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Posts Tagged ‘celebrities’

Some things that I’ve been thinking:

I saw Iron Man 2 the other night with Lord Mycol.  I liked it better than the first Iron ManScarlett Johansson playing a bad-ass brunette reminded me of my friend Christine.  After the movie Lord Mycol mentioned that they will make an Avengers movie and that there is a rumor that Brad Pitt will play Captain America.  I said, “Oooh!  Brad Pitt can be MY Captain America. . . . He can colonize me!”

The day before yesterday Lord Mycol and I sat in the recently re-arranged living room and had a nice conversation for about an hour.  I like the living room better this way.  The sunlight and shadows combined with Lord Mycol in a white t-shirt against the backdrop of the spider plant and the matchstick blinds reminded me of Martin Sheen in the opening of Apocalypse Now.

Do you see it?  How about that koala bear?

Last Tuesday Yim and I spent all day working on the farm.  I transplanted our tomatoes and peppers from their indoor nursery into the garden.

Oh, the disappointment!  All but a few of our fledgling tomatoes submitted to death.  Of the 36 tomatoes only about 6 of them survived.  The peppers fared much better; nearly all of them made it.

Overall, the garden is doing well.  My favorite part about it is witnessing its amazing growth and progress from day to day.

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As I was saying,

I had heard that there was a casting call for extras for a movie being shot here.  I didn’t think twice about it, but then a friend said, “Hey, it’s a mafia movie and they are looking for Italians.  You should go.”  And so I did.

The “movie people” called me about two weeks later and told me to be at a local funeral home at 3pm on the given date.  I should expect to stay for up to 8 hours,  and could I come looking as if I were attending a funeral in 1985?

I was going to be paid $50 for what could potentially be 8 hours of sitting around and waiting until the director was ready to do a 6 minute scene that I may or may not even be chosen to appear in.  I thought it would be fun.  I hit the thrift stores looking for the appropriate outfit.

On the day of the shoot I wore eyeshadow, lipstick and nail polish, all in shades of purple.  I let my hair dry curly and teased it and sprayed it.  I brought a collection of old ’80’s style earrings with me to choose from on location.  The rain wouldn’t stop that day, and by the time I got to the funeral home my hair had become a frizzy Afro.

The extras were told to wait in the basement of the church across the street from the funeral home, which was the location of filming.  When I walked in it was like stepping back in time.  The room was filled with old men wearing dark suits and fedoras, none of them over 5’7″, and women, mostly in their 40’s, any of which could possibly be wearing the same clothes and hair-style they wore the day before to work, but to see them come together in one spot was a sight.

Hours passed and us extras were served box lunches for dinner.  We started talking with each other, playing cards, and telling stories.  I found out that some of these gals had done this before.  Many times before.  They were professional extras, maybe hoping to get that break one way or another.

Eventually, a casting director came in with a clip board and scanned the room with his eyes.  A hush fell over us as we tried to act nonchalant.  I could see in my peripheral vision that he was taking second glances at me.  I held my breath.  I knew what was coming.  He pointed to me and directed me to follow him.  He beckoned two older gentlemen, as well.  As we left the room I sensed the disappointment of the others staring at our backs.

Across the street the funeral home was electrified with lights and quiet, quick action.  Crew members were all over the place, like bees on a honeycomb, adjusting sound equipment, duct taping wires to the carpet, moving cameras, and setting up lamps.  I must admit I was rather in awe of this behind-the-scenes display.  All of this was taking place in and around what appeared to be a funeral viewing, with an open casket, floral arrangements galore, and family and guest seating.

The two gentlemen and I were introduced to our director and promptly given instructions.  Okay, let me set it up for you:

At the front of the room is the casket surrounded by flowers.  There is a man in the casket with his eyes closed.  To the right of the casket are four chairs lined up for the immediate family.  The main area of the room has 4 to 5 rows of chairs for other random viewers.  Two of the four chairs for immediate family are empty.  Those are the two closest to the casket.  In the other two chairs?  That’s where Brad Renfro

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and James Marsden are sitting.

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The two gentlemen extras are taken towards the back of the room, behind the rows of seating.  I am taken over to Brad and James and we are introduced to one another.  We exchange names and shake hands.  “You are a cousin of the deceased,” my director tells me.  “When you hear ‘ACTION’, you will pass down the line, hug your ‘cousins’ with condolence, first Brad and then James, then walk to the back of the room and mingle with the ‘priest’ (the extra holding the Bible) and the other visitor.”  We extras are advised that we must not make a sound, but rather mouth all of our conversation.  The highly sensitive mics on the set must only pick up essential dialogue; background noise will be filled in post-edit.

This is exciting!

James Marsden is my cousin!

But wait, it gets better.  If James Marsden is my cousin, then this guy must be my Dad?

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Huh.  Well, no shit, a guy like Dennis Hopper could be my dad.  But in this case I think he was playing my uncle.

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Right.  So, as show time approaches the atmosphere on set changes.  Things get a little slower, a little less tense, a little quieter.  We are in our places and waiting.  Fifteen to twenty of the other extras are filed in and seated.  Giovanni Ribisi

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and Lesley Ann Warren

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come in and sit in the first two chairs for immediate family.  That’s right.  I am standing there, in front of Brad Renfro, looking down at Giovanni Ribisi to my left and James Marsden to my right.  Lesley has headphones in her ears and her eyes closed.  She is getting into character.  She is rocking slightly back and forth, drawing on a deep sadness from somewhere in her youth.  I’m guessing.  I mean, she’s really putting on the show, you know?  I was not, apparently, the only drama queen in the room.

Lesley takes the earphones off, an assistant buzzing around the room takes them from her and quickly, oh quickly, quickly, makes a last-minute sweep to insure all is ready.

Aaaaand . . . . . ACTION!

Dennis Hopper is suddenly RIGHT BESIDE ME offering his condolences to Giovanni Ribisi as I hug Brad Renfro, then, when I move to hug James Marsden, Dennis Hopper hugs Brad Renfro, then, when I walk away to mouth a conversation with the priest, Dennis Hopper hugs James Marsden.

Aaaaand . . . . . SCENE!

Did you notice what I noticed?  That Dennis Hopper is a copy-cat who wants to be me?  I thought so.

Anyway, when I got down the aisle to “talk” with the “priest” and the “other guy”, the priest was actually whispering his words rather than mouthing them.  He kept saying things like “I’m so sorry,” and “It’s such a shame,” and “I just can’t believe it, couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”  All of which are appropriate things to say at a funeral.  The problem was that we could hear him!  So, our director comes over and explains to him that he should just mouth the words.  Please.

Aaaaand . . . . . ACTION!

Aaaaand . . . . . SCENE!

Again, Dennis Hopper copied my every move.

Again, the “priest” whispered his dialogue.  The other extra and I mouthed to him, “Shut.  Up.

This time our director was not as kind when he came over to reprimand the priest.  He emphasized the utter importance of complete silence.

But the priest would not be stifled.

So we moved on to the next scene.  This time, all of the extras, minus the priest, were asked to mingle in the funeral parlor, while the real action of the scene took place between James Marsden and Brad Renfro out in the foyer.  Our mingling bodies would be a backdrop to the action.  And to my sheer joy, I was again chosen as the only extra directed to actually move during the scene.  When I heard “action”, I was to walk diagonally across the parlor and re-convene with another group of extras.

The night ended after that.  We’d all been there for about 6 1/2 hours.  It was still raining outside.  But I went home with a new and exciting experience under my belt.  And $50 in my pocket.

Would you believe that the next day I ran into Brad Refro?  I spoke to him for about 5 minutes.  I said, “Hey, I worked with you last night.”  I asked him where he was from and how he liked our city.  He was personable, but I have to say, he seemed like a dolt.  I walked away thinking, “How did that guy make it?”  And then he died.

But before he died, the movie, 10th & Wolf, premiered here at the Byham Theater.  Zia, UB, and Mycol came with me to see it.  The producers introduced the film and discussed it’s conception before the lights went down.

Remember yesterday’s post?  “Coincidental Teaser”?  The coincidence was that Yim and I saw Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Byham, which is where the movie 10th & Wolf premiered.  Which got my brain thinking about other coincidences, minor though they are.  Oh, they are so minor.

Zia is from Italy.

Dino De Laurentiis is from Italy.  He is an Academy award-winning movie producer.

Zia wanted to be an actress and one of her favorite Italian actresses is Silvana Mangano.

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Silvana Mangano was married to Dino De Laurentiis.

10th & Wolf was produced by Suzanne De Laurentiis.  She was born and raised in New Jersey, not Italy, so in spite of her last name, I can’t figure out how she fits in.  Is she now married to Dino?  Just related?

On the other hand, Veronica De Laurentiis had a small role in 10th & Wolf.  She was born in Italy.  She was born to Dino De Laurentiis and Silvana Mangano.  She was also at the Byham that night talking about the movie.  Zia said, “Hey, I think that must be Dino De Laurentiis’ daughter.”

A couple of times I have been told I look like Giada De Laurentiis.

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Minus the cleavage.  Giada is Veronica’s daughter.  She is Dino and Silvana’s grand-daughter.

My Zia admired Dino and Silvana, and I resemble their grand-daughter Giada, whose mother Veronica was in a movie with me, to which Zia accompanied me to the premier of, in which Dennis Hopper pretended to be me.  Isn’t that a coincidence?

Anyway, we all sat through the excruciating length of the film, posted on the edges of our seats, waiting to see the brilliant funeral scene.  Here, take a look for yourself:

See the white blob of hair to the right of Brad Renfro’s head?  See the dark fuzzy Afro blob of hair to the right of that?  Follow it down to the slender legs in dark stockings.  That’s me!  Don’t I look like Giada?  Sadly, this is what made it onto the big screen.  The entire scene with the casket was cut, because THE “PRIEST” COULDN’T MOUTH IT!  (I bet you’ve heard that one before.)

A small portion of the casket scene was used in the trailer, but you can bet you won’t see me in it.  This is largely considered the reason for the movie’s lack of success at the box office.

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When I was in high school I discovered the real difference that warmth and sunshine could make in my life.  Growing up in the city, I lived in a huge, drafty house built a hundred years before we moved in.  Nights between October and May were spent under so many layers of blankets that I couldn’t roll over under the weight.  To this day I can go to sleep and wake up eight hours later in the exact same position.

Then I went to boarding school my freshman year of high school.  And there was warmth.  I spent a lot of time after that thinking of ways to stay warm once I graduated.  The short story is, I went to live in San Diego for three years before moving back north of the Mason-Dixon Line.  The long story is for another time.  But since moving back I have closed my eyes more than once in the dead of winter, to imagine myself lying in the sand, half naked, with the sun toasting the surface of my skin, as a balmy breeze drifts over me.

In the summertime I feel energized and strong.  Even though when we reach August I start to feel a little anxiety over the eminently approaching winter season, I am able to convince myself that it’s no big deal.  This is false, of course.  This is the talk of “summer muscles.”

In November I will start to think about flying south in January or February, but the holidays provide just enough distraction so that I start to rationalize with myself that I could buck up and survive without falter, save my money, and maybe even embrace the weather.  And when February makes me shiver, I begin to regret my fear of flying, metaphorically speaking, and start to look for opportunities to GET ME OUT OF HERE.  Seriously, people, you must try to understand that cold weather HURTS me.  I am obviously too weak to fight the chronic pain of it.  After all these years of being told to “put another sweater on” to no avail, for the love of God, if you love me you will understand my burden.  Enough said.  (Until I address poor circulation, low blood pressure, and what the acupuncturist did.)

Enter 2008.  It was February.  I was heartbroken.  (See “On Time and Love“)  This is when it is good to have great girlfriends who will hang out with you while you pick up the pieces.  And, as promised, a cure for the winter doldrums. . .

One of my favorite pastimes is beach camping.

From the beaches of Assateague to Puerto Rico, I have enjoyed the merging of outdoor living with my favorite outdoor location.  For adventurists who love the ocean and are more impressed with nature than a mint on their pressed pillowcase, beach camping is an ultimate vacation.  In 2008 my friend Alison told me she wanted to return to the Florida Keys for a camping trip.  In my wretched state it was music to my ears.  We made plans to fly out in April.

Although I often travel without a plan because I get excited about feeling as free as possible, Alison assured me that it’s best to make reservations in the Keys.  Even when camping.  Especially when camping.  The Florida Keys are a hot spot for RV’ing fishermen who are devoted to spending their vacation time fishing the blue waters.  And don’t forget that each key is narrow and small, limiting accommodations.  There are only about 100 miles from Key Largo to Key West.

So, Alison and I flew into Miami and rented a car.  We had packed our luggage wisely, I with the tent and lantern, she with the headlamps and lavender mist for inside our shared sleeping quarters.  Incidentally, there are approximately 65 miles between Miami and Key Largo which can be enjoyed driving with the windows wide open and Luther Vandross belting “Never Too Much” as you sing along.

Alison made reservations at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo and Curry Hammock State Park in Marathon.  We spent a day at Bahia Honda, touted as the “Best Beach in the Continental U.S.”, and although we did not bivouac there, we did mooch on their facilities.

There is a lot of snorkeling to do in the Florida Keys and Alison is an ocean lover of the aquatic variety.  There are two types of people who love the ocean.  The type that loves it from within, i.e. Alison, Yim, etc., and the type that loves it from without, i.e. me.  All I wanted to do was lie in the hot sand and warm my bones, but Alison is such a good friend and when she begged me to go snorkeling with her I acquiesced, on the condition that she sing karaoke with me later at the Caribbean Club.

From Pennekamp we made arrangements to board a boat going 7 miles out to snorkel the Banana Reef.  There were about 25 people going out that day.

I should mention here that I am not a fan of horror movies because they are generally unbelievable and therefore do not frighten me.  I don’t mind a good scare, though.  When I saw the preview for Open Water, I made a point of seeing it because my worst fear ever is to be in water that I cannot see below the surface of.  And that hosts other living creatures.  And that is too deep for me to touch my feet to the bottom.  And that movie scared the crap out of me.

So many things happened in my life when I was three, but one of them was that I stepped off a sand ledge in the Atlantic while camping on Ocracoke Island and when I realized I was under the water with the fishes, fishes that I could see!, I had to quickly learn how to swim towards the light to save my skin.  This is why when I was 15 and wiped out while water-skiing (hey, alliteration) I panicked while waiting for the boat to swing back around for me because I saw an enormous dead tree log floating waaay over by the bank of the lake and was able to convince myself that it could possibly be a Loch Ness Monster.

When snorkeling 7 miles off the coast, the guides advise you to stay with your partner.  Seven miles off the coast the waters were colder and there was a damn cloud, the only cloud in the sky, right above us, blocking the sunshine.  My bikini and a life jacket were not enough to keep me from shivering with goose bumps.  When someone said, “Hey, there’s a shark,” I did not care that it was a 6-7 foot lemon shark swimming deep below us in the reef.  My eyes confirmed what my ears heard and I turned and high-tailed it back aboard our boat, leaving Alison alone and up to her neck in sharky waters.  I was the first one back to the boat and I had to wait another half hour, at least, before the guide signaled everyone else back.  I am a land creature.  I do not require breathing apparatus on terra firma.

Alison did sing karaoke with me at the Caribbean Club.  We sang Madonna’s “Cherish” and Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”  Alison did not run off the stage.  Later in the week we would return to the Caribbean Club to witness a rehabilitated manatee being released back into it’s natural habitat.

My favorite place in the Keys was Curry Hammock in Marathon.  The camp facilities were pristine and the beach was peaceful.  Beaches in the Keys are narrow and sometimes a bit rough to walk on, but the sand is nearly white, the water is shallow and warm a long way out, and the wildlife is amazing.  At Curry Hammock we got kayaks from the park office and paddled out around the key.

If you are quiet and patient the wildlife will reveal itself to you.  Manatees and sharks, jumping fish, cranes and other birds of Florida can be seen.  Alison and I took the kayak into the cave created by the low growing tangle of the mangroves that grow so thick, only slivers of sunlight shine directly through.  I felt like an explorer in the rain forest.

Lastly, we drove down to Key West and toured Ernest Hemingway’s house.

We ate fantastic food and drank salted margaritas while listening to live music outdoors.

We stumbled upon a street party celebrating freedom of expression . . .

And athletic abilities . . .

We stood in a crowd and watched the sunset, just like Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines (R.I.P.) did in Running Scared (cue Michael McDonald!).

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And then we enjoyed the buskers performing on the waterfront.  I bought 2 great pieces of silver jewelry in Key West, a ring and a cuff bracelet, as souvenirs.

So there they are.  The Florida Keys: cure for the wintertime blues.  And for heart-ache.

So we went in April, which is technically spring.  And Hemingway killed himself anyway, but he was a severe case.

Oh, what the heck:

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Oh, Ed: an Ode

Eddie Vedder’s voice makes my soul quake.  I’m not into Capricorn men, usually they are weirdos, but I’ve got a crush on Eddie Vedder.  And I do think he’s a bit weird.

When he sings Footsteps I have out-of-body experiences.  I usually don’t like to listen to Pearl Jam in company because if I closed my eyes and started to whirl like a dervish I might lose friends.

But seriously.  Ed.  I had a dream he stopped by my work and when we hugged he whispered in my ear, “I’ve always loved you.”  Me, too!  I mean, I have always loved you.  …I mean him.

When I went to see Pearl Jam a few years ago, I wore a yellow tank top so that Eddie might see me in that sea of plaid.  I was pretty close to the stage.  I saw somebody’s pictures from the concert on flickr and I spotted myself.  The yellow tank top worked.  After the show I wanted to go to the bar in the hotel where the band was staying.  Yeah, like a groupie.  So what’s wrong with that?  People do it all the time.  Once, I had a completely unintentional groupie moment with the Ben Folds Five band.  I told the bassist that when I go in cognito I call myself Sabrina.  Hey, he sat next to me.

Anyway, my ex-boyfriend got so irrationally jealous over the prospect of Eddie and I falling instantly and madly in love with each other that we had a fight.  Then he gave in and took me to that bar anyhow.  Which, in hindsight, I can say, was probably not such a good idea after all.  Because I think if Eddie Vedder had been in there, he quite reasonably could have fallen instantly and madly in love with me.  Hey, he’d sit next to me.

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Thunda Cats Out

Out again into the glorious snow today.  Alison and I donned our winter best and braved the 20″ deep fluff.  It was so good, in fact, we didn’t return home for 3 1/2 hours.

Mycol worked last night and we spoke around midnight.  The hotel provided him with a room for the night, along with other employees who were stuck at the job.  I felt a little lonely.  What a beautiful sight the world outside was and no one to share it with more intimately than over the phone.  I spent the night in Mycol’s room and fell asleep watching Notting Hill*.  His room is upstairs, and the view from the window of our neighbors roofs and the treetops is magical under the circumstances.  I was surprised to see snow still descending from the sky when I awoke at 7 this morning.

The world this morning was quiet and still.  The snow drifts outside were pristine.  As the day crept towards noon I noticed neighbors out trying to shovel paths and I got the itch to go outside.  There was no traffic and as I watched people make their way on foot down the center of the avenue I felt excited about doing that myself.  Alison called right on time.  I knew she’d be up for an outing.  I bundled up and walked down to her place.  People are extra friendly on days like today.  Greetings from all passersby made me think of the romantic idealism of olden days.

It reminded my of how people behave at campgrounds.  When we camp, everyone takes strolls around the ground, casually assessing their temporary neighbors and issuing friendly greetings made with eye contact.  Is it that when we feel vulnerable, even a little, we find comfort in this way?  On any other given day I surely do not exchange hellos with the majority of the people in my neighborhood, nor do we look at each other.  Someone suggested that on a day like today it’s best to stay in because the caliber of people venturing out is likely criminal.  I disagree and found the general vibe was completely opposite.  Although nothing would have kept me inside short of witnessing horrible crimes straight out my window.

I did note that snow-graffiti prevailed.

*An aside on Notting Hill:  I found it didn’t hold up well to time.  I was disappointed and disinterested and rolled over to sleep before the midway frame.  While I still like Julia Roberts, thank goodness Hugh Grant seems to have packed it in.  And Alec, Alec, Alec!  (Baldwin) What have you done to yourself?!  You are absolutely fantastic and funny and I love your style, but I barely recognized you in this role from 12 years ago because you have blown up since then!  With FAT!  Come on, man, bring sexy back!

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Ahh, I see you are wondering what has happened to the three Santucci’s. Well, I won’t tell you just yet. For now, let’s get back to business.
We left Coronado and San Diego on August 10th. Some stress had begun to build up since Las Vegas. Did I mention how civilization slapped us in the face like a rude SOB? The traffic, the pollution, the crowds. The natural world is EASY to get used to. A week away from all the chaos of city life had me hooked. Even though I’ve always considered myself a city girl. Which makes me wonder, how long would I actually last if I changed things up and became a woodswoman? The point is, driving into Vegas there was a lot of construction, it was late, it was dark, I was tired. We were all tired. And from there we went to San Diego. Paradise, sure, but not exactly relaxing enough. Now, from San Diego our trek was to take us up the coast to Oakland, where we’d stay with Mummy’s friend Jenny. We had to pass by Los Angeles and Mummy thought she’d like to stop in for a short visit with some of her friends from the firm she used to work for. They have a showroom in Santa Monica, I think. Well, it was Friday and I don’t think it even matters what time we left because it seems that rush hour lasts just about all day between San Diego and L.A., especially on a Friday! So what SHOULD take 3 hours ended up taking 7!!!! I had definitely noticed the increased number of tourists in Coronado when I was there, and I certainly don’t remember this kind of traffic 13 years ago. But that said, we did not make it in time for Mummy to visit her friends at the showroom. And she was audibly upset about it. By that I mean I got the silent treatment from her and I could hear the serated edge of the knife cutting through the tension in the air. And once again we found ourselves driving late into the night, tired, no room at the inns we first sought out, necessary to go another 30 mintues north and keep our fingers crossed. We stayed just north of Magic Mountain and headed to Jenny’s the next day. And this is what I first noticed in Jenny’s guest room, where I went directly for a nap after the delicious luncheon she prepared for our arrival:

Okay, I think George Clooney is absolutely gorgeous. But that’s not why I picked up the magazine and took it to show Mummy. The reason is because George Clooney has an uncanny resemblance to my grandmother. Hey, don’t get the wrong idea! My grandmother was a beautiful woman. Seriously, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL woman in her hometown in Italy. And everybody knew it. Just imagine George in a feminine way. Cross him with Salma Hayek and you’ll get the picture. So, I show my mom that a sign from Nonna was waiting in the guest room at Jenny’s and she reminds me that the day before, August 10th, was the 2 year anniversary of Nonna’s death. AND I HAD FORGOTTEN! And THAT was what was REALLY bothering Mummy all day. I felt soo bad. But she said she didn’t want to mention it because it was better not to get sad. We think of her all the time, everyday, when we aren’t on vacation. She knows we love her and miss her. See, I’m getting sad anyway. So…..
Jenny’s granddaughters were performing that night in an obon festival. It was serendipitous.

The 13th through 16th of August is called obon in Japan. Obon is a Buddhist event and is one of the most important traditions for Japanese people. It is the period of praying for the repose of the souls of one’s ancestors. People believe that their ancestors’ spirits come back to their homes to be reunited with their family during obon.
People clean their houses and offer a variety of food such as vegetables and fruits to the spirits of ancestors in front of butsudan (Buddhist families altar). Butsudan is decorated with flower and chouchin (paper lanterns). On the 13th, chouchin are lit inside houses, and people go to their family’s graves to call their ancestors’ spirits back home. It’s called mukaebon. In some regions, fires called mukaebi are lit at the entrances to homes to guide the ancestor’s spirits.
Hey, is that the Karate Kid or Matt Lu?

Here are Jenny’s beautiful granddaughters:

The festival was so neat, I couldn’t stop taking pictures. The traditional dresses were so colorful and the dancers ranged in age probably from 2 to 85.

Afterwards, we went out to dinner with Jenny, her son, and his girlfriend.
One thing we really hadn’t had a lot of on the road was good food. Between Pittsburgh and San Diego the best thing we ate was bought from the grocery store in Colorado at a Safeway. We bought hard rolls, turkey and the BEST EVER salami from the deli and had picnic sandwiches with mayonnaise. I’m tellin’ you, the BEST EVER salami! In San Diego, Mycol and I had a great breakfast downtown around the corner from the hotel. He had a sausage omelet and I had one with mushrooms and squash blossoms. Both were served with a side of refried black beans in a corn tortilla shell. Mummy missed out on that one, but we brought her some leftovers. So Jenny’s luncheon was the first excellent home-cooked meal we had. She served soup with fish and shrimp, and a lentil salad. And a nice red wine from Trader Joe’s that I should remember the name of, oh wait, she called it something like “ol’ Chuck” as a joke. So eating out after the festival at a chinese restaurant was our second good meal in 48 hours after searching the expanse of the country for something good to eat in a restaurant. (Oh, shit, I’m lying! The lunch I had at the Highway Restaurant in Albia, Illinois was pretty good. Standard BLT and a cup of excellent soup of the day, something with beef and cabbage in it. And of course, we avoided fine dining across the country to save money). When Jenny took us into Berkeley the next day to have my oil changed, shop at REI, and eat lunch at ANOTHER good place to eat, it almost overwhelmed us. We started to remember the good things about city life all over again. We had lunch at an Indian restaurant and filled up on curry, nan, saag, etc.

That’s Jenny with Mycol and me. The name of the restaurant reminded me of my friend Raj. His little girl’s name is Priya.

At REI I bought a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag for Mycol. I wanted our next night in the elements to be WARMER. Jenny knows all about that, she camps a lot! We had a great time at her place, very comfortable. It was fantastic to stay with a friend for the first time in a week. Life on the road can be tough. But we had to move on. Stay tuned for our next stop. Northern California, here we come!

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Hey, wait a minute…..

I haven’t mentioned the wildlife yet. For a long time on the road I was wondering whether or not any wildlife existed anymore. I finally came upon a smattering of it in Utah.
Here’s what really made my heart smile at Zion! (Sorry for all you people who know it’s wrong and want to argue with me about how it’s wrong. I know it’s wrong. But tell me, how can something that is wrong feel soooo right?) I fed a wild animal right out of my hand!! Just like my childhood hero, Grizzly Adams, I felt a true connection with the beast. Like our souls were on the same level, when no one else on earth has been able to fully understand me. It wasn’t easy, we both had to work through our issues with distrust. And now, I’ll never forget my little buddy. I miss him already.

We met while we were at a designated picnic area in the park. Word spread and then this guy came over with some friends.

These little monkeys were so cute (that’s right, I said monkeys), I decided to bring them home with me. They fit nicely in the car and they are behaved enough, they don’t distract me too much while I’m driving.


And last, but certainly not least, the beast that used to rule the grasslands. The beast whose numbers were decimated down to a mere 200 head in just 15 years time. This beauty of a beast.

He’s real cool. They call him “wild”, but he’s fenced into a pasture and he rolls right up to the fence line to get his water while 30 humans gawk. Then he turns to stroll back to his herd real stately like. But I feel like he’s saying something smart-ass under his breath as he goes. Don’t you?

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