12/17/10

FOOLS ARE STEALING CAR PARTS NOW

what's missing?


AND NOT EVEN GOOD PARTS - Lamborghini engines, 24-inch rims, none of that. At some point between 1:30am and 10am yesterday, a team of highly experienced losers stole the tailgate off my sister's Dodge Ram 1500 - parked in the front driveway of my mayoral compound near the corner of Venice Blvd. and Westwood Blvd., just across the street from the strip mall some lady drove into with her Pathfinder the other day (story). According to Officer Silva, who took our police report, the jackery process takes seconds, and LAPD's Pacific Division took seven similar reports of car part theft in the Palms area yesterday, in case anyone tries to sell you a replacement door for your gas cap over the weekend. My first instinct was to ask Jesse The Parking Lot King (story) if he had seen anything, but he wasn't in the lot. My second instinct was to hunt and bludgeon the two young bums who were using the spare parking spot in the back of our building as a soda can storage unit until recently (the one who looks like Tom Sizemore can be seen frolicking in our dumpster in this story here), but luckily logic stepped in for a change. Chances are, they haven't been casing my sister's truck door all these months, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce on it and catch the first plane to Cancun with the riches. Some guy from the halfway house next door with a neck tattoo that reads "Beautifully Broken" wandered over for a second in between cigarettes to tell us he didn't see anything. Beija from across the street rode by on a beach cruiser wearing an awful lot of blue. And that was pretty much the end of our investigation. We're waiting to hear back from insurance, and Officer Silva appeared positive about the chances of recovering the door, but I guess that's his job.

At least we didn't get done like Sunday night Saints & Sinners deejay Charlie did the other night. Apparently two guys mugged him at knifepoint. It's getting real '90s around here all of a sudden.

12/14/10

CAR DRIVES INTO STORE ON VENICE BLVD.


EVER SINCE I FIGURED OUT THERE'S NOTHING COOL ABOUT BEING a borderline alcoholic last month, The Palms Weekend has been pretty quiet. Sure, story ideas crossed my mind: the possible origins of the used condom that sat in our driveway for a week; a recent dream in which I was plunging my toilet; whether Daffy or Donald is the more popular cartoon duck. All faintly amusing literary romps, but I've had bigger tilapia to fry - which, it turns out, is not strictly an L.A. fish, and can be found worldwide. Who knew?

Seems the universe stepped in yesterday to force my hand. First, some lady drove her car through the front door of the Hookah Zone, right across the street next to Habib Market and the 99c store (see "RIP 88c Store"). Luckily, no customers were in the Hookah Zone, as usual. Meanwhile, firemen were clearing up a two-car crash directly in front of the store on Venice Blvd between Glendon (see "Venice & Glendon") and Westwood that left one driver in a stretcher. Check the video for on-the-spot reportage from my intern Nikki E., who quit yesterday.

I can't make this shit up.



11/11/10

new study: SMART KIDS GROW UP TO DRINK MORE, LIVE LONGER, AND GROW BIGGER DONGS



Bad news for the ladies though.

But seriously, the two articles I just read at English webzine The Week ("Why Do Smart Kids Grow Up To Be Heavier Drinkers?" and "Why Booze Hounds Live Longer") confirm what I've always felt in my gut regarding the relationship between alcohol and health. I won't get into what I felt in my liver. No matter what crackpot theory you're cradling in that dusty skull of yours, there's a study on the Internets to give you that warm fuzzy feeling, and I haven't felt anything this warm and fuzzy since... well... I'll leave that one alone. Children may be reading.

This is a big deal for me. It's not like finding out you're right about something irrelevant, like 'ice cream truck drivers have a high rate of insanity' (it's the music). This is a validation of my whole lifestyle. So obviously I'm subscribing to it, and to this wonderful magazine. Seems I'll be around for a while, so I'm inquiring into some kind of eighty-year discount rate. Stroke my ego.

Staring at the sun is a lot easier with sunglasses, and staring the universe in the eye is a lot easier with a coffee cup full of Vons whiskey. Plus, smart people need good excuses for why they aren't world-famous or filthy rich, and consistently being too drunk to stand up straight is normally an explanation sufficient to quiet down everyone except your mother and yourself. Yes, I'm talking about myself. Luckily, it looks like I may have a little extra time on this planet to make the cover of Time, or start my whistling orchestra, or track down Eddie Murphy's sense of humor. So on that note, please pass the deep fried beer. We're in the long haul now.

11/9/10

HEY INTERNETS! PICTURES OF DOGS!


A COMPLICATED HIP-HOP HANDSHAKE TO JA-FAR PEEK of East Point, Georgia for sending in these photos of two rossum practicing their Starsky & Hutch routine in a pahked cah in Portland, Maine. Send in any and all photos of dogs behind steering wheels to weare@thepalmsweekend.com the millisecond you snap 'em. If you still don't know how to email a photo from your cellphone, ask your little sister, or, if you don't have one, the next small child you run into. When you see a dog sitting behind a steering wheel like an eight-year-old operating a ferris wheel, I want my hairy face to pop into your funny-shaped head. I just quadrupled my server size with Godaddy for an extra $120 a month, and the top Armenians at Google have been thoroughly forewarned about the flood of hits The Palms Weekend is about to receive, since everyone knows children and dogs rule the Internets.



STOP BEING CRAZY

How much crazy can one city take before everyone has to start wearing clown outfits and talking to each other using their asscheeks like Ace Ventura, Pet Detective? Nutjobs used to be clearly noticeable by the doo-doo smell and the drool string connecting their lip to their left knee. That description has now been broadened to "anyone in slightly rumpled clothing". The balding shlub in velcro sneakers at the Coffee Bean on Motor and Venice, the short-haired lesbian gutter snipe who's always at the Starbucks on Venice and Washington, and the sullen lady with the poodle bangs reading at Borders were all quiet for a nice stretch, but once they snapped, I smacked myself for not seeing the signs sooner, homelessness connoisseur that I am. You're reading, or wasting time on your phone, or just looking at your thighs, and a pair of sad Pacman-ghost eyes loom into the outskirts of your 'preriphreral' vision, accompanied by what an interview with a community college professor might sound like if the interviewer's mic was off. Now I can't even trust slightly dirty-looking people to not disrupt my public time. I don't even think most of you are crazy. You're just attention whores. I understand it's lonely being homeless and/or bananas. It breaks my boiled lime of a heart, every day. But if you want people to give you more than one-word responses to your rants, you have to have a job or clean clothing. One or the other. And if you receive, on average, less than six words for every five thousand you sputter off in a conversation, you need to shut the fuck up for a while, figure out why nobody wants to talk to you, and retool your manner accordingly so you don't end up talking to yourself forever and actually go crazy for real. It's just how this world works. We didn't make the rules. And you repeatedly breaking them is only going to land you in a cardboard box in the back of a dental office off National Blvd. 



WHO CARES

Not me. My song with Prince Po is getting good blog lovin'. This morning my neighbor actually paid me back the $350 I loaned her to stay out of jail when her landlord tried to have her locked up last summer. She said she got it by stiffing him on part of this month's rent, since the housing department she's entitled to a break since her husband just moved out. So I may be bailing her out of jail again pretty soon. The other day I smacked a fly dead on my arm. This morning I got a gnat between my hands. I'm in the Matrix, bitches.

11/8/10

download: MALKOVICH (me) | MAWNSTR | PRINCE PO (of organized konfusion) - "THE NEXT EDITION [3 HIPPOS]"



SO MY BOY MAWNSTR, WHO I HAVEN'T SEEN SINCE everyone was wearing Dickies instead of just me, calls me outta nowhere last month. One of West LA's old guard, he brought terror to the Clinton era on a scale only a few members of my crew could match, and that's saying something. Then we didn't hear from him for a long time, and when he resurfaced he was living in the Bay. That's how you know you're dealing with an Extra Grimey Individual, kids. Kind of like when you see a really hot woman at the bus stop dragging a large suitcase.

Anyway, he invited me to jump on this posse cut alongside him and Prince Po, who hip-hop connoisseurs know as one half of Organized Konfusion, the NYC duo that permanently raised the standard for anyone seriously trying to rap with 1994's Stress: The Extinction Agenda album (check out the video for lead single "Stress"). For those of you who need to hear a familiar name right about now in order to read any further, O.K.'s other member is Pharaohe Monch (the guy who made "Simon Says", a.k.a. 'the rap song with the Godzilla beat that keeps going 'get the fuck up'), and the album featured everyone's favorite gifted, non-threatening rap dude, Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest.

"The Next Edition (Three Hippos)" is the result. Po's first, Mawnstr's next, and I round it out. I'm rapping with a guy I used to hang out with, and another guy I used to listen to while I was hanging out with the other guy. This is the changing of the guard. And it's how I know I'm on the right track. Enjoy.

My star’s rising, I’m in your hard drive
I’m in your thoughts like food and sex
I’m on the ball like insert your favorite player here, throw a 'no homo' in
and watch me take it to the net, slow motioning
when California goes in the ocean I’ma be at Venice Beach lotioning
get my shoulders?
I’m in the Testarossa with Desdemona
Milan is the bomb, word to my leather loafers
you looking extra sober, smelling extra sofa
fighting over extra Stouffers, your shit is hella over
Mawnstr and Prince Po, it's on from the get go
outta nowhere, we're the rap RickRoll
the rap hippos, we run the jungle on the low
and you won't know till you're getting stomped a new asshole
my name's Malkovich, and you spell that
M-A-L-K-O-V-I'm the shit.


11/4/10

my BIG ASS WALK.


WALLETS AND CAR KEYS. Its been that kind of week. Yesterday I almost blew a blood vessel searching for my wallet, which turned out to be in my cousin's car, despite the fact that I searched my cousin's car for it the previous night, which probably never would have worked out since I was drinking a bottle of rum while I was doing it. And this morning, on the corner of Hollywood and Kingsley by Pandamami's house, I found out the hard way that car clickers do not actually run on some magical inexhaustible energy source, and once they're dead they won't work no matter how many times you press 'unlock' and hope for the best. Since my ignition key, curiously, does not open my car door, I called AAA, at which point I was informed that I had used my free visits for the year. I don't like standing around, so I walked home. I like walking. It helps me think, and I enjoy knowing more about people's neighborhoods than they do. I only totalled six miles today, a little more than half the length of last week's walk which took me from Culver City to Venice Beach to Third Street Promenade to Westwood. But the fact that today's excursion was conducted during a mind-whitening November heatwave evens things out, I think. Here's a play-by-play.


Hollywood Blvd & Taft Ave: I step in wet asphalt with both shoes, granting me an extra quarter inch in height and panoramic views for the rest of the day.

Hollywood Blvd & Bronson Ave: I buy water from a liquor store where the East African cashier is arguing with a Ukrainian man trying to wire money who apparently doesn't know how to spell his own name.

Hollywood Blvd & Vine St: A man is leaning on a lamppost bearing an "I Love Electro" poster, barfing on himself. I know how he feels.

Hollywood Blvd between Cherokee Ave and Highland Ave: Tourists probably run a much smaller chance of getting mutilated for their fannypacks nowadays then they did back in the '90s, but you can still count on Hollyweird for poor, angry pimps, old men who are too insane to do anything but smile, and runaways with terrible haircuts who just want hugs. One walked past me saying "that's no example to teach your children." I'm assuming he was talking to someone else.

Hollywood Blvd & Orange Dr: Saw a bum polishing W.C. Fields' star who looked an awful lot like W.C. Fields.

Sunset Blvd & La Brea Ave: Stopped by Crazy Girls (where I'll be performing soon, details coming) to get what I thought was a rock out of my left shoe. Turned out to be a hole in the sock that was starting to sting.

La Brea Ave & De Longpre Ave: Walked past another of those billboards the AIDS organizations have thrown around town with the big picture of the smiling HIV-positive professional chef, like we're supposed to be happy about that. Shouldn't that be illegal? I cut my finger every time I walk in my kitchen.

La Brea Ave & Fountain Ave: Took my shirt off. Walked past three trannies. Put my shirt on.

La Brea Ave & Santa Monica Blvd: Had the guy at the T-Mobile store recharge my phone. It died as I walked in. Ate at Baja Fresh to kill time. Was reminded how much I hate the word 'zesty'. Left my wallet on the table and almost lost it again. Rotated my socks in the restroom, feeling vaguely like Josh Brolin's character in No Country For Old Men, except he was running from a murderer and my car wouldn't start. Rotating socks didn't help. Bought a ten-pack of socks from Target, put a new pair on. Didn't help either. Grabbed my phone from T-Mobile store.

Melrose Ave & Alta Vista Blvd: Ran into my boy Nir who dropped me off at Venice & La Brea. Felt like a bit of a cheat. His friend showed me how to easily open my car clicker, and asked me why I didn't just replace the battery instead of walking six miles in a heatwave. Felt like a bit of an idiot.

Venice Blvd & Hauser Blvd: Picked up a quiz some kid must have dropped. 89% is respectable by most standards. I just hope this isn't a twelfth-grader. And his teacher obviously had a late night at Acapulco's because George is definitely missing an 'e' in 'Influnce' towards the bottom there.



Venice Blvd & Halm Ave: Was picked up and taken home by my wonderful intern, just in time to begin the work day.


Gotta go. Time to go see if this other clicker works.

11/1/10

I'M DJING TONIGHT at THE THIRSTY CROW in SILVERLAKE



The Thirsty Crow, 2939 Sunset (near Silverlake)

LAST WEEK I RECEIVED AN UNEXPECTED CALL: an invitation to DJ at The Thirsty Crow in Silverlake. It's the reincarnation of Stinkers, the trucker-themed bar that resided at 2939 Sunset until a few months ago, and the site of one of my most painful sackings (see The Palms Weekend's Greatest Bootings). I bagged the position of Stinkers' resident Saturday night DJ by following five simple rules on my trial night there: nothing new, nothing hippie, nothing glam-rock, nothing funky, nothing sappy (see Stinkers). Stinkers Saturdays were a chest-beatingly good time through spring 2009. The fake smoke blowing out of the skunk asses surrounding the bar enhanced your buzz, and there weren't any real truckers hanging around to blow that buzz either.

Of course, as the Saturdays went by, more and more people approached the DJ booth asking Sum and I to, you know, mix it up a bit. If there's one thing you don't have to ask us twice, it's mix it up a bit. And people seemed to be really into hearing hip-hop, funk, soul and rock 'n roll all in a trucker-styled bar, all the way up until the place turned into a ghost town and we got fired like fake smoke out of a skunk's ass. In our defense, it's not like we were there seven nights a week to fuck things up, and I'd need to drink about eight four-dollar PBRs to be okay with the idea of paying four dollars for a PBR. But I can't shake the memory of this Yelp review where some guy wrote of the Saturday night DJs: "I guess it took two of them to suck so bad." Anyone who complains about loud music - let alone on Yelp - is more catfish than human. But I've been itching to re-christen the place ever since.

The Thirsty Crow has a Prohibition-era theme, and my music collection is probably more big band, blues and jazz then anything else, so I've been inserting casual reminders of my extreme availability on any night of the week in conversations with Crow manager Cooper (of Mad Planet fame), who normally feigns a smile and changes the subject to yachting or bus schedules. So tonight, I will toast to a night I didn't expect, then I will deejay from ten till two. Entry is free, and the drinks are really, really good. It's a bourbon bar, so get a mint julep, or a marmalade martini, or a shot of George T. Stagg so strong that ice cubes don't float in it.

10/25/10

our documentary on Palms homeless writer JAY BRADY. Part VI: SIGNING OFF.




THE FINAL INSTALLMENT OF OUR SERIES OF INTERVIEWS WITH PALMS-AREA homeless writer Jay Brady, who closes us out with a Jerry Springer-style last word. Haven't seen him in a while, but I'm sure he's fine. He has friends with homes who let him crash pretty regularly.

During its creation, I had the idea that this documentary would get his book published and get him off the streets. I'm not sure how I got that idea, but don't worry, it's gone now. Shit, I spend all my days running like the hounds of hell are upon me just to keep these scruffy four walls of mine. That's how most of us avoid living in boxes.


10/21/10

THE BEAST IS DEAD



THE COUCH IS GONE. Apparently, these bites covering my body are bedbugs after all, but I didn't realize they were in my couch and not my mattress until I noticed them streaming out of my cushions towards my half-naked body while watching Raging Bull the other night. Meanwhile, I ruined my mattress last month scrubbing it down with bleach-flavored Lysol, and no matter how many incense sticks I slide under my bedcase, it still has that faint foot smell, and is probably going to have to see the dumpster like about a third of my possessions have in the last month. I'm basically paying to squat in my own home.

The two guys remodeling Janet's old apartment helped me get the couch out of my place the same way it got in: over my balcony. Thank God all 218 of the Vinyl Junkies were living at my place that week in 2005 when I copped it, because I would never have gotten it over the balcony alone, and it sure wasn't going through the front door. It had a bunch of musty rappers camped out on it within ten seconds of landing in the mayoral compound, and it stayed that way pretty much right up until its unceremonious exit.

Between girlfriends, houseguests, extremely long-term houseguests and small invertebrates, there are an awful lot of individuals, living and dead, who know that couch intimately. Some of them, I wined and dined onto it, and hoped they'd never leave. Some, I welcomed into my home until they were financially ready to venture into the world. Others, I squeezed to death between my fingers until they exploded and left a piney smell. It loved all its occupants, and they loved it right back, no matter what they might tell you. If it really loved you, it left feathers in your hair.

Actually, I had to ask a couple I met at the market last week to wake up and get off the couch just before I threw it out. It was a comfy ass couch, man. It's the kind of couch you dedicate sonnets to. And I did, actually. check it out.






Anyway, it's sitting by the dumpster looking like Saddam's statue after the Iraqis knocked it over. My living room looks like a yoga studio. Anyone got a spare couch?

10/19/10

our documentary on Palms homeless writer JAY BRADY. Part V: GETTIN' LOADED


HERE'S PART FIVE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH HOMELESS WRITER JAY BRADY, where I 'went in', as the kids say, on Mr Brady somewhat, as it became clear that I was talking to a man whose core problem is alcohol, not homelessness. This documentary was shot in a day, and he's a couple of MGD tall boys in by this point.

Jay says the homeless are trying to kill the pain caused by the fact that they have nothing to do. It seems to me that they have nothing to do precisely because they're wacked out of their brains half their days. I understand that kicking a substance addiction when you're not homeless is hard enough. But lets pinpoint the problem.

99.100% of (relatively) sane, able-bodied homeless people happen to stay as high and/or drunk as possible. Coincidence?

If they were to stop, life would almost certainly get better. How long do you think someone sober and homeless would hang out at the park? Ten minutes? I only visit parks if I'm shitty drunk, or watching someone's baby, in which case I'm almost incoherent. If I was sober I'd probably run outta there screaming louder than the kid.

Intoxication accompanies celebration. If you have no home or money, the party's over. Make kicking your addiction and eating your first and second priorities, in that order, and I think you stand a much better chance of finding a job and your own water supply - two great reasons to pop a bottle or two. I think drugs and drank account for the downfall of just about everyone I know, really. Show me someone who should have been so much more, and I'll show you someone who knows all about drinking at breakfast. That goes for me too. Some of us explode fast; most of us slow burn. Better the latter, if you ask me.





10/18/10

video: GOTHAM GREEN & QUICKIE MART featuring ME, "MALK & GREEN"


NOW THIS ONE WAS FUN. Shout out to the talented director Jay Ahn, and to Gotham Green & Quickie Mart for having the vision to give a raw-ass hip-hop record the Hollywood treatment. Good looking out to Adam at Originators clothing store on Melrose for letting us use his spot. Download the song free here.



10/14/10

THE GREATEST SONG IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE


IT MUST SUCK TO NOT BE HIP-HOP. Everyone's a hostage of their upbringing: where you are and who you hang out with in your early teens, when your ears are wide open and you're looking for anything that helps you make some sense of yourself. By the time you leave high school, the die is cast. I was a heavy metal fanatic when I discovered hip-hop at age 14, the year I moved to America. If I had moved even two years later, I would probably still be rocking a ponytail with the sides shaved, my girlfriends would all smell like cigarettes and black makeup, and my neighbors would hear Winger's second album in their nightmares. I would have had no choice in the matter. Instead, I get to hang out with ladies who should be models, my neighbors dance when my stereo plays, and I'm a conscious, participating member of this hip-hop world we all live in. But if you lived somewhere weird during ninth grade, or had an older sibling with something metal hanging off his or her lip, you probably don't even understand hip-hop music. You don't even know how to begin. A goddamn shame.

A good place to start is DJ Kool's "Let Me Clear My Throat", the greatest song in the history of the universe. DJ Kool is a Washington D.C.-based DJ.  D.C. is in the heartland of America, where black people invented all Western music that people actually like that isn't classical music. A good hip-hop DJ knows everything about all kinds of music, since hip-hop is made of every kind of music in the world. So I'm not surprised that a D.C. DJ created the greatest song in the history of the universe, or that the greatest song in the universe is a combination of a James Brown loop, some horns lifted off another of the greatest songs in the universe and a bunch of people going completely apeshit while a guy shouts about how he needs to clear his throat.

Many of the greatest songs make people cry. Some make people mosh. I know one that makes people leap ten feet in the air and land dancing like today is twenty birthdays rolled into one within six seconds of dropping the record. No matter who you are, no matter where you are, no matter how many of you there are, no matter how often you've heard it. And I'm nominating it for the title of The Greatest Song In The History Of The Universe.

Cincy Brass Jazz Band cover "Let Me Clear My Throat"
DJ Kool clears his throat during an interview



10/13/10

our documentary on Palms homeless writer JAY BRADY. Part IV: SSI CHECKS



NO POST LAST MONDAY. The Palms Weekend observes Columbus Day, as the Seafaring Tight-Wearing Mass Murderer and I are both Genovese-born.

Yeah, he killed a lot of people, but so does McDonalds, so wipe the sweet & sour sauce off your mouse and let's move on. 

No post yesterday either. I have family visiting from Iran, so I have bequeathed my life to the goddess Itis for October. Unless they leave early, or California runs out of rice.

As you'd better know by now, director Bodhi Filmore and I conducted a series of interviews with local homeless writer Jay Brady, which I've been posting every week. Here's episode four, which covers the point where I deduced that Jay would probably have much less to complain about if he wasn't holding a tall can of MGD six hours a day, and consequently began losing interest in this project. Sure, I'd be way further in life if I wasn't such a boozer, but I'm trying to get that in check right now, and I still have a place to live. I like to think  that if I was sleeping in the street, getting drunk would be the last thing on my mind. But what do I know.

This episode does raise the interesting catch-22 homeless people face regarding SSI (Supplemental Security Income) checks. Apparently, the application process is a real pain in the ass which you'll have to repeat if/when an employer cans you, since only the unemployed are eligible. So many homeless people opt not to jeopardize the only check they can count on, and don't bother looking for jobs.

However, this episode does include another local named Sippy (on the bicycle), sporadically homeless until recently. He now has a daughter with his wife, who recently got a job at a spa. Good for you guys.


10/7/10

review: WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS



MICHAEL DOUGLAS IS A FAMILIAR FACE FROM MY CHILDHOOD. I don't mean Michael Douglas and I were childhood friends; I would have to have been in elementary in 1953 to manage that. More like, Michael Douglas was a star back when I was a kid in the hell-yeah'ing, God-loving Eighties. He was my kind of star. Knew his way around a suit and a mini-bar. Seemed like he had a firm handshake. Stately grizzle; like, sure he had a hangover most mornings, but he wasn't gonna be a dick about it. Remember Romancing The Stone and Jewel Of The Nile? The Indiana Jones rip-offs with Danny DeVito and Kathleen Turner before she got fat? Indy was far and away the fattest gangsta on my screen back in the day, but Dougy did his thing in those flicks. Indy would have won drinking games, but Mike would have slayed him on the slopes, if you know what I mean.

His dad is double-triple O.G. Kirk Douglas, who ruled in Paths Of Glory, one of Stanley Kubrick's first and finest movies. His wife is Catherine Zeta Jones, who managed to become one of the hottest women ever despite the considerable handicap of being Welsh. And he was the lead in one of the best movies about Los Angeles ever, Falling Down.

Also, not for nothing, I just realized I'm currently rocking Michael's default haircut. Actually, I'm pretty sure I've been biting his whole style for about three years now. Everything except the throat cancer.

So when nobody showed the slightest interest in checking out Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, I gladly took myself out for dinner and a movie. I'm tired of most of you anyway. But this is not a good movie, guys. Uninspired. Confusing. The dialog reminds me of my nephew staging a conversation between two action figures. The lead is Shia LeBeouf, whose dramatic range, as this clip demonstrates, consists of him saying "no no no" a lot. Douglas is obviously the high point, but even he phones it in. If reading from a teleprompter while raising your eyebrows a lot is acting, then I'm the next Michael Douglas. Money Never Sleeps misses so many golden opportunities, the biggest being the chance to have become the defining movie of a critical point in American economic history, as the original was for the Eighties. And all because, well, it sucks. I mean, it's just not good.


Can't wait for Wall Street III.


10/6/10

IT'S FALL

New Orleans, August 29 2005: the view from my boy DJ Real's hotel room

YOU KNOW THE END IS NEAR WHEN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DECIDES TO HAVE SEASONS. We went from the hottest day in recorded history to the rainiest day in recorded history in six days or less. It's the Mercedes Benz of climates.

Janet didn't find a roommate. She's moving out of the mayoral compound this weekend into an apartment down the street, which I'm told has a great washer/dryer. As the Palms Weekend goes to press, Pudge is clearing his stuff from my closets for his flight today back to New York, where his girlfriend awaits in an apartment they will share. I took the opportunity to de-clutter my place, but stopped after I realized my pad could pass for a strategically arranged indoor junkyard, and I'd be sitting on the floor of an empty apartment if I kept going. Me and these dreams; that's all it'd be.

Marcus' younger cousin is moving in across the way. Got into a cross-balcony shouting match with his buddy the other night after he parked his car precisely in the middle of the driveway. Didn't get a good look at him, but caught a Luniz vibe: short, and not happy about it. I love hood folk who wait until they hit the Westside to start threatening people's lives. They're always so surprised when the cops show up. Fuck the code of the streets. I'm a rapper, and I will summon police officers on you.

Never liked fall. Not sure why, it just puts a lump in my throat.

Pause.



10/5/10

RETURN OF THE RUMSFELD



LIFE IS A TRADE. RICH COUNTRIES TRADED PHYSICAL LABOR for desk jobs, and manly afflictions like gout and steel beams through the chest for dainty conditions like tender fingertips and screaming jolts of pain that shoot through your neck when you check your email. Yes, you are one of a select group of history's biggest pussies if sitting down and typing hurts, but this isn't the Bible. Guilt isn't going to fix this.

Allow me to suggest the standing desk. Donald Rumsfeld reportedly used one during his time as Dubya's defense secretary, presumably to relieve any back and shoulder stress incurred from sending thousands of kids to get their heads blown off. Neck pain prompted me to follow suit earlier this year until a month's worth of twelve-hour deskwork stints as a result of all-out war with my web hosting company GoDaddy forced me to bring the desk back down to earth temporarily. You can blow rent on a shmancy adjustable desk, or you can heighten your current desk by perching it atop some of the unused crap cluttering your home, which in my case is a few boxes full of CD copies of my two albums that haven't quite flown off the racks yet. My music may not support me yet, at least it supports my desk.

I traded neck problems for insomnia a few years ago. Turns out sleeping on your stomach with your head at a ninety-degree turn for several hours nightly wasn't much good for my neck, but it's the only way I get any sleep. Now I've traded carpal tunnel syndrome for achy feet. Fair trade? Who knows. But I'll bet most of us would make just as much money with construction jobs, and we wouldn't need the back therapy or gym membership.

10/4/10

our documentary on Palms homeless writer JAY BRADY. Part III: SURVIVING VEGAS.



Episode 3 of The Palms Weekend's first documentary The Great Delusion, a series of interviews I took with homeless WLA writer Jay Brady. In this episode Jay talks about his short-lived marriage.  Here's episode one and two if you're late. Jay has written a book called Homeless Sweet Homeless, which we're trying to get published. Please contact me at james [at] theunfamiliar dot com if you'd like a copy of the Homeless Sweet Homeless manuscript.


10/1/10

R.I.P. '88 CENT & MORE' STORE, VENICE & WESTWOOD




Director, Sum wife and Westwood Block resident Nzinga Kadalie wrote what lazy writers call a ‘scathing diatribe’ of our neighborhood 88 Cents & More store where nothing is 88 cents. Palms Weekend (food) critic Janet Dandridge also chimed in with her 88c experience with the story, slated for print today. However, at some point this year while we were cracking blunts and overcooking pasta, the ‘88’ was apparently renamed the ’99 Cents And Up’, as a cursory glance at the store wall revealed this morning. Here’s the story, with Janet’s pre-99c rant preserved because it’s funny.


NZINGA SAYS:  Whether you like it or not, it used to be if you live on the Westwood block, the 88 Cents & More store is not only a necessity but an experience. Even down to the name -- everything in the store is definitely worth almost exactly 88 cents, but best believe you pay MORE, as the store’s title once implied. I used to think of it surcharge for the experience. But now, they've actually decided to be realistic...and change the friggin' sign to actually reflect what we've known for years, but what they apparently just found out that the shit is 99 cents and UP.
SO..in light of them getting with the program and being frank with their clientele... This is in memoriam of the store we, the Westwood Block dwellers, once knew as The 88. Let’s journey back in time to a couple of weeks ago when the 99 & Up Store was the still The 88....

We casually stroll past the candy machines that dispense aluminum Barbie handcuffs in plastic bubbles and spools of vinyl table wrap with floral indentations that I’d imagine house ancient braille prophecies, into the back of the store. To your right: dusty plastic brooms. To your left: crusty plastic sunflowers with imitation water droplets. Ah, you’ve just officially entered The 88. 
Depending on if we’re there on a Wednesday or a Sunday, you’re either gonna be greeted by the trashy yet pleasant Pakistani man who projects slight spittle while simultaneously catcalling to chicks and screaming in Urdu to his homie, who lives on the other end of a phone (understand this dude is going to have get his cordless phone surgically removed from his ear). He is truly gifted. Or, you get the LADY, who looks like the missing Indian South Park character. She really is the missing link to the show. Someone should tell her, so she doesn’t have to follow us around the store with her eyes. Please note, although they sell hundreds of different kinds of calling cards, neither of these people can tell you which one you can buy to call Trinidad.

We greet them with a smile or evil stare - whichever is appropriate - and keep moving, toward the reason I wanted to share this experience in the first place...

We bear left, and there, directly in front of you, is one of the best-kept secrets of Palms: the best fragrancing options this side of Overland. Incense. Champa of all varieties. YOGA champa. NIRVANA champa. MONEY champa. And my favorite of all...DRAGON'S BLOOD champa. Super cheap. This, for people who appreciate smells, is a dream come true. Right here on the block. For those who don't really do incense, this part of the experience doesn't really pertain to you. Vons has tropical varieties of Febreze on sale right now. That's the best I can do for you. But for those of you who do... Usually, whatever Champa you're in the mood for, the 88 Cents & More Store had it, surprisingly. I wouldn’t have recommended the 88 experience for many things, i.e. sponges or baby wipes or perfume, but admittedly The 88 Cents & More Store had been fragrancing my apartment since 2007. But now I guess the 99 Cents & Up store will have to do.





JANET SAYS: For real, the store is great, yet full of shit. I'm saying, seriously, enough people lie to me already about what they can and can not do, what is true and what is not true, and then these folks at that store just rub it in my face! So many businesses advertise falsely to get people in their store and get away with it! If you say that everything in your store is 88 freakin' cents, then why is the cheapest item 99 cents? Come on, for real??!! They know that they can get away with it because it's within walking distance to folks who really need to get stuff out of the cheap store.


Look, if I need a toothbrush, I go there. If I need panty liners, I go there. If I need fabric softener sheets, I go there. If I need some caffeine, I go there. If I need shoelaces, I go there. If I need a board to write ‘Car Wash’ on, I go there. They literally have everything you need, even though the items are off-brand and usually don't have as much longevity as stuff in other stores. It's very convenient for many things - but still, "you ain't got to lie Craig!" (I have no idea where that quote is from, but it seems appropriate) And then what makes it a lil' more bothersome is that the dude who's at the counter always says, "Hey baby," and in my head, I'm always like, "OMG, if this dude says that ish to me one more time, I am going to hurt him." But really after saying that in my head a few times, I actually translated it to him like this, "What up fool (ha ha ha - like it was a joke, but I was serious)," with a big smile on my face. Now he only uses that "hey baby" line every one in a while - I guess when he's feeling the spirit.


Moving on to that lady in the store - me and her weren't getting along too well because she just disregards you the entire time you're in the store. One day, I said hello really loud with a huge smile on my face. I think the impact of the hello and the big smile made her think I might be crazy because from that day to present, she is oh so pleasant to me. She even puts my change in my hand! All in all, the 99 cents store - oh, my bad - the 88 cents store is a necessity for the block, and I appreciate them. I just wish they wouldn't lie to me yo, fo' real.

9/29/10

CALIFORNIA BLOWS, BRO


YOU ALL KNOW I LOVE ME SOME CALIFORNIA. First, I don't take it for granted. L.A. natives roll their eyes and say stuff like, "another ride down Sunset? Like, oh my God" while I'm across town all aflutter, like "Wow. I'm at a DMV... In America." We could have moved to Omaha and it would still have been the coolest thing ever. The fact that my mother moved us to Los fucking Angeles - which was only the center of the universe that smokey summer of 1992 - blew my pimple-ridden thirteen-year-old head off my sunken shoulders and I've been running around the Southland like a decapitated chicken trying to find it ever since. If not for my mother's infinite wisdom, I might be a suave London executive (complete with ladykiller accent) or a rich architect in Iran instead of a 31-year-old unmarried aspiring rapper with a slight drinking problem. Hold on, let me rewind that back.

For real though, when New Yorkers dis L.A., I just wanna shove a dirty sock in their mouth, tie that American Apparel cardigan around their throat and hang them off the balcony like Saddam.

People don't leave Malibu for Manhattan. That's all I know. 

But if you're trying to have a good time, and your idea of a good time is loud music, drinking, smoking and/or wild animals, California is a real pain in the ass, man. Hollywood sells L.A. as some international party mecca, but those parties are only for famous people and the people who suck their dicks, and the music is just the pits. California may be a "liberal" state, but it turns out that rich, white liberals are basically conservatives with a better DVD collection. My cousin just moved into a sexy-ass Marina Del Rey condo a stone's throw from the beach and can't turn the music up after sundown. We can't take the dog on the sand, and it can't come hiking either. We just had the hottest day in Los Angeles history. Think we could get some kind of daytime beach party, like the Vegas hotels do? Not a chance. Just stand in the water and try not to admire the view too loudly. I'm trying to die over here.

Soon you won't even be able to smoke outdoors. Isn't that why the outdoors was fucking invented?

Two of my cousins - girls in their early 20s - are visiting from Iran to see if they wanna move here since they just got green cards, so I'm trying to wow them with L.A. People get jailed and horsewhipped for partying in Iran, and their scene remains, by all accounts, much more exciting than ours. We just got back from Palm Springs, where our family spent the weekend at a house we rented with a beautiful pool. Music outdoors was forbidden. The house rulebook said "earphones are your best bet."

Downtown cops basically barred our buddies at R&R Gallery from ever attempting another event after the opening night of their Bill Murray exhibit was a little too successful. Oh, and they're probably shutting down the Downtown Artwalk, only far and away the biggest draw that area has had since the invention of crack. Broke-ass L.A. is in no position to kill business. Melrose Ave. is a ghosttown of raver pants and rhinestone-studded v-necks. Been to Venice Boardwalk lately? It's not just wack rappers begging for people to buy their shit anymore. Shop owners are right next to them, offering backrubs and free samples. Some middle-aged guy holding a '99c pizza slice' sign called me a cheapskate.

Then again, New York is trying to ban salt. So maybe we're doing alright.


9/27/10

our documentary on Palms homeless writer JAY BRADY. Part II: WE DON'T BEG.



Episode 2 of The Palms Weekend's first documentary The Great Delusion, a series of interviews with homeless WLA writer Jay Brady. Here's episode one if you're late. Please check it out, forgive the sound quality, and forward to anyone who might be interested. Our aim here is to get Jay a book deal. Please contact me at james [at] theunfamiliar dot com if you'd like a copy of the Homeless Sweet Homeless manuscript.



9/24/10

JANET STILL STILL NEEDS A ROOMMATE!



HEY. YEAH YOU. You know you know someone who's looking for a room for rent. Well, here it is. Gets no better. $720 a month for a room on the Westside. You're not getting anything cheaper on this side of town unless you're willing to do the landlord personal favors, if you know what I mean. Check out the video tour of the unit above, read Janet's note below, and email her for more info at janet_dandridge@yahoo.com. Please don't apply if you're a pain in the ass.

Greetings folks...
Since I've been told I'm long-winded, I'll keep this short and sweet: Does anyone know anybody (cool folk only) that is interested in being my roommate starting in September 2010? They must be (amongst other things) cool, fun, financially stable to pay rent and utilities, clean, funny, and sane. Male or female, although I prefer a female. 420 friendly (y'all know me) and optimistic. Creative entrepreneur a plus. Anyhoo, if you have any folks, let me know. Here's the uber important stuff:
2-bedroom, 1 bath
Westwood Blvd. off of Venice Blvd.
15 minutes away from Venice Beach
$720/month
Gas, electric not included
Holla!!
Thanks!
Peace,
Janet.



Palms is the best-kept secret in Los Angeles. It's as affordable as L.A. gets without being too hood. Tucked in the armpit of the 405 and 10 freeways, it's equidistant to LAX, Venice Beach, Westwood, Beverly Hills and L.A. proper. It's probably the most diverse area in the city, and has been working-class for years, sparing its residents the douche avalanche that gentrification has brought so many L.A. neighborhoods. The block where Westwood Blvd. meets Venice is Palms' crown jewel. Banks, the gym, the post office and Saints & Sinners, all walking distance. At the mouth of the block sit Cafe Brasil and Bamboo, sexy restaurants with great food. If your pockets are lean, Tokyo 7-7 does breakfast for $2.60, Coppelia's does whole rotisserie chickens for $6, and Habib's Market will send you home with a week's groceries and change left over from a twenty. Your neighbors are college students, South Americans. and creative types like myself, Sum, Nzinga, and of course, Janet herself. A convenient, cheap neighborhood full of bars and Brazilians. And the palm trees on the block look real cool.

Oh, and Janet's hot too. Doesn't hurt, does it?


9/23/10

MIDDAY GANG STING, VENICE & MIDVALE



A BADLY NEEDED SECOND CUP OF COFFEE I NEVER HAD THIS MORNING slowed my response time, but moments after I eventually noticed that helicopters and sirens were rattling my apartment windows, I was on Venice and Midvale, where cops were walking several cuffed Latin kids into a sea of cop cars while the chopper did donuts overhead. The center of action was the alley behind the Mexican buildings on the southside of Venice, one of which was the site of that hostage standoff that brought the SWAT team out last week.

I wish I had more for you. I don't know a) what happened b) if this incident and last week's are related c) if the kids arrested were gangsters, or kids getting harrassed because they look like gangsters, or d) if this actually was a sting operation. All I know is a) I saw a bunch of Dodger jackets b) I saw a bunch of cop cars c) it smelled like gunpowder, and d) grimy shit's afoot on Midvale block.


9/22/10

THE COFFEE BEAN TROOP SCAM


I REPEAT: PALMS BUMS DON'T BEG. They fix cars. They dumpster-dive. They smoke crack behind lampposts. They stare at their balls. They write novels. But they don't beg. Or, they save their breath with me. I don't donate to anyone who isn't missing at least one arm, and there'd better be a mental home bracelet on the other one, or some monstrous growth, something to suggest you'd still be screwed if you weren't falling-down drunk every time I see you. Everyone's struggling.

Apparently, so is Coffee Bean, which has resorted to pimping soldiers through their Support From Home campaign. Regular readers know I already think Coffee Bean is a crock, and I guess this is the next logical step down their path of chicanery. It's kind of brilliant, actually. Here's what it sounds like on their site:

COFFEE BEAN SUPPORTS OUR DEPLOYED TROOPS. Customers at all Arizona and California locations of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® have been invited to support the troops by purchasing a bag of coffee, a tin of tea or retail merchandise for donation at a 10% discount. These donated items are then distributed to deployed military personnel through the Soldiers' Angels troop support organization.
Here's what it looks like on the ground:

you: Hi, I'll have a coffee, please.
CB cashier: (in a slightly louder than speaking voice) You got it. Would you also like to donate a $10 bag of coffee to support our troops overseas today?
you: Um, no thanks.
*store falls silent, as the distant sound of weeping soldiers rolls faintly over the hills from the direction of Baghdad*
CB cashier: No problem. Should I carve the swastika in your forehead now or after you've finished your beverage?
you: Thanks, I'll handle it at home.

I don't wanna be the reason some sleepy soldier gets diced up in eleventeen different directions on the battlefield today. But I can't help noticing that COFFEE BEAN KEEPS 90% OF THE PROFIT FROM EACH BAG. They need to turn that slogan backward. Our Deployed Troops Support Coffee Bean.

Besides, I'm not sure troops need coffee most. Notify me when Kevlar has a similar promotion, and I'll gladly donate a bulletproof vest to the cause (as long as it's $10). And finally, look at it this way: the ten bucks I might have donated probably went to Shell or Chevron instead. And they're the guys who sent you to battle. So back off. I support daily. Now gimme my fucking coffee before I call corporate.

9/21/10

introducing JACK LASALLE, PALMS WEEKEND FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT

he's the white man who isn't, and would never, wear shorts.


MEET JACK LASALLE, THE REAL-LIFE 'MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD', WHO WOULDN'T USE DOS EQUIS TO SHINE HIS COWBOY BOOTS. LINGUISTICS PROFESSOR, LICENSED ENGLISHMAN, ACCREDITED GEM HUNTER, PEERLESS CONVERSATIONALIST AND MY FATHER. THE PALMS WEEKEND'S NEW FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (writing here under a pseudonym, lest Her Majesty's agents are PW readers) HAS SCOWLED AT SUB-PAR BARTENDERS FROM SAUDI ARABIA, LIBYA AND ALGERIA TO IRAN, INDONESIA AND AFGHANISTAN. HE WAS PULLED OUT OF A FLAMING CAR WRECK BY A PASSING STREET CLOWN IN BELIZE WITH HIS NOW-PARALYZED BUDDY CAPTAIN ANDY. HE ALMOST DIED AFTER STEPPING ON A STONEFISH IN THE RED SEA. HE ONCE DROVE A MONTE CARLO OFF A FREEWAY OVERPASS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND LANDED IN MEXICO. HE HATES ISLANDS. HE HAD A ROMANTIC ENCOUNTER WITH A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC WRITER IN LAOS. JIMI HENDRIX COMPLIMENTED HIM ON HIS MUSICAL TASTE IN A RECORD STORE (he was buying a Creedence record, Jimi a Nina Simone LP). AND DON'T EVER ASK HIM WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BAR AT HEATHROW AIRPORT. HERE'S HIS FIRST DISPATCH, FROM HIS CURRENT LOCATION: SARAWAK, A STATE ON THE ISLAND OF BORNEO.


I planned to leave Sarawak for Brunei or Indonesia to get a new re-entry visa, but good local chaps (both male and female) showed me how to get a two-month visa extension for a paltry sum. I love corruption and hate Brunei and Pontianak so it all worked out excellently. How great is it learning how to live in a place?

I have been offered a fair amount of work in universities here but have to get back to Dunn House right now. And you know I am not keen on working again in the ivory tower.

Kuching is an intriguing place and I could certainly live and work here. But it is most definitely on an island.

Kuching means cat, and there are statues of cats all over the city. Kuching RFC (Rugby Football Club, my new club) team is called The Catz (unfortunate use of z there I feel). I have to say that nobody I have met at the club looks remotely fit enough to scramble after a wrong-shaped ball in this humidity (or at all, to be honest). The only rugby ball I’ve seen there was being kicked by urchins. In fact when I first turned up I was greeted with:

KRFC member: Welcome Jack. Do you play rugby?
JLS: Certainly not.
KRFC member: Excellent. Come and have a beer.


I knew I had found a club I could call home.

9/20/10

our documentary on Palms homeless writer JAY BRADY. Part I: FALL FROM GRACE.



I MET JAY SEVERAL YEARS AGO AT THE COFFEE BEAN ON VENICE AND MOTOR (more on that place later this week) while working on a piece about homelessness in America for my then employer Rime Magazine, where I still hold a column, The Unfamiliar. I ended up interviewing him for the piece (see "Jay Brady: Writer On The Brink"), and gaining a friend. Palms bums don't beg. Hell, he might even sport your coffee. He's got stories for days, which can all be found in his still-unpublished autobiography Homeless Sweet Homeless. His eyewitness account of the 2003 Farmer's Market tragedy in Santa Monica where an old man lost control of his car and killed nine people. The ritualistic murder of 13-year-old runaway Shevawn Geoghagan in a deserted mental institution. Some happy stories too, but I forget those.

The video above is the first of several episodes that comprise a documentary about Jay, directed by my buddy Bodhi Filmore, and produced by me for the princely sum of six MGD tall boys. Please check it out, forgive the sound quality, and forward to anyone who might be interested. Our aim here is to get Jay a book deal. Please contact me if you'd like a copy of the Homeless Sweet Homeless manuscript.



9/17/10

answer: MORGAN FREEMAN LOOKS LIKE THE CAT IN THE HAT.


RAFIKI FROM THE LION KING? YOSHI FROM SUPER MARIO BROS? Scrooge fucking McDuck? Really?

I guess it's good nobody guessed correctly, because Sum would have had to buy the winner's prize drinks - he's filling in for me tonight at Saints & Sinners while I deejay a party in San Diego for the company that converted the Shrek movies to 3D - and I'm not sure he's even aware of the competition. I've a good mind to push the idea of a Cat In The Hat movie starring Freeman to the designers at the Shrek party. At the very least I should be able to get a free lunch out of it. Something with capers.

Turns out Freeman's in the news today - he's getting divorced - so that should get this story a few extra hits. I can't imagine him getting divorced. Actually, I can't imagine him doing anything but smiling knowingly and taking pleasant walks. Maybe that's why his wife divorced him. Sounds cute for the first ten years.

Man. No need to shell out duckets on a prize. I get to pitch my movie to a big-time animation company. Freeman's family life falls apart on the same day I post a story about him. Things are really working out!


9/16/10

quiz: WHICH FICTIONAL ANIMAL DOES MORGAN FREEMAN MOST RESEMBLE?











This one had been on the tip of my tongue (pause) for almost a day when it hit me like a weird smell from under the fridge, and I remained pathetically happy about my epiphany until I noticed one of my favorite people had posted a Drake video on his Facebook page.

You think you know someone.

In an age where health websites will claim obesity promotes better eyesight if it'll send a few chubby fingers fumbling for 'refresh', it's almost impossible to be plain old right anymore. Gone are the days when only white people made up facts. Everyone's got their own now. Shortly after someone I met in a bar tried to argue that the Twin Towers never fell, I decided to stop trying to be right and settle for funny. I've pretty much sworn off conversations in general, unless they're about things that can't be argued about, in which case there's no point talking about them. People love to ask me who's to blame for the Israel/Palestine conflict since I look like I'm wearing a badger on my head, to which I say "it's war", shrug, and order another Anchor Steam. What do I know about the Israel/Palestine conflict? I live in Culver City.

I haven't been this right about something since I said that gladiator sandals make women look like ancient Greek philosophers, so I'm understandably chuffed about my Morgan Freeman revelation. When MGM gets wind of this they're going to instantly start work on the movie starring Freeman as said fictional animal, and I'm going to instantly sue for as many zeroes as they can fit on a check. I'm posting the answer tomorrow. Post guesses in the comment section; the winner gets two free drinks this Friday at Saints & Sinners. Generic liquor and pronounceable beers only.

9/15/10

PALMS...Where the sidewalks are cushioned.

by DR. PUDGE GUAPNER


9/14/10... I turned the corner of Venice back onto Westwood after a lil stroll and happened upon a picture worthy moment if I ever did see one. This man, who appears to be in his late 20s to early 30s and didn't appear vagabondish enough to be homeless, is sprawled out on the sidewalk outside of the lil mini-strip-less-than-a-mall thing that we have here. As I strolled by the first time, I was a bit baffled. I couldn't tell if he was knocked out, or had just given up on the day. He was gripping the base of the street sign as if he were preventing the all-too-popular "bum drag"* (I'm not sure who this is popular for, but I'm sure somewhere, some young scraps are indulging in this this dangerous sport). Now, back to "Prince Sprawl" - or "Sprawl Wall" if you will. I went in the apartment, and had to come back out to get a pic. Upon second glance, I deduced (that's a polite assumption) that he was doing laundry and was not fond of the wooden benches in our neighborhood spot. Either way... he looks free. Very free. Free of a shirt, free of worries of residual dog-poo/pee, free of sanity, I assume. More power to him.

Sidenote: it was pretty hot mid-day and the next time I went back he looked like he needed to be turned over (pause).
The Moral Of The Story ...DoWhatChuLike (Digital Undergound)

*Bum Drag: A sport introduced to the world by the Bum-Fights DVD series in which an unsuspecting street-person/vagrant/bum is surprisingly relocated from... wherever he was, normally by grabbing whichever limb looks cleanest, holding tight, and running off like you're trying to catch a bus. It's kinda foul, but it makes u laugh for about 35 seconds.





9/14/10

WHEN LANDLORDS TAKE YOU FOR $350, PT. II



THIS IS WHAT LANDLORDS DO. It's an art. See, they want you out. This is a rent control area, and they could be getting five times your rent from some Norwegian exchange students who pay before the 1st and have no friends and do nothing but homework in there, maybe a glass of red wine after ten and they get the giggles for half an hour and knock out. No moron children who slam doors as a hobby; no suddenly single mothers of three begging to not be booted into oncoming traffic even though they spent the last few years cursing the landlord's name because he's a piece of shit, plain as day. So they gnaw at you. Three-day notice on your door, just in case. Picking fights. Your phone voice is too loud. That isn't a regulation flowerpot. Bullshit. Parking their car, directly in front of your front door. Loud drilling, directly in front of your front door. Following you around. Little comments. Refusing to fix that huge crack in your living room wall until you call the housing department. And best believe he's going to stand on your couch with those dirty ass boots while he does it. Fuck your couch.

Mysterious water pipe explosions that completely ruin everything in your storage unit, at which point you explode too and cuss him out, or push him, or in this case, throw his cellphone, and with that we finally enter phase two, which is the part where the cops arrest you, because you don't have the $350 to pay for the $40 flip phone you just busted. Pushing tenants until they incriminate themselves. It's an art.

No installments, he said. She pays me now or you lock her up. In front of her kids. So I paid. It took ten minutes to get $360 from the ATM; the cops told me to hurry. She's just lucky I had the money. She never cared for me ever since I accidentally blocked her car in a few years ago. She thanked me like she was passing a gallstone. I've only seen her twice since then, and she lives fifty feet away from me. She said she'd pay me back as soon as she could, but she doesn't work at Ralphs anymore, and I don't see her husband around much nowadays. Old Man Julio shook my hand profusely and told me he'd pay me on her behalf, but I've seen him three times since and I'm not sure he remembers who I am anymore.

Am I wrong because I want my money back?




9/13/10

WHEN LANDLORDS ATTACK, PT. I


LOTS HAPPENED WHILE WE WERE ON HIATUS. A neighbor shot his dad. Amelia Earhart and Mrs Brown from downstairs were both hospitalized. Venice/Westwood lot owner DOINTBIG installed a fence dividing his property and Cafe Brasil's because he's a loser with nothing better to do. And The Wizard, also known as the dirty Pakistani man with one short leg who may or may not be the landlord of the building facing my mayoral compound (yes, they have different owners) officially went to war with the Mexican family across the way with the two daughters and a son who repeatedly opens and slams their front door while yelling "I WANNA FUCK" whenever the parents are out. Jessica is the eldest, a lovely girl who worked at Best Buy across Venice until she got a used Acura from her boyfriend, a Cuban kid who was in the army until Iraq put three bullets in his left calf. He had words with the Wizard regarding a pushing match he apparently had with Jessica the other day, and since the BF was technically parked in my building's lot, the Wizard called our building manager Lesley to come have him towed. Yeah. Add that up if you can.

The sound of Lesley calling the Wizard a "crazy old fool" at approximately the top of her lungs for having her drive across town to settle a dispute he had with one of his own tenants sent me diving for the camera. The Wizard called the cops then tried to drive off before they arrived, an exit strategy that proved unmanageable after the BF blocked the Wizard's car in with his own. Thankfully, Lesley decided to wear shoes for a change, as po-po showed up soon thereafter. The footage forfeits some precious details: Marcus clipping his nails while being interviewed by the cops; Jessica's boyfriend driving off with his sister sitting in front and his girlfriend in the back seat; the Wizard's car accidentally blocking the driveway, minutes after he had the cops scold the BF for blocking the driveway. The Wizard's wife - a sheet-clad, dead-eyed mute who looks like she's taken apart some AK-47s in her day - was having trouble moving the car; I think she's more used to horses. The glare she shot me after I laughed out loud had me staring at my shoes and talking under my breath for 20 minutes. It was the look reserved for traitors, as if I'm supposed to side with them because I'm Middle Eastern too, as opposed to siding against them because they're assholes who complicate life for the people that put money in their pockets for no good reason, just like DOINTBIG and most of the other Middle Eastern landlords and property owners in this neighborhood that give our kind a bad reputation.

On the downside, they're probably not going to let me borrow their hose anymore.


Related Posts with Thumbnails