Friday, June 26, 2009

Final Trip Post

Ok, so we left the LA area a day early and headed towards the desert. We stopped at this ghost town, called Calico Ghost town, near Barstow, and it was in the desert and was a real ghost town and fucking hot. After hanging out there for a few hours in the desert heat and getting pit stains the size of plates, we finally got back in the van. The kids were all "it's soooo hot" and all whiny and I was just like a fucking walking rice patty, but they kept saying "this isn't even hot!" The staff at this place were hillbilly and scary and I was sort of scared to go to the bathroom because these hostile workers were standing in the doorway. We saw a pomegranite tree. Anyway, we left the ghost town and then stopped for gas and were on our way. There was this freaky town right by there called "Dagget" or something which was full of burned out buildings and we stopped to let these boys carrying big sticks cross the road. I just said "sweet Jesus, don't let us break down around here" and I felt sort of panicky. Luckily, every mile I think had an emegency phone, throughout the entire desert. Anyway, we drove and drove and finally at suppertime got to Needles. Remember Needles, where Snoopy's brother Spike was from? We stopped to eat at a Jack in the Box, and it was ok, but the fucking town looked like Methville, USA. Seriously. I wanted to get the fuck out of there. The guy who served us was named Jesus. God love the Mexicans who name their kids after the Lord. Anyway, there was this family in there who just came back from canoeing and the dad was in a wheelchair and he was talking to baby, but then I went to the can to poop and the bathroom was like some sort of feces factory, and the only toilet was sort of plugged and he came in after me, and I wanted to say I didn't do it, but couldn't, so he probably thought I did. Anyway, we got out of Needles, which was as creepy as Barstow, and next thing we knew we were in Arizona, and suddenly, it wasn't scary anymore and it was nice and deserty, and then we hit this town called Kingman and since it was on route 66 (which we had been following all along) there were hotels everywhere. We stayed at a Best Western which was beautiful and had the strongest air conditioning we ever saw, and we went swimming in the twilight and had the pool to ourselves, and then I went next door to the Sonic and got a diet cherry limeade. Sonic, fuck me Dorothy, is the coolest fast food ever. Oh God, it was great.
SO then the next morning we went down for the free breakfast and I stole a Route 66 mug from the breaky room, which baby broke when we got home, so karma....
Anyway, we then stopped at another Ross, which was spotless. Rachel kept saying "I wonder if they are all so messy or if the one in Anaheim was because of the clientelle." Well, in Kingman, the Ross was spotless, they had a security guard at the door who was super friendly and welcomed everyone to Ross, and so we realized it was the Mexicans who made the Anaheim store so messy - LOLOLOLOL, I don't mean that to sound racist. Mea Culpa, Rosie Perez.
ANyway, we shopped for cheap there, and I listened to the middle aged woman who was the change room attendent tell the security guy about how her two switchblades she used to have are now against the law, and then baby was freaking out and so I took him next door to Big! Save! or Save Lots! or Big Lots! or something, but it was just a Giant Tiger type place. Then I ran into the Walmart Supercentre to buy a movie and beef jerky for the kids and off we went to the grand canyon. We stopped at a Denny's, where the waitress looked just like Janis Joplin, and she was "all y'all" and southern, and she would place each order and yell "thanks guys, you're awesome". It was annoying and endearing all at once. Daughter one kept copying her. The one cook was named "Tomorrow" and she was all "Tomorrow, can you get me the mac and cheese? You're awesome!" It was cool. I tipped her way too much. Oh, and the Denny's had a sign saying you couldn't bring your gun into the lounge. The bathrooms there were interesting, because i had to take daughter #3 to the toilet, but the toilet had these gaps between the stall wall, which looked out onto the urinals in front of it, so as she is peeing, I look up and see this old man cock wagging in the urninal, peeing in the gap between us, so I jump in front of her like some sort of witch doctor in a Scooby Doo skit so as not to traumatize her. LOLOLOL, you had to be there.
So then we go to Grand Canyon, and while it took your breath away, it wasn't as cool as Bryce Canyon. Maybe if we could hike down, but since we had kids, other than walking the rim, there wasn't much. Lizards were everywhere, so that was cool. The food was expensive, the hotels crammed, and I dunno, go to Bryce. Next morning, we left, and headed out, and suddenly on the road we see "INDIAN JEWELRY AND POTTERY" so I slam on the breaks and we make this Dukes of Hazzard turn and stop. There's these big stand of Indians selling stuff, like turquoise and jade jewels and silver and pottery and whatever. We buy all this shit and we leave and say "wow, we sure are lucky we stopped in time!" Then we drive 1/2 mile down the road and see another stand. And 1/2 mile after that, another.. and so on. LOLOLOL they were everywhere. We didn't realize we were on the Navaho Res. And the Hopi. Every mile, for a few hours, was another stand. We then stopped at this big place which had a trading post and gallery. WELL.
Fuck me, Diana Ross, it freaked me out a bit. We pulled into the parking lot and entered the art gallery. Well, it was nice art and baskets and shit, but it was expensive - like 4000 dollars for baskets and shit. So I want to get out of there, and the Indian man there starts playing some sort of wooden flute and Rachel is whispering under her breath "do we wait until he's done? DO we clap??" and I say "just wave and go." It creeped me out. SO then we go into the trading post where all the tourists are, and the kids are picking out rings and I am looking at books and suddenly daughter #1 comes up to me and says "daughter #2 was feeling sick, mom took her outside" and I guess she puked on the sidewalk. So then I suddenly feel all weak and shaky, like i have no blood sugar, so I run to the grocery part and buy some crackers and 2 Hershey bars, and we leave and I am all "what if that flute was throwing bad medicine on us (remember i used to work with Indians who were terrified of bad medicine) and I am all freaked out but Rachel, always the voice of reason, says "#2 was car sick and you aren't eating right and are hungry." LOLOLOL, drama fucking queen I am.
LOLOLOL, but funny thing, we get miles away and realize, in the puke drama, Rachel accidently walked out with a couple of rings in her purse. Take that, bad medicine man!
So then we drive and we come across the Colorado River so we stopped and took pics and then stopped at this weird place where people lived in rocks - i got the pics - and then we entered Utah, where they had cop cars parked at the side of the road with wooden dummies in the driver's seats. LOL, it was funny. We went to McDonalds in St. George, where they fucked up our orders. We then stopped for gas in Hatch, Utah, where there was no toilet paper in the bathroom which made kid #2 cry, so we wiped her hootch with kleenex and threw it in the gas station parking lot as punishment. We stopped, finally, after dark, in Nephi, Utah, at this motel for 50 bucks, and Margo, the owner looked EXACTLY like the whore's mom, along with the smoke voice. It was quite barebones, but clean. Then next morning, I watched the lady, wearing man's PJ pants, sit in front of the pool, smoking her big-ass CIGAR.
So then we hit the Salt Lake area, and stopped in Orrem, where I saw the "Missionary Mall", with this big blow-up Mormon Missionary on the roof, decked out in a suit. The funny thing was, we stopped in Orrem so we could go to Ross, and then went to Fuddruckers. Well, this is funny. Keep in mind, with 4 kids, we never get out to restaurants. So we go there and I order and am surprised they asked how I wanted my burger done - it's illegal in Canada to NOT cook a burger well-done. Anyway, Saskatoon has the only Fuddruckers left in Canada, so I thought i knew what to do. But after I order, the chick is all "oh, you'll need this." Now, we know now that it was one of those coaster things that tell you when your order is done, but then, I didn't know what she was handing me. Indeed, I thought that it was the children's meal toy, but Rachel was all "it's some sort of coaster, so maybe you put your drink on it when you want a refill?" So anyway, I go to pee, and the bathroom had these urinals shaped like bidets, so I came back to see if Rachel had the camera on her, and she said "I asked those people if they knew what this was, and they looked at me funny and said it will light up and vibrate when your order is ready and they looked at me funny". So then, we stare at this thing like it's the second coming, and when it vibrates, we are all "oh, yeah, the food is ready." Then I go to get drinks, and since Mormons don't drink caffeine, they have pepsi and diet caffeine free pepsi on tap. So then I watch what everyone is pouring, trying to figure out which of these clean cut Mormons are being baaaaaaad. Then, while waiting for Rachel and the kids to pee, I go get some iced tea, to be a rebel, and I am waiving this tea all over the place. I was all "look at me, I'm so bad and need to be tamed." I felt like Fonzie.
So then we leave there and are trying to turn out of there, and I see Mormons everywhere and we are in front of missionary mall and the light WILL NOT TURN. I got all freaked out, a la Stepford Wifes, and was sort of scared we would never be able to leave.
But luckily we were able to leave and we stopped at IKEA and then left in this huge storm and then went to Lava Hot Springs Idaho. The water was so fucking hot, and the place was so fucking cool, and we spent hours here, boiling ourselves, and then we went to Idaho Falls for the night. The next morning, we discovered the Idaho Falls Museum had a Titanic exhibition there - it had over 150 artifacts from the Titanic and it was so cool, it was worth the price of the entire trip alone. Then we went back to Yellowstone, saw old faithful, went to Livingston, Mt, for the night, and the next day went shopping at Ross and Walmart in Bozeman. Again, gave $$ to the homeless, and in Walmart, got groceries and beer and wine. There is this blush wine I love - it's 26 dollars for 3 liter box here. In Walmart, it was FIVE LITERS for 12 DOLLARS. I almost orgasmed in my drawers. We bought our groceries we can't get in Canada and headed for Canada. We stopped for gas at this creepy town, Harlowtown, where they were rude and my kids all pooped and plugged the toilet and I cheered. Then we crossed the border with no trouble and stopped in Swift Current, SK. It was my mom's birthday the next day, and I thought I was going to sob forever, and then I realized how close I was to her hometown, "Tarlick". It was 20 miles out of Swift Current. So we stayed in SC for the night, in a hotel that was literally almost across the street from the house I lived in until I was 2, and the one we visited a few times a year until I was 15 - it was a duplex and we were close friends with the owners of the other side, who are now dead. So that was exciting for me. Then we went the next morning to "Tarlick", which I have been to twice since my grandma died in 1975. My mom couldn't handle talking about her family after they died, her way of coping, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I wanted to find my grandma's house, which I hadn't been to since I was 4 years old, but which I remembered so well, and I wanted to find my grandparents' graves. So we go to town and I pull into the museum and went to ask these seniors if they knew where the graveyard was. I also asked if they knew my Grandma and the woman there said she didn't but the man who ran the place was in his 80s and lived there all his life, she she told me to go the graveyard and come back and hopefully she'd get him there. So we went and after much searching, we found these beat-up graves that we could hardly make out the writing on, but it was them! I don't know why it made me feel so comforted, but it did, knowing they were under there. I bit my cheeks and didn't cry because I was too scared I wouldn't stop, as I kept thinking "74 years ago, in this town, my mommy was born." Then I went back to the museum and the guy was there and he was all "I could take you to your grandparents' farm blindfolded, but I dont know where they lived in town. Shirley, call Lois so and so, she might know" and so Shirley called Lois, and Lois remembered! SO the man, who was mayor there for 20 years, took me in his van and took me to my grandma's house and told me he remembers my grandpa, who died 39 years ago, so well, and how good natured he was - "a true Scandinavian" he said. It was so cathartic for me to be there. I couldn't call my mom and tell her about our trip, but being where she came from on her birthday, my first without her, made me feel some connection to her.
Mom, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunty Lois.....i love you all and miss you all and you live on
It was the best way to end the best family trip. I am grateful and blessed. Peace.

Ok, just so I don't sound cynical, I admit I was a HUGE MJ fan in the 80s. I was caught up in Michael mania in 83-84, because the songs were awesome, nobody ever released more than 4 singles from an album before and he released 7, and he was cool. I was so disappointed when BAD was released, because I hated the first few singles, although I liked Man in the Mirror - I remember Margo always singing "SHA-MOR". Good times.
Ok, so do you think he's really dead, or did he fake it?

Deepak has a bee in his briefs

So tell me this - if everyone was so in the know that Michael Jackson was this drug-addicted waif who was in so much danger, why the fuck didn't you say something before he died? I just saw Deepak Chopra in Larry King all enraged, and while it was cool, he knew that he was addicted in 2005. He also said he would name names of doctors who feel celebs drugs. So, if you have such big balls, why didn't you flap them around in 2005 when you knew he was a junkie and go on Anderson Cooper and say "Michael is a junkie and asked me for drugs." Hmmm? Like, everyone was in the know, but they didn't say fuck all. Well, blood on the hands, peoples....
And Liza and Usher are mad people are focusing on his drug problems? Let this be a lesson to all y'all. Fuck off, what a waste to die because a medical doctor shoots you up with opiates. ARGH, people just annoy me.
What else - oh, just watched the media bombard that poor woman married to that governor who was humping that Argentinian woman. I know her hubby is scuzzy and whatever, but leave her alone. She wasn't the humper, although she sure did get screwed...
Ok, so what the fuck will Debbie Rowe do with these kids? What the hell happens to Blanket?
So what's the story with Lisa Marie Presley anyway?
I'm just typing while watching CNN. Sorry.
You know, give me Michael's kids - they'll never have to wear pashminas or blankets again.
LOL, I just have nothing to say.
Seriously, do you think Michael and Lisa Marie ever humped? I mean, I think their marriage was some sort of Scientology thing, where he gave $$ to them and gave him publicity to be married to the King's daughter. But do you think they sat down with a bunch of oxycontin one night and had some Jesus Juice and said "I know this is all fake, but all this shit is making me feel good, so why don't we get naked and see what happens?" Do you think she said " Mikey, I know I'm the wrong gender and 20 year too old, but try and put that chin implant to work for shits and giggles?" Do you think his dick was bleached too? Am I the only one who thinks this horrid stuff?
I have to say, Jermaine is really understated. And Reebie Jackson, the oldest, who had one small hit with the song "Centipede", well, I always liked her. Janet sort of got freaky, didn't she, with the nipple piercing and bondage shit. But I always will love her music. She's a guilty pleasure. I loved Control, Rhythm Nation, and janet, although I wasn't immediately comfortable with her singing "your sweet and shiny feels so good against my lips, sugar" from "If" - I just thought "poor Katherine"!
Were Barry Gordy and Diana Ross married? Did you know Diana Ross has a daughter named Chudley? Could there be an uglier name? Like seriously, you might as well name your kid PukeBucket.
Anyway, I am sure you are sick of my stream of consciousness writing watching CNN, so I will let all y'all go. Smell you later.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Trip post #3 or something

Ok, so I'll make this quick. Disneyland was Disneyland - y'all know what to expect there, and it was great, and changed a lot since I was there 30 years ago. Some things were freakishly the same, so I had a couple aching heart moments. Kids were troopers. They loved it, but they also loved just swimming in the pool at the hotel. And fuck me Dorothy, is Disney the safest place on earth or what? I wouldn't leave a pack of gum sitting in my shopping cart whilst I leaned over to grab a carton of milk here in Stinktown, but there, people just park their strollers with shit in them and off they go on rides or in stores. We took pictures of all the stroller parking. Apparently, the place is crawling with plain clothes guys. But yeah, so nice and clean and safe. They had orange trees all over the place and lemon trees, so that made me excited too. The highlight was probably the parade, which was amazing, and as we sat in our spot 2 hours before it started to get in front, it paid off. They asked the girls to come dance with them and off they went, dancing and doing the twist and then they were off on this conga line, even #3, who is so shy. We actually lost sight of them for a while. They were so proud of themselves and I am trying to take pics which sucked but the mrs. videoed it, and I just was so proud of them and full of love and happiness I started bawling and Rachel is killing herself laughing at me, but I just couldn't stop.
People were so friendly there. We talked to people from all over the world. It was fantastic. Then, but the 3rd day, I must have drank the kool aid, because all along, everyone from scary biker dudes to these f'ugly transvestites we saw, was wearing mickey clothes and hats and ears. Well, suddenly I had to have something and I bought this t-shirt and then this 58 dollar Mickey Mouse hoodie - where will I wear it you ask? No where! But at the time, I had to have it. It's weird what that place does to you.
As food in the park was so fucking expensive, we ventured out into Anaheim to get groceries. Well, I forgot that it was sort of run down and creepy. And fucking expensive. In Montana and Idaho, we got groceries at Walmart supercentre and laughed at how cheap everything was. So, we assumed it was the same everywhere, but holy moly, groceries in Anaheim were so expensive at ALbertsons. And it was so lower class and run down at that store. It was funny though because even the white trash were lovin' us. Everywhere we went, from Montana to California, people would stop us and tell us we had a beautiful family. Odd, hey? They would just come up and say that. Well, this white trash woman in Albertsons, with her wife beater on and her case of Papst Blue Ribbon in the cart along with some Wonder Bread, goes "3 girls and a boy? I tried for that and got 4 girls. He's a cutey - sure looks like daddy - she couldn't lie about that one!" Anyway, it was charming in it's own way. OMG, but as expensive as it was there, you could still buy a 66 of Jaggermeister for 30 bucks!
Anyway, in the parking lot of the strip mall, I saw a pizza place and as i am pretty sure Disney blocked the pizza places from delivering, I ran into there to order two pizzas. It's the place run by some foreigners and run down and I order two XL, one cheese, one pepperoni, and a salad. I go back 10 minutes later to pay and pick up, and the fucking pizzas are the size of end tables. Seriously. I was mortified and wasn't sure where we could put them in the van. We collapsed in laughter and Rachel was all "I ain't carrying that in, have fun" and "just pretend you are a delivery guy." They were that big. But OMG it was the best pizza ever, so there....
What else... OH! Well, I dunno if you know this, but the Mrs. and I have this thing for Winners. We love us some Winners. Well, everyone from coworkers to my boss said "find a Ross Dress for Less". They are the company that owns Winners, but they are even way better and cheaper. So we find one one night in Anaheim and go there. It's in this odd strip mall. As I said, Anaheim is sort of creepy. Well, we walk in and Rachel at first thinks it's just like KMART because it's so dirty. But we soon look around and we both got boners at the prices and the nice stuff. I think I bought like 7 brand name shirts and some gitch for like 50 bucks. Like my favorite moisture wicking material Nike shit, shirts for 7 dollars, a Hurley shirt for 7, etc. We ended up spending 200 dollars and it was so exciting, but fuck me Dorothy, the store was so dirty and we were literally the only white people there. Like, stuff was just thrown on the floor and I couldnt get the cart down some aisles because bedding and shit was just tossed. The employees were beyond rude and the bathroom was out of order. The kids had to pee so I took them down a few stores to the strip mall bathrooms, which we had to pay to get into because the sign said it would reduce vandalism. The girls went into the womens and came out saying "someone had a bloody poop and didn't flush the toilet." Lovely.
In the store it was cool because this Mexican granny came up to us and was smiling and talking a mile a minute to the kids in Spanish and she could have been all "ooh get the fuck out of here you white princesses, before I throw tabasco in your eyes" and I wouldn't have known, and she was buying this tacky china plate.
So then we decide to eat in the little outdoor food court and there was this authentic Mexican place, so I was all pumped to eat real Mexican food. It was good, but I must say I don't like rice in my burritos. This little Mexican girl came up to daughter 2 and they began playing tag, and it was so cool. Then this big, Black man, who looked like he could snap me in two called me over to his table. He was smoking a Camel Menthol and said "is that 3 girls and a boy? I had 4 girls and a boy. The good thing with the girls is that you will be loved for life. They will always give you love. That bad thing is that soon, you won't have 5 dollars in your pocket. They want clothes all the time. The boy, he didn't care about that, but the girls..." We shared a laugh and you know, the whole thing was just the end to an enchanted day.
Oh, and in between all of this, we went to Huntington Beach, which is only 20 minutes or so from Anaheim, with no freeway driving. I wasn't prepared for how beautiful it would be, and how cool the PCH was. Anyway, I wasn't understanding the Garmin when we were getting there (because we set our destination as the PCH in Huntington) and we were looking for the pier but suddenly we were in Long Beach and saw the way to the ferry for Catalina and I kept thinking of Natalie Wood and boring Rachel with "I remember when she died off of Catalina, it was a June day...." So we turned around and suddenly found Bolsa Chica state beach and parked there. We had the beach basically to ourselves, as it was 8 miles of beautiful sand. Well, I've always had this ocean fixation (the Stevie drama queen in me) and I don't remember ever swimming in the ocean, so I was getting all giddy and choked up as we ran to the water. The waves were wild and the kids had a blast getting knocked around. They were only ankle deep and were having so much fun. We picked shells and I went in to my waist and got knocked all over the fucking place and then we found out that the pier and the city itself was 3 miles down, so off we went. OMG, it was so cool. We parked and the beach was awesome, with volleyball nets everywhere and surfers (it's the original Surf City Jan and Dean sang about) and there was this huge farmers market. We bought fresh strawberries and fresh mandrins and oranges and grapefruit straight from the tree, and blackberries and cherries and they had every kind of veggie and the locals were so friendly. They had booths of jewellry and baking and art, and we bought a painting of waves by a local artist to remember the day. We walked the pier and watched the surfers below trying to catch the next big wave while the Japanese and Mexican fishermen around us were fishing. Across from the beach was blocks of shopping and we ate outside at an Ihop that looked way nicer than an IHOP, and sadly, I couldn't find the Hollister store which I wanted to find, because if you go into the Edmonton store, they have a live feed of Huntington Beach.
Anyway, we were so frigging sunburned it wasn't funny, but i still have a great tan. Rachel's feet and the back of her legs were so burned she could hardly walk. The life guards and the cops patrol the beach like nazis, so you always feel safe, and we watched an impromptu break dancing show - I think they may have been dancing for Jesus or something, but I am not sure. But it was so cool to be a part of all of that. Along the beach was 8 miles of paved path which took you to Newport, I think, but we didn't have time. They also had showers everywhere, which was good because i learned my lesson about being salty at SLC. And, there were other fat guys on the beach too, so I was like "if you don't like looking my fat belly in the sun, turn away!" It was liberating.
Anyway, the entire Anaheim/Huntington area was covered in what I think might be magnolias.... are they like flowering bushes? It was the best smell in the world (remember in the movie Christine when that old pervert man said the best smell in the world was pussy? Well, he ain't never smelled California magnolia, I guess).
So then we decided to leave the LA area a day early and head towards the Grand Canyon. But since it's 12:30, I better get to bed, so I'll tell that one on the weekend.
OMG, talking about it makes me want to go back. Please, if you are rich and are reading this, throw me some $$ so we can go back. Thanks!

Farrah, sorry they bumped you

I am missing my mom tonight. I think it's because of Michael Jackson, actually. Anytime some big pop culture death happened, I would call my mom - she ate that shit up like me. My sister, who I call Typhoid Mary because she'll call you the second a star dies or a natural disaster happens, or when terrorists hit - she is the one who informed me about the World Trade Centre - called me this afternoon before Michael's head hit the ground and told me he was dead. I swear she has a chip implanted in her wrist that broadcasts TMZ. Anyway, after she spread the news, we talked Farrah and she said she bawled when she heard, and I mean, I didn't know they were that close, so I asked why and she it was probably because of the cancer. Well.
Anyway, it's getting to be that time of year when it'll be the anniversary of us discovering her illness and then her death and I can't say that I am in a really good place right now. I might appear ok, but there are cracks that I notice that tell me I am not ok - sleeplessness, huge weight gain, etc. Anyway, it's par for the course, but what got me about MJ was that I almost reached for the phone to debrief with my mom and yet again I couldn't. Same with the trip. I was dying to call her every day and tell her everything we saw and were doing. The trip ended, incidently, on her birthday, where I made a trip to her hometown, which I will tell you about later. And I wanted to call her as soon as I got home and tell her all about it.
Anyway, it's the trivial things that get to you.
On the MJ thing, I feel nothing - am I horrible? Like, with Farrah, I actually felt sort of sick when I heard, maybe because of the cancer, maybe because it seems like yesterday her poster rocked the world of boys of the 1970s everywhere and her death means we ain't kids anymore, maybe it was that my dad had a thing for her shampoo and that brings back memories, or maybe it's because I always root for the underdog and she always was the underdog. But I hated to hear of her death. And hell, when Diana died, well, I almost sent casseroles to the castle. Then there was the brief two hours when John Denver died but they accidently reported Elton dying, and I was in a panic along with the other losers in the chatroom I used to visit every night. But hearing about Michael doesn't mean anything to me. Odd, isn't it, as I was a huge fan back in the Thriller days. I actually own it on cd now. But whatever.
Funny one for you - I went to google Jeff Goldblum dying, because Typhoid Mary heard that rumour, which wasn't true, but I came across some poster of him that says "Jeff Goldblum is watching you poop." It's fucking brilliant. Google it.
Well, that's about all I have to say. I better go see who Larry King is interviewing now. He had a whole show devoted to Farrah planned with Dominic Dunne, and now they bumped her for 2 hours of MJ. Fuckers. Peace.

press release regarding Michael Jackon's death

Personal Statement issued by JT @ 11:20 PM CST:

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the Jackson family at this difficult time."

Since everyone from Celine to Corey Feldman issued statements tonight, I thought why can't I?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Leaving Las Vegas

Ok, so after the awesome beauty of Utah, and seeing the extremes of snow to desert in a 2 hour time frame, we were approaching Vegas. My research, and the advice of other people, all said that there was so much to do with kids in Vegas. Well, sure there is - if you are a crackhead and your kids are used to your crackhead lifestyle. After the freaky Salt Lake City traffic, I was getting nervous about Vegas. We drove through 2 hours of desert, which I've always been fascinated with, so I kept saying "more cactuses, take pictures!" Then we suddenly approached Vegas and I steadied myself for traffic. Weirdly, it was pretty easy - a few turns and we were on the Strip, thanks to the Garmin. Seriously, she would say "in 2 km, keep left, so you knew the lane was ending. Anyway, we originally going to stay at Circus Circus but instead opted for the Excalibur because it was right on the strip, was supposedly the largest hotel in the world, and was cheap. Had I booked online the night before, the room would have been 30 dollars, but since we just walked in, it cost 50. But anyway, we pull into the parking lot and it took forever to figure out how to go inside, and the kids are freaking because the hotel looks like a castle. So I go in to get a room, and immediately get freaked out, because you walk right into this huge casino, with bars on each side, including the one where this chick was dancing on the bar and undoing her bikini top. So, I get freaked out, and can't find where to check in, and all I can find are slot machines and moving sidewalks to other hotels and anyway, I finally ask one of those time share dudes where the hell I find the check in. So I go get a room and the chick is beyond rude, kind of like I was getting a room and was going to stock it full of dirty hookers and wipe my penis off on the curtains or something. Anyway, I get the room and try to figure out how to get the kids through there. So, we wandered around on the strip after a very expensive and gross meal at the hotel food court. So, I am pure hillbilly as we are walking the strip, because at first I was all "hey, that guy has a beer! There's the cops! They are waving to the cops.... what the?" I didn't realize you could pretty much shoot up heroin on the streets there and it would probably be legal. Suddenly I realize EVERYONE is drinking. And the streets are crazy and you can't move, and it's a frigging SUNDAY night. It's hotter than Star Jones' bra out there, and humid and I am tired, and everyone seems to be drinking and the newspaper boxes all have posters of naked hookers, so I am making the kids shield their eyes, and then the Mexicans all stand there and flip those cards advertising the hookers and I was totally freaked out. I wanted to scream "CAN'T YOU SEE WE HAVE KIDS! I AM NOT GOING TO FUCK HOOKERS! LEAVE ME ALONE!" I felt old.
Then we went back to the room and after everyone went to bed, I went down to gamble and came back 20 minutes later 200 dollars up. My wife was reluctant to have me go gamble, because she said "I know you and you'll take off and have some drinks and then take a cab to some hotel somewhere and will end up at some strip show and who the hell knows where you'll be." She seems to remember my impulsive behaviors, like crossing the border without telling her when she was 8 months pregnant. Anyway, after all I saw that night, I wasn't going to cross the street to piss on the Blue Man Group if they were on fire, so she had nothing to worry about. Of course, I was drinking 2 dollar supercans of beer, so why I didn't blow my money, I don't know, but I was so tight, I got out of there in 20 minutes. Then next morning, the poor kids sat in the window looking down at the 6 pools at our hotel - we couldn't swim the night before because the pools closed at 6 pm.... yeah. Anyway, Rachel went to gamble in the morning and came back 90 dollars ahead. So then we drove a mile or two to the outlet mall, which was so cool we almost orgasmed at the sight of it. It had everything, from my faves Timberland and Hillfiger and Jockey outlets, to Carters and Disney, and a whole shitload of other outlets. We spent a few hours there, and then stopped at the gas station and left town. It was so hot and humid. OH, and we discovered Krispy Kreme donuts. Fuck me Dorothy, they were worth the clogged arteries.... Margo, you are so lucky to live in a town that has them. Go have a few for me.
We left Vegas at about 4 pm and headed to Anaheim. Of course, we got to drive through desert most of the way and I was loving it. We stopped in Barstow for gas, and it was a scary shithole. We were gonna eat at McDonalds, but after Rachel and the kids went pee there (I don't remember why I was in the car waiting for them) I said "let's just go because I've seen so many creepy hillbillies and thugs in this parkinglot". So we stop for gas, and I go in to prepay because my credit card wouldn't work in the pump there, and this freaky hispanic homeboy was there trying to buy a bottle of booze, and Rachel cleaned out the van and threw garbage out, and I guess homeboy ran to the can as soon as she dumped it and he took our cans before she was in the van and ran back inside to put a down payment on his bottle. I was freaked out and thought "we ain' t in Kansas anymore."
So then we got the fuck out of there, although I kept singing Sheryl Crow's "Leaving Los Vegas" and the line "maybe stop in Barstow for the night" from the song, and thought "you got more balls than I do, Sheryl, to stay here". Of course, later I found out we were on the wrong side of the tracks, but at the same time, I also found out that Barstow was the home of TWO McDonalds masacres (that's spelled wrong, I think), so it creeped me out.
Anyway, soon we were in the urban sprawl of the greater LA area, and after driving through two hours of it, and suddenly being stuck in the freeway of 6 lanes going one way of cars going 120 km an hour, I began to freak out. Seriously. A good old panic attack. I just thought "If I needed to pull over, I couldn't" because I was stuck in the middle, because Garmin told me to stay left. Lovely Rachel talked me down, and we made it to our hotel, the Disneyland Hotel, at 9 or so. Our room was nice, although it was equipped with 2 doubles beds and a pullout instead of queens.
Anyway, I will stop here, and write about Disneyland, Huntington Beach, and shopping amongst the hostile Mexicans next time. Oh I have so much to say!
Later gators.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Utah: Not Just for Mormons!

Ok, so I think I left off at Idaho, where we spent the night in the hotel with ants in the loo. Ok, so I did my southern talk with the gas station lady about Pepsi Throwback, and off we went to another Walmart Super Center. I tell you, those really are the places to go to for groceries. It was so cheap and of course was full of stuff we can't get here, so we were loading up on even more shit, so it was really complicated to fit everything in the van.
Well, we took off from there, in Idaho Falls, and were on our way Utah. Since the speed limit moved up from 75 MPH to 80 MPH in Utah, we were cruising along at a great pace. At first, it looked just like Idaho - mountains, rural, etc. Then we stopped at a rest stop north of Ogden. Since the maps and the Garmin made it look like the Great Salt Lake was right off the highway, we thought we would ask about it so that we could dip our toes in it or something. The guy at the rest stop said we were to drive about 25 minutes down the road and take exit something or other and we'd find it. So that's what we decide to do.
When you hear the name "Ogden", you picture a sleepy little town, right? Same with Farmington? And Orrem and Provo and Syracuse? Think again.
Suddenly, as soon as we left the rest stop, we were in the whole urban area. It was suddenly 3, 4, 5, and sometimes 6 lanes of traffic going one way. It was just one big urban area, with miles and miles of stores and restaurants lining the freeway. After a loooong 25 minutes, we turned off and were trying to head to Antelope Island, where the lake was located. I had my doubts. The road was littered with stores and new subdivisions and it was so busy. Then we were in this residental area that was a bit older, and then we hit this booth telling us we were now at Antelope Island. And, as soon as we entered, we were in the wilderness. It was so frigging strange. We drove this windy road for 5 or 10 minutes, seeing parts of the lake on both sides of the road, and 4 trillion birds, and the grossest smell. It was like sulphur and birds and stink... Daughter 3, who gags whenever someone stinks up the bathroom, or someone mushes a grape, or whatever, keeps saying ""I'm gagging... RRRRREEEETCH" and she's trying to cover her mouth and nose between retches.
Finally we find the beach. It was soooooo cool. It was miles of hot white sand, leading down to the water. It was a LOOOONG walk down. Very long. The sand was burning our feet, but finally, we made it. The water was sooooo cool. It was almost hot, and since nothing can live in the lake except brine shrimp, the place was covered with birds. Apparently millions of birds live there to eat the shrimp. We splashed around and I went out and actually floated just because I could. No way anyone could drown there.
Then we made the long walk back up the beach and since that took so long, me, being the retarded traveller that I am, decide to just skip a shower and hop in the van for the rest of our drive - we had a good 4 or 5 hours to go.
WELL. We make a stop at an Arby's once we got out of the park and I go pee and notice my beard is covered in white salt. Then I start itching. And itching. It was torture. I've never felt so gritty and itchy. But anyway. We head back on the interstate and pass all these cities and towns that are all one, and finally approach Salt Lake City. The size of it and the sprawl was just crazy. I was shocked. It was also very beautiful, surrounding in mountains, and houses built in mountains and hills, and it just went on and on. We saw the temple briefly as we whizzed by, and let me tell you, they had their LDS churches on every corner. At one point, I counted FIVE that were visible from each other. It was freaky. They all have these big spires on top.
Anyway, after what seemed like and must have been hours, we got out of the urban SLC area and were in the mountain wilderness again. We had decided to go to Bryce Canyon National Park to see the Hoodoos. How I found them on the internet, I don't know. Anyway, we weren't sure about going there because it was an hour or so out of the way, but we decided to suck it up since I had booked a room there months before.
Am I ever glad we did. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Seriously. Big, oddly shaped mountain structures, colored in orange, surrounded by red sand. It was like the Grand Canyon, but better. We were amazed. We checked into our hotel at sunset, Ruby's Inn, which I guess is sort of famous there. It had this big lobby full of stuffed wild animals and was larger than life, and had this huge store attached that sold everything from jewels to clothes to groceries. It was full of foreigners. I found Dr. Pepper ice cream syrup there, along with apple soda. Our room was really nice, with two king beds, and it was such a cool place. Across the street was some old west shopping thing, so the kids liked that. The hoodoos were unreal. You could hike down into the canyon, but it was really dangerous, so we couldn't do it with kids. We hiked down a bit though, and I took a little rock from a hoodoo. Anyway, it was fabulous.
So, we finally get ready to leave, sadly, and head on for Vegas.
Garmin tells us the shortest way is through this odd mountain pass. We take it. I almost soil myself.
Seriously, freaky shit. I should have known the road was crazy when I saw the sign saying "closed Sept-May". Anyway, it was about as wide as a maxi-pad, and steeper than shit, and I dunno how, but at one point, we had nothing but a 9 million foot freefall on both sides of the road. So, of course, there are no guard-rails, and the road is still climbing and there are deer everywhere, and we are just holding on for dear life - it made Roger's Pass look like a cakewalk - and daughter #3 starts hootin' and hollerin' and yelling "we're tipping over! whoo hooo!" and laughing like crazy and that was freaking me out even more. Again, we are so high that we encounter snow patches. We then pass the worst, and again, I wonder why this road exists, when we pass this resort that must be for skiing in the winter, and it had this odd BBQ stand. Well, turns out, a week later, we are watching Jon and Kate in our hotel somewhere, and where is Jon skiing?? At this place, with the BBQ stand! It was cool.
ANyway, we watch some heli-logging and then make it to Cedar city, and then on we go to St. George. We get to St. George later in the afternoon, 3:30 or 4:00 or something and suddenly we feel festive, because, an hour ago, we came out of snow, and now here we are with palm trees and cactuses, and such. We find their outlet mall, which was all outdoors, and we go shopping. I find the Eddie Bauer outlet and find some shirts, and this saleslady asks me for my # (not to meet up later and have sex or anything, just for their database). So I say I am from Canada and she goes "we sometimes take Canadian pennies, do you take ours?" So I tell her we take their quarters and she asks if we have quarters so I show her one and she asks who is on the back. I say the queen, and she doesn't get why the queen is on there and asks if Canadia (pronounced can-ayy-deee-ah) has its own queen. Then she asks what the queen does and i had to say "I don't rightly know" and then some smart-ass man behind me starts talking about the commonwealth and the monarchy and I got the hell out of there.
So then we start driving towards Vegas, and it's all cactuses and sand and we are so excited, so we take 4 billion pictures of palm trees, cactuses, and desert sand. We are approaching Vegas, and I'll leave our 18 hours in Vegas for tomorrow night. But I have to tell you, Utah is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I can't even begin to tell you about how amazing the landscape is. And SLC is pretty cool too. I cannot wait to go to Utah again. And it's so frigging clean, and it was hillarious to see this billboard of Marie Osmond every two feet, of her holding a vase and saying 'this is my favorite home decorating store".
Anyway, On to Vegas tomorrow night!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Meet me in Montana

It's Britney, bitch!
Back at home, finally! The week has been crazy - work is nuts, home is nuts, the heat has made everyone crazy... it's just one of those weeks. We hit the ground running since we got back. Anyway, I am going to try to tell you all about the trip as much as I can before bed beckons for the night.
So, as I may or may not have said here, I suddenly got a little apprehensive before we left because of the enormity of the whole thing. Everyone was saying "you are DRIVING to California? With 4 kids!?" When you hear that enough, it starts to rattle you. Then, we were super busy trying to get ready for the girls' dance year-end performances. So, they danced on Wednesday evening, and we left Thursday morning. Thursday morning got off to a later start. We packed the van full of our new luggage and our stroller and our cooler. I can't remember if I told all y'all that we bought a Thule car top carrier at a garage sale? We kept saying we needed to get one for our trip, but I was dragging my heels because they were 400 dollars. Well, we went to this garage sale one day and there was one, hardly used, for 200, and we got it for 180. ANYWAY, we were packed to the nuts, but it was all good. Then we had to stop at the bank, and then I needed coffee before I died, and then we left town at about 10:30 in the morning. We didn't make any reservations anywhere for that night, just hoping to get into Montana, although in my perfect world, I silently thought that Billings would be the ideal place to make it to, even though it is a good 10 or 11 hours away from here.
Well, we weren't sure how baby boy would travel, either. However, it was his first day with his new car seat, and he was enamored with it. So, we got away and everyone was just happy as pie. I, of course, was almost vomiting at the thought of crossing the border. I don't know if I told the story of the time I almost got stripped searched at the border - the time I unwittingly had NARCOTICS in a perscription bottle with SOMEONE ELSE'S name in my pocket - Anyway, I always get almost panicked at the border, and I was dreading this. So, I was full of doom and gloom and doubt. The kids traveled great, and we made it to Rosetown, where we got the kids to take a quick pee at the A&W (which has the cleanest bathrooms I have ever seen - I had to take a nerves-induced poop there). Indeed, I came out and said "that was the cleanest bathroom" and apparently, Kelly said the same thing to Rachel.
So then I grabbed some food for us to eat on the way, got gas, and off we went. Soon we were in Swift Current, where i lived as a toddler, and where we'd visit a few times each year until I was 15, and so I got all sentimental, but as we were on a mission to cross the border before the dinky crossing closed at 6, we pushed on without stopping. We got about 45 minutes south of Swift Current, after I commented on the wonderful road, when we hit Cadillac, Sask. Well, suddenly, the road went to shitsville. I have never seen such a freaky ass road. It was full of pot holes, was narrower than Drew Carey's hardened arteries, and had no shoulder - it was the first time I've seen the edge of the road level with the fields next to it. Anyway, that was a trying time, having to pass trailers hauling horses. Then we hit Val Marie "Prairie Dog capital of the world" the sign says, and let me tell you, dead prairie dogs were smooshed everywhere. It was a really creepy town, with this huge monestary that was advertising itself as a bed and breakfast. We then somehow found the border, and I was just trying to keep my bowels from opening all over the place. Luckily, fate intervened, and when we approached the border, the border dude came to the PASSENGER side of the van, so Rachel worked her wonders on him, and after making me open the hood and the trunk, and checking our passports, he waved us through and off we were. WELL, this is where I got all fucking giddy, because we were across, and life was good. That is when the vacation started.
So I was suddenly all filled with glee, because we were on our way. So we drive for an hour or so and are marvelling at the landscape, because neither of us had been to Montana before. We hit Malta, this town, and I see a gas station and we decide to keep going and get gas at the next town. So we keep driving and I am speeding like crazy, and making awesome time, and I notice that I have less than a 1/4 tank of gas. I then realize there are no signs for towns. We checked the Garmin (the GPS) and it says the nearest gas was 91 miles away. So, after much painful debate, we turn around and go back to Malta, which means backtracking for 1/2 an hour. So we get to Malta and the kids are hungry so I find a grocery store and go buy buns and meat and cheese and a whole shitload of American stuff we can't get at home. I am all giddy by that and it makes up for my anger at turning back. We then stop at a convenience store, named, I am not shitting you, Packy's. Seriously. I gas up and we all go pee there. The bathroom was in the back of the store. It consisted of a toilet and an industrial sink, next to the water heater, furnace, and slush machine supplies. It felt weird pissing in the utility room/slush storage room, but when in Rome......
So, we got the hell out of Packy's and its freaky vibe and hit the highway. There were these weird little mountains, which we found out were called the Little Rocky Mountains, and all of these strange rock hill things, which we found out were rimrock. We also crossed the Missouri and it was all really beautiful. After making one stop to nurse baby boy and for me to pee on the road, we made it to Billings after all, at almost 11 at night.
We stayed at a Country Inn, and they had the best frigging breakfast I've seen.
The plan for day two was to drive 2.5 hours to Yellowstone, and then drive through the park and reach Idaho Falls, which was another 3 hours. Well, we decide to find a Walmart Super Center first, for something or other. Well, fuck me Dorothy, it was almost better than sex. The grocery selection and prices were out of this world. We were walking around like slack-jawed yokels. So, we spent like an hour there, just going nuts looking at stuff and buying a whole bunch of stuff. Of course, I discover Cherry Coke Zero now exists there, and I swear, I think I came in my pants a little bit. So after buying my cherry coke and my hershey bars and funky flavored tic tacs and aerosol cheese, off we went for Yellowstone. I also have to say that Billings was a cool city, built around all these mountains and rocks. It freaked me out though that there were panhandlers EVERYWHERE. On every corner at the mall there would be a clean cut middle aged white guy with a sign. I am proud to say we gave money to everyone we saw. It broke your heart. These weren't crackheads. Broke my fucking heart.
Anyway, off we went on the interstate, and you know I love me some speed, so off we were. I wasn't thinking Yellowstone would be anything. Remember, I am from Canada, where we have Banff, Jasper, and all of fucking phenomenal B.C. to brag about.
Yellowstone was absolutely amazing. Unreal. We spent the day there, and didn't see 3/4 of it. It was fantastic. We crossed the Rosevelt Arch, and then saw cactuses, and so like true hillbillies, took 100 pictures. We then went into the park and saw a huge snake, rabbits, these weird hot springs things, and then discovered these geysers and paint pots and these huge pools of boiling water. It was like nothing I had seen before.
AND THEN, if that wasn't enough - again, I think I had an accident in my pants at the wonders of nature after seeing those - we realized that the ladies in the car next to us that smiled and waved and such, WAS ALSO CARRYING GEORGETTE FROM THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW!!!!!
So we waved to her and she gave us that magic smile, and life was all good. We were struck dumb, let me tell you.
Then we decided to leave Old Faithful, because it was getting really late. We then had to drive through, I shit you not, 200 plus buffalo blocking the road, and off we went. We left the park and entered West Yellowstone, a Banff-like town, and then entered Idaho. We drove for about an hour and it got dark out. We stopped in a town and tried to get a room and couldnt so we kept on and stopped in Rigby, Idaho, where I got a room at the Southfork in for 54 dollars. It was perfect, as the kids were crabby and tired and it was dark, and this place was cheap. However, the bathroom had no tub and the bathroom was crawling with ants, which creeped daughter #3 out, and the mattresses were covered in these plastic or rubber mattress covers, so you squeaked like Grace Jones in leather pants every time you moved. And farts kind of riccocheted off the thing too.
Then the next morning, I gassed up at the gas station, and I started talking southern. Everyone had an accent, and I suddenly was all "all y'all" and twanging eveything, and I couldn't stop it. So I bought this Pepsi for my Pepsi-loving wife, called "Pepsi Throwback." Apparently, it's Pepsi made with REAL sugar, as opposed to glucose or something. Well, the woman at the till is taking to me about it and how people like it, but not the Mountain Dew throwback. I get all twangy with her and her daughter, and I felt like I was fucking Kid Rock. I was ready to break into God Bless America. I was one of them. It was great.
I am going to stop here for now - the next day is Utah, which is the frigging most beautiful place on earth, and I have so much to report there, that I'll leave it until tomorrow. This was the boring first two days thing. OMG, I have so much to report, and the good stuff is starting now.
And I love America now.
And I begrudgingly now have to say we have some things to learn from them.
Anyway, I'll tell more tomorrow - be patient, Grasshopper......