I Hate my Shower Curtain…and the Store it Rode in On!

So I’m at the home décor store, staring at the massive amounts of shower curtains and liners along the wall on display and on rows and rows of shelves, when I wonder…why on earth would anyone pay $35 for a shower curtain liner when they have scads of them on sale for $9? And, I say to myself, determined to save some money at this “everything must go, store going out of business sale” that doesn’t seem like any real sale except for the $9 shower curtain liner, I say self, which is often what I say when talking to myself just to be in agreement with me that there are no extra voices at this point, but I digress…Self, I say, you can save money here. Hey it’s just a shower curtain liner. Men wouldn’t have a clue that there’s a difference between a shower curtain and a liner in the first place, right? Well gay men would…and men with the shopping gene, but not regular beer guzzlin’ guys, so why pay all that money?

I can still hear it ringing in my ears when I’m standing in my tub pulling the old liner out and thoroughly disgusted with myself that I wasted $9 on a liner that I will inevitably, in 4-5 weeks yank off the rings and replace with that $35 liner that I was trying not to buy in the first place. Why, you ask? Why must I go back to the “going out of business everything must go except we’re not going to discount the one thing you can use which is that stinkin’ $35 liner” store and buy the frakkin’ liner? Because there are household rules. And I didn’t adhere.

Yes, there are household rules when buying a shower curtain liner. And silly me, I forgot the rules. Rule One-Establish the non-negotiables. Little did I realize that I had long ago made one non-negotiable when it came to liners. There had to be weights at the bottom. If you have a bathroom that creates any breezy circulation while taking a shower, you know the disadvantages of a no weight bearing liner. You end up wearing the liner rather than the liner doing its job. The entire thing circles your legs and you get soap scummy legs rather than clean legs at the end of every shower. Water goes everywhere because the liner isn’t keeping the water inside the shower, but away from your body. It’s a lose-lose all the way around, thus the non-negotiable part.

Rule Two-Determine the tossability of the item
. If I pay $35 for a liner, it better last a really long time. I didn’t think liners needed to be durable, because I could just buy another cheapie later, but now that I need weights the price just went up, so I need something that resists the scrunginess. There goes another requirement for the liner list. Oh and since it has to be sturdy, metal grommets are necessary so it doesn’t tear at the rings/hooks.

Rule Three-Use the loved/hated it notes from the previous version of the item. My last liner was wonderful. It was thick and scum resistant, had weights and was extra wide and tall. Ooh, those are good for the list. The best perk of the last liner was that it had little suction cups on the sides so you could make it stick to the tile to ensure better protection against water leakage. Another thing for the list.

Rule Four-Review your list to see if the new price is really better than the cheap version.
Usually it is. Darn it if my mother wasn’t right-you get what you pay for. So now I have my rules for a shower curtain liner and I’m going to go back to that darn store and buy the $35 liner (it’s current value is now $44 to include the wasted $9) and I’ll be smiling. Why? Because I will have it long enough to forget these stupid rules and do it all over again next year.

Advertisements

There is no Fall …or Autumn as the case may be

Growing up in Orange County, I’ve never had the stresses of preparing for winter. I don’t have to buy super bulky overcoats or snow shoes or plan to plug in my car or buy a snow shovel. In fact, most of the time I don’t have to think about the weather at all. I just keep a light jacket in my trunk and if I feel cold, then I grab it. Mostly that’s when I venture into a movie theater but those places like to give you feel of the polar ice caps. So the idea of Fall…or Autumn if you’re an east coaster, is just that-an idea.

It was different a few decades ago. Fall was a big deal. The last warmth of summer and the family/friend beach days were counted and starred on the calendar with sadness, but the excitement of wearing those new school sweaters bought a month before loomed brightly. Fall stretched from the end of September through the beginning of December and there was no thought of icicles or snowflakes until after Thanksgiving. People brought out their cameras to photograph the few deciduous trees about (palm trees were ignored-my favorite part) and the colors of russet, brown and burnt umber got their once a year respect. People bought special wreaths with large, and often fake, maple leaves to recognize the event and colored corn cobs were nested on the dining room table with ma and pa pilgrim waiting for turkey day. But that time and planning is now only resident in our minds for just a moment, maybe on a day like….Veteran’s Day.

Nowadays Fall doesn’t even make a blip on the radar. We have a single Fall/Winter catalog and the season isn’t even spoken of by name, but referred to as the Holiday Season as if we can’t mention the actual holidays were seasonally focusing on. Santa is already blown up on the neighbor’s yard and that super large department store is awash in white and red, nary an umber to be seen. I wanted to buy an Autumn colored tablecloth at my church boutique, but the seller only had snow white and sleigh red.

In Southern California we don’t get a big weather change for Fall, but we can at least try to connect to the rest of our country by marking the three month season rather than extending Winter, because today, when the temperature is 90 degrees and the hot winds are blowing, I just can’t start the generator to fluff the snowflakes in Santa’s globe.

She with the Painful Shoe Wins

I’ve often found women’s relationship to shoes to be an exercise in examining the hilarity of society. Men did not have such an irrational relationship, right? I turns out they did when they wore frilly shirts…and they’re starting to have it again. But men and women still see shoes differently. Or are seen differently because of their shoes.

Now I’m open to the changes in fashion trends…all right, the pants hanging off boy’s backsides isn’t fashion-I’m saying that right now, but other trends I find interesting; however, the moment a guy’s shoes become bigger than his head, he’s umm..thinking with his arse! I’m not sure I can trust the fate of the world to a guy who can’t learn to tie his own laces!

I make fun of men and their shoes only because I have my own obsession. I’m anti-shoe. There, I’ve admitted it just like an alcoholic going off the sauce HI I’m DRIVER and I’m anti-shoe. No I’m not a nature nut or trying to save the “born for their hide” animals in 3rd world countries. I’m anti-shoe because I’m not a fan of my feet.

Feet are an industrious and wondrous invention. We should really thank our Lord that we are bipeds and have this pair of flexible flippers to march us from here to there. I don’t object to them for that reason. My objection to feet is this: women and men are not even remotely equal when it comes to shoes. Women and men can wear the same kinds of suits, pants, glasses, watches, bracelets, necklaces and even earrings and nary an observer would chasten them for doing so, but put a woman in a comfy loafer and all of a sudden our sex, sexuality and overall girliness is called into question. What was I thinking trying to save my back or my bunions (kidding, I don’t have bunions..really) or my toes? I was thinking we could all just get a little practical, but noooooooo practicality is for the weak. And women must be strong or stylish as the case may be.

For the first ten years of my working career, I almost always wore skirts and high heels. Yes, I crammed my toes in those svelte pointy-toed monstrosities every day and limped home every night, soaked my digits in a nice hot bath and begged for extra peppermint foot balm in my Christmas stocking. Who was I trying to please? Not myself, because I was in pain. My toes were in serious trouble. Then the magic happened. I dropped out of the working life and went back to college. This would seemingly have no effect on the shoe issue other than the fact that classes are a bit more casual, right? Wrong-O! Why? Because the university of choice for me was Hills and Stairs University (name has been changed to protect the semi-innocent). There wasn’t a chance I’d survive a day having to cover over 800 stairs-not including the two flights to my dorm room.

Hills and Stairs U stepped me into a new way of life. Shoes were irrelevant. Really, people were barefoot, flip-flopped, sneakered or booted de la hiking store and one pair got a person through for the year. Yes, the year. Hiking boots and dresses were common and nobody cared. Of course, women with hairy legs were common too, but I just got the shivers around them. HSU was a true change of lifestyle. Men didn’t evaluate women on the whole package, the just did it on the package from the knees up. That way everyone could survive the two mile walk when they had to find a place to park their car at 4am. How did this change me? My feet recovered from their pains and I actually liked to walk! I had gotten so used to several pains, I didn’t even think they were shoe related, just signs I was getting older. Limping was now only done in reaction to a sprained ankle and shoes with heels were thrown into the corner and buried under the empty pizza box experiment with the roommate during senior year.

So, it’s been a while since I’ve lugged around books for educational purposes, but I stuck with the comfy shoes for a good long while. And that’s how I noticed the difference between men and women and their shoes. Why can’t we (women) all just revolt and wear the same grungy pair of Vans? Oh that’s right, Vans are now expensive and cool. Funny, when I was a kid, they were the poor kid’s shoe…and I was the poor kid. So what kind of show could be a universal equalizer for men and women? I surely hope it’s not the UGG!

driverpicksthemusic

Driver Picks The Visitor

The Driver saw a film recently called The Visitor. It is written and directed by Thomas McCarthy. When a writer/director is a good actor, one of two things happens. One, that person gets a chance to become a dictator and creates/destroys the pictures made. Two, that person adjusts the equation and makes brilliant pictures. Thomas McCarthy is the latter. In this case, he uses his knowledge of acting to write and direct a smooth piece in which he does not act.

The Visitor follows an ordinary professor, living life alone, as he happens upon an immigrant couple living in his rarely visited New York apartment. His encounter and subsequent connections with the couple (a Syrian musician and a jewelry maker from Senegal) bring a spotlight on his true separation from the world around him. As he begins to seek life again through the vibrancy of music, the rules of the world around him jeopardize his new friendship and then introduce the possibility of an even larger life.

This film is smart with rich non-American characters that we don’t find in American films. I happened upon this film not knowing the writer/director also made another Driver favorite called The Station Agent.

What I like about The Visitor is that I feel like I’m a fly on the wall of the lives of the characters. I could just as easily end up in these situations (they’re never out of the realistic realm of possibility,) and would feel the same conflicts. It’s much more vivid when I’m watching it play on screen than I’m sure I would feel if it were my own life. In the end, I feel resolution, but not an end. I like that. It leaves me wanting to write more of the story. Or at least wait for Thomas McCarthy to dream up something else. Whatever writing juice he’s drinking….the Driver wants some too, please.

No Politics, No Religion and…No Music?

Is music like politics? Or Religion? Those things we aren’t supposed to talk about? I’m starting to think so. Used to be we, lovers of sound, would smile and have an “OH JOY” moment when we discovered a great new song or rediscovered and old artist. After the joy, we would tell all our pals about it. And strangers too. We would blare it at the drive-thru so the others waiting in line would also have a joy moment (although they may have used a few choice words other than joy.) But something has gone horribly wrong.

Awhile back I was a happy cat at work, jammin’ to my iPod in my own office and a co-worker tromped in and gave me that small head-shake scowl. Was I supposed to stop my enjoyment just for this dog to hand me a couple sheets of paper? Nosiree, I say! And I did say, “Hey, have you heard of Beth Hart? She’s one great bluesy rock broad…or rocky blues broad.” Nothing…only the scowl. “Have you?” Papers slough onto my gargantuan desktop, already covered in stacks of junk, and Mr. Scowl o’ Lantern departs. Not a word.

Recently, I’m in Driver mode, cruising along and then I have to stop at a light. It’s  summer/fall, so I have my window open and the back passenger window open for nice cross-breeze. My music is up.. ‘cause DRIVER PICKS THE MUSIC. I get some soccer mom yelling over my music. Now it’s not anything racy, nor is it a Christian tune (which seems to offend, I’ve found.) It was THE POLICE. Come on! Message in a Bottle! How can that not be a classic?

The last straw came today, when I was in my office again (yes I work, it sucks often,) and a guy (Bob-to protect the guilty) came in and was actually excited to hear Mais Que Nada by Sergio Mendes. Wow, someone with eclectic taste like me. I thought I was going to get back on track. That Bob was going make me believe music hadn’t become a forbidden subject. Just then then I got this whole story of how Bob’s dad loved Sergio Mendes. Nice info and love to chat dude, but ummm the song is still going!

What’s happened here? People don’t actually want to hear sound anymore. They just want to talk (yes it’s like I’m talking here, but you can listen to music in parallel, so no prob, dude.) Is it the instant rewindability of digital music? I’ve had to hear my fair share of “teen now trashy” blondes screech junk until my ears bled in a zillion places-even bathrooms, but I’ve LET IT GO..all for the good of society. Music expands the mind. But NOOOOOOOOO (read in Steve Martin style please), my choices must obscure the line of social acceptability and put me on the Short Bus of Life.

I say tusser off! I want to impact people with scads of music diversity. That’s one of the ways we grow from each other, right? In the office, out the home window and in the car. Most definitely in the car! That’s why my license plate frame says DRIVER PICKS THE MUSIC, SHOTGUT SHUTS HIS CAKEHOLE!
But you’re welcome to reply 😛

Where to start?

  • Beth HartBottle of Jesus (just some bluesy rock chick fun!)
  • Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66Mais Que Nada (I’m sure it’s in some car commercial now)
  • The PoliceMessage in a Bottle (because you didn’t live through the 80s without them)
  • KornComing Undone (I think this should be screaming during the “previously” section of Supernatural)
  • U2 & BB King When Love Comes to Town (how can you not play air guitar or imaginary drums when this plays?)
  • Brian Setzer OrchestraJump, Jive & Wail (I’ll always be a fan of the former Stray Cat)
  • The Cajun Dixie CupsIko Iko (I can’t count how many movies this song, or some version of it, is used to set the tone of the flick)

I saved the BEST FOR LAST

ARTIST

  • KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD (start with Blue on Black or Everything is Broken)

Kenny is my go to guy for modern blues. He has that voice.

What James Earl Jones is to the spoken word, Kenny Wayne is to the blues song.

SONG

  • O FORTUNA (from Carmina Burana)

This music is often in movies when that crescendo is needed as the team of Vikings or warriors come galloping through the trees in that last stand battle scene.I dare you to go back and watch the trailers for all the summer action flicks. You’ll find it in a few of them.

Have you noticed it too? The HORRIBLY WRONG PART OF NOT BEING ABLE TO SHARE MUSIC ON THE STREET CORNER? Music relates to movies and TV…and life. I didn’t mention it yet? Pick an important song in your life. It’s important because you remember something about yourself when you heard it before. I remember my first junior high dance every time ROCK LOBSTER plays on the radio. I also remember wearing my DEATH BEFORE DISCO sweatshirt when I got a Saturday Night Fever album as a Christmas gift. Music is a tent pole that holds up the circus tent covering our lives. Can’t we share the pole so others are protected too?

Oh What You Can Learn..from the Internet

Ted Talks have changed my life…and not. I like brainy stuff just as much as the next chick, but most of it goes over my head. Yeah, my own friends call me smart, but there are times when I wonder if I’ve collected a pile of friends dumber than me just to feel smart. I was wandering around iTunes podcasts one day and landed on a TED Talk. I don’t remember was it was, but I remember saying “TOTALLY COOL!” and “REALLY?” several times. Then “This is freakin GREAT!” came soon after. TED Talks are smart people talking about amazing stuff. Smart stuff, dumb stuff, interesting stuff. They have those great jobs where they get to wander around in their own heads and think for a living. And what they think of is changing our world. I subscribed immediately and hung on for dear life until a new podcast arrived. Every single podcast was an investment in brain growth. Info I learned turned out to be useful in a varied set of situations. I even sounded smart about dark matter on a date!
Back when I started the TED addiction, podcasts were on a catch-up schedule. TED had lots of older recordings, but they were only posting the casts every so often (about one a month). Nowadays, casts arrive about every week or everyday in a good week so I was salivating early on. I breathed, ate and drank in each and every podcast and learned about amazing things, like the fact that villages in Africa naturally build their structures in fractal patterns. I learned Mathematicians are sexy. Well anybody is sexy when they are passionate about their subject matter. I also learned about advances in replacement limbs for war veterans that are getting so close the real thing we may soon be able to order long model-like hands on eBay (kidding). Quite a range of information and quite an eye-opening experience.

THE BUMMER—–
One day, life was kind and I got one of those giant Mac screens to have on the desk when my macbook is parked at home. I enlarged my iTunes window and TED descriptions appeared. I never expanded my iTunes window on the macbook because real estate on a 13″ screen is far too valuable. Up to this point, I only had a name to go on for each podcast and let’s face it we often don’t remember the names of super smart people (if only we could have a current day Einstein as a childhood hero instead of a rapper whose bullet wound count marks the height of his stardom) so I watched everything. Now I can filter my viewing choices. These stinking descriptions have become TIVO for TED. I hate it. I no longer stumble across fascinating information. I evaluate whether the subject interests me up front and then decide if I want to watch it. Of course, I only watch Ted Talks on things I already have some connection to (we like the familiar dontcha know) and I think I miss what could be life bending subject matter. The Internet in general has the same affect. Early on I wandered and learned, but now I live on about 10 sites when there’s a smorgasbord of stuff out there.

So then it came to me. We need Grab Bag Tags. Everyone should have to pull an item out of the Internet grab bag at every logon. Sure you grab what you need or browse what you like, but then you have to go to the grab bag and expand your horizons. Why is this important? I make this observation as being akin to distant travel. You know when you take a trip to a far-off place, you enjoy the food, the sites, the sounds and even enjoy complaining about the hotel shower so when you return home there’s that thank goodness I have my life feeling, yet you turn around to connect to everyone around you and talk about your adventures in the far-off place. We need that-a way to physically socialize the Internet. Information is only as good as our ability to transfer it to another. And mathematicians need to have more dates anyway.

More about TED Talks-
If you haven’t heard of TED, stop reading me and go check out the TED Talks. They’re on iTunes too. Subscribe today! You’ll learn mucho…like how to end a sentence properly and not with mucho like a dog with a hanging dingleberry.

So far I have a few favorites:

Jill Taylor – This woman is a neuroanatomist. That alone made me fascinated. What the heck does a neuroanatomist do? In this talk, she describes her stroke. Which is mind blowing because she’s one of the few people in the world that could explain what having a stroke does in the brain!

Robert Ballard – The ocean is our last great place of discovery. Who knows what gift we have, but haven’t yet seen?

David S Rose – How to pitch to venture capitalists. I wonder if this the same as a screenwriter’s pitch to a suit in Hollywood?

A.J. Jacobs – A year of living biblically, but the first part of his talk mentions the best month of his life, when he outsourced his life, having a staff in Bangalore handling his life (answering his email, fighting with wife..)

Have Movie Heroine Will Travel

I’ve always considered myself a movie lover. Not a highfalutin film buff, just a person who likes to disappear in the dark for two hours (four if I’m breaking the rules and theater hopping on a Sunday afternoon-sorry Lord) and forget every single thing that exists outside the red curtains. Over time, my pals and co-workers have figured this out about me. Guess I’m not the enigma I’d hoped I be. Now I’m the go-to girl for observations and suggestions as to which movies might be best for their particular palette. Could that be a business? Like the magic wish machine in Big?

Driver is not your average girl when it comes to movies. I had two gigantic, but equally opposing influences: Brothers vs. Mom.  I have three older brothers and a big age gap from me to them. You’d think they wouldn’t take me anywhere, right? Mis hermanos were peaches among men and took me to lots of places: car rallies, the snow in Big Bear, Knott’s Berry Farm and to the movies-lots of movies. The seminal event on this side of the table was Star Wars. I was ten (yes, that dates me I know) and I got to sit in line for an eternity to see it opening day and was grateful for the privilege. I still can recite half the movie dialog by memory. A sci-fi geek I will forever be.

On the other side of the table were Saturdays with mom.  On Saturday afternoons my brothers would inevitably be out with friends, so mom and I watched the local channel’s classic movies show. Most were black and white and in the early years of our ritual and we liked it that way. I found out what a classically handsome man was when I watched Burt Lancaster, Cary Grant and William Holden, then was introduced to those fellas that the bobby-soxers (before my time) thought were the bees knees like Tab Hunter and Robert Wagner (met him recently-what classy guy and still darn sexy!).

I got to know women of strength and courage through Kate Hepburn (The Philadelphia Story & Desk Set,) Ginger Rogers (Kitty Foyle), June Allyson (Little Women & The Opposite Sex) and Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday.)

Saturdays were heaven. Here’s where I found my movie anchor. The one who made me believe movies were worth watching…even when they tanked: Barbara Stanwyck! Sure most know her as Big Valley’s Barbara Stanwyck, but no-this woman, the woman from films of the 40’s & 50’s was an actress wholly different in nature.

Classic Beauty

Classic Beauty

Actually her career ran nearly 60 years. The greats: Stella Dallas, Double Indemnity and Ball of Fire. My faves are The Bitter Tea of General Yen and The Gay Sisters. The latter I’ve seen only once. It’s not a standout in movie terms, but one scene still resonates clearly after a decade-THAT’S how good SHE was. I won’t tell you which scene, we’ll have to find it together at some point ’cause I can’t find it on video. She appeared hard as nails, but always had the gooey insides to make you love her characters. Side note:  B had a big secret affair with Robert Wagner when he was MUCH younger than her and she over 40! Hurrah for the cougars!

So two sides of the table helped me be open to everything, almost. I’m catching up on the horror genre. So I’m sure I’ll be talking about my insights on a wide array of movies and what might tickle your fancy for one reason or another (MY SECRET GEM OF A MOVIE RIGHT NOW….ELVIS AND ANABELLEJoe Mantegna is fabulous.) I try not to glom on to the expected as much as the next guy and I hope you take something I’ve listed as an introduction and put it on your Grab Bag Tag list of things to expand your own knowledge in this world. More on the Grab Bag of Tags in the next installment.

Oh and by the way, highfalutin is a word…from the 19th century no less~

Check out Barbara Stanwyck’s page in IMDB. Click Here.