Thursday, July 31, 2008

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Not me.

At least this is what I told my friend the casting agent today when she called me to be a contestant on her new game show. "I'm replacing another casting agent last minute. She cast out of work actors who can't understand the rules of the game!" She cried.

How dumb do you have to be not to understand the mechanics of a game show?

At any rate, I had to tell her no because I'm too busy working on my Good For The Planet Army Project. But I did forward her email to a bunch of out of work video game designers I know. I hoping one of them wins the $1,000,000 jackpot and then at least buys me a nice pair of shoes.

Okay, wishing for a commission isn't part of the niceness project. I take back the shoe comment.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Follow up on Boy Wonder's Script

Today I received this email from my literary manager friend about my intrepid assistant's script:

This is fucking hilariously awesome. Really funny ...story's a little all
over the place but I have some ideas ...would love to sit down with him
...let me know when

I immediately connected the manager to Boy Wonder via email.

Perhaps this story will have a happy ending.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Love Thy Neighbors

I am so lucky to have neighbors who I can also call my friends. Today I was a food stylist for a tv show. I baked a bunch of edible props for the actors to eat as part of a sight gag. Since I didn't want to spend all day slaving over a hot stove (the job still took 11 hours--ugh) in the dead heat of summer, I borrowed a glass baking dish from my awesome neighbor Lizbeth so I could make two sets of brownies at a time. "Can I have a brownie in trade?" asked Lizbeth. "That's a given," I answered.

Since I'm being a complete tightwad because I'm broke, I decided to use the chocolate chips I had in my house already to make the brownies instead of spending the petty cash I was given to buy unsweetened baking chocolate. I found a recipe on the internet that had splended reviews that used chocolate chips. "Ooey, gooey, chewy!" the reviewers raved.

I baked the brownies. They were ooey, gooey, and chewey as advertised. The top also shattered and flaked off when I tried to remove the brownies from the pan. The recipe is delicious, but not tv ready. I trudged over to the market, bought some baking chocolate, and added another hour of baking to my day by remaking the brownies with the standard baking chocolate recipe.

I don't have time to do it right, but I have time to do it over. Sigh.

At any rate, I returned Lizbeth's baking dish with a full slab of unphotogenic brownies included. She couldn't believe it. She kept saying how nice it was to bring her an entire batch of brownies.

Can I count this as being intentionally nice if I also brought her peanut butter cookies?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Not Working At Hollywood But At Least My House Is Clean

Today I drove my psychic friend to a meeting she had to attend. As a native New Yorker, she's never learned how to drive, even though she's lived in LA for 20 years. She calls me from time to time to ask me if I can drive her to various events, like the county fair, that she can't get to via the city bus. The drive was a long one, and I went through a half tank of gas getting her to the meeting and back to her apartment.

But the commute was really fun and weirdly productive. We agreed that we'd sign up for cheesemaking class together, that she'd show me how to can preserves in exchange for giving her figs from my tree, and she bought two frying pans from me that were cluttering up my kitchen.

When I got back home I was hard pressed to decide who had done whom the real favor.


July 13, 2008

Today Rose called me to tell me that she has to reschedule her dog's charity garage sale. She's going out of town for her anniversary. This change of plans was not surprising to me. Most of my friends are that special evil blend of busy and flakey. You can't really ever get super mad at them for their lack of follow through because they are soooo busy. But this news forced me to make a decision:

Will I be nice and agree to help her on the new date or will I tell her that I am too busy? (And really, I am too busy).

I made the decision to not be that nice. I told her I couldn't promise to help her on the day of the garage sale...whenever that may be. The soonest it will be is August--when it's 100 degrees outside.

But I still feel bad for her dog. I will continue to donate stuff for her to sell at the garage sale.


Bastille Day, 2008

Today I wrote several long posts to The Compact list about my insanity. I've written about my OCD nuttiness before, so it's not like that's anything new, or a secret revealed. It began with me announcing my plan on downsizing my belongings by 90% by the end of the year (as compared to what they were a this time last year). People of course wanted to know how I planned on doing this and if it was a painful process. I explained my Get Rid of 10 Things a Day resolution of 2001 and how that has kept the tide of clutter at bay. I also talked about how weird and liberating getting rid of my stuff has been so far, even the stuff I was forced to sell to pay my mortgage. I just don't miss it. My second post was to a fellow compactor who is struggling to get her hoarding tendencies under control, about all the stupid things I do to keep my house from becoming Crazytown. The response to my posting has been huge. A group of compactors have started their own Get Rid of 10 Things a Day habit and I've gotten phone calls and emails thanking me for my concise and simple advice! Tweakers unite! Although I'm not sure that being the expert on being obsessive compulsive is necessarily a good thing...


July 15, 2008

I had like the nastiest fun fur style yarn in "rainbow sherbert" and a bunch of partial skeins of pink and magenta "fashion" yarns that I'd gotten for free at a swap party taking up precious real estate in my crafty crap bureau (formerly the much larger crafty crap closet). I hated the yarn. It was so cheesey. But being Miss O'frugal McHoarder Knittypants, naturally I couldn't just get rid of it. What! Get rid of yarn? Ever? Never!

So to make a long story short, I just finished knitting the cheesey yarn bits into a stripey hat for Foxyniece's birthday present while at a friend's BBQ. Everyone told me that the hat is super cute without any prompting. Which is good. Because even though I think it knit up pretty well, it's like My Pretty Pony barf...or something. Luckily, Foxyniece is turning 5 next week and is the girliest girl ever. So it's that perfect, horrible little girl combination of fluffy, pastels, and sparkles. She will love it since her clothes are just one scary step away from beauty pageant apparel.

I used up ALL the cheesey yarn. And by all I mean I had to walk a mile (trying to drive less) to my nearest knitting friend to get some of her leftover hot pink yarn to finish the hat. No buying new! Downsizing! No waste! A custom-made birthday gift!

I may be failing at Hollywood this week, but I'm kicking butt on emptying my house. I wonder which of those two activities will actually generate more money for me by the year's end?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ahoy Matey!

Mr. Foxypants is obsessed with having a home orchard. In the past month he's brought home an avocado, a nectarine, an apricot, an orange and a lime tree. Did I mention that we already have a lemon, a lime, an avocodo, a fig, a loquat and an apricot tree already? Every morning he goes out and inspects the little trees, remarking, yet again, how many limes the little lime tree already has on it or how big the nectarines are getting on that tiny slip of a sapling. At least I won't have to worry about getting scurvy. (Which is an illness I think about more than I should ever since one of Mr. Foxypant's co-workers managed to get scurvy during last year's crunch period at work when he ate at Taco Bell for two month's straight because he was too lazy to go anywhere but across the street for all his meals. No, really. He had loose teeth, corkscrew hair, the whole nine yards. This year I think they should start an office pool where they bet on who's going to come down with rickets).

But back to the home orchard. Because Mr. Foxypants has been in crunch period at work for the last six weeks, none of these trees have been planted. They're just sitting in various places around the yard in the ugly plastic nursery pots they came home in looking wilted and sad. Until tonight when I decided that as a present to Mr. Foxypant I was going to plant the lime tree, a job that was only half done when it got too dark to pick the rocks out of the clay soil of my backyard. But it's in the ground. I'm hoping the planting job doesn't look too wonky by the light of day and that Mr. Foxypant's will be thrilled by his industrious girlfriend.

My new neighbors are slowly trying to dig up their former concrete dog-run of a yard and install landscaping. Like everyone, they have no money for this project, so planting is going slowly for them. So, while I was digging the hole for the lime tree, I dug up a clump of lemon verbena which I just gave them as a present.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Boxing Day

Mr. Foxypants asked me to try and go through some boxes today. With what time? And if I go through some boxes, then what? There's no place to put anything that I unpack. I cannot wait until his big deadline at work is over and he finally has some free time to do a major purge and get rid of stuff. I can't fit a needle into the garage it's so packed full of his things.

But, Mr. Foxypants does things every day to make me happy like:

Save me the last Mexican popsicle
Detail my car
Wash the dishes

So I really have to be responsive when he makes a direct request...even if it's irritating. Per his request I unpacked a box of mismatched socks and a box of file folders which are now sitting on the dining room table because there's no place to put them away. I made sure that I was grumpy as possible the entire time I was unpacking because you know being in a bad mood makes every chore that much more fun.

Then I took a break to check my emails because it was all just so exhausting.

That's when I saw the want ad on freecycle for moving boxes from a woman in my neighborhood.

Mr. Foxypants has been threatening for weeks to "break down" the boxes at the side of the house, which he hasn't done because he keeps running out of time. We have probably 50 cardboard boxes in the driveway getting more disgusting with each passing day as they are exposed to the elements. Which in turn makes me kind of crazy because I'm that eco-nut that wants to reuse everything and waste nothing. Especially stuff like perfectly good, slightly used moving boxes.

Let's just say I made Miss Freecycle's day. I flattened out 20 boxes and sent her packing. Literally. She was thrilled not to have to buy boxes for storage. With that one nice act, I also kept 20 more boxes out of the landfill and made some major progress on cleaning off the driveway so we can do something useful with it, like perhaps park a car.

I can't wait to show Mr. Foxypants the side yard, even if it's to distract him from the state of the dining room.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Small House Envy

I'm obsessed with the home of one of my neighbors. It's tiny. Maybe 400 feet square. It looks like it was built as a "mother-in-law-unit" for a craftsman bungalow. For all the complaining I do about Dinky Manor, and downsizing, and no closet space, I really want to live in a smaller house. I think my life would be easier.

I've never wanted a big house. Even as a child, my dreamhouse was always a one bedroom, four-square cottage or a tiny stone farmhouse in England. You can only really live in one room at a time. My desire for a smaller house was really fueled by my trip to Italy at the end of 2005 when I met and briefly lived with Paolo.

Paolo is a Roman landscape designer who creates parks and public spaces for the city of Rome. While his office is a sprawling warren of trashpicked furniture, bookcases and computer drafting stations, his apartment is a machine. It's only 400 square feet big and, like most apartments in Italy, has not one closet. It's magnificent in its efficiency. With the exception of his harmonica collection, which sits neatly stacked on his desk, every single thing in his department has been distilled down for maximum beauty and functionality. There is not one extra thing in his apartment that isn't used daily. But there's also nothing ugly.

After living in such a state of grace for three weeks, I returned home to my little house in Los Angeles, which suddenly seemed too big for on person and full of visual noise. So that's when I created a new game to play with myself known as "Roman Apartment." The rules of the game are simple. If it's not fabulous enough to be crated and shipped to Italy for my future tiny Roman apartment, then why would I want it in my home in Los Angeles? Once I decided that I would move into Dinky Manor with Mr. Foxypants, the game was briefly renamed "Do I like this object more than my boyfriend?" Downsizing is easy when you think in those terms.

Today while I was driving my car, full of envy, by my neighbors teensy house, I realized that the time that I felt like my life had the most balance and I was the most centered was when I lived in a 600 square foot rental home in the late 1990's. Although it was little, it had tons of storage space. I remember the two years that I lived in that house as being incredibly productive. I got so many personal projects done. I had a huge garden that provided me with so much fresh produce, I had to donate some of it to the food bank. I baked birthday cakes for all my friends. I quilted. I ran a used furniture store out of my one car garage on weekends. I think I got so much done for two reasons:

1. I did not have a television.
2. I had a little house.

Because my house was small, I didn't have to waste any time cleaning it. There was never any clutter because everything had a home. I wasn't filled with desire every time I went to the Rose Bowl swapmeet or to an antique store because my house was fully furnished. It had everything I needed and nothing more.


I frequently have little snitty fights with my local freecycle moderator. She's kind of anal and really, REALLY into rules. Our freecycle group gets more "This is how you do it" emails than any of the other swap sites I subscribe to. But should I complain about her really? She moderates the site as a volunteer. It's a thankless job keeping other people's crap out of the landfill. So today, as a gesture of goodwill, I gave her a partially used box of joint compound that other freecyclers wanted. I have no idea if as a moderator she can tell if she jumped the line, but since this blog/experiment is all about randoms acts of kindness, it doesn't matter what she knows or doesn't know I was being nice. It's just about being nice without expecting reciprocity.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Elizabeth likes to refer to me as her surrogate daughter. And even though she makes me crazy in an all together different manner than my actual mother, I'm okay with her maternal nuttiness. She's a cool lady who would literally make me lunch every day if she could.

Last month, while running to grab the phone--Elizabeth is one of those people who runs everywhere like she's being chased by the cops--she slipped and fell, injuring the tendons in her arm so badly that the first doctor she met with advised against getting surgery. Apparently there's not a whole lot that can be done. Now she's in constant pain and can't raise her arm past her elbow. It's really bad.

Here's what I want Elizabeth to do:

1. Quit working for the company she's worked for 30 years that she is sick of working for
2. Sell her enormous house for over a million dollars and invest that money so she never has to work again
3. Get married to her awesome boyfriend who loves her and move in with him
4. Spend part of the year in New Zealand where her real daughter lives, whom she misses terribly

But Elizabeth's not having any of it. She doesn't want to quit the job she no longer likes, because she can't think about herself not working.

Ultimately, I can't live her life for her. I can only do things to make her day-to-day life a little better. So today I agreed to help her do some work at her office that involves two working arms. And I'll bite my tongue about not working for a company that doesn't appreciate her because, hello, I work in Hollywood. But I really want the silver lining in this disaster to be that she does what makes her happy...and work no longer does this for her.

I wonder when my job will fail me. I wonder if I'll quit with a roar or a wimper. I wonder if I'll quit or if I'll just become so irrelevant that what I do doesn't matter. I wonder if I'll care if that happens.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cell Phones Are The Devil

I hate cell phones. Yes. I know. The fact that you can be walking anywhere in the world and talk to just about anyone else anywhere in the world is amazing technology. It's like magic in fact. But let's be honest. Cell phone technology is just one step up from fax technology in terms of sheer annoyingness. Why should I be excited about a phone that sounds like I'm calling from Italy 57 years ago? Am I wrong to expect perfect reception? If my iron only ironed parts of my shirt in certain rooms of the house, I would totally throw it away.

Even more than I hate the haphazard functionality of the phones themselves, I hate how the cell phone has turned everyone into an asshole. Yes. I love the fact that as my friend you want to talk to me all the time. I'm also okay with you calling me to pass the time while you stand in line at the post office or sit in traffic. But don't call me and then immediately start talking to the bank teller. Or the grocery clerk. Or yell at your children while you pretend to have a conversation with me. That part of your life is boring. It's also called being rude.

So, call me a total hypocrite when I tell you that my new cell phone makes me feel like a better person. It's so awesome.

The phone is not actually new (which makes me feel good about the purchase because I didn't have to break The Compact), it's just new to me. My ex-boyfriend Demolition had to buy a fancy text-y phone because his socially retarded, former Hollywood boss can't be bothered to actually speak to any of his employees. He prefers to text everyone, even if they are just in the next room. Naturally, the second Demolition bought a $400 phone so he could be conveniently textually abused by his employer, he lost the phone. So he had to go out an spend another $400 to replace the phone. God forbid his boss have to email Demolition instead. Of course, at this point Demolition discovered that the original phone hadn't been lost. It had merely been misplaced--in his house no less. It was around this time that Demolition was fired without cause, because that's what crazy people in Hollywood who can't form personal relationships do--they tend to go through staff quickly. So now Demolition had two fancy phones that he hadn't wanted in the first place. So last week I bought one of the phones from him. Okay, I didn't actually buy it from him because I still don't have any money. But I'm going to pay him for the phone once I get my first paycheck off the movie...if that ever happens. Demolition told me I could have the phone for $150, but since Demolition is notoriously horrible about negotiating a fair deal for himself ever, I told him I'd pay him $200 instead.

Over the weekend Mr. Foxypants took me to the Verizon store and added me to his "family plan" which is nice because it's way cheaper than having my own plan, and is one of those dumb things that make me feel like I'm in a serious relationship with my boyfriend.

Today I went back to the store to recycle the three old cell phones we had in the house instead of selling them on ebay. Verizon will recondition the phones and donate them as emergency phones to victims of domestic violence.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I'm big on resolve. Some of my best experiences have come from resolutions. For example, my November 1st, 2001 Resolution was: Get rid of 10 things a day. My house was messy. It was small and had terrible closet space. I either was going to live like a crazy old lady with clutter covering every surface, or I was going to have to get rid of enough stuff so everything fit into my dinky closets. (I am just too busy *cough* lazy to pack and unpack my storage all day long. My stuff has to fit in one visible layer inside the closet or it ends up in a stack outside of the closet).

It was sometime in March 2002 when I walked into my house and noticed that it looked tidier...and 1500 items lighter.

I still practice this resolution seven years later. It's something that helped me downsize by 75% in the last six months so I could move into Dinky Manor with Mr. Foxypants.

Mr. Foxypants and I spent literally all day organizing the living room. It still looks like hell. But, in addition to collecting an entire box of stuff for Rose's garage sale, we managed to get all of the boxes that were sitting in the middle of the room emptied or out to the garage. Now it just looks like a messy room instead the home of insane squatters. No, really. Our living room looked so terrible that Jehovahs Witnesses walked up onto our porch yesterday morning, peered in through the front window, and then left without knocking.

While cleaning, I happened to find my New Year's resolutions from 1998 which were:

Buy at house
Pay off debt
Keep a checkbook
Wear sunscreen every day
Learn to crochet
Make $2000 garage saling

I kept those resolutions! I bought a house that year! I paid off debt!

I think that was the last year that I managed to fullfill all my New Year's Resolutions. That was ten years ago.

One of my New Year's resolutions of 2008 was to commit a random act of kindness every single day. Which I've been pretty good at doing.

And sucky at documenting.

So, my July 6th, 2008 resolution is to blog about my niceness experiment in a less shoddy, unorganized manor.


I called my friend Lisa today to talk to her about her job problems. I know that she's stressing. She's got a tantalizing job offer from a good company that makes quality product...that's just not sexy. Although the pay would be fabulous, she wonders if she'll feel too far removed from the action if she takes a non-studio gig.

I tell her to decide what would really make her happy and take steps to get to happiness...where ever that that path takes her.

This advice does nothing to alleviate her worries. She wants to get married. She wants a house. She wants stability. Yet, she really doesn't know what she wants for her career. It's all too confusing.

She frets: "I'm really considering this offer because the money is so good. But I don't want to feel like a whore."

"It's Hollywood. You're a whore already." I tell her. "You might as well be a whore with a house."

Somehow, this statement seems to placate her more than the concept of following her bliss.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

California Wildlife Center

My dog died 2 years ago. I hung on to her very expensive dog drugs after her parting instead of flushing them because A: I am a tightwad and flushing $100 in perfectly good medication hurt my brain to think about and B: I wanted them to go to another furry creature who could use them and C: Did I mention that I'm OCD and make throwing anything useful out a huge production? My dog's awesome vet is all the way across town and I always forgot to bring them with me when I was driving through that neighborhood. Freecycling or Craigslisting them is surely illegal as they prescription drugs so I never listed them. And somehow I never got my act together to mail them back to my vet. I couldn't get my act together.

Until today.

I sent the drugs along with some empty syringes that they can use to feed baby birds and squirrels to the California Wildlife Center. Hopefully, some coyote will rest easier from it all.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Porn on the 4th of July

I was reintroduced to Michelle when she called me out of the blue. The last time I'd spoken to her, she'd been in the guise of an assistant to an agent I do a lot of business with. So every day I'd have a kind of a, "Hey, how are you, is your boss around?" conversation with her. She left the agency track to use her law degree and now works at a boutique entertainment law firm. She called me for advice on how to negotiate with a company that I'm currently working with. We had a great conversation and decided to get together for drinks.

Then I stood her up twice.

Well, not really. But I did make two drinks dates with her and then never confirmed either. I suck. At any rate, today I invited her to crash my friend's pre-4th of July bash. I'm so tacky. But I'm tacky, and a problem solver!

At any rate, we had a great time talking about dogs, shoes and her clients, a majority of whom are porn stars. Apparently porn stars are nicer than movie stars and have much simpler contracts. Who knew? I'm so glad she didn't hold my yucky flakiness against me. Even after finally sitting down with her I still feel guilt.

As my good deed of the day I hooked her up with my favorite, top secret consignment store where I buy all my clothes. Michelle is my type of girl. She likes a good deal, and the fact that she didn't have to pay for drinks or snacks made her day.


July 4th, 2008

My grandmother walked with a cane. She had an enormous collection of beautiful walking sticks for every occasion. She would match her canes with her outfits and had a cane wardrobe that she stored in an antique umbrella stand by her front door. When she passed away, I took my three favorites canes for myself as weird home accessories. Initially they were displayed in back of my front door as a odd little domestic tableau. Eventually I took to storing them under the sofa.

Today I realized that I was hoarding these canes. My grandmother was tiny, so they are too short for anyone I know who needs a cane. They've been stashed under the bed since I moved in with my boyfriend 3 months ago. I have no real use for them.

I moved the canes to the trunk of my car. When my friend the propmaster gets back to town, I'm donating them to his prop kit.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Hooray! My friend Laura called this morning to tell me that she is going to be interviewed for a show on the Green Channel that my friend Lisa is producing about how to have a bio-bling lifestyle.

That was my hook-up. Gold star for me!

Miraculously, I got through a ton of work today at record speed, so as my good deed of the day, during lunch I walked a mile to my post office for 1 cent stamps. Yes, I walked two miles round trip-for 20 cents in postage. It's good for my carbon footprint. It's also good for my carbon fatass.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My Psychic Friends Network

Today I put my psychic friend Carol Ann up for a job reading tarot cards at a fancy Hollywood birthday party. I love the fact that I can say, "my psychic friend" without making those annoying quote-y gestures with my fingers.

Last year Carol Ann read my cards for my birthday in January and predicted that I'd close a big movie deal around the time of the Summer Solstice.

July 1st rolled around. No deal. Nothing even remotely in the works. I call Carol Ann. "What gives?" I demand. "Where's my fantastic deal?" Carol Ann consults the cards. "Oh. I screwed up," she says. "It'll happen this week."

"Well, thats bullshit." I think to myself. "Everyone's already gone for the 4th of July holiday."

On July 4th one of my director calls me frantically. "I met this rich guy at a party last night. He's agreed to finance our movie!"

Rose--June 30, 2008

Today I opened an email from my friend Rose. It was a desperate plea for money. Her beloved dog has cancer and she's maxed out her credit cards trying to save the dog's life. The dog is still living, but needs 10 rounds of chemotherapy. The chemo costs $700 a round. She can't pay for her dog's medical treatment and her mortgage. I hate reading this email.

Everytime I go to the vet's office, there's some family in tears, putting down their dog because they can't afford to pay to heal their pet. I always get teary eyed myself when I see other people make that horrible decision. It's those moments that I really wish that I could win the lottery. Because if I won the lottery, one of the things I'd definitely do is pay the vet bill for random strangers so their dogs could live.

So I commit myself to the lottery-winning, better version of myself, and call Rose.

(Those of you who have been paying attention might remember that I have no money).

I tell Rose that we're going to throw a garage sale for her dog. I'm going to donate the few boxes of garage sale items I've been hoarding for myself to the cause. Then we're going to call all our friends with too much stuff and ask them to donate their excess to our garage sale fundraiser. Our garage sale will take place on July 26th. Even though I really need the money, with her it's a matter of life and death. And, even though I don't really have the time to organize a garage sale for someone else's dog, I really want to believe that if I won the lottery, I would be the canine angel of mercy.