We's in California

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mattresses. On Kester.

The recent arrival of mattresses to the sidewalks of Van Nuys has sparked alot of debate in the community. Many children have dissappeared in the night, and the number of mattresses lurking in the shadows grows with every hour. The violent nature of Kester Ave sidewalk couches, though they have known to be even deadly at times, pales in comparison to the Kester Ave mattress. Here we see the cunning nature of the sidewalk mattress as it hides behind the "bushes" (aka: street weeds) across from our apartment: lurking, waiting.....hungry.

Note the shiny BMW beside the abandoned lot, rotting furniture, and gang spray painted fence. It's more Los Angeles than Los Angeles.

And here's a picture of illegal immigrants getting a ticket for selling flowers on the side of the highway for cash. I suppose the previous sentence probably makes you angry no matter which side of the debate you're on. Talk amongst yourselves I guess. I just lay it out there....

Tommorrow, being Halloween, will not be as good at it usually is back in Winnipeg. I will definitely miss all the obscure and sarcastic costumes everyone comes up with, and I know that the short tight green shorts I manage to work into my costume each year will be sorely missed as well. But in keeping with the sarcastic spirit of a Winnipeg Halloween party, I will be going to the office as a Mac user. "Messy" hair, factory-ripped jeans, stubble, white headphones, etc. I do not expect it to go over well, and neither do I expect anyone there to get it. But that's ok because you know, I'll be working on my blog, editing a skate video, mixing some acid jazz music on my laptop, you know whatever.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Dissertation in 2 Parts: The Currency of the Future and Learning Past The Age of 25: Possible or Unpossible?

Part 1
Many many many many people in LA cite the fact that "Well, I have a pretty good job" as the only reason they are living here. LA is indeed great for jobs and if you were a classy bloke from the 30's, you would probably exclaim that "Jobs abound in Los Angeles". In Dayna's case it doesn't make any difference since she's a nurse and there is a large shortage in the US. Because her hospital is a terrible place to work (and will be closing in the near future due to certain, ahem, social factors) they are trying their best to retain and recruit nurses to little avail. One of their incentives, rather than provide a safe and manageable working environment, is to give you a super sweet Ford Mustang.

Sign a 2 year contract: free Ford Mustang for 2 years!

Deliver over 40 babies on your shift: you've been entered in a draw for a Ford Mustang!

Feeling helpless from handling twice as many patients as you're legally allowed to: It's Ford Mustang time.

Your average nurse in LA is a 45 year Filipino mother of 4. What she really needs right now is to be able to retire at a decent age, not what Vanilla Ice drives with the rag-top down so his hair can blow. This really begs the question: Are Mustangs the new currency? In 20 years we very well may be saying things like:

"Did you hear about Jer's new job?"
"Yeah that's pretty cool, I heard he's making over six and a half Stangs a year!"
"That's awesome, he's a good guy."


".00119, .0012, .0013, .0014, .0015 makes .002 Mustangs. Thanks for shopping at Kmart."

Part 2
I know I've talked about the fact that I'm learning to play the violin before, but I would like to take this opportunity to again express how bloody hard it is to play. This fact may very well be the only reason I continue to slog away making actually very little progress for the amount of time I've invested. This may be an arduous and foolish journey I've embarked on since anybody I've talked to that plays at a proficient level has been playing since they were 10. The attraction for me is to see if it's possible to learn something completely new at my age. If one thinks about how many genuinely new things the average person learns before the age of 25 (which is the threshold I've just crossed) compared to skills learned after that age, it becomes quite clear what's going on. I am trying to figure out if this is a result of our general disposition as adults or rather an actual mental and physical inability to do so.

I recently had the opportunity to see a classical quartet play a concert of baroque music and the violinist was amazing. World class. All I could think of while watching her was how many hours, days, and years have been invested into that single skill. And at the risk of sounding cliché, you don't see that much anymore. Perhaps I'm not appreciative of the skills that I already posses. I suppose you don't become a C# .NET software developer overnight. I takes many many years of memorizing acronyms for bad technologies that still sound good in an interview. VB, C++, AJAX, MSRS, NCAA, NAACP, KKK, the list goes on.

PS: I know a girl who when she punches, she punches like this:

Most girls punch like this. Notice the position of the thumb. That doesn't work. You'll break your hand.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'll have whatever's in that bag.

This week on the bike path home from Woodland Hills to Van Nuys a person on a bike far ahead of me threw their Gatoraide bottle on the ground when they finished it. He was on one of those weird high bicycles with the pedals 3 feet off the ground and the super high handle bars. Tired of the insane amounts of pure garbage lining the streets of our neighborhood, I picked it up and and, going one more block that I needed to, stopped at the next stop told him "Excuse me, you dropped your bottle." It was at that point I noticed his gangbanger t-shirt, a small suspicious looking duffle bag on his handlebars, a 3 inch scar on his forehead, and the distinct smell of a life criminal activity and personal failure. I also noticed I had stopped him at part of the Orange Line bike path where there is nothing but concrete walls and nobody else in sight.

He looked back at me and said "I know."

At this point I should have rode away, but instead I said something to the effect of: "Well, it's not really good for the environment or the neighborhood."

To which he replied: "F-ck you, I'll f-ck'n shoot you." and then glanced at the duffle bag hanging off his handlebars.

I guess this is the first time I've been personally received a death threat by someone who was probably carrying a gun. More that being scared I just got really angry and tried to understand why someone's reaction to being told that littering is a bad thing is to threaten them with violence and death. Obviously at that point I turned around and just bike back home, disposing of the plastic bottle when I got home.

The people I've talked to here about this have said things like: "Well, yeah, in LA you don't just walk up to people like that.". I don't buy this and it's a pathetic response. To shrug your shoulders things like that happening your own city means something. And it's not good.

Monday, October 02, 2006

You Haven't Had a Cheese Sandwich Until You've Been To...

Indianapolis. I really is one great city. It has a vibrant walkable downtown, great affordable houses very close to downtown, and a more than one university close to downtown. We saw some neighborhoods like this one that were 5 minutes from the center of the city and looked like Clear Lake...without those punks from Minnidosa aka "the Dose" wandering the streets. I never realized how great middle America was, compared to LA anyway.

I've been to Minneapolis quite a few times, but only appreciated it as a great city the last time I was there. Perhaps this is because in my youth I used to get so excited about the band I was about to see that I pretty much blocked everything else out. Who could pay attention to the city when you just drove 5 hours from Winnipeg in a blizzard in the middle of January to see Lagwagon?

Indianapolis is definitely a football town. The day we left there was a Colts game and the city was pretty much shut down. For all the apathetic Jets fans in Winnipeg, it proves you don't need "rich people" in a metropolis to support a professional sports team, you just need a city with passion for the team. I suppose the gagigabillions of dollars in NFL television rights helps as well, so what do I know. And don't kid yourself, this is at least 2 hours before the game.

The day we left we decided to drive around and find the part of town that the Indianapolis Board of Tourism didn't want you to see, and I think we found it. The defining characteristic of these areas was the combination of obvious visible poverty mixed with many many gorgeous old houses for sale. I think all the houses for sale has much to do with the families and people wanting to have families that are moving away from places like LA, San Fran, and more expensive places on the east coast to places like Indianapolis where you can
A) afford a house
B) trust the public school system.
C) paint your ass cheeks blue and walk around downtown before the football game with a Bud Light in one hand and your 7 year old in the other.

The cheese sandwich I ordered was so big it would make you drop out of highschool.

Thanks to all for the suggestions on what to see, but we were already back in LA by the time I could check the site. Plus this cheese sandwich took up pretty much the whole weekend so....