Thursday, May 28, 2009

I've Got the Shakes

This morning, at exactly two minutes to five AM, I woke to the entire room shaking.

An earthquake! I thought to myself, and grabbed hold of my frightened chihuahua and watched as the room shook around me. Things crashed, fell, and then after about five mortifying seconds, it all stopped.

Quickly, I jumped off the bed and pulled off my flimsy nightgown, exchanging it for a pair of work out shorts, a sports bra, and a t-shirt. I tiptoed around my broken lamp and headed for my mom's room, poking my head in.

Two snoring lumps greeted me.

"Mom!" I whispered. "Did you feel that?"
"What?" came the sleepy voice.
"The earthquake!"
"... what earthquake?"

I blinked. There was no way they could NOT feel that. Dazed and half asleep, I insisted there had been an earthquake, but both mom and dad insisted they didn't feel anything. Shaking my head I took the puppy out for her morning pee break, and when I came back, my mother was standing at my doorway.

"Are you sure you didn't just dream it?" she told me.
"Mom, look at the lamp," I said.

Sure enough, my lamp (and a few other things), was lying limpy on the floor, broken in two pieces from the force of the shake.

Too tired to contemplate what it could mean, I went back to sleep. In the morning, I dragged myself out of bed and began searching for online articles. No earthquakes. Nothing.

My grandmother, a light sleeper, also felt nothing.

Mother suggested maybe something had fallen, but it was a sustained, repeated shake of everything in my room.

So what could it have been? What could have shaken everything in my room, broken a lamp, and yet been felt by no one else in the house?

Aw, man. I'm really not in the mood to be haunted right now.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's the little things in life...

A lazy Saturday nap was interrupted by the excitement of my mother, who yelled into my room, "Come see! The police are here! They're arresting the neighbor boy!"

Now, considering the fact that we live in what is technically defined as South Central Los Angeles, you'd think this would be a regular occurence (at least judging by the way some of my friends act when they come visit). It's not. Thanks to the last time I called the cops (for the very boring reason to tow a car that was blocking our driveway), I have learned that our neighborhood is relatively boring. No real gang affiliation. No gang activity. We're just a little street filled with families and large Victorian houses left behind when the rich people of Downtown fled for the safety of suburbia. So the fact that five cop cars came to arrest one little kid? A big deal. It's completely clear when I stepped out onto our porch and discovered people spilling out of house after house, goggle-eyed and fascinated at the spectacle before them. Four cop cars, flashing lights, and a young man in hand cuffs, looking terrified as he stood next to the cars.

The silliness of this is monumental when you realize what ACTUALLY happened. You see, our little quiet neighborhood does have a couple of hiccups. One of them is the boys across the street. Young men in their late teens and early twenties who literally have nothing to do but hang out around their house in the street and generally annoy the rest of the neighborhood by popping fireworks anytime they have any semblance of a reason (ILLEGAL) or zooming up and down the street in a very noisy, very annoying mini-motorcyle (also ILLEGAL), or working with their 'band' and drumming at all hours.

Guess which one attracted the attention of the police? One of the men/boys/peterpanguys was taking a noisy little joyride up and down the street, when the blare of sirens was suddenly heard.

"STOP RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!" came the demand.

What could have been a fine instead turned into hysteria when the boy zoomed back down the block and ran into the house.

Because that would stop the police. Because they LOVE when you run from them.

Fastforward to twenty minutes later, and witness four police cars and a tow truck (to confiscate the MINI BIKE) standing around discussing the situation with the massive crowd that spilled from the house, and you have quite a tame circus. The finale? The police letting the kid go an hour later.

I blinked, and went back to bed, thankful that at least I could take my nap without the buzz of that damn minibike.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In the Future, There Willl be Assholes- I mean Robots-

For your daily dose of snark and wit, imagine if Kyle Reese wasn't a freedom fighter at all, but just some loser with an affordable time machine bent on scoring with some gullible chick from the past named Sarah Connor...

Be careful, Sarah Connor. And watch out for the global warming thing too - I also heard that's a myth...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Don't Take Her Bone

This morning I woke up to the weight of a fluffy black poodle on my hip, chewing happily on a bone. The serenity was just as quickly disturbed when the bed bobbed with the landing of an eight pound, stubby footed chihuahua, who glared at the scene with as much indignity as a little chihuahua can have.
Coffee Run
Uttering something that sounded like a mix between a bleat and a growl, suddenly the little thing comes CHARGING at me, and literally BUTTS Lucy. Lucy, quick as a cat and with legs twice as long, shifted and jerked and resettled. Another indignant squeal, and then Thalia came again. This time Lucy jerked off me, and jumped off the bed. Undetterred, Thalia scampered (carefully) down her doggie stairs and tore after her.

A minute later, Thalia made her way up the stairs, with her prize in her mouth. Apparently, Lucy had stolen her bone, and that was just NOT cool.

My dog may be little, but she be fierce, yo.

Monday, May 18, 2009

In Which I Want To Go To There (But I'd Like To Not Die)

Thanks to Jeremy Wade (extreme angler and Biologist) and Animal Planet's show 'River Monsters', I've gained a new appreciation for freshwater fishies of the deep. I've always had a fascination with fishing, even as a child, when my understanding of it was to stand over a pier, throw a line into the brackwish water and then peer over the end of it, wondering why nothing ever came up.

Since then, my odd obsession with fishing and animals that swim hasn't waned, even if I've never quite caught up in experience. My snorkeling experience has been limited to the muddy waters of Cabo San Lucas, and as for fishing? I wouldn't know where to start. But I've come a long way to appreciating these creatures, and it manifests itself the most when I work with my fish tank. It's just a twenty gallon bitty little thing, fresh water and easy to maintain, with some tetras, some guppies, three frogs and two underwater catfish that grow bigger every day, but even within this little community, there has been massacres and adventures. I've mourned the loss of Tubby, the injured little Molly who fought his way back to health after an attack of another male molly, losing a fin and disorienting himself so much he swam upside down and in circles. I nearly cried when I lost my first frogs Max & Mona, bitty little aquatic dwarfs who died of old age after nearly three years of sitting on their lily pads and poking through gravel for their morsels of food. I marveled when a half inch ghost shrimp grew into a nearly three inch large monster with claws, who took over the tank and nearly singlehandedly annihalted a school of neon tetras (yeah, mister fish expert at the fish store, apparently shrimp ARE aggressive in high temperatures. FYI).

The new show 'River Monsters' on Animal Planet has done little to wane my curiosity with the animals of the aquatic. And it's also made me completely terrified and fascinated with the Amazon. I've learned so many different things from this show, but none more than the absolute fact that anyone who wants to swim in the Amazon river is crazy. Did you know that there are fishes there that can bore bullet size holes in you and eat you from the inside out? Or that some catfish can grow up to ten feet and have been known to attack and kill humans? Or that piranha's have consumed children in seconds? Or that bullsharks can adapt to freshwater and are now popping up in rivers all over the world?

Or how about this fun fact? There's apparently a case in the Amazon where a fish has actually been attracted by a urine streem and swam UP the uretha of a peeing man and BURIED itself in his penis. Oh yeah. Don't pee in the lake, boys.

Who in their right mind wants to know this? And still wants to go fish these things? Let's face it, host Jeremy Wade is CRAZY. But he's the fascinating kind of crazy - the kind of biologist who will venture to the ends of the earth to do battle with a 200 pound fish with only a fishing line between them, to emerge the exhausted winner, who does not kill his prize, but instead admires it, notes it, and with a display of sportmanship to his beastly shrewd battle losers, allows them to rest before setting them back free. It's this moment that I admire the most. It's for this reason that this latest article about the controversy involving a fisherman who caught and killed a record size Hammerhead Shark (pregnant with about 50 babies) saddens me. To want to battle against this magnificant animals and emerge the winner is within our competitive spirit. But to become so overwhelmed with excitement over the prize to bring such a specimen and kill it for pure sport? What's the point in that?

It reminds me of the moment not long ago where I came face to face with a falcon in my yard. My emotions were fueled by excitement and reverance.

I did not immediately think, "Oh my goodness. What a beautiful creature! Let me kill it!"

I'm just saying.