Friday, October 29, 2004
Still here, just been busy.
More posts soon, but in the meantime I'd like to relay a completely unrelated and inane observation: Over the past three days I have seen two bags of dry cement broken open in the middle of the road in completely different neighborhoods.
As the cars continually drove over them, the plume of cement dust grew to proportions that can only be described in terms of the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption.
How can this be? I thought we were in the midst of a cement shortage. Shouldn't we be rationing concrete, our most precious of the conglomerate construction materials?
And what are the odds I'd see two different, yet similar examples cement misuse in three days? Any statisticians out there?
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
I had a reaction similar as those who commented on the previous post, which is what made me park and get out of my car. It just looked so surreal. As I walked up, I thought, “Is it some sort of guerilla street art? What could have possibly done this?” So, I snapped a picture with my handy camera phone.
When I started to look around, I began to realize it probably wasn’t the aftermath of some fiery accident. The bent over streetlight was still flashing and, much to my dismay, there wasn’t change pouring out of the damaged parking meter.
Then I noticed there was a man sitting behind me on a stool. I said to him, “Do you know what this is all about?”
He looked at me like he had answered that question about a million times already, but still gave me the stock reply. “They’re going to shoot a commercial here. A car is going to come screeching to a halt and everything will look as if it’s melted and burned. I’m just watching the props until later tonight.”
You can imagine my disappointment.
I took a closer look at the sign (Emily almost pegged it) and realized that it said “Hot Maxima.”
So there you go. Coming soon to a television near you: The new Nissan commercial.
Monday, October 18, 2004
I noticed something strange on my way to a freelance gig the other day and although my camera phone doesn't really do it justice, I thought I would share a picture of what I saw.
The mass next to the twisted and melted streetlight is a charred bicycle.
Friday, October 15, 2004
At the risk of being labeled a follower, hanger-on or Johnny-come-lately (especially in the wake of Zach Braff’s Garden State), I must say I’m really enjoying The Shins.
Especially their album Chutes Too Narrow.
Specifically, and because I just learned to play it, I love the song Young Pilgrims.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
The last few days I've been working on a script for a African-American lifestyle/home improvement show.
Tomorrow I'll be working on a children's cartoon based off the marketing of some card game I don't understand.
Ahhh... The joys of freelance.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
I just saw Trishelle of The Real World: Las Vegas and The Surreal Life at the 7-11 down the street from where I live. She had some serious bags under her eyes and was driving a trashed and dirty Volkswagen Jetta.
And she was buying a bag of Doritos at 7-11.
I guess being on reality TV ain't all it’s cracked up to be.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Is it just me, or is it weird to hear a snooty men's restroom attendant say, "I hope everything was okay in there," to someone who just came out of a stall?
It's just me, isn't it?
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
So, as I was saying…
When I walked through the front door, I begin to wonder what was going on since there seemed to be lights on throughout the house. In the entryway above me, a light was on. In the hallway in front of me, a light was on. In the living room to my right, a light was on.
I followed my new friend to the left, however, and into a dark room. It was quiet, but I could make out that there was something in the room, or at least some sort of presence.
Without a word, he pointed to a light switch on the wall to my left. I noticed it wasn’t an ordinary flip-it-up-and-down kind of light switch, but more of a push button kind of device. As I stared at the switch, it occurred to me that a complete stranger had invited me into his home to perform the lightest of all physical activity. In fact, I had spent more energy climbing the steps than I was about to by turning on this light.
But I was glad to do it. This family’s cultural and religious tradition seemed to be a perfect bedfellow for my ignorance. By being exposed to something I had not much knowledge of, it would be illuminating for me in a much different way than it would be for them.
Extending my index finger, I reached out and ever so lightly touched the switch.
When the lights came up I realized I was standing at the edge of the dining room and that there were people seated around the table. There was a meal already laid out, ready to be eaten. Almost immediately someone came out of the kitchen with a platter full of more food. I considered asking, “What’s for dinner?” but remembered why I was out walking through the neighborhood in the first place.
When I got back down to the sidewalk, my wife and Bob were patiently waiting for me. I recounted the story in great detail as we walked on down to pick up our Chinese takeout… Which was Kosher, of course.
Saturday, October 02, 2004
Today my wife said to me, "Quit doing the robot and drive."
Friday, October 01, 2004
As the High Holidays have now concluded, I thought I might share a tale of something that happened to me recently.
I am a Gentile living in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. Being so, I’ve learned the difference between Kosher and Glatt Kosher and I think a little old lady once cussed me out in Yiddish for parking in front of her house. Every few blocks, there are temples and private Jewish schools. I even heard that Rosanne Barr once taught a class at a nearby Kabbalah center,
Where I grew up, religious diversity was hard to come by. Sure, we had our Catholics, Protestants, Latter-day Saints, Presbyterians, Baptists, Episcopalians, Lutherans and even a few whacky non-denominational Christians, but the spiritual makeup of my little town was homogenous. I point all this out to say that moving to Los Angeles and this neighborhood has been a real learning experience for me.
A few Friday nights ago, my wife and I decided Chinese takeout was a swell idea, so we called and placed an order. We thought we might as well walk down and pick it up ourselves because a) it’s only a few blocks away, and b) Bob the dog could always use a good walk.
Not many people were out as we walked, but you could still sense the life in our neighborhood from the sweet smell of dinner being prepared every few houses. Eventually, we crossed over a four-way intersection and waited for Bob to do his obligatory sniffing on the corner.
All of a sudden, a teenage boy comes walking up to us. I’m a bit concerned at first as he has come out of nowhere, but he seems harmless. He’s dressed in a classic black suit and dark hat, obviously orthodox.
“Har oum douish?” He says to me.
I wondered if I had heard him correctly, so I reply, “Excuse me?”
“Har oum douish?” He asks again.
I couldn’t figure it out. Was he speaking another language? Did he have a developmental disability and not very good language skills? I was about to reply with a “What?’ when I finally realized what he was asking.
“No, I’m not Jewish,” I said.
He flashed a smile full of relief and I looked back at him wondering what was coming next. Finally he says, “Lights nerned off nand gern berny dinner.”
Now I’m starting to think he definitely has a developmental disability and is just being friendly. I’m about to say, “Oh… Okay,” and flash a smile as I walk away when he speaks again.
“Can you come to my house? The lights got turned out and we can’t eat dinner until the they’re turned back on,” He says.
Finally, I can understand the words coming out of his mouth. I realize that he’s just been mumbling, and really I should be one to understand as my wife accuses me of doing this all the time.
Then I wonder what he’s talking about. Come over to his house? Is he inviting me over to dinner, a complete stranger? What about my wife? She’s standing right here and she’s not getting an invitation? And what’s the deal about the lights?
Then it dawns on me. It’s Friday night, the night before the Sabbath. I remember something about being forbidden to do work after sundown.
“You want me to come and turn on the lights in your house?” I ask.
“Yes,” he mumbles.
I consider his request for a brief moment, and then make a rash decision.
“Sure, why not?” I say.
I follow him across the street and down a couple of houses to a two-story duplex typical of my neighborhood. As we approach the driveway, I can see that there are family members waiting for dinner. A man who I assume is his father is at the bottom of a staircase. He says “Thank you,” as I pass him going up the steps.
At the top of the landing are a couple of middle-aged women sitting in wicker chairs; they also say “Thank you,” as I pass. I can’t help but notice there is a light shining right above their heads.
--TO BE CONTINUED--