clip show

Hey! Who remembers clip shows?? Maybe I shouldn’t be asking that question like clip shows are a thing of the past. I just realized that I haven’t watched a sitcom since Friends. For all I know, clip shows could be alive and kicking, just as relevant (ha, I certainly don’t mean relevant) as they were in the 90’s.

Back in my day, you could smell a clip show from a mile away. Danny Tanner would gather everyone around the kitchen table, the Seaver clan would hunker down on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, and there would be some trumped-up reason for everyone to start reminiscing. Cue the flashbacks, anecdotes, and lowered production costs.

This is really my over-complicated way of telling you that what follows will be a montage of clips designed to catch you up on what’s been going on out here in the land of sunshine and assholes. While this post differs from traditional clip shows in that it will not be a collection of stuff that I have already shared in this blog, I am willing to ignore that if you are.

Now, imagine me, staring off into space as the screen gets progressively more fuzzy until clearing on a new scene . . .

Remember the time when: I actually won that writing contest on Breaking Up to A Beat.

I know, right?!? Believe me, no one was more surprised than me (except maybe the other writers in the contest). I can’t thank everyone enough for voting – because of you guys I am now the proud owner of a $25.00 Amazon gift card. (Well, I *used* to be the proud owner of an Amazon gift card. Now, I am the proud owner of one “Girl on Fire” t-shirt . . . which I wear while running around with a rubber band, launching pencils at Nate and screaming, “May the odds be ever in YOUR favor, bitch!!!!!”)

Remember the time when: I saw The Hunger Games three times (and counting) in the theater.

I have this thing with even numbers; so after seeing it twice, I pretty much had to see it again.

Katniss for freakin' President.

Remember the time when: I got a job.

A real one. That pays dollars.

I didn’t know it was picture day. If I had, I might have made some different styling choices before heading out to the district office that afternoon. I also probably would not have chosen to have the light hit my nose that way.

Remember the time when: I bought the most delightful lip balm in all the land.

photo credit: Long Winter Farm

I know I am prone to exaggeration (let’s call it hyperbole, sounds less crazy that way), but I really don’t think I have ever been this pleased with a lip product. For the record, a neon narwhal smells delicious. And so does everything else in this shop! I also have a couple perfume oils that are equally as awesome. Buy things, you won’t regret it: Long Winter Farm.

Remember the time when: I yelled at a 12 year old boy.

To be fair, he was harassing a bird. This bird actually:

I wish I didn’t have to yell at the kid, really I do. I wish his parents (seated a few feet away) gave enough of a shit to teach their kid how to treat other living things. Oh, but never fear, crappy parents and punk-ass kids, the bird-crusader is here to tell you exactly what you are doing wrong and why you should never do it again. The boy got an earful (and then hid behind a display of stuffed animal snakes . . . coward), but the parents were spared the lecture I was planning to give them on the connection between animal cruelty and future serial killers. My mom thought that would be going to far.

Remember the time when: My mom came to visit, and we held a baby panda!

pay no attention to the levitating camera at the bottom of the frame. this picture is 100% legit.

Wonders never cease out here. I tried to make sure there were as many “wonders” as possible during my mom’s visit in a desperate attempt to convince her that moving to California would be a good idea. I think I had almost persuaded her when she heard the sound that our toilet makes when it flushes (kind of like a dying T-Rex meets a giant’s stomach after too many beans). Back to the drawing board.

Remember the time when: Kira came to visit!

It was a glorious time, full of TOMS, Mexican food, and tattoos. However, I have no photographic proof that she was really here (other than a Kira-like shadow eclipsing a lizard on a rock) . . . so maybe I imagined the whole thing.

Remember the time when: it was way past the time for the clip show to end.

So, here’s the part with the hearty laughter, warm smiles, concluding music, and return to the original scene. I hope you all have learned whatever lesson you were supposed to have gleaned from this dog and pony show. Please don’t ask me what that lesson was supposed to be; you’ll likely just get a rant about the proper treatment of peacocks.


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!!

all my life i’ve been searching for something . . .

If I had a nickel for every time my blog views spiked over 20, well, I’d have roughly 15 cents. I don’t post everyday or even every week, so the reason I check my Site Stats on the daily has nothing to do with any sort of unrealistic viral expectation. The reason I check is to see the wacky terms people plug into internet search engines. It works like this:

Curious about whether or not Odwalla smoothies can be frozen, you (internet crusader) google the following logical question, “can you freeze odwalla.” Lucky ducky, you happen upon my blog post about participating in just such an experimentation. Yaaayyy for you – frozen Odwalla for everyone!! What you don’t know is that WordPress site stats records your search term and reports it to me so that I can see how those who view my blog are finding it amongst all the interwebs’ clutter. Big Brother-ific!!

For those creepers who just choked on their Cheetos, there is no reporting of WHO views my blog or IP addresses or anything like that, so please, continue to lurk about in a troll-like manner. (Really, I mean that, you are at least half my viewing audience.)

Surprisingly, some people who happen upon my blog are actually looking for it. I have seen a few variations of “california vernacular” or “california curls” combined with my name or word press. However, the vast majority of those who come across my blog from an internet search were clearly not intending to find what they did. Below is a summarized version of the search terms that have led people to california vernacular since its conception.

Search intent: Comfy Animal-Themed Footwear

By far the most popular search that leads to my blog, those seeking owl slippers make up the lion share of my accidental readership. Whether it is just plain “owl slippers,” the more specific “ladies owl slippers” and “barn owl slippers,” or even the mysterious “night slipper,” it seems that posting a picture of my bird-inspired footwear has been the wisest of all marketing moves.

like, a lot of people give a hoot.

Search intent: Bring Me The Horizon merchandise

The second most searchable thing I ever wrote about was also a part of the owl slippers post (apparently, I was on some sort of unintentional roll that day). One should never underestimate how many tweens ferociously rack cyberspace looking for hoodies and t-shirts emblazoned with Bring Me The Horizon lyrics. If my blog sold owl slippers and BMTH gear instead of sarcasm and alliteration, I’d be a riotously rich writer.

Search intent: Urine

I wish I was making this up, but if you were to type, say, “dog pee,” “pissing on car,” or “pee anymore” into the ol’ search bar (never you mind WHY someone would be looking up those things), guess where you would end up?? Hopefully, my blog is at least on page 3 of this type of search.

Search intent: Porn

What a disappointment to those who searched for the following: “girls from New England,” “vip girls,” “pool whipping,” and “whipping tube.” I don’t pretend to understand why some of these terms are pornographic, it’s just a feeling I get. Imagine what kinds of searches will find my blog now that I have included this porn-titled section – awesome!

Search intent: WTF

Lastly, here are a few very special search terms that have defied all categorization and reason: “yellow ferrari bananaz license plate,” “kia green cars pie charts,” “dragon eating its tail,” . . . . . and the grand daddy of them all, brace yourselves . . . . “heather gos up to 120f dgree” (authentic typos included). Perhaps that one belongs in the porn category, too??

siiiiiick . . . as a dog

Ha! I have NOT abandoned my original blog theme in favor of song titles and references.  Really, I think the idea of “California Vernacular” has just grown and broadened a bit . . . with the realization that my adjustments here are not so literal and don’t always have a language connection.  At least that’s what I tell myself so that I can sleep at night.

I have been sick as a California dog these past few days.  I am not entirely sure what a California dog is, but I imagine it is sicker than, say, a non-California dog.  What started as a sneaky little, entry-level sore throat managed to work its way up the ladder, right through the glass ceiling (no man was going to hold this bitch back), and into a top executive head cold.  Nothing like a cold to remind one how important it is to be able to breathe.  There are a few things in life that make me really irrational (this is actually a very long list, but I will edit to 3 for space): people being mean to animals, people being stupid while driving, and not being able to breathe.  So, add to this respiratory irrationality a fever and what you have is a recipe for disaster . . . or, in my case, a recipe for punching myself in the face.  No, that is not a metaphor.  I genuinely, 100% punched myself in the face (the nose to be more precise).  Friday night found me in such dire straights on my quest for air that the only logical way was to fight my own nose.  I remember it like this:

* Heather suddenly awakens, gasping for air, unable to get any oxygen to her brain. *

Heather: Nose, I oughta kick your ass!

Nose: Don’t write a check your butt can’t cash.

Heather: Why don’t you say that to my face!?!

Nose: Pretty sure I just did.

* Heather, enraged and spewing obscenities in languages she doesn’t know, hauls off and teaches her nose a lesson or two. *

Let me tell you, my delirium did nothing to ease the pain . . . or stop the bruising.

In addition to schooling my nose, I used my sick time to compile a list of interesting things about my current Californian environment.  It seemed easier than coming up with an actual blog topic.

1. California dude fashion

I know I have previously mentioned man tanks, but I don’t think I did justice to how ubiquitous the man tank is out here.  The man tank is a universal fashion item.  It cuts across all racial, religious, and ideological boundaries.  It does not matter how old you are, what kind of music you like, if you are in good shape, or if you have a job.  If you’re a man, you rock a man tank.

Secondly, all the teens out here wear old man tube socks.  Nate has told me (via his swimmers) that the kids justify this by calling them “compression socks” and spouting science about how it helps their circulation.  Riiiiight, but worrying about your circulation at 13 is a pretty old man kind of concern, no?  Also, it’s 75 degrees out, but if you’re cold, how about you just put on some pants??  I’ll admit, I dissolved into a fit of laughter when the first kid skated by in his board shorts and Vans and old man tube socks.  It became less funny (and more disturbing) over time.

2. California supermarkets

Not only do the grocery baggers feel the need to make small talk while I am hawk-eyeing the register to make sure my coupons are ringing up properly, but they also ask if you “need help out.”  The first time I was asked, I did not understand the question at all . . . which must have read on my face . . . causing the woman to add, “out to the parking lot with your groceries.”  I was honestly caught so off-guard that I made a weird snort and laughed instead of politely declining.  I probably ruined that woman’s day, but really?  I had, maybe, 7 items.

3. California Mexican restaurants

Southern California has more Mexican restaurants than Mexico.  I have never been to Mexico, but I am convinced this is the truth.  Mexican restaurants are like Starbucks with beans and rice and delicious melty cheese.

4. California train tracks

California is the only place I have ever been where it is actually AWESOME to be from the other side of the tracks.  Southern California has a coastal train system which places the tracks in prime real estate.  Of course, this makes for a delightfully scenic train ride, but I can’t imagine spending my multi-millions on property with a view only to have it abut the train tracks.  It is not just these bajillionaires that have to put up with the trains and their associated noise.  Anyone living within a mile or so of the beach gets treated to train whistles, the clang of railroad crossings, and chugga chugga.  If one is lucky enough to actually live on the other side of those tracks??  Well, let’s just say these people are not your Dylan McKay bad boys, riding motorcycles, and visiting Dad in prison.  If the crash of the waves doesn’t drown out the train in the backyard, well then they can just shove money in their ears.

5. La Cucaracha

Someone in my neighborhood has a La Cucaracha car horn.  They use it liberally.  I can’t even get mad because it’s so amazing.

OK, and for those of you who feel there was too much text in this post and not enough pictures, I will leave you with a picture of my new favorite California bird: the Black Phoebe.  Ack!!! He is so cute!!!!!

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)

Image via Wikipedia