nothing in here is true

  1. Saturday, January 16, 2021

    the first time i went to the Oscars, i was there as a guest 

    i was so sad.

    i had lost my job, my best friend, my mojo had evaporated.

    little did i know but seven months later i would end up working there.

    but since i was there as a guest and i was feeling so low, i had nothing to lose

    my buddy mark had gotten me in there with him. at some point we split up and i was handed a glass of champagne and i met not-yet Governor Gavin Newsom and his wife (she was up for an award).

    he was either mayor of frisco at the time or vice governor or whatever you call it. tall. crazy handsome.

    then across the way, on the smokers balcony i saw Joaquin Phoenix with his family. he was nervous. pacing, chain smokin. he was up for lead actor for the master which i had actually seen at the arclight and call it liquid courage or what but fuckit, i thought it would be a good idea for me to tell him so.

    and just as i was heading his way his sister sat down and he leaned against the table alone looking at his cigarette.

    and i was all, Joaquin, why are you nervous, no ones gonna give it to whatshisname playing Abraham Lincoln!

    and we talked for a little while there.

    not one person bothered us.

    a few years later i would see him at a rock and roll show at a bar on vine.

    whats weird is i did not approach him there even though he was completely alone.

    he was loving the band. white dress shirt. black pants.

    and i think its because of this: at the oscars i think he really could use a fan to tell him he was great

    because of course daniel day fucking lewis is gonna win

    but at the bar, even in the back,

    even with the cool rockers

    he was the star.

  2. Thursday, January 14, 2021
  3. Sunday, January 3, 2021

    today the 101 cafe was shut down forever 

    it was a throwback to all things mid century modern

    on the ground floor of best western

    at the foot of the hollywood hills

    next to the 101 hollywood freeway.

    it looked exactly like a place your grandparents ate breakfast at when they were dating


    usually packed with hipsters,

    jet setters,

    and locals,

    i know i ate there at least four or five times but not one memory of the food or the company come to mind.

    it was perfectly fine in every way.

    i dont even remember there being any issues parking, which is saying something in that part of town.

    its shutting down


    i wonder if best western thinks how hard is it to make eggs and bacon

    sandwiches and whatnot?

    i wonder if they think just any old thing would work in there

    just because of the legend and momentum

    just keep everything looking the same,

    lease it out to film productions until everyone has a vaccine

    and then find a young chef who knows how to make avocado toast

    and mimosas

    and call it a day?

    put like a mini starbucks in there or something

    is that what someones thinking up in corporate?

    or worse are they thinking about making it a starbucks

    plug and play

    bing bam boom

    bobs yr uncle

    but heres the problem with that

    lorde and sally draper arent gonna wanna chill at the starbucks under the best western

    which, i hate to say it

    was one of the nice things about that place

    even the stars loved it there even though theyd probably get seen.

    that sort of joint is rare here.

    no offense

  4. Tuesday, December 1, 2020

    took a long walk today and saw a dead person 

    as you know i like to talk to people.

    mostly because i ask easy questions and people generally answer them, and as they do, they tell me things i would have never expected.

    before we saw the dead person we walked past a bus driver taking a break.

    i asked him, “have bus drivers here in LA been catching The Rona?”

    he said, “you’re talking to one of them.”

    he told us that unlike many, he didn’t lose his sense of taste or smell, but “felt like shit” for a few days. he took a test and it came back negative. then he took another test a few days later when he was super achey and he got a positive result.

    he said he was sick for an entire month.

    after a while he got a little better but he was rushed back to work because the benefits were running out. he explained that this was early into the plague so the union didn’t know how much time to demand that sick drivers should have off.

    he said he knows of over 100 LA bus drivers that have gotten COVID.

    then we walked a half block up and saw a couple of police cars and the coroner’s van. a homeless person had died. a photographer from Getty was there and a homeless worker who provides free showers was there too.

    the latter tried to shake my hand as we introduced ourselves.

    over 6,000 people in LA today got COVID. next week that number might jump past 8,000.

    i have to stop walking around.

    it’s tough because the weather is getting nicer and i sure could use the exercise but Hollywood is cray.

  5. Friday, October 16, 2020

    i always knew it was sitting on a landmine 

    my favorite burrito place is closing

    the LA Times said so yesterday in a feature so big it’s gotta get prominence in the Food section on Saturday or my name isn’t HR Puffnstuff.

    the writer did a good job on talking to the owners and getting some good stories out of them but she didn’t say much about the neighborhood, the food, the vibe, the movie that was shot there or what it was like pre-pandemic.

    it was a wild mix of every culture, sexual background, type of fashion, and level of sobriety. it is exactly what you’d want in a spacious big city taqueria where the prices are reasonable and sometimes the food is outstanding.

    anyway i was working on one thing, trying to get another thing done before today, and worrying about a third thing when i read about this and i spent the rest of the night working on it.

    shout out to Apple Photos who lets you search things by where they are on the map. I have over ten years of pictures from that place.

    something i left out of the piece but maybe i should toss in there but nah is this

    sometimes i would take dates there to see how they reacted. it’s a divey joint. freaky at times. despite the signs, occasionally shit goes down there.  it’s nice to know who you’re dealing with and a place like that will elicit responses, let me tell you.

    but ultimately the food wins you over every time.

    LA has maybe 10 million taco joints. but losing this one hurts.

  6. Monday, August 10, 2020

    walked to the store tonight because my car is broke 

    a couple things about my car. in april its paid off.

    thats the good news.

    the bad is it just went over 100k and it wont start.

    the other good news is i have an excellent mechanic and when i called him he said

    oh well you have two batteries. sounds like the little one is broke.

    so tuesday we go get that fixed.

    thus tonight amber and i walked to the store to get food.

    you wouldnt think that two people who know they were gonna have to carry their food home would spend $75 when the mission was just to get some mexicokes and some ground turkey

    but the salmon also looked good

    as did the beyond burger meat

    and the chocolate croissants

    and the soup.

    on the way there we ran past this homeless guy who i gave my winter coat to back when it was starting to get cold. and so we said hi as we went past and asked if he wanted anything from the store.

    he said water.

    afterwards he told amber he should have asked for baby wipes because he really wants a bath.

    she talks to him all the time too, so they have their own relationship.

    when we got home and she told me about the wipes i said,

    there should be showers for the homeless.

    why are we so weird about letting people take showers?

    then it dawned on me. one of our neighbors JUST moved out.

    and i have his key.

    she said, he once told me he never wants to ever go inside an apartment

    ever again.

    i wonder what the story behind all of that is.

  7. Wednesday, July 1, 2020

    discovered something weird 

    walked around hollywood today. my favorite town. freaky. dirty. dangerous.


    at the target in weho right before closing time

    there was a parade of color and skin and wtf.

    right now you gotta wear a mask if you go outside.

    but this one guy had on the most intricate thing. two different chambers for filtered air.

    and a face shield.

    but one of his feet was broken? so that foot didnt have either a shoe

    or a sock on it.

    i was looking for sleeves for a three ring binder for

    baseball cards.

    so whos the actual freak?

  8. Sunday, June 14, 2020

    the biggest problem i have right now 

    there’s this parking spot near my place that can fit two cars if you do it right

    sometimes we have to put a note on someones car because they park in the middle taking up both spots but after a while everyone figures it out.

    at the beginning of the pandemic parking was scarce because no one was going to work and everyone was stuck at home

    and no one had to move their cars because the mayor had ixnayed street cleaning.

    so every now and then youd have to circle the block a few times and eventually youd get a spot

    one day we noticed that this family was parking both of their mini vans in the double spot,

    but when one of them left, they’d inch the other car up to the middle to save the other spot all day.

    well, let me tell you, there were some sharply worded letters left on their windshields, mister.

    of which were roundly ignored.

    to rub it in, at some point, their daughter bridgette graduated high school.

    i know this because they wrote on the back windows of both minivans

    donald trump star on hollywood walk of famecongratulations bridgette class of 2020!

    one of the neighbors asked a cop what can be done.

    cop said

    it’s not against the law to be an asshole.

    because im an idiot, i always think you can reason with people

    what you’re doing is not cool, i told the mom, who ignored me.

    amber said later, leave them alone, theyre poor.

    i said, we have one car, they have two.

    amber said, they have three, bridgette got a car for graduation.

    they wrote on the back of that car too.

    amber said, this is not worth it, youre going to get shot over a parking spot.

    today i saw the dad.

    walk up the street, amber, i said. she reluctantly did.

    why are you doing this? i asked him.

    he finished putting the sun shield on the underside of the windshield.

    there’s parking all over. there’s a spot right there, i said, pointing at actually the best spot on the street because you secretly dont even need a permit on that spot because it used to be a meter.

    not only did he not answer me but he didnt look at where i was pointing and he walked away.

    where are you going? i asked like i was his mother.

    i go home.

    and this is where i feel ashamed of myself because when i was in junior college, working long hours and going to school and trying to adjust to LA, and not having a bunch of friends for the first time in a long time,

    i made a very good amount of money selling tvs.

    but i quit because idealistically i had a hard time getting negotiated down by smart white guys,

    whereas many of the minorities would save up their cash


    and be the most delightful customers of all sorts of audio and video

    typically at full hit.

    so i started pumping gas at the last full service gas station in beverly hills.

    i wanted to help the people, not rip them off.

    and at first i thought id do it for a little while but i loved it.

    and i advanced a little, and got tipped, and dated a few of the patrons

    which is tougher than you think when you have 5 minutes to pump the gas, check the fluids, and get a phone number

    when you don’t exactly look like brad pitt.

    and youre in a gas station guy uniform.

    and one of the things that i learned there was… well let’s say there were about three of us black guys, two white guys, and everyone else was Latino.

    like bridgette’s parents.

    and working those pumps, outside in the sun, for eight hours a day

    dudes of all backgrounds


    and some of what you learn are truisms that stick with you forever.

    well i used one of them on bridgette’s dad as he walked down the street

    ignoring my conversation

    which even he would probably admit is insulting.

    and i said, what you are doing is selfish.

    do you know that word?

    and i coulda said ask bridgette, but that’s unnecessary

    instead i said

    black and brown people need to stop living in a world of scarcity.

    which im pretty sure he didnt hear because i was wearing a mask.

    and thats the biggest problem i have right now.

  9. Thursday, June 4, 2020
  10. Saturday, August 24, 2019

    i like people who stand for things 

    people can be against things, that’s fine.

    people can try to stop you from your dreams… cool

    but those who will, say, starve themselves because their favorite TV show has been pulled off the air? now those are my people.

    i had just stood in line at the Popeyes on Hollywood Blvd to get that spicy chicken sandwich. i had nothing else to do so i walked home instead of taking the subway – gotta get those steps.

    as i approached Sunset and the Netflix HQ, i saw a woman who i had seen a few times earlier in the week.

    she had her sign that said Save The OA

    but while i was driving in the past i hadn’t noticed that in small print it said Hunger Strike.

    this woman had not eaten in 5 days when i approached her and had the nice little chat in the video.

    i love TV. theres three TVs in my 1BR apartment. but would i stop eating if one of them shut down?

    no. does that make me a bad person?

    and how horrible was i holding a bag of Popeyes chicken talking to a woman who only had drank water for nearly a week? im a monster.

    and then i asked her which foods she missed.

    that proves im terrible.

    so i posted the first minute of this on my Instagram and tagged she and the other young lady who was protesting and it’s already the most popular video of the month on my IG.

    i think i will start roaming around talking to more people.