Tuesday, June 29, 2004

This theme is getting old... both in the "aged" and the "quit it already" senses, so I'd better move it along.

Things About LA That I...

... Will Miss: (3.) Tiki-Ti

A bar so small, you'll be standing if you don't get there within an hour of the 6PM opening. Drinks so strong, the first one quickly answers why on earth you paid $10 for it. Names so funny, you'll wonder why you ever went to bars where saying "Puka Puka" at the bar gets you pointed to the alley door.

When we first went there in 2002, we decided in our drunky haze that we'd take home the paper menu listing the 80+ tropical drinks, and use it to record comments on every single one. For two years, we brought in our tattered, blurry, gin-joint journal, along with any out-of-town guest and probably a cumulative two grand. We proceeded to try (or be with someone who tried) every drink on the menu, recording a bit of pissed pith each time.

In retrospect, our entries are no more illuminating (and no less guttural) than the drinks' names. Many are on the level of "Bourbonanza!" or "Can't remember -- went down yesterday." Frankly, it doesn't matter. Other than the Tequila Chapter (about which the less said, the better) there isn't much you can say to distinguish one big bourbon-rum-and-juice haymaker from sixty others. At least, not much you can fit in the half-inch of space between splash marks.

Our leaving Los Angeles coincided almost perfectly with finishing the menu. We'd never felt cool enough to talk with the father-and-son bartender team, much less ask them to put our Illinois plates up with the global collection hanging over the bar. But that night, a regular spotted us celebrating our completed menu and brought it over to them. The best we got out of them was a smile and, "It's a kind of sickness."

Soooo cooool.

... Won't Miss: (3.) Being Cool, Trim, Well-Dressed, Moneyed, and the Object of Envy

It was hard to keep up after a while. Some days, I could only manage Moneyed and Trim, having too little energy to project enviableness. Other days, I had it all going... except the vintage concert tee and sculpted bedhead. And it tore my soul up to leave the house without the whole picture complete.

It was a lot of plates to spin, boyo. I'd like to see you try it.

... Will Miss: (2.) Watts Towers

Easily the coolest thing in Los Angeles. I'm sure I've taken more pictures of it than of my grandparents. And my grandparents are cool.

... Won't Miss: (2.) Dogs Barking/Helicopters/Leaf Blowers (tie)

I'll tell oo y, but you'll to h a second until is nds.

... Will Miss: (1.) You Know Who You Are

... Won't Miss: (1.) This Kind of Mess

Today's FOCR: "Goodbye," Paul Stanley, Paul Stanley

Thursday, June 17, 2004


Today's FOCR: "Kick Out the Jams," MC5, Kick Out the Jams

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Things About LA That I...

... Will Miss: (4.) Fatburger

O, Fatburger. It will be some time before I once again say the word "fat" eight times to execute one fast-food transaction.

I'll miss all of those chains. In-N-Out. Tommy's. Even Carl's Jr. Drive-thru burgers that take longer just to make than a Big Mac takes to exit your body. Burgers so neatly composed, so tightly stacked with toppings, yet held in check by a paper diaper, as if the ward of some butcher-shop nanny. BSE never tasted so good.

UPDATE: To learn more about LA burgers, visit your public library. Or here.

... Won't Miss: (4.) Fatphobia

Having a gut in LA is like playing scratch-em lottery cards outside a Gamblers Anonymous meeting. The looks you get in passing convey a big helping of scorn, with just a tiny bit of "wow, I wish I could do that."

Today's FOCR: "Baby Fat," Wet Willie, The Wetter the Better

Monday, June 14, 2004

Things About LA That I...

... Will Miss: (5.) The LA Public Library

The Central Library downtown is absolutely gorgeous. A huge sunlit atrium. Self-service checkout machines. A retail-level sense for displaying books. Thickly cushioned leather chairs. A coffee bar. A gift shop. Even the children's library has nicer furniture than I'll probably ever own in my adult life.

The system is great, too. You can reserve books online from anywhere in the city and have them delivered to any other branch. They'll email you when it's ready. And since it's not really, you know, a book town, there was never a wait for a reserved book... with the exception of The Da Vinci Code, which had a queue of something like 15,358 people.

(I assume this elephantine number itself was another encoded message about Jesus. When my turn to read it comes around in 2098, I'll let you know if I was right.)

Like so many things -- the library, the subway, footwear -- LA spends the most money on things it uses the least.

... Won't Miss: (5.) the LA subway

Mostly because I never used it.

I would have... but see, the station was real far from our place. It would have taken a bus ride just to get to it, and it doesn't go anywhere near where I want, and I never knew how much the fare was, and the earthquakes, of course, and....

Today's FOCR: "Subway Train," New York Dolls, New York Dolls

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Things About LA That I...

... Won't Miss: (6.) The Western Conference "Champions"

I owe a debt of gratitude to a Neanderthal. Surely it was some Early Man, upon seeing a rival tribe making off with his hard-earned elk meat, who was prevented by distance from actually striking the sneakthieves. At that pivotal moment in human communication, the only expression of outrage available with his fist was to raise and shake it.

That watershed of bipedal rage was invented for the Lakers. And for the 25th time each day I'm cut off by an SUV sporting those damn Lakers mini-flags. Invariably, there are least two, lest the principle of diminishing perspective render the flag on the Hummernaut's distant side unreadable.

Ooooooh! I hate them Lakers! [TAKE OFF HAT, STOMP ON IT]

... Will Miss: (6.) The Western Exterminator Company

Looming over Temple Street near the 101 is a giant yellow wall with this logo.

Like all true fans of The Rock, I am unable to drive by this glorious image without taking the 101 exit ramp to concert T-shirt heaven. For this Little Man waggled his finger from the backs of fortunate souls who went (or gave fourteen bucks to friends who went) to Van Halen's 1984 world tour.

In an interview with Rock Video Magazine, DLR says that they were unable to get a company to sponsor the tour, so they decided to instead sponsor a company. They lifted the logo, and a bit of 100% cotton history was made.

But I like to imagine a day in 1978. A stoned Diamond Dave watches a WestExt guy chase roaches around the graveyard of Jack bottles on his crappy Venice Beach bungalow's floor. Fixated on the exterminator's jumpsuit logo, DLR imagines the day he and that "little dude with the big whammer" would make it big.

Inspired, he grabs scissors and cuts the ass out of his pants. Without taking them off.

Today's FOCR: "House of Pain," Van Halen, 1984