My Day As A Hooligan

When I was in England last month, I went to a soccer game. It was good times. Here are two pictures.

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The red arrow is pointing to my uncles, aunt, and dad, who got to sit in the season ticket seats. My cousins, brother, and another uncle (he married into the family, so he has to sit in the cheap seats with us) sat behind the goal. Fulham has one of the smallest stadiums of any premiership team (they call it a "cottage," for God's sake), so pretty much every seat there is nice and close. In fact, if you happened to watch the December 23 Westham-Fulham game on television, you probably saw me in the crowd. If you have HDTV, you might have even been able to make out some of my facial features. I'm famous!

I ate a meat pie and drank a beer during the game, and only later realized that you weren't allowed to bring beer into the stadium. You had to drink it outside, and the vendors could only sell it before or after the game or during halftime. Not during. Also, they sold plastic bottles of beer only. No cups, no glass. I informed my cousins that this was truly wimpy, and that at American baseball games, you could drink all the beer you wanted in the stadium. They responded that this might be true, but in England, the drinking age is eighteen and also, baseball games are boring. I got my beer into the stadium because I walked right on with it and no one caught me. I think it's better that way; if I had to stay outside with it, I would've had to drink it really fast and that would have made me drunk and surly. The game was disappointingly riot-free, but the score at the end was what you'd expect:

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A lovely afternoon!


Joy And Gratitude

I joined a soccer team and played my first game since my last soccer team disintegrated six months ago yesterday morning. I am currently in great pain from very sore muscles. But! There is one thing that can make me feel better (besides a strong painkiller, of which I have none), and that is the CHECK I WAS SHOCKED TO RECEIVE FROM THE TOWING PLACE TODAY! Covering 100% of the damages! Hooray for Hollywood Tow for coming through! If you're going to park like an asshole, you couldn't be towed by a better company. Boo to my insurance company, who totally dropped the ball on this and will be losing a valued customer very soon. Because I am a valued customer. I've given them so much money and cost them nothing and they pretty much left me to handle this whole thing. If Hollywood Tow hadn't been so honorable, I would've had to waste my time in small claims court. I'm gonna go change my insurance to one of those companies that keeps leaving notices on my windshield that are entirely in Spanish except for the part that says they're only like $20 a month. They'd probably kick in a few painkillers too if I asked right.

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Three Years

Last night, Evil Ex-Roommate (who is not actually evil, nor was he ever, although he and I did have our problems but they are in the past. I continue to call him this for tradition's sake. Just in case he's reading this) and I celebrated the third anniversary of our arrival in Los Angeles. On my way to meet him at the restaurant, I walked past a guy in his car who asked me if I was cold in the light jacket I was wearing. I may have been here for three years, but I'm still not as wimpy as the real Angelinos when it comes to temperature. So there's that, at least.

We went out to a restaurant and ordered a bottle of wine. We toasted to three years out here and reflected on what those three years have brought us. Currently they are: he is gainfully employed but has a lot of debt to worry about, and I am unemployed. His car is in the shop after someone tried to pry his sunroof open with a crowbar the other night and caused $1200 worth of damage. My car is no longer in the shop, but it looks like getting paid back by the tow company who broke my car won't be as easy as I thought it would be. I went to the tow place yesterday with photos of the damage and my receipt from my garage detailing what had been fixed and how much it all cost, and they tried to tell me that there was no possible way their trucks could have damaged my tie rods and that they didn't think the place had even replaced them in the first place. They shined flashlights under my car and pointed out the tie rod and said it looked like they had merely cleaned it to make it look new. Also, they said the 4-wheel alignment I had been charged for was unnecessary since my car is 2-wheel drive. The tow garage guy got very serious with me and said that he has heard of dishonest car repair places that like to take advantage of female customers, and he was afraid that was what had happened here. He also called me "an intelligent girl," and while he's totally right about the intelligent part, I am not actually a girl. I am a woman. My garage does not call me a "girl." If I had to choose between which two places were trying to rip me off, I'd go with the garage that has proven itself to be honest and trustworthy in the past and seems to look at me as an adult, rather than the tow place that has every reason to deny they damaged my car and thinks I'm some little girl who can be taken advantage of. I just told him that I didn't know anything about cars or tie rods. All I know is that before my car was towed, it worked. After it was towed, it did not. Then I took it to the garage, and they fixed it and I could drive it again. These things lead me to believe that the tow damaged my car and the garage fixed the damage. Appealing to my intelligence will get you nowhere when you follow that up by calling me "girl," thereby signifying that you don't take me very seriously.

Anyway. We toasted to that and then sunk into a depression, because we both thought that after three years, our lives would be somewhere else. And then we realized that they at least were somewhere, and finished off the bottle of wine with a toast to our six year anniversary and to coming into it with gainful employment and cars that worked. As long as you have more than you did before, you've done something. Three years ago, I came here with no home, no furniture, no job, very little savings, and no idea what the future held. Now I have an apartment, furniture, enough savings that my unemployment status is of no huge concern to me right now, and some freelance gigs to supplement my non-income. I still have no idea what the future holds, but that's no longer a terrifying prospect. It's kind of fun.

And if anyone knows what I'm supposed to do if the tow company denies any responsibility for my damaged car and my insurance company decides not to do anything about it since the damage was below my deductible and therefore they didn't have to pay anything out of their pockets, please tell me. I thought I paid my insurance company all that money so that they would handle this for me, but now they're saying that if the tow company says they didn't damage my car, then they can't do anything further. I have no experience in these matters, since, while I've paid out the ass for car insurance, I've never ever filed a claim in my history of driving, nor has anyone filed one against me. Right now it looks like I've given my insurance company thousands and thousands of dollars over the years, only to have them refuse to do anything for me and my claim of four hundred dollars.

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I Have To Find A Way To Make This Happen


The smallest country in the world is up for sale. I had no idea this place even existed, but apparently some crazy guy claimed a some manmade island off of England used during WWII as his own and then made it his own freaking country with the rather unoriginal name of "Sealand" and declared himself Prince (I don't know why he didn't go for King)! He then minted his own coins and made stamps! The balls on that guy!

Anyway, now his son, Prince Michael, is selling the country. I simply must find a way to own it so I can become a Princess. Or maybe I could bring sweet democracy to the citizens of Sealand. Nah, I'd much rather be a Princess.

Read more about Sealand's ridiculous history (including an invasion by scheming Dutch and German businessmen!) here.

Edited to add: holy crap, Sealand is selling royal titles! For about thirty-five dollars, I can become Lady Sara or Baroness Sara, which the website says I'll be able to use to get "VIP treatment and go to the front of the queue at important events,vimpress people and make friends, get invited to all important parties, secure the best tables in restaurants, get upgrades on flights," and, possibly best of all, "make co-workers jealous." I can even "demand the subservience of lesser mortals!" CAN YOU IMAGINE?!?!?!

Baroness Sara of Sealand (for it is she): Excuse me, Bouncer of Hyde, but I should like to enter your establishment now.
Bouncer of Hyde: You are not famous. You may not enter.
Baroness Sara of Sealand: BEHOLD! I AM A BARONESS!
Bouncer of Hyde: Of what?
Baroness Sara of Sealand: Of a country off the coast of England that conists of a metal fort perched atop two concrete towers.
Bouncer of Hyde: Oh, okay then.

And then I am allowed to enter the club! And I hate flying in coach. This is a wonderful solution to that:

HRH Baroness Lady Sara of Sealand: Hello, flight attendant. Please make available your finest seat in the business class section!
Flight Attendant: Uh, no.
HRH Baroness Lady Sara of Sealand: EXCUSE ME?!?! Don't you know who I am?!?!
Flight Attendant: Um ...
Flight Attendant: Oh, my bad. Please come to the front of the plane and take whichever business class seat you wish.

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Glorious Sealand.



I Have Grown As A Person

So I made the mistake of checking my referrer log after my last post and found a forum full of people who hate me. Or, at the very least, don't think I'm a great person. I believe one of them said I was "a portrait of a paranoid and entitled princess," because I was pissed that a tow truck broke my car on New Year's Eve. That stuff makes me laugh and I print it out and collect it in my special scrapbook, which is called "People Who Are Out To Get Me" and is covered with lace and has a picture of me on the front wearing a crown. Someone else called me "the new Pamie," a title I am more than honored to accept. And then some other poster said this:

"The girl needs to stop with the blogging, she just ain't funny. This latest link is even worse then the first. I hope she can get Santa to bring her a funny bone next Christmas. She's trying so hard to tell a funny little story but fails miserably. Well, at least these two attempts totally failed. Maybe when she's sitting with her pals who are sloshed they laugh like hyenas at these attempts of hers to be amusing but to a sober reader they just fall flat. Thud goes the dud."

and part of me was like "you know what? Fuck this blog! It's not worth it. I don't need this!" And I sat on that feeling for a while. And then I realized something really important:

I was letting someone who wrote "thud goes the dud" and thought a line about Santa giving me a funny bone for Christmas was the height of comedy influence my behavior. And that simply cannot happen.

Personally, when I don't like something I'm reading, I stop reading it and move onto something I do like. I've never felt compelled to continue reading in order to pick out quotes that will demonstrate the cause of my hatred to all or spend my time writing to the author telling them how much I hate him or her. When people write hate mail to me, I think it's awesome. I write to elicit a reaction in people. For that reaction to be so passionate, be it positive or negative, means I've written something that has an impact. I have POWER over your feelings. This, along with the tears of orphans, is what feeds my lifesource. I also enjoy knowing that other people are miserable because of me.

But this time, for whatever reason, it kind of got to me. And I think it's been getting to me for a while now, since I find myself censoring the stuff I say to make sure it all comes across the right way and I don't look like an asshole. Which does tend to make things less funny. It also makes blog entries a real pain in the ass to write, so I don't write them as often, nor do I particularly enjoy the ones I do write. Which means you, readers, are missing out. And missing out you are -- my thoughts are absolutely fascinating and not to be missed! My pals totally laugh like hyenas over all my attempts to be amusing, regardless of their state of intoxication, and you should, too. And if you don't, please make sure your email to me about it is in printer-friendly format.

But before you waste your time, know that I don't really care if you think my blog or my recaps suck. Seriously, who are you to me? I take criticism from people I know and whose work I respect. I don't really care if some random person with an internet addiction isn't laughing. I do care if I'm making random people laugh and I really dig the occasional email I get from someone who say s/he's been going through a rough time and my recaps/blog/whatever really helped him/her through it. I'm writing this blog for ME, to validate my own insignificant existence in my own mind. And I think I'm fucking awesome. Obviously I do, or else I wouldn't have a blog or live in Los Angeles in the first place. And I AM an asshole. Why put all that effort into hiding that? No more.

Now everyone cross your fingers that I'll get my own thread on that other website so I won't have to keep slogging through posts that aren't about me. Just kidding! I probably won't go back there again for the same reasons that I tend to stay away from mental hospitals. People be trippin'.




On December 31, 1999, I came into possession of my awesome wonderful car, a 2000 Ford Focus. Everyone made fun of it, saying it looked like a "pregnant rollerskate" and that Fords were crap cars that broke down all the time, but I didn't care. I loved my car. On its seventh birthday, I went shopping on Melrose. I checked out a few stores, found nothing, and went back to my car where I'd parked it. Or at least, where I thought I had parked it. It wasn't there now. I figured I must have forgotten where I parked it. Surely it was somewhere on these neighborhood streets. And yet, after an hour of walking and searching, it was not to be found. It was getting dark, so I started calling friends who lived in the area, hoping someone was home who could give me a ride around the neighborhood. While some friends have yet to even return my desperate, semi-panicking messages, Gwen was home and zipped over to help me out. We drove around some more, but the car was not to be found. It was either stolen or it had been towed. I couldn't imagine a reason why it had been towed -- I had made sure to pay off my (many) delinquent parking tickets a few weeks ago -- nor could I imagine a reason why it had been stolen. Who steals a Ford Focus? It only has sentimental value.

Gwen and I found a police car and pulled over. I told the cop my dilemma: "my car disappeared." He was totally not amused by this and asked me to elaborate. I explained that I thought I parked it on Vista and Melrose and now we couldn't find it after searching for hours. He looked it up and ...

as you've probably guessed by the title of this entry, it had been towed.


I had parked in front of someone's driveway.

Yeah, so, yeah ... I am a dumbass. I was on the phone giving my mom advice about how to make the perfect New Year's Eve party bean dip and had apparently been so distracted that I didn't realize that the perfect parking space I thought I found on the street was totally in front of someone's driveway. I still don't know how I managed to be so stupid, but there you go. I called the tow dispatcher place and they told me where my car was. I asked how much of my car was blocking the driveway, wondering if it was, like, a tiny little bit and some asshole homeowner had called the cops on me. "100%," she said. Well, at least I didn't do it halfway. When I block a driveway, I block the fuck out of it. Ain't no one getting out of there! At this point, I was just so happy and relieved that my car hadn't been stolen.

So the ever-patient awesome friend Gwen drove me to the tow garage and I paid them two hundred dollars and got my car back. While I was driving it to the exit, I noticed it was making a horrible loud grinding sound. I think everyone within a mile radius noticed it, actually, although the tow garage guy acted like he hadn't noticed anything even though Gwen was standing next to him and she heard it, so whatever. The tow garage guy said it must be the fan belt. The fact that he didn't seem to know what a fan belt was or where it was located didn't tip me off that he might not know what he was talking about. This is because I don't know what a fan belt is or where it's located either. He said he could keep my car at the garage (for a cost of thirty dollars a day) until the 2nd when their mechanic showed up. I didn't trust their mechanic and wasn't about to pay them any more money if the problem was the fan belt and not related to anything they had done. So I drove the car off with Gwen following in her car behind me. She had heard the griding noise too and insisted on following me home to make sure my car was okay.

As it turned out, it totally wasn't. I got about three blocks before I had to pull over in a Yoshinoya parking lot. My car was pulling to the right and I had to turn the steering wheel about forty-five degrees to the right in order to make it drive straight. And it was now making whistling noises. So Gwen used her Triple A card and my poor, poor car had to be towed for the second time in one day. I wanted to bring it to my usual garage, but they were closed for the holiday and there was no place to leave it on their lot. So I had to park it on a nearby street to come back to on Tuesday when the garage was open.

So I brought it in yesterday and called my insurance company. Apparently, when the tow place towed my car the first time, they attached the tow hook things to some rods near the axle that they shouldn't have, and those rods are all bent now. Way to go, tow people. I mean, what the fuck. Yes, I suck for parking in front of someone's driveway, but it's not my job to park cars legally.* It is, however, the tow truck driver's job to TOW A CAR WITHOUT BREAKING IT. THAT'S ALL HE HAS TO DO. HOW HARD IS THIS? Fortunately, the bent rods seem to be an obvious tow-truck-related injury, so my insurance company doesn't think it will be a problem getting 100% compensated for the repairs. 100%, just like how much of my car parked in front of that driveway.

My car is still in the garage while we wait for some replacement rods to show up. I got a loaner car, which is nice. Not as nice as my car, but nice. The best part of all this, though, is that it's going to cost the tow place two or three times more to tow my car than it cost me to have it towed. And to this, I say:


Think about that next time I stupidly park in front of someone's driveway, suckers!

*apparently necessary addendum to clarify this sentence since some people didn't get it: I was saying that parking my car in front of a driveway, while dumb and deserving of the punishment I received, isn't as bad as it would be if I were, say, a valet, whose only job is to park cars legally. Then my inability to do so would be bigger problem. The tow truck driver's job is to tow cars, and he couldn't do that without damaging my car. Therefore, he sucks at his job. I don't go around parking in front of people's driveways like it's my god-given right and I don't hate homeless people. I do very much enjoy reading your comments that suggest otherwise, but please stop threatening to hurt me. As Captain Picard says in Star Trek: First Contact: "the line must be drawn HERE!" Thus endeth my entitled paranoid princess comment.

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