Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Big 250th Post Celebration

...has been interrupted by having to run diagnostics on my laptop, and perhaps even get to reinstall the OS. Oh, happy day.

Remember: Computers--all computers, everywhere--suck.

It is only because they don't all suck simultaneously that our modern world doesn't crumble in upon itself. Won't that be a fun time when (not if) that occurs.

So, if this proves to be the last posting... well, enjoy the archives until your machine malfunctions in some way. Or the aforementioned decimation of our technologically dependent society befalls us, whichever comes first.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Yes, it's dragon boating

For those of you who have wondered why I never include pictures of dragon boating (despite the fact that it has taken up most of my weekends for the past six and a half years), allow me to allay your curiosity with the shot above (the beginning of one of the heats), taken at last month's tournament in Long Beach.

For those of you who wonder why I never include pictures with me in them, allow me to tell you: I am actually in there somewhere. Really.

(Kind of an inadvertent Where's Waldo sort of thing now...)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

F___ the police

This is a shot of the police helicopter circling above my building as I type this. Well, it's more a shot of the tree next to my patio with the blurry helicopter (it's moving) and its spotlight in the background, but the tree has not been making noise for the last hour and keeping me awake, so it's not to what I wish to draw your attention at the moment.

At least they gave up making announcements over the loud speaker about "Give yourself up" and that nonsense (as they were doing about 45 minutes ago). Like someone who fled from police and who has not been found yet would be convinced to give up by vague threats from someone hundreds of feet up. (I believe by that point it requires a pistol pointed at the person.)

Of this I am convinced: the helicopter is creating more of a nuisance than was created by whomever they are chasing.

I know I'm a horrible member of the community to say this, but right now I would happily take my chances with the most nefarious individual running around my neighborhood in order to be able to go to sleep.

I'm too tired to be afraid.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cardboard cut-out blind date

[These photos were taken at a party supply store, and were not altered in any way.]

When it comes to party decor, apparently cut-outs of those who have occupied the Oval Office are in demand. But what are we to make of who gets placed next to these men?

Honest Abe gets the eye from Betty Boop, with a mildly suggestive but still not inappropriate desire for emancipation.

After Marilyn, JFK probably wouldn't think much of Paris, but of him she thinks... oh, I'm not going to go there. Too obvious, too hackneyed. But he still gets what is considered (for some reason) a "hot" girl.

While Dubya (in the corner) admires a pair of Kings in gold...
(don't ask, don't tell)...

This Elvis gets Catherine and Marilyn, because he knows the ladies love a man in uniform.

Are these pairings just coincidence, mere haphazzard placement based on where there was space on the overhead shelf?
I think not.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Pic of the day (bring a towel)

Surf's up at the kiddie pool!

Note: The kiddies have been cropped from the shot to foil the sick people out there surfing the 'net for such things.

(I don't have a large enough readership to turn away pedophiles who may be checking out this page; I just don't want to encourage their... proclivities. I am not tacitly condoning what they do by not turning them away, just so we're clear. Perhaps reading this will keep their minds off the kiddies.)

Crossing the line

This evening, walking along my usual route from the office to the train station, at the first intersection a car going the perpendicular direction had stopped in the crosswalk—and not because the driver had to stop suddenly after trying to make the light; it was red when the car approached.

This is fairly common at this intersection, for reasons that aren't pertinent to this. Suffice it to say: having to walk around cars that have pulled too far forward because the driver couldn't be bothered to anticipate there might be pedestrians coming. When it happens I walk around the car and think ill of the driver for a few moments and that's how it usually goes.

Tonight, as I approached, the driver—a woman probably in her 40s, I'd guess—glanced at me, and her first action was not to put the car in reverse. That she only did after I was practically around her car anyway. The first thing she did: reach with her right hand over her left shoulder and push the button on the door to lock it. (The car was a beat-up old sub-compact something-or-other, where the lock button was still at the top.)

I didn't think I looked all that intimidating. I was wearing a short-sleeve button-up shirt and black slacks. I concede I didn't shave this morning. Hmm.

I presume she would have done so regardless of what the person approaching looked like, and that it wasn't me in particular that she found (so to speak) threatening.

Frankly, I was slightly delighted to elicit a fearful reaction in a driver at that intersection. Typically the motorists who pull into the crosswalk are so oblivious that I am lucky if they notice me at all and don't run me over while making an illegal left turn on the red (it's a one-way street on to which they're turning). I always secretly harbor some fantasy of either chastising the driver about how they are a threat to those around them or of simply smashing in their window, pulling the keys from the ignition, and throwing them as far as I can. I never do anything more than walk by without even glancing at the inconsiderate driver (and, as noted, think bad thoughts about them until I reach the next intersection). I know it's not right to take any pleasure in seeming a threat to others, but as I know from any Halloween where I got decked out in full makeup, it's actually immensely fun.

I digress.

What really amazed me was not so much that she locked her door, but how she exhibited absolutely no subtlety about it. She didn't reach casually, as though stretching; it was deliberate and sudden, in direct response to seeing me. The utter lack of tact (so to speak) almost made me want to leap at her just out of principle.

It was about time she learned the most important aspect of such situations: Don't show fear. We are animals, when push comes to shove; we can discern an opportunity for domination, even if it serves no benefit to us, and something inside inspires a reaction.

As I am not a predator, I kept walking, and didn't look, as per usual.

know the most important aspect of such situations: Beyond being an animal, I am a pedestrian, and even a sub-compact piece of crap car could still mess me up pretty good if a scared little woman accidentally floors it. But I show no fear.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Quiet on the set... still

For both of you who read my report weeks ago on the filming of Spring Breakdown near where my dragon boat team practices, I offer this follow-up photo, taken this past Saturday.

There was no actual filming taking place in the morning while we were there (not only was there no Parker Posey, there weren't even any extras). However, this set up of tents and a volleyball court surrounded by flags and signs reading (as you can see) "Let's Padre!" was being vaguely watched by "security" guards (who didn't care about me taking a picture of it).

Why "Let's Padre!"? Um, perhaps there's a Father's Day sub-plot? Maybe that's going to be the catch phrase of the spring? (They can't be crazy enough to pretend Long Beach is an island off the gulf coast of Texas.)

I guess we'll just have to see the movie next year. When it comes on cable. If there's nothing better on.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Let's all go to the lobby...

Hollywood's nightmare: empty theaters.

(Little known fact: Cranking up the AC in the theater will drive folks out the second the credits start rolling even faster than needing to pee after the gigantic sodas. Even if there's funny scenes at the very end of Talladega Nights. Which, while very funny, is not as good as Little Miss Sunshine.)

I don't know. Seemed artsy to post this one sideways.

Not Pacific Air 121

With everything that was banned on planes last week after the foiled terrorist plot, from sports drinks to lip gloss, there was one thing that would seem obvious but, as far as I can tell, was not mentioned:


I am tired of these motherf*@kin' producers missing these motherf#^kin' blatant tie-in opportunities.

How often are they going to get chances like this? It's not like marketing of the movie appeals to the easily offended.

Come on. I can't keep giving these away.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Let's stay together

If you don't recognize this landmark...

Well, you may not be able to make out the performer on the screens (but look below). It's the Reverend Al Green (who performed there back on the 2nd).

Still smooth, still beckoning us to get married, still spreading the L-O-V-E.

And yes, we were there (come and take us). Not in the good seats, but we were there.


I didn't mean for this to be a backhanded compliment, but I fear that's how it comes off.

Even when I'm sincere I seem sarcastic, don't I?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

War is... sandy

The battle of Marine Stadium waged on during the recent dragon boat tournament in Long Beach. (Is this not what is tearing us apart? The red and the blue fighting over a bunch of sand?)

Friday, August 11, 2006

A place where nothing ever happens

Could it be heaven...

or just some place that has mentioned it in their advertising?

If you found the second picture more interesting, it means you want an afterlife that involves Slurpees.

And there's nothing wrong with that.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

It ain't me, babe

After seeing a news story about Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler splitting up, and reflecting on having seen stories on Best Week Ever about other celebrity couples who broke up after having had reality shows document the halcyon days of their love (you know who I'm talking about--or read about it here and here), it seems easy to make some glib joke about how reality shows have replaced tattooing your partner's name on your body as the best predictor of the relationship not surviving. Come on: That's not particularly clever. Even I can't pretend it is.

There's no point in asking when celebrities will learn. They won't. They're celebrities, and clearly they didn't get to be that way by exercising good judgment. No one in the media gives a crap about people who do sensible things, so allowing a camera crew to follow your love life, as imprudent as they may be for the love life, is merely a logical path to maintaining your celebrity.

It would be quaint to claim I find solace in knowing that, by virtue of being completely off-the-grid (so to speak), I am of no interest to the producers of reality shows, and by inference, my romantic relationship is on solid ground. But let's not forget: Plenty of couples break up without TV to blame, so I can't even feel good about being a nobody as an indicator of success in love. (I take my girlfriend continuing to love me as an indicator of that, since I don't have the speculation of the gossip mags to tell me how things are going with us.)

I will claim some tiny amount of relief in the knowledge that I didn't watch the reality shows in question (not because I'm too good for that nonsense, but because I just didn't find them to be all that interesting when I checked out a few minutes of each--that probably explains why I'm not the sort the producers seek). Thus, I did not contribute to death of these marriages by supporting the shows that did them in. My hands (and my remote) are clean. (Watching "Best Week Ever" lampoon these shows has no connection. Just so we're clear.)

Just because I won't make the obvious joke about it doesn't mean the shows aren't responsible. One is unfortunate. Two is coincidence. But with three celebrity couples who were on reality shows getting divorced, we have scientific proof.

As with any rule, there is an exception: Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne are still together, probably because their show, to the best I can tell (having not really watched it), was never about them being all lovey-dovey. (Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed, are you taking notes?)

Don't tout your love on TV, whether you're a celebrity or just a gullible civilian who might end up on such a show. If you value it at all, just say... nothing to anyone with a camera.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

World Series of Pop (and Zooropa) Culture

When I watched VH1's World Series of Pop Culture's last episode last week, there was a moment when all one contestant needed to do to win the tie-breaker and send her team to the finals was to name one U2 album other than Pop and Zooropa.

Yes, the tie-breaker question was to name U2 studio albums, to see which contestant could name more. And those were the two albums that got mentioned first. As any even semi-U2 fan could tell you, those are not exactly their more popular albums, so you'd think the two contestants were going obscure to one-up the other.

But those were all they could identify. I was practically yelling "Boy! October! War! Unforgettable Fire!" at the screen. Even those aren't as big as Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby, which couldn't be escaped on the radio or MTV back in the late 80's and early 90's. I get it that to know such things now makes one old, but still, they just came out with How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb two years ago with that damn iPod commercial on it.

When neither contestant could come up with another album (not one), they got another tie-breaker question: that one asked them to name the country music performers of the year for the past decade. The winner could name one; the loser couldn't name any. (Neither said Garth Brooks.) Yes, their teams were one game away from the finals, but apparently not because of them specifically.

There were a few other questions throughout the series where neither contestant got it but I could answer without much thought (such as identifying what 80's song contains this lyric:
"I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert/But I can live and breathe and see the sun in winter time"), and one might think that I should have been on the show instead of those who were there.

But for every such question I knew, there was one where I should have known. Case in point: When the question required identifying what model of automobile was transformed into the time machine in Back to the Future, I blithely blurted "Lamborghini"--even though (as the contestant correctly answered) it was, of course, a Delorean. Duh.

Which is why I was watching from my living room, rather than vying for $250,000.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Still rocking... perhaps teetering

Last week I blew off going to dragon boat practice—the last practice before a tournament—and instead went to the Buzzcocks show up in Hollywood.

Technically, the band didn't go on until 11:00, so I could have made practice, rushed home, showered, motored up there, and been there in time. But why would I bother with that?

The show featured an interesting amalgam of underage kids who idolize the old school punk along with those who may have been hardcore in their day but had settled in to the office life along with those who still desperately clung to that hardcore and remembered when the old school was the new thing. The band opened with six newer songs, all of which sounded pretty good, and in the style and spirit of their old stuff. This was prudent of them, as once song seven ("I Don't Mind") started, the crowd's enthusiasm was ratcheted up and there would be no more tolerating the efforts to play the new stuff. (The band did sneak one more in at the start of the encore.)

I appreciated the older attendees. They made me feel still kind of youngish. The guy next to me (an engineer I'd guess judging from his haircut and glasses) spastically gyrated, thrusting his arms in a move that combined fist pumping with air guitar. It was great to see him enthusiastic, while at the same time it made me feel not so out of it.

I like the shows like that, where the band proves they can still rock but the crowd knows better than to think they can slam dance. (Some kids tried to start a pit, which lasted about 10 seconds.) There was plenty of sweat up front, sure, and I spotted some pogoing and crowd surfing, but by and large the fans were enthusiastic without being out-for-blood. We have nothing to prove—or at least that there's no point in trying to prove anything—and we know we don't have the energy to try.

There was one moment that made me cringe. After the band left the stage at the end of the first set, while the crowd cheered and clapped to bring about the encore that would happen anyway, the spastic dancer and the guy next to him pulled out their Blackberry devices—not even just cell phones—and waved them in lieu of lighters.

It was hardly surprising that these guys were there without dates. (I am awful, I know.)

Of course, they weren't as bad as the people who pulled out such devices and actually checked messages during the show.

Technology has made it so much easier to reach out to others, and at great speed, and yet has made us less worthy of keeping in contact with; we're p-whipped by convenience.

Punk's not dead, but it is a bit too concerned with how many friends it has on its MySpace page.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Moving on up to the east side of the Citigroup building in downtown L.A., thanks to this series of escalators.

Who wouldn't want to get close to those marble columns?

Perhaps the earth hasn't noticed it's August in the Northern Hemisphere

Sun peeking through clouds, as seen from I-5 heading north toward Burbank.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sunset, part whatever-it-is

Another in an inadvertant series (unlike the jacaranda project, which was intended to be that way) of shots of the same theme, because it's too easy to be entranced by the effects of the earth's rotation forcing to the edge of our perspective the large ball of hydrogen and helium some 93,000,000 miles away.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

PG-13 admission

Sometimes I feel this way:

Why can't these people around me