Saturday, February 10, 2024

Mysteries unearthed

There's a man that visits the house across the street next to Party House every so often. His routine is this: He double parks his car then hops out leaving both the engine running and the car radio blasting. And it's always the same song. No lyrics--just a thumping beat. We've lived here now for three years and his jam never wavers. The length of his visits vary. It could be minutes or it could be a quarter of an hour. The car thumps and runs. He does what he does, then pops back into his vehicle and drives away. So fucking weird.

Speaking of weird, I remember being fascinated by certain things when I was a kid like the disappearance of Amelia Earhart & the Bermuda Triangle and the mystery of The Easter Island 'heads'. I think I just read that wreckage identified as possibly having come from Earhart's plane has finally been found. Wow. -never thought it'd happen. Same, too, with what those stone statues represented way down off the coast of Chile. 

I watched a docu-film recently on Easter Island or Rapa Nui as the folk local to the area call it. I knew that the so-called heads were really full figures that had sort of been submerged into the land. -can't recall when that information came to light, but it's been known for a number of years now, I think. What I didn't know was what the figures were represented. This doc tries to answer that question by way of noting where the majority of the moai, as the carved stone statues are known locally, can be found. Fresh water can be found in many spots along the coastline of Rapa Nui. It is at these fresh water sites where many of the moai stand. I don't know if it's definitively known that the statues were placed there to mark the spot for fresh water and also serve as a community gathering space, but it would seem so. The research seems somewhat speculative as the writing system used by the Rapa Nui people has yet to be deciphered. Time will tell, hopefully.

The Moai on Rapa Nui


Friday, February 2, 2024

Your cranky film critic c'est moi

I know I'm late to the party, but I finally watched the Barbie film as it was offered on a streaming service we already pay for at no extra cost. Not being a Barbie fan, regardless of who filmed the story and why, I really wasn't going to fork over any more cash to view it. My two pfennigs: It's an advert for Chevrolet wrapped in an advert for Mattel. Beyond that rather simple assessment, I thought it was fine, if however not award-worthy. (Please, Barbie fans, don't shoot me.)

The hubs and I also watched Alexander Payne's latest film, The Holdovers, and I wasn't blown away by that flick either. I did, however, love the trailer. Whoever put that together should win an award. It's pure 70s movie trailer fare in all its glory. And Paul Giamatti's wandering eye should receive an honorable mention as well. Giamatti, who never has a bad film performance in him, will always hold my attention, so the film wasn't a total wash. The movie's run time, at just over 2 hours, was absolutely too long and the first 30 minutes prior to Dominic Cessa's character having been 'held over' winter break could have been edited down considerably. 

Da'vine Joy Randolph is a gifted performer, but she's clearly never smoked and had a hard time mastering how to hold, ash and take a drag off a cigarette. If those sorts of things don't bother you when watching a performance, then you probably had an easier time staying with the film than I did (and I'm slightly jealous). Shit like that takes me right out of the story. Ditto the continuity stuff like one minute Randolph's character is holding a newly lit smoke, the next minute it's down to the butt with a long ash. Nix the film smoking entirely, I say. 

For those of you who are as hung up on the details as I am, did you notice that when our three leads showed up at the Christmas shindig NO ONE closed the front door upon entering the house? The scene with Cessa, Giamatti and Randolph chatting to their host with the door wide open behind them for seemingly minutes on end in the cold-ass New England winter made me batty. 

Thanks for reading and, yes, I need to take a chill pill.




Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Merry-ish Christmas or One And Done

I hadn't really too many expectations for Christmas Day, but did want the meal I'd prepared to be edible, at the very least. The fact that it was served hot and there were some appreciative remarks uttered during dinner made me feel good. I cook, but not typically for a table full of people and really nearly never on Christmas. This past Christmas was also notable in that I had my siblings and my mom over. We have not spent an Xmas all together since before my parents divorced in the late 1970s. Now that Mom is widowed what used to be a holiday spent with her husband's family is sort of, up for grabs, if you will. I thought it might be nice to get the band back together (har-har). While it wasn't a shit show, pardon my French, there were a few eyebrow-raising moments. 

My sister, I'm fairly sure, showed up drunk. She's devolved into a pretty serious nightly drinker over the past few years, so while I expected her to drink at mine (she abstained), I did not expect her to have 'pre-gamed'. There was a point during the afternoon when she attempted to sit on great-grandma Bea's tile top table. She caught herself, fortunately, before any damage to herself or the table happened. This is a table we grew up with, so her having said, 'I thought it was a chair' felt off. I mean, maybe she did? There was a smattering of cutting comments throughout the day from sis as well, but as that's her M.O., I didn't really ruminate on them...for once.

Mom arrived a few hours early, so we spent some time in the front room chatting and nibbling on snacks. At one point, I had asked mom if she'd heard from her husband's children for Christmas. She seemed taken aback at having been asked. Of course! We are very close! I hadn't meant to imply anything by what I thought was a fairly innocuous question. This is mom's second Christmas sans husband; I imagine it's still very difficult for her adjusting to her 'new normal'. 

As it turned out, mom actually hadn't heard from one of the sons and was worried something might be amiss. He replied to her just after the new year. She read me the response over the phone while I was on break at work. All I remember from his text reply was this humdinger of a phrase: scraping the stench of a loveless marriage off my soul  BIG YIKES.

If he ever quits his day job, he may want to consider creative writing as a field. 

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Unexpected delight

A few days before Christmas, I had arrived home to find a wee present left on my doorstep. There was no tag; I couldn't think who it might have been from. Curious, I opened it as soon as I stepped in the house. It was a succulent. Well, sort of... :D


Secret Santa Succulent!

I nearly cried when I saw it. What a thoughtful gift. I can't say why I was given this little beauty, but I have thought about it and think that it may have something to do with the fact that our house is the only one on the block that doesn't have a bare cement patch out front in lieu of a bit of greenery. When these homes were built just after the Second World War, there were lawns and rose bushes adorning the front of the properties. At some point in the 1960s, at whose urging I don't know, the trend out in our neck of the woods was to replace the front gardens with concrete. The end result is increased parking capacity, but it's awfully ugly to look at, in my opinion, not terribly environmentally friendly. Our front patch is also a 'grey garden', if you will, but I've taken to filling the area as best I can with succulents, Fuchsia, salvia, and such. I've even hauled out some patio furniture from the back of the house and created a sort of barrier between our property and the pavement with a bit of driftwood from Ocean Beach and other bits of wood scavenged from Golden Gate Park. It's nothing fancy, but it's really nice to sit out there as the house is southern-facing and the sun drapes the front of the house seemingly year round. At some point, money permitting, we hope to remove the concrete and plant a native garden out front. But for now, our makeshift garden will do!

I wish I could thank the person who gifted me this special 'succulent'. I put up a large 'Thank you, Santa!' sign in the window replete with a drawing of my new, knitted pal. Maybe they've seen it?



Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Planet Poptart



I received a call out of the blue from an old friend who has been living 'off the grid' for many years now somewhere up in NE California. Color me dumb, but if he's calling me from a cellular phone, then is he really off the grid? Anyway, he called because he wanted to tell me (warn me?) of what's to come here in the San Francisco Bay Area and in other major urban centers across the country supposedly in a few years' time. 'When I tell you what I know, you're going to think I'm from the planet Poptart, but it's all true.' He then proceeded to tell me things that absolutely, truly and totally made very little sense. I won't clog your brains with them here, but, suffice to say, he believes that anarchy will reign in a handful of years and we'll all be resorting to cannibalism in order to survive. I did not laugh when he said this to me, mind you, but I did wonder how someone who seemed fairly together when we met some thirty years ago could now be so muddled in his thinking. I told my hubs about the call and he said that it sounded like QAnon stuff. QAnon? Weren't those the same kooks that brought us Pizzagate and the January 6th US Capitol attack?

There have been conspiracy theories lurking in the shadows for as long as there have been civilizations, I suppose, and a certain percentage of the population will always fall prey to them. It's not a stretch to think that with the advent of the internet those who are predisposed to believe things like the earth is flat and that there never was a moon landing in 1969 are easily brought together via the internet. What's that old saying? There's a lid for every pot? You believe that Paul McCartney was replaced by a fake Paul way back in the mid-1960s? Well, there are probably loads of others out there in the world who believe the same thing and they are just a mouse click away! 

For those of you who can't believe that 'Faul' exists, as the conspiracy nutters have named him, here you go: FAUL.

I actually grew up down the street from someone who believes that Macca was replaced by a look-a-like back in 1966. This deeply held belief of his that Paul isn't Paul pre-dates the internet. I can only imagine how thrilled his was to find his global cohort once he was able to cruise the 'information superhighway'. I bumped into this old neighbor the other day at the post office in our hometown. I asked after his mother and found that she is alive and well at age 90. We were talking about our respective families while waiting in line when he pointed out the window and blurted, 'Look at those chemtrails!' I know this to be a hot button issue among the conspiracy crowd, so I said that I didn't want to discuss chemtrails with him. Then he asked me how many times I'd been vaccinated. I said, 'a hundred and ten' and redirected to talk of his mother. (She was kind to me after the divorce of my parents when I was little; I have fond memories of her.) I asked him if I could have the spelling of her surname as it's either Kelly or Kelley and I couldn't remember which one was correct. He didn't know either. Um, WTF? I then asked if I could give his mom a ring and asked for her telephone no. He gave it and then said, 'You could take mine as well.' 

I didn't yell in his face: Are you fucking kidding?

However, I did say something like: No, I don't want to as I don't think we would have anything in common to talk about. He said, 'Oh, but I'm not a Trumper.' 'It's not that I think you're a Trumper, it's that I think you don't participate in the system at all. You don't vote.' 

'Well, it's all a sham anyway,' he said. 

I'll be sending his mom a holiday card including no mention of her son, mind you. 


Thursday, November 30, 2023

VW whoopsie

The folks who design Volkswagon vehicles do not know nor would they care that we here in California have a law that states all motor vehicles, in order to be road ready, must be affixed with both front and back licence plates. The front of my VW has a decorative grill with no area set for an easy installation of a No. American licence plate. What this means for consumers is that we are left to purchase after market do-dads--usually online--to use in putting a front plate on a car that doesn't really have place for said front plate. (I could drill holes in the front of my car for a plate holder, but I don't want to resort to that, to be honest.) There is a wee tow hitch found just at the right of the grill that one can rig in order to use as a plate holder. I only know this trick because I called the local VW dealership and asked if their maintenance dept would install a plate on my car. The plate I had affixed to the car's grill with zip-ties, industrial strength glue and a plastic plate frame inevitably failed me and the plate went missing recently, I think. I hadn't cottoned on to the fact that the front plate was gone until a meter maid pulled up in front of my house last Saturday afternoon in a very residential area of town (read: one never sees meter maids out here) to issue me a 'fix it' ticket to the tune of $121.00. Thanks? 

I was able to secure an appointment at the local Department of Motor Vehicles in fairly short order--there had been a cancellation yesterday--and purchased a new set of plates. One is surrender the remaining back plate and start anew. -kind of a bummer as I'd easily memorized the last plate no. and the new one doesn't quite roll off the tongue, if you will. Although I've not yet put the new front plate on the car--it's resting comfortably on my dashboard--a friendly cop signed off on my ticket and the fee went from over a hundred bucks to ten, so there's that. 


Tow hook aka No. American plate holder





Monday, November 13, 2023

November 13, 2023

A digital sign was placed along highway 280 about 30 miles south of San Francisco stating: SF event Nov. 14-17, take transit. Honey, if we had something good, then I would! The sign has been standing along the roadway for about the last week; I see it every time I come home from work. Not knowing what the event in question could be, I looked it up. APEC, the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation, is holding its summit in town starting tomorrow. World leaders, dignitaries and delegates from 21 countries will converge on our fair city over the next few days. From what I understand, the area in which the APEC summit takes place--south of Market St.--will be blocked off to through traffic for the duration. Motorists (delivery vehicles, taxis and the like) wishing to travel through will need special permission. Fortunately, I neither live in nor need to travel around that area, so I'll be missing all the hoo-ha. 

***

Last Saturday's memorial for newly-found-Aunt Meg was very pleasant. It was held at Meg's daughter's house which also happens to be the house in which she grew up, so that made the day especially poignant. Meg and her husband were married in the house in front of the fireplace fifty years ago. There were photos of Meg through the years hung on the wall in the dining area. It was so nice to see her in various phases of life: student, newlywed, parent, grandparent, etc. I met a few of her chums from the local pool where she'd spent a good deal of time prior to the pandemic. They were lovely. There were a few dear family friends in attendance as well. Interestingly, there were no members of her adoptive family present. It was just us newly discovered folks--my mother, me, another niece, and a nephew. 

***

The cats got out today. I hadn't properly closed the front door after coming home from a litter pickup volunteer gig in the Mission District. After about ten minutes of being home, I noticed that the cats seemed awfully quiet, so I went looking for them and found the front door WIDE open. Those little scallywags are always so desperate for time outside, that they carpe diemed their way to freedom. Fortunately, freedom for those two meant skulking around the neighbor's yard looking for voles to hunt and what-not. As soon as they saw us coming for them, Marcel, the littler one, went scurrying to our front door and Bart, the beefy one, jumped a fence or two and met us at the house where we promptly ushered him inside. 


Post foray into the world...



Mysteries unearthed

There's a man  that visits the house across the street next to Party House every so often. His routine is this: He double parks his car...