Monday, June 30, 2008

Someone(s) to Watch over Me

Last week, I did my laundry at the on-premises facility in my apartment complex, I'd neglected to switch out my clothes from the dryer and remembered only long after they were done. I returned to the machines to find my clothes in a neatly stacked, folded pile in my basket.

Yesterday, I stood in line behind a man with more groceries than reasonably fit into a single cart, also in tow was his son in a carrier. The toddler eyed me suspiciously, so I decided to prove I wasn't a threat by helping him take off his socks and find his piggies. The dad watched, amused at the farce of "lost toe-kies" and the three of us shared a chuckle.

I collapsed, exhausted on some grass by Mission Bay after a long walk/jog and had begun to snooze under the sun when a woman—also apparently worn out from a jog—hovered over me to inform me that I was "looking a little pink," and to head indoors before I got a sunburn. I really was looking quite rosy and I don't think I would've been very content with what would've been the outcome of that nap; a lobsteresque exterior.

My fruit-stand guys are endlessly patient with my comical Spanish. I haven't practiced conversation for some time and I find that the flow is good, but the terms are off. "¿Cuantos libres?," I ask "How many freedoms?" instead of "How many pounds" of fruit I'm looking to purchase. I had to ask about four times before I remembered how to say "plums," (ciruelas, if anyone's interested), and hilarity ensues as I answer "Yes." to either/or questions I thought were yes/no. The guys promise me fresh produce and Spanish lessons whenever I stop by and that they don't mind my practicing with them as it always results in a good laugh.
My library lady insists I come over for lunch sometime to chat, share a cup of tea, and look at her scrapbooks. Though I had some more youthful activities in mind for my social calendar, my 60-something friend is too sweet to resist.

Flustered after being the cause of a not-so-smallish snafu at work, I ran to put some gas in my car, distractedly grabbed the pump and prepared to fill up when a man comes running up to me. Being in lone-woman-in-the-city-fending-for-herself mode, I prepared to key or claw in case the man intended to accost me in some manner. He puts his hand over mine on the pump and swiftly pulls it out of my tank. "What are you doing?," I asked, not so kindly. "Well," he responded, "unless your car takes diesel, I'd highly discourage using the green pump." I shudder to think what would have become of my darling little Honda if it weren't for this man, I told him he was a stud and thanked him profusely.

Friday, June 27, 2008

America's Got Talent...for Unstimulating Broadcasts

I want my half-hour of life back I wasted watching America's Got Talent.

Jerry Springer serves as ringleader to this true celebrity circus (I won't even get into that show...), which is a painful parade of mediocre performers judged by two E-list celebrities and one oh-so typical British snob/Simon Cowell knock off. The general ineptitude of the judges' careers beautifully sets off the line up of sub par magicians, untrained singers, and sideshow acts. Most abrasive are the fame-hungry parents of some of the kids that are forced out on stage only to be brought to tears by the snobby Brit (whose name I could easily find out but is too inconsequential to merit the effort), and defended by the abominable Hasselhoff who, as headlines tell it, made no scruples of slurring insults at his own daughter.

The vomit-inducing back stories the majority of the performers conjure up are beyond the pale, these individuals' powers of invention would be better applied cowriting a piece of fiction with Mitch Albom. "I haven't sang in 11 years because my throat was run over by a tractor while living in the Bronx where I lost my entire family to their crack addiction while my girlfriend was cheating on me with half the neighborhood...but now I will dance/sing/contort to victory!," or some such nonsense.

I know no one's forcing me to watch this piece of primetime, but for some reason this show pushed me over the edge and incurred my disgust more than most (I don't get cable, so I'm mercifully spared many of the even less palatable reality TV going on).

America, if you've really got talent, prove it by using your time for something more worthy than turning your attention to this show.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

gO tO tHe bIbLiO aNd StIcK tHiS iN yOuR gUlLiVeR

New post coming soon, in the mean time...

Read "A Clockwork Orange"--it's one of the most brilliant reads I've found in years. Love it, hate it, read it either way. It's a modern classic, so if you're by your oddy-knocky, take a viddy at this bezoomny book, it's real horror show and it'll have you by the yarbles. (here's a list of Burgess' vocabulary he created for this tome, but the book is perfectly comprehensible without it

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Essential Summer Flicks

Summertime should be spent outdoors. Period. But once our energy and the day are spent and biting bugs force us indoors, balmy summer nights are best spent with a great film, some friends and/or family, and wine. Here are my picks for summer flicks:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
This movie is spectacular, a character-based drama that all takes place on a sultery southern plantation. Elizabeth Taylor sizzles and, I'm convinced, is the only woman whose looks could compete with the delicious Paul Newman. This film makes me want a mint julep, a drawl, and a brass-frame bed. (movie based on play by Tennessee Williams who won the pulitzer for it in 1955)

Summer Magic
Speaking of Burl Ives, he stars alongside Hayley Mills in this adorable Disney picture. I grew up on this movie with it's cheesy musical numbers, but it's overall a very sweet movie and it's my favorite starring Hayley Mills who's just on the cusp of becoming a woman when this was made. If you've ever heard the Disney song "Ugly Bug Ball," this is where it originated. The story goes that Disney didn't like the song at all when songwriter Bob Sherman presented it. Sherman explained to Disney that to bugs, other bugs weren't ugly, even if they are to us. Disney was sold and it because one of the most popular Disney songs of that time (1960s).

Benny and Joon A brand new favorite, I saw this for the first time just last night. Depp is splendid, Quinn's eyes are fathomlessly blue (Benny), and Masterson's (Joon) inquisitivness about Depp's character is what makes their little love story sing. Now all I want is a dozen perfect pink roses and to play "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers on repeat.

Mystic Pizza My all-time favorite Julia Roberts film, it's original tagline was "A romantic comedy with the works," and it is. You really do have to see it to understand, but it's sort of a coming-of-age, clash of socieites, East coast, essential '80s movie. Guys, not gonna like it so much. Girls, rent it. I know you'll love it.

Stand By Me LOVE this movie, warning, language from young bothers many mothers. But I borrowed this movie from a coworker (thanks Blake!)this Spring and loved it. Of course, you stick Richard Dreyfus on anything and I'll eat it up, non-Dreyfus fans don't be deterred, he's just the narrator. River Phoenix, rest in peace my friend, you rocked this film. (Bonus: The movie is based on the novella, The Body by Stephen King)

Jaws Based on Peter Benchley's novel and set off by John William's unforgettable cello score, little needs to be said about this fantastic summer suspense that's enough to make you afraid of the kiddy pool in your own backyard.

A Streetcar Named Desire If you thought Vivien Leigh left us with only her stunning performance in Gone with the Wind, you're dead wrong; and if you thought that she was maltreated in that film, Scarlett's got nothing on Blanche. Not a happy film, but worth it just to watch the fabulous Marlon Brando storm and brood. Great performances, great scene settings, and oh so sultry. So once again, one of Tennessee William's screenplays makes the list.

Runners up:
Swiss Family Robinson (another cheesy but great Disney flick--and it has pirates!!)
Pirates of the Carribean, we all know it's best enjoyed with a huge pina colada (extra rum). And for Pete's sake, only watch the first one, the other two are a waste of rump time.
Finding Nemo, I shouldn't have to even list it
American Graffiti
The Sandlot
The Blue Lagoon

I think there will have to be a part II to this post, but for now, these should help you beat the heat. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Dedication

I wrote this song for my Alison a couple days ago skipping back with a bag full of nectarines, plums, mangos, and peaches from the little fruit stand close to my apartment:

La fruta la fruta me hace feliz,
La fruta la fruta me hace feliz,
Duraznos y pinas y fresas tambien,
La fruta la fruta me hace bien!

Party on a pineapple Alison. Party on a pineapple.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Several of my friends have sung the praises of this book and they were all correct in doing so. This is a fantastic read! I found it to be a sort of light-summery read, but it retains some moving parts, allows one to feel connected to the protagonist, and once you pick it up, you won't be able to put it back down. The author's real feat is making a modern audience care about a circus story set during the depression--this she accomplishes with flair. Read it, I know you'll love it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Yeah, this is why I can't wait to go to heaven...

This charming fellow (I choose to call him Marvin), is showing us a bird spider. So called because it feeds on, that's right, birds. A spider big enough to eat birds. Aren't birds supposed to eat spiders? Try not to lose too much sleep, one would have to go to Australia to encounter one of these beasties. However, since I subscribe to the old adage "know thine enemy," the following comprise the sort of spiders I can look forward to encountering while I'm here in S.D.:

An antrodiatidae, also known as the folding door spider

A ctenizidae, known as the trap door spider

a theraphosidae, I would need some theraphosidae if anyone ever traumatized me enough to put a spider on my face like this

And the crown jewel of scary spiders, the theridiidae or black widow spider that would kill me instantly (no, not from a bite, just from looking at it)

All this said, I must say, I've gotten GOOD at coping with spiders here. I have little brown, fast-moving, spindly legged ones in my house on a biweekly basis so I'm getting better...