Overheard after the Mani-Pedi

Lets cut to the chase. The moral of this story is that you NEVER pick up a man in a nail salon.

My vacation started off nicely enough. I'd slept in, ignored the mounds of crap still to pack, schedule a massage and a date...and then decided to get my toes done.

I walked in and was the only customer. Score. I sat in the spa chair and let the rollers do their job while the girl went to work on my feet. Then he walked in.

We'll call him Nail Salon Guy.

He was dropping names left and right while chatting on his cell phone. And because the place was absolutely empty, he had to come sit down right next to me. Lucky me.

As soon as he ended his call, he complimented my color choice. OPI I'm Not Really a Waitress: bright red and shiny. He said it would make a great lipstick. I responded that the only shade of lipstick that counts is red.

I, of course, assumed he was gay.

Despite the shallow Hollywood vibe, he turned out to be thoroughly entertaining, in an ADD sort of way. So I let him take me to lunch. Because who doesn't need a gay boyfriend?

After a few glasses of Sapporo and sake, he told the waiter that I was someone famous. I let him believe I was Jordin Sparks. Who NSG, supposedly in the music industy, had never heard of. Yeah, right.

He finally agreed that I wasn't this Jordin girl, but I had to be someone "known." And so the conversation went something like this:

NSG: You really are famous aren't you?
GPG: No, not at all.
NSG: Of course you are! You're just laying low, getting your nails done in the middle of the day.

GPG: I'm NOT famous. Do you want to see my license?
NSG: No, famous people have fake IDs all the time. You're definitely someone. The way you walk, the hair, you don't wear make up, and that sporty red car...you're somebody, you just don't want to admit it.

Then he tried kissing me and getting me to go back to his house with him. So I guess he wasn't gay. Which was probably the most disappointing part of the whole story.

But seriously, me as an undercover celebrity? Because I have curly hair and opted not to wear make up? Can you think of anything more absurd?!

It's been over a week and that story is still making me giggle. Some people are just bizarre.

And that is why, boys and girls, you should never go on a date with a guy you meet at the nail salon.


End of an Era

My baby brother is moving his family to San Diego tomorrow. He currently lives around the corner from my parents' house. But tomorrow, the corner will become over 100 miles long.

I am sad.

His fiancee and I get along like gangbusters. Always have. His kid is so fucking adorable, he's the kind of baby you just want to snuggle with. And my baby brother is one of my most best friends.

All this to say that I'm going to miss them all very much. A lot a lot.

It's time to study the train schedule and get myself a pass. And probably find a hotel contact to hook me up with a weekend every month.

But for now, I am too sad for more words.


New Greatness

Have you felt the void lately? Relax, the cure has arrived. Wonderful reads available for immediate consumption at Big Bang Linguisticity!

The internets are complete yet again.


Overheard on Christmas

I don't know if it's a Latin American thing or what, but we've always celebrated Xmas on the Eve rather than the day of. The entire family gets together at my parents' house for a meal that includes mostly Puerto Rican fare, topped with Mexican salsa. It's fusion at its best.

Like most Puerto Ricans, our family is LOUD. Mostly because there's a lot of people in one space, but also, because they're Puerto Ricans. You have to be able to handle this if you're ever invited to a family function. The weak are eaten alive or summarily ignored. Those who have a mouth on them and like to use it are immediately adopted.

Thanksgiving Incident was referred to numerous times. We like to poke fun at ourselves, and by extension, the rest of the family. And since some of the family hadn't been there, we had to bring them up to speed.

During a particularly rousing game of Mexican bingo, the following took place at increasingly decibel levels:

GPG: You guys, keep it down, or my mother is going to throw you all out!
Mom: *rolls eyes and chuckles*
Aunt J: You were in Hancock Park for crying out loud, what did you expect?
Cousin R: *loudly* We expected them not to be so uptight!
Aunt J: *louder* Eh, you were being low class, of course you got thrown out!
GPG: Mom, are you going to tell these people to shut up and go home already?

This threat kept coming up the rest of the night. It was much fun at someone else's expense.


My father believes everyone should drink wine. You don't get to come over to our house and not drink. He takes this as a personal insult:

Dad: *to my younger cousin* You want a drink?
GPG: Dad, he's only 15!
Dad: So?
Cousin: It's okay. I don't drink.
Dad: Well, I'm surprised.


The elder generation likes big families. My father has 6 brothers and sisters, my mom has 3. My mom's sister, Aunt L, had 5 kids. Apparently she and her husband expect the same of their own kids:

Uncle: I want 25 grandkids.
Cousin: Keep wishing. Or, go to Africa.

Adoption jokes are funny.


Later, we plugged in a Wii someone received for Xmas. It started with baseball among the 8-year-old set:

Cousin R: Now, I don't want to see you on 'roids, okay kids?
His brother (their dad): Hey, if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying!


And of course, because my baby brother is routinely mistaken for Middle Eastern (and his fiancee actually is), his nascent brood are the butt of more jokes:

Cousin M: Do we have a terrorist in the house?
Cousin R: Great, now we're going to get thrown out because of YOU!
Baby brother: My wife-to-be is actually part terrorist: she's Turkish and Iranian. Total Arab.
Cousin R: No shit?
Shambot: Hell yeah!
GPG: Please, we refer to his kid as Baby Terrorist!
Baby brother: *proudly holds up his son* Terrorist in training!

Politcally correct we are NOT.


The Shambot got her nickname because she's clumsy. Like a bad robot. We shouldn't let her drink:

Shambot: Oh no, look what I did! *shows red wine spill on her son's sleeve* I'm not even drunk, I'm just retarded!
GPG: Better on him than my mother's couch!
Shambot: Better on his sleeve than his head!
GPG: You were planning on giving him a Catholic baptism, right? Baptism by alcohol!
Baby brother: Get him a shirt that says, "My mommy spills wine on me."

Religious jokes are funny too, especially on Christmas!


When the night was finally winding down, the discussion turned to the baby's inability to sleep through the night already. My older brother, having lived through that hell with his two kids, made a suggestion:

Big Fish: Trust me, read the book. We gave you the book for a reason, READ THE BOOK!
Shambot: I have. But it's hard when you're in the situation and they're crying. I can't just let him cry.
Shambot: *to BF's wife* Your husband is being annoying.
BF's Wife: BF, shut up.
Shambot: Yeah, shut up.

And then it was midnight and time to go to sleep. So we could get up again in 6 hours because they kids hadn't yet opened up ALL their gifts.

Hope your holidays have been as memorable!


Two Things #4

1. The worst part about packing is the unpacking. I can't find a fucking thing.

2. Cost-co will turn you into a stark raving madman. A murderer. It makes sane people tear their hair out. You may very well lose a limb or an eyeball attempting to just find parking. Stay far, far away. Especially during the holiday season.


Committed to the Cause - Update

Turns out the strikers don't picket when it rains. Can't blame them. It's wet out there. Has been for a few days. Cold too.

They're kind of like my building's handyman that way. He refuses to work in the rain too. Probably afraid he'll melt. Like the Wicked Witch.

But when it's not raining, they're out waving their signs. The lady I wrote about last time isn't alone anymore, either! She's got a gentleman at her side now. And her cane is festively decorated for the season. Who doesn't love tinsel?

I wonder if she picked her writer escort up in some sort of displaced WGA-friendly Match.com. Can you imagine?

Just to show solidarity with the working man, Spanky and I ate lunch at a deli that had the picket signs prominently displayed in their window. We're good that way.


Overheard in the Ring

I was once really into kickboxing. None of that Billy Blanks bullshit, but the real stuff. I like to hit. Heavy bags or people, I'm open. My little brother recently took up Muay Thai because he likes to hit all Southeast Asian-style.

Tonight I joined him and the Shambot at one of the local boxing clubs. It was so much fun, I forgot how much I really loved laying into a bag with crazy combinations. My form is all off, but I don't care. This is probably going to become my renewed obsession. The great thing is that the club is literally around the corner from my new digs. Score.

I was talking to the person behind the counter about costs and whatnot when we got into how my little brother is so into the sport. I never really censor myself, and because I've been referring to him as "my baby brother" for so damn long (26 years, to be exact), it just kind of comes out. Which leads to these kind of exchanges:

GPG: Yeah, it's my baby brother who brought me tonight.

Counter Girl: Your BABY brother???

GPG: Well, yeah. He's younger.

CG: I never would have guessed.

GPG: Yeah, so what if he's an entire foot taller than me and has a kid? He'll always be my baby brother.

CG: *looks at me like I have 3 heads* Uh huh.

GPG: We go out drinking and I always get carded. Not him. But that might be because he looks like a terrorist.

CG: *cracks up*

GPG: You can't deny it.

CG: I guess not.

And then we went back to punching bags. So much fun!!


More Free Gifts

Remember how my super cool clients bought me an iPod? I casually mentioned it to Spanky, who is a member of a different client group, and his response was that they had to get me something even better.

Who doesn't love a healthy competition for my attention?

Guess what I got today? A gift basket. A small one.

Laugh. Out loud. Hard. Please.

I immediately called him up to thank him for passing along the message that something better than an iPod would be the best way to bribe me into giving a shit about the work I have to do for them. And then asked him if a GIFT BASKET would fetch more on Ebay than the $65 I got for the iPod.

The consensus: decidedly NO.

There was a bottle of dry sparkling wine in it. Which I don't normally care for, but there's an architect that I could be spending all weekend in bed with, and we're going to need something to drink, so sparkling wine might just fit the bill.

But seriously: a fucking GIFT BASKET? Isn't that what you get for someone you don't like too much? And how do middle-aged lawyers assume that a basket of foofy shit like tapenade and fake champagne trumps a cute little mp3 player for a hip 29-year old event planner???

Guess who will be getting more of my attention in the new year? The people with taste, that's who.


Weeding Out the Junk

How is that no matter how much you pack up and/or throw away, there's still a plethora of shit? How is it we managed to pack up an entire kitchen in just an hour, but my bedroom has taken a week and still looks as if nothing has happened?

I've packed up roughly 8 boxes, cleared out 98% of my closet, and yet, I still feel like I could live here for an entire month and not want for anything.

Except a pair of black boots that have already arrived in their new home. Argh.

After this whole experience I might just divest myself of any and all material possessions and live the ascetic life. Except for the wardrobe part. Even though it's taken 8 suitcases to move the clothing, I had to choose between only 30 or so shirts when I went out tonight, and had a serious case of "nothing to wear-itis." So the clothes stay.

Clothes, bed, computer, tv, camera. Everything else is probably unnecessary.


Two Things #3

1. I don't like refrigerators that look like they're part of the cabinetry. That kind of decor strikes me as really odd.

2. Why does my hair look so damn great after 3 days of being unwashed? Usually after two days the curls just aren't what they used to be, and yet here I am with perfect fucking hair with nowhere to go but into the shower.



The End Is Near

Tomorrow the first one of my childhood friends turns 30. The big 3-0.

Of course, I've known plenty of people to hit (and survive) this milestone. I was 11 when my mother celebrated her 30th birthday. A few other friends are already deep into the decade. But this is different.

Mr. Reed and I grew up together. We graduated from high school together. He's the one that gave me a kick ass present for my 24th birthday: a big black baseball bat so I could beat the shit out of people! A few years later he proposed. Kind of.

The point is that we've gone through stuff together. Way back in the day we'd ditch school to hang out in Santa Monica. Or drive up to Santa Barbara for the weekend so we could chill in a hotel room and just get drunk. Being 17 was fun.

And now we're supposed to be adults? I started the countdown over a year ago, and even though I've managed to cross a few things off the list, I don't feel like a "grown up" most of the time.

This is a weird transition period. I know Mr. Reed is having a hell of a time dealing with it. We exchanged text messages all day, just so I could tease him about tomorrow being The Big Day. Because even if we are supposed to be mature, deep inside we'll always be those 17-year-old brats.

That's a comfort.


Breaking the Cycle

I made a very important promise to myself today: no more OT.

It might seem like a no-brainer to normal people like you, but when you're a glutton for punishment you have a pathalogical work ethic like me, it's almost impossible to make this kind of shift. When you're so used to having your nose to the grindstone, throwing every bit of your soul into the task, defining yourself by the quality of your work, you just don't know any better. Life outside of the office? Is that allowed?

Fuck yeah! No more diabolical 60-hour week! No more eschewing a social life for the ball and chain that is my desk! No more killing myself for a job that I hate!

I used to have a really great life. At least from what I can dimly remember. Lots of friends, lots of plans, lots of fun. Now, all I do is work, work, work. It didn't help that I was in a relationship where he did the same thing. We fed each other's pathology. Now that it's over though, I'm leaving all those bad habits behind.
I don't need the money, and I don't need the stress.

There will still be periods of time that I'm not going to be able to get around it. February, for example, is going to suck. But I'm treating myself to a cruise in March! It's called a well-fucking-deserved break.

I'm not a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist. I'm not saving lives or creating a better world for people to live in. I plan events for a very narrow portion of the white-collar population. Most of whom don't appreciate a damn thing. So why am I subjugating my entire life to them and their needs? What about my own?

Today I start concentrating on those. From here on out.

I like the new me already!


Random Hypothetical #4

I love these posts because they allow me to posit the most absurd scenarios.

Like, if one were to find a small amount of white powder that was most certainly older than your typical kindergartener, would said powder have any effects, ill or otherwise, at this point in time?

In other words, does coke go bad?

I'll look to the doctors and drug aficionados among you to answer the question. Hypothetically speaking, of course.


Reasons for Road Rage

There are some amazingly dangerous drivers out there. Every city has them. You can complain all you want about how people forget to drive when it's raining/snowing/etc. But today, that was not the case.

Today, there was not a cloud in the sky. It was so clear that you could see the snow on the San Gabriel mountains looming just 45 miles away. Pretty to look at. With that view in the distance, I was able to enjoy a leisurely and uneventful drive to work this morning.

Until I reached the intersection of Venice Blvd and Hoover St, in a little area of the city known as Pico-Union. It's kind of the 'hood. It's also a scant 3 miles from my office.

At this little juncture of my travels, a charcoal grey Mini Cooper without a license plate decided he was going to race me down Venice Blvd. I have no idea why. But as soon as the light turned green, he immediately sped out and cut me off, nearly slamming into a van making a right turn into my lane.

Since he was driving so erratically, I let him have a wide berth. I slowed down and changed lanes. With a good city block between us, he was clearly keeping an eye on me because he swooped into that lane too. I switched back. He did the same. I stopped at a light and he sped off.

But he was waiting for me at the next intersection. Him in the right lane, me about to make a left. He stayed a few car lengths back so we'd line up next to each other. He glared at me. I waved. He started making obscene gestures. With his tongue. And yelling something. I'm sure it was nasty. But his window stayed up, so I have no idea what it was.

The light changed and he sped off again like a bat out of hell. I honestly have NO idea what I did to antagonize the guy (prior to waving, anyway). And to risk all those innocent people on the road? What a fucking asshole.

I really wish I'd had the LAPD number handy. I was ready to call the police on this freak. There are usually traffic cops in that area all the time, so I'm surprised one didn't catch him speeding down a business district. But I was so rattled, I wasn't about to try dealing with 411 while driving. And there was no way I was pulling over, lest he double back and ram right into me.

People are fucking crazy. No wonder everyone hates Mondays.


Call Me Wonder Woman

In the middle of this massive packing project--who knew how much shit you can amass in six years?!--I've found time to do many other things:

1. List 22 items on ebay
2. Rent a lighting set up
3. Get yelled at by a fake judge for her fake problems
4. Break up with my boyfriend
5. Buy a new camera
6. Shoot a slew of family portraits
7. Celebrate Xmas with my coworkers
8. Flirt with an adorable gun-toting fed
9. Return new camera
10. Flirt with an architect
11. Enjoy a piƱa colada
12. Flirt with several newly-minted lawyers
13. Knit a purple scarf
14. Buy makeup and new clothes for myself
15. Flirt with some veteran lawyers...and a judge
16. Shop for shoes...and purses...and jewelry...and more clothes

And that was just in the last week. I'm so fucking productive. I should reward myself with sex and scotch. Oh wait, I did that too!

La dee da. I'm pretty satisfied with myself.


Buried Treasure

It's amazing what randomness you'll come across in the midst of packing. There are movies I didn't realize I even owned, forgotten portaits of a certain Krazy Mommy we took for her husband back when they were first dating, and just now, an interesting trip through the memories of an old fling.

It was August 19, 2004 and between the hours of 3 and 5 pm we engaged in an incredibly filthy email chain that spans 5 pages.

I'm getting a little hot just reading back through it. He was dirty in the best of ways and I adored him. With blond hair and blue eyes, he was the exact opposite of my usual prey, but the moment I set eyes on him it was all over for me. He spoke Swedish, French and English. Man, I loved that accent. The one he refused to admit he had.

That was a fun summer.

He's back in Sweden now. I'd practically forgotten all about him. Until now. As I was rifling through old papers, ready to throw them all away.

I think I'll hang on to this one for a little longer, though. Never know when you'll need a good read.


Free Gifts

I received an iPod Shuffle from a client today. An early Xmas present. Everyone say "aww" all at once.

I already have an iPod Nano. So what should I do with the Shuffle?

Maybe I'll raffle it off in a future Exxy game.

Be on the lookout!


Americans are Fucking Retarded

I am truly embarrassed by the citizens of this country. This is worse than what the Tonight Show captures on their Jay-Walking segments:

The religion of Israel is Catholic? How about Muslim? Australia mistaken for Iran? Hiroshima known for its Judo-wrestling? We had 3 world wars? That was my favorite. Mostly because it was said by a guy old enough to have lived through both world wars.

How fucking stupid are we???

My head hurts.


November by the Numbers

Sorry for the delay. There was a bit of disappointment over the weekend that led to my boyfriend Karl Dorrell losing his job. So sad. Part of the fun of watching the games was to catch him in that blue polo.


Other things that happened recently:

1 football-themed bridal shower
100 dollars spent splitting the cost of said shower
1 wedding
12 coworkers sitting around the bar
13 dollars for one drink
3 birthdays
68 combined years celebrated
2-day celebration for the G-brat
700 people celebrating the life of a departed bench officer
33,000 dollars spent on food
1 birthday completely forgotten due to overwhelming work stress
11 days before I remembered
75 minutes spent with the birthday boy
0 mentions of his missed birthday
1 discovery about his unnecessary untruths
12 days spent on stomach drugs
168 pills ingested in that time
3 days of unfortunate side effects
0 alcoholic beverages during that time
1 gas leak
5 restaurant workers oblivious to the leak
1 massive headache
5 sushi dinners
1 very delighted sushi-stuffed GPG


Committed to the Cause

I drive past Sony studios every day on my way to work. The strikers have been out, diligently doing their picketing, while talking heads think about sitting around a table and hammering out a pact. Get everyone back to work already.

There's a group of them that congregate near the western end of the studio lot. Maybe 7 or 8. I honk each time I pass. It doesn't cost me anything. Gotta fight the good fight.

And then there's always the lone figure, slowly limping past one small gate. There's a sign against her shoulder and a cane at her side. Quiet, solitary, back and forth. I wonder what happened to her. She isn't that old, maybe 40. Why the cane? And why is she alone at the gate when a larger group is just down the way?

Regardless, she's there. Every single day.


When the Rose-Colored Glasses Break

I like to take people at face value. I'm not gullible, but I want to believe the best of people. Especially if that's what I think they're presenting to me.

But earlier this evening I was perplexed by a discovery I made about someone I care for quite deeply and thought I knew quite well. I'm confounded because it goes directly against everything he's purported to desire. But I guess it doesn't change my opinion of him too much. Only because I know this doesn't impact how he feels about me, our friendship, or any of that important stuff. In fact, it only goes to prove that he's human, too.

That's a comfort.

Still, I wonder how much I'm glossing over in other areas of my life. How many truths am I missing, misinterpreting, or just plain ignoring? I honestly don't know.

But since I'm a 58-year-old man with awesome boobs only pretending to be a 29.5 year old woman with awesome boobs, what do you expect?

I do wish I'd had this secret knowledge about my friend when I saw him this weekend, though. I would probably have called him on his shit. Or at least not swallowed it whole. Because if he wants me to believe one thing, clearly there's a part of him that wants it to be true.

It's too bad we work so hard to hide our true selves.


How to Shop Successfully

Over the weekend I came away with the biggest steal I never imagined. If you want to be a master consumer, do as follows:

  1. Drive under an overcast sky and realize you left your cheapie sunglasses at home.
  2. Pass by a Ross Store.
  3. Become enticed by the prospect of more cheapie sunglasses.
  4. Brave a crowded parking lot and holiday shopping crowds at said Ross.
  5. Enter Ross.
  6. Immediately find 4 pairs of sunglasses that fit the bill.
  7. Fall in love with the pair that has no price tag.
  8. Decide on two pairs and assume they're both the same non-designer brand.
  9. Stand in tiredest looking cashier's line who will ring up both for $6.99.
  10. Drive on with hip, supposedly-cheapie sunglasses.
  11. The next day, show off really cute sunglasses with coworkers.
  12. Have coworker inquire as to brand of sunglasses since they appear designer.
  13. Scoff at her because your find is clearly non-designer and cheapie!
  14. Check sunglasses and realize they're actually made by Michael Kors.
  15. Laugh your ass off.

Ross not sell this particularly over-priced brand of accessories. Someone must have left them by accident and, like an idiot, I assumed they were merchandise. My question is, if you can afford to throw away $200 on non-prescription shades, why are you shopping at Affordable Knock-off Central?

Whatever the reason, thanks!


Ninnies on the Road

This post has absolutely no importance. It is solely to ridicule a car I saw on the road this morning.

There I was, minding my own business today, when I saw this:

I've dubbed it the car for a guy who wants a Honda Civic, but can afford an Audi.

Why else would you drive this car? It's like having a BMW station wagon solely because the X5 is too high off the ground.

In other words: lame.


News from the West

Seems the fire season wasn't quite over yet. Just one day after newscasters warned of fire-friendly conditions, Malibu was once again on fire.

Whoever is trying to burn down Britney Spears' home really needs to just throw a Molotov cocktail through her front window and leave the surrounding areas alone. Flea lost his house. That sucks. It also sucks that my cousin, a fireman, is stuck working these senseless fires. Yeah, it's his job and all, but creating unnecessary dangers in simply ridiculous. People are risking their lives out there for this. It drives me crazy.

Bad pun. Sorry.

Hope you all had a good turkey-grubbing day. For all non-Americans, I hope the weekend passed with your teams winning, whatever they were.

We are T-6 days until the big LA game! Can we pull off another win? Cynics say no. Fuck them, that's what I say!


Don't Trust the Internets

The one thing a person should not do, should they find themselves sick in bed on a Friday night, is search the world o' tubes for possible explanations to said sickness.

That aches in my chest and back every time I cough, and the accompanying swollen glands in my throat, are probably not a serious reaction to my billion and one meds for stomach ailments.

The doctor told me that the pharmacist was probably going to be nervous about giving me metronidazole and tetracycline together. As I peruse Wikipedia, I can see why. The relevant info:

Cautions, contraindications, side effects
1. Inactivated by Ca2+ ion, not advised to be taken with milk or yogurt
2. Inactivated by aluminium, iron and zinc, not to be taken at the same time as indigestion remedies
3. Inactivated by common antacids and over the counter heart burn medicines.
4. Drug-induced lupus, and hepatitis
5. When used for acne vulgaris, skin can be extremely dry and flaky if overused.

In order to avoid a possible yeast infection, I've been instructed to eat yogurt. Along with these to antibiotics, I was prescribed an antacid that also helps with indigestion. As well as a liberal dosing of bismuth (aka Pepto Bismal). All of this 4 times daily.

And the skin on my forehead is flaky. So pretty.

On top of that, I could get lupus or hepatitis? WHAT THE HELL???

But at least it doesn't state anywhere that I'll end up with flu-like symptoms. So that must be completely independent of the many synthetic remedies ruining my stomach bacteria.

Both antibiotics also may cause dizziness, nausea and fatigue. Which I've got in spades. So is that due to the impending upper respiratory malady, or just meds?

I've got an afternoon date with a certain man tomorrow, and only 2 more days before I go back to work...doing crap like employee reviews. Though it'll probably be a lot easier to tell people they suck at their jobs if I just don't give a shit, right?


The Thanksgiving Incident

In case you somehow missed the multiple references, I'm Puerto Rican on my father's side, Mexican on my mother's. It's a very lovely combination. And a trend started by my dad: 3 of the Puerto Rican men in the family are married to Mexican women. My baby brother is the only one breaking rank by marrying an Indian...who loves Mexican food and has a mouth on her, so she fits right in.

Few of the family lives in LA: only 4 of my cousins on the PR side. And we all get together on family occasions. About 20 people. It's not huge, but it's fun.

This led to a bit of an issue on tonight...our very well-to-do cousin graciously invited the clan over to his 3.2 million dollar Hancock Park home. Their 10-week old child had not yet been allowed outside, and they kept him locked in the ivory tower that was his nursery. There were to be no tours of the new home, lest the baby be exposed to unclean air (the night nurse and nanny tended to him in the background). This in and of itself was weird, but new parents can be overprotective, so everyone let it go.

Like most large families, we're rambunctious, we're jovial, and we love on each other quite boisterously. My cousin and his lovely bride know this, having attended many a family function. Her own Sri Lankan family matched pace with us at their wedding. It was a ball.

But when they politely called the Thanksgiving celebration to an early end because they just couldn't deal with the commotion that is children chasing one another in the yard, or a discussion on how Mexican women are hard to handle, this did not go over well.

You don't invite 20 Puerto Ricans over for a large dinner and expect them to be "quiet." Actually, I don't think you invite ANY 20 people over for a meal, offer them a LOT of wine, and expect docile behavior. That's pure stupidity. My cousin and his wife, with their Wharton degrees and huge mansion, are pretty damn dumb to think this was going to be a quiet dinner party.

Needless to say, this left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. No one is too keen on the couple anymore. We like our family gatherings less formal. Thanksgiving has traditionally been at my parents' house, so this year, not only were we cheated out of the comfortable setting, but also the leftovers!

But in the end, we're still family. Even if this particular contingent is a little different, they're still loved.

Though they probably won't be invited to many family gatherings for a while.


Overheard during Dessert

Monsieur's gift arrived today. I was so excited, I had to try it on. It's big in the exact perfect way a boyfriend's jacket is supposed to be. And the leather is so very soft.

I'm going to have a hard time not giving it to him for a month. But then it was time to talk about my present, so we had the following conversation over coconut creme brule:

GPG: I got your Xmas present today. It's so fucking cool.

Him: You did?

GPG: What, are we not doing that?

Him: Of course we are.

GPG: Okay good. Because you know what I want? *pulls out Blackberry to show him the website*

Him: Is that a diamond ring?

GPG: No, of course not!

Him: Is it appropriate to be telling me what to get you?

GPG: I'm trying to save you the trouble of figuring out what to get me.

Him: I've never had a problem figuring out what to buy women.

GPG: Really? I wouldn't know that because I've never received a gift from you.

At which point he got my dazzling smile. He just laughed.

GPG: I'm kind of obsessed with that ring. And I think I deserve it.

Him: You definitely deserve it. That, and so much more. That's just the beginning.

At which point he gave me his dazzling smile. I went back to my brule blushing slightly.

I seriously can't wait until Xmas!!!

Maybe I'll go buy him something else too...god, I'm such a girl.


Random Hypothetical #3

What if I told you the person behind this blog is 58 years old? That the pictures you've seen of me are actually those of a relative? What if everything you've read about me, that I have supposedly confessed to the internets, is all a lie?

What if, in reality, I was a man? A 58 year old man?

I just wonder what you would think.

(Obviously those who have seen me naked would be harder pressed to imagine this. But you don't have to play.)


Pill-Popping Princess

Nearly 8 weeks ago I had my stomach scoped. Immediately after which I was told that everything looked normal.

A month later, the doctor who performed the procedure called to say they found an ulcer-causing bacteria in there and I needed to go on meds for 2 weeks. I was actually relieved because I still had serious tummy issues, so at least now I knew it was all in my head. I tried to make an appointment. The earliest they could fit me in was 3 weeks later.

That was today. So I had to take the morning off work, pay to park, then wait 30 minutes to see the doctor. All so he could just write me 4 prescriptions. That's it. He didn't examine me. He didn't do a damn thing that warranted me going into the office at all. In fact, he could have called the fucking pharmacy 3 weeks ago and I could have been finished with these damn pills already instead of spending all that time suffering unnecessarily.

Fucking asshole.

So now I have the joy of taking 18 pills a day for the next 14 days. During which time I can't drink because of weird side effects from one of the meds.

You can imagine how irritated I am.


'Tis the Season

I know everyone gets pissed that Thanksgiving is glossed over in favor of the more commercialized and lucrative gift-giving holidays in December, but I just bought Monsieur's gift and I'm feeling pretty damn satisfied with my purchase.

He loves Kenneth Cole. So I got him:

In return, I'm asking for:

And after the conversation we had last night about how I'm awesome at providing him LSU football highlights when he sleeps through the early games, and am therefore the bestest girlfriend ever, I totally deserve it.

Especially since he kept offering me scotch, but I was trying to protect his finances so I only drank beer. The alcohol I like is quite expensive, and he's gotta save it for that fabulous gift.

I really am a great girlfriend. Worth all 3.375 carats.


Taking it All for Granted

Ever since I made the decision to move, I've suddenly become very aware of what I'm leaving behind:

- The beach a mere four miles away
- A cooler climate than the rest of the city
- My favorite dive bar, where the owner knows my name, and the Sunday morning regulars greet me with a high five, especially if the Saints are winning

There are far more negative things, like traffic, ridiculously high rent, traffic, never-ending street construction, and did I mention the paralyzing traffic?

But the one thing that I noticed on the ride home tonight was the line of planes. Little points of light. Like a linear constellation. It reminded me of the week after 9/11. My roommate, who had just left NYC, and I headed down to the beach one night. It was eerily deserted, like most of the city. People were afraid to leave their homes in those first few days. But what struck us most was the absence of that line of lights hovering over LAX. It was strange.

For some reason, leaving that to move 30 miles inland is making me sad.

It's funny what gets you.


More for The Harem

The stat counter is filling up with new blogs that I had no idea were pointing in my direction. So instead of reading my rantings about work, lets spotlight them:

Ambiguous Amber: A journey into the mind of an ADHD thirty-something. Justifyingly Sassy. Offensively Witty. Excessively Dramatic.

Knaphrodesiac: Stealing candy from children since 1980.

So This One Time...: I am single, twenty-something, and have a lot of random things to say...mostly about men and sex (my two favorite subjects).

I have no real idea how they ended up here, so I'll wait to hear that from them. Ladies, feel free to share.

And while we're at it, why don't the rest of you lurkers share how you got here? Confession is good for the soul. And it makes good reading.


An Event by the Numbers

I just pulled off one of the most chaotic events of my life. Mostly because it required coordination between 4 separate organizations, none of which seemed to want to help me out by cooperating. Fuckers.

And this was for a charity, of all things! Remind me to never do that again.

This is how it went:

6 weeks from notice to execution
16,000 dollar food and beverage minimum
600 estimated attendees
9 top level sponsors
70 mid-level sponsors
27 hours personally dedicated to this in the last 3 days
46.5 man hours of staff time in the last 2 days
5 feds on site
1 super happy GPG
75 minutes spent in heels
1 back-up pair of flats
27,000 dollars spent on food alone
400 dollar bar minimums
6 cash bars
2400 dollars in alcohol apparently consumed
756 confirmed attendees
2 hours of cocktails
175,000 dollars raised for charity
1 very weary GPG

All this and I supposedly was also thanked in the speeches. Of course, I wasn't in the room to hear this, but I was told about it after the fact. Which is almost as good. Except not at all. Because if I'm going to work my ass off this hard for something that wasn't even supposed to be my responsibility, I want to bask in my 2 seconds of glory, dammit! Especially in a room filled with 700 drunken people.

But at least I got the feds. And that alone is worth its weight in yummy.

I never said my job didn't have an upside.


There Aren't Enough Hours in the Day

My time is valuable. I cost my company a great deal of money, especially after 5 pm...not what I'm worth, but relatively speaking, I'm not bad off.

So when a minimum wage clerk at Office Depot wants to waste time playing games with me instead of finding the item I'm paying $300 for, I get a bit irked. Understandably so.

Therefore, it wouldn't be considered rude at all if I snapped at him, told him to get is ass in gear, and get the shit I'm trying to buy.

Don't waste my fucking time.


Growing Up is Hard to Do, Part 2

Over the weekend, I realized I'm living a life I don't quite recognize. Not totally happy with it, I've decided to do away with the hypotheticals and accept certain truths.

In list form:

- Quitting my job would not be the end of the world
- Maybe having a kid wouldn't be so bad
- I'm moving back to El Valle next month

Usually, when I want to make a big change in my life, I just cut off all my hair and take up a new endurance sport. But this time, it's going to take more than a sassy haircut and a renewed commitment to the gym. I have to shake it up completely: relocate and start fresh.

I'm lucky that I have the luxury of making these decisions on my terms and no one else's, even if coming to grips with them is breaking my brain. And no, I'm on pregnant...but apparently the biological clock started ticking on Saturday.

Probably due to the fact that Saturday marked the 6-month countdown to 30.


In the meantime, happy 6th birthday to my G-brat. She's 6 today. What a fun age.


Why Work is Bad

Have you seen those Careerbuilder commercials where workers are in a Survivor-type environment, the tagline being "Do more than survive the work week"? There's one where hapless workers are enticed by free doughnuts and bagels, only to fall down a hole and get trapped in mindless meetings.

That gives you an idea of what my typical workday feels like.

Meetings are like purgatory: an endless limbo of people talking in circles, deciding nothing but to continue "thinking by committee" at the next meeting.

It's so painful that stabbing myself in the eye would accomplish more and still hurt less.

But recently I've noticed an even more annoying trend: chewing gum in meetings. In fact, one director goes so far as to bring in new flavors every time we meet. What the fuck? So everyone sits around the table chomping away at Berry Blast or Citrus Melon.

Do you know how difficult it is to take a department head seriously when they look like cows chewing cud? It's awful. I lose respect for them with each smack of the gum. And then I start to wonder why they make more money than I do. Which makes me depressed. And makes the time in the meeting that much more miserable.

Sometimes I wish it was a little more like Singapore.


Fatty, Fatty Two by Four

You know how the American public has a severe obesity problem? Well, the new joke at Disneyland is that instead of being "this tall to ride this ride," you must "weigh less than an elephant."

Fat fucking Midwesterners are
breaking the boats in the It's a Small World ride. They have to close it down in order to rejigger it to allow their fat asses to keep taking up space.

And in another 50 years, they'll probably have to do it again.


Signs of the Apocalypse

The writers strike is on. Coffee drinkers beware.

I just bought raspberries. Five bucks for a handful.

The price of gas is climbing in leaps and bounds.

So the California economy is going to take a dump because an entire industry is about to grind to a halt. Food is becoming prohibitively expensive to get to market because the gas in the trucks is too fucking high.

We can't eat. We can't drive. We can't be entertained.

And the holidays are just around the corner.



October by the Numbers

Oh it's late. Again. Sue me. No really, go ahead. I have lawyers in my pockets. And I'm just dying to force them to do my bidding. For 33%. Unless we go to trial, then it's 40%.

Fucking lawyers. They're also the reason last month's wrap up is so late. Lets all hate them together.

2 casual Fridays spent in a suit
11 events requiring my attention
17 stories before my lungs exploded in an icky mucus nightmare
6 days sick in bed
3 half-days of work missed
1 birthday party missed
24 years on the planet achieved by our favorite Shambot
3 months achieved by her baby son
1 Yoda costume for the baby
16 dollars for two Clippers tickets
1 surprise appearance by the newest member of the Phoenix Suns
21 points scored by my boyfriend Grant Hill
2 glasses of Simon LA's yummy California syrah
1 book unsigned
1 free glass of scotch
1 double shot of tequila spilled at Stone Rose
10 pieces of sushi
3 glasses of California Symphony @ T&A's
132 minutes cracking up over the unrated version of "Knocked Up"
1 little Krazy child taught to root for the losing Bruins
3 Saints wins
0 promised Saints t-shirts delivered
4 Raiders losses
0 Raiders merchandise owned
1 generic hooded costumed figure
1 NASCAR fan without his mustache
15 dollars to park
4 blocks walked, both up AND downhill
80 million freaks dressed up for the WeHo Halloween Carnaval


Happy Halloween!



It's All in the Ending

I was all set to bitch about the horrid traffic day I had. Out of fucking nowhere, the number of cars seemed to balloon 187,000%. There was some bullshit accident at 5 am that up until 8 pm was still wreaking havoc on all Los Angeles roads.

ALL of them. ALL the fucking way from LAX to downtown. Do you know how far away those two locations are? 20 miles. Do you know how many square miles of road that is in between?

80 fucking quadrillion!!

It took an hour and 20 minutes to get from work to home. Those last 20? I moved a full 2 miles. You can imagine how furious and exhausted I was by day's end.

And then I walked in my front door to the most jubilant roommate. As she shoved her left-hand in my face, I had to laugh at how excited she was by the gorgeous ring on her finger. She was literally glowing.

So she's getting married next spring and couldn't be happier. And coming home to that kinda really made my day.


New Reads Around the Neighborhood

It's been a difficult month here in California. First, wildfires that ate up everything in sight, and generally fucked up any plans to breathe. This sucked. But things are getting worse: next up, a possible writers' strike.

While this might not seem important to people who don't watch tv, it's actually worse than a dive in the entertainment quotient. See, most writers are unhappy people to begin with. So if they aren't going to be working for a few months, you can guarantee that there will be more incidents of road rage and less places to sit at the local coffee shop. Where the writers will hang out until kingdom come. With lattes and bad attitudes. It will make getting coffee and/or driving less fun and a lot more dangerous.

What to do? Instead of fretting about professional writers not getting their proper fees, lets all turn our attention to some people who will give it to you for free. To stave off the depression of more reality tv, check out these new additions to the harem:

Attractive, Single, Mentally Stable: Choose 2
The title says it all. Though now that this citizen of the world is threatening to marry a character known only as D, that leaves attractive and mentally stable for the choosing. She appears to love drinking too, so you know that immediately endeared her to us here at Exxy HQ.

Cigar Smoking, Beer Drinking Lawyer and Starving Trial Lawyer
Two obviously legal-based blogs, I found these relatively recently through Anonymous Lawyer. Given who I have to deal with for a living, these guys help me get into the mind of what I would otherwise categorize as arrogant nincompoops. I hate attorneys less after I read these.

Fear & Loathing in Absentia
Written by Neil who is witty and rarely satisfied, but leaves comments for me so he is well-liked around these pink parts. I imagine him as part modern-day Beatnik, part frustrated Einstein. I've never met the man, so there is no way I could confirm this persona, but I'm happy to encourage it.

Lightning Bug's Butt
Truly riotously hysterical writing. There is little that can be said about this blog that would do it justice. The archives date back nearly 3 years, and there's little we at Exoterica like more than a willingness to keep churning it out.

Mumble, Mumble, Mumble
She's back, finally. A dear friend of your humble GPG, C-dub returns to the blogging world. She's newly married but remains one of my favorite camera whores. We like her lots.

And that should keep us all busy for a while.


Tourista in the City: 90291

In my new and completely irregularly posted series, I'll give my dedicated readers tips on getting around the maze that is Los Angeles.

First up: Venice Beach. Specifically, its notorious boardwalk. (I dedicate this to Jay.)

- If you see a gorgeous Adonis of a black man standing by his bicycle looking in your direction, do not ask your boyfriend if you can take him home with you. Because the black Adonis will either hear this, or see your lips moving, and come right over to you and talk nonstop for the next 10 minutes. During which you will learn that he was born in '61, he used to box with Mike Tyson, and that he's got a black tooth. This will ruin your meal, consisting of a hot dog for you and hot wings for him. Neither of you will finish your food, and that's just a waste.

- Nobody rolls around the beach in a limousine unless they are a douchbag. Points for it not being a Hummer model, but the ruling on the field stands. Especially when its a Chrysler 300, aka the Poorman's Bentley. And when you see Dog the Bounty Hunter step out of said vehicle, step to the side. A stampede of white trash sycophants are rushing to stalk him down the boardwalk and you do not want their buckteeth to snag you.

- Dating a man with the same name as a famous singer is good, especially when it gets you into a conversation with the very attractive Puerto Rican doorman. Spoken completely in Spanish. Being Puerto Rican gets you the best seats at the bar, and impeccable service like lots of cherries in your Shirley Temple. Do not expect this level of attention unless you are indeed Puerto Rican as well.

- The pillar of a figure standing in a black sack will poke and/or mock you. Much to the enjoyment of everyone at the Sidewalk Cafe. Don't get too close or you will become the show.

- Finally, dogs and babies are more plentiful than fat, pasty tourists with black socks and sandals. Beware of dog poo and large strollers, piloted by clueless parents that don't realize you shouldn't take innocent children to an area abuzz with germs and clouds of marijuana smoke. That's bad for their little lungs. And getting a lame message t-shirt isn't going to cure their asthma.


From the Land of Minimal Effort

I've become lazy as all hell. Having a job that hypothetically drains the life out of you tends to have that effect.

But seriously.

I've stopped caring about what I wear. In the mornings, it's almost too much trouble to wash my hair. There's a point where if one continues to ignore her eyebrows, they become a ragged, unplucked mess.

I'm half a step removed from that point.

This morning, after awaking from a nightmare in which my coworker was trying to kill me and Bea Arthur was trying to help me, I dragged my tired ass out of bed and stared at the closet. I had an event tonight, so I had to at least try to look decent. It took half an hour, but I somehow managed to pull it together.

I even put on make-up. But just the bare minimum.

At 4:30 I dragged my more tired, worn out, faded make-up wearing ass to the hotel. Where I spent the entire dinner chatting with a nice young man. Who ended the night by asking me out.

The moral of the story: there's no point in trying to look good. Apparently I'm better off like this.


If you came here looking for a Friday photo, too bad. I just didn't feel like it today. Expect this apathy to continue indefinitely. Or until someone gives me a million dollars.

Whichever comes first.


Overheard at the Sofitel

Last night, La Ria and I got together once again to enjoy more of our industry perks. Namely, partying at a swanky hotel.

We got to sit among the Hollywood wannabes discussing their movies. And smoking. Isn't it illegal to do that yet?

I hate smokers.

I spilled tequila on myself because my stupid swag bag fell over on it. So annoying. It was good tequila too. So we had to sit around and wait for me to dry off, lest the lingering stench of alcohol cloud our ride home. Can you imagine if we got pulled over?

But the true climatic event of the evening came when the old geezer next to me decided to comment on my choice of scotch.

Blonde bartendar: That's the last bit of the 18. We don't have any more bottles.

GPG: This is less than a shot. Wow.

BB: It's all yours.

Old Geezer: 18 year old scotch, huh?

GPG: My boyfriend says it makes me mean when I drink it. I'm not talking to him tonight, so I'll steal this opportunity to enjoy it.

OG: It makes you mean?

GPG: Yes. But I'm Puerto Rican, so that's allowed. He knew what he was getting into from the moment we met.

At this, the geezer made a face like he'd given up trying to understand women. He briefly pontificated on the difference between "mean" and "nasty," then went to put the moves on the budding starlet sitting on the other side of the bar.

It fascinates me to no end how old men will never hesitate to hit on young women. It's entertaining.

Almost as good as free cheese and wine. And scotch. She didn't end up charging me for my miniscule shot. Or the one I spilled.

It was a good night.


The Fire Season

Remember how Southern California only has three seasons? As the humidity went into negative numbers the other day, I made a bad joke about how the hills would soon be alive with the smell of burning embers.

The next day, angry flames devouring everything in sight. From Malibu to San Diego, 10 separate incidents. That's a little suspect, don't you think?

We're now up to what? 20 fires? One million people evacuated. It's affecting people I know and love. I prefer they not become homeless.

The cover story of the November issue of Los Angeles magazine is about fire being the real danger. Not earthquakes. Not terrorists. Not idiotic Hollywood darlings with nothing better to do than run over the paparazzi and squander their lives in rehab. Nope. It's fire.

California isn't going to fall into the ocean. It's going to implode in a huge cloud of acrid smoke, leaving behind a huge pile of dust. Like a vampire after you expose it to sunlight. Smells bad. Like burnt meat. What a waste.

It's usually not safe to breathe the air. But right now, you need an oxygen mask. The sky has a permanent orange glow, grey clouds blotting out the sky. At nine am today the light had an eerie, late afternoon glow about it. It's been suspiciously quiet too. Like the worst is yet to come.

Recently I drove past the site of some ugly fires from earlier this year. Ones that ate up the vegetation in my favorite childhood wonderland: Griffith Park. The scars remain in the twisted limbs of blackened trees stand silent against a charred, naked landscape. It's like nature's own scorched earth practice. The land will lie fallow for another 7 years.

Then there was that year that the hills behind my parents' house lit up the night sky. They spent that week in Mexico, ignorant of the threat to their home. I stayed there just in case their valuables needed rescuing.

And that's the thing about these fires, and why it's ALMOST understandable that arsonists derive such joy from setting things aflame: it's beautiful. Destructive in the nastiest of ways, but from afar, it's gorgeous. And we will rebuild. We always do.

So we'll take our amazingly brilliant sunsets, and wait out the horror. And when all is said and done, we'll start all over.

Destroy and recreate. It's how we survive.


The Gift of Blog

This little pink corner of the world here has afforded me a lot of fun.

It's given me pen pals in the farthest reaches of the globe. It's gotten me free drinks. It's put me in touch with my inner writer and her alter ego the grammar nazi. It's forced me to rethink my stance on many a topic before I commit it to the internet tubes.

It's even gotten me laid.

But in today's mail I got something even specialer than that. From the upside-down part of the world came a package. The contents must remain under wraps, but amongst the many neat findings there lay the secrets to finding the Baboon Army Compound.

Skookum Joe is the coolest cat in Aussie land. I highly recommend winning his quizzes so you too can have your own bag of heroin n' fun!


Random Hypothetical #2

How do you know when it's time to quit your job?

Is it when you can't stomach getting out of bed in the morning, just to go shovel more manure? Or when you can barely contain your disgust at the mere thought of dealing with your coworkers?

Or is it when you feel like your entire soul has been sucked dry and there is no more joy left in the world?

It's good to recognize these signs, should you ever find yourself in such a position.


I Love This Game

Since you already got your photoblogging for the week, let me share the joy that was the unexpected treat of watching my all-time favorite basketball player boyfriend help his Suns clobber my favorite team. I'm a Clippers fan, no doubt. But when Grant Hill is in town, I swoon for no other.

In fact when my real boyfriend called to ask what was up, I told him I couldn't talk because my boyfriend Grant had all my attention. I can't talk and drool at the same time.

But the real funny was when my baby brother and I first arrived at Staples Center. The Spirit Squad girls were posing for pictures when we walked by. He'd been snapping pics outside with his new iPhone, so I figured he want to put it to further good use:

GPG: Want a picture with them?

Baby Brother: Nah. They're not that hot.

He then went to buy his baby a Clips ski cap.

I'm sure the Shambot appreciates it all.


I Got Sunshine

With all the rotten things going on in the world (global warming, Britney being allowed to keep her kids overnight, my access to free pizza being compromised), I'm considering myself pretty fucking lucky.

I have a job with more headaches than perks, but at least the perks I do get are nice. And I've spent the week doing a damn good job of impressing The Powers That Be while only managing to work about 4 hours a day.

Halloween is just around the corner.

There's a certain man who to this day still knows when I need to hear his voice. And delivers in spades.

I just spent a random Wednesday night having a home cooked meal with my entire family. There's nothing like dinner with the people you love.

And tomorrow? Clippers vs. Suns!!!

Anyone who says life isn't good isn't me. Remind me of this next time I start crabbing.


Fun with Nyquil

Each annoyingly pathetic time I get sick, I know how it's gonna go: misery, misery, misery...

Otherwise known as The 5 Stages of Illness, per me:

1. Sore throat, sniffles.

2. Denial that I'm getting sick, followed by an overdose of Airborne, Emergen-C, echinecea, goldenseal and anything else I can get my hands on to prevent the germs from taking up residence in my mucus membranes

3. Anger when it doesn't work.

4. Inability to breathe because the germs have won and it hurts like a bitch.

5. Irritating hacking cough.

By the time I get the cough, I know I'm on the upswing. After 6 fucking days, I'm finally in the final stages of this awful cold. Even though my head still feels like a balloon, and I swear to god I'm floating, I know I'm getting better.

And I damn well better be.


Shady Figures

I live on a quiet street. It's a tree-lined residential neighborhood made up of apartment buildings nestled between two major avenues. I've been here for 6 years.

At night, it gets a little deserted. And the streetlights are set far enough apart that it's rather dark. Especially on nights like tonight when the moon is hiding behind a blanket of clouds. Did I mention the trees throwing shadows all over the place? It can be a little spooky.

So when I got home at nearly 9 pm, and there was a black-clad man wandering suspiciously down the middle of the street, and I spent all weekend in bed watching tv shows about women killed in their apartments, is it any wonder that I felt a little apprehensive pulling into my garage?

Thank god he just kept walking past my building. Preferring prey a little further down the road, I'm sure.

I gotta stop watching those shows.