Archive | November, 2010

The Finding Nemo Club

30 Nov

Nemo!

Until I watched “The Shining” just a few weeks ago, I could count the number of scary movies I have viewed on one hand, thankfully. In the 8th grade, my brother and I watched “Halloween H20” at a friend’s house. I don’t think we’ve ever recovered since. For weeks I think my brother was afraid I would try to kill him, though in retrospect perhaps I should have been the one who was more freaked out (the story, if you aren’t aware, centers of Michael Meyers, an insane man who is obsessed with killing his sister, as well as other random people, of course).

In high school, I unfortunately viewed “I Know What You Did Last Summer” as well as its ridiculously titled sequel, “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.” Besides the fact that indoor tanning salons should scare me enough, what with that whole skin cancer thing, watching the sequel forever scarred my psyche and I don’t think I could ever go fake ‘n bake again. (There’s a horrific scene where one of the female characters gets locked in a tanning booth and the killer turns the heat all the way up, essentially cooking the girl. If I remember correctly, she escapes.)

In college, I was tricked into watching “Saw” by a friend who assured me the film was more of a psychological thriller than a blood bath—not so much. It was so gross I can’t believe they made so many sequels to it, but I’m hardly surprised. I also went to see “I am Legend” in theaters, which I thought I could handle since I had become a huge fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” However, to my disappointment, these vampires did not engage in witty banter with Will Smith, and while they were very poorly CGI’d, they gave me nightmares for weeks. It disturbed me to no end to think of my grandmother, your dad, and someone else’s uncle become a zombie-vampire and try to eat me. Not cool.

Somewhere during this time my brother and his friend Pete created “The Finding Nemo Club.” The Club was formed in protest to the tendency of their friends to want to watch scary movies, and its sole mission was to immediately leave and view “Finding Nemo” if watching a scary movie was suggested by someone. I voted myself into the Club, but should note my brother will probably vote me out when he learns I willingly watched “The Shining.” To this day he will not allow his wife to join since she went to see “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in theaters.

I should point out that I only watched “The Shining” since my husband would not be able to escape me. I made him promise he would stay up all night with me if I wasn’t able to sleep, and he promised (a promise he broke, I should add). The movie did scare “the living daylights out of me,” as my dad would say, but not in the way I think Stephen King intended. One of the movie’s characters is a young boy who has a split personality, and he is evil. (Warning: plot spoiler ahead!) You discover in the end that he is good, but I still think Jack Nicholson should have chopped him to bits. In fact, I thought Jack N. was great, hilarious even. It was the demon child I was afraid of and he should have died. Nothing else in the movie was scary, but that could be because I covered my eyes and plugged my ears at any moment that was remotely fear-inducing. Later that night, around 4 a.m. when I was trying to read, I vowed to never again watch a scary movie, and I renewed my membership to “The Finding Nemo Club.”

Since it was the holidays, and a cheery time of year, I thought it appropriate to discuss violent, bloody, horrific movies. Happy holidays!

All I Want for Christmas Is…

29 Nov

The Churches' Christmas Wish

source

Thanksgiving has passed and it is now acceptable to speak of all things Christmas. There are houses covered in lights and holiday music greets you at just about every public place. The nearby town of Montrose is even offering free horse-drawn carriage rides up and down Honolulu St. on the weekend. It is definitely the holiday season!

A little known fact about Larissa Church is that I grew up without a pet (unless you count Puffy, a goldfish my brother had about a week before we killed him [probably from over-feeding] and had to bury him in the backyard). As my husband says on his blog (he’s the one to thank for this post’s epic drawing), I “lived a very sad childhood” because I was without animal companionship as a child. He essentially grew up on a farm, raising two sheep, multiple cats and dogs, horses, and even chickens. I don’t even think he can recall a day without an animal in it, when my childhood is littered with animal-free days, sadly.

The reason for this atrocity was that my dad as well as my brother were allergic to every animal under the sun. After Puffy’s tragic death, we knew we couldn’t handle caring for another spooky-eyed set of scales (“zombies of the sea” as I like to refer to fish–they are so totally soulless!). Another possible pet option for our household were snakes, but my mother thankfully put her foot down on that one. Our family did for a time care for my brother’s third grade class rabbit Nibbles, even having her at the house for a few summer vacations. My father was forced to take medication for his allergies, which he did not appreciate. My mom and I, however, only had eyes for Nibbles, which is where my love of rabbits stems from, if you ever wondered about that.

I always vowed that as soon as I moved out, I would immediately get a rabbit and a dog. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted a Golden retriever, and thankfully, my husband shares my love of this breed. After making the acquaintance of Kensington, the coolest cat my friend Miss At adopted last year, I soon added felines to my future entourage.

When my husband and I moved to LA, we were lucky enough to find ourselves renting a house from the family of our friend Troy. However, new carpets and a gorgeous word floor were installed shortly before our arrival, making the house definitely not pet-friendly. Additionally, the yard wouldn’t provide Champ (our future dog) adequate room in which to play–he deserves acres and acres.

So while my husband and I are logically content to be without a dog this holiday season, if I did have a Christmas wish, it would be to share some holiday love with a little Golden retriever puppy while I am wrapped in my Snuggie (see “I Have a Fever and the Only Prescription is More Snuggie!”), sitting next to my husband as we read by our fireplace.

It doesn’t get more Christmas-y than that!

Georgia on My Mind

28 Nov

Love love love!

source

When I was attending San Francisco State University (working towards obtaining my certificate in Technical and Professional Writing), I took a class on desktop publishing, where I learned the basics of Adobe InDesign. One of the first things we did in the class was to watch a movie called “Helvetica.” It is a documentary about “typography, graphic design, and global visual culture.” If you haven’t seen this movie, Netflix it immediately. The movie travels across the globe, talking with different typeface designers about their feelings towards the typeface Helvetica. Believe it or not, it is a very controversial subject in the design realm, and it’s absolutely fascinating.

I had never in my life given one iota of thought to typography or who was in the business of designing typefaces. To me, typefaces simply existed. They were in the computer and were there and that was all. I had no idea that they were actively designed, with immense thought given to a letter’s width, weight, or kerning (spacing) between letters. After watching the movie, I began to notice all the typefaces around me and how different they were. It was mind-blowing. (Wow, I’m a huge nerd…)

Soon after we viewed the movie, the professor of the class had us research a typeface and then design a poster for it. I looked at the list, and randomly chose the typeface Georgia. While I realize this is going to sound overblown and ridiculous, it was a decision that changed my life forever.

Georgia is a serif typeface that is relatively new. It was designed in 1993 and was apparently named after a tabloid headline that was titled, “Alien Heads Found in Georgia.” It was first available in 1996. It is similar to Times New Roman, the default typeface for Microsoft Word but has a few subtle differences (which I won’t bore you with here). I find it infinitely more appealing that Times New Roman, which I loathe, perhaps because I was forced to type numerous papers using it for 5 years in college. Or, perhaps it appeals to me because, according to Microsoft, “Georgia is a typeface resonant with typographic personality. Even at small sizes the face exudes a sense of friendliness; a feeling of intimacy many would argue has been eroded from Times New Roman through overuse” (source).

While it is unlikely I could pinpoint exactly why I am attracted to the typeface, I am. I suppose it is inexplicable. After I designed my poster featuring Georgia, every single Word document I have created since has used the typeface. Apparently in early 2009, the typeface had a revival of sorts and was prominently used across the Web on various websites (source). I love spotting Georgia the typeface in every day life; it has popped up on pizza boxes, notebooks, road signs, and many other random places.

I suppose that sometimes, it’s the small things in life that bring us happiness.

(If you are wondering why this post or my blog in general does not make use of the Georgia typeface, it is because the themes used on WordPress generally limit you to a specific typeface, or else you know I would always use it!)

Changing My Name, Part I

16 Nov

Quick! Steal his identity.

source

Today, I paid a visit to one of the offices of the Social Security Administration to file for a new Social Security Number (SSN) card, as I am changing my name since I am now married. Serving the Everyman American, the offices of Social Security are conveniently open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., which meant I had to go to work two hours early today in order to even go.

Despite my tiredness, I was prepared. I had the request form filled out, I had a certified copy of my birth certificate, my SSN card, my driver’s license, and a certified copy of our marriage certificate, which had taken the state of Oregon a darn long time to send. I should note here that I did have the option of sending all of those important documents to a Social Security office with their promise they would return them to me, but I was very uneasy about putting all the documents in the world that proved I’m me in the mail, so I opted to go in person.

When I arrived, I wasn’t surprised to see that the Social Security office looked like it was straight out of the 1970s. Upon my entry, however, I was delighted to see that the 21st century did in fact exist in our government – there was a nifty machine where I had to select my reason for visiting, and then printed a receipt with my wait number. I was hoping the decor of the office (essentially, one concrete room) would be very American, with posters like Uncle Sam pointing directly at me and saying something such as, “I WANT YOU… to get in line!” but unfortunately decorations were mainly limited to two mismatched frames of President Obama and Vice President Biden. I don’t even think there was an American flag in sight.

It did shock me to see a security guard sitting lazily behind a desk that was in front of a large sign that warned people cell phones weren’t permitted (the rule wasn’t enforced whatsoever). Only when talking with my husband upon my return home did I realize of course there should be a security guard with all of those Social Security Numbers in the building. Nevertheless, the guard wasn’t intimidating whatsoever, and didn’t even raise an eyebrow when an elderly man got up to yell at a teller that he’d been waiting longer than someone else who was now being helped. (Nobody but me read the signs that said people would probably be helped out of order depending on why they were at the office, apparently.)

The teller that helped me was rather nice, and I was in and out of the office within thirty minutes. Overall, a very pleasant experience–I’ll give it 3.5 out of 5 stars (I had to detract a bit for the lack of decorations). I should be receiving my new SSN card within two weeks, and then, in Part II, I’ll go to the DMV to get a new driver’s license reflecting my name change and my new address. Only then will I officially be Mrs. Church!

Scenes from a Marriage

12 Nov

Since this blog is intended to discuss my life as a newlywed as my husband and I navigate through the concrete jungle known as LA (see “About”), I thought it time to take a glimpse into a few “scenes,” if you will, of our new domestic life.

I like quotations. In college, when I struggled to begin a paper, I always used some sort of profound quote to begin. It really helped scare away writer’s block.  Sadly, however, in glancing through my handy “The Harper Book of Quotations” all quotes pertaining to marriage were… well, dismal. Or scandalous. Or dismally scandalous.

When I asked my husband if he felt anything had changed in our relationship since tying the knot, he said no, and I agree. With the small exceptions of moving to Los Angeles and finally living together, things are relatively normal. There hasn’t been some gigantic shift of power, and I don’t feel like we nag each other incessantly like is often portrayed in the movies. We’re very even-keel. So I apologize if you clicked over to this blog hoping for some juicy gossip, because in comparison to, say, Ingmar Bergman’s “Scenes from a Marriage,” Craig and I are pretty uneventful. But we like it that way.

Before getting started, I would like to take a moment to thank my very talented husband for graciously making a guest appearance on my blog. He’s provided the drawings for each little “scene” presented in this post. To check out more of his amazing work, visit his website.

Scene I

We Discover Craig is Allergic to His Wedding Ring

Ouch.

A day or so after the wedding, it became apparent that Craig was allergic to his wedding band. In fact, he’s probably allergic to all metals, since wearing a belt can often cause a rash to break out in the area of a belt buckle whenever he wears a belt. While we were aware of this peculiarity, it was not given any consideration when purchasing his wedding ring, which is made of tungsten. Apparently the store we purchased his band from has since gone out of business, leaving us stuck. My dear, sweet husband had the brilliant idea of using clear nail polish to paint a thin layer on the inside part of the ring each time before wearing it, so when we are in public, it is known we are married and thankfully, Craig’s poor fingers don’t suffer.

Scene II

A California King-Sized Bed Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us

Dreaming sweetly.

After 25 years of sleeping alone, it was obviously an adjustment to start sharing a bed with someone, even if the bed is a California king. Now, my natural tendency while sleeping is to, while on my stomach, have my left knee up. My lovely husband had given me notice a few times that my knee was constantly hitting him in the back (which I agree is rather unpleasant). I attempted to adjust my sleeping patterns but my subconscious refused. I told my husband my knee was just trying to cuddle with his back.

It was difficult for me to sleep the first few weeks we were in LA, what with the noisy traffic. One night, my knee was apparently excessively cuddly with my husband’s back, and made it impossible for him to sleep. Rather than disturb his poor, sleep-deprived wife, my champion of a husband simply got a blanket and slept on the floor. I love him!

Scene III

Allow Me to Profess My Love for… Steve

Great. Thanks.

One day my husband and I were driving. In LA, it seems like all you do is drive–while it may be true that I am now closer to a Target than I have ever been before, I still have to jump on four freeways to get there, and of course there’s traffic. I’d rather drive on Silverado to Napa, it takes about the same amount of time!

Anyway, I digress. We were driving, and I was feeling particularly romantic and I told my husband that I loved him very much and that I was so happy to finally be married to him. His response? “I love Steve Martin’s tweets!” (At the time, Steve Martin had just joined Twitter, so it’s somewhat understandable that he would be a topic of conversation; however, not exactly at this particular moment…) I immediately burst out laughing, and now it’s become a big joke. When one of us professes love to the other, often it is clarified that it isn’t as much as we love Steve Martin’s brilliant tweets.*

*My husband would like me to note that he is very oblivious, and wasn’t aware of my words of love while he was reading Steve Martin’s tweets. I can vouch for him; when he’s checking Twitter, a nuclear bomb could go off and I doubt he would notice. Poor timing on my part.

Other Miscellaneous Stories/Topics of Conversation

These are just a few of the notable occurrences in our new married life in LA. Another hilarious event in our domestic life was the second day living in our new house. We had cooked a fabulous pasta dinner and were prepared to chow down after a strenuous afternoon of packing only to discover we didn’t have any silverware, so Craig was forced to run to the grocery store up the street to steal a few plastic forks from their deli.

I should also mention that after many years of hassling, my husband finally convinced me to watch “The Shining” and I did in fact survive, probably because I covered my eyes and plugged my ears at any remotely scary part. As a consequence, I have forced my husband to endure many chick flicks, which I feel is justified punishment.

Other aspects of our LA life that are different in comparison to living in Napa are that we now shop at Albertsons rather than Safeway (excuse me, VONS… stupid) and I can now tolerate eating Del Taco. I know, I know… it’s weird. I am becoming Southern California-ized.

But overall, married life is bliss. 🙂

I Am Not Ashamed to Say I Like the Clippers

1 Nov

Clip Show!

With the recent hullaballoo regarding the Giants winning the World Series, I thought it would be great to finally direct everyone’s attention elsewhere and to a different sport.

Upon moving to LA, I decided I would become a Clipper fan rather than a Laker fan, based on a few key principles:

1. Laker fans are generally ***holes;
2. Kobe Bryant is an idiot; and
3. Nobody likes the Clippers.

I apologize if you, the reader, are a Laker fan. You are probably not an ***hole. I have just found these three principles to generally be true in my experiences. (Mom, I used asterisks. And you know it’s true.)

For my October birthday, my very talented husband drew me as a rabid Clippers fan, which I hope to truly someday evolve into. Be afraid, be very, very afraid.

I recently attended opening night of the Los Angeles Clippers 2010-2011 season. The game was against my husband’s hometown team of the Portland Trailblazers. Normally my husband and I don’t allow ourselves the luxury of attending a professional sporting event, but tickets were a mere four dollars—I believe the convenience charges cost more than the actual ticket. Definitely affordable.

While attending the game, my fanhood was cemented, though the Clippers lost to the Blazers and at the post of this blog are 0-3.

How do I love thee, Los Angeles Clippers? To quote good ol’ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, let me count the ways (in no particular order):

The ClipPercussion. Upon entering the Staples Center, my ears were deafened by a lobby performance by The ClipPercussion, a professional drumming group known for “high-energy, trick-filled, ‘don’t try this at home’-type performances.” Apparently the entertaining act will only be entertaining at 16 games this season, so I count myself lucky to have witnessed their talents both pre-show and at half-time. Who doesn’t love a good drumline?

The Clippers Crowd Crew. A group comprised of energetic guys and gals, The Clippers Crowd Crew is a treat for the fans in the 300 sections of the Staples Center, a.k.a. all the cheapskates (myself and my husband included) who opted for the economical seats in the third tier of the stadium. Yes, the fans’ morale is so low, a sweatsuit-clad cheer team is needed to rally fans together and do the wave! Again I should count myself lucky to have seen their cheering talents, since they will only appear at 25 games this season.

The Clippers originally aren’t from California. Just like me! The Clippers were introduced to the NBA in 1970 as The Buffalo Braves and were located in Buffalo, New York. They resided there until 1978, when they moved to San Diego and became the San Diego Clippers. They only moved to Los Angeles in 1984, the year I was born.

The Clippers have never won a championship. What’s not to love about the underdog?!

In fact, the Clippers have just 7 winning seasons in its entire history. Only two of those are since 1984, when they officially moved to Los Angeles. Their 1986-87 season was particularly bad: they rocked a 12-70 record, which is one of the worst single-season records in NBA history. (source) Again I say, what’s not to love about the underdog?

The Clippers are named after boats. Apparently, when they moved to San Diego, the Clippers changed their name “to represent the boating and the sailing that can be done off the coast of San Diego in the Pacific Ocean.” Who wants to be named after something cool like a wolf, raptor, or hornet when you could be named AFTER A BOAT? (source)

They’re not the Lakers. See above.

Blake Griffin
. This rookie hails from Oklahoma, so he’s an LA outsider, just like me. Unlike me, however, he was born in 1989, which makes me feel very old (see “Happy Birthday to Me”). Blake Griffin was pretty impressive when I saw him play, grabbing 14 rebounds and 20 points, a sweet double-double. He also had 4 assists. He’s the player to watch this season, and I hope he does well.

There are some famous Clippers fans. If you can believe it, some celebrities chose to cheer for the Clippers rather than the Lakers, including: Billy Crystal, Jessica Alba, Frankie Muniz, and filmmaker Penny Marshall. While not as cool as, say, avid Lakers fan Jack Nicholson, they’re still cool nonetheless.

I’ll close with this great quote from an article that appeared in The Los Angeles Times a few years ago:

“Anyone can be a Laker fan, but it takes a true believer to be a Clipper fan.”