In the glorious San Fernando Valley, the sky above my head is still blue, but every horizon now has that brown-red apocalyptic smoky haze of color, and today the ashes on my car weren't just a light dusting, but were visible chunks falling out of the sky.
But still, I know my readers are dying to know how my weekend with Spooney in Pismo Beach went.
Well, here's the view from our hotel room. Not too shabby, eh?
Pismo Beach is one of those completely charming California seaside towns that hasn't yet been ruined by overdevelopment.
It's so small that in spite of the Clam Festival being the biggest event of their year, the band headlining the parade is still from the local high school.
Spooney and I had a blast walking the beach, sampling the local brews, and just kicking around. We spent some time Saturday night at the local watering hole, where the resident cover band featured not one, but two keytars. Awesome.
I suspended my vegetarianism long enough to join Spooney in the chowder cook-off, which was several different kinds of yummy. For four bucks, you get to taste chowder from 8 different restaurants (that is, every restaurant in town) and vote on your favorite.
As you might be able to tell from the size of the butts standing in line, it's only creamy New England-style chowdah being served here, thank you very much. I asked a couple of the chefs, real loud-like, "What's a gal got to do to get some Manhattan-style chowder up in this mug?" Stony silence was the reply. They take their chowder pretty seriously in Pismo Beach.
At this point, I have to share with you a short video I took of the world's lamest pelican.
See? Lame. That's Spooney off camera throwing squid right at his mouth, which he misses. He missed it like 15 times in a row.
During the festival, they had a clam dig for the kids. It's not a real clam dig, because Pismo clams are practically extinct. The kids dig up clam shells with prizes written on them.
They had a lot of good prizes, including a bike, and some boogie boards. Once those were gone, though, the kids weren't getting nearly as excited about what they had won.
One of the moms that Spooney and I were standing next to on the pier said, near the end of the event, that her friend's kid won a coupon for $1 off a large Domino's pizza.
Spooney started laughing. "What kind of prize is that?"
I said "What, did they just bust open one of those coupon books you get in the mail? Here, kid, it's 20% off your next dry cleaning!"
"2 for 1 Weight Watcher memberships!"
The moms started laughing at us, so we kept up our little routine.
"One free month of monitoring from Brinks Home Alarm!"
"1/2 off your next drapery cleaning!"
"Free medium coffee with purchase of one dozen donuts from Winchell's!"
"15% off your next oil change or tire rotation at Jiffy Lube!"
We laughed so hard it knocked what residual LA tension I was still carrying around right the fuck out of me. Then we drove home and watched the last ALCS game. Red Sox won. Awful racist logo team lost. Life is good.