Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
"I welcome visitors from all planets," said Clyde, who -- it should be noted -- was wearing a tin helmet equipped with various accouterments ranging from a fork to a Slinky Junior. He seemed to be one snare short of a drum set. "Great," I replied, "You're in the right place!" I beat a hasty retreat to a table nearby where a group of young women were handing out bananas to passersby. "Ha, ha, ha," I said loudly, "I get the impression some of the folks around here are what they eat!"
I turned to face the person standing next to me and, to my surprise, it was Clyde, who had left his Sonic Sensor Shuttle behind and was engaged in what appeared to be a friendly debate with an enormous puppet. They were arguing over who had the "rights" to entertain folks on San Vicente. "So much for welcoming visitors from all planets," I mused.
Needless to say, by mid-morning I was ready to head for the hills, even if it meant joining the Marathon myself. Take it from me, there's only so much one can stand of a one-man band, especially when it consists entirely of percussion instruments. Then, again, maybe I just march to the beat of a different drummer ...!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Jumping Jehosaphat, an Anonymous Fathead who made the scene yesterday wearing a pair of Power Stilts that made him look like a Demented Kangaroo on Steroids. "They're bouncy," he said, stating the obvious. "They sure make a statement," I replied. I neglected to inform him that the statement was 'There's a sucker born every minute.' I did a little research on the manufacturer -- Getjumpingstilts.com -- and it's the first time I've ever seen a business identify itself as "A Limited Liability Company." And if that's not enough, right after explaining that "Power Stilts will enable you to execute extraordinary athletic feats" such as "running at lightning speed" and "jumping and hopping higher than you ever thought possible," the folks at Getjumpgingstilts.com go on to say that they are "in no way responsible for any injury or death resulting from the use of Jumping Stilts." If that's not enough to make you jump, nothing will ...!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
- When an earthquake strikes, duck under a desk, table or some other piece of furniture that could serve as a shelter. Make sure it's far away from a window.
- Keep vital information (social security card, driver's license, passport, medical records, insurance information, etc.); a change of clothing; some cash; personal hygiene items in a central/easy-to-reach location in your home.
- Keep a crowbar and shoes near your bed. The crowbar might be necessary to pry yourself out of a jam and the shoes will help prevent you from being injured if there is broken glass on the floor.
- Keep the following items handy: A butane gas cooker; canned provisions w/can opener; bottled water; a first-aid kit; a solar-powered cell phone recharger and a flashlight. You can purchase most of these items and more at SOS Survival Products.
- Keep a "ready jacket" available with rope, gloves, burn spray and other essentials in the pockets (this will come in handy if/when you leave the house to help others in need).
- Create a "car kit" including a crowbar, flashlight, whistle, thermal blanket, plastic trash bag (good for collecting water, if necessary), bottled water, flares, essential medication, tools, a fire extinguisher, tissues, pre-moistened towelettes, matches, a can opener, leather work gloves and some provisions in case an earthquake strikes when you're on the road. Put all of these items in a back pack for quick access.
- Freeze water in plastic gallon containers so that if the power goes out, you can transfer it to the refrigerator to help keep perishable items cold.
- Keep a stash of foods that can save your life, including: Pastas and rice; peanut butter; canned fruits and vegetables; canned meat, fish and poultry; powdered or canned milk; and dry cereals.
- Learn how to purify water by adding chlorine bleach and iodine.
Thanks to Nat and Robin for hosting the gathering, and to Roger for giving us so much valuable advice. In retrospect, the Freeze Dried Katmandu Curry was probably a mistake. One bite of that stuff and you'll need more than a crowbar to turn off the gas ...!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
My next stop was a visit to the statue of Daikoku, the Japanese God of business success, to thank him for a great business trip and ask for his continued support. Granted, I don't know a lot about Japanese religious practices, but no harm in hedging my bets. Daikoku is considered one of the seven "Lucky Gods" of Japan. The statue above depicts him as a plump, prosperous businessman, standing on overstuffed bales of rice and wielding a magic, coin-producing mallet. I can't vouch for the magical properties of his mallet, but -- like everyone else -- I did throw a couple of coins his way.
Kiyomizu, literally translated, means "pure water" and the temple complex is dotted with waterfalls and streams. The fountain above is supposed to bring good luck to those who dip one of the temple's tin cups into the fountain and drink of its purifying waters. This morning, a group of local schoolchildren was having a good time dipping the cups again and again into the fountain and taking big gulps of water. "Try some?," asked one of the attendants on duty. "No thanks," I said, watching the cups pass from hand-to-hand. Frankly, I like my H2O without any H1N1. Besides, I had some other purifying waters in mind.
I left the temple complex and ducked into Starbucks where, I'm pleased to say, I once again tormented another Poor Barista who had never heard of a Grande Half Caff. "A what?!?," asked Barista Maruno, "You want half of a what?!?" She grew increasingly agitated as I repeated my order again and again. But once I explained what a half caff is, she rose to the occasion. "Take a seat," she said, "and I'll bring it to you." Ten minutes later, she brought me what she called a Half-and-Half in a cup which she had artfully decorated with images of Kyoto and Mt. Fuji.
I spent some time walking along the quaint side-streets of Kyoto, looking at some of the local arts and crafts. In one shop, I noticed an elderly woman selling what appeared to be packages of homemade candy made out of squid meat. I started to take a picture of it but she nearly slapped the Spycam out of my hands. "What is it with you people and your squid?" I asked, exasperated, but she was unflappable. "I know, I know," I said, "No pictures. But do you mind if I take a few Photograhs?"
By far the most bizarre shop I saw seemed to specialize in rubber ceremonial masks. I couldn't help noticing that right there, next to a golden Buddah head, was a genuine Barack Obama mask with a hand-made sign reading "yes, we can." I support our President as much as the next guy, but I couldn't resist asking the shopkeeper to "bring me the head of Barack Obama!"
My next stop was the "Bullet Train," a true marvel of Japanese engineering. I whizzed through city after city, over bridges, passing rice fields and Mt. Fuji (pictured above) to get to Tokyo, where I made my way to Narita Airport and United Flight #890. I had the privilege of sitting next to a man I'll call "Mr. Spitoon" (pictured below). He spent the entire 10-hour flight chewing tobacco and spitting its remnants into a bottle of Mountain Dew he kept on his lap.
I made it back to 7th and Montana by 10:00 a.m. the same day, just in time to participate in a Sting Operation which finally -- after more than five years -- ended-up thwarting the Notorious Newspaper Thief, the man who has been stealing newspapers from Our Favorite Starbucks when he thinks no one is looking. I stood directly behind him, positioning myself between the Thief and his Getaway Bike. Barista Veronica stood in front of him, glaring directly at him as he pretended to be browsing innocently through the "used" newspapers. It was a game of chicken on a grand scale until finally, the Newspaper Thief chickened out. He jumped on his getaway bike and pedaled madly towards the Starbucks at 15th and Montana ...!
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
UPDATE: Well, folks, it's four hours later and my flight still hasn't taken off. The folks at United discovered that the back door wouldn't close on my aircraft. And wouldn't you just know it, without my upgrade I was sitting pretty darn close to the back door!