Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallow's Eve

Man – didn’t you just LOVE Halloween as a kid? I did. It was an opportunity for a mad dash into the middle of that dark October night and scamper through your own and even distant neighborhoods in search of free stuff.

Of course that’s what it felt like when you were 12. And that’s what it felt like 30 years ago before razors in apples et al. Well I got lots of early Halloween stories but that’s for another time.

For the past eight years I’ve been trying to figure out how to do Halloween in LA. When I was in Houston I lived in a old part of town that had bungalow by bungalows neatly nestled along tree lined streets that were ripe for caravans of treat-seeking kids – and their SUV driving parents – I mean I just had buses pull up in front of my house and let the kids out. So I always put a blacklight bulb in the overhead porch light and played SoundGarten rather loud through the bowels of the house and had fun with all the kids coming by. My neighbor was equally as active with tombstones in his front yard and coming to the door with a giant Jack-in-the Box head on. Kids loved it – and it was good.

Moving to LA however squelched this long held love for Hallow’s Eve. For the first four years I rented houses in Jewish enclaves in the West LA area and well, they just don’t do the Trick and Treat deal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But there was no reason to hang around the house so one year Deborah and I did the infamous Santa Monica Boulevard street party hitting the streets in garb inspired by Tom Cruise’s “Eyes Wide Shut” movie – you know – duster overcoats with Mardi Gras masks. They have about 8 blocks of the street near West Hollywood blocked off for a massive party. We go there early and had a band of Japanese tourists wanting to take our picture – actually this happened several times. Later, as the party really got going, a TV film crew were on us in a close up while we were dancing and I mean all over us – but somehow we never made it to air.

Later, I found out the party was really the largest gay Halloween bash in the country. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

By moving to San Pedro we were raring to go to have a great Halloween at home in our new house that was almost built for the holiday – with our long stairway up to a castle type facade that, if properly lit, would thrill any 8-year old. However, that first year – no kids. We found ourselves not on the best street and the volume of activity paled in comparison to my Houston Heights bungalow days.

For some reason Halloween is Deborah’s favorite holiday –so if Halloween wasn’t coming to us we would go to it. For the next few years we kept the house dark and went down to the Queen Mary and went through their haunted house (nothing more than something built in a parking lot) or had drinks in their old lounge on the ship. While this sounded great it was a little less spectacular than we thought it should be.

Last year I was actually in Houston working on a proposal, so as this year rolled around we had no general plans. Deborah was at a quandary as to what to do – it looked like it would just pass us by in the typical old LA way.

However, I got home early this year – and with no other option, and the air so crisp it just begged for action, I was going to prepare as if Halloween would come to our house hell or high water. As always, I have pumpkins bought and perched on the stairsteps outside. In about a half an hour all are carved and converted into simple but cartoonish Jack’o’Lanterns. I pulled out my spotlights that I used for Christmas and arranged them to give the house a little bit of a dramatic look. There - we are all set. And I remembered to buy a bag of candy last week at Costco. It was six o’clock. Deborah wouldn’t be home until after 7 but I was ready.

Wait – I needed spooky rock music. I couldn’t find the SoundGarten but I could find some Coldplay – I thought that would probably sound scary to five-year-olds.

With the house all lit up – and probably attracted by the Coldplay - the kids did trickle in – I guess the deal out here is that it starts real early. I probably had 40 kids come by in total – which was huge by our history out here. I would actually see people stop and make there way to our house because of the lights – this was so different than in past years.

By the time Deborah got home she was thrilled – she was so depressed that the holiday had passed us by – only to come home to blazing Jack-o-Lanterns and a strangely lit house – and the now historically bizzare sight of kids (including the shortest Spiderman and Superman combo ever seen in public - but so darn cute) asking for candy. And Coldplay. We sipped beers on the porch the next hour before turning the lights off. We now can look forward to next year.

Happy Halloween y’all.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

If I'm Not Here...

If you don’t see me here, it’s not because I’m tired of the blog thing. Because I’m not. I do have a full-time job and am the major breadwinner so that’s always number one. And as you could tell from a few posts ago my fall is also consumed with football – both real and fantastical. But generally I always want to write – I always have an angle in my head – it’s just sometimes that angle or issue is about something I would rather not “blog” about.

Obviously some people just roll out of bed and write whatever just occurred in the previous morning hours or evenings – and this is fine for them – but I just can’t go there. For example, a number of people say I don’t mention my relationship with Deborah enough – and that’s sort of because I don’t want anything on this blog to ruin that – she doesn’t really read this site, she still thinks it’s a way for me to troll for women on the net – seriously. So even when I post a nice domestic comment and show a picture of her it’s sort of a “That’s nice honey, but I really know what you’re up to….” She’s also a little sick of the laptop being an ever present appendage of mine when I’m at home. So I’m not really an undercover blogger yet but I got to hit my holes when I can. That was, frankly, a football analogy.

The other topic I’d rather not ramble on a lot about is work. Work is important, it’s my livelihood blah blah blah. And I’ve seen too many instances in my years of things going awry over just simple little things or misunderstandings. If you don’t have anything good to say….et al. So it’s best to keep a low profile. And people who know me probably know that’s sort of hard – so it’s something I work at everyday, something I actively try to manage. Just recently I had turn down a few folks at work who learned I had the blog and wanted the address. My refusal to them was almost deemed as a personal insult to them, but I had to explain that it was nothing for work friends to view, and or use, or misquote. In fact I was protecting them. Haphazard e-mails late at night is bad enough for the written-word-comprehension-impaired – I don’t need whimsical interpretations of blog posts to alert someone somewhere that I may not be “happy” for a moment or two.

In fact a large project has erupted at work which has usurped my entire October – in fact the entire October I planned to almost take off. You see I am a habitual vacation non-taker. I have probably 7 weeks of vacation already accrued that I will lose until I start doing something about it. The problem is that my job is to develop new business so I feel I’m slacking, if…uh…..I’m slacking. But I was going to do that in October – yup that garage was going to be cleaned up alright. But now it will just have to wait for November -hopefully.

And then let’s see what was that other news? Oh yeah, my kid brother is getting married in January at the ripe old age of 41 – into a household of four kids. Cue the sitcom music!

Yeah – not much has been happenin’.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Random Thoughts 2

I’m 3 and 2 in fantasy and just basically hanging on. Maybe I should have quit.

Have you ever noticed that those commercials about 10-10-220 are not on any more – you know the ones with Carrot Top and Sir-Eve-a lot? What’s up with that? Has the phone company run out of ad money?

The Detroit Tigers are the story of the post-season. Go Tigers.

We have a race out here for Governor between Ahnuld and some idiot who is on record for raising every tax known to man. Guess who wins. And god that guy Angilides is a putz.

My younger brother, Mike, is getting married in January – thanks for not planning it around Christmas man! Shit – the Southwest miles. And the pressure.

Joe Torre – manager for the Yankees is a class act – but he should walk away from this nonsense and manage some Texas-based team.

Democrats are lame. Sorry – but you are. You have NOTHING.

My best next-door neighbor is leaving who we love and in the midst of the huge California real estate market – so its been interesting to see what he would get. It was good. And now we brace for the new jack-offs. He had a garage sale where he had a box of Playboys’s et al to sell while sitting next to his new wife – I’m not sure I would do that. Not that I have anything like that.

Can I Puleeeeese have a little more cowbell?

If I didn’t have my little kitties to come home to – who knows? They make coming home the best of everything.

And they are next.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Got my headlights shining
Down an old dirt road
Smoke my cigarettes
I should quit, I know

The radio’s playing
Old country songs
Someone’s leaving, someone’s cheating
On and on

I think I might like
The quiet nights
Of this empty life

Cause someday maybe
Somebody will love me like I need
And someday I won’t have to prove
‘Cause somebody will see
All my worth but until then
I’ll do just fine on my own
With my cigarettes
And this old dirt road

See I left another
Good man tonight
I wonder if he’ll miss me
Lord knows I tried

But I think that maybe
The thing that I did wrong
Was put up with his bullshit
For far too long

I ain’t gonna sleep
I ain’t gonna dream
About the things that I used to need
I ain’t gonna cry
Or go on living lies
I’m just gonna drive

With my cigarettes
And this old dirt road.

- The Wreckers (Jessica Harp)

My new favorite song.