There are always helicopters in Los Angeles.
Sunday, April 30, 2023
The museum has closed now, the contents auctioned off. Today I received some of the family photos as well as the personal diaries of my great-great grandmother.
We aren't really sure what to do with them, but my extended family agreed Burbank seems a good spot to keep these items for a while.
Saturday, April 29, 2023
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Like all creative endeavors—or like, you know, life—pottery begins with optimism and hope. You have only to try, and your genius will take shape.
Tonight I couldn’t center the clay, but I kept trying, and finally it just kind of collapsed.
Monday, April 24, 2023
Sunday, April 23, 2023
Saturday, April 22, 2023
Here's a mildly interesting challenge. My flight tomorrow leaves around 3 from Newark Airport. The Jersey City Marathon has the streets closed until 3.
I will probably walk out of the range of the marathon.
Friday, April 21, 2023
Cap was just thinking of those soy burgers from that fancy restaurant, courtesy of the Austin Chronicle.
The restaurant was Mother's, and it wasn't particularly fancy, unless you were a wide-eyed kid from West Virginia, making a living off working at McDonald's and selling hand-copied cassettes. I knew Daniel Johnston from a day he showed up at the free weekly newspaper in Austin, where I was a college intern in early 1986 (!).
Daniel was obsessed with Jack Kirby and John Lennon, among other things, and I'm not likely to speak in public about the Beatles, but I can hold my own on the topic of comics and Daniel Johnston.
Here is your reminder if you live in NYC--tonight, Friday night, if you're a Daniel fan, come by and see us talk about Daniel at Jung Kim's photo exhibit. The exhibit is up until close of day Sunday and admission is free.
Thursday, April 20, 2023
I swear I wasn't pulling Jay's tail. I don't know what was going on here.
I'm going to have to abandon catching the tuxedo feral this go-round. He won't go all the way in the trap because the less-feral cats are always glaring at him, ready to chase him off to protect their personal property (my patio, but don't tell them it's mine). I might have to invest in a drop trap.
And in second tuxedo cat news, I got a better look at him yesterday. If I give him a Flash name, we've already used Barry, Wally, Bart, and Jay. Maybe it's a she and she's Jesse.
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Monday, April 17, 2023
Hello, NYC-based friends!
Friday evening, I'll be joining Louis Black (SXSW, Austin Chronicle) and Lee Foster (Electric Lady Studios) in a conversation about Daniel Johnston, in honor of Jung Kim's newest book of Daniel Johnston photos, IS ALWAYS.
A number of Jung Kim's photos will be on display from Thursday to Sunday. There's no fee to get in, so everyone is on the guest list.
Bernie likes to show up when I'm unprepared, but I've convinced him that I am the person with the canned mackerel. He's gotten his nose inside the trap a few times, but has yet to go in it.
We're getting closer.
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
The plan is to wait for the tuxedo cat to go in the trap after smelling the canned mackerel bait, then wham.
But I have to first feed the other cats and then hope the tux cat shows up looking for their scraps. And hope I’m there watching. If I use the auto trigger, I’ll catch the wrong cat or possibly a raccoon.
Sunday, April 09, 2023
I'm trying to trap a feral tuxedo cat who keeps spraying on the insulated kitty house.
I have a pretty good plan for how to catch the right cat (and not a neutered good boy, raccoon, or opossum), but I'm gonna need some stinky canned fish and a paper plate.
Saturday, April 08, 2023
Advice overheard on the train:
“I’m 48 years old. My kid, he’s 19. Ha. I told him he needs 5 years in the military and a lifetime in the hood.”
Maybe that's true. Maybe it's just that I'm predisposed to overhearing this sort of thing, a writer in search of a line.
Monday, April 03, 2023
Saturday night, I drove my rented Sentra from Dante's Peak in Death Valley to the small town of Pahrump, Nevada, where I stopped for a coffee and some cell service.
Then I headed back to Vegas. After stopping by my hotel for a quick shower, I went to something called Meow Wolf, which I don't even know what that was. Not sure I'd recommend it, but the highlight was a type of installation that was basically off-brand Wacky Packages merchandise for sale in a fake 7-11. Like if you took stuff from Archie McPhee, Think Geek, and Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company and put it into a convenience store and called it an art installation.
The highlight of the evening was a guided nighttime tour of the Neon Museum. My first trip to Las Vegas was in 1990, I think. Maybe '89. Maybe '91, with fellow assistants at Marvel and one who'd moved to LA ahead of the rest of us. Our Dollar rental car three-cylinder Geo Metro gasped its way over the mountains from LA to the desert. I was working on a Conan letters page from the passenger seat on someone's borrowed laptop. Maybe Marc Siry's. (This was the same trip where he bought a green Karmann Ghia from a lot on LaBrea and drove it back East with David G. Wohl. They hit a vulture partway and the VW was never the same after that. I think Marc's boss Ralph loaned him the three grand to buy the car.)
I remember stopping by Vegas a few years later with Marie alice, and then it's a blur of short visits over decades, with the pirate and volcano installations being clues of changes to come. I'm vintage, apparently. (Last week involved a colleague telling me "There's no way you're 56, you seem so much younger" followed by a park ranger asking if I wanted a senior discount, so who the fuck knows anymore. More importantly, who cares. Every day is a good day, except the shitty ones. Those aren't good days.)
The Neon Museum features a bunch of classic signs, some working, mostly not, and a bit of Vegas history. I was uncomfortable passing so many signs I'd seen in action on my first trips to this living city monument to graft and consumerism. It's wild to think of how quickly the city evolved from when I'd first seen these signs on the Strip to now, when they are ancient history in a heap. Vegas is a good place to fly into in order to leave it, to go out into the desert or to national parks, but its overall aesthetic is a baffling combination of "that's awesome" and "bring on the comet already."
I loved the Neon Museum and recommend it--just go at night so you can see the signs in action.
Sunday, April 02, 2023
Saturday, April 01, 2023
Thursday, March 30, 2023
My Lyft driver was from Bangkok, and he told me several complicated stories about camping with spirits, the correct way to get a fortune told, and how snakes taste like chicken.
Unfortunately, he had the window open while we were driving on the highway, so I missed the specifics.
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Tonight I dug out my camping gear and checked out my Death Valley site for this weekend.
I have to stop at REI to buy gas for my little tiny stove when I get off the plane in Vegas because you can't carry that stuff around airports.
I surveyed my crap and thought, cool, I've got this, and then I realized...where does one get matches? When was the last time I owned matches?
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
A few months ago, hoping for a superbloom year, I booked a Death Valley campsite for this coming weekend.
No superbloom this year, unfortunately. I think I'll go anyway, assuming my tent is intact when I put it up in my living room and check it out.
My last trip to Death Valley was in...I don't remember! I was on a bicycle and camping trip. But I remember afterwards, I drove to Marina Del Rey ahead of boarding the plane, where I met friends and we went to Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch.
Must have been the late nineties. Maybe.
Edited to add: It was March, 1999.
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Monday, March 20, 2023
Saturday, March 18, 2023
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
As sadness and tragedy accumulate with the passing of years, the best we can hope for sometimes is ambivalence. But more often than not, great sadness coexists with optimism. Potential is so elusive—always slipping away when overwhelmed by the mundane, the routine. What is vision except for that which no one has time to resolve?
Brought to you by the eternal struggle between the creative and the obligation.
Sunday, March 12, 2023
Friday, March 10, 2023
November 16, 2020 (courtesy translation software)
"It is with sadness that we learned over the weekend of the sudden death of Guy Deroin, visual artist/writer/designer/ni-Vanuatu painter 🖌
Better known as 'Guigui', he is the author of the only comic strip in the country 'Mino', available in French. His dream was to create an amusement park for adults and children, with the theme of the cultures of Vanuatu 🇻🇺
Exactly 11 years ago, he allowed Vanuatu to win a world record recorded by Guinness, in the category "How many people can write a story in 24 hours" 🏆
Guy Deroin drew 35 images illustrating the adventures of two children and a giant turtle as they travel the 85 tropical islands of the Vanuatu archipelago 🏝
838 children participated in writing the story based on his drawings, each contributing a sentence 🖊
In 10 hours, school children and a handful of adults broke the previous record (set by 797 Austrians) 👏"
Saturday, March 04, 2023
Thursday, March 02, 2023
I'm such a sucker for the headline about the newly discovered corridor in the Great Pyramid. But if the plan is to get me to visit, I'm gonna leave that to the rest of you as Cairo is in the past for me.
Like a pharaoh or a golden cat.
Wednesday, March 01, 2023
Condos can be a pain in the ass due to the erratic priorities of others and their inability to break down boxes or follow recycling rules, but I do like that I can just call the management company this morning.
This is what the walk-in closet ceiling looks like after last night's rain. (Sorry for the generic fixture--maybe now is the time to get it replaced.)
Sunday, February 26, 2023
You ever find yourself searching for "most cringeworthy moments of counterculture"?
That said, I never did get around to patronizing the CBGB-branded restaurant at Newark Airport, and it closed during the pandemic, so what do I know anyway?
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
I was weaving in and out of the wake of purple buses that ply the corridor between the airport and the two cabos. Is Route 1 a highway or a local road? Both, like a rural road back home where you can drive 60 mph or you can take a slow left into a driveway.
If only my Marchito were a stick shift, I thought with a sigh of regret. But still, muscle memory had taken over with driving on a poorly marked hilly route fully of trucks and unpredictable tourists. Memories flooded in as I wondered if anti-lock brakes means today’s young adults would never have the experience of rainy-day skidding into the back of a Cadillac at a farmland crossroads in America’s heartland.
I spotted a dump truck ahead, glanced at the left lane and saw an opening between a sedan and a Suburban, then navigated around the truck with ease, just as the marina of Cabo arose from the crest of a hill. If driving is freedom, then I must be 30 years younger, my life a series of possibilities, all of them rich, promising, and unique.
The song receded and Siri abruptly reminded me my turn was imminent. The world transformed in an instant, and suddenly I was just another middle-aged white gringa on a clichéd Cabo holiday.
Saturday, February 18, 2023
Tourist news! They're supposedly building a train from Tijuana to Cabo. TBD how this all works out, but theoretically, one could then hop on the train in Los Angeles, switch to the trolley in San Diego, then walk over the border at San Ysidro to board the train on the other side.
I imagine this won't be done in the planned four years, but it's a nice dream.
Friday, February 10, 2023
I somehow ended up in charge of buying the new patio furniture for my condo complex HOA.
Something new I learned: Umbrella canopies ship separately from the frames and you just slip them right on. So you can buy new canopies without replacing the frames, and the swap is dead easy.
Will I ever need this information again? Probably not.
Have I ever actually used this patio or spa? No. Will I? Probably not.