me into trouble in the past. In fact, it caused a whole bunch of drama about three years ago, but that's another story. (For the record, I stand by my choice to be upfront and honest in that situation.)

Anyway, this particular tale involves money. A major, upscale department store, which shall remain nameless so as not to embarrass anyone, seems to think I have a credit on my charge card bill, when, in fact, I owe them money. It's kind of complicated and not exactly an exciting story, but it boils down to a swim suit I bought for my recent trip to Hawaii. The suit is quite lovely, and I wore it very well in Waikiki. For reasons of pre-sales and gift cards, I ended up getting said swim suit for just $45.26, down from $96. Yay! However, due to a mistake made during the convoluted sequence of pre-sale charging, returning and re-charging to accommodate my gift cards, the store has not only forgiven my actual debt but has credited me $43.28.

Now, I imagine many people would just take the credit and run. I believe this because I was tempted to do that, myself. After all, it wasn't my mistake; I got my bill and trusted it to be accurate. However, in the end (or at the beginning, I perhaps should say), I decided that I should be honest and not allow this store to pay me for donning a new swim suit on a Hawaiian beach.

The first thing I did was call the 1-800 number on my bill. I carefully (and charismatically, if I do say so, myself) explained the situation to the agent who answered the phone. She understood where the mistake had been made but didn't know how to fix it. After thanking me for my honesty, she put me on hold so she could ask her supervisor what to do. When she returned to the line, she told me that there was nothing that could be done at billing headquarters since apparently, this was a mistake made at the store. So I'd have to go there and clear everything up in person.

I bet at this point you're hoping I just decided to take the credit. Nope, no such luck.

This afternoon (my last weekday off before my work schedule changes, by the way), I trotted over to the upscale department store to explain the error. It didn't go quite so well this time. A tiny language barrier forced much repetition of my story, and the customer service rep still thought I was trying to tell him I should have a bigger credit. When I finally was able to explain clearly that I actually owe the store money and would like to pay it, he told me not to.

Not yet, anyway.

In this man's opinion, it is "likely" that the error will correct itself. How, I'm not sure, and I don't think he knows, either. Regardless, I am to wait through another billing cycle, and if I still have a credit, I can come back to the store and have it fixed. He did tell me he'd never had a customer come to his desk to correct a billing mistake made in her favor. I guess he'll tell me that again if/when he sees me in 30 days.

Being honest certainly can require of degree of tenacity. And it can give you a headache.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Some Kind of Monday

Have you ever asked for something really good, gotten it and then felt overwhelmed? Almost like you're in shock?

Just wondering.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Romy and Michele Have Nothing On Us

Twenty years ago this June, I put on a beautiful white dress, carried a bouquet of flowers and.... graduated from high school. (Well, what did you expect me to write?) This weekend, members of Polytechnic School's Class of 1988, many of us pictured in this post, gathered at our alma mater in Pasadena to celebrate our 20-year reunion. And it wasn't just about high school. Poly, as we call it, is a private prep school; so many of us, like me, spent most of our secondary education there. I put in 11 years at Poly, from 2nd through 12th grade, and literally grew up with my classmates. There is something really great about connecting with people who have known you since you were seven. Some of these people I still see and talk to regularly; others I haven't seen since the last reunion. Or since they left Poly back in the 80's.

Just to make sure my reunion experience was as authentically high school as possible, my skin decided to break out. Okay, it wasn't that bad, and I'm probably the only one who even noticed my blemishes, but still. How appropriate. Otherwise, I'll risk arrogance and tell you that I looked great, especially compared to my overweight adolescent self. It's so nice that adulthood lasts so much longer than our teen years. Especially if you look better as you get older.

The reunion began with courtyard cocktails and mingling. Actually, there had been a picnic earlier in the day, but I skipped that. As I told many of my classmates, I saw no need to begin my reunion until the liquor started flowing. After cocktails, there were class pictures and then dinner. Officially, the reunion ended after dinner, but do you think we Class of '88 partiers stopped there? Oh, no. Once dinner was done, many of us took off for the bar at the former Huntington Hotel (I'm not sure what they're calling that hotel this week).

It was at the Huntington that our collective composure really loosened up, as you can perhaps tell from the composition of this particular photograph. Champagne and wine flowed, enlightenment was shared and bonds were strengthened. As Saturday night turned into Sunday morning, the crowd thinned, but the party didn't die. Those of us who closed down the reunion (that would be Gabriella, Vince, Ella, Bobby, John and myself) finally wrapped things up at about 3:45 a.m.

That's right, a bunch of near 40-year olds out until almost 4:00 in the morning. Does it get better than that? I think not. The drinking aside, of course, high school itself should be this much fun.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

First Stop: Tiki Ti

I mentioned before that I planned to take a little mini-vacation to L.A. this month, right?

Well, that's where I now am. I arrived yesterday afternoon and will be in the Southland until Sunday morning. What has brought me to the City of Angels this time around is my 20-year(!) high school reunion in Pasadena. There are several reunion activities scheduled, but I likely will only attend the cocktail and dinner parties on Saturday night. I should probably go to everything, given that I'm on the reunion committee, but there's only so much high school I can take. I liked high school and all, and it will be nice to see my old classmates, but really, now.

One thing I already have done is pay a mandatory visit to Tiki Ti. Tiki Ti is a teeny, tiny tropical drinks bar on Sunset that I was introduced to a year ago by a Bay Area acquaintance. These days it doesn't exactly look like it did in this 1961 photo, but it's still in the same location and still offers dozens upon dozens of different tropical drinks. But no beer or wine, so don't bother asking. My sister Fabulous Patti and I went last night and enjoyed Lemonhead cocktails, as well as the excellent Tiki Ti atmosphere. I love it there.

Tonight I'm going to see the Morning Benders at the Echo. The Morning Benders are a Bay Area band I really like, but I haven't managed to see them up north. So I've traveled 350 miles to finally check them out. A friend of mine (and by "friend," I mean a guy I met at the Good Luck Bar the last time I was in L.A.) who works at the Echo put me on the guest list for tonight's show. So I get the pleasure of music for free. Yay!

Other than the Morning Benders and my reunion, I suspect it's going to be a pretty mellow visit. Several of the friends I usually see when I come to town are otherwise engaged this weekend, and I kind of feel like laying low, anyway. My sister and I want to check out the 4100 Bar, also on Sunset, but we'll see if we get there. I intend to go shopping this afternoon for a reunion outfit, but I feel a nap coming on.

Once I get back to the City by the Bay, it will be all about rehearsals. The big Sub Rosas show is coming up on 19th, and we have to make sure we're ready.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Seriously, Why Isn't Life a Beach?

So here I am, home safely after eight glorious days in Honolulu. And my question for you is: why? The lovely photo to the left is Waikiki Beach in the late afternoon. I snapped a whole bunch of shots like this one because the reflection of the setting sun on the water is just so beautiful. How could any sane person leave that?

Well, I have no idea because I did leave, but I certainly had a blast while I was there. I think my vacation can best be summarized using the following categories: exercise, beach, food and singing.

Exercise. I know I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating... there is nothing more lovely than a morning run on a tropical island. Every day of my vacation began with a jog or visit to the hotel gym. The outdoor runs were a little more satisfying than the gym, given that it is always warm by 7 a.m. in Hawaii. Living in San Francisco, I'm not accustomed to running in 75-degree temperatures or higher before noon. But I certainly enjoyed it.

Beach. Every time I go to Hawaii I threaten to move there. What stops me is the idea that if I lived there, I likely would have to get a job and have a life that didn't necessarily revolve around laying on a beach and playing in the ocean all day long. There are never enough hours in a day for the beach. After my morning endorphin rush, I'd wash up, slather on the sunscreen and head for the waves. And most early evenings found me walking along the water as the sun set. Should I ever write a personal ad, I could say that I enjoy walks along the beach and actually mean it.

Food. There was a lot of food, and I ate it all. Yum.

Singing. So I mentioned in the previous post that my mother found some Waikiki karaoke. It's every night at the Shore Bird, in case you're wondering. However, in addition to that, my friend Emily and I stumbled upon a karaoke room nestled inside a bar in the basement of our hotel. The bar itself was pretty horrifying, but the karaoke room was great. Singing set us back $1 per song, but it was so worth it. On Monday night we stuffed the machine with $30 and sang our hearts out. After a more traditional karaoke experience at the Shore Bird on Tuesday, we were back in the basement karaoke room on Wednesday night, our last night. We didn't sing as many songs on Wednesday, at least I didn't, but we still gave our inner rock stars a work out. Emily has told me several times since our Monday marathon that she doesn't think she knows anyone else who would have been game to sing for so long with her. Good thing she recently started doing karaoke with me.

I suppose there could be other categories to describe my vacation activities, like boys. They were everywhere, but none were really that interesting to me. Emily had a field day (or days), but I wasn't really into any of the boys we met. Another indication that when I go to Hawaii, it's all about the beach. Also, while San Francisco may have cold, bitter beaches, the boy selection here is rather lovely.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, including vacations, and yesterday saw my return to the Bay. Before bidding Oahu farewell, I took a run/walk and strolled along the beach one last time. That's where I posed for this self portrait. I wasn't as sad to leave as I usually am, but I think that's because I'm going back to Hawaii in just four and a half short months. Yay! Also, now that my vacation is over, I can move on to my mini-vacation next week. That's right, next Wednesday I head to L.A. for jogs along Los Feliz Boulevard, live music in Echo Park and my 20-year(!) high school reunion in Pasadena.

And after that, we have the Sub Rosas show! Then, Tom and Chris' annual Memorial Day barbecue, as well as the Black and White Ball. Lots of good things happening in May, and when they're all done, I'll be that much closer to my next Hawaii get-away.