Thursday, November 29, 2007


Not long ago, probably about a month ago, it dawned on me that my wardrobe was getting some serious wear. And tear. Which is a good thing, because I want to get as much mileage as I can out of my gear before the style police come along and tell me it's time to get into whatever retro year it is this time.

So on a Sunday, the family went on a little outing to the Beverly Center to do some shopping and basically hit the closest H&M to our neck of the proverbial woods. To make a long story start, we went into Club Monaco and I tried on some slacks. Nice, but they needed tailoring, and Club Monaco does free tailoring with your purchase. At least that's what the fashionista working the dressing rooms told me. Turns out that it's free if your merchandise is not on sale, which mine was, so I had to pay 10 bucks. Not bad for the convenience of not needing to go someplace else and do the whole fitting, pinning, paying exercise all over again.

The much-younger-than-me guy working the register handed me a ticket to fill out with my name and phone number. He tore off one part of the ticket and handed it back to me, and he told me my pants would be ready next Wednesday. I walked out of the store feeling oddly satisfied that I did some shopping, but I had no merchandise.

Wednesday arrives and Lily is kind enough to brave the Beverly Center again to pick up my pants. That night I pull the pants out of the bag to try them on and complete the shopping nirvana feeling. But I find that there are still pins in my folded, cinched pants. No tailoring had been done. I asked Lily about it, and she said she just picked up the bag from the store. The employee said they were done. Done has a lot of meanings I guess, but this didn't fit my definition of done.

At my earliest convenience, I called Club Monaco @ Beverly Center and spoke with a manager. He apologized not so profusely and said I could bring the pants back in and it would be done. Really? I'm allowed to drive my car into one of the worst parking lots ever and enter one of the few places I really consider hell on earth just so they could finish what they were supposed to have completed in the first place? No no no. I asked if I could bring the pants to any Club Monaco to have the tailoring done. He said yes, and that if anyone gave me a problem, to have them call him. Ooh. Tough guy.

There's a Club Monaco on the 3rd Street Promenade in lovely Santa Monica, and it's conveniently located walking distance from work. I drive there and bring the pants in on a Friday. I tell an employee my story, and we're good. She tells me to come back Monday, and they'll be done. I come back Tuesday. They're not done. There's no apology. Just a smile and the kind of blank stare you get from a lot of vendors in Southern California, begging you to say or do something you'll probably regret.

I assumed that they expected me to come back at some undefined later date in hopes that my pants will one day be tailored as we agreed upon way back when at the Beverly Center. But instead of playing that game, I asked them if they could be so kind as to call me when they're done. Blank smile girl said "of course". No apology.

Time passes and there's no phone call. I make the call, and I discover that the pants are ready, and they've been ready for a week. I ask for the manager, and I find out that I'm already speaking to him. I tell him my plight, and he's sympathetic. When I go in and get my pants, they're ready and they fit perfectly. The manger gives me a $30 store credit. What do I do with it? I buy more pants that need tailoring.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


You may have heard, by first-hand accounts or by reading this space or otherwise, that I'm a marked man. Marked in terms of having incredibly bizarre misfortune at restaurants, coffee shops, etc. One place neglects to order my meal, another place decides to leave a broken bread tie in my eggs. One place has every beer imaginable on tap, they take our order and bring everybody's beer except mine because they just ran out of the beer I ordered.

These things usually occur when I walk into any establishment. And they happen almost every time, without fail. There's a sign imprinted on my forehead that reads "fuck with this guy" that's visible to everyone but me. I'm convinced. It's happened way too many times for it not to be there.

But this time I didn't even have to venture out into the world, make a phone call or interact in any way whatsoever with a vendor to get fucked with. I enjoyed half my delivered lunch and then discovered what looked like a pubic hair in there. Bon appetit.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Flying High Again

I'd never done this before, and I hope to not make it a regular occurrence, but I took the skybus this week. Flew up to San Francisco and back in the same day. It may have possibly consumed less time than a lot of people's driving commutes here in the Southland.

I woke up at 4:20 am to get on a flight departing at 6:30 am. Fine. No problem. I just stayed away from the caffeine enough to sleep like a baby for the 45 minutes or so that we were in the air neither taking off nor landing. I even ran into a friend who was on the same flight, and he was kind enough to offer me a ride to work in his rental car. I was looking forward to riding the BART, but I was happy to have a comrade in travel.

The return trip was a little more adventurous. I decided to ride the BART to SFO, thereby leaving a narrow window of time to actually make my flight. BART drops you off right at the international terminal of SFO. Domestic travelers must go upstairs to catch a tram to the domestic terminal. Seeing's how I wasn't even leaving the state, much less the country, I went upstairs to catch the tram. 45 minutes before takeoff. I looked at the Information map to see where the Virgin America gates were. No listing for Virgin America. Must be too new.

The tram arrives, I step on with the rest of the travelers, and I remove my earphones just in time to hear: "Next stop, International Terminal. Virgin America, blah blah." I look at the tram system map and it contradicts the voice on the loudspeaker. The map says that Virgin America is the final tram stop. A couple standing next to me is apparently flying Virgin America because they saw and heard the same thing I did and they begin arguing in a rapidly escalating manner.

Doors open. The loudspeaker doesn't repeat the info. I quickly make the decision to go with the voice instead of the sign and I step off the train. I head down the escalator to the International Terminal (the one I could have walked to from where BART dropped me off in the first place) and I find one of those "Departures" screens and I see my flight number and gate assignment. It says A-11. I look up at the gate sign I'm standing under and it says "Gates G-1 through G-11". 40 minutes til takeoff.

I have no idea where the "A" gates are, but luckily there's an information booth nearby, so I walk over. A non-native-English speaking man beats me to the information booth and he asks (in non-native-English) the ancient sage working the counter where he can buy a ticket. Who the hell buys a ticket AT THE AIRPORT?!?!??!!! The sage tells me "be right with you" as he struggles to find the information. Moments later it's my turn, and I ask where Virgin America's gates are. The sage tells me where I can buy a ticket. (Apparently he neglected to notice the difference between me and the guy before me.) I tell him I have a ticket and I need to know where the "A" gates are.

The sage points up at a huge number on a pillar that says 11. "You see that number 11? Well when you get down to 1, you'll be there." I asked him if I should get back on the tram, but he said I could walk it. More like run it with the time I had left. I did my best speedwalker impression and hoofed it down to 1, and there indeed were the "A" gates. 35 minutes til takeoff.

The security check line is comprised mainly of Filipino travelers who don't have their shit together like I do. Meaning they're digging through their luggage to find passports and boarding passes. Things are not moving quickly enough for those of us who are about to miss our flights. This lack of speed continues all the way through the metal detector to the other side where somebody's bag has to go through the x-ray 3 times. As I wait, I look back at the security line and spot the arguing couple from the tram, and they still haven't made it through the ID check part of security.

I was about to ask security if I could grab my bag/laptop/shoes/jacket from behind the part of the x-ray machine where it has passed through, but not really past the part where you're supposed to grab it, but then I had a vision of a lengthy strip-search and me missing my flight. I waited patiently. 25 minutes til takeoff.

Finally I was able to grab my stuff and cram my feet into my loafers enough to get going. Speedwalking continued and I reached the end of the terminal where my gate was located with 20 minutes til takeoff. And to my left was an Il Fornaio cafe proudly displaying an Anchor Steam sign that I couldn't resist. Virgin America could wait.

I ordered, noticed a bar type of setup on the other side of the cafe, and moseyed over with my large glass of beer. I looked up at the TV hoping to see Monday Night Football, but instead it was some pirate movie that turned out to have Johnny Depp playing Keith Richards as a pirate. I was about to ask if they'd change it to the game, but a group of euro-looking travelers seemed really into the pirate movie.

I took a sip of beer and sent a taunting text message regarding drinking beer to a co-worker who I knew was still working. Then the loudspeaker came on: "Virgin America flight blah blah going to Los Angeles will be closing its doors in 5 minutes. If you want to go to Los Angeles, be here in 5 minutes." Couldn't be clearer about how long I had to finish my beer. Plenty of time.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Who Are You

Lily and I took the li'l bugger out for his first Halloween last night. Not really his first Halloween, but the first that he dressed up in a costume, walked around the neighborhood and took candy from strangers. So cute. He didn't want to wear the head part to his Tiger costume, so I wore it so people could at least make the connection.

At one point - the point where we walked by the house with the really loud stereo blaring haunted house noises - Judah got scared. He refused to walk anymore and he tried to crawl up Lily's leg or my leg to be held, so I assume that meant he was scared. He's incapable of looking me in the eye and telling me, "Father, I have a great sense of fear because of the really loud stereo blaring haunted house noises, of which I have no association to this day you call Halloween." So I'm assuming he was scared.

We carried him around for a bit, setting him down in each doorway so he could get the loot and people could say, "Aw, cute." After a while, he seemed okay with the everyone-in-costume thing, and he started to charge around on his own.

At one point, he darted off up the walkway to somebody's door with the rest of the kids, and I made eye contact with a woman who looked like a mis-colored rendition of Raggedy Ann. She stopped and declared somewhat excitedly, "I know you from somewhere!" I knew her from somewhere too, but I couldn't remember where.

An industry person at an industry party? The mental face rolodex was spinning, but no match. A parent at one of Judah's multitiude of social events? That's possible, but we'd never know, seeing's how most parents are too busy chasing their kid around to remember people's names and such. A random hookup? I've never hooked up with any random person in LA, and seeing's how I've got my girl, I never will.

Well we stood there for a sec trying to sort out each others masqueraded faces, until she looked at Lily and said "I know you too!" Lily reacted similarly. Then Raggedy Ann realized we had all talked at the playground at the beach recently. And as soon as that realization came, she said her goodbye and took off faster than a kid grabbing a handful of candy. Was it something we said at the beach? My guess is that she would have stuck around for chit-chat if there had been a random hookup in our past. Who cares. I needed to get Judah away from the candy bowl.