Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rambling on the rooftop

“Don’t touch the hat”

ROOFTOP – I’m pretty sure that this is the last day till late fall that we’ll be able to sit up here midday and feel this comfortable. Just as cool as it can be with a breeze that sets the trees off in a loud whisper. Doesn’t that sound great?

I just don’t think our retinas could take in a bluer sky. Looks like we’re in an airbrushed scene of an Avatar sequel. And, all of it is right here in our own backyard… St. Louis.

I’m sorry. The ghost of Judy Garland made me say that. Speaking of “Meet me in St. Louis,” I wonder what happened to World Fairs? I guess most Americans only notice ‘em when they happen over here. Doesn’t do me much good to put one in Brunei.

I can’t help but notice that some of you are staring at my farmer’s hat. Don’t blame you. It’s a dandy. I bought this thing right before I auditioned for a commercial. For a tractor.

I didn’t get the part, because the casting director pulled a fast one on me. I was supposed to make up some things to say about a farmer’s new tractor. I was supposed to come across as reluctantly impressed.

I can do reluctantly impressed. So, I made up a bunch of cute stuff. When I showed up at the studio, the director said she changed her mind. “Here’s what I want you to say.” It was all different. And, it was stupid. I can’t say different and stupid as convincingly as I can original and silly.

All I came away with was my new hat. Cool. I brought it over to Kay’s little brother’s house to do some yard work. Tracy slapped it on his head and wouldn’t take it off. The little twit was wheeling around the house, married to MY hat! When Kay stepped outside for a minute, I decided to trade Tracy one of his guitars for my hat. Hey, I don’t like to resort to stuff like that, but he shouldn’t have messed with my hat.

Those of you staring up from ground level, can’t see the hat that well, but the brim bends down in the front and back, curls up on both sides and has a loosely woven lattice near the top. That breeze is skimming off the top of massive bald spot. Feels great. And, no, you can’t try it on. You’ll pull a Tracy on me.

I’ve named bad behavior after my brother-in-law. Yesterday, Kay tracied my last piece of banana nut bread. See how well the word works?

Speaking of Kay reminds me of Shakira. No, let me finish. This morning I was showing Kay the “Waka Waka” music video of Shakira. I found it on YouTube while looking at one of the restaurant reviews Brad and I did. For some reason one of our reviews was linked to the Latin dancer, singer, philanthropist and staggeringly gorgeous girl. Did I mention that she can dance?

Anyway, I had never heard the Waka Waka song, so I played it and enjoyed it so much that I tried to share it with Kay. Shakira made the song during the World Soccer Tournament in South Africa. The song has a good beat and, uh, made me want to play soccer.

Unfortunately, Kay was less impressed. We are soooo different. When I see something I like, I want to share it. If I can do anything to make life just a little nicer for others, I won’t hold back… within reason.

Take boiled eggs. Not mine. I was boiling three eggs day before yesterday. After the 15 minute stove time, I poured the steeping water out of the pan and replaced it with tap water, and then threw in some ice cubes. The sudden temperature change is supposed to make the eggs easier to peel. I read that somewhere. I’ve been doing boiled eggs that way for years. Kay has watched me do it.

Well, this time the ice didn’t help. The shell fought me like popcorn hull in the throat. I asked Kay why the ice trick didn’t work. She said, “Because the egg was too fresh. Fresh eggs don’t peel well.” Then she went on to explain why. Got into biology and chemistry, so I didn’t listen. Sometimes she makes her explanations up. She got that from me.

Regardless, her revelation really ticked me off. For years she’s been watching me pour off the hot water and add ice cubes. Does she share her fresh egg theory? Oh, no. She watches me do my thing. What kind of person would do that? And, get this. She doesn’t even like Shakira!

And, while I’m talking eggs, yesterday morning Kay and I found ourselves at Whataburger munching on our Breakfast on a Bun. I don’t really know how to pluralize that sandwich. Breakfasts on a bun? Breakfast on a buns? I think they ought to rename it.

After breakfast I decided to take the long way home. Freeman taught me that. Sometimes after we eat out with the Plilers, Freeman takes the long way home. I think once we drove past Toronto.

This time I drove the backroads to the place where we used to lease a house near Lake Conroe. I really liked the backyard of that house. It had a raised deck where we’d sit out and look over a hill to the lake. A great view. That was about 18 years ago. Now there’s another house behind our old house. You climb on the patio and look across into the neighbor’s kitchen window. Watch her boil eggs.

Fortunately, our view is much better up here. And, it’s clear and cool. Likely, the last clear and cool day of the season. Glad we didn’t let it get away.

Oh, well, everybody watch your step. And, a couple of you at ground level, how about holdin’ the ladder for us? I’ll show you my hat when I get down there. And, no, you can’t try it on. – Next time.


To watch Mark and Brad’s latest restaurant review, click below. Oh, and to watch Waka Waka, click on Shakira... assuming you haven't already.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lookin' bad

“Fashion sense”

I have no fashion sense. I know you think I’m just messing with you, but it’s true. I’ve got remarkable common sense, a fair sense of smell and a decent sense of humor. Sense of fashion? Zero… teetering on negative-sense.

My fashion frailty is particularly noticeable… well, now. See my picture over yonder? If you could see more than my nose and eyes, you would notice that what I’m wearing is not working for me. I can get away with it in the winter, because I throw on a jacket and cover up stuff. Winter is good.

But, now, I’m out there. Nothing to hide behind. My shorts look stupid, my shirt is all wrong, and I don’t care for you to even look at my feet.

I keep telling myself to notice what other guys are wearing. But, when I’m out in public I can’t remember to notice. That may be healthy, but it’s not helpful. I don’t even notice what Kay is wearing when we’re out somewhere.

If we got separated I not only wouldn’t know what color of blouse to look for, I’d have trouble recognizing her hair style. It irks me no end to watch one of those police shows where a guy spends 30 minutes with an artist and nails the look of a perpetrator after seeing the guy for two seconds.

It’d take me at least four hours to come up with a composite of one of my brothers. If a guy who robbed a bank, stared at me for ten seconds and then ran off? Forget about it. – “Mr. Hayter, besides being a white guy, what else can you tell us? What about his nose?” – “Nose? Yes, I’m pretty sure he had one. Fairly sure.”

Since I can’t remember to study what other guys are wearing, I’ve been forced to use the Internet. Some of what I found is conflicting. One article recommended I get a real tight fitting pair of jeans. Something like Dwight Yoakam wears. I don’t know how he pulls that off. Literally. I don’t know how Dwight gets out of his pants. No matter, according to a couple of sources, that’s the recommended style. One of ‘em, anyway.

Another fashion designer person says that flared pant legs are coming back. It looked okay on the guys in the pictures, but the style would be laughable on me. Not the tight jeans, though. I’d rock in those.

The good news is that guys wearing pants down around their knees is out. No longer in fashion. I’m not sure everyone has gotten the news. I think it’ll take me to put the nail in that coffin. Take a picture of me wearing baggy jeans around my knees and put it on the Internet. That oughtta do it. – “Okay, everybody get a load of this guy. You know what that means? It means it’s time to end this nonsense. Let’s go buy some belts.”

Truth is, I don’t wear jeans all that much in the spring and summer. I’m into shorts. The wrong kind of shorts. The guys in the fashion magazines wear baggy shorts, with huge puffy pockets and long drawsrtings… and they look cool. Baggy, tight, long, short… None of those are my look. So, I’ve been told.

Mostly Brad is the one telling me. You know, Brad Meyer the restaurant critic? We’ve been hanging out ‘cause we do video reviews together. And practically every time we shoot a review he finds something wrong with what I’m wearing. “The Red Skelton look? Not working. Please tell me you brought something else.”

You’d think that somebody who knows so much about fashion would look better than he does. It’s akin to a football coach who never played football. I don’t know how he does it.

By the way, black is in. I really don’t remember it ever going out, but it’s in big now. From what I’ve seen, the best thing a guy can do is just get a picture of Justin Bieber and try to match it. The kid is, what, eight-years-old, and he establishes the fashion trend. Who lets him do that?

Oh, and do you know what they’ve done with men’s suits this year? Nothing. Nothing I can tell. The only difference is in the ties. My tie either needs to be a solid color or striped. Anything else is old hat. Which, by the way, is in.

Oh, and it’s okay to wear a sports jacket with shorts. And, go ahead and push the sleeves up to your elbow. Unless you’re Mark, you’ll look cool as all get out.

And shirts? All I know is don’t tuck it in. Oh, and don’t wear a V-neck T-shirt. V-necks are a sign of something. I don’t know what, but it’s something you don’t want. If you wear a V-neck T-shirt and tuck it in, people will throw things.

And shoes? I’m lost here. I realize that socks were condemned as early as ’94. Socks may be comfortable and prevent chaffing, but they’re all wrong. Don’t wear ‘em. Wear sandals. I don’t care where you’re going or what you’re doing, sandals are your footwear of preference. A Pittsburgh molten metal pourer? Sandals.

I bought a pair of sandals last year. Expensive they were. The first thing Big Al said when he saw me wearing ‘em was, “Those look really good on you, Alice.” I can’t even buy the right sandals. And, yes, without socks they rub a blister on the side of my right foot. Fashion is a bear.

What I did discover during my research is the look for the less young. That’d be me. I should wear no bright colors, and nothing with patterns. Just keep it simple. If no one notices me, I’m lookin’ good. I got that from a helpful, but hurtful article.

No matter what I do, I sense people will notice that I’m a fashion ninny. Did you know that you’re supposed to wear your pants two-finger widths below your belly button? Well, you are. That’s where my pants are in the front. In the back, they ride about a hand-width higher. I have no idea what they’re riding on. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one with this problem.

Nothing I can do. Just live for winter. That’s when I just bundle. I like winter.

To view Mark and Brad’s latest video review, click below.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Looking to make an emotional recovery

“On the road to contentment?”

Okay, don’t any of you get too close to me today. If you see my eyes turn green and emit a light, you’d best go out and play somewhere, ‘cause I’m about to turn into the incredible hunk.

And, let me tell you, my pants aren’t near stretchy enough to handle the transition. That’s why I recommend you leave.

The few times I’ve succumbed to hunkness are pretty much a blur for me. Kay tells me what I did after the fact. “Hey, what happened back there?” she’ll ask. “So the lady was taking up the entire aisle. That was no call for you to try to put those egg noodles in her cart?” – “Did I do that? I have no recollection.”

Yes, I must confess, calm I’m not. It’s just a messed up day. Change back it will. It usually does. As soon as I lose my Yoda-speak, better you’ll know I am.

I have every hope for a near immediate attitude improvement, thanks to local author and columnist Cathy Messecar. I’ve been reading her latest book “A Still Quiet Soul: Embracing Contentment” from Leafwood Publishers. Just reading the title is encouraging as all get out. Contentment, still and quiet. You throw “nap” in there and you’ve got four of the best words in the world.

Right now I’m on page 82 of Messecar’s book. I skimmed over the testimonial I wrote for the book. Cathy asked a few local writers to offer some comments, and I was one of the asked. Hey, I can’t believe it either. Fortunately Messecar doesn’t follow me to the grocery store or wait with me in lines. Still and quiet? Foreign words they be. At times.

In defense of me and my bad mood, let me tell you what’s been goin’ on around here. Remember my golf clubs? You know the green bag? You don’t? Well, that’s because I haven’t swung a club in over five years.

So, what does Kay do? She gives my clubs away, bag and all, for a garage sale fundraiser. “Hey, Kay, what happened to my clubs?” – “Oh, did you still want those?”
I can't take a picture of the actual golfbag... Kay gave it away. Remember?

She didn’t even check the pockets. Do you know what people leave in the pockets of their golf bags? I sure don’t! Mine are gone! Didn’t I just tell you that?

I doubt I would have ever had occasion to play another round of golf, but I enjoyed the thought that I could if I wanted. Now I can’t. It’s similar to when Richard Boone died. I doubted they’d ever shoot another “Have Gun Will Travel” episode, but I was content with the notion that there was a possibility. That possibility died back in ’81. I’m still in mourning.

But, forget Paladin. Paladin? Have Gun Will-- Sheesh! Anyway, Jill called today to ask me what her phone number at work was. (Long story. I even got lost in it.) I told Jill that the phone number was not a priority with me. Told her that Kay gave away my golf clubs.

Jill asked if I was talking about the clubs in the corner of the guestroom. She said she thought they were for a girl. Thought they were Kay’s clubs. They didn’t look manly at all. Said it right to my right ear. Insinuated effeminate I was.

I gave Jill her phone number and then told her I couldn’t talk anymore. My own sister.

I instantly ran upstairs to tell you the horror of the missing golf clubs, and discovered that my computer had died. I’ve got the important stuff backed up, but I don’t know how to get the backup to feed my computer and make it well.

Kay says she can do it, but it’ll take her awhile. She told me to go ahead and use her computer for my article. That’s what I’m doing right now. I’m using a different computer with different icons and keys that I’m not used to. They don’t even sound normal. No pluck, pluck with these things. Listen to this. -- Blop, blop, blop. Does that sound right to you?

Life is messing with me. Earlier this morning I went to get my eyeglass frames adjusted, and asked Charity, the eye lady, to look at my recent prescription to see how much it’d changed.

She compared my last two test results and said, “Wow.” That’s usually not good. She asked if I had been pushing my glasses up to see better at a distance. Told me she imagined I couldn’t see the computer screen as well either. “You have to use readers now for the screen don’t you?” Charity is physique.

She said a bunch of other stuff that resulted in me handing her a credit card for new lenses. My current glasses are only 15 months old. Cost me over $500 with all the bells and whistles. So, I go in to have my frames adjusted for free and end having to spend a 300+ bucks for new lenses.

Cataracts. That’s what the doctor told me. Not serious enough for surgery, but enough to mess with my vision. Cataracts at my young age. Improbable it be.

There are a few other things messing with me, but I’m outta patience and outta time. I’d best get back to reading about embracing contentment.

Just a few minutes ago I was this close to being the Incredible Hunk. This close. (You can’t see, but my fingers are almost touching.) I need to read more about being still and quiet.

By the way, I sense that several of you could really use Messecar’s book. Some of you already threw your paper down. You need to chill, like me. See?

Oh, and if you can’t find Messecar’s book in the bookstore, you need to ask ‘em to order it for you or for your Bible class. Or, you can Google Cathy Messecar and she’ll let you know where you can lay your hands on one… or 20.

By the way, one thing you won’t find on Cathy’s webpage is any mention that she’s probably, next to Kay, the sweetest person in the county. Had any of her acquaintances had a part in constructing her Website that would’ve been mentioned.

Not the Kay part. I threw that in. Kay is sweet as she can be. Just sometimes uses poor judgement on Mark things. Away throws golf clubs, she does.


To view Brad and Mark’s review of Mama Juanita's click below.