Sunday, April 29

Liar's Club

As week ago I mentioned some artifacts found while clearing out my bedroom. I've found my camera so here are the mystery objects. Do you know what they are? If not, I'm afraid we can't be friends anymore. Sorry!

The black disc was found behind a bookcase. The red disc was found in the air vent. God only knows how long they've been hiding. I had to smile when I found them because it occurred to me that anyone under the age of about 30 would likely have no idea what they were. Allen Ludden would know.

If anyone honestly has no idea what these are, leave your guesses and I'll spill the beans.

Saturday, April 28

Oh brother

There is only one man in the world who could walk into my bedroom, say "Why aren't you watching the Dodger Game?", plop down on my bed and promptly fall asleep. Yup, that's my brother. He and some friends are going on a 24 hour bird watching expedition tonight with my Dad. I was writing my last post when bro walked in. I was watching Lost. When I finished, I flipped on the game to catch the score but he was already fast asleep. When he woke we talked for a while. Here's a sample:

Lucy: Flipping through the Tivo lineup
Bro: 35! 35! Channel 35!
Lucy: Why?
Bro: Quickly!
Lucy: *sigh* Flipping to 35
TV: "Monty Python's Flying Circus" was listed but some guy was solemnly talking to a camera. It was clearly not Monty Python.
Bro: Who's this tool?
Lucy: Um, I think it's a priest.
Bro: ...
Lucy: ...
Bro: What else is on?

He then showed me my niece's numerous self portraits on his digital camera. She's apparently developed a taste for self portraiture. He finds them on his camera all the time with no warning. We agreed that if we'd done that more than once in our day, we'd be dead meat. Can you imagine the film and developing costs?

Later, while watching The Tudors, which we both enjoy...
Bro: What do you think of this show?
Lucy: I like it but I hope Henry doesn't kill that guy. He's hot.
Bro: Yeah, I can't decide who's hotter, Anne or her sister.
Lucy: I'm bummed about the boob situation on this show.
Bro: What do you mean?
Lucy: Evey episode features a topless woman but we ladies never get to see so much as a naked shoulder on any of the hot guys. Typical.
Bro: I don't mind.

Just then one of the birding friends walked in. He heard part of our conversation and sat on the floor for possible boob viewing. He said "Look! There's your money shot of a guy." I told him "It doesn't count when it's shot through a crack in a wall. Typical." Later, when we heard the fourth birder arrive, our seated visitor complained "I've been watching this for ten minutes and haven't seen a single boob." I told him better luck next time. Did I mention this guy recently earned his PhD from Cal Tech? I guess brilliant minds, or less, all think alike.

Locally Grown

I left for our Farmers Market at 8:30 this morning in search of strawberries. I like to kick off the weekend with a trip to the Farmers Market whenever I can but often I'm too tempted to sleep in and soon enough the day gets away from me.

I'm glad I made the effort this morning.

I picked up the following for a song:
  • An enormous bunch of loose leaf lettuce - $1
  • Green onions - 75 cents.
  • Three baskets of strawberries - $5
  • Asparagus bunch - $1
  • Two big bunches of stock, and my biggest splurge, because it's my favorite flower and smells like Mom & Dad's garden - $7
  • Bag of tiny potatoes - $2

All in all it was a nice haul. I've already enjoyed the lettuce, strawberries, asparagus and the flowers are in vases throughout the house.

I love the Farmers Market and highly recommend, if you haven't already, you find your local market. Buy some fantastically fresh, inexpensive, locally grown fruits, vegetables and flowers. It's the best!

Shandon was planning a trip to pick up strawberries to make jam with. I've never made jam but I'd like to give it a try. Shandon, I hope you'll post your recipes and pix on your food blog.

Wednesday, April 25

Shandon's nightmare

Well, it finally happened. I ran out of gas. I not only ran out of gas but I did so in rush hour traffic. Let me tell you, these LA drivers really don't care if you're dramatically slowing down with your hazard lights blinking.

It all happened so quickly. I noticed I was low but figured I could make it home like the 100's of times before. Apparently not. My trusty little Honda pretty much slowed to a stop and I barely made it to the emergency lane. Phew! I assumed I ran out of gas but figured it could be any number of things so I called AAA roadside Service.

A very nice lady asked me lots of questions. Mostly she wanted to know if I was safe. I was on the line waiting to get an ETA of a AAA helper dude when a tow truck pulled up behind me. I thought it was AAA.

Lucy: Ooo! He just pulled up.
AAA: Would you like me to stay on the line?
Lucy: Um, yeah. I think it's actually a Metro guy.
AAA: Oh good. He can also help you.
Slow Motion Crabby Old Metro Guy: (Leaning in my passenger window) Is there a problem?
Lucy: Yes. I think I ran out of gas but I'm on the phone with AAA.
Slow Motion Crabby Old Metro Guy Ok(shuffling off)
Lucy: ...
Lucy: ...
Lucy: Where's he going?
AAA: Did he offer you gas?
Lucy: No. Does he have some?
AAA: Yes! He should have offered you gas. Can you still catch him?
Lucy: (Franticaly waving) Let me try.
Lucy: (Watching Slow Motion Crabby Old Metro Guy shuffle back to car.)
Lucy: Do you have some gas?
Slow Motion Crabby Old Metro Guy: What did AAA say?
Lucy: They said you could give me some gas. I just need to get to the gas station by that exit.
Slow Motion Crabby Old Metro Guy: Those AAA people are SO LAZY. I know, I'm a Plus Member! (Shuffling back to truck to, presumably, get gas.)
Lucy: (To AAA operator) Oooooo, he just insulted you!
AAA: I know! I'm lazy and he's a Plus Member!

Slow Motion Crabby Old Metro Guy gave me enough gas to get me to the nearby gas station then just walked away. I wanted to thank him but sitting on the side of a LA freeway in rush hour traffic is no place to chase someone down. I tossed a sincere wave and he sort of nodded. I hung up with my new AAA friend and drive off. From the time I limped to the emergency lane to when I drove away from the gas station with a full tank (costing over $50 BTW) only 16 minutes had gone by. It really couldn't have been less painful. I was incredibly lucky. Who knew Metro had guys driving around helping motorists? I had no idea? Crabby or not, he saved my ass and I'm grateful. Thanks low Motion Crabby Old Metro Guy!!!

I heart power tools

I finally got that dang corner tv stand put together. Unplugging and transferring the tv, cable box, DVD player and Tivo box was almost a bigger hassle. I'm just so glad it's over. It looks great and so much more organized. I also love the fact that my little stereo system, that has an annoyingly bright blue light when turned on, is now put away in a cabinet. I've always heard sleeping in complete darkness is best so hiding that bright light is great.

After struggling with about 30 screws last night I decided to get an electric screwdriver. I looked them up on Consumer Reports and decided on this one. I dropped by Home Depot on the way home and, for $32, got the greatest tool ever. It's also a drill, has magnetized bits, a built in light and... well, let's just say it's a whole new world. I told my Dad I got it 'cause I wouldn't be able to call down the hall for him when I get my far away condo. Of course, Daddy can't be replaced by an electric screwdriver but it will be extremely helpful in the new place. Besides, Dad agreed that it was pretty amazing. In fact, he liked it so much he may be getting one for Father's Day.

Monday, April 23


I've almost survived my DIY "vacation". I took a few days off to paint my bedroom and it's about killed me. Well, actually I was ok until I wrapped up the beautiful paint job and headed off to Target to pick up that cute little corner tv stand I had my eye on. It was waiting for me on the bottom shelf and it looked pretty heavy but I had to try it out. I actually heaved the thing up and would have made it into the shopping cart but those cursed wheels just made it slide away from me. I tried a few times before realizing my back was about to snap in half. Eventually I found a red vested Target employee to help me. He scolded me for even attempting the heave. Oops! Of course, once it was in my cart I noticed the "Extra Heavy Team Lift" sticker on the side. I'm now in pain. Good grief, it will be a miracle if I can get out of bed tomorrow.

It might not have been such a big deal but after a weekend of packing, lifting and stacking heavy boxes filled with books and the obscene use of muscles long left happily dormant... well, let's just say mama needs a massage.

The cute little "Extra Heavy Team Lift" item has been a bit of a nightmare to put together mostly because I don't have an electric screwdriver. Many of the wood screws are in awkward positions so an electric would be nice. When I first saw the intimidating instruction manual I could only think of the Queen's stiff-upper-lip advice to her subjects during the blitz: "Keep calm, Carry On." I did, and it's helped. I plan to keep the Queen's advice in mind as often as possible.

Of course, all of this will be worth it when my little project it wrapped up. I have a soon-to-be delightful bedroom. I wanted a happy, upbeat green. I picked a Glidden color called "Lime Twist". (I'd show it to you online but when I looked it up it's all wrong on a monitor.) It's vibrant and fresh but was, frankly, freaking me out when I first slapped up a patch. I decided to throw caution to the wind and go with the color anyway and I'm glad I did. I kept thinking I thought I loved it but it reminded me of something. I feared it was the color of Kaopectate but then, happily realized it's actually the exact shade of my favorite flavor of ice cream: Pistachio. Yippee!!

Oh, and in honor of Earth Day I used a Glidden Evermore paint that has a low fume blah, blah, blah factor. I can't remember the exact benefits but the paint smell was minimal and I'm very happy with the results.

I learned a few thing along the way while handling this project:

  • iPod shuffle is great to paint to
  • Air is too introspective to paint to
  • Los Lobos is fantastic to paint to (and not the stuff you remember from the 90's)
  • That bright blue painter's tape really works
  • Don't lift big boxes in Target
  • Invest in an electric screwdriver and some Aleve before attempting any big DIY project (I'm just realizing that 40, indeed, sucks)
  • Pick a crazy color and go for it!

When I eventually unpack and find my camera cord I'll show you a couple of the artifacts I found while clearing stuff out. Until then remember to keep calm and carry on.

Friday, April 20

Do the Shuffle!

I saw this little experiment pop up somewhere and thought I'd give it a try. Since my iPod has been on shuffle all day, I figured it was time to give it a try.

The experiment? List the first 10 songs to pop up, when set to shuffle, on your digital player. No cheating, no matter how humiliating. Ready? Here we go:

Magnolia Soul - Ozomati
Choux Pastry Heart - Corrine Bailey Rae
Be My Somebody - Norah Jones
Rewind - Paulo Nutini
Red, White and Blue - Rockie Lynne (Who?)
Girl and the Sea - The Presets
Whispering - Lea Michele
Moonlight Mile - The Rolling Stones
Philosophia - The Guggenheim Group
Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in my Hand- Primitive Radio Gods (Oooh! Remember that one? Oh, come on, yes you do.)

So there you have it. The good the bad and the ugly of my iPod. The only one that is a bit embarrassing is the Rockie Lynne track. I honestly have no idea who that is or why it's on my iPod. I'm a fan of downloading some of the free stuff offered on iTunes so maybe that explains it. I recommend snagging some of the free stuff especially for the the shuffle feature. I'm frankly surprised I didn't get some show tunes on my list. Weird.

I don't even know which of my friends have iPods/mpeg players but I'd like to tag the following to see what their lists look like: Shandon, Norman and Trooperdog. If you don't have an iPod, then maybe you have digital stuff on your computer and can try it that way. Happy shuffling!

Thursday, April 19

Ya gotta pay attention

Today I'm on "vacation" so I can prep my bedroom for a makeover. My mission was delayed due to many breaks from clearing off my shelves to play with my niece. One of her favorite games is to make cookies with my mom who talks to an invisible camera as if they are hosting a cooking show. I wandered into their show today and was introduced as a special guest. At one point Little Miss asked me if I had a video camera. I said "No, but maybe I can get my hands on one and shoot you and grandma." The puzzled and concerned expression on her face can not be described. I immediately realized she's probably been hearing a lot about shooting this week. I quickly explained that taking someones picture is often described as "shooting" a picture. She seemed relieved to hear that I wasn't planning a rampage. Poor baby. I hate it when the news oozes into the world of kids. It's not fair.

My nephew was about 2 years old when 9/11 happened. On around 9/14 he walked into the room, took a look at the tv and wearily said "I'm tired of this show." He was right, we were all watching too much news at that time. We'd been turning off CNN when Little Man was around but he got wind of it anyway. Several months later, out of nowhere, he turned to me and said "The firemen go up the building but they can't come down." How do you respond to that? You choke back tears, nod, lie and say everything is ok when you know better. You try to influence them and push them in the direction of being good little people with integrity and compassion in spite of all the crap happening in the world.

After I accidentally terrorized Little Miss today, my sis-in-law came to pick up the kids and mentioned a comment Little Man's substitute teacher had made. She apparently said he had been a bit of trouble. My brother and sis-in-law are not screamers so Little Man shouldn't feel bad about admitting mistakes but he does. He's a really good kid who hates to be in trouble. Little Miss, on the other hand, doesn't seem to mind trouble at all. Anyway, when confronted with being in trouble, his eyes turned into those of a wide eyed cartoon character whose eyes just get wetter and wetter as they grow larger and larger. He was trying to be brave during the gentle questioning but was not taking it well. Finally, I said "Dude. I'm 40 years old and I mess up all the time. The trick is to admit you've messed up, try to fix it then decide how to not to mess up again." It was my way of explaining accountability. I went on to say "You know mom and dad don't yell. They just want to know what happened that's all. Don't worry about making mistakes. You're a kid, you're supposed to make mistakes sometimes." His wet eyes cleared up and he nodded. He seemed to understand.

The last time Little Man was in trouble it was for playing tag. I may have mentioned it here but apparently kids get in trouble for playing tag these days. Tag is now emotionally harmful to kids deemed "it". Strange how the tagless kids of today are the ones shooting everyone. I don't remember any "it" kids shooting anyone back when I was in school. Well, there was Carrie's little freak out but I don't think movies count.

Wednesday, April 18

Excuse me

To my minuscule readership, I'm baaa-aaack.

I just got back from New York but didn't take a laptop so I wasn't able to blog from the road. Here's a pic I snapped while hailing a cab this morning.

Let's see, I'd mention my weekend but I don't remember much except the part about my brother's dog getting nailed by a skunk after our Sunday night dinner. We had all heard that tomato juice could help neutralize the smell but had never tried it. We didn't have any tomato juice on hand but I'm happy to report that good old tomato sauce works very well. Because I haven't lived with a dog in years I've, sadly, developed an allergy to them. I often forget about this allergy and found myself elbow deep in shampoo suds to help wash the dog off. Unfortunately, I forgot to wash my hands afterwards and had a terrible reaction. My eyes puffed up, turned pink, itched and burned all night long. I then had to hop a flight to NYC the next day and looked like a psycho. Everywhere I went people would say "Are you tired? You're not you're peppy self." Peppy?! Well I guess there are worse labels.

Aside from my constant urge to wash away my eye makeup and lay down with a soothing eye cream, the trip was ok. Because of the recent severe weather I was lucky to even get to New York. Last Friday my boss pulled me aside and said with an intensely concerned tone "We'll be flying right into a nor-eastern next week." I shouldn't admit it, but my first thought was (and I'm not kidding) "Nor-eastern? Is that a Jewish holiday? ... OH! No, wait, it's some sort of weather pattern." Seriously, how Paris Hilton of me, huh? I'm so ashamed! I told this to some of my Jewish friends in NY and they, luckily, cracked up. I suppose I should keep my stupid thoughts to myself but where's the fun in that?

Last night we went to a trendy restaurant and had a nice dinner with co-workers. At one point Herr Boss went around the table asking everyone what they want to do in California that they haven't done yet. When it was my turn I explained that I've actually done a lot of California things but that a road trip to Bodie was on that list. I also told him that I was hoping to visit Hearst Castle soon. I then remembered the Winchester Mystery House. Herr Boss had never heard of it so I explained. I then explained that I'm pretty much always up for a road trip. Someone asked me to tell him about the Diners & Disasters trip. Being from Austria and, later, Germany, he'd never heard of The Donner Party. I told him his sons would learn about it in the fourth grade and that they'd LOVE it. Just when I feared I was single handedly bringing the table down, the question of a friend's heritage came up. She explained that her great grandmother came to California on a covered wagon, while other family members were slaves and others perished on the Trail of Tears. "Trail of Tears?" Herr Boss asked. My friend said "Lucy, you want to take this one?" I started the story with "That bastard Andrew Jackson...". Herr Boss hadn't heard of this chapter of American history. I explained it wasn't one we liked to discuss or publicize overseas.

We then learned that the same friend had distant relatives who died in the Jonestown Massacre. "Jonestown Massacre? What is this Jonestown Massacre?" We explained that bit of recent history to him as well. I, being a sarcastic pain in the ass, then turned to Herr Boss and said "Do you have any shameful history to share about your countries?" Several co-workers erupted in comments but the one I heard was "Hello?! How about a couple of world wars?" I explained that I was avoiding the obvious and looking for lesser known disasters and atrocities. Apparently Austrians and Germans are pretty open about such things so I never got any juicy never-before-heard-of stories. I'll just have to look them up online. I KNOW Hitler didin't just pop up out of nowhere.

Friday, April 13


I absolutely love this night. It's almost midnight and I'm still lookin' up stuff online and generally wasting time and staying up too late. The best part is that I don't have to get up at any particular time tomorrow morning. Oh, I have some errands to run but the timing is entirely up to me. This rarely happens and I couldn't be happier about it.

My day was pretty good too. I got ready for my trip to NYC and wrapped up some other things. Then my sis-in-law and the kids dropped by for a visit. I showed them around the building and introduced them to some friends. We then went to The Lot for a tour. (I generally don't like to talk about where I work but I can tell you, that I work for a movie studio. I don't make movies but I am a tiny wheel in a giant studio machine you are familiar with.) I first took them to the commissary for lunch. The kids seemed very impressed with the idea of filling out a form, clipping it to a spinning chef's wheel then having a nice man hand them a plain ham on white sandwich. While eating out on the patio area, my nephew stated "I love this place!" to no one in particular. After lunch I showed them some storyboards, artwork and some minor landmarks. I then walked them down a "fake street" and by a few sound stages. Little man was particularly intrigued by the giant slabs of styrofoam stacked outside the enormous sound stage doors. I explained that they can make rocks, walls and whatever out of the stuff as long as it was well painted. (I hope this small dose of movie-making magic doesn't ruin it for them.) We ended our little tour at the studio store where they each picked out a new video game with my discount. (Tip: If ou want to help a kid with math, breifly explain a 30% discount and watch how fast they catch on.) I wasn't sure the kids would like walking around the Lot but they did. My sis-in-law seemed to enjoy it as well. All in all it was a good day. Hope you had a good one too.

Tuesday, April 10

Apologies to Norman for today's topic

Has anyone seen my period? Seriously. Aunt Flo never showed up. This has never happened to me before. I realize this is way too much information but what the heck is going on? There is no chance of pregnancy and I haven't had any midnight visits from God or angels so it's all very strange.

Do you think I'm perimenopausal? Oh God, is it that time already? According to iVillage I'm probably not perimenopausal but they did refer me to this site. *sigh*.

Shhhhhh. Can you hear that sound? I think I hear the faint sound of my uterus crying out this tune.

... and look, there she is now taking her final bow.

Sunday, April 8

Lucy has risen too... along with the whole neighborhood

A marauding gang of Christians woke me up this morning at 6:15. I kept hearing cars drive by and thought, Ok, it's Easter Sunday and the neighborhood is really getting to church this year. Good for them. Then I heard honking and lots of loud conversation. I gazed out from my shutters and saw about a dozen men in matching windbreakers "directing traffic". I put that in quotes because they were really preventing traffic flow to a nearby park. The problem is that there is a perfectly good, and legal, stop sign in front of my next door neighbor's house. Why were these fools stopping everyone 100 feet beyond the stop sign, and a half mile from the park, with their makeshift A-frame stop sign? And were the traffic cones really necessary? What calamity were they trying to prevent? From what I could see, all they were doing was keeping their congregation from getting to the church on time.

I was moments away from marching out there in my robe to tell them to pipe down when I thought "Ok, its Easter morning. It's a time of celebration. Let's not be angry." Trouble is, I was up 'til about 2:00 am, I have no idea why, and I would have been inappropriately rude. Honestly, it wasn't the waking me up part that made so angry, it was the inefficiency of their effort that was most offensive. I simply can't be expected to witness such a disorganized spectacle on four hours sleep.

I watched as these inconsiderate fools packed up their illegal traffic accoutrement which was not an organized or quiet endeavor either. I know I should be at church this morning, but rudely waking an entire unsuspecting neighborhood is no way to get people to your party.

The letter writer in me wanted to know which church these wise men were from. Did I mention they were all men? Men who did not get to Sunrise Service by the way. They all drove off in the opposite direction of traffic. I suppose they were following their marching orders and were off to open a church rec room somewhere. Anyway, the letter writer in me wanted to know which church they were from so I could call the pastor and ask that they cease their worthless traffic directing in the future. Naturally, the vans they drove off in were the only unidentifiable church vans known to man. No "Calvary Church" signs slapped on the sides of these vans. No, that would be too efficient.

We normally get a beautiful morning chorus from the birds at sunrise. Not today, the traffic boobs scared them all away. All except the crazy gang of squawking, runaway parrots that frequent the area. The parrots are extraordinarily loud and it was all I could do to keep from giggling as I heard them loudly fly overhead toward the services. I know, I know! I'll burn in hell but come on, that's funny stuff. If there's one thing I believe about God, it's that He has a great sense of humor.

Friday, April 6


I took my niece and nephew to see Meet the Robinsons (in 3-D!) tonight. They were slated to go to church with their grandmother for Good Friday services but she decide they'd rather go to the movies with me. As usual, our souls are left in Grandma's hands. Good thing she's on our side.

As for the movie, I must say, the 3-D glasses provided were great. There is nothing better than looking down at a kid to see them wearing oversized Buddy Holly glasses. I also enjoy watching kids reach out to touch elements of a 3-D movie. My niece was a little freaked out at the stuff flying at her during the preview so I explained that, no matter what, nothing would fly out at or touch her.

Before the feature they showed Disney's first short made for 3-D. I have to say Chip & Dale hold up pretty well. Kids laugh at the same stuff that they laughed at 50 years ago. I find that somewhat comforting.

What did I think of the film? I liked it. I do think seeing it in 3-D is a great plus and must be most fun for kids. As with most animated films there are plenty of references for adults. It's funny when you realize how many references you take for granted. For instance, my favorite character, named Goob, treats a black eye with a steak. My niece whispered "Why is he putting meat on his eyes?" Try explaining that quietly and in under 3 seconds.

After the movie the kids were wired from their kid packs. Little Miss ate 2 1/2 tubes of Jolly Rancher Rocks (I have no idea --- it was dark and I'm no real parent). Once in the car, and on my way to drop them at Grandma's house, there was much squealing and rapping on heads with empty water bottles. It's amazing how much noise two kids can make. My mature solution? Crank up the radio SO LOUD you can no longer hear them. Stevie Wonder happened to be on the radio so I was perfectly content. After a minute or so of ear splitting music the squealing stopped.

I suppose I could have taken them to run some laps somewhere but it was getting late and grandma was waiting. Instead, I dropped them off and made sure they brushed their teeth and put on their pjs. That's the best I can do.

P.S. Shandon, you'd like the MTR soundtrack. It's got Rufus Wainwright and Danny Elfman. It's pretty good!

Wednesday, April 4

You know you're a native Californian when...

Ok, not to be cavalier but this really happened:

I awoke at 4:26 am this morning because an earthquake was rattling my window. For those who have never experienced an earthquake, this is what you think when awakened out of a sound sleep:

  1. Is this an earthquake?
  2. Damn! My head is right under A LOT of glass.
  3. If it keeps shaking, I'll get up.

Last night, by the time I thought these things it was over. I apparently rolled over and went back to sleep.

I've long said "I don't get out of bed for any earthquake under 6.0." For some reason earthquakes seem to come in the early morning when you're in your deepest sleep. They're always startling but mostly annoying. Typically the fourth thought I have is, and I'm not exaggerating, "If it shakes for another 5 seconds I'll get up... ok, another 5 seconds." The fifth thing I think/do, if it's decent sized quake, is turn on the local news to get the size and location.

This brings up the step that I actually miss. I miss Dr. Kate Hutton's post earthquake interviews. Local news crews descend upon Cal Tech after larger earthquakes because Cal Techies are the experts. For years, Dr.Hutton would field the same inane questions like "Is this a sign of THE BIG ONE?", "Will there be any aftershocks?", "Are we any closer to predicting earthquakes?" *sigh* Dr. Hutton would patiently answer each question and generally calm the reporters down. Unfortunately, we haven't seen much of Dr. Hutton in recent years. Her colleague (whose name escapes me) now fields the annoying questions. I don't blame Dr. Hutton for ducking into her office and avoiding the media these days. TV reporters are never more idiotic than after an earthquake.

Unless it's a very big one (6.3ish and up) or I'm siting right on top of the epicenter, earthquakes are not that upsetting to me. The thing about big earthquakes that nobody mentions is the sound. Most folks assume it's the movement that is so upsetting. While the ground moving around is always a bit bizarre, it's the noise that is the most terrifying. The earth makes an incredible sound when it's shifting in a "big one". It's something that I've never heard reproduced accurately. It's a sound only nature can make. The man-made sounds of an earthquake (breaking glass, rattling windows, clapping cupboard doors, things falling off shelves) are picked up on by movie makers but the rumble of earth shifting is a mighty sound that can't be recreated. When I can hear an earthquake I know it's a biggie.

Last night I only heard rattling glass. I didn't hear the rumble. I didn't get out of bed.

Honest to God, I'd forgotten all about last night's quake until it was mentioned on the radio this morning. It was apparently a 3.4 and was located about 5 miles from my home. My family all felt it but we all forgot about it. I guess that makes us true Califonians.

Monday, April 2

Last to the party

Am I the last person to hear about Amy Winehouse?! Have you heard her Back to Black CD? It's great! She has a nonchalant/Ronette/Motown/Shirley Bassey thing going on that is killin' me. (I realize these references may not seem like a ringing endorsement, for the kids out there, but ya gotta trust me here.) She is the embodiment of Diana Ross' bad seed granddaughter, which incidentally, is my idea of a dream Supreme. If the voice isn't enough she's got some great 60's horns and hand claps that are retro in the best of all ways. I'd post a sample here but I'm too lame to know how to do that. Just click the Audio/Video link on her website for a sample. She's apparently only 23 years old. I shudder to recall what I was up to at 23. Ugh!

Here's her song Rehab. Go, go, go.

Sunday, April 1


I spent the afternoon and evening at my brother's house. We were celebrating his mother-in-law's birthday. It was a really nice time. Dad had gone on an early morning pelagic trip in Mexico and got to my brother's house in time to join us. He was very tired so he and mom left before me. I stayed and watched This Film is not Yet Rated with my brother and sis-in-law. It features more unconstitutional stuff...more un-American practices... your basic nightmare.

I stayed 'til about 10:30. I was almost home when mom called. She said she and Dad were sleeping when the light of a flashlight woke her up. She thought it might be me outside, cutting flowers or something, but she hadn't heard me come in the house. She got up to flip on the backyard light and saw a couple of Police officers standing there. There she is in her nightgown and Dad's sleeping through the whole thing. She asked what they were doing and they said they got a report of a bear. Mom said "They're here all the time. They like our pool and tend to use the yard as a restroom. Don't worry about it."

I'm glad she called. When I pulled up there were still a couple of Police cars at the curb with their lights on. I might have had a heart attack had I not known why they were there. They were, naturally, blocking the driveway so I pulled up and asked if they had seen anything and if it was ok for me to get out of the car. Did I mention the ridiculous shotgun one was carrying? (A cop, not a bear) I sort of feel sorry for the cops in this situation. They are inevitably more freaked out than we are. It must be rough when a nightgown clad, mom-type tells you it's best to chill out about your damn mission.

I never saw the bear. It's funny, the neighbors around here don't seem to give the bears much thought. I think it's the visitors and drunk teens at the neighbors who freak out. We do seem to be seeing the bears a lot more often these days. We used to see bears every few years. Now it's several times a year. Maybe I should read up on it.

And speaking of nature...

Are you watching the Planet Earth series? It's incredible! I've only seen a couple of episodes but I'm hooked. It's stuff you've ever seen before. Because of recent developments in camera mounting and digital slow motion technology we're able to watch the behavior of animals and weather systems like never before. There are under water shots of elephants swimming and slow motion Killer Whale attacks. And lets just say there is some freaky creatures in the Ocean. A Vampire Squid?! Giant Tube Worms?! Cool! I think I've said "Ewww!" the most during the "Deep Oceans" episode.

The tree cover is so dense in New Guinea that the rain forest floor is nearly dark. Now we're able to clearly view Birds of Paradise "showing" for mates. Aerial shots show how wild dogs use sophisticated tactics when attacking prey. It's an amazing display of team work.

Planet Earth is airing every Sunday night until mid-April. There are opportunities to catch it during the week as well.

Of course The Tudors premieres tonight so I'll be recording the midnight airing of Plant Earth's "Desserts" and "Ice Worlds" segments.