Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Life in Books

I just finished reading the fantastic Marathon Man by William Goldman (no relation) (that I know of), and this being the last day of the year, quickly wrote it down on my list of books-read-in-2009. And this being that sort of a time, I counted how many books I read this year and the number seems to be 38, which is a lot lower than I would have guessed; I thought I read about 50 books a year, but it appears that over the 8 years I have been keeping track (which is to say, the 8 years since I was bored at work and decided to learn some html to pass the time and keep the list online), my average is 42 per year. And this being that sort of end-of-decade looking-back tallying-up kind of day, (and also because I should be getting ready to go to a New Years party but we all know how terrible at going to parties I am so - hey, look, I better wash those dishes before I leave!) I went back and made you this little neat summary of the highlights of the books I've read since I started keeping online-nerdy-html track.

IMPORTANT NOTE: CLICK ON ANY OF THESE LINKS AND YOU WILL GET TO AMAZON.COM AND THEN EVEN IF YOU GO BUY SOME OTHER BOOK, EVEN *NOT THE ONE I'VE LINKED TO*, I WILL GET A SMALL MONETARY KICK-BACK FROM YOUR PURCHASE. Which is to say: PLEASE CLICK THROUGH! I haven't gotten a referral-bonus in ages :)










































200938 books readThis was the year I read all four of the Twilight series books. Not sure if I even get credit for the good stuff, considering. (WHY DID IT END? GIVE ME MORE!) (Just kidding.) (Sorta.) (And I'm not alone, even at my age: this article claims to get it.)
200844 books readI loved Eat, Pray, Love so just shut up. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and The Pillars of the Earth.
200755 books readLOTS of great stuff, including A Tale of Two Cities, The Moon and Sixpence, The Corrections, and The History of Love.
200639 books readnotably The Princess Bride, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Frankenstein, and The Satanic Verses
200540 books readA year of beautiful books: Truth & Beauty and The Time Traveler's Wife, and Everything is Illuminated
200438 books readOnly War and Peace. Only not really only. Also Unintended Consequences and Madame Bovary, for two.
200340 books readThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and this was the year I really read the Bible, one parsha every Friday night.
200243 books read
Anna Karenina
! and
The Brothers Karamazov
! and
Of Mice and Men
! AND Infinite Jest. What a year.


Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

JogBlog2 (and 3, let's say)

I couldn't go to my mid-week team run on Wednesday, so I ran on my own on Thursday, around my neighborhood. In keeping with RDB's patented method of not-boring-your-socks-off, here's the playlist. I did not choose this in advance; apparently my iPod wanted me to have a very mellow chick-singer run:

Somedays / 3:22 / Regina Spektor
Crucify / 4:59 / Tori Amos
Silent All These Years / 4:12/ Tori Amos
Happy Phantom / 3:17 / Tori Amos
Me And A Gun / 3:45 / Tori Amos
Work Your Way Out / 3:41 / Ani DiFranco
Tom's Diner / 3:47 / DNA feat. Suzanne Vega
Days Go By / 7:08 / Dirty Vegas
Bittersweet / 6:13 / Big Head Todd and The Monsters
Blues Pt2 - crazy extendo-version / 11:46 / Blood Sweat & Tears
(but I only got about halfway through that song.) I ran about 4.5 miles in about 49 minutes. My mom was visiting from Florida this week, so we went out together, I to run and she to walk. I was criss-crossing my neighborhood and she was walking up a street, so there were a few minutes in the middle there where we met up and stopped to chat, so I wasn't exactly worrying about my pace. It was a lovely morning.

AND THEN WHAT DID I DO YESTERDAY? WHAT DID I DO FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE?

I. Ran. 10. Miles.

TEN MILES.

in 95 minutes. Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.


Have you contributed to my fundraiser yet? Like, the whole reason I'm doing this? Thank you so much to those of you who have!!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The solution to your holiday gift-giving quandaries

This post was going to be about the Dizzy Feet gala, the most amazing dance show ever, which show I saw at the Kodak Theatre on Sunday afternoon (in basically the best seats in the house), but instead it's going to be about a scarf.

No really.

Guys, check this out:


And yeah it's cool, and yeah the fashion buzz catalog-copy accompanying the pictures on the website is all very designer/fashion/taking-itself-seriously stuff, but really what I love so very much about the whole thing is this comment by some random guy:

'We can watch movies on a device the size of a credit card. Why did it take us so long to come up with “pockets scarf?”'




Nice. Reminds me of how I used to point out that we put a man on the moon years before we could figure out how to make Pong.

(That was an Atari game, young'uns. An Atari game THAT I OWNED AND USED TO PLAY IN THE BASEMENT. Ah, the good old days.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Santa Monica Gobble Wobble


I did it! I ran a race! I ran the 10K in the Santa Monica Gobble Wobble and it was fantastic!

I said before it began that if I finished in under 65 minutes, I'd be happy. In the end, my official time was 59:59!! (The top three female times were 37:43, 39:28, and 42:38). The first two miles were KILLER and I thought I might not finish at all; turns out they were a slow and steady incline. Ouch. Miles 3 and 4 were a breeze and as I was getting tired at the end of mile 5, some guy ran up behind me and kept pace with me all the way to the finish line, so I didn't slow or stop when I would have on my own. Thanks, bib #172, for bringing me in!!

An ex-boyfriend (whose father is one of the people in whose memory and honor I'm doing my marathon as a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) used to say that EVERY name could be found by Googling on SOME page SOME where... if only a race result page. At the very least, there's a race result page. I have officially come of age, I officially exist, my name is officially listed on my very own race result page.

Waking up to run Saturday morning was especially hard, what with having gone to a party at a friend's the night before and not having gotten a lot of sleep and having been too nervous to sleep well, but I had extra inspiration. The father of another ex-boyfriend passed away from leukemia on Friday night. Please consider making a donation to LLS.

LOOK! I added a widget for that too!! ---------------->>>>

Monday, November 23, 2009

"I believe that the Good Lord gave us a finite number of heartbeats and I'm damned if I'm going to use up mine running up and down a street."

Do we really believe that Neil Armstrong said that?

I haven't actually been running up and down a *street*; I've mostly been training in the park. Yesterday, that was to the tune of EIGHT MILES, which is by far the farthest I've ever run. It was awesome, and I had a show afterward and I didn't even fall down once.

Now we know this running thing has gotten really crazy: next Saturday, instead of training with the Team, I'm going to run in a RACE! My first ever and I have no idea what it's going to be like, but everyone says it's a really good idea to experience that organized-race thing before the actual marathon, the crowds and the starting gun and the whole different atmosphere, so I'm doing it. I still don't care about *racing* per se, in terms of being faster than anyone else (as long as I'm not last) but I think it'll be fun. I'll be running in the Santa Monica Gobble Wobble and I would LOVE it if you want to come cheer me on!!

Jesus, I've been blogging a lot about running lately, huh? I swear, there are other things going on in my life... like... for example... hey, look over there!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Walking is so... pedestrian.

In a funny coincidence, the two tabs of my browser are currently open to these two pages:

On the left:

The Great LA Walk, a 13+ mile stroll around town (that I WISH I could do, but I'm busy running on Saturday!)




and on the right:

an article entitled You Walk Wrong from New York Magazine.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

RunBlog1

Look, I added a widget! ------------------------->

Somewhere over there on the right is a new box that says "Running:" and it's a little script that keeps track of how far I've run this week/month/year and I love it! Mike has one on his Marathon Blog and I'm very excited to be just like him :)

So I still think my plan to blog my run by way of iTunes playlist is brilliant, but I forgot the part where I'm not allowed to use an iPod during official training runs with the group, and most of my runs are with the group (I'm not so self-motivated, much to my chagrin). So that's not going to work out so well.

But here's the quick version of my last two runs: Saturdays are always the official Biggest Run I've Ever Done Ever days, with the team. Last week we ran FIVE miles and I was very proud of myself for doing that. Wednesdays we have a less-official mid-week group run, and even though I tried to go to that last week even though it was canceled and embarrassed myself truly, I went back this week anyway. And it turned out to be a 40-minute run, which still sounds like a whole f'n lot to me, and it was cold out, and I still don't really know anybody, and I didn't have an interval watch yet, and I immediately lost track of the people who I was going to run with who *did* have an interval watch and...
and I ended up having an AWESOME run because the only people who were going at the initial pace I was comfortable with were the two men, and somehow the three of us ended up doing the whole thing together and it was GREAT because I could keep up with them and we ran for more than 20 minutes before I needed a walking break and we did something like 4.5ish miles in something like 40 minutes and YAY ME!! I had no idea I could do that... but being distracted by conversation and having the challenge of keeping up with the boys made it just fabulous for me and it kind of flew by. AND it was my first day wearing my new sneakers (Asics) that I got THAT DAY at Road Runner Sports after doing their Shoe Dog analyzer thing which of course I loved also.

So that's my breathless update for today, except to also tell you this:
I JUST REACHED 10% OF MY FUNDRAISING REQUIREMENT FOR THE MARATHON!!
which is both super-duper exciting and kind of scary, because of the glass-is-90%-empty perspective that likes to visit me sometimes. SUPPORT ME PLEASE!

Okloveyoubye.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Back to Life?

I have been very stressed out and very busy with a handful of things the last couple of weeks, and I think that as of today, all the pressures are either relaxed or completely dealt with... meaning maybe I can relax again too. Yay.

And I did two loads of laundry today and ran the dishwasher AND took out the trash. Banner day, no?

I still have LOTS going on, but now maybe I can settle down and focus on some of the things I need to do, instead of being overwhelmed by *all* of them. That's a very good thing.

Upcoming: My first mid-week organized run and then an unprecedented (in my whole life) EIGHT mile run on Saturday morning, ohmigod. And a show that evening in Laguna Hills. Good times ahead. By which I mean: sore calves ahead...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

If security has already been breached...

then you may as well read the article about me in the first-ever Alonim newsletter!!




[...even if, let's be honest, there are a few mistakes. I am overall very happy with the profile and totally thrilled that I was chosen to be profiled. Seriously. But could I really not mention the irony of their misspelling "Brandeis", of all words? And I did send them a handful of dance-related and flattering photos of myself for this, and instead they chose a random one from facebook, cropped out a friend, and used the resulting less-flattering less-professional picture you see there. A few mistakes here and there, but still, damn cool, no?]

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

RunBlog0

So, I've always been interested in running a marathon (and by "always" I mean since summer of 2002 when I first read The Philosopher's Diet and then The Long Run Solution) and I've spent a lot of years thinking about doing it and saying that I will *someday* run a marathon... just not today. And during that time I've read some very inspirational and wonderful books on running and it's probably the case that until now, I've spent more cumulative time reading about running than I have actually running. And when I meet someone who tells me they have run a marathon, I'm always very interested and I think I'd be very interested in reading their stories about the experience, and it does seem that almost everyone who runs a marathon keeps a blog about it and posts endless narratives with the details of mileage and injury and hunger and hydration levels and... I find them just mind-numbingly boring, I'm truly sorry to say. This is something I *think* I want to read about, but apparently I don't actually.

So.

So here we are, at the moment in my life in which I am not just talking about running or reading about running but ACTUALLY running. And actually training for my big MARATHON... and I have a BLOG... and I do NOT want to bore you to tears with the details.

So we're going to do this instead. My runs with Team In Training are necessarily iPod-free, so I'll just say this: First Saturday = 3 miles. Second Saturday = 4 miles. Tonight, however, was my first training run sans-team, meaning it was con-iPod and instead of giving you the details of my mental state at each moment, I'm gonna tell you what songs came on while I ran:

Wednesday 11/11/09

Deror Yik'ra / 3:40 / ESTA
If I Had $1000000 / 9:19 / Barenaked Ladies
The Old Apartment / 3:22 / Barenaked Ladies
It Feels So Good / 3:49 / Sonique
We Built This City / 4:49 / Starship
Mad About You-Ian / 3:53 / Sting
An Englishman In New York / 4:27 / Sting
Long Way Down / 4:00 / Michael Penn - but I only got halfway through it...

I ran about 2.8 miles (according to the very cool runningmap.com) in a very leisurely fashion, walking sometimes, stopping to get a schedule of the dance classes at a studio I passed, etc. According to the above playlist, I was out there for about 35 minutes, which means it was slooooooow going, (which it always is when I'm alone, yet a non-trying-hard timed mile last Saturday took me about 9:45) but it wasn't meant to be fast - it was just meant to BE.

So that's my plan, for the runs I do on my own - I'm gonna give you the playlist. Fun? Fun.

HAVE I MENTIONED YET THAT THIS WHOLE THING IS A FUNDRAISER FOR THE LEUKEMIA AND LYMPHOMA SOCIETY AND I CAN'T EVEN GO ON THE RUN IF I DON'T RAISE AT LEAST $3,800, WHICH I JUST REALIZED IS $145 PER MILE?? HERE I GO OFFICIALLY RUINING MY SUPER TOP SECRET REAL IDENTITY, ALL FOR THE CAUSE: HERE IS THE LINK TO MY FUNDRAISING PAGE. NOW YOU CAN DONATE AND SUPPORT ME YAAAAAAYYYYYYY FOOOORRRRRRRR YOOOOOUUUUU! thank you so much. More on the Leukemia/fundraising aspect of this to come.

Monday, November 9, 2009

RDB's week of culcha

So, last Sunday I went to see John Irving in conversation with David Ulin at The Writer's Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills, a conversation presented by Writers Bloc. John Irving has written 13 novels; I have read 12 of them and now own the new one, signed by the man himself last Sunday.

[On Wednesday night I had drinks at the Penthouse Bar at the Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica, but that's a whole different kind of culture. The kind where, if it's too hot for you in front of the fire, you don't relocate to a cooler spot, you ask the waitress to open the roof for you a little bit more. Ummm, a little less. How about... there. Perfect. Thanks. I'll have a martini, please.]

Thursday night I went to see Orhan Pamuk, Nobel-prize winning Turkish novelist, in conversation with Reza Aslan, presented by ALOUD. I won tickets to see this by being the correct (first) caller when it was giveaway time on KPCC. (Have I mentioned that I win things?) I read Pamuk's book My Name Is Red when I was in Turkey in 2003.

Friday night I went to see Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me, the NPR News Quiz, taped in Pasadena. It was an awesome show with George Takei (Sulu from the original Star Trek!) as a guest contestant, and it marked the third time I've gone to SEE a RADIO show be RECORDED. Is that weird?... or just really really dorky?

And indeed, Saturday morning I made it to the park at 7am for my second week of TRAINING TO RUN A MARATHON. Yay me. Just wanted to keep you all updated on my comings-and-goings. I know that I've just said a lot for saying nothing, but I had to do this first or I'll never be able to get out the interesting parts, like the contrast between what Irving talked about and what Pamuk talked about, or about how differently they spoke and how interesting it was to see them the same week.

[Ok, for completeness: Saturday night dinner at Nobu in Malibu. Yeee-ha!]

[Mmm, spent a couple hours in conversation on Sunday at the Literati Cafe on Wilshire on Sunday. Was recognized by someone from BCI... shit like that usually only happens in the Valley, not the City!]

Friday, November 6, 2009

I'm going to run a marathon.

No, really. I am so excited. Details to come, and of course the link to where you can donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which is who is training me to run said marathon.

I. AM. SO. EXCITED.

(In the middle of an awesome week of exciting things and I promise to tell you all about them. I just had to put this out there so that woe-is-me post wasn't on top and instead the here's-what-i'm-gonna-do-about-it post was!)

Goodnight.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I know I'm not exactly unique in this regard but...

I'd really like to lose a little bit of weight. And get really buff and have an amazing body. You know, I'd just really really like that.

I also really really like ice cream. And sleeping.

But you know, since I've been blogging about stuff I want lately and it's been showing up at my door shortly thereafter, I figured why stop at book and bag? I also really really want a personal trainer and/or nutritionist who can change my life. Or, at least, my body. Anyone want to re-make me? I promise to blog about it every step of the way, or to NOT blog about it, if you prefer, in exchange. Thanks!

(Yes, yes, yes, if we are telling the universe What We Want, we can't fail to mention BIGGEST HUGEST WANT NUMBER ONE, OR ZERO IF YOU INSIST: the love of my life. It's time, I'm ready, bring it on. Happy now? Thank you, universe.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I have the best friends ever.

Debbie and Alexis, you rock my world. Seriously. Wow. Thank you.


This is just as cool in person (person?) as it looks online. Freaking awesome. Beyond awesome.

I love you.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Fun Way

So, on the drive home from work today I listened to this long dry debate about "the Safeway plan" in which employees are "incentivized" to make healthy choices by basing their health insurance premiums on their Body Mass Indexes. Blah blah boring.

And then I saw this, by way of the kottke.org twitter feed:



THIS is how to incentivize people to exercise and make healthy choices. Make. Them. Fun.

OMG TALK ABOUT THINGS I MUST HAVE:

Guys, I know that this is a huge secret because I never say it on here, but my name is Erica. Ok? So for the one reader for whom my *real identity* was still a big secret, well, the secret's out. As though that one reader exists. Anyway, here's why RDB comes out from undercover:

THERE'S A SHOW IN CANADA CALLED "BEING ERICA". Why didn't anyone tell me? AND CHECK THIS OUT:



I must have it. More "Erica" merchandise at the show's website. Oh man, I want those undies... AND HOW PERFECT IS THAT BAG??????

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You should really thank me...

... because I just wrote one of my most navel-gazing saying-nothing long-winded-no-content-minutia-of-my-life posts ever. And didn't "publish". Instead you get this:

Enjoyed "free museum day" in Los Angeles this weekend: went to Santa Monica Museum of Art first. Neonspecs and I had a great time with the interactive/you-get-to-take-stuff-home bits of the exhibit pictured at right[0]. Then we stopped in at the Paley Center for Media, formerly The Museum of Television & Radio, and spent a good amount of time finding "Nina"s in the Hirschfelds and marveling at the bad floor design... but I called the travertine and Laura called the architect (Richard Meier). We're such good Angelinos.

Third stop was a frustrated attempt to go to a place that claimed to be open on the phone but wasn't, so we were annoyed at them, but then they gave us free cool calendars to make up for it, so then we forgave them.
Third museum-we-actually-got-into was the Japanese American National Museum, the one I was only interested in going to because of its proximity to red-bean-buns (an pan?), which I looooooove. This museum really surprised me; we spent time in the crazy Ed Hardy-like "Glorious Excess" exhibition by Mike Shinoda (of Linkin Park), and the Japanese kokeshi folk toy exhibit, *and* the painful and moving "Common Ground" exhibit of Japanese-American history including much more detailed and intimate information and photographs from the concentration camps and barracks of Japanese internment than I'd ever seen before, not having grown up on the West Coast. And after all of it, I left with a new resolve to do something beautiful with all those goony birds (paper cranes) my friend Ian made me while he was living in Israel, after I taught him how to make them... that's a story for another time.
Thank you, Museums Free-For-All and Laura, my personal curator of cultural Los Angeles.


[0]Hello, blogspot? In "Preview", the picture appears to the right of the text, hence the text is what the text is. But when I publish, it's above and center! Nu?

Monday, October 5, 2009

I fought the law; revisited

So, remember when I went to court and my case was dismissed and it took 15 minutes and I didn't have to pay the exorbitant $265 just for making a U-turn?

Well, I just got my credit card bill and there was a charge on it for $265 and the "merchant name" was COURTS. Arrrgh. But I have this paper here in my hand that says "Cash bail exonerated", nu? Arrrgh.

Anyway, I called the court and they are sending a credit to my credit card. They say. It honestly was very easy and friendly, but man did I get a scare from that bill, after all the ogida finally over with! Hopefully the credit comes through...

Just thought I'd keep you posted :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My money's on Alexis, if I had to put down money.

THANK YOU!!! I posted that I wanted the xkcd book and five minutes later, it showed up at my door. You're wonderful... Alexis.

Or jjd? Or Debbie?

It didn't say who sent it so I can't say a proper thank you! Was it you?

Thank you! I love you! I appreciate you! Whichever one of you... NO MORE GUESSING TELL ME NOW.

Monday, September 28, 2009

At least it doesn't say "Why I Climb Mountains"

Everyone else is doing it, so why can't we? I mean, me.

Click to embiggen.

Funny how the results of my actual name are a lot more "read dance bliss"-ish (at least, "books music social") than my blog name... although the blog name is skewed by all the meta-blog stuff (the label "online" comes from all the zillions of times this very page includes the word "links" and "post", for example). Cool anyway.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Short List of Things that Are that I wish Were Not

0. My DVD player completely sucks ass.

1. My back really hurts again. (Don't tell me to take ibuprofen; a doctor already did. I'm on 800mg three times a day. That's more in a week than I've taken in THE REST OF MY LIFE PUT TOGETHER.)

2. I am VERY quickly gaining back the small-but-hugely-appreciated amount of weight I lost this past year. (And I am HUNGRY.)

3. I stopped blogging for long enough to lose all but my 3 most tenacious readers. (But thanks to you three! I appreciate you!).

Monday, September 21, 2009

More Shows I Want To See:

Wednesday, 9/23 Crosby Stills Nash @ Greek Theatre
Wednesday, 9/30 Pearl Jam @ Gibson Amphitheatre w/ Ben Harper and Relentless 7
Wednesday, 10/28 Regina Spektor @ Greek Theatre
Friday, 11/13 Loudon Wainwright III @ Royce Hall - UCLA


Thank you, ShowList LA.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I'm not over this joke yet.

KNOCK KNOCK. who's there? INTERRUPTING KANYE. interrupting kanye wh- YO, I'M REALLY HAPPY FOR YOU, I'MMA LET YOU FINISH, BUT THE CHICKEN JOKE IS ONE OF THE GREATEST JOKES OF ALL TIME.


Thank you, posiduck.

Just in time for 5770

Al Gore... E

Anybody want to go see Al Gore with me in November? It's $40, but that includes a signed copy of the book. Come on....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ok, NOW I'm freaked out.

So, approximately THREE YEARS AGO I got rear-ended on the highway (that's "freeway" for you Angelinos), and I got the guy's info and I called him a million times and he stopped talking to me so I just called my car insurance and they called his insurance and eventually I got a check in the mail for the repair to my car.

I had never met the guy who hit me before and I haven't talked to him since. We have no friends or community in common that I know of, and I don't remember even mentioning his name to anyone I know, because why would I? He's a random guy who rear-ended me on the highway.

FACEBOOK JUST SUGGESTED WE BECOME FRIENDS. WHAT. THE. FUCK.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mary Travers has died.

ERIKA WITH THE WINDY YELLOW HAIR
Travers/Holdridge-
Cherry Lane Music Publishing Co., Inc. -ASCAP.

(spoken)
Erika with the windy yellow hair
Dancing through the day or moping by the stair
My joy to know my Erika with the windy yellow hair

Yesterday I met her running home from school
Her face was tear stained, she didn't know I knew
But I do, I do

Today she had a song to sing and a poem she knew
And with a kiss and a hug she dashed away, she had things to do
I do too, I do too

Lithesome child, I turn with care
When viewing you on step or stair
All my hope and love for you,
My Erika of the windy yellow hair

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I WANT THIS. NOW WHILE I CAN STILL HAVE A SIGNED ONE.

The first xkcd book is out and it's called Volume 0. And if you get me one RIGHT FREAKING NOW, it'll be a signed copy. You know I have a special shelf(s) in my bookcases for signed copies, right??

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I fought the law and... it was a tie.

So, some time back in July (the 3rd, actually), I was on some street (Tapo Canyon) and I got to a light, and I made a U-turn. And then I got pulled over and got a citation for making said U-turn at said light, at which U-turns are apparently illegal.

Ok, listen, policedude, I cried. You're supposed to let me off with a verbal warning when I cry, DON'T YOU KNOW HOW THIS WORKS??

Ok, anyway. So I got the damn citation, and then I got the details in the mail about what to do: either appear in court a few weeks later or pay the fine, a measly $260 (!!!!) and either go to traffic school or get a point on my license.

TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY DOLLARS FOR MAKING A U-TURN? IT DIDN'T COME WITH CHAMPAGNE AND A MASSAGE, DAMMIT, IT WAS A U-TURN.

Anyway, I go to court and I plead Not Guilty (even though I was) and get scheduled for a trial, a month later (today). Of course, now that camp is over it is no longer even a little bit convenient to go to court in Simi Freakin Valley, but whatever. So during the past few weeks I start trying to figure out what to do because I'm asking around and it seems like California doesn't work like New York where even if the police officer shows, you still get your fine or violation reduced, just for showing up. Here, no one gets off, apparently, unless the cop doesn't come, and the cop always comes. And California neeeeeeeeeeds cash, nu?

[I'd like to digress here and tell a story I just heard from a cow-orker who went to traffic court last week (and had to pay $745 for HIS citation (speeding) which fine made MY fine seem like chump change), but this post is already getting too long, isn't it? Maybe tomorrow.]

So apparently showing up doesn't get you anywhere if HE also shows up, and anyway I can't possibly claim to be not guilty because for sure I made that U-turn and it was broad daylight, ya-dah ya-dah. My vague plan was to say something to the effect of "I've learned my lesson, I am hyper-vigilant about traffic signs now, please don't make me pay all that money," but I was starting to feel dumber and dumber about that the more I heard about how it works in CA. AND then it became clear that today was also going to be an absolutely terrible horrible no good very bad day on account of my taking to the airport someone whom I'll likely never see again and if I could see through the tears, I'd keep typing, but gimme a minute, ok?

Ok so last week I decided the angst about the trial and the timing of the airport and going out to Simi and missing my Hebrew class and everything else was just not worth the $260 and I tried to pay the fine online but the website was totally broken and even though it found my case and I entered my credit card number and everything, it just said ERROR at the end and I had to assume it hadn't worked. Arrrgh. So I'm going to court.

So I go straight from LAX to court. The judge starts by taking attendance. The defendant says "here" if he or she is (many were not, oddly) and then the officer says "here" if he or she is. Everyone in the room holds their breath when their officer's name is called, hoping for a no-show and therefore automatic dismissal of the case. I'm told this very rarely happens, but for some reason today it happened quite a bit... lots of sighs of relief as the judge went down the list, and of course plenty of grumblings when the officers that were in fact present responded as such. So then the judge calls my name and I say "Here" and the judge calls my officer's name and he says "Here" and then he says he has a motion.

Oh?

We both get called up to the front of the room to stand at the microphones (DEFENDANT?? SCARY.) and here's where it gets really good:

The cop says that the clerk's office has lost my citation, he has no written notes from the incident and insufficient memory of the incident to proceed, so he was moving to dismiss.
THE COP WAS THERE AND **HE** MOVED TO DISMISS! It was awesome. I was out of there in 15 minutes with NO fine, NO points on my license, and NO traffic school. Awe.Some.

If today hadn't been the worst day ever, it would've been the best day ever.





And now for one of my favorite jokes, except maybe it won't come across so well in writing instead of in hearing, but we'll do what we can:

So I got pulled ovah the otha day by this cop, says I done something wrong. I said I didn't do nothing wrong, I did what God said to do! What God said to do, he asks me, what are you talking about? Well, see officer, it's like this: I'm driving down the street and I'm a little bit lost and I'm not sure what to do, so I prays to God and I asks, What do I do here, do I go straight? And God puts there a sign for me, it says, No, u turn!!

Good thing they never gave me a chance to speak in court, huh?

Monday, September 14, 2009

From the essay "Dehumanized" by Mark Slouka

Despite the determinisms of the day, despite the code-breakers, the wetware specialists, the patient unwinders of the barbed wire of our being, this I feel is true: That we are more nurture than nature; that what we are taught, generally speaking, is what we become; that torturers are made slowly, not minted in the womb. As are those who resist them. I believe that what rules us is less the material world of goods and services than the immaterial one of whims, assumptions, delusions, and lies; that only by studying this world can we hope to shape how it shapes us; that only by attempting to understand what used to be called, in a less embarrassed age, “the human condition” can we hope to make our condition more human, not less.


Harper's Magazine, September 2009. Page 32

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Recommend me this:

I just bought a new computer, and I mostly have all the programs I need up and running on the new machine. The exceptions are as follows, and I want your advice. What do you use for:

Ripping DVDs? I used to use Handbrake - should I get that again, or something else?
HTML editing? I used to use CuteHTML - should I get that again, or something else?
Sound editing? I used to use CoolEdit - should I get that again, or something else?
Playing random format videos that Quicktime can't open? I used to use VLC - should I... you get the idea.

And what should I use for making DVDs, actually? What do you recommend?

Thaaaaaaanks.

(YES MORE SKYDIVING PICTURES ARE COMING. I SWEAR.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

A picture is worth a thousand words?

Or at least, is indicative of a full minute-plus of non-stop screaming:
(click to embiggen)

So, this is me, outside of a plane at 12,000 feet, with my instructor Adi strapped to my back (Look Ma, no hands), screaming my brains out in free fall. This lasted for about a minute, and when we've reached, you know, 120mph DOWN, he pulled the cord and opened our parachute and that slow delicious descent lasted another 10 minutes or so.

I just might call these the best 11 minutes of my life so far. It was INCREDIBLE.

All day yesterday in my head I was likening skydiving to losing your virginity: you're back in the regular world and everyone is treating you the same and talking to you about mundane stuff, but you feel like they should be able to TELL, to SEE IT, that you're DIFFERENT, because of what you did yesterday, but they can't - you don't look different, you've just had this experience and you will never ever forget it.

I did this on my 24-hour break from camp, which is to say that I jumped out of a plane at approximately 3pm and by 8pm the same day I was back at work, running a dance session for 400 people and announcing when it was time for the little ones to meet their counselors and go to bed. Bizarre. 10 days left!

http://www.skydiveperris.com/ <---Highly recommended!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

OMFG, revisited.

Ok, so, it appears that

I AM GOING SKYDIVING ON WEDNESDAY.

omgomgomgomg.

Here's the big question: do I spring for the video and pictures? It's expensive, and I have to decide soon, not at the last minute. Arrrgh. The jump is very expensive to start with. And does anyone ever watch those videos? BUT it also comes with eleventyhundred stills also...

omg omg omg omg.

Have you ever been?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Overwhelm; Or, RDB bitches and moans about the blessings in her life.

I want to put in "wood" flooring (that Pergo stuff or whatever) in my dining room/living room area.

I want to paint that area, as well as a wall or two in each of the two bedrooms.

I want to buy a hammock to put on my porch.

I want to buy a bedroom set (but one that matches my wardrobe units that I love).

I want to buy a couch (but it has to work with the as-yet-non-existent wood floor and the as-yet-non-existent color of the walls).

I want to buy a TV bench.
And a TV.
(And a Wii and Rock Band, let's be honest, but I can probably handle that part alone.)

I want to buy a dining room table.

What order to do these things in, and how and where and when to do them all, and how much money to spend on them, and what color/fabric/shape/size/texture/model/style to do it all in... these things are beyond me.

I am so overwhelmed. And it turns out, I'm not really a project girl. I have some friends who are uneasy without a big project in progress; as soon as they finish one big thing they are on to another. They'd love this. Me, I want it done instantly. The second I figure out what I want to do I wish it were already done. I want to enjoy the finished project, not the process, at least not in this case. I have other things to *do*.

I do have the money to do these things on a simple scale. I mean, I can do them, but some of the furniture is coming from Ikea and some of it from Urban Home, none of it from Moda Italia or H. D. Buttercup. And that's fine; when I really wish I had oodles of money is when I think about the getting-all-of-this-done part. I am going to be out of my house for the next two months - go now! do it! I want the money to pay someone to take care of all of it while I am away so I can come home and see it finished. I do not want to oversee it myself, I want someone else in charge.

That's the key, isn't it? I want someone else in charge.

PS This post is from slightly over two weeks ago but it was somehow sitting in drafts and didn't get published, I don't know why. I'm at camp; definitely not thinking about all the things that aren't getting done at my condo right now... but I have visited this one dining room table twice now... without ordering it... arrrgh.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Per. Fect.

I have thought Lore Sjöberg was brilliant from way back in the day, so why should I be at all surprised to find this in my Google Reader?



Love it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Indeed, I M.

For unrelated and somewhat random reasons, I looked at the "Get Info" tab of my own AIM profile today. It says:

Status: Available
Online Since: 6/15/2009 1:13:18 PM
Member Since: 6/25/1999 11:36:28 AM
Capabilities: Buddy Icon, AIM Direct IM, Chat, Send File, ICQ UTF8

Which is to say, I've been IMing (at this name, which is equal to the whole time) for almost exactly ten years. Fascinating.

Ok, not really fascinating, since my 10-year college reunion was last weekend, and the 10-year birthday of my nose piercing is coming up (July 4!). It's not like I haven't already realized the momentousness of this season of my life, ten years ago, when I graduated, and moved into an amazing house in Cambridge with friends and boyfriend, and began my first full-time job. It was just one more funny little reminder. Happy Anniversary, momentousness.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More about the condo, of course: a positive, a negative, and a neutral.

0. My apartment had a laundry room, downstairs, that consisted of two washers and two dryers. A total wash cost $2.00 in quarters. My condo has a laundry room, on the same floor as my unit, with SIX of each washers and dryers. It is bigger, brighter, and much cleaner… and a total wash costs $1.50. Sure, it would be nice to have the washer and dryer be free and in my own unit, and perhaps I will at some point, but this is already daaaamn nice. Yeah fifty cents cheaper! What a win.

1. Once, just once, I have driven all the way to the old apartment (cue BNL – honestly, I love that song) and halfway into the driveway before realizing I didn’t live there anymore.

2. Annoyance: my new place came with a very nice refrigerator, one that was much newer than the one I had in my apartment and which I bought on craigslist over four years ago (and which the Salvation Army kindly carted away for me last week). In the old freezer, I used the top shelf to keep a couple of trays of ice and a bowl for ice cubes, since I could never handle that whole take-a-few-cubes-out-of-the-tray-but-manage-to-keep-the-rest-of-the-ice-from-falling-out-all-over-the-place skill. The new one has a built-in ice maker/water dispenser thingy, so there is no top shelf; that space is taken up by the ice maker… which doesn’t appear to work. The water in the door works, so clearly some part of it is correctly connected to the plumbing and turned on, but the ice doesn’t work, and I don’t know why. I don’t even really know how to know if it’s the ice maker that’s broken or the hookup or a switch that’s not on or what, but I know eventually I’ll get someone who understands these things to tell me the answer and hopefully even to fix it. In the meantime, where you normally trade the space for automatic ice, I have no space AND no automatic ice. And that is very annoying, since I use my ice, like, every day. Oh, the extreme horrors of my insanely difficult life :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Whatchou talkin about, Willis?

Ohmigod do I love my condo. It terrifies me, and overwhelms me, and causes the occasionally nearly-crippling self-doubt (but what doesn’t, in my life?), but I LOVE MY CONDO. You know, I was looking at places on and off for about a year, and I had started with a much wider range of possibilities than I ended up with, in the sense that when I began, I didn’t really know what I was looking for. Sure, maybe a one-bedroom would work, I thought. Sure, maybe it made financial sense to look in Tarzana/Encino/Reseda/VanNuys/StudioCity/NorthHollywood and not just Sherman Oaks. Sure, maybe blahblahblah. I definitely knew I’d would *like* a two-bedroom in Sherman Oaks, but in April of 2008, that seemed pretty out of reach for me because the prices were just too high. But I continued looking in fits and bursts, prices continued to drop, and I narrowed down a few of the parameters: had to have at least two bedrooms and two bathrooms and space for two cars to park. Van Nuys addresses no longer acceptable. Farther west of the 405 than a couple of miles no longer acceptable, and farther north of Ventura Boulevard than a few blocks also no longer acceptable. I stopped looking for a while; I started looking again. Prices continued to drop. I stopped again and started again. I considered my friend’s proposal that I should be looking at small houses, not condominiums. I let my realtor know how much I really, really liked my current neighborhood, even though it was kind of expensive. And a year later, I ended up getting a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom nearly 1400 sq ft condo with a huge patio exactly one block from where my apartment was!! And at a price that was $60,000-$100,000 less than similar condos had been selling for only one year earlier. AND it’s 2009 so I’ll get the first-time home buyer’s tax credit thing (actually, I’m claiming it in 2008 so I get the money sooner – even better, and now you understand part of the reason for the belowandaforementioned accountant). Yay Me!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Arrrgh.

Today was not a good day.

FIRST: I got a letter from the IRS saying I owed $600 more for 2008 taxes. I took this letter to my accountant, because what is the point of having an accountant if he can't look at letters like that and say, "They're wrong, they actually owe *you* $600 more," right?

He said: "They're right, you owe them $600 more."

Arrgh. (For the record, he didn't incorrectly prepare my 2008 taxes resulting in this error. TurboTax and I did, apparently. He became my accountant *after* April 15.)

SECOND: See, I need this thing from a doctor, only I don't even know my doctor because my company changed health care plans and the doctor I used to have and liked isn't on the new plan and so I don't even know this new doctor and it turns out this new doctor doesn't do the thing I need anyway so the office gave me three numbers of other doctors who do, only I don't want to see any of those doctors for other reasons and yet I called them anyway because I need this thing and all of their goddamn phones were busy YES REALLY ALL THREE OF THEM and the whole thing just totally sucked and so I spent a LOT of time and money today getting someone else to take care of this thing that I needed anyway and ARRRGH. None of it is at all a big deal but it just SUCKS when healthcare stuff doesn't go the way you want it to because then you feel all icky, no?

I'm fine, don't worry about it. It's nothing, just too girly to blog the details.

THIRD: SOME ASSHOLE HIT AND RUNNED MY CAR TODAY WHILE I WAS IN BED BATH AND BEYOND. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrr.

So I've had a shitty, shitty day. But hey, it's 11:30pm, I got nothing done all evening except to be grumpy, get my period, eat too much, and watch a couple episodes of "House" on my computer, because if I watch them on my TV I can't pause or fast forward or back or anything, and I have to be up at 6am. I love my life.

No, really, I do. Just not these particular 24 hours of it.

Happy, upbeat posts to come about the wonders of MY NEW CONDO WHICH IS WONDERFUL soon.

okloveyoubye. and don't you dare start with me about zeroeth, not today. Grrr. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I give in: Pandora rules. (aka Music To Pack By)

That's it. Especially using Erin McKeown to build a station. I got Regina Spektor and Tracy Chapman and Ani DiFranco immediately. Hells yeah.

Oooh, and then I added Dan Bern to my channel, so they started giving me Bob Dylan and Loudon Wainwright III and Sondre Lerche. Goddamn.

Losing Weight

So, I am packing and moving and therefore I am trying to Throw Shit Out. To this end, my wonderful friend Leah came over the other day and watched me try on clothes I bought many years and many miles ago and made the perfect "I love you but THROW THAT SHIT OUT" face at all the appropriate moments and then yesterday I brought nine bags of clothes to Goodwill. I mean, Trader Joe's paper shopping bags, so not huge, but still. Nine bags.

So now I am starting to pack up my books and I'm hearing Leah in my head saying, as she did on Saturday, "do you ever get rid of a book?" And I told her that I did, sometimes, yes, but not so often. And that is the truth; I do sometimes, and sometimes I send them off in the mail to a happy reader elsewhere in the world who wants some specific book I have but don't really want, all thanks to BookMooch.com, which I love. (It's awesome. To date I have sent off 22 books I did not want and received 23 books I did want. Most of the ones I sent cost about $3 to mail; most of the ones I received are ones I would have spent $7 or so for in a used bookstore or $15 for in a new bookstore. Fabulous.)

And so anyway, I'm starting to pack up my books and I just pulled off 10 books I am not going to keep! That is huge for me, trust me. Two of them are signed by the author and still I'm not keeping them - that is unbelievably out of character for me, the girl who has a separate shelf devoted to books signed by their authors. No really; that's one of the 26 shelves: Books Signed By Their Authors.

Ten books, two of which are signed by their authors. I rule.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Things you Need to Know

which is to say, nonsense you don't at *all* need to know:

0. I am twittering. Why? Why?
1. I have packed a box, hooray!
2. Yes, one. The contents of said box are the books of one shelf (lower left-hand corner), almost, meaning the shelf contained slightly more than would fit in the box.
3. I have 26 shelves of books.
4. TWENTY-SIX SHELVES? WOMAN, BUY A TV ALREADY.
5. Never mind the entire rest of my house. One box so far.
6. Ohmigod.
7. I currently own two refrigerators and only want one of them. Want one? Come and get it and it's yours. Side-by-side and big and working ('cept for the ice-maker thingy).
8. How did I get to the point in my life where I own even one fridge, let alone two? I have no idea.
9. Which is to say, I now also own two toilets. Holy shit.
10. Ha ha, that was unintentional.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Can you find this for me?

The poem called "My God Father of the Gentiles". I want to read it.

Thank you.

Oh and by the way.....

I BOUGHT A CONDO. I CLOSED LAST TUESDAY. I OWN A CONDOMINIUM.

I need a couch. A dining room table. A bedroom set. Hell, a decorator (ha). Because I'm the sort of kid Anna Quindlen could love:
"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Special Topics in Calamity Physics


The Top Three Reasons I Have Not Yet Put This Book Back On My Shelf, Even Though I Read It A Year And A Half Ago

0. "America's greatest revelation was not the atom bomb, not Fundamentalism, not fat farms, not Elvis, not even the quite astute observation that gentlemen prefer blondes, but the great heights to which she has propelled ice cream."

1. "Not returning phone calls is the severest form of torture in the civilized world. Haven't you read Hit and Run: Crisis in Singlehood America?"

2. " 'Onstage I make love to twenty-five thousand people and then I go home alone,' moaned Janis Joplin, bleary of eye and disheveled of hair."

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - not just for Bugs Bunny anymore!

"I know there is no Santa Claus."
"Yet you must teach the child that these things are so."
"Why? When I, myself, do not believe?"
"Because," explained Mary Rommely simply, "the child must have a valuable thing which is called imagination. The child must have a secret world in which live things that never were. It is necessary that she believe. She must start out by believing in things not of this world. Then when the world becomes too ugly for living in, the child can reach back and live in her imagination. I, myself, even in this day and at my age, have great need of recalling the miraculous lives of the Saints and the great miracles that have come to pass on earth. Only by having this things in my mind can I live beyond what I have to live for."


Ok, so that's really the end of my post, only I just love this about this book, also, seeing as how it was published in 1943, that is just shows how the more things change, the more they stay the same or somesuch soundbite wisdom:
"Send Francie. The last time I asked for sauerkraut he chased me out of the store," complained Neeley.
"You've got to ask for Liberty Cabbage now, you dope," said Francie.
"Don't call each other names," chided Katie absentmindedly.
"Did you know they changed Hamburg Avenue to Wilson Avenue?" asked Francie.
"War makes people do funny things," sighed Katie.

Freedom fries, indeed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

When in Rome... get out before the earthquake hits.

So, I'm in Israel right now and apparently completely jetlagged, because it's... oh, 4:30am and I'm blogging instead of sleeping.

I'm having an AMAZING time, and enjoying every minute. I'm doing a much better than usual job of calling people up and making plans and doing stuff, and my Hebrew is holding up reasonably well - it's the first time that I'm here with any reasonable Hebrew to try out, so it's a pretty awesome experience to actually understand some shit.

I had a 7-hour layover in Rome on my way here, and I was extremely tired, having already stopped over in Paris. The next leg of my flight was on El Al Airlines, so I had no idea how much time I'd need to deal with security and transferring my luggage and stuff, so it was hard to resist the temptation to spend the hours eating, sleeping, and shopping in the huge airport... but I didn't! I asked a million people a million questions, changed some dollars to euros at a ridiculous loss, took a train and then a subway, and emerged from the Metro tunnel directly in front of the Colosseum. WOW. I spent about two hours walking around the area and taking pictures, ate an eggplant pizza at a cafe from which I could have hit the Colosseum itself with my crust if I'd thrown it hard enough (next time :) and went back to the airport. Amazing, perfect, fabulous. I was so freaking proud of myself!

And then, you know, a few hours later, 130 people died. Sharing that SoCal love? Oy.

I went dancing only one night out of three so far, but I have nine nights left and I intend to dance on seven of them. Yeee-haw!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The first thing to do is to survey the estate.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:

0. Pincher Martin is an incredibly boring book.
1. I desperately need a new computer.
2. I am going to Israel in a few weeks and I am soooooooooo not prepared.
3. I am unbelievably bad at talking on the telephone.

QUESTIONS I HAVE:

4. What is it with Joe's colon?
5. Why is it first Mi Chamocha and then Mi Kamocha? No one I know ever knows.
6. Why can't my computer successfully download the California State Tax program for TurboTax, after I finally ponied up and bought the damn thing and spend all this time installing it and doing everything and I have an internet connection and the other updates work yet THE STATE TAX THING ISN'T WORKING AND I'M VERY FRUSTRATED. I mean, ?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

My friends write books and you should read them! And buy them! And give them as gifts!


Restore Yourself: The Antidote for Professional Exhaustion by my dear friend Dr Edy Greenblatt is now out, yay!.. Honestly, if I could have imagined a book that I more needed to read, it might have to be called "Restore Yourself: The Antidote for Professional Exhaustion for people who teach Israeli dance and drink Diet Coke and are way behind on blogging". Or something.

And...
My friend and yoga-buddy Einat spent time in Nepal this summer and wrote In Our Global Village which includes her words, pictures, and artwork. Amazing. Get it!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Catch-up. Mustard.

I have three urges now:
0) to attempt to catch up on the last couple of months, as though this were my diary and you cared about the minutiae of my life
1) to link to the random things I've felt like pointing you to lately
2) to tell you all about my amazing birthday and my amazing friends
3) to say that I have three urges but to really list four.

Well, glad I got that one out of the way. They say you never do anything big, you just do lots of small things that add up to something big. Don't they? Here's a thing:

My dance company, Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble, had an amazing show on February 1st, called "Keshet for Life: 25 Years and Counting". Alumni came back to celebrate with us, we did a great mix of classic repertoire and new choreography, and it was a freakin blast. There was waaaaay too much rehearsal for me in the month of January, but the show was fabulous. Next up - we perform on the Capitol Steps in Sacramento at the Jewish Heritage Festival. That'll be my first time in the capital, woo-hoo!

The trip to Sacramento is in May. I'm also going to San Francisco for like a day in March, Israel for two weeks in April, San Diego for a gig also in May, and New York for five days to chaperone a school field trip in June (almost definitely, but not yet quite definitely definitely).

And it looks like I'm accompanying Neon Specs to the Skirball to find out the answer to the pressing question: Can Food Really be Authentic?

Good times.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I miss you too.

Thanks for noticing. I miss you too, and I intend to be back, but it's been a crazy time. (Yeah, RDB, what else is new? When was the last time you weren't having a crazy time? 1994?)

I've been sick (again) and yesterday was my birthday (yay!) and I'm working a bit too much these days (only two gigs on the actual day of your birthday? What's the problem, RDB?) but things are great and I feel like writing, so I hope that'll actually happen soon. Hope you're good too.

love,love,love,
RDB