Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Put Some Records on While I Pour

The blue-eyed guy keeps asking me what I want for Hanukkah, and I was just simply not raised that you tell someone what you want for Hanukkah! What am I going to say? "I want this thing from this catalogue, which I've highlighted for your ease of buying it for me." That seems so tacky, not to mention totally unromantic. So I always just tell him, "I just want your affection." (He'd said, "What if your girls ask you what I got you for Hanukkah and you say, 'his affection.' How would that go over?" Touche.) But the joke of it all is that when we were in Las Vegas together, browsing the Forum Shops after dinner (God. I love. Vegas.), we were both picking things up and admiring them, and describing out loud what we liked about them and why. After a while, I felt a little cheap, because I thought it was so obvious that we were each earmarking stuff for the other to buy as a gift for the holidays. The next day, I went back through the Forum Shops while he was at his conference, and wrote down all the stuff he'd wanted on a yellow Post It so I wouldn't forget. And then he said, "Baby, I need you to tell me what you want for Hanukkah! I gave you plenty of hints, and you didn't give me any!" Ahem, what was that whole exercise about then? Like, when we stopped in every jewelry store on the Strip, and I fingered every two-tone ring and necklace or earrings would be great too? Dang. Fortunately, I'm gainfully employed and can buy my own stuff like Destiny's Child, because my guy seems to be nuance impaired.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Round and Round and Round in the Circle Game

When I met the blue-eyed guy with whom I’m drinking boba teas these days, I truly ached with appreciation for how I had encountered this man—who surely was too amazing, too unique to stay single for long—at a time when he’d had no one else on his arm. Imagine the timing and the luck!

I look back on the other men in my past who were too amazing, too unique, too romantic to stay single—and, as it turns out, none of them are still single after all. There’s my first boyfriend, the saint—a handsome Jewish boy who had black dreadlocks in high school and a green “Go Vegan” sticker on the back of his blue Honda Civic. Possibly the sweetest, most earthy man on, well, earth. The PETA activist for whom I went vegetarian when he quit smoking in a pact made on July 17, 1993, four days after our first kiss on July 13, and two days after my 16th birthday on July 15. After living in Humbolt without electricity for a while, he recently got in touch to tell me he’d married a blind Japanese woman (he makes his living training guide dogs), and they live together at the home he bought in Berkeley. She’s lucky; too bad she can’t see him because he’s beautiful on the outside too. (Sidebar: My mom made me clean out some junk in my old bedroom yesterday, and I found his photo ID pass card to Magic Mountain from the summer of 1992 and his North Hollywood High School school ID from his senior year, my sophomore year, in ’91-’92. Classic.)

I just re-encountered the guy who didn't know who Bobby Brown is, and it turns out he’s dating a Christian girl who prays every day, everywhere, whom he met in the Newark airport. And I can see clearly in my mind’s eye how it all went down. Because (I read his blog about their meeting, but also because) I know how he courted me with an intensity I’d hardly experienced since, maybe high school, or maybe never. So, so whole hearted, and so open, and so loving. And so eager. The first text message I ever got from him said something about how he was buying bok choy, and was happily making a note to himself to buy two bundles of bok choy next time for us to eat now that we had each other. And the second text message I ever got from him said, “So much to curl up with u. So much to laze the morning away in your arms pressed against your skin, breathing in your scent. So much so much so much.” That’s a mouthful for 160 characters, don’t you think? He had so much love to give, I just knew he'd find someone who would be so happy to receive it. (I thought that someone might be me, but it turned out I was wrong and wasn't prepared to embrace all that.)

And then there’s my college boyfriend, the guy who rang my doorbell (through the door: “Who is it?” “It’s your neighbor.” “My neighbor who?”) to give me some chocolate chip cookies he’d baked after he’d seen me crying on the stoop the day before. (“You looked sad. I hope these will cheer you up.”) I made that guy run a hell of a gauntlet—gifts of homemade fudge, breakfasts, flowers, enough praise to make me feel like the most extraordinary woman alive—before I finally committed to being his reluctant girlfriend six months later. And then he was the most dutiful boyfriend imaginable for the next three years, even though he’d had a tough childhood and had more on his mind (death of mother, serious credit card debt, biracial identity crises) in college than I did (getting an A in Film 25B, finding cool 16mm projectors at the flea market, what to wear on the trip to Mardi Gras with the girls). After Berkeley, he went to Harvard, where he met a woman he dated for four years, with whom he moved to New York. Today he told me he needs to be free, and he’s moving out as soon as he gets the money. He’s not marrying her, like he’d told me three years ago he was planning to. Now he says he doesn’t believe in romance, and he’s not the marrying type. If he doesn’t believe in romance, it’s hard to know what’s true anymore.

She's so Jane

Am I sick that I totally miss summer even though it's like 75 degrees in L.A.? I feel so serious in the winter, and a girl gets into trouble when she takes herself too seriously.

Last night I dreamt that my delightfully easygoing Midwestern ex-boyfriend had impregnated a pretty dark-haired girl, and married her shortly after we'd broken up. So in my dream he'd been married eight months and his wife was eight and a half months pregnant. Then we went up in an airplane with an open cabin and when we went upside down into a loop, some of our luggage fell out into the sea.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Burnout at the Bean

This is, like, a new low. This morning I was finding it so incredibly hard to motivate to get any work done (it's been like that all week--it's hard sometimes when you work from home). I was just feeling so tired and so sluggish, so I picked up the copy of New York that I've been eager to read, with the cover story on the science of burnout (by Jennifer Senior, who wrote the story on the scientific study of happiness that I became obsessed with this summer) and brought it over to the couch. I sat down to read about burnout so I could understand and perhaps improve on my utterly burned out condition...and then...I fell....zzzzz...aaaahhhsleep. I fell asleep on the sofa. In the middle of the work day. After I'd read one paragraph about burnout. Nice, Dubin.

But I've got so much to do, so I showered and dragged myself to the Coffee Bean with my laptop to get some work done. Do you know what everyone's doing at the Coffee Bean in the middle of a work day in L.A.? Working on scripts. "Taking meetings." Thank god I'm not as desperate as they are.

Anyhow, so this guy is next to me working on some script or treatment or something, and his "friend" (I can only hope they're "friends" and not friends for real, because that guy revealed himself to be a real jerk) comes in and they're chatting about Hollywood and talking about meetings and treatments and scripts and crap, and then the guy who walks in says to the guy at the table: "So, how's your love life?"

Guy with laptop: "Well, to be honest with you, it's pretty much nonexisten..."
"Friend": "Oh mine's so awesome. I met this great girl, she's like 5'11" beautiful, from Bulgaria, been here six years, dual citizenship, she's the one, yada yada, I'm a jerk, she's so tall, beautiful... [more stuff that indicates I'm a totally un-self aware jerk]...eHarmony, man, I'm telling you, this girl's amazing you want to see some pictures of her? Here's some pictures, this is us at a party, this is us at..."
Guy with laptop: "Yeah, awesome, man, she's a real looker..."
"Friend": "Yeah, mean, of course, man, I'm telling you she's beautiful and lalalala, whataver, [more stuff that indicates I'm a totally un-self aware jerk]..."
Guy with laptop: "Well, listen, do you ski, because...?"
"Friend": "Yeah, but it's so hard to find any place to ski around here because I'm such an expert skiier, it's just that I'm such an expert skiier, so..."

Did I ever go into the story about why I don't ski? The one about "no friends on powder days?" Ah, it's a good one.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I don't know if it's because James Kim had been a colleague of a best friend, or if it's because he's from San Francisco, or because his wife is roughly my age, or that his daughters look approximately like my cousin's half-Asian daughter in their ineffable cuteness, or because I become so emotionally compromised when I'm menstrual, or because I have such a pathological aversion to extreme cold, but the story of his death and recovery had me beside myself today. I couldn't get the image out of my head of this man striking out to find help for his family after burning the tires from their car for warmth. But at least there's the fact that his kids had a dad who would strike out into the cold wilderness to find help for them, and do whatever he could do to try to save them, and there's the fact that I grew up always knowing I had a dad who would do that too.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Keep Your Crummy 200 Square Feet While I Spread Out all my Fab Shoes in 1,600, Suckas

Writing consistently smart stuff like Megan does is hard and daunting. But it kind of takes the pressure off now that there's like no possibility that anyone's actually reading this anymore since I haven't posted in a month. Ahem. I got pretty busy and went to New York once and Vegas twice—lost on the first trip, won on the second—spent a lot of time delayed in airports, watched a lot of Cal football (and bet on Cal football, which accounted for some of the losses on the first Vegas trip), worked a lot (and complained a lot about the volume of work expected of me), hired a new assistant editor to help, worked out as much as I could, test drove some cars (current front runner: Toyota Matrix), skirted jury duty, drank a considerable amount of red wine (and white wine and sake, ouch, note to self), and spent a lot of time admiring a certain pair of outrageously blue eyes.

And mercifully, on November 30, the lease in my New York apartment expired. So my subletter cleaned up the joint and moved out. I needed to submit by fax my forwarding information to which I'm convinced my security deposit will never actually be sent since my building management company operates like the worst kind of slumlords, never providing enough heat or hot water or electricity, and regularly hanging up on tenants who call their offices to register such complaints. Or other complaints, like mysterious liquids that pour out of their ceilings for days, leaving their laptop to drown in a foul puddle on their desk when they come home from a holiday weekend. And may I add that this is a company that forces tenants to sign a lease that states a rent $500+ higher than they told the perspective renters the apartment was going for—and then awards an "on-time credit" in the amount of the difference when the tenants pay their rents on time each month—in order that they can raise the rent every year by the highest legal percentage based on the fictitious higher rent? Sickos. Pervs, I tell you.

Anyhow, so I was online searching for the management company's fax number, and I came across a Citysearch link to the business. Now, from what I can tell, readers usually write online reviews of restaurants and bars on the likes of Citysearch, but not of businesses like building management companies. But apparently this company so angered enough people that the following reviews turned up:

I have never every written a review before, but then again I normally don't get hung up on. [Managemtnt company] is the WORST people to work with, how they are still in buinsess I am not sure. I signed a lease in July for a August move-in and after they raised the rent $2,000 they pushed back the move-in date from August 1st to the 15th then to Septemeber 1st saying that the constrcution was not done. Now, a day before 9/1 they say that it won't be ready until the 15th. The worst part about it is they are NOT helpful and NOT nice. DO NOT WORK WITH THEM!!!!!

Horrible Customer Service
The girl who answers the phones can never answer your questions, so she always transfers the call to Ambi, who is rarely there. I was told to call between 9 and 9:10 to reach her! When she is there, she's rude and has no ability to deal with people. She has hung up on me more times than I can count, simply because she has no solutions for a problem she was hired to fix. She loves the phrase 'they're out of the country right now' and seems to think it is an excuse for her incompetence. Cons: Ignorance, Poor Service. Not Recommended

Dishonest Management - 100% will lie to your face
[Management company] is possibly the worst in the city. Their main person "Ambi" will lie to your face and change rental terms at her discretion. She is also extremely rude, will ignore tenant calls and will not for the life of her return a phone call. Do not rent from this company! There isn't a single good thing I can say about this company - if you MUST deal with them insist that you will not deal with Ambi. Pros: none. Cons: dishonest, poor customer service

Dishonest management NEVER calls back
Called 60 days before rent was due and never ever get called back. Continued to call for days in a row. Get a lot of push-back. They love the phrase 'it's in the mail'. They had guaranteed on Monday that I would receive a letter that very Monday or Tuesday. I called Wed after checking mail for three days and still had no letter. She then said I'd have to wait two weeks for the letter. This renewal lease would be for the first week of the last month of my previous lease AND then she said I had to give 60 days notice before leaving. How can I give 60 days notice if I only receive THEIR paperwork 21 days before the end of my lease? Stay away from this management.

Terrible Customer Service
The person who picks up the phone is just terrible when it comes to customer service. She treats you like you are not worth her time and gives so much attitude. I have not received my security deposit and moved out 2 months ago. They are very unorganized. Don't use them if you can avoid it. Pros: Nothing. Just a terrible experience. Cons: Terrible Customer Service

To sum up: I never expect to get my security deposit back. (Which is a shame, because I spent a good chunk of its value on Marc by Marc Jacobs dresses at the Desert Premium Outlets in Cabazon on Sunday.) The security deposit that grew every year that I renewed my lease and they required from me an additional check for an additional deposit based on the higher annual rent (which was further inflated by the fictitious higher rent stated on the lease).

Moreover, that particular kind of tyrant slumlord garbage really only flies in Manhattan. Another reason I'm glad to call pretty L.A. home.