Monday, December 11, 2006

The Starpower Times: This Just In!

Update of an exclusive reported earlier here at The Starpower Times. Once again, my dad, reporter from the Lexington Bureau:

(Lexington) In a surprise move late this afternoon, the Board of Directors of Chimney Springs International, parent company of Chimney Springs Sporting Ventures LLC, issued the following statement:

"We wish to clarify certain actions undertaken recently at Chimney Springs since we believe current press accounts may have lead some to draw inaccurate or untoward conclusions. The Board of Chimney Springs International is resolute in its ongoing support for conservation efforts that sustain migratory fowl, globally and in Rockbridge County.

"It has come to our attention that Mr. M.L. Smith of our Rockbridge facility has somehow misinterpreted the installation of our latest artistic acquisition, the contemporary organic artwork, 'Taut Twines,' for some type of bird flight inhibiting device. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have advised Mr. Smith of the Board's dismay with this rash and presumptuous misinterpretation, and have urged him henceforth to devote greater and more timely attention to internal Chimney Springs memoranda.

"Blending performance art and living sculpture, 'Taut Twines' symbolizes the universal vexations of fly anglers everywhere as they struggle with omnipresent forces that seek to ensnare their back-casts. The artwork, specially commissioned by the Chimney Springs Board, will be on display through late February. Reflecting artistic influences as diverse as Christo, Minimalism and Home Depot, 'Taut Twines' speaks to the dichotomy inherent in virtually all contradictory dualities. The Board notes that the work's current placement at Chimney Springs is solely for maximum artistic impact, in homage to its inventive forebears, and in no way is intended to impair or impede local fauna."

When pressed for further details about Mr. Smith's future with Chimney Springs, a Board spokes said, somewhat cryptically: "We believe Mr. Smith's afternoon will be more productively spent away from the Mac, and perhaps back at the Nintendo."

The Starpower Times' Local Dispatch from Virginie Correspondent (a.k.a my dad)

(Lexington) In a sudden and unexpected announcement, M.L.Smith,
proprietor of Chimney Springs Sporting Ventures LLC, today imposed an emergency suspension of esthetic principles in the management of his renowned trout fishery at 2 Mountain View Lane.

"It was not an easy or pleasant decision," Smith noted. "But it forced my hand."

The "it" in question is a juvenile great blue heron that Smith
alleges has been depredating his recently stocked brook trout.

"Oh, there's no 'alleged' about it, Bub," Smith emphasized to reporters. "It's down there, hanging out in the shallows, right where the spring comes in and right where the brook trout are -- that's it, that's Strike Three in my books!"

In order to dissuade potential heron predation, Smith rigged a
series of twine barriers across the shallows, thereby preventing large wading birds -- such as the heron -- from alighting.

"Yeah, it's ugly as all get out," said Smith's "land manager," who asked not to be identified by name. "But this here's Rockbridge County, so that don't matter none. Heck fire, I could string him some nice Christmas lights there along that twine, too, if his missus would let him -- and wouldn't take 'em down neither til summer or whenever them bulbs burnt out. But that light might bother them trout, you know."

Smith offered apologies to prospective anglers for any possible
casting inconvenience or the prospect of a displeasing vista, and hastened to assure them the situation was only temporary.

"We are confident this is only a brief phase, and that soon the new trout will be of sufficient size to reduce their exposure to predation."

When questioned by local environmentalists about the legality of the apparatus, Smith bristled: "I spent my entire career in furtherance of conservation laws! And I salute the dedicated men and women who diligently administer the Migratory Bird Treaty Act."

"Yeah, what he said," echoed Smith's land manager, "but this here's
a livestock issue."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

He even declared my Master’s degree “fluff”

When I first moved here, I was lucky enough to work at a place that had such cool people that I liked them very much and, as a result, had found a nice little friend base to go with the salary and fabulous commute (a commute I now recall wistfully (sigh)). I also had cool roommates, which led to another li’l base of friends. Meeting so many people so soon made for a nice soft landing here in Cali and I was feeling lucky about attracting as many good people into my life as possible (Hi, I’m Friend Glue!). To this end, I was always on the lookout for more friends and maybe even something more. It was the Friends category I was thinking of when I wrote the following email, though re-reading it, it appears to be more in the Flirt-A-Thon-2005 camp. It was met very positively as such by the recipient who I’d come to refer to as the Surfing Doctor to my new pals, on account of he surfed and was a doctor. (And since the nickname was so obvious, I came to refer to myself as the Obvious Nicknamer. (I’ll leave it to you to untangle how I came up with that one.))

Following said email, the Surfing Doctor (aka Peter) and I had a date that was nothing short of disastrous (okay, okay, I’m exaggerating: wildly uncomfortable). I was super late (had to look good, you know?), he was super hungry (and thus a little short of patience) and then, over dinner, he tried very hard to impress me by knowing everything (including current events I should have known, but didn’t (so embarrassing, I should have studied first!)) and comparing his work experience and salary with mine. Hott.

Needless to say, there was no second date, but we’ll always have the intro:

Hi Peter,

It's a bit awkward trying to email someone that your friend doesn't even know to say you should meet. I tried to come up with clever ways of introducing myself ([Starpower]) to you. Here were the finalists:


Hey Pete,

I'm your MN pal's pal and we live close to each other in LA. Maybe we should get a beer sometime? No worries either way.


Super-important LA-style:

Peter, right?

I heard you wanted to meet me. I'm like super-busy, but I guess I could meet you for martinis in WeHo. I just heard about the HOTTEST spot. Don't worry, I can totally get us in.

You're welcome,
Chantal [stage name]


Um, Peter?

I don't know if you remember, but your friend Joanne mentioned that her friend Susan has a friend who lives in LA? Um, well, that's me and if you wanted to get a beer sometime, well, I don't know if you drink and if you don't drink that's TOTALLY fine (I mean, I'm totally not a big drinker either PLEASE don't think I'm an alcoholic!!!!), but then maybe we could get some coffee? Unless you don't drink caffeine (oh my gah am I doing this all wrong? Are you sooo offended??). Well, I don't know, a hike or frisbee...unless you're not outdoorsy. Oh my gah this is soooo hard! Just, I don't know, get in touch if you want to hang out sometime. I understand if you're too busy to meet up. I didn't mean to take up so much of your time.


Frat boy:

'sup brah?!

My girl Su said your friend thought we should hang out. You in?? Just be warned, dude, that I like to pound beers [not really] and can quote ALL of Old School [kinda]. Not trying to be a dick, man, but only call if you can hang.




Pursuant to discussions held in Minnesota between one Joanne [last name?] and one Susan XXXXX [weird last name], I am making contact via email to suggest [got too boring, had to abandon ship]

Okay, so there you have it, my best(?) attempts. Anyway, I live in Venice and would like to meet up sometime. Suie (aka Susan, aka my girl Su) will be in town this weekend (yay!) so that could be a really fun time to hang out if you want to join us.

Let me know!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Boredom is the mother of invention (if buying CDs is inventive, that is)

Aside from how awesome it is that my computer at home doesn’t work, I am having similar issues at the place of business. Maybe I’m my own Mercury-in-Retrograde since shit’s breaking all around me. My home is like an electronics graveyard: the DVD player’s working but not hooked up to the TV I still can’t watch, the VCR is bona-fide b-r-o-k-e-n as is the 6 CD-changer I didn’t bother to hook up to the tuner which doesn’t get any radio stations (no antennae) and sometimes I can get my record player to work for a few minutes before an awful noise overtakes the speakers as if it’s reverb on an amp. (Have I mentioned this before? Am I a broken record?) Anyway, my iPod headphones are too scratchy to be of any quality use, so I am using some cheapo ones from an o-l-d MP3 player but the cord from the headphones is super short, so movement during use is limited. Not that it matters too too much, since I have no access to iTunes anymore, lost as it is behind the darkness of the laptop’s cruel screen. Egads. The woman, she may as well live in the stone ages, depending on the color from berries to squeeze on a slab of rock for entertainment (when not running from mastodons or being clubbed on the head and dragged by the hair by some total Cro-magnon).

It’s not all bad. I still have CDs, which I play through the DVD player via the tuner and they sound great through my trusty little Bose speakers. No TV equals not only more reading but much more listening to music and—to unite my teeny media worlds—reading about music. I recommend this month’s Blender magazine, not just because of the eerie resemblance of one of the members of My Chemical Romance (featured on the cover) to a friend from 5th grade on through high school (Fleck, can I get a witness? It’s creepy, seriously. I keep doing quadruple-takes.). You should also read it because of the hilarious interview with Jared Leto, which reveals, in no uncertain terms, just what a jackass that guy truly is. So funny and I’d like to acknowledge the hard-hitting fear-no-backlash reporter who boldly described Leto—in the very article—as “kind of a douchebag.” Now, that’s journalism, people. (Also, it’s the LA issue, which automatically makes it like 1,000 times more interesting.)

Since the music revolution in the crib has taken hold, I found the need to recharge the supply and, thus, headed out to Amoeba on Sunday. About two things will bring me willingly to Hollywood: my friend A and Amoeba. The former is fabulous and fun and the latter is a huge record store with new, used, super-bargain-basement-used CDs, tapes, records, DVDs, etc. and all are guaranteed to play perfectly. Here’s what I got, mostly all used:

  1. Silversun Pickups—Pickul. Awesome, awesome, awesome. I got this CD because I so love their newest one (the song “Lazy Eye” has been getting some alterna-airplay of late). I totally dig this band and think you should, too. It burns me that they’ll be playing here when I’ll be playing in New York. It doesn’t appear that they’ll be back for months either. Dis.
  2. French Kicks—Trial of the Century. Bought somewhat spur of the moment based 100% on my love of the title track. So, so good. Haven’t listened to the album yet, will report back.
  3. Sonic Youth—CD version of a 10” that I’ve had for about 10 years which includes 100%, Crème Brulee, some other song, and Genetic, aka the-song-I-was-obsessed-with-in-grad-school.
  4. Despite it’s name (“The Cool List” (ugh)), I also got NME’s 2005 compilation, which, halfway into it, kicks ass. Here’s why: We Are Scientists, The Go! Team, Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah, and Be Your Own Pet. The first two I know I love, the second two I’ve loved in passing and want to hear more. Other good reasons to buy this CD, I’m learning: Test Icicles (total rock and roll), The Cribs, The Paddingtons, Antony and the Johnsons. Kano could be a winner. Forward Russia has promise as well as The Long Blondes. More still, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

All of this is to say that I have finally emerged from the phase that consisted solely of Blood on the Tracks, motivated by evening walks in the park with the Timbot and Sureshot when, seeing park benches, the lyrics took hold: They sat together in the dark/as the evening sky grew dark/She looked at him and he felt a spark/tingle to his bones.

Such a great song from such a great album, but the quiet evenings with Dylan, candlelight and dinner preparation have now been supplanted with rock and roll, Blender magazine and pizza. Sometimes I get antsy, and sometimes what soothes the soul isn’t calm.

Or maybe I just wanna rock—gotta rock—and no one and I mean NO ONE, not even YOU, Mr. Gurgencheck, can stop me.

And I thought my attraction to Borat was confusing

I feel conflicted about this keyboard player in ways that I am not comfortable acknowledging... though the song's awesomeness TOTALLY speaks for itself.

The state of my mates

For my birthday this year, my friends—and even a fave cousin visiting from Seattle—were the total rockstars that they all are and joined me for a party with presents and cake and cupcakes and liquor and all the Red Barron four cheese frozen pizza (the best non-New York pizza going) a girl could ever ask for. I was honored and humbled and, of course, the Belle of the Ball with my tiara, fairy wings, and wand (shout out to Annie for the half-off Halloween wear!). B supplied much of the party goods—including her house—and a first-time-ever-attempt at baking a cake (lovingly lopsided deliciousness). A and T brought cupcakes in addition to CDs and a bath set (do I offend?) while T and A (heh heh) brought the biggest yummiest pudding concoction ever concocted along with handmade (by T) earrings and a beautiful scarf. C and R gave an awesome scarf as well and A and S brought iTunes money and three fab bracelets I wear often. Even Timmy and Shorty got some bling care of A (is it me or do like 75% of my friends have names that start with the letter A? Weird.) My friend H (there we go) brought a cool mini-make up touch up kit and J brought a bottle of Bombay Sapphire, wrapped thoughtfully in the plastic grocery bag in which it was carried from the store. Many people brought beer and wine to augment the margaritas being made and served by the fella I was dating at the time.

(Note: We’d dated for about three weeks at the time of the party, which made his behavior Peculiarly Boyfriend-y. Then we didn’t hang out at all anymore, which proved his behavior to be Particularly LA, in a word: peculiar. (Note #2: I have decided to write more about my dating life here, a thing I have left largely unmentioned until this point. (Note #3: I am doing this to entertain you and to make you come back more since I’ll be writing more AND because I have come to the decision that The Laptop Fund is going to come from the ads that I am going to place on this here site but won’t say anything else about that until I read about what is and isn’t allowed to say w/r/t placing said ads. (Note #4: I hope you have no problem seeing some ads around here. (Note #5: You having a problem with seeing some ads around here is tantamount to you begrudging me a new laptop and what’s up with that, Grinch? Perhaps your heart needs to grow three sizes and maybe you need to see a cute little dog to help you do just that and to help you might I refer you to the previous entry? You’ll notice that Li’l Timmy Tap looks EXACTLY like the mean Grinch’s sad little dog who tried and tried and tried to pull that huge load of presents you tried to steal from the yahoo-dorray-singing townspeople and it wasn’t in that little dog’s huge heart to steal, he was just doing it for
you, to make you happy. And did it? Did it, Grinch?! (Note #6: I’m new to this ad-placing-please-read-my-blog-so-I-can-make-some-money-thing, but maybe insulting you isn’t the way to bring you back, huh? You’re right. I’m sorry. (Note #7: I really like your shirt today.)))))))

So, the birthday party ended and the remaining folks all went to my new favorite neighborhood bar; complete with pool, pinball (pinball!), and big beers priced the size of regular-sized beers. I’m more a liquor gal myself, but I heartily respect this last feature. The place has been around since 1915 and is the oldest bar in Venice…and possibly the oldest thing in the state of California. The jukebox is filled with all manner of classic rock offerings with the occasional newer thing, but it’s not uncommon to hear some Rolling Stones, Eagles and Boston, creating a vaguely yesteryear, Anytown vibe that I find a refreshing departure from the TooCoolForSchool bar up the street where I sip wine and pick up men. Plus, it’s never crowded and the folks are nice. Hence, my new favorite bar. So we go and it’s fun. Never much to report about that place but that it’s a good time, so that thread ends right here.

…to pick up a thread abandoned shortly after the beginning of this post: presents people gave me for being alive and being awesome. Now I loved all the presents with equal amounts of love. Let’s get that straight right here and now. But, there’s one gift I wanted to highlight here: tickets. C and J got me two tickets to see Mates of State play a few weeks hence. C was the one who’d turned me on to them, which made the gift especially fab. Here’re some reasons why the show itself was fab:

  1. We’d missed them when they opened for Spoon and Cry-Me-A-Melodically-Self-Absorbed-Though-Undeniably-Catchy-River (aka Death Cab).
  2. It was the day after Thanksgiving which meant no work to rush from to get to the show (not to be underestimated in this town). This no-work-day also meant my pal H could drive up from Huntington Beach to use the other ticket.
  3. It was at the El Rey Theater, which is like a mini-Wiltern but closer and with better parking options.
  4. They were really good as were the opening acts, The Botticellis and, especially, Asobi Seksu (check them out).
  5. I had a star sighting and fell in love.

Not wanting to divulge anyone’s privacy, I’ll just give you hints to piece together the identity of said star:

  1. He was a correspondent on the Daily Show, where his brother continues to be a correspondent. This means they know Stephen Colbert (probably) and Jon Stewart (definitely). Sigh.
  2. He now acts on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and does a fabulous job.
  3. His name is Nate Corddry.

Let me tell you: he may look all little-boy style on TV, but in real life, he’s all man, my friends. Unlike others stars, who are all a solid 6-11” shorter in real life (maybe I shouldn’t spoil Luke Wilson for you), Nate was the same size you’d think he is: not super tall, but taller than me and that’s what matters (to all of you, too, I’m sure). Not only was he Actual Size, but he also had a styley beard and a hip indie-boy plaid button down. Hott. I mean it. Good thing I didn’t say hi.

I don’t want to say much else, because if I see him at shows in the future, I want to play it cool so we can start dating and not many first dates should involve the line, “So, I dissected your appearance on my blog the other day. Don’t worry, it was all good.” Everyone knows that that’s strictly second date material and I don’t want to jump the gun on this one, people. I see real potential for Nate and me. It’s probably already love, but I think we should meet to make sure.