Friday, August 31, 2012

The Rivals

When I was thinking about the school bus stop that is evidently in front of my building, I started thinking about the one bus stop that I had to go to for any lengthy time (apart from the bus that picked me up at my house). It was very close. I had to walk around the corner of my neighborhood side street, and then take a right. It was not the same stop where my sister had gotten off in grade school, but near it. Some interesting things happened there.

It was typically low-level delinquent stuff. We set fire to Binaca sprays and spoke irreverently. I don't believe I was particularly popular, but if you had to go to the stop, you had to be involved. As I was there to go to the public school, I was automatically aligned with the public schoolers when confronted by the bus belonging to the Catholic school. I have attended Catholic school in my life, but then I did not, and so they were our rivals in some sense.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Bus Stops Here

There are some things that I don't think of, and then something finally brings it to my attention. I wind up feeling stupid, but when I get over that there's a stimulating thing to think about. It's very rewarding. Anyway, there was one of those incidents when I was walking back to my building, and noticed a school bus stopped out front. A gaggle of children got off and went inside. Of course, I was aware that kids lived in the building, but that's all I was aware of.

The first thing I did was to look at my watch. It was about four in the afternoon, so I decided that this checked out. It adds up that the kids might get out some time before three, and that therefore the bus would leave the school a bit after that and deposit the kids there when I saw them arrive. No, there was no issue with the timing whatsoever. There never was, though. Why should the timing of school letting out or the arrangements for transportation change?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Time To Kill Time

As summer fades away, it's time again for fantasy football to get going again. I had played consistently in high school and college, but gave it up after a while. It got resuscitated in me recently, and this marks the third year in a row that I play with friends I have here in Los Angeles. I have had tolerable finishes, but not won. That is in keeping with how I ever did before, when I only ever came as close as third or fourth. Perhaps this year I will do better.

I'm lukewarm on the team I have assembled. The method of drafting players in this league is challenging, as you must bid on each player in the manner of an auction. Not only is it hard because of how you must assign value to each player, it is hard because the best players do not necessarily come up for bid all at the beginning. To draft well, you must be the master of your emotions and nerves, subjugating them both beneath solid reason. I struggle there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Let's Hope Not

I was idly thinking about life in prison the other day. It had come about when I remembered a recent news story in which inmates were fed meat not graded for human consumption. It occurred to me that worse things might happen to someone in such a place, and off I went on a contemplative tear. I wondered just how I would get along in prison. I can't do more than speculate, given that my knowledge of the place is based on what I assume to be largely inaccurate depictions in media.

People talk of unspeakable things that happen to the men in prison, but I don't know about that. There must be some truth in it, but such things are inevitably exaggerated for the sake of sensationalism. In any case, I doubt whether I would be able to get by on strength or brutality. I think it's also unlikely that I would be able to get along on my wits and general likability, as we've seen in prison films such as "The Shawshank Redemption".

Monday, August 27, 2012

Unrequited Love

I like less and less to get political, but occasionally there's an angle that I like enough to get into it. Every element of life has become tragically politicized, all the way down to the food we eat. Who'd have guessed that chicken would become a battleground for civil rights? Another curious front for the tug-of-war between left and right occurs in the realm of music, and it is rather one-sided. Still, it's a compelling subject to me.

When candidates for elective office campaign, they'll have these big, noisy spectacular events to win the affections of voters. You might think that between the candidate's speeches and the voters there to hear them there'd be enough noise, but they like to have music. Regrettably, it's not live music. Instead, they play recorded music meant to gin up overwrought emotions properly. To their credit, they pick a lot of good music.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Go Figure

There is a cable channel called BBC America. It's available in most areas, and it offers us here in the US what I gather must be the best (or maybe only the most relatable) programming produced by the BBC in Great Britain. They have other channels there, of course, but those channels have evidently been less successful at extending the reach of their brand, outside of the occasional cross-Atlantic foray. Perhaps that is the result of competing with robust publicly-funded television.

It has long interested me to observe that no matter what clearly-defined identity a cable outlet manages to carve out for itself, there is no niche so fertile as to keep that outlet from eventually abandoning it quite unceremoniously in hopes of grabbing something more. I hate that, but it's there. The Scifi Channel becomes "Syfy", which apparently has the virtue of allowing a broader ranger of programming (as it's not a word or recognized slang). The Cartoon Network increasingly runs life-action programming, and there's so much more.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Far Afield

I am a devoted fan of the local library, although my tangible displays of it go no further than visiting often and occasionally patronizing book sales. I have really taken to the Los Angeles Public Library system, making the acquaintance of the local branch in every neighborhood I've called home so far. With exceptions I've stuck to the local one, since volumes can be summoned from far away to any place you like.

I was delighted when I moved to my present accommodations that the library was again within very reasonable walking distance, as it has been in the past. Better, it belonged to the "regional" class of branches, which is meant to be open for longer hours and have more resources. That's less true than it used to be, but it isn't without meaning even now. This library is awfully nice as a building, but it doesn't have all that I would like inside its walls.

Friday, August 24, 2012

How Fast I Loathe

We humans are judgmental beings. With just a glimpse, we condemn someone as a truly lowly example of the species, or we exalt them as very nearly an angel. This is as true of me as it is of anyone, but I do know it and admit it. Where the opportunity exists, I'd like to think that I allow for the possibility that my mind could be changed, although how often that happens I can't say. I must admit that it may be rather seldom.

I actually think that it may not be so sudden that I get to liking someone. I become infatuated fast enough, but a real liking takes longer. It may go at the speed that they reveal themselves. I ought to always wait before I start creating connections between myself in the person, but I can't clearly distinguish between the infatuations and the rest. I wind up with a lot of friends on social networking websites that I ultimately decide I don't really like, but who I have nothing against.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Managing To Roll In Style

Yesterday I wrote of the cowardly closure of the local grocery store. The man who called himself manager and told me about it was a striking fellow. He seemed to see me as hostile, which was true enough, although I wasn't and am not the type to get terribly forceful in my belligerence. I suppose he couldn't have known that, especially considering my appearance. Anyway, he made an impression on me.

He was just leaving when I approached, and what I noticed most was that he seemed to be leaving in the company of a posse. In truth, it was a bevy of women. I don't say they were all tremendously attractive, but in my state of mind at the time I was not really picking up a ton of details. There just were several women about him as he headed out, and it brought to mind the image of men who are successful enough with women to stay until a bar closes and leave with all the barmaids.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The other night, I was up much later than I ought to have been. These days, I keep a decent schedule, but weekends commonly disrupt it. In any event, it was late, I had imbibed, and was hungry. My usual action at such time is either to eat something I have on hand, or to run out to the grocery store for something without regard for the time. The local grocery store has always been open twenty-four hours, which is nice.

On this night, I started out for the grocery store and had the distinct feeling that something weird was going on. Sometimes it just feels like there's something behind a whole lot of peculiar goings-on that I'll witness while out and about. Often I suspect it's nothing more than people having a good time, which still looks odd to someone who was once very used to spending all of his time alone and at home. Sometimes it seems like something else, though.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Became

I was watching "He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe" the other night while purportedly brainstorming, and thought about the action figures whose sales were the purpose of the show. I had a vast collection of them, and I recall well the large cardboard box which contained them. For a long time it also contained some loose tater tots, which is a fact that I can neither explain or defend. I can merely remember it.

It's more pleasant to remember the action figures. In truth, I don't know that I had watched too much of the show at that time, but the figures certainly entertained me. I would take them out to the backyard and enact adventures all by myself. As my sister was too young to partake (and moreover, was a girl with her own collection of increasingly mangled Barbies), this was the default situation. I was content, if memory serves.

Monday, August 20, 2012


I have lived here in this apartment building for something like a year and a half. In all that time, there are some things that I have never taken advantage of. One is the fitness room, which I have really only ever used to weigh myself. I never have worked out in there, but I think I'm in the company of most residents on that. I also never have had much use for the garage, but there's nothing odd in that either. I have used the grill only through others, I think.

Something I have just begun to use is the buzzer system. Sometime before I moved it, they stopped using the buzzer mechanisms installed in the wall and started using a device that connected the person seeking to gain entrance with the person who lives in the building via telephone. The resident has to supply a phone number, and we just were not diligent about that. Frankly though, I don't feel that we are alone in deserving blame. That's not the point, though.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nuts To that

Back home with my family, we usually had a supply of nuts on hand. They were tasty and nutritious, as they were not all weighed down with salt or other things that were not there ordinarily. In fact, they remained in their shells, and so one had to crack them one by one. They were not the sort of nuts that you could use your fingers on. There were no peanuts or pistachios among them, which was sort of a shame. I loved both, but also liked what there was.

The easiest to crack would be hard to say. It could be the hazelnuts, which required a good amount of force but which were an easy shape to handle with the cracker and the meat of which was seldom ruined in the process. Those tasted fine, although I wouldn't call them my favorite. They were the ones I was most likely to leave while cherry-picking the better ones. Sooner or later, I ate then and found them palatable at worst, if memory serves.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Get Ready

Periodically, there is some threat of natural disaster here. Typically, it's an earthquake of minor proportions, and we're implored to take it as a wake-up call. We're told how to conduct ourselves during the initial shaking, and we're also advised that we should have a kit ready to help us through some minimum period of time before help can reach us. Of course, I have never in my time living on my own had a proper kit of my own, although roommates have.

I'm not entirely without resources. My terrible diet of canned ravioli and other non-perishable items would become a blessing in the absence of any proper food. If I'm lucky, the emergency strikes when I am eating something like cup o'noodles for lunch, because that would endure better than the cold cut sandwiches that I might otherwise be eating. Of course, those noodles would depend on the water I have in one carafe and two or three bottles.

Friday, August 17, 2012

To See My Way Clear

Out of necessity, I recently rearranged my computers so that both are on one side of the table and array of desks that comprise my little home office. What happened is that the keyboard tray of the older desk collapsed entirely, and I resolved to convert it into more of a straight desk for handwriting and other purposes requiring a clear, flat surface. It seems to serve adequately in that capacity, although I would very much like a proper desk.

A consequence of moving the big desktop computer is that the major obstruction of my view out the window is gone. It had been there almost since I moved it, I think, although it was in a different place initially. This turn of events had me contemplating my view out the window afresh. There is not so very much to see, but it's not so bad, really. Too seldom do I even draw open the blinds. I tend to shun the sunlight, not on my own account but that of my numerous electronic screens.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


They were running "Crocodile Dundee" on television the other day, and so I naturally got to thinking about what weapons I have on hand to defend myself. Mick Dundee, as portrayed in the film, is best known for his larger-than-most knife, with which he shamed a New York City street thug. If memory serves, he might have had other weapons on hand as well. I don't remember guns being a big thing for him, as it seemed he mostly relied on wits.

Hopefully I can depend on my wits as well. I will need that to supplement my strength and speed, although it is my hope that I can improve those over time. Regrettably, that may not come in time, and so I take inventory of weapons that may level the playing field. They do not include guns, I hasten to say. I have had a modest amount of experience with firearms, but never have owned one. I may at some point in the future, but it is not likely to be soon enough.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Snake Your Way To Success

I was watching episodes of  "GI Joe" the other day. The main villain, known as Cobra Commander, speaks in a very serpentine manner, which stands to reason. There's a lot of hissing involved, and one wonders whether it is some form of natural speech impediment that he suffers from. If so, did he turn evil as a consequence in some manner inspired by the Book of Genesis, or was his heel turn a simple coincidence. Inquiring minds want to know.

It's an interesting noise to make or hear made. I feel as if it very seldom occurs outside of the intention to project quiet menace of some sort. As proof, I offer the fact that I myself seldom if ever hiss, although I must confess that I tend to draw out the final syllable whenever I say "Yes" as a sort of facetious reaction of happiness to things that don't necessarily justify such a reaction. Condemn me as evil for that if you will, readers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Money, Money, Money!

Kickstarter has become more successful than I would have guessed it would. If you're unfamiliar, the idea is to allow a variety of endeavors to solicit the money they need in order to reach fruition. Commonly, a certain sum is named, and thus commences a fundraising drive to reach that number. If I understand correctly, the money is only released to the campaigner if they secured commitments sufficient to reach it, or else the money returns to donors.

That's the thing that bothers me, is the whole charitable slant of the thing. If we were talking about a purely charitable venture, I'd appreciate the value of the thing. If it was a childrens' hospital we were trying to get off the ground, I'd be supportive. That's not something that I would see ultimately generating profits for the solicitor, and so the offer of a tote bag would be a good enough enticement to loosen my purse strings, more than likely.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Predilection

As incredible as it may sound, words sometimes don't come terribly easily to me. Actually, it's not so much that they don't come to me- it's more that I transmit them poorly once they have. Common is the sentiment that I keep to myself for fear of the outcome or for lack of opportunity or for some other reason. A frequent reason that the articulation of a thought does not really come in word form. Sometimes it has to be in a picture or video.

I have a bad habit of replying to peoples' Facebook and Twitter updates with nothing but a picture or a video that accurately captures my feelings about what they've said. I do this all too often, and probably those around me are rather weary of it. I can be something like Harpo Marx with a Youtube account in place of a horn, carrying on relatively eloquent conversations without uttering a word. Actually, I'll let my interlocutors say whether it's eloquent.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More Sandwich Talk

I have entered a new evolution in my ongoing quest to eat normal, human food. I've mentioned how I buy proper meat, cheese and bread to make sandwiches. I'm a long way already from the bologna and knockoff Kraft singles sandwiches that I once made with what was only technically bread, but there is always more that I can do to provide my body with something like the fuel that it needs to go at full-speed for very long without breaking down.

Thanks to a gift of assorted fancy mustards, I cannot bear the cheap kind any longer. I have now attempted to find the middle ground, but I fear that merely being in a glass container may not make the mustard good enough. I think I may have to buy the very best in order to satisfy my nascent inner picky eater. The one I bought is inexplicably sweet in spite of being stone ground mustard. Perhaps the flavor of the cranberry mustard lingers.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

On All Sides

I've spoken about my impulse to bombard myself with stimulus and my subsequent awareness of how counterproductive that is when I am trying to achieve something. Certainly some stimulation is useful, but only to a point. Well, I have not made it any easier to put the brakes on once I have reached that point. Rather, it remains all too easy to continue taking in when I should be putting out. I'm sure you're bursting into tears over that.

To begin with, there's the one computer that I've had a few years. Some years ago it shared computing duties with my old desktop PC, which now is dead and resides in the closet. It then took sole responsibility before being forced back into a platoon with a laptop. Between the two computers, I can get an awful lot of work done and ignore even more in favor of frivolous videos, socializing and music. There need not be any other apparatus in the room.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Nobody Does Anything About It

We've been coping with a heat wave here in Los Angeles lately. In truth, that equates to very typical weather back home in Arizona at this time of year, and so you can see how I've acclimated. I don't care for the heat too well, but them I don't remember loving it when I was back home. That's always a big front that people will put up. Nobody wants to endure such weather, but the human spirit is incredible when it comes to turning horrible ordeals into points of pride.

I remember when some new high temperature was set in Phoenix. Probably it has since been surpassed, but then it was really something. They made t-shirts, and I bitterly regretted that we were in Florida when it happened. Imagine wanting to be in heat exceeding 110 degrees rather than the beach. I can't really account for that myself. It was a psychological coping mechanism that protected me even when I didn't need it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

To Be Young

Watching the Olympics, you realize that many of the athletes are very young. There are gymnasts too young for high school, but even in other sports there are few if any competitors as old as thirty. When someone starts mentioning ages like that, the natural thing is to think of one's own age and compare. There's no sense in denying that now most of the athletes in the Olympics are probably younger than I am. Some of them are much younger.

Even veterans are a little younger in many cases. I gather that Michael Phelps is in his third trip to the Games., and he's a couple years younger than I am. I don't think that way about him, though. I still think as I did when I was a child watching sports. The athletes were all bigger, stronger, faster and older. All of that is still true except for the last part, really. That's just not something that I have really taken to heart. I still feel younger than them.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Marked Man

Some time not so long ago, I made some remark online about how needless it seemed to get tattoos or piercings. The reason was that it seems to me life tends to make its mark on you anyway, and so it's senseless to spend money making it happen. I'm still a young man, and have not been incredibly active in life for very long, but I have nonetheless managed to get my share of distinguishing, disfiguring marks. There's nothing too gruesome, but there are a few things there.

The key, I think, is to ensure that you have a good story to go along with a scar. "I burned myself cooking bacon without a shirt on" is not a good story at all. It's a horrible, humiliating way of explaining what the resulting scar is. You have to make up something better when it's a thing like that, or at least claim that you don't remember it even happening. That sound pretty good, because then people marvel at the live you lead that prevents you from being sure of how that scar happened.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hot House

By now the Olympics have been on long enough that many have probably grown tired of sports for their own sake and are ready to have the proceedings spiced up with some salacious, slanderous stories. Well, let me step into the void there. At the outset, I had read about some rather spectacular things that are supposed to be going on in the Olympic Village. They say that the athletes are rather amorous, if you take my meaning. That is to say that they are having a lot of sex.

This is evidently no secret to anyone, and least of all to organizers who provide each athlete with an allotment of condoms, which have been known to run out. The organizers really are astonishingly understanding, and declare that the matter is none of their business. I guess that I endorse that attitude, although not every nation involved is apt to feel that way. I wonder if there are some tense relations between roommates and neighbors as a result.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Merits Of A Cruise

Something rather rare happened the other day. I was watching television, and a commercial came on for some cruise being planned. Cruises never sound too good to me. At best, it seems like you're around a lot of retirees and obnoxious families with money to through around. That's at least who I imagine to be taking a lot of cruises. At worst, you're confined to a giant, floating petri dish of disease, and God knows the thing could sink.

This one cruise sounded all right, though. A couple of former Olympians are supposed to be competing in a decathlon aboard the ship. I think that's what they were saying, although maybe it was just some commercial gimmick to emphasize that they would be on board. I think it was real, though. It sounded rather interesting, and I just about could imagine going for that if I had cruise money to throw around. I certainly don't, but maybe some day.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Most of the Olympic games distracts you from what's supposed to be the true mission of the whole enterprise. It's a big money-making endeavor sponsored by businesses like Coca-Cola and McDonald's. Professionals compete in many of the sports. Performance enhancing-drugs and other such gamesmanship will never be completely absent from the thing. You hear people on television rhapsodizing about the ideals of sport, and it just sounds sappy.

It's true even in spite of everything, or at least I think so. I believe in what the Olympics does, or what it can do. I believe in the importance of sports to help us always strive to push further out the physical limits of the human body. Why should we only seek to improve ourselves by means of intellect? The species ought always to be growing stronger, faster and capable of leaping higher. There's a lot of side show, but the Games do that.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Journey

I love those 'cup of noodles' things. It's pretty amazing that you just have to boil some water and then pour it into the cup in order to enjoy a hot, serviceable meal quickly. You have to have a fork too, I suppose, but it remains a relatively contained food item to which you must add or do little. You can even have such flavors as shrimp. You might assume that it's merely a poor imitation of shrimp flavor, but that's not so. There's shrimp in there!

They're tiny, and have been dried forever, but they spring to succulent, flavorful life like sea monkeys once doused with hot water. While eating, I remark on the journey they have undergone to reach me. Some kind of shrimp farming operation cultivated them somewhere, or maybe they were even caught in the sea half a world away, where they enjoyed all the fruits of life that a shrimp is entitled to before being torn away and shipped off.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Highly Irregular Call To Action

I read about some interesting observations that people from overseas make when they visit the United States. There are obvious things, like amazement at the variety of goods available at our supermarkets, or befuddlement over our general unwillingness to bargain on most prices. There is also a common reaction of disbelief at the sort of poverty that exists here in what is supposed to be the wealthiest nation on Earth. It's supposed to be a place where no one has cause to want, and yet they do in tremendous numbers.

Some words don't seem to mean terribly much to people, and high on the list are ones like "hungry" or "starving". These are things we say if it's been a while since lunch, but I doubt whether very many of us have ever been genuinely hungry. A number of months ago I refrained from eating all day one day in anticipation of visiting an all-you-can-eat restaurant, which is about as long as I've ever gone myself. I'm very privileged, as we mostly are. There's a responsibility to do something when we can.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Outside Food

I've been on this kick lately of keeping things fairly neat and clean, although how long I will manage to keep it up is an open question. I hope I can do it indefinitely. After I vacuumed my room for the first time in a long time, I vowed to not eat in my bedroom anymore. It's convenient, sure. Probably it's too convenient. I don't want to be a hermit who only exits to cook food and use the bathroom. There's a lot I don't want that results from eating in my room.

Spills are a constant risk, however careful I may try to be. My room isn't set up to make that an easy thing to manage. It's an inevitability, and removing the food is the only thing that can change that. Even if I manage to prevent spills but keep the food, those smells seep into everything and linger. In the past I have opened the window and door in hopes of evacuating the smell, but this has met with limited success. The perfectly clean smell comes from not having the food there in the first place.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"No Fruit", Says The Peacock

Every two years, a substantial portion of the American television-watching audience belongs to NBC. This is more true for the Summer Games, it being the bigger event and its events more commonly being popular across the country. There's no alternative for us but to watch NBC's coverage, although I have read tantalizing accounts of the superior coverage that other nations enjoy. Perhaps they also complain, though. I wonder about that.

I never do find complaining to be very compelling. If worrying is the futile thing that we do when we're afraid, then complaining is the futile thing that we do when we're angry. If there were anything you could do, you'd be doing it instead of complaining, right? Even when there is something to do, many complain because doing it is in reality less appealing than the problem itself. I try to keep my complaints to myself, or at worst to unload them only on dear friends and loved ones who are tolerant.