Allee Willis’ Kitsch O ‘ The Day – Road Trips, Kitties, The Batmobile and M&M Rice Crispies

Submitted by Allee Willis June 8th, 2011
Certifikitsch Winner

Last weekend, me and Snappy P, a.k.a. Prudence Fenton, jumped into the mustache van and headed up north on a cat reconisance mission after AWMOK‘s own (human) windupkitty sent an email blast from Palo Alto about a very special (feline) kitty in need of adoption. Normally I try not to read these things as I already have a fairly dysfunctional fur family running around Willis Wonderland, but this time, also-AWMOK’s own Snappy P in Los Angeles had been looking for a very special cat who embodied the spirit of her recently departed tripod puss, Harpo, and windupkitty’s description that the kitty in need of a home had an extra wide head, gigundo paws and a few other physical and mental quirks put him squarely in Harpo territory. So off we rolled up the 5 in search of the perfect cat.

Any of you who have ever driven the 5 know that once you’re past Magic Mountain you might as well be tooling through middle America. Other than the too-steep-for-me Grapevine, it’s flat as a pancake most of the way, cows and sheep the only signs of life lest for copycat franchise food and fuel stops completely devoid of the vintage truck stops you wish were still there if you have a bone of taste in your body. For someone who’s thrilled to be in a car because of the potential to spot thrilling kitsch, the 5 is punishment. The good news is that to get to Palo Alto you have to cut over Highway 152 to connect to the ubiquitous 101. And 152 is a fabulous highway, my favorite in California, just long enough to not get antsy and filled with fantastic vistas like this:

You don’t even mind when the road narrows down to a single lane because that’s when cherry stands start to pop up out of the ground like dandelions after a torrential summer rain:

The Bing wasn’t open so we hit one of the other ten or so “pit stops” within a few miles.  I hope this one is pronounced Mamie’s and not Mammy’s:

I really wanted to stop at this place for ice cream, especially if the person making it is the same person who made the sign and decided not to finish off the “L” so it looks like gariic ice cream is for sale.

Once we hit the 101 it was smooth sailing despite a disappointing lack of kitsch.  However, the snacks awaiting us when we arrived at windupkitty’s in Palo Alto more than made up for it.

Rice Krispie Treats are infinitely better if laced with M&Ms. And a car ride is also enhanced if it occurs in the Batmobile, parked outside our hotel when we had (a non-Rice Krispie Treat) breakfast the next morning.

I’m happy to report that the reason for our trip, the cat relocation program, was indeed successful. Here’s a photo of me, Snappy P, windupkitty and the as yet still unnamed new member of the Fenton family right before we piled back into our (non-Batmobile) mustached van and headed back along the flat 5.

27 Responses to “Allee Willis’ Kitsch O ‘ The Day – Road Trips, Kitties, The Batmobile and M&M Rice Crispies”

  1. windupkitty

    Wow, the BAtmobile..was right across the street and I had NO IDEA!!!!! I used have the exact HOt Wheels replica of that thing! Wow, nice work Fo’Seasons Whisky Gulch!

    Btw, they tore down our section of neighborhood called Whisky Gulch to build that complex, and then named it the Fo’Seasons “Silicon Valley” cause East Palo Alto has so many bad associations, so I REFUSE to call it “Silicon Valley”…I’m all for rehabilitation and rising from the ashes, but gentrification is an entirely different story…

    There’s a big difference between facilitating a strong sense of community,pride, caring and understanding to bring a neighborhood together and keep it clean, and just pushing out the folks who can’t afford to buy it clean. PageMill properties attempted to push a lot of people out illegally and it worked for awhile. but there were some impressive forces in our hood that stopped them. And that says a lot.

    What we lack is funds and manpower for outreach programs to catch kids before they they think their only options are gangs, violence, dropping out of school and giving up on their dreams. But there is a lot of heart in my community and I still have hope that things can change. That’s the solution, not moving the bad things somewhere else.

    These days, landlords (including my own) are getting hot and bothered thinking about how much more rent they can get in my neighborhood (whooopeee! Well-funded Billionaire 10 year olds with fancy computer devices they made in their parent’s basements!), but things are still the same here. The day I waited for you guys in the driveway, I watched a drug deal go down a few feet away and night before last, someone busted my driver’s side window trying to break into my car…They came all the way down the driveway, which is pretty bold..I think they got spooked off when I went out at 2am to check on Shitty Britches the cat…;) SHe remains my hero…

    Meanwhile, that Orange boy has waited a very long time for his Mama to come get him and he’s finally home…This is the best thing in the world and you guys are the best people in the world and I love you :) My face is still sore from laughing…next time I’d like to see how the pIgmy shops from strawberries in the Trader Joe’s…I bet he makes it interesting…..lvoelovelove you! Can’t thank you enough, but I promise I won’t get lazy about trying!!!!!!!!
    ps Minus the M&M’s, those treats were vegan…sorry to poison you, but at least they DIDN’T have canola oil! :)

  2. windupkitty

    ps, so glad that i could be portrayed as i,rather unfortunately, usually am: hair a mess, unshowered, wearing pajamas….the double chin is great too..oy…and the garage looks like sanford and son…so embarrassed!

  3. Mark Milligan

    I am almost in tears over the pictures of that car. Sweet Baby Jesus with water wings that is cool.

    I sometimes park clear back in the background and to the right of that second picture (free parking) when I want to have a really nice breakfast there.

    Windup you rock, pure and simple.

  4. windupkitty

    Haha Mark, no you know who rocks? 2 gorgeous women, a palm tree, a pigmy and tricycled riding pineapple, who together made the harrowing journey to save the life of a very special kitty….that’s who rocks!

    I just sat there and watched it all happen :) Meanwhile, are you saying you stop in around here?

    I realize now that I kinda went off about the neighborhood in my first response there….must have had too much coffee….

  5. Mark Milligan

    Yes, as in next week.

    One day I went into Kooky Kitsch’s antique store in Alameda a month or so ago and she wasn’t there but I bought my son a gift there anyway.

    I visit the bay area about once a month.

  6. k2dtw

    What an incredible post!!!… That yellow cat is beautiful, look at him looking directly into the camera…he’s ready for his close-up!!
    The batmobile is so cool…was the hotel able to tell you why it was there?
    I love the signs… The Ba-da Bing is fab…in July there are about a million roadside cherry sellers up-north during the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City…now I want a cherry stand. I could probably have more fun selling Ba-da Bing signs. That garlic ice cream sign cracks me up…anyone remember the old “plan ahead” signs…LOL

    • Allee Willis

      Thank you, it was quite a trip. The windup/Snappy P cat is now named Orlando and is very, very happy in his new home and eating like a pig. Which makes him even happier. We all were very aware that he got out of his little bedand walked to the front of the cage to pose with us for that picture. It was an excellent sign of things to come.

      Cherries are my favorite fruit. I’m sure there are more places in California with one stand after another but I haven’t seen that. So far, Mamy’s is my favorite, though we only hit two total. Will try two more the next time the 152 unfurles in front of the mustache van.

      When I asked why the Batmobile was in front of the hotel all the valet would say is “Bruce Wayne’s inside”. I saw the owner walk out and get into the car. Trust me, it was no Bruce Wayne.

      I don’t remember the “plan ahead” signs. Where were they usually located?

      • k2dtw

        LOVE reading that Orlando is a happy guy.
        I don’t remember the when and where???… I just remember “Plan Ahead” always made me smile when I saw it…and I always thought about it, when I had to letter a sign…smile..

        Google had some info…
        “Think” came out of IBM…and “Thimk” and “Plan Ahead”… were both popularized by MAD Magazine…
        “The THIMK sign originated in (or at least was popularized by) Mad
        Magazine. Ironically, a rival humor magazine later named itself THIMK. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
        A slightly less popular fad was a sign which bore the message PLAN
        AHEAD – but the letters in AHEAD were all crowded together, since
        there wasn’t enough room on the sign for the entire word. And there
        was yet another sign saying SOMEBODY GOOFED, with the letter ‘F’
        upside down. Mad Magazine published numerous versions of all of these, but THIMK has stood the test of time”…

  7. snappyp

    And of course the accommodations that Windup set him up in were very 4 season-ish. The 4 seasons green for this soft cage full of his bed, blanket chow and litter box. Fortunately he didn’t use it … phew. It never even occurred to Allee that he might, and when she realized the possibility…. she turned ghost white.

    • Allee Willis

      She means when we got in the car to come back to LA. I never considered that the litter box and possible incoming contents would be part of the 6 hour ride…. That’s what a great cat this is, very considerate of his neighbors and just slept, with no other feline habit demonstrated.

      • windupkitty

        Hahaha yeah, a pooping cat is not a fun travel companion, trust me, I know…but that’s the thing about this guy…i knew he’d travel well…i wouldn’t have sent out such a far and wide APB about him if I thought he’d be upset about a journey…he’s a really special guy and I know he’s glad you guys came and got him….