Friday, May 28, 2004

Paris Hilton doesn't star in The Day After Tomorrow. Neither does Lindsay Lohan. But maybe D12 and Eminem are on the soundtrack. What could be the lyrics? "These chicks don't even know the world is kaput / Another ice age? They'll just buy more Ugg boots." Do you think if the earth's climate changes, there will be continue to be other animals? Like a beaver or a dingo or an anaconda? Maybe it'll be beautiful, like Fantasia – I meant the old Disney movie, not that girl from American Idol. If people are unable to survive, then there won't be name-dropping weird-reference Google-baiting bloggers like me. But until that day arrives: Snoop Dogg Mandy Moore gerbil Donald Rumsfeld digital cameras South Park chimpanzee Franz Ferdinand Fahrenheit 911 chicken finger lickin good.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I gotta move.

It's not just my human neighbors (see 5/17 entry) giving me grief. Now I'm getting it from the plants and animals.

The people in the apartment below me (which includes the previously-mentioned grunting guy in the bathtub) have a mini-garden in front of their door. It looks like a tiny jungle at their entrance. Which is fine for them. I wouldn't do it.

See, I kinda have a phobia about plants. You ever see Invasion of the Body Snatchers? These plants from outer space came to Earth and started duplicating everyone, turning them into emotionless pod people. Scared the bejeezus outta me. To this day, I won't have a fern, flower or fichus in my house. And don't tell me it was just a movie -- it could happen. I say tear down the rain forest. Never trust a living thing that doesn't move, doesn't make sound, or reproduces by having sex with itself.

So the people below me have a baby palm tree that's grown up from their garden to reach the balcony by my apartment. Okay, I've learned to tolerate this green monstrosity outside, blocking my view with its ominous fronds, but now there's a new development.

I've been told it's an old variety of Birds of Paradise,so named because its growths resemble a bird's beak and pointy feathers. I call them Ugly Sap-Dripping Bulbs. Their nectar must be sweet, as it attracts hummingbirds (cute), flies (gross), and squirrels (creepy!).

Normally, I don't mind the squirrels. I admire their ability to survive in urban environments, scampering playfully up the sparse trees, foraging for food with their acrobatics. Some call them bushy-tailed rats, but they don't typically scavenge your garbage or beg for breadcrumbs like pigeons or seagulls.

But when a squirrel is using your front step as his local hangout--a restaurant for rodents, if you will--it could make you a bit uneasy. Every time I open my door, there's Rocky (as in Bullwinkle's pal), gnawing away at the palm tree. He'd run away, but each time, stay a little closer, and come right back. Uppity buck-toothed bastard. I just didn't feel comfortable with this. It was time to act.

I went outside with a long serrated kitchen knife. No, I wasn't going to hurt the squirrel. I was just going to cut off his food supply. Literally. Don't worry, you PETA or ASPCA folks. Like I said, these tenacious fur-balls always manage to thrive; I wasn't going to starve him. Just get him to go away.

Problem was: he didn't go away. As I sawed away at these sap sacs, Rocky kept walking down the banister toward me and the tree. What was he trying to do? Was he claiming his territory? Trying to get in one last snack before I hacked away his meal ticket? Fight me for the food? Step off, mofo!

I'd chase him away, but he'd come right back. And he got bolder and bolder each time. Shouting or stomping my foot soon wasn't good enough. I had to swat the newspaper at the banister, shaking up his tightrope to get him to dash off to a safe distance, up the other tree in front of the apartment building. I'd work on pruning more of the palm tree, look over, and there'd he be again, inching up. I'm sure it looked comical, me chasing this little guy back and forth, especially as Rocky got more defiant. Sometimes he'd stand with his back to me, waving his bushy tail like a cobra to a snake charmer. That squirrel was mooning me! Taunting me: "Nyah, nyah!"

OK, Rocky, you can play. Pretend you're the Masticator ("I'll be buck!"). But I'm on the chopping spree. Ooh, there goes another bird of paradise, flying away from the tree. Who's the sap and who's the pain in the nectar now, hunh?

Then the squirrel faced me, his beady black eyes staring me down, sneering with those oversized teeth. And there was that tail again. Swishing back and forth as if he wanted to have a stand-off. I raised my knife like a samurai sword and sized up the two opponents.

I definitely had the size advantage. Brains, I'm not sure. After all, I'm fighting with a friggin' squirrel. But I also got a scimitar and the LA Times.

The squirrel had speed and agility. He also had those tiny chompers and sharp claws. Oh yeah, and the strong possibility of a scorching case of rabies.

If I had to lay odds, I'd put even money on us both. It was man vs. beast. A Santa Monica Mexican stand-off.

Just then, one of my neighbors came outside. It was one of the quieter ones, but Rocky didn't know the difference. He got nervous - squirrelly, you might say - and zipped off. Ha-ha! I laughed uproariously! Rocky (and my neighbor) surely thought I was crazy. Yeah, crazy like a fox squirrel. I cut off the last juicy part of the tree, giving him no reason to come around anymore, not until those birds of paradise grow back next year.

It sure was a memorable morning. That was one persistent squirrel. I just hope they don't have as good a memory, 'cause if Rocky's holding a grudge, well, he's got lots of little furry friends. And maybe he won't wait 'til next year...

Jeez. I'm kinda scared to come home tonight...

Monday, May 24, 2004

The Sopranos was so great last night. Why did they wait all season to really make something good happen?

I enjoyed a previous episode in which Tony felt compelled to ruin sister Janice's happiness, but otherwise, Steve Buscemi has been underused, and it's been a lot of focus on other extraneous characters – new gangsters we've never seen, who wind up getting whacked. So it's no big loss.

But last night – whoa. Now we'll get one more episode and then wait another year and a half.

No more Simpsons, no more Sopranos. Guess I'll have to do something (gasp) productive on my Sunday nights...

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Congratulations to the person at somewhere in the Central time zone, who saw my comment on TJ's place, clicked on my homepage and...

Was the 100th visitor to my site!

Yep, I've had a whopping one hundred visitors since I first downloaded Sitemeter. That was about a month ago.

To those of my friends who I've told about this blog, or if you're here for the first time, please note I've been updating more frequently, so leave a nice comment, and come on back, y'all, ya hear?

Who knows? Maybe, if it takes less than another month, I'll have a special give-away for the 200th visitor...

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I hope this cartoon scanned better. I did this a while back for another friend. Seemed like every week, he was changing his name, his image, or his lifestyle. Last I heard he was roughing it in the Australian outback. We all miss Koala-Calling Carlos.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Today's gripe:

Everyone be quiet!
Ferme la bouche!
Sheket b'vakasha!
Shut uppa you face!

I've gotten used to the air pollution in LA. My lungs can handle the smog. I've adapted to thriving on exhaust fumes. Comes from growing up around smokers, I guess.

But the noise pollution… Keep it down!

I live on the second floor of a one-bedroom apartment building, across the alley from another complex. So I can hear what everyone's doing. And apparently, people are doing things at 6AM. Loud things.

Like taking a bath and grunting as they splash in the water (I won't speculate on exactly what's going on there). Or allowing their lapdog to act like a rooster at sunrise. Yapping away is just as cacophonous as "cock-a-doodle-doo." And then there's the guy who's never heard of Robitussin, and would rather spend three hours trying to dislodge the phlegm from his throat. When I wake up, I feel like a blind man at a performance of "Stomp", hearing an arrhythmic progression of Grunt! Yip! Cchach!

So I go out to write at coffee shops, but there it's the cellphone users. And I gotta overhear these conversations. Do I get to hear something good, like some chick's latest sex escapades, or a good stock tip, or where the body's buried? No, it's more like, "Oh, nothing… having a latte. What are YOU doing?" People bring their little contraptions with them as their date. Where's that relationship going? Do you take T-Mobile to be your lawful wedded wife? If your answer is yes, press pound now. Years later, instead of asking, "Do you still love me?", the question will be "Can you hear me now? Good!"

If this riff on sounds sounds kinda schticky, well, yeah... I used some of this bit in a stand up act. Didn't get a lot of laughs from the audience, which was fine.

For once, I had some peace and quiet.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

I drew this cartoon last month for my friend Lyssa. I scanned it in too small, and can't seem to download more than one pic per post -- see the post below for the second page. And in trying to fix all this, I accidentally deleted my last entry about "Troy". Arrgh. Anyway, enjoy, if you can even read this.

Lyssa kicked ass, by the way, finishing in 3:40.

Monday, May 10, 2004

I found a way to post pics. This is me around age 5, when fishbowl haircuts were all the rage. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I knew they'd eventually sell ads all over baseball. What's next? Home plate, presented by Home Depot? The pitcher's mound sponsored by Mounds? The batter's box, tied in with Aunt Jemima's box of pancake batter?

Hey, I know! Make Mine Mike sponsored by…. whatever's up at the top of this blog right now.

Of course, the difference is, that's how I can do this blog for free.* But if Sony Pictures is buying up MLB, does that mean I could get season tickets without knocking over a Wells Fargo?

*And why I can't post pictures on here. Anyone know how I can do that without spending $? Keep in mind I think HTML stands for "Huh? Technology? Mike lightheaded."

I got lucky this morning. I was sitting outside at the coffee shop, writing, brainstorming a brilliant super-genius earth-shattering idea, when I heard a woman say, "Sir?"

She wasn’t talking to me. (I didn't get lucky that way this morning, if that's where your mind is at.) She was shouting at the Dept. of Transportation bicycle cop across the street. He was wearing his little shorts and D.O.T. shirt and had his little electronic ticket pad out. She was trying to let the guy know that she'd move her car. But with all the traffic on Bundy Drive, he couldn't hear her. I got up and shouted out, too: "SIR!" The guy looked up.

She glanced over and thanked me. I didn't have the heart to tell her that my car was parked ahead of hers, and he'd be writing me up next. I would've been happy to help her get the cop's attention, but it was partially – OK, mostly – self-motivated.

I knew it was after eight and they'd start ticketing, but I wanted to finish my inspired thought. The cop yelled back, "Too late." Once they whip out that electro-pad, you're whipped. I figured, well, if it's too late, might as well not bother. No sense rushing over there. Even if was planning to go to the gym, now I'm not budging. I was working on a million-dollar idea; what's a thirty-eight buck (or more?) ticket?

Then I realized he was talking to her. Poor thing. She ran over there, which seemed futile to me, but hey, it's her car.

I shouted to the guy that I'd move, too, and he stopped what he was doing. He stood there waiting, I guess making sure I really was gonna come over and pay the meter or drive off or something, not wait 'til he's pumped his pedals away from the scene and then sit back down and sip my red eye – "Psyche!". So I shoved my laptop and everything into my case and dashed across the street, spilling coffee all over the crosswalk, and saved myself a parking ticket.

But was I really lucky? I didn't get to save that brilliant idea onto my computer, and I don't remember what it was.

All I can tell you -- certainly wasn't this blog entry.

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