Wednesday, September 29, 2010

gayberry: one year later

Exactly one year later, Serena and I awoke under desert skies as brand new residents. Surrounded by boxes, we were taken by the tranquility of our newly adopted home and hopeful that the change from the din of Los Angeles would prove to be a correct decision. Palm Springs. The Rainbow Casket. Gayberry. We were here.

At the one year mark, I must say that it has treated us both well. Serena peers out the glass door much of the day, and has developed a fondness for desert life. She is particularly fascinated by the Lizard channel.

I'm relaxed and reinvigorated by the pace of the desert. The social life here is more spontaneous than in LA, perhaps because of the lack of traffic. One is not exhausted and ready to drop by the time they get home, so there is still some energy remaining to meet people out for a drink or a bite. And there is only a minor penalty for distance, which is the leading cause of shut-ins on the west side. I can even drive all the way to Palm Desert in twenty minutes, even thought it's still too far or civilized people to attempt.

In the desert, forty-something isn't automatically equated with the dinosaurs, so being relative chicken and all I've even been asked out on dates. Specifically I've dated two different people in the last year, with unspectacular but non-menacing outcomes. Okay, I must be honest. One was quite promising from afar, but one examined close up had me scrambling for the witness protection program. (Memo to staff: better vetting.) The other was a nice guy with a kind smile, whose hobbies were gardening, and using the internet as his personal petting zoo. No big loss, and I'm still willing to entertain the notion should a more promising candidate amble by, so there we are.

And coolest of all, I'm keeping myself more or less afloat with this here writing thing. Paying gigs do interfere with ones blogging time, but I'm happy with what I'm doing and so far am keeping the wolf away from the door. Technically, he's three doors down.

But I think he's busy prowling on the internet.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hope? Nope. DOPE.

Roadside signage in Temecula, CA 9/23/10. Photo by Jeff Stork

Saturday, September 11, 2010

crisp clear morning

I was uncharacteristically awake at 5 am. Not one of those moments of awake where I then roll over and fall back asleep, but stone cold awake.

I decided to take a pre-dawn drive to relax myself. It's an hour of day where LA freeways are pretty much wide open. I took the 101 to the 405 to Mulholland, and drove back along the apex of the hills on a twisty two-lane mountain road. The sun gradually rose revealing a crisp, clear morning- cloudless and glorious. To my left was the San Fernando Valley, on my right was Hollywood. It all seemed so very serene.

I was smiling and relaxed when I pulled the car back into the garage at just after 6 am. Just what I needed- a glorious morning. Then I came inside and logged onto the computer just in time to read that the first tower had fallen.

To those who were lost, I wish eternal rest and peace.

To the families that are still trying to cope with their loss, I wish love and strength.

To the politicians who have usurped this tragedy and used it to rationalize an aggressive action totally unrelated to this, I wish eternal damnnation.

on this day

We are reminded that the wonder that is modern air travel can be literally hijacked to become a vessel of mass destruction.

May all those affected find peace.

AA11 Boeing 767-223ER N334AA MSN 22332 Delivered 4/13/1987.
North Tower


John Ogonowski, 52, Dracut, MA, Pilot
Thomas McGuinness, 42, Portsmouth, NH, First Officer
Barbara Arestegui, 38, Marstons Mills, MA, Flight Attendant
Jeffrey Collman, Flight Attendant
Sara Low, 28, Batesville, AK, Flight Attendant
Karen Martin, Flight Attendant
Kathleen Nicosia, Flight Attendant
Betty Ong, 45, Andover, MA, Flight Attendant
Jean Roger, 24, Longmeadow, MA, Flight Attendant
Dianne Snyder, 42, Westport, MA, Flight Attendant
Madeline Sweeney, 35, Acton, MA, Flight Attendant

UA175 Boeing 767-222ER N612UA MSN 21873 Delivered 4/8/1984.
South Tower


Robert J. Fangman, Flight Attendant
Michael Horrocks, First Officer
Amy Jarret, 28, North Smithfield, RI - flight attendant
Amy R. King, Flight Attendant
Kathryn L. Laborie, Flight Attendant
Alfred G. Marchand, 44, Alamogordo, NM - flight attendant
Victor J. Saracini, 51, Yardley, PA - pilot
Michael C. Tarrou, Flight Attendant
Alicia N. Titus, 28, Flight Attendant

AA77 Boeing 757-223 N644AA MSN 24602 Delivered 5/8/1991


Charles F. Burlingame, Herndon, VA, Pilot
David Charlebois, Washington DC, First Officer
Michele Heidenberger of Chevy Chase, MD, Flight Attendant
Jennifer Lewis, 38, Culpeper, VA Flight Attendant
Kenneth Lewis, 49, Culpeper, VA, Flight Attendant
Renee May, 39, Baltimore, MD, Flight Attendant.

UA93 Boeing 757-222 N591UA MSN 28142 Delivered 7/1/1996
Shanksville, PA


Lorraine G. Bay, Flight Attendant
Sandra W. Bradshaw, Greensboro, NC - Flight Attendant
Jason Dahl, Denver, Colorado Pilot
Wanda A. Green, Flight Attendant
Leroy Homer, Marlton, NJ - First Officer
Cee Cee Lyles, Fort Meyers FL - Flight Attendant
Deborah A. Welsh, Flight Attendant

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

flint drive: angelo's coney island

Flint natives will not need to read the text. And since only a handful of the rest of you will anyway, I'll keep it brief.

Angelo's was THE Coney Island restaurant, for the classic Flint Coney Island hot dog with genuine loose meat sauce, Koegel's Vienna dog, and steamed bun. Add onions and mustard. Heaven.

And besides thatm, a Flint institution. A fading location on Davison Rd. where it had been since 1960. A coworker used to say if you stayed there for a week, you'd see everyone in Flint. Politicians to whores. Often together. And we won't get into which is more trustworthy. (Ever had your taxed raised by a hooker?) Grandmother lived around the corner in a house with an old lady loan shark, who used to give her a break in the rent in exchange for answering the door late at night and taking the bad of money. Ah, the golden days of Flint.

Recently returned to the hands of the longtime owners that sold it to shady characters (no, not hookers) and set it on a decline. Now rescued, it looks very much the same as I remember. Controlled patina, for sure. I miss the original sign, which stood as a beacon since 1960 until it collapsed upon itself in a wind storm.

But all in all, a damn fine hot dog. Dad liked it too.