Monday, July 31, 2023

Remember the Alamo

I saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure on its release in 1985, with a few friends I knew from high school, and later I was the perfect age to enjoy Pee-Wee's Playhouse week after week in my early twenties. But it wasn't until the weekend before pandemic when I saw a Paul Reubens-hosted screening at the Wiltern that I truly understood all the Warner Bros scenes, because of course the lot is our work's backyard, a few blocks away from my office.

And now, all those other memories have the new one added to them, seared into my memory by global events, the night I got soup dumplings, saw Paul Reubens at the Wiltern, and then took the bus back to Burbank, right before the world changed, simultaneously grinding to a halt while racing into the new future of online work and delivery of anything.

RIP, Mr. Reubens. Tell 'em Large Marge sent you.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Spa Day

Feral tuxedo cat is spending the day at the spa.


He destroyed the blinds trying to get out the (closed) window first, poor guy, but the tuxedo cat is back in the trap. I can’t give him food or water after midnight or he turns into a gremlin.

I barred the trap hatch this time and he lost his Tracy’s-bigger-crate privileges.

No more slumber parties for you, kitty.

Saturday, July 29, 2023


Did you know cats can push their way out of traps? And that you have to secure the door?

I did not! Bart and Jay both just huddled, paralyzed with fear, and didn't try to escape. 

Bernie the tuxedo cat was braver. He tested the limits of the trap and found his way out and then crawled under the sheet I had covering the trap. He ran into my bedroom and hid under the bed. 

Here is Bernie having a slumber party with me. 

Friday, July 28, 2023

I Capture the Cat

I upped my game to catch the tuxedo cat who was tormenting the yard cats with his brazen, rampant spraying of, well, everything. 

I kept an eye on the security camera alerts so I'd know when an animal showed up in the yard. My first try, the string pulled off the trigger. But the cage didn't fall, so the cats weren't scared. I quietly tied the knot, better this time, then walked back into the house, where I peeked through the blinds with my hand on the other end of the string. 

Got him. Paola and I transferred him tiny the smaller trap using a type of blocking device, and his vet appointment is Sunday at 7 a.m. 

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Annual Pilgrimage

I had a great time catching up with folks at SDCC this year, but every time I open a new message, I learn about another person coming home with covid.

I'm testing daily and still negative, but every little ache is now "I must have covid."

I figure I'll be in the clear if I'm still negative in the morning, but I already have it in my paranoid brain. I'm sorry if I gave it to you, unless I don't have it, in which case it wasn't me.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The Civilized Way to SDCC

I was headed south from LA on the newly reopened Pacific Surfliner.

Very newly.

An earlier train had broken down and the train to San Diego took 7 hours. My colleagues were on it, and the a/c didn’t work for a while. They had to finally turn it on because summer, but that slowed down the brake repair even longer.

All the other trains were stuck behind the broken one. Several were cancelled. Two of our comics colleagues from France were scheduled to be on a train today. We’d enthusiastically told them about the view. To be fair, we did mention it breaks a lot.

I was assured my train will be fine. I guess we’ll see.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Can I Be Australian Now?

I had the exterminator stop by my JC house to spray for ants, and now I have an email to rate him and...leave a tip? 

We are supposed to tip the exterminator?? 

This is either "I'm sorry, I had no idea" or "what is even wrong with this world anyway," I'm not sure which.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Public Transit Expert

A lost pedestrian stopped me on Riverside in Toluca Lake. 

“Excuse me, where is Hollywood and Argyle? I’m trying to take the bus to Pasadena.”

She showed me directions scrawled on a slip of paper. She’d clearly gotten on the 222 bus somewhere in the Cahuenga Pass and gone the wrong direction.

But boy, did she ever ask the right person.

Sunday, July 09, 2023

Saint Candles

I was digging around for a photo from last year and came across this...I was pretty pleased with myself for making these saint candles for a few of my colleagues for the holidays. 

(Note it's always a pencil, not a cigar which is weirdly what people see if they don't look closely.)

I Think It Went For $950k

I would like this house, please. But for the 2015 price of $140k. 

(Which gives some context for how I was able to afford my own Jersey City house in May, 2015.)

Saturday, July 08, 2023

Field Test

Here are some Bonaire photos I took with my new point-and-shoot camera. It's got a pretty good zoom lens. I headed up to fishing village Playa Frans in my rental truck because the national park is closed on Mondays, and Playa Frans is at the end of a dirt road that ends at the park.

Also! A bit of iPhone video of a bunch of donkeys at the donkey sanctuary. And then a drive back to the other end of the island for another look at the salt flats.

Here are some other photos of my day. 

Thursday, July 06, 2023

A Recommendation

I am delighted to report that BETTER LIVING THROUGH BIRDING by America's Sweetheart Christian Cooper is a marvelous, heartfelt, thoughtful, and highly entertaining read.

I accidentally bought two versions, meaning I dutifully went to the bookstore and bought the hardcover on release day, but then I didn't want to carry it on the plane so I bought the Kindle version too. But I'm happy to have done's so good.

I was like...can I really read this giant book about...birds? But birds are Chris' passion, and he makes them fascinating through his framework of family, work, travel, nerd life, romance, and his own personal journey. (Of course, I'm a sucker for the travel parts.) And also...humor! I fondly recall when in his web comic Queer Nation, Chris named a portal character Calgon, and many many episodes later, another character said "Calgon, take me away!" And I laughed and laughed.

That's dedication to the long joke game. Maybe you had to be there, but the point is Chris is funny and charming in his book, just like in real life.

Wholeheartedly recommended, no notes.

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

Skies Over Los Angeles

I flew back to LAX last night…here’s what it’s like coming through the clouds at 11 pm on 4th of July.

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

Sunset Over Bonaire

I’m a sucker for a container ship. I traveled on four of them during my first round-the-world trip in 2001. 

There’s nothing quite like slow ground-level travel. In Bonaire, container ships bring nearly everything (except for fish and donkeys). Here’s one moored at town center at sunset last night.

Monday, July 03, 2023

Tour of Bonaire

When last we checked, I was in Dominican Republic and aiming for Bonaire by noon. Well, to my surprise, everything went according to plan! The plane ticket I'd bought on the tiny airline didn't have the airline's name or correct flight number on it, and no amount of googling or calling turned up any relationship between the info on my ticket and the info of the only flight leaving at that time from Santo Domingo. 

But Air Century had my name and that was all that mattered.

I was in Curacao Airport an hour later, where my next problem was getting through in time for my Bonaire-bound flight 70 minutes later. I sailed through the new e-gates and was at Divi Divi Air's check-in line in no time. I'm lucky I was dealing with tiny planes and not some 200-seater. There were no delays.

Sunday, July 02, 2023

Early Rise

I woke up at 5 to get a 5:20 a.m. Uber to the tiny less-known airport to the north of Santo Domingo. The AirBnb night guard waited with me outside the block’s pedestrian zone.

The Uber Hyundai had a giant container of…natural gas? LP? in the trunk. The driver said no ingles, but his phone gave him English directions.

I had airport coffee machine cappuccino and Mini Chokis (Clasico) and granola cookies for desayuno, using my last DR pesos post-security. Breakfasts of champions always remind me of desperately snacking on Pringles and Pepsi when the road down from Machu Picchu was blocked while I was there.

I spent last night on the phone with my ticket's travel vendor, unconvinced I actually had an airline ticket. The name of the airline and flight number didn’t match the only 8 a.m. flight from Santo Domingo’s small airport to Curacao. 

Somehow it all worked, though my tight connection from CUR-BON became my new concern.

Saturday, July 01, 2023

Santo Domingo Weekend

Tuesday is a holiday. You know what that means? Extra-long weekend!

I’m not one to let an opportunity to travel pass me by, especially since I’m on a quest to see corners of the world I have to work a bit to get to. Islands fall into this category since one does not just happen upon them when visiting nearby.

I’ve been trying to get out of my SoCal comfort zone (aka Mexico) and see new-to-me countries. Sometimes they aren’t countries, like when I went to Curacao and Aruba, to New Caledonia. But to me, those are every bit as novel. Other times, my destinations are absolutely countries—Vanuatu, Luxembourg, and now…Dominican Republic.

I caught a Thursday night flight to Santo Domingo. I did “work from home” on Friday from an AirBnB in the Zona Colonial, but we’re in the middle of summer Fridays, so that only meant working until 4 pm Eastern time.

Tanna Video

When I went to Tanna to see the volcano, there was a New Zealand couple along on the same flight. They had moved from New Zealand to Chile and bought a dairy farm, which they'd run for around a decade before purchasing a sailboat and taking to the seas.

Vanuatu was an early stop for them. They were there waiting on some parts, and so took the plane to Tanna instead of sailing.

They messaged me today with "We made a video of our Tanna trip! You'll have to find it--can't figure out the link."

If you're curious about the volcano trip I went on, this is a pretty good summary. It's charming.