Monday, August 31, 2009

fire water burn

i still have not adjusted to fires. i know they are a fact of life in southern california, but to me, it is a complete oddity to be driving around with smoke filling the air around you.

tonight's drive home from work was the best/worst of it yet. more of the hills are on fire and it is more visible from where i am. the smoke is filling all of the hills north of me, and almost every ridge is filled with spots of flames. what's unfathomable to me is that they keep saying, "this would be so much worse if the santa anas were blowing. if they were, this would be the true disaster that we've been predicting."

because it's so odd to me, i don't see how the city keeps on functioning. in my mind, we should all be standing outside just watching. or if i had my way, i'd be up on one of the high floors in one of my mid-wilshire buildings watching.

i can't imagine that just 20 miles north of me, people are losing every thing they own. that the landscape is being scorched. that firefighters are waging what has become an unending battle against the flames. every day we wake up and find out it has only gotten worse in the night. i'm trying to find some good side, and not able to.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

this one is for my mom

she's been listening to leonard cohen lately, and thinking that his lyrics make no sense to her sometimes. i commented that i'm used to assigning my own meaning to lyrics, having grown up in an age when lyrics by some artists are nothing more than a series of words strung together to music. case in point:

loser- by beck.

In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey
Butane in my veins and Im out to cut the junkie
With the plastic eyeballs, spray-paint the vegetables
Dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose
Kill the headlights and put it in neutral
Stock car flamin with a loser and the cruise control
Babys in reno with the vitamin d
Got a couple of couches, sleep on the love-seat
Someone came in sayin Im insane to complain
About a shotgun wedding and a stain on my shirt
Dont believe everything that you breathe
You get a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve
So shave your face with some mace in the dark
Savin all your food stamps and burnin down the trailer park

Yo. cut it.

Soy un perdedor
Im a loser baby, so why dont you kill me?

Soy un perdedor
Im a loser baby, so why dont you kill me?

Forces of evil on a bozo nightmare
Ban all the music with a phony gas chamber
cuz ones got a weasel and the others got a flag
Ones on the pole, shove the other in a bag
With the rerun shows and the cocaine nose-job
The daytime crap of the folksinger slob
He hung himself with a guitar string
A slab of turkey-neck and its hangin from a pigeon wing
You cant write if you cant relate
Trade the cash for the beef for the body for the hate
And my time is a piece of wax fallin on a termite
Thats chokin on the splinters

Soy un perdedor
Im a loser baby, so why dont you kill me?
(get crazy with the cheese whiz)
Soy un perdedor
Im a loser baby, so why dont you kill me?
(drive-by body-pierce)
(yo bring it on down)

(Im a driver, Im a winner; things are gonna change I can feel it)

Soy un perdedor
Im a loser baby, so why dont you kill me?
(I cant believe you)
Soy un perdedor
Im a loser baby, so why dont you kill me?
Soy un perdedor
Im a loser baby, so why dont you kill me?
(schprechen sie deutches, baby)
Soy un perdedor
Im a loser baby, so why dont you kill me?
(know what Im sayin? )

those lyrics all mean something to me. of course i've had since 1994 to put meaning to all of them.

so mom, next time you're confused by mr. leonard cohen, just take a minute to decipher mr. hansen's lyrics. everyone of my generation would categorize him as a musical genius, but we're not rich enough to pay $1000 for seats to his shows. at least not yet.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

i'm just going to start paying cash for everything

technically i do pay cash for everything, because i don't have credit cards. just i use my debit card from my bank account to do it.

but last month i had the American Girl Doll Store ring my $3.20 tip in as a $32.00 tip, and i had to call several departments at the store, and wait 2 weeks, to get my money back.

monday i took my team out to lunch (which i will be refunded for by my company.) the bill was $61.60 and then i added a $9.00 tip. so a total of $70.60 should have been taken out of my account. that would have been fine, but i wake up friday morning to find out they've taken $70.60 out once, and an additional $61.60 out 4 extra times. i had to put several calls in to the restaurant yesterday, and they had to call their credit card people to verify i wasn't lying. end of story is "you should have the money back in your account sometime next week."

had yesterday not been a payday, that could be a real problem for me. i don't think that it's right at all that this is how things are handled. stores can ring your purchase up incorrectly and take the money out of your account immediately, but then when you try to get it back it takes several days? had it not been a pay day there could have been real issues of not being able to pay other bills, put gas in the car, eat... i'm wondering if there are laws? or if i just put up more of a stink and gone in to the restaurant and made them give me cash on the spot? $246.40 is a lot right now. (well any time actually- but especially right now.)

i'm still waiting to see if my bank is going to charge me an insufficient funds fee for one transaction posted after those 4 additional charges, but before my paycheck went in. if they did, i'll be at the restaurant demanding they give me $33 or however much it is to cover it.

anyway- maybe my lessons learned should just be- take cash out of the machine, pay cash for everything. that way you always know how much things cost you as long as you are watching the register as they ring up.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

just gross

this is the hillside that is on fire. i couldn't actually get pictures of the flames, but they're there. oh they're there. and this was still when i was 5 miles from home. my house is 5 miles closer to where the smoke is.

the air smells horrible. i can't breathe. the two fires in azuza (and maybe in monrovia?) were bad enough. i didn't need the hills in town to burst in to flames.

i just looked at the picture again, and it doesn't even look near menacing enough to show how bad the sky got the closer i got to it.

i want a house with air conditioning and hepa filtration installed. with every crack and crevice sealed off so i know i'm breathing only pure clean filtered air.

Monday, August 24, 2009

district 9

District 9 was fantastic.

I knew nothing about this going in, except for having seen one 2 minute preview. Spaceship stalls over South Africa. I didn't even know that the aliens were brought down to Earth and living in an internment camp (called District 9, which is where it got the name.)

The advertisements have been all over LA for about 3 months, and it has been just about the most annoying ad campaign I've seen yet. Bus stops were all marked with "this bus bench for humans only. report all non-humans to authorities immediately." type slogans. I was almost prepared to hold the ads against the movie. But it was too good.

The guy who plays the lead, Sharlto Copley was amazing. Christian Bale, Daniel Day Lewis, or any other actor of the calibre could not have done a better job. And in fact, I think had they been in the role there would already be Oscar talk for it.

There are some things I would have changed (mainly about how they tried to tell the "prawns'" side of the story) but it is so entertaining and so well filmed that I didn't mind the things that i would have changed. And the special effects hold up. You don't even think about them until after you leave the theater. I don't like watching special effects movies where you're thinking, "wow that looks fantastic." while you're watching it. Because if you're thinking that, obviously the movie isn't capturing your attention. If you're thinking, "that looks horrible." A) it looks horrible and b) the movie isn't capturing your attention.

anyway, solid. go see it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

sunset junction

sunset junction this year was fate.

indie 103.1 was the station that usually promoted it, but they went under last year. we were wondering, "is sunset junction still happening?" yes it was, promoted by other people. my comment was, "well i'm not going unless islands is playing anyway."

my friend joelle called and said, "Islands is playing." so we bought tickets. then her current favorite band, the delta spirit, was going to be on stage right before islands. we were looking at it as fate.

so we went. in past years it's been 95 degrees, disgustingly crowded, and just not too much fun. this year was great. yes i was complaining that it was still 85, but it cooled off quickly. and our bands were going on later in the day. we saw delta spirit, islands and then wandered around the fair/booths to look around. i bought a $5 necklace (tickets were $10 so this was a cheap event for me.)

and then i got to meet Jamie and Subtitle.

swoon (that's not my picture- that's someone else's. i did not take their picture.)

Jaime is the drummer for the Unicorns, who became the drummer for islands, then left the band, and now is back. Subtitle is a rapper who was part of Th'Corn Gangg and did a rap for "where there's a will there's a whalebone." i saw him do the rap for them a few years ago, but at that point he said he was giving up rapping, moving to europe and pursuing a different kind of music. so good to see him back. and Jaime too. i just ran in to both of them in the crowd and stopped them to talk, and was so glad i did. i also saw roy from the office. (Busdriver came back for the rap too, but i didn't get to meet him.)

on to islands- they've been my favorite band for quite some time now. my basic philosophy in life is that Nick Thorburn can do no wrong musically, but... Islands last night was minus the chow brothers, minus Patrice, minus Patrick. They lost Jim Guthrie a while ago (but at least that gave us human highway/moody motorcycle.) It's not the same band anymore. Also, nick's girlfriend (maybe ex-girlfriend?) no longer sings with them, but i don't view that as a real loss. she's not part of the original lineup. I'm withholding judgement on the new lineup until i hear vapours. i'm sure the studio production will sound rich and full. but on stage, without the violins, bass, etc. they just lost a whole element that i had loved. the only old songs they did were swans, creeper and where there's a will there's a whalebone.

we'll wait for september 22.

Monday, August 17, 2009


iPhone restored.

i had to chip off the old piece bit by bit, so i don't know how people take apart the whole thing without ruing them. now it's put back together and as good as new as it can get considering the circumstances.

i'm not sure i'd trust myself to do anything more than what i did. if i ever need to do anything more serious, i'm going to order repair tools from didn't know they even existed, but luckily i managed to scrounge around and find a guitar pick, nail clippers (for the flip out file) and paperclip. (oddly enough, i found a guitar pick in about 2 seconds flat. the paperclip took 5 minutes.)

now to make sure i always have my case on it...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

score (not yet- but maybe?)

i have dropped my phone many, many times over the 2 years i have owned it.

until last week all of my iPhone's damage had been cosmetic- flesh wounds one might say. until last week. i dropped it in the parking lot, and it hit square on one corner, cracking the plastic case. (excuse the picture- it was taken with my blackberry. because i glued the lens of my digital camera shut, after dropping it and breaking a piece of that off as well.)

anyway- here's where the score (not yet, but maybe?) part comes in. i have bid on two separate "iphone 1st gen - for parts only" lots on ebay. usually these lots are expensive ($100+) because people are buying them for the innards. all i need is the black piece because my phone still works perfectly. i've managed to find one person who is selling just the exterior pieces, and another person who is selling more, but cheaply. one bid ends in 20 hours, the other in 2 days. i hope i win one, because i'd rather pay $20 bucks for a replacement part than buy a new phone right now.*

cross your fingers that i win one of the auctions, or if i don't win either one of those that i can find another. i'm not sure how much longer this is going to last before the piece breaks off entirely. if it weren't for the fact that it's right near the speaker hole, i'd just hold it together with electrical tape.

*that's partially a lie. if i had my way- i'd have the 32g 3Gs iPhone right now, but that is not in my budget. part of me likes having the original iPhone because clearly i got mine before everyone and my mother had an iPhone.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

things i can't do

scott adams recently blogged about things he doesn't know how to do. he says he's fairly intelligent and can figure most everything out, but some things have him stumped.

i'm fairly intelligent, what can't i do?

download torrents- every time i've tried, it ends up a huge mess, and i end up with software on my computer that i can never get rid of. i gave up years ago, which has probably saved me from whole hosts of viruses. of course, there's a lot regarding computers that i can't figure out. this is one of those areas where i leave it to a professional.

grammar, punctuation, etc. every time i think i have some rule figured out, it turns out i have it backwards. the one thing i do know, loan is not a verb people. it's a noun. you lend people things, not loan. (okay, i know this one has gained common acceptance and no one would ever call anyone out on it anymore, but i like knowing at least one thing william safire would pull out of his pocket.)

understand what math really means. i can do equations 'til the cows come home, but know how to apply them or what they mean? never. sine, cosine, etc. no clue. algebra makes sense, as the items can be measured, but once you start doing theorems about triangles, well its a triangle if it's sides meet. i shouldn't have to write a paragraph to explain it.

understanding the universe. they say that the universe is not endless, that it has a limit. but if it has a limit, what's on the other side? this makes no sense to me. i'm reading bill bryson's a short history of nearly everything (and it's really good.) but it is giving me no clearer idea of the universe. but, i'm understanding it a little bit better than i did hawking's brief history of time. brief history of time cracked me up though, because it's littered with exclamation points. he was so excited by what he was writing about.

and last- draw, sculpt, make anything with my hands that's supposed to resemble real-life. what i like about this is that it's something that's not "figuring it out." it's just a skill i don't have. like playing tennis or the piano. but- when it comes to art, i at least understand it. even at it's most complex (photography- because you need equipment to create it) it's something that can be explained. light exposed to film. film captures light. enlarge, dip in chemicals, chemicals react- recreates an image.

there's lots more that i can't do or figure out, but these were the big ones. these are the ones where i admit defeat. i know i'm hopeless, others i'm not ready concede just yet.