Thursday, February 26, 2009

Flying the Friendly Skies

You know how, when you travel somewhere, people always ask you how your trip was? And you say something like, "Fine, a little turbulence, whatever." Well, that didn't happen this time.

Everything started well. Got to the airport on time, no one noticed I had 3.12 ounces of saline solution in my carry on, we traded up to exit row seats. Life was grand.

But then the pilot said they couldn't get the door closed, and please hold on for 15 minutes. Which became 45. Then he said they were looking for the part and it might be another hour. Our connection in Chicago was history. So we, and everyone else -- including my aunt and her friend, who were also flying to the wake -- scrambled off and began frantically called American Airlines. But they said we couldn't make it to Milwaukee that night, so we hatched a plan to fly to Chitown and drive the hour and a half to Milwaukee. Not fun. Luckily, we ran out to the front desk and they found us a spot on Midwest.

But then American wouldn't transfer my aunt's bag, which had this display of photos she'd made for gramma's funeral/wake. She was freaking out, so I let slip that, actually, our relative's ashes were in the suitcase.

And immediately I started seeing a horrible scene take place, right out of Curb Your Enthusiasm. They would hurry to get the bag, we would get on the plane, they'd run with it across the tarmac where it would burst open, and gramma's pictures would fly out. They would see there were no ashes and we would all be tossed off the plane and we'd miss bowling and brats and frozen custard.

So I said I was kidding. But she did try harder to get us that bag.

Then we had to go back through security, with only 20 minutes to reach the plane. This is when April's boot decided to malfunction and not come off. She was frantically hopping around, pulling at that zipper, sweating bullets, but the security people were, luckily, laughing, and they waved the wand around her, and we made it just in time. Thank you Midwest, for making us feel better with your free, hot cookies.

When we landed in Kansas City, we discovered they have a pre-911 airport, where each 2-3 gates has its own security area. Which means that the shops are outside of that area -- and you absentmindedly buy a coffee and then find you can't take it in. And then, they make you leave behind your shaving cream and shampoo and shoot your saline with this contraption to see if it's over the limit. (Suckers!) Now, if the people in big city San Francisco don't care about my toiletries, why should the hicks in KC? Seriously, who wants to blow them up anyway? Those Texans with their inferior BBQ sauce?

Finally we arrived! And an hour later we were able to find someone to get us our missing suitcase -- only 14 hours after waking up that day!

This is all a longwinded way to say I wish my family lived closer.

Because the next day was great. Or at least as great as a funeral can be. It snowed.

We told funny stories about Grams, including me telling the one about how she witnessed the toplessness of the Dykes on Bikes with my aunt at the Gay March in SF (which is something you're not supposed to talk about in the Catholic church, apparently, oops).

(Dad's in the middle.)

We looked insanely cute at all times.

We played the piano, even though we expressly were told not to.

And we bought swimming suits in the frighteningly empty Kmart and ate giant Turtle sundaes and played Salad Bowl (Celebrity without celebrities) and argued about a dumb movie (have you seen this Tropic Thunder?) and later made the argument all better by including the whole family in it.

At least Gabe is coming up for the weekend. (Ladies, start your engines!)

(He's the dashing dude in the middle. Girls -- and their mothers -- were clawing to get at him in the hot tub.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Brew Town

So, we're flying off to glamorous Milwaukee this weekend. What a pair of jetsetters we are. Bowling, beer, and brats, that's what we'll be doing. Along with a little death management.

My grandma died a month ago, and my aunt was traveling in Southeast Asia, so we had to wait until now to hold the funeral.

Gramma was a sweet woman -- very German, very Midwestern, in that she was rather stoic and loved to keep busy. She sewed like mad, stripped furniture, walked miles each day. I remember she visited my Aunt Katherine in Menlo Park once, and they were having an awkward time until they decided to pain the house. She had a big underground pool where I learned to swim, and whenever we'd visit I'd spend most of my time in the water. Also, she made great zucchini bread and loved the Packers and the Brewers. She even tangentially knew the Brewers manager George Bamberger, so we got great seats at the park during the '70s. (Beer was so intertwined in the culture that the Brewers' mascot slid down into a beer mug whenever they hit a homer.)

Gramma's maiden name was Heiman, which probably would've proved difficult during junior high if she'd been born a generation or two later. She'll be buried next to Grampa, who died when my dad was 12. (He was a major bowler -- see comic below -- and there's talk of a memorial family bowling trip when we all get out there.)

Gramma and I weren't exactly close. I saw her once every two years growing up, and I loved her like any grandkid loves a kind, doting, mildly reserved grandparent. But after she had a stroke about 10 years ago, she came to live with my dad's family for a few years, and my younger siblings grew really attached to her. It'll be strange because it'll be a sad event, but at the same time I've never been on a family trip with all my siblings, so that'll be nice, even if it's only a couple days.

I just hope we can go to Gilles for turtle sundaes.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Revolutionary Crap

Now that Valentine's weekend is over, I can get back to being grumpy.

And yes there will be spoilers below.

What the hell is the deal with Revolutionary Road? That movie is a huge stinking pile of crap slathered on a giant dung cracker. It's so bad, I couldn't believe it. I was sitting there, thinking, "Either kill yourself or sail off to France, but do it quickly." I cared so little about both the husband and the wife that I really wished the worst would happen to both of them. Then there's the dishwater dull script and the "shocking" visuals and Kathy Bates' flabby arms. Egad. Pretty much the only two good things in the film were Michael Shannon's truth-talking loonie mathematician and the skinny ties -- and then Shannon had only three scenes, while the ties featured heavily in only two.

Want to know how bad this movie is? Even Kate Winslett can't save it. Not convinced? How about this? It was Mick Lasalle's fave US movie of 2008. He even gave 10 reasons why, and not a single one stands up. (Alright, I agree that it could've been interesting having a guy who wants to be a big shot and a lady who wants to be a beatnik claw their way out of a marriage, but jesus this isn't that film.) Methinks that maybe Lasalle's wife should check for the smell of another woman's perfume on his neck, if he thinks that extra-marital sex is a sign of creative barrenness.

Jake and Waldo, you have a lot to answer for. I want my $10 back.

PS. Citron not so good.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Urine Mirage Day

Ah, Valentine's Day approaches. And you know what Werner Herzog says about love in that one episode of 30 Rock: "Love -- a urine mirage in a desert of fear."


April is sick, so she watched Hamlet 2 today. I only caught bits of it, but this line from one song seems appropriate for the upcoming holiday:

"You're as gay as the day is long/You're as gay as Barney Frank's dong."

On a similar topic, I read this fascinating article about women and arousal in the New York Times. Apparently, women get turned on by practically everything and everyone (including bonobo monkeys engaging in sexual congress -- ooh, I used "congress" in two very different ways this post -- but not including naked men walking down a beach). And they also get very turned on by other people being super-excited to be with them, which can explain rape fantasies and why ladies liked Bill Clinton so much. Also, the perfect man is Denzel Washington, because he will both protect you and throw you up against a dirty drainpipe before doing you.

I did some research on arousal recently (ho ho, not that kind of research) to see if there were differences between men and women. It seems, from my small amount of data, that men think about sex more often when they're not getting it, whereas women think about it more when they are (and everyone thinks about it more when they've got a boring office job). When imagining sex, men usually think about people they haven't been with or would like to be with, while women think of men they're with currently. Of course, there are many exceptions to these HARD and fast rules.

Anyway, we're going to Citron for dinner to celebrate on Sunday. Anyone been there and have suggestions?