June 29, 2013

Paula Deen

I'm sure she thought her language was quaint and Southern and part of her brand, but she's got a lot to learn. We all do, all the time.

That's why I'm surprised by the opinionated and overt discussions of nationality within the local Hawaiian community. I just don't know what to make of it when I'm around it, since I'm an outsider. For example, I was hanging out in the kitchen recently with a bunch of people and someone said "There aren't any Micronesians in here, are there?" before he launched into a silly Micronesian joke. There was a Micronesian in the room, but she wanted to hear the joke anyway. I kinda thought those jokes went out of fashion in the 1980s, when people started picking up on the fact that they could be hurtful.

Not everywhere, apparently. Last year's Aloha Festival was a two-stage affair, and one stage contained the MC, while the other stage was setting up. We were backing the halau, and were ready to go on one stage, as the MC warmed up the crowd with about ten minutes of "Portagee" and Chinese jokes on the other stage. You know the ones -- the one where there are three guys, each of different ancestry, in some situation that reveals the stereotypes of each ethnicity. I'm sure that Alan Dundes had a name for that specific kind of joke format.

Anyway, to me it was mortifying, as it was at a different event when a woman approached my bandmate when we were in the audience watching a show. The woman looked at his little daughter and said "What is she?" He answered, and she said "I knew it!!" Gee. I didn't think it was cool, but my friend didn't seem to be too bothered.

Does this happen everywhere? If people aren't bothered by it is it somehow o.k.? I don't think so, and I certainly wouldn't try it out myself ;)

It's on my mind, and I don't even know how to tag it.

Sunset View

Last week we had a road trip! Our band played with the halau at a retirement community in the wine country. First we stopped for lunch at a very chill place. I thought I was so smart in having a horchata before singing, because it's dairy free. 

 Then I remembered I'd ordered a big old cheesy burrito. Holy cow.

On the way to the venue from the burrito place, we saw a community called Sunset View. It was hilly, and I bet you can see the sunset from Sunset View, but to me that name says "I can see Death from here."

Anyhoo, I thought the community where we were playing would be funky. Instead, it was unbelievably posh. Lakeside views, fountains, fancy architecture, "cookie time", and almost everyone wore Aloha attire. They were *so nice*.

Despite light amplification, the acoustics were great, and we were really happy with our performance. We were also very proud of the halau. Those guys are so sweet. 

The community wants us to come back, and we met someone whose friend is having a Hawaiian-themed wedding and is looking for a Hawaiian band, so business cards were utilized. 

We met some interesting people there, as well, including a woman who had hopped a freighter to Tahiti and lived there for a year in 1953, and a kumu hula from Fiji, who had nice things to say about our band.

Then we stopped for dinner with old friends. Missed the traffic home, and got to gape at the Super Moon on the ride back.

June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Father's Day makes me a little grumpy. 

It's weird to think of having no father, when he was always such a potent force in my life and then to have no father-in-law when he and I had become such good buddies. 

My life is better for having had as much of the two of them to enjoy as I did.

Here are some funny things about my pop, in no particular order:

  1. When I was in college, he let himself into my house in order to leave a birthday cake in the refrigerator for me. Luckily he didn't run into my roomate, who liked to wander around the house in only boxers
  2. He would put funny dad-like stuff in my Christmas stocking, like squeegees and copies of the National Enquirer
  3. When he tried to fix things (my bike, my car) he would invariably break them
  4. He would write his greetings on post-its so I could reuse the card
  5. He decided that I had a thing for John Wayne, so he bought he a huge, shrink-wrapped poster of him and put a post-it on it that said "Love, Duke". I kept it for years
  6. He taught me how to can apricots
  7. When I wanted to fly a kite, he attached it to fishing line and had me fly it from a fishing rod. Ingenious, but mortifying
  8.  He bought me a push lawn mower for my 16th birthday
  9. A guy outside my apartment tried to sell him a silk dress and the Encyclopedia Britannica from a shopping cart, and he thought it was funny instead of insisting I move home
Miss you, Pop. 

June 8, 2013

You People Are The Reason I Don't Like Poetry

Jimmy Stewart, reading his dead dog poem.

Garrison Keilor, reading his dead cat poem.

Garrison Keilor, weekday mornings with his Writer's Almanac, words intoned to the lugubrious strains of "Gi Mig En Dag"

I wish your pets undead.

I wish your thoughts unread, sweetly meant as they are.

Live a Little

Today's the day: I am finally going to get rid of that box of budget toothpicks that has been bothering me for many years.

It came from mrguy's recording studio where, presumably, they had a need for toothpicks so weak that they would splinter on contact with your mouth, injuring your gums. From there, they made it to the guy home.

When you turn 50, you can start having conversations with yourself like: "How many of 'x' will I need for the rest of my days?" In the case of Richwood brand flat toothpicks I was either going to have to step up my use or settle for the fact that I was going to die without ever having a decent toothpick in my house.

Why not just throw them out? It seemed wasteful. I am the child of depression-era parents, and I have at various points in my life been very broke. Something about the near-treenesss of the wood commanded respect. But they're so janky! There's the rub.

Today at the fish market some Japanese toothpicks sang their siren call to me. Cylindrical, with cute little ends. I had to do it. I'm moving on, Richwood brand toothpicks. Not sure what will happen to you (recycling seems respectful) but I can't live into old age with a substandard toothpick.

Having ranted a bit, I looked up the name of the manufacturer, Strong Wood Products, Inc. Despite my complaints, these toothpicks were made by proud people

I applaud their work ethic and wish it had shone in this particular box of their product.

Onward to a life of unsplintered toothpicks! May my people inherit them, as necessary.

New Character Enters Play

Just as I was writing about the Free Leonard Guy, a new sign appeared. It didn't have the earmarks of FL guy (crazy penmanship, red lettering on white background). The new guy uses a blue background, has neat handwriting and aims to confuse.

The first sign of his I saw was on a telephone pole on a nearby frontage road. I never managed to photograph it before it disappeared. His second, captured today, is an homage to the Burma Shave signs of ages past:

Yup. Miles to go before I sleep. Free yourself.

He's been busy on the freeway, as well. It took a few weeks before I was finally stuck in traffic next to his latest declaration: Slay the Summer Serpent.

The serpent looks like a banana slug with a panda head, eating a small seahorse.

What does it all mean?

Is he a she?
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