Date Archives March 2009

Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy

We got another weirdo truck driver in today. Not scary-violent like the last one*, but a guy who was clearly suffering the ill effects of not being around people very often. He had a potent musk, eau d’whiskey sweat that has been scraped off the skin with its natural b.o., muddled in a dirty ashtray with just a hint of urine.

He picked up every single one of the admin’s desk decorations to inspect them and perhaps mark his territory, and exclaimed with each one “hee! Well don’t that just beat all!”

All of a sudden, he stopped. He was captivated, held in thrall by something. Just as quickly, his trance was broken as he shouted “Lookit, those pictures remind me o’ them Twilight books. You read those? She uses flowers on the cover…none of you have read ’em? It’s romance books. They’re about vampires, not like, rip your guts out vampires, but it’s a teenage love story. Ha, there was a 17 year old vampire what’d been 17 for 400 years, ’cause once you get bit, you stay bit.”

I WAS DYING, YOU GUYS. It’s not safe for me to hold in laughter like that, I could pop a kidney!

*I don’t think I ever posted about this– after scaring the living Jesus out of everyone talking about how anyone who talked shit about the Hell’s Angels deserved to die, he came back the next day, told the admin his life story, started talking about how he had hurt himself the day before (how, I don’t know, because he didn’t do any of the lifting) and then asked where the nearest hospital was. He left…and never came back. Two months later, the trucking company called to ask if perhaps we had one of their rigs. Yes. Yes, we did. Mr. Hell’s Angels? Disappeared.

I’m still wicked bad.

So, I finally got around to watching ‘Once Upon a Time in China’–I’ve only had it from Netflix for going on two months now. The movie synopsis on the envelope made me laugh:

“Fists and feet fly like lightning bolts when Wong Fei-hung defends a martial arts school from corrupt government officials, a renegade swordsman and an illegal slave ring. The finale, in an old warehouse, is awesome, with Li using every square inch of the structure in his intricate fight choreography.”

The finale…is awesome. Who wrote this copy? A twelve year old? I look forward to seeing more by this person: “Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5: Robots and humans blow each other up and it kicks ass.” “Terminator 4: The explosions were like, way cool, and also totally sick, dude.” “Showgirls 2: Wow-de-dow I love boobies.”

Speaking of loving boobies, thank you to the anonymous benefactor who gifted me with three months of suicide girls time. I am now accomplishing nothing in my free time and I probably couldn’t be happier about it.

Miss Mellzah Manners’ Guide to the RSVP and You

Hello, and welcome to today’s lesson: The RSVP. These are four letters you’ll often see at the bottom of an invitation for a social gathering; they stand for the French phrase ‘Répondez s’il vous plaît‘. This indicates that your hosts have requested a timely reply from you regarding your intentions to attend said social gathering, yes or no. An invitation bearing the postscript ‘Regrets only’ only requires a response from you should you find yourself unable to attend.

Your hosts have thought kindly enough of you to wish to include you in their planned event; it is your duty to extend them the same courtesy so as not to cause them undue stress in terms of food, favors, and seating arrangements.

Times have changed, and people are busier than ever before, however, rules of etiquette still apply. Hosts requesting an RSVP require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, not a ‘maybe’. Replying with a ‘maybe’ is insulting; either you can commit to attend, or you cannot. A ‘maybe’ is akin to informing your hosts that you might attend unless something better comes along, which, as you might well imagine, is very nearly the height of rudeness.

When you receive an invitation out of the hosts’ warm wishes for your company and you choose to ignore it, be warned that your hosts may not think to include you the next time, as you’ve quite clearly indicated that you do not think as fondly of your hosts’ company.

If life interferes, if weather conditions don’t permit travel, if transportation issues arise, it is important to notify your hosts of your inability to attend so that they do not hold up the proceedings on account of someone who will not be arriving.

As in all things, it pays to be courteous to your hosts. They are expending time and money on your account, and there may come a time where you would certainly appreciate the same courtesy in return.

“‘Tis a fine barn, but sure ’tis no tidepool, English.” “D’oh-eth!”

On Saturday, my dad and I drove to the Cabrillo National Monument and visited the tidepools; the weather was perfect, and this is the only time of year you can visit, as in the summer, low tide occurs in the middle of the night. From this area, you can look across the bay and see San Diego and Coronado, and if it’s a clear day, you can also see Mexico (specifically, Tijuana). Also in the area is the old Point Loma lighthouse.

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This statue marks the place where historians believe conquistador Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo anchored his ship on his ‘voyage of discovery’ and claimed the land for Spain. The area now has a huge military presence, and the military cemetary where my grandfather was interred is less than a mile from this spot.

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The rules were pretty simple–if you see a tidepool animal, and you MUST touch it, use one finger and no more pressure than you would use to touch your own eyeball. Don’t pry anything off of the rocks, and just be respectful of the area and the ecosystem.

Soooooo, I was pretty angry to watch people’s kids yanking stuff out of the water and stomping on it, with not a single move made by the parents to correct their behavior. There are times in my life where I wish, hope, and pray for a deep blue sea moment. Sadly, it was not to be.

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This seagull was also flagrantly breaking the rules and eating an octopus.

 

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Mr. Simpson, stop! A barnacle is a living creature!

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Anemone!

After we hopped around on slick rocks for a couple of hours, the tide started to come back in, and going back the way we came would have been difficult without getting soaking wet. This was less of an issue for my dad, but I only brought one pair of shoes with me on my trip, so I was interested in staying as dry as possible.

We ended up having to scramble up these rocks (I’m hesitant to say ‘cliff’ as it wasn’t quite high enough, but it damn well sure felt like one–my upper body is still weak as a baby kitten and needs much more work) to get back up near where we parked the car, which was the price we had to pay for being more adventurous in the hopes of seeing something truly awesome.

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We both escaped without cracking our heads, so I call this a win.

“Dad! You’re sinking!” “Naw, that’s OK. I’m pretty sure I can struggle my way out.”

After lunch, my dad and I spent some time in the cesspool–that is, we went to the La Brea Tar Pits. All these years, I’d assumed that the rotten egg smell of Los Angeles was a mere byproduct of the rotten, narcissistic attitudes of the people living there, or fumes given off by the metric tons of plastic surgery performed daily, but as it turns out, it’s hydrogen sulfide bubbling to the surface with methane gas.

Alongside the tar pits is the Page Museum, which displays a selection of the fossils they’ve uncovered and puts scientists safely behind glass, where they can be observed without danger. It’s only inhumane if you put the Amish in a terrarium.

It was about this time that both my dad and I were struck by how overtired we were–my flight didn’t arrive in San Diego until fairly late the night before, and we got a very early start to miss traffic on our drive up to LA, and all of a sudden, everything was funny and we became Those People. It started when we went to watch the movie on how the tar pits trapped animals, and, as a dutifully accessible museum, it was subtitled for deaf viewers. All it took was one [horse neighs] and I was on the giggletrain to That Persontown. If you’ve never heard a neigh, does that word even have any meaning? How about [dramatic music]? You’d never see a porno subtitled with [vaginal fart]–hearing some things just doesn’t add to the experience.

But I digress. The oldest fossil found in the pits has been dated at 40,000 years, which means, if you have any sense of Earth’s timeline whatsoever, that no dinosaurs have been found in the pits, as they fell off the face of the Earth 65.5 million years ago. They have, however, found a number of now-extinct large species, and their disappearance from the face of North America is a mystery–animals like giant camels.

This fellow here is an Antique Bison. This is where we became Those People in earnest, nearly crying with laughter over jokes as stupid as seeing what we could get for it on Antiques Roadshow. One guy commented that he couldn’t in good conscience follow us around the museum as we were having far too much fun doing something that was supposed to be educational.

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Note the Shasta Ground Sloth. Shasta, if you are unaware, is also an off-brand soft-drink, and I, for one, would like to see a Ground Sloth flavored beverage on the shelves right next to the Tiki Punch.

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They call this creature a saber-tooth cat. I, personally, defer to the Yellow Ranger, and if she calls it a “Saba Tooth Tiga”, then I shall as well.

 

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The pits also nabbed a unicorn!

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Something about this skull in particular I find terrifyingly freakshowish, but I can’t pinpoint what exactly about it is so creepy.

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They’ve got an interactive display up where you can see what it would be like to be trapped in tar–it’s pretty safe to say that if I got a foot trapped inside, the only way I’d escape would be to gnaw off my own leg.

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I also find this skull to be freaky, so I suppose there’s something about elephants and mastodons that I find unsettling. Did you know that mastodon and elephant bones and teeth were portrayed by the church as belonging to antediluvian giants until science stepped in and ruined their fun? It’s true! Some religious scholars went so far as to attempt to prove that all of our ancestors were much, much taller, with Adam topping out at 330 feet tall, or 63.95 Mellzah units. In the noncanonical book of Enoch, angels were so taken with the beauty of human women that they took them as wives and together spawned the race of evil giants, the Nephilim, and it’s been further postulated that the great flood was to destroy the giants–that it was worth it to God to destroy everything he had made in order to wipe out what his angels had wrought. However, there are references to giants in books taking place after the flood–King Og, for one, and Goliath, for another, which would mean that God destroyed his creation yet failed at his objective. This spawned another debate as to whether Noah and the other ark survivors were giants, which would explain the post-flood giants in the bible. Also: Lutherans blamed Catholics for the disappearance of Nordic giants, saying that all of their toils and fasting prevented their descendants from attaining the heights of their ancestors. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, elephant and mastadon bones were being sold to kings and churches as the remains of their mightiest heroes. Forgive the digression, I just find this sort of thing to be fascinating.

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I like to imagine the middle skeletal bird as saying “WHAT UP, GUYS?” but that might just be me.

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Ka-KAW, betch!

 

My dad pointed out that they tried to make the exhibit extra realistic. I think that’s how a lot of birds got trapped in the tar, frankly. They saw the larger animals playing elaborate games of chicken, triple-dog-daring one another to, come on, just stick ONE hoof in the tar, and after they were hopelessly stuck, they became like statues–and we all know how birds like to congregate around/crap on statues. Their bowel movement habits became their downfall. Clearly, I am a scientist.

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They have found a LOT of dire wolf skulls at Pit 91, more than any other creature. This display represents a very small percent of their total collection. Since they have so many, I, for one, was hoping that they’d sell off some of the extras in the gift shop. But nooooooo, science is apparently not for everyone.

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Here’s an ice age Jack Russell Terrier.

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When I look at this skull, I think it looks overwhelmingly smug.

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Here’s the bit where they started putting scientists on display for our amusement. The guy with the bright yellow hair was up closer to the glass earlier making some very animated hand gestures and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about science.

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I, for one, was impressed at how no one in the fishbowl took any notice of the people gawking at them like slack-jawed yokels.

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This diagram was incomplete as it didn’t show the methane coming out the other side.

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Even 40,000 years ago, there were white trash neighbors putting pink flamingos out on the lawn.

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This camel’s thoughts: “What in the HELL is all this greenery? I am SO. FUCKING. LOST.”

Soooooo remember earlier in this post when I said that it’s unknown what happened to all of these large land animals, because it’s not like you see extraordinarily large camels bopping around North America? I think I just figured out the mystery:

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The animals were likely delicious.

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24,000 years ago was when the first schlubby dude invented the utilikilt.

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Only one set of human remains has ever been found in the tar pit. I’m guessing she was the village idiot, but the (pretty clearly) male artist who decided what she looked like felt like drawing an attractive, stacked chick, with long flowing hair that looks like silk many thousands of years before the invention of Pantene. Isn’t that amazing?

 

After we pressed pennies, it was time to start driving south to meet up with my dad’s boyfriend for dinner in orange county. I was hoping it would not go anything like when I met my mom’s boyfriend, but it would have taken a LOT to go that poorly–she sprung it on me, she couldn’t stop talking about what a jackass he was (then WHY do you think I’d want to meet him, mom? “Hello, I hear you’re a jackass!”?) and then as soon as he got into the car he started asking me personal questions–it was foul. This was pretty much that encounter’s exact opposite. My dad and I had discussed it on the phone beforehand, he’s only ever had positive things to say about J., and J. was delightful. We were comfortable with one another right away, and I’m so, so happy that my dad has found someone so awesome.