Thursday, February 17th

Brian's Magic Beans Update

Music: High On Fire
Mood: efficient
MagicBeans21705 (372k image)

Magic Beans, post- transplantation

Being somewhat of an inexperienced gardener, and having a lack of planting vessels, soil, and space, I initially placed all 32 of the Little Marvel peas that sprouted into one medium- sized pot. Due to the nice rainy yet sunny winter weather and daily waterings, all 32 that I placed into the pot grew leaves. Pretty soon this became a problem, as they were starting to crowd each other. On our aforementioned Target run, Laura and I picked up some plastic conatiners that we thought would make cheap planters for the peas and Laura's actual beans. We also went by a hardware store and picked up some more dirt.

When we started transplanting the peas, it was apparent we had acted just in time. The roots were really growing and starting to tangle up in each other. In a few days, we would have been unable to move them. We were able to move twenty- eight of them (there were two casualties) into four bins, leaving two in the original pot. They all should have enough room and soil to grow and remain pretty healthy as long as we can get them enough sunlight. The initial finiancial outlay portion seems to be over; all I have to do is wait to harvest my bumper crop!

santo26 on 02.17.05 @ 04:13 PM PST [link] [1 Comment]

Tuesday, February 15th

When The System Breaks Down

Music: Neko Case
Mood: drinking coffee
The other day, I went with Laura to the Target at Santa Monica and La Brea. The Target is merely the anchor store for a recently constructed shopping monstrosity called the West Hollywood Gateway, but noone calls it that. For the conveneince of the shoppers, they constructed a large subterranean parking garage. It is the closest halfway decent Bradlees- esque store near our apartment, so we have become regulars there.

The last couple of trips, I noticed something odd going on. In an effort to cut costs at this wildly successful shopping complex, they got rid of all but one of the parking lot attendants and replaced them with guard- bots. Instead of giving your ticket and money to an immigrant, you feed your validated card into the slot and, if necessary, shove in your ATM card (because everyone has one, right?) to pay your toll in order to regain your freedom. I am sure this sounded good on paper, but on a Sunday afternoon, the system broke down. A woman in a BMW with a "Nixon/ Agnew" bumper sticker either could not get the robot to accept her ticket or the robot asked her for money. Either way, she flew off the handle and got out of her car and ran, screaming and yelling, to the human robot attendant, demanding her freedom. Meanwhile, the twenty or so cars that were piled up behind her, stressed out after their Tar- gay run, began honking like the monkeys that they were, so the attendant, who did not seem to understand what the woman was yelling about, could not hear her above the din. Luckily, through the luck of the draw, I did not choose the lane she was currently clogging, and got to watch the whole sordid scene with detached amusement.

We never discovered what the problem was, but after dodging consumer zombies for an hour it was quite amusing to watch the entire system brake down in such a spectacular manner. Luckily, the robot accepted my card without any incident. After we exited, I mentioned to Laura that next time we should walk to Target.

santo26 on 02.15.05 @ 03:02 PM PST [link] [2 Comments]

Wednesday, February 9th

Who Observes The Observatory?

Music: Johnny Cash
Mood: relaxed
Observatory1 (333k image)

Griffith Observatory as seen from Hollywood Boulevard

This afternoon, I finished watching "American Splendor" and had to return it to the video store. While I was out, I wanted to get a good picture of the Griffith Observatory. I see it every day from my window, silently watching over Hollywood. I think the Observatory would look really awesome as a temple- like background for the Athenaverse so I walked, hoping to get a good shot that wasn't blocked by trees, power lines, or buildings. Finally, I made it to Hollywood Boulevard and got this picture.

I am pretty proud of myself as I have never walked so far North. Hollywood Boulevard is about 2 miles from my place, and I have never really walked around there. Driving down Hollywood Boulevard and walking down it are two entirely different experiences. At the corner of Western and Hollywood, I discovered a real hole- in- the- wall breakfast place I'm going to try out sometime next to an Out Of The Closet thrift store. I picked up a cool orange polo shirt, a pair of shoes that fit me perfectly (I had been looking for a decent pair of work shoes, but it seems they have found me!), and a mint paperback version of the "Articles of Impeachment Against President Nixon" all for the low- low price of $10.75, and all the proceeds go towards AIDS research.

I went to the video store and finally made it home after a round trip of about 5 miles. Anyone who says you can't walk anywhere in Los Angeles is only sort of right. LA is made up of a bunch of disconnected settlements that were eventually linked together by major roads and highways. If you want to explore the area that you find yourself in, the sidewalks are rather ample and nearly deserted. There are crosswalks at all the intersections, and the weather is perfect for walking year round. Los Angeles is full of all sorts of amazing stuff like the Griffith Observatory, but most people don't seem to want to slow down for a minute and appreciate any of it.

In other news, my magic beans and everyone else's plants are sprouting and looking good. Pretty soon our balcony will become an urban garden. Who would have thought you could have a little farm in the middle of Hollywood?

santo26 on 02.09.05 @ 10:15 PM PST [link] [3 Comments]

Thursday, February 3rd

Don't Panic

Music: sStatechange, vol. I
Mood: better
In an effort to change how I feel when I am not at work, I decided to follow some wise advice EJ gave me the other day. He advised me to listen to the goofiest, happiest music possible to totally change the mood when I'm going home, decompress on the commute, and not think about it once I got home. This morning, after watering my magic beans, I burned a new mix which starts off with the "Theme From The Banana Splits," a song that recalls for me fond childhood memories of watching Channel 56.

An article I read yesterday made me realize I have to try and change my behavior. A couple of days ago, Rudy Tomjanovich resigned as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers after not even half a season. I'm not a Lakers fan- and never will be (Larry Bird 4- EVA!)- but instead of feeling glee over the meltdown of a rival basketball team, I honestly felt for Rudy T. The guy is a Championship- level coach who has beat cancer, but the stress of coaching the Lakers was such that he couldn't stop thinking about work, and his condition worsened to the point where he got a nasty stomach virus, which prompted him to reevaluate his priorities.

At work, we are playing a trailer for "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" in which the Earth explodes. Then the image freezes and the words "Don't Panic" are emblazoned across the ruins of the planet. There is nothing to panic about at work. The theatre has been open for 39 years and counting without me. I have learned how to do it now. It is just work.

This new mix that I am listening to as I write this is full of all the songs that make me feel happy. If I change my mood when I leave work, and find fun things to do when I'm not there, like keep up this website, it might be the beginning of fixing this problem. After all, nobody was going to make me burn a mix or play it when I leave work tonight.

santo26 on 02.03.05 @ 03:49 PM PST [link] [2 Comments]

Wednesday, February 2nd

Brian's Magic Beans, Part I

MagicBeans1 (374k image)
Valentine II (L), with Brian's Magic Beans (R)

A couple of months ago, Laura got some lemon verbena sprouts from her friends, and they were left on the porch to fend for themselves. I discovered that only one of them really survived the trip up from San Diego, and it wasn't doing too well, so I kept watering it to see what would happen. To my surprise, it went from nearly dead to sprouting new leaves. I named this plant Valentine II, after the first plant which I rescued from near death.

This incident rekindled everyone's interest in urban gardening, so Laura went out and bought some seeds, dirt, tables, and pots. I decided to try my hand at growing Little Marvel Peas. We put the seeds in ziplock lunch bags with a wet paper towel inside and let them sprout, which took a few weeks. At first, EJ and Laura's bags of seeds seemed to be sprouting. Mine didn't look so hot, but I kept watering them. Before I would even get my coffee, I'd go out and water Valentine II and check on my peas, which have erroneously been nicknamed Brian's Magic Beans.

Yesterday after my last post, I transplanted the 34 peas which had sprouted into a pot, and started a new batch of seeds a-sproutin'. It was pretty exciting to see how many seeds had come alive. Hopefully, this new hobby will hopefully provide a welcome diversion to my concerns at work.

santo26 on 02.02.05 @ 12:43 PM PST [link] [No Comments]

Tuesday, February 1st

WWBBD: What Would Bill Belichick Do?

Music: Neko Case "The Virginian"
Mood: Determined
It is a pretty cool thing to have a website. For all intents and purposes, it is the cheapest means of free speech left in the United States of America, and can be seen by anyone on Earth with an internet connection.

Some people use it as a way to keep in contact with their friends, to spill their guts out to the world, or to post nude pictures of themselves. Personally, as internet personalities go, I have always been a lurker- I rarely if never post anything about myself, preferring instead to throw outlandish statements out into the void, comfortable in my anonymity. The one place where I took off the cloak and pretended I am who I say I am was here at I had a dream of being an independent filmmaker and financing my projects with the profits of the paid gigs that would naturally come flowing in.

That portion of the life of this website ended when I packed up a small portion of my things and moved with my girlfriend to Los Angeles. Whenever I have made the journey to Southern California throughout my life, interesting things happen, and I learn a lot about who I am. Right now I have a job managing a "dog ass theatre" (in the words of my boss) in one of the slightly tonier sections of Los Angeles, and I find myself thinking about work all the time. To say that I was given an impossible task to fix the theatre nobody likes would be an understatement. Let me tell you, it is quite a jump to go from employee to manager. No matter how much hard work you put into it, you're going to screw up because you not know what you're doing yet. You also have to learn how to give orders to a bunch of strangers who resent you even being there in the first place. On top of that, you have to figure out how to fill out your TPS reports correctly and make sure there is enough popcorn and toilet paper. I have worked in movie theatres since I got out of college, but mainly on the other side of the wall as a projectionist at multiplexes around Boston, so it seemed like it would be pretty easy to turn this ship around. After all, I was willing, able, and, as a licensed and experienced former Union projectionist, easily the most qualified applicant to run the Norelco AA II Projector (!!!) that the theatre- yes, it has only one screen- has. My dreams of dramatically turning around the theatre needs to be put on the long- term goal shelf and I have to develop some short term solutions.

I have to sink or swim at work, but at the same time, I have to get out of my lifelong habit of letting thinking about work consume my life outside of it. If I can't, I'll go crazy. One of the things that I wanted to do when I came out here to do besides learning how to manage a movie theatre was to write. I have a great idea for a science fiction story, and I should start writing it and submitting it to publications. I am going to keep up this site and submit more "think-pieces" to that venerable journal to which I am a contributor, the Athenaeum. After all, if I want to be a writer, what's the point if I never let anybody read anything?

santo26 on 02.01.05 @ 02:25 PM PST [link] [No Comments]

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