Thursday, December 20, 2007

I've Got Christmas Gift Ideas! And Neither of Them Contain Coffee or Alcohol!

I don't usually use my blog to hawk wares, but I just reviewed two products over on my other blog that are worth mentioning here. One is a toy for kids, and one is a toy for adults. Although if you're like me, you'll want to play with both of them.


For the past few months my nine-year-old had been bugging me to make her a toy she saw at a birthday party awhile back. It consisted of two, 2-liter soda bottles joined together at their necks and containing colored water, and when the bottles were flipped one way or another the liquid would create a tornado effect. The ones she had seen were joined by a plastic sleeve made especially for this purpose, but she had been told (by a very "helpful" parent at the party) that the same thing could be achieved by using duct tape to join the two bottles. So go home, he told her, go home and tell your mom to get cracking on that craft in all that free time of hers...Read more...


I'm the gadget nut in this family. While my husband would be content to use a rotary-dial phone and a TV that needs to be hand-cranked, I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning unless I know that there is some electronic device waiting to be purchased that will make my day more exciting. I've got my eyes set on a one-cup coffeemaker (even though we already have a grind-and-brew and an espresso machine fighting for space on our counter) and my husband has noticed that I make odd slurping noises whenever an iPhone commercial flashes on the TV screen...Read More...

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Monday, December 17, 2007

I Wish Someone In This House Would Get a Record Deal So I Could Afford To Remodel My Kitchen

Somehow, in between working a full time job, taking out the trash, getting the kids ready for school and keeping his wife happy, my husband managed to record a CD! Rigel and his band, Nine2Midnight, spent countless hours and subjected themselves to hundreds of beers to get some of their songs onto vinyl (or plastic, or whatever CDs are made out of. Whalebone? The ashes of dead rock stars?) Obviously I'm partial, but I think they sound awesome - even though they ignored my requests to cover a Beyoncé song.

They even have a MySpace page, which apparently is what all the young kids are doing these days to pimp their music. Of course, this all just means they're one step closer to spandex jumpsuits, out-of-control drug habits and tour buses filled with slutty groupies. Which is all fine as long Rigel still gets up to take the kids to school.

Meanwhile, things aren't going too swell for Kira and Kiyomi's band, Off Limits. Their keyboard player quit a few weeks ago in a very dramatic Diana-Ross-leaves-the-Supremes fashion minutes before their first show. The way it went down was, they were finishing up a music and songwriting class they'd been taking together and were preparing to perform a song they'd written. All us parents were waiting outside, talking about what kinds of vacation homes and sports cars we were going to buy with our kids' money once they became famous, when the keyboard player stormed out and announced that she was quitting the band for two years, in her words, "Until Kiyomi grows up."

Now, you'd think Kiyomi would take offense with this, but she's actually been strangely eager to tell the story and has been repeating it to anyone who'll listen, adding some dramatic flourishes for effect. "So, she quit the band and said she wasn't coming back 'until I grow up.' Until I grow up! How do ya like that? She's giving me two years to grow up! Why two years? Why not four? I'll be eleven by then for goodness sakes! Am I supposed to wait around?" She's usually got her hands motioning wildly and flipping her hair by the time she finishes the story, and I can just picture her in ten years, telling the story to Rolling Stone while she's got a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and flashing her tattoo that says "I'm All Grown Up."

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sweatpantsmom Is Getting Her Blogging Back On.

I remember when I first started this blog, and how I was diligently posting every single day. That went on for awhile and I was so proud of myself, all the intricacies of my life I was laying out for everyone to see! How wonderfully interesting my mundane comings and goings were! How amusing every word and cough and burp that came out of my children sounded! I just imagined how the entire world was waiting, waiting every day for my next entry and all the fascinating details I would divulge.

Well, that wasn't the case.

So, I started posting less, and that seemed to be fine. The earth still spun on its axis, and the universe was still intact without hearing about my latest supermarket purchase, or how hot my coffee was that morning.

And then I started posting even less, mainly because I started getting busier. There were school projects, and freelance jobs and family commitments and posting to my blog seemed of slightly less priority than sleeping or using the extra few minutes to shower or shave my armpits.

Then along came this year, with the supreme time-sucker that is middle school, and writing for that other blog, and researching stories for that same blog, and freelance jobs and sick kids and odd schedules. And you know what? My pits still weren't shaved.

Add to that not having time to actually read anyone else's blog. Who had a baby? Who moved to a tropical island? Who won the Nobel Prize? Did anyone win the lottery? And if so, are we related?

It's like I have no idea what's going on in my neighborhood because I haven't had time to walk out my front door. (Front door. See? In the old days that would have been an entire blog post right there.)

And I'm looking back over my posts for the past few months and realizing that there are huge gaps of time in there, tons of events that aren't written about here. Not that anyone else cares, but I don't have a record of them anywhere, and that was the great thing about blogging: a nice chronicle of what had happened in my life, my husband's life, my girls' lives - our lives.

This sucks.

So be warned that I'm going to go back to blogging more often, about the temperature of my coffee and my shopping adventures and the latest unbelievably cute thing my kid said this morning and the freaky mom I sat next to at the PTA meeting who was wearing her pajama bottoms underneath a poncho. That's right - I said poncho.

I'm going to write about it all.

Not so much for you, but for me.

But I'm hoping you'll keep reading. I promise no photos of my pits.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Pepperoni or Cheese? Simple Question For Some; Vexing, Mind-Blowing, Life-Altering Decision For Others

marsha takeda morrisonA couple of weeks ago I was asked to help out at Back-To-School night at Kira's middle school. This is a chance for the parents to meet the teachers, and the PTA and booster clubs at most schools use it as a fundraising opportunity to sell food and drinks beforehand. While the idea of putting on a pair of plastic gloves and dishing out five hundred pieces of pizza sounded daunting, I hadn't had a chance to volunteer at Kira's new school, so I agreed. Besides, knowing how tight money is in the system these days, one slice of pizza sold could mean the difference between my kid having paper towels in the girls bathroom or having to wipe her hands on her shirt like we make her do at home.

By the time I arrived the other parents had already set up a row of tables on which sat eighty pizzas in insulated carriers. My job was to stand at the first table and offer a choice of either cheese or pepperoni; I would hand out the cheese slices and send the pepperoni requests to the next table, and then to the next for salad and drinks. Easy enough, thank god, since I was anxious to make a good impression on my first middle-school volunteering assignment. I'd hate to screw up and have one of the other senior moms give me a wedgie and shove me into a locker.

Everyone was cooperative and the line moved swiftly. And why not? The decision to have pepperoni or cheese pizza isn't exactly a hard one. (Not like trying to decide whether to have your cappuccino dry or semi dry - sometimes I ponder that one for a good ten minutes.) I got into a rhythm, and soon was calling out "pepperoniorcheese" like it was one word, like the really cool pizza guys do. Why, I was beginning to see a future for myself in food services and was dreaming of what I would look like in a stylish hair net, barking out orders for my fry cooks to "Load up another rasher of bacon!"

But my nirvana was cut short right at at the busiest time, in the form of a sixth grade girl and her mother. I could tell there was going to be trouble as soon as I asked "Pepperoni or Cheese?" and the girl furrowed her brows, put her hands on her hips and tried to peer into the box. "What kind of pizza is it?" she asked, oblivious to the bright blue and red Dominos logo on the lid - perhaps she thought I had drawn it on all the boxes myself with a Sharpie. When I stated the obvious, she whispered something to her mother who then asked if her daughter could see the pizza. Sure, I said, and opened the box. I glanced at the forty people behind them in line and shrugged, giving them my "Aren't people just wacky?" look.

More whispering followed, and then the mother asked if she could see another pizza. I paused, but obligingly opened the lid of another box, hoping they'd both suddenly realize they were lactose intolerant and transfer to another school. And then? Even more whispering.

And the mother asked to see a third pizza.

Sure! I answered. But why stop there? Just step around the tables here and let me open up all eighty pizzas, so that you can carefully examine each and every one. Take your time! Find the one, perfect slice out of all six hundred pieces, and once you find the one you want, I'll pick it up with my platinum spatula, have it blessed by the Pope and then serve it up to you on this diamond-encrusted plate.

Actually, I refused. I pointed to the line behind them, now fifty people long, and told them they'd have to choose a piece out of the twenty pieces before them. I pointed out that they were all the same, and if she wasn't sure maybe a nice plate of salad and a bottled water would make a lovely meal for the two them this evening. After some heavy sighing by the girl and a dirty look thrown my way from her mother, they finally pointed to two pieces of cheese pizza. I had to seriously hold myself back from licking each piece and rubbing them on my butt before handing them over.

What the hell is wrong with this mother? Okay, your kid's a picky eater - I get it. I'm sure she spends hours at home just trying to find something her kid will eat, running herself ragged trying to make sure her pizza is just the right shade of orange, and her spaghetti noodles are arranged in a pleasing counter-clockwise pattern on her plate. But when you're in a public place, holding up a line, isn't it time to say enough already?

I want to warn the poor guy who takes this girl out on a dinner date in ten years. She'll be the one who has to inspect the kitchen first, grills the waiter about every ingredient in every dish on the menu before she finally settles on the vegetable soup, and then asks to have them remove every speck of parsley, serve the potatoes on the side and have the carrots cut into the shapes of the silhouettes of the last ten presidents.

And whatever you do, don't take her out for pizza.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

This Totally Blows.

marsha takeda morrisonI don't do product reviews on this website, but while doing one on my other blog I remembered that the product had another use, namely for making awesome bubbles. I Googled it and found the video below. I love it, mostly for it's soundtrack, which is a song by Joe Jacksonthat I had forgotten about. Note that the ingredients are probably the same ones used at most fraternity sex parties.

(There's sound, so you may want to turn your volume down.)

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Perfect Day: A Promise Fulfilled, Valet Parking and a Gourd Mousse

I know it's hard to believe, but I occasionally lapse in my stellar parenting skills. There's the time I forgot to crease the plastic wrap correctly on those sandwiches I seem to be making every five minutes, or the one time I cursed in front of my kids. And then there are the unkept promises, those rare times when I say I'll do something and then fail to come through, like promising to get them a kitten or vowing to never again lick my hand and use it to clean their faces. Shocking, I know - it's like finding out your favorite movie star actually goes to the bathroom.

There's one promise that I made that was impossible to sweep under the rug: telling them I'd take them to Disneyland this summer. I'm not even sure why I opened my big mouth, seeing as our last visit lasted for two whole days. I think it even states in the small print on the Disney ticket that if you spend two consecutive days there 'The Magic' is supposed to last for at least five years. But the pleas started coming as soon as school let out in June and continued throughout the summer. I even considered buying them that kitten just to get the little nags off my back.

But then came the generous invitation from Maria Bailey of, who invited us, along with some other bloggers and their families, to join her a couple of weeks ago for a kickoff event for Disneyland's Halloween Time. It would include access to both Disneyland and California Adventure and then a reception at the Grand Californian hotel, capped off by an after-hours Halloween party. There was something in this package for everyone: the girls finally got their trip to Disneyland, some quality time in a hotel for me, and free valet parking which made Rigel's day. And there was the added bonus of being able to justify all those hours spent blogging.

And it was an incredible day. We happened to be there at a particularly slow time, and the longest wait for a ride was a mere fifteen minutes, a blink compared to the two hours plus we've spent in lines there before. California Adventure was a new experience, having only spent a short time there on a previous visit a few years ago. The Soaring Over California ride, where you're in a hanglider flying over rivers, cities and mountains, is now my favorite amusement park ride ever, having surpassed the Tilt-o-Whirl and the parking tram. Honestly I could have just ridden that thing over and over again, and I would have if those two security guards hadn't escorted me out.

We were treated to a decadent reception in one of the ballrooms in the California Grande Hotel - a buffet meal (separate ones for the adults and kids), a dj, face painting and cookie decorating for the kids, photo ops with the Disney characters (who even my two jaded girls were excited to pose with.) And the best part, a chance to chat in person for thirty seconds with one of my favorite bloggers.

Let me pause in reverence for a moment and just show you one of the desserts they had at the reception. A pumpkin mousse bruleé served in hollowed-out mini pumpkins. I know! Sure Disney's known for their fabulous theme parks and their child-hypnotizing merchandise, but to me their true genius was summed up in that little cream-filled gourd. I'd found The Happiest Place on Earth alright, and it was my chair, in front of that dessert.

And it wasn't over. The night was capped off by the after-hours Halloween Treat party at California Adventure, where the girls got to trick or treat through the park at different candy stations located what seemed to be every fifty feet. Disney spares no expense when it comes to decorating and the place looked awesome - my little picture here doesn't do it justice. But there's a little movie of it here. Those Disney people think of everything.

All in all, it was the best day at Disneyland we've ever had. The biggest miracle? Rigel never once complained or threatened never to set foot in an amusement park again. I think I even heard him promise the girls that we may not wait a year before our return trip, and I agreed, although I admit I was still high on that pumpkin mousse. And the best part? A promise fullfilled and the path to redemption in my girls' eyes. Now if I can only get around to that kitten, and stopping those spit-ball washings.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Of Mommybloggers and Young Love.

Jenn and her partners in crime over at Mommybloggers have chosen to feature me this week. Crazy you say? Not as crazy as the fact that they actually found a few people to say some nice things about me. Thank you Jamie, Jodi, Contrary and Mary Tsao - your checks are in the mail. Mary, I know I promised you a pair of Jimmy Choos for the extra FameCrawler reference in your tribute, so don't forget to email me your size. And thanks, Jenn for your infinite patience - man, the fourteen weeks between the time you sent me those questions and the time I got back to you went by so fast!

I picked up Kiyomi at school the other day and noticed she was wearing a faux-pearl necklace I didn't recognize. I asked her where she got it, expecting to hear that she had traded with one of her girlfriends for the day, or had gotten it as a prize from the teacher for knowing the molecular structure of a Smurf. But she collapsed into a fit of giggles and coyly said, "Luis gave it to me. He said he bought it specially for me at the fair." I'm assuming the fair he was referring to is the L.A. County Fair that ended this past weekend. My immediate thought was, couldn't he have bought her a funnel cake or a deep-fried Snickers bar, something the whole family could have enjoyed?

I know little Luis, and he's adorable. I always thought he looked like a kid straight out of another era - a shock of jet black hair that's wavy and shiny, pressed cuffed jeans and a little plaid shirt. In fact, I could totally see him at the fair, standing next to his prize heifer and proudly clutching a 4h blue ribbon.

Kiyomi nonchalantly explained how the gifting went down. Lovestruck little Luis marched to her table as she was lunching with her gaggle of girlfriends and placed the necklace on her tray, right there between the chicken nuggets and the fruit cup. (I have to say that is one brave little dude.) After the initial giggles from the ladies-who-lunch had died down, Kiyomi said she thanked him for it, and that was when he went into the story of how he had gone to the fair with his parents that weekend and bought the necklace for her with his own money. Seriously, I'm about to give her permission to marry the little guy.

Unfortunately, Kiyomi's intentions are less than noble. I asked her how she felt about getting the necklace and her response was, "Well, you know he's a really nice boy, and he's been my friend since kindergarten. I told him I'm way too young to have a boyfriend, but if he wants to keep buying me things, that's totally fine!" With those last words she did a disturbing little wave in the air with her hand, kind of what I imagine Marie Antoinette did when she said, "Let them eat cake!"

Poor Luis. Someone needs to put a hold on his allowance and get him a copy of, "She's Just Not Into You."

He and Kiyomi have been in the same class since kindergarten, and apparently this wasn't his first declaration of love for her. She told me last year he had summoned the nerve, after being teased by his classmates all through recess, to walk up to her and hand her a beaded necklace after the bell rang. I asked her what had happened to that one, and she shrugged and said she thinks she remembers losing it before the day was over.

Like I said, poor Luis. I imagine him finding that necklace tossed aside on the playground and feeling a teeny tiny dagger through his heart. He'll pull it out in ten years in his therapist's office, the beads dusty and the elastic string stretched out, and sob over the pain he felt that day and the love that broke his heart. And his piggy bank.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Little Black Book of Style: Take Two Birkin Bags and Call Her In The Morning

I have a new review up over there on my other blog:

Don't let my current look fool you. I didn't always walk around in sweatpants, a faded Gap t-shirt and shoes that look like they were run over by a truck. You think I went out of the house without lipstick in my twenties? Back in the day I actually got my hair cut more than three times a year, had neatly pedicured toes and my belt freqently matched my shoes. I've got an Azzedine Alaia dress in my closet, an old Fendi bag on my shelf and even a Gaultier suit I had altered to fit. By a real tailor.

So what happened? Somewhere between then and now, I had kids. Plain and simple. Some people may say that's no excuse, but I beg to differ. Show me a woman who's style hasn't faltered since she's had kids, and I'll show you a woman who's got a full-time nanny and an assistant who irons her socks, I always say. Read more...

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Tales From Middle School, Part I: Those Who Truly Suffer

Everyone knows that middle school can be quite traumatic. The too-early mornings, the frantic schedules, the daily lunch grind. It's all too much to bear.

I'm not talking about my child's angst - I'm talking about mine.

It's safe to say that middle school is totally and completely kicking my ass. Kira has been a sixth grader for exactly seven whole days and at the end of each of those seven days I found it necessary to drink more than a reasonable amount of wine, curl up in a fetal position and swear loudly to anyone within earshot that homeschooling was imminent. It's gotten pretty ugly, especially when the neighbors yelled at me to stop laying on their lawn.

We're having to get up half-an-hour earlier here to allow time to get the girls to their two different schools. Thirty minutes may not seem like much to most of you, but to Rigel and I it's huge, the difference between a fairly lucid morning and a dangerously incoherent one. Turning on the stove to make hot water for oatmeal and then putting a cereal box on that open flame would fall into that last category. You get the picture.

Once dressed it's into the car to fight the other eight hundred edgy middle-school parents for the few safe spots to drop off your child. This is my least favorite time of day, aside from the half-hour-early wake up and the other eleven hours of the day that I'm prevented from sleeping. It's a jungle over there - people who think their kid's going to be late for first period get irrational and do crazy, dangerous things like make U-turns in the middle of intersections. Luckily, no one saw me.

On top of everything else, apparently the new school has a cafeteria menu that is troublesome to the sophisticated palate of my 11-year old. The hamburgers are dry, the pizza's burned - exactly the same complaints she had about the elementary school food that I used to ignore. But now, as a wordly, middle-school gourmet these foods are completely unacceptable. So where before I could convince her to buy lunch by extolling the virtues of processed chicken lumps or coax her into treating herself to a leathery corndog, I'm busy packing bagel sandwiches and elaborate turkey wraps smeared with dijon mustard and garlic mayonnaise. I figure I'll keep up the charade for a few weeks and then start sneaking in the ham sandwiches with wilted lettuce and the mac n' cheese that's turned to packing foam by lunchtime.

Never mind the fact that millions of people are going through the same routine as me and handling it with far more grace and composure - I find being a middle school parent an exhausting and spirit-crushing experience. It's also the first time in five years that I've had my girls in two different schools - dropping them off at two separate locations in the morning! Picking them up at two different times in the afternoon! It's as if the school district is personally trying to sabotage my life. I'm hoping the next few weeks get a little easier as we all adjust to our schedules, fine-tune our routines and I up my caffeine intake to dangerous levels.

Next up: Tales From Middle School, Part II: Wherefore Art Thou, Locker?

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Signs Your 9-Year-Old May Be Watching Too Many "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" Reruns or Secretly Listening to Your Rap Collection, Or Both.

Walking into the kitchen: "Whassup, my pimpin' homey mama?"

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Back From Vacay: I'm Not Dead, But I Sure Look Like I Am.

It's been a long time, over a month, since I last posted. That's the longest I've been away from this blog, and thanks to all of you who asked where I was and if I was okay. I'm fine, with the exception of being incredibly exhausted from the girls being off of school, hosting out-of-town guests for ten days straight, having some remodeling done on our bedroom, trashing celebrities and hosting a family party for thirty people. Oh, and two more of our fish died, but we've been too busy to have a ceremony like we did for the late, great Little Guppy. The girls seemed relieved, though when I told them I'd penciled in 'Fish Funeral' on my calendar for February 2009.

I haven't visited a single blog in the last month, either, and believe me when I say it's only because I had to make the difficult decision to read blogs or actually get a few minutes of sleep . I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone's lives - I'm sure many of you have moved, had babies, won Pulitzer Prizes, changed careers and switched detergents. I've only done the last one but, boy - it's made a hell of a difference in my mood and I smell like a freakin' mountain spring.

The other thing that happened since I last posted is that Kiyomi turned nine and we bought her an iPod for her birthday. If you can remember from last year, we agonized for awhile over buying Kira one for her tenth birthday - Is it too much? Are we spoiling her? What a difference twelve months makes, as we no longer have any qualms whatsoever about buying our children expensive, possibly inappropriate electronic gifts. In fact, Christmas is coming and both of them are getting wall-sized plasma TVs that will come wrapped in fully loaded Lamborghinis.

Part of the reason for our caving is the ease of buying one simple gift that they've requested. I'm more than happy to leave behind the days when I'd spend five hours in the Polly Pocket aisle looking for just the right combination of doll, rubber accessories and plastic housing. What could be simpler than making one call to Rigel and asking him to stop by the Apple store on his way home from work? Plus, he's so happy to have an excuse to visit one of his favorite places that he even offered to bring home dinner. I'm telling you ladies, iPods may be the best invention for busy mothers since SpongeBob marathons.

Not surprisingly, we've been too preoccupied to have a birthday party for her, so last night I asked her if she had any idea what she'd like. She informed me that she already had an idea for the type of 'event' (and she used that word, event) she wanted. She whipped out a pad and pencil and fifteen minutes later came back to me with her idea written out - a Carnival Party, complete with game booths, face painting, tattoos, a prize station, snack stand and water games. Nothing elaborate, six to seven-thousand-dollars tops and we're probably talking about only a fifteen-hour time span. I didn't have the heart to crush her idea right then, but I'm hoping she won't be disappointed when she finds out it'll be more like pizzas and juice boxes, water balloons, goody bags from the dollar store and me drawing on everyone's face with a Sharpie. It'll be loads of fun - she'll see.


In some other old, outdated news, my interview with Hayden Panettiere was published in the June/July issue of Genlux magazine. If you're looking for some good bathroom reading, you can drag your laptop into the restroom and read it here and here. Don't forget to flush.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Maybe This is Where The Term "Feather Brained" Comes From

A couple of weeks ago I was making one of my exciting forays to the grocery store and decided to buy one of those mammoth Valu-Paks of chicken breasts, the ones that come on a styrofoam tray that's so huge you can use it for a boogie board after you're done. They were on sale, and I was so excited I spent the rest of my supermarket outing daydreaming of all the creative ways I'd be using that bounty of chicken over the next few years - chicken stew, chicken enchiladas, chicken tikka. By the time I was done with that chicken my kids would be on their way to college and Rigel and I could get back to eating fast food everynight like normal people do.

The next day I hopped in my van to run some errands and noticed an odd smell, which isn't unusual considering the girls have a small farm of forgotten and discarded Frappuccinos and Jamba Juices growing in the backseat. But this one was worse, sort of...chickeny. I'm sure you can guess where this is going.

Somehow my coveted Valu-Pak had managed to get left behind in the back of the van when I unloaded the car the day before. And with everything else going on I hadn't noticed that it wasn't there when I was putting away the groceries. And no, I didn't even consider for one minute trying to fry up that putrid mass and serve it to my family for dinner that night. Okay, maybe only for a minute.

I wish I could say this is an isolated incident, but things like this seem to be happening more frequently. The other day I was at Barnes&Noble with the kids, and was so concerned with finding their manga books and sucking down the last of my cappuccino that I wandered off and left my purse, wide open, on a chair for around fifteen minutes. Then there's the forgetting of my PIN number (in my defense it was a bank issued number, but still one that I'd had for awhile) and numerous incidents where I have to make Rigel drive back to the house because I can't remember if I turned the stove/cappuccino machine/curling iron off. If this keeps up I'm going to be one of those mothers you hear about on the news that leaves her kids in the gas station restroom and doesn't realize it until she goes to sign them up for swim lessons three months later.

A friend of mine once theorized that we only have so many slots in our brains for information, and the more things we have going on in our lives (e.g., kids, and then there's kids) the faster those slots fill up. Once they're all filled, the only way to take in any more data is for some other piece of information to be deleted. So, while figuring out how to work the Wii and memorizing the sales dates at Bloomingdales may be important, it could cause other more vital information to be pushed out, like the fact that you have twenty pounds of poultry rotting in the back of your van.

I've decided that the only way to get back on track is to try and delete some of the less important information that's taking up valuable space in my obviously crowded frontal lobe. Sort of like clearing my hard drive off all my unnecessary files, like invoices from ten years ago and those 20mb jpegs of Jake Gyllenhaal half naked. So, I'm going to try really hard to forget Paris Hilton ever existed and attempt to wipe the words to Disco Inferno (Burn, baby burn!) out of my head. Maybe then I'll remember where I put that twenty-dollar bill that I swore I stuffed in my makeup bag.

I'll let you know how my little experiment is going. In the meantime, if I have you over for dinner, don't eat the chicken.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Next Week's Summer Activity For The Kiddies? Physics!

Summer vacation officially starts today. I've written before about my girls' aversion to organized summer activities - summer camps, drama classes, craft workshops and their ilk. Add to that my poor organizational skills and it makes for one long summer, endless days where the highlight may be the occasional journey to a warehouse store for crates of toilet paper or the exciting trip to the dry cleaners to pick up pants. This summer was no different - except for a few short weekend trips and some plans revolving around our out-of-town guests we had nothing planned. I was getting ready to clear out the shelves and polish up my Costco card for the exciting ten weeks ahead.

But somehow my conscience got the best of me, and I decided to take a friend's lead and sign the girls up for a class. The guilt was too much, and I couldn't get the image out of my head of the two of them as adults, sitting in a maximum security prison and Stone Phillips' voiceover saying, "Perhaps a pottery class could have kept these two out of trouble in that fateful summer of 2007."

My friend and I decided to sign our girls up for a songwriting class. Her two daughters are the sisters that Kira and Kiyomi have formed their band with, the band that so far has produced no music but has gone through two name changes, a dozen logo variations and three in-band fights. They're hoping to open for Green Day by the fall, so they've been thinking it might be a good idea to start acquiring some musical skills, now that they recently completed their most important task - designing all their touring outfits.

The course is being given through a popular arts center not far from here. My friend warned me that the classes are first-rate but the registration process could be a little hellish, what with every alpha mom within thirty miles fighting to get their kid into painting, baroque chanting or Peruvian cloth weaving. And when I arrived there last Saturday morning and saw the huge line snaking out of the registration office, I had the urge to bolt and just sign the girls up for that online bead-stringing class like I was planning to do in the first place.

I noticed everyone jockeying for position in front of a serious-looking woman with a clipboard who was judiciously handing out numbers to avoid anyone cutting in line. Why, it was as if that shrew had read my mind! Every couple of minutes a class number would be posted on an easel board indicating that it had just filled up, and a frantic murmur would run through the crowd. "129a's closed! That was Batik 101!" "285T! Someone just took the last spot in Advanced Tile for preschoolers!" This would be followed by gasps and anguished cries and then the sight of parents hurling themselves off the balcony as they realized that little Dakota's chance at being the next David Hockney had suddenly vaporized.

I looked down at my number: 135. I tried not to panic.

The woman behind me in line was fretting about not getting her three-year-old into his pottery class. It got me thinking how this whole scene was such a product of our current times, the whole über-parenting thing, the age of Baby Einstein and Baby Mozart and times-table flashcards for fetuses. Were we really ruining our kids chances for a bright future if they didn't get a jump on their fingerpainting now? I don't ever remember my parents standing in line for two hours to secure me a place in an art class, and I certainly didn't have any extra-curricular activities before I was five. I can't possibly imagine what you could teach a three-year-old in a pottery class, anyways, except for, "This is clay. Don't eat it."

But there was no chance in hell I was getting out of line, so I waited, and tried not to get too anxious as more classes filled up. My friend, who had gotten there two hours ahead of me finally made it up to the desk, got her two girls into the class and then reported back to me that it looked like there were still several spaces left. But there were 40 people in front of me in line, and for a few minutes I seriously considered passing out my stash of poisoned mints to prevent any of them from taking those coveted spots.

When I got to the front desk some 1-1/2 hours later and the woman informed me that I had gotten the last two spots in the class, I couldn't help but feel victorious. Who wouldn't, when they had single-handedly ensured their children's artistic future with just a sixty-dollar registration fee? I felt good, damnit, and thought there may be something to the whole über-parenting thing after all. And as I left, clutching my receipt for class #457T in my sweaty palms, I stopped to pick up a flyer for Banjo Camp, 2008. Julliard, here we come!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007


...with pride. My little girl graduated from elementary school today. She gave a commencement speech in front of three-hundred people. Received the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence, and a letter from the President. (Had to explain to both girls that it's still okay not to like him.) Maintained a 4.0 average all through her elementary years. Just accepted into the Honors Program at our local middle school.

I hate to brag, but sometimes you just have to.

Congratulations, Kira! I love you more than I can say.


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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fade To Black? How Bout I Kick Your Ass?

A few years ago Rigel brought home a John Sayles movie, Limbo, for the two of us to watch. We'd liked a few of his previous ones - Lone Star and City of Hope - so we thought this one sounded interesting. Three people marooned on a desert island! One of them is David Strathairn! If that doesn't sound like pure entertainment I don't know what is.

I can't really put into words how awful this movie was, but let me just say - Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio sings. I'm not sure why we continued to watch, but it was when the kids were small and I think we were so exhausted it would have taken more energy to get up and turn off the TV than it did to just sit there and subject ourselves to the crappiness of it all.

(Okay, now I'm going to give away the ending, but only because under no circumstances should you ever have this movie in your home. Unless John Sayles delivers it to your house personally, in which case you should just grab the DVD from him and then beat him about the head with it.)

I'd describe this move as being similar to Gilligan's Island in plot, but not nearly as believable and not done nearly as well. Several times during the movie you're lead to believe they're being rescued, but then they're not. So towards the end, when you hear the sound of an airplane in the distance and then see it rise over a mountain you're thinking, "Cool. This piece of crap movie is over."

But then the screen just goes black.

And that's when I lost it. I started yelling at the TV. I had just wasted two hours of my life, only to be left with a completely unresolved ending? I was threatening to drive to John Sayles' house, set the video on fire in front of him, and then kick his ass. I remember Rigel desperately trying to hide my car keys.

In order to validate my rage I ran to my computer and looked up the movie, and the first review I read, and I swear this is true, was from a guy who said when the screen went to black his wife was so angry she started hitting him over the head with a newspaper.

Of course, this brings me to the season finale of The Sopranos. Did any of you see it? Did anyone else want to drive to David Chases' house and kick his ass? Who's with me?

I appreciate a sophisticated plot, a clever ending. I'm not some neophyte, spending all my time watching The CW. I wasn't expecting some Hallmark moment with a neat, tidy ending. But this finale wasn't arty, or intriguing or enlightening. It was a cop-out, and a letdown after watching seven seasons of this show, which felt like twenty since weren't there like two years between each season for chrissakes?

I felt like David Chase was giving me the finger.

And now I'm going to kick his ass, too.

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tags: | | |

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Self-Promotion Is The New Black

My apologies if I haven't visited your blog in awhile, or left one of my rambling comments, or haven't dropped you an email complaining about how your sidebar isn't centered. I've been pretty busy, and this is the reason:

I'm one of the bloggers on FameCrawler, the new celebrity gossip site on It's tons of fun, but I've spent so much time trolling celebrity and gossip websites that I've shaved my head, stopped wearing panties and drink until I pass out in my car.

(But I'm going to lock myself in my office this weekend, catch up on all my blog reading and then send all of you gift baskets to make up for it.)

So come by and visit, and read some of my posts. You might learn something new about David Hasselhoff, or get an advance look at Tom Cruise's next child, or see why Jennifer Aniston bought a stuffed animal that cost as much as my dishwasher. Aren't you just a little curious?


Then, if you're still not sick of me, hop on over to my other blog, Views From The Pants, where I write about school cafeterias. You'll see why, while most people think of them as black holes of empty carbs and sugary evils, I think they could really be the Fountain Of Youth.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

The L.A. Blogger Party: We Laughed, We Cried, We Hugged Awkwardly.

Saturday night was the big L.A. Blogger Party organized by L.A. Daddy. Rigel was brave enough to accompany me, and was happy to see there were some non-bloggers there to commiserate with. I think they formed their very own focus group there called, "What's The Big Goddamned Deal About Blogging Anyways?" I could see them all over in the corner, knocking back beers and pounding their fists on the table.

Seeing as I've never been to BlogHer, this was my first official blogger-meetup and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Would it be like a regular party, except with people calling each other by their URLs instead of their names and speaking in HTML code? Would it be like a playdate, except with drunk grownups and better food?

Well, it was a little of both. After three margaritas, here's what I remember:

L.A. Daddy giving me excellent tech advice ("Blogger is evil! Get out now!") and some highly illegal-sounding search-engine tips that will probably land him in Folsom in a few years. Don't worry Tim - we'll bake you a cake with a laptop inside so you can blog from the big house.

L.A. Mommy holding court in the kitchen. L.A. Daddy's getting most of the props for the party, but we all know that if there's more than a kegger and a bowl of M&Ms being served, there had to be a woman involved.

• Dishing on growing up in the 'hood with Stefanie of Baby On Bored. And then squealing like schoolgirls as we reminisced about Chemin de Fer jeans, jumpsuits and Kork-Ease platforms. We're going to get together soon and braid each other's hair.

• Talking about religion with Kevin Charnas, his partner, Will and LeahPeah. In between Hail Marys I gave Kevin grief about appearing so much more subdued than he does on his blog. I'm still convinced he had on a latex onesie underneath that sensible jacket. And Kevin and I both couldn't believe Leah was old enough to have an 18-year old, and figured she was holding back on some top-secret NASA anti-aging cream. I'm going to steal her moisturizer the next time I see her.

• Having an animated discussion with Whit and his wife, of Honea Express, Kim (House of Prince) and Jane (By Jane) about how to spend your time if you found out you only had an hour to live. Whit said he would "have sex for at least two minutes and then sleep for 45." The rest of us spent the remaining time trying to add 2 plus 45 and subtract it from 60 to find out how much time he had left to cuddle.

• A brief conversation with Rachel of Kitchen Fire. We chatted right next to the food table, and I think she could tell I was devising ways to stuff the rest of the cheese plate and a whole salami in my purse.

• Bumping into Down With Pants as we were both reaching for the hummus. I calmed down when I realized it was just the name of his blog and not a personal affront to me. He was big guy, but I was planning to tie his shoelaces together and run.

• Taking a picture with Suebob's Red Stapler. And I have to say, that stapler is mighty impressive in person. (Suebob, It was great meeting you, but holy crap woman could you make my arm look any bigger in that picture?)

I'm sorry if I left anybody out, but tequila will do that to you. Rigel caught me talking to the microwave ("You're hot. What's your URL?") so you get the picture.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

For Will.

Around a year ago my good friend Alex sent me a link to a blog. It was written by a friend of hers, a father who was chronicling the life of his then two-year-old son Will, who had been diagnosed with Neuroblastoma (NB) when he was seven-months old. While it was heartbreaking to read, I was immediately struck by how Will's father Patrick wrote with such clarity and eloquence about his son's fight with this devastating disease. Will Lacey is one of the few blogs I read everyday.

Since reading that first post I've followed Will's story through his various treatments, setbacks and agonizing waits for test results. Will's parents have been told there is no cure for his cancer.

I can't begin to imagine what Will and his family are going through. But I do know that reading Patrick's stories always make me want to hold my kids a little closer and enjoy them a little fuller. While Will's struggle is the overriding theme of the site, we also get a glimpse into the everyday life of a curious, rambunctious three-year old. Above all, Will's bravery and his parents' determination to find a cure are an inspiration to me everyday.

When I thought of nominating the post Insurmountable for a Perfect Post Award, I wanted to check with Patrick first. I felt almost embarrassed, that the award was maybe too irrelevant in the face of the serious struggles chronicled on Will's blog everyday. Would he even want his story mentioned on my site, next to trivial posts about schoolyard arguments and parental neuroses? But Patrick responded gracefully and said "...share the pain, spread the love" and felt that it was important for people to understand how horrible this disease really is.

"This is NB. This is what we all live in fear of. This is why we want a cure. This is why funds that are given for kids should be spent on kids. This is why I don't sleep. This is why I have nightmares. This is why I meditate. This is why I'll never be the same. This is why I have to believe there is a cure for Will. This is why I love people that I have never met, have never spoken to, and will never meet. This is why my heart breaks. This is why I created this website to keep from going insane. This is why I can never give up on Will."

This Perfect Post is for Patrick's impassioned writing that seeks to help us understand the struggle the children and the families affected by Neuroblastoma are faced with every minute of every day. But most of all, this is for the boy who is brave in the face of it all.

This is for Will.

A Perfect Post – May 2007


Please read the entire text of Insurmountable and the rest of Will's story here.

You can see other Perfect Post nominees here and here.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Blog Envy.

Being a designer, I've played around with the look of my blog over the past couple of years. I've designed new headers, added crap to my sidebar and even managed to figure out how to add a third column to my page, which I'm surprised no one has contacted the Nobel committee about since I'm pretty sure they have a category for that type of thing. Hell, I can even make type bold, colored and italicized. Take that, suckas!

But I came across a blog recently that has me thumping my chest a little less loudly. This one is absolutely ingenious - simple in design but the mechanics just blow me away. It's enough to make me want to take my fancy type and go home.

Click here to launch.

(It may take a few seconds to load but is absolutely worth it. Also, there is a musical track in the background so if you're at work and supposed to be filling out spreadsheets and not blogging, you might want to turn your volume down.)

If anyone needs me, I'll be over here working on my new 4-column template.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Little Fashionistas Duke It Out.

Do your kids bicker? Mine do. So when they started arguing in the supermarket today I tried to ignore it, figuring they'd work it out between themselves. I was getting pretty tired of trying to help them negotiate whose turn it was to push the cart, or whether the Strawberry Kiwi juice boxes were better than the Minute Maid lemonades. But then I noticed it was getting a little heated so I started listening, thinking maybe I should put my two cents in.

Kira: That is sooooo not true. This shirt is perfectly fine.

Kiyomi: Is SO true! You shouldn't be wearing it.

Me: What IS the problem now?

Kira: She's telling me that I shouldn't be wearing white after Memorial Day.

For the record, Kiyomi had no idea what it meant, or even that the saying is actually "no white after Labor Day." But it still made me wonder if this was a preview of fights I can expect in the future. Will the battles over what cartoon to watch soon give way to which lipstick is the proper shade for fall, or whose purse really matches their shoes?

I'm not ready.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Artist Formerly Known As Relevant.

I remember when I first heard Prince on the radio. It was his first single, "I Wanna Be Your Lover," and I think I yelled out an enthusiastic "Me too!" and rushed out to buy his album. (Yes, it was vinyl. Yes, I'm old. If you must know, I remember buying it with the money I made from selling those wooly mammoth skins I had stored in my cave.) I didn't really care that he looked like he had stolen Diana Ross' wig, or that carny mustache, or the fact that he was three-feet-tall and wore six-inch platforms that he obviously had stolen from a hooker. I loved his music, and I just wanted to party like it was 1999.

And it's continued through the years, through Purple Rain, Controversy, Sign O The Times, and Graffiti Bridge. I even forgave him for doing crazy ass shit like changing his name to a symbol, and for the disturbing cover of Lovesexy, where he posed in the nude and looked like some freakish man-child offspring of Groucho Marx and Cupid.

When I found out he was performing during halftime of the last Super Bowl, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get my girls Princified. I would show them that 'When Doves Cry' was as good as it gets, that 'Rasberry Beret' was just as catchy as anything by The Frey. So imagine how crushed I was when, as I danced around doing the Roger Rabbit to the first chords of "Let's Go Crazy," Kiyomi took a close look at the screen, turned to me and asked, "Is that a woman?"

Yesterday we were listening to the radio in the car and Sinead O'Conner's "Nothing Compares To U" came on. When Kira said that she "kind of" liked the song, I once again saw it as a chance to bring them over to the Purple side. "Prince wrote this song" I mentioned nonchalantly.

"Ohhh," Kira said. "You mean that midget rocker dude?"

I'm thinking of grounding her for a year. Or maybe just confiscating her iPod and then returning it to her filled with the entire Prince discography and every video clip I can find of him on YouTube. There isn't anything in my parenting books that discusses what discipline is appropriate when your child insults one of your musical idols. Of course, summer's coming up, and on our next long road trip I plan to fill up the six-disc cd changer in the car with all my old Prince tunes. Perhaps that'll be punishment enough.

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tags: | i'll just take my records and go home

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Everybody Needs A Secret Edimer.

Kiyomi came running up to me after school the other day, clutching a piece of paper. Then she thrust it at me defiantly, standing there with one hand on her hip, tapping her foot and rolling her eyes. I think she saw me do this very same thing when I was trying to return a year-old vase at Target the week before.

"Look at this," she said. "A boy gave this to Hannah to give to me. He's a first grader." She sounded exasperated but I could also see that she had a slight, almost imperceptible smile on her face.

Kiyomy meet me
at the grass so I can
reve my true fome isted this letter. Meet me there
at lunch. I will tell you more
infor about myself. Signed,
you Secret edimer

"Well, he'll never catch a girl with this kind of spelling." I remarked, still trying to decipher it. I had just figured out that 'edimer' was 'admirer' and not some misspelled version of the sender's name.

"Omigod," she said. "A boy sends me a creepy note and that's all you can say?"

She was right. I have a tendency to do this, to focus on some inane part of the issue at hand while ignoring the bigger picture. Like if a friend told me she had been chased by a bear that day, I would most likely ask her what color the bear was, or what it's breath smelled like.

So yesterday, as we were leaving school and the waist-high Casanova happened to be walking by I knew I had to make it up to her. "There he is!" Kiyomi hissed. Upon hearing this he turned around, proudly pointing both thumbs at his chest and exclaimed, "Yes! It was me! I wrote the note!" Such arrogance coming from someone with horrendous grammatical skills. I knew I could very well be looking at the future President of The United States.

I stepped in front of her and said, "Just make sure you stay away from her." I said it firmly but gently, and though the broad grin on his face immediately turned somber I could tell he was still full of attitude as he walked away. But it was enough to make Kiyomi see that nobody messes with my little girl.

She seemed pleased with the turn of events. I'm not sure how I'll be able to protect her from all of the evils of the world, but she can sleep soundly knowing she's safe against any three-foot-tall Don Juans who try and pass illicit notes asking her to meet them in grassy areas.

And they'd damn well better work on their spelling.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Nuthin But A Name Thang.

Recently the girls and their bandmates - another pair of sisters - changed the name of their band. They decided that The Sunflower Sisters was too soft, not edgy enough for the rocker grrrl image they're working. They decided on Off Limits, and as far as Rigel and the other dad are concerned this is the perfect name for their daughters, four beautiful tween girls who should certainly remain off-limits to all the little boys who will be flinging their Spider Man briefs onstage. Rigel's just disappointed they didn't go for his other suggestions, "Now Scram" "Hands Off I Mean It" or "My Dad Will Kick Your Ass." He's working on a logo for the band and it's really cute - it's a drawing of the girls with their guitars and in front of them are both dads holding shotguns.

Rigel thinks the band he's in should change their name as well, since he feels it's something they rushed into. They were coming up on their first gig and didn't have a name yet, and decided to call themselves Nine2Midnight after their rehearsal hours on Sunday nights. He's always on the lookout for alternates, and sometimes when we're listening to the radio and he hears a name he'll say, "Damn. I wish we thought of that." He likes one name so much he was thinking about ripping them off but changed his mind when he realized that people may remember a band called Led Zeppelin from a few years back.

We heard a song the other day and after it was over the DJ said the band's name was 'Finger Eleven.' What kind of crazy name is that? I found out later 'eleventh finger' refers to the still-forming male genitals in a baby boy's sonogram. But still - what's with bands naming themselves after their peckers? Whitesnake, Tool - I can just imagine some drunk rocker staring at his lap and then naming his band after the last thing he sees before he passes out. I'll be there's a band somewhere right now recording a demo that's calling themselves, 'My Belt Buckle.'

But the whole band thing is starting to get on my nerves a little bit. All I hear around here is, "My band THIS and my band THAT like they're trying to rub in the fact that I'm the only one in this family who's not in a band. What's so great about it, anyways? And how hard could it be? So, I don't play an instrument or sing a note, did that ever stop Britney? Or Paris? Or anyone on the first ten weeks of American Idol?

That's it - I'm starting a band. I'm sure I can round up a couple of the PTA moms to back me in some dope cover versions of a couple of my favorite Snoop Dog tunes. Can you see us out there, jackin the bake sale with our rendition of "Drop It Like It's Hot" and "Nuthin But A G Thang?"

Of course, the hard part will be coming up with a name. SweatpantsHo didn't get much response, but thank goodness I found this useful device, and it came up with these:

• Sweatpants Breath
• Keen Sweatpants And The Miserable Lion
• Aesthete Of The Sweatpants Air
• Sweatpants Nipple
• Sweatpants Loop Of The Dandy Mixture
• Fighting Sweatpants
• Sweatpants Vapor
• Pathetic Sweatpants And The Breath

So what's the name of your band?

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Friday, May 04, 2007

My Breakfast With Hayden Panettiere Turned Me Into A Sci-Fi Fan.

Okay, we didn't actually eat together. But I did do a phone interview with the Heroes star the other morning for an upcoming issue of Genlux magazine, and at least one of us was eating breakfast. Never mind that it was just me sucking down a mug of coffee and gnawing on a piece of rock-hard toast. And the fact that we weren't in the same room - just a technicality! And as I asked her questions about Dolce & Gabbana, beauty routines and high heels, I couldn't help but think that it was a good thing she wasn't there to see me with my unbrushed teeth, tangled hair and that lovely toothpaste stain smeared down the front of my sweatshirt.

I don't want to give away too much of the article here, but I can confess that when I got the call to do the interview I'd never watched a single episode of Heroes. I've written before about my inability to watch movies where the actors are wearing period costumes, but I also don't care for anything that requires me to suspend belief - horses that talk, starships named Enterprise, Robin Williams as a doctor - it's all out of the realm of possibility and I can't watch it. But Julia Roberts as a hooker, now THAT'S a movie.

I thought I should know a little bit about the show before I interviewed Ms. Panettiere, though, so I went over to the Heroes website where I was happy to see past episodes available for online viewing. Is this the greatest invention or what? I keep thinking that if only this was around when I was younger I would maybe have gone out and found a boyfriend instead of staying home just to watch all those Three's Company marathons.

I thought I'd skim through the first episode and then be able to come up with a few topics for my interview, questions that wouldn't give away the fact that I hadn't been following the show. Generic things like, "So, how does it feel to be a young woman on a prime time hit series?" or something to show my tech savvy like, "Is your makeup applied any differently for HighDef?" And I would pronounce it just like that - Haidef, since "High Definition" sounds just so nerdy and out of the loop.

But something strange happened. I loved the show. I was absolutely riveted by the indestructible cheerleader and the politician's brother who thought he could fly. I felt the pain of the artist who felt his future was doomed, since I feel that on a daily basis. And the Japanese dude with the teleporting powers? My new role model.

When the last scene was over I couldn't wait to the spend the next few hours catching up on my new favorite show. I made myself a double cappuccino, put a gallon of Mountain Dew and some pork rinds in front of the girls and told Rigel not to expect dinner. Then I clicked over to the Watch Heroes link to start streaming Episode 2, the one where I would find out if the politician's brother could actually fly. Would I feel elation as he soared over the buildings or horror when I saw a bloody, body-shaped splotch on the sidewalk? Either way, I was psyched!

And then, to my surprise, I realized there was no Episode 2 online. In fact, Episodes 2-15 seemed to be conspicuously missing. WTF?! I clicked furiously around the entire site to see if they were hiding somewhere else but found nothing. I cursed loudly and then Googled "Heroes Episode 2" but could only find links to previews, lame recaps and one clever website where they'd replaced the 'o' in Heroes with a 'p.' Next I said a little prayer and put in a call to Blockbuster where the incredibly helpful clerk told me he wasn't seeing it on the computer, but hey, wait - they did have Hogan's Heroes hahaha. Thanks, now go back to cleaning your crack pipe.

So now I'm forced to wait until the Season One DVD is released and it's killing me. It's like having an itch that you can't scratch, or watching the person in front of you buy the very last Rice Krispy square at Starbucks. Well, maybe not as bad as that.

Where's a good teleporter when you need him?

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My Dog Ate My Homework And Then A Dingo Stole My Baby.

This happened barely three months after I got the minivan:

I was turning into a parking space at the party store when a parked SUV I was pulling in next to inexplicably came to life, moved to the left and dented my fender. I know! Weird! I remember being so upset that I forgot to buy the tiki torches.

When I got home Rigel said, "So, you mean you hit a parked car?" in that accusatory voice of his. But what does he know? He wasn't there!

Then, this past Friday, something similar happened. I know! Weird! I was exiting a space at the grocery store when a huge yellow concrete pillar attacked my side doors. I mean, one minute it was over there, and the next minute it was right next to me, scraping the hell out of my paint. I tried explaining it to the store manager to get them to take responsibility, but when they called store security I just took my keg of Coors and left.

I have to run now, but when I get back I'll tell you the story about how I was abducted by aliens last week, taken to Bloomingdales and forced to buy a purse. I know! Weird!

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