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16 July 2008

What he would have wanted

I worked late tonight. Which matters not to this story, other than to establish the setting. I was driving down a dark, curvy suburban road and I saw the car in front of me hit an opossum and never even slow down. Honestly, there's a pretty good chance the driver never saw the thing because it darted out pretty close, but I was surprised not to even see brake lights after what surely must have been a decent bump. But while the driver's (lack of) humanity might have been disappointing, it wasn't what drove me to recount the scene.

There was another witness. Another opossum, in fact, of similar size and speed. Just...luckier I guess. I probably didn't brake as much as it felt like I did, but time seemed to slow down as I rolled by to see him (no, I don't know how to tell the difference, but I'm assuming masculinity) stood in the other lane, looking back at his fallen comrade in a pool of fresh blood, then at me. It was as if he was trying to decide whether he should go back and help. Or see if I would stop to do the same. Or maybe he was just slowly processing the whole thing.

And then he just turned around, and finished crossing the road, probably never to return. To do whatever it is that his kind does. Because that's what he set out to do, and all he could do. Because that's life, really. And I just kept driving, careful to avoid the corpse.

Anyway, that was about an hour ago.

09 July 2008

One more thing about California

In more than one store in the San Diego area, I was offered a choice of a paper or plastic bag. This is something that I remember being commonplace when I would accompany my mom to the grocery store as a kid, but that I've never witnessed in 4 years in New York. What's more, it wasn't just a simple, indifferent "Paper or plastic?"

"Would you like a paper bag," one checkout girl asked with a shy, almost flirty smile. Then she crumpled up her face, as though she had overheard a racist joke at the very same moment that she smelled a fart, to finish the question: "or do you need plastic?"

Honestly, I spent a good deal of the trip dismayed at the fact that one must drive forever to get anywhere in Southern California, but this bit of environmental awareness really warmed my heart a bit.

Yeah, I hug the shit out of trees.


One thing I forgot to mention in the last post about my trip to California is that although I'm pretty open-minded when it comes to food, I found something new to append to my list of food I've tried, but never want to try again: pickled shark bones (which aren't really bones, they're cartilage, but whatever). Imagine if you will something that is concomitantly slimy and crunchy, and tastes remarkably like a solid form of sea water.

I'm reminded of this because I've been receiving regular communiques from Handsome James (who hasn't ever referred to himself as such, but who I hope will now consider it), who finds himself this summer in Beijing, which is infamous for its...uniquely liberal take on what is and what is not appetizing. He sent me the following image, which can go straight to the list of things I will never under any circumstances put in my mouth and chew on:
click image to see it bigger if you dare
So yeah, it's been a while since I wrote about centipedes on here, huh? Good to see you again, old friends.

07 July 2008

California roundup

I'm sitting in the San Diego Airport waiting for a delayed red eye flight back to JFK. What better time to fashion a bulleted list to document and reflect upon -- in a disorganized way -- my trip to Californ-I-A?
  • This afternoon on a double-decker bus tour of downtown S.D., I saw clouds in the sky for the first time all week. A few wispy, white, unmenacing clouds.
  • We rented a convertible for the week, a Mitsubishi Eclipse.
    • The first car I ever drove was a Wrangler, so I know what it's like to drive without a roof, but it's different in California when it's warm enough to do it every day. Also, the Eclipse's engine never stalled dead at 70 mph on the highway like that old Wrangler used to do.
    • I've never really been behind the wheel of even an entry-level sports car before. Don't get me wrong, I love the Yaris, but it was nice to be able to take off on an open road without the fear of an automotive hernia.
  • One really does need a vehicle to do anything here.
  • On a related note, we saw fireworks on the 4th at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and I have never in my life seen such expansive parking lots. And it still wasn't enough.
  • At the fair, you could pay someone to strap you into an apparatus, and slingshot you straight up a few hundred feet in the air, and then bounce you around bungee-style, upside down and inside out, until you begged for death.
  • They had a swing ride at the fair. I've vomited on a number of carnival rides in my life, but never in so fantastic a manner as I did on the swings at the Big East fair in Connecticut when I was about 10. At least I think it was that fair. I just remember the shirt I was wearing. And the barf.
  • This airport has only one runway, and a plane either lands or takes off every 90 seconds. Why oh why not mine?
  • I just realized an epic fail: I left something I really would've liked to keep in the rental car. Fudge.
  • You know what's really big? An aircraft carrier. Although we didn't go on (who has the time), we did drive by, and The Midway is huge. It's really amazing that something like that can float.
  • If you get bitten by a rattlesnake, apparently, you should NOT ask someone to suck the poison out. Which really makes me think...what OTHER misinformation have I been fed by Hollywood?
  • Of course, when in San Diego, one must go to the zoo. The animal that stares most hungrily at zoo visitors: the Komodo dragon. Animals that dig most enthusiastically in each others' butts: these guys.
  • The people I met in San Diego were, in general, extremely proud of their city. And not in a jingoistic "your city sucks" kind of way (I'm looking at you, Boston), in a charming way. It made me like the city more.
  • Only about 15,000 people live in downtown San Diego (according to the recording on the tour bus). I thought it was way bigger than that.
There's more, probably. But I landed back in New York yesterday, having cut this off when the plane began to board and I wasn't done yet. So...try not to lose any sleep lamenting the incompleteness of a post that, if you really read it, might have been the biggest waste of your time since you watched this.

03 July 2008

Now that's what I'm talking about.

It's been a long time since I sat down to write here. A lot has happened, too. I had my 5 year college reunion at the end of May, and surely something worth mentioning happened in June, although it became the first month since I made this site that didn't see even a single post.

So I've been down, with regards to the site, but I'm not out. Not as long as life continues to greet me with awesome things like this:That's the toilet paper roll at The Standard in Downtown Los Angeles, from the desk of which I am currently writing this post. Actually, I don't know if it's from this particular hotel or one of their other ones, because I had to find it here via Google image search; my camera has committed Seppuku since the last time I used it, perhaps to avoid the dishonor of snapping this very picture (the first I tried to take upon arrival). Regardless, I was careful in removing that sticker, and I'm keeping it.

Right, Los Angeles. So far it's pretty cool, even without the pooping sticker. We went to The Getty Center, and have had some amazing sushi. We even got to check out a show at El Rey.

The Getty Center was the only time I've been madder about the camera since it broke than I was when I saw the toilet paper -- it's transcendently beautiful. In New York I've felt the few times I've been to the Guggenheim that the architecture of the building remains the main attraction, overshadowing whatever collections reside within. Well, add to The Getty's amazing architecture a panoramic view of Los Angeles (and its smog) from a hilltop, some remarkable gardens and fountains, and a cloudless sunny sky, and you might understand why we didn't see much of the artwork housed inside the buildings. I didn't want to leave.