Archive | October, 2012

BART-ing Around.

29 Oct

Dear Frankenstorm, don’t wash my family and friends away on the East Coast! But DO force my parents to figure out how to charge their cellphones in the car. Because they should know how to do that (by the time they read this, because we just talked about it, right Mom?).

ONE of my family was on MY coast this weekend! My sister was in San Francisco for work – a giant Public Health conference (yes, she does amazing things that help people, unlike someone else we know who writes a blog and then complains about being tired from nothing.)

I got to visit her. And it was awesome. She reminds me of my sense of humor. And that there’s another world outside of LA. It’s nice to remember that.

I arrived at her hotel room, and could hear her laugh, down the hall. “HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” We squeezed each other. “Is your hair longer? Shorter? Darker? Straighter?” We ALWAYS notice the hair first. “It’s the same as last time I saw you! So, longer?”

I took the BART from the airport. [Snooze! I’ve lost my storytelling skills.] My sister’s voice rang in my ears as I approached the ticket machine. “Yeah! Take the BART from the airport to the hotel. It’s so easy!

It’s so easy! I thought, as I smiled at the woman in front of me. I like to make friends in this kind of situation. I can totally spy over her shoulder, see what she does, and do that. EASY. I made some weird comment about one of the ticket machines being out of order and she smiled again. I am so in.

Then it was her turn to buy a ticket. I studied her every move. Cash. Check map. Press start. She turned to me and said in this extremely Asian accent, “I, use, BART?” Question mark!?!?!? I could feel the line jamming up behind me and my mustache broke out in a cold sweat.

“Ummm…..?” I asked the guy behind me if he could help her. He was not Asian “I’ve never used the BART before.” You’re useless whitey!

OMG. Ok. “OK!” Uhh. Asian lady said “Richmond”, so we found that on the map. She kept inserting and canceling her cash, so it was like in and out and back and forth and completely throwing me off my high-pressure-ticket-buying game. Finally, a man four people back helped me accidentally overcharge her $.75 for a ticket. But we did it. Hi-fives!

I got my ticket and walked down to the platform, where a train was waiting. Everyone boarded the same train, so I figured I couldn’t be totally wrong. I was hoping to get to the Union Square area. My stomach sank a little when the conductor said “Next smehhh, smehhhh smehhhh” in an inaudible mumble.

I need a $*&%#$* map! A nice Canadian business man asked me if I knew the stop to switch to Berkeley. DO I LOOK LIKE THE INTERNATIONAL BART AMBASSADOR?! “Ummm, no actually… I don’t even know if I’m on the right train…” A dude sitting under the map I was struggling to decipher gave Canada his stop. And then told me to get off at Powell.

“Omgthankyou” I thumbs-upped him from across the train. By the time it was my stop (and I was the only one to get off), everyone was alerting me “This is Powell!” and wishing me well on my trip. Thanks entire BART train car! I’m not from here.

I told my sister this entire story. “OH…. We just took a cab from the airport.” She had advised me that a thing was EASY,when she had never done it before. Sisters!! Actually, her advice made me power through and actually figure it out. She does love me.Ervin was worried dudes would be hitting on me left and right in SF. See above picture for results: Negative. We went to dinner, then tried on Baby Gap hats for my nephew. I bought the one I had on, which I think is a Beaver Bison Cow Bear. And I love it.

The next day, we carbo loaded at Dottie’s for breakfast (best Cinnamon Crumble Cake or something – EVER) for our run across the Golden Gate Bridge! It’s .08 miles one way. EASY! These are men’s shoes I bought because I liked the color. And then I replaced the laces with hot pink ones, which is good because I saw a dude at the gym wearing them, too. Ugh, Sasquatch feet… someday we’ll be friends.Those are the happy faces of Public Health! Takin it to the streets! And bridges! I’d like to see what everyone else from the conference was doing that Saturday. Johns Hopkins rules! 
And this is me, posing with our fearless leader Piper, who kicked our butts on the bridge. She just competed in Tough Mudder — unfair advantage! I’m not gonna lie – this picture is in here because I figured out a way to pose for pictures, that conceals both my bingo wings and my second foot.

Also, it was GORGEOUS that day. No Frankenstorm on this side of America…Oh yeah. Crushed it! We can run 50 yards in a row without stopping!

I gotta be honest about my time in SF though. I did get hit on a few times. By some really precocious hobos. The day I left, I was walking to my favorite BART station and a homeless man asked “Would you like a gentleman companion for this evening?” “Nooooo thanks……” The way he used “gentleman companion” and “evening” made him sound so fancy!

Still, no.

XX,

L

I Just Spooked My Pants.

23 Oct

I grew up with nary a ghost or a witch decoration in our house. We went to church. We had 90% “Harvest”,  10% “Halloween”. Even my elementary school threw class Harvest parties. With apples. Hay bales. Orange mashed potatoes for lunch. And way not enough candy to make the time off math class, worth it.

My sisters and I did go Trick-Or-Treating a few times. There was the year I was a patchwork Native American. The year I was a hobo, holding a candlestick (1700s Hobo? It was stuff I found in my house). The year I was Snoopy (TM on the mask, but not the socks I was wearing as white dog arms, the leotard stuffed to make me look almost pregnant instead of dog-belly-like, and my actual dog’s food bowl I was filling with candy). Then, skip ahead to college where I dressed as a zombie, while all the other girls were slutty _______. “This is disturbing,” my Mom said, looking at a photo of me with fake blood oozing from my mouth. She missed her underage preggo Snoopy.

Fast forward to now. Since the days are shorter this time of year, I end up doing my fancy delivery job in the dark, most nights in Beverly Hills. You know who has the money to really do up their houses for Halloween? People that live in Beverly Hills. I had a delivery to Paris Hilton’s gated neighborhood the other nite, on a particularly foggy evening, and my mouth dropped open when I saw the majesty. Spiders the size of luxury sedans, lurking on rooftops in cobwebs draped over houses like limp circus tents. Orange and purple fairy lights twinkling in every last topiary for miles. A FUNERAL – with a real life silver coffin – skeleton arm reaching out Carrie-style, green light bursting from the satin interior, smoke crawling along the grass, and skeleton funeral viewers: some standing, cloaked in rags, some seated. All lining the path to the front door of this particular mansion.

Cool!

But here is the thing. Those decorations are killer on Halloween night when they’re lit and meant to be experienced. Up until that point, they kind of hang out haphazardly, waiting.

For me. Alone. In the dark.

So, here I comewith my arms full of my car keys, my cell phone, credit card slips, pens, and bags of steaks, pasta or chow fun. Just doin my job. I’m already aware that there are REAL spider webs and the spiders to go with them, in nearly every entrance to every home. Often times people forget to turn on their porch lights. Sometimes there are uneven staircases winding through overgrown ivy. Does anyone ever enter the house this way??! If the houses are in the Hollywood Hills, there will likely be a coyote sighting. Or at least you will hear them. Or something, rustling in the bushes.

I press the buzzer with my elbow. Bzzz. (– A hundred times). “…Ah, yeah?” “Hi! It’s Lauren with your food!” (Remember you ordered food tonight?) I try to sound like I’m smiling as I shuffle their insalata caprese back to the center of the container, without the security camera catching it. “Yep.” Bzzz. I kick open the gate.

To Hell.

At one house, I ran into a pile of decorative gourds. At another, a tangle with a blow-up black cat. At the next, I was waiting at the front door for what seemed like 5 minutes before crapping my pants when I realized there was Death, sitting in a rocker just behind me. My stomach went into my throat or my heart went into my stomach or both. “That’s really scary in the dark!” I said, pointing to the shadowy skeleton. “Tis the season”, he said. TURN YOUR PORCH LIGHTS ON FOR DELIVERY PEOPLE WHO ARE ME, I said in my mind. Then I left with 3 spiders hitching a ride on my hair.

I hate this job, I murmur to myself as I calculate my tip. Then it’s off to the next restaurant, followed by the next house trying to out-do last year’s Halloween freak fest.

Hmm. I wonder how Tis The Season would do if I showed up in a hockey mask, holding a bloody machete, “Hi! How are you tonight? I made sure there was extra parmesan for the fettuccini and they included a few extra cookies for you guys!” Rrrg. It’s not gonna work.

XX,

L

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Audition: Wife Of Cheating Husband.

16 Oct

I was super excited about this audition because it was for the role of “Wife who’s husband cheated on her” and not “Mom”, which I’ve been getting all the time (but which I love being paid to play!).

I wore exactly what they called for — “Brunette” (Check), “Hair pulled back, maybe she’s in a business suit, just getting off of work” (Well, my hair was brown and I pulled it back).

The audition location was 7700 Sunset Blvd. “Is that the place with all the models walking in and out?” Ervin agreed. I had only seen this – multiple times, because there’s a Chipotle across the street where I have been known to stuff my face with cheap burritos, while observing “Wow, she’sh SHOOOO shhkinny…. (gulp). I should have gotten cheese on this.”

SO, of course I was looking forward to being surrounded by exotic beauties, when I’m being called for the role of “Brown Haired Person”. Because brown means ugly, people. There was also something on the callsheet about them wanting my character to physically differ from “the other girl”. Super looking forward to what the other girl looked like.

I arrived at the location, my first time auditioning there, and followed signs through various hallways, around the back, through another entrance, down the river and through the woods. I arrived at a reception desk. The pretty girl behind it said, “Hi!” I said “HI! I’m here to audition for…” and my hand made this weird reach for an invisible pen and sign in sheet. The pretty girl goes “Oh! I think you want the other office.” At that moment, I looked around and realized I was the only white girl, in a sea of gorgeous black models. MODELS, not just extra-pretty girls. Super tall glasses of chocolate milk, versus short, stubby White Cheddar Cheez-It.

“…Ah, no, I believe you’re mistaken, I’m here for the black supermodel audition”. I laughed it off and walked back out and through another maze to find my audition. Thanks, unclear signage. I could have used something more like “You must be this tall to ride” and have a marker at 6 feet.

I arrived at the suite for my audition. I signed in, and looked around. OH! “Other girl” looks like a blonde supermodel. I didn’t see anyone who was called in for my role. Everyone waiting in the lobby, was “other girl” and “cheating husband”.

They threw me right into the room, before I even got a chance to look at the first frame of the storyboard.

A typical “slate” for the camera is: you, standing on a piece of tape on the floor, the casting director pointing the camera at you, and you saying something like “Hi! I’m Lauren Bair” if that’s your name. They do a quick zoom out to make sure you don’t have a peg leg, then it’s on to the audition. THIS TIME, ’tis a dramatic reenactment, after all… they wanted a profile shot with a sloooooooooow head turn toward camera, eyes first.

I could hardly contain myself. It was happening. Mel. O. Dram. A. I LOVE IT! I did my best evil, soap opera side glance and made murder to the camera. One of the “other girls” did a super dramatic, mouth open, squint eyed thing that made me think “She has done this before. In real life.”

The audition consisted of an improv fight with my cheating husband while our young children were asleep. Nailed it. Then a scene in which I’m driving by Tiffany’s and see my cheater Husband and “other girl” walking out, with a new diamond engagement ring (In this scene I sit in my car – which was an office chair – and become crestfallen. “Squeeze out a tear if you want – not necessary.” I tried not to think about the side glances from earlier which were making me laugh.)

Also, talk about serendipity: driving by Tiffany’s at the exact moment your cheating spouse is walking out?? The luck!

The last scene was me, approaching my husband from behind, and oh yeah – WITH A GUN in my hand – and SHOOTING HIM IN THE BACK. Crushed it. The paper gun shuddered in my hands as I slowly brought the pistol down and surveyed my kill.

I was free. At last. No more trying to make my house a home, all alone. No more checking his phone, no more wondering where he is at night. No more lipstick on shirts and perfume that isn’t —-

“What?”

Casting Director: “I said, can you stay for the next group? We’re out of brown haired chicks.”

“Next time, can I shoot the gun like a gangster?” (I hold the gun sideways, looking like I’m auditioning for Weeds.)

“HA. No.”

“K. Cool.”

I walked out, an inch taller (and still a few good feet shorter than the models), feeling like I totally rocked that thing. I didn’t get cast this time, but let’s pretend it was because I’m too similar looking to a blond supermodel. And because maybe I’m a little too gangsta.

In reality, who the F knows. It could be anything. I lost out on an audition once, because of the sound of my voice. Which, as much as you want to think “Whatever! That’s one person’s opinion!” makes you go home and practice sexy-but-more-monster voices in front of the mirror.

At The Coffee Bean, I grabbed a latte and sat down in the seats outside with my laptop. “I hope you’re not gonna shoot me for real.” I looked over and saw the dude who played my cheating husband, and the girl who played the mistress.

“I fake shot you in the ass, so you could possibly survive if you call for help in time… If you can make it to the landline, because I shot your cellphone. And you’re welcome.” Revenge is sweet.

XX,

L

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Children Of The Corn.

12 Oct

You guys. WHAT is going on with Candy Corn this year?? Despite its legendary status as the candy everyone loves to hate, it’s totally hitting the mainstream.  I, myself, am Team Candy Corn. I don’t care if it’s made of candles and food coloring, it’s delicious. But this year, I think I’ve already ingested a good couple pounds of it without even trying. Why? Because suddenly it is everywhere.

I found a couple pieces in my smoothie today. What is happening, World!

I wanted to invent a Candy Corn-horned Unicorn, but all I could come up with was the image (– using my art school skills, ya’ll!). Because Candy Corn and Unicorn don’t mash into one word very well. UniCorn. Same. CandiCorn. Same. UniCandyCorn. Dumb. It will just have to be nameless. Like Prince, when he turned into a symbol.

I ate a hundred of these Oreos in about 3 minutes. If you like Oreos and happiness, you’re in for a treat. And has anyone dissected the Candy Corn M&Ms?What is this. I don’t know. But if I had a baby, I would make them wear it all the time. I confess, it’s adorable. And also I love that she’s eating her costume.

SO many people say they don’t like Candy Corn. Like, truly – hate it. Looking at the bag makes them uncomfortable and sweaty. SO… why is it impossible to find Candy Corn Oreos in Target? It ain’t cuz people hates the corn!This is a festive way to say “I love Candy Corn and fingernails!” Although, for historical accuracy, I feel like the points should be pointier. Unless this is a representation of Candy Corn that’s been flat ironed.

With this year’s Candycornocalypse, I can only assume that next year will be mindblowing. General Mills, wheaty-oat-y cereal with puffy orange, yellow and white marshmallows! Ben and Jerry’s – figure it out! And I’m quite looking forward to the first brand Candy Corn infused vodka. Any takers, Absolut?

Tell me the truth. Y’do a little Candy Corn on the side, this time of year…? I won’t tell.

XX,

L

Oreos, Baby, Nails

Lucille Ball.

10 Oct

I started writing this blog two years ago. (TWO!) My first post was a quote from Lucille Ball, from her autobiography I had just started reading. I recently finished her book. (I’m no speed reader. I like to savour words and look at pictures. For years…) Also, through some practiced nighttime ritual, I’ve trained myself to fall asleep after a few pages, unless I’m standing up.

Well, I decided that I LOVE-love Lucy. If you’ve ever seen I Love Lucy on TV, you already know her. Her brilliant comedy, her charm and her…well, her balls. Over her lifetime, she went from broke cigarette model in NYC, living off stolen diner coffee and donuts, to Beverly Hills mega-millionaire, production company owner, legendary actress, mother, wife.

She learned to act in the studio system. Back in the day when actors were hired to work at a place like Universal Studios, and were cast in film after film. They apprenticed under teachers and better actors, and found their way. I wish things were still like that. I wish there were still room for learning. Lately, it seems like you’re shitouttaluck if you weren’t born with a trust fund and an Uncle in the biz.

There are SO many bits of wisdom in this book. Just reading about her life. And her thoughts. And the rough spots (there were plenty). Hers is an inspiring story.

I would LOVE to play her someday. By the time I get popular in the LA scene, I’ll be playing the part of “Elderly Lucille Ball, recollecting stories on her deathbed”.

The book is filled with these fabulous photos of her, growing up, with family, Ricky, these amazing parties, fur coats and beautiful homes. One of her houses was on 1000 N Roxbury Drive, Beverly Hills. One day while I was working my delivery job in the ‘hood, I got a bug up my ass to go find it! A perk to living in LA!

Here it is:Well, they changed the bushes. And now there’s a sign out front that says “No Subway under BHHS” (BHHS is the high school. And the rich people don’t want the hoodlums easily hitching rides from Watts to Rodeo Drive). I wonder if the people who live at this address, even realize the history of the house. Or care. Maybe they’re Persians who could give a damn. Do they sit in the living room thinking “OMG, I Love Lucy was in this very room!” as they transfer gold bullion into offshore accounts? (I imagine this is what wealthy people do all day).

Wait a minute. EVERYONE knows about this! I just Googled it and Roxbury Drive is FULL of famous homes. Lucy’s old neighbors included Jimmy Stewart, Rick Schroder (uh, different decade), Jack Benny, Peter “Columbo” Falk, Rosemary Clooney (who lived in George Gershwin’s old place), Lionnel Barrymore, Maureen O’Sullivan…

I guess I forgot where I live. Whatever! I stick by my DIY Celebrity House Tour. We do one at a time and it’s also a book club. I don’t want my viewers to be uneducated idiots.

Here’s that quote I love so much. It’s nice to re-read anytime you’re feeling like stuff’s just not happening in the timeframe you expected. I like to think that whatever my little brain has planned out for myself, is nothing compared to the brilliance of what’s actually going to happen…

“Here’s what I advise any young struggling actress today: The important thing is to develop as a woman first, and a performer second. You wouldn’t prostitute yourself to get a part, not if you’re in your right mind. You won’t be happy, whatever you do, unless you’re comfortable with your own conscience. Keep your head up, keep your shoulders back, keep your self-respect, be nice, be smart. And remember that there are practically no “overnight” successes. Before that brilliant hit performance came ten, fifteen, sometimes twenty years in the salt mines, sweating it out.” – Lucille Ball

Signing off from the salt mines…

XX,

L

Gaga for Gigi’s.

8 Oct

It all started because I was in the neighborhood, cat-sitting Strudel. (She’s was sick of me already.) I had eaten all the Candy Corn Oreos by this point, brushed her within an inch of her life, and we were fresh out of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” episodes. We had a stare-off, broken only by me trying to take her picture. Strudel knows the best cat poses. She’d be a shoe-in on America’s Next Top Model: Cats!

Ervin knew of this Cuban place nearby Strudel’s apartment, which had awesome food. And cheap prices. Gigi’sWe ordered in Spanish (When I say “we”, I mean I piped in way late with a “No queso, por favor. Gracias!”), and then sat down amidst a regular Sunday crowd of old men, and families with adorable saucer-eyed kids.

They were big-eyes-ing my fries. But I am relentless when it comes to sharing fries. Also ice cream. And pens.

We chowed down on a Cuban burger and a plate of steak, plantains and yucca with garlic. And maybe a couple empanadas. Get out of Latin town. It was delicious.

Can I just say, I like anything that’s titled “Señorita (ingredients)”. Their bakery case is killer. I gained 50 lbs just looking at it…I’m sure we’ll be back. On the next Sunday afternoon we find ourselves in Westlake, Los Angeles, USA.

XX,

L

Ace Hotel, Palm Springs.

5 Oct

It has been hot as two rats [doing math] in a wool sock, this week in Los Angeles. Starbucks’ hot pumpkin spice latte is almost sickening to think about. And it’s hard for your boiled brains to understand why everything has candy corn in it these days.

Oh, what? It’s October?! It’s supposedly cooling off to a breezy 75 degrees this weekend. At least then I can begin to remember the Autumn I love so much. Maybe consider an iced pumpkin something latte.

For my bday back in Aquariustime, my sister gave me a gift certificate to the Ace Hotel, Palm Springs. It wasn’t until the sweaty start of Fall, that I could actually find time to use it. But we did. Ervin and I hit the highway and headed into the desert.I had only heard about Palm Springs from people over 65. So I thought it was more of a retirement destination. I also thought it was in either Florida or Nevada. Turns out, it’s in California! And a mere 2 hours drive away. Unless you did like we did, and crammed in an audition the afternoon we were supposed to leave, then stuffed our gullets with crap coffeeshop sandwiches, then sat in 4 hours of traffic to just get out of LA.

That’s the best way, I find, to kick off a relaxing mini-cation. But we arrived safe and sound around 7p on a Monday. WHICH, you should mark in your calendars. BE AT THE ACE HOTEL on a Monday. There is famously entertaining bingo nite in the restaurant, followed by drag queen trivia, in the bar. I was desperate to throw my bags down in the room, and sneak into bingo, but it was packed. Instead, we opted for the best cocktails a girl could hope for, in the Amigo Lounge.

Then trivia started. I confessed to Ervin that I suck at it. He said the same. BUT, we signed up anyway. Keep Vacation Weird. It took me like 20 minutes to figure out a team name that would suit us in the mix of mostly gay men, a couple celebrating their anniversary, and a bachelorette party.I wasn’t sure if Jungle Fever encompassed all jungles, so I wrote “*But for Puerto Ricans”, to clarify. Well, singular Puerto Rican.

As it turns out, Ervin and I make an awesome trivia team. I answer all the entertainment/easy questions in the first round, he covers geography/history/math/science when it becomes clear I only graduated 3rd grade. We ended up in a tie breaker for first place. We lost to a gay couple who knew more song names than we did. But we still won $50. That’s more than $0!I thought I would hate the desert (even though technically, I live in it, in LA). I love water and trees and refreshing. The desert sounded like there was none of that. But it was a surprisingly magical place. There’s something about the hot air that feels comforting. It’s like you have room in your brain to be inspired by life. Also, it was just great to get out of LA. With that heinous traffic as a mind-barrier, I could hardly remember my former life from 6 hours ago.Our room was totally hipster and I loved it. It had a private patio with an instant gas fireplace, a record playa, non-hotel art on the walls, and a ton of booze. We brought our own Trader Joe’s snacks, but this was the mini bar:We didn’t touch the +, the XXX or the Skittles. But so weird – how did they know I like eating chips and salsa while wearing 3D glasses. They thought of everything.

I developed a fireplace problem. Every time I walked by it, I had to flip the switch and stare at it. It was mesmerizing. We made S’mores. And then we invented S’mores with graham/marshmallow/banana. And then we invented a million other varieties in our minds, over some whiskey gingers. See? The desert makes you s’marter.Ervin kept calling S’mores “S’morfs”, which I found insanely hilarious. But I didn’t want to laugh too hard at any cultural hiccups. I don’t want him to change them. Ever.

We swam in the pool, we dipped ourselves in the hot tub, we ate a ton of food, drank a bunch of drinks, walked around town a little bit. It was a killer first day in Palm Springs. PS, that Marilyn statue from up top, is HUGE. And no you can’t see up her pants.I swim with the form and grace of an underwater T-Rex.

The next day, we took full advantage of the pool, pre-checkout. We found these two dead bees clinging to each other in the water. Or maybe they died separately and somehow intertwined legs. Either way, it reminded me of Titanic.

Then we found this other bee, trying to scramble out of the pool. We saved its life by hoisting it to safety with a hair band, watching it clean and dry itself for 20 minutes, then screaming like little girls when it took flight at our faces. Heroes.
Before we left, I wanted to find a postcard for my sister. We ALSO found a smashy penny machine! There was a time when I thought that paying $.51 for an unusable $.01 was the worst deal ever, but not this time. Ervin had never seen one of these before. We plugged in the change and cranked ourselves a souvenir.
On our way out of Palm Springs, I wanted to stop by the Robotic Dinosaur Museum because it sounded bad-awesome. When we got there, Ervin warned me “Babe, I think this might be kinda dumb…” and I was all “I know! That’s what I was hoping.” There’s a giant Bronto and T-Rex out in the parking lot. The Bronto is also an office, so it has windows in its butt and a stairwell leading into its lower intestines. We didn’t go into the museum part, but the muffled roaring was enough to set the scene. T-Rex, you may have been like way smaller than we thought, but at least you were real. (Sorry, Bronto.)The evening sun slowly setting, we hit a bunch of traffic on the highway. Ah. Almost home.
We already plan to return to you, magic desert…

XX,

L

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