Sunday night. One more day…


This may be brief. I’m a little worn out tonight.


  • Breakfast at another great coffee shop in Pasadena.
  • Toured the Valley shooting lots of photos and videos.
  • Visited Mildred Pierce’s house in Glendale.
  • Lunch at Wienerschnitzel (finally).
  • Found a great used bookstore in North Hollywood which also happened to be a magnet for cute geeky boys on a Saturday afternoon.
  • Shawerma for dinner.
  • More twilight photos and videos.
  • Brief, ill-advised nightlife experiment.



  • Tested my airport route for Tuesday morning.
  • Visited the oldest operating McDonald’s in Downey.
  • Came back into town via Slauson, Figueroa, and Broadway.
  • West Adams, Pico-Union, downtown.
  • Spent an hour or so walking around in in Westlake/MacArthur Park. That area makes me smile a lot.
  • South on Crenshaw to Inglewood, with detours.
  • Walked around Santa Monica for an hour or so.
  • Back east via Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards.

Tomorrow, I’ll probably stay mostly around Pasadena being a pedestrian. I’m weary of all-day drives and a little worn out in general. Plus I hit a bit of a mood tonight in Santa Monica for several reasons which I shan’t detail right now. A low-key last day may be just the thing for me.

Monday night. Home tomorrow.

I stayed mainly in Pasadena today and made good on my promise to have a low-key last day of vacation. As a mild insomniac, I pretty much always wake up a few times a night, particularly when I’m traveling, but last night I didn’t budge all night. That was nice.


  • Walked downtown for breakfast (machaca at Andy’s Coffee Shop) and what turned out to be a very frustrating library run.
  • Hit a couple of used bookstores on Colorado Boulevard.
  • Took a little drive through Arcadia, Monrovia, Alhambra, and San Marino.
  • Had soul-sucking conversations with my parents (the second in as many days with my dad).

And then there was dinner:


This place is one of the most wonderful restaurants I’ve found in many years. It’s a time capsule, circa 1965, and is pretty much every restaurant I used to eat at with my parents when we traveled back in the 1970s. The food was OK if a bit pricey–this is the kind of place hat still thinks it’s splurgy–but he atmosphere was amazing, from the elevator music (e.g. an instrumental version of “King of the Road”) to the genuinely friendly waitress who knew all the old people by name and played with the babies. This was not “by the manual” friendliness but the rather maternal behavior of a older lady who’d probably worked there for years, probably lives in the neighborhood, and really loves her job. That she switched effortlessly between English and Spanish was a plus too.

I left here in a really good mood, happy that such a place could still exist in SoCal.

One more picture:


Gotta be up early tomorrow to drive from Pasadena to LAX at the peak of rush hour. Wish me luck.

Tuesday night at the Dulles Hilton

It was all going too smoothly after that hellish first day. There had to be one more snag. So now I’m spending the night at the Dulles Hilton courtesy of United Airlines because my flight from Washington to Greensboro got canceled. It was mechanical failure instead of a weather delay so at least they’re kicking in for the room. And it’s a nice one. But I really wanted a day at home to relax before going back to work. Oh well…

Home at last

Finally made it home about 5:00 today, approximately thirty-two hours after I left my hotel for the airport yesterday. Ah, the marvels of the jet age, which allowed me to race home from the West Coast at an average speed of about eighty miles per hour!

Of course, just to make the trip completely symmetrical, my luggage is once again missing in action and will likely be delivered at some unspecified time tonight. My rerouted trip sent me home to Greensboro by way of LaGuardia and also involved an airline shift that they didn’t warn me about. Airline shifts at LaGuardia, by the way, involve leaving the secured area, taking a shuttle bus ride to what seems like the next county, and going through security again: a nice trick with a forty-five-minute layover.

So all in all, a great trip sandwiched within really shitty travel days at the beginning and end.

And upon my return, when all I really wanted was a few hours to decompress and relax before work tomorrow (I’d originally planned on a whole day, after all), I found that:

  • My air conditioner is not working. This, mind you, is in the midst of the worst heatwave in a couple of years.
  • My mom is having another major episode, apparently threatening to walk out of her assisted living facility.

So I get to spend my first morning back at work dealing with fallout from all that, too. I know problem number one is very “first world” and I don’t want to whine (more), but it really sucks to be completely exhausted within two hours of returning from a vacation. And to know that you also probably won’t be able to sleep it off either because it’s so fucking hot.

I think I’m going to turn around and go back west. Or north. Or something…

The latest from the home of Jane Jacobs

Actually, I kind of like getting local news from Scranton every night as a change of pace, but I’ll bet there have been an awful lot of very confused old people in Winston-Salem around 6:00 the past few days.

I also kind of wonder if their advertisers are getting many calls from down here.

And no, this post really didn’t have anything at all to do with Jane Jacobs. Sorry.

Mmmm. Beef…

Wow. Two of my favorite new carnivorous discoveries from last year’s big trip (Beef on Weck and Montreal Smoked Meat) all in one New York City deli. What’s not to love?

More random Thursday-ness:

  • Alas, when you buy the giant pile of “suck” that was the old Albertsons corporation, you will eventually have to face the consequences.
  • No more Scranton for me?
  • Hate I missed this. But it gives me ideas.
  • Self-promotion. Because I can…

Thirty years ago tonight


The stupid baseball game ran almost two hours late, delaying my debut until after 1AM. Finally, though, I started out with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by the Beatles. It seems a slightly odd choice now but was pretty appropriate for me at the time. Later, there were the Clash, the B-52s, and Laurie Anderson. And I realized that one month shy of legal age I’d finally found a musical instrument I knew how to play: the turntable.

It was a good move. Through that whole experience, I met some of my closest lifelong friends. In a year of many beginnings–high school graduation, “coming out”, my first actual date with a man, and the start of college among others–it’s amazing that i still find this to be perhaps the real defining moment when i went from being a teenager to a prospective adult. Not bad for an unpaid gig in the middle of he night, eh?

I pondered some sort of celebratory project to mark the anniversary but this is the best I could do. And the picture above wasn’t taken the day of, but it’s a reasonable facsimile of what the whole affair might have looked like.

More WUAG memorabilia for those who care (work in progress).

God, I’m old…

Bad log

One more thing the world probably didn’t need is a jazz guitar cover of Robert Plant’s “Big Log”. I don’t know who recorded it nor why, and I don’t care enough to try to find out. I just know that it made it that much harder for me to fight my way through the traffic on I-40 this morning while scrambling to change the radio station.

Incidentally, the world could also have done quite well without the original in my view. But that’s another story.

SoCal pictures

Thank you for waiting so patiently (yeah, like anyone was doing that…). Following are 270 photos from my recent trip to the part of California I still actually like. flickr link here if you prefer.

They might be giants

After being in something of a mood, I opted for my semi-traditional Sunday night torta followed by a movie on Netflix. I’d had this one in my instant queue for a while, not knowing much about it, and I decided tonight would be a good night to give it a shot.

It was a good choice. Aside from being a really quite wonderful movie (which lent its name to a really quite wonderful band), it was full of those gritty New York in the 1970s location shots I’m such a sucker for, including Times Square and what I assumed to be the interior of the now-demolished Rialto Theatre. But I hit the jackpot with the final fifteen minutes, most of which were filmed inside a vintage Pathmark store:


Suffice to say I’m in a better frame of mind as I go to bed.

Travel plans

Pondering travel for the rest of the year. I’m thinking of a few days in and around DC the second weekend in August and my traditional autumn trip to assorted Canadian destinations sometime in October. Any suggestions for the week after Christmas–preferably someplace that won’t have too high a probability of weather issues?

For some reason, I also had the strangest craving to revisit Minneapolis the other day. But not in December…

Seven years is not enough

After seven years and four months, I fear I may be losing the G5 tower. It hasn’t been my primary machine in about a year and a half, but I’ve been using it to digitize video while I do my regular stuff on a slightly newer iMac I got in the divorce settlement (and which isn’t feeling 100% healthy itself). The G5 has performed pretty well although it’s been a bit flaky the past week or so. I feared the problem might be an external drive I was using, but that’s apparently not it. Right now, I can’t even boot in safe mode or using a CD. Based on everything I’ve read it looks like I may have a fried CPU and/or motherboard.

I was thinking about buying a new desktop machine next week during the tax-free weekend anyway. I think it’s time.

A camp for me

When I was a youngster, I was always terrified that my parents might at some point decide to send me to summer camp. The thought of all that outdoors crap and assorted male bonding centered around sports and leathercraft seemed like the closest I could have come to hell on earth (and it still does).

This camp, on the other hand, would have thrilled me.


Something I never thought I’d see: Charlotte being cited as a model for Toronto in the area of “complete street” design:

But Whitney insists that it is possible to move past the divisiveness and political polarization that has impeded so much progress in Toronto. He cites the case of Charlotte, North Carolina, where an award-winning complete-streets policy was formally adopted in 2007. “Every single street there goes through the process and it’s no longer a question of left or right. Once it’s established, and once it’s integrated into the culture, it takes it out of the realm of politics and it becomes just the way that municipalities do business.”

(Not really a) moral dilemma

Suppose you’re a member of a motel chain’s “frequent sleeper” program. Suppose this chain starts crediting someone else’s stays to your account. Suppose this results in extra free night certificates being sent your way just as you’re thinking of a weekend getaway.

Do you:

  1. Alert them to the issue and return those certificates?
  2. Use the damned things as quickly as you can before they figure out what happened?