Friday, March 31, 2006


I've always been kind of fascinated with DNA - how kids can look JUST like their mom, or be a spitting image of their father, so much so that it looks like the other spouse wasn't even in the room when the kid was conceived. Most people tell me I look like my mom. In my face, I see things that are very much my mom's side of the family. Recently, I've realized I have the same shaped smile as my dad.

My sisters are significantly younger than me. Jessie is 19 and Jackie is 17. Still, when I go back to Ohio, my relatives oftentimes mistake me for Jackie. Enough so that they will say hi as if it hasn't been a full year since I'd seen them last. I take this as a compliment. I'm 27 years old and get mistaken for a 17 year old. I'm okay with that.

Whether or not we're spitting images of each other, my sisters and I look remarkably alike, especially as they are getting older. Jackie and I looked the exact same as kids... Jessie, not so much. But now... see for yourself.

This is me. This is my look that unenthusiastically says, "Oh, really." I got new glasses, by the way, so they're not crooked on my face anymore.


This is my sister Jessie, in the blue jacket, making virtually the same face, 2000 miles away:

Jess in the blue jacket

Here's Jessie and Jackie, in a kind of outdated photo (Jessie's in the sunglasses):


Jackie and I from last summer:


Jackie and I, Christmas 2004:


Happy Friday, everyone. Enjoy your weekend. We're off to see Gioavnni! (And Gina's two brothers, and her mom and dad.)

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Welcome home, Jill. I don't know you, or your family, but I am so incredibly glad you are safe.

For those of you who don't speak Spanish, El Compadre means "The Compadre."

Back in my Ohio days, my idea of Mexican food was Chi Chi's and Taco Bell. At Chi Chi's, I'd usually order a "pop" (soda, for the rest of you) just so I could get the complimentary chips and salsa. Or, if my mom had given me a little bit of money, I'd order a virgin daquiri (and get the complimentary chips and salsa). If was an especially special occasion, I'd actually order food, which was usually some sort of fried burrito... NO beans, please. No me gusta frijoles! The servers had no idea what I was talking about.

Even at Taco Bell, the most adventurous thing I'd order back then was a meximelt with no pico... which is essentially beef and melted cheese in a tortilla. (Still my favorite item at Taco Bell.)

My tastebuds were not prepared for the Mexican onslaught they endured once I moved to Los Angeles. One of the first places my first girlfriend took me was El Compadre, whose sign boasts "Authentic Mexican Family Restaurant," or something like that. She raved and raved about this place. My first order: the Vagabundo combo, which was a beef taco and a cheese enchilada with beans and rice. It was 6.95, and it came with rice and beans. Of course, I said, no me gusta frijoles! And they gave me all rice instead.

I was hesitant. It didn't taste like Chi Chi's. And why is this beef shredded? And the salsa, it's so HOT and not CHUNKY. And the chips, they're so thin and greasy! And there's so much of this red sauce on everything. And the taco... this taco shell is NOT what I'd buy at the grocery store. It's warped! And greasy! And WHITE CHEESE on a taco? What about yellow cheese?

I'm not sure I finished my dinner that night, but I'm sure I left drunk off the SIX DOLLAR MARGARITA! Six bucks for a drink! I was amazed. And broke.

When I started going to El Compadre, no one knew about it. There was never a wait. You could get a combo for $6.95. It's in West Hollywood, across from the Guitar Center, near some great Thai restaurants, but it was the best kept secret in LA, as far as I was concerned. I slowly started to like the restaurant more and more, and we quickly became semi-regulars. And I realized, THIS... THIS is Mexican food. And this is one of the first restaurants on Katie's Los Angeles Tour for friends that come visit.

Slowly, however, people started to find out about El Compadre. And today, if you get there after 8pm on ANY day of the week, you can expect to wait an hour. It's quite possibly the best Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles. My friend Wendy has a 4 year old and a 3 year old, and her and her husband and the kids go there every Friday night. They don't even call the restaurant by its proper name, instead referring to it as "Good Guacamole."

Last night, Rachel and I went there at 9pm and were warned we'd wait an hour. We know the whole the-tables-at-the-bar-are-first-come-first-served trick, so we only waited about 20 minutes. And as we were sitting there, we started talking about who we've seen there. You know, famous people. This is a popular game in LA... you're at a restaurant, you recall seeing someone famous at said restaurant, so you tell the story. She remembered seeing Lauren Graham there, I remembered seeing Christina Ricci. Just then, as if on cue, Billy Bob Thornton walked towards the exit with a bunch of friends. Twenty minutes later, Dwight Yoakam walked through in Billy Bob's steps, probably looking for him since they're friends. We also saw Gideon Yago from MTV.

And then I realized. Some stupid entertainment writer probably wrote some stupid article about how they saw Jennifer Aniston there or Adam Brody or Billy Corgan or whoever, and now, it's a hot spot. Also, margaritas are now between 7 and 9 dollars, depending on who takes your order. The same combo we used to order for $6.95 is now $8.95. And the service is starting to not be great. It makes me sad.

I'll still go, especially since the hot waitress knows me and calls me sweetie. Oh, and me gusta friijoles ahora.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I like it!

A List: Things I Used To Dislike But Now Enjoy Immensely, Or Am Starting To Enjoy

1. Avocado/Guacamole.

2. Seafood - this is the biggest surprise to even myself. Shrimp, mahi mahi, lobster, turbot = yummy.

3. Foreign cars.

4. Two very popular slang words for a woman's privates - one begins with a C, one begins with a P.

5. Beer.

6. Tofu.

7. Politics.

8. Medium to large sized dogs: specifically, labs and rotties.

9. The idea of marriage.

10. Running.

A List: Things I Used To Like But No Longer Enjoy

1. Lunchmeat, specifically turkey.

2. White bread (I enjoy white sandwich bread maybe once a year. This doesn't include Italian or French bread, which I still love. When it comes to sandwiches, though, I prefer wheat or rye.)

3. Chemical peanut butter: Skippy, Jiff, Peter Pan, etc.

4. Coffeemate flavored creamer.

5. Keeping my hair cut short.

6. Self-deprecation.

7. Myspace. (I don't hate it enough to stop using it... ha!)

8. Select people from my past.

9. The whole "starving artist" thing.

10. "Survivor."

A List: Things I've Always Hated And Probably Always Will.

1. Mustard.

2. Salmon.

3. The word "monies."

4. Sushi.

5. Lying.

6. Bugs.

7. Black licorice.

8. Summer blockbusters. (Admittedly, this is very much a generalization.)

9. Tequila shots.

10. Flesh eating viruses.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Finally... something that might actually inspire me to write a good short story. Some day.

Last night, Gina and I went to dinner with Patrick and his parents, who are visiting from Ohio. Patrick and Gina and I all went to Hubbard High School together. Patrick's father was Gina's confirmation teacher at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Hubbard. Patrick's mother was a high school English teacher at Hubbard High for about 35 years, during which she had all three of us as students at one point or another. Incidentally, my mother was also a student of hers 32 years ago. Anyway, we were excited to have five Hubbard folks, chatting about the tiny town we call home.

Along with our dinner plans, we were committed to housesitting for Gina's friend Courtney who has two small dogs, one of which is a five month old puppy. Gina met Courtney, a cool spunky photography student at UCLA, while Gina was living with me in my old apartment... Courtney lives in the same building.

Before leaving for dinner, I double checked (as I often do) that I had everything I needed. One item on the checklist was and always is my wallet. I looked in my bag... I did not have it. Knowing full well I did not take it out of my bag after work, I figured I had left it at work, which meant a trip back to the valley to look for it before the night was out. This did not make me happy.

We left with only Gina's wallet, and I began thinking quickly. I called the office... luckily, someone was still working, and he was nice enough to go upstairs and check my desk for my wallet.

"It's not here."

I hated hearing those words.

We ate dinner, I tried to put it out of my mind. After dinner, we went back to our apartment, and I checked the whole apartment for the wallet. Nothing. I checked my car. Nothing. I checked my bag for the fifth time. Nothing. I drove to work at 9:30pm last night. Looked all around my desk. In every drawer. Nothing.

I had only two glimmers of hope: someone found it and turned it into the front desk. This was unlikely because our company is smallish and everyone pretty much knows everyone else, and if someone HAD found it, they would have put it in my desk. My other thought was that I may have left it at It's Coffee Time, even though I knew 100 percent that I did NOT take it there that morning. I was just trying to set my mind at ease, all the while unable to STOP mentally listing all of the things that were in the wallet: driver's license, insurance card, Costco card, credit cards, social security card, $30.00...

On my way home from work at 10:00pm, I called my old roommate to see if I could share her parking space, and to let her know I was going to be in the building for a week, puppy sitting. (Her parking space was full, so to add on to my crappy night, I had to find parking. In Hollywood. Boo.)

I parked the car and was extremely frustrated. I got to Courtney's and moped while Gina watched TV. Admittedly, the puppies cheered me up (I'll post pics next week). Gina also cheered me up, just by reminding me that the problem was fixable. Annoying, but fixable. I went to bed at 11pm, mainly so that I could stop thinking about it.

At 12:30am, my cell phone rang. I refused to get out of bed to get it, but Gina pointed out it might be an emergency. I went to get it and listened to the new voice mail. It was my roommate. She sounded really... weird.

"Hi... Katie... Um... Can you call me back?... I have something of yours. I have... your wallet." Then, to someone else, she said, "Yeah, uh huh, okay... thanks." Back to me. "Call me in the morning and you can come get it."

I called her right back. She had called me because she wanted to be on the phone with someone when she answered the door. Turns out, a guy came to her door smelling of alcohol, looking for "Kathy." Once she heard voices of neighbors in the hallway, she felt comfortable opening the door. He handed my wallet to her, telling her he found it, and he took some money out of it, and he apologized. He gave my roommate his address, saying that I should write to him if I wanted the money back, that he felt really bad that he took it and spent it, and he wished he could apologize to me in person.

My immediate thought was, how did this guy get this wallet from my OFFICE and why the hell did he bring it to Hollywood from the valley at 12:30am? Then I saw that his address was an address a few blocks away from where Gina and I live, and I realized it must've fallen out of my bag when I got out of the car after work yesterday.

Obviously, I'm not going to write to this guy asking for my money back, which I'm estimating was about $25, maybe $30 (he left three dollar bills in the wallet). He needs the money more than I do. It was just a weird set of Lynchian circumstances, and I still can't believe that the guy made it all the way across Hollywood to return a wallet.

I'm grateful, and humbled.


Most of you know I'm from Ohio. Most of you also know that Ohio cost the Democrats the election in 2004. Ohio is what we call a "swing state." Basically, in elections, Ohio is an unpredictable bitch. She went red in the last 2 elections, but not by very much. And I think there's some crazy statistic that no president has ever won without winning Ohio. Tangentially, I blame this on the fact that Ohio is a mix between midwest and east coast... not quite in the middle of the country, and only six hours from the Atlantic Ocean.

A story out of Youngstown (which is the closest major city to where I grew up, and also the city where I went to college) was brought to my attention last night involving one of my favorite Democrats, Robert Hagan. I'm partial to him because I know him... I worked for his wife in the Youngstown State University Theater Department, and I also babysat his children on several occasions. He's a state senator who made an unsuccessful bid for governor a few years back.

Read the story here. Trust me, it's worth the click.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I've been having a year long debate with myself over what irony really is. I gave up on asking Alanis to define it for me, because she sure as hell doesn't know. And I think I may have found a good example, right here on this very blog.

In my previous post, I aired what I see as some of my own inadequacies with my blog and my writing, in the form of a story where a friend inadvertently compared myself and another blogger. I mentioned how I don't like soliciting compliments from people.

The irony is that in doing so, in the telling of this story, I have solicited compliments; reassurances, if you will. This was unintentional. While I enjoy compliments as much as the next person, I apologize to my vast sea of readers* for unintentionally "seeking out" validation. In the same breath, I thank those of you who have said nice things to me about my blog and my writing, and I appreciate every comment every person leaves on here, nice or otherwise.

This, my friends, is irony. I think.

*This, however, is sarcasm.

You'd think I never even bought a digital camera.

I had wild fantasies that once I bought a digital camera, my blog would be full of amazing pictures. I carry my little camera with me everywhere, waiting for the perfect photo op to arise. Alas... not only is my blog severely lacking fun pictures, I'm not even updating it.

For the record, I keep this blog because it's the only way I'll write with any frequency or regularity. Notice, I haven't updated since last Friday.

I'm thinking about pretending like I have a baby, because really, that's when the humor starts. I thought it was just me who loved reading the mommy blogs, but I've experienced two instances in the past month of people who share my view. One is my friend Amy, who is celebrating her 26th birthday today - HAPPY FREAKING BIRTHDAY AMY. On her blog... you know, the secret one she didn't tell me about for months... she posted an entry about this very thing. I'd link it, but she has since deleted it. She talked about how she wanted to have a baby just so she could blog about it.

And then, last night, we played Euchre with Lisa and Allyson (one of our two favorite lesbian couples). I think Lisa has a consistent dialogue going through her head, because she'll often start talking about something no one else is talking about, in a way that makes you believe that you were talking about it and you just don't remember. Out of the blue, she said, "I read Chara's blog, too." We weren't talking about Chara (cool mom of 2), blogging, or even writing. She continued; "Her blog is really funny."

I never like to make anyone feel uncomfortable, and I'm not a fan of soliciting compliments, so I nodded. Another person would have said, "OH, so mine's NOT??" But I know Chara's a better writer than I, and indeed, it could be argued her blog is funnier than mine, so I simply agreed.

Of course, Lisa caught herself, and couldn't manage to find her way out: "I mean, yours is funny too..."

I tried to throw her a rope by saying, "No, Chara is a great writer."

She tried to sympathize with me: "It's just that she actually has funny things to write about."

I could do nothing but agree. And mentally plot out the quickest way for me to get pregnant.

Friday, March 17, 2006

And so on.

There are some things you just have to get used to when you move to Los Angeles. And here they are, in no particular order.

1. When people say, "It's so clear out today!" they're not referring to cloud cover, but rather to smog cover. The difference in the look of the city on a normal day versus the day after it rains is mind boggling. Truly.

2. There are a lot of unfortunate, crazy people in the world. And some of those people are homeless. The others are actors.

3. Fifty degrees, indeed, is really, really cold.

4. People aren't always sincere.

5. The traffic is really, really, truly awful. It's no joke.

I've been pretty lucky with number five. I've always had jobs where I'm going against traffic, so I never have more than a half hour commute. Somone threw a wrench into this glory the past three nights... a 12 mile drive, which as mentioned in the sentence before this one, normally takes 30 minutes has taken me over an hour the past three nights. And for no reason. There are no accidents. There's no construction. It seems as though the population of Los Angeles has literally doubled overnight.

What do I do to combat traffic related stress? I take pictures. While I'm driving. To share with you.

This is on the 101 freeway, where I usually average 55-60mph on the way home.



Still a good four exits from where I need to be...

This is my exit! Yay!


This is my exit ramp. Boo.


I sat on the exit ramp for a little under 10 minutes, so I had time to take these:



The pictures are not perfect on account of it being nighttime, which really makes the flash sort of useless (I hate the flash anyway), and I'm actually inching along in my car during a lot of them. But you get the idea.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Here's where I remember why I used to love television.

When Survivor first premiered, I didn't understand the premise. I was on the phone with Rachel and she said, "Yeah, it's this show where they leave people on this island and see who survives." In my mind, that meant that, literally, if you made it off the island alive, you won. That was CRAZY to me, and I refused to watch it. I finally tuned in about the sixth episode of the first season, realized it wasn't life or death, and became addicted. (I'm happy to report I've recovered from my Survivor addiction and no longer watch the show.)

My point is, I should have taken that idea and run with it. Island. Survival of the fittest. Death. What does this all add up to?

L O S T.

Gina and I have been meaning to watch this show since she moved here six months ago. We've been meaning to get it on DVD, watch the whole first season, and then catch up on the second season. We kept forgetting about it, until Gina found out Michelle Rodriguez is a cast member. Then it became priority.

Here is a timeline of our weekend:


5:30am - I wake up for a shoot in Newport Beach.

4:30pm - Text from Gina: "Do you know Michelle Rodriguez is on Lost?"

4:35pm - Text to Gina: "No I didn't... do you want to rent that tonight?"

4:35pm - Text from Gina: "YES PLEASE."

7:30pm - Phone call to Larchmont Blockbuster: "Do you have the 1st season of Lost on DVD? All but the last disc? Great."

7:45pm - We check out discs one and two, each with four episodes. Total: $10.00

8:00pm-12:00am - We watch the first five episodes. We're hooked.

12:00am - I go to bed, after being up since 5:30.


12:00am-3:30am - Gina finishes the second three episodes and comes to bed.

9:15am - I wake up. I start watching to catch up with Gina.

12:00pm - We return to Larchmont Blockbuster and rent dics three, four, and five. (Six was checked out) $15.00

12:30pm - 9:15pm - We watch nine episodes. They're about 42 minutes a piece. I leave to go out.


1:00am - I come home, Gina's still watching. She won't turn it off, I don't want to see anything I've missed, so I leave, take a nap in my car, and come back upstairs about 1:45. She's finished all of the discs.

2:00am - We go to bed.

9:30am - 2:00pm - We run errands: farmer's market, grocery shopping, and a quest to find the last disc at a Blockbuster. No one has it. I call Rachel. She's burned it, we can borrow it. We pick it up at 2.

2:00pm - 6:45pm - We go home, I catch up and watch the remaining episodes.

6:45pm - We put Rachel's disc six in. It doesn't work.

6:50pm - I hook up a different DVD player, hoping that'll work. It doesn't.

7:15pm - We buy the first season of Lost on DVD at Target for $51.99 + tax, which brings our grand total of money spent on this show to nearly $80.00.

7:45pm - 12:00am - We watch the remaning four episodes, the last of which is an hour and a half long.


12:00am - 1:00am - We watch the L Word, which was a really dramatic episode but seemed like sitcom after Lost.

11:30am - I find out I can download ALL OF THE SECOND SEASON (so far) from iTunes. I download the premiere, but hold off on the other ones because Rachel promises she can hook me up.

7:00pm - Gina comes home sick. I give her Advil, a massage, and tell her she should sleep.

9:00pm - Gina's still not awake, and I can't wait any longer. I watch the season premiere on my laptop.

Gina ended up sleeping straight through until morning, and finally, the 26 hours of creepy TV caught up with me and I had a horrible nightmare. And still, all I can do is think about when Rachel will have the rest of season 2 to give me on DVD. I'm hoping for Thursday.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Upon further inspection...

Remember how my service light came on? I went to a mechanic across the street from where I work and left my car there for the day so good old Ralph could check her out. I went to pick her up at the end of the day and he gave me the following estimate:

ELECTRONIC IGNITION (MINOR) - Tune - (Includes: Check compression. Clean or replace spark plugs an air cleaner. Inspect and/or replace distributor cap and rotor. Inspect ignition cables. Adjust ignition timing and idle speed.)
Total: $119.00

(Additional time) - Where cruise control interferes.
Add: $25.50

(Combination) FUEL FILTER - Remove and replace.
Total: $17.00

SPARK PLUG WIRE SET - Remove and replace - Includes: Test wires.
Total: $59.50

Total parts: $148.07
Total labor: $221.00
Tax: $12.22

Total: $381.29

He also wrote in pen: Engine oil and filter; Transmission service.

This information was based on what my manual says needs to be done after a certain mileage. That is, he couldn't find anything wrong with the car, so he just told me what I should do. First of all, I don't have cruise control. Secondly, about 2 weeks ago, I got an oil change and my transmission serviced. Apparently he couldn't pick up on any of that by "checking out" my car.

Upon a further inspection of the car by me and Gina (mostly Gina), we realized the what was causing the service light to come on. Turns out, the estimate should have looked like this:

Passenger side headlight needs replaced.
Cost: Less than $30.00.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


My little Canon Sure Shot 35mm camera broke a few weeks ago. I turned it in to a camera shop Monday the 27th, and they promised they'd call within a week to tell me how much it'd be to fix it. In the young fella's words, "It can be definitely fixed, it's just a matter of whether or not it's worth it." Yeah. The camera's about two years old, and the damn latch on the film door broke.

Usually, I'd be okay waiting for my camera to be fixed, but on March 2, they still hadn't looked at it, and on that same day, Gina's brother and his wife had a baby. We decided we'd leave the next day to go see the new little boy. And me without a camera. Can you imagine?

So what do I do? The only practical thing there is to do. I go to Target on my lunch break on Friday and buy a little Canon Power Shot A520. You are now witnessing me moving into the digital age, dear readers, as this is my very first digital camera. I'm still partial to film, and I'll get my film camera fixed if it's not too expensive, but boy howdy do I love this new little camera. It hasn't left my side since Friday.

Now that I have that out of the way, I'd like to discuss some stuff. And of course, I have visual aides. Yessss.

First and foremost, after three adorable nieces, Gina finally has a nephew! His name is Giovanni Paolo. As my friend Wendy said when she heard the name, Viva la Roma!

Here he is, looking all pink and rosy thanks to the soft focus feature on my lovely little camera:

Handsome boy.

Gina kept calling me Uncle Katie, but the truth is, if anyone's the uncle, it's Gina. Giovanni can't really figure it out, though...

Aunt or Uncle?

On our way home, we hit a huge rain storm:

Rain on window.

The windshield.

A day after we got back, following several weeks of me cautiously talking about how well my car has been behaving, I was greeted to this:

This sucks.


In other news, I went out to dinner last night with some friends at The Abbey, which is a gay boy hot spot in West Hollywood. Whenever my group of friends and I see a girl who is most likely gay, or a group of most likely gay girls, we always say, "Ladies!" or we carry it further: "Ladies, please! We can work it out!" as though passing lesbians are like dogs and we're on their turf, and they're about to attack. We laugh quite a bit about this. So you can imagine our reaction when the bill came to our table last night and this is what it looked like:


And finally, one of my favorite things about our apartment is our view. Here is the view from our window:

View from our apartment.

Unfortunately, if you look to the right, this is also a view:

View 2

Hollywood, everybody!

Thing I'm working on: figuring out how to put a Flickr badge in a decent place on my blog. Every time I try to put it on here, it's all riding up on my text, ruining my life.

Friday, March 03, 2006


It's raining in LA today, something we're not really "accustomed to." My commute time was doubled this morning, which gave me some time to take these shots on my camera phone.

I promise... I'm going to buy a digital camera soon and quit subjecting you to these grainy pictures...

Here's the 101/170 interchange... there are normally very few cars on the road heading north, and I'm able to go a cool 70mph. Today I went 30mph.


Here's the intersection of Magnolia and Colfax, flooded:


And this is looking west on Magnolia... there's a rainbow there... can you see it? I promise it's there...


Thursday, March 02, 2006

I always wanted a treehouse!

A fun game for me and Gina, and most of my similar-minded friends, is to spout lies for humor's sake. For instance, after a very large meal, Gina will often say, "Boy, am I hungry." Or, when playing blackjack and dealt a five and a seven, "I love twelve!"

Gina and I share a studio apartment. People, it is small. It's cozy, and we both really love it, but it's small. We have an incredible view of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Park and really all of the Hollywood hills from our window. There's also a beautiful tree with flowers (hyacinth? jasmine? we don't know) right outside the windows by our bed, so I often compare our little abode to a treehouse. It makes it seem like we're an exclusive club, eternally planning out ways to spy on our little siblings. It's us against the world!

Two days ago, I was in the kitchen cooking, and I was quickly running out of space, and my frustration was mounting. I could feel myself tensing up, panicking. So finally, I said:

"Man, there is so much space in here!"

"I know, right?"

"Like seriously, I don't know what to do with all of this counter space we have!"

"Yeah, I know! I was going to go buy some appliances to fill it up, but then I realized I had too much money."