10/28/2004

Bear with me

I've moved out of my apartment and my new place doesn't have Internet. Since I don't feel like blogging at work, you'll have to wait a few days for me to figure out how I'm going to swing this thing. I'll be back -- but if you are hanging on this blog's every word, I think it's time for you to curl up with a good phone book and try reading something interesting for a change.

10/23/2004

Out and About

Apparently I was outed in the comments on the previous post, to which my reaction was, big deal, I just won't write any more about work. That's really just a precaution against an editor stumbling onto the blog, the odds of which are virtually nil, especially since a Google search on my name would still not show this blog among the results. If anything, that now means fewer of those maddeningly obtuse phrases (unnamed news agency, for example) that I've been using to cover my tracks. Of course, life being as it is, it was just a few days later that some really stupid shit went down at work, which I would love to complain about -- and which you would love to hear, because it provides an interesting look at how people who work at newspapers try to determine what is and is not news, and what happens when they overreach (i.e., it just makes us all look stupid). Maybe I'll tell you about it at a party or something.

Anyway, I can tell you this story. I was sent to Pitzer College in Claremont to cover an event this week, and imagine my surprise when I pulled into the parking lot and found a spot in the second row, free of charge. Did I mention it was free? Hell, yeah! I don't know what kind of wacky liberal arts college this is, with its uncrowded campus, its hand-painted artwork adorning various walls (including one featuring a familiar-looking dreadlocked man, the mainstay of liberal American college campuses ... no, not Bob Marley ... yes, you guessed it: Mumia!), and its gently landscaped promenade, where co-eds stride briskly to class, but if the parking's free, it's all right by me. Imagine if parking had been free at your alma mater. We'd all be hundreds of dollars richer, of course, but more importantly, I would have fewer gray hairs and would never have been listed on the city of Los Angeles' "habitual parking offender" list for leaving my 1985 Volvo in a street sweeping zone every week, a desperate and failed attempt to avoid UCLA's extortionist parking charges.

No wonder people always make snide comments about college students being out of touch with reality. They're thinking of campuses like that one, where you can take your pick of free parking spaces (for visitors, anyway), share deep thoughts in your 10-student afternoon seminar, and go home that night and sleep with your professor. Those kids won't know what it's like in the real world, where giant orange boots await your car at every curb, and where shabbily dressed men confront me in the laundromat, trying to unload obviously stolen goods. It's a jungle out here, and I'm not just talking about the unmowed lawns. At the very least, the fascists in UCLA's parking department (along with their jackbooted counterparts at the Office of Residential Life) prepared me for the arbitrary punishments doled out by a cold, indifferent fate. Which is really all you can ask for in this world. Go Bruins!

10/20/2004

A Spartan existence

So, I packed up a bunch of my stuff last week, and this week I pretty much finished off cramming all that I can into the boxes, leaving only some clothes and food. These are the same cardboard boxes that have been sitting under my couch for three years because, you know, I could move out any day now, so I'd better keep them around. Just in case.

Anyway, what amazes me is just how much crap I have, especially given the fact that I think I have way less crap than most people my age. I filled several boxes with just books -- despite a series of donations to the library used book store six months ago -- and plenty others with random assorted crap. Some boxes I labeled "books"; others, I labeled "junk." How this happened is a mystery to me. I have never been the type to acquire a lot of stuff. One year in college my father slipped me a $50 bill on my birthday (in addition to taking me out to dinner or something) and told me to buy myself something. If memory serves, I spent it on groceries for the next couple of weeks.

Plus, when I do buy stuff for myself, it's usually what I consider to be intellectual capital (books, CDs, movies) that takes up little space. Why, then, am I packing boxes full of things like ... like ... for Christ's sake, I packed them a scant week ago and I can't even remember what they are! What are you, you wacky belongings of mine, that crowd my room and leave no impression on my brain? Why must you torment me so? Furthermore, what the hell is wrong with you, brain, that you can't even recall the various effluvium that floated around my teensy apartment for the last three years? Am I losing my memory before I reach the ripe old age of 27? Does alcohol really kill brain cells?

Thus, the question: do I really need all this stuff? It seems likely that I do not. I've barely missed anything that has been packed up in the past few days. Aside from the occasional desire to hear a certain CD, or to thumb through a certain book, the only result of packing away half my stuff has been stumbling against the widely strewn boxes if I have to get up in the middle of the night.

It's beginning to sound like I should just dump it all. Let's see, I have about 100 books, and this year I re-read two of them. In the two previous years, I re-read zero. The evidence seems pretty clear in that category. CDs don't take up much space, and if I would give up my stubborn need for all the jewel boxes, they would take up even less space. And all this other useless stuff, that I can't even recall? Do I really need the M&M man dispenser or the Maltese Falcon replica? Or even the items that ostensibly serve some purpose: do I still need the discman that I've used once in the last three years?

And yet, how difficult it would be to throw it all away. It's not the money. Let's say I could conceivably sell all this garbage on eBay or half.com. Would I do it? It seems unlikely. I have a file cabinet with a drawer full of music that hasn't seen the light of day in years. Here's the Rubank Selected Duets for Flute, Vol. 1. I haven't touched a flute since 1997, but I should probably hold on to this. Or over in the kitchen, how about this slotted spoon I never use? I've been carting it around from one apartment to the next, never using it once. Or this sugar jar with no sugar in it. Even books that are readily available at any library in the country -- somehow, holding on to that copy of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is important, despite the fact that my used paperback was printed in 1977 and would undoubtedly fall apart in my hands if I tried to read it again. I used to buy books partly so that if someone were to walk into my place, they would see that I am well-read. Or, at least, they would see that I try to present that image. But no one comes over here anyway (you jerks) so it's pretty much a moot point.

I'm going to try to make a change. I'm going to get rid of some of this baggage. I already cleaned out a bunch of crap, but that was mostly real-life garbage -- old newspapers that had piled up, grocery bags I'd been saving for no known reason, Betty Crocker redemption points that I'll never use. (I want that cookbook, dammit!) This time, after I move into this new place, I'm going to lose some weight for sure. No more holding on to books I'll never read again. No more carrying around old tax returns. And don't take this personally, if any of you are among the friends who have given me these various knick-knacks and tchotchkes as gifts over the years, but I may just throw out anything I don't use or even see very much, if it's hidden in a box in the closet all the time.

I remember a moment a few years ago, when I was hanging out with a pair of friends who were then dating, and one poked fun at the other for her notion that she hadn't really gotten attached to any excess trappings of life, like furniture she really loved or anything like that. "She likes to think that she lives this spartan existence, like she can get up and go at any time." I'm not really going for this kind of monklike asceticism, although I do think there's something to this way of thinking. Don't call me a Thoreauan, but I think cutting ourselves free from lots of excess belongings could be a liberating experience. It seems to me that the more stuff we accumulate, the more we dilute the essence of who we really are. It gets buried beneath an avalanche of comic books, clothes, PlayStation games or whatever it is you have too much of.

In other words, if you've had your eye on something of mine, now is the time to make your move. This water-damaged coffee table may be available today, but there's no telling where it'll be tomorrow!

10/15/2004

Excuse me, but I noticed you have an accent. Is that French, maybe, or Portuguese?

excerpted from my employee safety manual:

BOMB THREAT PROCEDURE

The person receiving a bomb threat call should remain calm and get as much information as possible. Write down information reported by the caller.

NOTE THE TIME OF THE CALL and ask:

1. What part of the building is threatened?
2. What is the exact location of the bomb?
3. What time is the bomb to explode?
4. How will the explosive be set off?
5. What does the explosive look like?
6. What kind of explosive materials did you use?
7. Why did you place the bomb in the building?
8. What is your name?
9. Where are you calling from?


Keep the conversation as short as possible, but try to determine as much as possible about the caller ... male or female? Young or old? Accent? Background sounds/noises?

IMMEDIATELY notify the Director of Human Resources or any department head.

--------

INT. NEWSROOM. DAY. REPORTERS ARE WORKING ON THEIR ARTICLES, OR PERUSING THE INTERNET IN AN ATTEMPT TO LOOK BUSY. A PHONE RINGS.

Newsroom, this is Chuck.

There's a bomb in your building! You're all going to die!

There what? You-

I put a bomb in your building. Say your prayers, capitalist pig! Free Kevin Mitnick!

Oh, wait. Hold on, I have to find the employee manual ...

What?

Yeah, there's a procedure. I have to ask you some questions. Just a sec.

Is this going to take long? Because I have to call city hall, too.

It'll only take a minute. Here it is. Let's see, what time is it?

Uh, 3:15.

Oh, I know. I was just asking myself. Out loud.

Oh.

All right. What part of the building is threatened?

Well, you know. All of it.

'Kay. What is the exact location of the bomb?

Come on. Do you think I'm going to tell you that?

I don't know. Maybe.

Well, I'm not. Next question.

Fine. What time is the bomb to explode?

Well, soon, obviously. I wouldn't call you if it was set to go off in, like, two days.

Right, but how soon? Ten minutes, an hour, what?

Um, I don't know the exact time, but probably within an hour.

OK, great. How will the explosive be set off?

Well, you know. It's got a magnesium thing that is connected to a blasting cap, so any sort of movement would jar the thingy, and that makes it blow up.

You don't sound real sure about that.

What am I, a physicist? It was in the Anarchist's Cookbook, all right? I'm sure it'll work.

OK, OK. What does the explosive look like?

It looks like a fucking bomb. How long is this going to take?

Almost done. What kind of explosive materials did you use?

I told you. Magnesium, and a blasting cap, and then some fertilizer.

I've heard about the fertilizer thing before. How does that work? I mean, you don't just have a bag of manure with a timer on it, right?

I'm not totally sure myself. It's kinda complicated. My roommate did the distillation to get the explosives out of it.

Oh, wow. All right. Why did you place the bomb in the building?

To blow it up, duh.

I think they want to know why you chose the newspaper to try to blow up.

Oh, right. Uh, it just seemed like a good target, you know? I mean, a lot of people work there, right?

Not that many. Maybe a hundred.

That's it? I figured you had at least a hundred reporters, plus all the administrative people.

Ha ha ha! I wish. There's about 20 reporters, if you count sports and features and all that.

Wow. That's really it? I should have just left the bomb at Wal-Mart.

Seriously. Anyway, what's your name?

Oh, please. You don't think I'd really give it to you, do you?

Look, I've got a list of questions I'm supposed to ask. You don't want to answer, fine. This is the last one: where are you calling from?

I'm at a pay phone at some gas station. I don't know the address.

OK. Well, thanks. Oh, wait. There's more I'm supposed to find out.

Shit, dude. This is taking forever.

Hang on, geez. OK, never mind. It just says to make note of whether the caller is male or female, if they have an accent, that kind of thing. You don't have to answer any more questions.

Finally.

So anyway, thanks for calling. You can call me back in case there's anything else you think I should know, or someone else you think I should talk to.

All right. Take it easy.

10/13/2004

Weird Al must be totally pissed

First, Eminem won't let the man make a video for "Couch Potato," the parody of "Lose Yourself" that is probably Weird Al's best song not about food. And now the newest video from Detroit's most famous white rapper features him dressed like Michael Jackson, bouncing around on a bed with a bunch of young boys. Jacko is upset, of course, but I bet Weird Al is furious. Eminem is stealing his bit.

10/11/2004

Who Cares About Terrorists? or, Do You Want Fries With That Newspaper?

I am sick of the security lines at the airport. Asking for my boarding pass three times -- at a Southwest terminal, with no long-distance flights and hence no risk of using the planes as missiles -- would not stop a terrorist. And besides, who really cares. Look around, people. You don't have to worry about al-Qaida attacking the United States, because the United States has already been subjugated. Consumerism conquered us years ago, unfurling its "Mission Accomplished" banner before you and I even knew what hit us. Since then, the titans of this movement have merely been engaged in mop-up work. They lose the occasional skirmish, like in Inglewood, but think of that as a minor annoyance in the al Anbar province. While it might be a no-go zone, there's no doubt the rest of the country has been pacified.

This comes to my mind after my first day at the new job. The highlight of the day (aside from the poorly acted sexual harassment video) was riding around town with the guy whose beat I am taking over. Here's a few choice snippets from his end of the conversation: "Yeah, that mall is huge." "They closed the Sam's Club there and moved it across town, so it's right next to the Wal-Mart." Then we cruised by the location where my personal office will be. Okay, it won't be my personal office. It's a bureau, meaning myself and another reporter will work there, away from the main office, once the phone lines are installed. I'm not sure why we need a bureau, since it's only about 10 miles from the main office. It's not like the company is based in Los Angeles and we have a bureau in San Diego.

Anyway, imagine my shock and disgust when he pointed out the office, which is in a goddamn shopping center, sandwiched between Fantastic Sam's and Check-n-Go. You have to be shitting me. Sure, there are other non-retail businesses in the shopping center, like a dentist and a LensCrafters (although that one's kind of in the gray area). But still, those are places people go to pay for either services or products, and then leave afterwards. There's a monetary transaction of sorts going on. But why would you put a newspaper office there? There won't be any advertising sales reps in the office. No Soccer Mom will walk through our door, Happy Meal in one hand, grimy four-year-old hanging off the other, and ask to buy the paper. It's a place of business.

Upon further reflection, it seems odd that this would bother me so much. After all, even though I hate malls and shopping centers of all kinds, I have long known that this attitude was akin to hating the New York Yankees or the U.S. military -- I would forever be on the losing side. And besides, it's been years now that people have been living at the mall, in what the developers and sales-tax-hungry local politicians call "mixed-use" developments. This isn't like there being a couple of apartments in a two-story building with a pawn shop on the ground level. I mean these are people who live at the mall. So it should have been clear to me by now that the consumerist way of life has not only taken over, but is in fact the language that we speak and the water that we drink.

Yet, stupidly, I had managed to convince myself that some spheres of life were separate from this all-encompassing void. I didn't realize it until today, but I guess I had always figured that unless you worked in retail, or related fields like certain marketing positions, your work would be separate from the consumer society. The office is the last bulwark against creeping Wal-Martism. All of the offices I've worked in have been free of billboards, free of advertisements, free of commercials, free of placards screaming "20 percent off" or "clearance" -- or, my personal favorite, "Our Staff Recommends." (We all know you Barnes & Noble employees don't read every book you recommend.)

When you think about it, every other space in our society has already been invaded and taken over by consumerism. Our public space is awash with consumerist mental pollution, from the obvious (billboards) to the grotesque (advertisements hanging above the urinals in bars). Cars are plastered with stickers advertising corporate rock bands; retail outlets install signs or other gimmicks that are impossible to ignore; even our sports teams -- which at least attempt to distract us from the fact that they exist only to make rich men richer -- play in arenas named for retail giants that ponied up millions for the honor. Other places are no longer the havens of purity they once were. Children are forced to watch Channel One's commercial-laden "educational" programs in public schools so their districts can tally up a few more precious dollars. Additionally, as my pal Blanka notes, you can't hang out in a hip, gritty neighborhood in New York City for very long before Ikea wants to move in. Maybe you can have some peace in a church or temple, but that's only a few hours a week -- and they're selling something, too. Even in our homes, every product we own screams its brand name into our consciousness every time we look at it. And let's not forget those hilarious commercials we waste hours of our lives watching and unwittingly memorizing. I admit that many of them are funny, but every time I laugh at a television commercial, a small part of me dies.

So, with everything else already lost, one can see the white-collar workplace as a sanctuary of sorts, where we can escape the neon consumerist orgy that is forced down our throats like an S&M strap-on. Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that the office is a sanctified shrine of all that is good in this world. The standard combination of mindless drudgery, incompetent managers, bad coffee, and flickering fluorescent lights can only be described as soul-deadening. But at least you don't have Ronald McDonald cackling with horrific, multifarious glee in the cubicle next to yours, while down the hall, the guy from "Coach" trades on his likable demeanor to convince people to spend what little money they have on crap they don't need. No, your work may suck, but at the very least, you won't have to deal with that "buy everything now!" bullshit that seeps from our society's every pore. In your office, you will be largely protected from that. Of course, I won't.

10/08/2004

Humility

I should start this by saying that I am a smug, elitist bastard, and anyone who tells you otherwise does not know me as well as they think. I can't be one hundred percent certain whence this attitude stems, although I would conjecture that it was a combination of two things: one, knowing from an early age that I was pretty smart, since that's what all the teachers and counselors told me, and since so many other kids seemed to take forever to learn what I grasped intuitively; and two, being told my whole life that I was special and could do anything I wanted, if I just put my mind to it.

If you were educated in America during the last 35 years or so, that second part should sound familiar. It's pretty much de rigeur for children in this country to be told that by teachers, parents, afterschool specials, Mr. Rogers, Big Bird, and whatever other TV shows kids watch these days. (Perhaps Yu-Gi-Oh! has some very self-affirming themes.) The problem is that all those well-meaning folks who told me I was special did not intend for me to develop into a condescending prick. Additionally, of the millions of other kids who were told that they could do anything in life, only a small number ever became gigantic assholes. So somewhere along the line, something must have happened that caused me to misinterpret the whole thing.

Finding the cause of this screw-up might make for an interesting blog post, but that's not what we're doing today, because I don't think that would accomplish anything. My attitude problem is not a disgruntled spirit, forced to roam the earth until its raison d'etre is unveiled and its moldy bones interred in their proper resting place. No, today we do not dwell on the past. Today, we look to the future.

My future, it seems, holds a long-awaited lesson in humility. I say this as I am packing my belongings in preparation of moving out of town, to take a job for which I can't help but feel I am overqualified, in a region which I consider to be, well, worthless. (See what I meant by smug and elitist?) I am looking forward to starting work, of course, and the challenges I will face, and all that. And it should be interesting to live "out there" after being in L.A. for eight years. But beneath the surface of these sentiments lurks the dark, throbbing belief that I am better than this.

We should just state a few facts, in no particular order, to add the proper context to this tale. To start, I like living in Los Angeles. I would have preferred to get a job here, or in the Bay Area to be closer to my girlfriend. My new job will find me in Wal-Mart country, away from the big city, where there is none of the urban stuff that I like so much about being here. Museums, art galleries, alternative media, the bohemian night life, East West Players -- they don't have that stuff there. Beyond just a few specific amenities, I also enjoy the idea of living in the second-largest city in the country. I feel like here in the metropolis, I'm in the thick of things. Call me an elitist -- I already have -- but it's the truth, and I know plenty of other people feel the same way. (Especially in New York. Those smug bastards.)

The other facts that are relevant are regarding my own inability to get a job. Just to be straightforward and clear, here is the story of my unemployment saga: I quit my last job in June 2003, thinking I would find something right away. I didn't, and instead strung together part-time work (at the unnamed news agency) with some other freelance work. In February, the unnamed news agency made me a full-time temp, which was good. But in July, my temporary contract ran out.

Now, I had been looking for a new job before I quit the old one last June. I began looking in January of that year. And I basically got nothing. Let's put it this way. In 2003, I went 0 for 4 in job interviews, including places where I had friends working who gave me good references. I also attended a job fair in October, where I jawed with a dozen recruiters and left my glowing resume in their hands. That was all last year. This year, I pressed flesh with a handful of bureau chiefs who work in the unnamed news agency's offices in other states. I e-mailed and sent resumes to a few more in other bureaus. Also, my assistant bureau chief composed a laudatory e-mail that he sent to every bureau chief in the country, telling them I was a great employee but there was no room for me in this office, so if you have an opening, give me a call. Suffice it to say that even as an in-house candidate, I found nothing. And none of all this includes the dozens, possibly in excess of a hundred, resumes that I sent out cold, and in response to job ads, in the last year and a half. Again, nothing.

I am not looking for your pity here. Personally, I am at odds with understanding the situation, but that is a matter that will not be discussed in this forum. I have had enough problems result from my inability to get a job, among them insomnia and friends who are sick of hearing about it, so we won't dwell on any of that any more. What I am asking you to understand is that I was in no position to turn down the job I was offered. Even though the pay is far below what I earned at my temp job, and below what I earned at the job I quit a year ago. Even though it means I will have to live and work in some crummy inland suburb. Even though the job looks suspiciously like an entry-level position in a newsroom full of recent graduates. Even though it means I will go from covering Big Stories in Los Angeles to covering crap in the hinterlands. I had to take what I could get.

(By the way, I hope that after that little rant, you can all appreciate why I don't use my name on the blog. Anonymity is candor's shield.)

So, now you appreciate my situation. I am a jerk with a superiority complex who has been cut down to size. I suppose it is for the best. No one has ever, ever accused me of having a surplus of humility. My self-importance knows no bounds. I used to Google search my own name just for the fun of knowing that I got more hits than you. (Except for Mr. Baghdad Correspondent.) So maybe what I need is to spend a little time in purgatory, as I imagine the Inland Empire to be. Maybe a few night city council meetings in Nowheresville will knock me down off my high horse.

I was struck with a realization yesterday at the airport. Don't ask why I was there. I just was. Anyway, I was in the middle of the walkway from the terminal to the parking structure, that goes over the central road, and I looked to my left and watched a bunch of cars streaming into the airport. And at that moment I got it; I finally fucking got it. I looked at all those cars, and saw that each of them had one person inside, and that none of them knew me, and I didn't know any of them, and each of them has their own life with their own excitement and drama and heartbreak and everything. And that I am as meaningless to them as each of them is to me. I saw that in the end, we are all just a bunch of schmucks driving around in our own little worlds, including me. I am just another schmuck.

Which, should you choose to believe and properly interpret what all my teachers used to tell me, is a good thing. In fact, it's quite beautiful. My twisted misinterpretation of their constant "You are special" affirmations came out something like "I am special; I am better than all these other dopes." But what they were really saying, and trying to get me to see, was that I am special, and so is everyone else, and that's what's really so great about living in the world.

Maybe this is something that you have always taken for granted. Or conversely, if you're like me, you probably never really believed that kind of sappy bullshit. After all, some people are obviously better than others. Some write poems, while others beat their kids. I'm not going to pretend like I've made some life-changing discovery that everyone is swell and we should all just hold hands and sing, like in that old Coca-Cola commercial. But maybe I can acknowledge that those schmucks who live in the hinterlands, with no museums or operas or skyscrapers, are just as unique and distinct and whatever as I have always believed myself to be. Maybe I can learn to appreciate what life has given me, and what matters to other people, rather than writing them off as a bunch of dumbass rednecks. Maybe being a little more aware of my own place in the grand scheme of things will make me a better person. Maybe.

10/03/2004

Taking stock

I will soon be moving out of my apartment, which has caused me to consider things I will miss in Los Angeles, and things I will not miss. Atop the list of Things I Will Not Miss is the guy upstairs. I had nicknamed him DVD Man when I moved in, because of his habit of going out and purchasing whatever new DVD just came out, and then playing it with the volume turned all the way up at around 1 a.m. He stopped doing that for a while, but then the Star Wars trilogy came out on DVD, and he apparently could not live without that. As I type this, he is watching one scene in "Empire" over and over again. He has watched the same 20-second scene at least 30 times now. There's no dialogue, only the musical cue and a couple of stray sound effects that are probably TIE fighters buzzing through space. Even though we all know there is no sound in space. I guess that scene is really exciting for him.

Anyway, I could go on at length about everything that appears on these lists -- yes, that is a threat -- but I will not. Instead, you get just the lists. Things I will and will not miss in my neighborhood, and in Los Angeles at large. If there is something I have forgotten, let me know. I am not including any friends, because with a little luck, we should still be able to see each other now and again, and therefore I won't be missing you.

Things I Will Miss about Hollywood/Thai Town/Little Armenia
- the Metro Red Line
- Zankou Chicken
- all those great Thai restaurants
- seeing Marilyn Monroe waiting for the bus on Hollywood Boulevard
- Griffith Park
- Skylight Books (which I guess is technically in Los Feliz)
- Pink Elephant liquor store

Things I Will Not Miss
- the guy upstairs
- the feral cats that live in the parking lot behind the building
- the building repair guys who play Van Halen and smoke pot in vacated apartment units
- the 16-year-old wannabe bangers who smoke behind my building and leave their matches, butts and breath mint containers all over the place
- the drug house two doors down
- the strip clubs and adult book stores
- tourists at the Walk of Fame and elsewhere
- the Scientology temple
- my 292.5-square-foot apartment
- police helicopters circling at night

Things I Will Miss About Los Angeles At Large
- LACMA, MOCA, the Getty
- Central Library
- Amoeba Music
- Dodger Stadium
- voting for Antonio Villaraigosa
- the multicolored electronic artwork outside LAX
- Silver Lake
- making fun of the valley
- KXLU 88.9 FM
- writing articles about the LAPD
- Santa Monica
- LA Weekly
- Los Angeles Alternative Press
- the Kosher Burrito, which was torn down two years ago and I'm still upset
- Melrose Avenue
- Dengue Fever
- Eleni Mandell

Things I Will Not Miss
- the 110 freeway
- actors
- LAX (except for the artwork)
- Los Feliz
- UCLA
- Van Nuys
- Star 98.7 FM
- hipsters
- street closures due to movies being filmed nearby
- the LAPD
- Third Street Promenade
- The Grove
- The Beverly Center
- Hollywood & Highland
- Sherman Oaks Galleria
- Westside Pavilion
- shit, let's just say I won't miss any of the malls and leave it at that
- the Clippers
- USC
- Paul Moyer
- Santa Monica Boulevard
- gratuitous banner headlines in the Daily News
- screenwriters with laptops in coffee shops

I suppose that's it.