Monthly Archives: December 2004

kingman, barstow, san bernadino

When I lived in Amarillo, TX, I was surprised to find Route 66 still running through it. My home there was a few blocks from I-40, but old 66 ran through downtown. In fact, my user icon for this entry is from West Texas, not far from Amarillo, from one of the places where Route 66 underlays one of the newer roads. (66 is now I-40 most of the way from OKC to L.A.)

So it was with much sentiment that I greeted Route 66 last night, when I first re-encountered it, in patches and strips along I-40. After all, there are two roads that have shaped the Western United States: Route 66 and the Oregon Trail, and I, in my Tolkeinesque fascination with roads, am always interested in learning about both.

tales from the road: 14 hours in Kingman, Arizona, learning about Route 66

it’s 1am on a Thursday

I had a dream last night where I was in a tower room on one of the Gulf Islands, trying to frantically pack. It was reminiscent of the night I packed to move to L.A., actually. I was trying to pack to make a ferry, so I could catch a flight home to Los Angeles, and I kept forgetting to pack things.

In order to prevent that, I’d better get packing for Escape From Los Angeles #3 – The State of Arizona. I picked up a Lonely Planet Guide to that state tonight, and now I just have to get there to use it. I’m planning to load up my Saturn and head east in the morning. I’ll check in with pictures soon enough from Vegas, I’m sure – that’s the next stop on the agenda for Friday. It suddenly occurred to me today – I need to locate some shiny clothes for the next few days, because I’m spending New Year’s Eve at a hotel party where a reality show is being shot.

Happy 2005, everyone! See you Monday! I’m off to the Wild Wild West! will take your money for good now! is taking donations for the Red Cross now. It takes four clicks to donate as little as $5. If you’re an American, go prove that we’re not a selfish nation. If you’re a Canadian – you’re probably donating already, because we’re a nation of do-gooders.

I’m rallying my troops here to brainstorm a way to fundraise for relief. I sent an e-mail to a couple friends tonight, suggesting we round up some of the smarter, more business and charity oriented people in our crew, and start work applying our social network to raising funds. I didn’t work the Fair two years in a row for nothing. If we can get eighty people out to my house for a party, there has got to be a way to use that network to get everyone to donate $10 for the Red Cross or similar.

All that social networking I’ve done over the last few months might just come in handy after all.

I strongly suggest you all go donate what you can through (or another charity) now. Really. Sacrifice a CD, cut a weekly superfluous purchase, do something. 70,000 have died – and tens of thousands more will be left without water, without power, without crops or distribution of food. There will be disease, there will be exposure to elements. We can’t do anything about the heartbreak of the people who have lost their families, friends and homes, but we can help prevent more deaths and losses and heartbreak in the months to come.

subdued complaining in los angeles

Usually, this much rain would result in a lot of complaining by the citizens of Los Angeles. Not so this week. With the tsunami in Southeast Asia and all, we really can’t complain much about traffic or getting our feet wet.

However, in _los_angeles yesterday, pictures were posted of what is usually the 110 connector to downtown. I take that freeway all the time, because it goes from the 10 (the Road out of West L.A.) to the 101 (the Road to Hollywood). Yesterday, it became the 110 river. (link goes to post, with pictures, the likes of which I haven’t seen since I first saw flooded freeways in Texas)

It’s winters like this that caused the L.A. river to be lined in concrete and locked up inside its banks. If we’d had this kind of rain seventy years ago, I think a lot of downtown and points south – Watts et al – would be flooded severely by now.

Meanwhile, out here at almost sea level, in Venice, I’ll be happy if our parking garage isn’t flooded and the canals aren’t overflowing. I got home last night to find my entire street covered in running water – from a thin 3/4 inch stream at the top, to four foot wide, five inch deep raging rivers at the curb. I tried to jump that to get onto the sidewalk, and ended up ankle deep in water.

But hey, it’s not a tsunami! And the water’s not QUITE as disgusting as the first rains were earlier this fall. And it’s so warm here that the water, while cold, wasn’t quite the Shooting Pain Cold temperature that puddles are in Vancouver. I had to go back out to my car to get some things after I got inside, so I rolled up my jeans and went barefoot through the ankle-deep waters, rather than sacrifice more shoes, and it wasn’t all that bad.

I think I’ll bike to work so I can pass the Venice canals and see how high the water is.

Protected: you’d think i’d’ve learned last year…

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queen of california

I got California plates on my car today. That, and I traded in my Washington driver’s license.

That makes me an official citizen of the state, especially since I’m what’s been called “grandfathered in”.

Since I’m still in love with Los Angeles, that’s just fine with me.

so it isn’t quite summer anymore

It’s been raining now for about twenty-four hours. This surprises people here. I, being used to six months of rain at a time, kind of shrugged about it.

However, I haven’t seen sunshine in a while, as evidenced by this photo (taken yesterday, while I was still wearing my suit)

(warning – vanity alert – there are no fat rolls hanging out)

this is the color i was when i got here

Protected: back to reality

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really, not much of anything

For the record, despite Leonardo diCaprio’s absolute inability to look any older than about twenty-two, The Aviator was still absolutely outstanding.

I bought a book on L.A. social history called “City of Quartz” today which was highly recommended. I’ve never lived in a city before where I’ve wanted to read so much about it. Or, like tonight, been able to see so many movies that fill in its history.

And I’m sorry I haven’t written any Los Angeles entries lately. I haven’t had the heart to write or read about L.A. lately. I expect that to change soon – I still go out and explore the city, I still exist in it, I’ve just been too wrapped up to really care about conveying it.

I haven’t actually been able to write, for that matter, I’ve had writer’s block, choppy journal entries, chapters that go untouched. I hope that all changes soon. I hope in 2005, I can resume writing my adventure in Los Angeles, the world through my eyes, instead of retreating my mental energy, as I have lately, into reading fantasy books and watching DVDs.

it’s like christmas in july!

It was almost 70F today in Los Angeles. This is ridiculous. If it wasn’t for the eight foot tall inflatable Christmas decorations (penguins and reindeer and polar bears) that festoon some of the houses here in West Los Angeles, you’d never know it was almost January.

Last night’s First Inaugural Xmas Eve Dinner was a complete success. Except for the sweet potato biscuits, which were not. D opened up her apartment, and made potatoes and corn. I took over her kitchen and made chicken, cornbread stuffing, the aforementioned biscuits, greens and gravy. And sugarfree pumpkin cheesecake. We had a few friends over for dinner, and had a half-dozen more just wander through later on to chat, drink wine, and hang out. It was especially wonderful because the people who were still in L.A. were all from random corners of the Urban Tribe – yet all get along well with each other.

Today, I woke up with a merlot headache at 8am, so I finished Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Which I loved. And then I fell back asleep until noon, puttered around all day, and ended up drifting over to a local friend’s family’s house for dinner, and a re-watching of School of Rock

So my first Christmas away from home has been OK. It doesn’t seem like Christmas, of course, not without being home for it. But I’ve done all right – sunshine and summer weather has helped – and now it’s time to go to sleep. Four days to go until I leave for the Southwest, after all.