Saturday, July 31, 2010

S-A-T-UR-D-A-Y Night!

ManOMan! What is wrong with me?! It’s 6:45 on a Saturday night and I am on my couch, curled up with a glass of wine, ratty purple tank top on and sans pantaloons, watching Superbad. You know, Superbad, that movie that had such hype in 2007 when it first came out? I’m just now getting around to checking it out, on account of, mostly, I hate comedies. I mean they are never that funny. Adam Sandler is goofy. Will Farrell drops trou. Lok at him run! Chris Farley, Seth Rogan, whoever, is fat. Ha ha. But for some reason, on one of the last Saturday nights of summer, it appears that by 6:50, I am in for the evening. This comes at a bad time. My young and adorable friend Em, who is as spunky as she is scintillating, just accused me of being a shut-in. “You’re a hermit,” she announced. “A real hermit crab.”

“Oh yeah!” I shot back. I find “Oh yeah” to be one of the most effective of comebacks, and I use it often. That and, “Your Mama!”, or, if I’m really fast thinking, “You’re ugly!”

“I’m not a hermit crab,” I went on. “I have crabs! There! Who’s sorry now?”

Em didn’t answer, but I’m sure she got my point. Still, the whole thing left me thinking. (Cue sound of Carrie Bradshaw rapidly typing this week’s Sex in the City column/ theme, and voice over in three, two, one…) Am I wasting my life away? Should I be actively rejecting spinsterhood instead of letting it fall over my shoulders like a warm, soft shawl?

Now see, Superbad is an exception to my theories that comedies suck, along with several other notable anomalies; I like any comedy that is also a musical that features transsexuals or transvestites; I like comedies that are really dark, like Harold and Maude; I like mockumentaries, like Spinal Tap; and I like romantic comedies, if they are When Harry Met Sally. And - I almost hate to admit it - I like 16 year old boy humor. I find it hilarious. I totally get it. This explains why I get along so well with my male students; I think they are wildly funny, and they think I might just buy them beer. They think I’m cool because I can drive without my mom in the passenger seat. I think that’s pretty cool, too, and I admire the way they take enormous pride in simple accomplishments, like burping a word or punching a friend in the nads. What I’m saying is, I understand teenage boys, and their joy and stupidity, their idiotic crudity, their preposterous discomfort – it all makes me laugh. I like them even better in movies than in reality, because I can guffaw right at them, point even, without having to worry that they will get offended and flick something at me while I am at the board, or fart right before the bell rings and then run out.

Still, is indulging this - shall we say ‘hobby”, - really the best use of my time? Shouldn’t I be out trying to forge meaningful relationships and connections? Shouldn’t I be trying to build something here? I mean let’s face it, I am middle aged. Everyone I know has somebody special in their lives, even if they aren’t particularly happy with who – or, in some sad cases, what – they have settled for. Even my friends who are engaged in nasty divorces have boyfriends or girlfriends. I don’t even have a pet. I don’t even really have crabs. And, as Em points out, they - companions, not crabs - don’t just fall out of the sky; unless there are folks hiding out in your closets or under the bed, you have to leave the house to meet people.

But therein lies the problem. First of all, in order to leave the house, you have to get dressed, and also, it is suggested that you bathe first. We are all aware of my stance on bathing, I believe. You have to get dressed and put on make up and be interesting and witty. You have to smile and nod, even when you are not interested, and you have to pretend to like the band and you can’t make fun of anybody in case you are unknowingly sitting by his or her friend. The worse part of it is when you don’t do a good enough job of sparkling, and you feel like you didn’t pass the audition. You end up lonelier than you were before you went out. A lot of effort goes into deflation.

Instead, I could be at home with a character named McLovin. Is that a ridiculous fake name, or what? I can laugh and think, “Boys, boys, your day will come! Someday you will find someone who appreciates you and finds you delightful, even though you are gawky and weird.” These movies are always so full of hope at their core. I can relax and laugh out loud and not wonder if my laughter is inappropriate, or I can not laugh throughout the whole movie and nobody will tell me how funny it was, and that I just don’t have a sense of humor. I can eat until I’m full and get sleepy when I’m tired. I can get into my bed after the movie, content, and fall asleep, or read a book that may or may not be ‘smart”, or listen to a little of the BBC.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll go out. Tonight, I have a good movie, a good glass of wine, and a real comfy couch, just big enough for me. And that Michael Cera: hilarious! I just loved him on Arrested Development! Hey, maybe I’ll catch that next!

I am the Q of Keystone!

Another of the disappointments at the shacklet was the free, high speed wireless internet I was counting on. While this feature was available, it involved some tricky maneuvering. What I would have had to do was hang out at the bar of the nearby Holiday Inn, buy drinks for one of the bikers sitting there, get chummy, and use my feminine wiles to elicit his internet password so that I could steal onto the hotel's security enabled connection. Needless to say, that didn't happen, and so now, weeks after I am home, I am just now telling you about the first days of my trip. I understand that most of you live vicariously through me and don't want to miss a moment of my adventures, and I'll try to make that dream a reality for you, but people, we can't live in the past. From now on my blogs about South Dakota will be interspersed with what's going on with me in real time. I just felt you should know.
So, in Keystone itself, there are basically five things to do. You can ride a ski-lift to the top of a mountain and then careen down a track carved into said mountain in a little cart outfitted with a hand brake. Fun as this sounds, it never happened. You can walk on the boardwalk that is supposed to recreate the experience of Keystone in its heyday, and eat bad food or buy t-shirts that say "Keystone, South Dakota!", or "FTW: the 70th annual Sturgis Rally", or "Bald men have holes in their pockets so they can run their fingers through their hair." Nice. I guess Keystone in the 1880's was much the same as today, full of fat tourists from Minnesota and skanky biker chicks looking for shiny, black, faux leather pants with the crotches cut out. While I figured this was just what I needed to score free wifi, McAdams got frightened by a 7 foot cowboy rustlin' up business for a Wild West bar room brawl reenactment, so the boardwalk was out. You can walk into Keystone proper and see an old mine that was in ruins, or a town that was nearly dead, or old and abandoned farm implements rusting in the sun. Exciting and uplifting as entropy is, this endeavor only took us about half an hour. The next thing to do was take the 1880's train. Train!!!!! Boy howdy, do I love a train!

The 1880's train is a narrow gauge steam engine that was originally used for mining, and has been in continuous use, for one thing or another, since...wait for it...the 1880's! It is the only train of its kind currently operating in the world, and you can only catch it in Keystone, South Dakota! Who's lucky to have landed in a shack in Keystone, I ask you?! MEEEEE!!!!!! It runs up one of the steepest grades in the country, and goes to Hill City, a town ten miles away that, when it was born in 1875, became one of the first cities established in SD...and I got to go there! So lucky!

Sometimes sitting on a train, bound for a journey to parts unknown, listening to the hiss of steam and watching the track roll out endlessly ahead puts one in a meditative mood. McAdams turned to me with a rather serious expression. She's not usually one for random heart-to-hearts, but as the 1880's train chugged to a start with a small lurch, she confided that she was worried about the future and had some regrets about the past. "I don't know," she said quietly. "Sometimes I feel I keep going down the same paths, but I never get anywhere, and one day I'm going to end up like this train, back and forth, back and forth, because it's the only stretch of track I know. Do you believe that we all have a purpose in life, something we're supposed to do that will let us contribute to others as well as fulfill ourselves?"
"Wooo-Woooo!" I replied, for that is what I like to say when I am on a train.

Here are some things I learned from the conductor, a real nice fella in overalls and a cap:
*In Hill City, they mined all kinds of things, including lithium. This made me think that if lithium was in the Black Hills, it must also be in the water, which may have explained why I was so calm and happy in South Dakota. Hooray for drugs I don't have to pay for or lie to my parents about!
* At train crossings, conductors toot the Morse Code for the letter 'Q'. It's a practice they took from British sea captains who were carrying the queen on their ships. They would whistle "Q" and everyone else would give them the right of way because royalty was on board.
Betcha you didn't know that, right? 1880's train, you are fun and fascinating! Wooo-Wooo!
*South Dakota still honors the claims of Homesteaders and miners, and so while most of the beautiful Black Hills are mostly state and national park areas, 10% of that valuable real estate is privately owned. We passed through beautiful forests that were suddenly broken by a dirt road that led to a huge house where kids played and horses ran free. There were also a bunch of dumps, but they had real nice views. The honoring of these ancient deeds is slightly ironic, since the American government deeded the entirety of the Black Hills to the Native Americans who had already lived there for centuries, and then booted them off as soon as we found gold in them thar hills. I guess lithium makes people pretty mellow about rape, murder and mayhem, so we didn't mention this little historical fact to the kiddos on the choo-choo. No buzzkills allowed on 1880 train! Wooo-Wooo!!!!!

The last thing to do in Keystone is to leave it. So that is exactly what we did.
Next up: Giant Heads Rock!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

One Divine Hammer

As promised, here are some views of the sculpture garden, but first, a poem by the artist:

Said one to the other,
"Let's find a way out... explore."
Said the other, "We are goldfish. We live in a bowl."
"Yes," said the one, "but there must be a crack, a door, a soul."
They never found the one,
or his soul,
but he swam far.

Some of the stuff is creepy. Some is whimsical. There are works of joy, profundity and hope. Inside the big cow head there is this scary macabre sort of Santeria sacrifice.Bizarre. The hilltop the sculptures sit on is windswept, green and peaceful. Even though it's right off the highway, it's beautiful, and with all the art, it's surreal and lovely. I was so glad we fell upon it. It was inspiring, and made us so happy. Yay to the creators who make things just to see how they will turn out!
This one is called "Pleasure and Pain." Both are fleeting. The thorn gets removed and the butterfly takes to the sky. Just another little reminder that we never know what is just around the corner, that all is transient, and that moments are what we live for.
BONUS: Check this guy out: I like the TED video, but it's a bit slow and long. If you can't spare the moments, look at the more accessible clip here:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Locked in Keystone

Carrie Ingalls Swanzey, Keystone, South Dakota

OK, it's me again! I'm back! Didja miss me? Awww! I missed you, too! I am so glad to communicate with you all again that instead of ignoring you, as I usually do, I will now answer your FAC's (Frequently Accessed Comments), in the order that they were received.
#1 to Alisa: I will get a dog, and soon. I like dogs. They come when you call, and if they don't, you just don't feed them until they do. I think this time I'll start with a puppy, now that I've figured out how to train them. By the way, I'm FINE, just fine, even though Belle tried TWICE to sever my femoral artery. Thanks for your concern, everyone.
#2 to Shan: The cooler was filled with vegetables, because they are illegal in South Dakota, except for corn smuggled in from Iowa or potatoes from Idaho (no, you da ho!), or anything else, like mushrooms or onions, that may be used to smother a steak. We ate a lot of vegetable sandwiches, and McAdams hooked us up right; we had lettuce and other leafy things from her garden, and cucumbers, sprouts, broccoli, tomatoes, cheeses, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, and a bad-ass garlic-guacamole hummus, that she made while she was a tad tipsy. We had fresh cherries, blueberries, peaches and melons - McAdams has some real nice melons, I tell you what - and wine and crackers and another couple of bottles of wine. We picnicked all across the state and went to bed happy and full every night.
Speaking of picnics, one of the best ones was our first stop on the road, in Montrose. SD. We were just cruisin' down I-90, lookin' at the corn - there's an awful lot of corn between Nebraska and Iowa - when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this enormous, 60 foot bull's head, surrounded by these weird skeletal guardians, rears up out of the gently rolling landscape. Some might just scratch their heads and say. "Hmm, that's odd," but not us! We are much more intrepid than that! We investigate, driven on by the kind of wonder and curiosity that makes America great! We climb that mountain just because it's there! We shoot men in Reno, just to watch them die! We cross the road to get to the other side! Also, I had to pee; I have a bladder the size of a walnut. This turned out to be Porter Sculpture Park, a place so wicked cool, I'll make it it's own post, but suffice it to say, it was a fantastic, bizarre first stop, and we stayed for lunch with Wayne Porter, sculptor and vegetarian, who pronounced our sandwiches the best ever, on account of that "weird green stuff." More on this later. I mean on the sculpture garden, not the hummus. I don't think I'll be mentioning it again.
Our first destination in South Dakota was Keystone, population 311. It was once a boomtown of over 1,000, because it was a gold mining center, and there are still remnants of mines and shafts and all kinds of 1800's stuff. Its claim to fame is that Carrie Ingalls, perhaps the least interesting Little House family member, and certainly not the wilder one (get it?) lived there as an adult. Nowadays, Keystone is a tourist resort, because it is just down the road a piece from Mount Rushmore. McAdams, who wanted to go on vacation on the cheap, booked us a 'chalet' that sleeps eight. She's tough to figure, that one. When I think of a chalet, this is what pops in my head:
I was very excited. Unfortunately, our Swiss chalet turned out to be more of a piss shacklet. Sandwiched between a Chinese food restaurant that appeared to be a front for nefarious drug deals and a biker-friendly Holiday Inn, the shacklet had been the home of an elderly lady and her obviously incontinent little dog. It looked more like this:OK, not really, but still it was not what we expected. Or paid for. And it stank, like small, old dog pee, the worse kind if you ask me. Small, old dog, ASPARAGUS pee*! And it was kind of scary, and the tv only got four, fuzzy channels, two of which were always showing All About Steve**, and the hot tub*** on the deck that we were promised was directly beneath the big picture window of the Chinese drug restaurant, and the only bathroom was in the kitchen****, and we were scared to sleep in the bed so we had to sleep on the couches in the living room. I suggested we go into town, or perhaps another town all together and check out our options, but McAdams is not one to admit defeat or change a plan once she's committed to it, so she spent the rest of the trip telling me how great it was and how much she grew to love it. Silly McAdams. Keep believing the things that you say are true...
* Did you know that everybody's pee has that particular asparagus odor, but, according to Web MD, a magazine I perused in a doctor's waiting room, only 22% of people have the ability to smell it. Not only is this the kind of fact I see fit to remember, but this stat puts me in the top quartile of competent urine sniffers! Moreover, I have to admit, I kind of like the smell, and that puts me right up there with great thinker and recounter of minutiae Marcel Proust, who said the stalky veg "...transforms my chamber pot into a flask of perfume." Food for thought y'all!
**All About Steve sucks, but you probably knew that already. One of the other shacklet channels showed marathons of House. How come nobody told me I'd like House?! That guy is one cranky, drug-addled, self-absorbed, self righteous, emotionally crippled, son of a bitch! I can't believe I haven't dated him yet!
*** Of course, in her quest to prove how great the shacklet was, McAdams insisted on trying out the hot tub. It took two days to fill up - I won't even mention the energy and water that wastes - and, of course, after ten minutes of making friends with the folks revving up their engines in the parking lot pf the crack den Chinese place, she was ready to get out. "Refreshing," she said, and then spent a half hour in the shower scrubbing vigorously and sobbing quietly, convinced that she'd contracted a deadly staph infection.
**** The bathroom/kitchen combo was my favorite part of the shacklet. I'd go in there with a book and a few minutes later, McAdams would rap softly on the door. "I'm just in here making a snack," she'd croon. "Can I get you a sandwich?"
Good times.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On the road again...

We started in Omaha, Nebraska. That's a great first line to a novel nobody really wants to read, right? Don't hate on Omaha, y'all! There's a lot going on there, and I'll tell you more about that later, because I'll be back there before you know it. Here's just a teaser for the Omaha homage I am going to write up: Omaha is the 40th largest city in the U.S.; a dog bit me there; I met the mayor, who was drunk and looking for a baby to kiss; I met the head of the mayor's security detail, who was stone-cold sober and looking to kiss the mayor; and people get dressed up as superheros or furry creatures and roam the downtown area for no discernible reason. What's not to love?
By 6 a.m., McAdams was up and at 'em, busily flying all around the house, last minute packing, loading up the car, blah, blah, blah. I'm not really the type to get up before my coffee's been delivered, but I sat on the couch and kept her company, cuz I'm cool like dat. She loaded the suitcases and the cooler and a million other things we would soon deem unnecessary, and we were off! Lest you think I didn't pull my weight, let me remind you, I have very delicate wrists that appear to be made of tiny hollow bird bones, so the union won't let me do any heavy lifting. I'm not up to code.
The first day we were on the road for 10 hours. Here are some of things we saw:
*11 animals "sleeping" by the side of the road, including 3 possums, 2 raccoons, 2 deer, 1 half porcupine, half badger, a baby chupacabra, and two ULFM (Unidentified Large Furry Masses).
* A sign that informed us that Le Mars, Iowa, is "The Ice Cream Capital of the World."
* 168 bikers, some with more than one "fatback" on the "hog". (NOTE: I'm not exactly up on my biker lingo, so please don't stab me if I don't use the proper terminology.) I notice that almost all of these motorcycling enthusiasts are middle aged, and almost none of them wear a helmet, which is legal in some states, including South Dakota. There is a huge motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota every year, with bikers coming in from all over and loads of entertainment; this year Bob Dylan and Stone Temple Pilot are playing and Pee Wee Herman is showing up and Jim Rose of the Jim Rose Circus is the emcee. Have I told you yet that we are headed for South Dakota? We are!!! Congratualtions to Smurp for guessing right away.
* A trucker who looked just like Charles Manson, pre-forehead swastika, who tooted his horn and smiled a grisly, psycho killer smile at us.
*85 signs for Wall Drugs, that began at the beginning of the state and followed us all the way until, well, Wall Drugs. We didn't stop, because we can't be manipulated by hype and propaganda (and also because we decided we'd do it on the way back to Nebraska. Something to look forward to!)
* The following signs -
I'm Senor Weiner! You know you want me! (Advertising hot dogs...I think)
Candy Corn and New Potatoes, next exit (Yum! Another roadside farmer diversifies!)
Prepare to Meet Thy Maker (This one was in the middle of nowhere, stuck in a cornfield. It freaked me out for miles.)
2,500 loose slots- you're bound to get lucky! (For a casino; gambling's big in SD.)
Reptile Gardens - One of the Top Ten Places to Stay in America! (I don't even need to comment on this one.)
*One awesome, way-cool sculpture garden off the highway near Montrose. I'll post the pictures as soon as I have the technology.
*The following towns-
Yankton (named after the famous Native American tribe that go around doing practical jokes and yankton my chain)
De Smet (home of Laura Ingalls Wilder's famous little house)

The dog that bit me in Omaha is named Belle, so my Wild West name is going to be Belle Scar.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Oh Boy!

Before I begin, a word to all you cyberstalkers, gangstas, hood rats, bad guys, evil doers and ne'er do wells: Don't think that I am going on vacation and leaving Casa Paradiso unprotected and vulnerable. First of all, you don't know where I live. You may think that I live in the city recently voted to be the second ugliest city in America (Detroit, we're gaining on you!), but I am not going to confirm or deny that rumor. Second, I have people - large, powerful people- staying at the casa whilst I am away. I don't want to scare you, but they come from the NEW YORK area and you might refer to them as "a family"; take that as you will. The "patriarch" of "the family" is named Mario, and he's in "construction"; that's all I'm saying, kapish?
I am going with McAdams to ....I'm still not ready to tell you where! The only guess anybody wagered was "to take a nap." I like your thinking, but no, we are going to somewhere magical, mystical, and miraculous, some place exotic and off the beaten track...oh, it's going to be so fun!
So, oh boy! Today is the day my friend McAdams and I are leaving for our annual roadtrip. You may remember her from the big Montana Adventure (, where we drove 7,000 miles and conquered the wilderness for about a month. Perhaps you remember when we joined the Navajo nation in the Four Corners are of Utah. McAdams is key to these trips. She is in charge of planning, booking reservations, hotels and extras, driving, heavy lifting, packing, protecting me from wild beasts and rednecks, holding my hair if necessary, the itinerary, and adaptation to my whims and moods. I am in charge of chatter, research (factual or imagined) and not forgetting my toothbrush. Each of us has jobs that are customized to utilize or strengths, and we run like a confused gender African racer, which is to say real well.
So, what fantastic destination spot are we headed to now? Is the anticipation just killing you? Can you just not wait? OK, I'll tell you...we're going to South Dakota! WOOOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vacating the premises

I am going on vacation. Actually, I have already been on vacation twice, and you didn't even know I was gone! I don't have to tell you every little thing! You're not the boss of me! Anyway, now I feel like telling you about those trips, and so I will...if you can guess where I went. Here are two pictures from iconic places in the cities that were my last destinations:

So, did ya guess? Were you right? We'll never know! Still, I'm having a great time playing this game, so I'll just carry on.
The first set are from Salt Lake City. That's the famous organ in the Mormon Tabernacle in Temple Square. It has 11, 623 pipes. That Brigham Young had a mighty big organ, I tell you what! The smallest of the pipes is only as big around as a pencil. It's not the size of the pipe that matters, it's how you blow it, right? The building that houses the proud organ, the Tabernacle, was built by a civil engineer in the domed shape of a bridge, because Brigham Young liked the acoustics under the Remington Bridge. Very clever, Brigham! The roof structure is nine feet thick, and lots of people thought it was destined to cave in on itself, but it has not had any structural problems in more than a century.
The second picture in the set shows Mormons from the Mormon Tabernacle. They will tell you pretty much anything about pretty much anything, whether you want to know it or not. In the picture they are telling where they are from, though I can't recall anyone asking. The things they don't seem to want to talk too much about are if their lives resemble the HBO series Big Love, if they want to be my sister-wife, and anything about the funny Mormon panties.

The second set of pictures are from....New York City! The first is of a building. New York has lots of buildings.
The second is one of many fantastic scenes carved into stairways, bridges and columns all over Central Park. They are very beautiful and I never saw two that were the same. The park is one of the greatest places EVER! It's huge and diverse, with lots of different areas, and tons of stuff to do and see for everybody. All kinds of special things happen in the park; for example, in August, the play The Capeman by Derek Walcott and Paul Simon will be performed there. That's a cool event, but hundreds of other once-in-a-lifetime things happen there every day; there are a million stories in the naked city, and here is one of them, written on the plaques three park benches:

Awww! So sweet! Here's just one more perfect park moment:
Bubbles! Look how happy that kid is! Good times, I tell ya! Needless to say, I loved the park. Of course it can be very dangerous; I found that out the hard way. My NYC gal pal, E.D.B., plied me with sake and then took me for a midnight stroll through the park. It was dark and deserted. We wound our way deeper and deeper into the park, cuz E.D.B. is crazy like dat. She's kind of gangsta from the hood. All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, an enormous RAT, big as a nutria, big as a Doberman-nutria, flashed his red, devil eyes at us and started chasing us across the bridge! You heard me, CHASING US! That rat had Big Apple balls, I tell you what! He wasn't afraid of anything; in fact I think he was energized by my screams, which quickly changed from tough he-man warning cries to 7th grade watching Nightmare on Elm Street shrieks of terror. I could just imagine the saliva dripping off his yellow rat fangs; I never actually saw him, I mean not with my eyes, but I knew exactly where he was and what he was doing from the scritchy scratch of his knifelike rat claws and the way the ground shook with his heft. The monster rat kept coming, and, being no fool, I pivoted to run in the opposite direction, but alas, my touristy flip-flop got stuck in the gutter on the bridge and I fell flat on my face. E.D.B. must have been under the spell of the blazing, rabid, NosfeRATu eye, because all she could do was stand, unmoving, like a pillar; like a pointing, laughing, nay dare I say CACKLING pillar, her normally compassionate self convulsing in rat induced hilarity, head thrown back with a little tear trickling down her was horrible, I tell you, HORRIBLE. I still have the scar from the injury I suffered, a perfect commentary on the shock and pain of the situation. OUCH! Consider this a cautionary tale...
Anyway, I'm fine now. Betcha can't guess where I'm going next....

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I hope you had a great day! Happy 4th of July, peeps!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Mepod Delta

Pet Portrait, by William Kincaid

I never thought I needed an Ipod. For one thing, I'm prone to losing things, and even if I manage to keep hold of my goods (ha ha, holding my goods!), I work in da hood and usually get jacked, once in the spring and once in the fall, so it's best not to become too attached to material things, like my lunch money or driver's license, much less an electronic luxury. I figured if I had a pod I'd have to read the instruction manual to learn how to program it - mama don't read no manuals! - and I don't like those ear buds on account of I have tiny, little earholes, and Ipods make you deaf or maybe give you brain cancer, like cell phones do, and besides, there's always a song playing in my head anyway, so maybe there'd be weird interference. For a couple of months I've had Chaka Kahn's funkinfantastic "Tell Me Something Good" stuck in my head, which is probably the best default brain song I have ever had, though it has led to some awkward instances in which I have asked a question (like of my new doctor), and then immediately demanded, "Tell me, tell me, tell me!" Once I just barely caught myself before I told a total stranger in the peanut butter aisle that I could "groove like a mother fucker." I'm pretty sure that those words are not actually written in the lyrics, but they definitely are in my brain version of the song.

Anyway, a friend finally gave me a pod for my birthday about five years ago, and let me tell you, I have changed my I-tune, yessiree, Bob! I loved that Ipod, which has since been stolen, and every other pod I've ever had: Babypod, Juniorpod, Pod III, Newpod, Tinypod, Mypod, Bluepod, and the latest one, Sunpod. My whole family pitched in and bought me Sunpod. She's gold, and "You are our sunshine" is engraved on her back. So cool! She does everything; I can make movies on her, watch videos, or listen to (and pause or back up) the radio - Holla, NPR! I'll never miss another Nina Totenberg word! She has a pedometer and I can see what time it is in Maine on her, and I can listen to podcasts, and she fits in my pocket. I listen when I take the bus or go to the airport, so I don't have to make conversation with others (stranger danger!), and when I go for my walks or ride my bike. I love the pod!


Lately, Sunny has been doing some weird voodoo shit. Songs I never downloaded have just popped up in my library. I have a whole Posies album in there. I don't know the Posies; I'm not even sure I like them! Some of the new songs don't even have artists or names attached to them, like the mysterious and inscrutable "Track 16." I have a lot of songs on Sunpod in languages that I don't understand, but "Track 16" is in Latvian or Mandarin or Urdu; really who can tell which one, when all those languages sound like a bunch of made up nonsense, right? Still and all, "Track 16" is kind of catchy, especially the part about "yo mandu izba corik, subar! Click click," so I don't really mind.*

That's not all though. Sometimes I'll be listening to my New Yorker fiction podcast (don't judge!), and all of a sudden, Sunpod will decide that's enough of that, and just switch me, willy-nilly, to something like Queens of the Stone Age (again, not so bad) or Iggy Pop, which can be disconcerting, because Iggy recorded really loudly, and if you're not prepared, he can blow the top of your head off. Conversely, I have imported an Okkervil River cd SIX, count 'em, SIX times, and it refuses to show up on Sunpod. It has been DENIED, REJECTED for reasons unknown. Sunny has a mind of her own.

This is not the first time my electronics have surpassed me in intelligence and taken control. I had a toaster that would sometimes just depress its own little lever and pop up a delicious, toasty slice of nothing every now and again. My alarm clock refuses to be reset, so I have to wake up at 6:30 in the morning, even on weekends or holidays. And my answering machine just started talking in a new voice...oh, wait a minute...that's just me, talking like a robot. I forgot I did that. Gotta lay off the Nyquil, I tell you what! Anyway, you see my point, right? We have allowed all these electronic thingymajigs into our lives, and everyone knows that eventually they will become Cyborgs and just take over. Just the other day, Sunny begged me to "press your space face close to mine, love" - she crooned to me in David Bowie's voice, and I have to say, the thought of crossing over into a world where I was the one who was programmed all full of cool stuff was really enticing! What if I could pause right at a moment of of intense joy or pleasure and just stay there, indefinitely, until finally I pressed play, and moved on, only to rewind and do it all again?! I could completely delete irritants like Click and Clack the Tappit Brothers or my principal right out of my life, and if something unpleasant did sneak in, I could just fast forward right through it! Best of all, I could probably patch into other people and see the videos they are playing in their heads...I'm sure a SuperSunPod could totally do that! I'd finally understand what's up with people these days!

It's new goal is to become Mepod! Now all I need is to read the manual to figure out how to program myself...but I think I lost it...or maybe it got stolen...Damn.

*Even in languages I do understand, I am often unsure of the words. For example, remember when I told you I got Spoon's Transference cd? Well, I love it and my favorite song on it is called "I Saw the Light." I've listened to it about 12,000 times, and I always sing it really loudly, too. The other day I got to thinking about the part that I sing, "I felt so green dog and light." For awhile, that actually made sense to me - green means all natural, hopeful and go, dogs are real happy, and light is pure and not heavy. That's a mighty fine way to feel, right? But then it struck me that those might not be the exact words the band was singing, so I looked it up, and man-oh-man, was I mistaken! Those aren't the words at all! Unfortunately, now that I know better, I still don't get what the words mean, so I just decided I am going to stick with my version. Spoon won't mind. I'm sure they love me like I love them.
BONUS: This video is really bad, but all the ones I watched for this song were. However, it serves my purpose really well, and I think it's funny that someone out there thought that this was worth putting it out on YouTube. Turns out, to me, it was totally worth it! Thanks, dude who put this out on YouTube!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Angel Juice

What do they drink in heaven? That's right; ADINA! This delectable, morally correct, holy-water -and -coffee concoction comes to you from the divine partnering of beverage Buddhas from Sobe and Odwalla. You're probably curious about the truly unique and melodic name they gave their products; I know I was! According to literature from Adina Holistics, the company name is derived "...from the word "adina", which loosely translates to 'life in its holistic and spiritual dimension." The press release didn't mention from which language this word comes, but why quibble, right? I just thought Adina was beautiful, like a poem or an aria, but so deep, so fraught with meaning, so...holistic? Who knew? Adina sounds fascinating, right?
They also leave it up to me, the consumer, to figure out what makes the stuff so spiritual and righteous, though they do say it combines powerful antioxidants with it's caffeine, and that it "...blends just the right ingredients." The right ingredients? Those are my favorite ones! Antioxidants keep you young, and caffeine keeps you awake, so this is the perfect drink for time-fighting truckers! Hallelujah! As if the name and the blend and the pure goodness of the elixir wasn't enough, under the cap of every product is an "herbalism" (how clever!) so you can think while you drink, like "hear no evil, see no evil, drink no evil." Words to live by if I've ever heard them!
Finally, just when you're hugging yourself with barely restrained glee, you notice the monkey. Adorable! Who doesn't love monkeys?! John Craven, Founder of BevNet describes it as " irreverent monkey character...that's fun and on point with what the mainstream but "trying to be healthy' consumer is looking for." Not only do monkeys always make me feel mainstream and healthy, but that's just me in a nutshell! I say we all support ADINA! Let's buy cases of the shit! I'll make it easy for you ... just write a big ol' fat check -stock up now, save later!- and make it payable to ADINA. I'll take care of all the rest! Yeah, you just fill in the amount, sign your John Hancock, and make it all payable to ADINA. That's A-D-I-N-A, ADINA. Damn, I just love how that rolls off the tongue! Do it y'all! It's spirtitual! With a name like ADINA, you know it's got to be pure-D good and good for ya!