Monday, June 30, 2008

I have to admit, it was a pretty uneventful day at the office. Other than the usual cluster fuck of bad communication from one person to another, which I've never experienced there apart from this particular project. Soon enough, it will be over with and I can come back to work at home with my dog at my feet and time for a nap during lunch break.

I bought a new snowboard and bindings online at a couple of weeks ago and had them shipped to the local store for pickup. Today was the first time I had both the time and the energy to actually pick them up. I love the bindings, but am not so sure I love the board. I love the LOOK of the board (that's mine on the left), but I'm not sure I like the material this particular board is made of. Though I have to admit, I don't know anything about snowboards, other than that this one is made of something other than what my old board is made of. I'll have to check with someone who knows more than I do. I have a feeling it's going to be a giant pain in the ass if I have to return it.

On the up side, I found a women's soccer clinic in South Pasadena on Monday nights. I now have cleats, shin guards, socks, etc. All the makings of a very sore 37-year-old soccer player.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I've been watching a lot of DVDs lately since there hasn't been much on TV to watch. The film for tonight is called Day Zero, starring Elijah Wood, Jon Bernthal and Chris Kline. It takes place in a fictional New York Post 911 where the draft has been reinstated. Wood, Bernthal and Kline star as three friends who have all been drafted, and the movie follows them through their 30 days before reporting for duty. The film manages to subtly sidestep the politics behind the war and focuses on the characters themselves as they work their way through their fears as Day Zero approaches. I thought it was a good film and the story moved me - what would it be like if the draft were reinstated? It also stars several other actors of note - Ally Sheedy, Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love), and Sofia Vasselieva (Medium).

Wally and I spent the day at work with nothing much to report. I look forward to the three day weekend and actually hope I get one.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I went and watched my friend, Sasha, play soccer last week in her 7 on 7 women's league. I played soccer for years growing up and had forgotten how much I missed playing it. When I first came to L.A. I tried to find a women's league but couldn't (this was way before the internet), and when I finally stumbled across one years later, I was already working long hours in television and couldn't fit it into my schedule. Now that I work regular hours, I could actually play if I could get on a team. I'm trying to find one to play on for the next season which starts in a few weeks. It's been over 20 years since I've actually played soccer (wow, I'm old) so I'd like to get out on a field with Sasha in the near future to kick a ball around. I did go to a sports shop and buy a pair of cleats. I have to admit, I felt like a total dinosaur. I hardly recognized the cleats - there have been a lot of changes to make them more soccer friendly. They've come a long way in 22 years. Then again, it's been not much longer since the days when people actually played basketball wearing Chuck Taylor's. Shin guards are different, too. They're much smaller and lower profile than they used to be. When I first picked them up, I thought I'd accidentally picked up a child's pair. From what I understand, the ball has been re-engineered as well. I like the 7 on 7 setup - it makes the game that much more similar to hockey. Hopefully, I can get on a team. Hopefully also - I won't hurt myself.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I totally conked out when I got home from work today, and it's almost time to leave for hockey, so I'll give you the super quick run down:

Work - still sucking but marginally better
Weekend - working straight through
Head - pounding, definitely time to move on to heavier medication
Wally - playful but unhappy he's being left alone so much

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm not sure I can possibly count the amount of ways in which the past 24 hours have sucked. A lot of it is work stuff that wouldn't make sense for most of you, so I'll try to strip it down to the basics.

First off, after having a bad day yesterday in which I found out about having to go in to work and be part of this problematic show, I had to attend my condominium associations annual meeting. You might ask why I would want to do that. I didn't. However, it has been highly suggested that I be a member of the board and I am now a reluctant secretary. The meeting went over two hours and consisted of a considerable amount of bickering. After that, I went home and couldn't get to sleep.

Today, I went into work to get an early start but discovered my system had not been completely set up, my script was incomplete, and no one from said show was in the building to help me. I spent several frustrated hours in an unusually hot and sweaty edit bay, and ended the day having accomplished next to nothing.

I got home late and found a message on my machine from CBS wanting to know if I'm interested in interviewing for a union show for this fall...after I have already gone staff where I am. My head may actually explode. Time for some Wally time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Welcome to Wally Wednesday boys and girls! Here's the little guy kicking it at Venice Beach last weekend as we ate at the Sidewalk Cafe:

I've been working at home for some time now and really enjoy it. I especially enjoy not having a commute, waking up when I want to and being with my dog all day long. I got a call today from my boss telling me I need to come back into the office to work for the next few weeks. They have a new show that is a huge ordeal and they need help with it. Every time I've been in the office over the past month, I've seen everyone scrambling all over the place for this show, and I keep thinking, "Thank God I'm not working on that monster!" Then I slink out the door with my House Hunters under my arm. Not anymore as of tomorrow. I am so not pleased. I guess it's good to be requested because they think I'm good or fast or whatever, I just am not looking forward to having to figure out a new show they haven't even figured out for themselves yet. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's just one of those days where nothing is going on and I have nothing to write. Work was uneventful, Wally has been laying lazily about the house, and Madeline and I are about to step out and grab a bite for dinner. I'm watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond on television, if that tells you how exciting my evening is going. Hmm...nope, nothing. Check back tomorrow for more exciting news!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Now that I've got my new TV console assembled and in use, I've noticed something. It doesn't match my coffee table. Or my end table. I may have to buy matching ones. This happened before when I had my carpet ripped out and wood flooring put in - it made it glaringly obvious that the cabinets all had to be refaced. Once that was done, CLEARLY the counter tops needed to be replaced, too (I'm still working on that one). I've also been thinking about getting a new bed, but I also want to go from a King to a Queen which means new mattresses AND new sheets. And obviously, my drawers won't match and neither will the walls. This is why I should never buy new things.

I logged into Facebook this morning to see that one of my friends' updates read "Eric is trying to figure out what to say to a 6 year old that enjoys touching his weiner!?" Eric is an old friend from elementary school who is apparently having problems with his 6-year-0ld and his weiner (obviously). Not weird problems, just the normal kind in which the kid is discovering his body and doesn't know what's socially acceptable yet. Eric told me he's trying to figure out how to have this discussion with his son without making him feel guilty about it and thus turning him into a sexually repressed adult. I've added this ordeal to my long list of reasons not to have children. Dogs are so much better. Wally plays with his weiner all the time, in public, and no one cares.
I got home early Monday morning (late Sunday night) from playing hockey to read that George Carlin had died. He had a history of heart problems, and died of heart failure at the age of 71. When I was in high school, I wrote a paper about Carlin and his "Seven Dirty Words" citing how obtuse the FCC laws were (at that time) for obscenity, other than those specific words. I always enjoyed Carlin and his brand of intelligent humor. I loved his bit about euphemisms - how people aren't "crippled" they're "handi-capable" - they're not "deaf" they're "hearing impaired." Carlin quipped, "I keep waiting for a rape victim to be referred to as an involuntary sperm recipient." He hosted the first episode of Saturday Night Live in 1975 and appeared some 130 times on the Tonight Show. There simply aren't comics left like George Carlin. He will be sorely missed.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I bought a new flat screen stand/media console at Crate and Barrel while my family was in town and finally had a chance to pick it up today. As with all furniture, it seems, I had to assemble it myself. My first task, though, was to get the giant box from my garage up to my living room. I probably should have borrowed a hand truck or asked for help, but I was too impatient to wait for either of those things. The box must have been around 100 lbs and over 5 feet long, 3 feet wide, 1 foot deep. It took me about 20-30 minutes with quite a few breaks, but somehow, I managed to get the box up my stairs to my living room. Assembling the thing turned out to be the easy part (much easier than getting it up the stairs). The next challenge was moving all my consoles from my old stand to the new one, and running all the cables through the little holes in the back of the unit. I finally have everything together and up and am glad not to have my Blu Ray player sitting on the floor covered in Wally hair. The down side is that my back is killing me, even after a heating pad and a hot bath. Maybe it will get tweaked when I play hockey tonight and will feel better. (Come on! It could happen!)

Once I got the TV back up and running, I watched another DVD (I'm losing count for the weekend). This one was Jumper with Hayden Christensen. Once you accept that Christensen is just a horrible actor, you actually may enjoy this film as I did. It's a nice little action flick about a guy who can jump through space and land wherever he wants, anywhere on the planet. The visual effects were sort of cool to watch, and though the story is sort of predictable, I was still entertained. I'm actually surprised there hasn't been a television spin off yet, because the plot sort of lends itself to that. Either that or a long run of straight to video DVDs that don't include Christensen, Rachel Bilson, Samuel L. Jackson or any of the other actors that helped make this movie watchable.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I think it's the first official day of summer and I'm ready for it to be over already. 110 yesterday in L.A. and today it was 85 already when my mom got up around 5:30 this morning. It was 104 when Madeline, her friend and I headed into Old Town with Wally and Mobay to visit Three Dog Bakery. It turned out to be WAY to hot for the dogs (obviously) so it was a short trip. Here's Wally lapping up a cup of ice at Johnny Rockets:

I may have mentioned before that Wally is a nervous car rider. Here he is on our way back home crawling over Kevin on his way to the window. He pretty much rode the whole way in Kevin's lap like that.

For the rest of the day, Wally and I stayed inside with the A/C on high watching DVDs. I started with Superbad which was funny enough. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had been in high school. It also felt a bit long, but I think it was an uncut version which would account for that. Seriously...there's a reason 90 minutes is suggested for a comedy and 120 minutes for a drama. Much longer than that and they get hard to watch. Our second feature presentation was Charlie Wilson's War which I enjoyed. I've always liked both Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman so I wasn't too surprised. I found out recently that Square Pegs had come out on DVD so I rented it, too. I was able to watch two full episodes before giving up on it. Things just do not hold up, and now that I know who Sarah Jessica Parker (AKA horse-face) is, I found it even harder to watch.

Friday, June 20, 2008

My mom and my sister are flying out tomorrow before noon so today was the last tourist day of Los Angeles for them. We started out by heading down to the studio I used to work out to get a tour of the set. I think my mom was surprised to turn around right away and get introduced to one of the stars of the series. She later said, "Ooh...I should have told him I bought my ticket on Priceline!" They also got to see two other actors up close and personal, so I think the tour was worth their while. Here we are on the set (for those of you familiar with the show, that's the balcony behind us):

Then we headed over to Venice Beach to look in the cheap shops and watch the crazies walking around. I took Wally because I knew everyone at the studio would want to see him, and I thought he'd be fine at Venice but he got totally over heated. He's horrible to walk on a leash, constantly pulling, so he totally tired himself out.

Eventually, after seeing all there was to see there. we headed home - at 4:30 pm. Yay, traffic! Here's a couple more photos from the beach:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Holy crap, is it hot out today! I had to run my scooter out earlier to run a couple of quick errands and it felt like I was riding head on into a heater. It must have hit 100 here today, easily. I don't care what Yahoo's weather thing says.

Since it was so hot, we didn't do much sightseeing. We did, however, drive up the street and take a tour of the Greene and Greene's Gamble House. The house was built in 1908 (they're celebrating their 100th year) by architect brothers Charles and Henry Greene in the Arts & Crafts style for the Gables (of the Proctor & Gamble Company). It has been referred to as America's Arts & Crafts masterpiece. The Gambles had it built as a winter residence for them away from their home in St. Louis. I've always loved the Craftsman style of architecture, and this house is beautiful inside and out, with furniture, built-ins and lamp fixtures all flawlessly matched to the home's design. Again, I couldn't take photos of the interior, but here are some shots of the outside:

Since it was so hot today, we stayed inside and watched National Treasure 2 on DVD. I have to say, I enjoyed the 2nd one about as much as I enjoyed the 1st one and I usually abhor sequels. From the end of this one, it sounds like there may be another one in the works, too. If you haven't seen it, I think you'll find it an entertaining watch.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I didn't realize until late today that it's actually Wednesday, and not Thursday as I thought. For Wally Wednesday, please refer to yesterday's post.

Today, we traveled via the Red Line into Hollywood and visited a few things along the subway line. We started by getting off at Hollywood & Highland where we saw the stars lining Hollywood Blvd. and Grauman's Chinese theater.

My mom wanted to go into the Wax Museum, which we did. How awful. Don't ever go there unless you're forced. A few of the figures looked real-ish, but with most of them, we were like, "Who is that? Is that supposed to be Harrison Ford??"

My mom commented later about Hollywood, "There's really a lot of crappy little stores along there," and I said, "Um...yeah, it's Hollywood." She said, "Exactly! It should be all bright and shiny and cool!" To which I replied, "It probably was in the 30s."

We eventually walked down Hollywood all the way to Hollywood & Vine where we caught the Red Line again and rode it to Sunset & Vermont where we got off and walked a few blocks to the Barnsdall Art Park where we climbed about a mile of stairs before arriving at the Hollyhock House. The house was built by Frank Lloyd Wright between 1919-1921 for Aline Barnsdall, a rich oil heiress. From all accounts, Barnsdall was an extremely high maintenance rich person who spent years running Wright around and around on designs to build this giant house for her and her young daughter. Eventually, Barnsdall would only live in the house for 5 years before donating it to the city. It's a disappointment I was unable to shoot any photos on the interior of the house, but here are some photos from outside:

Finally, we caught the train all the way back to Union Station in Downtown, then walked across the street to mosey through Olvera Street. It was around 5:30 pm, the middle of rush hour, when we found our way to the Gold Line platform to make our way back to Pasadena. At that time of day, trains usually run every 5-10 minutes. However, we ended up standing on the platform in the heat with hundreds of people for over 40 minutes, without the station ever making any announcement to inform us of any delay. When the train finally showed up, it got packed with people and reminded me (almost) of the Melbourne trains during rush hour - if there had been double the amount of people on board.

And the best part of the day - the price of gas at Caesar Chavez Blvd & Alameda:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Wally Wednesday, everyone! I went to a restaurant here in Pasadena to pick up some food last week, and left my car parked at the curb for 5 minutes while I ran in and waited for my order. In that 5 minutes, no fewer than 4 people saw Wally waiting in the car and commented on how cute he is!

Today, my mom, my sister, and I braved the Universal City Studio theme park AND Citywalk. The park actually wasn't horribly bad because it was a Monday and we got there reasonably early. The first thing I always hit is the Jurassic Park ride. I conned my sister into riding it (she doesn't like rides or roller coasters or really, anything that moves. It does go along really peacefully until that last big drop where you get doused with water. You should see the photo that was snapped by the Universal cameras while it was happening. I bought one because it was so funny, so I'll have to post it later.

I also hit the Mummy ride, which I hadn't been on. By and far, the best ride at Universal, where most of the rides are pretty lame. It's actually a small roller coaster that goes forward and back in the dark. I had to ride that one by myself because no one else would go on it. We did the 40 minute back lot tour. I usually never do this because, for me, a ride through the back lot is sort of like the old walk in to work, but I wanted to see the fire damage from a few weeks ago. As it turns out, the Back to the Future courthouse did NOT burn, and neither did the clock tower, which had already been removed and put somewhere else on the lot while the building was used for something else. Finally, we did the Animal Actors presentation where they show how they train animals for television and film. This is always my favorite attraction at that theme park. If only Wally were so smart!

Here are some photos from the day:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Today we went and saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I thought it was excellent! There were some minor story thing I had problems with, but in general, I really liked it, which surprised me. I thought it would be a washed up story and embarrassing to the Indiana Jones franchise. Harrison Ford seemed to fit rather comfortably into the old fedora and Shia LaBoeuf's character brought a nice, younger edge to the film so it wasn't filled with a bunch of 60-somethings. For those of you who haven't seen it, I won't ruin it by going over the story, but if you haven't seen it, I recommend it.

Later this evening, once it cools down, mom and Dina will get to fully experience the local dog park. Tomorrow, Universal, I think.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

We headed out to Santa Barbara this morning to check out the Artist Market along the waterfront (held every Sunday from 10a-4p). The ride out at 8:30 in the morning - a nice, quick drive (as far as driving 90 miles can go). Our return trip? Over 2 hours. Welcome back to L.A.! It was a beautiful day in Santa Barbara. We walked along the waterfront and checked out all the art and craft booths, then walked down the pier where we had lunch. After that, we took the shuttle up State Street to all the stores where we walked all over hell and back in the heat. At least I came out of it with a new leather jacket - $300 on sale for $215. Here are some photos from the day. First, the market along the waterfront:

My sister, Dina, and my mom on the pier:

Paddle canoes launching off the shore:

This last photo is of the "Arlington West" memorial on the beach in Santa Barbara. A veteran's association puts these crosses in the sand every Sunday. Each one denotes a soldier fallen in the Iraq War. They started doing it in 2003 with 300 crosses. Today, there was just shy of 4,100 there. No matter what you think about the war, it's hard to look at all these crosses lined up, a name neatly written across each one, and now wonder what we're doing over there and why.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My women's team had a horrible game last night. We gave up an early 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 in the last minute of the game. The best part was when one of my players crumpled to the ice, crying and grabbing her ankle (the crying thing usually only happens in the women's league). I didn't see what happened, but she twisted her ankle somehow (hard to do with ice hockey skates on, actually) and we thought she had a bad sprain. As it turns out, she fractured her ankle and will be out for 6-8 weeks. Ouch!

After I picked my mom and my sister up at the airport, we dropped their stuff at my house and then headed to Greenstreet for lunch, where I saw this woman. As you can see, she is eating and at a table, but also has her fluffy, spoiled pocket dog resting across the back of her neck as she eats. Love dogs - dogs resting above the level of the table at a restaurant? Unacceptable.

Then we headed over to the Paseo Colorado to do some shopping. When we got there, we discovered it's the weekend of the annual Chalk Festival.

We walked around and saw the beginnings of some of the chalk work.

Then we headed into Old Town Pasadena where the Jesus people were out in full force.

Now, I'm exhausted. As per usual, my mom went to sleep (on the living room couch) at approximately 7pm. Therefore, the television room has been hijacked.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My mom and my sister are finally arriving tomorrow around 10am. Thankfully, they had the good sense to fly into Burbank and spare me a trip to LAX. Although, I tell you, I am not above telling my mom to take the Flyaway bus. Between working all day, then running to the office and back (and by running, I mean an hour and a half traffic choked round trip), I've been trying to clean up the house for their arrival. Dog is clean, car is basically clean. I guess I really should go vacuum it. I have plenty of time before my 11pm hockey game tonight. I love hockey, but the 11pm games are NOT doing it for me.

Hmm...I have no other interesting things to say. Except for those of you who don't already read Bean's Blog, check out this posting from yesterday. I found it interesting.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I've always loved John Cusack. Now I love him even more.

Also for your entertainment, check out this Flickr photo stream of famous photos re-shot with Legos. If you click on the option to show the title and description, you'll be given a link to view the original photograph.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Today, Wally got his big bath in preparation of an upcoming visit from his grandmother and aunt. For those of you not in the know, here are the steps for washing your labrador. Here is a before picture of my stinky dog:

Step 1: Wet

Step 2: Shampoo

Step 3: Rinse

Step 4: Condition

Step 5: Shake dry

Step 6: Towel dry

End result? Happy dog!

Happy Wally Wednesday everyone!