Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lester Has Distinct Musical Preferences

Like many parrots, he always enjoys well-crafted, melancholy pop like the Jayhawks and Wilco. Lester, who is named for Lester Young, listens to a lot of jazz. While I was gone, Mark realized that Lester prefers the tenor sax to the alto sax. The higher registers of Benny Carter, for example, made him nervous--they sound too much like alert calls perhaps.

San Diego Weather Mythology

Several people on the plane with me from DC to San Diego were reporters or red cross workers. Still others were their for conferences--some of which had been canceled by the time we landed. One guy, whose conference had not been canceled, was very chatty and wished to brag about the dinner reservations he had for this evening. He said, "the weather here is always better than everywhere else" and I said, "well, today it's not." We'd flown over several firelines coming into the airport--the pilot had pointed them out--and the entire plane smelled like smoke. He insisted that it was a beautiful day. Most people immediately began coughing when they excited the airport. The weather was not nice, and yet they insisted it was.

Snow Beer Day vs. Fire Beer Day

In Washington, DC we'd sometimes have "Snow Beer Day" if classes and/or work were canceled due to inclement weather. Blizzards and snow storms don't scare me. They come, they drop a lot of snow. Depending on where you live, you lose your power, but then you just make a fire. If you live in DC, the whole city shuts down, but it is OK. A snow day is a good time to hang out at a friend's house and drink tasty beers.

The concept of Snow Beer Day doesn't translate well to San Diego. We don't really have much snow. We have fires! Unlike snowstorms, fires directly kill people and animals and plants and destroy structures. Fighting them (you don't "fight" a snowstorm) requires helicopters and "firebombing" airplanes. Finally, fires mean that huge numbers of people can't just hang out at home, and those that can hang out at home can't just get on the road to see a friend, because roads are blocked.

It's difficult to translate the relaxed, friendly feelings of Snow Beer Day to Fire Beer Day. Yesterday, Mark and I went to Las Olas for our regular happy hour. The bar was abnormally crowded with people drinking and having their own Fire Beer Day. Fire Beer Day has a kind of reckless desperation--it's not warm and friendly at all. We enjoyed our Tecates and fish tacos in spite of the smoke and ash and helicopters flying overhead, and everyone else did, too. But no one was relaxed.

I suspect that Fire Beer Day is really Fire Tequila Day, but that doesn't have the same ring to it.


Ryan W. said...

did you know about this:

it's also called a "fire tornado". I heard about it on the news. I think there was one in the california fire. "fire tornado" sounds more menacing than "fire whirl." "fire tornado" sounds like the most menacing thing possible.

K. Lorraine Graham said...

Yes, I agree. A "fire tornado" sounds like a bad kind of natural phenomenon.