Wednesday, June 28, 2006

101 Things You Don't Want Greeting You When You Wake Up in the Morning, Number 1

Yesterday I bought two five-liter bags of kitty litter. Cats use a lot of kitty litter, you know. Shopping in Taiwan isn't really all that convenient sometimes, when one has no vehicle and one must carry heavy items home. Arriving home, deposited said bags in the spare bedroom, on the floor.

DZ was apparently bored out of her little kitty mind last night, because this morning when I got up, I found both bags of litter torn to shreds and litter covering the floor in the spare bedroom. DZ, attempting to play the innocent party, was lounging on the windowsill. Not for long. I grabbed that stupid cat by the scruff of the neck and proceeded to whale on her scrawny ass with the handiest implement, an umbrella. Stupid cat. Just wanted I wanted to do, sweep up litter for the first twenty minutes of my day. Guess who didn't get any canned cat food this morning?

This afternoon I once again did some recording for the cram school who has the textbook with the abysmal English. My recording partner was one of their teachers, nice enough guy named Andy. However.....Andy doesn't seem to be able to read aloud, at least not competently. And I have a very bad feeling that Andy was the author of some of the stuff we were reading, the stuff so loaded with errors I was cringing. Yeah, Taiwan, don't give me a job teaching English, because I don't have the piece of paper that Andy has. Never mind that I very well know the difference between "here" and "hear." I can't tell you how many times we had to stop, because what was written made absolutely no sense, and I had to try to reword it to go on. I volunteered to record almost all of the long speaking passages, because it was just too painful to sit there listening to Andy trying to do it and constantly making mistakes. Does anyone care about this??

I'm leaving for Hong Kong on Friday, returning on Monday. Don't really want to go because 1) I don't need to spend money after seeing how much I put on my Visa card when in the US, 2) Hong Kong is much hotter than Taiwan right now, and 3) Cheryl and Terry will be in the US on their vacation, so I'll miss seeing them. However, the bright spot is getting to see Doris and Tommy, and that really makes it worthwhile, since they're so fun and nice. Tommy, who drives a taxi, is even going to pick me up at the airport! And Doris wants to take me to Lee Yuen Mum, which is a fishing village. Can't ask for nicer friends than that, can you? So, really, no regrets (talk to me after I experience the summer temps in Hong Kong, I might be singing a different tune).

I won't be looking forward to my next electric bill. I'll bet it will be $50US for two months (ducks for cover as folks in US who are paying exhorbitant amounts for electricity throw whatever is handy in my direction)!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

And speaking of Long Yan

I get a real kick out of this guy. He's Japanese, I think around 30 years old, and he's very much into swing dancing, Lindy Hop, the whole Fifties scene. You can watch a video (takes a little bit of time to load) of him and his dance partner, shot in Japan, here (and you'll have to actually cut and paste the whole thing instead of just clicking on it, because I can't get the full link to show us AS as link - it cuts it off after the last dot for some reason):

Just a tad on the sneaky side

Ever been through this? A casual friend or a co-worker says, "Hey, I'm having a little get-together at my place Friday night, want to come? We'll have some snacks and stuff." You don't have anything else to do so you say, "Yeah, sure." You go to the "party" only to discover that you've been roped into an evening of listening to your host/hostess and his/her sponsor talk about the marvels of selling Amway products (or the joys of owning a time-share condo or a membership at 1,000 Trails). Are ya pissed? Damned straight you are, because you've been conned.

On Friday my classmate Kaori asked if I wanted to go to a party at the home of another classmate, one I didn't know, a fellow from Thailand. She said he was going to cook some Thai food and that our other friend, Long Yan, would cook up some Japanese food. We'd have a few beers, some chit-chat, enjoy ourselves. OK, I'm there!

Showed up at the MRT station to meet up with them (them being Kaori, Long Yan, Luke, and the Thai guy, whose name is something like Bosun, but not quite). We hung around waiting to see if another guy from Canada was going to show up, and as we waited, Bosun told me he hoped it would be OK for me (he thought I was a Christian) that we'd be going to his Buddhist worship hall for dinner. "Huh? We're not going to your house?" "No." "Uh, can we drink beer there?" "What? Of course not! Hahaha!" Oh well, no problem for me, I can live without beer, and I don't mind going to a Buddhist place.

We stopped to buy some juice and soda, got to the hall, removed our shoes, whined a bit about there being no air conditioning (OK, I was the only whiner), and Bosun headed for the kitchen area to bring out the food. Along the way it had been determined that there was no need for Long Yan to cook (darn), because there was plenty of food. We greeted the other Thai folks who were at the hall, bowed to a few monks, and carried our trays of food upstairs to a little meeting room (again, no air conditioner, just a huge, noisy fan). Then Bosun tells us that he can't eat with us, because the rule of his sect is that they can't eat anything after noon, just drink. What? The host isn't going to eat with his guests? OK, this is too weird. When he left to get the soup and some ice cubes, Kaori and I discussed this weirdness. She had no idea we'd be going to what is effectively a church for dinner! Eh, make the best of it and start eating.

Oh my, the food was great. No clue what the names of the dishes were, because the only thing I'd had before was the deep-fried shrimp balls with the sweet hot sauce (delicious). There was another dish with shrimp, lemon grass, and cashews that was so firey spicy it cleared the sinuses instantly, but was soooo good. Everything was good. Really. We ate and talked and drank our juice, and when we finished Bosun said he wanted us to meet the head monk.

Back downstairs we went, where they had finally turned on the air (yay!), and we all sat at a big table with the monk and an old lady who was folding up some papers. We were then required to look through a book which was mainly about the tsunami in Thailand in December 2004, mostly photos of many people meditating at the many ceremonies that were held to remember those who died. By this time we all kinda realized that the reason we were there was so Bosun could tell us about his religion, and we were feeling a little uncomfortable. However, no one was at any time pushy or obnoxious, and they were all very gracious, telling us we were welcome to come anytime and eat more good food, especially if we wanted to share the noon meal with them.

Kaori and I figured if we were going to get our desired alcoholic beverage intake for the evening, we'd best make our apologies and boogie on down the road. So, we said bye-bye and thank you numerous times before finally getting out the door and to the grocery store. As we walked to Kaori's place, which was quite close, we all laughed about the strange situation, and Kaori said she was going to murder her friend who obviously had known what was in store for us but had declined to elaborate when she'd talked to him the day before. I said it didn't matter, we'd had a great meal, some nice conversation, no one twisted our arms and tried to convert us, and we should just enjoy our full tummies :)

Spent the rest of the evening hanging out in Kaori's room, got lots of giggles from watching Long Yan demonstrate his Wing Chun skills, as well as his "grappling" ability. He had Luke down on the floor in a position that was so hysterical I deeply regretted not bringing the camera.

I was pleasantly surprised that Luke doesn't freak out when another guy touches him. He's Japanese but has lived in California since he was three years old (he's 29 now), so he's basically an American guy. And most American guys are so homophobic it's pathetic. I asked Luke how he feels about the habit of Asian guys to throw an arm around a buddy while walking, to place a hand on a knee when talking, etc., and he said he was secure enough in his own masculinity for that not to bother him. Good for him, I like hearing that.

Anyway, I got home around 12:30, stayed up until 1:30 reading, got up at 9:00 today. It's too hot to go anywhere or do anything, so today I'm gonna be a lazy bum.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Spoiled Forever

I forgot to mention a couple of things about my trip to the US (blame it on old age). I'd bought a ticket for Deluxe Class this time, since Uncle Sam was kind enough to return $700 of the US income tax I'd paid during my two months of work in 2005. I figured I'd treat myself a little bit for that long, long flight. I got more than I expected. When I arrived at the gate to check in, the young man checking passports and boarding passes gave me a chagrined look and said, "Oh, Deluxe Class is overbooked." This sent my heart into a rapid pitterpat, since I HAD to fly out on the 28th because my visa expired. Then he sorrowfully said, "I'm sorry, we have to upgrade you to Business Class." Sorry? What's to be sorry about? An upgrade is never cause for sorry.

Don't know if any of you have ever flown Business Class on a trans-Atlantic flight, but boy howdy, I recommend it. The seat was huge with tons of leg room and a nice footrest. You could actually recline in the seat, not just tilt your head back a couple of inches. Of course, it's not the full recline you get with First Class, but it worked. The pillow was of a usable size, not the postage-stamp sized ones Economy passes out. The blanket was not a rough, scratchy fabric, but was a very nice comforter, smooth cotton covering.

In Economy, you wait for the food cart to come around, and the flight attendant tells you what your two choices are. In Business Class, you're given a lovely menu with the choices listed, along with an extensive list of all the expensive alcohol you'll be allowed to choose from. In Business Class, you get an appetizer before your meal and Godiva chocolates with your coffee. The flight attendant comes by and takes your order. She returns shortly with a linen tablecloth for your little fold-out tray. When the food tray arrives, it's loaded with real crystal wine glasses, a linen napkin, and beautiful china plates. The appetizer looks as if a chef in a five-star restaurant arranged it on the plate (remember, presentation is everything), and the cutlery is also quite nice.

I had chosen the spare ribs for my main dish, and honestly the details of the meal have mostly faded now (I was just a little bit groggy from the Dramamine I'd taken, give me a break), but I recall it was all quite tasty and that there were fresh vegetables on the side. The drinks cart came by, and I went with the nice champagne that was offered, and yes, I got refills. Knowing that dehydrating alcohol is a bad choice on a long flight, I did not drink an entire bottle. Yay me.

The little free gifty was also very nice, a charming and good-sized travel pouch loaded with some smelly stuff from L'Occitane en Provence (, famous here in Taiwan (and other parts of the world) for producing over-priced smelly stuff. Since I hate that stuff, I passed it along to Brandi, who was quite pleased to have it. Also included in the pouch were a lovely eye mask (which I'll be using at home), a tube of Colgate that will last for at least 10 brushings, a decent toothbrush, and a nice folding hairbrush/comb.

The breakfast service right before landing was also fabulous and far too much food. I went with the typical Taiwanese breakfast of 油條 and 荳漿 (deep-fried twisted dough sticks - think doughnut without sugar - and soy milk), which also came with an egg pancake stuffed with tuna and another fried pancake wrapped around the 油條. This was entirely too much fried food for one meal. I ate one 油條, dipped in the 荳漿 of course, and the egg pancake and the fresh fruit. That was enough, especially since I knew there would be more food with Brandi in just a couple of hours!

Sad to say, my dream of getting upgraded on the flight home did not come true. I discovered that Deluxe Class is basically Economy with seats a little bigger and more leg room. Pillow and blankey were eh, food was eh, no champagne, no Godiva chocolate. Big deal, we got glass dishes instead of plastic, but the food was still nothing more than a frozen meal covered with tinfoil, all mixed together in one dish. The croissant with breakfast was a brittle, unchewable blob of bread. I guess I could have had a lot of ordinary alcohol, since the nice Malaysian gentleman next to me was getting beer frequently, but again, I know better than to drink too much on a flight.

All in all, I'd say that choosing Deluxe for any flight over five hours long is probably worth the extra money, just for the comfort. So, that's probably what I'll select for my next trip back to the US, praying all the while for the flight to be overbooked and getting a taste of Business Class once again. I just don't think I can make myself pay the price for Business Class, which is about $800 more than Deluxe (and Deluxe is only a couple hundred more than Economy). However, I'll keep my eyes open for any specials!

By the way, if anyone wants to visit Taiwan in July, EVA currently has a special price of only $753US (pre-tax) from San Francisco to Taipei :)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Taiwan's 17th Annual Golden Melody Awards

I attended the awards ceremony yesterday, June 10, 2006, because Wu Bai had been nominated for four awards:

Best Song of the Year: Made In Taiwan
Best Taiwanese Contemporary Album: Two-Faced Man
Best Lyricist: Made In Taiwan
Best Taiwanese Male Performer: Two-Faced Man

I arrived at noon to meet up with Chun and Shun, who had arrived at 11:00 a.m. Our plan was to queue up along the red carpet to watch the stars arrive before going into the venue. Since it had been raining, Chun and Shun decided to hang out at McDonald's instead. Charlene showed up around 2:00, and by the time we walked over to the red carpet area, it was totally packed! No place up close to stand, phooey. We settled for waiting at the railing where the cars would be bringing the stars, just so Wu Bai and the band would at least be able to see us and know we were there supporting them. Since the vehicles all had blacked-out windows, we couldn't tell who was in them, so we kept trying to read the names on the clipboards the staff guys were carrying around as they checked off each arrival. We got lucky and had our guys' cars stop in front of us, and Xiao Zhu rolled his window down to say hello, as did Dino and Da Mao. I'm not sure if Wu Bai was in the same car as Xiao Zhu, since I wasn't able to see the other side, just saw Xiao Zhu sitting on the right. Check out so very cool Wu Bai on the way in:

Our seats were way up high and to the right of the stage, giving us a fairly good view. When we got in, Wang Leehom was performing, along with someone else. As the ceremony progressed, I got to see performances from Asia Jump, which turned out to be Taiwan star Vanness Wu (formerly of F4) and Korean star Kangta (formerly of HOT), doing a rather hot little dance routine. I never realized Vanness Wu had such a great bod. Kangta still looks like a girl to me, check their official site at Eason Chan, who has one of the finest voices I've heard, performed quite well, despite a news report saying he was off key (I didn't notice at all). Other performers were Jacky Cheung, dubbed the "God of Songs" in Hong Kong but who has never appealed so much to me; Se7en, a young man from Korea who is also nicely built and dances well; and Music Orz, a male/female song and dance group that was just incredible, performing a tribal-style song while decked out in feather headdresses; and MC Hotdog with Zhang something or other, who is apparently a big favorite of Wu Bai & China Blue, since they all stood up and clapped along during this performance. There were other performers as well, but I didn't know them so can't say who they were. As the cameras panned the audience, I saw Karen Mok and Gigi Leung, who had come from Hong Kong to attend. S.H.E. was there (also doing some presenting), and many other local stars. My least favorite person, Xiao S, was on stage far too much for my liking. Motherhood has not made her any less of a whore, IMO.

Wu Bai was one of the presenters, and before he'd gone up on stage for that, some crazy person had gotten ahold of his hair and done bizarre things to it. He looked rather ridiculous. Thankfully, he was back to his normal suave self when accepting his award for Best Taiwanese Male Performer. We were a bit sad that he didn't win in the other categories, but at least he got one. Every time one of his categories came up, we screamed and waved our signs, and Sharrie said she could hear us during the live TV broadcast, so I guess we done good :)

We left before the final presentations, since Wu Bai and crew were already gone. Missed seeing Wang Lee Hom get his Best Mandarin Male Singer award, oh darn. I just don't understand why he's popular.....

It was a long, long day, since I'd gotten up at 4:30 a.m., unable to sleep due to still adjusting to the time change and DZ meowing her fool head off. I got home last night after midnight, totally starved, so I ate a Pop Tart and then fell into bed. DZ again woke me up at 4:00 a.m. with her yowling, but I managed to shut her up and sleep until 7:30 a.m.

Now I have to clean house, because two weeks of DZ hair is everywhere, and I have friends coming over at 1:30 to watch some movies and chat girl-talk.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Back in the R.O.C.

So happy to be home again :) I'm exhausted, having suffered a 14 hour flight that was supposed to only be 13 hours. No clue why we landed an hour later than I expected, since we took off on time. Weird. Landed at 6:09 a.m., home by 9:00 a.m., unpacked by 11:00, showered by noon. Not bad, huh? Still got a bunch of crap on the bed to put away, though. Slept on the couch for about three hours, fitfully (see below for reason).

Frantic cat DZ refuses to believe I'm home and starts yowling when she can't actually see me. Apparently she spent the entire time I was gone hiding under the covers on the bed in the spare room, unless actively prowling the upper reaches of my shelving where she knows she's not supposed to be, breaking priceless objects like my Grandmother's liquer glasses. Grrrr.

The election will be tomorrow, thank Buddha. The noise level today has been incredible, those annoying trucks patroling the neighborhood, blasting their music and political messages, dragon dances with accompanying music, etc. OK, this is one aspect of Taiwan I loathe (but it still beats being in the US and seeing Bush on TV). Now there's a rally right outside my apartment, with the local supporters raising a ruckus, letting off fireworks, cheering, blah blah, all via loudspeaker. Does no good to close the window, so I'm just gonna go watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which I picked up on DVD while in the US.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Cha Ching!

Gambling report: Berti, sweet woman that she is, gave me $100 to gamble with. First we had a fabulous buffet lunch, which gave me the opportunity to eat turkey, stuffing, and gravy, having missed that at Thanksgiving, then we headed to the slots. I had my typical bad luck until I planted myself next to Berti, and then I won $150, which I immediately cashed out. As we were leaving the place, I tried a bit more, and I won another bit of change. I left with a total of $169, which is cool, since my normal pattern is leaving minus $200!

Berti, Ms. Magic herself, won over $600 in less than two hours. It's uncanny the way she'll stop and say, "I like this machine." Plunks in a couple dollars and wins $150 or $200. Weird.

Anyway, heading to the airport this evening, home again in Taiwan Friday a.m.!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What I Did During Summer Vacation

Well, here I am in the US again. I've been here since the evening of May 28, the day my visa expired. Brandi picked me up at the airport, and then we hit Trader Joe's for cereal and coffee creamer, and after that we went to Chevy's so I could get a Mexican food fix. The food was OK, but the margarita didn't appear to have any alcohol in it, although it was flavorful. Back at Brandi's we chatted awhile and then watched most of Pirates of the Caribbean, which I'd never seen (Johnny Depp is soooo cool). About 1:00 a.m. we called it a night.

Me, I was up at 7:15 a.m., because my body was a bit confused about what time it was. I dinked around online until Brandi emerged from her lair, and Lisa showed up around 11:00 a.m. Bless her heart, she'd gotten us some adorable key rings engraved with 1986-2006 - we've been friends for 20 years this summer! Lordy, I can't believe how fast time has gone by and what we've been through over those years. We did a lot of reminiscing during our day together, laughing and recalling some of the very stupid things we'd done, surprised that we'd managed to live through some of it! Spent the day shopping, eating, and talking, which is what we do best.

I went home to Fairfield with Lisa Monday evening, got there in time to say hi to hubby Steve before he went to bed, having to face an early morning awakening. Visited with the cats, Pooh and Max, then Lisa and I both zonked out. Again, I was up early, which was fine because I got to chat more with Steve as he was readying himself for his day. After Lisa woke up and got ready, we took off for my dad's place in Auburn, stopping at the numerous outlet stores along the way to buy things on my shopping list and to have some lunch.

Spent Tuesday with Dad and Berti, had a piece of pie from Baker's Square (yum), and on Wednesday morning picked up my rental car, a bright red little Chevy of some sort. Had breakfast at the Auburn airport with Dad and Berti then headed off to Chico, arriving there at noon. Hey, I didn't forget how to drive! I don't drive like I used to, though. I never went more than 5 mph over the speed limit, and I never felt any urgency to get where I was going. I guess living in Taiwan has calmed me down a little. I also didn't yell at the other drivers when they did stupid things.

First stop in Chico was City Hall, of course, to see my former co-workers. I'd only told a few folks I was coming, because I wanted to surprise everyone, and it was great to see the shock on the faces of the unsuspecting ones. Spent awhile there saying hello, then went to lunch with Krista, sharing half an Upper Crust chocolate dipped hazelnut biscotti with her (I was too full from breakfast to actually eat lunch). Then back to City Hall to catch the ones who had been at lunch when made the first swoop. Tried calling Weiwei on the cell phone that Steve Hogue had gotten for me, and the darned thing didn't work. I could hear the gal on the other end, but she couldn't hear me. So, I just went over to Weiwei's office and made plans to meet her at home after work.

Did some shopping, mostly clothes for my fat ass, which won't fit into anything in Taiwan. Let me tell you, it's a shock to see how grossly overweight Americans are. When you live in it day after day, you get numbed to it. But after a year in Taiwan, surrounded by tiny little Asian guys and girls, it's a different story. Listen up folks: America has a problem! Most of those I saw aren't just chubby, they're morbidly obese! OK, I'm definitely overweight, but I'm small compared to a huge percentage of women and men I see here. Wake up, folks, and stop super-sizing everything. And get out of those cars and try walking somewhere every now and then. I was so appalled by the sight that I decided right then and there that as soon as I get back home, this extra weight is coming off. I figure those little Asians are looking at me the same way I'm looking at the 300 and 400 pounders here, and I don't want that. OK, off the soapbox.

Had a lovely, healthy meal at Weiwei's, some salmon with a great salad. Boy, she and Bob are good cooks. Enjoyed talking with them about all sorts of stuff and really enjoyed getting to sleep on my old couch again! Oh, how I miss that couch. I always slept there instead of in my bed, because it was way more comfortable. I should have paid to ship it to Taiwan, dang it. Weiwei had to work Thursday, but Bob was around in the morning, preparing for a hang-gliding trip, so I got to spend more time with him.

Then more shopping, at Winco. I got 22 bags of David & Sons sunflower seeds! I love those things, and they're way healthier than potato chips when one needs a salty snack. Got some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to bring back to my friends, since they're almost impossible to find in Taiwan, and bought a couple other things that are cheaper in the US or completely missing in Taiwan. After that it was lunch with the City gang at a nice little sandwich shop. I got to meet Steve's fiancee, Dinah, who is just a doll, and my former boss, Trish, came along, too. I guess most everyone was busy doing other stuff, because it was a small group: Cindy, Cris, Annalisa, Krista, Trish, Steve, and Dinah. So, I went back to City Hall afterwards to pass out some of the presents I'd brought.

The afternoon was spent visiting my African Gray parrots in Magalia at their new home with the Moore's. They remembered me, and I only cried a little bit when I saw them. Spent an hour there talking with Ann and playing with birdies, then went to see my former roommate/hairdresser, Terri, hoping she could fit me in for a haircut. She couldn't, but we made an appointment for Monday. Then back up to Magalia to ex-hubby Mark's place to visit with him and Nancy for a bit, finally getting to see their wedding and honeymoon photos. Back to Weiwei's for a quiet evening with her.

On Friday I made the rounds of the used books stores and got reading material. Picked up a few more clothes and stuff, had a great lunch with Earl at Smokin' Mo's BBQ. Oh my, that place is good. Back to City Hall to visit a little more with folks, then off to Weiwei's to unload the car. She'd gotten off work early, so we had more time to visit before I left for dinner with Lesley and Karen at Casa Ramos, the best Mexican food around, with margaritas that pack a punch! After dinner we hung out at their place, Lesley and I watching "Shaun of the Dead" and Karen watching sports. Weiwei was still up when I got back to her house, but we made it an early night with plans for shopping during the day Saturday.

But Saturday morning was breakfast at Hometown Buffet with sisters Wendy and Jenny, my friends from Windy's Chinese Restaurant. I'd shocked them by showing up Wednesday afternoon, and they'd insisted we meet for breakfast at their favorite place. We only had a couple of hours, since they have to work at 10:00, but it was great to see them again. I hope they'll come to Taiwan to visit me.

Picked Weiwei up and we took off to do some errands for her, finally getting around to Trader Joe's, my mostest favoritest grocery store :) I had to control myself there, because it would have been way too easy to buy more than I could carry back with me. Ran into Grace from Peter Chu's Restaurant there and had a nice chat with her, and she said next time she goes back to Taiwan, she'll be calling me.

I packed everything up Saturday afternoon and headed downtown to wait for Wendy (my postal friend) at my old coffee shop, Has Beans. One of the regulars was there, an old guy who I think must live at the shop, and we talked about all sorts of stuff until Wendy was off work. We had dinner at a Thai place and then spent the evening watching TV at her house. Sunday we met up with Rose for lunch at Chipotle and hung out yapping for a few hours, then Wendy and I went to Circuit City and Barnes & Noble before heading back up to Paradise. Her friend Anita had been gone all weekend, but she wanted to meet me, so when she got home around 9:00 p.m., Wendy and I went back down to Chico to visit with her. We had Sierra Nevada beer, pizza pretzels, and good conversation. Anita is a bundle of energy, and I wish she'd bottle it and sell it so I could have some. Got back to Wendy's at almost 2:00 a.m., and poor Wendy had to go to work in the morning.

I spent my Monday morning reading the new Stephen King novel I'd bought at B & N, then went to Taco Bell for a couple tacos and a handful of hot sauce packets to take back with me. Then up to Terri's for a haircut, which she graciously did free of charge because she's so cool. After that it was a two-hour drive back to Auburn and then dinner with Dad & Berti, which I tried unsuccessfully to pay for but lost the battle with Berti. We stopped by her son's place for a very short visit, then hit one of their favorite bars for wine (them) and beer (me). Back to Dad's where I sank gratefully into bed.

This morning it was return the rental car and then back here to Dad's. We're taking off in a couple of hours for Thunder Valley, the Indian casino by Roseville, where Berti will supply me with some gambling money and (hopefully) some of her eerie luck. That woman just doesn't lose. She has the magic touch, and please please please oh powers that be let some rub off on me today to pay for all the stuff I bought on this trip!

Dad's taking me to Fairfield tomorrow afternoon, and Lisa and Brandi will take me to SFO and see me off. Well, OK, they'll dump my butt there and go home, because my flight is at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, and they won't hang around that long! But I'll get to see them one more time, so that's totally cool. My friend Aaron told me this morning that he'll pick me up at the airport when I get back at 5:10 a.m. on Friday, bless his heart! Sure beats trying to get three 70-pound suitcases on the bus myself, since those damned drivers won't lift a finger to help. And maybe all the chocolate I'm bringing back as gifts won't melt!

Back later with a report on my gambling adventure. Hopefully good news, too ;)