August 30, 2003
We drove down on Thursday to spend a few days in Laguna Beach before the wedding. My mom heard about Laguna Beach from a friend or someone. It is absolutely gorgeous here. The first night we ate at a little cafe ovelooking the ocean. While we were waiting for the table we watched the sun set over the ocean, and it was just spectacular… and more!
The next day we did some walking around the town and hanging out at the beach. I walked down the surf.
August 29, 2003
I’ve been building a treehouse for my little brothers for the last month, and I’ve finally finished. It’s been a royal pain to build, but I’m really happy with the result: a two-part structure connected by a rope bridge with all the fixin’s. I don’t have any pictures right now, but it kind of looks like a cross between this and this.
There is (or rather, used to be) a Springfield business called Just Floors. The best thing about a store called Just Floors is that you know exactly what they’re selling. I’m not really in the market for a floor, but if I was, I would strongly consider shopping at Just Floors based on their name alone.
Recently, Just Floors acquired a rival business which sells not only floors, but also other random home furnishing crap. Upon this acquisition, the owners of Just Floors faced a dilemma: they can’t honestly call themselves Just Floors anymore, since they sell other things too, but if they change their name they will lose valuable brand recognition. Their solution: rename the store to Just Floors & More.
Their marketing department seems very proud of this innovative use of the word “just.” The other day on the radio I heard the following advertisement:
Come to the grand opening of Just Floors & More! We still have just floors, but now our inventory includes just beds, just tables and just windows! Come to Just Floors and More for the best deals on just floors. . . and more!
I suppose it’s possible that they are selling exceptionally even-handed and fair products, but I think that when they say just, they actually mean the opposite of just. To be fair, I just checked the dictionary and apparently “just” is also an adjective meaning “relating to jousting,” so maybe they are selling jousting equipment.
August 28, 2003
“…But I’m also a member!”
They call it the Hair Club For Men.
Why is it that they are so careful to qualify the club as for men only? Is it because their rival Hair Club For Women taunts them so, or is it just a vestige of the same sentiment that produced the clubhouse on the corner with the sign “No Girls Allowed” (with one backwards “S”) posted in the window?
And how can they get away with calling it a club? It’s not a Hair Club! No one joins a yacht club with the wish of getting a boat. What a misnomer!
I’ll tell you what it sounds like to me.
It’s a cult.
You’ve got all these people, promised unreceivable gifts, lured in by some false exclusivity to make them feel special, led by a fanatic with delusions of grandeur. It’s a mass suicide waiting to happen. In fact, now that I think about it, I haven’t seen those commercials for a while…
August 26, 2003
This is the first post in a series mocking AB’s posts about his trip to Colorado with his brother and father. It is unrelated to AB’s similarly benoted posts about his actual trip to Colorado.
The storm has taken the car!
The storm has taken the car!
Although we thought we’d left such things behind in Kansas, the storm was not to be so easily shrugged off. As we left the gas station, the storm approached once more, sneaking up upon us like Batman sneaks up on someone. Borne on the head of the foam as it rushed toward us, I saw the gaping eye-sockets of the coyote, back for vengeance.
The waves shook the car, tossing us to and fro and then to again. As the water buffeted the car and the lapping waves slowly crested the hood, the engine died. I felt the body of the car lift; we were floating. Down the great highways of Kansas we were swept, the storm picking up other cars and dragging them along as though they were small bits of metal and fiberglass floating in a much smaller stream. On our left was a semi-cab on it’s side, stripped of its cargo. I motioned my hand up and down, making a fist, in that most universal of languages. The driver obliged.
The air horn blast filled the night air, or, actually, the day air, but it was really dark, because of the storm, with an eerie stillness as it echoed off the towering waves flooding the Sunflower State. Fashioning a rudimentary paddle out of a hockey stick and a hubcap, we tried to navigate through the wreckage of the storm, but the car just sunk slowly until we were cast free.
If anyone finds this note, tell Ian he can have my computer chair, and give my body to science.
Editor’s Note: This note was found by Ian while he drove through Kansas yesterday after getting lost on the way to the grocery store. Damn mapquest. AB’s body has not been found.
This is the fourth post in a series describing AB’s trip to Colorado with his brother and father. It is unrelated to Ian’s similarly titled posts about his trip up the Pacific coast.
As we travel back through Kansas, the clouds hang lower and darker than before and the lightning grows more frequent. It^Òs raining lightly, and as the windshield wipers whisk the raindrops away, I remember that I have been warned about these windshield wipers; according to my grandfather they sometimes seize up and stop working for no apparent reason.
I brood on this troubling information and hope that the storm will not get worse. In answer to my prayers, a wave rain explodes across the windshield. The force and suddenness of the downpour hit me like a physical slap. It is all I can do to stay on the road as the wipers thrash wildly. Weather like this only exists on the open ocean and the Great Plains, where storms can build up over hundreds of miles with nothing to break their force. Despite the ferocity of the storm, it is not too hard to stay on the road if you go slowly enough and concentrate closely on the reflectors that line the highway. I feel confident that we will get through this storm without any trouble and that in an hour I will wish for the excitement of thunder and rain as we cross the barren flatness that is Kansas.
Then the windshield wipers skip a beat, and so does my heart. They stay down a moment too long before coming back up, and on the way back down they freeze and will not be moved. All I can see is water splashing against the windshield as I slow down and hope that there isn^Òt a bend in the road coming. My father, a true hero if ever there was one, rolls down his window and leans out into the storm. He reaches out across the windshield and shakes the wiper, freeing it and restoring my limited vision of the road. It happened again ten minutes later, and this time I reached out into the storm with one arm while driving with the other. Fortunately, the interstate in Kansas is very straight.
We got out of the storm without suffering any more excitement, and for me the rest of the trip was a series of monotonous turns at the wheel punctuated by sleep. My dad tells me that we hit a coyote that ran out in front of us in a construction zone. I^Òm surprised that I slept through such a bump, but when we stopped to get gas I saw blood on our back tire.
This is the third post in a series describing AB’s trip to Colorado with his brother and father. It is unrelated to Ian’s similarly titled posts about his trip up the Pacific coast.
Fifteen hours after our departure, we arrive in Boulder, Colorado. In Colorado, cities use the signs at city limits to post their altitude instead of their population, and Boulder claims a height of exactly one mile. Boulder is supposed to have some of the nicest weather in the United States, but today there are threatening clouds everywhere. We can^Òt see the mountains until we are nearly in them, which reminds me unpleasantly of Claremont.
We find my brother^Òs neighborhood, which is nice but dominated by hippies. Shops offering holistic healing and gifts from Tibet surround us, and a man is playing bongos nearby. We pass by Zuni Fetishes Direct, which presumably cuts out the Zuni fetish middleman and passes the savings on to you. I get the idea that chai is readily available here, but that it could be difficult to come by mashed potatoes and gravy.
My brother^Òs roommates appear, and they inform us that the neighbor girls are chill, and that they are neither hot nor dog ugly. The apartment looks like hobos have been living in it, but recalling the barbaric state of my apartment sophomore year, I wisely say nothing, even when my brother finds peanut butter spread around in the dishwasher. We unload the stuff that we have carted all the way from home, and while I sleep on the couch, the others go to Target for crucial supplies. It is raining hard when I wake up. I learn that valuable supplies were lost when the truck^Òs tailgate popped open on the way back from Target. There isn^Òt time to go back and find the things that were lost, and my father and I leave town with the rain falling, rush hour approaching and my brother scurrying to impose order on an apartment full of boxes and random furniture. As we leave Colorado, we see storm clouds massing on the horizon sending out huge bolts of lightning that illuminate the plains.
August 25, 2003
wait, let me try that again.
I went dancing with my mom this evening. We went to Monroe hall, where they have Country Western dancin’ on Sunday nights. West Coast Swing, Country Two-Step, Line Dances, Country Waltz (oh yes, they have that), and something called Cowboy Cha-cha that chilled me to my very soul. But it was great fun. I danced all the dances except for the two steps because, try as I might, I kept doing a Foxtrot.
(Note: Dancing a Foxtrot in a Country Western Dance Hall while your partner is attempting to dance a Two-Step, which is the dance that actually goes to the song being played, is not advised. Lesser offenses have gotten men shot.)
This was a very Country place. There was a sign on the wall directing “Hippies” to use the side door. The side door was an exit. The red octagonal sign as you leave the parking lot says “WHOA” (I shit you not). I did not have occasion to use the bathroom (when dancing, I prefer to sweat out my excess fluids), but I imagine the choices would have been something like “Cowpokes” and “Missuses.”
The dances are all very linear, and if you don’t keep moving around the room, and I mean really moving, people will run you over. So I couldn’t do some of the waltz steps that I knew, because they don’t include enough forward motion. That’s ok, though, because when I tried to do some of the Cha-cha steps I knew, I got looked at kinda funny. It all worked out though! And I had a great time.
Them line dances are kinda catchy.
Saw Dirty Pretty Things, which isn’t what it sounds like, the other day. It has Audrey Tautou, the cute little French girl who played Amelie, and an African actor I’ve never seen before in it. A good movie, but a bit bleak, especially at moments that looked as though they were supposed to be uplifting. Or perhaps that was the point.
The thing that bothered me most was that the characters in the film, all immigrants to London of varying legality, were trying to escape their slave jobs and unsavory associates by fleeing to New York City. I’m not sure why America was the magical destination here, as all big cities are essentially the same. The poor, downtrodden immigrants are exploited in New York just as in London. So when they dreamed of far off places and a better life, I expected more dissappointment.
Now I’m all depressed.