Monthly Archives: September 2015

Bad Idea


So I and The Lovely Rhonda found ourselves in San Diego for a long weekend a couple of weeks ago, and decided to jaunt up to an amusement park north of Los Angeles. We’ll call it “No Flags Non-Magical Molehill.”

Owing to my sad, poorly-designed feets, I rented a scooter.  I have a disabled parking pass, it’s cool.  This is how it is for me now.

We attempted to board a ride, but were turned away for lack of an “equal access pass.”  This is a photocopied pamphlet full of rules and information.  They mark it with the frequency one may access the attractions, which evidently varies from day to day.  On this day it was marked as “45 minutes.”  The attendant is to then mark the ride and time each time you access an attraction.  The wait times for many rides was 30 minutes or less — resulting in fewer rides for a disabled person than non-disabled.

We then attempted to board another ride.  We went up the exit lane, as instructed on tiny lettering on the standard-disclaimer sign on the ride’s entrance, only to find a dusty elevator bearing a sign instructing us to notify an attendant to use the elevator.  But, there was no way to do so, no bell or anything.  We backtracked to the photo counter where they try to sell you the pictures they take of you screaming your way down the big money shot hill, if that is you are so fortunate as to find yourself actually riding the attraction.  The girl there did not know how to summon an attendant.

At this point I was angry and wanted to leave, frustrated by attempting to access the attractions — arguably the whole point of a theme park — for an hour with no success.  We filed a complaint with guest services, who by the way are most assuredly unable to issue refunds or in any way try to make things right other than to say things like, “I can get you on any four attractions that you want right now, ma’am.”  I said no, I don’t want to have to beg you people to ride the damn rides.

We did ride one ride before giving it up.  Once again we made our way up the very narrow exit lane where we found an actual, functioning elevator that did not require an attendant to use.  At the top, I found a couple of women with baby strollers occupying the very tiny landing.  I had to ask them to please move so that I could get through.  Then we had to wait for the ride to get out and all the passengers to squeeze past us.  There was no shade or shelter here, unlike the areas for the able-bodied.  We rode the ride, and on exiting found the same ladies waiting.  The attendant was chatting with people sitting in the front of the ride, who were not being required to exit, so I surmised that he knew them and was allowing them to ride repeatedly, and these women were part of their party.  He did not pay any attention or ask the ladies to move.

We left at this point.  Why bother?

I was told that “someone” from the park would contact me regarding my complaint, but no one has and it’s been more than a week.  Today I contacted them via their website and just to be thorough, registered a complaint through

Tickets: $100

Scooter rental: $40

Parking: $20

Filing complaints with the feds: PRICELESS.


Priscilla, Queen of Everything


A long time ago I lived in a really crappy neighborhood.  And this cat showed up and looked so pitiful that I had to feed her, she was so raggedy and sad.

I told my friend Mark about her and he decided to take her in.  Somehow he remembers the date:  July 25, 1997.

That cat.  Mark took her to the vet and she got the Cadillac treatment.  She needed some expensive dental work among other things, and Mark commented that she was gold-plated now.  So she remained in my head:  Priscilla, the Gold-Plated Cat.

A few months of good grub and her coat came in.  Gone was the raggedy little thing.  She had the most glorious, soft, luxurious coat.

Today Mark had to say goodbye to her.  Her little body finally wore out.  He gave her the calm, gracious exit that we all deserve.  Here is his farewell to her:

On July 25, 1997, a friend of mine, Debra Robertson, rescued a starving stray kitty and offered me the chance to become a cat dad. At the time, I think Deb and I had watched the very slightly offbeat movie, “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”. The poor recovering stray kitty didn’t have any voice left due to outdoor misadventure. She had this really gravelly voice, like one would expect from a drag queen who had spent their entire life in a smoky bar. She even had big hair. Thus I dubbed stray kitty as Priscilla. Made sense at the time… You had to be there.

For the first two weeks she spent the entire time under the sofa in the living room. I had to sit down next to the sofa every night after work to talk to her and set out tempting treats. Eventually she acclimated and laid claim to the house. She and I have had many adventures in moving and home projects over the years. She had developed into a very social cat that worked the room when guests came over. Quite the Deva.

She helped to keep me grounded during some very difficult times. Cats (and dogs) are very much in the moment. There is very little worry about abstract concepts like grief, aging, or fear of job loss. They persevere because that is what life tells them to do and they take joy in the moment.

She had a few close calls and emergency visits to the vet, but overall she maintained very good health in her advanced years. Not being able to climb the fence anymore, she was content to patrol the backyard. I had landscaped many trees and bushes back there for stealthy rodent ambushing. The pond became her favorite water supply and source of entertainment.

Over the last few months Priscilla had been steadily declining. I knew things were changing and time was catching up. This week she took a further turn and stopped eating. Last night she let me know that it was time. I spent the whole night going back and forth on what to do. I didn’t want to be premature if she was still enjoying life. But I also wanted to do right by her and not make her go through further discomfort. Her systems were shutting down and she couldn’t get comfortable.

Today we had our last morning ritual together. Something we’ve been doing for years. We made our way to the pond, sat for coffee in the garden, then had treats on the patio (her favorite chicken & gravy baby food).

The very kind vet lady came over at 8am and explained the process. We went upstairs to Priscilla, rather than move her about. Priscilla passed away on the bed, on her favorite fake fur blanket, receiving scritches and pets. There was no fear, pain, or unfamiliar surroundings. It was very peaceful.

The vet wrapped her in a special blanket and took her to the crematorium. I plan to have a memorial marker made and will place it in one of her favorite spots in the garden. I miss her even now.

When I get home from work tonight I will begin the process of cleaning up/packing/throwing out all the things I’ve grown accustomed to supporting; food dish, water bowl, litter box, toys, and favorite blankets. It already feels strange. It’s going to be a rough week.”

Rest in peace, beautiful, merciless Priscilla.  Until we meet again.