November 30, 2007

Santa Barbara

If you're ever in Santa Barbara, eat at Arigato Sushi.

November 15, 2007

Las Vegas, Day 2d and 3

Then we went back to TI and found my true love, Hot Flashes.

This game is stupid and absurd, a romance novel in a slot. with cartoon brunette Fabio who says "My name is Maximus. Gluteus Maximus", and a woman who says "Uncle Ray, the love of my life is no more!" No deaths occur in Hot Flashes. Is Uncle Ray the love of her life? Eew.

We became addicted to this slot, both playing one machine. Ms S went to get some more money to throw down the hole, and just as she did I got a jackpot, with crazy video (ladies on swings, bubble bath flowing over the screen, more nattering characters).

The next morning, with a few hours to go before our flight, we went downstairs, had a breakfast gin & tonic (a first!) and resumed play. We got S's wish for three doghouses, and an animated Chippendale guy became the game piece on a board game that played out before us. Had this slot been gender-reverse, we would have set it on fire, but somehow it seemed funny.

We resisted the TI lady's suggestion that we get on the machine and dance.

So ends the story of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Day 2c

The Antique Mall of America was on our mind, so we headed south.

I've never been to an antique mall that has a food concession, but if shopping for decoupaged Poker Dog puzzles in a mist of friend chicken grease is your thing, man this is the place for you.

Then we called Auntie Style, our ukulele buddy who happened to be in town, and drove to her place in Henderson. At the very moment we should all be in uke class, we were drinking Kona Longboard lager with Auntie and her husband and talking about Hawaii.

Ms Scandiwaiian is the ultimate shopper. I had no idea until we went on this trip. She also has an undiminishing supply of good humor and energy. I tried not to go slack-jawed when at 7:30, after a day of two museums, and an evening visit with a friend, she suggested that we go to one last Savers on the far end of the strip. But we did, and landed in Asian strip mall nirvana. Next time I'm going there first.

At the Savers, she found me yet another Ui Makai aloha shirt. This made two! And we witnessed an argumentative shoplifter causing a scene, and tried to leave before weapons were drawn. Japanese dinner across the street was authentic and delicious.

Then back to Mandalay bay to play penny slots.

Las Vegas Day 2b

Also on my hit list was the Neon Boneyard, and in this case it was a two-fer. The added bonus was seeing architecture by Paul R. Williams, whose La Concha Motel shell is being transformed into a signature entryway for the Neon Museum.

The tour of the boneyard was tremendous. My knowledge of neon or particular signs is sparse, but I was drunk with the visuals. My only wish was to touch the Sands sign (what with me loving Sammy Davis Jr. so much and all), but I kept my paws to myself. They only have a teensy bit of the sign.

The Boneyard turns out to have been close to the Ukulele Lounge, which I'd wanted to see. It is now closed. My new hat-loving friend at the 7-11 said that it had nothing to do with Ukuleles or Hawaiiana at the time of its closing, so we had no regrets.


Las Vegas, Day 2a


I always hoped that some day I would visit the Liberace Museum. Years ago they posted an archivist job, and I had fantasies of having a job where I'd be preserving hot pants and the world's largest rhinestone.

Before we went to LV, I sent the museum an email asking if we could possibly speak to their archivist, offering a tour of the forklift archives in exchange of a tour of the Liberace archives. They kindly agreed, so we not only got to see the great costumes and collections, but also got to talk to the nice man who cares for them, the clippings files, the recordings.

My idea of a good time!

Las Vegas, Day 1

I cannot think of a time when I've had more fun on someone else's birthday (observed).

Ms Scandwaiian invited me to go with her and Mr Finn, who had a trade show around the time of her birthday. I'd never been Las Vegas, I never go do girl stuff with a friend, this was deluxe.

I got to the LV airport a little before they did, hung out at baggage claim, pulled out my uke, and was joined by an older tweedy hippie man who offered me a pick. Victor had come to Las Vegas to visit his money. Knew Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie back in the day. I introduced him to my friends and we took off. I hope he won big.

We dropped Mr Finn off at his hotel, parked our bags at Treasure Island, consulted Ms S's annotated map of thrift stores and headed for the nearest antique mall. The first one was a bust, but payback was #2, a slice of resale heaven. There we found the foxy beer hat: slices of beer can stitched together with red yarn, accented with two home made pom poms. When I put it on, both the hat and I were transformed. I call it Holly Golightly meets the Lovin' Hands of Home. Almost immediately people were drawn to me...

I believe we found a Savers after that



and made our way to TI. We bought beer. We descended the escalator, which features a jumbo-tron sized video display of advertisements. It could not hold the gaze of fully half of the people on the escalator. It was as if they'd never seen a beer hat before. Smiles, points, frowns, punctuated by the occasional open fly-catching mouth. It was awesome. Never had ten dollars been spent so wisely. The pure entertainment value was beyond price.





At the taxi stand, a tipsy couple guffawed and initiated a conversation about the hat. The t-shirt guy at the Hawaiian mall loved it. The guys who shill for shows, ditto. Regular peeps. The lady at the ABC store. All a friend of the hat. As we left Las Vegas, the lady at the rental car return exclaimed "You are WEARING that hat!!" Yup.

We walked for miles, we ate dinner at Trader Vic's on their third day of business. We played Wheel of Fortune slot machines and made audio recordings of the sounds of Las Vegas. I stayed up later than I usually do.

November 6, 2007

My Disappointment in a Box

We're going to New York next weekend, because after three years of trying we finally won the ticket lottery for Saturday Night Live. On my birthday, no less.

Mrguy scored rooms at the trendy hotel where we stayed during the forklift exhibition. It was all coming together. Now, just like the last year that the Toronto Blue Jays were in contention for the pennant...a strike. That year I sat in the bleachers at the community baseball field in the Old Place and cried. This time I am just numb.

I get the strike. Doing work that's later reused in ways that make more money for other people and not you is a drag.

I know about this from personal experience. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, but I was the happy fan who answered the phone and came down to the studio to sing on a song that millions of people have since loved. Over the years the song has been on several compilations and now is a ring tone (a huge cash cow), but non-featured performers like me don't see any additional profit from new uses of the original work. I prefer to dwell on the happy part: I had the opportunity to sing with tremendous musicians whom I admire on a song that became huge.

Had I been trying to make a living playing music, though, I think I would have been mad enough to strike.

November 4, 2007

Novemberfest

It's been a month now, and I must shout out to one of the most welcome events in the Guy Family calendar, Oktoberfest.

It's held the first-ish weekend in Oktober by Mr and Mrs Randommeats, and attended mainly by their closest friends from college, and family. It's silly, it's fun, and there's beer. Contests for best traditional and non-traditional costume, trad and non-trad stein, food and guest beer keep it a very lively night.

There wasn't always a non-traditional costume category. Oh no. The non-traditional costume contest came about because of The Great Robbery of Oktoberfest II, in which mrguy and I, dressed as Ralf and Florian, half of the German band Kraftwerk, were disqualified from competing with the others. An outrage, I know. Now there's a place at the table for all costumed revelers.

After attending as Ralf and Florian, we have a reputation to uphold. The traditional costume we've been trying to pull off for three years hasn't come about, so by spring we were feeling a little pressure. Then one day this summer mrguy came home with a Heino record. Out of the cut-out bin, Triumph. The Kraftwerk turtlenecks came out of retirement, we bought 80's blazers, wore dark shades and attended as Beloved German Singer Heino (Now Retired) and Manager of Heino.

Thanks to the youtubses I found a Heino song I could sing, and during the ride to Santa Rosa I managed to craft a story that tied my bizarre stein (Freud-looking guy using snuff, with caption "Gesundheit!!") somehow to Heino. Needless to say, my story of poor little Heino Gesundheit who inherited nothing from Papa's tobacco factory except the stein to use as a tip jar while singing "Edelweiss" in the street helped me win the non-traditional stein competition. The non-traditional costume contest was won by a woman dressed brilliantly as a keg, who then did a self-stand. Whew. Mrguy took the best guest beer prize.

I leave you with this lovely image of faux Germanic suspender decorations lovingly crafted out of a six pack of Lowenbrau (caps, box) by youngest nephew.

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