Monday, August 22, 2005


And apparently no one wants to drive Inland when they live near the water (ie Santa Monica/Venice). Or vice-versa. Nonetheless we took a drive and got to drink the best iced coffee ever and eat figs right off the tree at the Studio City (ie; THE VALLEY) home of LoTus, Allen and Sunny Rae, who happen to live right down the street from the Brady Bunch House. They also live near avid (annoying?) environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr, whose Begley's Best household cleaner is sold at the local Food Whole and was gifted to me by LoTus. I'd take a picture of it, but camera seems to have expired. 'Twas a lovely visit with them, but far too short indeed.

My trip started and ended at the beach of course. The one in Santa Monica (at right) was deserted; Venice was another story (Why is it that the Europeans must locate their encampments ON TOP OF the nearest 'mericans? And why are the British SO EFFING LOUD?). The Hex surfed and I got to ride the longboard on my belly. Lots of fun; you feel like you're flying. I had less luck with the 70's boogie board on my last day, when I got crushed by a wave and was *not* sittin' on top of the world. The neck still hurts from that.

Near Venice Beach, where Gruff Tay-mus lives, and near the Santa Monica Beach where we stayed, it was in the 70's during the day and 60's at night. That meant hot tea, socks and comforter were in order each evening. NOW I get why people live there. Apparently you don't have to suffer the summer if you live near the water. And yet you're attached to a big city. DUH. If only one had $100 for each time someone said, "You have to move here," one would have a down payment. Instead one had a drink, and one's yoga practice has gone to hell (one nearly fainted after teaching, practicing and giving blood today. Borderline anaemics cannot have coffee before donating or they flunk the iron test, so when I finally made it to Dunkin' Donuts for a coconut iced coffee after my 1PM donation, I was extremely exhausted and lightheaded. I started to lose it, and had to put my head between my legs).

Speaking of tails between legs.... there were two chihuahuas, Louie and Ray, at the place where we stayed. One afternoon, while the Hex was picking up Tay-mus at the hospital (back surgery) I did some yoga. Partway through the primary series I left the mat for a moment (distracted? I'd say so) and saw both dogs hovering near my setup. Two seconds later Ray was sitting down, paws up by his ears, dragging his dirty anus across my mat. "Scooting," as they call it. "Streaking," as I call it. He left a foot-long brown streak (slightly crooked) RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF MY MAT, and seemed to think nothing of it. I WAS HORRIFIED. Too horrified to take a photo. Thankfully the house was stocked with disinfectant cleaner. I told Munkin the story last night, and she hit it on the head: "He needs to have his anal sacs popped."

Each night the dogs, the Hex and I wound down by watching part of Motown and B-Boys, or, as the rest of the world calls it, Dogtown and Z-Boys. That's the documentary about the scrappy 70's skateboarders who hung out near where we were staying and pioneered half-pipe, bowl and pool riding (gettin' vertical) etc. They were all over the magazines I used to devour while growing up in flat McHenry and on the posters on my walls. (I had a letter published in Skateboarder back in jr. high...Mr. Peralta should have interviewed ME instead of fat-neck poseur Henry Rollins, who went on and on about the impact it had on him growing up in DC. They also interviewed DC straight-edge scenester and Minor Threat frontman Ian MacKaye. Something tells me those kids were just not that into eschewing meat, booze and drugs).

And on Saturday we walked up the hill (with the dogs) to see the Eames case study house, which the Eames' designed and lived in until they died (in 1978 and 1988, on the exact same day). While trying to find the place, we saw another case study home that was being restored to its former glory. Can I just say -- NONE of the neighbors knew they were in the midst of architectural treasures. Maybe what they say about them Angelinos being shallow/vapid has some truth to it after all.

In any case, we had no appointment, no money, and no poo-bag. The nice lady let us have a look around anyway, and even gave the Hex a souvenir plastic turd-bag. (I hope to post photos one of these days -- had to use the Hex's camera, as mine had expired by then). Among the Eames' books was a copy of Gunter Grass' The Tin Drum, plus there were lots of things from India and Indonesia (apparently one's instinct to mix Subcontinental textiles with the ultramodern* is not the novel new idea one had thought). The house and studio were stunning (you could look in but not go in), as was their view of the ocean. I also learned, afterwords, that Charles and Ray were not brothers as I had assumed all these years, but husband and wife. Oops. NO WONDER they shared sleeping quarters.... Perhaps what they say about dem Chicagoans being unsophisticated has some truth to it after all....


*One's living room is in keeping with the style of one's original (not reissued) fiberglass Eames rocking chair from childhood, which may be beat up but is still quite a looker.

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