I Dream of Running Away (Or Ambivalent About LA Again)

I frequently feel the urge to flee LA — at least once a year — to be specific. When I’m gripped with the strong desire to go somewhere else it’s usually because I’m fantasizing about a “normal” life.

(My definition of normal involves a garden, men who own power tools, and a standing tailgate every Saturday in the fall.)

I was having one of those days on Thursday. I wanted to be anywhere but here. Then I got a message from my friend, Murph. He had an extra ticket to the Snoop, Cypress Hill, and Wiz Khalifa show at the Greek for 4/20, complete with backstage passes.

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Normal life, what? Who needs THAT when you can go backstage?!?

Murph is developing a pilot with Bobo, the drummer from Cypress Hill, because this is LA, and everyone is working on a pilot. Bobo hooked us up for the show.

Obviously, our seats were sick.

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Get it, Wiz.

But maybe not as sick as the backstage situation.

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Like duh.

Sure, I have to dry-clean my entire ensemble so I don’t smell like a walking bong, but it was worth it.

So worth it, in fact, that I got over my need to flee for 24 full hours.

That is until I was in an uber with Dan* on the way to his friends’ Purple Rain screening party the following evening. (4/21 is the one year anniversary of Prince’s death — for the four of you who weren’t aware.)

We had a long ride to the party, and I shared my fantasy about moving to Austin to eat proper barbecue and grow my own herbs in a large garden.

“And I’d have room to throw pots,” he observed.

It was news to me that he made pottery, but I guess we all have sides of ourselves we can’t express in LA — interests we’ve put on hold. It’s that kind of city. Sure, you can find anything here if you search for it, but the pace and the cost of everything can sometimes cause you to shelve some of your interests while you’re stuck in traffic or working to keep your lights on.

It’s not all bad, though.

We do have excellent sushi options.

In fact, I walked to Sugarfish with my book this afternoon and posted up at the sushi bar while reading and devouring all kinds of raw tuna. The man sitting next to me seemed uncomfortable eating alone. He could NOT put his phone down even to enjoy the taste of the fish. He shoveled it into his mouth without looking up from the small screen.

Sure, I had brought a book myself, but I have a rule that I don’t read and eat simultaneously. I generally prefer to enjoy one pleasure at a time.

This awkward man also blew his nose on his napkin after eating his toro hand roll. I hoped he’d get up to wash before eating the baked crab hand roll. (I mean, it’s a HAND roll! It’s not like he had chopsticks between his seaweed and his snot fingers!) I silently willed him to get up and wash, but to no avail.

As he mindlessly munched on his crab, pecking at his phone with the other hand, I wondered where he had put his snot-filled napkin, but I dared not look.

I’m not easily grossed out, and it’s not like I lost my appetite, but I was sort of mesmerized, in a horrified way, by his cavalier disregard for his hands. My Nana wouldn’t let me out of the bathroom unless she heard the tap, and she absolutely wouldn’t let me near food if I didn’t scrub up. These things leave an impression.

So, yes, I was judging him, but he may have been secretly judging me for having Sapporo with my lunch, so maybe we were even.

Anyway, LA has great sushi even if you sometimes have to eat it sitting next to a snot monster with questionable hygiene, and there are spontaneous invitations to the Cypress Hill green room at the Greek, outdoor Purple Rain parties, and all kinds of other adventures, so it’s not all awful.

I do sometimes wonder if I’m putting too much of myself on hold to be here, however.

Would I have more to write about if I went somewhere new and immersed myself in a different place?

The thought haunts me.

I guess it’s just the time of year when I wonder.

*I’ll explain Dan another time. He probably deserves his own post — at some point… when I’m ready.  

 

Thoughts on 2016 (Or Whatever)

I’m prepping for my tax appointment today. Going to see my accountant is always a lot like confession. It usually goes something like this:

Alyce: You spent $1,600 on sushi?

I nod, dying a little inside.

Alyce takes a sip of her pina colada and tries to hide her disappointment in me.

(She knows how much money I make.)

So yeah… I’m bracing myself for the shame of it all.

This is what my tax prep looks like:

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Screw you, 2016, for taking all of my money.

My sushi expenditures may be bad, but let’s not go into my beer budget, K?

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The Baby Jesus can barely hold down my bar receipts.

Poor little nugget.

I guess 2016 wasn’t ALL bad. It did take Prince, Princess Leia, and the Goblin King, but I did get on the slopes a lot, so there’s that.

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Skiing is everything.

I also finished a few scripts, did some interesting research for a TV pilot, and I did a lot of fun things with people I love.

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Kygo at the Bowl with Lola

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Vegas with my family.

And, I crossed a big goal off my to-do list.

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I ran a 5K in a winery with Megan… 

hills and all.

2016 may not have been THE WORST, but I’m counting on 2017 to step up and kick its ass.

I’m due for a great year.

No pressure, 2017.

Fashion Parade Pity Party (Or I Don’t Know What to Wear So I’m Making a Playlist Instead)

Prince makes many appearances on my birthday party playlist. I adore him even though he does weird things with his face. Photo Courtesy of The Urban Daily.

I just spent the last hour in my walk-in trying to figure out what to wear to my birthday party next weekend. Now that I’m nearly suicidal, I think I need to switch gears. It’s time to work on the party playlist. Last year I neglected the task and I swear we ended up listening to way too much emo hipster music. Six hours of whining white boys is only appropriate for a mass suicide. (Or my fashion parade pity party.) Party playlists need to have the right amount of Whitney. And Michael. I mean really….

Sadly, I will have to forego some of my favorite hip hop tunes owing to the number of toddlers who will be in attendance next Sunday. I don’t want to be responsible for some kid standing a chair singing, “To the windows, to the walls, ‘til the sweat drips down my balls” in front of his entire preschool class. (We’re saving Lil’ Jon for my 35th next summer. There won’t be any children at that gathering.)

So, anyway…

It’s a 7 hour playlist, so I’m going to spare you the specifics, but here are a few of my faves that made the list:

Michael Jackson: Bad (I mean, obviously.)

Shaggy: Oh Carolina (And, yes, this song is from the Sliver Soundtrack, but I don’t care. It’s still a fresh jam even if I have no idea what “Prowl off. Jump and Prance,” means. It’s probably dirty but if I don’t get it, the toddlers won’t either.)

Nina Simone & Felix da Housecat: Sinnerman Remixed (I love Nina Simone’s original as well, but it’s obviously not right for a festive event.)

Junior Walker and The All Stars: Shotgun (Because it makes me want to dance on a table in my heels. And also because it’s all kinds of awesome.)

Lupe Fiasco featuring Trey Songz: Out of My Head (Kinda chill but sooo fun.)

Tiesto featuring C.C. Sheffield: Escape Me (Great tune for working out and also for just hanging out and being fabulous with friends.)

Eric Prydz vs. Floyd: Proper Education (Obviously I love Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall from The Wall, but this version has a better party feel.)

MGMT: Electric Feel (Like Modest Mouse’s Float On, this song never gets old.)

Prince: 1999 (It wouldn’t be a party without a bit of Prince. OK, there’s A LOT of Prince on my playlist, but it’s only because I love him. Like REALLY love him.)

Mark Morrison: Return of the Mack (Because I’m not about to neglect the 90s — or leave it to Shaggy to represent them by himself.)

Hank Williams, Jr.: Family Tradition (It’s essential to throw in some country. Just ‘cuz it’s awesome.)

Barney Stinson may believe the best mixes are all rise, but I think you need to chill things out a bit towards the end of the night — especially on a Sunday. Here are some of my slower jams.

The Rolling Stones: Beast of Burden (My second favorite Stones song of all time behind You Can’t Always Get What You Want.)

Otis Redding: The Dock of the Bay (This is a super obvious Otis tune, but it’s such a classic I can’t help myself. I have SO much Otis. I adore Otis.)

Paul Anka: Eye of the Tiger (If you haven’t checked his cover album, Rock Swings, do it. Now. You’ll thank me later.)

Oh, and because it’s a Peter Pan Party, I had to add Hook’s tarantella, Another Princely Scheme, from the Broadway musical.

Tomorrow I’ll give you an update on the flower arrangement crisis as well as the candy bar….

Carbs Fix Everything (Or How to Make Simple Fruit Cobbler)

Red, White, and Blue Berry Cobbler for the New Miss America

Yesterday afternoon I was convinced I’d discovered a level of despair that went beyond Billy Ocean’s ability to heal. I tried Loverboy. Caribbean Queen. AND When the Going Gets Tough. But still I moped. Beyond Billy Ocean? What’s beyond Billy Ocean?

Barry White?

Nope. He didn’t help either. Somehow I was immune to his bass and all of those happy strings. It was unprecendented. Prince’s Batdance almost fixed the situation, but not quite. Still I moped. Then I ate a few fists full of truffle popcorn and a bunch of fruit leather. And I was fine. It turns out my murderous sulking was just low blood sugar.

My friend Melissa will tell you about my low blood sugar-induced dark side. On outings to Fred Segal I could go from the cheerleader in the dressing room to a crabby, miserable monster who hated her thighs, her elbows, and the lighting in the store within minutes. She’d send me off to suck down a lemonade from the cafe and soon the monstrous, gray world would be back in Technicolor. I’d still hate my thighs, but maybe a little less.

So, anyway, after I was cured by the healing power of carbohydrates, I set about finding the right red, white, and blue confection to make for my friend, Suzie. See, Suzie is becoming an American this week, and I want to make a proper patriotic-looking dessert to commerate the occasion. She is one of my first LA friends, and I’m attending her oath ceremony at the courthouse downtown.

After serious deliberation, I ultimately decided to go with an old family recipe for fruit cobbler. It’s simple, it’s delicious, and it works with any combination of fruit. I selected strawberries and blueberries to give it a red, white, and blue flair. The recipe is below.

Enjoy!

Fruit Cobbler

1 stick of unsalted butter
1 C flour
2 tsp baking power
1 C sugar
pinch of salt (a little less than 1/8 tsp)
1 C whole milk
3 C fresh fruit

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together flour, baking power, sugar, and salt. Add milk and stir until blended. Melt the butter in a 9″ square pan. Pour the batter over the butter. Arrange fruit over the top.

At this stage the cobbler will just look like a muddled mess.

Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Here I am downtown with the new Miss America. And her Cobbler.