Random Thoughts on the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony

LondonSince they held me spellbound in 1980, I have loved the Olympics. The Opening Ceremony is the best part, but why in this day and age we don’t get to see it live is stupid. All of the spoilers are going to be found on the internet, so you might as well let us all share in the global experience at once.

After a little pouting, I knew I would end up watching the show anyway. I don’t think I’ve missed one in the past 32 years. Crap. Has it really been that long?

Pre-Game:

The local NBC affiliate was poolside at Thunder Valley Casino. What? I don’t understand the choice of venue either. It was chock full of human interest stories. Boring! Can you people take a page from the channels that have football on them? THAT’s how you do a pre-game show.

Overture:
Who is doing the voice over? Is it Robbie Williams? No. It’s Ewan McGregor. Still hot. There’s a chick talking too, but I’m too busy swooning over Obi-Wan Kenobi. Personally, I would rather see scenes of Great Britain than those of the athletes.

Really, NBC? You couldn’t find ANYONE else to be the host aside from Bob Costas? I guess I should just be thankful Joe Buck didn’t manage to finagle his way on to your station. Yeah, he’s talking to Tom Brokaw about something boring.

Great. Now it’s Matt Lauer & Meredith Viera. SNOOZE. Is there anyone with a personality on this network? Apparently there are five people on this planet who have no idea about the UK and these two are going to describe it to them.

Why is it the Women’s Gymnastics team? These are girls. Is anyone over the age of 15? Good lord. Why are we talking to them? And how the hell did Seacrest get on this network?!? Now I have to keep a sharp eye out for Buck.

Wow. The show came back and I thought it was just a commercial. Maybe it is a commercial…a post modern-commercial that is parading around like a show. Oh you, Brits and your clever ways!

Ok, the popping balloon countdown was awesome. Is there a cow in the middle of the arena?

The bell was cast in a foundry that has been there for 5 centuries? That blows my mind.

The royal family looks as bored as I feel.

There’s alot of shit going on in that arena, but we keep being treated to singing children and random footage of Australian football. What the hell, NBC?

And presenting Kenneth Branaugh as Charles Dickens?

What is up with the men looking on in awe? What are they looking at? The Englishman who walked up a hill and came down a mountain?

Commercial break.

Is this Stomp? I thought that was an American thing. Oh…thank you for clarifying Meredith…this is a history of England. No more pastoral, now the dirty Industrial Age. The British Sheila E is on percussion.

I am impressed by the set. It looks like a huge feat to build that pastoral setting.

The change over to the industrial age is taking as long as the actual industrial age.

Holy Crap! Sargent Pepper is going to fight in World War I! I had no idea. I really should pay attention in history class.

And now we are back to the Dickensian gentlemen playing pool. This is the weirdest Opening Ceremony yet. It’s kind of like an acid trip. Not that I know what that’s like…

Commercial break.

Goddamnit, Brits! You fooled me again. I thought this Daniel Craig thing was a commercial. Would you please let me know when you are done selling me crap?

Of course, I heard about the Queen falling out of helicopter as her arrival. Thanks for not allowing me to see that live, NBC. I don’t know if you know this, but the internet is really taking off. You can find out anything as it happens. AS IT HAPPENS!

I enjoy the fact that the British are celebrating their healthcare system. It’s like a big ol’ “In your face, USA!”

It was raining Mary Poppins and there was a giant Voldemort. I love English literature, but where was the Jane Austen? Heck, what about Oscar Wilde? Can we class it up a little folks? This acid trip of children’s stories is kind of creepy.

Giant baby! No!!!

Commercial break.

So far, the dancing Abraham Lincolns have been the best part of the show. But, Mr. Bean is pretty awesome. Seriously, watch his old shows. They are hilarious. The Christmas episode is the best one.

I keep getting sucked into the show. Mr. Bean doing a Chariots of Fire parody is great. I hate Chariots of Fire, but love Mr. Bean.

Now we have come to the part I saw on some random online channel. Hello, British music! Totally forgot that Eric Clapton is British. I saw someone tweet that the UK is the creative capital of the world. They are right. So many great bands and literature have come out of that country. I’m not putting down other countries, just marveling at the wonder that comes out of the British Isles.

Commercial break

There is no need for announcers. Just let us watch the show until the nations start parading around!

The Parade of Nations is my favorite part. I like guessing how many athletes the little countries have… Also, trying to play “how many people live in this country?” Price is Right rules… Whoever guesses without out going over wins.

My only other real beef is that this show is 4 hours long. By the time the United States parades through the stadium, I’m all out of witticisms. I just want to go to sleep. Maybe if we cut down on the literary acid trip and dancing Dickensians, I might not doze off when Latvia walks on to the field. That’s still a country, right?

Online Dating Chronicles: Low Maintenance Lisa

A text a dayBecause I think I’m low maintenance, I’m probably not. But, one unsolicited text a day makes me very happy. Replies don’t count…well, they do, but the unexpected random text of song lyrics always makes me smile…laugh even.  It’s like a flirty version of Name That Tune. OK, maybe not, but it’s fun regardless.

Of course, woman cannot live on digital attention alone. It does help bridge the gap until such time as a certain man makes an appearance in real life. I really hope he shows up. I’m probably jinxing the whole thing by talking about it even in vague terms, but it’s nice to have something exciting to look forward to even if it probably is foolish.

Another thing that makes me low maintenance? I don’t NEED to see a guy I’m dating or in a relationship with every single day.  Sure, it would be nice, but I can manage if it doesn’t fit into our schedules.  I have friends with whom I happy hour regularly and then there’s my writing.  I have to be alone to do that and I must do it.  I suppose I’m a well adjusted adult or something.  I’ll keep telling myself that.

In the day and age of instant digital communication, it seems to me that relationships can be built and maintained at a distance.  Men used to go off to war or journey to the farthest reaches of the country to obtain their fortune.  They would send letters to their sweethearts in an effort to maintain the relationship.  Why should the Internet be any different?

Although, as a friend of mine said, if you do date someone in another state, at some point the two of you have to figure out whether or not someone is going to move.  That’s a while down the road, so I’m not going to worry about it.  I know I’m adventurous.  I come from pioneer and conquistador stock.  It’s in my genes to move around this country.  Although, I’m hard pressed to leave California.  I love it so dearly.

Random thoughts on Independence Day

hotdog flagAside from Thanksgiving, this is one of my favorite holidays. It’s not about gift giving. It’s about celebrating good times, hanging out with friends and family. It’s about celebrating the idea that things can get better if we decide to make them that way. Maybe that’s a simplified view of what our forefathers did back in 1776, but it feels like the intention.

There’s no right way to celebrate Independence Day. You do what makes you happy. Most of us go to a barbeque, drink beer, and shoot off fireworks. Some of us watch movies all day long. Others have to work, tip them well if you use their services today. Since this holiday is midweek, I’ll be right back there tomorrow, hangover and all.

The one thing I don’t like is the potluck. Being a single person, I tend to get the shaft…metaphorically speaking anyway. Everyone else is either coupled or family-ed, so they have more than one person in their group, yet they bring the same amount of side dish as I am expected to…it just seems unfair to me from a monetary standpoint. Things should be divided a little more equally. I’m not bringing as many guests to the party as anyone else, so I should either get a little slack thrown my way or everyone else should bring more baked beans to share.

>Leaping into Leap Day

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Sorry to anyone born today. How much crap do you get for a February 29th birthday? Also, you never actually get a 21st birthday. That sucks. Sure you technically turn 21, but your 21st birthday doesn’t exist on the calendar.

I’m beginning to think Leap Day babies might have magical powers. They can alter time! They don’t adhere to the same rules!

One cool thing, whenever it’s your birthday, it’s also the Summer Olympics and Presidential Election year. OK, the election is kind of annoying, but the Olympics are usually fun.

I wonder though if having a Leap Day birthday is worse than having a birthday on Christmas. I mean a Christmas birthday kind of gets the shaft every year. Leap Day babies can have a birthday every four years.

Do we really need a February 29th? OK, I know some long ago mathematician calculated the exact number of days needed in the right sequence to make our year be what it is…or did they? Why every once in a while do we have a leap second in our year? Anyone remember those? I think the last one happened about four years ago. Wait. We already had a leap day that year! Why an extra second too?

Plus, I guess getting everyone on a whole different calendar would not be easy. I mean we still have Daylight Savings Time for no logical reason, why would we be able to alter a calendar to avoid Leap Days? Pope Gregory probably made some deal with the devil so we wouldn’t change it. I KID! Please don’t smite me.

>History break, San Francisco!

>On this day in 1769, San Francisco Bay was discovered. OK, I know “discovered” is a controversial term when it comes to exploration and conquistadors, but 242 years ago, members of the Portola Expedition wandered along Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica and saw the Bay. An ancestor of mine was on this expedition.

And that was probably why I hate to hike. My ancestors did enough of that in the past and didn’t pass the “let’s walk for days” gene on to me.

Also, my ancestors missed the good weather. Anyone who has lived in the Bay Area knows the best weather is in September and October. It’s not foggy. It’s almost always sunny, and sometimes even warm.

Wait, that was a secret.  Forget I just wrote that, thanks.

Of course, like Columbus, Portola didn’t get to the place he had planned to stop. He wanted to go to Monterey, but missed it by just that much.

>Random thoughts on Columbus Day

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For the first time since 1985, I have Columbus Day off. Yes, that’s when I was the autumn of my 6th grade. Thank you for doing that math.

I never really thought about why Columbus Day is even a national holiday. Most people don’t get the day off. Sure, the usual suspects, banks, government agencies, and a few schools, get a three day weekend, but most businesses are open for well…business.

Sure, the truth to why it’s a national holiday probably isn’t some random conspiracy that has to deal with the Knights of Columbus and/or a muffin tin, but does it really matter? It’s kind of nice to have a break in that stretch between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. And no, sadly, I won’t get Veteran’s Day off this year.

So how will I “celebrate” my day off? Any holiday worth celebrating incorporates cake and/or alcohol into the process. However, I think possible tapas or pasta might be in order. I definitely won’t be buying a car or a mattress.

Family legend says that one of my ancestors was part of the crew on the Santa Maria. It’s also possible that he was on the Nina instead. I haven’t done enough research to figure it out. One thing I have figured out is that there is usually a grain of truth to those family legends. I’m sure there are a few in yours.

>Los Angeles’ First Families

>I’m not a historian, but I play one on my blog.  Genealogy is one of my hobbies.  Secretly, anyone researching family history also wants a connection to history in general.

My family has been a part of California history.  On this day in 1781, 11 families founded the City of Los Angeles.  Of course, back then it was known as El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles or simply El Pueblo de Los Angeles.

Legend has it that on September 4, 1781 The “Pobladores” walked from San Gabriel Mission to Los Angeles…a total of nine miles.  Each year, in commemoration of this event, the descendants of these people re-enact the walk to celebrate the founding of a city of almost 3.8 million people.

As much as I enjoy celebrating my ancestry, walking 9 miles in the California sun during Labor Day Weekend doesn’t sound like fun.

Either way, the man from whom I am descended, Jose Velasco y Lara,  has an interesting story and I’m not sure which is the truth.   I am from the offspring of his second wife.

Rumor has it that he either 1) was told that his first wife (who lived in Nayarit, New Spain) died when in fact it was her sister who had passed away.  Believing his wife dead, he remarried and moved to Alta California with his second family.  After living here for a few years, heard that the first wife was in fact, alive, and went back to Nayarit where he died… or

2) He just left his wife in New Spain  (for adventure, fortune or just because…) and moved on to have a second family and settle Alta California.  Supposedly, the guilt from this secret was too great for him to bear, so he confessed it to Father Junipero Serra who then ordered him to go back to his wife in Nayarit where he died.

The true story is lost to the sands of time.