Saturday, September 29, 2007

She Mob Rises... the phoenix of rock bands that it is. Very sadly, I won't be able to play at this show--it will be such a blast. For people of the Bay Area, make a point of going. She Mob is golden!

When and where: Thursday, October 4th at Creativity Explored, 3245 16th St., San Fran., 7 p.m., free.

It's the "Here I Come to Save the Day" show. She Mob will play at the art opening of the Super Heroes Super Villains exhibit at Creativity Explored, reinterpreting famous and infamous characters from comic book history. That's boss!

More Fabulous Gumball Prizes

Today while returning a recently purchased TV at BestBuy (our second return on the same gremlin-plagued brand, which has caused us to switch to a swankier, more expensive brand--oh the pain!), Jackson had to get a gumball prize. He got a necklace with a gilded key charm for 50 cents, which he immediately had to take off because it kept scratching his delicate neck. I keep stuffing all his rejected prizes in my purse where I find them days or weeks later, a bunch of bulbous plastic containers full of junk. Kind of like that TV we returned (twice). Maybe high-end electronics should just plop out of a giant gumball machine. You really don't know what you're getting most of the time.

Enjoy these images of yester-year while I try and figure out how to program my cable remote without a manual. It's a new era and I think gumball prizes should reflect it: miniature remotes, 350-page instruction manuals that barely make sense, audio plug-in devices, customer service reps pressing the "hold" button on the phone, energy-saving light bulbs, 75-page instruction manuals for the energy-saving light bulbs, credit card offers...

Sorry--a little middle-class modern-day angst showing through. Maybe I should read On the Road again or something. The NY Times keeps writing about it. I once saw the manuscript for On the Road at the NY Public Library; one long tissuey roll of paper, spooling out of a really beat-up heavy-metal typewriter. I thought, now there was a writer who was really hopped up on the goofers. Powerful stuff.

Here's your prize:

I Lied

I swore I would never post another Paris Hilton bit (I posted one before), but I couldn't stop giggling through this entire interview. If you can imagine Albert Einstein interviewing a piece of talking fruit on his kitchen counter, it might go something like this. I think the true lesson of Paris Hilton's life is: don't do so much coke, or you will be the recipient of much brain damage. Also: don't be spoiled.

Barry Bonds Limericks

Keith and I wanted to enter SFGate's Barry Bonds limerick contest but we missed the deadline by a couple of hours. We posted them anyway. Keith actually wrote both of these, being a true baseball (and baseball limerick?) fanatic. I only helped with the last line on #2. With limericks, it's all about the rhythm and the last line. I numbered them, just like Emily Dickinson.

Jealous of Sosa/McGwire
He set out to raise the bar higher
His soul he did auction
With steroid concoctions
The "Home Run King" is a liar.

With his glove and his legs and his bat
He was the best in the game, that's a fact
But it wasn't enough
So he took BALCO's stuff
And now his head is too fat.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Random Stuff-lets

Love me some Tegan and Sara; brilliant Canadian lesbian twin pop stars. Seven gazillion times cooler than Avril or anyone else out there.

FourFour's posted video of Amy Sedaris making cheese balls on The Martha Stewart Show. Love you, FourFour. has the best blog about soft rock hits of the 70s (Adventures Through the Mines of Mellow Gold) and he does a killer summary of top-ten hits from the past called CHART ATTACK! He's cutting back on some of his posts to work on other stuff--more's the pity! Only Jason can write a straight-faced appreciation of the Little River Band with the sincerity and love they deserve!

Portraits of famous blondes made entirely from chewing gum.

Dinosaur Comics, based in Toronto, are freakishly awesome. (Click on it, or just go to the site.)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Trees and More Trees

Quickly, I'll throw up (nice imagery) some photos from our move and landing here in Washington. The couch on the sidewalk was in front of our rental in Oakland. Oh, whither Oakland! It makes me sad to see our garbage piled up, ready for the truck to haul it away, just before we hauled ourselves away, but I definitely won't miss that couch. Our new couch comes Wednesday and I'll be posting photos of that as well. Kidding! But I should--it's stylish.

That's our back yard in the last photo. Those trees actually belong to the city but they're letting us use them in the yard--nice! The waterfall belongs to Oregon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Gumball World

Why I did this today, I don't know, but I started saving these photos of old gumball machine prizes. Most are from the 50s and 60s and they hark back to a more innocent time (check out the movie monsters and gun collection). I can kind of see where our culture was coming from with the gumball prizes back then. We collected miniatures of everything from our world: babies, hotdogs, collies, cars, wishniks, cigarettes, Beatles records.

Jackson's been trying to start a gumball prize collection the past year but every time we cough up the $$$ (they've gone up in price), he gets some hideous monster from a bad movie. Like something from the "Incredible Hulk" only it's a hulk-like villain, not even the Hulk. Or he'll get the actual Hulk and it looks like a villain. He's just not into villains. He likes funny creatures who fall down a lot and get hit with ping pong balls. I'm just not seeing a lot of that in gumball machines lately.

I started collecting the very popular "Homies" from the Goodwill in Oakland a few years ago. I was instantly attracted to them because they reminded me of the kids I saw hanging out in the Mission District in San Francisco when I was growing up. But after I gathered a few of these at 50 cents each, I realized they were a little disturbing. I keep them in a drawer. I can't seem to get rid of them, yet I can't display them either. Here's one of the sets. There's hundreds of these and some are at a different scale, like with big heads and bodies, so when you try to gather your collection from a gumball machine, you end up with a miss-match of styles. From a collector's standpoint, it's annoying because your perfectionist streak kicks in: oh, now I gotta start collecting the big-head series to match my other big-heads--thanks a lot, Homies. I just gave up at that point--probably a healthy decision. Kind of cute and artistic, but pretty disturbing. These caricatures, had they been created by a white guy (or guys), would be considered completely outrageous by the Latino community (I'm guessing), but because they're done by a Latino guy--they're considered cool. It's one of those fine-line situations. Disclosure: I'm mixed Latino and I have mixed feelings.

Anyway, back to gumball prizes. Here a few that caught my obsessive eye. If you feel the compulsion to own any of these, head over to Time Passages Nostalgia Company and put in a bid, but be aware that many of these collections are already marked "sold" because of all the people who are anxious to own tiny plastic telephones, chickens, radishes, and (for many an unlucky child in the past), feet.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ahhgh! Slugs!

Today I write about some of the weird/creepy things about living here. So far the honeymoon has lasted three weeks, but that fourth week is when you really start to notice your surroundings for what they are: good and bad. So far, not so bad.

Let's see...we live at the end of a street surrounded by city property full of giant trees, grasses, birds and ground squirrels: good. Sometimes teen-agers traipse through and toss their garbage around in this undeveloped terrain: bad. It's easy for me to go back there and do a clean up though: good. Some kids (some really strong kids) brought some big, splintery, nail-ridden wooden pallets over to our area and tried to make a fort out of them: bad. Pallets make terrible forts, especially if you don't nail them together. If you just lean them in a half-box formation, they're bound to fall over on you: more bad. I dragged them over to some god-forsaken corner of our 3-block lot behind the house: good. But in doing so, I noticed a household directly behind us, who also don't have a back fence, and their side yard is literally covered in garbage; a big mountain of garbage, all leaning up against their house with a big sign on it that says: rats and other vermin welcome here (practically): very bad. The trees hide this house from view: good. Just don't ever walk through the trees.

While I was walking through the trees, a boy of about 10 practically bumped into me, walking in the opposite direction. "What are you doing here?," I asked him. He said, "I'm looking for a box." Guiltily, since I just dumped the big pallets against a nearby tree, I said, "I haven't seen any boxes around here." Whereupon he said, "What are YOU doing here?" I said, "Oh, I'm just checking out this street back here, trying to figure out which one it is; because I just moved here and I don't know my way around much." We both looked at each other like, Hmmmmm. That was: weird. We went back to our opposite directions: relief.

Our street is off of a cul-de-sac so no one ever goes here hardly and it's really quiet and peaceful: good. The garbage trucks don't go here either because they can't turn around to go back out, so we take our garbage cans and bins to the end of our street, half a block away: bad. My son is obsessed with garbage trucks (still), so on garbage day he wakes up too early and has to run down our street multiple times to see each truck as it passes through: kind of bad because his feet get covered in grime because in all his excitement he forgets to put his shoes on. This morning I washed his feet twice before all the trucks came. All the neighborhood cats hang out with him and his garbage cans while he waits for the trucks: good. He likes cats and they like garbage. It's a good match.

Today while I was helping him bring back the cans from down the street, I saw a tremendous garden slug on my house, sliding along toward the second story: BAD BAD BAD. I have a phobia about garden mollusks. This slug was the size of a small banana, making it a banana slug, I suppose. Only it was brown, not bright green or yellow, like I've had the pleasure of meeting in the Santa Cruz mountains (home of tremendous banana slugs). I was silently wigging out about this slug: Where did it come from? Where was it going? What did it want? I ran back into the house, trying to hide my fears from my son. It's only a matter of time before he discovers my secret: that I'm irrational in this area of life. Until then, I will have to focus on breathing deeply and thinking good thoughts: good good good.

So, not so bad! I really can't complain at all. Except the slug is gone now and I can't help wondering...WHERE DID IT GO?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Road Trip--Waterfall Alley

On Labor Day we drove along the Historic Columbia River Highway to check out some waterfalls. Ever since we stepped foot in Vancouver people have asked us, "Have you seen the Gorge? Have you been to the Gorge?" Our answer, a sheepish, "Not yet." I've personally been very busy organizing my cult film books and measuring for window treatments. Sensing the urgency of the situation (how often do you get to live by one of the most beautiful spots on earth?), we visited the Columbia River Gorge. It's 30 minutes from our house. I'm not bragging--just letting you know.

There are many waterfalls along this drive and you just park, get out of your car and see them. Some are a short hike from the highway. Others spill into pools a few feet from your car. We managed to get to four of them in one afternoon and they were all spectacular. I'm talking: jaw-droppingly beautiful. Jackson kept saying, "This is a-MAZING! It's so pretty!" throughout the day. And he was absolutely right. Here are some stock photos I found. I didn't get permission and I haven't tried to upload Photoshop on my new computer yet (those cult film books have kept me very busy), so they're big. Sorry. The better to gasp at nature's bounty.

Here's the Historic Highway, established (I believe) in 1917 for the enjoyment of vacationing car-drivers, world-wide. Over the years, some major Oregon industrialists donated their waterfalls to the park. Thanks guys! It's strange to think that someone can actually "own" a waterfall. It's kind of laughable but not in a good way.
Latourell Falls. There's some really fluorescent moss growing all around the top of the rock face. And a very "Lord of the Rings" kind of pool at the bottom. Much of Oregon reminds me of Middle Earth. I think it's the tremendous plant life all around. It makes the air really good and maybe we're getting a little too much oxygen when we breathe around here. There's a lot of spirituality and general freakiness in the area. Could be the oxygen; could be isotopes. Could be geological activity just below the surface of the earth, creating some electromagnetic fields. What was I talking about...? Oh--check out THESE falls:
Multnomah Falls. BIG--620 feet down. Here's a photo from 1920 with the Lodge in front (still there, in case you want an ice cream or a latte before you head up to the bridge for a better view). We would have felt dwarfed by all the natural wonder except for the 60,000 people walking along with us to see it. Better to go on a week day.

The other falls were not as well-attended, but still popular. I'm going back after a big rainfall and see what kind of water droplets ensue.

Jackson Graduates

I didn't have any time before we moved to post Jackson's graduation-from-preschool-day photos. Our friend Monte took these. It's called "Key Day" and all the graduates get a key so they can always return to visit their school. Sniffle! Great day. Now he's in kindergarten--more sniffles. The cliche is true: they do grow up fast. They cross over a symbolic bridge into...even more childhood adventures, I guess. Kindergarten is really different because it isn't a co-op. I can volunteer for his class but his day is really separate from mine (for 3.5 hours at least). Today he told me they went to the music room and they all twirled around to music and the room was full of instruments. I thought, I wish I could have come! In a co-op, I would have not only been there, but I probably would have driven a few kids to the class and helped them with their lunches too.
That's Gail, early-childhood genius and humorist. She runs a fantastic school in Oakland. I miss her very much and we were lucky that we got to work with her and all the kids.

Today I walked along the Columbia River for over an hour. What a bee-yoo-ti-ful day. The sun came busting out of all the clouds at 2 p.m. and the water glittered and twinkled and made some waves along the beach.