First Look At Accidental Boulevard Slither Lake Spooky House 2010 Edition

click it for the bigger picture

Over the last three days on lunch breaks and several times when my computer’s crashed and it was either A) Beat my head against the desk, or B) Walk away, I’ve performed that rite of fall and commenced spookitating the frontyard like the whacked-out Halloween-loving manboy I am. There are still some ghosts to hang and fog machines to place and test and lighting to arrange… plus if the winds kick up between now and Sunday I’ll have to pick up most everything seen above and reinstall it, but most of the big ticket ghoulification is complete!

Morning Snap: And For Ranger’s Next Trick

Kneeling down to hoist up my loaded-up backpack from the club chair ottoman is usually the second to last thing I do before leaving for work in the mornings (the last thing being give the dogs a jerky treat before the bike and I head out the door).

This morning, as I bent over to get the pack I was confronted with this substantial slice of sweetness from our Ranger:

dogball(click for the bigger picture)

What makes it all the more awwwwwwwwww-some is that the only thing keeping her seemingly gravity-defying ball from dropping to the floor is that it’s perfectly tucked in like a pillow between her oh-so-sleepy head and the blanket.

I managed to quietly extract my cam from my backpack and capture this preciousness without disturbing the scene. Then I whispered her name and she looked up me with those sleepy eyes and the ball fell with a thud to the hardwood. She didn’t even blink and went back to her nap, but I interrupted it further, helpless to prevent myself from smothering her with hugs and kisses.

The Heat Is On

With all the drama unfolding this week, I completely forgot to crow about an aspect of our home’s renovation that warms the very cockles of our hearts: our fancy-shmancy dual-zone central air/heating unit had its inaugural firing-up Wednesday afternoon.

And for the first time when it was a little too chilly for my taste this morning, instead of the usual bundling up in sweats and long sleeves against the the daybreak cold, I visited our new multi-programmable digital thermostat-o-matico and turned the heat on with a course set for 68 degrees (I didn’t wanna be greedy). Within moments warm air was pumping through the network of ducts and out of the plethora of freshly installed registers and within minutes the air temp inside had climbed upward from a chilly 64 degrees as pictured:


400 Calories

At the northwest corner of Crescent Heights and Wilshire this morning sat a weathered man holding a weathered piece of written-upon cardboard in one hand and a plastic cup in the other. I don’t remember what the sign said verbatim, but it included the words “Please Help” and gave information that the man was hungry and had no place to go and that he was a veteran of the Korean War.

Had the light been green to cross Wilshire and continue southward I would’ve just kept on going, but it was red and so I pulled beyond him and stopped and even though he was out of my sight he stayed in my mind — especially the word “hungry” — and so I pulled up onto the sidewalk and retrieved the container of yogurt and the banana and the Luna bar out of my backpack. It was to have been my 400-calorie breakfast consumed later at my desk, but suddenly I didn’t need it because he needed it more.

As I drew beside him, he jumped a little at the sound of my voice when I said “It ain’t much sir, but you’re welcome to it,” and then he gratefully accepted the items and said “God bless you” and I said “And you” and he caught sight of my bike with a sidelong glance and added “Be careful out there!” and I said “Thank you, take care” and I got on my way.

The Power Of A Blog

Holy Moly! My company’s “Driving Traffic 2007” contest concluded and I finished in third place for the month of December ($100), second place for the fourth quarter ($150), and second place for the year to date ($500).

I’d like to claim it’s because of the strength of my online knowledge sauce but the simple truth is the little blog I produced for my first trade show back in October is what gave my magazine’s site the boost in visitors and page views and subsequently my bank account to the tune of 750 surprise dollars! WOOOOOOT!

When Ms. Bombshell Met Mr. Smitten

I usually don’t do much in the way of identical cross-posting, but I just filed this prehistoric recollection over at and decided to paper the walls with it here as well: 

Seeing as it’s — ahem — that day, I figured why not regale anyone interested with what has to be the most spontaneously romantic thing I’ve ever ever seen happen in this city — or anywhere for that matter — and it all unfolded at the corner of Crescent Heights and Melrose back in either 1985 or ’86.

At the time I was the courier for a firm that obtained travel visas for its clientele. I had just had lunch at the old Sundance Cafe on Robertson just above Beverly and I was coming back to the company’s Cahuenga Pass offices having completed my afternoon westside run to the consulates of France, Kenya, and South Africa all on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills at that time. Grandmaster Flash blasted proudly from the speakers of my adored little Mazda GLC hatchback (not because I remember but because that’s pretty much all I listened to):

It’s like a jungle sometimes,
It makes me wondah,
How I keep from goin’ undah,
Huh huh-huh-huh huh huh.

Those lyrics may not do much to set the mood for love, but it totally captures the period. Anyway, I can’t be sure exactly where it began, but after leaving Sundance and turning onto Melrose from Robertson I found myself bringing up the rear of a little romantic intrigue that then continued to play out for several blocks to La Cienega Boulevard and beyond. Cruising along in front of me was a spotless convertible Jag driven by a bombshell blonde and beside her in the right lane doing his best to get her attention was a rather undistinguished looking but obviously lovestruck man in a less than showroom-ready Ford Mustang and way out of his league.

Obviously well-versed in how to ignore stalkers, gawkers and loud talkers Ms. Bombshell coolly kept her eyes and attention straight ahead, having little if any of Mr. Smitten despite his shameless and unabashedly nutty attempts to catch her eye and heart by honking at her in conjunction with gesticulating and yelling variations of “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen!” Eventually the three of us approached Crescent Heights, slowing for the yellow light, and at the last moment, Smitten accelerated and yanked in front of her, slamming on his brakes so Bombshell had to stop short as his tires screeched against the asphalt, whereupon he threw open the door and jumped out almost before his car had come to a halt.

Continue reading When Ms. Bombshell Met Mr. Smitten

It’s Gonna Be A Pic ‘N Save Christmas!

At a place of my employment in another life long ago, there worked a fellow named Mark who I remember most for his exceptional and sarcastic humor. Back during that time there was a chain of stores now called Big Lots but then called Pic ‘N Save and the tagline that appeared on all their holiday advertisements at the end of one of the years then was “It’s Gonna Be A Pic ‘N Save Christmas!” as if that was something to excitedly anticipate.

Well said coworker Mark, upset that the bossman had decide  he wasn’t handing out bonuses one season, cut the headline out from a Pic ‘N Save newspaper ad and mounted “It’s Gonna Be A Pic ‘N Save Christmas!” in big 72-point festive red lettering right to the front of his desk.

That was funny enough to me, but he’d always follow it up with kind of a midwesternish matter-of-fact way of turning the phrase that was both biting and reverent that can still make me chuckle just thinking about it oh these 20-plus years later — especially since that’s what this Christmas is going to be for me.

Certainly I’m happy and thankful to be working presently and for many other things such as my health and that of my wife and our families and our animals, and even though we’ve elected not to go crazy with the gift-getting, that didn’t stop us yesterday from spiriting up the foyer with a fine and fragrant and noble noble fir:


Merry Christmas!