Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

Some say California has four seasons: flood, fire, earthquake and riot.  Today, I experienced the fifth: the rolling blackout.

The blackout doesn’t really roll. Mostly, it sort of settles like a tent collapsing around you.  One minute, you’re happily checking email on two computers and listening to your stereo like any average urban dweller, then all of a sudden your screen goes bright and dark all at once, the fans in your computers grind to a halt, and the house is eerily quiet.

It happened to me this morning.  I was about to get ready for work and was still in my bath robe.  I was initially a little worried that I’d be stranded at home, cut off and helpless, but it turned out not to be that bad.  I could still call work to let them know I’d be late from the single phone that still worked (cordless—dead.  phone/answering machine combo—dead).  I still had hot water enough for a shower, and it was daylight, so I could choose the proper clothes from my closet and avoid looking like a clown at work.  My morning Diet Coke was still cold from the fridge and granola bars from the pantry are completely non-power dependent.  I was even feeling a little smug that my razor and electric toothbrush both ran on batteries.

Then I went to open the garage door.

click.  ...  click.  ... ...  click.

The rolling blackouts affect more than just your apartment, you see.  They extend beyond your designated living space and have a neutering effect on electric garage door openers.

But I made it into work not too late when my neighbour showed me how to release the door lock override.

That was today’s first California moment.

I had my second CA moment (there were three, if you’re keeping count) just before lunch with my good pal Mark.  Mark wears sunglasses.  Always.  Not just one pair, but a variety of them in the course of a single hour.  They all have groovy colored lenses.  Today, he was wearing day-glo orange ones when I first met him.  Sitting at his desk.

But that wasn’t the CA moment.  The moment happened when he told me a story about a party he had for his daughter.  He had a really cute picture on his wall of her with a small pug, and I said “Cute picture,” and he said “Yeah, that was from the puppy party.”

And I said, “Puppy party.”  I raised my voice to make it a question.

And he said, yeah, that they’re all the rage according to L.A. Parenting magazine (which I regularly pick up from “The ‘50s Diner,” where you eat free the last Wednesday of each month if you wear pyjamas to the restaurant. They have several free publications and there’s always a wait. But I don’t have to explain myself to you.).  Basically, to have a proper puppy party. you invite all your kid’s friends over, and hire the puppy party people, and they drive over in a big truck, and they set up in your back yard and put a short fence up, or in your house, in which case they put up a small fence and spread a big tarp, and the kids sit cross legged inside the fence, and then like in the movie Gladiator, on your command, they “Unleash Hell!” and all these puppies bounce around on top of the kids and it makes for great footage.

Apparently, his daughter liked best of all the pug, which was not a puppy at all but the 6-year-old personal pet of the Puppymaster.  Which just goes to show you that you’ll never get rich placing bets on what kids will like, but you will get rich exploiting cute furry animals and little children and the worries of parents who want their kids to be happy.

The third CA moment was the “classic” CA moment—the star sighting.  This was a double, because I not only get to talk about who I saw, but where I saw him.  I went to lunch with Mark and his boss at this little restaurant just off of Hollywood Blvd. called Cafe des Artistes.  It’s tucked away and very chichi, you probably haven’t heard of it.  I’m supposed to say that, it says so on the menu.

Guess who sat down just two tables over? Paul Reiser from “Mad About You.”  My first reaction was to be all shocked because the woman he was with wasn’t Helen Hunt.  It gets confusing here sometimes.

Then I came home and reset the clock in my VCR before heading to bed.  Good night, CA.


“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?




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