Saturday, September 12, 2009

TIFF 2009: Jennifer's Body Premiere

Oh yes, my friends! It's that time of year again - the air is getting crisper, the nights come earlier, and My Boyfriend Michael Cera is in town for a film premiere... Suddenly, everything in the world seems right!

I had the pleasure of attending the world premiere of Jennifer's Body on Thursday night, kicking of the Toronto International Film Festival's series of Midnight Madness films. Whooo boy. It was a good time!

The movie itself was a pleasant surprise - I had my doubts because of early bad reviews and the seemingly sudden genre-change for Diablo Cody. All was quickly proved wrong by the excellent casting, the tongue-in-cheek sarcastic script, and excellent acting by Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, and Johnny Simmons. Honestly? It was great and SUCH a good time. The audience totally got it, laughed a lot, and were genuinely scared at certain parts.

...And I haven't even mentioned how stunningly beautiful & fiercely talented Megan Fox is in this movie. I found myself anxious for her to come back on screen and wanting more. She was truly great (and ridiculously beautiful).

Aside from the movie, it was great to see such an ecclectic crowd out for a movies - from geeks to film buffs to industry insiders (my cousin and I were sitting beside the owner of one of the hottest hotels & clubs in Toronto - talk about a lucky coincidence!). The line up was long, the red carpet fans rabid, and the 2AM Q&A post-movie HILARIOUS.

Check out the snaps & DEFINITELY check out the YouTube video of the Q&A. Diablo Cody has officially become my fucking hero. I currently am obsessed with trying to find a way to use "anatomical reality" in a sentence... sheer brilliance.

The line-up stretched around the block

Waiting for the red carpet celebrity march to begin.

Red Carpet press.

An artsy shot of Adam Brody - he was so short in person!

And Adam from behind.

I have to give him props - he came around and signed autographs and took pictures with fans, which is a first in my red carpet experience (damn you Michael Cera! and there were half the fans at your premiere last year!).




And the YouTube vid of the Q&A - totally worth the 9 minutes!!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


What I have I been up to in this far-too-long-it's-uncomfortable hiatus?

Check it:

I'm working on getting the new site up and back-posting some photos, as well as actually taking said photos, photoshopping said photos, saving up money for fancy photo equipment and, um, a big upcoming trip (miiiiight be going to LA in October. Damn you Jason Mraz and your incredibly generous offers of gratitude to SuperFans!!), and other life stuff. (I totally ordered business cards today. What has two thumbs and feels official? THIS GIRL.)

So, you know, sorta busy? Still, no excuse. And it's not for lack of funny things that have happened to me. INCLUDING adorable My Ex-Boyfriend Michael Cera updates!!

I'm feeling like things are getting sorted out nicely and that I'll have more time for posting both over there (, just in case you forgot the address... cough) and over here.

Good times, blog-friends. Good times.

Yours in Michael Cera,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dear Melissa: You Suck at Blogging. Love Always, Me

Not posting a new blog in over two months makes me sad for many reasons:

1. The last post on here was of that dude that called me fat. Whoa negative vibes!

2. Because Rosie O'Donnell told me I'd be a comedy writer, dammit, so why the fuck am I not comedy writing??!

3. The very reasons I lost interest in both comedy and writing.

To expand on number 3, I should fill you in on my life since I got back from California: getting layed off, being depressed about getting layed off, not having a job, looking for a job, still looking for a job, trying not to die. Repeat for 4 months.

Frankly, I haven't felt funny in a long time. My focus completely shifted from "I have a lovely day job where I have the freedom (and recreational internet) to pursue my true goals and objectives" to "Find a job RIGHT NOW so that you don't die and have to give up your apartment, furniture, and life in Toronto to live on a day bed in your parent's RV".

Exactly. I don't think anyone could be funny with that kind of hurricane blowing through Lifeville.

Not that things are much better now, really. The only difference being I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel and I think I'm quite close to narrowing in on what I want to do for the foreseeable future and in so doing avoiding the day bed and the life-giving-upping.

Of course, moving to LA is not out of the picture; it's just delayed slightly. I'm pushing the move date back by a year so that I can get myself organized (read: debt payed down). To that end, I've placed an embargo on travelling this year, so you can expect my handy and oft-used "oh the places i go" label to be more or less retired for a while. Thankfully the embargo does not include roadtrips (I'm going, in fact, to Illinois this weekend!) so I'll trot it out for those special occasions.

Another reason I haven't been around as much is because something (or someone) else has monopolized my attention: I have a new/old boyfriend! He's been dying for me to mention him here (even though he no longer creeps my blog and probably won't realize I've said anything about him for weeks), so here goes: Nick Jones has stolen my heart and even though he was supposed to call me like 2 hours ago, I love him enough to mention him on my blog for all my readers (if I have any left...) to read about.

Coincidentally, my other Boyfriend has been in town filming his new movie. I may have run into the film set one or three times. Totally coincidentally.


Anways, blog-friends. Hopefully this upswing means I'll be back to stay for a while. And hopefully it means you'll be back too.

Happy spring!


PS If you see my boyfriend (either one) tell him to fucking call me already!!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

March Malltercations

There is an overwhelming abundance of assholes in this city right now. Is it the sudden change in temperature? The failing economy? The daylight savings adjustment? I don't know, but I am one unsettling incident away from standing on a street corner with one of those giant "FREE HUGS" signs to try to cheer Toronto up. Yeesh. See below for a recount of one of the meanest, more horrible things to happen to me at the hands of a stranger. Note to my readers: don't get in the way of some average middle-aged man at 7pm on a Saturday night because he's got places to go, dude. Places to go!

Read on......................................................

so. i went to see the watchmen tonight with a friend (mmmm billy crudup wang) at the busy theatre in the mall by my house. i enter the building and cut through the bookstore and go upstairs to get to the theatre entrance. as i reach the top of the stairs, i swung my arm back (as one naturally does when walking or climbing stairs) and gently knocked someone behind me that was clearly right on my tail. he said "excuse me", which i took to mean "sorry for being on your tail old chum", and we kept going.

i rounded the corner was just before the doorway into the mall when i feel hands grab my shoulders and push me out of the way - not so violently that i fell into anything or was knocked over, but forcefully enough that it was obvious that it was an angry shove. i look over and the dude from the stairway is blowing past me and shoots me a look of anger. "fuck him," thought i, cause who the fuck puts their hands on me and shoves me??! so i say to him "what the hell buddy??!" as he's walking away and he whips back around at me and i shit you not yells this in front of the HUGE crowd of people milling in front of the theatre:

"well get out of the way you fat ass! your ass is so fat no one can get around you! i said excuse me and you didn't move. you're so fat! fat ass!"

no. no. not joking. he actually said that.

he was so angry and yelling so loudly that i decided to pull out my "hey, look at you crazy!" line that throws people off guard - so as he was screaming at me and calling me fat ass all i said back to him super condescendingly was "you know what? have a fabulous day. no seriously, have a fabulous day. really. fabulous. have a fabulous day."

in melissa speak, it means "wow, you sure are bat shit crazy. do you see how crazy you are? you physically put your hands on me and are now calling me fat in front of hundreds of people so that you can get to where you are going 10 seconds faster. really, think about that - 10 motherfucking seconds. you are NUTS."

the first time i said it he just sort of looked at me, shocked at my reaction. i think it must have made him angrier because it was about that time that he starting going off on exactly how fat my ass is.

the things that bother me most about the story is as follows:

1. that there are people that angry that exist in the world

2. that a man physically put his hands on me, a stranger and a woman

3. that he resorted to calling me fat etc. first thing, instead of myriad other reactions he could have had... it's a true sign of a man's douch-y-ness and intelligence that he resorts to calling a woman fat straight out of the gate. it's a low blow (no woman ever wants to hear the dreaded "f" word) and an obvious sign of a bully losing control. ugh.

4. that it's a saturday night - where the fuck is he in such a rush to get to that he needs to touch me and then verbally berate me in front of a crowd? crazy busy rush hour on the subway? i mean, i could have at least understood a little - but it's the fucking weekend, dude!

it also bothered me that he said it in front of a huge crowd of people, so obviously i was embarassed. blergggg.

Whatever, though. To paraphrase from a Sex and the City: I don't really care that much because I get to go on being me ie awesome, and that dude is stuck being him ie abusive and angry. I definitely win in this situation, no?

In other news: the medium popcorn I subsequently enjoyed at the theatre tasted extra delicious, in case you're wondering.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Ball Joint, Two Tie Rods, and an Axel Shaft

Question: Why does everything that is currently wrong with my car sound dirty?

Answer: Because life is mocking me.

So I was noticing over the past month or so that it was starting to get awful hard to turn corners in my car and that even when I was driving straight the car kept drifting to the left. Sensing an expensive alignment issue, I of course ignored the problem and kept on driving. And driving. And driving. To Sudbury and back one weekend. To Schenectady and back another. Up and down the city. Always in the car, always going.

Things came to a head on Monday when after beginning my journey home from a job interview I noticed that I could barely turn the wheel and it wasn't springing back afterwards like it normally would. Thinking that the expensive alignment issue had turned into an expensive power steering issue, I decided that the best thing to do was to get my car safely home and in my parking spot in the backyard and worry about the problem later. Naturally.

So of course I figured I was home-free as I pulled into my driveway and started to make the run up the hill leading between the houses and then into the backyard, but just as I pull of the street I hear a loud crash and my car can't move forward anymore. I stop, get out, inspect the car but don't see anything wrong - I haven't hit the curb, nothing looks off physically about the car - and so I re-enter and try to start up the driveway again. As soon as I hit the gas, I hear another loud bang and feel my car shift slightly to the left side. This time when I get out to inspect the situation, I see my car sitting on top of my front driver's side wheel.

On top. Of. The front driver's side. Wheel.


I also see metal, presumably the part that holds the wheel in place, lying on the ground underneath my car. I also see millions of tiny green dollar signs floating around my car as I silently take in the scene.

I immediately call CAA and set to waiting for four excruciating hours for them to send first a mechanic who doesn't even look at my car before proclaiming that I need a tow truck (I'm not sure what part of "my wheel feel off my car" didn't scream send a tow truck to the operator I spoke with first, because apparently she thought it was a mechanical thing?) and then eventually a tow truck to try to extract my tire-less car.

Two days and $800 later, my car is back home and wheel-ful. I'm pretty pissed that it happened at all (nothing like life giving you a swift kick to the groin when you're down, right?) but also super thankful where and when it did: if it had been either of the two weekends before it could have fallen off while I was driving on the highway or in the middle of nowhere and if it had happened 3 feet either to the back or the front of where it ultimately came off I could have either been in the middle of the busy street blocking rush hour traffic or in the middle of my driveway wedged between two houses with no way to get out of my car (and with no way to extracate it from between the houses, either!).

So let's just say that if my wheel had to fall off my car, I couldn't have picked a more perfect place for it to happen.

Plus, now I get to legitimately say that I am a ball breaker. No big deal. A BALL BREAKER.

(Thanks to Jay for pointing that out..... !!!!)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

To Schenectady, With Love

I don't know about you, but to me nothing says "romance" like Schenectady.

Just say it out loud: Schenectady. Schenectady. Schenectady!


Well, befitting then that I'll be spending Valentine's in none other than the city amongst the pines! And even better is that I'm going to cap off the love with an intimate Jason Mraz concert in the chapel at Union College.


By the way, when you ask people where Schenectady is, the answer you'll most often get is "near Albany". Since I have no clue where Albany is either, this information was not very helpful. I've since learned, however, that Schenectady is in the Hudson River valley about 3 hours outside of New York City. All this means to me is that I'm bound to find at least one Target on my 6-hour drive south.

I'll keep you posted.

Happy Commercial Holiday Debasing Love, friends!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Dear My Ex-Boyfriend Michael Cera,

How am I supposed to get over our break up when you keep doing things like this?

Really? I mean, it's so topical, so adorable, so full of plaid housecoat-y goodness. You promised you would lay low! You promised you'd stay out of the gossip rags! For me, My Ex-Boyfriend Michael Cera. For me!

Fuck you. I want you back.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Melissa's Fake Dialogues with Celebrities: Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie

Those of you who know me in real life know that I have a super creepy wealth of celebrity knowledge. The same mechanism in my brain that allows me to kick my Nan's ass at Jeopardy by remembering really random facts about really random things has also allowed me to retain a catalogue of the minutiae of celebrity gossip from the past 10 years or so.

Also, if you've seen the storage space under the stairs in my apartment you know it's filled with back issues of People Magazine and US Weekly dating back to 2003 that I re-read periodically for fun. So, there's also that. (I call it the National Geographic collection for stupid, vain people: just as many exposed boobs, -50% of the educational value!)

So in an effort to put all that knowledge and history to good use and also for a laugh, I've come up with a little weekly pop culture post I've so aptly titled "Melissa's Fake Dialogues with Celebrities" wherein I'll be imagining what a conversation between myself and a given celebrity would probably be like. Exciting, right?

Naturally, in my many years of gossip-following, I've read more about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie than I have about any other celebrity couple. I get it - not only are they the world's most beautiful people, but they keep popping out the world's most beautiful babies in exotic locales around the world. They are also, like, super philanthropic and shit and in some pretty good movies too. Mostly, I think of them in my lowest moments and say "What the fuck, God?", cause you know some people just have all the luck and it's not fair.

Thusly, here's what I imagine a dialogue between Hollywood's hottest couple and yours truly would be like. Enjoy.

Melissa: Hello! Hello Brad, hello Angelina!
Angelina Jolie: Please, call me Angie.
M: (Dies.) Alright, Angie. So you both have had an incredible year what with your double Oscar nominations and double bundles of joy! Have you picked out your dress yet, Angie?
A: We've been so busy with Brad's promotion schedule and the kids that I really haven't had the chance to think that far ahead yet. I'm sure I'll have something picked out in the coming weeks, though.
Brad Pitt: What I love about Angie is that she has such an eye for the exact thing that looks good on her. She can look at a dozen dresses and within 5 minutes have something absolutely perfect selected.
M: I've noticed that you've been coordinating your outfits lately. Any plans to do that on Oscar night, as well?
B: It's funny, we were looking at pictures from the SAG awards the other day and realized that we unintentionally wore matching outfits. We don't plan it that way, we swear!
M: Do you guys even wear matching underwear? Cause I could totally picture you Brad in some, like, super tight bulge-hugging boxer briefs that...
B: (Interrupting.) Excuse me?
M: Sorry. Sorry! Um, moving on. Both of you have done a lot of philanthropic work around the world. Angie you even went to Iraq recently. What was that experience like?
A: Is your hand on Brad's knee?
M: (Pauses.) No? (Removes hand from Brad's knee.)
A: (Clears her throat.) Well. (Stern glare.) Iraq was a really eye-opening experience for me. The people there are so loving and joyful, despite these terribly destitute conditions that they are subject to. I only wish that - what are you doing?
B: (To Angie.) I think... I think she's doing lunges? (To Melissa.) Are you doing lunges?
M: (Lunging.) Yes?
A: (Confused.) What... what for?
M: (Lunging.) It... helps me loosen up? I'm... I'm just really nervous.
B: Well could you stop please, it's making me uncomfortable.
M: Oh. Well, sure. (Stops lunging.) Soooooooooooooooo. Did you guys know I was on a plane with Michael Cera from LA to Toronto once? I took his picture while he was filling out his customs forms and he was super pissed...
B: That's really intrusive, you know! I think we're just about done here.
M: Oh yeah, that's right! You once had a paparazzo take a shot of your wang while you were out naked on your deck or something, right? I saw those! I mean, all things told... not bad, my friend, not bad! (Nudges Angelina conspiratorially.) Right? Am I right?
A: (Getting up.) We're leaving. Brad?
B: You're a psycho. We're out. (They exit quickly.)
M: But wait! I didn't get to ask you if you guys will adopt me yet! Guys? Angie? Brad? ... Oh.

Something like that. I have a feeling it that most of the awkwardness that would be there in person doesn't really translate to the page, though.

Tune in next week when I fake sit down with another celebrity and have a fake dialogue with them about fake stuff.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Improv, Scientology, And My New Favourite Celebrity

Monday brings us to the final chapter of my adventure in California - it was goodbye to my friends and off to LA for a solo couple of days in the city that's stolen my heart.

After a delicious and nutricious (cough) lunch at In-N-Out, I was on the road. I got off to a later start so I didn't get into the city until nearly dinnertime, putting me majorly behind schedule. I had planned to visit the Hollywood sign and hit up Robertson Boulevard (ie the place where all the paparazzi live) this trip since I didn't see either the last time but by the time I got in and dropped my stuff off at my cousin's, it was nearly dark and time for dinner, so it was off to Pink Taco for the little piece of heaven called crispy mini beef tacos. (There are so many vagina jokes to be made in that sentence...)

After tacos, I headed east across Franklin Avenue to the Upright Citizens Brigade theatre. Some of you might remember me mentioning the UCB back in the halcyon Michael Cera days when he hosted a live theatre version of the show during the writer's strike at the UCB theatre in NYC. I've always been down with the UCB because my very favourite nerd used to improv there, and it lists Amy Poehler, David Cross, and Jack McBrayer as alumni (fun fact! Amy Poehler actually co-founded the UCB!). I had no clue they had a West Coast branch until the guy who runs my improv school (Impatient Theatre Company what?) told me to check it out. And boy, was that a good idea.

I rolled up to the theatre about 5 minutes before the 9pm show and there is a throng of people mulling about outside. I quickly ascertained that Monday is the busiest night at the UCB and if you don't have a reservation, you probably won't get in... which is exactly what happened to me. I was able to confirm a spot at the 11pm show though, jet lag be damned.

The area that the theatre is in is ecclectic - beautiful old apartment buildings built into the hills, trendy restaurants, and yet lots of sketchy people who skulk about. The biggest eye-catcher, though, was this:

It spans about half a city block and is by far the biggest, strangest building of its kind that I've ever seen. It was clear to me, as I stood watching it from across the street, that it was not a business, not a hotel, not a house: it was a weird blend between the three. Simply put, it stands out - and not just because of the giant sign affixed to the roof reading "Scientology Celebrity Centre".

Oh, yes. You read that right. It was the Scientology Celebrity Centre. As soon as I read that, it alllll made sense.

Apparently the building used to be called the Chateau Elysee and was a popular hotel/celebrity hang out back in the 20s and 30s. As for what they do there now? It sounds like they try to convert people and hold lavish parties where you may or may not see Travoltas or Cruises. Check out this interesting article by the New Yorker - it's fairly long, but it runs down all the basic stuff about Scientology, its presense in LA, and the history of the castle. A very interesting read.

Also interesting was that there was security up the wazoo patrolling it. I was a little afraid to take pictures but surprisingly I was given no trouble. Although, my name is probably on some super-secret list somewhere and my phone tapped... Maybe they'll start monitoring my blog and up my readership? 'Cause I would be down with that, just saying.

(Also interesting is that this same security force shot and killed a man last November outside of the the Chateau. At first, I was all, "WTF Scientology!", but then I found out that dude was weilding double machetes and was trying to kill them first. So, I mean, I get it.)

Moving on from my creepy Scientology discovery, the show at the UCB was great. I saw my first and only celebrity at the show. I mean, he's no James Van Der Beek, but I recognized him right away and got super excited: Paul Scheer!

(For those not as obsessed as me, he's the one on the right beside Jack McBrayer).

Paul Scheer played Donny Lawson opposite Jack McBrayer's Kenneth Parcell on 30 Rock. So technically I was, like, one degree away from Tina Fey!

But wait - there's more. I was also technically one degree away from My Ex-Boyfriend Michael Cera! Paul is starring alonside My Ex-Boyfriend Michael Cera in a movie called Year One that comes out in June. Dude, this is getting a little too coincidental, right?

Alsoooo... In perusing the performers section of the UCB-LA website, I see that My Ex-Boyfriend Michael Cera's current real-life (and, I assume, non-airplane stalker) girlfriend performs there. All I have to say is thank God she wasn't there that night because I'm pretty sure she'd recognize me as the creepy picture-taker that ruined Her Real-Life Boyfriend Michael Cera's trip home. Um? Phew.

So the show as great - it was more multi-media/stand-up than improv, but it was good to see nonetheless. Also, there were a lot of innapropriate dirty pictures, which always make me laugh (think old dude threeway. Not joking!).

I also learned something very important at this show - everyone in Hollywood is either famous or works for someone famous. As I was standing in line before the show, this group of people about my age were chatting about the improv classes they were taking at the UCB and apparently one girl was Adam McKay's (another UCB alum, heavy hitter in the comedy world, and married to Jeremy Piven's sister) yoga teacher (extra interesting because she mentioned she was Canadian and working there illegally!) and another guy worked for Steven Spielberg. For really! I intend to try and prove this theory as soon as possible and will, of course, keep you posted.

Now on to Tuesday! I spent the day in Culver City, trying desperately to get a bit of a tan outside the Bonnie Hunt Show studio while waiting for my taping to begin. This was my second (and third, since I went to two tapings in one day this time around) time seeing the show and I have to say, it cemented her as my new favourite celebrity. She is honestly one of the nicest and least affected people I've ever met - and to be able to say that about someone who has lived and worked in Hollywood is one of the most remarkable occurances in the world, I think. She was so genuinely interested in what people had to say and really very caring and outgoing. Not to mention that she's fucking hilarious - her off the cuff comments to guests (both on and off the air) had me in stitches the entire day.

Also interesting was that I got to chat with her briefly and mention the "no-end job" story to her: apparently one of her staff members also gets hilarious half-insulting messages from her mom (about her haircut and how it's not as cute as the haircuts the celebrity guests on the show have). I was super nervous (it's so weird - the first time I met her I was pretty chill, but this time I started shaking a little - not Michael Cera-level or anything - and got a little tongue tied. I guess I get randomly affected by certain celebrities in certain moments? Or perhaps my airport incident has taken the wind out of my sails a little?) so it didn't come out totally right, but she got the gist and laughed a little. More than that though, she just seems so genuinely interested in what everyone has to say. She chatted with this guy about doggy dandruff for like 10 minutes!

If you don't watch her show, you should. Trust me.

After my TV-filled afternoon, I decided to go to In-N-Out for my last California meal and then drive through the hills for the rest of the evening. Now, in theory I thought this was a great idea - drive around, relax, get a feel for the city, and take in the beautiful lights from up above. In practice? It was absolutely fucking terrifying. I was driving up hills that were so steep they were practically vertical. At night. By myself. Without a GPS or a map.

I'm not going to lie, there may have been a little poop dans le pants at certain points.

In the end though, it was pretty worth it. I took Laurel Canyon all the way across the mountains and into the Valley. I know a lot of people complain about the Valley, but I didn't think it was that bad. It felt like Burlington or Mississauga: not quite at the centre of things, but close enough and easy to get around in. I cut back the same way and then drove both East and West through Mulholland drive and caught some of the nicest views of the city and of the Hollywood sign. Unfortunately they don't light up the sign at night (why???) and they don't let you stop to take pictures (damn you park ranger and your stupid flashy flashlight!) so I don't have much to offer in the way of stunning photographic evidence, but here's an idea of what it looked like:

All in all, it was another lovely trip to a lovely city. I know most of the world hates LA, but if you loathe with your entire being the cold and snow like I do, you would understand why I love it. In fact, you could throw me in a ghetto in Calcutta and I would probably love it more than living in Toronto in the winter (minus the infectious diseases but plus all the naan I can eat!).

Which brings me to my big announcement: I am going to move to LA next January. That gives me a year to get my poop in a group (poup in a group? poop in a groop?), save up some cash, find a job (if possible) and a place to live and pack up the kitties and go. I figured January is a perfect time because I'll be here for Christmas and yet will miss most of the winter's worst. I keep saying things like "hopefully" and "probably" and "aiming for" but I keep correcting myself to refer to this in the definitive or else I think I'll chicken out and not go. It's actually a pretty scary move for me, even though I want it so badly. Damn Canada for not having some sort of better job-share arrangement with the US so I could just move there in a flash and not have to worry about being an illegal alien. But anyways, there it is. Out in the blogosphere for all the world to read and hold me to.

So please, hold me to it okay? Also, find me a way to work there legally while you're at it. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Like Licking a King Kong Dong

I was up at the asscrack of dawn on Sunday, still suffering badly from jetlag and lured outside by the call of the waves again. I took a morning stroll on the beach and got to see the sun rise from the other side.

Sunday is always when it hits me: this long weekend of fun is only a weekend and it's almost over. Thusly, I try to cram in as much beeetch and beach time as I can in a semi-successful attempt to slow down time.

The day started off with our post-LRC family breakfast. This year instead of cooking at home we went to the Hill Street Cafe. The word on the street was, and I quote, "The food is good, but the service horribly slow". When we got there and our laid-back California dude waiter had this conversation with Cat, I knew those assessments were startingly accurate:

Cat: We need a table for 12, please.
Dude: Sure thing! I'll go set one up!
He takes off upstairs and we chat amongst ourselves for 20 minutes.
Dude: (back) So I've got a table of 12 for you guys upstairs! But with 15 of you, it'll be tight...
Cat: (pauses) ...But we're 12.
Dude: (pauses) ... Oh yeah. Well come on up then!

It was an epic 2-hour meal, made worth it by my delicious garlic toast and Scott's creative sausage eating abilities. (I'm sensing a theme to this post?)

After Hill Street we hit the beach, hard. I soaked up some rays for an hour or so and then we got to work on burying Scott and Brian in the sand. We drew upon our personal experiences (??!) and crafted some creative anatomy for both. Nothing says "long weekend on the beach!" like big fake sand jugs and rotund coke can hogs, right?

A few of us even braved the water again this year. Don't get me wrong, it stings it's so cold at first - but your body has a weird way of getting used to it so eventually you just go comfortably numb. It's kinda nice. I boogied boarded (without as much success this year as last) and ate it in a couple of big waves (I think I'm still coughing up salt water?). Even though all the Californians on the beach thought we were nuts, it was totally worth it - after all, the water temperature is still warmer than the air outside back in Toronto.

After swimming and getting ready, we did a mad clean up of the house and got ready for family photos on the beach. The sunset on Sunday was the best of the weekend - the kind that is so red and pink and orange that you almost want to spread some sugar on it and save half of it for breakfast the next morning.

The photos turned out great - I'm glad I have a group of friends that likes to be photographed as much as I like to take photographs. Also, they are very open to me calling out orders at them, such as "Go TOWARDS the wave!" and "Okay, pretend you are in High School Musical!" All in all, it works.

Billy came over for some more family photos (and was very impressed at how different ie clean and orderly the house looked...) and then it was off to Mueller for his show. We all rocked the mats along the wall this year, which was kinda nice for a change. Mostly because we a. were all together and b. not sitting at the back because Johnny holds the first 179303 rows for his pals.

Billy was in fine form as usual, making us laugh with random jokes and his love for king kong dongs (you might as well not ask 'cause even if you did, I doubt you'd be able to get an answer...). We finally got to hear Dawn Mitschele live - it was a treat for all (but especially for Scott). I'm also loving Billy's new songs - particularly the one about William Blake. He says it's hard for him to sing because he has to be vulnerable, which is why I think I like it so much - 'cause it comes from the heart. It also references the shitty economy and any song that can do that and still make me smile is tops in my books.


After the show we hugged Billy and band goodbye (and word on the street is that Scott got a special hug from a special lady who, if she ever goes through Missoula, is to look him up post haste so he can hook her up with some peeps) and we were back to the beach. I wish I could tell you more about the post-show party, but I fell asleep like the grandma I am.

All in all, it was the loveliest of lovely Sundays. If only all my days were like that - sandy, sweet, and sleepful (still jet-lagged!).

I'm in LA now and will recap my day yesterday later this evening (hint: it involved In-N-Out and Scientology!). I also saw my first celebrity and have several more observations to make about LA.

Alright, I'm off to The Griddle and then a taping of the Bonnie Hunt show. Send me good "free audience gift" vibes!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jet Lag, Sunsets, and Living Rooms

I. Am. So. JETLAGGED. Yeesh. I am going to try to be as coherent as I can be, but I make no promises about grammar, spelling, or sensicality (or making up words).

I was up at 6am yesterday, my body working on East Coast time and my mind racing with all the possibilities that lay ahead. I tried to get back to sleep, but finally the call of the ocean got me out of bed and out enjoying a cup of jasmine tea on the patio. A shower and a car ride later and we're at a local coffee house enjoying their myriad herbal tea choices and mate lattes. It was a colourful place - very Californian: dude with dreads serving us our hot beverages, local art hanging on the walls, laid back folks chit chatting and enjoying the company, food, and music. The best part was the group of eccentric locals outside enjoying a hula hoop party. What a weird bunch.........

Back from brunch, it was off to get groceries for the night's festivities and then lay out on the beach. I tried to nap off my jet lag but the water sports and guitar playing and frisbee taking kept be awake. Actually, that's a lie. The constant calls for "Melissa! Get out your camera and take a picture of me doing this!" kept me awake. I'm lucky that I have such a good group of photogenic (and jumpy?) friends, huh?

That would be Scott taking not one but two major wipe outs while trying to boogie board

Improvised bongos

All in all, it was an afternoon well-spent. I tanned a little (sort of a miracle for this pasty Canadian) and got in some quality sing-a-long time with friends. There was also some sort of a pirate ship situation going on at sea? I don't really know what that was about but it was fun to be a part of nonetheless.

After tanning and pirate ship-ing, it was time to get ready for our Living Room Concert (LRC). For those who don't know, our group of friends gathers together yearly in San Diego for an in-home concert featuring local musican/accoustic rhymer/all around cool guy Billy "Bushwalla" Galewood. Basically, he comes over to our beach house with his band (ie group of his friends) and plays an intimate show for us in our living room.

Yeah, I know. Pretty awesome.

This year's show was definitely the quirkiest - a cover of the Big Bopper's Chantilly Lace, an impromptu Jackson 5 sing-a-long, and an angry giraffe all made appearances. There was also some web cam dancing, some Conor-take-your-shirt-off-ing, and some spaghetti (speghetti, if you spell like Kristie)-humping. We got to hear a few of Billy's new songs and J did a 4-song interlude, which left the group both thankful and a little teary. I think we all really appreciate the fact that he shows up at all, so when he is gracious enough to play for us as well I know it leaves us all a little overwhelmed.

I think the overall reaction to this year's show was a mix of relief (things got too big last year and sort of lost the intimate feel) and feel-goodiness (jet lag!). It was nice to take things back to the style of our first year's LRC, though I can definitely say that we can never re-capture the innocence and authenticity of that experience again. That was the first time I met many of the people I now consider to be my close friends, it was my first trip to California, and my first time seeing Billy live. We had no clue what to expect and we were blown away by the whole thing. Now that we're old hat at this, we settle into our routines and know where to look to make things happen. It's nice, just not as thrilling-at-every-turn like it was before.

The only bummer about the whole night (and weekend) is that a few of our group are missing. I was happy we could web cam them in last night (and frankly, they got a LOT more love that way!), but I know we all wish that they were here with us. I think next year we'll all be back together again.

So that's our Saturday in a nutshell. We've got the Mueller College show tonight and then we all go off our seperate ways tomorrow. I'm off to LA to spend a couple of days at Sunset and Fairfax eating giant pancakes and then it's back to reality (it's going to be oh so very, very real!) for me.

Friday, January 16, 2009

California Part 1: How to Pack for a 40 Degree Temperature Difference

This morning, Toronto:
It was minus -30 with the windchill. I was up at 3.45am and at the airport by 5am - only to find that my flight to Chicago had been delayed and I would miss my connection to San Diego. Fuck.

This morning, Chicago:
It is still -30 with the windchill. But I got on the next flight to San Diego and even got upgraded to a seat with extra legroom and priority access boarding group. Also, I had bacon and corn bread muffins, so things are looking up.

This afternoon, San Diego:
Fuck, it's warm here!

So far, so good. We've hit Trader Joe's (my first visit! Verdit? I am in LOVE!), Jack in the Box (I must have my Oreo milkshake!), and the beach. Now we're relaxing inside our beach condo as the rest of our little family trickles in, enjoying some, um, herbal cigarettes and some cookies and some ocean sounds and some sneaking up on people while they are writing blogs and trying to scare them (not naming any names, Amy).

Not much more to report...... yet! Tomorrow is our infamous living room concert and we've got a day of beaching and laughing and keeping Melissa away from Target-ing.

I expect big things things. I expect big things!

A fun sign I spotted on the I-5 near our exit. Best euphamism ever?

Tabatha heading back in after a sunset swim

Barefeet! In January!

Amy, Kristie, and Sara in the first of many portraits that I am sure I'll take this weekend.

I call this one "Three Rocks On The Beach" because it's of three rocks on the beach.

Boogie Boarding! Will I be brave enough to go in tomorrow? Keep checking back to see!

Alright. Time to go stuff my face with cheese curds down by the ocean. Ahhh, I could get used to this!