Tag Archives: humorous writing

My Friends Visited the Set of Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand, and All I Got to Do Was Write About it in My Blog

My friends Matt and Vanessa went on vacation to New Zealand recently.  I didn’t get to go.  I’ve got 2 kids, and I think it is like a 4 day flight.  At least it would feel like 4 days if I tried to do it with my 2 kids.  Vanessa and Matt don’t have any children yet, so I am living vicariously through them.

I like to live vicariously through Vanessa, because she doesn’t have any gray hair or wrinkles yet.  Except those cute little wrinkles around her eyes when she laughs.  My wrinkles aren’t cute.  You can see what I mean below.

Vanessa

Vanessa with my daughter Emma, on a field trip to Las Vegas.

Vanessa with my daughter Emma, on a field trip to Las Vegas.

Me

Me and my daily stogie

Havin’ my daily stogie

Anyway, back to the New Zealand trip that I didn’t get to go on.  I am a bit of a J.R.R. Tolkien geek.  I own all the movies and books, read The Hobbit to my kids and am currently reading them The Fellowship OTR.  I own one or two action figures (Treebeard! Bilbo! Gandalf!), Lego sets (really, the Bag End set was for the kids), and I have the key to the back door of the Lonely Mountain that leads to Smaug’s lair hanging from my rear view mirror.  So when Vanessa posted on FB that she was off to New Zealand with Matt, I asked about their plans to visit Hobbiton, which I was sure they must be doing, since who in their right mind would fly all the way to New Zealand and not visit Hobbiton?

BTW, I know that it’s not really Hobbiton, but until I see it for my own eyes that it’s not real I’m going to pretend that it is.  Same goes for Hogwarts.

When Vanessa and Matt got back I asked to see their pictures from Matamata, which is what non believers call Hobbiton.  The scenery was gorgeous, which makes me regret AGAIN how far way New Zealand has the temerity to be from me.  I also noticed that there were some odd people hanging out there, besides Vanessa and Matt.  Look at some of their photos below to see what I mean.

On their drive out to Matamata it got a bit foggy on the road.  It was all well and good, sort of atmospheric really, until this weird guy, dressed all in black, sitting on horse, kept popping up.  Asking for Baggins.  Matt told them they hadn’t done their shopping yet, they didn’t have any bags (he thought that baggins was plural for bags Down Under), and that they couldn’t help.  Even the black rider’s horse looked confused.  So Matt and Vanessa kept going.

Foggy road.rider

Then this kind of crazy, old, homeless guy with a giant Q-tip thought they looked a little lost, and was helpfully pointing the way to Matamata.  It was kind of annoying the way he kept screaming, “This way, YOU FOOLS!”  Whatevs.  Some people just like getting worked up.  But his directions were spot on!

Gandalf

Soon Vanessa and Matt emerged from the fog into a beautiful glorious day!  The sun was shining, the sheep were grazing, and WHAT THE HELL?!?  What are they doing here?  No, no thank, no Tubby Toast for us.  Hobbiton is waiting.  No, we don’t want to rub your tummies.

Sheep+TT

Well, that was unexpected.  Anyway, back to Matamata.  After arriving Matt and Vanessa headed off on the two hour guided studio tour (insert Gilligan’s Island theme song joke here).  The original Hobbiton set used in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy was not preserved, and had to be completely rebuilt for The Hobbit.  It will remain as it is now, so hopefully, eventually, sometime before I shuffle off this mortal coil, I’ll get to visit too!  A peek at the tour brochure.

Hobbiton.tour.brochure.2

Matt and Vanessa got on the bus to take them to the set.  They were really happy, so excited to be off on this great adventure together.  It would have been a totally perfect moment, except for Mr. Bad Naked, who you can see over Matt’s shoulder.  A few ideas for you dude.  One, take a shower, a long one.  Two, cover up!  Three, muttering about lovely fishes and preciouses being stolen and how you hates Bagginses forever makes other people who are stuck on a bus with you really, really nervous.  Just saying man, just saying.

V+M.bus

Actually stepping out of the bus, onto hallowed ground, made all the uncomfortableness disappear.  HOBBITON!  HOBBIT HOLES!!  ROUND DOORS!!!  CABBAGES!!!!

Hobbit holes and gardens

Here is Vanessa by the Party Tree  And views in the village of Hobbiton.  It’s all so green and lovely.

Hobbiton village

After the tour it was time for a drink.  Vanessa made the acquaintance of two shortish guys who kept calling themselves “The Sexy Dwarves.”  They were handsome, if hairy, but Vanessa already had a guy of her own, so they left for greener pastures.  Even if she wasn’t with Matt it’s not like she’s that kind of girl anyway.  Two dwarves are not always better than one, no matter what Fili and Kili were telling her.

Shire's rest

Well, Matt and Vanessa had a tremendous time visiting New Zealand, and made tons of new friends while they were down there.  They were married just a few months later in San Diego.  Some of their new friends became so close to Vanessa and Matt that they flew in for their wedding!  Fili and Kili were not invited.

Wedding with hobbits

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Almost Famous – Or How I Went from the Pampered Pet of a Pop Star to an Inmate in a German Zoo

My name is Mally, and this is my story.

My name is Mally, and this is my story.

One day I’m speeding through the gated streets of Calabasas, California in a white Ferrari, wind racing through my fur, my miniature monkey-size Rolex keeping perfect time on my delicate wrist, the love of my life, Justin Bieber, behind the wheel.  I was living the kind of life that 99.9% of old world and new world monkeys can only dream of.  And the next day, the NEXT day my friends, I am being torn from his loving arms by the German authorities.  I was kidnapped by Klaus, waylaid by Wolfgang, held up by Helmut, and quarantined by Conrad (I couldn’t find a German name that started with Q).

So now, instead of traveling the world aboard a private jet, or munching on mangoes and meal worms in a penthouse hotel suite, I have been imprisoned in the Serengeti Park/Monkey Hoosegow, in some godforsaken town in northern Germany called Hodenhagen.  Hodenhagen…REALLY!?!

Needless to say, it has not been a smooth adjustment for me.  The guards noticed how depressed I was becoming.  All I wanted to do was to lie in bed, snuggling Stuffy Bear (the only gift from Justin that my jailers would let me keep), and dream of happier days.

Monkey.pic.sad

All I want is you…all I want is you.  Sitting here, all alone, watching the snow fall.  Looking back at the days, we threw them snow balls.
I can’t believe, I’m putting the tree up by myself.
I need you, and nobody else…

So one of my gefyngniswyrters, Heinz, came up with the idea of offering me enrichment opportunities, to take my mind off of my troubles.  Apparently other depressed zoo inmates take up hobbies, like crochet, woodworking, and painting.

Painting zoo animals

Deluded captives, clearly suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, engage in enrichment activities.  These are obviously misguided attempts to either bring meaning into the Justin-less void that is their existence, or to cull favor in the hope that someday this will lead to their escape/freedom.  Freedom to return to their stolen former lives.

But in the end it didn’t help to take my mind off of my Justin.  All I painted was endless portraits of Him.

My guards, or as they like to call themselves, "keepers", try to get me to paint other subjects, but I just make painting after painting of my Baby, Baby, Baby.

My guards, or as they like to call themselves, “keepers”, tried to get me interested in other subjects, but I just made painting after painting of my baby, baby, baby.

So here I am, and it appears that here I shall remain.  Instead of a 7 million dollar mansion in Hollywood, I get to live on an island in a zoo with horror of horrors, OTHER MONKEYS!  Don’t they know I am practically a person?  Don’t they know WHO I AM?  Or, I guess I should say, who I was…

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Naked People on Coins, and Other Fascinating Numismatic Discoveries

The kids have a pretty terrific foreign coin collection.  It has been accumulated through donations from me and their dad, our globe-trotting neighbor Bob (who gave us a whole bag a few years ago), and anyone who knows me who has ever mentioned that they are going overseas.  We got it out the other day and were poking through it.  I would love to say that we were doing something highly educational, like quizzing ourselves on world geography, or comparing fonts on the coins of communist vs. socialist vs. capitalist governments.  We were actually looking at them to find coins to spin on the table top.

Anyway…it did get me looking through the coins again, which is always good for killing a few hours.  As I pawed through them I was amazed at the variety of sizes, shapes, weights, and colors.  I also noticed some surprising images and trends.  Though I am not a professional numismatist (yes, I had to Google that to figure out what you call people who collect coins), I have cataloged my observations below.  So forge ahead…if you’ve got the time, I’ve got the money.

1.  Other countries put naked and semi-naked people on their coins.

I know that Europeans think we Americans are prudes.  Just because we arrest women who go topless on beaches, just because we not only wear clothes ourselves all the time (even in bed and in the shower), but we also put clothes on our dogs, just because in 2002 our then Attorney General John Ashcroft ordered the semi-nude statue of the Spirit of Justice covered with drapes because he didn’t like her marble mammary glands in the background of his press conferences, distracting everyone when they should have been listening to him.  But even a fairly liberal thinker like myself feels like the coins below have gone just a bit too far.  Naked moose and kangaroos on coins are one thing (see discoveries #5 and #6 below), naked people are something else entirely.

Naked

2.  Soviet coins were not full of whimsy.

Here is Lenin on a two ruble commemorative coin celebrating his 1ooth birthday, and two other Soviet coins.  The images and fonts on the coins we have are not particularly homey; no flowers, animals, pretty sailboats, or lovely ladies with windblown hair (the French REALLY like to put that on their coins).  Though I must say I love the font that was used for “1961”.  Very strident.  It’s like the coin is telling you, “It is 1961 comrade, and you’d better not forget it.”

Lenin

3.  The aging of Queen Elizabeth is recorded on the coins of like, a million different countries.

I’m not sure I would be up for my aging process to be recorded on coins from all over the world the way that her’s has.  So many of our coins have her image on them; coins from England, Canada, Australia, Falkland Islands, East Caribbean States, Hong Kong.  And these are just the ones we happen to have.  I couldn’t help but wonder, why is she wearing a crown in some but not in others?  Did she decide to do a “Casual Decade”, kind of like casual Fridays?

coins.elizabeth

4.  Just like there’s good naked and bad naked, there’s good coin profiles and bad coin profiles.

So many decisions to make when you are having your visage stamped onto currency.  Crown or no crown?  For women, what is my hairdo going to be?  Should I wear a head dress, pearls?  And for men, facial hair is a consideration.  Beard, moustache, mutton chops?  Do these leaders get any editorial say on the final image, because some of these are a bit unflattering.  Maybe it’s just my shallow nature, but if I had the jowls of some of these folks I would have demanded a bit of nipping and tucking, if only on my coin.

Leader coins

5.  Canadians really like animals.

Seriously guys, do you need an animal on almost every coin?  Is this like some sort of contest, except that no one but the Canadians knows we are playing?

Canadian coins

5.  Sheep, owls, kangaroos, it’s like a damn zoo!

Besides our neighbor to the north, many other countries put animals on their coins.  The Falkland Islands’ coin has a sheep on one side and Queen Elizabeth on the other (take that Argentina), the 1943 Aussie penny has a kangaroo, and a Greek coin (at least I think it’s Greek) has a super cool owl.

animal coins

6.  Lions and eagles are very popular.

I’m just guessing here, but the reason that so many countries put fierce predators on their coins instead of snails or litters of kittens may be that they think those other weak countries with the flowers and stuff on their coins are going to be too afraid to mess with them.  Sort of like sending a subliminal message.  Why not go all the way with that one, and put on a rabid dog, or a nuclear bomb, or bird flu virus.  Or all three.  That would say, “Really, really, really don’t mess with us!”

Lions

Eagles

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Don’t Post Pictures of Me on Facebook!

A friend stopped by to visit today who is from out of town.  He grew up here in San Diego, but now lives in Philly.  Our families see each other a few times a year.  I thought it was fun that we had dressed alike; jeans, white shirt, sandals, and got my husband to take a picture of us.  Innocent enough.  Or so I thought!

I made an offhand comment about putting it on my Facebook page, and my friend, whose real name is Michael but who I will refer to by the code name “Mike” in this post to protect his identity, said,

“I don’t let people post pictures of me on Facebook.”

I’m pretty sure he isn’t in the witness protection program, so that got me to thinking.  Maybe he is right, maybe we shouldn’t be posting pictures of ourselves all over Facebook, because there is some pretty damning stuff out there.  I went back and looked through some old photos (“Mike” and I met in 1989), and sure enough, there was plenty there that no one in their right mind would want plastered all over the internet for eternity, or at least until The Rapture (when you are either in heaven enjoying your 72 virgins or are still back on Earth desperately trying to find a Starbucks that is still serving).

So take a stroll down memory lane with my friend “Mike” and me, as I turn over all the rocks, open all the closets, and lance all the boils from our sordid past!

The fateful picture that started it all.  Mike's face has been obscured to protect his identity (hint, he's not a redhead).

The fateful picture that started it all. Mike’s face has been obscured to protect his identity (hint, he’s not really a redhead).

This was such a crazy night!  Mike and I were hanging out in my bar in Nepal, actually he was mostly just watching while I drank a table full of goat herders UNDER THE TABLE!  We were all totally having fun, and then this jerky German dude shows up and gets all aggro about some  medallion.  Ruined our night.

This was such a crazy night!  Mike and I were hanging out in my bar in Nepal, actually he was mostly just watching while I drank a table full of goat herders UNDER THE TABLE!  We were all totally having fun, and then this jerky German guy shows up and gets all aggro about some medallion. Ruined our night.  Whatever dude.

Can you say KARYOKE!  Well Mike and I can.  Mike is a HUGE Justin Timberlake fan,

Can you say KARYOKE! Well Mike and I can. Mike is a HUGE Justin Timberlake fan, and when he heard that Justin and Janet Jackson were doing the half time show at the Superbowl in 2004 he insisted that we get dressed up just like them and sing along during their performance.  This picture is soooo embarrassing, because black leather jumpsuits are, like, totally out of fashion!  If you think THIS picture is bad, you should see the ones after it that even I refuse to put on the web.  Wardrobe malfunction indeed!

Mike and I can tell you from experience that you have never truly partied until you've done it with a Russian.  Something about centuries of suffering under feudalism, only to have it replaced by a totalitarian communist government, and then only to have that replaced by nepotistic oligarchs and former KGB goons, they party to the extreme.  Too many years of killing for the last bottle of vodka off of the state run shelves means NOTHING is off limits.

Mike and I can tell you from experience that you have never truly partied until you’ve done it with a Russian. Maybe it has something to do with centuries of suffering under feudalism, only to have that replaced by a totalitarian communist government, and then only to have that replaced by nepotistic oligarchs and former KGB goons.  Or with having to kill for the last bottle of vodka off of the nearly empty state run store shelves.  Mike and I ran into Boris Yeltsin one night and there was no stopping him, he kept us out until 6:00, A.M.!!!  I thought the dress was cute at the time, but now I think I look like Marcia Brady.

One word.  Vegas.

One word. Vegas.

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The Secret Lives of Teachers

Many children think that their teachers live at school, and it comes as a shock to them that they go home at night, and that they have a life outside of school.  Most teachers have just one life outside of school, but some of our teachers also have a second, secret life.  Read on to find out all about…THE SECRET LIVES OF TEACHERS…

Mrs. S.

Secret Life: Wild Snail Refuge Owner

Getting ready to feed the snails.

Getting ready to feed the snails.

You know how Hagrid, the ground’s keeper at Hogwarts, loves dangerous animals?  He calls dragons “vastly misunderstood”, and wants one as a pet?  Mrs. S. feels the same way, except instead of dragons being vastly misunderstood, she thinks that snails are.  Every time she hears about yet another gastropod being destroyed, rather than relocated, when it has invaded a suburban backyard, her blood boils.  “It’s always the big, furry mammals everyone worries about, never the slimy invertebrates.”  That’s why she set up a wild snail refuge in her yard.  She tries to keep things as natural as possible for her charges, and tries to avoid too much human contact with them, in the hopes that one day they can be returned to the wild.  “If I must enter their enclosure, I try to camouflage myself as much as possible, so they don’t lose their natural fear of humans.”  Keep on fighting the good fight Mrs. S.!

Mr R.

Secret Life: Backwards Walker

Mr.R

Keep an eye where you are going Mr. R.

Though not yet sanctioned as an official Olympic sport, dedicated backwards walkers such as Mr. R. have nothing but praise for their chosen sport.  Habit. Compulsion.  Or whatever it is.  “I find that walking backwards when I am not at school kind of resets my odometer, refreshes my screen, I don’t know…it just makes me feel younger,” he said as he simultaneously peeled hyperactive Bobby off the ceiling while he explained the different vowels sounds made by a double “O” to little bespectacled Priscilla, who was in the reading corner doing an in depth study of Good Night Moon.  There are worse things one could do to maintain ones sanity, when confronted with 25 squirming, squiggling, squinting, squirrely 5 year olds 5 days a week.  Klaw no .rM R!

Mrs. K.

Secret Life: Wonder Twin

Wonder Twins

Mrs. K in her Wonder Twin days, and later, as a Super Friend.

Years ago, Mrs. K was known by another name, Jayna.  After a falling out with Zan over custody of their pet space monkey Gleek (Zan was awarded full custody and now lives with him on house boat in the south of France), Mrs. K. left the super hero life behind to focus on her teaching career and starting a family.  But occasionally the urge to return to the old ways resurfaces, and she can be heard muttering as she walks around campus, “Shape of…a polygon”.  Or she dresses identically to other teachers, who find her insistence on getting all matchy matchy adorably quirky.

Mrs. Y.

Secret Life: Mini Me Aficionado

Mrs. Y. and her mini me.  Adorable might be the word I'm searching for...

Mrs. Y. and her mini me. Adorable might be the word I’m searching for…

We really have the best science teacher at our school, but what many at our campus don’t know is that our science teacher has the best mini me ever.  How do I know this?  “I have the best mini me ever”, said Mrs. Y., our science teacher.  On the weekends she goes with me and my family everywhere, and does everything with us.  She has a very full life.”  Mrs. Y.’s husband and children were approached for comment, but they just ran away.  Later the doll was seen glaring out through the closed curtains of their living room.  Didn’t Chuckie have red hair too?  Hmmm, maybe Mrs. Y. has been doing a little experimenting after hours in the lab.  Nah, couldn’t be.

Mrs B.

Secret Life: Oil Rig Worker

She sure cleans up pretty!

She sure cleans up pretty!

Yes, I know, it is hard to believe that the teacher with the cutest nails, hair, sunglasses, and peek-a-boo toe sandals on campus spends her Saturdays as a roughneck on a rig in the Gulf, but it’s true.  “I like the contrast between school and the rig, I like pushing myself physically, and I am really proud that I started as a roustabout, but have now worked my way up to derrickhand.  Of course, it’s murder on my nails.  I have a standing appointment at the nail salon immediately after my plane touches down at Lindbergh Field.”  Though the kids have no suspicions about their teacher’s talents with a spanner, the custodians know who to fetch when a stuck nut needs coaxing or the plumbing goes out in one of the bathrooms.  “A plugged up toilet’s nothing after working the drilling mud in the mud pits, let me tell you!”  We’ll just have to take your word for it Mrs. B.

Mrs C.

Secret Life: Celebrity Stalker

Smile, cuz here comes Mrs. C.'s camera...

Smile, cuz here comes Mrs. C.’s camera…

Stalkarrazzi or shutterbug, whatever word you chose to use, it’s all the same to Mrs. C.  She thinks of her camera as her third eye, and it doesn’t matter if you look her in it or not, she’s taking your picture!  Though at school she is just known as “That teacher who never stops taking pictures”, in Hollywood she is known as “The Bulldog”, since she never lets go until she gets her picture.  Currently Bragelina, Justin Bieber, Brittany Spears, Demi Moore, and Mr. T. have restraining orders against her.  Do you think David Beckham is moving to France from L.A. because he wants to play one last season of soccer?  No, it is to get away from Mrs. C.  Ditto for Jennifer Aniston and the move to New York.  It wasn’t to snuggle in a Manhattan love nest with Justin Theroux, it was to have a moment’s peace.  But hey, it’s a free world, and she’s got college tuition to think about in a few years.  Smile!  Hey!!  LOOK HERE!!!  Gotcha…

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I Cleansed the Evil Spirit of Rush Limbaugh From My Colon, Just in Time for Inauguration

It all started just after the election.  Yes, THAT election, the one that drove a stake into the heart of die-hard Republicans everywhere, the election that returned Barack HUSSEIN Obama to the office of the Presidency of the United States.  Cramps, pain, increasing discomfort in my lower digestive tract.  I couldn’t figure it out.  Nothing much had changed, I hadn’t been sick, I hadn’t altered my diet.  Why was the source of these uncomfortable feelings?

Finally, in utter desperation, I did a cleanse.  I know, everyone has heard the rapturous descriptions of how people’s lives are changed from gastric cleansing.  Coffee ground-green tea-pomegranate-acai berry purges that scrub you down to your very DNA.  Was I sceptical?  Yes.  Was I desperate??  Oh yes.  So I did it, I cleansed.  And thank God I did, since I am sure it saved my life.  You see, unbeknownst to me, the evil spirit of Rush Limbaugh had possessed my colon.  And here’s the proof.

Here it is, the evil spirit of Rush Limbaugh, recently voided from my colon.

Here it is, the evil spirit of Rush Limbaugh, recently voided from my colon.

Don’t ask about my solid gold toilet.  That is for another day, another post.  Suffice it to say it involved an Arab sheik and matters of national security.  Look at what emerged from my nether regions following a 3 day uber cleansing of my system!!!  I am not crazy!  THAT IS RUSH LIMBAUGH!!!   Now, I never in a billion, trillion years thought I would post a photo of the contents of my (solid gold) toilet, but how could I keep this miracle to myself?  What about my duty to humanity?  Now granted, my Rush poop will never be venerated like the Shroud of Turin, the shrine of Lourdes, or the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese, but I had to record its existence for posterity.

A casino bought this grilled cheese sandwich for $28,000.  Too bad I flushed my Rush poop, maybe Sean Hannity would have ponied up a bit of the green stuff for it...

A casino bought this grilled cheese sandwich for $28,000. Too bad I flushed my Rush poop, Sean Hannity might have ponied up a bit of the green stuff for it…

The picture I snapped is all that remains of my fecal phantasmagoria.  That, and my everlasting relief that I did that cleanse before the Inauguration.  Can you image what would have happened if that had been inside me still, while B. Hussein O. was standing on the steps of the capitol, taking up the reins of power as all the world looked on?  Rosemary’s baby meets Alien meets that awful scene from Austin Powers when he accidentally drinks diarrhea.  (N.B., If you haven’t already, put down the mocha latte).  Happily, that did not come to pass, and I am still here and able to sing along with incomparable Nina Simone.

“It’s a new day, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new life for me…and I’m feeeeeeeeelin’ good.”

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