Saturday, December 26, 2009

The day

It was a good, full day. We got started later than in past years, but had a nice breakfast. Thereafter, it was present time, and I served as distributor of gifts. The gifts all seemed to be successes, so it was a good Christmas in that regard. We then watched a little basketball, breaking it off for hiking and other endeavors. Upon return, we got back to sports until it was time for dinner. This was very good.
Christmas certainly changes as a family gets older. There were many around today, whereas years ago it was just the four of us. More ruminations may possibly come tomorrow.

Friday, December 25, 2009


It looks to be as good a Christmas as ever for the family. There's plenty of food and plenty to do with those I care about. Very little gives me pause apart from the many changes that take place here in between my visits home.

Should it interest anyone, I will say that I got a haircut. It's very short right now. The mustache has been trimmed, but lives still. I also had my first professional shave that I can recall. I can't say that it's likely to recur, but was pleasant and worth doing at least the once.
More about the holidays likely to follow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Coming Home

After some three weeks or so since going off to Connecticut, it's back to my family, but this time in Phoenix. I am still just at the outset of the trip, but did arrive this morning at the Greyhound station near the airport. The trip was a fairly good one by the standards of that bus carrier. Getting to the LA station was easy enough, coming though it did on the heels of doing my Christmas shopping. Once there, I got onto my bus alright. They overbooked the first bus, and got another together fairly rapidly. Unfortunately, that bus turned out to have some kind of damaged side panel, eventually putting us forty minutes behind schedule. We arrived in Phoenix late by the same margin.

Since then, it was breakfast with Mom and a nap. We'll have to see where the day goes from here.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I finally got into the mood to recount the Thanksgiving trip, which was spent with the greater part of my mother's side of the family. Happily, I still largely remember it. The day before my flight, I was injured during the making of a comedy video. I was at the time concerned about possibly not being able to make the trip on time, but I was fortunately able to receive medical treatment the same day and make my flight in the morning. Two of the people in charge of the aforementioned video were kind enough to drive me to Los Angeles International Airport. This is not a very good airport, both functionally and aesthetically.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Spenserian Sonnet

When I came here I became my own man
My words are my own and so are my deeds
I left my birthplace to do what I can
God willing I can fulfill all my needs
It came to pass that I planted the seeds
The challenges are legion and I fear
I go my way but know not where it leads
I think I've won the respect of my peer
Though for my poverty I shed a tear
Still I forge on and my time will come yet
Be it most distant or be it quite near
I pray, God, for the wisdom to not fret
Shall I be like the Spartan mother's son
And with shield show that I lost or I won?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Filling In The Gaps

To get back into the swing of things: Thanksgiving was really very nice. Flying is always a minefield, and managed to only step on the edge of one in getting the last flight on my return delayed. There was nothing to complain about, really. I'm only human; I'll suffer through about anything if a free Heineken is offered as a salve at the end.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another Short

Today was another pleasant day of being with seldom-seen relatives and attempting to comply with their constant demands to eat. The energy to report everything thoroughly remains lacking, but should come before long.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quick update

Due to a lack of available energy as well as a recently sustained thumb injury, I have not been able to write during my trip. I'll try to do so tomorrow if the opportunity presents itself, and will have some very interesting things to say if such is the case.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sick and Filming

I have not been feeling especially well since Thursday night. It's some kind of sniffling and sneezing thing. I'm confident that it's not an ailment which is currently all over the news.

Tomorrow, I am acting in a short comedy video, going to TV night and getting ready for my flight to be with family for the holiday. An account of that day's events is likely to be forthcoming. I will be heading out very early Monday morning, and indeed will be either in the air or waiting for my connecting flight when that email goes out. Don't worry- I'm not going to be pestering anyone with live blogging or otherwise too-frequent blasts of unwanted info regarding the trip, as is the wont of others. I suppose I may have something to say at the end of Monday.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lying Fallow

It was a largely quiet day, with the exception of going out to a Thai restaurant with my roommate and a mutual acquaintance who is leaving for a few months. I would have preferred a different place. I didn't care for my food or the ambiance in the least the last time I had been there, and had no rational reason to expect a different experience this time. The conversation was nice, though, so it was a pleasant outing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Little Something

Not much energy to say all there is to be said, but it was a good, full day of high triumph, great anxiety, fun and friendship.

I soldiered through exhaustion and the stress of misplacing a dvd due back to the library to deliver my 10th Toastmasters speech, which makes me a Competent Communicator. When you do that, you get something like what is pictured below.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cleaning Up Is Hard To Do/Yesterday Is Dead And Gone/Oh, I Believe In Yesterday

Lately, I have been doing rather well at being neat. After a long period of doing the bare minimum in all things housekeeping, I broke down and went to work on it. I had to clean the dishes in stages, as there were too many to dry them all at once. Once that was done, I cleaned up my room, and now can walk around it without fear of stepping in anything or tripping. The last thing was doing my laundry (for it had been a little too long). Now it's only a matter of keeping the ball rolling.

Going back to Tuesday: after I wrote my last post, I found myself out helping my roommate providing for the continued availability of clean water in our apartment. This brought us first to Target and second to Rite Aid (a drugstore). There have been two things I've been looking for, and have not had any luck. The first is an ink cartridge for my printer. For whatever reason, it's near impossible to get them locally. One can always order them online, which makes me think that virtually all the cartridges are on a single place, with just a handful physically delivered to other places without bought by a customer first. I have no desire to pay shipping charges for something I ought to be able to get here, and so remain without a cartridge.

The other thing was mustache wax. As relatively few human beings cultivate mustaches, the paraphernalia for such facial hair is very much a niche product. I had bought a tube of the wax years ago, but did not use it regularly until recently. It had just run out, and I was checking every store I went into in a bid to find some. I had no luck with this until last night, when I finally did find some. I was especially happy that the wax came with a little mustache comb, as my own had gone missing. Now I have the wax, the little comb and the scissors. Things are beginning to go my way.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday Night

The improv class I sat in on was fun. I enjoyed picking up things from a different teacher and class. Although they don't espouse a different way of doing things per se, they are different people and are not really exposed to what we are doing (as I have until now not been exposed much to their work), so the result is something a little unique.

Following that was the experimental theater class. This week, we did all floor exercises, which were strenuous, challenging and pleasant. I will not be there next week, since I will be out of town, but look forward to returning in two weeks. On the way home, I stopped at a high end grocery store which I don't usually patronize. I was glad that they were open until 1am, and have decided that their baked goods are far superior to those of Ralphs (no surprise). Nonetheless, I am unlikely to shop their on a regular basis.

Today, there was a bonus Toastmasters meeting, where I felt I gave another good evaluation. I think I may be improving with those. Following that, I had to go to a library by MacArthur Park to pick up a DVD for movie night, and took the opportunity to pick up the prizes at a nearby 99 Cents Only store. Heading home from there, I encountered an older guy I have talked to several times on the bus. He is a night security guard and boxing history buff. I helped him with some heavy stuff he was carrying, and had a beer with him while he was toying with an antique clock and some things he had just bought. It was very nice to get to know him a bit better.

Tomorrow I may be helping out with a little additional shooting for the movie I was working on. If so, details will follow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

TV night

After a big day Saturday, Sunday was largely a quiet day for reflection and documentation. Once I had recorded the big Toastmasters event for posterity, it was time for TV Night. We had a full slate of Fox Animation Domination shows as well as Dexter, plus an ample supply of drinks (alcoholic and non) and snacks (healthy and not). It's really wonderful to have these get-togethers with friends like mine who grow dearer and dearer with each encounter.

I'm now on my way to watch Monkey Butler's other long form improv class (apart from the one I attend), then take part in the experimental theater class after. An account of both is likely to follow.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Done Thoroughly In Time

Given a bit of time to think about it, here's my report on the big event from yesterday: One of the organizers (who is a member of my own club) asked me to be there early help to help set up. Thusly, after sleeping not very much the night before, I got up at 5 o'clock in the morning. I got the coffee going, and jumped into the shower. Once my bathroom routine was through, it was time to dress. I suppose I have something of a reputation among some circles for dressing quite casually.

Therefore, I was asked to dress "business casual". I don't have a natural understanding of such terms, but went with a pair of black slacks, a nice collared shirt and no tie or jacket. I tastefully restrained my hair and moustache, and headed out around 6am. The event was at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club at Universal Citywalk, which is fairly near to me and easy to get to. I caught the bus at about 6:11 and arrived at the bottom of the hill on which Citywalk lies about 6:24. It took just a few minutes to walk up there, as their shuttle does not start running until 7 on Saturdays.


I took part in a big Toastmasters event Saturday, and I want to write it up properly, but haven't got it in me just at the moment. I'll have it sometime Sunday, and it will be excellent.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Last night at improv class we had the final week of our musical block, and it was as fun as ever. I still have some trouble, but feel considerably better about doing it than I did at the start. Mostly my difficulties lie in the ordinary challenges of improv, although I could stand to develop a better singing voice. After my scene, the teacher compared us to Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

In that scene, our suggestion was cruise ship (an old college friend of the teacher had come to town for a show aboard a cruise ship, and was in attendance). I initiated by establishing that we were at a buffet-style restaurant aboard a cruise ship, praising the macaroni salad. My partner then developed an allergic reaction as I looked on unsympathetically. He then went on to reveal committing a murder on a previous cruise and expressed great anxiety.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Trip To The Shore

Something rather interesting came up for me yesterday. Someone from the movie I was just working on invited me to come crash a film sales market event over in Santa Monica. He further asked me to wear one of the more elaborate costumes from the movie (for a character I had not played), so the real risk was, therefore, mine. The nature of the costume was such that my vision and freedom of movement were both severely impaired, making a getaway nearly impossible.

So I went down to my friend's home so that we could all head to the event together. All the time, I heard the clack-clack-clack of a rollercoaster reaching the high point before dropping down and picking up speed. I was apprehensive, to say the least. Ultimately, my fears never came to pass, as the event was all but over and our group determined that going through with it would be not worth the effort, let alone the risk.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Since Friday

I was going to expand on the outing of last Friday, but I've moved well past that already. On to the following day: There were at least two parties to which I could consider going. One was a costume party in Los Feliz for the tv show Mad Men, which I love. The other was a costume birthday party for the wife of an acquaintance downtown. Initially I was torn, because while each sounded fun, they had their downsides and commitments which made them a little less appealing (the worst of all being the obligation to make a costume).

I eventually opted to go to the Beatles party, and made a quick costume based on the song 'Eight Days A Week'. My costume was a cardboard sign worn around the neck which depicted an eight day week calendar. Sadly, I did not win the contest, but did enjoy the company of many friends, not to mention a Beatles puzzle and Beatles Rock Band.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Prelude To A Story

I had another very satisfying night out with friends on this Friday. This time, it was the premiere of a short film written by a friend. Happily, the premiere took place at a nice little venue in Hollywood with an open bar. I'm happy to report that I restrained myself, enjoy a very dignified two beers before cutting myself off. There was additionally a nice round of long form improv comedy, and it was of course a delight to talk with many friends who I don't necessarily often see (and it is doubly nice for it to be in a somewhat novel setting).

Following that, it was more fun at a restaurant nearby- one where the most valuable salable commodity is atmosphere (certainly not food or service). Since sensible people don't put a stop to the night before things take a turn, a friend and I headed for one more place. A friend of his had a birthday party in West Hollywood, so we went. We would find the friend too inebriated to make for good conversation, and since this also meant she wouldn't appreciate or remember very well if we stuck around, we got going.

I suppose I'll elaborate on all this tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Update Petite

It was a pretty good day Thursday. I had Toastmasters, and won Best Evaluator for my critique on a fellow member's "news editorial". This broke a losing streak I had been on for a number of weeks, and so was most welcome.

In the evening, I had another phenomenal improv class with some of the best performers I've yet seen. It really is an incredible pleasure just to be a part of the class, and I can't wait for our next shot at a live audience. Having worked together more or less as a cohesive group since the last time, I have great confidence in our ability to really wow them.

Of course, following that it was time for a celebratory six dollar pizza. With that digesting in my system, NBC's Thursday night lineup closes out the day for me.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I had a few things going on yesterday. First, I was working on a bit of editing for a friend, and it was kind of nice to have a practical outlet for that stuff. It was nothing tough, and the content was a lot more pleasant to watch than what I've dealt with often in the past.

Following that, I had Movie Night. We watched Taken, and the meeting was distinguished by a high turnout and disproportionate number of women (both welcome, by the way). As always, it greatly gratifies me that people would come somewhere at my behest for something I'm putting on.

The night was capped off by bible study. It was my turn to bring snacks, and people seemed reasonably satisfied by my generic cola, sugary apple juice, taffy, generic spicy cheetos and salt and vinegar chips. The discussion was fairly good.

It's another active day coming up today, so hopefully I'll have something on that by morning.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bonus Toastmasters

Toastmasters has mainly belonged to Thursdays, with only a couple of things happening on Saturdays. The club is growing, however, and in order to satisfy demand for speaking slots we now must hold supplemental meetings. Such was the case two weeks ago, today and every two weeks in perpetuity.These supplemental meetings are very bare bones, with just speeches and evaluations. It was a fairly good time. I did not do an especially good job with an evaluation, as I had no time to prepare it before the speaker had to leave. I won't do that again. Otherwise, it was lots of fun- I heard some wonderful speeches and I was very glad to be there for them.

Monday, November 2, 2009

In The Arena, Briefly

Sunday was eventful for me in the barest sense. I spent much of the day watching sports alone, leaving only in the evening to be with friends. There, initially, I watched the end of the World Series' Game Four. My vocal and animated anger and frustration was patiently tolerated by the good friend and not terribly commmitted sports fan in whose home I watched the game. She did express interest in the finer points of a defensive gaffe on the part of the Phillies which would doom them to defeat, but her emotional stake in the outcome was minimal compared to my own.

A bit after the game ended, more friends came along and we greatly enjoyed delicious snacks (largely of a home-made nature) and an equally delectable episode of Showtime's 'Dexter'. A particularly salty turn of phrase employed by one of the characters struck a chord with all present, who committed to making use of it themselves in conversation the following day. Most could not wait, peppering their utterances with it all night whenever it could be justified.

The most recent episode of the same network's program 'Californication' was watched as a sort of nightcap, and was enjoyed nearly as much as the former entertainment. Things broke up thereafter with all concerned tired but in good spirits. For my part, I was up for around another hour before succumbing to sleep as a documentary on Miami's 1980s cocaine trade played.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thrilling To Deeds Without

There has been no substantial news in the past 24 hours. I was to go out and take part in some youthful indiscretions out around West Hollywood, but it did not come to pass, and I whiled away Saturday evening without incident at home with a book in hand.

The thrill of yesterday's Florida Gators victory has been tempered by the agony of today's Arizona Cardinals defeat. I have been engaged in the watching thereof, as well as in some very minor housekeeping on the computer. Very shortly, I will head out to watch some television with friends. That seems better than watching it here by myself. I imagine there may also be tasty snacks and drinks, which I take pains to never pass up.

This coming week may hold some very notable occurrences. I will be sure to make mention of them if such is the case.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

In The Quiet And Stillness

Nothing to report today. After a big day like yesterday, much time is spent reflecting while perusing documentary photos and videos of the transpired events. I also watched the Florida Gators handily defeat the Georgia Bulldogs, dispelling a number of concerns in the process. Lastly I continue to enjoy the new sheets I bought for my bed before the party. There may something of substance to say tomorrow, but don't bank on it.

Halloween Birthday

I had known for some time that my roommate Marcus had a birthday party brewing, although I think I was not entirely conscious of its proximity to Halloween. As the party drew closer, I began to consider more a lot of the logistics of it from my end. I had to get there from where I was, spend a minimum amount on food and come up with some kind of costume. I've been the one who shirks the serious responsibility of dressing up on Halloween before, and that's at least one social "No-no" that I won't be repeating.

Really, I didn't do anything about any of the things on my mind until around three hours before the party. I knew very well that, already being unhappy about spending twelve dollars on the party itself, I had not intention of spending more than a pittance on my costume. I had noticed a pop-up costume booth had materialized at a gas station down on the corner of the nearby major crossroads. I had some idea of picking up something cheap on my way to the party and changing in the bathroom. Luckily, I instead went to check it out right after I showered so that I could change at home. As I was browsing, a young girl came to help me. First it was "Can I help you", and then she had a recommendation: "For you we have 'Axe Murderer". She looked right at me, sized me up, and determined that to be the best costume for me. The costume was a jumpsuit plus a mask of Michael Myers from the film 'Halloween', who is known at Latino-run costume booths as 'Jason'. At a price exceeding forty dollars (for an axe murderer costume which did not include an axe) , I declined.

Friday, October 30, 2009

How Class Went

Last night was the first class since a series of new directives have been handed down concerning the location at which we meet. Now it's 7:30 to 9:30, although the important thing really is just that we're all the way out of there by 10pm.

Since we didn't have any musicians, the last week of our musical improv block has been pushed back to next week. Today, we did a few things, with the bigger part of it being the "Slacker". First, however, we did a movie trailer game. In that game, three people act out a movie trailer while two others take turns providing narration that guides the action. We did two of those. In the first, a hard-boiled female detective struggles to hard boil eggs. In the second, a battle between nerds and jocks raged in a school while a plucky youngster tries to raise the money needed to keep the school open.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tuesday and Wednesday

I have not historically been someone who spontaneously gets called up to hang out, but that kind of popularity seems to be developing. After we finished shooting the movie I've been on Monday, I was advised that such a hanging-out session was in the works for the following day, and that I should expect a call. That remained in the back of my head, but come that evening my conscious plans were to watch the opening night of the NBA season. When the chance to go out and do things comes along, however, I know that the healthy thing to do is not to pass them up in favor of privately watching basketball games on tv at home.

Therefore, I went down to Hollywood to meet my friends at their place, where we placed bets on when the last confirmed member of the group would show. I had no confidence in his capacity for promptness, so I went with a later time than anyone, and won with 10:05pm. In fact, he did not turn up until 11:20, and then only at the bar we went to rather than the apartment. It was a good time, although one wonders what sort of Hollywood recreational establishment closes at midnight.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Elaboration Nation

To go into greater detail regarding the final three days of the film shoot I was a part of: Friday was my final day on the shoot as an actor, but as before, I found myself to be a PA any time I wasn't on camera during a take. I might have objected under other circumstances, but I had come on board as a PA, the shoot was under the auspices of good friends and other actors (who were also producers) were in more or less the same boat.

It can sometimes be difficult to take pleasure in one's work, even in the film industry, but such was not the case Friday. I did enjoy carrying about an attractive and sprightly blond actress who was dressed as a mermaid. The scene was your basic poolside frolicking routine, and was over far too quickly for my liking.

Saturday was all right. I spent a great deal of time guarding the equipment left outside near the street. This really meant that I was reading my book and eating snacks. It was an agreeable enough way to pass the time, but I missed being with some of the cast and crew I had become quite fond of. This would be remedied when the crew moved to a new setup on the sidewalk opposite the apartment building we were shooting at.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fin De Semana

Not a whole lot to say right now in spite of how much has happened. It's still mainly cogitating. Friday and Saturday were largely fun and productive shooting days. Friday I was acting some again, but Saturday it was mainly crew duties. I had the contribution of making lunch In-N-Out, so I felt good about that. I feel pretty good all around, as I seem to be doing well with the responsibilities I'm getting, and about everyone seems to love me on the set. Who doesn't like being liked? Tonight we're shooting from 10pm until 10am Monday morning. That should pretty well mess me up for a few days.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Latest

Wednesday and Thursday I had a fair amount of activity. As nearly always, I had my movie night over at a friend's house. It was perhaps the most poorly attended one so far, but the two gentlemen and I who partook got into it and enjoyed it as we always do. The movie- 'And Then There Were None' did not really live up to my expectations, but one learns from the lesser ones as much as the true classics. That was followed by bible study, which was fairly nice. I neglected again to bring my bible, but coped.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bonus Shoot

As part of the shooting schedule, we had planned to shoot some comic bits that we had thought of during the day. The idea was that they would comprise a trailer for the movie during the movie. This trailer would possibly play during the credits of the real movie. Unfortunately, we ran out of time Sunday night. Collectively, though, we were so enthusiastic about the idea that we picked yesterday to come back and film those bits while the pirate ship set was still there.

Sunday I had gone with the director, but it turned out that getting there on the bus was easy. I got there just as the director of the trailer got there, and we were the first to arrive. Unfortunately we lost one of the actors, but managed to adapt. It may have been an hour or more before we were ready to shoot, but we moved pretty quickly. Most of the comic bits sprang from my suggestions, but it was all in a spirit of collaboration. I found that coming up with ideas was easier than acting them out. It gives you greater appreciation for that end of things. We did end up getting everything, including a pirate sea shanty which I wrote in my mind on the bus ride.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Second Day Of The Shoot: A Star Is Born

Again, I wanted to write last night, but it was just another case of actually living life getting in the way of writing about life. Yesterday was awesome. It started with me waking up way too early, accidentally calling one of the producers instead of voicemail and watching some tv. I got pretty anxious watching the Florida-Arkansas game on tape, but SNL relieved that. It was the best episode of the season thus far, in my opinion. Don't hesitate to watch!

After that I got ready and ate some leftover craft service food from yesterday for breakfast. I left the house a little after 7 to meet the director and head to Sun Valley where the camera truck was. There wasn't much to do there, so the aforementioned producer and I went to get some water and head to the set. There was none of the kind we needed at the first place we went to, but luckily a new PA had already been charged with the responsibility of getting water, so we just headed to the set. I then did what I could to get what food we had prepared.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

On The Set

Much as I wanted to share an account of my first day on my latest shoot right away, my body failed me when I got back last night. Here it is: My call time was 1pm. I left home for the set in Hollywood a little after noon with the expectation that I would get off the subway at Hollywood and Vine about 12:43. The train turned out to be four minutes late, making me hustle to get the rest of the way on foot. I could have taken a bus the rest of the way, but wasn't about to risk being late so that I could catch a bus I would be on for only two minutes. I got there a couple minutes after 1, but was praised for being on time due to a likely discrepancy in the accuracy of timepieces.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Song In My Heart

As I said I would, I went to improv class last night, and it was great indeed. I found out upon revival (but ought to have realized beforehand) that we would have a pair of substitute teachers in the absence of our usual teacher. These two are members of the improv program's musical improv group. This was good, as we are in the midst of studying that very thing.

I can't quite recall all of what was done, but we had some good stuff. There was Doo Run Run, wherein participants improvise new lyrics to the tune of the Ronettes song 'Da Doo Run Run'. We've done that a number of times, and it's always fun. There was also Limerick, which is just a group of several people quickly improvising a limerick. There were others as well, but the big thing was doing the musical scenes. You start out a two person scene as normal, leaping into song midway.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Quick Hit

Might not get a chance to write later tonight, so here's something very brief:

Movie night was one of the best ever. We watched Tropic Thunder on Blu-Ray and had rousing rounds of trivia and discussion.

Toastmasters was good. Big, busy meeting, with me taking notes for the recap as well as in the capacity of ah counter. Beforehand I helped the club president with another table topics warmup before she takes part in the next round of the contest.

Just about to leave for improv class, where we have the third week of musical improv. Should be fun, and I hope to improve on my showing last week. It wasn't bad for a first try, but I have a lot of improving to do. I'll be sure to report on that some time thereafter.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Evaluating others is most difficult. It seems to me that I hadn't been compelled to do so in any real way until fairly recently when I started Toastmasters. People are there to get better as speakers and expect greater success in life as a result. Therefore, one must take seriously the responsibility of offering a critique of someone's speech. Firstly, you must be honest and clear about your assessment of what's good and why as well as what's bad and how it may be fixed. Secondly, you must be conscious of the specific person in question and how you may sensitively convey things that could hurt feelings or ruffle feathers.

All that is a challenge for the best of people, and becomes even harder if one is personally insecure and thinks a lot about throwing the first stone, as the Biblical story goes. When I offer an evaluation, I remind myself that I'm speaking not as the world's greatest public speaker, but instead merely as an objective observer giving an alternative perspective to that which comes from the speaker themself.

I'm glad that I have been through some of this, as I am now being called upon to do the same thing in the "real world". Hopefully I am somewhat the wiser for my experiences in Toastmasters and manage to genuinely help those who seek my counsel.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rain, rain: Should it stay or should it go now?

One might think that someone accustomed to a very low frequency of rain throughout his life would have little to say on the matter compared to someone of an opposite background, but I do have some thoughts. It has been raining about all day here in Los Angeles, which is the obvious explanation for "Why rain, why now?". I suppose that most people don't experience it the way I do. Of course, if it happens when I'm inside, then it is the same. I hear it constantly and occasionally glance at the window. It substantially influences my mood and state of mind in a way that can be good or bad. Ideally I don't have to go out in it, but that isn't really practical.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Procuring Supplies

Grocery shopping is an anxious activity for me. Shopping of any kind is tough, but doing so for food happens the most often. There are a few places I do it, and none of them are terribly satisfactory. My primary place is Ralph's. For the most part, it's a good chain, but the one near my home is not a good one. It's not incredibly nice in there, and they lack a good selection in some areas. My main problem is with their bakery, such as it is. It's just not good. I like buying and consuming french bread. White is ok, but I like their wheat better. The trouble is that they have one or two loaves in stock at best, and frequently have none. Sometimes even the white is out of stock. Not cool.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Pair Of Trifles

Recent weeks have brought with them the delightfully cooler weather of Autumn. Much as the activities of summer are to be enjoyed, one can grow weary of the heat when not using the AC at home. There are plenty of measures to help the situation, and they range from judiciously using the shades to drinking cold water all the time. In spite of all those things, though, it's rather brutal.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Deportes de Calder

Today was a pretty big day in terms of sporting events in which I had an emotional stake. In the midst of countless other games, my focus was on two in particular: Game Three of the National League Divisional Series featured the LA Dodgers (beloved team of my adopted home) and the St. Louis Cardinals. Perhaps due in part to their protracted struggle to finally clinch the NL West, the Dodgers were set as an underdog in the series by most prognosticators I heard from. This just goes to show that anyone who goes by that designation knows less than nothing and is lucky to be engaged in any employment more desirable and lucrative than digging ditches.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Aventuras En Comedia Improvisational

As part of my current series of long posts on the ins and outs of my social activities, I thought I would touch on improv. I have written one lengthy recap of an improv show I was in as well as scores of brief notes about classes and things, but have not exactly written a big picture posting, so here we are: According to my records, I seem to have gone to my first improv class sometime in the month or so before February of this year. I did not make a point of going regularly for some time, but do think that my regular attendance may have begun some time in the spring. Just about at that time, the teacher who had been doing the class left for a lengthy trip, making way for the current teacher of the class. There has been a difference, but not one of quality.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More About Toastmasters

The last time I looked, more of my posts bore the keyword "Toastmasters" than any other word. Perhaps that's the narrower focus I've sought for this blog from the beginning (It's been my observation that the leading blogs are devoted to a single subject, eschewing my scatter-shot approach). At any rate, today I felt compelled to go back to the Toastmasters well again.

As secretary, my primary duty is to write a report about each meeting and submit it to the group email list for the purpose of encouraging attendance at future meetings. Without patting myself on the back, I think I can say that I have to date expended much energy toward that end, and in so doing have made the weekly recap bigger than past secretaries have. As I said, I don't mean to belittle their efforts or to praise myself. My approach to the task is simply different. I probably wouldn't say anything of the kind if it hadn't already been said to me by others.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Movie Night: Ten Weeks In

Some time ago I wrote a post announcing the first meeting of my Movie Night group. The post properly reflects the group's nascent nature at that time:

I had my first movie night tonight, which I would say was a success. We had a good group of people, there were plenty of snacks, and after the film we had a nice, intelligent talk about the film. Picking the movie took a little time. We had a series of votes, and came up with "Son Of Rambow". It's a good movie, and seemed to be well received, albeit with reasonable criticisms. I look forward to future meetings.

A number of changes and refinements have occurred since then, and I thought I would revisit the event at length.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Acting Lessons

A couple of months ago, I signed up for an acting class on a whim. It was being put on by the same organization that does the improv comedy teams and classes which I'm involved in. Mainly it seemed like a fun thing to go out and do, but I have had more and more interest in performing.The problem of getting to class in Pasadena and then back to North Hollywood quickly emerged as a problem, but that has been solved with little difficulty.

I was happy to discover with the first group email that a number of people I know would be in the class. Thusly, there was a very good mix of familiar faces and new people to meet. There has been fluctuation in the group with each of the first four of six classes, but a solid and wonderful core has emerged.

Monday, October 5, 2009

TV Night Y Mas

For quite some time after coming to Los Angeles, I knew few people, and had little social contact even with them (I've alluded to that more than once on this blog). Happily, this has substantially changed upon meeting a whole swarm of friends largely in the last year or so.

During that time I have engaged in no small number of activities and endeavors, and even have drawn people into a few of my own. Never having felt much like the life of a party or the driving force in a group of friends, it has been rather gratifying to have the experience of announcing a social event and having people show up because I asked them to. The main such thing has been my movie night group (to be fair, it has become as much Adam's as mine, and I am glad for this).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Last Game

Last night was another fine night out for someone who has had difficulty in the past leaving the solitude of his bedroom. Now, for the last week, the Los Angeles Dodgers had struggled mightily to win a game. This is most unfortunate, as winning a single game would have clinched the division, granting them home field advantage through the first two rounds. It also would give them a first round matchup against St. Louis instead of Philadelphia, but there is relatively little significance in that. It would perhaps mean something if the rules of Major League Baseball allowed them to play the wild card winner when that team comes from their own division. Really, though, playing Colorado in the first round would be as much a challenge as the other teams.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Kind Of Friday Night

I believe I've written about the Peace Gathering before, but felt I'd like to do so again, as the nature of this most recent one seemed to call for it.

I had only started going during about the last year and a half after meeting and befriending the guy that puts it on, but it goes back to 2003. Unfortunately, this was the last of the Peace Gatherings (albeit perhaps in the way that the Rolling Stones have had their "last" concert tour more than once). That being the case, it was akin to the farewell episode of a beloved tv show, with long-absent participants returning one last time to see it out. It was rather interesting for me to meet such people and to see the place where it began.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I don't know what to call this.

Part of growing up and maturing is learning that your parents and other elders aren't as perfect as they seemed before. I heard or read that years ago, and I think that there probably is little dispute about the truth in it. I recall very well when I realized that my father wasn't an infallible memory bank with a recording of anything done or said in his presence. Of course, he's only human, and no one remembers everything. For other people, such a realization about their parents comes regarding a more severe and serious failing.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Other Film About Shipwreck Survivors

There are many tv channels available to the discerning media consumer. Aside from the major television networks, there is a panoply of niche cable offerings for one to fritter away lonely hours with. For me, perhaps the foremost TV succubus is Turner Classic Movies. At virtually any hour of the day or night, you will find them broadcasting a film which entirely lives up to their name (not the 'Turner' part, but the other two parts). Just the other day, I was watching a movie that blew me away.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Many Happy Returns

There has been considerable activity in my life lately, and last night was only the latest chapter. I was puttering around at home, eating some tasty rice with soy sauce and watching a little tv. It was then that I remembered the stand-up comedy showcase put on by Monkey Butler (the org that puts on the improv program I participate in). I got my things together and rushed out to go.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

En Fuego!

A number of different blazes continue to threaten the city, sending plumes of smoke into the sky. One of them may burn the various transmitters used by broadcast stations here, not to mention cell phone towers that serve much of the population. Last night I could watch a fire progressing in the distance beyond the left field wall at Dodger Stadium. Hopefully it'll be all right in the end. Certainly I expect that I'll be fine.

Today I had my first practice for the next stage of the Tall Tales competition in Toastmasters, and I will be leaving shortly for my movie night group. I may have comments on both later.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Recently there has been a considerable amount of activity on my schedule, which partially accounts for my recent prolonged silence. Just over the last few days, I have been in the company of improv colleagues on numerous occasions for reasons ranging from shows to moving parties. This week promises more interesting goings-on, which I shall endeavor to write about here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I'm Back In The Saddle Again

Since my last writing, a considerable amount has happened. There was another movie night recently (with a third to come tonight).

On the Toastmasters front, I have continued my development, and am currently preparing a 'Tall Tale' for a contest on Thursday. I believe that I may be gaining responsibility within that organization, and expect to have more to say on that before long.

Improv has been great. I'm getting better at long form on Thursdays, while enjoying the performances and company of my friends on Mondays. Seeing the top level teams, as I did last Friday, is inspiring and educational.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Movie Night

I had my first movie night tonight, which I would say was a success. We had a good group of people, there were plenty of snacks, and after the film we had a nice, intelligent talk about the film. Picking the movie took a little time. We had a series of votes, and came up with "Son Of Rambow". It's a good movie, and seemed to be well received, albeit with reasonable criticisms. I look forward to future meetings.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Lot of activity over the last few days. Thursday I had a speech at Toastmasters. I did a speech on how my previous speech didn't go very well. It seemed to be well received, as I won best speaker. Friday I toiled as a digitizer for a cable tv show. Saturday I was at a Toastmasters training event all day. Sunday was just church. Today I had to go and return the tape deck I used Friday, then I had improv. It was a great class, and then I found out that I was bumped up to the second level in the program, of which there are three before one can be put in one of the big groups. After that, we went to a bar in the arts district near my apartment. It was a good night, and a good weekend. Tomorrow night is my movie night group's first event. That will be followed by a string of additional significant events, to be reviewed at a later date.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Weekend

For this weekend now coming to a close, I made various plans which mostly were broken. Initially I was going to go to a recording of a benefit concert, but opted out when the person I knew indicated they would not be going. Then I saw that some other friends were going to see The Muppet Movie at the Hollywood Forever cemetery. We went to the place, only to be turned away for lack of capacity. There was some argument over whether this was a regular occurrence or whether the film in question was so very popular.

We ended up hitting a bar where another friend works. It was a fairly nice night, and I ended up spending less than I expected anyway. Today I recovered, but was in no condition to attend Mass. I intend to make up for it by going in the morning.

All in all, it was an outing which furthered the very positive feelings I've been having about the people I'm around and the professional prospects that I have.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Toastmasters Thursday

First, my recap of the meeting: Seldom does our agenda take on a unconventional shape. One time that it does is when new officers are installed in their positions, and that's how it came to be that things looked a little different on Thursday. Before getting to the meeting, our thanks must go out to the heroes who stepped up to fill roles where there was need. My notes indicate that Julia Baumgartner, Daniel Ferguson and Vernita Perkins volunteered for Ah Counter, General Evaluator, and Evaluator, and are to be applauded for their service.

The official start of the meeting began with our new president introducing the guests, of whom there were four( auguring well for the continued vibrancy of the club). From there, the meeting was turned over to this week’s Toastmaster, Samuel Wong. Samuel spoke of the great burst of energy that accompanies attendance of a club meeting, and seemed confident that this meeting would be no different. Indeed, the day’s two speeches fully lived up to his expectations and ours.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Toastmasters: The Coronation

Thursday was a big day for me in Toastmasters, as I participated in two events. During our regular club lunch meeting, I was installed as the club secretary, which felt good. It's another indication of the progress I've made and the regard my fellow members have for me (I think the world of them). Not a week seems to go by that someone doesn't suggest that I have a future in one field or another due to my humble contributions. I can only hope that one of them is right.

I'll be writing regular reports on meetings, among other duties. I will be posting the first one tomorrow. It, along with more such thoughts, will come tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our Favorite TV Family

During the time I was growing up, there were many sitcoms centered around families. It was a popular format, and the only numerous alternative to a man and his friends at a workplace. Perhaps the most popular family sitcom of the time was Married With Children. There was nothing terribly original about the framework of the show, but what was fairly new was the tone of the show. Whereas most such shows were filled with admirable characters and ultimately uplifting plots, Married With Children eschewed both.

While the Bundy family and the people orbiting around them often displayed a bare minimum of decency, we mainly saw the following: an uncharismatic, ill-tempered man of low class and economic standing- a man whose best days occurred during high school; a wife whose sole contribution to the household is her utter disdain for her husband and children; the two aforementioned children, fairly well-sketched versions of the unpopular, unathletic virginal son and the dim-witted, promiscuous daughter. Both children kept up a patter worthy of veteran insult comedians.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tour De France

On Saturday, the first stage of the Tour De France was held- in Monaco. I always hate it when they leave France. Anyway... I never was especially into cycling, even as Lance Armstrong rose to dominate the biggest event in the sport. It's one of those sports that's tough to get into. Plenty of people like to ride, but don't really engage in domestic cycling events, putting cycling in the area of soccer here. It's too bad.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Back In The Saddle Again

It's been a while since I wrote, but I'm still here, and have plenty to say. Very shortly, I'll recap the key events in my life since my last post, as well as offer my long-delayed thoughts on Michael Jackson. That will lead quite nicely into the alarming rash of celebrity deaths of late. More besides that as well. Thanks for waiting!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Man

I'm still formulating my thoughts on Michael Jackson ( it may take me some time to work out how I feel about the whole thing, as complicated as it is), but did want to get to this other matter. I've already formulated two lists to rank the attractiveness of women (both "active" and "historical"), and felt that I ultimately ought to even things up with a list of men. I can't really speak for the attractiveness of men, but can say whether or not they are admirable. When someone reaches the pinnacle of admiration, we call them "The Man". Who is the man? Where to start...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today's events

Today has been a fairly good day thus far. It began with me getting up at the very reasonable hour of 7am, getting some much-needed groceries, and getting my backpack back from a friend. He had been down in San Diego for the last week, and I was without numerous important items, including my library books: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter & Reflections In A Golden Eye, both by Carson McCullers.So he came with the backpack, and we talked a while. After that he dropped me off at my Toastmasters meeting.

It was a good meeting, and I had a good time serving as Toastmaster. In that role one organizes the meeting and introduces the speakers. The response to my performance was good, with a lot of people laughing at my jokes. A number of people were kind enough to complement me afterward, and all of that feels very good. I'm very glad I joined- it was one of my better decisions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Monday, of course, was improv night. This week we were working on emotions, and I'd say I had partial success in that at least. As always, class was very crowded, and there was only enough time for each person to get on stage three times. Even so, there was good energy and good performances. I've come to enjoy the company of the other regulars very much, and always look forward to seeing them. Apart from the pleasure I get out of the experience, I have a feeling that my participation may yield very big things.

After the workshop, many of us headed to a nearby bar, where the good times continued. I mainly just drank soda, and this was for two reasons. Firstly, I'm not often willing to pay what they charge, and secondly, I'm fearful of acting stupid and incoherent. Anyway, it was really wonderful to be with those people for a while longer. Can't wait for the next time.

Mark Sanford

I've been following the story of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's disappearance with interest. For a time, there was no explanation of his whereabouts. Indeed, no one, not even his immediate family knew. We then got a few conflicting reports. The story now is that he has been hiking the Appalachian Trail. Alternately, however, we have been told that he was writing and that he was finishing up projects. Any of these explanations, in the absence of the others, would probably satisfy, but all together, they are suspicious.


I haven't written since Thursday, which I feel badly about. To begin with, I'll offer an account of the speech I gave on that day. I started the day nice and early, having coffee, going over my material, and spending a little time online. As I sometimes do, I had breakfast at a local fast food establishment. This probably didn't do much for my health, but it enhanced my fortitude in advance of the speech.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


As I said, my speech was on the subject of the situation in Tehran, and I did give that speech early this afternoon. I don't really have the energy to properly describe it, so look for that sometime Friday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Name of the game

Another day and another game. There was good food and a good time. Finally we saw one particular season ticket holder and caught up. Dodgers made a good effort, but couldn't get it done.
Tonight I need to finalize my speech, the subject of which will be the ongoing strife in Tehran, Iran. Hopefully I'll be able to do this serious subject more justice than my previous serious speech concerning the menace of Somali piracy. We'll see, and I'll probably have something up here by mid-afternoon.

More to come tonight only in the event of a truly remarkable event.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Improv & Baseball

Yesterday was improv class, and it was a good one. The size of the group was unusually large, but we managed. Our teacher was a sub from one of the advanced classes, due to our usual teacher being tied up with a movie. I think I acquitted myself well. I got a good response on my performances, as well as on my suggestions for other people's scenes.

After class a number of us went to a bar nearby. I only do that at the suggestion of others, but it was a good time.

Tonight the dodgers started a series at home against Oakland, and I was there. Dodgers win it on the last at bat in the bottom of the tenth. Probably I'll be there for the others as well.
I will be giving a speech at Toastmasters thursday. Report to follow.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Before I was born, the people of Iran were stuck with an unjust autocratic government. It was partly of our making, and a change of regimes was probably called for. I think that reasonable people were sorely disappointed by what followed. It's been a long, hard row for the good people of that nation to hoe, but there's just a ghost of a chance that the end of the bad days is in sight. As I write this, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of Iranians are marching and demonstrating after what appeared to all the world to be a rigged election. It was one which kept out the reformer and kept in the despicable Ahmedinejad. A nationwide strike is in the offing, and if the movement hangs together, they will not have to hang separately( as Dr. Franklin said during our fight).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cleaning my room

One of the many areas I'd like to improve on in my life is cleanliness. It seems that wherever I am living, I do just enough to not get thrown out of that particular place. I observed today that I really only clean things up when I'm looking for something. Yesterday it was my passport, so I really made an effort to tidy things up, even continuing after I had found what I was looking for.

In that pet subject of mine, entropy, it says that all systems are breaking down. That means that as soon as I finished cleaning up, things started getting messy again. I must make an effort to be more vigilant, because I know that when I do better in areas like that, I can lead a better life in all sorts of ways.


When I was in college, I read a newspaper article which indicated that a small proportion of US citizens possess passports. I forget what the fraction was, but it was something like one in three or one in six or something similar. I took that article to be an unfortunate commentary on the provincialism of most Americans as well as myself. I had then and have now great aspirations, and that includes travel. There are many places I want to see, and I have crossed few off the list. Getting the rest necessitated a passport.

I would rather that passports were not necessary for international travel. They feel somewhat like an abrogation of freedom. Nonetheless, they are required by law, so late in 2005, I went to the nearest post office to get one. I was told that I didn't have the proper documents. I argued a little, but postal employees don't give in. I went home, and set about getting the necessary documents. That took a little while. In time though, I have everything I needed. It just remained to get a picture taken, then to go back to the post office.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just saw something incredible

I was watching the Military Channel on an early Saturday morning, as I sometimes do, when a mind-blowing ad came on. Now, anyone who has been fishing knows, one must first thread the hook. One then baits the hook, and then casts. The device offered in the ad makes clear the fact that casting a rod (or pole, as the case may be) is too onerous an act for some anglers. Then there are those who are physically able to cast, but do not fish because it is not exciting enough. The device alleviates that problem as well.

It looks like a slightly over-large handle, and shows only a button. Once the button is pressed, the device launches a hook on a line with great force. It's that simple. Upon seeing this, I swore in awe as loudly as I felt able to in an apartment with roommates. This is an amazing invention. Now, I don't shill unless I've been paid, so I won't share more information than I have, but I would love to see it catch on.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Live At The Tonight Show

As previously indicated, I had tickets to see the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. It was a very good time. My report: We got to the studio about 3:00, having illicitly parked in the subway lot nearby. There was myself, an alumni friend, and his neighbor. We walked towards the studio gate, and were intercepted by a show staffer. That was kind of odd. I suppose it was necessary though, as we may not have quickly found our way to the proper place otherwise. There was a separated open-air corridor where I checked us in, and where we waited for a while before going inside.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Baseball and show biz

The last couple of days, I've been at dodger stadium. Tomorrow, I'll be on the lot at universal watching conan o'brien's tonight show. I'll have comments and maybe pictures tomorrow evening.

The early morning

I think I may have written about the morning before. It's the earliest and most laden with potential part of the day. I recently was reading Walden, and the early morning was important to Thoreau. Clearly he found it easier to get up early than I do, as he faced fewer obstacles in so doing. I miraculously woke up before 6 am today. Today may very well hold much in store for me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Monday night, improv. Good class. I got some praise for what I did today, which is cool. I didn't think it was necessarily my best, but it feels really good to hear things like that from cool people whose own work I admire and whose opinions I respect.

Regarding the "ugh": I have not been doing too well in my well-intentioned effort to post something every single day. I'll just try to post as regularly as I can while making sure I get in a post for every day in the month, as I had previously done.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I indicated after the purchase of a chess set that I would have more to say. Firstly, I'm not very good. I need to study more and develop my mind so that I can see more moves ahead. I'm going to play as much as I can, and check out some books.

Now, about my chess playing past: I have a faint recollection of playing with my father very early, but there's not much to that. What I remember well is the chess I played in charter school. I had an excellent teacher at that time- maybe the best teacher I've ever had. He was sort of a Professor X to a team of X-Men. I mean by that that he fostered the development of a group of exceptionally special kids. We all seemed to have amazing accomplishments in our futures. We were all child prodigies of a kind. He got us into movies, animation, physics, and among other things, chess.

We had something like 15 or so chess sets, and played regularly. We had rankings and scheduled matches by ranking. As I said, I'm not very good and was not any better then. I was not the worst, though. I remember a match against someone in particular. She had me on the brink of defeat, but because she didn't know how to put me away, I kept slipping off the hook. I started gloating after each move, which was inappropriate. The teacher got fed up, and put me in checkmate in one movie. It was memorable.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I picked up a considerable amount of groceries today. I expect that they'll last me quite a while. I went around 7 this morning, which seems to be a good time to take advantage of clearance discounts on certain inventory. For breakfast, cereal, for lunch, hotdogs, and for dinner, spaghetti. Also purchased were apples, potatoes, spinach, ramen noodles and cup o'noodles. Already on hand were white rice, soy sauce, beer and coffee.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Random Assortment

Toastmasters was today. Somewhat disorganized at the start, robbing us of some four or five minutes. If we had it, it would have given me more time for my table topics. I also provided the word of the day. Next week, I'm an evaluator.

Currently, I'm at Dodger Stadium. No score as yet, but that's bound to change. On the other side of downtown, the Lakers are beating the Magic in Game 1 of the Finals.

In other news, I picked up an inexpensive chess set at the drugstore. Hopefully I'll get some use out of it and improve my game. Suffice it to say that I know how the pieces move, but that my gift for strategy is minimal. Those who seek me out on facebook may engage me in a game. I'll have more to say about my chess experiences in future.

Tomorrow, it's the peace gathering. Should be a good time, and I'll be sure to say something about it.

Back To The Ballpark

Got back to Dodger Stadium for the first time in forever. I don't think I had been there since the few games I made in April. This was a series against Arizona, so I was torn, as always. Next is the Phillies, which is simpler emotionally. I'll be there tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Should be fun.

Tomorrow is also Toastmasters, and I will be providing Table Topics. This will be important since we will have only one scheduled speech. Then, Friday, it's the Peace Gathering, which is always a very good time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Going Out

I haven't written since Sunday, but nothing has happened to me. I'm fine, and there's a little updating to do. Monday was improv class, and it was excellent. There are certainly areas where I need to improve, but I'm feeling better and better about my performances. I think it can't be terribly long before I'm moved up to the next level, which would be the second of three.

After class, a number of us went to a bar where a fellow improv-er works a couple days of the week. I don't do such things often, but was glad to do so this time. I had one drink: a delicious Fat Tire. We talked and drank and ate goldfish for a while, and left some time after midnight. Always nice to socialize, and I'm glad it's becoming more of my life.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

On "Speed Racer"

I did a few things today. First was church, which was good. Then came some sporting events. I watched some of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and then switched to the dodgers-cubs game. After that finished, I put on the second of my netflix discs: "Speed Racer". I have fewer things to say about this film than I thought I would. I wasn't crazy about it. There were lots of exciting things to look at, but there wasn't really anything in the story that grabbed me. It was the sort of plot that was apt to show up in the original series, but that doesn't make it appropriate for an expensive film version.

Perhaps what the situation called for was the sort of re-imagining that Battlestar Galactica got. I'd say that such an effort on the part of the Wachowski brothers was surprising, but after all these years, the only good thing they've had was the first Matrix movie.

I still have the second disc of "The Tudors" season 1 to watch, and I may offer impressions of that when I get to it.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

On "Scanners"

I watched the first of the three discs I had received from netflix- David Cronenberg's 1980 film Scanners. Every time I watch one of his movies or one of Larry Cohen's for the first time, it feels like this low-rent nugget of gold that only I know about. It's like it's this personal thing that belongs to me, that I can share with who I like. It takes me back to roaming the aisles of the video store and spotting something with awesome cover art, bringing home, and realizing I've stumbled across something amazing and practically life-changing.

Cronenberg's work, at least until his last couple, is also intensely weird and twisted. It's a little less so when compared to the work of Guy Maddin, but still pretty twisted. In this one, certain people on Earth have telepathic powers, and Cronenberg exploits that premise well in his story of good telepaths against evil ones. I don't give things away, but suffice it to say that Scanners possesses qualities of dread and eeriness that don't exist in today's works of science fiction and horror. Some of the entries in that genre made today are good, but none are like Scanners. Check it out.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Latest From Netflix

Recently, Scanners, Speed Racer and the second disc from The Tudors season 1. I'm looking forward to watching these, though the second of those was evidently poorly regarded. Reviews to come.

Two Buck Butler

A little while ago, I got back from an improv comedy showcase event after which this post is named. I thought I would write some about it, as I generally seem compelled to do these days. My roommate (who also performed) and I left North Hollywood around 6 o'clock. Originally, I was going to go with a friend from Toastmasters, but it worked out better the other way. I met her there, and she seemed to have a very good time at the show.My roommate and I stopped at 7-11, where I got a hot dog, chips and soda. Little did I know what would transpire later. We then got to the location in Culver City right on time at 7. The show would not start for another hour, so we had time to get ready. At first, it was relaxed, and we chatted with people a bit. We then separated into our individual groups to go over our events and warm up. It's good that we did so, because many of the games were new to me.

The show then started, and it was a good crowd. The room, which was of good size, was pretty full. First up was a standup comedian, who wasn't bad. Then came two or three improv groups, and we followed after that.We started with Go, which is a fairly vanilla game wherein two people just go out and start something, ending only when the leader says Go! again, which calls for two new people. I believe I had a good one. After that, I believe it was myself and another guy who played Mannequin. This one has been seen on Whose Line Is It Anyway? Two people go up, but cannot move. Two other people do that for them, and the first two must make something up based on the movements made for them. We started with the suggestion of Subway, so he was an employee and I was a customer. I pulled a gun on him when he didn't make my sandwich fast enough. It worked fairly well.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fourth Speech

I just got out of my Toastmasters meeting, where I gave the fourth of my speeches. This one's objective was "How to say it". I gave a speech about my many trips to Dodger Stadium, and it seemed to go fairly well. I still have improvements to make physically. My evaluator said that I did well when I was away from my lectern, so I need to focus on that more. Also, I need to improve on eye contact. Those things aside, it was a good rebound from my troubled speech of three weeks ago.

Tonight, I perform improv before a paying audience in culver city, so I'll let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where is that SOB?

Nothing worse than waiting for some jerk to show up at your home during the generous 12 hour window he's given himself that you have to be available for. Cable , internet, a package you have to sign for, doesn't matter what it is. It's the worst. It's especially bad for me here, as difficult as it seems to be to hear when there's someone at the door. I keep things quite for the whole of that time to make sure I hear the light knock at the door by some pillow-handed repairman.

Not that they're really that bad as people, and they generally know their job. I feel bad about hating them sight unseen all day when they show up. In a way, it would feel better if I still didn't like them once I saw them. That's often how it is when you get someone on the phone after calling support. In that case, though, you don't have to wait as long to get someone. It could feel like a while, and might be half an hour or an hour or something like that, but you don't have to clear your day for it. God, I hate waiting for people to come around here.

Adaptations & Sequels

All of us who consume pop culture and media content are faced with the quandary of how to handle the consumption of materials based on or derived from other previously exiting material. That is to say, movies based on books, graphic novels, tv shows, other movies, action figures, and so on. Also, of course, any others of that ilk based another of it.

The most common issue is that books and comic books are adapted into movies, and that movies are remade and made sequels of. Where it's a matter of book being made into movie, some people feel good about having read the book or comic book first. The problem there is that this invariably makes the viewing of the resulting movie less pleasurable, as one is burdened with the expectations rising from knowledge of the source material. I find it difficult to say which way might be better. When a movie is remade or a sequel is made of it, it's more straight forward. You see the original movie first, and then the sequel or remake.

Then, of course there are all the other forms of adaptation. It becomes too much of a mess for my ability to articulate opinions on it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Orson Welles & Don Quixote

Yesterday, in addition to the films I wrote about then, I also watched Orson Welles' Don Quixote. I think that I needed some time for my thoughts to percolate.

I never had read the book or seen any other adaptation prior to this, and while I feel I now have some idea of what it's about, I don't think that Welles gives a really pure and complete realization of the source material. This seems to have been one of the numerous films he made overseas under reduced circumstances. Early in his film career, Welles shined very brightly and burned bridges. Thusly, after Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Third Man, and Touch Of Evil, Welles found himself making The Trial in eastern Europe, and this film in Spain, along with others, never with the backing he once enjoyed.

This film was kind of interesting. Ultimately I had to come out against it, but appreciated the sensibility with which it operated. Though their dialogue was dubbed by other actors, the ones appearing on screen were enjoyable to watch. The interplay between Don Quixote and Sancho Panza was fairly good. It was peculiar that the modern world should intrude on the period in which the story is set. I wonder whether that was a deliberate choice, or whether limited means necessitated that.

As I said, I didn't really care for it, but will always watch the output of someone like Welles. As they say, even his failures are worth watching.

Monday, May 25, 2009

On "Redbelt"

"Redbelt" was of interest to me mainly because of the involvement of David Mamet. I can't recall whether it was "Glengarry Glenross" or "The Spanish Prisoner" which I saw first, but I found them both to be fabulous, and have been a fan of David Mamet since. He has a particular quality to his work which agrees with me. His films are populated with hard, driven people (mainly men). They're aggressive and cool, and their dialogue sounds like no real person I've ever heard. Often the plots become quite complicated and labyrinthine. Even so, I think that he often captures truth.

With this film, he does not really rise to the level of previous works. At least, that's the case in my estimation. I like it alright, if only to see the very skilled character actors who frequently appear in Mamet's projects. Actors like Ricky Jay, David Paymer, Joe Mantegna and others may not be able to carry films on their own, but add a certain immeasurable depth and richness that I personally highly prize.

Not a bad idea, but not executed as well as it might have been. I did find the lead actor to be ok. Perhaps he might achieve acclaim in another film. He'll probably warrant that.

On "Freedom's Fury"

Some time ago the famous "Blood In The Water" match of the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics came to my attention. I'm as interested as anyone when politics intersect with athletics, since those two subjects are two of my favorite. Either one is capable of inflaming my passions sufficiently to make me lose my composure.

Now, about that match: In the weeks leading up to those Games, a popular uprising came about in Hungary against the occupying Soviet Union. The freedom fighters succeeded in driving out the Soviets, but it further transpired that the latter party was able to re-invade and brutally put down the revolution after some thirteen days.

Memorial Day Thoughts

I neglected to post yesterday, transgressing my established policy of posting every day. I'll try to not let it happen again.

Among the assortment of officially recognized holidays, I can think of few that we continue to observe as originally intended. They mostly seem to fall victim to commercialism or having a good time. I could talk about the origins of those holidays, but that's really another matter.

Today is Memorial Day. We are meant to honor our military men and women who died in service of the nation. Many may be ignorant of that, or regard the day as the first chance to get in the swimming pool and fire up the grill. There are official functions to mark the day, I'm sure, but I just humbly keep the dead in my thoughts and hope that my life is a validation of their sacrifice.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Valiant Women Of The Diamond

Upon request, here are a few words regarding the ongoing NCAA women's softball tournament. I'm unable to speak knowledgeably about the big picture, but do have this to say:

My sympathies lie with the Lady Gators of Florida, due to my family's long history with that school (Briefly, numerous blood relatives have either earned degrees there or made their careers there as tenured faculty). Since the Gators are a number one seed, I expect their run may well continue through the end of the tourney.

I have some other thoughts about women's softball and of the college game for both men and women.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Getting back into LA routines proves to be not too hard after the frenetic activity of the past week with the family. Toastmasters on Thursday, church on Sunday, improv on Monday, work, work-related activities and social activities the rest of the week. Funny how much can happen and change when one is gone just a short time. At this point, I would say that I'm fairly well caught up, and hoping to write some great stuff here soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Ride Home

The bus ride back to LA from Phoenix was probably one of the best I've ever had. First off, there was no line at the ticket counter, and there's always a long, long line. Second, I had expected to get on the last bus of the night, but wound up on the one before that, which hadn't left yet. Actually, it wound up leaving 45 minutes late, but I left earlier than I had anticipated.

Before the bus left, a security guard came on and announced that he was looking for pot that was on the bus. He started feeling luggage in the overhead bins. I don't think that's an effective method of finding it. There was also a discrepancy. I thought he said two pounds of pot, but other people heard 10 pounds- a more difficult amount to hide easily.

Also of note- a stand-up comedian was in a seat behind me. I would have ascribed more importance to that if I thought he was any good, but how good could he be if he likes Ralphie May so much?

After that, I actually managed to sleep quite a bit, and it was a fast trip with just one intermediate stop. Once in LA, it was an hour long trip back to my place by two buses and the subway. I got back to my place around 7, and relaxed until it was time for Toastmasters.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Most Painful Game

I depend on clothes as much as anyone, both to protect myself from the elements and to cover myself. I'm not entirely unparticular about what I wear. I like some things more than others, and have some interest in being fashionable. One of the hardest things for me to do, though, is to shop for clothes. First I have to decide on what I want in general, from which the selection of store follows. Then, I must decide on what I want exactly. A lot of decisions are involved. And then the time comes to find what fits. This last thing is easy for most articles of clothing, but is tough for pants and about impossible for shoes. I hate clothes shopping.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shipping Out

Tomorrow, I'll be finally heading back to LA. I don't say finally because I've been desperate to get out of here, although I do tend to get restless after staying for too long. It's just that since Sunday I kept thinking I was leaving that night, and then ended up not doing that. It's been a good trip though, and I've achieved mainly what I intended to.

When I do get back, I expect some very good things to happen for me, so we'll just have to see how things transpire from that point.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Drivin' Around

Today, I helped out a family friend by driving her to some appointments and errands. Ultimately it's tiring, but I was glad to help someone who's been very kind and generous to me. First, it was a doctor's appointment. Then, a package needed to be mailed. Lastly, a trip into central Phoenix for one last task.

At that point, a breather was needed, so we headed back to base and relaxed for a bit before heading to this blogger's childhood home and getting some tasty NYPD pizza. Then, I dropped of our family friend and went back to the family house to spend some time with Dad. Tomorrow, it's Mom time, and in the evening, I head back to our nation's second most populous city.

Yet Another Day

I'll be staying another day here, perhaps leaving tonight or in the morning. If anything notable happens, I'll offer comment, but don't expect anything big. If I'm moved to write something of a creative nature, I'll do so. We'll just see about that. It's a possibility.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Last Hurrah

Today, the main event was an excursion with my good friend and comics entrepeneur. We had talked about seeing a movie, and made good on our talk. I had thought of seeing the first showing of Star Trek, which was 10:45. That was not to be. Possible was 1:30 or 1:45. That came and went as we waited for more friends to join in the fun. As various setbacks mounted, we found ourselves seeing the 4:45 showing at Shea 14.

This was when things starting working out. It was a fine movie, and I enjoyed the company of my friend as well as his friends, who seem to like me. I find that an attractive quality in others. The group proposed to keep things rolling, but I opted out due to prior commitments for the remainder of the evening. My plan had been to leave tonight, but I now expect to stay at least through tomorrow evening.

The Party

Yesterday morning, I woke up at the reasonable hour of 8. It was a nice, leisurely start to the day with coffee and all that. I was really by myself until something like 1. Ultimately, my sister and her boyfriend came over, and preparations for the party began. I got a haircut, and came back to find the food was there. Soon, people started coming over.

Like most parties I seem to be at, this one was mainly made up of people I never met before. I did fairly well finding people to talk to- people I did know, and some I didn't. I didn't drink too heavily- a lot more than I would on an ordinary day, but less than the larger part of the guests. I wound up getting roped into a few shots, but had just three or so beers prior to that late point in the party.

The party was fairly nice. There were older adults, kids, and college-age students, and people mixed fairly well. Towards 10 or 10:30, the older crowd drifted out and things got a slight bit wilder. By midnight, I'd had my fill, but when you're sleeping at the location of the party, you have little choice but to wait the party out. I helped clean, but opted out of the inevitable process of working out who was leaving or staying the night and all of that. Finally, it got to the point where everyone was gone or bedded down for the night. Tragically, I lost my private room, and slept for the night on an admittedly huge and comfortable couch. I would have but four hours of sleep, but knowing my sleeping habits, I consider the four hours a blessing from God. Many times in the same situation, I've gotten nothing and crashed during mid-morning of the following day.

I could have slept more, but dad wanted to go hiking, and here in the Valley of the Sun, you go hiking early or brave triple digit temperatures and crowds as well. That brings us into today, which is another story.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Preakness: The Outcome

I accept your congratulations on picking the winner. It finishes with Rachel Alexandra winning, Mine That Bird second, and Musket Man third. Belmont stakes in three weeks. No chance of a Triple Crown winner, but should still be fun.

The Preakness

Like many, I develop a spontaneous interest in horse racing during the running of the Triple Crown races. It began with the Kentucky Derby a couple weeks back. Today, the Preakness in Baltimore, which has been fighting to hold on to the historic race. Not helping, The Wire... Rounding it out in a while, the Belmont Stakes in New York.

For the Preakness, I thought I'd record a pick. Here's the line on the field:

Rachel Alexandra: 8-5
Pioneer of the Nile: 5-1
Flying Private: 5-1
Mine That Bird: 6-1
Friesan Fire: 6-1
Musket Man: 8-1
Big Drama: 10-1
Papa Clem: 12-1
General Quarters: 20-1
Take The Points: 30-1
Terrain: 30-1
Lov Guv: 50-1
Tone It Down: 50-1

Of course, Mine That Bird was the second biggest upset victory in Kentucky Derby history. I'm leaning away from that one. My pick is Rachel Alexandra.

Of course, my favorite horse all time, edging out Smarty Jones, is Zippy Chippy. Hard not to like that one.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pop Culture Questions

I thought that I would take some famous questions out of pop culture, and answer them as best I can. To begin:

Jimi Hendrix: "Are You Experienced?"

My reply: To a moderate degree, I am. As compared to other my age, probably I'm less experienced than the average. Compared to my elders, certainly I barely have any. I'm coming along though, and being in LA separate from friends and family has lent itself to the breaking of new ground on my part. Now, if it's a yes or no to whether I'm experienced in the sense that Jimi probably meant, I would have to say, "No".

Doctor Pepper/7-Up Company asks: "Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too?"

This calls into question my identity, suggesting that I am what I drink, not just in the sense that I am its contents, but that I am its brand. The question pre-supposes that I'm not a Pepper already, and I'd say that's probably true. But could I be a Pepper in any case? I don't feel I could be strictly loyal to that drink and that brand. Even if I could, would that shape and form my identity so fully? I can't agree that it would. Would I like to be a Pepper (were it possible) in addition to presumed others who are such now? I feel that my current identity, formed by the contributions from my parents in addition to somewhat accurate observations about my various traits made by those who know me, is sufficient, and would not be improved by such a switch as the people behind Dr. Pepper suggest. The answer, then? A clear and firm "No".

There you have it: negative answers on both questions looming large in my mind. Now, that's enough for now. Perhaps I'll revisit this notion in the future.


Today's event, the actual graduation of my sister and the rest of the liberal arts undergrads and masters students, happened at the ASU basketball arena. To comment:

We did not need to use the light rail. It worked out well to just park near the arena and walk in. Security was easy, and lines nonexistent, really. The event went on longer than expect, and was only less than engaging during the recitation of the many names which were not my sister's. All speakers were interesting and eloquent.

My need of the bathroom following the ceremony separated my father and I from the rest of our party, but we found them after a short time. I and two others had lunch in one place, while the rest ate at another. This was not by design, but due to circumstances which made it impossible for us all to eat together.

As I think I may have indicated, the next and last event will be a party here where I'm staying tomorrow night. Tonight, I hope to relax. Maybe I can get a haircut, and perhaps other things apart from the party. Let it be know that I will make an effort to dance if dancing occurs. If not, I will stage a photo of me dancing. That way, I look like a good dancer and fun at a party. If I have to dance for real, I will probably look like little more than a good sport, but perhaps still fun at a party because of it. We'll just see how events transpire and the pictures come out.

Visiting a friend

Yesterday, I made the necessary pilgrimage to visit my friend who lives in town. He owns a comic book store with his family, which is an awesome place to hang out, and to buy the finest in comics. I spent some eight or nine hours there, and it was like nothing. We caught up in conversation, talked about the store and comics, and dealt with customers. At one point, we went out for mongolian barbecue, returning for movie night with his friends.

The film chosen was Ghost Dog: The Way of The Samurai. I had seen it before a number of times, but enjoyed it again. I then went home after a little more conversation. I was up a little longer after heading home, reading some of my comics, but was asleep before too long.

Comments functioning

If you previously attempted to leave a comment on a post and found that you couldn't, you should now be able to do so, as I have made a change in the settings that seems to have corrected the problem.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Checking in

I don't know if I'll get the chance to write today about my sister's college commencement. I still hope to do that, as well to describe my exploits at the finest comic book store in creation. If not today, look for that tomorrow.

ASU Commencement 2009

After an interval of uninteresting events following my arrival in Phoenix, it was time for the first event marking my sister's graduation. This would be the commencement, at which all the graduates, administrators and faculty gather. The graduation itself is divided into smaller groups, so that all the graduates can be recognized.

So I drove over to my sister's boyfriend's place, and met them there. I was easily able to penetrate the apartment complex's layers of security without help from the boyfriend. We talked casually while waiting for the rest of our party. Dad came, but Mom was late, and he stayed to wait for her while the rest of us went ahead.

The plan was to take the light rail to the stadium, as there is a station by the apartment complex. There was a little uncertainty about the best station to get off at, but we seemed to work it out.

We were under the impression that we would have to wait in line outside the stadium for an hour and a half and go through strenuous security, but those concerns were not entirely founded. The lines moved fairly briskly, and the security was certainly less severe than at an airport.

Inside, it was hot, but otherwise good. Soon enough, my parents arrived, and we enjoyed the preliminary parts of the event, which were largely school musical acts. Eventually, Dash Cooper and his band played Magic Carpet Ride and Eighteen. He was followed by his father Alice Cooper, who played the obligatory School's Out For Summer.

That was followed by the graduation itself. There were introductions of the faculty from different schools of the university, as well as a group of graduates from 1959. There were also some introductions of particularly notable students who graduated this year with great distinction or who overcame adversity to graduate as such from high school with plans to attend ASU in the fall.

Eventually, the big man had his turn to speak. He was introduced by the university president, who took half as much time to introduce Obama as the president himself took to speak. The introduction was a ringing endorsement of the president- somewhat surprising, considering the school deemed him unworthy of an honorary degree, which is generally considered obligatory for such speakers.

The president's speech was a good one. It was noted that he did not seem to be using a teleprompter, though one was there for him. The content was good- inspiring at times, humorous at others. It felt pretty great to be there in the stadium with him.

After the speech by Obama, we headed out, finding the crowds leaving much larger than those on the way in. I reasoned that while the school staggered arrival times on the tickets, they could hardly do so for departures. We found it necessary to board a bus bridging the gap caused by a closed light rail station. We then board an actual train, and walk from there to the apartment complex to get to our cars. I had left a jacket upstairs, which I retrieved before leaving.

Now, my phone had been acting up. I think that the battery gauge was mis-calibrated somehow, so I thought I had fully charged it, but it wore down as if it were charged more like a quarter or a half of the way. It was done by the time I was ready to go home, so I couldn't use my gps. I just went to washington, took that to 44th st, and then followed that north to Shea, which I took over to Scottsdale Rd. From there, I went a bit south until I came to the right neighborhood road to get to the house where I'm staying. A circuitous rout, perhaps, but a functional one for someone sometimes rather poor at navigation.

I then went to bed, having slept just an hour in the preceding night.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

From LA to Phoenix: Greyhound-style

I've become accustomed to taking Greyhound rather than a plane, as long as the bus ride is shorter than a day. It's not without unpleasantness, but it's been a while since I heard an airline travel story entirely comprised of happiness.To recount this most recent trip: My plan yesterday was to take public transportation to the bus station. My roommate offered to take me as far as the subway station, from which I would need to catch a connecting bus. First, my roommate, a guest and I went for pizza. By the time the pizza arrived, I really needed to get going, so they took me to the subway and I got on it with my pizza. Having food on trains and buses has yet to be a problem for me.

The subway was fine; it was uneventful, really. I had neglected to properly thank my roommate, so I wrote a text that I sent after I got out of the subway. Now, I had to get off at the MacArthur park station, which is something of a rough area. It has more than its share of police squad cars patrolling it. I figure, though, that it can't be too bad as long as Langer's Deli is still there. I caught the connecting bus, but hit a snag after that. The metro website claimed that I should get off at 6th street and Kohler. I never saw such a street as the latter, and the driver didn't know of it. I ended up going some eight minutes past sixth and central, where I really should have gotten off. I got off, crossed the street, and waited for the next bus going back the other way. It turned out to be the same bus and driver making the return trip. He was awfully kind, and I expressed my appreciation. I think I may have gotten to the station some 30 minutes after I intended to.

They tell you to be there an hour early, but I was there just half an hour early- 20 minutes by the time I got to the front of the line in. I was annoyed, because some old Latino man in a cowboy hat was monopolizing the will-call window, where I was supposed to get my ticket after paying online. I ended up getting taken in a different line. Anything can aggravate you if you're behind schedule. I went through security, which did exactly nothing but stand around as I went by. I went over to the line formed behind door 14. This was the line for my bus, and it was as long as it seemed it could possibly be. I really wasn't sure I would get on the bus. I did, but it totally filled up, and as I speak, one person is sitting in the aisle for lack of an actual seat. I'm surprised they even allowed that, but I'd rather be in that position than wait in LA for a bus with a vacant seat.
From there, I had seven hours or so on the bus and at stopping points in between LA and Phoenix ahead of me. I had meant to read, so I pressed the button for my overhead light. It didn't respond, so I held up my lit cell phone to discover that there were no bulbs in the light sockets. Nice.

First half of trip marked by a few things. A guy and three girls, none of whom knew each other, clustered up and talked loud and long enough to draw two loud complaints from a woman a couple rows up. I was concerned that there might be reprisals of some kind. One of the group got off at the halfway point, I turned off a light that had been on for a while, and the remainders of the group were sufficiently quiet not to provoke anything further. I read some, and tried to sleep, but had little success either early or later. I bought a jug of water at one stopping point. It was a combination of two fast food places plus a gas station and convenience store. Had a lot of camping stuff- was just missing a little post office and selection of video rentals. The rest of the trip was uneventful. I've made the bus ride from LA to phoenix and back along I-10 enough times that I know it pretty well. As I write this I'm out in front of the station waiting for my ride. At this point I'm in pretty good shape.

That's all for now. I'll have more to say after the commencement and President Obama's speech tonight.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Getting on a night bus to Phoenix close to midnight, will write about the trip and post something by morning. First, though, pizza and soft drinks with guests!

Business Meals

I met someone for lunch last week to discuss business, and had a late breakfast today with someone for the same purpose. You have to be careful. It's a little like an interview, but with certain distinctions and complications. You have to show good manners and all. There's the matter of choosing where and when to eat. You do have to sell yourself and your ideas, but it's not quite as unfamiliar as an interview with someone you've never met, so your first impression may have already been made. These two business meals have been fairly productive. Hopefully they'll yield fruit soon. I'll be able to give more info and a better indication of a positive or negative outcome later.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Quick Shoot

I was called on to be an extra in one of my friends' films. It was pretty cool. I wasn't there for long, and didn't have to work hard, but was able to take full advantage of craft services, which was pretty good. Still not really clear on what the plot was. I just saw a few shots from a three day shoot. We shot in one of the theaters in the North Hollywood arts district, which is just down the street from me and is a nice area. Tiny, tiny theater. I'd like to shoot in one of the big ones, like El Portal. Jimmy Kimmel did his show there once, I think.

Bad Food Product Ideas

I've seen a few terrible, terrible ideas for food products. By that I mean they were actual things that were made and which I saw in stores. One was individual "slices" of peanut butter. Another was Goobers, a jar of blended peanut butter and jelly. Tonight I saw another product that is dreadful both in conception and in execution, and I weep for the person who came up with it.

It claims to be a bagel, and is made of bagel material, but is more like a bagel pouch kind of thing. The condiment spread becomes a filling. It's not a disgusting product- it's more of a bastardization. It's a corruption of all that I have ever understood bagels to be. I don't know that it's necessary, but I call on anyone who is inclined to be influenced by my words: shun this product. Spurn it, or we may be subjected to further criminal acts of devised food.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A New Promise

Previously I have promised myself that I would write one post for each day of the month, with no commitment to post every day. So long as I got through 30 posts in a month with that many days, that was sufficient. However, in a new measure of commitment to the growth of the blog, I will now promise a new post every day. I don't believe this will affect the amount or quality of content, but it will hopefully ensure a consistency and reliability that will aid the progress of the blog.

The Trip

Coming up in a few days, I'll be making a pilgrimage back to the old home town. My sister will be graduating from college, and since she made the trip to Chicago for me, I can do no less than head out to Tempe. It should be a good time. There's the commencement, when the president will be speaking. That's the president of the United States, of course. He's good enough to speak, but I guess they're waiting to see how he does before they go out on a limb and grant the president an honorary degree.

After the commencement will be the actually graduation. I believe the former takes place at Sun Devil Stadium, while the latter will occur at the basketball arena, which bears a corporate name I don't care to repeat. Lastly, there will be a party on Saturday. I imagine I'll stay at least through Sunday.

I'll have to try to see what friends are still there. I'll be appearing at the Comic Zone in Scottsdale for sure, and after that I don't know what I'll have time for. There will be no impairment of my ability to continue posting, and I will comment fully on all aspects of the trip that catch my fancy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Library.

Previously I mentioned going to the library. The public library is, in my opinion, possibly the best thing that public dollars are spent on. It occurred to me after not really writing anything for several days that I had a bit more to say about the matter. I've been in library branches belonging to a few different systems. I have also been a consistent user of the libraries in schools I attended. I'll start with the school libraries. Here's a review of libraries I've used.

Firstly, I remember the library in my first school at Squaw Peak Elementary (I don't know whether they changed the name of the school when they changed the name of the mountain. It would be sad to think they did, all politics aside). It was a simple room with books lining two walls, a corner for public reading, an administrative space, a computer area. I don't think that last area was there when I started kindergarten, just because computers were not so integrated at the time.