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Friday, July 30, 2004

Though I don't get...

Husker Du. I am told they are great. I have Zen Arcade. I don't get it.

Follow the last two posts to track my iPod's random play feature. "Margerine Eclipse" by Stereolab is playing as I type.

London Calling

I wish I had an implant in my head whereby this album was played non-stop in my head -- not just me, like, humming it in my head, but the album actually on a continuous loop for me to hear all day, every day.

Wonder.... (gulp)... wall..... (sigh)

I was at Amoeba Records today and I saw two guys in the "O" section. One was frantically flipping through the Oasis section. He pulls one CD out, and asks his friend, "What about this one?"
"No, no. I have that. Are there any bootlegs?" And then the first guy dove back into the Oasis stacks. I snorted to myself as I walked past.

But that doesn't mean I was secure in my snobbery.

Because I used to be an Oasis fan.

I'm not proud. In fact, I have actually have one legit nightmare where the central fear of the dream is that I am outed as an Oasis fan. On the day Oasis' third album "Be Here Now" came out, I bought it. Meanwhile my friend, Brian, bought a Dylan album.

Now this evening, as I laughed at the Oasis fans, I suddenly realized what my friends used to think of me. And I was horribly embarrassed.

Oddness in my life

I don't mean to name-drop, but I happen to interact with a lot of fairly-famous people, and that invariably leads to weird moments in my life, and I like to comment on these weird moments. So I guess when I "name-drop" I do it not to seem cool (look, I get these people their coffee, I don't hang out and play foosball with them) but rather to let other people in on a strange and surreal occurance. I'm from Buffalo, NY. I've never seen anyone famous out in the streets there except Rick Jeannarette. So indulge me. (Who is Rick Jeannarette, you ask? See?)

So the latest one:

We order from this one restaurant at work a lot. At least once a week. And it's usually around $160 each time. Since I am the monkey who gets to pick up the food, I've gotten to know the part-owner/manager pretty well. I've never met the other part-owner until yesterday.

His name is Danny Bonaduce.

But there's more to the story than just meeting a member of the Partridge family. Here's how ity went down: I got a call at work from Darren (the other owner). He said he was on a delivery near us, and he "and Danny" wanted to stop in and say hi and sort of generally thank us all for being such loyal and free-spending customers. Five minutes later, Darren, Danny Bonaduce, and his wife walk in our bungalow. I meet Danny and his wife, and then take them in to meet the writers. So there I am, in the doorway to the writers' room, interrupting their writing by saying,

"Ahem. The guys from ________ are here. They just want to meet you and sort of thank us. This is Darren. And... well, I'm sure you know Danny."

There I was, introducing Danny Bonaduce to a bunch of people. How weird is that?

Now I want to google Danny Bonaduce and see what ranking this site comes in on.

By the way, he and his wife are very nice people.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Three minutes

A story.

My friends love to take impromptu trips to Las Vegas.  I'll get a call Friday morning and they'll say, "We're going to Vegas tonight.  When you get home from work, pack a bag.  We'll come back Saturday night."  I've found this to be a very common Los Angeles experience, the last-minute Vegas trip.  It actually works a lot like they portray it in Swingers.  It's an escape from the horrors of a city no one wants to live in surrounded by people they don't like.  What a resource to have as an option!

Which is all great except I hate Vegas.  Like, a fanatical hatred of it.  Can't stand it.  The only thing I like about Las Vegas is the drive there.  I like doing it alone with my iPod.  But Vegas itself sucks.  I've heard it described as "the most aggressively mediocre city in the world" and I subscribe to this portrayal.  All the strobing lights and constant ding-ding-dinging of slots and honking of horns on the Strip and crappy lounge acts and a never-ending loop of cheap promos for shows and those STUPID Bellagio water fountains (they're not alive, people, stop fucking clapping for the fancy sprinklers) and stupid novelty-sized and -shaped drinks of horribly bright and vibrating colors and even more outdoor shows and all those frigging people and the infinite slapping of an infinite-times-two number of cards and magazines advertising strip clubs and whore houses thrust in your face by hundreds of immigrants being exploited at less-than less-than-minimum-wage pay all lined up in a row.  All I can think about when I'm there is how much I want the whole city to please just shut the hell up for like five minutes.  Please!  Five minutes is all I ask and then you can go back to being outrageously annoying and excessive and gratuitous.  But please just shut UP!

I do a good job of politely declining the impromptu Vegas trip.  But since I have a lot of friends on the East Coast and they all want to see Vegas, they all plan weekends there and I have to go see them because they're my friends and I won't see them again for another year or so. 

So I am forced to voluntarily, and with a smile on my face, head into... it. 

The last time I was in Las Vegas was about a month or so ago when a friend from New York took a vacation there.  Now, take all I've written before into account and prepare yourself, for I am going to pull a quick left-hand turn here and tell you that this story is about a great moment I had in Vegas.

We're walking down the strip after losing some money looking for the least-shitty place to eat after the ESPN Sports Zone made me want to spoon my insides out and hurl them out into the desert the food killed me so much the night before.  But there we are, strolling along the Strip amidst the sea of fat men in Hawaiian shirts and women pushing baby strollers (you brought the infant to Vegas?  Really?).  The sun had set an hour ago but you'd never know it from the horribly tacky and incessant lighting that makes you wish you still had your sunglasses with you.  Except very slowly it starts getting darker.  And darker.  It takes me a moment to figure out that the gaudy lights are going off.  All over the place.  It's like a power outage making a slow crawl down the Strip.  One after another the casinos go dark: Monte Carlo; New York, New York; Paris; Circus Circus; Bellagio; etc.  Darker and darker.  Until the only lights on the whole entire Strip is the Jumbo-tron at Caesar's Palace. 

This Caesar's Palace Jumbo-tron that now has a tribute to the recently-deceased Ronald Reagan on it.

Vegas has shut up.  All around us people have stopped walking.  Everywhere everyone taking in the moment, a moment for this "great" leader.  A time to reflect on the man who brought down Communism.  The man who knocked down the Berlin Wall so capitalism could run rampant, free to manifest itself in unfettered sick displays such as Las Vegas, all loud and obnoxious like a frat guy.  And so all these mid-Western Americans pause in their Sodom-and-Gamorrah weekends to pay silent tribute to their fallen leader.  Sadness and respect permeates.

Except where I am standing, with an ear-to-ear smile of unbounded joy and excitement and intoxication and glee; where I am actually not standing but bouncing a little on my toes, so ecstatic I can hardly contain myself and all my anxious energy gets thrust into my balled fists, the fingers of which dig into my palms I'm squeezing so hard; so there I am, in pure ecstacy amidst the silence, the sweet sweet silence, because Vegas has finally and completely and totally shut the fuck up, if only for three minutes.

Gasoline as bran

I saw a gas station today that was selling a gallon of gas for $2.11.  I completely and totally and utterly lost my shit right there.  That's easily 12 cents cheaper than most places around here.  I remember when gas at that price would cause me to lose my shit in a "flipping-out-this-ain't-the-70s" kind of a way rather than the "I-just-won-the-lottery" way. 

Who knew a $2.11 gallon of gas could act like a bran muffin of serious magnitude?

Pride of the Supermarket Workers

This morning while doing the usual food shopping for work at Ralph's I passed a store manager, a supervisor, and a stock boy and overheard the following:

SB: We need more of these black shirts.
SUPER: Yes, I ordered some the other day,
SB: The kind with the store logo.
SUPER: Yeah.
MGR: It's like Derek Jeter.  When he puts those pinstripes on, there's pride and tradition and a real commitment to a great organization.  That's what we need.
SB: Yeah, we need more of these black shirts.

As I walked the aisles I was asked a few times by various workers if I needed any help finding anything.  This is a constant feature at this Ralph's: workers engaged in helping customers.  And they always seem genuinely interested.  But when I paid for my groceries, I specifically looked for, but didn't see, the swelling of Ralph's pride in the cashier's chest.  Maybe that's because the company locked out the cashiers and stock people for six months recently, and has been trying to screw with their wage and benefits. 

I don't think more black polo shirts with Ralph's logos will make them care too much about the company.  But they do alright by me, the customer, and that's all I ask for.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Under pressure

On a sheet of paper, a friend scribbled: "In five years Lappin will do it."  Then he signed it and dated it.

I am already feeling the pressure.

The Jeopardy! Guy

The best thing about watching Jeopardy! during this guy Ken's run to now-past-a-million-dollars is picking up on the hatred and resentment seething beneath Alex Trebek's general game-show-host geniality and lameness.  Trebek has been the host for 20-odd years, but it took this other contestant's amazing run to jack the ratings up and make people care.  Ken is the star and you can tell Alex HATES that.

Ricky Williams revisited

I love the inability of sports talk show hosts and sports reporters to comprehend Ricky Williams' decision to retire.  Forget about the poor choice of timing.  The idea someone doesn't want to play a sport -- one they are very good at on top of it -- is so beyond them, that I think their collective heads are going to explode trying to figure it out. 

All in the span of a few minutes

Yesterday the traffic on Laurel Canyon was horribly bad, so I took one of my secret shortcuts through the back roads of the Hollywood Hills and I saw Henry Rollins in his driveway.  Then a few minutes later (and only a few minutes because my awesome short cut around traffic is, well, awesome) I was at a red light on Beverly and Jessica Alba comes out of a bakery and waits on the corner for the light to change.  So 2 things:

1) Henry Rollins looks bad-ass in real life, even as he's just standing in his driveway in a pair of flip-flops, and:

2) Jessica Alba is really ridiculously good-looking.

Finnish names

Finnish people have the best names of all time.  Some of the good hockey ones:

Saku Koivu
Janne Niinimaa
Lauri Korpikoski
Antero Niittymaki

Alien vs. Predator

It's really just the bronze-medal game.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Faux pas

I ordered a latte at a coffee shop. And instead of asking for a "medium," I asked for a "grande." Then I told the barista that the coffee place by work copies the Starbucks lexicon. But that was a lie. What I did was like walking into an indie record shop and asking for a Justin Timberlake album.  I hoped I would burn my lips on the coffee as punishment. But it was a good latte. Not too hot, not too cold.  Medium.

This is Hollywood

After work I drove to this coffee shop in Hollywood. A friend of mine hosts a comedy night there on Thursdays that I sometimes check out/keep promising I'll perform at. Anyways, tonight I went there just to have a cup of coffee and do a little writing. Except I forgot my notebook at home, and didn't have anything to write on. So I ended up reading.

Before I moved to Los Angeles, I imagined Hollywood as, well, Hollywood. And the thing about that is, it isn't. It's a tourist trap and, truth be told, kind of a shady place. You can see the faded glory of the glitz-and-glamour days long gone beneath the layers of fallen smoggy ash, peeling paint, and homelessness. It reminds me a lot of Niagara Falls, actually, except the falling water is still independantly and in-and-of itself really amazing in a bugging eyes and jaw hitting the floor way; meanwhile Hollywood relies on tour guides' stories and tourists' fantasies for it's appeal, not unlike the movies attributed to it.

So no, I no longer perceive Hollywood as "Hollywood." The real Hollywood is dirty, grimy, and above all, weird. And I love it for this last quality.

Which brings me to the coffee shop this evening. I sat at a corner table and prepared to write, realized I didn't have my notebook, and so prepared to read. In other words, I rummaged through my bag and after not seeing a notebook took out a novel. Then I looked out the window and there, on the sidewalk in front of the window, was a man. And this man had a pair of scissors. And he was using them. To cut a woman's hair. Cutting her hair, remember, on the sidewalk. Outside. In front of a coffee shop. In Hollywood.

And when I say "cutting her hair," I don't just mean the guy was using scissors to chop off some woman's golden (though in this case, brunette) tresses. No. This guy was doing some serious styling of hair outside on the sidewalk (and when I say "outside" and "on the sidewalk" I actually mean those).

The guy was metrosexual in an urban cowboy kind of way. Straw cowboy hat, black button-down shirt with four buttons open, stylish jeans, and cowboy boots. The woman had one of those barbershop capes around her shoulders and most of her hair was combed forward and covered her face as the "stylist" (?) trimmed the back.

Also keep in mind, it was night, so this whole operation was going on underneath a lamp in front of the coffee shop.

There's really no point to this story other than, good God, I saw a guy cutting a woman's hair on the sidewalk in front of a coffee shop in Hollywood. I lived in New York City for a year, and New York is a city where you can get just about ANYTHING delivered to you ANYTIME you want, yet I don't think I could order a trim chopwald at 9pm on a Monday night.

After I left the coffee shop and walked back to my car I did my best to not step on the Hollywood stars' stars embedded in the sidewalk. I momentarily lost myself in the names I hopped over: Hepburn, Bogart, Arnez, Welles, and so on. There were countless legends of film, radio, television, and music and I was walking through a part of the city that just marinates in tradition. And then I saw the Olsen twins star, and I remembered that any hack could get a star if they ponied up the thirty-grand. As I stepped squarely on the "O" in their surname, the reality that Hollywood is a land of lies and deception, where fantasy is passed off as truth; that it's old and beaten down, in real need of a nip and a tuck -- all of this became horribly clear to me. But then I was hit by the reality of the strangeness of the place, and how this strangeness somehow grounds it; a place where the Olson twins get stars and a barber can cut a woman's hair on the sidewalk.

In front of a coffee shop.

Oh, ooooh, oooooooooh!!!!

Organic organism.  With an orgasm.  An organic organism orgasming.  An origami organism orgasming organically.  While eating oregano.  An original.  THE original.  The origami organic organism of oregano orgasmically original.  In an organization.  Run by an oligarchy.  Obligatory.  The organization of obligatory oligarchies orgasmically orgasming origami oregano of original organisms.  Ergo, alliteration.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Napoleon Dynamite

As in the movie. Specifically, the movie I saw this evening. That is one funny movie character. Napoleon Dynamite says (I paraphrase):

"I was in Alaska with my uncle hunting wolverines, GEEZ! I killed like millions!"
"Chicks like guys with skills. You know, nun-chuck skills, bow-hunting skills, computer hacking skills."
"Just come pick me up... at least bring me my chapstick... I'm not using the nurse's! That's gross! IDIOT!!!"
"I'm probably the best draw-er I know."
"It's a liger. That's half a lion, half a tiger. With some powers and magic. It's probably my favorite animal."
"That suit is sweet. It is AWESOME!"
"These things were taking up so much room in my locker. I couldn't fit my nun-chucks in."
"Can I use your guys's phone?"


I try to stay away from malls if I can, but when I do need to go to one I inevitably get lost in it. I'm not a label whore -- I don't even buy new clothes that often. I still wear things from college, and most new clothes I get are birthday or Christmas presents so I don't even really know the names of the stores in the malls. On the rare occasion I have to buy new socks, I wander aimlessly through the capitalist mecca, a terrifying (for me) House of Mirrors where everyone is dressed in outfits purchased from previous visits, reflections of the stores lining the main mall concourse which in turn reflect images of everyone back onto themselves. Sometimes it's fun to try and figure out which store's mannequins my own outfit clothed before it was given to me as a present. But usually I just want to find socks.

The parking garage for the mall near my house gives access to the main mall concourse area through one of the bigger department stores, e.g. Mervyn's, Bloomingdale's, J.C. Penny, etc. I have a flaw whereby it is impossible for me to tell the difference between these stores and others like them. So this is problem #1. The second is the mall by my house also is built so that some of the floors are laid out differently than others. I spend a lot of time wandering aimlessly with my bag of socks, trying to figure out which floor I should be on, let alone which store I entered through. This makes me incredibly anxious and I even begin exibiting some signs of low-level claustraphobia. The House of Mirrors becomes even more sinister with my reflections now taunting me, laughing at me cruelly. The reflections are at home here while I am not. Panicking, I usually end up exiting through the food court and walking around the whole outside of the mall, finding my car by tracing the route I took to park.

My extreme discomfort in malls reaches epic proportions at the Beverly Center. Again, I have the usual "forget-which-store-I-came-in" crisis where I do laps on each floor at seven times the speed of the old people mall-walkers in it for the exercise. But here there's an added horror: teenage girls. Now, before you go making any pedophilia inferences from that comment, hear me out. I'm not really that cool a person. I don't dress very hip, mostly because, as I mentioned, I get most of my clothes as presents and god bless my parents but they do NOT know fashion. Meanwhile, most of the people at the Beverly Center seem to have a grasp on things, trendy fashion-wise. So these teenage girls are inevitably more hip than me, more confident as they strut around with their intricate knowledge of the lay of the land. This is their territory, and I am hopelessly lost in it. With a bag of socks. And all I want to do is get out, get out, get out, but I can't because I have absolutely no idea where the car is and any of the dozens of entrances/exits could be the one but chances are it's a different one two levels above me. Or possible one level below me. And I get more and more frantic and nervous and, ergo, less composed and calm and collected (in other words, cool) and that reeks of difference-with-a-capital-D in these here parts. And so the teenage girls are suddenly way more cooler than me, and I am intimidated by them, and this brings me back to junior high school and regular plain ol' high school. Intimidation by a teenage girl with boobs is fine when you're a teenage boy who still talks squeaky, but it is decidedly NOT fine when the boy in question is twenty-five. So I hate malls because I am twenty-five years old, and I am still intimidated by high school girls.

So as I take my sneakers off and put my feet up on the coffee table and look through the V they form at the TV, I start getting nervous, because the nail of my big toe on my left foot is just barely visible through a hole in my sock.

Ricky Williams retired!

What the deuce?!?!

NHL - No Hockey Left

I don't think there's going to be a hockey season this year. This is making me cranky and irritable.

I will be seriously pissed

if they find Lance Armstrong dopes up. Some crazy serious level of pissed-off will be reached. By me. Truly.

After the fact

Two days later and I'm still pissed about getting robbed. The whole gun-waving part of the incident isn't scaring me. This wasn't a crime of violence, but of power. Let's even things out by taking the gun away. Then I'd kick you in the balls and stomp your face in. But if you said "please" I'd give you the $1 you stole at gunpoint. Fucking assholes. Do me a favor and die.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Wonderful Friday night

A typical Friday night, last night was. For awhile. Dinner at Casa Vega and then off to some bar whose name I can't remember. Al, Chris, J.P., and me. We were sitting at a table in this patio bar behind the Oyster House, talking about nothing important. Then we started talking about Michael O'Donoghue, the Saturday Night Live writer who died of a huge brain anuerysm, when two guys come running in the place.

With ski masks on.

And guns pointed at us all.

"Get on the fucking ground!!! Get on the fucking ground!!! Don't fucking look at me!!! Put all your fucking money on the tables!!!

So, as the man with the foul mouth and the gun pointed at me requested, I, along with everyone else in the place, hit the ground. I reached into my pocket and put a single ($1) and a receipt on the table. Then I tossed my cell phone and wallet in a corner. I heard the bartender trying to calm the robbers down, because they were really scattered and frantic and yelling and stuff. Then I heard, just to my right, Chris' voice, whispering ever-so-slightly:

"So then what happened to Michael O'Donoghue?"

Then suddenly the assholes in the ski masks and the guns ran off. After a few moments of silence, everyone slowly got up, and then a police helicoptor was flying overhead, spotlight shining down on us. The police showed up and I gave them a statement. Then we went to Ralph's to buy more beer.

This is the second time I've been robbed at gunpoint. The first time, I was mugged outside the apartment I used to live in. With a gun stuck at my chest. On my birthday. As I was talking to my friend Brian on my cell phone. That night the guy took my new cell phone and three dollars. (I had to call Brian back. He asked if I lost my reception. I said kind of. Then I explained the story and Brian said Happy Birthday.)

So as the victim in two armed robberies, I've lost a grand total of $4 and a cell phone. Meanwhile, the other day I was delivering a gift for my boss to her friend who recently got married. I was coming from cashing a petty cash check. So there I was, walking down Hollywood Blvd. with $814 in my pocket and a large, unspecified gift from Tiffany's in all it's expensive, bright blue bag glory.

Now I can't figure out if I have incredible bad luck, or incredible good luck.

Friday, July 23, 2004

A bit more about Fork Lift Girl

So yeah, Fork Lift Girl.  As the name implies, she drives a fork lift on the lot.  Last year, all of us in the office were intensely intrigued/slightly obsessed with her.  Probably because she's a girl driving a fork lift, and she's not unattractive.  She's pretty.  Then here's the question:

Is she pretty only because she drives a forklift?  Or would she be considered pretty in a vacuum-type setting, too?

My friend, Tom, came up with this theory: Fork Lift Girl has a basic level of prettiness, but then has a fluctuating attractiveness that is directly proportional to whatever she's moving on her fork lift.  For example: if she's transporting a bunch of boxes, she's sort of vaguely pretty.  It's mostly just a not-unattractive girl on a fork lift. 


One day we saw her driving with a leopard-print couch on the tines of the lift.  Wow.  She gained a whole new level of of respect from us.  Like, this is where the generic interest morphed into slight obsession and longing.  It's like the pretty girl next door who dresses up for the prom and is not only "pretty" but is at a serious level of hot.

I haven't seen her drive the leopard-skin couch around again since, but I can only hope whatever show she works on uses it again, and I'm there when she drives past our window.

Odd Archetypes

4 people I am glad to see have returned to the studio for another season (but who I do not and never have worked directly with):

1) Crazy Squirrel Lady

2) Fork Lift Girl

3) Professional Smoker

4) Pretty Wardrobe Girl

Filling in for the day

I'm filling in as an assistant for someone as their regular assistant is in Vegas for a bachelor's party.  The weird part is calling people and saying, "I have_________ for you.  Please hold."  Also, answeing the phone is weird, because inevitably none of the calls are for me.  "________'s office. . .  may I ask who's calling?... please hold."  A lot of politely asking people to hold.


Do you know how hard it is to find a package of plastic knives?  Plastic spoons and forks are overflowing off the shelves.  The fork-spoon-knife combo packs are also a-plenty.  No pure knife packages, however.  At least not at the three supermarket chains and two drustore chain stores I've looked.  I wonder why?

Disposable forks

This morning I did a little kitchen-restocking shopping at the nearby Ralph's for work.  As I'm standing in the check-out line, the guy in front of me (mid-20s; looked a little stupid in that mouth-always-slightly-open kind of way) keeps looking back at my stuff.  We're talking every three seconds.  So I start getting paranoid.  What could I be buying that deserves so much attention from this guy?  Do I, a male, have a bulk pack of tampons among my items slowly moving down the belt towards the cashier?  Nope.  Maybe it's the combination of items, then.  Like maybe I have some steaks, three bags of doritos, some cookies, 2-litres of Mountain Dew, and then a random extra-firm tofu.  Nope.  Just a lot of coffee (regular AND decaf), plasticware, styrofoam cups, a cornicopia of coffee creamers.  And I had a lot of these things.  General office-like kitchen supplies.  So the guy looks back one more time and says,

"You live in a bachelor pad?"

Said with the slight rising cadence at the end like a question, but it was ever so slight, more assumption and "I-know-what-you're-up-to" than query.  You live in a bachelor pad.  This was the assumption. 
"No," I replied.  "It's for work.  I can't drink this much coffee myself."
"Oh."  Then he nods towards the hundreds of plastic utensils.  "We don't wash our forks.  Just throw'em away."
We.  He and his roommate(s).  So that was it.  He zeroed in on the plasticware and figured I was a fellow bachelor.  Based on the plasticware I was buying en masse.  I'm not the cleanest of people, and I am a stereotypical bachelor in some regards, but I do do dishes.  And even if I didn't, the level of laziness required to be bothered by rinsing a fork before stabbing your food with it is something I never have, and never want to, know.  Besides, I assume someone who relies on plasticware at home needs the spoons more than the forks, because ramon noodles are easier to eat with spoons.  And that is what I assume these lazy bachelors' diets consist of.

And then the guy paid for his groceries (2 packages of Entenmen's donuts, a bottle of Gatorade, and a pack of Wrigley's gum) and went on his way.  Presumably to work, and then home to the bachelor pad to eat a microwave dinner in front of the TV with his bachelor roommate(s), after which he would throw out both the microwave dinner plate and the fork.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Why frat guys are lame

When I was in college, I overheard the following exchange between two obviously frat guys:

FG#1: Dude, you know what we need tonight?
FG#2: No, what?
FG#1: Some beer.
FG#2: A lotta beer.
FG#1: Some coke.
FG#2: A lotta coke.
FG#1: And a couple a chicks.
FG#2: A couple a hot chicks!
FG#1: Yeah!

And then they high-fived. I swear to God. They high-fived at their brilliant plan. Goddamn. High-five?

The Unintentional Gambler

Because I've been coasting through life, I've decided to never get any health insurance. You know, just sort of see what happens. And by "decided" to not get insurance, I mean "can't afford" it. The only decisions being made here, really, are my company deciding to not offer health insurance. I did bet my friend, Chris, I could go without health insurance until I die. Of course, the longer I go to win this bet, the shorter my life will be and, actually, the easier to win the bet. So now I really DO have a decision to make: do I try and win the bet or swallow my pride and maybe live longer? Hmmm... tough one. I'll let you know who wins the bet later.


Mere moments after I post a post about my less-than-stellar review for "Freebird," one of the ad buttons on one of the gratuitous tools on my blog includes an offer to buy Lynyrd Skynyrd concert tickets.  That's some crack market research.  Way to know the landscape you're advertising on.

Debunking the myth

Two widely-agreed upon "facts" whose truisms I will now call into question:

1) "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd is not only not a great song, it actually sucks a ton.
2) Bob Hope was not funny.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Vin Diesal is: Notary Public

I love reading trade journals.  The more random and obscure the industry, the better the journal.  These publications deal with sections of life I often take for granted; things I deal with on a daily basis have whole infrastructures and sub-structures and cultures and climates behind the facade of their public face -- i.e. the thing they do.  The industry I work in has two main trade publications: The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.  These read more like slightly more serious issues of People or Entertainment Weekly than real trade publications.  I usually skim both of them on my daily trip to the bathroom at work.  But most of the time the trades work on such an intimate and detailed in-the-know way, that I don't want that level of familiarity of paper fibers I get from reading Pulp Workers Weekly.  Yet I continue reading nonetheless.

Once on a cross-country flight to Los Angeles I read a whole issue of some notary public trade journal the woman in the row ahead of me was reading.  The man in the seat directly in front of me had suddenly and violently reclined his seat back and I nearly had the wind knocked out of me by my own tray... which was still in it's upright and locked position.  But the man's repositioning caused the crack between his seat and his neighbor's seat to widen and I was afforded a clear view of the aforementioned notary public trade magazine.

The first article I read during this clandestine peep show of nerdly proportions worked on the thesis that "notary publics are on the front line of fraud and identity theft" and are therefore vital cogs in the fight against terrorism.  Another article dealt with the upcoming elections in some kind of nationwide notary public board... wait a second.

Excuse me?

Did that last article just imply notary publics are leading the charge against al-Qaeda?  Let's flip back to that last page a moment.  Oh, no - they're not actually leading the charge.  That would be ridiculous and besides, that's the Marines.  Notary publics are vital cogs, though.  In the machine.  I can certainly imagine a scenario in which, by recognizing a fake passport while publicly noting something (or whatever that industry calls "watching someone sign their name"), a notary public alerts the police and a man is arrested, later to be found as a member of a terrorist group.  Unlikely, though.  

But how about that for an action-adventure film?  The main character is Lewis Spindler, a shy, unassuming notary public.  All he wants is to get these last two signatures down so he can get home to his cat, Rumplestiltskin, and watch reruns of The X-Files on cable.  The last job of the day comes and Lewis notices something fishy about the man's social security card: the number just so happens to be his grandmother's SS# - this grandmother who is suffering from early stages of Altzheimer's and who we met in an earlier, touching-moment-type scene.  In trying to solve the fraud case, Lewis Spindler is led further into a dark and dangerous world of world terrorism and oil monarchies. 

Good thing I live in Los Angeles and producers these days are buying crappy movie ideas.  I have a shot. 

But so here's the point.  An article on terrorism in the notary public trade journal?  Really?  I need to be made scared on every single level of my existence?  Where does it stop?  Are hockey scouts also vital cogs in the fight on terrorism because they spend so much time overseas, and are therefore in positions to do some reconnaissance work?  "While in Parbudice or Omsk, keep your eyes and ears open for the local terrorist network as well as the stud forward with a wicked slapshot."  What is a trade journal if it's not an escape?  Gateways to fantastic worlds I know nothing about?  I want my competative baby foods industry to be a terror-free zone.  How can this be when each and every single one of the trade journals telling its industry members how to combat terrorists.  Do the people at Beech-Nut and Gerber's need this?  I don't.  At least I don't want it.  Unless of course I'm reading CIA Weekly, in which case there better be some incredible articles on the subject.

Next summer, though, Vin Diesal is: LEWIS SPINDLER, NOTARY PUBLIC!!!

Re: the fire truck that almost killed me

The other day I mentioned the fire truck I saw pull a u-turn.  One of those giant hook-and-ladder-two-driver deals.  Well, today I had to make a u-turn.  I drive a Neon.  It's a tiny car.  I barely made the turn.  A giant machine requiring two (2!) drivers whips around at full speed no problem, but a little 4-door almost clips the Mercedes (not an unpleasant result, to be fair) by the curb?  Really?
The engineers at Dodge/Plymouth seriously need to work on steering arcs.

Tuesday mornings

Everyone always bitches about Monday mornings.  Well, as far as I'm concerned, Tuesday mornings suck just as hard.

Monday, July 19, 2004


I think if people are allowed to buy Humvees, I should be allowed to buy a rocket propelled grenade launcher (RPG) and shoot at the Humvees.

Those people spent a lot of dough on their military vehicles and I just want them to get their money's worth.

A fire truck almost killed me

Seriously. I was standing in downtown Glendale (I think. At least I call it downtown Glendale) at a corner where the intersections are very large. Suddenly, this hook-and-ladder truck -- one of those long deals with the guy steering in back, too -- springs to life and pulls away from the curb on the other side of the street from me. An ambulance rips past, and then the fire truck driver(s) slowly veer right so as to give themselves the widest of rooms and then they whip left. At least the guy driving in front does, because the front part is turning so fast and tight it looks like it's going to tip over, while the ass driver sort of stays the course. The front end comes about five feet from me then straightens out preparing to tear down the street and fight some fire; meanwhile the back end has just sort of finished a tight little turn but at the same time hasn't really moved at all -- he just sort of about-faced. Then the back end follows the front end (duh) as they (it?) zooms away.

Okay, I just read this. The story sort of sucks on the proverbial paper. Imagine lots of lights and wailing sirens and whatnot. It was a very aural experience, with the odors from In-and-Out wafting over the scene to add some more texture. Those are some good burgers.

Oh, now I get it

I guess the user interface difference that I noticed between when I post at home as compared to at work isn't really a difference at all. They just updated it and it happened to coincide with the first time I posted at home. I knew it all along. I was just kidding before. Ha!


A lot of work today on the blog.  It's coming along nicely.  A few tweaks in the layout and then on to the colors and I'll be able to concentrate on the posts. 

Saturday, July 17, 2004

"Saturday night in the captain's clothes"

Saturday night and I'm watching The Real World. More precisely, I'm watching a Real World special, it's not even the real The Real World. And specifically, it's a Real World special about a Real World season I never saw, so I have no frame of reference for what they're talking about.

Le Tour de France

I'm into it. I watch it. The Outdoor Living Network (OLV) has full coverage, and they replay it all day. Best moment of the race thus far:

- One of the riders had an ingrown toenail. They show him riding along, when his team's car pulls up alongside. The cyclist puts his foot up and in the window of the car. The team doctor riding shotgun in the car takes the cyclist's shoes and socks off, clips the ingrown toenail, replaces the shoes and socks (perhaps even put on a fresh, unsweaty sock?), and the rider continues on.


Old music that's new to me

I don't like it when people say "music thirty-forty years ago is so much better than anything today." Look, there was a lot of crap back then, too, except now the classic rock and oldie stations only play the good stuff. The benefit of hindsight. Having said that, however, the following bands are so much better than anything anyone's doing today*:

1) The Minutemen
2) Television
3) Modern Lovers
4) Velvet Underground
5) The Clash

So much better than anything playing today.

*except Sonic Youth

Blog posting

So I just noticed the interface for creating new posts is different on my personal computer from the one I get when I post at work. I wonder if the fact that my laptop is a Mac while the computers at work are PC has anything to do with it? Though no other web sites are different. Weird. It's nice to know that someone with as little computer knowledge as myself can have his own website.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Carrier Pigeons

As in, I am like one.  Laurel Canyon was packed this afternoon and I needed to use it.  A one-lane winding road jam-packed with cars and I have no radio, keep in mind.  High-stress?  Horrible?  Hellish?  No!  The backroads are kind, my friends.  The backroads are kind.  I was at my destination in no time.


Tonight we're having a Bastille Day party at the house (fully aware that Bastille Day has passed).  I feel so radical hosting a French-based party in these francophobe times.  But if it wasn't for them, we'd all be bowing to the Queen still!!  Plus, you gotta love a holiday that commemorates the violent liberation of a bunch of insane criminals.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

A slow death

I spend a lot of time driving around for work.  In fact, I'd say driving is the single most important part of my job, and a huge chunk of my day is spent stuck in traffic.  What's nice is I get to listen to a lot of music while I drive.  Just connect the iPod to the tape deck and I'm off.  Except now my car radio died. 
It happened about two-and-a-half weeks ago.  So for two-and-a-half weeks I've been driving around L.A. in silence.  I am so sick and tired of myself I want to gnaw off my own face just because I figure the anguish will dull the pain of driving for an hour with no radio.  I am beginning to loathe myself.  When I shave in the morning, I'm no longer just looking in the mirror at my reflection; now I'm looking at the asshole I get to spend the day with.  Alone.  A day full awkward silences. 
I don't know how my friends do it.  God bless them for continuing to call and ask "wanna hang out?"

It's dawned on me that...

I've had this blog space for awhile now -- maybe as much as six months -- and this is it's state?  If it was a pet or a baby it would have died long ago. 

Blog templete and a thank-you

OK.  With some tips/pointers/advice/much-appreciated help from DanTobin-DanTobin I think I am on my way to actually taking care of this blog.  He gave me some blog-philosophy/big picture insight into this type of a project, as well as pointing me in the direction of some template sites (i.e. the exact same sites blogger recommends on their help page and which I had previously ignored).   Of course I immediately stumbled onto the exact template he used, and only realized it after doing some html tweaking, so I had to find another one.  Template that is.  Stupid Dan having a similar sensibility to me. 

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Starting anew.... anew

This is the third attempt at keeping a functional, updated blog. I have no idea if this incarnation will live longer than the previous two, but if history teaches me anything, then no, it won't last much longer. But like they say, "if at first you quit, try then quit and then try again."