Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Apologies to my 3.5 subscribers

As you may have heard, the Sun is supposed to supernova any day now. So instead of idling around here and wasting precious time, I've been idling over at and wasting precious time there instead. I haven't altogether abandoned the Bloggy-Blog mandate of taking over the planet with my random scrawl, it's just that I have become completely bereft of new ideas or original thoughts. This is the danger of getting older and complacent --not that I am getting older and complacent. Still, be warned, lest you get older and complacent.

Meanwhile, if it should happen that I'm not here to hold your hand till the bitter end, just remember: the status quo is out to eat your brain and fill the empty space in your skull with crazy conspiracy theories. My advice is to stay asleep as long as you possibly can and avoid the harsh winter that lies ahead, just like the bears do. Yes, follow the bears' lead and hibernate. Just make sure you have plenty of beer on hand and cable TV. I guess that's an easy adjustment as life won't change for any of you.

Love each other and don't forget to rotate your socks.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Other News, plus word of the day

George Putnam died the other day. He was a local news guy on the LA scene for trillions of years, usually appearing on the more budget-minded broadcasts. George had a very over-the-top delivery that amused me ever since I was a kid. If you click on his name, you'll learn that he had a long-standing grudge match with another perennial news anchor Hal Fishman, who also died this last year. Fishman was the model for the self-important news anchor you see in the Simpsons; Putnam was the inspiration for Ted Knight on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
putman/fishman together again?

Good luck on the other side you two, and stop your fighting... There's plenty of broadcast bandwidth in heaven!


Word of the day: Compersion. [quoting from Wikipedia] Compersion is a term used by practitioners of polyamory (another word to look up) to describe the experience of taking pleasure when one's partner is with another person.

You may wonder how I came upon this word. Well, it's the convoluted maze of Google searching, mostly. See, while looking up George Putnam, I found this curious page written by a Polyamorist activist. While it's not about the same George Putnam as mentioned above, she's claiming that Amelia Earhart and her fiance George Putnam were brave pioneers of open relationship, not stuck in "mediaeval" social codes. After reading the evidence, I'm not convinced but you could say that Earhart was pretty kick ass on many levels.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lassie Come-Home!

Walking down Hollywood Blvd has got to be THE most ridiculous place to find oneself on a Saturday night. That is, unless you're visiting from Pittsburgh or Germany and totally green to the soul-draining vortex feel of the place. For those of the aforementioned category, heads up. What you will find are purposeless droves of lost souls shuffling over stars' names inlaid into the sidewalk --and most of 'em dead ones. There's a sadly misguided notion that any average schlub might make contact with real celebrity magic by just by showing up here. Maybe you'll meet Bing Crosby, Howdy Doody, or Lassie ...or perhaps you'll be cast as the new Lassie! Being Hollywood, however, you quickly learn that it's all scaffold and facade and you wisely decide to drink in excess to quell the crushing disappointment.

tip to the kids:
Lassie the movie star Collie ate only human flesh.

Yes, and Hollywood Blvd is exactly where I was tonight (Saturday), holding my own amid the touristy ranks; keeping my head down pretending not to be there. Why I was there was accidental, trust me. I won't get into that now.

I crossed Highland going west, trying to find a place to eat, as I hadn't had a bite all day and was getting woozy. There was a Baja Fresh food chain about a half a block down. While not my favorite choice, it seemed more desirable than one of the innumerable 24-hour "eateries", where they re-heat giant slabs of plain cheese pizza held under hot lamps for centuries. So I scarf down a fish taco that the food preparer had haphazardly spattered with green chili sauce, looking like it was dispensed from a sneezing Chihuahua's snout.

Done with that delicacy, I launch myself back out on the street with a plan to turn around at the Grauman's Chinese Theater, desiring to keep my time there to a minimum due to the sensory overload of intoxicated joy riders and overall insanity. But just as I'm waiting for a light to change, a guy who looks slightly like a character actor from Beach Blanket Bingo strides up. He's vaguely medium build, salon tan, brown slightly shaggy hair, wearing a casual Hawaiian print shirt. He's holding a large plastic bucket, which you'll sometimes see street performers use as an improvised percussion instrument. Whatever.

The light goes green and I'm focusing down again, quickly moving through the crosswalk. My intent stride plus no-eye-contact technique seems to glide me through patches of slow moving folk with ease. But I do notice peripherally that guy from curbside is keeping pace with me and looking over. It's not comforting.

I'm coming parallel to the Roosevelt Hotel entrance. The building is a rare Hollywood architectural landmark from the old days which I like very much, and my brain just says, "go in now!". I'm walking into the lobby and the guy with the Hawaiian shirt holding the plastic bucket comes through the door close behind me yelling, "Hey brother I LOVE YOU! Will you promise me you'll come to the drum circle?" I turn around. "I don't know where that is", I answer while still walking into the hotel, laughing nervously. Bucket drummer guy responds, "It's in Venice beach. My name is Evan! Meet me at the drum circle and I'll buy you dinner!" I'm really quickening my pace, nearly running headlong into the wall at the opposite end of the lobby. His voice, echoes louder as I increase my distance. "I LOVE YOU MAN!!! I LOVE YOU!"

At this point, I'm not sure if Evan the bucket drumming guy is still following me and I don't want to know. I go up the stairs and wander about, finally giving a reluctant look back. He's gone.

I have no resounding conclusion here, other than it's not the first time I've attracted very strange people (men and women) into my orbit out of nowhere. Whereas, I have a reasonable amount of mostly sane friends in my circle, it's the odd characters occasionally bursting through the fabric of space-time who are magnetized to me in such a way that give me pause. OR, maybe I just don't know how to appreciate an honest guy expressing love for his fellow man (?), without wearing my phobia on my sleeve. OR... maybe that guy is me, time-traveling from the future, just trying to give myself some encouragement in these troubled times and the very real prospect of Sarah Palin's meteoric rise to fuhrer.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Spiritual Look

Which personal grooming style conveys the most spiritual authority: (A) the Seventies clown hair or (B) the bald and virile?

I think we both know the answer. It depends on the enlightenment fashion dictates of the decade you live in. In the 70s, overly-styled clown hair was where "it" was at. The word "it" in Sanskrit translates to: "the ineffable 'it-ness': i.e., there 'it' goes, here 'it' comes again". Right now, however, if you want to visually communicate that you've got "it" in terms of spiritual book author cred, then don't be foolish. The path is clear. The way to the mountain top and an Oprah endorsement is to shave your head.

I'm not being funny here. I mean shave your head. Now!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Drugs and Lots of 'em too

I seem to have a fairly low tolerance for most mind-altering substances, except John Denver records and Hostess Cakes. That's probably been a good thing, because otherwise I'm sure I'd be eating sandwiches of LSD all day long.

While I've never been a huge fan of Dr. Timothy Leary, I do have one favorite quote from him that goes: "advanced age is like an altered state of consciousness". I think that's about the most positive spin on aging I've ever heard, which leaves me with that to look forward to.

Meanwhile, I've been reading about alternative attitudes on drugs, without actually taking any. LA tap water is mind bending enough.

I've also been watching a very interesting hippie chick on YouTube. She's got a mess o' videos about her experience with almost every conceivable "Entheogenic" drug, laying it out in the most wispy "everything's good and everything's OK"-kinda' way. [Some things are not good: Namely, I do feel bad for the toad in the video.]

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ray Campi Traffic School

I saw this fellow...
Ray Campi

playing at the Blue Cafe in Long Beach last Saturday night. While I can't claim to be Mr. Rockabilly Aficionado-Head, I had heard of Campi's legend as a performer and it was a worthwhile show. Between numbers Mr. Campi would digress, indulging in monologues about his musical travels or whatever random thing entered his head.

Then for no reason at all, Ray started issuing pointers about "rules of the road", "pedestrian right-of-way", "CHP jurisdiction", etc. We're sitting there in the audience looking at each other asking, "What the hell is he talking about?!!!" I then realized that this was not an everyday performance. This was a Ray Campi Traffic School! Not only did I leave with my certificate but I learned that fines for rolling stops in California are going to be jacked up considerably due to the State's financial crises. This news was made much easier to digest when offered with a tantalizing mix of Bill Haley and Gene Vincent covers. Also good to know that our State Government loves us enough to protect us with tough love measures and to crown Mr. Campi as the ambassador of safe driving.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sublimate Your Libido!

Today's tip: go to an electronic graphic arts convention like I did this last Tuesday. It's still up and running, so don't miss out. It's Siggraph 2008 at the LA Convention Center, no less. You can mill around computer software vendors, 3d animation demonstrations, drive a virtual race car, and eat virtual food at inflated prices. But the main thing is that your libido will be completely sublimated, as you find yourself immersed in all the latest technology.

Hold the presses! While browsing the internet for an accompanying image to steal for this post, I found the above shot. I obviously went to the wrong Siggraph convention. Last year in San Diego was evidently a whole different scene but I still insist that HAS to be some sort of robot cyber dancer.

Life in Vagaries Comic #1

click image for mucho-bigg-o.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Life in Vagaries

A frequent sentiment as of late...

Monday, July 21, 2008

World is Turning, Babies Born, The Crow Flies

Wow. I haven't written anything here in a while. Hello000? I can almost hear an echo in this dried up chamber.

There's actually a lot going on but I can't write about any of it because then people at work would know that I ran nude down the middle of the freeway spray painting cars. That probably wouldn't be good.

People are talking about the planet a lot. I think about it too. It's stunning to me how regular our geosynchronous orbit is when you consider that there's nothing but gravitational forces suspended in a vacuum to keep it all on a rail. So if everyone on one hemisphere of the globe were to jump up and down at the same time, could that not unseat the world's trajectory and cause a perilous plummet into the Sun? ...and don't you appreciate how I upped the drama, that it has to go INTO the sun and not out into dark space? Regardless, then we'd be sorry we all jumped up and down at the same time just because those two wacky morning-drive DJs suggested it as merely a funny stunt for the station!

manufactured agents of the "serious absurdity" principle

People say that science is very logical but I find the fact that stuff, even in its most elementary form, exists at all is very strange/amazing. There's no contract anywhere that says that lead, copper, magnesium, H2O, etc, has to exist and it's just like us to take it all for granted. But let's not go down that road as it's bound to exacerbate peptic ulcers, which zinc is so purportedly handy for.

The preceding is why I get strange glances for giving religion at least some credit for finding an outlet for the existential freakout contained in a paradigm that at least acknowledges the soul's plight of beingness set against a backdrop of infinite serious-absurdity (i.e., pending obliteration and the ritual denial of death via Britney Spears). Anyone still following this? It's true that I don't look at all religious activity the same way but I understand that unless you can live without REM sleep cycles in the human brain and the coded information it's there to process by design, I very much doubt that similarly digressive-to-what's-in-front-of-your-face beliefs will evaporate away by appealing to rationalism or similar construct.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must ascend into my plasma orb.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Don't Know What to Title This

I have unearthed a couple of paintings I made in High School.

I admit that do kinda' like these acrylic paintings. Perhaps this was the zenith of my creative powers.

Note: I'm adding detail shots because that's what Thomas Kinkade would do.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Something to do while the novocain wears off

I've been throwing random pics of my flashy celebrity lifestyle up on Flickr. One good reason to upload photos on the Web is that it's a back-up repository that can always be accessed in case my local files accidentally catch fire. I can't think on any other good reason at the moment.

So, check it out HERE, baby. It's voyeuristic fun for the whole family!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

L. Ronsicle

I was recently asked to create a Photoshop bust of L Ron Hubbard as an ice sculpture for a certain less-than-serious show at a certain less-than-serious Television network. This was one of those rare occasions where I felt I'd made a valuable contribution to American culture.

Will I get into big trouble for posting this? Let's find out.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The People's Wheelie

If Wheelie Bars are for sissies, then what is a "sissy bar"? I love toy companies that encourage laying down a patch of rubber and wheelie stunts without a helmet. I really do. After all, this was the generation that ate butterscotch-flavored centipedes cooked up on a 110-volt Mattel "Incredible Edible" grill. This isn't about nostalgia, this is reality without safety nets.

"Motorcycles do it... even trucks do it" .... let's do it. More lascivious fun from Wham-O !

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Productive Investment of Time

Here's your fresh batch of voyeuristic photos lifted from the local Mac store. They are all as I found them. This being L.A., having your picture uploaded for the world to see is merely another step toward the all-consuming drive for celebrity. This is, after all, a public-service Blog.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

High School, High School, Everywhere's High School

No, it's not a minstrel show, just another Super8 clip rescued from the attic. "Derm-O-Flex" was made for a High School Media Study class many moons ago. Of course, this fine bit of Art House fare wouldn't have been possible without Jim, Larry, Christy and Jerome K.

Update (2011): This was shot by Larry Fong, Mr. "Super 8", quite literally.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Miles and Miles of Piles of Guitars

Dirk, the proprietor of Guitar Safari (not to be confused with Quixotic Sephardi) located in the storybook land of San Pedro south of LA, christened and set sail his new store, which looks just like his old store from the 90's, revived from cryogenic suspension. Yes, it was quite the Deja Vu with everything exactly as it was, except that all the on-lookers, myself included, are now ancient and grossly rotund.

So get your gigantic ass in gear and rush down to San Pedro immediately and buy as many guitars, foot pedals, strings, amps and whatever as you can to support Dirk's expensive habit.

Here's a bunch of Opening Day pics you can wrap your eager eyeballs around. Thanks to Dianne for her photo contributions.

This little guy, the embodiment of all the dark forces of the universe, keeps watchful guardianship over Guitar Safari. He's only slightly creepy but, not to worry, he won't stab you mercilessly, so long as you buy a guitar.

Post revelry repose.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Photoshop Slop # 100283: Deconstructed and glued back together

Here's the latest from your local tormented artist: "Girls Gone Wild with Blue Tank". The juxtaposition of the female form with military hardware never fails to convey a sense of jingoistic ardor. So I guess this piece will have to be defined as Agitprop and there's nothing I can say about it.

How did it happen? I was just innocently trying to make a nice picture to hang in a Dentist office. Hopefully, everyone is at least duly agitated and seeking Marxism as an alternative.

Or maybe the version below is better. I can't decide.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nibbling a little Oprah-noon Delight

Here's one rousing video of the Starland Vocal Band performing "Afternoon Delight" Milli Vanilli-style on Oprah. Make no mistake, Oprah has designs on conquering planet Earth. She's my favorite TV pal and life coach. I just love watching her show with my eyes glazed, whilst guiding spoonfuls of cake frosting into my mouth.

I wonder what would happen if you put the members of Starland Vocal Band and Abba together in a centrifuge and blended them together? What kind of monster pop band would be unleashed to do battle with Oprah against the Tokyo skyline? No my friends, it's too horrible to even contemplate.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Dubious Pasttimes

If you visit the Apple Store and open the Photo Booth software that's on every Mac, you'll likely see photos that customers take of themselves and leave behind. OK, that's one thing but what sort of nut would forward one to his email and then post it on a blog like this?

adrift without earbuds

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Return of Closet World

Back in February, I posted a convoluted story revolving around an obscure commercial for Closet World. A reader named Michelle just left a comment there, mentioning that she'd been on a similar quest to find any scrap of evidence for this commercial on the Web, but to no avail. So, taking matters into her own hands, she made the following video of herself performing a heartfelt rendition of the Closet World jingle.

Is it presumptuous or creepy of me to take the liberty of posing this video? Cast your vote!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Cake Indentities

This is what blogging is all about. All my efforts, the sleepless nights, the alcoholic binges, and the hernias resulting from hefting Bloggy-Blog to its current iconic stature, have all culminated with this singular defining post.

Yes, the generous folks at the old Fairfax' Farmer's Market Pastry Shop permitted me to copy images from their scrapbook of personalized cakes! This gallery of confections has been an under-appreciated treasure for too long. I'm sure you'll agree that every single customized cake is a culinary masterwork worthy of only the most refined of digestive tracts.

grilled steak and stuffed potato cake with chardonnay

pregnant taco cake

watermelon cake with cryptic youth culture message

a 'Quincy' cake, starring Jack Klugman

stolen bag of loot cake

liberace's protégé cake

lucky leather-scented shoe cake

highly desirable spam cake

bar mitzvah w/prayer shawl cake. 'way to go larry!

cat and mouse cake. no apologizing for dead rodents in this kitchen

hulk cake. the only known cake you have to negotiate with

kleenex cake... it's my birthday and i'll cry if i want to

the mixed-up bucket of chicken stuck inside a cake's body

Sorry if this came off too much like some kind of lame-ass Jay Leno segment. As usual, I'll try to come up with something better next time.