Daughter is downstairs in the laundry room painting on her easel, singing. You couldn’t ask for anything more, except maybe straight As OH WAIT she got those in the report card just delivered. When I saw that I was of course pleased, but noticed there was the code CR by phys-ed, and so I went up the stairs and said in stentorian dad tones WE GOT THE REPORT CARD WHAT IS THIS CRAP GRADE.
This. CR. Stands for CRAP, right?
Relief and exasperation NO you knew that, GEEZ, but that broke the ice so Mom and Dad could fawn and gush. Very proud. But now I’m wondering if there isn’t some ingenious way I could give her a jolt while she’s downstairs. Say, go outside and press my face to the glass-block windows . . . no. Too much. Drum my fingers on the metal of the laundry chute . . . that might work. But then I remember that the ongoing game of Scares, of hiding and leaping out and giving the other a surprise - that’s faded away, now that I think about it.
She still has the record for the greatest scare; crept into my studio when I was playing Doom 3 in the dark and grabbed me and I think my spine came out of the back of my neck and hit the ceiling and clattered on the floor in a jumble of severed vertebrae. She remembers that. For some reason tonight at supper we were talking about memorable gaming moments, and hers was finding a secret passage in a Pokemon DS game that led to a battle with a legendary creature who was, more or less, Pokemon God. She thought she had hacked the game by finding an easter egg, and everything about the sequence, from the peculiar unnerving music to the form of the Pokemon, was “freaky.” This was years ago. But she remembers, because:
1. It’s still within the realm of memory, albeit the outer limits
2. It was Pokemon, which provides kids with an emotional connection to their earlier childhood, a thing most adults just don’t get. Because it’s all these weird creatures and pointless battles and Team Rocket, whose motivations to take over the world seem misguided, given their evident and manifest failures. We get Pikachu, and that’s about it. For kids, though, it’s a means of seeing their earlier selves, their first introduction to nostalgia and regret, because they move beyond it but they never forget what it meant, and they never disparage it. They never forget the longing they had, wishing this was real.
So I go downstairs and tell her what I just wrote and said I remembered Brock doing this: and I make a cha-cha-cha gesture as if I have maracas.
“And he said?”
Ohhhh . . .
“For the ladies,” I said.
We laughed about that because it was just weird and slightly creepy, because no one is supposed to have a sex drive in the Pokemon world. It goes without saying that the Pokemon do not engage in relations, but they do have parents, right? There was that one sad Pokemon that always wore its mother’s skull over its little head, which wasn’t disturbing at all. No sir. not at all like Bambi wearing mom’s pelt.
Saturday night we went to a Mad Men party. Interesting how you know exactly what the title means, even though the show itself has moved beyond the style the title implies. Men in hats, looking sharp; women in dresses and pearls, looking elegant and sophisticated. (Or, in my wife’s case, in capri pants with that Paris-accented Hepburn / Petrie rrrorrorrw element.) I wore my dad’s 1960 suit and my dad’s 1960 tie. They still fit. The label says NORTHPORT FARGO and the material is WORSTED. The suit was an EXCLUSIVE design for Northport Clothiers, which I doubt - but just wearing the name Northport close to the breast was invigorating, as it reminded me of the store and its genial clerks, the kind man who fitted me for my first suit and knew my dad and mom and didn’t mind if I wandered off to marvel at the complimentary shoe polisher that had two hues: BLACK and RED. Never knew anyone who had red shoes.
Great conversations. Drinks that would rock Sinatra back on his heels, as befits the theme, I suppose. It’s a wonder that everyone in the era didn’t conclude a cocktail party by getting their sternum speared by the steering column.
Sunday was Orchestra Hall:
Back after two years in the great shed, newly remodeled. Except for the backstage areas. It’s still the same dumpy cluttered area, which was nice, in a way. I’ve so many memories of this place, of walking around chewing on cough drops, listening to the music, waiting for my turn to go out and say things. For some reason I felt particularly loose this time and had fun before the mike.
For example: the penultimate piece was the Sibelius violin concerto, third movement. Then I go out an introduce the last piece and walk off . . . and the door, which is always whisked open as I approach, is closed. When I push it open Manny the Conductor and various backstage personnel are looking at the monitor: the kid who just played the concerto isn’t back in his seat. The orchestra is sitting on stage. The audience is wondering what is going on. It is a horrible dead moment and something has to be done, so they page the violinist and I drag Manny back on stage to the mike: we gotta vamp. So we go out there and say can you believe it, he thought that was it, after that magnificent performance he thought he was done for the day, oh no - and then the violinist appears, the audience laughs, which makes everything okay, and it’s off to Debussy.
During intermission, a brief stroll to show you my vantage point.
What a grand weekend. Did I mention that Friday was perfect, with a great pizza, a night of design work, and then starting the 5th season of “Boardwalk Empire,” knowing I would get up to scrambled eggs with pepper cheese and silver dollar pancakes? Grand from start to finish.
Continuing with last week's sudden, brilliant decision to do some industrial shorts for a while. Sudden because I didn't think twice about it, and it's that brash, decisive action that makes this site so raw, so fresh, and brilliant because it means I can watch a Black & White short, get an entry, and spend Friday night watching an old color movie.
As it happens, I watched an old color industrial, and realized that there was a site to be made from these things. But that's down the road. For now, let's revisit the ideas of last week's entry . . . in another form.
The action-packed sequel to "Girls Beware"! Same idea: be on the lookout for predators. It starts outside the police station, where Det. Narrator walks out to his car, so he can drive around with his mouth closed while his inner voice tells boys what they need to know.
It starts with a sensible admonition against hitch-hiking, because even though the fellow may seem friendly . . .
He could be this guy.
Hi there, Jimmy.
He takes an interest in Jimmy. Why, he takes him out for tacos:
Oh, that place? Sure.
Give me tough one, won't you?
Woody's. It would have to be named Woody's. Okay, this?
It hasn't Faired well. Hah!
The two locations are close together, which is why searching for "Food Fair Inglewood" brought up a message board devoted to old grocery stores, and the address was among the listings.
As for the motel where "Chic" Enhawch takes Jimmy, who knows:
This seems an odd course of events. He befriends him, then takes him out for burgers, then cracks some off-color jokes, then they go fishing, then he shows him smutty pictures, and then Jimmy concludes sure, I'll go to a motel with you and let you do things - most of the guys watching this film would have said NO WAY.
Mr. Voiceover informs us that the perv was arrested, and Jimmy got probation. We see him leaving the police station with his parents, the most mortifying moment of the kid's life.
Your mother and I are sorry you had to BE SO STUPID, especially since she is Margaret Thatcher and this reflects poorly on her government. We're just glad you weren't in the second sequence, because that boy never came back.
After we see a boy get in a car and then end up on the front page of the paper for not being alive because he was killed by a mentally ill man i.e., a homersexual - we get another story to emphasize the whole Do Not Get in Cars With Strange Men theme. Two kids come by on bikes, followed by a car; the guy leans out, says "did you see two kds on bikes? They were stolen. Can one of you come with me to identify them?" and one of the kids hops in. He's found later, but horrible things happened. I snapped this:
It's an odd sign reflected in the back window; what could it be?
So . . . Crenshaw Christian Church? Googling . . . it's right here.
Turn around for some really nice California modern church architecture.
At the end Mr. Detective Voice-Over reminds all boys to avoid old predatory men, which seems like sensible advice, and he heads into a school. California modern, right here.
A pear-shaped official whose jacket vents seem cut to admit the smallest of flatulent releases.
That's it; see you around the usual locales. Have a fine Monday.