Old Skool Skater

My roommate from NYU, Cameron Martin, was a professional skater for Powell Peralta. He's now an artist and not on Facebook. Back in 1991 in our sophomore year, we made a video together that I shot and edited. Last week he sent me this link to a recent article about the video and how it lead to the end of his relationship with Stacy Peralta.


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Tall Iced Improvaccino

Today I improvised a scene at Starbucks. I played a "Rainman"-esque character who questioned another man about his "service dog." I started out by complimenting him about what a beautiful service dog he has. Then I asked him if the dog was helping him read the newspaper (obviously the dog wasn't because the newspaper was on the counter in front of the man, out of eye-level of the dog).

The man asked me if I was with the "Service Dog Police." I assured him that I was not. He then asked me "What does that sign say?" I read it aloud so everyone in the store could hear. "We welcome service dogs."

"What else does it say?" he asked me.

I looked at the small print. "No pets, please!" I cried, placing extra emphasis on the word "pets."

A little boy, oblivious to this inane altercation, came over to ask the man if he could pet the dog. Of course, the man obliged.

That's when I turned to the little boy. "One day when you grow up you can have a service dog and bring him to Starbucks."

The boy said, "Oh, I don't live around here."

"That's OK," I told him. "It's a California law anyway and you don't have to pay attention to it even if you are from here."



I don't have any memory of admiring flowering trees before I moved to Japan. Until I had lived in Los Angeles, I had no appreciation for how green my home state of New Jersey can be.

If you're around people who take notice of the little things, it rubs off on you. You suddenly start to see these things in such clear detail as if you've just gotten a new prescription in your eyeglasses. When you're around people who just take things for granted--people who don't see beauty in everything that makes up this reality--it becomes a challenge not to get sucked into that state of mind.

San Diego seems to be full of these trees that for most of the year look quite barren. Then suddenly they become an explosion of purple. They are neither common in Japan nor New Jersey. I'm red-green colorblind, and perhaps because (or maybe in spite) of this, purple comes across as extra vibrant to me.

Maybe people who have lived in Southern California all their lives don't notice these trees that litter that landscape with lavender. All I can see is a natural wonder worthy of a celebration.


Time Traveler

The Thomas Guide - 1993 Edition
When I was living in Los Angeles about 20 years ago there was no Internet, no smartphones, no Metro. It was high tech enough for me to be able to fax a resume straight from my PowerBook. Getting around the city required purchasing a Thomas Guide map the size of a phone book. My job provided me with a cellular flip phone that was only to be used for emergencies (because calls were pretty expensive) and a pager that received texts, although the caller didn't actually text, they spoke to the number they dialed, which an operator then texted to the pager. It seems so archaic now.

Today I navigated the city with Google maps on my iPhone, and I'm texting people at no cost, and keeping friends back in Tokyo abreast of my whereabouts and goings on (status updates in modern day lingo). Parking meters take credit cards here, and I was worried about not having enough quarters! I lived in Studio City, in the Valley, where the ocean air never reaches. My roommate used to joke that we were living on Mars because there was a constant haze we got used to breathing. Roommate is a bit of a stretch. He had the bedroom. I had the living room. It was a living arrangement that I can't even fathom of putting up with now, but somehow I did for three years. Slept on a futon, the kind that folds into a couch. I guess I didn't really need much privacy. I was always going out.


Buddha for "You"

So I enter the meditation hall, take off my sandals, and look around the room. Several people are seated in chairs along one side of the room and the back wall. Only a few are cross legged on the cushions that line the floor. I pick a cushion that has an extra cushion on top, perfect for keeping me raised enough so my long legs don't fall asleep, and sit down. "Excuse me, I put that cushion there to sit on," says a woman sitting in a chair.

"Oh," I reply. "Sorry."

I look up and see another high cushion. I go over to it and plop down.

"Excuse me, I put that there for him to sit on," says a man sitting in a chair next to his friend, who is also sitting in chair. "If you want an extra cushion, there are more in the corner," he adds.

Why the hell are you people sitting in chairs if you want to sit on a cushion?! And if there are extra cushions available, why do you care if I sit on "yours"?!

My mind raced with these thoughts as I went to take "my" extra cushion from the corner of the room.
Enlightened people crack me up sometimes.


Kawaii Jedi

This new Star Wars looks like it's gonna be great. I really underestimated JJ Abrams.