Thursday, December 04, 2008

Baby Come Back

Judah's preschool has asked that all parents pack a cloth napkin into the kids' lunches. Like 3 year olds are using napkins. Actually they use the napkins as a sort of tablecloth/mat area so they don't infringe on each others dining space at the kiddie tables. Still sounds crazy to me, but who am I to argue. And being that I'm packing Judah's lunch every morning, I'm using the only available cloth napkins to be found at our house - Lily's good ones. Lily doesn't like that.

So on my weekly pilgrimage to Target, I decided to buy some cloth napkins to be dedicated solely to Judah's lunchbox. Target didn't have much of a selection. Not much that fits into the "boyish but not branded by Disney/Pixar, Thomas the Train, or Spongebob" category. They had plain colors like green, red, and yellow. I opted for the green ones thinking that they'll hold up the longest over repeated food spillage. They came in packs of four, which works out great for the number of days in the school week. Laundry or dipping into the good napkin stash would be necessary.

Except that when I got home from Target and Lily inspected the new napkins, she noticed that there were only three in the pack. Damn! A return trip to return would be necessary. Which is what we did yesterday. Returning stuff at Target is never a big deal. The people working at the counter could care less why you're returning merchandise, so no need to make up any excuses, just show 'em the receipt and you're good. I had no need for an excuse, only that there were three napkins instead of four. As I stood in line, I contemplated the possibility that they might think I'm lying and I still have the fourth napkin at home. But why the hell would anyone make a return trip to Target and stand in the return line just for one napkin. I felt guilty of theft,nevertheless.

It was my turn to return merchandise, and Brendaisha would be assisting me. "Can I help the next guest?" she said with a blank stare that could only be achieved by burning countless hours of your life listening to return stories at Target in Los Angeles. I wondered why Brendaisha's mom couldn't have stopped at "Brenda". Why the "isha"? I'm sure her friends called her "Brenda" anyway.

"This pack is suppposed to have four and there were only three in there." I told Brendaisha holding my receipt out like it was a passport. Brendaisha (I'll stop with the "isha" from here on out if you can follow along) scanned the napkin package, then the receipt, and she asked if I wanted a refund or exchange. I asked for an exchange. I should have asked for the refund, because it would save me a trip back to Brenda. She told me I didn't have to wait in line next time.

After I walked to the napkin area and selected a pack that had four napkins, I went back to Brenda, who was blankly staring at a bearded man telling her some lengthy story about a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner he wanted to return. She obviously didn't care, but it made me think that the guy had something to hide by telling a story instead of saying "it's broken" and leaving it at that.
The refund line had three ladies waiting, and they didn't look like they'd be too happy to see me jump to the front of the line. They just didn't know about the arrangment Brenda made with me. So I sidled up to the counter and didn't dare look in the ladies direction. I waited for the vacuum man to finish his story.

Another Target refund counter casualty walked over and opened up the register where I waited and told me "sorry, but you're standing at the register". Oh, my bad. I moved away from the register and lady #1 in line got down to business. Finally Brenda was ready and she took my new pack of napkins and the exchange receipt and sent me on my way. Except that we were buying some gift wrap and some gifts for Judah's birthday, so we still had to go through the regular checkout.

And when we were through the checkout, I got a coupon, as all Targets like to give out when you're leaving so you'll come back. But this coupon was for a free Choxie chocolate bar. Like free as in redeemable right now no purchase necessary. All that returning business made me hungry , so I asked the checkout gal about the coupon and she said "oh yeah, go ahead and get it" and she motioned toward the rack of candy right at the checkout.

I had no idea what a Choxie bar was or what one looked like, so I scanned the candy rack and finally found a group of Choxie dark chocolate espresso truffle bars. Two bucks. I grabbed one and handed the bar and my coupon to the checkout gal. She scanned them both and the word "VOID" appeared on the screen. She looked at the coupon and said "oh you have to buy three dollars worth of something to get it". She moved onto the next customer in line. I looked closely at the coupon and it said nothing about buying anything. It did however say "up to a $3 value", which meant that the $2 Choxie bar in my hand would fit the bill.

I went to the 6-item max express line to see if I'd get a different result. The lady in front of me clearly had at least 8 items, but I waited patiently for my turn. The Target employee scanned the Choxie bar and the coupon and the screen said "VOID". The employee turned to the manager standing next to her and said "it's not working". The manager said "punch in the code". The employee again scanned the code. Same result. The manager looked at the coupon and said to the employee "I think he has to buy something." I said "it says free and it's worth a three dollar value and the bar is only two bucks." No sooner did I finish that sentence than the manager held up the "shush" finger (performed by pointing the index finger skyward and moving the arm toward the intended recipient) and told me "we're trying to figure this out". They resorted to some sort of manual override, and I walked out of Target with my free Choxie bar.

On the ride home I ate two squares of the chocolate. Lily asked "was it worth it?" It was and it was delicious. Free is damned tasty.

Friday, November 28, 2008

That's Amore

Last weekend I went to a friend of Judah's for a playdate. The playdate was for Judah not me, silly. It was a friend of his - named Alida - who attended the same daycare until just recently when they went to different preschools. The family is Italian. Not Italian-American, but actually from Italy until just a few years ago. Their English is very good. But their parents, who live in Italy and were nearing the end of their visit, don't speak English at all.

Judah and his friend played outside for a while, then inside when it got dark. It looked like it was about time to leave until Alida's mom told me she made dinner for Judah. I'm thinking "No dinner for me? Oh, I guess I'm getting fatter and fatter, so nevermind." Alida and Judah ate the most elaborate dinner I've seen for preschoolers as they watched Finding Nemo. Alida's dad and I talked shop. Soon after Judah's dinner was done, I was about to leave again when Alida's mom told me that dinner was ready. For me and the rest of the adults this time. So I guess I'm not getting that fatter after all.

We sat down at the table with the parents (not just the parents of the preschoolers, but the parents of the parents of the preschooler who lives there) and we had a lovely dinner that consisted mainly of conversation spoken in English. There were a few minutes of Italian for the Italian speakers, and I felt compelled to follow the flow of whoever was speaking even though I could barely understand more than a word here or there. Words like "vino" and "pasta".

After dinner I got Judah's shoes on and put on our jackets and started saying goodbye. In my vino dampened mind I decided that it would be clever to try to say "have a good journey" in Italian. Not that I knew how to say that, but I quickly recalled from some Berlitz French lessons somebody saying "Bonne Journée". And I thought, "it must be 'Bon Journo' in Italian, and I went with it. I leaned in to Alida's grandma's cheek to do the Euro double-kiss thing and she smiled and said "Arrivederci!" I said "bongiorno"! Only later that night did I realize I really said "hello". What a dumbass American I am.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chocolate and Cheese

Yesterday I walked in on Lily and Judah laughing in the living room. Lily saw me come in, she turned to Judah and said, "Tell daddy what you told me". And without hesitation, Judah looked at me and said "You're getting fatter and fatter". Oh, kids just say the darndest things, don't they? I mean, I KNOW I'm not fat. But then why would the boy say I'm getting fatter? And fatter?

I guess for starters, I haven't been to the gym in like, forever. And even when I was going on a regular basis, it was probably only twice a week at best. But I do try to watch what I eat. Except for lately with the whole "newborn/no sleep/gotta do whatever I can to stay sane including eat junk food" diet. Cookies and cream ice cream has been a favorite lately. And chocolate chip cookies. And leftover halloween candy. But I deserve it! I'm not getting a regular night's sleep!

Okay, so maybe there is a bit more pudge around my waist. And maybe my face. So I suppose that means hauling my fatter and fatter ass back to the gym where it belongs. Except according the the Alex Hauser rules of fitness, which clearly state that you work out hard and watch what you eat all year, but when the holidays roll around, forget about it. You slack off and eat whatever you damn well please. I know we're not actually at the beginning of the holidays yet, but who starts a workout regimen in November? Nobody, that's who. I'm gonna eat a bowl of cookies and cream ice cream right now just to prove it. I'll show that kid who's getting fatter. And fatter.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Last weekend I was hangin out eating lunch with Judah after a morning of hangin out, and mom and the new baby girl were asleep in the bedroom. Judah seemed really tired, which is usually the case around lunchtime, because that's also right before naptime. He wanted to sit on my lap to eat lunch, which isn't the norm, but he's so darn cute and cuddly at this stage that I wasn't gonna argue. I tried to get him to eat more of his lunch, but he seemed too tired to go on, so I put him to bed for his nap.

Then I think I watched a little bit of some college football game that I have no connection to, because I really don't know what to do with myself when everyone else is asleep at my house. The next thing ya know Judah is screaming at the top of his lungs crying. I went to his room to see what was up. He had puked all over himself and some of his bed. The vomit was mostly the eggs from breakfast, and I was surprised that those bits weren't more digested by then. He had managed to keep most of his bed clean, instead sending the majority of it onto my pillow, which was left there from the morning cry session of "DAAAAAADDDDYYYYY" over and over, when I was too tired to do anything but grab my pillow and go to his room to quiet him down.

The funny thing about kids and puke is that they don't understand what's going on. I wonder if they think their insides are coming out. Being a college graduate and veteran of puking, I know very well the ins and outs of that exercise. But kids must think the world is coming to an end when they hurl. Judah evidently did. I got him cleaned up, then concentrated on getting the mess in his room cleaned up and everything into the laundry. Thank god we have our own washing machine.

Lily woke up with all the racket, and she came to the living room to help Judah settle down. After I got the laundry going, I decided to water all the plants, which Judah likes to help with. We watered a few of them, and he got distracted and started playing with his trucks or trains or something. I heard him make a weird sounding cough and I turned and asked "are you okay?" Which was followed by a quick blast of mostly watery puke from his mouth. Right onto the rug. Lily said "I think it was mostly water" nanoseconds before Judah let loose with another, bigger blast of puke that wasn't mostly water. I grabbed his hand to get him off the rug, but again, Judah must have thought the world was coming to an end because he was crying and not moving. Another blast of puke. I managed to grab him and get him to the toilet for the final purge.

I don't know why I expected him to be able to give me some sort of sign like "Hey dad, I'm about to throw up here. Get me to the nearest bathroom". No, preschoolers don't have that sense built up yet, like they will in high school or junior high or whenever the kids really start drinking these days. So I'm resigned to the randomness of it. At least with dogs, they make that stomach pumping noise before they let loose some dog vomit. Eww.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Golden Age of Wireless

My iPhone was stolen this week. Some people might think "Haha, stupid iPhone haver. Serves you right for havin' a stupid iPhone." Well, the joke's on me I guess. I won't get into the nitty gritty of how it happened, because that would make me seem like an even dumber stupid iPhone haver. But I would like to share what happened after the thievery.

After the requisite self-hatred for being a dumbshit who got his iPhone stolen, I started to piece together the things I probably SHOULD have done to protect myself. Oh, simple things like password protecting my phone. Or password protecting my SIM card. Or doing this or this or this.

But no, I thought that I would always have this phone and I never thought that anyone would ever steal it. But the funny thing about an iPhone is that it's a computer in your pocket. And that computer can be used to steal your identity and make your life a lot more complicated than it is right now. As I was lying in bed that night at 3 am wondering if somebody was coming to my house (because they had my address now) to steal more stuff, I considered that I should probably have locked the damn phone in the first place. I spent my afternoon changing all my passwords and deleting shit.

The next day I looked on my credit card's theft protection policy and saw that my phone was covered. Whew. But in order to get reimbursed, I'd have to file a police report. With the LAPD. Nice. I knew that would be pleasant, but necessary. So I made my way down to the police station closest to where the theft happened, and lucky for me, 2 hours free parking on the street outside. I walked in to see two men in blue staring at me, one of which looked like he had had about a dozen too many donuts. I walked toward him, as he was the guy directly in my path, and before I was two steps toward him he pointed his finger to the right, to a much younger much leaner cop. And that cop didn't seem too excited to be helping me.

I told him my story, and he stated "we're gonna have to list that as a 'lost' item because you didn't actually witness the theft". How many people actually see somebody steal their shit? Unless you're getting mugged, you're not seeing anything. So I told him that I called my phone and somebody answered, so I KNOW it was stolen. Apparently he thought that was good enough, cuz he changed the lost to stolen. I told him how AT&T wasn't gonna replace my phone with anything but a non-iPhone Nokia lame piece of shit for the low price of 50 bucks. At the end of the report, he told me his own story of how his iPhone had gotten water splashed on it in a scuffle, and AT&&T was ready to charge him full price to replace it. This for a guy who was Protectin' and Servin'. I told him they should give him a new phone for free. I walked out with copy of police report in hand.

And I went straight to the Apple Store in Century City to get a replacement. Now I couldn't just go without a phone for a while while my wife's in late/delivery stage of pregnancy, could I? I ordered basically the same thing as the first time. We were almost done with the transaction when the Apple sales rep told me it would be a $549 "upgrade" instead of the retail $299. That for being the asshole who had his phone stolen. Yeah, I wanted that to happen. After talking to two AT&T phone reps who toed the company line of screwing theft victims into paying more than full price, the Apple guy finally got his manager and got me the phone for the same price I paid pre-thievery. And the Apple Store guy told me how I could call AT&T with the SIM card nubmer and have them shut off the phone completely. I did that the next day.

Now all is back to the way it was before the theft. Except I'm down another $375 or so until the reimbursement arrives, if it arrives at all. And that shit is locked down tight. Takes me another 5 rings or so to unlock and answer the damn thing, but I'm not going through all that again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lovin' Every Minute of It

When the company I work for moved offices, we were all pretty excited about being in a new and much more spacious space. Our old place was just unimpressive, and in the entertainment biz you gotta entertain by being impressive. And the new place is indeed impressive, as shown by our massively huge and successful first real party last Friday night. Not much elbow room on your way to the bar, which is usually my measuring stick of the popularity of a joint.

Anyway, back to the new space: The one major drawback of this new awesome office is that there's not much in the way of parking. There's enough for the clients, but not the employees, so us worker bees park in the Yahoo lot which is at best a 7 minute walk. In order to dramatically reduce the time of said walk, I bought a skateboard. Actually Judah convinced me to buy a skateboard in the Sports Authoritie when we were really there to buy him some shoes. He just wouldn't let it go, so I let my inner child do the decision making, and we walked out of there with a skateboard in a box. How un-punk.

Cutting to the chase of this story (cuz I like short blogs - and short songs):
I'm feeling pretty good about my skateboarding to and from the parking garage, in spite of the fact that I hadn't really ridden a skateboard in about 20 years. This good feeling vanishes shortly after getting on the board one morning and wiping out and transforming the heel of my left hand into road burn/hamburger with a swift and stinging wipeout. Gross enough that I wondered if it would ever go back to normal.

I wore a bandage on the hand for a couple weeks and it was starting to look presentable enough that I could lose the bandage. So I did. And a couple days later, I was pan frying pork chops on the stove and managed to spill some nice hot oil on the thumb and index finger of that same hand. The burning sensation lasted for 4 hours, even with repeated slatherings of aloe. The next day there was (and still is) a pretty massive blister covering the area between the joints in my index finger. I wanna pop it, but Lily won't let me. I'd take a picture, but I like you too much.

So today we had a little meeting at Judah's new preschool, and as usual, I'm either late or I'm stressing that I will be late, so I grab the trusty skateboard to speed to the parking garage. And as you might guess by where this is all heading, I managed to wipe out in the crosswalk and scraped the hell out of (you guessed it) my left hand. Looking good, kid. My left hand is disgusting. And I can't really feel the heel of my hand anymore. I mean I can feel it with my right index finger, but on my left hand it feels dead.

I get to the preschool meeting (10 minutes ahead of schedule) and make a beeline for the bathroom so I can wash the blood off, but it doesn't really come off because it's embedded into the scraped heel of my hand. But when I get into the meeting and as I'm sitting there listening to Judah's new teacher, I glance down at my scraped up left hand and think: "I love skateboarding."

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Time to go. I'm juggling way too many things right now to do any of them well.
It might be a hiatus, it might be the end. You could always subscribe to the mirror site, then if and when another LLMB pops up, it'll be delivered right to your mailbox. In the meantime, if you need an LLMB fix, the mirror site is probably the best way to read the archives. The TNSC site shows them in HTML. And who the hell wants to read HTML?

Thanks go out to the TNSC crew for allowing me to rant on a weekly basis. And thanks to any readers out there, for reading!

Ciao baby,
Brett Favre

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Let's Go To Bed

Child #2 is on the way. A girl this time. We're pretty stoked about the getting one of each kind thing. Lily is about 6.5 months along. I can't imagine what it's like to not only be carrying one child, as in pregnant, but to have to also deal with a toddler who's exploring his abilities to get into everything his parents don't want him to.

When Lily went in for a routine checkup last week, the docs put her on bed rest. The doc probably said something along the lines of "the stork will be arriving way ahead of schedule if you don't take it easy". So Lily got off her feet for a couple days, but not really. And then on her follow up to the routine checkup, the docs immediately admitted her to the hospital. Not so much that Lily or the baby wasn't doing well, but more as a precaution to the whole stork arriving too early thing.

When Lily called me to inform me that she had been admitted, I was in the middle of my yearly employee review, and my phone kept buzzing in my pocket. Not wanting to tarnish my reputation as a shining employee, I didn't answer the phone. But the second I got out and returned to my edit suite, the phone was ringing in there too. Our receptionist Gladys told me to call Lily immediately. I called, and Lily told me she was in the hospital. I achieved half-freakout mode and told her I'd be there right away.

Because this hospital is about 4 blocks from my work, I considered walking there. I also considered walking to our parking lot, which is about 2 blocks away, and driving. I opted for the walk. And good thing I did, because when I arrived at the street where the hospital is located, the entire street had been blocked off because a truck had flipped over moments before. Bad for the truck, but good for jaywalking.

And because I had never really been in this hospital before, it took me about an extra 30 minutes to find my way through the maze of hospital to the place where Lily was resting. She had a nice big room with a view of the Santa Monica mountains and palm trees. She was fine. The baby was fine. Just a precaution they said. But she'd be staying for a few days to monitor the situation.

Now Lily and unborn baby are home. And following doctors orders this time. I tell the story to most everyone I bump into, and everybody asks how Lily is doing. She's fine, I tell them. How's the baby? She's fine, I tell them. Nobody asks about me. I just run around doing everything Lily used to do, plus everything I used to do. Maybe if I'm lucky, Lily will let me curl up in bed beside her for some much needed rest.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Unknown Pleasures

Like almost every other person in Los Angeles, on Saturday I went to Santa Monica for an event called Glow. Santa Monica isn't set up for that size of crowd. The city powers-that-be advertised Glow as an all-night event, from dusk til dawn, and it was touted as Burning Man in the city. But it lacked the art. And later it lacked the music.

I should have turned my car around when I saw traffic backing up from the 4th Street exit about a mile onto the 10. But no, I was positive my parking karma would come through. Nope. Not only were all the parking lots next to the Promenade full, the Santa Monica Police Department was busy putting up barricades everywhere, essentially turning the streets by the beach into one big evolving maze.

I brilliantly thought of parking at the Santa Monica Public Library, which was eight blocks from the pier. Apparently a lot of other people had this stroke of genius as well, because the only spots left were on P3, which was two floors down from street level. But getting to the event was easy enough. And when we arrived, we wondered what the big deal was. From the beach just north of the pier, the only glowing pieces to be seen were two 10-foot buoys floating about 40 feet from shore, and a misting device (about the size of a small house) that was lit up with different colored lights. Woo hoo.

There were plenty of people with glow sticks, and some with glowing light sabers, but not much else in the way of of anything worthy of calling an event "Glow". We hung out on the sand talking to friends we randomly came across until we all concluded that the event was a huge bust. At least Judah had fun running around on the sand.

When we made it back to the car, there was a line to get out of the garage. And Lily and I both had to pee. But we both agreed that we could hold it until we got home. We pulled out of our parking spot and got in line. And we moved about 1/2 a car length every 5 minutes. This, from 2 floors below street level. It was hot down on P3, and the exhaust from all the cars idling was choking us, so we had to roll our windows up. I remembered that I had forgot to bring my iPod, so I turned on the radio. Not much to hear but static when you're down two floors below street level in a concrete parking garage.

After about 30 minutes of sitting in the garage, I noticed that my gas meter was sitting on empty. And we still had one more floor to go. So I was forced to turn my engine on and off every time we moved up the exit line.

The highlight of the wait was witnessing a douchebag in a Mustang take the liberty of zooming past everyone in the wrong lane, going the wrong way. The highlight was 15 seconds after he zoomed past, when he was forced to go back down in reverse because some other suckers who were trying to park to see Glow were driving the right way in the right lane.

One hour after we began our journey from the center of the Earth, we arrived at the gate to pay. And there was only one gate in operation this night. 3 bucks flat rate parking. Just remember, next time you decide to go to ground zero for some event where all humanity will be in attendance:

- always keep a reasonable amount of fuel in your car
- bring your music
- go pee before you get in the car

Better yet, stay home. I know I will. Apparently the Santa Monica police department shut down the music at 2 am. Way to party til dawn Santa Monica.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Straight Outta Compton

I recently completed traffic school for the moving violation I received a few months back: Running a red light on a left turn. I chose the (Compton-based) Internet Traffic School option, because then I could make a beeline straight to the test part and fly through it because I'm such a knowledgeable driver. No need to read through all that pesky study material.

But being the diligent student I've always been, I decided to skim through some of the study material. And some of it was not only informative, but very entertaining. Here's an excerpt:

"Many accidents happen because Driver #1 assumed Driver #2 in front of him was entering traffic, but Driver #2 either did not start or changed his mind after going a few feet, so Driver #1 wound up in his trunk."

Here's another:

"How can you avoid mental mistakes? It is really quite easy. In each of the examples above, one part of your mind, the adult part, was telling you the right course of action. But you were not listening to the adult part. You were listening to the child in you who wants a drink, who thinks it is exciting to race a train."

and another:

"Have you ever walked, gotten up in the middle of the night and stumbled around in a house or apartment? Sure. Everybody has. Usually you stumble over something that you forgot was on the floor, banging your shin. Ouch! Or you walk into a door that you forgot was closed. Double Ouch! Or worst of all, you stub your toe. Pain!"

After reading a few passages like these, I decided to go ahead to the test part. I took the test. Failed. Three times. The questions seemed mostly obvious, but there were a few that weren't, and a few more where the test had to be wrong. Seriously. Both Lily and I agreed that the question about "making a right turn and moving to the left side of your lane" to do it had to be incorrect.

So we checked on the California DMV website to see what the law says, and lo and behold, there were all the answers. Every single one. I mean, the wording of the questions were exactly the same as the ones on my Compton internet traffic school's site. Now, I've never been one to cheat, but when the answers aren't true, you have to resort to other options.

So if you're ever in internet traffic school, just go ahead and get your answers straight from the DMV. But it's probably best to not get a traffic ticket in the first place.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Holidays in the Sun

Last Friday one thing that struck me as kind of odd was people wishing each other a "Happy Fourth of July!" Maybe that doesn't sound strange to you, but it made me wonder why we refer to the holiday as its date for only that holiday. We're celebrating Independence Day. But you don't hear people say "Happy Independence Day" do you?

Why don't we say "Happy 31st of December" when we're celebrating New Year's? Or "Happy Fourth Thursday in November" when we're talking about Thanksgiving? "Merry 25th of December!" The list goes on and on, but the Fourth of July is kind of screwed when it comes to referring to the cause behind the celebration.

People aren't gonna start saying "Happy Independence Day". We're Americans and we're too lazy to change now. But I bet if we called it something sexier, people would change. Possibly "Happy Fireworks Day!" or "Happy Explosion Day!" That oughta do the trick. Try it out next Independence Day. That would be the Fourth of July, in case you forget.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

In a Big Country

The latest from the inadvertent e-mail front:

Somebody named Larry Gardner from Alabama is apparently huge. Not huge like "blowin' up", but possibly about to blow up by ballooning to proportions not really meant for human beings. I know this because Larry was sent a few e-mails from King Size Direct concerning registering on their website and buying several items. King Size Direct's slogan is "More For Less In Big & Tall Sizes". I on the other hand am neither Big nor Tall, nor named Larry. We only seem to share the same spelling of our last name. Still, it's kind of interesting to see how the other half lives.

Larry bought three shirts and one pair of pants. The pants, colored "Stone", size 44 x 40 would almost fit two of me into them. The three shirts ranged from a 3XL Black Polo to a 2XL Dark Mauve Shirt and 2XL "Soft Yello" Shirt. This tapestry of colors at that size would probably form a nice quilt that would cover me comfortably, but I'm having trouble imagining what Larry must look like wearing "Soft Yello" or Dark Mauve shirts that would probably fit the likes of The Notorious B.I.G.

All in all, Larry spent $107.94 on an amount of fabric that would probably make an entirely new wardrobe for yours truly. Lily recently bought me one size S hoodie at Club Monaco for $120. Either good things come in small packages or I need to start shopping for bigger clothes.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


My phone stopped ringing this week. Literally. I was wondering why I was missing all these phone calls that went straight to voicemail, then somebody called when I had it on Loud + Vibrate mode. It only vibrated. So I asked Lily to give me a call, and there was the answer: no ringing whatsoever.

I should have seen it coming when I used my free Sprint ringer download to get "Smells Like Teen Spirit". They had 2 options for that song: The chorus or the beginning. I opted for the beginning. You know, it starts off sorta quiet, then the drums hit and the gates to grunge heaven are kicked wide open. It sounded like shit on my lame little phone's tiny speaker.

The ringing was pretty comical at first, and I usually let it ring through to the drums part just for a laugh. Then later it wasn't so funny anymore and I'd desperately try to silence the ringing before it got to the drums part. But of course there were times where I wasn't around my phone and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" would go on endlessly until the call went to voicemail. That's probably what killed the ringing. Kurt Cobain destroying one more piece of equipment, blowing the tiny speaker on my lame little phone, from beyond the grave.

So I'm stuck with a phone that doesn't ring, but only vibrates. I missed a lot of calls this week, but I'll be damned if I'm buying a new phone right now. Anyone who saw my last cell phone knows the lengths I'll go before buying a new one. Besides, Steve Jobs has me by the balls until July 11th, when the new iPhone comes out. Hello.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Slim Shady

My wife's name is Lily. With one "L". Sorta. Meaning one L in the middle. Not two Ls. Sorta. Not with two Ls in the middle. As in not LilLy. Seems to me the default way would be the one L up front and one L in the middle. Saves time and energy over dealing with that pesky third "L".

The Lilys that immediately come to mind have the two L spelling: Lily Munster. Lily Allen. Lily Tomlin. So why would anyone use the extra L? No freakin idea. Some people even do it when they see it written on paper or on a computer, and they STILL insist on spelling it Lilly. Seriously. Lily sent an e-mail to the parents at our son's school, and she signed it "Lily". Person replying to the e-mail? "Thanks Lilly". Eesh.

Another one that really bugs the shit out of me is some people's comprehension of our son's name: Judah. I'm talking to somebody and I say "well Judah did blah blah blah..." And they come back with "oh really? Judas did that?" Ahem. Yes, we deliberately named our son with a name most commonly remembered as being a betrayer. The betrayer of Jesus. Yeah. We liked the sound of Judas and we really hate Jesus! Why the fuck would we do that? So I have to correct those people every time that they insist on continuing to say "Judas" when they're referring to "Judah". But it doesn't stick. They won't register the name Judah, but they'll remember a silly name like Judas. I'll tell 'em "Yeah, I'm a huge Priest fan." Then I'll throw the horns and roll my eyes back in my head for good measure.

My name is pretty tough to screw up. You hear Lee and you can easily repeat it, and other than the girly ways of spelling it, it's not too tough to spell either. So maybe the real reason I get so miffed at people misunderstanding the names of my family goes back to my childhood. Back when people made fun of my name. The way mean kids do out on the playground, making hurtful rhymes with the name Lee. Yep, you guessed it: Lee Pee. At least the founders of TNSC were kind enough to make it "Bee" instead. Lee Lee the Musical Pee doesn't really have a nice ring to it. Or does it?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My War

I was rolling out the trash bins last Thursday night, when I saw a little critter scamper out from where the trash bins regularly reside. Not a critter like a mammal-varmint-sized critter, but like an insect-sized critter. After rolling the trash, recycling, and yard waste bins to the curb, I went inside and grabbed my trusty humongous flashlight to inspect said critter. And the critter turned out to be a cockroach.

There aren't many things in this world that truly creep me out, but cockroaches are near the top of that short list. They have like creepy ways of looking at you and almost like a humanlike personality that way, and ick! That, and they scamper so quickly that they might just crawl up your leg and... oh man, that would be the grossest. And the fact that they were on my property just wasn't going to continue.

When we moved into our new place I noticed (with all the other crap the previous owners left behind in the garage) a can of roach killer. I remember thinking "Now why would they need this? There aren't any roaches around here." Wrong. I didn't see any roaches in broad daylight, nor did I see any in the house. But now that I saw one in the driveway in the dark, I knew there had to be zillions more. And upon further inspection of the driveway, I found at least 10 more.

It was time to test out the can of roach killer. Apparently this stuff kills with mint, not some nasty chemical, so it's safe to use around the boy. Not that I was gonna spray it within a 50 ft radius of him outside at all, but at least the label made me feel better about spraying the life out of the cockroaches. As an added bonus, the can said it leaves a fresh minty scent. What's not to like?

I went around spraying the critters, which only seemed to make them scamper around that much quicker. But the label said to soak them with the stuff, so I did. And they didn't scamper around so quickly and then they stopped scampering altogether. I left a trail of about 15 dead roaches in my wake. I waited until the next morning to clean up the trail of dead, so's the sun could dry up the mint spray.

The spray seemed to have put a serious dent in the roach population outside. But if I so much as see one of those things skittering across the floor inside my house, I'm going gunslinging with the spray on a nightly basis.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Magic Johnson

I grew up hating the Los Angeles Lakers. HATING. Up there in the woods of the Pacific Northwest you rooted for the SuperSonics or you maybe liked the TrailBlazers. But you certainly didn't like the glamour boys from Hollywood. You HATED them. They were dominating our division and they were winning championships with flash and with a bunch of players everybody knew by name. We had guys that nobody knew, but they played with heart and the fans up there believed the Sonics could win it all. And they did. In 1979. Long, long long ago. So long ago that I was just a kid, and I didn't really follow sports and I didn't know that your city doesn't win NBA championships every year. Unless of course your city was Los Angeles.

Now that the road of life has driven me to Laker-land, I find my stance on that team softening. Call me a bandwagoner or whatever. I could really care less if it were the Lakers or Clippers winning a championship. With the exception of the aforementioned '79 Sonics team, I've never had the experience of:

A. A city that I currently live in win a pro championship
B. A team from a city where I previously lived and currently root for - win a pro championship

Maybe it doesn't matter. But it would be great to experience that once as an adult. So my hatred of the Lakers has waned just enough to root for them as they appear in the Finals this season. I rationalize it as not really wanting the Lakers to win, but the city that I currently reside in to win. Because I could give a shit about the Lakers. In fact, maybe it's my little way of putting a hex on them by rooting for them which, based on my track record, would actually cause them to lose. Go Lakers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

First In Flight

My mom called last week to tell me that my first childhood friend had passed away. We didn't necessarily stay close after my family moved away, but we were lucky enough to cross paths from time to time as we became adults. One time getting reintroduced to each other in college by members of the University of Washington crew team who were looking for shrimpy guys like us to sit in the coxswain seat.

College was the last time I saw him. And seeing him in the obituary page in the hometown paper really made me look at my own mortality. He was born about 2 weeks before me. He had a daughter about the same age as my son. And my mom said that he was like a son to her. At least when we were around 5 years old. Rest in peace, buddy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hurts So Good

You may or may not have had the luxury of hearing me tell the neverending story of my gum surgery. Either way, it's something you don't want to ever experience.

Thanks to my mom and dad, I have gums that don't seal to the teeth too well. So no matter how much I follow mom and dad's strict teachings to brush and floss every night, their genes don't allow me to adequately clean whatever gets way down in there and attacks the roots of my teeth.

And so I had to find this out from a periodontist 20 years after I left home for college. And this periodontist was required to surgically open up the gum tissue surrounding my molars, clean up the bad stuff, and sew up the gums tighter than mom and dad's DNA ever did.

The result has been laborious in terms of me not being able to chew food on whichever side of the mouth that the periodontist decided to work on this month. Two weeks ago it was the lower left quadrant. He took the stitches out last week and gave me an "A+" on my recovery so far.

In the past couple days I've been able to start chewing soft things like pasta on that side. But the thing that seems to be taking the longest to get over is the cold sensitivity. It ain't no joke. Try chewing on a piece of aluminum foil, and that begins to give you an idea of what I go through even when I drink water that's room temperature. But as I found out with LLMB Reader #1 this week, the one cold beverage that doesn't put the deep freeze on my teeth? You guessed it: A frosty beer. Must be the alcohol. So you know what I'll be drinking until this winter in my mouth is over. Let it snow.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Travelling Without Moving

A couple weeks ago I wrote about my TV. My lack of a TV. Well despite my efforts to remedy my lack of a TV, I continue to buy a TV on what seems like a bi-weekly basis. Artificially propping up the US economy is what I'm really doing.

After the whole Sears-returning-the-first-TV ordeal, I ordered a Philips TV from Dell. Two weeks ago in this space I described the liar Dell salesman. I canceled the order. I then ordered the same Philips TV, the one that's called the EcoTV because it uses far less power than regular TVs and enables me to hug a tree by sitting on my ass watching SportsCenter on a daily basis, from Amazon.

I didn't realize this before I bought this sorta big-ticket item from an online retailer, but Amazon actually farms out that type of order to a storefront who can take care of it directly after the money has been spent. Being that I was missing all this great HDTV resolution by having to cancel with liars at Dell, I paid extra for expedited shipping: 3x as much as regular shipping to get it in 3-5 days.

The storefront vendor is ANTOnline, based in Atlanta, GA. I get an e-mail from them updating me on where my TV is. The e-mail links to their website which says "Shipment moved from regional warehouse to local". Great. It's so close now I can smell the High-Definition.

But then a day later, the web message changes to "No information available at this time", and stays that way for the remainder of my 3-5 day expedited shipping process. 5 days turns into 6 and then the jig is up. I call ANTOnline and ask them what the holdup is. The nice lady on the phone tells me she'll find out and call me right back. And when she calls me right back, she tells me that they made an error, I needed to pay another $150 to ship this TV, they don't really have expedited shipping, and I'd receive it in another 7-10 days. After another round of customer service hold sessions, I cancel the order.

The next TV vendor turns out to be is based just south of Los Angeles. Close enough to walk the TV over in a few days. I order the same Philips EcoTV, I check my shipping status online during the 5-7 day period, and the end of the 7 days comes and goes. And on day 8, the shipping message changes to "Estimated Delivery Date: May 23". I can only venture a guess what my e-mail asking why they say 5-7 days when they really mean 18 days will get. Canceled.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

How to Disappear Completely

Because I like to waste a lot of time managing my music in iTunes, I've found yet another way to focus even more of my attention on that application.
I wanted to listen to all the music I have at least once, so I created a smart playlist that holds every song whose playcount is zero. After the song is played, it then has a playcount of one, and it disappears out of the playlist.

Essentially this playlist left me with mostly songs that I really didn't care to listen to. And it turned out to be around 10 gigs worth of music. So it's been a grueling couple of weeks as I listen to the likes of Janet Jackson, The Dandy Warhols, and a metal band called My Dying Bride that co-worker-bee Brady likes to call "church-burners". And Johnny Cash pops up from beyond the grave in chunks of about 7 songs to not only sing in Folsom Prison, but also to take on covers of songs from bands like Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, and Depeche Mode.

But in listening to this Underplayedlist, how did I not ever listen a song on Kid A? And how the hell did I acquire every Squarepusher album? Anyhow, I've managed to get the list down to around 2 gigs, and under 400 songs left. But if I have to endure one more Elton John ballad, there won't be anything to read here next week.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Last week was grueling. I spoke with around 12 customer service reps from Sears when I wanted to return the replacement for my TV of 10 years. The new TV had an amazing picture, but the vertical line running through the middle of the screen didn't look so great. In trying to get Sears to pick up this faulty set, they referred me to delivery, who referred me to the national customer service line, who forwarded me to repair, who sent me to delivery, who forwarded me to the store where I bought my TV, who told me to call delivery, who sent me back to the store. I went into the store with receipt in hand and the Sears employee told me I had to call delivery. He probably saw the steam starting to emanate from my ears, so he called delivery himself and told them to head over to my house to pick the damn thing up.

Later in the week I spent probably a total of 3 hours on the phone with Dell for the replacement for that replacement, after I found out the sales rep had lied to me about how long it would take to deliver the TV. He said it would be the next day. The e-mail said it wouldn't even be shipped for another three. I canceled on the sheer principle that I don't wanna give money to liars.

And the capper of this stellar week was FedEx on Friday. A director friend of mine was shipping a firewire drive that had footage for a music video. Unfortunately for me, the FedEx way is to try to deliver to workplaces before most workplaces are open. I tracked the package and found out that they attempted delivery at 7:40 am, but they would re-deliver by 3 pm. 3 pm comes and goes. No package. 4 pm comes and goes. I was losing a whole day of editing on a music vid that was due on Monday. Sweet. I called FedEx and discovered that the package was still sitting at the facility and there would be no other attempt to deliver that day. Needless to say, it was a fun conversation that ended in me putting on my FedEx hat and driving to the facility and wasting more time there while they attempted to locate the box. Then I got to work all weekend and avoid the nice weather everybody else enjoyed down here.

Not such a great week, eh? I thought so until the IT guy at my work came in with a cast on his right wrist & hand. He had just had surgery on his wrist the day before. Apparently he had to walk to his surgery appointment in the morning because his neighbor had his car towed for blocking his driveway. And he probably won't be getting his car back soon, because he has a bunch of unpaid parking tickets, and he'll have to part with a good chunk of his cash if he wants it back. Oh, and on the walk to his surgery appointment he stepped in dogshit and had brushed some on his pant leg while strolling. But he didn't notice the dogshit until he arrived at his doctor. I'm sure the surgery wasn't much fun either. In light of that, my week was a cakewalk.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


On Monday I got a chance to see what it was probably like in Mayberry back in the Andy Griffith days. A town hall meeting with the mayor of Culver City and 4 council-persons was to decide whether our street could be closed off to make it a cul-de-sac. One of the councilmen said that in his eight years service he hadn't received as many letters, phone calls and e-mails as he had surrounding this issue.

The main reason for the potential street closure is the fact that in our neighborhood, our street is the only one with a traffic light at the end of it. And that light leads to a road that eventually takes you to the 405 freeway. Our street was never intended to be a collector road, and its narrowness has caused several sideswipes, car wrecks and lawn-driving maneuvers by agrro motorists driving at speeds up to 70 mph. This on a residential street where the speed limit is more like 25 mph. Add to that the fact that there are around 25 kids on this street, many who are skateboarding age and they like to ride their skateboards in the street. A street two blocks away is the logical collector road for this traffic but there's only a stop sign where that road ends, and motorists tend to choose the street that they have the best chance of blowing through - ours.

On moving to our new neighborhood, we were introduced to many of our new neighbors through visits from them asking us to send in a ballot card to say "yes, we'd like our street closed!" Who the heck wouldn't want that? So I checked the yes boxes and sent it in. Soon afterward the proposition passed, but the Culver City council thought it might be good to hear from all sides first. And our neighbors on the surrounding streets weren't too happy about this possibility of inheriting our traffic, as was evidenced by their numbers in attendance for the town hall meeting.

It's interesting to go to a town hall meeting and experience politics on such a small scale. It's politics that you actually have a voice in. In fact, there were 30 or so voices going up to the podium for three minutes each and speaking their minds about the street closure. There were the neighbors on my street telling the council that they've been dealing with the traffic and working over seven years to get to this point. There were the neighbors on the surrounding streets telling the council that they don't want our problem. And there were the five elected representatives stuck in the middle. The discussion on this topic had started at 8:25 pm and it ended at 12:15 am.

At one point it seemed as if the council was going to do nothing. The mayor, who was set to finish his term in two weeks, piped up and said "Well, it's approaching midnight and we're all tired here." At which point we knew that our street closure wasn't going to happen. Then he continued, "Except I can't leave office knowing that some kid might get killed on that street if we don't do something". The neighbors from the surrounding streets were probably letting out an inner "fok", knowing that we were gonna be there much longer and much later. One member of the council came up with a new plan that wasn't exactly closing the street, but it was a good compromise. And the mayor threw in to the proposal adding more traffic cops in our neighborhood to crack down on speeding.

It came to a vote, which required a simple majority. And when the voting lights in front of each council-person came on, we had won: 3 yes, 2 no. But one of the council-persons mentioned that her vote was incorrect, that it showed yes when she had voted no. Boos from the crowd. Re-vote came up 2 yes, 3 no. More boos from the crowd, until another member of the council felt the heat and asked the crowd, "who on the neighboring streets are in favor of this new plan?" There was a surprising amount of applause. The councilman requested to do a re-vote. 3 yes, 2 no. The crowd erupted in applause, and everybody left City Hall shaking hands and smiling. That is, everybody but the city council, who still had a few more items to discuss.

The next day, I spoke with several of my neighbors and they all felt happy about the decision, but they didn't believe it would really be implemented. And the following day Lily said she saw at least seven cars pulled over by cops giving tickets. Either that's progress, or I'm getting old. Maybe both.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

World of Entertainment (W.O.E. is Me)

So I'm on the plane back from Sea-Tac, on a relatively new Virgin America airplane, and I sit down in my comfy black seat with the uber-hip white panel in front of me containing their Audio-Visual system called Red. Not shortly after reaching our cruising altitude of 36 thousand feet, the crew came through with the drink cart to offer refreshments.

After ordering, the three gentlemen in the row directly in front of us - who seemed not to know each other - all started asking questions about the capability of Red to do what they needed to do on this 2.5 hour flight.

Man #1: "Do you offer broadband?"
Crew member: "Sorry, we don't offer broadband yet, but it's coming. In like 6 months or so. But that's not soon enough for you, yes?"

Man #2 (To Man #1): "But you can chat on the plane if you want"
Crew member: "Oh yeah, you can chat with the other passengers"

Man #2 (repeatedly pressing his Red touch screen):
"My chat isn't working"
Crew member: "Would you like me to restart you?"
Man #2 (still pressing the screen): "Yes please."

Man #3 (repeatedly pressing his Red touch screen): "How come these TV channels don't work?"
Crew member: "Sometimes we lose reception up here"
Man #3 (repeatedly pressing his Red touch screen): "Well CNN comes in, why don't the other channels?"
Crew member: "Would you like me to restart you?"

What the fuck, people. Two of the three of these men had their laptop computers open. Is that not enough? Do we need somebody to come over and perform magic tricks for them as well? Just be like Lily and play 50 games of Mahjongg. That'll keep you occupied for a couple hours.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire

In my recent attempts to save every penny possible, I've located the most obvious place, and that's at the Extra Space Storage facility in Marina Del Rey. Now that we have enough room in our house to store all those boxes of useful junk, I can nix the $77 that we were paying.

And due to an oversight in their accounting department, I was credited an amount equal to the 2 months rent I would have paid for breaking my lease early. So those extra pennies will help out with the increased cost of housing, the new TV I'll have to buy because my old one blew out, the cost of flying the family up to Seattle for a funeral, etc etc. But I get to keep an extra 77 bucks a month? Somebody up there likes me.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


I take no credit for the creation of anything in this post.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Three Car Jam

1. As I careened out of the Target parking lot on a Sunday morning, apparently I went through a red light. I didn't realize it at the time, but the authorities were kind enough to send several pictures at different angles of me and my car taking a left through the intersection while the light was clearly red. Luckily I wasn't doing anything incriminating like picking my nose, or like the episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry is photographed going through a red light while looking at his passengers ass, which was up in the air because she was reaching into the back seat. The little series of pictures will only cost me $380 plus another $50 for the privilege of spending some time at traffic school.

2. About two weeks later on my way to our new abode, I had the sensation that the car wasn't handling well - like it had a flat tire. I got out of the car at the nearest intersection to inspect the situation and unfortunately I was right about the tire. Torn sidewall. Fortunately I was close enough to our old abode to change the tire in our driveway. To get at the spare tire, I removed all the crap out of the car trunk: Bottles for recycling, grocery bags, a skimboard.

The resident homeless guy that we like to call Burnout - because he can spend days reclining in the sun, and his black clothes and hair appear burnt - came up to me and asked if I had seen a guy he described as looking exactly like me. The guy apparently took a grocery bag (which Burnout said looked like a grocery bag that was sitting next to my car with the flat tire) that was full of money. Burnout would have used this grocery bag full of bills to go somewhere around Christmas. Burnout repeatedly asked me if I saw the guy around anywhere, and I repeatedly told him I hadn't seen anybody (who looks just like me).

I put on the spare, and lowered the car with the jack, only to find that the spare was flat. I figured that the spare isn't much bigger than a mountain bike tire, so I grabbed my bike pump and got to work. My triceps hadn't seen a workout like that in months. That afternoon I went to Big O Tires and spent $380 for 4 new tires because the 3 working tires probably didn't have much longer to live.

3. Last weekend we went to the nearby Sherwin-Williams paint store to buy one more can of white semi-gloss for the interior of our new abode. Because Lily had been choosing all the paint to this point, she went into the store while Judah and I waited in the car. It was hot, so I pressed the buttons to roll down the windows. The rear driver side window had some trouble going down, but it eventually made it all the way down. When Lily came back I rolled all the windows up. That is, all but the rear drivers side window, which didn't come all the way back up. It sounded like it wanted to close, but the crunching noise led me to believe that it wasn't gonna. I still haven't taken it in to the shop for that one, but my guess is that it's probably going to cost $380.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's like that, and that's the way it is

Moving on Monday, Taxes on Saturday, Clients in all week. See you next Thursday.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Third Eye

Walking back from the Third Street Promenade, I approached the intersection at the post office and I noticed a blind woman with a cane. She tapped the white cane around the edge of the sidewalk, seemingly unsure which direction she wanted to go. She looked flustered. She did a 180, then stopped and did another 180, and she seemed on the verge of a panic attack. Several people walked by without offering any assistance.

I walked up to her and asked "do you need help?" She took a deep breath and said yes, thank you. She said "I need to find 5th street". I looked up at the sign at the intersection and it said 5th Street. I told her she was on 5th Street & Arizona. Then she told me "Can you point me in the direcction of 4th Street?" I turned her in the direction of 4th Street and told her "now you're facing toward 4th Street, toward the beach."

She said "Thanks so much" and tapped her way toward 4th Street. As I turned and continued on my way, I realized that probably nothing going on in my little world was as bad as what she just went through.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Pac-Man Fever

On Monday night a work project fell into my lap at around 5:45 pm. The project was the video component of one of those newfangled rides where you're sitting in a movie theater in a small group of theater seats that move in relation to what you're seeing on screen. Luckily for me, I was stoked to work on the project because it features a character from a TV show who says "Doh!" starring in it.

The "Doh!" part was about as good as it was gonna get. Because then the real work began. Taking a series of still frame rough animation files and putting them together isn't really what I consider "editing", but it falls under editor duties and thus falls into my lap at 5:45 pm on a Monday night.

I was to take a sequence of still images and compile them into a 5 minute movie, and then attach the existing sound bed so that it was in sync. Sounds simple, right? Too simple? Too simple. It wasn't in sync, and the production manager and I spent the next three hours trying to figure out why.

We slipped the audio this way and that until it was about in sync as it was going to be for this stage of the animation, so that the sound designer/mix people could do their job and then the whole thing could move forward again. At 9pm we were laying off to tape and I assumed I was done. And I was, until the next day at noon.

One of our production coordinators walked into the editing suite at noon and told me that a two-minute chunk of the sequence with revised animation was being sent over the network. All I had to do was import the sequence, cut it over the existing sequence and lay it off to tape. The Executive Producer of the TV show that this "ride" is based on with the character who says "Doh!" would be waiting for this tape on the studio lot at 3 pm. Sounds simple, right? Too simple? Too simple.

I import the new animation into the edit system (Avid) at around 1 pm. I line up the spot where the new animation goes over the old stuff, and I quickly realize there's a problem: The new piece goes way longer than the old piece. And then I quickly discover that every 5th frame is a repeat of the 4th frame.

So I call our producer for this "ride" and tell him what's up. We talk tech mumbo-jumbo (different than this tech mumbo-jumbo) for 10 minutes before he decides to get off the phone to see what he can do on his end. The clock is rapidly ticking toward 3 pm, so I start trying different compression techniques to see if that'll work. The producer calls me back about 45 minutes later only to tell me that it will take 2 hours to recreate the animation correctly. Hm. Two hours plus 1: 55 pm equals pissed off Executive Producer of a ride and TV show with character who says "Doh!" DOH!

I tell the producer that I'll take care of it, and we hang up. If you know anything about how editing works, then you know that there are a few very basic commands: Mark In, Mark Out, and Cut. And probably the last remaining thing that Avid has going over Final Cut Pro is a little routine where you can punch in plus or minus then a number on the keypad then Enter (i.e. +5 Enter), and you'll go that number of frames ahead or back. Then every time you just press Enter it'll go that same distance. Every 5th frame a duplicate? No problem.

I remap my keyboard so that it'll be Mark In, Mark Out, Cut - using the ring finger, middle finger, index finger (in that order) on my left hand. After that left handed sequence I'm pressing Enter (for the +5 frame advance) with my right index finger. Repeat ad nauseum. I knew playing all those video games back in the day would pay off.

I'm cruising through this little 5 frame edit exercise (and I'm amazed at how the Avid can keep up with this insane tapping), and I get the slightest tinge of carpal tunnel. Every now and then I take a break to check the frame numbers to make sure I haven't gone astray, and every now and then I have gone astray, so I stop to fix it. After a few minutes of speed metal finger tapping, I'm grimacing and letting out the occasional scream because nobody is supposed to edit like this. But I'll be damned if that deadline is missed.

My fingers thoroughly fatigued, I finally get the cutting done and I'm ready to lay off to tape. But some stupid Golf commercial is using the tape deck I need to lay off to. Looks like Mr. Executive Producer of the TV show with a character who says "Doh!" in it would have to wait. At least he wouldn't be waiting because of me. DOH!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Independent Worm Saloon

After a semi-tough day at work and a completely tough drive home in the rain, I walked in the back door to our apartment and saw the usual sight of Lily reading a book to Judah as he attempted to finish his dinner. A stack of children's books about 12 high stood on the counter next to them. I took off my backpack and set it on the floor, and I had removed one of my loafers when Lily said "Could you return these books to the library?"

As any good husband and father would, I pulled on my recently removed shoe, grabbed the stack of books and headed out the door. The Abbot-Kinney Library is right across the street from our driveway. It's also the place where, in the rain or in any other kind of weather, a group of homeless folk call their home. And being that it had just rained, a group of 6 or 8 homeless guys were standing off to the side of the entrance to said library.

And as I crossed the street toward the library, one of the smoking homeless guys stared me down. I returned the stare as I made my way toward the entrance carrying the armful off books. As I passed the guy, he shrugged his shoulders, looked back toward his buddies and muttered "bookworm". The group erupted in laughter. Great. Like I wanna be made fun of by a group of homeless guys. Actually, it was a good one. Bookworm. I'm gonna keep that one for a rainy day.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Run To The Hills

At the risk of pigeon-holing myself as a closet metal nerd, I need to get this off my chest. I've been to a lot of concerts. A ton of concerts. So many concerts that when I turned 21 (many moons ago) I decided that I wasn't gonna go to concerts anymore. That didn't last long.

I still go to plenty of concerts. Especially now that I live in a place where every single band comes through. But the one concert I didn't go to, if I could go to one concert that happened in my lifetime? Iron Maiden - Powerslave tour - 1984-85.

If you've ever seen pictures from this concert, then you know that the stage setup was a spectacle of the Spinal Tap variety. You don't have to like heavy metal to appreciate monstrous stage setups with fog machines, flamethrowers, fireworks, and a huge animatronic Eddie.

That concert eluded me, and I'd been trying to go to an Iron Maiden concert ever since. I came close in 2003, but the realities of a tight work schedule nixed my drive down to Shoreline Amphitheater. It looked like a live Eddie sighting wasn't in the cards. Until this year.

Iron Maiden at the Forum in Inglewood. Perfect. The parking lot was like a scene from 1984: muscle cars and jean jackets. The Forum looked like 1984. When we walked in, I imagined Magic Johnson no-look-passing to Kareem for a Showtime slam dunk. Kobe Bryant would never play here. Jack Nicholson probably wouldn't be caught dead here now. The Forum stinks and after you get 10,000 Iron Maiden fans spilling beer everywhere, it's treacherous. No lights on the slippery soaked stairways tells the whole story.

So after the obligatory horrible opening band, Iron Maiden came on and played mostly songs from around 1984. Rocked the house. Everybody looked a little older, but after the 10 foot tall animatronic Eddie walked around the stage with a laser gun, nobody noticed anymore. And now I can cross "See Iron Maiden Live" off my to do list.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

These go to eleven

In plowing through my ever-expanding music collection, I've discovered some songs that aren't really songs. They're silence. They're tracks on albums which, on vinyl or cassette or 8-track or CD, might go unnoticed. But in digital music file format, they're bona fide "songs" which take up space on my hard drive.

And in researching some of the new albums I have, I've noticed that digital music stores such as Amazon & iTunes sell these silent tracks. You can buy them as part of an album or as individual tracks. "(Silence)" by Ciccone Youth: Only 99 cents at the digital store of your choice. "One Minute of Silence" by Soundgarden: Same price. "(Silence)" by Juno: Again, just 99 cents.

And they really are just that. Silence. So here's my plan. For a mere 50 cents - that's 49 cents cheaper than any digital music store - I'll sell you a track of silence! 50 cents! Can't beat that.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Stealing People's Mail

In my possession is an e-mail account that must be worth some money. I say that because I get a lot of inadvertent mail because so-and-so told their friends "hey, my e-mail is" but their friends heard something more simplified than that.

For instance, my dream e-mail address would probably be "" because it's short and sweet and easy to remember, but somebody who's even more ahead of the curve and more cutting edge than even I am got there before me and stole it from its rightful owner. So instead, I have an e-mail address that's a little harder to remember than that, but people may assume, under drunken circumstances probably, that I said "".

So basically I receive inadvertent e-mails from all over the place because drunk people thought somebody told them an e-mail address, but it wasn't what they vaguely remember. And here are some of the results of that drunkenness:


All detail of the offer below. I was a little inaccurate on the car allowance so it is just £400 short of current basic if you choose to take the car allowance. There is the option to take a car. Of course they pay all your business mileage/petrol when used on business.

The sooner you can come back the better.


Tom was offering Louise a job, but apparently either Louise or Tom was at a 3 martini lunch and one of them (probably Tom) got Louise's e-mail address mixed up with mine. Too bad. Louise would have gotten a pretty sweet gig complete with 5 weeks "holiday" (this is in the UK), and 4 weeks company sick pay. Apparently I'm working in the wrong country.

Here's another. Somebody named David sent these pics, and all it says is "here ya go":



And this mistakenly sent e-mail might have caused eternal damnation:


Would you mind printing these for mass today. I thought "We bring the sacrifice of praise" for the opening, "Change My Heart" for the preparation and "Shine Jesus Shine" for the last one. Thanks.


There were no attachments. Somebody's gonna burn in hell.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Good Morning, Captain

Well I had planned on spending this morning putting some letters together into words in this space, but instead I spent the morning trying to keep Judah one step away from complete meltdown.

It goes like this:

(Judah throws soccer ball repeatedly)
Me: Judah, you can't do that right now because you'll wake up the neighbors downstairs.
Judah picks up ball and throws it again
Me: Judah, if you do that one more time, I'm going to have to take the ball away from you
Judah picks up ball and throws it again
Me: Okay, I'm taking the ball away now.
I put the ball on a high shelf where he can't reach it. Judah gets upset and does the standard tantrum-style fall on the floor face down, hands and feet pounding the floor. I go to the kitchen to get some juice. Judah comes running after me and sees the juice and wants something.
Me: You want some milk?
Judah: (sniffling) Yeah
I grab the jug of milk and put it on the counter. I grab a purple sippy cup out of the cupboard.
Judah: No! No! No!
Judah falls on the ground crying
Me: Do you want a different cup?
Judah: (sniffling) Yeah
I grab a pink plastic cup out of the cupboard.
Me: Do you want this one?
Judah: No! No! No!
Judah falls on the ground crying. I grab a yellow sippy cup.
Me: Do you want this one?
Judah: (sniffling) Yeah
I grab the lid to the sippy cup.
Judah: No! No! No! No top! No top!
I put the lid down and grab the milk jug.
Judah: No! No! No! No milk! No milk!
Me: Judah? You said you wanted milk. Do you want water.
Judah: (sniffling) No
Me: Do you want milk or water?
Judah: (sniffling) Milk
Me: Okay
I pour a little bit into the sippy cup
Judah: Big one! Big one!
Me: Judah? I'm only giving you this much because I don't want you to spill it.
Judah: Big one! Big one!
I hand him the cup that doesn't have "Big one" in it.
Judah: No! No! No!
Judah falls on the ground crying.
Me: Judah, please drink this and I'll give you some more
Judah gets up and grabs the cup which barely fits in his little grasp. He takes a tiny sip and puts it down. He runs off into the living room to play with his trains. I grab his cup and my juice and head into the living room. I put the cups down on the coffee table

After playing for a bit, Judah grabs his sippy cup and takes another tiny sip. He almost gets it down to the table, but he lets it go early enough for it to tip on its side and spill all over some important documents. At least he didn't spill it on my computer. And the moral of the story would be: Don't cry over spilled milk. Or not enough milk in your sippy cup either.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Being the good Los Angeles citizen that I am, I'm quickly abandoning any semblance of using modes of transportation other than my car. The bike rides have become less and less as the weeks go by. There's always some lame excuse: It's raining. It's too cold. I have clients in today and I don't wanna be all stinky. I don't wanna crash and destroy my laptop. Etc, etc. Seeing's how I've spent a good majority of my life as a licensed driver not owning a car, I figure I can drive a bit in this town.

So in order to combat the high cost of burning fossil fuels, I use this little widget called, appropriately: Gas. The Gas Widget tells me where I can get the cheapest gas within a specified radius. Except sometimes I go to the station that the Gas Widget points me to, and the gas isn't the same price as it said on the widget! Can't trust anybody. Or any little computerized thingy called widget.

But recently I noticed there's a button on the widget that says "Spot". I clicked on it and it told me how I could become a "spotter", which is basically how the widget gets the information about what the gas prices are. As the legion of spotters drives by whatever gas stations, they're gathering information and putting it onto a website where you can then see on a map what the prices are in a given area. That info is then related to the simple little Gas Widget.

Spotting is no easy task, especially in Los Angeles, where there are bazillions of gas stations on every street. At first I took spotting sorta lightly. I'd drive past a 76 station, look at the sign, and speak aloud the cents part of the cost. i.e. "29 39 49", which means "$3.29, $3.39, $3.49". But the saying it aloud thing didn't work too well with remembering, especially after passing about 3 gas stations. So I started writing them down on a piece of paper. While driving. Hell, half the people I see on the road are either holding a cell phone or texting, so scribbling some numbers on a piece of paper can't be all bad now can it? For the greater good of all gas consumers?

If that's not enough, The GasPriceWatch website even awards points for every updated price you enter into the system. And they keep a running tally of which users have the most points every month, and the high score overall. Needless to say, I want the high score. So I'll waste a bunch of gas driving around LA to find gas prices so I can win!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Freedom of Choice

The moment had finally arrived. The moment I'd been waiting for since July, when I shipped my iBook G4 off to the winning ebayer: Macworld. Not just Macworld, but the Macworld where they were rumored to be releasing the replacement for my iBook G4: The new and improved ultra-slim MacBook.

But then the dream died. Steve Jobs didn't deliver. Well, he delivered a stunningly beautiful new ultra-slim laptop. But he didn't deliver what I had in mind.

Instead of replacing the MacBook at its price point, he gave us the MacBook Air for (in computer terms) considerably more money. Instead of giving us the same functionality, he took out the optical drive and the ethernet port and firewire. And if I may geek out even more, he gave us a slower processor and slower drive rpm than the less expensive MacBook. I guess I wasn't the only one who felt old Stevie didn't deliver:

That eleven-hundred bucks was burning a hole in my wallet. Coincidentally, my car didn't pass smog, so on the same day as the Macworld announcement I took it in for repairs so it would pass smog. And on that little trip, they found out that my brakes were shot, the ignition was faulty, and the car had an oil leak and a few belts that needed replacing. Price tag: $1100.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

If you managed to read the one-liner that comprised my last post, then you know that Lily was out of town for a week. Luckily for me, Mr. Jesse Clark was so extremely gracious as to fly down to Los Angeles to help me keep Mr. Judah Gardner alive until Lily came back.

And on one of the days that Lily was gone and the three of us boys were just hanging around the apartment, I heard Judah in another room saying "broken" over and over. I walked toward his voice to find him sitting near an outlet in his room where his truck-shaped night light used to reside. Except now he's got the truck part in one hand and the light part in the other. And like he said, it's "broken".

As I fully intend on shopping for a similar night light the next day - but it doesn't happen - I take an old night light in the hall that emits a lower level blue-ish light and I stick it in his room. Fast-forward to about 3:30 am and the little bugger is screaming bloody murder and waking his dad up and probably his uncle Jesse up as well. Experiment failure noted.

Next day I decided that the blue-ish light ain't gonna work, so a trip to Target was planned. An outing for the boys. Except that we barely made it into the parking lot before it became painfully clear that we weren't going to move, much less find a spot to park in. Actually it took Jesse making that painfully clear to me, and we agreed that I should just get out of the car and go in to buy the night light while Jesse and Judah found a parking spot.

I hurriedly go inside and pass all the schmoes who don't have somebody parking their car outside, and I head for the kid's section. On my way there I realize that I'm not really sure that's where the night lights will be sold. I briefly consider shoplifting the night light, because I know it's going to be a bitch to get out of here with my sanity. There's a Target employee nearby trying to act like she's working, so I ask her where the kid's night lights are. Her face assumes the look of "I don't have any idea", but she points me toward housewares. No dice.

Then it's a trip back to the kid's section, where I find another Target employee trying to act like she's working, and I ask the same question. She's more confident and she tells me "aisle N6". I go to N6. No dice. I wander around looking for anything resembling kids night lights until I find the flashlight aisle, and there are some night lights there. Not exactly the truck night light variety, but I find a nice star-shaped metal light that, from the picture on the box, emits a nice warm glow. Done.

After making my way through the riot-inducing Target checkout, I walked out the doors and spotted our car right near the entrance. Perfect. Jesse told me that he didn't see a single open parking spot the entire time.

When we got home, Jesse took the initiative of installing the star-shaped night light. As far as I can remember, I heard him say "looks great" and then "aw fuck". Apparently after he plugged in the light, he tried to adjust the metal star part and it broke away from the light part. Broken like it's a cheap piece of shit and it wasn't going to be anything other than a cheap piece of shit without an entire tube of crazy glue.

Well Jesse was again so extremely gracious as to get some scotch tape out and tape the hell out of the original truck night light and get it back into working shape. I plugged it back in. That night the boy slept soundly the entire night. Thanks Jesse!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Since You're Gone

Well, Lily's left me again. For a week anyway. My hands are full with trying to keep the boy alive, editing another lithium-fueled rabbit commercial, and just generally keeping my sanity. So LLMB is on hiatus until I can come up for air.

Thanks for reading, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!