Wednesday, October 7, 2009



Rick - Spider - Erin

Rodney, Erin, Paul, Rick

Erin's new friend

Field trip!
Monday was a bad day for my lovely case manager, Erin. She was treated very rudely by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and her Otolaryngologist!
Being a exceptionally responsible individual, Erin, once she discovered that her driver's license had been suspended (see, Erin's Ticket) could not go around driving in good conscience, so right after our Garden Club session Monday morning, she drove (illegally) over to the nearest DMV field office located on Hope St. near the USC campus, to get her license reinstated, and get her registration renewed while she was at it.
Now we've previously discovered that Erin had received a fix-it-ticket for a broken taillight she thought she had taken care of, but hadn't. Erin and I went to the local court house and found out that her license had been suspended and that the DMV would charge her $55 to reinstate it. The court people also charged her $10 to arrange a hearing date for the fix-it-ticket, where in February she will most probably be charged an additional $80. Erin received a second fix-it-ticket last Friday for driving with an expired registration tag, which will most likely have a court fee of $25 associated with it.
The DMV Monday reinstated her license for $55. Then, since her license had expired, they charged her a late fee of 100 percent, totaling something like $280, but before she could get the new tag she had to get a smog check, which cost her an additional $50. Add all of these tickets and fees gets us to about 500 smackaroos! That on top of the $400 to replace her slashed tires, and the $90 locksmith fee to get into her apartment, adds up to a pretty financially crappy month for my dear and esteemed case manager. How can she be expected to purchase her frozen yogarts and Starbuck's lattes with expenses such as that?
So I bought her a $2.69 dollar hot dog yesterday afternoon to compensate. I had one too! It was good. I wish I had another one right now.
"I'm thinking of starting an 'Erin Legal Defense Fund,' for you," I told her.
Later Monday afternoon, Erin visited her Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor for the first time because her voice has been a little hoarse lately, where he slid a tube down through her nose to look at her vocal cords.
"I was actually crying when he did that, it hurt so much" she told me. How rude.
But before Erin and I had our hot dogs we took her to the Los Angeles Natural History Museum yesterday to cheer her up (although she wasn't very sad actually, displaying a remarkable attitude about the way my state and local government, locksmiths, and tire slashers had ripped her off). By an amazing coincidence, yesterday was also the Natural History Museum's one free day of the month. Amazing.
Four of us went along, myself, Rodney, Ray and Jose, along with case manager Paul. We left at 10:30, and hopped onto the old 62 MTA Bus to Fifth and Flower, to catch the F Dash (Ray kept calling it the FU Dash, for some reason. I don't know why), which took us all the way to the museum.
Guess what? Right now on the south lawn of the museum there is a seasonal exhibit open called The Spider Pavilion. They call it that because inside the Pavilion is where all of the spiders live, and you can go on there and look at them try to catch butterflys to eat.
The spider people say there are about 100 spiders in there (a small tented area about the size of three garden sheds), making webs to catch butterflys and other small insects. Hey, you've got to eat, right!? There are no cages separating the spiders from the spectators, which may be one of the reasons that Erin didn't seem too enthusiastic about going inside.
All the spiders in the tent, however, were not poisonous to humans, and were rather preoccupied with their spidery ways, web building and maintenance to take any notice of us humans who came by to visit. It was a tad disconcerting actually. The biggest ones were only about an inch or two long, but they were great at making webs, which were all over the place. You really had to take care to locate these webs as they are hard to see, but in almost every one of them there was a spider waiting patiently. They had orb weaving spiders, giant wood spiders, golden silk spiders, and golden orb weaving spiders.
If you look closely at the picture of myself and Erin (she's the prettier one), in between us, near one of the white squares above the door in the background, is a big spider ready to pounce. Erin's expression about says it all.
Done with the spiders we entered the museum itself and immediately looked at stuffed animals from Africa. In one exhibit there were giraffes mingling with elephants. Erin told me that as a five year old moppet she had once accidentally toppled into the giraffe enclosure at the zoo, and her aunt had to pull her out.
"Got into trouble for that one," she told me.
"It's good that giraffes are not known for their carnivorous proclivities," I said.
On the same floor we visited a whole bunch of minerals, stones, and gems, including a 69 pound flawless crystal ball that doesn't tell the future.
Looking at so many minerals exhausted us, so we went back outside and enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that I had made the previous evening in case there were to be a field trip the next day. You can see us out there in one of the pictures above.
Then we went back inside to visit North American stuffed animals, then downstairs to the Insect Zoo, where Erin was attacked by a polar bear. I have no idea why a polar bear was in the Insect Zoo.
We spent a great deal of time in the California History area, where we came upon a large replica of Los Angeles in the 1940s. Many of the building are still around, like City Hall, the Central Library, and Union Station (train station). Pershing Square was there as well, before they paved it over.
Erin, Ray, and I made a fast trip to the second floor and saw museum people cleaning up dinosaur fossils, some stuffed birds, and mollusks.
All tired out now we left the museum almost exactly the way we found it, took the F Dash back downtown where Erin got her hot dog, after which I escorted back to the safety of her office.
Erin had only one more task to complete before she left for the day.. to print the weekly sign up list for this Thursday's Cooking Club.

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