Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Last Friday the Misers checked out the permanent collection at MOCA for free! As everybody knows, the Misers HATE to pay for parking, and since there is no free parking downtown, we had to spend a little bit of time searching for the best lot. The MOCA parking cost about $20 every 15 minutes, so that was out - way out. We finally found a place around the corner from the museum on 2nd Street that cost $6 for the whole afternoon. What a deal! 
We met an old friend at MOCA and wandered around the museum, checking out the permanent collection. Sparky and I liked the Rothkos and Raushenbergs the best, while Bee preferred the fountains outside. MOCA is not as little kid friendly as LACMA, in fact most of the guards were scared of lil' B - I guess they were afraid that she was going to destroy the art.  Sheesh! Don't worry about it uptight guards, Bee wasn't going to actually ruin anything, just "kid handle" it. So much of the work there is hung really low, or just placed smack dab in the middle of the floor just daring kids to go wild on it. What do they expect? They should have a "You Must Be This Tall" to enter sign in front. But they don't... And sadly, much of the work there seems dated. I suppose that is the problem with a lot of contemporary art - it just doesn't hold up well in the long run. But it was free, and the Misers always enjoy looking at art, and it was great to see our friend who we haven't see in about 15 years. Fun was mostly had by all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oil Change Holiday!

The message could not have been clearer. CHANGE ENGINE OIL NOW, said the robot brain of our Ford Explorer. Firestone on Brand offered the best price & location. It was only one short block from the Americana At Brand, an indoor/outdoor mall perfect for southern California. Indeed, the sun was out, the weather threatened us with 80 degrees at noon, why not turn a tedious chore into something worthwhile? Misers ho!

After dropping off the truck we walked and skipped to the mall. Three years ago I could never have imagined myself doing something so gay - and I think I mean that in the right way. But there it is. Right as we reached the Americana borders, music from the bushes called out to us. Invariably it's Rat Pack music, not exactly kid music, and indeed Frank Sinatra beckoned the Miser Family into the alternative reality that is The Americana At Brand. The shimmering verisimilitude to the Prisoner TV show buzzed in the mild Santa Ana air. We rolled with it. Their 90 foot Christmas tree with ornaments the size of footballs swayed in the November California blue sky. My lips chapped just standing there. 
Right off, at Jamba Juice, they were offering free flat breads. One for each of us! So lunch was on the house and the Misers were feeling good. We sat at a fountain-side table to enjoy our "pizza" as the waterworks started dancing. This massive fountain is constantly in motion, but once an hour a musical theme comes on and it's no holds barred. The giant gold statue of a naked dude writhing in watery paradise suddenly looked as though he were being hosed by the LAPD at a May Day protest. The fountains went nuts, gushing far into the sky, far enough to be blown into our faces - and you know that Bee loved that! Barry White was the rocking soundtrack...

After lunch we boarded the Americana Trolley and took a slow ride around the Prisoner mall fantasy that beckons with shopping imperatives as strongly as it blocks out the reality bucking at its borders. Hence, I'm guessing, the reason they offer condos for sale at the mall. Just imagine: you'd never have to leave if you could afford to live here! Anything not readily available could be easily delivered. For $750,000 you too, could be a permanent role player on The Prisoner.
On the way back to Firestone, and yes, reality, Bee pulled into a couple of shops with kid sized displays luring toddlers like flies to the web. It was beautifully sick... And then at the last stop, Bee popped into a Mexican cafe and stood transfixed at the elaborate ceiling art. It just may have looked to her like the Sistine Chapel. The hostess smiled big. "Do you want a lollipop?" Well, F-yeah I did, but she was talking to Bee of course. (So much for the F-ing Prisoner.) She gave Bee a red colored pop, and she dropped it immediately. It shattered with a stunning disconnection to the fun we'd been having. There were tears, sudden, sudden tears! The hostess came running to offer another lollipop. Again I accepted, got a weird look, and did not get a F-ing lollipop.  But golly it was still fun.

All things considered, our oil change/Americana At Brand was easily as much fun as a day at Disneyland, and tremendously cheaper and more convenient. Perhaps they should consider offering free oil changes at the major amusement parks. After all, they now have competition.

by Guest Blogger Sparky

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pop Culture

I have to admit that I've not been keeping up with The Kardashians. In fact, I don't even know who they are. I asked Sparky. He doesn't know either. He told me that he admitted his ignorance to a friend who said he was lucky, and told him not to bother about it. 
I've always attempted to keep up with pop culture as I like to know what is going on in the world. I think it's important to stay current. But some things  are  better off  not known. Like The Macarena, and I'm guessing here, like The Kardashians. When The Macarena was popular years ago I refused to have anything to do with it. I still haven't really heard it. (It's a song, right? But also a dance? It was performed at weddings, funerals and sporting events as I saw on the TV, but I don't believe it was ever done on Broadway. Was it?)
And some things I know about but would really rather not. Like John and Kate Plus Eight. What the hell? There was no need for me to know about that train wreck of a family, but unfortunately I do, and have actually seen their show once, back before they got into their marital trouble. (I was at my parents and they made me watch it.) And I know about Octomom, but thankfully haven't seen her show, and hopefully never will. Sometimes it really pays to be a Miser and not have cable. But I like pop culture for the most part, and will continue my cautious forays into it. After all, I don't want to end up old and out of it, wearing velour sweatsuits and wishing Johnny Carson was still hosting the Tonight Show. He is retired, right?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Lately I've really been craving carrots, and so I've been eating a lot of them. Before carrots I was completely into lentils - red, black, brown - I just couldn't get enough of that lovely legume. Prior to my lentil phase I was gaga for Ben & Jerry's Karamel Sutra Ice Cream, there is just something about caramel. And before that I was in my cauliflower stage, especially cauliflower cooked in a spicy Indian curry, yummy. I was mentioning my queer food yearnings to Sparky the other day, and it reminded him of Sleeford. 
Back in the day when Sparky and Sleeford both worked at the Recyler they used to play tennis at night up at Scholl Canyon, where there are these well lit courts. Sleeford was a very competitive person - he always played to win, and it made Sparky become a better tennis player. Sleef was always a good sport, so it made his competitiveness palatable. Since they were playing at night they were both trying to get the edge on the other person by drinking carrot juice. They both swore that it improved their night vision, so they would buy some juice a couple of hours prior to playing. Sparky would show up after a break with a carrot juice, and Sleef would ask him about it. "Oh. Did you want one, too? I didn't know," Sparky would say innocently. Then Sleeford would go on break and return with a jumbo sized carrot juice and say; "They were all out of the regular size so I had to get a large." Then they would try to out do the other by sneaking off to buy carrot juice as close to their tennis time as possible in order to gain the upper hand. I don't know how much it really helped their night vision, but they both insisted that it did. And Sleeford probably won more tennis matches than Sparky because he wanted the win more. My recent carrot habit hasn't improved my eyesight as far as I can tell, but they sure are tasty.

Monday, November 9, 2009


We are still Misers. Nothing has changed, in fact we are now actually even more Miserly than we were before. Except for one thing: we have way too much stuff to be true Misers. To my mind, a Miser owns nothing! (Although we aren't the King and Queen of Stuff, we must at least be the Duke and Duchess of Stuff.  Or probably more like the Mutt and Jeff of Stuff. Regardless, we have... Too... Much... Stuff.) My plan is to get rid of a lot of this stuff by year's end. We are probably going to be moving sometime down the road. When? Don't know. Where to? Don't know. All I do know is that we've outgrown our small house and need some place a little bit larger, a little less funky, a little more solid. I do know that I'm not packing up all of this stuff that we've accumulated over all of the years that we have lived here. No way. I dream of a simple, austere life where everything we own is handmade, and everything we eat is homegrown. This is unlikely, but we can at least get a little closer to the ideal. And it somehow starts with getting rid of a lot of our stuff. Who really needs it?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back Home Again, Again

Bee and I just got back from a trip up North to see my family. We went to meet the two newest members of our extended clan, my little twin baby nephews, and to see everyone else of course. Bee loved her new cousins and was very gentle with them - I have to say I am quite proud of her. I liked how she softly patted them on their tiny heads and sweetly cooed to them. The trip went amazingly well except for one minor-ish event which happened on Halloween. (But that wasn't nearly as bad as the multiple disasters we encountered last Christmas at my parents house which is something that none of us will ever forget, another story altogether.)
So Bee and I are back in L.A. with a million things we've got to do between now and Christmas. We are glad to be home and glad to be with Sparky, Glenn and Lila once again. We missed them! It's funny, but when ever I return to L.A. I am always so happy to see palm trees again. They are so exotic and quiescently Los Angeles to me, and seeing them is always comforting because it means I'm back in El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula, which I always seem to miss. Even though the Misers get fed up and exasperated with this town and are often ready to get the hell out of here, it is our home for the time being and we kind of like it here.