Friday, October 23, 2009

another Aunt Carmen story

In my previous post about my aunt Carmen, I mentioned her sense of humor...and recently I began thinking of certain incidents that had me laughing out loud as I was outside in the garden, a flood of memories came rushing through my mind, like a long lost VCR tape that you once loved but had forgotten about, but upon seeing it again...oh my gawwd that was hilarious...

It was during the summer, probably about 1965...and during the day, I would stay there and play with my cousins, Joanne and Little Joe, but mostly Joe, since Joanne was older than us, and she'd be off playing with her friends...One time, me and Joe were eating lunch, Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup and Aunt Carmen was at the table with us, reading the paper, when suddenly she let out her hearty laugh, "ah HA hahahaha" she had read a Dennis the Menace comic, "listen to this one, 'Mom! get Dad quick! I got Santa Claus locked in the bathroom!"
A spray of Campbells Soup went across the table as Joe exploded in laughter..."Jooooooe!"
I eruped in laughter myself, about both things, thankfully I was between mouthfuls of soup.
Sometimes Carmen would take me and Joe on her shopping errands, constantly berating him, "Sit Still!" because he would attempt acrobatic feats in the car. We were in the back seat and bags of groceries were in the front.
"I can do flips!"
"No you can't!"
At a young age, Joe already had the vocal inflections of his mom, "ohhhhh yes I CAN!"
"yeah? well let's see."
"okay watch this..." So he climbed on to the front seat and did a head stand on the top of the seat, with his feet on the roof of the car.
"What the hell are you doing?!?!"
He flipped over and landed on bags of groceries.
"Goddammit! you Dumb Banana!" I couldn't help but laugh hysterically...
Later on when Uncle Joe came home and my dad came to pick me up, for some reason my mom was busy or working late, anyway Carmen said, why don't you just stay for dinner? So we did...and while we were eating, she said, "I want you to LOOK at this bread" as she placed smashed pieces of french bread on a plate.
"What happened?"
With an accusing finger she pointed at Little Joe, "HE LANDED on it!"
ahhh, it makes me giggle just to write about this old memory...well, like they say, I guess ya had to be there...

Illustration Friday - Fast

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Originally uploaded by danguerra444
This one came out a little blurry, but actually it kind of lends itself to the theme, Fast...haha! yeah, that's it...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Illustration Friday - Frozen

Originally uploaded by danguerra444
Climbing the Matterhorn would be an awesome experience, though everything looks frozen up there.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Illustration Friday - Flying

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Originally uploaded by danguerra444
What a sensation it would be to feel like you're floating, even though you're flying at over 17,000 miles an hour!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Cyber Sea

As you can see, I'm back posting images on Illustration Friday, which I did regularly up until about two years ago, when my browser could no longer see it. Well, after a long hiatus I'm back again, but I don't recognize any of the original people on there, they've moved on. To where, I don't returning to an old neighborhood where you once lived, only strangers live there now. I've experienced the same thing on Imdb, where I once was a regular on their message boards...indeed, I posted on a daily basis, many times a day on some occaisions. This was about ten years ago, and it was my first experience doing such a thing.
At first I came to recognize the regular posters, each with their own personality which I assumed was a 'real' person, not a contrived persona or anything like that, I was naive at the time...So, in all those posts about movies and tv shows, a certain number of posters would gravitate to one another, and become, well, friends online!...I became buddies with a few of them, we would chat about movies and sometimes delved into our personal lives, almost like 'pen pals' we had in school...But then something happened, an influx of new users and a group that had been kicked off an old board brought their 'wars' there. And an infestation of teenagers who plagued the board with their inane and juvenile posts...'trolls'...I soon lost sight of the old regulars but later learned that they retreated to a certain movie board on imdb, "The Way We Were" of all places...others who were not invited there complained bitterly, "why didn't you tell me?? how could you??"..or...
"okay, here's your knife back, the one you stabbed me with!"
It became clear, sheesh this like high school! and these people have never even met each other, or knew each other growing up, or shared each others pain or joy that they otherwise would in a real or at least tangible friendship...No, this was a new territory, a new universe of VIRTUAL friendships, just as loving and supportive, or just as dysfunctional...but friendships nevertheless!
As friendships can come and go, so do the Illustration Friday crowd who moved on, so did the Imdb bunch, a small group of them formed a small site on which I was invited, like building a hopeful bridge over the cyber sea, but even now that one is dwindling, like a bridge that is abandoned or swept away...I guess people just want to move on, like in real life. America is one of the most mobile and migratory people in the world. Everyone moved out here to California in the 50's and 60's and I grew up listening to them brag about how great it was back where they came from...I would sigh like an old man....
And, like a migratory shift, people move on from virtual friendships to new places and then we wonder where they went, what became of them?...but we do make friends, and keep them! Like facebook, we connect with old friends, the 'tangible' ones. But the virtual friends, they're basically pen pals...I miss the ones I don't see anymore, even though I never saw them face to face, or shook their hands...or even arranging to meet someday, somewhere...when it comes to all of them, the friends I never met, it's like throwing a message in a bottle into the Cyber Sea.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Time Machine

I have always been fascinated with History, especially when looking at old films or photographs. Or walking through old neighborhoods or historical districts. My interest was piqued recently when I watched a Ken Burns series on the National Parks. He used an enormous collection of old photos and Super-8 movies of families vacationing in Yosemite and other parks. I immediately related to the kids in those old movies, in the backseat of their parents car, then walking around in wonder, because I could have been one of those kids back then in the 60's.
But some of these were from way before, like in the 40's and 50's...even back to the 20's and beyond! Every time I see an old photograph or old film footage, especially in color, I wish I could magically step into that picture, go back in time and see for myself how it really was....
Or better yet, I wish I had a Time Machine, not a big clumsy contraption like H.G. Wells would have written about, but a small convenient one, about the size of a cel phone. But I'd make sure to prepare, to have all my bases covered...The first place I'd want to visit is San Francisco in the 1940's, maybe 1947...but before I went, I'd put on an old vintage suit that I own, from about that era, to blend in...then I would go to San Francisco present-day, probably to Golden Gate Park to a secluded spot in the bushes where I couldn't be seen, and then punch in the date, and make the leap!
I would appear in that same spot, hopefully still hidden, but it would be 1947!... After emerging from the park, I think that much of the city would look the same, as far as the buildings and houses, but the cars and the trolleys and the people would be out of an old photograph, but I would be There! I think I would walk downtown, rather than take a bus or taxi, just to soak it all in...I would probably be nervous as hell, almost paranoid in thinking that I stood out somehow, an ultimate outsider, someone from the Future...but I'd be nonchalant as I strolled down Geary St. toward Union Square, nodding hello to passersby, peering in to storefronts and listening to peoples' conversations, picking up any nuance in their speech, but I don't think it would be very different. No different than Bogart and Bacall, who filmed 'Dark Passage' there in 1947...and I've seen plenty of Three Stooges and Little Rascals movies to know how they spoke back then, but that was Hollywood, this would be regular people in the street.
Before my 'trip', I would make sure to bring along a lot of faded one dollar bills, that denomination hasn't changed much since the 30's, but the 5's, 10's, and 20's have a new design, and that would be an obvious giveaway, they would think I was a nutcase or a counterfeiter if I tried to use one of those. And besides, things were way cheaper back then, I could probably walk into a diner and buy lunch for less than a dollar, and a newspaper for a nickel. Upon arriving downtown, I imagine Union Square would also still look basically the same, but with different storefronts and not as many highrises, but the cable cars would be there, Lefty O'Douls would be there, and maybe Tad's...
There would also be the St. Francis hotel on Powell, curiosity would take me there first, with its ornate lobby and piano bar, I wonder how different it would be. I'd gather up the nerve to go sit at the, I've seen movies from the 40's and bars haven't changed much, but still, I would glance and see what others were drinking...I'd probably order a beer, and pay for it with change that I got from buying the newspaper, I'd be too nervous about using a dollar bill from 2009, bartenders can be pretty sharp about that stuff. Not that he's looking out for money from the future, just bills that don't look quite right...
After having perused the paper and sports page just to catch up on local current events, I'd probably be prepared for any light conversation, should a bar patron decided to chat...I'd say I was from San Jose, which I was...though my historical knowledge of San Jose would only carry me so far...they might ask if I was in the war, and given my current age I would say no, I was too old by then...I would never tell anyone I was from the future, because a) they wouldn't believe me, and b) I wouldn't want to say "buy IBM stock in 1956, you'll make a fortune!" because it would 'alter the future' and that could get, I'd just be an observer.
I think I would want to explore most of all, to ride the cable car to Fisherman's Wharf, when it really WAS a fisherman's wharf, with the original restaurants catering to the fishermen themselves, and Pier 39 was really a working pier. Ride taxis, visit the Sutro Baths...
Feeling a kind of wanderlust, I'd want to venture all over the City and East Bay, northward to Santa Rosa, and walk around my old neighborhood as I did not long ago, and again, all the houses would still be there, but different colors perhaps...the trees would be smaller...I'd walk down McDonald Avenue where 'Shadow of a Doubt' had just been filmed, and I think it would look the same, again except for the cars. I'd go downtown and look around, and see how things were then...I'd see all the fields and orchards where houses and new neighborhoods would soon be...There'd be so much to see and explore, like a living history museum. It would be fun to stay overnight at a local hotel, or back in the City...though no tv, ha!
That would be only one trip in my Time Machine, I think I would take many such trips, to many places...I would take a trip to August 21, 1955...the date of my parents wedding in San Jose, maybe sit in the back, since I have a family resemblance to my uncles, they would wonder who I was...I'd dare not go to the reception...
As my time travelling got 'easier'...I would go back to the 30's...the 20's...and beyond!
New York City, 1923, the opening of Yankee Stadium and watch Babe Ruth play ball...the list is endless.
Of course, this is all just one big fantasy, see how far it takes me? haha! There will probably never be such a thing as time travel, at least in our lifetime...but if there ever was, I'd want to be ready.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Illustration Friday - Germs

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Originally uploaded by danguerra444
I read a short story once, where the Earth was being overrun by deadly germs that needed to be eradicated. In the end, it was revealed that the germs were us.