Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Moment

Is this the moment the paradigm shifts?

We’ve thought this before. We’re usually wrong, at least in my lifetime. We see a moment, Los Angeles on fire, fury in Ferguson, women on the streets, protestors chanting “I can’t breathe” in cities across the country. But the moment passes. We leave Charlottesville, Trump Tower, Baltimore. We return to our devices, games, Netflix obsession, our comforts, our almond lattes, our gluten-free oatmeal, our consumerism. We are the Amys, not the Karens.

Is this even real? Who are these guys with umbrellas? The instigators systematically breaking windows, their eyes devoid of fury, anti-Soros conspiracies fueling their methods? Has the shit stirred up by online bots spilled over into physical life?

"Somebody hold my blunt."

I was too young to understand the late sixties, the fury on city streets contrasted with the Cold War-fueled space race. You’ll believe a man can fly. Only white men with access to advanced degrees, of course. The street-based fury hadn’t reached the upper echelons of power yet. The outcome of those

Kissing Opossums

That's not social distancing!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

They're Multiplying

There's a whole family in the yard?

Not Cool, FedEx

I shipped my old Apple monitor FedEx Ground from Burbank to myself in Jersey City. I got a newer (used) Apple Monitor to use in my home office in California, now that I have to take the term "home office" seriously, so I thought it would be nice to upgrade my home office in my Jersey City house too.

I shipped the screen in one narrow box on May 15 with signature required, because it was scheduled the arrive the same day I would, and I wanted to be sure I was there before they left it.

I sent the stand in a bulky square box on 5/16, knowing it would start moving on Monday 5/18 for arrival 5/22. I didn't do signature required since I for sure would be there by 5/22.

You can probably see where this is going.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Mini-Lion Attack

If I leave the door to upstairs open for even a second, just to check cat food and water, Lily pushes through.

Why? What is so interesting in my apartment?

My desk, apparently.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

They Eat Anything

What do raccoons eat for dinner? I can't tell what this is. It kind of looks like a leaf or a squirrel.

Or maybe it's a mom carrying a kit?

Dogs v Birds

In a world where individuals guilty of existing-while-black are murdered by law enforcement or by racists who own guns, I keep reading comments where people suggest my--our--friend Chris is guilty of being a jerk for OFFERING A DOG A TREAT.

I'm not saying he was trying to make friends with the dog. He was clearly offering the dog a treat so the dog owner would leash the dog which was illegally off-leash in a migratory bird habitat.

The number of commenters in the world who claim Chris had ill-intent toward the dog due to offering it a treat is small, but nevertheless horrifying and absurd.

Sometimes, I just want to give up, you know? People are just so...god, they're just so dense. I don't want to be that person, but sometimes it's hard to see the good, the smart, the reasonable in people. They want so badly to prove they are uniquely more clever, they are special, they see an angle no one else sees. "They're both jerks."

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Mammals on Breadalbane Terrace

Different animals peeking around in the front of house versus the back of the house.

Front of house

Back of house

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Clickable and More Fun

Here are some more fun links about our pal Christian Cooper.

He used to do a web comic called "Queer Nation." I colored some and Yancey drew some. We had a blast, though web comics were not really a thing for many more years. Queer Nation was ahead of its time.…/www.queernation.c…/archive_fr.html

These links are more fun than scream-y spaniel woman.

She Went There?

48 hours ago, if you'd asked me "What do you think Christian Cooper would be famous for," I'd have guessed for something he'd written, a science fiction book or maybe the Star Trek comic he used to write where he introduced the first gay character in the history of Star Trek. Or maybe I'd have said "He was featured in that documentary about Central Park birders," because he's a dedicated and locally famous birder. He gets up at some obscenely early hour in the spring so he can be at Central Park by dawn to watch migratory birds.

If you wanted to dig in more to his background, I might have told you about his global travels, his days editing at Marvel, how he's a Harvard grad whose friend from college was the first male ob/gyn I'd ever met, or how he'd jumped through all the hoops necessary to get a small condo in the East Village back in the day, and he'd made his exclusive roof rights into a tiny, green paradise. I might have mentioned he had a fabulous 30th birthday party at a private mansion which inspired me to do the same a few years later (at the Frying Pan lightship). He hired a few drag queens to come to his party--were they telling fortunes? I no longer remember. I might even have mentioned I vaguely remember he knows some Klingon, but maybe he just had the Klingon dictionary and I read a lot more into that than I should have. I probably would have told you that Chris is never one to back down from taking a stand on a moral issue. He's gone to his share of righteous protests.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Making Do

My little ground floor apartment in Jersey City is more a bolthole than a residence. It's about 450 square feet, maybe a little less. The bedroom, living room, and office are the same small room. Likewise, the kitchen and dining room share the same quarters. The bathroom has no separate shower. The bathroom IS the shower, plastic curtains serving as dividers.

The kitchen has no oven, but it does have two small gas burners, a microwave, a toaster oven, and now, an Instant Pot.

Oh, and I have my tiny backyard with patio umbrella, but it hasn't been that hot here yet, so while I cleaned up the patio and dragged out the umbrella stand, I didn't make use of it yet.

My upstairs tenants have been out of town during the entire pandemic, so I could use their oven. And they wouldn't mind since they're not using it and I'm feeding their cats and sending them video of the nice cat to show their five-year-old twins. (The kids are less interested in the mean cat.)

But I wanted to see if I could make a successful meal using the tools I have, so I'm pleased to announce that... ...I successfully had a delicious meal of baked chicken breast with parmesan and spices, partially microwaved and partially toaster oven-ed sweet potato, and Instant Pot asparagus spears.

Now if only I could figure out the right approach to an overripe banana and Bisquick.

Pandemic Conundrum

We find ourselves at an odd moment for so many reasons.

Our lives are suddenly prospectively shortened. We realize our list of dreams needs to be addressed.

Simultaneously, we are trapped within our homes, or at most, within a controlled orbit in masks and gloves with social distancing, hoping the studies are right about exposure.

I was just listening to a program on WNYC where the obituary writers talk about DO IT NOW, because death comes suddenly.

What a conundrum, that so many have realized there's no time like the present for following dreams, but the present isn't having it.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Settling In, the Lafayette Edition

I headed home from the airport, put on my disposable gloves, got a takeout coffee at The Grind and an egg-in-a-wrap from Martha's, took them home to dump into my own dishes, scrubbed my hands carefully, and had breakfast in my own home.

ShopRite miraculously opened up delivery slots, so I got as many groceries as fit in my half-size fridge. They even had Lysol wipes, which I hadn't seen since early March. I stopped by the dollar store--they had hair wraps, the right kind for maskmaking, and I pulled out my cheapie sewing machine I hadn't touched since I moved to Los Angeles.

Plus, I apparently went back in time and bought a huge number of disposable gloves and left them in my Jersey City house for Pandemic Marie to find. Part of the DIY experience! There are several woodworking masks under the sink and in the basement too.

The apprehension I had before flying home is starting to dissolve. People just get by, but with more social distancing and masks. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Testing the Waters

I took a plane Wednesday night. Crazy? Maybe. My theory, based on reading some reports about air filtration on planes and how many (very few) people are flying, was that flying is pretty safe. While my experience seems to bear out this hypothesis, I have ten days of isolation in Jersey City and then another two weeks on return to LA to find out if I guessed well.

My biggest concern was getting from my apartment to the gate. I waffled for days over which airport to fly out of. Burbank Airport is a ten-minute bus ride away, on the nearly empty 222 bus, while LAX can be anywhere from a half-hour in the dead of night to two hours in traffic. Longer if I take transit and hit all the connections wrong. But flying from LAX means a direct flight to Newark, and flying from Burbank means a connecting flight via SFO or DEN. What’s safer, two flights and waiting in a second airport, or getting to LAX?

I talked it over with Steve B, who had driven to Burbank a few weeks ago and hit zero traffic. Ultimately, I split the difference.

Fly out of LAX, fly back to Burbank.

I obsessively checked the United seat assignments for a few days leading up to my flight. Was it crowded? Where could I sit and be far from others? Should I switch to a day flight instead of a red-eye?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

I Hope They Have Triple-A

I seldom look at my work phone and no one (including me) has the number.

Shame about the fan belt.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Now What?

Hey, Monday. I love you too.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Winning Waffles

Remember the Great Grocery Tragedy of 2018, when I won frozen waffles in supermarket Monopoly and then my refrigerator stopped running?

You’ll be delighted to know I won frozen waffles as my grand prize once again this year. I was sorta hoping for the $1000 Vons gift card, but this is almost as good.

Thursday, May 14, 2020


Yesterday, I found rice and dried beans in the store, and now this. It’s almost normal...except I don’t think I’ve ever bought 8 rolls at once before. It’s all the supermarket had.

When we look back at this time, one of my first memories will be how happy I was when I found potatoes after days of all the potato shelves being bare everywhere in town.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Widening My World

Today was the day I expanded my world beyond the mile surrounding Warner Bros. and my condo.

I figure nothing is going to change in the near future--possibly not for more than a year. So the question is...what is it like out there? If California reopens on 5/15, how do we alter our behavior so our world is safer than it might have been otherwise?

I donned my homemade mask (two layers of quilting cotton and one thin interfacing between), stuffed latex gloves into my bag, and headed out.

I caught the #222 bus north to Pacific and Hollywood Way. All buses are free at the moment, and able-bodied passengers can only enter and exit through the rear door. There were only three passengers on the bus, all keeping their distance. All wore masks.

I used my bag to push the button when I wanted the driver to stop, and then walked a mile to Lowe's. I only saw one other person during that walk, a dog walker two blocks away.

Lowe's was...not empty. It wasn't crowded, and everyone had on masks, but the number of shoppers was disconcerting.

I headed on to Target, but the line to get in was kind of nutty, so I walked over to Walmart. There was a queue there too, but Walmarts have actual sewing sections, so I was interested in stopping there. The line went quickly...but apparently so did the fabric. I haven't seen shelves this empty since my last look at the toilet paper section in any major grocery store. I bought the last fat quarter of fabric--it has tacos on it. (Not sure who will want a taco mask, but someone will.)

I left Walmart, passing a tremendous queue of cars all waiting for their curbside pickups. The line to get into the store stretched around the block now.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Dream House No More

A lot can change in two weeks.

Here's the sad story of gentrification gone completely wrong in Burbank.

Fantasy Real Estate, the Bergen-Lafayette Edition

This is a cool-looking house with the original tin front, but I think it's worth $600-675k, not $799k. I think that because that's what my house is worth, a few doors down, and I have the end so more light. Bizarre that I was able to get my house for less than my one-bedroom condo in Burbank. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Still, if this house were in LA, it would be worth way more than this, so maybe someone with spare money will come along.

I hope they don't paint it.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

I'm Supposed to be A Writer, so...

...I guess I wrote a poem.

Will a take-out sandwich be the death of me? I wonder if it’s worth it.

The baguette. The turkey. The gouda.

Death by gouda.

Two scraps of quilting fabric and a pipe cleaner
will protect me.

A pipe cleaner will save me. Gouda will kill me.

It’s Saturday. The radishes on the balcony need thinning. 

I saw a pack of Charmin in the wild.