Monday, December 27, 2010

work uniform

blue-collar jobs have always had uniforms.  not every uniform is the same, but some variation on the name-tag-over-breast-pocket-on-dark-collared-shirt-to-hide-potential-stains-with-dark-pants-for-the-same-reason is generally employed.  i also know from watching mad men that there was a time when white-collared jobs meant a suit and tie with (you guessed it) a white-collared shirt.  some time since then, white-collared jobs that do not require people to be presentable sprang into existence.  though most evident in engineering professions, many office positions now conduct so little of their business in person, a suit and tie has become an unnecessary discomfort.  however, through some combination of low prices, comfort and mutual fashion indecisions, i would submit that the following uniform has arisen:

key elements to note:

  1. insulated cube-tote, often with logo of company handing out free swag at a convention of some sort (this guy has two)
  2. beige/light tan pants
  3. tennis shoes
  4. credential-holding implement (multiple lanyards in this case, though belt-clipped retractable device is common)
if not for the lanyards, i'd think this guy might be on some casual get-away, maybe picnicking with his companion. as it is, well, he must be good at what he does.  though i don't subscribe to this uniform myself, i've never known someone who does getting fired for incompetence.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

grab yer shappin cart

it's finally upon us.  the last day to buy gifts for "loved" ones (y'know, because that's what love is).  hustle out there, folks.  be like sinbad and my outgoing governor in that one movie i haven't seen where they're fighting over toys.  spend, spend, spend.  the economy needs you now more than ever.  and, if you need a shopping cart for everything you're acquiring, go here:

this picture was taken from a moving blue line train between the 103rd st station and the rosa parks station.  it's hard to tell from the train how deep the stack goes, but i'd venture to guess at least three, possibly five.  here's the other end of the stack, down to a single layer of carts, about a block later:

though this pile o' carts may not be as dramatic as the photos currently on display at 7th/metro or edward burtynsky's work, it's smack in the middle of los angeles, where you'd think real estate would be at a premium.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a river runs through it

i know this is the name of a book (or a movie? both?), but i don't know what it's about and i'm not even sure who the author/producer/director is.  i also know that we angelenos take a lot of flak from the rest of the country when we pull out our fleece jackets when it gets under 60 degrees or complain on one of the ten days out of the year we can't play beach volleyball.  i blame our civic leadership.

how is one to feel safe from the elements when our infrastructure allows water to accumulate so deep that a bus leaves a wake in the median even when driving around it?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

out of context

a conversation between two teenage girls on the train

1: aren't you scared to do it?
2: no, i'm not scared.
1: well, yeah, you wouldn't be.  what's it like?
2: so, it, like, just gets harder and harder.

at this point, i'm wondering if this is some sort of practical joke and i'm on candid camera.

1: really? how long does it go on?
2: for like, 3 or 4 hours.
1: what are you doing the whole time?

are these girls really having this conversation in public?

2: well, like, everything's just funny.  you laugh a lot.
1: do you get the munchies?
2: no, it's not like that.
1: well, everyone's different, right?
2: i don't get the munchies.

okay, not what i originally thought, but still naughty.

1: so, you were at work?
2: no, we started right after we left.
1: you ate it?
2: no, it's like chewing gum.  it just gets harder and harder until it's done.

so, kids, don't be like these girls.  as chef says, "there's a time and a place for everything.  it's called college."

Sunday, December 12, 2010


wheelchair bound (wb): [wakes with a start, the train doors are closing] what stop is this!?

fellow rider (fr): hawthorne

wb: crenshaw's next?

fr: yeah.

wb: i fell asleep there.  it's so easy to fall asleep on the train.

fr: i do it everyday, especially after work.

wb: it just gets comfortable [demonstrates by lolling his head]

fr: drone of the tracks

wb: rockin back and forth

[arriving at crenshaw]

wb: two more buses.

fr: three more trains.

wb: i feel ya.

fr: have a safe trip

Sunday, December 5, 2010

fringe benefits

mention elevated trains to people in l.a. and you get the usual "eyesore" response.  i've always thought, "the trains in chicago look pretty damn cool," but never said anything in response because, well, i like to avoid confrontation most of the time.  harry dean stanton's character in repo man would hate me.  i think elevated trains have all sorts of other cool benefits.  they don't interfere with traffic, they don't endanger drivers or pedestrians and, as a train rider, i want the people stuck in their cars during heavy traffic to see what they're missing.  as i was strolling back to work from lunch the other day, i chalked up yet another advantage of elevated trains.

as you walk down the sidewalk on this side of the street, you get the wonderful comfort of shade.  notice that if you were to walk down the sidewalk on the other side of the street, the sun would be beating down on you like you're in the sahara.  the trees aren't even placed to provide the sidewalk any shade.  nope, there's only skinny light poles.  lucky me, i chose wisely.