Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What the hell do the attorney general, the state department, or even the President of the United States know about one god-damn thing that's going on up here in Harlem?

Some facts about my neighborhood:

1. Developed in 1928 by Walter H. Leimert and designed by the sons of one Fredrick Law Olmstead of Central Park fame.

2. Considered to be one of the first comprehensively designed communities in SoCal. Traffic was controlled around around schools and churches, utilities were buried or hidden in alleys, trees were planted everywhere for the middle and upper income families the area was sold to.

3. Host to Project Blowed (longest running hip hop open mic night), several historical theaters and homes, and Tavis Smiley has a studio here.

4. Demographics: 91.7% African-American, 1.7% gringo, 1.4% Latino, 1.2% Asian or Pacific Islander, and .3% Native American. Anyone else here? Sure, probably, but these are the significant populations.

5. Median household income is $21, 443. Median family income is $36, 709. Per capita income is $11, 253.

6. 36.1% of individuals and 33.9% of families are below the Federal poverty line.

7. According to the latest stats from the LAPD, in the last month we've had 51 crimes. The majority of them were smash and grab bs and a few assaults. A finer perusing of the crime stats shows that the assaults were between acquaintances.

8. The level of stupid in this neighborhood is astounding.

I recently read an article about Herman Cain's alma matter, Morehouse College, and some of its current students opinions of Mr. Cain. One young man stated he was probably going to vote for Mr. Cain because, "He is a Morehouse man, after all." I was stunned. How is it that after all these years a modern black man could say something so stupid? Herman Cain has about as much to do with Morehouse's spirit of civil service as W does. It's just as dumb as all of the people who voted for Obama just because he's black. Who gives a fuck?! What in the hell does his race or his college past have to do with a rational argument for or against the man's policies? Nothing. Stupid kid.

Most of the people who drive in Leimert Park drive aggressively for no apparent reason other than they think traffic laws don't pertain to them. I've come to feel that it's part and parcel of a culturally acceptable aspect of African-American life wherein acting like a douche bag is cool. Brash and brusque are cool. Driving like a dick on side streets is cool. Needless confrontation over trifling matters is normal. Why? I'm sure it all goes back to slavery and, more importantly, the Reconstruction but I don't have time or space to deal with that right now.

Many of the young people around here are about as wild as feral cats although always well dressed. I often wonder if their parents even know what their kids are doing. Half the time I want to knock the shit out of the kids around here. The other half of the time I want to knock the shit out of their parents.

I love this neighborhood and my neighbors but there needs to be some changes made. Maybe I need to stop bitching and start a neighborhood committee. I dunno. It just seems like there's a lot of wasted potential. What's a jackass know-it-all to do?

Peace out, bitches!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It real simple... we live back in here... dis is our home, and nobody don't fuck with us.

I shot ducks today and it was glorious.

I got on for the morning flight. I drove. I parked. I packed in. All told that was an hour. Then I set up shop and that consumed another hour. The sun was just beginning to say hi when I sat down for my pre-shooting cup of tea. Glorious.

One of the best parts of being a duck hunter is watching the sun come up while listening to an absolutely beautiful chorus of marsh birds. Everyone rehearses at night, I think. The song of the sun is astounding as it never really sounds like it should all fit together and yet it does. I'll never grow tired of the visual splendor of watching another day start with a sound track straight from Mother Nature. That bitch can play.

As beautiful as the initial spark of sunrise was it was over quickly. The fog rolled in thick and fast. It looked like something out of a movie. It took everything in me not to start making  the crazy nasal whine noise that Lance makes in Apocalypse Now. I had the cammo, the facepaint, the weapon. I didn't do it. It would have been rude.

Shooting ducks in the fog is fucking hard and fun and all other things that wingshooting should be. They come in fast and low mostly and you hear them splitting the air just before you see them and then they're gone. I killed a Shoveler to start. Three rounds, though, as he had the good angle on my position but I put him down hard. The fog thinned out a bit after an hour and another Shoveler came up from behind me but I swung around and dropped him in the dekes. A flight of Greenwing Teal came screaming through like they were on a strafing run. There were so many I opted to let them go rather than take one or two and wise up the rest of the crew. A couple came back so I shot one of them. He died like a real champ: flying low and fast and dodging the first shot and taking the second one as he rose. He spun into the drink in the most dramatic fashion. Such a drama queen, the Greenwing Teal. Next up a Bufflehead decided to dive bomb the dekes. He came in over my head, whistled past, and shot through the dekes. I got on him about 50 yards out and that was that for the little kamikaze.

There were a lot of misses in there as well. Two Mallards almost took my head off while I was having my second cup of tea. I got two rounds off but they were hauling ass and disappeared in the fog as quickly as they had come out of it. A couple of Gadwalls came in low off the south levy but busted me and went vertical immediately. Looked like they were suddenly on a fucking elevator. Good for them. More Greenwings came through and made a fool of me but such is shooting Greenwings, the little drama queens.

When it was all said and done and the fog cleared and the sun came out and I started regretting having thermals on underneath my waders, it was a beautiful morning spent afield. I strongly suggest you do something similar very soon because one day there'll be no hunting in SoCal.

Peace out, bitches!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

You ever feel as if your mind had started to erode?

I am experiencing an extended period of frustration with my fellow Angelenos. Every day I'm on the road and stuck in traffic is another day that I feel like pulling away from society. Leaving them all behind and finding somewhere to just be alone. I feel like retreating into the wilderness or what's left of the wilderness.
Everyone else just seems so trivial lately. That's a horrible thing to say but at least it's honest. Last night as I was sitting in two hours worth of traffic to go 20 miles I heard a news report that stated that the latest tech boom was at stadiums. Everything needs to be wired apparently. Pretty soon you'll be able to watch instant replays on your smart phone while placing a beer order so you don't have to wait in line. One woman who was interviewed said she was a huge sports fan and having every replay right in your hands was something everyone would want. Personally, I don't see how you need more than just watching the game that you're physically attending. I guess I'm a Luddite like that, you know? "Hey, I'm watching something in real life! Maybe I don't need the smart phone!"

I dunno. I'm just tired of everyone just assuming a 24 hour news cycle is necessary and that your smart phone should be jacked into your head at all times. Digital doesn't mean instantly better. Five million channels of what? Junk. Anyone really care about the Kardashians? We still can't seem to design livable cities or utilize our resources with any semblance of efficiency or fairness but fuck, we've got instant access to every "famous" person's personal life. Whatever.

I feel like fading away from all of these people and their bullshit. No one cares about real life anymore. Recently I was talking to a friend of mine while fishing at lunch. He asked me how I thought things were going to end since it didn't seem to him that life as it's currently lived was sustainable. I told him that it was going to be like Nicaragua's jungles: all the mammals were eaten during the civil war so now it's just insects and the bush. Humans are going to overbreed and eat themselves out of house and home and there'll be massive die offs and the next thing you know it'll be the bush and the bugs and that's about it for awhile. We ruminated on this for a bit, caught some fish, apologized to them and put them back in the water.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere really. I'm just tired of other people right now. Well, tired of people in the general sense. I'm assuming that this too shall pass but then again...

Peace out, bitches!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Conan! What is best in life?

I used to think the answer to this aged question was crushing your enemies, seeing them flee before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women but these days, no so much.

I'm aging, you see. I recently turned 40. I bought a house. My wife is pregnant with kid number dos. I have an old car that doesn't run and I'm not sure I'll ever find the time and money to make it run.

Nowadays, I think the answer to the question is this: calling in ducks and watching your friends and family shoot them while your gun sits loaded and unfired in the blind, spending time cleaning the house with your wife and daughter and everyone is happy and getting it done, watching your daughter's face when you give her her first shotgun, getting to surf, working enough to afford to your castle and your provisions, having a shoulder to cry on, staying in shape long enough to watch the new kid grow up and go hunting, having all your hair at forty, fucking like a champ, having a grown-ass man's club house of your own, waking up and feeling lucky, not feeling like you're lost.

It's a bit of an eclectic list of "best in life" moments but that's what I've got today. I'm feeling frisky, melancholy, fat, and motivated all at once and I'm gearing up for a trip to Ikea. Whatever. I'll hunt ducks on Wednesday then we'll have Turkey day here and I'll go look for deer on Friday. Could be fun. Maybe the brothers will want to chase quail with me. Who knows.

I know what's best in life and it isn't what it used to be but it'll do.

Peace out, bitches!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bick, you shoulda shot that fella a long time ago. Now he's too rich to kill.

In honor of the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 I tried to remember that this country is, in theory, based on a set of constitutional laws and not religious mythology. I tried to remember that we are a democracy and not a theocracy or a kleptocracy or a chickenshit fascist state. I tried to remember that we're supposed to be the home of the free, land of the brave and not the home of the Patriot Act and land of the "with us or against us." I tried to remember that other countries were encouraged to send us their tired, their poor, their huddled masses yearning to breathe free and we weren't going to send them to Guantanamo.

This country has always had a spotty, inconsistent, multi-tiered track record. The wealthy and the white have always lived in a different America than the rest of us. Sometimes the gap was outrageous, sometimes not as much. Right now it's stupendous. We've reacted to deaths of 3,000 innocents by killing or causing to be killed nearly 920,000 people in Afghanistan and Iraq and that number includes American casualties as well. (More importantly it's based on the lowest credible estimates.) How many people do we need to kill, maim, or displace before we say enough, or vengeance has been sated? Is 306 people per person killed in the 9/11 attacks enough or should we go for 400? What the fuck is the point? They'll all still be dead next 9/11.

I watched football all day on 9/11. I muted the set every time a mindlessly patriotic commercial came on or when a meat puppet wanted to honor the troops. Honor the troops? Some of them weren't even in double digits when 9/11 happened. They've grown up with war and, thanks to our awesomely underfunded and devalued educational system, probably don't even know why they're really fighting and dying.

"After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my Dad."- George W. Bush

"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason."- Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz

Revenge as a guiding light for foreign policy? Random accusations? Sure. Why not? I mean, it's not like any of us are going to get killed or maimed, right?

The tenth anniversary of a bunch of misguided cowards from a fucked up theocracy attacking the US of A should be a day of remembering what we really stand for, not what a parade of demagogues, cowards, liars, and war profiteers say we stand for. We should remember that people used to look to the US for some semblance of sanity. Yeah, I know, we ruined vast swathes of the world with our anti-Commie bullshit. We also fucked up the Middle East more than the Brits could ever have hoped to do in their day. Nevertheless, prior to and just after 9/11 people around the world still respected us to a degree. Today? Not so much.

Let's make sure that in the next ten years we get back to what we were before we collectively decided to abdicate our roles as citizens of a democracy and gave the whole thing over to "the smartest guys in the room" who've brought us unending war, the Second Great Depression, and the scorn of generations of people around the world.

Peace out, bitches.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

So it's into the fucking breach tomorrow. I leave for New Mexico in the morning with bow and arrow in hand in search of the mighty wapiti. Elk hunting, son! Solo! In a mountain range I've never been to before!

I am stupid, small, and scared.

But hey, the tickets and tags and new gear are all purchased and packed so I might as well suck it up and go. What's the worst that could happen? Eaten by a bear? I was probably asking for it. Fall to my death? Serves me right for not paying attention. Fucked up and forgot to bring enough water? Death by dehydration is for the stupid so sign me up. Struck by lightning? Told you there wasn't a God, just impersonal and random Mother Nature.

If it all really works I come back with meat and antlers and a great story. If it almost works I come back with meat and a great story about shooting a cow elk. If it doesn't work I come back empty handed with some sweet photos of my very expensive camping trip in the woods. If it really doesn't work I don't come back. Three out of four odds? I've had worse and been massively less prepared so...

But let's look on bright side: I'm actively adding to my mystique in Hollywood. I'm staying fit and young at heart. I'm contributing the local environment in New Mexico. I'm contributing to the proper management of wildlife and funding for said wildlife programs. And hey, Captain Killjoy Preggers said I could go! Maybe we should change her name. Maybe.

OK, I'm off to give my gear the once over for the forty-seventh time.

Peace out, bitches!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I felt like destroying something beautiful.

I think I am a very selfish man but at least I'm not a man-child like so many of the Gen Xers I've grown up with. I say this because I purposely, and with malice aforethought, went out into a group of people and out surfed them.

I surfed like an asshole.

To wit, I dropped in on guys because I knew they weren't going to make the wave anyway. This probably didn't help them learn to get waves. I also dropped in and took a speedline just so I could catch up with someone and either shout them off the wave or line a turn up so that it was dangerously close to them. All of this is actually socially acceptable surfing behavior  but only if the other person dropped in on you with some proximity. Chasing people down a wave face is an asshole thing to do. After riding the hell out of a wave I paddled right back to the peak and past everyone else just to show them that I fully intended to take the next fucking set wave so stay out of my way you pricks.

Why did I do this? I'm normally a really nice guy in the water. I travel up and down the beach, grab a wave here, grab a wave there, and peace and blessings on everyone. Not today. Today I was in aggro douche mode and I fucking loved it.

I think the problem is that I'm not exercising enough and not surfing enough. Granted, I work out and surf more than most people I know as my wife is very accommodating and, thankfully, the kid is old enough to have stuff to do. I get a fair bit of free time but I suspect it's not enough. This is a problem as we are going to have a baby in February and my free time will evaporate for quite some time.

Lately I've begun to worry about how I'll react to this change. I have a lot of responsibilities and I take them very seriously. I don't slack. Well, I don't slack that much for a Gen Xer. Either way, I get everything done that needs to get done and I generally have a good attitude about the process. All I ask in return is that I be allowed to do the things that make me happy: surf, hunt, eat well, and occasionally get drunk with my idiot friends. It's really not that crazy.

I think I need to establish a schedule so that I don't turn into one of those overweight Dads who spends all of his non-work time servicing everyone else. If I get up at the crack of dawn and surf and run and hit the weights and everyone else gets up as I finish I'll still have time to schlep kids around and clean up after everyone, right?

But what if I turn into one of those middle-aged guys with a midlife crisis? You know the ones, new car, "extreme" hobbies out of the blue, obsessed with being cool. Fuck. That would be so much worse than being a fat bastard who never does anything for himself.

This is what consumes me these days. Well, this and the downfall of American civil society as it battles the evils of neoliberal economics and anti-intellectual religious extremism.

I need an orange flavored Push-Up.

Peace out, bitches!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Damn John Whorfin and the horse he rode in on!

I am very tired right now. I'm tired of humping cameras and heads and sticks and batteries all over for weeks on end. I'm tired of having a house unfinished. I'm tired of paying bills. I'm tired of a marine layer that makes dawn patrol grey and depressing. I'm tired of people calling the President a socialist. I'm tired of pre-season football. I'm tired of people parking in front of my house in such a way that I can't park in front of my house. I'm tired of taking the 10 to work. I'm tired of waiting for duck season to start. I'm tired of the Tea Party, the Republican Party, the Libertarian Party, and the goddamned Democratic Party. I'm tired of Facebook. I'm tired of poor people voting for rich people policies. I'm tired of Afghanistan and Iraq. I'm tired of Rick Perry and he just announced his candidacy yesterday. I'm tired of not having my Man Cave finished. I'm tired.

I've been working a bunch lately and haven't been keeping up with the news as much as I should but I did notice that Rick Perry is running for the Republican presidential nomination. A lot of idiots on the left are saying this is an amazing thing as the man is so country and religious that if he runs as the Republican candidate their guy is a shoo in. These people are stupid. Perry is no fool. It doesn't matter whether or not his religious beliefs are sincere or that his "strategy" for delaying the effects of the Depression in Texas amounted to doing nothing. What matters is that for a frighteningly large percentage of Americans it's comforting to hear a Southern accent from a white man who's promising to get that goddamn nigger out of the White House and put Gawd back into national policy making. That he's a charlatan and snake oil salesman of the highest order makes no never mind. He's one of them. Except for all of that money and power. He understands them. Except that he's never really sweated out a paycheck or failed to get a GED. He's got a plan that worked in Texas and will work everywhere else, by Gawd! Except that the Texas Recovery Story is a fucking lie and wouldn't work for everyone, everywhere and that currently their unemployment rate is right up there with everyone else at a juicy 8.5%.

Discount Perry because he's a God Squader. Discount Perry because he has, at best, a tenuous grasp of grown up economics. Do not, however, take these two things and come to the conclusion that he can't win. The man has never lost an election in his life, which probably includes class president in 4th grade. He's a campaigning beast, a feral dog, a frothing lunatic. Treat him like a rabid dog and deliver a killing blow early if you want to win. Make fun of Gawd and Country and you're done. The worst part is that in campaigning against Perry the President will turn ever more rightward. He doesn't have the cajones to stand up for the small d democrats that elected him. He's a corporate whore and that's going to be his undoing. President Obama's best bet is another corporate smoothy like Mitt Romney as his competition. Neither one of them seems to have strongly held beliefs so they won't really rub off on each other. It'll be like a taste test between vanilla and vanilla.

In the end it won't really make a huge difference who wins. The system is showing its flaws and the cracks are growing ever wider. A system based so clearly on greed and power and so set against the bit players that make it all function can't last forever. If you believe in starving the government in a country that was founded on the idea that said government is the people then who are you really starving?

Peace out, bitches!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Well... well, like to get this job. I mean, did you do, or... or were you asked to do anything lewd or unsavory, or... or, otherwise repulsive to your... your person, huh?

Two years ago I was in Miami working on a car commercial. We're on top of a camera car shooting off mounts and hand held and a Technocrane. It was a shit ton of work. The director was a fashionable little idiot who, in a previous life, got stuffed into lockers on a regular basis back in jolly ol' England. I think the English would have described him as "a right cunt." Every few minutes, in between shots, he would start talking about something with the DP (my friend and the reason I was in Miami) and the producer. Every subject he brought up seemed to be something he had an opinion on but knew nothing about. Literally. Nothing. It was an odd serious of demonstrably incorrect statements. The DP and producer didn't correct him or try to really keep the conversations going and I'm not sure if this was due to their ignorance of said subjects or their boredom with the director.

I know now that what I did probably wasn't politically intelligent but hey, I did it. Cry two tears in a bucket, fuck it. I began to engage the director and ever so gently correct him. Apparently this got on his nerves as promptly after lunch when I corrected him on the dates of the American Civil War he looked at me with his hamster face and blurted out, "It must be hard knowing everything." I smiled, looked off into the distance and fiddled with the remote focus unit for the Technocrane. It was hot and sticky humid but occasionally a salty breeze would blow off of the Atlantic. None of that helped the situation. I never said anything after that until we got to the wrap party. Even then I avoided the director or just grinned like the Cheshire cat and nodded when he spoke, eventually disappearing in a cloud of blue-white Camel smoke. It was all so annoyingly awkward and easily resolvable with a brick.

I'm in Miami right now. I got in around 2pm and by 2:01pm I realized I hadn't eaten anything since yesterday back in Los Angeles. As soon as I got to the hotel I wandered around until I ended up at a nice little eatery, sat at the bar, ordered a glass of wine and some food, and who walks up but Hamster Face the Director. The world is a very small and cruel place indeed. After a few minutes of civilized bullshitting a la Hollywood he drops the line I think he'd been rehearsing the whole time. To whit, "So, how's knowing everything been working out for you?" He's grinning now, staring at me with hot little hamster eyes set too close together in his hot little hamster face. I realize that what's about to come out of my mouth is most assuredly not politically intelligent but I'm not working for this idiot right now. I am, I think, the picture of calm as I sip my wine, ruminate and come back with, "It would be easier if I didn't work with so many people who were so sensitive about knowing nothing." I am smiling again, trying to look normal and polite and not at all like I'm laughing like a maniac in my head.

He retreated after that.

I ate my calamari and my arugula and drank my wine.

Work starts tomorrow out here in humid Miami where there once lived a happy Hamster Face Director. I get to go back to my awesome wife and daughter and dog and new house on Saturday. Everything until then is just civilized Hollywood bullshit.

Peace out, bitches!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"It doesn't take a genius to see that the world has problems." "No, but it takes a room full of morons to think they're small enough for you to handle."

I have been gone for awhile. Not physically. Just digitally. I'm sort of thinking about trying to put together a committee to explore the possibility of beginning to plan on coming back. Maybe.

I love it when comedians do the old, "So what's in the news?" bit. I was thinking about that today while perusing the headlines. Obama and the Dems have shown their true colors: a stripe down the back that's a mix of yellow and green. That he's the first black president of these here United States is laudable. That he's a lackluster soon to be one term surrender monkey is par for the course. I feel that as a country we are collectively engaged in a delusion that serves only the interests of our corporate overlords. Think that's ridiculous? Count the logos on the clothes you're wearing right now. Walk outside and notice how few things aren't branded. Contemplate this: name one country we've tried to democratize or liberate or otherwise save from themselves that some huge multinational didn't already have a stake in. If you're honest with yourself you'll come up with zero. Unplug from the Matrix and eat the fucking gruel already, America! These fuckers are going to bleed you dry and recycle your ass for the next group of suckers coming down the road.

It's okay, though. It'll all be fine. The oceans will collapse, the mountains will collapse, the whole ecosystem that most people are too stupid to realize they're a part of will collapse. We'll be running around like the hairless apes we are, panicked and paralyzed with fear. I hope I live long enough to see it because I swear I will find the nearest Republican or Libertarian or Democrat and slap him silly while saying, "I told you so!" That or I'll find a banker or hedge fund manager and choke him while saying, "I told you so!"

As always, Peace out, bitches!