Uga Booga, please
Thursday, February 28, 2008, 8:44 PM
There's this wee bar on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California, called Tiki Ti. It was opened in 1961 by a guy named Ray, who was fascinated by the tropics and the drinks found there. No beer, wine or Saki is sold at Tiki Ti, my friend. They take cash only, the place is small--about the size of my studio apartment, which is just shy of 700 feet--but the ambiance is worth those wee inconveniences, I pinky swear.
Ray's son and grandson (both named Mike, by the way) now man this intimate, colorful gem of a bar. I've been there twice and both times, I was enchanted by the tropical masks, fountains, lights and ambiance of the place. There's even stuff on the ceiling; scrawled names on white plaques from patrons of the eighties and nineties who downed the first Ray's Special, the first Pain killer, the first Scorpion. If you're a regular long enough, they give you a totem-shaped cup that's yours to use any time you swing by for a Laka Nuki. It's like being on the football or hockey team long enough to merit a letter to put on your jacket. Dedication. Perseverance. Prestige.
The first time I was there, it was after eleven at night and it was body-to-body-to-body. By the time I'd shimmied my way up to the bar, I'd traded phone numbers with six men and three girls, been felt up and down, and had my back cooled off by someone's Caribbean Limbo.
(I jest. But it reads good, no?)
All of Tiki Ti's drinks are made of rum, gin, tequila, vodka or liqueurs. The menu doesn't tell you what's in the drink, and the noise and press of people behind you waiting to place their drink order, makes you think twice about asking. Instead, they hope you're intrigued by the name of the drink and the vice of your choice, be it rum, vodka, gin or tequila. What'll it be? The Navy Grog? Dr. Funk? A Swamp Water? Skip and Go Naked? Or the Pink Fire?
I chose the Uga Booga because it's made with rum and I liked the name. Say it out loud. It's fun. It might even make you crack a grin.
The Uga Booga looks exactly like the Mai Tai on the Tiki-Ti home page. But it's more than a Mai Tai. I'm not sure how much more, but everybody in the bar started shouting, "Uga Booga, Uga Booga," while Mike-the-first poured.
I sat on my bar stool and tried not to look like a frightened boob. What else was in the drink? "Uga Booga, Uga Booga," I shouted back. Just like a native, yeah, only I was fully clothed.
Everyone is a regular at Tiki Ti because once you've been to the tropics, you want to go again. I can't explain it to you. I can't show it to you (my phone takes crappy photos). It's just something you have to experience for yourself.
I do recommend the Uga Booga, especially if you like rum. It's potent, though. Just one will make you stagger off the stool you're sitting on.
Note to self: the men's restroom has the beads across the doorway. Not the women's.
I was in Chicago walking on a sidewalk when I first realized I had this quirk. "Wait a second," I told the person with me and aimed the camera at our feet. We were standing on an issue of The Chicago Sun Times. "For posterity," I added.
I wish I could find the photo, but it would be as frustrating as looking for that black sock I can't seem to find.
This photo was taken during my 2004 cruise to the Caribbean. It was the first "dress up for dinner" night on the ship. We hadn't even left the dang room yet and already my feet were killing me in those itty-bitty heels. (I'm on the left by the way, in case it matters.)
Another shot I couldn't resist taking during our cruise was when I was standing over a glass porthole on the concession deck. As you can see, Jaws could have been circling right below me and it could be seconds before my death, but hey, posterity.
A lot of people wonder about this shot. It's unusual. It puzzles them. They can't understand why I took it. I say: foot nerdery.
You know what scenery looks like without anyone in it, right?
I was riding on the back of a golf cart in Michigan at the time and felt the urge to snap a photo. Only it wasn't really exciting (C and I were slobber-nockered and you know how gorgeous that would look on film), so I stuck my sandle-clad foot up and there you go.
Another one for footlery nerdery posterity. And because I see the shoe, I remember what I was wearing that day, too. Brown shorts and a white t-shirt.
This next one was taken just before I moved to California. I love group foot shots. I'm wearing the red flip flop, C is in the white sneaker, Rhonda is in the orange, and my crazy mother has both feet in--one with a sock, one without. She must be the genius behind my nerdism. After all, she's the one who knows how to spell abominal without having to look it up in the dictionary. abdomidable. abdominal. The terrifying snowman, you know?
I found the foot print necklace in a San Diego shop and had to have it. I'm an aries (the ram), but my sign is also a pair of footprints. It resonates with me and in my head I always thought that's me, oh that's me all over. My handwritten motto growing up was Unhinged was here placed between two drawn footprints. I couldn't just write I was here, I had to personalize it, and feet seemed appropriate. It's one of the most widely-recognized ways people know I was here. There. Over there, too.
These are my infamous black Mary Janes. I wore them on my inaugural walk around the block after I moved to Los Angeles. I'd used up all my courage moving from Indiana to California, and I was terrified to walk outside by myself. There was just SO MUCH outside the door. I'd never been in the thick of so much humanity.
So I took my camera with me, telling myself that surely a digital camera would ward off any potential attackers because I could capture the face of my murderer. If the button didn't stick.
And here are my feet standing on the beach in front of Misson Bay in the Paradise Point resort in San Diego. I don't know why I always stand like a duck with my toes pointed out, but I'll have to do something about that. It looks stupid.
There you have it; my foot nerdism. I have many more photos of feet, but I'll spare you.
Unhinged was here.
Where the magic happens (or not)
This is my desk. My fuzzily-wuzzily desk, which is what you can say about my brain some times.
It's where I'm sitting RIGHT NOW (9:05 p.m. Pacific Standard Time). I'm in my jammies. There is a glass of red wine to the left of the monitor, and a bottle of Sparkletts on the right (although you can't see either in the photo because it was taken some time ago).
I guess I could try to set up my camera to take an automatic shot of me sitting here in my peejayed glory, but I'd rather swallow an uncoated aspirin. Besides, I'd have to somehow levitate the camera to get the same angle of shot because I was standing on one of my dining room chairs at the time I took this one.
Call me a nerd if you like. Nerdiness is the new ridiculously sexay.
...Off to polish my keyboard keys.
No dependents, no clue
So I just finished doing my taxes to the The Matrix soundtracks (I have all three). I also have all three movies. I love Neo. I adore Keanu Reeves, too, even if he does smoke. Everyone's allowed at least one vice, right? Anyway, I use Turbo Tax--I have for three years now--and it's easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Especially when you're doing it to kick-butt music. No, I have no dependents. Yes, I'm still single. Yes, I still work for the same company. No, I don't want to give any money to the presidential campaign.
Yeah, I know I said I was going to do my taxes yesterday, but really all I did was eyeball the red, white and blue Turbo Tax top hat on my desktop and think, Hmmm, maybe after this round of free rice. I gave over 1200 grains of rice to the hungry. I filled so many argen-fargen bowls that the pile of rice became a hill, and then I started over in bowls again. I'm proud of myself, too. I know more words than I thought. Even those I didn't, I guessed correctly 90% of the time. Hey, nobody's going hungry on my watch.
I woke this morning to a rumbling sound coming from the apartment above me. It sounded like the maintenance men were dismantling the kitchen sink and the bathroom toilet. Of all the geezely, I thought. It's President's Day. What the frell are you doing up there? Nevermind that if someone at work last Thursday hadn't told me Monday was a holiday, I would have shown up for bidnez as usual today.
Which reminds me about the time I didn't show up for work on a Tuesday because I thought it was still Monday. It must've been Labor Day or Memorial Day, who knows. All I know is I was taking a leisurely stroll through the 'hood and thinking, My, my, where is everybody? Oh, this is nice not having to dodge lawn mowers, water hoses or kids on roller blades.
I remember calling my ex to see when he'd be coming back home (he was a plant manager and basically worked 24/7), and I was surprised to hear the company's receptionist answer the phone. What a friggen maniac, I thought of him, making those people work on a holiday.
When he got on the phone, I demanded to know why the receptionist was there.
He laughed. "It's Tuesday. Where are you? You better be calling from work."
I didn't believe him. This was just the kind of joke he'd try to pull on me, too.
"It's not Tuesday," I told him. "Stop trying to freak me out." Besides, if it really was Tuesday, I was in hot shit.
Finally, he had a co-worker come to the phone to assure me it was Tuesday--some shy, nerdy guy who wasn't sure why his boss wanted him to tell the person on the phone what was patently obvious to the sane. His voice was hesitant and wooden. "Um, it's Tuesday. Yeah, deh-definitely Tuesday."
Every hair on my body stood up and my ears got hot. Damn. It WAS Tuesday. And my ex wasn't the only one who was thinking I'd lost my mind.
"I'll call you back," I snapped at my ex and hung up on him while he was still laughing.
My boss was cool about it. "I wondered where the hell you were," he said in between laughing.
Yeah. On Mother Earth, with my head in the clouds.
But I still file my own taxes. God help me. Amen.
Well, it's almost true
Yeah, that's all I got today.
7 randomistic facts about Unhinged
Sorry it's taken so long to respond, Jodi, but I'm here to spread the wealth now. And hah-hah, I almost typed better late than never, but it's a cliche and I've been reading your blog, some of your reader's blogs, and Editorrent, and I.
About the meme:
And here we go.
1. I have seen The Tooth Fairy.
When I was little, I had a bunch of teeth pulled because my mouth was too small for all the teeth that grew in there. By the ripe age of twelve, I was an old hand at the dentist's office. Getting a single cavity filled was more painful than getting three of my baby teeth pulled at once. Besides, they don't give you a nifty little treasure chest for your teeth when you get a cavity filled. I loved that little plastic treasure chest and the sound of my teeth rattling around inside it, but The Tooth Fairy has it now. I was half asleep when she came and I'm not sure what made me waken, but I remember seeing a glittering silver presence beside my bed. As soon as I saw it, the light flattened into a floating ball and rolled right out of the room. When I put my hand under my pillow to feel for the little chest, it was gone and in its place was something flat and crisp: a newly-printed five dollar bill.
For the longest time, I could never understand the laughter of adults when I told them this story. It wasn't supposed to be funny, dang it. I'd seen something no kid was supposed to see: I'd seen The Tooth Fairy.
2. I was born without a roof in my mouth, known as a cleft palate.
For the first few weeks of my life, Oogie had to feed me with a goat's bottle, which had a nipple long enough to reach past the hole. People could look into my mouth and see the inside of my nose. Before the age of six, I'd had three surgeries to close the hole in the roof of my mouth. I still remember the pain from the last surgery, and the feeling that there were knives in my throat. Also, Oogie made me eat beef broth and for the longest time, I couldn't eat beef broth.
I still have a wee little hole up there, just big enough for the tip of my tongue.
3. I married a guy named Ken. So did my sister. And so did my mom.
Mom got divorced from her Ken when I was about three years old and after that, he wasn't really a part of our lives. By the time my sister got old enough and wise enough to marry her Ken, there was little confusion about which Ken was being addressed since Dad wasn't around. And when I met my Ken, I gave him the nickname of Kendal (because his name was Ken and he was a doll), so there was no confusion there.
And now there's really no confusion because we're all divorced from our Kens.
4. I have a guardian angel. According to the Ouji board, her name is Kym.
I first discovered I had a guardian angel in the winter of 2004 while driving during a wind storm that was blowing drifting snow across the road. I was going maybe 25 m.p.h. when my car began see-sawing across both lanes of traffic. On one side of the road was a small ditch, on the other was a creek protected by a metal guard rail. There were no cars behind me, and no on-coming cars. It could have been reeeally nasty if there were.
So I'm see-sawing across the road in slow motion, wailing and pumping my brakes gently, when the car just as gently goes nose down into the ditch. It was so gentle that the air bag didn't even deploy. There were no sounds of squealing tires, no grinding metal, just a crunch of tires sinking into snow. I found myself laying across the steering and driver's side door (in my seat belt, of course), but the driver's side was blocked, so I climbed out the passenger side door. In flat leather shoes, I climbed inelegantly up the ditch of snow and stood at the side of the road like Alice in Wonderland. I had no cell phone, my shoes were not winter-fied, and I was about a 30-minute walk from home.
Not one minute later--not even that--a sheriff in an SUV pulls up and asks me if I need a lift. Accident or not, everything happened perfectly. I could've been in a head-on collision, or I could've ended up in the creek.
5. The first story I ever remember writing (and illustrating) was called Herm the Germ.
It was a kid's educational story about germs, one germ in particular: Herm. He was green, had little antennae on the top of his head, and liked to hang out in Pepsi cans. I think I was in the fifth grade at the time. I got an A+ and my teacher asked if she could have it for display purposes. Can't believe I gave it to her! Friggen waah.
6. For one-and-a-half years, I ran my own home-based business.
It was called Aardvark Creations and I specialized in desktop publishing and graphic design. I created a bunch of logos for print and the web, did a number of newsletter layouts, print ads, brochures, business cards, and three 4-color catalogs. Macromedia Freehand was my program of choice, although I dabbled in Adobe Photoshop and Pagemaker, also.
I still have a portfolio of everything I did, as well as my company card, brochure, letterhead, postcard, invoices and envelope--every piece of company material that went out had Saam the aardvark on it. Yeah, he looks like a donkey, shaddup. I had a lot of fun creating that stuff. Sometimes I really miss it, but all that designing drove me more crazy than I needed to be, dang it.
I was in the midst of creating a kick-butt website when I decided having a business took more time and effort than I'd counted on. Not only was my work always there at home, but I also had to actively recruit new business and I've never been much of a salesperson.
7. I've had a recurring dream since childhood.
When I was a little girl, I had this thing about flying like Superman. What I really wanted to do was just hover above the tree lines, or on top of the clouds. This fascination evolved into a terrifying dream flight along The Golden Gate Bridge. In my dream, I follow the dips and curves of Golden Gate, and my heart's in my throat at each descent. I have no control over my body, it just goes up and down the curves of the bridge. The cars below look like ants, and the tops of the bridge are shrouded in clouds. I always wake up with a jerk on one of the downswings, heart a'racing.
The meme says I should tag seven people, so if you're reading this and haven't done it yet, I taggith you.
I tag everyone and no one in general! See me rebel.