Levar Burton, you were right

all I want is a small house with library that looks like this

In case you didn’t know, books are fucking magical.  “Hi,” they seem to say.  “I’m a dead tree that can make you smarter.”  See?  Magic.

I’ve always been totally fascinated by the concept that paper and ink can change a person simply by existing.  That’s all books do, really: sit around waiting to be discovered, like gems, like stars, like Atlantis.  All it takes is looking at them, and a person is different, no matter how small the change.  The power of ideas, knowledge, emotion, resting nearby, quietly lying in wait to pounce on my imagination like a happy predator, like my roommate’s cat, Calico; this is magic.  The written word is powerful, and this baffles and delights me.

I watched Reading Rainbow as a kid.  Giordi Laforge hosted, and he was the greatest.  He must be one of the most beloved people by my generation.  Every episode, he would basically say, “Let’s go on an adventure by looking at paper with words on it.”  I believe that’s what’s commonly known as magic.

all the cool kids read copiously

Butterfly in the sky
I can go twice as high
Take a look
It’s in a book
A Reading Rainbow

I can go anywhere
Friends to know
And ways to grow
A Reading Rainbow

I can be anything
Take a look
It’s in a book
A Reading Rainbow

goodness, life

UPS adventure!

I love having random adventures.  Discovering amazing little pockets of Los Angeles that I knew nothing about doesn’t happen every day; I know this city pretty well.  So I get pretty excited when I encounter something unexpected, which usually results in an…


Why is it always the case that I have adventures like this when I’m forced to go pick up a package?  This time it was a UPS facility northeast of downtown that couldn’t seem to properly deliver a box of soap from Bigelowe & Co. (for Boyfriend) that I had bought a month prior (and had already been stolen off my doorstep once).

When I got there, I discovered while waiting in the lobby these neat little rolly things they use to roll packages around with ease.

i played with them when noone was looking

On my drive there, I passed this weird little sign that said “Apothecary Fairy,” which is apparently a skin-care company that sells lotions, soaps, rubs, candles and other stinky crap to scare men out of your bathroom.

semi-legible = edgy!

I decided to pull over on my way back to investigate.  I’m so glad I did, because I discovered The Brewery, which is an ART COLONY, which I put in caps to try to keep myself from laughing when I say it or read it (to no avail).  An ART COLONY (teehee!) is (as far as I can tell) like an ant colony, but instead of ants working endlessly on unique, but in the end pointless creations, it’s people (zing!).  And they live in this area of Los Angeles I’ve never seen before.  And I’m kinda jealous, because it looks awesome.

pfft, obviously

There’s a really neat balance of metal and organic sitting around, enjoying a kind of harmony.

"oh, is there ivy taking over the building? I didn't notice; I was so busy CREATING."

Having said that, everything looks very intentionally abandoned, which I kinda hate because then it’s fake, and loses it’s mystery.  It’s like steampunk threw up all over everyone’s front lawn, then sat and rusted for a while.

seriously... what is that doing there.

But happening upon an area like this by chance was still super fun.  There was a little cafe, and this miniature grassy park area!

surely, the small stone bench at the other end was littered with cigarette butts

And a tiny rocket car!  I really wanted to ask someone about this, but I figured I was already potentially trespassing on private property just by being there, so drawing attention to the fact that I (an ordinary outsider) was taking dozens of photos of their shit was not on the menu.

i could have escaped in it! p-chow! zoom!

And a Caterpillar!  Like everything else on the property, I wondered how it had ended up there, but somehow this one totally fascinated me.  Who had driven in last?  What did they haul around?  Did it still work?  It had to weigh a ton, how would they move it?

curiouser and curiouser

And this old car! This one looks totally intentionally placed, and didn’t exactly charm the pants off me.  Old cars are just so fun to look at though, I couldn’t resist.

i like to think the palm tree and car struck up an unlikely friendship

Next to the car was a Mexican man who asked me for the time.  I said, “A las una,” then, “Puedo tomar un foto del coche?”  Hooray!  I speak the Spanish!  Watchless Mexican did not give two shits that I had mastered Spanish I, and went back to shining these pieces of copper, seemingly for an art project.

i resisted the urge to TOUCH ALL OF THEM

Near the copper-shining-Mexican was a giant piece of what can only be described as a huge piece of totally unnecessary metal machinery.  I chuckled aloud as I wondered how many people had accidentally backed up into it as they parked in one of the few official parking lots I could find.

railroad machinery?

I realized as soon as I set eyes on it that the Brewery smoke stack is a landmark I’ve seen before, though I can’t recall where.  I had suddenly found familiar ground in a wasteland of intentionally derelict buildings and pieces of Americana.

ironically, there were no brewerys nearby...

It topped off this really neat, giant building which may have honestly been a steel refinery at some point, and has actually been abandoned, as interior photos clearly showed.

free tetanus shot with every lease signing!

I found an official entrance to the compound (which distinctly said “PRIVATE PROPERTY”), and right outside, down the block was an Aikido dojo.

it too looked semi-abandoned

I threw on my hazard lights, jumped out to grab an inevitably poorly-written brochure, and drove toward a busy street, thinking my thoroughly satisfying adventure had drawn to a close.  But no!  If you had told me that the last photo I would take that day was of a giant, half-finished carousel horse surrounded by shipping crates, I would have said, “You’re crazy, Sam I Am.”

and it looked just pissed, btw

I drove a little, stopped to wander around and take some photos, then jumped back in the car to find the next out of place, rusty thing.  I was a little late to get pho with my dad in Silverlake at Pho Cafe, but it was worth it, and then I got to see my dad.

What a great adventure!

goodness, humor

FedEx adventure!

I picked up a package from the FedEx facility downtown today.  It was like visiting a foreign dignitary in a third world country.  Hard to find, then there was a surprising amount of security, then it was a piece of shit.

I got off the freeway and followed my gut south (the directions the FedEx lady gave me were crap).  I passed over a bridge, turned onto the right street, drove past a set of railroad tracks…

were they even functioning?

and then past warehouse after seemingly abandoned warehouse until I reached what appeared to be a cul-de-sac.  But no!  There was this weird entrance with a small sign that said “Customer pickup” on the chain mail fence topped with razor sharp barbed wire surrounding the rest of the cul-de-sac.  On I drove toward what could only be an air strip, given all the chain mail fencing and open tarmac.

it was a quarter mile long

A parking lot!  With weird buildings on one side…

rusty and creepy

…and a train on another side…

it wasn't moving

…and a whole lot of nothing everywhere else.  I asked a man in a uniform walking past my car for directions.

“Excuse me, I’m here to pick up a package.”

Without looking at me, “Just park and head over to the guard building.”  Then he started walking away without pointing to where said building might be.

“Where is the guard building?”

“Over there.”  Then he walked away with certainty.

I looked toward where he had indicated.  A small shack with windows and a few doors surrounded by fencing and… more nothing.  I parked and decided this experience was too weird to not snap a few photos.

I headed to the shack, walked past the “Exit” door, past the sign that said “No weapons beyond this point” and into the “Entrance” door.  There I found two guards.  The White Guard was helping two other men through one of two metal detectors.

White Guard shot me a look

The other guard, Hispanic Guard, asked for a door tag, or something with the tracking number on it.  I gave it to him, he made a call, came back and asked for my ID.  “I need to check you in,” Hispanic Guard said.

I said, “Ok… Am I going somewhere?”

“Yeah, right across there to get your package.”  He indicated across the tarmac to a large building.  He politely took down my information, passed me through the metal detector, passed a wand over me, poked through and then closed my purse, double checked to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything, and told me to “follow the blue line.”

i lost track of it pretty quick

I followed the line to the building (after losing it once or twice while I wandered around), where my eyes needed to adjust to the darkness.  For a ground floor with no walls, this area was depressing and dark.  No one was around.  The stillness was eerie.  A few echoing clunks and clicks let me know that a machine somewhere was struggling to do its job.  I walked past a motionless conveyor belt with packages waiting to be processed on it.  It looked like a dead snake with a few mice taking a disappointing ride on its back.

it was pathetic

I kept following the blue line.

it collided with a green line, which led to the same place

It led me to an office where two dismal women checked my ID (again), had me sign something, beeped the bar code on the package, and sent me on my way.  I followed the blue line back to the guard station.  Hispanic Guard opened the door for me and passed me through the metal detector while White Guard chilled out.  I thanked him and left, feeling like I had just gone on a quick trip over the U.S./Mexico border and back.  Adventure!