Friday, January 28, 2005

Down with Love

The most forbidden topic of blogging...

...your own love life/relationship!

Gee, I wonder why?

Makes me think an anonymous blog with true stories has be able to write whatever you want, without fear of upsetting freeing...

They probably already exist...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Observations of a fat man

One in an occasional continuing series!

Sizzler ad, featuring their new Shrimp Cocktail offer. Seen it? The guy is running on the beach towards a man in a giant shrimp outfit. Well, before tonight, the shrimp's tail curled up under the man, forming an obscene phallus which the guy we first saw in the restaurant is running towards. Tonight, the same ad has a new costume, where the tail curls behind. I guess they agreed with my assessment!

Why do so many fast-food drive throughs install windows they never use? Several Carl's Jr.s have windows painted over. The local McDonald's only uses 2 of the 3 windows they have. To continue listing examples would only serve to further embarrass myself by expressing exactly HOW familiar I am with such matters...

Brings to mind my time working at Bob's Big Boy, where they had one window. Summer, 1988, a very miserable time for me! HA HA HA! My time there gave me the experience of severely overcooking at least 6 Big Boy hamburgers. So well done were they, that each patty was really a thin, little, charred hockey puck, and certain to be "boomerangs" in my mind, I had to send them out that way to buy time.

Not one ever came back!

By the way people: Woody's is gone, soon to be replaced by an IHOP.

Monday, January 17, 2005

James at 40

Or, for the solipsists out there, welcome to Year 40.

Yep, it only took me 25 years to get from 15 to 40...

The title is a reference to a show that I was pretty fond of as a 12- and 13-year-old: "James at 15," and in it's final season, "James at 16." It was a coming of age show. If your main character is supposed to be 15, it HAS to be a coming of age show. I think this show may have sparked my interest in photography.

Despite it's best efforts, it didn't help me get laid. For me, that episode would have to be called "James at 19." It is probably because I was only 12 when the show arrived in 1977. (That means that the fictional James was actually forty in 2002) That is also the year my family tried to move to Lewiston, Idaho. We failed and landed in Tujunga, California in December of 1977...we were there, on Valmont, for 4 years. I dropped out of 9th grade in 1980, and didn't go back to school until I arrived at El Camino in the summer of 1983. By 1981 we were living in motels full-time, having spent weeks at motels from June of 1981 until early 1982, stopping in Eagle Rock, Santa Monica, and El Segundo. We spent months at a place in Manhattan Beach.

I started working at Woody's, and for the first time in my life, began choosing what my life was going to be like. I struggle to this day with the residue of the chaos of my childhood.

I met Andrea at Woody's in 1984, and the result is my son, Thomas Benjamin, born July 4th, 1986. Andrea moved with Ben to Jackson, Mississippi, in 1988, and to Baton Rouge in 1990.

I worked at the Federated Group from 1984 until 1987. I met Joanie there in late 1986. I will save further comment for now on that. I worked at El Camino, was supposed to go to UCLA in 1987, but there was no money. Worked at Grantree in 1989, went to work for Walser's in 1990. Lived in Torrance, Canoga Park, Redondo Beach, Corona, Long Beach, and Torrance again in that time period.

In July of 1985, after at least 7 or 8 attempts dating back to February of 1983, I finally got stoned on marijuana. I knew I was affected because I saw the outlines of turtles dancing in the stucco living room ceiling of the place Andrea and I shared with Renard on Eastwood in Torrance.

Met Susan working at Walser's. Moved to Lomita, got hired in the signroom of IKEA Carson, November, 1992. The 1994 Northridge quake displaced my mom, so now she lives with me. Moved to South Redondo Beach in 1994, and saw the dawn of a long stretch of stability. I left the signroom in 1997, went to sales, went into management, then went into hibernation. Moved out of Redondo in 2002 to accomodate Ben moving in with me for the last 2 years of high school.

In 1995, John Whisler and I were inspired to create ED WOOD, JR.: POST-MORTEM. This is a long, involved, and still evolving story, so more on that later also. But between IKEA's considerable development of me as a manager, and putting the movie together with John from scratch, I amassed some amazing experiences that tell me that anything I want to do is in relatively easy reach.

In 1995, I got to direct a 3 1/2 minute video for IKEA Carson, and in 1996, I got to direct a 17-minute long take on "A Christmas Carol." These experiences were invaluable, and I owe Wolfgang for them!

What is forty like? It's like 39, plus body feels like 60, but my mind feels like 20, or 25...One thing I like is that I am getting a sense of history, the kind of perspective you can only attain by, say, paying close attention to seven presidential elections. Or having a direct perspective on things that are more than 5 years in the past, or 10 years, or 15 years, etc.

I have friendships that began before I was twenty, and some that are not that old, but feel like it; those are the most valuable things to me today. Few are like us, and I hope we can be in regular contact for the rest of our lives.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Bush: "Social Security is in crisis." US: "Uh, sure, and Saddam had WMD's..."

I'll semi-quote Bush himself here: "Fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, shame on me." (I know he TRIED to ejaculate that old adage once, but something different came out)

Most projections estimate Social Security will not be able to keep paying full benefits after 2042, and SS itself thinks that 2052 is more likely. Problem? Well, I will be 77 in 2042, God willing, so it MIGHT be bad if I start to receive only 70% of my benefits...

BUT, the problem is so far down the line that the "fix" doesn't need to be an hit to the budget of 2 trillion dollars (over the course of 10 years). It requires either a 13% cut in benefits now, OR, a 2 - 3 % increase in the payroll tax! At least, based on the numbers I've seen. Even if my numbers are not exact, we have 37 years to manifest a solution. We need to get way more out of 2 trillion dollars than merely adding private accounts.

Bush wants private accounts. I am not necessarily against this idea, but every projection regarding the cost of what he wants I've seen is 2 trillion bucks over 10 years. Setting up private accounts does NOT have to be this expensive, and its just weird for someone who CALLS himself a conservative to champion such a budget-busting tactic.

By the way, John Kerry was right, that private accounts could have a catastrophic effect, if this is done incorrectly.

I've heard a conspiracy theory that Bush's ACTUAL political goal is the bankruptcy of the US treasury. It seems wild, until you evaluate how fiscally irresponsible the Bush administration has been. Tax cuts in a time of war is an historic first.

Bush is calling it a "crisis" because it allows him to accomplish major Republican goals regarding the administration of Social Security (starting with the personal accounts), and it also helps him avoid dealing with the REAL crisis.

I bet we could all say this together. Our most pressing issue is health care. Duh. It was Clinton's first priority. At least Kerry talked about trying to fix it.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Water, falling from the sky

I love all of the rain we are having. Today, I drove home for lunch, and driving back, El Segundo felt more like the Bay area or Baton Rouge. There was no rain, then there was a little rain, then no rain, then a cloudburst. I hope it ends our drought. Hearing thunder the other day REALLY made it feel like Louisiana.

The best part is that this is the most massive attack on LA's crinkly patina of blood, sweat, tears, snot, oil and vehicular residue, feces and urine since 1998. Our next sunny day should be spectacular.

Except for where there is massive flooding.

But, assuming I don't experience any flooding, I am going to enjoy this weather while it lasts.