Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Before Me The Jar

In front of me is my jar of writing implements. It's rather sparsely filled at the moment due to attrition, but that is about to change. I keep starting off with a pen and finding it dry or having it go dry while I'm writing something. I'm not mad about this, but glad for the chance to know each of those pens for what it really is. I look forward to having a jar full of nothing but reliable writing tools, and it's going to be soon, you may be sure.

I'm going to buy a couple boxes of good pens, blue and black. It just doesn't pay to cheap out on that any more than it does to overspend on a single pen. I don't want pens I'm afraid to lose or break, but I at least want ones that will give me some good use. When I clear out these bad ones, that can happen, and I'm excited about it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Poseable

I put up a picture of myself in those sunglasses I described the other day, and people started manipulating in the style of a Chuck Norris film poster I likened my look to. In the poster, the lenses of his sunglasses reflect still shots of an action sequence. One person put those same shots over my lenses, and another pasted in images of monsters. It was an odd but flattering thing, and I thought about how people seem to like doing things to my look.

People are always talking about how I should pick my hair way out, or straighten it to see how long it would be. I bristle at this a bit, figuring that they might get their own hair to do this with, but it also is at least somewhat flattering. It's a little like being a doll, maybe. You dress it, you pose it, and you cut its hair, thus ruining it and eliciting screams from the sibling to whom it belongs. I guess that last thing doesn't really apply to me.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Yesterday I wrote of my new sunglasses and the process by which I acquired them. I bought other things there at that dollar store, among them a bottle of hot sauce. You see, there's only one kind of hot sauce that I really go for. I never have been a Tabasco fan, nor have I ever been much for Cholula or Tapatio (although the women to whom they attribute the famed 'Tapatio eyes' are really something). No, there's a different sauce that I go for. I might have written about it before, but what can you do?

It's relatively obscure, but that's not why I like it. I'd really like it better if it were more popular and therefore more commonly available for purchase. I had only known it to be available at one place. It's a restaurant supply store that one can shop at, and it carries a lot of stuff in bulk. I used to live fairly near to it, and so it was an easy thing to pick up my favorite hot sauce whenever I needed it, which was not often given how the size of the bottle.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Made In The Shades

I made a trip to the local neighborhood dollar store for  a few necessary items, and noticed that the line was a little longer than I'd like, so I lingered by the impulse buy area adjacent for a minute. I couldn't help but notice the sunglasses. I typically expect the offerings for eyewear at such a place to be poor. That's what I find to be the case typically at even the best of dollar stores, so why should things be any better at less than the best?

I looked at those shades though, and I saw how wrong I was. They had some really decent stuff. I thought that since this was not a one dollar only type of establishment, the nice sunglasses I was looking at must be in excess of that price. I looked them over, admiring this pair and that, but could see no price tag on them. This signified that they were in fact only one dollar. I was amazed, and decided to override my usual reluctance to make an impulse purchase in this case.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Good Chair From She Of Beauty Fair

I seem to have a lot of opportunities fall into my lap. That is fortunate, since I would just as soon not do a lot of legwork. I never will have to if possibilities continue to present themselves at the rate they have begun to. I wonder if that 'Secret' thing could be true after all. If it's not that, it's something. I need certain little things, and then they come to me in some fashion. I certainly do hope that it keeps up for the foreseeable future.

A recent thing has been our need for furniture in this apartment, and a constant has been my interest in ladies. The two things coincided the other day. We need a coffee table, a couch, a proper dining table and chairs. Well, we still need most of those things, but we need one chair fewer thanks to one example of that  timeless pastime, ladies. It was a lady who lives on the very same floor of this building that I do who made this happen.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Angry For A Spell

Poor spelling upsets me, as does poor grammar. You see a considerable amount of it online, maybe because it's so quick to publish one's writing there and because writing that goes out on the internet is seen as disposable or ephemeral. It is definitely inconsequential for all of the importance that is placed on making sure that it all adheres to the rules we agreed on. Sometimes I fancy myself to be the last person in the world who cares, and then I get scared that I will miss-spell something myself.

Of course, I have spellcheck and grammar check, but those are hardly infallible. You have to be paying attention. Most people don't do that. I can't fathom how you could put the effort into making one of those fake inspirational posters and them miss-spell the word 'marriage'. It's the central element of the whole thing, and it's a single word. The person got that wrong. I just can't conceive of how a person could not know, or know and live with that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


When you go into a live comedy show, particularly standup, you know that you are exposing yourself to potential embarrassment or other unpleasantness. Comics often see audience members more as props than as people, so when the audience members don't do what the comic wants, they treat them like a bad mic or something. You have to know therefore that you might get hassled based on a wide array of conflicting conditions.

If you come in during someone's set, it could be a problem. That happened to me the other day. You desperately try to enter unobtrusively, but sometimes the comic or the room just won't let you. In this case it was mainly the comic. I can't imagine if she was flailing around for a life preserver, though she seemed to be strong. What I know is that of the three that entered at the same time, the others got away and I was the lone one who was too slow and guileless to manage it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eat Fast, Slim Never

I'm on a sandwich kick, which you'll recall if you are a regular regular and have a better than average memory. These days, I'm doing turkey and cheese on some manner of bread or another. Generally I'll make two hefty sandwiches, sometimes heating up both and other times eating one cold while the other toasts. It's always two sandwiches and two slices of bread apiece of course, except for when that isn't the case.

There's something appealing about the small, impromptu single slice sandwich. I'm not at all talking about some kind of open face sandwich. I don't get that. Someone will have to explain that to me, because I don't see how it is a sandwich at that point. At any rate, what I sometimes like to do is to make up the main part of the sandwich like normal, stopping before the addition of the second bread slice. I then fold the single slice over the meat, cheese and so forth.

Monday, January 23, 2012


An odd thing happened yesterday. This was, of course, on Hollywood Boulevard in the touristy section. Every time I pass through there, I am struck by how wide the margin is between it and the next weirdest place I have ever been to. In any case, I was walking towards the subway station from church, and I expected no trouble because I had not yet gotten to the Chinese Theatre where the costumed panhandlers are.

I had on my sunglasses, which I was taking off and putting on on account of the inconsistent lighting in the area.I also was carrying a book, in addition to the mp3 player I was listening to. Had I not been engrossed in the music, I might have been more aware of what happened and why. What I think is that I got sprayed with some kind of water, I think. I really am not sure of even that much, but I prefer to take it on faith to any possible alternative.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

No Help

I was waiting for the bus to take me to a party for people who had worked on a particular church play. I saw approach a woman with groceries, and I figured her to be too attractive and too affluent to be waiting for the bus. I waited and waited for her to move on after some interval for rest or whatever else. She never left, and it eventually became obvious that in spite of all evidence to the contrary, she was there to get on the bus.

Of course I didn't do the bold thing and make an attempt, but I do often feel a kind of paternal impulse with some people who are waiting for the bus. I do pretty well with cell phone apps and other means of navigating the often bewildering public transportation system, and so I am always glad to relieve those around me of worry if they are stressed out by the mystery of where the bus is. This seemed as if it might be one of those times.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Some Scenes

You see some interesting things out walking on the street. Typically I see these things when I'm out walking for a purpose, but every now and then, I find myself feeling compelled to go for a walk. It may be because I'm bored, or as in a recent case, because I was trying to conceive of ideas and was having no luck cloistered away at home. When the ideas do not come and find you, my thinking is, you must go out there after them.

I for one am perfectly willing to do so with vigor, although if I had known that there would be a sheen of mist falling on the streets, I might have been less eager this time. Sometimes they're not really out there, no matter how much stimulus is out there- and on this occasion there was plenty to be seen and heard. In truth, this recent sojourn did not have any really clear-cut textbook ideas that I would come to and say, "Here is something worthy of my writerly attentions!"

Friday, January 20, 2012


Sometimes people ask me for directions. I don't know why. I'm not sure that I look either approachable or trustworthy on matters of navigation. That second part may only be because I know that I really cannot be trusted to just know how to get around by car. In any case, most times I can't help, and I try to be honest about that. That can be hard, because there's a natural inclination not only to help someone, but to prove one is smart.

As I said, I try to be honest. Recently I was asked for directions and I actually did know the way. A woman drove up and called out to me as I walked along the front of the grocery store. I was bewildered for a moment, as I typically am in such situations. I pulled it together, and heard the lady looking for a particular street that I knew was north. I advised her of this, and that the intersecting street was not the nearest, but the one after that.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mmm Mmm Good Idea

Some who give me gifts wind up wondering why I have not done anything with their present after a while- why I have chosen to let it sit idle rather than seizing upon it and using it with gusto. It's a complicated thing, but suffice it to say that it is not because I don't like the gift. Still it happens, as it did with a box of chocolate items sent to me on my birthday by my dear mother. Moments before I wrote this I ate one.

The most recent sensation was enjoyment. If all of them are as the first one was, they are rich and sweet, and I will enjoy parceling them out carefully over a period of time. Immediately preceding that enjoyment though was just surprise. I bit into it and discovered that instead of some chocolate or chocolate-flavored lollypop, it was like a little cupcake on a stick. I took that bite and reeled from the discovery, only to reel again when the remainder lurched and fell off its stick onto my computer desk's keyboard tray.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It Takes Bread To Buy Bread

As I did with beers when I became old enough to drink, I now am sampling different breads now that I care about the quality of ingredients in the sandwiches I make. I don't want to give the impression that I will settle for nothing less than the best. I definitely will settle for less than the best of breads and other ingredients, but I will now at least no longer be content with the absolute worst breads that the grocery store offers.

There is an astonishing array available at the mid to high quality level. At the very cheapest price, there is only white bread and wheat, with the latter probably offering only a different coloring and not a higher level of nutrition. When you go up a little, there are countless options, each looking and tasting different, not to mention having different nutritional content. I make decisions mainly on the first two points, as you might guess.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Business Brunch

Occasionally, I get asked to lunch for business purposes. Frankly, I don't find it to be a really ideal situation for that. You see in movies how people do a lot of serious talking, and somehow at the end of it their whole entrees are gone. You don't see them eating too much, so there is that mystery of how the food gets eaten. Perhaps they slip it into a napkin and feed it to the dog later. I don't do that myself, so the experience is neither a fully adequate meal or meeting.

That aside, I always do value a free meal and the prospect of work. Recently I was asked to have coffee to discuss a project. That makes sense. You don't have to constantly be drinking the coffee in order to be done with it in a reasonable amount of time. Well, a half-hour delay turned coffee into a meal, and I directed us to a place in my neighborhood that I had been past a thousand times but never had gone into. A situation like this is ideal for crossing a place off my list.

Monday, January 16, 2012

When Your Treat Is Beat

I appreciate more and more what you have to give in life, rather than what you can hope to receive. I think it's really true that the more you give, the more you get. Some things, like tipping bartenders, I have learned the hard way. Other things I have managed to pick up on without a string of incidents to motivate me. Of course, there is not always great reward when you give. Sometimes your giving goes unappreciated, and sometimes what you give is just no good.

Consider the potluck. Some organizers leave little to chance, having attendees sign up for a side dish, a drink or whatever else. Others are more haphazard, leaving room for someone like me to go afoul. It's not like I'm trying to get out of contributing my fair share. I want to give what people want to eat, but how should I know what that is? I gravitate towards canned ravioli and store brand Doctor Pepper. I have to be told.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hate The Game

There I was, sitting with some friends after a recent improv show. I had thought of just going home, but I generally figure that impulse to be borne of faulty thinking when it comes, so I consented to hang out instead. We had some wine, some stale Pringles and some popcorn. We talked for a while, and the idea came up that we might play a game. A brief survey outlined the various possibilities, which were actually few in number.

We settled on Scene It. The game is incredibly complicated for a trivia game, or maybe it just seemed that way because I payed so little attention to the introductory video. The game depends heavily on an accompanying DVD, and plays clips you have to answer questions about. I'm not sure I understand the game even now, but that's really now what I was interested enough to write about. Games and refreshments are only lubricants for the real game of interacting with others.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I'm very adept at accruing possessions. They accumulate day by day, minute by minute, piling up and choking me, crowding me out of my home. They fill up my wallet, my bedroom, and cover the surfaces of everything over and over again, requiring the same treatment as snowbound streets. You'd think this would be true of everything, but that is regrettably not so. I manage to gather small items with no effort, but the problem is reversed with big stuff.

Furniture is somehow hard to come by. When we moved into the place I'm in now, we had a couch, a coffee table, a plastic dining table and a refrigerator. I personally had a bed, a dresser, a computer desk and a chair of dubious origin. We now have less than that. The couch, table and coffee table are gone. In truth, they could not be said to have ever been ours, but nonetheless we are worse off than we were a little over a year ago.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Model Student

I had a rather interesting experience last night. Some friends were having a game night a long way from my place, and some other friends were planning on going downtown to the Art Walk. For a night every month, downtown is heavily populated by the city's coolest and hippest (or so they appear to my eyes). As downtown is considerably easier to get to, I opted for the latter plan. It proved to be a pretty good time altogether.

The main thing that stood out came midway through the evening. One artist, ensconced in an industrial space with about nothing in it, was doing "live art". That is to say that he was doing chalk (or perhaps charcoal) drawings before an audience. We watched for a while as he rendered a rather pretty blonde woman into a somewhat haunted-looking likeness on the paper. It was rather interesting to watch it play out.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


The grocery store is quite a place to meet people or, sometimes, to see people you don't want to meet. The latter sort of humanity is often in closer proximity late at night at grocery stores open twenty-four hours a day. Inexplicably, my local place is open all night and shuts down its automated checkout lanes during that slack period. One would think that is when it would be most valuable, relieving the store of the need for very many cashiers. Of course, they don't use very many at night- just one.

That leads the line to build up considerably if there is very much business whatsoever. People who shop late at night are in my experience not very reserved, and so when in line with them there is much to learn about them by listening and declining to involve oneself verbally. The other night, there I was waiting in line after shopping for some groceries after improv class. There were some somewhat interesting characters about.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Do You Call It? A Wallet!

I got a new wallet from my father at Christmas. I figure that puts the tally at about ten wallets from my sister and I to him in childhood, and now finally one coming to me from him (which is unbalanced, but not too bad when one considers how the book deficit slants the other direction). It's a very nice wallet, and almost certainly is the nicest that I've ever had. It's made of supple leather, and after some weeks in my pocket still smells like a department store. I think that's good.

It's a considerably more mature wallet than those I've had before with chains and ostentatious insignias. Used properly, it will probably help create more flattering lines on my form, and will be somewhat more impressive when I remove it in the presence of a lady. I say used properly because I'm not exactly the easiest on my possessions. As obsessive as I get you'd think I'd treat them very well and I mean to, but my resolve breaks and I end up going from unreasonable precautions to none at all.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Birthday Meal That's Too Difficult, I Feel

I love fajitas and I hate them. They are, of course, delicious. I had them at my birthday dinner yesterday evening. One can have them made in a variety of ways. They can have flour or corn tortillas, and they may feature any number of meats. I had chicken, steak and shrimp, along with grilled peppers and onions as well as the rice, beans and all else. They really were tasty, and rightly were the most expensive item on the menu. Fortunately they were free for the birthday boy.

They were not free of one thing, and that was some effort on my part. For some reason, they cook it all up and leave it to you to assemble. I go to restaurants for at least a few reasons. One is that at them I can have things that I never could at home. Another reason is that they cook the food and they clean up afterwords. All of the hard and unpleasant stuff is on them, and all the fun stuff is for me. Not so with fajitas, which you must assemble.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Not Write Now

It's my birthday, but I'm in no mood to contemplate it. More pleasantly, I have bought myself a little notepad to write on. As I've written in the past, I favor legal pads for general writing and the rare doodle or sketch (though of course I type things on the computer, but there's always some amount of handwriting that I still do). Regrettably, the legal pad is an awkward thing to carry on its own. I have it there at home, and I can take it along in my laptop case, but apart from that it is really unavailable for use.

It's true enough that my phone can take notes, but somehow it just doesn't do it for me. Often I can't quite get at my phone for one reason or another. My hands might be unclean, or the light is distracting to others. People also will get the wrong idea about what you're doing with the phone. For those reasons, as well as for the difficult to articulate feeling that some things just have to be written by hand, I picked up the little notepad.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Odd Years

I always take stock some as the new year approaches, but that heightens after the new year, for my birthday follows shortly thereafter. There is something particular I'm thinking about this year. I have never liked having an odd-numbered age. Even before my age started to become an unpleasant thing to contemplate I disliked being, let's say, fifteen instead of fourteen. As it's only my twenty-ninth birthday coming, maybe I shouldn't be too bothered on that point, but the other thing bothers me.

I don't imagine that I have to think too hard in order to figure out why I don't like the odd birthdays. I have a history of your standard obsessive-compulsive habits. I never could bear stepping on the line between segments of sidewalk, and had to step on each the same, even number of times. A lot of that stuff is not much of an issue anymore, but I remain somewhat ill at ease with my very age being an odd number.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I have been thinking about things that I can do to improve my results in life for the new year. Everyone does that, and plenty probably are thinking just what I am. I don't put any stock in the "Secret" stuff, where you ask the universe for things and it gives them to you, but I do have an idea that's not wholly different. I got to thinking about it after a friend suggested that I might be interested in buying a queen-size bed from a different acquaintance.

I may have in fact outlined this theory in the past, but it's possible that the time passed has changed my outlook a little. Anyway, it seems to me that the thing to do is to be ready for things. In the case of the bed, my shortsighted thinking would be that because I have a twin size bed and am single, I'm set. The thing to consider though is that I am all the more likely in a way to remain single if there is no space in my bed for a significant other.

Friday, January 6, 2012


A few days back when I was flying back to Los Angeles, I had an incident. My dear uncle Allen had sent a gift for Christmas, and you'll believe me when I say that it was not at all out of character that this year my gift from Allen was a pocket knife. I'm looking at it as I write this, and it's nice. I will undoubtedly get considerable use from it in the new year, but its first contribution towards the easing of my life was not the best.

It's really my fault. I had remembered, as I do fairly well now, that there is a little knife on my keychain Leatherman which security personnel are typically sensitive to. I remember now to remove that from the other keys and to leave it at home or put it in checked luggage as I did in this case. I felt therefore quite secure with the minutes waning as I walked away from the ticket counter with my garment bag towards the gate. You may ask why I would check one bag and not two, which is a good question. On I went to security.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Fast approaching is my birthday. When I was a boy, I couldn't wait for my birthday to come. In those days, certain things were assured. There was a big party with everyone from my class. They really had to come, and it's debatable just how many would have of their own volition, or how many would have bought me a present with their own money. As it was, their parents provided the money and they piled up for me a bounty of action figures. Birthdays were a good thing then.

I don't happen to anticipate them with much eagerness anymore. I trace this trend back to college and its conclusion. Birthdays were fine even as I was still attending classes, but the moment I graduated, each one after that became more unpleasant. I think that there ceased to be anything to gain from getting older, and all there was to experience was the steady march to the end of the trail, as it were. Being still very young, that was an immensely unappetizing prospect.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lists Are Rank

On the last day of last year, which you'll recall was on Saturday, I mentioned something about taking stock. I believe that it's valuable to do so in order to see clearer the way ahead for oneself. In general though, I think we are too given to making lists and ranking things. That's not to say that there is no value in these things. After all, one must make a list prior to shopping for groceries, and when there is some question about which is the best bread, what better way to resolve is there than ranking them based on their merits?

After that I don't know what the point is. Take movies, if you will. I feel myself smothered by the multitude of lists and rankings surrounding them. I don't know why people go to the trouble. They already get ranked by box office gross automatically, and that's at least as good a measure of excellence as those provided by alleged experts who really are masters only of reporting the plot points of a movie in their entirety.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Theater? Can't Beat 'Er!

Back when I was in Chicago going to school, there was at first a movie theater within walking distance of my downtown dorm. It was a dump, but they had first-run movies and charged significantly less than the chains. For someone willing to endure the shame of sitting at a bar for hours while buying nothing but dollar hamburgers and soda in order to watch a playoff baseball game, this represented a real bargain. Sadly, the place closed down and was to be replaced by offices. I wonder why.

Since then, there has been no place like that. I am opportunistic by nature, and do things a lot more often when they are very convenient to do. This is a fault of mine, but in one respect it is no longer a problem, as a new movie theater has opened very near me. I watched the construction transpire eagerly for months before I had the least idea of what it was to be. You would think I'd know considering I knew a year or two ago that a movie theater was to open in the neighborhood. One tends to put little stock in such things, though.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Burning Question

As I write this, an arsonist roams free here in Los Angeles. Indeed, we may be talking about multiple arsonists, either operating independently or cooperatively. It is an unsettling notion to know that out there lurks a person or persons with the urge to destroy and the inclination to act on it. In my very neighborhood this is happening, although it's only fair to note that the neighborhood encompasses no small amount of territory.

I understand that it has been cars in garages and carports set ablaze. I suppose it's more likely that the arsonist appreciates the easy of burning cars rather than that he (or she) harbors ill will towards cars. Still, nothing can be overlooked. Cars often make me plenty mad, and I inhibit myself better than some. Whoever is doing it (and why), they are clearly quite motivated, especially if there's just one person. There have been dozens of them in just a few days.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Something New Year's

As I write this, I am beginning the process of coming down from a quintessentially bacchanalian New Year's Eve party. It was a small one by comparison with those that I am aware other friends participated in, but then any gathering of two people would have to be more wild a party than I am accustomed to. I have in years past most typically stayed with my family back home through New Year's Day, the better to watch college football (as no one here is much for the amateur variety).

That makes the bowl games of New Year's Day fine, but then what of the night before? Well, I can tell you with years of personal experience to back me up that there are some remarkable tv show marathons to choose from. Most commonly I favored the 'Twilight Zone' ones, and watched some classic television into the wee hours of the new year as the VCR clock turned over at midnight. I can say that makes for a less and less satisfying New Year's.