Monday, February 22, 2010


-Attention old drivers of the world: just because you do 28 mph in a 45 mph zone, does not, by default, make you a SAFE driver, OK? What it does make you is the Typhoid Mary of the transportation world. Perhaps we will call you 'Road Rage Mary'. Like Typhoid Mary, nothing ever happens to YOU as you toodle on down the road. But like Typhoid Mary, you blithely INFECT everybody else. Traffic stacked up and impeded behind you, sending blood pressures skyrocketing as people try and pass you to make their appointment. Otherwise rational people taking radical risks behind the wheel and running over small children and baby ducklings as they swerve wildly out of control to make the green light ahead that you seem oblivious to. In their anger, desperation, and over aggression, they then crash and die a slow, agonizing death in a fiery hell, cocooned in their burning, metal, four wheeled coffin, wondering why the gray hair that held them up and changed lanes every time they did, has a 700 horsepower Cadillac, if said gray hair never drives it any faster than one half whatever the actual speed limit is. And you, dear old person, just cruises down the highway (at 28 mph) blissfully unaware to the carnage that just occurred all around you. You will then mutter under your breath "Damn kids are driving like crazy!" as the cityscape fills with twisted hulks of burning metal and scorched corpses. You go home secure and arrogant in the knowledge that you just had another accident free day behind the wheel...not realizing you're actually a serial killer worse than Ted Bundy.

-Did some ground fighting today as a result of a training day at my job. After rolling around and incurring facial abrasions, bruised knuckles, pulled and strained muscles, a rolled ankle and a kick to the left ear, I realized something: I'm not a kid. Sure, I'm in pretty good shape. I run 5 miles every other day, and go to the gym in between that, about five to six times a week. And I look pretty good...but I'm 40. What the 25 year old jujitsu ninja sadistic instructor doesn't realize is that we have two very different realities. His is he'll jump out of bed fresh as a daisy tomorrow, like yesterday was just a walk in the park. My reality is I'll wake up like I was hit by a train and will be munching on Advil like it was a bowl of M&M's. Good times. What I did take away from the experience was this: apparently I have 'loose shoulders' because they were amazed that a Kimura and another shoulder lock had little effect on me no matter how far they cranked it. I have no idea what good this knowledge will do for me, but there 'ya go. Also, I have no idea how championship fighters do what they do. I'm in pretty good shape like I said, but after a mere 2'30" of boxing and grappling, it felt like my lungs were on fire and puking seemed like a real option for a moment or two. Doing that for up to 25 minutes is insane, and I'm not sure how you get to that level of fitness without steroids, methamphetamine, some cappuccino, a Mountain Dew, and a Red Bull. Oh, and maybe routine hypodermic injections of pulverized walrus testicle. Anyways, it was fun, but I think I prefer hanging out in my jacuzzi with a nice cocktail as a preferable source of entertainment.

-went to Roller Derby Saturday night. Here's a few pics from the match and me with my friend Poppy (derby name Devious Dolly #88) of the V-Town Derby Dames (city of Visalia) "B" team.


They played 'No Town Roller Derby (city of Fresno) and the Visalia "A" team played a team from Santa Maria. It was actually pretty fun (although my friends husband, who is a really cool guy, saw it a little differently and stated he'd be 'camped out at the beer garden...let me know who wins'. Funny guy). It was an interesting combination of 50's Rockabilly culture (there was a Rockabilly band), burlesque, and girl on girl aggression. Like I There was a larger crowd than I was expecting, plus a beer garden, so perfect, right? The crowd was pretty diverse too. Besides all the guys with duck tailed haircuts and girls with the Betty Page thing going on, there was the usual "Bro and Bro-Ho" contingent (vomit), cowboys, Barbie Dolls, skaters, normalish looking housewives and dads, and the very young to very old. Who knew a bunch of women skating around in short shorts and fishnets knocking the crap out of each other could bring such a diverse crowd together? Oh wait a minute...why WOULDN'T a bunch of women skating around in fishnets and short shorts engaging in various forms of violence appeal to the masses? "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?????" hahaha Anyways, it was cool. So there you go, my one weekend activity. I could regale you with tales of cooking for a couple of demanding teen girls, laundry, and doing the dishes, but somehow I'm not sensing the anticipation for those stories.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Another Trip To LA

So, I went out of town again this weekend. I had been lamenting the lack of spontaneous fun things going on in my life, so rather that sit around and be all butt hurt about the lack of spontaneous shenanigans going on, I picked up the phone and imposed myself on my friends down south. My agenda was to hang out in West LA Friday night, and get my art on Saturday night in NoHo (North Hollywood). But before I could do all that, I had to a actually get out of town.

I had that crappy FM transmitter I wanted to return prior to leaving town, so I figured I'd do this on my way south. As I waited at a red traffic signal to get into the shopping center where my neighborhood Best Buy is located, I noticed to my right on the sidewalk a portly woman having a VERY LOUD conversation on her cell phone in Spanish. She was quite animated with wild hand gestures and lots of eye rolling. It was street theater at its best. Well, the light turned green and I needed to make a right turn, so I waited for the woman to cross the street on the "walk" signal. She didn't. She was oblivious to her visual prompt and completely engrossed in her conversation. So I waited for her to look up, see the "walk" signal, and go. She didn't. I waited 20 seconds (as timed by my Omega Seamaster Professional I'm relatively sure it was an accurate count), and, "nada" (to use her language). Needing to get on my way, I pulled forward and made my right turn into the middle lane (which is illegal) just to give her space because I knew as soon as I went she would magically pull her head out of her ass and step into the street. Yep. POP! Head extracted and into the street she stepped as I was turning. Now, keep in mind the standard traffic lane is 12 feet wide. So I'm at least 10 feet away from her. Well, apparently she thought I was some sort of vehicular manslaughter madman who was looking to orphan her 13 children back at home, and launched into a Spanish, profanity filled tirade at my transgression (I made out the word "ESTUPIDO!!!). Really? I'm the stupid one? The one who JUST KNEW you would step out into traffic like a dumbass without looking and I planned accordingly as to not orphan your brood back home, and I'M THE STUPID ONE???? I'm the guy who was actually PAYING ATTENTION and avoided your dumb, non assimilating ass. Whatever. I gave her the international sign for "you're number 1!" (aka The Bird) and continued on my way.

It being a Friday, and early, I figured the line at the return register at Best Buy couldn't be that bad. Everybody should be at work, and I'll just pop in and pop out, right? WRONG. Huge fucking line. Who ARE THESE PEOPLE???? Why aren't they at work? And if you're unemployed, how in the fuck can you afford all this electronic bullshit??? So, I wait in line. And wait. And wait. Why does this shit take so long? Here were the various problems ahead of me. 1) Old couple with competitors coupon and looking for a price match 2) Some dude returning a TV with an apparent 35 foot screen that took like 19 employees to move around and finally, my favorite, the idiot without the receipt looking to complete a return. "Man, I just want my money back!" "Sir, you don't have a receipt." "Shiiiit...I bought it here!" "Yes, sir, seven months ago." "Then give me store credit." "We cannot sir. Sorry." "Why not????" "Because sir, it looks like somebody carved their initials on it and what looks like a Raider Nation symbol." Etc. You get the idea. Know how long my exchange took? 45 seconds (thank you Omega timing). I presented my receipt and BAM...out the door. Why is this soooo fucking hard for some people???

OK, exchange completed, and I'm leaving the parking lot...except I cant, because there is always a pedestrian clusterfuck in the front of Target. Can you explain to me what it is about Target that causes people to step into the street and stop, right in the middle of the street, and either dig through their purse, have a cell phone conversation, or run into their long lost birth mother? And they are completely oblivious to the sixteen cars idling trying to get by. And it happens EVERY TIME. Anyways, make it out of the parking lot and head down to LA. The drive was pleasant and traffic wasn't too bad.

I get to Brentwood and we go to a restaurant on the Santa Monica Promenade. Here's pic:


Like I mentioned in a previous post, LA has a thing about lights in the trees. It's like everyday is Christmas down there. Anyways, dinner at this Italian place was tasty, then we headed over to a pub to have a drink or five. It was a very cool place that had the Smiths, Oasis, and U2 blaring on the juke box, actual Brits tending bar, and banners from all the Premier League Football (Soccer) Teams everywhere. I felt very at happy indeed. Here's a pic of the Kings Head pub where I got "royally trashed" (hahaha....get it????????):


Premier League Scarves (Man U, Man City, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers):


The next morning, I needed a hearty breakfast to kill my hangover, so we headed to Swingers in Santa Monica. Had the Huevos Rancheros and a pancake drenched in real butter....and lots of water...and lots of coffee. It did the trick. Here's breakfast:


And just because, you know, I am a swinger (ok, not really...):


And this is just a pic I like because it looks like I can manipulate lightning like I'm Zeus or something:


Headed to NoHo to visit my artsy fartsy friend who was directing an alternative performance at Zombie Joe's Under Ground Theater. Here's the theater exterior and the entrance to the NoHo Arts District:


The performance was very cool. Blood, sex, naked flesh, intestines, axes, zombies, lingerie...basically everything you need on a Saturday night.

So, because I was in LA, I had to make a pilgrimage to...FATBURGER. you say "mouthgasm'? And the skinny fries...mmmmmm.....sorry, went to my happy place. However, look at this picture, and I'll share my frustration with you:


The parking lot at Fatburger has very few spaces. I had to circle the block five times before a space opened up. Oh wait. There WAS AN OPEN SPACE...but some fucktard in a HUMMER took up two spaces...BECAUSE THEY'RE JUST THAT BIG AN ASSHOLE. I was hoping, HOPING, that the driver of this vehicle wouldn't live down to my worst expectation, and that it would be some LA scumbag attorney or something I could hate guilt free. But no. It was a ghetto fabulous large woman in all her gold tooth glory...and her entourage all talking at a volume like they were shouting over a landing 747. I...HATE...PEOPLE.

Also, went for a hike at Runyon Canyon. Here's me with my friends dog (an Aussie/Lab mix...awesome dog!):


Anyways, that was it. Drive home over the Tehachapi's was nice. Very clear, and still a little snow in the distance:


And the lovely San Joaquin Valley and home awaits:


Here's the interesting thing I took away from my trip. The people in LA were all very fit, well dressed, tan, and uber hip. And very fake, and very every way possible. But they didn't look happy. Everybody had the look about them like an unhappy model who is bored with the shoot. And that's LA. A bunch of people who I think, deep down, are tired of posing.....and I was actually happy to be back in Fresno.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cutting Edge Ancient Technology

Perhaps some of you have seen a theme in some of my postings here, and that theme is I want a new car. The reason why I want a new car is because I drive an eight year old Toyota Tundra pickup. It's a fine truck, paid for, and runs great. But it is eight years old, and has some of the eight year old related minor issues, like this one: the tape player (for those of you over thirty, don't laugh. For those of you under thirty, a "tape player", pronounced TAY-PUH PLAY-ERR, was a neolithic device carved from stone using hand tooled devices. A piece of magnetized tape would run over a piece of smooth metal that read the magnetic impulses and turned these into electrical impulses that recreated sound. It was invented in 1492 AD by Leonardo DaVinci, when his previous invention, the 8-track, didn't take off, and he was struggling to complete the Mona Lisa while listening to Steely Dan albums) doesn't really work anymore. You put in a tape, and it sounds like Lindsay Lohan doing a mountain of crystal while arm wrestling a constipated baboon. In other words, it's noisy...oh, and no music comes out either, which is, of course, a problem as well, and kind of the whole purpose of the TAY-PUH PLAY-ERR. Oh, and as soon as you put a tape in the player, it immediately ejects it anyways (much like if you stuck a donut in Kate Moss' mouth)...making everything kinda moot. But John, doesn't your truck have a CD player? Yes, it does...but it has a few minor issues as well, and a CD player doesn't get me my tunes out of my iPod.

So, as you can see, my cassette tape adapter is a no-go for my iPod in order for me to enjoy all the wonderful tuneage in my car. But John! There's this wonderful device called an "FM transmitter" for your iPod that allows you to listen to your iPod over your vehicles FM radio. Really? Awesome. So I bought one.

First issues first. The instructions stated the following: "Just go ahead and tune your stereo to a frequency that is all static, and preferably an area on the radio that has three static frequencies in a row; then choose the middle frequency in order to avoid bleed over from another frequency." OK! Can do! Turn on car stereo aaaaand, one click at a time up we go up EVERY FREQUENCY on the dial, and trust me, that's a lot of fucking frequencies. Know how many static frequencies I find? Three. Know how many were in a row? None. Know what I did find? About 10 channels for classic rock hits, R and B/hip hop, and hard rock, and about 90 channels of the "good time gospel Christian your going to hell you filthy sinning whore hour' and Spanish language stations. In fact, the Spanish stations may have been preaching the same message because I thought I had heard the words "Diablo", "Christos", "puta" and "Dio" (and the "Dio" I think they were talking about wasn't Ronnie James Dio). Then again, I heard the word "cerveza", giggling women, and polka music perhaps they were just telling off-color jokes at an over the air party. I dunno. Anyways, needless to say there was no "bleed over" safe zones due to California's need to either hear the Eagles YET AGAIN, be shunned and reminded we're going to hell, or get our drink on with Rodrigo and Raul (I think they were the dj's). There were, by the way, two perfectly dead and staticky frequencies at the very beginning of the dial right next to each other...I think it was 87.7 and 87.9 FM. Know what the lowest frequency the FM transmitter would go to? Yep. 88.1 FM. Sigh. Although this wasn't an Apple product, I still think Steve Jobs is somehow responsible.

So I find the best of the "non bleed over-ish" frequencies and give the old FM transmitter a go. it on? Yep. instructions: "Be sure iPod device is turned up to at LEAST 75% of total volume." Huh. Well, it's over 50%, but ok. Turn it up and I hear something tinny like a small child talking over a soup can tied to a string. Crank it up to 100% and there's good old Rob Dickinson, who normally has a powerhouse of a voice, sounding like....shit. I've had better reception in a tunnel, and better audio quality from a Speak and Spell (for those of you under 30...never mind). So what does the "FM" in the FM transmitter stand for? Faulty Merchandise? Feeble Machine? FUCKING MADDENING? Meh....needless to say, it's going back...and I'll just break the law and wear ear buds in the mean time.

So, there you go...another reason why I need a new luxury car...for the MP3 player connectivity. That alone would be worth the $600 a month car payment.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My second rate supermarket is a first rate radio station

I have ranted in the past about the dearth of good, hip, cool, tasteful, relevant or progressive music radio stations. It seems as if the only thing you can hear now is talk, sports, news, top 40, r&b, rap/hip hop, and hard rock. That's it. Oh, and Spanish language...which I'm sure is even transmitted to the surface of Mars. Anyways, most radio stations in California (and I have lived and/or worked in every region of the state) suck. Balls. Majorly. It is an endless source of frustration for me, and what eventually drove me to purchase an iPod large enough to put my musical collection on, so I could hear it in my car. I had given up on the idea that a radio station was going to play me good, or introduce me to new, music. But check this out: My local and closest supermarket plays really good alternative/Brit pop ALL THE TIME. You know how most stores have this pumped in muzak stuff? My local Save Mart (which I only go to when I'm too lazy to drive the extra mile to the Vons that has a better selection of foodstuffs) has played the following bands on its store sound system: The Catherine Wheel/Rob Dickinson, The Doves, Supergrass, The Style Council, REM, Ride, The Stone Roses, The Pixies, The Police, Johnny Marr, Crowded House...and those are the ones I can think of off of the top of my head. Are you kidding me? You can't even hear this stuff on the college radio station here! The supermarket? Save Mart? REALLY? That is so sad when a town's food store is its bastion of indie/college/ alt. rock. It has also introduced me to new music as well, something that hasn't happened in FOREVER as a result of over the air radio. Yesterday I was buying some things to make our traditional humongoid family breakfast, and I heard this perfect little pop ditty on the speakers in the produce section (gots to have my Fuji apples). I had never heard it before, and it literally stopped me in my tracks to try and discern its lyrics. I memorized a few lines, went home and Googled it, and through the magic of iTunes, found it. Unbelievable. And by sampling that song, it turned me on to another band I had never heard of whose music resonated with me. Wow. My local grocery store turns me on to music in a way that the actual music industry itself has failed at for the last fifteen years or so. There's just something inherently hysterical about that.

Other things that bounced through my head as I pushed my cart along the grocery aisles:

-I wonder why most of us don't party like we did when we were younger? I mean we can, and sometimes DO (I had an experience at a football game last fall that was reminiscent of my best/worst 19 year old behavior), but something seems to fade that demands we tie one on every weekend, Thursday, every other Tuesday, and dollar beer Mondays at the local dive. I went to a Super Bowl get together tonight and had some beers. Caught a slight buzz and had good conversation and laughs. Good times. But back in the day, that vibe would have been "Time for me to really get my drink on!" Tonight the vibe was "Hmmmm....kinda drowsy...need to think about going home...sleep sounds gooooood right now." Plus, I was feeling kinda inflated by the beer. Why is that? At 20 years old you could drink a 12 pack and still wolf down an entire meal. Now? Four Newcastles and you skip the meal for fear of exploding. And sleep? I can remember partying literally until sunrise, sleeping for an hour, showering, then going to school/work...and then doing it all over again THAT NIGHT. I dunno. I think a certain gene kicks in that regulates these things. I think it's the same one that also makes us file our taxes on time and keep our pool clean.

-I never seem to completely finish a pot of coffee. Ever. And I love coffee like others love soda, Jesus, whiskey, or cocaine and strippers. Seriously. There's always that unconsumed 1/4 of an inch in the pot whenever I go to make a new pot. Why is that? People always finish their soda. God knows a drunk polishes off his whiskey. But never the coffee for me. And it doesn't matter how much I make. Two cups, twelve cups...same result. 1/4 of an inch left over. If you added all those leftover dregs up, its probably about a pot a month. And good coffee is expensive. Not un-prescribed oxycontin or hydrocodone expensive (not that I would, you know...."know" about that), but it ain't cheap. Personally I think it is some sort of subliminal sacrifice to the great coffee goddess Insomnia (who I picture is a goddess dressed in a bathrobe, bags under her eyes, hair frazzled, a little twitchy, and clutching a steaming mug of java. She of course magically transforms into a breathtaking vision of loveliness...but only after that morning cup).

-if you ever lose a grandparent, or other elderly loved one, do not fret. I will find them for you. Just let me know they are missing, and I'll get straight to work. All I have to do is be in a hurry, and at the grocery store. They will immediately magically appear in front of me either pushing a cart slower than a snails pace right down the middle of the aisle with no hope of passing them on either side, or be arguing with the cashier about an expired coupon while writing a check for the wrong amount. I have guaranteed results and charge a reasonable finders fee. Just let me know.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Overly Caffinated on a Friday Night...

It used to be the dumbest things I could think of were extolling the virtues of Republican politics at a Jesse Jackson rally; using a running microwave as a pool toy; being a Mormon missionary in Las Vegas; trying to train a cat; getting in the grocery store line behind an elderly person clutching a fist full of coupons AND a check book; and of course, expecting your pet to actually walk one more inch before puking as to make it on the tile and not on the carpet. But I have a new one that eclipses all of those: drinking two strong cups of coffee late at night. Dumb, dumb, dumb...

So, as I sit and type this, I am tweeking on caffeine like a....uh....well, tweeker. Since I'm not in the mood to do usual tweeker activities like stealing cars, disassembling 20 year old VCR's, replacing the transmission on a 1983 Harley Davidson, or leaving nude Polaroids of myself in strangers cars, I decided to write a ten item stream of consciousness thingamabob here.

-one CAN completely express anything one feels without fear or reservation of the consequences if it's honest and without agenda. One caveat: this does not apply to having ripped one at a funeral and then giggled about it. That's one you want to keep on the down low.

-getting older isn't fun. Dying before you're really old is less fun. You can decide for yourself which is best for you.

-I can cook better than most non-professionals, even their own dishes/recipes. I love tacos. They are my favorite food EVER. And yet, tacos are the one food a non-professional individual I know, hands down, without argument, makes better than me. This is a paradox I feel. But it's not the ultimate paradox. The ultimate paradox was somebody thinking Keanu Reeves was a good fit for a Shakespearean comedy...or the acting field in general.

-Fresnan's drive 11mph in the rain when you can see a mile down the road, but speed up to 92mph in fog with 10ft of visibility. This is absolutely the definition of suicidal retardation. Oh, wait, it's the second tier definition of suicidal retardation: the first definition is-eating off of the Cherry Auction taco truck before your wedding day, job interview, or meeting the girlfriends family for the first time. That's just not going to end well, ever, for anybody involved.

-Fresno got labeled the 'Drunkest City in America'. Considering so many of our bars in the nicer parts of town closed at midnight, it just goes to show you besides being a town full of lushes, we're MOTIVATED LUSHES. "Barkeep! Bring me three!!!! I need to get my DUI on by 11pm!!!" (This survey was of course a joke, because it labeled Boston as the soberest. Really? BOSTON??? A town full of Irishmen? Obviously the survey didn't take into account the fact all these east coast cities have superior public transportation ((part of the survey was based on DUI arrests)), and so the drunks don't have to drive to get home. They can just hop on a bus, train, subway, etc. Because, let's be honest...saying good old Irish Boston is the soberest city in America due to low DUI arrests when nobody really has to drive, is like saying Salt Lake City has the least sex because they're all virgins when they get married (but they all have 15 kids after they get the math!). Please...there's lies, damn lies, and statistics....

-people love their pets more than they love human beings. How do I know? Well, your pet can keep you up all night making noise, and peeing and puking on everything, and be loved just the same. Last time I kept somebody up by noisily peeing and hurling all over the room, I gotta tell 'ya, I wasn't feeling the love...and I was even dressed as a Jack Russel Terrier when it happened (it's a long story that involves a bottle of brown liquor, a bet, two midgets in plushie costumes, a trampoline, and a drinking game gone horribly awry).

-the most self confident male I have EVER met? A guy called The Gypsie who was wearing black gucci loafers WITH a red Armani tracksuit, and was as relaxed as can be. Wow. That took BALLS. CANNON BALLS.

-I've been known to go to the grocery store in an old school Adidas Firebird tracksuit wearing flip-flops...but that pushes the limits of my self confidence (and laziness). And let's face it...flip flops are to Gucci loafers as a librarian is to a stripper. One is just waaaaaaay more out there (but who doesn't enjoy a stripper dressed AS a librarian, right?).

-I'm ready to buy a new car, but Arnold keeps threatening to try and cut my pay. So, I'm on pause until we see what happens. I think Arnold needs to back the hell off because I would really, really, like to buy a new car. Like, you know, tomorrow. I think my need for a new luxury car is far more important than petty politics, don't you? So, Ah-nold...get a grip and enjoy a bratwurst or something. Daddy needs to bring that new car smell home baby!

-started cleaning my own home again, and have discovered I really enjoy vacuuming and mopping floors. I think it's primarily because I enjoy the feel of a freshly mopped floor/vacuumed carpet on my bare feet. Maybe that's TMI, but to me a clean floor on bare feet is a better feeling than......ok, really struggling for an analogy here, but it's good. Some have accused me of having mild foot issues, and perhaps this is just an extension of that. Fine. Whatever. I'm just saying a clean floor on bare feet is.......dammit!......well, you get the idea....

OK, still wired, but I'm going to go listen to some music and get inside the souuuund maaaaannnn.......