Wednesday, July 14, 2010

All Good Things...

Well, that's it. Six years of epic television have come to an end.*

I have to say I feel emotionally satisfied... and intellectually jilted. A great show has two things: great character development, and something interesting for them to do. I loved the ending to the degree that it honored the arc of what we've learned about the characters, and what they've been through. But man, I feel sheepish about having spent so much of my time in the summers trying to hack into Dharma computers!

It felt disingenuous on the writer's part that when so many people guessed from the beginning that they were dead... and the island was purgatory, they denied it over and over. In the end, they were dead, and the island was for all intents and purposes, purgatory. And don't point out that the purgatory was the flash sideways... I get it... but Michael and the other whispering souls are stuck on the island so you know what I mean.


They held the show up as science fiction... and in the end I could have used a little more science with my fiction.


It was the Lords of the Rings, Narnia ending... gather together, get on the ships to the next life and whatever adventure lies beyond. It was a predicted ending to a show that was anything but predictable.

I will mourn the loss of the characters, but I will also mourn the loss of blast wall maps, Faraday journals, Dharma hatches. and Tunisian polar bears.

The message in the end: glass eyes, and fail-safe keys, Myst-like lighthouses, the numbers and missing arms...these things just don't matter when compared to the love and connections we make as we go through life. 


I guess I wish they had just mattered more.

Still, a show that got people to spend six years gathering together, reflecting, analyzing, philosophizing, and searching for meaning...

not to mention going on the radio every Wednesday morning was one hell of a work of art.

See you in another life brotha.


There's really was only one thing wrong with LOST in the end... too much Smokey,...and not enough Bandit! 

* I know it's been over a month but I needed some quiet reflection, and a few Dharma brews before I was ready to talk about it ;)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

They Just Don't make Em' Like They Used To.

My Grandmother lived through quite a technological arc in her lifetime. She would tell me stories of how when she was little, her family would gather together and take turns sharing the earpiece for the giant tube radio that would allow them to hear the news of the day. Coming to them live. Through the air. Into their very own living room.

In her later years she had laser eye surgery. (Imagine the word "laser" being said in the clipped monotone of "Dr." Evil ... He didn't go to eight years of  Evil medical school to be called "Mister".)

I was looking through boxes of old photos on her patio one hot summer day as a twenty year old kid, probably just before or right after one of those delicious hand scooped ice cream cones that always seem to taste better at Grandma's than anywhere else in the world. I came across a black and white snapshot of my Grandfather, young and strong in those swim trunks that came almost up to the chest. He was posed before a giant yacht of a car, a Pierce Arrow with bubble fenders and a rumble seat. I started to laugh out loud, and my Grandma gave me a swat on the arm and said , "Don't you laugh! That was the fastest, most streamlined car in the whole neighborhood. Everyone wanted to ride in it."

I had actually been laughing at the bathing suit.

But that got me thinking.

Would someday someone look at a picture of me sitting astride my GSXR 750... capable of doing 150mph
and laugh out loud to see someone on such a dinosaur of a motorcycle?

"You mean they use to have motorcycles that drove on the ground?!"

More likely... they'd  be laughing at the George Michael hair.

My Grandparents were hip to the future tip. Grandpa was a gadget and gizmo guy that had a Poloroid before anyone else (remember the kind you'd rip out of the camera with a fantastic noise, peel and then wait while it developed?)

They had a "Hi-Fi", with lots of records in a cool brass wire rack. Old "Blue Eyes" has never sounded as good since.

I remember my eyes popping out of my head when my Grandpa first produced a remote control!... (and their T.V. was in color too!). All you had to do was push the button, and the whole channel knob turned with a resounding CLUNK.

And so it went: Radar range, food processors, electric razor.

But there finally came a day when they decided they had taken their last bold steps into the future.

My mom bought them a VCR. This newfangled device could record T.V. shows for later viewing, or you could even watch a movie on it whenever you wanted! First it just sat unopened in its box. Then it just sat on top of the T.V. Blink, blink, blinking 12:00 over and over as a testiment of unuse. Like This!

"It's too complicated." "There's too many buttons." "It's not worth the

Is this how it happens? Suddenly, with one device being the warning shot? I don't think that's how they saw it. In fact there may have even been a cordless phone that came along after the great VCR debacle.

I've been walking the tightrope of techno-relevance for some time now. I don't carry a cell phone. Everyone else has one and I don't like the whole idea of being psychically tethered to something that doesn't even have a cord. Few things irk me more than responding to someone asking a loud question in the frozen food aisle just to have them point at the Star Trek blue tooth thingy sticking out of their ear.

I have a Macbook Pro, and I couldn't resist asking my lovely wife for an ipod touch for my birthday last year. It's sooo shiny! But as much as I love the occasional video game, I am yet to get a Playstation 3 even though they've been out for years... and I have no impulse at all to dive into the Blueray market.

Well, if someday you find yourself talking on 3D iholophone in your flying car, and you look down and see me tooling along on my 150 LaVie Scooter listening to my ipod instead of my Sonic-Ear implants... just wave and offer to come over and help me figure out how to set the clock on my
Ultra-tivo-orangeray player.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

IKEA: /eye-KEE-ya/ n. big box of cool sh*t.

Old Bob:

Drive down De La Vina. Find it at a yard sale or sitting out curbside. Squeeze it into the back of the Saab. Take it home. Repaint, Refinish, Repurpose*.

New Bob:

Drive down the 101. Find it in a giant blue and yellow box. Load it into the back of a very red, and very borrowed, Suburban. Take it home. Bygga, Tilverka, Struktur.

Of course, before you wander for hours through the Disneyland of Design, you must fortify yourself with a plateful of...

Rita and I have done "Mexican Folk Funk."
We've done "Pink Floyd Wright": otherwise known as "Arts and Crap".
Now we're going "Mid-Life Modern".

I always thought of "Veneer" as a four-letter word. Now I know it's Swedish for "Inexpensive".

Further Lessons in Swedish, brought to you by IKEA:


Supposedly this is an un-translateable word for a chest of drawers.

Bob's translation: What the hell am I supposed to do with all these?


Literal translation: Shopkeeper

Bob's translation: What the hell have I gotten myself into?


Again no literal translation. Heaven-sent design for the masses.

Bob's translation: God help me.


Literal translation: Let's face it... my Swedish to English  translator sucks.

Bob's translation: Stay away from the pretty lights!

Well... It all worked out in the end. The new place is looking very Pre-Fab Hip.(Although I admit, I was kept very busy Post-Fabbing.)


I think I shall reward myself with too many of these individually-wrapped bite-sized bits of toffee chocolates.

Bob's Translation: Damn!

* Yes, I said "Repurpose". I've been watching too much HGTV.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No one's default but your own.

Who are they?

Who are these shadowy figures, peering eyeless at me like ghosts.

Is that a stalker, back-lit and standing behind a fogged up bathroom window?

I'm so confused. There they are, mixed in with so many smiling and recognizable faces in my "friends" list.

Even more eerie is the fact that more often than not they are labeled with the names of people I know and love so much.

Some have fluffy coiffed hairdo's ... but it seems that these internet interlopers are mostly follicly challenged.

They always always look to be male, even when they have names like "Vivian" or "Susie".

Gender issues aside, I'm not even sure they're all human! Some of them are downright robo-alien in appearence. ... not that there's anything wrong with that.

One of these "people" I see more often than the others. He instills not fear so much, but rather a much more specific reaction. He makes me hungry for a soft-serve ice cream cone!

Some are obviously getting down in a cool discotheque...

While others are silently pondering the meaning of their existence as much as I am.

Well, some mysteries are meant to go unsolved...
(Where's is Nancy Drew when you need her?)

I don't know who's default it is.

I do know I have enough defaults of my own.

P.S. Brian and Nitin... Nice!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Leggo my Lego.

It's a matter of occupational hazard that over the twenty-six years of my teaching career I have amassed quite a substantial Lego collection. My new, grown-up-sized classroom has shelves lined with large Rubbermaids, filled to the brim with a zillion different pieces.

Children (and adults) around the world spend an estimated sixty-five million hours a year constructing and deconstructing countless spaceships, monsters, cars, trains. In our class... Amsterdam row-house cityscapes and Harry Potter panoramas.

There are five Lego pieces for every person on the planet... and as I have already admitted, I have more than my fair share.

I'm petrified by the thought that one day I might arrive at school one morning,
sleepily clutching my coffee, and unlock the gate to find thousands
of people lined up waiting to get their five.

Play with Legos involves all the "building blocks" (pun very much- and shamelessly- intended) of education: one-to-one correspondence, seriation, classification, and matching. Okay, okay... it doesn't have the conservation of materials, but four out of five ain't bad!

I am a person that by all accounts is afflicted with at least two mental disorders: the collecting bug, and OCD organizational skills.

I said "at least", so watch it!

It appeals to the latter of these that I get to involve the children in helping sort them by the different colors and shapes... and those cool clear plastic boxes with the dividers are filled with the little people, and all the hats, outfits and accouterments needed to populate these imaginary worlds we create.

And oh, the people.

Actually...  the accepted vernacular is "Minifigs". A hardcover book that I do not yet have, (hint, hint) just came out this past Christmas season delineating the history of the many knights, adventurers, skaters, and space critters that have come to life in the Legoscape over the years.

There is, understandably, a purist standard that has developed in our classroom's Lego kingdom.

Those doppelgangers of the play brick world: Mega Blocks, Tycos, and others of their ilk are not tolerated under any circumstances. We call them "Flegos", short for Fake-Legos. The word Flego is always said in the same manner Seinfeld characters are prone to say: "Newman".

Unfortunately, this half-joking chauvinism had unintended, and unforeseen consequences. A mother came to me after the holiday season "thanking" me for indoctrinating her son in this manner. Seems that when presented with a generous gift of a large "Pirates of the Caribbean" Mega Block set as a gift by Aunt and Uncle he threw the box down with a sneer and said' "I don't want these! They're FLEGOS!" :) 

I still deposit the occasional Flego interloper into the recycling bin... only now with the disclaimer, "but if someone should ever give you some as a gift... be sure to smile and say THANK YOU!"

Luckily for me, it seems that Legos are recession-proof.

Needing some cash for the associated costs that come with moving into our new place, I have been selling a few of my much loved Minifigs on ebay... and just a few of them have brought eye-popping final bids. This bodes well for my future, as the eventual sale of the collection in it's entirety is the whole of my retirement planning.

Being a rock and roll Childcare Teacher, while admittedly glamorous, is notoriously low paying.

Well, I guess there are a lot of reasons I give up so much of my treasured shelf space to just one kind of toy. You've heard of the giant whirlpool of bits of plastic swirling around out in the Pacific ocean? I bet almost none of them are Legos.

Don't even get me started on Bionicles.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Where do we go from here?

Rita and I have been together for twelve years.  Every day I am amazed to rediscover that a being of such beauty, intelligence, and all-around wonderfulness would once again choose to keep wading through the crazy that is life with me.

This is not to infer that, on the rare occasion, she doesn't drive me insane.

When we were first dating she would, in the course of our normal conversational banter say, "you dork!"

This would send me into a fit because I am a man of very few high ideals about my own person... but I do strive fiercely to achieve what I like to think of as "relative cool".

Hell... I sing in a rock band, teach little kids, and wear my sunglasses better than most. 

And over these many years she has conceded that the term "dork" does not, in fact, apply, (except on rare occasion), and that I am, in fact, relatively cooler than... not.

But the greatest threat to relative cool is out there waiting for me, ready to pounce should I let my guard down.

It's well documented, it's wrapped in horrifying cliche, and it is absolutely unattractive.

Mid-life Crisis.

You have a sneaking suspicion, once you turn forty, that it is out there stalking you. Snickering.

Then all the ingredients come together in a big bowl of "Oh...Shit."

Suddenly you have serious health concerns, you've been at the same job for twenty plus years, and and you need to move out of your long time home, and comfort zone, into new places and mental spaces.

I know. "That's life."

I know. "You can do it."

Still... it's deep breath, bob and weave, keep your head together time.

Luckily I have the best hedge there there is against impending Mid-life meltdown...

The "relative cool" that comes from having a young, smoking hot, much better half.

P.S. Did I mention I'm in a band?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Let's get this party started, quickly, right?

Here we go again. Another year.

We woke up New Year's morning at Rita's family's beach house in San Clemente, and as the nearly full moon set, a gorgeous sunrise started us off on the right foot. We had spent the night with her brother Karlos, his wife, our niece Kloe, and our nephews Lukas, John, and Joseph.

A little breakfast of warm aebleskiver (Danish donuts, thanks Andrea!) a dolphin sighting, and it was back up the coast to Santa Barbara.

And then a new New Year's Eve tradition in the Bobbarita household!
Our good friends Chris and Denise told us to come on down to the
Press Room. We met up with Cat and Eric, and Chateaux Brion' and counted down the New Years on London and Dublin time! Balloons, champagne, good friends and a big smootch with my sweety. Then, down to Pascucci's to see Sunny for some appetizers, a shot, and more good company with the arrival of Lisa and Tom and Dana.

Then, a yummy dinner at Zen Yai with Suzy Jacuzzi and Brion'!
(I'm digging the scene there, and their tom ka kai soup is tops).
All this, and we were home and out like a light before 10:00!

Rita and I have made the big decision of moving out of the home we've lived in for many years. I'm still trying to recover my health. New years... Blue Moons... big adventures and changes are on tap.
I think I'm ready.

Having tickets to the Eagles at the Hollywood Bowl, and the Blind Boys of Alabama at the Lobero Theater helps!

Knowing that we have good family to connect with and depend on, and good music to look forward to...

Makes me hopeful.