Monday, January 25, 2010

flood warning

I already thought it was odd that people here water their lawns until they are muddy bogs, but I thought that perhaps it was just an extreme overprotective measure taken to defend lawns against the perpetual Californian drought.

Apparently not.

It has been raining on and off almost every day for the past two weeks, sometimes torrentially, and enough so that even the pelicans have had enough, which is more rain than I've seen since moving here. Even so, the lawn watering continues. The other night, I took my dog out for what I thought was a well-timed walk, just as the rain let up. As we went to the back of my building, there was no water coming from above, but the sprinklers turned on, spraying him from below.

Really? Really?? The last two weeks of rain weren't enough for the grass? The big mud slicks (lawns, whatever) need more water?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

been there, done that

We drove to and from Vegas, a total of 1,109 miles.

Being in Vegas was like being on a human safari. Who are these people, these people who bleach their big hair and wear rhinestones and hooker boots, who wheel their strollers full of squalling children through crowds of scantily-clad cocktail waitresses and boozy gamblers at midnight in a smoke-filled casino? Who are these people who budget only 70 minutes to get through a four course (plus amuse-bouches and petits fours) dinner at a Michelin two-star restaurant, including the time it takes to get seated, order, and pay the bill? Who are these people who spend ten minutes poring over their tab at an upscale bar and still do the math wrong? Who, when asked by their dinner companions what truffles are, respond, "They are really expensive, and pigs dig them out of the dirt"? These are the people who go to the Bodies exhibition, an attraction that you would think would have more appeal for a slightly more learned and scientifically-oriented crowd, and yet they fill the guest book with comments from "Annoymis" (we assume they meant "Anonymous") about how the dissected cadavers are proof that man did not create man, but God created man (did anyone ever argue that we were created by humans?), and who fill two pages with non sequiturs about gymnastics (there was nothing in the exhibit about gymnastics).

These are also the people who, according to the billboards and publicity we saw, voted Carrot Top "Entertainer of the Year" and "Comedian of the Year." He plays in the same hotel as "Menopause: The Musical."

As I said, Vegas is a strange, strange place full of strange, strange people. Only in America would you find a place like Vegas, and so much of Vegas makes you think, "Only in Vegas..."

The drive to and from Vegas was long, but punctuated with some notable sights. Although we didn't make it to see the largest can of fruit cocktail, the biggest building shaped like a bulldozer, the Cowboy Museum and Library (which has what may be the world's largest collection of branding irons), we did make it to see:

The world's biggest shoe, which was surrounded by what appeared to be the world's largest concentration of check cashing shops, bail bond operations, and liquor stores. We didn't stay long.

The world's tallest thermometer -- that was a bonus that we spotted on the road. We also saw exits for Zzyzx Road and Twenty Mule Team Road. And there was a town called Boron. Small things become exciting after nine hours on the road.

The world's biggest Swedish coffeepot didn't seem all that Swedish, although there were Swedish-themed bars and gift shops nearby, in a town that is vaguely Swedish-ish, so we think that it just wanted to fit in. We barely made it in time to see the world's largest box of raisins before it got dark. There are no raisins in it anymore. So it's really just the world's biggest raisin box now. It's at the headquarters of Sun-Maid. There was a gift shop. It sold raisins, but it also sold things like penguin decorations and scented candles. I'm not sure if they thought there was some kind of raisin-kitsch synergy that they would be tapping into in their gift shop. It didn't work on us, but maybe there's a big raisins-and-doodads market out there, and if so, it would have to be another case of "Only in America."