been... well, it's been -
I feeeel good, deedle deedle deedle dee.
I knew that I would, deedle deedle deedle dee.
And it's the first time in weeks. I have just come out the other side of what's been the most hellish computer clusterfuck in recent memory, a snafu of webhosting that has at various times left me breathless, awestruck by the emotional impact of cyber-impotence, and exhausted after running through the spectrum of tech support personalities - from pissy jerkhead youths who think they're doing you a favor to mature level-headed patient grown-ups who know how to speak that lost language called English. My problem has baffled men and women from Seattle to Atlanta, and most parts in between. I stumped them in Dallas. Wowed them in Phoenix. They're probably still scratching their tiny heads in Pasadena.
But you're reading this, which means our long national nightmare is over.
While on one hand it was difficult to be away for so long, it was probably a good thing to be incapable of commenting on all the publicity occuring over the Mojave Phone Booth. It will soon go the way of the Pet Rock, if it hasn't already, though its charm will no doubt resurface after the desert wind has blown our memories dry, say, in a decade or so.
With all the Troubles behind me, the voices in my head (you hear them too, right?) urge me to move on. Don't wallow in your recent digital tragedies, they whisper. I'm glad the voices are so articulate. Nary a "like" or an "I'm all" in their lexicon.
So. Moving on.
Among the other momentous events this month was Amy's eighth birthday. We opted for a trip to Disneyland this year instead of the usual backyard party. With Viv out of town the week before, I was not up for a week of solo party planning especially while I was in the middle of... the Troubles. So off we went last weekend to the Magic Kingdom (King Midas).
Amy is still exploring the variety of ways to be thrilled. She is impressed by rollercoasters and rides them with a whole-hearted willingness, but if there is some scary imagery along the tracks like a monster with red eyes or a cardboard cutout of a witch, well, it's a terror beyond the pale. She rode the Matterhorn on last year's Disneyland trip but, with her clear memory of that Abominable Snowman looking all fangy as the bobsled makes its initial climb, the ride was not an option this year. Nor was Splash Mountain. The Haunted Mansion, a pure and heavy dose of fear icongraphy, was right out. We managed to ride Big Thunder Mountain, the runaway mine train, but after we got off Amy explained that she would not be riding that again for some time due to the scary red blinking eyes behind the waterfall at the beginning.
The most overwhelming fears, however, are generated by The Adventures of Pinnocchio, one of the older rides in Fantasyland. A primitive ride by today's standards, it's a loud fear-laden jaunt into some of the worst imagery a kid could have stuck to the roof of his brain. But then, Disney's famous for that, isn't it? Check it out next time you're there. Better yet, go cheap and just find the Disney storybook. It's right up there with wolves devouring grandmothers, hags with poisoned apples, and severe spine trouble during the French Revolution.
Tarzan's Treehouse, which was jammed with people in arboreal gridlock due to oversaturation of cross-platform marketing, was a hit. And the guy playing Tarzan at the photo op at the base of the tree was one seriously simian hunk. He gave Viv the vapors. Amy, bless her heart, was terrified.
The best attraction of the day, by far, was the Mulan Parade. Beautiful Chinese pageantry. See it at night. It's gorgeous.
I say that was the "best" attraction of the day because I was being Daddy. If I had been among a group of men, you know, those men who go to theme parks all the time in large manly groups (yeah, right), it'd be a different story, a story of spine-whipping thrill-packed machismo. But since guys don't really do that after age 15, I've learned to be satisfied with Dumbo and colorful parades of acrobats.
One of the habits we got into this summer was backyard camping. We've got this big blue dome tent that sleeps six very comfortably, so for three it was downright cavernous. We'd set it up every Saturday night, and at 8:55pm we'd hunker down into the sleeping bags and listen to an hour of old radio shows on KNX. Beginning with The Jack Benny Program at 9:00 followed by The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet at 9:30, we'd lie there and drift into the 1940's, Viv and I laughing at jokes that left Amy clueless, and Amy going into hysterics over goofy voices and sound effects. I think we'll all have fond memories of those summer nights. I know I do already.
The big problem is it got me hooked on Ozzie & Harriet. Summer's over, but now here I sit typing away in my office with that show on in the background. It was so nicely bland, with stories that really moved along. Their world, seen through Ozzie's concerns, was so much like mine it scares the heck out of me. Golly. Well, okay, not really, but there's something attractive about white bread. It's so spongy and predictable. Safe. Safe at home. Ahhh. The pace was sane. And nothing ever exploded.
And there were no such things as webhosting problems.
"Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive" -- Clint Eastwood -- MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL: MUSIC FROM AND INSPIRED BY THE MOTION PICTURE
"Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and stabs you in the back with the other."
- C.P. Snow