Capers the Otter

August 31, 2007

QUESTION. Would it be crazy to ditch your career as a fabulous writer/assistant to become a person who TAKES CARE OF BABY OTTERS?

Because I am seriously considering it after this video. The fuzziness! The indignant squeaking! The blowdrying! The fact that people just cart him around all the time!

Amazing.

Fine things for Wednesday:

August 22, 2007

1. I keep forgetting that it’s Wednesday and not Tuesday. While that does make me feel stupid and/or mildly brain-damaged, it’s also exciting. We’re a day further into the week than I thought! I know you don’t care.

2. There were a ton of golf carts parked outside this building when I came back from lunch. Like, you know how you’ll see a police raid in progress, and there will be a bunch of cop cruisers outside? (Not that I see a lot of police raids. Perhaps I should have said “So you know how you’ll be watching The Wire and then there’s a raid, and–“) It was like that. Except with golf carts. I don’t know what was going on, but of course this is giving me delightful thoughts about highly-placed studio execs having some kind of emergency meeting about… you know, “Guys, guys, we’ve got it all wrong! Let’s start making movies with HEART. And PASSION. Let’s start TODAY!”

3. This video, where someone has blended dialogue from The Bourne Ultimatum with scenes from The Office.

4. There’s this guy, some kind of vendor or contractor, who sometimes visits this office. The first time I became aware of him was when he sidled up to my Cube Buddy, T., and said “Hey, hey. I’m going up to [apparently meat-heavy location] this weekend. You want me to bring you back some steaks?” and T. said “…Nah, man, I’m cool.”

And as soon as Meat Guy had walked off, I of course POUNCED, and demanded to know if they had a history of purchasing meat for each other, or if this was new and weird to him as well, and if purchasing meat gifts was a strange way straight men try to bond with each other or WHAT. (It was new and weird to him. But have you ever noticed how men will do INCREDIBLY ODD THINGS, things that – if this were taking place in an all-girl setting – girls would never, ever stop talking about, and dudes will just go “Eh.”)

And that guy was here again, earlier. And every time I see him, I imagine him, you know, pulling a porterhouse from his pocket (all WARM and LINTY) and being all “Hey, good buddy, I bought you some MEAT–” and then it makes me giggle.

YES. I AM THAT PERSON.

August 18, 2007

Here’s a factoid about me:

I obey the speed limit.

I don’t drive fourteen miles an hour or anything. And I will go with the flow of traffic unless I feel like the flow of traffic is full of idiots. But basically, I think speed limits are a good plan, and I obey them. The man problem with this is when people behind me on the freeway are like “UGH, I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE’S ONLY GOING 67 MILES AN HOUR. VRRRRROOOOOOOOOM!”

(That’s the sound effect of them doing the aggressive-passing maneuver: the kind of passing where it’s obvious that if they had a megaphone, they would now be shouting “YOU ARE TOO DAMN SLOW, WOMAN!” at me.)

Because I’m a naturally tense person, this always makes me a little uptight. But then I think about it, and I remember that I’m the one obeying the law. And. Wait. WHY DO I FEEL BAD ABOUT THIS?

So now I’m going to tell you something that will, if you a are a bit of a scofflaw w/r/t speed limits, make you hate me for ever and ever:

This afternoon, I was driving home from Santa Monica on the 10. And I’m going along at 68 miles an hour, in the slow lane, but still, my extra three miles an hour are meant as a kind of a goodwill gesture to everyone who thinks that speeding is the only reasonable way to get anywhere. And this person gets on the freeway behind me. It’s a dude. He’s on the phone. He’s driving a ginormous black BMW.

He is so mad that I’m TOTALLY BLOCKING HIS LANE. I can tell, because he starts tailgating me and then swerving angrily back and forth, and I had to turn up the radio and tell myself things like:

You’re obeying the law. It’s totally okay to be a law-abiding citizen. You know who else probably was into the speed limit? Mr. Rogers. So basically Mr. Angry Beemer can suck it. so as not to succumb to his mean-person peer pressure.

Finally, he’s able to pass me. I barely catch his face as he goes: absolutely livid and contorted with rage. I kind of recoiled in my seat. (Men, a small tip: Traffic Rage is the LEAST ATTRACTIVE kind of rage.)

You’re obeying the law, I told myself, trying (and failing) not to feel totally pathetic. I eased off the gas. 65 miles per hour. SWEET.

AND THEN.

I HEAR A SIREN.

And a cop cruiser appears out of nowhere! Cuts across all four lanes.

And pulls over Mr. Enraged BMW Driver.

Obviously, a decent person shouldn’t rejoice in the misfortune of others, but OH WELL. Also, I got to enjoy the OMG A COP!!!! effect, which caused EVERYONE on the freeway to drive like me for a little while and made the rest of my trip home very pleasant.

A hair situation.

August 13, 2007

This morning, I put a bobby pin in my hair to hold back my bangs. Now here’s the thing about that “hairstyle”: you have to be fully committed! There’s no fence-sitting when it comes to pinning your bangs back, guys. You can’t wear them back for a few hours and then casually decide to wear them down for a while. Because you’ll have weird, floppy, kinky, hideous bangs that won’t go anywhere you’d ever want your hair to go, and your only option is to go wash your hair and wipe the slate clean, and people usually don’t want you to do that in the middle of a work day (SIGH.)

Unfortunately, about an hour ago, I somehow lost the bobby pin–

And by “somehow” and “lost”, I mean “Was startled by a courier’s stealthy approach, and accidentally got my fingers caught in my hair and then somehow FLUNG the bobby pin across the room, never to be found again, even after crawling around on the carpet for a little while.”

And now I’m wearing a twist tie. In my hair.

It’s working well so far. I think I’ll be screwed if anyone looks down on the top of my head, though. So whenever anyone comes up to talk to me, I kind of keep leaning away from them awkwardly.

One of the reasons Naomi and I get along so well is that we really enjoy running errands together. Normal people call each other and go “Hey, come over, we’ll hang out by the pool and get drunk!” We go “Hey, do you want to get together Saturday? I have to go to the bank.”

This weekend we decided we needed to visit the craft store, because Vogue patterns were on sale. You don’t know how great this is, because you don’t sew, and because you don’t know how expensive Vogue patterns normally are. But let the record show that this occurrence is both:

a) Rare
b) AWESOME.

So we’re at the store. We’ve selected all our patterns. We’re about to go check out, when I realize that I could really use some marking paper.

But they’re re-organizing the store. Who the heck knows where everything is.

NAOMI
Let’s ask someone who works here!

A lady in the official apron passes by.

NAOMI
Excuse me.

The lady keeps on walking, with the full-body cringe that clearly indicates that you heard someone and are pretending that you didn’t, and hoping they won’t keep talking to you.

NAOMI
Um.

ELANA
Dude! She totally heard you!

NAOMI
I know.

ELANA
What do we do?

We stare at each other. Naomi’s brow furrows determinedly.

NAOMI
I’m going in.

She hurries after the lady in the apron.

NAOMI
Excuse me. Excuse me! Miss!
(as the woman unwillingly stops and turns)
So– Um. Do you know where the marking paper is?

LADY WITH INTERESTING CUSTOMER-SERVICE SKILLS
Nope.

She walks off again.

ELANA

NAOMI

Like we can’t help ourselves, WE FOLLOW HER.

ELANA
You literally don’t… know where it is?

LADY WITH INTERESTING CUSTOMER-SERVICE SKILLS
(rolling her eyes)
Um, NO.

She walks away again.

We stare at each other. Turn back to the lady’s departing form:

ELANA
You can’t just—you can’t do that! You work in retail!

NAOMI
You can’t just not know! You have to go “Oh, let me see!” and then pretend to look for it!

ELANA
Exactly! Or claim that you’re out!

NAOMI
Right! Or say that you’ll send over another associate to help us, and then never do it!

The woman keeps walking.

We stare at each other some more.

ELANA
Did we just get in a fight with that woman?

NAOMI
I’m unsure.

ELANA
Because it could go either way.

NAOMI
I agree. And, um, she really works here, right? We didn’t just have that problem with someone who likes to go outside wearing aprons?

ELANA
I think she works here. I mean. Right? There’s not some trend where you wear big green aprons to be stylish, right?

NAOMI
What do we do now?

ELANA
I guess we… check out? I guess?

We walk to the front of the store.

NAOMI
Oh NO.

ELANA
What?!?

NAOMI
She’s at the register. The ONLY OPEN REGISTER.

ELANA
OH NO. What do we do?!?
(beat)
At least we know for sure that she works here, though.

NAOMI
(serious)
Maybe we can ask someone else to buy our stuff for us while we make a run for it.

ELANA
(also serious)
Yes! Or maybe she’ll go on break soon. Like in twenty or thirty minutes.

NAOMI
Is there an emergency exit?

ELANA
I think the alarm goes off.

NAOMI
Damn.

We stand around for five minutes, peering out from behind a shelf full of garden gnomes.

NAOMI
This is retarded.

ELANA
Um, yes.

NAOMI
Maybe we should just go up and pretend we don’t recognize her.

ELANA
I would, but I’m really scared of her.

NAOMI
Yeah, me too.

ELANA
Wait! I just remembered! There’s another JOANN’S in Sherman Oaks! And the people who work there probably have nice, Valley personalities!

NAOMI
Oh! Hmmm. Would that be cowardly of us?

ELANA
Yes, totally.

NAOMI
Okay, let’s do it.

So then we put away all of our would-be purchases and ran out of the store. And drove from Santa Monica to Sherman Oaks during a weekend traffic jam. So we wouldn’t have to interact with a possibly-mean person. There’s not even a punchline to this story. I was telling my mom about it, and I was all HA HA HA, AND THEN WE RAN OUT OF THE STORE, TERRIFIED, AND GOT IN THE CAR, AND NAOMI SAID “START THE CAR! GO! GO!” AND IT WAS ONLY HALF IN JEST!

And my mom said: “…”

Pretty much, when even your actual mom thinks that maybe you need to man up, YOU MAY HAVE AN ASSERTIVENESS PROBLEM.

Last night at about 1 AM, there was a smallish earthquake. Apparently the epicenter was in Chatsworth (per the Reuters article, “Chatsworth, the unofficial capital of the porn movie industry”, something that seems perhaps not entirely necessary to mention in an article ABOUT AN EARTHQUAKE.)

I don’t mind earthquakes too much. But it’s always so disorienting when they happen when you’re asleep! This is the sequence that happens for me:

1. Earthquake happens.
2. “What– why am I awake?”
3. “Is my bed swaying?”
4. “Yes.”
5. “Wait, wait. Did I, like, take a cruise without realizing? AM I ON A CRUISE RIGHT NOW?”
6. Crushing disappointment.
7. “Sigh. This is definitely an earthquake. Should I get up? Should I go stand in a door opening?”
8. “But then I’d have to get up. And I’m really tired.”
9. “Ugh, I should totally have an emergency kit.”
10. “But that time I looked at the Red Cross’ suggested earthquake emergency kit, it was really enormous. And depressing. And really, where am I going to keep a small tent and a water purifying system?”
11. “I think I’ll just hope for the best and go back to sleep.”

And then in the morning you’re always like HOLY SHIT, I totally lack strong survival instincts! If I were on one of those shows like Man vs. Wild or Survivorman, I’d be the person going “Guys, guys, can we slow it down? This looks like a good place for a nap. Anyone have a pillow? What about a sweater I could fold up?”

The Bourne Awesome

August 7, 2007

This weekend Naomi and Van and I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum. They both liked it okay.

I liked it so much that on Sunday, when my friend C. called and said “Hey, do you want to see a movie?” I said “Um. Have you seen… BOURNE?”

YES. I am aware that I just got many miles on my Dork America card, thank you.

THINGS I LIKED BEST ABOUT THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM:

1) David Strathairn’s glasses. I asked Naomi if she thought I could pull off such glasses, or would just look like that person wearing Interesting, Yet Ultimately Very Unflattering Spectacles, and she gave me that look you give someone when they’re being kind of dumb, but you basically like them, but… come on, shut it down.

2) Jason Bourne’s slight veneer of boring. If he weren’t an international KILLER SPY/ASSASSIN/MAN OF EXTREME MYSTERY, he would probably be a CPA, or a girl’s volleyball coach. That’s what makes it really great when he freaks out and kills people!

3) The shaky camerawork. I know! No one else likes it. But I do. And during my, um, second viewing, we were sitting pretty close to the screen, so I think I’m pretty much confirmed in this preference.

4) The large variety of people in the theater who ALSO enjoyed the lethal CAN KILL YOU WITH A BOOK stylings of Mr. Bourne: moms, grandparents, the fiftyish lady next to me who was totally rocking out to the theme music.

5) Joan Allen makes me want to buy some stylish charcoal turtlenecks. Which is not actually a good idea for me. But still.

***

When I went to get lunch, there was a cop there. Buying a salad. Not a movie cop! A for-real cop. (I could tell by his hair. It was not fabulous enough for movie-cophood. Although his lunch choice – a heart-healthy antioxidant-loaded salad, which he returned for a second try when it arrived with dressing ON it, gasp! – gave me pause for a moment.)

I am totally fascinated when I see cops up close. Have you ever noticed how much STUFF they have hanging on their belts? There’s a gun, a walkie-talkie, a can of pepper spray (in a weird mid-back location), handcuffs, and something I think may be a telescoping nightstick. (I try not to stare TOO much, because I don’t want to be taken outside for a friendly chat about how prolonged staring tends to give heavily-armed people the creeps.)

I wonder if it’s really uncomfortable to sit down with all that stuff on your belt. Like, in your car! Doesn’t the pepper spray press on your spine? Don’t they ever have terrible pepper spray accidents where someone bumps against a filing cabinet at just the wrong angle and floods the room with PEPPER PARTICLES?

ALSO. When I came back with my lunch (which I will not describe, save to say that it was neither heart-healthy NOR loaded with antioxidants, unless there are a lot of those in melted cheese) and was just about to start eating it, my boss began to IM me.

BOSSLADY: Can you get me a hot dog?

BOSSLADY: Please?

BOSSLADY: Please please please?

BOSSLADY: I won’t even make you pay this time.

BOSSLADY: Kidding.

BOSSLADY: Please please please please please please please please.

ME: Yes.

BOSSLADY: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.

ME: I already said yes!

BOSSLADY: I just wanted to be sure. I’m really hungry.