Archive for May, 2007

Traveler

I almost cried last night when I realized that there are 8 more months until Lost is back on to make my Wednesdays bright and cheerful again.  I didn’t even tear up on Monday, even though Monday is usually Heroes night, mainly because I missed one freaking episode last month and never could figure what the fuck was happening after that. 

But after my little snit last night, I realized that Traveler was premiering in my usual Lost viewing period, and that pretty much perked me up.  For a little while.  It seems I’m not exactly in the Traveler demographic, which appeared to me to be Males, aged 18-35.   I zeroed right in on that fact after the 3rd explosion and the 5th killing because everybody knows the only way to keep a young man’s interest is if you show him lots of shit blowing up and lots of running and shooting.  Oh, and maybe some hot chicks, but there were’t really any of those unless you count the soft porn Hardees Bacon Thickburger commercial they showed like 5 times in 2 hours.    I never knew young nubile females ate their Thickburgers on all fours while scantily clothed.  Kids these days!

You may be wondering to yourselves, “Why would ABC ignore Observant’s demographic on Wednesday nights???  Why don’t they show something for the Hip-Geek Female, aged 50?”  Who knows?  I certainly don’t pretend to understand what goes on in a network executive’s head but I’d guess it probably involves lots of explosions and chicks orgasmically eating large meat sandwiches in their nighties. 

The only person I really found myself relating to in Traveler is the quixotic Will Traveler character who seems to be somebody and nobody at the same time.  Kind of like me!  Plus he hates to have his picture taken.  Again, like me!   Not sure if I’ll keep watching, though, mostly due to that Hardees commercial.  maninshower.jpgIf they’d show a commercial for – let’s say a hair care product, and that hair care product is hawked by a beefcake dude lathering up in the shower and you can almost see his unmentionable, I’d probably be able to really get on board the show then.  Hear that ABC???? Just a suggestion.

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Tornadoes and High School reunions

Our weekend trip to southwestern Kansas for Ken’s 40th high school reunion turned out to be an interesting experience.  After spending several hours on  Friday driving through the receding floodwaters of Salina and Great Bend, we made our way down the detour highway to the outskirts of Greensburg.  No one is allowed into Greensburg at this time unless you’re with a previous resident, so my first glance at this tornado ravaged town was from a distance of about a mile off.  Still, it was a horrible sight when all you can see sticking up on the horizon are trees completely stripped of their leaves and branches.  Even if you didn’t know a tornado had recently devastated the town you could immediately tell something horrible had happened.
We spent most of the day on Saturday helping Ken’s aunt and uncle sort through their belonging which have been stored in their son’s barn out on his farm.  All of the furniture had been left on the wheat truck and since harvest is right around the corner it all had to be moved off the truck and into a government provided container that had been moved out to the farm.   It’s a heartbreaking sight to see two people in their 70s trying to sort through the wind and water-damaged leftovers of their household and often we’d find Max sitting on a stool, going through a box of 50 year old school papers piece by piece, wondering what he should keep and what should be thrown away and not being able to decide at all.  The shock of it all has not worn off much yet.

That afternoon we all piled into the car and drove out to Greensburg to tour the damage and it’s true what everyone says: Pictures don’t begin to give you an idea of what it’s like to see a town where almost every structure’s been either completely decimated or damaged to the point where it’s uninhabitable.  Block after block of utter destruction is hard to describe except to say it must a lot like what Iraq looks like now.  I never want to see that kind of thing again.
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Since this was the weekend of Ken’s HS reunion, we spent Saturday night at a get-together for his class.  Keep in mind that Ken is from a very small town.  His graduating class had a grand total of 21 people in it, so having a class reunion party in somebody’s back yard is pretty easy to do.  One of the people from his class, and still a good friend, is the owner of Greensburg’s John Deere dealership, one of its largest businesses, and many others had close connections to Greensburg residents.  The tornado was the main topic of conversation and what I found was that these folks still needed to talk it out.  One question could result in a complete retelling of each person’s unique experience that night. 

I wonder if the town will ever be able to completely recover.  The farming communities in Kansas are slowly dying as was illustrated for us by a 1937 graduate of Ken’s HS (Bucklin HS) in a speech at Sunday’s alumni banquet.  The year this gentleman graduated, Bucklin KS had 3 grocery stores, 4 hardware stores, a shoe store, 2 taverns, among other businesses.  The only businesses left in town today are a very small grocer, a gas station, a John Deere dealer, a bar and that’s about it.  Greensburg was a somewhat larger town than Bucklin, but it’s been on the population downswing for the past several years due to the decline in farm income. 

Still, I get a lump in my throat whenever I see the acres and acres of wheat surrounding these towns, knowing that harvest will start soon, no matter what.  Wheat farming terms like drilling and heading out have now entered this city girl’s lexicon, and observations about whether or not the wheat has turned don’t make me laugh any more.

Farm work doesn’t stop.  Not even for a tornado.

prairie overload

We have arrived at the place I affectionately refer to as The Little House on the Prairie, which is southwestern Kansas, for Ken’s 40th HS reunion.   It’s a small, small town west of Greensburg, which is where we go tomorrow with Ken’s aunt & uncle to view tornado damage.  By the time we return to the Big City on Sunday, I will be in major cultural deprivation mode, and will need a day to deprogram from nothing but acres and acres of wheat, cattle feedlots, and too much small town gossip.  Fortunately, I have good books and Ken has fun relatives, so all will be well.

Lost

For those of you who don’t watch Lost, this post may be, well, “lost” for you.  lost.jpgI’m a big fan.  No, I’m a hugefan of the sci-fi/fantasy/mystery story.  I’m the kind of fan the show’s producers find such a perverse pleasure in stringing along season after season, feeding us a tidbit here and there to keep us guessing.  I’m the kind of fan that spends too much time poring over my favorite Lost sites for the latest fan theories and meticulously deconstructing key screenshots from the previous night’s episode.  We’re a mostly intelligent group who delights in the obscure references the show slips us, which are probably completely missed by the casual observer.  We’re the ones who think we’ve got it all figured out, only to be thrown for a loop the following week, forcing us to reconsider and rework our theories over and over again.

Lost is full of anagrams and mysterious characters who we may or may not be able to see, and whose motives for their actions on the island are only shown to us in flashback.  Its central themes are redemption and man’s universal connection to others.  dharma.jpgIt’s a giant puzzle, which is both the beauty of the show – and its main problem.   TV viewers are used to having their stories told in 22 minute segments, or, at the most, 16 or 24 episode seasons.  This story will be strung out over another 3 seasons and it’s not likely we’ll get many definitive answers until 2010.  Me?  I can stick it out, but I’m afraid the only people left watching the show by May, 2010 will be our relatively small pack of Lost sleuths, who will only be sorry to see it end, leaving a big gaping hole in our Wednesday nights.

A host of unsavory characters

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person who finds the cartoon characters designed to hawk medications repulsive and disturbing.  What’s worse about these animated spokesmen is that they’re inflicted on us during the most inopportune time of the day – dinnertime.  Let’s review:

Digger the Dermatophyte:     digger.jpgI’ve often expressed my disgust with this offensive parasite who takes great pains to let us know that he can only be eliminated by months of prescription drug treatment.  Especially gruesome is when he begins energetically digging down into the healthy pink tissue under his victim’s nailbed, immediately turning it a sickly yellow.  Digger has really nasty, fleshy lips and Gollum-like fingers, making him the #1 most disgusting animated commercial character ever.

The Mucinex Mucous Blob:  mucinex-conga.jpgThe only thing worse than Digger is this fat, odious green ball of snot and his Family of Phlegm.   After infiltrating their unsuspecting victim, Mucous family moves in all their furniture (and a karoke machine) and prepares to raise a whole family on the previously healthy bronchi of the host human.  Only Mucinex, Mr. Mucous’ nemesis can save the patient, and only by coughing up these distasteful balls of green slime, where they’ll probably immediately take up residence in the next available human.  This commercial always comes on just when I’m about to start my dinner.   Makes you want to hock a giant one.

The Nasonex Bee:   nasonex.jpg This sad-eyed bumblebee with the badly affected Maurice Chevalier accent gives new meaning to the phrase “Annoying Seasonal Allergies.”  But the thing that really creeps me out about the bee is the fact that he sounds freakishly like my ex-husband when he gives his spiel:  “Hello my flower.  Nasonex to the rescue!”  Frankly, it took a lot of work to get my bastard ex-husband out of the house and I don’t like it when my peace is invaded by this bizarro version of him.

The Lunesta flying neon bug: 

lunesta.jpgLunesta wants you to think that the pretty thing flying around the insomniac’s bedroom is a butterfly, but it’s not. 

 It’s a Luna moth.  

luna-moth.jpgFrankly, I don’t like the idea of some prehistoric looking moth flying around my bedroom while I’m sleeping; I’d be afraid of this thing landing on my face and sucking the breath right out of my body.  My mother has a particular aversion to the Lunesta bug, frequently stating “I wouldn’t want a flying nightlight. That’s scary.”

I’ll be glad when this ghastly commercial trend has played out so I can once again look forward to eating my dinner in front of the TV and only be bombarded by erectile dysfunction and bladder control ads that promise its users they will most definitely experience diarrhea as one of their many side effects. 

The best of the Big-O party

10 reasons why the Big-O party was the best joint birthday party ever:

  1. Drinking and not getting embarrassingly drunk
  2. Hugging all my relatives because I was drunk, but not embarrassingly drunk, just lovey-dovey drunk.
  3. Looking at Saturn and the moon through Charlie’s kick-ass telescope, which was probably the biggest hit of the entire evening
  4. Guessing who answered which questions on the Big-O questionairre.
  5. Introducing my friends Andi & Charlie to all my crazy but beloved relatives.
  6. Seeing the looks on my neice’s faces when they realize that Venus’ husband is a hotshot guitar player in a band they’ve seen, and now they’re kicking their own asses because they’ve ditched the last few family events where they could have actually talked to him.
  7. Reaffirmation that there’s at least one cousin in my family I can actually relate to, even if our parents are step-sisters – which means we’re not actually related by blood but are, instead, spirit-cousins.
  8. C & A offering to drive me all the way home, even though it would have meant a 60 mile round trip (with gasoline at $3.29/gallon no less) – just because I wasn’t ready to go home yet.  (I caved and rode home with mumsy and daddy. See #10 below).
  9. Knowing that I have the best family and friends a person could possibly want.
  10. Me, my brother and my parents singing along to my dad’s Merle Haggard CD in the car on the way home and feeling secure in the fact that I wasn’t the only one singing off-key.

shoppin’ with the dog

There were a couple of letters to the editor today in the Kansas City Star about a recent ban on bringing pets to the City Market.  One letter was a complaint, and one was a “thank God it’s over” letter.  Need I mention that the City Market is primarily an outdoor food market?  After the Brookside Art Fair this year, there were letters complaining about the large numbers of people with dogs at the art fair.  OK, call me Dr. Scroogelittle, but I don’t want to spend an afternoon at a crowded art fair, where in addition to maneuvering through throngs of people I also have to dodge their dogs and try to avoid having my sandled feet bathed in dripping strings of dog slobber.   Ditto for the City Market.

I for one don’t think dogs really belong in places where people are shopping. 

I came to this conclusion after my one and only foray to Petco with my dog Coco.  It’s where the pets go, you know.  I go to Petco when there’s more than cat and dog food on the pet needs list and I’ve seen lots of folks there with their dogs.  Looked pretty cute and maybe just a little fun, so one Sunday morning a few weeks ago I decided to take Coco on a shopping trip, primarily to assuage my guilt for not taking him for enough walks lately.  As soon as I got the leash out, Coco’s little stump of a tail started its Happy Wag and believing we’d soon be taking a long awaited walk so he could pee on a myriad of bushes, he assumed the position to have his leash put on.  However, after a few minutes of driving he began to realize that I was not taking our usual route to the park.  I imagined his little doggie mind sadly revising his thoughts from wiggly anticipation to ho-hum resignation that we were simply going on a boring car ride where he wouldn’t be able to pee on one single thing.  We pulled into the Petco parking lot and I let him out on his leash.  Immediately, his canine nose sucked in a veritable amusement park of olfactory delights.   There were dogs here.  Lots of dogs.  Sweet glory, I must pee on something immediately.

Coco is a champion pee-er.  During hot summer walks when I don’t think my mouth could muster up one more drop of saliva, Coco’s little body just keeps cranking out the pee.  It’s truly remarkable to see such a small animal urinate so much.  I could probably rent him out to farmers in drought affected areas as a mobile irrigation unit.  So by the time we walked across the Petco parking lot and got to the front door of the store, Coco had already peed on about 10 different things -grass, bushes, car tires, and both corners of the building.  Unfortunately for me, this shopping trip was going to require a cart for the litter box supplies, cat litter, and pet food I needed to buy and I very quickly discovered that trying to wrangle a cart and a dog on a leash who wanted to pee on everything and smell every square inch of the store floor wasn’t going to be a walk in the park (pun intended).  Instead of a blissful retail experience with my pet, I found myself manically flinging the needed pet supplies into the cart while trying to keep Coco from peeing on the display items. 

Petco has little clean-up stations all around the store so you can be a good shopper and  wipe up your pet’s “accidents”.  Accidents my ass.  Dogs don’t just accidentally pee on stuff, they do it on purpose and so far I’d been able to yank Coco’s leash at just the right time to halt any marking activity inside the store.  We made it to the checkout line with our cart of supplies a mere five minutes after walking in the door.  That’s pretty much a record for me in Petco because the myriad of pet supplies tends to lull me into a full-blown shopper stupor.  I can spend a long time looking at all the cutesy pet do-dads and marveling over all the different things offered for so many different kinds of animals.  Not this time though.  I couldn’t wait to unload the too-big cart, pay for my shit and get myself and my pee machine out of there.   Of course, being Sunday morning, there was only one cashier and a line of people so we ended up waiting in line about twice as long as it took to toss cat litter and pet food into the cart.   I allowed myself a moment to relax, closed my eyes and took a cleansing breath.   Upon opening my eyes I noticed that in my 30-second period of Zen, Coco had peed on the inconveniently placed dog bed display right next to the check-out line. 

I ignored it.  And besides, there wasn’t a doggie accident station nearby and I was damned if I was going to lose my place in line to traipse around the store to find a wipey-thing to clean up a little mess in a place where they not only let you bring your dog – they encourage it.

Well, that will be the last time I take Coco shopping.  I don’t know what I expected anyway – a meaningful discussion with him regarding clumping vs. non-clumping litter for the kitties? Or whether he preferred to stick with Kibble ‘n Bits or make the switch to the heart-healthy Beneful product we’ve been seeing on TV.   No, it seems to me that pets belong in the park, not in the parking lot.  Or in the store.    And I’m now feeling an aversion to going back to a store where dogs have probably peed on every conceivable surface below knee level.   The way I see it, if you invite pets into your store, there’s bound to be trouble. 

Petco, it’s not where I really want to go.  Anymore.  At least not with my pet.