Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lights Out

A couple of years ago I happened to fly into Bali on the evening of one of their interesting holidays.  I forget the name of the holiday but everyone on the island was supposed to turn off all their lights and stay quietly inside their homes so that the Gods who flew over the earth on that evening wouldn't notice them, swoop down and eat them. Fortunately the Gods had given Hilton hotels a special waiver so there was at least a bus that could take us to our hotel without fear of ending up on the menu. I was most impressed that, while some small practical exceptions were made for tourists, everyone was expected to honor the occasion. So there were no lights on in the hotel only candles, there was no music playing live or recorded, and no one was allowed off the hotel grounds even to go walk on the beach. There was nothing to do but sit quietly, watch the flickering lights of the candles, talk quietly and slow down. It was one of the very best memories I had of an entire year traveling around the world. I was reminded of all this last night while Melanie and I participated in Earth Hour. Even at our house which is in the middle of nowhere and as dark as can be at night, consciously turning off all the lights and sitting quietly with just a few candles on is an amazing experience. In fact it would have been perfect except for that one house I can see at night about a mile away on the other side of the canyon that had all their lights blazing away. I hope the Gods enjoyed their meal. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Elk Profiteroles

As an animal lover and an aspiring vegetarian I feel I have to stand up and let my voice be heard when I see an animal being mistreated.  In this case, one of the proudest, most noble beasts in the wild has had to suffer not just the indignity of being hunted and killed but then to be served up as a dish called Elk Profiteroles.  What kind of callous idiot would turn an elk into a profiterole and then drizzle chocolate sauce on it. Show some respect. Grill it at least and lay a nice pile of mashed potatoes next to it. Maybe some asparagus. But don't dainty it up like some Christmas goose.  Why don't you just run out into the woods and put a tutu on a grizzly bear and force it to perform Swan Lake. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

This Could Give The DMV A Good Name

Someone needs to let the DMV know what's going on at the Bend, Oregon branch before things get out of hand.  Here's what happened. At 9AM I entered the DMV in order to register my Jeep in Oregon and get a set of those really nice plates with the green tree in the middle.  I walked up to the counter and took a number, 26. Before getting back to my seat, my number was called. I approached the counter cautiously and was greeted by a friendly and helpful women. I became suspicious immediately. She persisted to treat me in a courteous manner then came around the counter and asked to go outside and see the vehicle in question so she could help me fill out the paperwork. This was at 9:02AM.  At 9:03 we re-entered the DMV (or so she claimed) and I was asked for $60. The woman turned and walked to the back wall and returned moments later with my new Oregon plates, said thank you and have a nice day.  Five minutes from the moment we walked in until I hand my new plates in hand. My wife and I left and went to the Pancake House to decide how we should handle this. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves

In Oregon we are extremely proud of our diversity. Sisters, the town where I live for example, is about 50% white and 50% black. Cowboy hats, that is.  To honor that open-mindedness I have recently been collecting signatures to petition the state to rename the Three Sisters Mountains. The "Sisters", the three gorgeous mountains that dominate the landscape here, are presently known as Faith, Hope and Charity. Nice, but a bit 18th century. I'm suggesting they be renamed Beyonce, LaToya and Lil' Kim. Who's with me?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

All This Buttoning And Unbuttoning

Those were the words left in a suicide note by an English aristocrat in the 18th century. I used to think he had managed to sum up the futility of being human as well as anyone. Now I think he may have lived in Oregon and was speaking literally. All this buttoning and unbuttoning indeed. I'd be afraid to put a clock to the time I spend putting clothes on and taking them off.  Layer upon layer upon layer every time I go outside and return. I'm sure I must have done this growing up in New England, then living in Colorado, London and upstate New York but after living in Los Angeles for 30 years I got used to my jeans being the only things I had to button and unbutton. Well I'm off to dinner. Hmmm.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just Gay Enough

It just kind of happened. Slipped out.  My wife and I were walking through some hip store on the 3rd Street Promenade a few years ago when I looked to my right, noticed something and blurted out, "Those are some really nice chenille throws." After an appropriately awkward pause when I'm sure my wife was trying to figure out who I was and why she married me but than realized that her last boyfriend had a sex change so this wasn't so bad, she turned to me and said, "Just gay enough." I took it as a compliment. After all, I grew up in a blue collar city in a blue collar family and, since moving to LA and entering the advertising field, I've had to adapt.  Become more open minded. So the fact that this statement just slipped out naturally was a sure sign of progress. Like when you've been studying Spanish for years and one day you just respond in Spanish without thinking about it. Or you dream in Spanish. So how has this all manifested itself in my new Oregon lifestyle. Today I baked chocolate chip cookies in the morning than fired up the chain saw and went outside and took down a few trees. Possibly one of the best days of my life.  Talk about balancing your masculine and feminine sides. Anyway, I think I'll go put on some flannel panties and toggle between monster trucks and 'Steel Magnolias' tonight on the tv.  Ciao.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I'll Have The Leg Of Copywriter

One of the things I've had to come to terms with is knowing that if I were in a plane crash and ended up on a deserted island with any random group of people and we ran out of food, I'd be the first one they'd eat. Not because I'm particularly tasty or loaded with meat but because as an advertising copywriter I have absolutely no useful skills whatsoever.  Doctors and nurses would be vital to survival. Anyone who can build or fix things is going to last. Hunters and cooks will last. Even a mime could provide some entertainment. If I'm honest with myself I have to admit that even an art director would last a little longer than me because at least they could design a nice, readable HELP sign. Of course, if they're a particularly fussy art director they might try to make the sign too small and get eaten immediately. But that would only buy me a day or so.