Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mythical Tales

When Akinori and I were sitting around the other night eating raw horse meat, he said he was always surprised by the mythical tales he heard foreigners say about Japan, about shops selling all sorts of bizarre things. As an example of such a mythical tale, he mentioned how people in the States would ask him about bars in Tokyo that sell oxygen as a refreshment. Now, I don't know what the shop in the photo above is selling, but at the very least I can understand where someone might get the idea of Oxygen Bars.

Presents for Moses

I found a pet store today and bought Moses a bunch of presents. I bought him some dog pasta and some dental rope. I also got him a corn-flavored doggie bone. (On the one hand, this makes me think about how we project our own preferences onto our pets--corn is a very popular flavor here; on the other hand, maybe dogs really do like corn-flavored bones.) Moses really likes long, rope-like toys, so I also got him a bunch of strung-together plastic sausages, like in a Tom & Jerry cartoon. The sausages have little faces on them. The store also had a bunch of strung-together plastic corncobs, but I thought Moses would prefer not to get too many corn-related items.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

White Balance

Contrast the picture above, which I took yesterday, with this picture from Flickr. Is the difference that I don't know how to use the white balance on my camera? I've got to figure that out.

Internationally Known

So I'm walking out of the Shinjuku Tokyu Hands Creative Life Store and I hear someone calling my name. I turn around and it's a friend of mine from when I worked here! She was a translator in my office.

That's what distinguishes me from Rob Base.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Truth Never Gets Old

You might think that it's played out to take photos of humorous uses of English on Japanese products. Well, it's still worth it when what the English is used to say is true.

Tokyo Calling

This is my tiny little room in Shinjuku. So far, I love it! On the bottom is the view from my room, but I have to open the window to see the view. The all-pervasive chilliness, because it's not so cold that you have to have the heat on all the time but chilly enough that the insulation-less buildings aren't able to retain warmth, reminds me of L.A.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Birthday Fun

Is it wrong to say that this is what I'd like to be doing on my birthday? I can't think of anything to do today to celebrate. Maybe I'll go to the National Building Museum. I like the fountain there.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hello Mr. Moses!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lincoln & Rose Logo

This is the logo for the revamped strip mall at the corner of Lincoln and Rose in Venice. I love it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

World's Smallest Hamburger

Ben and I bought a box of these at the Nijiya Market. It was right after we saw a box of ridiculously small microwaveable burgers at Ralph's. They were ridiculous because they were real burgers but about 1/3 the size of White Castle sliders.

These burgers are chocolate wafers. We washed them down with some Special Export turtle beers (more on those later).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In-n-Out Company Store

I happened across the In-n-Out University and Company Store today on my way out to Pomona. I actually first happened across this years before, I think when I was driving back east after a summer at CTY. Nothing much to report, except that I'm doing a horrible job taking pictures during this visit to LA. I haven't used my real camera once.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Charles Phoenix's Moonlight Rollerway Holiday Jubilee

Photo from Flickr.

I stupidly forgot my camera in the car, so I don't have any photos of my own to share with you from last night's holiday jubilee. Basically, it was Charles's holiday spectacular slide show plus a holiday-themed roller skating extravaganza. The best skating performance was the first, because it involved a bunch of cute elementary school kids skating around in unison in bulky costumes. Then a bunch of high school kids did a disco-themed performance (I don't remember what holiday this was meant to represent) and then some older folks did waltzes, etc. It was fabulous. I went with Ben and Danielle and Robin and her friend Gary met up with us there. Sunny joined us at El Prado in Echo Park afterwards. The bartender at El Prado was playing Side A of Run DMC's "Raisin' Hell" when we arrived and she went on to play a side of a Go Go's record (the one with "Our Lips are Sealed" and the Go Go's song about LA, "This Town), a side of a Tina Turner record, a side of the Big Chill OST, and then a side of a Devo record. After the bar Ben and I went to a Korean taco truck on Abbott Kinney. Today we went to Tacos Baja Ensenada for lunch. Tacos, tacos, everywhere. And Ben doesn't even really like Mexican food!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snugglin', snugglin' ... snugglin', snugglin'

Set to the tune of that song that's like "Jugglin', jugglin' ... jugglin', jugglin'".

Friday, December 12, 2008

John Searle's Chinese Room Thought Experiment

From my Philosophy of Mind class this past summer, drawn by my students.

LA Mix Update

I tried listening to my LA mix on the plane yesterday and it wasn't right. So that cannot be the final version. I'll work on it some more and post an updated version.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Los Angeles, I'm Yours (Song List)

I've split my original 'California Waiting' mix into two parts: a California part and a Los Angeles part. This is the Los Angeles part. Here is the California part.

It's cold and damp in New York City right now. I'm off to L.A. tonight.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008


Wy-dogg designed this template for a t-shirt design about a million years ago.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sweaters Party

We had a Sweaters Party last night. Here were the most popular songs, songs that everyone danced to:

Ain't No Fun
American Boy
Big Poppa
Crush on You
Dancing With Myself
Dirt Off Your Shoulder
Don't Stop Till You Get Enough
Drop It Like It's Hot
Genius of Love
Girls & Boys
Groove is in the Heart
Hot in Herre
Humpty Dance
I Can't Go for That
I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday
I Want You Back
Jump Around
Just Can't Get Enough
Our Lips are Sealed
Queen Bitch
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Single Ladies

Biggie was the most popular artist, followed by Snoop and Michael Jackson. Overall, I think Michael Jackson probably has more floor-fillers than any other single artist, but we didn't play very many of them. Madonna and Prince were also neglected.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Garfield Park Conservatory (Postcards)

Views of the Garfield Park Conservatory from 100 years ago.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Gilligan's Island

I came across this boat washed ashore on Venice Beach this past summer. Although it appeared that almost everything that could be removed from it had been removed, a few things remained, like the steering wheel.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tea Time

I went to Muji and bought some tea cups, saucers, and a serving tray. Consider this an open invitation to come and have tea with me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Instant Messaging

In the main office a few summers ago there was a bank of computers that any of the staff could use. One time, I sat down and found that another staff member had neglected to log out of his/her AOL IM account. The conversations above resulted from this discovery. I'm "gerammy".

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Need Social Intercourse?

Pre-digital photo. Taken on a cross country drive, probably in June 2000.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Pre-digital photo. Taken in the neighborhood right outside LMU, in LA.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Beer Fish

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dead Elvis

Friday, November 28, 2008

Karl Kraus, Prankster

From the biography of Karl Kraus titled "Karl Kraus: Apocalyptic Satirist":

"Kraus had an outstanding gift for ironic impersonation. On several occasions he succeeded in hoaxing the Neue Freie Presse by sending in fictitious readers' letters. The aim of these letters was to show up the intellectual pretensions of the newspaper and the gullibility of those who produced it. One of the masks Kraus adopts for this purpose is that of 'Zivilingenieur Berdach', an expert on earthquakes who writes in elaborately pseudo-scientific style about 'tellurian earthquakes' which he measures with the aid of a compass. In another of the letters, he assumes the identity of four Viennese housewives, fanatical supporters of the Liberal Party eager to storm the bastion of clericalism. In both cases Kraus's parody was so skillful that the letter was printed in the Neue Freie Presse without demur." (164)

Lacoste Shirts

From a book about the history of fashion that I read a few years back:

Polo Shirts
Like sweaters and jerseys, polo shirts represented another boon for the knitwear industry. They were so fashionable in resorts from Palm Beach to the Riviera that a reporter sent to the south of France in 1935 warned that "polo shirts have resulted in the oneness of the sexes and the equality of classes. Ties are gone. Personal touches, out. Individualism, abolished. Personality, extinct. The Riviera has produced a communism that would be the envy of the U.S.S.R."

I lived the commie life--in terms of fashion, at least--in between my western wear phase and my Florida retiree phase.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wedding Mixxx

I seem to be really good at losing these files, but here's the first of four mixes that I made for M&N's wedding a couple of years ago:

Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll Wedding Mixxx

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Electric Tram Car. Venice. California. (Postcard)

These were little electric carts that once drove up and down the boardwalk in Venice.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Future Cities (Usborne, 1979)

This was one of my favorite books as a kid.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Note left on my car windshield in Chicago

After I squeezed into a tight spot on the Midway and went to the department, I came back to find this note on my windshield. (Sadly, it had rained or snowed so the paper tore when I took it off.) I assume the person who left it kept a stack of these in his/her glove box for just such occasions. The funny thing is, in terms of squeezing into tight spots, I had nothing on David Svolba. (My personal record is two inches total space between my car and the two other cars. Not two inches on each side. Two inches total. Svolba could park with zero inches total.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Faces and The Go-Betweens Greatest Hits

I put both of these together rather quickly, but they're fun to listen to.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bird's Eye View of Villa City, Venice, Cal. (Postcard)

I have no idea where this is in Venice. But I'd like to try and figure it out. Anyone want to explore with me?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Miniature Railway crossing bridge over Lagoon at Venice, Cal. (Postcard)

As a stunt, they tested the strength of the bridges over Venice-of-America's canals by having an elephant from the circus come and stand on them.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Best of AC & DC

My Dad bought this bootleg compilation in Indonesia in the early eighties. The track selection is pure genius. Notice how they wisely left out popular tracks like "You Shook Me All Night Long" (that are unrepresentative of AC/DC and wear thin with repeat listening) but include underappreciated gems like "There's Gonna Be Some Rockin'" (that really distill the essence of what's great about AC/DC, in that they take a riff we've all heard in a million other songs but nonetheless make it their own).

This tape first introduced me to AC/DC and remains (in a playlist I've created on iTunes that mimics it) the primary form in which I continue to appreciate AC/DC to this day.

Notice how they claim that the phone number in "Dirty Deeds" spells out "Slaver".

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Morning Departure (1950)

Who said that the Brits can't make movies? This might be the best submarine movie of all time.

Bonus feature: contains a more detailed look than usual at how some of the mechanisms on board a submarine work.

Oil Wells, Venice, Los Angeles, California (Postcard)

Oil was discovered in Venice/Marina del Ray in the late 1920's and, as you can see, it transformed the landscape.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Just got this new mousepad in the mail. I love it! It smells kind of funny, though.