Patchy The Cat Sez: Drinken’ Prollum? I Haz None

May I present to you 35 seconds of our calico cat Patches being… Patches. There is a perfectly and freshly filled bowl of water not 12 feet away, but after I finished the breakfast dishes and accidentally left the water trickling from the kitchen faucet, Patchy opted to hop on up into the wet sink and slake her unquenchable thirst with absolutely no regard and/or problem with the fact that in order for the water to get into her mouth she had to let it course down the side of her head.

Tortoise As Teacher

To break the monotony of her 5’x5′ backyard hutch, I’ll let our Russian tortoise Buster out to explore. But contrary to what you might think about tortoises being slow, I have to keep an eye on her when she’s out because she moves often with a purpose and at a pretty good clip, for a tortoise, at least (seriously, there have been times where I’ve let her out of my sight for a couple minutes and I come back and she’s nowhere near where I last saw her).

Anyway… in this clip, Buster attempts to cross over a line of river rocks in the backyard and in doing so teaches two very important lessons about perseverance, which is the hallmark of Chelonian species who’ve been persevering on this planet from more than 200 million years:

  1. If at first you fail, do it again, and if you fail again, do it again
  2. No matter how ill-equipped we may seem to be, we can overcome obstacles before us.

Hair We Are & Hair We Go

Since the May 2 orientation, I’ve had to get a fair number of Rio Hondo College ducks in a row in preparation for my first day, June 6.

Last on my list was: haircut. But of course there’s a backstory. Not counting a slight trim in a salon shortly before leaving for our vacation in Thailand and Cambodia in March 2011, my last time setting foot in a barbershop for your typical regular haircut was February 2010.  This was due in part to my getting a buzz-cutting kit at Costco, and deciding to try my hand at DIY barbering, which I got pretty comfortable with along the sides and back of my head. Not so much with the top.

As a result the top just grew and grew and grew, until I had something like 10-inch-long unruly follicles that I did my best to keep plastered back and down either with hats, or with a combined overuse of haircare products.

Frankly the long hair was more trouble than it was worth, but it was my long hair dammit. And I was quite enamored with it since its ceaseless growth was occurring at an age when some men have long got over having lost theirs.

But then came the decision in August 2011 to thrust myself into a this new environment and I knew my ‘do was a don’t.

But getting the ‘do done in proved to be the easiest thing for me to put off, and it kept getting pushed down the list of priorities — past the combination lock — until it finally had nowhere left to go.

Now from a barbershop perspective, my go-to place had been Tony’s in the shopping center on Glendale Boulevard and Fletcher in Silver Lake, a couple miles from me. I started going there when I moved to Silver Lake in the winter of 2003 and was a faithful customer up until 2010, when I embarked on the good ship Cut Your Own. And my barber there had been a wonderful old gent named Louie, who was in his 80s (but looked to be in his 60s) and was not only a genial old-school barber but also always gave me a great cut.

As that was two-plus years ago,  I decided to call and make sure Louie hadn’t retired, and if not find out what coming day he would be working. Tony picked up the phone, and to be polite: Tony’s a character. He’s ornery and short-fused and he proved it on several occasions when I’d be in there being attended to by Louie. One time he got in to a full blown shouting match with a customer and kicked him out. I think Tony’s motto is “The customer’s not just always wrong but full of shit, too.”

So Tony answers the phone and I tell him it’s been a while, and that I was wondering if Louie was still there. Straight away, Tony starts breaking my balls.

“Ooooooh, Louie? Yeah… let’s see. Well, here’s how it is. Louie’s about 90 years old now. And for Louie to cut your hair we’d have to go to his house and get him and bring him back here.”

I look at the keypad of my phone wondering if there’s a *69 type combo I can punch to block bullshit.

Instead I cringe and risk further Wrath Of Tony by following up with “Do you mean he’s not in today or… uh, he’s no longer working there?”

“Ooooooh, you’re not getting the picture are you? Let me see if I can explain it more clearly: See, Louie’s about 90 years old now. And for Louie to cut your hair we’d have to go to his house and get him and bring him back here.”

Clearly when Tony repeats the same sentence that qualifies to Tony as giving me the clearer picture — even though of course it didn’t clear anything up. But I took the hint and stayed silent admiring how so basic a question could so set Tony to baloney mode.

Maybe sensing he’d ornery’d on me a wee bit too much, he eased off and  invited me to come in, somewhat in the way Count Dracula bids Jonathan Harker entry to his castle. “Come on in. I’m here,” he said. “Ramon is here. Either one of us can take care of you.”

I started to say for that to happen I’d need him to come to my house and bring me back there Louis-style, but instead just thanked him and hung up.

So instead I went to Figurin’s, a shop literally around the corner from our house that I should’ve been going to since I moved in with Susan in the summer of 2004. But never did — and I’m not really sure why.

Better late than never, I took a farewell snap of my long locks then traipsed over there. Covered up and ready, I snapped a pre-during shot there in the chair and then in less than 30 minutes with the skilled hands of the very much Louie-like proprietor I was traipsing home fully satisfied to snap my Rio Hondo-ready ‘do.



Watch This

Preface: You are being duly warned that this is an odd rambling post about the throwback Citizen wristwatch I’m presently wearing, brought about by the sudden and surprise arrival of a 1988 photo of me — sent and taken by my friend Joel Ordesky (that he found while searching for other pics) — in which I happen to be wearing the first Citizen I ever owned. You should also prepare yourself before continuing beyond the jump for the mint-green sweaterlishousness I was wearing in said photo, plus the fact that I was once young with nary a gray hair on my wrinkle-free head that still sported a baby face some of whose original parts were lost six years later in my motorcycle accident:

Continue reading Watch This

The Chapstick Episode

Our cat Patches took issue with my vertical placement of the lip balm near her on the desk, so I turned the camera on and caught a replay performance of her making herself entirely clear on the matter before settling back in to her nap.

And this just in from the Department of Weight Loss:  After beginning my diet last week with a starting weight of 234.8 and then moving two pounds in the wrong direction and staying up there for several days, I’m thrilled to report that I finally made a u-turn out of plus territory and began my descent in earnest yesterday, which continued today with me registering at 232.0, or a loss-to-date of 2.8 pounds.  That first week is always a bitch, and it won’t be the last of the upsy-downsies, but at least I’m heading in the right direction.