Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why I never learned to play the violin

When I was a little girl, my grandmother gave me a little, red violin for Christmas.

My grandma is a professional violinist and I am sure she was dreaming of having me follow in her footsteps.  She was probably already seeing all of us tracing back those footsteps to that moment when she handed me that awkward, very bright, fake violin that played recorded music when you rubbed the yellow bow accross the rubber wheel that doubled as the "strings."  She probably envisioned me falling in love with the romantic instrument and becoming a virtuoso. 

Too bad for her that I am me and have absolutely NO musical talent.  Or patience. 

While looking through some old family photos, I stumbled across the photographed documentation of that fateful Christmas day. 

First the picture of my mother patiently trying to teach me how to correctly hold the bow and violin.  So far the dream of me being a brilliant violinst is still a great possiblilty.

Next I try it on my own.  The dream of super stardom is fading. 

Then the dream crashes and burns when my lack of patience overpowers my violin loving potential.

Sometimes in my dreams, I can still hear that little red violin.  Saying....stick with your day job. 

Stay tuned for a coming blog post about my very conservative, very reserved parents playing a very original game that apparently they absolutely loved...with very disastorous results.  The game? 
 "Squeeze Butt." 

Friday, October 8, 2010

The writing was on the wall, er...sign-in sheet

I am all for budgets.  Keeping track of your money is important.  Doing sums to figure out financial footwork is completely acceptable.  However....there are certain places not to finalize your budget.  Like at the bank.  On the sign-in sheet.  For all to see. 

Especially when you can't add.  Or subtract. 

Today, I went to the bank.  It was payday and I am always excited to go deposit my check.  When I got to the beginning of the line, I stopped to sign the back of my check and to sign the "sign-in" sheet they have on a little podium. 

This is where my day became awesome.  Here is what I saw:

I just had to take a picture.  (Which by the way, I didn't take a picture at first because I was much too afraid that taking a snapshot of a sign in sheet at a bank must violate several Federal laws.  So I went back and pretended to text someone while I took this picture.  I half expected to hear sirens and see a swarm of SWAT members coming at me afterwards. I kept glancing around for someone to stop me and I tried to think of a believeable thing to say if approached - like "I am doing this so as to prove a breach in your security, of which your presence disproves my theory. I promise I am a good person, I have a Citation Award from AWANA!!!"

Fortunately, so far I haven't gotten any menacing calls from the Department of National Security.  All I can say is that we are not as safe as we thought - I can take a picture of a sign-in sheet at a bank!!! )

Aside from the element of is why this is so awesome. 

1. This person had no clue how to add/subtract.  In fact, they tried to do both at the same time.  They took the number $5,800 and the number $1,800 and added the two "8's" and subtracted the "1" from the "5" with an answer of $4,600.   I sincerely hope this person was not a math teacher....or an accountant. 

2. This person gave themselves tick marks on the edge of their "sums" (if you can call poorly calculated numbers "sums").  I don't know if the tick marks were strikes for poorly done math or points for what they thought was good budgeting. 

3. Their last comma that separated their final number of "$3,400"  was so large that it commaed both the number AND the dollar sign.(Of course, their figure was once again off by $100 if they were trying to add...and we won't even try to fathom what math book taught them their math rules if  they were in fact trying to subtract.)

What an inspiration of dismal degrees.  This person had no shame and wrote their numbers for the world to see.   I just hope they weren't trying to figure out if they had enough money to buy a car or something...for they may find when they get there that the math was a little off. 

I believe I will start doing my budget on sign-in sheets.  You can never have enough accountablility. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oh Why, Oh Why - My dad and the Fly

We Philpots come from a long line of hicks.  Topics like chopping wood are not as foreign to us as some would think.  In fact, I can chop and stack a mean pile of logs.  Yes.  Too bad that can't go on a resume or even attract a decent boyfriend.

Since my dad grew up on a Christmas tree farm before moving to LA later in life with a whole "fresh off the farm" vibe, I am a first generation non-hick. 

Let me tell ya, that ain't so easy. I have to establish what is "in" and "hip" and explain to my dad things like  lol does not in fact mean, "Lots of love" and that Facebook is nothing like the Farmers Almanac.  It soon became evident that you can't completely take the "country" out a boy when my dad proceeded to cut down all of the palm trees in the front yard because quote, "trees that are that skinny and serve no purpose don't deserve to take up my soil." 

I am pretty sure if he could have, we would have made a log cabin with those palm trees and stuffed the cracks with oil rags in the winter to insolate it.  If you doubt me, both his brother AND sister made their own log cabins.  For real. 

Today, a bunch of flies flew into our house.  No big deal.  At least, to non-hicks that's no big deal.  However, those flies came into a "hick" house, otherwise known as the "death" house (to vermin at least).  We don't mess with Raid like sissy city-slickers.  Nope.  We hunt.  I feel so sorry for those unsuspecting flies who were just seeking a little santuary from the muggy weather outside.

At the first sighting of these "vermin," my dad grabbed a dish towel.  Now, I am actually very proud of him because normally he tries to catch them with his hands first.  Have you ever seen a grown man, with a Master's degree, chase a 10-millimeter length fruit fly, frantically clapping in the air?  Let's just say, we don't need T.V. in our house.

My mother shadowed him and yelled useful encouragements like, "It went over there, it went over there!!!"  He would snap the towel and she would jump up and down and ask excitedly, "didja get it???"  If he did in fact "get it" she would exclaim, "ew, gross, throw it away!!" 

You would think that throwing away the dead curled-up bodies would be just standard protocol, but in a "hick" house sometimes the carcasses are left wherever they went down.  Oh yes, it's gross.  But I suspect that it's my dad's way of displaying his mighty hunts.  Like mounting deer heads...but with flies. you know why my friends never come over to my house. 

Oh and after a dad hacks a luggie.  Yep. 

There was a concentration of these flies in the kitchen, understandably as that is where the food is.  Well, that became ground-zero.  My dad snapped and flicked and pounced on the buzzing enemy with the vigor of a combat sergeant. 

One fly escaped to our walk-in pantry. My dad saw this opportunity, ran into the pantry (armed to the teeth with TWO towels) and screamed at my mom to slid the pantry door shut (so as to trap the enemy). 

This was the exciting moment, everyone.  The old pantry door is NEVER used. Ever.  The pantry door was also never made to be slide across it's rusty, dirty tracks in the manner that a frantic mom a.k.a knight would heave close the heavy gates of a helm under attack. 

But, oh she tried. 

The pantry door balked halfway across and there was much excited pushing and pulling from BOTH my parents as they tried to trap this tiny, little fly.  Eventually, the door did reluctantly slide close, locking my dad and the fly in to duke it out. 

My mom and I stood outside the pantry and begged for battle updates as we heard towel swooshes and snaps.  Finally, my dad, as happy as a boy who had just come back from his first coon hunt, exclaimed proudly, "I got it!!"  He came out, holding his "trophy" and scanned the horizon for any other buggers.  After the coast was proclaimed clear, life slowly faded back to a rather diluted form of hickness.  Or at least, we made him wash his hands after holding the fly.

We are such hicks. Like, really.  I am surprised we don't eat more possum stew...that my great-grandma did actually make. 

I just wish we could find some Texas T, some black gold.  :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Boredom is blog about your calves

I was bored at work...and I was flexing my calves.  Yes.  You read that right.  

I then left calf muscle is WAY bigger and firmer than my right one.  I am not just talking slight differences here, people.  No. I am talking more like my left calf muscle could run a marathon and my right one might have trouble getting off the couch to get more potato chips.  

Naturally, I wondered how this had happened.  My only explanation is that when I did ballet I only would do the "one-legged twirl/stand/french words I can't pronounce or spell" on my left leg.  Hence, my left calf is a close cousin of Arnold Schwarzenegger's calves.  Yes.  My left calve muscle is directly related to our governor's calve muscles.  

Several thoughts are now racing through my mind.  
1. If cannibals ever capture me - my left leg will surely be the coveted prize of the tribe, while my right leg will be tossed to the dogs.  

2. If I ever had to roundhouse kick a "bad guy," I am going to use my left.  I hope.  If i can remember all of this valuable information.  

3. If I ever hope to become a "leg model," once again, my left calf is my only option.  I will only be able to model left-foot shoes.  

These are strange things to ponder.  I hope you guys have more exciting lives and don't have time to notice these things.  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All my friends call me Muggsie

I want you to know that the California budget crisis is over.  I have fixed it.  We no longer have a deficit. Public school classrooms can buy more books, roads can be repaired, prisoners can get better meals, grandparents can get social security.  It's all thanks to me and my criminal activities. Yes, I am that philanthropic.  I think I deserve a museum...or at least a statue.

I normally am a very generous person, if you don't mind me boasting (no one said anything about me being humble too).  I give money to lots of people.  However, up until about a month ago, none of my generosity had been voluntarily given to the government.   I figured, eh my taxes should be enough.  Recently however, the LAPD decided that my givings needed to increase. 

Before the following events occurred, I had one thing going for me - I had never been pulled over by a cop.  Ever.  In fact, I was very proud of this. I even tried to work that into normal conversations.  "Oh hey, we are all out of coffee, and I have never been pulled over."   Introductions used to consist of me saying, "Hey, my name is Emily, and I am a perfect driver."

I won't go into the gory details. It's just too painful.  Let's just say that about a month ago, I got pulled over for speeding.  There were tears. There was grinding and gnashing of teeth.  There was much ratiionalization..  "I was going downhill.  The speed limit changed for no reason!  My brakes are bad!  I was ministering to a fellow brother in Christ (aka talking to my friend in the passenger seat)!  My speedometer hasn't been calibrated!"  .

Eventually, I got over it.  I figured, for all the times I haven't been caught, I guess I can pay this one.

I tell ya, I didn't speed once during the last month.  I was so good.  If the speed limit was 40, I was going 39.9 mph.  My guardian angel was putting on weight just from lack of exercise.  I let people cut me off on the freeway. I drove behind slow trucks.  I kept my hands at 10 and 2.  I turned down the music. I was being featured in a Powerpoint show at a Guardian angel training seminar named, "Reformed drivers, Changed Hearts and Better Gas Mileage."   Speed demons were being laid off due to lowered productivity.

Life was good....until......

Last week, I was driving to the train station to go to work. There was a construction zone.   The sun was in my eyes. My windshield was dirty.  I was distracted by the construction crew. I didn't see the signs posted.

As I turned left into the station, I got waved down by a cop.   Apparently, There was a "No turning left during construction" policy.   He promptly wrote me out a ticket.   Bam.

I would go into my rant right here how it was unfair and it's just stupid and they just want my money and the cop did the "pull over" in a dangerous manner and I was late to work and how life sucks and "two tickets....seriously??? Really??? Com'mon!!!"

But I won't.  I don't believe in complaining.

So.  Now I am going to have to get a tattoo and take up weightlifting.  I am a "criminal" now, and that's what we do.  Just call me Muggsie.  However, thanks to me, California has more money to spend on things they don't need.  I did you a favor.  If you have a government college scholarship or if you get social security - I funded that.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My brick kitten with an antenna (i.e. My temporary cell phone)

My cell phone broke. In the olden days, waiting to hear from a friend for a couple days would be no big deal. People could call my home phone. They could write me a nice letter. They might send me a "speedy" telegram. Maybe they would stop by and have have a tall glass of iced tea with me and "chew the fat."

But it's not the olden days. I don't ride a horse to work. I don't know how to use a typewriter. I don't know how to wear a corset. I look stupid with my hair in a bun.

I need my texting, my facebooking, my blogging. I send about sixty texts a day. There is no way I can wait the estimated two weeks for my new phone to get here so I communicate with all my friends again. (Yes, I am getting the Droid X as soon as it gets shipped :)

There was only one thing to do. Use my mom's ancient, antique phone as a temporary mobile device.

Note: This is the phone that Abraham Lincoln used to text his generals war instructions. Abraham took pictures of his top hat collection to send a pic message to his Cousin Mo in the south. Christopher Columbus used this phone to update his facebook status to, "I can't find the freaking land, crewmates hate me, I am going to go drink beer. lol."

This phone was the newest and greatest back in the day. Why? Because it has a camera on the front!! I mean who can think of a more awesome thing to put on a phone than that?!?! There is no way that humans can invent something more awesome than this "camera phone." Oh and get flips too!!! I mean I can flip it open like a cool person, and take a pic of my cat. Crazy.

Granted this phone is the size of a small brick. I could use it to stone a small person. (Not that I would of course....and that is just a morbid thought, but i am trying to think of other useful things to do with this phone.) When Jesus challenged the Pharisees to throw the first stone at that woman...I am pretty sure he was gesturing to a pile of these brick flip phones. However, This brick also has a bonus extendable antenna. Don't get good signal?? Try raising the metal antenna two more inches!!! Wow, WAYYYYY better service now!!!

Texting on this phone is like trying to send a smoke signal - slow and rather iffy when it comes to interpretation. You have to hunt for all the letters, and there is no indication for where the punctuation keys are. Consequently, I have to send the worst written sentences in history. What if I have to tell someone about a dog I saw, "Having been squashed by a truck the dog ate a half eaten hamburger" Or about my grandma killing a spider "Already dead my grandma flushed the spider down the toilet" Yeah.... if you get a text from me in the next couple weeks, I did actually go to college, I just have to type on a brick with an antenna, give me some grace.

I think the main reason I hate this phone is because it made me late to work yesterday. I set the alarm for 6:30 a.m. I checked it twice to make sure i set it correctly. I did. One problem. I set the alarm to be on vibrate. Now on my old phone, the "vibrate" setting was enough to awaken me with the thoughts of "AHHHH there is an earthquake!!! It's the big one!!"

Not this phone. Nope. The vibrate on this phone is that of the soft purr of a two-week-old kitten. And it only purrs twice. Quietly. Like that of a two-week-old kitten who is purring after drinking a whole bowl of warm milk. Yeah, I woke up three hours after I was supposed to be at work.

Stupid kitten.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Superhero: Sam and his pants

I love my friends. They do crazy things for me.

As I mentioned in my last post, I visited San Francisco this last weekend, mostly to see one of my friends who is living up there this summer. On my last day, we had gone into the city for lunch and a movie.

This is where my day got just a little more awesome.

At this point, I need to introduce you to my friend. Let's call him....Sam. Sam is well...very particular. Before going to the movies, we had gone to a very nice bar and I had ordered a Long Island Iced Tea.

Nothing wrong with that.

However, as anyone who drinks alcohol can can, well...make you pee. I mentioned this fact to Sam, and he became very concerned and rather obsessed about my pee schedule. He didn't want me getting up during the movie. That would ruin it, and apparently I would not be able to follow the plot at all if I missed the three minutes needed to, my business.

So. Sam made us go to a later movie time. He made me walk around. He tried to calculate how long it would take me to pee, and how many times I would need to pee after drinking about 12 ounces of alcohol. When we did go into the theater, I was allowed to pee just one more time before the movie. I did make it through the entire movie with no, uh...nature calls. Sam was very proud of me.

All that to say...because of the later movie time, we were starting to run out of time to get back to Berkeley, grab my suitcase, and BART back into San Francisco in time for me to catch my Greyhound bus back to Los Angeles.

Sam had an idea. Sometimes, when Sam has an scares me. It usually involves things that make no sense and make me slightly nervous. However, Sam is very persuasive and usually uses big words and things called "logic", and he can win pretty much any argument. This idea involved me waiting in the BART station, while Sam RAN as fast as Sam could run back to his apartment, grab my suitcase, and book it back to the station to catch the next subway back to San Francisco - which was in exactly 7 minutes.

Poof. Sam took off. I waited. Five minutes. No Sam. Six minutes. No Sam. I felt the breeze of the incoming Subway. No Sam. I sighed. There was no way Sam could have pulled it off anyways. I knew that my doubts had been right, Sam's "logic" was off. However, what I saw next...okay, it was pretty impressive. I saw a flash of my suitcase and Sam flying down the stairs to the loading dock JUST as the subway pulled in. He ran into the subway cab with me at his heels.

At this point, I need to add another detail about Sam. Sam has one pair of jeans that he wears all the time. Because of the San Francisco "walk-everywhere-you-go" mentality, Sam's jeans had become really, really loose. He had to keep hitching them up as we "touristed."

Loose jeans are not proper running attire.

After Sam and I got on the SF-bound subway and sat down, he informed me that during his sprint to his apartment, his pants fell down. In front of a gelato shop. On a busy Berkeley street.

I have never laughed as hard as I did after hearing that. Sam. You are my hero. You literally ran your pants off just to grab my suitcase for me to get me back home.

I have the best friends. They care about me more than their pants.

In appreciation, I should buy him a belt.