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Monday, July 26, 2010


10, 9, 8...

Sitting at a red light this morning on the way to the Light Rail station, I noticed my dearest, my darling, my best-beloved Honda was only 2 miles off our 100K anniversary. So 2 miles later, I pulled to the side of the road and recorded the moment.

BINGO - 100 Thousand Miles!

Happy Anniversary Honda! I always drive my Hondas until they keel over dead, their wheels waving in the air, like a dead parakeet on the bottom of the cage. This Honda will 'go' the same way, driven until either the wheels fall off there is some other unforgiveable car event.

Hum... for now, think I'll take my the Honda out to dinner tonight for a full tank of premium gas and maybe some engine oil for dessert. Then maybe a trip to the car spa - that is, a car wash. Nice rubdown with shea butter wax up, followed by a brand spanking new lavender deodorant tree thingmabob. No expense spared. Unless the total comes to more than $15.75; then all bets will be off.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bring Out Your Dead!

The other day, I was feeling a bit like the dead. The deadly three 'B's - broke, blue and bored –were working their mischief on me, and the phone rang. Was I free to usher Sunday night at the Music Circus? HELL yeah!

This past year I've suffered a dearth of theater. I stopped my subscription to the Davis Music Theater because after my theater buddy Cornetta retired to Georgia, it was a pain in the bum getting friends to attend performances with me. You would think offering someone a free ticket would do the trick, but its amazing what a pain that proved to be and I finally decided to hell with it. Add to that famine, that last year I wasn't asked to usher at the Music Circus, nor did I call the powers that be to push my case for ushering. Happily, Sunday night they were desperate enough to call on me. I was at the ready, and all at once, the three 'B's turned into the three 'E's - eager, enable and effin' excited. Was that four 'E's? Tough tits! That was 2 'T's, or is that too rude?

I totally enjoyed my theater gig. I didn’t usher really, I acted as a ‘greeter’, yelping out my overly cheery ‘Hello!’ to theater goers, then telling them where to go, as in ‘go west to door 14 and the ushers there will show you to your seats’. Oh, and not being an usher I didn’t have to deal with seating late patrons, which can keep an usher out of the theater, missing anywhere from the first 5 minutes to even 15 or 20 minutes into a performance. Nope, I got to plop my rear into a free seat, saving my poor arse from the price of a $50+ theater ticket.

Spamalot is based on the 35+ year old Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie which I’ve seen about a b’jillion times over the years. The play includes many gags from the movie, and damn it, they still make me laugh, everything from the bounced bovine and the killer rabbit to the outrageous Frenchie who farted in the general direction of the silly English kkkkknnnnn-igh-ttts!But there was also tons of new stuff as the play pounced on and worried bits of the movie that I hadn’t realized were screaming out for further silly development. Who could have guessed what was in store for Lancelot the brave when he rescued the singing waif at the swamp castle? And didn’t Lance look positively fetching in his silver lame codpiece? Suffice to say, I laughed until my well shaken intestines released a fart in the general direction of… TMI?

King Arthur, a brave knight & one Cantelevered Cow

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Night for Whippoorwill-ing

When my birding buddy Don & I were in the south last May, we saw no Whippoorwills, one of our target birds. So when recently I read of a Whippoorwill inexplicably setting up housekeeping in a patch of Forest north of Fair Oaks, we had to go check it out.

So late Saturday afternoon, Don drove in from the Bay Area and by dusk we were walking 400 yards up a narrow, red soiled forest path in what I think was Tahoe National Forest. The trail wasn’t too long and not at all steep, but I whined anyway, you know, to keep in practice.

pink & black ribbons marked the Whippoorwill sweet spot

Then at the summit of the gentle slope, we hit a wide spot on the narrow trail where hung some black and pink plastic ribbon marking the 'sweet spot' from which the calling Whippoorwill could be heard. There was then nothing to do but wait for the bird – that is, if the bird was feeling generous.

So, we stood quietly, feeding the mosquitoes. Watching Mars, a reddish bright spot in the sky. Soon bats with petite wingspans were darting around the trees overhead, eating - we hoped - their weight in mosquitoes. Don pointed out a little glowing green spot in the leaf litter under a tree. Honestly, I was certain it was a bit of litter. Amazingly, under a flashlight we could see it was a remarkable little glow worm, its tiny arse gleaming bright green. I've never seen such a thing before. Don said glow worm are cousin to the fireflies we saw back in Arkansas, but in the California sorts, it is the larvae that glows, not the adult insect.

This looks just like the glow worm Don found
the pair of white segments at its end glowed green

By the time a few timid stars emerged in the sky, we were tired of standing. Don dropped to the ground, stretching out on the forest litter, to wait. At last the Whippoorwill called from fairly close by. I leaned down to slap a High Five with Don. We had just enjoyed what was a lifer species for both of us. We didn’t speak, waiting to see if the bird would favor us again. Only a few minutes later we heard a crunching sound of someone else marching up the forest trail.

BLLLLAAAAATTTTTT, sounded a large fart, echoing up and down the forested hillside. Small bats fell out of the trees. I won’t embarrass the farter except to say that person’s name rhymed with “Lon”.

“What kind of a greeting is that?” approaching birder asked with a marvelous dash of sarcasm.

That was how Don and I met John Trochet, a devoted and long time birder whose name I recognized having seen it a b’jillion times in on-line birding reports. Soon the three of us were listening to the Whippoorwill calling again. Mostly short calls, and one call that sounded to me like ‘Cuckoo!’. But at least twice the bird sang its more diagnostic ‘Whip Poor Will!’ notes.

The only one who actually saw the Whippoorwill was Don, who saw the bird buzz by overhead. I would have killed to see the bird, but I am cursed by my incredibly faulty sense of direction when I hear sounds. If the sound comes from the east, I am nearly guaranteed to swing around and stare off into the west, so while Don was watching the bird shoot past, I was staring at barren pine trees. Bugger!

Following our outing, Don did a little on-line research and found a bit of news that cheered us both up a bit. The Whippoorwill species is soon bound to be split into not 2, but into 3 entirely different species. Besides the group east of the Mississippi, and the population of the Southwest, there is a third population of birds centered in Costa Rica, a mystical land I visited briefly, long ago and far away.