Sunday, July 30, 2006

What's Your Vector Victor?

I’ve always been somewhat of an inept gift-picker-outer. Take The Warden, for instance. I can count the number of gifts she’s really liked (and she’s brutally honest) on two hands. Here are three that come immediately to mind. It’s an interesting mix:

- A Gerber, multipurpose tool, which she kept in her purse for years until she lost it.
- A Christmas sweater that I got her nearly 20 years ago. She still has it and wears it.
- A digital video camera.

Anyway…The Warden is within a few months of her bachelor degree in business administration - management information systems, and I’d really like to get her something nice. But, since I’m a really bad gift-picker-outer, I’m soliciting suggestions from anyone who cares to help. I really do need it!


Anyone remember This?


Memory Du Jour:
1999, Corpus Christi, Texas
A coworker and I were flying back from a conference in New Orleans (Yeah, it was tough) one night. The little two-engine prop plane was on the downwind leg of his approach to the Corpus Christi International (more like county) Airport at around 10:00pm. I looked out the window as the pilot was banking into the final leg. I saw the little control tower and the parking lot.

He came out of the turn and continued descending. I looked down and could see the cars in the parking lot clearly enough to be able to tell makes and models.

All of a sudden, the pilot jammed the throttle forward. He pulled up hard and banked equally hard to the right. We were probably 200 feet above the ground, just short of the runway.

When he came out of the hard turn/climb, and we were in level flight again, the pilot came on and told us why he had to abort the landing: There was a small Cessna-like plane on the runway. It’s lights were not on, and they could not be hailed on the radio. Mr. Pilot assured us that we’d been in no danger and that we were plenty far from the ground/runway.

Bullshit. Anyone with any depth perception, who also happened to be looking out the window could see that we were probably within about 15 seconds of touchdown.

A brush with death or just a brush with shitting myself for the first time since I was in diapers?

Quote of the Day:
“I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.” –Senator Ted Stevens(R), Alaska, explaining why he was voting against a recent telecommunications bill. But wait, there’s more here

Note: The sad thing is that this “Bridge to Nowhere” dumbass is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Graphic Du Jour:


Webmiztris said...

damn, that Gerber thing looks lethal! I need one of those! ;)

Bunny ~N~ Early said...

LOVED the comic! Too fucking true.
Sorry I can't help with the gift idea, I'm a crappy gift picker. I think everyone should just go buy their own gifts, wrap em up pretty and hand me a receipt so I can reimburse them for the wonderful gift I just got them. On the rare occasions I do pick a winner gift, I never seem to get it to the intended recipient (can't get to the post office without a gun to my head). I still have Neys nephews Christmas gift from 2 years ago.
By the way Ney, did Nick enjoy the concert??? I've got passes for some killer shows coming up. Neener - neener - neener.

Karlos said...

WebMiz They're awesome. I have one that my mom got me liek 15 years ago. They're really, really handy.

Y: Aint' it!? Well I'm glad there's someone out there who sucks at picking gifts too. I was feeling pretty alone!

The_Gator said...

well personally i dont know much about the warden so i cant help you much. It kind of depends on your abilities and how she might react, buying something or making something.

Sheila said...

How about a nice leather brief case and a romantic weekend get away for just the two of you.

Scary MDJ!

Karlos said...

Gator My abilities? LOL. They suck bro! As for how she’ll react...she’ll just tell me whether she likes it or not, which is cool I guess because money doesn’t get wasted on gifts that’ll end up in a closet.

Sheila: She has a nice leather briefcase....The weekend thing may be happening anyway this Labor Day down at the coast with some friends and kids and beer and booze and fish and sun and sand and tourists and sunburns and hangovers...ahhh...we’ll see. Thanks though.

The_Gator said...

you and her go to a spa, you know let her be pampered. Then take her to a picnic, blanket and basket. If you and her arent up all sorry...


The_Gator said...

and yes my new name is gstor



jules said...

Enjoyed chatting with you the other day.

Bunny ~N~ Early said...

gstor LMAO!

Karlos said...

Gator: G-Stor is actually a new pilot on MTV; a cartoon created by 50Cent and G-Unit about a rogue inner-city rappin’ robot who terrorizes white folk in affluent neighborhoods by driving up and down their streets blaring thumping stereos and speaking in Ebonics.

Jules: Me too!

Sudiegirl said...

I would suggest taking The Warden shopping at a nice women's store and buying her a business suit and matching shoes.

I guarantee you'll get laid after that.

BTW, I edited your last two comments on my blog - go look at em!

Miss Cellania said...

Are you guys insane? She's graduating from college! Duh. Buy her a car!

Karlos said...

Sudie: I’m all about gettin’ laid! ;-) Laying notwithstanding, I do like your idea. Probably the best and safest since I’m such a shitty giftpickerouter!

MissCellania: A car!? Eek! (Guys aren’t supposed to say that, I know) She already got a 2005 Honda Pilot right off the showroom floor a couple of years ago. Note to self: Never give Miss Cellania The Warden’s email address. :-) Just funnin’. Thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

Mouse-Cut June 1968

I was sleeping. Slowly, leisurely, I was awakened at dawn by Mr. Hanson’s shortwave radio, its surreal hum fading in and out of my slightly conscious mind. From my partially open window foreign broadcast seeped into my room, and my slumbering mind. For years in summer an open window accepted wreathlike voices which flowed into my unconsciousness, augmenting inimitable dreams with ghostly voices from afar. Fantastic dreams permeate the shadowy world of my unconscious mind, strange faces, places, events, sounds, all coalescing then dissolving in an endless torrent of personal dramas, dramas in which occasionally I was at play. Nocturnal productions have no boundaries, thus the impishly capricious trickster can be found roguishly at play even in ones dreams.

-One night ocean waves were hitting the house; an old man with a sorcerer’s wand was coaxing the waves, staring at me with an odious grin. He raised his staff; and with a wave of his left arm conjured up huge rushing waves that flowed through the house, room to room, destroying everything. I awoke to wave-like sounds from Mr. Hanson’s shortwave stuck between stations.

-On television I had seen police with fire hoses battling college students in an antiwar protest. That night I flew through the air like an oversized cupid, shooting arrows at the unkind solders. Each arrow finding its mark turned the solders into a tree, bush, dear, or flowering plant. The happy sound of the approving students, loud shrieks and screams rose to a deafening roar, so loud I awoke to applause given to a speaker heard on the shortwave. Some leader was giving a speech in which an enthusiastic audience incessantly interrupted him with thunderous applause.

-I flowed through what looked like shower stalls. The shower stalls were covered with small sized green-blue tiles cemented by bleached white grout. The stalls were no more than three feet high, and no shower heads were to be found. The stalls were maze shaped, extending outward. Each section had a small wooden bench connected to it. What perplexed me was that they were not showers. A hefty male voice commanded me to get out, to leave the peculiar shower stall area immediately. I ignored the persistent arrogant voice, but his hateful voice kept yelling for me to get out, now! I continued to disregard him, as I was supposed to be in that place, and he was at most an outside irritation, an angry spiteful voice. I just seemed to flow across the stalls, pondering their usage. I awoke with a start; the angry mans infuriated voice spewing from the shortwave, continuously yelling, “Get, get out.” He was making a commentary in relation to America’s involvement in Southeast Asia. The irony is nearly twenty years later I found myself in that place, and some people outside were very angry about it.
-The moon, sitting just above the eastern horizon was blood red, the sky made it that way, many layers of atmosphere, oxygen and nitrogen. All things were explained by science, my school teacher told me so, so that was all there was to it. The sky was full of pollutants, so very polluted; therefore it could not be the sign, the token ensign, right? Then scarlet drops of blood oozed from the bottom of the moon, falling slowly to earth. A stream of bright red slowly flowed earthward from the crimson red orb suspended in the sky, making an unnatural crackling sound. I was terrified. I awoke to the crackling and popping sound of the shortwave. One evening Mother and I were driving east just past our house on Stepney Street. About ten houses down the street makes a sudden drop down, the most sudden steep grade I have ever seen on a city street. Just before the drop she stopped the car and stared. The moon, on the eastern horizon was full, and blood red. It was larger than I had ever seen it before, filling much of the eastern sky. She stared at for several minutes. Her thoughts were clear. In our theology the moon turning to red was a sign of the apocalypse, and such things she took with absolute seriousness.
A Blood Moon
After a few minutes the moon turned a natural yellow, making it clear it was a natural phenomena, as its unusual color was atmosphere related. She sighed, started the car, and drove down the hill.
Liability for thoughts or actions in the shadowy world of dreams fades with the dream, a dream being only random stirrings of cerebral electrical discharges, as secular wisdom tell us.
It was dawn on a Saturday. At sunrise Mr. Hanson’s shortwave was blaring as usual. In the early morning he was able to receive most clearly stations from Europe, his favorite being Radio Moscow. Complete wakefulness arrived to the sound of squelch and an unfriendly Russian woman’s churlish voice. I was going to ride my bike today, the pleasant reality of that thought chasing away residual nocturnal clouds. Riding my bike always had my Mothers blessing as she figured boys and bicycles were like girls and dolls. I would explore my section of ‘The Basin.”

I had learned about ‘the basin’ in school. The basin was massive, from Santa Monica to Redlands; the Los Angelus basin. ‘L.A.’ means not just the city of Los Angeles, but the entire amalgamation of cities in the basin, as understood especially to those back east. The Spanish envisioned Lady Angels in a circle, guarding the parameters of the Pueblo from evil, maybe pagan Indians not yet bestowed with the civilizing benefits of mission life. I figured the real justification for Los Angeles existence is extended parking for the beach.

For me, as a small boy living nears the western edge of the huge people-infested basin, it was home. By age eight I was riding my bicycle over most of the city. I was being raised in Inglewood, and had most of its curvaceous residential streets and neighborhoods memorized. Market Street, Queen Street, Main Street, Regent circle, Centinela, La Brea, and so many more, all made familiar by virtue of a bicycle. Whenever possible, I traversed the city. Sometimes other boys on their bicycles would follow me in my endless excursions. To me the city was one mid-sized city among a multitude of basin cities, long ago groped together by what some would call progress. Continuous concrete, the rank smell of trash and asphalt, honking cars scurrying about, jack hammers, city noises and smells, all grind me into daytime reality as I peddle away through the multifarious environs of the city. Bicycles do for a boy what work does to a man as an adult.

During the Pleistocene the basin was even larger, as Catalina and the other Channel Islands were connected to the mainline. The mountains, the San Gabriel’s and San Bernardino’s, perpetually snow capped stood enclosing the semi-desert basin. It was not as arid as today, as lakes and ponds filled the basin and stately oaks as far as one could see dotted the valleys and hills of the huge basin. The Santa Ana River, a raging torrent was fed by glacial ice atop San Gorgonio, rushing from Mentone to where it emptied into the pacific on land somewhere west of what would someday be Costa Mesa. Huge ice bergs floated as far south as the Southern California coast. The gleaming mass of the ice bergs could be seen from the beaches, seven-eights of the massive bergs always under the surface in the shadowy darkness of the ocean, only one eighth rose above the ocean depths, glimmering in the sunshine, floating ice islands off the coast. Huge animals, mastodons, camels and horses grazed on large stretches of grasses and scrubs. Long before the Pleistocene it was under a shallow sea, the foothills of the mountains being the ancient shoreline, the Baldwin, Jurupa, and Chino Hills being Islands in an inland sea. In Pleistocene times the rationale for ‘L.A.’ was where big animals ate smaller animals and those animals ate smaller animals, and so on. For those near the bottom of the food chain, the abundant but trifling mice, ‘L.A.’ was a place to roam and eat, hoping not to be eaten. All hustle and bustle, they scurried from one hole to the next, all part of a mutual eating society.

I went next door to see if Bobby could go with me. I liked when Bobby would go with me, him always having abundant ice cream money for me to attempt, sometimes successfully, to talk him out of. Like my Mother, his parents set definite parameters, and like my Mother, Western Avenue was as far east as he was allowed. Sometimes I was obedient to that rule; that Saturday I was not. I began riding my bike east, alone.

I was not a cool or hip little boy. Nature and nurture saw to that. Slightly pudgy, awkward, misfit cloths, and a perpetually hideous ‘mouse-cut’ all served to rendered me the consummate nerd. Few could claim a more loving mother. She was the definition of motherhood. Mother sported only a few failings, or what I shall call maternal quirkiness. She was hopelessly out-of-sync with the times, with herself, and me. I would watch reruns of the Mickey Mouse club on television, and noted the boy’s haircuts on the show. The fifties blandness was noticeable even then, only ten years after the fifties. Mother must have been inspired to compel me to sport such a haircut based on what she saw on that show. She took me to Armando’s barbershop off Market, and instructed him in what she wanted to see, sides tapered up, just enough on top to ‘roach back.’ Now ‘roach back’ means my hair had to be gooped up with something oily and with a smudge of Vaseline applied in front to get the bangs in front to perpetually stay back. I hated the sticky nasty soggy feeling on my head, acutely conscious of the petroleum substance seeping down the back of my neck as the day worn on! Other boys could be found with such a cut, it had died as a style long before. In church boys made fun of it by wetting their combs then running it across their hair in a parody of my 90-weight hair. My head felt like an unchanged diaper.
Me with Mouse Cut, Inglewood, 1968

There were the cloths that never fit or looked right. I believe that was more a result of my fast growth than anything. That has never stopped being a nuisance problem. Ever since then I have never been at ease with my cloths. Someone has always been ready to point out that my cloths were just somehow wrong. The main issue then was my hair, and that noxious hair style, a style I retained until I went to live with my Father. Finding only one thing to grumble about, my oil-reserve-hair-style illustrates what an excellent Mother I was given.

Me with my mouse cut rambled all over the city and beyond, oblivious to time or distance. That June day I was not back at dark, and as dusk turned to night I knew my Mother would be upset. I was not lost, just far to the east of Western Avenue, past what Captain Kirk would call the neutral zone. I knew I had traveled a long way east, into Los Angeles. This district Mother was afraid of, its nighttime streets generating apprehension in me, animating me to ride as fast as I could westward. An old Chevy pulled up besides me somewhere around Normandy Avenue. All I saw was white eyes and teeth from at least four men as dark as the night “You need a ride young child,” said one, I immediately nodded no. “Suit yourself” he said, as the car pulled forward, its taillights gradually fading into the gloom blocks away. Soon I was riding past the Coronet Theatre, where I entered Inglewood proper. A new film “Barberalla” was playing at the Coronet.

Within an hour I arrived home. I was surprised to find my Mother missing. Finding the hidden key I entered the semi-lit house. The evening being warm she had left several windows open, allowing the eerie sounds of Mr. Hanson’s shortwave radio to enter our little home. I called a neighbor, who told me something had happened with a church friend, so she had left, telling another neighbor lady, Miss Belmont to watch me, as I should be home before dark. In the shadowy front room I found Miss Belmont, old weathered and worn, slumbering on the couch, in her repose absorbing voices from afar. Perhaps the remote voices had soothed her to sleep filling her mind with phantoms unrevealed; in any case, the old woman’s snoozing redeemed me from liability for my impishly capricious actions.