Saturday, March 31, 2012

Job And A Half

You see very interesting things if you linger where people are to be found. The other night, I had just finished doing some grocery shopping. I hit my limit for being in a store just minutes in due to the crowds, but soldiered on and got my food. On my way out, I noticed a truck pulling into the parking lot. I resolved to stay for a moment and watch the truck pull into the loading dock. I think it's a remarkable thing to see done, which I'm sure sounds odd.

It's tough to maneuver a truck, taking a skilled driver under the best of conditions, which these were not. At this grocery store, the loading dock is in the front, right by the entrance. Ideally it would be in the back, far from customer parking. Well, that building seems to have no back, making things harder on the truck drivers. I knew it would be a sight to see this truck pull in, and what I saw over the next minutes was that for sure.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Something that is rather curious to me is the art of colorizing movies, if it can be so called. I recall the story that is told of Orson Welles, who when near death was said to ask only that his films be protected from the intentions of Ted Turner. Turner would have had Welles' movies rendered into color, but it was not to be. This is perhaps as it should be, and yet one cannot help but wonder what might have been if such classics as 'Citizen Kane' and 'The Magnificent Ambersons' were colorized.

There's little subtlety in colorizing a film after the fact. This is something that maybe can't be said about doing the same thing with 3-D. A movie may be the worse off for having been made into 3-D as an afterthought as opposed to having been conceived as such from the start, but it does not wind up being built up into utterly cartoonish dimensions as a result. This is often the case with colorizing, or with any early form of color film prints.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Something Short

At home, I sometimes use pencils and sometimes it's pens. It depends partly on what I find first, but it sometimes is a question of what mood I'm in. Only occasionally is it a matter of which one is necessary for the job, as is the case when I'm writing checks. Now, when I'm out and about, the reasoning is something different. I have to think about the ever-present possibility of pens breaking and leaking on my clothes, but then pens can break as well and are difficult to re-sharpen away from home.

What I like to use is a golf pencil. That's what I call it, although the stubby little pencil commonly used during the playing of that game may have another name (and may not even be so called during golf for all I know). What's important is not what it's called. What matters is what it's good for. It's small and simple. It's less likely to break, and when it does I don't have to feel so bad since it's such a trifle of an implement.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Song Box

Something I do sometimes these days is listen to the radio while I shower. I refrain from doing so when I'm getting up early out of consideration for my roommate, or at least I should do so. I'll listen to news radio, or NPR if I'm confident that they're not conducting a pledge drive. I couldn't bear to hear repeated, desperate pleas for my money while I'm in the shower. Sometimes I listen to music, of course, and that may be of any genre.

Lately what I've been going with is classic rock (which is the oldest music still on the radio outside of classical these days). That's typically reliable enough, although any commercial radio can be a bad pick for the shower depending on how the commercials and 'talk time' coincide with things on my end. A commercial break or prolonged instance of chatter from the DJ is apt to knock out much of my morning routine time.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Two Abreast

Mostly when I write for this blog, an idea presents itself (or is unearthed through considerable mental struggle) for the substance of a post. After I finish writing, I contemplate the general thrust of the thing and assign it as appropriate a title as I have the energy left to conceive of. That seems like the reasonable and ordinary way for that to be done, but it is not always the way that things go. This is one of the other times.

I found myself walking down the sidewalk towards my building with a couple bags of groceries. A man was coming the other way, and there was no comfortably passing him. The sidewalk is just not that wide, even when the city is good enough to keep the weeds and trash under control (if in fact it is up to the city to deal with such matters). I thought that most people would describe the situation as being one of two people not being able to walk side by side, but I thought there was a better way of putting it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Conspiracy

I don't take naps during the day too often. It's not so much that I wouldn't like to. I get plenty tired by mid-day on most days, but somehow it doesn't seem to work out. There's always something I want to do, or there's something i have to do. Considering how difficult sleep is at night, it's no easy feat to accomplish it twice in one day. As I think I've made clear, it's not easy even to find the opportunity, let alone to get it done.

I need a pretty big window of time for a nap. I need several hours for a nap that might take one. I need to know that the nap can stretch out for a while in order to relax enough to make it happen, and that's just not realistic often. I also need total security and privacy. The other day, I was looking to take a nap. I'd had an early morning following a late night, and I anticipated another late night to come. It was a rare case of being smart and hoping to plan ahead.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I Cooked It!

I've made it well known that I'm no good hand in the kitchen. There may be one or two things that I can make, but I avoid doing so if I can and resort to the assembling of multiple ingredients with little enthusiasm. Even some single ingredient things are too much for me to manage, and most methods of cooking an egg fall into that category. As Eastwood said in one film of his or another, "A man's got to know his limitations."

Something that is tricky for me is steak. I certainly cannot manage to cook a steak to any specific level of "done-ness" with accuracy and reliability. I have no interest in even trying without some kind of expert on hand to keep an eye on things (and I naturally prefer this person to be an attractive, unattached lady if possible). The other day, I bought a steak meaning to cook it along with a friend who had likewise bought some cut of meat destined for the grill.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shop & Drop Out

I still have social anxiety. I had to do some grocery shopping, as I'd found myself looking at condiments as though they were food in their own right. I went to the store around 5:30 in the evening, and it was rather crowded. I don't know if this would be one of the peak times, because it feels like the big shopping day must be at the beginning of the week. Maybe for those living from paycheck to paycheck, the big day is Friday.

In any event, it was pretty crowded. I don't have complaints about the exact makeup of shoppers. The one I go to tends to have a fair number of rather attractive ladies in in, and while that is a distraction from the business at hand, it is a welcome one. I'd rather ogle a lady than make the very difficult choice yet again of which bread I ought to go with. Sure, I walk away with something tangible in the case of the bread, but at what cost?

Friday, March 23, 2012

My House Of Usher

Mostly in my apartment, there are lights on. Any room someone's in has the lights on, of course. Somebody is home much of the time. There's a light on in the bathroom if we have the fan running in there, because they operate on the same switch. There's also a little light above the stove that we tend to have on all the time as a way of seeing where you're going when the rest of the lights are off. This just seems like a safety thing.

It's not quite what I'm used to from growing up. At night anyway, it's my recollection that all the lights were off. If one needed to move about at night, only those lights needed were to be activated, and then deactivated just as soon as one was through with them. That all seemed logical, so I had no quarrel with the policy, but it was all the more logical that I abide by it in any case, lest I come in for some kind of punishment.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


It's exceptionally possible that when I perish, it will be from something like heart disease. I eat slightly better these days, but not terribly well. The things I gravitate towards are filled with sodium, nitrates and about everything else bad. These things I eat because they're simple, and because they're cheap. They're intermittently tasty, although I don't tend to insist on that. I should cut down on all that, but it's hard.

The thing that really makes it bad is when there's a sale or something. The other day, I noticed a sale on the canned ravioli that I love. It's ordinarily 99 cents. They marked it down to 89, for a discount of ten cents. It's not rational that I would go and snap up a bunch, considering the savings there is not incredible. That's why, of course, I did exactly that thing and bought six cans instead of two. I've never pretended to be rational.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chance Of Chance

The other day, I went and sleep through my alarm. I think that's what happened, although my recollection is odd. It seems to me that I woke up before my alarm and went to the bathroom before going back to sleep with the intention of getting back up when the alarm did go off. I think I may have reflexively hit the alarm button and then misread the time on the clock. The point is that I got a late start and left home in a slight hurry.

I always forget things, even in the best of times, and that is exacerbated when I'm running late. On this day I forget a name badge (which was of no consequence) and I forgot to check the weather. You might think that a resident of southern California could disregard the possibility of radical weather changes, but it's less like that than you'd think. Lately, it's been vacillating between a late emergence of real Winter weather and the arrival of proper Spring.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


It's a curious thing how much noise we live with. It's each other who we hear much of the time, and it's also machines. Air conditioners, refrigerators and the plumbing around us all create noise that we can't even hear. It has to get turned off when you film, but we can't even detect it. The machines do, though. It's really something to think of how all the noise affects us. I think that we come to need the noise, however much we might think otherwise.

I think we must be scared of the silence, because then there's just our thoughts, or we might actually get something done. People talk about having something on "in the background" as a matter of comfort while working. I don't know if that actually works for them, or if they're just like me. I think I want something on in the background while I work or before I succumb to sleep, but it's really just a counterproductive thing.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Long Haul

Part of using public transportation to the exclusion of almost anything else is the inevitable very long, nearly intolerable commute. These days, I don't have that so often, for a variety of reasons. More of the places I go to are near, and the places that are far I can get to through the kindness of car-driving friends. Still it happens from time to time, and I won't deny that such arduous, onerous journeys are indeed much-dreaded.

Still, they must be dealt with. Typically what they entail are about an hour and a half to two hours split up into three legs. If I'm fortunate, one or two of the three are rail trips, which are quicker and more reliable than buses. The clientele of the trains are distinctly more pleasurable to be around as well, although that is not a completely dependable generalization. Still, you hope to see the subway and a light rail show up on the itinerary. Three trains are too much to hope for.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Everything's Fine

It's funny what's truly essential in a party. Of course there is the matter of people, if you're going to get deep and sentimental. Don't do that. Let's just focus on practical matters that don't require us to really take stock in life. That's hard and often painful. The material things in life are never either, although the acquisition of them is often both. At any rate, what I prefer to think of being essential to a party is definitely inanimate, although it is not what one might think.

Of course the reasonable thinking would be that liquor is essential. As they say, it lubricates social interactions, and a race of beings that is under ordinary circumstances too awkward to live suddenly manages it for at least an evening. The liquor is important, but much easier to come by than one might guess. Everybody's thinking alcohol, and many if not most make sure to provide some. Little do they expect what else is important.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


It's raining today in Los Angeles. This is no surprise, because it's the big marathon tomorrow. The weather is perfect or nearly so every day of the year except for one in which it's terribly important that it be so good. One must expect that, and one must also expect that I would have mandatory or virtually mandatory engagements on that day as well. I'd love nothing more than to stay in bed all day long with nothing but bathroom breaks, but it's not in the cards.

Of course I was up late carousing last night, and am presently nursing a 'wounded soldier' left over from that. What better way to head off a hangover than to head out into driving rain at 8 in the morning, then to attend a Toastmasters contest? I may have won, but I owe that to my lack of an opponent more so than my very disciplined preparatory work. I wish I could have slept until the parties started in the evening.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Habit

I've been watching an inordinately high number of movies lately. I don't know quite why that is. It's just been an impulse. I wonder if it's something like what happens when your body lacks something like iron, and suddenly you just crave meat. I watch a good number of movies anyway, but perhaps it has not been enough. Well, if that's so then I am definitely making progress towards fully addressing that matter.

A couple have been at the theater with friends. That is a remarkable thing in itself given how seldom I get to the theater, and that is not a recent trend. I never got to the theater much. Some more movies have been at my home or at the home of a friend, again accompanied by others. So far I feel that we are not discussing problematic movie watching. These are not the actions of someone who is truly addicted to movie watching.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wanna Do Something?

I never have felt popular. When I was young, I felt profoundly uncool and out it. Even now that I have kind of upped my game and found the right people, I still see myself somewhere in the less social end of what is an exceptionally social group. So it is that I am about as surprised as I am pleased any time that people wind up doing things because I thought it up. As far as those things go, I'm more a joiner than a starter.

The other day, I noticed a bumper crop of good-looking movies at the cheap theater. There was some interest in the idea when I brought it up, but no action on the day when tickets are half price. The next day I was about resigned to the idea of going it alone, but my interest waned as the time approached, and I though of staying home to watch something. Some kind of fortune intervened, however, and that did not come to pass.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Up And Down, Atta Boy!

I don't typically have a really hectic, harried start to the day. Even when I have to get out of the house early, I tend to be up earlier, and this allows me a relaxed start to the day. I'll get up, get my breakfast started, then hit the shower. After my bathroom routine is finished, I dress and peruse the internet for a while, or perhaps watch a little TV. If I have some actual stuff to do that can't happen while I'm traveling, I'll do it.

The only thing that would ruin this is getting up too late, which doesn't happen often. I tend to respond pretty well to my alarm these days. That's good, because there's nothing worse for me than getting a late start and being so rushed that I'm going out with my hair wet. Sadly, that very thing happened the other day. Just how could it be that I got up near an hour and a half after I meant to? I really have no answer to that one.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Our laundry room has been host to many unspoken dramas. I have been party to some myself, quietly seething to know that the delicate arrangement that efficiently gets my clothes into three washers and two dryers was ruined. Others have undoubtedly had their own run-ins there as well, though I couldn't know about them unless I know people involved, or if I actually notice something. As it happens, I did notice something the other day.

I think maybe I was going for a soda from the machine that lives in the laundry room. I noticed a pile of clothes that must have been removed from the dryer by a frustrated person with whom I could certainly identify. I saw what I thought was one of my socks, and so I thought that it must have found its way into someone else's load by an improbable chain of accidents. I took it upstairs meaning to reunite it with its mate only to find that the sock was not mine. I returned it to the lady's clothes.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cool Street

I've lived in lousy neighborhoods out in Los Angeles, and I've lived in ones that were allegedly up-and-coming. If those latter districts were truly on the rise, then either I didn't see it from my vantage point or I couldn't see the forest for the trees, as they say. It's more likely to be the latter. In any case, I now can say I'm in a neighborhood that really is transitioning into a thriving area before my eyes. This probably means I will be priced out before long unless I grow with it.

The main street that runs north and south has plenty of new and established spots, but it's the nearest major east and west thoroughfare that's really exciting these days. It has long been distinguished by a number of small theaters, but was until recently also marred by some lesser lights that are now gone. Enduring along with the theaters are a thrift store, some character-laded restaurants, and a marijuana dispensary about which I cannot speak with authority.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Daylight Enslavement

Growing up in Arizona, it's a peculiar way of experiencing Daylight Savings that we have. We don't do it. I have always endorsed this policy, and still do today. It's one of the few things unique to my home state that I'm still proud of, although it's not entirely effective thanks to the encroaching of the outside world (which includes the Navajos, who are an island of unreason in a land of otherwise sane time management.

As we never had dealings with Navajos personally, that was not a problem for us. What always was an issue were the friends and loved ones who lived in places that do abide by it. All my life, I knew that sometimes it was so many hours difference from where family was if we were calling, and sometimes it was an hour more. That's all it was to me, and I don't enjoy at this point in my life having to learn to deal with the clocks, although most of them handle this on their own.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I went and saw the movie "John Carter" with a couple of friends. I meant to go in with an open mind and low expectations in spite of having something of an affection for the couple of books I read from the series on which the movie is based. I think I managed that, but maybe I didn't, considering that I wound up with mixed feelings about the movie. It was a big, loud spectacle, and God knows I like that. It was also a mess of a story, which I don't go for.

I expressed my feelings on the overly long, complicated story we had just seen, and was surprised to find myself not just the lone voice of dissent but someone who may as well have been speaking a foreign language. Try as I might, I could not manage to adequately convey my feelings about the film's shortcomings. I assume that I failed in communication, because I can't imagine that I'm wrong (as the movie is projected to lose a considerable amount of money).

Friday, March 9, 2012

So Close

You see interesting things at the grocery store when you insist on shopping in the middle of the night. I remember how much of a night owl I felt like when I would go the the grocery store at ten o'clock in the evening, but that doesn't compare to the sights one sees just short of two in the morning at a place that goes all night. It's true enough that most of what you see is inventory waiting in the aisles to be stocked on shelves, but there's more.

Take what I saw the other night when I was looking for something to eat in the absence of anything compelling in my own pantry. As I said, it was almost 2. This is last call at the bars, and also the last chance to buy liquor at such retail establishments that offer it. The last allowable hour at which liquor may be sold is academic in most places, but not this one. I had contemplated buying some on this visit, but reasoned that it would likely prove too late.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Be Cool

All too often, I fail to get up at a really good hour if I don't have to. I know in my brain that getting up at something like 7am if not at least 9 is the way to actually get things to happen, but it just doesn't play out that way much. What does get me up is something concrete. Even if I sleep just two hours, I can get up at any hour if I want to. The other thing that gets me up is if I get a phone call. It's just not very pretty, that's all.

It feels like it looks in the movies, except in the movies it's a plain ring, not a whimsical ringtone like I have. Still, I wake up like some hungover cop stereotype, and swear. I wonder who could be calling me, so hard is it to believe that anyone would have cause for doing so. I see who's calling, and then I answer. I try to collect my thoughts and pull myself together before I have to sound ok to the person on the other end. The easy part is answering the call and saying, "Hello?"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dogging It

Something curious is afoot at a local movie theater. It's a cheap theater, so tickets are three dollars most days and half that on Tuesdays. Of course, cheap theaters as much as first-run ones depend on their concessions to make a profit. They say most of the ticket price goes to the studios, which is why they gouge you on the food. A soda and popcorn will run you as much at this place as it would at a fancy theater.

That's not true of everything on the menu, though. For whatever reason,, the theater sells a hot dog for just a dollar. Sure, you'll say- hot dogs are cheap food with meat barely fit for humans. That may be so, but there's no way they are cheaper than popcorn or soda. I have been trying to solve the mystery of how or why they sell the hot dogs for so little, and I cannot say that I have come up with a really satisfying answer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Desk? Yes.

I recently acquired a new used computer desk. I had the idea that it would be nice to have one for my laptop as well as the one I had already for the desktop computer. In the meantime though, it seemed as if it might be a handy thing to keep in the living room to help make up for our tragic lack of a couch. We have some chairs, but nothing to eat off of. Well, it hasn't exactly worked out for that, but I have been using it just for the laptop.

 The desk looks rather like that which might be used by the receptionist for an unimportant middle manager in some company. It's got a keyboard tray I don't use, and an area at the bottom where I can keep the laptop's case. It's been damaged some interesting ways, as though it was scorched by a fragmentation grenade or something. It works well enough, though. It certainly passes muster with me, if that means much.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Frosted Glass, Broadcast

I have some of my best ideas when I'm in the shower. I can't tell you how many speeches for Toastmasters have been conceived and polished at the last minute in that shower stall on the day of the delivery. The reason is that there alone can I really focus. I can't get distracted by something online or by the sudden need to clean my room from top to bottom. I can only clean myself and think. Obviously I have to find distraction in there.

I bought a radio a while ago. I had meant to use it in my bedroom, mainly for talk and new radio while on my computer. I have used it for that purpose little, and so it has mainly sat idle. I decided that it might be of use in the bathroom, as I was tired of grappling with my thoughts. I imagined it would be easier to listen to the radio, and perhaps this would be the time when I could actually get all of that radio listening done that I meant to.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Save It

I'm not much for wasting things. I would even say that what separates me from hoarders is just the money the acquire the things in the first place. The point is that when I have something, I feel an obligation to make the most of it, even when it's not longer what it was. Food is a pretty good example. I'm not about to eat spoiled food of course, but what some would throw away without a thought I am apt to suffer through because I spent a dollar on it.

The other night I was hanging out with some friends, and we were drinking. When I was ready to leave, I was only partway through a drink. Now, it would look better if I left it behind, sending the message that I don't need that beer or that I can afford to let it go to waste. That just wouldn't be true, of course, and these friends I wouldn't worry about putting on airs. I announced my departure and took my beer along with me.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I did something sort of interesting the other day. I was suddenly called away from home by a friend, who wanted me to come see him perhaps a few minutes walk away. The trouble was that I didn't have my contacts in, and my roommate was in the shower. He and I have no understanding about one busting on on the other, and so I just could not get my contacts. I went out in my glasses, the prescription for which is perhaps six or seven years out of date.

I found it irritating to wear them, but resisted taking them off because it seemed like vanity. I then decided that it would be a kind of adventure to see how I would manage without any corrective lenses. I was on foot, of course. It was a stimulating experience. I was alarmed afresh at how bad my eyes have become. I can cope without lenses, I found, so long as I need not read any signs or identify persons around me. Still, it was less than ideal.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Solid Following

I have lately stepped up the frequency of my tweeting, turning over everything funny that would have gone to Facebook over to Twitter. This has payed off, at least in the sense that I typically make a greater impact on any given day than I managed to when I tweeted every here and there instead of a regular seven to ten times a day. The impact has been mostly positive, although it has not exactly resulted in more followers.

I say not exactly because while there have been a lot more followers, they have all been what I would call spam. Spam, like weeds, is all of the ones you don't want. The followers that I don't want on Twitter I block. What's interesting is how they come to me. It's a rather crude system as far as I can tell. As I tweet so often these days, I sooner or later use a word that is being targeted by some business that itself tweets. A recent example would be 'billiards'.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chicken Madness

I never have gotten the big deal about Chick-Fil-A. Growing up, it was just another place at the mall- one that I didn't have any undue enthusiasm for patronizing. To this day, I grant that it's perfectly good food, although their attitude on social issues leaves what you might call a bad taste in my mouth. As it turns out, I had hardly scratched the surface on reasons to dislike the place. I don't seek the place out, but my friends all love it, so I wind up there now and again, as I did the other night.

The location in question has only outdoor seating. It's a fairly new location that sits on a sizable parcel of land, and it's practically a money-printing machine. Why it's all outdoors is beyond me. Also a mystery is the presence of an apparently armed security guard. I have to assume that what he has is some kind of non-lethal device, but he's got some kind of tactical belt and gun-shaped device in a holster. You'd assume that there's good cause.