Visiting Los Angeles

I’m in Los Angeles right now. Just thought I’d let you know. Another business trip, checking out the west coast and seeing some friends again.

I don’t have anything thrilling to report, I just love being able to crash on a couch in an office 1,500 miles from home and be blogging. Mmm… laptops. Mmm… WiFi.

I did start watching the TV series Firefly from Joss Whedon on the flight out, and I have to say I’m hooked. Good stuff.

And an odd thing, when my flight landed in L.A. the two guys sitting next to me whipped out their digital cameras and starting taking pictures as the plane was taxiing. Now it’s the Los Angeles International Airport, it’s not like the scenery is thrilling. I think they were just snapping pictures of airport stuff. Doesn’t that seem like a no-no in our post-9/11, hyper-security sensitive society? They weren’t trying to be sneaky or anything and none of the flight attendants stopped them, so I can’t imagine there’s anything wrong with it, it just struck me as weird. It didn’t help with the racial profiling in my head that both of them were darker skinned Asians. Weird.

Then again, my dad used to stop the car on family vacations so he could take pictures of trains.

Chimp Tops Warhol

2005_06_27congo.jpgPaintings by a chimpanzee named Congo sold for more than $25,000 at auction earlier this month, while works by Andy Warhol and Renoir attracted so little attention they had to be withdrawn. The artworks were created by Congo in the late 1950s at the London Zoo. Pablo Picasso owned one of Congo’s works and Salvidor Dali liked the chimp so much he proclaimed, “The hand of the chimpanzee is quasihuman; the hand of Jackson Pollock is totally animal!” (link via Jeremy)

Bill & Hillary Clinton Introduce Billy Graham

Bill Clinton took the stage at the Billy Graham Crusade in New York tonight to introduce Graham and was later joined by his wife, Hillary.

And here’s the money shot:

Graham called the Clintons “wonderful friends” and “a great couple,” quipping that the former president should become an evangelist and allow “his wife to run the country.”

Considering all the hatred for Hillary Clinton (and Bill, but she somehow manages to garner more of it), I just thought it was hilarious that Billy Graham would say that. Evangelical Republicans everywhere will be wringing their hands.

Man’s Inhumanity to Man

As I’ve been watching Into the West, a TV mini-series about the American West, or anything about that time perioud, it always strikes me how incomprehensible the Native American plight is. How is it that we could slaughter and displace these people so easily?

I suppose most modern stories have a very sympathetic bent towards the Native Americans, and it would help the grasp the perspective of the white man. Communication was a problem and with ignorance came fear. Misunderstandings result in shots firing, and it’s easier and safer to sort it out after the smoke clears. As much as I try to understand that, it still baffles me.

But what’s really sad is that the incomprehensible behavior of humanity in the 1800s is repeated today.

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Ignorant of Bleeding Kansas

It seems that unless somebody tells the story, or in today’s times, makes a movie, nobody will know. For the past few weeks I’ve been watching Into the West on TNT, which weaves a dozen different stories of settling America’s frontier into one six-week mini-series.

Tonight’s episode introduced and finished off (much too quickly) a story about the slavery disputes in Kansas that touched off bloody fighting and became a precursor to the Civil War. It became known as Bleeding Kanasas. Into the West told the story of an attack on Lawrence that left the city a smoking ruin.

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Brick & Mortar vs. Online Bookstores

Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble is competing with it self. Last week I went to my local Barnes & Noble to pick up a few CDs with a gift card I’d received for my birthday (Somehow I can’t bring myself to buy books with those gift cards, as goofy as that sounds. A new book would use up the entire card, and I tend to justify used books whether it’s my birthday or not. CDs, on the other hand, I can rarely justify, so birthday money often goes to them).

I had $25 to spend and wanted several CDs. I’d probably have to settle for two, but it shouldn’t be that hard. Here’s what I found at the real live Barnes & Noble:

  • X&Y by Coldplay – $15.99 (Even worse, this was their sale price; I’ve seen it for $11.99 or less at tons of places)
  • From Under the Corktree by Fall Out Boy – $16.99 ($9.99 at other stores)
  • Out of Nothing by Embrace – $14.99 (a little harder to find, so I have little to compare it to, but this price actually seemed fair.

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The UPS Man

How many times must the UPS man drive by / Before he’ll deliver my goods?

Sheesh. I’m expecting a UPS package today and I’ve seen the UPS truck drive by three times already without delivering anything to me. What can brown do for me? Brown can deliver my freaking package without taunting me.

Update: Apparently Brown did deliver my package, according to the tracking number results, at 1:40 p.m. and left it at my front door. Well, there aren’t any packages on my front door, and nobody knocked at 1:40 p.m. My two dogs would have made me aware of something as dangerous as that. So we’ll see if UPS can prove themselves.

Update (again): Well, Brown finally delivered my package. Apparently the guy had delivered it a few doors down to the wrong house, and the address number happened to be faded enough that a “2” looked like a “1”. Fair enough. After stopping at my house he tracked the package down and re-delivered it to me (A process that took almost two hours–I really hope he didn’t spend those two hours driving up and down streets looking for my package. Yikes. That’s dedication to get a job done right, but holy cow.).

So after an afternoon of waiting I finally have the CDs I bought with my birthday money from, which is an entirely different marketing rant.

The Power of ‘Sorry’

I filled up my gas tank today and as I was tightening the gas cap the pump beeped at me and asked if I’d like a receipt.


It beeped and told me it was printing one, and I waited dutifully. My eyes went from the little electronic screen to the spot where the paper is supposed to come out.

No paper.


Roll eyes.

Yet again the pump and it’s self-serve convenience was mocking me. I walked into the store and asked for a receipt for pump 11. The cashier rattled off the price and I nodded. He handed me my receipt and then did something no other cashier has ever done when the self-service pump failed to issue the receipt it asked if I wanted: “Sorry about that,” he said.

That’s all I wanted. If your stuff doesn’t work right, at least acknowledge it.

Longest Day of the Year

Today is the longest day of the year. Well, the most daylight of the year. It’s still got 24 hours, just like every other day. Hope you spent those daylight hours well.

I actually felt semi-productive today while I answered e-mails left and right, posted on blogs, finished up projects, scheduled interviews, wielded the telephone, got paid to watch a chick flick, and bought a ticket to L.A. Whew. Of course I still feel like I hardly made a dent, but what can you do?

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