Sunday, March 05, 2006

Okay, so, like, five New Things (#40-45)

NOTE: I wrote this last night before I went to bed, so when I say “tonight” I am actually referring to yesterday.


Okay. So.

I spent the day with my friend Carol in Laguna Beach and as I was leaving her house (she lives up in the hills), I saw the most beautiful sunset.

I can actually show you a picture of it because as soon as I saw it, I called my friend Dustin—who I went to high school with, who I had a really great bad date with a few months ago, and who also lives in Laguna—and I asked him, “are you looking at this sunset?” And he was looking at the sunset, because it was that good (it was seriously freaking unbelievable) and he took a picture of it and emailed it to me.

Now before you look at this picture (don’t scroll down and look at the picture yet!) I have to warn you that this picture doesn’t really capture the sunset at all (but can pictures ever?):

(insert picture) (um, yeah, it says "insert picture") (because blogspot isn't uploading dustin's picture for some reason) (oy)

(UPDATE: Okay, blogspot is finally allowing me to upload pictures.)

I don’t mean any offense to Dustin’s photo, but this picture doesn’t really capture the sunset (and since you said so yourself, Dustin, you can’t be offended when I say it). This sunset was really a sight to see IRL (that’s “In Real Life” for you non-computer geeks out there)—and also, the picture was taken at the tail end of the sunset, anyway.

Anyway, (do you like how I used the word “anyway” to end and begin consecutive sentences?) I never take the time to enjoy simple and beautiful things like the sunset. I know it’s such a cliché for me to be like “today I learned to enjoy the sunset”—it’s totally gay (in the pejorative sense of the word), but whatever, it’s true: I never appreciate shit like that. (I used the phrase “shit like that” because I wanted to sound more butch and manly after saying the mushy thing about “enjoying the motherfucking sunset” and then I added the word “motherfucking” to my quoting of myself because I wanted to sound really gangsta and, um, even more butch and manly.) (Is it working?) So, since I never appreciate things like dope-ass sunsets, when I noticed the above mentioned setting of tonight’s sun, I pulled my car over to the side of the road and I got out of my car and I enjoyed the last few minutes of tonight’s most beautiful sunset and I’m considering that New Thing #40.

Earlier in the day, I cooked a hamburger and I realized that even though I have probably eaten at least twenty or thirty thousand hamburgers in my lifetime (at first I wrote “over a billion,” but then I was like, “let’s be realistic here” and I settled on “twenty or thirty thousand”) (I remember when I was a kid I used to rollerblade to McDonald’s about five blocks from my house with my friend Katie, who was basically the Angela Chase to my Brian Krakow, except I wasn’t in love with her because I was gay, which made me more like Ricky Vasquez, but other than the gay thing I wasn’t like Ricky Vasquez at all, and I was like Brian Krakow in a lot of other non-gay ways, so I’m still going to say I was Brian “Brain” Krakow to Katie’s Angela Chase—she truly was way cool like Angela—anyway—there I go saying “anyway” again—we used to rollerblade to McDonald’s together and I remember we used to sit near the counter and wait until no one was looking and then rollerblade up to the counter, reach over, and grab as many condiments as we could and then rollerblade back to our seats without getting caught) (we used to do this all the time) (the reason I told you that story was basically to show you that I have, like, a multitude of childhood memories about McDonald’s, which is proof that my figure of “twenty or thirty thousand” hamburgers is accurate. yet, even though I’ve eaten that many hamburgers in my life...)...I have never actually cooked a hamburger, so I’m counting that as New Thing #41.

Okay, did you hear what I just said? I’m twenty-eight-years-old and I just said that I have never cooked a hamburger before. I mean, as far as I can remember. How weird is that? I really don’t think I’ve ever done it. Is that possible? It seems really weird to me. I mean, I know I’m not much of a cook (that’s an understatement) (when I was living in London, my step-sister Patt came to visit me and I invited her over to my place for dinner and I served her spaghetti with marinara and water to drink) (that was it) (no bread) (no parmesan cheese) (nothing but spaghetti, marinara sauce, and water to drink) (I was, like, twenty at the time, so cut me some slack) (I didn’t even realize that it was such a terrible, unthoughtful dinner until years later when Patt said something along the lines of “do you remember when you invited me over for dinner in London and made me spaghetti with marinara sauce and water to drink?” and I was a few years older at the time and I suddenly realized, “wow, that’s a really crappy dinner”), but even though I’m not much of a cook, you would think that at some point during my life I would have thrown a hamburger patty on a skillet and cooked it. I mean, how could I have gone twenty-eight-years without ever actually cooking a burger for myself? I don’t have an answer for you.

So what made today different from any other day? How did I suddenly find myself cooking hamburgers? Well, I was at my friend Carol’s house (like I said before) and she asked me to do a favor for her. Her dad is staying with her for week and she asked me if I would hang out with him while she ran some errands and also if I would make him a hamburger because he’s not much of an eater and that worries her and she didn’t think he’d eaten anything yet all day and he never eats anything she cooks. “Tell him I told you to cook the meat because it’s been in the fridge for a while and if I don’t use it today, I’m going to throw it away. That’s the only way he’ll eat it—if he thinks he’s saving something from being thrown away.”

So Carol left to run her errands and I set out to cook some hamburgers and that’s when I realized I have no idea how to cook a hamburger. I understand that it’s a rather simple thing to do, but still, I worried that if I didn't cook the burgers long enough I might kill Carol's dad, so I stood there for a few beats looking at the raw ground beef and the skillet and the oven and wondering, "how am I supposed to do this without killing anybody?”

Obviously, I figured out how to cook the meat (I’m not stupid) and I finally walked out of the kitchen an hour later as a cooker of two hamburgers, but it was still a bit of a struggle for me, what with being a neophyte chef and all. Still, at the end of the day, I can now say that I have cooked two hamburgers in my lifetime. Okay, actually I’ve overcooked two hamburgers in my lifetime. But even though my meat was overcooked and chewy, it still qualifies as New Thing #41.

Jason Mraz is on MadTV right now. I find him incredibly annoying and incredibly hot at the same time. What’s up with that?

Um, yeah.


Okay. So...

Back to my evening. After I overcooked two hamburgers, after I enjoyed the sunset, as I was leaving Laguna Beach, I drove past Johnny Rockets and I suddenly started to crave one of their egg salad sandwiches so I pulled over and then parked my butt at one of their counter seats. My waitress was this woman named Jewels who had the best smile I’ve seen in a really long time. It was the size of Texas. After I sat down, we both looked at each other and then started laughing for no real reason. It was one of those moments where you meet someone and you think “I know I’m gonna like this person” and you can tell they’re thinking the same thing. For the next 45 minutes, Jewels basically ignored all of her other customers and gave me about ninety percent of her attention. She told me I reminded her of her Uncle Paul “except less Filipino.” We flirted, we joked, we laughed. And as I was paying my bill I decided to do a New Thing I’ve been wanting to do for a while now: I tipped her 200 percent.

Now, I’m not rich by any stretch of the definition, and I honestly can’t afford to be throwing money around right now, but I do believe in tipping well even when you can’t afford it because waiters and waitresses are highly underappreciated and they do hard work and the other day I was thinking, “wouldn’t it be fun to be one of those people who don’t just tip well but tip really well?” When I was in college, I worked for a summer as a host at Louise’s Trattoria in Glendale and I had to put together all of the To Go orders and people rarely tipped me because they just looked at me as the random dude who was handing them their To Go order, but in reality I was putting their order together while answering two phones and making multiple coffee drinks and seating people and it was stressful and I’m gonna stop harping because this was almost a decade ago, but my point is that I remember this one time Kurtwood Smith, who plays the dad on That ‘70s Show, came in and ordered a piece of pizza, which was something like five dollars, and he gave me a ten and told me to keep the change. This was almost ten years ago and I still reverently remember the dad from That ‘70s Show as a good tipper. So I decided that even though I’ve always been a good tipper, I wanted to try out being a really good tipper, and even though I can’t really afford to go around leaving 200 percent tips, I tipped Jewels at Johnny Rockets twenty bucks on a ten dollar meal and that was New Thing #42 and it felt really good to do because Jewels was awesome.

Okay, wow, I did a lot of New Things tonight, ‘cuz there’s more. After the egg salad sandwich at Johnny Rockets, I went to see Transamerica (New Thing #43) and I thought it was a whole lot of hoowy. (HOW IN THE HELL DO YOU SPELL HOOWY? Is h-o-o-w-y correct?)

Nothing against Felicity Huffman—who I love and who fully commits to the role and who deserves her Academy Award nomination—but the movie was a big load of hoo-haw. It was contrived and maudlin and Jesse nailed it on the head when he told me “Transamerica is a dumbed-down version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch made palatable for middle America.” Okay, nothing against middle America, I love middle America, it’s just gotta be the right middle America, and, well, you know what I mean.

So now I’m at home watching the very cute and very annoying (but still cuter by the second) Jason Mraz singing on television and it’s been a long day of enjoying sunsets and making hamburgers and tipping big and watching movies about transgendered folks and I’m ready for bed.

Oh, but wait, also, earlier in the day Carol and I went to the Laguna Beach Parade of Patriotism (I’m not sure if that’s what it was called, but that’s what it was). It was a homespun parade with some men dressed in their best military uniforms and some men dressed in their best drag and some men dressed as taxicabs. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a small-town parade, (and I’ve never been to this one, so I’m counting it as New Thing #44) and going to this one made me want to move to someplace like Ohio (see, middle America? I love you!) where everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everyone’s business and where strangers would ask townspeople, “who’s that weird guy who's always walking around the town square singing along to the soundtrack for Twin Peaks on his ipod?”


Wow, this blog entry was really long and I haven’t even re-read it to see if it’s swimming in typos or not. That's a New Thing for me, too, because I usually reread these blog entries at least seventeen times before I click "publish." Voila, New Thing #45.


UPDATE: Okay, here's the actual picture of the sunset, which... I said before, was one of those you-had-to-be-there kinda things.


The Strawberry said...

Oh my god. I like, love you. And if you lived in Toronto, we would be best friends, because I think you're the funniest person in the world and I would just love love love spending time with you.

And i'm not a freak I promise, i'm just a closet reader of your blog who is secretly in love with you, in a non-sexual, non-creepy way (I promise).

And I thought maybe I should introduce myself to you. So now I am. So hello. I love you.

Erik said...

This comment made me so happy. Thank you, strawberry. You totally made my day. Truly, honestly. I'm glad you introduced yourself. Welcome, stay, put up your feet, have a drink, relax, enjoy yourself in a non-sexual, non-creepy way. Seriously, welcome to the party. I love that I have a reader in Toronto. I love Canadians. Sometimes I want to be Canadian. Some of my favorite people are Canadian, including Urp and Michael J. Fox. And I'm sure that you have read some of my Degrassi ramblings. Or have I NOT rambled very much on Degrassi. Holy crap, I don't think I have written very much on Degressi, other than to maybe mention that I love both generations of the show. I really should get back on topic. Which is to say, thank you for reading my blog and loving it. So hello.

Monets said...

I was going to tell you that George Clooney isn't a sunset but you figured that out all on your own!! Yay Erik!

Also, my 13 mo old and I are obsessed with Jason Mraz right now - he loves to dance and Mraz's first album seems to appeal to his movin' and groovin'!

Third - YEAH!! Move to Ohio!! We'd love to have you! Had I mentioned before that I'm from Ohio, a small town, where everyone knows everyone else's business? Um, yeah... it's more annoying than you can even imagine sometimes.

And fourth... I'm seriously addicted to your blog I'm gonna tell you my real name so we can be like, friends and stuff... Hi Erik, I'm Rebecca! I've got a blog too but it's on LiveJournal and I've thought about moving to blogspot but I've got too many years into it to move, plus it's not nearly as interesting or amusing as yours and some of the others I've found cruising blogspot. So anyway, yeah, hi!

Erik said...

monets, I had no idea you were from Ohio! Yay for Ohio! I love the idea of living in a tiny little town where everyone knows everyone's business. It's totally my fantasy life. Or one of my fantasy lives.

I am so excited you introduced yourself! Very nice to meet you, Rebecca.

If I was 13 months old, I would SO groove to the Mraz. I mean, I groove to him now, but I feel like there's something about the way he sings, the way he trips words off of his tongue, that's gotta be satisfying to a child and has to be extra fun to dance to.

Monets said...

You might like the idea of everyone knowing everyone else's business, but it works much better in theory than in practice! Especially when I was a teenager!! *grin*

Then again - I might find more use for the nosy neighbor network once my boys are that age.... hm.....

Y'know, there are some really fun vacation spots around here... especially if you're a roller coaster fan. Ever hear of Cedar Point? If not, you have no idea what you're missing!!!

~~ Rebecca

Erik said...

Rebecca, maybe it's just because I love Gilmore Girls and I enjoy all of those nosy neighbors. I'm sure in real life, there might be a high level annoyance factor. And you're so right, I'm sure that when your kids are teenagers, you will love the network of busybodies.

I had never heard of Cedar Point, so I googled it (naturally) and I want to go there so badly. It looks like so much fun. It's been way too long since I've been on a roller coaster. Visit Ohio is moving up my list of things to do!

Michael Hartney said...

My feeling is that it's spelled "hooey".

Erik said...

Oh my god. Of course it's spelled "hooey." Thank you, Michael. You know how sometimes you'll look at a word and you'll know it isn't right but you can't figure out what it is supposed to be for the life of you? And then when you see it spelled correctly, it's like all of these dominoes falling in your brain and you're like, "bingo, that's it." You know that feeling? That's how I felt when I read your comment. I was like, YES. OF COURSE THAT'S HOW IT'S SPELLED. WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?

Thank you. I'm grateful to have that resolved.

communicatrix said...

Michael beat me to "hooey" because while I am a smart broad, I am principally an OLD, TIRED broad. At least, I feel like one these days since I had to give up motherfucking coffee.


Since you wrote a post about five new things and since it has been awhile since I left a comment on your marvelous blog, I am leaving five on this post:

1. George Clooney was just as good looking then as he is now, but it's that salt-and-pepper hair and those sexy producer moves that make him my "gimme" today.

2. If you are going to repeat this hamburger-cooking thing, take it from someone whose diet is now 1/3 hamburgers and buy yourself a good, cast iron pan.

3. Mraz, schmaz. Nobody will ever be dreamier than Bobby Sherman. Suckahs!

4. If you had been my customer on that sole day that I worked as a waitress in an Evanston coffee shop, I might still be in the food service industry today. And yeah, I like to tip super-big, too, on occasion, but you know—it's that whole Chinese farmer story thing.

5. Pictures of sunsets never look as good as sunsets, and when they get close, they look like cheesy souvenir postcard versions of sunsets. Don't know why, but it's true.

Erik said...


I've had, like, 2 cups of coffee in my entire life. I've just never acclimated myself to the taste of it. But I know exactly what you mean when you say how tired you've felt ever since you gave up motherfucking coffee because I have a mean addiction to Coca-Cola and the one time I gave up soda I had a headache for three days and I just wanted to sleep. But whatever, that's all hooey. Here are my five responses to your five comments.

1. I sooooo agree with you about George Clooney getting better with age. Lots of men do, but George is really getting sharp. I am embarrassed to admit that I haven't seen either Syriana or Goodnight and Goodluck yet. Usually by the time the Oscars roll around I've seen all of the nominated films, but this year I had only seen half of them (which I think is why I did so miserably with my predictions, but I think I talked about that in a different comment thread) (I got 7 out of 24!) (how pathetic!) and George's films are at the top of my list.

2. What about a George Forman grill? Do they work well? I feel like, since George has so many kids, he must know a thing or two about cooking hamburgers, and they look like they take all of the trouble out of cooking hamburgers, though maybe by making it TOO easy to make hamburgers they take the art out of it.

3. I KNOW. Mras is a putz. I said he's annoying. It's a weird guilty pleasure. Actually, I don't think it can truly qualify as a guilty pleasure because I don't own any of his albums. Still, whenever I see him, I get embarrassingly tingly. Maybe it's because I'm a thirteen-year-old girl. (I just realized that my first two comments mention men named George and I was going to try to stick with that as a motif and one-up your Bobby Sherman reference with a reference to an even dreamier singer named George, but I can't think of ANY dreamy singers named George right now. Somebody help me. There has to be at least ONE super dreamy singer named George.)

4. So you worked for one day in the food service industry? I have to ask: did you quit or were you fired?

5. Amen.

Bonnie said...

Thank god you got your hooey straightened out. Bless the blogger commenters.

I had a short-term coffee addiction in 1990. Then I learned I had a mitral valve prolapse, so I had to lose all things caffiene. Bugger.

I've never seen the Mras thing except in your photo, here, but he's pretty crushable, as photos go.

BTW, when did you start doing the whole photos-on-each-post thingy? I totally stole that concept from Chip (owner of the blogs) and CoCo (who led me to you) and I think it's a really nice touch.

I'm a fan of the George Foreman Grill. We got one for Christmas (or somesuch) a few years ago when we were Atkinsing and used the shit out of it. Way easy.

Speaking of the beef, I just had a major steak at Dan Tana's tonight. Hey... KiKi, have you ever been to Dan Tana's? If you haven't, then YOU MUST LET ME HELP CREATE A NEW THING FOR YOU: You meet me for dinner at Dan Tana's (my treat) and we'll share a Dabney Coleman steak. Or, hell, you're worth it, you can have your own! (Honestly, I've never left Tana's without spending $250, except for when my boss is treating, which... hey, he hasn't done that in awhile. Hmm.)

Anyway, if you've already been to Dan Tana's then I guess that won't be a new thing. Of course, I expect that when we meet that will be your new thing (making a pal online and then meeting in person, learning the story of how she met her hubby online, and how most of her cool new friendships started online, in some way), but I'd love to make the Dan Tana's thing a part of your new thing, since you're all about the combo-new-thing-post these days.

PS--Punkass Mom can join us too. It would be way fun (oh, but you totally can't wear that flannel outfit, just FYI). ;)


Erik said...

I have never been to Dan Tana's. This sounds like a BRILLIANT plan. Thank you for the offer! I will totally take you up on it. We can share the steak. I think I need to say more things in this comment but it's two in the fricking morning and I am forcing myself to move my fingers away from the keyboard and go to sleep.

Erik said...

Oh, but before I go to sleep, thank you for noticing all of the new photos! I decided I wanted to spice things up a little bit. Photos are fun and they make people want to read instead of just skim. That's my theory at least. And I've been having fun finding appropriate photos, so I am going to go back in time and add photos to old posts too, or at least to old posts that I think might use some sprucing up with a photo or two.

Bonnie said...

No prob. We now have a location and agenda for our "first meeting" (I soooooo want soap opera music playing under this exchange) and now it's just a matter of the WHEN.

Yay! You go to bed. Dream of steak and the strongest drinks you've ever had.

And then I'll make your dreams come true and we can finally have MET, dangit! Won't we have a time?!?

Yay, us!


Erik said...

Oh yes, we'll have a time. We'll have...a time.

(That was me being Angela Chase, but it would have been more obvious if you had heard me say it out loud instead of just reading it because my impersonation of her while I was sitting here at my laptop was really good.


Erik said...

I didn't end the parenthetical statement with an end parenthesis!??!??> I am SO TIRED? It's making me. Be really bad with, punctuatioN!! Ag!

Bonnie said...

Tee hee!

And here I am waiting for photos of--get this--images of hermetically sealed ecosystems for shrimp to download on my 'puter for MY next blog entry.

Oh yes... I too have a cool new thing! *giggle*

And your Angela Chase is about the best I've ever read! Truly!

Erik said...

I'm going to bed now for reals. I'm not even commenting on your above comment except to acknowledge that it's there.

Anonymous said...

Count me in. Can't wait.

Bonnie said...


I actually told Keith tonight (when he got home from class like three hours ago), "Hey, BTW*, I made a date for you and me and my NBF and his PAM. Are you cool with an at-the-bar snackfest at Tana's with KiKi and fam?*** We can get the corner of the bar and have all of the yummy finger foods and super strong drinks from Michael. You can deal with like a four-hour-long overlapping-conversation of the manic-OCD-OMG-I-can't-believe-you-do-that-too variety, right? I mean, you and PAM can sit and laugh at us. That could be fun."

And Keith says, "Yeah. Sure. KiKi. CoCo's friend, right? Cool."****

So, it's a date.

Name the when, baby. Name the when.

*I don't actually SAY "BTW," but actually say the words BY THE WAY when I speak out loud.**

**Why the EFF did I think I needed to be sure you knew that about me? Good lord, it's time for bed.

***So, it seems I speak like a middle schooler. Hmm. Yeah. That's about right.

****Former Marines don't use many syllables.

Erik said...

Okay, I'm gonna run some dates by PAM and then I'll contact you OB (off blog) with a few potential "whens".


Bonnie said...

Yippee! Standing by.

PS--Your PAM emailed me. I feel like a weblebrity now. It's like a famous person wrote me fanmail after watching my show. I seriously have been on cloud nine for a week!