Thursday, August 29, 2013

This is August 29th to Me

My brother, Mother and I circa 1980.
Today an insane day at work. Crazy. Nuts. Unlike any I've really experienced before. There was chaos. There was organization. There was drama. And of course, there was media there to capture it all.

However, in the middle of all that, I still had a moment this afternoon when I noted the time, my place in the world and had the one thought that comes over me every year on August 29th:

This is the day that my mother died.

Each year the day seems to sneak up on me more than the last. It isn't marked in red on the calendar and dreaded for weeks as it once was. But it still has some power, this day. After 13 years, it still is enough to make me pause and reflect, even if it's just for a moment in a hectic day or for a blog post at the end of it.

I miss my mom. This is not unique to anyone who has lost their mom. Or any parent, family, friend or loved one who meant a lot to them. I know this.

But I think back to 13 years ago. Not on this day, but on one of the many good days before it that we talked. I don't think either of us had any clue that I would end up in Los Angeles, having the time of my life, with the love of my life. But I know that she'd be happy for me.

And on this day or any day, I know that's enough.

Monday, August 26, 2013

I Felt Bad for the Foam Finger

I didn't watch the VMAs last night. I'm over 30 and was a Backstreet fan, so I figured anything important I would catch on the Internet today or the million times MTV reruns one of the two live shows it does every year.

And so after my feeds freaked the f out over Miley Cyrus, I took a look at her performance first. I have never felt so bad for a prop foam finger in my life. Nor for a big booty or back-up dancers that have to try and "twerk" with an oversized teddy bear strapped to their back.

You can tell that MTV was pissed at Robin Thicke for performing on the Colbert Report when Daft Punk backed out. That's the only reason that I can think that they made him perform with her...and let her "sing" parts of his song.

Oddly enough, I wasn't all that offended by the crotch rubbing and grinding Miley was doing. I was more upset about the horrible costumes, the hair buds coming out of her scalp, her perpetual use of her tongue and why she kept putting the microphone out into the crowd during a portion of the song where there are no words.  But I guess lack of logic and talent offends me more than sex.

Thoughts from my pithy friends?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I'm Crawling Out of my Skin

I'm having a few days here when I am not satisfied with anything and I feel like I want to crawl out of my skin. What would I do with the skinless body that I would be? I have no idea. Maybe walk around Hollywood Blvd and freak some people out. Although I'm not sure people would be all that freaked out by a skinless body walking around Hollywood. They don't seem too disturbed by the fact that a guy wearing a cotton costume plays Iron Man every day. I mean, it's IRON MAN! The Fruit of The Loom shit is unacceptable. At least spring for plastic that looks like it could possibly be metal.

See what I mean? I'm going nuts. I realistically know it's just my hormones or chemicals or whatever are out of whack, but logic plays only a marginal role in my thoughts right now. The Cotton Iron Man is about all the logic I can muster. And before people get all judgey, I'll say that my feminine mystique may have me thrown right now, but dudes have moody periods too. They just aren't able to know when they're coming as well.

I digress. Skin. Crawling. I am thankful that I have a plethora of things to do at work this week because then my jumping from one project to the next doesn't seem so schizophrenic. It seems necessary. And it is. But it's also helping me harness this bout of ADHD into something useful and productive. So there's that.

I hope tomorrow will be a more focused day. Because I've got a 4-hour client meeting and a charity concert to go to. So even if I'm not more focused, I'm gonna have to pretend.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Should I have a Pen name?

Chef says that even by writing this, I'm setting myself up to never be able to be anonymous in my writing and he's probably right, but I still can't but wonder: Should I have a pen name?

I'm thinking of this for a couple of reasons:

  1. I could start over...kind of. If I were to use a pen name, I could develop social media outlets, a blog, and a persona that is 100 percent just for my personal writing. Since I've learned so much since starting all this a while ago, I feel like I could grow it.
  2. Let's face it: having an audience is a plus for marketing a book. If I ever get to the point where I can get an agent, having an audience built in is a great way to be all that much more appealing to a publisher. I should know. I used to work for a publisher. 
  3. I can stop censoring myself. You might not believe that I censor myself, but it's true. One of the things that make me fairly good at my PR job is that I know how to tailor my communications to my audience. This skill that serves me so well during the day time is a HUGE problem when I'm writing. I need to shake off the images of my family and friends who might be reading my stuff and just write what I want to. When I look back on my old blog posts, when I was young and dumb and didn't care about my professional persona, I see how fearless I used to be when just laying it out there. Not so much any more.
  4. I could have one place where I could completely be myself...by using another name. The irony (and ACTUAL irony--not just Alanis Morrisette kind of irony) of having to use a pseudonym to completely be myself is not lost on me. It just shows me even more clearly what I've always known. There is a work me. There is a writer me. There is an at-home me. Two of the three can be together in the same room, but never all three at the same time. 
I may never make it as a writer, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to stop trying. What do you think? AM I crazy?


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Let's Play a Game: "Which of these DIDN'T Happen?"

Not the chamber from this particular city
council meeting, but they all mostly look alike.
Sometimes my job takes me to great places. Sometimes it takes me to city council meetings. If you've never been to a city council meeting, I suggest you go. It will make you extra sure that you vote for city council the next time an election rolls around.

If you really want to be entertained, go to a city council meeting in a small town. To say they are a little less formal is an understatement. They are simultaneously enthralling, wince-inducing, boring, and will leave you going "what the hell just happened here?".

As an example, you can play my game called "Which of these didn't happen at a recent city council meeting that Ashley attended?". Ready to try? Here goes:

  • There was a reference to the mayor's recent perjury indictment.
  • A man whose dog was shot by a police officer and it was put on YouTube spoke about getting the police officer fired
  • Aforementioned man spoke on the day he was arraigned on six charges related to the incident that had him in handcuffs and caused his dog to charge the aforementioned police officer
  • Animal rights groups brought a petition with 100,000 signatures on it demanding the firing of the aforementioned police officer
  • A small urn of dog's ashes were set on the lectern while someone who did not own the dog spoke
  • An executive with the airport authority spoke about his encounter with a councilwoman who threatened him with harassment charges
  • Aforementioned councilwoman and airport executive got into a heated exchange during the middle of public comment portion of the meeting
  • The mayor stopped the meeting to have the group sing happy birthday to a 95 year old resident who regaled the crowd with details of her family's trip to San Diego as their celebration of her birthday
  • Aforementioned 95 year old resident was at the microphone to complain that children ride their bikes too quickly through her driveway and she is afraid she will hit them with her car without some police intervention. 
  • Horrible grammatical errors on protest signs including the spelling of vagrants as "vegrants."
  • A candidate for mayor announcing his candidacy during his time at the podium for public commentary. 
Did you guess? If you said they ALL happened, you'd be correct. And those weren't even the issues why I was attending. CRAZY!!! Cheaper than a movie with all of the drama.

Although there was no smoking in the city council meeting I went to. Not so much of an issue in Vicco, Ky. Check this out:




The Colbert Report
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Friday, August 09, 2013

Wine + Good Food + Work friends= Good Summer Outing

Last year's summer outing was a raucous affair with not so hidden flasks and a tour of Hollywood. This year was much more subtle, but still had some good alcohol.

For our work's summer outing, we headed to Malibu Wines, this vineyard tucked in the Malibu Hills that let's you taste beautiful wines and then hang out in their cool vineyard. We brought some delicious food from Food Lab and played games and just had a wonderful time.

Don't you wish your summer outing was like this? :)

The Porter Novelli SoCal team (why do I always work some place with only one dude?)

I'm not sure if that was real wine in the fountain, but it was really wine colored and almost stained my shirt.
That's what I get for trying to be funny. 

Dead soldiers from our afternoon. They served us well. 

This is the artwork that greets people as they come in. I need this at home. 

My friend Meredith using the macro setting on her phone to get up close and personal with some grapes. 

The view from the tasting area

Our little neck of the vineyard. The estate has zebras, llamas, camels and all kinds of crazy stuff. 

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Because I love to watch Matt Damon in Anything. . .

In honor of the new Matt Damon movie, Elysium, coming out this week, please enjoy this video of him dancing with Stephen Colbert to "Get Lucky." Oh and there are a bunch of other people too. But there's 8 whole seconds of Matt Damon, so it's totally worth the 5 minutes.



The Colbert Report
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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

So I Almost Got into a Fight Over 12 Cents

My injury
Last weekend I was doing my weekly grocery shopping and had an incident that had my adrenaline going hardcore. I pulled into the checkout right behind a woman who left her cart with a few items still in it blocking me. She saw me looking at her and said "I might not get those items. I'm on a budget."

I told her that I understood, but could she please move her cart forward so that I could unload my items. She gave me a look but then obliged my request. She told the cashier that she only had $13. The bill, even with the items she put aside, was $15.15. She pulled an item out and it came out to $13.88. I knew that this was going to be one of those awkward situations so I stayed back as to not get up in the woman's mix. She proceeded to put the bill on one credit card and two gift cards. She was still 88 cents short, so she fished a dollar out and paid for the rest of her bill. She packed up and moved on.

She had left and my items were being rung up. I was almost complete when she charged back in.

"Where's my change?" she demanded to the cashier. The cashier explained that she believed the woman took her change from the automatic change dispenser. The lady was adamant that she hadn't. That's when things shifted to me.

"Did you take my change?" she said to me.

I said no, I hadn't. However, she did not seem to believe. At this point, she kept saying that I took her change and then insisted that if I took her money, she would take mine. Then she reached for my hand that was clutching my debit card as I was getting ready to pay. It happened quickly and I was able to push her back. That's when security intervened.

The long of the short of it is was that the woman HAD taken her change and it was in her purse. But I had to put up with her all because of 12 cents.

Plus I suffered a broken nail. Even grocery shopping can be entertaining!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

My Conversation With a Porn Star

I meet all kinds of people in
our apartment fitness center.
Here's how I know that I live in LA: I had a conversation with a porn star this morning without leaving my apartment complex. 

I was in the complex gym getting my cardio on when I noticed a short, thin very blonde woman in full make-up and false eyelashes working out. I recognized her instantly as our resident porn star. Before I get accused of making assumptions about someone based on how they look, I will back this statement up with proof beyond her looks that she works in the industry. 

Two years ago, Chef was outside on our patio very early one Sunday morning and spotted a man getting out of a Honda Accord, going to the back and peeing on the side of the road. This man was none other than the Hedgehog himself, Ron Jeremy. Ron then proceeded to greet the small blonde woman mentioned above as she exited the apartment complex with the following:

"Are you ready to ______ some ______ today?" 

I'm not really a shy person, but honestly, I think the blanks are better. You can put so many different words in there and come up with something that's probably similar to what was said. Actually, you can probably put two very innocuous words in there and it still sounds dirty. For instance "Are you ready to hug some koalas today?". Just sayin'.

Anyway, she started a conversation with me and I immediately noticed her either Russian or some other Slavic country accent. She was sporting green velour pants with a matching hoodie and a hot pink t-shirt. All of which were adorned with rhinestones spelling out various things that I didn't have time to read. She asked me if I worked out so early every day, and I said that I was actually running about 30 minutes later today than usual. 

"It's just crazy to work out this early. I mean, don't you get tired by the afternoon?"

I said that I didn't because I went immediately to work so I had to do it then. It was 7 a.m. Early, sure, but not absurdly so. 

We then chatted about the poor cell phone reception of the complex and the spotty function of the TVs in the fitness center. She was nice and I have a feeling she didn't talk to women a ton. She just gave off the impression that she was thankful for even a seemingly uneventful conversation. 

I have to say that between here, the bad ass disabled lady, the very odd screenwriter and the creepy roadie for several bands, I have met the oddest assortment of people in our complex's weight room. And I kinda like that. 

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