Archive for May, 2007

There aren’t many movies that I’ve waited 26 years to see, but True Confessions is one of them. Released in 1981 starring Roberts De Niro and Duvall apparently to somewhat less-than-critical acclaim and based on the infamous Black Dahlia murder case, for reasons lost to me I never saw it during its run in the theaters. Then I never caught it on cable — if it even played there. Then when I got my first VCR in the mid-80s a cassette of it either flat out wasn’t made available or somehow managed always to stay out of my reach or beyond my recall.

With my first DVD player in 2000 interest in seeing it renewed… surely the film’s distributor wouldn’t fail to take advantage of this new format, right? Nope. In fact go figure: the DVD of the noir classic wasn’t released until this past April 17 (again with somewhat less-than-stellar reviews). But whether or not the long-sought film meets my expectations or fails in the attempt thanks to moving it up to the top of my Netflix queue, I’m finally going to be able to screen what I’ve been missing all these years.

It just dawned on me that a couple days ago was the 10th anniversary of The Worst Birthday Of My Life. Sure, a lot of people have a lot of subjective reasons why a birthday might blow, but I guarantee you that my 33rd sucked in an empirical and impenetrably definitive sense.

Let’s go take a look, shall we?

On May 29, 1997, I was working at a magazine called Pool & Spa News as an associate editor. I’d been there a couple months and was charged with doing all sorts of things and none of them very well. I was the publication’s webmaster, I oversaw their annual nationwide design contest, I managed their continuing education curriculum. And on top of that I was writing features and columns too on whatever whim the editor, who never thought I had enough to do, would assign them to me. In short I was stuck doing the jobs of several people and I attempted this juggling act while working for the aforementioned editor who was the most micro of micromanagers. If I had an idea she would find a way to modify it. And she was never satisfied unless she made me rewrite every rewrite of everything I wrote. Once she marked up a memo I’d written to her and sent it back to me for revisions. I responded by throwing her and her red pen out the 4th floor window of the old building we worked in on the corner of 6th and Western in Koreatown.

Not really.

Living in Encino the commute to mid-Wilshire was hellish more often than it was not. Hellish trek, hellish job, hellish boss. It made me relish my lunch hours and on May 29 when lunchtime came I hopped into my beloved blue 1994 Honda Civic LX for a run a few blocks west to to the nearest ATM on Wilshire and Irving to get some cash for something to eat.

Motoring west down 6th I arrived at Irving and noted the familiar mayor’s mansion on the southwest corner as I pulled into the intersection to turn south. Facing me was a Sparkletts truck in the left lane blocking my view of the oncoming traffic while waiting to make a left and go north on Irving. Inching forward a few feet I tried to get a peek around it to see if the lane next to the truck was clear and when I thought it was at pretty much the same moment I punched it I saw the Mercedes sedan bearing down on me and I braced myself knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wouldn’t be able to clear its path and a collision was imminent.

And it was. Boom.


Light Writing: I Like 2 Bike

Entirely frivolous, but that’s never stopped me, the above is a comp of images made goofing down in the dark basement with an LED light and the long-exposure functions of the new Canon cam that arrived yesterday and that I bought partially as a birthday present to myself and partially in protest to Olympus not wanting  to fix my broken cam for free… that is until they decided yesterday to fix it for free.

So now I’ll have two 7-megapixel cams and the question is do I return the Canon back to Costco once the Olympus arrives and passes muster… or don’t I?

Seeing as how Olympus has had my malfunctioning Stylus 710 for more than a month now and it’s been exactly four silent weeks to the day since I wrote them back suggesting Olympus go take a flying leap after the company wrote telling me they considered the damage to be beyond warranty coverage and weren’t going to repair the unit unless I ponied up $156.47, I called ’em up on the phone this morning and waded through the voicemail prompts until getting a human voice to find out why the hell they hadn’t sent me my broken camera back yet.

“Do you have a service repair number, sir?”

“Indeed I do.”


“And that number would be, sir?”

“Printed right here on the letter I got from Olympus dated May 1 telling me to pay $156.47, which I declined to do because I shouldn’t have to.”

More silence.

“Sir, may I have that number?”

“Sure. It’s 814472.”

Silence except for some keyclicks in the background.

More silence.

Finally: “It says here sir that repairs are being made as a courtesy to you.”

“Oh, really?”


“A courtesy?”

“Yes sir.”

“That’s nice. Any idea as to how long this ‘courtesy’ is going to take?”


“An ETA? Perhaps a ballpark guess?”



“Sir I expect they’re waiting for whatever required part to arrive and will fix your camera when it does.”

“Well I should hope so.”


“But you aren’t at liberty to divulge how or when that might be or how long that might take?”

“No sir.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t have that information, sir.”

“Because my camera’s in Irvine and you’re in Bangalor, right?”


“Or is it Manila?”

“Is there anything I can help you with, sir?”

“You can help me figure out how long I’m going to have to wait for my camera.”


“Days maybe?”

“Yes sir.”

“Or weeks.”

“Yes sir.”



“Years even?”

“No, not that long, sir.”

“Not how long: months or years?”

“Either, sir.”

“Well that’s a relief.”

“Yes sir.”

“So I can expect the camera fixed and back in a matter of weeks then?”

“I can’t say that for certain, sir.”

“Come on… as a courtesy?”


“I think that word means something different to you than to me.”



UPDATED (5/31): Is Olympus reading my blog? Could be the explanation as to why I answered a phone call on my cell from a Pennsylvania area code (the state where the company is headquartered) at 8 a.m. this morning  to find myself talking to a nice young man named Zeus (not really; but wouldn’t that rock to be named Zeus and work at Olympus?) who wasted no time using that “courtesy” word again in telling me that as a one-time-only deal his company is willing to eat the cost to repair my camera.  Furthermore and more importantly he dispelled the previously elusive timeframe by advising me the unit with full functionality restored would be on its way back to me in five to seven days. Glory to the gawdz!

2007 has not seen a lot of me digging up the backyard the way I did in 2006. Last year I undertook a number of projects that resulted in some relatively serious — if mostly surface — excavating, and as some of you might recall I came up with a menagerie of metal and glassware, everything from intact whisky bottles that could possibly date back to the Prohibition Era, and a rusted out WWII German infantryman’s helmet.

This year, nothing like that’s come up. And pretty much anything that’s been found is most likely a result from the perpetual plowing performed by Ranger who is many beloved things to us including a dedicated dang diggity diggah dawg.

Which on the heels of the bottle brought up a couple days ago brings me today’s additions (however insignificant) to the Campbell Museum Of Backyarchaelogy: an old iron handle (perhaps at one time to a wooden chest of some sort… treasure maybe!?) and a 1962D penny, both found in two separate places near to some of Ranger’s earth-moving activity (click to enlarge):


Granted, there’s no way to prove the penny didn’t drop out of my pocket last week rather than someone else’s 44 years ago, and the handle isn’t really much more than a momentary curiosity, but to the permanent collection they’ve been added.

Looks like the Superior Court of the great state of California just can’t get enough of me. In the mail yesterday came a letter summoning me to jury duty July 9. I last answered the call in January 2006.

With today’s 29-miler from Silver Lake through a quiet Memorial Day’d Los Angeles to the national cemetery in Westwood and back I’ve put the first thousand miles of my annual goal behind me and started on the second.