Ya’ll Come

Next Wednesday, May 10, I’ll be on stage at Fireside Storytelling.

The topic is “Call of the Wild”.

No trouble coming up with an appropriate story. Can’t tell you what it will be, that would be cheating. The fun begins at 7:30. Details are here:

A whole evening of stories, six in all.

Hope to see you there.


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Get Out….the Tuesday Movie

Not so excited when AMC bought the Sundance Kabuki movie theater in Japantown here. Another independent bites the dust. There’s already an AMC less than half a mile away on Van Ess.

Even less excited when I went to the movie earlier this week. No more $6 Tuesdays…..

“So I’ll use my points for admission,” I said.

Nope. “You’re points should transfer to our Stubs program over time, but not instantly.”

So the regular $15 freight for Tuesday.

It was between “Get Out” and “Their Finest”….didn’t know much about either except that my nephew Cullen, a film student, had raved about Get Out. So Get Out it was, even though I am usually allergic to anything with any kind of horror/scarey vibe.

So I actually wasn’t annoyed the first time the screen froze. It broke the tension and let me breathe for a minute. The second time the screen froze was unnecessary. The fourth and fifth times even more so. “I’m going to Instagram this,” said a woman in my row. “Ridiculous,” said a man back a ways. “I knew it was bad that when they sold out to AMC,” I said.

No one from the theater told us anything, but we were near revolt when the movie restarted, seemingly for good. The movie was finally winding up, the weirdnesses starting to be illuminated. “Get out” is one of those rare movies that truly is cross-genre. Yes, it’s a creepy horror-ish movie, but is also racial commentary. You think its a “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” remake, but the weirdness is far more than skin deep.

How is it going to end? The protagonist Chris seems to be making his way out of an impossible situation, when suddenly…

The projector freezes.

For good.

Everyone gets a refund.

Except not everyone really does. “You only gave me back $13.50, not $15,” says the woman ahead of me. The extra movie pass doesn’t mollify her. “We’ve wasted two hours. I can’t get that back.”

“If you aren’t satisfied contact AMC.”

People who don’t have the credit card used for purchase in possession cannot get refunds at all, though they are given passes.

On the walk home I call nephew Cullen who recommended the movie in the first place, to see how it ends.

And that was a really great conversation. In fact, I know more about the movie after the conversation with Cullen than I would have if I’d seen the ending. When things get scary/creepy I have a tendency to watch things between my fingers and not pay 100% attention to detail. And this is a movie where every detail matters.

Kinda like life.

And the functionality of a movie projector.

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Memory. Triggered.

I committed the crime 14,893 days ago.

It was theft.

The only time I’ve ever really stolen anything…unless you count the piece of chocolate I ate from the candy counter when I was working at Woolworth’s.

I stole a towel from the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco.

It was a long time ago. 2127 weeks.

Why am I thinking about it now?

I walked past the Stanford Court Hotel just yesterday and it hit me. Who thought I would ever live on the very same street as the Stanford Court Hotel?

Reminders slap you the most of all when you are unprepared. In my Facebook “memory”, popped up that one year ago today a bunch of us Biker Chicks checked in for the five-borough bike ride in New York.

But the picture reminds ME that that was the start of the downward rush of my sister Alicia’s illness. I felt the need to be accessible, even on my bike and so my cell phone was at the top of my bag and bounced out. It was gone for a couple hours. A kind stranger returned it, refusing a reward.

And I didn’t actually do the 5-borough ride, deciding it was better to return early to California as Alicia’s doctor’s appointments were coming fast and furious.

That towel I took from the Stanford Court Hotel wasn’t just any towel. It was a really nice fluffy one, big, with their insignia woven in.

That towel has niggled at me ever since

It was my wedding night. A Saturday in July nearly 41 years ago. Jeff and I were married on a Saturday and had a one-night honeymoon at the Stanford Court before returning to work on Monday. We went to a show of the comedian Frank Gorshin. A professional photographer came around to the tables taking pictures. He asked the couple next to us if it was a special occasion, I remember wondering why he didn’t ask us the same question. Maybe because I looked too young, even to be out so late, not to mentioned married.

Of course I could never enjoy the towel because I had stolen it. If there is one thing my mother did for the five of us, she gave us out-sized consciences. One time I actually got out the checkbook to send the Stanford Court money for the towel. But at that point it was closed for renovation.

I finally threw the damn thing away.

But I never forgot.

Wonder if other people also remember failings more readily that strengths?

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Ice Cream for Everybody!

“I’ve got this great new plan,” says your teenager with excitement, “I’m going to make a bunch of fabulous changes in my life.

“I’m going to get a car. A nice car. And I’m going to take a vacation. And I’m getting rid of my annoying old clothes. Some of them are kind of itchy, you know.

“It’s all about natural fibers, that’s what I’m doing now. None of those pesky 39% natural fibers. And simpler, I want a simpler life. No more seven classes a day and homework, and music lessons and the part time job at Big Boys. From now on, I’ll do four classes. Three on Fridays. And music lessons. But no job at Big Boys. Instead of  35% of my time on homework I’m going to spend 15% of my time on homework.”

“How is that going to work?”

“Pesky details, I’ll figure those out later.”

“I am not paying for the car, the vacation, or the clothes.”

“I don’t expect you to.”

“So where is the money coming from?”

You wouldn’t buy it from your teenager….

Why are we adults supposed to buy it from the President oft the United States?

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Indians in Napa?

A police presence was required at a school board meeting in Napa this month.

The Napa mascot in the floor of the offices at the Napa Unified School District.

All because of a discussion of changing the high school mascot, the Indian, which a committee of the school board has recommended.

Hundreds of people showed up for the meeting, which was held in the 650-seat district auditorium, instead of the normal conference room. “Liar!” yelled someone from the audience when a speaker talked about racism in Napa, back in the day. Board members left the stage at one point when one woman refused to abide by the time limit for speakers. There were angry protestors outside and inside.


This version of the controversy began in fall of 2015 after Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation forbidding the use of Redskin as a team name or mascot in California. Shortly after, Native American graduates of Napa High School raised the issue.

No decision was made at the most recent meeting, another is scheduled for May 9 and the internet is awash in petitions, from this high school class and that high school class, all about how proud everyone is about our history.

Really. Such a small town approach to things.

How does a particular name really have to do with pride in a football game? The Indians, or Native Americans, from the Napa area, the Wappo… were all killed off or absorbed. By 1910 there remained less than 100.

My siblings and I attended Ridgeview Junior High School in Napa, where, as my brother Danny reminded us recently, the “mascot was the Rebel, wearing a confederate cap and a flag in the background.” Although Ridgeview closed down years ago, “some things just need to be changed.”

The Stanford University sports program and pride seems to have managed just fine since they got ride of their Indian mascot in 1970.

Am sure Napa will do fine with a new mascot, if it can get over its serious case of self-importance.




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