Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lullabies in Crazy-Land

Volunteered on Friday. Seven kids, five staff and me.

Movie time!

The featured movie of the night was Quest for Camelot - a lovely tale with lots of sword fighting, monsters, dragons, scary bad guys and the heroine's father getting killed. Yippee!

I had a 3-year-old boy on my lap and a 5-year-old girl snuggling next to me. The boy was one of those kids who keeps a barrage of questions coming throughout the movie. I love that. Shows he is curious and paying attention. Sometimes kids like that get shushed for talking. I'm glad it didn't happen this night. I liked answering his questions.

The heroine's name is Kayley (I'm sure that Kayley was a really popular girl's name during the Middle Ages.) The knights are meeting and the bad guy starts a big fight where they all draw their swords. Afterwards, the Kayley's father lies motionless on the ground.
Boy: Is he dead?

Me: No he's just hurt. (And I get away with this lie because they don't show another clear image of his dead body.)

The bad guy has kidnapped Kayley and her mother and has turned some of the villagers into horrible monsters. Kayley gets away, but is chased by two monsters.
Boy: Are they gonna catch her?

Me: No, she'll be okay. She's strong and smart.

Boy: Will she do this? [Makes a punching motion with his hand.]

Me: [Hesitating] Um...maybe....only if she has to. Keep watching...she'll be okay.

Above is a clip from the movie. A lovely song sung by the mother as the monsters chase Kayley.

Kayley runs into the Forbidden Forest but the monsters keep following. Then we see the Damsel in Distress theme brought to a whole new level. This female character is so incredibly helpless, that she has to get saved from the monsters by a BLIND GUY. An exceptionally talented blind guy, but C'MON! (We don't watch the whole movie, so I don't get see if the heroine does anything remotely useful later on.)

They flash over to the bad guys who have Kayley's mother.
Girl: What are they doing with her mother?

Me: They are just bringing her with them. Kayley will save her mother...keep watching.

As usual we shut the move off in the middle (before the happy ending where everyone is safe and the bad guys are gone) and send the kids to bed.

Sweet dreams kids!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

One lucky dog

Driving home from work, I see a loose dog on the sidewalk. No collar. Big, young, male Pit Bull. Not neutered. He's heading for a VERY busy road. Not a highway, but three lanes in each direction with a speed limit of 45 mph which means everyone goes at least 50 mph.

I pull over and get out of the car to see if he is friendly. He's not interested in coming to me. I see at least three other cars slowly following him too. He is keeping on the sidewalk, but heading right for the busy road. I drive up ahead of him and pull my car partway into a driveway to block the sidewalk. I grab some bread from the Indian food I just bought to see if he will accept a treat. (Do dogs consider naan a treat?)

He wants nothing to do with me or the treats and even though I try very hard to get him moving in the other direction AWAY from the busy road, he keeps right on going.

This is the busy street - Miramar Road.

He gets to the busy road and luckily sticks to the sidewalk. At this point there are at least seven other people following and trying to stop him. The dog doesn't belong to any of them. They are all just trying to help.

He stops near my car and two guys get out of their cars and get very close to him on the sidewalk. One says he has called Animal Control three times already, but they are busy. The dog is stopped and letting us within three feet of him, but he has no collar. We can't grab him. What could we possibly grab on to? We can tell the dog is scared and we don't know if he will act aggressively.

No one has a leash. I have one in MY car, but it's at the shop being fixed and I'm driving the loaner from the mechanic. Damn!

I take my belt off and start to give it to one of the guys who is already standing close to the dog. I'm afraid if I try to move close to him, he'll get spooked. I wanted one of the guys to try to get the belt around him. But before that can happen, more people who are trying to help, walk toward the dog and he gets spooked and gets moving again.

Then he bolts out into the street. Another woman and I follow him out in the street to try to get traffic to stop. I only go out into the first three lanes where I can see there is only one car coming and it's going slow. The other woman continues into the far three lanes where many cars are coming fast. Some guardian angels were working overtime tonight because both the dog and the woman avoided being hit by cars.

The dog then bolts back over to the same side of the street where he started. At this point, some people start to give up. One by one, the men drive away and it is now just me and two other women. What's that about? Are men impatient? Pragmatic? Quitters?!

I see a taco shop and stop in to ask them if I can buy a little bit of meat to use to entice the dog. They gave me a little cup of carne asada. I'm still driving and the other two women are on foot. I go around the block once and then stop to talk to the women. I give them the carne asada, since they are walking and might be more likely to run into the dog.

I then drive slowly around the huge block five times looking in every parking lot and sidewalk. I also drive into the gated entrance of the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and ask the spiffy looking young Marine if he has seen a black and white dog. He said no and I was bummed that he didn't call me Ma'am. (Top Gun fans will remember that this base at Miramar is where they sent Maverick and Goose for their Top Gun training.)

I wish this story had a happy ending but it doesn't. We couldn't find the dog again. I had spent about an hour looking. I left (quitter!) and the two other women were still there trying to find them.

But wasn't it great that so many people were trying to help?

Lesson #1 - Keep a collar on your dog, even if he is just in your yard or house. How the heck can anyone catch him for you if he doesn't have a collar on?

Lesson #2 - We should all carry bags of ground beef or liver in our cars at all times. You'll eventually get used to the smell.

Lesson #3 - For goodness sake, just neuter or spay your freaking dogs. Neutered males are "less likely to roam, fight, demonstrate aggressiveness, or display hyperactive behavior" according to 50 Simple Ways to Pamper Your Dog by Arden Moore. Eighty percent of dogs struck by vehicles are unaltered males. See this link.

Lesson #4 - Women try harder than men. Or women are more patient than men. Something like that. I haven't decided yet what this lesson should be.

Friday, May 22, 2009

at the aquarium

Nieces in a bubble

My favorite picture from today

Monday, May 18, 2009

A spider's day

A spider

running from two crazy hoes

trying to save her egg sac.

And how was your day?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Where vegetables go to die

My refrigerator

And I had such high hopes for these when I bought them.

I was going to make a crunchy salad and add some marinated tofu.

I think the red pepper might still be okay.
And there is some broccoli that seems to be hanging in there.

All was not lost. I ate some of the broccoli last night and had the red peppers in an omelet this morning.

The day after I ate the vegetables, I had what we will politely call some intestinal disturbance. I blame the vegetables. They were getting revenge on me - either for letting their vegetable comrades die an ignoble death, or because I ate them with no joy and gratitude, only begrudging obligation.

Got this picture from a funny post.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Science Saturday

Do you know what makes the steam come out of an iron?


Neither do I.

My iron stopped working a couple of weeks ago. The steam stopped coming out. Instead it oozed water all over my clean clothes with an occasional pathetic gasp of sizzling.

My first response was to give it some time. Maybe it's just going through something. If I let it sit there for a bit and give it some space, it will work out whatever issues it is struggling with. This tactic almost worked. I was nearly able to finish the pair of pants I had been working on. One bottom part of the pants leg to go and it started spitting out water again.

So then I did what every good American consumer does - I went out and bought another iron. This one has Smart Grip AND a self cleaning feature. Ooooooh - fancy.

But I kept wondering what could make an iron break? How many moving parts could there possibly be to wear out or malfunction?

I decided to try and find out. I used the time-tested scientific method called - Rip It Apart and Look At Stuff.

A couple of screwdrivers and a wrench and here's what you get. So what did I discover?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

There were no obviously broken or corroded parts or disconnected wires and that is the limit of my mechanical detective skills. If it doesn't LOOK broken, my scientific exploration ends. I considered plugging it in while it was in its disassembled state to see what would happen. But my common sense and rapidly fading interest in this project stopped me from going that far.

But the good news is now that I've ripped it into slightly smaller chunks, it will only take 6 million years to fully decompose in the landfill instead of the normal 10 million.

Here is a man who tried to go for one year without throwing anything out.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Nothing to say so you get to look at bugs

Same one from Tuesday night. He was still there the next morning, so I had to take more pictures.