Thursday, August 31, 2006

Foo Fighters Acoustic Show, Pantages Theater

Words to describe last night’s Foo Fighters acoustic show at the Pantages Theater:


Where do I even begin? I’ve seen the Foos twice already, once in a large venue, once in a smaller one, but this was so up close and personal, it was like having Dave Grohl and his buds come over to your house and jam at your dinner party or something. As this article from the VH1 website so aptly put it, “For the first time, Grohl's surprisingly tender voice and intrepid lyrics are front and center for an entire two hours. Or, as he put it, ‘I'm not just screaming my balls off.’” That pretty much sums up what was so great about the show. Don’t get me wrong -- I love me some screaming Dave. But his talented songwriting and distinctive voice totally stole the show, and it was a beautiful thing.

Rhonda hooked a cracka UP and our seats were in the second row, to the right of the stage. I could practically count Dave’s nostril hairs, we were so close. The show started refreshingly on time with one of their new songs that began with just Dave playing guitar in his chair, and reached a feverish crescendo as the rest of his band came out, along with a keyboardist, a violinist, and an extra guitarist. Taylor’s drum bass was so intense, I could feel it pounding in my throat as Dave banged his head, a look of pure ecstasy on his face. I got the chills and knew this was going to be a kick-ass show. Acoustic or no, they just rock.

Some of the songs had accordion mixed in, one had a dude (I think it was one of their roadies) playing harmonica. Dave told stories between songs and just generally interacted with the very appreciative audience a lot. And guess what, valley peeps? He talked about the valley a BUNCH. He lives in Encino (tra la la!) and loves it. I knew this already from one of their performances last year on one of the MTV award shows where a camera followed Dave backstage, and he pointed at his shirt that he was wearing:

with the word “Encino” in block letters on the front and declared “That’s right, because I’m strictly valley, motherf***ers!” as he flashed the double-bird at the camera. I thought that was hilarious and I turned to Derek and said “I need me one of those shirts.” It took some searching around, and I wasn’t able to find one as cool as his, but one day on a trip to Rite-Aid of all places, to my surprise, there were Encino t-shirts being sold that had very similar lettering, so I snatched that puppy up! It’s frog green, but what are you gonna do?

But I digress. So he was telling the crowd how much he loves the valley, that his house is "huge and cheap" and proclaimed Silverlake as “total bullshit, dude.” It was hilarious. I felt more bonded with him than ever.

The show ended with two encores and more stories about his younger days with Nirvana, and much to my amazement and delight, the very last song was my favorite Foo Fighters song: Everlong. I did what I always do when I hear that song: I cried. And as he sang the last notes of the chorus, I swear he was looking right into my eyes. It was possibly the most emotionally satisfying concert I have ever seen.

After the show, since we were VIPs and all, we got to stay for the after-show soiree, which featured huge buffets of food, open bar, and burlesque dancers. We went ahead and partook in a bit of the bubbly, but had to call it a night after that -- we were both just wiped. I got home and did the super-fast-makeup-swipe-off-clothes-shedding-fall-into-bed dance and drifted off to sleep with a huge smile on my face.

Rhonda, I love you, girl. What an awesome birthday present.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Berfday and Godbaby Extravaganza

Oh man, I love me some godbaby. She is just flat-out and hands-down the most adorable, happy, smiley, radiant little creature on the planet. But I'm not biased.

I held her, I played with her, I read to her, I listened to her views on Little Brown Nut Hare vs. Little Rabbit. I was hoping to read her the all-time children's classic Everybody Poops, but alas, it was not amongst her extensive collection. [Note to Godbaby-Mama: This is a must-read. So is Captain Underpants And The Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants.]

I watched in awe as she sat on the floor and giggled in response to The Big Brown Dog constantly sniffing her, licking her head, nibbling at her diaper. She just simply was not fazed by him one bit, but he was sure fazed by her. I've never seen him so nervous before, and I realized he hadn't yet really been around someone that young, and a 9-month-old baby is quite akin to a very drunk person: they wobble, they teeter, they fall unexpectedly, they make strange noises. I think he was afraid her little drunk ass was going to fall over all the time, not to mention all the great smells coming out of her diaper. Forget butts -- diaper smell is THE SHIT, people!

Here he is, all like "Awwwwwwyeah, diaper booty gettin' in mah bed!":

The below photo is mildly deceiving since Babe also took quite a shine to the Young Juliette. She doesn't ordinarily display a particular fondness for persons under the age of 21 now that she is older and just can't be bothered. But she wanted to sit next to Juliette at all times. Not lick her, not sniff her, just sit beside her and look proud. It was so cute.

But in this photo, she seems to be saying "Oh heyall naw bitch, you ain't getting in this bed! You're cutting into naptime, punk!" And it's not even her bed -- it's actually Rufus' bed that he graciously shares with her when her own bed is just not deemed as being sufficient for Her Royal Pugness:

And here she is again, giving you the ol' stinkeye:

So I got sick the day before my berfday (WTF???) which really blew, but I still managed to have a great one anyway. Several adoring fans came over to oooh and aahhh the Darling Godbaby, but here are a couple of preliminary photos from Jillie until I get mine out of jail in the camera:

Here's me and MY FIANCÉ (squeeeeeeee! love saying that!) -- pigging out for a little pre-berfday celebration at Buca di Beppo in Encino. Man, I love that place. You walk in hungry, and you leave full for a week. And Bonus: it's within stumbling distance of our house.
But the real treat was having my precious friend in the house for four days, and remembering all over again how great she is, and how God was smiling on me the day I was placed next to her at that shark tank-- I mean law firm-- all those years ago. I love you, Jillie-pew:

Friday, August 18, 2006

Need An Engagement Ring?

Looking for a ring for that special Valley Girl in your life?

Check these guys out. They have a money-back guarantee and offer free shipping. So no risk, and no hassling with going downtown to the jewelry district and getting screamed at by homeless victims of Tourette's Syndrome all in the name of getting a good deal.

And peep this: Some very nice engagement rings.

Blog post sponsored by Blog for Pay

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Only five more days until I get to see Jillie-pew and my Godbaby.

Cripes, could they BE any more freaking adorable???

Friday, August 11, 2006

Thank You

Thank you guys so much for the well wishes. So much love being thrown my way and it makes my heart swell up bigger than my person after a Buca di Beppo dinner. I love you guys. You compound my happiness.

Oh, and Derek got the ring back yesterday from the jewel place. They did a great job of reinforcing the prongs that were a little worn down after many years of wear, and reinforcing the band with more gold since it was worn so thin. It looks even more beautiful now if that's possible, and I don't have to worry about a prong giving up the fight and turning the diamond loose somewhere in my fro while I'm shampooing it.

It was a nice surprise to come home to late last night when I dragged my tired deep tissue-schooled butt home from a very long day and, amidst stealthily peeling off my clothes for a hasty bed-hop so as not to wake the sleeping Homeboy, saw my beautiful ring sitting there, back in its little box which he had left open on my vanity for full viewage. It made me gasp in delight all over again. Doesn’t he just rule?

J R's Diamonds & Jewelry
14522 Ventura Blvd. (just west of Van Nuys Blvd.)
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
(818) 789-8303

Monday, August 07, 2006

Babe's First Slumber Party

Now most of you who know Babe know that she is the friendly, outgoing, attention-whore sort. But the arrival of the Big Brown Dog nearly three years ago forever changed the level of attention she gets because A) Rufus is an even BIGGER attention whore; B) Rufus is just plain bigger and will thwart her attempts at getting lovies every chance he gets; and C) Rufus is so damn freaking cute (still looks like a puppy, even though he is huge and beefy) and funny (still entertains us daily with the strategically-timed recital of the Super Happy Butt Wriggle Can You Feel My Jungle Heat? Dance, and smart (is currently completing his thesis on Deconstruction of the Suburban Compost Pile).

But let’s be clear: Babe is no freaking slouch either. Pugs were bred hundreds of years ago for the express purpose of being companions to Chinese royalty. When it comes to breeding, she is built for one thing only: to be as adorable and cuddly and charming as caninely possible. But at some point a year or so ago -- could be her older age, or just no longer giving a crap -- she just sort of threw in the towel and let the big guy get the lion’s share of attention and petting and squealing and cooing while she just loped off to her bed for another nap.

So I recently received an invitation to attend an intimate slumber party at my dear friend Milli’s house to check out her pad and sleep out in her little Shangri-La backyard, and that dogs would be welcome. So I packed up my blanket and pillow and Babe’s little leopard print faux fur bed (no, she’s not spoiled) and schlepped over to Milli’s house. Little did I know, I was about to make Babe’s millenium.

First of all, there was only one other dog there to compete with, Milli’s chihuahua mix Chela (aka “Scoops”). And she is WAY smaller than Babe. If Babe were so inclined, she could totally trounce Scoops. But Babe is about the love, so that wasn’t an option. Then, there was this yard full of all sorts of interesting plants and waterfalls and smaller-dog-butt to sniff. That alone is like Disneyland for Babe. She got to poop on a strange lawn -- always a treat. Then there were chicks, a bunch of them, passing out lovies for FREE and lavishing unrestricted praise upon Babealicious like it was freaking Christmas. Then she was given handouts of cauliflower, a new and exotic treat the likes of which had never before been savored! It was a magical evening for a neglected pug.

But the best part came early, very early the next morning whilst we slumbered in the tent, sleeping off the mojitos. Babe was in her bed at my feet (placed as far from earshot as possible to reduce at least some of the decibels from her deafening snoring).

It should be noted here that my dogs have always had their own beds since I don’t believe in having dogs in bed with you. It’s not only confusing for the dog, thinking they are on the same level with you and thus, not buying it when you try to train them, but also rather unsavory when you think of all the dog poo that gets mashed between a dog’s toes when he performs the post-poop hind leg scooting ritual. Yeeaaaah, not for me. I like my bed pristine and dog poop and dog hair-free, thanks. I give them plenty of cuddles and snuggles throughout the day -- they can live without being next to me for eight hours every night.

So there we were in the tent, and as the morning light began to permeate the tent, Babe awoke and realized, holy shit! -- she was in bed with three chicks! Dear lord, what have I done to deserve such unadulterated bliss?!!! This sort of thing only happens in a pug’s wildest dreams!!! She went from one warm snuggly body to the next and was cuddled and pet and cuddled some more, and she squealed and looked around at the scene before her and I swear, the look on her face was something I have never seen before. It was like when a Buddhist master reaches the highest level of enlightenment: This was the Holy Grail of Pug Existence. Where could she possibly go from here? What on earth could ever top this? Then the tent was unzipped and wheeeeee! -- more smelling to be had out in the beautiful yard!

Later that morning as I arrived home, I noticed what a pig sty my own house had become. After being gone for five days last week, then starting back to massage school, I haven’t been home much to clean or pay attention, but the squalor was becoming more unavoidable, and it stood out in sharp contrast after being in Milli’s beautiful, clean zen-like pad overnight. So I did what any girl would do. I put on the soundtrack to Flashdance (amidst Derek’s “Oh Dear Lord” looks) and started to clean my ass off, while Babe, my little party girl, slumbered happily back home in her little bed, having had the time of her portly little life.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

White Trash A-Go-Go

In all the hoopla that has been my engagement, I neglected to tell the story of the white-trashiest house I have ever seen. Allow me to dispense with said story now.

Kristi and I were out walking the hounds in beautiful, cozy, diverse Chico. When I say diverse, I mean all over the map: You’ve got your college kids, your old-timers who have lived in Chico longer than God (i.e., Grammy), hippies, slackers, sportos, motorheads, geeks, sluts, pinheads, dweebies, wonkers, richies, they all think Chico is a righteous place (okay, sorry, had to go with the Ferris Bueller moment there).

Anyway, as newly soon-to-be-sisters-in-law, we were chatting away about all things deep and meaningful and pertinent when I was stopped dead in my tracks by the sight of this:

Holy crap! Now, don't get me wrong. I love me some mudflap girl. I have one on a wife beater that I wear out on nights I am feeling particularly sassy. I also have a very interesting pair of clear shoes that have the iconic symbol embedded right in the platform part of the shoe, courtesy of my adorable fiancé (man, that was fun to say -- fiancé, fiancé, fiancé) who has a wee bit of a shoe fetish. So those shoes don't see the light of day much. Okay, ever. But tell me, who actually has these anymore on anything other than an item that bespeaks some sense of irony or maybe costume jewelry? This is so old school trashy, I was struck speechless for a moment.

But then my eye took in the trashtastic glory of the rest of the yard. Somebody had taken it upon themselves to actually plant, in the ground, a big huge long row of SILK FLOWERS. Of all colors and varieties, but all silk, and all covered in a layer of dust. Planted. In the ground. Like we wouldn’t notice they weren’t real.

As we moved further along this display of tacky splendor, we noticed the backyard, which was in full view, had a garden gnome and a smattering of auto parts strewn about.

I half-expected Britney Spears to come trotting out and offer us some Cheetos. But alas, nobody came out. And we walked on, inspired and awed by what we had seen.

And speaking of inspired and awed, yesterday Kristi said the funniest thing to me that I have heard in perhaps a fortnight. She was complaining about her boss who has been, shall we say, mildly frustrating to deal with lately. "He's driving me to drink Arbor Mist every night," she lamented.

Oh. dear. God. How can you not love a girl who hits the Arbor Mist when the times are tough?

Something tells me I'm going to fit in just fine with this family.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I’m Engaged! I’m Engaged! I’m Engaged!

Yes, you read it right: Derek popped the question and (big surprise) -- I said yes. Actually it was more like YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! Want the full story? I’ll tell you how it went down just in case the Enquirer gets it wrong.

So we went to Chico this past Thursday to visit Derek’s Grammy. I know I’ve told you about her before -- sweet, feisty lady, nearing 102 years old, golfs like it’s going out of style, can whip up a mean peach cobbler, I could go on and on. I love the woman something fierce. Anyhoo, Derek and I went to lunch at his fave cheesesteak place which has now opened up a location in Chico. We stuffed our faces and decided to go for a walk in Bidwell Park to work off the stuffage. Bidwell Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the country and quite beautiful. We were meandering around on a trail that looked quite like this:
The park was deserted since it was a Friday, and we found ourselves wandering deeper into the foliage. It got deathly quiet. The squeals from the nearby swimming hole were now long gone.

Me: Are you taking me somewhere to kill me?

Derek: Heh heh.


Me: No, seriously.

Derek: Actually, quite the opposite. I have something for you.

Me (confused, thinking): Is it a shank? Or is it that Tastycake thingy he saw me eyeballing at the cheesesteak place by the cash register?

Just about then we arrived at this beautiful little pond, all green and mossy with stones in it -- the sun glinting through the tree overhead just so. It was quite a sight.

Derek: Here, I want to give you something. (turning his back)

Me: Here it comes, he’s gonna cut me, or he’s gonna give me a tasty treat for being such a nice girlfriend. Either way, I better be prepared. Let’s see, how does that go? Over the teeth and past the gums, look out stomach here it---

Derek turned around and handed me a little box. Every girl knows what that little box is. It is THE box. My heart started pounding and my hands started to shake. Holy crap, that is THE box! I opened the box slowly and sitting in its little cushion was the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen in my life, swear to God and Jesus and all the saints. Like it was made for me. Just perfect.

Derek: It was Grammy’s engagement ring.

Me: (choking up)

He got down on one knee. In the dirt. And it was scruffy dirt too, not nice hard-packed dirt. Seriously dirty dirt. Normally a thing that Derek would avoid at all costs. He and dirt are not friends.

Derek: Punkin, will you marry me?


He slid the ring on my finger. And it fit perfectly. Then the real crying started. Was this really happening to me? I couldn't believe it.

I’ve never been much of a jewelry person, but I couldn’t believe how much sentimental feeling was wrapped up in this little ring. I couldn’t stop staring at it. So many loved ones had been touched by this ring -- an adored husband, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, friends. And now the man who will be my husband was giving it to me. And the more I looked at it, the more it made me cry. Tears of joy. Tears of gratitude.

We hurried home to tell Grammy. She said she hopes we will have as many happy years as she had with her beloved husband. And I believe we definitely will.