Friday, July 16, 2010

Who Wants to be a LeeZardaire?

Who Wants to be a LeeZardaire?
©2010 by LeeZard

“Honey, do you want to be a millionaire?” TWBGF* asked.

“A million isn’t what it used to be,” I replied, “but it’s a good start.” So, Wende sent me the link. Which is why my alarm went off at four this morning and at 5:30, triple viente 1% extra foamy latte in hand, Leezard was #123 in line to audition for the TV game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” The popular show was holding auditions in Seattle today, the crew’s third city this week (Las Vegas on Wednesday, Cleveland on Monday).

The doors would open at 6 AM and at 7 we would go in to take two trivia tests, one for general knowledge and one for a special Netflix promotion on movies. We were lined up outside the Bell Harbor Conference Center on Seattle’s lovely waterfront. A huge – and I mean HUGE – cruise ship was sitting at the adjacent cruise terminal dock. It was like standing next to a skyscraper, with level after level of stateroom terraces looking out over the several hundred hopeful millionaire-to-be. Would someone please tell that guy with his bare beer gut hanging over the terrace on the fourth level that we are not voyeurs!

With at least 90-minutes to kill, I began taking stock of my “competition.” There was no rhyme or rhythm to the crowd. It was an amazing and diverse mix of people with every physical description from every walk of life. They ranged from those dressed for success to those who didn’t seem to care and right on down to the middle aged woman with her multi-colored hair up in rollers. YOIKS!

Precisely at six the doors opened and we began filing in, more than 400 hopeful contestants with dollar signs dancing in their heads. We found ourselves in a “holding area,” snaked in lines up and down until the lobby outside a large auditorium was packed. These folks have it down to a science. With one hour to go in the holding area they organized a series of small expeditions to the rest rooms. They knew their java lovin’ Seattle audience.

Following the bathroom breaks they gave us our instructions and an idea of how the rest of the morning would go. Pretty straight ahead stuff – two 30-question, multiple choice trivia tests, one on general knowledge and a movie test for a Netflix-sponsored series of special shows. They gave us each a “collectible” fridge magnet with the show’s logo on the front and a unique identifying number on the back.

Shortly after seven, we filed into the auditorium, received the test envelopes and took our seats. Another young, borderline perky crewmember gave the next set of instructions; don’t open the envelope until the test begins, fill out the answer scan sheet with your name and identifying number, etc. The spiel was peppered with many uses of the word “awesome.” My next seat neighbor and I counted at least 15.

The first test was general trivia and I dove right in. The questions ranged from easy (depending upon your generation), such as, “Henry Kissinger served as Secretary of State for what two presidents?” to challenging: “After Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet, which planet became the furthest from the sun?” to downright ridiculous, “Which three birthstones are in the correct monthly order?” At the end of the 10-minutes my next seat neighbor muttered, “Well, that was humiliating.” I didn’t feel that discouraged. I knew I had at least 20 right while guessing at the other ten. They wouldn’t tell us the passing grade.

The movie test was next and I breezed through the first 15 questions. It was downhill from there as the questions became progressively more difficult and obscure. “Well,” I thought at the end, “that was humiliating.” To ease the tension while we waited for results, the crew tossed logo’d T-shirts into the crowd. LeeZard is wearing his as he blogs.

After about 15-minutes, another crewmember returned with the scores and an edgy silence filled the hall. Number 123 (LeeZard!!) came up third on the “pass” list in general trivia; I’d be back for an afternoon interview. It was 9:30 AM and I’d been up for five hours but I wasn’t tired. I had a 12:30 callback so I drove home, puttered around for a couple of hours and headed back to the city.

I also had to fill out the contestant application before returning and it clearly sought an insight into LeeZard’s personality – the basis for the interview, I figured:
·       What makes you unique?
o   I’d like to say my sense of humor but there are those who would argue otherwise and,
o   My ability to view life through LeeZard-colored glasses and write about it
·       What’s the one thing you do that makes people laugh?
o   Only one??
·       What is one thing people don’t know about you?
o   I went to the original Woodstock – in a suit(!) – and didn’t hear a lick of music.
·       Is there a movie you obsess over? How many times have you seen it?
o   Any Mel Brooks film – too many times to count and,
o   “The Great Escape – “ more than 50 times.
·       Your friends would say you are the best at? Most likely to?
o   Best at being moi. Most likely to take a risk.

Application in hand, I arrived back at the auditorium promptly at 12:30 and took my seat. Of the initial 400-500 hopefuls, about 150 joined me now. My name came up third and I walked to the front of the hall and took a seat across a small table from a very pleasant young woman who briefly glanced at my application. “Congratulations,” she began, “how did you hear about the audition?” I told her of the brief exchange between TWBGF and moi. “Awesome,” she said.

After one or two more questions it was over. The interview took less than two minutes and I never got to use my quasi-rehearsed, high-energy and witty rejoinders. “Thanks very much,” my interviewer concluded, “we’ll send you a postcard in a couple of weeks.”

“Did I pass the interview?” I asked. “Awesome,” she laughed.

I figured I did well; She took copious notes for such a short session and threw in six “awesomes.”


(*The World’s Best GirlFriend)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

LeeZard at the Beach

©2010 by LeeZard

When things get a little crazy, I go to the beach. 
It usually calms me. Sometimes crazy follows me there. 
Let's go to the beach!


New Dawn of day

To watch the sun,
Rise out of the ocean,
We awoke before dawn,
And stumbled to the beach.
We came with a bottle of wine,
To toast the new day,
A blanket to cover the sand,
And a sleeping bag for warmth.
We were four new friends,
Ready to greet the morning.

A gentle golden light,
Creeps over the horizon,
Darkness retreating in its path.
The moon and morning star linger,
To join us,
To watch the sun,
Rise out of the ocean.
Our eyes focus east,
As an orange pathway,
leads to the sun.
Bright light frames the clouds,
As daytime,
Moves closer to the beach.




The ocean stirs,
From its nighttime rest,
As Sandpipers
Begin to scurry about
Little white, busy birds,
Skittering one way then another.
A lone seagull,
Swoops down to the water,
Seeking an early breakfast.




It is peaceful,
Quiet.
The four of us together
Alone in our thoughts.
A golden edge of sun,
Peers over the clouds,
Slowly, steadily,
Rising from the ocean’s edge.
In just moments,
Night becomes,
The new dawn of day.


Ocean City Blues

Awhish, Awhash, Ssss, the waves go pounding through my brain.
Plodding aimlessly alone in the cold, soft Ocean City sand.
Forty degrees but getting warmer all the time.
I meet a girl. Hey, that’s why I came.
Talking, running, chasing, falling, feeling, walking.
Back to the side street hovel her family has for the weekend.

Stay for dinner? Sure.
Gloom, roast beef and me; that’s what we had for dinner.
Her mom grills me while dad serves hostility on the side.
Let me outta here, I scream inside my head.
We leave together, looking for some beach night fun.

Walking with a new friend and finding newer friends.
Hanging out with strangers and nothing to do.
Hey, she says, my folks are going out, let’s go back.
The hovel again, but not as dumpy, now that it’s just us,
a dirty mildewed couch and an off-speed tape-deck --
a recipe for some quick summer love.
Eighty degrees and climbing,
‘til mom and dad come home.

Out I go, like some garbage distastefully discarded.
Walking alone again, cruising the boardwalk.
Fifty degrees and plummeting. Down.
Luckily, I brought a blanket.
Wrapped up warmly, until—
a cop, protecting Ocean City from the likes of me.
It’s a city ordinance, kid.
No blankets, wrapped around your person, on the boardwalk,
during the summer, after dark, before 6 a.m.

On the beach again, cold, cold me, and my unwrapped blanket.
A lot of freaks begin to gather, and, soon, we’re talking.
Wrapped up again in my blanket.
A speed freak, a she-speed freak, shares my blanket.
There’s a lot to be said for body warmth. We doze.

Same cop, another city ordinance.
No sleeping on the beach, kid, during the summer,
after dark, before 6 a.m.
Awake on the beach, listening to the nighttime surf,
mindlessly counting the waves.
Six a.m. at last, a steaming cuppa joe, then the beach,
suddenly alert to watch the Ocean City daybreak.


The clouds are grey, tinged with cotton candy pink,
light slowly enveloping the night,
the sun, growing, slowly growing out of the ocean,
shimmering, no, floating right on the water.
I am transfixed during the best moments of a shitty weekend.
Full day light, and I sleep next to a 17 year old speed freak,
chattering away about how she wants to come home with me.
Time to hit the road, alone, and into the new day.
Seventy degrees and climbing.


Lucky Vacation Tune




 Palm trees dancing in the breeze,
Are you for real or just a tease?
We met just a few short hours ago,
So, is it yes or is it no?

I want to lay with you in the nighttime,
Doesn’t matter if you want to be mine.
I want to throw you down on a beach dune,
I want to sing a lucky vacation tune.

Let’s get out of this dingy bar,
Let’s hop in my bargain rental car.
Let’s drive ‘til we lose the road,
Let’s ride ‘til I lose my load.



I want to lay with you in the nighttime,
Doesn’t matter if you want to be mine.
I want to throw you down on a beach dune,
I want to sing a lucky vacation tune.

I’ll hold you and make you sigh,
I’ll caress your silky inner thigh.
If you say no I will not cry,
I’ll go home and tell vacation lies.

I want to lay with you in the nighttime,
Doesn’t matter if you want to be mine.
I want to throw you down on a beach dune,
I want to sing a lucky vacation tune.

The clouds are grey, tinged with cotton candy pink,
light slowly enveloping the night,
the sun, growing, slowly growing out of the ocean,
shimmering, no, floating right on the water.
I am transfixed during the best moments of a shitty weekend.
Full day light, and I sleep next to a 17 year old speed freak,
chattering away about how she wants to come home with me.
Time to hit the road, alone, and into the new day.
Seventy degrees and climbing,


By the Sea

The real me lives by the sea,
With flying hair and sun kissed brow,
I’d give anything to be there now.

But, it’s in the city I stay,
With traffic all day,
And all night.
What a terrible sight.
I hide in the city
But just for awhile.
The time is coming to leave.

The real me lives by the sea,
With flying hair and sun kissed brow,
I’d give anything to be there now.



I’ll leave the smog for ocean fog,
And sand between my toes.
And in my head I’ll surf the waves,
And dream away my woes.

For, the real me lives by the sea,
With flying hair and sun kissed brow,
I think I have to go there now.
The sea, the sea and me.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Command Performance; Oily Edition

Command Performance;
Oily Edition
©2010 by LeeZard

The phone rang the other morning and LeeZard was both shocked and elated to hear from a dear old friend.

“There was an old blogger who lived on a lake,
So busy he had no time to take.
I waited and waited.
My breath it was bated.
So, I called to see if he’s awake.”

“Mother Goose,” I almost shrieked, “it’s been too long. I’ve been meaning to call but I have been busy.”

“I know and I forgive you, I do.
“But things are getting so bad out there,
I flew here on a wing and a prayer
With the hope of writing a thing or two.”

“In other words,” she concluded, “it’s the oily bird that’s getting screwed.

Well, I couldn’t say no to my favorite guest columnist so, without further ado, take it away MG!

---
Oil oil from state to state
It’s turned the Gulf sticky.
But I know BP will skate
And that makes me feel icky.



The oil companies stuck together,
They thought any storm they could weather.
But when BP’s well bled,
It’s corporate pals fled,
Hoping to keep their tax breaks forever.

Little Miss Moffitt,
Sat on her Toffitt (whatever the hell that is)
Despite the big spill
BP will still profit.





Humpty Dumpty sat on the beach.
Humpty Dumpty knew he shouldn’t preach.
But all the king’s horses
And all the king’s men
Screwed it up again and again.

Hey diddle diddle
This is no time to fiddle
The Gulf is near ruin.
Make BP clean it
And make sure that you mean it
So we’re not sittin’ here stewin’.









BP PRODUCTS TO BOYCOTT (IN THE USA - from BP's site - let me know if I missed anything):
  • BP GAS STATIONS (NOTE: BP merged with Amoco in 1998. BP has eliminated virtually all AMOCO stations in the U.S.)
  • ARCO GAS STATIONS (WESTERN U.S.)
  • AM/PM MINI MARTS - FRANCHISES AT ARCO & BP STATIONS
  • CASTROL MOTOR OIL