THE WORST LINES TO STAND IN – CHANGE OF ORDER

dmv

During my entire adult life there have been 5-lines which required standing in that I knew would be a long wait. These lines consistently irritate me and every one else in line unless your a saint. You could never just pop in and out, you were at the mercy of how fast the clerks were willing to move X the number of people in line giving you an overrall hassle indicator. The strange thing is how wait times in line have changed due to new automation and society’s priorities making some lines worse than before and others better. The five most annoying lines are shown below and ranked 1-5 by the hassle factor  30-years ago versus today ( 1 being the worst line, 5 the easiest to endure).

DMV – Old rank – / Current rank –      This line used to be the monster of all lines. It was a place where all people were equal. You waited in line to find out what line to wait in next. Black, white, rich, poor, male, female, all ethnicities were represented and all had to wait in the same lines. That was the only positive of this line, just viewing the incredible diversity standing and waiting. These people wouldn’t interact with those around them in any social situation, just the DMV line. The workers knew that the line was long, as it was ever single day, so no need to rush as the line would remain the same. The popular thought was that since they were municipal workers they didn’t give a crap but I believe the system was so antiquated and inefficient that it could never work faster. Then a light went off in someone’s head and the DMV encouraged and accepted making appointments…a huge step for mankind. I thought it originally to good to be true, but it actually worked. If you had an appointment for 2pm you were done and gone in less than 20-minutes. They actually kept their appointments, why somebody would not take advantage of this is a mystery to me. The DMV’s still look the same, smell the same, have the same clientele, but now work with efficiency plus one doesn’t need to go to a DMV all that often. DMV improves the most from #1 to #4.

POST OFFICE – Old rank –2 /Current rank – 3  The post office has had long irritating lines since 194ever. This was the epitomy of government workers really not giving a shit about how long you were waiting. If the 3- working clerks were staring at lines wrapped around and outside the door and it was time for one to take a break the closed sign comes out and the clerk is gone, no questions. The clerks could move at an incredibly slow pace almost giving the perception of no movement at all. This was definitely a case of slow workers, not the ignorance of those in line as is often the reason. Enter computers and the ability to figure out correct mailing costs and print from home, plus computerized weigh stations in the post office making it possible to meter and mail a package without standing in line. There also seems to be a new breed of clerks that actually care how about the consumer and the swifter movement of lines. Going to the post office, if need be, has a lower hassle index.

BANK LINES – Old rank – / Current rank – 5  Bank lines are really a thing of the past. What a difference time has made. You can now take a picture of a check and deposit it. ATM’s are a convenient way to get cash and I really can’t remember the last time I stood in a bank line. Far cry from the past when lines were agonizingly slow. This was a case of morons in the line more than bad cashiers. People would regularly not have proper ID, try to cash banks from another bank, filling out deposit forms wrong and then actually yell at cashiers for not fulfilling their request. I never understood what they thought they could accomplish by yelling, banks have strict rules, but I have witnessed more arguments in bank lines than any other place. Maybe because it has to do with money which will bring out the worst in us all. So bank lines moves to #5 making it the least annoying line currently…in fact the need for bank cashiers has dropped dramatically in recent years.

RETURN LINE – Old rank –4 / Current rank – 2    I’m referring to the Best Buys, Home Depots, Sears (used to be a popular store) and other large chains. They are quick to take your money when you are buying but drag their feet when it comes to returns. The blame here seems to be evenly split between store and consumer. The store never has enough staff to handle the lines and the consumer will try any scheme possible to return a product that is no longer to their liking. If consumers just took a minute to save their original receipt the wait time would be cut in half…but no, “I lost my receipt and this scratch was on it when I bought it”. This guy will take a good 20-minutes to get it staightened out. I hate return lines, I always feel like they are looking at me suspiciously. My wife doesn’t even twitch when it comes to returning and always tells me that Nordstroms is the best.

 PHARMACIES – Old rank –5 / Current rank – 1   The new worst line to stand in, bar none. Maybe I am getting older and have to go to a pharmacy more often to get my lipitor to keep my heart from corroding with cholesterol. Waiting in line at the pharmacy takes long even if there are only five people in front of you. People in these lines have to look up to see stupid. The chances of someone walking up to the clerk, giving their name, picking up their prescription, paying, and leaving within 3-minutes is one in a hundred. I’m talking just the pick-up line, the drop-off line is another matter. The following scenarios all play out, 1) insurance coverage hassles…doesn’t anyone know who their insurance carrier is and what the co-payment is?, 2) prescription not ready for pick-up…the doctor was supposed  to call in a prescription but didn’t or person called in wrong prescription number, 3) the customer accusing pharmacy for overcharging them…” I only paid $5.00 last time, why are you charging me $8.00 now?” Maybe because your co-payment has gone up and the pharmacy isn’t trying to cheat you. 4) I don’t speak English and no one at the pharmacy speaks Vietnamese…so maybe if we talk real slowly at one another we can communicate, 5) I forgot to pick up my prescription that I called in 5-weeks ago and now it has been put back…” Can you please fill it again while I wait?”. Pharmacies now have a PLEASE WAIT HERE sign that keeps those in line about 10-feet away from the actual pharmacist while they are serving another customer so their private medications cannot be overheard. This is frustrating because before you could kill time by overhearing the pathetically lame people give their incoherent explanations and try to complete the process.  This is the only current line that still has me saying – ” How F–King stupid are you?”. Pharmacies are the new #1 worst lines to wait in as other industries have shortened their lines through computerization and new policies.  How bad do you need your Oxiconton?

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HOW TO LOOK COOL AFTER FALLING

hurt       hurt2

Do you remember the pressure in Jr. High (called Middle School now) not to do anything that may bring attention to yourself. You’ll do whatever possible not to be laughed at or embarrassed. I was in the 6th grade, Jr. High was grades 6-8, and I went to Foothill Intermediate School which was a public school of about 1,200 students. The girls were about a foot taller than the boys and everyone seemed to have the same thing on their mind, don’t do anything stupid, just make it thru the day without an incident. My incident came on a day like any other. The school had a ground floor and two levels above that. To get to the upper floors there were only two stairwells at each end of the building. In between classes you only had 5-minutes to get to the next class making the stairways look like a NY subway. I was doing my best to look cool with my hip wide wale cords, thick leather belt, and paisley shirt. I had both my hands shoved down my front pockets and acted like I didn’t care about anything. I began to climb the stairs to the 2nd floor when my world unraveled. I actually stepped on my untied shoestring and fell face-first on the cement stairs as my hands were still in my pockets…nothing to block the fall except my head and shoulder on the stairs. I hit midway up the stairs and slid down about 4-steps with my head bumping on each step like something out of a cartoon. The pain of hitting face first on the cement was only second to the total humiliation of having most of the school see me spaz-out. My friends busted out in laughter and others joined in and those that weren’t laughing were just glad it wasn’t them being laughed at. I finally got up by myself as no one was going to help me and be associated with a nerd. I had blood trickling down from above my eye and felt like I had just been hit by a semi. My head hurt like hell and my shoulder felt like it had been fractured in 5-places, but the pressure was on to get out of this situation as soon as possible. I acted like I was fine, no problem, and even tried to laugh it off while my body was on fire. I even joined my friends in laughing at the situation and acted like all was fine until I could get up the stairs, across the school, down the stairs on the other side of school, and to the nurses office. The nurse put a mega-big bandage on my head and wanted to call my parents which I denied and told her I was fine. Now I had to go back to class with this bandage on my head bringing even more attention to my mishap. I ripped off the bandage when my head stopped bleeding and wondered for the rest of the day if I had done serious damage to my head and shoulder. I learned two things that day; that mom was right about tripping over untied shoestrings, and after falling just get up and act like nothing happened. Fast forward to college – thanks Wayne – and to my junior year at San Diego State. There were about 20 of us having a day party at Mission Beach drinking beers which was legal back then ( drinking beer on the beach, not underage drinking). I was not intoxicated, I think annihilated would be a better term. Three of us decided to take a bike ride on our cruisers, not a smart idea, but hey, I was in college. It was a hot day and the boardwalk was jammed pack. That didn’t stop my friend and I from racing to the jetty zig-zagging between walkers and other bikers. What did stop me was another bike just entering the boardwalk . I hit it straight on and was flipped over my handlebars landing on my back and sliding another 5-feet. There were close to 50 beachgoers  who witnessed my horrific accident and everyone knew it was my fault for going too fast…6th grade all over again. So what do I do? Just get up and act like everything was OK. Sure my bike frame was bent and the bike I hit had a tangled front wheel, so I just grabbed my bike and walked away. My back had about 3/4 of the skin scraped off but actually the beer was a great pain-killer. The pain kicked in about 2-hours later when I went into the ocean and the saltwater was like pouring salt into a wound, not figuratively.

I think everyone has taken an embarrassing fall at least once, if not more, in their lives. How do you save face? Laughing it off seems to be a popular solution as we’ve seen on America’s Funniest Videos…and some of those falls had to have hurt bad. Or acting like nothing bad happened and just brush it off while your body is screaming in pain. As you get older people actually show concern for you if you’ve fallen, but for the youth you have to remain cool and collected, no matter the pain. I’ve seen others take falls and will come to their aid if they look over 50, under 50 they have to tough it out. There was one exception in college when we were playing intra-mural softball and an outfielder was giving chase to a long hit ball and looking over his shoulder when he ran straight into a light pole…out cold. We all ran out thinking he might be dead, but he eventually came to and stood up and acted like he was OK. It was a nice recovery and I’m sure his head felt like a lead balloon, but he played it off with coolness. Ski resorts are the best place for watching slips and fall downs…ice loves this game. People go down every minute and ice hurts. Kids under 12 can just cry, scream, wail, and mother bear will be there soon to make everything all right. Teenagers can never show pain as they might be embarrassed. The 20’s crowd is pretty much the same, but even more macho like bring it on , I can handle anything. At 30 you start to actually feel the pain , but still choose to act like it didn’t hurt, then slither away. When you hit 40 you just lay there and try to let the pain subside until you can get up and walk to shelter, maybe even have the brains to seek medical attention. At 50 you don’t care about what others think, your only concern is how much damage is done. While your laying in the exact position that you fell you first make sure you can wiggle your toes, then move your legs, your arms, and finally your neck and head. If everything checks out you just thank God and get up slowly usually with the aid of a concerned on-lookers. After 60 you just stay down and wait for help to arrive. Falling down is embarrassing and hurtful, is it really worth acting like nothing happened? If your in 6th grade the answer is definitely YES.

DRIVING LA FREEWAYS

freeway

Ok, there are several unwritten rules that need to be understood before venturing out onto the freeways of LA. First rule is: Don’t drive the freeways if you are a crappy driver. You put yourself and everyone around you in danger. If you are the type of person who comes to a stop and puts your car in reverse because you missed a turn-off, stay off the freeways. If you drive under 55 mph, stay off the freeways. There are 4-basic lanes and sometimes a carpool lane that all have there own purpose. The lane to the far right is the SLOW lane and is also known as the LAME lane. If you think 55 is the maximum you can drive, stay in this lane. If you can barely see over the steering wheel, are learning to drive, driving a car so messed up it can barely reach 55, or are from out-of-state and have never been on a freeway, this is your lane. If you are a good to great driver, stay OUT of this lane and leave it for the unworthy. If you are a FAST driver and are in this lane you cannot honk your horn at slower drivers, this is their lane, leave them alone, they will generally screw-up on their own.  I know you have to get on and off the freeway by using this lane, but do it quickly or you may run up the back of a driver doing 45 mph. The far right lane should be thought of as the SPECIAL NEEDS lane. The drivers here should be wearing helmets. The next lane over, second to the right, is Truckers Alley. The semis own this lane and it is best to pass thru this lane as swift as possible or your stuck staring at mud guards with naked ladies and sandwiched between two angry truckers with the one behind you climbing up your ass. You also have no visibility as the truck in front of you blocks out any sunlight. You may also get stuck behind a open semi carrying dirt and pebbles which inevitably fly out of the truck onto your hood and windshield. This really pisses me off… they have to know their load is getting sprayed over all the cars behind them.The trucks are also terribly noisy and it often feels like you can be sucked under one…very bad lane, get out quick. Now that you have made it thru the dorks and truckers you now have made it to the normal lane, third from right lane. People in this lane drive to work everyday on the freeway, know all the basics like using a signal when changing lanes and keeping up with the flow speed-wise, usually 60-70 mph. It’s a safe lane with no need for sudden freak-outs like exiting or merging. The far right laners like to sometimes venture out to the normal drivers lane, so it is perfectly legal to climb up their ass and let them know they are going too slow and get back to the far right asap. You can also honk at them if they are going 55 or under…just hope they make it through truckers alley or you may feel guilty if they get accordioned (nw) between two trucks. Biggest problem with this lane is that driver’s are so tired and bored of driving to work and back they develop bad habits like falling asleep, not paying attention to the driver in front of them until they are in the person’s trunk, texting, and drinking coffee which eventually spills on them so they take eyes off road to wipe up. Putting on make-up while driving on a freeway is the worst but I must admit it takes talent. Just look at the faces of people driving in this lane and it is one emotionless stare as if they are being herded to work and back. It is uncool to honk at others in this lane, unless they’ve fallen asleep, or cars from the two adjacent lanes have drifted into yours. Then there is the fast lane. This lane is for the drivers who are in a hurry, have super-cool sports cars, or just like to go fast. The minimum speed limit here is 70 mph and 80 is acceptable. In a perfect world there would be no speed limit for the fast lane, any car going slower than the car approaching it would have to pull over to a slower lane and let the faster car pass…always. You must be a excellent driver to use this lane and I think we should have a special decal on our back drivers license plate to prove who is capable of using the fast lane. Horns in this lane are legit, particularly if a driver feels like 60 mph is the correct speed for the fast lane…keep your hand on horn until driver relents and moves over. Drivers in this lane also must accept responsibility of being a fast driver, no texting, talking on phone, not paying attention or you will re-enact Paul Walker’s fate. Your only move in case of trouble is to pull onto the  freeway shoulder to the left (hopefully there is one), you cannot interfere with drivers to the right. It’s the price you pay for unlimited speed. Car Pool Lanes – Great idea but I don’t know of anyone who carpools specifically to use this lane. The idea of this lane is to go faster than the other 4-lanes with more than 1-person in the car, so don’t get in car-pool lane and go 50mph, it kills the whole idea. It is also acceptable to drive solo in this lane if your a gambler, the fine for getting caught is currently $481.00, a big gamble. I have tried it once or twice but I feel like a felon and get neck aches from looking for cops. In my opinion, not worth it. These are the basic rules of LA freeway driving that you didn’t learn at school…SLOW-RIGHT, FAST-LEFT, no exceptions. ALSO – Do not get in a physical altercation on the road as some psycho could have a gun or steel pipe ready and in 10-minutes you’ll forget about it anyway. It just isn’t worth it…keep ego in check and your middle finger down.

FLINTSTONES VS. THE JETSONS

Flintstones   Jetsons    

The Flintstones are so old that the word gay means happy as in their theme song, “You’ll have a gay old time”. I love this group and so does the rest of the world. In 2013, TV Guide ranked the Flintstones the second greatest cartoon of all time behind The Simpsons. Produced by Hanna-Barbera this animated hit ran in Prime-Time from 1960-1966 on ABC , was a staple on Saturday morning cartoons for years and still can be seen on kids cable TV. I think I saw every episode from ages 6-12. The Flintstones is about a working class Stone Age man’s life with his family and his next door neighbors and best friends, The Rubbles. Fred was the main character and worked at the Slate Rock & Gravel Company owned by Mr. Slate. Fred was easy to piss-off and always seemed to be yelling someone’s name out…particularly his wife’s, Wilma. I used to love it when his shift ended at work and he slid down a dinosaur’s back and tail to leave. Fred and his best friend, Barney, get in to a lot of arguments but eventually make-up as best friends do. Barney seems more simple-minded and friendly plus he has the hottest wife in Bedrock…maybe this is why Fred is always upset and Barney has a smile on his face. The wives, Betty and Wilma, love to spend money…even in the Stone Age. I think I could hang with Fred and Barney and bowl a couple games with them. Maybe they could get me in to Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes and we could do some beers together. I know I would have to try out Fred’s car which is foot powered and makes a cool sound when their feet hit the road. Hills could be tough. Dino is the family pet who constantly knocks down Fred upsetting him even more. There is also The Great Gazoo , an alien from the future sent back to the stone-age and can be seen by only Fred, Barney and small children like Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm. I didn’t like this character, too confusing for a 7-year old. I did love Pebbles and to this day think Bamm-Bamm could be a top multi-sport athlete…I mean the kid is a stud. Life is good in Bedrock, I wouldn’t mind owning a home on the same block. You would have to give up some modern amenities but the Flintstones got by using tiny dinosaurs to power their appliances and even had had shell telephones. But overall when your with the Flintstones you’ll have a yabba dabba doo time. Note – Fred’s character was based off Jackie Gleason from The Honeymooners both in physique and voice. Also the voice of Barney Rubble was done by the famous Mel Blanc ( Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and a dozen other Warner Bros. characters). Long live The Flintstones.

The first time I saw George Jetson wake-up and get ready for work by moving along a conveyor belt without moving a muscle I was hooked. How cool was that. The Jetsons also produced by Hanna-Barbera ran in Prime-Time from 1962-’63 and has been a cornerstone of Saturday morning cartoon blocks and kid’s networks. It was actually the first program ever to be broadcast in color on ABC. The Jetsons live in the year 2062, when elaborate robotic contraptions and space-age travel are the norm. Orbit City has all of it’s homes and businesses raised above ground. Travel is done by aerocars with cool transparent bubble tops…like future pope mobiles. You can drop off your passengers at various locations just by pushing a button and the passengers will transport to their designated location in a mini-bubble. The family consisted of George, his wife Jane, kids Judy & Elroy, a live-in robot maid, Rosie, and Astro, the dog. Life was designed to be leisurely with George working 3-hours per day, 3-days per week and the entire household had push-button convieniences. Unfortunately these devices often broke down and if any work at all had to be done, Rosie could handle it. I don’t remember any other families on the show, just George’s boss, Cosmo Spacely. George tries his best but always seems to make the wrong decisions and the family complains of exhausting hard labor with the simplest of inconveniences. I remember wanting to be like the 7-year old Elroy and I had my first animated crush on Judy…is that normal? I didn’t think so. The premise of the Jetson’s world was that people were fond of the good life, some may say a lazy-life…I mean George walks Astro on a treadmill. I guess they would fall into space like Sandra Bullock if they went outside. The Jetsons led an easy life, but given the choice I think I would be most comfortable living with The Flintstones. I feel like I know them better. Both shows had cool theme songs which had me running for the TV set. The Jetson’s aerocar kicks butt over the Flinstones foot powered auto but I would like to hang out with Fred and Barney…how about you… Flintstones or Jetsons?

GLASSES CAN BE A TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE

nerd      handsome

I was 11-years old when my father took me to a LA Rams football game at the LA Coliseum, 1965. It was a mega-hot day in late September and our seats were high up. It was so hot that the Butch Wax I had on my hair actually started to melt and run down my face. Butch Wax would be equivalent to today’s hair gel, but it was actually a thick, oily wax in a glass jar (like vaseline) that you would put on the front of your hair to make it stand up straight. While watching the game my dad made a mention of how fast #22 was. I looked down on the field and realized I couldn’t come close to reading the numbers on the player’s backs. I could only tell which team it was by the color of their uniforms. Until that day I had no idea whatsoever that I was terribly nearsighted. When I responded to my father that I couldn’t read any numbers from this high, first he thought I was being a smart-ass about how high the seats were, then he realized I was telling the truth and it was within a week I was at the local optometrist on Foothill Blvd. The optometrist didn’t take long to diagnose what was wrong and gave me a prescription for a pair of glasses…what! I’m in 7th grade and on top of the social anxiety all kids feel at that age I was going to have to wear glasses so I could stand out even more, help. My mind was racing…I’ll be teased, called 4-eyes, probably beaten up repeatedly, not to mention any chance I might have had getting a girlfriend was gone. I’ll be the school geek, this was bad, no wonder I could never read the chalk board from the back of the class. Oh God, now I’ll have to sit up front in class unless I wear glasses. It got worse. In those days there were no frame stores like Lenscrafters with a variety of styles and contact lenses hadn’t come of age yet. You simply went from the optometrist’s exam room to his frame room next door where there were about five styles of frames to choose from…five total…and they were all butt-ugly. I tried on each pair and I felt like I was putting a BEAT ME UP sign on my head each time. I picked what I thought was the least ugly pair and drove home with my mother. I tried them on again about a hundred more times at home hoping by some miracle they would look better, not a chance. Well, the next day of school arrived and it was do-or-die…I died. My vanity had gotten the better of me and I just didn’t wear them, I would rather be half-blind than wear those glasses. Looking back now I can see the foolishness of it all, but in 7th grade wearing glasses was a major life changer. I had chickened out and continued for years to see the world as a blur. Then reality hit again. I was now in high-school and was dead set on getting my drivers license on my 16th birthday. I had the driving part down, the written exam went well, now time to take my picture and get out of the DMV. One problem I had overlooked, the eye exam, FAILED, must wear corrective lenses to drive. You mean the day I had been waiting for since I drove a car in my dad’s lap was going to end like this? I re-took the test with the glasses that had been in hibernation for 4-years and passed it, but still had to face the reality of cruising to high school with glasses on. It was do-or-die time again and again I died. I drove without glasses as it was so important to look cool when you are 16. I had learned to sit somewhere up front in class to see the board, say hi to people that were waving at me even though I didn’t have a clue who they were, and practiced shooting baskets a thousand times until I could shoot well enough without glasses to make the basketball team. Vanity comes with a price. I finally gave in during college as there was so much reading and the lecture halls were so big that the front of the room was simply a blur and I didn’t want to fail due to ego. I got a pair of John Lennon glasses which were somewhat fashionable and started wearing the original hard plastic contact lenses which I never could wear for more than 5-hours. It wasn’t until college that I could see the world clearly.

I now depend on glasses or contact lenses every waking moment. Contact lenses have become so soft and disposable that they are almost enjoyable to wear. But, you still have to go thru the painful process of picking out frames for your glasses. The options are limitless with all the retail frame stores and attention now given to make glasses chic, cool, intellectual, warm…whatever you want them to be. BIG TIP – Don’t pick out frames by yourself, always have someone honest with you. It took many failures before I realized this. You may think you look cool in the frame store, but as soon as you run into a group of friends or family and they start busting out in laughter, you know instantly the joke is on your face…another bad decision. I now like to buy sunglasses and take the lenses out and put prescriptions in. I’ve stopped experimenting with new looks. I found a pair of frames that work and I’m sticking with them. I did get a chuckle when I went to a vintage frame store in Pasadena and saw the pair of glasses from 1965 that had caused me so much angst.

DAYDREAMERS LIVE HERE

hogwarts        caterpillar

Daydreamers come in all ages although I think you originally master the skill while in elementary school.You have been sitting for over 60-minutes and it just happens…your mind wonders away from reality to some far-off place. Everything is perfect there, you can be whoever you want, wherever you want, it doesn’t even have to be a place on any map. The place can just be in your head and you can be king or queen, adventurer, princess, hero, swordsman, dragon killer, or the fairest of them all. I consider myself a professional daydreamer, I don’t get paid, but I have spent so many hours with my head in the clouds that I’m a pro. Daydreaming can take you to far away places or places you didn’t even know existed. Many of these places are a reflection of a book you read or a movie you have seen. If you could take a magical pill and travel to another land, which one would you choose?

1. Wonderland – Follow Alice down the rabbit’s hole to a heavily wooded area full of mushrooms and odd characters. There are well-kept gardens, palaces, and a seacoast where Mock Turtle lives. I could hang with the Mad Hatter, smoke with the Caterpillar, and run around with the White Rabbit. It would be cool to be any size you wanted, maybe I could take a drink and become 8-feet tall and come back to play in the NBA, although I doubt I could make it back up the rabbit hole. I would rather stay in the woods and stay out of the way of the Queen of Hearts…the King sounds pretty cool though. Crazy is normal in Wonderland…my first pick.

2. OZ – Dorothy made it to Oz and back, too bad nobody really believed her, but I did. I mean how could they do a Return To Oz if it wasn’t real? Another woodsy setting with a lotta’ small people running around. I could play at my regular height in the munchkin NBA at the Oz Arena and dominate. Emerald City looks like a beautiful city but with Oz gone I heard it has gotten run down. The Wicked Witches of the East & West are now gone, so at least it is safe. I would pass on Oz as it doesn’t seem the same with a lot of the key characters gone. I mean how long can you hang with the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion?

3. Neverland – If I was still a kid this place would be the bomb. Never growing up would be awesome. Being a Lost Boy and fighting pirates with Peter is a kids dream, not to mention the ability to fly. Two major problems: I’m close to 60-years old and I’ve already grown up, and secondly, no chicks…Neverland is a sausage fest. It does have mermaids in the Mermaids’ Lagoon, but I don’t understand how that works.

4. Hogwarts – Popular with the Potter People, Hogwarts is actually a school inside a huge, rambling, castle that is supported by magic. In the novels we learn Hogwarts is somewhere in Scotland but it is impossible for a Muggle (non-magical person) to find it…but daydreamers can. In fact daydreamers don’t even need to take the Hogwarts Express. Playing Quidditch would be the highlight for me…super cool game…one of the best original games I’ve seen. The biggest negative is the evil sorcery that is going on around you…not my first pick.

5. Toontown – Man, it’s right here in L.A. This place is high on my list. Did you know that every cartoon character lives here? I would get a kick-ass tooncar and cruise Griffith Park doing all kinds of slides, wheelies, and maybe even get a car that flies. I would love to meet Wile E. Coyote and help him capture the Roadrunner, it’s about time. I would also hang with the original Warner Bros. crew of Bugs, Daffy, Porky, & Speedy Gonzales. I would even smash Sylvester the Cat with a sledgehammer just to see him shake it off and return to normal. That is my favorite cartoon trick, to look normal again after having 10-sticks of dynamite blow up in your face, or fall 1,000 feet to the canyon’s bottom, have your body flattened like a pancake, then just shake it off. Toontown rocks!

6. Middle-Earth – Middle Earth is not a place I daydream of but if you are a Rings fan this is your place. Tolkien wrote that Middle-earth is located on our Earth but at a different time. Quite a cast of characters with hobbits, dwarves and elves. A lot of magic again which makes anything possible. I never read the books so I have to go by the movies and they made it look scary, not a good ingredient for day dreaming. I leave this for the dark daydreamers.

7. Camelot – is actually a castle and not a country or territory. It is the fantasy capital of King Arthur’s realm. Being fictional it is located nowhere in particular, but many think it is somewhere in Great Britain. Live was good, but like all castles the sanitation is bad as I learned from The Black Knight. Camelot reminds me of Richard Burton (musical), and John F. Kennedy. It is a good daydreaming era for the romantic and adventerous. Medieval Times is just not my thing.

I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wondering – Steven Wright          I live my daydreams in music – Albert Einstein…Good tip Al, it’s great to put on the headphones for some enlightened daydreams.

SILENCE OF THE TURKEYS

turkey

Like Clarice in Silence of the Lambs I have my own animal slaughterhouse story. When I was in 4th grade my father and I joined a YMCA  group for elementary boys similar to today’s Indian Guides except that the tribes were divided up by school. We had intra-mural sports on Saturday mornings and there was a focus on wilderness, hiking, & father-son relationships. One weekend we took an overnight trip to Joshua Tree, CA, which is straight east of LA at the start of the Mojave Desert. Eleven kids and about five dads ( dads tend to bail out on the full weekend thing, but that’s cool ), spent the night in sleeping bags and pup tents. We learned to camp, build a fire without a match (never worked so a lighter was brought out) and certain survival guides, but mostly is was about having fun in the wide open. On late Saturday afternoon one of the fathers arranged for a tour of a turkey farm that was just 5-miles from town. There were thousands if not tens of thousands of turkeys in rudimentary housing. The stench of turkey and turkey feces just lumed in the warm air…it was a run down turkey farm. This was 1965 and there weren’t the restrictions on domestic food like there is today. We next went into the slaughter house (whatever dad set this up was either sadist or brain dead) where I saw an assembly line of turkeys grabbed up by their feet and hooked upside down to what looked like a gigantic dry cleaning conveyor belt. They were gawking and flapping their wings until they got to the man in the yellow and red rain jacket. He simply took his long knife and sliced the neck of each turkey as it came by making it rain blood each time, and the conveyor belt never stopped. I would say he could kill one turkey every 5-seconds which would be about 720 per hour for eight hours each day. The turkeys then went thru a enclosed fire where there feathers were burnt off and on from there to eventually our tables. The smell of freshly killed and singed turkeys was overwhemingly puignant…bad enough to vomit, but you are warned not to, like that will stop you. Three kids bailed out at the sight of turkeys having their necks sliced, two kids vomited outside the house, and the rest of us were stunned silent…what did we just see? I couldn’t get over that someone had the job of slicing one turkey’s neck after another…it was haunting to me, like a mass murderer or something, but 40-hours a week, every week. That place stunk like death squared. What a crappy place to take a bunch of 9-year olds…how ’bout we stick to hiking and enjoying the smell of unpolluted air.

Did you know that turkeys are one, if not number one, of the dumbest domestic animals on the planet? Turkeys have been known to stare straight up into the sky when it is raining and subsequently drown themselves. They are so domesticated they cannot have sex anymore. Every female turkey is fertilized by humans. They have a zero chance of survival without humans.    As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!! – WKRP in Cincinnati, 1978                                                                                                                                                                                

THE FITNESS CLUB EXPERIENCE

gym equipment      weight lifter

An elderly man was at a fitness club and noticed two young, hot, in-shape girls, working out in tight spandex. He went over to one of the club instructors and asked: “What machine should I use to impress these two young women?  ” The instructor pointed to the ATM machine in the lobby.     We’ve all signed up for a fitness club at least once in our lives, I personally had three memberships at one time. When you sign up you have every intention of using the club regularly and getting yourself in shape. In reality 50% of all new health club members quit within first 6-months of signing up and 90% will stop going regularly within the first 90-days. The thought was there. Each Health Club has it’s own identity but I’ve learned that the newer they are, the better they are. The new ones just smell better, have better and more equipment and have actual light shining in. Most Health Clubs have the same basic lay-out:

1. Main Workout Area – This is usually the first area you see upon entering and can make a fast judgement on how nice the club is. It is the cardio area and the clientele can be quickly scanned. How many machines do they have? How many open machines do they have? Are there young hotties of opposite sex working out or is it all geriatrics pedaling in slow motion on a stationary bicycle? Even the older people want to see younger people at the club. Are people wearing decent work-out clothes? If you walk in and see a number of people working out in their street clothes, turn around and walk out. Does it smell fresh or is the BO just stuck on the walls? Does the reception area offer towels? I’ve noticed that all new clubs have towels for members but after one-year they drop the service because people apparently steal all the towels. Main Workout area is key as that’s where I spend 90% of my time on treadmill, bikes and elliptical.

2. Free Weight Area – This is the ‘roid area where the muscle heads do their work-out. You often see the heavy duty leather weightlifting belts and gloves with cut-out fingers. I am intimidated to enter this area as I am an obvious outsider…you can’t fake having big muscles and abs. Biggest clue is when I sit down to lift I reduce the weights by 100 lbs. or more letting everyone know I cannot lift as much as the buff woman who just left this station. A lot of these guys just spend too much time in a gym. The most critical piece of equipment in the Free Weight Area are the mirrors lining the walls. I am amazed how long weightlifters can spend looking in the mirror…they are there own best admirers. Occasionally you will see ‘roid rage when someone doesn’t put the weights back in same place.

3. Group Excercise Classes – I’ve never taken a class, but it actually looks like a great way to get a workout in a short time. 90% female attendance as most are dance moves which isn’t macho enough or just too difficult for the average guy. When the door opens, the music just blares out. It’s on my bucket list to try at least once. People leaving look honestly happy to have worked out.

4. Pool – I am a swimmer and the difference between pools in clubs is incredible. First, never swim in an indoor pool. The chlorine to water ratio is about 50/50. If you don’t have goggles on your eyes will fall out like a Nazi in an Indiana Jones movie. If you do have goggles you will see all the body hair collected at the bottom of the pool…Gross. Your own  hair becomes matted and your skin reeks of chlorine, all within 30-minutes.  That’s why I had to join a 2nd club with an outdoor pool, it is so much better no matter what the temperature is outside.

5. Locker Rooms – Another deal breaker. I like to shower at the club to save time from having to drive home again. Old clubs have crappy locker rooms. I’m not overly modest but I don’t like showering in an open area with strangers…it’s just uncomfortable. The modern clubs have individual shower stalls with an actual doors…once you’ve had that, it’s tough to go back, more like impossible.

6. Other Members – When you spend 30-minutes on a treadmill or elliptical you’re eyes are going to check other people out, if not out of curiousity, then boredom. I enjoy reading all the different t-shirts which are mostly colleges or sport teams. When I used to work in Hollywood the clubs were packed with wanna’ be actors and actresses…all young and in shape. Great way to kill time. Almost all clubs have certain stereotypes no matter what club your in. The ipod head banger is usually a young male who seems to have ear plugs permanetly implanted in his head, volume cranked up past 10 so everyone in the immediate area can hear his tunes. As they move around club they bob their head and clinch their lips as if they are super cool…probably listening to Michael Bolton. Chatty Cathy is a relatively new species who cannot stop using their cell phone no matter where they are. If you are on a machine next to them you soon will know all about their lives, even if you don’t want to. Chatty Cathys really bug me…really, you can’t put your phone down while working out. There is also Texty Timmy who will sit at a station without working out as they are too busy texting. Ken & Barbie are gym regulars who are so genetically gifted that they can do a complete core workout without a drop of sweat. No hair is out of place and they look spectacular in their Lycra workout gear, both in and out of the gym. The scary one is the Screaming Banshee. Your in your own world working out when out of nowhere comes a blood-curdling sound from the weight room. It doesn’t matter what weight they are lifting they scream out with every rep…like Martina Sharipova playing tennis. I usually find one sad character I call Anorexic Annie who despite weighing 95-lbs. continues to work out daily until they have no shape at all, just a stick figure body. I think there are more issues with her than weight. There is always at least one Psycho Sam per Club. Middle Aged men who just cruise the club , sometimes with sunglasses on, checking out the babes and creeping the poor girls out. They go home to a room filled with pictures of girls they have met at clubs plastered all over the walls…get ready to call 911 if approached.

A good health club is a bonus to working out. Nothing like a good workout to get the blood flowing and hopefully drop some lbs. Most people are respectful of others and are generous to make machines available to others. Some, including myself, even carry a small towel to wipe down the machines after use. But the key is to work-out, then get out, before you become addicted to mirrors or become a gym rat known to all others as a piece of furniture.