Archive for June, 2009

I thought it was funny

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Craig Ferguson Friday night: “I am holding something in my hand. What is it? It’s a book. Kids, it’s like a really, really, really, really long Twitter.”

My Bad

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

It was the Bad Tour that Michael Jackson screwed us on. And we didn’t even have good seats.

But since I am now pretty much completely packed and it’s the middle of the night, here is my definitive MJ story.

It was New Year’s Eve 1990 in Disneyland. The Washington Huskies were about to play for the national football championship the next day in the Rose Bowl. I was by myself and fiddling around in the magic shop of Main Street. If you know that part of Disneyland, I was just a few steps from Mr. Lincoln’s show and almost directly across the street from the fire station.

Now, it’s New Year’s Eve in Disneyland. The park is crammed to the Under the Sea gills. But here I am seriously looking at a magic trick, and really thinking about buying it. And I suddenly noticed something. I was the only one in the magic shop. What the?!?!?!

And it was almost at that moment that Michael Jackson came in with Macauley Caulkins. And he walked up to me and said, “I’m sorry for this.”

OK, just play that scene in your head. I am looking at some stupid magic trick and suddenly two of the biggest stars in the universe are standing there. So I said, “No problem.” And went back to seeing if I really wanted to buy this magic trick.

The story gets kind of surreal after that.

Wow, that sounds almost kooky.

But I stood around the magic shop for like 15 minutes with me, Michael Jackson and Macauley Caulkins and a couple body guards and like 10,000 people outside trying to catch a look.

But here’s the thing, and I’ve said it from one minute after the whole thing was over and he escaped into the firestation exit…he looked great! Can tell you to this day he was the most normal sounding and looking person I may have ever met who was famous. He was wearing a gorgeous deep blue silk shirt and a really nice pair of designer jeans with an awesome belt buckle. He also had a black leather jacket and a fedora. There was NOTHING strange about him as I stood three feet away all that time and listened to him talk. (If you know the Disneyland magic shop, you’ll know there wasn’t a lot of room in there with three of us and a bivvy of security types.)

So they got done and MJ turns to me again and says, “Thanks for being patient.”

Me? “No problem.”

And then we all got kind of shoved out through the crowd towards the fire department.

It was just surreal.

Now, try going and meeting up with your group and explaining while they were on Space Mountain, you were talking to Michael Jackson. The great thing is that by then, the whole incident had kind of spread through the park and Main Street was a zoo.

I swear, I was telling this story to a friend the other day, and he just didn’t believe it.

“Why didn’t you ask for an autograph or something?”

Honestly, I was thinking, “Leave him alone. Leave him alone. He just wants to the quiet of the damn magic shop. Let him have it.”

“Why didn’t you take a picture?”

I didn’t need to. The real thing is in my head foreever. I really never thought of it. I’ve listened to him talk. I’ve seen him. I’ve smelled him. Why have a photo? I really thought that as I was standing there for what seemed like two hours with him explaining magic shop tricks to the Home Alone kid.

“Did he buy anything?”

Not that I could tell. But I was thinking about that at the time. That has always seemed odd to me. He picked one of the most crowded park times of the year to go to one shop with the Home Alone kid. It was like a “just because I can” moment.

So that’s my MJ story for the most part. Other stuff kind of happened with the crowds and getting jostled around and herded, etc. But I got both an apology and a thank you.

Me: “No problem.”

(And, frankly, it was kind of cool.)

Not to sound too terrible crass about it…

Friday, June 26th, 2009

I’ll leave it up to other websites to talk about the death of Michael Jackson and his muscial legacy, per se.

But if I am the promoter of his London dates or the doctor that cleared him on medical for the insurance, I’m having a bit of a sleepless night.

Here’s how it works, the way I understand it, that a doctor clears you, then the promoter takes out insurance against that. But, if there was a “pre-existing condition,” the policy doesn’t pay off. You can just drop dead for no reason, or drop dead for a reason a doctor didn’t catch. You also can’t kill yourself. I am being crass and simpleton about it, but I bet we have to be talking nine figures for the London dates alone hanging in the balance.

Now, i looked into buy a couple Q2 tickets once for London, and I will say this…it was loaded with non-refundable fees. I had this experience when I waited all night for Thriller tour tix and then found out that nearly 20-percent of my ticket was non-refundable for production costs when he cancelled the show. I’d love to be all nostalgic about the guy, but I am wondering who is going to get screwed and how from the tickets he’s already sold.

p.s. Just to note…I thought he was a psychopath, but I have to admit he was great and iconic at music for about 20 years.

p.p.s. But if you were going to strand me on a desert island, I’d still take Farrah’s hard nipples in that red bathing suite over an iPod with MJ’s music.

Ummmm, it’s Thursday so I have to think about this

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

What the hell am I taking on the cruise for a week?

I want to take a bunch of art supplies and a laptop. Then I want to pack a small duffle bag with toiletries and some shorts and t-shirts.

Here’s the problem: It’s going to be bad weather almost the whole cruise. Luck of the draw  it looks like. Damn.

Now, I have to get out colder-weather stuff. Fudge. And I still don’t have a camera I want to take with me; that’s a problem. And I have done nothing to do any of the research I wanted to do on the ports, trips, etc.

So this is either the PERFECT trip because my stress level is so low, or I am being a lazy ass at this point.

I say that only half in jest…

Vacations are just normally stressful. Think about it. Where to be, what to do. Buying books and gathering information. I am so in zen mode about the Alaska cruise, I really haven’t cared less about anything other than making sure Mac had his airline tickets and that I have to be someplace on a certain day to get picked up. It’s kind of the perfect version of what I wanted. Get me on a boat for a week with a laptop and some drawing supplies and then drive me around for a week with incredible views sometimes while feeding me.

Part of why I picked this cruise is that they don’t care if I wear socks. Heck, they make it sound like I can walk around in a Speedo, a t-shirt, and flip flops. (I do own a pair of Speedos…which is just funny. I’ve worn them once. Once is all it took.)

So here’s where this is going…my type-A side wants to get really super into planning this trip. But that’s what I’d do in real life. I would be defeating the point of a vacation. I might even just sleep through Skagway or something, I don’t know. I have such low expectations for myself and the trip, I am just going with the flow of it.

I am looking forward to it, I’m just not ball-busting myself to be “prepared” for anything.

But today I had to admit to myself that I need to be conscious of getting ready. Check the weather forecast, get all my documents, have a clue about where I’m going, etc.

Reading Camp

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Big A is at “Reading Camp” today at a local university.

At first, I kind of rolled my eyes at the thought and the expense. But then I got to thinking, the whole focus isn’t about reading, per se, it’s about how to read. Wow, that is something Big A needs to learn. She can breeze through a giant book, no problem, but her comprehension other than in simple form is not very good. She’s going to get a shot at learning how we comprehend the complexities of great writing.

Cara is going to tackle Ulysses. Perfect example of a book that you can read and not understand. It has puzzles and stuff in it, for example. You could breeze through it and think it’s just the life of a guy for a day, or you can see it as a very complex morality story played out with complex intellectualism. Or you can just read it as the life of a guy for a day.

My point is that that made “reading camp” make sense to me. Even for a fourth grader, you have to learn to read something bigger than the words. Hmmmm…I’m not explaining this very well.

I understand why you need boot, er, book camp, but I also appreciate the fact she wants boot camp for reading. Ulysses is a great example of why it’s important. You can’t just breeze through it and ever understand it. But people might read it and cross it off the list of “longest boring book I ever slogged through” and never enjoy it for how complex it is in so many ways. That’s what Big A needs to learn how to do.

My moment like this came almost exactly Big A’s age when we were played 30,000 Pounds of Bananas and the teacher had us listen to it once and discuss all the parts of a book. Then we listened a second time. This was a GREAT lesson in the fifth grade. She then had all the lyrics and we read them. (BTW: That teacher is now in charge of all elementary curriculum in the entire school district.) But the point was COMPREHENSION! To this day, that two-hour lesson is in my head when I enjoy reading or music.

That’s why going to camp to “learn to read” for a week makes perfect sense.

Sounds about right

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Big A was diagnosed with walking pneumonia.

I’m almost positive I have the same thing.

Or had, anyway.

She got a fever and I didn’t. I always wonder about stuff like this. We both had the same symptoms, other than that, but I just kind of fought through the wall. That’s the advntage of being a 200-pound adult. But why?

You’d think my age would play against me.

Speaking of Dave…

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

…loved the Sandra Day O’Connor interview.

But I’ll be damned. I didn’t know that the law says when you retire from the Supreme Court, you have to serve on some federal court someplace the rest of your life. Look it up. I did and it’s true (but I won’t link you there because in the process of finding it, if you care, you are going to learn a bunch of other interesting things I don’t want to deny you of about the supreme court).

Despite recent controversy that was stupid…

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I record Letterman with the other latenight shows on my DVR almost every night.

If Letterman doesn’t make you guffaw once every show, you probably can’t be my friend. If you can’t at least smile a couple of times, then the deal is sealed.


Big Mama is taking Kodachrome away

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Kodak has officially quite making Kodachrome.

I think Paul Simon already sang about this day enough.

But I was a little surprised to hear that there was only one lab left in the country that developed it. Not shocked, just surprised. I can remember when a newspaper I worked for had its own Kodachrome lab for its weekly insert magazine. I just never thought about the fact the Kodachrome developing was all that special. I knew it was more for 35mm magazine-types, but I just had never thought about it.

Know thy body, know thy self

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Tonight, I’m sick in a more classic sense. Dripping out of everything. This will take at least the better part of the weekend.

But I busted through.

I know I have been sick for a while and it was driving me nuts, but I kept trying to eat and drink pedialyte-stuff and Gatorade. P kept wanting me to take various medicines, and I didn’t want to…I knew that it was just going to hit the wall at some point.

But here’s the thing…I don’t think other than some blood pressure medicine, I have taken anything stronger than Alka Seltzer in the last five years. I was seriously thinking about this subject this morning as the flood gates (finally) opened up.

I don’t do over the counter. I get sick like this MAYBE twice a year. And add one sicker period in there. But this is like functional sick, or allergies, or something. I don’t know.

It just means several days while my body gets rid of the bad stuff. It goes away.

At least it always has gone away.