Saturday, September 30, 2006

Blogiversary 2006

First of all, on behalf of Ivan and myself, I must thank our readers. I think there are at least six of you now and if we were all Vikings, and you six were berserkers, we’d be unstoppable. Therefore I feel comfortable calling this “an army of readers”, which is immensely satisfying. Thank you, anachronistically literate Viking readers. We like you a lot.

The west coast blogiversary celebration having already commenced with the consumption of Reese's Pieces, Friday's east coast party was heralded by a phone call from Matt, party-organizer, to Simon:

Simon: Hello?
Matt: Hi there.
Simon: Uh, hi. . . . How's it going?
Matt: Well, I'm standing in your garage.
Simon: Why are you doing that?
Matt: My feet are muddy.

Glamorous parties, they are not only for Los Angeles. We have them here, too. Just look at the number of attendees who showed up wearing tiaras.

Simon and Ivan could only manage to carry a single one between them. Platinum and diamonds are heavy. This picture was taken before the row over who got to be Ariel and who had to settle for Cinderella.

Patchogue arrived not only with a tiara but wearing particularly shiny skin. She's posing next to the spider plant, which did not wear jewelry of any kind because it simply doesn't need to.

Heslington did not notice he was wearing a tiara. He does not notice much, actually.

Richard Armitage showed up somewhat overdressed; the tiara, on him, rather smacked of affectation and did not go over well.

In keeping with the tradition of arriving with strange offerings, Adam brought a pirate sword of the plastic blow-up variety. It is pictured here with a previous gift of like kind: a pink blow-up mace. Few people are aware of how historically accurate this reproduction actually is. It so happens that a common Viking saying around the year AD 800 was, "Give me that jewel-encrusted Bible or face spikey pink death!"

The sight of it scares me witless, really.

Matt came bearing chocolate cupcakes covered in chocolate frosting, filled with chocolate pudding, and topped with chocolate chips, which lent them a hedgehogian appearance. Normally I don't take part in cannibalism, but one has to be prepared to make exceptions in certain circumstances, especially if a whole lot of chocolate is involved. They may have had a few structural difficulties but they were delicious.

Naturally the presence of Ivan was much missed, and I am collecting donations to fly her in for next year. I'm also thinking of holding a bake sale and perhaps a silent auction. I have a pink blow-up mace that I think would fetch a handsome sum if I patched its leak. And painted it brown.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006


I arrived at my perfect apartment, parked in my perfect parking spot and started to unload my not so perfect furniture, gently worn furniture...cast off furniture even, when I heard someone yelling from behind the dumpster.

Since it is almost always in your best interest to explore empty Los Angeles parking garages when you hear people shouting from behind recessed trash receptacles, I made my way toward the voice. There I found a six-year-old boy hopping up and down, trying in vain to lift a garbage lid. "please, some one heeeeelllllpppp me" said the ankle biter. And the way he clutched his heart and looked toward the heavens as if pleading for an angel to come down and lift the trash bin with a flick of her wings made me want to be his savior for the day. That and I like the way "Mistress Ivan, controller of the heavy trash lids" sounds. Also, taking action would give me license to say "BOW AND KISS MY HEDGEHOG FEET" once the trash was successfully thrown away. Both good things in my book.

So I, Mistress Ivan, controller of the heavy trash lids, lifted the lids and successfully aided the child in his quest for proper garbage disposal. My good Samaritan job being done, I went back to hauling second hand chairs upholstered in early 90's southwestern themes to my apartment. No sooner had the elevator doors opened than the little boy apparated onto the first floor landing. "Hi, I'm Tristan, can we be friends, I think we should be friends because I'm in kindergarten and you're really nice and I'm going to go ask my mom if you can come over and hang out right now was that your car downstairs because that's a cool car and we can hang out all the time because we just live right across the hall from each other!!!!!" and then he ran away.

I quickly retreated to my apartment before he could work his way inside. I hear him scurrying up and down the hall pausing outside my door, listening to see if I'm home. I fear if I look out the peep hole he'll be there, holding a small bag of trash and looking forlorn.

I have a one year lease-- Now is the crucial time to reject or embrace my new title...

Gosh I like the way "Mistress Ivan" sounds.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Performance Anxiety

In honor of the autumn season, here is another scan from Simon's school journal. It is infinitely more subtle than the last entry, in which one perceived a certain detachment between the text and the image -- mainly the failure of the text to address the most important aspect of the image, which scholars agree is the depiction of two ordinary girls with anatomically incorrect shoulders. One gets the sense the author was not aware of the detachment and though one never likes to speculate on the presence or absence of author intent, it is generally thought that there is no hidden depth to "I went to my Friend Lindsy's House on Sunday" aside from the fact that it is capitalized in such a way that it is suggestive of poetry. Therein lies the charm of the prose.

There is much more to "I went to my First piano Resitle yesterday", however. Not only do its capitalizations also suggest the poetic form, but the illustration acts as a gloss on the main text. The author, feigning obedient innocence, provides a sentence devoid of any possible interpretation: there was a piano recital and the author was present. The image, however, fills in a crucial gap in our knowledge of the event. The author did not only attend; the author performed. Evidence for this interpretation rests in the striking similarity between the drawing of the piano and these images of an anglerfish.

Please click on the image for a more detailed view of the piano's eyes, enormous nostrils, scary dangling light, and fins (artistically interpreted as pedals).

Certainly, nobody but the performer herself would look at a piano and see one of the world's most terrifying deep-sea monsters. It is because of this, the pathos inherent in a small child's encounter with certain death, that I move to change the commonly- used title for this piece from "I went to my First piano Resitle yesterday" to what the author appears to have meant: "I was Attacked by a Particularly primeval-looking Anglerfish yesterday and barely Survived; are you Seriously telling me I have to Dress for Gym?"

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Move It

Moving around in Los Angeles is difficult. Traffic, freeway congestion, no parking, resident parking, metered parking, tow away zones, traffic, traffic, traffic. You might as well find an apartment with a driveway and work from home. And until a few weeks ago, I honestly thought that would be a better use of my time... the noble pursuit of the perfect LA abode. A gorgeous little one bedroom-- sunny, sweet, tree lined street, plenty of parking... maybe a window seat with an ocean view. How hard could it be. Urban sprawl is LA's middle name. I have miles and miles of city just WAITING to rent me an apartment.

So I started calling landlords with a full heart an open mind. And the following are reconstructed conversations:

Landlord 1: Hello?
Ivan: Hi, I'm calling about the apartment listing.
Landlord 1: ummmmm, yeeeahhhh. ::llloooonnngggg pause:: it's available..... ::heavy breathing:: just... ring the manager.
Ivan: and what apartment does the manager live in?
Landlord 1: The manager.... is in... apartment... 4. wait. 8...
...15. Definitely 15.
Ivan: How about I just run my fingers up and down the buttons and wait for someone to buzz me in?

Landlord 2: Hello?
Ivan: Hi, I'm calling about the apartment listing.
Landlord 2: ohmygodican'ttalkrightnowihavetogetoutofhereohmygodcallmeback.
Ivan: I'm guessing you're being pursued. Possibly with a chainsaw. I'll call back later.

Landlord 3: Hello
Ivan: Hi, I'm calling about the apartment listing.
Landlord 3: what's your name
Ivan: Ivan
Landlord 3: and when's your birthday?
Ivan: August...
Landlord 3: August what?
Ivan: 22...
Landlord 3: Ah, I see you're a Virgo.
Ivan: ...
Landlord 3: I see a lot of change for you in the next year. This year is all about partnership-- in work and in your private life. It's going to be a tough year for money. It will come and go. And... what's this... I sense you'll be moving at least once this year. Maybe twice.
Ivan: ...
Ivan: yeah, about that moving part. Is the apartment still available?
Landlord 3: The planets will align when it is time. Call back in three weeks. ::click::

And that's how my search for the perfect apartment began. Since then my criteria has been downgraded to "something that doesn't resemble a crack den in an area that doesn't resemble Compton" And it's still proving impossible to find a place. Hopefully those planets will align in the next three weeks or else we'll finally get to see how comfy those fridge boxes are.

Hey, at least I'll be my own landlord.