Sunday, March 30, 2008


The Beatles

The Rolling Stones

On The QT

On Friday, Andy and I caught the Charles Bronson movie THE FAMILY at the Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax. The Silent Movie Theatre shows many other things besides silent movies, and in fact, has some really obscure and cool screenings. I didn't realize this until about three weeks ago. The seats, though uncomfortable, each come with their own throw cushion.

THE FAMILY is a piece of Eurotrash splendor and includes such wonderful things as: Charles Bronson, Charles Bronson with no shirt, Telly Savalas, Telly Savalas getting a facial, Telly Savalas making fancy drinks in coconut shells, Telly Savalas in enormous Sophia Loren eyeglasses, Ennio Morricone, lots of insane car chases accompanied by totally over the top and illogical tire-squealing sound, a weirdly pink tint to some of the reels, no-means-yes rape scenes, bad acting, bad dialogue, nudity, blood that looks like orange ketchup, zooms, and an iconic ending (featuring zooms).

The Silent Movie Theatre, like the New Beverly, attracts a lot of weird dudes. There were maybe five other women in the place.

So a good twenty minutes in, this guy comes in and is whispering to the guy sitting behind us:

Guy: hey, that's my seat.

Sitting Guy: huh?

Guy: that's my seat, all my stuff is there.

Sitting Guy: uhhh.

Guy (full volume): ALL MY SHIT IS THERE, THAT'S MY SEAT.

A good way to shame someone into doing something in a theatre when the show's on is to talk full volume. This works particularly well if you are Quentin Tarantino.

QT enjoyed the movie very much, I can report. He laughed a lot at some of the campiest stuff (there's a great part when Bronson is going to rape his old girlfriend down by the docks and then they pause and watch this other guy get the shit kicked out of him by three guys [and there's this strange subtext of maybe he's going to get raped too???] and then Bronson and the girlfriend talk about the fight a little like they are sitting on a couch watching it on TV and then CUT: to a totally different scene).

I have to admit that I didn't even realize that it was Tarantino until Andy pointed it out after we had left. Apparently he goes there a lot. The smoking patio between pictures must look like a crazy courtship ritual in which forty movie-obsessed dudes try simultaneously to sidle up to the man and tell him how much they liked KILL BILL: PART ONE.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Merit Badge for Red Tape

Since living in a country other than the one of which I am a citizen, bureaucratic struggles that would be medium-intense have become epic decathlons of perseverance. Registering my car in the United States took me approximately 30 to 40 hours of appointments, repairs, inspections and phone calls over a six month period. Getting my California drivers license also took multiple appointments and two tests.

Yesterday I finally got my new Canadian passport, which I've been working on since July. It's iridescent and pretty. In my old passport photo, I look like I'm pleased to meet you. In my new passport photo, I wear the expression of someone who knows that it will take eight months before I have the document in hand. I look Hungarian. You are not supposed to smile in Canadian passport photos anymore.

I do feel like I've perfected a combination of my Anglo-heritage (I know how to queue), my Canadian manners, and American aggression when it comes to dealing with this stuff. Everything I've put in for, I've eventually gotten, even though in the case of my passport, I had to call the Canadian consulate to get the certified mail tracking number and then go in person to the post office to find out that they had it, but no one had ever scanned it into their system so it seemed like they had no plans to deliver it until I showed up to ask about it.

Egg-based Horror Tales

I'm making a quiche from scratch for this Easter lunch I got invited to. It's baking right now. I think it's going to be a total disaster. The dough was a little dry, but worse, the crust is in a bottomless tart pan and I poured too much of the egg mixture in and the eggyness overflowed and went between the crust and the edge of the metal pan. Which wouldn't be that big a deal except that it's a bottomless tart pan, comprised of a ring that makes the outside edge and then a flat circle that sits inside to make the bottom. So when I poured the egg in, it started haloing out around the pan onto the counter like it was a gangster that had just been shot.

Okay, and just now, I looked in the oven and the eggyness is completely flowing out of the quiche and all over the baking sheet I put underneath it. This means the shell is leaking. I just poured in the leftover egg mixture to top it up.

Things I did different from the recipe:

1) Whole wheat flour instead of all purpose
2) Salted butter instead unsalted
3) I think slightly less butter than was called for
4) Frozen butter grated instead of "very cold" butter in a mixmaster because screw you Martha Stewart, not everyone has a mixmaster
5) Didn't chop the thyme all that finely
6) Skipped the "strain thorugh seive" step
7) Have a crazed variable temperature gas oven, that gets hot fast but can't keep a consistent temperature to save its life or the lives of the food it cooks.

Man, baking is a cruel mistress. In other kinds of cooking, you can usually get away with little changes and shortcuts.

Okay, holy shit, just looked in the oven. The situation is insane. There's super-fluffy egg craziness exploding from all over the baking sheet. In the center, sits the quiche, happy in its pan, all innocent like it had nothing to do with it.

It needs to cook for 45 more minutes. It will need to be eaten with pickaxes.


6:43pm postscript: The quiche was magnificent. I was 1.5 hours late. This guy I once dated was at the lunch and we awkwardly avoided each other. I met my friend's fiancee and liked her very much.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Oasis Times

Last weekend I went up to Palm Desert to hang out with my parents. I recommend such an excursion for anyone who wants to feel really young and really pale. I got into town a couple of hours before they did and so after thoroughly inspecting the bathroom and jumping on the bed a little, I went down to the hotel bar.

The bar, like the hotel, like the town, is full of super-tanned people with wrinkles and coral-colored polo shirts talking about their triumphs on the links. I asked the bartender if she had the kind of whiskey I like and ordered a glass of it. She asked for my ID and when she took it and looked at it for a long time under the counter light and then turned around with her back to me and scrabbled at it for a minute before handing it back to me. I handed her my Visa, which due to bank screw-ups has a picture of a fluffy Golden Retriver snuggling with a kittycat. I'm sure that didn't go very much further than my ersatz fake ID towards convincing her that in fact I am on the home stretch of 29.

I started thinking about ways that I could prove my vintage: "I remember Expo 86!" "I saw Ghostbusters II in the theatre!" "CK One makes me think of algebra and purple jeans!" "I think of Will Smith as a radio star!" "I know who Christa McAuliffe was!" "I can moonwalk!" "I once had jams with Carebears on them!" "I can sing the Three's Company theme song!"

It's hard to say if any of these things would really work. Maybe the key is to not hang out in Palm Desert?

I talked to the pharmacologist next to me at the bar about Walmart and the lucrative trade of botox and fake boobs. Then my parents showed up and we drank large professional martinis and ate very small morsels of delicious food on beautiful white plates. Later when we were standing at reception, my mom double-dog dared me to take a bite out of one of their decorative green apples in their display. Which I did. So perhaps the bartender was right to scowl at me like I'm a teenager. Apparently I haven't made much headway past 15.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Something Madonna Figured Out Ten Years Ago

I have a phone headset at work. I don't use it all the time, but I'll put it on to talk to the travel agent or to roll calls. Any situation that I think I'm likely to ask to talk to someone's supervisor, I'll wear it. It makes me a much gestural caller, I nod, I throw my hands up in the air. I love writing or typing while using it. I love getting up and wandering around while using it, but I don't do that too much because it's obnoxious.

Something about it makes me feel authoritative. I was calling the bookstore at the Grove to see if they had a book I wanted in stock. The woman said she they didn't have it but she could have it shipped to me. Normally, I'd say no and hang up and then buy it for the exact same price on Amazon because I'm a nervous shopper, but I was wearing the headset! And I was like, yes, yes, let's set that up, let's make that a go.

If I got a wrong number call from some scary stranger asking me for approval to detonate and I was using the regular handset, ten times out of ten, I would say, "What? No! Don't detonate anything! Wrong number!" but if I got that same call while wearing the headset, there is a fraction of a chance that I would say, "Detonate!".

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Mystery Train (of Events)

A couple of weeks ago whilst waiting on the sidewalk for brunch, this car parked down the way and Jim Jarmusch got out. Except it wasn't Jim Jarmusch, it was a guy who looked exactly like him. How is this an accident? If you are the kind of dude who wears black, skinny cowboy jeans, somewhat imposing boots, an ancient black t-shirt and is pale as Scotsman with your white hair sticking up from your head in dramatic scoops and twists, how have you not heard of Jim Jarmusch? And having heard of him, how do you not realize that you look exactly like him? You probably go to the same parties, and whoops, that's awkward.

It's like having the same name as a famous person or character. For serious, at one point I had a plan of naming a character William Blake except he's never heard of William Blake.

And then I saw DEAD MAN.

Don't you love circles?