Cracked Lights and Cassette Tapes

Lately I listen to more Cohen than I do Waits.  I’m not sure how to feel about it.  Mr Cohen just seems to pop up more and more fluidly.  Like he did this morning.

I saw a word referencing a leak about a video game news story coming… down the Valve. And instead of following immediately to find out the news, I immediately thought of this quote and subsequent song by Leonard Cohen.

“There is a crack in everything.  That’s how the light gets in.”

This year has had so many life changing moments.  This past week… oh my… it’s been a shark week…

I woke up to a phone call from an office in a land of enchantment.  A land where, coincidentally, someone is returning to as if to take the other’s place.

I thought so much more of that one… and the magic that I thought he helped create.  Like the nuclear explosion in a white dwarf star that makes the world brighter by its occurrence.  And he was, if only for a moment at least.

It wasn’t good news about either non sequitor situation.  It was… a snag in progress.  I have hit so many snags with all of this.  I’ve been starting to lose a bit of hope throughout all of it.

The holiday weekend brought with it so much affirmation and perspective it was mind blowing.  My mind goes through it again and again analyzing each moment and trying to: make peace with it, make sense of it, and change it.

I feel like a jammed cassette tape.

My brain.. under the microscope

(Ps if any of you feel compelled to do so I also wouldn’t mind getting this t-shirt)

I’m about to hit the showers.  Analyze why the phrase hit the showers exists.

(I mean, what did the showers ever do to me beyond get me all clean and smelling good?)

Head downtown to a courthouse with a pen, several notepads, my computer, chargers, and… this heavy heavy heart I have as I trudge through it all.. on the bus system… with an entourage of naysayers strewn across my path.

I think about the words of Mr Cohen once again.  I think about the beauty of enlightenment.  About how the greatest things to happen and the greatest works of literature and art seem to have come from cracked places like this one.

Is it weird that I’m smiling through tears?  That it’s not just society’s’ force that guides me to that smile right now but it’s… this silly stupid optimistic heart?

Maybe I’m just stupid.  Hell I’ve heard that in the past before too.  Either way?  Fuck it.  This is important to me and it’s worth fighting for.  If I don’t, the potential for it to change really is zero.

So here goes [hopefully not] nothing.

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Carmageddon: The Aftermath

Dear Los Angeles,

So I see you that have survived the feared inferno of “Carmageddon”. You rocked the happy hour specials. You steered your four wheeled vessels clear of the freeways in fear of losing your ever so precious time sitting parked on the freeway for hours upon hours.

You chose to not clutter the streets with aggravation. For a few glorious days, there was a silent peace decorated on asphalt. People were drawn in droves to the otherwise bickered about public transportation. There wasn’t arguing with the hurried commuter in the other car, bike, or motorcycle trying to get to x function. There were no stretched necks as accident after accident piled up to make the drive home from work, play, or errands a little longer. There was less noise and pollution.

The 405 is opening as I type this. It bids one to wonder if the community has learned anything from this exercise. How will the Los Angeles community change? How have you changed for the greater good?

Los Angeles once had the greatest public transit system in the world. Nowadays, people dread the thought of taking a bus, a train, or a bike in lieu of a car. This weekend proved that the community here is so ambivalent to change that, rather than embrace the possibilities of other alternatives, would rather just not participate at all.

This weekend Los Angeles biker community advocates Wolfpack Hustle embarked on a 40 mile race against an airline proved the power of the human versus the machine. In a race won by pedal pushers that generated substantial buzz, why are the Los Angeles bike paths lacking in comparison to other major metropolitan cities?

Now that Carmageddon has come and gone, as a business person, are you going to take heart the relief and production capabilities of a happier worker that has not had to “deal” with traffic for one day? Are you going to provide more of an incentive to take public transit?

As a regular commuter are you going to make a more proactive attempt to take public transit when you can? Will you take an extra few minutes to walk down the street to that cafe for brunch or the extra few blocks to the grocery store?

It’s time the community took a big look at the bigger picture. We have the power to carve this city into something greater if we unify ourselves. Time is a precious commodity but so is a calmer, healthier way of life. Instead of putting one in front of the other, perhaps both are capable of happening. Dare to be a part of the change.

Postal Project in found art

To Mr Cheng

To Mr Cheng

I’ve always been a little off.  This idea has been something that has actually done by my family at one point, but for a reason that wasn’t art.

The picture seen here is from Swedish Artist Eric Ericson.  He spent many years sending objects through the mail and these are a few of them.  I have every intention of copying it.  My mother does not know it yet, but she is about to get sent random miscellaneous objects from me.  So if anyone reading finds something quirky that they want me to mail (within reason), I will send it to my mother.  And when I say within reason, I’m talking stuff that she will likely just laugh at as opposed to something I will get a lecture about.  As it is I’m sure she’s going to mail me a list to therapists in the area and tell me to seek help after this.

I called my grandmother this morning and told her about it.  She is doing much better.  She told me she’d received the postcards I’d sent her and asked me about my weekend.  She was more curious about the things I was doing.  She told me many tales about her life.  We talked a little bit about the hospital and then I mentioned this.

My friend the dark prince said he will help me in the experiment if I want to send him things.  The project is for art as well as humor.

My grandmother reminded me of the time my grandfather did this.  He is far from being an artist though.

In a box somewhere is the muffler from my dad’s old Seabring convertible.  My dad was moving back to California from IL and wanted to try and get a trailer hitch on the back.  Grandpa’s brilliant idea was to saw off the muffler- which he did- take a permanent marker to it and some stamps and mail it to my dad’s new address in California.

It did indeed get there and has been a family joke for nearly 10 years now.

Seeing this post made me smile and so did my grandmother.  I told her I was going to send various objects to my mother and not tell her beforehand.  My grandmother didn’t help.  She actually encouraged the project.

“I found one of your shoes here.  Just one.  You should send it to him or your mother.” she said with a giggle.

“Oh really?  Which one?”

“Some black and white one.”

I told her some of the things I planned on sending my mother already.  Just miscellaneous crap that’s around the apartment that I really have no clue why it’s there.  I told my roommate to let me know what he finds while he’s cleaning to send to mom.

“I may be little but I’m odd.” I quoted Eddie Munster.

“I know.” he said and chuckled.

And now my postman is going to know too.  Yay!

Epilogue:  My grandmother thanked me for the cards I’ve sent.  I told her I will send her more.  She told me “Thank you for making me smile today.  Thank you for making me laugh and feel full of life again.”  I think this is the start of a beautiful morning.

Epilogue 2: I’m going to see if I can actually tape some of this but will need a partner in crime and would prefer not to do it at the post office near me as I’m there twice a week as it is already.  If you are interested in being said counterpart please send me an email to inquire about this position or I may just post it on Craigslist.

The list blogs: things I dislike about living in the metro

I live so far from home and wouldn’t trade where I live for a moment (well except perhaps for SF or SD but that’s different).  But then there’s a few things about here that really suck in comparrison to suburbia.

Hobos– They’re everywhere.  But in the metro they’re crazier, scarier, and ruder.  However, they seem to be a bit more honest to some degree.  Panhandlers in suburbia have to hide their booze/drug/ sexual operation desires, whereas here they’re at least upfront they’re not buying food with the money you give them.

Public Transit– it may suck most everywhere else (and this doesn’t include you SF) but in most major metro areas, the busses especially are rarely on time nor are they comfortable.  You get what you pay for is an understatement.

Parking– Oh god.  This could have subcatagories.  In fact, I think it should.

  1. Meters– fill it more than you think you’re going to be there.  If you’re late even one minute the maid will not give a crap.  Either hack the meter or always carry quarters.  Trust me.
  2. Parallel parking– You don’t seem to get enough practice with this in suburbia.  But people in the metro really don’t give a crap about making it easy for you either.  Be there early.
  3. Size issues (parking)- I love when cars just don’t pull up that maybe 2 ft ahead so someone can park in front or behind them.  Thank you resident asshat.
  4. Street sweeping– Multiple vehicles and streetside parking is a nightmare here.  It’s like an orchestra of when I have to move what.  Those tickets aren’t fun either.
  5. Valet ripoffs– They want $15-25 just to move your car 500 ft and park it.  What an awesome waste of money.  And sadly not everywhere with a bike lets you get out of Valet even if they can’t park it.  Which is a waste times 2.

Roads– the upkeep on the freeway and major roads is substandard.  In some ways this is really not a good city for scooters or bicycles.  Thanks for the encouragement for polluting less to the environment mr Govenator.

Less homestyle cooked food– Let’s face it.  There’s nothing that really compares to some of the homestyle cooked places back home.  Go back to the simplicity and enjoy your meal.. calorie by hundred calorie you have.

Less personable diners– There’s something about a diner back home in the middle of the country and the warmth of the people that makes even a mediocre diner that much better than most anything here in the metro.

No backyards– Growing up in IL I had a house with a backyard.  In the metro area it seems that area is something that only exists in dreams and for rich people.

Overly Expensive without reason entertainment– Sometimes merited.  Oftentimes not.  If it’s on Sunset, it’s likely not.  If its downtown San Diego and nearly $20 for a drink I can get for 5-7, it’s.. not.

Cleaner playgrounds– This is an urban jungle.  Despite the street cleaning the public playgrounds here just aren’t kept well.

Not enough quality doughnut shops–  How hard is it to screw up a doughnut?  Seriously.  This is ridiculous with the amount of sugar encrusted consumerism there is here that finding a good one is a treat.  (Please someone in LA prove me wrong.  The shop also should also include wifi and talkative regulars with fantastic stories)

High cost rent– This one you don’t always get what you pay for.  You could be paying through the roof for a location thats downtown next to Skid Row.  That said I’m extremely fortunate to have found the place I am at for the price I’m at (thank you roommie).

I think that’s enough for now.  I have another list coming up that kind of branches off of this one.  I guess now wouldn’t be a horrible time to go home after all.  But maybe for an actual vacation and not a potential “fun”eral.

Douchebag of the week! Username: Maniwannakillyou

Ah the wide open road.  How I ever survived without two wheels before I have no idea.  Hell, with the way it is in LA, how I’m going to survive on two wheels isn’t far off either.

Enter the first of many scooter related car agressive behaviors.

Dear people who drive cars,

I know you’re too busy not paying attention and being completely oblivious to the world around you in your lovely protected bubble, but for the love of pete people!  While yes, I understand that while you are driving is the *perfect* time to do a myriad of activities you couldn’t possibly be bothered to do while you’re, oh, not driving (ie: shaving your legs, picking your nose in public, doing your makeup, disciplining your kid, frying pancakes- yes, ive actually seen someone do this in their car… it was actually my uncle…. yes, seriously) , I really would not like to die.

I know you’re in a hurry.  Hell this is LA.  Everyone is in a hurry to get that place down the street from them, 20 minutes away.  That’s part of the reason I’m on my bike.  Because frankly it sucks sitting in the gridlock waiting to go 2 feet.  I know you’re jealous of that.  It’s ok, I’d be jealous too.  I’m pretty jealous of those big rar bikes I see out there as well.  It’s ok.  I will totally girl it out and rock my scooter.

Dear cars,

You are not going to get ahead of me when I’m at the front of the line.  Deal with it.  But douchebags, remember that to hold up that bike at the stop light, I have to put my feet down.  Please refrain from trying to run over them because you’re pissed off that I get to go before you.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the winner of this weeks Douchebag of the week goes to…. asshole who wanted to turn left that slammed on their brakes for no apparent reason when I was 2 ft away from their bumper.

There was no one in front of him.  There wasn’t a small infant or animal or block of ice or a truck full of Haagen Daas dropping deliciousness out the back to merit any sudden braking.  It was completely open with no traffic.  I was behind said douchebag and going normal speed, when suddenly… wham.  And it was almost wham for me… in their back windshield.

They say that most accidents occur within 2 miles of your home.  It is the area where your guard is down and you are most comfortable.  This was down the street from me.  Thankfully it wasn’t the day I was getting a smoothie over there, because otherwise, it would have been even douchey-ier, though I’m sure I’d smell delectable covered in smoothie juice.

I’d really really not like to die on my bike due to someone being a pussy and breaking out of nowhere.  Here’s to you mr Maniwannakillyou.  Perhaps you should pay attention to the people behind you and learn how to drive you jerkface.

The list blogs: Lessons learned on my first night ride out

It’s been awhile since I’ve graced the grid.  The beast is huge, ridiculous to park, and a gas guzzler.  It makes for yet another annoyance whenever I want to go anywhere in LA.  I am grateful for it, but it comes with consequences.

I’ve been doing some major cutting back on social networking events to hone in on responsibilities and ongoing tasks.  Fret not, there’s much in the pipeline… I have confidence that I’ll be fine.  I appreciate your patience in the interim.  Until then, anything that I go to will be extremely limited so that I can conserve financially and get back to the point where I can do even more than I did before.

With the newfound “joy” of being on the job market again there really needs to be.. well a sheet that I have in the works for you.  Stay tuned for that in a later edition.

I took 2 time outs for myself yesterday.  I met up with a gentleman for some food and conversation.  I must say that I had a good time.  It was nice to get out and laugh a bit without any pressure.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been out with the girls though.  Last night I was invited out to 2 things: a “passion” party a friend was having and have drinks with 2 lovely ladies that I haven’t seen in what seems like forever.  In order to avoid a cliche irony of “the day I get divorced I go to a Mary Kay sex toy party” I decided on the latter.   Sorry to the friend who got roped into hosting that party.  No pun intended.  (Ps, please send me the catalog and let me know what I missed)

I was eager to get there and catch up.  It was only in Century City- a whopping 4 miles from me.  But I get lost in a paper bag.  It’s another reason why I don’t care for using the truck if I can avoid it. (Sounds like another list blog in the works)

Here’s what I learned from my first night ride out on my new scooter:

  • Always write down the number, level, and color of where you are parked in the Century City shopping center (wow what a maze) because if you thought finding a car was difficult, a bike is that much worse.
  • My full faced helmet will not fit in the trunk of my scooter.  So the likelihood you will see me pull up in one to an event later is pretty small.
  • Hot tattooed guys notice biker girls.  Especially redhead small ones with two extremely attractive women walking with them, regardless if they have a big jacket on or what.
  • U turns are really not that bad
  • Cars are annoying and they’re impatient.  That said, I’m glad I’m on my bike because it lets me get away with having to be less patient and at the same time more aware of my surroundings which will make me a better driver in my car.
  • going through cars is pretty exhilarating.
  • In a worst case scenario, you really don’t need to bother paying at those gates on a bike.
  • I know exactly who I can call in a worst case scenario at 12am to ask for directions or questions with my bike.  (Thank you Baron for helping me get home last night.  Sorry I fell asleep on the phone after I got home, but you can understand why.)
  • The ride might be quieter, but is amazing for reflecting.  Anytime I get down about anything I “pray” it isn’t raining.  I know where I will be… on the road on my bike taking a time out.
  • Getting lost is more cost effective on a bike.  Apparently I get 60 mpg and it cost me a whopping $4.04 to fill up in Beverly Hills.  That’s… well wonderful.

Sometimes in life you just have to get the courage to do things.  It might be scary at first, but that’s what life is really about in the end.  A little bit of fear when tapped on correctly will enhance the experience and make you stronger.  I’m going to learn this city just yet… and thankfully it won’t cost me a ton to do it 🙂

Douchebag Alert! Username: LA raindriver asshat

Dear Mr. LA raindriver asshat,

I was on my way to work EARLY for once the other day in the rain when you absolutely had to cut me off.  You realize that my truck could have ripped through your piece of shit little plastic beat up Honda if I just hit the gas when you attempted to cut me off right?

However, I decided to forgo being late for work with that drama, and let you go ahead anyway.

For those of you that don’t know, there are 2 lights when going onto the 405S from Venice Boulevard.  They are also the worst and slowest left turn lights that I have encountered thusfar in all of Los Angeles.

Thanks to said douchebag, I was 10 minutes late for work when I was supposed to have been early.  He was the last car to be able to get through the first light and the weasel somehow managed to catch enough luck to breeze through the second one.

I, however, was fortunate enough not only to catch both reds, but I didn’t get through the turn on the first green on the second light, so got to wait some more!

So congrats LA raindriver asshat guy.  You are officially awarded the douchebag of the week award.

But as a sidenote, this award could have essentially been anyone.  I don’t know a single person in LA that doesn’t drive like a douchebag… well, except for my roommate.  That said, if you’re ever looking to get into the blog, there’s plenty of opportunities to take the title.

—-

And now it’s time for beers with a hot boy, who’s not a douchebag… even if he runs a certain red light everyday.  He can get away with it.