Archive for February, 2009

Creepin’ out

Posted in general weirdness on February 27, 2009 by Nada

windmillsThese windmills are in Livermore. Something’s not right around there. My creep-o-meter goes off the scale with the needle pegging the red zone. I asked hubby what the deal was. He said there’s been a bunch of UFO sightings with reports like the craft floating down from the sky, nearing the highway and morphing into a car. I’m not sure I buy into that, but something’s wonky and it isn’t the windmills that aren’t turning when there’s plenty of wind.

Maybe it’s Lawrence Livermore Labs. Alliteration for security, I suppose. Look at their web site. Their front page lands you on a secured server. Do you need a secure server for their front page?

Hubby got us a tour of Lawrence Livermore Labs. That tour was a well-rehearsed play by Stepford wives or maybe our tour guide was an android. They gave us free pens and too many of them in too many colors.

The Caldecott Tunnel tour was much better, real and aberrant. Livermore Labs, learn from Caldecott Tunnel tours. You would raise less suspicion with people like me who have sensitive creep-o-meters.

Moving on to 9 pointer Richter creep-o-meter…
A mummy was discovered, and not even on an archeological dig, in the entrance way of a home in Piedmont. Piedmont is technically part of Oakland. The mummy had been an old lady who died about 5 years ago. Her daughter, undoubtedly Norman Bates’ sister, kept the property up after her mother’s death, paid the bills, and when anyone asked about her Mom, she told them her Mom was either on vacation or at her own house in Alameda. Today, the police are charging a “person of interest” in the “crime” with “interfering with remains.” Like that is going to stick. I think that was the problem. The daughter didn’t interfere with the remains, or the old lady would be interred or cremated. The old woman probably died in the entrance hall and her corpse lay there for 5 years on the stone cold tile. The autopsy has come back and indicates no foul play. The daughter can finally say, “Good-by Mommy Mummy, my Mummy dearest.” Maybe the daughter was a bad procrastinator, but you have to think of the stench. Hard to believe she walked around that gleefully.

Okay. That about does it for me. Gotta rummage in the garage a bit and look for my cat’s claw. It’s a little bitty maroon one that I’ve had for 30 years. I’m going to use it to wrench my creep-o-meter needle out of the red zone. Then I’m going to pretend I didn’t write that paragraph up there, the one about…you know…


Oh, Mr. Train Conductor

Posted in life on February 26, 2009 by Nada

artful_dodgerThis is what you see when you’re getting on the BART. And you know what his right hand is doing? He’s playing with himself. That’s the big discussion these days – what to do with these baggie panted goof wads masturbating on the BART.

I say do the same as I did with the drunk spitting on the car floor, and blowing his whistle. Hop yourself up outta your seat and punch that little red button on the intercom and chat with the train conductor.

Me (mashing the red button on the intercom): Oh, Mr. Train Conductor.

Train Conductor (through the intercom): Yeah?

Me: We got a (TWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET (background whistle)) drunk guy in our car, spitting and blowing (TWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET) a whistle.

T.C.: I can’t hear you.

Me: Exactly. It’s a drunk, whistling, harassing passengers and spitting on the seats. (TWEEEEEEEEEEEEET)

T.C.: Hold on. (Stop at West Oakland) Gimme a description.

Me: Red knit hat, blue work pants, blue sweatshirt, African American, (TWEEEEEEEEEEET) DRUNK, aged 60

T.C.: Did you say red pants?

Me: no.

T.C.: Hold on (Stop at Lake Merritt. Stop for a very long time. So long I know that Mr. Train Conductor is hailing BART police. The drunk, even in his inebriated state knows he is in deep do do. His eyes pie plate as he stands and swims in the breast stroke style for the open door.)

Me: (mashing the button repeatedly) He’s getting away. He’s making a run for it…or rather a stagger for it.

And the drunk stumbles out the open door. As soon as he does, the train conductor snaps the door shut and we take off like a Shetland pony heading for the barn in the late afternoon.

T.C.: Was that him?

Me: Yep.


Posted in life on February 24, 2009 by Nada

copalleyThe cop sits and waits through the rain. I saw him out the sushi restaurant window. The cops and the fire trucks mostly use that alley. The regulars don’t park there. When I walk by sometimes, I see the fire truck sitting with the firemen and woman wandering around the burg, getting coffee and groceries. I was surprised to learn somebody had complained about the fire trucks parking in the alley. Figures. People complain about petty things and skip the important stuff. I noticed the French bakery has stopped giving out free samples. I should complain about that. Free food’s important. Long’s drugs is becoming CVS, and CVS is getting rid of some of Long’s stock, like sun block. I should complain about that. And what about the pizza place on the corner. I have yet to get over the last delivery I got from them. They dropped the whole pizza and the dough with all the toppings. It all slid onto itself into a fourth of the box. Okay, I did complain about that. I didn’t order my last pizza from them because I can’t stop thinking about that slide over. It looked like pizza landslide, pizza topping mix master or vomit in a box – one of the three – take your pick.

So, when I wanted to order take out pizza this time, I did what I know. I went to the internet and ordered a pizza from there. $12.99 for some vegetable feast. It looked beautiful. No barf in a box AND if it wasn’t ready for pick up in 30 minutes the sucker was free. Hubby launched for the pizza place at the precise second and came home with 2 pizzas rather then one.

“What happened?” I asked.

“The pizza guy made the old vegetable feast rather than the new one,” hubby said.

“There’s an old and a new?” I asked.

“Apparently,” he said.

“Did you catch the mistake?” I asked.

“No, pizza dude did,” he said. “So, he gave us an old and a new vege feast.”

I opened both boxes and stared at the pizzas. “Which is which?”

“You got me,” hubby said.

We ate the pizzas slowly, thinking about the internet ordering and the honesty of the pizza dude.

“Whad’ya think?” I asked.

“Eh, the crust tastes like cardboard,” hubby said. “I almost prefer the slide over. That had more vegetables, even if they were all in a pile.”


Posted in animal on February 22, 2009 by Nada

taco_truckI was at the taco truck today. I like the truck’s pickled carrots and radishes that come gratis with the cheap tacos. I took a picture of two highway patrolmen eating off the hoods of their cars in the adjacent parking lot. They didn’t notice. I stared at the pay phone. Why does everything in Oakland have to be tagged, trashed or torn up? No seats or benches grace the taco truck’s vicinity so once you get your food you either stand and eat it on the spot, or go to your car and spill food on your seats. My husband and I prefer to stand and eat our tacos amidst the pigeon traffic on the sidewalk. Today, some greaseball pigeon showed up. I’m not sure what happened to him. I confess. I have no sympathy for pigeons. In fact, in my youth, I’ve spent many afternoons, blasting the tail feathers out of the rumps of pigeons fowling our barns. But this guy, he almost made me weep mid carrot. He was covered in grease. I never feed these pigeons at the taco truck. NEVER. EVER. But this pigeon’s neck looked like it had already been rung and then rerung. His wings were stuck to his sides. His whole body was an oil slick. I gave the pigeon whatever he asked for. Taco. Cheese. Tortilla. My credit card. My cell phone number. I knew he couldn’t fly. He was covered in oil. The poor dear. And then an ambulance came by and scared him. He took off and hit me in the calf and left some unidentifiable stain on my jeans that I’m sure my stain stick can’t get out. The little jerk.

Tally Ho

Posted in travel on February 17, 2009 by Nada

Tomorrow we go to LA to see my hubby’s great aunt. She’s 95. She was living in Concord until her husband died, and then she moved into a rest home near her kids. We were seeing her fairly regularly when she lived up this way. I miss her. She’s one of these straight shooters who tells you what’s on her mind whether it’s good or bad, whether you’re gonna like it or not. Hell, she’s 95. She might as well.

She lived all over the world with her husband. Her husband worked for a banana company. They told fantastic tales of their lives, replete with stories of earthquakes, kidnappings, and banana plantations. It was a world so far removed from mine it seemed like a daydream.

I don’t go many places. I am fascinated by people who do. I always thought I would. I knew in my heart I would leave that damnable farm and travel the world. Instead, I got a job. I worked, got cancer, a brain tumor, and now I’m too scared to run further than a couple of blocks from the emergency rooms. I don’t know how I would explain to someone in France that I had a Chicklet remnant of a brain tumor that wants to regrow into a full stick of Juicy Fruit gum and it just caused me to fall down a flight of stairs in their train station. Oui.

So, tomorrow I’m going to travel the only way I know how – in the Big Beat Up Buick with my Big Guy driving down I-5. Amir, our mechanic, has repaired the Buick twice now. It’s still leaking oil. Tonight, some do hickey fell off the seat exposing a bird’s nest of wires and both of us scrambled around in the garage looking for the duct tape. We couldn’t find it. We wrapped the mess with electrical tape. Hubby decided to check our route on some internet interactive roadway site. He found a big freaking snowstorm on I-5 just north of LA. The only smart thing I’ve done so far is buy some chocolate covered raisins and raw cashews for the trip, but we nervously ate most of them watching the weather report. Did I mention our gas gauge is broken?

I hope we make it. I guess this is what traveling is about. Adventure. We are actually staying at the rest home, if you can imagine. They have “guest rooms.” Why am I thinking, “you can check in but you can never check out?” Why am I thinking Bates Motel? Why am I hoping the bedroom door locks? Why did my husband ask me if we have our own bathroom? Why do I think we are going to cause some ruckus in the rest home?

Ride, Sally, Ride

Posted in cars on February 16, 2009 by Nada

az_mustangThis is AZ’s ’72 Mustang. I’d like to think I’m the Queen of Cheap, but there’s no way I can claim that tiara when AZ paid a little under $3,000 for a Mustang convertible and drove her Sally for more than 30 years. She sold her baby for $7,000, essentially a free ride. What a beauty!

In case you don’t read the comments, AZ said this, “I was so poor when I bought it that I had to finance it for four years, my payments were about $27 a month. The first time a got a few extra bucks I bought chrome rims and baby moons for it, but I could only afford two rims at a time, so when I had them mounted I told the guy to mount the chrome rims on the back and leave the stock rims and hubcaps in front. He said, why don’t you mount the chrome rims on one side that way you can impress 50% of the people, he had a point — so that’s what I did. It took me another couple of months to buy the second set of rims and baby moons to put on the other side. I drove that Mustang for 30+ years. I also bought a lifetime guarantee battery from J.C. Penney’s right after I bought the Mustang and I never had to pay for another battery in 30 years, now that‘s C-H-E-A-P.

In an email AZ wrote, “She was my daily driver for all those years, she only left me stranded once, and she died right in front of a Checker Auto Parts. How considerate was that? She was a perfect girl’s car. She got me to where I was going in style and she turned heads her entire life. She looked good because her last paint job was $3,000. The guy who bought it thought it was newly painted, but I think the paint job was 9 years old when I sold her.

When we sold her I told my hubby all I wanted out of the car was her original purchase price and the price of the paint job. I got what I wanted, everybody said I could have gotten more, but I was looking for a good owner that would love her and take care of her.

That’s the new owner standing by the car. He bought it for his wife. Lucky devil.


Posted in general weirdness on February 15, 2009 by Nada

My brother and I are cheap to the point of being a menace to society. If the cops could arrest us for it, we’d long ago have worn out the back seats of half a fleet of patrol cars. If pennies screamed every time we pinched them, there’d be pennies with failed vocal chords. Anyway, you get my drift. My brother and I have a standard motto – “The only thing better than cheap is free.”

Now, the other thing my brother and I do is we talk to each other every week. My brother lives in rural Georgia, and I live in California. And if you ask me what we talk about, I’d have to tell you we talk a lot about how cheap we are. Yes, we are proud of the fact we are cheap sons-of-bitches.

My brother tells me this conversation fired off at his work last week with one of his co-workers at the plant.
Brother: I’m gonna have to charge you for going to cheap school.
Co-worker: I ain’t payin’ you a damn thang.
Brother: Graduate, Magna Cum Laude.

And in another chapter of cheap schoology my brother bought himself a cell phone for $9.88. It’s called a Track Phone. I’m calling it a Crack Phone. He purchased 140 minutes for $19.88. He’s called me on it. I thought it was Ed McMahon.

The last car I bought was a Mercury Tracer. I paid $125 for it. The last car my brother purchased was a postal jeep. He paid $500. Mine ran for 4 years. His does not. He was storing dog food and dog supplies, like brushes in it, until some big ratty raccoon stopped by and stole a silver dog comb out of it.

My brother says each week, “I’m working on the jeep.” I roll my eyes so hard he can hear it. Earlier this week he told me he was looking at an engine called the Valdor for the jeep. I think it’s something Darth Vader drives. Today, he tells me he is looking at something called the Transwrap. I think that’s something to break the sound barrier with or at least Saran Wrap.