Friday, May 29, 2009

The Valley is Totally Going to Pot

i generally love living in the San Fernando Valley. it has everything you need, and all within a 7 mile radius of any given point. we have Target, Trader Joe's, a Nordstrom outlet, BevMo, and Borders. and that's pretty much where all my money goes. 

yes, there are lots of chain stores and restaurants, but we also have lots of thriving small businesses. like my local yarn store, some great hole in the wall mexican restaurants and loads of mom and pop businesses. some i patronize more than others. let's talk about the others, shall we?

ever since medicinal marijuana was legalized in CA, these medicinal marijuana storefronts have been popping up like weeds (pun intended).  we have not one, not two, but THREE of these places within 5 miles of my house. are all my neighbors stoners? if so, one would think they would be a lot quieter. but that does explain the fact that they all park like jackasses. stoned jackasses.

one of these storefronts is located in a strip mall that includes a Pizza Hut, a great, cheap mexican restaurant and a donut shop. i bet the owners of those food places get together and just laugh their asses off every Friday when they tally up the week's receipts. then they get in their Jaguars and drive to their new McMansions. then they roll around in piles of dollar bills and diamonds.

this is one of those medicinal marijuana places. the "Hope Collective." 

ok, they only thing these losers are "hoping" for is that some shady ass doctor will buy their bullshit "chronic back pain" story and write them a scrip for weed.  how did they hurt their backs? they probably slipped on the stairs on their way to their "basement apartment." and that basement is in their mom's house, most likely.

speaking of the local stoners, this is a really bad pic (sorry!) of Captain Ed's Smoke Shop. which we all know is code for "stoner store." there are always "out of work skateboarders" hanging around there. i call them the Braintrust. 

well, in the spirit of multi-tasking, Captain Ed's now offers tattoos! woot woot! i will bet you a gakrillion dollars right now that not one person has walked out of that tattoo studio with the tattoo they wanted. i imagine general misspellings and misunderstandings are the norm. "Dude! why does it say 'Emilio is my Bitch' on my stomach? my girlfriend's name is EMILY! and this was supposed to be her birthday present, too! aw, she is gonna be pissed!"

buyer beware is all i can say.

let's leave the stoners behind and move on to tranny hookers and crackheads. well, when i see a Super 8 Motel that's what i think of. don't you? now, this particular Super 8 Motel is trying to class up their joint. most nice hotels have a nice restaurant attached. the Super 8 tried to follow this business model, they really did. but i think we can all agree that this is an epic fail.

see, it's a sushi restaurant. attached to a Super 8 Motel. and it's name is "2 Die for Sushi." there are plenty of things at that motel that can kill you, and now we can add sushi to the list.

but wait, it gets better. 

it's not just "2 Die for" sushi. it's 40% off "2 Die for" sushi.

i have always held firm to my belief that there are some things in this world that you must pay full price for, bargain shopping be damned. condoms and sushi are really high on that list. i will not be going there for Sunday brunch, thankyouverymuch.

now, on to less seedy landmarks. this place makes me laugh. 

i just imagine a room full of really dedicated ping pong players with their own personalized paddles. now, before you think i am making this up, i actually speak from experience here. when i was in college, i needed one more PE credit, so my friend Tracy and i decided to go for the "easy A" and take table tennis. we thought we were so smart! it's ping pong, fer chrissake! how hard can it be?

famous last words.

we showed up for the first day of class and every other kid there was a SERIOUS table tennis (DO.NOT.CALL.IT.PING.PONG.)  player. and they all had their own personalized paddles. and they kicked our asses every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10am for one whole semester.

one day, we had just had enough and decided to cut class. this was college, where supposedly you could cut any class you wanted with no repercussions. not Table Tennis 101, missy! our teacher, Skip (i swear to god, that was his name.) cornered us at the next class and said if we did not make up the missed class, he would fail us for the whole semester. so, we had to come back to school and take a make up ping pong class at 7pm. if you ever want to feel like the biggest loser in the world, cancel your dinner plans because you have to take a make up ping pong class.

i bet Skip is running this Table Tennis Club now. and ruling it with an iron fist. you do not fuck around with Skip, people. (and it looks like he is earning extra cash by offering hair cuts, too. who knew he was so enterprising?)

now, a few years ago, i pointed out this school and questioned the wisdom of naming it after a 
well known pedophile. well, god bless the power of the internet! that or someone just wised the hell up. it has a new name now. and i am guessing a huge increase in enrollment.

now, i want to end this post with a pic of a place that i actually love.

these gigantic rusted tin dinosaurs are at the entrance to a local nursery. the plant kind of nursery, not the kid kind. although, how cool would that be? "J'Wayne! if you hit VulvaMae one more time, i am throwing you in the T-Rex's mouth. and he is hungry today!" (ok, two side notes. first, those are actual children's names i took from a Utah list of registered baby names. and secondly, i think we can all agree it's a really good thing i never worked in childcare.)

i know the dinos are tethered down to keep assholes like me from stealing them in the middle of the night. hey, if i thought i could strap one of those bad bays to the roof of my Rav4, i would have the coolest yard art in town!

but to me, those tethers look like dog collars and leashes. so every time i drive by them, i say out loud, "sit! stay! goooood boy!" and i giggle like a school girl every single time.

and on the plus side, i bet the dinos scare the crap out of all the local "legal" stoners. *snicker*

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Went to England and All You Got Was This Lousy Blog Post

a few months ago, my friend, Ashley and i went to England to visit our friend, Sali. i had heard that airfares were fairly cheap (thank you, Recession! we are in the middle of one, in case you hadn't heard. the media has been very hush hush about it.) so i checked around and found a great deal on a round trip, non stop flight on British Airways. my mom offered to buy me the ticket as a very early birthday and xmas present. nope, not spoiled at all, thank you very much.

so, i called my favorite travel buddy, Ashley and asked if she wanted to go with me. she is always up for a trip and immediately said, "yes." we are on the phone sorting out which dates do and don't work for us and all those details. about 15 minutes into the conversation i said, "wait, shouldn't one of us call Sali and see if she even wants us to visit?" i just assume everyone welcomes the pleasure of company and has a guest room waiting for me at all times. just ask my friend, Vanessa. i invite myself to her house all the time.

Sali obviously said yes, and we were on our way!

prior to our arrival, Sali asked us if there was any attraction in particular we wanted to see. now, one of the reasons Ashley is my favorite travel buddy is that she travels like i do. we don't give a flying flip about tourist attractions. we travel to shop. she arrives at every destination with a list of outlet stores, maps and an American Express card in hand. and i just follow her. it's perfection.

i told Sali there was one thing i wanted to do more than anything. i wanted to go to a Tesco. now, if you don't know what Tesco is, just know that was akin to someone coming to America and saying, "i want to go to Target. now."

i love going to foreign places and shopping like a local. the products are always just different enough to fascinate me. and Tesco did not disappoint. they had a whole aisle of nothing but baked beans. shelves and shelves of different flavors of baked beans. i spent 20 minutes in that aisle alone.

we spent three hours there, staring at products and asking Sali inane questions. "filler? what the hell is filler? Sali, what's filler?"

"you put it in sandwiches."

"oh my god, pre made egg salad for egg salad sandwiches? England is SO MUCH BETTER than lousy old America!"

yes, three hours of that.

Sali drank heavily that night. we don't know why.

now, being the dork that i am, i HAD TO take a picture of myself outside of Tesco. the point being to capture me and the Tesco sign. those are the kind of vacation photos i take. i asked Ashley to snap the pic for me.

now, THIS was the picture i had in mind.

however, that was take two. this was take one. we all like to tease Ashley about being a stupid, illiterate gold digger because of some vicious lies an exfriend used to tell about her. but then sometimes, it's just too easy.

Sali lives outside of London. we decided to spend two days in London and Sali was kind enough to get us a really swank hotel room to thank us for coming out to visit. again, not spoiled at all.

on our first day in London we were headed for TopShop. if you haven't been there, it's a great clothing store that sells trendy, fashionable clothes at great prices. it's also the loudest place in the world. remember that tidbit for later. it will be important.

we walked thru Hyde Park on the way there and stopped for a quick snack. while we were sitting there, i mentioned to Sali that i had a headache, but no aspirin.

she offers me a Feminax, the British version of Midol. it's sold over the counter, but she promised it was really strong and asked me if i wanted one or two pills. the headache wasn't too bad, so i took one. thank god.

we set off on foot to TopShop. as we are walking, i start to get really tired and hazy. thinking jet lag had finally hit me, i just kept plugging along. i barely make it to TopShop. wandered around for a little, but could barely stand upright. i made my way to the shoe dept and found a chair. and promptly fell dead asleep. in the noisiest place on earth. i wasn't dozing, i was knocked the fuck out and surrounded by blaring music and about a hundred shoe shoppers.

one hour later (yes, one hour), Ashley came and found me and woke me up. she offered to let me sleep for another hour while they continued to shop and promised they would come back and get me. i seriously considered this offer. but then i looked at my watch and realized the store was closing soon. so i fought my way out of the haze and we headed to a pub.

slowly coming around, i jokingly asked Sali if she slipped me a roofie.

she said, "no, it was just codeine!"

needless to say, i bought two boxes of that stuff before i came home.

i was kind of pissed at myself because i love the shoe section of TopShop, dammit! but luckily, the next day i found two super cute pairs of shoes in Notting Hill.


a huge part of the appeal of these shoes is the fact that i haven't seen them anywhere in America. i knew people would ask me where i got them and i could very smugly, yet modestly, answer, "oh, i bought them the last time i was in London. i don't think you can buy them here." because i do so love getting my smug on.

and then these! my god, will the cuteness never stop? those are holes at the toes. so chic.

speaking of things you can't buy in America...

yes, you are reading that right. Cajun Squirrel flavored crisps (chips, for those that don't know). Walker Crisps is running their annual Vote For A New Flavor Contest. they release seven test flavors and ask people to vote for their fave. one of the other test flavors was Chocolate Chili. we tried that one and it was ok, but the flavors seemed layered. take a bite and taste chili. then chocolate. then back to chili.

i actually tried these. curiosity got the better of me. know how curiosity killed the cat? they fed it Cajun Squirrel crisps.

the first bite was ok. all i tasted was a vague spicy Cajun flavor. more Cajun. still Cajun. then the squirrel flavor kicked in. it kicked in. it was the taste of evil. these will be served at parties in hell.

and the flavor LINGERED.

so, after 5 days in England, i came home with skull shoes, codeine and squirrel flavored snacks. i bet the TSA had a BLAST looking thru my suitcase.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sometimes I am Really Smart. Other Times, Not So Much.

there is going to be a lot of yarn talk in this post. no, come back. don't be scared. even if you are not totally obsessed with yarn like me, you will still be able to follow along. it's not going to get real technical, i promise.

one of my favorite yarns is Noro Kureyon. it is a wool that self stripes as you work it and the colorways are always gorgeous. and there are a zillion different colorways. i also love it because the self striping does all the work for me and makes me look like a much better knitter than i really am. how could i not love anything that masks my inherent laziness?

so, whenever i see it, i inevitably wind up buying a few skeins and tell myself i will make a hat or scarf out of it. but that never happens. as a result i have well over 50 skeins of it in loads of different colorways. i was obviously not exaggerating when i said i was "totally obsessed with yarn."

well, next month, my friend, Sherri, wants me to teach her how to crochet. being a hardcore knitter, it's been awhile since i have picked up a hook. so i started to reacquaint myself with the craft. i want to teach her the basics and how to make a granny square because they are really easy and very versatile. 

while i am hooking, i have a brilliant flash of inspiration. use the Noro to make granny squares, trim them in black, sew them together and voila! retro 70's kitsch blanket for me! if you knew anyone that crocheted in the 70's, you had one of these blankets. it was required. you had to feather your hair, learn the hustle and own an atrocious granny square blanket.

and we always need blankets in this house because we constantly have blankets rotating in and out of the washer and dryer. see, we have two dogs and one of them acts like it is her fucking job to shed. she is really, really good at it. how is she not bald already? my god, i sweep up enough hair every day to make my own new puppy. one that doesn't kill squirrels and chew on the house, hopefully.

i am happily crocheting along, loving this new project! it's going to be so retro cool! go me! i am about 75% done. still lovin' it! then it hits me.

the Noro is 100% wool.

ever accidentally wash a wool sweater and pull it out of the dryer only to find that it has shrunk to Barbie size?

yeah, that.

now i am going to have a $200+ blanket that needs to be freaking dry cleaned.

i am truly surprised i don't walk into walls more often than i do.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Super Mommy Scares the Crap Out of Me

the salon where i get my nails done every two weeks is a hair salon with a few manicurist stations. they are not separated in any way, so i can hear the conversations the hair stylists have with their clients. these conversations tend to be the banal kinds of conversations one has with a hair stylist, current events, new movies, the weather, etc... and are usually not worth eavesdropping in on. except for one...

this one stylist in particular talks about her son non-stop. for our purposes, let's just call her Jocasta. her son is four years old and is the smartest, funniest, bestest child that ever drew breath according to her. i have NEVER heard Jocasta talk about anything other than this kid, and i have been going there every two weeks for about three years. and my manicurist, Lisa, confirms that it goes all on all day long, with no respite. let's show a little sympathy for Lisa for having to hear that babble all day long. and kudos for not just losing it and stabbing Jocasta with a nail file. i can't say i would be able to exercise such restraint.

this woman is destined to become the Monster Mother in Law every woman dreads. right now, there is some innocent four year old girl who is oblivious to what her future holds twenty years from now. a moment of silence for poor little Madyson, please.

anyway, one day i am there and Jocasta is telling her client yet another "super cute" thing her son had done recently. he is in preschool now and one of his little buddies has a "girlfriend." ok, that's kind of cute. i am not totally without a soul.  he tells her that he wants a girlfriend, too. still within the realm of cute. then she says to him, "you don't want a girlfriend. you have me. Mommy is your girlfriend."

after i picked my jaw up off the floor, i whispered to Lisa, "that kid is going to grow up to be either a serial killer or priest. and for his sake, i hope he REALLY loves Jesus."

She Wins.

after much nagging from my mother, i have decided to start blogging again. the woman is relentless. can it stop now, please? and can i call this my mother's day present to her and get out of shopping?

although, i don't know if rededicating myself to blogging 2 months before Big Brother starts again is such a good idea. as past years have shown us, 24 hour access to the live feeds in the BB house quickly leads to me forsaking all else in my life. i become a sleep deprived zombie, good for nothing. even my boss knows. when i tell him BB is starting up again, his response is always the same. "aw, dammit!" but we will see how it goes.

now, since i am a complete and total idiot, i have no idea how to get back into my old blog and just continue this at the old website. trust me, i have tried everything. it is futile. so, for the newbies, here is the link to the old blog. consider it a warning for what you can expect in future postings:

and since i hate to admit defeat of any kind, i won't say it was mom's nagging that got me here again. let's just say i am a thousand days behind in my updates.