Friday, September 30, 2005

For Ivan!

I realize now that my last post did not really make sense. It was late and I was carrying on several conversations, live and electronic, all at once. What happened was that I went to my sister's house to watch Alias, which led to watching CSI, which led to watching Without a Trace, which is a pretty dumb show but oddly mesmerizing. At about 11:00 I headed home. Pleasant drive. Very dark. A few deer. Christine's latest mix. Yes, very nice. All very nice.

Then I pulled onto my road and there was this van pulled over on the lawn by my house. Odd, I thought. Then I revised that to Creepy. It reminded me of the time I was walking home one night in the dark and there was a truck pulled over on the road and its lights were on and I had to go right by it and it was shortly after I had seen Joy Ride and all I could think of was that insane truck driver saying "CANDY-CAAAYNE?" and it started to feel like the first five minutes of an X-Files episode--you know anyone who appears in those first five minutes is doomed to die some strange and horrible death--and yeah, this reminded me of that.

And then I realized it was Matt and Adam, who are sketchy but not dangerously so. They had apparently stationed themselves outside of my house some time earlier in a sort of friendly stakeout, waiting for me to get back. Along with all of their other blogiversary items they brought the card from above, which Ivan might like to see. So there it is. Happy anniversary, Ivan! I'm not having Magic Hat and cupcakes without you, so you better be back for Christmas. Then we can start planning out how to make money with the blog. I mean, you're in LA after all. We can turn this to our advantage. Next time you see a famous person I want you to go up to them and say in a booming announcer voice:

"From the creative team that brought you the political thriller Eddie Happlin and the title of Body in the Closet, Captive in the Car comes a new, feel-good comedy with all the suspense and great titles of the past but none of the violence and bloodshed. See what's in store for Ivan as she dodges flying ash on deserted Los Angeles freeways! And find out how long it will take Simon to scratch her new car! This and more on Les Fabuleux Destins de Deux Herrisons, the bicoastal blog with the French title, hedgehog fixation, and truly dizzying intellect. Rated G for Great."

They might think you're insane, but that won't necessarily mean we can't option our blog as a movie. In fact it would probably help.

No Fair!

I find it incredibly unfair that I had to miss the one year agouti and donuts party, but I will celebrate our blog from afar. Being 3,000 miles away means I have to miss things like that. But The Forces that Control the Universe did not forget about me. They sent me a special "Happy one full year of complaining about Los Angeles" present. When I got on the freeway this afternoon it was practically empty... 5:00pm and I could go a whole 27mph all the way to the valley. I think I might have gotten up to 32 once. It was nothing short of amazing. Granted, the valley was on fire and it rained ash most of the way... but hey, glass half full. Happy Blog Anniversary, Simon! It has been a wonderful year of writing. Your posts never cease to amuse me, though they often make me miss you terribly! Have some Magic Hat and a Cupcake for me! ~Ivan

And the Only Thing Missing Was Ivan

Happy First Anniversary to Us.

Compliments of Matt and Adam, loyal readers. The reason I know they are loyal readers is they sat outside my house in a car waiting for me to come home. At midnight. In the dark. Wait... Ivan, I think we have our first stalkers.


And yet... stalkers who bring cider, a box of donut holes, and an agouti-figurine from the "mammal bin" at Party City. The agouti is in the place of a hedgehog. The agouti was chosen because Matt miraculously remembered that I like capybaras. An agouti isn't strictly a capybara but it's pretty damn close and I like it a lot. For the 1.25-years anniversary, when Ivan is home, we'll have to throw another midnight donut/agouti party.

And to our Other Loyal Readers, thanks for reading. Yeah. And hey, thanks for sending all that cash. Yup. No really. We love you. Both of you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bike Ride

I rode a bike today for the first time in probably nine years. I don't know when I stopped riding bikes. Probably around the time I realized that my pink and purple bike was searingly uncool. I should leave that thing out in the rain and put it out of its misery. It's not assassination, it's euthanasia.

It was autumnally cool and sunny this morning, and seemed like an excellent day for adventure. So I stole my mother's bike, which is markedly adult in color, with the idea that I would try to locate the site of the proposed park that keeps coming up in the town meetings I'm covering for the local paper. I am going to start calling it Atlantis: The Lost Park because I did not find it.

My skepticism began when the press release for the park quoted a board member saying, "Ye, unto us the oracle did tell of the founding of a sacred park, and ye, the oracle's rock does indeed release hallucinogenic vapors, and ye, the two are not connected." I don't know, it just seemed suspect. And now I know that it is, after all, mythical, for I cannot find it. Some might say, "Simon, you know you've never been good with maps." To them I say, "Shut it." I'm not incompetent. This park does not exist.

Happily, the search for Atlantis: The Lost Park was truly a delight. I forgot how much fun it is to ride a bike. I don't think of cycling as a viable travel option in this town, mostly because as a driver I hate those suicidal road-hogging cyclists, but on this nice new bike path the risk of gruesome death is much reduced. Also I had a great time singing songs to myself, although apparently the only songs I can sing off the top of my head are the ones I learned in nursery school. So anyone who lives near the trail may have heard me singing Ten Little Indians and Oh Susannah and the like, which is embarrassing.

I also started singing Do Your Ears Hang Low, which never, ever made sense to me. I always had a disturbing mental image of a sad man with revoltingly large earlobes. For some reason he was always shunned by the rest of the army. I think he was the Continental soldier; he seemed French.

It turns out, however, that Continental in that song refers to the American colonists. So says a random internet site: "This is a slight by the Loyal British about the American Drummers. The ears are the tabs on a rope drum. The British drummers kept their drums tied tight with a specific knot called a drummer's knot. They alleged that the Americans could not tie their drums tight enough so when the heads were tensioned the ears were at the bottom of the drum."


Unfortunately in the process of making this discovery, I learned about another version of the song in which it isn't the ears that are hanging low. I really should have just stuck with the absurd long-eared Frenchman because the new mental image is a whole lot uglier.

Monday, September 26, 2005

You Can Never Go Home

I: What are you up to this weekend?
J: Oh, going to Santa Cruz, see my family.
I: Awesome, you're so lucky. I would kill to go and sleep in my old room right now.
J: Yeah, it's not that great. They gave my room to the turtle.
I: The turtle?
J: Yeah. The turtle. She crawled in there one winter to hibernate and they just let her move in. They yell at me when I try and open the door. "Do NOT disturb the turtle!"
I: Wow. Your parents gave your room to a turtle. Those things live a long time, too.
J: Yup, at least another 40 years till she dies...
I: Gave your room to a turtle. You know what this means?
J: They don't love me?
I: Yeah, pretty much... but have a good weekend anyway!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Picard Maneuver

What I learned today is that Patrick Stewart (1) once had hair, (2) likes Beavis and Butthead, and (3) appeared on Sesame Street, to quote the man himself, "in praise of the letter B."

Here is the scholarly debate that followed:
Maeve: Are you allowed to say you like Beavis and Butthead on the set of Sesame Street? You should be. They're all adults there. Except for the children.
Katie: Right.
Maeve: And the puppets.
Katie: They're kind of on the line.
Maeve: They're in that awkward puppet stage.

I have not saved a single cat since being here. I just want to note that. If my train home is delayed two hours (again) it's because I have spent the day marvelling at Patrick Stewart's hair. Yeah karma.


I really want to blog, but every time i read a simon/.M post all i really want to do is cry. While they are discussing goats and wolves of roman times and proper conjugation of latin insults I am watching raw reality footage with the sole direction "he yells some quotes from mommy dearest. they're very funny. you'll find them." my life only resembles Simon's in that my BRAIN is the consistency of marshmallow fluff. i am what's wrong with society. i try to give back, but it's difficult when eight hours of my day are devoted to voyeuristic couples therapy, house cleaning and property rehabilitation and another eight are spent watching pandas trying to mate, while over-involved zoo keepers scream "PLEASE, JUST COPULATE!".

I did rescue a cat yesterday. and it was an ugly cat so i deserve double positive karma. and right after the heinous cat encounter, i ran by a carnival in the park. and i was like "oh! carnival across the street from my house! cute... why they didn't they advertise?" and then it dawned on me that FOX studios had constructed a fake carnival in the park just to torture real, tax-paying community members. this was probably my actual karma coming to pass because i didn't save the ugly cat per se, i just herded it back onto the sidewalk. so i tacked two more miles onto my run to make sure the cat was ok. (alright, i was just thinking about the carnival... that maybe if i saved the cat the carnival would be real and then- COTTON CANDY FOR EVERYONE!) so i ran and ran, but the cat must have either been hit by a car or found its way back home because it was gone. so i finished my loop and when i got back to the carnival, the gods smiled and said "she has a good heart, she ran two extra miles just to check on an ugly cat" and there was a flash of light and the carnival revealed itself to be THE SET OF ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. and Portia de Rossi turned and i did a double take and almost fell flat on my face because really, she has the best hair on the planet. and that is the thrilling account of all 45 of my free minutes this week. now, if you'll excuse me, i must attend to the panda footage, the bears on the verge of successful copulation and the zoo keepers are getting rowdy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Back to School

So far I have been making excellent use of my time during this post-graduate visit to my former institution of higher education. Whereas I once studied classic literature and learned obscure languages and analyzed ancient history, I now devote my energies to the things that truly matter.

For example, Fluff. That's right. Marshmallow Fluff. The kind you put in your peanut butter sandwich. The ambrosia that, like some kind of addict, I could only get at my friends' houses because my mom would never buy it when I was little. It turns out there is a Fluff website which has not only a three-page history of the Fluff company but also a scrapbook with pictures of happy children whose faces are covered in Fluff. It is very wholesome and I am determined to bring Fluff and peanut butter sandwiches (or "fluffernutters" to those in the know) to my place of work because they will demonstrate my knowledge of haute cuisine, which is sure to impress my new colleagues.

I also learned many dirty Latin words from the poetry of Catullus. This is less wholesome and less likely to impress my new colleagues, so I will probably have to forget my new vocabulary as soon as possible. But of course "scortillum," mildly translated by William Whitaker as "wench," is precisely the kind of thing that will stick in your mind even after you forget how to conjugate sum.

As for scholarly debates, there has been no end of discussion as to whether, if you had a time machine, Catullus would be someone you'd necessarily date. I vote yes, because everyone knows the Romans were an attractive people; just look at their statues. Maeve and I have also hit upon a principle of great use to the study of history, and it is this: the natural habitat of Emperors is Rome, and the natural habitat of wolves is the forests of Germany. It follows that the fact that wolves ran free in the medieval forests of Germany is not a basis on which you can fairly criticize the reign of the Emperor Charlemagne because wolves and emperors are not supposed to have anything to do with each other. Charlemagne did not campaign on wolf removal reform.

This is the conversation that followed the composition of that paragraph:
Maeve: Wolves are cool. They will eat you.
Katie: Did you really just say that?
Maeve: Yeah, I even kind of thought it through first.

Maeve is now sitting on her bed saying, "Fornicator! Fornicator! Fornicator!" and giggling. She is still translating Catullus.

The other scholarly debate we had earlier concerned Merovingian kings, the predecessors of Charlemagne, who had a habit of riding around their kingdoms in goat carts. This is what we had to say about that:

Katie: Goats can be regal.
Maeve: No, they can't.
Katie: Sure they can. They have . . . the beards . . .
Maeve: No. They eat everything.
Katie: They are . . . exploratory. They are tireless scholars.
Maeve: Maybe I should change the title of my blog to Le Fabuleux Destin d'une Chevre.
Katie: . . . Are you a goat?
Maeve: I'm a tireless scholar.

It is a haven of learning, Maeve's room.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Chronicles of Simon

Item, new favorite abbreviation "Messrs." Replaces former favorite abbreviation "v." Unfortunately much more difficult to work into everyday conversation.

Item, have now attended two town meetings as reporter for local paper; am half hooked, half bored to death. Status of desire to dress like Jimmy Stewart while in reporter mode: unconquered.

Item, have acquired temporary emmployment as Marketing Assistant at smallish publishing company. Begin work next month; desire to blog about job already problematic. Determined not to give in (cf. Dooce).

Item, new favorite abbreviation "cf."

Item, process of applying to graduate school proving identical to process of having soul sucked out through nose with Shop-Vac. Or heart broken.

Item, finished longest book in history of universe aside from Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People (clocking in at 1,500 hours plus two years off the end of reader's life): The Once and Future King. V. good despite extended passages on merits of goose lifestyle. Recommended.

Item, began Annie Proulx's That Old Ace in the Hole. Identify wholeheartedly with main character Bob Dollar's directionlessness, though miss presence of evil fat boy in life.

Item, watched Series 1-3 of Monarch of the Glen, i.e. 28 hours of television in period of time too short to publish. Result: inner monologue habitually slipping into Scots; hard-pressed to supress overuse of "och" and "wee" in regular speech.

Item, new favorite abbreviation "i.e."

Item, have depleted bin of Items; awaiting refill.

Monday, September 12, 2005


simon wanted to know why my away message for the weekend was "delicious". it's because all weekends are delicious. lunch time is delicious. that hour break i took at work to watch the oc was delicious. any moment of my day that doesn't involve working is delicious. even cleaning the apartment qualifies as delicious. on the other hand, the roommates who soil the apartment will never qualify as delicious. they are decidedly not delicious. they are not even tasty. not even lightly salted. they are smelly and dirty and boring and annoying, all rolled into one heinous version of a human being. i thought about how much i hated them while i cleaned for three delicious hours friday afternoon. i thought about them while i wiped the dead bugs off the counter and the pound of cat hair from behind the sink. i thought of them while i swiffered the floor because i knew that the drips of slim fast and the empty "i can't believe it's not butter LIGHT" containers were not mine. these boys consume more processed food and diet products than any girl i've ever met. other baffling behavior for 20+ year old men: they lock the door while they're in the house. not just lock, dead bolt. why, you ask? what are they afraid of? is our 87-year-old landlord actually an axe murderer? does the high number of luxury cars parked out front imply more than white collar criminal activities? are they worried someone will break in and steal the pleather couches WHILE THEY'RE SITTING ON THEM? god knows we have at least $20 worth of ikea furniture in the open. wouldn't want that to walk away. also, the short one keeps putting his ralph's brand imitation vanilla extract on my pantry shelves. this is unacceptable. i'm sorry you bought enough popcorn and diet bars to last you till the next millennium but i don't even like sharing the apartment with you, what makes you think i'm open to joint storage space? I'M NOT. oh well, i'm sure the protein shakes will come in handy, i think i heard the widow and the chubby spanish lesbian planning a siege on the laundry room. lock the doors. batten down the hatches. it's a rough neighborhood.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


The DVD player at the town house last year said HELLO LORD when you turned it on. The DVD player at home says OW. I think in this day and age it should not be that difficult to make an LCD display that actually works. Therefore I conclude that one of the following is true: (1) the DVD player makers are a funny bunch of people, or (2) the DVD players are actually an alien race who have accidentally identified the human race as superior and/or are easily bruised. I'm sure that somehow either conclusion can be made to prove something about the existence of God.