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June 28, 2004


I sure am smappy today! This is how I work things. Days and days (and days) without posting, and then BAM! Three in one day. Heh.

We had an earthquake this morning. Eeeeeearly in the morning, about 1:10 am. I hadn't gone to sleep until almost midnight, so when I woke up, I was like "is it morning yet?" I felt the bed shake, and something on my desk was rocking and rattling.

I thought I'd imagined the bed shaking. And at first, I thought maybe the cat had knocked something on the desk. But the door was closed, and the cat was not in my room. So then I thought maybe a train had gone by. But then I realized we SO do not live that close to the train tracks, as I've NEVER in my life had anything rattle due to a train. Can't even HEAR the train from here. So then I thought, maybe a big truck dropped one of the sewers they're putting in down the street, which made the ground shake. But then I realized it was 1 in the morning, and why on earth would they be working in the middle of the night? So I just rolled over and went back to sleep and figured I'd imagined it, or something.

Then, when I woke up this morning, I remembered the shaking. I thought it couldn't have been an earthquake... could it? So I went online and put in "Illinois earthquake" and sure enough.... it WAS! We had an earthquake!

And I'm not even living in California yet! So, I survived my first earthquake. It was practice. Heh.

Here's the story, if you're interested.

Trip to LA

Oh-kay! Before I forget too much of this, let me post about my trip. Since there wasn't very much "business" to take care of after the roommate fiasco, it was a pretty enjoyable vacation. [I didn't take many pictures, but they'll be posted in the "more" section.]

After recovering from finding out I'll be moving alone, we headed out to see some of the town. Our hotel was on Sunset and La Brea, about two blocks from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Mann's Chinese Theatre. We first set off for the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Sunset for some caffiene and people watching. That is a very enjoyable place that we subsequently visited many times. Then we went driving up in the hills, looking at the sprawling houses and beautiful views of the city. After the drive, we headed to Mann's Chinese Theatre to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. (I liked it better the second time around.) After that, we took a stroll down Sunset again to a little Indian restaurant recommended by the hotel staff. It was yummy!

I had my interview at noon, so we headed out about 11. Got there awfully early, but that was okay. They took me to lunch and then back to the branch to meet the regional manager. It was, all in all, a three-hour ordeal, but it was good. After the interview, I met up with Sarah and Suzanne and we headed into Downtown LA to pick Noora up from the bus station. Once we found Noora, we went back to the hotel for a bit before meeting Noora's friend Angela for dinner at Mel's Drive-In.

Noora stayed at the hotel with us, because Angela had to work. I had an appointment to look at an apartment in West Hollywood, so Suzanne, Noora and I went. Sarah opted to stay home. Well, the guy never showed. Bummer! We went back and collected Sarah before going for a drive (and more house gazing) in Beverly Hills. We had a brief emergency stop at the Beverly Hills City Hall for Sarah to use the washroom before pointing the car towards Santa Monica and the 3rd Street Promenade. On the way, we saw Dave Navarro in his Hummer (I had NO idea who this was, but Sarah and Suzanne were pretty excited). We ate on the Promenade, strolled through some of the shops, and then headed to Westwood for the Spider-Man 2 Premiere.

We arrived about two hours before it was supposed to start, to get ourselves some parking. Angela had told us about a lot that was inexpensive. We stopped at Starbucks, and then headed across the street from the red carpet hoopla, where there were no barriers and no crowds. We parked ourselves on a bench and sat back with our coffee. Before long, however, people started gathering by us, and barriers were put up. Oh well. We were at the front of the pack, in any case!

As people started to arrive, their limos dropped them off directly across the street from us. And the neat thing was that anyone directly involved with the film came across the street to greet us. Alfred Molina (Doc Ock), James Franco (Harry), Willem Dafoe (The Green Goblin), Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane) and Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man) all came over, along with the creator, the director, and a few others. The non-Spider-Man people did not cross the street (I think they were told not to), but Maroon 5, Hal Sparks, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and many others were there. Then Sarah (our Sarah, not Michelle Gellar) pointed off to the side across the street and said "Dom!" Heh. I don't think he arrived in a limo, but Dominic Monaghan was there, too. We waved and he waved back. That was fun. Pictures of all of this in "More"

After everyone was inside the theatre, we headed to Jerry's Deli to meet Angela for dinner. It was tasty!

Noora was off with Angela, so Sarah, Suzanne and I headed to Burbank for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. We went in the morning to make a reservation for the afternoon. On the way, we saw Josh Duhamel (Tad in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!... who I didn't know at all, but Sarah and Suzanne recognized). We had a few hours to kill before the tour, so we drove out to Encino to check out the Extended Stay I'll be staying in, and to make a reservation.

We went back for the tour, and were mistakenly given tickets to the screening of A Cinderella Story. The lady took Suzanne's away when she asked about it. The tour itself was pretty neat. They have a Harry Potter exhibit in the museum, which was probably my favorite part. Costumes and props from the third movie, mostly. Some from the first two. We got sorted by the sorting hat (Sarah and I got put into Hufflepuff, Suzanne, coincidentally a redhead, was sorted as a Weasley into Gryffindor, which was all done with random sound clips from the movie). The rest of the tour was neat... we went onto the "Gilmore Girls" Yale set (I'll have to watch the show now to see it), and got to see the new set for "Joey".

After the tour, we headed into downtown Burbank for food and to walk around a bit. Real cute place. I can't really remember what we did after Burbank... huh.

Since Angela works at Disneyland, she was going to just take Noora to work with her. Suzanne and I headed out to meet Noora and hang out at the Land of the Mouse. We started at Disney's California Adventure, rode the Tower of Terror, the California Screamer, saw Muppets 3D, rode a ferris wheel over the Bay, and ate at a Mexican restaurant before heading over to Disneyland. There, we did the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Star Tours, Mister Toad's Wild Ride, Small World, Matterhorn Mountain, Jungle Cruise, and Indiana Jones. Pirates of the Caribbean was, sadly, closed all afternoon. They kept saying they'd reopen, but it hadn't happened by the time we headed back across to California Adventure for Soarin' Over California (which was totally awesome). After that, we went to Disneyland Grand Hotel for dinner, and then headed home. Whew!

Sarah and Suzanne went up to Santa Barbara for the day, and Elaina came down from Bakersfield to do some apartment hunting with me. We drove all around Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Encino, and Woodland Hills looking at places. We didn't actually go into any, but called on a few to see about vacancies and price range. We stopped at Johnny Rocket's in Encino for lunch, and ended up eating a few booths over from Jeri Ryan from Boston Public/Star Trek Voyager. I've never seen either show. Heh.

After lunch, we made our way to Santa Monica to go to the Pier. We had ice cream, waded in the ocean, walked along the beach (sounds like a date, huh? *laugh*), and watched some guys play volleyball. Then we went to the Promenade for some window shopping and more Starbucks before heading back to Hollywood and the hotel.

Suzanne, Sarah and I went to Melrose for some shopping. We went into Fred Segal for some sticker shock ($750 for a little cardigan), and to the Beverly Center (just a regular mall... nothin' special), and then to the music warehouse to try to purchase Spider-Man. They didn't have it. We went back to Sunset to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf one last time, made one last stop at Tower Records and Tower Video, and then headed towards the airport. We got there pretty early, but better early than late.

The flight was uneventful. Watched Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! so I got to see who Josh Duhamel was. Heh. We got in to Chicago early, but for some reason, it took over an HOUR to get our luggage. Ack! Arrived home about 2 in the morning, and that was that.

The lesson learned: I need to buff up on my celebrities. I would have recognized almost no one if it hadn't been for Suzanne and Sarah. I don't watch a lot of TV, so I didn't know half the shows they were talking about. Maybe I should take out a subscription to US Magazine. Ha ha ha. Or not. Anyway.

Below, pictures of Willem Dafoe, James Franco, Kirsten Dunst, Tobey Maguire, and Dom Monaghan.

Spider-Man 2 Premiere

Willem Dafoe

James Franco

Kirsten Dunst

Tobey Maguire

And then, embarrassingly, this popped up on Getty Images...

It has got to be the absolute WORST picture of me EVER. For some reason, I was weirded out by all the people reaching out to touch Tobey, so I was leaning back away from him as far as I could. *laugh* Awful, awful, awful. It could have been a picture of me shaking Tobey Maguire's hand, but instead, it's me making a face, leaning away, and looking generally horrible. And it's from a professional image service. Ack!


Not nearly as clear as ones of people who did cross the street, but it's Dom! With my camera! Heh.

The Roommate Situation

Most of you probably know by now, but my would-be roommate for Los Angeles is no longer going to be moving. I spent the last week in California with the intention of finding an apartment. Well, Sunday morning, Sarah (the roommate) and I were up early, sitting by the pool and circling apartments to call about. She went to grab her cell phone from the room, and didn't return. Once we'd all showered and were getting ready to head out to look at some places, she sat down and told me she isn't moving.

It came as a complete shock to me, but probably shouldn't have. I should have seen the warning signs. My mom was *extremely* concerned that Sarah would back out, and I kept saying "She had plans to move a year or two ago, and HER roommate situation fell through. She won't back out." I'm too trusting of people. Or too naive. Or something. I did ask her a number of times if she was SURE she was moving, and she always said yes, of course. She couldn't wait.

Basically, everything went up in the air from that point. My replacement at work here has been hired, and has started working already. I had an interview Monday with the offices out there (which went well... I'm in). If I stayed here, I'd have to start over at a new location with a new customer base. If I go there, I'll be at a new location with a new customer base. The job out there is a lot more involved and complex and there's a LOT to learn and be responsible for, but it'll be a growing experience and a challenge. Here, it'll be more of the same.

So, I'm still going. I feel like I need a roommate, based on rent I've been finding. I guess my plan as of now is to go as planned at the end of July, but stay in an Extended Stay hotel for a few weeks (extremely expensive, but not locked into a lease) while I figure out where to live and who to live with.

And that, my friends, is that.

June 15, 2004

Vin, Lance, Dido

Lookit that, two posts in one day! *gasp* Hee. It's my day off, so I've got a bit of time before I have to jump up and get my hair cut. My girl just cancelled, though, so I'm going to someone else... *chews fingernails* That's a scary thing. Oh well. Hopefully she does a good job! *crosses fingers* I really am a bit nervous. I have an interview next week, and I'd like to look nice, y'know?


I had a couple drawings that I did for people's birthdays, and, therefore, couldn't post, in case they stumbled across this. Heh. Aaaaaaaanyway....

I didn't post Vin yet, did I? This one was for Heather.

(for some reason, I wasn't able to load a thumbnail. *kicks Photobucket*)

And for Noora:

And, randomly, as Noora was on the computer, I attempted Dido (who was on the cover of a Finnish magazine Noora brought me). I don't know how much of a likeness it actually is, but I kinda like her hair. Hee.

Noora's Visit (a Photojournal)

This is possibly very, very long. We'll see how motivated I am. *wink*

Day One: Thursday

I'd forgotten a very important disk at work, and since Noora needed to exchange her money for smaller bills anyway, we went in to the bank. After the brief stop at work during which I tried to skirt the question of how I knew her, we took a walk through downtown N'Ville.

We got Cold Stone (Noora agrees that cake batter ice cream should be offered everywhere), poked through a resale shop called Serendipity, browsed through the little bookstore, and strolled down the River Walk. It was the absolute most gorgeous day ever. Ever.

Every year, the N'Ville United Way does a themed... theme throughout downtown. Little statues that local artists paint and they auction off at the end of the summer. Last year it was teddy bears, this year it's Farm Friends. Noora liked this sparkly lamb best. I decided the Pirate Sheep was pretty cool.

And then, after dinner, we played an exciting round (or two) of *Nsync Backstage Pass. Noora kept getting questions like What's Lance's middle name? or What's JC's birthday? or What's Justin's favorite color? While I got questions like Who is JC's favorite cartoon character? (Plastic Man, if you're curious) or What kind of cologne does Justin wear? (Abercrombie Woods). Needless to say, she won and I lost.

It's okay, I'l keep her around for a few more days.

Day Two: Friday

We started off the day trying to find the Finnish Consulate so Noora could vote. After a few missed turns, and with the help of my mom's car's navigation system, we found it. But not before we endured a bit of bad traffic/road rage.

... Only the woman running the voting wasn't in for two more hours. No worries, the little town the consulate is in is rather quaint, and was fun to drive through. Also, quite close to Shelley's house, so we pointed the car (and navigation system) in that direction to meet up for lunch.

We explored Suzy's town, and then went back for the actual voting.

Afterwards, we headed up north (waaaaaay north) to the IMAX to meet Meg and Dor for some Harry Potter! That's Noora with her freaky-ass, poster-matching eyes.

And that's the end of Day 2.

Day Three: Saturday

We took the train into the city, because they have a nifty $5 weekend pass. Yay for weekend passes! That's us awaiting the train.

We took a Water Taxi down the Chicago River to Navy Pier. Yay for $3 transportation across town!

Before entering the Pier, Noora refused to play Ring 'Round the Rosie with the children, but I channeled my inner child and joined in. I'm not about to fall down, regardless of what it might look like.

Noora didn't have too much pride to get her picture taken with the giant pig, however. He had a really cute corkscrew tail on his backside, too.

We then strolled down the Pier, keeping our eyes peeled for cute navy boys (disappointingly, there were plenty of navy boys, but none worth mentioning). We also couldn't pass up the giant Ferris Wheel. It doesn't look that high, but we're towering above the skyline! Really! Heh. And the other side of the Wheel, with Lake Michigan in the background. Also, just the lake, from the ferris wheel. Doesn't it almost look tropical?

Afterwards, we strolled further up the pier, and then made our way back down via the stained glass museum.She's thinking real hard about that one... And the one I liked best...Thank you, Vanna.

And did a little shopping. And pretended it's REALLY summer and stopped briefly <at the beach. We were tempted to stop and sunbathe... but weren't quite dressed for it.

We then walked (blocks and blocks and blocks) to Ed Debevic's for lunch. Love that place! The wait staff is amusingly rude, and dances on the counters, and they have the best chocolate shakes ever. Yum! Isn't she adorable in her little hat?

We then walked some more, up to the Magnificent Mile, and did a bit of window shopping, and then reading of books in Borders. And then we walked back to the train station. And then, when we got to my town, we walked from the train station home. It was a day of walking, that's for sure. But only spent $8 on transportation, and got a workout! Yay!

Oo, also, Noora was on the hunt for the June Bop with Tony Lucca in it, and finally, at the train station, she found it! Yay for Tony!

And that, my friends, was the end of Day 3. Whew!

Day Four: Sunday

I, sadly, didn't take anymore pictures after Saturday, but I'll tell you about the rest. On Sunday, we went shopping. We met up with Megan from Wheaton(tm) and went to Target first. Noora wanted to see a Target. She and I both found some super-cute shoes. Yay for super-cute shoes!

We headed over to Woodfield next, to do a little browsing. Noora was taken with Bath and Body Works, and we browsed Build-A-Bear and the Disney Store before heading across the street for some Starbucks (which she'd never had), Famous Footwear (where she purchased gym shoes to hopefully avoid the blisters caused by walking lots and lots in sandals or borrowed shoes), and the Container Store. Ohmigosh, Noora loved the Container Store! She was out of cash, but I promised I'd bring her back.

We spent Sunday night listening to Noora talk about Finland. The whole family. It was really neat! She went online and found pictures and everything. Totally fascinating. We were educated in all things Finnish. Sort of. *g*

Day Five: Monday

Last day. Sadness! We went to the Cumberland station, which happens to also be the closest Greyhound station, so Noora could buy her ticket to Minneapolis for that evening. And then, as promised, returned to the Container Store. Noora bought a portfolio to use as a scrap book, and lusted over many, many other things.

Afterwards, we headed to 7-Eleven for Slurpees. Noora had wanted to go to a 7-Eleven. Yummeh. Hee. We came home and watched American TV. *laugh* A Makeover Story and Clean Sweep and While You Were Out (which I don't really care too much for) and Trading Spaces and What Not to Wear (my absolute favorite!). A day of TLC, man. Doesn't get any better than that. *laugh*

Then, we did the final thing Noora had asked to do: went to an American grocery store. I took her to Dominick's, and the first thing she said was "No wonder you eat so many vegetables! There are SO MANY here!" Hee. She said her entire grocery store would fit in the produce section. We bought things for dinner, and went home and grilled out. We were in a bit of a rush to get to the Greyhound station for her bus, but we made it with plenty of time, as the Traffic Gods were with us.

And that, my friends, was my mini-vacation with Noora. She'll actually be in LA next week, same as me, so I'm hoping to meet up with her again.

June 11, 2004

Ack! It's gone blank again!

I've actually been really busy lately, which is the reason for the non-updates. I do need to utilize this sucker more often, but I've just been coming home and crashing, for the most part.

Noora visited from Finland last weekend. She was here from Wednesday through Monday. I was her first stop in her over two month trip to the US, and it was pretty neat! I was planning on doing a whole post with pictures and all, but I just haven't seemed to find the time. It was great to have her, though.

I'm also trying to get things ready to move. Next Saturday I'm going out to find an apartment. Next Saturday!!! Can you believe it? When I return, I'll have, I think, two and a half weeks of work left. Gah! SO MUCH TO DO!

I'm going to get an ulcer.

I can't believe it's come so quickly, man. On July 15, I'll be leaving for a wedding in Washington, DC, and I'll return, I think, on the 21st. Pretty much right after that, we leave. Stress! I have to pack all my crap! Stress! Stress!

Okay, that's enough whining and complaining. I have to go to work now. Heh.