I Like The Cold

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People always look at me like I’m a complete moron when I tell them that I like the cold. As in cold outside, you know: snow, sleet, wind chill.

I get jealous when I see that there are blizzards going on somewhere in the world.

I live in California. Particularly, Southern California. We have one dial on the weather-o-meter and that’s about it: 70s and sunny. Sometimes we get fog. Occasionally it rains for a few days. Once in a while the winds blow and it hits 90; or the ocean blows in some high 60s.

High 60s. Anything below that and the city in which we live shuts down.

By contrast, I grew up in Chicago. Those of you that have been hanging around the blog for a while know how much I love the city and its suburbs. In the winter, and sometimes in the fall and spring, it is exceedingly cold in Chicago. Like cold-cold.

And I love it.

I guess maybe you don’t realize what it’s like to live in a place that has virtually no weather variation at all until you have. I’ve lived in Southern California now for almost 14 years and I can say without a doubt that it is beyond boring, mainly because of the weather. Yeah, it’s nice to not have to worry about things like closed-toed shoes or scarves and hats. Sure you have the ocean with the EPA’s estimation that thousands of people take a dump in that water every day while out surfing or swimming (related note: I do not ever go in the Pacific Ocean). Okay, you have the beaches you can go to any time of the year ….unless, of course, they’re closed because of all the hypodermic needles sticking out of the sand.

But there is no changing of the leaves really, especially not as dramatically as in the Midwest. You never have the excitement of jumping in a pile of freshly raked leaves; or by contrast the thrill of knowing that spring is just around the corner.

There will never be a first snow of the year for Southern Californians.

No, there will be first snow in the mountains that people will get in their cars and drive to, only after the snowing has already happened. And only for a little while before getting back in their cars and driving home to the 70s and sunny before nightfall.

You cannot get much more monotonous than that.

What I’m saying is that there are no changes of the seasons, which means there is none of the living that comes along with it. I equate living with having these experiences that are unique and exciting and different. Not monotony. Shoveling. Snow balls. Raking leaves. Seeing fresh flowers bloom. Feeling snow in your hair. Ice skating. Sledding in your back yard. Bundling up in a hat, scarf, and gloves for a football game. Hot chocolate when it isn’t actually hot out.

In 70s and sunny every day, there is not much room for exciting and different experiences when it comes to the weather. I find this ironic because in California we pride ourselves on organic-living, which should extend well beyond just the foods we eat into the way we live. And yet there is nothing organic at all about making fake snow at Disneyland or having to drive four hours in traffic to see orange, brown, and red leaves.

I don’t know, maybe it’s all in my head. I must be biased because I love Chicago and dislike California. I’m sure there is an entire conglomerate of blog followers, family, friends, and people that just like to hate me waiting to tell me how I am making no sense. I have rocks in my brains for liking cold weather, or I’ve just forgotten what a foot of snow feels like.

The bottom line, though, is that I’m home again, in suburban Chicago for the holiday. And I felt more alive as I stood in the snow yesterday afternoon than at any point in the last 14 years that I’ve lived in Southern California. I was cold. My fingers felt numb. But I could feel it, and I knew I was there because of it. There was nothing monotonous about it at all, and that is living.

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7 Ways I Know I’m Married To A Californian

My husband was born and raised in California. I know, puke. He went to college in California. He works in California’s biggest industry. Except for a couple of family vacations and bro-rific Vegas trips (double puke), he’s hardly been anywhere else.

On a daily basis, I am reminded just how much of a Californian he is. From his superior sense of self, all the way down to the way he talks. So at the risk of eliciting anonymous comments from his family and friends about how my husband needs to ditch me because I clearly don’t love him (which couldn’t be any further from the truth), allow me to share with you the seven most damning ways I know this…

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1. My Husband Is Too Cool For Everything

Cute family photos while we’re out to eat? They deserve a smirk. Expressing condolences to a loved one that recently got divorced or experienced a death in the family? Pft, I don’t want to deal with that shit. You need me to help out around the house by watering the plants? Err, umm… I guess I can, but you know I’ve got a lot on my plate, what with the last season of Breaking Bad being added to Netflix and apps to update on my smartphone. There’s a new Oxygen Bar in town, did you hear? Oxygen bar? Oh… I was going to Oxygen Bars way before they were cool. You don’t even know…

On all sides of life, my husband, as well as many of the other California natives I know, carries himself with a sense of superiority, a sense of trying way too hard to be cool. It’s why we are known for our tofu-grilling hipsters, and our milk and cereal bars down in Venice.

You just wouldn’t understand.

2. My Husband Uses The Word “Like” At Least Five Times a Sentence

That’s an understatement. Sometimes I can’t even understand what my husband is talking about because he uses the term “like” so frequently.

I used to think it was that he was nervous, or awkward. Or that he just didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about, so instead decided to riddle his sentences with nonsensical words so that no one caught on. (God knows I ramble when I’m wielding bullshit.)

Then I realized it happens more frequently when he’s been at the office and a lot of people have been there. Because they, like many in the film industry, are native Californians who love their Valley Girl Speak.

Like, oh my God, whatever…

3. My Husband Wears a Sweater and Flip Flops When It’s Cold Out

There are two ways that Californians dress in the winter: warm clothes with flip flops, or skank shorts with Uggs.

My husband wears flip flops frequently when it’s cold out. Then when it’s about 110 degrees, he’ll wear some heavy socks with tennis shoes and shorts. It’s quite the dress code he’s got going on, much like the rest of this state of weirdos that cannot tolerate anything less than 40 degrees.

Unless, of course, they are going to the mountains to ski in the artificial snow. Then they are truly embracing the cold. Because Californians are hardcore like that.

4. My Husband Thinks His Shit Don’t Stink

Have you ever heard the saying “oh, he thinks his shit don’t stink”? It’s poor English, to say the least, but it applies to Californians everywhere. Though different than the saying (which means he thinks he can do no wrong), I mean it literally. My husband literally thinks his shit don’t stink.

What I mean to say is that they (Californians) are unapologetic about their bowel movements. The most popular book in every Urban Outfitters around here is “What Does Your Poop Say About You.” My husband, as with many people I know from this area, may as well drop his drawers and take a shit right in front of me, continuing on about his business as though it’s standard protocol – that is how unrelentingly unapologetic he is about his ass and everything that comes out of it.

But everyone does it! It’s natural! Sure, that’s great. Everyone picks their nose too, but that doesn’t mean they do it in front of others and write books about what the colors, shapes, and sizes of their boogers mean about them.

5. My Husband Has Little To No Knowledge Of Mike Ditka

If you are from anywhere but the Los Angeles area or the planet Mars, you understand the importance of professional football and Mike Ditka.

I’m pretty sure my husband knows of Mike Ditka, but he certainly doesn’t understand the seriousness and infallibility – the essence, if you will – of Ditka the former Bears coach.

When we were watching Silverlining Playbook, my husband had his first encounter with tailgating outside of an NFL football game. I use the term “encounter” very loosely (I mean it was just on the television screen, and we were sitting in the living room), but I think the word is appropriate because of the shock and horror on my husband’s face as he saw how intense football as a sport can be to fans.

That’s what happens when you went to a school without a football team, and live in a city where the closest thing to football is that the Cowboys practice for two weeks in the field outside the local Residence Inn every summer. Big whoop to that noise.

6. His Job Is In ‘The Industry’ and His Entire Life Revolves Around It

Does anyone outside of California even know what ‘The Industry’ is? I mean there are a lot of industries that do a lot more important shit than the one Californians refer to it as – medical industry, government industry, computer industry…

In California, it’s movies.

Out here, it is not uncommon to know someone that works in The Industry. Sometimes that means that the person waits tables at the local Denny’s by day, and tries out for bit extra parts on weekends. In the case of my husband, it’s actually working for a company that does film-type stuff.

And as with the majority of film industry people, or even just generally Californians engrained in the work-is-life culture, the job eats up my husband’s entire life. If things are slow at work, my husband is slow at home. If things are busy at work, it’s an excuse to shirk off other responsibilities. At parties, we talk about his job. In bed, we answer calls at all hours.

7. My Husband Likes His Hint Of Asiago Cheese

When I was growing up in the Midwest, if people had a party they threw some hot dogs on the grill, some potato chips in a bowl, some mostacholli in the oven, and then called it good. And it was good – nothing needed to be special. Nothing needed a side of cream sauce or a hint of asiago cheese. Shit didn’t need to be smothered in whatever the hipster flavor of the month was. And no one put out little placards that gave the entire description of what was in the food.

A few weeks ago we were out to eat and got ready to order our food. When it came to my husband’s turn, he ordered “the roasted peach and braised quinoa salad with tofu dill mustard dressing … yes, I’ll have a hint of asiago.” I couldn’t even control myself and said (probably louder than I should have): “are you fucking kidding me?” Order a goddamned garden salad with ranch and move on with your life!

The waitress looked at me from behind her attitude glasses, snubbed her head in the air and asked through her nose if that was all. Then she sauntered off to turn in our order and stand by the bar, texting on her iPhone in her Cheap Trick t-shirt (as if she even knows who Cheap Trick is).

Some of these are vaguely reminiscent of knowing I’m married to a man (especially the stuff about the bowels); but in California, it’s so much harsher. It’s more noticeable. Are you married to a Californian? Maybe you’re married to a Californian and you aren’t even there…

Good News! The Porn Industry Is Coming To My Town!!

So we ran a couple of errands tonight. Those errands included: dropping a frozen turkey off at my dad’s house for Easter Sunday, getting the guinea pig birthday presents for his first birthday (coming up this Monday), and to CVS to get dish soap.

I know. Big night for the B(itch) family.

As I was pulling out of the CVS parking lot, my kid started screaming in the back seat. “Naked!!! AHHHH!” she screamed, and I slammed on my brakes – not really knowing what the hell was going on, and thinking there might be some emergency. Or maybe Ryan Reynolds was visiting our community, and walking around topless. A girl can dream, right?

To my dismay, I saw what she was referring to. Outside this breakfast cafe (which was closed at the time, it being around 7:30 in the evening), there was a grown man getting dressed. He was naked, except his tighty-whiteys. In a public parking lot.

Indeed.

Things are starting to get a little weird around this place. There’s more of that kind of stuff out in public. That whole Korean Hooker Hostage situation went down at my nail salon last year. Kids are doing drugs in our apartment parking lot. And that guy with blue hair last week said I was hot at the Souplantation. So I guess after seeing the guy getting dressed in the public parking lot, it seemed only natural for me to come home to learn that the porn industry is vying to move into the community.

Apparently some months ago the city of Los Angeles passed a law requiring porn stars to wear rubbers when they’re filming their dirty BBW, SBW, MOM, MILF movies. Since then the “industry” (if you can call it that) has been seeking out a new, local hub of operation to take its sales and property taxes. But city after city is creating this “cover your manhood” law, so my town is next in line as the potential successor to the throne of Ron Jeremy.

The weird thing about this is that the small community in which we live is just about the exact antithesis of what you’d think as the new “porn capital of the world.” Probably 90% of our residents are over the age of 90. The other 10% are inbred hillbillies lacking much education. This means that if the local yocals try to get in on all the money-making that is to be had in the porn capital of the world, there will be a lot of senior citizens and rednecks trying to market their homemade movies on the street corners. Just great. Cletis Goes Wild At the BINGO Hall.

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STFU Fridays, with our special guest: STFU Socrates

This morning I woke up and looked on Facebook, wasting time while trying to figure out (like usual) how exactly to get through the day. Much to my happiness, the “I fucking love science” page shared a quote that could not be anymore relevant and important, both to my day and us as a society:

This was Socrates’ mantra, and why he was called the wisest man on the Earth. He wasn’t wise because he was a great philosopher. Nor because he knew how to get into the pants of just about everyone in Ancient Athens, despite his garish appearance. He was the wisest man on Earth because when he was told this, he couldn’t believe it. Quite frankly, he told the Oracle at Delphi to shut the fuck up. (I always like to imagine Socrates saying “shut the fuck up, bitch – I ain’t no wise man!” with one of those ghetto, Jerry Springer snaps of the hand.) After that, he went out on a search to prove that he wasn’t the wisest by questioning everything he and others thought they knew (and in doing so, proved the Oracle’s statement absolutely correct).

What happened to Socrates you ask? He was put to death by those dumb motherfuckers who thought they knew everything for trying to prove that he, himself, did not know shit. Talk about ironic. This is the theme for our STFU Fridays, and I have three groups of people that deserve a resounding “shut the fuck up.”

STFU Socrates is joining us.

Hipsters

This weekend in Los Angeles, we’re having the second edition of Carmageddon. If you were around the news or LA last year, you know what this meant. A section of the 405 freeway was shut down, and despite the fact that there are a bagillion other routes people normally take anyway, as well as the fact that it was a goddamned weekend and wasn’t going to be a big deal, the city acted like it was the end of the fucking world. End. Of. The Fucking. World.

Hipsters everywhere came out of the woodwork, celebrating local and bike riding tandem. Yuppies organized a 405 shutdown tandem bike ride. I shit you not, everyone talked on the news about how great this was to re-embrace LA. It was a foodie’s wildest fantasy: what a great opportunity to stay put and eat locally grown organic produce!

Yay local! Yay tofu! Yay Pitchfork!

I’m not sure how shutting down a stretch of the freeway turned into the biggest convention of ugly pants-wearing hipsters ever, but it did. Coachella didn’t even compare. So earlier this month when I saw on the freeway the dreaded sign that Carmageddon 2 was upon us, I immediately prepared myself for more self-aggrandizing, pompous assholes to make their way into the limelight in their lime-colored sunglasses and wearing stretched out, oversized tank tops.

With their cool sense of irony and $99 “vintage” American Apparel hoodies, hipsters annoy me in such a way that I can’t even really describe accurately. It isn’t their ugly taste in clothing. It isn’t their lack of understanding of the term irony. It isn’t even their shitty taste in bubble-gum pop, pseudo-dance music played by morons with 12 inch ear gauges and barely more than a junior high education.

It’s their fucking arrogance.

Hipsters think they know everything. About everything. They have an understanding of music that you just don’t get. They have a taste in fashion that you would never understand. Your deep thoughts are mere blips on the stream of consciousness that is their deep, emotional, and ironic thinking.

I think if Socrates were alive today, he wouldn’t waste his time questioning hipsters. He’d just beat the shit out of  their neon orange skinny pants, bike riding through Carmageddon asses.

What do you have to say to the hipsters, Socrates?

Hypocrites

Hipsters are kind of hypocrites because they embrace cheap and vintage and local, and yet pay a big price in places that manufacture goods in Guadalajara for 5 cents an hour wages. But not all hypocrites are hipsters, so this is a different group. A different STFU.

A hypocrite is someone that quite literally says one thing and does another. A great example of hypocrites are people that go to church and preach fire and brimstone, then go home and drink a case of beer while beating their wives. Another great example of hypocrites are people that say they want a relationship with an honest person, but when the person is honest they call the person an asshole.

A hypocrite is someone that wants women to have equal rights and be treated with respect; yet, at the same time tells her she has to clear things with him first, or have no control over her own things.

I feel like I am surrounded by hypocrites in my daily life. From my misogynistic husband that, indeed, got just as upset about my mentioning how much of a pig he is in my grocery blog as I thought he would; to my trailer trash mom, who complains when I don’t go to family parties but then dumps on every time I offer to host them at our home.

What infuriates me so much about hypocrites, though, isn’t just their hypocrisy; but really their arrogance paralleled to the arrogance of the hipster. The hypocrite knows better than you – that’s why he can be a hypocrite. The hypocrite just has a much better understanding of life and whatever he’s doing that makes him so hypocritical; and you are just too stupid to realize that it isn’t hypocrisy, but the right thing.

What do you have to say to hypocrites, Socrates?

Foodies

I’m really starting to dislike foodies. I don’t mean people that like to eat. I also don’t mean people that like to eat new things.

I mean these motherliving assholes that know more than everyone about food. EpicureansFood connoisseurs. Foodie fucks.

I talked a little bit about this in my Food Nazis STFU, but now I want to touch on these foodie assholes that think their feta don’t stink just as much as the next guy.

I’m talking about the foodie that won’t shut the hell up about the tannins in the wine. The foodie that sticks her large, fucking schnoz into the wine glass to smell the flavor and aroma, as if she really knows what the fuck she’s sniffing for. I’m talking about the foodie that sits there and comments on all the distinct spices that he can taste in a dish. I’m talking about the person that says “ha ha ha … oh, that’s precious and homey!” when you bring over a regular square cake with normal fucking frosting, instead of some berry-infused, fondant-covered plate of shit.

Again, just like hipsters; just like hypocrites – foodies think they fucking know everything. I was on a date once where I brought wine because the guy was cooking pasta. I brought white; a white that World Market said would go well with any pasta or other Italian dishes. I walked in and that motherfucker told me that it “technically” wasn’t the appropriate wine for pasta. I told that arrogant prick he should “technically” call World Market and tell them to change their pairing cards.

The Ancient Greeks were all about eating and drinking. Have any of you ever read Symposium? Those motherfuckers drank wine out of jugs. Jugs! They lived well into old age (for the most part) too, and they weren’t all as fucking arrogant as people are now. I cannot for the life of me imagine a bunch of guys standing around in the Agora sticking their noses into their dirty wine jugs and talking about tannins and shit.

So with that, I think STFU Socrates is the best person for the job on this week’s final STFU. What do you have to say to foodies, just like you did to the hipsters and the hypocrites, Socrates?

Dodger Fan Douchecan

I am from Chicago. I am not from Los Angeles. There is no way in hell I am going to be a Los Angeles fan.

That means I do not like the Dodgers. I do not like the Angels either. Further, I cannot stand the Lakers (especially Kobe). The Kings are somewhat innocuous to me, but that’s because I just don’t care much about hockey. Lastly, I think it is absolutely pitiful that a major metropolitan does not have a football team. I also hate the Raiders and the Saints, though – which are apparently the default teams for citizens of southern California.

All that being said, I do not begrudge others for being fans of whatever team they hold allegiance to. When in Chicago, I do not begrudge people that are fans of the opposing teams, or rather that happen to live there but be fans of other areas for whatever the reason may be. My husband grew up in the suburbs of LA, so he is obviously an avid Lakers and Dodgers fan – we even have what he coins a “Dodger wall.” I could care less about the wall or the fanship, but I will not change my team allegiance just because I got married. And I wouldn’t expect him to either.

I know that fans can be ugly in other areas of the country, but I have never seen fans act so nasty and vicious as they do here in Los Angeles. At the first Dodger game I went to, a young woman walked across to her seat in a Giants t-shirt and there was so much food thrown at her that she couldn’t get in her seat without swiping it all on the ground. Another time we went to a game, the Cubs fans sitting in front of us had beer poured on them by Dodger fans in the deck above. Some of the most violent things have happened outside of Dodgers stadium after games as well: people have been stabbed, beat up, shot, and one person has even been killed. Lakers fans are just as bad – who riot if the Lakers lose or win.

So I was running errands today and standing in line at Target when this total douchecan wearing a Dodger hat cut in line in front of me to ask for a price check on a Brita water filter. The price on the screen came up differently than the price he had seen online, though, so we all had to stand there for about fifteen minutes while they argued over this price check. I was pretty annoyed. It wasn’t until about five minutes into the waiting that I realized I knew the guy – he is the husband of an ex-boyfriend’s friend. It’s been years since I was dating the guy (about a decade) so I was surprised I recognized him, but then again how could I forget him? We went on a “double date” one time to a baseball game at one of the local colleges.

I remember it well. He wore a Dodger hat then as well, I a White Sox hat. While it may or may not have been the same hat he was wearing today, he acted like just as much of a self-important dick then as today at Target. We were at a community college game and the guy kept screaming as if he owned the team and had a vested interest in them winning. At one point I remember someone behind us telling him to quiet down; to be honest I was surprised his screaming didn’t get us kicked out. At the end of the game, he capped off his little tirade with “the Dodgers never would play like this – what a sorry bunch of losers these guys are. They’re playing like the White Sox.” We all laughed, awkwardly and he looked at my hat and said “I’m fucking serious.” I remember thinking to myself just who in the fuck goes to a community college baseball game, on a double date no less, and acts like this? A Dodger Fan Douchecan, that’s who.

Ironically, I am going to a game tomorrow at Angel’s Stadium. The White Sox are coming to town and so (of course) we pulled out all of our team gear and are heading down for some beers and baseballs. We needed to find another White Sox shirt to take with, though, since most of what we have is cold-weather clothing and it’s going to be pretty warm tomorrow. So after my encounter with the Dodger Fan Douchecan, I went out searching for a team shirt … only to be confronted with even more Dodger Fan Douchecans in my community.

I went to every sporting goods store in the county: Sports Chalet, Sports Authority, Team Gear in the mall. Team Gear had the closest thing I could find to a non-California team shirt, but they were jerseys for the Heat and the Yankees. They had one Derrick Rose shirt marked down also, but someone was buying it while I was there. At Sports Chalet, I walked in and asked where the team shirts were. I was clearly speaking to another Dodger Fan Douchecan, though.

Me

Hi! Where’abouts in the store do you keep the team shirts?

Dodger Fan Douchecan

The wha?

Me

The team shirts … you know, like the sports teams.

Dodger Fan Douchecan

Oh … what team ‘choo lookin’ for? The Dodgers?

Me

No. I was looking for the White Sox.

Dodger Fan Douchecan

The who?

Me

The Chicago White Sox

Dodger Fan Douchecan

Aw, no man. Only Doyers an’ Angels represented up in here.

Me

Hmm. Okay, well thanks.

Dodger Fan Douchecan to his coworker as I walked out

Man, the nerve. E’rbody know only Angels and Dodger fans allowed up in here. Pssh.

Indeed.

After hitting up the remainder of the stores in the area and getting the same, exact response from all of them, I see now that he’s right. Only Dodgers and Angels fans are allowed up in here.

I suppose in some sense I get it: if the population is primarily made up of a particular fan base, they’d only be losing money to carry merchandise that no one would buy. That really isn’t the point, though. The point is that my experience with Dodger Fan Douchecans is such that I get the impression these people think the Dodgers are where its at in all walks of life. I’m not saying that the Dodgers make people douchecans like this – assholes that will dump beer on someone sitting in front of them, stab a non-fan in the parking lot, and act like a totally self-centered prick in general life. Those people are just assholes, irrespective of the team. But this happens a lot with Lakers fans too, and I presume Angels fans. So is it that these teams attract douchecans?

I’ve only been to Angels stadium once, actually, so it will be interesting to see if they are just as arrogant and pompous as the rest of these people. Given their record this year, I’d hope they know better.