Thursday, June 30, 2005
I'm in Mexico in a shop that sells brasswork javelinas and cacti, and two guys are standing there reciting the "nudge nudge" sketch in Spanish? See, this is why I need cybernetic implants. I would have been able to go online to babelfish and then say "la mueca rápida rápida de la mueca guiña no guiña a opinión del nudge del nudge no más." Sure, they would have thrown me out of the shop, because translating it back gives you "the fast fast face of the face yaws does not yaw not more to opinion of nudge of nudge." Which is apparently the formal translation of "snap snap grin grin wink wink nudge nudge say no more."
But what the hell do I know? I'm a lazy American, and I only speak English.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
For those of you who haven't yet been sucked into a cult, there's still hope. Oh, and if you think you haven't been sucked into a cult, but you enjoy reality TV shows, I've got some bad news for you...
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Driving through southern Arizona, up and down mountains, through rolling fields, scrub, cactus, huge trees and parched rock... an iridescent peacock on the porch of a dilapidated house. I saw six on the property, but this shot was taken from a moving car, so give me a little credit. We passed an alpaca farm on this trip, and I've even seen an ostrich ranch north of Tucson. But those were big, sprawling businesses. With signs and whatnot. This was an addition to an outhouse with a flock of peacocks and peahens.
Thank you, digital camera! For making my world a little bit weirder.
Friday, June 24, 2005
We went with friends of ours (who did all the driving! Thanks Dan!) to Nogales, AZ. From there, we walked across the border into Nogales, Mexico. Why are both towns named the same thing? Because you can never have too many towns whose names translate into "Walnuts." (If you think I'm kidding, you look it up!)
How can I describe this little slice of Mexico? I'll try involving all of the senses. It smelled like New York City on a hot August afternoon. For those of you who haven't had that experience, that's hot asphalt + urine + rotting garbage + strange intermixing food smells + car exhaust + sweaty humans. Add a touch of burro in there, and you've got an idea. The sounds were those of Latin music (not the Gregorian chant kind, but the kind where there are lots of brass instruments and people speaking Spanish), and the persistence of salesmen. I am happy to say that everyone we encountered in Mexico considered me their friend. They all said so. "Come into my shop, my friend!" "Good afternoon, my friend!" It was just all sunshine and gumdrops!
Actually, they were very civil. True, they could have been cursing us out in Spanish as we walked away. Most of them took "no" for an answer and went on to the next person. One guy did follow us for a half a block or so, but he eventually went back to his little shop.
The sights were... well, poor. Not dirt-poor, living in a cardboard box. But poor as in "please buy my cheap crap so I can feed my burro" poor. (And that isn't a slur. One of the burro owners actually said: "But I need to feed my burro!" as we declined his offer to have our picture taken with said burro.) (If you thought I was kidding about the burros, I counted four. So there.)
As for touch... I think only one merchant touched me on the shoulder. Briefly. (He did not make the sale.) (I may have lived on Long Island for a lot of years, but I still react to being touched in true upstate NY fashion: if I'm not choking and I'm not married to you, then you have absolutely no right to be within three feet of me, and you need to back the hell away before the offending appendage is removed and consumed.) (I think the years on LI reduced the radius from 3 feet to 2.5, but the principle is the same.) (Count the parentheticals, and win a prize!)
There were some strange old women who were apparently trying to sell used Fisher Price horses and those odd wooden snake toys. And also what appeared to be individually-wrapped starburst candies. I didn't really look. There were some young women and what I assume to be their offspring begging in the streets. The kids were wearing NY Yankees caps and sport shirts, and the women were wearing brightly-colored sheet-looking things. Again, I didn't look, because I'm a cold and heartless bastard. Although, it would have been funnier if I had gone with Deb's suggestion of shouting: "I am the Chupacabra!" and running down the street. Unfortunately, my compendium of Spanish consists of what I learned from Sesame Street. So really all I could do is run down the street, counting to twenty, and occasionally saying "abierto", "cerrado", and "peligro!" True, running down the street shouting about twenty exploding Chupacabras may have turned some heads, but it was hot and I was carrying stuff, so running was out of the question. Maybe next time.
There was some cheap crap there, and there was some cheap decent stuff there. We haggled, we purchased some stuff, and all in all had an enjoyable time. There were a couple of things that I found odd, though. Like cow skulls for sale. I know full well that cow skulls are an integral part of Southwestern decorating, and have been for decades. I just find it interesting that not only are there cow skulls for sale in many stores (competitively priced, mind you), but that it's someone's job to go out and collect the cow skulls. One way or another. Maybe they're scouring the desert for authentic sun-bleached ones, or maybe they're picking through the scrap pile at the slaughterhouse. Either way, it's not my idea of a dream job. (Oh. For the curious: about $16.)
Another curious item was spotted by yours truly back on good ol' US of A soil just north of the border. (Like 50 feet north of the border.) We walked past a grocery store with a sign in the window proudly proclaiming the price per pound of "Bolognia". I didn't know that you could sell tiny European principalities by the pound, nor would I ever have guessed that it could be obtained in such a fashion in the southernmost reaches of Arizona. Live and learn, I guess.
We took an incredibly scenic route to get there, so I'll probably post some pics of that in the near future. Living in Arizona is like living in five different states as far as terrain is concerned. That's very, very cool.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Oh yeah. Probably won't post a picture of this, but my family will at least get a kick out of this... remember all the broken and damaged furniture from the move? Well, yours truly got himself one of them there idears. Put two of the dresser drawer faces together bottom to bottom, put some of the drawer side panels underneath that, cut the damaged strips from the entertainment center... and made a table. See, we're still looking for a coffee table that doesn't suck, but in the interim we needed something to use. Norm Abrams would be proud. (Or scared to tears.)
I've also been working on stores. Online stores, that is. I'm nowhere near done with everything I want to do, but if you're curious go to cafepress.com and search for "wontar". You'll find the five or so stores I've got done so far.
More pictures on the way, too. But in the meantime, here's a page out of my better half's book in the form of the pic of the day. It's the view off of our patio. Last night.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
I'm not going to run down a litany of things. Just know that I appreciate them, and you, and I'm glad you're my dad.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
He works in an optical lab, which means that his co-workers work with lenses, frames, temples (strangely called "arms" by those not in the biz), and other eyeglass terminology that won't mean squat to the average reader. One of his many, many duties is quality control. He was inspecting one job recently, and attached to the job was a hand-written note from one of his co-workers. (I'm paraphrasing the note, but using quotes anyway. Sue me.) The note said: "Thair lense is too beg." Now, you may be thinking that this is some sort of optical shorthand or lingo of some type. Nope. This is idiot longhand. Those who can speak and read kindergarten-level English would have grabbed their favorite crayon and scribbled out "Their lens is too big." Because in kindergarten we still have trouble with sentence structure, and really can't decide between "their lenses are" and "the lens is". But hey, what do you want from a five year old?
Unfortunately, the person in question was just a wee bit older than I am. That's a hell of a long way from five. After a certain age, I think it should be a law that if you can't spell a three-letter word, you should be mulched. At least then you'd be doing some good for future generations.
He offered to bring in one of several dictionaries he has so this individual could perhaps learn to spell. Not to memorize it, of course, but at the very least to learn how to spell "lens". After all, it is one of the nouns encountered most frequently in this person's day. There should be at least a passing familiarity with one of the tame four-letter words.
He needed to laugh just as much as he needed to vent. I know exactly how he feels. When you get to the point in your job where you have the overpowering urge to pick people up and shake them because of their relentless stupidity, then it's time to go. If you stay, you'll either end up with high blood pressure, an ulcer, both (or worse), or actually caving in and tossing stupid people around like hay bales. (That's worse, because you just get tired that way.)
Maybe he'll kick back with me and we can watch the English language continue to languish and die. We're from a generation that didn't have a "no child left behind" asinine policy, and we can spell because of it. If you were stupid, you had to repeat a grade. You failed. You were mocked. If you continued to be stupid, you failed again. Or maybe, just maybe, if you failed that gave you a reason to actually try harder and succeed! Revelation! Education was more important than your flippin' self-esteem.
Bah. I'm off to listen to more radio shows so I can hear the phrase "to whom" used correctly. I'm 40 years too late, or 100 years too early.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
You'll see some pictures up soon. Just a little too tired now to worry about it. Woke up and learned I sold two more pictures. Continue to color me happy.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Sold another picture, too. Cool. I'll add more pics soon, especially after this weekend. (I'll tell you afterwards, don't worry.)
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
We were eating lunch in a restaurant the other day. Nothing fancy, but not fast food. The restaurant is currently involved with a movie tie-in that gives children an animal mask. Whoopee. The table to my left had a father and son enjoying lunch as well. At least, the father was enjoying lunch. The son must've just finished his lunch of crack-frosted caffeine flakes, because he was bouncing around like flubber in a paint mixer. The father was just calmly enjoying his sammich and iced tea or whatever in the hell he was having, while Junior was getting up out of his chair every .003 picoseconds and jumping up and down whilst wearing the animal mask. Ostensibly to make the baby in the table next to him smile. Which, granted, it did the first time or two. After the 80,000th time, even the baby got sick of it. And babies have the time of their lives with cardboard boxes.
Now, I want to pause here and point out that my parents were never, ever violent with me. They told me to do something, and I generally listened. (Kinda. Eventually.) So there's no deep, dark history of familial violence that prompted the images flashing through my head when I placed myself in the personage of that kid's father. Which is: get up from the table, go into the kitchen, grab a frying pan or large skillet, walk back to the table, and give the kid a good full-on smack to the back of the head with the frying pan while shouting "Sit the F*(% down and shut the F*(% up or you will never eat anything, anywhere ever, ever again!" (I would say the actual expletive, because it's far too difficult to say all those characters in a string and still be taken seriously.)
Now I know that any parents reading this will say: "You don't know! You don't have kids! They're hard to discipline!" No, they're not. They're actually quite easy to discipline. Kids actually respond to discipline. They can also smell fear. When parents are too afraid to discipline their children, then the children are in control. Which leads me to my next story...
A 14 year old boy recently went on a little trip here in Tucson. What kind of trip? The kind where he's driving along a street full of pedestrians, motorists, and just plain ol' ordinary people. Well, that's a bit young to be driving, right? Sure is. Especially since he's driving a 40 friggin' ton earthmover! One tire of this thing is taller than your average big-ass SUV. The kid was cruising down a main thoroughfare doing 30 or 40 miles an hour, for 15 friggin' miles! He knew how to drive the thing, how to lift up the bucket to even move it in the first place, and how to back it up. Cops shot him when he tried to back over them and their cars, and the little Dr. Destructo is now in the hospital in critical condition.
Why was he doing this? Or I should say, "allegedly" doing this? Because mommy and daddy (and presumably he) were moving. Here's a tip for anyone out there who may be thinking of running away from home... don't do it in something quite so conspicuous. I think a flaming chuckwagon being drawn by a team of squid is less conspicuous than a 40 ton earthmover flattening cars and powerlines as it goes.
If I were the father and the cops hadn't shot him... I'd shoot him. Twice. Up close, personal. Hell, it's not like they're going to stay put now! Timmy had a temper tantrum because they're moving... oops! Now they have to move, because everyone will know them as "that family whose little bastard crushed 15 miles of my road and knocked out power for a few thousand people." Way to go, sport! You're bound to have pen pals!
(I just hope his greaseball lawyer is seen as the smudge of slime he is when the trial comes. But that's a whole different topic.)
So... yeah... very glad I'm not a parent. Hope I've made that apparent. (Oh, you knew it was coming.)
Monday, June 06, 2005
I've also received a few calls regarding my resume I posted at monster.com. Unfortunately, they're all from insurance companies. I have no idea what it is about my resume that makes them think I want to sell insurance, but I wish I could find it and delete it. Then never, ever write those words in the same sequence ever again. Unless, of course, I needed to summon some sort of demon or something. Good to be prepared.
I also sold another picture today, which brings the total up to four. Look out for me and my art madness!
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Maybe I could give offensive driving lessons here. Teach people how to drive while ignoring the damn "space cushion" that seems to still be in effect. How to drive while looking like I'm fluent in sign language but also have Tourette's. (Yes, I stole that bit. It's damn funny. Thank you Larry.) These wacky Arizonianites, with their safe driving habits and their politeness... the guy probably was yelling "Have a nice day!" to us. Weird.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
No, I don't get a referral or a "finder's fee" for sending you to them. It's just cool. Interesting to know who's coming by for a visit, and who's coming by to steal your silverware.