Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quantum of Soul-Ass



Dear James Bond,

I've loved all your incarnations since I was a wee lass. They have fueled my passion for the perfect man. For the pithy quip. For the way to get something done just so.

I loved you as Sean Connery, and Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore. Then, when I thought it couldn't get any better, here comes hunky Daniel Craig, who was all smart and lovely and so. damn. beautiful. in Casino Royale. THIS Bond was resourceful and even more charming and so human and so lucky and so ... well, he fell in love. Even when he was strapped all nekkid in a chair and beaten silly on his manparts. My heart ached, physically ached for him. For Daniel. For the life we could have together if he could just get out of that chair! And come to America and find me! And decide that we're great together and get married, not just for the green card! Because he doesn't need one anyway, as an international spy!

So today, with a belly full of leftovers, I traipsed -- traipsed, mind you -- to my local theater to watch Bondliness wonders unfold in "Quantum of Solace." First of all, where did you get that title? Did you drink a bunch of tequila, blindfold yourself with your tidy whities on your head, flip open the dictionary, land your finger on "Solace" and "Quantum" and decide to just go for it? Did you enlist a brain trust from Oxford to find the perfect title, then go on Babelfish to translate into German, Spanish, French, Dutch, Esperanto and then back to English, and this is what came out? Did you outsource it to India? WHAT THE HELL DOES "QUANTUM OF SOLACE" MEAN???? It sounds like a euphemism for something, as in, "Dude, I downed a quantum of solace last night and I'm not going to be able to make your wedding. Sorry about that." It sounds like some obscure Medieval measurement, as in, "Sire, I must reveal that we've only a quantum of solace left in the entire shire. Surely it will not last the winter. What shall we do? Oh! Heavens! I shall ring a large bell and kill some peasants!" But enough with the title. Whatever.

James, I KEPT WAITING FOR THE MOVIE TO START. There was that insane violent car chase through all the Italian tunnels. Then some more stuff exploded. Then some people got shot. Then you made it with a lady. Then some more people! Then Dame Judy Dench was lovely and sassy with the meager amount she was given. And you threw your dead friend in the Dumpster! Then some more stuff exploding! And then it was over!

Honestly, James, I thought you'd be more resourceful. Yeah, you with a bloody face in a tuxedo is kind of ruggedly handsome the first time. We got that. Okay, enough already, you don't have to do it, like, EIGHT TIMES IN ONE MOVIE.

I don't know if it's good enough, anymore, to have your leading lady seek a revenge killing for the evil dictator that raped her family and burned down their house. Can't we think of ANYTHING ELSE HERE? Can't we transcend the hackneyed, puhleeeeeeeeeze?

So, my darling James, as you know I am a very forgiving person. Hell, I had two three-peats that ate up about a dozen of my best mating and dating years. I beseech you, please re-watch yourself in "Casino Royale" and "Dr. No" and 10 other films where you were masterful. You're verging on being downgraded to a thrice-recurring role in "CSI: Car Chase Explosions" at best, or the bad/good/complicated guy in "Miami Vice 4."

For now, James, you're on probation. And might I suggest several 12-step groups for you?

Love,

Vanessa

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank you.

It's pretty easy for me to think of all the things for which I am grateful. I do it every day before I haul my bootie from my delicious flannel-sheeted bed.

Though I realized today, with an electric little startle, that I have evolved into a Very Single Person, despite whatever romance may be taking center stage. People see me that way. At least five of my dearest friends invited me to Thanksgiving because they know I will not be entertaining my own family, who are far flung into the corners of the United States, and that I certainly don't have the In-Laws issue or the "kids want to do it this way" thing. I get seasick watching my 401 (k) and Roth IRA swan dive and leap up daily, because I'm not counting on someone to pad that shared bank account with his pension pennies. I don't have to put up with anyone else's nautical art or boxes of old photographs or crappy furniture with high sentimental value because it is MY HOUSE. All mine.

I think, at 40licious, I am finally comfortable with that, with what I have become, with the idea that it doesn't have to be more complicated than this.

So with a happy, full heart, I will finish my whipped yams with homemade marshmallows in orange cups, put on a smear of makeup and my sassiest boots, and head out to Don and Adam's for my Thanksgiving dinner.

Oh, and by the way, thank you for reading.

Love,

Vanessa

Monday, November 24, 2008

Scarf of the Week


This one was for Mashi for her 40licious birthday. She's amazing for so many reasons -- AND SHE IS THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE 40LICIOUS HALL O' FAME!

1. She grew up in Mexico City with dreams of becoming a ballet dancer.
2. Those sweet dreams brought her to Los Angeles, where she enrolled in a special high school and studied ballet.
3. She got herself a job at McDonald's to get her through ballet training.
4. She got shot during a holdup at said McDonald's.
5. She almost died, but didn't.
6. She went to school on McDonald's dime and learned how to be a PR agent.
7. She has eventually become one of the most sought-after agents in California, because she has such great command of the craft and ALL ethnic media, not just Spanish.
8. She has taught me more about my work than anyone ever has.

So Mashi, ¡te quiero y feliz cumplea├▒os!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Reality


I just looked in the mirror and thought, "Wow, I look like a 40-year-old person who just had a helluva week, hauled herself up from a tiny nap, ratted her hair, put on a sort of sexy slip with a cardigan over it and her most forgiving jeans and is heading out to a bachelorette party for someone who is still in her 20s."

Ah, clarity. Which is what you get when you are 40licious. But still.

But I feel so ... 40.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Burning

California is burning. I have been fortunate enough to have been spared an evacuation, but there is fire everywhere around. You can't go outside without gulping smoke. You feel it in your eyes and throat.

And at this late hour, tonight, I hope that the people I know and love are OK as I scour the news, looking for clues. 

Come stay, everyone. We will all fit in this little place somehow, and figure out blankets and shower times and sweats to sleep in. And tomorrow morning we can squeeze orange juice and make coffee and just go from there.

Light is on all night.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

No.

"No" is a complete sentence.

Try it sometime. 

It's amazing how easy it was at, probably 2 or 3 to just be all, like, "no!" randomly and for everything and probably even for things that I meant to say "yes!" to. But somewhere between there and here I have become a pleaser, hedging my thoughts with, "I think ..." and "We might ..." and the "What about if you ..." 

I know I am not alone in this, it's especially common for women. But dang it, I am 40licious and today I will just say "no." And I don't need a reason.

Say it with me.

"No."


Monday, November 10, 2008

My New Blogging Challenge - One Year Ago Today

OK, here's a new blogging challenge -- post an email you sent or received one year ago today (or to whenever the date is that you posted). Here is mine from last Nov. 10, in response to someone who had her first Craigslist experience and wondered about the veracity of the seller.

Yes, he sucks bigtime and is trying to scam you. Also, send to Craig and let them know about it. Be careful!!!!

I’ve bought and sold thousands of dollars of stuff on Craigslist and the usual transaction is:

1. Post the item, say it’s a bike.
2. Someone responds and comes over to see said bike.
3. They decide to buy and PAY CASH. Do not ever accept anything other than cash. If they don’t have it all on them, take a CASH deposit.
BONUS STEP: The customer will try to bargain down. If this is your first showing and you’ve already gotten some other emails or calls of interest, tell them: “You know, I’d be open to bargaining if it doesn’t sell in a few days. I’ve got some other people looking and I know it will sell at full price. Would you like me to take your number?” The customer usually has enough cash on them to pay full price if they’ve already come to see you. 99.9% of the time you will get your price if the person’s already in the house.
4. They pay you. You write out the receipt and keep a copy for both of you. Even better, type and print out two copies before they get there.
they leave
5. You pocket cash
6. You blow half of it on margaritas with your girlfriends
7. You all decide to get tattoos with a secret symbol, something like Hello Kitty
8. You spend the rest of the cash at the tattoo place
9. You drink more margaritas on your credit card
10. You go back to the tattoo place. The guy had bad skin, but really nice eyes.
11. You wake up at 5 a.m. at Tattoo Guy’s place, when his roommates come home from their gig.
12. You look in mirror and think “why the fuck do I have Hello Kitty on my neck?”
You go into the bathroom and find the Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, spread some on your finger and simulate brushing.
13. You make out some more with Tattoo Guy, steal his vintage Motley Crue tee, and head home.
14. You decide to go for a bike ride. Holy crap! Someone stole your bike!
15. You call police.
16. Officer arrives. He has only gray, jumbled-up teeth, but really nice skin.


Hope this helps!

Love,

Vanessa

Let me know if this works for you!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Creative Fall

The Celts have a word for this time of year: Samhain. It's a time when you go indoors, work on crafty things, ponder existence, and listen to Led Zepelin and Etta James. My inner Celt is apparently raging, as I have made no less than five scarves in the last month. Mostly because I don't know how to make hats or socks or anything else. However, I Speak Film turned me on to a great idea to knit kitchen towels out of cotton. (She is a GREAT photographer, but also a kick-ass knitter. She taught me!) Also, today, I made a handbag from a cute skirt that just didn't look good on -- and doesn't look that good as a handbag, either, but it's at least useful. Clearly, I am no Knitting Architect, and I will never be.

Little Mary wanted a scarf the same color as her towel.
She has a very bright future as a scarf model, don't you think?


Brother Ian picked out his yarn for his scarf last April.
But it wouldn't be as good if he didn't have to wait.
This scarf has inspired envy in at least one person, and his order is in!

Now I need to get back to working on the things that really matter. The things that I want the most, what they call "blue chips." Which involve me actually working.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Can't Take It

Everybody's relatives and friends are dying at work. I am so sad for them. Crap. That must mean it's my turn soon to have a friend or relative die. Um, God, you didn't read that. Just skip over that part.

I am alternately thrilled and overwhelmed and frustrated at work. I am happy when I can rock a good non-corporate, not-very-slutty-but-still-punky look, like today.

My mother's house caught on fire and I sent her some boots and the UPS guy got the wrong number but she found him at the store and finally got them but they are too small and now she has to return them but Zappos does not have her size in that and can I get her some other ones and I don't know what she wants and she has to look on a computer but oh, right, HER COMPUTER BURNED UP IN THE FIRE and the line to use one at the library in her little town is too long.

However:

It is a good thing Obama is our president.

And it is a good thing that I am counting down to my vacation. My TROPICAL vacation. To the Caribbean. That I won on a game show that only lasted, I think, half a season. People tell me that I am still on in reruns, though. And my cousin, who manages a car dealership in Florida, just happened to see it when it aired last January, which was fun. It was called "Temptation: The New Sale of the Century!" and it combined shopping prowess, trivia, and lightening reflexes. So, you see, if you think you are wasting your time pondering the wares of the Rack and Goodwill and SkyMall and Target and TJ Maxx, you, my dear, are wrong. You are in training. For the what you were meant to do -- get free money and be on TV! It CAN happen to you!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Letter to the Girl in the Towel

Dear Current Occupant of My Former Residence on Rowena Street,

Busted. You realized that, as you stood at the door, hair in one towel, another wrapped around your LA-too-skinny ass.

I really tried to do this in the most civilized manner possible. I left a nice note. You didn't respond. I went again, with hopes that you would be home this time. You were.

Some advice, seeing as you're young and still living with roommates and clearly a Troglodyte and not a very nice person:

1. When the UPS delivery person brings a package that is NOT addressed to you or to anyone you live with or to anyone you know, DO NOT sign for it.
2. Said package is likely a gift from someone very dear to the intended recipient. It may be a gift, such as a silver box engraved with the intended's name on it for her 40licious birthday.
3. Because it is highly unlikely that your name is also Vanessa McGrady, this box will be of no use to you.
4. The sender will feel crappy that she went to all that trouble and wonder why recipient did not send a thank you note. At best, she will think recipient a thoughtless fool. At worst, she'll go over and over in her head all the possible reasons recipient could be mad at her. Which there have never been. We are talking about a 39-year friendship here.
5. If you must sign for packages that are not yours, at least send a thank you note.
6. When the clearly concerned intended recipient shows up at your door to explain the problem, in the nicest way possible, do not call her "babe." Especially do not call her "babe" repeatedly.
7. When you live in a major metropolitan location, do not answer the door in a towel. There are plenty of crackheads with crowbars and creepy magazine salespeople and pent-up Jehovah's Witnesses waiting for an opportunity like that.
8. You have to deal with your own karma.
9. Save up your pennies, girlie, and get a one-way ticket back to whence you came. Because being the kind of person you are, you will not make it here in LA. Or anywhere.

I hope this helps.

Love,

Vanessa

Sunday, November 2, 2008

10 Commandments for Our Once and Future Leaders


Juan Enriquez (2008) Pop!Tech Pop!Cast from PopTech on Vimeo.

This is quite possibly the smartest man in America. He explains what happened to us and how to get out of this big mess we're in. The video is about a half hour long, so pour yourself a glass of cabernet, get a tub of Haagen Dazs Rum Raisin ice cream, and get yourself some free education.

If you don't have time for that, in a nutshell, here are the 10 commandments, which link back to his presentation:

1. We have to save the dollar (AAA rating in jeopardy)

2. We have to fundamentally and brutally restructure debt

3. All entitlements are fair game. To begin with...

a. If you are 60 to 65 you probably just lost a big chunk of your nest egg.


(we don’t want anything from you)

b. If you are 55 to 60, we need two more years’ work from you

c. 55 and under, we need three or four more years from you

4. Cut back military by 2% per year for ten years

5. Cap medical costs at 18% GNP (going to be a cat fight, but we need to have it)

6. We have to triage our support for companies (don’t attempt to save dying whales)

7. The program has to be bipartisan. It has to make both Dems and Repubs unhappy

8. Simplify and broadly apply Sarbanes Oxley – apply it to government, apply it to hedge funds

9. We will invest in growing start up companies (which create the most jobs – this is where the economy is growing)

10. We will treat education as a varsity sport (and continue to recruit foreign PhDs)

You're welcome.