Posts Tagged ‘fair’

Fairytale Choice

27 June 2010

Dear J-

I’m reading Oldboy, a manga by Tsuchiya and Minegishi and itself as much a fairytale as Cinderella or Stanford Wong. The fairytales for men follow protagonists too cool for words and driven by some obscure yet obsessive need that consumes emotions and conserves actions. Shane, you might say, needs to settle down but you know that chaining that restless heart would be a death sentence.

Likewise there’s the myth that folks are drawn to his quest because of the inherent justice and mystery (who did lock him up for ten years?) in his bearing; the silent suffering that must be endured is irresistible, right? It puts me in mind of today running afoul of the policies at the San Diego County Fair — you can bring your own non-alcoholic beverages as long as they are still sealed — making our stainless steel bottles just as unlawful as liquor. I argued the point to no avail and was asked to empty out the bottles before stepping foot on the premises. It drove me nuts the whole time we were there (it still makes me irked to think of it now).

But in hindsight I realize that I gave them power over me — a whole day ruined because of some silly rule — and that’s just as bad as being locked up for ten years without knowing why. We choose the aspect of fairytales we get to make true in our lives and it’s ridiculous, the choices I make sometimes.

Mike

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Fair Fare

28 June 2009

Dear J-

We tried different things today: instead of the Pancake House, as most Sundays, we tried B&B Deli (that didn’t work out too well; we should really check operating hours before driving places); instead of the zoo, we went to the San Diego County Fair (it feels like it just opened, but we’re already on the second-to-the-last weekend); at the fair, instead of driving to and parking on the grounds, we tried out the free shuttle (out of the MiraCosta College lot — very successful: no waits, drop-off near the front gate, and parking was plentiful).

All Fried 3715 -sm

We’re starting to realize that we’re unable to survive on the fare that we used to; at the fair, we sampled the fried (zucchini, onion rings, corn dogs), the greasy (garlic bread), and the sweet (ice cream) — I suppose that we could have tried all three at once (such indulgences as a fried Twinkie or chocolate-covered bacon was on tap), but as it was we still staggered home semi-conscious, grease-coated mouths seeking nothing but water (twelve hours later and I’m still feeling dehydrated) and a nap — all, that is, but figgy, who spent the time cadging rides in arms, double-parent swings, avoiding the indoors (every time the barn beckoned, she’d put her feet down and refuse to move), and eventually fighting everything until she fell asleep in an exhausted heap, perched in the backpack.

Passing 3689 -sm

We actually hit her favorite part of the fair within moments of entering — wandering and arguing (here! no, there!) until we hit the pony rides. There was some discussion of whether or not she’d even want to go, and if, should we pay for a ride (seven bucks!), whether she’d be able to ride by herself. We worried for nothing — she rode like she was born to it; she commanded Mouse as much as a pony on a track could be, and each lap brought a wider and wider smile. theVet confided to me that though she, like all little girls, had wanted a pony, she was far more excited to see figgy ride. Dreams transcend generations, right?

Mike

Bailing Water

29 September 2008

Dear J-

So with the failure of the bailout plan to pass the House, both Democrats and Republicans stand united to do what politicians do best:  sling mud and point fingers.  And sure, you can point to any number of party lines on this one, but the most interesting statstic is that something like 85% of the representatives up for re-election in the fall election voted against it.  This speaks volumes to how deeply unpopular the plan is amongst the citizens; despite the tweaks and careful propaganda campaign, this plan had corporate welfare written between the lines.

I’ve read all kinds of newsprint spilled on such topics as how we’re supposed to feel — outraged, but willing to sacrifice for the sake of the national economy — and explaining the details of the plan (“See, it’s not like Congress is writing a check to Wall Street, because Congress is writing the check to the Treasury to give to Wall Street”).  So what was the straw on the camel’s back this time?  What happened that made taxpayers stage what amounts to a revolt?  Has the smug equation of the American Way with profit at any cost finally shaken out?

I used to read with some amusement the letters to car magazine editors; one evergreen topic was complaining about tests of cars that most folks couldn’t afford; the main reason given was one of aspiration and practicality (a car magazine that tests only Corollas would be … well, it would be Consumer Reports now, and even they’re starting to test prestige-mobiles).  It’s the same thing with CEO pay scales; the idea was that if they didn’t get the pay, they’d go someplace that would pay them what their inflated egos were worth; those bonuses, executive perks, and stock options were not only their just reward, it motivated the rest of us to work harder, flush with the idea of climbing that ladder.

But it broke down; with no mechanism in place to tie performance to pay, CEO scales went out of balance.  Didn’t do a good job?  Sorry, here’s the door — and a fat check.  Did a good job?  Here’s a fat check.  We’ve unleashed a race of incompetent, irresponsible (the buck stops somewhere else), inbred (let’s hire their CEO, he just got on the market!) executives who inhabit a closed ecosystem — no one gets in, they just keep playing musical chairs until everyone’s tired.  And yes, unfortunately, the failure of businesses doesn’t just affect only the executives.  But after having structured our businesses to venerate and insulate the wrong end of the pyramid (hint, not the pointy part), how else can we keep teaching the lesson?  How else do we shout our message?

Mike