Random Musings

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Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Hmmm... Just been feeling like all my recent posts have been far too serious - you'd think I was walking around dressed like a romantic poet spouting philosophy. Unfortunately I just haven't been very funny lately, not even amusing really. Too much to worry about perhaps. I'm moving yet again, jumping once more into the hell that is known as "Renting an Apartment in LA."
Maybe I'll just use this post to rant a bit about how much the landlords in LA absolutely suck. I've lived in three places in LA, and of those, I've been in four litigations with my landlords (yes, more than one litigation with one of them - wow, you've really impressed me with your math skills). Actually my current landlord is a pain in the ass, but not terrible on the degree my other landlords were. My last landlord actually just walked into the house one Sunday morning, without knocking or anything, went straight to the bathroom, and took a vicious shit in our bathroom, then left. Without a word. He also had the habit of opening the door and yelling things in russian inside at us at 7am every other morning. That was the least of it, but I'm way too lazy to write the longer stories. The other landlord was far worse. He would make up laws from his imagination and sue me under them, and since he's not a lawyer, I couldn't charge him with filing frivolous lawsuits, so I had to just defend them all. He would also spy on us, and whenever we had a guest, interrogate us about whether they are staying without his permission, and then scream and tell us we're hurting his feelings. Okay. I wont torment you any more. The good news is that I'm told the landlord at my new place is very cool and unobtrusive. I wonder what that's like? It will be a novelty.


Do you remember that all-important question of childhood; "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Most of us at one time or another answered, policeman, fireman, superhero, construction worker, astronaut, or something of the like. I probably mentioned all of those at one time or another, but what I really wanted to be was an explorer, like Leif Eriksson, or Magellan, discovering new lands and civilizations and exotic cultures and making friends with them (they only teach the nice version of history in elementary school). And I remember being terribly heartbroken when my parents explained to me that I couldn't be an explorer, because the whole world had already been discovered - there was nothing left to discover.
I cried.
I would have rather known that there was no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy than to be told that there were no more frontiers to discover, no more possibilities of discovering Atlantis, or the Amazons, or El Dorado, or anything else.
There is something seriously wrong with knowing too much. Don't get me wrong, I am a lover of knowledge, and like to absorb far more of it than I will ever have any practical use for, but what I mean is that the world becomes a far less interesting place when there's no more mystery left in it. Isn't there something great about being able to imagine mythical creatures, strange civilizations, and being able to say - they could exist, on some undiscovered continent, somewhere in the world, and the thought that someday you could take a ship where no one has ever been before, and discover something no one living has ever seen before.
I think this is the reason behind the popularity of science fiction. Science fiction is not about a scientific desire to methodically categorize the world, but rather the desire to find that which has not been found, to discover and imagine and find that there are still mysteries beyond our understanding, even if they involve quantum physics instead of lost cities. Science fiction serves to reassure us that there is still enough mystery in the universe that we will never have to worry about using it all up.
I think this desire for the unknown might even be related to my aversion to getting a real job. Once you are a laywer, for example, you can't really still imagine the possibility of being a rock star anymore, or an astronaut, or an accountant. There's something I find truly fearful about the thought of my future becoming predictable and secure. It doesn't necessarily make sense, and yet sometimes not knowing what my future will hold seems to be more important than money or fame or anything else. Or maybe I'm just good at rationalizing my own crappy situation.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

I just thought this was a really cool story. Check it out.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


You know, I really like living in Hollywood. I've been a nomad all my life, never living anywhere more than three years, and no matter how interesting that can be, the fact remains that you spend your life as an outsider. You make friends everywhere, but you're always the "New Friend" among the group that has been friends since grade school. But of all the places I've been, Hollywood is different. It is the only place where as an outsider, you can still belong. Part of it is that being an LA person has no bearing on whether you grew up here - an true LA person is someone who came from somewhere else, and didn't quite fit there, and came west to find somewhere they belong. And so, after an entire life of not belonging, I found a place where, after only a few months, I did belong.
What is even better is that in Hollywood, there is no one style, no choice between preppy or punk, goth or jock, everything is too big and varied here to have any such labels, so you make your own self without reference to labels, and really find out who that is. Here you can be a conservative with purple hair, or a rebel that can wear polo shirts, or anything in between, and still belong, not because you're different, but because you're you.
And beyond that, is that mosaic of different/crazy/strange/interesting people you see and meet here every day. If you've been reading my blog, you already know about Tim in the closet, but there's also the homeless nudist who thinks she's an archangel that comes here to crash occasionally, my friend Newbie, who was a guy from Indiana who wanted to make a movie, and was so determined to make it happen that he talked a state government into building him a studio for free, convinced investors, and is now shooting it with a fairly star-studded cast, Trish, the model who used to rob banks, all the homeless people that just have amazing stories to tell, whether true or not, and more others than I could ever list or count. There's just no other place like it. Rich or poor, you could never have a life this interesting anywhere else.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


I have recently discovered that you dream more when you sleep on your back.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Tim in the closet

People never believe me when I tell them about Tim. They always seem to think I am exagerrating, or making the whole thing up, but I'm not. Tim is real, and he lives in my closet.
No, this is not some metaphor about being secretly gay, Tim might date girls if any of them were brave enough to enter his closet, but they're not, and with good reason. Its just not a place you'd want to go. But back to the point, yes, I have a crazy guy named Tim who lives in my closet. No matter how much I explain that he is literal, my friends are always surprised when they're over at the house, sitting in the living room, and Tim jumps out of the closet raving about something or other. The response is always the same: "Oh my God! I thought you were joking about the crazy guy in the closet!"
But seriously, I'm not. This is the part where I'd tell you he's not really that crazy, and about his redeeming qualities, but he is, and he doesn't really have many. About 10 minutes ago I had to physically throw him out of my room because he had been lecturing for the last 40 minutes about how many eggs are in the refrigerator, how he had counted them, and how it was entirely too many. Trust me, that topic fulfills all its potential for novelty in the first 5 minutes.
My favorite Tim-ism always happens around 10-11pm. He'll be sitting on the couch watching "The Andy Griffith Show" for the 7th time that day, and then suddenly start yelling at everyone else in the living room, "Shut up! Stop talking! I'm trying to sleep!"
Me: Tim, you're sitting up, watching TV, and drinking a beer; you're clearly not trying to sleep.
Tim: Yes I am. No wonder I cant sleep with you guys sitting here talking.
Me: Tim, you havent even gone to your room yet.
Tim: I will soon.
Me: Then you can start bitching about trying to sleep then.
Tim: If I do, will you stop talking?
Me: No, this is our living room. Its the place where we socialize. But you might find it less noisy when you're in a different room.

This exchange would be less remarkable if we didnt have it at least twice every week.
He also argues that we should help conservation; that washing the dishes is a terrible waste of water, yet he (seriously) uses an entire roll of toilet paper every day. No, I dont know what he does with that much toilet paper, all I know is that it disappears.
Well, Tim may be a bit odd, and he may be a bit of a misogynist, and he may be messy, and occasionally attack a guest if left alone, but . . . well . . . yeah . . . oh! He's a hell of a violin player. I knew there was something positive to say about him. And he does make life a bit more interesting. Kind of makes you feel like there's a studio audience out there watching the popular sitcom "Rob's Apartment."

Friday, September 03, 2004


This is just a story of something interesting that happened a little while back with my friend McCall. We both had a weekday free, and decided to do something interesting with it, so we got in the car and headed north. We drove up the PCH, which was cool, and after getting about halfway through Malibu, we stopped at a small surf shop there. We ended up renting a tandem kayak there to take out on the ocean. The people in the shop warned that the waves were supposed to have been big today, but thus far it was still flat, so they still agreed to rent us the kayak. In the 20 minutes it took us to get everything ready and get the kayak down to the beach, the waves had come in; about 3-4 foot waves, breaking right on the beach, which meant it would be really hard to get the kayak in the water and any momentum going to get over the first wave before it broke over us. We were both a little concerned, and McCall suggested we give up and try again later (which is very unlike her – I think she only said it because she knew I would overrule her), of course I told her we had gotten this far, we werent going to give up without at least giving it a few tries. She was in front, and after one failed attempt, we were able to get the kayak in the water between waves and I pushed it off and jumped in. we paddled hard for some momentum because we saw the wave coming; when we hit it, the front of the kayak went up in the air, but we kept the kayak straight, and we shot right over the top of the wave. We kept up our momentum, and though there were other big waves to jump, the breaking wave is always the hardest, and that was past. Of course, we were covered in sand and soaked to the bone, and my ankles were bleeding a bit, but I had expected to get wet, so it was okay, and McCall didn’t care about getting wet since her cigarettes were still dry.
It was fun riding over the waves, and as we got further out it calmed down a bit. After we passed the outer buoy we slowed down and relaxed. McCall mentioned that it would be really cool if we saw a dolphin or anything, and I had been thinking so too – or even a seal. Though there was probably much in the sea beneath us, we couldn’t see anything, but it was very nice to just relax on the glassy water, watch the clouds pass over the mountains on the coast, see the sun shining off the buildings of Santa Monica in the far distance. Then we heard a splash and looked over to the north just in time to see a very large grey dorsal fin submerge beneath the water. We looked at each other with concern. McCall said “That was way too big to be anything but a shark.” “No” I tried to reassure her, “Sharks don’t really breach like that – only dolphins do – its probably a dolphin.” “Dolphins also never travel alone – do you see any other dorsal fins?” At that point I began to worry, because she was right – sharks swim alone, but dolphins always swim in groups. I told her again that sharks only breach like that in movies, not for real. She asked me that if I intended to debate that point with the shark before or after it ate me? At this point she had gotten me to worry a bit too, though our course of action was pretty much the same either way, hold still and wait for it to pass, hoping we dont attract its attention to the not-very-stable kayak. Then there was another splash on the other side of the boat, closer. We looked over in time to see an enormous, dark grey dolphin sliding back into the water. When we looked back north where it had come from, we saw around 12-24 other dolphins coming our way, swimming and jumping. They swam right around us, under us, and to both sides. It was one of the most surreal things I have ever encountered in the absence of drugs. One jumped right alongside, maybe six feet from the side of the boat – the thing must have been 9 feet long – bigger than most sharks I’ve seen. I had to restrain McCall from jumping into the water after them. They played alongside us for a while, and we tried to keep up with them for a while, but once they became bored, they left us behind quickly. There was just something really amazing about it that putting it in words does not convey. Like nature popped up and gave you a smile and a wink just to show you her favor. We were both breathless from it. After savoring the experience for a little while, we decided to head back. I turned us around and headed towards the shore – when we got a little closer we saw that the waves had gotten even bigger than when we had left. I promised it would be easier this way – we’d just have to catch a wave on the way in just like if we were surfing it. As we came in we built up as much speed as we could, and then caught a big wave just as it came in; it took us down – as we rode the crest the front edge of the boat was over air, and we were looking down at the beach. When the wave crashed down, it slid us right up onto the beach, and all we had to do was jump out and pull it the rest of the way up. We returned the kayak, and went down through Malibu to eat at the Reel inn – we got some food and beer and ate on the patio, still in somewhat of a state of euphoria. There was a little black cat there that I fed little pieces of my fish taco to. After that we went home, still light-headed from what we had experienced.