Friday, June 25, 2010

We All Just Wanna Be Big Rockstars

Circa 1984, I was a Rockstar for a brief shining moment. I was asked to front my then boyfriend, now husband's band Ariasonic, after their long haired, screaming singer quit the band. Click the link if you want a good laugh. You can listen to our music and see our music video that hubby recently edited together. We even have an album! Remember those? Round vinyl things that play music when a needle on it goes around and around? My hubby/guitarist was determined to make an album. It was actually an EP with only 5 songs on it, but it happened and he designed it from the logo, to the album cover. We considered ourselves high energy rock. It was the 80's, the time for music, we even had t-shirts made! A funny story, I was at the bus stop and saw this guy wearing our t-shirt. I didn't recognize him, so I asked where he got it. He looked at me strangely and I said I'm the lead singer of that band (Which if he was a fan, he would've known) and he answered that he got it from his cousin (Which was our bass player). Who knows if he even heard our music, hey free t-shirt! Our stardom was short lived as after we made the album, we tried to make a video and everyone slowly dropped out of the band.

I may not rock the mic anymore, but I still love to sing and perform whenever I can. Watch out karaoke night! I will always remember my AquaNet days fondly and my daughter loves to crack up at our old pictures! Dad is wearing eyeliner! I've always loved music and loved to sing. I want to remember my glory days like the ladies from "Mamma Mia" and Rock Out, not rock in the rocking chair!

Friday, June 18, 2010

High School Musicals, Keep Em Coming!

I'm a sucker for musicals. I love them in any way, shape or form. Musicals are my secret escape to a world of singing, dancing, romance and joy. I like them on television, on the movie screen and on stage.

I just finished a tour of musicals from our local High Schools. My daughter's school's spring musical was "The Pajama Game". Not as well known as most, but a fun romp through the workings of a pajama factory, where the employees and management have issues with each other. This one was dear to my heart because I was in this musical in High School. The songs are fun and catchy and my daughter was dismayed when she caught me singing along. Her show choir group performed a medley from "Guys and Dolls". This is one of my favorites. We also performed this at my school, but the year before I joined Musical Theatre. Another fun show, with great music.

Last week, I went to 3 musicals at 3 different High Schools. Here's a quick explanation as to why. My daughter went to a Performing Arts Middle School and now she goes to a Performing Arts High School. When she culminated, all her friends went to different schools. A small amount of them continued on to perform, so this is our way of supporting everyone and see what each school has to offer.

First stop, Peter Pan at Central High School of the Visual and Performing Arts. This school is brand spanking new and is visually interesting. Made of concrete and steel, it's strange that it's so blank considering it's an arts school. Hopefully we'll see some murals on the sterile gray walls one day. For their first production, they did a terrific job. The girl who played Peter Pan went to my daughter's middle school and she was amazing. She and the cast actually flew! There was even a girl who climbed up sheets hung from the ceiling ala Cirque du Soleil! It was pretty amazing. Their sets were colorful and whimsical and the costumes were great, considering the students made most of them. It was a bit long, but they did a great job! I'm glad I was able to witness their first performance.

Next stop Hollywood High School for their rendition of "Rent". This is another one of my favorite shows and seeing a great job done last year by another High School, I was interested in comparing notes. The sets were pretty similar to the other High School's, but the talent was amazing. My daughter was going to go here this year, but we found another school closer, but her best friend goes here and we have to support her. The cool thing about Hollywood High is that you never know who is going to be in the audience. The kids were thrilled that some Broadway cast members were in the audience and one even joined them at their wrap party. The kids were dedicated to the show. The girl who played Mimi fell backstage and broke her wrist, but she finished the show and then came back to perform the final two shows with a camouflaged cast, even though she had an understudy. Again, we were so happy that we could be a part of such a wonderful production.

The next day was our final stop of our Musical Tour. We went to the final performance of "Grease" at Verdugo Hills High School. Since it was the Broadway version, there were parts and songs different from the movie, which was nice because it was unexpected. The two leads were fantastic, considering the male lead (Danny) had strep throat with 102 fever and the female lead (Sandy) blew out her knee again. The cast complemented each other and although the sets were simple, they were colorful. They had several surprises, the first was a full marching band that played down the aisles and onstage and the other, the vocal teacher/producer played guitar and sang during the dance scene. The performance was fun and bittersweet for the students because it was the drama teacher's last show. Due to stupid school politics, he has to leave. I'm not sure what that means for drama next year, but it's truly a loss.

We are planning on seeing the Will Rogers Follies and In The Heights Broadway tours this summer. And there is a movie coming out called "Standing Ovation". which showcases 5 Middle School friends who have a dream to perform. I am proud to say I'm a "Gleek" and will willingly check out any musical that is showing, good or bad.

I hope that people on the School Board realize how important the arts are in schools. Most of these performers wouldn't have considered it if they didn't have an outlet for their talent. My daughter had dreams of being on Broadway, but for now I think she's happy just performing. I'm happy just watching all this talent. If you're interested in seeing the pictures I have taken at all these shows, feel free to check out my Facebook Photo Album.

I will always love musicals and the Theatre. I will continue to support the arts as long as I have a song in my heart!

V for Victory, not Violence!

Before I start my confession, can I just vent?? I live in L.A. and the Lakers are pretty much heroes in our town. Whenever we have the playoffs and finals, you can see the purple and gold wearing, flags flying, sports bar hanging people around, which is fine and dandy until you mix the alcohol and violence. Last year we had a riot outside the Staples center for a victory at an away game. This year, we had a home game and the cops were ready with the riot squad whether we won or lost, but the fools still set stuff on fire, injured people and damaged property. I was watching the news last night after the game and saw bloody innocent bystanders, cars being vandalized and set on fire and bottles thrown at cops. Can you imagine if any celebrities were injured, how this would impact the way things are handled? The fans suffer and the ones doing the foolishness are not true fans, just troublemakers looking to be on the news. Is this any way to spread the joy of the win??? So in my book, Laker wins are bittersweet. Enthusiasm is good, vandalism is not. Lets see what happens at the parade on Monday!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I Heart Free Stuff!

Last week I talked about my 99 Only shopping addiction. This week I'm going to talk about something better. What could be better than getting stuff for 99 cents you ask? Getting something for nothing, nada, absolutely FREE!

Every day I get something free in my mailbox. I get samples, coupons, offers, magazines and other assorted sundries. How do I do it? Networking, subscribing to blogs and e-newsletters, calling or emailing companys, signing up for offers and joining clubs. On my birthday I ate free at restaurants for the whole week, breakfast, lunch and dinner and got dessert as well. This past month I've received coupons for getting 6 items from Kraft and 3 bread items from Thomas and Orowheat for free! Sign up with Vocalpoint and Kraft First Taste and get the opportunity to try new items for FREE!

I subscribe to some great newsletters that help you save money with offers and coupon combining to get free items. Hip2Save is a great blog and Collin is really funny. She shares videos, tips and has great giveaways. Mommies With Cents is another blog that shares fun stuff.

My hubby finds a lot of free stuff via Craigslist and recently I've started exploring my local Freecycle. Freecyle is cool because you can ask for stuff or you can take stuff being offered. It's localized so you don't have to go to Timbuktu to pick up things. You never know if someone has the exact thing you need unless you ask!

I have a history of winning contests. Unfortunately, I never win money (darn!) but I win STUFF! A few years ago, we won a contest put on by Panasonic called Living in HD. You told Panasonic why your family was technologically challenged and the prize was over $50,000 worth of HD products. They chose families from across the US and was going to have 100 winners for the whole year. We were the first of 10 families to win and it was such a great experience. We won a 50" plasma television with home theatre system, 2 digital cameras,laptop computer and other great hd stuff and plus we were in a commercial! We had a challenge every week to use our equipment and had a movie crew set up in our house for 4 weekends filming our every move. One of our challenges was doing a PSA. You can check it out here. Panasonic is still being lovely to us and offering us chances to try items and then we get to keep them! We received a Leather massage chair with ottoman, last week received the Instyler, pedicure helper and facial pore cleanser. I can't wait to see what they offer next!

Just yesterday my hubby came home with a perfectly good shredder that he found on the side of the road. We were just talking about needing one! We have no issue with taking other people's castaways. I'd rather have someone take it and enjoy it than letting it sit in a landfill for years.

Getting free stuff is like Christmas all year long. You never know what treasures await you when the mailman comes! Although he probably hates me with all the free magazines I've been getting! Check out my links and join in on the fun!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Don't You Understand the Concept of Merge, People?

It's soapbox time! To quote Popeye, "That's all I can stands and I can't stands no more!" Everyday I take 2 freeways to work. Within these freeways there are multiple merges into lanes. Everyday stupid people think it's o.k. to drive on the sliver of shoulder on the right side where the merge begins just to get in front of everyone who is merging correctly. Arrrgh! Whenever I see these "buttinskys" driving up, I put my rather large SUV in the middle of the lane so they won't have room to get in front. Unfortunately tiny cars like Mini Coopers and the Prius can still squeeze rudely through and then I give them "The Glare". I'm sure most of these people drive these freeways on a regular basis and they KNOW that the merge is coming, but to shave off a few seconds, they'd rather try and squeeze and get into a potential accident than waiting politely like everyone else.

I live in California and yes, you can believe all the stories about traffic. But another thing they love to do is Road Construction! So daily, you will find a street with orange cones that say "Right Lane Closed Ahead", or "Slow for Construction". You can see the signs a mile away, but do people anticipate and go into the left lane or slow down? Noooo! They zoom faster to get in front of people trying to get into the left lane, or they are stuck in the right lane expecting US to let them in. I'm sorry, but it's not my fault you can't follow directions, so why do I have to be nice to you? Did you let me merge when we were on the freeway? I think not!

Since my daughter will be able to drive soon, I've been trying to teach her about rude drivers and trying not to use unsightly language and gestures. I often mutter things and she always says, "Mom, they can't hear you." I know this, but somehow it makes me feel better calling them names out loud.

Some days I am in a good mood and let them merge in front of me, even though they were behind me, but my mood changes if they don't do "The Wave". I believe there was a Seinfeld episode about this very thing! If you are being nice, it's just wrong not to acknowledge that you were being nice. And another thing when someone cuts you off and they don't do the "Sorry" wave and they speed up and act like they didn't do anything. Then I drive up next to them and give them "The Glare", but usually they don't make eye contact.

Yes, I'm a defensive driver and have the potential to break out in road rage, but I always signal, I turn my head to look behind me, I wave if someone lets me in and I do a sorry wave if I cut someone off accidentally. I believe that we will have World Peace before we achieve driving with manners.

So a word of warning, Californians do not like bad drivers, but yet they are bad drivers themselves, so beware if you are from somewhere else and are on the road. And if you merge into a big, red SUV, then be afraid, be very afraid!

Friday, June 04, 2010

It's Only 99 Cents!

My confession for today is something that I kind of have under control now. It used to be a little overboard, but now I've reeled it in somewhat. I've always been a shopaholic, ever since I had babysitting money to spend. Although I liked to shop, I always shopped sales and bargains. I wasn't a "designer" girl. I liked getting more bang for my buck, so I always shopped at discount stores and places like Pic N Save (now Big Lots).

Then the beautiful era of the dollar stores emerged and it was joyful! When the first dollar stores came out, they had cutesy resin statue things, generic food, utensils, party supplies, etc. and they weren't that much fun. They wised up and started carrying name brand closeouts, fresh produce, refrigerated and frozen foods and STUFF! They had make up, toys, accessories, books and other goodies that were name brand but were closed out in one way or another. My hubby sells close out food and he says sometimes when they change the packaging or size or have a contest, they have to get rid of the old and make room for the new. That's when 99 only, The Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Big Lots, etc. get the deals and resell.

Some examples of the amazing things gotten for .99 organic mixed green salad 2lbs, Littlest Pet Shop play sets, Harry Potter 20 questions game, first 3 series of Friends DVDs, Fiber one yogurt, Sara Lee bread and bagels and the list goes on. My hubby even got 2 leather jackets for Christmas gifts for .99 each! I get very excited when I come home with a treasure. My hubby works right next to a 99 only and sometimes we are on the same wavelength and buy the same things. Now we call each other first before we shop.

It's great that I'm getting all these deals, but going and scouting every other day and picking up goodies at .99 a pop sure adds up. I also have an issue with getting two of everything when I find good stuff. Yes, I am getting a bargain, but at the end of the month, I've spent a good chunk of change, .99 at a time. My hubby is always warning me that I am nickel and dimeing the bank account, so I am trying not to visit as often as I used to.

While looking for the 99 only logo, I came across this interesting blog entry from last year about having 99 Only sponsor your wedding. I would've liked to see photos from the weddings and see how it turned out.

I always joke that if I ever win the lottery, I will still be shopping at dollar stores, just buying more stuff! There used to be a stigma attached to shopping at dollar and close out stores, but now they are so mainstream, you can see all walks of life shopping and saving. I'm sure I'll continue shopping frugally as long as these stores are around and getting excited when I find special things. I'll proudly wear my crown as the Queen of the 99 Store!