Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kids Post the Darndest Things

Yesterday LA had an earthquake. And the levels of devastation were beyond comprehension. I heard one woman's French manicure went on totally crooked and she had to remove the polish and start completely over. And a guy was carrying a tray of Cadillac margaritas and the quake caused the Grand Marnier float to totally mix in. The humanity of it all.

Here's my deal. My son works in LA, on the sixth floor of a building that overlooks the 405 parking lot...I mean freeway. He called to tell me he was okay, not knowing I had not yet heard about any quakin' going on. I thought, what a great kid. He thought enough of my feelings to put me out of my misery...even when I had no misery to be put out of.

So later, I'm on FaceBook...don't ask, a friend put me up to it...and for those of you who don't know about FaceBook, there is this feature where it asks, "What are you doing right now?" and you type in, oh, I don't know...what you're doing right then, and such as that. Anyone reading about me would see, "Lori is..." followed by my most recent entry. Mine said, "Lori is...recording coyotes howling from the gulch." I was up at two a.m. the night before doing just that.

One of my FaceBook friend's entry was this, "Daniel is... earthquake." He must have been on FaceBook when the quake hit. If you knew Dan this would not surprise you. He's all about socialization and connecting with people. But my son's FaceBook entry was this: "Joey is...buried under six stories of rubble."

I think I busted my O key when I wrote back, "That is SOOOOOO not funny." Even though it kind of was. In a morbid way. But I "do" morbid. My sisters and I could call ourselves the Gallows Humor Gals. We are sicko's to put it mildly.

And so, it would seem, is my son a Gallows Humor Guy. Welcome to the club, Joey. And know this, if you had NOT called me BEFORE I read that, and I had needlessly choked on the razor sharp blades of terror and drowned my lungs in buckets of bitter tears of grief, make that scald my face with the caustic tears of all-consuming grief, I would have been forced to come down to LA and sick my rabid, but well-trained eyeball-eating raccoons on you...while you slept. Muahahahaha! Love, Mommy.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Marshmallows in the Snow

If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. There's a message we've all given to others...and we've all received from others. It's an offshoot of the Golden Rule. Both are good rules, for the most part. But for bloggers, who are all about expressing a thought, or relating an experience, or shining light on a foible, it is a particularly vexing rule.

When bloggers blog they often write about a piece of life. A snippet. A snapshot. And their views are not always delightful and positive because to do that would be like taking a snapshot of a polar bear eating marshmallows in the snow...too white. No contrast.

When I wrote about my observations about the Hell fair I got hand-slapped by a reader for my not having anything nice to say. The insinuation was, so don't say anything at all. I am here to defend my observations.

Let me start by saying, I love The Fair. I love corn dogs. I love the bright lights of the midway at night. I love the smell and cacophony of the animal barns. I love the dorky green ties the FFA kids wear. I love the vendor booths, especially the ones with really good demos and free samples, like the VitaMix demo, still too soon to ask but, guy man, one machine can make both ice cream AND soup! The ShamWow can soak up a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke! The stainless steel cookware is cure cancer! The titanium bracelet cures everything else! It's all good. I love love love the fair.

This year's fair, and to be "fair" I only went late on this one Saturday night, was a tad more hellish than usual. Maybe it was because the Stone Temple Pilots were performing and they attract a different crowd than say Al Jardine of the Beach Boys. Maybe they were filming an episode of "Paso Robles Ink" that night. Maybe there was a babysitter strike. Maybe carnie-folk are good, clean, sober people who, even though they have advanced college degrees, take time to teach Sunday school before they get back to their fair job. After all, the fair doesn't open until noon. Plenty of time to get in a meditation and do your Tai Chi. I may have seriously misjudged the people I saw at the fair. And you might ask who am I to judge?

Here's the answer to that: I am the person who was eye witness to a snippet of life, and wrote about it. I am also the person who says to the hand-slappers of the world...if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Those Poor Unfortunate Souls

If there is a Hell, and if you're walking past its gates on your way to the pearly ones, peek inside. Bet me fifty bucks there isn't a big ol' ferris wheel smack dab in the middle of it.

Last night I went to the Mid State Fair in Paso Robles, California. "God's country" my lily white buttocks. $15 to park. $8 to get in. Corn dogs are $4.50. And if you must know, the VitaMix is up to $449 this year. DON'T ask me how I know.

The fair is, I think, a sort of clearing house for the future residents of Hell. The devil roams the grounds, taking notes and snapping a few photos with his BlackBerry. Later, he'll run them past The Master, and I'm pretty sure Bill Gates. And come time, some poor unfortunate soul will arrive at Will Call. His picture, contact information, and resume will already be in the database. All he'll need to do is show an acceptable form of ID. The name on his hand-carved leather belt should do it.

"Our records indicate you took your two-year-old son to the fair after 10 pm. Is this correct?" the gatekeeper will ask. "And your wife was pregnant at the time, is that right?" You bought them both deep-fried Twinkies. Correction, your son got the Twinkie, your wife had a deep fried Snickers, correct me if I'm wrong. Had you been drinking? Beer perhaps? Wasn't the money you spent on beer, deep-fried foods and attempts to shoot the star out of the center of a wiggling piece of paper with a shot-worn BB gun supposed to be money you were saving for your next tattoo? I thought as much." {~stamp~} "Approved!"

"I apologize for the third degree. Most of our applicants would not have bothered to feed their wife and child. You have to admit it seems suspicious, what with all the opportunities to terrify your child and humiliate your wife within such easy reach. Instead you chose to, I can't even say it, nourish them. Yet under all these suspicious circumstances I am forced to allow you to enter. There's a note in your file from Bill Clinton saying you voted for him and he feels he owes you. Go on in. The flavored margarita stand is off to the left, and the knock-off Oakley sunglasses are straight ahead. Dinner tonight is churros. Remember to get your hand stamped if you leave and want to re-enter."

"Next! It says here you WORKED in the carnival industry...on and off...since you dropped out of the sixth grade. {~stamp~} "Approved!"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Coyotes in the Night

Last night was the full moon. With all the fires in California this fire season--the other 49 states call it summer time-- the moon was the color of a ripe peach. I know what you're thinking, "Where'd you find a ripe peach!?" Hey, I'm 54. In my lifetime I've actually EATEN a ripe peach. You kids will never know what that's like. And did you know watermelons used to have black seeds in them? Apparently they were more than just seeds, they were flavor pods, because the newfangled watermelons have neither seeds nor flavor. Let's get back to the peach-colored moon.

The moon was full, and the light of it was so bright it shone on the pool cover until it glowed like a sheet of ice. It looked like you could skate on it. But I'm in no mood for skating, Mr. Cat is still out and he's not taking my calls. "Mither Cyat. Mither Cyat. Time'a come inna houth now Mither Cyat!" I call him like this every night. And every night he comes to that lispy stupid kitty talk call. Tonight nothing.

I lay down on the bed and eat a chunk of watermelon knowing full well it will cause "watermelon dreams." Watermelon dreams, like pizza dreams, are bizarro dreams that are almost fun to have, and more fun to tell, but disturbing. Not scary, just odder than odd. I watch TiVo. I get sleepy. I drift off and awaken to the familiar sound of the coyotes whose den is down in a gulch behind the vineyard, I'm pretty sure. The neighbor dogs are barking. The coyotes are...well, the thing is, coyotes don't bark. They yowl, or sing, more like hyenas than dogs. They almost sound like children pretending they're Indians. Do your best Native American impression and raise the pitch two or three octaves. You got it.

The sounds of the coyotes, the fullness of the moon, the watermelon...and Artsie not curled up on my legs...brings terror to my gut. They are night hunters. They have a full moon. Tonight they can see their prey. Artsie is not home because they've eaten him. And I won't know until morning that he is, for sure, coyote chow.

I fall asleep the only way a late-night watermelon eater can, in other words, not quite. It's the worry hour, between 2 and 3 a.m. Not to be confused with the worry hours (pl), between 1 and 4 a.m. This is the time of the night when your mind cannot be trusted. Its thoughts are not yours. Its thoughts are not real. It is dark outside, and it is dark inside...your brain. Stop it. Stop it. He'll be fine. He'll jump up on the bed any minute now with that Vinnie Barbarino look on his face and, "Whut." on his lips.

Good god, who is that! It is 3:47 a.m. and my cell phone is ringing. It was only when it woke me up I realized I was asleep. Oh no, it's Julie. I answer, "Hi, Julie. You scared me. You woke me up. What's the matter?" She's talking to someone else. I listen carefully because OBVIOUSLY she dialed my number in stealth so I could be ear-witness to the rape, murder, robbery or other heinous crime being perpetrated on her at this moment and with the help of a crack team of Crime Scene Investigators we would find her perp and effectively convict him.

Except she's saying things like, "We landed early." And I hear the clicking of seat belts. She's on a plane. She's deplaning. She must have dialed me accidentally when she turned her phone on after landing. I hung up. Unless there are snakes on the plane, she's okay.

And just then, onto the bed, leaps Artsie. I'm all, "Mither Cyat, Mither Cyat! You're alive. You're home. You're safe. The coyotes didn't eat you!" And he's all, "Whut."

We fell asleep in a heap.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

iPhone: And We're Back

This was posted less than two hours after my previous so sad Apple hoo, waa waa...poor me.

Everything's all back to normal.

Apple rocks! All my cool little apps work. I paid bills from my phone. I checked my PayPal balance. My iPhone is back. I am back. The world is turning. The cosmos is in balance. I love you, Apple.

How cool is this?


iPhone: A Million Bad Apples

I never dreamed this day would come. Apple wasn't perfect. I have long held the belief that PC users are banging around in Hell, wailing and gnashing their teeth, and pulling their hair. These poor unfortunate souls wade through viral cesspools...barefooted and blind...unaware that behind the slime covered, windows...of Hell are doorways to Heaven. And those doors have crisp apples etched in frosted glass, and they push open easily, and once you pass the threshold the world is bright and glowing, and the air is fresh and cool, and the people are smiling and they have all their hair.

When the new iPhone 3G was announced I piddled my pants a tiny bit. Still, I knew I wouldn't be an early adopter. My iPhone works just fine. All I'm going to do is download the 2.0 software and wait until the lines get a little shorter. I think I can go six months without caving.

But even before they knew of my plan to restrain myself the Apple "jealots" (I am the Apple zealot of which they are jealous) would warn me to wait "until they get the bugs worked out." Bugs, ha. Apple doesn't "do" bugs. Or worms. Or any of the afflictions PC's do do. (hee hee)

I downloaded the new software last night, along with a couple dozen of the new Apps...the free ones. See me showing restraint? Apparently, I was not alone. Overconfidence? Zeal? Whatever drove our bus over the cliff I don't know, but I can see on my iPhone screen that was one BIG BUG. Or more likely a million little tiny ones.

Whatever happened, things are wayhayhayhay messed up today. My address book is displaying contact information from four years ago. None of my bitchen new apps work. I can't text anyone, even if I type in everything by hand. What a mess. What a mess. Good god, what a mess. At least AT&T is holding up their end. I can make calls. Whoo hoo! A phone that can make calls. What is this, 2006?

To do my part I deleted the apps, my photos and music. I just said no to push contacts, mail and calendar, and I put my phone on manual sync. I may have gone too far, but at least I'm not putting any demands on the system while "they" are working on "it".

That's all they need...a bunch of Apple geeks like me singing "Are We There Yet" (to the tune of Frere Jacques) and blowing spit wads at the backs of their heads while they are busy trying to restore the devices on which we depend...and from which we can order our Depends.

My greatest fear is not wrath from temporary refugees like me. My fear is some ass hole will launch a multi-million dollar hissy fit over this. I would ask that none of us be lured into that trap. A class action suit might put a twenty dollar bill in your pocket, but it will cost us all much more than that.

Patience is the easiest thing to have in all the world. You just sit and do nothing and it lands in your lap.