Monday, December 31, 2007

Top 5 o' 2007

As 2007 comes to an end, let's take a look at five my most popular posts of the year as measured by the amount of comments left.

#5 - Che cosa รจ sulla televisione? 30 comments - This post was about my TiVo love affair and my upcoming trip to Italy. Blogging lesson learned: I need to watch more TV and get out of the country more often!

#4 - Tasting, tasting, 1...2...3 30 comments - This was our big, amazing meal at a swanky LA restaurant. Blogging lesson learned: I need to go to more fancy restaurants.

#3 - Boo ya! 38 comments - Homemade sweets + fun costumes = lots of comments. Blogging lesson learned: I need to get back in the kitchen, stat!

#2 - Come out, come out, whereever you are 49 comments - I asked my lurkers to come out of their blogging closets and wow, did the doors swing open or what?!? Woo hoo! Blogging lesson learned: Although I may not know everyone who reads my site, I'm happy to know you're there.

and the #1 post of 2007 with an astounding 51 comments...

Hair apparent -Who knew a haircut would cause such an overwhelming response? Blogging lesson learned: Get my hair done more often. Heh.

"Oh, he's very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads--they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude." - Grace, Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Theater geek

I've spent a lot of time at the movies the past few days.

Friday night we tried to see Charlie Wilson's War with Josh and Jami but we just missed the show because we were too mesmerized by our crab dinner. We decided on The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Although it had me in tears, which isn't hard to do, I would not recommend seeing it in the theater or renting it, for that matter. Maybe watch it when it's on cable and you need some noise in the background while you're sorting out your jewelry box or organizing your nail polishes. The premise is interesting, but you may get distracted by the poor green screen effects. Also, if you've seen the trailer, you've basically seen the movie. Seriously.

Last night Brent and I joined my brother-in-law Tyler to see There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis. I can't remember another movie that Brent was so excited to see. He's a huge Daniel Day-Lewis fan, especially when it's Daniel Day-Lewis in a period piece as that's what he seems to do best.

It's the epic story of a California oil tycoon (Lewis) set in the late 1800s/early 1900s. The film is 2 hours and 45 minutes long but did not feel that long. The score was amazing and haunting, which is no big surprise as it's from Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. And Daniel Day Lewis was bad ass. I didn't know much about the film before last night, but when Brent told me over dinner that it was from Paul Thomas Anderson, the writer/director of Punch-Drunk Love, Magnolia, Boogie Nights, etc., that was plenty of incentive for me.

There Will Be Blood is in very limited release right now and only playing at one theater in LA -- the Arclight. For those of you not from So. Cal, the Arclight is THE place to see films. They charge $14 a ticket, but there are no ads before the film and it's all assigned seating. A theater employee comes out before the film, welcomes you to the Arclight, reminds you to turn off your phone and not to text during the film (ugh - why the hell do people do text during a movie? WHY???)

Surprisingly last night was the first time Brent and I had been to the Arclight. It's on the other side of LA and we're within plenty of great theaters so we hadn't a need to go there previously. It's a very modern theater with a hipster gift shop and cafe, but I personally wouldn't rush there to see another film, especially since we have a similar theater much closer to us now. (Even if we did spot a celeb at Arclight - Ed McMahon.)

And I had a problem with the seats. Every time someone within three people on either side of me would adjust their position in the seat, my seat would shake. I thought it was the person behind me tapping their foot on my seat back, but when I mentioned it Brent he figured out what was going on.

Today I joined Tori and Angie for brunch and then a showing of P.S. I Love You. A few things to note - yes, I knew that it had a 20 out of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, which means that cumulative reviews give it poor marks. There Will Be Blood has 89%, in comparison. But you know what? It stars Gerard Butler (yum!), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Denny, with an accent!!!) and Harry Connick Jr. (a hot crooner whom I've loved FOREVER? yes please!) -- that's the trifecta of hotness for me. The only way they could have been better is if they were covered in peanut butter and jelly. I can see the sequel now - P.S. I Love PB&J.

The movie was a tad cheesy as expected, but I thought it was overall endearing. I cried a lot, as did Angie. (Tori warned us that her heart is made of ice and I didn't see her reach for a tissue, so...)

And when I got home, I told Brent that if he ever dies of a brain tumor then he better send me a series of letters with life lessons. His response? "A letter with 'up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A.'"

Nerd love forever!

"I love you so much I'm going to take you behind the middle school and get you pregnant." - Tracy Jordan, 30 Rock

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Spice it up

Last night Brent and I joined Josh and Jami for an exciting dinner at Ondal 2, a Korean restaurant. The place is known for its spicy crab soup. Yes, I ate spicy food. We ordered the mildly spicy version so as not to kill me yet allow the others to enjoy the spicy crabby soupy goodness. It was definitely at the threshold of my spice tolerance. Anything hotter would have been too much.

The meal started with a scallion pancake that we ordered along with a set of various delicious sides to accompany the crab:
All the tasty sides

We also ordered a larger-than-expected seafood pancake dish. Quite yummy.
Seafood pancake

Then they brought out the giant crab dish to sit atop a burner in the middle of our table:
Spicy crab soup
They went through a whole process to prepare the crab at our table for us, which involved scooping the crab meat out of the large shells, mixing it with white rice and some bean sprouts then serving it to each of us in one of the shells. They'd come back to our table throughout the course to pour more juice from the soup onto our individual shells.

After we had our fill of the crab soup, they came back and placed some pasta dough that they tore into pieces tableside into the remaining soup. When we were done eating that, they packed up the soup for us to take home, cleaned the pan and then prepared some fried rice in it. (Sorry- no pics of the pasta or rice.)

In addition to the yummy treats above, we ordered some blackberry wine. And it came with a free miniature bottle to take home! We also got to wear a stylish cloth bib/apron to protect our clothing from crab splatters.

All in all, we really enjoyed the experience and I'd recommend it to all seafood lovers. It's a cultural and culinary experience you won't soon forget.

"A guy goes to a five-dollar … lady of the night. And … he gets crabs. So the next day, he goes back to complain. And the woman says, 'Hey, it was only five dollars. What did you expect, lobster?'" - Michael, The Office

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lock me up and throw away the key

You ever have one of those days when you lock your keys in your car?

And you happen to have just grabbed your wallet so along with your keys your car is holding your cell phone hostage?

Then you run out of change for the pay phone as you're trying to remember your husband's Blackberry number because his standard cell phone is dead?

Then you call your husband's Blackberry only to get his voicemail?

Then you realize that you could call AAA if only you could find your damn AAA card?

Then you use one of your credit cards to call 411 to get the number for AAA?

And after you get the AAA number, which you're trying to not forget because you don't have a pen to write it down, you run into the nearby pharmacy to get more change for the payphone while hoping that some super quick car thief won't see the keys in your car's ignition, bust in and steal your car?

Then it turns out that the 800-number is free so you didn't need the change after all?

Then you call AAA, tell them you don't have your card so they look up your account and tell you that it's lapsed, even though you could have sworn that you renewed it like you always do?

But then they transfer you to "new accounts" so you can hurry up, sign up again and get some help sent out to you?

Then "new accounts" tells you that they can't sign you up again because you have an active account already?

Then while waiting for the AAA truck to arrive, you try not to look suspicious hanging out by your own car? And then realize that you happen to be especially sloppy today in baggy pants and hoodie and hope that you don't get mistaken for one of the many vagrants in the neighborhood?

And you have to dodge two cars that almost take you out when backing out of their parking spots?

And then you hope that it doesn't get much colder outside before the AAA guy arrives?

Then he arrives, opens your car for you, asks you why you don't have your AAA card and that AAA is going to bill you for a new account?

Then you get home and realize you have an awful headache from the madness?

No? Oh, okay. Maybe that's just me.

Tracy: I'm just going through the classic stages of grief: fear, denial, horniness, wisdom, sleepiness and now depression.
Kenneth: What about anger?
Tracy: No! I don't wanna do anger and you can't make me!
- 30 Rock

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sweet Sweeney

I have to confess something. Before tonight my only knowledge of the musical Sweeney Todd was the scene from Jersey Girl where Ben Affleck's daughter performs part of it in her elementary school play. I know! And I call myself a fan of musicals! Pish posh!

Tonight Brent and I braved the frigid December wind -- seriously, really chilly by So. Cal standards -- to see Tim Burton's version of Sweeney Todd. I love the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaborations, although I was a bit hesitant about how well Johnny Depp would be able to sing. But he was quite good! His vocal pitch and singing style reminded me of the guy who played Jude in Across the Universe, which I enjoyed.

Sweeney Todd was engaging albeit really gory! Thankfully all the blood was more of a matte red than glossy, so it didn't gross me out too bad. The cast was great, but Brent and I both noticed that there was some serious groupthink going on when Sacha Baron Cohen's character appeared on screen because, after all, "it's BORAT! He's going to be hilarious! We should all start laughing even though he hasn't done or said anything funny in this film!"

Despite that audience blip, we both liked the film. I dug the soundtrack. The scenery was dark and brooding. The movie didn't end the way I expected, and that always makes a story more interesting.

"A film is -- or should be -- more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings." - Stanley Kubrick

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ho, ho, ho!

Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a lovely, safe and memorable holiday!

Santa brought me the Rock Band video game I asked for, along with gift certificates for Ticketmaster. Brent was thoroughly impressed with my drumming skills. Surprisingly my percussion skills aren't overly rusty after not really playing for the past nine years or so. (I used to play vibraphones, xylophone, marimba and other percussion instruments. I even won some awards.)

Brent and I spent Christmas in Visalia (three hours north of Los Angeles) with my family. I hung out with my nephew, who is as adorable as ever at 2 1/2 years old. Unfortunately I started to feel achy with flu symptoms. I sucked it up and had lunch with Stacie, and her husband Scott, who were in town from Texas. I hadn't seen her in months and I wasn't going to let anything stop me from seeing her. We met for a late afternoon lunch, although I did feel bad for not being my 100% perky self. I'm sure she understood, though.

I came back to my mom's and napped off and on for three hours, then willed myself out of bed to go to my mom's boyfriend's family's house for a delicious Filipino dinner. Sadly I had no appetite so I only had a few bites. I was only half-surprised after dinner when his family fired up the karaoke machine. It was sweet and a little painful to hear/watch them bust out their off-key renditions of stuff like Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" and a bunch of Filipino love songs I've never heard before.

After we drove back to my mom's through some scarily thick fog, I medicated myself and woke up feeling 90% better this morning. Phew.

We visited my grandpa before we left Visalia. I hadn't seen him in far too long, so it was quite nice to see him.

Tomorrow I'm back to work while Brent has the week off. Thankfully it's a short week. I'm taking next week off for a "staycation."

"I don't need much, just a kitchen, a bedroom, and a place for my karaoke machine. If I'm not singing, I'm not living." - Kevin, Just Shoot Me

Saturday, December 22, 2007

That's a wrap

I was so ahead of the game when I had about 90% of my holiday shopping done by the end of November. Unfortunately I slacked in the wrapping and shipping department, so I spent about 3 1/2 hours wrapping, sorting, labeling and packaging gifts this afternoon.

I'm surprised I even have the energy to post right now. Sadly, my recipients won't get their gifts until after Christmas. I'm lame dash o.

"It's just like Santa's workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms... and everyone looks like they wanna hurt me..." - Buddy, The Elf

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I get PAID to watch this kind of stuff

Too hilarious. Must share with you all.

"You know what you can't outsource, Fareed? You can't outsource balls. America is the world leader in balls." - Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happiest post on Earth

First, thank you, Emily, for delurking as my Chilean fan! I feel much, much better now that the mystery is solved! And while I'm at it, thanks to Tiffany for sending me some awesome holiday music after I commented that I hadn't heard about the Gavin Degraw holiday songs she mentioned recently.

Man, oh man, have I been busy these past few days. Check it out.

Went to a holiday party of an interactive agency I work with regularly. It was at a quirky little art gallery in Culver City. Met some fun people, including my co-worker's friend who was basically an alternate contestant for this season's Beauty & The Geek. He would have been one of those guys who would have easily been de-geeked with a mini-makeover.

Met Jolene and Kay for an early -- 8 a.m.! -- breakfast at Urth Cafe. Jolene is a huge fan of bread pudding and had heard that Urth regularly runs out of it on the weekend, hence our early arrival. By the time we left, there was a line out of the door. It goes without saying, but those two gals are great and I enjoyed spending time with them. And the bread pudding was sublime!

bread pudding

And I didn't mind getting up early because it was a nice way to jump start the rest of my plans that day. I met justJENN and her beautiful family at the 3rd Street Promenade to stroll through the Farmer's Market, give her boys their Christmas presents (I love those little guys!) and lunch at a brand new outdoor cafe right outside the Apple Store (can't remember the name of it, but the food was good despite the really slow service).

I also did a bit of holiday shopping for myself. I picked up my gift that will technically be from my mom. We're at a point now where my brother and I just tell my mom what we want and she'll just pay us back after we buy it. It's much easier for all involved that way. This year I asked for an iPod Shuffle because, lord help me, I am going to become a regular runner. I know the gym is going to be NUTS after Jan. 1 with all the peeps and their short-lived-but-long-enough-to-muck-up-my-gym-experience resolutions to get in shape, so I'd like to avoid it as much as possible. I bought a (Product) Red special edition Shuffle in red. It's so cute and light compared to my video iPod.

Saturday evening I prepared a super sweet and yummy punch and some Broken Glass Jello, both recipes courtesy of justJENN. Our oven is sadly still broken, so these no-baking recipes were perfect for the Sunday potluck.

Attended the SFAM potluck at Wan's gorgeous home! Lazy Nanette says to read WeeMo's extensive photo-filled recap here. I received a very lovely necklace/earrings set and Hello Kitty band-aids -- being clumsy never looked so cute! -- from Christy, my Secret Santa. I also walked away with a kick-ass white elephant gift from Winnie - a ninja key cap!
As the SFAM resident ninja, it was a given that I'd be swiping that as soon as it was my turn.

After the brunch, Brent and I headed down to Anaheim. We stayed the night at the Marriot just a few blocks from Disneyland after I got a great deal via Orbitz. The hotel was great and I'd definitely stay there again.

That evening we ventured to Downtown Disney and had a dinner that was much better than expected at Naples Restaurant. Brent had the gnocchi while I had the pumpkin ravioli. Yum!

We caught a late showing of I Am Legend. Overall, I enjoyed the movie although I did identify an obvious plot hole, while Brent pointed out something else strange about the ending. (If you've seen it, don't spoil it in the comments. You can send me an email if you want to know what I'm referring to.)


So, if hadn't guessed by my Sunday notes, Brent and I spent Monday at Disneyland! The last time we were there was December 2005. And in February 2006, my lovely bestie Shelby gave us two park-hopper gift certificates at my bridal shower. As we spent most of our 2006 vacation time on our honeymoon and a lot of our 2007 vacation time in Italy, we just now got around to finally putting the gift certificates to good use.

We started in California Adventures. We rode some rides and saw the 3D Bug's Life film. We got to wear these nifty bugified glasses.

us as bugs

I loved the bugified posters in the theater lobby, including two parodying two of my favorite films.
Beauty & The Bees Barefoot in the Bark

After the film we headed over to the Tower of Terror. I knew it was scary, especially since it caused Jodi to inflict bodily harm to her hubby, but I still had no idea it would be as terrifying as it was! But in a good way! We screamed, then screamed, then screamed some more!

Then we headed over to the main park and had a fabulous time spending the rest of the day and evening there. It wasn't too packed so the longest wait we had was for the park's newest ride, Finding Nemo (which sadly replaces the beloved submarine ride). The wait for that was about 45 minutes. The ride itself has been updated with some storylines related to the movie and some impressive underwater animation.

We rode the rest of our favorite rides -- Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Matter Horn, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Peter Pan, A Small World, Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc. And ate our favorite Disney foods -- beignets, fritters, chowder and gumbo in bread bowls, churros, etc.

We saw the 9 p.m. Fantasmic show, followed by stunning fireworks, then took our tired selves home. The day was so much fun and we really appreciated Shelby's generous gift. Thanks, Shelb!

Monica: [about the erogenous zones] Now, most guys will hit uh, 1-2-3 and then go to 7 and set up camp.
Chandler: That-that's bad?
Rachel: Well, if you go to Disneyland, you don't spend the whole day on the Matterhorn.
Chandler: Well, you might if it were anything like 7.
- Friends

Friday, December 14, 2007

I will crush you!

Jen pointed out that today is Reveal Your Blog Crush Day. The timing is perfect because I know that a certain someone has a blog crush on ME. How do I know that? Well, for the past week that certain someone from Santiago, Chile has been spending an hour or more a day reading through the archives of my blog from the very beginning. Last I checked they were on May 2007. (Thanks, Site Meter. You never fail me.)

My initial responses to seeing those stats were 1) I hope they're not splogging my stuff in an attempt to try to pass it off as their own, which I've seen happen to other bloggers and regularly with my company's site and 2) I hope they're not doing bad things to or with my photos. The last thing I need to see is my face plastered on some Chilean porn site.

Brent's guess is that maybe I'm a microcelebrity, although I doubt I have any microfans who have started a Yahoo group about me. But I'm willing to bet it's something closer to his theory than mine.

I'm humbled that someone finds me interesting enough to spend hours and hours over a short period of time to read about my lil' ol' life. They've read quite a chunk of my archived 3 1/2 years. (Wow! It's been that long, huh?) So, dear Chilean blog reader, please feel free to delurk and make yourself known. Kthxbye.

But back to the big celebration of blog crushes! My blog crushes (I'm celebrating two today) won't be that much of a surprise because they know I'm a regular reader/commenter and they regularly read/comment on my site, but I'll happily take the opportunity to gush over them.

The first is Mrs. Twink at My So-Called Wedded Life! I think she found me while planning her own marvelous wedding. We are similar in so many ways, not just because we happen to both be mixed children of Asian/White couples. She's got such spunk in her writing and I bet she'd be a riot to hang out with!

The second is A Mental Fracture, who happens to be a close friend of Mrs. Twink! I found him while egosurfing to see who was linking to this site. He is... well, he's virtually indescribable. He's smart and witty and hilarious. I always laugh out loud when I read his entries.

Alright, your turn! Who are you blog crushing on?

"The flowers were lovely, thank you. No, you hang up first. Okay, on the count of three. One, two, three. No, I didn't hang up either." - Jack (on the phone with love interest), 30 Rock

Thursday, December 13, 2007

If we took a holiday, took some time to celebrate

You ever go to someone's house and come back to your own with the intense desire to redecorate and throw fabulous parties of your own? Well, go to a party at Kay's and I guarantee you will!

Tonight Brent and I had the honor of attending Kay's holiday shindig and I can't remember the last time I had so much fun! Her husband and friends were so sweet and welcoming. Their house was filled with a ton of cute holiday touches, not to mention their overall decor. So. Freakin. Cute.

And the food? Well, Kay is the ultimate foodie. She appreciates a good meal. So it's no surprise that she is great in her own kitchen. I mean, she made the most amazing pureed potatoes (which I accidentally dropped one of my dangly earrings in - OOPS!), short ribs (most tender I've EVER had), mac 'n cheese bites and more! Her hubby even got into the act and made delicious cookies! Aaaaaah! Can you stand it?!?

I also had the chance to hang out with Jolene, who is an absolute doll. She cracked my hottie hubby up with our discussions about blogging and how much she knew about him and how little he knew about her. On the way home Brent said that Kay and Jolene were exactly the kinds of girls I'm usually friends with. They're both sweethearts and and lots of fun.

The shindig also helped me decide what I'm asking Santa for Christmas. I've been going back and forth between wanting Rock Band, a video game that basically blends Karaoke Revolution and Guitar Hero (both of which I have and love) with a really fun drum feature thrown in. Kay and her husband have Rock Band, which their guests enjoyed playing. I had an opportunity to play it for the first time and I was sold after one song. It's something Brent and I will have a blast playing together. Thanks in advance, Santa! And thanks, Kay, for throwing a kickass par-tay!

P.S. I didn't take pictures because I forgot my camera, but Kay takes amazing pictures, which I'm sure she'll post soon.

"He was already dead, and we Schrutes use every part of the goose. The meat has a delicious smoky rich flavor. Plus, you can use the molten goose grease and save it in the refrigerator, thus saving you a trip to the store for a can of expensive goose grease." - Dwight, The Office

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blog it like it's hot

Last night I attended Brent's office holiday party. He works for a network, which is owned by a parent company that owns other networks so it was one grand combined party. And when I say "grand," I mean "GRAND."

There were more than 2,000 people there. They rented out part of a movie studio lot, which they tented. The decor was massive, including numerous lounge areas and giant lighting.
Decor More people

In addition, the party featured a casino area and carnival games, like Whack-a-Mole.

It was also great to get to know some of Brent's co-workers. Hi Kelly!
Me, Brent, Kelly

There were random "celebs" roaming the party, so I spent some of the night asking Brent, "Wait. Why does that guy look familiar? Where do I know him from?" Turns out they are on some of the crappy reality shows I watch.

The best celeb, though, was Snoop Dogg, who walked right past us to occupy a portion of the elevated lounge area. I didn't snap a close-up picture, but I did get this one on the way out. (He's the really tall figure on the left. Click the photo to enlarge.)

But I think Brent was more excited when we left and saw this display in the lobby of the studio building where we parked. It's a proton pack from Ghostbusters, one of his all-time favorite movies.
Proton pack

"Half of what rappers say doesn't make any sense. Like that Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre song. What does 'still hittin them corners and those ho hos, girl' mean?" - J.D., Scrubs

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

O brother

Recently my brother appeared in my hometown's newspaper as part of a "man on the street" feature where average citizens answer the question of the week. The question was, "If you could talk to someone in the afterlife, who would it be and what would you say?" His response? "My dad. And I'd ask him if he were proud of me and my family."

When my mom relayed the story to me, I was surprised by his thoughtful answer. I was expecting something more along the lines of, "Andre the Giant, DUDE!" And if you knew my brother, you'd be right there with me.

I've blogged about my issues with my brother. In addition to being overall polar opposites, I harbor a lot of resentment and anger about how he dealt with my father's illness and death. And as strange and hypocritical as it sounds, I've been upset by the amount of anger he has always seemed to carry. It's taken me a while to realize that the men in my family tend to feel like the world is out to get them and that they are always "wronged." The women in our family tend to have more of a laid-back attitude about life, looking on the positive side. At least that's how I'd like to think we are, not to say that we don't have our own set of issues.

Recently, however, I've decided to put aside as much of my negative feelings about my brother as I can. I think becoming a daddy has made him realize how important family really is. Even though we didn't see each other at Thanksgiving (holidays regularly go by without a call or card to each other), he called to see how my holiday was. When the big LA fires hit, he called to tell me that he was hoping to be asked to assist with the fires. (He's a fire fighter near our hometown.) He is always excited to let me spend time with my nephew. Overall, he's making a greater effort to reach out and connect.

So today, my brother's 28th birthday, let me tell you all that I'm touched by his recent efforts and I'm going to try to stop being so annoyed with him. I may not always agree with his parenting style or other choices in his life, but I'm going to try to be a positive influence on my nephew -- and my brother, when at all possible. Someday it'll just be my brother and I, and I don't want to try to rebuild a relationship when it's too late.

Us in 1980. I was 3 1/2. He was 1.
Little Nanette and Christopher

"A brother is a friend given by Nature." - Jean Baptiste Legouve

Sunday, December 09, 2007

There's things you need to hear so turn off your tears and listen

If I could choose only three concerts from the past to see over and over again for the rest of my life, it would be:

- Jamie Cullum at the Wiltern last year
- Maroon 5 with openers Gavin Degraw and Marc Broussard in 2003
- Last night's John Mayer show

I don't know where to begin to tell you how marvelous last night's show was. It was truly out of this world and I'm beyond excited to have experienced it. South African Ballerina Jen and I saw the show at the new Nokia LA Live theater, next to the Staples Center in Downtown LA. It's a relatively tiny venue (7,100 seats) and I was surprised that our loge seats were as close as they were, despite my John Mayer fan club ticket frustrations.

The show started with an acoustic performance by John. He joked that it was an honor to open for himself. He played Neon, Stop This Train and LA Song (In Your Atmosphere), then was joined by a guitarist named Robbie for Daughters and then David Ryan Harris for a cover of Tom Petty's Free Falling.

After a brief intermission, he came out to perform with his trio. There was a collective gasp in the audience when he turned around and we saw he was wearing a suit and tie!

John Mayer trio

With his blues trio he played Everyday I Have the Blues, Wait Til Tomorrow, Who Did You Think I Was, Come When I Call, Good Love is On the Way, Out of My Mind, Vultures (sooooo sexy) and Bold As Love. I've appreciated blues since I heard my dad play the bass in various blues bands when I was growing up, but last night was a reminder that I need to invest more in that genre.

After another brief intermission, he came out to the end the show with his entire band (two other guitarists, keyboardist, drummer, trumpet and sax). They played Waiting on the World to Change, No Such Thing, Bigger Than My Body, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, Why Georgia, The Heart of Life, I Don't Need No Doctor and Gravity. His encore was I Don't Trust Myself, Belief and I'm Gonna Find Another You.

I sat/stood throughout the entire show in awe. It was three hours that I'm sure I'll tell my kids about someday. And lucky for me the show will be released on DVD so I can relive it over and over again.

The rest of my weekend was fairly low key. Brent and I kept running into the same set of three girls. They came into a sushi restaurant shortly after us. Then we saw them at a bookstore about a mile away after dinner. And the next morning they were at the table next to us at breakfast. God is running out of extras in our lives, apparently.

This morning we tried out a new place called JuJu Cereal Bar. It's a little restaurant nestled in Westwood, featuring an extensive menu with nearly 50 different kinds of cereals. You can mix cereals with various toppings (fresh and dried fruits, nuts, sweets, "dollops and drizzles"), as well as seven different choices of milks. For $5.75 you mix two cereals, choose three toppings and milk. You can also choose nonfat yogurt instead of milk, if you prefer.

I had the Eggo Waffles and Golden Grahams cereals, topped with bananas, raisins and a drizzle of condensed milk. I opted for the nonfat plain milk.

My cereal

Brent had granola and Eggo Waffles cereal, topped with strawberries, raspberries and pecans, also with nonfat plain milk.
Brent's cereal

The combinations turned out delicious. The employees were quite nice. And they brought out our bowls with little carafes of milk. Very cute.

I'm sure there are plenty of you who are thinking that a restaurant like that sounds silly, but for cereal lovers like me, it's a fun experience. When I heard about the first cereal speciality restaurant that opened back east somewhere a few years ago, I was so jealous nothing like that existed nearby. But now LA has one of our very own.

I'd definitely go to JuJu again, although I wouldn't travel out of my way to get there. Not necessarily a destination restaurant, but I'd recommend it if you are in the area.

After breakfast we saw Juno, an indie comedy about a snarky high school junior who gets pregnant. It features a great cast (including the always lovable Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner and a quick appearance by Rainn Wilson), funny and witty dialogue and a warming storyline. Brent and I both enjoyed it. Check out the trailer if you haven't already.

"Oh I'll never know what makes this man with all the love that his heart can stand." - Gravity, John Mayer

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Work trip highlights

I'm still tired from my trip, so my trip recap will take the form of bullets tonight.

- Yes, as some of you guessed, it was at the La Quinta Resort. Ah-freakin-mazing!
- We each had huge rooms with huge balconies, huge bathrooms and lovely fireplaces.
- I have a ginormous, comfy and plush bed at home, but the resort's bed was phenomenal.
- I worked out three of the four days in the resort's gym on high-tech machines with personal televisions.
- I ate fairly sensible meals, given my options, and managed to come back a pound lighter. That happened at the other big work event I attended when I first started with the company. I'd like to make that a tradition.
- I met everyone I wanted to meet, especially authors I've been working with virtually for nearly two years.
- At Monday night's dinner, they hired a big cover band for entertainment. One of the singers was Deanna, a finalist from Rock Star:INXS.
- Tuesday night they shuttled all the event attendees to a bowling alley they rented out. I bowled a pretty good game (115-ish). And then I played some arcade Dance Dance Revolution with a co-worker while wearing my high-heeled boots. I thankfully did not break my ankle and did ok, if I do say so myself.
- After returning to LA on Wednesday afternoon, my boss gave us the afternoon off. I spent mine getting a much-needed facial at Dermalogica on Montana. My facial included a mini-massage on my shoulders, neck and arms. I love that place. I need to go more often. (You can see the Yelp review I did the first time I went here.)

"This company has a very strict bros before hos policy." - Jack, 30 Rock

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Holy moly

You know what happens when I don't look at my Google Reader for a few days? I'll tell you what happens. More than 600 blog posts to read! I love the blogosphere waaaaaaay too much. You people and your interesting lives. You're the addiction I don't want to recover from.

I'll be heading back to LA in just a bit. These past few days have been amazingly busy but it was a nice time filled with really great people. Not a whole lot of pics because I was working, after all, but I'll fill ya in with the details later.

"We have too many people who live without working, and we have altogether too many who work without living." - Charles R. Brown

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's business time

I'm about to hit the road for a business trip, returning Wednesday. One of the cool things about my company is that they always hold our conferences at very nice resorts. I'm heading to one just outside of Palm Springs.

This is where it's being held:
Believe me, it's mostly work and very little play, but working in surroundings like the above sure beats working in my cube. This trip is especially exciting because my entire team will be there (we usually send just a couple of the editors), plus I get to meet so many of my authors and contacts that I work with yet haven't met face to face.

Off I go!

"You know when I’m down to just my socks it's time for business, that’s why they call them business socks." - Business Time, Flight of the Conchords

Friday, November 30, 2007

NaBloPoMo, sucka!

Before today gets away from me -- I'm going crazy-go-nuts at work, prepping for a huge event next week -- I just had to say:
WOO HOO! I blogged every day in November for NaBloPoMo 2007! This year seemed easier than last year, although I do admit to having to come up with something really quickly and particularly inane a couple of times. I know I wasn't the only one. Mmm, hmm. You know who you are. *wink, wink*

There were also a few weekend nights where I had to rush home to make the midnight blogging deadline, but it was fun and all in the name of NaBloPoMo.

Many thanks to all of you who stuck around to read my 30 daily posts, especially those of you who commented so frequently. I try my best to spread the comment love, too. And a special shoutout to those of you who discovered my blog via the NaBloPoMo challenge. I found a lot of great new sites, even if they did increase my backlog of posts to read. (Google Reader tells me that I have 215 new blog posts today. See all those blogs listed in the left column of my site? I try to read all of those, plus more that haven't made it to that list yet. I'm insane, I know.)

And speaking of Heroes a la the graphic above, I totally feel like Kristen Bell's character. I've been extra static-y lately and have shocked myself on everything and everyone I know. Yesterday I shocked myself when I stuck my hand in a bowl filled with water that I had to wash! OUCH!

Anyhow, here's to a lovely December filled with more blogging, more happiness and hopefully less static. May it be electric in so many other ways!

"The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous, on the contrary, it makes them for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind. Failure makes people bitter and cruel." - W. Somerset Maugham

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Playin' hooky

Thanks for all the compliments on my new hair! I never expected such the lovely reaction, so thanks for making this blog gal feel so loved!

After a busy day at work, a bit of a sinus headache and general frustration with my six-session Italian class, I ended up skipping tonight's class. And I probably won't go to the next class, which is the last one. The instructor is ok when he's actually teaching us, but he spends a majority of the time telling us sad stories in English about how he was unhappily married here in America for 35 years and could never go back to Italy to live out his retirement because he only has $100K and would be considered a loser there. I feel sorry for the ol' guy, but I'm not getting the most out of my investment of time nor money. He assigns us homework that he doesn't check nor refer back to, so there's little incentive to do it. I have the text book he created, which thankfully only cost me $10, and I can read that when I'm in the mood to learn more about the language. Sad, but true.

I took some meds to get rid of my sinus headache, so Brent and I went to the nearby Caribbean place for dinner. I got a sandwich, which soaked the paper lining the plate. Halfway through my meal I realized that about two and a half square inches of the paper under my sandwich had disappeared. INTO MY BELLY WITH THE SANDWICH! Oops.

We came home and watched Brent's episode of the game show, That's The Question, which aired tonight. We laughed as we watched his reaction over and over again in slow motion during the final round, specifically when he realized that he knew the final answer and was going to win the $5,000 grand prize. Yup. He won $5,000! Throughout our Italy trip we would get all giggly, knowing that a bunch of our trip would be covered with his prize money. My baby made me so very proud.

Later this evening, in a very spur of the moment decision, Brent and I went to visit justJENN at a late-night crafts fair where she was selling her deliciously cute wares. Brent wasn't so much into the crafts, but he did love the free brie. And he enjoys hanging out with Jenn, so he had a good time.

On our way home we stopped for some soft serve yogurt from McD's. You know what a standard McD's soft serve cone should look like, right? With that in mind, check out the bad boy on the left.
Soft serve gone wild
Compare it to the one on the right and you'll see that the left one has about 50% more yogurt than a typical cone.

The McD's employee handed the cones over with an Urkel-ish "Did I do that?" sort of look in her eyes. It tasted fine, even if it looked bizarre-o. I found myself in a mad licking dash to prevent a meltdown - literally.

"But I really want to leave my mark this time. Like remember that summer at Dairy Queen when I cooled my feet in the soft serve?" - George Costanza, Seinfeld

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hair apparent

I was on the fence about what I wanted to do with my hair before my appointment tonight. I went back and forth between continuing to let it grow long and doing something kind of fun and different. The past few weeks I hadn't done much with my hair other than a ponytail, too lazy to dry and style it. That's the telltale sign that I'm not feeling the current style anymore.

I played with the InStyle hair makeover application, but absolutely nothing looked good on me in the faux makeover. I figured out that I wanted something between chin- and shoulder-length, so I sought out some pics along those lines. I narrowed it down to five styles and sent the collage of photos to the 16 girls who make up my lovely SFAMily (Sisters From Another Mister, comprised of lovely women I met on while planning my wedding). I sent my thoughts about each photo (e.g., bad with my chubby cheeks?, I like the longish bags, too severe of a cut?, etc.). The SFAMily sent me their comments and helped me narrow it down to two styles. And by the time I sat down in my stylists' chair, I knew exactly what I wanted.

My stylist, whom I've been going to since moving to LA in 2000, is awesome. Email me if you are in the LA area and want her info. She's amazing and best of all, an amazing deal! I have so many friends who see and love her.

She got a big kick out of my collage and accompanying comments and loved that I had polled my girlfriends for feedback. She also loved the styles I chose and assured me that it'd work with my face shape, hair texture, etc.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some pics of my cut.

My new cut

My new cut

Don't mind if I say so myself, but I LOVE IT! Seriously! It turned out better than I expected! And it's a little hard to tell in the above pics, but it has a lot of body, which I really wanted. I had lost that in my long locks. We chopped off a good four inches. Love it, love it, love it!

Brent is at the UCLA game with his dad tonight, so I was on my own for dinner. I made it to the nearby Bay Cities Deli minutes before closing, just in time for my celebratory sandwich. Yup, I said it. I wanted to celebrate my new do! With a sandwich!

And the new cut is already getting rave reviews. It may have been the cause of three of the deli counter workers fighting over who got to make my sandwich! Seriously! And a guy next to me in line wanted to have a deep discussion about the meaning of the Celtic-looking medallion on my necklace. He said he was looking to get something similar in solid gold for Christmas. He was taken aback when I replied, "Um, I think I got it at Target." He continued to chat me up. Maybe he was just being friendly. Maybe it was the hair. Maybe it was my rockin' confidence. Mmm, hmm.

"I’m not saying I had a meteoric rise. But I did. And if they knew how much I was paying for my haircut now, they wouldn’t be giving me a noogie. It was $200." - Ryan, The Office

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mind the goof

The scene: Brent and I in the car, on the way to the movies.

Brent: Traffic isn't so bad. We should get there in time.
Me: Or not.
Brent: Wait! I'm supposed to be the pessimistic one. You are the... PEP-TIMISTIC ONE! Get it?...PEP-TIMISTIC!


On a total tangent, did you hear about the big news out of London? They fired the woman who does the voice of a lot of the London tubes! She's the "Mind the Gap" girl! Her name is Emma Clarke. It's an interesting controversy.

If I understand it correctly, the tube says they got rid of her because she said in an interview that the tube is dreadful. She says she was misquoted and said that she doesn't ride the tube because it's dreadful to hear her own voice over and over again. She said that they fired her because on her personal site she posted satirical audio announcements. Hopefully the tube system will get a sense of humor and give Emma her job back.

Update: Here's a link to the spoof announcements.

"You look as beautiful as the Queen of England." - Dwight
"Thank you. Don’t linger. Break left." - Angela, The Office

Monday, November 26, 2007

Game on, again

*SPOILER ALERT if you want to wait until I post videos to see how I did on the game show*

So, for those of you who happened to catch my game show appearance earlier this month, you saw that while I may have been poised and (hopefully) seemingly smart for at least part of it, I did not win. (I promise to upload the episode to YouTube and here as soon as I get my little hands on the DVD.)

My competitor was good and I think we were fairly matched, but I flubbed on some easy ones and could have used a better strategy when it came to winning the rounds. I think I answered the round-ending questions too early instead of playing longer to earn more points. Oh, well. I had fun and now I'm reconnected with my game show contact who will hopefully put me on more shows when I'm eligible again.

And all is not lost. In fact, my hottie hubby Brent auditioned for the show, wow-ed them with his smarts (didn't miss a single question on the audition quiz, which was different than the one I took, so there really was no cheating) and played on an episode that's airing this Thursday, the 29th. Without giving too much away yet, let's just say that he did better than I did. And his awesome game play made our Italy trip that much sweeter. If you can, you should tune in to see if he won the $500 prize or earned the big $5,000 grand prize. For now my lips are sealed.

"Jim Halpert. Pros: smart, cool, good-looking. Remind you of anybody you know? Cons: not a hard worker. I can spend all day on a project, and he will finish the same project in a half an hour. So that should tell you something." - Michael, The Office

Sunday, November 25, 2007

And on this farm they took some pictures. E-I-E-I-O

One of the many reasons I love living in Santa Monica is the Sunday Farmer's Market on Main Street. I know it's mentioned in every other weekend recap of mine -- we go through withdrawals if we go too long without visiting -- but I realized today that I've never shared pics of our favorite local activity.

So, here ya go!

There are two rows of tents and a large grassy area where folks sit, eat and enjoy the live music. (This grassy area is where we spotted Helen Hunt recently.) The musicians are always varied. Today it was a jazz trio. A few weeks ago it was a large percussion group.
All the tents Tons o' people

We enjoy admiring the beautiful veggies, and usually leave with some eggplant or other tasty treats to grill.
Veggies Eggplants

No trip is complete without a visit to the Rockenwagner Bakery booth for some delicious pretzel rolls, which are exactly what they sound like -- rolls made out of pretzel bread and topped with salt. These bad boys could make a grown man cry. And that grown man is my husband.
Rockenwagner Bakery Pretzel rolls!

This little parking lot of fruit, veggies and local vendor goodness is our little slice of local heaven.

"[brainstorming for a new book] What about this: a tribe of asparagus children, but they're self-conscious about the way their pee smells." - Eugene, Elf

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Where there's smoke...

Doing a whole lotta nothing, but that's exactly the vacation I needed.

Last night South African Ballerina Jen and I saw Across the Universe. I'm glad we were able to catch it while it was still in the theater. It was a visually stunning film, which was perfect for the big screen, not to mention the amazing musical performances of Beatles' songs. I heard somewhere that there are only 30 minutes of total non-musical dialog in the two-hour film. If you've seen the film, be sure to check out all the great trivia about it on imdb.

This morning Brent and I headed down to the 3rd Street Promenade. We had brunch and then strolled over to where the weekend Farmer's Market should have been. Instead we were greeted by fire trucks, policemen and yellow tape blocking the street. Apparently someone flicked a cigarette into one of the electrical grates, starting an electrical fire. There was no Farmer's Market to be seen and they evacuated the Apple Store, along with most of the block. This happened last year in that same area and caused some manhole covers to blow after the electrical fire led to an explosion.

There's also another Malibu fire, which we can smell from our place. The plumes of smoke are also visible to the northwest of us. Thankfully the crazy wind from last night has died down. I hope this one gets taken care of quickly with minimal damage. Poor Southern California is just barely recovering from the last blast of fires.

"Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television, North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe. RYAN STARTED THE FIRE!" - Dwight, The Office

Friday, November 23, 2007

More, more, more

My apologies for leaving you hanging with my Chef Gordon Ramsay mini-post earlier this week. I also forgot to bloggingly thank Jodi for inviting Jenn and me to join her. I jumped at the chance to see Chef Ramsay. I've been a Chef Ramsay fan for a few years now. Brent and I love the British version of his Kitchen Nightmares. The American version is ok, but it's not as documentary-style as the original, which we prefer.

Anyhow, the panel was thoroughly entertaining, even if it felt a little short. Chef Ramsay was actually quite pleasant despite his hard-as-nails reputation. He told some funny stories, including one about a former French girlfriend he had while living in France. "It was like sleeping with a Rottweiler on your chest every night. I learned a lot from her... about French," he said. Let's just say he doesn't hold back. He and the producers of the American versions of Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares also talked some trash about how Top Chef likes to steal their challenge ideas, and joked about how Hell's Kitchen rejects end up as contestants on Top Chef. Dahahaha!

He also mentioned that his favorite restaurants are AOC, Cut, Pizzeria Mozza, Sona and surprisingly In 'N Out. Those were already high on my list of must-trys, but now I really must go. (Except for In 'N Out. I'm already a fan.)

So, there ya go.

Last night we enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving at my fabulous in-laws'. My mother-in-law is such a great hostess. Check out the lovely table setting! Little turkey napkin rings and everything! She said she paid extra attention to how the table looked in case it ended up on my blog. Hee, hee.

Thanksgiving place settings

My mother-in-law whipped up a most delicious meal, including turkey (the most tender EVER!), mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, two kinds of cranberries, two kinds of stuffing and some squash especially for my vegetarian bro-in-law. Oh, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. All homemade, including the whipped cream!

This morning I did not get up to battle any of the crazy Black Friday crowds. Instead I spent most of the afternoon on my comfy couch, crossing off about 90% of our holiday gift list with some online shopping. It's funny how a day could be simultaneously lazy AND productive.

"Hey Betty, how about lunch at the In N' Out Burger? Okay, forget the burger, how about just the In N' Out? [she sneers at him] Ok, how about just the In?" - Fletch, Fletch Lives

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Let's eat turkey in my big brown shoe

In high school Shelby and I, along with our group of friends, were fans of Adam Sandler. One of our favorite songs was his Thanksgiving Song. And it's become my own personal tradition to revisit the song each Thanksgiving. Today I'm sharing it with you.

"Turkey lurkey doo and turkey lurkey dap. I eat that turkey then I take a nap." - Thanksgiving Song, Adam Sandler

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Eating Crowe

I can't tell ya how excited I am to have 4 1/2 days off. I only had to work three hours today, thanks to my awesome co-workers who were able to finish our big tasks so quickly. Woo hoo!

After work I went to Target then dragged myself to the gym where I burned some calories in anticipation of tomorrow's Thanksgiving celebration.

I napped for a bit -- I looooove afternoon naps -- then joined Brent and my in-laws at the movies to see American Gangster. For some reason I was on the fence about seeing it, although I can't tell you exactly why. I'm so glad I decided to go. It was a great story and the cast was amazing. And now I must admit that I really do like Russell Crowe, at least as an actor. Sometimes I have a hard time separating the crazy personal lives of celebrities that we hear about in tabloids from their talent, such as Tom Cruise. But I've given in with Russell Crowe. Between 3:10 to Yuma and American Gangster I've put aside his phone-throwing reputation and I'm officially a fan.

"The land down under. We are gonna get drunk with Russell Crowe and we're gonna head-butt some goddamn kangaroos." - Ari Gold, Entourage

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blogging mathematically

A panel with Chef Gordon Ramsay discussing Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and his favorite LA restaurants + Jodi from Snarky Dork + justJENN + late dinner at The Farm of Beverly Hills + cupcakes from Crumbs Bakeshop = Fabulous evening and a tired Nanette

Update: Jenn posted a more thorough recap, including a picture she snapped before security put a stop to it.

"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks." - Lin Yutang

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rollin' in

It's quite foggy out in my neck of the woods. Check out this picture, which Brent took after dinner.

A foggy night in Santa Monica

It's hard to tell form the pic, but it wasn't far off from the thick fog in my hometown that would cause school to be cancelled.

"Gee, even the movie "The Fog" didn't have this much fog." - Tom Servo, Mystery Science Theater

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Talking shop

I visit Target about once a week. And when I go in for just a couple of quick necessities, I inevitably leave with at least a few other items that I cannot live without -- or just look pretty dangling from my ears, decorating my desk or sound good in my CD player.

In addition to my lil' ol' blog here, I'll be contributing to Inside My Target Cart, a blog started by justJENN for Target addicts like us to chat about out latest purchases.

So be sure to check out the new site and our latest Tar-jay finds. I posted my inaugural post earlier today.

"I was so upset when Daddy told me I had to get a job that I went shopping to calm down." - Jill Green, Friends

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ladies on the Gama-Go

Today JustJENN and I headed out to Los Feliz for a clearance sale for Gama-Go, a line of clothing and accessories with a Paul Frank-sorta feel.

It was held at a little bar called the Bigfoot Lodge. Jenn and I arrived early and were the second group in line, which was fairly long by the time the sale began. We were rewarded for our patience with a set of free pins. Even though the sales associates warned us before letting us in that it was dark inside, we were still surprised by the lack of light. We managed, though, to brave the darkness and crowds to score some great deals.

I left with some really cute shirts for me. (Click the photo to enlarge.)
My shirts from Gama-go

And I picked up some handbags and coin purses, some of which will make great gifts if I can will myself to part with them. They're all so cute! (Click the photo to enlarge.)
Bags and coin purses

Now I'm sitting at home enjoying some mini Tootsie Pops that Jenn brought for me.
Mini Tootsie Pops

"Malls are just awful and humiliating. They’re just store after store of these horrible salespeople making a big fuss out of an adult shopping in a junior’s section. There are petite adults who are sort of … smaller, who need to wear … maybe a kids’ size 10." - Angela, The Office

Friday, November 16, 2007

Membership has its privileges... at times

Thank you for all the lovely delurking! My site averages 250 page views daily, so I just knew there were some readers who hadn't made themselves known yet. If I haven't already, I will visit all the sites of the folks who revealed themselves. Woo hoo! I'm woefully behind on my blog reading, but I'll get there - I promise!

In other news, John Mayer almost gave me a heart attack yesterday. As a John Mayer fan club member I had the opportunity to take part in a special pre-sale for an upcoming benefit show at the new Nokia Live theater in Downtown Los Angeles. The show sounds amazing! It's to raise money for John's charity, Back To You, and will feature John acoustically, then John with his trio, then John with his full band. As Brent says, it's a John Mayer sampler platter, which sounds absolutely delicious!

I was not a happy camper when I logged onto the fan club site yesterday before the 10 a.m. sale time, clicked the "buy now" button as soon as it appeared after numerous refreshes, and was told that there were no tix left!

This happened to me when I tried to get tix for John's show at the Hollywood Bowl earlier this year. Luckily he added another night at the Bowl, which I was able to get decent seats for. I understand that being a fan club member never guarantees you great seats, or seats at all, in fact, to any artist's show. (Although the Hannah Montana fan club members apparently didn't read the fine print.) It's still aggravating when you're not able to get any tix.

I like how Maroon 5's fan club handles fan club ticket sales. First, I've never had issues getting any seats. And, yes, I know that John Mayer is more globally appealing than M5, but still, they are popular. Ya can't deny that. Second, after you purchase tickets through the M5 fan club, they do a random drawing from all the fan club members for the first row or so. Then the rest of the fan club seats are assigned via seniority, so peeps like me who have been fan club members for 5+ years get paid back for our loyalty. You lose seniority if you don't renew your membership annually. Lastly and best of all, you can only pick up the fan club tix at will-call. This keeps scalpers from across the country from trying to buy tix via the fan club and sell them on craigslist or ebay for outrageous prices.

Shortly after the fan club pre-sale started yesterday for the John Mayer show, tickets were already up on ebay and going for more than $5,000! Out. Of. Control. And so not fair to fans like me who were shit out o' luck during the pre-sale thanks to the asshat scalpers. The worst part is that this is for a benefit show. John Mayer is doing an auction for front row tix, but the money from that is going toward his charity, not into the pockets of scalpers. Ugh.

So, I wasn't able to get tix via the fan club pre-sale, but in a strange twist of fate Ticketbastard Ticketmaster came through for me. Yesterday I received an email with a password to a special internet pre-sale through Ticketmaster. Granted, it came 2 hours after the Ticketmaster pre-sale started, but I was able to get decent seats. At this point I'm just happy to have any seats at all because this show is going to be fantastic and I would have been a very sad Nanners if I weren't there to witness it.

"And it stings when it's nobody's fault cause there's nothing to blame. At the drop of your name, it's only the air you took and the breath you left." - Split Screen Sadness, John Mayer

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Come out, come out, wherever you are

National Delurking Week isn't officially until January, but I'm curious now.

So if you're a lurky loo who rarely leaves or has never left a comment, do me a favor and make yourself known. Tell me where you're from, what your blog is if you have one and how you found my site if you remember.

My regular readers, please join in the fun, too. Maybe my readers who don't know about your site will decide to swing by.

"If I ever forget my lines in Shakespeare, I always say 'Crouch we here awhile and lurk!' That seems to do the trick." - Carnforth Greville, In The Bleak Midwinter

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

All my mistakes have become masterpieces

Last night's concert was quite nice. Teitur was the opening act, and a replacement opening act, at that. I felt a little sad for him that only a tiny handful of the large audience knew who he was, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. It was vastly different from the show he headlined in March at a tiny LA club filled with Teitur fans.

Last night I couldn't necessarily sing along to his songs because it'd end up being a Teitur/Nanette duet in the quiet concert hall. So I just enjoyed his beautiful harmonies.
Brent and I stuck around to catch a few songs from the headliner, KT Tunstall. We only know a couple of her songs, and while we enjoyed what we saw and heard, we didn't feel compelled to stay for her entire performance. Our feet were hurting and it was getting hot inside the venue.
KT Tunstall
On our way out, I spotted Teitur! I stopped Brent and then asked Teitur for a picture. I mentioned that I was the one who had emailed him via MySpace and he seemed to remember me. He thanked me for coming out to the show. I was tempted to tell him that I sat in an hour of traffic to come see him, but I was already babbling as it was. I was also tempted to invite him to come live in our guest room and pay him for private concerts with scones and homemade jam, but the words just wouldn't come out.

I'm a happy little concert goer, if you hadn't already guessed.
Me and Teitur
Brent's finger was on the flash, but Teitur's music is mysterious and goes with the whole shadowy mystique.

"Who is to say who wins or who loses? I sing to myself at the end of the day when I know what the blues is. And all my mistakes have become masterpieces." - All my mistakes, Teitur

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy to be wrong

Remember how sad I was that I'd be missing Teitur's concert, which I thought was last Sunday evening? I was WRONG! It's tonight! And I'm going! And I'm so excited, if you can't tell by all my exclamation points!

Three concerts within one week - I haven't done that in a while.

Best of all? Brent's going with me. This is one of the few artists we both like. I'm imagining a nice, quite evening with our lovely Teitur. Can't wait!

"Once your name was but a wisper, a simple wish upon that tongue. And staring at your shadow is like staring at the sun. And in this dark dark hour, you still illuminate a room." - Let's Go Dancing, Teitur

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tasting, tasting, 1...2...3...

Growing up in Central California and going to school on the Central California coast didn't exactly expose me to a ton of culinary options. Fine dining was a meal at Red Lobster. Actually, that is still the case for my mom, but I have no problem with that. My roots may be simple but I've definitely expanded my eating horizons. I'll try anything once, maybe more.

One of the many things I love about my in-laws is that they appreciate a good meal. When I first moved to LA, they would look for new kinds of foods for me to try. "Have you ever had Jamaicaan food? How about Oaxacan? Caribbean? No? Let's go!" They also appreciate trying out the hottest restaurants in LA. They're friends with two LA food critics, including one of the Zagat authors, so they get the inside scoop on places we should try.

Last night we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday at an LA restaurant called Providence. It's on Melrose in the building where Patina was before it moved to the Disney Concert Hall. The chef is known for his inventive seafood creations and outstanding presentation. You can order a la carte, but most patrons recommend one of the tasting menus. The restaurant has a Michelin Star, which is a rare honor, and is voted one of the top 40 restaurants in the U.S. by Gayot.

There are three tasting menus to choose from: the 5-course, the 9-course and the chef's choice, which includes whatever the chef feels like bringing you. We opted for the 9-course tasting menu. I did my best to remember the details, but there were so many great flavors going on that it was hard to keep them straight. Short of taking notes -- and I'm not that nuts -- I did the best I could to remember.

We started with three amuse bouches: a gelataneous gin and tonic with a lime that we were instructed to squeeze over the gelatin to get it to foam (sorry it's so dark), a delicate bubble filled with a mojito that we put on our tongue then popped against the roof of our mouth, and lastly a watermelon juice with a touch of wasabi -- not too spicy for me -- and some beans I can't remember the name of.
Amuse bouche 1Amuse bouche 2
Amuse bouche 3

First course was scallops. Excuse the bad pic. The dish was light and delicious. Second course was pieces of butter lobster under a thin layer of some gelatin, which was also tasty. The lobster was so tender and delicate and amazing and I would like to be buried in it, thankyouverymuch.
Course 1 - Scallops Course 2 - Butter lobster

Third course was halibut served on a bed of ragu. The halibut was fluffy, which is not easy to do with fish. Amazing! Fourth course was salmon served with baby mushrooms and crispy salmon skin in a tasty foam, which I can't seem to recall the flavor of.
Course 3 - Halibut Course 4 -Salmon

Fifth course was a tuna tartare served with a side of toasted brioche. We were told that we could eat the tartare on its own or spread on the toast. I opted for the latter. I'll take any opportunity to have toasted brioche. I'd build my next house with it if I could. This pairing was scrumptious! Sixth course was a very tender veal served over a scoop of super soft mashed potatoes and some sort of reduction. So freakin' good.
Course 5 - Tuna tartare Course 6 - Veal

Seventh course -- are ya still with me? -- was a platter of cheeses that we collectively chose from the cheese cart. We had a combination of delicious hard and soft market cheeses, served with sides of candied walnuts, apple jam, figs and bread. I'd like all my meals to include cheese plates, please. Eighth course was a carrot sorbet on a small bed of wasabi peas. That was the one thing I did not enjoy, but everyone else did.
Course 7 - Cheese plate Course 8 - Sorbet

Ninth course was a dessert that included a braised pear, cake, miso ice cream (salty, but surprisingly good), huckleberries and a "huckleberry brush," which is that streak of red along the plate. Not only was it beautiful, it was super tasty! They brought out a post-dessert treat that included chocolate macaroons that reminded me of teeny tiny hamburgers, caramels with anise (or lavender, as Brent claims) and salt, and chocolate truffles.
Course 9 - Dessert Desserts, part 2

Nine courses sounds like a lot, but really each dish is only a few bites. Plus, it was spread out over FOUR HOURS, so it wasn't as oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-die-because-my-stomach-is-about-explode as you may think.

My in-laws were super cute during the meal. My father-in-law loved that I was taking pics of the food and he'd ask me after each course serving, "Did you get a pic, Nanners?" And my mother-in-law, who is a recent reader of my blog, requested that I be sure to mention on here that we were at dinner for four hours.

It really was an unforgettable meal with great company and I'm sure the birthday gal had a blast, too.

"Yes, I have decided to shun Andy Bernard for the next three years. Which I’m looking forward to. It’s an Amish technique. It’s like slapping someone with silence. I was shunned from the age of four until my sixth birthday for not saving the excess oil from a can of tuna." - Dwight, The Office