Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End Of A Year, Uh...

I seldom address holidays and special dates as they come. I'm more likely to ruminate on Christmas in May than December. Still, I couldn't help but notice as I sat down to write that this would be going out on the final day of the year. It's only natural at that time to take stock of what's passed and look ahead to the future (and, we hope, to better days). This is true even for those of us not given to half-hearted, last-minute crusades of self-improvement.

Strictly within the confines of this blog, I can say that I am at least partly content. I managed to write 365 posts, which constitutes a new personal best (up from last year's 322). I got something out every single day, rain or shine (and there was some rain). I can't say that I loved everything I wrote, too often turning out something half-baked or unoriginal for lack of time or energy. Still, I fulfilled my goal of disciplining myself into writing regularly, which I believe has paid off in other writing endeavors.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Manos Rojas

Years ago, I'm sure I never had any personal interest in being too clean. I was a boy after all, and children tend to not see any strong personal incentive in being clean, or at least it does't seem to me that they did then. They rough-house and they cannot appreciate the delayed gratification that lies in eating a few minutes later in order to do so under sanitary conditions, for example. They would prefer to eat immediately and take their chances.

Being a grown man now, I have any number of reasons to be clean. It's expected of me, whereas latitude was granted to a boy of little maturity. I had better have clean hands in order to thrive personally and professionally. Even if it weren't for that, I very much prefer to be clean, being somewhat fastidious in very specific, narrow respects. An important consideration is that I now am the one who cleans up after myself.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Drink Up

Of the many things I don't get, one of the more troublesome lies in the galley of a commercial jet (if in fact the kitchen area of a plane is called that). On every flight, you get a drink. You can order an alcoholic drink, as I seldom do, or you can get something else. I usually go with something else, being cheap and also concerned about what I might do with my inhibitions loosened in midair. Probably nothing more severe than being too loud, but that could be bad.

When you buy an alcoholic drink, they give you the whole can of beer. When you get something else, chances are excellent that they'll pass off less on you. I really don't get that. I assume there must be a reason to give me a small cup of soda that is in fact mostly ice, but I can't imagine what it is. Surely even a  jet of the size they use on short flights can contain enough twelve ounce soft drinks to allot each passenger one.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Lately I've been home visiting my family, and I noticed something that I found very interesting (although not so interesting that it couldn't wait until I was really hard up for an idea). It's a salt shaker. Obviously it goes beyond that, or I wouldn't find it so interesting. For starters, the salt is pink. I guess that makes it stylish or something. The grinder's label claims that it is naturally pink, and I can't really argue that, as much as I'd like to.

Its place of origin is what really interests me. Its label claims that it's both a product  from the Himalayas. Considering that I couldn't immediately recall the location of those mountains, I hardly could question whether salt is drawn from them in any significant quantities. I did enough research to assure myself that the mountain range does pass within Pakistan's borders, but not enough to establish the nation's salt industry.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Commercial Television

I like watching television. I don't seem to watch as much as I maybe once did, but then I think I watch a generally higher caliber of shows these days. Even given the fewer hours spent watching shows, I think it's interesting what you can learn. I don't mean the shows themselves so much, although there is a lot in that also. Sometimes we see our perception of the world we live in, and sometimes it's the world we wish for. Sometimes it's what we fear will come.

As I said though, that's not what interests me so much. It's really the commercials. When you pay attention, you realize how much they reveal about you. They don't necessarily sell products for you personally, but they do always sell products for the better part of the audience of the show in question. It adds up when you think about it, but you don't really think about it a lot, I think. That's probably for the best.

Monday, December 26, 2011

You First

When I used to live with my parents, my father would go hiking on nearby mountain trails often, and I would go with him. When I come home and we are all together, then he and I go hiking sometimes as we used to. The mountain preserve is in the middle of the metro area, and it is heavily trafficked by people on bicycles, horses and foot. Only rigorous adherence to protocol and very conscientious behavior could keep those groups from quarreling.

It doesn't go so well, really. One thing that would seem to help is a general air of politeness. When two hikers cross paths, it's common for a hearty 'hello' to be exchanged. It's nice to be nice, but it doesn't go so well, as I said. My natural inclination is to say hello and then receive their hello. Unfortunately, the reply often isn't forthcoming. I don't know what it costs some people to say hello (because it must cost them dearly), but for me it's free.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Time Travelers All

I find it somewhat difficult to manage the time. It's not being places on time that's generally the issue, although I invariably find that I must rush out of the house at the last minute to do so. Really what it is that provides some difficulty is knowing just what time it is. Maybe that sounds like a rather anachronistic problem, given that most clocks now are part of a global system. What is left behind except for your older microwaves and toasters?

My wristwatch does need to be kept up, any every time it falls behind I must re-teach myself its operation without a manual. Presently it's three minutes behind, and if I can remember that then it hardly needs fixing. It does take a moment to bring it to mind, however. The case is the same with my standard alarm clock, except that it's considerably more reliable in keeping the time. Still, there is one thing that it needs.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Uptight Crew

I know very well that being a flight attendant is not what it once was, if it ever was what it once was. The conditions are worse and the benefits are less. It must be an especially trying job when it comes to the holidays, with frantic schedules, bad weather and passengers behaving about as badly as they ever do. I say all this to confirm that I am sympathetic to their plight, and that is a prerequisite to declaring that I'm not happy with them.

I flew home for the holidays this year, and I never do enjoy flying. This most recent flight was in fact not that bad. The Burbank airport makes things a lot easier, and my usual airline is mostly tolerable. I can't complain too much, except that on this occasion I must say that I'm not entirely pleased with the conduct of the aforementioned flight attendants on this flight. Now, I know they were tired and burned out, because they said so several times during an hour-long flight, but nonetheless...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Not Smart

I read what I guess was an unfortunate article yesterday evening. It concerned a restaurant near me which may soon receive a historic designation from the city, or whichever government entity is concerned with such things. This restaurant may also lose its lease with the building owner soon. Now, the basis of the historic designation would mainly be the building's design, which I understand is of the 'Googie' movement.

The owner is said to be livid over the possibility of the designation. I guess I can kind of see his point of view. He may see the possibility of renovations and re-development being impaired in future. This certainly could impact his bottom line if he hopes to yield more money from the present tenant or from another after making some form of improvements, and as I said I can appreciate that concern, although I don't exactly share it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Food I Want

Yesterday I managed to do something that I hadn't done in far too long. In spite of my best intentions I hadn't managed to do it. I felt like I would have sooner if I had felt any support from those around me, if they had shown any interested in doing it alongside me, but that's not much of an excuse. What I want to do, I should be able to do readily even if I stand alone. Still, I hadn't done it, and that is entirely on me. I accept it.

There's no need for recrimination any longer, for I have done it: I have eaten Chinese food. I don't know what it is, but the people I know here in Los Angeles have little appetite for the cuisine of China. They like Japanese food, they like Thai food and they like Korean food (sometimes fused with always-popular Mexican food), but they just do not have any enthusiasm for Chinese food, which I have always myself loved.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What A Day

This past Sunday was quite a day for me, by which I mean it was just jam-packed with activities. It began very early. I needed to get up at six o'clock, and so I of course woke up well before my alarm clock: four o'clock. I would like to have gone back to sleep, but my day had started. My first order of business upon leaving the house was reporting to my church for participation in a production of 'A Christmas Carol'. I was to be there at 7:45 in the morning, and was.

The whole time I was there discharging my responsibilities, I had several concerns on my mind. One was my fantasy football league, which was that day in the midst of its championship week. Would I win my third place game and finish in the money, or lose and finish an ignominious fourth? My mind was criminally drawn towards this matter in spite of my total inability to affect the matter, though I feel I managed it all right. I would later win third place.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Curious Sight

I felt like a local here in Los Angeles the first time I passed by the Chinese Theatre and the Walk of Fame while on my way to someplace pressing. It was a job interview, in fact. The tourists clogging the sidewalks earned my ire in spades, and I felt like a local for the first time in that way. At such times, I am short-tempered and impatient, but I have had subsequent experiences along that stretch that are somewhat more pleasant.

The other day there was such a time. During the summer, or around mid-day most of the year, that area of Hollywood Boulevard is heavily congested with foot traffic. When you are there at another time, it's something of a different story. On this particular day, I was passing by there before eight o'clock in the morning, and in less than optimal weather. It was largely clear of people, and I imagine that the bulk of them were at that time taking advantage of their hotel's continental breakfast.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Moment Of Truth

When you do improv comedy, it seems to me that it's tough to get too emotionally invested in what you come up with. You come up with it on the spot, so why should you get attached? I know that I don't, and it seems reasonable to suppose that others have the same experience with it. You say to yourself, "I would have done this and this and this better had I time to prepare, had I opportunity to write the thing in advance. I didn't, and mistakes are part of the charm."

When you do someone else's prepared material, it's easy to detach yourself from it. Whatever the outcome, you can hang your hat on the assumption that any failure in it lies in the camp of the writer, not the performer. You say to yourself, "Had I written it, I would have been able to do it better in such and such a way, and the writer really screwed me up. I did my best, but the audience disliked it because the words were no good."

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I was thinking idly yesterday that I would like to get a little Christmas tree. With a previous roommate, I had acquired and decorated a very small tree of perhaps a couple feet. When we went our separate ways, we had split up the stuff. I suppose that I had come out on the short end of it, because all I seem to have is the single string of lights we bought. I think he must have both the tree and the garland, although I can't say I miss the messy garland, which shed tinsel readily.

I wonder if the time is now to buy a tree and all. It seems likely enough to me that there will be severe discounts on things following this Christmas season, as stores never do seem to accurately assess their needs where such things are concerned. That would mean not having what I want in time this year, but being ready next year. I did razz a roommate for operating alone those lines in another matter, so perhaps I ought not do the same if I am to be consistent.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Easy Ride

As I write this, I struggle with the fear that I have covered this ground before, but one cannot by fear be kept from action. The thing is that a neighbor of mine- a good friend- has this lovable dog. It's a pit bull, but it is one that does not deserve the bad name that the breed has in many quarters. Some would have us all believe that the breed as a whole should not be regarded as mean or violent. I don't know much about that, but this dog is a danger only through its boundless enthusiasm for making friends.

The dog doesn't cope well with being cooped up, and its owners would not have it confined all day. It (she) is given plenty of opportunities to stretch its legs and void herself. Not always are the owners themselves at liberty to take her out, and so she is entrusted to a select circle of outsiders. I am one of these, and I take seriously the responsibility. For anything to happen to her on my watch is just unthinkable.

Friday, December 16, 2011

After Casting, The Urge To Be Plastered

In life, things can turn around on you in dramatic fashion. We hear of the hunter becoming the hunted, and of the child's first educator requiring education from their very own progeny. For me the more recent change in positions seems amusing to me, though it may not to anyone else really. As you'll recall I wrote yesterday of trooping off nearly two hours to be interviewed by (and to myself interview) an agent- a person who would attempt to drum up opportunities to be cast in things.

The person who was yesterday to be cast today does the casting. In a switch that sounds like it might come from a Bob Dylan song, I find myself in the position of casting acting friends in a modest comedy sketch (although it perhaps does us all a disservice to underrate it so). I think I may not be suited for this end of things to the exclusion of all others. There is much about it that I would just as soon leave to another.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Long Way To Go

The other day, I had some business out a long way from home. It was, as a matter of fact, an interview with a potential agent (or rather a definite agent who could potentially have represented me). For reasons probably not worth speculation, the agency was deep into the San Fernando Valley. Most people probably would have been dissuaded by the great distance entailed by the prospect of the interview, the great potential reward notwithstanding, but not I.

First I had to walk over to what they call a busway, which is a bus that functions as a light rail train does. I took this busway all the way to the end of the line, which is a ride that approaches an hour in length, give or take a few minutes. From there I had to connect with another bus of the conventional sort that would carry me another half an hour or so in that same direction. Altogether the trip took nearly two hours, accounting for the walking and the waiting.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Television Free Los Angeles

I recently acquired a second television at a modest cost, seeing it as being a worthwhile investment in good relations among my roommates and I. There is that one who is good enough to go to bed at a reasonable hour, unlike us other two, who can now watch movies in my bedroom rather than in the living room at a reduced volume. So far it has been very effective in achieving the goal of keeping the peace, though it has not been long.

An interesting side benefit has been what TV shows I have watched on it. As I may have said in the past, I have a converter box that lets me watch the free channels, and I have installed it on this second TV. I grumble and swear trying to adjust the antenna to bring in the signal, but when I do there are some remarkable shows on. I find myself getting hooked sufficiently that I am falling behind on contemporary shows.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Great Food Raid

Something that is more important about film and stage productions in which I have participated than about anything else is the food. People fulfill their responsibility out of responsibility, pride or fear of the whip from the director or assistant director, but they do it more gladly when the food is good and plentiful. While the quality varies, what seldom does is the amount of it. People never seem to want to take any home, though I do.

What can be difficult is getting at the food sometimes when your job takes you away from it. I was doing a thing for a church play and my task was up in the balcony. The food was down in some basement. The house had opened, putting hordes of people in between me and the food I knew was out there. I had to come down the stairs, go through the lobby and through the house to reach the stairs down to that basement. It was quite a journey.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cheap Miracle

There are some amazing things in this world, and many of them people tend to recognize readily. There are the seven wonders of the world, both of the natural persuasion and the ancient one (although given that only one of the latter survives, it is more difficult to be impressed). There are modern, man-made feats like the Hoover Dam that everyone must concede are fairly great achievements. There are also, though, those things for each of us that are personally that impressive, but unlikely to sway others.

I saw such a thing, and why I'm so over the moon for it I cannot really explain. All it was is a spotlight. There I was, standing up in the balcony of a nightclub configured more like a theater. We were using it for a church. In any case, at one point there shone above my head a brilliant light which targeted a figure down on the stage. It mesmerized me, looking like a solid cylinder of light encompassing all these flecks of dust.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Noises Off, For Real

Having had the experience of that very loud punk concert a while back now, it seems worth contemplating a contrasting experience. Living in an apartment building (especially with roommates), one must be courteous of those all around. Noise is a constant problem. Were we to make too much noise at night, we would be apt to hear from the neighbors. That hasn't happened to us, though it has to friends within the building.

It's more important still to be considerate of one's own roommates. One of my roommates and I were cognizant of the third trying to sleep, and so we sort of made a game out of being as quiet as could be. Really, we were being quieter than we needed to be. As I said it was a game, and the silence was broken numerous times from muffled laughing. Still, it was a most edifying experience for me, as I imagine it was for my fellow contestant.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What Lies Encoded

You'll recall I was at a concert recently that really did a number on my hearing for a bit. It was a good time, to be sure. I was there with some friends, one of whom was taking pictures for the venue. Well, a gentleman got the idea that that we were affiliated with some major media outlet. Specifically, he asked if we were with a magazine. Of course, I over-thought the question. I should have flatly said no, but because I equivocated (on account of the answer not seeming so cut and dried), he insisted on giving me a CD with his band's music on it.

I would just as soon he not have. Just how am I to do him and his comrades any good if I like it? You see, I have not yet listened to the thing. I mean to. I meant to that very night. I couldn't, of course. My ears were ringing so badly I could barely tolerate silence. I felt like Roderick Usher or something. That being the case, this guy's CD was going to have to wait. Perhaps in the morning, I thought, I'll be able to give it a fair hearing, for whatever that's worth.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Laker Street Irregulars

Again I write about my own apartment building, whether anyone wants to hear it or not. I continue to find interest in the people I live around. It's funny the kind of partial connection you have to dozens of people in a place like this. You get to know a lot of people in an extremely narrow and superficial sense.You see them as you're both coming or going. You exchange a couple of words in the laundry room, the lobby, or perhaps the grill area.

Then, in the case of the building's few children, you watch them from a distance as you would any other devastating force of nature. Actually, I guess they're mainly not that bad, but I keep a wary distance even so. In my adult life, I've lived apart from kids more than I've lived among them. Our neighborhood when I was a kid had plenty. The one we moved to from there had few if any. The ones out here in LA have had plenty, but I was not in such close proximity.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Late Wake

I seem to do pretty well getting up when I ought to these days. It's seldom that I genuinely sleep in, because I mostly can't even in I want to. I have fallen into a strong enough habit that I wake up when the alarm would have gone off even if I don't set it. I guess that's good. A routine is important to productivity and good health, but I do rankle at my conscious mind being subjugated by internal rhythms or whatever else does it.

Still, I have mixed feelings at best when I am at liberty to sleep in and do it. Even on those days, it feels like I have too much to do. I feel lousy if I've slept in and there were no adverse consequences. "No one at all missed me?", I'll ask myself. On the other hand, it feels none too good to wake up in early afternoon  to some email or text from the morning that needed fast attention. I'm glad in such cases to be wanted, but would love a less harried entrance into the land of wakefulness.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


With all the effort I have made in recent years along the lines of being a performer, to say nothing of my attempts to have at least an average fashion sense, I have gotten rather interested in the colors that work best in me in clothes. Neutral colors are fine for everyone of course, and so for a long time if I ever looked good it was probably with black or something like that. Recently though, I've done more with riskier possibilities.

With my eyes, blue seems to do well. I realized that I accidentally developed a wardrobe that was heavier in blues than about anything else. Perhaps I was subconsciously making one or two good decisions. Of course everyone has lots of blue jeans, but apart from that I have a bunch of blue shirts, as well as a very nice blue jacket and pair of shoes. One can go overboard, but with a little newfound restraint, blue might be where I'm at my best.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shoot Me, And Don't Miss

I have had the experience now a few times of being photographed by people I would call professionals. I'm not talking about the guy at Sears who takes the family photos, nor do I mean the embattled school photographer (who in my memory re-defined the struggles of Job). No, I mean professionals of somewhat higher caliber than that. It's an interesting thing to contrast their results with those of the average shutterbug friend of mine.

The thing is that there used to be some people with cameras taking pictures, and now everyone's got a camera phone to take shots with. As a result, there are more pictures of me than there used to be, and it's probably so that in some respects the quality is worse. This is in spite of the incredibly more prevalent ability to modify a picture after the fact. It used to be that what came from the photomat was what you were stuck with, and yet I think we were doing better then.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Homework? Drone Work

I don't miss school too much (the firewall from the real world aside). To be honest, a substantial amount of the best learning I did came well outside any formal bounds. All of the very picayune stuff that had little future application came in schools. You tell me when you do sentence diagrams these days. I know I don't, but I like to think I can put together a sentence without one. In any case, I don't love doing anything that makes me feel like I'm back in school.

Sometimes I find myself doing something that feels like homework. I'll get some kind of request to submit one thing or another in writing, and I don't jump for joy, although I love writing. I don't care much for technical writing or reports. I dislike anything that smacks of clerical work. I'm bad with details, and that's all that it is. When one of these things comes up, I do my best, but I'm not smiling. There's just relief to be done with it, and further relief that it passed muster.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Mark Of A Writer

I regard myself as a writer, if only in the sense that one is a baker after making a cake at home. I think I'm a writer because of more than that, though. I think I may be a true writer by calling, although that is not all that I devote myself to in my professional endeavors. When doing those other things, I find myself wondering if I'm not more writer than performer, though there is great reward in performing what I've written.

How is one to know? I think there must be signs. They must have been easier to detect once upon a time. These days, one is more a typist than a writer. I write seriously only on my computer, although I do take notes by hand. That's when I see something that must have been on writers all the time once. They used to write everything by hand. The first to use a typewriter is said to have been Mark Twain, who turned to it relatively late in his career (although early in the period during which he was known).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wait, Wait, Wait, Now!

I never have had a great deal of success with patience, although as I have chronicled here, there have been occasional improvements in that. It is often just too much for me to manage, I'm afraid. One of the areas in which I have suffered the most for my inability to wait is in cooking. In front of me as I write this is something rather hot that I am eager to eat. I keep trying to start on it, only to find out afresh that it is too hot to eat safely.

I hate to wait and wait only to find that it has been sitting there too long. It is a delicate balance. If I get it right, then I of course benefit from a tasty meal consumed in its prime. You cannot make too much of the massive improvement in the eating experience that comes from getting some food when it's neither too hot nor too cold or spoiled. It is, quite simply, the dream to which we all aspire in our daily eating lives. I know that it is for me, anyway.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Worst To Least Worst

As I write this, I have a burner lit on the stovetop, and there are two cups of water heating up in a pot on that burner. It's my intention to put some ramen noodles in there, wait three minutes and then eat the results. I do not do this with relish. I would very much like to eat something else, but at the moment nothing superior suggests itself. I, therefore, must suck it up and make the best of what I have got on hand.

The thing is that, apart from being terribly insubstantial and utterly unhealthful, ramen noodles are not really tasty. That is to say that this is mostly the case. There are a number of flavors, but they are more or less all the same. Chicken is the worst. I don't think that they know what chicken is. It reminds me more of some vegetarian rice dish. I say 'reminds' because it doesn't taste like that- it would have to taste good to taste like that.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hobo's Delight

Sometimes I am hungry and lazy at the same time. Actually, I should say most times. I start off doing something like eating slices of bread. I know I shouldn't. There is in my mind that lesson from my father about adding value to individual food items by combining them into something that is more than the some of his parts, although he never exactly put it into those words. I believe it was as simple as "Don't just eat bread; make a sandwich!"

I do make the effort to concoct something a little more involved, although sometimes it doesn't start out that way. The other day, I was going to just eat bread. It occurred to me that it would be a bit more flavorful if I spread some hot sauce on it, and I did so. It further seemed that it might be even better to lay some tomato sauce over that. I then remembered that I had a pack of revolting cut-rate individually-wrapped cheese slices, and figured that I might lay some of that on what I already had.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sound Check

A couple of days ago, I was advised of a remarkable concert to transpire here in my neighborhood. This concert was to feature a singular newly-formed group made of musicians who each were part of several highly regarded bands. Among the connections were The Clash, Eurythmics, The Sex Pistols and Blondie. Given that the show was more or less free and that this was a one-of-a-kind opportunity, I felt I had to go.

There was some fear that the show would be too crowded for me to get in, though a friend was taking pictures for the event. As it happened, I need not have worried (as is most often the case), for I was able to get in easily. I was able to take in the last act before the aforementioned supergroup, and it was not too bad. Notably, it was not uncommonly loud. I don't happen to be crazy about exceptionally loud music, though my roommates and neighbors might disagree. I know my limits.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Can By Chance

As I write this, I am refreshing myself with a cold beverage from the vending machine in my apartment lobby, of which I've written before. It's not the one that I had intended to get. That one is sitting in the refrigerator, awaiting its fate. No, the one I'm imbibing now is a canned lemonade, which I am not in the habit of selecting for myself. I guess that if I'm going to seek out any lemonade, it's going to have to be homemade. I wouldn't get a homemade soda. That sounds gross.

Undoubtedly you are wondering why I have the lemonade. That was my intention, so I hope you are. Perhaps you think that my first choice was unavailable, and so I fell back on another offering from the machine. In truth, the lemonade would not have been my second choice, or maybe even my third. I forget how many the machine has, but the lemonade is low on the list for me. No, I would have taken nothing if this was what I had to take.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Caught Not Caught Up

There is some great television on these days. Mindless trash may be more numerous and more popular, but for the more discriminating viewer, there is more than enough programming of a very high quality. In fact, there really is too much. Only someone who can dedicate hours a day can watch it all. A lot of people do watch tv for hours a day, but they watch the trash. I watch the good stuff, and while I ordinarily have plenty of time for it, I recently was uncharacteristically busy.

As a consequence, I have fallen woefully behind. The recent holiday weekend gave me time to catch up on just one show. I might have watched a little of everything, but I felt there would be a great psychological boost from knocking one show off the agenda. That show, of course, has now aired a new episode, again putting me a bit behind on it. At least I'm not four episodes back on it anymore. That was embarrassing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Frequent Flyer

There I was, sitting in my seat on the plane back home for Thanksgiving. I had no hope of having the row to myself, but I always am optimistic that the middle seat might remain empty. This is lessened somewhat during the holidays, but it's still there. I never do have much hope that the person I'll be sitting by will be somebody I really want to know. It might be, but I never imagine it to be possible that it might be a girl I'd like to be with.

On this occasion, it was not to be an attractive girl, but it was a passably interesting man of advanced years. I didn't talk to him until the brief flight was nearly over. I had observed a peculiar magazine he was reading. At first, I thought it could be Soldier Of Fortune or some military magazine. It seemed to pertain to the Air Force or maybe Navy flying. My curiosity built, though I had a fine book to read myself. At long last, I had to inquire.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ready And Waiting

I don't buy a lot of alcohol these days. I buy some, generally as needed for larger gatherings. I don't keep any around as a rule anymore, though I used to. When I was newly old enough to drink, I habitually bought beer and hard alcohol, never drinking to excess but drinking a little most days. My intention was to develop a working knowledge of the various types and brands, so I tried never to buy the same thing twice.

A remaining trace of my old buying habits is at my parents' house. There are still a number of bottles that I bought when I still lived there. This is some four or five years ago at least. They don't touch it, and I'm there so seldom that I have no more than a few drinks there in a year. I'd say that it's all getting better with age, but the sorts of liquor that we're talking about are already as good as they can get right on the store's shelf.

Friday, November 25, 2011

They're Out There

When I am back home with my parents for some occasion or another, there are some things that are not generally part of my day-to-day life anymore with which I am momentarily reacquainted. There is the house (or what there is left of it that has not been changed), there is the ebb and flow of household life, and there is the incredible amount of food on hand at any given time. I'm never home long enough to fully return to the old routine, but some things come back.

Something that I think of little is the coyotes. There are hordes of them even in suburban Phoenix, to say nothing of the mountain preserves and further-out areas. They are hardly the only predator out there, and my mind turns to hawks, snakes and spiders immediately. It is the coyotes, though, that are the most outspoken foe. They can be heard to howl sometimes at night, and one guesses that they are in the process of creating some real heartache for some pet owner out there.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spare The Bird, Spoil The Holiday

Today being Thanksgiving, I thought I might actually address the occasion for once. Usually it seems that notable dates pass by without comment from me. I'll think of something some months in advance and resolve to write it when the time comes. Of course I forget, but not this time. The centerpiece of Thanksgiving, of course, is the turkey. Boy, I love turkey. You know, I have read that the tryptophan in it is no more conducive to drowsiness than that in any large quantity of food.

That's really not what interests me. At this time, we always hear of the president pardoning a turkey. No one has done otherwise since Reagan, I believe. In that, Reagan might be our last honest president. He openly declared his intentions to eat a turkey. Since then, they pardon one turkey, and presumably eat others. That is not much of a merciful gesture to me. What is that, to spare one and consume the rest? That's meaningless to me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Talking About Talking On Bicycles

When walking down the street with someone, I often struggle to remain at the same pace. Frequently I will find myself well in front, and it is agonizing to slow down for them to catch up. This isn't because I'm so much more eager to get where I'm going, or even because I just move faster. I don't happen to be fast or have long legs. I just happen to be operating at a higher gear in such cases. It's sort of like something that happens to me on occasion, and I'm the slow one.

Plenty of my friends are avid bike riders, but there is one in particular. He lives in my building, and we go to a lot of the same places. When it's close enough, he rides his bicycle. I walk. If each of us independently arrives at the decision to go to the same place, an awkward thing happens. I can't go as fast as his bike the whole way. Even if I could, the conversation wouldn't be too terribly interesting for either of us.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Undignified Ride

I was walking to the grocery store, and had nearly gotten there. As has become my habit, I had eschewed my mp3 player in favor of allowing myself a few quiet minutes to take in all the sounds of the neighborhood. I do this for fun, because the noises out there cannot be had in my home, and my music can be had in either place. Also though, I  go without music on short walking trips for safety. One never knows what hazard may approach stealthily when music is blaring in the ear.

That very thing happened the other day. Had I not been free to hear it, I would have been caught entirely by surprise. As it was, there was little warning when a man on a bicycle suddenly sped past me on a relatively narrow sidewalk. He must have been awfully confident of slipping by me without incident, or else he didn't care if he did. I've seen this happen to other people, and was heartily sympathetic towards the people who were then in the place I was now. Now being in their shoes, I was most sincerely annoyed.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Out There A Storm, In Here I'm Warm

It rained yesterday here in Los Angeles. I've written about it in the past, but it must have been a while, right? Perhaps we will find that something new emerges from an old subject through the passage of time. A person can't help but change at least a little. Now, I am of two minds about rain. I grew up in a desert community where the necessity for some rain soon was one of those safe topics everyone could readily agree on.

It was just the kind of rain that I like. It was hard, cold and had the decency to select a day on which I could remain indoors. I like rain fine when I am indoors, which I suppose is common to all reasonable people. Being caught out in it is awful, although it's really just the getting wet that's bad. It's a funny thing, actually. They say that illness is prevalent during rainstorms not because people are stuck out in it, but because the weather compels them to stay indoors for so long. That's where the disease runs rampant.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


As I write this, the single most notable home-cooked meal is coming up within a few days. I mean by that, of course, Thanksgiving. It comes at a very good time for me, as I have been in downtown LA on jury duty for most of two weeks. I typically eat as many meals at home as I can, eating out only when out with my friends on an infrequent basis. This seemed to be an unworkable system when in a courtroom most of the time.

I really probably could have brought my lunch with me, but then that would have required thinking about my lunch plans prior to the minute before I had to leave the building or be late. You don't want to be late for something at the courthouse. So it was that I found myself eating lunch either in the courthouse cafeteria or at a downtown eatery ten times in two weeks. First and foremost, that obviously led my food budget to greatly exceed its usual parameters.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Bold Life

As I write this, I am taking a chance. I was given by a friend some leftover lime-ade (or limeade as it appears to be spelled) after some gathering that now escapes me. As I often do upon receiving such gifts, I put it away and thought no more about it. Plenty of times when I was thirsty, I chose something else, on occasion going to great lengths to get something rather than just drinking the limeade that I had. I can't explain that.

Every day made me more reticent about drinking it, but finally I took the carton out and examined it. I found that the expiration (or 'best by') date had passed, but decide that I would be the judge of whether it was truly done for. After all, the company must be overly cautious for fear of lawsuits from the stupid and ignorant. I could decide with a high probability whether it was safe. I got out a glass and poured it full of the limeade.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Day

Lately I have had reason to spend a lot of time in downtown LA. That neighborhood, like most in the metro area, is a mixed bag. As it happens, I have found myself in one of the nicer sections of it, and I have relished the opportunity to avail myself of its eateries and cultural highlights (although I have missed more than I have managed to get to). On the whole I have become more acquainted with the erstwhile city center in a positive way.

The timing of my gravitation towards the area coincides with that phenomenon common to a number of the nation's most prominent cities, 'Occupy Wall Street'. I think they must tailor the name to the actual place of the protests in question, or else the title is a misnomer in more cases than it is an apt name. In any case, I have had occasion to see things that I would otherwise not have made the trip downtown to see. It's been quite an experience.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Creep

There's nothing new about the Christmas season creeping up on us earlier and earlier every year, although it had seemed that nothing would push it back past Thanksgiving. That, I know I thought, was a popular enough holiday that it would stand its ground as a firebreak against further Yuletide creep. There's the big meal, the iconography, the associated football games and all the traditions, few of which honestly require any unpleasant activities such as giving. Still, it ultimately was no match for the juggernaut.

I say that Thanksgiving has given way because of something I have been made aware of recently. Each radio market has at least one station which gives way to Christmas music every year as the holiday grows near. Typically it seems that it is a soft rock station, which says much about the nature of that genre's appeal. In LA, the station best known for its Christmas music is KOST. They have not yet begun their Christmas music programming.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Train Fever: Catch It!

Relying on public transportation as I do, I have had some opportunity to consider the experience of hustling to catch a train. Where I live, the subway station is some ten minutes' walk, although I would call walk a trifle leisurely of a term for what you must do to get there in that time. At the very least, it's a very determined walk. No stopping or loafing is permissible if one is to catch the train, even (as I perpetually fear) if you encounter a friend along the way.

Most unfortunate are unanticipated detours of the kind forced by the construction of that movie theater I was ooh-ing and ah-ing about. I must either cross the street there or walk in towards the offices on the same side of the street. I fear that either one could cost me precious time as I rush to reach the station in the morning. Of course you may say that I could remove any risk of missing the train by leaving five minutes early, but then you must know what little sense there is in counseling me that way. Would you really waste time assuring a raving madman on the street that the world won't end?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'll Dress, I Guess

I remain a novice in dressing up nicely. I am improving and now can pull it off a little bit, appearing fashionable for perhaps a day every few weeks and maintaining a look of torn-up jeans and shabby shirts the rest of the time. The nice clothes just don't hold out for very long. They will overtake my wardrobe piece by piece over time, but for now I must pick my spots. I think I manage that all right, with some exceptions.

I resort to trickery when I must dress decently for more than a couple days in a row or, as is most often the case, when I am unprepared and having nothing decent properly laundered. At such times, I look for my nice collared shirts and find them all crumpled into balls in a pile. They are invariably badly wrinkled. If I think of it, I stash one in the bathroom when I shower. The resulting steam makes it possible to make them look passable under minimal scrutiny.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Yesterday I finally got to a long-awaited acting gig. It was a modest endeavor, and rather because of the financial footing of the thing than because of the talent level concerned. I felt fortunate to be involved with as many fine performers and other creative types as I was on the occasion, for it is not always the case. I'm not yet some kind of accomplished professional whose keen eye for such projects is rightly admired, but I can say that I was more interested than average in this one.

The script, vigorously protected as it was, was a good one. I certainly do not deny my selfish streak, and the character assigned to me looked to be a fun one. I got the idea that, although I was called on to wear a suit, I was not selected merely because I was known to own one. It was perhaps presumed that I did as it was that the others did, but I trust that I made the cut against other suit-owning actors because of other merits.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I have complained in the past about construction seeming to take forever on various projects and non-projects around my own neighborhood and others that I frequent. There is, for example, the pile of rubble remaining from a demolished residential structure a few doors down from my own (if one counts as doors disasters areas that have no door). It seemed that one was on the fast track, but a pile of destroyed foundation it remains. Might it ever become something?

There is something out there which needs no such wondering, for it is so obviously becoming something. Indeed, it is being completely with such lightning-quick efficiency that it is hard to recall what it was when it was nothing. As it happens to be on the way to the subway station, I pass by it most days. I have watched as it rose up from a pit in the ground, and if I were diligent enough to take photographs on a consistent basis, I would have the makings of quite a viral video. Alas, I have no such diligence.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A-Tisket, A-Tasket

More than once I have addressed specific pre-made dishes available at the grocery store, hot and ready to go or at the very least in need only of heating up. Past loved items have included the deli sandwich (recently turned to again in a moment of weakness), the burrito (which I may in fact have yet to write about) and the ever-reliable can of generic ravioli. None of them, as ephemeral as some can be, quite generate the excitement that I feel for another item.

It's a basket of random items, really. Many if not most are fried foods, ranging from chicken to onion rings and including all the things in between. There can also be things like green bean casserole and potatoes au gratin. No two are composed of exactly the same items. It's a challenge sometimes to decide between two such baskets, comparing and contrasting the offerings within them. The only thing assured is that they measure at the same volume.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Made Up

People misspeak a lot, and when they manage not to it is often because they are saying the wrong thing deliberately, or because they are simply ignorant of the truth. Regrettably, some of the things people say which fall into one of these categories become accepted as truisms. This must be one of those Goebbels things. In any case, I deplore the fact that people would believe anything that is so patently untrue as something I hear all the time.

You'll hear people say, "You can't make this stuff up". Often you hear this after something like a pair of twin brothers both winding up as quarterbacks of their respective high school football teams, and then facing each other in a title game. I'll allow that it's improbable, as are a whole host of scenarios that play out in real life. Is it impossible to make such things up? It absolutely is not impossible. It's very easy- easier in fact than making up the probable.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


There is a scene in 'Twelve Angry Men' where one juror is questioned by another on his activities of the past several days in order to prove the point that it is often difficult to do so. I have seen the movie plenty of times (and don't imagine I could stand it even one more time) but that point never really hit home, although I basically found it true. Perhaps then my events calendar was too easy to keep track of, and I was then perhaps more possessed of a sound mind in matters of memory.

I recently made the effort to remember what I had done each of the past seven days, the purpose of this being to dredge a few ideas that I might be able to write about for this very blog. I started off well enough, recalling fairly well what I had done that day and the day before. It continued to come in fits and starts, but before I was three-quarters of the way there, I began to blank. I haven't been insanely busy. I've merely had an ordinary (by my standards; by those of others, maybe even sub-ordinary) week.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Give And Take

I have had a difficult time in my life of getting to where I was at ease in conversation. I grew up very socially awkward, and was largely withdrawn and isolated. Over time I improved and now talk eagerly, although it remains difficult in group situations during which I must contend for opportunities to contribute. At such times, I still sometimes find myself sidelined and pretending to be content doing something by myself, but this is now relatively uncommon.

In those one-on-one scenarios though, I now face a far different problem from the one of the past. I struggle now to do what Dale Carnegie counseled, which is to be a well-liked conversationalist mainly by being a good listener. Ever fiber of my being strains against this, revolting against the order from my reasoning mind to contain the wonderful things that the rest of my mind has thought of to say. Regretfully I fail more than I succeed at this.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"...And Keep In Touch."

These days, I am far more social than I used to be. When I get the idea that I have eradicated old tendencies towards isolation though, I tend to be corrected. It's all still there, and maybe all that's changed is that I am now open to being wrenched away from them by external forces. If I were in an unfamiliar town with no one I knew, I probably would just stay in the hotel room. With a friend, I might even take the lead on going out and doing things, but only because they were there.

I've never fooled myself into thinking I have become comfortable talking on the phone. Before everyone else had abandoned phone calls in favor of texting and online things, I was very ill at ease. The pressing of the last digit to someone's number felt like cutting the crucial wire on a bomb, with al the attendant anxiety. Phone conversations are hard, because there is no forgiveness for pauses. In person you're still communicating when you're not talking. On the phone, you might as well not be there if you're not talking.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Keeping Time

As I think was implicit in my recent post on jazz, I love music. I don't know who doesn't like music (excepting the tone deaf), but I really do love it. It took me a while to get into it, but as I went to college I really fell for it. These days I listen to it all the time. Honestly it's not enough to just listen to it. I mostly have to participate in some way. That often means singing along, at least until I get self conscious. Sometimes I sing in the absence of music, as in the shower.

Often it's less the words that get to me and more the beat. I'll snap my fingers to it, sometimes very vigorously. As with singing, it can happen in the absence of actual music. Sometimes I'm playing it in my head, or trying to write my own song. If I'm working on something of my own, it can get bad. Sometimes I've snapped my fingers long and hard enough to develop blisters, or come close to it. I can feel when that's about to happen, and it's still not easy to resist.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


As I write this, I have got a hell of a problem. As you read this, I pray that I have resolved it. I appreciate that I may be worrying you, but you'll see that I'm not exaggerating the severity of the issue. The thing is that I have got too much to read. It is my curse that I am so inquisitive. I can't look in any direction without seeing something I want to read, watch or know more about. My list of materials to take in grows rapidly, and well in excess of my ability to work it down.

Let's look at my reading problem specifically. I've been reading an interesting book of oral history on the Great Depression. It felt a relevant tome to take up. Then while I was still in the early stages of that, I was reading a newspaper article on certain classic old books of self-help getting updated for today's world and whether this was necessary. A particular book was mentioned that I decided I just had to read. I reserved it just as soon as I was able.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Be Square

I've written about my affection for coffee, but I must say that there is no affection unless the coffee is nearly a confection. That is to say that it has got to be fairly sweet. I usually have plenty of cream and plenty of sugar in there. I suppose that the latter is somewhat out of fashion, but unlike some I don't consider denying a truth to change it any. I'll just admit that I put a good amount of sugar into my coffee, all right?

It's surprising the options you have, especially now. I mostly have used good, refined cane sugar from Hawaii. Sometimes I have used artificial stuff, and sometimes that peculiar stuff which I understand is made from sugar cane but is somehow not the same. Brown sugar and powdered sugar do not work especially well. Sweetened, condensed milk is interesting. The thing that I am using presently is sugar cubes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Like Jazz

I have what it would be fair to call an eclectic taste in music. Now, don't mistake my meaning when I say that, because I certainly don't mean that amorphous "world music" so prevalent in coffee shops. That's the kind of music it seems people often mean when the word eclectic comes up. No, my musical tastes are somewhat more conventional than that, if not always greatly more commercial. One of the genres I enjoy is jazz, which has not made money in a hell of a long time.

I want to stress that I like the right kind of jazz. Smooth jazz is not any good (except that the voice which announces the station identification for smooth jazz outposts on the radio is rather impressive). Smooth jazz is like white rice to the wild rice that is proper jazz. It's filler. They use it at stores to influence you into passivity. If you're serious about jazz, you know that you only get your necessary allotment of musical vitamins and nutrients from the real deal.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some Neighbors

I've written about the neighbors in my building who are also my friends, but never to my knowledge have I written of the rest, inside and outside of the building. Inside the building there are some who I've begun to see enough times that I know whether or not to be glad that I've encountered them. There are one or two that I like, one or two that I fear, and a vast middle towards which I am indifferent. I'm open to liking or disliking those, but would just as soon not get into any particulars with any of them at present, although I reserve the right to in future.

I'm less hesitant at the moment to say unkind things about those in neighboring buildings. Directly behind my building is a church. I have nothing against them in principle, but there are a couple of points which I don't care for. They keep their wireless internet secured, which I believe is un-Christian. Very Christian is their laissez-faire attitude about the raccoons living on their grounds, but also it is unsanitary and unsafe. Lastly, I could stand quieter Sunday services. Otherwise they are fine neighbors.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Please Be Good Again

The first books with more words than pictures that I can recall reading as a boy were, of course, those of the Hardy Boys. You may well remember them yourselves, but if you don't, it takes little time to grasp the premise. A pair of boys in their late teens are well on their way to following their famous detective father into the business of solving mysteries. The elder boy Frank was the more thoughtful and levelheaded, while Joe was the impetuous and quick to action younger sibling. They had friends, girlfriends, cars, speedboats and a crime lab- as do most American boys in youth.

My father would read the books to me, stopping periodically to show me the illustrations. While I can't recall the acquisition of the first volumes, I can recall the desperate efforts to find subsequent ones which we had not read, and the attempts to induce my father to read each in turn before bed. It naturally grew more and more difficult a task on both points. I would often see exotic titles from the series for sale at the grocery store, but had little choice but to hope that they would become available at the library. At that time, I knew of no way to obtain books from remote branches in the system. There remain many I have not read.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Play Time

I have a playful quality to me. The grim, stoic visage I display by default does not betray that, but it's there. When among those I trust, I grow very silly and childlike in the little games that I play. Those who indulge me or otherwise grant me license know this all too well. Perhaps some begin to regret it, getting tired as they must of the characters, the voices and the persistent refusal to offer a straight answer to any question.

I do get weary of such things myself, but what can I do? A person can change with great effort if they really want to, but they can do little to alter their own nature. The only way to stop it is to be among those who I don't trust, don't like or don't feel able to be myself with. All too often, the cure is far worse than the disease, as students of oncological science surely know. I'll stick with the obnoxious condition I'm in, thank you.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Great Question

Sometimes there are those subjects that are so obvious that I can't believe they remain unaddressed. I search hard, and still doubt myself when I can't turn up any previously written post on the matter. I ultimately have to trust that it's something new and to be grateful. There happens to be a question that had popped up in my mind as a means of separating people into two camps. It was one of those things like dogs and cats or coffee and tea.

The thing that I thought of was whether someone would favor pens or pencils to write with. As a young student, you would have pencils before pens, but perhaps after crayons. Heading into adulthood, some perhaps cast off the pencils to assert themselves, but I still like pencils. I wonder if it might be owing to my father, who is very handy and who I'm sure wouldn't think of using a pen for a carpentry project. I don't do that, but we often do what our parents did out of habit.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"The X Is Closed Down!"

A friend recently observed that I'm often upset by the closure of local restaurants, retail outlets and the like- even ones that I never have been to. It's true. I retorted that I was upset in such cases because I never have been to the place in question and now I never will be. It's a moment of deep regret when I pass a place that I've been meaning to patronize forever and see a lease sign up. I feel the loss to myself and I am keenly aware of the loss to the business on account of everyone like me who failed to keep them afloat for want of motivation.

There are practical reasons to be bothered by a closure. Relatively few places are opening up these days, and plenty are closing. Every store that closes diminishes the local tax base. Their workers are laid off, and they are no longer able to patronize other businesses, whose workers are in turn laid off to save the business, if in fact it can be saved. It's a devastating cycle, and perhaps unreasonably I see a part in it played by me.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sometimes It Comes Back

Often, I write to exorcise something consuming my thoughts. This is commonly what lies behind the more vitriolic rants found here. I find it to be a healthy outlet for great anger. Other people vent it at strangers with inconsequential near-car accidents as a pretext, but I can't do that, so I do it here. I don't know if that makes for my best work, but it makes for my most motivated work. I wish I always had such obvious stuff to write about.

Something unfortunate is that I never have felt at ease writing about the same thing twice. I'll cover something at length if it was only mentioned in brief, or I'll come at something from a fresh angle or with a different perspective. I just won't do the same thing twice. Regrettably, that precludes me from venting my anger about something again, leaving it to fester if it returns. Return it does, and all too often for my liking.

Friday, October 28, 2011

No Sleep For The Cinephile

Sleep has always been at best a minor problem, and at worst a severe one. It comes slowly for me, whether it be because of unfamiliar surroundings or overstimulation at the hands of a soda or the day's events. Mostly I regard it as a very unfortunate thing. There have been restless nights and painful days of keeping myself awake by any means necessary (as an insomnia-stricken Malcolm X might say). Sometimes it's a good thing.

I happen to love watching movies. I watch enough of them and have a busy enough schedule that some of them are squeezed in under less-than-optimal conditions. I'll slip one in just before having to go somewhere, skating by with minutes to spare, and I'll watch one at the tail end of a day with another day in the offing. This is where it pays to have sleep so much a stranger. I can't think of too many instances where I fell asleep during a movie.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I wrote some time ago about beginning to favor the use of glass jars for drinking water. I use them almost exclusively at home, but do use plastic bottles away from home in most cases. There are certain situations in which I take a glass jar away from home, one of them being my improv comedy class. It happens to take place just a few minutes' walk from my home, so it's fairly convenient to do so. I didn't imagine I'd arouse any comment.

In fact, each class seems to bring fresh interest and incredulousness. I in turn am in disbelief. I can scarcely see any real novelty in the situation at this point. I was excited by the idea of doing it, but it really seems like a kind of obvious thing to do. Plenty of people drink from both glass vessels as well as ones with lids to seal them. In this, I only am combining those two things. I suppose it's reasonable to be bemused once, but these are people who have seen it plenty of times.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cheap, In A Good Way

I imagine that the scions of wealthy families have it harder than they are given credit for. They may be born on third base and think they hit a triple, as I have heard to be said, but it strikes me that the pressure is really a tremendous burden. Perhaps they would have wanted to grow up in humbler circumstance along with the lesser expectations of someone in that station. I have to believe that Charles Foster Kane would have.

I think a lot of expensively-made movies are like those rich kids. Having been made for so much money, they have expectations thrust on them that are entirely unreasonable. It was a dreadful bomb as a big budget film, but I figure that 'Waterworld' could have been made for a fraction of the price and enjoyed a reputation as a fine B movie. As it was I liked it fairly well, but I would have liked not being alone in that opinion.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Searchers (Or, The Wake-up Callers)

I live in a somewhat nice and hip neighborhood. It is in that early phase of neighborhood cycles where the poor artists have really put down roots and begun to prosper, setting the stage for the area to be co-opted by the rich. The artists then are priced out forcing subsequent artists to find cheap accommodations elsewhere. For the time being though, they can still afford the rent here, and part of the reason has got to be the question of safety.

I seldom feel unsafe here, but somewhat more often feel uneasy about one thing or another. Suffice it to say that while this is no Ciudad Juarez. crime is not unknown here. I have known friends to be robbed, and further north in worse districts, there have been worse crimes. I have, therefore, mixed feelings about the tactics employed by law enforcement. They may well help matters, but I tend to be selfish about how much they put me out.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hot Or Just Me Clothes?

I'm a rather unassuming, humble guy. I might be the most so. I harbor no pretensions in fashion, it's fair to say. Just yesterday I wrote of ascertaining whether stains on one's clothes are the good kind, so I think you'll believe me when I say that. In short, when I wear nice stuff, I'm really out of my element. I think that it may even be the case that I react adversely in a biological sense. Maybe I'm crazy, but I might not be built for more than jeans and t-shirts.

The thing is that I'll get the word that there's some event I'm invited to and that I should dress up some. It's not some definite suit and tie thing, which makes things even harder. I'll start trying to assemble something that includes jeans, nice collared shirts, jackets and loafers. Maybe it's just the anxiety of feeling pressure to look presentable, but I just start sweating up a storm. Maybe saying so doesn't help me any socially, but I see no profit in lying.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ruined Right

I've written about how I have a few scars. I feel fortunate that they are either unnoticeable or decent-looking. Were it otherwise I would someday look into having them removed upon finding that I had the money. It's also the case that a lot of my clothes are pretty worn out. The pants are especially in bad shape, and the jeans the worst of these. Most are ripped and a few are stained. I feel lucky too that these pants are degraded in the right way.

Just what is it that makes a severe bit of damage to some jeans good and not bad? It seems to me that you want your rips to be straight lines, or at least not too jagged. You certainly don't want something like an L-shape that opens up a flap. It's fine for the knees to tear, but you've got to be careful when inserting your legs that you don't open up the knees too badly. When you inevitably do, that's when you think about making yourself a pair of cut-offs.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Really Want To Go

I've said what a hard time I have saying goodbye at the end of the evening. This is when everyone's planning on going home, and people are one by one peeling away after saying their goodbyes to friends who are gracious and understanding. These are not people putting up any kind of resistance, and yet separating from them remains a tall order for me. It's just a matter of cutting off a line of conversation before it reaches maturation.

Imagine when the people I'm trying to say goodbye to really don't want me to go and try to stop me. If I were drunk and they were trying to keep me from getting in my car and driving away, they would employ physical force. I would then be grateful, not just for having my life saved, but for not having to suffer the far worse force of ridicule and sarcasm which one must face in order to part ways with friends insistent on continuing the good times.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Art Of Which I'm Not Part

I have been going to some art galleries lately. This is not entirely a new experience, as I have been a few times in the past, but it is presently fresh in my mind. For that I must credit certain friends who tend somewhat more towards the legitimate visual arts than I would myself. I can't say what the experience is like in other cities or in other levels of the art world, so I won't contrast but I will say what my experience has been.

For some reason, artists that I have seen are greatly enamored with the work of others, and so much of what I see is a tribute in some fashion to a movie or a tv show. This is not invalid I suppose, but neither would I regard it as entirely productive. What I create I hope serves me (and of course humanity). I wouldn't think to serve someone else whose work is already well-loved and lucrative. They can handle things. I still have yet to make it, so my labors continue to be self-serving.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


When I think about it, I do an awful lot of things based on a whim. Women find such spontaneity appealing, right? It must be a good thing. Something I often decide to do on a moment's notice for little reason is to walk someplace. It's free, and when I have the time and energy it sometimes seems like the most logical expenditure of both I can imagine. If I'm going to be alone in either case, the more social thing would seem to be a walk.

I'll do it anytime. Sometimes I'll feel the urge to go down to the lobby. I'll look out the front door and want to walk out to the street. I'll look up and down the street and walk out to the main road. I'll repeat that and start walking down the main road. I'll then develop a plan to walk some circuit which may take a few minutes or a lot longer. There's really no objective except that I feel compelled to walk around and look around.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Hard Way

As I write this, I am occasionally glancing down at the area in front of my computer screen where I have a disorderly little arrangement of some quarters. Two are badly mangled, perhaps having been run over by cars where I picked them up. It's distinctly possible that those ones are effectively unspendable, raising the very good question of why I took them. Perhaps the answer lies in the slowness with which I naturally acquire quarters.

Quarters are of course very necessary. I may not need them for parking a car, but I do need them for laundry, and the reality is that I use them at a rate which far exceeds that at which I come by them incidentally. When someone conducts a lot of cash transactions, a lot of change comes their way. Who does that these days? I myself deal in cash relatively little. That is the nature of finance these days- the money is mostly just numbers on a screen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"I Just Saw Him".

I don't understand people most times. Maybe I'd get them better if I tried less. People tend to know more the less they try to find out, it seems to me. I was a lot smarter before I learned anything myself. In any case, human behavior and thinking eludes me. I suppose there's no sense in trying to understand any word or deed that comes from emotion rather than rational thinking, and more and more there is none of the latter in people.

So much of life is in figuring out death. Something I don't get is a very common reaction to news of someone's death. Someone will get the word, and their first reaction will be disbelief. It won't be because they don't expect that someone might die or that they think the person was in too good of health or too careful or too anything. No, they'll be surprised the person died because they just saw them. "I just ate lunch with her a couple days ago", someone will cry out. What bearing has that on things?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hoping To Cut It

There are truly some wonders at the grocery store. It's easy to forget how special it is by the standards of the world even now, but that place is really something. I can go there any time day or night, and that's not to be sneezed at. Whereas many are content if they can find the thing they need at their local place at all, we are blessed with countless options for most things. There are those at the low end, the midrange and the high end of the economic scale. It's really something.

I was looking at the mustards. These days, ketchups can be gourmet and upscale, but it used to be there was just one type, so mustards used to really amaze me. There are the regular yellow mustards, the spicy ones, the sweet ones and more. Some are in plastic squeeze bottles, and some come in glass. Some are American, some French and some British. There must be dozens, and I wouldn't know how to explain that to some of the world's poor.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

You Don't Scare Me

Fear is a powerful thing. It will motivate you to do a lot of things- to part with a lot of things. When everything's good, it's not too hard to be rational and think critically. When someone threatens you with the loss of something, it's hard to not be irrational and act emotionally. This happens everywhere from sports to entertainment to politics. You hear how something might be lost unless certain conditions are met, then everybody panics and meets those conditions.

There are too many examples. Lately there has been a lot of labor strife in sports, with one league after another venturing to the brink. There was that grocery store scare as well, and a number of television shows are said to be at risk of going off the air for lack of efficiencies in budgeting. In every case we get scared and start wringing our hands, praying that somehow we could do something to avert calamity. If only we could sit at the negotiating table or just produce the needed money!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'll Talk!

There I was, sitting in front of my computer and thinking about what I might write. You hear talk about what agony it is to stare at a blank page and not be able to come up with anything. In my experience, pressing like that is no way to come up with an idea. You've got to relax and wait for it to come to you. On this occasion, fortune smiled on me indeed, although it came in a form that I perhaps might have done without.

I was deep in thought, but a sharp sensation wrenched me out of it. It was pain, and I quickly traced it to my toe. Had I stubbed it? It seemed the most likely thing, but the pain was not of that nature. Wisely, I lifted my foot up to make a diagnosis. It was a quick one. There jutting out from underneath the toenail was a rather large splinter. I do apologize for the graphic nature of this, but I'm sure you appreciate that glossing over it would help nothing.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Full Leather Jacket

The days grow colder here in southern California, and from my perspective it's basically all good. During the summer, we expend more money to cool the apartment, and we look forward to the day when we can flip the switch on that thermostat, sometimes using the heat but mostly just going natural. That's not the only plus by a long shot. The falling leaves are pretty, my hair looks cool blowing in autumnal breezes, and then there's clothes.

I happen to think that I look all right in a jacket. Like the sunglasses which I have grown fond of however, they can only be justified in certain situations. I can force the sunglasses a little, but not jackets. I cannot abide being unpleasantly warm. I have a hell of a time figuring the right garb for the weather, but once each day calls for the same thing, I get it right and stick with what I should. Thus it is that the jacket only comes out when the weather is cool enough.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


It's funny how society is now. We're very polarized, by which I mean that we are bi-polar. We're of two minds at once in that we are both utterly insensitive of how other feel as well as wildly hyper-sensitive. We trample over some with impunity, and kowtow to others who seem not at all distinct from the others or remotely special in their own right. It frustrates me to see how there is no one to stand up to that latter group.

I'll tell you who I'm thinking of. It's Philadelphians. With them it's always about their precious cheese steak sandwiches. They're pretty good. Philadelphians elevate them into some heavenly manna. It's not all they eat, is it? It can't be, as unhealthy as they are for you. I do like them, but one has to have some variety. There are other good foods from other places, but to them nothing could be better than their provincial sandwich.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I'm fortunate enough to have a lot of very good friends. They are kind, generous, smart and fun. By association with them I have been exposed to wonderful things, and connected with fantastic opportunities. For someone who grew up having at no time more than two or three friends (who were great), it's really something. They're all just wonderful for me, and I want badly to reciprocate whenever I can.

Sometimes they can be a malevolent force, though. Maybe it's tough love or something, but tough love hurts. The thing is that I have to be able to keep up with my friends. In eating, drinking and the few other matters that are very serious, I can't get far behind, or I'll be left behind. It moves me to do more and to do better, which is good. Sometimes I question the nature of the ties that bind, and what happens if I don't keep up.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just Listen

I'm getting a little bit down on some technology. I think I maybe have complained about how some of what is supposed to elevate us actually keeps us down and separated from each other. I don't know always whether the internet really is more good than it is bad. I'm trying now to be smart about what technologies I use and when. It all has some value if you are very moderate with it and make sure to put people first.

I do love my mp3 player, for example. It's a fun, convenient little thing. I slip it in my pocket and can use it any time without being weighed down. The trouble is that it keeps out the world from my ears. I love music dearly, but I had the idea that in listening to it out of the house, I'm maybe in a sense trying to stay at home even when I leave. Why would I step out among the cars and people if I don't want to hear everything and see everyone?

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Water Got Her

One acclimates to consistent phenomena. After a good while, I've gotten used to the hot water in my apartment and how it works. It takes a good, long time to come. You start it up when you get to thinking you might want some hot water. Several minutes later, there it is. Make no mistake, it gets good and hot. You'll burn yourself for sure, but it doesn't sneak up on you. The shower's better, maybe because it's a greater volume of water spurring on the heater.

There's this restaurant in Hollywood that I am in the habit of frequenting sometimes. Stars go there, but that's not a leading motivator. The food is solid, the service is competent and the prices are fair. I've written about the place in good times and bad. After a long absence, I was back the other night, and maybe I've forgotten some of its ways. It can be like that with some things, whereas others don't ever let you forget.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hark! It's A Farmer's Market!

Farming is in my heritage, I guess it's fair to say. I should take more care to support the small farming concerns of this country than I do. For such selfish reasons as personal budget and expedience, I don't do that. It takes effort to do things right with food, and it takes more money. I may be lacking in the latter, but I ought to be able to expend the effort and the time. Making things tough has been the absence of a nearby farmers' market- or is it farmer's, as I tried in the title? You see my ignorance.

A couple of years ago or more, when I lived elsewhere in town, there was a farmer's market very near to my home. I about had to walk through it to get home, so I would peruse it and sometimes buy things. I found the sweet corn to be cheap and tasty. I think I may have bought some other items as well, but fewer than I might have. I didn't take full advantage of it, and then it was lost to me when I moved. That's often the way for me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I like seeing things through to the finish. That's natural, to be sure. It is sure, isn't it? My intentions are always to go until the end, and it does hurt when I can't manage it. The other day, I had to leave one engagement early so that I could make another. I worried about the first for some time, fearing that it would suffer for my absence. I also hate it when I must give up on a food item which I've decided is foul, and it's most unpleasant when circumstances conspire to prevent me from finishing a movie, though that happens.

What doesn't happen, or at least what happens so seldom as to be statistically non-existent is my failing to finish reading a book. The second to last one was some two or three years ago. It was a science fiction novel which had been highly recommended by the newspaper or some such thing. I was brash and arrogant enough to be sure I would finish it in spite of its great length and my unfamiliarity with the author. Tragically, I returned it unfinished.

Friday, October 7, 2011

To Think Of Youth? Uncouth.

Some movie stars seem like they were always old. Some of them were just that. When was Clint Eastwood ever young? Charles Bronson strikes me the same way. Even in their older movies they seem none too youthful. Others did not become known until they were older, so there's no way of knowing. It's enough to make you very curious about what they did look like in days of yore. There is nothing to help it except the imagination.

I employ my imagination also to picture some of the people I know personally as they must have looked long ago. Some I believe must have been strikingly good looking. For others, their aged condition is a convenient cover for being unsightly, for unsightly they had to have been even in their salad days. Even with them, I strive to imagine just what they must have looked like. Concrete evidence would be ideal, for my imagination does run away on me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Soda Coda

I wrote some time ago about soda and the means by which I have acquired it. I mentioned a soda machine in the laundry room of my apartment building and how I might start using it. I have done so. As I said then, the key is convenience, and it is terribly convenient to get that soda. I can get them at a better price in bulk from the grocery store, but paying six dollars for a dozen represents an investment and requires planning. I don't like either of those things.

What I've done several times is to dig into my change jar. It's filled with a bunch of pennies, nickels and dimes, and is very heavy. It has no quarters, as those go into another receptacle and are destined for the laundry machines. No quarters means that I have had to use a bunch of coins for every soda. Eight dimes will do it, or seven and one nickel. I don't like digging around for the fewest number of coins that will do it, so I keep picking out dimes and nickels until I reach seventy-five cents. I don't use pennies yet.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

No Coinky-Dink, I Think

Many of my friends live in my neighborhood or spend a good amount of time there for one reason or another. I believe that I've said this in the past, or I think I might have. I have been thinking about how it still was a coincidence that I would bump into them, or that I would ever in the past have seen people I wasn't expecting to anywhere. Without having communicated my plans to them, how could an encounter be by anything but chance?

That makes it seem special when that's the case, but I don't know if that can truly be the case, or rather I should say that I could never know for sure that it is the case. The culprit is of course technology, or is it me? Technology is really only the tool. It's these social networking websites that are all now imploring us to tell the world where we are. For a number of reasons, we probably shouldn't. Thieves will know we're out, and advertisers get more help in targeting us, just to name a couple reasons.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


It's difficult to deny myself what I want and possess the power to grant myself. That's natural, I think. Self-discipline is as hard to achieve as it is hard to find in anyone. We get that impulse, and it's easier than it ever has been to fulfill it, no matter what it is. You can buy almost anything at any hour with a couple of buttons pressed. Seldom do we manage to talk ourselves down from the precipice of an impulse decision in time. It's hard to overstate this point.

I sometimes am able to stop myself from allowing myself an indulgence that I know I shouldn't. The key is in the realization, but that's not always enough. Maybe I want to buy a pair of sunglasses. Every now and then I get the idea that I want a really nice pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses, or a set of proper drinking glasses for bourbon. I can't really justify such expenses, but I get awfully close sometimes before I pull away.

Monday, October 3, 2011

No Disrespect

Always of considerable interest to me is how others see me. I value most the opinions of those who know me best and who I naturally trust, but I'm also curious to know how strangers see me. In a sense, their perspective is every bit as informative as those who are actually qualified to say what is actually true about me. These strangers are not encumbered by what lies beneath the surface, so only they can really say what the surface entails.

The other day, I was coming home from a Toastmasters meeting. I happened to be going from a bus to a subway train, and at that particular station there is a hot dog cart which offers its wares at the exceptionally reasonable price of a dollar apiece. I often partake. I get the hot dog, load it up with ketchup and onions and do my best to find a shady spot to eat it. Usually I'm going from one bus to another, and I eat the hot dog near the pickup point.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I'm not one to waste food if it can be helped. This is due in part to how I was raised, but there is also the practical consideration that there is little room in the food budget for redundant extra food. In any event, there must be a terribly good reason before I don't eat something. It being gross is a pretty good reason. That is to say that if the food is something I can't get myself to choke down even with fervent pleas to God, I do just get rid of it. I may not substitute anything, but at least I won't make myself eat it.

It doesn't take much before I reach that point of grossness. All it takes is that I get to a point where I no longer trust the dish before me. Perhaps I find something rather bad nestled in it, like a hair. Maybe it's not something that obvious. I was eating my trademark (but not actually trademarked) dish of rice with tomato sauce when something rather odd popped up. I can't say what it was, but I know I wouldn't have found it in my usual sauce.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

So Hot Right Now

As September gives way to October and the officially declared autumn wears on, there continue to be rather warm days in Los Angeles. I know they must not compare to things back home in Arizona, but as I'm acclimated now, they're rather warm. I'm grateful that it cools off at night here, but that is all too little comfort at times. Mostly things are fine, but there are those occasions where I just can't hack it very well, pedigree aside.

An example is there in some of the places where I practice the performing arts. I suspect that they may not be erring on the side of too much air conditioning, and I don't mind that. I try to spare it as much as I can myself, but when the air goes off at home, the windows open. Where I have improv classes, there seem to be no windows that can be opened, and opening the doors seems downright unsafe. I mean that some unsavory characters walk by there. As a consequence it gets rather warm during class sometimes.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Smell & Switch

I have had different thoughts about the right criteria for selecting the subway train car on which I would like to ride. I started out getting on the one nearest to the stairs. I then started going to the one furthest behind the stairs, reasoning that it would be most empty and therefore most comfortable. I then decided that I liked the one at the head of the train because you could watch where the thing was going, and that was exciting.

There is another basis on which to decide, and this one may override anything else. I don't want to be on cars that smell bad. Maybe you're thinking that I'm being funny or naive, that all subway cars smell bad. Maybe that's so in other cities whose trains systems go back further, but here it's not. Most train cars are fine, and for that matter so are most buses (excepting the ones which run overnight). There is the odd car which smells foul.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Whenever I get to thinking too highly of my fellow man, he makes sure to remind me that he doesn't come close to deserving it on a consistent basis. A few do, but most don't, and I think that the minority may live someplace else. If any of them are around, then I just keep missing them. The ones I see are mostly acting very poorly, and they don't appear very sorry for it even if they are at all aware. It's unpleasant.

It doesn't take much to get me so down, but maybe you'll agree that this thing I saw is sufficient. I'm always out on the sidewalk going about my business. I coexist with the car, the cyclist and the fellow pedestrian. I do my best to, anyway. Sometimes I'm less than aware, and I feel lousy when that's the case. If I feel in the wrong, my apologies are sincere. I saw this guy a bit ago who doesn't live up to any of those conditions.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Stable Platform

Sometimes I write on my laptop. I lay it on a table if I can, but will settle for the floor or my actual lap. The key is to have a steady, sturdy platform. I have to be careful, of course. Typing too hard is not good for the keyboard, which cannot be separated from the rest of the computer for replacement. The Qwerty layout is supposed to have been designed to make people ease up on the old typewriters, but that doesn't seem to be enough for me.

At least as susceptible is the keyboard for my other computer- a desktop model. I have a computer desk with a roll-out tray for the keyboard. I don't think I assembled it properly to begin with, and this was some ten years ago. It has since been disassembled and moved more than once. It's a questionable set-up at this point. One end of that tray is held into its mounting by entirely the wrong sort of screw. I don't know if it's from the original set or not.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nice Food If You Can Get It

I have written in the past about the pre-made deli sandwiches and how I enjoyed them. I may have also written of the break I made with those sandwiches, the cause of which was their unceremonious reduction in volume from seventeen ounces to fifteen, though I can't recall. Naturally, having removed those from consideration when I'm looking for a cost-ineffective, ready-made food, I had to locate something else that would serve.

After a fashion, I thought I had found something that would work. In a corner of the grocery store that I had not explored much, I found that they had some rather large burritos. Selling for 2.99 each, they amounted to fourteen ounces. I reasoned that the one ounce shortfall between it and the sandwich was more than accounted for by the one dollar differential, and I decided to take the plunge. I was not disappointed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Compound of Privilege

I happened to visit a rather singular apartment complex recently. I'm inclined to say I didn't care for the place, or at least that I don't imagine that I personally would care to live there. I certainly can see the appeal in it for others. Reasonable people can disagree on such things. For me there are just a number of points (apart from the presumably much higher rent) which would turn me off. I will try to be fair and rational in outlining them.

The place was awfully big. It covered a pretty sizable stretch of land. We drove into one entrance and found it was not the one to go into. We guessed that there would maybe be another, and sure enough there was one. We came to it after driving a few moments further down the road. At that road's maximum speed limit, we might have circumnavigated a shopping mall. Once inside, we found ourselves walking for several minutes to reach anything. It was too large for me.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Dupe

Every once in a long while, the circumstances are such that I find myself out dancing. I don't seek this out, but on such occasions it finds me. I appreciate that it is a useful means of socializing, and that eschewing it is hazardous to my relationships. Maybe it sounds like something I only tolerate, which is partly true, but there are some fun parts to it which even out the exhaustion, the money spent and the many other discomforts.

A good example lies in the fun I have judging others on the dance floor. A wide range of people may be found there. Some are of evident substance and character, and others may not be. This is evidenced by such clear clues as overly energetic dancing, overly elaborate dancing, and any other manner of dancing or success with women that I myself do not have. Anyone doing better than I must surely be employing unsavory, unethical techniques.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


As I believe I've written in the past, sleep in general is difficult. If I'm repeating myself, then it's because such a terrible scourge warrants it, I'm sure you'll agree. Dealing with the looming specter of an early morning's rise is something I do poorly. I expect little sympathy considering that I always tell people in that position that "you don't have to get up early if you don't go to bed". True though that might be, it is  of no more comfort to me than it has been to any of the people I have imposed it on in the past.

It is not a pleasant thing to get up early. The thing is that I can't get myself to sleep too quickly. No matter what time I may get back from nighttime activities, I always wind up spending another hour or so up, even if I feel myself fading away on the trip home. What is one to do about an unwanted second wind? How do you call it off and send it away? Sometimes it's better when I've just been at home for the evening, but this is not the case terribly often.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Taking the bus puts me into closer contact with people than other people I know. They are, however, not all that often people I would choose to be around. Generally when I am waiting for the bus, I am either alone or in the presence of people to whom I have nothing to say. I do my thing, which probably is either listening to music or reading. They do their thing, about which I cannot credibly speak. This is fine.

Every once in a long while, it's different. This is not because I run into someone I know. That happens with the subway, but the bus rider is a different breed. This is far more likely to be someone who depends entirely on public transportation for their mobility. No more than one or two friends of mine are like that. No, circumstances change because of that rare commodity, the cool bus rider. I see them on buses, but seldom do they seem to get on from the stops that I do.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Don't Drive

It's been a while since I've driven regularly. As I said to a friend just a bit ago, the driving experiences I've had since I moved to LA could be counted definitely on two hands and maybe on one. Consequently, I went from being a game driver to a gunshy one. I won't say that I went from being a good one to a bad one, but it's unquestionably true that I have grown rather rusty. I don't seek out chances to do it, that's for sure.

Ultimately I aspire to driving again as needed, but a love for doing it is difficult for me to relate to, particularly among city dwellers. One can't really drive except out on the open highway, and only then if it is clear. Here, left to buses and trains, I get by. Every once in a long while though, I stumble into a situation where I'm somehow the best option when a car needs to be moved from one place to another. At such times, I'm definitely an unwilling hero with glory thrust upon him.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Night

For the first time in a while, I went to see some improv at a particular theater in Hollywood. It was IO West, to be precise. A friend and I went down there on the subway, and if we were responsible we would have been headed home in plenty of time to catch the train back. Instead, our parting from friends delivered us into the hands of one unsavory character after another. This is typical for any late night excursion to Hollywood, so maybe there was nothing we could have done.

I've written about how rough late night buses can be around here. The 656 from Hollywood up to the San Fernando Valley was in rare form, and maybe it reflects poorly on me, but I recognized people. My friend and I didn't manage to breathe easily until we had gotten off the bus. I always seem to be counting the seconds until I expect that bus to arrive at my destination. It never can get there fast enough. On this night, there was a peculiar trio of women.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

After One Dispute, Another

I may as well note that the grocery store strike I was so afraid of yesterday did not materialize, and a new labor deal appears to have been agreed upon. At such times I am less relieved about dodging a bullet and more angry at the notion that maybe I was meant to be scared into submission or compliance. In any case, that's over, and I can write about something less freighted with negative feelings and more fun. It's lucky that just such a thing came up.

I had just gotten home relatively late. One roommate and I were talking, and being considerate of our third roommate, we were talking as softly as we have ever managed. I was starting to wash a pot in order to cook something. A faint noise got my interlocutor's attention, and he went to the balcony to figure out what it was. Moments later, the other roommate emerged from his room (and, I assume, his slumber) to also investigate. They both went out to the balcony.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Did I talk about the grocery store workers' strike that may still be happening here in California? I know that I spoke with positive hope for a work stoppage in the NFL, as well as the NBA. Those are frivolous things, and as much as I like them, life would have continued on. Not so with garbage collection, as  my father explained to me once, nor with grocery store workers. I imagined that my local grocery store would limp along with hastily-trained scabs, but now I understand that may not be so.

I had been less than happy about the notion of crossing a picket line for food. I figured that if that were the case, I would shop elsewhere in solidarity for the duration. I have learned now that my resolve may never be put to the test, as a plan has been declared by management to simply close down the stores. Apparently scab-run stores lost piles of money during the last strike. That's all well and good. As I said, I was leaning towards not shopping at the affected stores anyway.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

An Egg To Stand On

I previously have written of my one-time ability to make only scrambled eggs as well as my exuberant discovery of an aptitude for boiling eggs. After a few dozen eggs made in the latter style, I had grown tired of it. I still have yet to really get the hang of peeling them, and my system is slow to adapt to their digestion. I still like them, and definitely would even if the only reason was my fondness for 'Cool Hand Luke'.

That aside, I have a new love in the egg arena. I had been as inept in frying eggs as I had been in doing almost anything else with them except for scrambling. I think I just didn't understand how they were done. I kept trying to flip them well before the whites were finished, and consequently the yolks would invariably rupture and compel me to hastily convert the egg to a scrambled one of mediocre quality. It didn't even occur to me that flipping was only necessary for an egg over easy.