Monday, March 30, 2009

The Home-Improvement Chronicles: The Kitchen Revisited

how it started: who knew a little discoloration could wreak so much havoc? i feel dumb for not noticing it sooner. rather, i feel dumb for not doing anything about it sooner. i noticed the floorboard changing color months ago, but chalked it up to sun damage. little did i know the evil that lurked beneath.

then the paint chipped: it fell right off the baseboard. i couldn’t blame the dogs for scratching it off as there were no scratch marks nearby (nor are they particularly destructive). more unsettling was the fact that the area behind the paint appeared pitch black, a far stretch from the blond-colored MDF it once was. that’s when Mo let out a big sigh and crawled under the house.

satan’s fridge: what he discovered was a leak that appeared as a big watermark underneath the house. a plumber came over and further uncovered that the leak was many months old, caused by a faulty water line running from the wall to the fridge. i know it seems the water line is to blame, but i’m positive this leak is the fault of the used maytag fridge that has been the source of endless trouble since it arrived. the evil fridge that had blown out two outlets in the house. the fridge that, for months, needed to be defrosted every three weeks for some inexplicable reason, a monumental pain in the ass that miraculously stopped being an issue about six months ago, the time when the leak probably began. this realization caused me to etch a very important NOTE TO SELF in my head: Never buy a used fridge from a used appliance store again, because the appliances in those stores are discarded by previous owners for being broken pieces of shit.

the damage: this is what we saw when we pulled the fridge away from the wall. clearly, water had been seeping onto the flooring behind the fridge and cabinets for months, causing the floorboards to warp as they swelled with water, the paint to chip off in huge chunks and mold to form.

the nasty: the area stank like mildew and i worried that super toxic black mold had begun to grow, a worry perpetuated by the fact that the mold looked pretty damn black. then i started making phone calls.

my contractor to the rescue: he was one of the first people i called, and as he has before, he came through like a champ. he showed up the next day, assuring me that i didn’t have to go through one of the pricey mold remediation agencies i had been calling for estimates. instead, he and his guys could handle the mold removal and treat the area with bleach once it had dried. and that’s what they did. (call him for all your home improvement needs: Platon Markarian, 818.279.3118. he’s the best!)

gutted: sadly, some of the plywood subflooring that was less than a year old didn’t make it and had to be replaced. this hole in the kitchen, which stayed for a few days, caused all sorts of fun as the dogs kept trying to dig into it and mosquitoes kept flying up from the basement. my solution: vodka.

meanwhile: Mo and i were living in this kitchen nightmare, with cabinets, counters, canned goods, utensils and dishes everywhere. the only cooking the kitchen could actually support involved making coffee. i never thought i’d say this, but i actually got tired of the tacos from La Estrella, which we ate about five times a week.

this is Miguel: who was prompt as hell, arriving each morning at 7am to work the drywall while i sauntered around in my bathrobe, coffee in hand, rubbing my eyes. sleep was elusive during construction, and i found myself waking up every morning on the proverbial wrong side of the bed, pissed off, irritable and covered in this nasty layer of construction soot that seemed to line everything in the house.

then came bad news: as if things weren’t bad already, the espresso flooring, manufactured by Teragren, was out of stock. all i needed were five measly boxes, totaling 100 square feet, but every warehouse in the country was dry. Teragren reps said a shipment was coming in from China in two or three weeks, which meant Mo and i had to endure a protracted construction and still dysfunctional kitchen. i was livid. i tried arguing with them, then bargaining, then begging but was repeatedly told OUT OF STOCK, to which i finally said, “ok, i’ll wait.”

waiting: once the drywall was finished and painted— a process that took about two weeks — we pushed the cabinets against the wall and are making due with half a kitchen floor. this is the kitchen as it currently looks. ETA for flooring is sometime in April.

Monday, March 23, 2009

One-Hit Wonders: March 2009

you would not believe the number of people who think Malia Obama is really named Mila Obama. these people and their typos have been clogging up my blog’s search terms since the inauguration. also clogging up the search terms this month are nipples, as evidenced below:

  • milla jovovich has sausage nipples

  • cold nipples

  • 38dd’s tit flash

  • nipples bigger than milla

  • ionic breeze itchy rash, hives

  • ides of march menses

  • naked sexy ass

  • the househunting feet

  • hot wet wild girls

  • my dog fuck me

  • goddess milla teenage vampire

  • can’t drink like i used to

  • tits hanging through hammock

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Smiling With My Eyes

my computer’s been acting moody lately so i’ve been rummaging through old files in search of things to delete when i stumbled upon my absolute favorite picture of myself. i know how vain that might sound, but look at the picture. it’s not exactly the softly lit Sears glamour shot where my hair is teased and i’m wearing hooker makeup. (i have one of those, too, but you’ll never see it up here!)

the photo was taken almost six years ago when i first began writing this thing, and was featured in an entry published on June 11, 2003. i was in europe on a work-abroad school program at that time, acting incredibly jet set, while completing a summer internship at Voice of America. those were the glorious, pre-leaky fridge days, the grad student at USC days when i wrote class papers that were published in the LA Times.

those were the days of taut skin and lofty ideals when i drank wine from a box and spent countless afternoons at Souplantation, eating and studying for hours. i know i romanticize those days as being some tender age of innocence with limitless possibilities when the fact is i was just as cranky then as i am today. still, a girl is entitled to her delusions, especially when she’s parading around europe in a ridiculous wig.

if i recall the story behind the photo correctly, i was in Brussels that weekend on a class trip, visiting NATO and EU headquarters like a serious journalist. in the evening, my classmates and i went out to have a few drinks and discuss nuclear disarmament with the locals when we happened upon a bachelor party in full swing at the bar. the guys were british (of course!), also in town for just the weekend and dressed inexplicably like austin powers, hence the wig, glasses and teeth.

i remember putting all three on and then refusing to part with them for the rest of the night, despite the guys’ repeated requests to “give them back already, will you, crazy lady?” fuck them, i was having fun and charming everyone around me with my austin powers impersonation. YEAH, BABY!

the girl behind me in the photo is now the world-famous journalist Melissa Gonzalo, anchor/reporter for an NBC news affiliate in Phoenix, though back then she was just my classmate Gonzo. we had fun that summer, back in those salad days when having fun was the thing that mattered most.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Conversation Chronicles: Sign of the Times

me, answering my cell phone: hello.

some chick: hi, is this milla?

me: yes it is.

some chick: hi, milla. this is Amanda calling [from that agency that sometimes gets you freelance work, but is doing a lousy job of finding you anything lately.] do you have a minute to talk?

me, getting excited about the possibility of new freelance work: SURE! I CAN TALK!

Amanda: great. we’re doing our yearly check-in with all our freelancers and i just wanted to give you a call to see how things were going with you.

me: things are good. i still have my full-time day job, but i’m always looking for proofreading assignments i can work from home on weeknights and weekends. has anything like that opened up?

Amanda: not lately, but i’ll keep an eye out for you. i was also wondering how things were going in your current company, if you guys have any openings you need filled.

me: i doubt that we do. we just had a big round of layoffs so i don’t think they are hiring right now.

Amanda: oh, ok. well, maybe i can add your email to receive our weekly newsletter that has a list of all our available freelancers, and if you hear of any openings that might match the skill sets of the people on the list, you can let me know. does that sound ok?

me: ummm, not really. i don’t work in human resources so i’m not at all responsible for the hirings and firings that go on at my company. i don’t think i can help you with that one.

Amanda: maybe you can forward the newsletter to everyone you know who’s looking for talent. how about that?

me: i don’t know anyone looking for talent. the people i know are all looking for jobs.

Amanda: yeah, i wish we had more we could offer, but business around here has been slow. so if you hear of any opening at all, please let me know, ok?

me: will do, though this is definitely a first. usually i’m the one calling you guys for work, not the other way around.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stuff and Things

  • the hell on earth that has defined 2009 is continuing well into March. my latest gripe with this year involves a household surprise in the form of a leaky fridge that ruined my kitchen floor and spawned all sorts of fun mold. this has necessitated the tearing out of half the kitchen, in order to replace it, as well as several utterances of “crap covered shit fucking hell,” “fucking ass damn shit hole” and “kill me now.”

    this is an ongoing kitchen nightmare for me that will be documented, with photos, in a future blog post once my brain learns to process the event with real sentences that contain more than just a string of expletives. in short, it’s been a fucking nightmare and i’ve declared 2009 Year of the Suck.

  • in another sign that the apocalypse is nigh, i saw Tom Cruise during lunch the other week. i don’t have a photo of this encounter so feel free to call me a liar, but i’m positive it was him walking around downtown LA. he was sans wife and child, accompanied instead by a few filmmaker-looking dudes, chewing gum and wearing the type of obnoxious sunglasses that only celebrities wear.

    i saw him with two coworkers while enjoying a lovely lunch outdoors at Cafe Pinot. he was hanging around the garden area near the Central Library, while we sat transfixed just 20 feet away, gawking at The Crazy like he was some exotic zoo animal while making snarky comments about his height. none of us approached him, and i resisted the urge to yell “Free Katie” despite thinking i would if i ever saw Tom Cruise. then i returned to the office with my coworkers, where we told everyone within earshot that we saw Tom Cruise at lunch. our coworkers were rightfully impressed and we became the coolest kids in the office that day.

  • a photo i took in san francisco a million years ago on a lousy camera was included in the Schmap San Francisco guide! man, this photography stuff is EASY. i actually didn’t ask for my photo to be included; the editors found it on my Flickr photostream and said, “hey, can we use this? we won’t pay you, but you’ll be famous on the internets.”

    despite already being famous on the internets, i agreed because i’m a nice person. the photo was taken at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park and even features a cameo of Mo (at left, in black jacket) walking toward the entrance. i’m embarrassed to say we ditched the place right after i took the photo since the line was too long and admission was too pricey, but the readers of the Schmap guide will never know this as they’ll certainly be too busy admiring my fancy camerawork.

  • Mo and i attended a walking tour through “historic” Highland Park, where we saw a bunch of cool craftsmen houses in the Sycamore Grove part of town. most of the houses were built in the early 20th century and made me drool with envy because they were so epic looking. it was neat tour, made neater by the fact that it was led by local historian Charles Fisher, who knows pretty much everything there is to know about the area, so much so that he wrote the definitive book on Highland Park, a book i bought for Mo when we first moved here.

    i learned a lot of very important things on the tour, none of which i will ever be able to recall since my memory has a way of resisting the admission of historical facts, but the tour was an awesome experience nonetheless as it allowed me to enter lots of strangers’ homes and look at the way they live, which is one of my favorite pastimes. i took some photos of the tour (in case anyone cares). i only hope that one of them will be published in a Schmap guide of Highland Park someday.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Day and Night

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


as some of you know, i have been a huge fan of for many moons and even bought their build-it-yourself calendar, which features 12 of my favorite selections from their “demotivator” line of satirical motivational posters.

the calendar came my way via a gift certificate given to me for christmas by my beyond fantastic boss, who (thankfully!) totally gets me. for this i am endlessly grateful, as it makes our working relationship a virtually perfect one.

the print to the left is probably my absolute favorite demotivator (this one’s pretty good, too), and when i flipped my calendar to March and saw FAILURE staring at me in big green letters, a huge smile crossed my face. i then ran over to my boss’ office and told her that the word of the month is “failure” and that we both had to slide it into office conversations as much as possible.

as much as i love these posters, i’m totally jealous i didn’t come up with the idea for them first, as they perfectly sum up my sense of humor, and my life.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Blagh

you may have noticed that things have been shifting around here lately in an attempt to make this blog seem more, ummm, “current.” when i realized that 2008 had come and gone without me lifting a single unmanicured finger to make the updates to this blog i’ve talked about making for years, i hit the panic button, which looked a lot like an Update template now? button.

that button was preceded by a box WARNING me that any customization i had made to my blog’s original template would be wiped out by the update. i considered this warning for about two seconds before concluding that i hadn’t customized a thing. then i hit OK with a smile and waited for my new blog to appear on screen — which it did without its comments, analytics, ads and archives.

two months later, everything has been restored, with some new features added, like a flickr photostream, a drop-down menu of tags, an RSS feed that actually works and a blogroll of some of my heroes, all of which can be found on the right sidebar. i have BIG PLANS to add a few more cool features, which i won’t discuss now in case i never get around to adding them.

i also sorted through the archives, adding tags to every entry and fixing a bunch of broken links. a few entries from the first year of blogging were deleted altogether, most of which read something like, “sorry, too busy to blog now. will write tomorrow. bye!!!” i’m guessing they won’t be missed. i considered deleting some of the more embarrassing entries as well, but decided to keep them for the times when i need a little humbling.

rereading six years worth of old entries was a total mindfuck. i laughed, i cried, i died a little, rolling my eyes often and even once wondering aloud, “what the hell is wrong with this girl?” before realizing that this girl was me. then i barricaded myself in the closet for three days with a bottle of vodka, where i remained curled into the fetal position.

despite this, i am glad i have kept this thing going for so long, as it’s cool to have a running autobiography i can revisit to see my evolution as a human being. plus, it acts as a handy reference when i have questions like, did i buy my car in ’04 or ’05? though it’s not as handy when i happen upon photos of me from ’06 looking more thin and fabulous than i do today. still, i can’t imagine not having this blog, so i hope you can bear with me for the next six years or rest of my life as i unleash more of my bad writing into the webosphere.

i’m also going to make a special effort to be a little bit more open than i have been in recent years. i know my life is hardly as exciting since i stopped internet dating and having multiple boyfriends, but i’m sure there are some salacious goodies i can give away that won’t violate anyone else’s privacy or breach my own standards of decency. (yeah, yeah, what decency, right? you’re sooooo funny.)

the ads have been switched up as well and will probably continue to be tinkered with as i figure out how i can make some money with this thing. the ads i had before were generated by google, based on content, though most of the time they produced nonsensical banners like, “Did Obama steal the election?” and text ads that read, “1 step to flat abs!”

naturally, i was curious. i mean, what girl doesn’t want flat abs? so i did a little innocent clicking, checking up on the flat abs in addition to the free government grants i could qualify for, the dog obedience school in my area, all of which are things that interest me anyway. it was just a few clicks here and there, no more than five a day. maybe seven, but no more than ten.

then came the tersely worded email from google: my ads were being disabled because of UNAUTHORIZED CLICKING ACTIVITY. the email even said that i posed “a significant risk” to google’s advertisers! a significant risk? come on, google! i wasn’t clicking 300 times a day, or even 30, just a few clicks. totally innocent clicks, too. but still, google canceled my account, forfeited all money earned and erased the ads — along with my chances for a flat stomach. not helping matters was how Mo fell over laughing when i told him how i had been victimized. whatever.

so i went ad shopping and discovered the wonderful and amazing Amazon ads you see plastered all over this web page. i urge you all to click over there via THIS SPECIAL LINK and do some shopping. in fact, buy A LOT of stuff, maybe a computer or TV, ok? because when you buy, i get a teeny tiny percentage of your total sale funneled my way, which i would never use for a sushi dinner, i assure you. it would only be used for donations to charity (tax writeoff, cha-ching!)

and don’t worry, it won’t cost you a penny. the fee comes out of amazon’s profit as a thank you to me for referring you to a site i’m sure you’ve never heard of before. only thing is that you have to make a purchase within 24 hours of clicking over to them. the SPECIAL LINK is also perpetually available in the right sidebar, under the Evil Ads heading, in the sentence that reads: Shop Amazon via! It’ll earn me a nickel and make rainbows appear at your house!

beneath that is a link to my super fantastic Canon Powershot G10 camera that i highly recommend. under that is more crap you can buy. so please, buy it! this concludes the shamelessly self-promoting, thoroughly disgusting whoring of part of this blog post. thanks for playing.

finally, i wanted to extend a big thank you to anyone who bothers to read this thing on a regular basis. you know who you are and i think i know who you are too. mostly, you’re my superstar friends and family, the keepers of the sunshine in my life, who let me blather on about my dumb stories, allowing me to recount them in my spastic way, before saying, “yeah, i read that on your blog already.”

you guys are the best!