Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween, My Friends...

I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis. Stay thirsty, my friends.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nice Little Tuesday

I must have gotten one helluva nice night's sleep last night because I feel like a new man today. Refreshed! Rejuvenated! Renewed! I just wish I could better use of my buoyant spirit today. I could pay invoices while in a coma so it feels like a waste to do it today. Of course we're all familiar with calling in sick, but what about calling in feeling unusually great?

"Hey Boss...Yeah, I woke up this morning and I just felt fantastic. I mean I am really feeling spectacular. I don't think I should come in today, lest this spirit end up being contagious. Thanks for understanding. I'm sure I'll be back tomorrow."

I don't know, I don't think it would fly. Ah well, days like this are what daydreaming are for, right? I give you...

My Fake Day:

--I think I would start off with a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. They've been back for over a month and I have had, what, two? What is wrong with me?

--On that note, I am also long overdue on the fall playlist. Thanks to Wayne, my operation is mobile now. I started work on it yesterday and after about 2 hours I was not through the letter D. I don't think I want to spend the whole day on the computer though so I'll go with an on-the-go list of James Taylor and Alison Krauss.

--I think the first thing I would do is hop in the car and head east, out to Oak Glen. That's apple country, folks. I have also heard rumors of foliage, but I don't want to get my hopes up. Let's just do some apple picking. Let's walk around the orchard and just smell the trees and the dirt and the fruit. Just truly breathe. I brought sandwiches so we can eat lunch right out under that old tree. On our way out of town, we'll stop into one of the local diners for fresh apple fritters and cider.

--When we get home, we'll put those freshly picked apples to use. I am not a big fan of apple pie generally. I have nothing against it, but if I am having pie, I would prefer blueberry, pecan, or pumpkin. Then again I have never had a freshly home baked apple pie! House Rule #1 for my kitchen: Any serious culinary effort must be accompanied by a glass of wine. Now that that's settled, Well get our hands dirty making a good old fashioned apple pie. This "house" is going to smell like the bakery in heaven on Christmas morning.

--While the pie is baking, I'll take a walk up the street I am naming the Miracle Quarter-Mile, that oft mentioned block where the trees think they are in New England and not West LA. It's a nice little walk, especially with the Halloween decorations some houses have put up. One has a group of young white-sheet ghosts circling around a tree in the front yard. I'll snap a few photos, gather some of the red and yellow leaves that have fallen.

--When we get home, we'll pull that pie out of the oven and cut right into it. I know it's supposed to cool, but who can wait. I'll abide a sloppy first slice. I think I'll put a slice of cheddar cheese on mine. I've always heard about this, but never actually tried it. Maybe that's the missing ingredient for me and apple pie. It's worth a try.

--After pie, we'll play a board game or, better yet, take a nap. A sugar coma is no big deal if you are able to just give in to it, go with it.

--When we wake up, we'll hop in the car again and head for the beach. Sidebar: I know I have stretched time a bit here. It would probably be 8 pm by this point, but this is fantasy so I'll stretch this day as long as I want it. I drive home along the beach everyday and as great as that is, I never stop. It's so beautiful, I don't want to pass it by so quickly. I feel the urge to walk down to the water, stare out for more than fleeting glances as I avoid a head-on collision with oncoming traffic. But I would prefer to not do it alone either so today is the day to do it right. We'll walk along the beach hand-in-hand like a living chick flick (the we I have been referring to all this time is, of course, Nicole). When the sun finally sets and the pink sky begins to turn dark, we'll hop back in the car and head towards home, stopping first at...

--...Don Antonio's, because great Mexican food is the fare for all seasons. Aside from the sumptuous tacos, fajitas y margaritas, one of my favorite qualities about Don Antonio's is its festive atmosphere from the stalagmites of the cavern room to the white twinkle light, yellow-tile patio. I think my affinity for all things festive has been well documented by now. Dos tacos, por favor, una pollo y una carnitas. No flan tonight though, more pie awaits at home.

--The only thing better than spending time in a home overcome by seasonal scents is coming home to it, that first smell as you walk through the door. We're in for the night now. Cue the sweats. What to watch on TV tonight....hmmmm.....oh look at this, there is some sort of sporting event being televised. What are they calling it, basketball? And what is that team, the Los Angeles Lakers? Why are they giving them rings before the game begins? They are NBA Championship rings you say? This is good, let's stick with this program.

--Then, we'll watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Because it would not be the season without it.

Not a bad day, I think. And look at that, by entertaining my dreams for what the day could have been, I have killed off half of what it must be, getting ever closer to the whistle blow that portends all that it still might be. Time for lunch!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Angels 7, Yankees 6

We live to fight another day. I came into a free gorilla suit yesterday so I should have known my luck was looking up.

One step closer to the mustache. Two gargantuan steps to go still, but we're still alive. I think I had four heart attacks and two strokes last night while watching that game. We might need to force a Game 7 just to get on the right foot with Lackey. As it stands, last night's pull could seriously affect his decision on re-signing.

Just another little morsel on ridiculous sports fans' superstitions that occurred in the early innings of last night's game...Here's an IM conversation between me and Kissen:

Bottom 1st, Halos have runners on 2nd and 3rd, no outs, Torii Hunter at the plate

(Me) (5:13:52 PM): TORII COMES THROUGH!!! 2-0 HALOS!!!!

(Kissen) went away at 5:15:38 PM

Vladdy doubles, Kendry singles, Angels are on top 4-0 with no outs

(Kissen) returned at 5:17:48 PM
(Kissen) (5:18:40 PM): nice

(Kissen) (5:18:47 PM): I was on the can

(Me) (5:19:14 PM): guess what we might need you to go back there for the next few hours

(Kissen) (5:19:31 PM): I got a lap top with Wi Fi
(Kissen) (5:19:33 PM): shouldn't be a problem
(Kissen) (5:19:42 PM): let me see if I can cause a 2nd wave to hit

Maicer flies out, Juan Rivera grounds into an inning-ending double-play.

So in this case, it didn't seem to matter, but still, that's a true friend that's willing to go back to the bathroom stall for the sake of his friend's team.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ah what the hell, I'm in.

Let's go, boys.

The Pledge

On ridiculous, meaningless, superstitious sports pledges...

A coworker was under the misunderstanding that my beard was a playoff beard, grown until the Angels either win the whole thing or get eliminated. I told her my beard had nothing to do with that, especially since I've been sportin' it since June. But then I got to thinking....

I pledged that if, by some miracle, the Angels manage to dig themselves out of this 3-1 hole and win this series, I would happily shave my beard as a sign of solidarity.

Then I was telling the boss about it this morning and he suggested I kick it up a notch and pledge to go with a mustache.

"If the Angels pull their heads out and come back to win, I will go mustache for the week of the World Series," I proclaimed.

He then went over the top on me and challenged me to commit to going with the 'stache for a full year if they should get to the World Series and win.

This is no small pledge. A year is a very long time to have a mustache. I remember last time I went to the porn 'stache, I was tickled by it for the first week. By the second week, the joke had worn off and people stopped laughing at me. At that point, they had just accepted that I looked like a sleezebag. Think of all the people you meet in a year. All those people would think the mustache was me. What about all the weddings, birthdays, etc. where you need to take real photos? What if I have to go on a job interview? Unless the position is with Vivid Entertainment, I think I could pretty much count on not getting that job. It's basically a choice to sacrifice my dignity for an entire year. That's something that could change a man. But wouldn't the joy of winning the World Series against such horrific odds fill me with an inner dignity and pride that could not be touched much less ruined by something as superficial as physical appearance, you ask? Maybe.

This is not something to rush into. A rash pledge of this sort is never wise, even when you know the chances of it actually qualifying make it a pretty safe one. I am going to stew on this until game time. I will post my decision here later.

Stay thirsty, my friends.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just Tuesday

"True nature revealed true nature...

...The feeling went right down into her middle, and set loose something else, a spirit she'd never realized was there, much less locked up and trapped. And, they were still on the road, not even to the (grand) canyon yet! How would it feel when she could get out, walk ten paces and there would be the great space stretching miles and miles and miles? She couldn't imagine it. The profound opening of the earth. Great wonders all had powers to set free in you what wasn't free. Poets wrote about it. Only the dragging, grinding, minutiae of every day--cooking, driving, talking on the phone, explaining yourself to strangers and loved ones, selling houses, balancing checkbooks, stopping at the video store--all that made you forget what was possible in life.

Probably she'd faint. Certainly she would be speechless then cry. Conceivably she'd want to move out here right away, realize she'd been living her life wrong, and begin to fix it. That's why the people she sold houses to moved--to go where they could live better. They made up their minds--at least the ones who weren't forced into it by horrible luck--that they and not somebody else ran their lives."

An excerpt from "A Multitude of Sins" by, my favorite author, Richard Ford. I crossed this passage while waiting for an oil change today and I just wanted to share because I love this guy's writing so much.

P.S. Why do I not own a bow tie by now?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Uh oh.

I just realized I like Taylor Swift. Is this the beginning of the end?

Uh oh, squared.

I just realized I announced to the world that I like Taylor Swift practically on the eve of a bachelor party in Vegas with 17 other guys. I'm dead meat.

Going Commando

A new day has dawned. The old pipes are out, the copper and the new showerhead are IN. Have you ever seen a man moved to song by water pressure? This man was singing a happy tune as he was pelted by a torrent stream of shower water this morning. My delicate skin had atrophied under the low-pressure regime I had been living with for so many months. It was a shock to the system to go from the drip-drip pressure I had to kneel under as it fell straight down to the tub floor to the stand-back-and-hold-on pressure of the Commando 450. I think I might have bruised. But man oh man, what a shower.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

26 hours until Dollar Beer Night Reunion...

--There's nothing like coming home to massive holes in your dining room wall. "Look hun, I can see the laundry room!" Of course, it's for the wonderful cause of re-piping and it is great to spend some time with the new copper beauties we'll be celebrating with high-pressure showers in the next few days, but nobody likes to see holes in their walls.

--Another fine day of what I call Richmond Weather. Chilly and grey with a chance of showers, perfect for a fine lunch of chili and beer at my favorite place in El Segundo. I'd love to hole up there for the better part of the afternoon with a brew and a book.

--El Cholo tonight. I've always found that to be an odd name for a Mexican restaurant because of the connotations associated with the word as slang. I figured that couldn't be the meaning they were going for when they named it, but I never knew what the literal definition might be. Until now. Thanks to end-of-day boredom and the wonderous powers of the internet, I bring to you the actual Spanish dictionary definition of "El Cholo":

cholo [cho’-lo, lah]
1. Person of half-European and half-Indian parentage.

It's so much more clear to me now.

--If, God forbid, the Angels should fall to the Yankees in Games 1 & 2, you can start the blame right here. I wore my red halos hat and 2002 jersey for each game of the Division Series and you can see the results they produced. Due to bachelor party restrictions (VEGAS!!!!!), I will be virtually unable to don my uniform for these next two games. I am very, very conflicted about this. If the Angels could win Game 1, it would really give me a huge boost going into the rest of the weekend. And if you think I'm crazy, I quote Crash Davis:

"Don't fuck with a winning streak."

I know it's ridiculous, but I am not alone in this, right? I know for a fact Cruiser ordered his sister to NOT go to the bathroom and maintain her position during the 9th inning rally in Game 3 of the Boston series. And I think he was right to do so. Man oh man, halos...let's just win Game 1 and put the whole thing to bed.

Friday, October 09, 2009



NOT NOW!!! OF ALL THE TIMES, NOT FRIGGIN' NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



It's times like these that I really hate working in an office. Infected #1 got sick a week ago. Then another person was stricken. Then it hopped over the wall into our department. One of my coworkers is out today. I have been feeling it in my throat and as of today I feel it in my head which means that's about all she wrote. It drives me nuts. One person gets sick and like dominos, the rest of us go down in order. Everybody wants to be a hero and not miss work and who suffers for it? Everyone. SICKOS, STAY HOME! Some of us have Vegas trips you could be sabotaging!


Thursday, October 08, 2009

And another thing...

--We have a woman here who has been sneezing a lot lately. Every time she sneezes, I yell a "bless you" undoubtedly audible to her. Not once has she said "thank you." Not once. One time she actually said "excuse me" AFTER I had already said "bless you." That's just a slap in the face. It's not that I need the recognition. I don't bless her to garner thanks. It's simply that she is severing the natural order of social behavior in these sneezing situations.

--Next week there shall occur a momentous reunion. The return to Dollar Beer Night. Back in the old days, when we were all working at Warner Bros. and living in the valley, Wednesday nights at The Park in Burbank were a tradition. Conrad, Bill Brasky, The Doug and I would all convene for the greatest promotion of all-time, Dollar Beer Night. We did it just about every week it seems. Sometimes even The Cruiser drove all the way up from Long Beach. It was no big deal at the time, just buddies hanging out drinking many beers for little money and harmlessly oogling the bartenders. It was such a no-brainer that I think we took it for granted. Then I moved to the other side of the hill, Bill moved to Portland, and I lost touch with this sacred event. Conrad carried the torch for a long time, but even he eventually moved on. Well next week, we're turning back the clock (I meant figuratively, but the literal clock turning has to be soon too, right?). Bill will be in town under unfortunate circumstances, but we intend to seize the opportunity for good use. The return to Dollar Beer Night! Next Wednesday! KISSEN! THE DOUG! ME! BILL FREAKIN BRASKY! Grab your bags, It's on! (Cruiser, this is your invitation) The only drawback is that Conrad, The Godfather of Dollar Beer Night, The Patron Saint of Dollar Beer Night shall not be able to join us.

--Between all the football and baseball watching, the seasonal delights at Starbucks, and all the beer, it says here that if you don't gain a minimum of 8 pounds this time of year, you are letting the good things in life pass you by.


Have you heard/read/seen this story about Harry Connick. Jr. on the Australian gameshow?

Here is the part that's so stupid, it makes my head spin...People are actually criticizing HC, Jr. for this. Seriously? Seriously. Criticizing him for disapproving of Blackface minstrelsy? They are calling him a hypocrite in light of his playing an African-American preacher on a sketch comedy show? If I could slap the collective face of these ignorant people, I would.

There is a difference between a White person playing an African-American and Blackface. It's not even a small difference. There is a vast chasm separating the connotations of the two. To even try to compare Harry in the MadTV sketch to Blackface is a degradation.

Friday, October 02, 2009

I Don't Get It

You know what's been driving me nuts lately? TV commercials that make no sense. I think this means I'm getting old. Still.

Have you seen these Tecate Light commercials? You know, the ones for the beer with "REAL CERVEZA TASTE."

We changed boxing with a champion both sides could root for....

(Footage of Oscar De La Hoya)

We changed cars by making them dance to our own beat...

(Footage of a car bouncing with its hydraulics)

We changed the boogie man by giving him a name...

(Footage of a drawing of and newspaper headline about the mythical Chupacabras)

We changed fashion by making it our own...

(Footage of a Latino male walking down the street wearing a t-shirt with Spanish words written on it)

First of all, who is "we?" Tecate Light? So Tecate Light is taking credit for inventing hydraulics, the Chupacabras, and Oscar De La Hoya? No. I'm pretty sure they mean Mexico. Still, I just don't get what they are trying to say exactly. Mexico revolutionized the black t-shirt by putting something Mexican on it? Okay.... Mexico changed the boogie man by calling giving him a name? What about the people that came up with "The Boogie Man?" Old news, I guess. It just makes no sense to me.

How about this one for the T-Mobile phone with Google? The one with Whoopi Goldberg, Phil Jackson, Jesse James, and the Cat Stevens song.

Whoopi touches the phone and slides a screen showing a drawing of her as a cartoonish vampire, "Count Whoopula..." Okay.....That's an important feature, I suppose.

She then hands it off to Phil Jackson who touches it and cues up aerial video of what I presume to be Montana....So you're telling me you can see video on the phone....AMAZING.

Next is Jesse James. He touches it and cues up a photo of he and some random guy.....Are you saying it has the capability to show a still photograph too?!?! GET OUT!

"T-Mobile presents the first phone that becomes 100% you."

What the crap does that mean? What is the big benefit they are selling me on here? Desktop wallpaper? I really don't understand. I wonder if there is an IPhone app that explains vague, pointless commercials.

One other thing about this product. They call it "The Google Phone" on the street, but the commercials always call it such and such phone "with Google." Now I'm not trying to be sarcastic here, but isn't any phone with internet capability technically "with Google?" We're talking about an internet search engine, right? Or is it some sort of operating system on the phone? Somebody must have one. Please, explain.

Also, is anyone else getting a little paranoid that Google is taking over the earth?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Programming Note

Just wanted to point out that "National Lampoon's Vacation" is airing on The Travel Channel. I love that. It's like Animal Planet showing "Jurassic Park."

Anti-Chaos Theory

Fair warning: I am going to be toeing the line here. I don't want to be whiny, but I know I am going to come dangerously close.

October has arrived and that means baseball postseason. For the 4th time in the last six years, my Angels will face the Boston Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs. The Angles have never beaten Boston in a postseason series, going 0-4 dating back to the 1986 American League Championship Series. A few times, you could say they probably had the better team, but, regardless, failed to get the job done. The thought of enduring this matchup once more leads me to my theme of the day...Am I ever gonna catch a fuckin' break?

I've been working in production accounting for seven years. For nearly as long as I have been in, I have tried to get out. There have been fleeting glimmers of hope over the years, but nothing ever developed beyond the earliest stages. I've applied for other types of jobs in various fields and never, literally not once, been called for an interview.

Within the current job, I have been in line three times now to travel with the show and three times, some admittedly fair, some not, I have gotten the shaft.

I could go on and on, but I realize my point is already getting lost. I don't mean to whine about every little thing in my life that hasn't worked out like I might have hoped. Believe me, I realize all the luck I have had and all the many wonderful things I have to be thankful for. I realize how many people in the world would listen to my best effort at a pity party and would be doubled over in laughter if not slap me in the face. My point is just that you notice things in life that seem to develop as patterns. Baseball teams have mental blocks about teams they can't seem to beat, people get pigeonholed in careers they never wanted, vital issues are buried under counterproductive prideful bickering (cough--POLITICS!--cough, cough), etc. Don't you ever just feel overwhelmed by a sense of unfortunate predictability, like the course of everything is a train on a track and any alternate outcomes are merely the pretty trees you stare at out the window as you ramble on out of control?

Of course there are exceptions. The Red Sox were slave to a negative pattern themselves for quite a while there before completely turning the tables. My dad was a clock-watching desk jockey before busting out of the grind to start a successful photography business. I did get a very unexpected promotion one time. If it's not all cyclical, it at least does ebb and flow. There is solace to be taken in the hope and likelihood that good things will come. But at the same time, there is a sense, I think, that some things become less likely to suddenly change the longer they chug along on their current course. The longer I get pigeonholed, the longer I am going to probably continue to get pigeonholed. It perpetuates itself. But again, it's not just about me.

There is something to be said, of course, about creating your own destiny. Like Sarah Connor said, "No fate but what we make." There's a line in one of my favorite songs on the new Avett Brothers album which simply advises "Decide what to be and go be it." I believe that's true to some degree. I'll accept my share of responsibility for my life as I've made it for better or worse. If there are aspects I don't like, I could, presumably change them. I just wish I knew how. Better yet, I wish I knew what change within my personality would enable me to know how to change my life. I think I probably have a lack of drive, but now what? Is there a switch I can flip or is this one of those things that's supposed to change automatically when you recognize it like "I'm sorry, I just realized I'm being an asshole. Forget everything I just said"? I think maybe it's as much a lack of drive as it is a lack of direction in which to point the proverbial car.

Again, things could be worse. Far, far worse. And I'm sure they will be at some point. It's not that I'm unhappy. Generally, I'm not only happy, but damn near go lucky to boot. I guess my point is that however the change needs to come, whether by the natural progression of life, my own personal intervention, or some combination thereof, I am definitely ready for the turnabout. In other words, I am ready to catch a fuckin' break.

But it's not about me. That would be self-absorbed.