Thursday, September 29, 2005

a burning ring of fire

I came home this evening, wiped out after watching the Sox eke out a major win against the Blue Jays, only to be a little peeved that the neighbors were throwing a bigass bbq without inviting me to the festivities. As if I'm not the most perfect bbq guest ever. Not only do I delight in all things grilled and all things meaty, but put those two together, grilled and meaty, and combine that with a crucial Red Sox victory, and you have one very exuberant and giddy party guest. At that point I don't even need any liquor in me. But of course, I was wrong. It was no bigass bbq, but rather, the smell of smoke was from the fire burning in Topanga Canyon a good ways north of here. LA has now both literally and figuratively sunk to the depths of hell. According to the experts, today was the hottest day of the year here so far, which means absolutely nothing in a city that rarely rises above 90 and rarely dips below 50 degrees. But indeed it was hot, in no small part due to the wildfires which has covered LA in a plume of smoke visible by satellite. As I am devoted to the idea of a glass half full, I will point out just a few positive aspects of this otherwise catastrophic event in which LA might be burned off the face of the earth.

One. High speed car chases no longer dominate the local news. Instead the news has become unseemingly informative. I now know how to evacuate horses, domesticated animals, and lest I forget, human beings. So I've begun my own mental list of emergency evacuation necessities: Bruce Lee film collection (check), Bruce Lee T-shirts (check), Bruce Lee posters and other movie memorabilia (check), and of course, my all time favorite Bruce Lee item ever, my anatomically correct and jointed Bruce Lee figurine with moveable numchucks (check check check!). That should come in super handy if I need to spend endless hours evacuated at the Angels stadium with no one for company.

Uh two. Fires are cool. Have you ever sat by a campfire, mesmerized by the flames? Well, multiply that a thousandfold and you have serious entertainment.

Three. Finally, a fire big enough to bbq the giant squid discovered yesterday (see post). Yes! My chopsticks are poised for action.

Now that we can all rest better, let us head tomorrow to the bars and raise our glasses and hope that either the fire continues to burn uncontrollably or that the Red Sox can manage to take it to the next level, restore peace and harmony in the world, reset the yin and the yang, and kick major New York ass down down down, to hell in a handbasket.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

fire up the barbie!

The giant squid lives! Man's worst fears or my greatest hope realized. Is it wrong if this news makes me salivate? Scientific discoveries are progressing at a rapid clip. Next stop... Sasquatch! Dare I dream?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

behind every good man a is a better rod

I suppose there are certain things a person shouldn't admit to ever doing. Like peeing in your pants in college. Or dreaming of having a lesbian affair with your mother. These are all purely hypothetical of course. But operating on the idea that confession is one way of cleansing irrepressible and shameful urges out of your life, I am compelled to admit here that I am a regular late night viewer of BassCenter on ESPN. As the title suggests, this half hour program is indeed a show dedicated exclusively to what else... bass fishing. But what is fascinating to me about this show is its very existence. When it was on the table, how did it win out over "GolfCenter" or "SoccerCenter"? Or even "BowlingCenter"? Could this actually be a Saturday Night Live spinoff? From what I learned about bass fishing thus far, I understand that these men love the bass. Maybe more than women or beer. They also love to fish it. I have never seen fishing so exciting. And it's informative too. Who knew, for instance, that hurricane Katrina will have devastating longterm effects on bassfishing nationwide? Screw the humans, it's the fish who are the ultimate victims. Seriously though, if I knew whether or not women were allowed in the sport, the likelihood of which seems pretty slim so far considering they are all paunchy white males with goatees, I would quit my day job tomorrow and buy a pair of rubber pants and try my hand at an exciting new future in the great outdoors.

Bass update: It has been most recently noted that BassCenter is preceded by the equally addictive program called none other than (drumroll please...) "BassMaster"! Yes, a full uninterrupted hour of prime bass fishing for the inveterate insomniac in you. Booyakasha.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

ceci n'est pas une pipe

Just when I had lulled myself into thinking that I live in a city like any other, I find myself in the middle of some whacked out scene that should only take place in either a movie, or in this case, on the local news. Tonight, two blocks from my house, I drove right into what must have been the end of a high speed car chase. A fire engine, ten police cars, two guys in a Nissan Maxima, and floodlights galore... you get the picture. I confess, I had always hoped that if I lived in LA long enough I was going to bump into one of these sooner or later. I live so close to the 405 and the Santa Monica freeway that it was just a matter of time before I saw the miracle of a live car chase right before my eyes. Helicopters circle overhead in my neighborhood every night. It's gotten to the point where the sound soothes me and helps me go to sleep. They circle endlessly, looking for a reason to fill soundbytes on the morning news. Churning the sky in a way that evokes what it might be like to live in a post-apocalyptic urban nightmare. Well, the live car chase did not disappoint. You could smell fear permeating the night air. The two guys in the car were terrified that they were going to die and the police were also terrified that they might have to kill them. The floodlights gave it all the unreal quality of a movie set, an image that was only shattered by the sobering sight of police officers getting out of their cruisers with real guns in their holsters. Moments like this in the city remind me of how strangely LA exists within the blurry line between reality and movie fiction. And what is most disturbing about this is not that fake events have become convincingly real, but the fact that real events have become so convincingly fake that something you really did see happen can feel like nothing more than a scene from bad Schwarzenegger movie come true.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

rain rain go away

Woke up this morning to rain pounding on the windows, a thunderstorm the likes of which rarely occurs out here. I dreamt that they were wet frogs violently throwing themselves against the windows since I forgot what rain sounds like. It turns out that it hasn't rained in Los Angeles since March 9th of this year, over seven long months ago. When it rains, a couple of things happen. One, people who drive cars crash into each other. This is because of low visibility. Not because it rains so hard that visibility is impaired but because people don't know how to operate their window wipers. Angeleans have yet to master turn signals so you can imagine the challenges presented by wipers. Second, the city is almost paralyzed by rampant traffic light failure. This makes more people crash into each other. Sometimes they even crash into traffic poles which begins the whole sick process all over again in a repetitive cycle of destruction. Because there are so many traffic accidents on a rainy day, it's a good idea not to venture outside. Of course this could only be attempted if you are a graduate student without a care in the world. It is an excellent time to catch up on reading or watching high quality cable TV shows like this:

Coolest most awesome videos! Man in emergency room; Japanese men in the mud; child in sewer hole; out-of-control woman on amusement park ride.

Take note that one Japanese man alone is not what makes this compelling TV but that is "men" plural. And is the woman out-of-control or is it the amusement park ride? Not only does this program offer almost too much excitement packed into a single show, especially for a rainy day, but it also boggles the mind how such a complex medley of topics can be weaved together into a coherent half hour. This artistry is something that is best left up to the professionals. Since most of these very professionals live in LA, I worry now that they are out there crashing into other cars, into traffic poles, and leaving people like me with nothing to watch on the next rainy day. Will the devastation never end? Who knew that rainfall could create so much chaos in the universe. Let's hope that harmony is quickly restored and that it doesn't rain out here for another seven months or children around the world may never be discovered in their sewer holes and women will spin uncontrollably in perpetuum on amusement park rides.

Monday, September 19, 2005

bronzing frogs

The harvest moon did indeed work its magic this weekend as I froze my ass off in the coldest warm weather city on the West coast. San Francisco is much more beautiful than I remembered it though its arctic winds are as biting as ever. I attribute my former dislike of the city to having spent too much time on Haight street where I had to wade knee deep through curbfuls of young homeless kids wearing $300 sunglasses calling me "chink bitch" for not giving them change. You can imagine how heartbroken I was to find them gone. But this time around, the crisp air, tourists hanging off the trolleys, and the icing colored victorian mansions lining its steep streets just seemed so lovely and picturesque. This is the first time I imagined it might be a good place to live. It doesn't hurt that my friend Cameron was a most excellent host and took me to a couple of great bars.

Here he is trying to assemble furniture to fill an otherwise empty apartment. A humble beginning to a soon to be majestic bachelor pad. Boom chicka bow.

His pretty ceilings.

View from his window. Admirable use of space.

The mark of a true friend. He didn't kick me out despite my nasty ass feet. This was the aftermath of walking home from a show in my bare feet where apparently I was lucky not to have stepped on crack vials and broken needles. My only true downfall were my four inch heels.

The zeitgeist. A truly great outdoor bar. The air is smokey with bbq and they have nice beers on tap. In the three hours we spent here we saw a girl flash her ass and then her tits, guys doing things with yo-yo's I didn't know were possible, and some very romantic face sucking. What more is there you can ask of a bar?

This is the last of my summer travels. A good way to end it.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

by the light of the silvery moon

As the harvest moon waxes to its maximum fullness, it seems to be only fitting that everything has gone wrong today. Not only did I spend five hours trying to print a picture on a large format printer that took two hours to spool only to cut off an essential two inches off the top, now it seems that I've broken blogger and I can't for the life of me post any pictures. Maybe if I consume an entire box of mooncakes this annoying problem will fix itself. Or maybe this calls for the big guns, like a fist full of zakura balls.

Friday, September 09, 2005

everything under heaven

Omigod. The Chinese invented everything. Most of these discovered thousands of years before they were figured out in the West. What the frack were they doing over there without a rudder and wheelbarrow for godsakes?

Iron plow (5th c. BC)
Wallpaper (3rd c. BC)
Paper (2nd c. BC)
Fortune cookie (2nd c. BC)
Steel from cast iron (2nd c. BC)
Blood circulation discovered (2nd c. BC)
Wheelbarrow (1st c. BC)
Boat rudder (1st c. AD)
Suspension bridge (1st c.)
Compass (3rd c.)
Stirrup (3rd c.)
Algebra (3rd c.)
Umbrella (4th c. )
Toy helicopter rotor and propellor (4th c.)
Kungpao chicken (5th c.)
Matches (6th c.)
Chess (6th c.)
Solar wind discovered (6th c.)
Gunpowder (8th c.)
Paper money (9th c.)
Moveable type (11th c.)
Flamethrower (12th c.)
Bursting shells and mines (14th c.)
Panda Express (15th c.)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

taking the high road

When I wasn't drinking a tall cool hefeweizen on an outdoor patio somewhere, or lying on my back in Central Park letting the wind tickle my armhairs, I actually managed to make it to two very cool exhibits in New York this week. One of them was an exhibit at the MOMA called "The High Line", a project undertaken by a group of environmental engineers and architects to convert the old elevated railway on the far West side into a public park. This is just about the coolest agri-tectural project I've ever seen. The idea came about after some people noticed that the abandoned railway was naturally turning into a grassy corridor with full blown trees and vegetation growing the entire length of this elevated space. With the support of the city, the design team are breaking ground this fall to turn this corridor into woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands--a perfect marriage of industrial recycling and environmental revitalization. They are planning to preserve found objects (aka industrial trash) while also converting it into some crazy ass vegetal wilderness. It partially reaffirms my faith in humanity and the importance of creating beauty out of the industrial waste that we leave behind.

The other exhibit, also part of a larger restoration project, was the Ellis Island museum, one of those places that only tourists end up actually going to. And that would be me. Though I find the public fascination with the Statue of Liberty utterly outlandish. Especially considering how most people fail to see the irony of how close it is to Ellis Island where the people who had the best view of the statue were sitting there incarcerated, taken ill, or turned away without ever having set foot on US soil. But Ellis Island is still a must-see landmark. You really get a sense that America at that time was a freaking tower of babel. Thousands of people, crammed into small spaces speaking in all different tongues. And everyone was dressed head to toe in native gear like they were on their lunch break at Epcott center. They say that you could tell a person's ethnicity by the way they knotted their belongings together. The hallways echo with the human suffering that took place there. Creepy.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005