Little Sake Sipper

a sake bottle, Yashima-tanuki (酒徳利, 屋島狸)Image via Wikipedia

We were driving behind an old Toyota Land Cruiser today. No, not one of those shiny ones that would pass for the morning carpool; real one that can go OFF ROAD. Off the PAVED road. Like, into the dirt and shit.

We had a Land Cruiser when I was little, probably kindergarten age, and I'm fairly confident it had a winch on the front of it, as did the Jeep Wagoneer that followed. I have fond memories of going off-road in those vehicles, mostly the times we'd go straight up a hill or straight down a hill. The winch was usually used, in my memory, to pull some other car out of a ditch or snow bank.

Along with the culture of driving off into the wild came the CB culture, which meant we all had handles. Since our car was Japanese, my dad creatively came up with his handle, Sake Sipper. The rest of our handles followed suit. My mom was Mrs. Sake Sipper. I was Little Sake Sipper. My brother, a toddler at the time, was Little Soggy Zipper.

Then, in the late 70s, I have a distinct memory of going to the car dealership, trading in the Jeep Wagoneer, and driving home, my 6'4 1/2" father at the wheel of our brand new burnt-orange VW Rabbit. Hello, oil embargoes. He had to open the sun roof to be able to sit fully erect.

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Mitch Hedberg is Educational

Although it probably wouldn’t work because I’m already married and eMusic is website. I don’t think Bob will give me a divorce just so I can marry eMusic. Can I marry a website? Because right now, I totally want to marry eMusic.

When The Artist Formerly Known As Chemo Boy (whom I now have a symbol for, check it out):

TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsChemoBoy

(although, I made it myself. So, I’m not sure if it means No More Chemo or No More Toxic Waste Dumps.)

anyway, when he got The Cancer, and I thought it would be a nice way to celebrate by dropping our external hard drive (with all of our backup data) on the floor, killing it dead, I never got around to re-downloading all of my tunes from eMusic. In fact, I put my account on hold (because they are so nice they actually let you do that) and just plain forgot about the whole damn thing until this week when I got an email from those lovely folks at eMusic reminding me that they were reactivating my account.

I’m sure it’s because they sensed my need for music, not because they wanted to go back to collecting my monthly fee. They strike me as a generous people. A generous people with good taste.

In addition to downloading the bazillion trillion million (An official number. I know because I was gifted for a brief period in early elementary school before I became too dumb and they kicked me out.) songs I had lost in the hard drive floor drop of ‘09, I also discovered some New To Me tunes.

If you’ll all just quiet the fuck down, I’ll tell you what I got. I said shush up. I’m still waiting. Hey, I’ve got all the time in the world over here. As soon as Johnny pipes down…well, alrighty then.

The DodosVisiter

The Dodos – 3 Individual Tracks from Time to Die: Longform, Troll Nacht, Acorn Factory

Mitch HedbergMitch Alltogether

Now, I’d never even heard of The Dodos prior to today. I know, some hipster just dropped his can of PBR. My deepest apologies. But, my Mitch download should compensate for any hipster offenses.

Truthfully, Mitch should have already been in my downloaded music. He should have been spending his nights spooning Stephen Lynch in the comedy section of my iTunes library. Alas, he was not. Poor Stephen’s been lying there bare-assed and cold. (I reverse-alphabetize the comedy section for spooning purposes.)

To do penance, I’ll spend the evening listening to Mitch with my son. I’m sure it’s totally age-appropriate. Hell, we’re homeschoolers. It’ll be an interdisciplinary course – history of comedy and drug education. Throw in some Salvadoran takeout for dinner, and we can make it a multicultural event. Don’t judge until you’ve walked to the minivan in my flip flops.

Great. Now I’m craving pupusas, and it’s all your fault for making me turn this into a learning experience for my kid. The things I do for you people.


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Summer of '69: Charles Manson and Big Bird

Aldrin stands next to the Passive Seismic Expe...

Image via Wikipedia

Growing up, I thought it was cool that I was born in the summer of ‘69. Shit, they wrote songs about it. They did not write songs about the summer of ‘78 or the winter of ‘43. Hell no.

They named a sexual position after the year I was born, and a fairly enjoyable one, at that. It’s not like I was born in the year of the missionary position or the year of the doggie style. That would have sucked butt. Almost literally.

And, as this year carries on, I am reminded of all the cool and historically noteworthy stuff that happened in 1969. I like to claim that much of it was done in honor of my arrival, like the landing on the moon by Apollo 11 on July 20th. I mean, they may have had that scheduled already, but I doubt it. I think they held out until they knew I was safely on the planet and propped up in front of the TV.

Another debut of awesomeness in the summer of ‘69 was that little concert they held in upstate New York. They were going to call it Joe’s Folk Fest, but I convinced them that simply naming it after the town, Woodstock, would make it easier for people to remember after they’d smoked the mondo doobage. Unfortunately, my parents wouldn’t let me attend. They claimed I was too young to be hanging out with all those hippies. So fucking judgmental. It’s not like my hair was long. I didn’t even have hair.

The next most awesome thing about 1969 was The Street with its big yellow bird, his imaginary friend, and an angry dude in a can. Sesame Street debuted in 1969. By the time I could speak, I could tell you how to get there and which one of these things was not like the other. Sesame Street was my early childhood Xanax. And a bowl of oatmeal plus Sesame Street bought my mom another hour of sleep, making her an instant fan.

The summer of '69 also had it’s share of freaky history being made. I didn’t find out about it until I was older and we were no longer living in Los Angeles, which is a good thing given my tendency toward law-defying insomnia. I came home from school sometime in late elementary/early middle school and caught a little after-school special called Helter Skelter. It’s chilling tale about a scrot bag by the name of Charles Manson. My ass was staple-gunned to that TV.

It didn’t take me long to do the math, and the geography, and realize we had been living and breathing in the midst of this nutjob's insanity during my infancy. When my mom got home, I had some FUCKING QUESTIONS. She had this nonchalant answer, “I didn’t really know any of that was going on.”

HOLY MOTHER OF CHRIST ON A FLOATILLA. She didn’t know it was going on? Didn’t know? Didn’t get the memo? Was living under a rock? Missed the evening news?

No. Not exactly. She was busy taking care of me. Her firstborn child. The kid who didn’t sleep. Ever. Night. Day. Ever. Not an unhappy baby. Just not sleeping. Also, sick. Me. With the mystery illness, at that point. And her, with no Twitter. No Facebook. No 24-Hour news channels. No cable TV. No VCR. Not even a remote control for the BLACK & WHITE TV.

My God how did she survive?

She survived by not knowing that CHARLES FUCKING MANSON WAS ON THE LOOSE. Because, quite frankly, do you realize how much Xanax would be required in L.A. if everyone had really been in the know? Judy Garland Trail Mix would have been flying off the shelves. Flying. And, I don’t think Judy wanted to share.

Summer of ‘69.

I was there.

Fillin’ up my diapers.

My mom was changing 'em.

But. I. Was. There.

Awesome year. Some cool shit went down. And some weird shit. Might explain a few things about me. One or two.

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I Got My Xmas Wish, Too

no original descriptionImage via WikipediaI got what I wanted for Christmas yesterday--a hysterectomy. But, this wasn't just any hysterectomy. I had a da Vinci Robotic laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy (LSH), because I'm all about the cool gadgets and technology.

The upside to this method is that it's a robotic-assisted laparoscopic procedure. It also meant that I got to keep my cervix and ovaries, have just 5 small incisions in my abdomen, and come home today after just one night in the hospital. It probably helped that I had a great surgeon and hospital staff, too.

The surgery was supposed to start at 10am, but was delayed until 1pm. It ended up taking just over 3 hours to complete, with a portion of that time spent waiting for my bladder and kidneys to start functioning again. Then, I was off to recovery for an hour or so, before heading up to my room.

The hospital had these cool new beds that auto-level with your every move. I also had mechanical leg warmers (not their technical name) that massaged by legs to help with circulation.

Pretty cool, huh? Now, I'm still very sore, thankful for Percocet, and leaving Hubs in charge this Christmas Eve. Mrs. Claus is out of commission for the next 2 weeks.

Time for a nap. Happy Holidays to you all!

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Vans

I spent most of my formative years in a small town in Northern Nevada in the Carson Valley. My parents were born and raised in Los Angeles (yes, L.A. proper), and decided their children would not grow up in the same smoggy place. When I was 4 and my brother was 1, we moved hundreds of miles away from our extended families to Carson City, where we'd live until I turned 10. Then, feeling that even Carson City was becoming too urban for their tastes, my parents, on one of their infamous Sunday Drives, found our next home...a two-bedroom log house on a mini-oasis in the middle of nowhere. It sat on just over an acre of its own. But, that didn't really matter as it was the last house on a dirt road that didn't exist on any map, except maybe the one used by the BLM. We went from a tract home in suburbia to BFE. At 10, this was an adventure. At 13, the shine was off the apple.

By then, I was in middle school. Middle School. I wouldn't repeat that shit if you paid me, let me go back with All I Know Now, or gave me the tits I was so woefully lacking at the time. After racing to feed my horse, I trudged down the dirt road to the bus stop with my fellow ruralites a quarter mile each morning, shaking the alfalfa out of the cuffs of my Chemin de Fer cords, cracked the ice on my not-yet-dry permed hair, and jumped on the yellow school bus to ride the 15 miles to Carson Valley Middle School. CVMS was in downtown. My music teacher had a glass eye. My 6th grade teacher was a shell-shocked Vietnam vet given to throwing one of the difficult kids across the room.

After school, I'd change into my dance clothes (leotard, tights) and walk with my friend, Nikki, down the main drag (Hwy 395) to our dance class. At the time, I didn't understand why two middle school girls, clad in tights and leotards, garnered so many cat calls. I may have been an A-student, but I was still learning how pervy the world was about teenage girls.

The Carson Valley is anchored by two towns, Minden and Gardnerville. In the late 70s/early 80s, it was still a pretty small place. The high school was well under 1,000 students, we had no malls, 1 McDonald's, 1 casino, a lot of sheep and a lot of cattle, and most of the entertainment for the underage involved school sports (Go Tigers!), or Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe has two seasons, winter and summer. In the winter, we skied. In the summer, we pretended that the coarse sand lining the beaches wasn't grinding into our butts as we lathered ourselves in cooking oil, spread out our towels, and worked desperately to achieve sun stroke a tan at 8,000 feet.

The odd thing about our location in this rural teen hell paradise was that, because of Lake Tahoe's revolving door of tourists and the fact that most of us got cable or big-ass-satellite TV by 1980 (bringing the premier of MTV), we weren't as 'culturally deprived' as kids stuck out in the eastern part of the Silver State...in places like Wabuska, Beowawe, or Battle Mountain.

In the early 80s, we were embracing the fashion trends of our hipster neighbors to the west. Why wouldn't we want to hike out to the corrals in our 3-inch heeled clogs, ride our horses to the country store in wrap-around shorts, or ski down The Face in the spring wearing layered Izods, collars up-turned? We didn't care that we lived where there were no sidewalks, even if we did score a strip of pavement every few miles. We embraced the California fashion trends with all the money we'd made off our 4-H lambs at May's livestock auction.

What did that mean to the purveyors of such fashion? It meant that some guy, who must have scored a killer high on his recent trip to Tahoe, evidently got lost in our valley and decided to open a Vans store. Directly. Across the street. From our school. Vans. Custom-made Vans. Across. The. Street. Do you understand what that meant? Holy shit. It was like the messiah had opened up shop and was asking, "Would you like slip-ons or lace-ups?"

This was the time of smiley face shoe laces, rainbows and lightning bolts. OP sweatshirts worn with Gunne Sax skirts and leg warmers. We are talking F-A-S-H-I-O-N. Skateboard decks by Tony Hawk with skulls were carried over sandy roads to that one patch of pavement where a weathered plywood half-pipe threatened to rip apart under the weight of the 90 lb. skaters who'd plowed their BMX bikes through the sandy roads, after racing through their after-school chores.

I will never forget my first (or second) pair of Vans. CVMS's mascot was a tiger cub. This meant our school colors were the flattering duo of orange and black. Our PE uniform consisted of double-knit orange polyester skin-tight shorts and a matching orange t-shirt. It was a stunning look that, I felt, could only be improved upon by my new shoes -- a pair of lace-up, black vamp and heel, orange quarter-ed Vans. I was hot. My shoes were hot. But, I had failed to recall some key information:

The only outfit I owned that coordinated with my new shoes was that road-work-orange PE uniform.

By Christmas, I think I managed to score a black pair of Chemin de Fer baggies that, when coupled with my Lightning Bolt three-quarter sleeved rainbow tee, helped the orange and black Vans look less like billboards and more like footwear. Still, they never got to realize their full potential. And, I'd learned my lesson. My second pair of Vans was a pair of white slip-ons, pierced across the tongue and 'round the opening with rivets for my rainbow shoelaces. I don't recall if I got rainbows, clouds or checkerboard on the foxing or if I just Bug them on with the ballpoint pen I kept in my Trapper Keeper.

I don't remember when the Vans store closed. I'm not sure anyone even noticed. We had moved on to Keds and K-swiss by then.
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