Winter of... Winter
That's one ugly baby.
For more ugly babies (or funny babies, if you're twisted), check out the Ugly Baby Photoshop Contest.
Best Search Hits - October - 11/2/04
Things people searched for and found Paul's Pond in October:
- Greyhound c'mon el segundo ca
- MIDGET BITCHES
- Muff diver costume
- blind kids and coloring books
- elevator and norm violation
- gordita vs chalupa
- I'm terrible at my job
Yes, MIDGET BITCHES is capitalized. Why wouldn’t it be?
Statue - 11/5/04
By the way, the brothers and I decided this weekend that once we all get big time, we're going to donate a huge sum of money to the Junior High we all went to in Minneapolis, on the condition that they build us a statue. The other condition: we get to design the statue.
Folwell Middle School is one of the rougher 6-8's in Minneapolis; the three of us being probably three of the first alumni to go to college, much less Northwestern, MIT and Brown. So if they want half a million bucks, they're going to have to put up with an audacious statue in their front courtyard. And by audacious, I mean awesome.
In this statue, the three of us will be chiseled out of bronze or marble, I will be angrily throwing a lightning bolt at someone, Mark will be summoning the clouds, and Alex will be holding the Earth on his shoulders. It's all very Greek.
Here's a crude artists' rendition.
I told you it was crude. The kids'll love it though.
Statue Add-On - 11/7/04
After reviewing the proposed Jury Brothers statue to go outside Folwell, Gabe was supportive but raised a good point - Mark summoning clouds is a rather difficult thing to express in bronze or marble. Composition aside (a giant stone cloud would probably just look like Mark had a huge rock where his hand should be), the cloud-summoning raises a territorial issue as well: since I am holding a lightning bolt, does this mean that we're both in charge of the sky? The heavens are vast, sure, but no celestial realm is big enough for two Jurys.
Perhaps Mark summoning something else would better maintain the balance of power. Since I don't have time and I only have one good drawing in me per year anyway, I'll have to help illustrate the following alternatives with images I've stolen from the internet. Click on each for its picture.
- Mark summoning the universe (possible accomplished with some kind of science-project-esque mobile):
- Mark summoning a giant vulture
- Mark summoning a large tasty bucket of KFC chicken.
- Mark summoning Scottie Pippen
- Mark summoning a statue of Mark summoning a statue of Mark summoning… (This could go on for .
Now THAT'S hard to express with just marble and stone.
Statue Add-On Add-On - 11/10/04
By the way, I like how Alex is crushing part of the Indian Ocean with his left hand. God what a beef-cake.
Burning! Burning! - 11/13/04
The Formulaic Teen Sex Comedy I’m writing to beat out Sam’s Formulaic Sports Movie is going well, although the competition has stretched out over a month now. I guess it takes longer than I thought to make sure something is good and formulaic.
Not to give away the plot (there isn’t much to give it away), but at one point four kids burn a house down and have to keep the owner from finding out about it. Unfortunately I don’t know much about what happens when a house burns, so I called Brian 2, who used to be a paramedic, to do some research. I was outside the Torrance Library when I made the call – the following is an abridged transcript of the conversation.
PAUL: Hey Brian, it’s Paul. Random question for you. What happens when a house burns down?
BRIAN 2: (long pause) You didn’t burn down your house, did you?
PAUL: No! No, no… not yet. I mean, it’s for a screenplay I’m writing. Some kids burn down a house, and I just wanted to call you and get some authoritative information, since you used to be a paramedic.
BRIAN 2: Oh, OK, cool. What do you wanna know?
PAUL: Well, first, I wanna make sure this house is good and fucked. What kind of fire would make sure it was totally laid to the ground? Like an electrical fire?
BRIAN 2: Well, electrical fires aren’t bad, but gas fires are better because they go deep into the piping and stuff.
PAUL: Oh, that’s good. Could I make it some kind of combination gas/electric fire?
(Here I notice some people are looking at me)
BRIAN 2: Sure. The other good things about gas fires is sometimes the house explodes. Like in Fight Club.
PAUL: Nice. OK, next, what would I do if I wanted to keep anyone from finding out about it? Let’s say the owner was out of town.
BRIAN 2: That doesn’t matter. 911 is going to come, and then they have to contact the owner before they rope off the house.
PAUL: Could I bribe the firefighters?
(Here I notice the Torrance Police Station is right next the library – right next to me)
BRIAN 2: You’d have to bribe more people than that. The police would hire an arson investigator.
PAUL: I could bribe him too.
BRIAN 2: You’d have to also bribe some city officials, because they have to reissue permits to the place if anything is going to be done with the lot.
PAUL: Could I hire some sleazy contractor to take care of that for me? You know, for simplicity.
BRIAN 2: I suppose so. That’s a lot of bribing.
PAUL: That’s OK, I have a lot of untraceable money to use.
(Here I notice a guy in a business suit staring at me and talking into a cell phone)
PAUL: Um, I should probably go. I really appreciate it man.
BRIAN 2: Paul?
PAUL: Yeah what’s up?
BRIAN 2: You ARE writing a screenplay, right?
PAUL: Yeah dude. I’ll send you a copy.
East Coast Trip - 11/15/04
I was gone this weekend, on a whirlwind tour of the East Coast to watch my brother Alex play football and visit my family since I won't be going home for Thanksgiving. The primary purpose of the trip was the football - Alex is a Junior Offensive Lineman at Brown, and their Saturday game against the Yale Pompous Yuppies was one my last chances to watch him smash some mouths this year. But the activities reached beyond just civilized football watching, of course. They usually do when the Implement of Destruction (all three Jury brothers reunited) is involved.
The events of the weekend (pictures to follow):
Thursday Day - Beers with college friend Pat at a scary bar called The Slaughtered Lamb that had a decaying skeleton seated at one table like a ghoulish Ronald McDonald.
Thursday Night - Went out to one of the five bars on Mark's block and played drinking Connect-Four with the parents.
Friday Day - Explored the subways of Manhattan to meet up with college friend Dan for Chipotle. Saw a homeless guy with a sign that said "Tell Me Off for $2.00". Did not have $2.00.
Friday Night - Saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.
Friday Night - Played Beer-Pong at a bar off-Broadway.
Saturday Morning - Early - Drove from New York to Rhode Island for the football game. Slept all the way through Connecticut.
Saturday Afternoon - Watched Brown becrumple Yale 24-17 and accompanying "smashing of mouths."
Saturday Evening - Celebratory dinner. I got a fat Martini with a glowing ice-cube in it. They let me keep the ice cube.
Saturday Night - Celebratory Beer-Pong and Implement-Romp through Providence. At an apartment party, Alex kicked a door down at the request of a girl who'd locked herself out of her room. First time the Implement's destruction has actually been condoned.
Sunday Morning - Ass Early - Drove back to New York for my plane back to LA. Again slept all the way through Connecticut.
DDR - 11/16/04
A revolution has broken out at 702 Paulina… a Dance Dance Revolution, that is.
The newest craze in Redondo Beach has taken the form of two rhythm pads, a Playstation disc, and a whole lot of gettin' down. It's like the old Nintendo Power Pad, except the game is much less crappy. It's like Dance Dance Revolution at the arcade, except not being monopolized by some mad skilled Asian guy. It's great exercise, great fun, and great music. And it's taken our living room by storm.
The current order of DDR skill at our house is as follows:
4) Anyone else who comes over
Not surprisingly, this is also the order of who spends the most time on DDR. And I'm optimistic - last year I was initially low-dog in ping-pong too, before rocketing up to second place, and eventually becoming champ once Sam moved out.
Here are some pictures...
...climaxing in a video
Yes, that's Kolleen swearing. Can ya feel the beat?
DDR PS - 11/17/04
The entrance of DDR into our lives also necessitates a new list:
The TOP FIVE UNDER-$50 PURCHASES at 702
1) Dance Dance Revolution
2) The dish rack
3) Spackle for the kicked-in door
That is all.
Yankee Doodles - 11/19/04
Rallied on 4 hours sleep Saturday morning to make it up to Yankee Doodle's in Santa Monica for the 9am Northwestern football game. A few surprising things:
- Despite it being 8:15 am on a Saturday, there was a traffic jam on the 405. Maybe I should stop being surprised by this.
- With appearances by Sam, Gabe, Treem, Revan, Jodi, Jeremy 1, April and others, there were far more NU fans at the bar than Michigan fans, though their fan base out-numbers ours at least 5 to 1.
- Maybe this was because the bar was half taken over by a party for the Amherst vs. Williams game going on downstairs. Now there's a match-up for the ages. We're talking Achilles vs. Hector here. Ali vs. Frasier. Roe vs. Wade. Sam and Gabe went downstairs at halftime to scope all the hot Amherst chicks. They were back in three minutes. Sam did manage to sign me up for the Williams alumni clubs, however - Paul Jury, Arts and Sciences '79, will now be receiving alumni solicitations and invitations for future Amherst vs. Williams games.
- Northwestern lost. The score was also ratio of about 5 to 1. Maybe I should stop being surprised by this, too.
Drawer of Death - 11/20/04
Today I cleaned out the Drawer of Death.
I don't think I need to recount the many sordid tales of the Fridge of Death to convey the peril of what would happen if one drawer's worth of contents from the old fridge were allowed to survive the transfer and regroup in the bottom drawer of our new fridge and molder away for several more months. I guess the closest analogy would be from Alien when that one alien clings onto the escape pod and survives to give birth to a whole new colony of ghastly monsters in the sequel.
Well, this happened. Somehow, several items of food were "salvaged" from the Fridge of Death and put in the new fridge, grouped together in the bottom drawer in a motley crew of squalor. I use the term "salvage" lightly here, as these foods had probably already gone bad when they were moved; they were "salvaged" in the way a dead body is "salvaged" into a coffin. Then the new roommates moved in and, despite how well we cleaned the rest of the fridge, we somehow missed this one drawer and its diabolical contents, allowing it to continue to fester and decay for another couple of months before somebody noticed.
That somebody was me. How quickly a search for more syrup turns into a gag-inducing train-wreck. Down to my last searching possibility, I opened the Drawer of Death, and ghouls flew out. No, I'm joking - the ghouls stayed where they were, vacuum sealed into a nine-month old package of rancid lettuce. But they sure did shriek and smell bad. I'd shriek too if I had to be too close to that lettuce.
Here is perhaps the grossest picture I've ever taken. It's off the two containers of "Just Salmon" I disinterred from the grave-like drawer. It's a fascinating exploration into how things can go bad in two different chromatic directions, though both with equal stomach-churning results. Please look away now if you vomit easily.
The one on the left was pretty rotten, but at least it was within the right quadrant of the color wheel. The other one… well, the other was simply an abomination to all things good and holy on God's Earth. Salmon does not turn dark green, I don't care how long it's been sitting there. It was so moldy I swear to God the fungus had developed fire and the wheel. It was so gross I swear to Lucifer if the devil himself had taken a crap, the crap had come to life, threw up on itself and then died again, this salmon would have been way grosser.
Somehow though, the salmon was neither the oldest thing in the fridge, nor the most disgusting. I submit that the decomposed celery was actually grosser. Partly because it took me a full minute to realize that it was actually celery. But mostly because, when I picked it up, the already decaying bag ripped open and dripped putrid black juice on my arm. As if the smell wasn't bad enough already, this set the smoke detector off. The juice also took all the hair off my arm and all the varnish off the counter.
Alright, so I exaggerate a little; my arm never had any hair on it. And the counter's tile. I can get a little carried away in my hyperbolic vituperations about how gross the Drawer was, but I kid you not, that shit was seriously fucking nasty. And to prove I'm not making this up, the following is a factual inventory of what I found in the fridge, and when each item had expired. Keep in mind, this is November.
CONTENTS OF THE DRAWER OF DEATH
- Two containers of "Just Salmon", which probably should have been renamed "Just Rot" and "Just Fucking Gross." Expired July 29th and July 25th, respectively.
- One package lunch meat. Expired Aug 26th.
- One bag of semi-rotton salad. Expired August 4th.
- One package of Hebrew National Kosher Beef Franks. First of all, I'm not sure how "Beef Franks" are Kosher, but Yahweh knows I've never been solid on my Judaism. Second of all, the Hebrew National's slogan on the package is "We Answer To A Higher Authority." What's higher than the FDA? Expiration date: sell by August 18th. Condition: kind of redish, though not actually that gross (although red is kind of a strange color for hot dogs gone bad).
- One package of celery, rotten beyond recognition. Expiration date: God knows.
- One bottle of IBC Root Beer. Not Expired.
Highest-Paid Security Guard EVER - 11/21/04
My apologies for now posting as punctually as I've wanted to recently - I've been extremely tied up writing this Pre-Algebra textbook. On the plus side, it's making me enough money that I won't have to work during December or January if I don't want. I also set a new record for most money made during a single security shift last night.
Churning out two and a half Pre-Alg chapters in eight hours, I managed to make $137 per completed lesson, plus $55 for the half-lesson… coming to $229. Oh, plus the $60 I get from the security people just for sitting there. So that's $289 between 11pm and 7am… minus a dollar for the three Mountain Dews it took to get me through the night.
Who knew I could make $35 an hour being a security guard? I don't even have a gun or a flashlight.
Stay tuned this week for spirited posts on:
- Pimp My Spacemobile
- The Spacemobile Breaks Down (again)
- April's Cooler Kills 27 People On the 90
Guest Post - 11/22/04
It's been at least three hours since I posted, I figured why not keep things coming with a guest post? As proof that I'm not just making up the stuff that goes on around here... here's Brian. Reader discretion... is much less advised than when I usually write.
Paul agreed to my cameo and so it begins. I foresee this as an Alternative Month in Review, but I also think Eazy-E was straight and Magic Johnson was paid by “AIDS” to say he has HIV, so my views aren’t always widely shared. I digress … November started off on a high note with me making it to the polls and voting; I voted, I didn’t die... DDR entered our lives. Paul’s right, he is the worst. I think he beat a paraplegic the other day, but does that really count? I swear DDR is cool, no really, I promise… Joining MySpace.com has been a highlight. Although I’m not sure if regaining contact with old friends or finding the chick with the biggest tits EVER has been more satisfying. On the one hand it’s nice to know what people, who used to be a big part of your life, are doing with their lives, alternatively they really are the biggest tits EVER…So I got kicked out of my first bar in the South Bay. I think the 702Crew was unaware of how much I’d actually drank prior to arriving, or I might have been sent to detoxify. Apparently it was a good idea for me to flick a girl repeatedly in the face and then tell the bouncer that if "you keep acting like a bitch, I’m gonna talk to you like a bitch”. Really I’m not surprised at my actions, but am surprised it’s been three months since I’ve been thrown out of a bar… By the way, I’m not sure who, if anybody, actually calls us the 702Crew. I THINK it might be Paul, and I THINK I like it… Right now I’m signing up to be a prisoner pen pal. Not quite sure what to expect or how this works, but it does seem like a good idea. I’m sure Paul will keep you updated. He seems just as excited as I am at the prospect of having a convict writing letters to our house… Oh, I’m going on a date with Gabe, actually her name is Nicole, but 14 nicknames later she's known as Gabe… Happy Thanksgiving punk bitches… Skeet ya next month.
Who knew Brian would get his post up quicker than JD or Gabe?
My Big Turquoise Bed - 11/23/04
One of my favorite things to do recently is to sleep in the Spacemobile in a parking lot in Palos Verdes, the rich-people's community at the top of the Peninsula Hills south of Redondo Beach.
Yes, it's true. Let me explain why.
1) Back when I worked at the Aura Club, somehow I got put into their membership computer… for eternity. Now, I can't go back to the Aura club near my house because they know me, but I can go to the one in PV, where they don't. Or the one by the airport… or the one in Palisades... As much as I hated working at a gym, it's nice to know my four-month tenure spawned a free life-membership to ten of the nicest clubs in LA.
2) PV, being full of rich people, has a really nice library, and since all I do these days is write screenplays and Pre-Algebra textbooks all day, it's a great place to work.
3) So PV is a good place to spend my day writing, working out, writing more, etc... But I can't stand driving up there during the day when it's all trafficky. The solution: drive up the night before. Sleeping in the Mobile is like sleeping in a mobile-home anyway - or perhaps a hermit shell - a small price to pay for 30 less minutes in traffic.
4) It seems I can't get out of bed anymore unless that bed is in the back of a Eurovan in strange parking lot.
Now I know what you're thinking - Is it legal to sleep in a van in a mall parking lot? Well, according the law… it's one of those gray areas. It's a public lot, and there aren't any signs saying you can't, but nobody else really does it… It's hard to say. But the more important question is, Will I get caught? And the answer to that question is a definitive No. The cops have better things to do than inspect a Minnesota Spacemobile in the Giraffe area of the Mervyn's parking lot at 3am. If there are cops in PV. As for any security guard that may be on duty…
I AM a security guard. In fact I was a parking lot security guard for six months. And if there's one universal tenet of all parking lot security guards, it's the Path of Least Resistance. The goal of a security guard in general is to do as little actual securing as possible - so you're not going to go stirring up trouble over every random car that parks in your lot late at night. The van's all curtained up anyway - there's absolutely no way to tell if there's anyone in there. It's not like I'm going to come to the window if he knocks, anyway. What's he gonna do, break in? There aren't many things you can do to get in trouble as a security guard, but breaking car windows in the lot you're protecting is one of them. Is he gonna call the police over a closed-up jalopy Eurovan? The Spacemobile has been described as many things, but "intimidating" is not one of them. OK, maybe it does look a little like the Libyan terrorist van from Back to the Future... and in fact that very scene might have shot in that exact parking lot… But it's too turquoise! And the Spacemobile is clearly German, not Libyan. It doesn't even have a gun turret. Not yet, anyway. Though Christmas is coming…
Pimp My Spacemobile - 11/25/04
The discussion of the Spacemobile-home in PV yesterday got me thinking about it again - it's been a while since it's had a good post. After all, the Spacemobile is the most-often mentioned topic on Paul's Pond, followed closely by the Gordita vs. Chalupa showdown and Johnny Green.
Last spring, Sam and JD tried to sign the Spacemobile up for Pimp My Ride. For anyone not familiar, Pimp My Ride is a show on MTV starring the rapper Xzibit (who JD is in love with) and a slang-inclined entourage of auto mechanics. Basically the premise of the show is they find kids with the shittiest cars possible, and then spend an obscene amount of money "Pimping out" their ride. Like they'll put a hundred thousand dollars into a five hundred dollar '82 DeLorean to put it on 4" rims with a gold paint job, a home theatre system inside and flames shooting out the front. It's a pretty great show.
Anyway, the Spacemobile unfortunately didn't qualify for Pimp My Ride, for two reasons. First of all, I'm too old. Contestants have to be 22 years old or younger. We thought about having our younger friend Josh pretend that it was his car, but he can't drive a stick, and really the last thing I want is an angry Xzibit coming after me for scamming them.
The other reason it didn't qualify is because, believe it or not, the Spacemobile is not shitty enough. Yes, to the defiance of all, the Spacemobile is too good for something. It's missing a hub cap and half the rear bumper, makes a high-pitched whining noise when you go faster than 20, and stalls every time you take your foot off the gas, but it could be much worse. Now that I had the muffler put back on and the cracked windshield replaced after the Roadtrip, physically it's in decent shape. To be on Pimp My Ride, a car basically needs to be held together by duct tape.
This got me thinking though. What with the holiday season approaching, if I could have any alterations done to my trusty aqua steed, what would they be? And, as usual, when I start thinking like this, some pretty infeasible ideas came up.
Top 10 Modifications I'd Make To The Spacemobile
10) Gun turret (shout out to Back to the Future)
9) Smaller Volkswagen to ride around inside of it (shout out to the Spacemobaby)
8) Forklift in the front so I can move slower cars out of the way on the 405
7) Big cushy inflatable bumper on the front so I can gently nudge pedestrians without really hurting them
6) 8-inch turquoise dubs
5) 14-inch monkey butler to double as mechanic and in-flight steward, serving me Sprite and peanuts while I drive.
4) To have the 3-note "La Cucaracha" alert that plays when I leave the keys in the ignition replaced by a MIDI version of Sisqo's Thong Song.
3) To have the Tourette's horn replaced by a fog horn, which shatters auto-glass in a deafening blast whenever I lay on it.
2) For the goddamn thing to actually work right.
1) Queen sized bed in the back, curtains and screens for the windows, kickin' German audio system… oh wait, it already has these.
As you can see, the Spacemobile is already way too pimp for Pimp My Ride
Wish I Had 10 More Megs of Server Space... - 11/28/04
You should see the video of me exploring the Fridge of Death. I'm no actor - the shock and horror in my voice is real. I almost start crying when the rotten black celery juice drips on my arm. You can't fake emotion like that.
Random Numbers - 12/1/04
A summer of drunken debauchery is good for one thing (besides destroying livers): it fills up your cell phone with all kinds of random names and numbers you have no idea how they got there.
By the end of the summer there were ten or so of these enigmatic entries in my phone. In the following months I was able to figure most of them out, but there were 4 that continued to evade explanation, and for the longest time I've been greatly looking forward to having a few beers one night and calling them up. Thursday, I finally got my chance... and the results were under-whelming. Here, in no particular order, are the outcomes of my four mystery calls.
||Yellow Cab. Should've figured. Or took the 6 extra seconds to enter in the other five letters.
||Broken number. And I thought "4" and I had such good conversation…
||The Hawthorne Sportsmart? Why am I drunkenly entering Sportsmart into my phone? Bummer, I was hoping for something else "SM" stand for.
||A music publishing company. I have no idea why that's in my phone.
I'm so disappointed.
On the other hand, I also have in my phone from the summer the names Football John, Handsome Mark and Burnie McBurnvictim. And I know where those names came from.
I guess it wasn't a total let-down.
Best Search Hits - November - 12/2/04
Search strings people typed into Google and and found Paul's Pond in November:
- 1930's Refrigerator
- CIHost exploits 9/11
- A1A detroit avenue!
- Hit in head with basketball
- VW eurovan mileage odometer resets to 0
CIHost is the server company that hosts Hugesmileinc.com, my old website. I haven't had the greatest experience with them... but apparently somebody really hates them.
Best Search Hits - Miscellaneous - 12/3/04
And here's a list of other search items I've missed in past months. I've also updated the "Best of Search Strings" list on the sidebar.
- broccoli odor
- corn dog win roulette
- eurovan tacky vinyl (hey!)
- Paul idiot (Hey!!)
- Paul Harvey idiot (HEY- oh wait, that's not me)
- littlest groom racing a camel
I continue to marvel at how this happens.
...and the Spacemobile broke down. Again - 12/5/04
It's almost not even post-worthy anymore.
(I should make a collage of these, the
'Mobile broken down in different places.)
I was coming home from surfing with Nick Liskey, Noah and Noah's visiting friend Cory, rolling down PCH about 8 blocks from our house when the Spacemobile did the thing it always does of stalling in the middle of the road for no reason. Except this time, it wouldn't start again.
Noah's favorite part was that we managed to coast about 5 blocks, through 3 green lights, before coming to a slow stop in the left lane when no one would let me pull over.
Liskie's favorite part was my ongoing dialogue with the Asian woman stuck behind me who insisted on honking her horn incessantly at me while talking on her cell phone. "Yeah, I'm going pretty slow, huh? That's too bad. I got news, I'm about to be going even slower. Yeah, good, keep honking. Maybe it'll make my car start again. No, no, the fact that I have my flashers on doesn't mean anything. I just really like them. Yeah, maybe you should hang up on whoever you're talking to and worry about changing lanes, you moron."
Cory's favorite part was that there happened to be a bus running exactly parallel to us at the same absurdly slow speed, making it impossible for said Asian woman - or anyone else - to get around us.
And my favorite part was that I just happened to have three stout men in the back to get out and push the van into a nearby parking lot.
Since we were all of 7 blocks from home and 2 blocks from Nick's, Angie Liskey was able to get there in 2 minutes and transport us home. I then used my 8th AAA tow in two years to haul the van to the local VW dealership, with whom I'm by now on a first name basis. Kolleen picked me up, and Brian drove me to work. The whole affair lasted less than an hour.
I'm not even going to think about calling the van dead, because every time I do so it proves me wrong. It's recovered from far more serious ailments than just not being able to start, anyway. The shop will undoubtedly just replace some part, charge me 600 bucks and I'll be driving it again in two days. Then in another two months it'll break down again, and the cycle will continue. I will say, though, that of all the Spacemobile breakdowns I've been a part of (there have been so many), this one was about as low-hassle as they come. I had friends to help, a speedy tow-truck driver, and it helped that I wasn't in the middle of Montana. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this latest Spacemobile incident did not have the slightest affect on me emotionally. In fact it's good that I'm writing it down or I may forget about it altogether.
I think I'm going to start carrying three stout men around with me every time I drive the Spacemobile.
The Masses (and their transit system) - 12/6/04
The Spacemobile needed a new ignition coil, which completes its quest to have every single component of the starting and electrical system replaced. The van's engine is now 51% new car.
Tim at VW called to tell me the van is already done and "only" cost $400. Unfortunately, I can't pick it up until tomorrow because currently I'm stuck up north in a 2-day campout in Westwood. The plan is to crash at Gabe's until my Monday night security shift is over, then take a bus to the airport early Tuesday morning where I will meet Noah, drop him off for a flight, then drive his car home. Then I'll bike over to the dealership and get the van. Yes, the plan involves taking a bus. And nothing is less exciting in LA then attempting mass-transit.
But I think I've finally figured out LA's bus system. This is thanks to an elaborate schematic I found online and studied for a good hour last night at security until I was able to understand it. It's a pretty intense map; covering literally every bus route in Los Angeles, the plan is a 900KB pdf file that you can have to zoom in on 10 times to get the fullest level of detail, still at full resolution. If printed off at full size, I think the thing would be about 6 feet wide.
Now, this is a fine system for me, since I carry my laptop everywhere and thus have constant access to this veritable transit atlas. Also, since I'm a nerd, I actually enjoy playing with huge, complicated diagrams. But my doubts remain about the accessibility of LA's mass transit to the common man. Indeed, they only grow stronger.
First of all, I'm no map-genius, but I like to think I'm a reasonably intelligent guy - hopefully at least as sharp as the average bus rider. And it took me a full hour to really get a grasp on this map. And that was after countless fruitless attempts to extract information from the MTC's website and "help" line. The truth is, the system's just really confusing - there are different colors and coded route numbers with no key, and a million different tiny lines running this way and that. You need some kind of vast cartography background to even read the damn thing. And no offense to those who take the bus regularly, but it isn't schematic engineers who typically take mass transit.
Second of all, even if you can interpret the map, it's not exactly something you can take around with you. Your only options for transporting it are a) laptop computer, b) schematic printer and blue print case, or c) freakish photographic memory. None of which most bus-riders possess. Yet the map remains about the only way to figure anything out - I couldn't find any smaller maps, very few bus stops have maps anymore, and on the actual buses themselves, they always seem to be out of schedules. And this assumes you're riding the bus in the first place.
Third, why are we communicating bus information through arcane maps on hard-to-find websites? The mass transit system needs to realize who their principal audience is: namely, the masses.
I'll save my tirade about the masses for another day, but indisputably Los Angeles has some of the massiest masses anywhere. What percentage of them own a computer with high-speed internet enough to scour the web for 900KB interactive transit databases, but don't own a car? Shouldn't we conveying information to the masses in a more appropriate medium, like a reality show or a catchy McDonald's jingle? But no, we'd rather keep it a secret how the bus system works. Word of mouth is good enough to keep this wonderful system flourishing.
No wonder the 405 is a parking lot for 18 hours a day.
In'N'Out - 12/7/04
I had a dream last night (while I was sleeping in my van) that I was at In'N'Out Burger but the wait was intolerably long - I had to wait about 35 minutes to get a Double-Double. When I woke up (still in my van), I was really hungry for In'N'Out... but not for their service.
Photoshop Challenge #3 - 12/8/04
|It started out as a dare.
|That I couldn't Photoshop myself into a picture with Brian, Kolleen and Noah.
|Despite the fact that we then took a picture with me in it.
|As you can see, the original Photoshopping isn't top-notch - the main problem is that I used a picture of me outside, so the lighting is all screwy. But the seed had been planted. I then decided to Photoshop somebody else into the picture. Here's a picture of Brian, Kolleen and Noah with the Muff Diver.
|That's when things got out of hand.
Here's Brian, Kolleen and Noah with Chewbacca.
|And here's Brian, Kolleen and Noah with Jesus.
|Here's Brian, Kolleen and Noah with a turkey baster.
|And here's Brian, Kolleen and Noah with Noah, shirtless and singing Karaoke. I think this one's my favorite.
I think my new roommates are just starting to realize my love for pushing things way too far until they spiral wildly out of control. And I think they're starting to like it.
Anticipation - 12/9/04
Saturday is my birthday. Also on Saturday, great friend and musical writing partner Sean Wesche comes to down. The plan for the day is to go surfing, hang out with writer friend Jess and work on the musical we’re all working on (while drinking beers), go out to dinner with all my friends, then go party our brains out at someone else’s house, which we’re commandeering for the night. Early reports have it contending for one the top 5 days, ever.
Don’t have much to write about the day so far, since it hasn’t happened yet, but we do need a piano. Sean is a ridiculous pianist, and besides needing it for the musical, I’ve always had this pathetic dream of him playing at a classy cocktail party when he’s in town. But we don’t have a piano, and don’t know where to get one. So our plan is to buy an expensive keyboard, play it in the afternoon, play it at the party, and then return it the next day. I mean, what could go wrong?
It’s such a good plan. I can’t wait for this weekend.
Comments on Photoshop Challenge #3 - 12/10/04
Things people have pointed out/I think are funny about the picture-doctoring binge from the other day…
||Noah's mic is plugged into a cooler. Also, the two Noahs have the exact same expression, and seem to be leaning towards one another, like loving brothers… except that one of them is shirtless, and singing Karaoke.
||Chewbacca looks like he has to urinate.
||Not a single mention was made in any of the pictures about the cake with lit candles in the foreground. That's because four of us are having birthdays this month - the four being Brian, Noah, myself, and Jesus.
||Speaking of Jesus, I love that he's holding a baby lamb. Like he's about to put it in our 1940's oven.
By the way, here's a closer shot of Brian and Noah with a less-cartoony Jesus.
The joke's on them - they're Jewish.
But, then again, so was Jesus.
My Birthday - 12/11/04
I think that about sums it up.
Or maybe... - 12/12/04
...this sums it up even better.
More pictures/stories to come. Right now I'm still too hung over.
Everything Comin' Up Roses - 12/13/04
Birthday weekend… no work to be done… Wesche in town… sounds like a recipe for monkeyshines.
- Sam, eating an entire gift basket, then three whole limes, then a paper towel roll. Then screaming at me. I'm not even going to begin going into why this happened.
- Wesh and I, trying to walk through the Carl's Junior drive-thru at 3 in the morning. Unsuccessfully. I don't think this has ever worked, actually. But then two Asian guys let us climb in the back of their car. They were awesome.
- Us, buying a top-of-the-line keyboard from Guitar Center on my credit card for the purposes of playing it for the day then taking it back. Best $2,000 purchase I've ever made and then returned the next day.
- Wesh, making friends and laying down an Ozzie Ozbourne track at Guitar Center with some random guy he met there. They're gonna jam together next time Sean's in LA.
- Brian, making me a giant birthday hoagie. It was so goddamn good.
- Me, simultaneously drinking a beer and a milkshake at Chili's. Individually, so good. Together, so horrible.
- My dinner birthday song getting upstaged by some guy proposing to his girlfriend.
WAITRESS: Your milkshake will be right over… somebody just proposed!
SAM: At Chili's!?!?
(Waitress punches him)
- Treem, being my rib agent, negotiating with the waiter for me as to "how I could get the most ribs for the cheapest price." We ended up going with the 3-dish combo of ribs, ribs and mashed potatoes. For some reason I wasn't allowed to get a third ribs.
- At the party, Tiff and Kim giving me my 25 birthday spankings, the 23rd of which being punctuated by Brian running from across the room and punching me as hard as he can in the genitals. I was on the ground for 15 minutes. Wait, that wasn't a highlight.
Oh well, on to the pictures!
I Know I Never Write About Media, But…12/15/04
The television show Laguna Beach makes me really angry and I have to leave the room every time it’s on. After long deliberation, I finally realized why I hate it so much.
Three reasons. Because it blatantly flaunts everything that is wrong with
B) Los Angeles
Anyone want to argue with me?
Supersecurity - 12/16/04
I’ve been putting in some more time at Security recently, what with the holiday season vacations and my needing a quiet place to work at night and not having anything better to do. Plus with the firings and quittings that invariably go along with the security business, I’ve really been putting in the hours. Maybe I’ll get in on some of that Christmas bonus money.
I even worked a couple of weekend overnights during Thanksgiving weekend, which brought back nostalgic memories of when I used to work weekends all the time back at the copy machine factory. I must admit, as much as I hated having my social life decimated, there’s something comforting about the absolute quiet of watching the sun come up from an office building at 5:30 am on a Saturday. And talk about not having to do anything… Saturday night after Thanksgiving I don’t think I took my eyes off my laptop except for 15 minutes when I closed them to take a nap. Also, Saturday and Sunday mornings between 3 and 8am are the only times of the week you can guaranteed fly on the 405. Unless of course there’s an accident.
Ski Trip Recap Part 1: Sick, Sick, Sick - 12/19/04
To recap this last week's ski trip to Breckenridge, there wasn't much skiing, there was even less Breckenridge, but there sure was a whole lot of being sick.
As part of my birthday hangover/bodily equilibrium/karma for having such a great last weekend, my body decided to get utterly ill Tuesday, just in time for Treem and I to leave at 2am anyway and drive overnight to Colorado. This helped nothing, and by the time I got to Greg Kolb's place in Boulder, my throat was so sore I could barely talk, much less eat anything. I was actually disappointed when the doctor told me it wasn't Strep, because penicillin cures Strep. Nothing cures a serious viral throat infection.
The nadir of my Colorado infirmity was the agonizing trip to Pita Pit with Greg Friday, where it felt like I was getting a moderate to heavy electrical shock every time I swallowed, yet the pita was so good (and the only solid food I'd eaten in three days) that all I could do was try to divert the pain and keep eating. I tried pinching myself hard during each bite - it worked a little bit. I tried punching myself in the thigh during each bit - it worked a little better, but I started getting a bruise. I tried slapping myself full out across the face during each bite - it worked pretty well, but I was making a real spectacle of myself in the restaurant. Thinking back on it, I don't think there's any way anyone in the restaurant could have NOT thought I was a mental patient. Even Greg who knew me was laughing - for anyone else, I was some crazy dude hitting himself hard in the face with each bite of tasty Roast Beef pita. I told Greg he could laugh if he wanted - at least one of us might as well enjoy it.
I missed the only day or skiing in Breckenridge we had before our accommodations got cancelled and we drove to Steamboat instead Friday night. At this point I had spend 22 hours in a car and zero hours skiing. But I did finally to meet up with everybody else and the crew was complete: Greg, Greg, Jeff, Jeff, Erin, Aaron, Liz and Paul. Yes, we were having a hard time being original. Or poly-syllabic.
Finally Saturday I got sick of being sick and decided to ski anyway… and get drunk… and go in the hot tub… and carry 4 cases of beer 6 blocks through the snow with no jacket on… surprisingly, I felt better the next day. 5 days of pure rest… and the drinking in the hot tub after skiing does it. I guess I just need to abuse myself more. In the end I managed to get in a good day and a half of skiing (for $200) before catching my plane back to LA, feeling about 50% better.
Ski Trip Recap Part 2: A Dog Ate My Cell Phone - 12/21/04
The other sadly ironic thing that happened on the ski trip was that while I was sick at Greg's place Friday and missing Day 1 of skiiing, his dog ate my cell phone. Apparently I made the rookie mistake of leaving my phone on the floor or low, reachable shelf overnight, which was all the excuse Greg's young pitbull-terrier needed to drag it into the yard and chew it to pieces. My search for it eventually led to the back yard where I found the dog sitting guiltily in the nest he'd made out of it.
What was further ironic is that I had especially purchased this phone to be indestructable. I have a tendency to break phones (this is the third one this year), be it from dropping them or from falling on them as I ride Scoot-Skates down large hills, so last time I went into Cingular holding my 5-piece phone set in my hand, I bought the model described by the sales guy as "the most invincible phone ever". Apparently you could drop it off a roof and it would be OK. But apparently you can't feed it to baby pitbull.
At least I broke the old record of how many pieces I can break a phone into - the new record is 10. At least I got a new phone, which Greg promises to pay for as soon as his dog stops eating people's stuff and he has the money; although at Pita Pit afterwards he promptly borrowed my new phone and dropped it onto the tile floor (it survived). And it least I got to leave an outgoing voicemail greeting along the lines of "Hey, this is Paul, and you've reached the small intestine of a small dog, where my cell phone now resides. Leave a message and I'll call you back as soon as I get a new one. Oh, and leave your number, lest I have to wait for the dog to pass my SIM card and then go through the yard with a pair of rubber gloves."
What a great ski trip.
This was at a gas station me and Treem passed on the way to Colorado. If you're the one-millionth customer, you get 5 minutes alone in the Beer Cave.
Catching Up - 12/27/04
OK, so posting times and topics have been a bit inconsistent the past two weeks… primarily because I’ve been out of town for most of it. First there was the ski trip and my accompanying sickness, and then a week in Minneapolis to spend Christmas with my family. And now our internet is down. Bear with me here, I’ll get caught up and wrapped up by New Year’s.
Not much news from Minnesota, other than a good, relaxed holiday with the rest of the Jurys. In the tradition of our giving our cousins money in some creative way during the gift exchange, we did come up with a couple notable ideas: For our cousin Kate we used a bunch of five-dollar bills as wrapping and coated a box containing just a crumpled up wad of wrapping paper. The card was another bill with our names written on it. For our cousin Brennan, who recently became engaged, we wrapped a 50 into a ring shape, but it in a jewelry box, and proceeded to re-enact his proposal to him. He found it funny but was visibly disturbed at having to hold three guys’ hands for so long.
Getting back to L.A., I got a writing morale boost courtesy of CBS and everybody’s favorite show, The Family Guy. I know I never write about my writing career, but it was kind of a cool holiday fillip. I got into this TV script finishing workshop starting in the new year – no big deal, but I had to drop off some copies of the Family Guy spec I’d written at CBS so the other people in the program could read them. After I got through security (I gave them the special handshake), the girl behind the desk was absolutely thrilled to get the scripts. As if I’d actually written something somebody wanted to read. She took them and said she’d pass them on immediately, though she might thumb through them first. “Thanks,” I said. “No,” she replied. “Thank you.”
She probably didn’t know that all the scripts were copies of the same episode. Or that the episode had been written by me. Still, I left smiling.
Catching Up - Pictures - 12/29/04
New Year’s approaches… in the meantime I hide inside from the freakish LA rain writing Pre-Algebra and children’s musical lyrics about bears.
Here are two random pictures I took last month and have been meaning to post.
|The two-inch bug that lived under an overturned cup on our back porch for a month until it starved to death and Brian burned it with a cigarette butt and put it in Kolleen’s beer. Some of our friends decided it was a Potato Bug. I decided it was a Giant Demon Blood-Sucking Hell-Bug of Death.
||The sunset from the top of our hill. That’s right we live here.||
A great big post to end 2004. Two parts to it. The first: somewhat serious with points of wackiness. The second: somewhat wacky with points of extreme wackiness. Enjoy!
Many people use New Year's as an excuse to wait until the end of the year to set goals. As a goal-addict, I set goals year-round and use New Year's as an exciting excuse to set more goals.
At the beginning of this year I drafted this on the back of a bar receipt. I decided to go with a fiscal-quarters theme with my goals, though ironically having a fiscally-responsible year was not among them. If the meaning or handwriting isn't clear, my resolutions for 2004 were as follows:
Quarter 1 - Run a triathalon
Quarter 2 - Get representation (a writing agent)
Quarter 3 - Secure a third satisfactory group of friend here in LA, to compliment my friends from home and my friends from college
Quarter 4 - Get paid for writing
Fairly writing focused, since that's what I'm out here for, but with a twist of fun and sport for flavor.
Things started out great. By April, I'd run a triathalon and gotten a cool little 3rd place medal for it, too. I had an agent by February. By August I had three new roommates and a crapload of new friends.
Then things slowed down. My agent retired and moved to Chino... and neglected to tell me about it until I found out two weeks later from Jess. Easy come, easy go, I guess. And the "Money for Writing" thing proved to be harder than expected... or perhaps I should have expected it, since there are roughly 3 million people in this city trying to do the same thing.
But I carried on... finished a great, smart comedy with Sam, then moved onto a new, dumber comedy and a children's musical. Came up with an idea for an animated sitcom which may make its premiere on this website in 2005. Wrote 80% of a Pre-Algebra and an Algebra textbook, in which I managed to land one joke - about scalene triangles. Plus I made probably over 100 posts on this site.
And now that I sit here at the end of the year, I realize I've done it - technically at least. I had representation. It just didn't last very long. I got paid for writing. Granted, it was math, but hey, we all gotta start somewhere. I got paid for it very well, actually - I've got a nice little nest egg along with a nice little boost of spirit heading into the new year. Maybe I've been looking at this writing career thing from the wrong angle - it seems there's quite a market for scalene triangle jokes.
In any case, I'm calling the year a solid success - I got to write fun stuff and supported myself with no less than 10 each-fun-in-their-own-way jobs, while still managing to go on 8 tips and get drunk and go surfing all summer. My goals for next year are basically the same as this year (maybe a little more specific) - and isn't that the sign of achievement, when you still have the same goals as you did before? Or wait, maybe that's the sign of failure. Either way.
2004 - A Year's Best Pictures
Everyone's always telling me they love it when I put pictures up on Paul's Pond. "You should put more pictures up!" they say. I like to think it's because of my keen photographic eye and incisive Photoshop skills; but it's probably because pictures are quicker and more fun to look at than big-ass blocks of text. Also, people are lazy. Not you, though. You're awesome.
The first thing I want to say is: Be reasonable, people! I’m not some kind of crazy photo-making machine that just clicks a button and makes pictures and sometimes flashes and is called a camera. Between sleeping and writing math textbooks for recalcitrant youths and morphing babies' heads while bored at security, I only have so much time. Words have to go on this site too, you know.
Being a writer and all, I like to write stuff, make fun of stuff, use big words that make me feel smart, etc. But indeed, I got nothing against pictures. They break stuff up. They're often fun to make. And a lot of the time they're funnier than the twaddle I usually write.
So to indulge your photographic sweet tooth (now that I've effectively numbed it with a big-ass block of text), here's a whole bunch of pictures to end 2004. They're not new, but they are great. And modest. In fact, some would argue (and by some I mean the title of this post) that they are 2004's best pictures.
|- A picture of Brian, passed out on the ping-pong table. For one reason or another, I hadn’t gotten around to posting this. I guess this is my excuse.
||- The X-ray of Elia’s broken finger from last year. Guess which finger is broken?
|- From the Roadtrip, this one just never gets old.
||- From the Idiot Olympics… there were so many good pictures – here’s sort of a collage. We have: 1) Sam, flicking off the camera in frustration at having to take the GED, 2) Gabe, somehow disinterested in his living-room-wrestling match with Paul, 3) Gabe, much more passionate about JD screwing up his timing during the Breaking and Entering event, and 4) Gabe and Paul, taking a break from the final tie-breaking jug-off-then-foot-race in a random park on a Tuesday night to laugh at just how fucking idiotic this all was.
|- Why Johnny Can’t Read. ‘Nuf said.
||- Midgets. Captured live from Man Vs. Beast II: 4 Little People vs. a Camel in a relay race. Midgets are funny. Especially when one of them looks just like Dan Kuckel and another one looks just like Aaron Winters.
|- The Pop Party cast photo. One of the finer Photoshop-compiling jobs I’ve done (not counting the picture of Noah, Noah, Brian and Kolleen)… as well as one of the finer dressing-up jobs my roommates have done.
||- And lastly, no photo montage could be complete without the funniest picture of all time: The Ugly Baby Picture (from the Ugly Baby Story at Huge Smile. At least, I think it’s the funniest picture of all time. No matter what anyone else says. Also classic about this picture is that it was crafted A) While I was bored at security, B) For someone else’s college Photoshop assignment, C) In exchange for which I was to be granted the favor of being able to work at the Aura Club only one day a week, for four hours, while retaining all my membership privileges and perks. Finally, D) I love that the baby on the left looks absolutely horrified about having to share a picture with this freakish demon hell-baby.
For more ugly babies, check out the ugly baby Photoshop Contest
Gotta end on the Ugly Baby Picture. Happy New Year!