June 28, 2007

Bare in Vegas

Before I even start this post, let me establish two things:

1) On principle alone, I hate Las Vegas -- the whole God-forsaken sequin-covered dayglow/nightglow, water-sucking, smoky, trashy, silicone-filled city.
2) I enjoyed the shit out of Vegas on my trip

Everything Vegas stands for is pretty much the opposite of me -- well, with the exception of virtually unconsumable volumes of alcohol. I don't own a closet full of "clubbing" clothes (much less a single club-appropriate -- read: nonexistant -- outfit), I don't care about Lindsey Lohan's 21st birthday party. Gold on ceilings just looks gaudy to me, and though I'll occasionally puff on a cigarette at 2 in the morning, I strongly dislike being places where everyone can do just that, indoors, all around you.

Plus, prostitution makes me sad, as do those terrible clear-soled stripper shoes all the women in Vegas (working or not) insist on wearing. What ARE those?

Oh, and it's like the hottest place on earth.

[I was going to say "in the universe", but there's the sun and all those stars, which I'm pretty sure are burning balls of gas, so I figured I had better keep it believable.]

And I'm a Seattleite.

But I prescribe to no motto if not "When in Rome...". And so I did Vegas. With gusto.

I packed my optimism, a few hundred bucks in cash, a pushup bra, 7 (seriously) pairs of heels, 5 (yep) pairs of jeans, and a few dresses. Oh, and my bikini and about forty pairs of earrings.

I stayed at the Mirage, and again in true Vegas style I went to the pool upon completion of my first workday there. It was 112 degrees outside, and pretty much everyone had the same idea as me: get wet, lay around half naked, get buzzed, then go out to eat and on the town. So the easily 1,000 occupancy pool and surrounding areas were packed. For about 5 minutes I considered squeezing in among the masses on some tiny crowded recliner, until I saw a sign. My salvation.


Bare, for those of you unfamiliar, is an "adult" pool. I knew this because it said "Bare... adult lounge" on the sign. But, as I'm sure you can imagine, I had no idea what that meant.

All I could think was no kids allowed. No waterwings, maybe no teeny-boppers, even. I pictured a luxurious, quiet pool. Cushy loungers, a professional or maybe even high-roller crowd. I looked around once more at the loungers crowded with lithe 8-year olds, families and fraternity boys -- a shrill-voiced and splashy crowd -- and turned towards this "Bare" place.

I was in.

I took the road less traveled (all signs pointing to Bare lead to mysterious labrynth of paths, all under heavy palm-tree cover) and arrived, finally, at a red-carpeted, velvet-roped, bodyguarded entrance to Bare. It looked like an exclusive nightclub. I looked down at my strapless bikini, gold flipflops and oversized bag.

I felt underdressed. I wished I'd worn earrings.

"So," I said, coolly, keeping my sunglasses on lest the european man barring the door see my hesitancy, "What's this" (here I gestured casually to the general direction of "IN") "...all about?"

"Well," he said conspiratorially leaning in, "it's an adult pool."

Um, duh? I paused, waiting dumbly.

"Like a nightclub in the day," he continued. "European dress code."

"Europe--" I started to ask the world's stupidest question before realizing he meant "clothing optional".

"Aaah," I leaned back, nodding stupidly. I was so far in now that even though this whole "european" thing scared me a little, I couldn't back down.

"Forty bucks for guys, twenty for girls," he said, matter-of-fact. Then he tilted his head at me, sizing me up. "You by yourself?" he asked.

"Um, not really... yeah." I confessed.

"I'll take care of you, then. Go on in, free."

Now I really had to go in. I nodded, steeled myself, and pushed past the rope.

As I sauntered in, sunglasses still on, trying not to look around too much, I felt pretty effing risque. I was in VEGAS. ALONE. At an ADULT POOL. With a EUROPEAN DRESS CODE.

[In my head, all this was in caps, I assure you.]

I found a cushy lounger, leaned back, took out the blackberry and assessed the situation:

Many pools, some hot tubs. Many attractive waiters and waitresses. Many topless women, all with gargantuan breasts, a male companion and clearly tipsy.

The rest of the afternoon I worked on the tipsy part and the enjoying the sun part. I ultimately relaxed enough to remove my thumbs from my blackberry (I spent the first 30 minutes there, at least, texting play-by-plays of my observations from inside Bare to my companion who would be joining me in Vegas later that night, which had the double benefits of easing me into the scene and sexually frustrating him.)

The music pumped, the steam rolled off the hot tubs and settled on the pool, gorgeous staff rolled towels, propped chairs, lit cigarettes and delivered libation. Women grinded up against their men in the shallow pool. Men tried not to fall over while ordering many Budweiser Selects and groping their bouffant-haired, fake-breasted women all at the same time. It was so Vegas. And it was pretty entertaining.

A couple rich older men came by and introduced themselves as, essentially, rich older men, which was totally standard but also pretty entertaining. And I befriended two women to the right of me who left their kids and hubbies home and had come for some girl-time (and how!).

By the time it closed and I returned to my hotel room to shower, eat, see a show and gamble with a lovely tall man who flew in to spend the weekend with me (and says things like "hello, pretty girl" to me, unprovoked), I was a little tan, a little tipsy, and very impressed with my nerve... giddy, even, with the possibilities of Las Vegas.

While I didn't get married, I did gamble, and eat fabulous food, and see Ray Romano in the hotel twice, and drink $15 melon-colored cocktails composed primarily of Grey Goose, and wear ridiculously uncomfortable heels. And I hit on 12, and 13 and sometimes even 14 playing blackjack, even though it's unadvisable.

Because, well, when in Rome...

June 21, 2007

Two things

1. Last night was a long night. Dinner, wine, walk, skyline-gazing, a fresh rosemary-fight (don't ask), a late-night house intruder... the point is I woke up hung over and exhausted today. And smelling like rosemary. But again, not the point. The point is that I actually cleaned up pretty good, if I do say so myself, and thought I was keeping it together quite well. Until one of the founders of my company walked by and said in the sweetest east Indian accent -- I shit you not: "Are you doing something differently?" while gesturing to my face/head region. When I replied that no, in fact, everything was as it should be and nothing was different, he said "Hmmm. You look like you partied... a lot." Sheesh. Hold no punches, why don't you?

2. I will be in Las Vegas starting tomorrow morning and ending Monday night. There is a 25 percent chance I will get married there, a 50 percent chance I'll get sunburnt, a 75 percent chance I'll experience feelings of guilt after gambling and a 100 percent chance I'll get blitzed. Oh, I'm also working there. So none of the above (except the guilt) will be done on business hours. Which means there's also a 100 percent chance I'll come back and sleep for three days.

As always, I'm certain there will be stories, which of course I will share. Stay tuned, and have a great weekend!

June 20, 2007

Song of the week

When Love Comes To Town -- Herbie Hancock, featuring Joss Stone and Jonny Lang (a 2005 cover of a 1988 U2 song, released on his album Possibilities)

I'm finding it a bit autobiographical at the moment, which paired with an addictive baseline and that groovy Hancock/Joss Stone sound = rock out.

June 19, 2007

A weekend night in review

It's been a long week already, and subsequently I have thus far been unable to put together coherent paragraphs connected with segues (which I'm not really that good at anyway -- and by the way, what's with the spelling of the word "segue"? Is that like a collossal joke on everyone who struggles with spelling? I'm just saying, the French are assholes. If that's even french. I assume it is, what with the weird back to back vowels, but am too lazy to research).

Because of my struggling with segues and the length of my day and in the interest of not boring you to actual death, here is a review of a recent weekend, list-style. I share this only to underscore the realities of my life, which include too much weekend boozing, a bizarre and colorful set of friends, and any number of enlightening experiences slash awkward scenarios thanks very much to the booze and colorful characters.

Note: If you are either booze or a colorful character and would like to begin participating in such experiences as those listed below, may God have mercy on you.

Enjoy, and remember to enjoy life responsibly (and with a pen and paper handy, like me):

1. The night was kicked off with a dance-off, in the Vibe, with seatbelts on. Winner: my friend, a very large, bald man riding shotgun. But only because I had to contend with a steering wheel and two pedals while dancing. (Not easy, but I gave a valiant effort, and didn't even almost crash. Bravo, me!)

Debate: can you or can you not work the “mummy” move from Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video into any dance you are doing to any song, regardless of genre? My position: Yes, yes you can. I am pro-Thriller dance.

3. Debate #2: If you could only do one dance move for the rest of your life, to all songs, in all company, regardless of genre, what would that move be? My answer: I am pro-The Electric Slide. (It's electric. Boogie woogie woogie.)

4. Awkward scenario #1: While standing outside a restaurant/bar with one girlfriend, our other girlfriend joined us. As we stood in a circle, girlfriend 2 leaned over her shoulder, threw up, and then rejoined the circle as if nothing happened.

5. Awkward scenario #2: Later, The Puker reached under the table and stroked the thigh of my date, telling him he should drink more, conceivably so she could take advantage of him. The Puker was thereafter called The Poacher.

6. Redemption: The Poacher spent the night with a guy we’ll call Frenchie, who I introduced her to about 5 minutes before we all went home so as to distract her from continuing her Poaching mission. Frenchie immediately started speaking French to her (a sure thing he’s a sure thing) and it was love. Or at least lust enough to keep her distracted.

7. Learning #1: I am really good at those bar video games where you compare photos of naked ladies to see what’s different between the two.

8. Learning #2: When you’re good at those bar video games where you compare photos of naked ladies and you play this game with randoms, they will often buy you and your friends rounds of shots, unsolicited.

9. Learning #3: just because shots are free doesn’t mean you have to drink them.

10. Learning #4: If you do drink every free shot offered you, you will suffer from one of the top 3 wickedest hangovers of your life – for two days – which makes you borderline emotional and from which the only recovery is Chinese food, enough Tylenol to wipe out at least three regular kidneys (regular being not mine, mine being in Olympic drinking shape) and the pure, undiluted kindness of others.

June 15, 2007


I like everything about food. I started out saying I love food, but that sounds like a food junkie's desperate cry for intervention, so I changed it to "like", even though the other "l" word is probably more accurate. Some people see food as mere sustinence -- like gassing up a car to make it go. I see great food (as you'll recall from this post) as a close, less dangerous, cousin of sex.

If I had more money, I would be a foodie--I would have eaten by now at every amazing restaraunt in Seattle and the surrounding area. But alas, this gets really hard on the checkbook, especially when "drinking" and "traveling" closely follow "food" on your list of top things in life. As it is, I've been to a pretty impressive handful of places, but there are some, including Le Gourmand and Canlis that still elude me, because of incredibly long waiting lists (um, make a reservation a MONTH in advance? I am a bona fide committment-phobe. I can't commit to a cell phone plan, much less a date a month in advance) and a crippling cost per plate that makes it difficult for me to convince someone to be my date -- even if I assure them of a big payout. (No, not that. I was thinking more along the lines of the pleasure of my company, and perhaps a drink on me, you perverts.)

If I had more than just "more" money -- if I were an actual wealthy person -- I would go to culinary school, possibly abroad. I would then return and do one of two things:

1. Start my own restaraunt. I have two ideas, and can't decide which I prefer. One would be tiny and unmarked with a rotating and seasonal prix fix menu, incredible wine list (no hard alcohol or beer) and deserts that look like works of art and are mandatory with every dinner. I know it sounds snobby, and it would be expensive, but it wouldn't be. Service would be warm and personal, like you're a very important person dining in your own very cool, modern livingroom. Restaraunt number two would be large, eclectic verging on nonsensical or even silly, with a menu composed almost exclusively of all things dippable and/or on sticks, to be dipped in fondue and special me-created sauces. Limited, cheap beer menu, some fun cocktail specials and no wine. Okay, maybe two house bottles. And red and white checked oilcloth tablecloths. I love those.

2. Freelance for top-100 daily newspapers across the country and a few food magazines as I embark on a 500-day American tour of food, hitting every state in the country, eating and writing articles alongside an American food travelogue which will chronicle my trip, the food, and all the bizarre strangers and happenings along the way.

But, alas, as I am neither rich nor filthy rich, and neither of these things will ever happen, I have instead this day decided to give to you, dear reader, a list of my current list of favorite foods for somewhat poor to very poor people. Bon Appetit!

1. Bruschetta. This delightful mix of garlic, basil, onion and tomato on a crusty piece of bread with a bit of balsalmic is pure heaven. Except if your dining partner eats it and you don't. Then, it ruins your sense of smell for two or three days. So I advise you just to eat it. Note: I make the best bruschetta this side of the MIssissippi. I dare you to make better bruschetta than I do. Cost to prepare: $14.00. Time to prepare: 25 minutes (lots of dicing, slicing and spreading).

2. Chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies. They're just awesome, and replaced rice krispy treats on my list of the best things to eat before they're technically ready to be eaten. Get some oatmeal, chocolate, a little peanut butter, a double-boiler, and a spoon. Then, go into glycemic shock. Cost to prepare: $7.50 plus doctor's bills. Time: Under ten minutes. To make. Under 3 minutes to eat.

3. My signature loaded baked brie. This is a round of brie, sliced in half, filled with dried fruit and nuts or jam, put back together and wrapped in crescent roll dough, then baked until melted indide the golden-brown crescent roll. Cost to prepare: $12.50. Time: 20 minutes.

4. Mangoes. These are black sheep on this list, as they cost about ten dollars apiece and are nearly impossible to eat without a bib and a shower afterwards, but a good mango is, I think, the best fruit ever invented by God. (Nice work, God.) Warning: after eating one, you will need to spend 25 minutes with a roll of dental floss. If anyone can figure out how to make it easier, please, please share.

5. Waffle-cut fries with the magic thing that is fry sauce. First, the fries: Whoever came up with these is a genius. It's the soggy-fry solution. These puppies are evenly cooked throughout, thanks to the clever holes, and are crispy everywhere without being little daggers of burnt crispness like you find at some joints that serve the traditional fry. And they beat steak-cut fries in pure condiment-delivery ability. Like Chex cereal holds milk, waffle-cut fries hold ketchup. Or, even better, fry sauce. Now, Fry sauce: I have no proof, but I am pretty sure this culinary delight came from the midwest, mostly because that is the only place in the country I can imagine coming up with a way to actually make fries worse for you. Take the two condiments with the lowest possible nutritional value and highest cravability around (ketchup and mayo, obviously), and mix them, 50-50. Now your ketchup is fatty, your mayo is sweet, and it's a horrible pink color reminiscent of PeptoBismol. But you know what? It tastes fucking brilliant. I had to move away from Idaho (almost the midwest, anyway) solely because of the amounts of fry sauce I'd otherwise consume. In Seattle, nobody believes in it. Something about cholesterol and obesity. Eh, I just run a lot and make my own. Cost: $1.50.

June 13, 2007

Control your beaver!

I just like the headline of this article, and the fact that there's a blog called "Arkansas Blog".

Hot checks, beaver pelts, deceased (?) balding middle-aged crooks, Arkansas... it's a tale full of titillation and debauchery. I think. Full disclosure: I stopped reading at "Beaver Controller".

Also, thanks, D, for this bizarre story.

"Nobody drink the water! The water has gone bad!"

June 11, 2007

The secrets of stillness

Some nights when I was little and sick, or when I woke from a nightmare and looked out my bedroom window into the dark tops of the trees and saw terrible things in them, I would muster my nerve, slip out of bed and half-run half-tiptoe into their room.

I would always go to her side of their bed.

“Mom,” I would whisper into the dark, “I’m scared.”

Always on her stomach, I wondered how she breathed sleeping like that, her face pressed into the pillow. While I stood there quietly breathing in the musty smell of a warm down comforter in a cold room, I worried that she was suffocating, she was so still. And then, suddenly, on intuition and my single whisper alone, she would be up, tiptoeing from her room to mine wordlessly, leading me with her hand on the top of my head.

Once in my room with her, it was no longer a scary place. Trees were trees. Shadows were shadows. My fear seemed ridiculous, misplaced. I always half expected her to leave upon our discovery that there was nothing to be afraid of.

But instead, she would slip into my twin bed, scooting all the way to the edge and motioning me in. Gratefully, I'd join her. There we would lay on our sides, an S next to an S, her arm over me, both our heads on one pillow.

And just like that, in a minute or two at most, she would be asleep, perfectly still. It was the only time I ever knew her to be still, I think.

I would listen, wide awake: Her shorter breaths became long ones, rhythmic in and out, in and out. Sometimes the pause between them would grow so long my heart would almost stop in a panic, but always it came and went eventually... in and out.

I would want to move, adjust. Maybe I had an itch. But she was always so still that I never could bring myself to. Instead, I willed myself to be like her -- I willed my bones to be heavy, my body to go numb. I listened to the in and out. I made myself be very still in the black.

In and out, I listened.
In… and out.

I trained my body to be restful, my breath to be long like hers.

In… out.

And her great, warm, rhythmic stillness would press me down slowly into the night, as I listened to her sleep song. And a terrifying night would transform into something known; something velvet-deep and calm.

I never woke until morning was brassy and bright upon me, the night like a vague memory. She was always gone by then, up and busy.

She was always moving until I needed her, and when I needed her, she taught me the secrets of being still.

June 08, 2007

Unapologetic shitheadery.

If you have nothing to blog about, let someone smarter and funnier than you blog, instead.

Ryan Reynolds (formerly Alanis Morrissette's better half) is now writing for the Huffington Post. I didn't realize I loved this man until the moment I read this (click link at top), his first contribution, which includes the brilliant phrase "grotesque displays of boundless, unapologetic shitheadery".

I would apologize for the gratuitous posting of a picture of Ryan half-clothed, but the thing is that I'm just not sorry.

I mean, take a good look.

...Yeah, you're welcome.

Have a great weekend, all. Check you Monday... maybe.

After recieving two rapid-fire email complaints about the sexism of this post, I have agreed to include a second photo to right my wrong. Here for all male Legwarmers readers to enjoy: Jessica Alba in one of her many swimsuits shots! Happy?

June 06, 2007

Don't talk to me when I'm glistening, please.

I looked up from my second set of leg presses to see a mid-thirties man I'd never met standing over me at my feet, his mouth moving, but no words coming out. I looked quizzically at him, and he gestured to his head.

I touched mine, realizing my headphones were in, music blaring, which would account for the fact that this man was making zero sense to me. It still didn’t account, though, for him talking to me when I was clearly busy working out.

I jerked out an earbud and glared at him.

“Yeah?” I said, too loudly of course, due to the other bud still crammed in my right ear.

“Um, I was just wondering if I could hop on there for a quick set in between yours,” he asked. “I just have one more to do, and…”

I hadn’t realized I was hogging the machine in the near-empty gym, but apparently this whole sharing equipment thing was status quo for homeboy, so I nodded cautiously, standing. “Sure, no problem… but you might wanna—“

Before I could suggest wiping down the machine, as I had just completed a 3 mile run and was… glistening , we'll say, he was on his back, legs up, lying in my little sweatmarks, in the middle of his first squat.

I stretched while he finished, and when he got up, I was hit with a dilemma: Either I could lay down in my/his sweat and finish my last set, something I really didn't want to do, or I could walk across the gym floor to the nearest little sanitization station for a papertowel and some of that pink weird equipment spray, which might come off a little insulting, as this guy hadn't seemed to mind my sweat at all.

I paused for a moment, and then... fuck it. I layed back down on the machine and started pressing. I figured if he could do it, I could do it.

And then, four reps in, there he was again at the foot of my machine, mouth flopping.

I jerked up, plucking out an earbud again.

He leaned over and handed me a paper towel, already covered in the weird pink stuff. What the hell? I thought. Now he wants to clean the machine? “Uh, thanks?” I said, wishing he would just go away so I could resume my workout in peace. But instead of leaving, he stood there, expectantly.

He wanted me to wipe the machine down while he was there, when I was already in the middle of using it again.

Flustered and completely weirded out, I twisted around, wiping down the back of the seat, then the handles, and crumpling up the towel like There. Happy?

“Thanks for sharing,” he said, and reached out his hand.

“Sure,” I said, again willing him to vanish. But he continued to hold out his hand. I was totally perplexed, unable to think of anything else to do with it but shake it. So I did. Kinda a “Well, see you later,” shake, I thought.

But instead of shaking back, he kinda half-pumped and then let go, wiping his hand like I might have just given him some sort of disease.

“No, I meant I’d take the towel now,” he said, all uncomfortable, like I was some strange gym girl hitting on him when HE was the one who approached ME and then layed on MY sweaty machine and insisted on talking to me instead of just waiting 30 goddamn seconds for me to finish my set.

“Oh.” I said, ever-eloquent, fumbling for the crumpled, sweaty, pink-stuff covered paper towel. “Right.”

I am clearly a master of interpersonal communication; an example for all people interested in having non-awkward interactions with humanity; a veritable book of rules for those who want to go gracefully in this world amongst their fellow man.

God I hate it when strangers talk to me at the gym.

June 05, 2007

Persistence pays.

"I seriously don't understand how anyone ever ends up together," I said, shaking my head at a friend and his wife across the breakfast table.

They had just finished telling the "how we met" story, and let me tell you, it was epic:

At a party, boy meets and schmoozes girl. Girl remains aloof and chilly. Boy asks for phone number. Girl denies. One week later, they bump into each other again. Boy is hammered at a bar, drinking with the bartender. Girl is sober. Boy again asks for girl's number. Girl gives it to him, verbally. Boy belligerently swears to remember it. Girl leaves. Boy (surprise!) forgets number. A few days go by. Boy runs into mutual friend, who he asks for the girl's phone number. Friend gives him girl's work number. Boy calls girl at work, interrupting her while mispronouncing both her first and last names. Girl asks if she can call him back at a better time.

A few hours later, girl calls boy who has now been schmoozy, sloppy and forgetful around her, and possibly doesn’t even know her name. That is far more than three strikes, is it not? A few weeks later, they're inseparable. Now, they’re married (and adorable).

"I mean, you didn't even say her name right!" I rolled my eyes, thinking about all the poor schleps I'd dismissed for crimes far less eggregious.

“I know,” he chuckled, as his wife looked at him adoringly. “My success with women can only be attributed to my ability to be so ridiculously persistent that they finally give in and give me a shot.”

Ain’t that the truth, too? There is much to be said for the persistence of a man who simply will not take “no” for an answer.

Why is that “eye on the prize” approach so attractive? It should be interpreted as arrogant, but its effect is sometimes positively the opposite, compelling women to do exactly what these overeager types ask, as if we simply have no choice in the matter.

According to Webster, "persistence" is the quality of continuing steadily despite problems or obstacles. So is that it, then? Is it purely biological? Are we all ultimately seeking someone we know isn't going to give up only because we realize in life there will be obstacles to overcome that will seem monumental enough to make it feel like quitting is the best possible option? Is this our built in "stability-meter"?

Whatever it is, there’s just something about a man who thinks he wants you badly enough to treat pursuing you like it’s a full time job.

I have absolutely fallen for it before, against all my better judgment. But it’s not a surefire path to success -- if there’s no chance for a relationship’s survival, someone will ultimately snap out of it. In my case, it took about a month and a half before I realized I was somehow mysteriously dating a bi-curious man who only ate Jack in the Box chicken sandwiches, failed out of school twice and who had... wait for it... just pierced his tongue.

Two days after I saw the light and after the world's hottest and most exfoliating shower, it was over. But props to him for a strong, if manipulative and ultimately creepy, start.

By the time breakfast had wrapped up with my lovebird friends, I was thoroughly convinced that dating, love and marraige was just a game of chance that God invented one day to keep him entertained (okay, and ensure procreation) -- something like a bully with a magnifying glass on a sunny day might keep himself entertained by scorching ants on the asphalt between his dirty feet.

(Sorry, God. I hope we can still be friends. I'm just saying...)

Except the ants have tiny brains and get to burn to death. We just have to go on hideous date after hideous date, having the same exact conversations with different versions of the same exact people, all of whom likely find us as boring or crazy as we find them, until someday, almost against our will and certainly with no help from us, something is just... different. And then, maybe even all the things that would have otherwise mattered (hell, even the pronunciation of your name) just won't.

I hope that makes it all worth it in the end.

I like to think it might.

June 04, 2007

Fiscal responsibility.

Legwarmers got a makeover this weekend. Why? Well, I wanted to go shopping, but am trying a new thing called "fiscal responsibility" so as to not have to live in an apartment with a cat for the rest of my life, so instead of buying completely essential things like clothes, shoes, an animatronic monkey head, a lifetime's supply of Otter Pops and tires for my car (all of which I otherwise likely would have purchased last weekend), I chose to wear my roommate's clothes, drive a car with dangerously bald tires (oh, and STILL no front license plate) and change the outfit of my... blog.

Happy Monday, all!