Alright, catching up a bit, here's a recap of our trip to L.A. to see Eddie Izzard's show...
Traffic was unspeakably bad most of the way up (I've noticed that weekends on the major highways are starting to become as bad as weekday rush hours. One trend, size ugly). We were running later than hoped and had become a little stressed about our timeline; by the time we checked into the Radisson, got ready and left for the show, there was just enough time to find a place to eat dinner. Our hotel was only a half-mile straight down the street from the theater, easy walking distance; stupidly, though, I'd worn shoes that were cute but dysfunctional. Halfway there my feet began filing strident complaints with management. The stress from earlier began insinuating itself back into our evening, and I felt guilty for inviting it to rejoin us via my unwise choice of footwear.
Luckily, however, we passed a sushi place. Since we'd eaten a late lunch and weren't starving, we decided sushi would be just the thing to tide us over. Despite the ominous "B" rating from the health department hanging on the wall, the food was surprisingly good, and the atmosphere was one of a nice neighborhood place, so we enjoyed the meal and were able to relax and regain our enthusiasm for the show. (Beer and sake helped, too).
We made it to the theater with plenty of time to spare. The Wiltern is a lovely venue built in the 1930's, it has a gorgeous Art Deco motif, and was apparently reopened just within the past year following a full restoration/upgrade. The lobby is round with a vaulted ceiling and a balcony encircling the upper level. We procured cocktails at the lobby bar and settled along the wall to get our bearings and look around.
We figured there was a good chance of seeing some well-known faces at the show, and we weren't wrong (although the first people I recognized, Pamie and Stee, posted an entry about their own sightings, which informed us as to how inobservant we really were). We decided to walk up to the upper level, and as we approached the stairs, we noted Jim Carrey, standing smack-dab in front of the stairway with a friend, looking thin and tall and mop-haired and expectant. It seemed to us that by standing in the most prominent spot in the lobby, he was kind of trolling for attention, and yet no one was (overtly, at least) paying much to him. He seemed kind of taken aback, his gaze darting about the room as he chatted with his companion. We claimed a spot on the balcony to observe him for a couple of minutes, then visited the balcony bar to refresh our refreshments before the show started (possibly a bad idea, but we're getting to that).
As we paid for our drinks, I noticed a familiar face next to me at the bar an older, distinctly British-looking guy in a dark snakeskin jacket. The gears in my now-pleasantly-tipsy mind clicked, and as we walked away I hissed to Bill, "Isn't that the guy from Monty Python Eric Idle?" Bill immediately about-faced and took a look, and confirmed that it was indeed. He went over to him and shook hands, telling him quickly how much he admired his work and thanking him for it. I was standing behind Bill but popped my head around from one side and said, "Don't want to intrude on your evening, but it's a pleasure to see you." Idle was gracious, and we went on our way, as tickled as Elmo.
Our seats in the "loge level" were good, and we were able to see Eddie quite clearly when he came out. He was wearing a lavender blouse, a sparkly black full-length skirt slit up to his waist, exposing the entire length of one surprisingly shapely leg, and stilettos. Oh, and breasts. His opening bit was all about the strangely natural-looking bags of silicone strapped onto his torso. This is about the only portion of the show I remember with full clarity. The combination of a too-light dinner, several stoutly-poured cocktails, and no water had begun to work an evil spell on my blood chemistry and my long-term memory. (Yes, I most certainly should know better by this point in my life, but there it is...). In the mean time, the audience was roaring with laughter at Eddie's slightest gesture or muttering; they were so, so ready for him to be hilarious that it was sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I wonder if that's at all strange for a comedian, to get laughs for which you don't really even have to work all that hard. That's not to say, mind you, that his show was anything less than really clever and good. However, between the constant overly-eager howling of the audience, the unadvantageous placement of the speakers, and his own impaired hearing in one ear, poor Bill was having trouble hearing anything at all. I began to repeat funny bits to him, but that only pissed off the people around us.
After the intermission (another cocktail purchased; poor decision), one of our neighbors politely mentioned the annoyance of my running commentary, and I apologized and promised to be quiet. Things get a little indistinct for me after that point... We decided to leave about 20 minutes before the show ended between Bill's lack of comprehension and my increasingly ominous blood alcohol level, we thought it was the best course of action.
We found ourselves loose in old L.A., walking down what we thought to be the right street toward the hotel. It was not. We figured this out after a while, but were both just a little too cloudy to figure out which way the correct path back was, and a little nervous about being both looped and lost. So we surrendered and called for a taxi.
As we waited, I sat on a bus stop bench, while Bill stood on the sidewalk some ways behind me, looking for the cab. A scruffy-looking man sat down next to me and began schmoozing me. Being way too prone to indiscriminant chattiness when soused, I was pleasant to him. Having a more clear sense of the guy's intentions, however, in short order Bill walked up behind him and said, "She's my wife. Get the fuck out of here." His tone was both matter-of-fact and menacing, and compliance swiftly ensued. I remember feeling rather proud of Bill for getting all alpha-male on the guy. Geek Wee may be - but he's a hard geek, yo!
The cab arrived, and our sweet old Japanese lady driver was nice enough not to be condescending about the fact that we were so obviously intoxicado. I remember taking a bath, and tithing to a certain deity via means of a round white hole filled with water, and insisting on trying to find and wear a t-shirt which in fact was still at home and that's about it, until early the next morning when I woke up with a sad, sad head and a toe with a nasty blister.
We got up, got clean, checked out, went in search of food, found an honest-to-God Bob's Big Boy, decided we simply must eat there on sheer principle. The kitsch factor was the place's only selling point; the miasma inside was Greasy Spoon Classic, and the food matched. Afterward we cruised Hollywood proper, considering our options... go see a movie at Mann's Chinese Theater? The movie showing was the one with Kate Beckinsale as a vampire - pass, thanks. Go shopping down on Melrose? Couldn't find a parking spot anywhere close to the range in which our hungover asses were willing to walk. Finally, after a half-hour or so of cruising around, we decided that we'd seen enough of the freakshow that is Hollywood from the comfort and safety of our car, and really just wanted to go back to sweet home San Diego. So we did, and happily I remembered that it was Emmy night, so of course I watched them. But that's another entry. =)
All in all, we had a good adventure in Smell-A, got out intact and earned some funny memories. All's well that ends well!
Tomorrow night we get to go see Eddie Izzard's new show, "Sexie", at the Wiltern Theatre in L.A. Soooo excited!! Anyone who hasn't watched the DVD of his 1998 show, "Dress to Kill", needs to do the right thing and go rent it. Otherwise, how would you ever know that babies taste of chicken, or that you can get almost anything you want through the cunning use of flags?
This high-school freshman may be a girl, but she sure has some balls in proposing a certain new high school club.
I'm wondering what activities this club would have... "Dancing: It's About Rhythm, Stupid" classes? "Melanomas and You" seminars? Crackers and Milk socials?
Mind you, I think she has a point. It's just debatable as to why she's choosing to make it.
So, for the first time in my life, I'm on a jury. Never thought I'd see the day, somehow...
Bill and I were summoned to jury duty within a couple of weeks of each other this year, and since I'd already postponed once and rescheduled the postponement makeup date once, I was out of evasive options, barring grievous bodily harm or a sudden revoking of my citizenship. I ended up needing to reschedule my date yet another time to accomodate my parents' visit, but the people at Jury Services were amazingly helpful for a government bureaucracy, and I was allowed to choose the same date as Bill was summoned; so we carpooled. Of the hundreds of people there, we ended up getting called in the same jury selection pool of 60 people (they called groups in alphabetical chunks).
The trial was, we were told, expected to run at least 2 weeks. (That's about all I can safely say about it, I'm guessing). I ended up on the short list of 24 potential jurors - #20 of 24. I figured there was no way they'd toss out enough people to get down to me; I also mentioned an incident relevant to the type of case being tried which I thought might make the defense dismiss me.
I was wrong. 8 rejects later, I was the last person called to the 12-person final jury before both lawyers declared themselves satisfied. The lady next to me said I must be nervous about being on a hury since my hands were shaking. The jury part is fine, I replied; I just don't want to have to tell my boss this. El Jefe is going to kill me, I thought.
Anyway, they still had to pick alternates and all of the remaining three after me were tossed by one of the lawyers or another. More names were called from the pool, but Bill remained unscathed. When the end of the day came without firm alternates, the judge decided to keep a pool of six to choose from - the two that were already being evaluated and 4 new names. The first new name called? Why, that of Wee! We were really eager to see what would happen if/when they interviewed Bill and figured out he was my husband. We were fairly sure they wouldn't keep spouses on the same jury but were curious to find out, and to see whether the judge would be the one to dismiss him, or one of the lawyers would. However, the next day the lawyers kicked #1 out and kept #2, so Bill was never asked a question and he and the others were dismissed. Bummer! Still, it was fun to have him there watching me get chosen.
Sure enough, El Jefe was less than thrilled about the news (he'd spent the day joking with the rest of my coworkers about me getting called onto a jury and how much he hoped he wouldn't have a bad-news voice mail from me when he got in on Tuesday... feh), but he rallied OK and wasn't pissy about it. I am volunteering to come in for an hour in the mornings, from 7 to 8 am, which seemed to mollify him a little. I figure I may as well; it's very much on the way to the courthouse, and leaving here earlier means less chance of getting logjammed coming out of the neighborhood. I just need to figure out a better parking solution than the $15 lot I was in today. Might try Horton Plaza, like one of the other jurors did - you get 3 hours free w/ validation, so she went back @ lunch, validated and paid for the extra hour, then drove out and back in to start another 3-hour free period. Not a bad plan, especially since there's a food court there to which I ended up going anyway. We get an hour and a half for lunch, anyway - time to shop too! Heh, Bill might rue the day I was given one hour per day in the mall for 10 days straight... Think about all those times you see something and think, "Hmmm.. I'll think about it, and if I have time maybe I'll come back for it", knowing you probably won't but sometimes thinking about it as proposed and then wishing you'd gotten it when you had a chance? Well, I'll be able to go back to those things. Could be trouble.
Anyway, my fellow jurors all seem nice. Got through the first day without too much drowsiness. Fortunately they fixed the air conditioning problem, which yesterday had provided the opportunity to find out whose deodorants held up under a challenge and whose were thanked and excused by their wearer's sweat glands. I'd dressed for yesterday's heat and ended up shivering - a side-effect of which was to stave off nappiness, however, so it worked out. We'll see how the rest of it goes...
Truth be told, I'm glad I'm serving. I've always wanted to be on a jury. Corny as it sounds, I do think it's my duty as a citizen; and if, by some freak of fate or extreme case of Tess-bunglery, I ever did end up as the defendant in a trial, I'd hope that I had reasonably intelligent, educated, open-minded people deciding my fate. (Yeah, I'm including myself in that description, fer any smarht asses out there (and don't think I don't know who you are. In fact, I'm fairly sure this category encompasses the majority of you. My point? Uh... Twelve. I mean, I dunno.)). And my company will still pay my salary for up to 10 days, which is about how long it sounds like I'll need. So not only is it, as Bill keeps reminding me, something I'm required by law to do - it's a good thing for me too, even if it loses me some boss juju at work.
Wow, I'm looking out the window to the southeast and still seeing blue sky - yet I hear thunder fit to rattle the windows out of their frames, and we had, like, a 5-second downpour... This is some weird-ass weather all of a sudden - yes, right here in SoCal, strange weather! It's madness, I tell you... madness!
My parents left on Sunday, after a visit that I think was good fun for them as well as for me.
I really enjoyed the time I spent with them; I think I managed to find activities that were fun for each of them and also gave me a chance to spend one-on-one time with both. Dad got to go to the track three days; twice Mom and I dropped him off and went shopping - I joined him for part of one of those days while Mom and Bill made dinner - and on the Pacific Classic day all three of us went. (He had the laptop streaming live coverage of the races on the days he didn't go - for a septuagenarian, he's quite the computer geek). Additional wagering opportunities were had at the Viejas Casino too; my dad and I went on a blackjack jag (appropriate, since I'm sure I inherited the gambling bug gene from him; and amusing, to hear the little sotto voce commentary he makes as he plays). Mom was content to work the video poker machines. We saw the Aerospace Museum, and had fish-n-chips at Shakespeare's, which as authentic an English pub as you could find in SoCal, after which Mom got to do some shopping for favorite foods and knickknacks at their English store (Bisto, Horlick's, Maynard's Wine Gums, flake chocolate, dessert cream, etc...). I introduced them to our favorite card/word game, "Apples to Apples", which Mom in particular loved and which we played while drinking her expertly-mixed margaritas with Todd and Wy on Friday night.
When I had to work, they puttered around my house, doing little chores (and in Mom's case, some minor redecorating, heh). I kept telling them they shouldn't bother and I didn't want them doing chores on their vacation; but I think they liked the feeling of being helpful and putting things in order. And really, like I'm going to complain if Dad feels compelled to clean Indy's nose snot off the dog door and Mom simply must clean the cobwebs off all my deck plants?
Unfortunately, Mom's hips and knees slowed her down a lot this visit; they give her a lot of discomfort and frustration, which is sad to see. My parents have always been pretty agile compared to most folks their age, so it's hard to see age getting the upper hand on them now and then. I still have a hard time thinking of them as "old", and they say they have a hard time thinking of themselves as senior citizens too - which is a good thing, I think. A side-effect of not thinking of them as old, though, is that I have to remind myself to be patient when they aren't as quick on the uptake as they used to be. The line between being considerate and being overly-solicitous is a thin one, so I tried to find a balance by alternating in taking care of them and letting them take care of Bill and me. And honestly, despite my protests for them to take it easy, I'll miss coming home to find that dinner's been cooked, the deck's been swept, and the wrinkled blouses I've had in a ball in the laundry closet for 4 months are crisply ironed and ready for duty.
So, in the end, although I thought a 10 day visit would be trying, it really was OK - I had a lot of fun too. I miss them more than I thought I would. Indy, for her part, is downright doleful at the wrap up of her 10-day glut of attention, snacks, daily walks and company.
With every visit I realize how lucky I am to still have them around and in relatively good health. This fortune was underscored by the sad fact that their visit was bookended by the loss of two brothers-in-law who were like brothers to them. English Uncle Terry (mom's sister Grace's widower) was found dead in his easy chair at home the day Mom and Dad were leaving for my house. Terry resembled the actor Jonathan Pryce - he was a gentle, smart bloke with a wonderful sense of humor. He loved Aunt Grace dearly and was lost after her death, which was less than two years ago - they were one of those couples who did everything together, and I suspect he just didn't have much interest in life without her.
Midwest Uncle Ivan died of pericardial cancer the day after they got home (having already survived, I think, two prior cancer battles in the past - he was a tough old bull). Ivan was Dad's sister Dorothy's husband, and he was like a surrogate father to Dad since my trick-pony-riding grandfather abandoned the family (again, and for good this time) when Dad was a baby. Ivan was the one who bought Dad a bike when he was a kid, and who taught him to drive a car - even loaning him the car to go out with his friends a time or two, much to the chagrin of his wife who was certain her footloose baby brother would end up in a ditch. Ivan was a hard-working character - a sly teaser, but one of the most generous people I've met. Despite being an in-law, he was a true patriarch of the Crawford clan he married into, and he'll be missed.
Anyway, as my parents were among the youngest of their respectively large clans of siblings, I know we'll be getting this sort of news with increasing frequency in the years to come. It's sad, but at the same time I feel grateful that longevity runs in both families, and that in living long the majority also manage to live well. I'm hopeful that I'll have the same fortitude if fate allows. All I want is what my elders have been given - a nice long ride, and sufficiently good health, relationships, and attitude to allow me to enjoy the journey all the way to the end. Cheers.