Google Doodles – So That’s What They’re Called! February 20, 2012Posted by alwaysjan in Worth Knowing.
Tags: Changes to Google Logo, Google Doodle Museum, Google Doodles, Google Logo, Google logo on merchandise, Gregor Mendel, Jeopardy, Jeopardy categories, Popular Culture
I’m proposing a new category for Jeopardy - Google Doodles! I can just see Alex Trebek. in his ever-knowing voice saying, “For $500…This doodle was to honor….?” If you answered Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, you’d be smokin’ hot (and $500 richer).
I love it when Google does that name change thing, which I’ve come to learn is called a Google Doodle. The first doodle was created in 1998 when Goggle founders Larry and Sergey attended the Burning Man festival in Nevada and did a stick drawing of a man behind the second “o” in Google to indicate they were “out of the office.”
Since then, over 1000 doodles have been created, and the field is open to Google Doodle wannabes.
On Doddle4Goggle, students are invited to submit original artwork around the theme, “If I could travel in time, I ‘d visit…” The winner’s art will not only be featured on Google’s homepage, but on a limited edition of Crayola’s 64-Crayon boxes (How I used to covet those!).
I love that sometimes you have to guess what the doodle is about. Like with the tribute for Les Paul’s 96th birthday. I had to google (verb) Google (noun) to find out what was going on. But how cool is it to be able to play the virtual guitar? Even cooler was the Goggle Doodle marking the Egyptian Election in 2011.
But wait, there’s more! Did you know that your favorite Google Doodle is available on merchandise? Oh yeah. You can visit the Google Doodle Museum to check out all of the doodles and the Doodle Store, where many of the doodles are available on t-shirts, mugs, and bags. Who knew?
The Digital Natives Are Restless July 22, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Food for Thought.
Tags: Children and Technology, Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives, Education, Google Maps, Humor, Mark Prensky, Popular Culture, Runzas, Teaching, Technology, War Driving
When I arrived at my friend Cathy’s house in Kansas City, the first order of business was to log onto their wifi account. Cathy had a password written down, but it wasn’t working, so she called her 23-year-old son. Matt rattled it off over the phone. Twenty plus letters and numbers. “This isn’t a password – it’s the nuclear launch code,” Cathy mused. Once I was back on-line, my DT’s (Digital Tremors) subsided. Whew.
That got me thinking about how everything has changed due to technology. On the flight back to the Midwest, the plane couldn’t take off. “There are still electronic devices on in rows 15, 32, and 34,” the flight attendant announced. So we waited. Another announcement. Finally, we taxied.
I give my parents, who are in their 80s, a pass on technology. My dad bought a computer years ago and has so many security programs installed to prevent identity theft that every time you press a key a security alert pops up about possible suspicious activity. Talk about killing the creative muse.
Both my parents have cell phones, but I don’t bother to call them because they’re usually turned off. And my parents never figured out how to retrieve messages. I have to admit that it wasn’t until we ditched our landline, that I was forced to figure out all of those features on my cell phone. And I’m still reading up on how to shoot an independent film using it.
While I was visiting my parents, my brother was there along with his daughter, Allison, and her boyfriend, Jeff, both who just graduated from college. For them technology is second nature. Missed the last episode of True Blood? Jeff downloaded if for me and emailed it to my dropbox so I could watch it on my computer.
Jeff carried his iPhone with him and set it on the table during meals. Sitting at Runza Hut, we got talking about whether the exquisite and highly addictive Runza (a doughy mound filled with ground beef and cabbage) was of Polish or German origin. Jeff googled it. Turned out it’s German/Russian. So there! Meanwhile, my phone kept dinging. “I keep hearing something,” my mother said looking around. It was yet another incoming text message on my phone. Sometimes technology can be too much of a good thing.
Because my parents Wifi connection was spotty, I was worried I’d have to cruise the neighborhood hoping to piggyback on someone else’s wireless. Jeff informed me this is called War Driving. I googled the Urban Dictionary just to make sure. Who would have known?
My parents were most impressed with how you can go to Google Maps and see a 360-degree street view of your home. And all of this on an iPhone! When my mother asked how we could look inside the houses, I bit my tongue. Then my dad asked how much an IHOP costs. There’s a learning curve here and at this late stage in their lives, it’s a steep a hill to climb. No, make that a mountain.
Last summer, I read an interesting article called Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants by Marc Prensky that explains how those who’ve grown up with technology, the digital natives, actually think and process information differently than the rest of us. Whether you teach kids, have one, or were ever one yourself, it’s a fascinating read.
Baby Doll Brawl – From Bach to Iggy Pop June 28, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Entertainment.
Tags: Baby Doll Brawl, Entertainment, Humor, Iggy Pop, L.A. Derby Dolls, Popular Culture, Roller Derby, Sports, The Aftershockers, The Prom Queens
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“Girls, fishnets, track slapping, heart stopping ACTION! Could there be anything more American? Red, white and bruise!” How’s that for a promo? That’s how I came to be standing in one very long line on a hot Saturday afternoon in East Hollywood outside The Doll Factory. Just the night before, we’d driven to Claremont to hear my niece play Bach on cello in a picture perfect setting. What a difference a day makes.
“We’re roller derby virgins,” the woman ahead of me announced. She had a husband in tow and a couple of kids. No visible tattoos. Not at all what I’d expected. “Me too,” I volunteered. “Do you think this means we’re going to be sacrificed to a volcano?” From the rumbling coming from inside The Doll Factory, this seemed a distinct possibility, as the DJ had the bass cranked up.
This was my friend Kelli’s (aka Kocoa Krunch) skating debut with The Baby Dolls, the up and comers in the L.A. Derby Dolls. I’d been hearing Kelli talk about roller derby for almost a year. At 39, she’s a little long in the tooth to be an up and comer, but she’s also got long legs that stretch to Cleveland, her hometown. An actress (and sometimes substitute teacher), Kelli may be the only person I know who can pull off wearing silver lame hot pants.
The Doll Factory is an airy warehouse. Instead of a mirrored disco ball, there’s a mirrored roller skate suspended over the banked track. For $10 you get standing room only tickets and a trip to the porta-potties outside. We’d sprung for the $20 VIP tickets so we could sit on bleachers and use the VIP bathroom. (It’s VIP because there’s only ONE toilet.)
Inside it was loud – like being trapped inside a pinball machine. There was a Vendor Village where you could buy everything from pizza to organic enchiladas (Hey, it’s L.A.!) and the Beer Garden where you could swill Tecate while watching the action on a big screen. During the Skate Out, when the players warm up, they really crank up the music. But it set the mood which was fun and raucous. And somewhere in the middle of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life, my stuffed up ear from my summer cold blew out. Suddenly, life was good - and much LOUDER.
Roller Derby is an American sport (the only other being basketball), so we were asked to stand while Jes-sicka Rav-edge sang the national anthem (and did a bang up job). Two periods. Lots of action. Kelli had a very vocal contingent and her husband, Kap’n Krunch, got a shout out. She spent some time in the penalty box, but since I’m a newbie, I figured that was because she looked too good in those hot pants. But I have lots to learn. Kelli’s team, the Meteorfights, came from behind to beat the Scars and Stripes then took a victory lap around the track.
A sampling of the skater’s names: Marina del Rage, Queen Elizadeath II, Wanda B. Onya, and May Q. Holla on the Meteorfights and Tilda Whirl, Eat-It Piaf, Got MILF?, and Helen Surly Frown on the Scars and Stripes. Everybody has a name, including the referees (e.g. Charlie Frown), who in their black and white striped shirts, were referred to as “zebras.” The official photographer wore a shirt emblazened with “Stalkerazzi.” I think the only person on the track who didn’t have a name was the EMT. He needs to get crackin’ before the bones do.
Since everyone I know seems to have The Cold, I thought I’d put up the cure (not to be confused with The Cure).
Dexter Bobblehead April 3, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in TV/Film.
Tags: Debra Morgan, Dexter, Dexter Bobble Head, Dexter Merchandise, Humor, Popular Culture, Rod Serling, Twilight Zone
Whoa! As one who’s used to straddling the boundary between good taste and – well, fun, I couldn’t help but get excited when my personal trainer, Louis, showed me his Dexter Bobblehead doll tonight. Louis also shares my addiction to all things Dexter (see Why I Love Dexter), so we have lots to talk about besides deltoids. (I think that’s a muscle group, but he could be talking about Altoids for all I know.)
The box says “America’s Favorite Serial Killer” and “Some might say he’s making the world a better place – one murder at a time.” And what’s Dexter holding behind his back? No need for a spoiler alert cause I’ll never tell. This is the OFFICIAL bobblehead produced, no doubt, by hardworking children in China, who are wondering what sport this “Dexter” guy plays. But as the package warns, this is only for those 18 and older.
To find out more, go to BIFBANGPOW.com You can also order Dexter’s sister Deb’s bobblehead, or opt for the Dexter action figure instead (duct tape and trash bags sold separately). Call me sick, but it beats those Bratz dolls! At BIFBANGPOW, you’ll also find a sh@tload of pop culture merchandise. Buoy the economy by buying a Rod Serling action figure or check out the Twilight Zone stuff. (Cue Twilight Zone music). Wow, I can just picture Rod Serling narrating what’s been happening with the economy. I wonder how this episode will turn out?
March Mao February 28, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Monthly Mao.
Tags: Art, Humor, Mao, March is Kite Month, Popular Culture
Obama Poster – Barack Obama as American Mythology February 25, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Politics.
Tags: American Mythology, Art, Barack Obama, Norman Rockwell, Obama Art, Obama poster, Political Posters, Politics, Popular Culture, Populist, Scott Seidman, The Man from Illinois, Thomas Hart Benton
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On Election Day 2008, planetjan was featured as one of WordPress’ 100 “Growing Blogs.” This was in large part because of my “Obama Cholo” post featuring the artwork of artist David Cordova. It was the first time I’d dipped my toe in the political waters. Numerous sites linked to my post and my stats went through the roof. So both Obama and I had a good day.
Since then, my friend Nora Dunn (who makes cameos in some of my blog posts, as she’s a frequent visitor to our outpost of insanity) has introduced us to Scott Siedman’s art. Nora owns several of Scott’s paintings and when I first saw them, I was bowled over by Scott’s bold style.
When we finally met Scott, he brought and we bought a copy of “The Man from Illinois” poster, which is a reproduction of his original painting. There’s a strong stylistic nod to quintessential American artists Norman Rockwell and Thomas Hart Benton. When I asked Scott what book Obama is reading, he said he left that open to interpretation. Scott noted though that Abraham Lincoln, also an attorney (and the original Man from Illinois), was often seen reading the English Book of Common Law.
Not to sound like a late-night infommercial, (but wait, there’s more!), but at $32 to $34 a pop, the poster is a bargain (though I’m hoping to soon snatch up Citicorp at the 99 cent store nearest me). For details and to view a larger image of the print, click on manfromillinois.com. Thanks Nora and Sheila!
February Mao February 1, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Monthly Mao.
Tags: Art, Humor, Mao, Popular Culture, Valentine's Day
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Yes You Can – Obamicon Me January 22, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Monthly Mao, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, Facebook, Graphic Art, Mao, Obamicon, Political Posters, Popular Culture
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Hey, it works! My friend Elisse sent me a link to obamiconme.pastemagazine.com. You can upload a photo and choose the perfect word to go with then have it rendered in the style of Shepard Fairey’s iconic poster.
There’s an on-line gallery of all the images people have created. The only caveat is that you can’t upload graphic sexual images (Like who in the world?) You have to create an account using your email address, but it’s totally free and after you’ve created your “Obamicon” you can download it or post it on Facebook. My pets are submitting their headshots, but they’ll have to wait. First I have to “Obamicom” all my Republican friends.
January Mao January 1, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Monthly Mao.
Tags: Art, Humor, Mao, New Year's Eve, Popular Culture
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December Mao November 30, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Monthly Mao.
Tags: Art, Humor, Mao, Popular Culture, The Nutcracker
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November Mao November 1, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Monthly Mao.
Tags: Art, East Meets West, Humor, Mao, Politics, Popular Culture, The New World
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Hope & Hip Hop October 29, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Artists, Music, Politics.
Tags: Art, Barack Obama, Hip hop, MC Yogi, Music, Politics, Popular Culture, Yoga
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Our friend, Dina (The Salsa Queen!) forwarded this link on Youtube. I must confess that my father warned me I should NEVER blog about politics or religion – but this is ART! MC Yogi grew up in a group home for “at risk youth” and then discovered the transformative power of yoga. Who would have thunk it? His music appears on the White Swan label, home to another of my faves, Deva Premal. Got art? If you want to see an AWESOME video, click here: MC Yogi: Obama ’08 Vote for Hope.
Obama Cholo October 26, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Politics.
Tags: Art, Barack Obama, California, Humor, Latino Voters, Latinos, Obama Cholo, Political Art, Politics, Popular Culture
My friend Angela had this poster on her front door, and it was love at first sight (a primera vista). She told me her hairstylist, David Cordova, had made it which led to an after school jaunt through the winding hills above Eagle Rock to meet him. He had an Obama event that night, and his supply was running dangerously low, but I bought four posters at $5 a pop ($10 at the event!) and was ecstatic.
David said he came up with the idea for the poster because many Latinos are still hesitant to vote for an African American (the brown vs. black issue that I’ve encountered in my own classroom over the years – though less so lately). But according to a front page story in the Los Angeles Times today, a growing number of Latino voters argue that anyone who has faced discrimination would be good for all minorities. Besides, for most voters, it’s no longer a white, black, or brown issue, or even a red or blue one. It all comes down to green – it’s the economy.
David said he took some of the color out of Obama’s skin, added the Mexican day laborer bandana, and the classic cholo shirt. Que milagro! Barack gone barrio. This way Latinos can see that Obama is not so very different from themselves.
I have to admit that in the poster, Obama looks surprisingly like the Mexican cook who works back in the kitchen at the local sushi bar. So in that sense, Obama Cholo (as David refers to him) IS every man – at least in Los Angeles.
October Mao October 1, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Monthly Mao.
Tags: Art, Humor, Mao, Popular Culture
Why I Love “Dexter” September 13, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Narcissistic Personality Disorder, TV/Film.
Tags: Crime, Dexter, Entertainment, Forensics, Humor, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Personality Disorders, Popular Culture, Psychopathy, Serial Killers
Who wouldn’t love Dexter Morgan? He’s such a nice young man, and he’s got that CSI thing going too, what with his job as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department. What’s that you say? He’s a cold-blooded serial killer! I’m sorry, but with his professional manner and that disarming smile, that’s a little hard for me to fathom. This is a guy who is so thoughtful, he brings donuts in every day for the office. It’s not like he has horns. And THAT is exactly why I find Dexter so fascinating. I, for one, am counting the days until Sept. 28th when Season 3 premiers on Showtime.
Least you think I’m one of those women who has pen pals on death row, think again. I’m happily married to the original model, have two grown sons, and teach adorable third graders, who think serial is spelled “c-e-r-e-a-l.” But after spending G-rated days with children who still believe in the tooth fairy, I’m ready to go to the dark side – of humanity, that is.
There’s another thing you should know about me. Just like Dexter Morgan, I too have a dark side. After I’d just given birth to my second son, my friend Wendy visited me in the hospital. What she remembers most is that I was reading The Stranger Beside Me, Anne Rule’s account of her friendship with serial killer Ted Bundy, as I nursed my newborn son.
But I have an excuse (or should I say alibi?). I may not come from a family of criminal psychopaths, but my family had more than a passing interest in them and crime. When I was a kid and we visited my uncle in a small town in Iowa, my brother and I unearthed his collection of True Detective magazines. All of the stories seemed to involve the murder of “nude coeds.” After reading the breathless and lurid accounts of these crimes, I ascertained at an early age that any “clothed coed” was a moving target.
My dad also liked to tell about how when he and my mom first married, the man who shared their duplex in Boulder, Colorado, was arrested for killing – you guessed it! - a college coed. (It turned out the one in the trunk of his car was one of many.) Years later, when my parents talked enthusiastically about where I should go to college, I couldn’t help but wonder if they might be trying to get rid of me.
When people gasp, “I can’t believe someone could do something so horrible!” I don’t bother to feign shock or surprise. I’ve always been fascinated by human behavior. As a teenager, when I wasn’t reading books about crime, I read The Diary of Anne Frank. So I knew that seemingly ordinary people are capable of doing unspeakable things. I know that there really is a bogeyman, and he looks a lot like you or me.
After college, I worked as a reporter at a newspaper in Hammond, Indiana in 1978. I was supposed to generate ideas for stories and, low and behold, I discovered that the Indiana State Crime Lab was located nearby. It was during that interview, I first learned of a new forensic technique – blood spatter analysis. I was in hog heaven. Cue that sound of snapping the latex gloves on (that’s music to MY ears!). But this was B.C. - Before CSI, Before Court TV, and Before Cold Case – back when a cold case meant beer.
Which brings me back to Dexter. Based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, Dexter is brilliantly played by affable Michael C. Hall. Dexter is a real living breathing psychopath yet most of his co-workers, even his sister, and girlfriend, think he’s the proverbial nice guy. But seriously, how could they not know? This is a guy who has a Costco-size stock of black plastic trash bags and duct tape at the ready.
Hey, in Anne Rule’s book, she describes working side-by-side with Ted Bundy at a suicide hotline, never suspecting her “friend” was a serial killer. It’s not like serial killers have a secret handshake or froth at the mouth. Remember this – charm disarms.
I began watching Dexter when I was still reeling from my “friendship” with a person I later realized had Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). (You can read about THAT experience in my 3-part Close Encounter with a Narcissist series.) NPD is one of the Cluster B Personality Disorders in the DSM-IV, which are often referred to as “The Drama Club.” Other members of this “club” include Antisocial Personality Disorder (sociopath) and Psychopathic Personality Disorder (psychopath aka Dexter).
I was surprised to learn that all psychopaths are narcissistic, while people with NPD aren’t psychopaths. Following this logic, psychopaths would be “Papa Bear”, sociopaths “Mama Bear,” and that would make narcissists the “Baby Bear” (Can you tell that I spend way too much time with small children? Don’t worry, I won’t bring the Three Little Pigs into play.) The Cluster B personality disorders share many similar traits. Unlike psychopaths, however, who derive pleasure from hurting people, narcissists hurt people due to their indifference.
The similarities though between these two personality disorders can be jarring. Dexter often worries that “his mask is slipping.” Just like a narcissist, Dexter, the psychopath, wears a social mask (his False Self) that he presents to the outside world to pass for “normal.” Dexter’s constant attempt to “read” human emotions, so he can react accordingly, is also painfully reminiscent of my friend with NPD.
In Season 2, Dexter met Lila, his “soul mate,” who exhibits strong NPD traits herself. But when Lila got too emotionally close, Dexter gave her the ultimate D&D – Death. So, I eagerly await Season 3 to find out what America’s favorite prime time psychopath is up to. Remember that knowledge is power.
Dexter is officially a psychopath. If you’d like to see how he stacks up using a diagnostic tool called the Psychopath Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), a clinical rating scale, you can visit the following link. Scroll down to Dissecting Dexter – it’s an interesting read. Dissecting Dexter – The Official Diagnosis
NOTE: Since first writing this post, Dexter’s diagnosis on the official Dexter site has been softened, which I feel is a strategy to make the character more likable. From all of my reading, I’ve never heard that a traumatic event produces a sociopath. Make no mistake, Dexter is a psychopath. If they keep fiddling with his profile, before you know it, he’ll be Santa Claus. Jan
As a public service, I also feel obliged to inform you that I believe clowning is the gateway drug for serial killers. Anyone willing to don a neon wig and red nose has already gone over to the dark side. (Cirque du Soleil clowns are exempt, but should still be monitored closely – just in case).
September Mao September 1, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Monthly Mao.
Tags: Art, Humor, Mao, Popular Culture
Coke for Breakfast August 12, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Food, Health.
Tags: Coke, Food, Health, Humor, Popular Culture
When my computer starts up in the morning, my husband likes to say, “That’s Jan booting up.” When I snap open the can of Coke that’s part of my not-so-balanced breakfast, he adds, “There’s the second sound that tells me she’s alive!” It’s pathetic, I know, but I’m a creature of habit. Besides, I’m a third generation Coca-Cola drinker.
I never knew my dad’s mom, as she died when he was a teenager. But he inherited her sterling silver coffee urn and liked to tell how she kept it filled with Coca-Cola. I thought this might have been because back then, it WAS the real thing. But Wikipedia set me straight. Although the formula for Coca-Cola was originally intended as a patent medicine (and did once contain an estimated 9 mg. of cocaine per glass), the “real thing” was removed in 1903. So my grandmother wasn’t a junkie – not unless that’s what YOU call someone who enjoys a Coke for breakfast. (For additional “Cokelore,” click here.)
The other story that was oft repeated about my grandmother was what happened when her daughter, after an argument, announced she was leaving home. My grandmother said, if that were the case, her daughter would leave the same way she arrived. She then proceeded to strip her naked and shove her out the front door. I think I would have had a lot more in common with my grandmother than just our love of Coca-Cola.
My mother liked to drink Coke. But once she switched to diet, I had no choice but to disown her. There’s only so much one can take and I don’t do diet. Really, my highly evolved taste buds can taste the difference.
When I was growing up, you could order a cherry Coke at the soda fountain and watch them squirt in the cherry syrup. It’s not the same in a can, so I don’t do Cherry Coke either. My friend, Kristina, likes to tease me that I’m old school as I’m the only one at school who keeps a Coca-Cola Classic in the fridge. At least I don’t have to worry about anyone else drinking it.
I actually drank Dr. Pepper for years. But after I was pregnant, I developed a craving for Coke. We were living in New York City when New Coke was introduced on April 23, 1985. This was a red letter date, as all dates pertaining to Coca-Cola are “red letter” dates. My taste buds knew instantly that New Coke was just a sad-ass version of Pepsi. What I loved about Coca-Cola was its battery acid tang.
Disgusted, I switched back to Dr. Pepper and cultivated a friendship with a woman whose husband managed the Gramercy Park Hotel, because the hotel had a stockpile of “old” Coke. It was like Prohibition, only the stakes were higher. When the New Coke fiasco ended (a little less than three months later on July 10th), old Coke was re-christened Coca-Cola Classic. Ah! It was back to my daily 14 ounces of sugar, caramel syrup, and caffeine – which I personally think deserves its own category on the food pyramid.
Yeah, I’ve heard all the stories about how, if you put a metal spoon in a glass of Coke overnight, it will be eaten away by the morning. But, I have an iron-clad stomach and am of the opinion that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. So I take take my Coke like I take my vitamins – once a day.
Quotation Rotation #6 August 3, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Quotation Rotation.
Tags: Humor, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Popular Culture, Quotations
“FOO” – MSN NPD Forum
FOO is an acronym for Family of Origin. I first encountered it on MSN’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) Forum. As a teacher, I thought I had the corner on acronyms, but there was an entire list I needed to learn just to decipher posts by members. Let’s face it. A lot of the baggage we carry through life was packed during our formative years. Example of usage: “I think the reason I was attracted to this abusive sh*% of a man is because of FOO issues (as in my father was also an abusive sh*%!)
FOO is not to be confused with The Foo Fighters, an offshoot of the band Nirvana with Dave Grohl as the front man. It is possible though, if your family get-togethers include biting sarcasm, drunken tirades, or knockdown brawls, that your family could indeed be FOO Fighters.
August Mao August 2, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Monthly Mao.
Tags: Art, Humor, Mao, Popular Culture
America – Daze 2/3/4 July 13, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Travel.
Tags: British Tourists, Humor, Popular Culture, Target, Travel
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All museums have been put on the back burner because I’m too busy showing my guests American culture. British tourists don’t need to come all the way to LA to see yet another painting entitled “Madonna and Child” by an artist whose name is heavy on vowels. Our first stop on our gallery walk was Target.
My husband likes to say that I belong to the church of Target. Well, I took Lesley and her daughter, Lucy, for a look-see and Lesley emerged shouting,”I’m a believer!” She had all her loot stashed in a red reusable Target bag that folds up so you can carry it as an evening clutch. It can also be opened like a large book and Lesley spent the rest of the day wandering about the house holding it like a hymnal and singing, “Amen!”
Our next stop was Venice Beach. We wandered into a lovely shop. The inventory consisted of hookahs, Made in China dream catchers, belly dancing coin belts, crotchless panties, and jewelry. Lesley saw a bracelet in the glass case and shreiked, “Look, that’s so me!” I just remember it was very pink. Barbie bling. I think it was kept under glass so raccoons couldn’t make off with it.
One look at the man behind the counter and I doublechecked to make sure I still had my wallet. I’ve seen classier barkers at the carny. He took the bracelet out so Lesley could try it on and even attached the “safety clasp.”
But when Lesley asked if he could take it off, he said smiling, “No, I want you to keep it on and give me money for it.” Lesley cooed, “But you need to take it off so I can have a better look at it.” Now, if this were a folktale, it would have been a toss-up as to who was the trickster, though I was rooting for Lesley.
The bracelet was pricey so the bargaining began. When Lesley asked what sort of metal it was made of, the man assured her it wasn’t metal, it was “silver.” She considered giving him a quick lesson in metallurgy, but decided not to hobble him with knowledge. The price of the bracelet had now fallen from $175 to $100. It was at this point, the salesman told Lesley he was “easy.” She recoiled in horror. “You don’t go around telling someone you’re easy,” she said. “That’s like saying you’re slutty!” Taken aback, the man said he hadn’t mean it THAT way, but the damage was done. We kept moving as the Venice boardwalk is heavy on galleries.
Lesley took one more swing by the place on our way back to the car. This time her daughter Lucy went into the shop to check out the bracelet. Lucy had her mum by the shoulders and escorted her out of the shop, saying, “Mummy, that’s the most horrid bracelet I’ve ever seen,” adding, “If you buy that, I’ll never speak to you again!” Sulking, Lesley was escorted back to the car, blingless.
Thursday we took Lesley and Ian out for breakfast. When the waiter asked Lesley if she’d like toast or a tortilla, she asked, “What’s a tortilla?” The restaurant was suddenly still. Convinced it was something “like that Indian bread,” she decided to go for it. We explained that the sour cream and salsa, which came in little containers, is put on the eggs and beans. I then introduced them to the friendly Tapatio man’s face. They declared it a fabulous breakfast. We sent them off on the Gold Line to Union Station and Olvera Street, so they could meet more Tapatio men.
They had such a wonderful time downtown, we were able to send them off there again the next day so we could recover from this non-stop cultural marathon. We had to rest up to see Chris Isaak at the Hollywood Bowl Saturday night. Our seats were in the nosebleed section, but it was a lovely night to sit out and watch the concert on the big screen TVs, since from where we were sitting, the performers were the size of ants. Lucy dozed off, but awoke for the fireworks finale. Then we shuffled down the mountain with all of the other art lovers, eager to secure a seat on the bus for the trip back to Pasadena.
So today we soldier on. I’m not sure about the itinerary, but it doesn’t have the word “museum” in it. Eat your heart out J. Paul Getty.