Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Return?

I was thinking the other day of my high school. This was even before I saw that they were set to compete in the state football championship, but that did intensify my thought. I was thinking about how I spent my time there and what my lingering feelings about the place are. It has been some twelve years since my terrified graduating night (when I sat in my cap and gown all evening full of fear that I lacked the credits to walk).

High school was a difficult time obviously, as it is for most people. I suspect it is not as happy a time as it seems even for those seemingly blessed people who later might regard the time as the best in their lives, but I was not one of those people. I knew and was close to few people then. It is for that reason that I doubt I would have much interest in attending a reunion. I have never received notice of one, but as we still receive mail at the address where I then lived, I'm sure I will when the time comes. Is it ten years, or fifteen?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Blood For Blood

I found myself doing something a couple days ago that I didn't expect I would be. I don't mean firing a handgun, which I did do a couple days ago. I guess I did two things that day that were unanticipated. The second came late in the day, and I at first swore I wouldn't do it. I didn't say so, but I wasn't sure I felt at all well. I was awfully tired, which may be attributable to the little sleep I've had among other things.

What I'm talking about is having my blood drawn. My sister is studying in school, and she's learning to draw blood. She has to do it so many times, and my mother, my father and I went to help with her numbers (although I think only my father and I submitted). Being rundown, I feared that I might have a poor reaction. Who wants to be the guy who collapses and has to be helped into a bed, especially when numerous older people are doing fine?

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Today is Thanksgiving. Now that I've proven I know it, I'll move on to something else. Yesterday, I did something I've never done before. When I was a boy, I shot rifles at summer camp and at some Boy Scout activities. They were bolt action 22 caliber rifles, and I think we always shot in the prone position or in a sitting position. We never shot from a standing position that I can think of, and we never shot handguns.

Yesterday, I shot a handgun. It wasn't something I was planning on doing, and it probably wasn't something I ever would have gone to any trouble to do, but it was nothing that I was against doing. In any case, I found myself at a gun store and shooting range that has previously made headlines for its Yuletide tradition of giving its clientele the chance to pose with their guns and Santa Clause. I did not get the chance to do that this time.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Yesterday, as I said I would, I took a Greyhound bus from LA to see my family back home in Phoenix. Plenty happened over the course of the day, and I may or may not cover more of it than this. To begin with, I got going a little before six in the morning. I actually had been up for nearly four hours, having been unable to go back to sleep after waking up. I had maybe two or three hours sleep. It was an inauspicious beginning.

Still, I was doing well. I showered, finished getting my things together and ate some breakfast. Unfortunately, things did not stay entirely good. Shortly after getting on the subway, I hit a snag. Once we got to the second stop, they advised us that police activity on the track ahead was going to hold us in position for ten minutes. This might not sound like much, but it had the effect of keeping me from making the connecting bus.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Return To The Bus

As I write this, I am around fourteen hours from getting on a Greyhound bus to visit my family. By the time you read this, I will be better than halfway there. This is something I have done before, and enough times that I know fairly well what I am in for. There are apt to be surprises, since it's been a couple years, but I doubt things have changed so much that what I write here becomes entirely invalid. If so, I'll say.

By the time I'm on the bus itself, there's a fair chance that the trouble will be over. One thing Greyhound is not overburdened by is customer service. If things are going fine for you, you probably won't notice, but if you run into trouble, you may rest assured that you are on your own. If a ticket machine is broken (which assumes that there is one there), it's doubtful that you'll be warned or helped. If your reservation is missing or they overbook a bus (which happens), you are probably not going to get relief.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Traveling Man

I love "Columbo". On a whim, I checked the discs containing the first "season" out of the library, and I watched them and the rest with my roommate. We noticed a lot of peculiarities in the show, one of which concerns the titular detective's relaxed attitude about jurisdiction. He was always getting into cases that took him well outside of Los Angeles, which is where he lived and worked. It was amusing, but infuriating. It was never even brought up as a problem. He just went places.

If I got into every time he went elsewhere in California, this would go on for some time. If I confine myself only to the most egregious cases, it's long enough. I started thinking about the whole thing when an episode in which Colombo visits England. It seems to me he may have done that a couple times. He's purportedly a guest of Scotland Yard, getting to see how they handle the crime-fighting business, which is conceivable, but unlikely just the same to me.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Something That Happened

There I was, celebrating the birthday of a friend at a country western bar in Chatsworth. The bunch of us drank (with a couple of exceptions that included me), danced (with a number of exceptions, including me), and soaked in the atmosphere of the venue (including me). The place started out packed will old people who danced in a courtly fashion to the live band's music. The makeup of the bar's patrons changed as the evening wore on.

There started to be more and more young people of an apparently low character. This is too bad, because the old people seemed nice enough and their enthusiasm for dancing was infectious. This was not true of the new arrivals. They were mainly well behaved enough in spite of that, except for something odd that happened. It was not unpleasant so much as puzzling, but I do wish that it hadn't happened.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Movie Surprise

Some people will surprise you. You look at everyone, and have a judgement in seconds. In trying to figure out someone as a person in just a few moments, you're probably not going to do too well. Just looking at them and what they're doing in a moment, you can't project too far into the future what their behavior will be and how to handle it. I do think, though, that you can make a snap judgment that handles a short time period.

Suppose that you're faced with sitting next to a stranger at the movies. I think it's not that far-fetched to think you can guess whether someone is going to be a bother over the course of the next two hours, but then it's also very possible for someone to surprise you. The more information you have, the less probable that is, but someone can always surprise you. If a friend can do it, a stranger surely can every time.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Self Abuse

I have recently read that the people behind the Oxford Dictionary (or possibly those who make the online edition) have named "Selfie" the word of the year. It seems rather early to do so, not even being December yet, but I suppose they must get their name out there now if there is to be any hope of making a splash in the Christmas shopping season. I don't know who buys dictionaries, but the publishers of them seem content to degrade themselves plenty in hopes of reaching that market.

In any case, I have found time and time again that I am either not good at taking selfies or my likeness cannot be accurately captured by selfies. There is something magical that happens when the picture is taken just a few feet further away and features both of my arms in frame. I don't always look good that way, but there's at least a chance of it. There's also a greater chance of my eyes being red, but it's a risk worth taking.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Change From Within

As time passes, I get more and more tired of holding things back. We all learn to keep much of what we think to ourselves for various reasons. Not every thought merits being shared, for one thing. For another, many thoughts we have would be hurtful to people, and so we spare their feelings by maintaining our silence. More so than many, I decline to say what's on my mind, or at least to say it to the person I want. I'll find someone else to say it to.

More and more, though, I find myself becoming more candid. I now say things in this blog that I probably would not have, both because fewer than ever are reading it and because I have less and less time and energy to get very clever with my posts. About all I can do now is say things plainly and hope there is no trouble from it. To date there has been no trouble, probably because no one particularly is reading.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Give Way Never

I saw something interesting on the way home from the grocery store a couple days ago. I had already seen something funny inside the grocery store, you see: There was a grown man- one who I assume was a father, for he was pushing a shopping cart with a kid in it- trying to make the same kid behave. That in itself is not at all out of the ordinary or interesting, but it got more so when I heard him say "Are you kidding me, bro?"

It was while I frantically typed that into my phone before I forgot it that I saw something more. I was walking along Magnolia Boulevard in North Hollywood, which is a difficult one to cross in spite of being of rather modest size. There was an old man on a bicycle who was either trying to cross Magnolia  or was trying merely to enter traffic and travel along it. Either way, he got into a rather interesting scrape.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On The Count Of Three

I think I may not be that bad of a drawer. I'll be realistic in saying that I'm not a great one, or probably even a very good one. I have terrible spatial reasoning. If you asked me to write a line of text across the middle of a page so that it occupied the exact center, I would struggle at that and I would probably fail. There are also probably not very many real world objects and shapes that I am adept at capturing with accuracy.

Still, I think that I surprise myself. When I aim for a very modest drawing goal, I come very close to hitting the mark. When drawing a face, I am really not so terrible. There is a great chance that, if I draw someone who you should know, you will figure out who it is without any help. I have managed to do this at least a couple of times, and given a lot of practice, I could do it at least a couple more times.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Starting From The Hip

I described a dark thought to a friend recently. It seemed to me that when one is in dire shape emotionally, there are nightmares at night and the tribulations of the waking world during the day. The only moment of peace for someone like that is the few seconds of transition from sleep to wakefulness and vice-versa. That has only been the case for me very rarely, and not too recently either. For others it's likely more severe.

There are the times when I cannot afford a leisurely and slow waking. I wake up to something that must be done instantly, and my mind is stuck in mud. I only wind up awake while en route to somewhere, or while in the middle of doing something. It's a strange way to get going, but it seems to have little effect on me in the long term. I'm not sorry that it happens as seldom as it does, but it seems to have little effect.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Spy The Sky

As I write this, it's a bit overcast outside. The blue sky is sneaking through in a few spots in the hour or so before the sun sets, but it's more or less a gloomy day, or what passes for one in Los Angeles. It seems like it's been forever since it rained. It very seldom does here, of course, not that you'd guess it from the way people choose to use their water around here. It's like back home in Arizona, but worse. You get a lot of people from the midwest and back east who think a green lawn is their birthright.

I'm often reminded of back home when I pass by someplace where somebody's laid down a lot of manure to fertilize the grass. They say that smells are the most powerful trigger of memories, which may be true. I instantly am reminded our our manure laden, irrigated lawn. It was fun to play in- the foot or two of water irrigating the yard, not the manure. You had to stay away from that of course, which was easy.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Let Me Do The Talking

It is a funny thing to be interviewed for some reason other than employment. In a variety of speech contests I have been briefly interviewed, and even that is weird. For a few moments, it's all about you. That's something that I must confess I want most of the time, , and most of the time I don't get it. For that reason, I don't have to face up to the fact that I don't know what to do with it most of the time. Then it happens.

For the few moments that I'm being interviewed, I realize that what I'm asking for I actually shrink away from. I think I handle myself well enough in those situations. They ask a few questions and I garner decent reactions with my responses, most of which are designed to fend off the question without answering it. That's my way, I suppose- to dance around the issue without hitting it head-on. I'm working on that in improv.

Friday, November 15, 2013

High Roller

Yesterday, I got to do something pretty neat. I've been going to a bunch of roller derby games after getting invited by a friend who plays in them. She had suggested on occasion that I might like getting involved as a referee, and I expressed interest but also fear that I would have too hard a time with it. After some encouragement, though, I finally felt up to the task. The trouble became scheduling, as practice happens while I'm doing improv stuff.

An opening in my improv schedule came along, and I went along to a roller derby practice. I thought maybe I would just be watching and learning, but I found myself pressed into duty. I was given the choice of either timing the game (which is not so very simple) or of timing the penalties in the penalty box. Guessing that the latter would be easier, I took that. I think that this ultimately proved to be a wise decision.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

On The Go

Something that I sometimes do is to grab something something to eat while I am on my way someplace. I guess most people do, this being a society that has consistently trimmed time away from conventional meals eaten in the home. Anyway, I'll stop off at a fast food place and pick up a few items from the "value menu" and eat them as I walk the rest of the way to my destination. This sometimes works out nicely and sometimes does not.

I like what they have at Jack In The Box all right. There I'll go for a chicken sandwich, a burger and a couple of tacos. They're lethal, of course, but hot and filling. The sandwiches are the easiest thing to eat while moving. The tacos are tougher, I think because you have to tilt your head to bite them. You can bite the sandwiches while facing forward and watching where you are going. Also, the sandwiches hold together better.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New Experience

Children are a necessity in TV, film, commercials and such. I had thought that you have to use twins or triplets, but maybe that's not true. My only firsthand knowledge is in auditions. I have been in a few where there were a lot of kids hanging around, and you have to be wary. You never know when one is going to bump into you or overhear you cursing. The presence of kids also means that the waiting area is clogged with at least one parent per kid. It's a nuisance.

I never had to deal personally with kids. It was always the case that the minors auditioned separately from the adults, or that the kids were auditioning for a different commercial entirely. That was fine by me, although I don't have a problem with kids. I like them fine, but I don't really know how to deal with them. I can't think of how to interact with them except to do what I would do with someone grown-up. I have put my hand out to shake with multiple babies. They all left me hanging.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Shifting Sands

My VHS collection continues to grow. Over the past eight days, I acquired perhaps fourteen tapes, and these came just as I was beginning to again gain some ground on the intractable backlog. Every passel of tapes necessitates an adjustment of the ones I already have so that they may all be stored in something like an efficient and graceful fashion. It gets harder all the time, and it may soon become impossible.

I had recently had my tapes arranged in a pleasing fashion visually, but it was inefficient. Many tapes (and most of my DVDs) were inaccessible without moving several other tapes, and still all the tapes couldn't fit in that space. Worse, they weren't and couldn't be alphabetized, so even the tapes on top couldn't be had immediately, since I had to scan most of them before spotting the desired one. It was an imperfect system.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Temporary Switch

I have lately been drinking coffee again after having nothing but tea for a while. The thing was that I had a big canister of coffee in the freezer, and I was getting tired of that. I thought that I should just drink it finally instead of buying box after box of tea and skipping something that was already at home. Making space in the freezer is also obviously a draw. I am now nearly done with the coffee,  for which I am glad.

My tastes have changed some. I either don't like the taste of coffee any more, or I can't stand the taste of the cheapest coffee on the market anymore. Buying a slightly better than the worst brand could be a way of finding out for sure, but I'm not really into committing myself even to a single coffee at a shop somewhere to get answers like that. It may happen sooner or later, but I'm not going to rush it. These things must happen organically, and I don't mean they must involve organic coffee.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Peach! Peach! Peach!

A couple nights ago, I gave a keynote speech at a Toastmasters conference. I referenced this yesterday, when I wrote about frantically traveling across town in a cab to get there. The two events are tightly linked. The moment I leapt out of the cab, I ran over to the front desk of the venue, which directed me to the right room. I then spent a minute pointlessly talking to the person manning the registration table. It really didn't matter whether I was comped or not, since I was too late for dinner (or at least I was told that).

I then located the person I really needed to talk to, and was sent over to my table where I put on my necktie and received a wireless mike. This terrified me. I have always feared technology in speaking and in other performances, since they have such an alarming propensity for failing at critical moments. In any case, with microphone and tie on my person, I sat and waited for the time to give my speech. It's good that I had some time, since I had to shake off the panic that had me in its grips for the three hours preceding.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Across Town, Up & Down

I recently found myself in a dire moment. I was on one end of the LA metro area- the west side, to be specific- and I needed to get rather far in the other direction- to Burbank, in fact. I did not on this occasion have the benefit of a car. I hoped that I could manage on public transportation, but the three plus hours it would have required was simply not feasible. I would have to find a more creative means of getting to my destination.

I knew I would probably have to resort to a hired car. Although I've had positive results a few times with cabs, they are rather expensive, as you doubtless already know. It was my hope to mitigate the cost. I'd heard a lot about this Lyft thing. Basically regular people offer up their cars to those who need them, and all that is asked is a donation. Generally the expense amounts to two thirds of what a cab would cost. The cabs are naturally fighting this, and I can see their side.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Posing Robots

I have watched a few episodes of "Dragnet", and written about it here at least once. It's a peculiar show. It's probably fair to say that it's a pretty pure expression of Jack Webb's vision. It's a very establishment-minded show. The characters are all super-square cops, criminals who are almost as square, or cartoonish hippies. There's little action to the show, and the so-called crackling dialogue is just people talking fast.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the show is the time allotted to showing the human side of the officers. That's because they don't really have a human side. Imagine if someone tried to prove they were human by cutting open their arm, only to reveal motor oil and whirring gears. It's funny that they would be so confident that you'd be impressed by the depth of their humanity considering what they knew would be revealed. Then again, maybe that person wouldn't have known.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Final Dream?

For several days I have analyzed my dreams in plain view of the few people on this Earth who take an interest in my thoughts. I may or may not have learned something from the exercise. If I have not, at least I made the effort, and as I was apt to get embarrassed and waste a lot of time in life no matter what, there was no harm in it happening this way. At any rate, let us get straight to the matter at hand for today.

The dream goes like this: "dream about Linda. something about plans later, but she was trying to connect with some guy who was showering." That's all there is. Linda is an actress I know through church activities. She's kind, effervescent and awfully attractive. This dream is, in a perhaps less explicit fashion, much like the one which concerned Lucinda. I did not give them rhyming fake names on purpose, but there are parallels.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Penultimate Dream

Today's dream is an interesting one. I'll just get right into it: "dreamed I lived with Robert Landon two shirts were on fridge as lost and found including tank top. I claimed them. There was also a big Hooch-like dog." The dream ends there. "Robert Landon", I can say, is a notable performer at a local comedy theater. I don't really know him, but we have exchanged words. He at least knows me by sight and recalls me.

Maybe I would like to know him better. It could be as simple as that this time. In the dream, he and I are roommates. If I am correctly remembering things I did not write down, we are friends in the dream. One of us has a dog, or we share the dog. Now, in real life I feel a bit intimidated by him, probably for no good reason. I find him difficult to talk to in a practical sense, as he is commonly either in a hurry or surround by throngs of friends.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Grappling With The Sandman

Yesterday's dream was a rather puzzling one, and I drew few conclusions outside of the one that I suffer from a lack of directness. Today's dream came on the same night as yesterday's, both of which followed an improv show I hosted. It may or may not have any connection to yesterday's, as both were swirling around in my head at about the same time. Then again, maybe there's no connection whatsoever.

The record reads like this: "A subsequent dream involved me interacting with wrestlers, at ne point ambushing some by a pool with a long rod or pole, possible meant for pool cleaning." That is all there is to it, and yet there may be something to unearth in it. This is the second night of two dreams, and in each case the second dream was of a violent nature. This time I am evidently the aggressor instead of the victim.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Third Dream

It is another day, and it is time for another dream of mine along with my amateurish efforts to understand it. The last couple of days have seen me fumbling my way through a sex dream and a dream about violence- one in which I may or may not have survived a serial killer's spree. The sex dream too ended ambiguously. In that there may be a comment about my perpetual uncertainty and insecurity, or there may not be.

Today's dream, as I said yesterday, is the top half of a doubleheader. It goes as follows: "dream with Toni Rosewood (another risible fake name) in some kind of play. I wind up sitting with Rod Price (very fake-sounding) and others in a kind of outdoor venue with the play merely happening on television. I wind up seeing a car/plane from a bond movie and trying to figure out how much to pay." So ends the report.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Violent Dream

Yesterday's post, recounting and analyzing the first of at least six dreams, was a touch more candid that I usually write. Today's is not less candid, but like many Americans (if I can claim to understand us), I'm more at ease with violence than sex. In any case, we will see if I have any luck working out the meaning of this one after the fact with only the evidence of what I remembered upon waking up after it was over.

Here is precisely what I wrote: "Second dream involved myself and a house of people being stalked by a killer (one who talked). I remember little except that when there were 3 of us left, he demanded a representative for some unknown purpose. The dream ends there." There you have it. There is considerably less to go on here than there was from the first dream, and yet taken together, the two dreams may give up some meaning.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Salacious Dream

Yesterday I wrote of my plans to relate and analyze some dreams I have had lately. Here is the first of them. It comes from a night in which I managed to record two separate ones, but one may guess that there is a connection between them, I suppose. It may be a tenuous one, and maybe I don't see what it is, but it's hard to imagine how my unconscious mind would have been wrestling with both independently by coincidence.

Here is the record verbatim exactly as I wrote it, with names changed to spare real people involved but with no other words altered to spare myself: "Had a dream about Lucinda. I think it was at a home I lived in. There seemed to be a lot of dancing, and it was evidently leading to sex, as I checked with nervousness to be sure that I had a condom (the very condom and wallet I have in real life). I think it went well in the end, but I'm not sure." There ends my drowsy recollection of the dream.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Golden Age Of Dreams

I have, as I think I may have said, been tired all of the time lately. It's difficult to account for, and I hope it will pass, but one interesting positive has been an increased propensity for remembering my dreams. A friend says that this is common when one is very tired. All I am certain of is that I never manage to remember my dreams, except that sometimes I wake with just a hint of a wisp of one. There is not even even to begin articulating it.

That has not been true lately. I have recorded at least the bare bones of six dreams that I have had in the past week or less. I would have killed for this back in college when I was supposed to keep a dream journal. I believe I got through that assignment with theft of dreams from my roommate and outright lies. It seemed fair when the alternative was failing through no fault of my own. Ought I have been punished for then being well-rested?