Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wednesday Wa Pic - A bad case of roof pandas



 On paper, the eucalyptus shingles did seem suspiciously cheaper than the alternatives.



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dropping daughter off at college brings bittersweet feel-splosion

Last week I helped move my daughter into the dorms better than any of the other parents. You might not think it is possible for this to be competitive, and then again, you might not be American.

Some parents required multiple trips back and forth to the car, but I pulled off the elusive and coveted "one-tripper." Set my hand truck horizontal like a flatbed and Tom-Joaded the sucker. Stacked it like a Vegas deck. On the half-mile trek from the car to the dorms, nothing budged. Steinbeck would have penned a sonnet on sight.

Sending your firstborn out from under your roof for the first time is emotional, and in the absence of alcohol, requires a good stacking and hauling task to pull off. Dropping a kid off at college tends to induce flashbacks from her childhood; pincurls bouncing to her shoulders, daddy horseyback rides around the living room, squealing retreats from ocean waves, choir concerts in long black dress and faux pearls.

The elevator up to her floor was a rickety incitement to use the stairs, but necessary for our load. It is no accident that on the campus tour they only show you the ground floor.

We met her roommate, who is also a SoCal homegirl, and who has a car, a freshman luxury, considering the parking permit for a school year could fund a nice laptop.

The girls made forced small talk as I rolled around under the desk connecting the power strip to a half dozen miscellaneous chargers. My freshman year, the only phone I had access to was mounted on the dorm lobby wall. The only charging I did was the cafeteria line at dinner time.

Right after 9/11 I read about a little girl who died on the second plane to hit the World Trade Center. She was four. Turns out she'd been born only one day before my own daughter. She would have been heading to college this fall too. Maybe her mom would have helped her settle in, except her mom was on the same plane.

When the bed was made and the clothes put in drawers and the Wi-fi connected, I gave my girl a hug and I left. It was a long, hot walk back to the car. Lou Gehrig aside, I felt like the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.

. . .










Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday Wa Pic - Who stands between YOU and follicular disaster?



 Some of the lesser superheroes have to stoop to marketing to make ends meet.





Sunday, August 23, 2015

Horror convention gives father and son a ghoul time

Recently I went to a horror convention, which I want to assure my male readers is not, in fact, shorthand for a baby shower.

Baby showers are certainly horror enough for a man, even it it's your baby. If it's not yours, and the hosts are teetotalers, this veers beyond horror into cruelty. All those tiny, asexual yellow onesies are enough to make a man eat a fireplace poker.

But this was an actual horror expo at the Pasadena Convention Center. The only babies in evidence were props being dragged behind a woman dressed as La Llorona, the famously sad ghost mom.

There were quite a few attendees in costume, although less cleavage on display than your average Renaissance Fair. More giant, bloody mutant rabbits walking upright, though. I don't know what movie/comic book they were from. I don't really keep up with horror, unless you count politics.

I was there because my son is a fan of those horror mazes that amusement parks build in October, and there were discussion panels headed by the creative directors behind them. They were sharing spoilers about this Halloween's plans and getting cheers like the Dodgers used to get.

Who knew there were superfans of horror mazes, who follow news tidbits about upcoming designs the way baseball fans peruse disabled lists? There is a subculture for everything, it appears.

The convention was called "Scare L.A." and this was its third year. Aside from the panels, it consisted of 150 or so vendor booths (typical name: "Dapper Cadaver") selling stuff to scare trick-or-treaters off your lawn. Or spice up your love life. Depends on how you roll.

I enjoyed the exhibit hall the most, with vendors competing to emit the spookiest fog and sell the latexiest ghoul mask. (Horror knows no adjectival limits.)

You could buy a huge, four-foot wide clown face complete with light-up nose. Forget the lawn; that would clear your entire block.

They had severed limbs. Bloody axes. Not those cheap ones you see in the temporary Halloween stores. The good stuff, which appeared as if it had been used on actual screenwriters.

There were booths like "BoogerVampire" and "Brainfarto" and "Toxic Toons." My son is 14. He had the glazed-over look I get when an old Adrienne Barbeau movie comes on. Undiluted bliss.

It was a bonding thing too. You never forget looking at rubber torn-out throats with your old dad. Ah, they grow up so fast.




Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday Wa Pic - Grammar rule's are their for a raisin



 Apostrophe misplacement is one sign democracy has begun to falter.