Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Choice of America

Today I woke up with a head ache, sliced my thumb while cutting tomatoes, smashed my finger in a door, and had cramps. Which is to say that by about 2 pm I was a wreck. So it should come as no surprise that I went home and crawled into bed and watched Enchanted April and wept a little over the sad fact that I didn't have ice cream in my home. I felt much better after that. Enchanted April and a light weeping does it for me every time.

You know what else does it for me? Ads from the 90s.  Camille tipped me off to this Sizzlers franchise pitch from 1991:

On which Casey commented:  "It's a restaurant in a restaurant in a tote filled with vegetarian chili", referencing the classic SNL Taco Town commercial:

That comment make me snort laugh for about five minutes. Thanks, Caswell.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Let's have a talk, Rory.

Let's talk about Rory Gilmore's boyfriends for a sec:

1. Dean - Colossal whiner and all-around wet rag. Also, he's a bit of a hunchback with floppy bangs. Why can't you just stand up straight Dean? I know you're a giant but posture is everything. And further more, cheaters are gross. (Rory.)
2. Jess - Mean, grumpy, sullen, moody, annoying, grunting bane of Stars Hollow. Didn't we all cheer when he skulked away on the bus? (I will give Jess half of a nod for coming back in later seasons with a lot fewer caveman qualities. But still the bitter taste lingers.)
3. Logan - Entitled, bossy, condescending, also a bit of a hunchback. The last season was a joke but it ended on a high note for me if only because she gives him the kind but firm heave-ho.

I've been a fan of Gilmore Girls since the beginning so watching it on Netflix is nothing new. But watching it in such rapid fire succession has only illustrated that Rory needs a serious boyfriend intervention. How does such a smart, capable gal end up with such bums? I'm relieved that Lorelai was never fully on board with any of them. Like, what's a mom to do but give them the old side-eye and hope for the best.

I bet we can all agree on one thing - she should have given Naked Guy Marty a chance.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Five is right out!

1. Merciful heavens! There is a blog entirely devoted to unnecessary quotation marks. You would not believe how many professionally made signs there are with misused quotes. Which just breaks my heart that some small business owner went down to Ye Olde Sign Shop and paid hard earned cash money for a sign that ultimately makes them look not so bright. Dear people who are about to have a sign made with unnecessary quotes: "learn a book."

2. Related: on the Facebook link I put up to the quote post a friend commented that she is guilty of over-using the ellipsis. And then my boss chimed in because I got on him the other day for sending me an email with no other punctuation but ellipses. And then other people commented with the same confession. I hate to be obvious about this but keystroke for keystroke, it is easier to just type the correct punctuation. Also, it makes it easier for me to still be your friend. Ellipses are not commas! Or periods, colons, semi colons, or dashes. They have a purpose. A purpose!

3. The parking situation at the Institute is like some fairyland unicorn parade complete with unlimited nachos and slushy beverages. Which is to say, it is magically unbelievable. I bet they've towed 40 cars from our lot in the 3 weeks they've been with us. I have to remind myself to be a little bit more charitable and not so giddy when it happens. I don't really enjoy ruining some one's day but the significant decrease in the number of empty beer cans and Jack in the Box bags strewn across our lawns makes up for it.

4. Did you know that Monty Python and the Holy Grail is 40 years old. Which is my entire life. the anniversary must be this week because I've seen articles all over the place about how it changed cinema. Which may be a stretch. But it certainly has made me laugh a lot.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Quoth She

It's been ages since I've ranted about punctuation so let's talk about quotation marks. Because the situation is completely out of hand!

Here's when you use them:

1.) When quoting some one (ex: Gladys said, "Your hair is on fire.") or something (ex: "I do desire we may be better strangers." As You Like It);

2.) Around a title of a small piece of work, such as an article, chapter, poem, or song title;

3.) When you're being ironic, although I find this to be redundant because irony should always be obvious or else it misses the mark.

I know you know this. I'm not pointing out something you do. Other people do it. You always get this right. What I'm trying to do is get a movement started where we stop people from misusing the quotation mark. Because I've seen it used wrong all over this great land of ours.  Some examples I have seen with my very own eyes:

On a menu: Savory herb-roasted "chicken" (Is this not chicken? What are you serving people?)

On those memorial decals that people put on the back of their cars in CA: In memory of "Joseph" (Is Joseph not his name? Is it a nickname? Who would nickname a guy Joseph?)

On a billboard: Best in the "Inland Empire" (I know that the IE is sometimes the butt of jokes but this is just hurtful. We're a legit place, people!)

I'm not sure how to explain this trend. Do people think it adds emphasis? Why would chicken need to be emphasized? We already know that it's chicken. I fear the quotation marks are becoming the "literally" of punctuation. (Another acceptable use of quotes: when using a word as a word, although it is more commonly italicized. And now I have just crossed the line into Insufferable Punctuation Nazi. Remember that we love each other and let me have this rant.)

Stop the madness!

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Gatekeeper

I'm just going to show you these tacos before we get started:

I consumed about a third of this plate. And then promptly fell into a meat coma. You should go get some

Also this weekend there was General Conference and Cinderella (you were all right, there be magic!) and Easter dinner with my family and a really good nap. It was a win.

And also, also this weekend was a trip to the used bookstore of my dreams. The Last Bookstore in downtown LA. Oh, you guys, YOU GUYS!!! Used bookstores are dying, plain and simple. But this one seems to be going strong. It's in an old bank, complete with imposing columns and a vault where they house the first additions. The main floor is pretty well organized -- set up like a regular bookstore but with $5 books everywhere you look. Upstairs is the Labyrinth, which is just a maze of nooks and bookshelves that will kill you in an earthquake. Just how a proper used bookstore should be. 

When we got up there I said to Lindsay, "I wonder what this building used to be." And then suddenly there was this wizened old man in a tank top and cowboy hat standing next to a pile of books. He said, "A bank," and I said, "Yes.  But how about in between?" And he said, "Well it's been empty for years but I did open Fashion Week with a show here once." And then he went back to sorting books. Who is this guy? Is he the Gatekeeper of the Labyrinth? Does he live up there? Was he the owner? Is he some kind of rich eccentric? He is for sure some one's crazy uncle. I wish he were mine.

I managed to make it out of there with only 3 books. I could have easily bought more, including a 32 volume set of Dickens' complete works. Restraint!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Old People Get Special Things

On the drive up to Utah this weekend (Ben, the heir to the family silver, was baptized) my parents surprised me with a drive into Kolob Canyon. It's in the north west corner of Zion National Park off the I-15 in between St. George and Cedar City. You can catch a tiny glimpse of it if you happen to be looking east at exit 40. Years ago I saw that glimpse and I've wanted to go in ever since. But my dad rarely veers off course when road tripping, hence the surprise. We pulled into the ranger station before entering the park and Dad walked in to get his pass and came out with the $10 senior citizen lifetime National Park pass. And it thrilled him to no end. He showed everyone that card. Including the guy at the bagel shop the next day. My dad loves getting senior citizen discounts.

This became a helpful anecdote when later we were talking to Gina and Chris about Chris' mom. She is a real sweetheart of a woman, I seriously have never met a nicer lady in my life. Even when she is destroying you in cards or dominoes she is doing it with a smile. She is the original Baby Face Assassin. (Chris is BFA Jr.) But she is getting on in years and is a little wobbly and has some memory lapses. Her family is in agreement that she needs one of those life alert necklaces with the GPS tracking in case of wandering, and motion sensor in case of falls. It's a sensible thing but they're fully aware that she is going to fight it. Because, let's be real here, the elderly are stubborn. For good reason. Their freedom is being taken away either by health or their children. You don't have to be an Aged P to not like that.

We discussed some tactics they could take to smooth it over with her and here's where the cheapo National Park pass comes in. Old people get special things. So you can't drive anymore. And your vision is shot. And people start mentioning Depends around you, and not as a joke. But you also get to live your life in stretchy pants or muu muus and nobody cares. You get a whole different section of food on menus that is cheaper. You get to say whatever you want and all anyone can say back to you is, "Oh, Grandma." And you also get really cool necklaces that magically connect you to a person if you happen to find yourself in a place you've never been before and you're not sure how you got there  or how to get home. See, special things galore! I've even made up a little jingle in my head. I'll teach it to you so you can use it on your own parents when it's time.

I'm glad I've been 80 for several years now. I think that necklace would go great with the Muu Muu Years.

Speaking of stubborn old people, it's my Grandpa's birthday on April 2nd so feel free to go to Taco Bell and have a Pepsi in his memory. And if you go out to eat do not tip your server. I really miss that guy.

And for the record, Kolob Canyon was majestic and beautiful and grand. When we turned the corner into it we all gasped. It's worth the 45 minute detour on your trip.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Law

1. We signed up with a new towing company at the Institute. The problem has just gotten so out of hand. Like, beer cans on the grass every morning, drug deals late at night, girls getting harassed walking to their cars kind of out of hand. So about a month ago this guy named Leo came in and asked if we wanted to use his towing company because they will patrol at night and tow at will. Awesome. Sign us up, Leo! Our old towing company was fine but they would only come when called. We need a more proactive approach. So Leo came back on Friday to sign us up and brought a two pound box of See's as a thank-you for the business. And all day today there were tow trucks taking cars away. And the question I have is, would it be appropriate to ask Leo to be my boyfriend? Because chocolate and solving our hoodlum problem is my love language.

2.  My debit card was compromised AGAIN!!!! This time by a company called Asurion which, ironically, claims to be a wireless protection business. When I called the number the bank gave me the first thing they asked for was my card number and social. Jokeland! This is the 4th time in 3 years and folks, I'm done. I'm going off the grid and will live in a cave and all of my transactions will be in fur pelts and decorative pine cones.

3. Here's a grainy picture of my new glasses:

And here's a grainy picture of my new glasses with Prince Face

I love them. The entire inside, the part up against my face, is pink. It's quite cheery.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Old Shirtless Guys in the Wild

Once again the sisters and I packed up our bags and headed out to the desert for some tennis and relaxation.

Every time I go to Palm Springs I think I can live there. Which is insane because I would fry like a piece of bacon in that heat. But it's really my kind of town. It's small but still has a lot of art and culture. I love the mid-century architecture. It's kitschy to the max. And there are tons of old people. They're everywhere! If I moved out there now I could start my Total Muu Muu Immersion a full 15 years ahead of schedule.

Have you noticed that some people just look like they were born to be in the sun? They wear cool resort clothes and their sweat makes them look healthy and fabulous. I look like I was born to live in a dark, wet cave and my sweat makes me look like I have some sort of glandular condition.

Anyway, let's talk tennis.

Specifically, old leathery guys who watch tennis without shirts on. Because the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is filled with them. And here's what we noticed. They always sit alone. It is rare to see a guy without his shirt on sitting next to another human being. Because another human being would Prince Face that guy right back into clothes. They are almost always up on the top of the stands and if there is someone with them it is another Shirtless Guy sitting at an appropriate distance.

Look, I can't actually blame them because it is surface-of-the-sun hot out there. We all do what we have to do to get by. My sisters and I, for instance, shamelessly wore cooling towels over our heads and I'm telling you those were a heavenly gift. We also took restorative naps in the shade in between matches.

We got quite a few matches in too. You may recall that we skip the big ones because either you sit at the top of Stadium One and watch from a far distance what could be Roger Federer but could also be a drag queen dressed as Roger Federer. Or you could go to Stadium Two which is like sitting in a dutch oven. Also, the crowds. Tennis may seem like a genteel sport but the fans are just as rabid. You do not want to fight over a seat with an old man who could at any moment take off his polo shirt. So we watch lesser known tennis players in the smaller courts where you sit so close you can see the fuzz fly off the balls. They are still impressive and exciting and, that early in the event, more evenly matched. I sat directly behind the line judge for a whole match and pretended like I could make the calls.

I got it wrong most of the time. But seriously, the view! Just look at those palm trees. And just out of view is yet another Shirtless Guy.

Well, that's another one on the books. Next year I'm going to really class it up and get one of those mister bottles with the fan attachment.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Just Say No

One of  my Institute students left the building and then came back in and said that there were three guys hanging out by her car and smoking pot and she had to get into her car but they were kind of freaking her out. And frankly I had had about enough of this nonsense so I went out to shoo them away. There are always kids smoking pot in our parking lot. It's like a Grateful Dead concert out there, minus the 30 minute guitar solos and offensive BO. And I either call the cops, who will only come out occasionally because it's a private property, or sometimes, if they look like they won't murder me, I'll go out and kindly tell them to scram. Whenever I talk to them they always give me the same dead-eye gaze and smirk and then slowly walk away. And then I weep for the youth of today. I know that kids have been getting high in church parking lots for as long as pot has been in existence. But it still makes me sad. And angry, because you would not believe how many empty chip bags I find every morning.

So I walked up to these guys and asked them to please leave because we're trying to maintain some decorum here and one of them asked, "Is this a church?" and I said yes. And then the best thing happened. All three of them looked aghast. Like they realized what that meant. That it's disrespectful to loiter and smoke pot in a church parking lot and their mothers would be mortified if they ever found out. And they all started to apologize and pack up their bags and put out their blunts. So I invited them inside anytime they wanted a place to hang out, without the pot, of course. They kept apologizing and wishing me a blessed day and I just wanted to hug them for being so decent about it. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Signs of Age

There have been some signs of age. Neon signs.

1.  I left early from a concert on Saturday night. Cynde came into town because she really wanted to see Rachael Yamagata play and while I don't actually know her music I went along because I love Cynde, and I love live music, and the tickets were cheap. But the music was mellow. Too mellow almost. And the Fonda Theater doesn't have seats. And we had been walking all afternoon. And after Rachael Yamagata was done Joshua Radin came on and I didn't know him either but he was even more mellow and strummy. So zero dancing and at that time of night it's either dance or sleep. And the 80 year old woman in me totally came out and we left. I will say this, Rachael Yamagata was one of the best performers I've ever seen. And Joshua Radin, while possibly a little too snoozy for me, has a lovely voice and graying temples. I have a real weakness for graying temples. Of course I do! I'm 80!

2. My eye sight is IMPROVING! And that, apparently, is a sign of aging, or so says my optometrist. Go fig. He also said there's a chance I could be done with glasses in a few years. Is this even a joke? I don't even know what this means. But I do still need them for the time being so I got cute new glasses, which should arrive shortly.

3. My arthritic shoulder is acting up again. Actually, it's not totally arthritic. The muscles on the right side of my back are pulling away from my body. And I blame the kids at the institute. Here's why: they were gone for weeks and weeks, through the Christmas break and the long winter intercession, which very few kids attend. So I didn't have any kids to talk to. I just sat at my desk and did work. And my shoulder felt great throughout this time. But they came back two weeks ago (rejoice!!!) and now I spend all day long talking to them and my back and shoulder are killing me. It has to be the way I sit in my chair when I talk to them, right? I can't think of anything else. I think I need to get myself a recliner. Or I take the couch in my office and they can have my chair when we spend hours talking about life. Have I mentioned I love my job? Even if it is trying to cripple me.