10 August 2007

Groovin to the music

My anonafriends and I went to the Ventura County Fair (yes, the very same fair that Queen of Spain had so much fun at the other day).

We were there to see The Bangles, not because we're huge fans, but because it was free with admission and our other choices were some country acts or REO Speedwagon.

(Have I ever told you about my theory that almost any punchline can be improved by inserting "REO Speedwagon" in it somewhere?)

The Motels opened. I had to look up their discography before the show to refresh my memory. Their big hits were "Suddenly Last Summer" and "Only the Lonely."

So there we were, sitting in those cheap-ass flimsy plastic folding chairs in the middle of the fair racetrack in the dirt, with the sun still up and the wind blowing off the ocean, listening to a band we barely remembered and weren't particularly fond of. The rest of the crowd was pretty quiet, too, huddled down waiting for the Bangles.

But it was all good, because we had kettle korn and each other, and we also had some real entertainment.

The guy down the row from us was one of those big, beefy, red-faced dudes. He wore all khaki (the army kind, not the Dockers kind) - shorts, vest, hat. He looked pretty shitfaced.

But dang he loved him some Motels. I really wouldn't have taken him for their target demographic, but there he was, standing up, dancing and looking overjoyed.

When "Only the Lonely" came on, he began lip synching all the lyrics, complete with hand gestures like tracing an arc through the sky with his index finger.

I loved it. My theory is, when you're feeling it, feel it. Shine on, you crazy diamond. Carpe diem.

08 August 2007

Playing nice

I took down the Dollar Rent a Car sucks posts. They did, after all, give me $175 in credit, which I used for this last trip. I rented a Dodge Caliber and it was all just wonderful.

Thanks, Dollar Rent a Car, for restoring my faith. And to Vicious Rumours for kicking their butts to make it happen.

07 August 2007

Insider this

I got a satisfaction survey emailed to me from the W Chicago Lakeshore Hotel.

I was eager to fill it out because:
1. I am a major survey junkie
2. I had some big issues with the W and felt like they of course needed MY valuable input because, as we all know, I am right about everything.

Hidden among the other survey questions was this gem:
Did you feel you were given insider access to the W Lifestyle?


I read the question once. Then I read it again. I read it with my head cocked to one side like Nipper the RCA Records dog, thinking THAT might help.

Insider access to the W Lifestyle? Like I need a special pass to enjoy modern furniture and loud music?

Here’s a question back for Starwood Hotels, the W's parent company: did you feel like you were given insider access to the Suebob lifestyle? Or the Oh, the Joys lifestyle? Or the PunditMom lifestyle? Oh, you didn’t? Too bad. You really should try it sometime.

I can guarantee you that no matter how interesting-looking your building is, no matter how carefully you select the elevator music or how great the view is, our "lifestyles" will always be more interesting than the W Hotel.

Given the choice between spending an all-expenses paid day at the W with full "insider access" (whatever that is) and spending an hour having a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee while chatting with ByJane on a park bench, I’d choose the blogger every time. But maybe I just don't understand the importance and magnificence of a lifestyle built on $8 waters and pretty lampshades. But I think I do.

My opinion is that the W does a good job of creating a nice artificial reef for all the pretty people to gather 'round. It is amusing in its way. But it's not a life, nor a lifestyle. It is, after all is said and done, just a place to eat and sleep and pay a lot for the privilege.

If you google "insider access to the W Lifestyle," you’ll see that Starwood Hotels marketing geniuses are all into the idea. They even offer "curated events" like small, intimate concerts, dinners with famous chefs, etc, so those with the means (cash, moola, ducats, bank, green) can make a special memory (after dropping a bale of money, of course).

Some of us are too busy doing what we do to need curated events. The best event I have been to in the past few weeks was an afternoon watching six of my nieces' kids run around on the lawn like maniacs. It was heart-stoppingly beautiful and perfectly memorable. The second best event lately was meeting about 300 great women at BlogHer.

Both required substantial input from me to make happen. No one curated them. I don't have a life concierge. That’s the way I like it. Me. My life where I create my own "insider access" because I am the true insider, the one who knows my insides.

I have met some famous people in my time, usually at work. And I have met plenty of non-famous people, too. Guess what? They’re pretty much the same to hang out with. There is no magic dust that the rich or famous sprinkle around to make life more special or interesting.

My sister used to say "We can have more fun with $5 than most people can have with $1000." She wasn’t exaggerating, either (though it may have gone up to $10 by now). That’s just part of the fabulous Bob Lifestyle, to which insider access is highly restricted and available only to a select few.

06 August 2007

My fabulous life. Be jealous.

I live in a multi-cultural neighborhood where I am the multi. I am one of the few non-Latinos around, and I like it that way. I can practice my Spanish, walk to 2 great panaderias, and get chiles rellenos made with real poblano chiles, not those slimy crap canned Ortega things.

In the evening, much of the neighborhood goes out for a stroll. We have a lovely park and a lovely path, and Goldie and I often join in the procession.

Tonight we strolled and smiled and nodded with the best of them. There were several differences between me and my neighbors, though.

They are Latino and I am white. They stroll in families, me with my dog. And their pants were on right-side out, and mine were not.

Gringa loca.


I didn't realize that my fat-ass yoga pants were on inside out until I went to the squirt-it-ur-self car wash and I wanted to put my change in my pocket. Which was outside my pants with the hole on the inside. Ah, the glamour.

I was standing there pondering what to do, the only person at the four-stall car wash. A guy pulled up RIGHT behind me. I was irked. Why didn't he pick another stall?

"Escuuuse me," said the driver, an old man. "But I have these..."(pointing to a pair of grungy crutches next to him on the seat) "and I cannot wash my own car. You can help me, please?"

I looked around. I was by myself. There was this apparently crippled old guy. About a thousand thoughts went through my head.

- Ted Bundy used to lure women in with the crippled routine.
- Is he going to give me quarters, or do I have to pay for the wash, too?
- Is he going to wait until I am distracted by washing the car, then pull a gun on me, drive me away and rape me?
- Am I going to look in the car while I am washing and find him spanking his monkey?

But I am always preaching kindness. I sighed.

"Sure," I said. He handed me some quarters. "Que paso?" What happened?

"Se quitaron la pierna," he answered. He made a cutting motion. He had lost a leg.

I began washing his car. A homeless guy came up and asked me for change.

"Um, this isn't my change," I said. "It isn't even my car." I started to laugh. One good deed at a time, huh, buddy?

I got done with the one-legged man's car.

"All finish?" he asked.

"Si, senor. Dios te bendiga," I said. God bless you.

I got a big smile and about 40 thank yous in return. Some people really just want a shiny car, I guess.


In other news, my tweezers are missing since Chicago. If you see a woman with her pants on inside out and a unibrow, chances are it is me.
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