Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bad Luck, That's What You Got, That's What You Got

Sippican Cottage relates a story, which opens with:
Bad luck means something different to me than other people, I gather. Bad luck to them appears to mean that the eminently predictable results of their endless foolish behavior is impinging--finally--on their 24/7 self-gratification.

Hey, I'd like to say for the record here that I'm not one of those people. I've been told I'm very much (annoyingly) the opposite. I take responsibility/blame for just about everything. If I had written the Book of Genesis, it would have said, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...and I'm really, really sorry."

Sip's story has an ending that could have been written by my old man, whose work ethic I emulate today. When I was 11, my father was working on a construction site when someone yelled, "Heads Up!" and he looked up to see a small cinderblock fall right on his nose and bust it. He was rushed to the doctor, who splinted the busted honker. And then, against doctor's orders, my father turned around and went back to the job.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Elvis on a Fish Hook

I had the basal cell thing removed this morning; me and half a dozen other people at the surgeon's office. It was small and only took one pass to get clean margins. The doctor and his assistants were impressed.

"Most people think they have a pimple and don't see a doctor until it's really big."

The benefits of hypochondria.

No pain, thanks to five injections in my face. It felt weird when they were stitching it up, though. I felt like Rob Schneider doing an impression of Elvis on a Fish Hook. (I looked for the routine on YouTube but they didn't have it, so just imagine that it would be here.)

I'll have a fat lip and a bandage for a week, which will cause me to utter quips such as, "I cut myself shaving" and "You oughta see the other guy!"

Friday, November 24, 2006

If These Walls Could Scream

The work on our walls has been postponed until further notice, due to stuff I'd rather not go into right now. So I needed an inexpensive but tasteful stopgap measure to keep our apartment from looking like we rent it out to Law & Order for scenes where they're interrogating a junkie in his home.

I braved Black Friday and found some wall hangings that fit our style. Then I started scrubbing the bedroom wall with that wonderful invention, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and large pieces of dried wallpaper and plaster snapped and crumbled off. And as large as this wall hanging is, it couldn't cover the hole.

Rather than spackle it over, we're going to live with it until we can do it the right way and strip the whole thing down to the brick and paint the brick white.

People actually pay top dollar to make their modern high-rise apartments look like French country farmhouses. Or they layer one studiedly ragged sweater and shirt over another until they look like an extra in Les Miz. So rather than think of this as a disaster, I'm going to regard it as a case of naturally-occurring Anthropologie.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cool Kitties

Whenever I play this video of Chico and Ashley getting fed, they sit bolt upright and start crying for food. Pavlov's Cats.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Restoring a Valuable Antique

Not my apartment, for a change.

Danny Miller and his wife own a 1909 home near downtown Los Angeles that they've been restoring to its former glory while keeping some of the historical details intact. According to Miller, "it is a richly rewarding pursuit that puts you in touch with an amazing array of artisans, craftspeople, historians, experts, and like-minded homeowners whose favorite past-time is sifting through hundred-year-old archives looking for clues to help unlock the mysteries embedded in their homes."

He wrote the cover story in yesterday's Los Angeles Times real estate section about those like-mined homeowners. Contractor Steve Pallrand laments that people are too quick to renovate the bathrooms on these houses, when the old fixtures are more complementary to the house and more efficient than anything you can buy today.

Okay, this actually is about my apartment again.

Our bathroom had one of those pull-chain toilets for years with a wooden water tank up near the ceiling. You could have flushed a truck down that toilet, if you needed a really speedy and convenient means of truck disposal. The landlord replaced it about ten years ago because there was a valve that kept wearing out in it and it was becoming more and more difficult to find that valve. So now we have a more conventional tank toilet.

Some of the apartments in our building have those deep cast iron sinks in the kitchen. Mine did when I first moved in, but it was broken even then and was replaced with enamel and steel. And now I keep seeing those cast iron sinks turn up in home design magazines where the decorator is saying, "My partner and I bought a weekend home in Beacon and we called an antique plumbing consultant..." and the price tag could renovate my entire bathroom.

One of the contractors we spoke with wanted to "build out" the walls in our bathoom to cover exposed pipes. Our bathroom is 2 1/2 feet wide. If you build out the walls, you will have to pee sideways. The exposed pipes are the whole charm of the place. A bitch to dust, but very charming.

Today's Apartment Therapy features a guy who's renovated his East Village tenement while respecting the style and era of the building...and I'm taking notes.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Quit It, Already!

I went to the dermatologist last week on a routine visit, and while I was there I said, "I've had this little bump on my upper lip for the past couple of months, probably nothing."

He didn't think it was nothing and took a biopsy. I called his office this morning prepared to hear "benign" and get on with my day. I was put on hold for the entire live version of "Spoonful" and then the nurse gets back on with me:

"Mizz Bruno, you have a basal cell carcinoma. This is where we want you to go."

Long story short, I have an appointment for two weeks from now with an excellent dermatologist who specializes in this form of plastic surgery/skin cancer surgery called Mohs Surgery. Minimal scarring, cure rate of 99%. NOT an invasive cancer, and probably developing since childhood or adolescence when I used to go to the beach slathered in baby oil.

I'd always figured, "I'm dark; skin cancer is for pale people." But apparently it's an equal opportunity assailant. So coming up next, I'm going to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Someone Answer Me This...

I was shopping for holiday stuff at Bed Bath & Beyond today.

What the hell is a Charger Plate?

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Far Out!

Neil Young is releasing "Live at the Fillmore East: March 6 & 7, 1970."

Now I don't have to digitize my crappy bootleg tape.

Oh come on, like you don't have one.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Throw Me Smack Dab in the Middle

I haven't written about the elections till now, because we're stuck in some crazy personal business here at home. But here's my gut impression:


I feel like the school bully just got his ass handed to him. Not Bush or Rumsfeld or Rove specifically, but just that whole way of "Oh yeah? Make me! You and what army?" mentality that's governed the discourse over the past five years, and that was met with equally stupid behavior by the other side.

In fact, this was a referendum on the whole business of "sides." Apparently, people were getting tired of being pushed back and forth between two false choices and wanted something in the middle.

I started this blog 21 months ago after watching the State of the Union address, when my husband said don't bother quoting pundits, and to enter the argument myself. So you'd figure, now that things are going more "my" way--nyahhahhahhah! Okay, that's enough--that I would stop blogging, the way I let my subscription to The American Prospect lapse after Clinton got in. (Uh..."Clinton got in"...wait a minute, I need a better choice of words...No, I don't.)

But the mistake I made back then, and am determined not to make now, is to treat this as the end of something. We should have made it more into the Beginning of Something, and hopefully we will now. Because even though the past few years have seen a lot of anger and fear and reflexive behavior, they've also seen some people willing toquestion their assumptions and do some real thinking. I want to see this continue, starting with me.

Besides, now I can write more stuff about my cats.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"Pretending monsters were chasing me for mile 22..."

One marathon runner's highlights and low-lights.

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