tell me baby, what’s your story?

The Red Hot Chili Peppers band members in 2000...

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Gah, I know. Second post in a row with a RHCP title. Can I blame California?? The Red Hot Chili Peppers must hold some sort of record for the most references to the Golden State . . . if not in song/album titles, certainly within the lyrics. With California monopolizing all levels of my consciousness, it only makes sense that I would arrive at RHCP music while using song-related free association (my favorite school bus game of yesteryear btw) to title my posts.

I guess it’s not entirely fair for me to blame California (for this anyway – if you would like a list of the other things I am currently blaming on CA, just ask). My thing for the Red Hot Chili Peppers didn’t start when I moved here . . . nor did it start when Anthony Keidis and Dave Navarro made out in that video (H-O-T). It actually started in 5th grade when I insisted on singing Under The Bridge to an audience of parents at some girl scout event. Yes, that really happened, and nothing I can say right now can possibly encapsulate how monumentally amazing it is that a moment like that actually occurred.

Want more examples? Oh good!! Because I have one more. I also walked down the aisle to a Red Hot Chili Peppers song (an orchestrated version of Soul to Squeeze). *Sigh* I am such a romantic.

Well, I sure am glad I just spent all that time establishing my feelings about something that has nothing to do with the reason I started writing today. My intention for this post is to announce my participation in a very special guest blogging opportunity set up by talented writer and all-around keen dude, Tim Stevens. I was going to explain the particulars, but since I wasted a lot of writing energy on the Red Hot Chili Peppers thing, I will instead direct you to the blog where Tim does a better job of explaining it than I would have anyway (he wasn’t the NHS class of ’99 El Presidente for nothing, folks).

Breaking Up to A Beat <—– click it or ticket

I will admit to being a little nervous here stepping outside my comfort zone. (Do I even have one of those? I am almost always feeling at least slightly awkward.) I’m fairly certain that I have not touched this subject matter since I was an angsty teen, and I’m really not trying to do the angsty teen thing . . . right now. In the end though, I was intrigued by the concept, and the idea of doing something a bit different than the usual for me was the clincher. I encourage everyone to follow along for the month of February, and then vote for your favorite at the end. Your favorite doesn’t have to be my piece, but it would be a lot cooler if it was.

I will post again once I know the date that my story will appear. Then my loyal readership can feel free to flock to the website in droves, overwhelming the server with sheer numbers and also with brute force (because that’s just how my readers roll).

with the birds i’ll share this lonely view

All you have to do to get a job in San Diego County is agree not to get paid for it.

This past Friday, I discovered bird heaven. I am using the word “discovered” in the same way that it is applied to Christopher Columbus. Like, I am positive that a decent amount of people already know of this bird heaven’s existence and have spent a lot of time there, making me in no way the first to encounter its awesomeness. That being said, I still expect some sort of fanfare or a national holiday in response to my “discovery.”

I claim this new land in the name of Rainbow Brite (who comissioned my arduous journey).

Batiquitos Lagoon is a birder’s paradise (not to be confused with a Gangsta’s Paradise . . . because I see how one could have confused the two) due largely to the fact that it is a perfect storm of vegetation and geology, attracting waterfowl, shore birds, birds of prey, and perching birds. Swoon!

While on my hike, I spent a lot of time internally squealing with delight over all the little birdlets hopping around in the brush. The key was to remain as still and as silent as possible (hence the internal squeal). If I was able to do that for just a few beats, sparrows, finches, and phoebes would peak out of their hiding spots and dart through the air and over the path. Once they were out and about, I spoke to them in a voice I generally reserve for psych patients.

Crazy bird lady status: Cemented.

The only interrupting factors during my own personal bird parade were joggers. Just as I was sure I was about to experience my Snow White moment, complete with birds landing lightly on my out-stretched arms, a runner would bolt around the corner and scare everything back into concealment.

I was so completely happy on this lagoon-y slice of land, that I decided I needed to spend more time there. It is no secret that adjusting to the unemployed life out here has been pretty isolating. Nate works 3 (and sometimes 4) jobs to support his coaching habit, and it leaves me with a LOT of alone time. Since Batiquitos brought me some reprieve from my shit spiral, I figured I would see how I could get involved. I emailed about volunteering to be a docent and have already heard back! Real jobs are for the birds!!

THE FIVE

Woah there, crazypants! What’s with the giant, intimidating capital letters!?! Are you shouting? Are you angry?? Did you forget what the button marked “Caps Lock” does??? *

Observant readers will note that I never use uppercase letters in the titles to my blog posts even though, grammatically, I should. There is just something so visually appealing and aesthetically pleasing about lowercase letters. They’re so small and uniform and delicious . . . I will spare you my love letter to the fairer case (as well as the one I have in the works about the Garamond font) because that is not what this post is about. Really, I just need you to know that I do not take the use of capital letters lightly. If I have made the decision to use all caps, you better believe there is a reason.

5. An Interstate highway on-ramp sign. Scott R...

Image via Wikipedia

Today, that reason is THE FIVE (and yes, I am going to keep referring to it like that throughout the post). THE FIVE is what cool kids ’round these parts call Interstate 5, the massive, parallel-to-the-Pacific-running highway that starts just south of the border (Mexico, pronounced MEH-hee-co) and ends just north of the border (Canada, pronounced EH?). That’s 1381.29 miles, folks – and no, I did not know that off the top of my head. While THE FIVE’s span is impressive, what is more impressive is the amount of vehicles that utilize the highway on a daily basis. I recently read a statistic that the north county corridor (referring only to the section of I-5 that runs through Northern San Diego County) is traveled by 70,000 vehicles A DAY (see what I did again there with the capital letters). I used to live in East Hampton, Connecticut; I don’t think Route 66 saw 70,000 vehicles in a year.

Now, hopefully you are beginning to see why THE FIVE deserves its towering stature. It’s not just a highway – it’s an omnipresent entity, an enigma wrapped in an exhaust cloud, a beast. You know how the road in Cormac McCarthy‘s The Road is more like a character than a setting? Yeah, it’s like that.

As is such, THE FIVE and I have a relationship. I should mention that THE FIVE and I live together. It’s kind of a big deal out here to live west of THE FIVE. In the area of Carlsbad where I dwell, it means you live, at most, 0.85 miles from the beach. For those of us not blessed with trust funds (thanks a lot, Mom and Dad) or six-figure salaries (thanks a lot, art therapy), it means that you live just west of THE FIVE. Some days, THE FIVE is a really bad roommate, loud and emitting toxic fumes. Other times, THE FIVE can be a real pal, drowning out your neighbor’s maximum volume TV and scaring away girl scouts.

The most important part of our interaction, however, is governed by fear. THE FIVE rules by intimidation, and I am definitely the beta in our relationship’s dominance hierarchy. I would like to say that my first experience driving on this roadway was atypical, but I think I know better now. THE FIVE will destroy you if you fall into that kind of complacent thinking. I was driving southbound to La Jolla when I noticed a pick-up truck entering the highway via a somewhat curvacious highway on-ramp. Just as my vehicle moved to parallel with this vehicle, the pick-up lost control, smashed into the sidewall, and flipped into the air, finally landing behind me on its roof. Welcome to THE FIVE, bitches.

Similar to Stockholm Syndrome, I do sympathize with THE FIVE. It’s not THE FIVE’s fault that the drivers in California are bananas. There are way too many people in way more of a rush than anyone needs to be. Californians accelerate as though they are trying to break the sound barrier. There is no gradual, gas-tank conscious build up of speed. The moment they turn their white, luxury SUV onto the highway ramp, they expect to be at highway speed (highway speed, by the way, has nothing to do with the speed limit). What this means for me is a long line of irate looking tan people trying to figure out how best to leave the Focus in their dust while I attempt to coax it above 60. I guess I just thought that Southern Californians would be a bit more relaxed as drivers than they actually are. Like, where exactly are you hurrying off to at 11:30 am on a weekday? Will the beach not be sunny again tomorrow??

So, Nate and I have a deal worked out. I drive if we are staying local and not spending too much time on the highway. He drives if we will be doing the majority of our driving on THE FIVE. While he drives, I attempt not to hyperventilate or scream when I see brake lights. Nate appreciates my efforts, but would probably prefer that I take my anxiety and hang out in the trunk. Some might say that I am avoiding, letting fear run my life, and in doing so, I am missing out on what could be a positive and meaningful relationship with THE FIVE. To those people I say, eat shit.

* In case you’re still plagued with wonder regarding those questions in the first paragraph that I asked myself while pretending to be you: 1.) Nope, singing.  2.) Always.  3.) No, but I honestly have no idea what F1 – F12 are good for.