Category Archives: community

since this blog is mainly read by my friends and family anyway….

The Lady Friend and I got married today. It was awesome. Three terrifying days of work, with my father, the world’s most proficient amateur caterer, as field marshal, and it all came together amazingly well. There was a moment about … Continue reading

Posted in adventure, community, marriage | 4 Comments

asian market of kickass

The Lady Friend and I recently decided to jump into the world of Asian supermarkets. We did this because we like Asian food and because we are adventure-seekers, but also because we are jobless hobos who wake up at noon and therefore miss things like actual farmers’ markets.

So we scoured the internets and found that Yelp is pretty postive about California Market near Western and 3rd. It’s a pretty cool place — when you pull into the parking lot, young ladies in paramilitary garb and red neckerchiefs try to hand you literature. Well, not us, because we’re white, but if you’re Korean you can go down there and find out what that’s about.

And the inside is pretty cool, too. It’s where old Korean ladies go to find things like coarse salt for pickling cabbage and where young Korean ladies go to buy prepackaged pickled cabbage. It’s also where discriminating young white hobos go to find the really good ramen.

But of course the Lady Friend and I like to cook, so we were there primarily for the raw ingredients. And here’s where my hippie paranoia began to spiral out of control, because as soon as I saw the GIGANTIC (and surely genetically tampered-with) Fuji apples on display, like a gang of grapefruits trying to get into an apple party, I began to feel like I had fallen out of my carefully cultivated bubble of organic-food wholesomeness and into a dystopic nightmare of Frankenfood imported from the Third World. Why is all this food so cheap? It’s never this cheap at Whole Foods. What’s wrong with it?? I began sifting through all the fruits and vegetables that had labels, confirming my own worst fear: many of them were from China.

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Posted in adventure, America, California, community, economics, filmmaking | 3 Comments

the state of the state

So the recession of the 1970s led to a throw-the-bums-out dismantling of the government in the 1980s, fuelled by a surprisingly robust collective resentment of government’s most visible institutions — the DMV, the IRS, and the school system. I’m not convinced that most Americans really understood the economics of trucking regulation or savings-and-loan oversight. But they did understand their own personal experiences with public institutions, which by the late ’70s and early ’80s had become unpleasant, frustrating, and often quite costly. So voters gave fairly sweeping authority to President Reagan and, later, Newt Gingrich, allowing them to deregulate and privatize all kinds of things, not based on whether it made good social and economic sense to do so, but based on a highly personal anger towards a system seen as both hopelessly incompetent and full of knaves.

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Posted in adventure, America, California, community, democracy, economics | Leave a comment

strange things seen on the 10

Because I own a pickup truck, I had to drive across town to have my vehicle weighed for the labyrinthine State of California registration process. I mean across town. On the way back, I saw an official-looking highway sign for … Continue reading

Posted in adventure, California, community | 2 Comments

it begins anew

The RPM Challenge starts today. The challenge is simple: record an album of at least 10 tracks or 35 minutes, by any means necessary, in 28 days. I took part last year on the recommendation of my friend Chris Dahlen, … Continue reading

Posted in adventure, community, music, web 3.0 | Leave a comment

prayers holy and secular

Rick Warren’s inaugural invocation reminds me of how strange it always is for me as a Baha’i to hear my Protestant brothers and sisters pray, whether extemporaneously or from a prepared text. Having grown up reciting prayers written by Baha’u’llah … Continue reading

Posted in America, community, democracy, poetry, religion | 3 Comments

a random gob of links

So I updated my sidebar, finally, adding Nina’s hilarious cartoon adventures as well as Mom’s new blog and my brain’s life-support system, WNYC’s Radiolab. I left the “Support Wikipedia” link at the top because everybody should. Come on. If you … Continue reading

Posted in community, Housekeeping, the environment | 2 Comments

a bicycle built by two

The Bicycle Kitchen is one of those things that makes me glad to be living in L.A. A not-for-profit “educational center,” the Bicycle Kitchen will not — as I heard the employees patiently explain perhaps half a dozen times while … Continue reading

Posted in adventure, California, community, economics | 2 Comments

i’m not an american — i’m a nymphomaniac

Not quite a fiction film, certainly not a documentary, My Winnipeg operates in the strange twilight realm in between, a realm still not satisfactorily mapped for us despite forays by Chris Marker (Sans Soleil) and Orson Welles (F for Fake). Maddin’s approach is part re-enactment, part gleeful native’s travelogue, and part poetic reflection. Sometimes actors play out purported scenes from Maddin’s life — in one especially harrowing and yet tender scene, his mother brutally interrogates his sister about where she’s been all night. This is a scene we’ve seen a million times, but the oddity of the girl’s excuse (she hit a deer — and can produce blood, fur, and dents to prove it) and the relentless cruelty and crudity of the mother make the situation seem new and dangerous.

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boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart

I think it’s the “rotisserie-&-bidet” type of imagery that makes Ellison’s essay so much more memorable and likely to become a holiday classic than the Hitchens bellyache. (The original essay was, in fact, printed two years in a row in the L.A. Free Press — the anniversary edition, if memory serves, included some bonus griping.) Other highlights include the opening line, in which Ellison says he has nothing against “the Prince of Peace, upon whom has been laid more superhero tripe than any social malcontent should have to deal with,” or his assertion that Scrooge was the only decent character in A Christmas Carol and that Tiny Tim was a treacle-mouthed little twerp (“Not even on Christmas would I God bless Nixon.”) It’s a beautifully written piece, a .50-cal barrage of fully justified invective against a hollow, bullying, inescapable set of traditions, and it’s one of dozens of reasons I recommend The Harlan Ellison Hornbook, the collection in which the infamous essay appears. (It’s out of print now, but you can find it through dealers.)

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Posted in community, religion | 1 Comment