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.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Check Yourself

One of the things I do which strikes me as normal but which is evidently a source of some amusement or bafflement to others is to carry a mirror in my wallet and to gaze into it periodically. I do this when bored or interested in testing out facial expressions. I feel this is reasonable given my intentions of making a living based in part on my ability to carry out those expressions, but I guess it looks weird and vain to others.

Less strange is to watch myself in a video or see myself in pictures, maybe because the acceptable purpose is more evident. I requested and received a video recording of a recent improv show in which I performed. It's not always easy to watch myself, although I can't say that it's unpleasant as a rule. I think that perhaps my reaction is dependent on how well I think I did. For some I gather that it's always difficult.

Friday, September 16, 2011


There is this period of time immediately following our emergence from the oblivion of sleep. We all go through it. The length of it varies depending on a number of factors, but I think we all experience some amount of time in the morning during which we contemplate just going back to bed. I know I face this about every day, particularly if I have been up late the night before and doubly so if I have no concrete engagements.

As I write this, I think of this morning. I woke up at 9 o'clock as directed by my alarm, now not terribly refreshed by some six hours of sleep. They say that eight hours are what you need, but I know I don't really feel recharged with anything short of ten to twelve hours, and you can imagine that such a thorough sleep is difficult to block out in my schedule. In any case, I was in a precarious position on this fine morrow.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Watching as many movies as a roommate and I do, it is inevitable that some will be watched in less than ideal circumstances. During the day is troublesome, and for two reason: for one, the light streams in even through the blinds, and this renders the tv somewhat less than fully visible. Secondly, it is not quite as enjoyable to watch a movie during the day given the feeling that we ought to be doing more productive things, like earning a living.

Night is better for movie viewing given that there is no light to distract and no expectation of getting work done. Sometimes there is the feeling that we ought to be out, perhaps on dates, but it is a tolerable thing. Less than tolerable is the prospect of waking our other roommate when we watch something late at night. He works a real job, and is out of the house rather early in the morning. Sensibly, he goes to bed rather early. Unfortunately, that negatively affects our movie watching.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Bookshelf In The Water Closet?

I love to read. I've always got a book I'm working on (although I say 'working' only because a word not freighted with the implication of duty doesn't present itself). I read before bed and I read on the bus or train. I consider it whenever there is dead time and it is convenient to have my book with me. Sometimes I just don't do it, for reasons that seem to make sense in my mind. At such times I have made other arrangements.

While conducting the usual business in a restroom, my usual expectation is that I will be through soon enough that I won't get bored and require reading material. That is not the case for some, and I can surmise this because they keep their periodicals there on top of the tank or beside the toilet. There's something I don't like about books or magazines tainted in this way. You can't take the same tome and have it in the living room, can you?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Our apartment is rather sparsely populated by decorations or furniture. If it weren't for one roommate's talents as an artist (and prodigious output), there would be relatively little of anything in our common areas to denote the presence of tenants. This is true at the best of times, but doubly so lately. A pair of incidents have seen to it that things are so worsened. Neither was predicted, but each has come to pass at the worst possible time in that the other also did.

Our coffee table is really the only table on which we eat (as the proper dining table is in fact a plastic one and is mainly used for the artist's endeavors). It was here on something like a permanent loan from our dear friends elsewhere in the building. Like the sword of Damocles, its possible loss hung over us as a grim specter. Well, our worst fears have been realized, and it is gone. A void now lies between the couch and television. Making matters worse, that void lays bare the deplorable condition of the carpet where the coffee table had been.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Staying Out Of It

As one of Clint Eastwood's many wise characters once noted, "A man's got to know his limitations". I know that mine are numerous, and while they are difficult to keep track of, it is nonetheless important to do so. I have addressed to some degree many, and if the one on my mind has been spoken of before, I come back to it because I haven't fixed it yet. It may be that I will never manage it, but I will die still wishing to.

I am argumentative by nature, though I can't say exactly that I relish a fight. I don't consider myself influential. If in an argument I am able to bring in as yet unknown information, that might turn the tide. Otherwise, I have no expectation of swaying people simply by cleverly marshaling already established facts. Still I would like to settle the dispute. I try again and again, helping nothing and getting bruised in the process.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Follow The Leader

It's interesting what senseless and stupid things people will do. I don't exclude myself from that. Well-educated, seemingly reasonable people will do some dumb things, and their rationale will sometimes sound like how a dog or a goldfish would explain itself if given the cognition and speech. My hope is that at the very least those people would realize how foolish their story sounds, even if they would never admit to it.

A good example is how people will just shut down their analytical powers if they get the idea that someone else has already exercised theirs towards the same end. Some time ago, I was standing in line at the ATM. There were two machines outside the bank, but people in line ahead of me kept going to one and not to the other. There was no sign on it. It just was idle. Each one of us just assumed that others had already found it to be broken, so we waited for the one people were using.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Come On

Life is very short. Each moment is more precious than any amount of any other quantity. Knowing that, it is incumbent on us all to spend our time on Earth as well as we possibly can. We must be as good and as productive as we can be. We must seize the opportunities that come to us, knowing how few there are likely to be. Each summer we ought to get to the beach or the lake as much as we can. Each winter we ought to learn to ice skate or play a new card game. We've got to take a shot at those we have a crush on. There's no time for fooling around.

We spend so much time and energy on things that are ultimately unimportant. They're making a movie based on 'Moneyball', the book which recounts Billy Beane's revolutionary attempts to make a winner of the Oakland A's by means of statistical analysis. It's an obvious story to tell through the majesty of cinema, of course. The point is that I have read an article questioning whether Brad Pitt was a good choice to play the role of Beane.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Bet

I'm not generally speaking a gambler. I'm rather risk-averse, and in relatively few things require the added spice of money on the line. Every now and then, however, I find it rather amusing to gamble. I don't gamble on games of chance, or even those which may be influenced by skill. I would say that when compelled to experience something otherwise very boring, I might be induced to place a wager with trivial stakes to make things a bit more interesting.

We're really talking a token bet. The kind of bets I would go for are those sometimes carried by Irish bookies for major sports and entertainment events. Such a bookie might offer odds on the outfit worn by the host of the Oscars, for example. They might also offer an over/under on some trivial thing. I just made and lost a bet with a friend on a rather trivial thing. If you're unfamiliar, an over/under offers a prediction for some statistic, such as a combined score in a football game. It would be selected to provoke an equal number of bets on the score being higher and lower.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


As I continue to write for this blog, it becomes harder and harder to be sure that I'm writing something that I haven't written before- that I'm covering a subject that is still unexplored within these confines. I have read of the Beatles that they could dream of something or think of something for a song, and wonder if they had really come up with it or whether it was lodged in their mind after hearing it from someone else. They would then do their due diligence before using it. I had to do that before writing about my jars.

I was sure that I had written about them, and preliminary searches suggested that I had not. Still I thought that I had, and I couldn't believe that I would have left the idea alone at a time when I am just desperate for ideas good enough to write about. The jars idea was just dynamite, so I thought to myself that I surely would have pounced on it long ago. Still, I was not finding anything about it, and it would seem that running a search for "jars" would have found a post about jars, Still, there was nothing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sometimes The Book Reads You

In the last three or four years, I had checked out only one book which I subsequently failed to complete. I can't recall what it was called, but it was science fiction and had something to do with monks in space. It was a lengthy, dense read, and I just couldn't deal with it. I had checked it out on some recommendation online that  I now can't remember. With deep regret, I brought it back to the library only partly read.

Since then, I had been doing rather well. I didn't enjoy every single book, but I finished them nonetheless. Each one was a minor point of pride. Each reflected my eagerness to learn and my determination to see things through to the finish. Plenty were not terribly difficult reads, but some were rather more advanced. Unfortunately, I have recently come upon a book whose difficulty level exceeds my enthusiasm for its subject matter once again.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Beard Feared

When I was in college, I had a beard. It was a very modest on, and covered only my chin. That was the only area where it grew reliably. Elsewhere it was very patchy, but in that one area it thrived to the point that I had to be careful that it didn't get caught in my winter coat's zipper. Ultimately I decided that the beard didn't suit me in that form, and as I could grow one in no other, I opted to go without a beard altogether. I decided on just a mustache, and that is where I stand now.

Recently, circumstance prevented me from shaving for a couple of days, and several days after that held no events for which I felt obligated to be clean-shaven. I decided that it would be a good time to test the waters and see if anything had changed as far as my facial hair coverage. There is always that awkward time when the beard is still coming in, and this seemed an opportune time to experience that. I could then decide at the end of the few days whether I had something worth pursuing on my hands (or, I should say, on my face).

Monday, September 5, 2011

Master Of The House

A very kind friend put me up at his place the other day after I told of having very early matters to attend to in his neck of the woods. I was glad to accept his generous offer, as it made things considerably easier on me. I knew however that I would probably have some difficulty sleeping there. I knew that without having seen his place, because that really doesn't enter into it for me. Like plenty of people, I just cannot sleep too well away from home.

It really was a nice place. I am a fan of hardwood floors, which this place had. It was nice and cool, which is nothing to sneeze at in such weather as we have been experiencing. I had my pick of perfectly comfortable couches with all the blankets and pillows I could hope for. Still, I struggled to succumb to the Sandman. Isn't that an odd attitude, that I would fight to submit? Funny or not, that was the situation I was faced with.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Unstable Table

I don't eat at sit-down restaurants all that often, so it's a fairly memorable experience when I do. Even if it's a mundane, typical eating experience, it looms larger for me than it does for others. The other day, I had what would be a unique eating experience for anyone, but which for me was nothing short of monumental. It was not exactly a positive experience, but it was one which I found rather interesting and worthwhile.

I have made mention of my penchant for attractive women. God help me, I look at them when they are abound. There my friend and I were at our table when some particularly good looking women passed by. I, not in a very subtle manner, turned to look at then when they had gone by. Nearby was a table of old folks, and I had remarked to myself that the waitress's wiles were likely to be of no avail in securing a strong tip.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hot & Rice

I've said already how I hit on simple meals that I like and then stick with them. As I have for quite some time, I am mainly eating a crude concoction of rice and tomato sauce. There was a change for a while there, though. I had been livening it up with hot sauce. I really like that stuff. Unfortunately, I had to give that up, or at least I did do that. It perhaps was not a necessary loss, but it happened, as things do whether in response to need or not.

The thing was that I could only find the sauce at a particular place. It's a relatively obscure sauce which has no peer I know of. I moved away from the one place I've found it, and it became inconvenient to go there and get it. I could have done it with no greater investment of time than an hour, but I've given up things I like more over less. For some time, I managed to enjoy the rice without it, but lately it had grown a little bland.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Lady And Her Why

I have conflicting feelings about the very beautiful. I find them as attractive as anyone- the women at least (though I recognize the handsomeness of the men in an objective way). Not considering myself to be among the beautiful though, I harbor some negative feelings. Among them is the hard to shake attitude that the beautiful perhaps do not seek out knowledge with the same vigor as those who actually require it to get by in life.

So it was that I was a bubbling cauldron of emotions while waiting in line behind a rather attractive, statuesque young woman at the library. I was, as I am every three or so days, checking out some movies. You may trust that it was a good balance of fun and 'important' films. I wondered about the lady's purpose, as I did not notice what she might be checking out. As I always am in such cases, I was surprised just to see someone of her beauty within the library's walls.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Flagging Professionalism

When I was in Boy Scouts, I had many skills pounded into me. Many of them didn't stick. I am in truth not the best at making fires and tying knots, although I have generally been able to re-teach myself when necessary. I also never cottoned to some of the values espoused, but other I still believe in. One in particular has to do with respect for the flag, and I'm sorry to say that the places which fly it around here are not too fervent about that.

There are a lot of rules, there's no denying that. The flag can't touch the ground. It always has to be lit up, either by the sun or artificial lighting. In the absence of light, it should be taken down, and when it eventually becomes visibly worn out, it must be retired. The proper procedure for retirement is awfully involved. You have to separate out the white strips, the red stripes, the white stars and the blue field behind them, then burn each group individually. It all requires effort.