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Relief from a Most Orderly September in SCV
September, 2008 - Issue #47
September has arrived to return order to the Santa Clarita Valley. Traditional rules and roles evaporated in August's incendiary air: bed times were gone; adults and kids alike loafed in pools and lazed around patios. Being useless, unproductive members of society was alright. Even the straight-laced City Council took off most of August, presumably to prank call Ken Pulskamp and go drinking at Doc's Inn.

But the yin of August is now balanced by the yang of September. School is a couple of weeks along and the childhood routine of drop-offs, pick-ups, and homework are firmly re-established. Adults have resumed their traditional role as money-makers instead of vacation planners. September is no time for taking off Fridays - it's about work, not whim. Even September's ruling astrological sign, Virgo, is renowned for being self-controlled, orderly, and meticulous.

It's hard to have all of this order and obligation thrust upon us at once. Just as smokers have the patch, we need a bit of respite to get by. Happily, September is not without its reliefs.

Salvation from the Small Screen
Our first consolation comes in the form of new TV. After the writer's strike destroyed last year's scripted shows, we can at last look forward to an uninterrupted procession of new entertainment delivered via cable or satellite.

But what exactly is a Claritan to watch? Perhaps it's easiest to start with what not to watch. For instance, we must be cautious of anything coming from FOX. It's the network that decided to blow up Valencia with a suitcase nuclear bomb on the otherwise excellent 24. Incomprehensibly, the world didn't come to an end when Santa Clarita got nuked. I found this both unrealistic and insulting, and I have yet to forgive some 18 months later. It's alright, though; we have alternatives. The new sitcom Surviving Suburbia (likened to a male version of Roseanne by one critic) and a fresh season of Desperate Housewives will appeal to those who like to embrace suburban discontent.

The CW's trio of shows focusing on the rich and young -Gossip Girl, 90210 (yes, it's back), and Privileged - will find an audience here as well. They are shows that confirm the pleasures of living comfortably and the glamour of being a b-i-t-, well, you get the drift. This appears to be an ideal way to snag young viewers: a one-hour chance to escape ordinary, Septembran lives for wonderfully reckless ones taking place outside our overly familiar valley.

Joy in Briefly Empty Nests
I won't be surprised if moms join their daughters to watch some of these shows - time with kids is a precious commodity these days. It's especially hard when said kids are about to take off for college. Mothers must sense the coming of an empty nest the way a squirrel senses the approach of winter. Somewhere in the not-so-distant future lies a great, cold emptiness. The squirrel fights this fear by storing nuts and acorns, but the mother must store memories to keep her warm. And if bonding over soulless series like Gossip Girl helps, then so be it.

But can an empty nest actually help us get through September? It's all a matter of perspective. Given the current economy, setting off on one's own isn't always a permanent proposition. Knowing that her kids will be back to reclaim a room with dining and laundry services is the kind of sobering prospect a mom needs when trying to hold back tears at the sight of an empty bedroom. It gives license to enjoy a hiatus from 24-hour parenting, and that's a sorely needed perk for September.

Olympic Afterglow
Though the Olympics ended in August, they can still help us find our way through this ninth month. Inspired as we were by displays of Olympian physical fitness, September isn't a bad time to take up running. The City marathon is just two months away, and perhaps a new training program can whip you into shape in time. But if you're not quite up to a marathon, there are less insane distances to run, like a 5K. In either case, regimented September is the ideal time to start regular exercise routines. While it was fun to be sluggish in August, there are obvious benefits from taking firm control over our health and well being.

For inspiration, again look to Olympic athletes. Many of them made it to Beijing through the orderly process of setting goals, achieving them, and then setting more ambitious goals. Even if you're more athletic supporter than athlete, you can still use the process. It may at last be time to start organizing "Santa Claritans For Hosting the 2020 Olympic Games." Being host city would make the world heart SCV as much as its residents do, and September's the logical time to get to work.


This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor. Suggestions, catty comments and veiled threats intended for the author can be e-mailed to iheartscv@insidescv.com.
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