Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloooo-whee! Fun With Inflatables

The nutty season begins the Christmas decorations begin to appear on store shelves, our neighborhood starts to hum, buzz and wheeze with the sound of inflatables. Local retailers are allowed to schlep the big "C" holiday stuff already, but the mean grinches governing our homeowner association forbid holiday decorations going up no more than 30 days before the holiday. Tsk, tsk, tsk. That puts a crimp in some uber-decorators' plans. Christmas is THE season of tacky suburban over-inflation, but by October, we're just dying to blow something up. Who can wait to inflate?

Hence the Halloween Hollow Hauntings. Some of them worry me a little. I assume a witch has needs, and the thought of free chocolate gets me going too, but...on a mailbox? Can't she find a decent broomstick and take it inside?

So the inflatable Santa is in a holding pattern, but Casper the 20-foot floating white sack with an industrial fan attached to his butt is good to go.

And go he does. One neighbor decided to put two of these Macys' Parade rejects out his 2nd story windows. They look fabulous when fully aloft, and the jet engine whine of their turbo fans drowns out the noise of his kids. All good.

The problem arises when they deflate. Maybe it's just me, but doesn't it look like these old girls could use a lift?

My dilemma - do I:
  1. ask the neighbors why they're surrendering
  2. send an anonymous photo to the local paper and rant about our overly permissive society's habit of allowing 'ghost condoms' in public
  3. sit back and wait for their Nativity display

"The Son Also Rises"

Friday, October 26, 2007

You Might Be In a SoCal Fire Zone If:

So much for rain. Southern California boiled that away faster than Hilton's jailtime. Saturday night the Santa Ana winds hit, knocking trees into power lines and me into a migraine. Welcome to fire season.

Some of it go pretty close. The Nightsky Fire, while a relatively small blaze, didn't look very small when it's sparking its way down toward your own backyard. It nearly came to dinner, skittering around the power lines on the ridge behind our home-

The water-dropping helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft put on quite a show dousing that one. It's one thing to fly in a steady 60mph headwind - quite another to fly slow enough to stall while the wind gusts from 20 to 60 to 20 again. A short while later, I noticed this cloud to the north-
Less than an hour later it looked like this-

It was the Ranch Fire, which has burned over 80,000 acres. About half an hour later, the sun turned dark orange and disappeared. Streetlights were on by 3pm as ash fell softly like snow's ugly sister.

Anyway, by now we're quite sick of it. There's only so long one can tolerate stuff like this before you either go stir crazy or find the humor. So here's to pan-seared soot, seasoned with a hint of saguaro, nestled snugly into the corner of your eye.

You might be in a SoCal Fire Zone if:
  • you can taste the difference between saguaro and manzanita smoke
  • you can tell the difference in color between structure smoke and brush smoke
  • you hear a helicopter and start to worry about a water-drop
  • you hear a helicopter and are thrilled about a water-drop
  • you hear the landscape sprinklers and think it's a water-dropping helicopter
  • you check 'fireline' every morning with your coffee
  • you find soot in the darndest places and that's all I'm sayin' about that
  • you see a beautiful landscape oil painting and think - a cypress tree that close to the house? They are nuts!
  • you go to a local restaurant and ask for a 'non-smoking' table and the waitress rolls her eyes at you
  • you'd be happy if you never taste anything bbq again...or at least for a while
  • you have ever hugged a fireman not just for your own personal pleasure
  • you buy moisturizer by the gallon
  • you apply moisturizer by the gallon
  • you don't have to think about what to pack - it's packed already and will stay packed until mudslide season. Then you add a raincoat and pack it again.
  • the amusement of watching on-the-scene reporters wearing smoke goggles and getting whipped around by the firestorm has worn off
  • you're actually thrilled to see commercials back on tv after days of round-the-clock coverage of that smoky red stuff
  • you wish Katie Couric would just.... leave

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Last night I opened the front door and was greeted with shiny droplets falling gently, steadily from the dark sky. I stared into the wet nothingness for a long time, watching the rain wash months of dust and goo off my world, making everything look and smell so much better. (Of course it was dark and my sense of smell is terrible.) This morning we have that wonderful foggy superdew thingy I've heard some call humidity. You're thinking I should change my meds, right? Big whoop, right?

Here in SoCal, yes. Rain is weather. We boast about having great weather. In reality we rarely have any weather at all. In fact, our weather forecasts are prerecorded. Sure, the weatherpersons do a costume change or two, but basically they're hired for their ability to get you to watch them ten minutes straight while they talk about how tomorrow will be 74 degrees, just like today was, just like yesterday was, etc. They accomplish this by smiling at you without blinking. It would be horribly impolite for you to look away, much less change the channel. They're just time-killers to keep you staring until the next commercial break.

In the off season, SoCal weather-starers make extra money as bug zappers at fancy parties. They chatter and stare in rich people's back yards, attracting bugs and politicians to the light of their bleached teeth. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Elsewhere, rain is weather. Here, rain is news. The threat of rain is news. The possible threat of rain is news. Local tv stations send newsvans all over town looking for puddles for their weatherpersons to stand next to while they tell us about "Stormwatch 2007" or "It Came from the Sky! 2007." Often they have to share puddles, and with competing stations, it can get nasty, especially during Sweeps Week.

During one particularly dry rainy season, KCAL9 news was accused by a rival station of creating a puddle. Turns out it was caused by a broken lawn sprinkler, but whether the sprinkler was broken intentionally was never proven in court. Still, to this day, a cloud hangs over the KCAL 9 weather bureau. And it's not a good cloud.

Possible Site of SoCal Puddle Possibly Caused by Rain

Because of the damp terror that pours from the sky, no one goes anywhere for fear of getting wet. Heaven forbid rain or mud muss your car. No squalling kids cluttering the sidewalk, not even dog walkers are out. Will we melt? Perhaps not, but our perfect hair might get humidified. And that terrifies our weatherpersons.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

West Coast Yankee Fan Seeks 27th World Series Ring

As a Yankee fan, rings are important. As a woman, jewelry, well, jewelry rocks. In slightly over a century, my beloved team has brought home 26 shiny finger-favors, averaging about one every four years. In the sports world - great. In my jewelry box - not so hot. More, please. Now.

Out here on the West Coast, Yankee fans are not so populous or popular. That's ok, we're tough. We may be high maintenance, but we're worth it. We expect more of our team and of ourselves. We exude confidence, creativity, and high SAT scores. And sometimes we exaggerate a little. But we love our team, and don't mind wearing our hearts on our sleeves.

Recently Major League Baseball recognized the vast, heretofore untapped female fan base. Girly merchandise is now a multi-million dollar market, to the point that nearly every team has their logo available in pink, in rhinestones, on undies...Money talks, old guys balk. Hey, nothing is sacred. Get used to it.
Unfortunately, to this day I've yet to find the proper combination of Yankee clothing to guarantee a win. I've tried jerseys, bracelets, necklaces, unmentionables, combinations of the above...nothing seems to do the trick. Wait, maybe that's it - nothing.

Why do some people hate the Yankees so much? They revel and bond over this hatred. It's understood and apparently needs no real justification. Perhaps they don't like old, white, rich guys who want to win and put their money where their team is. Perhaps they see Derek Jeter as that perfect stud in high school who got all the girls and now he's acting like a nice guy just to piss them off. Perhaps the perfection of their female fan base is a turn-off. Whatever. They're taking the cheap shots from the cheap seats. As far as I'm concerned, they can stay there. Grumpy bunnies, all of them. You know who you are. Grrrrr....

But understand that sometimes it takes guts to love a winner. Despised simply because of their dominance, winners can be intimidating, especially to losers. Maybe...stay with me takes a winner to love a winner. (Private message to Bosox fans - neener!) One of my signature sayings used to be, Don't hate me because I'm beautiful - there are so many better reasons. I traded a few of my signature sayings for a player to be named later. Hopefully a pitcher.

Even good champagne stings the eyes. As a Yankee fan I know this. But I sure could use some new jewelry. Especially if Mr. Steinbrenner is buying.