Archive for October, 2009

Preface: Back in August my friend and fellow Metblogs contributor, David Markland (also the creator of the excellent Creepy LA website), told me he was aiming to pull some storytellers together for an event to take place around Halloween and wanted to know if I’d be interested in participating. I said absolutely in part because October seems very far away from August, giving me plenty of time to flesh out a spooky tale based on an actual historic horror I’d been longing to tell.

Fast forward to the day of the event — called the Haunted Speakeasy —  October 25, and there I am bemoaning a lost Sunday spent kicking my procrastinatory self between bits of cranking out a ragged version of the story so that I wouldn’t have to resort to either inexcusably flaking on David altogether or being forced to dust off the likes of past stuff such as the Haunted Griffith Park Picnic Table or the Carnivorous At-Large Tumor.

Basically after about six hours spent frustratingly pounding the keyboard and my forehead, and about an hour before showtime I printed out the piece, gave it a test read to see how far it ran past the five-minute limit David had imposed (Susan clocked it at just shy of 12 minutes, yikes), and then pedaled my ass over to the corner of Prospect and Rodney in Los Feliz where the Haunted Speakeasy was to take place. When my time came, I got up in front of the friendly and receptive crowd apologized for its unedited length and read it… rough draft, run-on sentences, typos and all. Its end was greeted with a nice measure of applause, probably attributable less to how good the story was and more to the deathless thing finally being done.

But I’ll leave that for you to decide if you wish to click to the other side of the jump where you’ll find my half-assed mixing of historical fact and odd fiction complete and untouched (but augmented with a few illustrations and images). Get comfy for I present to you:

Tales From The Archive: Playground Of The Devils!


Since I haven’t had the opportunity to do much worth noting, such as saving any wildlife in distress this week (not counting three ants in my office that — yes, don’t laugh — I actually caught up and transported down to a planter in the building’s courtyard), here’s a post in which  I go with that letter writing thing again, this time to what I’d presume to be the good people at the cutesy mobile grocery service, after a close encounter with one of their not-so-cutely impatient drivers (hell, maybe their only one) left me feeling a little surlish:


Biking home from work on 4th Street Tuesday evening, the driver of one of your delivery vehicles must have been in quite a hurry to get to his next stop because he sped past me unsafely with little room between us on the dark and narrow street. While I commend your driver’s desire to provide good and timely service, ironically the only thing his aggressive and impatient action got him to quicker was the red light at 4th and La Brea, at which we both ended up waiting.

In the big scheme of things this might seem a minor matter, but for me it was just disturbing enough to decide never to utilize

Perception and first impressions being as important as they are to companies such as yours, will be better served demanding and reinforcing that your frontline delivery personnel operate their vehicles with the utmost care and consideration for everyone they must share the roads with.

Thanks for allowing me to share this with you.

Will Campbell

Happy Halloweek!

In between my regular weekend chores, No. 1 Alabama baaaaarely holding on to beat Tennessee, and an ongoing mental cage match that pitted my flyweight creativity against some heavyweight procrastinatory frustrations battling it out as I tried to write a spooky tale to tell Sunday night at a storytelling event I’d been invited to participate in, Susan and I found time to spooktacularize our front yard with ghosts, ghouls and goblins and such.

Hopefully it’ll be enough to scare off the chance of rain I’m hearing might hit on Halloween.

A Flickr photoset is here.

More on the spooky tale — including the story itself — later.

snfall(click image for the bigger picture)

A couple days of rains last week followed by some dewy mornings giving way to warm afternoons have startled the grasses from their seasonal subsoil slumber and sent them shooting up at the skies and sun so that they now blanket sections of the previously barren backyard a brilliant emerald green.

As the rest look on, some blades have hefted the feather’s weight of fallen leaves, raising them off the ground like pallbearers in a solemn and stalled procession through the crowd.

gullandmeIn the aftermath of Tuesday’s gull encounter and the amazing reaction it subsequently generated both here and at the post I made about it over at LA Metblogs, I just need to say how deeply moved I am by the outpouring of kind words and appreciation.

That things played out as they did — and so successfully — is something that’s still a bit shocking to me. As some of you may know I fancy myself a roving solo Random Animal Assistance League (oooo, catchy title!), and though a few of my critter encounters have been positive (be it at my house, near downtown or in the wilds of South Los Angeles), most of the animals I come across are sadly not receptive of me. Obviously that never stops me from reaching out, but never in my looniest dreams did I think it would include such a scenario. I’m glad I was there for the gull and able to visually document it as it all unfolded.

Each and every one of you who took the time to award me with your support and encouragement blew me away and made my day, so from the bottom of my heart: Thank You!

It was supposed to be a few serene and sunshiny moments this morning spent before work on the north bank of Ballona Creek tossing old bread that Susan had disposed of in the trash can to the pigeons, ducks, coots, gulls and crows seemingly ever-present by the Centinela overpass. And as you can see from the timelapse below caught by the cam I set up where I sat, it started off as such until the pigeons and ducks made room for a gull who stepped before me front and center clearly in dire straits from a three-pronged fishhook embedded deep in its mouth that prevented it from closing its beak. Or eating, or at least eating regularly and properly.

As the first birds on scene frantically closed in gulping my first lobs of bread bits, I saw the gull about 20 yards away and I was curious as to why its beak was open, then it moved a bit and the sun glinted off a cut strand of fishing line dangling out its mouth and my heart sank knowing that unless this bird got assistance in removing the hook — and fast — the poor thing was very much at risk of a horrible death by starvation, or perhaps freezing or drowning since it couldn’t pay the meticulous attention to its feathers that birds must in order to survive.



I had my biannual visit to the dentist this morning, his Miracle Mile office of which is conveniently located only a couple blocks from a freshly installed exhibit featuring sections of the Berlin Wall and commemorating the 20th anniversary of its fall.


So of course afterwards I deviated from my normal home-dentist-work route to go back over and check it out, and joy of joys you can walk right up to the panels and touch ’em and everything. You can even get all touristy and strike a pose with or without your bike in front of eight of what will eventually be 10 panels, spanning some 40 feet — reportedly the world’s largest stretch of the wall outside its hometown.

It will be up on Wilshire Boulevard across from LACMA until November 14 when the order will come to “tear down this wall” and install it permanently at the Wende Museum in Culver City.

My Flickr photoset is here.