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Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Teresa and I often refer to one another as "brave" when we don't really mean it. Like, yesterday, I discovered that our back teevee was not working. We lost power in a thunderstorm (really! a thunderstorm in L.A.) and somehow that teevee and its connection to the dish were lost. I like to watch what we call "sports teevee" in the morning while getting ready. Anyway, I was being really pouty about it and Teresa referred to me as "brave" in the face of such adversity.

There have been times in my life when I've actually had to be brave, but not watching ESPN's First Take yesterday morning (or this morning) was not one of them.

Another example of my not really needing to be brave is a loss in my life. I am, according to Teresa, probably the only person in America who likes Coke Blak. That can't be precisely true or I would have been able to buy it at will during its short lifespan. Now, the Coca-Cola Company has announced that it will stop selling Coke Blak in the United States. They're going to have it available as long as there are still supplies of the concentrate. I have dim hopes of deep deep wells of concentrate in underground tanks throughout Southern California.

Coke Blak, for those of you who chose to not help me keep the product alive, is a wondrous concoction of coke and coffee. I know, it sounds gross. It's not. It's refreshing and cool. It has a healthy amount of caffeine and 45 calories, due to a perfect blend of sugar and splenda. No weird splenda taste, no 200 calorie indulgence. Perfect! It's best, to me at least, in the morning after fifteen minutes or so in the freezer. Ice cold and with slight bergs of blak goodness.

Sunday, Teresa and I went to Target and they had eight four packs. I bought them all. It may be that those 32 Blaks (now 30) are the last I'll ever have. She asked, as we loaded them into the FJ whether drinking them would make me sad. I like to think, instead, that I'll treat each one as a moment of joy in my life. 32 days with guaranteed moments of joy? Seems good to me.

For anyone NOT in Southern California, if you've ever been just a little curious about a magical soda coffee marriage, go find one before it's too late. For those of you in Southern California, keep wondering. I'm going to go out and buy what there is left.

As for being brave, when the 32 days are done (which should happen 7 or 8 weeks from now, given that I have one four mornings a week, give or take), ask me how brave I feel. In the meantime, if I can get morning sports teevee back, I be better able to face each day in a world without Blak. And, who knows, I gather it will still be available in France and Canada. Maybe I can get an import hook-up.

Sigh. Being brave takes such effort. Farewell Blak. It was nice knowing you


Thursday, September 20, 2007


Finding jobs during my summers in college was a challenge to which I was not up. I have never been good at finding jobs, truth be told. They tend to find me.

Teresa says that when you stop trying for things, they happen. Maybe, but in college, I needed summer jobs and I had a hard time finding them. I should note, in a fit of sibling bitter pique, that my brother never seemed to need a summer job, for some reason. But that's a story for another time. One particularly low moment involved my going to an interview. I didn't know what the job was, but they had advertised in the local paper for "college students." It turned out to be an "opportunity" for selling encyclopedias door to door. It seems quaint now, the notion of encyclopedia BOOKS sold door-to-door, doesn't it?

The encyclopedias in question, by the way, were not your big names. No World Book, no Britannica.

Britannica aside: We had a very old set of Britannicas in our basement. I didn't do well on my report on the moon in 4th grade when I noted (using the EB) that someday people might get to the moon. It was neat set, though, as my great-grandfather had read most of it and annotated a lot of it. I met him once when he was very old and I was very young. Mostly, I remember his large hands. I've always been glad to be able to get a little glimpse at how he interacted with the world. Small careful pencil marks.

At any rate, in the door-to-door interview I was asked how many sets of encyclopedias I thought I could sell in a week. I thought about it and replied, "one." That seemed about right to me. He was appalled and said something to the effect that if I could only sell one set, this was probably not the right job for me. I agreed with a depth of feeling not usually expressed in employment situations and vacated the premises post haste.

I spent part of that summer delivering pizzas and another part back at college taking summer school classes. Neither was great, but there were no sales involved.

I thought about all of this last night when, during the course of a discussion in the class I'm teaching this term, I mentioned how motivated people are by inconsistent rewards. Very much like some experiments done on pigeons, if we're rewarded but there's no real pattern to the reward, we'll persist in believing the reward could come again at any time. Las Vegas thrives on our motivation in this manner.

One of my students raised her hand and went into a five minute monologue about selling and being taught by Anthony Robbins and The Secret and how all you had to do was believe and things would come true. At the end of her moment, I mumbled something about how well motivational speakers and authors know psychology and changed the subject. After class it did occur to me that perhaps I had missed my calling all those years ago. If I had only BELIEVED in my ability to sell, I may have been able to--I don't know--sell TWO encyclopedia sets a week.

An aside, I seem to have lost my calendar after class last night. I'm, sure were I better motivated that would not have happened.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

chix pix

You want read about the chicken?  She came back here!

Scenes from the 'hood or Chicken

This morning Teresa asked me to take a picture of her by one of our unfallen trees. As I was doing so, I saw a chicken. We live on a busy street less than a block from a busier street. In Los Angeles.

And, there, walking along the sidewalk was a chicken. I said as much to Teresa.

Then, ahem, the chicken crossed the road. Why? (Sorry)


Well, at first it seemed to just be exploring, but then it found some litter. The litter was a KFC bag. Yes, indeedy. A Kentucky Friend Chicken bag. The chicken began to explore the bag and peck at it. At one point, it pretty much got itself entirely in the bag and then used its beak to pull something out. Horrified, I was sure what it pulled out would be fried, well, um, chicken. Fortunately, it was a ketchup packet.




The lady who smokes and walks her dog didn't know whose chicken it was. Then, one of our neighbors from the hated park-in-front-of-our-driveway house emerged.

"Do you know who around here keeps chickens?" Teresa asked.

With a sigh that can only be described as emanating from a deeply sibling based place, she said "my sister." We both laughed as she shooed the chicken back to her sister's house. She then got in her car and drove away.

I have been relieved all day on the chicken's behalf for getting safely back across the road. I liked the chicken. It seemed nice. As a nice chicken, it seems to me that having a little morning ketchup is infinitely better than many of the things that might have been found in that KFC bag.

As for me,  I immediately raised my hand and said, "I get the chicken for my blog."  Teresa, bless her heart, agreed without hesitation.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The core

For some time now, I have had to be on birth control pills. It's for what one of the pharmacists at my HMO referred to as "flow and cycle control." That makes me sound like a hydraulic system. At any rate, there is something off in my reproductive system. Not devastatingly off, just off.

I keep wanting to stop taking the pills. I shouldn't and every time I do, I lose control again. The seals are breeched and only hormones will hold them. The controlled flow and cycle are different from my normal cycle and yesterday I didn't feel great as a result. As I said to Honey/Teresa when she proposed a visit to the dog park, "it's not that there's anything really wrong with me, I just don't want to go." We did go and Biscuit and Scout appreciated it. At least I think they did. They acted like they did and I did get a little dog water-skiing in. Dog water skiing is when you have 70-80 pounds of dog pulling in the same direction. For some reason, I find it satisfying.

Last night I thought it best to OTC pill up, combining the woosh of liquid-gel Advils and some generic knock-offs of that Tylenol miracle "Simply Sleep."

At 12:30 or 1 in the morning, I was out. Dead to the world out. Then the dogs started barking and I struggled out of my fog. Both dogs were barking and Teresa was sitting up. I'm sure I mumbled something. Then I fell back asleep. I dreamed that Teresa and I took jobs at Target, but that we didn't really want to work there.

When Teresa let the dogs out this morning, they immediately began to bark. I got dressed and went out to see what was wrong. The story will be better told at neurotranscendence but one thing that struck me in looking at our fallen tree was its hollow center. I expect things, in general, to continue to exist and persist in the same way they always have. I also expect them to be solid through and through. A friend of a friend of ours was involved some years ago in movie theater preservation in Los Angeles. His group thought they had gotten two movie theaters on Ventura Blvd. (one in Studio City and one in Encino) preserved. Instead, they managed to only get the façades and box offices preserved. Those two box offices are really tickets to nowhere.

I am trying to not over-generalize about things like American democracy, my reproductive system, our dead tree, or the nature of modern life, but I can't help thinking that there isn't much more to most of it than façade. It's hard sometimes, but I try to remember that some things are good through and through. It can be hard on days like this.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


I'm packing up. I'm moving out. I've done gone and gotten a domain for my blog. Everything got moved. So, join me over there, won't you? And, hey if you blogroll me, can you change the link? Please. Thanks!

The new site:

Woo hoo.

Sporks relaunch

Honey suggested that I begin my relaunch with a paean to sporks. I eat with one almost every day. I like them. So much so, I've gone and bought a sporks domain. How's that for iconic?

So, why do I like sporks?

  • Sporks have a pleasing shape

  • Slip one in your bag or pocket and you're good to go

  • Sporks function pretty well as spoons

  • Sporks function fairly well as forks

  • Titanium sporks are very light and very strong

  • I like liminal things.

Welcome to my new space. Looks pretty spiffy, no? Big thanks to Treecup and Sly for making it happen. It's nice to have my own little corner of the internets. I think I'll keep it.