Wednesday, July 30, 2014


I have a very strong aversion to ugly things.  Ugly clothing, ugly people, ugly furniture - I cannot tolerate it.  I generally keep my opinions to myself, but when it comes to things in my own home, I absolutely will not stand for ugly.  Sometimes it drives me to limits I might not otherwise reach.

Back in 2010 I moved into a really awesome giant two-bedroom apartment in Silverlake with a view of the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory and all of downtown Glendale.  The apartment itself was glorious in all ways - except for the fact that the parade of tenants that had lived there through the years and switched roommates in a way to make the place continuously occupied for over seven years not only owned but also LEFT some of the ugliest furniture known to mankind.

Consequently, when my roommate moved to Hawaii, she wasn't interested in packing an oversized couch in her carryon, so I was left with a smorgasbord of offensive furniture and a brother who is ugly-blind.

Specifically, we had three couches.  THREE.  One ugly pink 80s couch had been relegated to a corner and used as a place to pile our excess of blankets and a throne/fort for my cats; one was a gigantic brown sectional in a horrific brown corduroy that could never have been attractive that had the added bonus feature of being able to sleep two NBA players comfortably, and the final couch, the object of the majority of my rage, was an off-white brocade 70s/80s sofa with flattened cushions and unsettling stains.

As soon as my roommate moved out and the place became "mine," I took it upon myself to throw out the small pink couch and all of its mismatched pillows within mere hours of her departure.  Next on the list was the white couch.  It was about 8 feet long and nearly 4 feet wide, and to this day my brother and I have absolutely NO IDEA how this couch was put in the apartment unless it was built completely in the living room or simply existed and the contracting company built an apartment around said sofa.

When my brother wasn't home to help me move it out of the apartment for over a week, one 90-degree evening I decided to take matters into my own hands.  "I can just push it down the stairs.  No lifting, just pushing."  HAHAHA NOPE.

Within the first hour I determined that regardless of the positioning of other furniture, the couch could not be pushed out either of the possible exits and make it through the front door.  I tried turning it on its side, flipping it upside-down, backwards, forwards, upright, laying down, and in every position there was about a 3 inch margin of error that kept the couch from exiting my building.

Ok, I thought, I'll just take it apart.  Once I get an arm off, that'll get those 3 inches taken care of and I can get it out.  So I go get my screwdriver and start ripping off the upholstery only to find that the entire couch has been STAPLED AND GLUED.  By this time I'm sweating profusely, wearing mismatched workout shorts and a holey tshirt, swearing at an inanimate object that has been half ripped apart laying upside-down on my living room floor, surrounded by pieces of foam and floral fabric.  I began to consider other options, such as a controlled fire, but I was relatively sure that wasn't within the terms of my lease.

I WOULD NOT let the couch win.  It would never go back to its original position.  It was going to stay right there until it was outside my house on the sidewalk like the trash that it was.  No ugly thing like that was going to ruin my apartment.  My rage was building.  FUCK YOU COUCH, YOU ARE NOT BETTER THAN ME.

It was about this point that rage caught up to logic and they formed a dangerous (but successful) idea: I needed to saw the couch in half.  I couldn't unscrew it, so I was just going to have to saw it.  After a few concerning posts on Facebook asking friends if they were in possession of a chainsaw or knew of a place I could rent one at 9:30pm on a Tuesday, I took my sweaty, disgruntled self to the Home Depot a few miles north.

In my infinite wisdom, I felt that if I were going to be doing a major construction project, I would need to be wearing safe, closed-toed shoes.  So I walked into a nearly empty Home Depot in Glendale at about 10pm wearing the aforementioned shorts and tshirt that I had sweated through, Ugg boots, soaking wet hair falling out of a ponytail and an expression that would scare a biker gang and went straight for the power tools.

If there is something you're not expecting to see on a weeknight, it's a small, angry blonde girl dressed like a homeless person pacing back and forth between the saws and axes with a frighteningly intense look on her face.  This was, in fact, the first time I had been to a Home Depot where at least three employees passed me and did not offer to help.  One went so far as to decide he didn't need to go down my aisle after he'd already begun his turn.

After about 20 minutes of weighing the pros and cons of an axe versus a saw, I picked out a nice double-toothed saw, paid cash and left.  I'm sure the police arrived minutes later.  But it was too late for the couch.  This is how I left it:

Not for long.  I arrived home with my newest friend, Mr. Saw:
It said a lot of fancy things on the package that I took to mean "WILL SUCCESSFULLY MURDER YOUR COUCH."  And murder it did.  In a matter of ten or so minutes, my couch looked like this:
Look how easily that will fit through doors!  SO EASILY.  I was so excited I posted this photo to Facebook with the caption "HALFWAY DONE!"  Take that, you ugly piece of shit.  Think you can go around being all ugly and sitting in my house?  THINK AGAIN.

In the end, the couch was cut into six pieces that were piled up downstairs by the trash bins.  My brother came home right at the moment I was carrying one of the arms of the sofa down the stairs.  He knew that this was a situation where he should likely stay in his room for the duration of the evening, which he did.  In the end, the scene of the crime wasn't as grizzly as it could've been...

I can still feel the joy and relief I felt looking at that last photo.  I had removed the cancer and the operation had been a success.  Unfortunately, the giant brown couch was there to stay until we moved out a month ago - and my brother took it to his new place, VOLUNTARILY.  I had absolutely no problem with the fact that I was left for two weeks with only an IKEA Poang chair and the amazing mid-century coffee table someone had gloriously left for me, sitting alone in the middle of a gigantic 600sq foot living area - because they MATCHED.

I'm sure someone is wondering if I have ever used that saw again.  In fact, it has come in handy multiple times in cutting open spaghetti squash.  Trust me, once you've sawed open a squash you'll never use a regular kitchen knife again.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Yeah, that's right, moving is awful.  Even when I'm moving into a nicer place, I'd still rather stick pennies up my nose until I have to go to the ER. 

I had the pleasure of being the last tenant in a dynasty of continuous renters that lasted approximately 10 years.  When I moved in, 3.5 years ago, there was already so much crap that wasn't my roommate's it was unbelievable.  When my brother took her spot, we removed a TON of crap.  Two couches (one of which I had to saw into six pieces because it wouldn't fit out the door), a bunch of kitchen shit, other random things like books/DVDs etc.  Now imagine cleaning EVERY LAST THING out of that place that has been gathering dust somewhere in the depths of a cabinet FOR TEN YEARS.

That being said, my new place is glorious - completely brand new everything in my unit, including the ever-elusive dishwasher and a working AC.  I have a pool, a workout room with reasonably new equipment and I live ALONE.  GOD LIVING ALONE IS SO MAGICAL.  I haven't unpacked some things because I don't know where to put them, so they're in the middle of the floor.  AND THAT'S OK.

I did, however, sense some problems when I found out that I was balcony-less and therefore was going to have to part with DirecTV, which I love like my firstborn son, but figured I'd get used to the new cable company.  I found out that not only am I only allowed to have Time Warner Cable, but it's 9 billion percent more expensive for subpar TV and internet than my beautiful DirecTV even after the discounts expired.  I call our complex's "representative" and he nicely speeds up my installation to the day before I move so I don't have to go one moment sans internet and TV.  Thoughtful.

Once it's installed, I go to work trying to find my shows to record on the DVR.  I NEED DVR.  I have no idea when my shows are on, and usually I don't even know what day of the week it is anyway.  DVR is my lifeline.  I set it to record Suits and Chelsea Lately and went off to do some other shit.  Fast forward to two days later, and there's nothing on my DVR.  NOTHING.  Chelsea is on every night, so there should have been at least two of those, but it was empty.  I decided to go through the guide and manually choose to record something.  The little red dot appeared next to the title so I thought in the not-too-distant future I'd have something to watch that was recorded.  I was so wrong.

After a long call with everybody's favorite customer service, it was determined that my DVR was broken and they were going to send me a new box.  Basically they screwed up on DAY 1.  The new box arrives 36 hours later, which would have been unbearable if I didn't have Hulu and my obsessive binge-watching of Korean dramas, and I hook it up.  I call to activate it and leave it for a while so it can download all the guides and whatnot.

Come to find out the second box they sent me was COMPLETELY worthless and wouldn't even show the correct time zone, so now I have two broken cable boxes in my home and a really shitty internet service that can barely handle streaming an hour-long show without stopping to load 3-4 times.

Since I finished my Korean series last night, I thought I'd take my TV-less day to do some laundry.  I've been hoarding quarters for the past 6 years because I've needed them for laundry, but apparently my new place has a card service.  Great!  No more quarters!  I push the button on the machine that says "buy new card"  and it asks me to insert a $5 bill.  I do so, and voila, my laundry card pops out.  Unfortunately, I find out after filling the washer with my dirty clothes that $5 is the price OF THE CARD and it has absolutely no value.  When I go back to the machine, it only has a cash slot, so I put in the $1 bills I had in my wallet.  NOPE.  DON'T WANT YOUR $1 BILLS, GO HOME ASSHOLE.  WTF?  Then a lady in the room said that it only takes bills IN INCREMENTS OF 5!  There's no coin slot, there's no credit card slot, there's just a cash slot that discriminates against poor people.

So I have approximately $10 in quarters, $5 in ones, money in my bank account and a bag full of still-dirty clothes.  WORTH. LESS.  Once I stop being so angry I'll walk down to the gas station and get me some 5s, but GOD THAT IS SO STUPID.  I HAVE LIKE 12 WAYS OF PAYING BUT YOU WANT THE ONE WAY I CANNOT PAY.

Someone punch me in the fucking face.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


This sounds oh-so-metaphorical, like I'm going to inspire you with a tale of how I've found the right path in life, but it's not.  It's actually literally about running backwards.  Not a superfluous use of the word "literally" right there, by the way.

With all of the running talk of recent weeks, I had forgotten one of my most memorable 5ks.  It was, in fact, the only 5k that I ran an entire 3.1 miles.  The ironic part was I just didn't run the particular 3.1 miles that the race dictated.

Back in the spring of 2007, I was living in Dallas, dating a boy, and about to graduate law school.  I was also in what was close to the best shape of my life and physically able to run almost 3.1 miles.  I don't know what kept me going, but every couple of days I would go run on the Katy Trail, a paved trail through urban Dallas that followed the old rail line.  At the time, there were only 3.5ish miles of the trail that had been completed, so generally I'd run 1.5, turn around and run the same distance home.  If you see where I'm going with this, the Katy Trail is not a loop, it is a straight ass line that has a beginning and an end.

When I saw that there was going to be a Katy Trail 5k, I was excited because I knew I could do that mileage and that specific track, so I signed up.  I was by no means a race expert, having run probably one 5k before this one, and I didn't pay as close attention as I should have to the instructions.  I just looked up where the start was and got ready.

Since my boyfriend was going to be at work during the race and couldn't pick me up, I asked him to do me a favor.  I would go park my car at the end of the Katy Trail, he'd follow me, then drop me off at the starting line.  I'd have my key in my hand so I could get into my car where all my stuff was and be able to drive myself home.  It was a grand plan.

On race day, we did just as planned.  I left my phone (since this was pre-music phones, I probably had a Moto Razr or something) and my house keys in my glove box, taking only my car key.  My boyfriend dropped me off at the start, I put on my race number and timing chip, and we took off.

The first thing that sparked some alarm was that while the race was next to the Katy Trail, it was not actually ON it.  I guessed this was because of the number of runners, and they needed a street-width path to contain everyone.  So I start running through the streets of Uptown with my fellow runners, and everything seemed A-ok.  Then, about a mile in, we turned right.  Um...we're going to turn back north, right?  I mean the trail is north/south, so this east/west thing we've got going on is temporary, right?

I was semi right.  As we ran east, we went under a bridge that was the actual Katy trail, and just as I noticed that up ahead we did in fact turn back north, I saw some people running on the bridge above me, going the opposite way.  Wearing numbers.  I was still a few bricks short of actually understanding my situation, but I'd run right into that wall in about a half mile.

It was as we ran north on a parallel street that I became completely aware of what was going on - at some point in the near future, the race path turned around and we ran back to the START on the actual Katy Trail.  I tried to deny it until I saw way too many people running the opposite way on the trail a few hundred yards away.  When I reached this point in the story, a friend of mine stopped me - "Don't you know that races ALWAYS go in a circle?  I mean there'd be huge logistical problems otherwise."  No, no I was not aware that races always went in circles.  The first race I ran started and ended in different places, although we did make a near circle and finish close to the start.  This NEVER OCCURRED TO ME.

I realized I had about two minutes before I had to make a huge decision - do I run the race on the prescribed track, ending up 3.1 miles away from my car with nothing but a car key, or do I just keep running straight until I get to my car?  I had no way of getting ahold of anyone, no money for a cab, no house keys to walk home - I decided that in this state of emergency, I would just run to my car.  It was a 6pm race, and I didn't need to be walking 3 miles in the dark alone, especially after running an entire 5k.  I wasn't up for running a 10k.

So as I saw the turnaround approaching, I made the executive decision - nonchalantly take off my race number, continue going straight through the barricade, and pretend I was just "out running" and in no way a part of a race as I continued to run to my car.  A Dallas police officer was standing at the barricade making sure no cars came through, and with my number now folded in my hand, I ignored all the other runners and ran straight past the cop onto the sidewalk of a busy street.

"Ma'am!  You're going the wrong way!  Ma'am!!" the cop screamed after me.  I pretended like I didn't hear him and continued through the neighborhood as though I were just out for a leisurely evening run and not involved in whatever running activity may have been going on south of me.  Of course I was completely alone this time, because all the people who DO take leisurely runs were running the race.  So I stuck out a little bit.  At least I'd had the sense to take off my race number.

When I finally reached my car, having run the whole way with only short stops for stoplights, I felt semi-accomplished.  I did, in fact, run a 5k that evening, it just wasn't the 5k that the planners of the race specifically outlined.  I got in the car and drove home, glad I decided to take this choice versus walking for probably another 45 minutes to get back to my car. 

I timed myself at a rough 33 minutes, but I'll never know my actual time.  I bet the race organizers are somewhat confused as to why it's taking someone over 7 years to complete a 5k.  According to official records, I will be forever running the Katy Trail 5k.