You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Los Angeles’ tag.


It is over 17,500 kilometers (10,874 miles) from Melbourne, Australia to Halifax, Canada, as the plane flies.  After watching more movies in one night than I had seen in the previous year, I was glad that I had scheduled a layover weekend in Los Angeles.

The drive from the airport to a  friend’s bungalow in Santa Monica felt very familiar, even after twenty-two years.  The road was still shabby, littered with discount stores, gyms, car dealerships, taco stands and tattoo parlors.  Only the Whole Foods store was new.  It signaled gentrification that seemed a little late in coming considering the value of the property.

I have moved many times since my seven-year stay in L.A., but I still have one old friend in LA who puts me up and a few others who will buy me a beer or a glass of wine.  Most of them worked in the “biz”, as the entertainment industry is called.

They were always working too hard or hardly working, which is the norm in La La Land.  Right now, the economy is in free fall and the state’s finances are in serious trouble.   Much of that can be blamed on the referendums that plague every election in California and, of course, the Terminator.

None of this impacts on the traveler.  I had a good time, catching up with the few friends who were in town and not otherwise engaged.  Gordon and I  went out to the Getty villa in Malibu (recently re-opened after extensive renovations) and took lunch at the fish restaurant we used to frequent 25 years ago.  It hadn’t changed at all.

On my last night in town, we went to the new “Terminator” movie.  My friend, Bob, who has been editing the most expensive animated film in history for the last three years, emerged from his cocoon for the evening.

The Terminator movie was one explosion after another.  My ears rang when we came out.  It is hard to believe that the “Gov” actually injected humor in the first one.  The latest battle-fest has virtually none.  Some good actors are wasted in their roles and the movie seems interminable, but it will no doubt make a fortune overseas.

When I arrive at Grand Pre and resume life in the Stewart House, some work compulsion creeps in and takes over my body.  A two hundred year-old house is in constant need of care.  Everything exposed to the maritime weather tends to rot, amazingly quickly.  Last year it was the back porch and the fasteners on storms and screens that needed attention.  This year it is the front porch, the attic, study and carriage house.  There is always more than I have time for.

On the plus side, there are the fiddleheads, strawberries and rhubarb, summer evenings with long light.  There are the rain clouds, intense green in the trees, and friendly neighbours with whom I have some history. There are dykelands for long walks, spectacular sunsets and a lovely room for curling up with a good book. For all that, I can easily do some work and not complain.

Advertisements

I did a lot of foolish things in my thirties.  I thought about some of them while I was under the knife.  One or more may have helped trigger the cloud in my left eye that the doctor was attempting to remove.  The whole procedure wouldn’t take much more than ten or twenty minutes.  It was the preliminaries which took forever.  Antibiotic drops, drops to dilate, drops to numb.  At some point the assistant anesthesiologist slipped in an IV to help reduce my anxiety level and I ceased to be concerned about anything at all.

When I lost my glasses over a year ago, I was dismayed to discover that my eyesight had deteriorated considerably.  I had cataracts.  I could have had an operation then, but I’m very reluctant to have surgery of any kind, especially on eyes, so I procrastinated.

I ordered new glasses based on the stronger prescription and started to do my research.  I asked around among our limited set of acquaintances here and finally came up with the name of a doctor who had operated on both eyes of a fellow cyclist.  She was very pleased with the result.  Dr Burgess has been at this awhile.  He has done thousands of cataract operations.

The last postponement was for the trip to Italy, but when I returned there did not seem much point in putting it off. Despite my trepidation, the surgery went well.  I did not need anything more than a topical anesthetic.  I had actually watched my wife’s cataract surgery on a large screen video monitor, so it was not difficult to imagine what was happening.  But I can’t really say I was aware of very much during the operation.  The mind goes elsewhere.

In post op I was offered a sandwich and coffee.  They had sent a car at 6:45 AM to pick me up and bring me to the clinic and it nearly 10 AM when I came out.  I was going into caffeine withdrawal.  I inhaled the coffee and watched other patients wheeled out.  Some had eye patches, which meant they had required (or requested) more than a topical anesthetic.

One of the foolish things I did in my thirties was to accidentally blast my eye with compressed air.  Another was to drive around for days on the freeways of Los Angeles scouting locations for TV shows most people have never heard of.  It exposed the left side of my face (the driver’s side) to a heavy dose of California sunshine, to ultraviolet light.  Even with decent sunglasses, that much exposure to strong sun is hard on eyes.

One of the directors I met was an eccentric old-timer by the name of Andre de Toth.  He had an eye patch.  His claim to fame was one of the most successful 3 D films ever made, “House of Wax,” with Vincent Price.  Not bad for a guy with no depth perception.

By the time he came to work for “This is the Life.” a Lutheran television series I worked on, his glory days were over.  I was utterly charmed by his larger-than-life charm and his great stories.  What I hadn’t counted on was his lack of tact.

For some reason I no longer remember, Andre blew a hole in the minuscule budget of the show by replacing the lead actor two days before production.   Before the filming began for every episode, the producer (an ordained Lutheran minister) said a prayer.

He had barely begun when Andre broke in in his booming voice and said:   “Thank God you backed me up when I fired that sonofabitch.”  There was stunned silence for a long moment as our small group digested that comment.  Then, a tentative chorus of “Amen.”  Andre was never asked back to direct another episode, but he had done  a slew of movies and TV shows over the years.  He finally took his comments and complaints to his Maker at the age of ninety in 2002.

The operation on my left eye was successful and my eyesight is back to 20/20.  The color blue has returned to my left side.  I hadn’t even realized that until I went to see the physician for a follow up visit.  He brought up Monet, pointing out that the paintings in his later years got more and more yellow because of his cataracts.  Finally he got up the nerve to have an operation.  Overnight, the blues and purples came back into his work. One more operation to go but that can wait.

apc1jjpg

The great news is we have a brand new granddaughter, Zooey Marie, born April 18th.  6 pounds, 12 ounces.  I have no doubt she will be the most photographed child in Portland, Oregon.  But she’s beautiful so it will be a treat to see her smiling face up on Flickr in thousands of permutations.   Bonne Anniversaire, Zooey!

Flickr Photos

Categories

Blog Stats

  • 41,411 hits
October 2019
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 143 other followers

Top Rated

October 2019
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
October 2019
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Categories

Advertisements