Sunday, September 30, 2012

Check Me Out

There is certainly an excitement to a hotel room, to begin with at least. You have a whole new home for at least a night, and there is a learning process. You must figure out where things are and how things work. I enjoy that part of moving, and so that's the main thing that I like about staying in a hotel. That is most of what I like though, outside of the obvious appeal of having a place that is very clean, or at least seems to be by comparison with my home.

I don't much like other elements of a hotel stay. Most of a day's routine is about making do under the circumstances. You just can't have all the things that you have at home, such as your own bathroom appliances. There are the little tiny soaps, shampoos and hair dryers, and it all feels like you are driving on four spare tires in a sense. How long could you live with a coffee machine designed to make two cups at a time?

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I don't think it happens often, but every once in a long while, the attention of a group falls on me, evidently eager to hear what I have to say. I am used to either listening and speaking in turn or forcing my thoughts upon people, occasionally getting some of them to land anyway. Seldom, as I said, has it been the case that a lot of people have turned the floor over to me, only asking questions to elicit more from me and never introducing their own thoughts.

I don't mean to say that's what I am after exactly, but it is terribly flattering when it happens. I can think of only a handful of occasions, often when I have happened to be very prominent in a performance or when I have been all talked up by some friend. The former has happened when I have done my one man show about Mark Twain. Theater of that kind is definitely right up the alley of anyone who can't bear to share attention.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Been A While

Something I haven't done very much of in some time is shopping at malls. When I was younger, the mall was indeed the center of social life away from the school. One spent time there eating, shopping and seeing movies. It was where one went to interact with peers even if one did not have any money to spend in order to have legitimate reason for being there. Since I've been out in LA, I don't know that I've been in a mall more than two or three times.

The malls I've spent a lot of time in are in Arizona, from which location I am writing this. I did happen to get to the mall the other day, and I insisted on walking around shortly before it closed in order to get a sense of what had changed. Since its heyday, the mall had fallen into decline, and had recently emerged to attempt a comeback. I was very curious to see how that had worked out, and there were certainly some surprises to greet me.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

To Arms!

I went to the dentist the other day, and suffice it to say that it had been too long since my last visit. We need not dwell on precisely how long. The point is that it was a trying experience, which doesn't actually distinguish it very much from past visits that have been on a more frequent basis. At any rate, there was a lot of probing of my mouth with rather imposing implements. It was well-intentioned, but tell that to a person's impulses.

My tongue is a rather noble organ. Without regard for its own safety, it again and again plunged into danger in hopes of warding off the aforementioned invaders. Even against my will, disregarding orders, my tongue put itself in between my sensitive teeth and everything ranging from pointy metal tools to sophisticated cavity-sensing electronic probes. It was a truly selfless, gallant series of sacrifices by the tongue that has already done so much.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Writing for this blog is a struggle far more often than it is a breeze, and for more reasons than my moribund base of readership. I relatively seldom seem to seize upon a subject that has me racing to keep up with the thoughts I wish to commit to writing. Today is one of those days that I have come up with something, although it is not one of the even rarer days that I choose to write about something topical. One out of two ain't bad, as Meatloaf might say.

Ever since Facebook introduced the "Like" feature, I have not cared for it. I don't like the fact that there is no complimentary "Dislike". You are left with the binary options of "liking" someone's post or implying by your silence that you do not like the post. I find that unsatisfying, and I know I'm not alone on that. Plenty of people say, if only in jest, that they would like a "Dislike" option for sad or infuriating posts. I know I would like that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Game On

The other day, I found myself in a casino. As far as I can recall, it was the first time I had been in one since I was a child, at which age they tend to keep you a distance away from the various adult activities. That was in Las Vegas. This was in one of the Native American casinos that dot the Phoenix metro area. It's a modestly sized one, or at least it seemed to be. There was a vast sea of slot machines, and I had the vague idea that I might play those, but I didn't.

I did drink a fair amount, and watched (mostly) friends playing blackjack. I gather that it's a game whose odds you can turn closer to your favor than others if you are knowledgeable enough. I am not knowledgeable enough, as was proved out when I quickly lost each of the three or four chips I was given by a friend. My luck was regrettably bad, although I don't know whether my friends did any better. They may have just played more.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Play It Straight

There's something that annoys me about air travel. Now, you're right to be entirely fed up with decades of humorous observations about all the inconveniences and idiosyncrasies of air travel, for I know I am. That doesn't mean I don't have them myself, and while I try to spare others the more commonly held ones that come to mind, there are those which I think might be relatively fresh and unique. Those I feel it reasonable to share.

Take the flight attendants. Maybe my memory isn't what it is, but I recall them being friendly but professional. It's fair enough that the job isn't as great as it once was, and so the people holding that job maybe aren't as disposed to be so friendly or professional anymore. I can hardly blame them, and yet I do when I am at their mercy. They just don't behave the way they used to, and while most people might even like the new way, I don't really.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Man Alone

I'm a big fan of those "cup o' noodle soup" things. They're terrible for you, but they are tasty and they could hardly be more simple. What more need you do than boil some water and pour it up to the designated line? Even I can manage it, although I've forgotten the water and let it boil all the way down more than once. That is a risk for me, but it is a minor one, as I have learned. There is really only one area that calls for my full attention now.

It's getting the water to that level without going over or spilling. I don't boil precisely the right amount of water. I boil at least a bit more than I need, and probably a lot more. This is to account for the aforementioned problem of vaporizing the water entirely. As a consequence, it is necessary to be quite precise in the pour. Sure, I could include the intermediary step of pouring the water into a measuring cup before pouring it into the noodles, but you know that's not me.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I Was There

There's been a lot of buzz surrounding the retirement of NASA's shuttle fleet, and for good reason. One rather interesting story is the ultimate fate of the remaining shuttles. One, the Endeavor, is destined to become a fixture of the California Science Center museum, and it's no easy feat to get it there from Cape Canaveral. Ultimately, it must bully its way along surface streets to reach the museum itself, but yesterday it completed to the leg of the journey immediately before that one: flying coast to coast while piggy-backing on a Boeing 747.

NASA kindly arranged a route which would bring the shuttle around to a variety of spots across the country which hold significance in the story of the shuttle program. The final destination was Los Angeles International Airport, but before it got there, the shuttle wandered to and fro all over the metro area. I entertained the idea of trying to be by the airport for the landing, but discarded it. I did notice, though, that it was to pass over Universal Studios, just a couple miles to the south.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Who To Be But Me

I was thinking yesterday about the notion of posing as someone else. There are many films, television shows and novels that depend upon the conceit of a person pretending to be someone that they are not. Such persons vary in the degree of success with which they carry off this attempt. In the episode of "Remington Steele" I was watching, the titular character managed yet again to maintain the show's central deception, but a guest star failed at the same thing.

I don't know that I would do very well at adopting a false identity. I never have tried really, outside the bounds of acting in character either on camera or on stage. A couple of months ago, I did give a fake name to the guy at a burger restaurant. It was on a night when I had gone in costume to a themed dance performance. Having taken on the garb of a yuppie, I thought it might be amusing to take the name of one as well, and 'Brent' seemed appropriate. I think I managed to pull it off, unless the guy listened to anything I said after that.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Staying Put

I am by nature a homebody, and I have grown a lot by overriding that as much as I can. I can even convince myself that I've gotten over it, but there is inevitably a moment where I realize that it is still there, and that I am still not naturally a person who flees the home at every opportunity. I still look for reasons to stay home- to decline opportunities to go out. I feel badly when I do stay home in the face of such opportunities, so perhaps I am straddling the line.

There are those times where I am holed up at home alone for a prolonged period of time, and it's a peculiar experience. The home can feel like an incredibly expansive world, even when you live in a modestly sized abode like mine. The far end of the apartment, which contains the living room and kitchen, can seem as far away and exotic as Thailand. The area between my bedroom and the bathroom can be all the space I feel I need.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Deal Done

It's a harrowing experience sometimes to be in a fantasy football league. One of the more challenging things is to negotiate a trade. I tend to be rather risk adverse myself, which costs me all too often. There have been plenty of times in life where I was afraid to accept the risk and ended up losing more than I would have for fear of making a move. Those were really more significant events than a fantasy football trade, but the latter encapsulates things well enough.

It's lovely, of course, when the first offer someone makes is a fantastic one for you, but that is not too common. Sometimes you have to be the one to make the first move, and that is something I do rather seldom, but I appreciate the truth of it. I certainly would like to think that I was the one preying on someone else, rather than fearing that I was being victimized by any particular trade offer made to me. Perhaps that will be my next trade.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another Hair Piece

I have mostly got the hang out of caring for my hair these days. Tangles are not a real worry anymore, provided I have the proper conditioner and have worked it into my hair. Frizz remains a periodic problem, and of course there is the matter of clogged drains. It is terribly hard to keep drains clear of the high volume of hairs that I lose on a daily basis. I guess that really becomes more of a plumbing problem than a hair one, and who's so good at plumbing matters?

There is one thing that I occasionally struggle with, and that is when a tendril of hair falls from its ordinarily secure position and comes to rest over my face. This is very annoying, and there's a strong possibility when it happens that I will curse. It's like if your shoelace comes undone, but there is no way of fixing it except for a few seconds. That hair is just bound to come back down again and again, and there is no remedy for the issue.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Where, Oh Where?

I grew up in and around Phoenix, Arizona. Perhaps that's not something I ought to be trumpeting, and indeed I make very little of it these days. It was not the place for me to be, and initially I only thought not because of the work I hoped to do. It's evident now that where I am suits me somewhat better. Many people that I know dislike LA or even hate it, and live here only because they have to. I like it here. Even if the entertainment business wasn't my thing, I'd like it here anyway.

I wonder though how I might fare in other places. As long as I can remember, I've been interested in experiencing New York City. I wonder how I would like that, and whether it might foster in me productivity or happiness any better than LA. A city that loves public transportation does sound up my alley, and in my romantic imagination, I see myself strolling its streets both upscale and downtrodden. At the very least I'd like to spend a little time there. I have roots too deep here.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Day In The Sun

When I was in high school, there was little to recommend me as an athlete. There was more then than there is now, given that I am different only in being that much older. At the very least, I was more earnest in trying to do what the PE teacher asked of us than many of my classmates. Even in their indifference, they tended to outclass me in terms of strength, speed, agility and about any other measure. PE was a subject that I endured more than anything, my affection for sports notwithstanding.

I often thing about something rather interesting that happened one day, when I had the novel experience of being handed a task in my wheelhouse. One of the PE teachers, who was also a coach on the football team, approached me with the request that I think up some codes for audibles that they could call. The simple idea was that each word of a code phrase ought to start with the same letter as its corresponding play name. I was asked to come up with a few.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wait, Weight!

Yesterday, I had to punch another notch in my belt. Now, for most people (especially these days) that would mean that they were getting larger around the waste. Most people would be expanding the capacity of the belt to circumnavigate their girth. This would be particularly true of people with as little inclination towards diet and exercise as I have generally shown, although I avow that I am getting better at those things. I am not getting larger, though.

I seem to be getting smaller, and if one takes the long view, not by a little. This notch is the fourth new one I have added, all heading in the same direction. It tells quite a story, and the climax must be that I suddenly am able to fit through a grate on the street. I don't exactly know how to account for that. I have not got the money for too much food, but I have got the money for food that is bad for me. I just do not seem able to hold weight.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Post? Um...

I don't know about postcards. I suppose anybody would say that they are now obsolete, but then so almost anything you would put in the mail, including all communication. Now, a standard card in an envelope is nice to get. It's so much the better if some money or a check falls out, even if that check proves to be in the amount of five dollars. The sentiment in the card may also be rather nice, provided the person sending it is not relying on the message already printed on the card.

A postcard is something else. I'm in a bad position to guess at its value, perhaps. I guess it's supposed to be a whimsical thing where you're at the Arc DeTriomphe, you see a postcard at some cafe with a picture of same, and you think of somebody who's back home. You buy the card, write "wish you were here" on it and   send it away. I just can't deal with that. I would just have to slip that postcard into an envelope, and the whole point is that you don't.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hard To Swallow

I've got these vitamin pills, and I don't know what good they still are. I say still because I know they have value as a balance to my diet, but I say I don't know what good they are because I have had this bottle for several years. It is partly empty because of various momentary (and ultimately irrational) health scares, but still contains some pills because my various solemn resolutions to improve my health have always been short-lived.

They taste like hell, these pills. I don't deny that when I take them, it is in the morning along with something like hash browns and some cheap coffee full of non-dairy creamer and sugar cubes. Still, they make me feel nauseated, and that's no reaction that I think I ought to be getting from these non-mandatory pills. I'll take that from something that's saving my life today, but not that's adding days on to the end. A pill like that had better at least taste like nothing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mark This

There are a lot of things that I mean to do but don't. As I mature (which is a rather late breaking development, I'll admit), I actually start doing them more and more. I get up at a decent hour and go to bed at a decent hour more often than not, to begin with. I keep my room tolerably neat, and the amount of time since it was last an irredeemable mess might be a new record for me. Still, there are other things that I don't quite manage to do.

There are certain things that I always have on me. I always have my wristwatch (which I was not in the habit of using for years). I always have of course my keys, my wallet and my phone. For a while I made a point of carrying a proper Zippo lighter, but gave it up since I never have smoked. I mostly have my sunglasses now, as I got tired of being half-blinded and squinting all the time. They're a nice fashion accessory, despite costing a dollar.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Impossible

Los Angeles has many virtues, and I like to think that I can see them more clearly than most, but I can see as keenly as anyone its faults. One of those which affects me maybe slightly less than it does others is the layout of roads. I say it may affect me slightly less because I do not drive, but I do live here, and in that I cannot avoid the roads no matter how I try. In such cities as this that even partly predate the advent of cars, the roads are sometimes imperfectly adapted for them.

A consequence of that is that some intersections are awfully complicated and nearly impossible to negotiate in a speedy fashion. I have written of one in the past where three roads intersect, but it warrants repeating. If one sees it as a wagon wheel, you may imagine that several of the spokes go unconnected by crosswalks. One corner is a triangle that juts into the intersection, and there is no legal way to walk to it save a half mile walk out of the way.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Other People Do It

Something that occasionally occurs to me is that other people periodically get haircuts. It's not something that I always have in my mind. It comes to me now and then, but mostly is mostly not there. I obviously do not get haircuts. My last one was in December of 2009, I believe. Since I don't get haircuts, and since I am not invited along when my friends get them, I'm not aware of them generally. Maybe that's not so remarkable. I mustn't be alone in that.

I do notice when someone I see often gets a dramatic haircut. That doesn't happen much. I notice when my roommate trims his own hair, because I see the trimmings in the wastebasket. I think about it when someone makes reference to the experience of having had a haircut, but it seems to not be something that people talk about openly so much (unlike politics and religion, which were once more private matters for the very reason that they made trouble to discuss).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Benevolent Ones

I watch a lot of old TV shows on the over-the-air networks and the digital sub-channels that they provide in this bold new era. The commercials that run both during those shows and others more current are interesting. I'm specifically thinking now of the commercials run by law firms. I distrust any law firm that advertises on television. This is true for me also of religions and colleges. At the moment, it's the law firms that have my attention.

The ads tend to concern a particular matter on which the firm hopes to sue with you as a plaintiff. Without them, I wouldn't ever have heard the word mesothelioma. The firm always tries to impress upon you this selfless spirit of theirs. What a favor they are doing you by using the media in hopes of find you with this horrible problem and helping to fix it! It's all about the big settlement you can win to remedy your ills and then some.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Used To It

A week or so ago, I thought that I was perhaps feeling some tremors. I have gotten used to the experience of living someplace where there are earthquakes. I try to guess whether what I'm feeling must be an earthquake, or whether it's any of the very mundane things that feel something like a small earthquake. It's embarrassing to overreact, and so I try to ascertain the true facts before trumpeting it all over. I find this worthwhile.

If I think it's an earthquake, I check online. The United States Geological Survey has a good setup on their website. If they confirm there was a website, I sit back and say "Hm" with some thought. That's about as far as it goes for me. As I said, I have gotten acclimated to the experience, but I think that is not true for most people. I don't know a lot of people who have been in California all their lives, but I have to hope that they handle the earthquakes with some decorum.

Friday, September 7, 2012

They Walk Amongst Us

I read something online from what I suppose you would call the neighborhood association. It drew my attention to the recent presence in the neighborhood of a celebrity. As it was Vanessa Hudgens, I was not exactly stricken to the core by the specifics of the matter, but the generalities were interesting. We have a vibrant neighborhood just bursting with people I'm certain can and will make it if there's any justice, but established stars are not to be found here so much as other districts.

That's what I would think, anyway. I suppose it's really not correct. There are rather prominent people closer to me than I would think, I'm sure. There are some reasons why. There are theaters where they perform or otherwise appear. There are highly regarded places where they work out or train at one discipline or another. They are around to record music, and maybe even they live here in some small numbers. It's quite a thing to think about.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Bewildering

A few weeks ago, I slept through my alarm. I did so by a considerable margin. In fact, I woke up at about the time I was supposed to be someplace. It was an upsetting experience. I woke up with the awareness that it was far too bright out, and yet I could not believe my eyes when I saw the time on my alarm clock. I had to look at it for what seemed like an eternity before I could even make sense of the numbers. I was only half-awake, and in a terrible panic.

A minute or two later, I had already made a call to the person who would soon be missing me, leaving a frantic and poorly-composed voice mail. I was hurriedly putting on the previous day's pants and the first shirt I could lay my hands up. I certainly did not shower or do anything more than dress and put on my contacts, and I could have used a shower. I had been out rather late the night before, and I'll confide in you that it wasn't for any purpose as innocent as reading at home.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

And As

There's something that you see in the opening credits of television shows, or at least it used to be something you saw. I never could understand it really, and still don't entirely. You would be watching a show, and they would list the actors in the order of their prominence. The last name is what would be peculiar. Someone who was not a big name would often be listed last with both their name and that of their character. I never understood that.

I guess that it must be some kind of standard contractual thing. It occurs to me that it was typically an actor who had been around a while. It must be that it's some kind of perk that costs nothing to provide but which means a lot to the performers. I suppose that they must not be able to extend it to everyone, but I don't know why that is either. Maybe the layout of the credits suffers, but as it is the other actors must get jealous or something.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sink Trouble

An enduring and implacable problem for me is my hair. In particular, I am today concerned with what my hair does to drains. Luckily enough, it is no match for the disposal in the kitchen sink, or the drain filter in the shower. It is more than a match for my personal bathroom sink, and I cannot blame my very short-haired roommate for the clogs that perpetually disable that sink. As I write this, it drains, but does so rather slowly for my liking.

I try now to spare it. When I shave, I have a jar underneath the faucet to catch the shaving cream and hair that I fear are partly responsible. If I do not do this, there is a real risk of the sink failing to contain the water before I am through. I have gotten rather good at dumping the water from the jar and keeping the level of water in the sink manageable, but that is hardly something to be proud of. Really, I don't know that I ought to be sharing it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Working Down

Some time ago, I wrote of a pile of books that I have on my hands. They were out of sight and out of mind in boxes in the closet, but then I acquired a table. I wondered what I might do with the table, and then it occurred to me that I might keep the books that I mean to read there, and therefore make it more likely that I will read them by keeping them in my sight. That's how things stand. There could be twenty books there, but that's a guess.

They're not easy reads, a lot of them. I figured that in committing to them I could be dedicating years to their reading. That's a lot to cope with psychologically, because I have, as I previously noted, a hard time keeping myself from becoming infatuated with new books. That will be hard indeed, and I don't expect that I will remain true to this pile all the time. I hope that I can do it most of the time, though. I'll need to if I'm to dispose of them.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Like Flies

A friend of mine is getting married. Such events mark time, and so I got to thinking about how many friends have been married so far. I've only been to so many personally. There would be three that I can think of with this fourth one to come. There are some others that I did not make it to for one reason or another. I'm sure I've gone into this before, but it's unsettling to reach the point where the timing of the wedding is unremarkable.

The first wedding I can think of attending was remarkable in that the couple were perhaps young to be married. The ones since then have each taken place at a more and more natural time in the lives of the couple. It's upsetting to think that it makes perfect sense that they should be getting married, and less sense that the rest of us should not be. I guess I must have as much a biological clock as anybody, considering the feelings stirred up.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Angry Me

I've written in the past about what I have called "checkpoint charity". It bothers me tremendously to have people looking for donations or signatures at strategic points in my neighborhood. Most commonly, they are in front of the grocery store and outside the nearest coffee shop. I hate that. I hate knowing that more often than not, I will have to walk past them and escape their pleas for my attention. I don't enjoy it. It always spoils my mood.

The other day, this guy was there by the coffee shop. Most of the time, I don't really have such trouble there. I don't know why it is, but they seem to not accost me there. Maybe they usually have their hands full when I go by, but this guy today obviously did not. I didn't see him at first, but he sprang out at me, and started off with some pitch. I really don't know what it must have been. I have no interest in knowing, as it could only make me more susceptible to know.