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August 25th, 2002

Here’s A Long Los Angeles Recap

Phew.

I had a great time in Los Angeles yesterday.

I left at quarter of 9, and traffic started immediately. Luckily though, I was not late for the Web405 brunch at Du-Par’s. Excellent company and a lovely traditional breakfast (eggs over easy and turkey links). Good to see old colleagues and meet new friends too. Dennis was a class act as usual, and I got to see Bill Kelley and finally meet Joanna Minneci who I’ve known virtually for a few years, and finally met in person. After Du-Pars we all sojourned to The Grove, a new mall adjacent to Farmer’s Market — where we took a gander at their Apple Store.

I was wearing the Jaguar T-Shirt I got the night before at the San Diego Apple Store. Now, those of you who have met me know I’m a large fellow. Well, I’ve been wearing XXL for 4 years, maybe longer. This shirt is XL, and pretty much fits. I think for new shirts it’s going to be on a case by case basis what my size actually is. But but my clothing sizes are clearly changing. This is a good thing.

After the Apple Store the ‘405ers parted ways and I headed out to the streets of L.A.

I’ve always liked driving in Los Angeles.

Let me say that again. It bears repeating. I’ve always liked driving in Los Angeles.

At this point I will point out that I am indeed undergoing counseling, but that “the driving in L.A.” has not come up as a character flaw. It may be the novelty of it, I don’t get up to L.A. often, so I’m romanticizing it.

The through-line of this post has drifted. Pardon me. Let’s get back on track. Shall we?

After Farmer’s Market I did what I said I was going to do Saturday morning. I headed first for Opamp Books. What a great technical bookstore that is. I set a limit on my spending beforehand. Budgeting is important. I ended up walking around with several books, including Kynn’s CSS Book and a book on Proposals and Software specifications, but I ended buying with three books. All of them have real practical value to me now. They are: Mac OS X Pocket Reference, VBScript Pocket Reference, and The Computer Consultants Guide: Second Edition: Real Life Strategies for Building a Successful Consulting Career.

I have a habit when buying technical books. I decide on a task that maybe I have done with technology, or with a similar technology, and see if the book would have helped me. I chose the proposal/negotiation process I recently went through. I checked the consulting book’s index. On looking, it brought up things that I did not think of. This makes the book a winner! Also, the VBScript book explicated some things about some functions I used on the ASP/Microsoft Access Project which is slowly finishing up. And the OS X Pocket Guide had so many good tiplets and productivity ideas I thought it was a good idea to have. I don’t have any OS X books yet. Well, now I do.

Next on the Tour de Librerías de Los Angeles was Aron’s Records. I picked up some cheap used CDs and movies. Steely Dan’s Can’t Buy a Thrill, Matthew Sweet’s In Reverse, Alanis Morissette’s Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (I’ve been listening to the song So Pure so compulsively in the past year or so I figured I should get the whole record). I also got Zappa’s “Francesco Zappa” and Randy Newman’s Bad Love. On the cheap VHS movie front, I got Get Shorty (a very “L.A.” movie) and a widescreen version of Mister Roberts, a favorite of mine since I was a kid.

My habit at stores with large used sections, like Aron’s, is to go through ALL the CDs. That’s what I did – went from Z to A looking at everything. When I worked at the library there were two tasks we Library Aides would do that looked at every item on the shelves. We would do “reading” – which was looking at every book on the shelves and assure they were in order. And “maintaining” – which is straightening up each and every book to make sure the spines were flush with the edge of the shelves themselves. I think my speed with those tasks makes me somehow more patient. Like I can get myself to look at every one of the CDs at Aron’s because I was equipped to do that in a job I had 14 years ago.

It was hot in L.A. yesterday. The car was really good. Luckily, the Joe-Mobile does have good air conditioning. But I was thirsty. And I tell you, on a hot day, Gatorade is a wonderful thing.

I hit Golden Apple Comics after that. It’s on Melrose Avenue. Melrose is a street Erin and Tracy and I used to explicitly go down to see what was cool. Not that we were cool, but we liked to see what was cool. Lots to see. People dressed every which way. Kids in mohawks, for all the world looking like 70’s era punks. I also saw a young woman, no more than 17, perfectly outfitted in a black miniskirt, punky blonde and black hair, and an English Beat T-shirt. She could have been an extra in a John Hughes movie! (Probably Sixteen Candles). I was disappointed, I didn’t find the Wonder Woman or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books I had pined for a few weeks ago. I did pick up ‘Nuff Said. ‘Nuff Said is a reprinting of several Marvel Comics which are entirely wordless. They also include the original scripts after each story. As a pure exercise in wordless storytelling it seems pretty interesting. As a visual designer, keeping my visual mind active is important. Seeing the solutions visual artists come up with to communicate with their audience definitely provides me with inspiration.

After that I went down to the Santa Monica Promenade. I had planned to go to Hennessey+Ingalls. However, H+I was closed early. There was a sign indicating that they were closed because the staff was all at a wedding. This, obviously was a bummer. So I spent some time wandering on the Promenade. The Promenade is several blocks of shops, with many street performers – some singers, and a pair of dancers in Aztec dress (full headdresses!). I ended up going to Midnight Special Books. Again mostly browsing. How can there be so many good books out there? I was resigned to leaving without anything, but then I came across

Dangerous Kitchen: The Subversive World of Zappa. Oh no, not another Zappa book. I started to checking out some sections, hoping it would be a book I could avoid. But the author has some good ideas – a nice melding of biography and criticism. So I bought the book, and read about 50 pages of it while having a Turkey Burger at the unfortunately named Fatburger.

It’s at this point I’ll note I’m down 60 pounds since this all started 3 months and 3 weeks ago. Weight loss has not been a goal per se, but it’s come along with having better activity and dietary habits.

After that I headed home. The “check engine” light went on the Joe-Mobile. Ugh. I checked the oil, it was indeed low, so I put in oil, and was on my way. My car is now 14 years old, and it has some quirks. One quirk is that it burns oil at an increased rate. As long as it does what it must, I’m happy.

The drive back was fine. I listened to my audiobook of Neuromancer (always a favorite), and the sun went down as I hit the toll road 73 in Orange County. People all over the world, and in most parts of the USA, are used to toll roads. But here in California a toll road is an oddity. Almost, Un-American. But it did make the trip a bit shorter.

When I got home I had messages on my machine from three wonderful women. That’s always a good thing. Today I’ve followed up with all of them. I’m staying in today. Doing some work, some bills and such. Along with these mundanities, I’m watching movies and listening to the new acquisitions.

It’s nice when a weekend is so pleasant.

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