Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday Morning On Melrose Hill

I felt I needed a quick post here to push the Costanza pictures down a little. So here I am. On a Saturday morning, sitting on my porch, looking at the hills and ignoring the advances of the neighborhood homeless cat, Skinny.

I have an important appointment at 8:00AM which, in fact, is right now. But I'll stop here to say that in the last 11 hours, I have been impressed with the quality and amount of people being happy in the greater Hollywood area. This includes the gentle souls at the gym last night and the early risers at the bagel place this morning.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer of George, Part 2

I feel I need to repeat this. This is who I saw:

Summer of George

As I mentioned before, I live in a place where running into a celebrity isn't all that unusual. So it takes a major presence to shake me, to awe me, to accept the greatness that gets its coffee at the same place I do.

In other words.... yesterday, I saw this man:

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Live-Blogging the NBA Draft

At roughly 5:27 Pacific time tomorrow (Thursday), I will be live-blogging ESPN's coverage of the NBA Draft. The draft will be roughly 87 minutes old by then but I plan on treating it like a live event through the miracle of the DVR. My job and the L.A. traffic will keep me from starting sooner.

I've never live-blogged before. I don't even know if the hyphen is necessary. But I will be fun.

UPDATE: I have other things to do. I will not be blogging the draft. Sorry. But the Wolves got Corey Brewer! Cool.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Have Questions

Why hasn't the song Lido Shuffle by Boz Scaggs received more attention, historically?

When did all the morning rush hour traffic abandon southbound Western Avenue, from Hollywood to the 10? My commute is so smooth these days. (The afternoon still sucks.)

How happy am I that the Timberwolves didn't pull off one of those rumored Kevin Garnett trades?

How scared am I that it still might happen?

Have you heard LIDL REBL yet? I like it. Sort of sounds like Stump (of "How much is the fish? Does the fish have chips? fame).

Did you know that I want an iPhone for my birthday (coming up in 76 days)?

How happy am I that, yesterday, I broke my record time for completing the Monsters and Critics online crossword puzzle? I demolished the record. It was 4:28. Completed yesterday's in 3:39.

Were you aware that only selected Kinko's locations have videoconferencing capabilities?

The Counter

So I installed a counter on my blog. I was curious as to how many people visit here each day. Then, I realized that the counter software included some other interesting features, such as tracking each visitor's ISP and server location. (Keep in mind that the server location does not necessarily indicate actual physical location. For example, I don't live in Virginia. But often the ISP description gives more detail.) So I know the likely region and, if they reach my page through a search, I know the search terms.

I promise to use this "knowledge" ethically and honorably. Having said that, I've discovered a few interesting things:
A lot of people reach my page accidentally, often with searches involving the word "blueprint."

Some people visit my blog every day and multiple times each day. I don't know who these people are. They seem to be located in the non-coastal areas of Southern California. And Texas. And Europe. Berkeley. Chicago. San Diego. Whoever you all are, thanks for coming.

More people visit here than I thought (154 in 11 days).

Too many of you are using Internet Explorer. Firefox!
In other words, I don't know much.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Things I've Learned This Week

The drive from USC to Santa Monica is worse at 11:00AM than it is at 5:00PM.

XTC were punk.

Knowledge isn't necessarily power.

Steve Carell's performance in the "Branch Closing" episode of The Office is Emmy-worthy. Almost makes up for Bruce Almighty. (Hey world: You know that thing with the ark? Fiction.)

In summer, red vines > chocolate.

Otherwise, chocolate > red vines.

My new bag is cool.

Saxophones were used more often in the 1980s.

Mark Eitzel and/or American Music Club need to do a proper version of Hippy Boots.

Some girls are mysterious.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My world is bursting sappy music

I was feverishly working out at the Arclight 24 Hour Fitness last night. While waiting for my preferred machine - that cool new treadmill/elliptical combo, with the separate tracks, one for each foot - I worked out on one of the regular elliptical machines. I had a great view out of one of the big windows at the 4th floor gym. I marveled at the Hollywood-ness of it all - the bulbous Cinedome, the not-so-distant hills, the various big buildings representing the not-so-old-school/not-so-new-school portion of the American entertainment complex, etc. For a moment there, I felt I was living in the center of it all. Then, I forgot about that and concentrated on the great song - Madeline and Nine by Mike Doughty - playing randomly on my iPod. Then my iPod battery ran out and I was saddened. Then, I realized I didn't need the music. Sometimes I need the music. Not last night.

Back to the Mike Doughty song, or more specifically, back to the underrated album it comes from - Haughty Melodic. In another song, Unsingable Name, he sings of wanting something unknown, indefinable. This pretty much sums up human desire:
Beware the thrum of hearts in your presence and
Watch the breeze that snaps at you now
All the dogs that bark from the fences and
Everything is wanting for you
Smirk on the face and fists in the clenches and
Make the radiator blow now
Crack the planks and shatter the lenses and
Mix the salt, the sugar and flour
I don't know how it sums up desire but it does. I know this because of what he sings later in the song:
I want to see the mountains in silhouette
Want to split for Singapore now
I should be explaining myself better today. I'll just say that I don't quite understand why the word "now" in the preceding quote is showing up as misspelled in my blogger program.

I could tie it all together and say that I did indeed see "mountains in silhouette" when I was looking out that big window at the gym. But that sounds cheesy. In fact, the whole silhouette/Singapore couplet sounds so much better in song than it does on a blog. Just go here and hope he puts the song up some time. In the meantime, listen to Tremendous Brunettes.

Anybody have good book recommendations for me? I like big 900+ page novels set in my lifetime. Or in England.

Just realized that two of the guys from Semisonic played with Doughty on that album. Small world. Makes sense, considering that his former band - Soul Coughing - were big in Minneapolis, hometown of Semisonic.

I could get more trivial than that. I could discuss my reasons for wanting the Timberwolves to pick Corey Brewer instead of Spencer Hawes in next week's NBA draft and why they shouldn't trade KG. Or I could talk about the amazing breakfast enchiladas at Fred 62.

Yes, I have a lot on my mind.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I Am The Exterminator

This is the time of year I miss Minneapolis. It's like a resort town this time of year - people shuffling off from city to lake, from coffee to bike path... the humidity not as bad as other places, the weekly thunderstorms breaking up the monotony.

This is the time of year I least like Los Angeles. But it's a temporary dislike. Living more than a few miles inland means dirty air and stuffier interiors. In October, I like this place. In January, I love it. In March, I like it again.

Once, when I was 19, I fell asleep while driving. It was only for a moment. But, to this day, I credit this man for saving me from a bad traffic accident in the hilly New Jersey coast. I could explain it to you but wouldn't you rather rely on your imagination?

Hey Alex - have a great class tonight.

Don't let this happen (basketball link).

It's been about a year since I was "Customer of the Week" at my local coffee place. You'd think my life would have changed for the better as a result. I can't say it did much for me. They still know my name there but I have to say - the glory and the honor was fleeting.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Just to remind everyone, comments are indeed allowed on this blog. Yes, admiring silence from a distance is acceptable. But comments are encouraged. Shy? Tell me how you feel in an email.

(and no - that preceding paragraph wasn't directed at you. We talk a lot, I know. That was directed at the rest of you . They know who they are - all those parents of newborns and players of guitars and curators and writers and reality show personnel, all of you.)

I'm usually not a negative person when it comes to the NBA. I'll defend it (and basketball in general) to anyone who challenges me. I scoff at those who think football has the most excitement or baseball has the most history. You want history? Go back to the 1982 NBA playoffs. They tell you everything you need to know about America, joy, and pain (not to mention sunshine and rain). You want excitement? Take a now-forgotten playoff series in 2004 for example - the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings played seven thrilling mostly close and always competitive games in their western conference semifinal series. These games are mostly forgotten by people outside of Minneapolis and Sacramento (yes - even St. Paul has forgotten.) But I remember it all. I remember where I was when it started (in a living room in Santa Monica) and where it ended (in a casino in Las Vegas standing 20 feet away from Vince Vaughn.)

But this past season was a disappointment. My favorite teams (or at least the ones I get a little obsessed with) - the Timberwolves and Lakers - had dull disappointing seasons. The playoffs, except for Game 5 of the Detroit-Cleveland series and a few stray first round moments, were generally boring. We're going to pretend it never happened. The real season starts on June 27 when the NBA Draft is held and the future is planned. The real real season then begins for real in the fall. 2006-2007 never happened. 2007-2008 will happen. I promise. It can't get worse.

My favorite U2 album is still Zooropa.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


If yesterday's story is too strange... too much to take in, there are some comparatively brief new poems here for you.

If it's Knocked Up deleted scenes you want, go here and here.

If you want to hear my new favorite (and now defunct) band Life Without Buildings, go here. Listen to Juno.

If you need to see an anima video set to Pat Benatar's Hell Is For Children this is for you.

If you want to see some great pictures (taken by Alex) of the Eames house, go here.

If you need to know which player (might be) going to which team (maybe) in the NBA Draft, this is the place for you.

If you want to read my Kirby Puckett piece from last year, here it is.

(totals: 7 ifs, 5 heres, and 2 this's)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Swim (A Short Story)

“Swim, swim. There are boats bound for home and if we swim we can catch them, yes?”


“Though we are largely forgotten here, though our geography confounds outsiders and betrays interlopers, we are still swimmers. We are still capable of clutching onto boats, yes?”


“Swim, swim, swim, is what we must do. Until the boats bound for our strange and wonderful habitat make themselves known, their gurgles heard and their swish-sways swished. Until the resiliency of our kind keeps us afloat just long enough to take charge of this dishonorable situation we have found ourselves in, many meters from home, hungry, with thin blood and broken spirits, yes?”


“Swim, like our birth mothers taught us, gurgle, gurgle, swish, flap, flip, yes?”


“And dawn will arrive and the sun, regal and all-knowing, will show us the way and lead us to the promises yet to be broken, the dream lands yet to be navigated, navigations yet to be recorded in spiral seaman notebooks with black covers and bent wire, penmanship barely legible, all faded grids and dirty sketches made by bored hands with filthy fingers, yes?”


“And heroes we will be, heroes bound by a moral code and a sense of duty unseen in the shackled world of the compromised, unrecognizable to those without books of the past, when souls like us trod the earth and sailed the seas without fail because it was our job damn it and not a crass display of self-sacrifice!”




“And...and...swim, swim, all we can do is swim, until we... swim, swim, swim some more, with grace, not flailing, living, not dying. It’s hard to do, it’s difficult to imagine going on, it is, I know. But we do what we have to do, goes the song, we do what we have to do, even if what we have to do is nearly downright impossible, but not completely downright impossible just nearly so and I’m getting achy and tired and I think I’m going deaf from the noise of this ocean, its swells and sways and swishes and swarms and fishes and plant life and seaweed smacking my head. Though I know that once we’re hungry we can eat the seaweed and it can sustain us for a good day, one complete set of its floppy leaves and husky tusks, it’s still getting to me, the goddamn seaweed, yes?”


“And I hope to see my mother again, the one who taught me to swim, my birth mother that is, with her sullen gait and broken spirit, her wandering eyes when we went to the grocery store for cheese and bread and paper goods, staring a hole into the eyes of the others there, a gracious hole, not a burrowing one, a curious hole, not a harsh one. She was lonely, I know. She rarely laughed, my birth mother rarely laughed. But she taught me how to do this. She taught me all the strokes – the butterfly, the freestyle, the backstroke, the flailing dog, the drowning child, the runaway mother, the breast stroke, and did I say the butterfly? Yes I did. The butterfly. My mother, I mean my birth mother, trained me to be as graceful as a swan, though I was a boy and not a girl. She taught me how to float like a yellow butterfly. Or a red and orange one, I don’t know. But still, here on the drowning sea, I choose to freestyle. Because I find it more efficient. And when the sun rises and we are more tired and we are more hungry and the seaweed is not within reach, perhaps then I will do the inefficient butterfly, drowning for my mother’s wishes, I mean my birth mother’s wishes, dying gracefully, perhaps then I will do the butterfly, no?”


“You’re right. We’ll see the boats before then. We sure haven’t seen them yet. Swim, swim, cough, swim. It sure is quiet. Except for the sounds of the ocean. It sounds like nothing out here, I’m tired, I’m achy. But I shall keep going. I shall bound forthrightly into the darkest night. I shall slay every doubting inch of me and massage every confident foot of me. I apologize for speaking awkwardly. It’s all I can do. And when the boats come and the ambulances meet us on shore and we are driven to the hospital in the special entitled way that ambulances drive those in need, I will wave to those we pass. I will give the polite little thank-you wave that drivers give when another driver does something nice like let one switch lanes in front of him or her. Though the ambulance will most likely not have windows, what can I do but wave? Someone might have x-ray vision. God, if there is one, may be watching. The Emergency Medical Technicians will surely be there and they can tell their grandchildren that a dying man waved through steel on his way to heaven. Yes!?”


“Swim and allow the ocean’s crests and crushes and cracks to complete us, in a lustful way. Yes, lustful. If I think this way, I can go on forever, yes?”


“And perhaps when the sun comes we’ll see a distant shore, with not a boat or ship in sight for miles to the left, miles to the right, miles leeward and port and starboard and fore and aft or whatever men of the sea say when they’re drunk on their own lack of culture, I don’t know anything, I really don’t. But what if we see land first, land only, land cruel, land crass, but land blessed land, saving us from our own tragic introduction to the afterlife, if there is one anyway? What if we see a craggy rocky peak, blessing us for our troubles and our heroic gift for swimming? Swim and we will be complete. I am a rascal, a rogue, a shaking fist to the fate that awaits us, yes?”


“Swim and when our arms fall off we’ll be ecstatic for we will never want to move our arms again anyway, yes?”


“Swim and when our legs stop working we won’t miss them for the voice-activated wheelchairs will do the work for us. Go left, steel chariot. Now go right. Go fore, go aft, go leeward, go home.
But never go down into the reedy depths of the weedy sea. That would be the grand tragedy. That would be the smiting of natural law. For at this moment we have arms. For at this moment we have legs. And they will carry us through another meter, another mile. Swim and there may be a shore. Though there will be no boat, no schooner, no yacht, no paddleboat, no goddamn kayak, no godforsaken canoe, no dinghy, no buoy, just a rocky craggy peak and the land it lords over, confident and weathered. Oh how I love the sea.”

Monday, June 11, 2007

7 at 5

The Sopranos finale was brilliant.

I'm a vegetarian now. I think. No more meats for me. Not after Saturday night.

How come Prefab Sprout never put Dandy of the Danube on an album?

Why had I forgotten about Everclear's AM Radio?

I still don't understand why people like PowerPoint.

Despite the Spurs being up 2-0, The NBA Finals aren't over. The Cavs have a couple of good games in them.

I think I understand now.

How I Spent My Friday

I gave a loosely structured presentation to a group of 23 academic professionals in a rooftop meeting room.

I spent 7 minutes (4 up, 3 down) in a tiny elevating "pod" that wormed its way up to the top of the St. Louis Arch. Did I like it? Yes, but after the fact. (thanks @)

I went to a baseball game. The Angels won. Nice stadium. Love the Dippin' Dots.

I felt the insides of my physicality spill themselves out to the exterior of my existence. And now my back hurts.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Arcade Fire, Basketball

I hope this feud goes on forever:

Do I have my doubts that any of this is real? Yes, I have some.

Do I want Arcade Fire to focus on the melodic aspect of their music, as opposed to the dissonant yelling-in-the-mountains stuff? Yes, I do.

Is it cool to steal someone's basketball? Never.

(UPDATE: Both linked blogs are no longer in existence. It was fun while it lasted. Google it.)

Is the one guy's penis tattoo relevant to the debate? Probably.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Haircut 120

This is me 2 weeks ago, at the culmination of the friendly poker tournament:

It's not as if I won any actual cash (that would be illegal.) But let's say, for the sake of argument, that I did win money... let's say my profit was somewhere around $120. If that were the case, then all the money is gone now - spent on a new battery for the Camry (which someone else purchased as of a week ago) and a few miscellaneous things purchased in a store on the street just south of where I live (but further west, out by La Brea).

Yes, that's right. I no longer drive a Japanese sedan. I now drive a Japanese mini-SUV (i.e., a 2000 Honda CR-X). It was an impulse purchase. Somehow, it gets better gas mileage than the Camry.

Not only that but you know how I had all that wavy Egyptian hair? It's almost all gone. I now look like my driver's license picture. I now look like I did in 2001, when I was cavorting on network game shows. I like it. I'll get a picture on here soon.

New car, new haircut. And, if all goes well tomorrow, a new (non-network) game show could be in my future.

And if I do somehow win on that show, I'd like someone to throw me a party in which there is a giant shrimp, made of shrimp, diving into a bowl of shrimp.