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Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

Blow me

July 23rd, 2009 3 comments

Los Angeles. What's as ubiquitous as sunshine, douche-bags in convertibles, taco trucks and shitty drivers?

I'm glad you asked. Leaf blowers. Yes, leaf blowers.

It seems that every Mexican in Los Angeles County is required, by law, to carry one of these infernal devices on their backs.

Leaf Blower

And please don't email me about being racist. In other parts of the world I'm sure white people, Asians and even Jews have these noisy, polluting pieces of shit strapped to their bodies, but we're talking LA here.

Admit it. I'm right.

These sloth-inspiring, gas guzzling, smoke spewing, loud-as-hell machines merely move leaves and other garden debris from a highly visible patch of yard to one that is not so visible (perhaps the neighbor's yard?) — the backyard equivalent of sweeping dirt under the carpet.

But sweeping is usually not loud enough to wake the dead. Leaf blowing, by contrast, is.

Strangely, among the customary gear that gardeners tote around is a rake — a quiet and efficient leaf control device used for centuries. Rakes, like brooms, however, stay in a pile of never-to-be-used tools.

Another maddening fact about leaf blowers is that they are not just for leaves any more. I live next to a Standard Parking garage (I have a list of grievances for that company!) and they now use leaf blowers to blow candy wrappers and cigarette butts from one part of the garage to another.

Again, they never touch brooms. Instead, the Leaf Blower Brigade blows crap around Standard's two neighboring structures on Sunday nights between the hours of 10:00 PM and 1:30 in the morning, waking neighbors, causing pets to bark and howl and me to whine incessantly to 311.

Do leaf blowers suck or is it just me?

Let me know how you feel about leaf blowers. Log in and leaf a comment.

 

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Can’t kvetch without you

July 21st, 2009 1 comment

There’s so much to kvetch about yet I have been a no-show on ObJew lately. I think I’ve let the Los Angeles anti-kvetch automatons get the better of me.

I’m so sick of Ms. Pollyanna Purebread and her minions. How is it that their optimism is so fragile that my kvetching is a threat?  They get so damned resentful that this little heeb can, with a couple of well placed gripes, pierce their WASPY suits of  I-must-be-optimistic-or-cry armor. On top of that, they resent that I consider kvetching to be an art form — though admittedly, a dying art form. They don’t understand that there is comedy in kvetching!

An old friend named Blair recently used a quote from Eddie Hunt as his Facebook status. It read, “LA’s Fine. Nothing terribly bad or terribly good will ever happen here. In NYC amazingly good and amazingly bad things can happen.”

Oy, what a tumult it caused. A band of insecure LA anti-kvetches went ballistic, not realizing that one interpretation of the quote could be that LA is a heck of a lot more even-keeled than New York. New York’s extreme ups and downs — while perhaps tremendously exciting — are, for the most part, the urban cultural schizophrenia most Angelenos prefer to avoid. Angelenos, that’s okay.

Blair didn’t know what hit him when the anti-kvetches began to flame his status message. First there was (LA spokesperson, I guess) Robert C:

ugh…blair, you used to live in Los Angeles…you know better than to make such ridiculous statements. reveals a new york provincialism that at this point in history is just laughable. when new yorkers talk like this their insecurity is showing.

Our insecurity? Really? And, is it provincialism to say what we all know but just can’t say in Los Angeles (and — I know from experience — in San Francisco) that New York is the capital of the world? (It probably is provincialism but let’s move on.)

Of course, I had to take this on. Admittedly I was in a somewhat grumpy mood:

When New Yorkers talk like that it’s because it’s true.

Then I took another swing. A New York right hook — right below the belt:

Face it. LA is a sleepy suburban sprawl that gets up late and closes early. It is a movie-set facade of a city that many people seem to enjoy. They say it takes at least 3 years of living in LA to actually like it. I’ve got two to go…

I thought that was funny. Ed, another one of Blair’s friends, did not. I was told by Ed to:

“hop back on that jet plane to NYC. (Stereo)typical New Yorker.”

Ed did not understand that kvetching = fun! I made up my mind to prove it to him.

To drive the point home, I told him I’d be staying in LA until I was done complaining. Ha! Anyone that knows me knows that that was code for me staying here indefinitely. Suck it Ed!

I also told him to think of my kvetching as punishment for not being able to find restaurants in LA open after 9:30 PM. Major LA kvetch! How can you consider yourself a major metropolis if everything shuts down by 9? Huh Ed?

Next came the Ms. Purebread ultimate (I left her spew unedited):

“we have ,sun,beaches,culture,fashion,film,radio,tv,top ranking colleges,desert mountains,green grass,clean city,oppurtunity,architecture,Inice people,beautiful beautiful people,1 recovery in the world,low stress,cars,every race possible,……LA is just the place for people who already figured out who they are,what they want,andwhere they want to be, and to do it in a beautiful atmosphere…….and don’t have to prove to everyone else………why struggle in the land of cement!!! carry stuff on your back,freeze your ass off,and it doesn’t matter how much money you have…..still complain. Love NYC,to visit,and then get back to real life!!!!!!!!!!!!!! why does everyone come here then complain,NYC is NYC,and LA is LA. Dig in and allow yourself to enjoy all that LA has to offer.

Already Ms. Calm-and-Collected LA Purebread is breaking a sweat and her low stress veneer is melting all over the beautifully manicured green LA grass. And, by its rambling nature, we know one thing for sure: She should put down the crystal meth pipe right away. Right away.

But never one to pass off an opportunity to infuriate a crackhead, I hammer my point home, again:

“I guess kvetching is just an art form that is undervalued and so misunderstood here in la la land…”

He shot back,

“…..we have just outgrown it.

Touche. Exactly my point. RIP New York Jewish cynicism, particularly when it rears its ugly head in LA.

One more volley from me:

“Yes. So advanced here. You need a light to tell you when to cross the street. Can’t figure it out for yourself?

Then Ms. Pollyanna Purebread snapped, choking on soured optimism. Oozing from her pores came doom and dread.

“at least the streets r not filed with rats…….clean,beautiful,and green grass. Is life about being advanced,or just the joy and gratttitude to be alive??????? Whats it like to be so advanced?????????? r u discovering any cures,or changing life?

The horror. The horror.

The movie set facade of her life had shattered. Her distaste of me and, by extension all kvetching New Yorkers drooled from her lips. We had pushed her over the pessimistic edge. Her life would never be the same.

I felt vindicated and alive!

And, of course, I felt some guilt. (It’s Jewish law.) Was I really just a pessimist curmudgeon that couldn’t enjoy LA?

During my hiatus from ObJew I pondered that very question. Should I too be an optimist? Should I embrace LA and all of its great attributes?

Nah.

I decided to embrace my inner, and outer kvetch. I decided to complain with gusto as if my life depended on it! I will not let the anti-kvetch automatons win!

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All-ergies; Everything to Sneeze At!

January 7th, 2009 1 comment

Moving

Oy, what a week. I had to move out of my place in Culver City (that’s a story for another blog post). I hate moving. Packing really butts up against my obsessive-compulsive disorder. It takes me hours, it seems, to pack a box. First I must sort and then clean everything going into the box — even electrical cables get Windexed prior to boxing.

Needless to say my grumpy Korean partner became even more grumpy (and, by extension I suppose, more Korean) and threatened to pack those dirty cables if I didn’t pick up the pace. Of course I couldn’t have that. He won. I picked up the pace. At least I convinced him to label the boxes, another OCD-inspired affliction of mine.

So we finally finished, packed our possessions in a U-Haul and unloaded them in a friend’s garage in Silver Lake, where we will be staying temporarily. We finished rather late in the evening. Both exhausted, we headed for bed. Not our bed, of course, but Maria’s guest bed. It’s comfortable but a full-size. A tad too small for the two of us. We made do.

What I couldn’t hack, however, was the down pillow I found under my head. I asked Lee to switch pillows with me. His was a poly-filled, hypoallergenic number. I had to have it! I made the move for a pillow switch. Grumpily, he asked what I was doing (the maneuver must have awakened him, but this was a matter of life or sneezing!). I explained that I was allergic to feather pillows. Allergies

He was perplexed. Not only could he not understand how someone could be allergic to feathers, he couldn’t fathom how I even knew I was.

I explained that at an early age, perhaps four or five years old, my mother told me, in no uncertain terms, that I was allergic to everything. There was nothing on the face of the earth that would make me sneeze and features were just the tip of the Greenberg (iceberg).

Dust, mold, mildew, grass, pollen, dust mites, bees, you name it. They all contributed to my bouts with hay fever. And if the mere suggestion of being allergic to everything wasn’t enough, I was taken by my mother each week to the allergist for shots for all of these supposed allergens.

A scratch test, when an allergist literally scratches allergens on a patient’s arm and then waits for a reaction, is the typical method of discovering whether or not one has allergies. I did not have scratch tests, however. My doctor and I relied on my Jewish mother’s word. In those days a Jewish mother’s word trumped any test any doctor could perform.

From childhood on, my experience with allergies has been a constant and arduous process of elimination: To find out what doesn’t make me wheeze.

Sneeze graphic from: Allergy Help.


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What a dump!

December 20th, 2008 1 comment

Ah Los Angeles.  Sprawling suburbs speckled with strip malls and surrounded by traffic-laden, potholed streets. Freeways are parking lots and public transportation is virtually non-existent.  

Drive to a bar.  You’re done. Now turn on your ignition and cut across four lanes of traffic. But be on the lookout for pigs.

Ah LA. La La Land. You love it here because celebrities live and work here.  Their stars line a street while everyone serves them.

Fun. I know. Because you want to be just like them. And you don’t even know them.

Feels real, right?  

Well guess again.  You’re not the star of your own reality TV program, though it feels that way to you.  

But you’ll find that out the hard way, soon enough.  

You think I’m bitter?  Well maybe just a tad.  

They tell me I will love LA in the requisite two years it normally takes.  But why must I wait so long to like this place, I ask.  They never have an answer.  And I am always scolded for being such an obstinate New York asshole.

And again, I think to myself, that that’s not an answer.

I will try, I tell myself, to like LA.  Just to like it. To acknowledge the good things, like the weather.

But the weather is all I can come up with.  Then, as predicted, I go negative. Oy, the intellectual desolation and traffic. That’s pretty much all there is. Isn’t it?

No. That can’t be it. I know there’s more to Los Angeles.  Hmmmm.  If only…

Wait. I know. Randy Newman. I knew there must be something more!

Yeah. I feel better now.

Let’s do lunch!

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LA is driving me crazy!

July 25th, 2008 No comments

These people here are nuts. Despite all the cars — expensive ones — Angelenos can’t fucking drive.

They’ll pass you from the right lane. They think nothing of cutting over four lanes of traffic — while applying makeup and still using their mobile handets.

Also, someone please tell them that the person to their right always has the right of way.

I also hate this “pedestrian in the crosswalk” bullshit. They should be forced to scramble for their lives just like the rest of us.

And let me jaywalk please. I can take care of myself. Even with these shifty LA drivers!

From my iPhone.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1hs546NH7A[/youtube]

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Decalifornication and Funny Gay Sofa

February 19th, 2008 No comments

I was planning my escape to nowhere in particular when an old friend from Los Angeles (we’ll call him “Old Friend From Los Angeles”) let me know he had the perfect place for me to live: Cozy bedroom; Private office; Huge gardens; and, All the modern conveniences.  Problem was, he needed a roommate now (now being a few weeks ago).

I really wanted to be in LA for a number of reasons, not the least of which was to put some distance between me and the ex, and to put much needed distance between me and my lovely-yet-overbearing mother.

When reality set in, however, and it occurred to me i needed to be on a flight to LAX almost immediately, I froze. 

LAX

After a couple of nerve-wracking days, I finally got an appointment with my therapist (it should be law that every New York City resident MUST see a therapist).  

This, surprisingly made matters worse. All the emotions I was repressing now bubbled up to the surface. My sister, my mother and probably everyone that walked past me that day could see the pain written all over my otherwise happy-go-lucky face (perhaps happy-go-lucky is a slight exaggeration). 

I was what my therapist labelled “being in crisis mode” — which for therapists is like hitting the mother load. I now have to see him twice a week. $$

With much regret, I pulled the plug very last minute on my move to La La Land. I realized it was too quick and was inadequately planned.  I knew I had to finish dealing with the fallout of my breakup and the impact it is having on my business. I hope Old Friend From Los Angeles is not too pissed off at me. I do feel terribly guilty — as it is my cultural imperative to do so. [Edited 2/20/2008: Is Jewish guilt a myth?]

 

 

 

 

Then there’s Jaffe Cohen, of the Funny Gay Males, the movie “Hit and Runway,” and author of Tush.  Now if you remember from previous blog entries, he has the apartment I was planning to move into.  He and his new roommate Gadi have made that place a third, much-needed home for me. 

Funny Gay Males

 

 

 

So the Mensch Awards go to: Old Friend From Los Angeles and to Jaffe and Gadi.

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Compulsive meets impulsive

January 3rd, 2008 No comments

After the shock of being confronted by my mother for not shaking the snake enough to satisfy her need for the marble floor of her guest bathroom to look more like the marble at the Palace of Versailles, all I could do was to fantasize my escape.

I immediately went to the JetBlue site but found nothing I could afford. Then, my favorite redheaded step-child Josh suggested I try Virgin America for my getaway.

Yes! I booked a flight to Los Angeles for that Friday, just 2 days away, on the second Friday of December. Got my best friend in LA on the phone to set up my airport pickup and to arrange to crash at his place. This was looking good. And, according to Josh I’d be flying there in luxury on Virgin’s near-virgin fleet.

There’d be hip electronica playing in the cabin with intense Virgin Red mood lighting that, like club lighting, makes everyone look good. Considering I was in the middle of a nervous breakdown, all this sounded pretty enticing.

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