Tuesday, December 30, 2008
So what's been happening...let me think....
I turned 30. This is a very big deal or so I am told. My birthday fell on a Monday so I, of course, was stricken ill (actually, I was coming down with a cold). I wasted the first part of the day futzing around on the internet, a morning much like those of my mid-to-late 20s. Then I took a nice, thoughtful drive up the coast and had lunch at the Malibu pier, tomato soup encrusted in a pastry shell, grapefruit juice and tea to combat the cold. I took my notepad with me in case I came into contact with any deep thoughts that had been recently reported in the vicinity. I scratched a few things down, but they were far from deep, held afloat by the water wings of expectancy. That was the thing about the whole ordeal, I felt like it was supposed to mean more to me than it did, the 30 part, I mean. I had planned to write this big post evaluating life as I saw it at such a benchmark age, a sort of "here's what I've figured out so far" type of deal. Then I realized my friends are all of similar age and it would probably be self-important to wax like the wise old man. And I could hear the older friends laughing, "Hey, look everybody, Mr. 3-0 is gonna tell us the meaning of life!" I will say this, for me personally, at the ripe age of 30, I feel like I know who I am, I know what I love, what I don't, I know how to appreciate things, small and large, rare and common, and I am never ever bored. That's very nice. The teens and early 20s got nothing on that. One of the nice things about those younger years are the sense of excitement and wonder about what might you become or how your life will take shape. At this point, it's not such a wide open question. Being an astronaut is pretty much off the table at this point, ya know? I do feel like I am capable of much more, but now there is a sense of urgency to get to it already. It's frustrating to think of what so many others have accomplished by their 30th...Kobe had 3 championships...Orson Wells had already made "Citizen Kane"...F. Scott Fitzgerald had already written "The Great Gatsby." Then again, "Annie Hall" and "When Harry Met Sally" were made by Woody Allen and Rob Reiner, respectively, at the shared age of 42. So there is hope yet. I gotta get going, damn it. Another thing I have realized, with no relation to my advancing age, is how conspicuously writing in a notebook or pad directly improves the service you receive. They always think you're writing about them.
After lunch, I got the best massage of my life. Ninety-minutes and I wanna tell you...this woman was a prodigy. She used her elbows nearly as much as her hands! When I walked out of there, I was a six foot pile of Jell-O swaying with the slightest breeze. My speech was slurred. Just awesome.
I returned home and was whisked away for an evening by Nicole and the folks for an evening of fine dining at Spago where I met Wolfgang Puck himself. It was a glorious meal, for sure, but I did feel a bit uncomfortable, like I didn't belong there and every person in the room knew it and was talking about it.
My dad gave me a really nice camera, one of his he wasn't using anymore. I've been really enjoying it so far even though I haven't really seen too much of what I have done since my friggin' back ordered card reader still hasn't come in. I'm thinking about starting a Flickr account because a lot of times I want to post pictures but it takes too long with Blogger and I don't want to pick 3 worthy of the effort out of 50+ pictures taken. File this under: when I have time(!).
I picked out my wedding suit tonight. Exciting stuff. It's really happening, isn't it?
Alright, that's all I got for now. NYE tomorrow, party to prepare for. Annual Freeze Your Ass Off Camping Trip on Friday. Perhaps Disneyland on Sunday. Oy. I mean, Woo-Hoo!
Next I shall post pictures and tell tales of my wonderful Christmas week in the Rockies!
Happy New Year, Cyberspace!
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Went to a show recently and when they brought the bill, the little leather folder had an illuminated panel inside it! The future is now!
This is a sign that was posted on our fridge at work shortly after the cell phone law went into effect. No indication yet as to whether drunk driving or vehicular manslaughter are also against company policy in addition to being illegal.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I won't even attempt to talk about what it means for our country. There are enough people describing it today better than I could. I can talk about my personal feelings though. It was an historic moment. I felt like I was watching a man land on the moon. Like The Berlin Wall was coming down. Like I was watching "Star Wars" for the first time. If there had been a way to harness the sex had by democrats and like-minded people all over the world last night, there would no longer be an energy crisis. Seriously though, it's just a truly profound sensation of pride, hope, and awe.
YES WE DID!!!!
Monday, November 03, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
In the heartless, greedy spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge and Frank Shirley, I have just learned that our boss has decided that the scheduled two weeks off at Christmas will be unpaid. That's right, you read it right, he's decided to not just take away our never-existent Christmas bonuses this year, he's decided to withhold our salary and not pay us anything at all. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! To think, I bought a Christmas CD at lunch, feeling almost guilty about being so in the spirit so long before Christmas. An hour later, I would experience the polar opposite of this whistle-while-you-work optimism and cheeriness as I heard I would need to find another means by which to pay my Christmas rent and bills. This was an inspiration not to sing carols and spread good cheer--no, this was the inspiration to piss on Scrooge's desk and punch him in his smug, insufferable beak. Luckily, there are blogs.
Although...if any of you are actually looking for any last minute gifts for me as my hero Clark W. Griswold details in the clip above, I do have the prick's address (wink).
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Feels more like a Disneyland day than a work day. Except for the fact that's 90 friggin' degrees outside. In October.
Had my show on Monday night. Thanks to the two of you who showed up! Hahahaha...Seriously though, I'll get over it in a couple years.
I think it went pretty well. I think we, as a class, really stepped up, especially considering how far we had come in eight weeks of class. I am sure of one thing regardless--I had a great time doing it. It was an incredible feeling to be up on the stage, looking out into the lights, seeing nothing yet knowing the people are there, staring back at you expectantly. I was fairly nervous before the show, but it was a really good nervous, more anxious than anything else. Nothing like what I have felt before softball games where my stomach feels like it's about to revolt. In this case, I felt much more confident, the fearful mantra "please don't hit it to me" never once entering my mind. And then to be out there and feel that sense of highwire danger, that a lean one way or the other could have me plummeting to death by humiliation...and yet to be okay with that potential failure made me more confident that I would do just fine. I'm not gonna lie, it was a great feeling--call it a spiritual flutter--to be out there with no idea what I was going to say until I heard myself say it and then to hear people laugh...really, truly exciting.
Also, it was weird how it really wasn't until the show itself, I think, that we really bonded as a class/team. I would have guessed that with a class like this with such feelings of vulnerability running throughout we would have bonded much earlier, like people in a hostage situation or something. But after class we said our cordial goodbyes and scattered. After the show though we were ready to go drinking together. I can think of a lot of explanations for it, but who cares at this point. I was just happy to see it.
Alright, duty calls. Grrrrrrr....
Friday, October 10, 2008
So I stop at the Whole Foods because I need cash for lunch today. I figure I'll pick up an issue of "The Atlantic Monthly," pay with debit and get cash back. I'm considering subscribing to the magazine so it was to work out perfectly. Except they did not have "The Atlantic" on this fine morning and I have no need for "Yoga Magazine" or "Martha Stewart Living." I wasted the next ten minutes frantically wandering around, searching for something--anything--that I really needed. Gum? Nope, used that one last Friday. I had decided on a cookie until I saw that it was three whole doll-hairs. Three fucking dollars for a single cookie? I won't pay it. Finally, I settled on a lemon. I'll cut it and squeeze it into my water today, I thought. Great. Get to the checkout, cashier rings it up at 99 cents. The dreadlocked guy behind me chimed in with what I was thinking.
"A dollar for one lemon? I could have sold you one for a quarter," he said.
The cashier quipped, "Is it organic though?"
"I grew it myself. Yeah, it's organic."
Friday, September 19, 2008
I find it interesting how the first question that usually comes to mind is "How did he do it?" Thankfully, I don't have all the details. All I know is that it involved a sealed room, a BBQ, and that he had been there long enough for the gruesomeness of the scene to overwhelm the responding fire fighters.
I didn't know this man, but it saddens me to think that he was in such utter despair. He lived in the building, but the two buildings have their backs to each other so it's not really fair to say that he lived next door. The buildings on this street are designed in clusters of two with a courtyard area in between. I wonder how this has affected the neighbors in his cluster.
I heard about the ordeal from my upstairs neighbor. I know I have commented before on the unique community of my two-building cluster, but I was reminded again by it when I found out. In most other apartments in LA, I'll bet I never would have had such a conversation about something that occurred outside my four walls. This poor soul would have grossly taken his own life less than one hundred feet from where I sleep and I never would have known the difference. He must have thought so or at least that no one would care. It makes me think about two levels of loneliness, physical and emotional, specifically, how physical affects emotional. Does a person stranded alone in a desert hurt more than a person living in a big city surrounded by millions of people but without any meaningful connections of his own? My personal feeling is that it hurts more, or in a sharper, more damaging way to feel alone in the company of others. If such a state had a capitol, it would have to be Los Angeles.
Yet, if you're open to it, there always seems to be a surprising, hopeful yin to the solemn yang, a friendly face whose looks at you are absorbed rather than caromed off to a safer landing. Last night as I was getting the mail, I saw a flier posted above the boxes. It was an invitation to a community cookout on Sunday. It said, "It's time for another community gathering! Bring something to drink and a cold dish if you like. Live music starts at six. Free, free, free..." I checked the name and address, some guy I've never met from a building across the narrow but busy street. Wow, I thought. I did not see that one coming. There is hope for us yet after all. I only wonder if my unnamed neighbor had held on a little longer. I wonder if I could have met him at this Sunday community barbecue. What are the chances we might have toasted a couple of beers together? Would we have liked each other?
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
When I'm not in my bubble at work and my imagination is tested by the sunny skies and 78 degree days, I must work a little harder. Luckily, Starbucks has armed me with the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, a seasonal delight. I've got the Fall Playlist fresh on the Ipod, ready to go. There is a tree-lined stretch of street in my neighborhood where the leaves actually change colors and, get this, fall to the ground. Right now, all roads pass through, if not lead to, this street. I've got football. I've got the "Peanuts" gang. I've got the Land's End and LL Bean catalogs. I've got soup.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
I feel like I am entering a good time in my life.
I had my first improv class last Thursday. It went terribly in the sense that I was overwhelmingly nervous to the point of uncontrollably smiling throughout. I couldn't stop doing the nice, nervous, neurotic guy sch tick. Not sch tick in the sense that it was an act. It wasn't an act, but it was a front, a defensive stance. Still, it went well in the sense that I was inspired to do better the next week. It felt great just to be there doing it, even if I wasn't doing my best right out of the shoot. It was a jolt of energy to be doing something, for a change, that felt like it had some sort of purpose for me. And yet, it was completely and utterly exhausting. I went to bed at eight o'clock the night following that first class. Not to sound like the loser constantly trying to match his peak back in high school, but I really need to find my way back to where I was in high school. What I mean is that I need to find the courage to not be nervous or the ability, at least, to not let that nervousness affect my behavior or performance. I need to get back to that place where I can just effortlessly be myself and enjoy the moment, however it turns out. Now that the first class is out of the way and the ice has been mostly broken, I am hoping I can talk myself into it.
Last Sunday, I ran in the Nike Human Race 10K in downtown LA. I never would have considered it if The Doug hadn't pitched the idea, selling it with the free shoes he could get me by running under the umbrella of his team. I needed some new shoes and I've been running pretty well so I figured, what the hell. It's funny how sometimes you stumble upon the great things before you ever knew you really needed them. I was a little nervous about the distance. Even in my best shape, I've never been much of a distance runner. I'd been running about 3 miles, four times a week around the neighborhood so I figured I could probably stretch it into 6.2, especially if it was going to be flat. The first third or so, I was stuck in the pack, without the option of going much faster than a mild jog. I had Obama's speech from the DNC inspiring me on the ol' ipod. Then it got to be a bit frustrating. I was a third of the way through and it wasn't the least bit challenging. I know this will sound terrible, but, screw it, I'm not perfect. I looked around and I felt like I should be doing better than the pack I was running in. No offense to my man Barack, but I skipped out of his speech, got to the music, and got moving. It was night. The music kicked in and I felt like a character in a movie, entering his third act and chasing full steam that which he had only just then realized he wanted more than anything in life. As I passed the kilometer and mile markers, a smile spread across my face as I realized I was really doing this thing that I was not sure I could do and it felt like I was doing it well. Water stations appeared a few times on my right, but all I thought about was moving to the outside to avoid the pack slowing down to drink. I was in the zone. My legs felt great, my heart and lungs felt strong. I was working shit out. Bystanders began to appear along the railings along the sidelines of the course. I figured they were out there to cheer someone they knew, not because this was entertaining, but I pretended they were cheering for me. As I made the final turn and started the home stretch, I tapped into an attitude that a passive-aggressive guy like me rarely sees. I was going for it and loving every second. Finally, the start/finish gate came back into sight. The crowd had swollen now and there were bright lights shining on us. I felt a certain rush from this but I don't think I understood until later that it was a feeling of pride about being on one side of the railing versus the other. I never played youth sports. This was me doing it for once rather than watching someone else do it, wishing it were me. I crossed that finish and I felt like King Kong. To put it in perspective, my time was not impressive when compared to actual runners. Hell, my time didn't even sniff what Matthew McConaughey had put up in Austin earlier that day. But that was not the point for me. Mine was not a race against anyone but myself and my own expectations for what I could achieve. It felt good to surprise myself.
I haven't run again since that Sunday night. I've been far too sore. I'm not planning to suddenly devote my life to the sport or even think about running something like a marathon. But I do have the clear memory of the place I was at mentally that night and I can now use my daily morning runs to try to feel that again rather than to simply try to get some exercise.
And I might do the Westside 10K coming up in October for shits and giggles.
Aside from that, I'll be getting my video camera back from my uncle soon and I'm gonna use it to do a short film. I went to film school, damn it. Why the fuck have I been talking myself out of it for so long? I'm also feeling like I'm ready to start writing again. Or at least start seriously thinking about the things you have to do before actually writing, which is often the most difficult part.
Yessir, I'm feeling good. I'm in a place where I can relish in the process without the constraint of worrying about the result. If only I didn't have that 40-hour-a-week nuisance known as "work" slowing me down. Cheers!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
--Speaking of Dunkin' Donuts coffee....Today marks Day One of the Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Challenge here at the office. Ya see, two of my coworkers are Dunkin' Donuts coffee snobs, always perpetuating that tired old bit about Dunkin' Donuts being the best and why don't they have them out here when they have the commercials and, God, I love the east coast, bla bla bla....(I'm not bitter about this or anything) So I have challenged them to a bet. Every day, we will make D.D. coffee here in our little bullpen....until the day I slip in a ringer. If, on that fateful day, they do not discern the difference, I win the challenge. If they get an itchy taste trigger and accuse me of making a switch on which I have not made one, I also win. Twenty dollar buy in. I can't lose.
--So I'm listening to my ipod on my little ipod speakers and just cruisin' along here at work when all of a sudden there's a loud record scratch in my head. Was that the N-word that just came flowing out of my speakers? Yes, it was. From Paul Simon. "Adios Hermanos" was the song. I'm sure there's an argument to be made for the context of the song, but that's beside the point when you're listening at work. I can't have racial epithets popping out randomly. What the fuck, Paul? Same thing goes for you, Randy Newman, when your song "Rednecks" came on later in the same damn day, using the same fuckin' word. You rock and roll legends trying to get me fired or what?
--Ever since I was thinking about biking to work, I have been more aware of the cyclists I come across on the streets and it really bothers me...Why are only 10% of them wearing helmets? Not only is it The Law, but isn't that common sense for personal safety? Would you go on a roller coaster and elect to not put the lap bar down? Would you dive head first into murky water of undetermined depth? Would you chow down on a yogurt with a compromised seal? It's just basic self-protection, isn't it? I almost want to give them a little car-to-bicycle love tap just to teach them a lesson.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
2. Block Party Friday! On Fridays, T-Bone and I go tit-for-tat with the upbeat, carry-you-into-weekend type music. It started way back when when I would play "Your Love" by The Outfield at 5:55 on Fridays and grew into an all-day 80s/90s/old school hip-hop/rock & roll extravaganza. As of today, we are upping the ante once a month with Block Party Fridays. On days such as this, I will play a song by Toto, for example. T-Bone will then have to answer by playing another song by Toto and then a song by an artist of his choosing. It goes back and forth. So far, so awesome.
3. The Office Wager White Board has arrived!! Now we have a central source on which to keep track of all our off-track betting. The only current bet on the board is on how soon our boss will get a ticket for non-hands-free cell phone use, but it's still new. I'm sure we'll have more action going very soon.
4. The bells!! Thanks to Office Depot, T-Bone and I finally have our bells. We're talking your hotel reception desk bell, as used by Bean from Kevin and Bean. This has been the best part of the day. Melissa bashes LA or waxes on about Boston or New York? DING! Someone mentions an attractive woman? DING! J.C. comes looking for his check at 9:01 Tuesday morning like he does every week? DING DING DING! Man, I wish I could carry this thing with me everywhere.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008
My favorite JT song is probably "Carolina in My Mind." A lot of times when I hear it, I remember listening to it one particular day when I was back in New York. I hadn't been living there for very long so I didn't have any real friends yet and I was having kind of a tough time regardless. I remember going to Central Park one day by myself and sitting up on a hill, against a tree overlooking the Bethesda Fountain. I sat there with an apple, a pad and pen, and "James Taylor Live" on my Discman. I remember feeling like I was taking my first deep breath since I had been there. I started to feel a little more at home. Here's looking at you, JT.
There was one little nugget of information I can relay that sets this particular concert apart from all his other shows...I saw Helen Hunt. I. Saw. Helen. Hunt. I shit you not. Can you imagine? I am lucky I didn't faint on the spot given the perfect storm that JT and HH are to me. There she was, talking to some assumed friends during the intermission, a mere six rows in front of me (cue "Dream Weaver"). Luckily when we all took our seats again, she was not visible as that would have been a tremendous distraction.
James and Helen at once. To paraphrase Clark W. Griswold, Jr., I would have needed plastic surgery to remove my smile.
Friday, July 25, 2008
We touched down on Day One in the area I believe is called the Park Blocks. This is the Portland Art Museum. We would later return to this area for BrewFest
This is the park directly across from the museum. Trees everywhere in this city! It was like one big outdoor oxygen bar!
Friday, July 18, 2008
In case you missed it or did NOT set your Tivo, I am apparently now a major television star. Huge. That's me in HD, folks. Yeah, my phone should be ringing any minute now with an invite to some swanky party in the hills or on "The Hills."
Hmmm....Oddly, still quiet. I'll give it another five minutes...