Sunday, March 23, 2008

Berkeley Bumper Stickers 2

You can bomb the world into pieces but you can't bomb it into peace • Visualize using your turn signal • If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention • Obama '08 • When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross - Sinclair Lewis • These colors don't run the world • As God is my witness, I am an atheist • Question consumption • Uninformed people elect uninformed presidents • How can you be both pro-life and pro-war? • Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers • Obama '08 • Patriotism says your country is superior because you were born in it. George Bernard Shaw • One nation, under Goddess • One nation, undereducated • Telling the truth: a vast left-wing conspiracy • Don't believe everything you think • Obama '08 • The emperor has no brains • George W. Bush: Empty warhead • Pro-marriage, including gays • Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities • Obama '08 • Capitalism: The predatory phase of human development • Support our troops. Bring them home •Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Thomas Jefferson • No child left a dime • Ignorance may be bliss, but it's bad foreign policy • How come my TV keeps lying to me? • We are creating enemies faster than we can kill then • Blessed are the children, for they shall inherit the deficit • No, really. Why DID we invade Iraq? • Obama '08 • If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great. Alexis de Tocqueville • Kill your television • What IS the hokey-pokey all about? • The truth hurts but ignorance kills• Good planets are hard to find • Obama '08 • Evil only succeeds when good people do nothing. Martin Luther King

This is a city that has its own foreign policy, subsidizes solar conversions for low income families, keeps condoms in the high school nurse's office and is trying to run the marine recruitment center out of town. Surely you weren't expecting Jesus fish.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Karma's a bitch.

In the improbable event that one of the 5 people who read this thing doesn't actually know me, I'm going to tell you that I write for a living. No, nothing glamorous like novels or screenplays, or sizzling exposes for the New York Times. I write advertising. Ads, brochures, websites, radio and tv spots, all that intrusive (if I've done my job right) crap that muscles its way into your already cluttered brain. As a professional writer, I abhor typos and misspellings. The signs at the supermarket highlighting "avacados" and "chedder" drive me insane. When my daughter sends out cover letters without hitting spellcheck and shows them to me after the fact, I lecture her about the anal-retentive potential employers who will rule her out for forgetting a period. I get a "gotcha" feeling of perverse satisfaction when I find a typo in the middle of a 500 page novel. So when I was online the other day googling flights to Albuquerque and a discount flight site cropped up hawking flights to Albequerque, I practically vaulted onto my high horse.

I clicked on the link, went directly to "contact us" and asked them how I could possibly trust my travel plans to an outfit that can't even proofread a banner ad. Then, I went back to my online job hunting. You see, I left a very good job in my home town at age old-enough-to-know-better and moved to San Francisco. Now, I have to find employment before my freelance runs out and George Bush's recession comes crashing down on us like a cartoon anvil.

So there I was, perusing job postings, hurling my resume into cyberspace, sharing my curriculum vitae with a bunch of strangers probably half my age who have no way to appreciate my dogged work ethic and quirky personal charm, and doing my best to keep the faith. I downloaded the pdf from my website and was about to attach the resume when I saw it.
Like back fat on a starlet. Michael Jackson's nose. Or Lady Macbeth's damned spot. A typo, smack in the middle of the page. Senior copyriter, no W. Yes, I had checked the resume and rechecked it, and lived with it for months, and sent it out to dozens of probably anal-retentive potential employers without ever noticing the error.

Of course, I immediately called my web designer and had her insert the missing W. Now, I am crossing my fingers that all the people who have seen my resume are too busy to notice, or too nice to pick at the small stuff. When my daughter reads this, it will make her day.

PS. I just got a lovely email from the CEO of the online travel company. He thanked me for pointing out the typo which they immediately changed. I proofed my gracious response three times before hitting send.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Can't stop the music

Last week, my husband and I went to a garden show at the Cow Palace, San Francisco's old convention center on the the cold, south side of town. We don't have a yard and we don't have a house but it was something to do. (Besides, I like to store up the home and garden ideas because when housing prices reach their all-time low and we finally buy a place, I plan on going on a decorating and landscaping frenzy).

The main exhibit space featured plantings by various landscape designers. It was hard to take these "gardens" seriously as there was no sky and no sun to shine down on the plants, just the dark, dingy Cow Palace ceiling. Eastern religions were the theme du jour, with many of the mini-landscapes drawing inspiration from spas and yoga studios and featuring Buddhas and Hindu Gods. A peripheral hall was filled with plants for sale, including garish exotics from Hawaii, randy, intense-hued orchids, environmentally-correct succulents and garden variety vegetables. There were also plenty of gardening tools, statuary and crafts with a botanical twist. One booth stopped me in my tracks. Hanging there, like a cluster of salamis in an Italian butcher shop, was a giant wind chime. Wind chime, hell, it was an unassembled pipe organ. It sounded like a concerto of mini gongs outside your window. We had a good laugh. Who in their right mind would impose such a thing on her (or his) neighbors?

Cut to this afternoon. I am taking a tonic walk uphill to teach my butt a lesson (it never learns). I round a bend and what do I see? You guessed it. The Big Ben of wind chimes.

There oughta be a law. After all, here we are in Berkeley where they legislate everything for the good of the people. Surely this is unconstitutional. Or did our forefathers forget the right to peace and quiet? What if your house was next to the Mega Chime? Suppose the homeowner refused to take the damned thing down? Would you sue? Start a neighborhood petition? Slink over under cover of darkness and yank down the chimes? What a gigantic pain in the ass.

Even in our quiet hillside enclave, we are not immune from chime pollution. Our neighbor below has a small tinkly-winkly one. It's annoying but he is blind and if it makes him happy, we can live with it. It's only intrusive when the wind blows the sound in our direction.

Berkeley will probably address the chime issue at some point. Maybe they'll start selling wind chime licenses and put the proceeds to some noble use. Or maybe not. The problem is probably here to stay. Some people, it seems, just have to tinkle.