Thursday, November 29, 2007

Workplace Safety

The worst public service announcement ever produced. If you're squeamish, DON'T follow this link.

(I've been quiet lately, I know. Prepare for long wordy posts in the coming days - rambling missives about the 90s, the fog over the hills, and - if you're lucky - the Sbarro Incident.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sounds like a pocketful of rain

I spent much of the weekend driving and listening to Prefab Sprout's first album Swoon. I haven't listened to it in such a long time that I forgot how many of Paddy McAloon's lines ring true as life mottoes, 25 years after he write them:
"All words are trains for moving past what really has no name" - Couldn't Bear To Be Special
Here, the simple notion of not finding the right words to say is expressed beautifully. You never reach perfection with language; you just approach it.

"I've learned today, the most eloquent way, to speak or to pray, is straight from the heart" - Green Isaac
A correct, if obvious, plea for honesty.

"Cruel is the gospel that sets us all free and takes you away from me" - Cruel
As with words and their lack of perfection, love from and for another person in a universe of individuality continues to elude.

"I long for the moon as it looks from the earth" - Green Isaac (Part II)
It's either about a man always wishing for a change is perspective or God wishing to be mortal. Or both.
"Should a love be tender, and bleed out loud? Or be tougher than tough, and prouder than proud? - Cruel
Do we give in to love (and its compromises)? Or do we stand steadfast and wait it out?

"There's a mile between the way you see me and the way I am" - Couldn't Bear To Be Special
We're all a little different from within. For some, it's a mile; others, a centimeter. For me, it's 400 meters.
Thanks to this website for the picture above.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday, I stayed home sick from work and discovered that my blog is written at the junior high reading level.

Today, I have declined an opportunity to have fun in Santa Monica because my throat feels rougher than a.... than a...
(no metaphor really works here; yeah I've thought of a few but they're really labored and sort of lame, so I'll just say my throat feels really really sore.)

Yesterday, I saw my first ever basketball game at Staples Center in Los Angeles (Thanks Jason). The Clippers beat the Knicks. Stephon Marbury made a surprise appearance (the crowd murmured; they did.) There's nothing like experiencing a live sporting event while numbed out on DayQuil.

Today, I rummaged through three rather depressing years of tax returns, to find some needed documents.

Yesterday, I ate a soft pretzel.

Today, I ate hard pretzels.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It Was A Non-Recommend Recommend

Curb Your Enthusiasm is one of my favorite shows. I appreciate its ambition. For each of their six seasons (except maybe the first), Larry David constructs a well-thought-out season-long plot to accompany each episode's 30 minute plot. The problem is that the final episodes usually left me wanting more. There was the final episode of the "restaurant" season. I loved how it ended but would have appreciated it if Larry's restaurant were ever mentioned again in the seasons that followed. It wasn't. I was more disappointed in the endings of the "Producers" and "adoption" seasons. They just should have been better.

This season, Larry has faced the end of his marriage and the introduction of a new family into his home. I was a little unsure of how it would end and a bit worried it would disappoint. It didn't. I won't give anything away except to say the last five minutes were brilliant, touching, and jaw-droppingly funny.

Please let there be a seventh season.

Yes, I watched a lot of TV this weekend, a fact that was mentioned in yesterday's apparently whiny post. Yeah, you're right. It was just a fever. But I chose to add a little symbolism.

Time for a big topic change.

When I was a kid growing up on the Pennsylvania suburban range, there was a strange ritual that my parents, sister, and I would take part in at least once every few weekends (this was from about age 11 to 15.) We would get in the family car and drive to Quakertown to go a place called the Sweetheart Steak Shoppe which specialized in Philly-style cheese steak sandwich . According to Google maps, it was 18 miles from Buckingham to Quakertown. And it was all city and country roads - no freeways. So it seemed a very long way to drive for a cheese steak sandwich.

(I tried to find an image to place right here, one
that would capture Quakertown, cheese steaks,
or my family. No such image exists)

What I didn't understand was why we just didn't drive 18 miles in the other direction and go to Philadelphia for a real Philly-style cheese steak. Sometimes, we'd combine the food with a trip to the Quakertown Mall. My family loved malls but that place was just sad. No reason to set foot in there. So, really it was just for the food (and the occasional "ha ha look at them" pointing at the Amish people on the side of the road with their wagons).

But here's the thing - and the point of this rather lame entry: to this day, I remember the oddly sweet tasting cheese on the Sweetheart's cheese steaks. It's a flavor that fills me with good thoughts and maybe that's why we made that trip. Yeah, we could have gone to that awful Nate's place in Doylestown but why not make an hour long round trip for something better? Besides, my family never really talked to each other, so it was good to be in a car and at least be forced to have some kind of conversation.

(I can't figure out why my line spacing gets messed up whenever I center something. My html looks flawless. Does anyone have any ideas?)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hollywood Nights

I've spent the weekend in a couch-bound haze, eating mochi, drinking lemon ginger echinacea juice and wondering why well-wishers in three time zones aren't calling. I've watched the sun rise and set over the Hollywood Hills, enjoying the impeccably clear skies and the impossibly moderate weather. It's been one of the most boring uneventful weekends of my life. And I feel utterly completely content. This is unlike me. I'm supposed to worry and fret about the future. But the future is just... it's just going to be there. Nothing I can do about it but make it perfect.

I should go see a movie. My immune system can handle that. Too much football. I've gone out for coffee and crossword puzzles. Yesterday, I went out for Wahoo's and randomness. I have a feeling I'm not going out tonight. The chills in my body keep me under covers. The heaviness in my head keeps my feet still.

But again... I'm completely utterly content. I don't understand. It really shouldn't be that way, given the circumstances.

I did have a thought at 3:00AM, when I was stirred awake by the thought that I should leave the couch and go to the bed. I thought... this can't go on forever. Eventually, something will give and I'll be playing basketball with my children in a leaf-strewn park. But there are no children yet. There aren't too many leaves in Lemon Grove Park. But there's a basketball court there.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Never Too Cold In November

November is my favorite month. Thursday is my favorite day of the week. In 1986 (my favorite year), I wrote a poem called November Thursdays. I'm happy today.

At this very moment, two different car alarms are going off in the not-too-far distance outside my office window. They're trading off their siren calls in a lovely musical duet portending the coming Los Angeles winter. Oh, it's stopped. The noise is over.

What happened to the mysterious commenter? What about that riddle?

I have unrestrained glee at the future of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The die has been cast; the cats have been fed; the sky is thirsty for a new cloud. And they haven't even won a game yet!

I'm listening to a song titled (unironically) Lazy Dreamer by Liz Phair off of her most recent album. Even her failures (the song, not the album) are fascinating and pure.

Speaking of Liz, it's been two years since the last album. I need a new one, if only to further my thesis (provable) that she's the greatest artist (in any medium) of the last 50 years. I understand that I should explain this position a little further. This explanation will come some day, I promise.

Speaking of basketball (3 paragraphs up), how come I haven't posted my NBA predictions, like I did the last two seasons. Well, here it is: In a surprise, the Los Angeles Lakers (not the Spurs, definitely not the Wolves) will beat the Toronto Raptors (fuck the Celtics) in the finals. In college, I have no idea but I like those Trojans.

Yes, I noticed the preponderance of parentheses.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Barkers and the Colored Balloons

(new stuff at the poetry blog)

(magnificent bastard on fire!)

(written in the early morning fog of yesterday, Los Angeles)

That's one way to instigate change, to go somewhere new for morning coffee.

The traffic is different here. The people look the same. The cars move faster, the feet move about the same. The photographs on the wall are of places I've been and buildings I've seen. The walls are unprotected, partially, from the elements.

I am unprotected from the future, from the delivery of bad news, from the promise of love, from long lost old friends appearing suddenly around corners. I'll get used to the traffic sounds, to the expectations in this part of town, to the different lexicon, to the alternate routes further east of where I work, rather than west.

I wonder how cold it has to get before they turn on the heating lamps. I hope they never come on. I just saw the woman who played Gina (rhymes with Carolina) in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. She's tired; she needs coffee.

They're playing Sugar Mountain by Neil Young. Though I can't forgive him for everything, I love this song. You have to make some things new to recognize the good in the old.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Yes, I Did Enjoy It

I wanted to write something long and well-constructed. Actually, I did write something like that this morning in my notebook over coffee. But... the notebook is in the car and the car is far away. Instead, I'll just make a list: 5 more random things about me:

1. I once owned a wagon but never a sled.
2. Fog is my friend.
3. The song Joy by Lucinda Williams fills me with joy, despite its joyless subject matter.
4. I used to own rechargeable lithium AA batteries. Two of them.
5. I get easily bored at work meetings. Which makes the non-boring meetings that much better.

Okay that was a lame experiment. Let's try something else. Actually, no. I should just stop writing and come back when I have something to say.

(actually - here's a 6th random thing:

I once started a completely fake blog, written from the point of view of someone that was most certainly not me (someone never identified in the fake blog). The fake blog is still out there. It hasn't been updated in a long time. Can you find it?)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Well At Least The War Is Over

Some lists for a Friday:

Places In My Apartment Where My Cats Have Vomited In The Last 24 Hours, Ranked My Difficulty in Cleaning

1. On my bed (likely culprit: Seymour)
2. On the living room rug (Lily)
3. On the arm of my couch (Lily)
4. On the living room floor (Lily)
5. On the kitchen floor (Seymour)
(Why are they throwing up? Is it something in the food? I don't know. There have been other spates like this... and then they go weeks without an incident.)

Top 5 Pizza Places in Los Angeles (+ surrounding areas)
1. Cheebo, Hollywood
2. Damiano's, Fairfax (a definite worldwide #1 in the 90s; their product has slipped somewhat)
3. Z Pizza, various locations (very good for a chain)
4. Abbot's, Santa Monica (but not the one in Venice)
5. That place Ben and Karen order from on poker nights, Altadena/Pasadena

Top 5 Landmarks I Can See From My Window or Porch
1. The Hollywood Sign
2. Griffith Observatory
3. The fast food confluence on Western Avenue (a lone intersection that includes a McDonalds, a Burger King, a Taco Bell, and the ghost of a KFC; popular with the trannies)
4. Capitol Records Building
5. The Scientology compound on Franklin; they actually painted it blue!

Seven Reasons For Liking the Timberwolves' Chances This Season
1. Al Jefferson is better than even the most optimistic fan thinks
2. Rashad McCants isn't injured any more
3. Ryan Gomes just needed more playing time
4. Mark Madsen is injured
5 through 7. That's all I can think of; they actually look pretty bad

Seven Songs I've Liked Recently, From Various Eras
1. In Our Bedroom, After the War - Stars
2. Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
3. An Accident - LUYD
4. Teenage Liberation - The Hold Steady (the most Springsteen of their many Springsteen-ish songs)
5. Slow Show - The National
6. My Old Ways - Dr. Dog
7. Photograph - Ringo Starr (the best song by an ex-Beatle or the Beatles themselves)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

3 Links

Sarah and Laura Silverman ask a very important question. Yeah, what did happen to it?

I like this Sharon Jones song.

This is fascinating - filmmaker Errol Morris obsesses over a photograph.