Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I love this! Fantastic stop-motion mayhem and good music, too. Props, kudos, and thumbs up to this pair of creative numbskulls. Let it load all the way and enjoy.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

If I ever participated in the rat race, today was that day.

I had to do a deadline run to downtown LA from my office in beautiful "Historic Philippino Town." My boss waited until the last minute to send me out with a DHL package. First of all, DHL is the toothless, lazy-eyed, red-headed stepchild of FedEx and is therefore impossible to deal with. Their website is unacceptably slow and when this is coupled with an unacceptably slow connection at an ancient studio, the results are as you would expect - unacceptable. After much hair-pulling and tooth-grinding (I stopped short of "rending of garments" since I still have to maintain an iota of decency in the office), I got the airbill to print . . . with forty minutes to spare before the drop closed.

"Forty minutes," you say, "Why that seems like plenty of time to complete your errand." Sure it is, if you're trying to do anything other than worm your way into downtown LA at 5pm.
Hopped in the Jeep . . . great. Just great. My fuel gauge was on "E." Oh well, no time to stop. Better hope I've got enough to get there. My directions were simple enough.
  1. L on Beverly
  2. R on Rampart
  3. L on 3rd
  4. 3rd becomes 4th
  5. L on Grand
Moves one through four worked as planned, but once I got to the left on Grand, what I didn't know was that Grand is a split-level street. Which level, oh mighty google maps?!

But the paper lay in silent mockery of me. Very well, I'll have to figure it out. I didn't make the left on lower Grand, mostly because I missed it, so I jammed around the city block and onto Upper Grand. Great! I should be able to find 323 S. Grand from here. There's 350, there's 333, and there's . . . wait, 221!?! Where'd 3-2-3 go? At this point, the time was 5:10pm. Ok, look for parking; absolutely no parking from 7am to 10pm Monday and Tuesday. Super. No ramps either. They must be on lower Grand. So 'round a city block I went, past the Walt Disney Concert Hall, past some large courthouses, and into lower Grand.
(It was at this point that I started taking pictures because I realized it was starting to get silly)

Find parking. Monthly . . . monthly . . . loading dock . . . aha! $3.50 every 12 minutes?! Highway robbery!

Or, low way robbery as the case might be, but I had no choice. I went in, parked my car, and hopped into the elevator. This was in 333 S. Grand. When I arrived in the lobby, several security guards attempted to tell me where 323 S. Grand was located, but none of them were able to do so. None of them knew where the DHL drop was either. Being clueless and helpless, they had no recourse but to grant me access to the exterior of the building (does that seem backwards?) so I could look for 323. I ran North. 221. South? 350. Ok, across the street then . . . and on the phone with DHL. Luckily, I know their 800 number by heart and called it. After pressing zero a dozen times, I finally got a live person on the phone.
"Hi there, where's your dropbox at this location?" I asked (I'm paraphrasing).
"It's in the lower LDL mailroom, plaza level." she replied (again paraphrasing - she had difficulty separating the difference between my account address and the address I was currently at).
"What does LDL stand for?" I queried, the time being 5:24.
"I don't know," she said. "That's all the information I have."
"Ok, thanks," I said as I made my way toward some elevators.
"You're welcome, and thank you for calling DHL."
"Yes, and thanks for your effort," I snarked as my RAZR clicked shut. Obviously, the only help I was going to get from my phone was photo documentation.
I got on the elevators and headed back down to what I hoped was Lower grand; instead, it was just a parking garage. Ok, so maybe I should run around the parking garage like an idiot. Good idea. That's what I did, following exit signs as I went. Eventually, it put me out on lower Grand. And what should I see before me but a DHL van! Sweet!! I ran over to him.
"I'm so glad to see you. You have no idea."
He looked at me warily.
"Is there a drop box with a 5:30 pick up around here somewhere?"
"Can you tell me where it is?"
"In there."

"Ok, thanks!" I blurted cheerily as I ran into the loading dock. I was greeted by yet another security guard.
"Where can I find the DHL box?"
"Ummm," he hummed, "ask the elevator operator - in there."
"Ok, thanks!" I said as I hopped over the loading barrier and into the hallway.

Not a soul to be seen anywhere. I hit the elevator button. No change in the digital floor number posted next to the door. I mashed it again. Nothing. I waited a few seconds more and then blasted back out to the street - straight for the DHL guy in his van.

"Can you take this?!"
He put his hands up. "No way, man. If I do, I'll get in trouble."
"Really?" I asked, incredulous. "Where'd you say that drop box is again?"
"In there."
"Yeah, but where 'in there'? No one seems to know."
"P level."
"P level?"
"Yeah, P level, plaza level." He was getting irritated with me.
"Great. Thanks!" I sprinted back into the loading dock and leapt into the hallway. The elevator was higher up in the building. I started looking for stairs. According to the emergency evacuation diagram, there were some stairs around behind the elevators. So through the door I went, and then down a flight

to a second stairwell. In I went and up several flights to the P level.
"Please be unlocked," I prayed as I tested the handle. It came open.
But now where was I??!
Oh great. This is really helpful. It looks like a sanitarium which, in a way, was appropriate considering my state of sanity at that point. Time to use the "run around and hope" trick I used in the parking garage.

Not this way.
After a few more random lefts and rights, I spied the grail.

And with no time to spare. Luckily, the pick-up hadn't happened yet so I dropped the package.

"Now how the sam hill do I get out of here?" When I finally made my way back to the loading dock, the Uber-helpful DHL guy was pulling in. Apparantly, this was his pick-up. Thanks, fella.
Once I found my Jeep again (that's a story in and of itself) I only had one other problem to contend with.

And in rush hour, no less. man!

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Wind, pt. 2

From my previous post, you knew that it was going to be very windy in Los Angeles, but did you know that it was windy enough for us to travel through time?! No? What if I have proof of said time-travel? Would you believe me then? No? Well, it's just as I suspected, but know, oh ye
skeptic, that on Saturday we traveled to those groovy 60s.

How do I know this? What was stuck in the aloe outside my front door? Behold!

Ok, it's a little difficult to read at this size, but if you get out your magnifying glass, you can see that the date of this NBC invoice is 11/30/65 with an "Ok to Pay" of Jan. 4, 1966 (the birth year of regular commentor "older brother") Can you believe it? And it's like, in perfect condition and stuff. That must mean I traveled in time. How else would a windblown invoice from the sixties end up at my doorstep? How else!?!

I'm willing to entertain other ideas.

The name of the invoicee is "Goodson Todman" of 375 Park Ave., NY, NY. A bit (and I do mean a "bit," as in "wee") of research into this reveals that Goodson Todman is a rather influential production company.

From wiki . . .
Born in Sacramento, California, Goodson and long-time partner Bill Todman produced some of the longest-running game shows in television history. The long list of Goodson-Todman productions includes Beat the Clock, Family Feud, Match Game, Password, The Price is Right, To Tell the Truth, I've Got A Secret and What's My Line?. The shows endured through the decades, many over multiple runs, because of Goodson's sharp eye for production and presentation. While Todman primarily handled the company's business affairs in the early days, Goodson oversaw the creative end of the company. Goodson's knowledge of what made a successful game show work in terms of both format and presentation was pivotal to the longevity of the shows he produced.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hold in my hand a piece of history. An NBC screening room invoice for the Goodson-Todman company for the sum of $5.00. Let's dig a little deeper, shall we? What were Goodson and Todman working on in the middle Sixties that would require the use of NBC's screening rooms?

Again, from the wikioracle . . .

Branded was a Western series which aired on NBC from 1965 through 1966 and starred Chuck Connors as Jason McCord, a United States Army Cavalry captain who had been drummed out of the service following an unjust accusation of cowardice. Created by Larry Cohen, the show was produced by Goodson-Todman Productions, who are primarily known not for Westerns or dramatic shows, but for almost exclusively producing game shows such as The Price is Right.

Aha! This is almost too easy. And it came to me, delivered by the elements. Nothing like having tertiary accounts payable documents from defunct companies and dead men to clutter up my already-too-full file cabinet. I think I'll put this in my saveable and memorable file.

"But Heidi, it's old!"

Friday, January 05, 2007

Oh, and for my friends in Los Angeles . . . can you believe this wind?! It caught me totally unawares this morning; an enormous gust roared up and rattled my windows pretty hard. It didn't relent until the sun went down.
I pulled this off of

High Wind Warning






Yup, it's windy; today, I saw a flock of pigeons get blasted apart by the wind. I think they were okay, but it looked very dramatic what with the wings and the bodies careening in thirty different directions and feathers and such.
Whole Foods - "For Here or To Go?"

This is not the question I expect when I'm standing in the checkout line at a grocery store, but this is exactly the question that I was asked as the clerk bagged my groceries for me.
"To go," I said, and I have to admit that I was a bit incredulous as I said it. Since when do you get groceries "for here"?
Since there's a place to eat two meters away from the checkout, that's when.

Ok ok, I've been to Whole Foods before and I know they have an extensive salad bar, deli, and sandwich-makin' station which makes it imperative for them to have a place to eat said food, but it's been a long time since I've shopped there and I had no idea that you could get your salad bar goodies "for here." I almost retracted my "to go" statement and had the clerk provide me with whatever it is they provide their shoppers with when they get their groceries "for here." Maybe you get trays and sporks! and those non-absorbant diner napkins that come out of the chrome napkin dispensers, except these napkins would be pressed out of natural hemp fibers that were hand-harvested by organic non-impact farmers in Paraguay and you would have to pay 3 dollars a napkin. That or you could buy reusable rags (also woven from hemp - the miracle substance!) with "Eat At Whole Foods!" printed on the front in a manner resembling an old neon sign.
Yeah, in my dreams. In all likelihood, she probably just keeps one's salad/sushi/sandwich out of the bag so you don't have to dig past your organic carrots and yerba mate tea to get at it. Maybe they have flatware . . . I don't know. Next time I go, and I've got half an hour to burn, I'll experiment.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Last night, I dreamt that I wanted to change my name to "Knife" Mick McGee, having seen this name carved into a wooden sign by a rushing river.

"How cool would that be?" I imagined myself to be all tough, wearing flannel shirts, carrying axe handles, wearing thick, brown leather belts and sturdy green suspenders to keep my oversized dungarees from falling down. A lumberjack with a chip on his shoulder - that's "Knife" Mick McGee.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Corporate Shill

Had to go to the local mailbox and shipping store today to ship some stuff. It's a nice day, so I figured I'd walk there. I got my bag and the box I needed to ship
and headed out. Once my task was complete, I made my way over to the nearest Starbucks to spend some Christmas gift card money on some coffee. A nice afternoon, this. As I walked out the door, I fit my white earbuds into my ears, sipped on my espresso and pressed play on my wee little iPod. A family waiting for a table at Bob's Big Boy watched me with a collectively bored and steady gaze as I sauntered down the sidewalk toward them; I made eye-contact with their young daughter and it was at that exact moment that self-conciousness dropped on my head like a big, greasy Big Boy burger.

Lessee . . .
  • white, iPod earbuds? - check
  • white Starbucks cup with green logo? - check
  • brown adidas with distinctive "trefoil" stripes? - check
  • short sleeve, button down shirt with bright red "Dickies" logo stiched to left bicep? - check
If there's ever been a time in my life when I've felt more like a walking billboard, it isn't readily springing to mind. Oh wait, there was that one time at the gym that I wore a navy blue sleeveless t-shirt with "PONY" written on the chest in bold, white, block letters. That was pretty bad. Never wore that one again, I'll tell you right now, though the sideways glances I got that day were moderately priceless.

Oh well, whatcha gonna do? I like my Dickies shirt, I like my iPod (which I've dubbed "The Entertainment Dot"), I like my adidas - I even like free Starbucks coffee. Can I help it if companies like to emblazon their trademarks all over every product they produce? No.
Can I avoid carrying/wearing them all in a kaliedoscope of logos? Yes, but then there are those days (like today) when the corporate singularity drags all of the various elements into its event horizon and there is no escape. It is at those times that I'm forced to advertise for the products I paid cash money for. The very same products I'm enjoying are also the ones that are making me bitter. How ironic.