Monday, August 27, 2012

I Know How to Pack it In

So much for a week off. It looks like I'll be working Tuesday through Friday this week, but I think that's probably a good thing. I've really got to shake off this laziness. And, you know, make some money. I had a nice extra-long weekend though.

Wednesday I went to yoga for the first time in a couple weeks. It was a wee bit challenging, but it felt good. I did a volunteer shift at KCRW for their pledge drive in the afternoon. It was fun. The phones weren't super-busy, but it was nice to be there and meet other KCRW members. And there were delicious macaroons!

Thursday I got together with Helene. She picked me up from the auto shop where I was getting my oil changed, and we went for a nice long lunch at Figaro in Los Feliz. I got the spinach and salmon salad, which was good, but the lemongrass dressing makes it look as though it's full of boar bristles. Not the most appealing visual. Helene got the steak tartare, which was delish! We talked about music and fundraising, and film and fundraising. We were going to go to a movie at Los Feliz 3, but the service was quite slow at the restaurant so we decided, rather than hurry, we'd just get  dessert instead. So we ate a light, fluffy piece of cheesecake and some chocolate mousse, and discussed why a mutual acquaintance of ours sucks. I was a little overstuffed by then. French food is a bit rich for me, but boy do they know dessert. We strolled around a bit, looking in the cute boutiques on Vermont, wishing we could afford to actually shop there. Then we browsed the shelves at Skylight Books, and I ended up walking away with Rick Steves' "Europe Through the Back Door," a travel guide that's going to help me plan my next adventure. So far, Rick's gotten me through the UK and Spain, and hasn't let me down.

Friday morning I got up early. I liked my first volunteer shift so much, I decided to do another. I toughed out the early wake-up so I could be in the studio when "Morning Becomes Eclectic" came on. No magical opportunity to talk to Anne Litt or Jason Bentley presented itself, unfortunately. Afterward, I trekked back to the East side, and went to another yoga class, this time with Tony himself. Great class, but I'm still sore. I went to see my little buddy Greyson, and my bigger buddy Jessie. We walked down to Wrap Express (which is way better than the name suggests) and got lunch. I had a veggie plate that included brown rice, grilled veg, hummus, and some kind of garlic sauce. I got them to give me corn tortillas, rather than pita. They had something I'd never seen before: rose hip juice. It tasted like a less-sweet version of tamarindo. I liked it. Greyson made friends with a nice little boy named Nicolas, but then he got all cranky, so we had to hurry back to the house to feed the voracious little beast. Jessie got him down for a nap eventually, so we had a few minutes of undistracted time to have a grown up chat. Jessie's such a good mom. It's definitely not easy.

After leaving Jessie's, I went to a place I fear over all others: the mall. Alex wants a bathrobe for his birthday, so I'm trying to find him a nice one. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the mall? The whole place smells of the most cloying perfume. As soon as you get away from the smell, someone walks by wearing the wretched stuff. You can't escape it! At least it wasn't crowded, but I didn't find what I was looking for either.

I met up with April, her sister Allie, and Maree at Dtox spa in Atwater Village for their monthly happy hour. It was pretty cool. I got a great stress relief massage (the perfect solution to mall stress), and there was lots of free wine and snacks. The DJ wasn't so good, but oh well. After we'd all had our treatments, we went next door to Bigfoot Lodge, but we were all pretty tired, and April had to get married the next day.

Saturday was a big day. I got up early again, and Alex took me, ehem, the long way to First Entertainment Credit Union to open a savings account. He's ever so proud of himself. We tried a new place for breakfast - Modern Eats on Rowena. It was alright. Nothing out of the ordinary. The Picture and the Frame had a short but strong practice. Rickett hooked up his old guitar amp as a vocal monitor for me, and it sounded pretty rad with the reverb turned up.

I went to my voice lesson, then jetted out to Simi Valley for April and Loren's wedding. It was really really nice. They were very low-key about the whole thing. They really just wanted to have a party, but I thought they had a good balance of sentiment and light-heartedness. The bride wore apple green, which I loved! And interesting delicious (virgin) shrub cocktails were mixed up by Wunderbar.

Sunday morning we got up early and drove to Santa Barbara to cash in a wine tasting voucher I got from Travelzoo a while ago. It was for Rideau Vineyard, which had a semi-obnoxious New Orleans theme, but really solid wines. I legitimately liked all 5 or 6 wines we tried, even the whites. Our guide was an older Irishman named Shay, who is basically Alex in 40 years. They were pretty much wearing the same outfit. He gave us a little tour of the vineyard and told us about the varietals they grow there (all Rhone), and the grafting of European varietals onto wild American root stock that saved wine grapes worldwide from extinction. Really! A bug that attacks grapevine roots devastated vineyards across Europe, but wild grapes from Arkansas were resistant to it. So even the finest of French wine grapes have American roots. Go USA. Way to be good for something.

This was my favorite part of the trip:

Ponies! Little teeny fat ponies!

AND little teeny mini donkeys!

After the tasting we went into the charming little town of Los Olivos for a late lunch. A little too late for me. I was already cranky. We had gazpacho at a charming place that used to be a hardware store, and still retains the name.

Those are garlic blossoms, by the way. No bigs.

We were still hungry, so we went down the block to Los Olivos Cafe for a second course. I was rather set on that place since I went there in 2008 with Nik and Nate on the way back from Outside Lands in San Francisco. It's not quite as swell when you can't eat gluten, but the tapenade was fab.

It took forever to get back to LA, but on balance it was still worth it for a beautiful day in the California countryside with my honey.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to Funemployment for a Week. Or, as Some People Call it, Vacation.

I've only been back to work for two weeks, and already I'm on vacation! No big deal. It's only a week hiatus. Gives me more time to blog! Seriously though, I've got plenty to do. I've got a fundraising campaign to launch!

My band, The Picture and the Frame, is gearing up to record a full-length album with a wonderful producer - Raymond Richards, who also produced Local Natives' debut record "Gorilla Manor." This is a fantastic opportunity. We've already recorded two tracks with him, and they sound great. The trouble is, we have to figure out how to pay for the rest of the album. That's where the fundraising comes in. We're in the "pre-launch" phase of our campaign, with the help of a site called Pledge Music.

If you'd like to hear the first cut from our new record, you can listen to it and download it for free here:

Just push the blue download button.

Catch up with my other doings after the jump.

Monday, August 20, 2012

FREE music. Just for you.

I got out of work pretty early on Friday, and headed over to Rickett's where we sat with ice packs strapped to our heads, listening to mixes of "Are You Really (Gonna Be Mine)." I'm pleased to report it sounds awesome.

On Saturday, we listened to mixes of "Okay," which also sounds awesome, and is available to download. for free. right now. Right now!

Check it out! Friend/like/follow/subscribe/hug us and stay up to date on the exciting things we've got going on these days.  We have a few show dates coming up in the next couple of months, and we would like nothing better than to see you there. We will be going back to the studio soon as well, and we'd like to involve you (yes, all of you!) in the process.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

8/15/12 - My Back Hurts, but My Heart is Happy

Tuesday night marked the successful completion of my first episode of multi-camera sitcom work. I am pleased to report that I didn't screw it up. It was a busy episode with lots of (crying) babies. Another couple episodes, and I think I'll have a handle on this whole sitcom thing. An added bonus: the stages are air-conditioned, so I've been spared from the heat. Down-side: I've been eating too much crappy food! I ate Peeps, people. Peeps! And Abba Zabbas. I couldn't even tell you the last time I ate candy. What is the matter with me? Damn, it feels good to get a paycheck though.

The other big news since I last blogged is The Picture and the Frame have been in the studio with Raymond Richards: badass producer and awesome guy. He's played with and produced some amazing local bands, including Local Natives, and now he's producing our record. We tracked on Saturday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and heard a mix of "Are You Really (Gonna Be Mine)" today. It sounds so rad. I can't wait for you all to hear it!

More pictures after the jump.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Funemployment is Over

Yesterday was my last day of funemployment. I can't believe it! So much I planned to do that will have to wait til my next bout. I've been packing it in these last few days, by which I mean eating and taking lots of naps. I'm ready to work though, no question. Somewhere around a month ago I passed the point where I was getting things done in meaningful way. Inertia starts to set in when you don't have to be anywhere at a particular time. I'm looking forward to some structure!  Remind me of that in a few weeks when I start complaining about work, will you?

I plan to continue the blog, although I may change the name to more accurately reflect the alteration of my situation. Any clever suggestions?

Wednesday was all about preparation. So many tasks I've been putting off... but first I met up with Helene in Larchmont for a cuppa and a chat. Then I ran an errand for Alex that included stopping by Paramount to see him. I brought him some cobbler, 'cause I'm awesome.

It's amazing how much you get done when you know your time is limited. I did 4 loads of laundry, washed the dishes, watered the plants, read the script, washed my car, made my lunch for the next day, and even had time to watch the last (available) episode of "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency."

I got up at 5 am today. I haven't done that in a while! It's such a blissfully easy drive to Universal from my place. A girl could really get used to this. Everybody on the show seems very nice, and I like the other folks in my department. Things were a little squirrelly today, but didn't seem so bad to me. Of course, this was my first day on a multi-cam show ever, so I have no frame of reference. There's a lighting guy on the show that I've worked with on a number of things, but other than that, it's all new faces. I had a nice surprise at the end of the day: I ran into Rick, an effects guy at "Raising Hope," by the Backlot Cafe. Yet another person I miss from "Hope."

I had some ideas about doing something social this evening, but decided it was too hot, so I made frozen yogurt instead. These peaches are just off the hook! I blanched a couple of them, blended them up with a couple dollops of Greek yogurt, a squirt of agave syrup, and the last splash of sage vodka, and stuck it in the ice cream maker. Heaven!

Core temperature lowered. Time to sleep.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

8/4/12-8/7/12 - Closing in on it

With the end of my funemployment fast approaching, I've been trying to fit in as much fun as possible. Sometimes it's just really hard, you know (sniff), when there's so much great stuff to do. Saturday, I planned to go to the I Shot Rock'n'Roll event at the Annenberg Space for Photography to see Raphael Saadiq and Band of Skulls. Well that was a total bust. I drove all the way over to Century City and waited in a huge line of cars for 15 minutes, only to be told when I was almost to the front of the line that the event was full. I get it, it's a free concert, but it was RSVP only, not to mention two hours before the event even started. Maybe don't take so many RSVPs. What's the point of an RSVP in that situation? I was one of probably a thousand or more people that got turned away (that were already there). This is the downside of all the cool stuff to do in LA: squillions of other people want to do it too. You have to show up hours before it begins, effectively dedicating a full day to your evening plans. I get really frustrated with that.

Rant aside, I was actually not too hideously bummed out. There was tons of other stuff going on that night. I called Alex to let him know what was going on, since he was supposed to meet me at the Annenberg, but he didn't answer...and then I didn't hear from him for an hour and a half, and he didn't actually show up until about 8 pm. By this point, I was hideously bummed out. So much for all the other stuff we could have done.

We ended up, after much chastising, going to Mo-Chica for a rather late dinner. I've been wanting to try that place for a while, especially after hearing the chef, Ricardo Zarate, talk at Evan Kleiman's panel at the library recently. I must say, it was a little hit or miss. The ceviche Carretillero was outstanding with big chunks of tangy seabass and a couple different kinds of corn. The causa de congrejo - a pretty little layered puck of mashed potatoes, avocado, and crab - tasted fine, but was rather uninteresting. Likewise, the papa a la Huancaina was beautifully presented, but ultimately sort of boring.

More about Mo-Chica and other exciting stuff after the jump.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What I Did on My Summer Vacation Pt. IV

My final 15 hours in Virginia passed most pleasantly. The birthday brunch extravaganza had been cleared away by paid professionals. We bid farewell to Kathleen, Travis, and Grace. Major sad face. I stuck around the Pinkerton house for some afternoon chill time. The kids played in the sprinkler while the grown-ups unwound a bit with cold, malty beverages. I had forgotten what a nuisance mosquitos are in Virginia in the Summer. Or I guess anywhere other than the dry Southwest.

Charlotte chasing butterflies
More family fun after the jump!

Monday, August 6, 2012

What I Did on My Summer Vacation Pt III

The big day dawns! My one responsibility for the birthday party of the century was to make a gluten-free blackberry cobbler for my grandmother (and myself). I made sure to get up early and get bakin'. Normally when I make stuff with fruit, I don't like to add sugar or lemon juice because I don't want to alter the taste, but these blackberries, while big and juicy, weren't winning any prizes for flavor. So I just followed the recipe. I can't remember where I found it, but it called for lemon juice and a vulgar amount of sugar.  The thing that actually sold me on it was the lemon zest. I love lemon zest in pretty much anything. I replaced the flour and leavening with gluten-free baking mix and popped that thing in the oven. Cobbler is so much easier than pie! Now that I think of it, who coined the term "easy as pie?" Pie crust is a pain in the ass! Cobbler may not be as pretty, but it's way less work.

Not so bad lookin' for a cobbler. See more after the jump!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

8/2/12-8/3/12 - And the Hits Keep Coming...In a Good Way

I spent Thursday morning through afternoon rather quietly. I made quite a bit of progress on my travelogue. Then my glue stick ran out. A minor set-back. I blogged, which reminds me, I still haven't done the final chapter of "How I Spent My Summer Vacation." I'll get to that this weekend, I suppose. I did a lot of guitar/bass playin'. I've got new songs to learn, parts to write, and older songs to relearn, since I wasn't singing them before. I got a text from Alex informing me that when he called the night before, I had answered, "What the f*$k," and hung up. I have no recollection of this, but in my defense, he did call after midnight.

Helene came by to pick me up around 6, and we went over the the Hammer Museum for The KCRW Summer Nights/Made in LA event. It was pretty cool. I love the space. I'm bummed I missed the date with Chris Douridas and Poolside last week, but that was probably much more crowded than the laid-back scene DJ-ed by Jeremy Sole this week. There were some very enthusiastic kids dancing their diminutive butts off. There's some seriously weird "art" on display up in that piece right now. I didn't see much that felt resonant. Still, Helene and I had fun, overpriced drinks and all. Check us out in the photo booth.

More after the jump!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

7/30/12-8/1/12 - Hitting the Ground Running

There is no rest for the weary. My amazing trip to Virginia kinda wore me out. Monday I had to get up at 3:30 am to get to the airport. I managed to sleep some on the plane, and then a little more in the gate at O'Hare. Then guess what? My flight got delayed again! Not too bad this time. I was back in LA by 1 pm, and Rickett was kind enough to drop everything and come pick me up at the airport. We had some Thai food and caught up, and then I crashed the F out on my couch. I had Sunken Ships practice at 8:30, not to mention other things I needed to do - like shower - so I couldn't sleep for long. So sad. I really could have slept from 4pm on through the night. But we had a great practice! So it was worth the effort.

Alex came over after work, but I was so tired, I'm pretty sure I fell asleep immediately after his arrival.

Tuesday morning I had my on-camera interview for the cooking show. Did I not mention I got a call-back? I got a call-back. I think I did okay, but immediately after leaving the room I kept thinking of more interesting answers to the questions. Oh well. At least I picked a cute outfit.

I spent the rest of the day getting myself together. Grocery store, tidying up, etc. I played my guitar a bunch, and then I had to take another nap. I'm so jetlagged! More after the jump!

What I Did on My Summer Vacation Pt. II

Friday I slept in a bit (thank God). I got up and called Kathy, figuring my cousin John and his family were probably there and all settled in. I rode my sister's bike over to find the kids in their jammies, being adorable. We hung out and chatted for a while, though it's a teensy bit difficult to maintain a conversation with two three-year-old boys on the loose.  They're very cute, but as their father says, programmed to destroy.  We decided to go out for lunch. I had a tasty garbanzo bean soup and a soba noodle salad. Gluten-free, yay! I was ever so pleased to eat at Gillie's for a second time in one trip!

When we were done eating, we took the kids across the street to play on Henderson Lawn, but we had to skedaddle in a hurry when a storm blew in. It was crazy, all of a sudden it was dark and there was all this debris blowing around. We hightailed it to the cars just in time. I'm really glad I wasn't still on the bike!

I'm not sure if you can tell, but it's raining in these pictures. I forgot that it rains in the summer. There was lightning and everything!

Laura Lee and I hung out for a bit. We tried to watch a library copy of "Annie Hall," but it was unplayable, so we had to content ourselves with an episode of "Downton Abbey." Oh shucks.

I had a late dinner at The Cellar with Catherine, which was thoroughly enjoyable. I get so excited about gluten-free pizza. Theirs wasn't the best I ever had, but it was good enough, and they ended up giving me an extra for free!
My Aunt Kathleen and her kids, Travis and Grace, showed up around 1 am, and we chatted briefly before everybody crashed. I hadn't seen any of them in a couple years, so it was great to have them there.

So much more Shawhan family fun after the jump!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

7/24/12-7/30/12 - What I Did on My Summer Vacation Pt. I

I've been semi-off-the-grid for the last few days. I've actually still been pretty on-the-grid, truth be told, but without a moment's time to email or blog. Also, without my laptop. I confess, it felt kind of good. Still, I've enjoyed this new blogging habit of mine, and I missed it a little. I will have to do a lot of editing here. So much happened in such a short time!

I had it in my head that I was flying out on Wednesday. That turned out not to be true. Luckily, my mom double-checked my itinerary, and reminded me that I was, in fact, flying on Tuesday. I spent a pretty long time in O'Hare, due to both scheduled layover and flight delays. There are really a lot worse places to be stuck. I went through my second favorite airport tunnel (second to the one in Detroit) to Concourse C.