Christmas Morning

Dec 27, 2006 in True Life Stories

I woke up this morning with a start, completely convinced that it was Christmas morning and that I had overslept, missing the gifts. They say that you know when you’re an adult because you want to sleep in, instead of waking up at 5 am with excitement in your heart. My adulthood must be reluctant at best, because two days ago I woke up before 7 am after a fitful sleep, filled with anticipation for what would lie under the tree.

Or, I guess, the poinsettia, since my grandmother’s apartment is more potted plant-than towering conifer-sized. Read on…

On Gluttony

Dec 26, 2006 in Food, Travel

Right now, lying on my back on my bed in my hotel room, my bloated stomach in the air, I fear I must be channeling Nero Wolfe. Well, insofar as I’m overindulging, not insofar as I’m solving crimes. And I must also say that I am killing the orchids I have, so maybe I’m not that much like Nero Wolfe. Except that I’m currently approaching hemispherical in profile, thanks to my most recent, outrageously large, dinner. Read on…

Three Pieces of Tape

Dec 24, 2006 in Otherwise Uncategorized

My, my, my, my wrapping it be so hard
Makes me say oh my Lord
Christmas be buggin’ me
With a gift to wrap under the tree
It’d feel good if my tape stuck down
I fold nice square corners they turn out round
My gifts don’t look smooth
Under the tree people say ewww Read on…

Worst. Episode Shoulder. Ever.

Dec 23, 2006 in Various Frailties

In our last episode, it was revealed that our hero had a very very sore shoulder. Well, insofar as it’s the holidays, and I’m with my family, and they’re footing the bill, and we’re staying at a hotel with an attached spa, I thought I’d get a massage. Because, as we learned in Thailand, massages fix things. Read on…

On The Virtues of Doing a Half-Assed Job

Dec 22, 2006 in Elsewhere

It’s the holidays, and nobody wants to be at their desk doing work. We all have visions of sugarplums, or holiday shopping, or eggnog by the fireplace in our heads; sitting in one’s cube is hardly compatible with these daydreams. Since we all want to slack off, now is a great time to reflect on the virtues of doing a half-assed job. There’s really no better gift to oneself, one’s employees, and one’s productivity, than finally accepting the half-assed job.

Read on…

If This is Houston, My Back Must Hurt

Dec 21, 2006 in Various Frailties

Those of you who have been following along for quite a while may remember The Incident With The Roll-Out Bed. For many years, when visiting my Grandma1 for christmas, I slept on this fold-up bed on wheels that got rolled out only when I was in town. When I was six, this contraption, whose purchase only slightly antedated my father’s birth, was quite adequate. However, when I turned 14 or so, one night on this bed left me writhing on the floor in the way that only a sore back can make one writhe. Read on…

A Few Ideas For You Dictators Out There

Dec 17, 2006 in Otherwise Uncategorized

I’m an inveterate entrepreneur; I like coming up with new, crazy ideas and turning them into cool companies. Or, well, I will like someday when I’ve done it successfully. Anyway, I was a poli sci major as an undergrad, so sometimes I wonder: why is it that we don’t have any truly new and innovative approaches to how a company should work? I mean, there are plenty of countries out there that are, for all practical purposes, completely fucked. So why shouldn’t they try something crazy? Here it is then, two crazy ideas of models failed countries can try. Read on…

New on James Bond: a Commodity?

Dec 16, 2006 in Elsewhere

I — rather belatedly — saw the new James Bond movie this weekend. After years of Bonds who were indistinct from any other action hero, Casino Royale finally gives us a satisfying, absorbing Bond. The theater at which I saw this movie even offered me a nice bit of gratitude: “Thank you for choosing Pacific Theaters,” the promo reel said as it ran before the movie. Unfortunately for the producers of this clip, I didn’t choose Pacific Theaters. Like most people, I chose the convenient place and time for the movie, not the specific theater chain. Theater chains are a commodity: all are essentially equivalent to the consumer. Commoditization is a serious threat to almost every product, but these same theater chains show us some ways all of us entrepreneurs can avoid becoming commodities too.

Read on…

Like a Drowned Cat

Dec 14, 2006 in Dreams, True Life Stories

My third cat, Percy, we got from a farm in Western Maryland when I was in 7th grade. Out of a barn or not, Percy looked like an Abyssinan with the coat of a Russian Blue. When we first got him, I held Percy on my lap as we drove him home; he sat bolt upright and peered out the window for the whole trip. About 20 minutes in, he peed on me, the good, solid, sustained pee that comes from holding it in for a while and then finally letting go when you need to. Read on…

In Which My Faith In Humanity is Renewed

Dec 7, 2006 in Sightings

I live in a moderately rough part of town. This is intentional; in LA, you can find great apartment values in neighborhoods that may look a bit “transitional” but in fact be perfectly safe. My ‘hood, although safe, is filled with both actual gangbangers and those who look like ‘bangers. Every day as I walk to get lunch, I see Latinos in white wife-beaters and baggy jeans, or African-Americans wearing red. Today, walking back from the store, I saw three such worthies, tall, big, African-American; one was wearing a Stop Snitchin’ t-shirt. As I walked past, the tallest one said “hey, ‘scuse me, yo!” Read on…

Paroxysms of Happiness (or, Alternatively, Another Reason For You To Hate Me)

Dec 5, 2006 in Reviews

I love Christmas shopping; I love this time of year. While others complain about the crowds, I float along in a haze of joy from the wondrous seasonal music. Oh, I do want to hear you and your drum, and come with all the other faithful, and hear about that holly jolly soul Frosty. But basic requirements of workplace productivity, showering, etc., all prevented me from spending Thanksgiving-Christmas in malls, listening to the piped-in music, and who can trust K-Earth to not play some Beach Boys in December? So, for years, I’ve been mostly holiday music-less, apart from singing “O Tannenbaum”1 to myself in July. Read on…

De-Feat! De-Feat!

Dec 2, 2006 in Spurts

So my Trojans just lost to our cross-town rival UCLA Bruins. And, you know what, I’m okay with that. Sure, call me a bad homer1, but sometimes there’s such a thing as a good loss.
Read on…