The more that it sinks in, the more I'm losing it. I can't handle the fact that one of the tiny number of people that I loved with everything I had out of the billions of ants scurrying around this planet is gone. He was always the burn out rather than fade away type but it doesn't make it any easier to accept.
Yes, I know it's gotten really bad. Though in my defense, thanks to ebay it wasn't too bad, since the only pins I had to pay retail for were the particularly awesome ones, like the Up and Haunted Mansion ones. I also had to get an awesome sliding treasure box showing one of the HM stretching room paintings. There's the whole set of the paintings as well as a ton of other designs, but this has always been my favorite.
Now, on to the really good stuff. This year, some of the X-E blog denizens decided to do a Secret Santa gift exchange via elfster, and it was absolutely aces. For my part, I found the Monty Python card game my giftee asked for along with the extension pack (again, ebay), while my own gifter went the surprise route and hit it outta the park:
Other lovely surprises included a singing Christmas card from DJ D that played one of my all time favorite cheesy Christmas songs and a check for $150 bucks (!) from my best bud's Grandpa.
From mom, I got a pair of piratey suede boots that I've been wearing the hell out of for awhile already. In other "not surprises but still lovely", she gave me an amethyst (my birthstone) jewelry set and a gorgeous Coach purse:
From best bud's aunt and uncle, I got a very nifty air freshener that melts scented wax and looks good doing it:
Got an awesome bundle from my sis, starting with some Homies:
From left to right, my grandfather Nacho, Danny Trejo giving somebody a haircut, and a mini Mousie. I also got some more fun trinkets:
Even the little plastic pouch she sent these in was handy, since it was perfect for carrying my Disney passes and cash from the end of my pin lanyard. Also incredibly useful is this great book she sent, Closet Confidential:
It's a really great, hip and quirkyish guide to fashion. I'm quite looking forward to purging my closet of old, useless junk.
One last gift, which was probably the biggest surprise of all:
My bestie gave me a 22 inch 1080P HDTV!!! It's refurbished but perfect. I put an ep of Hoarders on and I could see every fetid detail. More importantly, I'll be able to watch LOST in HD! I am blessed beyond measure. Now I just have to find a new place for my Hulk hands, since they can't balance on top of a flatscreen.
Happy new year, my loves!
I'm feeling kind of a general sense of listlessness and ennui at the mo. Now that I think about it, I guess it's just the post-Daylight Saving Time blahs setting in. But it's nothing a little bit of curating digital ephemera can't fix!
( Grey Gardens, Julie & Julia, Gabby Sidibe, Beth Ditto, Crystal RennCollapse )
I've had to wrestle with a dilemma recently, namely deciding whether or not to let Bean and Pix become puppy parents. My calender and eyeballs had me convinced that the time was nigh, so when Pixie got her shots I asked the vet for confirmation that it was okay, because she's such a tiny little Pixel. He said it was up to her, so I knew it was on. Being as she's pretty much as shameless as Blanche Devereaux and all.
I have pretty much always planned on allowing Bean to breed, though I flinch with guilt whenever I hear Sarah McLachlan warbling. But, I feel like there has to be room in the world for responsible breeding too, and Bean and Pixie both have their AKC papers. Plus, how could you not want to multiply this cuteness?
Pix's a total sweetheart, as opposed to Bean who is a bit of a land shark.
If you look closely you can see how she earned her nickname of "Dubba Toofs", the double set of canine teeth that she had going on. I had to help pop most of those buggers out myself when they were finally ready. That and the bills I been dropping on my own teeth lately have me convinced that in another life I could totally have been a rich DDS.
Bean's big adventure recently was getting the hell stung out of his face, which promptly exploded:
After an emergency shot and some Kid's Benadryl, he was recuperating. I had to baby him all day:
And speaking of adventure, during the course of writing this entry, Escape Cat aka Skitzo managed to make another escape, only to eventually return. Sneakaskitz.
Back to B&P, Beaner was more than aware that Pixie was fair game, because he was a dog possessed. He wouldn't let her out of his sight, and he was downright evil in his enforcement.
Did his persistence pay off? Not to be too crass, but I think this face speaks for itself:
So after a few days of that, suddenly it was like a light switch. I had been worried that Bean was going to be newly evil for the rest of his life, but suddenly one day I looked down and the little momma's boy was curled up next to me like a cuddlebug. Nice to have him back.
As far as whether I will soon fulfill my destiny of being an Italian grandmother (to some puppies), the jury is out. Pixie has definitely gained weight, but the vet wasn't able to confirm for sure whether she's preggers. He is "highly suspicious", however, and thinks he heard two baby heartbeats on the ultrasound!!! So the outlook is good for Christmas Puppies. Wish us luck!
So as you've possibly gathered, I have embraced my inner camwhore as late. Here's what I rocked for Halloween. I was going to do a gothed out Dorothy, but it wasn't coming together so I went for a 60's femme fatale vibe. I did my hair myself Friday night (which would be the full-length pic) but went to the beauty school to get it did up proper for Saturday (above). Not for the first time, I found myself wishing I'd been alive in 1964.
As far as festivities, we had a potluck at work, where I made a crudités platter that I plied upon the next couple of parties I went to. I picked up that cute ceramic bat dish at Michael's for a buck, and the Mickey pumpkin is from guess where:
Friday night was a birthday party at sulphuroxide, which despite my being a boring loser and spending a nice portion of the evening reading an awesomely pulpy paperback of his, I had a grand time at:
After another party on Saturday (iknorite?), E and I struck out on Sunday in search of Dia de los Muertos festivities. I've gone out to a festival at a museum in Ventura for a few years, but the museum's apparently moved locations and they cut way back on the party. Fortunately we picked up a weekly and found out about another fete back closer to home. It was a gorgeous day so it was a nice drive, and I always love to see the ocean:
Eventually we wound our way to the cemetery where things were going on and could see evidence of it from the time we crossed the gates:
Like I said, it was a beautiful day. The grounds were lovely, overlooking a field of corn that was glowing in the sun, and surrounded by the mountains on the other sides.
I overheard the guy from this car club talking about how this was the first time they'd come out (this was only the second time this event was thrown) and how they'd be coming out next year. It's hard to see in my shot, but that lowrider's bumpin:
And speaking of cars, this is one of my favorite Dia de los Muertos traditions. I take it this truck previously belonged to a Mr. Gomez (see the driver's side door):
Now for the most important bit, the ofrendas! These are the shrines dedicated to people who've gone before. There are a lot of different ways of doing it, but some of the traditions include three tiers draped in white, photos, representations of the dead's favorite things, marigolds, copal incense and of course, skeletons!
I just adore all the creativity and love you can see reflected. That's Cesar Chavez above, and you can't forget about MJ:
All in all it's a very celebratory atmosphere. Note the playful kids on the way back from what must have been a nearby pumpkin patch:
Also check the mariachis!
The masked mariachi's forehead read "Tú y Yo" or "You and I".
Eventually people began gathering for a parade over the cemetery grounds, including Aztec dancers and people carrying big skeleton puppets.
I've been looking for a good Day of the Dead celebration somewhat closer to home and this was aces. It was a great time, and I will definitely plan to go again next year.
And speaking of closer to home, here's my own ofrenda!
I usually set something up every year, but thanks to the X-Entertainment Die-O-Rama Contest I had some extra fun with the project.
Basically the challenge was to create a spooky diorama within the confines of a shoebox, which I made into a little shrine to my grandparents. I'm fortunate enough to have only lost relatively few loved ones so far in my life, so I try to have some representation of everyone, though.
The Die-O-Rama was created out of a Coach shoebox, a set of Halloween lights, another couple of recycled boxes and an old t-shirt for the tiers, faux flowers and scrapbook supplies that I had on hand, some more that I bought and other keepsakes I had around. The photos, and the Frank Sinatra tape, came from Moms having finally recently given in to sorting through the belongings we inherited when my Grandma DeeDee died (made copies of the pics, of course).
I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely it came out, if I may say so. Got to bust out the hot glue got AND the power drill, so I was feeling pretty snazzy. It's particularly nice when it's lit up:
Thanks for looking. Love ya!
On 10/04, I went along with my roomie, his girl, and his mom to celebrate a family birthday, and had a really fun time. I also discovered the true wonder of the Guest Assistance Card, I must admit.
Above is one of the mood spots on Indy. Below is the King Triton's Carousel in California Adventure, which has a bunch of awesome otters and all kinda things:
So the day we were visiting just so happened to fall in the middle of Gay Days weekend. If you don't know, during Gay Days people from all over the country visit the parks and wear red shirts for solidarity and pride, whether gay or straight. I didn't get a picture of any of the swaths of red, but you can kinda see the level of extra big crowds going on that day here....
So on the Halloweentime tip tip, the Nightmare Before Christmas remake of Haunted Mansion is gorgeous.
The Ghost Galaxy remake of Space Mountain is super awesome as well...he got my hand! Plus here's one last picture of me being twee:
I swear I don't really smoke! Disney can be stressful sometimes, so I had to chill out with one. If it's good enough for Obama...
Moving on to 10/18, my Moms needed a ride to Irvine for the day for a seminar so I had an excuse to hit up the parks again. Since I was coming from the opposite direction than usual, I ended up getting funneled to the distant-as-hayell Pumbaa parking lot, rather than the Mickey and Friends parking structure. This put a slight cramp on my style, but I made it work.
I was going to crop the picture on the right so you could see the plaid-tastic cast members better, but I just couldn't bring myself to cut out a hidden Mickey.
By the time I'd gone to City Hall for a card and picked up a locker and farted around Main Street a bit, I realized it was close to noon, which on Sundays is Micechat meetup time.
I haven't been to many meetups, but I have met a few nice people, including the two guys that basically run MiceChat (as I understand it). They are supes nice, of course.
After the typical dithering around where to get food that tends to come up, a group headed over to the CA Adventure area for a restaurant that I wasn't familiar with, that I definitely have to keep in mind in the future.
I had ended up with a GIANT bento, partially because Moms had forgotten her portion in the car, but I felt like getting some hot eats anyway. For about $8 for a cheeseburger and fries, this is about as good of a deal as you can get anywhere around DLR. I also had some delicious pears and grapes from my bento, which you can see in the upper right.
After lunch, we walked around the Grand Californian Hotel area for awhile to check developments out (they've got a balcony area for vacation property holders to watch the upcoming World of Color show) and then went in CA Adventure.
I kinda dogged CAA at first for being such a strange cartoonish version of California, but I have to admit they do a good job in some places of capturing a really natural environment that lets you forget you're in the middle of Anaheim.
Another nice thing about CAA, it's where they serve booze...I had lost my purse the day before (when I went to go pick up Moms' ticket for her thing!) so I couldn't get a glass of wine, but I was eager to check out the Blue Skye Cellar, which is sponsored by the winery (so they let you bring in the wine) and where they display the concept art for park developments.
Considering that it seems like half of CAA is blocked off with construction walls for the Little Mermaid dark ride and World of Color construction, it's nice to see a little bit of what to expect.
World of Color is the huge fountain and fireworks show, and apparently they're using all these cut paper pieces, after animating them digitally. Think South Park, but more three dimensional, and frankly pretty amazing looking. There's a little film that plays about the process as well, so between that and the booze this is a really good place to keep in mind as a sanity haven.
If only pictures could do justice to how great these pieces are. I love paper cuttings!
So, like at Disneyland, there's a tiny model of the park, this one illustrating how the park will look when the construction is complete. It's really a nice thing to see, considering how bad the park itself looks at times.
There's also some concept art for the Red Car they're apparently putting in. I am very excited about the prospect of trying to hitch a ride on the bumper and pretending to be Eddie Valiant.
So at this point, I decided to part ways with the Micechatters. Someone had picked up FastPasses for Tower of Terror for everyone, so I struck off to use it, since I realized I hadn't actually been on any rides so far. I got lost on my way, though, and ended up in a part of the park that was totally new to me, Flik's Fun Fair.
Does anybody else see a Dharma logo? Just me, then?
So I finally made it to Tower of Terror. That shiz is scary, y'all!
No, seriously, it is scary as shit. I mean, I thought it was gonna be Disney scary, but it was scurry scurry.
Of course, that might be a subjective statement. Notice the placidly smiling grandmotherly type behind me.
The Hollywood backlot portion of Adventure has all this props lying around, including this amazing relic from a bygone era...
The Nike of Samothrace is pretty cool too. Haha geddit because they got rid of all the payphones because we all have cell phones now??? Okay, moving on.
Disney's launched a pretty cool line of clothing that seems to be branded D55:
I'm kinda all about the red and grey this fall, so I'm into these. Now that I've stared at them awhile, they're totally going to be mine.
More Main Street business:
Try as I might, I could not get a good shot of Vampire Goofy here. He was all decked out, though, had a coffin and everything. Those phones in the coffee shop are party lines, so you can listen in and hear all kinds of scandalous drama.
It was getting near time to leave to pick up my Mom, so I decided to try and ride one more, Ghost Galaxy. I decided to rock my iPod on the ride so I kept myself occupied trying to pick out a good song...I went with Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk.
Highly recommended. Space Mountain plus peppy techno would be a winning combo no matter what, but on the Ghost Galaxy version? Forget about it, child.
So I managed to squeeze in a little bit of pin trading, with the four pins I had up for grabs. I accidentally picked up a Piglet pin that I already have, though, when it's actually a Pooh pin that my collection is missing, so I must retrade.
One thing I didn't detail was my Downtown Disney detour to Sephora, which has me looking extra adorable lately. Thought you might like to know.
I also finally caved and signed up for polyvore and made a little doohickie with those colors I'm digging for fall:
color palette for fall: red, black, grey, purple, mustard by valleygirlonceremoved featuring Old Navy
I own the fedora and cardigan, and I just picked up those purple Payless shoes...Pretty much everything pictured here is plus-sized or at least in-betweenie sized as well as wallet friendly, except for those Jill Sander mustard flats, which are a reasonable $525. If anybody's doing their Christmas shopping.
Check-check out my goodies from this year's St. Rose book sale this summer:
Have I read any of it yet? No, but let's talk about them anyway! The Orson Scott Card and Dale Carnegie book were for my buddy, he also got a How to Survive Anything handbook from the next sale I hit. Everything else is mine, all mine! Muahahahaha!
Sorry, I've been generally declutterifying my life lately, but sometimes I need to indulge my hoardery tendencies. I supplement it with massive doses of Clean House, Hoarders and How Clean is Your House aversion therapy. But they'll get my books from they pry them from my cold, dead hands, after they find me under the pile that's toppled on top of me.
Back on topic! The food processor and Cooking with Claudine cookbooks are nods to my recent obsessions with my food processor and public television food shows, respectively. My nearest and dearest have had to accustom themeselves with my first name basis references to Julia, although I have yet to get around to seeing Julie and Julia. The House on Mango Street is really big in Chicano literature history; I bought the Pablo Neruda collection without even realizing the greatest part, which is that every poem is listed in the original text along with the English translation. Very cool. East of Eden filled the "classic I've never read" category, and I was super jazzed to find a pulp noirish paperback by Stephen King. I have a whole collection of genuinely old school paperbacks from the 2005 sale by John D. MacDonald. Haven't got around to reading those either, sadly.
So, this weekend I went all the way up to Santa Barbara to volunteer (and shop) at the annual Planned Parenthood book sale:
Apparently I should have made it to the beginning of the sale, they told me it was only 30% of what it once was by the day I made it there. Even still it was far bigger than the St. Rose sale. More varied selection too, so my selections might appear to skew somewhat towards the scandalous? Whatever. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, which at just 175 pages I'm about 1/3 of the way through already, sold me on the jacket blurb: "If Flannery O'Connor and Rita Mae Brown has collaborated on the coming-out story of a young British girl in the 1960s, maybe they would have approached the quirky and subtle hilarity" etc etc. I've never read Rita Mae Brown but the Flannery O'Connor reference is certainly apt, with the dark humor and religious imagery threaded through everything. Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers is a "history of lesbian life in twentieth-century America", which I got again because of my interest in pulp. Thanks Quentin Tarantino!
The Anne Rice and Gregory Maguire ones are similar in that they're both a take on fairy tales. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty is the first in the series of Anne Rice's porny take on Sleeping Beauty. What I really had my eye out for was something in the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris, because half a dozen episodes of True Blood have been more than enough to convert me, but I didn't have any luck finding them so I settled for this. Mirror Mirror is a take on Snow White; I absolutely loved Wicked but I haven't read the sequels so I'm jazzed to read something else by Gregory Maguire.
Night Shift I got because of the cover art and because I can basically never leave one of these sales without a Stephen King book. Interesting (to me) to point out, the introduction is written by John D. MacDonald. Organizing for Dummies is self-explanatory, I hope, and finally we get to my coolest find: Choice Sometimes Chance: Recipes from the Kitchen of a Planned Parenthood Person. Circa 1980!
I love vintage cookbooks, especially this kind of self-published one, but if I bought every one I saw...I couldn't resist this one, though. It has the most amazing punny recipes:
From a Smorgasbord of Choice to Molding Public Opinion Salads and Mushrooming Support Soup! So awesome.
Or maybe that's just the painkillers kicking in. I've got 29 of 'em left to last me through the three weeks that I'll still have my wisdom teeth, so cheers for that. Plus, I have a whole tooth over on the one side now, instead of 2/3 of one! It feels weird at the moment but I imagine it will come in handy.
Unfortunately as a result I'm not exactly flush with cash, so I'm hesitant to shell out to renew my Flickr account until Friday. So rather than uploading the Comic-Con pitchurs...I'll take a little Vicodin nap for a couple of hours!
Two hours later
Okay, that wasn't exactly planned, but what are you gonna do. Now that I'm a little more lucid, I'm thinking it's going to be a long few weeks here. I'm thinking I might swear off soda, too, because this tooth decay shiz is for rubes. Or maybe just swear off soda in general and only indulge in the good stuff, like Pom 7Up. I had this amazing soda from monsieur marcel's at the LA Farmer's Market:
That was good. But I'm getting off topic here. I wanted to get into why I'm trying to get my teefs taken care of, both for the benefit of anybody that doesn't know, and because I'm a believer in self-fulfilling prophecies from experience, so I figure the more I talk it up the more it is likely to become a reality.
I'm going to NYC to go to the Columbia School of General Studies! Not this fall, but it's happening.
I still have my doubts and worries about the feasibility and whether it's the right thing to do, of course. Wouldn't it be smarter (and cheaper!) to go to an in-state school? I could go to UCLA and commute, for Pete's sake, or I could go to Berkeley...but for my chosen major, I still have a crapload of prerequisites to do, and am just so ready for a change.
A major change. I worry too whether I'm not just giving in to the old quarter-life crisis and want to escape my reality. Whether I'm not being seduced by the fancy Ivy name after being self-conscious over my less than stellar high school career and spending the better part of the decade in community college. On the other hand, I've done well enough for myself that I got in, and have a nice hefty number of credits to transfer, so who's to say it's not just my path?
Save the fact that I expect to leave the Bean back in Cali, at least to start with, I'm really thrilled at the whole prospect. Independence, one of the best-regarded schools around, the most exciting city I can think of...what's not to love?
Seriously, if anybody has a good idea about what's not to love, I'm open to hearing it. I'm about to write these fools a check.
Unlike these, which are somewhere between unappetizing and totally gross-looking. Still tasty, except for the something-like-an-eggs-benedict which I never ate because I turned out be feel under the weather that day and was not prepared for experimentation or cold Hollandaise.
This was fun! I've had these Hello Kitty rice molds for ages but I never use them. I'm also slowly mastering making rice after a lifetime of needing my sister to make her patently awesome recipe and ruing the day she moved away.
Berries are wonderfully in season right now, they are just amazing. To the right we have my famous green bean casserole, some broccoli, and some meatloaf.
The cherries aren't bad either. We've also got leftover meatloaf crumbled up for tacos, decorated with avocado cutouts.
I don't have all too much to say about this lunch, except that it reminds me of how, when I make the effort, this project has really helped me establish healthier eating patterns, as well as eating seasonally. Thank goodness for that.
That's raspberry coulis over the fruit, made possible thanks to the our latest kitchen addition, a decent strainer. Along with the food processor and the standing mixer, it's been getting a lot of use.
I had to send in an entry for a bento contest out of this batch, so I picked this one. It turned out to really be a breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast was fresh raspberries and Reynardo's rice pudding with a little extra cinnamon, lunch was the peanut butter and blackberry sandwich and I had the salad for dinner, the highlight of which was the balsamic vinaigrette I made in the food processor.
And now the evidence of standing mixer use, yet more trifle. I don't feel particularly bad, because it takes wonderful advantage of the freaking amazing fruit that's available right now, courtesy of farmers markets and trucks on the side of the road. There's strawberry/razz coulis mixed into the whipped cream, too, but it didn't really give it the bright pink cast I was hoping for. Still and all, you're looking at some major delicious right here.