Urban Blight

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (DBS) issued me a “Courtesy Notice” telling me that the awning over my carport was an “eye-sore” and ordered me to remove it because it was “in public view.” It, apparently, contributes to “Urban Blight.”

Huh?

The DBS supports “the needs of business and commerce while protecting public safety and the visual environment.”

It supports Business. So, I guess it’s a Win for actual, normal citizens. Business and Commerce First!

Also, a “visual environment.”

My carport offends nobody. And, it is safe.

Look past the Mini-van.  Obviously, Urban Blight.

Look past the Mini-van. Obviously, Urban Blight.

I call the phone number because, you’re kidding me. Seriously? I leave a message on the guy’s voice mail because his office hours are (no kidding) 7am to 10am.

So, the guy from the City returns my call at 6:55 this morning, because that’s a reasonable time to call people. Let me put my pants on.

“Canvas is not an approved material,” “Visible from the street,” “No one has complained.”

Our driveway is awesome. We’ve even had a party or two under that awning.

Two days ago, a birthday party! (Julianna turned 10! Yay!) No one mentioned the Urban Blight caused by my carport.

But, because I know this guy is just doing his job, and after telling him that this was insane…. There’s only one place this can go:

I said to the guy on the phone, very politely, “I guess I’ll see you in court.”

He replied (honestly): “I wish you good luck.”

(Which sounds better because he has an Indian accent. Namaste.)

Black Holes

It’s past their bedtime, but they are watching Science(!) on TV with God himself (Morgan Freeman) narrating.

Isabella (she’s 7): Is that a Black Hole?

Me: That’s what one looks like.

Julianna (certified 10-year-old): So, that’s actually a black hole.

Me: Well, no. Honey. That’s what scientists think a black hole looks like.

Iz: But, wouldn’t the camera get sucked into the black hole.

J: And, how could they climb out of the black hole to tell us what it is like.

Me: Ok, Girls…. No one has gone into a black hole. This is what scientists think it is like. They do it in a computer.

Iz: So black holes aren’t real?

Me: No, Honey. They are real. But, we can’t actually see them. Science!

J: And Global Warming?

Me: Yes. But, don’t get me started.

Iz: And Evolution.

Me: Yes! Undeniably a wonderful story there! Where to begin….

Dearly Beloved

Two of our very dearest friends got married this afternoon.

Things have changed since the first time you got married:

a) The couple was a thousand miles away in Washington State while we were in Los Angeles, California,
b) YouTube streamed it live,
c) We ate popcorn throughout the ceremony…
d) And, even a little wine.
e) And, a bathroom break.

And, here’s the best part

Isabella (She’s 7): Where’s the girl and her dress?

Me: Well, Honey. There’s no girl. f) These are two boys getting married.

Iz: They can do that?

Me: Yes. Does that bother you? Because, you know, they love each other.

Iz: No, not really. Does someone wear a dress? Are they going to kiss?

Me: No. And yes.

Iz: When? Now! Yay!

And the Republic still stands.

Photon Torpedos

Watching the Science Channel tonight. Julianna is intrigued.

A photon begins its life at the center of the sun as a gamma ray. It takes hundreds of thousands of years for the photon to make it to the surface. It loses it gamma ray energy down to X-ray energy and finally to visible light. That’s quite a demotion. And it takes a million years.

Julianna has already fallen asleep. Not me. This is awesome.

Finally, our poor photon escapes the gravitational pull and environment of the sun. At 186,000 miles per second it aims itself at our blue planet of Earth.

It bounces off of Kim Kardashian’s ass. Shit.

Dear Mr. Photon: We regret to inform you that your existence will be undervalued, and may cause a local health outbreak. We had hoped hoped for the Declaration of Independence, the Magna carta, or the Ten Commandments. Alas, Mr. Photon, you are contributing to a “reality” TV show.

May your energy be transformed….

Hurricane Harbor

The Fourth of July weekend found the Fun Time heading to LA’s Magic Mountain Amusement Park. (Think Disneyland without the attention to detail, but way more hardcore roller coasters.)

For the most part, we spent our time floating and sliding through the water park known as Hurricane Harbor.

I’m not sure when I last saw so many people wearing such ill-advised bathing suits. (Fingers also pointed this way, by the way.)

Or, iller-advised tattoos. (Seriously, there was some monumentally bad ink on display. But that’s not my thing.)

One of the biggest attractions at the Harbor is the Wave Pool. It simulates ocean waves. In a finite area. With people in inner tubes. Big people. Versus seven year-olds.

It wasn’t so much a water feature as much as a mosh pit circa 1982 Black Flag. With kids. Waist deep.

Julianna (she’s 9): That was Awesome!

I think I pulled a hammy.

Hurricane Harbor.  Only imagine 4x the participants over the 4th of July weekend.  I "know" more people than I ever imagined.

Hurricane Harbor. Only imagine 4x the participants over the 4th of July weekend. I “know” more people than I ever imagined.

Also, as the weekend ended (on Monday), a couple hours after we sized up the the Ninja roller coaster, a pine tree fell across the track and derailed the train. People were left dangling mid-air for three hours. Minor injuries, but you never know. (Maybe they should pay more attention to details.)

Fun Fact: A couple years ago, on a cold, rainy afternoon when there was almost no one in the park, my family and I rode the Ninja 19 times in a row. (A record, at least according to the coaster attendant.) We didn’t have any problems with falling trees. (Though, from now on, I will keep looking overhead as well as behind my back. I’m not just twitchy. There’s a rationale.)

Telephony

Putting the girls to bed last night…

Julianna (she’s 9): Daddy, did you have technology when you were a kid?

Me: No, Honey. We rubbed sticks of wood together to create fire. We thought we were being pretty high-teak. Ha! Teak! Get it? It’s a wood.. No?

Julianna: Daaaad! Stop that. Did you have phones?

Me: Yes, Sweetie. We had phones. But you could only talk on them back then.

Isabella (relying on her single-digits of life experience. She’s 7): He means you could talk, text or email. But you couldn’t watch Netflix. (Actual verbatim quote.)

Me: Well, we weren’t even that fancy.

Julianna: Was it one of those boxes on the wall that you take the thing off the side and put it up to your ear, then crank a wheel, and talk to the opera rator through the round black thing in the middle?

Me: Exactly, Honey. How old do you think I am?

Iz: Um….

Me: Don’t answer that.

Ready for Her Close-up

After dropping off Isabella (she’s 7) at Gymnastics, Julianna (9) and I walk the three blocks to the Glendale Galleria to: a) kill time, and b) get shampoo from Target. And, maybe c) a Wetzel’s Pretzel.

On the way, we cut-through the Home Goods store. I stop to check out the pans. My 10-incher doesn’t perform like it used to. (Oh please, People! Get your mind out of the Gutter! I run a respectable blog here!..)

Anyway, an attractive young woman approaches and begins asking me a bunch of questions, mostly about Julianna. She says that Julianna could be a Star!

Now, my Bullshit Detector is activated whenever ANY attractive young woman starts chatting me up in household furnishings. Usually, she is after my wallet, or my body. (Either one will disappoint.) And, now, she’s bringing my daughter into this? Creepy.

After about 2 minutes of chit-chat, Shellyie* (*name changed from some other horrific misspelling) has invited Julianna to a non-defined “On-Camera Audition!” tomorrow.

I take the lady’s pamphlet, and amble on.

Lynn (aka Mommy) and I work in Hollywood, but our girls really don’t understand the concept of “Hollywood.” Julianna knows that she lives in North Hollywood, and that Hollywood consists of a few stops on the Red Line subway.

A Daddy/Daughter Teaching Moment lays ahead.

Me (to J): Honey, when you live where we live, people will promise you things and then steal your stuff.

J: Isabella took my hair tails!

Me: Not what I mean.

She’s puzzled.

Me: That lady said she wants to make you a TV Star. But really, she just wants our money.

J: I have stage fright. And, there’s a Black Hole in the center of the Galaxy! Science!

Me: You understand.

So, we make our way to the famed Galleria, and set up shop in the Food Court eating our third-rate Chicken Teriyaki (“It was good on the toothpick.”)

When, it turns out that a Second attractive young woman at the table next to us comments on J’s sparkly headband.

She: You are adorable! Dad, we are having an “On-Camera Audition” tomorrow.

Holy Crap! Two casting people randomly want my daughter in their Movie! What are the odds?! We’ll be Rich Beyond Belief!

Bullshit Detector at 10.

Me: Yeah, Shellyie already let us know.

2nd Young Woman (slightly disappointed): Shellyie is a “Rock Star!”

She leaves us alone.

So, Julianna and I finish our lunch, and we head off to Target.

Wouldn’t you know it, along the way: We are stopped by Attractive Young Woman Number Three.

#3: Excuse me… She’s gorgeous! Are you her father?

Me: Dude, I’ve already been hit-up twice already.

#3 (sheepishly): Ok….

So, after ignoring this ridiculousness until I get home, I check the “invitation” that Shellyie gave me:

Here’s the Don’t Sue Us verbage: “This is not an audition for employment or for obtaining a talent agent or talent management.”

It is only an event for people with an interest in “talent services.” Whatever the Hell that means. But, it will probably cost you tons of money before you realize that you are getting ripped.

I really hate to give advice on this Daddy/Daughter bloggy thingy I have. But, if you are interested in Hollywood dreams, don’t take a card from the pretty blonde in front of the Chipotle’s at the mall.

(By the way, I am also suspicious whenever an attractive, middle-aged woman approaches and asks me about my pans.)

Frozen. God. And, Santa. Also, The Tooth Fairy.

(Give this post a chance to grow. It gets much lighter, yet more human, as it goes… )

Driving home from gymnastics with Isabella (she’s 7):

Iz: Daddy, I’m going to entertain you.

Me: Really? How?

Iz: I’m going to sing!

Me (cringing): Really? Do you have to?

Iz: Yes. I will sing the songs from “Frozen.”

Me: Oh, God. No! You said “entertain.” Not terrorize.

Iz: I don’t know what that means. But, I will sing all of the songs. “Elsa! Do you want to build a snowman?” … “Let it Go! Let it Go!” … “For the first time in Forever” … “Love is an open doooooor!”

20 minutes later, after the fourth pass-through:

Me: Yay, that was great. Ok, actual radio, now? Yes?

Iz: No, one more time! “Do you want to build a snowman?”

She pauses.

Iz: Why am I singing this again?

Me: Only God knows. I guess.

….

The mood suddenly shifts and gets much deeper.

Iz: Daddy…. How does God know everything?

Me (thinking): Jesus Christ (no pun, by the way). It is the worst rush-hour for LA traffic. There’s a HumVee wrapped around a pick-up. A few bumpers have already been intimate with each other.

And, I have more than a couple opinions and questions which I don’t generally publicize. (Let’s start with Matthew 6:6. But, that’s just for starters.)

Me: I don’t know, Sweetie. I can’t do a theological analysis in traffic like this.

Iz: Then, where did Santa Claus come from?

Me: Crap, Honey. I don’t know, either.

Iz: What about the Tooth Fairy?

Me: Someone is cutting me off in traffic! Mother!

Iz: Mommy is the Tooth Fairy?

Me: Honey, No!

Iz: I knew it!

Me: No, not you, Sweetie. Um, Mommy just cut me off!

Iz: So, she’s the Tooth Fairy?!

Me: I didn’t say that.

Crap.

Father’s Day

I have to admit, Father’s Day is stressful. I know it’s not supposed to be that way, because everyone tells you how much of a perfect father you are and all of that. It’s a celebration!

The truth is, I think I am a pretty Ok daddy, but, yeah, I scream too much. No one listens to me. I’ll spend three hours in the car to get you to and from piano lessons, but No, we are not getting ice cream at McDonald’s (even though I already promised it.) Cry all you want.

You see, I am a liar.

I do try to engage with my daughters, though. So, I created this very blog and discovered that, generally speaking, I either mock their stupidity or they insult me. It’s a two-way street. It’s about a 50/50 split. I won’t dispense with any advice to other fathers because I’m also figuring it out as I go. There are other Daddy Blogs that will “help” you.

(By the way, I’m really not fat. And, if I were, who cares? … I am old, however.)

This year, I’ve had to field the question: Why isn’t there a Kids’ Day? And, the standard answer (you know it): Every day is Kids’ Day.

And, I guess, my point is that this Father’s Day is really, truly about my daughters. Yeah, I’ll volunteer 100 hours at school for you. And, I don’t care that your dance class is in the middle of my work day, we’ll go. And, yes. We’ll get ice cream at McDonald’s.

So, every day really is Kids’ Day.

Now, go clean up your room. And, get me a beer. It’s Father’s Day for crying out loud. (I’m horrible.)

Famous Faces

Julianna (she’s 9): Daddy, who is the most famous person that you look like?

Me: Well, Honey, people have said that I look a little like George Clooney, with some Cary Grant thrown in. Maybe, Brad Pitt’s cheeks. And, and a hint of Peter Sellers’ irony. Also, John Wayne’s grit.

J: No, Daddy. In today’s world.

Me: I don’t know, Sweetie. A vampire guy. One Direction. A Bieber, or something…?

J: This is because you are old.*

(*Note: actual insult.)