Saturday, October 28, 2006

Oh, And?

Sorry for any confusion --

The next big BlogHer Conference will be held in Chicago in July of '07, but the BlogHer organization is based in the Bay Area.

So no, I'm not moving to Chicago. But I hear it's a very nice town. :)

Becoming A Better Blogger

Thanks, as always, for the tremendous support and well-wishes you've bestowed.

(Gosh, remember when I used to have horribly mean commenters? Guess I got boring! HA! Oh well!)

So I'm looking forward to being a better blogger. More posts, more regularly. And with feedback, too.

When I first started blogging, I thought leaving comments in the comment section (of my own blog) was kind of tacky. I tried to only make comments for purposes of clarification (uh, or defense, as necessary). But I think it's different now. Now I think it's tacky NOT to acknowledge people who've taken the time to comment, and I've done a lousy job at so doing.

Now that I will be at the same computer all day, that my work and home computer are the same thing -- and that my work will probably just be something I'm doing all the time -- I feel like I'll be here all the time, too.

Yay!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Emotional Upheaval, Plus Cake

Sometimes I think I cope by not coping at all. By just moving along as though everything is perfectly normal.

There's lots of stuff going on right now, most of it good, most of it big. Job changes, relationships changes, family changes. Events, the holidays looming around the corner.

The post below is a bit choppy and needs editing, but it's as good a place as any to start.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


La la la, yes, my last day is next Friday, but did you get my email about that project plan?

Changing jobs is emotionally daunting, even if it's a good change. I really like my current position, and I really like my current company, and I really like the people who I get to work with.

You know, last night was a huge company party and I felt proud for having put it together -- not because it took a lot of planning (it didn't, really) -- but because of the kinds of people who were there having a good time. Cool, creative people. Smart, interesting people. Executives whose decisions touch millions of people's lives (the way that happens when your dotcom has a millionteen hundred* visitors every day). Last night, I felt like a real part of the company.

The company I'm leaving.

Sigh.

Of course, I'm leaving it to go do something else amazing. Integrating my passion (blogging/writing) with my work life is almost too good to be true. So much so that I'm scared. Starting a new job is scary no matter what, you know? But here I feel like the stakes are high because I care so much. This is personal.

Yay!

Well, and also, OHMYGODDONTFUCKITUP.

So right. There's this big emotional balancing act going on. I'm scared and excited and amazed that I get to do something I really am passionate about. But that doesn't change the fact that I'm leaving something really positive and big behind.

Heh. I said "big behind."

My coworkers surprised me a couple days ago with a going-away cake. It was sweet and unexpected. Cake always makes good-byes a little easier.

Except when I saw what was written on the cake, I couldn't help but cry. I was overwhelmed.

She Just Walks Around With It
Thank You, Kristy

I have to tell you. Having my blog acknowledged in a formal** business setting was at once touching and hysterical. Yes, I love that my "hobby," my passion, is now indirectly part of my job. Yay for women who blog!

But then thinking of my blog, in particular, being recognized, in a conference room of a division of the largest company in the world? That was almost enough to make me shoot milk out of my nose.

Oh of course, blogs can definitely be powerful and important and help businesses and all that.

But mine?

I stood there looking at the cake, knowing most of my colleagues have never read my blog. I was touched, but was also doing a mental inventory of the many blog entries that would be deemed inappropriate by pretty much any business standards. You know, the ones wherein I use the word FUCK a whole lot. And of my posts about drinking to the point of throwing up (happy birthday!). Of singing the praises of boxed wine. Detailing trips to the OBGYN. And posting silly pictures of my cat while working from home (not to mention pictures of my bare and bruised behind).

No, surreal doesn't even begin to cover it.

"She just walks around with it?" my boss said, looking at the cake. "That sounds like the title of a book."

I smiled.

"You'll have to give us the URL so we can all read it," she added.

"Oh...I will..." I replied, wondering how many times I've made mention of my boobs. And then figured what the hell. Why not?

"...just as soon as I leave ."




*roughly

**Well okay, SORT OF formal, what with it being cake and all

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Actual Announcement

So here it is, Monday afternoon, and I am very pleased to be able to share my “official” news with you. Finally! Yay!

Okay.

I have, as you know, been quite happy with my current job – the job I started in July of 2005. For the last year-plus, I have been the Internal Communications Manager for a large (600+ person) dotcom here in the Bay Area. I have enjoyed much (most) about the position...

...except for one thing. I’m not exactly passionate about it. I mean, I enjoy crafting communications (hi) and I have always loved managing meetings and events – even in my social life.


Sidebar:

My wedding was a pretty fan-f’ing-tastic event. I relished every minute of planning it, and it was so lovely and fun and warm and enjoyable. I hadn’t realized until then the extent to which I love planning events, especially social.

I bring this up because I got married seven years ago today.

A Road
Two years later, I arrived in San Francisco. Happy San-niversary to me!]

But back to my current job.

I do enjoy many aspects of what I do, but you know how it is. Frankly, I’d rather be blogging. (Duh.)

And now, well.

I am pleased to announce that I am leaving my current position, my current company*, and going to work for BlogHer.org.

I can hardly believe it.

But, yes. Starting November 6, I will be part of the incredibly talented BlogHer team, helping to, among other things, manage the BlogHer Events.

Now you’ll HAVE to come to Chicago!




*Which I'll divulge once I've gone. Ahem.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Most Nothing To Wear I've Ever Had

aka, Part One of Things Going on in My Life

I apologize for the pseudo-cliffhanger I posted last. I didn't mean to ruffle feathers or leave you dangling or anything. I am afraid my news hardly warrants THAT much excitement...

Essentially, my job will be changing a bit. (And by "a bit" I mean "a whole lot.") It's official, but won't be officially "announced" until Monday, and so I can't divulge more until then.

Now, I am sure you're thinking, Uh, K, we don't care about your job. I thought you were going to post about something interesting.

And I know. I'm sorry. But I will do my best to make it at least a little interesting and even maybe kinda juicy. Just bear with me until Monday.

In the meantime, I have to tell you about last week's vacation kick-off...

* * * *

Last Wednesday, I had dinner plans with a certain well known blogger. The kind of blogger who is practically a celebrity (if not actually one, I don't know where the distinction is) and the kind of woman who is chic and stylish.

The kind of woman who doesn't, as a rule, shop at Old Navy.

The kind of woman who has a purse nice enough that it warrants its own blog post.

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen of She Walks*, I actually got to have dinner with Stephanie Klein.

(Life is crazy.)

Okay. So I know I have spoken of her before through a green-hued mask of jealousy. But even then, I think we all know it's not exactly HER that I'm jealous of, or even that "jealous" is the right word. It's that she is a blogger and a writer and my age and has a gorgeous site and style and life. It's that her writing (and her life) warranted a following, which in turn warranted publicity, publishers, proposals, and eventually the book-plus deal she landed. And it's that I want that, too.

And while it's easy and childish to be envious, the fact that she has found success really has no bearing on whether I do. Or could. Or will. (And it turns out that grousing about someone else's life instead of actually doing something about your own is not maybe so productive. Ahem.)

Anyway, so when I mentioned that I was working on a book proposal, the illustrious SK offered to talk to me about it, for no reason other than just to be nice.

Just to be nice.

I was blown away, you know?

And you damn well better believe I took her up on it, because, well, for two reasons.

First, I am grateful to get any advice from someone who knows. Of course I am. And even though I really am not ready to try and get something published, talking to her made me feel like it is, someday, possible.

But second, I just wanted to meet her! I mean, maybe to some people she's "just a blogger" or maybe she's "just an author" but to me, that's huge. In my blogtastic world, she's a megastar, and she's accomplished so much...

* * * * *

Dinner with Stephanie was pretty cool, except um, also horribly awkward. Because I am lame.

It was kind of like an Internet date, except worse because I have no idea how to be nervous around women. With men, it's different. With men, either there's chemistry or there isn't. Either it's going to work, or it's not.

With women, well. You're not trying to date...you're just meeting to meet, to get to know each other. So it should be comfortable. Add to that the fact that I know sooooo much about her (through her book and blog), and I feel like we should just ease into conversation and be fast friends.

Right?

No.

No, because -- ohthatsright -- just because I know so much about her does not mean she knows anything about me. I mean, of course she knows some, but I can't expect her to blog stalk the way I do, and so I ended up spending the entire meal arguing with myself in my head to SHUTUPSHUTUP so that I'd stop sounding like a star-struck fan and sound more like, I dunno, a normal human being.

In the end, I think I came across as fairly...

...weird.

I mean, I would start asking her a gazillion questions, and then stop because I didn't want to sound like I was interviewing her. So then I would try and just be me and funny, but mostly my version of funny is very, very dry sarcasm that (let's face it) gets lost when the listener is in no way expecting it. So to make up for the questions and the not-so-funny, I would try and be "normal" by talking about something, anything, and go on and on and on and not be able to stop despite watching her eyes glaze over. (Why are you still talking, I'd hear the sane side of my brain ask the crazy chatty side as I droned on about paint drying and grass growing and bellybutton lint.) So then I'd just abruptly stop talking.

Sigh. "Weird" is perhaps being generous.

Now, in addition to my verbal/social interaction lame-i-tude, we add the fact that I realized, the day before we were to meet, that I had nothing to wear. No, no. Not just sort of nothing to wear. The most nothing to wear I've ever had.

Because here was Stephanie, whose taste and clothes and aesthetic we all know, who's used to the glitz and glam of the fanciest, schmantziest bars and restaurants and clothiers and and and.

And of course I am me and whatever. I know my limitations, and make fun of them all the time. I have grown to be fairly comfortable in my own skin. I know that there is more to life than labels. You know that, too. But sometimes? Sometimes blah blah blah. Sometimes I want nothing more than to look elegant and be graceful and attire myself in something uber-chic. I don't always want to feel like a bull in a china shop, or a messy, dowdy slob who can't get it together.

Which is how I couldn't help but feel. Self-conscious, and annoyed at myself for feeling so.

But what are you going to do?

Dinner itself was lovely. We ate at The Grand Cafe (in the bar) and I had a Manhattan and she a fancy club soda. She looked beautiful and striking and just like her photos. And despite what she says, she does look like one of those pregnant women you hate, who are glowy and beautiful and who don't look pregnant except for their adorable belly bump you almost didn't notice.

So I learned a little of her process and life and of other writers she knows and felt in awe.

Maybe someday.

For now, though, I will simply be impressed by Stephanie, and continue to think of her as a certain kind of pioneer.

And I will look around at my life and wardrobe and writing and relationships and all of my me that is still very much in progress, and work on accepting the fact that I have a lot of work to do.

It's worth it.

DSC00621.JPG

Stephanie Klein @ the Grand Cafe with me (behind the camera**)






*and She Trips and Spills and Wears Green Sneakers because she Falls in Heels and also Shops at Old Navy.

**for now. :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

:: Whirlwind ::

You guys.

I have a LOT to tell you.

There was a great vacation. There was wine. There was a surrealistic dinner with you'll-never-guess-who.

And then there was this whole little matter of a life-changing opportunity that I can't tell you about yet -- gah! -- but can and will by the end of the week, okay? Promise!

(It's really exciting!)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Cheers & Sneers

In case you were wondering, I am taking a much needed little getaway, starting with an overnight stay in Napa with PinkJaime and culminating with seeing -- for the first time -- Lake Tahoe.

I thought there would be more pictures, but my camera is being funky again. I think it might need batteries.

In any case, the camera funkiness didn't start until AFTER the day of wine tasting with Jaime, so there is much visual documentation coming your way regarding that.

My only other comment is just to say that it's very disconcerting to hear wild bleeps and rings and hi-tech sounds coming from your hotel bathroom...

...until you realize it's your boyfriend, who has decided to listen to the various ringtones on his new phone while whiling away (ahem) on the toilet.

Hope you're having as entertaining a weekend as I.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Let The Smackdown Begin!

So it's begun. We launched a political blog and so far, we are our only readers (that's how these things go).
It's called Atlas Chugged.
(we think we're clever)

Generally speaking, "we" are all coming from leftist perspectives, but with very different opinions and voices.

I, for example, want to stop scaring those people who come here looking for, you know, uterus poetry with my shrill political diatribes. But also, I am thrilled to have a vehicle for which I can freely discuss why I am liberal, what that actually means to me, why the current Democratic party makes me want to scream, and why I remain a registered Democrat anyway. I do not intend to always be shrill.

Nate, on the other hand, wants a space where he can inspire real, actual, bipartisan discussion, since so many other spaces online are devoted to partisan ranting and raving.

Anyway, I have no idea how it will go or what it will look like, but please consider checking it out and adding your $0.02.

* * * * *

I love Google and I don't care who knows it. Yes, they are taking over the world, but they are also going to be offering San Francisco free wi-fi.

What? What's that you say? The wi-fi is actually just the candy the scary strangers offers us before we all get into his van?

Well, maybe. But that's some damn fine candy.

Anyway, in case you haven't played with it, I am a HUGE fan of the new Google Spreadsheets and its new word processing beta, Writely. It means I can have spreadsheets and word docs online, accessible anywhere at anytime from any computer. They work and are cool. And Writely even lets you publish to your blog. (I know that Blogger does, too, but Writely has a better wysiwyg interface.)

* * * * *

I just discovered this blog entry I never posted. Started it a few weeks ago. Who knew?



When I was 26 and reeling from the fact that I was already getting divorced, blinking into the bright shiny light of The Rest Of My Life having no idea what to do with myself, Hakuna directed me towards an episode of Oprah. It was the one where she profiled people in their mid-twenties who were going through what amounted to quarter-life crises.

There's a book and everything.

Now, if I were older, wiser, someone maybe in my 50s, I would hear about the "quarter-life crisis" and roll my eyes so far into the back of my head I'd fall over backwards.

Oh, the poor dears, I'd think. How HARD it must be to be ALL OF 25 and ready and able to DO ANYTHING YOU WANT. HOWEVER DO YOU COPE? And then I'd probably follow my pint of sarcasm with a Xanax chaser.

But. Pity-worthy or not, this is the new reality for young twentysomethings (and I daresay many of us in our thirties and beyond). We can pretty much do whatever we want.

[Of course, there are still great and grave disparities economically, socially, racially, nationally, between genders, with regard to sexual orientation, etc.; certainly not everyone is afforded the same opportunities. But regardless of how I feel about these disparities and inequalities, the fact remains that I am a single, white, educated female living in the US and I have no idea what to do with myself.]
The whole point of the "quarter-life crisis" is really that many of us have more opportunities (read = decisions) than generations before us ever did. Indeed, it is something to be grateful for. And I am.

It's just…there is so much choice. There are so many options. How do you ever decide? Especially when you know that every decision you make to DO something means making a decision NOT to do something else.

I could be a wife and mother. I could be a single mom. I could decide not to have kids. I could live in the city or the suburbs. I could abandon the corporate lifestyle. I could move to a different country. I could go back to school to be a writer or teacher, or maybe I should just get my MBA or what about law school? Didn't I always want to be a therapist? Well, and a hair dresser? And lounge singer? And comedian?

Because really, this isn't just about how many options we have available to us (if we're willing to put in the work), it's also that we're somehow supposed to find fulfillment.

Am I fulfilled?

I mean, I get up and go to work Monday through Friday at a job that is really quite fine. But all the while I know it is not my life's work. I know it is not nourishing me or my soul or even my mind. Sure, it pays the bills, but so do a lot of things.

But um, before you think that this post is about how I'm deciding to up and quit my job and move to New Zealand to raise sheep or something, I should tell you, it's a lot smaller than that.

All of this bluster is just a long-winded way of me saying that lately, I can't seem to get a damn thing done.

I announce that I want to write and so. I have written one book proposal, outlined (vaguely sort of in my head) and written the first 20 pages of a comic novel, written the beginning of a short story about five times, and spent approximately a gagillion hours wondering if this is really what I should be doing. Not liking sentences or ideas or structure. Worrying about how I'm not good enough. Knowing that even as I write it, no one will want to publish it. Except then knowing that someone SHOULD want to publish it because look at all the venues there are for getting published and certainly I'm at least that capable, right? Right? So why aren't I? Why am I so incapable of getting going?

So then my mind wanders to the million other things that maybe I should do instead. Hey, if I can't finish this story right now, maybe…maybe I could be inspired to write a one-woman show. Yes! I should! I could totally write that. Or wait no, no, stand-up! I should start with more stand-up! Unless, hey! What about sitcoms? Screenplays?

And I work myself up into this ridiculous, mind-cluttered frenzy wherein the only thing I can eke out is a blog entry. Or an occasional email.

It's not just me.

I look at Ish. He is going through this tremendous life change now, where he's taking a huge step back, or off, or away from the path he'd been on his whole life. He is putting himself into a position where he can choose just about anything. He can do just about anything he'd ever want, without trying to meet anyone's expectations except his own.

And thus I think he, too, spends a good deal of his time freaking the hell out.

Forgetting the big, major life stuff, it surfaces in the simple day-to-day. Any time he signs up for a new class – say, an improv class that meets every Wednesday – there is both an immediate trade-off (well, if I'm in class on Wednesday, that means I can't do that show in case I'm called and asked to go on) and a longer-term one (do I even like improv? I do, but how will I ever get better at it if I'm also spending all my time on stand-up? Maybe I should just do one or the other...Oh hey, here's a cool acting class...).

So great. I have identified (sorta) the problem. But what is the solution?

Do you just go on, trying different things? (Of course you do.) But what happens when it's a year later and instead of 20 great pages you have all of 25? And instead of having lost 75 pounds you've lost 6?

Or what if you ignore all the "arbitrary" pressures and just go along, fiddle dee dee, and then wake up and you're 35 and unwed and childless and planless still?

Will a few extra blog entries be enough?

I don't really know what the solution is, but surely there is one...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Genius

So Neil had this cool idea. He asked that readers send in photos of their beds, because really -- how interesting. How we sleep, what our beds and bedrooms look like, say so much about us. (Not that I contributed. I mean, you pretty much know everything there is to know about me and seeing my lovely-but-almost-always-disheveled bed is not going to provide any new insight.)

Taking this one step further, Laurie decided to ask her readers to provide snapshots of their favorite knitting spots. And of course, her awesome readers replied and she compiled them and it's quite remarkable.

Sometimes I am blown away by how humanizing the Internet can be.

Anyway, I was telling Ish* about this, because a) it's so humanizing and interesting and b) I talk about my blog acquaintances as though they are everyday friends in "real life," because to me, they are.

"Hey, so did you see what Neil did with the pictures of beds?" I asked.

"No, what?" he replied.

"Neil asked his readers to send in pictures of their beds, and then Laurie asked people to send in pictures of their favorite knitting spots and it's just really cool."

"Did they get a lot of pictures?" Ish inquired.

"Yeah."

He paused only briefly.

"I think I should do the same thing on my blog..."

"Oh?" I asked.

"...But I'm going to ask for pictures of boobs."

I stared at him. He grinned.

"Think it'll work?"




*For those of you just joining our program, Ish is my boyfriend. He is so named because he is, among other things, an aspiring comedian. As such, someone once said he is funny...ish.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Funspot: Blowin' In The Wind

Hello all, and happy Friday.

And if this isn't THE SPOT FOR FUN I don't know what is.

First up, we have my whining about my office building. ISN'T THAT SO FUN?

Because as I sit here in my office FUN SPOT, it is FREEZING. Wind. There is wind. As in, the a/c is on (for no known reason) and brrr because whoooosh. Literally. My papers are rustling and my hair is blowing and I am wrapped in a scarf as though I will be taking a sleigh ride to get to the conference room.

The building I work in is some oddly shaped, bizarrely conceived feat of architecture. It is airy and light and geodesic and weird. Mostly I love it for its funkyness and ample windowness. But it is notorious for its odd shapes and hallways and doors creating micro-climates. I am not kidding. It is at least 15 degrees cooler in my area than through the door over there*.


*And by "over there" I mean the door to that glassed in area RIGHT THERE in the picture that um, well, I would show you except for my not wanting to be fired.

* * *

Next up, we have the thing that made me laugh so hard earlier today I would have snorted coffee had I been drinking it at the time.

Ish and I were in the car this morning (he was dropping me off) and we came to a red light, where we needed to turn right.

And because we abide by the rules of the road, we understood that we don't get to turn right on red until after all pedestrians have safely crossed first.

Well.

This morning, the only pedestrian crossing at the light was Mr. San Francisco Hipster Man in Black, who had an air of superiority in a I'm very cool and kind of dirty and totally anti-TheMan because look at my disdain and also puff-puff I am smoking a cigarette kind of way.

So, as you do, Ish turned his wheels right and slowly approached the intersection and then sat on the brakes as we waited for Hipster to cross.

Hipster, however, noticing the car approaching, decided to slow down. He was in no rush, and wanted us to know it. He quite obviously started taking sloooooooow and deliberate strides, while also making a big production out of smoking his cigarette. He had the right of way, and no one was going to take it from him.

Now, I would maybe understand this attitude towards us if we looked, in any way, um, powerful. Or something. You know, like, if we were tooling around in professional clothes and sipping lattes and yammering on cell phones and in a BMW. But we are no such people. Ish was wearing a simple button down, I hadn't even showered yet, we weren't drinking coffee or talking, and we were in a SUBARU.

We do not look like a power couple, we look like the kinds of people who might own a dog and occassionally go to Tahoe when we can afford it and manage to get the time off from work.

Well, anyway, Hipster had evident DISDAIN for us and our rude, wanting-to-turn-right kind of ways.

And I know this, not just because he stared at us while we were idling -- and I will point out that we were IDLING, not driving or inching into the intersection or going fast or trying to run him over or anything -- with a look that said he hated every fibre of our beings.

No. I know this because glaring was not enough, and because he felt the need to add what I can only describe as "the spirit finger oooh" wave.

(What?)

Okay, so while sloooowly crossing and staring at us as he walked, Hipster Man suddenly made his eyes really wide and bulging. Then he raised his elbows, hunched his shoulders, and extended his forearms like he was about to start conducting an orchestra. Then he leaned forward, shaped his mouth into an "O" while staring intently...

...and gave us spirit fingers.

As though to say, "OooooOOOOOoooooh! You think you're so...[fill in the blank]"

Except what was that blank? It's not like we give an air of being important. Who did he think we thought we were? Certainly not important. Maybe um, magical?

Yes, we are magical fancy Subaru drivers who think we are sooooo important because we stop at red lights and wait for pedestrians to cross.

Ish and I burst out laughing. And after the guy passed us, and we proceeded through the intersection, the guy turned back around to face us.

And did it again.

I tell ya, I just don't know.

* * *

Rounding off this entry, we have more fun with keyword analyses:


10-02-stats

Honestly, it is hard not to enjoy being the ultimate online destination for both "booty poetry" AND "uterus jokes."

Q: What did one uterus say to another?

A: Nice legs.

Huh? you're probably thinking. That doesn't make sense. That's not a joke. To which I say No, it isn't. And know why? Because THE UTERUS IS NOT FUNNY. (Unless you sing to it.)

If, for example, someone were to say to me:

Someone: Knock, knock.

Me: Who's there?

Someone: Uterus.

I would not then say, "uterus who?" I would stay inside my home, double bolt my door, call 911 and wait for crazy uterus person to be taken away.


Anyway, enjoy your weekend, everyone. I know I will, if for no reason other than that my cats may have their idiosyncracies, but at least they don't pee on the stove.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What's That Shoe Doing Over There? Yeah, The One On That Other Foot...?

A boomerang of horror, that's what it is.

Turns out, there IS video. Of karaoke night. Taken via cellphone. And posted...

...well, you can find it if you want to (oooh, I am so mysterious). I am not facilitating this any further. I am simply making mention that it exists because I want to be fair to the people (Lisa, Ish, Othur-Me, S&S) who I mightily embarrassed with the post below.

It has come full circle. Also, I will never sing in my chest voice into a microphone again.

Post about pets coming soon.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hot Stuff

So my a cappella group's been having a bit of a rough time finding a loooooow alto, which means we haven't had a big performance in a while and while we're still chugging along, we're not quite moving full-speed ahead.

But do we ever have fun.

Last night, because it was two of our members' birthdays and because what the hell, it's Monday, the ladies of The Loose Interpretations and our "a cafellas" headed out to a karaoke bar instead of rehearsal.

And wow. I will tell you -- we may be a lot of things, but shy is not exactly one of them.


["a cafella" - any man closely associated with our all-female group, through marriage, dating, friendship or otherwise. Yes, it's cheesy, but if you know anything about a cappella, you know that cutesy punning comes with the territory.]

Now, before I go and display the MYRIAD pictures I took of this outing, I need to say a few things.


  • One: sober people who are singing karaoke do not like to have their pictures taken. Drunken people don't seem to mind (read: notice) as much. Thus, most of my pictures are of the same folks, i.e., the people who stuck around till the wee hours. I will have to find some other way of humiliating the rest of the group later.

  • Two: for some reason, the guy running the karaoke (and who I believe owns the place) hated us. H-A-T-E-D us. I don't know why. We were well behaved and polite by bar standards. We drank a lot and tipped. We could ALL sing. And there were only about five other patrons in the bar ALL NIGHT. The dozen+ of us were enthusiastic, and must have tripled their average Monday night business. So whatever. Hate away. We won't be deterred by tryrannical karaoke practices! Liberte! Egalite! Karaoke!

  • Three: I um, generally try not to post about other people without their permission. I especially never post pictures of people without their permission (unless they are strangers and I don't know them). But for this? I am breaking every rule ever.

[note to my friends: Hi! Sorry! Wasn't last night fun! Nothing more to see here!]


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
One thing that makes karaoke fun (or horrifying, or harrowing, depending on which end of the game you're on) is playing the "let's assign songs for someone else!" game. Wherein you scan the book and find something perfect for somone you know, and you write it down and put that someone's name on it and submit it to the Karaoke Tyrant. And you don't tell that someone you did it, until suddenly your name is called and you don't know why and the next thing you know you're belting GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FU-UN because what the hell.


APlots

Here we have Unidentified friend A, who looks to be happily plotting someone's death-by-Foreigner.

And what would a night of singing be without four white girls screeching: MY AN-A-CONDA DON'T! WANT! NONE! UNLESS YOU GOT! BUNS! HON!


BabyGotYouKnowWhat


J is one of our group's newest members, and while she looks like a perfectly normal and upstanding citizen, she's actually singing a scandalously sexy rendition of "Hot Stuff."

HotStuff1


HotStuff2


She is not even drunk.

S avoided being forced to the mic because of something or other called "strep throat."
Girls
I do not believe the strep impacted her enjoyment of the show, however. Or of beer.

Have you noticed (I know you have) that my photo skills have not improved? And that I don't care?

For here we have what could have been a lovely picture of Jester, except you can't tell what he looks like at all. Let's pretend this is on purpose and that I'm helping him to remain mysterious.


Jester


Oh, so you know how we are in need of a loooooow alto? Well, you can imagine our delight (*YAY*) when this lovely woman:


HardlyKnewYe


Got up to the mic and started singing CHER. WELL! Lisa (aka Space Alien) looked at me with her eyes wide. I looked back.

...must recruit her!

But um, the last time I tried to recruit someone at karaoke, I scared her. I think I was too enthusiastic and maybe sounded like I was trying to get new members in my cult. Lisa tried once and scared her candidate, too. (I don't know what it is with us.) So we talked S into trying this time.

And yet again, we were shot down. "I don't like to sing in front of people," was the excuse she gave.

Oh no? I thought. That's kind of funny since the only reason we're asking you is because you were SINGING IN FRONT OF US.

What? Are we not "people"? If we're cut do we not bleed? If we're handed a microphone and given an 80s ballad, do we not croon?

Maybe we just look crazy. I don't know. Moving on.

As the evening progressed, someone decided to stop in on his way home from work. I call this the "corporate karaoke" look. Very popular in Japan. And at sales conferences.


CorporateKaraoke


Then there was Dill.

I don't know who Dill is, or if he has a home, or what. But here is what I do know about Dill: Dill likes the karaoke bar. Dill likes to drink. Dill likes to sing. Dill likes flannel. Dill likes an audience.

And I know these things because he made them abundantly clear. And made us a little bit uncomfortable.


**The story of Dill**


This is Dill.
Dill

Dill gets into his song.
Dill1

Dill notices Lisa paying attention to him.
Dill2

Dill decides to sing to Lisa.
Dill5

Dill decides to sing ON Lisa.
Dill6

Dill retreats, which pleases Lisa. Yay! She says.
Dill7

Why don't you sing for THAT guy?" Lisa suggests.
Dill8

Dill complies...
Dill9

...all too well.
Dill11

But Dill looks just about finished, wouldn't you say?
Dill10

And that was pretty much that. Although Dill returned a little later for an encore.

DillRidesAgain

And now we get to the point of the post wherein I wholly embarrass my friends. Featuring the lovely couple, S&S -- the ones on the end above there, looking like maybe Dill had lost his novelty.

Anyway, this couple recently got engaged, and are both very smart, very intense, and no less so when it comes to selecting the best songs.
S&S

Awww.
S&SKiss

(I know this one is fuzzy, but I loved how it looked like her kiss made him lose his senses.)
S&SKiss2
(mostly I think his look is saying WHY WON'T KRISTY STOP WITH THE F'ING CAMERA.)

But enough with the cute. They are also HYSTERICAL people.

Here, I am not sure what S is so emphatic about, but UNH! Whatever it is, Oh Yeah!That's right!
UNH

Here, S has just left his heart in San Francisco:
HeLeftHisHeart

Oh yes he did:
OhYesHeDid

And can I get a Woot! Woot!?
WootWoot

Awesome. Just, awesome.

And now we come to maybe my favorite part of this entry.

In an email dated October 3, 2006, Lisa writes:

"...I have NO idea what I was doing last night...but whatever it was I had a great time while it was going on!"

Yes, well. Lucky for her, *I* know what she was doing, and lemme tell ya. It was:

  • fun to watch,

  • and

  • even more fun to document.


Here is Lisa singing. See the blur? That is because Lisa does not sing anything without feeling.

SlowFlash



...more feeling...

Shy



...and more...

GivinHimSomethinHeCanFeel



But the best part is, she gets the feeling just listening to singing. As evidenced by her table participation.

GroupShot



Ahem.

ShyMore



And while I love this photo...

Shy3



On MakeOutKate's orders (hi! miss you!), I had to save the best for last:

MightBeTipsy



Happy birthday, ladies.

And congratulations, Frances!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Too Much For The Man

I feel like I've been on a trip. I didn't really go anywhere except StressVille -- and thank you to those of you who emailed me hoping the day went well. The Big Meeting was great, though I did nearly have a heart attack, since I was given the slides for our guest speaker LITERALLY at 9:58 a.m. On a thumb drive.

The meeting started at 10.

But I seem to be back now, mentally, after a long weekend of zoning out and drinking wine and planning some actual vacation time...

...and then I remembered. HEY! I went to LA back in MARCH. And I started WRITING about it. And then I stopped because a million other things came up. But I save drafts and so ha! I am resurrecting the post, which I suspect will mean the first part will have much detail and the second half will be a brief run-down of things I don't remember so well anymore. Whatever.

Enjoy. As much as you can.

* * * * *

So first of all, I have one question about LA:

WHERE IS IT?

Seriously.

It's not like there's no there there. I mean, it's LA. There's there everywhere. But like, I sort of expected it to be downtown-y, a la NYC. Or if not, then at least more like the neighborhoods in Boston or SF or something. But...it isn't.

It's huge and it's everywhere and the "downtown" isn't any more LA than the non-downtown parts and you have to drive to get anywhere. And I mean, I knew everyone in LA drives but I didn't realize that is because you CANNOT walk because everything is FAR AWAY.

So even though I was there in LA, driving past the Hollywood sign and having a drink on Sunset Boulevard and tooling down Rodeo Drive and cruising through Beverly Hills and seeing Malibu and Anaheim and some of the other beachy spots, I still totally feel like I have no idea where LA is or what it looks like.

But here are highlights anyway! Plus with fuzzy and off-centered pictures with my broken camera!

Friday Morning

We arrive at Oakland Airport. It is a lot smaller than I expected and a lot podunk-ier, too. And because we took SuperShuttle, we arrived approximately 389 hours before our flight started boarding. So we had time to...well, to sit. Because there is nothing else to do at the Oakland airport.


Ish sitting. He is wearing a Lucky Brand shirt.
(I know what you were thinking.)


While sitting, I decided I wanted to buy some more coffee. So I looked in my bag to dig out some cash, whereupon we discovered the sad and very, very telling contents of Kiki's Bag.

"Do you have any cash?" Ish asked dubiously, since I never seem to have any on me. Not that I don't have access to any, it's just that I'm in a perma-state of "Oh, and I need to stop at the ATM."

"I DO!" I said, spying a dollar at the bottom of my bag. Except then I realized that the dollar was not so much an indicator of having cash as it was an indicator that I had a dollar.

"Do you think they would take payment in lip gloss?" I asked.

"What are you talking about?"

So I emptied my bag. Contents:

  • One (1) dollar


  • One (1) issue of Games magazine


  • One (1) almost-full notebook


  • My pink cell phone


  • Five (5) pens


  • Six (6) tubes of lip gloss


Am I a worldly and well prepared traveler or what?



The Flight

I had never taken Jet Blue before. I approve wholeheartedly of it, but there were a few things I found sort of problematic. Like how they boarded rows 1-5 first, then "everyone else." That seems somewhat un-plan-ful, but what do I know. My currency is lip gloss.

Also I didn't see that you are supposed to pick up your earphones before you get on the plane. That's just silly. People like me cannot be expected to notice a barrelful of earphones! We are too busy getting on a plane and rolling our eyes about how the stupid people in front of us clearly don't know how to travel to notice earphones.

So Ish was kind enough to take pity on me and give me his earphones after I'd insisted I didn't need them but then almost cried when I asked for some from the flight attendant who told me he would get to them "if he had time" and then forgot entirely.


The Rental Car

Turns out, the Long Beach Airport makes the Oakland Airport look regal. You know, no fancy above-ground tunnels to the airport gate. Instead like, you exit the plane and go down the stairs and walk the 12 feet to the "gate" which is kind of a lot like a cabana.

So with the fancy cabana airport, it's no wonder the car rental place is essentially a trailer. And you know, worked as efficiently as a car-rental-office-is-trailer place can, what with their dot matrix printers and all.

It took us almost an hour to get our car, despite that there were only two people in front of us and we had made a reservation about six weeks in advance. Not only that, but the car we'd reserved was "out." But that's what they do, those tricky car rental places. They lure you in with sweet deals for a Mustang* (*or similar) and then you ask the trailer people where the Mustang is and they snicker at you and say they are all out of Mustangs but here are the keys to a 2005 Pontiac.

"Or similar" my ass.



Ish waiting to get the keys to the Pontiac Or Similar.
The real reason I took this picture is because the manager on duty is named Charlie Beaver.
The sign you cannot read says so.


We hate the trailer people. But yay! We are in LA!


Friday Afternoon

Our first stop was seeing fellow blogger, Neil, in his neck of the woods.



Fuzzy picture from car! Hooray for the internets!


We had an awesome lunch at a beachy spot because even though San Francisco is also located on the Pacific Ocean, it's really cool to see LA-style beaches that look like all the tv shows.

See?



Also, there is a place called the "Poopdeck"...



...and since I was amused enough to take a picture of a sign with the name "Charlie Beaver" I couldn't pass up this opportunity because sometimes I am juvenile.

Anyway, lunch with Neil was so...I dunno, it was so cool. Neil is an amazing blogger -- kind of in a class by himself, really -- and it was amazing to get to meet him. It felt very "yay for modern technology perpetuating the simple art of writing." In a friendly way. Neil's just a good guy.

[Seriously, read his stuff if you haven't. It's how the pros do it.]

Friday Evening

We drove on down (up, actually) to Anaheim to meet up with my sister and her family (she was there for a convention).

Anyway, this was cool because it was the first time Ish got to meet any member of my family. We had dinner just outside DisneyLand, and adjourned afterwards to Healy and Brian's room to hang out and put Charlie to bed. There, I noted with delight that their room had bunk beds (BUNK BEDS! COOL!) and immediately climbed up onto the top bunk. Before calculating the logistics of having to somehow climb down later.

(And let me tell you, climing down a bunk bed ladder with my coordination and extra poundage and bourbon was incredibly challenging. Ish grabbed my camera and snapped a shot of me trying to figure out how to back down off a bed. It is not flattering. I did mean to post it, but my subconscious apparently left it on my old laptop and didn't upload it with the rest of the batch of photos. Oops.)


EVERYTHING ELSE

So um, starting with the missing photo, this is where my last entry ended. But certainly we did more things! Like um!

We spent most of Saturday visiting with Ish's former college roommate, Dave, who is married to Karen and has two adorable kids and two adorable dogs. They are a beautiful family. Dave is a surgeon. Karen is an attorney. They live in a gorgeous townhouse in a lovely and quaint neighborhood somehwere in the LA region (Geography? All one big mystery to me).

And I will tell you, the idea of meeting Beautiful Successful Established Couple who's known Ish since he was a teenager was a tiny bit intimidating. What with Ish's whole personal life being a bit in flux and me being, for all intents and purposes, some strange girl he's inexplicably taken to dating. Plus I have issues that are better not to address at all when first meeting people and I had more than a little anxiety about how the whole thing would go.

Oh, hi! Yeah, um, oh yes, yes, Ish and I are in some sort of a gray area and uh huh? Vascular surgery? Really! An attorney for that amazing company? Really? Yes! Oh, um, me? I uh, well, and then, um, have you heard of blogging...?

But it wasn't like that at all. They were great people, and Ish hadn't been around Dave for 5 minutes before the guitars were broken out and the singing began accompanied by a mini-Simpsons quote-a-thon.


The definition of chilling.

Plus, did I mention their dogs?




(Actually, I think it's probably worth noting -- despite that Dave and Karen's children were adorable and interesting and smart, and their daughter put on a dance show for us, I have no pictures of them. But I have about five of their dogs.)

Especially since one of them decided to jump into our 2006 Pontiac Or Similar as we were heading out:


Saturday night, then, we spent visiting with Ish's OTHER college roommate and HIS wife. Now, thankfully we'd already met them once (briefly, in San Francisco when they were visiting the area), because I think two of these meetings would have pushed me over the edge. Not that I am not confident in myself or anything, but just because they're good friends of Ish's, because our situation is undeniably sticky, and because G and J are also impressively successful folks. (G is an entrepreneur; J is in television and has written and produced things you've seen.)

And for all anyone knows, I'm cute but potentially morally bankrupt and youngish and divorced and with the blog.

But again, because -- and this should not ever surprise me -- Ish has great taste in people, and G and J were as delightful and cool and down to earth and laid back and smart as you could ever hope to find in another couple.



Here, at brunch.
G decides it's a good day to wear a cowboy hat no one knew he owned.


Summary

It was a whirlwind of a trip, and was way more about seeing friends and family than it was about seeing LA. Especially since I swear I never really saw it. We didn't do anything trendy or see anyone especially famous. I did get a kick out of the fact that the sky was gray most of the time, despite my understanding that "gray and cloudy" are not words one would ever normally use to describe LA.



"gray and cloudy"


I also enjoyed driving past Norwalk, California, since I grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut and had heard once or twice about the OTHER Norwalk and it always just seemed like it must be a fictitious, bizzaro-world version of my town.



And you know, it kinda was. Now I can say I have had breakfast at IHOP in TWO Norwalks.


Because right. I am most definitely a world-class traveler.


Ringo agrees. He thinks I should visit more often.