PBS Obscuro Pt. 2: Katie and Orbie

The summer after 4th Grade, I got pneumonia, so instead of spending all my time at the public swimming pool, I spent all my time on the living room sofa in front of the tv in a hand-me-down Oakland Raiders t-shirt and underwear washing down saltines with 7up (7up=panacea, from the Rachel's Mom School of Medicine), coughing, and probably developing a mild coedine addiction. In other words, becoming who you now know me to be. We didn't have a remote control for the tv, so I would typically watch one channel all day long. If that channel was PBS, I could "look forward to" Katie and Orbie around 1pm. This was a show with an incredibly long, irritating, and infectious theme song sung by a real child, describing the means by which a lonely, sensitive pink space alien named Orbie lands in a toddler's backyard only to be immediately embraced and adopted by the toddler's family, thus beginning a series of adventures in grand Harry and the Henderson's style. The series was narrated by Leslie Neilson and the characters never spoke. Orbie's skin always made me kind of sick to look at, like if you touched it, it would be papery but kind of too warm and maybe oily. This was usually a good time to just give in to the sickness and sleep while the soothing, grandfatherly voice of Leslie Neilson reverberated around the living room.

Where did I even get hand me downs? I don't have any siblings!


PBS Obscuro, Pt. 1: Imagination Station

When facing a social situation in which you have nothing in common with the other participants but age, TV Shows You Watched Growing Up is usually a safe conversation starter. People are likely to respond favorably to statements such as, "Rocko's Modern Life was the best show ever!", and "Who remembers the lyrics to the Tiny Toons theme song?" will get everyone talking. Don't say,"Who else has a childhood notebook filled with drawings of aliens giving thumbs-ups as they burst out of the circular windows of a cylindrical space station? Who else learned to draw 3-D with Mark Kistler? He had a mustache and wore the same kind of safety-orange jumpsuit my dad used to wear to work when he was a striper (prior to his subsequent meteoric climb up the corporate ladder), so he had a certain familiarity for me."
You will be met with blank stares. Everyone's focus will return to the girl who is shouting, "I drank SO much tequilerrr!" Meanwhile, the one person who remembers the show will focus his attention on you. He'll probably be wearing contacts to make his eyes look more like a reptile's and his facial hair will make you feel strangely ill at ease.
(the images are from Mark's site)


Last Weekend in Bolinas: Wiping the Crust Off My Third Eye

Tacked to my wall is my best cookie fortune-- "You will experience endless love and total harmony at an affordable price." Correct-- it only cost $20 to put gas in the van and then off to the bird sanctuary with William and Kim, the shaman (shamen?) couple who, after becoming quite alarmed at the outcome of the tarot reading, insisted that I was in such dire need of a Native American-style spiritual healing ceremony that they'd do it for free. Walls are up, chakras are blocked...if someone doesn't help me then I'll have an extra hard time doing my life's work, which, evidently, is Spiritual Healer Teacher Nonprofiteer Animal Baby Women Helper. Ah! Perfect! I had been in the mood for a ritualistic cleansing. "Ask and you shall recieve," said Kim, who seemed to always be nodding sagely, threatening to dislodge one or more of the three floppy velveteen hats she was wearing. They implored me to call on my spirit guides. I breathed in the sea air and asked to anyone who might be listening, "please let me get something out of this." Soon afterward I'm lying down on their air mattress (I think they live in the van) as William puts me in a trance, all the while touching my head, hands, feet, or stomach in order to transfer his energy to me. In my head, I'm in the forest, gathering together my spirit animals, who all reveal themselves to me without much coaxing, and in this order: mountain lion, crow, eagle, deer, dove, otter. "They each have a message for you,"says William, who appears as a wolf, and they do. Me and this menagerie begin walking through the forest, confronting difficult people and hard times, which I am instructed to push in the roaring fire that appears behind each person. This proves to be exceedingly difficult, even with the pantheon of forest spirits, someone holding my hand, and a woman sitting in the passenger seat throwing positive intentions my way. When I confronted each person, I was crying and shaking. It took a long time to push them into the fire. When I did, I felt physically lighter. The tension in my shoulders that I've carried with me for as long as I can remember was gone. I felt wonderful. This happened again and again until the hour was up. William counted down from ten, and I awoke, feeling exhausted as though from laughter, and a little light-headed. They then suggested that they think it would be a good idea for me to come with them to Shasta to learn how to use my psychic abilities and become a healer like them. "Kim, explain to her what Shasta is." Kim turns around in the passenger seat, one of the hats obscuring her left eye, and says, with no vocal inflections whatsoever, "Shasta is a vortex between heaven and hell. I have a medicinal sage farm there. And 7 stores." I said I couldn't go right away, there was a fairly awkward parting, and then I skipped to the Coast Cafe to meet my worried friends for a night of hilarity.

The weirdest part of this experience was the gift basket Kim gave me. She must have been preparing it for me as I was shouting, "You aren't connected to my energy any more!" and convulsing. I didn't really look at it until the next morning. It was a wooden salad bowl filled with two bananas, an eggplant, a loaf of wheat bread, some potpourri, a wilted daisy and a gold bracelet of hippos.

I feel great and I can't believe that none of this is made up.
I am wearing the hippo bracelet.


Appendix to Insomnia and Ennui

-eharmony.com has supplied me with about 20 matches, 80% of which list Tuesdays With Morrie as the best book they've read recently. Also, under the heading Can't Live Without, "my car" and "televised sports" routinely appear. I'm going to put on a blindfold, turn around three times and point my finger. Whichever 28 year old medical student of Indian descent I land on gets contacted, and the sound of the email hitting his inbox will distract him from what he is doing, which is placing his copy of The 5 People You Meet in Heaven on his Ikea bookshelf with exacting delicacy . The email will read, "Wanna come over and talk about some of the most influential people in our lives, aka Our Grandmas, and our individual approaches to the things we have in common (making our friends laugh, "through humor")? I on-demanded Sports Center."

-My new boss actually used a Myers-Briggs Typology test, photocopied straight from Please Understand Me II, to assess my on-the-job personality. I'm hired, even though I'm an ENFP! I'm working for minimum wage at a dental office with my mom. I'm going to bring my mug to work and drink instant coffee out of it. I'm going to be happy to have someplace to go three days out of the week where I can ease into working after a protracted absence and so I'm not going to complain about the more obviously lame facets of this arrangement. Maybe I'll start thinking Dilbert and The Office are funny. Who knows.

Love is alive and well.


Insomnia & Ennui: From the "Blog Topic Classics" Series

When there is a disaster (murder, fire) in television and movies,there is oftentimes a scene wherein the mother/wife of one of the more high profile victims stands in front of a bunch of cop cars or ambulances while her face becomes a mask of horrific understanding--eyes dilated and vacant, dry lips parted slightly. Maybe half a second goes by before the vice squad detective or health care professional emerges with a blanket, which he places over the woman's shoulders with grim kindness and leads her out of the scene. We can't see what happens to the woman next, but I like to think that she is taken to a place of comforting anonymity, connected in no way to her broken life, where she can just go to sleep for a little while.

I'd like an authority figure to catch me shuffling feebly towards 2010 and identify me as someone who needs a blanket, then usher me into a place of sterile silence like some government-issue Sandman. I would go to sleep and afterward I would know what to do with myself. There haven't been any disasters; tonight I just did not know what to do with myself. I worked on a creepy internet project I've made as an elaborate joke for my housemates. Got a few cheap laughs out of it but ultimately productive feelings were eclipsed totally by creepy feelings. I wanted to kill time with an internet quiz in the style of a Which TV Character Are You? or Myers-Briggs Typology Test, so I went to eharmony.com. I'm happy to report that their personality test took almost an hour to complete. Apparently, believing in the creative potentiality experienced while eating eggs benedict with friends is NOT one of their 29 Dimensions of Compatibility. There were no matches.

Here's the official song of this post.