Shit Cyclists Say (Part Deux)

Location: LA

Had my last ride state-side today. Gonna have to clean and pack up the bike tomorrow for the trip to Spain. It was a gorgeous day and I felt inspired to make my own version of a pretty popular vid on youtube...

Turns out the guy who made the original is a friend of Justin's, the guy I mentioned in the last couple of posts.

So in addition to my beautiful ride today to Palos Verdes,  this is what I did:


The last guy I'm saving is the one climbing over everyone.

Surround yourself with happy people. Make a happy army. 
Location: LA

Although I would prefer it not to be such an uphill battle all the time, I am reminded today that I can also choose to live in a happy world, just by seeing it as one.

No, not everyone can be changed, the shit people will still be there, and not everyone is affected by a smile or happy demeanor, but some can. And those are my five-percenters. I keep forgetting my own damn philosophies somehow. That's what getting bottled up and fenced in will do to you.

But today I woke up and decided to go out happy, and stay that way. In other words, I just decided to be normal, and to set my resistance to negativity to super-high.

I started out at a federal building in Brentwood, to get my passport renewed. First window, approach with a smile, all smooth sailing and laughs from then on. Second window, approach with a smile, all smooth sailing and laughs from then on.

Bam. What's different? Not much, just decided to let myself come back out and play.

Then, I go for a ride and I run into my friend Justin, a guy who I bumped into about a week ago riding. Beyond that, I've seen him once in my car when he was riding, and once when he was in his car and I was riding. Just so you understand this: 4 random meetings in a week, in a fucking huge city. I knew something was afoot.

And it was, because today we get to talking and he basically synopsizes the post I made yesterday. And that makes me feel like, ah, thank god, someone is seeing what I'm seeing as well. And it also makes me feel really fucking happy, and calm, to know that I've always been right to just let the world keep rotating and wait for the other five-percenters to find me.

Surround yourself with an army of good people and fight the good fight.

And I dont know if I'm stoned from finishing off my ride on the Venice strand, but I feel like I have been having a perfect moment since I woke up.

If you say "really?" one more time I'm gonna curb stomp you

This is the girl that took my picture.
No, not really. Pretty close though. 
Location: LA (almost over)
Total bike miles for January: 804
Todays ride: here.

Almost everything is in place for the hop to Europe. Except that I came across a bit of information that could have derailed the whole show. Apparently you are not allowed into Europe if your passport expires within 3 months of entry. Mine does. Early morning visit to the passport agency is on the shed-shuwal.

Rode the bike again today and something got into me, or outta me, but I felt amazing. Like my legs weren't even there. When you start out a ride going hammer-style and you feel really good it's usually because you made the mistake of not checking the wind. Which is to say that the wind is behind you but you don't know it, until you turn around and get blasted.

Except today, I started into the wind and still felt amazing. Rode up to Zuma Beach, which is the sight of thousands and thousands of commercials, movies, and photo shoots.

Got a nice picture taken by a very, very, very nice woman wearing, umm, do I even have to say it? Christ, alright: yoga pants. Fitness model. Doing a photo shoot. Blond. Incredible body. She was, also, the first person to see me trying to frame myself in a shot and offer up a helping hand, so that was the only part that wasn't vomitously unoriginal.

Point Dume, today. 
That beach was also where I worked my first day as an "actor" back in 1995. And let's not confuse things; I worked as an extra on that day, but I didn't do a millisecond of acting.

It's "background artist," though I detest even that terminology, not "background actor". You're a prop with a beating heart. Playing with a calculator does not make you a mathematician, my friend.

Well, maybe in LA it does.

What I did for work when I was here was (1) act like a personal trainer even though I wasn't licensed or anything and (2) act like a house painter even though I knew less about that than getting someone else in shape (3) act in a handful of movies and TV crap and some fantastic plays and some shitty plays and semi-model.

Point Dume, a while back.
Or a while forward, depending
on what you believe. 
The painting part was a circus. I painted this ladies bathroom in white, oil based paint. You know how long that shit takes to dry? I didn't know either, but I do know that it was my first and last job as a painter and I refunded all of her money.

The personal trainer gig? Well, my neighbor had started a little place and needed help, so I helped. I didn't do a damn thing beyond count to 12 over and over again, and listen to bored housewives talk about you-name-it, and then try and lose their "private" number.

Point is, LA is just a kinda-fucked city filled up with kinda-fucked up people. And it creeps into you, the way the whole thing operates: (1) go to the supermarket and steal glances but do not appear happy and do not engage anyone (2) when you receive a call from someone, do not return that phone call for a couple of days, at the very least, and if you get to three days, you don't really have to return it at all, and (3) promise to get together, but repeatedly postpone.

You know how fucking desperate people are in LA for positivity? I stopped the other day on the bike path because this older lady seemed to be having some trouble with her bike seat. When I fixed it for her, she was fucking GUSHING. Gush. Ing.

And when I move down a seat at the restaurant bar so a guy and his gal can have two seats next to eachother I get "Wow, that was really nice of you. Seriously, thank you so much. That was a really cool move."

Eh? I...just...did...the right thing. A simple, considerate, thing. Rinse and repeat this experience with doors held open and so on and so forth.

There are at least five people I knew very well when I was here who are still here. Two know very well that I am here but have not reached out.  One has called and gotten a return call but that was three days ago (see above). One has suggested we meet for dinner but pushed it twice. Only one has come through on all counts, and so there it is; she probably doesn't belong here after-all.

Point is, there has been more than a few moments of everyday where I have just wanted to yell "What the fuck is everyone so damn unhappy about?!?!"

And if you don't believe me, consider this: a very talented girl who I was on stage with, just the two of us in a 99-seat theater show for 13 nights, that girl took her own life about ten years ago in the same apartment where we rehearsed together.

Shit, if that weren't enough, are you hearing my negativity after only 27 days here? Yeah, it fucking creeps up and seeps in.

I was optimistic in the beginning I guess, and I gave the Tolsdorf Technique (c) a solid try. (Since it's LA and I can claim fame to anything, I claim a technique). Maybe it's my fault, but that can't be entirely true, because it seems to work for me almost everywhere else in the world but this suck-hole.

Most of it I laugh at, but I've also gotten pretty beaten down by it a couple of times too.

In the end, I still think LA is a bottled up little child and could use a massive primal scream session.

We used to have those at college. Everyone would come out of their dorms and just scream their tits and balls off. It was a ton of fun and it NEVER failed to leave all of us a lot lighter and a lot more friendly.

I'm glad I came back, but I'll push on somewhere else. Dude, you dont even know how massively stoked I am to get blazed on a plane to Spain. Right? Feel me?

Seriously. Dude. Massively.

How many I love you's is too many?

Location: Los Angeles
Pictures: here

I'm bored.

Waaa, waaaa, waaaaa. I know. Life sucks. It's going to be mid-70's this week and sunny and about all I have to do is decide what not to bring with me to Europe, and ride my bike. I get it. This is just a small dose of me getting my own medicine.

I'm just in moving mode and I've been sitting on my ass.

When I realize the TV is on each night I realize that my mind is out of shape. I need a new challenge, is all, but I find myself wanting this layer of paint to dry faster than it was designed to. And that's wishing away time and I am no proponent of the FF button, but I think you get it.

That's not to say that good shit and shitty shit, or life, hasn't stopped happening....

My relationship with Ken, the homeless dude, continues to extend to four days in a row now and we seem to have gotten to the hug stage. Its a bro hug, but it jumped there quickly. And I don't mind, except for the fact that just recently I seem to be feeling more like a pot of gold than a friendly leprechaun.

And I have been writing in the background here and there, but not as feverishly as usual. I did get a bit out last night, because last night was a rough one for me; because it was a rough one for someone I love.

Tucker and Maddie (1998)
and (2012)
I've kept in touch with, and I'm speaking of people I kept in touch with pre-internet, only two friends of mine from high-school. One is Kathleen, my girlfriend at the time. She is married and has kids, but we will talk a couple of times a year, and mostly about our respective dogs, which we both independently adopted in 1998.

My dog, Tucker, died in March of 2010. Her dog, Maddie, died yesterday afternoon. She was a little, sweet, tri-colored Sheltie. She and Tucker shared a bit of their youth together before we split for the umpteenth, and final time, in 2000.

I have been talking to her more often in the last few months, because Maddie was fading. When you don't hear from someone in a while and then all of a sudden you do, it's because you have a particular ear to lend and that's a call you answer.

Try and explain the sorrow of losing an arm to a man born without them....

She called me earlier in the day to let me know that Maddie was in the ER; in an oxygen tank. Her 14 year old heart had given out/up. She was gasping and suffering but she didn't pass without a little painkiller and her mom there with her, stroking her head and letting go of every last molecule of love.

Maddie and Tucker (1998)
and (2012)
And so we cried together on the phone and laughed a little bit and reminisced and I guess that's about the best you can do for someone when they are suffering. You navigate around the "I'm sorry", which I always equate with doing something wrong, and you let the emotion unravel.

So give your best friend a solid hug tonight and don't forget to give back that love on a daily basis, because that first day when they are gone and you look around for them anyway, well, that day will nail you hard and fast if you're not completely satisfied that you gave back equally of everything you received.

And Kathleen did that, and not everyone does, but Kathleen did.

"I'll be there, watching over you,
Your ever-faithful friend,
And in your memories I'll run,
...a young dog once again."

Whatcha hungry for?

Location: City of Angels

I have a friend, one of my best, who likes to let me know when I've hit a nail on the head, with regards to this blog. He is most vocal when he feels I am going to the "preachy" side. Look, preaching is only proclaiming. Trust me, not a single human is harder on myself than myself, so if its going down here, then I must be feeling it.

So fuck preachy and fuck nailing it. I've said from the beginning I'm not writing for anyone. I write because it feels good to let it go and also, as I have said before, I want a story to meet me at the end, not just vague, half-stories of shit that occurred along the way.

So I saw this guy today standing at the corner of Lincoln and Venice and he had a sign that said "starving" which I quite liked. One of maybe the easiest things about being homeless might be deciding what to write on your sign.

The least effective kind? Anything proclaiming poverty within the vicinity of one or more dogs that clearly belong to you. That just pisses me off. (And for the record, my only charity is homeless people, bartenders, wait staff, and the SPCA.) I'm picky when it comes to hand outs, and so are you. It's ok.

Starving. For what? Necessities? Luxuries? Simplicity? I'm starving too. Starving got me out of the funk, and starving is why I am in LA. Starving is why I rode my bike 500 miles in the last two weeks and starving is why I pulled the trigger on a ticket to Spain in two weeks.

Yeah, it's a level of starving way removed from this dudes level of starving. That is not lost on me.

But who of us is not starving? Most folks float around on a daily basis, toiling for the benefit of others, and cow-tow, and park their expensive cars outside of their insulting houses, and think they are perfectly replete, and yet polish off the day peering hungrily into the stocked fridge and deciding that there is nothing to eat. And they go to bed, starving.

Starving. It's such a great word. When you say it to a girlfriend as in "I'm starving for you" then plan on losing a little sleep.  If it's "I'm starving for a new direction," then it's a crossroad. If its on a piece of cardboard in Venice, well, you can see past it like most, or you can buy the guy some pizza.

This guys name was Ken, from Chicago, parents in Arizona, and Ken had on a black cap and was just a bit taller than me and about the same 7 day beard, and wore a grey "Caesars Palace" sweatshirt. Good brown eyes. And a backpack.

And the douchebag at the pizza place actually gave me trouble when I tried to order a whole pie, stating it was too late. I told him the situation and he said they gave out pizza at the end of the night, out back, to the homeless folk.

That's when Ken muttered.."yeah, like 5 pieces to 50 meth-heads." And I guess it was a little late but I turned my head at the guy and said "C'mon, you charge $3 a slice for so-so pizza, I've had it, and this guy is just trying to eat, do us a favor here." And so 3 hot pieces of cheese came out of the oven for Ken. And one coke, "so I have something to drink with it" he said.

No, I didn't sit down with him while he ate; I figured let the man have some peace.

The upside to starving is that we can choose to feed each other, and ourselves, or we can just go on starving until it ends us all.

If that sounded preachy, it's because it was.

The swiftest traveler is he who goes afoot.

Live from: Venice Beach, LA. January 2012.

I went to Vassar College. It's pretty much in the top ten lists of anything you can find out there when it comes to ranked places to send your chitlins for learning-type stuff. It'll never compete with Harvard or Yale or Princeton, and they specifically don't intend to pick that fight.

Ok, I admit, that back then, I was aching to go to Yale, or any Ivy for that matter.  I come from a Yale/Princeton family (brother, father, uncle, grandfather), and I guess I assumed that shoe would fit. But I had high SAT scores and low grades, and teachers who mostly touted only my "potential."

Which means I had a brain better suited for excitement/fun/tomfoolery than arithmetic/spelling/reading, and I should consider myself pretty lucky to have gotten into Vassar in the first place.

If I really wanted to roam those hallowed halls and have that crown upon my head, I guess I could have applied myself and had a lot less fun. But what would I have had to give up?

The memory of backing my car into a open garage in broad daylight, and stealing a case of beer while the blissful victim mowed his lawn? Sneaking into the abandoned ski-resort and having a party and kissing that girl who smelled like peppermint and cranberries?  Hauling the only source of beer through a dark forest for the 50 people waiting around the campfire at an empty boy scout camp in 30 degree weather?  Busting ass through a neighborhood trying to remember where we parked after the parents came home early? Driving down Westtown road in single file with our headlights off? In essence; the living? And let's not talk about karma here, I've done my fair share of repaying for these youthful delights.

And would I be anywhere different than where I am now?

Perhaps. Maybe all I would have is a different sweatshirt sitting in my closet that I never wear.

It's all crap. I got nothing from college when I was in it. Or, better stated, my father paid for the company I would keep, rather than the lessons I easily soaked up and spit back out. Because you can go to a "well, excuuuuse-me!" school like any of the ones I have named and not be any smarter on your way out.

The same way you can be quite old and have nothing to teach. So what significance does a MBA, or an MD, or a PHD, have?

In my opinion, they are pretty toys, and they are distractions from the serious things. I have not yet leaned on someone else to support a point but I'll grab some Thoreau for you, but I'll also synopsize and subtract the thee's and thou's; "Who is more likely to cut his fingers? The boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore that he himself dug and smelted, reading as much as was necessary for this? Or the boy who attended lectures on metallurgy and in the meanwhile was given a penknife by his father?"

Someday there will be a good sentence for what I am doing. Just one simple sentence that encompasses it all. I yearn for it. But it the meanwhile, I recognize that it isn't my paper resume which can ever adequately speak of me, but only what I have remembered to remember, and apply, that will define me.

Hey tree! What's with being a tree and all?

Location: LA

I was in the car the other day driving through Santa Monica and there was a guy all over my ass and so I pulled over and waved him by.

I'm not in a hurry, so why not? And when he pulls up next to me he shouts "What'ya doin? Just looking at girls?" And I thought, uh, yeah, that's actually exactly what I'm doing. That's what you yell at me?

It wasn't even an insult, I don't know what it was. I guess he was just making an observation, like a painfully obvious agressive driver should. If you were watering your plants this guy would walk up and be like "Hey, what do you think you're doing here? Watering plants or something?"

So that made me laugh almost all day.

A couple of other things about LA that are funny/interesting to me and then I'll get to yesterdays ride video; (1) if you are a bartender or a barista and you are not wearing a suit vest and a tie and perhaps an ironic hat, then you are bucking a serious trend, my friend, and you will be called out (2) the food scene here is shockingly impressive and (3) quite a few people would like to mention that they have lived/will live in NYC. 

Oh, and if you don't have a kid or a mate and you are over 30, for christ's sake get a rescue puppy, and make it nice and small. I mean, who do you think you are just being all alone and happy?

And lastly, if you're gonna ride a fixie in the bike lane, please don't be touching the handlebars. Only losers ride fixies with their hands on the handlebars. Sit up, balance that shit, and text, write notes in your screenplay booklet or, fuck it, get loose and play some "Words with Friends." But don't pay attention. Losers pay attention. Winners get doored. 

And now, yesterdays ride. I'm putting in some solid miles this month, could be a PR for me. 
And I can't get enough of this song either.

All of my videos are here.

Let's start over, and let's start with a hug.

Venice Beach. Hiyoooooo.
Date: 12.7.11
Location: LA

I apologize. The other night (the last entry) I had nothing to write about. I phoned it in. I just felt like I should be writing something. And I am, it's just in the behind-the-scenes journal and I'll probably get my ass sued if I uncovered it here, but it is in the works.

So the last entry was a dud, and I wish I couldn't see how many people read this blog, because then on top of a really crappy day, I wouldn't have to see that two-thirds of the people who usually read each entry skipped the last one.  So I get it: don't write it and don't say if it's not honest.

So to be honest, I felt like crap today. I did go for a ride and it was sunny and beautiful as LA has been coming through on that front lately, but I miss my friends, and I feel them fading away. That phenomena is not unusual or unexpected, but its not awesome either. When you get to the point when you talk to your friends and its "whats new" and the answer is "not much" and you know very well that isn't the case, well, you've jumped the gap and you're missing that daily something-in-common to talk about.

And soon enough, you wonder where they all went.

There is a three hour difference, and that's a barrier, but there is more to it than that. I think the perception is that I am just fucking living it up and pounding out some miles on the bike, and drinking some beers and pulling in chicks and why check in with me? When the reality is I'm lonely today and perhaps I need a shout out every once in a while as well.

Maybe it's LA, maybe it's that I'm stagnant, maybe it's that I'm feeling guilty about leaving my business, and maybe it's just that January 7th, 2012 doesn't seem to want to blow wind at my back, and it's probably mostly my own projections, and maybe it's that I forget that my friends have jobs and wives and children and duties and I have none, and it's surely all of them combined.

I'm feeling a little squeezed dry and my mental bank has had maybe a few too many withdrawals lately. And I'm not complaining, the proceeds went out for good reasons and I was happy to see them go, but I also need to realize when I'm tapped. And that is now.

Tonight, love is in the air in LA. I was at Finn McCool's after I had a couple of hot dogs from a food truck on Main Street in Santa Monica.  There was a couple at the bar, and the girl just could not keep herself from kissing the guy. She wasn't drunk and it wasn't obnoxious, but it was so beautiful to watch, and I did watch quite a bit. I could only see so much because I had to look through the beer taps, but there was something about the way that she looked at him and that they were wholly unaware of anyone else around them. I couldn't avert my eyes.

And then when I got in my car to come home, I saw two more couples kissing on the street. And again, not in a get-a-room kind of way. I pulled over to watch the third couple, and this may be as creepy as it sounds but I didn't feel that way; it was more like watching two very old people in love holding hands, or maybe seeing a romantic love story in reality.

They hugged each-other but did not move or sway or pat or squeeze ass, they just hugged and the hug was long and sincere. I think it was just great to see some sincere connections occurring in a town that is generally devoid of it, at least from the outside looking in.

I remember a Swiss guy that I met in Koh Samui, Thailand, about ten years ago. This dude was the hug king. Taught me everything I know about it's power and also how frightened people can be of it. He just loved a good solid hug. The kind where you melt into it and you dont think about if their hands are touching the part where you feel fat and it's not at all sexual and you take deep breaths and everything goes slo-mo.

I think one of those hugs in my very near future just might do the trick.

Grass gets greener when you water it

No. I do not care. It's
all rock and roll to me. 
Date: 1.6.12
Location: Los Angeles
Pictures: here and here

Maybe one thing that I have had to hone a bit over the last four months has been explaining what this is all about. Because the truth is that is about nothing at all and the truth is also that it's about every damn thing dating back to when I was eight years old.

It may be the simplest thing I have ever done or the most absurd. It is base and it is extremely complex, depending on when you catch me.

In one version of the story, I packed my shit and hauled ass with no intent but to get away. In another, I took five years to fully acknowledge my discontent and made a million meticulously researched decisions, and planned exhaustively so that everything was in perfect order and no one was left standing with their pants down.

The simplest way of putting it is that I wanted something significant to occur. That's the best I can articulate it. Because when you are searching for something in particular, you are highly unlikely to find it. When you are searching for you-know-not-what, then you are likely to find quite a bit.

All I knew is that maybe something horrible or something great would come of it, but I was certain that neither the former nor the latter or anything in between the two would be coming my way by riding the same, slow bus, every single day.

In the last five days in LA, well, I have had a chance to re-visit this place. And you wonder why I would decide to come back to a place that gave me a wrap-around one minute then turned me over and crapped on my face the next? Because I can't stand a grudge, and I wanted to make peace with it. I did, I think, within just a few hours of being here.

And from this I have realized what exactly? Same thing I have realized in every place that I have been in this world: that a place is exactly how I decide to make it.

And that warm weather helps.

Exodus Stage One, Part Deux

The Strand. Summer Kit.
Kiss me deeply. 
Date: 1.4.11
Location: Los Angeles

Ok, remember when I said; this is the last you will here from me? Well, that was just a litmus test. As in when, in the middle of a story, you say something like "and then a kitten laid a poached egg!" If someone says, "wait, what?", then you know people are listening.

(Not really. I really did intend to stop).

Apparently, there was some listening going on because I got a bit of "wait, what?", when I stopped and I'll be honest, I missed writing, so.... Nothing was really "over", I was just tired. There really is no stage one or stage two, there is just the exodus. However it may manifest itself.

I am a Favre-blogger.

Really sweet seagulls.
The days have slowed to a crawl. In the last two weeks, I noticed them getting a little slower but just within the last six or so, they have become laughingly slow. I'm not going to bed any later or getting up any earlier, but the time in-between has become seriously retarded. It's not something I have experienced before, and it's a bit unnerving.

Being more attentive, more present, is the only thing I can attribute to this. And add to that being in a place where I used to live, and all of those memories. It's like the Land of the Lost. In fact, that's a very good name for LA in general.

LA was a big circus for me back when I lived here from age 23 to 26. I lost 25 pounds, dyed my eyelashes, worked out for hours a day, played a hundred versions of not-me, and put my face out for any willing higher-up to spit upon, or caress, depending on the day.

The dangling carrots numbered in the thousands. Thankfully, I had the good sense to get out before it ruined me. And now, wanting nothing from it, needing nothing from it, I have a whole new perspective. A nice, slow, angst-free perspective.

I did visit my first apartment building, and it looks like a much nicer place to live, but the Burger King is still there that I remember driving to quite often drunk out of my mind. And this brings back many memories in and of itself, namely of being very fat after my trek out here. And of the guilt this town can lay on you.

My first seven nights were
spent here in 1995. 
And I also stopped at La Brea Motel, which is the motel in which I spent a very anxious week in when I first got here. It was, and is, a skanky hooker motel, and I remember feeling very alone inside of there. And of course, I remember drinking beer and eating that Burger King and feeling worse.

As I was leaving, I remembered a little bar I used to like to go too, because it was always full of people just like me and there was commiseration to be had, and it is still there. And it is still called the “Woods” except now they charge you $5 to park.

But inside it has not changed, and on my right there are three asians talking about I wonder if he will be the guy who you will say “ I knew him then” and on my left are two very hairy geeky guys with writers notepads and one of them is decribing to the other his latest thoughts on his screenplay, which he hasn’t started writing, but cant you imagine how cool of a movie that would be?

Mostly, I'm just giggling. And riding my bike.
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