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Saturday, February 27, 2010

And I want a little umbrella in that too.

Okay, first things first. The car is safe and snug in the carport. Thanks to a bookkeeping error made, quite innocently, by a third party the hubster found himself in possession of a check he didn't know he had coming. Wachovia, I see, is becoming Wells Fargo next month. Well, good riddance. Normally, when something like this happens I subscribe to the "better the devil you know" platitude but, in this case, I'm in hell already so who cares? At least maybe Wells Fargo will allow us to make a car payment by some method other than Western Union, which adds $12.95 a month. Yep. Wachovia demands any cash payment be via Western Union. You can't even ask your bank to wire it. You can not walk into a Wachovia bank and make your car payment. I figure, Wells Fargo might be better. In any case, they sure can't be any worse.

Now, on to other things.

We're currently in our 16th day of captivity, held hostage by the Winter Games. In approximately 36 hours I'm told the closing ceremonies will "draw to a close" and we will be released, once again free to watch the six times a day showings of "Mamma Mia!" on cable.

Against my better judgement I found myself, on day 14, watching the Ladies' Figure Skating finals. Oddly enough, the ladies don't seem to fall down nearly as often as the men. Maybe it's that center of gravity thing, I'm not sure. There are some similarities though. The ladies don't seem to use "Firebird". However, if you see a red costume trimmed with black, brace yourself, it's "Carmen". Now, don't get me wrong, I like opera a LOT and Carmen is, far and away, my favorite. It's pretty much your standard opera as things go, some chick fails to walk the straight and narrow, sings about her loose morals and dies. Carmen, however, does this without as much pathos as, say, Madame Butterfly. Someone lit a fire under Carmen, I like her. She's one sexy little slut. Anyway as the third skater of the evening glided out in red and black, looked enticingly over her shoulder, batter her perfectly mascaraed eyes at the judges and took of to "The March Of The Toreadors" my son said "just ONCE I want to see someone come out and start skating to The Piña Colada Song."

I actually took a shine to two of the skaters though. One was an Australian girl who didn't know she was even GOING to the Olympics until about 30 minutes before her flight took off. Okay, it was three weeks. Apparently Australia didn't qualify to have a skater go. Israel did. But the Israeli skater came in, I dunno, something like 22nd in the World Championships. This was good enough for the IOC but not, apparently, for the Israel Olympic Committee. Their rules say if you don't do better than 14th they don't care what the IOC says, you stay home and watch it on TV. (I hope Israel's coverage is better than the U.S. coverage, which basically sucks.) So, at the last minute, the little Australian girl was bundled onto a plane which landed in Vancouver.

This was, from what I gather, the first time she had ever competed in Senior's Ladies or whatever it's called. She was a junior, she's just turned 16. If she were from China, I would assume she was actually 12. But, as she's from Australia, I, for some unknown reason, assume that she's really 16 as the Australian's strike me as a people who don't lie about their age since the faster you grow up the faster you can legally buy a gallon can of Foster's at 9am.

Well, she skated her short program and I found myself routing that she would make the top 24 and be able to do the finals. She came in 18th. And she skated her long program on Thursday night. Now I have learned that junior skaters do a three and a half minute long program, senior skaters long program's are four minutes long. This girl was skating her first four minute long program. She was good. Young, cute, not going to win a medal but she was good. Until she passed 3 minutes and 30 seconds and ran out of steam faster than a train engine that's run out of coal. But she kept going. She jumped - and fell. Flat. She looked utterly exhausted, lying there on the ice for a split second. She looked as if she wanted to say "you guys go on ahead, I'll catch up with you." But she dragged herself up off the ice and finished her program, including one more somethingorother jump (which she landed).

I like that girl.

I also like the American girl who came in an unexpected fourth. I loved the look on her face and the "oh my GOD!" shriek she let out when she saw she had finished just shy of the bronze medal. And I really loved the story on the news about her last night. Seems that, in her forth place position when all was said and done, she's now expected to perform in the Figure Skating exhibition that always takes place at the end of the Winter Games. this is her first Olympics and she, too, is just 16, and was basically hoping to avoid embarrassing herself this time as she starts working her way to the next winter games, well...she doesn't HAVE an exhibition program. It never occurred to her she might need one yet. So there she was yesterday, frantically choreographing a program for tonight's show with her best friend at the ice rink back home via Skype.

If there's a God, she'll use "The Piña Colada Song."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The joy of the "Annie Oakley"

First off. There a light at the end of my tunnel. How Freudian is THAT? As a rule, these lights are smack dab in the middle of a train engine. However, I have a 24 hour reprieve and that will, most likely, bring us a step closer to being able to sleep at night. The rat bastards at Wachovia are playing good cop/bad cop with us. Jeez, people, you're a freaking COMPANY, grow U.P.

However this 24 hours with combined with the phone number to our insurance agent which has resulted in an adjustment to our expected payment (because Wachovia maintains we had no insurance and was charging us for it) and the check that the hubster can pick up tomorrow from an employer who uses his skills free lance and had neglected to compensate him recently (no, nothing hostile about that, there was a change in bookkeeping procedures as well as the guy who implements said procedures and we sort of fell through a crack) will, I believe, enable us to maintain the car keys. Along with the ignition they fit.

I've been thinking about the changes that our not quite poverty has brought a lot recently though. We're not destitute. We have managed to keep a roof over our heads and, apparently, at least ONE car in our carport. Food on the table. Granted, there's a lot of rice and pasta but then, on the other hand, have you seen the SIZE of my sons? Yeah, it's sort of the glue that fills in between the protein.

But...some good things. I discovered something called The Treasure Box. Why was I not getting this before? Anyone can buy one. How cool is that? When my ship actually ties up at the same dock I'm standing on for a change I will still order my treasure boxes.

But the best thing is opening nights at the theater. Seriously. I spent I don't know how many thousands of dollars on theater tickets in my lifetime. I LOVE the theater. Especially musicals. Now, thanks to my son, who also loves theater, we have discovered how to go for free. Free theater. Several theaters here have big, opening night galas, press, VIPs, a real dress up night. Because it's such a special night they don't like empty seats. Not that they ever do, but, for some reason, they REALLY don't like them on opening night. So, at curtain time, the unsold seats and the will-calls that weren't picked up and the season tickets that were cancelled are given away.

We dress up and we hie ourselves to the theater about four hours before curtain. We bring a blanket and iPods and a deck of cards. Someone holds our place while someone else goes to the local Burger King and brings back 10 dollars worth of stuff off the dollar menu and one super duper large drink with several straws. And we sit and we play and we talk. And about 90 minutes before curtain we all get numbers and then about 30 minutes before curtain we all pack up and stand up in a single line and get ready.

And about 5 minutes before curtain the nice man from the Theater stands at the front of the line with a handful of tickets and we start. There's no guarantee your group will sit together. And he hands out tickets and he said "hurry, hurry, go straight to your seats" and then he goes to the box office area and we wait and hold our breath to see if he comes back with more tickets. Most of the time, he does. And by the time we get there (because our numbers are usually in the 60s) he's really hurrying us along but we smile and say "thank you so much" and then we RUN. And usually at least two of us end up next to each other.

Honestly? I wouldn't trade those long afternoons playing gin rummy outside the Ahmanson with my kids for for fourth row, center seats, bought and paid for.

We didn't get in once. The nice man felt bad and told us he really felt bad because we were dressed so nice. What part of "PLEASE DRESS FOR AN OPENING NIGHT" don't so many of these people GET? Honestly, appropriate dress does NOT consist of your clean jeans and best hoodie, people. The last time we were there the nice man actually had to bring his assistants out and take them up and down the line and say "THIS is what I expect you to look like the next time you're in this line".

Anyway, back to the time we DIDN'T get in to see "Parade". He gave us tickets to another show at another theater. Comps. The show wasn't doing very good business and we ended up...Fourth Row, Center. And thought the show was amazingly good. We would never have even thought to go otherwise.

So anyway, this Tuesday, we line up for "Dream Girls". We may get in, we may not. But the sheeer fun of waiting in line, goofing with my kids, chatting with strangers is worth the try. Had I not had to drop so much excess baggage from my life the last two years I would never have known about this. And I would have been missing so much.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Honestly, this one's just for me.

This isn't for anyone to read. It's not funny, it's not thought provoking, it's just a middle age woman losing it. I am angry. As angry as I've even been in my life. I have always been someone who just gives things away. Some guy shows up with a sob story on how he's going to be thrown out because he can't pay his rent and I've been right there with the checkbook. And it occurs to me now that if the people who owe me money, the people who boo hoo'd their way into my bank account would cough up HALF of what they own me I would not be such a whiney sack of nothing right now.

So, now the bank is coming for the car. You freaking rat bastards who are driving your cars because you can't pay me the money I came up with for you can just kiss my backside. I'm TIRED of being the one who always needs the hugs, I want to give them.

The good will of my friends must be strained to the limit by now and why not?

How does a person get to this age, smack dab in my mid-fifties, and be in worse shape then they were when they were 17? You spend your life trying to do for other people. You help them out, you give up your life for them. Seriously. I mean, how many years did I have what amounted to the sole care and feeding of my mother? My mother who couldn't function without someone in her life and when my father took off I ended up with 100% of the bill? But I did it, because I thought it was the right thing to do, and because I really believed that eventually, something would happen and I'd be able to live for me.

Then, we take on the double...a husband. And the kids. So here we are, dealing with parents and being parents. Wives, mothers, daughters, employees, housekeepers, bookkeepers, you name it. And then people wonder, why are we tired, cranky, weepy, depressed and angry?

I admit, my life is a train wreck the last few years. Some of it comes from trying to please everyone, take care of everyone. I've got three people dangling the carrot of redemption in front of me with schemes, plans, offers, everything's coming up roses, just hang in a little longer.

And here I sit, like an irresponsible teen-ager, with a rat bastard bank refusing to make any arrangements with us and coming to pick up the only car this week-end, thankyouverymuch.

Thank you blond lady who paid how many month's rent on our nickel and has been PROMISING to pay SOMETHING back since January 14?

Thank you, you lumbering wanna be screenwriter who squeezed my LAST available cash out of me with a sob story about imminent eviction only to come by six months later in a brand new, fully paid for car that his MOTHER bought and paid for? Dude, you're older than I am. You're NOT going to break into the 'business' now. Grow up.

But then, I chose to marry an artist, I blame myself a lot. An artist pleases themselves. Their spouses work any stinking job they can get because the artist is, well, an artist.

And maybe there's art in your soul too, not that you'll ever be able to put it on a canvass. You've been too busy working 40 hours a week and doing the dishes and cooking dinner and making sure the kids are out on time and getting good grades and, in short, being everything they can be instead of what you ended up being and now you can't even get in the damn car and drive 45 minutes up the coast and taste the salt air coming off the ocean.

I've lived without gas for heat or hot water in the winter, cooking everything on a hot plate, crock pot and an electric skillet. I've been without power. My home was sold out from under me. I've got a lawyer who says "don't worry" and then forgets to do whatever lawyer thing he was going to do, but he works pro-bono for us so we just sort of put up with whatever gets, or does not get done.

I jump every time I hear footsteps coming up the stairs. I panic when the phone rings, when someone walks down a street behind me. This is my life now, 24/7.

And finally, I've just run out of steam .

Monday, February 22, 2010

I stayed up until midnight for THIS?

The Winter Games. Day 11.

My eyes are bloodshot. I sleep, maybe 4 hours a night. Otherwise, I might miss curling after dark. Eleven days of ice skating. Speed, short track. Pairs figure skating. Mens figure skating. And now, day three of ice dancing. Dear God, I know what a twizzle is.

There's always a lot of talk about the way ice skating is scored. I think I know what's wrong with it though. The rules are antiquated and the judges are so busy looking at twizzles and how many times a skater and grab his or her blade and use it to haul their foot over their head that they're missing the really obvious stuff.

So, in the interest of breathing new life into the sport, I have a few suggestions.

After the first three bars of that warbling violin solo that signals Scheherazade, a mandatory five point deduction will be taken for complete and total lack of originality. Anything from "Man of La Mancha" receives a three point deduction for the same reason unless you use "The Impossible Dream" in which case you will be disqualified.

"The Firebird" is banned. Actually, an argument could be made that all Stravinsky should be banned, just on general principles, but that doesn't really apply here. The penalty for using anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber is still being debated, it can be used for the 2011 competitions but don't get to attached to it. Unless it's from "Cats". Don't even bother, Cats will get you disqualified quicker than whacking your competitor's kneecaps.

Only one costume by Vera Wang is allowed per career, so you'd better be pretty damn sure it's a good one. Don't take the labels out and claim you found it at a vintage ice rink gift shop either, we're wise to that one.

As for the rest of it, use some common sense. Painting big glitter tears on your faces and skating to "Send in The Clowns" didn't do your cause any good. That couple who skated to the theme from "Love Story"? I can't even GO there. I've got an idea. Next time, put on your afternoon around the house duds, lace up your skates and crank up "Cousin Dupree" by Steely Dan THAT'LL get the crowd going.

Eleven freaking nights of nymphs leaping across the ice and do any of you hear the audience clapping in time to your music? Guess why?

You're boring! Go down to Amoeba records, plug in the headphones and get some new music!

You, guy in the form fitting black turtleneck bodysuit leaping to Scheherazade? Next short program I'd like to see you in a big plaid jacket, looking something like one of the MacKenzie brothers and doing an interpretive dance to "The Lumberjack Song". Where you stash the bra is up to you. Slap on a Fedora and do your final to the theme from "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Or "Beat It", which would enable you to wear more bling. AND the fedora. While we're talking headgear, how about "You Can Leave Your Hat On." Jeez, I'd be happy to hear "I'm a Little Teapot" at this point.

Stop hanging on to your foot too. Who the hell decided that was worth extra points? Every morning I get up, get dressed, sit on the edge of my bed and haul my overweight, middle age thigh up by my foot where I ceremoniously drop it in my lap and hope it stays there long enough for me to get my shoes tied. No one gives me extra points for that.

Call me, I'm listed. You can borrow my iPod.

Friday, February 19, 2010

And sometimes, I'd rather watch the Zamboni.

The Winter Games.

First off, haven't missed a night. I love all that stuff, especially when I'm perched on my butt with a glass of wine and other people are freezing their butts off to amuse me. It’s all about keeping me amused. Oops, that’s an “in” joke.

The hot topic is men’s figure skating. There seems to be a controversy with regards to the scoring in the long program. HOLY COW! There's a controversy about figure skating scoring! Alert the media! Call CNN! What a stunner!

I've been watching this stuff since maybe Squaw Valley? I remember watching Peggy Fleming in Grenoble. Hello, I'm NOT a novice viewer. It wouldn't BE the Olympics if there weren’t a scandal in the figure skating camp.

Here's what went down this time. Three guys, neck and neck. And there's a Russian leading by the barest of margins. Well, duh. Evan, the American, has put on his feathers and skates. BTW, any skater wearing feathers is using "The Firebird" and any skater looking vaguely like someone out of A Thousand and One Nights is using Scheherazade. Fun fact. Evan skates like a demon. He jumps and does circles and spins and dies and rises from his own ashes. After skating and jumping and spinning three times in the air he keeps jumping, after three or four minutes. He's also the first skater I've seen all night who did NOT perform the triple lutz flip toe jack-knife to the ice. As in "hey, that jump is supposed end with my butt on the ice, I meant to do that." I think Evan may have lost points for omitting that move, I'm not sure. He managed to lead the pack however, with five skaters left.

Johnny Weir came out in a plunging neckline and a pink tassel. This was a bit disconcerting but, as he rather resembles Edward Scissorhands I cut him some slack. He too, omitted the previously mandatory "fall on your ass" jump but I think he scared the judges and he stayed exactly where he started, score wise. There was a cute Japanese skater who needs to go back and re-learn shoe tying. The Swiss guy fell down. Takahashi, the other skater from Japan, wasn't bad. So now we come to the last skater. A Russian who's first name I can't spell. Plushenko is his last name and I can pronounce it.

Plushenko won a gold medal in the last winter games, four years ago in Torino. He quit competitive skating shortly thereafter and sat around drinking vodka and playing the balalaika as far as I can tell. And then, as these Olympics were coming near and there were new, young, talented skaters making headlines he woke up one morning and thought, "Damn! Why did I let them talk me into retiring? I didn't want to retire. I want to take the gold medal back from all these talented young kids." It happens. It's called Leno syndrome, officially I think it's actually referred to as "jaychosis."

So Mr. Plushenko, sans feathers (no Stravinsky for YOU) steps on the ice. He skates, he jumps. Skate, jump. He jumped and turned FOUR times. He has a QUAD! Evan, of the feathers, only turns THREE times. A HA! This, however, seemed to be the extent of Plushenko's finesse on the ice. He then started doing triple jumps. Like Evan. Unlike Evan, when he jumped and spun three times in the air he seemed to leaning at a 30 degree angle. He landed on his feet though. Then he got tired and just skated and spun. On the ice, not in the air. And when he was done he started pumping his "I'm number 1" in the air.

The judges however, begged to differ. Evan won. Comrade Plushenko was NOT amused. He gave a press conference in which he stated that it was the new judging system that was at fault and not the fact that he was listing to starboard faster than the Titanic when he jumped. Also, apparently, one of his spins on the ice was pretty much something any 7th grade girl can do.

Plushenko announced he should have won because he can do a quadruple somethingorother and the guy who won can't. Or maybe doesn't, I'm not sure. Well, I went to the IOC website and looked it up. It's not the "Men's I can do a quad and you can't" finals. It’s called figure skating. So, um no, that one doesn't work either.

Plushenko says that if you can't do a quad you're not an athlete, you're a dancer. I've SEEN the picture of Nureyev naked, you will never convince me that a dancer isn't an athlete. That guy was ripped. Yes, gay dancers can be chiseled too, get over it.

And for Plushenko's nail in the coffin argument in his own behalf: If the scoring system hadn't been changed he would have won. Does anyone remember when the scoring system was overhauled? And why? I do. Salt Lake City. Pairs Figure Skating. BIG controversy over the gold medal. Yeah, okay, not news. But what WAS news was that the Russian skating committee or organization or whatever they call it was caught bribing the French judge. Which is why the Russian couple won a gold and the Canadian couple initially given the silver medal are now co-gold medal winners. Yep, the Russians cheated. They cheated to such an extent that the judging system was overhauled to its current unfathomable and probably just as biased system.

Mr. Plushenko? It's your own damn fault.

Tiger, Tiger, burning bright...

Well, after a month of not much of interest it's raining idiocy. The Winter Games of the whateverthehellitis because they insist on using Roman Numerals and I can only count up to 14 in Roman Numerals Olympiad. Okay, maybe 49. But still...

So last night I sat up till 1 am watching the Men's Figure Skating Finals. Which I've plenty to say about. This, however, explains why I am bleary eyed today. Because, instead of sleeping in (when one's commute to the office is approximately 90 seconds and it's casual Friday to boot, well, that's totally doable)I got up before 8 so I could watch Tiger. Woods. A.Pol.O.Gize. To. The. Media. And. His. Fans.

And discuss his rehab.

This is, apparently, the "apologize to everyone you know, hurt, think you hurt or think you might run into at Starbucks anytime in the next 47 years" portion of his 12 step program. Tiger, it seems, is ashamed of himself. Okay, frankly I think Tiger is profoundly embarassed that he got nailed with his "pants on the ground" for the, what, 23rd time last week? I've lost track. I Googled "How many mistresses does Tiger Woods have now?" but got nowhere, even the internet has lost track. Now, personally? I'm not sure I believe several of them anyway. I was considering calling the L.A. Times and confessing to being one of Tiger's mistresses myself for awhile. I'm still toying with the idea. I think woman everywhere should call their local media and confess to being Tiger's mistress. It could sweep the nation, sort of like all the people who call and confess to murdering the Black Dahlia. We could all chip in, rent a stadium somewhere, and have a group picture taken.

Tiger wishes us to know that Elin never laid a hand on him let alone beat the crap out of him with a six iron. She never hit him. She deserves praise, not blame. Okay, Tiger? Listen up. No one blamed HER, you moron. If what you said is true, I'm frankly disappointed in her. No one blamed her for allegedly wailing on you with a golf club. To be honest, it amused the hell out of most of us.

Tiger is sorry and has apologized to all of the parents who held him up as a role model for their children. Okay, Tiger (and every other professional athlete, disc jockey and real estate mogul)? GET A FREAKING CLUE! Do you really think that I looked at a skinny kid with a fair to middling talent on the golf course and a LOT of potential and said "Hey kids! I have an idea. Instead of listening to me I want you to pick up a golf club, win a bunch of junior and amateur tournaments, start listening to your own publicity and then drop out of Stanford because someone said you can make a lot of money trying to smack a little white ball into a gopher hole with a metal pole. Because I want you to do whatever Tiger tells you to do."

Dude! You are NOT my kids role model. Just saying...

I don't know about the rest of you, but we here in L.A. who were watching KTLA were treated to a "State of the Union" like rebuttal. We went from Tiger. And. His. Carefully. Prepared. State.Ment. to the offices of Gloria Allred. Ms. Allred is not happy because Tiger did not apologize to the umpteen hundred mistresses who have emerged from his closet in the last three months. She is especially unhappy because Tiger has NOT apologized to her client, this lovely lady sitting, tearfully, right next to me here. In my office. Which just happens to be full of television cameras.

This lovely, innocent, hopelessly in love with Tiger and thought he was going to dump his wife and marry her young lady. Her name is Veronica. She gave up her career because Tiger wanted her to. Tiger wanted to take care of her. Tiger led her astray. And Veronica believed Tiger and gave up her career.

Did I mention Veronica was a porn star?

Now, I'm okay with that. Hell, you're young, your hot and you're okay with what your doing. There's a market for it and you're getting paid, what, something like $1500 per SCENE? I don't make that in a MONTH. But I digress. Like it or not, porn chicks have the reputation for being, shall we say, not too bright? Veronica, you're NOT helping this image. You're making a living in porn, you're doing a married man and you claim you bought into his line about how he was going to leave his wife and kids and marry you and you'd spend the rest of your life livin' the dream?


I have one more observation on this morning's waste of 30 minutes. Out of curiosity, I started pushing the channel button on my remote. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger, Tiger, Tiger, Sham Wow, Tiger. Something seemed off though. After a few back and forths I realized...KNBC was using a 7 second delay. Apparently they were afraid Tiger would let fly with the same sort of language Shaun White's I'm gonna dance in mid air on a snowboard coach did the other night. You know, the guy who dropped the F bomb while a microphone eavesdropped on the conversation and then NBC, instead of bleeping it ran it about six times so we could ALL be sure he'd hadn't slipped up and actually said "freakin?"

I'm guessing they were worried Tiger would come out, announce, "F**K off and leave me the hell alone" and walk out.

Which, now that I think about it, wouldn't have been such a bad idea.