Drag Queens and Leather and Weddings…Oh, My!

I have absolutely no concept of time when it comes to weekend trips. The veggie boyfriend and I were going to leave for San Francisco early on Saturday morning and then come home late Monday afternoon. In my head I had a bunch of little things planned for us to do before we headed out for my friend’s wedding: stopping by the Wharf, grabbing brunch with a few friends, maybe running a hill for fun.

So how is it I forgot that there are only twenty-four hours in a day, and that about eight of those are spent sleeping?

Golden Gate Bridge
We managed to do at least one real touristy thing.

Saturday night started off with dinner and a drag show at Asia SF. (If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it: drag queens dancing on bars and lip syncing and words with double meanings.) We hit up two more bars afterwards: Bourbon and Branch and Tradition. (I used to drink a LOT with this particular group of friends, and the wedding/reunion was an excellent excuse to cram in as much as possible to make up for lost time.) The veggie boyfriend kindly offered to be the designated driver, so no one was in any danger.

Sunday morning was going to be a calm day of brunch and walking around the city, or so I pictured. However, the Folsom Street Fair was set for that day, and the VBF wanted to check it out (he’d heard about it on a podcast). We knew that driving there wasn’t an option, so we relied on public transportation. Along the way I saw a few leather daddies, but nothing prepared me for seeing full-on naked men and women. All they had on were shoes (and maybe a leather strap or two). It’s definitely an interesting culture, but I think the VBF got tired of me winning at Genital Punch (the FSF version of Punch Buggy that I made up). I did get a few pictures in, but the safest one I can share with you is this one:

Folsom Street Fair

We raced back to the hotel, got showered and dressed, and caught a cab to the church. The ceremony was short and sweet, but what thrilled me to no end was the look of happiness on my friend’s face. The food at the reception was amazing, but I think it helped that her brand new husband is a sous chef. I hit a fashion faux pas when I discovered another woman wearing my dress, but I guess I can chalk it up to both of us having good taste.

Elizabeth and Dirk's Wedding
Best Group Wedding Photo Ever. [Borrowed from my friend, Jorge.]

It was much too short of a trip, but it was nice to be able to get away for a bit. The VBF and I managed to last through two long car trips, a wedding, and being trapped in the same room together for hours at a time. I knew he was worth keeping around, especially after I came across this street sign:

Meant to be
Our initials are the exempt permits for the street we were walking on.

It’s The Girl In Me Coming Out

A friend of mine is getting married this weekend. Her wedding is at an awkward fashion time: 4pm to 9pm. It’s not late afternoon, it’s not cocktail hour, and it’s not black tie. This meant I *had* to go shopping for a dress. (I didn’t really, but I’m not going to pass up the opportunity.)

Anthropologie is one of my favorite stores for girly clothing. They aren’t cheap, but man…the little frills, cuts, and colors are AMAZING. The wedding was a good excuse to visit, and I had the 15% off card they give during the month of your birthday. Full priced items could be taken into consideration with this coupon. I was excited.

Five or six dresses later, I walked out of the fitting room with two maybes and the rest as go-backs. I was disappointed. I gave the sale rack a quick glance, and discovered this dress:

I was thrilled. I had seen this dress in Vegas during the pageant, but it wasn’t in my size. This one was my size AND it had been marked down an additional $40. It looked amazing on. I wouldn’t even have to have it altered (unheard of for a girl of five feet). You’d better believe I snatched that dress. I even splurged on a purse and a bottle of perfume. A necklace that my cousin’s girlfriend gave me would complete the whole outfit.

Time passed, and I started having doubts. The dress fit the late afternoon time frame, but could I pull it off when it hit evening hours? Would I be shunned like Scarlett O’Hara when she wore her green afternoon dress to a morning barbecue?

And then a miracle happened: Anthro decided to hold “Anthro Day,” where members would get 20% off when they showed their card at checkout. I headed over, hoping they would have something. The first lap around was fruitless, but then this dress made itself known:

I tried it on. It was perfect. It worked for all hours that the wedding and reception would fall between. I wouldn’t have to dig out my low-cut convertible bra. It’d help bring out the color of the Veggie Boyfriend’s eyes if we had to pose together for pictures. And it would be 20% off.

I figured I could wear pearls with this dress, but the bride-to-be posted this necklace on her Facebook page:

The urge for something sparkly around my neck hit me like a big rig, but I didn’t want to wipe out my budget. I lucked out at Forever 21 (or Forever XXI, as they now like to be called) and found this necklace for about $13:

It’s been ages since I’ve been this girly. Since it’s so close to the wedding, I won’t have time to do another outfit change. At least I hope I won’t find time for another outfit change. ;)

P.S. This has been sitting in my drafts for a few days. I ended up buying an evening clutch and a couple of shades of eyeshadow. :/

Three Of My Biggest Valley Fears

I’ve been temping in the San Fernando Valley for about three months now. This means that I take two of the worst freeways in existence in order to get to work: the 405 and the 101. Having spent all of my life on the Westside, I dread the commute to and from the valley. My biggest fears include:

1. Getting stuck in gnarly traffic due to an accident.
2. Getting stuck in the valley because of brushfires.
3. Getting hit by another car somewhere on the 405/101.

Mind you, I dated a guy who lived in Tarzana for two years. He was not a fan of driving, so I was the one who made the trek through the Sepulveda Pass. I’d only swing by late in the evening or early in the morning to avoid traffic. If there was an accident, I’d push back my arrival time by at least a couple of hours. If the hills were on fire, we’d communicate via IM. If the weather wasn’t LA’s usual sunny self, I drove with extreme caution in order to avoid an accident. Knock on wood, I managed to avoid those three fears during those two years.

In the last month, it’s like those three fears decided to come out and play. As of now I have:
1. Been caught in extreme stop-and-go traffic because a car caught on fire near the 101. (This would happen the same day a big rig flipped over. Luckily it was on the opposite side of traffic.)
2. Had to stay in the valley for a few extra hours because the Sepulveda Pass caught on fire on Friday. Dinner was great, and I got to see a friend, but I’m not a fan of valley heat plus fire.
3. My car was hit yesterday while getting on the 101. The damage is minor, and hopefully it won’t take too long to fix. (At least it wasn’t as bad as my infamous accident in 2009.)

Three strikes on you, Valley. Your parole officer will be in touch.

I’ll Make You A Pun You Can’t Refuse

The veggie boyfriend saw “The Godfather” for the first time ever this week. We had a conversation via text about it:

VBF: Almost finished “The Godfather” this morning – so good! It’s easy to get sucked in. Now I know why you like the nickname Kae.
Me: Yay! I can make references and you’ll get what I’m saying. Wait ’til you get to the end – you’ll see why I find it funny when you tell me “Don’t worry about it.” Also, do you know about the oranges?
VBF: I have about 45 minutes left of “The Godfather I”
Me: When you’re done with the movie, google “godfather” and “oranges”
Me: That’s my name, don’t wear it out.
VBF: I won’t dignify that with a response.
Me: You just did. :)

They All Look Alike To Me

The guy I’ve been dating was on vacation last week in the woods of Wisconsin. He looks like this:

So you can imagine my surprise when I saw this picture on my newsfeed (posted by Snoop Dogg) on Facebook:
Borrowed from Snoop Dogg's Facebook page

At a passing glance, it looked like my guy was hanging out with Snoop Dogg. Closer inspection revealed that it wasn’t him at all. The tell-tale points:
1. Snoop Dogg probably wasn’t hanging out in Wisconsin.
2. The guy in the pic parts his hair differently (and it’s a slightly darker shade of blonde).
3. The guy in the pic has rings on. My guy doesn’t wear jewelry.

In my defense, it’s only been a couple of months since we’ve started dating. While I’m pretty confident that I could pick him out in a crowd, it’d still take me a good minute before I can confirm it’s him. The old saying holds true: “All you [white] people look alike.”

Hello, My Name Is…

I go by several names these days. If you call me:

1. Katie: You’ve known me for a very, very long time or you met me through a family member.

2. Kae: You met me sometime in middle school or high school.

3. Kathryn/Kat: You met me during college/when I started working.

4. The Letter Kae: You’ve “met” me on the internet sometime within the past eight years or so.

5. Kathy: You don’t know me at all.

6. Irene: You’re my mother, who cannot remember the name of her only child.

My mom started getting my name and her younger sister’s name mixed up shortly after her husband passed away (my aunt’s husband, not my dad). She’d say “Irene” when she meant me, and she’d call for “Katie” while trying to get my aunt’s attention. No one can figure out why this happened, but it’s been like this for over twenty years.

It wasn’t so bad in the beginning. My aunt and I would be at family functions and my mom would mistake one for the other. Then she began to call my aunt “Katie” over the phone. A couple of years later, she’d call me “Irene” while we were on vacation – just the two of us(!).

It’s now progressed to the point where my mom’s admitted to having to keep telling herself who she’s talking to when she’s on the phone with my aunt. “I’m talking to Irene, I’m talking to Irene,” is her mantra. As far as I know, it’s working.

We had dinner with cousins from Tokyo this evening. The entire immediate family was there, which meant my aunt and I were in the same room. During a conversation lull, I decided to ask a burning question:

“Hey, mom…what’s my name?”

My mother opened her mouth, my name on the tip of her tongue. She shut it immediately after, and paused to think. She had to seriously think who was talking to her.

I used to joke for years that I should change my name to “Irene” to make it easier. However, in the final days of my twenties, I’m seriously considering it. Turning thirty seems like something significant should happen, and several people have told me that their thirties were the decade that brought on major life changes. While I thought that I’d do something drastic (become physically fit by LA standards, for example), my achievement may not be much more than going to court to fill out a request form.

The Hack Felt ‘Round The World [Wide Web]

Last week, I discovered that my checking account had several unauthorized purchases on it. During the last week of July, I apparently bought myself a new Blackberry (to be shipped to Nigeria), some expensive wine, two subscriptions to different dating sites, something at WalMart, and miscellaneous charges. After settling things with my bank and filling out paperwork, all I could think was, “At least they didn’t make any huge purchases.”

Silly me. Had I scrolled down a few more days, I would have seen the purchase of almost $880 made through StubHub.com.

I’d been hacked good and proper. It wasn’t a small amount of $400 taken from me; now we were talking something that was just under $1300. I wracked my brains trying to think of how/when/where I became careless with my debit card. The strange decline for $7 at Subway? The time I paid my parking ticket online at work (the company’s server would be hacked later that day)? Maybe even the time I made a late night deposit at my local ATM?

Then I came across this blog post that several friends had shared on Facebook: “How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking.” I read the post, then checked my Amazon and iTunes accounts. Sure enough, my debit card was on both of them. Oh, Sh*t.

I’ve deleted all the cards on my Amazon account (even though I haven’t made a purchase from them in months). I’m trying to figure out which card to use for iTunes, but it may be a little while before I purchase anything from there. And it just means I’ll have to take into consideration how many places I want to use my debit card.

Even with the hassle, I don’t feel like anything truly horrible has happened. It could have been way, way worse: my Social Security Number could have been compromised, my credit line could have been affected, or someone could have tried to treat themselves to a vacation (although it’d be short – this is *me* you’re stealing from, after all).

Blackberries and Dating Sites and Fraud, Oh My!

On Thursday, I woke up around 3:30am and saw the message light blinking on my phone. I checked my email, and saw that I had a receipt from Paypal. The gist of the email was to confirm my purchase of a new Blackberry for $183, and that to ensure my purchase, I should sign up for a Paypal account. Scanning further, I saw that the phone was going to be shipped to this address:

My first thought was, “Huh…Gmail is getting sloppy with its spam filter.” My second thought was, “This junk email looks really, really good.” And it was good: my full name was in the salutation, the address that popped up in the hyperlink was for Paypal, and it wasn’t asking me for additional information to confirm my purchase.

However, my Paypal account is not linked to the email address where the receipt was sent. The phone ordered was AT&T-based service (not my phone company). And the clincher: the “confirmed” shipping address was in Nigeria. Last I checked, I lived in Los Angeles.

Since it was the middle of the night, I was ready to dismiss the whole thing and mark it as spam. However, something was nagging at the back of my head: the parts that seemed fishy were truly fishy (seriously, Nigeria?), but some parts seemed like the real deal. I logged into my Paypal account to see if any recent transactions had been made, but nothing had happened since June. I checked my other email address to see if anything weird was happening over there, but things were good. All that was left was my checking account.

When I logged in to my bank account, my balance didn’t seem out of whack. Which is why I was surprised to see that an authorization for $183 for Paypal was the first activity item on the list of transactions. Scanning down further, I noticed several other strange postings:
1. A $25 purchase for a Walmart in Florida.
2. A paid subscription for Match.com.
3. A paid subscription for Zoosk.com.
4. A purchase of $170 at Wine.com.
5. Miscellaneous foreign fee charges (mainly for the British Pound).
6. A $90 transaction for ProCredit.com.

Fortunately, the two dating sites had refunded the subscriptions back to my account. I’m guessing that the hacker neglected to confirm his/her purchase, and the websites decided to release the funds. I’m also guessing that my hacker doesn’t care for the guy I’ve been dating, since two different dating sites had been contacted.

I always thought that I’d feel horribly violated if my bank account had been hacked. I’d panic, terminate all of my cards, and live the rest of my life paying things out by either cash or checks. I’d have the most complicated of passwords for any account and I’d actually make a point to change them every ninety days (eventually switching to thirty when another close call occurs). But instead, I thought, “Ugh, this sucks. Better call the bank and have them send me a new debit card.”

My bank was incredibly efficient and sent me a new debit card overnight. I took a personal day to make sure everything was in order – I didn’t feel like venturing more than five miles away from home when I only had twenty dollars in cash. (I have credit cards, but I don’t use them.) I stayed in and watched episodes of Futurama on Netflix.

Was there something I could have done to prevent this? Perhaps there was. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what it could have been: I haven’t been traveling, I haven’t made any large purchases recently, and my card never leaves me. For sure I’ll be a little more careful when I use it, but for the most part, I have to chalk it up to bad luck.

I’m Still Here, I Swear!

It’s been ages since I’ve updated here, but if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve seen that I occasionally participate in social events. (Although I realize that this is a moot point if you subscribe to the “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen” train of thought.)

Quick highlights of what I’ve done:
1. I completed another stint as a PA for Miss USA, but if the title on my credentials is anything to go by, I was part of Field Production Audio (they meant to put assistant).
2. I’m a temporary EA for a company in Sherman Oaks. If you celebrated the Fourth of July at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills, you saw my boss play with a fourteen piece band.
3. The place where I’m temping has some kitschy stuff. There’s a waterfall with fake salmon swimming upstream, a creepy-looking chimp band, and an underground bomb shelter. (I wish I was kidding about that last item.)
4. I participated in my first 5K. Since I haven’t been to the gym in over three months, I ran about 1/3 of it and walked the rest. It wasn’t a fancy event, so I don’t have an official time, but I managed to finish up in about 45 minutes.

There was a month between item number one and item number two where I got together with another unemployed friend and ate a shocking amount of LA-made queso and other comfort foods. (I’m still amazed that I didn’t have to start buying bigger pants or zit cream – it was that bad). We had a good excuse: two assistants who were looking for the next gig and were getting tired of hearing how great our resumes were.

There were queso fries before this burger.

While I can’t promise I’ll post on a regular basis, you can be sure this blog will be here for a while. It is, after all, one of the few ways I’m able to let you guys know I still exist.

Improve On Improv

These days it feels like my job is mostly compiling lists. If you need some kind of list within the span of an hour, I’ll get you a list with pictures, links, and the option of having it in a Word document or Excel spreadsheet. Grocery, comparison, quotes…you name it, I’ve probably done it.

I’ve had to do some brainstorming with my boss for specific talent over the past couple of weeks. This required me to think of things related to improvisational comedy, or improv for short. My boss sent out an email to the client to discuss specifics, and typed out “improve comedy.” I knew it was a typo, so I didn’t say anything.

The response that came back from the client also contained the word “improve comedy” in the body of their email. No biggie, they were probably typing quickly.

Two or three emails later, both my boss and the client were using the term “improve comedy.” Most of these emails came from a computer source, and not a smartphone (I’m basing this on the fact that the company logo accompanied our client’s signature every time a reply was sent). It was enough for me to question aloud whether “improv” had changed its spelling:

I’ll be honest: I felt kind of stupid to have to ask that kind of question on Twitter. But I’ve had to face the fact that “grey” doesn’t cut it anymore in America – “gray” is the correct spelling in this country, and it’s been a hard transition for me. For all I know, a memo went out that “improve” is the acceptable modern spelling for “improv,” and I missed it. And the chain of emails had me thinking that a silent e had been added sometime in the new decade.

Thank you, Twitter peeps, for setting the record straight. I love that you guys are geeky enough to worry about spelling with me.