Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween thrills. . .

So here's the situation. I signed up  for a Halloween potluck at my work, in the theme of "breakfast." And something made me say the following words: "I'll bring Eggs Benedict."

I made my preparations. I bought Canadian bacon and fried it in a pan, then kept it warming in the oven. I packed English muffins to toast at work and two Trader Joe tubs of hollandaise sauce which I planned to microwave at work and then keep warm in a small crock pot. And then, it was time for the piece de  resistance. It was time to poach many many eggs and slide them into a crockpot. This was tricky. Keep in mind that I was simultaneously McGeyver-ing a last-minute Halloween costume--that of "an '80s girl"— feating a dress with beige and hot pink diagonal stripes. Form-fitting and not flattering at this juncture.  . . but when accessorized with a side ponytail, some socks cut into leg-warmers and a pink lace glove, "My message is perfectly simple. My meaning is clear."

As I speak, I believe I am being "tagged" on Facebook. I'll try to just go with it, because I've been using this saying by Abraham Lincoln as a mantra against virtual vanity: "There are no bad pictures. That's just how your face [and body] looks sometime."

But I digress. I realized I had gone too far with my culinary vow. I had promised I would pull off a dish meant to be cooked one at a time and to a turn, and served immediately. It was a task at which Madge Stuart herself would blanch at ( I mean turn pale, not engage in the popular cooking method).

I just happened to have watched a thrilling production of the musical "Jekyll & Hyde"  at Claremon'ts Candlelight Pavilion last week ( It was fabulous, to put it in theater-lover's terms, positively splendid. I wrote a review of the show for the Claremont Courier, where I work). 

With its dramatic soundtrack in the back of my mind, I was inspired to write a rueful, gothic-style song, a la "Phantom of the Opera," expressing my strange mixture of trepidation and wild optimism at being able to pull off Sarah's No Fuss Potluck Eggs Benedict™. Surely, I was playing God. Consult the song below for a hint as to the tone and tune you can use to interpret my unforgettable lyrics. 

(You're not losing your mind, by the way. That IS Hasselhoff playing Dr. Jekyll.)

And now I give you: "The Madness of the Eggs."

What is this dangerous PRIDE that possesses me?
To say I'd bring this recipe!
Oh yes, I said, eggs Benedict. 
Will this project be
(with emphasis)
the death of me!

Pinterest fail, someone wails. 
I see it in ad-VANCE!
Too late now, cannot bail
And so I won't just cook--I'll dance!

I give you permission to use this song as needed, adding the over-ambitious dish of your selection. And by the way, it turned out surprisingly well, although the consistency of the bacon could have been better.

And now that I'm done flying by the seat of my pants, I wish you success in all of your Halloween endeavors.

—Sarah Torribio

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dead Giveaway. . .

I was reminded this morning of the viral auto-tuned news song "Dead Giveaway because someone I'm following pinned it on Pinterest.

With the story of the kidnapped girls somewhat in the past, I realize, I not only hope the girls are doing well but that the neighbor, Charles Ramsey, who saved them, is doing well. These people become viral because they speak colorfully ("Hide yo wife". . ."Oh Lord, Jesus, there's a fire.") They also happen to be poor. And yet, they have their 7-seconds of fame. It would be nice if they also got some renumeration and could be financially secure for a while. I'm not saying they're heroes, but they are people. And they've got an infectious way of describing life.

And by the way, the guy standing behind Charles in the "Dead Giveaway" video, created by the Gregory Brothers, has the most priceless expressions in the world. He is extremely amused, not by the situation but by his neighbor's gift for exaggeration and arresting language.

Also by the way, can you imagine if ALL news was auto tuned? Like the news networks were doing it themselves, with some kind of in-house DJ. Talk about hypnotic. I'm reminded of Wandmaker Garreck Olivander in Harry Potter. They could do great things with that plan. Terrible things. But great things.

And can you imagine in one of those unfolding emergencies, when the news people keep hovering, basically updating you on the fact that they don't know what's going on. You'd be right there with them for hours if they put a beat behind that sh&t. ‪#‎GoingDeepToday‬ ‪#‎DeadGiveAway‬‪#‎OneThoughtLeadsToAnother‬ ‪#‎IKnewSomethingWasWrong‬

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The world's most reliable Obama gag. . .

Do you—like me—love to laugh and get other people laughing? If so, you have probably already learned that there is one, supremely reliable Obama joke. It's hilarious every time.

It's always a gag to call President Barack Obama "Barry" or "Barry Obama." It's just funny on every level.

Give me a shout out if I'm right.
—Sarah Torribio

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mornings are hard. . .

For me, for you, for everyone.

I got into a Facebook kerfuffle when a conservative Facebook friend took what I thought was an interesting post as a political insult.

I have more to do for my work than any one person should have to do--stories galore to write.

I have a freelance story due today on a subject, human, whom I'm not sure I grasp.

I am desperate for payday.

Okay, enough of me playing the world's smallest violin.

But there's always a silver lining to every cloud. He may have gone to school with a cold, but my kid got to picture day bathed, with a nice outfit and his glasses on, with his teeth brush and lunch in tow. He even got there on time.

A friend's post about the awesomeness of Nikola Tesla reminded me of this peppy OMD song Tesla Girls which, now being played a second time, is like musical Prozac:

And on Pinterest, where I'm surfing ideas because I'm not yet ready to attack my list of things to do,  I found this quote on writing that best describes my life. My existential angst is really just frustration at the space between my vision and my output.

Day improved. And if anyone or anything gets me down, inside my head I'll just start singing, "No. No. No. Tesla girls, Tesla girls, writing in their diaries. Now and then, they'll watch TV. Now and then they'll speak to me. But heaven knows, but heaven knows, but heaven knows, their recipe. . ."

--Sarah Torribio

Monday, October 6, 2014

I put the "bitch" in obituist. . .

So I'm an obitust, among other duties at the community newspaper where I work. I write the life stories of people who have died, sometimes as many as  four a week.

It's an interesting gig. I pour a lot into it because you only get one shot at making the relatives happy while telling a story that strangers would want to read. I am told that obituaries and the police blotter are always the most popular items in any paper.

I  am working on an obituary on a prominent woman who died at the age of 103. She patented an invention in her 80s and formed a company to sell it, even though she was already wealthy through her marriage. She did it just because she thought it was a good idea.

She was German by birth and had a favorite saying, "Only count the sunny days."

It reminds me of my grandmother, who I always called "Grandma at the Barn," because she and my grandfather lived on a ranch. Her life was difficult at times but she had the most bubbly laugh you have ever heard.

She enjoyed stories. She loved reading, with the upbeat and quirky mysteries of Dorothy Gilman, author of the Mrs. Polifax spy novels, as a personal favorite. Romantic comedies tickled her pink.

Songs and poetry were her delight. I'm told that she loved to recite Edgar Allen Poe's "Annabel Lee, " which always made her cry. She also taught me fun rhymes like the following gem:

Gum-chewing girls and cud-chewing cows
Are alike in some ways and yet different somehow. 
Ah yes, I see it all now. 
It's the intelligent look on the face of the cow. 

People's adventures were her joy, and she shared them in a way that make it all enthralling.  When you caught up with her, you caught up with every family member, every mutual acquaintance, and you knew what she learned from you would be included in the next update.

Now, back to the prominent woman whose obituary I am crafting.

At the time of her death, she was working on a book about information overload in the digital age. How do we "stem the tide"? she wondered. How do we stop over-indulging in useless, mind-skewing information. How do we avoid becoming "mentally obese."

It gives me pause while blogging.

There is so much media out there I don't want to add unexamined content. I want to be truthful and potentially useful. I want to offer an alternative view. And I want to write well. Great writing results from the push-pull between the writer's love of language and her willingness to ax words.

But still, I'm due for another blog entry.

If journalism is literature in a hurry, blogging is journalism in a hurry. That's a lot of hurry. Thus, all I have to share in this entry is a list of colorful experiences, as yet undigested.

*I have begun massaging my husband's feet at night. He has foot problems and I have studied up a bit on acupressure. I want to keep up with it and am eager to see if it has health benefits.

*On Sunday, I went to a sugar skull-making workshop. I most love doing crafts when all the materials are laid out for me. I made a flapper girl and another flower-bedecked skull.  I'll add them to the Day of the Dead altar my family makes each year.

Here's are some skulls made by my friend and sister-in-law, Jenifer.

*On Saturday I saw Bombay Bicycle Club at The Glass House in Pomona. I like the venue. It's small enough that everyone feels close to the stage,  I wanted them to play the song "Luna," and they did, sounding exactly like they do on their albums.

We were behind this guy who was having the time of his life. He was singing loudly and badly, dancing outside of his invisible box, and ever threatening to back up into us, invading us with a body clothed in a sweat-drenched shirt.

Next to him was his girlfriend and this guy who was so drunk, his face had gone dead. His eyes looked like Quint in "Jaws" says a shark's eyes look, "Lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes." They kind of like the eyes of one of the killers in "Fargo," Peter Stormare, played chillingly by Gaear Grimsrud. I sensed volatility. My friend moved away out of sheer annoyance.

The trio kept engaging in a three-way hug. Toward the end of the show, the jubilant guy kept asking for another song by yelling "Uno mas!" and "Otro mas!" Since Wikipedia tells me the band hails from Crouch End, London, I don't think they all necessarily speak Spanish. It was at the Glass House in Pomona, though. All's fair in love and Pomona. They closed with this number. the other song I had been praying they would play:
*Tonight I went to cover a Weezer record signing at Rhino Records in Claremont. I'm going to email a few questions to their manager and hope I get a response. Either way, I got great quotes from the very diverse group of people in the crowd. I also ran into two journalist friends of mine, which was fun. It's an exciting and intense and demanding and low-paying job. There is camaraderie and humor there.

You can imagine how blankly I arranged my poker face when I caught Rivers Cuomo's eyes in passing. I didn't want to let him know I was nursing a serious crush. (The man does not age. In fact, some kind of Portrait of Dorian Grey scenario is in effect with the entire band). I did wanted to let the band know that I am particularly fond of The Blue Album, and am enamored with the arpeggios is "Jonas" and "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here." Instead, I just enjoyed the fact that we were both wearing heavy-framed glasses. As they say in that "Breakfast at Tiffany's" song, that's one thing we've got.

Yes, there has been much information introduced into my slap-happy brain over the last few days. It's mostly the good stuff, though.

—Sarah Torribio

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Song of the Day: "Hum" by The Sheila Divine"

This song by the band The Sheila Divine is amazing. It's called "Hum." I have no idea why I never heard of these guys when they were around. A boyfriend introduced me to the band about 7 years ago. Pardon the fan-made video, but whatever.

Are you feeling it? By the way, I do agree with the refrain "God don't make the laws." I think we forget that sometimes. I'm no anarchist, but I am a humanist, and too often people are penalized for being human. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Also, my husband and I are music makers and this is among the covers we have tried out.

                                                                           >>next song