Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One-Hit Wonders: October 2012 terms inexplicably pulling up this blog...
  • tickling on college campuses
  • what building is this?
  • how old are chickens at slaughter
  • life lessons learned from the home improvement
  • blood gang signs with hands and meanings
  • breaking bad white hazmat
  • "when you beat that one school that supposedly owns the course pretty much, by a milla- milla- second"
  • college beer belly
  • should stucco be lighter or darker than rock
  • ot looking to meet anyone, i have a husband who i love very much

Friday, October 26, 2012

"I'm on the Hunt, I'm After You"

as many already know, one of my long-standing music obsessions is Duran Duran. my older sister introduced me to them when i was 6 years old, which means i overhead the albums she played on endless repeat so often that i couldn’t help but become a fan myself. in grade school, i stuffed my papers in a Pee Chee-like folder whose cover was the cover of D2’s first album. it showed the five band members, most of them still teenagers, sporting big, floppy hair and wearing makeup and ladies’ blouses. my dad told me they looked gay. i wasn’t sure what that word meant, so i kept liking them anyway.

as a teenager, i spent most of the money i earned from my first job — at Little Caesar’s Pizza Pizza, when minimum wage was just $4.25 an hour, thank you very much — on tickets to see Duran Duran in concert. by then, the band had broken up and reunited, gone through their splinter band phases that included Arcadia and The Power Station, whose albums i also bought and memorized. i must have seen them live half a dozen times by the time i graduated high school, each time screaming my head off like the teenage girl i was.

my obsession continued into college, and when i found myself in London the summer after my freshman year, hanging off a random bar stool (of course) and mentioning my love of all things British, including Duran Duran, to the random patrons sitting beside me to prove that i somehow belonged there, i was informed by the bartender that my beloved John Taylor, band bassist and my personal favorite, lived right up the street. i was even provided with the address. so like any self-respecting Diehard Duranie, i waited outside his house for hours with camera in hand until he emerged and snapped the following pic:


this was taken in 1995 when i was 19 years old. a few years later, i stalked John Taylor at an event at Pitzer College, where my best friend went to school. every spring, the college held a gigantic party called Kohoutek where everyone got plastered via a variety of substances, myself included. JT sat on a panel presented to the students before the party began, discussing his struggle with drug addiction and alcoholism (nice try, college administrators).

i approached him after the panel with photo in hand and asked him to sign it, which he kindly did, while marveling aloud at how “fucked up” he looked in the photo. i don’t think his comment was an extension of the panel; he seemed genuinely disturbed by his appearance and even showed the photo to the friend he was with, saying he must have been coming off a bender then. (and now i’m posting the photo on the interwebs. sorry, JT! you always look amazing to me.)

fast forward to 2012. i’m still a Duranie, though not as diehard as before. i will confess to not owning all of their new albums, though i’ll always make an attempt to see them when they come into town, which i did just a few months ago. unlike Madonna, who disappointed me when i saw her perform, Duran Duran knows to play their hits, which they do with great enthusiasm. they know their place in popular music history as the premier ’80s “New Romantic” band, and they know how to put on a killer live show, one that still manages to reduce to me to a screaming girl belting out their songs at the top of my lungs, now 20 years later.

rewind to last saturday when i hung out with my friend and neighbor, Anne, who runs the popular food blog TunaToast. she recently returned from Italy just as i have (more on that in a future post), so we cooked pasta carbonara while drinking several glasses of wine and commiserating over the very first-world problem of not being in Italy any longer.

then she invited me to tag along with her and her musician husband, bassist of The Mars Volta, to the annual Bass Player Live convention in Hollywood the next day because she knew of my love for Duran Duran and John Taylor, who was scheduled to appear for an exclusive Q & A and to sign his new memoir (which discusses his drug problems at length). so did i want to come? HELL FUCKING YES!


i wish i remembered more about this moment, but my head was a jumble of nerves and excitement and the ushers pushed people through very quickly. but i do vividly recall locking eyes with John Taylor as he handed me my signed copy of his memoir and said, “here you go, sweetie.” swoon! that smile lasted for a good three days.  


Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Home-Improvement Chronicles: The Finished Deck


revealed: here is my girl! all dolled up and ready for her closeup. she is my neapolitan cake, my sugary homestead, depot of all future paychecks and asset to my mythical children. it only took 394 days, tens of thousands of dollars, 7,000 nails, 394 headaches, 20 calls to the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and endless hand-wringing. but the butterfly in the cocoon has been set free — and so have i. goodbye, Operation: Home Remodel (for now).


side view: i’m hyper pleased with how everything turned out (save the fact that the new deck is smaller than the old deck). the lines, angles and colors all blended perfectly, making my barbie dream house on the hill appear larger and more expensive than it actually is. i have to thank my marvelous contractor again for making this happen. you should call him: Platon Markarian, 818.279.3118. also my architect ex Mo, whom you can contact by contacting me privately (my email is in the sidebar). i feel like i had very little to do with this beyond signing the checks.


other side view: another cool thing my contractor did was build this enclosement for my HVAC unit at the side of the house. we had some leftover wood and i hated the look of that ugly, gray piece of machinery, which sits at the end of my driveway, so it caught my eye daily, so i asked him to put this together. now it looks like a respectable member of the household, unlike my ugly pink garage, which is reflected in the door. that is the new red-headed stepchild, my project for next year.


light fixtures: these craftman-esque-ness lights really complete the look of the house. there are six total — three near the deck, two by the front door and one by the side door (shown above) — courtesy of


union: the big idea behind the deck was to not make it look like an “alien deck,” as Mo would say, meaning it needed to be incorporated into the overall design of the house instead of seeming like an after thought. beyond just being incorporated, the deck essentially dictated the design, with the size and spacing of its horizontal railing determining the size and spacing of the siding.


the mailbox: we had some leftover cranberry-colored paint so Platon painted the old white mailbox and turned it into this beauty. the mailbox, which came with the house, is really a piece of shit — the cheapest thing on the market with a bent flag and busted door that prevents it from latching properly. it’s amazing what a splash of red can do to something haggard, which probably explains why i have so much red in my closet.


the house numbers: call me crazy, but i don’t want to reveal my address here, so here’s a nice pic of the house numbers in sequential order, courtesy of their copper color looks lovely against the cream-colored house. you’ll have to take my word on that.


placement: they are right around that mucked-up blur. round of applause for my photo-retouching skills, please. i’m actually not that thrilled with their placement — i probably should have put them on the board right above where they ended up and spaced them farther apart. round of applause for my house number-placing abilities, please.


the table: this placement i am very happy with. it’s my new deck table, courtesy of, which is run by the very lovely Barb in San Diego. she makes all her tables out of reclaimed wood (fir, i believe) and includes tax and delivery in the price. the table is about six feet long, with two benches that seat six comfortably. the downside is that its size makes it hard to put any other furniture on the deck, so i’ve just been dragging chairs and ottomans onto the deck when i want to recline in something more comfortable. down the road, i may replace it with a smaller table and a chaise lounge.


deckish dogs: my bitches are big-time sunbathers so i know being deckless for a year annoyed them, maybe even more than it annoyed me. Pinko especially seems overjoyed to have her special pastime back. every saturday morning, she sits impatiently by the deck door until i open it and let her charbroil herself.


my joy: many times i’ve entertained the idea of dragging my bed onto the deck so i can camp out in comfort under the stars. i eat dinner here every night and step onto it right after i get home from work to take in a few calming breaths before starting the errands of my evening. it is an instant mood uplifter.

yay! people are laughing on my deck.

this right here: labor day weekend, i had the first round of housewarmers come through in the form of my high school family. they brought with them booze, food, stories, laughter and positive energy. i couldn’t stop smiling.