My 31st Birthday (part six of a zillion, well no this is the last one I lied)

Here I am, 31 years and one day old. Jazzed off of bagels and Diet Pepsi Max.

We (naturally) argued over taking the tent down as well haha. “FINE. YOU TAKE IT DOWN BY YOURSELF THEN!” *stomp, stomp, stomp* But we managed to take it down, apologize to each other, high five and move on haha. We remembered that we ALWAYS quarrel over the tent. Oh yeah.

This pictures exists as the reason why I don’t smile showing teeth. Photographers, please keep your toothy suggestions to yourself, bitches know when they don’t look good flashing teeth. Man I need a whitening.

And here is our sad little plot after we’d put all of our crap in the car.

Here Kristyn is driving away. She’s worrying because she is afraid that her bosses won’t like her first entry on the “LA Music Blog”.

Wearing stupid glasses, I tell her she is wrong. She wrote a great piece and they clearly have sustained recent head injuries if they don’t agree.

We get home and as we pull up, she received an email that I was right! They love it and it’s going to be posted onto the site! It was a great end to a great birthday.

We had to kind of rush inside and put everything in there though. Kristyn had to go to work at three. So we put everything away like the wind and then I forced her to recline on the couch while I made her lunch. Good times.

And if you’re still paying attention, thanks for reading all of this crap, especially after my earlier lecture on EVERYTHING.

My 31st Birthday (part five of a zillion)

The campground guys were good about checking up on us to make sure we were okay/didn’t need help. They started telling us a story about how the weekend prior, they’d gotten into a weird spat with other campers that had ended in a pushup competition haha. The younger guy, I think his name was Taylor, ended up saying that he one-upped their competition by doing one-handed pushups. Naturally we needed to see an example of this. He dropped and gave us at least ten if not twenty. So awesome.

And here we are partying with our campground friends. The guy on the left was the nice guy who’d originally told us about the lions. So nice. The guy on the right is our pushup friend (also so nice).

I figured I should show a less chaotic example of them so you can actually see their faces. I liked the craziness of the above picture though haha.

And here I am with our campground friends. I have to email them these pictures still.

Here is a perfect picture to illustrate our mindset at the end of the evening. Kristyn could NOT stand up for the life of her and it was as if the world was a bouncy castle. I was just as bad but managed to kind of pull it together for both of us haha. And before you start dialing AA, put the phone down because this nonsense was after probably only three blueberry beers each.

In the morning, we woke up and made ourselves some bagels. We usually like to toast stuff on the grill in the morning but we used to have a propane grill and now we have a charcoal one. If we got our stupid charcoal grill hot, it wouldn’t be cool by the time we had to put it in the car. I brought the propane grill with us to LA but then threw it out in a huff because I’d left it outside in the rain and didn’t feel like cleaning it. It was a few years old so I was all, “Well it was cheap, we’ll just get another one”. Well that was before we were rendered poor and mealy-mouthed. This was when “hubris” still existed. When the time came to purchase another grill, I was slammed in the face with the realization that no major retailer sells cheapo table-top propane grills anymore (at least not where I’ve searched high and low and trust me I am ALWAYS searching for this item). Blerg. (Oh and don’t even tell me that my charcoal grill is more green, this is one thing I don’t care about. I am green like whoa but I do NOT want to have to fight with charcoal briquettes when I want a sandwich. Uh uh.)

Here is all of our crap lined up on the tables. We brought SO MUCH CRAP.

And here is our empty ten person tent. Yes I said ten person. We were frivolous when we bought this. So? Haha.

My 31st Birthday (part four of a zillion)

Here is just a really super weird picture of Kristyn. The border (which is usually black) is actually the inside of the lense you are seeing. I actually don’t have a fisheye lens, I have an attachment (which is why the pictures aren’t tack sharp). But this is the weirdest fisheye picture I’ve taken because it actually turned the vignetting whitish. IDK.

I took this picture when we were walking to the Gold Rush Trail. Because we were in a canyon, it got dark VERY fast.

I mean it seriously went from late afternoon sun to full dark within the span of a half hour or so. It took us by surprise and kind of made us have to short our plans to wander the trail and take pictures. Ah well. Here is Kristyn taking some pictures. Hers are nicer than mine, hopefully she’ll post them. Oh that weird shadow on here is what happens when I use the built-in flash on my camera with the fisheye attachment. The lens get REALLY long and actually blocks the flash haha.

Our campground pals found us wandering and offered us a ride back to our site on a golf cart. We took the (somewhat perilous but fun) ride back and just played with our cameras at our site.

If you’re wondering why we don’t have a fire (not that you were), it’s because you aren’t allowed to have a campfire in this campground. They will rent you a propane fire ring but it doesn’t do much but provide you with light. It would have been nice but it would have been kind of expensive so we decided to do without and just blueberry beer ourselves into oblivion instead.

I told Kristyn just to buy me an Entenmann’s cake for the occasion. They travel well, have their own box and remind me of my Nana who would commit crimes for an Entenmann’s cake. Also, she was hella sick at the time and it was kind of nice to have it. (In NJ, you can’t enter a store without tripping over an Entenmann’s rack. In LA, you have to be kind of wiley to find them. Sure they sell them at Supermarkets but they don’t have a gigantic endcap full of endless varieties of them. They might be in the bread aisle or the cookies aisle or even in the frozen foods/dairy area. Weird.)

Kristyn shaped the candles into a “CB” for my initials haha.

This little gem of a picture is from some weird times we had after we had birthday cake. Our iPod had died and since there isn’t an electricity hookup at the site, we decided to retire to the car for a bit to recharge. We were each a few blueberry beers to the wind at this point so our time was largely spent tring to smile at each other while showing our teeth. We are both closed-mouth smilers so the results were unnatural to say the least.

My 31st Birthday (part three of a zillion)

Once we got done swimming, we cleaned ourselves up and got dressed in some semi-warm duds. We were HANGRY (well no we weren’t but I just like that word) so we decided to throw on some veggie burgs. This is the one area of cooking that is solely Kristyn’s job. I just cannot seem to make a veggie burger to save my LIFE.

Here I am in my SU2C crew shirt. That shirt may not be flattering but it’s hecka comfortable. Also, it looks like I have SO MUCH makeup on.

Here is Kristyn working her veggie magic. Involves copious amounts of Worchestire and Garlic.

The Diana comes with a removeable flash and an adaptor to put on a hotshoe so you can use it with SLRs and DSLRs. It also comes with these color gels that allow the flash to turn your subject a funny color. Love it.

I guess either the pink is an intense one or it’s just because I am an almost completely white surface haha.

We went for a little walkaroo around the campground. Apparently there is a cool California Gold Rush trail right behind the campground. We were going to go on it but after all of our shenanigans, it got dark QUICK and we decided it wasn’t the best idear.

Here is Kristyn taking some pictures.

And here she is by the pool. Good times.

Also sorry about all of the close-up portraits of us. I took plenty of pictures of inanimate things but I tend to post a lot of pictures of everything BUT us for some reason. I guess it’s because I take pictures of everything but never think to take any of myself. But I read a lot of blogs and I always get a special kick when the author posts a picture of themselves rather than just what they are seeing. And for our friends and family, I would imagine you’d rather see US than a “particularly special rock” I’ve found, haha.

My 31st Birthday (part two of a zillion)

And here is the Shambala Preserve! You can go in here if you have $50 to blow. I think for like $100 Tippy will actually walk you around and then for $150 you get lunch too?

That’s what the guy from the campground said anyway. He honestly wasn’t too sure and had only recently kind of engaged with Shambala’s “people” in sort of a dispute. Apparently fools are pulling onto Shambala’s ground and trying to barge their way in for a “right this minute” tour and saying they were told to do this by someone at the campground. He said that wasn’t the case and I believe him because he is a really nice guy.

So we just pulled over on the side of the road and looked in. Our friend Lou gave us some pretty stellar binoculars a few years ago and thankfully we had kept them in our camera bag. Still, we really couldn’t see anything.

Besides this guy, haha:

Kristyn was definitely more stalwart than I was. She was like we WILL see a big cat. Unfortunately she was wrong. We will definitely come back because Kristyn has been obsessed with big cats since she was a wee lass. And I am just obsessed with anything remotely feline (why our house is overrun with bratty cats).

These horse ranch was literally right next to our campsite. These guys were actually doing a Civil War re-enactment so naturally we were obsessed with them.

A) Because that’s so weird it’s awesome.
B) We’d never seen that before.
C) Don’t even get me STARTED on our Gone with the Wind thing.

When we got back we chilled for a little while and decided what to do next. Earlier in the day we’d chilled for a couple of hours chatting with one of the campground’s workers. He was a nice chap who’d paid his debt to society.

It wasn’t exactly hot and we were feeling LAAAAZY so we started to put the kibosh on swimming. Then I decided that we had to go swimming. This is truly the only way that Kristyn and I are completely incompatible. She hates swimming. She’s so skinny that a gentle summer’s breeze makes her want to put on a hoodie. And then there’s me. But still, I love me some mothercrunking swimming. If there is a pool in my immediate vicinity, I WILL re-arrange events in order to MAKE time to go for a swim. “Oh you’re getting married in ten minutes? Let’s make this ceremony quick then, there’s a pool up in hizzy!” The picture below is my best attempt at minimizing my Irish double chin. The other attempts clearly failed or you’d be seeing them here.

My 31st Birthday (part one of a zillion)

Now that I’ve scorched the earth and set the internet on fire, I want to share pictures of my 31st birthday with you haha. But it’s going to take me ten thousand posts to do it because there are almost 50 pictures I *NEED* to show you. This was just an awesome day as well as a great birthday. Thank you Kristyn!!!

Kristyn surprised me a few days before my birthday by telling me we were going CAMPING!!! Now if you know one little thing about me you know for a solid fact that I love nothing better than living in temporary shelter, sleeping on an air mattress and cooking my meals over FIYAH! I am an “easy camper” though. There has to be reliable access to toilets and water. Also it helps if we are near recreation haha. Do NOT take a bitch out into the wilderness because for all of her (read: my) big talk about camping, I am a city-dweller at heart. I just like to pretend I’m a mountain woman by pitching a tent on an expertly manicured lawn once in a while. Don’t hate.

So as you know from “HOLLERATION-GATE 2010”, we are broke-ass broke. Also we don’t know shit about how to go camping in Southern California. We only know how to go camping at one specific campground in Upstate New York haha. ANYWAY, since that campground is out, we have been researching a cheapie option to scratch our camping itch. Kristyn found two places that looked promising. One was free with an “Adventure Pass”. The other had a nominal fee but kind of seemed more ON the beaten path which is how I like it.

Well. The one that seemed like we wouldn’t become victims of crime by going there had…well it had burned to the ground. We only found out because I had the wherewithal to call the Forest Ranger. So off we were to the potentially sketch one.

I WISH we’d taken a picture of this place. It wasn’t terrifying to behold necessarily. It just was completely overrun with gnats. Like in your mouth, in your eyes, in your ears. And it wasn’t so much a campground as it was a “squatters’ rights” type place. It was like a waystation for people on their way to somewhere else. It was basically empty when we first pulled up but then some weird old foreign men and a team of bikers pulled up. Then a young couple came over to say hi. Guys we are friendly. We look friendly. We act friendly. But we are both agorophobes at this point and NOT used to social interaction. Besides we just wanted this weekend to chill, to have a few days off together and to stare into a fire. These kids were WAY younger than us and just itching to “party”. This is an instinct my younger camping self can identify with. Shit, even my older camping self likes to get my blueberry beer on. BUT they said they’d been there for days partying hard. This was their LAST night and they were “inviting mad heads”. They insisted we party with them and would not allow us to politely decline. They threatened to throw some “slabs of meat” on the grill and bring them to us. We had to tell them we were veg. It just clearly was not working out with us. The girlfriend was kind of the “Haha, let’s just let them enjoy themselves…” variety. The boyfriend, however, had an energy drink/brewski combo tallboy in his hand so not only were his inhibitions lowered, his energy was high also. Haha.

So yeah we left.

I had something of a nervous breakdown in the car because I didn’t want to spend the whole night looking for somewhere to go. So we found a KOA campground that was like 20ish minutes away. It was definitely more spendy than the $0 we were going to spend but knowing that people could hear us scream was kind of a nice feeling.

We got there in full dark just before the front desk office closed. We decided to rent a spot not in the regular tent camping spot but in the “Rustic Area”. The regular tenting area was closer to the pool, the store, the bathrooms and the playground. BUT you also had tents surrounding you and VERY close. We were the only people in the Rustic Area and this is how we do.

The thing about the Rustic Area is that it is maaaaaad dark. And you can’t pull your car up to the site. You have to park and then drag all of your shit down a sandy hill into an area with no lights. So we haven’t put up our tent since August of 2008 and it didn’t come zooming right back to us. This is the second nervous breakdown of the evening.

We were starting to bitch at each other and the tent was going nowhere. We each at one point said, “FINE. THEN YOU PUT IT UP BY YOURSELF!” and huffed away. Haha. So Kristyn went up to the car to get some stuff and I was alone with the tent. I begin to hear a weird sound. I wasn’t sure if it was a motorcycle or a bear growling. I don’t know why either didn’t trigger my fight or flight instinct. Probably it was because I was way too irritated and tired to take it under consideration. Kristyn, however, was further away from the source and is also way better in an emergency. She calls, “COL! COLEEN! CAN YOU HEAR THAT?!” And I just kind of blearily looked up and muttered, “Yeah.” And she goes, “WELL GET OUT OF THERE! I MEAN IT! RUN! GET OUT OF THERE NOW!” And so I had a decision to make. I am sorry to say that I did not react immediately. I stood there and actually took a beat to listen. Then I took the fuck OFF. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to run too fast and provoke whatever it was to chase me. (As an aside, my ex-boyfriend’s Dad owns a Construction & Demolition Business. They keep Rottweilers in the yard to keep out thieves and nogoodnicks. One time I went there with him to drop off one of their trucks. The dogs were on chains but he held them close so I could get out of the truck and walk to the car. He told me to kind of hotfoot it but NOT to run. He also promised me that there was no way in hell the dogs would get free. I know you know where this shit is going. Anyway, once I got out of the truck, the dogs started going crazy. When I was halfway between the truck and the car, one of the dogs broke free and RAN at me. I don’t know whether he was screaming, “RUN!” or “DON’T RUN!” but in any case, I RAN. The dog ended up biting at me but missed. I must have deleted what happens next because I don’t know if he caught the dog or if I just happened to get in the car a la Cujo. All I DO remember is him laughing at me A LOT. Thanks a lot, haha.)

Back to my bullshit. I got to the top of the hill and we like DOVE into the car and locked the doors. We sat there shivering and not sure what to do. A car pulled up and we were all, “Oh god, now who is this?!” It ended up being a campground worker. He was here to ask us why in the world we were cowering in a Honda Accord (or whatever it is we drive). We told him about the bear and he said, “Oh that? That’s not a bear. It’s just lions.”

We were all, “Back the fuck up. Lions. Lions?” It turns out that the campground is right next to a pretty famous big cat preserve called “Shambala”. Actress Tippy Hedren from “The Birds” owns and operates it. My thing is this. How faulty is my fight or flight reaction when a LION doesn’t trigger it? I think that might be something to take to a psychologist so let’s deal with this another time.

The good news is that after he arrived, about four other guys from the campground arrived to say hello and to DEMAND that they help us with our tent. We tried to refuse, wanting to be polite but realized that if we didn’t let them help, they’d be offended. And also, we might scratch each other’s eyeballs out. They had that shit up lickety split and we were SO GRATEFUL. We basically just went to bed after that. It was probably like 10 or 11pm but we were exhausted. We watched a little “Buffy” and went to bed.

In the morning, we woke up pretty much at the crack of dawn. We found the bathrooms and realized that I needed to find a store to buy some ibuprofen. I had a headache and that is NO WAY to spend a birfday. (BTW, ibuprofen is probably the only thing I did not bring in our house.)

So we got a little lost and couldn’t find a store. We found a little old lady who looked a LOT like my Nana sitting in some weird contraption reading a paper on a street corner. The contraption looked kind of like a cross between a step ladder and a walker. It seemed like the sort of thing that you could walk around in and then kind of lean back and rest your bones if you need to read a paper on the corner. I wanted one. Anyway, that nice lady gave us directions to a CVS and we loved her desperately.

Also, Kristyn gave me her prezzie and it is something I’ve been DYING to have for a long time. I’ll show you in a minute. I also took pictures of the prezzie that Tiffany gave me but I think they’re on Kristyn’s phone. LOVELOVELOVE.

In our travels, we drove through some pretty beautiful areas. There are so many mountains out here. What you are seeing is the Angeles Forest. If you’re wondering why it is always on fire, it’s because it’s DRYDRYDRY. Everything is sand and basically kindling.

Here is a picture of Kristyn’s parents car. They traded us before we left because it is more reliable than the one we’d been driving (incidentally also their car but with us having driven it into the ground, sorry). I like to show pictures of the car places because I feel like if my car were on the other side of the Continental United States than I am used to seeing it, I’d kind of like to see a picture or two haha.

And here I am. The birthday girl in (sort of) the desert.

And here is Kristyn’s present to me! It’s a Diana! I have a Holga and I have been a Holga purist for a couple of years (although I can never develop the color prints). I just for some reason convinced myself I was morally opposed to Dianas. I think that might have come from some Amazon reviews I read because I don’t know where I got such hate in my heart. Anyway, there is a Lomographic Society store on Santa Monica and the AMOUNT of accessories for Diana is staggering compared to what’s being made for Holga. And I really, really want an instant back for it so I can take Instax pictures (eventually). Plus it has an awesome flash, you can buy really cool lenses for it and there are adapters to put the lenses on a Nikon which is awesome. Oh I also want the 35 mm back for the Diana because you can do sprocket photography unlike the 35 mm back for the Holga (which Vanessa kindly gave me two birfdays ago). So yeah, nerd stuff aside, I carried this camera AND its box around with me all day haha. This version is the “Snowcat” and it has a little white cat all over it. LOVE.

On the way back to the campsite we decided to see what all of the fracas had been about the night before and found this sign:

Fooling around even when fooling around

For the past few months, I have been feverishly crocheting blankets.  I taught myself how to make a Granny Square (finally).  Then I crocheted a blanket that is essentially a gigantic Granny Square.  Now I’m currently working on a blanket of joined Granny Squares based on the blanket that’s always on the back of the couch on Roseanne.

Anyway, as much as I wish I had updated pictures to show you, instead I have for you the fuckockery I engage in WHILE crocheting.

Here’s just a handful of pins.  I just liked the way the looked in me ‘and.

Here are my dogs and my companion: Ye Olde Boob Tube.  The blanket on my legs is what I am working on. 

Here is a series of me acting a fool with pins in me mouth.  Faux poloroid:

Faux lomo (if you look closely, you can see the Bagpipe charm and necklace Kristyn gave me for my 30th birthday this past year! It’s all I wanted because it reminds me of home and the Argyle):

Faux blue lomo:

Faux blue Poloroid lomo (too greasy-looking for public consumption and yet here it is):

I am currently listening to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” on my iPod.  So good.

The Vanessa Files

Vanessa came to visit us about two weeks ago. She’s a friend of ours from NJ who actually beat us to Cali. A few years ago, a bunch of us went to Las Vegas for our friends Matt and Rachel’s Bachelor/Bachelorette parties. Me, Kristyn and Vanessa waxed poetic about moving to California and even planned on doing it all together if gumption in numbers is what kind of motivation we’d need. Well, Vanessa ended up just up and moving to Sacramento three years ago while me and Kristyn stayed in Dirty Jerz crying silent tears. We got our duffs up (as you know) and moved to LA this fall. Sacramento is approximately six hours away from LA by car so we’d been planning to chill with her but have had a cash flow (ie. Coleen’s not gainfully employed) problem.

Vanessa does all kinds of gruesome monster makeup for cold hard cash. Movies, music videos, even por la policia. She had to travel to an area near us to make all sorts of awful bruises and maims on people to mimick various sorts of abuses so that police officers could learn how to take photos of victims in real-time situations. Awesome right?

Anyway, she put her noodle to the test and devised a plan to make the trip into a twofer and come see us! We hadn’t seen each other in a long time so we jawed on a lot about the most awful subjects. For no damn reason, all we ever wanted to discuss was murder, mental illness, crimes, deaths that take place in spectatular fashions, etc, etc, etc. Now don’t blame Vanessa for that shit because she makes bruises on people. We were all to blame for that shit haha.

Vanessa is pretty familiar with LA. She grew up nearby so her parents took her into LA on a regular growing up. She’s never been without her parents though so there was some poking around she wanted to do that her parents might’ve otherwise put the kibosh on. That being said, she was also pretty open for whateva.

SO, on Friday night we decided to take her roller skating. Let me tell you what guys. I am here to say that Vanessa is almost a professional skater she’s so damn good. I’m still in the “go around twice and then take a break” mode while she was able to go around and around and around and around and never take a break. So good.

After that, we went to the Punky Reggae Party at La Cita Downtown. There we met up with Vanessa’s friend Lisal who was AWESOME. She’s a burgeoning actress and so damn funny. What with St. Patrick’s Day being earlier that week, I decided to have an Irish Car Bomb. I didn’t feel buzzy but I musta been because we all ate pizza when we got back home.

Kristyn (L) and Me (R)

The next day, Kristyn had to work so we sat around and chilled like lazy assholes all day. Vanessa’s nephew’s birthday was coming up and he NEEDED an Alien figurine in the way that I NEED this, this, this, this, this and this. The point is: I feel him.

WANT

So Vanessa wanted to go to weird toy stores that might have such a thing. So I suggested Wacko bc it was close and has a lot of weird toys. Unfortunately, Wacko doesn’t care about Alien vs. Predator because they did not provide the goods we were looking for. They do have an art gallery though and so we spent a lot of time looking around in there. Look at the pictures of the artwork called “If I had a Monkey” (above) and “Misunderstood Monsters” (below). Those are QUILTS. Amazing right? Too bad they’re worth a coupla thousand dollars or I’d definitely buy the “If I had a Monkey” one. It basically says, “If I had a Monkey: I’d talk to him about all my problems, I’d think about him when he wasn’t here, I’d keep him warm in the winter, I’d feed him candy, I’d have a good time with him, I’d wonder about his powers of cognitive reasoning.” Haha. I might have the text wrong because it’s kind of blurry on my computer but that last one just gets me.

NEED

After that, we went to Chin Chin’s. It’s Vanessa’s fav restaurant in LA. This is actually the second Chin Chin’s we’ve gone to with her, one here and one in Las Vegas. We sat at a table on the sidewalk and chatted with a guy next to me after he dropped his cane and I went to pick it up. He said, “I got it! Where you gonna be tomorrow if I drop it?” Check mate.

On Sunday we got up and took Vanessa to Necromance because it’s awesome and up her alley. There are two stores actually. One has bones and exoskeletons of animals and the other has kinda gothy morbidy things that fit right into our themed weekend. The formaldahyde smell in the exoskeleton store got to me and Kristyn so we went outside and tried to take pictures in front of a taxidermied deer to make it seem like her head was on its body. It didn’t work out. We dropped Kristyn off at work and decided to head down to Santa Monica because I was under a voodoo spell thinking that there was another cool toy store there. Either I am hallucinating or it closed up shop because the place we went to was narrow on toys. There was one kind of “ah we’ll give it the old college try” store. It was called “Puzzle Town” or some shit and had like teddy bears on the front of it. Of all places HERE is where we procured our evil plaything. We couldn’t find Alien though so Vanessa said, “Well he’s getting Predator and he’s gonna like it” or something less threatening and more maternal.

Then Vanessa wanted to go to Kat Von D’s shop High Voltage to get a tattoo idea priced. This is the shop featured on LA Ink. So we did that and were staaarving.

We were supposed to go to Cowboys and Turbans but decided that Indian and Mexican food meshing in our persons was NOT what we needed right now. After dissing a sushi place, we decided to go to Good because it is right around the corner from my house and had microbrews. OMG, we both ordered this “Exorcism Burger” and it was the bomb. I got veggie, she got regular and they both come with this ridiculous ring of burnt cheddar cheese around it. It tastes like a cheezit on your burger, so good. A homeless man HATED Vanessa for being alive and kept yelling at her but our waiter chased him off and we laughed. Kristyn came home and we continued to talk about morbid issues until we were all basically drunk on dark beers and turned in.

Vanessa had to leave on Monday to make the arduous trip back up to Sacramento but took us out for Breakfast at Home, a restaurant near us in Silver Lake. And then she flew off out of our lives in her white rental car like an angel with no direction (because she drove an hour past her house and had to backtrack, haha).

Vanessa we had a great time!!! We can’t wait to go up to Sacramento and poke around!

What I was doing in September 1983

On September 18, 1983, I turned four years old. In 1983, Vanessa Williams became the first African-American Miss America and Michael Jackson released his “Thriller” video (which I, like every other kid in the world, watched crouched behind the living room couch).

At first glance, I didn’t remember this party at all. I mean, in the picture below, my Aunt Heather is wearing a “Playgirl” shirt. What? She doesn’t even remember that. (We’ve discussed it.)

I have one of these flat 110 cameras at home. I just have to find the appropriate film and I NEED to take pictures with it.

That Sit and Spin was my favorite toy I owned. ALTHOUGH I regularly got hurt on it because I had insuppressible need to stand on it. You can take it from there.

Here is my Nana and PopPop patiently watching me open a prezzie. This prezzie might be the game that Christine later ate. Lately I can’t seem to keep it straight but it was either Candyland or Chutes and Ladders. Obvi, the former seems likely but IDK. All I remember was that we were sleeping in the living room on our mattress because our room was being painted. It was summertime. We woke up in the morning and were watching tv. I opened the box and found that Christine had gummed all the cardboard gamepieces and wrote on the board in blue pen, haha. Man oh man.

Also, one time (right around this time actually), I fell and scraped my knee. I would not bend it under any circumstances because the scab hurt so damn much. Rather than walking up the street, I crawled (doesn’t make sense, I know). Nana was all, “Oh my god how DRAMATIC. Get up fool.” There’s nothing like wisdom from your elders.

Here’s me and Gram. Gram is my Great-Grandma/my mother’s Grandma/my Grandfather, PopPop’s mother. This was her house. We lived on the second floor and she lived on the first floor. She was the bomb. She’s the one who was born in 1906 and lived in Kearny when it was all farmland. She taught me how to read, helped me memorize the “Our Father” and the “Hail Mary” and told me, with firm confidence, that although license plates had letters on them, trust her, they weren’t usually legible. Thanks Gram! I also remember getting that Barbie Corvette, yes!

In this picture, Nana, Pop Pop, Aunt Margaret and Aunt Heather seem to be having a varied time.

Here me and Christine are hitting the ground running playing with the Barbie Corvette. We loved that thing.

Here’s me receiving every kid’s worst gift: clothes. (And thank you to whoever prized me with them. I sure would like a pair now but back then, clothes were the gift that said: I like your parents a little bit more than I like you.)

Although I liked opening presents, I have never been comfortable with the attention that opening presents brings. If it were up to me, I either wouldn’t get presents (but that’s a bummer) or I’d open them all in a dark closet and then lay them all out to viewed/thank everyone. I know that this is not an example of acceptable party behavior which is why I don’t do it.

I did, however, enjoy getting pajamas. Isn’t weird how everyone likes getting pajamas? At our core, all any of us wants to do is lay down.

Here’s my cake. I hope it was an ice cream cake.

Here’s me and Christine blowing out the candles. Good times.

I don’t know why my parents, other Aunts and Uncles or other Grandparents didn’t make a brief cameo in these pictures. Maybe they were all working? Maybe they were camera shy? Maybe they were in the kitchen? IDK what happened but whateva.

* ADDENDUM: I looked back and can spy my other Grandma’s legs in the Aunt Heather Playgirl pictures. The other legs, I assume, are my Grandpa.

We Love Pee Wee Herman!

For my 30th Birthday this year, my sister Christine and her boyfriend Matt bought me and Kristyn tickets to see Pee Wee Herman! This was after I dropped some SERIOUS hints on Facebook to the tune of:

I wouldn’t be mad if someone bought me tickets to see Pee Wee in LA.

Nosiree, I wouldn’t be angry at all.

Man I’d like to see Pee Wee.

You get the point…Anyway, I’d ordinarily just shut up and buy them but I didn’t have any spare coin since it was all tied up in moving here. When in doubt, guilt it out. So THANK YOU GUYS!!!!

So the show was originally supposed to be at the Music Box in Hollywood but there was some confusion and then the show was moved to Club Nokia in Downtown. This moved the show back a bit but worked out better because that mean we got to meet Pee Wee! Well sort of. You’ll see.

Anyway, we chose tickets for this past Friday, January 29th. Here’s a picture of the Nokia Theater. We were at “Club Nokia” which is kind of a smaller venue within the complex.

Nokia!

This week starts the Winter Olympics so there were some Target billboards hanging up and one of them featured Shaun White which I thought was kind of cool.

Shaun White Target Poster.

We’ve never been to this theater before so we really didn’t know how to navigate things. We live very close to Downtown so the ride didn’t take long and we left about an hour early for like a 15 minute drive. Unfortunately, we didn’t figure that the area around Club Nokia was kind of like an amusement park for adults. There are a lot of restaurants and theaters around there. Lucky Strike Bowling is down here too. Oh and so is the Staples Center. So needless to say, there was a lot of traffic and a lot of waiting for parking as well as many circuitous paths to get to where you want to go.

That being said, the show started at 7 and naturally we didn’t get in until 7:15…but it’s okay because out seats were the bomb!

Here’s Miss Yvonne and Pee Wee!

Miss Yvonne and Pee Wee.

Here’s Conky, Randy, Miss Yvonne, Pee Wee, Chairry and everyone else.

Miss Yvonne!

The show was hysterical. It wasn’t overly raunchy or child-friendly. It really walked a line between the both and was appropriate for the kids present and funny for the adults (there weren’t a lot of kids though but still any adult humor was very subtle).

The set.

***SPOILER***
The plot is basically a couple of things. Pee Wee wants to fly and Miss Yvonne wants to date Cowboy Curtis.

Conky, Chairy, Pee Wee!

The King of Cartoons stops by for a visit.

King of Cartoons and Pee Wee!

***SPOILER AGAIN***
Basically Jambi grants Pee Wee a wish and he wants to use it to fly but gives it to Miss Yvonne to get Captain Curtis to like her. They fall in love and Pee Wee has a temper tantrum over losing his wish. Miss Yvonne confesses what she did to Cowboy Curtis and he tells her she’s stupid bc he liked her anyway. Jambi re-grants his wish to Pee Wee who ends up flying and it looks so funny the way they do it.

Ending.

Afterward, we were told to stay seated on the floor because anyone who had bought tickets for the Music Box got a wrist band to meet Pee Wee afterward as thanks for being patient with the date change.

Kristyn!

So we sat there and tried not to lose our shit because some “oh so clever” hipsters were sitting behind us pontificating on the merits of Bjork while kicking the back of our chairs over and over again.

Moi.

Oh afterward too, Kristyn pointed out Brian Posehn! We were hoping to see Diablo Cody but I think she went to the second show. Kristyn swears she was sitting right in front of us though and I have to confess that I kept thinking that same girl was her. IDK.

What the border of the stage looked like.

Pee Wee came out and it turned out not to be like a “meet Pee Wee” type situation so much as a Q&A. We’d been hoping to get a picture with him but this was kind of cooler because we got to hear him talk and it was such a small crowd…

Pee Wee interviewing a kid.

He interviewed all the kids in the crowd. It was kind of funny because the kids really didn’t know how to answer him.

Pee Wee interviewing a kid.

He came into our row!!! He walked right past us to interview a kid and was so close! LOVELOVELOVEYOUPEEWEE!

Pee Wee's arsehole.

He was so close I wanted to wrap my arms around his waist and rest my cheek on the small of his back!

Pee Wee talking to a kid near us.

Could NOT resist taking a picture of his shoes. Kristyn got a better picture though which she’ll prob post on her blog soon.

Tequila!

OMG!!!

PEE WEE!!!!!

Ugh and right before things started this OBNOXIOUS couple sat next to us. Drunk as skunks and smelling like beer. Apparently they’re up for a Grammy for some reason but IDK what the name
of their band is. Cotton or something?

Pee Wee talking to the obnoxious couple.

The couple are from Baltimore and Pee Wee mentioned some biker bar there that John Waters took him too. For some reason, no one in the bar would believe John Waters that he was famous but Pee Wee came in and they all recognized him and went bananas. Oh how I wish me and Kristyn could go to a biker bar with Pee Wee and John Waters!!!

Stage and Pee Wee.

The Q&A was less a Q&A and more Pee Wee just talking to us. He was kind of half in character, half not. His voice is much lighter than I’d expect it to be and I just really wanted to hug him the entire time.

Chatting.

Pee Wee told us that he has two scripts written but hasn’t gotten a deal to make them into movies yet. OMG I hope he does! Also, he’s thinking of bringing his show on Broadway but doesn’t know if he wantsta do it bc you have to do a lot of shows. So IDK.

In closing.

This is the courtyard outside the Nokia Theater. Eddie Izzard was performing there too!!! We died!!

Pretty lights.

And here is the Staples Center. This is the infamous site of MJ’s “This is It” and of his memorial.

Home of MJ's Memorial/This is It.

After the show, we drove around Downtown a little because we really never go there (and it’s like ten minutes from our house duh). It’s very pretty there and very NYC-esque but not filthy haha.

We found directions to the Stillwell Hotel, otherwise known as “the Illwell”. This is the roach motel that we stayed at when we visited LA in October of 08. Aleix nailed it when he called it “The Bollywood version of The Shining”. It was so scary, old and oddly Indian-themed.

The Illwell: Bollywood version of the Shining.

When we were at the Illwell, our bathroom had a view of this building that says “Jesus Saves” on it. I kept trying to get a good picture of it out our window and I couldn’t so I got one with my iPhone.

View from the Illwell.

We went to the supermarket afterward to pick up a couple of things. While Kristyn was looking for something, I found this fan magazine based on the life of one Mrs. Sarah Palin. It made me laugh so much becase there were even like posters in there of her and her family. Haha.

Bop for Republicans.

And this is just a picture of Edith and Elvira from the morning after Pee Wee. They were sitting nicely but just after I took the picture, Edith realized how close Elvira was and a fight broke out, haha…

Edith and Elvira a second prior to fighting this morning.