16 december 2001.10:46 p.m.

i enjoy manger scenes. two of the best can be seen by my aunt's house in san carlos. it's near pine st, off the alameda. it's totally worth driving to if you live anywhere near it, because i'm pretty sure it's a feud between two families to see who can have the most ornate, gauche, and even occasionally schmaltzy manger scene on the block. it's just two houses, and they are right next door to each other, and i hope they really hate each other and show off their hatred each year by trying to outdo each other with bigger, better baby jesuses. i think the house on the left has two baby jesuses, in fact. that's kind of overkill, in my opinion, but i also think that if you are that obsessed with putting nativities and reindeer and santas and snowmen (fake snowmen; remember, i'm in california) and elves and seizure lights and icicle lights and ribbons and wreaths and giant signs that say "happy birthday jesus", you shouldn't be allowed to own property.

my grandparents used to decorate the outside of the house for christmas every year, because the grandkids liked it and such, and it would just be simple strings of multicolored lights and a giant wooden santa with three little elves around him. after my grandparents died, my dad took the santa and told me that we could repaint it with giant, pointy, bloodstained teeth and evil red eyes. i think i was fourteen.

we never did that, but we still have the santa in the garage.