Thursday, January 31, 2013

First Time In A Long Time

I had cause again to contemplate the nature of a very long bus ride the other day. I had business in Santa Monica, which is a very long way from where I live. By private car, it can be something like forty minutes. By public transit, it's between ninety minutes and two hours. Needless to say, that's an unpleasant amount of time to spend commuting, and that's just one way. Well, I had plenty to occupy myself.

This particular route had me on a very crowded bus, and so I had less opportunity to be productive than I might ordinarily. I will allow that I got a lot of podcast listening done over the course of four hours, but not much else. I would like to have gotten some writing done, but I just can't seem to manage that while standing for such a prolonged period of time. Who knows? I might be so wrapped up in an idea that I might get pick-pocketed.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I had written out a whole other post, and was not entirely happy with it, as it was very much like more than one other previous one. I felt lousy about the idea that I was repeating myself like some terrible bore, but knew I had other things to do and was at a loss for something original. I was not about to go out and try to find inspiration, so I seemed stuck with what I had. I sighed and resigned myself to it before showering.

There was to be found something fresh! Now, I had been courting disaster by working down some of my toiletry items down to the last remnants, including my soap and toothpaste. As of this writing, the soap was gone, leaving me to brave some liquid body soap. The toothpaste was holding out. Still in question was my conditioner. There had been plenty the day before, and I knew there wasn't none. Would there be enough?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Organizing the refrigerator is more challenging and stimulating than you might think. To me, it's something like the Bento boxes that the Japanese are so fond of. As I understand it, a Bento box is simply a boxed lunch- nothing more than the sack lunch that millions take with them to work or school here in America. The critical difference is the interest in aesthetic that the Japanese seem to have, and I find that fascinating.

I'm no Japanophile, if that's the word for it, but I'll admit to a certain interest in efficiently and pleasingly  stocking the refrigerator (and the cupboard as well, but let's not go too far afield). I must further confess that I'm not much good at it. This is mainly an aspirational thing that I only occasionally do remotely as well as I would like to. Still, I have done lots of thinking about properly filling the refrigerator even if I haven't put it all into practice.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Making Nice

I have read a fair amount in recent times about a staple of mens' profiles on dating websites. Many men avow that they are nice, and frequently bemoan their paucity of success with women. A perusal of all the materials that constitute their profile commonly reveals that they are not nice at all, but are in fact the worst sort of man. This seems to hold true rather consistently, to the extent that women would be well advised to avoid any man who believes himself nice.

You will never here me seriously lay claim to being nice. I just don't see that as true. The most I will say is that I try to be nice and struggle at it. I am sporadically successful, but not enough that I would regard it as a defining trait. I will allow that I am generally civil, although whether this is due to my reluctance to confront or a truly civil spirit I can hardly venture to guess. I'm certainly no behavioral psychologist, if in fact that is who would be qualified to say.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Great Fun For Everyone

Yesterday I got to a rather interesting movie. It was the infamous "The Room"- a film that I have been hearing about for several years. It was a little irritating to hear lines quoted and references made without any direct knowledge of the film itself, but I could tell what fun it must be. I never did take action to see the movie, even recently when I knew screenings were happening monthly just up the street. Well, I've finally done it.

To briefly explain the movie, I'll say that it concerns a love triangle between the film's auteur, an all right looking lady and another guy. The first in that triangle, Tommy Wiseau, is tough to look at. Most of the action takes place in his character's apartment, presumably making the title so apropos. The film is pretty awful, violating any number of filmmaking fundamentals and common sense rules. It's definitely so bad that it's good.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Of Personal Interest

Los Angeles can be a difficult place at the best of times. I love it here, but one who has achieved maturity loves with full knowledge of the good and the bad in something. There's plenty of bad in Los Angeles, and I managed to experience a lot of the bad points in the midst of what was really a good day the other day. Because it's in my nature, I'm going to focus on the bad things. Why is it that so many of the good things in life are things you can't talk about?

Naturally it was raining. I expect it's raining here today, although as you know I often write in advance of weather making good on the weatherman's promises. When it's raining, I am like most Angelenos in that I prefer to hole up at home until it's over. I have always enjoyed the rain's peculiar beauty from the inside of a window. Growing up in a desert, I valued the rain's preservation of our fragile existence, but woe betide the rain that fell on me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Close Enough Call

A friend of mine, in whose car I was riding, expressed his regret that he had neglected to buy gas in the area we had just left. This was the other night, and I was naturally eager to get home. I had a full day facing me the next day, and while there's no good time to run out of gas, this was for me at least as bad a time as any. I asked whether he was in fact close to running out, and he confirmed that. I glanced over at the needle and saw that it was at or below the "E".

I don't know that I've ever run out in a really ruinous place. An LA freeway is a bad place to run out of gas, although I guess a remote spot on a rural highway could be worse. I did come close to a thing like that. Years ago when I was working at a summer camp, I somehow got back to camp from the town around thirty minutes away with very little gas. There was probably not enough to get back to tow. I was lucky that the camp ranger allowed me use of his pump.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Monotonous Languor Of A Projectile Wound

I was listening to a bit of that Bon Jovi song, "You Give Love A Bad Name". In the song, reference is made to being shot through the heart. I take that to be a metaphor, but I got to think about its literal meaning. Of course a wound like that is fatal, and so one hopes strenuously that it may be avoided. If it can't be, then it hopefully happens only in old age after a lifetime of accomplishments. I wonder though if it could be dealt with either while young or old.

Just how would I endeavor to survive such a wound? Body armor might serve well. These days, it's fairly effective and less restrictive of movement than it might have been once. It's rather expensive, but what price is to be put on one's life? If I had the money and a reasonable belief that I might be so targeted, I would gladly put the money down and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you won't die from a bullet through the heart.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Something I'm only beginning to learn is how to live smart, To this point, I was content to live rather recklessly and inefficiently. Perhaps then I could afford to sustain wear and tear, but these days it is more and more evident that while I can do what I want to do, I have to minimize harm and maximize the resources of my body. I only hope that I have begun to learn this lesson while it is still possible for it to do me any good.

Something I have decided I cannot do anymore is to just jump on my bicycle and ride a bunch of miles as I have done without any thought in the past. I think I can still ride a good distance, but must prepare myself. To that end, I have found a routine of stretching to do in order to set up my body for the whole thing. It was rather interesting to try and read my way through the moves in anticipation of a ride (which never happened).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Downer

I am getting to a good place in life, and it is happening none too soon. Finally, if slowly, I am becoming convinced of my abilities and the virtue that is my uniqueness. Being different means a lot to me. Because there is no one like me, I can triumph even when I am not objectively the best, and as I am a novice in the acting game, the value of that cannot be overstate. That is not to say that being different always feels great.

These days, this is not exactly a lone voice crying out in the dark. Lots of people are expressing themselves in one fashion or another about being different, so one could say that by adding my own two cents I am doing little except for indulging my own vanity. I am certainly not beyond that, and so here it is. I do wish sometimes that I were more like others in my way of thinking. Naturally even better would be if they were like me, but maybe I'd be sorry for thinking that.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I remain no more able to persuade people to take my point of view than I have ever been. I don't know how that is the case. I wish I would have taken speech and debate in school. I do Toastmasters, but there's no debate in that, and I have never been any good at debating. My most strenuous arguments are no more effective than tires spinning in gravel, and my best hope is that someone more adept takes up my cause. Given the uniqueness of my thinking, that is rare.

While watching football with friends, a commercial came on extolling the virtues of Subway's breakfast menu. Incredulously, and not for the first time, I wondered aloud who could possibly wish to eat breakfast at a sub sandwich restaurant. In a matter of seconds, I found that the entirety of the room, amounting to five people, stood shoulder to shoulder against my way of thinking. They were all entirely glad to eat the breakfast food there.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


The other day, I was gifted with a shirt. Some friends had gone to see a theatrical piece. It was, in fact, a sort of parody of the Terminator films, and someone was giving away shirts promoting Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest film. As my friends and I were rather eager for his first major performance in ten years, this was a rather fortuitous occurrence. Several of the shirts were procured with the intention of wearing them to the theater.

We did that, in fact, but the tale of seeing the movie is a separate one from what I mean to discuss now. It's that shirt. It looks nice, basically, but has some peculiarities. The back identifies the star, the film's title and its release day, but the front has a rather detailed illustration which substantially coincides with the theatrical poster. I rather imagine that I will have to be careful with it in order to preserve the shirt through the wash.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Never Might I Ever?

A thought popped into my head, and because I had set up to write, I decided to make use of the thought instead of letting it float away. This is the benefit of getting going while you still have the energy to be remotely ambitious. The thought pertained to the perhaps not entirely uncommon aspiration of having my own radio show. This is not an impossible feat if I accept that a podcast is equally acceptable, but I doubt it will happen.

To begin with, I think I have a fine voice for radio. I have been advised of my suitability for such things by people whom I hold in high regard, anyway, and who knows better what one is capable of than others? Whether or not I have a face destined for more than radio I will not venture to guess, although I will assert that I have pretty good days as far as that goes. Maybe I would be the rare radio personality whose visage fails to disappoint.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Trapped Into A Trap

There was a pit stop on the way to Las Vegas over the weekend. There was no need for gas, but I suppose it's forgivable to halt the march so long as someone needs the bathroom. I didn't myself. I could have stood to adjust my contact lens, but I'm not about to do that at some roadside bathroom. In any case, we stopped at some highway trap that perhaps doesn't quite ascend to the standard of infamous, but is more or less in the same vein.

As it is in Nevada, it of course has to be heavily steeped in a scattershot of space alien and redneck iconography. I was more receptive to such things when I was perhaps ten or twelve, but can do without a little grey alien in a cowboy outfit these days. There was also some manner of alien car parked out front and festooned in warnings not to touch the thing. I would not have, but wanted to very badly simply as an act of subversion.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Quick And Dirty Mystery

This Manti Te'o story that has gotten into the news in the last day or so is awfully interesting to me. Te'o, a star linebacker for Notre Dame, had been one of the more inspiring stories in sports, mourning the deaths of his grandmother and his girlfriend in short order as his team marched on towards the championship game. It turned out, however, that his girlfriend was fictional, and the party line at the university is that he has been duped.

It doesn't feel right, to me or others. Some are glad to accept it, but I have a hard time believing that he could have maintained a relationship so long without ever suspecting. He was presented with a picture of a girl who wasn't the one he spoke to on the phone or supposedly met. Did he meet a woman who looked like the picture and sounded like the voice? As I say, it's hard to believe. Now, it seems evident that an acquaintance of Te'o's named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is directly behind this fraud, but was it without the involvement of Te'o and others close to him?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Something More On Diet

The other day, I did something that I was rather proud of. I knew that I didn't want to buy the same junk food that I so commonly do. For months, I have eaten the same canned ravioli, cup o'noodle soup and hash browns for virtually every meal at home. Really, eating out at burger places may well have represented a more nutritious meal. Well, I got the idea that reaching my thirties made this diet not so charming anymore.

Will is not always matched by ability. A number of times I had the same intention of buying more healthful food, and each time I faltered and fell back on the same easy choices. I felt lousy about it, and wished I could find the fortitude to follow through on my intentions. It was elusive, and I thought with despair that I might never manage to really eat well on my own. I had nothing to sustain me but hope that I might change.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Can't Spell Hate Without Hat

While I was in Las Vegas over the weekend to celebrate a friend's birthday, I made some effort to look presentable. It was not as much as I might have liked or as much as I have at my best, but I made a decent effort. I brought a decent shirt and a suit jacket, hoping that I would be able to pair it well with nice jeans and passable shoes. I also had what I would call my nicest coat, as Las Vegas was very cold. Things worked out better than I might have guessed.

Another friend along for the trip made a contribution. While at the shared home of him and the birthday boy, I was witness to him getting ready. At one point, he emerged from his bedroom with a handful of hats. I'm always game to make a bold, temporary fashion choice, and so I didn't think twice about accepting when he declared that he and I would both be wearing berets. I've been derisive of them in the past, but I'm not afraid of them.

Monday, January 14, 2013

As A Man

Yesterday I was generous enough to grace this blog with two posts instead of merely one. Of course, that was an oversight, and we are all prone to those. I trust you will overlook it, as it came from my being occupied by a trip to Las Vegas. You'll recall that I wrote of anticipated experiences there. Having returned, I can say what happened and what didn't. It was a good time altogether, but by no means perfect.

The drive out saw me pretty tired, having slept relatively little before getting up very early. I had the idea that I might sleep along the way, but it didn't work out that way. I managed to muster the energy for the day, aided in no small part by the friend with whom I rode. It was a pleasure to catch up with those who I don't see nearly enough. A trip to someplace like Las Vegas may have the effect of numerous outings with someone in town.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Frustration

There's something that I've been reading a bit about that bugs me to death. Now, I'm not as political as I was when I was in college. At the time, I ate, breathed and slept politics, and I was rather liberal. My beliefs haven't exactly changed, but I do not expend the same amount of energy on it all as I used to. Maybe I've learned enough not to act as if I know so much, or I don't care to treat it like a game you score points in.

Anyway, there are things that maybe I would have been into that I am not now. There's this thing that apparently happens now. The idea is that you start a petition over something that you send off to the White House if you get enough names. If you get enough names, they have to respond to your petition. That's some kind of law, or agreement. That's all there is to it. I don't see that anything actually has to happen except that a reply is formulated and sent.

A Return

As you read this, I am in Las Vegas. As I am writing it, I can only anticipate what the trip, for leisure purposes, will be like. If I remember correctly, I have not been there since I was fairly young. I think I might have been a young teenager or even less at the time, and I obviously did not partake of too many experiences unique to the city. This was at a time when there was a developing effort to create family-friendly options, for whatever reason.

I don't quite recall much of what I did. I remember unwittingly commandeering a cabana by the pool in the place where we were staying. As my sister and I watched cartoons, an employee of the establishment came to shoo us away, and we learned that one had to pay for the privilege. I think it may have been the Hard Rock Hotel. I also recall at some points  staying at Excalibur and Circus Circus. We never stayed at the Luxor, where I wanted to be.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What's It To You?

In many respects I have grown more like my father over the years. I am no more handy with tools than I ever was, but in matters of opinion I have become closer to him. Growing up, it was common for me to declare that some notable figure had died, and as I would be under the impression that my father liked them and their work, I would expect that he would take a particular interest. He wouldn't, and his explanation would be, "I didn't know him".

I didn't get that then, but I think I do now. Other people find a lot of room in their hearts to mourn celebrities, but I don't. I also don't feel much for those same celebrities when they triumph. It is presently awards season, and many actors are being honored with nominations presently. Some of them will win and more will lose. Many more will not have had the opportunity, and those who are considered to have deserved it are said to have been snubbed.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cut Cut Cut Cut

Something that I imagined would be behind me by the time I got to be as old as I am now is shaving badly. It's common enough to miss a spot here or there, and certainly the two areas at the opposite ends of my jawline could stymy anyone, but I feel as if all too often I do such a terrible job that it might have been my first time with it. I sure thought that I practiced enough times with a blade-less razor as a boy, but there it is.

I think that I have finally learned the lesson of not using cheap disposable razors enough times. It took me more times than it took to learn that a straight razor shave from a professional isn't instantly good, but I got it. I even figured finally that I needed to use decent shaving cream, because the charm of Barbasol just doesn't outweigh the pain any longer. Still, I commonly shave and find that I have inflicted some wounds on myself.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Day Of Days

Yesterday I wrote about my impending birthday and the feelings I had and typically have leading up to that. Generally it's negative feelings that I have to keep at bay, and the only way to do it is to be with friends and to stay busy. The fact that I have such a hard time getting it together makes that a very uncertain proposition. As I write this though, I can confirm that the occasion was about as pleasant as it is possible for it to be.

The day of course started without a plan. I had vaguely gotten the idea of going out for dinner to a fairly popular Mexican restaurant where I could eat for free and which my friends generally like well. That started to gain momentum, and I further thought that something else ought to be added at a bare minimum, and I figured that the thing to do would be to add a trip to a bar. Well, there's only a couple I like going to, so I picked one.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Doomed By The Bell

It's my birthday today, and since I'm writing this in advance, I can only hope that I'm in a pleasant mood. My fear is that I may be rather melancholy, however little cause I may have for that. In spite of being fairly young still, I do not relish the occasion of my birthday, and. The last time I enjoyed my birthday fully and without reservation, I believe I was in college. Since then, each one has been worse than the last.

That's not to say that each one of those days has been horrible. I have enjoyed some in spite of their significance. What makes the thing palatable is having one's friends and loved ones around. That has the effect of distracting me and pacifying me for the duration of the day. Each day after my birthday sees some of the trauma wear away, and before I know it I have gotten used to being the age that I have just become.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

No Rain

I have been in a drought of sorts lately. It's not that I have been unable to write anything. In some respects, I have been as consistent as ever in terms of output, although I won't vouch for the quality of what I have written. I suppose that my opinion of it all is not necessarily the final word. I find often that others hold my efforts in higher regard. The point is not quantity or quality anyway. What it's about is type.

I've been able to do tolerably well writing tweets, and I have not missed a day with this blog, although the difference between me writing this every day and not is akin to the difference between one's chances of winning the lottery with a ticket and without. What I have not had any luck with is writing sketch comedy. I had made considerable progress with that over the last year. I think I was getting better, anyway. It culminated with my challenge to write thirty sketches in September.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Back At It

After being hung up on it for a very long time (which for me amounts to a few months), I finally have dispatched the novel "Wicked" after a concerted effort of some hours the other day. I was relieved to have been done with it, but dispirited by the thought that I could have done so long ago and moved on to other books. In all that time, I read a page here and there on buses and trains, but mostly was not doing any reading outside of the computer setting.

This is something that happens with me. I begin with much enthusiasm upon the selection of a new book, and if I do not diligently keep up with regular reading sessions, that fervor diminishes and the book languishes in idleness. If it's a library book, I break out of it in time to blast through it at the last minute. If it's my own (or borrowed from someone with more lax rules than the Los Angeles Public Library), it could lay there indefinitely, eventually being returned to the bookcase with a forgotten bookmark in it.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Getting Tight

I took a brave step today where fashion is concerned. I don't do any such thing of my own volition, typically, but the season of Christmas often brings gifts of clothes from those who know how much I need them. They don't buy me the things I would buy myself. Rather, they take stock of what I have and ought to have by their estimation, and fill my perceived needs. This leads me to some worried moments.

I am still working my way through the haul yielded by this Christmas, and most recently have worn a pair of what they call "skinny" jeans. I dislike that name, but I wore the pants. I had qualms about wearing such tight pants, as I rarely have pants that are even a good fit. Mostly they are rather baggy on me. I worried over how they would fit me, and waited to remove the tags until I'd given the pants a thorough trial.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


They say that Hemingway wrote while standing up. A while back I read that in an item about famous writers' work habits. Many of the greats had (and have) peculiar or just peculiarly specific methods of working. I took an interest because of my own eagerness to improve as a writer, but not because I think that standing like Hemingway would help me write like Hemingway. I never would or could, but reading about different techniques may help me execute my own thing better.

Standing while writing is productive, I've found in that it seems to open me up more mentally. Sitting in my chair and staring down the screen indefinitely is useful to a point, in that you are really focused on the task at hand. I'm more apt to come up with something that way as opposed to trying to think of something while I'm watching a movie. Nothing is going to come that way, or at least considerably less than I would have gotten if more dedicated.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Crack It

I'll tell you something that's a hell of a pain. I like crackers, and who doesn't? Some crackers are flavorful enough that they stand on their own, but many need some help (or are themselves help to something else like soup). It is awfully tasty to have some cheese and crackers, and while I don't make a point generally of keeping them around the house, I do delight in gorging on them when I am lucky enough to have them come along.

I haven't gotten to the pain of it yet. It's nothing too original. It's just that you have the cheese log (or spread) and you have the crackers. You have two finite quantities of food, and the ratio of one to the other is hardly clear. I have always struggled with that kind of thing. It is very hard to ascertain how much cheese should go on each cracker in order to ensure that you have not merely the tastiest possible ratio, but one which ensures that there are no leftover crackers or cheese.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

While The Cat's Away

I had an incident the other day that upset me for a matter of some minutes. I was doing my laundry, and my system requires that I have all three washers available at the outset, reducing to only two dryers thereafter. There's always a period of some anxiety as I first check the machines and then rush to get my clothes down to the laundry room before anyone can claim one of the machines. It typically works out all right.

I remain a little on edge as I sort out my clothes and direct them into washers. My fear is that someone will come along wanting one of the machines while it is still in my power to be charitable and allow them one. I don't wish to be charitable, you see. My system is fragile, and such compassion is more than it can handle. Typically it doesn't happen that anyone comes along, and then there's generally no issue after that initial phase (so far as I know.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hiking This Year

As I write this, it is the tail end of the year's first day. I've been out hiking today. Don't get the idea that this is something connected to New Year's resolutions or self-betterment. It certainly is not. I just used to hike a lot back home, and in Los Angeles I have done so rarely. When the opportunity arises, I take it. It's a fairly pleasurable experience to share with friends, and if I get any fitter as a consequence, that's good.

It's interesting to compare and contrast the experience with its counterpart back home. One of the first things that occurs to me is the view. Phoenix and LA are both shrouded in smog all too often, but LA's hiking trails often seem to offer more to see. There are of course one's fellow hikers, who often are rather fit and sometimes famous. There are also plenty of famous landmarks to see, from the city's buildings to such things as the Hollywood sign (which one can approach relatively closely from behind).

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Another Review, It's True

On this New Year's Day of 2013, I can think of nothing more inappropriate to talk about than the old movie I watched last Friday, but that's just what's going to happen. You can probably expect a New Year's item in some months, or never. Being timely is something I have never done so well. What I write may not be popular now or ever, but it will at least hold up. Anyway, with this evening's plans taking shape and creeping up, I'm seizing on this movie idea.

Entitled "Rockwell", the box described it as a basic story of retribution exacted by a man whose friends were set upon by some bad guys. It was an obscure film recommended by solely one fact: billed second to a man called Randy Gleave was none other than longtime Utah Jazz standout Karl Malone. While examining the box in the store, I couldn't guess why he would be in it. I presumed the film to be some kind of vanity project.