The Hanger

Here is my attempt at the weekly DP Challenge. I wrote it in the view of a clothing hanger I found on the street.

The Hanger

The Hanger on the street

The Hanger on the street

He left me here on the street, on the corner of J and 15th streets.  He didn’t look back. He just kept running in a hurry. We were holding on to his middle and index fingers but I was empty. I was in between his striped black suit jacket and matching pants. At home, he was debating which suits to take on his trip. He was talking aloud to himself trying to decide which suit he would look best at this conference. His fingers ran lightly through all of us hangers. I felt the softness of his fingertips land on the suit and pants. I have his fingertips memorized with his index finger having a small bump. I was in between. I had been empty for some time now. Days are unknown for us as we mostly stay inside a small dark room.

Today I see nothing but sun and clouds rolling by. When the sun is clear it shines and makes me hot, but when the clouds hide the sun, the cold from the pavement quickly cools me down. I’ve been here for some time now after I slid off his fingers. As I landed on the cement, my side bent. I wish I could say that it hurt but I’m made out of metal.  Now I’m sitting here motionless with my name tag – 120 RND.  I guess I should have introduced myself. I am 120 RND and my owner left me here on the street.

I don’t know where I’ll end up next. People walk by. Some have big shoes, small shoes, shoes with heels, tiny shoes. None of them seem to look down but walk on by in a hurry. Some of them are smiling as they walk and others have this rhythmic flow as they walk almost dancing. I keep looking up to see if my owner comes back. I am sure I would recognize his fingertips if he touched me. Now I am here with no clothes on me. My job is to keep my owner’s clothes wrinkle free and organized.  It feels strange to just lay here naked on the pavement.

I can say that I have seen more things laying here since I was made to keep clothes hanging from a pole. Where I lived it was mostly dark except for the occasional switch of the light. Some would say it is rather boring to just hang there but most of the times I am dressed in suit or a nice smooth silk shirt. It feels warm and it feels like home.  I even get a tie put around my neck as well just like my owner. I feel rather uncomfortable laying here but this freedom of seeing trees and birds flying, roaming around wherever they please, is satisfying. But I miss my home and the fingers of my owner.

Now I have this person taking a picture of me. Maybe I’ll end up in a milk carton box so my owner can find me. Maybe he’ll look for my owner. I will wait here….I feel fingers picking me up but these are not my owners. These fingers are rougher but they belong to a woman. She examines me, bends me a little. Her face is dirty and her clothes smell. She throws me on her cart like the one my owner threw me on when he bought me. She puts an old brown jacket that’s torn around me. It’s warm but doesn’t feel like my owners and this doesn’t feel like home.

Wine tasting vineyards in Amador County

Villa Toscano

Provided by Villa Toscano

About a year ago, I discovered a little town called Plymouth in Amador County, California. It’s a small town with a population over 900 about 45 minutes east from Sacramento. It has the sleeper town vibe going on. It doesn’t even have a stop light. I used to live in one of those towns. And as you drive in and you see a Mexican restaurant, a Shell gas station, a grocery store, the fairgrounds, you begin to wonder what the hell you are doing here in the first place. Over the past year, I’ve been to this little town so many times I can’t remember.

Although the town might have its charm, I have not actually set foot in any of the local places. I skip the town and head straight to the Shenandoah Valley, northeast of Plymouth, where 30 plus wineries reside all within minutes from each other. Forget going to Napa! It’s overpriced and crowded. Spending a day at the Shenandoah Valley wineries is a picnic. One day is not enough to get through abundance of wineries. As many times as I’ve visited, I haven’t managed to make it to all of them. Mostly known for the zinfandel wines, the valley grows more than 2,700 acres of grapes and with vines said to be more than 60 years old and some dating back to the 19th century. It is a red winos heaven.

The variety of wines to taste from at Villa Toscano Winery

The variety of wines to taste from at Villa Toscano Winery

Unfortunately, I am not a big on red wines; however, coming to this place has introduced me to some great red wines as it is a mostly red wine producing valley. The first time I showed up at Villa Toscano Winery one of staff members told me I was at the wrong place to taste white wines. He told me I would be disappointed as I would mostly be drinking red wines but by the end of the tasting I would be a red wino. He wasn’t wrong. I don’t know if was because they serve around 10 of their wines and I had a major wine buzz going, but by the end of the tasting, my friend and I left with six bottles of wines plus we became wine members. One of my favorite wines thus far from the valley has been the Barbera, which is incredibly smooth and doesn’t have that bitter aftertaste. But you will also find some great Tempranillo, Syrah and amazing Port wines.

Part of the unique experience of wine tasting in the valley is that the majority of the wineries are locally owned and family operated. As you drive around to the different wineries, you begin to feel very much the family spirit as you get know the people who work there and the patrons showing up to drink. At the Borjon Winery, we were sitting outside enjoying our tasting and the owner sat with us (we had no clue he was the owner). We talked for hours and he even offered us a bottle of wine (we’re just cool like that).

A view from the Young Winery

A view from the Young Winery

When I first started going tasting, most of the wineries offered free tasting, however, that was changed sometime during the year and most wineries now have a $5 charge. If you’ve ever been to Napa, you know have to wait more than 20 minutes to get served plus pay more than $20 for three tastings. At the majority of the wineries here, you’ll get to taste anywhere between five to 10 different wines for a fraction of the price and without that unpretentious feeling. If you manage to make to the top of the valley, you’ll also get an amazing view of some of the winding river canyons and the sierra. So if you’d like to get away for the day and drink some amazing wine then I highly recommend Shenandoah Valley vineyards.

List of Vineyards

Directions to Plymouth, CA

Tranny

She glides in with her 5 inch heels shoes,

Baring her light brown skin all way to her thigh.

Her mini skirt barely covered her rear,

The cold outside is not her fear.

 

Underneath her sweater is a light top.

Her veiny hands grasp her latte.

Bright colors adorn her lips and eyes

But her manly features are still like mine

 

She sips her latte, oozing femininity

Waving her hair, teasing her leg

With the tip of her fingers

Her smooth skin unbothered by winter.

 

She stares out the window

Pondering thoughts glare back

Gawkers walk in and out, staring,

Wondering why she is not like you and I.

Viagra and the Parents

Sometimes I like those shares my Facebook friends post for “Mexican problems” or “Latino Problems.” They tend to be really funny and mostly true.  This little anecdote I am about to tell tends to fit into that category but really anyone who has parents who don’t speak English in this country can relate to it. See, my parents only speak Spanish and ever since I can recall, my siblings and I have had to translate information for them. We’ve all shared our duty of going to the doctors, the mechanic, or even to the grocery store in case they needed us to translate.

It really was no big deal for us as they are our parents. Yeah, sometimes when you’re a teen you don’t want to be the one telling your dad the doctor just said he might have cancer but that’s just the way it is sometimes. However, there are moments when translating for the parents can be awkward but incredibly funny. In my case, it involved my parents and Viagra. Yeah, Viagra!

It was and is very common for my mom to sometimes ask me to translate letters for her. So one day (I won’t say when), my mom gave me a letter in English from their health insurance provider. She said it was for my dad and for me to read it. I had read these letters before, and they were pretty standard letters explaining benefit changes – always the same thing, very boring information. So I took the letter and put it aside and began to watch TV. It lay on the sofa for a while. I ignored it purposely. Finally, my mom asked what the letter said and I said I’d read it soon. She scolded me so I read it.

My mom continued her normal routine – cooking and cleaning. I opened the letter. Pretty standard information: Name and address, ID number, etc.  The letter opened with the usual sentence. “This letter is to inform you that Medical will no longer be covering the following medication: Viagra ….” Wait, what?! Be kind, rewind? Will no longer be covering Viagra? For my dad?! My eyes widened, I turned red, and started to laugh. Then my laughter immediately turned into anguish. How was I going to tell my mom that my dad would no longer be covered for Viagra? This information I did not need to know and I am sure they didn’t want me or anyone else to know.

(I have to take a minute to explain something about my dad. He has diabetes and takes medication for it as well as other medication and some of this medication, well, it affects the libido. Hence, the reason for his needed to take Viagra. End of explanation.)

Another thing, my parents are the strict Mexican Catholics, who attend church every Sunday, and never talk about sex. I mean never! We never had the birds and the bees conversation. If sex is on TV, we change the channel without hesitation (Latino Problems). I heard my mother ask me from the kitchen what the letter said. I panicked. I mumbled from the room and said a lot of ‘Ums’ and ‘Uhs.’ I took the letter with me and told her that the medication stated in the letter would no longer be covered. I didn’t mention which one but she kept insisting and insisting to tell her which one. Even in my adult age, I couldn’t say it. So I did the next best thing and pointed. She was annoyed and snatched the letter away from me. She looked at it and then at me. After realizing what it said, her face went from anger to embarrassment. We looked at each other and she quietly walked away with the letter and went to the room where my dad was at.

I could hear them whispering in their room. My mom came out and continued her normal routine – cooking and cleaning. I pretended like I knew nothing. It took my mom a while to ask me to translate a letter again. I’m guessing she screens them to see if Viagra is ever in any letter before she asks me or any of my siblings to translate. No one really wants to know their parent’s sexual needs or desires but it can be rather entertaining and comical in the least.

Worst opening TV show credits

When good shows have bad opening credits

A few days ago I posted a blog on my top choices for the best opening credits of TV shows so I wanted to keep the momentum going and decided to change it to the worst opening credits. One really can’t do one list without doing the other, right?

Before getting started on the list, I must add that in no way do I think these shows are bad. In fact, I think they are great shows, however, the opening sequence would probably turn many away and quickly reach for the remote. Some have bad music, or too long, not long enough, or just a bad montage of the show.  I get it that they have budgets and just until a few years ago opening credits become their own shows but that doesn’t get these shows off the hook for bad opening credits.

Without in any particular order, here is the list:

Friends

I love this show. It was funny and still is on reruns but that song and the group just dancing around the water fountain made it boring and painful to watch. The Rembrandts theme song “I’ll Be There For You” eventually had its own music video. It should never have been made…

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I hate to put this show on this list because it is one of my all-time favorites. It was smart and the dialogue was unique, however, the music to the opening sequence would put anyone off. I believe part of the reason it became a cult show was because only those few of us were able to get through the opening credits to realize what a great show Buffy was. The heavy guitar made it seem like you would be watching some sort of heavy metal show.

Sex and the City

I just disliked very much the music to this show. I get that the music is a little tongue and cheek like the show is meant to be but the music felt out of place with New York City. The music is so iconic to the show now but it felt like the music belonged somewhere like the beach in Brazil. I do have to give it credit for revealing Sarah Jessica Parker in a tutu at the end.

The L Word

Possibly the worst opening on the list, again, mainly because of the terrible theme song.  The show is about lesbians, pretty lesbians to be exact and the montage of the cast seems very cliché.  At one point the song just starts singing these awful lyrics “talking, laughing, loving, fucking, breathing, crying… “ I felt like crying after watching it!

Games of Thrones

I am sure I am going to get people saying I am wrong on this as this is usually on the best list of opening credits but for me it just feels boring and long. It’s more than 2 minutes long. It also reminds me too much of the Lord of the Rings map.

Which TV shows do you press the skip button through the credits?

Best TV shows opening title sequence

Sometimes the opening credit sequence of TV shows don’t really get the credit (pun intended) they deserve. Usually, and I am guilty of this, when the opening credits are rolling, I am doing something else. I’m either preparing a snack or tweeting about what I’m about to watch (not really, but let’s go with it). And in the modern age of DVRs, everyone is just fast forwarding this part.

However, there are some shows that have great opening credits to sit through. They usually have a great theme song, give the tone for the show or tell a little back story of what you’re getting into for the next 30 minutes to an hour. Over the past decade, the opening credits have become more creative and complex vignette of images that keep us glued to the TV.

I’ve made my own list of the top 10 best opening credits of shows that I’ve actually seen. I’m sure there are other great ones out there; however, I just haven’t watched them yet.

10 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Long before Will Smith was making blockbuster movies, he was the Fresh Prince in this 90’s sitcom. The opening number here has a catchy song, graffiti inspired credits, which set the tone of the troubled teen moving to Beverly Hills. It was fun and incredibly 90s.

9 The Simpsons

The longest running animated sitcom always kept me watching the opening. Bart was always writing something different on the chalk board; you knew Homer liked donuts (who doesn’t) and worked at a nuclear plant; and concluded with the family coming together at the end to watch television – with different scenario endings.

8 The Sopranos

I was never a big fan of this show but always liked the opening because the song and the images set up what Tony Soprano was all about. The lyrics of the song let you know he is one bad ass mother fucker. Rather than open with mobster-like images, it gives you a glimpse of this man’s life through his ride in New Jersey.

7 Weeds

The first three seasons of Weeds opening credits were great to listen to “Little Boxes” as it had different artists singing the song.  Also, the images of a dull suburban neighborhood made you think every house was the same but something was cooking in the Agrestic neighborhood.

6 Six Feet Under

The image of the lone tree, the hands letting go of their grasp, the feet with a tag let you know right away that death and letting go is a big theme of the show. As the credits continue, you see a body being taken through a tunnel, the body being prepared, flowers dying, a casket, and a cemetery. But death is just business for this family who owns a funeral service. The theme music also works here because it’s a little light-hearted contrasted against the harsh reality of death.

5 True Blood

The southern bible states have a deep history with religion, violence and freedom of expression and this vampire show mixes all of this in the opening sequence. It intermingles contradictory images of sex, violence and religion which are part of the show’s themes. Church images, the swamp life, salacious dancing, race discrimination are all intertwined to let the viewer know, especially with the “God Hate Fangs” sign, that vampires are hated and discriminated but also points out the real life struggles of race and sexual expression in modern society.

4 The Wonder Years

The images of a young Kevin Arnold and his family being projected against a wall under nostalgia-inducing ‘home movies’ set up nicely the premise of the show. You know you’re going to be watching the story of a kid growing up in the late 1960s. And you can’t go without mentioning Joe Cocker’s rendition of “With A Little Help From My Friends” as the opening theme song without getting a little nostalgic yourself about your own childhood.

3 American Horror Story

All three seasons thus far have the same creepy theme music which reminds me of Nine Inch Nails “Closer”.  The images are harsh, fast and twitchy, and tell you bits of the story of what’s to come during the season. If you aren’t crept out and intrigued to watch, then you’re definitely not a horror fan.

2 The X-Files

The opening is simple, however, the images of the UFO, mathematical equations, paranormal activity set up against the creepy music and whistle still gives me goose pumps every time I hear it. I know the truth is out there. (Unfortunately there was no opening sequence video available that could be embedded but the link is available)

1 Dexter

Watching the opening sequence to Dexter is what made me come up with this blog. What’s so brilliant about the opening is how ordinary Dexter’s daily wake up routine is made to look incredibly eerie and violent at the same time. Grinding coffee, cutting an egg, and flossing has never seemed so disturbing as it does here. What gets me more is Michael C. Hall’s soulless eyes as he stares into the camera.  Besides the few splatters of blood from Dexter cutting himself, Dexter is shown as a normal guy not the serial killer he is.

Mentions must also go out to The Walking Dead, Lost, Being Human (UK) and United States of Tara. I could have written more but the post is long enough. What are your top choices for best opening credits?

 

Keep Calm, Google It

There is nothing more annoying to me right now than when someone tells me to ‘Google it.’ Let me explain why this little phrase gets on my nerves. I am not a lazy person and I use Google all the time to search for information. I like Google! I think it’s great and convenient to find everything you want on the Internet through this search engine. ‘Google it’ is even a pop culture phrase seen in movies and TV shows.

However, what really gets on under my skin is when someone is telling me about something, and I have no clue what they are talking about, and their response is to ‘Google it’. This common type of conversation usually happens through text or some sort of chat form. Let’s say a conversation went something like this:

ME: Oh, so what did you get for Xmas?

THEM: blah, blah, blah, an UP Band, blah, blah.

ME: What’s an UP Band?

THEM: Google it

ME: (a perplexed and annoyed look on the other side of the phone)

Google it? Why should I have to Google it? I may not know what ‘it’ is but if you are the one telling me about something and I ask you, then you should know, right? The best response from them should have been an easy explanation of what I asked since they obviously know. Is it just an easy way of getting out of explaining something because you assume everyone has a smart phone (which I do, but that is beside the point here) and can Google it? Why can’t you just explain what ‘it’ is since you obviously know? Why make it more complicated for the other person? Is it just plain laziness on the person’s part to not give the answer straight away or am I the lazy one for not wanting to ‘Google it’?

I wish I could say this ‘Google it’ response was coming from one individual but I’m getting it and hearing it from many people. It’s valid to ask someone to Google directions because you may not know how to get to a place or Google something when neither party knows anything about it.  However, if you know what ‘it’ is, don’t tell someone to Google it. Just explain it!

There is definitely something else I would like to respond when they tell me to Google it. But I am too nice to really say it.  Am I the only one that gets annoyed by this ‘Google it’ phrase?