Monday, December 30, 2013

13 Things I Learned in 2013

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that at the end of every year, I list what I learned. Like, in 2011, I learned exactly 11 things.  And, in 2012, I learned 12 things.  I dunno how it worked out like that but this year, I learned THIRTEEN THINGS WHOA!  Hey, at least I'm improving, right?

It has come to my attention that people are doing this on Facebook and that I should be outraged.  I am not outraged, I am happy.  This is not the most original idea in the world, guys.  I'm sure someone did it in 2009 before I did.  Besides, I think it's cool to read other people's lists so there.

2013 started out great for me.  I got drunk, wore a tiny hat, made kissy-lips to a pink toy dinosaur and ended up in a hot tub in Palm Springs with my nearest and dearest when the clock struck midnight.  This year was mainly good, partly stressful. I made some new friends and I failed a few times.  We had some scary things happen health-wise in our family.  But, as the year is coming to a close, I'm grateful that everyone is doing well.  It's true what they say, trying times really bring people together.  So, I learned to take advantage of every moment you have with people.  I also learned these 13 things:

1)  It's okay to talk openly about your health issues.  True, people will make fun of you all day on Twitter for being gluten-free, but in reality, it's good to put it out there.  If my writing about my struggle with Interstitial Cystitis helped anyone at all, it was worth it.

2) My flakiness is apparently hilarious.

3) I still want to be a writer, no matter what happens.  I had some career near-misses and disappointments this year but they didn't drag me down too much.  I'm still determined.  So, I know I'm on the right path and that's something.

4)  You shouldn't make assumptions.  Just because someone's dressed in a frog suit running down the middle of Wilshire Boulevard doesn't mean he's real-life Frogger.

5) You should say "Yes" to new things even if they're terrifying.  I was a guest on a podcast for the very first time this year.  It was way more fun than I imagined it would be.  (I imagined it would be torture, like a sale at Old Navy or having to talk to a toddler on the phone.) But, I had a great time.

6) I'm super old but it's totally fine that I still rock my combat boots.

7) I'm incredibly bossy.  I love telling people what to do!  Especially when it comes to books or dogs.

8) There are at least 33 things that make me happy including but not limited to pandas and pleather.

9) If you tweet something about England being cooler than America because of their nation-wide stance on equal marriage rights, people get really weird and mad and also think you're English.  I also learned I don't give a backflipping shit. (A backflipping shit is cuter than a flying shit, right?)

10) You can totally be married for a decade (to the same person even!) and it will be amazing and you'll still love them just as much ten years later.  It happens.

11) It's really fun and awesome to meet online friends in real life.  I mean, mainly.  I mean, especially if they're Kim Holcomb! If you're reading this and on Twitter, follow @KimHolcomb stat!

12) J. J. Abrams should hire me pronto.  I have sooooo many ideas for the new Star Wars film and they're all 100% flawlessly perfect in every way.

13) My dog is the best dog.  Yes he is.  Case in point: Hogan McSmalls plays hide-and-seek.

Hope you also learned amazing things in 2013 and I hope you have the very bestest 2014 possible!  Cheers!

*photo by I think Monte but maybe Edi.  Or Roberto.  Or maybe the toy dinosaur was doing a selfie and I photobombed.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Cute Festive Parent People

Hi!  Happy Thursday!  Only 6 days until Christmas, guys.  Are you still shopping?  I'm not.  I'm just sitting around geeking out over this picture of my parents.  I was looking through old photos last week and I found this gem.  I need to frame it with the quickness.  I mean, HOW CUTE ARE THEY?? It's pretty much making my whole holiday season.

I don't know what year this is but I know it was before I was born.  My parents were married for a decade before they had me so this photo could've been taken in the 60s, and judging by my mother's amazing hair, that would be a good guess.  (Another good guess is that she'll know the exact year when she reads this blog because she's smart like that.)  I love everything about it.  I love the weird tinsel on that fat tree, I love love love my mom's dress and I love my dad's awesome suit and skinny tie.  I love how adorable they are.  Ahhhhh, I'm obsessed with this picture.

Maybe I've been watching too much Love Actually, but it does seem to me that the holiday season is the perfect time to get all mushy.  You can get away with a little extra schmaltz this time of year.  So here I go.  I'm gonna see these two in Texas in four days and I'm gonna hug them really hard.  Because, seriously, I hit the parental jackpot.

This is probably my last post before the holiday so I'd like to wish you guys the merriest of Christmases, the happiest of holidays, the kick-ass-iest of New Year's and the best of everything.  See you in 2014.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Very Impersonals Christmas

Hi guys!  Today, over at, I've written a very special holiday letter because I love you guys so much.   It's extremely festive and super merry, just like me!  Head on over there and check it out.

Also, tomorrow night I'll be on The Impersonals' podcast talking about dogs, vodka and who knows what else, it's an hour and twenty minutes long!  Maybe I can turn the discussion to ewoks and candy corn!  Anyway, you can listen to the podcast here at 8pm PST and 5pm EST!

It's a very Impersonals week for me.  YAY!

Monday, December 16, 2013

My 10 Favorite Albums Of 2013

There are some good things about social media.  I mean, sure, there are probably too many selfies and too many photos of brunch happening. But, I think there are several things that rock.  I like being able to tell everyone good or bad news all at once.  I like knowing how my friends in New York decorated their trees.  I like making people look at pictures of my dog at least four times a week.  This past week or so, I've love love loved seeing people list their Top 10 Albums of the year.  This is awesome.  This is what social media is for.  I want to know what my friends dig.  I want to know if I'd dig it too.  Of course I have to participate and OF COURSE I have to turn it into a blog post.  I never said I wasn't the most obnoxious person ever, you guys.

While it was happening, I didn't realize it was a great year in music.  But when I started making this list, I had 23 albums.  I narrowed it down to 18 and then I sat there like an idiot for almost an hour watching Home Alone and trying to commit to just 10.  I didn't want to take any of them off the list.  But, the deal is your 10 favorite albums of the year, not your 18 favorites, so here are mine, pretty much in order.  I think.  Let me just say upfront that I don't like Vampire Weekend and I've only given Yeezus a very quick listen once or twice.  So, I don't want to hear about how I "left them off."  Yes, I did leave them off but it was intentionally, okay? Okay.  Here we go:

1)The National - Trouble Will Find Me

If you know me, you know that I'm head over for The National.  They've been my favorite band for ages and I was itching for a new album but I didn't really think they could live up to High Violet (one of my top 10 albums ever).  But, they did it.  On the first listen, I got obsessed with "Demons" and "Pink Rabbits" (above) but now I'm just obsessed with the whole thing.  If you don't already have it, get it!  Get obsessed like me!  Let's sit around and eat Milk Duds and talk about how dreamy Matt Berninger is and debate how you make a pink rabbit!

2) Haim - Days Are Gone

Haim is one of those you either love them or you hate them bands and I've found that a lot of people with the same taste in music as me fall into the hate them category.  I, however, think they're the shit.  To me, they sound like everything 80s but in the best, freshest way possible.  My theory is that if you're old enough to remember the 80s fondly, you'll dig them because they're like if Phil Collins met, um, someone cooler than Phil Collins.  If you're too young to remember the 80s at all, you'll like Haim because it all sounds so new and not at all like Phil Collins.  That made sense, right?  If you're in that in between spot where you're like eww this in annoying, oh well, too bad for you, you're missing out on awesome tracks  like "The Wire" (above) and "Falling."  I've played this album non-stop since it came out.  It's my 'getting ready' album and my 'cleaning the house' album and my 'people are pissing me off in traffic' album.

3) The Head and the Heart - Let's Be Still

The Head and The Heart's first album got me through one of the worst months of my life a couple of years back.  I love everything about them.  I love them live, I love their sound.  I love that they make me wanna be bundled up sipping fair trade roast in a coffee shop in Seattle as I watch the snow fall outside.  At first listen I wasn't sure I liked this album as much as the first one.  But then it grew on me.  There's some jams like "Shake" and then there's those songs that make you feel something where your heart's supposed to be like "Let's Be Still."  The video above is for "My Friends," which has been on my mind for a solid three weeks.  I'm obsessed with it.

4) Camera Obscura - Desire Lines

This is one of my favorite bands so it's not a super shock that they're fourth on this list.  I don't think this album is as good as My Maudlin Career (one of the best albums ever ever ever), but I'd say it's up there with Let's Get Out Of This Country, which iTunes says I've listened to exactly 10 gazillion times.  I just think Tracyanne Campbell is the cutest thing with the prettiest voice.  I also love the lyrics.  The title track "Desire Lines" makes me feel feelings and "Do It Again" (above) is a super jam, man.

5) Best Coast - Fade Away 

Okay, I know this isn't technically an album because there's only 7 tracks but if every single track is kick ass amazing, it counts as a full album, right? I think so.  Mini-album, schmini-album, I love Fade Away.  True, I'm a big ole Best Coast fan and I'll listen to anything they put out but I think they're really hitting it right now.  Listen to the song above ("I Don't Know How") and tell me I'm wrong.  I dare you not to get addicted to this album.
6) Cut Copy - Free Your Mind

One time a few years back I was hanging with my pal and I put on Cut Copy and she grabbed me by the shoulders and yelled, "WHO IS THIS THEY'RE AMAZING" in my face and I was overcome with joy because I knew I'd have someone to gush about Cut Copy with from then on.  They're just so fun and dance-y and good lyric-y.  They make me happy when skies are gray, dude.  Real talk, I don't like this one as much as Zonoscope or In Ghost Colours, but it's still good times.  "Take Me Higher" will make you nostalgic for the 90s and "We Are Explorers" (above) makes me dance around my kitchen on the reg.

7) Cults - Static

Cults!  I listened to their first album about 4,000 times for free online before I bought it and I think I got it for like seven bucks or something so when this album came out, I bought it the first day.  I owed them for sure.  And, while I'm not fully obsessed with any song on this album like I was with "Go Outside" or "Never Heal Myself," it's still in heavy rotation these days.  "I Can Hardly Make You Mine" is great and "High Road" will stick in your brain all day in the best possible way.

8) Arctic Monkeys - AM

I told someone recently that Arctic Monkeys were my guilty pleasure and they laughed at me but I'm not sure what I'm so ashamed of.  They're a good solid band.  And this album is full of great songs like "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High" and, of course, my fave, "Do I Wanna Know?" (above).  Who cares if frat boys and that creepy dude at Coffee Bean blast this album from their PT Cruisers?  I dig it.  Yeah, man. Sayin' it!

9) Foxygen - We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
I'm a complete sucker for retro sounding indie artists and the first time I heard Foxygen, I almost caused an accident trying to take a photo of my Sirius radio screen so I'd remember to look them up later.  They're silly and lighthearted and fun and I love putting this album on when I'm feeling like that, which, believe it or not, happens sometimes.  (You can't listen to The Smiths all day every day because then you forget to eat and breathe and stuff.)  "Shuggie" (above) is crazy adorable and I also love "No Destruction" and "San Francisco."  Plus, their name is FOXYGEN, which is maybe the cutest band name ever.  Yes, it is.

10) Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You

I'm late to the Neko Case party.  I mean, I listened to New Pornographers and I remember loving "This Tornado Loves You" (I think someone put it on a mix for me maybe?) but I'd never sat down and listened to a whole Neko Case album until this one.  Now I'm sold.  She's just so so good.  The voice and the quirky lyrics.  I want to have so many cocktails with Neko Case, you guys. I even love that this album title is so long that I'll never ever remember it without writing it on my hand.  I can't stop listening to "Man" and "I'm From Nowhere" (above).  Don't try to make me.  I won't do it.  Seriously, you better watch out.  I'm small but I'm scrappy.

Well, that's my list!  I, of course, have a runner-up list because I'm a copper-outer.  Some of these were super close to making the main list and might have on a different day so it's my duty to list them just in case you maybe wanna check them out, right?  Here you go:

The Runners-Up:
The Men – New Moon
Okkervil River – The Silver Gymnasium
Sleigh Bells - Bitter Rivals
Au Revoir Simone - Move In Spectrums
Blitzen Trapper - VII

What do you think?  What's on yours?  Let me know!

*Photo by the amused merchandise person at The Wiltern.  Thanks for humoring the drunk nerds, dood! Also, not sure my pals want to be featured on my blog (Sorry pals!) but look how cute they are!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday: The Saddest Reindeer

Happy Throwback Thursday!  Here is Hogan McSmalls dressed as a reindeer at Tim's parents' house just seconds before getting humped by a chihuahua mix named Ginger. (Look at her face!)  He's already sooooo miserable and it's about to get even worse.  Poor dude.

But, we had to do it to him.  His human auntie, Stacey, bought this outfit for him for Christmas.  (She calls him her "Poochie Nephew" so he calls her his "Human Auntie." It's hella cute, you guys.)  Anyway, Stacey was kind enough to pick him out a dope outfit so he had to wear it.  He looks like Ralphie from A Christmas Story in the bunny suit.  He's just so sad and pathetic.

This is how we figured out he hates having anything on his head.  We can dress him up as a hotdog or a skunk.  I can wrap scarves around him or put him in my old tank tops and he's nonchalant, stoked even.  He's perfectly happy wearing pretty much any horror I can think up as long as his head is left alone.

But, he rocked it for a good five minutes before I took mercy on him and took it off.  And he brought us so much joy in those five minutes, I can't even tell you.  Plus, we have this photo.  And this photo is one of my favorites of all time so thank you, Stacey, and thank you, Hogan McSmalls.

*Photo by me.  Some of my best work, imo.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What I Learned From Holiday Movies

'Tis the season to gargle with egg nog and shovel pie in your mouth as you sit on your ass and watch a variety of holiday movies.  (It is the most wonderful time of the year!) Never mind the fact that we all watched the same flicks last year and the year before.  It's a glorious tradition and, dammit, we're doing it!  Who cares that we know all the lines and we're getting really sick of that scene in Love Actually where the chick won't do it with the hot guy because her brother calls even though he's lying there all hot and practically naked?  Who freaking cares?  Watch them we must!

And, you know, I don't really think there's anything wrong with it.  Christmas movies can be educational, after all.  I'm sure we've learned all kinds of things from them!  I'm so sure that I'm going to make a list of what I've learned from holiday films.  I'm going into this blind, guys.  Don't even have one idea of what I'm gonna write.  Not even googling "holiday films." It's like writing improv only you don't have to yell out suggestions and I promise you don't have to clap to get me going.  I've got caffeine and Dinosaur Jr. for that.

Okay, here we go!  What I learned from holiday films.  Go!

1) Dr. Suess' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (The cartoon, not the Jim Carey one):  You can do anything you want to Whos and they will not retaliate.  I repeat, they will not retaliate.  They will just sing and stuff.  Also, if you're having heart problems, just steal some shit and then return it.  Cardiovascular issues solved.

2) Elf:  All you have to do to get a book published is be a real life ex-Santa's helper from the North Pole with a publisher for a dad.  Easy.

3) National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation:  All Christmas movies are set in either Chicago or Manhattan.  Okay, also, it's fine if your Christmas lights cause a citywide power outage because you were just doing something nice for your family, screw everyone else!  This is America! Bonuses! Yeah!

4) It's A Wonderful Life:  A good way to make someone want to jump off a bridge is to say, "Zuzu's petals" over and over again in a George Bailey voice.

5) A Christmas Story: Any amazing Christmas tale ends with a child curled up with a loaded gun.  Also, you should always beat the shit out of bullies and cuss at them because that's awesome.  Also also, if your mom and your teacher and Santa say "No," to something, just ask your dad.

6) Gremlins:  Never ever bathe your pets. They'll be fine. Stinky but fine.  Again with the whole "Dad will buy you the batshit crazy gift" theme.

7) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: I learned that this is basically just like Dumbo.  Baby animal has something physically wrong with it that ends up saving the day yay.  Also, I learned that The Island Of Misfit Toys has nothing to do with the punk band with the cool skull or the cartoon band who terrorizes Jem and the Holograms.  But, there is a dentist elf guy and that's kinda cool.

8) A Nightmare Before Christmas: People will forgive you for anything, even ruining Christmas, if you're super skinny, like, a total skeleton skinny.

9) Polar Express:  Motion-capture Tom Hanks is TERRIFYING.  It's less scary to watch The Shining.  Just watch that instead.  I mean, there's tons of snow and people in costumes.  It's totally festive.

10) White Christmas:  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I learned how to nap.

11) Home Alone:  Be really nice to your old ass neighbor, especially if he's good with a snow shovel.

12) Love Actually: American girls are hot sluts, the Prime Minister is not well-guarded AT ALL, it's okay to break the law if you're at the airport and you're an adorable child, hitting on your best friend's wife is fiiiiine, as long as you do it with funny cards, you can learn to play the drums well in two weeks, Bill Nighy is the best in everything ever and Mr. Bean is a Christmas angel.

Okay, that's what I learned.  I want you to know that this was a very well-researched post and that I worked really hard on it, haha, okay fine, this list came out of my exhausted but caffeinated crazy brain.  I hope you learned something by reading it!  Merry Holidays!  Happy Watching! Zuzu's Petals!  

*photo from Xmashop.

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Holiday Card For You

Dear Kendragarden readers,

Here is our official holiday card!  We took 10 pics on Photo Booth and Hogie looks like he's deeply troubled in every one of them.  I'm not sure if it was my hat, Tim's headband or his tie but he wasn't having it.  So, this is the result of our efforts.  Goofy and disheveled, just like us! Anyway, I think Hogie would agree that one of the things we're celebrating this year is you guys.  Thanks for laughing at his antics, thanks for reading my rants, thanks for supporting my writing and my passion for Ewoks every single day.  You have no idea how much it means to me.

I hope you and yours have a very awesome season. I hope that all is merry and bright.  Stay tuned for more madness.

Cheers and Love,

Friday, December 6, 2013

Best Wish List Ever Uh-Huh Is Too

A bunch of people have asked me what I want for Christmas.  Because saying "Nothing" never ever works out, earlier this year, I started making a list on my phone. I'm talking months ago.  Every time I thought of something, I'd list it.  I thought I was being so smart.  When it came time to send the list to my family, I looked at it, expecting it to be this great creation.  There were I think 5 items, 2 of them were gift cards and one just said "Yummy Sushi Pajamas just like Buffy."  Maybe (I mean, there's a chance) I'm not that good at this.  I decided to sit down today and actually write a real list.  You know, items I truly want, from the bottom of my soul.  My mom's been waiting for this list for over a decade.

Sooooo, if you were wondering what to get me for the holidays, here ya' go.  You're welcome!

1) Smurf village with real smurfs who will do my bidding.  I'll send them to tickle people in line at Coffee Bean for my amusement and to borrow people's phones out of their pockets at parties so I can take pictures of my butt and email it to all of their contacts with the Subject Line "Got You Something."

2) Ghostbuster Proton Pack in case of a city-wide ghost infestation.  This could easily happen in Los Angeles!  I want to be prepared (look cool) while I run around fighting (posing for Instagram pics) the forces of evil (the ghosts of angry movie extras).

3) My own gang of Pink Ladies with the best jackets.  The jackets are crucial.  I'm thinking more Grease 2 jackets than Grease jackets, okay?  And, no T-Birds.  My dating rule will be that we can only go out with people who have passed my Spotify test.  (I look at their Spotify page and if it doesn't make me eye-roll, then they're A-OK.)

4) Gluten-free pizza that doesn't taste like my soul is being crushed.  I'm sick of crying every time I finish a slice of cheesy cardboard.

5) For Pluto to be a planet again.  Gonna need it in writing.

6) Private concert with Frank Sinatra, The Doors and The Beatles, please.  No big.  Oh shit, I mean NO BIG DEAL NOT NO BIGGIE.  Biggie can totally come!  Hypnotize is my jam!  What a line-up!

7) Netdogs.  I mean Dogflix.  I mean Rent-A-Pooch.  I mean a service where I can please rent a Corgi for a week and then a French Bulldog for a few days after I return the Corgi in a timely manner with no scratches and in the original sleeve.  Hogie thinks this would be a great alternative to us getting another dog.  I think it'll be a nice way to get my dog fix without breaking the rules of my lease.

8) Leggings that don't get baggy at the bottom or go up to my armpits at the top.  While I'm at it, tights that aren't baggy at the knee.  Oh and skinny jeans that retain their shape even after I play on the floor with my dog for an hour.  Ha, good luck with this one, mom!

9) A Sorting Hat that tells you what Hogwarts house you'd be in even if you're a silly muggle.  I plan on dropping that thing on the heads of everyone I know and also strangers in the grocery store because I really care about this sort of thing.  It's like a Magic 8 Ball only way better because it talks and it's a stylish accessory.

10) A taco bucket.  It just looks like a plain ole bucket but if you stick your hand in it, it instantly fills with whatever kind of taco you're craving!  Ohmygawd, I'm so happy right now just thinking about a taco bucket.

Okay, so that's my list.  I hope it gave you some good ideas for when you go out and get me a present.  See, mom, I'm not that hard to buy for!  Please wrap it in either Care Bear or Star Wars paper, got it?  Ha, just kidding, I'm fine with gummy bear wrapping too.

*Super old pic of the tree either my first Christmas or my second, not sure.  What I am sure of is that that's the old dude phone toy from Toy Story 3.  You know, the one who has been there forever and helps Woody?  Yeah, that guy.  That old guy.  Anyway, Santa brought me that phone.  No, I don't feel old, WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME THAT?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Throwback Thursday: The Stocking

I haven't blogged for a week so there's going to be two Throwback Thursday posts in a row.  THE SHAME.  But, I can't skip a Thursday in December because I have literally ten billion old holiday photos that my mom scanned.  (That "literally" was for my smart friend Dawn.  She loves it when I do this.  Hi, Dawn!) If you look back at our old photos, they're mainly in front of a Christmas tree or around a Birthday cake. Sometimes we're clutching an Easter basket.  Not many pics of us just hanging out and there's weirdly no selfies of my mom in a bathroom making duck face.  So strange.

But, anyway, this is one of those ten billion Christmas pics.  I love everything about it.  I love that we're still wearing our dope Strawberry Shortcake pajamas but someone has clearly done our hair because look at that trendy red yarn!  And look at our loot.  (Click the photo to enlarge.) Pistol has a tiny Huckleberry Pie doll and I've got a Barbie (or a Skipper maybe) and a cool jump rope and, um, maybe a yo-yo?  Cool! I even love the pile of toys in the background.  Someone got a truck and someone else got a Mickey Mouse head! Nice.  I love the shag carpet and that giant chair in the background.  (It was the best chair ever.  I wish I had it today. So good for reading or pretending it was a boat.)  But mainly I like that I've had that stocking my whole life.

When Tim and I got married, we didn't see any reason to buy decorations so we asked our parents for our old stuff.  We eventually broke down and bought some decorations.  We have a $19.99 Target tree and some pink and silver skinny tree things from Crate and Barrel that my friend always says look like festive butt plugs.  We have a couple of newish ornaments (a taxi from London and an R2-D2, a hedgehog in a Santa hat I won at a party) but mainly our tree is decorated in ornaments from our childhood:  Strawberry Shortcake, Dallas Cowboys, glittery pineapples and ceramic cowboys.  And we still hang our childhood stockings that were handmade by my mother and either Tim's mother or grandmother. (The jury is out on Tim's but someone made it with love.)  I love that.

Here's a pic of our stockings now.  That's Hogan McSmalls' in the middle.  This year I'm thinking I should fill it with popcorn.

Happy decorating and Happy Throwback Thursday!