Qualified Condition

May 11, 2009

I Love My Co-op

Filed under: Uncategorized — qualifiedcondition @ 7:56 pm

I’ve noticed that people in my age and socioeconomic group have a difficult time liking things whole-heartedly.  We use irony and cynicism as a shield to protect us from fun and sincerity, because those later two things are, evidently, horrifying.

frooit

This Saturday, Kenny and I went to pick up our first Abundant Harvest farm co-op box.  Every Saturday the delivery truck comes to Lincoln Heights and drops of a bunch of boxes for everyone in the area who has signed up, and our friends Suzie and Sean hang out and hand out the boxes.  The produce is organic and fresh, local and amazing.  It is really cool to get to see friends, and the communal aspect of just getting the food reminds me a little of communion at All Saints.  And, because the box is a ticking time-bomb of freshness, it has helped Kenny and I think ahead about what to cook and how to get the most out of the produce instead of just trotting down to TJ’s to get another plastic box of whatever.  Basically, the co-op is amazing.

So I wonder why I found myself wanting to tell the story of the farm co-op from a cynical standpoint (I’m sure some of you reading this would mearly applaud the fact that I didn’t and maybe send my therapist a box of chocolates).  Does the internet need another self-hating hipster/yuppie attempting to make everything in life contrived and ironic?  I mean yes, we are a gay couple and yes, we did pick up the produce in a Volvo,  and I think there may have been at least one retro t-shirt involved… but seriously, it’s an inexpensive box of sustainable and healthy produce supplied by friends.  Anyone compelled to put a negative spin on a box with cherries in it needs a kick in the jimmy-ha-ha.

flowies

Oh, the box also came with a bundle of chamomile.  It’s pretty, but we’re not sure what to do with it.  If you, or someone you know is an expert on making hallucinogen… er, tea with fresh chamomile leave me a comment with some instructions.

Lastly, we’re hoping to start an Eagle Rock or Highland Park delivery site, but need more local interest.  C’mon, you know you want to…

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April 29, 2009

All Grown Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — qualifiedcondition @ 8:54 pm

Every now and then I find subtle reminders that I am, without a doubt, a grown up.  Sometimes it’s really obvious stuff, like when I had a new ID card made at work and my photo revealed that I no longer have a receding hairline, rather I am bald.  I am bald like Uncle Bob.  Also, it turns out that I am bright yellow, but I think that might be a printer issue.

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It’s not always the deterioration of my body that reminds me that I am careening full-speed toward high-waisted pants (forgive me if I’m starting to sound like Dave Barry).  Sometimes it’s little things, like corncob holders.  I own several of them.  The other night we sat down to a meal which consisted of a barbecued slab of meat, a salad and corn on the cob with little holders.  I am my parents.  I felt compelled during the meal to go grab a plastic cup or rip a paper towel in half to use as a napkin just to have some evidence at the table that plucky youngsters were eating here, but to no avail.  Kenny, the corncob holders and I ate dinner and then scurried off to the family room to watch 60 Minutes.

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On a happier note, I was excited to notice that Kenny and I both eat corn in the proper “typewriter” fashion.  I attempted to eat the second piece in the ill-mannered “around the world” style but it made the corn taste like goat blood.  Ding.

April 28, 2009

Can We Still Eat Bacon?

Filed under: Uncategorized — qualifiedcondition @ 10:34 pm

I just passed, this morning, what may well be the first case of Swine Flu in Los Angeles.  Either that, or this person has been diagnosed with “Easily Influenced by Endless Media Hype Disorder.”  Either way, it’s very serious.  Stay away, cooties.

swinetard

Does anyone remember that game Pig Mania?  If you have one, ebay is calling.

pigmania

April 27, 2009

All Hail the Dingbat!

Filed under: Uncategorized — qualifiedcondition @ 11:21 pm

Are you familiar with the Dingbat?  It’s a 1950s-1960s era apartment building with a fairly unique style.  In their truest form, Dingbats provide a row of parking immediately off the street at ground level, and a single level of apartments overhead.  They are most often simple rectilinear forms using inexpensive materials.  These days they are generally scorned for a variety of reasons.  They are a product of the 1950s auto obsession and on an aesthetic level seem to make a home more for the family car than for people (where’s the front door?).  Their boxy shape probably resulted in the demolition of something very quaint and traditional, and in neighborhoods that were only peppered with Dingbat infills in the mid-century they tend to stick out like a sore stucco-ed thumb.  Also, that massive curb cut out front means there isn’t a lot of available street parking which is annoying when you’re a guest to the neighborhood.
Despite their problems, there is much to love about the Dingbat.  It’s a simple building with just the right amount of flair.  No Dingbat would be complete without a requisite band of mosaic tile, or an asymmetrical row of light sconces.  The defining feature of any Dingbat is, of course, the dingbat!  Be it a sunburst, a giant sparkle, or some kind of solar system space aged doodad, these buildings are always decorated with a little pop to say “hey everyone, I’m jazzy and fun… your hip Aunt Sheila lives here.”*
While LA’s first ever request to have a Dingbat designated for Cultural Historic Monument status was rejected not too long ago, the significance of these buildings is beginning to become known.  The Dingbat is probably one of the only architectural styles that could be said to be uniquely Southern Californian.  I am hopeful that some of these buildings in LA will begin to fall into the right hands (and/or limp wrists) and we can begin to see some restoration and some love for these bedazzled beauties.

jazzy
The photo shown here is on Beverly Blvd near Western.  I’ll be sure to post any other good ones that I come across.

*In lieu of an actual dingbat, one may also find the name or address of the building spelled out in crisp cursive characters** such as “The Waverly” or “Spaulding Palms” or whatever.

**Sorry, I got really carried away with alliteration in this post.

April 20, 2009

Such as Iraq and Gay Marriages

Filed under: Uncategorized — qualifiedcondition @ 8:04 pm

abc_california_perez_090420_mn

I try not to watch the news on television very often.  It only takes about one or two episodes of the Daily Show to understand that TV news has become a prisoner of its own 24-hour news cycle, and the need to prattle on hour after hour means that about 98% of what is being said isn’t news—it’s funny, in a “oh my God our society is becoming stupider by the minute,” kind of way, but it isn’t news.  However, the TV was on where I bought lunch today and this week, it seems we are talking a lot about Miss California’s remarks in the Miss USA pageant, which may have cost her the crown.
First of all, are we still doing beauty pageants?  And isn’t Miss USA the poor man’s Miss America, or has the tables turned while none of us was paying attention? 
In any event, the beautiful blonde Miss Golden State was asked, by Perez Hilton of course, whether she felt that other states in the union should follow Vermont’s lead and allow same-sex marriage.  I want to commend the pageant for asking something topical and relevant, but I won’t.  I won’t because the question wasn’t being asked to anyone that actually matters.  It was asked to a beauty queen, and now we’re stuck hearing about it until the Obama’s dog shits on the Lincoln Bedroom rug.
Now if Miss CA was smart, she would have taken a political science angle on the question and talked about how great it is that individual states have their own governance and have legislators that serve the will of the people, blah blah blah.  But she’s probably not smart.  She’s not known to us as a Rhodes Scholar, she’s known to us as an evening gown and swimwear, and so instead she gave her honest opinion on the topic.  She was raised to believe marriage works a certain way. 
You can’t really fault her for being honest (okay, you can fault her for following it up with a classless “no offence.”), and you can only fault her a little for blaming her upbringing as opposed to her own convictions for her opinion.  But again, she’s MISS CALIFORNIA.  Either we need to stop making beauty queens talk, or we need to stop being surprised/shocked/whatever when they do.

No More Springtime?

Filed under: Uncategorized — qualifiedcondition @ 5:37 pm

This LA Marathon thing that I keep talking about is coming up in 36 days.  Thirtysix days is not very far away.  It is, in fact, what many of the kids are calling “right around the corner.”  I had hoped that my knee problems would become dehabilitating or that the rapture would happen or something and I would have a graceful way not to have to run just over 26 miles on an extremely hot May day. 

Unfortunately, physical therapy kinda worked and now I have no other excuses (though I am open to foodborne illness in late may if anyone wants to make a hot mayo and undercooked chicken salad!).  Yesterday I ran 16 miles.  Well, let’s be truthful, I ran 15 miles and then sort of layed down for the 16th.  I timed my long run with one of those days where the lead story on the local news is how hot it is .  Not that I watched the news, because the intense migraine that I had last night made my eyeballs explode and now I can’t see the television.

Next week will be eighteen miles, and I am praying for some kind of offshore flow/coastal eddie/whatever weather thing needs to happen so that I don’t want to die.

Here is a picture of my feet after the run, by the way.  I like to call this effect the “dirt sock.”  Jealous?

dirtsock

April 15, 2009

I Don’t Want to be Elfstar Anymore…

Filed under: Uncategorized — qualifiedcondition @ 4:25 pm

It feels like the wheels are about to come right off the wagon any day now at this place where I work.  It’s been busy, we have no money, no staff and horrible projects, usually involving big ugly signs never seem to go away.  I’ve actually taken to having one of those obnoxious outgoing voice messages that says something along the lines of “I’m too busy to pick up the phone and if you leave me more than one message today I’m going to come through the phone and punch you in the neck.  Beep.”  Consequently, I haven’t had much time to think about this blog, and when I’m at home the last thing that I want to do is sit in front of a computer.  Never the less, I miss you, so here’s a quick post. (Remind me to tell you about the creepy way that my “Tutu,” which is an embarrassing way to say grandmother, used to say “I miiiis youuuu.”)

I am on twitter now.  My twitter name is qcondition.  I still have no idea what the hell twitter is for.  Also, the main reason that I signed up was to get updates from the Kogi Korean BBQ taco truck so I’d know when they were by our house.  Yesterday we drove by the damn thing on Eagle Rock Blvd with a line down the block as usual and no update on twitter.  What the hell?  Feel free to follow me though, and you can read my complaints about how cold it is in the morning.  Every day.  Forever.

fancy

Here is a picture of what might be the ugliest multi-family building that I have ever seen.  Sure, there are some cheep ugly ones, but it looks like the developer actually threw some money at this one.  You know how when someone sends you a fax, and then you have to photocopy that fax, and then you have to take a photograph of that photocopied fax from a satellite in outter space and it turns out all crappy looking?  That’s what this building has done to the Mediterranean Revival Style.  You see, people in Italy used to build simple and elegant villas along the coast–they used plaster and red tiles and, well, you get the idea.  This went on for centuries.  Then in the 20’s and 30’s we decided that we wanted to recreate the style here in the south-land (hence the “Revival” name) and the result was homes that were still pleasant to look at, and well thought out with respect to scale and materials.  Then, in the 70’s and 80’s came the tract houses, and then in the 90’s we started making them all huge and McMansiony and then, sometime in late 2008 this dump came along.  Gee, where do you think the stairs are?  Better yet, where’s the front door?

 cents

I will leave you now with a fuzzy image of the 48-cent check that AT&T sent me.  I have no idea what the check is for, but I actually took it to a living bank teller to deposit it, just for kicks.  She asked if I wanted to get any cash back on the deposit.  What a smart ass.

April 9, 2009

Better Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — qualifiedcondition @ 4:05 pm

I’m pretty sure that this is going to be a good day.  This morning Kenny showed me a video of choreographed spontaneous sing and dance along to “Do RaMe Fa So La Ti Do” that took place at a London train station.  It’s pretty amazing to see hundreds dancing in the middle of a public space while everyone’s inner-child looks on in complete joy.  I’ll post the link when I’m not at work and can access YouTube without getting fired.

Then, on the way to work I got to hold the train door for an old Chinese woman who was running up the train platform.  She was tiny and had a plaid bag on wheels and a red cap and a big smile.  Normally I would frown on holding the train up for someone (and I’ve certainly been left behind enough times myself) but she was so damn cute, I’m pretty sure that everyone on the train would have wanted me to if they could have had a say.

I think both of these things are reminders that people can be fundamentally good to one another and also kind of fun–and it’s helpful remember that on the way to this big, and often soul-crushing, white tower that I work in.

April 8, 2009

A Short One

Filed under: Uncategorized — qualifiedcondition @ 3:52 pm

Things have been a little busy, and with work in particular, unpleasant.  I’m not one of those people who secretly (or openly, for that matter) gets off on being really busy or having a dysfunctional work/personal life relationship, so I’m hoping to effect some kind of change in this department real soon.  Yesterday I was fanticizing about whiskey in the coffee, this can’t go on.

Basically a normal day goes like this:

Arrive at work, phone is already ringing.  Why does it do that annoying French ambulance sound instead of just ringing?

Boss: Hey, we’re making you work on that dumb thing that we said no one was going to have to work on.  Also, we found eight other dumb things, and since you made eye contact, we’re giving them to you.

Co-worker:  Did you hear that they’re laying everyone off AND taking everyone’s kidneys?

Member of the Public:  How dare you let some build blabidybla blablibidy bloo traffic.

Copy Machine: Fuck you bitches, I’m going to jam up and catch fire.

Suffice to say, I’m not giving off happy fun vibes all the time these days.  Maybe you can help.  Please consider the following, and I think we’ll all be back to normal soon:

Don’t say or write the word “prolly.”  Actually, that’s not even a word.  Don’t say or write the thing “prolly.”  It’s probably. P-R-O-B-A-B-L-Y.

The whole ladies first thing on elevators has got to stop.  Just get on the damn elevator first if your standing closest to it.  Don’t get all 18th century and throw your coat down over the crack–just get on the damn elevator you’re holding us up.  I know I should be more patient and present and all that, but right now I’m not, because I’m in an elevator and the elevator is taking me to my crap job.  Also, take the stairs if you’re going just one floor.  From now on.  Forever.

March 31, 2009

No Grapes!

Filed under: Uncategorized — qualifiedcondition @ 6:51 pm

cesarchavez

Throughout the mid-to-late 20th Century Cesar Chavez fought to bring rights to farm workers in California and throughout the nation. Yesterday, we celebrated his legacy by giving a Monday off to local government employees. There are no farms in my immediate vicinity, but I’m pretty sure that the workers were, well, working, and I got to use the day to run a bunch or errands related to my bourgeois existence. Hooray! Chavez lives on!

I was complaining not long ago about some knee problems, so I thought I’d give you an update. My doctor sent me to a physical therapist in lieu of my original request to have my legs replaced with those of a recently diseased college track star. This fits better into my PPO and means I can finally stop hanging around Oxy College with a trip cord and a bottle of chloroform.

Physical therapy is pretty fun, actually. You show up and a hot guy who looks like he fell out of last month’s Mountain Air Sports Catalogue rubs your legs and gets you to do some tricks with balls and straps and stuff. What’s not to like?

This last Sunday I was able to finish 13.2 miles. 13.2 very slow miles. Okay, it might have been 11 miles, I lost count of how many times I went around the Silver Lake reservoir because I was going so damn slow. Let’s just say that I ran enough times to hear Hot Chip’s cover of “Transmission” about a million billion times and not get sick of it because pretty much every Joy Division cover turns out awesome. Okay, maybe the way they say “daunce” instead of “dance” is a little precious, but let’s not put too fine a point on things.

I am feeling a glimmer of hope that I might actually be able to run the marathon. At this point the question in my head relates more to whether or not it’s worth it to run the marathon if I’m not actually “running” (please make your own air quotes right there) and what do they mean by registration fees being “non-refundable”? Surely Cesar E. Chavez would have wanted me to get a full refund if I have a valid medical excuse that was not written by my mother and related to using the time to instead finish my chemistry homework.

I talked this over with Walter, and his response was “oh, you’re going to go to the kitchen now? Okay, I’m going to follow you to the kitchen. I’m now following you to the refrigerator and then to the sink, and then back to the refrigerator, man this is all so fascinating. Oh wait, we’re going back to that other room now, okay, so I’m following you over there now…” That guy’s a chump; I’m not asking him for any more advice.

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