Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

I never seem to learn

I have a birthday coming up and I’ve decided that the perfect gift for me (in case you’re shopping) is a Bad Idea Monkey.

Basically, I need a monkey to sit on my shoulder and hit me over the head with a blunt instrument whenever I have a really bad idea – which, this past weekend, occurred about every 10 minutes.

Friday: The news predicted a gradual warm-up over the weekend, so I figured it would be an excellent day to ride my bike out to Santa Monica so I could go to the ‘good’ gym (it’s not all that great, it just has a lower Band-Aid (TM) to pool water ratio than does the gym that’s close to my house). Needless to say, the warm-up was not, in fact, gradual and I got caught by the heat on the ride home. At one point I figured it was a great idea to find a bus and get on it as I was relatively certain I could feel my brain swelling (or shrinking, depending on your viewpoint), and sat in the shade for a few minutes while I failed to find any spare change anywhere on my person. I guess it was a win, though because I did find some electrolyte tablets which kept me conscious until I got home.

Saturday: I figured that since the weather had officially been set to ‘broil’, I needed some straw to use as mulch for my garden to keep the soil from turning into a hard dry wasteland (plants, I’m told, do not like this). Of course, the place to get straw is a feed store, and the feed stores in Los Angeles are all located in the hottest parts of the city, so I drove north until the air felt like a furnace, parked in a vast wasteland of blacktop, and then single-handedly wrestled two bales of straw into the cargo area of my carpeted SUV. Also of course, I hadn’t thought about any type of carpet/straw barrier method so the bales immediately started shedding straw bits all over the inside of my car. Since my air conditioning works but using it makes my fuel economy go from moderately bad to laughable, I stupidly got on the freeway with two bales of straw in the back and all the windows down. I’m still picking bits of straw out of my hair.

Bad Idea Monkey, where are you?

Sunday: I got up early to go throw the straw into the garden, but then realized it was the weekly farmer’s market so I went there first. Market starts at 8:30, I got home around 9:45 and didn’t get to the garden until after 10 am. Then, I had to wrestle two bales of straw out of the back of the truck and into a wheelbarrow (in case you were wondering, a bale of straw is much longer and wider than a wheelbarrow and as such must be placed in the wheelbarrow on the narrow side, making the wheelbarrow top and front heavy) and then push precariously overloaded wheelbarrow up a hill to the actual garden.

Once I got the straw there I had to cut the bales, break it (mostly) out of the flakes and lay it down. Then I had to pull out yet another tomato that got the ick, water, and then go and clean the three inches of straw leavings out of the back of the truck. All this in 100+ degree heat. I sweated off my sunblock and got burned, so of course I then went to an LAist barbecue where I continued to fry until it finally cooled off about 8 pm. My back’s now starting to itch and I’m betting it’s going to start peeling while I’m at work.

Wow. I really need that monkey.

I’ll be on an air conditioned stage tomorrow which is good, and the weather’s supposed to be 20 degrees cooler.

Filed under: Non-Work, , , , , ,

11 Responses

  1. David H. says:

    Yikes! Glad you made it through the weekend.

  2. Bob says:


    Happy upcoming birthday. I enjoy and look forward to reading your blog.


  3. JCW says:

    Peggy, sweetie…. you’re not alone.

    Should someone purchase you that Bad Idea Monkey for your birthday, would you mind loaning it to me for a few weeks?

    Hay isn’t that bad… try this combo:

    76 year old Mother having a very rough touch and go recovery from cancer surgery. All the family takes a shift to be there 24/7. I do the nights – Older brother, emotionally unstable, recovering from multiple strokes and a car accident that left him with a broken neck,wants to do my shift with me, and I say yes, thinking it will help him feel he’s doing his part.

    Older brother spends all night showing me gun magazines and explaining how he plans to asassinate Hillary or Barack should they be elected.

    Bad sign.

    Take older brother out to breakfast at end of shift, and all is well. He orders veggie scramble, hash browns & french toast…. eats five bites asks for a to-go box.

    On the 32 mile drive to home base, older brother takes offense to something I’ve said. Older brother strts to fling various breakfast foods in my face at 75 miles an hour on highway 99. Then older brother proceeds to attempt to beat me with his walking stick….

    End of story – me cleaning breakfast food from every surface and crevice of my car in hundred degree weather on Saturday following an all nighter. Not to mention my self and the laundry…

    No, Peggy…. don’t feel so bad about the hay and lack of sunscreen, or the unfortunate timing of a long bike trek. From my point of view, you’re a friggin genious in comparison to MY bad ideas.

    If and when that monkey arrives, you will forward it to me immediately? I promise to return it… it’s just that right now I feel I’m in dire need.

  4. Charli says:

    Happy soon birthday, Peg!

    First of all, I haven’t seen hay since I left Texas. Second of all, damn, I wish I had known you were in Santa Monica, I would have bought you lunch, or a snowcone, or a soft serve ice cream from that English store over here. Did you see our new Ferris wheel?

  5. geekhiker says:

    Happy upcoming Birthday!

    If you do get a BIM, can you please let me know where I can pick one up? I have those kind of ideas all the ‘freakin time…

  6. Craig says:

    You could purchase mulch from any old Home Despot or OSH. Or, balancing the cost of driving to Sun Valley vs. the cost of
    purchased mulch, you could get free mulch from the city’s
    free mulch program. There’s a landfill over near the end of
    the 118 where it meets the 210. At the entrance the city
    dumps composted material (collected from our green bins).
    Back a truck up and fill as much as you can.

    You don’t specifically need to use straw as a mulch to
    keep soil moist.

  7. snarkolepsy says:

    Screw that! Bad ideas are what makes life the most entertaining.

  8. nezza says:

    I laid some turf/sod in my back garden a couple of weeks ago and had 4 spare bits afterwards. My friend’s dad said he’d have them. I thought he’d come in his car, but he turned up with a wheelbarrow. The wheelbarrow was really only big enough to fit 2 bits at a time comfortably, but he managed to balance all 4 somewhat precariously and wheeled them a good 3/4 of mile negotiating a traffic island/roundabout on the way. I’m still chuckling about it. I should have followed at a discreet distance with the camera!

  9. AJ says:

    I shouldn’t have laughed at your pain.

    But I did.

    I even could stand to hear a little more.

    I’m the worst friend ever.

  10. sal says:

    Bad Idea Monkey sounds like an excellent idea.

    Your bales+ wheelbarrow sounds a bit like my railway sleepers+ wheelbarrow exercise last week. I still have the bruises, many of them. But what with this being the north of England, no sunburn.

    Happy forthcoming birthday, hope its a good one

  11. Dave2 says:

    I’d loan you my Bad Monkey, but he spends most of his day getting drunk and throwing his feces at the wall, which wouldn’t be much help at all!

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