September 26, 2004

I've got a lot on my mind and I'm trying not to think about any of it, so I've spent the last 45 minutes reading CinemaTour, an encyclopedic archive of movie theaters, movie theaters, movie theaters: open ones, closed ones, demolished ones, restored ones, ones with their future and manner of use in dispute, churches, porno theaters, and drive-ins. I haven't looked at any of the New York info yet (I'm already familiar with the majority of it), choosing instead to go straight to Los Angeles and her environs. (Sherman Oaks Galleria represent!)

September 21, 2004

Via Curbed: Gene Callahan's Your Guide to New York City Shops, a user's manual for out-of-towners in search of beer, sundries, cellophaned fig bars, and freezerburned ice cream.

[When is] a shop a "deli" and when is it a "bodega"? I mentioned that one distinguishing characteristic seems to be the borough in which it is located. A second differentia is the ethnicity of the owner. If he or she is Korean, Chinese, or Indian, then you should lean toward calling the place a deli, while Hispanic ownership favors the term bodega. Unfortunately, on rare occasions the owner will not be visible when you enter. For instance, you may encounter a non-immigrant teenager working the register, which, as outlandish as the notion sounds, does happen, since although the owner works 100 or so hours a week, even he needs to sleep sometimes. But even in those circumstances, you still might be able to determine what to call the store you are in, because a bodega is more likely than a deli to offer plantains, yams, chayote, and a shelf full of Goya canned goods.

September 09, 2004

Back now after a long weekend tearing shit up in (on?) Catalina. Sure, I could blog about the beautiful ferry ride over, or getting smashed on some 32-ounce monstrosity called the Island Hooter, but really, you hadda be there.

What was remarkable was that I had two different transportation disasters on this trip. On September 4, just as my plane touched down on the LAX runway (after an uneventful and relaxing flight on one of United's swanko 767-200 aircraft), we learned that four terminals, including United's, had been shut down because of a security breach and an unrelated incident in which a baggage screener was injured by a flashlight battery that exploded during a hand-search of a passenger's luggage. When the situation was resolved and terminals had reopened, we still weren't allowed to pull up to the arrival gate; LAX's top priority at that point was getting delayed departing flights out ASAP, and in layman's terms, there was nowhere for arrivals to park. We sat on the runway for about an hour, with scant information to go on (and wrong information, as I learned when I called Chris, who was following the developing story with his car radio en route to picking me up). After more endless waiting, the plane taxi'd to a faraway hangar, with the pilot assuring us that a shuttle bus would be along eventually to herd us disgruntled passengers over to the terminal. Cut to: MORE endless waiting, this time for both the airstairs to walk us down to ground level (where we weren't allowed to go until the bus arrived), and the mythical shuttle bus (which finally did arrive, and I finally got to my destination point moments later).

Being anxious and claustrophobic (as well as an impatient New Yorker who hates not knowing what's going on), the situation was agonizing for me. I thought LAX (and more specifically, United) handled things very haphazardly. In one of the world's busiest and most incident-prone airports, couldn't the disaster-preparedness people be a little more... prepared? Couldn't communication between pilots and air-traffic controllers and higher-ups and customer-service drones and passengers be better, more immediate? Instead, there was a sense of "Huh? What do we do now?" -- as if the thought of a problem on Labor Day weekend had never occured to ANYONE working there.

Chris was right; I should have taken JetBlue.

On the return flight, the inevitable fuckup was actually attributable to the plane itself, which couldn't leave LAX because the fuel gauge needed to be recalibrated and they had to track down someone who could do it. Stranded on the runway again, but only for a half-hour now.

Six hours later, I was back in New York. By the way, plane rhymes with rain and train! (But it doesn't rhyme with Brooklyn Bridge, which I had to cross on foot, carrying a heavy duffel bag and a messenger bag and another bag full of LPs from Amoeba, all because I had to be DIFFERENT and take the J/M/Z line home from Queens instead of the A/C/E.) (Fuck!)

September 01, 2004