Saturday, July 28, 2007

Too Sleepy--too hot.

It's 87 degrees inside my apartment and I have two words for you--Otter Pops. Nothing cools you down like sucking down some flavored frozen liquid. I only have two left from Royfest and I'm savoring them.

Last night, I picked Tami up from LAX--I REALLY hate that airport--and didn't get home until 12:45. I am tired today. But back to last night, Tami asked me at 8:30 to pick her up and I had already gotten comfortable for the evening. I was halfway to the 101 on ramp when I couldn't help noticing that my seat belt fit better and OH MY GOD my boobs are in the way. They are never in the way this much. What gives? Oh, that's right. I took my bra off when I got home so my untethered mammaries were migrating to their natural gravity-induced location at my waist and spread to the side. It was really bothersome for shifting.

Finally, I give you this:

Welcome to LA. We have given up trying to grow grass along our freeways and have resorted to just painting the dirt green.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Heavens to Murgatroid, even

Arrgghh!! Too much to do. Oh, Shoot! I just remembered an email I forgot to send. Rats!
So, I've been megabusy with the usual catching up, then I got a project handed to me that had to go out by end of day yesterday--and not a small project either. It got done, but that pushed back all my other "to do" items, and tomorrow, I have to fit filing into my already packed dance card.

Well, nothing to do but stay late and get some stuff done while no one is there to bug me. Name plates are hung. Business cards are ordered. The sign company is coming tomorrow to hang our lobby sign. Kinkos is working on our copy project. And I'm home safe and sound despite the bomb squad vehicle that zoomed past me on Olympic and the police helicopter that was circling and seemed to be following me home. (hmmm)

Sorry I didn't make it to the Farmer's Market. I'll be knitting at home. I promise.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Paying the piper

This is what I get for taking three days off to frolic with my nephew. The forecast for Laurie Ann is "Busy" with a 95% chance of "Holy Crap, can I catch a break?" I've been a multi-tasking fool.
Today, I had to leave early and run out to Los Feliz to pick up a certificate. With an early dismissal AND because I spent Sunday reading Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows instead of doing laundry, I had every intention of doing laundry today after work. What did I do when I got home, dehydrated from the hour I spent on the freeway and side streets in a really, really hot car? Turned the fan on and promptly fell asleep on the sofa. I woke up at 7:00 in time for "Jeopardy." So much for laundry today. I'll have to reach far back into the closet to find something presentable for work tomorrow.

Meanwhile, here's some fun photos for you. And by fun, I mean things to make fun of.
I'd say they just made a mistake, but there were several of these strategically placed around the area.

Note the red truck way over the line and the silver van somewhat over the line? If I could have taken a photo of the entire line of parked cars you'd see no less than six cars and trucks parked over the line, some of them effectively taking two parking spots. A-holes, every last one of them! And don't get me started on the jerks who turn right at the top of the ramp when there's a sign clearly telling them to keep left and go around the lot, who then get pissed when someone like me, foolishly following the rules, tries to exit via the exit lane (marked by a giant white arrow) after they have made their illegal right turn. More A-holes!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

One afternoon in Paris

[Interior: an apartment shared by several old composers]
Giacomo Puccini enters the common room to find his friend Ludwig Van Beethoven angrily working on his latest composition.

Ludwig, why-a you so angry?




[with cone to Ludwig's ear] I say, "why-a you so angry?"

That dummkoff Mozart has been in the bathroom for hours!

What's he-a doin' in there? Waxing his carrot?

[enter Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, preening]

Oh Giacomo. I was just powdering my wig. (erupts into giggles) Ludwig has no patience.

I'm tired of der kalt dusche. Why do you have to take so long?

I have to look good for my adoring fans.

You could spend all day in there but you still come out looking like a horse's ass.

At least my hair is styled. What do you call this? Der Rasenmaher?

[Ludwig lunges and the two wrestle briefly. Enter Guiseppe Verdi]

Gentlemen, Gentlemen. Please. We are some of the greatest composers in history. Ludwig, you...Ludwig? LUDWIG!!
[Beethoven looks up]
Ludwig, your music will last for generations and I'm sure your latest work will be a hit.

You are too kind, Guiseppe.

And you, Wolfy. What is it they say on the streets? Ladies Love Cool Wolfgang? It's not the wig they want--(winks)

Oh, Guiseppe (giggles). That is so true.
[to Beethoven] I'm sorry, Ludwig. Ludwig? LUDWIG!!


I said, "es tut mir leid."

Okay. I forgive you.

Ah, that's nice. Let's all go out to the cafe for some coffee and croissants.

[the four composers sit at the cafe perusing menus when they hear from above, "Yoo Hoo! Verdi!!"]

Asshole monster

Special thanks to Roy for his creative and technical assistance. Without him, this would have been impossible.
German obtained from a German-English dictionary. Don't hold me to any of it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Royfest 2007: The Finale

Oh noes!!1! It's teh goodbye post! Say it ain't so!


This is Roy, by the way. Laurie's on the couch reading the latest and final installment of the Harry Potter series. Speaking of which, I must thank my wonderful aunt who is cool through and through for letting me stay on the couch, for showing me around feeding me, for parading me in front of all her friends, and for putting up with my silly crap all week without braining me.

Though LA was newer to me (and therefore scarier to country folk like myself) last time I was here, I found I had a greater sense of wonder this time around. Maybe the rain and the taped up glasses on my last visit had something to do with it, but I feel I came away with a stronger impression of LA, or at least Hollywood, this trip.

Which is a strange thing to say. There is so much to see just in Hollywood, so many people, places, stories, that I imagine my impression is akin to the impression astronauts got of life on the moon during their brief stays. So while I don't know how much to trust it, I have come away with impressions none the less.

For one, it seems there is something to see around every corner. Restaurants, bars, clubs, stores, shops. Actors, musicians, drifters, hookers, hipsters, and dealers. Filming locations, recording studios, places where famous people lived, places where famous people died. Even without a tour guide, Sunset feels like a playground where you can find anything you're looking for.

Like vintage Star Trek posters and Double Doubles.

This place soaks in a sense of the absurd. Coming from Pennsyltucky and all, everything here seems a touch over the top. That's not the right phrase perhaps. If every place here were a picture, the color contrast would be pushed to a point just past natural and just before discomfort. The artifice of The Industry bleeds into the area, making everything hyper-real, or when the glow wears off, absurd. This absurdity though, when acknowledged, is embraced, and feeds back into the experience. The restaurants and shops, the stores and the clubs, everything conceived with either a smirk or a smile. This is Hollywood, after all.

On a late night snack run to a 7-Eleven, we passed some hipsters, a family on bicycles (one literally in tow), and a couple of strung out looking aimless folk eating hot dogs (bathed in mustard). I said to my aunt, "you know, the nice thing about this place is there's so many weirdos that it's impossible not to fit in by default."

I said it to be humorous, but there was truth in my statement. Maybe my impression is naive, or tainted by the fact that here I'm an anonymous stranger, but coming from a workplace, neighborhood, and town where I don't feel I fit in, Hollywood is inviting. Where I come from, people have a story not of how they ended up where they are, but why they ended up where they are. It's not a good enough place just to be. A night at the bar feels more like a liquor sodden support group, assembled to cope with, or forget, why we are where we are. (It's not that bad, is it?) Not that folks here don't have their problems, but that they are here doesn't seem to be one of them. There are so many people here for so many reasons that there's no need justify simply being here.

Of course, I always have been a gullible boy, so set me straight if I'm off the mark. It just seems that, from meeting Laurie's friends (which is strange to write considering they're pretty much the audience I'm writing to) that this is a place where people are comfortable with where they are, if not who they are. We could use a bit of that back home.

Dang, I'm wasting my last day writing a book here. So hello and goodbye! It was a pleasure meeting all of you. Thank you for your kindness.

-The Roy

Friday, July 20, 2007

Royfest 2007: Day 7

Plans? We scoff at plans. Who needs 'em? Not The Roy and I. With nothing on the books save dinner at Palms Thai, we headed to West Hills where Roy gamely sat through a second viewing of Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix, even though he's never read the books. What a swell guy.

We goofed off until dinnertime, then off to Palms Thai for some delicious food and the Thai Elvis. After a few trips around the block, we Valeted the car. We were seated right up in front of the stage. Sweet! Front row seats for Elvis--both Thai and otherwise.

We both ordered Pad Thai--Roy ordered chicken; I ordered pork and a Thai tea. Both were absolutely delicious. Roy enjoyed it so much, he cleaned his plate. Me too.

Elvis was already in action when we arrived and finished his set as our food arrived. He was followed by a lithesome Asian girl who sang a variety of pop hits with very little emotion. During her set, Elvis (Kevin) sat with his back to the dining room reading a book. When the girl finished her set, she simply walked off the stage, picked up her cell phone and make a call. Elvis neatly tucked away his book and took his place on stage for a quiet rendition of "Love Me Tender."
They had the emotional detachment of a hooker. Most of the patrons were oblivious to the presence of the singers anyway.

When the Valet brought my car around, the CD we had been listening to was mysteriously on track 11, even though it was only on track 6 when we pulled in. Who knew valet parkers liked The Presidents of the United States of America. "Peaches come in a can. They were put there by a man at a factory downtown."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Royfest 2007: Day 6

Waaahhhh....Is it day six already? But, but, but we're having so much fun!
We made a concerted effort to actually get up at a decent hour today so we could see things...well, so much for that. We did get out the door before noonish, so it wasn't so bad. We headed downtown, taking the scenic route down Sunset/ Cesar Chavez to Union Station. After a delicious
bagel from Union Bagel, we ventured over to Olivera Street. Before we left union, I had to pee but there was a line and I didn't feel like waiting. I said, "There'll be restrooms across the street." I now know where all the restrooms are at El Pueblo de Los Angeles because my oh so helpful nephew pointed out every toilet we passed--for the rest of the day!!! Thanks, Roy!
We walked all around the gazebo, past the Chinese American History Museum where Roy learned about the Chinese Massacre of 1871, and saw some filming at the Pico House (they transformed it into a Colombian bus station).

Next, we hopped the Dash B to Temple, where we walked around the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Roy's not Catholic, but I showed him the mausoleums and the courtyard anyway. Then, we walked over to Disney Hall, where I made a delightful purchase at the LA Phil store. Land o' Goshen it was hot outside today. I dragged Roy through that lawn area by the Civil courts building (I don't know if it has a name) and over to the Court of Flags which also happens to be the entrance to the Civic Center stop on the red line. Did I mention the heat? I was not going to be able to walk back over to the Dash stop. But a quick subway ride brought us back to Union Station. Okay, I admit. I was lazy. We could have walked to our next destination, but...I drove two whole blocks to

Mmm...I ordered the Pork sandwich and Roy ordered the Beef, then we split them so we each had half. I got macaroni salad with mine, while Roy choose a pickle, which he shared with me because he was raised properly. It was delicious and dripping in au jus, just the way we like it.

There was a family sitting at the other end of our table with a precocious little girl named Lindsay. Lindsay was eating pie. Mmm, pie.

So after a brief respite at Chateau de Tante Laurie Ann, we headed off to the Farmer's Market for SnB, where nothing would do but a stop at DuPar's for pie and ice cream. I chose Rhubarb; Roy had Blueberry. We headed upstairs where Roy signed autographs and had his picture taken with his fans. (not really, but he was quite the celebrity). He gamely tried to make headway on his hat ( see Day 2), met Chatty Catherine, and helped us celebrate the birth of the lovely and talented Ellen.

We came home and watched Chicken Run, during which Roy invented the greatest drinking game in which one drinks every time Mel Gibson as Rocky Rhodes makes a sexist remark. Try it at home. You'll be loopy before you know it.

Royfest 2007: Day 5

We are lazy schlubs, the Roy and I. Both of us slept a little late, then couldn't get motivated until it was too late to go anywhere really. But we were hungry and we hadn't had any Mexican food yet. So I took him to La Taquiza on Figueroa.

Roy had the enchilada con pollo plate (#2) while I had the California chicken salad with two chorizo tacos.

Yummy spicy goodness.

Since we were in the USC area, I took Roy to the Science Center. Unfortunately, they were closing at 5:00. There was just enough time for Roy to test out the earthquake simulator and to see a newborn baby chick in the Chicken vs. Egg display. And I mean newborn as in it just hatched and it's feathers were still wet. Sooo cute.

What is Roy doing here--A) Recording his soon-to-be number one hit "My Aunt Rocks"; B) talking to his boss at CONTROL headquarters because his shoe phone was broken; or C) testing out his hearing range and proving that yes, I'm old, and yes, he's young and has the hearing equivalent of dogs and teenagers.The answer is, of course, C. I must have--what did Ellen call it? Rock N Roll ears?--because I couldn't hear below 30.

After we came home and lazed about until 10ish, we took a walk over to 7-11 for snacks, then came home to watch a movie. I hope I have energy tomorrow. I want to take him downtown.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Royfest 2007: Day 4

I got to work today and the boss said, "I thought you were supposed to be off today." I told her I'd go home if she wanted me to, but alas, I stayed. Roy was alone again. Lord knows what trouble he caused...

I didn't eat lunch today, so I was starving when I got home. We couldn't decided what we wanted to eat but Roy was pretty adamant about one thing--"no more chili." Hmmm...Chicken? But will it be Roscoe's or Zankou? We flipped a nickel. Jefferson meant Roscoe's; Montecello meant Zankou. And the winner is...

I hadn't been there for a while, but it hasn't changed since last time. We were greeted at the door by a voice made for the blues and shown to a table in the corner. We both ordered the same thing--fried chicken and waffles.

I ordered a side of grits. Mmm, buttery goodness.

It was delicious. Roy was a happy and well-fed nephew.
Both of us too full to do much else, we settled in for a movie--one of my favorites--Leon.
"Dis is from...Mathilda."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Royfest 2007: Day 3

I had to work today, which left The Roy to his own devices. What kind of trouble did he get into? I'll let him tell you.

Here's Roy:
Okay. So after my wonderful auntie L left for work, I settled down on the couch and watched an episode or five of The Newsroom. Before I knew it, it was 1pm and I had not changed out of my pj's.

I washed up, changed costumes, and made a plan: hit up the post office for post card stamps, stop at Groundworks for a cheesy bagel, pick up some toiletries at Rite Aid, and scour the Amoeba for CDs I can't find in other stores. (Yeah, I could just buy them from the internet. I could also, like, uh... come up with a valid analogy to illustrate that finding them physically is more fun than just ordering them at will.)

So out I went:

  1. First stop, post office to buy stamps. Postage stamps, postage stamps, postage stamps. Yes! Postage stamps! Not a problem.
  2. Oh man, Groundworks only has one sickly looking bagel left. If it were a kitten, it would be breaking my heart. Alright, lets see. Jack in the Box? Nah. Maybe I should check out Hollywood Boulevard. There's gotta be a cool place to eat there, and I'd like to see the shops before I blow all my money at Amoeba.
  3. Left or Right? Uh. Hmm. Er. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeleft.
  4. Ooh! A poster and movie memorabilia shop. What's this? A Star Trek 4 poster? A Mallrats poster? An Asian Kill Bill 2 poster? A Mad Max mini poster? A receipt for eighty dollars?
  5. Oh, damn, another poster shop? With a beautiful Star Trek the Motion Picture poster in the window? For five ninety five? I've got to have that. I'm going to shoegaze until I pay though, because I don't need the temptation.
  6. Hmm. I'm getting really hungry, carrying quite a bit, and don't have much more money to spend. I'm going to go back to the post office and mail the posters to myself. Doopie doopie doo, I'm carrying posters, doopie doopie doo!
  7. Crap in a hat, the post office is on Wilcox.
  8. Hi again.
  9. Doopie doopie doo, on my way to Rite Aid, Doopie doopie what? Cute but goofy looking young Swedish lady is asking me for directions to Bank of America? I, I actually know where that is! "It's one or two blocks this way, I'm not sure how many, but it's definitely across the street." You look like you just got off the set of the Benny Hill show.
  10. Buh duh duh bwah bwah bwah bwah bwah bwah buh da da da duh, da duh da duh dat! Buh duh duh bwah bwah bwah bwah bwah bwah buh da duh daaa, da duh da duh dat! Rite Aid? Right on. Man, I'm hungry. Ooh, I know where there's an In-N-Out Burger! It's just a couple blocks down the street past Wilcox. That would hit the spot like a cement truck full of awesome.
  11. Shit in a philly, that was a long couple of blocks. And a sea of teenagers. But it was more than worth it for a Double Double and Vanilla Shake. Ahh, good times.
After all that it was back to Laurie's swank pad to sit and sweat. Soon enough, she returned from work, and it was cha-cha-cha-chilly dog time. Back to you, Laurie.

Home for me...Next stop on the Culinary Tour--CARNEY'S!!
I love me some Carney's. When I worked at Tower (the record store itself, not the offices), my friend Robert Bruggeman and I used to eat at Carney's every time we had a hankering for chocolate frozen bananas.
Roy ordered the Carney's dog; I got the Chicagoan. We shared a large chili cheese fries, and of course, we ordered the frozen chocolate-dipped nanners. Roy seemed dubious about his dog, but he enjoyed it. The fries looked like...well, you know.

But yum! And the bananas? Well, you be the judge.

Mommy would be so proud of me.

Do yourself a favor. Check out this website which accompanied the billboard below.

Scenes from The Grove

I took this touristy photo of Roy outside of the theater at The Grove. After uploading it to the laptop, I noticed the people in the background. Let's get a closer look, shall we?

Drug deals at The Grove?!? In broad daylight??!?
These are a shifty lot.

Now this--this is a woman with a purpose...and by the looks of it, not a pleasant one.

Stay out of her way. She's on a mission.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Royfest 2007: Day 2

Oh, we had big plans...or rather, I had big plans. I was going to take The Roy to Olivera Street and then take the Dash Discovery around downtown getting off and on whenever the mood struck. We started off okay. We got up early and went to the farmer's market at Ivar and Selma to get some breakfast and fresh produce. But it was powerful hot at 9:30am and my sunglasses had broken, so it was not pleasant. And it was crowded. We got some killer breakfast burritos and a handful of white peaches, then headed home, where we sat in front of the fan (who thinks he's Fred Durst--shh, don't say anything).

We didn't want to get up, let alone walk around in the hot sun. I think we over extended ourselves yesterday. What can you do on a day like that? Go to a nice air conditioned theater, of course.

As we were leaving, Roy's friend Jose called to tell him it was National Ice Cream Day (as dictated by Ronald Reagan) and to invite him for an ice cream. Well, obviously joining Jose was out of the question, but we did our best to celebrate with "appropriate ceremonies and activities" at Bennett's at the Farmers Market.

After ice cream, we headed over to the theater to get tickets to Ratatouille. We stopped to watch the dancing fountain (which had a broken water cannon that kept us entertained more than it should) and while there, an old man was taking a photo of a very attractive, very much younger woman. I stage whispered to Roy, "Can you say 'trophy wife'?" As they were walking away, the old man turned to me and winked.

Ratatouille was great. I didn't want French food afterward, as Catherine did, but I did want a cute little rat who can cook like Remy. Roy reminded me that rats are not cute* and most certainly can't cook, so I got over that fast.

We came home, relaxed in front of the fan, and then I began the knitting lessons. Roy chose the Twize 100% bamboo yarn (in Twed) to begin a very ambitious project--a hat. Okay, not so ambitious but for a very beginner, that's something. So far, so good. He caught on pretty quickly.
Look how excited he is. And the concentration!

So far, the culinary tour isn't going so well. I've only hit one spot on the tour, but we're hoping to hit more this week. We were just too tired today.

*Yes, I know. Some people find rats freakin' adorable. I am not one of them...unless they are cartoony and speak like Patton Oswalt.

Royfest 2007: Day 1

I didn't finish cleaning, but that's okay. Roy's family. I didn't do laundry, but that's okay. I barely made it to the airport on time, but that's okay. For once it was fairly painless to get around LAX and I picked him up curbside without incident. I forgot to take the 405 to go to Tito's Tacos for lunch, but that's okay. We went to Tommy's on Beverly instead. I forgot my camera, but that's okay. We had fun--trust me.

So, the culinary tour has begun. Tommy's chili burgers were a hit. mmmm...
At 7:15ish we ventured out to Highland Park for Ellen Bloom's art opening. Now, like an idiot, I didn't jot down the address or remember the name of the gallery. So after three trips up and down Figueroa, I finally saw something that looked like a gallery of some sort and--Ta Da! We found it. Ellen looked faboo as the artist in residence and many of her incredible pieces were sold by the time we got there. And then we found...CHICKEN BOY! Chicken Boy is awesome. Too tall to live. Too weird to die. Amy, the gallery owner, bought Chicken Boy and saved him from his original location. He now lives in her backyard. Headless. Oh, he has a head.
It's just not attached. Poor Chicken Boy. Amy hopes to install Chicken Boy (avec tete) in a permanent home (maybe on her gallery?) , so I signed a petition to help make it so.
Here Darcy tries on CB's body for size. Hmm...not quite.

After gazing at art and marveling at the talented Ms. Bloom, we (The Roy and I) left to find food. But first, we couldn't pass up this photo op.Who's your buddy?

We decided to find something closer to home and after passing two horrific multi-car accidents on the 110 within yards of one another, I forgot to change lanes and ended up in the Hill Street lane, so I said, "Hey Roy, wanna go to Chinatown?" Oh, that reminds me--Gwen, I found that pagoda thingy in Ellen's painting. It's on Hill just as you come off the freeway on the left side of the street near a sign that reads "Chinatownland." Anywho, we ate at Won Kok, which wasn't on my list for the Culinary Tour, but this girl never passes up the Kok. It was tasty. We saw what appeared to be a small wedding party, a band of Mariachi's, and a cop in really, really tight pants.

Tomorrow: the local farmer's market, and perhaps Olivera Street and a trip to Philippe's.

*Roy is not wee; Jesus is huge.

Friday, July 13, 2007


I woke up late--well, I woke up on time, but my eyes refused to stay open--so I was in bathroom rushing to get ready for work when I heard a ruckus going on outside the window. I opened the window a bit more and saw a girl pigeon clearly peeved and a boy pigeon doing his best to get her attention. His chest was all puffed up, tail feathers fanned, head bobbing like John Travolta (the early years) doing his pigeon version of "If I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I together." I opened the window more and it didn't seem to disturb his game. So, I went to get my camera. I returned to the bathroom, turned on the camera and this is what I got.

That's him on the left, acting as if he's just waiting for the bus. "Nothing to see here, lady. Move along." I turned off the camera and went back to putting on make-up and he started up with the bobbing and puffing act again. Every time I put the camera near the window--nothing. I guess that's why you don't see pigeon porn in the video stores.

Also, around 4:15ish today, there was a fire west of my office. It appeared to be somewhere in the Vermont area, so I stayed a little late at work and our fine Los Angeles Fire Department had it out in no time.

Don't mind the blue haze. We have tinted windows at work.