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April 30, 2010

It's Exhausting Being a Benevolent Dictator






Source: All Things Digital.

I know a Zen Master


Uh huh! Yes I do!

The Master knows how to simplify life.

Food, brief exercise, then long periods of, er, meditation.

At least I think that's meditation.

Yesterday I had an anxious day. Lots of reasons, my own mental weirdness, no need to detail it all here. But really rather hyped up and I could find no way to calm down.

At the end of the day, I sat on the couch, still fretting, trying to let go. That's when the Zen master came and sat on me.

And did this:

(Turn up your sound...about a 500k file, runs 14 seconds)*


Suddenly I was listening to the sound of contentment. Pure, simplicity of peace.

And I exhaled that tense breath that had been pent up inside my chest all day.

The muscles started to relax.

And I felt...calm.

Damn Feline might be on to something. She should charge for this kind of therapy!

Here, the master holds a yoga pose...and holds it...and holds it.....





*If the embedded player doesn't work in your browser, you can click here instead.

April 29, 2010

Cheating my way to a daily blog post


Cranky. Oh so very cranky. Crakasaurus kind of cranky.

And so, may as well channel my snark for the good of my daily blog post goal.

Today I'm retreating to an old trick used before on this blog, a conversation with the Imagination Prompt Generator.

It spits out a thought provoking prompt. I reply with the first thing that comes to mind.

Herewith, no cheating, taking the prompts exactly as they show up.

IPG: What keeps me going?

Me: A finely balanced concoction of sugar, fat and salt (not necessarily in that order) combined with various quantities of coffee, beer and margaritas, (not necessarily in that order).

IPG: Generalizations are...

Me: Generally useful in a generic sort of way.

IPG: Define kindness.

Me: Refraining from ramming my automobile into the $#&*head who cut me off, and when I honked to notify him of the pending collision, flipped me off, then called me an unflattering name.

I did not sway into his lane. I did not nearly remove the driver's side fender of HIS sh**ty work truck. I was minding my own business when he came swerving into me.

I could have retaliated when he pulled over and stopped at the mobile taco truck.

I refrained.

THAT is digging deep for kindness.

IPG: If your best friend was right here, what would you say?

Me: They built a new Sonic Drive-In twenty miles from here. Load up, I'll drive.

IPG: Five books that changed your life are...

Me: Ooh, this is going to be a tough one.

Gonna go with:

Red Sky at Morning by Richard Bradford

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

Johathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

and

Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

This is in no way a comprehensive list because so many books have changed my life.

If you were to ask me again tomorrow, the list might change. Also, I only picked fiction...there is a whole other list for non-fiction.

IPG: Describe a favorite childhood friend and something you did with her or him.

The visible ones? Juuuust kidding...sort of.

I'd have to say going to the rollerskating rink with my childhood best friend Kathy, wearing bell-bottom jeans and shaking it to the Bee Gees.

Kathy rocked. Wonder what she's up to these days....

IPG: ____ was my favorite cartoon because...

Looney Tunes. Because they are all oh so very sarcastic.

That's always appealed to me, ya big maroon!

If I had 15 minutes to evacuate my home before it was to be destroyed by a hurricane, what 10 things would I grab (not including people or pets)?

Oh geez. That presupposes that I have a presence of mind about these things. I imagine if someone said "15 minutes! Go!" I'd spend about fourteen and a half running around in circles howling and freaking out.

Assuming my husband and pets are safe and I have the luxury of grabbing stuff....

Hmm. Hard to say, really, as I don't get bound up in material things.

The few things that matter most are my wedding ring and some of my folk's old photo albums.

I'd say my camera gear, but honestly, that can be replaced. My clothes and shoes can also be replaced.

Maybe some vintage family items my mom gave me. And my backup drives with years of my writing stored safely.

Other than that....

Honestly, it is hard for me to come up with a solid 10 items off the top of my head. My family and my pets are everything and most of the rest is replaceable.

But this one has me thinking. A lot.

Maybe this is the question to end on. It's at least distracted me from my oh so very grumpy state of mind.

Better get back to it.

As the poem goes, Thursdays child has far to go.....

With that, onward to the rest of the day!



April 28, 2010

When being thrifty throws you into the wayback machine


So I was at Target the other day, picking up many items on my household list.

You know, toilet paper, dish soap, etc.

On my list was a need for some new razors. You know, the weather is warming up a bit, might need to take a weed whacker to the ol' winter legs...

TMI, I know.

So anyhow...razors are expensive! Dang expensive. So being a child of depression era parents, I did what any overly fiscally conservative girl would do.

I grabbed a pack of razors from the clearance bin.

Hey, they are Schick Xtreme 3! That's a good brand!

So tonight, I decided to take a long soak in a bath after a chilly rainy day, and I broke out one of my new razors to get some smooth skin happenin'.

Suddenly, my bathroom smells like Louie's Backyard on South Padre Island at the high tide of Spring Break.

You know, that odd chemically tropical combination of Malibu spiced rum and way too much Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil?

Yeah.

That's weird.

Why does my bathroom smell like that?

Turns out the clearance rack razors come with "Scented Handles by Hawaiian Tropic".

Ew.

Apparently I'm not the only one that thinks a scented handle on my razor is weird. Hence the very deep discount in the clearance bin. Schick's weird marketing idea is my gain!

With three, count them, three blades, my legs are super smooth.

Spotty memories are but a small down payment on the steep price of beauty.


April 27, 2010

*twitch* I cannot contain the excitement!


Whooo! I spent most of yesterday with a big surge of adrenaline running through my veins.

At 10:00 in the morning, right on the dot, tickets went on sale for the summer concert series at a local venue.

A very fabulous local venue. An intimate venue located up in the mountains, with beautiful acoustics. It is one of my favorite places to be.

But that's not the point.

The point is....

I got tickets to see Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson! Live! (mostly) In concert!

Me! Eighth row!

Wheeeeee!

Ok, to be honest, I could take or leave Kris. Yes, he's one of the finest songwriters ever, but the singing voice...eh, not so much.

But Merle. Oh Merle. I celebrated Merle on this very blog almost three years ago (back when The Good Man was known as The Cute Boy).

I love Merle. He's a legend. He's the soundtrack to my college years. He's amazing!

If anyone in New Mexico loves Merle like I do, he's playing the Inn of the Mountain Gods in July. Just sayin.....

I cannot believe I actually get the chance to see a legend in concert. I cannot stand myself, I’m so excited!

During my 10:00 am frenzy, I also scored tickets to see The Gipsy Kings. We're in the third row for this show.

*sproiinnnnng* goes my circuitry.

Beyond excited!

Whooooooo! : runs in circles around the office :



April 26, 2010

Clampetts come to town


So there I am today, at the Target store. They got in a fresh load of summer wear, so I tried a few on and made fun selections.

I'd picked out a pretty cute loose flowing skirt and had it in the basket, ready to buy. But then I wandered through more of the ladies clothing section and found another skirt almost exactly like it, but a bit different.

I thought I might like this newly found skirt better.

So did I go back to the dressing room and try it on?

Nope.

Did I toss it in the basket thinking I'd try it on later at home, and bring it back if it didn't fit?

Nope.

I yanked the skirt off the hanger and pulled it on and up over my jeans.

It had an elastic waist....(as if that's any defense).

Hey, you know what, it fit fine and so I bought it.

A few minutes later, The Good Man came over to the ladies section with a pile of clothes he'd found over in menswear.

"Hey, what do you think of this shirt?" he asked, holding it up.

"I like it," I replied. And I did.

"I wonder about the fit, though," he said.

So he whipped off his button down shirt (he had on an undershirt) and put on the store shirt.

"Yep, fits fine," he said, then took it off, and dropped it in the basket.

And then, I laughed.

This is what we've become.

The Clampetts. None of the class, all of the charm.

I remember as kid out shopping with mom, and she'd do the, "here, just try this sweater on over your tshirt."

"But moooohhhhhhhoooom!" I'd howl! It was *so* embarrassing.

Now I'm that lady, trying on stuff in the aisles. And I don't even care.

You know...Mark Chesnutt has this song about when "ol' country" comes to town.

That's my excuse. I just don't know any better.

I have no idea what excuse the city-born Good Man's is using.

Maybe I’m setting a bad example?

"Whooooa, let me tell ya story about a man named Jed....."


April 22, 2010

Mine is a *special* alarm clock


I'm a bit sleepy today.

You see, there is this rather large male blue jay that has decided to make our backyard its home territory.

It is a rather beautiful bird, nice to look at. But the jay does not have the prettiest of all the birdsong.

You can hear the sounds here (at about :08 is the beginning of what my jay sounds like), though I'm not sure that clip entirely does the volume and rastyness of the jay in my backyard any justice.

There is a power line that runs through the yard, and he perches on that, stares into the windows of my home, and squawks. Loudly. It can only be described as a squawk. And Mr. Jay makes this unpleasant sound at about...oh, I don't know...a half hour to an hour before my actual alarm clock goes off.

So I'm nice and awake well before I ever wanted to be awake.

Ah, but if only I could fit the blue jay with a timing mechanism so that it would raise up its blue jay raucous at *exactly* the time my alarm goes off...well that would be nice.

Because ya can't sleep through the racket.

And he ain't got no snooze button either.

The good news is, in case the jay decides not to show up on a certain day, I have a backup alarm.

Another rasty animal who is all to happy to put up a hungry racket well before the alarm clock:


Cranky Feline



It's a wonder we can get any sort of sleep around here at all.

April 21, 2010

Oh yeah, she's still a beatin' away in there


Life has a lot of funny ways.

Like lulling you into a sense of routine and pattern and similarities. You start taking things for granted.

And then Fate yanks that rug out from under you just to remind that hey, better pay attention! The starting pitcher for the cosmic league might just be grooving one right at your earflap!

Had a moment like this today.

The day started out really good. Beautiful, calm.

Had a chance to spend the day up in San Francisco. Got to visit one neighborhood fairly unknown to me and another very familiar part of town.

And it was great. Hey, the sun was even out for a while. There is no city more beautiful than San Francisco on a sunny day.

The Good Man and I made our way through the day at a happy pace, had an amazing lunch, and worked through our chores.

So feeling pretty at peace with the world, we finished up and made our way home down the peninsula.

The ride was easy, we were ahead of traffic, and other than a plastic bag adhering itself to the underside of our car, then simmering on the exhaust pipe, it was the perfect ride.

We get to our town, we turn right, we turn left, and soon we arrive at our neighborhood...

To see two hook and ladder fire engines, two smaller fire engines, the fire supervisor, and several other fire vehicles blocking our street.

"Please tell me that's not our house," The Good Man said aloud.

It was then I could feel that ol' heart deep in my chest start to rev up. The adrenaline gets to rolling into the veins, fight or flight sets in and all the blood goes to the core. Muscles tense. Eyes get a little sharper.

There was a fireman sitting behind the wheel of a parked truck, so I said to The Good Man, "I'll find out" and jumped from our now stopped car.

I walked up to the man, got his attention, and said, "Um, sir, I live *right there*" emphasized with a point of my hand.

The fireman said, "You can get there as soon as I move the truck" he said.

"But, but..." I stumbled out. "Is that where the fire is?" I tried to keep the panic out of my voice. I'm pretty sure I didn't succeed.

He smiled, "No, you're fine. The fire is over there," he said, with a point of his heavily gloved hand in the opposite direction of my home.

"Oh thank you thank you thank you!" I said while hopping on balls of my feet.

Today, the fire brigade did not come for my home.

My heart is settling back into its regular docile pattern.

And I got a strong reminder today to keep a sharp eye out, because the cosmic pitcher is wild, and fastball might getcha squarely in the back when you're not looking.


April 20, 2010

A bit sad


I'm sad to have to convey that last night, just past 11:00, my little fish Frank passed along.

It seems he succumbed to an internal bacterial infection, which was hard to diagnose, and the antibiotics we put in the water weren't enough or in time.

He was only my little fish for eight days, but he was a good fish and a member of our family.

Last evening at the grocery store, I ran into a longtime friend and when I confessed I was sad because I thought my fish would die, she said, "ah, no matter. Flush him and get another one."

I appreciate that many folks would feel that way. It's just a small thing, a $5.00 fish from the pet store.

And that's fine. We all go about life our own way.

For me, I'm not ashamed to actually feel very sad and even cry a little for my fish, who had to struggle so much for life so much there at the end.

I knew when I bought him that he might not be 100% healthy. The Good Man and I agreed to foster him at home so he would either recover, or if he succumbed, he would do so in a big tank with humans around to protect him.

And so we did.

I pimped out a nice matchbox coffin for my friend and gave him a proper goodbye in the side garden of our house.

He was just a fish, but he was my fish, and he was well loved.






By the by, Margaret, the female betta who came home with us the same day as Frank is doing fine. She's happy and does a little fish dance when we walk up to the tank. I never before thought I could find a fish cute, but I have to say, she's an adorable little fish.

April 19, 2010

Checking in on my coolness quotient


Ok. It's time for my annual check in. I'm fast approaching a birthday, and now that I'm over 40, it's a good time to check to see just how wide that ol' generational gap has become.

We'll start with trending topics on Twitter. I've eliminated all the hashtag items that are Twitter specific funning around like #DontBeShocked and #Musicmonday.

So here's what we have as of 10:50 Pacific Standard Time.

Hekla
This Is Apple's Next
#ashtag
Icelandic

Ok, well. Hekla. I pretty much figured it was a new R&B artist. I was wrong. It's a volcano that may or may not be ready to blow its lid. Bad me.

"This is Apple's Next" is a topic I'm all over. I read the Gawker item this morning about a supposed "found" iPhone 4. We'll see. Apple always seems to have crafty moves...

But ok, score one for me, I'm on the board.

And #ashtag and Icelandinc are all about that fun, wacky volcano called Eyjafjallajokull.

Good, good. Three of four on that. Rock on.

Let's try Yahoo! trending topics. Here we go, as of 10:55 PST.

Boston Marathon
Conan O'Brien
Christina Hendricks
Kelsey Grammer
Timothy McVeigh
Alyssa Milano
Lady Antebellum
Joakim Noah
Space Shuttle Discovery
Eyjafjallajokull

Ok, let's run through the list. Let's see....Boston Marathon. I know what that is, didn't know it was being run today. Half point for me.

Conan O'Brien. Yup, know who he is. Heard he was getting a new cable show. There are a couple news items about he and George Lopez that I'm out of the loop on. Half point for me.

Christina Hendricks. I have no idea who that is. Hoookay, she's evidently been chosen America's best looking woman. She stars on "Mad Men" a show I haven't watched as I don’t have cable. Big fat fail for me.

Kelsey Grammer. I used to watch Frasier and Cheers, so I'm up on Kelsey. I also know he's super conservative. Ok. Evidently he's starting his own right-wing network. Fair enough. Half point for me.

Timothy McVeigh. I know who he is. I wish I didn't. Evidently there is some new project using his recorded voice. I probably don't wish to hear it. I'll take a zero points on this one.

Alyssa Milano. I know who she is. She is a $%#@ing Dodger fan. I don't give a tiny rat's ass about her. That said, I did read an article about her this morning and her new show "Romantically Challenged" (I didn't say I was proud of it). Go me. Score one for the good guys.

Lady Antebellum. Know 'em. Love 'em. Love that they won a whole slew of Academy of Country Music awards last night. Whoo! Score one for me!

Joakim Noah. Er, uh. No idea. Ya got me here. Ah, basketball player. Chicago Bulls. Apparently people are pissed off at him. I don't know why. I don't watch basketball, sorry. Zero points for me.

Space Shuttle Discovery. Heard of it. Knew it was up. Didn't know it was trying to land today. Bad weather causes delays. What's new for the shuttle? Half point for me.

And finally, there's my ol' friend Eyjafjallajokull. Point goes to me!

Ok, let me add up the points...do the math here...carry the one...

Seems that I'm hip to 8 of 14 trending topics. That's a resounding 57%.

Better than half, but not by much.

I'm not completely irrelevant, but I'm definitely trending down.

This year I will try to throw a rope over this generational chasm and hold on tight.





Image via the New York Times.

Edit: in the half hour or so it took to write this, the trending topics changed. Ah well, so goes the internets.

April 18, 2010

Strange day


Among other things, April 18th marks the date of:

The Great San Francisco Earthquake in 1906

And in 1881 Billy the Kid escapes from the Lincoln County jail in Mesilla, New Mexico. (the jail is now a tchotchke shop in Mesilla Plaza.)

April 16, 2010

Saturday is rantacular!


An open letter to the Bay Area's NBC-11 (KNTV) television station

Dear programming directors at my local television station, NBC-11:

I'd like to begin our conversation by thanking you for televising Friday night's San Francisco Giants baseball game on your regular ol' not-cable television station.

For people like me who have gone back to days of yore by using rabbit ears to tune in my television, it's fun to actually get a chance to watch my home team instead of only being able to listen on the radio.

The Good Man and I celebrated by eating bratwurst for dinner to get in the mood.

Very cool.

That said...

I'd like to kindly remind you that your whole reason for being in Los Angeles Friday night was to video and broadcast the game on behalf of your home viewers.

You know, the residents of the Bay Area? The SAN FRANCISCO Bay Area?

See, here's the funny thing, by and large, on Friday, your viewers in the San Francisco Bay Area were all actively watching your fine station in order to see the Giants play baseball.

You know, the SAN FRANCISCO Giants?

So when you spend large portions of the game focused solely on Matt Kemp, giddy about Matt Kemp, how wonderful is Matt Kemp, showing us Matt Kemp in the dugout, Matt Kemp in the on deck circle, Matt Kemp picking his nose, you might fail to understand why I might be rather upset?

Why would I be this upset? Because %$!&ing Matt Kemp is a sonova$%#@ing player for the Dodgers!

How do I know this? Well, you see, I was able to take a gander at the front of his jersey. You might try this trick. Focus your freaking camera on him in every idle second, and you might get a close up look at the letters on his chest. Can you see it? Can you see it says D...O...D...G....

....ARE YOU EVEN PAYING ATTENTION!?!?!?!?!?

You are broadcasting a Giants game to Giants fans! Screw the Dodgers fans in the Bay Area! Who cares about them? They are not your core demographic!

I do not want to see Manny Ramirez unless he's batting. I do not want to see Casey Blake unless he's fielding a ball. I do not give one miniscule rat's ASS about Matt Kemp unless he is batting or actively making a play.

And I give even less than a miniscule rat's ass about all of the repeated views of Matt's Kemp's adorable little girlfriend Rhianna sitting in the stands.

Yes, we're all very excited that Matt Kemp is dating Rhianna. Yes, she's very cute. Yes, I know all you big sport broadcasting boys are squeeing with glee about the chance to film Rhianna sitting there with a hoodie over her head looking all cool. I know she's like, oh my god, whoa, isn't that the coolest thing ever, double squee!

But for f*ck's sakes! Let's just let the LA station broadcast the gratuitous lingering camera shots of their own players and their own players girlfriends.

Hey, here's a cost saving idea! Why don't *you* just use LA's KCAL television feed for the next Giants-Dodgers game? That way I can, at the very least, listen to the dulcet tones of Vin Scully call the game.

At least that would be something interesting!

Now.

That said.

Saturday's game is nationally televised on Fox. You know that that means? That means Joe Buck.

I guran-frapping-tee you that your crappy Friday night television coverage will hold up well by comparison to Joe freakin' Buck's uninspired and wooden-like call. I plan on feeling nauseated. Buck's voice usually inspires that in me..

Because, NBC-11, you suck, but Joe Buck sucks worse.

And that's something to build on.

Baseballically yours,

Karen


P.S. These are my pants. They are cranky. That is all.


Keeping it in the family


Last night, The Good Man took me to see a play called "Perla" staged by Teatro Vision at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose.

The play was written by Leonard Madrid, a native New Mexican, and is set on the front porch of a home in Portales, NM. (funny, there in the theater, they didn't capture that certain "wind off the feed lot" that I always associate with Portales.)

The story surrounds a pair of sisters who were raised by their very protective aunt after their father, a noted NorteƱo singer, ran off, and their mother died (both of sorrow and of cancer). The younger sister, Perla, goes on a quest in dreams and reality to find her lost father. However, finding him proves to be less fulfilling than she'd hoped.

Supporting a New Mexican playwright was my first objective. As an added bonus, I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the Mexican Heritage Plaza, and the efforts the cast went to in order to capture their characters.

One of the main cast members is married to a man from New Mexico, so she used her mom-in-law for guidance.

They also had a New Mexico woman as dramaturge. Yeah, ok, I had to look up that word. It's the person who helps set the time and place for the cast so they can build their characters. So the New Mexican dramaturge had the job to help the cast and crew understand New Mexico.

Mostly, they did a pretty good job. There were a couple anachronisms, but in general, they caught the flavor and culture of my home state.

I *might* be a bit protective about my home...you know, just a little. So of course I had an eagle eye out on everything.

As we went on a preview night, the cast hadn't fully relaxed into their lines, but it was a wonderful story and well told by the actors. It felt like the director may have over edited the script a bit, as there were leaps in time that didn't flow smoothly, but mostly, it was a sad tale that ends with redemption.

My favorite part was a young girl who led Perla around in dreamscape, much like the Coyote Angel from The Milagro Beanfield War.

As there is the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC) Conference happening this week in San Jose, there were a lot of people from all over visiting San Jose who also came to see the show. It was fun to hear the New Mexico people in the audience finding each other.

"I'm from Taos, and my friend is from Silver City," I heard a few rows back. And I smiled. My people.

The only sad part of the night for me was when one of the employees of the theater told me that on opening night this weekend, they are making sopapillas.

I gasped when he said that! I am going to miss the sopapillas?!?!

Then he replied, "yeah, that seems to be the reaction of all the people from New Mexico. I had no idea that sopapillas were such a big deal."

Oh silly non-New Mexican yet very kind man...sopapillas are like a religion, second only to the cult of green chile!


April 15, 2010

The poor, downtrodden, much ignored lunchmeat


Liverwurst.

Poor lonely liverwurst sitting there in the corner of the deli case, wishing for somebody to love it with a slice of swiss and generous helping of mustard on a nice marble rye.

I think it's that word "liver" in the name that puts people off, despite there being only being maybe 10%-20% of actual liver in the product.

I suppose if McDonalds served a McLiver and fries, it might be hip and people would eat it without thinking.

But sadly, no.

Liverwurst and its lonely brother braunschweiger get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.

I, myself, am a HUGE fan of braunschweiger (owing to the partial German heritage of both my parents), but when I eat it, my loving, studiously liver-avoiding husband refuses to give me a smooch for quite some time after consumption.

This is obviously a big point of consideration.

So if it comes down to smooches or sandwiches, I'll take the smooches and leave the braunschweiger to the "only very rarely" category.

However...that being said, we have a well understood agreement that whenever we manage to find ourselves in a real deli (like Molinari or Carnegie) I will order a chicken liver salad, no questions asked.

These sorts of negotiations keep our marriage humming along, I think.

Anyhow.....

By the by, in case you are wondering why I am opining about liverwurst? It's because it was the word of the day on my WordBook Dictionary iPhone app.

I had open that app today so I could look up a ten cent college-level word that my friend NewMexiKen threw out there on Twitter. It was a doozy!

And then I got lost in thoughts of lunch.


To you, that may look like a brown lump, but to me, that's a lump of tasty goodness!!

April 14, 2010

Do NOT make Frank angry....


You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

Do Not Make Frank Angry

Frank MAAAAAAAD! Rowr!

Plot devices that no longer work


So, in the middle of the night last night, while I was *not* sleeping, I got to thinking about, well, phone booths.

And how there aren't any around anymore.

Phone booths were such a key element to the plot lines of a LOT of books and movies.

For example, where would Superman be if not for the phone booth!

Where does mild mannered Clark Kent put on his blue tights these days?

Probably the bathroom at a Starbucks, but that's not the point.

The point is, there are no phone booths on every city street corner anymore. Where are you supposed to take that random and creepy phone call? Where are you supposed to wait for the kidnappers to give you your next clue? How do you have an angry confrontation with a guido over how long you are on the phone? You don't. Not anymore.

The movie "Crazy Heart" had a scene with a phone booth. It was by the side of a desolate road in New Mexico (playing the part of Arizona). It felt odd even in the context of the movie. It was in a weird location and had no wires leading to or from it.

It just didn't work. The era of the phone booth is dead.

How many of our great stories told over the years involved a phone booth?

Or for that matter, payphones in general?

It's just not the same.

The lonely cowboy with a stack of dimes trying to get his lady on the line, rain pouring outside the glass phone booth, operator intoning "fifty cents please" in a nasaly voice. That's literature!

Cowboy flips open his mobile device and curses the low signal strength just doesn't have the same je ne sais quoi, ya know?

And so then I thought about another lost plot device. The lockers in bus stations, train stations and airports. (ok, I already lamented their loss here, but I’m going there again.)

You know, the bad guy stashes the loot to cool it off, inserts a quarter, takes the key and no one is the wiser? Until the bad guy is bumped off and ANOTHER bad guy takes the key and tries to figure out where it goes so he can get the stash?

Oh yeah. That's good suspense!

The movie "Desperately Seeking Susan" centered around the Rosanna Arquette character getting Madonna's locker key that held her valise and that really cool jacket. Remember?

Yeah, we really don't have those anymore, the quarter to rent a locker places. A few gyms have 'em and a local nature preserve has a few near the walking trails, but mostly people leave their stuff in their car or carry a backpack anymore.

Another good plot device, dead.

Oh, and how about meeting people at the gate at the airport!?!

How many great, dramatic scenes involve someone stepping off a plane and a loved one, bad guy, limo guy, complete stranger, detective, etc. is there waiting?

It's just not quite as dramatic to have the waiting happen down at baggage claim where you hope you find the right person.

Or heck, really going back, how about waiting out on the tarmac while the starlet decends the metal stairs. Nope.

I won't EVEN start down the road of the loss of manual transmission cars (I covered it here), but do you think Steve McQueen's hot little green fast back Mustang in "Bullitt" was an automatic? Oh no, I don’t think so.

I know, I know. I'm being a fuddy duddy and time must always march on. But as a writer, I lament the loss of ANY good device to keep a story moving along....



April 13, 2010

My new motto








From Shoebox Blog.com

Question is, which sort of person are you?


Last night, The Good Man and I went to the home opener for the San Jose Giants single A baseball team.

I do love minor league baseball. Just thought I'd throw that in.

We got to our seats, got settled in and soon heard, "ladies and gentleman, please rise and remove your caps as we present our national anthem."

It's how every baseball game begins. It is ritual.

So quickly this adorable young lady (maybe all of fourteen years old) came out of the home dugout and hit her mark and dived right into the oh-say-can-you-see part of our show.

As she does, I notice that three rows ahead, a gruff man with a gray beard, a Bud in hand, and a mustard stained sweatshirt is singing along. The years of cigarette smoking have made his voice less than melodic, but he doesn't lack enthusiasm.

Fair enough. He's the kind of guy who likes to sing along.

At the seventh inning stretch, Colonel Mustard with a Budweiser also belted out a hearty rendition of "God Bless America" which then let him straight to an even more enthusiastic singing of, "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."

Hey, you know, it's all a part of the experience.

Some guys like to sing along. Some guys don't.

Me, I usually let the Star Spangled go by. I can't hit those notes. Sometimes, if I'm feeling especially patriotic, I'll get into a version of "God Bless America".

But I always, always sing "Take Me Out..." For me, it's mandatory.

No, I don't understand that logic either.

Anyhow, so last night as I sang along, out of tune, I got to thinking about folks at the yard. Seems to me, there are two kinds. Them that sing along, and them that don't.

Question is...which sort of person are you?

I guess I'd be called a partial singer-alonger.

Anyhoo, when all was said and done last night, after battling from an 8-0 deficit, the hometown nine still lost 9-7. Boo. Go get 'em next time, boys.

As an aside: This year we sat in a different section than usual. In our regular seats, there is a gentleman we know well who also likes to sing along to the Star Spangled. The thing is, he's part of a local men's choir and has the voice of an angel. It's always rather nice to hear him sing. And I'm rather intimidated to try to sing along with him, to be honest.

I felt much better harmonizing with the guy who was six beers and four hotdogs into the night.




(Man, I couldn't be more excited to use this photo again.)

April 12, 2010

My diphenhydramine reality


Whoa, man.

I mean, really.

Whoa.

So I've been having trouble sleeping. Don't know why. I got stuff on my mind, but no more than the usual suspects.

It's not waking up and worrying or thinking or whatever.

It's just waking up. And then not going back to sleep.

Exhausted, looking for some help, I decided I'd try some of that over the counter Tylenol PM.

Well, The Good Man astutely pointed out that Tylenol PM is just a mix of Tylenol and diphenhydramine, you know...Benedryl?

I already have Tylenol, so I bought a generic bottle of Benedryl.

Hoping for some quality rest, I followed the exact same doses from the Tylenol PM bottle, mixed up the recipe, swallowed it, then lay down in my bed.

It didn't take long before my head felt kind of thick and my eyes got heavy.

Awesome! Sleep is on the way!

Did I sleep? Yes, actually pretty well.

But the dreams. Oh the dreams!

Wild, vivid, lucid, long involved dreams.

In one dream, a carload of my friends and I drove over the Golden Gate Bride, but on the OUTSIDE of the asphalt roadway. We sort of floated alongside the bridge, over the water, as we cruised. I was in the passenger seat and I could see the bridge up close. It was the most amazing way to see the entire bridge.

In another I shook hands with Jesse Jackson because he saw me across the room and rushed over to meet me. Said he was a big fan. (not sure what corner of my psyche that came from. I'm not much of a Jesse Jackson person, but ok.)

In several I could run really fast and it felt so good.

In the best dream, turns out The Good Man could fly. If I held tight to his hand, I could fly too. He flew *fast*, we zipped all over, and the wind tugged at my shoes! It was awesome!

Wowowowowow maaaaaaahn. That is some freaky sh--! I had good sleep! Fabulous dreams! And clear sinuses!

Diphenhydramine! You can't beat this stuff!

So you know what I did, right?

I took it again the next night.

More wild, fabulous and fun dreams. Vivid, happy, trippy stuff.

Once again, I woke up feeling great. No residual antihistamine hangover, just calm and happy and best of all, rested.

So then, of course, owing to my Catholic upbringing or something, I realized that anything that feels that good can't possibly be good for me, right?

So I put the happy dreams away and tried to sleep on my own last night.

It worked. I actually slept pretty well.

You know, I had a few dreams. Nothing special. Very dull. No flying or anything.

*sigh*


April 11, 2010

New Additions to Our Family


So, out of nowhere about a month ago, I decided I wanted to get a new pet.

I've no idea where this impulse came from. It just did. Considering that we can't have any more fuzzy pets in the rental place where we live, it became clear that I had to go small.

Like fish sized.

Hmm. Trouble is, the only fish I've ever owned in my life was a goldfish from the New Mexico State Fair.

That one lived quite a while, by the by.

So this quest required some research. I looked for a fish that was easy to get set up and easy to care for. The answer was simple, a betta.

I spent hours going through the pages on bettatalk.com and I learned a lot. I made lists. I fretted. I thought about it a lot. And then yesterday, the waiting was over.

The Good Man and I went to the pet store.

And we came home with not one but two new fish friends!

Without further ado, may I introduce you to:

Margaret The Fish


Margaret The Fish



She is actually The Good Man's fish. When we set out on our journey, we were just going to get one fish. But once we got to the store, The Good Man was so charmed by this inquisitive little girl, she had to come home with us.

I'm charmed by her too, actually.

So heck, easy solution. We decided to get two fishes and let them live in their own tanks side-by-side.

It's a good solution.

Margaret is a pretty little fish and she's happy to have interaction and already recognizes us. She's not eating a whole lot yet so we're hoping she's still just a little shocky from the move and will be feeling right soon.

So now that you've met Margaret...please meet:

Frank The Fish


Frank The Fish



So named because of his vibrant blue eyes. He has all of the looks and none of the charm of Sinatra.

As you can see in his photo, Frank is a bit of a stalker. He stares at Margaret.

A lot.

In a creepy mouth breathing way.

He'd totally send her inappropriate messages on Facebook if he was a human. Instead he just stares. A lot.

Margaret mostly ignores him.

So we've got them set up in their respective tanks and they are doing (*coff-coff*) swimmingly.

As for the existing member of our pet family....

Well, the word indignant comes to mind.





The feline is sort of not amused by these new items taking our attention.

Thankfully, she doesn't try to attack them. She just watches, shrugs, and walks away.

I suppose all will settle down in the house soon.

And The Good Man and I are learning a lot about how to care for these new friends.

I never thought I'd be a fish person, but here I am, all enamored of my fish.

Tis a crazy, wonderful, mixed up life.

April 9, 2010

Voice from the past


So I've been lightly reading the kerfuffle and conversation surrounding the new Nike ad featured Tiger Woods, with an overlay of the voice of his father, Earl Woods, taken from an interview in 1994.

Here's the ad, if you haven't already seen it:




Of the ad, Tiger has said: "...I think any son who has lost a father and who meant so much in their life, I think they would understand the spot."

Hmm.

I'm not a son, but I've lost a father and I have to say the ad makes me very uncomfortable. I'm not sure I do understand the spot.

While it might be "...very apropos. I think that's what my dad would say," the context of an advertising spot, intended to sell Nike gear, seems...a little wrong.

I've no doubt Tiger might have turned to his dad for guidance during the fallout from his recent troubles. But would his dad have chosen that forum to have that conversation with his son? I think not.

I find the ad very powerful and I think it's a very public reckoning for Tiger. But I still gotta say...it makes me uncomfortable. It just doesn't feel respectful to the memory of his dad. Just my .02

By the by, hearing your father's voice from the past can be an eerie thing. I recently found a video of my dad giving a presentation. It was filmed about five years before his passing. The Good Man and I watched it, and I found it difficult and a bit disturbing. And oddly, in some ways, comforting.

I've no plans yet to use it in a marketing campaign. I'll keep you posted on that.....

April 7, 2010

And there you have it.


You know, sometimes it is, in fact, easier to tell a story with a photograph rather than words.

This past weekend, I wandered into my bedroom to grab my iPod off the bedside table. It was then I saw, laying there, the perfect explanation of my relationship with The Good Man.

It just says so much about who we are, how we're alike, and how we're different.

It is thus:





I'll give you two guesses as to which book is the one I'm reading.

Hint: it's not the one about Oscar Wilde.

And there you have it.

April 6, 2010

Did you get healed?


Recently, driving around in the Jeep looking for something good to listen to on the radio, I began to think about a CD I own.

By thinking, I mean, wondering where it is. When The Good Man and I moved in together several years ago, I boxed up a lot of stuff and stored it away.

Over the years, occasionally I'll remember something that I want or need and it's a hell of a rodeo to find it.

So I put the thought out of mind. Whatever. It's just a CD. I can probably find it on iTunes or at the library or something.

I tried to dismiss it.

But this thought came with a long strip of Velcro, and wouldn't let go.

A voice in my mind kept asking, "Where is that CD? You need to listen to it."

When you get a voice that adamant, it's kind of hard to ignore.

But I tried.

And tried.

And failed.

Resigned to satisfying that damn voice so it would shut up, I suited up. Our storage is under the place we rent, and that happened to be a very cold and very rainy day.

Determined, under the house I went, poking around in boxes and bags, knocking stuff over and getting lost on that long winding lane called Memory.

Finally, I did find a very heavy box that had a bunch of CD's, and also most of my VHS movies, that I'd packed away.

I heaved, grunted and lurched the box upstairs and started picking through it.

A lot of heavy memory stuff burbled to the top, clamoring for my attention, which I gave.

But nothing quieted the voice. I kept digging and finally, yes, I found the CD I was looking for.

Best of the Blues, Vol. 1

Yeah. A "best of" compilation. Forgive me ye Gods of the Blues.

I bought this CD back in 1997. I'd just moved to the Bay Area and some good friends (also New Mexico transplants) had introduced me to the thriving blues scene in San Francisco.

I only tangentially knew the music. I'd listened to some B.B. King, some Muddy Waters and some John Lee Hooker in my time. The popular stuff. The stuff everyone knows.

But back then, San Francisco was steeped in the old ways.

During the course of the next decade, I received what can only be called a Blues Education.

I watched some of the not only best blues musicians, but best musicians period, play in craptastic bars like the old Grant & Green (the remodel took the soul out of it) and of course The Saloon, the oldest continually operating bar in the beautiful City of San Francisco. It dates back to the 1861, which means it survived both the 'quake of 1906 and Prohibition.

There were nights it was too cramped and too hot (and back then, too smoky) in The Saloon for my tastes, so I would step outside the front door. I was dating a musician at the time, so the dyspeptic doorman had to be nice to me. He would let me sit on his stool by the front door where he collected the cover charge.

I'd take his chivalrous gesture and lean back against the battered wood door. I could feel the driving beat in my spine, and I'd watch the fog roll over the tops of the buildings in North Beach.

I learned about the three Kings (B.B., Freddy and Albert).

I learned about Chicago blues, Delta blues and the just plain blues blues.

I heard a thousand different versions of "Matchbox" and "Shotgun" and I watched guys try to be both Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King. I began to understand why some songs grab you by the gut and sometimes a song that should grab your gut doesn't (hint: it has a lot to do with the drummer).

Today, I'm a suburban girl with a quiet, happy life. No regrets here. But sometimes I miss the family I made back then who took me in, protected me and helped me learn the old ways.

You know, they call it stormy Monday...but Tuesday's just as bad.

This one musician, a hell of guitar player, used to tear it up for four hours, and at the end of the night, he'd ask the frenzied crowd, "Did you get healed?"

And he'd get crazy, drunken, full-throated hollers in return. The music mattered. It got us on a cellular level. We got healed.

I may need to see about a Saturday in North Beach soon, because something feels amiss. It may be time to go back and find if it's possible to get healed.

Until then, I'll take the ministrations from that ol' CD found at the bottom of a moving box.


Image of Ron Hacker, arguably the best slide guitar man in SF and maybe even the world, onstage at The Saloon. (No, he's not the guy I dated, I'm just a massive fan.)




Photo by Scott Palmer

April 5, 2010

Literal girl takes things literally


Ok, so there we were on a day of running errands, The Good Man and me.

We pull into a crowded parking lot behind the store where we've taken our bicycles to get tuned up.

Fabulous. All good.

TGM parks the car and heads inside while I get out change to go see about the meter.

Muliti-tasking couple, that's us. Efficiency!

Ok, so we parked in one of those lots where you have to "note your space number and pay at the machine."

Sure. Ok. I'm in!

So I note "space number 6" and then I swivel my head around to find the pay'er machine.

I see a sign that says, "pay here" and I go toward it like a moth after a 60-watt bulb on a hot summer's night.

I literally walk right to the "pay here" sign. Seeing ONLY the "pay here sign."

I arrive at the "pay here" sign to find that there is ONLY a "pay here" sign and no sort of payin' machine.

What. The. Heck?

Ok. A photo will probably explain this better.





It actually took me several moments to turn around and actually figure out how to get my parking fare paid.

The sign says, "pay here." It DOES NOT say, "pay over there, like eight feet away."

Pay here with an arrow means pay there! At the end of the arrow.

Very, very literal girl was really perturbed by this whole setup.

So perturbed I took a dang photo of it!

I totally need to take up yoga.

Or meditation.

Or something with plinky-plunky music that will help lower my blood pressure.

Literal girl is *tense* sometimes.....

April 4, 2010

Happy Awkward Easter!


Because you didn't ask, I decided to provide a blast from the past.

Easter, April 8, 1976 from our backyard in Albuquerque:





I'm only sorry I had to drag my siblings into this.

I'm the shortest one. You know, the one with a deathgrip on my Easter basket.

Man, I loved that dress. It had a sash and everything.

We'd been to Easter Mass that morning.

Mom had sung "Jeeeesus Chriiiiist is riiiiiisen todaaaaaay!" loudly along with the congregation and the church organ (man, she loved that song. Something about all the allelujahs.)

Ham was in the oven and the backyard Easter egg hunt was soon to begin.

I always did love Easter. A new dress. New white sandals. A basket full of candy. Yeah baby!

Anyhow, Happy Easter to all who celebrate it!

.
.
.

Oh, also, because no one asked, on the next page of that same photo album....

Here's what the 1976 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta looked like:


April 3, 2010

It's getting weird out there...


"New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is among more than 30 governors to receive a letter from an anti-government group saying they will be removed from office if they don't leave their elective positions within three days."

Source: Las Cruces Sun News

More from The State Column:

"The number of governors receiving letters from a anti-government fringe group now numbers around thirty. Governors from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Kentucky, Hawaii, Montana , Missouri, Mississippi, Virginia, Texas, Nebraska and Alaska all found letters similar to those received by governors yesterday.

The letters have been sent by Guardians of the Free Republics, a group that says it wants to "restore America" by peacefully dismantling parts of government.

The FBI warning comes at a time of heightened attention to far-right extremist groups after the arrest of nine Christian militia members last weekend accused of plotting violence.

.
.
.

The FBI has said it expects all 50 governors to eventually receive the group's letters."

Weird. And worrysome.

April 2, 2010

My public admission.


Yes, the National Enquirer reports are true. I did it. A lot. Alone. With others.

I'm so sorry. I hope to rebuild the trust with my family.

I'm now going to check myself into rehab (the kind with massages and fruity drinks) until the hububb blows over.








Source: Shoebox Blog

Damnit! I'm a purist!


Hey! What in the seven kinds of sam hell is wrong with my goldfish crackers?!?!?!





What are those cracker lumps? Did my goldfish swim near a nuclear reactor? WTF?





Basketball shapes? BASKETBALL SHAPES!?!?!?!?

WTdoubleF?





Aw fer crissakes, Dwayne, keep your gear out of my snack food!

I don't like nobody messing with my goldfish. I like 'em just like they is.

And also...

HEY YOU KIDS! GET OFF MY LAWN!!

April 1, 2010

Isn't that just good manners?


Some days I think the world is a very strange place.

Ok, ok. Most days, I think the world is a very strange place.

And the world thinks I'm a very strange girl.

Oddly, I’m ok with that.

But I digress.

Yesterday, I went to my local Safeway to pick up a few items. As you know, I'm a total Trader Joe's girl. Unfortunately, ol' Joe doesn't always have everything I need, so I have to supplement with Safeway (and I feel like I’m cheating).

Anyhow, I took my few purchases to the register, and as I stepped up to take my turn, the checkout guy said, "Hi! How are you doing?"

To which I replied, "I'm fine, thank you. How are you doing today?"

And he responded, "I'm good. Wow, thank you SO much for asking!"

Which brought me up short.

An exuberant "thank you for asking"?

Would imply that most people don't even bother to ask?

Which really seems rather rude to me.

I mean, I'm no Miss Manners, but my parents did actually teach me my "please and thank you's".

I'm not saying we have to go back to old school overly mannered and behaved, but some simple courtesy is a nice thing. A good thing. A missing thing...what's that old saying? Gone the way of the Dodo bird?

Sure, I may burp in unfortunate locations and situations, sometimes. And I might, though rarely, yell inappropriate things out the car window.

But damn it! I know how to say please and thank you, and I'm polite enough to inquire as to how a nice hardworking grocery store clerk's day might be going.

I'm just like that.

Cuz I was raised that way.

Why again aren't people raised that way anymore?


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Creative Commons License
All content of Oh Fair New Mexico by Karen Fayeth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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