Monday, August 28, 2006

Man has No Business Being in a Forest

For the last two weeks I've been trying to come up with a story for the above title. I just couldn't do it.

When I take my camera out with me I'm not only looking for the picture but also for inspiration for the text. Well I went hiking a few times last month, once to the Mayfair (street hiking), once at Beachwood Canyon, and lastly at Runyon Canyon. As I walked I came up with the title and it made me laugh. The challenge was finding a decent story for it. As you can see with the lazy blah blah your eyes are feasting upon currently, I failed miserably.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

World Renowned Millionaire Playboy

I used to drive a 1969 Volkswagen square-back. I bought it my senior year in high school for $1,300. It was white with worn out sheepskin seat covers, no air conditioning and drum breaks. A bitchin' ride to be sure. It was in this car, more then the others, that I had my heart broken for not the first time but maybe the most memorable.

My senior year was also another first for me, it was the year I had my first real date. I'm not talking about the kind of date you have with your high school girlfriend where the whole night is a blue ball attempt to get into her coochie. That happened two years earlier with a girl I'd sooner forget. I'm talking about the John Hughes, star-crossed lovers of destiny, kind of date. The one with the cool 80's soundtrack, a beautiful cheerleader, and a shy but adorable leading male teenager. The one everyone wants to live in high school but gives up on by college. Well I made it happen!

I met Cristina Garcia in Mr. Kosaza's history "class". Actually she came and introduced herself to me after a series of love letters were secretly delivered by my still good friend Danny Guzman (now Rodas). Now it wouldn't be a good first act if she didn't have a boyfriend, and it was at this introduction I apologized for disrupting the serious commitment that a high school relationship is. She was glad we had the chance to meet and was looking forward to being my friend.

I was undeterred. I am nothing if not a spoiled child demanding to get what I want and I proceeded to try and woo her anyway with varying amounts of success. After about a year it was time to make my move. I formed a plan. I asked her out.

I picked her up early and took her to the best restaurant a minimum wage Del Taco job could afford. A Japanese place called Sambi's. Class baby, always class. We ate, conversed, she looked beautiful, I'm sure I said so.

Now the ride in a '69 square-back may not be the most luxurious. The engine is not only in the back of the car but part of the interior. It's loud, and carbon monoxide tends to leak into the cabin so you kind of have to drive with the windows down or risk "falling asleep". But after dinner I had no trouble driving her the 45 minutes it took to get from Downey to the Hollywood Bowl. Hell I was proud to do it.

Tickets to go see Beethoven's 5th Symphony at the Hollywood bowl back in 1991 ran about $37.50 for the best seats you can scrounge. Doing the math, if you compare the relative value of those tickets to my current earning power those seats would today cost me $656 for the pair. More then an iPod, more then a car payment, and about what I spent in a week traveling in Brazil. But it was worth it. I had class, I had charm, I had the girl of my dreams on my arm. How can you beat that?

A side note, I think it's weird that in High School I thought what attracted women was the attitude of a thirty year old. Now in my thirties I think what attracts a woman is the attitude of a high school student. It's probably a subconscious attempt to relive my childhood.

The concert was awesome.

Afterward I took her to the Boneventure's Arco Plaza and we talked under a full moon. (I don't have the slightest idea if the moon really was full, but it's my story so fuck off.) I drove her home a little after midnight with every intention of making my move in the few awkward moments that would happen parked in front of her house. It was a perfect plan.

That is, up until I turned her corner and saw her boyfriend leaning on his car in front of her apartment. It was instant panic, on both our accounts. I stopped my car, she jumped out, I drove away. And it was over. No kiss. Not even a handshake or high five. Nothing.

She would go on to break up with him about three months later, after I had moved away to college. I never fully gave up on her till I was about 25. She would grow up, get married and have three kids. I would become a world renowned millionaire playboy, and in retrospect I should have kissed her at the Arco plaza. Live and learn.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago Katy and Juan (up top) gave me a chance to relive that tragic night from my past, and I was once again happy to take their preemo seats. All it cost me this time was a nice bottle of wine. Or about $2.33 in Del Taco dollars.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Working hard or hardly working?

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.

To that end I like to take a day off from work once in a while and do something I've been meaning to. My last work ditching adventure found me at the L.A. Science Center, to check out the Marvel exhibit. I was disappointed. It was kinda lame to be honest, but it's for kids so I didn't complain too much, but it sucks when you ditch and don't do something worthwhile. I did however manage to take an alarmingly high amount of self portraits (two!). It's a rare thing when I'm in a photograph in any form. So I hope you enjoy.

At day's end, Juan joined me to go see Monster House in 3-D. It really made the disappointment of the Science Center tolerable. If you haven't seen it, then go. Right NOW!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mexico Majico

Luckily after Anthony's service there was a free concert I had to go to. Juan as usual hooked us up with great seats.

Juan Colato (second from left) works for the Wells Fargo History Museum as it's curator. One of the big perks of his gig (aside from ruling the fool's gold line with an iron fist, and having like six months of vacation a year) is great tickets to public events. Odds are, if I'm in a good seat, Juan is directly responsible.

Now the Nortec Collective show was a Grand Performance show so it was free, but Juan scored us VIP seats for the event. i.e. just across the pond.

Opening for the Nortec Collective was the Mexican Institute of Sound and they rocked. I knew from the second they came on stage mimic punching each other; I was on board. I think I liked them more then the Collective. I bought their latest album Mejico Maxico at the show and think you should pick it up. Absolutely, no question.

When the Nortec Collective took the stage, they were huge! I saw them a couple years ago and there were about six guys on computers playing to a packed house. This night they not only had like 8 guys on computers but also a full compliment of instruments behind them. Accordion, trumpet, clarinet and the rest. It was a hell of a show, and the crowd really got into it. I would have bought Tijuana Sessions Vol. 3 but they sold out.

Afterwards Juan (of course) took us all to Moca for Night Visons.

Friday, August 04, 2006


On July 27th my friend Anthony Glass lost his fight with cancer. He had been battling it for a year and doing a hell of a job. To be completely honest his death was kind of a shock to me. I mean I knew he had gotten sick initially, and that he had had surgery and chemo., but I thought it was fight he had won and as far as I was concerned it was history. Then in June I get the news from Molly that he's sick again, and this time he's not gonna make it. He has months. Then I blink, and it's July 29th and I'm attending a memorial service for him.

The service was terribly sad. Anthony was young, handsome, intelligent, warm, unaffected, successful. A man on his way up with limitless potential. And now he's not. How can you not be sad about that. It's hard to see the justice in it. It was a real shitty deal all the way around.

I had an opinion about Anthony. I didn't know him as well as I probably should have (we saw each other at parties, and I was always glad to see him. He was a part of my "Launch friends") and so I always wondered if my opinion was valid. As I sat in the church and then later mingled with others I found out I was right. Everyone was of the same mind. We all had the same opinion.

Anthony was great. With all his talents, with all his charm and ability, it would have been very easy for him to be a dick. But he never was. He was always glad to see you. He was always someone willing to be your friend. Speech after speech would echo the same idea at the service. It wasn't just me. He was loved. Me personally, what I think made him great was the part that opened himself up and let people in. Whoever they were. To be unafraid about this.

I think it's important for me to learn from his example. I think it's important for everyone to learn from his example. That's what I'll take away from my friendship with him. If I feel sorrow over his death, I feel elation in what he has taught me in his life.

If you knew him you should consider yourself lucky. And if you never got a chance to meet him, well you really missed out on something.