Anatomy Of A Partial Quote

Being that I’m always edgy about being quoted about anything, here’s another example why. Kevin Roderick of the indispensible L.A. Observed emailed me last month. He told me he was writing a feature for Los Angeles magazine on Eric Garcetti and since my councilman and I had established something of a rapport via posts that I (and other contributors) have made and he’s been responsive to, Roderick wanted to know if I’d be interested in sharing some thoughts about the connection Garcetti’s blogifications have made. I was happy to do so and sent back a reply with a few anecdotal type examples.

Well, the issue with Roderick’s feature hit the streets last week (the feature’s not yet available online) and while running errands with Susan this weekend, we hit the news stand off of Vermont in Los Feliz Village last week and grabbed a copy. Driving home, Susan found the article and rummaged through it until she found my name.

Bloggers who live in his district have learned that Garcetti is apt to pop in with a signed comment to posts about neighborhood issues. “I was somewhat shocked to get such a quick and direct reply from my councilman,” says Will Campbell, who posted at [B] about a homeless encampment under the Sunset Boulevard bridge in Silver Lake.”

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that quote and it’s certainly what I wrote… but the thing is it isn’t all that I wrote. Unfortunately an email program crash and burn at the beginning of the month erased two years of incoming and outgoing emails, including my reply to Kevin so I can’t lay it out verbatim. But if memory serves, I prefaced what appeared in his article with something along the lines of: “…having long grown accustomed to my city representatives operating as if in a different dimension, I was somewhat shocked to getsuch a quick and direct reply from my councilman.”

Without that intro setting up my past experiences with walled-off local leaders, my surprise at his reply isn’t about how I feel Garcetti has set himself apart from a history of distant or disconnected civic leadership. Instead of being about how he’s broken the mold, it becomes strictly about him writing back. And it wasn’t about that.

Oh well, like I said at the top, I’m always edgy about being quoted and I attribute this overt reaction to that paranoia. I certainly don’t mean this as a slight to Roderick for whom I have great respect. I just had to get it off my chest.

Can You Dig This, Part II

So as explained in my earlier post today, after removing the big ass piece of metal from its landlocked position a few feet below the surface of the earth in the backyard, I threw in the towel because there didn’t seem much point in moving all the earth I’d removed.

So the right rear corner of the yard looked like this:

Tin Roof Rusted

Not that it looked much different before I started burrowing, but the thought of that gaping hole just messed with me until I just couldn’t leave it looking like that another minute.

So with some shifting of dirt, some sweat and a whole bunch of river rocks borrowed from the pile we have of them on the north border, I made it look like this:


Entirely cosmetic and structurally unusound? Absolutely! But I like it, and at least it gives some focality to the space.

Can You Dig It?

I’m too lazy to find them and link to them so it will have to suffice that I’ve written past posts on my backyarcheological discoveries. Glass vessels mainly that intrigue me not simply for any historical significance they lend to the backyard, but because they’re there… and have been for years.

Well, one of my latest discoveries in the rear/right corner of the yard is this tetanus-shot-waiting-to-happen sheet of rusted tin siding that, for whatever reason, had been buried and left to disintegrate for who knows how long. And today became the day to dig it out… and perhaps see what it might be hiding beneath it (cue the ominous organ music).

So with shovel in hand I started clearing out the soil above and below the tin, and wouldn’t you know in the course of my excavating past countless pieces of broken glass, clay sewer pipe and other bits and pieces of whatever, I found two small bottles, a jar with its rusted lid still attached, a chip of what must have been a pretty piece of blue-and-white tableware, a small section of tile, a couple rusty nails and a devious looking piece of twisted iron:

recovered items

The gloves are in the frame just to show you I’m not a total idiot when working around giant slabs of rusted metal (and also to point out that the dark patches on them are where I’ve sweated through the cowhide… this was tough work!)

Oh, and I shouldn’t forget the sarcaphagus cover (cue more ominous music). Not really, it was probably just some stylized paver, but with my runaway imagination of course it became a crypt cover… or a tombstone:

Crypt Cover?

There were several other large fragments, but I wasn’t in the mood to piece them together. I was in the mood to let my imagination go play and it gladly locked onto a dog plantively barking somewhere nearby and who just so happened to start up as I started digging. I began to believe that the dog was actually a fifth-generation guard animal whose sole reason for existence was to sound the alarm if anyone began to start poking around where he had no business poking around. Like me.

I kept digging through the incessant yapping, which was loud enough to easily mask the approach some descendant of the original landowner come to disuade me from my explorations. I jumped at the sound of his voice.

“You ought not to be doing that.”

I turned and raised the shovel defensively as if to ward off an impending blow and found an older man standing a few feet down slope from me.

“Where the fuck—! Who the hell are you?”

The geezer gave me a half smile. “Let’s just say I’m someone with a keen interest in stopping you from doing what you’re doing.”

“Excuse me?”

“Just put the shovel down and quit putting your nose where it ain’t allowed.”

I just stared, mouth wide open at the nerve of this guy. That’s when I saw the knife in his hand. No, not a knife… a machete. Well used. In a flash he had covered the distance between us and kicked the shovel out of my hand. Raising the long blade, the sun glinted off it and I lunged forward grabbing him by the wrist. But something felt strange. He was too strong for someone so old and his wrist felt like nothing but skin and bone — literally.

And the smell! I couldn’t pinpoint it until I looked him square in the eyes and saw them all opaque and… dead. That was it! He smelled like a corpse!
With all my strength I pushed against him and he tumbled to the ground, but before I could run he was up and coming at me again with the blade high, and my last thought as the blade came down and met my neck was how fast he moved for a dead guy.

See… I told you my imagination can go on a rampage. And wouldn’t you know at a point when I stopped to wipe the sweat from my brow, there came the crunch of something moving through the groundcover and I turned with the shovel raised to find… Pumpkin the cat just looking for a place in the sun to lay down.

“Jeez Pumpkin, you gave me a scare.”

And then the dog stopped barking at the same time Pumpkin looked up at me and said, “You ought not to be doing that.”

And I came inside quickly to get out of the sun.

The end result was that by digging a big cove into the berm against the back wall I was finally able to release the big piece of tin from its underground mooring and dispose of it properly.

Tin Roof Rusted

And with some relief discovered there was no tomb beneath. Just a bunch of more dirt. Oddly though, that dog didn’t stop barking until I quit digging.

Back Together Again

I’m not really a fan of jigsaw puzzles. I’ve done several in my time, but I don’t get all goosebumply at the thought of putting together pieces of anything. So that can’t explain why I dropped everything on Saturday after Susan presented me with a box full of the shattered remains of two dishes that have been broken since she moved here to Silver Lake in 1999.

“They were the worst movers,” she told me in a tone whose disappointment hadn’t dimmed in the seven years as she opened the box and showed me the proof in the form of a what used to be a covered blue-and-white serving dish and a green platter textured like a leafy vegetable. Dishes she cherished enough to keep all these years rather than just throw them away.

I may have said something like “Oooo, can I try to put them back together?” that may have come across as me sounding as if I liked the challenge of three dimensional puzzles, but the truth is I didn’t want to do it for that. I did it because I love my wife and I wanted to repair as best I could something that bothered her for so long.

She sorta shrugged and we pulled all the pieces out of the box and set them on the dining room table. Susan smiled as I qualified any potential results by citing my absolute lack of restoration ability. She went into the library and I went and got the rubber cement and got busy.

It’s too bad that I didn’t take “before” pictures because at least then that would illustrate why the end products aren’t much better than I had warned her they would be. So with the “after” pictures that follow, it will have to suffice that the blue-and-white piece was comprised of 29 pieces, and the platter was in 11 pieces.

A couple hours later and with my fingertips coated in dried adhesive, here’s what they end up looking like (click to biggify if you want to destroy the illusion created by the thumbnails below):

Platter Serving dish

While the dishes certainly won’t be used for anything but dust gathering, I hope my efforts to mend her tableware went a little way to mend my wife’s heartbreak over them being so carelessly broken.

I love you, baby!

Three Amigos

Three AmigosIt’s a given that on the weekends when we let the cats out you can usually find one — maybe two — crashed comfortably on the lounge in the backyard, but rare is it that three show up (from left: Pepper, Pumpkin and Jiggy). Click image to biggify the cuteness.

What Are The Odds…?

You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.”

So Susan and I decided to walk early this afternoon from our house in Silver Lake down Sunset Boulevard into Echo Park to an Asian market about 1.5 miles away to get some snow peas and any other stuff that might catch our eyes while we’re there. We bring our cameras and go for the stroll under blue and sunny skies down the thoroughfare, hit the market, get our stuff (including an impulse-buy fresh coconut), and head on home.

A block away from our street, I look down and spot an audio accessories cord on the sidewalk, still bundled up in its twist tie. Just sitting there. I bend down and pick it up because I’m thinking it just very well might be the type of cord I’ve been needing for more than a year.


Now as you can see, it’s not some fancy, hard-to-find cord. It’s just your basic cord that would plug into an Aux-In port of a stereo. I didn’t say I was having trouble finding one, I just said I’ve been needing one for more than a year when I first got the boombox that would allow me to plug-n-play my truck’s portable Sirius satellite radio receiver. The boombox does comes with an Aux-In port if you want to use it with a CD Player or an iPod, but not with the cable that would enable its use.
I know… I could have gone to Radio Shack and snapped one up for $1.79 (if that) had I bothered. But the problem was I couldn’t be bothered beyond occasionally rifling through any of the several boxes of cords and cables down in in the basement to see if I had one. The only cables that I had that came close have a single plug on one end and two or three colored plugs on the other (red and white, or red and white and yellow).

Those wouldn’t do. I needed a cord with a single headphone jack-sized plug on either end, dammit. I just didn’t ever need it bad enough. But sure enough, west of Benton Way on Sunset Boulevard, there it was waiting for me. Susan called out “Score!” as I pocketed it and once home, connected the iPod to the boombox via that cable and everything worked like a charm.

What are the odds that this specific cable would be directly in my path? Who knows. This city never ceases to surprise me.

A Nice Note On Which To End The Weekend

Checking email this evening I just found a notification from Cafepress telling me that I just made a sale — my first! — of one of my 2006 calendars I’ve been hawking here for the last couple weeks or so. It was purchased by a Janet Z. who resides somewhere up in the great state of Washington, and to my recollection she is not someone with whom I am personally acquainted.

Thank you Janet!