The Koreatown KFC by charles desrochers

For anyone who's driven down Western Avenue, through the corridor that takes you from the bustling Latino community of East Hollywood to the near otherworldly Koreatown, chances are you've seen this building.

I mean, it's hard to miss it. Just look at that thing. Like... What the fuck?

My first thought was that the infamous Western KFC was originally some sort of modern gallery, with it's swooping curves and abrupt edges all congealed in one structure, that had fallen on hard times before like many things in Los Angeles was abandoned and filled with a fast food restaurant. Turns out though that once again my pessimism was wrong.

Designed by Jeffrey Daniels and completed in the early 90's, this strange big breasted and tall building (nearly towering over its neighbors) was always meant to be a KFC.  From my car I could never tell but looking at it from the far side I see it now. It's a chicken with the body of bucket of wings (which has a meta sort of macabre to itself when you think about it).

Under the tutelage of Frank O. Gehry (who is a staple of Los Angeles Architecture and will be designing the new LA River Walk), Daniels was able to develop his possibly more form than function taste. But you can't help but admire the amount of commitment that must go into designing such bombastic buildings and can only imagine a city where the half chicken bucket/ half chicken buildings were the norm. 

I forgot where I heard this from but it's like in the 90's they thought the future was going to be far more futuristic. 

Much of his work since the KFC has been residential with a few public space jobs here and there but I strongly suggest checking out his website.

Clearly the designs didn't catch but you can only think of what kind of weird "Demolition Man" type world we'd live in it it did. 

Cool Places of LA: Oso Flaco Lake by charles desrochers

Okay, so this isn't necessarily close to LA, in fact it's about a 3-4 hour drive, but I need to talk about Oso Flaco Lake. 

Just north of the agricultural town of Guadeloupe along the PCH, maybe an hour north of Santa Barbara where freshly picked vegetables are loaded onto trains and sent throughout the state, lies one of the most serene and untouched pieces of beaches in all of California.

Passing through the small town where they put mayo on their felafel sandwiches and 15 minutes north, after a stretches of fields that kiss the air with the scent of strawberries, there comes an intersection where ahead lie an out crop of eucalyptus trees, like an oasis in the desert for eyes hungry for topography. To the right of this stop is more strawberries and, today, cauliflower until the hills that separate the 101 from the 1 and to the left, miles and miles of more crops.

If on a whim you take the left and follow the road to its end, past the migrant workers getting off work, carrying their lunch coolers and hitching rides on tractors back to the cars, you'll come to an outcrop of trees and a dirt path. Just past this lies Oso Flaco Lake, which on it's surface doesn't seem like much. It's fed by run off from the fields which is why fishing isn't advised, considering the pesticides. At a small clearing in the main path, an easy one to miss if you're looking down at your phone or lost in thought is another turn to a small boardwalk. That's where you'll find the sight of the above photo.

What lies in front of you is a winding path of wood suspended above the Oso Flaco Lake, which has clear water with a fine silt bottom, clear enough to see the water grass that lies beneath and the bass swimming throughout. Ducks and Pelicans rest and bath on their way down the coast and this would be gorgeous enough but the boardwalk continues still, through more of the lake and eventually onto the dunes. It's not a difficult hike but it does stretch longer than a typical normal walk to the beach. Just like with the lake the boardwalk again bisects a nature reserve for endangered birds and winds more to the point that civilization is out of sight save for the fence to keep wanderers out of the reserve for the animals' sake until again there's a reveal, which feels by design.

At several points the trekker will go through arches of oak or over a blind hill and be treated to a completely transformed landscape, whether it be the lake or marsh, wooded path, walk along the dunes and the finale of miles and miles of untouched beach and a lazy brook running down the sand at low tide. 

Sand dollars and kelp wreck pepper the beach and people are able to walk as far down as they please. If you can manage to carry the supplies than you can picnic and relax for as long as they like. The water is as clear as any along the PCH and because it's so off the beaten path there are few if any other visitors. Because I enjoy the drive so much and for some reason the sleepy Guadeloupe pulls me in the more I drive through it, I can't help but think that I'm going to be here again sometime soon, probably with a lady, but most likely to dig my feet into the sand and wade through the water as the waves crash by my calves. 

Cool Places of LA: West Adams by charles desrochers

The other day I visited this part of Mid-City I had never been in before called West Adams and never really venturing much into this part of town since most of my work and social life are limited to the edges of town I don't usually have an excuse. Because I'm all about free stuff I went to the Peace Awareness Garden and Labyrinth in West Adams, which was a nice trip and I suggest anyone who has the afternoon free go check it out. The multi leveled garden itself was extremely serene with some koi ponds and nooks for quiet sitting or meditation but what struck me most was the neighborhood this place was in.

Apparently the organization is held in a house that has stood since the 1910's, which is incredibly old for Los Angeles. The complex itself was a strange metamorphosis of all the building trends that have existed in the city since it's original construction. The main house is a beautiful Craftsmen style mansion with modern additions of giant windowed sunrooms from the 50's and 60's and then also on the lot are stucko style apartment buildings for members of the congregation that live on the grounds. All along Adams Boulevard are similar houses that are now taken over by fringe and mainstream religions alike and peppered amongst them are condos and apartment homes.

It possibly has the most striking diversity in the city for the sheer sake that the plots of land are so much bigger than say Silverlake or West Hollywood. One thing that's even more amazing about this neighborhood is that it experienced a transition of sorts from very affluent White Los Angeles, Wikipedia says this is one of its oldest neighborhoods, to affluent African-American and now Latino-American community. While Crenshaw and Watts and were burning in the riots of the 90's this neighborhood somehow managed to be untouched despite being next to Jefferson Park, which is considered one of the poorest neighborhoods in all of the city. 

Montreal: A City in TERROR by charles desrochers

I was looking around the other day and saw this old picture from last year. Pictured above is the Montreal Police Department and what counts as a strike. In Montreal the police and other emergency services are not allowed to strike so the closest thing they can do is wear the flashiest and most ridiculous pants and take many sick days. How ridiculous?

And also this nice little number, I think he might be going to the polo grounds right after work. 

But why can't the police force go on strike? I mean the obvious answer is, "Because no one would do the policing, you moron." But the hippie dippy in me says that everyone would still get along, even without a police department. Turns out I'm very wrong about that.

 Either a riot or a killer sock hop.

Either a riot or a killer sock hop.

Let's go back to the fall of 1969, in which the entire year was labeled the Summer of Love for some reason, and go to October, the awkward morning after breakfast of love. Just as it is now Montreal was dealing with a fair amount of pressure from separatists who feel like Quebec should be its own sovereign nation but still use Canada's military because then who would protect them from Canada? The more extreme separatists had been planting bombs and such all over the city so the police force had been warn down to it's very last nerve with disabling them and making less pay than their Toronto counterparts.

After a quick meeting they strike and what ensues is 16 hours of hell on French Canadian earth. Almost immediately, looting and riots break out through the city and two rival gangs start shooting up one another, eventually leading to a rooftop brawl at the bad guys' headquarters. If this were a movie we would be talking about two crime lords fighting over territory and looking to seize the opportunity of a lawless town but since this is real life, and Canadian nonetheless, the two organizations in question were the limousine and taxi drivers of Montreal and their "turf" was the rights to pickup passengers at the international airport.

That's right, one of the bloodiest days in Montreal's history happened for the same reason your Uber driver can't pick you up at LAX. 

But while this mayhem is going on there's still an actual riot going on in the city and shop owners and workers had to fight off citizens from taking their livelihoods. This CBS report interviews a man and I just want to give him a hug because he's so sweet. During the night, people had been breaking into his store and stealing the pants and slacks from his tailor shop, which resulted in two adorably Canadian things: First is that he still locked the door despite the windows being broken; and the second is that when he ran into looters holding his clothes he politely asked for them back. His neighbor on the other hand stayed in his shop with a gun and had nothing stolen but when our shop owner was asked if he learned a lesson and will buy a gun he chuckled and says, "I'm not a gun person. Let them have it."

Meanwhile back at the Murray-Hill Limousine Service headquarters, a crowd of angry taxi drivers had formed and were breaking their way into the building. An emergency law was passed requiring the police to get back to work and soon there was a full on fist fight breaking out atop the Murray-Hill garage. Police attempted to keep the peace while the son of the limousine company, along with his security forces, were shooting blindly into the crowd that had formed at the base of the building like a seen from the Walking Dead. Soon enough the smoke had cleared and the sun rose, bringing an end to this nightmare and an officer lay dead on the garage, Corporal Robert Dumas.

In the aftermath of the riot the limousine company lost their monopoly on the airport and an edict was passed that says emergency services in Montreal can not take strikes. The Montreal Urban Community was formed so that Public Transportation and Police could be better regulated and abided.

So, if you ever see a Montreal police officer wearing crazy pants just know, they would be at home if it were not for the utter chaos that would unfold. 

What the hell is 'The Tonk?' by charles desrochers

What's up everybody? 

It's been a second but that doesn't mean I haven't been working hard to get more content on this beast. The Podcast is up and running again and I've got to say we've been having a lot of fun with it so far. We've watched some true American classics and We're going to be bringing in some guest couples in the coming weeks to see which one of our buddies have movies they can't believe their Girlfriend hasn't seen yet. 

I recently finished one of my more ambitious short stories and at first I was strongly considering submitting it to a magazine or website but the truth of the matter is that there is no no money to be made and whatever exposure I receive from a niche publication would be minimal in regards to just getting the story out, which is the reason I started this site in the first place. 

The story is called 'The Tonk' and it's set in dystopian world where the only known cities are on the coast of a super continent and the inland is a vast wasteland that our hero and his companion have to cross in order to ship goods.

It's a bit long, 25 pages of Word Doc to be exact, so I'm going to be releasing it in parts, both so it can be easily digested and i can take my time editing. I had a lot of fun writing it and playing with the characters and culture I set up so I hope you have fun reading it. If you enjoy it then please comment, share, do that whole shebang-a-bang. 

Sincerely,

Charley

New Shorts by charles desrochers

Hey Y'all,

Hope everyone's holidays were a blast and that whatever you celebrated met your expectations. This did for me, but that's only because I set mine very very low. Christmas got to see the family and on New Years rather than fighting tooth in nail to be social and have the typical New Years experience I sipped vodka and seltzer and watched The Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy network. Like i said, best new years in a long time.

Last year I found myself with some friends in San Francisco wandering from bar to bar negotiating cover fees trying to find just the right place to celebrate the ball dropping but were so indecisive, so above the crowds that were gathering at these places that we found ourselves in the middle of the street in the city's strip club district when the clock finally hit zero. It wasn't fun to say the least. I had never been to a strip club before then and it still stands as the only time I've ever stepped foot into one. Having missed midnight we wanted to at least enjoy in a party or two that may still be going on so we journeyed on into the night only to be turned away by bars at capacity or clubs charging $50 a head. When we finally came to one that we negotiated down from $25 to 5$ a piece it turned out to be one of the seediest clubs in the district.

I was the first to go in and the very first thing I saw was a girl on stage lying stomach down with her chin resting on the floor and her head up. She wasn't moving, and she sure as hell wasn't dancing. I still can't figure out what was going on but there were at least 50 men all standing around watching her do the caterpillar. I started to do a loop and that's when I saw the only other girl in the club; she was wearing almost nothing and straddling this dude while they made out. This of course had an audience as well. In all the loop took about 5 minutes and before my friends could even reach the bar I told them we needed to leave and that was it. Our big New Years night was a total bust because we had high expectations and very little planning. So I don't make plans, I don't have expectations and I have a great time.

Anyways, I've been writing a lot of shorts lately, I've already released one on the site and I'll be posting the first half of the other this week. If you read it I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks! 

Merry Something or Other by charles desrochers

It's xmas and for the first time in a few years I find myself back home with old friends and family. In all honesty most of my days are spent shuttling myself from one event or lunch to another as I try to fit in all that I can in the short time that I have but ultimately it's a pleasure.

I'm originally from the east coast and when I come back I find that my Web has gotten bigger with every passing day. Today I find myself kn the express train to New York and in a few days I'll be in boston, this is fer spending time in Vermont and my home state of Connecticut. I find more to do in these visits then I ever did while I loved hete but I suppose that's because I'm older, my tastes have changed and enough time has passed to give my friends wings of their own and find their own lives in these great cities. 

I'm going to be depressed when I head back to Los Angeles but hat will pass and soon enough I'll find myself falling in love with that city all over again, which is an affair I'm looking forward to. The New Year always has that effect and though it'll come to be that the world, whether it be mine or anyone else's,  doesn't change over night it will be that only at this time next year will I appreciate any progress, personal or otherwise hat I've made. Still, I'm looking forward to it.

I've been thinking and back logging some more dumb videos while I'm here. I've also been writing several shorts but to be honest at least one is turning out to be anything but. So I guess I'm going to write a novel,  which is something I never thought I would ever say.

Anyways, Happy whatever!

N64 DD: The system we never knew by charles desrochers

Since we're in the thick of the Holiday buying season I thought it would be fun to check out another list this week. Most publishers design their release schedule around this time of the year, giving customers enough time to buy their games for personal enjoyment and gifting so the logical list would be top 5 best/worst holiday releases. While doing a small amount of research though I came across the N64 DD, a system that bombed so hard that I had never even heard of it until today. 

 

Remember that little slot on the bottom of the N64 that you couldn't figure out what went there for the life of you? Yeah, that's what this thing was for. It served as an expansion of types, doubling the system's Ram performance while also giving it online access and expanded developer capability. It was ultimately meant to connect Nintendos around the world on the Randnet, a devoted network for the system, and possibly boost the systems shelf life but instead what happened was development got pushed back so long, 1996-2000 that by the time it came out Nintendo ended up almost scrapping it completely.

Rather than sell the system they put in place a subscription plan that would send the expansion and any games that would subsequently come out for it, which totaled 9 if you count the 4 Mario Artist titles. Offered only in Japan, the subscription ran a steep $30 a month. That's pretty pricey considering many months the subscribers got nothing. That's like paying someone to mow your lawn but they only have to actually do it if they really feel like it.

The games were to be innovative and unlike any we'd seen up to that point. Animal Crossing was said to be inspired by 64DD's connectivity and Sim64 eventually came out towards the end of its life, hoping to realize the systems goals, but failed to drive any such numbers. So in retrospect the system was a flop but I'd like to think that it was for reasons other than design or practicality. Reviews all said that it was very easy to setup and access and that the tech worked; load times were at most 5 seconds and storage was boosted considerably as well. Where it failed was it was too ambitious for it's own good. The idea was before its time but rather than scrapping and waiting for the technology to catch up the 64DD was dragged through development kicking and screaming until finally being shelved in 2000. 

Being an avid Nintendo fan growing I'm pretty sure I would have bought this and whatever games were out for it. I hated CD's and I couldn't stand my friends who played Playstation, to me it wasn't Nintendo which meant it wasn't really video games. I like the name recognition and trust that came with that and I think that if the system came out with the N64 like it was planned then it may have had a chance. Instead though we'll just have to tip our caps and pour a 40 for the system that never had a chance. 

 

 

Favorite 5 movies of 2014 by charles desrochers

I was a little disappointed in 2014's theatrical offerings leading up to the Oscar season but with a lot of strong contenders beginning to release I can say that it was a solid year. We saw the quick return of some indie fan favorite directors in Alejandro González Iñárritu and 
Neill Blomkamp and Wes Anderson as well as an obscure 3rd tier Marvel title turn into a nearly $800,000,000 tentpole, but more than any other had the greatest desperate between traditional studios and independents. 

Let's take a look at the quality of the top grossing films this year:

  1. Transformers: Age of Extinction $1,087,404,499
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy $771,454,000
  3. Maleficent $757,723,217
  4. X-Men: Days of Future Past $746,045,777
  5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier $714,083,572
  6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 $708,982,323
  7. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes $708,266,226
  8. How to Train Your Dragon 2 $618,849,989
  9. Interstellar $542,290,000
  10. Godzilla $524,976,069

Of those films 7 were certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes but only 3 were in the top 25 but to be fair they were the type of movies that either score near perfect or completely bust in that they were comic book movies (X-Men and Guardians) and animated (HTTYD2). I'd say you'd be hard pressed to find someone who would admit that any of these were they're favorite movie with the exception of Guardians because its very nature was to be a prototypical fun summer blockbuster. 

With all that being said, here are my top movies of the year.

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An Old Article Of Mine by charles desrochers

A while ago I did a report for my local NPR affiliate in Connecticut on a new drug that I noticed some people my age were taking but I noticed that the article no longer exists on the web. After a bit of digging I came upon a draft of it but still couldn't find the actual audio report so sadly I'll have to settle for this. It was my first taste of being a reporter and possibly the most thrilling story I've ever written in terms of how fun it was to track down sources and information so I'm happy that it wasn't lost to the ether when my old radio station deleted it. 

Enjoy!

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My First FPS: Chex Quest by charles desrochers

I’ve been working at a gaming company during the holidays and all of the conversations with my fellow nerds got me thinking: What was the most underrated game I’ve ever played?

Chex Quest MOTHER FUCKERS!

I’ve been playing games my whole life and while I tend to shy away from RPG’s and MMOG’s these days I still hold fast that I am in fact a gamer. But, regrettably, I was never much of a PC gamer besides other than Counter Strike and Diablo and I skipped the SNES so I missed many first person shooters. Doom? Not until I emulated it. Duke Nukem? Way too vulgar for my parents to let me play and also, kind of a shitty game.

I thought for a long time that my first foray into FPS was Golden Eye, like a lot of people, and I loved it so much that I followed the development team into the Time Splitters series.

I still think that those games are some of the most underrated games ever made and worthy successors to Golden Eye and Perfect Dark but it reminded me that they weren’t the first FPS I ever played. That distinction belongs to a little PC game I found at the bottom of a cereal box.

Chex Quest was such a weird game in the sense that it was a free game developed for a children’s cereal that was fucking SOLID. I’d even venture to say, if nostalgia serves me right, that it was the best game made for any restaurant, snack or soda. I can’t think of a better one. while everyone from Dominoe’s Pizza, Seven Up and McDonalds were making shitty platformer games for the SNES and Genesis (that still costs as much as a normal game) fucking Chex Cereal released a First Person Shooter for the PC and gave it away in the boxes!

It had multiple weapons, including a SPORK(!), a semblance of a story and levels that you could tell the designers actually gave a shit about. Sure, it was a Doom knock off but for something you discovered while eating breakfast I’d say it was a pretty sweet deal, which is saying a lot because chex isn’t sweet at all. 

5 Game Franchises That Need To Stop by charles desrochers

I’ve talked about my love of Mega Man briefly in the ‘lessons’ post but let me just say this again. I FUCKING LOVE MEGA MAN!

That being said, there hasn’t been a new game in the franchise in more than a decade, which wouldn’t bother me so much if there weren’t an ardent fan base ready to play anything new installment (Translations and repackaging of shitty games released only in Japan don’t fucking count either, Capcom). Meanwhile people who love these reliable titles like Banjo-Kazooie or Jak & Daxter have to sit and watch shitty game after shitty game come out.

 

I know what the argument is, “If people bought them they would still be making them.” To that, I have to say, “Shut the fuck up and sit down before I rip off your lower jaw and use it as a cookie cutter for my delightful dinner parties!”

The games stop selling because developers almost always get either too ambitious or forget what the entire purpose of their games were. Or, in Banjo’s case, the titles just never make the jump to the next generation of console and become relics of a bygone era, which is complete bullshit. Successful Kickstarter campaigns are proving that games don’t have to be hyper textured  anymore and that it’s not an arms race for graphics but rather solid game play. There’s a reason why Final Fantasy 7 still makes bank when they inevitably rerelease it on new consoles. It’s fucking fun despite, let’s face it, looking like a pile of dog shit. 

So in accordance with this nerd rage I’ve been feeling I’m going to list the Top 5 games franchises that need to be thrown into traffic.

5 Cartoons That Need A Comeback by charles desrochers

I was fortunate enough to grow up in what may go down as the Golden Age of Animation. Where many shows in the 80's and prior seemed to patronize and dumb down content for the sake of their young audience, writers and animators in the 90's-2000's were putting out shows that were enjoyable for kids based purely on aesthetics but touched on mature themes and references that only adults could grasp. 

Go up to any 40-year-old and ask them what their favorite show is and I guarantee that it'll either be a standard answer like Simpsons, Flintstones or Jetsons. If not then dare I say Scooby Doo, Josie and the Pussycats or Jabber Jaw?

I'll take almost any show in this list in comparison to any other era of animation and i bet that these 5 shows will come out on top in any viewer's poll. So, without further ado here's my Top 5 Shows That Need Comebacks.

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5 Lessons Learned From Gaming by charles desrochers

I’m a firm believer that there are lessons to be learned from all over the place. Sit in a coffee shop, listen to a bunch of random conversations and you’ll probably come out of it with some good advice or a nice joke. There is one place, however, where I have spent an ass-load of time and that is in front of my television playing the Nintendo Entertainment System.

The other night I was going through some old titles when I realized I had actually managed to get a couple of life lessons out of my favorite games. It makes sense. You spend hours and hours learning the maps, strategy and physics of a game and what you’re really doing is solving puzzles and adapting to how the game designers think. Poke around in someone’s mind long enough and you’ll take some little nuggets of wisdom. I’ve been playing this shit for so long that these rules are as second nature to me as riding a bike.

So, I wrote them down.  Also I was drunk. So there’s that.

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5 Comic Book Characters Who Need Movies by charles desrochers

Whether you like it or not Comic Book movies are the new block buster and it seems like they're not going to slow down any time soon. Both Marvel and DC keep announcing sleights of films that are almost a decade out in order to drum up but by then I fear, as a comic fan, that the bubble will burst and bring a new Dark Age of Comics and characters. 

That being said it does excite me to know that characters other than the typical X-Men, Spiderman, Superman, Batman will be getting their shot and embraced like Guardians of the Galaxy was this past summer. So, without further ado here are my top 5 characters from the DC world that deserve their time in the sun.

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Smile Damnit by charles desrochers

I had an entry in mind for today that was based on smiling. The other day I was walking across the street and I saw a girl smiling. I wasn’t having the best of days but for some reason when I saw this seemingly nice attractive women smiling it made me happy. I started grinning.

My mood was better and before I had a moment to realize what had happened I was sitting in my car thinking about these wonderful memories like the time I first caught a wave on a boogie board or when I proposed to my ex-fiance. That’s powerful stuff. Imagine making someone’s day better by curling your lips up and showing your teeth? Can it be that it’s actually that simple to bring a gentle thought into someone’s mind?

I just heard some bad news today. It doesn’t involve me personally but it does involve the people that I love. It’s a weird feeling when you’re removed from a situation enough that it doesn’t break you but you’re close enough so that you feel this empathic sadness for others. In a way it’s refreshing because it shows that your feelings can exist outside of the bubble you’ve created for yourself. It’s easy to cry when you lose someone close to you. What’s rarer these days is crying when your friend loses someone.

I can only speak to my own experience on this matter but it made a difference when my friends would approach me with offers of condolences and looks that they were genuine. Sadly at a place like a funeral there’s a bit too much of it so the survivors are left numb from the crying and the frowns. When it first happened what I was actually looking for was someone who had a semblance of what I was going through. It made me feel better when someone didn’t try and say that they knew what I was going through but showed me that they cared enough for me to at least be there.

There’s nothing we can do about these times in life. I spoke with a friend today who was more effected by this recent event than I and the only conclusion we could come up with was that “these things happen,” “such is life” and “what can you do?” That’s what brings me to smiles.

When we heard the news, his friend and I had polar reactions to the news. He was in a bad mood and almost crying. The tiniest things were aggravating and the top priority in his mind was how he could best reach his friend who had just lost a brother. I on the other hand avoided the issue. I talked about the difference between LA and the East Coast. I talked about the homeless, the weather, the culture, the vastness of the city and the breadth of variety it has to offer. The only time I would say something about this somewhat mutual acquaintance was in reference to my own friend, he had lost someone this day and though they weren’t nearly as close as they once were it is a shame that there wouldn’t be that opportunity to make amends.

Smiling.

Smiling is a powerful thing. Maybe you’re the kind of person who can’t help but laugh nervously at a funeral or grin like a freak when being scolded. It’s a natural reaction some people have because certain situations had gotten too much for them and they needed the light-hearted tone to return to the conversation. I smile. That’s what I do. When I’m not in a good mood I smile and when I’m afraid or nervous I smile. It’s a form of charity in a way, the best kind really. I don’t know if my smile has the same effect on people the same way that women’s did but if it manages to lift someone’s spirits from the kind of day that my friend may be having than it’s the least I can do. It’s free and takes little to no effort. If you smile while you walk down the street in Los Angeles there might be 200 cars that drive by you. Even if you hit 1% of those cars with your smile bullets then isn’t that worth it? By walking for ten minutes with a smile on your face you’ve managed to make two people’s days better.

Who knows? Maybe while their stuck in traffic they’ll keep that grin on their face and then another person will see in and they’ll smile. Maybe the bus next to them sees both of your smiles and they all start smiling. Now you have this capsule of smiles, this virus of happy waiting to be sent out into the world and each of them will get two people. Maybe they’ll get a connection bus or better yet on the metro and now with them waiting at the platform you’ve passed on these happy sniffles to a quarter of the city.

Maybe one of those hundreds or thousands of people just lost their job. Maybe they’re going through a divorce with someone they still love. Maybe they just heard that a once good friend died in a car accident back home. Isn’t it worth ten minutes of your life, knowing that you helped one person today in such an important way? Why wouldn’t you smile?

The I'm Done Talking Moment by charles desrochers

Conversations are a funny thing.

When you stop to think about them they’re no different from any other good story but they have the unique concept of being told by two people. The way that this is different from stand-up performed by the Sklars brothers or another comedy duo is that there’s an audience of two as well. We sit and talk to our friends, family or complete strangers with two goals in mind when it’s a true dyadic conversation: the first is to entertain our obvious audience, which is the other person; the other goal is to entertain ourselves.

We love being smart. We love being witty and clever and we also love surprising ourselves. I live by the rule that we never learn anything while we’re talking but… but, every now and then if you talk long enough to someone who is kind enough to just let you ramble on and on and on you’ll say something that not even you were expecting. You’ll think to yourself, “Oh my god. Did those words just come out of my mouth? Is that an original thought or did it just regurgitate that?”

You scan your mind over and over and over again and it turns out that to the best of your knowledge, either because it’s true or because you really want it to be a reality, that YES you did just think of that all on your own.

The other day I told a friend that, “every diamond loses its luster if you stare at it long enough.”

HOLY SHIT! I said that? No fucking way! That is way more prophetic then any thought I have ever had. But, the more I thought and combed the catacombs of my cerebral library the more I came to realize that it was from my very own grey matter. Kudos to me, I suppose.

But in this moment of entertaining our selves and our friends there comes a point when the conversation is over. The point has been said and the story is through. This is the point when we need to gracefully bow out. This is where the awkward silences come in, the moment between the next beginning but after the last end. What do we do? We try and think of the next thing to say or the next question to ask but rather than struggle and strain for a conversation defibrillator I have a better option.

I say that if the conversation was good, and I mean truly spectacular, the kind of conversation that if you never see that person again and only thought of those 5 minutes where you talked about life and art and friendship then you would be completely content with how you left it, I say leave it alone. Just walk away. How many people get to go out on a high note? Steve Jobs didn’t. He died after releasing one piece of uninspired tech after the other. Paul Newman didn’t. For all of his philanthropy his last movies were a voice over for a Doc Hollywood rip-off and a movie that was released on HBO. Please, take advantage of those moments in life where the ending is something to savor.

I walk away.

I find something else to do or some place to be, not because I don’t want to talk to that person anymore but because I had so much fun speaking with them and hearing what they had to say that I would rather have that perfect moment stay in my mind as a memory of them than spoil it with the quiet that follows or the bullshit, “So, the Dodgers aren’t too bad this year.”

Fuck that!

Live life like a comedian. Leave them laughing. Live life like a poet and leave them thinking or live life like a tragic warning and leave them crying. When you make an impact on someone’s life it is so magical and rare that I prefer to let that moment exist forever by having it be my final impression. There’s a saying that you shouldn’t say anything to someone that you wouldn’t want to stand as your last words to them. This is that in a way. If I were talking to my friends I would tell them I love them and if I were talking to my brother I would tell him that though we went through some rough patches I cherish our relationship as it is. When I leave a conversation and I let it end on, “… well it was great talking.” I can’t fucking stand it. I get sick with myself. I wish I said more or I wish I were good enough to say what I wanted to with fewer words. I wish I could cut through the bullshit and tell these people exactly what I wanted to say and listen to the things they have to share.

The “I’m done talking moment” isn’t a crass instance in time but an appreciation that sometimes things aren’t going to be better. Will you look like a fool? Yes. One time I was talking to a stranger and we hit that moment where I was done with what I had to say and he with his so I quickly scanned the room and just walked out the first door I saw. This turned out to be the emergency exit to the casino I was staying in and I spent the rest of the night in an unusually hot 100-degree parking garage trying to get my drunk ass back to my hotel room. But, you know what? If I had to do it again I would.

But, treat the IDT Moment as what is. Smile, damn it, and be happy that you had this perfect capsule with this beautiful and unique person by letting it be. We don’t like endings. As much as we love resolutions we don’t like it when things are over, but embracing finishes is actually surprisingly comforting. You should try it sometime.  It’s like a fatality in Mortal Kombat.

Call me awkward or call me socially inept but it stands in my mind as the time when that conversation had to die. It wasn’t tragic, too soon, or past its prime. The “I’m Done Talking Moment” is perfect.

My Personal Museum by charles desrochers

I was sitting in my apartment today looking for a place nearby that I could get a good sandwich. I was originally hungry when I woke up but since I decided to turn on the internet I’ve since been snacking for the past 8 hours and trying to decide if I’m in a burger, Italian diner or falafel kind of mood. Maybe I’m doing this because I have an audition today—well not really an audition but rather a CD workshop which is an audition that you pay for and are almost always guaranteed to not get. But, you know what? They’re good to have because at the very least I get to talk to people who I’ve never met before.

 

New people… New people are exciting and frightening. They hold the potential energy to change your life by lifting you out of any squalor or smearing you on the sidewalk with the bottoms of their boots. I ebb and flow from being scared and anxious to meet new people and that got me to thinking about my current living situation. As I sit and type and contemplate a roast beef sandwich or onion rings my eyes are also wandering around my place.

It’s a nice little apartment and it fits me perfectly. It has one room, well two rooms really. There’s a bedroom/living room that serves as the most appropriate metaphor for my life that I can think of at this moment and then there’s the kitchen, the hallway and my bathroom. I find it having everything that I need and not lacking in any major necessities. But, just as I was thinking about new people I got to thinking about introducing new people to my apartment. I’d wish I could open my door and take the girl by the hand and lead her through the labyrinth of my home, past the piles of books, the work rooms, the art, the lounges, the creative spaces and by the time we had gotten to my bedroom she had already been smitten by the artifacts of my life that she’d seen traveling to that point.

This got me to thinking. If my apartment is everything I want and nothing I don’t need then why did I fantasize about having more? It’s simple really.

A person’s home is like their own personal museum, containing bits of their life, showing off their interest, their triumphs, their heartbreaks and everything in between. It’s the one place that we’re allowed to be completely self absorbed because god damn it it’s our house! That doesn’t mean putting up photos of yourself looking intrigued, thoughtful, or contempt but rather people places, ideas and things that had a great effect on your life 

When I was little I used to collect movie posters and music bills but there was one poster I had framed because I thought it was cool and surreal. It was a businessman walking on top of the ocean to a set of escalators that were far too large for him to walk up. The caption said I am a traveler walking on the edge of reason. I’ve looked at that painting over and over again but I admit in the last years it became the wall and I paid it no more attention. I suppose that I thought I was the traveler in this world that didn’t make sense and that the insurmountable escalator meant that I should just be patient and trust that I’ll get to the top eventually. It really beats the shit out of me though.

ANYWAYS! MuSEUMS!

It’s funny how we get bored of our own artifacts after a while. We forget that books are on shelves, that pictures are at the nightstand. Sometimes it’s nice to have company because they see your world with new eyes and remind you to remember all of these great moments. The conversation usually goes with the visitor saying, “I didn’t know you…” and that’s when your synapses fire and the memory comes rushing to your mouth as you describe this wonderful, horrific, benign thing in the picture but for that moment you’re grateful to that person because you wouldn’t triggered that brief moment of nostalgia without them.

When I go to a museum it doesn’t make sense for things from different eras and having conflicting themes to be thrown together into a collection of nonsense and what’s its. A room in a museum is organized and planned depending on an artist or a period of time or influence or maybe styles. Maybe there’s a level of whimsy to one room that is absent in the other.

“I’m sorry but that bust can’t be here. This space is for self portraits popped into bubble wrap only. You’ll have to move it.”

And in many ways that’s what a home is. My room as it stands is like a downtown gallery of an unknown artist who hasn’t made it yet but is up and coming. There are small nostalgic areas where you can see where my style was derived from in the stacks of batman comics and Animaniacs DVD’s but then there’s the space that represents where I’m going: The desk, the office chair, the laptop and the scripts piled high next to it as a constant reminder that there’s always work to be done. Even though I may only have one room I do manage to have a lounge area. Just like when I would walk through the great palaces or Spain or the French bourgeois exhibit at the Getty showing the fainting chair colored in the brightest sky blue I had ever seen on a fabric with gold stitching as if they had dipped ants in a lustrous paint and they had worked their magic walking a line all along this couch.

My area of relaxation isn’t quite as extravagant but it suits my needs just as well, it’s a futon mattress sans frame that I have leaning up against the wall and my bed but that suits me just fine because I like being near the ground. In lieu of having something better to say, it grounds me.

So yes, homes are like museums and while my mother’s place is like my Museum of Natural History my little studio apartment in Los Angeles is my exhibition of Contemporary Art. It may not be much now but check in with me in another year and I guarantee that if it’s not filled to the brim with my life it will at least be fun gallery.

Until then I suppose I’ll have to impress friends and women with my charm.

Top 10 Men With Derek Jeter's Herpes by charles desrochers

I was hanging with my mates and with Mo having just retired this past season our conversation found its way to the topic of Derek Jeter, who seems to be limping to the end of his career. So to honor El Capitan I thought I’d publish some articles here and there on his most lasting legacy, herpes.

Derek Jeter has enough sex to buy Penicillin by the tub from Costco. Derek Jeter has so much sex that a Macy’s was opened across the hall from his apartment because it had such good foot traffic. Derek Jeter has dated enough women to fill the roster of a very entertaining show about models and actresses trying to survive in the conflict region of the Congo and those women have unsurprisingly continued to date.

In the next couple of weeks I’ll release my top ten list of men with Derek Jeter’s herpes, in no particular order. 

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