Category Archives: Los Angeles

Now It’s A Party!

The first four police cars that roared by with full lights & siren blaring were a hint.

The two fire trucks doing the same indicated that the game was afoot.

The ambulance meant that it was serious.

But when the LAPD helicopter starts orbiting at 500 feet, NOW IT’S A PARTY!!

(Never did figure out exactly what was going on, but it was about two blocks away. The chopper was gone in about five minutes.)

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Filed under Los Angeles, Photography

Seeing Is Believing

Saturday morning. Heading toward the hangar. Getting onto the freeway. There are two lanes, both of which have a stop sign at the bottom of  a short downhill ramp to allow for cross traffic into and out of a residential neighborhood.

I’m driving the 18-year old “mom-mobile mini van” with 193,000 miles on it. But it’s been pretty well taken care of, has the big six-cylinder engine, and can get up and go when I really need it to.

Heading onto the ramp I see there are six or seven cars all lined up in the left lane with zero cars in the right lane. I have no idea why, but that’s the way they’ve decided to line up.

I see that the last car in line in the left lane is a Tesla. The S-model. The “mom-mobile mini van” for Mrs. Jetson. The acceleration and speed available should be reserved for drag racers, not mini vans. I love the look, I love the style, I would love to own one. But I’ve never actually SEEN one really floor it and let fly, just heard of it.

I can see that there’s no cross traffic coming.

My mission is clear.

I’m watching the Tesla and the car in front of it, first of all, to make sure that neither of them is going to think, “Why am I sitting in this lane as car #5 or #6 when the other lane’s open?” This thought could be immediately followed by a quick flick to the right, directly into my lane, probably just about the same time that I’m trying to occupy those spacetime coordinates.

More to the point, my brain is telling me that the timing is juuuuuuust right. If they all stay in their lane and take turns at the stop sign and if there’s still no cross traffic to wait for, the Tesla should be pulling up to the line and stopping in the left lane right about the exact same instant that I’m pulling into the right lane beside him and doing the exact same thing.

I’m thinking, “He’s driving lazy, otherwise he would have pulled into the empty lane.” I’m thinking, “He’s probably on his phone or distracted by the radio or something.”

I’m thinking, “I’m going to smoke his ass and show him what a REAL ‘mom-mobile mini van’ can do!!”

And the timing worked perfectly!

I’ll never know what it was that tipped him off to my intentions. Maybe I was visibly trembling with excitement and he subliminally caught sight of it out of his side mirror. Or maybe he just chose that point to pay attention to his driving and see that it was his turn at the stop sign.

Whatever the cause, at the precise same moment that he did his “touch and go” at the white line next to the stop sign, I did mine about eighteen inches to his right. I stomped on the gas to show him…

…and he was freakin’ GOOOOOONE and probably pushing 80 mph before I had a chance for my jaw to drop.

Seeing is believing.


I want me one of them!

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Filed under Los Angeles

Trader Joe’s Epic Fail

I failed as one of the office geeks today when I didn’t remember to bring a pie in to share with my office mates. (You may criticize me at will, you can’t say anything more horrible than I haven’t thought myself today.)

But wait, there’s a Trader Joe’s literally next door to our office building. I can solve this.

Except… there are no pies. I scour the whole store and I’m completely striking out.

Okay, I’m stupid enough to forget about Pi-day to begin with, I’m probably stupid enough to be standing next to the table full of pies and not recognize them. I’ll ask the manager at the customer service desk!

The manager was surly. “We don’t have pies.” Wait, I don’t think you heard me correctly. This is a huge grocery store. I’m looking for “pie,” you know, like apple or cherry or peach or pumpkin. Here, let me hold my hands in a circle-like shape and demonstrate…

“We don’t have any pies! It’s not pie season!

“Pie season?” Did she just say “it’s not pie season?” WTF is “pie season?” I’ve heard of “deer season,” “duck season,” “rabbit season,” “duck season,” “rabbit season,” “rabbit season,” “DUCK SEASON, SHOOT!!!”, but I’ve never heard of “pie season.”

In retrospect, I might have been about the 50th person (including at least one other person from my office) who had been there asking the exact same question. I don’t know if her surliness was because she didn’t like being bothered or if she had suddenly realized how many hundreds of dollars in sales she had lost through this marketing faux pas. It didn’t matter. There was no pie at Trader Joe’s.

Seriously. “Pie.” “Season.”


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Filed under Freakin' Idiots!, Los Angeles

Ping Pong Balls

Pop quiz time!

You’re in Los Angeles. Maybe you live here, maybe you’re visiting. It’s not relevant.

You need ping pong balls. Not 27,000 of them like for that Mythbusters episode, but maybe a six-pack.

You need them now. You don’t have time to go find a sporting goods store that’s open, or order them from Amazon, even if they do get delivered in an hour by an Amazon drone. (OK, scratch that, if you can get a six-pack of ping-pong balls delivered in an hour by a flying drone, then screw the pop quiz and go do it!)

You go into one of the large, upscale Los Angeles chain grocery stores. Not Bristol Farms or Gelsons upscale, but better than your average neighborhood Ralph’s or Vons. (Okay, it was a Pavilions.)

Where do you go in the store to find the ping pong balls?

Think about it.

Toys? You have a “toys” aisle, or even a toys section in your grocery store? BZZZZ! Wrong answer, and by the way, you’re in a Bristol Farms or a Gelsons. Or maybe you’re really lost and you’ve stumbled into a Rite-Aid with a milk & bread & candy & canned soup & pet food aisle and you think it’s a grocery store.

Ok, then that tiny section where they have like cheap pliers and screwdrivers and miscellaneous bolts and screws for a hundred times what you would pay at a hardware store? Wrong.

I guarantee that they’ve got them. Where, oh where, would they put them?







It’s like a really weird version of Supermarket Sweepstakes.

And the answer is…

Of course! In the frozen food aisle! Over with the frozen chicken patties, TV dinners, frozen, gluten free Jimmy Dean Delights Breakfast Bowls!

Welcome to Los Angeles! Now go get your head tattooed to look like stubble!

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Filed under Los Angeles, Photography

Is It A Los Angeles Thing Or A California Thing?

I know that Austin likes to “Keep It Weird,” Portland has that guy in a kilt & Darth Vader helmet who rides a unicycle while playing a set of bagpipes that shoots flame out the top, and New York… Well, New York has Times Square. But I’ll stick to my contention that no one can out weird California in a pinch. Although I think this particular example might be more of a Los Angeles specific weird.

Rolling billboards. Pick up trucks with large advertising A-frames in the bed. Not advertising for the company that owns the truck. Nothing subtle. Nothing tasteful. Garish, in your face, you’re-stuck-on-the-freeway-next-to-me-and-you-have-to-look-at-this-shit-until-we-get-to-your-exit grade advertising.

(That’s not the thing that’s weird by the way. You probably see those in every big city by now. I’m just setting the stage.)

I’m behind this thing and it’s pushing a new type of cosmetic surgery. I’m dumbstruck. Flabbergasted. Gobsmacked. Even by the standards of this place it’s astonishing to me.

There’s a place you can go and have a zillion tiny little black dots tattooed all over your head. Or, at least, all over the bald spots.

This is designed for guys who are going bald and want to address that condition not with a comb over or a rug (or with an ounce of maturity and gracious acceptance of the capricious nature of the universe) but by shaving their heads. Yeah, that will hide it and make me look like a macho studmuffin to boot!


When you shave your head you get that little dark stubbly look. It’s like five o’clock shadow all over your skull. Unless part of your skull is actually bald. That’s “bald” as in “NO HAIR GROWS HERE!” That’s “bald” as in “the Benevolent Order of Follicles Local 699” is on strike in this location. The five o’clock shadow is those shaved off hairs starting to grow back in.

So if you suffer from male pattern baldness and shave your head, you’ll get stubbly five o’clock shadow look where you would normally grow hair plus “smooth as a baby’s butt” where you’re actually denial-will-do-you-no-good bald.

Until now.

These guys will go in and tattoo in every one of those little hair follicles for you. Let them use you skull as a giant pin cushion for a while (who know that PinHead

would end up being fashion forward?) Then, assuming you actually do shave your head, you’ll look like you can grow a Fabio-like mane at will, but you’re making a macho choice to have your head looking like that all over.

With all due respect to the fine surgeons and tattoo artistes doing this life saving work, may I suggest that anyone thinking about this procedure could go and spend the money on therapy, hard liquor, and/or Lottery tickets and come out way ahead of the game compared to having this procedure inflicted on yourself?


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Filed under Freakin' Idiots!, Health, Los Angeles

A Few More Thoughts On Jaywalking

Having had the adrenaline rush of almost killing some moron who thinks they can win a battle of momentum with a car, I’ve had a couple more thoughts.

  1. Adrenaline – ask for it by name!
  2. If you come to LA from another area where jaywalking is considered “normal,” either forget about that while you’re here or fill out your organ donor card. I know in New York City everyone was jaywalking everywhere, and Boston is worse. I don’t even want to think about what I saw throughout Shanghai! But here in LA the car is king and the drivers are morons. It seems that a certain central concept of jaywalking is the assumption that people have the ultimate right of way and of course the drivers will stop for you, even while they’re cussing you out. That’s an assumption that will put you in the ICU in Los Angeles.
  3. I wonder how jaywalking will increase as more and more cars on the road are equipped with automatic, semi-autonomous braking systems? The drivers may not stop for a jaywalker in LA, but the cars might.
  4. What percentage of cars on the road will have to have automatic braking systems before you’ll step off the curb in the middle of the street, oblivious to traffic, confident that something will stop the cars, either the car itself or a driver? 90%? 99%? 99.9999999%

That last point is the one I wonder about the most. The Law of Unintended Consequences!

If we make cars safer by putting in automated braking system, are we also breeding pedestrians to not look at traffic or care if it’s “safe” to cross the street?

Or is such a population of oblivious pedestrians self-limiting in size as Darwinian rules creep in?

Jeff Goldblum’s character in “Jurassic Park” said, “Life will always find a way” — so will death.

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Filed under Freakin' Idiots!, Los Angeles

If You Need To Give Your Heart Away For Valentine’s Day

What do you call someone dressed in black who’s jaywalking after dark across seven lanes of busy traffic in Los Angeles?

An organ donor.

If you need to give your heart away for Valentine’s Day, there are better ways to do it.

I don’t even remember seeing her until I was already standing on the brakes. There was a guy in the lane to my right, just a half car-length ahead of me, that might have seen her and started braking hard – maybe I picked up on that and reacted reflexively before I knew it.

One way or the other, both I and the guy on my right stopped, as did the person coming up from behind who swerved off to the left rather than rear ending me and killing Hissy. We all survived this time. Not by much, but I guess “close” only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and thermonuclear weapons.

Los Angeles is becoming the pedestrian death capital of the country. If you’re a pedestrian, try to at least make an effort to avoid being the next victim organ donor. Even if you don’t give a rat’s ass about your own health and safety, think of how much damage you’ll do to Hissy’s front bumper and hood as you’re pulped.

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Filed under Freakin' Idiots!, Los Angeles