December 30, 2013

Happy New Year. Here's Your Tape.

About 15 years ago, the City redeveloped the area around mrguy's studio and he had to move. It was bad enough trying to figure out how to relocate his business and his own belongings, but for years he'd also stored bands' master recordings and mix tapes when they'd forget to pick them up. After ten years of running the studio, there were hundreds of tapes. Argh.

I suggested that mrguy call everybody up and then have an open house -- a last blast for the studio / reunion / tape return. Instead, maddeningly, he insisted on meeting with people individually to return their tapes. Mrguy's strong sense of what is right is one of his more endearing qualities, and one place in which my easy-going Libra doesn't budge. 

His strategy of individual handoffs didn't move a lot of tapes, so they moved with us to our storage space in the old place. Occasionally he'd run into someone at a show who was part of one of the tape-leaving bands, and they would arrange to meet up and hand-off was achieved. Occasionally he'd make a project of it, look people up, and hand off more tapes. Social media (first Myspace, then Facebook), made it much easier. Sometimes he found the bands, and sometimes they found him.

When we moved to the City of Price and Purpose we were down to three 5' high bookcases full of reel-to-reel tape. Now we are down to two very large boxes.

Today began the tape return, City With A View style. Our first visitor was picking up two half inch mixes of his band from 1989. He does lighting now, but lived for a long while in LA (an alibi, it seems, for not being findable before). He laughed when he looked at the track list, which included songs titled "New One" and "Aerosmith," not very helpful when the new song was recorded 24 years ago and you don't remember it. Aerosmith was just what the song *sounded* most like, not what it actually was.

Apropos of tapes, he regaled us with a horrible story of visiting a recording studio in LA that had a back room filled with original tapes from amazing sessions: Aretha Franklin (Never Loved A Man), the first two Television albums -- all just sitting there. The originals. He opened a few of the boxes, and they were the real deal, with track sheets and all. Apparently the record companies that owned them were digitizing them, didn't care what happened to the originals after digitization, and hadn't picked them up. 

Mrguy and I felt ill hearing this. Our visitor opened up Google Maps and showed us where the studio in LA had been. I wanted to drive there immediately and rescue the tapes. Checking, later, a studio no longer exists at that site. Anyway the tape leaver is now a tape haver and our tape collection is down by two little quarter inch reels.

Customer number two today was a friend of a friend from the old days. He's still doing music, like the other guy, and has completed a feature film. How does he suddenly have a twenty-year old and a seventeen-year old? He works for the county and has a sweet house in the county seat. After a nice chat, he gave him a tour of our house.

In the past I have disagreed with mrguy's methodology for tape return, but after two visits today, now I get it. It's really lovely to get to spend some time with these people and give them back their tapes from 1989. I'm ready for the next victim, and wish that I were doing an oral history about this.

December 29, 2013


Ever been to a type-in? Me neither. This week's was hosted by a local typewriter repair shop, and was organized by our friend Blick, of Cack and Blick fame.

It was a fabulous occasion. Nice people, most typewriter bloggers or collectors of some note. There were amazing typewriters on display, some brought in by the typewriter enthusiasts and some for sale by the shop. I have never seen so many beautiful and unusual typewriters in one place.

The typewriter repair shop has been in business for many many years. As you can imagine, they've had some lean times in the last 20 of them, and they had a blast seeing people have so much fun typing and showing off their machines.

This typewriter:

Had a lovely font:

I finally made it into the shop, after peering through the window for a billion years. I brought my purple Remington in to be repaired, as well. 

In a week I get to go back and pick it up.

Can't wait.


Summer before last, I saw an awesome blurb in the news about ladies in China wearing something called a facekini, which is a colorful face covering made out of swimsuit fabric. It blocks the sun from your face entirely. I was pretty darned excited about the idea of going out in public wearing a facekini, because one of my superpowers is developing little skin cancers on my face, and I hate wearing sunscreen. I decided I'd much rather make a bold fashion statement with my facekini.

I looked and looked and was unable to find one. Finally, about 8 months ago, I found one on etsy.

I swear to you that there were pictures with this facekini that showed cute girls in hats and sunglasses wearing them. So I bought one. Forgot to tell mrguy.

It arrived, I put it on, entered the kitchen where mrguy was cooking dinner and gave him the reveal. As he described it later to my family, "There are some things you can't unsee!" It was not a good look.

What I discovered was that either the original model for the facekini was a smaller person or I have a plus-sized head. I will let you decide which of these is true. None of my features line up with their intended apertures. And I'm not sure how the sunglasses worked in those cute pictures on etsy, because wearing sunglasses requires assistance from your ears, which the facekini covers up. The worst part of the look is that the mouth hole constrains my lips, making them look disturbingly like a pink and protuberant butt hole. 

Accessories make the outfit, they say, but this one was a dud.

Thanks for the laughs, facekini!

December 25, 2013

Merry Xmas 2013

No blood was shed.

No hospitals were visited.

No arguments were started.

Plus lots of love, lots of salmon, and mrguy's grill made its first journey to the suburbs.

That was Christmas #1. Toward the end of Christmas breakfast, someone mistook an innocuous phrase like "meat loaf" for something more like "breast milk," causing our youngest neph to exclaim "Nobody here understands anybody else."

A few hours' drive later, the tiny Mamoo was our host for Xmas #2. Mrguy made some tasty morsels and we watched an old movie together. Mamoo used to be an usherette when she was a teen, and remembers watching Bwana Devils in 3d. We think we've found our new holiday tradition. Watching a movie was genius.

Back at home with the kitties, our work is done. What a Christmassy day :)

December 8, 2013

Breakfast of Weary Packers

Wow. We're in. Mostly.

When you're super tired, this is what you eat and what you eat it on. Our pizza guy was totally confused to see mrguy answer the door at two different houses this week :)

7:30. Time for bed.

November 30, 2013

Book Purge

Yesterday was the day of reckoning for books. We have 6+ giant book cases and not all of those books are coming with us.

F*** your books

Comes a time when you realize that there are not enough hours in your future to read all of the books that you own now, much less the books that you keep buying. For this reason it makes sense to get rid of at least some of them. We had many of those conversations last night, as well as the one about how mrguy feels oppressed by seeing all of the books immediately when you walk in the door. I went to library school, so I think it's cozy.

The Lady Room will, therefore, be the book repository :)

It's kinda fun to go through all of the books. It feels less crazy to me when I touch them all. And then there are the annoying ones. Books that we've kept for weird reasons -- like the 15 year old resume guide that I had to be encouraged to let go of. The author was a friend of a friend who died young. Working on this as a team really helped.

Today I seal the concrete floor in the future cat room.

November 29, 2013

Merry Christmas From AFM / AFTRA

Many many years ago when mrsguy was a little baby, she and her bandmate were asked to sing on a track on their favorite musician's 3rd record. Oh glorious happiness! Proximity to the handsome singer and a few pieces of nigiri at the restaurant down the road were all it took to keep us singing.

He and his manager asked us to write up and sign a contract saying that the $50 or $75 they paid us was sufficient. To the contract, I added that they were entitled to have my firstborn child for that sum as well, so that whatever bogus contract they had us sign was obviously nul, and in jest.

Pages fly off the calendar. The album absolutely tanked and disappeared beneath the waves. Then, miraculously, the single we sang on began to chart. BIG. I remember the thrill of hearing the song on the radio for the first time, coming out of a convertible rolling past the restaurant where I was working. An old boyfriend heard my voice floating out of a rice paddy in China. The mamoo delights in hearing me at the grocery store or wherever. 20 years later, the song won't go away.

And yet, because I am a non-featured performer, I have seen no part of the action. I wasn't even paid scale to sing at the original session, to be quite honest. And I recall hearing myself on another of his singles while I was in the check-out line at Thrift Town, and at the same time wondering if I had enough cash for my purchase. 

For his next album the artist later gave us the choice of being paid for gigs *or* recording sessions, although I sang at both. Honestly, I would have done all of it for free, so I'm a little conflicted. I have this weird pleasure of having the experience of singing with my then-favorite performer and being part of this evergreen song and also having the occasional embarrassing and impertinent question come up about how much I was paid. Sometimes I feel bad for myself, and sometimes I feel bad for him, because he's a notorious skinflint. Years later one of his roadies asked me how much the artist had paid me and off the top of my head I said "In the mid two figures." He laughed really hard and so that became my stock answer when I am asked.

A few years ago AFM / AFTRA developed a fund for non-featured performers. I signed up as soon as I heard about it. The fund collects a teensy percentage off the top of digital plays for songs and sets it aside for people like me who performed on songs but were not the recording artist. Nothing much happened for a few years. Then one day, when the mamoo was visiting, I picked up the mail and found a check for the low THREE figures. We eat tonight! I think it's been two years since I last heard from AFM , but today I got another check. Mrguy comments that I am now firmly in the MID THREE FIGURES. 

Thank you, AFM / AFTRA!

November 27, 2013

What I Did Today Instead of Packing

I think I'm procrastinating.

My office move is Monday, so I *did* pack my office at the factory today. That took 4 hours.

The factory gave us the afternoon off, so I went to the the gold store and converted gold into cash. I really did. I took a bunch of weird old jewelry parts and (urp) old fillings (thanks Mom?) to the gold store and walked out with cash in hand. I guess they're used to fillings. The nice lady didn't bat an eye.

On the way home from the gold store I started realizing that I have to start eating everything that's in the freezer that is going to move next week. Got to get to work!

So, powered by some unseen force, I made cheesy macaroni with cauliflower. The grand mamoo always makes me pick up frozen microwave macaroni and cheese when we go shopping together. I just do it to make her happy, and I don't eat it. Until now when I have to, that is. Steamed some cauliflower, cooked up the macaroni and cheese and now they're all comingling in a Pyrex dish.

Then I made cornbread (from a box), cooked some frozen rolls, cut all of that up and toasted it in the oven and made stuffing with stuffing mix, cornbread and dissected rolls, and a bunch of other funny stuff that needs to leave my cupboards. The I made a batch of sauteed greens.

NOW I need to pack up the bedroom.

November 24, 2013

Parabolic Churches

About a year ago, on a beautiful February afternoon, mrguy and I visited an amazing-looking church with a parabolic design.

Witness the awesomeness that is East Bay Korean Christian Reformed Church:

Everything about it is slightly boomerangy. Here's the back parking lot:

and around the side is a curving stairway:

that leads to the entrance / reception area. I can imagine people congregating here in the morning glow after a Sunday service, looking at the mountains across the bay.

This got me to thinking about church architecture in general, and how crazy some of it can be. Sensing that this was not the only church whose architecture incorporated a parabola, I did a search and found some gorgeous stuff.

Chapel Lomas de Cuernavaca (by Felix Candela, who also was responsible for the "Candela Structures" at the 1964 World's Fair)*

Upon further examination I learned that the Germans have a name for parabolic churches. Parabel-Kirchen. Of course they do!

German examples include:

And don't get me started on hyperbolic parabaloids:


* mrguy reminds me that the "Candela Structures" were originally attributed to Felix Candela but were actually designed by Peter Schladermundt. Our friend Paul Lukas' excellent article about a family that turned one of the Candela Structures into a cabin is here.

November 10, 2013


We're moving, and I gotta get my thing in gear.

But first a stop at the ancestral Guy Family home, where the Guy Family Women had a powwow about family matters. Basically it involved spreadsheets, tuna sandwiches, faulty math skills, a little bickering, a few decisions and some champagne and macaroni and cheese when it was over. 

We concluded our session of Vortex of Power by doing the grand mammoo's evil bidding. She's a funny one. Then we watched Giant, which is a very long and terrible movie. Three hours and seventeen minutes of what feels like a shaggy dog story.

Today involved rest, and lots of it, followed by a trip to Goodwill to deposit the first items from our house purge and a few of Mom's, as well.

Of course I came home with something -- a 12" single of Morris Day's "Fishnet".

November 4, 2013

Best Exam Ever

Quite often lately I have stress dreams about taking a final in class that I didn't study for. In last night's version, it was a Hawaiian language and music class. The format was reminiscent of the music round in Pub Quiz.

Instructor plays an audio clip. Your job is to:

1) Identify the song
2) Transcribe the lyrics for the part of the song played
3) Describe the overall gist of the song as well as the kaona (hidden meanings)
3) Describe the type of song, and what he characteristics of that kind of song are

It was a butt-kicker. And the only song I recall is Makaha, by Ka'au Crater Boys. But I do recall describing some of the genres of song.

So funny.

I want to take that class!


October 20, 2013

Fried Green Neighborhood

Two weeks ago woman on the neighborhood Yahoo group offered up her green tomatoes. I didn't reply because I figured someone would beat me to it.

A week later she gave final warning and I jumped on it. I brought her Meyer lemons and Mexican tarragon in exchange, and left with a vast quantity of tomatoes. Happened to have a shopping bag in my purse, so I divided them up and swung by the Precious Family's house on the way home to drop them off.

Here's my haul. Thank you, nice lady!

I immediately set about making fried green tomatoes.

Fried Green tomatoes are an amazing treat. I made them just like my Pop would (flour, salt, pepper, paprika). The smell of browned flour in the frying pan reminds me so much of him, as do the tomatoes. 

Wish you were here to share them, Pop :)

The Baby. An Explanation

At a recent baby shower at the forklift factory, we made a gift card for the expectant mom. The card featured everyone in our department holding a big Kewpie doll. At the baby shower, someone suggested that the mom take home the baby doll, which was mine. Without thinking I blurted out "No!!! He lives in my bathroom!"

Everybody wanted to know why the baby lives in the bathroom.

In answer to their question, he anchors my display of little friends. That's what he does.

Here's our medicine cabinet with knick knack shelves. As you can see, my big baby lives on the bottom right. He doesn't quite fit, but he doesn't care, and his sweet little expression makes me happy every time I walk in the room.

I have a long history with Kewpies. I love the little guy stuck in the mah jongg tile in this part of the display below. I saw him taped to the cash register at a Family Mart in Kaohsiung and begged them to let me buy it. They gave it to me because they liked my hair.

The Kewpie doll in the Japanese lamp came from Osaka. The one in the little Yakult Swallows uniform came from a Tokyo Yakult Swallows baseball game. The two who have corn and a tiger hat on their heads came from the deinstall of the forklift exhibition in Kaohsiung. The wind-up sumo wrestler was given to me at the Singapore deinstall by a colleague, and the big old Kewpie came from a craft store in the basement of Kyoto Tower. Mom found me Wig Lustre at a an estate sale "Don't you need this?" she asked.

Keeping on the baby theme, Big Baby! And some more sumo wrestlers that you put on your thumbs and wrestle with, and a light up Donald Duck that I bought for 5 Euro in Mantova in a palazzo after midnight, from a guy who was pretending to be deaf. I still regret not buying his flashlights, also.

Rounding out the display, a librarian action figure, an acupuncture point model of the ear

weird preparations, including the best psyllium husk label ever made, and Klutch denture adhesive.

On a non-Kewpie note, lack of shampoo in the bathroom made me stoop to removing the Dr. Liggett's shampoo bar from my display. My review of it as a product? Not so much, and it quickly went in the garbage. Ordinarily I'd feel a little guilty about cannibalizing the display, but it's the only item whose origin I can't recall.

October 19, 2013

A Walk

As soon as I knew we were moving, I started researching our new city in greater depth. That's how I found the Trekkers. Today we went on our first walk with them.

It turns out that four doors down from our new place is a set of stairs to a hillside trail and fields that you can walk in.

I love nature, but I also love when you can be in it and see the man-made world around it. This spot is the perfect mix.

These stairs are in a neighborhood nearby, and lead to open space:

At some point we had to walk through this neighborhood to get to the next trail. Our new house is up there in those trees somewhere:

If you walk down our street, down some stairs and walk a short trail and *then* cross a busy street, you end up on this trail. We'll definitely come here again.

Movin On Up

I told a friend from work that we were moving. When he asked where I live and I said "The City of Pride and Purpose," and he asked me where I was moving and I said "The City with a View," he started singing the Jeffersons' theme. I admit to feeling slightly guilty about moving to Whiteyland, and to be leaving this city that I love and am proud of.

I will deeply miss this city. My neighbors are wonderful, and we went to our last neighborhood potluck last week. The city is interesting, diverse, with fractious politics and people who are really invested in its future. We even had a semi-pro basketball team that one year. We have national historic monuments, a gorgeous waterfront -- I could go on.

And I'll miss our sweet first house. We fixed it up a bit, and every time I walk into my kitchen and my bathroom, they give me such pleasure because they're such a reflection of mrguy and I. Some of our bandmates are wistful about leaving our first home, too, as we rehearse weekly in the living room.

But it's time to graduate. We will finally have a guest room to offer people, and different rooms to hang out in, and the cat box will no longer share space with us in the bathroom. We literally redesigned our current bathroom around our need to have a cat box there. We will now have 2 1/2 bathrooms, which feels completely deluxe. None contains a cat box.

We sign the loan docs on Monday.


October 12, 2013

We Bought You A Sewer Bond

You better be ours.

The dream house is within our grasp. It's been a complete roller coaster. Escrow is due to close at the end of the month.

Right now our issue is the loan. Before we were looking for a house we'd deposited some checks for larger amounts, and the lender wants to know what they were for. One was a gift from mamacita (thank you, mamacita) and one was reimbursement for a computer that I'd purchased for a friend.

Mom's going to send a letter stating that her check was a gift, middlesisguy sent us mom's cancelled check, and now we have to prove the computer reimbursement. mrguy south's dad had paid for the computer. So mrguy contacted mrguy south to help us get a similar letter from his dad. Bummer! His parents are on a cruise. Then mrguy remembered that mrguy south's dad had sent us a thank you letter with his check. This might do!

Unfortunately, I went on a cleaning binge on Monday and threw it out. 

So on went the rubber gloves, and somewhere under the cat litter was the letter. It happens to be signed, dated, mentions the amount he was sending and is covered in egg yolk and other festive discoloration.

No school like the old school, man. The letter is currently drying in the man room.

So we're hoping that with my receipt for the computer and the letter from dad, we won't have to get a copy of the cancelled check from people who are on a big ass boat trying to relax.

I no longer sleep very well.

October 6, 2013

The Day's Haul

After reading many engineers' reports, we needed to clear our heads. mrguy selected an estate sale for us and I shopped my little head off. I have a HUGE affection for old cleaning products, and there was a bonanza at this particular sale. I mostly took pictures and left footprints, but there were a few things that I had to have.

Come on -- Free Expression Paint. How could I not buy this? I left the items below for someone else to cherish. Awesome labels:

Vano, which makes dirt vanish.

And Soil-off, the INSTANT cleaner for painted surfaces.

In addition to purchasing Free Expression, which I think of as a priceless God-given right, I bought some vintage cleaning products that were discontinued decades ago. 

They will probably kill me, but they'll make my world momentarily spotless and shinier before I die.

Live for the now!

October 5, 2013



Look at that!

October 4, 2013

October 2, 2013


The unexpected happened and we're in contract on the house we really want.
We thought there might be a chance that when the other people outbid us they might bolt during the inspection contingency period, and they did.

Today's loan officer day, tomorrow we meet with two inspectors and then we'll know everything we need to know to make our decision. I want this house, so we have to make this work.

I'm still in shock, but a good kind of shock. On the 11th I reached out to our agent to ask about a house that I thought I was curious about. 3 weeks later we're buying a house.

So good.

September 30, 2013

Further Adventures In Househunting

Oh the roller coaster that is house hunting!

We actually put an offer on a house last week, but were outbid. I really liked the house, so I've been trying not to be too bummed about it. We forge ahead, right?

Just to raise my spirits, I asked our agent if we could go see a house that had initially piqued my interest in looking for a new house. We hadn't looked at it before because it was occupied, possibly in a slide zone and because the place we eventually bid on was so much nicer.

The first three rooms were great -- sunken livingroom, groovy entry, floating fireplace, nice dining area. But to get to the dining area you had to walk past a laundry drying rack sporting a jaunty array of ladies g-strings, which were airing brightly in the sun. Whee!

Every bedroom had a shrine and special talismans and in the bathroom there was a laminated card taped to the wall over the toilet paper dispenser as a reminder to give "the bodily impure fluids" to the hungry ghosts. Different incantations for donations of spittle, mucus, feces, urine and "general impurities" were listed.

That was a first.

Anyway, the slide zone location was all too apparent. The floors were all a bit wobbly. And as I'd noticed on Google Earth, the neighbors had a batting cage right on the property line (as you do).

We continued the search yesterday, just to refine our likes and dislikes. Despite the disappointment in not getting the first place, I was buoyed by the fact that we really aren't stuck on one style of house. We looked at a contemporary house in the woods, a mod house that sat cockeyed on its lot in a very beachy vibe, and a house with a pushy listing agent who scared us off. All of them had some appealing elements. I know we're going to end up with a place we like at some point.

Again, we forge ahead.

September 28, 2013



Lena Machado


September 23, 2013

As The Crow Flies

We spent part of yesterday visiting open homes. 

Much was revealed. 

There was an amazing glass box on stilts that looked very appealing in the listing. When I saw it in person...not so much. It looked like it needed a ton of work, and the listing agent was boasting loudly about how the owners got one inspection that said the house needed 66k worth of work. And then they got another one saying that it was only 6k worth of work. 

Shifty people.

We looked at another house that was truly amazing. It was suspended from 4 giant beams, and located on an 11,000sf lot full of trees. It had built-ins and was very womb-like. We met the architect.

But it was too open and small. It had lots of woodshop-y rooms, but not as many livable rooms. Such an amazing space, though. I just wanted to open a book and fall asleep on the couch.

After our adventures in the woods, mrguy said he's over that neighborhood. "As the crow flies, it's not very far from work for you," he said. "But as the crow drives in the crow's car, it would be kind of a pain."

Love that man!

Tomorrow we put a bid on my first love, the house with the laundry room and the cat room. 

We'll see what happens.

September 18, 2013

Moving On

I love my little house. The kitchen is sweet, and just to my taste. The bathroom, too.

But there isn't enough room for mrguy and I to do the things we want to do. At least not at the same time. I'm not fed up or unhappy, but about a week ago I got serious about acknowledging that it's time to look for a new place.

This is what I want:

1) A lady room for beads, my Etsy store, my genealogy files and as much Chinoiserie as I can possibly acquire
2) A place where I can have my bass out all the time
3) Enough room so that my ukuleles don't have to share the credenza with my socks
4) A room where I can sing without feeling like I'm disturbing someone
5) Storage that doesn't involve the hallway
6) A view of something
7) An extra room where visitors can stay over comfortably. That should be top of the list, actually
8) More walls for more art
9) A place to exercise that isn't in the middle of the house
10) A place where I can watch tv without disturbing mrguy
11) A room where we can access our vinyl easily

Some, if not many of these spaces can be the same space. I can do without all of it. I can even live in less space than I have, but for right now I believe that more space will lead to a happier life. We can always downsize.

We looked at a house together yesterday. It has all of the above, plus a room to put the cat box in, and a laundry room. And two decks. We will put a bid in on it, but I'm pretty sure that it will go to someone else. And if it does, that's o.k. Our trusty agent knows what we're looking for and thinks that there is more coming on the market soon, possibly in the off-season. We love to shop in the off season.

September 14, 2013

A Happy Transformation

Readers of mrsguy may recall that our former Albertsons was blighted for many years, and that I kinda liked the blight sometimes.

Recently, our two defunct supermarkets were transformed into a 24 Hour Fitness and a Canned Food Warehouse. They can call it Grocery Outlet, but they're not fooling me. Anyway I loooove the Canned Food warehouse and having one in the neighborhood pleases me to no end. I feel like I'm going back to my roots!

Back when I was broke, but before I was poor, I went to the Canned Food Warehouse in the city all the time. It was partly functional, since I needed groceries and hated regular supermarkets. But the entertainment value of the items I brought home was off the charts. Here are a few of CFW's greatest hits:

1) Meeter's Kraut Juice. The label is so beautiful that I bought dozens of cans and placed them on top of my kitchen cabinets as decorations
  2) HammerMan toothpaste. Because nothing says Hammer Time like grape or blueberry scented breath. This became a centerpiece of my toothpaste collection.

3) Canned lasagne puree

4) Dear Lady! brand pitted cherries. The label featured a little cartoon man holding up a sign that said Dear Lady! I later tried to buy more to use as vases for a friend's wedding reception and ended up having a complete adventure, talking to the folks at SnoKist Growers in Yakima Washington and getting a set of their other labels, instead. The tables looked great, but the marriage didn't last.

This week it was the first time I'd set foot in the CFW in years. It did not disappoint, except that it was kinda upscale. I prefer a grittier experience, but it was really nice. I even got totally bourgeois kombucha for a buck a can. Plus, I don't know if you've noticed that Cheez-Its are a complete rip-off these days and I got a full-sized box of Spiderman Cheez-Its for $1.69.

People, it does not get old. Even if I won the lotto I would not turn my back on CFW. 

It's the best.

September 1, 2013

Hot Child in the City

Thursday's karaoke fest in honor of our dear bandmate, who is soon to get married, was a silly success.

My karaoke experience is limited. I'd never done karaoke in a private room before, and I arrived as the party was in full swing. There was pizza, popcorn, wine and tambourines, and the ladies were killin' it as I opened the door

Song selection is always funny with the ladies in my band, because there is a 20-year span between the youngest of us and the oldest of us. But it's super fun to think of songs that I heard in my 20s, that they might have heard in elementary school. Or they know the cover, but not the original. Anyhoo, we just had a great time singing and dancing and we wound it up with a rousing version of Teen Spirit. 

It is a proven fact that my ladies know how to rock.

One of my favorite things about the experience was the videos that play behind the lyrics. The karaoke joint is in a Korean mini-mall close to the forklift factory. Therefore, the videos are...not like anything I'd seen before. When I arrived, it was just the legs and undercarriage of a tortoise, as seen at ground level. Another scene was a daddy fish, with a mouth full of eggs (i.e. his children). Occasionally one would float away. Then there were sea turtles...doing it. And clownfish swimming in an anemone, whose tentacles looked like fingers. My favorite, however, was people in native garb on a trek in the mountains (Himalayas?), with their belongings on water buffalo (yaks, maybe).

I leave you with some photos.


Nepali Rhapsody

August 18, 2013

Keep Away Hate

mrguy and I had a delightful dinner with the Cincinnatans last week. Cack and Blick.

We go way back.

Cackler was the smartest girl in my Medieval Political Theory class at college. If nobody in the room knew the answer to the professor's question, he'd say "Miss Cackler?" and she'd shout out "Free will!" or somesuch. One Friday she jumped a ride with my carpool. We ended up in the Irish bar next to my apartment for a few hours, and our friendship began. I was bridesmaid at her first wedding (which she jovially calls "the mistake") and then she married Blick, a fabulous and younger man who is the world's foremost authority on two different topics, one esoteric and the other less so. Blick gave the convocation at our mr and mrsguy wedding (we don't have a name for it, but for symmetry's sake let's call it "the good idea").

Over the years, Cack and mrguy have reduced their intake of fleshes substantially. Cack doesn't eat pork or fish. Guy doesn't eat chicken, duck, beef or pork. Blick eats everything and cleans our plates. So we eat at this Chinese restaurant when they come to visit, and eat chicken and vegetables. And Blick cleans the plates when we're done. It's really quite a happy arrangement, a ritual that we only get to perform once a year.

I can't exactly recall how this came up, but Cack mentioned this potion that I used to keep in my purse, which was called Keep Away Hate:

I used it for all manner of hate-distancing. If I was having a bad day I'd dab a little on my wrists and see if I could turn the day around. Mainly I used it on Sundays at the restaurant where I worked. I kept it in the coffee station. If a known antichrist was seated in my section, I'd dab a little Keep Away Hate on the underside of his or her coffee cup. It made me feel better. If they really misbehaved I'd put a dab on my finger, and go to their table to ask if everything was o.k., leaving a little blue deposit on their table. Nobody called me on it. Not my boss, who disapproved, nor the other waiters, who borrowed my potion on occasion.

In my defense I will say...nothing. It was a punk-ass thing to do. I probably worked in customer service 5 years too long. But when Cackler reminded me of it and that Keep Away Hate was made by Skippy's of Detroit, I had to laugh. 

Least mystical name ever. 

Skippy's also made the Alleged Black Salt that I sprinkled along my upstairs neighbor's threshold to encourage him to move. Got a bunch of it in my eye somehow and it really stung, no matter how "alleged" it was. In this case I will say something in my defense. My neighbor habitually picked fights with his roommate at 4:30 in the morning and the two of them would heave heavy objects (furniture, flowerpots) at each other while screaming. They had to go.

The black salt worked, but those tenants were replaced by a guy who watched the TV Guide channel at top volume for hours a day. We once played Japanese noise band the Boredoms, and Roadrunner (meep-meep) at top volume in retaliation, but he didn't seem to notice. Nice guy, actually. It's *amazing* how much better life is when you just knock on the door, introduce yourself and explain that the tv is a little too loud.

Today, when researching Keep Away Hate, I discovered that Cack's memory was right: Skippy's of Detroit had actually existed. Here are two guys in front of it back in the day. Now Skippy's is Indio Products, operating out of Commerce California. They sell the usual Santeria supplies as well as next generation stuff such as blue squares, attract customer spray, road opener and the ever popular keep away hate, which is now available as a floor wash.

 Indio Products: when interpersonal communication just isn't your thing.

August 6, 2013

Balderdashia 2013: The Results Are In

Get Crazy (Movie Title):

1) A New Year's Eve concert with Mick Jagger and Bob Dyland impersonators turns into a riot.

Alexander, Child of a Dream (Vacation Novel):

1) Olympius had decided to visit the Sanctuary of Dodona because of a strange premonition that had come to her as she slept alongside her husband Philip II, ing of the Macedonians who lay that night in a wine and food-sated slumber.

Secret Door (Movie):

5) American Burglars try to steal secret Japanese documents in Spain.

Balderdashia: Glorious 2013 Family Vacation Edition


mrguy and I just finished making dinner. Our family dudes are setting the table. Some dudes are working on a jigsaw puzzle. The under-50 set has retreated with a personal electronic device. All is well.

We've been in Russodad for 4 days. It's somehow extra relaxing. Last night at dinner I told the story of buying a face-kini, and people laughed so hard that they cried.

After dinner we played our first round of Balderdash, substituting a vacation novel round for Dasher's Choice. Here's how it panned out:

Get Crazy (Movie Title):
1) A New Year's Eve concert with Mick Jagger and Bob Dyland impersonators turns into a riot.
2) In this thriller, a former intelligence officer knows too much and the government's attempts to have him institutionalized go awry when he stages an elaborate escape
3) The story of a failed PR slogan created for the cranberry industry and how they saved themselves.
4) "Crazy Legs" Calhoun is a bow-legged cowboy on the lam, in this western-meets-film-noir comedy caper.
5) Two scofflaws from the Bowery hide out from the cops in a loony bin.
6) In this zany comedy, Buster Keaton is tasked with coralling "Crazy," an errant goat, that is wreaking havoc at the town park.
7) Two 30-something guys steal a convertible and drive east. They open a movie theater in Rhode Island.

Alexander, Child of a Dream (Vacation Novel):
1) Olympius had decided to visit the Sanctuary of Dodona because of a strange premonition that had come to her as she slept alongside her husband Philip II, ing of the Macedonians who lay that night in a wine and food-sated slumber.
2) As foretold, Alexander was born at sunrise, proof to all that he was forged in Apollo's very crucible.
3) His remarkable blue eyes caused many to say that he was the awaited child who would bring peace to the land of his ancestors and glory to the kingdom of Greece.
4) First sleep, then a wakening from that sleep under the constellations of great portent.
5) The sea became suddenly still, the wind stopped, no sound could be heard...and everyone then knew, he was born.
6) Alexander was wakened by Trimalchio, his manservant, with a message that Hephebat, his intended, awaited by the stream.
7) She was marble-white with an orange mane and she noticed him even before he noticed her.

Secret Door (Movie):
1) Two orphans are kept safe in a hidden room.
2) Teenagers locked in a basement find a mysterious key, marked "Secret Door." Is it their means of escape? Or something sinister?
3) An upper-class fancy lady runs a literary salon behind a secret door in a pawn shop.
4) Hippies go on a trip, but not the one they were expecting.
5) American Burglars try to steal secret Japanese documents in Spain.
6) An escaped inmate on the run finds a secret door in a tree trunk, while cutting through a swamp in the bayou. He finds a civilization of advanced alligators sympathetic to his plight.
7) When the fridge opens on new dimensions of space, a housewife finds herself battling trolls and dragons for her return ticket.

August 2, 2013

Happy Birthday

To Myrna Loy.

More Poetry

Of my own volition I went to a poetry reading last night.

I know. So soon after my rant.

Our buddy, the poet, was quite good.

We met at the diner in 1990. He and his friend stopped by the restaurant to fortify before going in search of cheap underpants and vacuum cleaner bags at a few local stores. I wasn't sure if they were a couple -- they definitely were very close and had their funny schtick down pat. I hoped they would come in again, and they did.

The poet invited me to sing on some of his recordings. When mrguy entered the scene, the poet started making his recordings at mrguy's studio. Eventually his friend (of underpants and vacuum bag fame) suggested that the poet record me singing some work by the poet. Last night some of us from that recording project were reunited for the first time in 20 years at the poetry reading.

Our friend the poet was funny and wry, and I enjoyed the reading.

The other poet, more poet-like, was pretty good, too, although he spoke in the hushed poet tones that make me want to slap something. I couldn't help but like his work despite this.

I will take my poet friend's book with me and share it on vacation.

July 28, 2013

Countdown to Vacation

The convening of glad faces and shared DNA is almost upon us.

It can't come soon enough. I am so ready.

The fun part is that middlesisguy is here early and she and mrfrenchieguy are using our house as home base. We went to breakfast and some estate sales yesterday. Today we flopped about like flannel-covered seals in our jammies and then dressed and went for brunch at the old Ford plant.

The sun is setting, mrguy is playing jazz almost imperceptibly, and it's pretty darned cozy.

So vacation is on its way and I just finished sending the last bit of housekeeping (emails re: kitchen and bedroom schedules) to the family. I debated about clarifying one item further. Then I decided not to. Then I realized that I forgot to take the word "clarification" out of the subject line.

Then mrguy teased me about this. Then I really had to clarify.



If you must know, the clarification was going to be about the email that Mom and I sent last week about bringing a beach towel and swimsuit for the hot tub.

SOME people have interpreted this as an edict from Mom that THERE WILL BE NO NAKEDNESS TOLERATED IN THE HOT TUB.


This is not the case. Mom asked me to remind you to bring beach towels. I put in the part about swimsuits because:

a) My days of public nudity are far behind me
b) I like to wear a swimsuit and I always forget there's a hot tub
c) I'm descended from old mrguy, who often forgot to bring his swim trunks when traveling to hot places
d) Therefore I, also, often forget my swimsuit. Maybe you do too.


I'm pretty sure that Mom doesn't care if you're naked in the hot tub. She's seen it, you know. If this nudity problem of yours is a daytime choice, everyone on the Russian River will see it, too. If it's a nighttime choice, your audience will be smaller. I leave it up to you.



PS [Adult nephew], I can hear you laughing. Stop that.

July 15, 2013

Princess Charlene

According to news reports this week, Princess Charlene of Monaco is not a runaway bride, made miserable by her marriage to loathesome Prince Albert.

She just has Bitchy Resting Face.

They didn't say that. I did.

I have long felt sorry for this poor woman. She never seems to look happy in photographs. People often compare her to Princess Diana, who made her misery abundantly clear in every photo opportunity at the end of her marriage to Prince Charles. 

But is it just BRF?

I leave it to you to decide.

July 13, 2013

Communing With Nature

Took a walk today with mrsguy and our neighbors. It's easy to forget that many acres of parkland are a two minute walk away. 

The crew dragged me hither and yon, which was awesome. Except for some tree rash (it kept me from sliding down a hill), I came away unscathed.

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