Word of the day for Monday, March 14th

Today is Fancy Notions’ 14th birthday, which means it’s ready for high school. All I can say about that is

zooterkins! Which I’m told means “blimey,” “cripes” or “zounds,” none of which sound especially celebratory (especially considering the latter derives from “God’s wounds”). And maybe that’s appropriate. I can’t help thinking about how my little baby blog is going to be able to drive in a couple of years, and before too long it’s going to move out and get its own place. They grow up so fast, don’t they?

Published in: on March 14, 2022 at 4:55 pm  Comments (1)  
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Motel Heck

Earlier today a friend of Benny’s asked him for some ideas for a fun kids’ Halloween party. Now, you may recall that some time ago I consulted a card file of activities for just such an event. Unfortunately, back then I couldn’t find the master table of contents for the activity instructions and was left somewhat confused about what this one game Peanut Lag was supposed to be, so I wound up giving up on the whole party idea.

Well, at some point later today I finally found the table of contents for the card file, and there are a whole bunch of games here that sound pretty good that weren’t even listed on the plan for Halloween.

By the time I found the table of contents, however, Benny had already come up with his own ideas for activities/refreshments for a fun kids’ Halloween party. This is kind of a PG-rated blog so I might have to edit some of these descriptions from the original, but hopefully you’ll get the idea:

  • Tie a turkey neck to the oldest boy’s bathing suit area. Call him Carl and have him serve drinks to the ladies
  • Cover the hallway floor in ground beef. Cover that with clear plastic and dish soap. Slip-n-Slide!
  • DO NOT HAVE ANY CLOWNS. Enough people already think they need to pretend to be afraid of clowns. Hire a terrifying pony instead
  • Get a bounce house. Write “ORGY DOME” on the side in “fake blood”. (Fake blood is any real blood that isn’t “technically” human)
  • Fear Pong
  • Closet Goose
  • Difficult Cheese. Difficult Cheese is just new labels on cans of orange spray paint. They go next to the “crackers”
  • Lunch Creep
  • Pin The Tail On Heather’s Hot Mom
  • Chicken Bone Challenge
  • Barebottom Hayride
  • Facepainting

Benny’s friend wrote back “thanks” but we haven’t heard anything further. Maybe we need to have our own party.

Crypto current sea

Aw, man. The LA River sucks. I can’t even believe they call it a river. Dumb concrete channel doesn’t even get wet unless it rains, which it never does. I mean, how can it be a river if people can race cars on it? How can it be a river if people film WWI battleground scenes and giant mutant ant attacks in it? Can people ride a boat on it? Can they fish? Is there even any wildlife that lives there? Why do they even bother having bridges over it?

Wait.

What’s that?

Fine. Maybe the LA River doesn’t totally suck.

Thanks for all of your magic, SC Mero!

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming

I haven’t seen this cartoon in a while, and this is a particularly good copy. Maybe it’s just the coffee talking, but I kind of feel like running around like the gnome at the beginning. Time for Spring, I say!

Published in: on March 20, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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No bones about it

Sweep, you can come over to our place with any or all of your instruments. We’ll have a jam session without those stuffed shirts.

Published in: on February 13, 2021 at 10:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Also known as a “fuddle”

Part of me loves Thanksgiving and part of me gets very anxious about it, the latter because it’s very frequently a potluck dinner affair. I never cop out with potlucks by just bringing a bag of chips; I always make an effort to bring something delicious and/or fun.

And that’s where the anxiety comes in. I can’t just bring the dish. I find myself monitoring it to make sure people are trying some. Hoping they are enjoying it. I don’t need raves, I just don’t want to bring home the whole thing and have to eat it all by myself the rest of the week.

So this Thanksgiving is great! The pressure is off. Sure, Benny and I are going to have to make the entire meal ourselves, but when we do, there isn’t going to be a whole roomful of people critiquing the brussels sprouts. We can really let loose and experiment.

One thing I’ve always been intrigued by is a savory gelatin salad. Should I try one this year? Brian Downey a/k/a FalconBowse just gave me a fantastic/terrible idea:

Go to his Instagram to see it jiggle.

Hm. The colors here really pop, but I’m thinking more of a tomato aspic. If it doesn’t taste good, we can just hollow it out a bit and wear it for the family Zoom meeting and make everyone feel better about not having us over this year.

They’re all dead dogs, Brent

Benny and I went with a couple of friends to the local pet cemetery this weekend. I’m kind of surprised that I never went to this pet cemetery before. Actually, I’ve never been to any pet cemetery before other than a pretty makeshift one on Catalina Island and a micro-cemetery down at the Red Car property. (Re: the latter, I think we had more pet graves in our side yard during the fateful Guinea Pig Plague Year when my brother and I were kids.)

But this one in Calabasas is a proper cemetery, with drooping trees and quiet paths and gentle grassy hills. And it being Los Angeles, there are plenty of famous animals

as well as pets of famous people.

There are people who blame themselves too much for the passing of their non-human friends

and people who maybe need to take some time off from having pets.

There are wordy tributes

and not so wordy tributes.

Funny names

and awesome names

Big guys and small guys.

Pets who were a bit challenging

and pets who were extremely patient.

You might think that the pet cemetery is a depressing place, but there is so much love there that I found it exactly the opposite. If you’re having some trouble these days finding the humanity in people, go find yourself a pet cemetery. Bring along some ghost treats.

Heron go “caw”

I don’t know whether to tell you to turn your sound up or not for this video. If you turn it up enough, you can hear Josh Payne playing music on the banks of the LA River. If you turn it up too much, you can hear the girl on a first date talking about how much Los Angeles is different from Brooklyn. Maybe next time I will bring a more directional microphone.

Whatever you decide to do sound-wise, emulate the herons and try to enjoy some nature this weekend. Remember to keep breathing.

Published in: on September 18, 2020 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The host with the most

The other older gentleman besides Jacques Pépin that is keeping me cool and calm during this global case of the sniffles that has wiped out over three-quarters of a million people on the planet (so far) is someone Benny found while looking for some YouTube crafting videos. Like Monsieur Pépin, this fellow has a smooth voice, he’s very open to letting you experiment with the techniques he demonstrates, and he seems to like young children. Folks, if you haven’t met him already, I’d like to introduce you to The CrafsMan.

He may have other things in common with our friendly chef from Lyon, but it’s hard to tell for sure because The CrafsMan is a man of mystery. I believe he lives somewhere in Louisiana, and he is married to a lovely woman, and he may or may not still have a regular day job of some sort. Other than that, he’s an enigma. A smooth, yet fuzzy, enigma.

There also seems to be no end to his interests and expertise. Do you want to learn how to:

? The CrafsMan has got you covered. If for some reason watching someone make cool crafts makes you feel pressured and inadequate, you can just listen to The CrafsMan talk about some of his favorite things. If all you really need is some ASMR to calm down and The CrafsMan’s normal videos make you laugh too much, heck, he’ll read you some Frog And Toad Together by Arnold Lobel. Eventually, you’re probably going to find yourself imitating The CrafsMan. It’s okay. Lots of other people do it too, and he doesn’t seem to mind.

I don’t know how we’d ever get to meet him in real life, but that would be such a neat thing. I imagine him coming over to Benny’s workshop and examining all of the boxes and drawers and things, and they could talk about different kinds of tape and rubber hams and maybe the baby skunks would come out to meet him, and … oh mercy. I need to calm down. CrafsMan, if you ever read this, know that you have a place to stay in LA when things get safe again. In the meantime, keep on steady craftin’.

Un homme extraordinaire du HoJo’s

I started following French chef Jacques Pépin on Facebook at some point during this pandemic. I’m not really sure why, because I’m not a good cook and I don’t have any aspirations about becoming some wizard in the kitchen or anything. I think I was just a little bored with the food I was cooking and all of his videos were short with nice captions that made me want to click on them. Good mornings and hope you’re doing well and such. Really low pressure stuff.

He seems like a really good and humble guy. He was the personal chef for the President of France, but when he came to the US he turned down Jackie Kennedy’s White House job offer to go work at Howard Johnson’s. Now he has a foundation that gives ex-cons and homeless folks training for employment in restaurant kitchens. He was friends with exuberant giantess Julia Child, he appeared on game shows in the ’60s, and he’s survived a near-fatal car crash and, more recently, a stroke. He’s been cooking since he was 13 and can wrangle a $15,000 a plate fancy meal, but he’s not too snobby to use store-bought mayonnaise and ketchup in his recipes. Some of the most frequent phrases in his cooking videos are “if you want” and “you don’t have to.”

The thing about him that has really been saving me during this crap time, however, is his voice. Calm. Calme. He’s better than a meditation app. Here he is making circle pups:

Merçi, Jacques. I still have to practice browning my chicken thighs without crying and Benny coming to the rescue, but I’m working on it.

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