Tuesday, November 26, 2002

The Wonder of it all

I'm sick.

When I first moved to L.A., I tried to explain to people that the Wonder bread out here tastes different than Wonder bread back east. They mocked me. They said that Wonder bread is Wonder bread, no matter where you get it. Not true. You have to be careful where you get your Wonder bread. After the Doo Dah parade, my quirky friend DJ and I stopped by a "grocery store" and picked up some bread for sandwiches. It wasn't a chain store, but rather a small shop where they probably wash the floor twice a year whether it needs it or not. We bought Wonder bread and baloney. The sandwhich tasted a little funny, but I thought it was the baloney.

On Monday, I made a cheese sandwhich for lunch, and something wasn't right with it either. I started feeling worse throughout the afternoon, and had to cancel some post-shopping dinner plans with friends that evening.

Suffice it to say, I made many trips to the bathroom last night. By the time I woke up, I was aching all over. I was decoming dehydrated; my joints were killing me and my lips were splitting open. I stayed home from work.

My ex-boss was going to New York for Thanksgiving, and I am taking care of his 2 dogs. At around 2:00, I left home to drive the 25-30 miles to give the puppies some kibbles. That's a long drive when you get stuck on the 405. It's even longer when your stomach is doing things it isn't supposed to be doing. It took me about 2 hours round-trip to take care of the dogs. Around 7:00, my ex-boss called me:

"Did you feed the dogs today?"
"Did you know that I'm not leaving until tomorrow?"

It's about 10:30 now, and although my stomach is feeling a little better my body is still aching. Tomorrow is a half-day at work, so I'm hoping I can make it through.


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Monday, November 25, 2002

Everyone is familiar with Pasadena's "Tournament of Roses" parade. Fewer people know much about Pasadena'a OTHER parade, the Doo Dah Parade. If the Tournament of Roses is all about pageantry, tradition, and corporate sponsorships, Doo Dah is about everything else. To give some perspective as to what type of event it is, in the Official Parade Guidelines it has rules specifically prohibiting you from carrying marshmellows or throwing tortillas. Basically, it's a day when all the freaks come out.

My Quirky Friedn DJ asked me if I wanted to go to the parade this year. I said. Then he asked if I wanted to march in the parade. Although I have heard of Doo Dah, I would have liked to have seen it once before figuring out what was expected of me. I was a little nervous. It didn't help that DJ told me to dress up like a carpenter. Knowing the "free-spirited" nature of the parade, I had visions of riding along on a Village People float.

As it turns out, we were marching with "Side Street Projects." They are non-profit organization that brings the arts to children. For the parade, they brought out "The Woodworking Bus". It's a converted school bus with about 10 child-sized workstations inside. They bring the bus to schools, let the kids come on board and teach them how to build thier own wooden ties. The exterior of the bus was painted in what can best be described as a cross between The Partridge Family and The Electric Mayhem.

I knew that there was no such thing as being "over the top" for Doo Dah, but at the same time I didn't want to stand out too much in a group of people I've never met. I think I did a pretty good job dressing appropriately. I went to Toys 'R Us and picked up a Fisher Price work bench and some oversized plastic tools, including a way-cool chain saw with real sound effects. They were good props to have along the parade route. I had to open the boxes of toys very carefully, because I plan on stuffing everything back in and donating them to a Christmas toy drive. So maybe these kids won't be getting perfectly brand new toys. But they'll never know the difference. And hey, at least I'm not returning them for my money back.


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Friday, November 22, 2002


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Thursday, November 21, 2002

Fashion, Passion, and Michael Jackson Bashin’


In all the ads for the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show”, they show you women wearing your typical bikini-style “teasing” undergarments. But the actual show is far more bizarre. I was thinking what would happen if people actually wore some of those outfits:

I picture a couple sitting by the fireplace, preparing for a romantic evening. The woman leans over to the man and says “darling, I stopped by Victoria’s Secret today... mind if I slip into something more... comfortable?” The man grins as she saunters into the bedroom. The man gets some champagne and returns to the living room. After 15 minutes, he calls out “sweetheart? You coming out?” “In a minute my love!” A half hour goes by. “Uh, honey? The champagne is going flat” “Almost ready!”

After an hour, she steps out of the bedroom wearing a 15 pound head dress, a 7-foot golden feather wingspan and a bronze amazonian breastplate. Lingerie just ain’t what it used to be.


I like Reality TV. It’s one of the few genres where the Bad Guys can actually win, and sometimes do. That’s what makes it exciting. It’s a little trashy, but it’s good escapist fun. However, I draw the line at The Bachelor. I can’t watch, and I don’t watch, but I just can’t seem to escape it. It’s all over the news, the internet, the radio.

Some people at work came up with a great take-off of The Bachelor for a new TV show. I take no credit for it, but it’s brilliant. The show is “Who’s Your Daddy?” It would begin with a woman living with a group of men, and they all sleep with her until she gets pregnant. They all stay together during the pregnancy, and do blood samples and DNA tests each week so they can eliminate a potential father. In the season finale, the baby is born and they announce who the father is. Who’s Your Daddy? Coming to FOX.

Michael Jackson Bashin’

People should not hold babies over railings. Period. No questions asked. But I wish the media would at least tell the right story about Jacko. The first report I heard was that Michael Jackson dangled his son by one leg from a fourth story balcony. Later stories reported that the infant was flailing in his arms as Michael struggled to keep control of the baby. That isn’t what really happened. Michael always had a secure grip on his son. Look, don’t get me wrong. Wacko Jacko was absolutely irresponsible, and could POSSIBLY be guilty of child endangerment. But let’s let the FACTS of the situation tell the story. There’s plenty of TRUTH to condemn him with, without the exaggerations.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Oh Dear Godspell

Thank God I didn't see this a year ago.

I was watching the film version of Godspell. It's basically a bunch of hippies running around New York City singing Gospel stories. Since Godspell was released in 1973, I thought it might have some shots from before the Trade Center was even built. By pausing and rewinding, I was able to catch a few glimpses of the buildings.

As it turns out, I didn't need to spend so much time trying to find the World Trade Center. About halfway through the movie, they do an entire song and dance routine on top of the North Tower, which was still under construction. The song? "All for the Best". It's a hyper-kinetic peppy song saying that you don't need to worry about suffering on earth, because there won't be any in Heaven. Some lyrics:

Don't forget that when you get to Heaven you'll be blessed!
Yes, it's all for the.....(all your wrongs will be redressed...)
Yes, it's all for the.....(you must never be distressed....)
Yes, it's all for the.....(someone's got to be oppressed!)
Yes, it's all for the best!!!

Here's a 30 second QuickTime movie of the song: All For The Best

It's amazing how much this scene has been changed by history.


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Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Now you see it, now you don't

The same view from my balcony, with or without the mountains:


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Monday, November 11, 2002

Thar she blows!

About a year ago, I had a slow leak in one of my car tires. I tried to put on the spare tire so I could get the leaky one fixed, but the spare wouldn't fit. My wheel had 5 bolts on it, but the spare tire only had 4 holes. And it's funny how much time I spent literally "spinning my wheels" trying to figure out how to make the tire fit. I finally realized that at some point when I had a tire replaced on my car, the store must have accidently swapped my spare with another car's. I was able to get the leaky tire fixed, but the store didn't sell spares. I thought to myself, "I should find another place to get a new spare tire".

Fast forward to this summer. I needed some work done on my car, so I brought it straight to the Pontiac Dealer, figuring that they of all places would sell spare tires for their own models. They didn't. I thought to myself, "I should find another place to get a new spare tire".

Fast forward to one week ago. My car starts making new rattling noises. The dashboard vibrates violently at times. My car is old and falling apart, so I don't give it much thought.

Fast forward to today. I'm driving back to work after going home for lunch, and my dashboard is rattling like crazy. I hear a loud rumbling noise outside. I think to myself "durnit, why is that truck driving so close behind me?" My rear-view mirror is sitting in the back seat because the glue doesn't stick anymore, so I'm having trouble looking behind me to find the truck. I then start smelling some burnt rubber. I'm thinking "durnit, not only is that truck loud and tailgating me, but it STINKS too!" Then the little light goes on. There is no truck. It's me.

I pull on to the shoulder of the freeway, and notice that where my rear tire once was, there is now a piece of black rubber sort of wrapped around the wheel. Like all good Southern California residents, I call AAA. About 5 minutes later, a tow truck pulls up. I don't want the driver to think that I can't change a tire, so I start explaining to him the reasons why I can't simply use the spare: "you see, there were 5 bolts but only 4 holes..." He asks me "have you called anyone yet?" My first thought was "um, I called YOU!" but then I realize he isn't from AAA. He's part of our freeway assist system, which has trucks driving around L.A. to help change flat tires, fill overheated radiators, or even give you a gallon of gas. Bravo, it's a excellent system. But since AAA is on their way, I tell him I don't need his help.

Another 5 minutes go by, and another tow truck pulls up. I see the AAA logo. Excellent. I don't want the driver to think that I can't change a tire, so I start explaining to him the reasons why I can't simply use the spare: "you see, there were 5 bolts but only 4 holes..." He says, "oh, your REAR tire is flat? We'll need to send another truck. I can only do front-end tows."

Another 5 minutes go buy, and another tow truck pulls up. I don't want the driver to think that I... oh, you know the drill. But this guy is both willing and able to bring my car to a garage.

Unless I want to relive the afternoon's events, I really need to replace both rear tires. So two-hundred-sixty-nine dollars and thirty-three cents later, my dashboard no longer rattles.


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Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Election Day

Yesterday, I enjoyed one of the greatest freedoms of living in the United State of America. I exercised my right not to vote. What a wonderful feeling to not have to worry about government agents forcing me to choose between a bunch of losers. How comforting to know that I will not be fined for allowing my neighbors to make decisions on my behalf.

And to all you blowhards who like preaching "if you don't vote then you have no right to complain": EXCUSE ME?! How dare you threaten my freedom of speech. Last time I checked, my right to protest, complain, whine or nitpick was not contigent upon how much money I make, the color of my skin or whether or not I voted in the last election. In fact, some of you should be glad I didn't vote because maybe my choices would have been different from yours and you'd be complaining about how stupid I was for voting a certain way. What many of you are REALLY saying is "if you didn't vote the same way I did then you have no right to complain." Get off of your self-righteous high-horses.


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Saturday, November 02, 2002

With all due respect to the Boy Scouts of America, sometimes you guys are a bunch of freakin' morons.

If the Scouts want to ban gays or people with green eyes, that's their business. They are a private organization and can make up whatever rules they want. But this kid was given an ultimatum: either declare a belief in a deity, or get kicked out of Scouts. He's currently an atheist. They don't care what he believes in, he just has to believe something. Oh, and he has one week to come up with a belief in a Supreme Being.

The problem is that some religions are mutually exclusive: the Catholics and the Buddhists can't both be right. Commandment Numero Uno has that little "there are no other gods but me" clause which pretty much dismisses just about every other religion out there. So the scouts are basically mandating that at least some of their members believe something that must be false. If you have a good Catholic scout and a good Buddhist scout, at least one of them MUST be living a lie.

If the scouts want to have a religion clause, then they should at least have the guts to pick a specific god and run with it. But forcing kids to declare a belief in something that won't be true for many of them is just plain stupid.


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