July 31, 2008


During the Roy and Maceo years I lived in the same building as an Irish bar, in a tiny studio apartment whose walls would echo with the sound of rock music 6 nights a week.

Up the street lived a guy I dubbed "Barracuda Man". His haunted-looking Victorian was decorated only by scaffolding and three Barracudas, two of which were on blocks.

He didn't ever trim a tree or water. His house was a pit. But I loved his Barracudas. I needed to have one.

Eventually I found one listed in the free paper. I went to visit it. I drove it. It purred like a kitten. The body was a little wrinkled in spots, but I was prepared to sink money into it. Little did I know! The guy said he was getting rid of it because it was too big. I laughed.

The Barracuda was one of Plymouth's early mid-sized cars. Maceo had been two feet longer, easily. Feeling superior and pitying him for not recognizing the modest size of this vehicle, I missed noticing that this car would probably eat my future earnings indefinitely. What I could see was that it would gain me cool points with the menfolk. I was 24. This was all that mattered.

So I whipped out thirty twenties and became a two car family. As I pulled around the corner (the same one where Roy had met his untimely end), two guys walked up to my car and offered to buy it on the spot.

Shoulda taken them up on this offer.

Maceo and No Name

More car stories...

After Roy's unexpected exit, I needed wheels. I'd moved to a more urban area and was commuting to school. Enter Maceo, another gift from my parents.

Maceo belonged to our neighbors who had stopped driving. He was an Oldsmobile Delmont 88 (bottom of the line). His interior matched the shade of turquoise Sobranie Cocktail cigarettes that I would save just to smoke while driving. Faithful steed for several years, he eventually got very slooow. I cleaned his spark plugs a lot. He took about 15 minutes to warm up in the morning. Poor baby.

Then Pop got ideas about cars again.

He loved to be the provider of cars. And no car went to waste, so when he decided that my sister-in-law needed a Volvo in order to protect herself and our newest family member, the Great Swap began. Maceo went to my sister. Sister-in-law's Honda wagon went to me and the new used Volvo went to her. She didn't really have a choice in the matter.

Two weeks later I got the call: "Do you mind swapping back? I don't really like the Volvo."

What could I say? It didn't seem like the swap had been fair to her, so I took the Volvo.

I hated him too. I literally did not have the upper body strength to park him. He was a money pit.

He did not get a name.

Date With A Genius

It started with a sticky spacebar. It led to an order of sweet potato fries and a Kona Longboard...

I'm a lucky girl. At work my computer needs are supported by former geniuses. At home I've got mrguygenius. But when it comes to hardware issues I'm in the hands of Steve, The Creator. So I made a date with a Mac Genius.

He was patient. He was gentle. He told me he had secret codes that would help me get my unsightliness repaired also. It was awesome. It helped heal the hole in my heart where my laptop had been.

And then my repair was complete and it came the time to pay.


I waited. And they located my machine. And the guy in front of me had entertaining but manager-requiring issues. And somewhere during the waiting I realized that the entire store's allotment of orange and blue-shirted people were behind the only cash register that could complete my transaction, discussing some other gnarly transaction.

At some point an orange person offered me a stool. At some point I realized that the crush of Apple Store employees had dwindled to two people, one cash register, four one-foot-long receipts and a lot of talking.

The glow of the past week's genius bar date was dimming. I realized that even when they cleared up the immediate roadblock, there was the guy with the problem ahead of me.

So I hightailed it out of there and came to the Pachyderm Paradise, where I wrote this.

I'm going back.

Wish me luck.

They were kind, they rung me up wrong and for that reason did not charge me.

My laptop is much better...

July 19, 2008

Happy Bidet

Happy b-day, Miss Wartz.

Hope you like hyldeblomst :)

and other Scandi treats.


And what did she like best? The scarf I wrapped it in.

Believe it or not!

July 15, 2008

Woman Buys Self At Auction

Mrguy was the high bidder for my painting.

After we won, I couldn't help telling the auctioneer that I was in the painting. Other bidders came by and congratulated me, and the folks at the auction house took my picture with the painting.

I wanted it so badly that I didn't even consider the dimensions.

It's very large.

July 10, 2008

The Walkability Scores Are In!

Our corner of the City of Pride and Purpose has a walkability score of 48 out of 100.

This means that we're not very walkable, and even less so if you consider the hilly terrain.

Do I care? Not particularly. I was raised to drive everywhere. And I'm endlessly entertained by the way the scores are tabulated.

Yes, it is true, there is a coffee house / roastery nearby. But if by clothing you mean the Red Wing shoe store and by school you mean a high school alumni association and by book store you mean a book bindery, sure we have a score of 48 ;)

I am going to call the book bindery tomorrow to find out how I can give them some business. I would not have known about them had the vanity of needing to know our neighborhood's walkability score had not overtaken me.


Some good did come of this.


July 6, 2008

Small Town News

In today's orgy of cleaning I unearthed one of my favorite newspaper clippings. It's from a small town paper in Arizona.

If you're driving through a small town this summer, do yourself a favor. When you gas up, make sure to spend an extra 50 cents and buy a newspaper. If you don't have time to stop in the town, you'll at least pick up the local flavor. Check out the crime blotter and public notices first. This is where the real news is reported.

In the area where we used to vacation, the local writer in charge of the crime blotter reports every drug bust and child battery call with dramatic flair, rhyme or a humorous twist (ex: the sheriff finds that the child wasn't being tortured, but bathed). He's still at it.

"Clothes Assaulted," read the headline in the local police log that detailed how my cousin's deranged neighbor had cut some (but not all) of the legs off his track suits as they hung on the wash line. Don't tell me that that writer didn't laugh all the way home after writing that headline. I'm still laughing 20 years after I read it.

Finally, readers of the public notices in the Tujunga free paper last month learned that a guy with a very regular-sounding name has petitioned to have it legally changed to Sal A. Mander. This stuff is out there if you just look for it.

What keeps me coming back to my favorite clipping is how earnest and unintentionally funny it is. It's a summary of the past and upcoming activities in a large trailer park. Among the many upcoming singles events is the the 39th Annual Singles' Bean Dinner. I try not to laugh, but it's a struggle because nothing says "romance" quite like beans. I consider that perhaps this is like the story of stone soup, in which each person contributes to the meal with a dish that's greater than beans and in the end they have wonderful communal feast. Or maybe this is some singles party phenomenon that I haven't picked up on. Nope. As far as I can tell, there is only one singles bean dinner. It's not a movement.

At least not until later.

I have cherished this clipping for years and the bean dinner is 50 years-old now. What a proud, long-standing and self-perpetuating singles event. Do you want to hook up with a fellow bean-eating loner? Me neither.

Did I mention that the park's highest scoring bowlers were Dick Dangler and Dick Tracy?

Go read your paper.

July 5, 2008

Meat Day, Observed

The guy family tradition for 4th of July is to lay bets on whether there will be fog or fireworks, and to agree that next year we will get on the roof and *really* do it up. I've had a cold all week, so we kept it quiet.

Mrguy made some Deggi Mirch chicken, and we listened to the Sons of Hawaii. When the booms started, we moved to the porch.

This was a better year than most. We could see fireworks from four counties. Although we could barely make out the city fireworks through colored fog, the city across the bay had a good display that we could just make out over our neighbor's roof. To the north, we had a really decent set of fireworks (ironically emanating from a city whose founding industry was dynamite) And really really far north we could see another display in the distance, tiny like baby dandelions.

On the local scene, folks on Solano obviously had a few sheckels to rub together because someone in that direction was blowing off some expensive fireworks, and the drug dealer fireworks to the west of us continued their trend of increasing sophistication. Fewer little rockets that erupt in a red and a green spark. More big pom poms with a loud boom. Mrguy turned to me last night and said "Business is good".

In all the hubbub this week, I forgot to observe Meat Day.
Happy Belated Meat Day, peeps!

July 3, 2008

I'm For Sale

At the beginning of the month, the local auction house publishes its monthly catalog on the Web. Sometimes I check it out and bid on things I like (Sonia Delaunay watercolors, Oceanic sculptures, genuine c.r.a.p. and jimcracks). I've only won one auction, but I have a lot of fun.

This month's catalog held two surprises: first, a painting by an old friend of my sister's. Second, on closer examination I realized that the painting is a still life of some ephemera, including a picture of me as a child and one of my first cat. I know those photos. I can *almost* remember the painting.

Now that's funny.

Who's getting rid of me?

Gonna have to bid on myself.

July 2, 2008


I promised more stories of cars, didn't I?

Car #2 was Roy, a 1968 VW Super Beetle. The original owner was a friend of my mom's. I renamed the car after her father who, like my grandfather, had worked in the automobile business. The original Roy had been a real pistol. I hoped the name would bring us luck.

I loved Thelma, but Roy really felt like he was mine. Compared to Thelma, he was anonymous and quite dainty, both attributes I liked. His trunk was large enough for little else besides the inflatable wading pool I kept in it. Impromptu pool parties were possible when I was driving Roy.

One day, after moving to the not-so-big city, I went out for a slice of pizza. On the way home I heard Al Green's "Love and Happiness" for the first time. As I rounded the corner, four guys in a much heavier car t-boned me. Roy was totaled. I was not.

Enter Maceo.
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