Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Next Evolution

I've described each of the Halloween costumes I've worn so far this year. There have been two: the 80's yacht-owning rich guy outfit which I had recycled was the first. the second was that tentative, hapless step into cross-dressing, Morticia Addams. Neither of those seemed up to the task of being run out there again, and there was yet another party to be prepared for. Leading up to the party, I gave the matter little thought.

Somehow I kept thinking that something would work out for me- that I would just come up with something. Even an hour before I was to leave, I had taken no practical steps towards effecting a solution. I just figured I would work something out, and so it came to pass that I started looking into what to do with around forty minutes before I meant to head out for the party. The party was set to start at 8pm, and I was for once planning on arriving only when the party had gotten going for real: 9pm.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Yesterday I put on a costume for about the third time so far in the Halloween season, and the big day is yet ahead of us. The first two times, I recycled a costume from months ago that was all right at the time but becomes less acceptable with every wearing. I resolved to do better, and so I went with something else when a costume was called for again at a friend's pole dancing performance. It worked passably well.

I had available to me a costume which identified itself as "Morticia Addams". It contained the gown only, which was regrettable. I could have used the hair, to say nothing of proper shoes. I had little time to try and augment it with any accessories. Luckily, it was not too bad on its own, although it proved to be rather difficult to operate in. I worried over the tendrils hanging down from the fishnet sleeves, as they tended to get caught on things. I managed.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Outdoors, Outstanding?

I was able to do my one man show again the other day. If you have not heard or read anything about it from me, I should explain briefly. Some time ago, I was in a one person show workshop, and developed a piece that parodies the life of Mark Twain as well as the existing one man show based on him by Hal Holbrook, who is incredibly of no relation. Since then, I've had the opportunity to do it a few times.

So far, it's been successful with each staging. This most recent time would have to be the least successful, but by rights I can claim only partial responsibility. The thing is that the setting was a difficult one. There was a carnival at church, and a variety of booths were there for amusement purposes. People were just meandering around, and there was no real dedicated seating area for the small main stage where my performance took place.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


You do crazy things for people you care about. It's invariably birthdays for which I do things that I have no desire to do or which I haven't done in a very long time. It wasn't so long ago that I found myself playing mini-golf again for the first time since achieving puberty, and playing games in an arcade for the first time in nearly as long. These were for birthdays, one of which also entailed the birth of a baby, I think.

Well, a more recent birthday had me doing something that held little appeal for me. As I say though, you do these things when you care about someone. A good friend was having a birthday, as seems to happen all too often, and it was his wish that we play laser tag. I would rather have been to the sushi restaurant that preceded this event, but as it worked out I couldn't make it. I ate at home and made my way to the laser tag venue.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


There we were, my friend and I, venturing out to an improv show in Halloween costumes. It was to be a free show for those so dressed, and furthermore a "jam" (a free play performance of sorts) was to be open only to those so dressed. Now, I had not meant to go to to the show, but I changed my mind at the last minute. Had I resolved to go earlier, I would have ridden with my roommate in his car. As it was, I took the subway.

It's an interesting experience to ride the subway in a costume like that. Most people will pay it no attention. A lot of crazy things are to be seen there, and odd outfits barely register at all for them. You get rather jaded, as I can attest. Still, there are those who do comment on costumes, on the street as well as on the subway. Each of us, I ought to say, drew some remarks, although they were slightly different.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I'm Being Careful

Something that I've neglected to mention for some time is the bicycle I bought a little while back. A good friend had two, and made me a reasonable offer for the second. It's been a real blessing in supplementing public transportation, which is spotty for certain times and places. Besides that, it's really an incredible feeling to zip through the night on a quiet street and feel the wind through your hair (taking all possible safety precautions, of course).

It sometimes accompanies me on the train, where it is a bit cumbersome, but welcome anyway. I have yet to try putting in in the rack at the front of a bus. So far, the most lengthy, involved trips have been out to the beach. I highly recommend riding along through the freakiest stretches of Venice Beach. There is a rather striking contrast between the beauty of the beach and the earthy disreputability of the area's denizens.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Word To Regret

The library is nearly as fruitful a well of material on which to draw on for this blog as the buses and trains of this city. Mostly the incidents that happen in the library are either pleasant or harmless, but they certainly aren't always in the vein of a snack vendor getting shooed outside. They are something rather unpleasant, and the other day there was something which I found to be rather unsettling. I'm not sure what happened.

I was on the way to watch movies with some friends. On the way, I had to drop off dvds at the library. I resolved to go inside and see if there was anything I'd like to check out this time around, and sure enough I located a movie. While I was looking, I noticed a rather attractive woman also scanning the shelves. I didn't let my gaze linger. I didn't have the time in any case, but who wants to come off like a creep?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Stand Alone On Standup

The other night, I was at a comedy show. Specifically, this was a regular standup comedy show which regularly features a mix of promising unknowns and big names. There's appeal with each of those. The  up and comers are putting their best foot forward in hopes of further climbing the ladder. The established stars are worth watching even if they're trying unproven material, which is a necessary step in the process before you see them on television.

On this particular night, all the unknowns were great. I should say that I use that term loosely, as several would be well known to those well-versed in the local comedy scene, but would in fact be unfamiliar to most. In any case, they were great. The host was all right too, but I was not sorry when he was done with his own material. He also has yet to master the subtle art of hosting, which I can confirm is challenging.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Today I take refuge in that pitiful subject, the weather. Don't think that I find any pleasure in it. In any case, I have formed an opinion of the weather we've had lately here in Los Angeles, but am reluctant to share it. I'm afraid that I may be very wrong, although under ordinary circumstances it would be crazy to entertain the very idea. These are not ordinary circumstances though, the modern climate being what it is.

You see, it seems to me that we may finally have taken a permanent turn for cooler weather- that we have put the heat of summer behind us. That would seem like a reasonable opinion in the waning days of October, except that we've had a number of false alarms. Several times have we endured fresh heat waves after an interval of cruelly cool weather. These bouts of pleasantness have each lasted enough to give us new hope.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Minor Developments

The ongoing struggle to make something of my room goes on. You'll recall that I recently acquired a bookcase to contain the tomes that had once languished in boxes and other undesirable situations. It is serving well so far, though I had initially feared that it might topple with anything but the most efficient distribution of book weight. Still problematic is my effort to beautify it with little trinkets and toys, as they get in the way of the books.

That's the general theme. The room becomes more and more functional, if not more aesthetically pleasing. The only way it's become prettier is that there isn't junk and trash all over. There is still nothing on the walls to speak of, outside of furniture and items on top of furniture. Those things alone obscure any of the standard white paint that comes with any apartment. I ought to do something about that.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Two Timing

The other night, I was at a pair of parties. Each had some merit to it, but neither so much as to render the other entirely unappealing. Together they seem worth some report, although that sort of social account is one I don't do much now that such parties are relatively common for me. In any case, the first one that I committed to was conceived by my roommate, and its central purpose was to make jack-o-lanterns.

I was looking forward to making jack-o-lanterns, and readily committed to the party. That seemed reasonable, as I didn't imagine getting invited to another and this one was being held in my own home. I could hardly help but attend, I thought. This was before discussions with another acquaintance developed into an invitation to attend her birthday dinner. The idea held considerable appeal.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

First Time Out

We are now firmly in the midst of the Halloween season. I take no notice of when the stores start decorating and stocking things, because that's a generally misleading indicator, but there are now legitimate signs that it's upon us. When you read this, I will have attended the first costume party of the season, and I must confess that it has caught me off guard, as it was initially billed as a mere birthday dinner. I decided to use a costume that was already together from something else.

As a child, dressing up for Halloween is very important, and then you get too old for it. I forget just what grade that happened in, but I remember the experience of doing it for one year too many. I think everyone does that, and it's just as likely that no one makes the mistake of doing it two years too many. I recall my "costume" was nothing more than my Charles Barkley Suns jersey, and no attempt to appear anything like Sir Charles. That's really probably for the best.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Might I Have Some?

I like ice cream. Who doesn't? Well, I suppose someone must not. In this fractured, polarized world, there must even be those who don't like ice cream. Possibly they even have valid reasons. It seems to me that there are ice creams to accommodate particular diets and conditions, including (but not limited to) varieties meant to be light on calories or on sugar. Even so, there are bound to be those who can't have it, or who can't afford it. Maybe those are the ones who could make themselves not like it.

I like ice cream, but it's been a really long time since I had much. When I was younger, it was a regular thing. We about always had ice cream in the house, ranging from half-gallons of fairly good quality ice cream to giant drums of cheaper stuff, and little single serving cups of the same. I liked chocolate chip of course, and coffee ice cream. I later learned to love pralines and cream, among others.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Holding The Line

You'll recall that I have been writing about my dwindling weight in recent weeks. I have been in the range of 134 to 145 pounds, and mostly on the low end of that. It's been enough to be alarmed, and yet I have done little about it except note the fluctuations and think about it. That mental energy could even have burned some calories. In any case, all I'm getting at is that keeping weight, let alone gaining it, has seemed a struggle for me through this time.

I finally have been doing something about it. Specifically, I've been eating more. It's a peculiar thing I suppose, that eating more could be a constructive remedy, given that eating less and exercising are the usual ways that things go for people, in this country anyway. Well, eating more is the way for me- I never have been one to go along with others. Why should I not buck the trends of eating less as well as needing to eat less?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Best?

In a political campaign, we are subjected to a lot of speeches and debates from candidates- perhaps slightly more than during a non-election year. It would seem reasonable to assume that candidates for elective office would be among the more accomplished speakers and communicators. Even if you thought that was not automatically true, particularly with your lower offices such as the state legislature, you would probably think it was true for presidential candidates, who have either won a whole string of elections or succeeded in some other arena where speaking is key.

It's not true, lamentably. This aggravates me tremendously. I have been in Toastmasters for several years now, and while I don't claim to be the champion speaker of the world, I will say I have improved a good amount, and I see that in speakers around me as well. People start out terrified to speak, and they not only lose that fear, they become competent and even excellent given time and dedication. Even in their first tentative steps, however, new members of Toastmasters are way ahead of our president and his rival in some respects.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sorely Needed

The livability of my bedroom takes another lurching leap forward with the introduction of a bookcase. It's not new by any means. It's rather worn, and comes to me free of charge from friends who want for space more than furniture. In any case, I'm glad to have it. Previously, I had been storing my books in a variety of at best unconventional ways, and now I have them accessible and arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way for the first time in years.

Just before this, I had the books I meant to read piled up on an end table. You may recall, if I remember my own writing correctly, that I was very pleased with that development. This is because prior to that, all my books were boxed up and in the closet. The closet being as it is, they may as well have been on the moon for how quickly I could get to one that I wanted. It's not as if I had an inventory to consult in advance, either. It was less than ideal.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Chase

Yesterday I spoke of an apparently rather lusty gentleman who had engaged me in conversation while on the subway the other day. Naturally, that was not the only thing that happened on that train. These things frequently bunch up on you, so much the better for startling and throwing off kilter your mindset. Well, the next thing that happened was not so easy to understand, as I was not pressed into talking and was not about to initiate it.

There was this young guy who I saw run down onto the platform at one of the stations along the way home. He was rather reckless, and out of breath. I wondered just what he might be up to. In my mind was the picture of a marathon runner looking for a shortcut, only this was late at night on a non-marathon day, and this kid was no distance runner. He had a USC lanyard, I noticed. I surmised that he might be a college student.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lothario, Evidently

You see funny things on the train, and if I've gone with this general conceit before plenty of times, it's because there's always something fresh and new. Today and tomorrow you will read of noteworthy incidents that transpired over the weekend. To begin with, I had a rather eventful Saturday that called on me to ride the rails a good bit, so the odds were certainly in favor of something weird or crazy happening. My luck just isn't so good that it wouldn't.

After making my way most of the way home after my day's plans were concluded, I really had the idea that I might be home scott free. It was not to be. After boarding my second train, the gentlemen near me motioned for me to take off my headphones. Being the good-natured rube that I am, I consented. Do you know, good reader, that his first words were to compare me with Tom Hanks in his star-making show "Bosom Buddies"? That is no joke.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Something I never get tired of is telling people something I remember reading about Thomas Edison when I was young. It was said that in his work he had superhuman focus and dedication (and so did the employees whose work he took credit for, I must assume). They said that he would often forget to eat completely, and that he would have starved to death any number of times if not forced to eat by someone.

I guess that I like remembering that because I sometimes feel the same way. I used to eat in my bedroom, and suffered consequences from that which you can readily imagine without my spelling it out. I decided that the rule would be no food in my room, and now my room is cleaner. There is also now a greater impediment to my eating presented by the necessity of leaving my room and whatever I was doing there for even a few minutes.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Having a lot of hair, I have a lot of associated problems. One is drains. As I believe I've stated, I have a hell of a time with clogs. The drain in the shower gets clogged, but at least we have the little screen on there to catch the hairs. I toss them out with an exclamation of disgust and dismay, and that's the end of it. The hairs stuck to the walls of the shower don't go so easily, but that's another matter. So to is the sink drain.

For a hell of a long time, it was hopelessly clogged. We're talking water sitting in the sink overnight and only draining by morning. Now, I don't take fast action on such matters. I had been thinking for months about maybe buying some liquid plumber. I was living with it. I was using a jar to catch the water when I shaved, because otherwise the sink would have overflowed by the end. I found that a charming thing that I was doing.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


When I get through with showering and dressing, I often look in the mirror and remark with some surprise that "I've got an all right look". I'm pleasantly surprised, of course. That's not to say that I look as young as I did a few years ago. I look a bit rougher, I think. In ten years and twenty years, that will only be more pronounced. For the moment it's endearing, but eventually it will not be so much so. I just hope that I handle it all right.

I think that the best way to deal with getting older is to be graceful about it. Going down with a desperate struggle doesn't make things any better. When I get old, I hope to be a man about it. I hope to continue on all my days doing the best I can that day to make myself presentable, but to never try looking young when it is obviously no longer possible. As I said, for the moment it remains a feasible enterprise.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Two Signs

One of the things that I noticed when I went to visit back home was all the political campaign stuff. They love the roadside signs back home. There are crowds of them every place that it is legal to put them, or it at least seems that way. There is relatively little variety to them, and so I am tempted to vote for anyone who makes stylistically bold choices. There was someone who went with orange and mustard yellow as dominant colors several years ago, it seems to me. I liked that.

This time around, I saw something very interesting. It was actually an advertisement by a local sushi restaurant that explicitly endorsed Barack Obama. I thought that was bold, but unquestionably bad business, especially in suburban Phoenix. That had to cost way more prospective customers than it could possibly gain. I wouldn't even have recommended that in nominal college town Tempe. As it turned out, it wasn't what it seemed.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Short In The Front, No Party

I had a pretty full schedule for the time I was back home for that wedding. One of the things I found myself doing was patronizing a hair salon. I am eager to learn how to better care for my hair, and what better way than to consult with professionals. I did get some useful information as well as a very slight trim (the purpose of which was to enhance the health of the hair, not to shorten it). I also was granted some anxiety to take with me.

You see, I hadn't previously considered there to be anything really wrong with my hair. It's longer and curlier than that of most, but it's at least normal for those who have it as long as I. That's what I thought, in any case.  The woman looking after me set me straight on that point, though. I gleaned from some offhand remarks that she made that she though I'd trimmed the bangs area personally. It took sever attempts to convince her that I had not.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Always A Battle

I often think about the way we word certain very common things. One of the last things I find very interesting about a daily newspaper is the obituaries, and how they chose to say the central thing: that the person has died. There are a lot of creative ways that they go with, virtually none of which are terribly direct or honest. It's all "passed on" and "went to be with the Lord". I certainly respect those beliefs, at least in as much as I personally hope to enjoy life after death, but I also value directness.

When death comes by means of some long, lingering illness, how is it that we put that? Almost without fail, we say that a person who has died in that manner was in some way "battling" whatever it was. Let's say it's cancer. I don't mean to dishonor the dead or infirm, but is it always a battle? How do you battle an unchecked sub-division of cells? You get treatment, I suppose. All right, I'll grant that it's always a battle. We have a battling spirit, we humans.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sizing Down

Yesterday I wrote of my emaciated wrists and my anxiety over them. Today there is a similar story. I was at a department store looking for pants. Quite naturally, the search began in the mens' department. I've never been on the high end of the sizes, but this day was something else. I found after some looking that there was just nothing there for me. Everything was too wide in the waist, too long or both. It all would have to have been tailored somehow.

The next place to look was in Young Mens'. There were more options there. Now, there was no overabundance of well-fitting clothes there, and there also was a higher rate of clothes that weren't my style, but there was one pair of pants that fit tolerably well after an extensive search. I was happy to get out of there with the location of one pair, or else there might have been more there for me. I'll leave that for the next time.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Wrist Watched

You may have noticed a recent preoccupation with my weight lately. I have lately noticed that I seem to weigh as little as I ever have in my adult live, and that does not appear to change, although I did get back into the 140's. That may have been a fluctuation of water weight or some such thing. In any case, there have been a number of weigh-loss symptoms. There was the latest notch I had to cut in my belt, for one. There was more besides that.

I wish I could cut a notch in my watchband. I have noticed that even using the narrowest notch presently there, the watch does not reliably stay put where it ought to on my wrist. Indeed, it slides over the end of the bone toward the hand with relative ease. This has become a real distraction to me, as if I needed any other excuses for fidgeting. It's hard enough to not clasp my hands behind my back or thrust them into my pockets, and now this.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Garter Fever: Catch It!

I have mentioned being out of town, and if I didn't say so, it was for a wedding. I like a traditional wedding, and this one included many conventional touches. One was the tossing of the bouquet. Another, which I think is sometimes dispensed with, is the tossing of the garter to the single men. This wedding had both. There was the usual good-natured jostling for the bouquet by the large compliment of single women, and then there was the garter.

There were not so many single men at this wedding, for whatever reason. I suppose that I ought to be glad for that. There might have been half or a third as many. Coming from out of town, I could have no designs on the single women at this wedding (although some would say this gave me ample reason to make attempts), but the dearth of single men helped me out in another respect: that of the garter-catching. I do hope to be married some day, although it's already a little late in the day today and tomorrow I already have plans.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Was It Me?

There I was at a sushi restaurant, eating dinner with my mother. We ate and talked, and this did not go on for very long before I noticed that a couple, seated behind my mother, got up and moved to another table. I spent plenty of time thinking about that. I wondered why they moved. There are some legitimate reasons why they might. Most of them have nothing to do with me, but you can imagine that I have little interest in those. Surely it must involve me.

The thing is that I know I am not the easiest person to be around a lot of the time. I'm pretty loud, and what I have to say is not appealing sometimes. Your typical suburban couple out for an adventurous dinner could easily get fed up with my musings within minutes and take the step of getting another table in a restaurant full of empty ones. My mother did not feel that I was being so loud or objectionable, but I'm not so sure about that as her.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

For The Trash

I get plenty of items in the mail from college. I went to two colleges, or I suppose I ought to say technically three. I got degrees from two (which would be an associates' and a bachelors' ), and took two summer classes at a third. I think I'm remembering this right. In any case, what is relevant is that I have gotten very little in the mail from the two junior colleges. I don't know what is the reason for their lack of interest in my post-college life, but I appreciate it.

That third school would be the one from which I got my four-year degree. I want to stress that I got a fine education. I have no complaints about that. If I did, they would have more to do with me than with the institutions in question. I had excellent opportunities to learn where I went, but I am not entirely pleased with what I get in the mail from that third school. They're always wanting things from me. Before my loans are paid, they want donations, and more besides that.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why Drive?

I suppose that it is very hard to fly a plane. I don't know that being a pilot is one of the very highest-paying jobs out there, but as far as jobs controlling a vehicle are concerned, it must be the best or close to it. There must be a lot to know, because it seems as if your average person is fit enough to get it done. I know that it takes a while just to learn the controls, because you don't get to the point of even being in a plane until well into the learning process.

It must be the tremendous amount of importance placed on training that makes flying statistically safer than driving. I think that being a pilot has to be a lot harder than driving. Then again, driving is not so easy. The statistics that make it out to be so dangerous would be not as bad if only the most qualified were allowed to do it. Of course, I suppose they only mean to allow qualified drivers, but it doesn't work out that way, does it?

Monday, October 1, 2012

When It Was A Game

It has been a while since I played video games much. A number of years ago, I sold my Xbox 360 on Craiglist because I realized that it had been collecting dust and I figured that I could use the money. It was a kind of sad moment when they guy came around to pick it up, but it wasn't so sad when he paid me the money in cash. Of course, that occasion didn't entirely end my interest in video games. I still like the older, simpler stuff.

I enjoy the old games they had for the original Nintendo and Genesis. I could play some of those for hours, particularly back then when there were few alternatives. I shudder to think of how many hours I spend in vain trying to progress in "Tom & Jerry" or in "The Goonies 2". The latter game had me convinced that a sequel had been made to the movie, but it was alas only in video game form. I surely did have an interest in games at the time.