So a local (Culver City) car dealer started storing cars on the top of our parking garage. I always park on the roof, so anytime I am up there I see the cars. I have taken to think of these cars as an economic indicator. They all seem to be SUV vehicles. I wonder about why they are up there, and why there seems to be more every week. I suspect the fact that they’re stored here has something to do with the price of gas.
May 2008 Forty posts
So I talked to my Mom and she’s having a rough go of it right now. Hard to hear that someone you love is in pain. Her spirits were high though, and I love her very much. She’s looking forward to her and my Dad’s 40th Wedding Anniversary June 15th.
Miss her a lot. Sometimes it’s hard to live far from family.
So over on the right hand side of the main page of artlung.com there I include a statement about when I’ll be available for work, and that just changed again. I am continuing on with Sierra for another two months while we continue an ongoing project. It’s always simpler to renew something than it is to start something new, but Sierra has been very good to me, and I like to repay that good treatment with loyalty while they have a lot of different stuff going on.
Co-incident with that a friend of mine has been having multiple respiratory issues which honestly make me consider getting my Respiratory Therapy license again. It’s like $500 in California, but it has me thinking about it. He’s getting a BiPAP machine and feeling poorly. I hope he gets well soon!
In line with that I’ve been pleased to see my moribund respiratory care site, Rhonchi.com, be active these days, particularly this post: Are you a Respiratory Therapist? Do you blog? — which was originally supposed to be a post trying to find RTs who blog, but has turned into a heated debate, cheerleading, and bitch session about the whole profession of respiratory care. It’s a very good comment thread, with some vitriol, but real passion, which is great. I’m always interested to hear from fellow RTs (hah! I still self-identify as an RT! matter of a fact I still carry my RRT card from the NBRC in my wallet out of habit).
I’m hearing reports from my Mom that the latest chemo was too hard and she’s regrouping a bit. I’m going to give her a call during my commute. If you are of a mind to say a prayer or have a good thought, please include her in yours. You can read more about my Mom and her struggle with Renal Cell cancer by looking here and working backwards. I love her so much.
Okay, time to get started on the day. Cheat Commandos, Rock, Rock Onward!
My latest favorite blogger is Nick Mamatas, writer. He writes as Nihilistic Kid. He writes about some stupid dust up about Rachel Ray and Palestine. I tend to avoid political blogs, but it turns out Michelle Malkin is a dope. Nick is funny. I remember him from a long time ago when Kynn did a comic strip about him in 2001, which I actually remember. Which means there are blogs I’ve been reading for 7 years.
Here’s some funny, read it all if you dare!
The controversy apparently began when right-wing goofball Michelle Malkin noticed that Ray’s scarf (not a keffiyeh, which do not come in paisley) reminded her of all sorts of awful things, such as a violence-promoting T-shirt [recently pulled from the shelves] depicting a young Palestinian boy in a keffiyeh carrying an AK-47 assault rifle, over the word “Victimized.” The T-shirt also featured the Palestinian flag, a map of the Palestinian territories and a small white dove. We all fear the political violence that inevitably spills out the doors of Urban Outfitters. Those stores are just like West Bank cafes, except that the storefront windows come “pre-ruined.” Also, one time someone threw a pencil eraser shaped like Napoleon Dynamite’s head at me.
At 7am this morning at the pool in Camarillo the kid (okay, he’s probably like 18 or 19, but I’ve taken to thinking of anyone I estimate is 30 years or less as a kid) at the desk recommends the frequent pass.
I pay $3 a pop to swim there, and with this pass I can buy 10 passes for $27 dollars–buy 9, get one free.
I was surprised at the pride I felt at getting recognized as a regular. I must be doing something right. As I look back at some of my blog posts it looks like I’ve been swimming at least 3 times a week since March. I’m leery of buying the pass, if only because I don’t want to be saddled with having to go to one particular place. I still go to Calabasas as well since it’s on my drive home. Malibu is still closed, and it’s not as convenient anyway.
Here are two photos from my drive this morning.
After high school, it became something of a fetish of mine to travel from San Diego to Los Angeles and do various sightseeing. One of the things I (and my friend Chris) used to hit was the Art Center College of Design gallery.
For us, Art Center was the pinnacle of cool, of talent, of design. (I was going to use the word apotheosis of cool, but it looks like apotheosis applies to individuals). It was cooler than the coolest.
One of the things we saw there was a piece by one of the film students there, a music video that blew our minds with its futuristic pan-cultural motifs and artsy whiz-bangery. It was called Soy Cowboy, perfectly merging our own sensibilities about how the future was going to be Blade Runnered out. We’d be talking CitySpeak (in the original version of Blade Runner there was a voiceover explaining “That gibberish he talked was city-speak, guttertalk, a mishmash of Japanese, Spanish, German, what have you. I didn’t really need a translator. I knew the lingo, every good cop did. But I wasn’t going to make it easier for him.”). To us, the future was so clearly Japanese mainly. And of course it is, but then it isn’t, either. So here’s another future that never quite came to be in the way its envisioners hoped. But hey, 1990 Joe would be pleased to hear there had not been a nuclear device detonated in anger by 2008.
So here we are almost twenty years later, and we do indeed have much greater access to pan-cultural products. If I want to listen to Thai pop music I no longer have to struggle to find it, I can download it. Sadly though, the band Soy Cowboy never took over the world. In fact, coming from a pre-digital age, it’s struggled online only now. Chris I know has sought it out for a long time. The director is Tarsem Singh, who IMDB says graduated from Art Center and went on to direct the video Losing my Religion. He was interviewed in The Onion AV club last week. Yes, Art Center was definitely the ur-source of cool. The song is called “Lily Pads and Rock Cod.” I surely hope you enjoyed it. I scarcely think it will have the same effect on you it had on me and Chris though.
“Meet me at the godown with the tapioca prawn.”
What are YOU looking for, cowboy?
Friday afternoon I answered a tweet of the incomparable ChefJoanna which ended up getting one of our houseguests a very full night of work doing such things as separating crab from crabshell. Joanna needed a replacement assistant for the night, her regular assistant having gotten into a car accident. When I called her up on her phone and said who I was and what I was calling about there was a long pause at the end of the line—“uh, really?”–which in retrospect makes me laugh, laugh laugh, but during the phone call what I said was “not me, my sister-in-law!”
So Joanna got some needed help, and Heather (my s-i-l) got a full night of work. Who says twitter is useless?
Leah and I went to dinner for our weekly date night and purchased a replacement mouse for her laptop at Fry’s. We also bought a copy of Bust magazine and a Toblerone. Yes, we truly do know how to keep the spice in our relationship.
I mock, but we really do know. I’m not sure how we do, but we do. We ended the 3 day weekend by buying Super Mario Bros on WiiWare. You really can’t get more exciting that that.
Whoops, I’ve fast-forwarded through the chunky middle part of the weekend. Apologies.
Let’s talk about Saturday.
The plan for Saturday I mentioned before. The five of us started the day at 11am or so by driving down into Hollywood. I felt in my element pointing out landmarks and what history I know. We got to the Hollywood & Highland complex early and so we all wandered Grauman’s Chinese Theatre’s front courtyard. We espied the footprints and handprints of the famous. Will Smith’s feet are huge! The folks in costumes out front were sort of–well, they are what they are. There was a particularly sad pair of Superman and Supergirl, two Jack Sparrows, Darth Vader, Snoopy, and a particularly scary Catwoman. As I understand it there is documentary about the folks who busk in costume down there. Actually, busk? Are they entertaining? Are they simply panhandling? Are they hoping to be discovered? Are they mentally ill? The names in the concrete are impressive enough, but I asked Leah “is it possible that things can be both dingy and glamorous?” Her answer was a simple “yes.” All that said, it was fun to see the names again, and see the newer names. I think I’ve not been down there to gawk in 10 years. I mock, but if you come visit us and you wanted to see it, I’d gladly take you down there.
Soon enough it was time for the 1:20pm show of Prince Caspian at the El Capitan. It’s funny, I was not sure if I ever saw a film there. I remember having the thought various times over the years that it would be great to see (insert Pixar or Disney film name here) there. The place is, after all, owned by Disney. And it was indeed a great place to see a Disney film. The seats were not the most comfortable ever, but with some of my weight loss definitely more comfortable than it would have been 4 months ago. The VIP tickets I got for the five of us were a good investment–the place is beautiful. The details and decorations were stunning, and while we waited an organist seated at the center of the stage played songs from Disney films. The pipe organ sounded very impressive. I was not aware of how much history the El Capitan has. I did not know that Citizen Kane made its debut there. You can read even more about the theatre and the its organ at the American Theatre Organ Society. Prince Caspian was an impressive film, though I’ll confess that I’m not as familiar with the Narnia books as I might be. I think my companions dug it and we all had a good time. Afterward we looked at some of the props and costumes from the film housed in the lobby and in the basement. It was impressive, though the line after the film was daunting. I think next time I see a film there I’ll try and make sure we see whatever props and such from the film before the film and not after.
Afterward we were actually hungry. The little one in the group mentioned hot dogs, and so of course I thought Pink’s, but Leah was psychically prepared for this gambit and said “NO PINK’S” just as I suggested it. Yes, she speaks in all capital letters sometimes. We too the slightly more sane, but equally tasty and quick and greasy solution: Carney’s. At least the line is shorter and the view is better. The food was pretty good, and the company was great.
Aside: carneytrain.com is totally kicking the web like 1999.
Afterward, we trekked east to Griffith Park. Our houseguests have a fondness for geocaching, and amazingly, Leah and I agreed. Nathan had downloaded a few spots in Griffith Park to his handheld GPS and we drove around seeking it. The first one we sought turned out to be on the north side and not accessible to us since we came into Griffith from the Los Feliz side. The second one, on the other hand, required us to walk up to the Observatory. I’m always up for hitting Griffith Park Observatory. We sort of found the one up near there, and found a shedded snakeskin. It was a pretty day, at any rate:
So the first one was a bust, the second one not really a success, but the third one was a rousing success and we added ourselves to the logbook and even traded an item out. I might have the terminology wrong, but you can learn more about geocaching here.
Saturday was totally packed man. Sunday was mellower. I slept way in. I did a little bit of work, anticipating a day off Monday and the possibility of jury duty this week–I wanted to make sure I got some hours in to make up for it. Gotta keep the IRS debt train rolling. We’re doing pretty well and on a nice self-imposed schedule of mailing off a check each 15th of the month. I think June’s check will be nice and fat.
And yesterday I got up much earlier. There’s so much that happened yesterday but none of it’s really noteworthy. I spent a lot of time listening to podcasts and cleaning up the garage. And when I say “clean” I mean, moving things around, reorganizing, making space, and getting my feet very dirty. I love that my dirty feet gross people out (check the comments).
Our houseguests went to the beach. Leah slept way in, and I puttered around the house. It was a very good day. I even shaved!
Better than my stanky foot! But I look sort of–uh–stoned in this photo. I assure you I’m still straightedge baby.
The ending of the day was buying Super Mario Bros. for Leah, as I already mentioned. I was never a big Nintendo fan, we didn’t have game consoles when I was a kid. I had my computers though. I do know how to play it though, exposed to it through friends. The WiiWare purchase process was impressively painless. The guys at work keep goading me into getting an Xbox 360–which with the Live Arcade service has been the most successful game download service. But another console has to wait until much later in the year. Financial priorities are where it’s at, baby!
Speaking of digital downloads, I ordered Passing Strange on iTunes Plus. I’ve been listening to it as I write this blog post. So far, I love it. It’ll be on heavy rotation for a while.
And that’s where I’ll start the week. Also, my feet are clean as a whistle now. Maybe I’ll share another photo? Hah!
My friend and co-worker Mok is riding in the AIDS/LifeCycle — Mok’s Donation Page:
Mok is super cool, he advised me on where to find biking clothes and equipment down in L.A., and when I asked him where to buy swimming goggles, he pulled a pair out of his workout bag at work! That’s seriously good service. By day he’s a SQL Server database guru, but during the summer he turns into super-amazing mega-bike-ride man. I donated some money to the cause of fighting AIDS, won’t you?
He actually got in an accident last week, some jerk in a car hit him. He’s healing okay, but his bike is trashed. But he’s working on getting a loaner for the ride.
The bike ride is 545 miles–San Francisco to L.A.–that sounds like fun, but it also sounds like torture. He says it’s a great time. If I were in shape, I think I might do something like this. As it is, I’m just happy my back pain is less. 🙂