Happy New Year, Babies! 2012?! Zowie!
I never saw this year coming. Heck, I never saw the Kardashians coming. Tack-ee! This is grand, though! 2012! Whatever those whiny, moaning ghosties tell you of the pitfalls of being an eternal spirit, I say puh-shaw! I shed my Chicago overcoat the minute the dirt hit my lid in 1934 and I ain’t looked back since, cats. One regret, which I can fix any year, is of all the places I’ve partied on New Year’s Eve, London keeps missing my list. Next year, depending on what Harvey & Hildy do.
So, just to back up a bit, my Beantown Christmas was canceled, as you know from our previous chat, thanks to the parental units. Dr. Harvey & Hildy and big bro Hugh are still having a jazzy time in Hawaii, even managed to send me a few pretty tropical frocks. It took some effort to collect the box … now, to get the dresses on a dead girl. (Long story about the clothes; I’ll dish later.) The holidays turned out nicely though, damn fine even. I got through a heap of those Disney comics and even found a new series called Revere: Revolution in Silver. Paul Revere: colonial silversmith and werewolf hunter. Who knew? Best of all, my steampunk pal Dr. Lucy spent the holidays with me here in the Hotel Del. It was splendide! Drinks, dancing, singing, it was a real jolly-up! Although I have to say, you people don’t know the first thing about dancing. Whatever that slinking and shaking you dead hoofers do, it ain’t dancing. Even Harvey & Hildy’s foxtrot is better than this modern hop!
Lucy and I even terrorized some of the more ill-dressed folks in the restaurants and on Christmas Eve we sang under the moonlight to Lucy’s pet octopus Onslow, whom happily danced and splashed his tentacles about in the surf. Then, Lucy and I had an excellent idea. To extend our holiday we would head to Pasadena for the Tournament of Roses Parade. Sure, there are no more chariot races, sadly having been replaced by that football business. Yet, I do have a soft spot for the Rose Queen and her Royal Court; those tomatoes still know how to dress. I also read there was to be a Paramount Pictures float: 100 Years of Movie Magic. What with my history in the Paramount family, I was dying to see it. Ha! Best of all, I know the jolliest place of all to watch: atop the news cameras’ scaffolding on the Hot Corner at Orange Grove and Colorado Blvds. Maybe even in the KTLA booth with L.A. Rose Parade legends Stephanie Edwards and Bob Eubanks!
I had loads of energy saved up without the Boston trip and Lucy, well, she hasn’t left The Del since 1904. It was all planned. We were set to leave on New Year’s Eve, after hotel festivities. I donned my fanciest cloche, wrap coat, gloves and silk sailor dress; Lucy, true to her Victorian traditions kept it crisp and straight-laced in a riding hat, ruched skirt and fur capelet. Snazzy gals we were, togged to the bricks! We snatched a bottle or two from the poolside bar: absinthe for Lucy (Contemporary distillation, minus the potent wormwood component – nothing like what we used to drink!) and for me, Pernod Ricard and a bottle of fizzy dog soup to make a Pasadena Pastis. I even sent Lucy to the hotel library earlier that day to fetch a book or two; past parade experience dictates one will sit for hours in the early morning chill before the festivities begin. So, our proverbial bags were packed (ghosts don’t really need dirty weekend bags) and we were set to go. Then … we found the boxes at our doors.
Well, it’s been days now since we donned our festive chapeaux and we’ve not moved from our chaise lounges by the pool. Belated Christmas pressies … we both got Kindle Fires! From whom? We have no idea. Just a couple of boxes with bows; we must have a friend on staff. Then again, the Kindle is out of this world! Passing two sunsets, I believe, Lucy and I have been glued to our Kindles. Whilst batteries are not a concern for us, we are our own charging mechanisms, it seems the Fire has a pretty decent battery life. Still, if you want to improve your device’s life, I found fab tips from CNET. From what I can divine, everybody got a Kindle this year. Tell me you don’t know at least one person who got one under the tree or next to the menorah.
Speaking as a lithe ghost, it’s far easier to sport a Kindle than a laptop; and with my Netflix on the go I can watch all the Mae West, Clark Gable and Marlene Dietrich films I like. Dr. Lucy can’t pull herself away from Amazon’s Jules Verne collection: original French, with which I help her, and English translations. At last check she downloaded Paris in the 21st Century: wild, prophetic stuff, that! She’s even grown quickly fond of Wild Wild West, the Salma Hayek/Kenneth Branagh/Will Smith film: clearly an early iteration of modern steampunk. She’s also bookmarked the Scripps Institution of Oceanography website.
Me? I downloaded the entire Mark Twain omnibus for a mere .95! Murder! That’s just kooky! 178,245 digital pages of every word the rollicking steamboat operator wrote except his grocery lists. I also nabbed the entire Savannah of Williamsburg Series: ducky if you like historical-fantasy, colonials and poncy, talking squirrels! It’s bonkers how easy it is for me to read my tales and watch my films now. No one screams anymore when I pull a book off the shelf and no more having to sit in my room to read blogs or watch 30 Rock. Also, no more waiting for SyFy to run new episodes of Ghost Hunters; I can watch reruns all night long. Grant, Jason, Kris and Amy, so you know, I like. It’s the Ghost Adventures mooks I loathe. (Btw, SyFy, I’ve been waiting since Hallowe’en for new shows. Season 8 begins January 11, you say? Okay then.)
Anyhoo, within the first five minutes out of the box, my Kindle gave to me:
Savannah of Williamsburg: Books I-III by Jennifer Susannah Devore
Emily’s House by Natalie Wright
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Roanoke: The Lost Colony by Angela Hunt
Le Tour du Monde en Quatre-vignts Jours par Jules Verne
Grimm’s Fairy Stories von Gebrüder Grimm
SleepyTime app – Even ghosts need to sleep. I like to hear crickets chirping.
Shaking my head clear now – insert Warner Bros. animation-styled cow bell sound effects – from my Kindle comic book The Secret of Kells I realize how many guests I see around the pool, in the bars and in their rooms (What? I’m a ghost. Of course I snoop in people’s rooms!) living via their screens. Remember the Slingbox fella from my pre-Christmas rant? Don’t get me wrong. I’m keen on your modern days and I’ll take Shaun the Sheep and The IT Crowd any day over L’il Abner and Babes in Toyland … still, it’s a bit much, kids! Yes, Lucy and I got lost in a haze; but I’m turning off my Kindle right now, grabbing Lucy and heading to the tennis courts for some vigorous sport and to plan our next escapade. It’s been ages since I was in Paris!
I don’t want to be an Abercrombie, but I know a thing or two, about a thing or two. I’ve seen, and been, a bit of history and know what else is out there. You newbies, though. I urge you to get off your prats and travel. Do you have the mettle to struggle through tedious flights, rude stewardesses and clumsy concierges to get to the museums of Italy and France and be rewarded with Canaletto, Fragonard and Botticelli? Will you challenge the steep hills of Salzburg (in five-inch heels no less) in the heat of June to find yourself in a private cello concert in an archbishop’s ancient chamber? Will you brave the snow of a Washington, D.C. winter to spend hours perusing film and book archives in the Library of Congress? Or, shall you merely Google the art, Tweet your thoughts about this @JennyPopNet, Facebook your European friends instead of visiting them and load all the vicarious experiences on your Kindles and iPads? Sure, that’s the easiest way; but is it worth the lack of effort? Like Gil in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, don’t you long for the struggle? Wikipedia can’t tell you what Montmartre smells like in the rain. To my own shame, it can’t tell me what the coffee and cocoa beans on so many of the 2012 Rose Parade floats smelled like in person this year … or what those Occupier rag-a-muffins who followed the parade smelled like. Ick. Maybe they’re best left to a screen version. Oh, and Onslow was not impressed by the protesters’ corny, off-the-cob, plastic bag octopus, equating his tentacles to corporate greed. Puh-shaw!