Pigeons Off Roscoe.


My daily drive on the 405 is usually nothing to write home about, although it does give me time to listen to NPR/KCRW or my favorite music. Another good option is audiobooks. Yet, most of the time, no matter what I’m doing or listening to, I simply reflect on the world that passes by and what part I play in this thing we call life.

One day while traveling northbound through the valley, right after the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, I casually looked over to the southbound lanes and saw a flight of pigeons speeding by the shoulder. Against a green of valley freeway foliage, at one point each and every one of them had their wings in open, upright position, exposing their grey undersides. The contrast and coincidence struck me somehow, and the image has been embedded in my brain since. So this morning I decided to draw it. Enjoy.

Star Wars: The Circle is Complete.


Ladies and Gentlemen, a milestone has been made.

My son (9 yrs. old), has finally begun to watch the Star Wars saga, starting, of course, with none other than the original Episode IV. How else could you start, right?

Although it took some effort to get him into it (believe me, I’ve been trying since he was 7, the age when I got into it), this year’s enormous hype of next month’s release of  Star Wars: The Force Awakens combined with the YouTube bombardment of Star Wars Battlefront definitely piqued his curiosity.

Before I knew it, every time we went to Target, he began to behold their super-promoted Star Wars toy line and would ask about the different spacecraft and characters on the shelves. The ominous presence of the 48-inch Darth Vader was one he particularly gravitated to every time.

“Whoa…Who’s that guy?”

“That’s Darth Vader.”

“Is he a bad guy?”

“Well, yes and no. He started out as a good guy, but then got influenced by the Dark Side.”

“What’s the Dark Side?”

“Hmm. You gotta watch the movie to know that!”

After that came the TIE fighters, the X-Wings, and of course, the Millennium Falcon. Each and every one prompting the response, “See the movie. See the movie!”

With a little extra encouragement, I would even bend down low (well, not that low, he’s a big boy) and say, “You know, I saw Star Wars when I was like, 7 years old. I was younger than you, and it’s still one of my favorite movies. Of all time.”

“Even until now?”

“Yup, even until now.”

“Whoa dad, and you’re like, 45 years old!”

“Yup. That’s how good the movie is.”

He paused for some moments to absorb that statement, and we walked on.

It took some nudging to get this kid to finally sit down and watch it. I mean, with all the different avenues of hyper-stimulation that kids have these days—especially via YouTube and his X-Box 360—how easy would it be to get him to watch some old-ass movie that’s almost 40 years old? That would’ve been like my dad trying to get me into watch one of those old Charlie Chaplin silent movies or something.

But the way I see it—and I’m sure every Star Wars fan out there would agree—Star Wars is timeless. It’s simply epic. In fact, when we sat down and watched the opening scene, I got goosebumps and remembered that very same moment in 1977, when I sat in a darkened movie theater and saw something unfold on the big screen that would forever change my life.

I’m hoping that it does the same with my boy. There is hope with this young one, though. Last night we were only able to watch about half an hour of Episode IV. This morning, as I walked him to the car to go to school, I was about to ask him if we could finish the movie tonight. Instead, he beat me to it and said with one of the biggest smiles I’d seen, “Hey dad, can we watch Star Wars again tonight?”

“YES!” I exclaimed. And I probably had one of the biggest smiles he’d ever seen.

Darth Vader Illo circa 1977


Above is a drawing of Darth Vader I did circa 1977-’78. This was featured previously on one of my several Growing Up Star Wars posts on leftylimbo.com, and will hopefully find a new home here.

Pay Phones.

Payphone in L.A.

“Please deposit twenty-five cents,” the recording said.

Argh. Wedging the handset against my shoulder with my cheek, I fumble for change in my right pant pocket. I can identify the coins with the touch of my fingertips. There’s a couple of pennies, the ridged, thin edge of a dime, the fat, smooth edge of a nickel, and then, the welcome feel of a large disc with a serrated edge. A quarter.

I insert the quarter in the slot, and the phone registers it with a couple of electronic chirps. The female voice recording says politely, “Thank you.”

Around me the traffic hums. In the distance, a homeless man yells. Two women laugh as they walk, their heels clip-clopping on the sidewalk. There’s a slight breeze. Every now and then, I plug my other ear with my palm to block the city noise, and speak louder so that my friend can hear me. There’s trash on the sidewalk around the phone booth, and I sort through it aimlessly with the tip of my shoe while I hold my conversation. In the back of my mind I wonder if I’ll find anything cool, like a love letter, a suicide note, or even a wad of cash. Today, I have no such luck.

The phone’s handset is black and heavy, with small chips, scratches and dings on it from who knows how many years of usage. Some people may have dropped it accidentally. Others may have smashed it against the booth in anger or rage.

The handset reeks of the city. The receiver’s mouthpiece is grimy with the breath, spit and bacteria of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. Some of its small, perforated sound holes are clogged with unknown urban scum. Yet I rest my chin upon it, with my lips so dangerously close to the grimy kiss of the streets. As horrendous as it sounds, the populace and their germs is the last thing on my mind.

The metal of its coiled cord is musty with age, moisture and oxidation. All these metal pay phones have this peculiar smell, one of the metal’s reaction to the elements. It’s hard to describe, yet only pay phones have it. Or so that’s what I know.

Our conversation ends after we say what we have to say. I hang up, and just for good measure, push down the lever for the coin return. I’m not supposed to get any change back, but once in a great while, for some unknown, magic reason, some free coins will actually drop down into the return chute. So, with every pay phone call I make, I try it. It’s like, some kind of feel-good gamble.

The year was 1989.

Image from L.A. Times article, Dial N for Nostalgia: Is anyone still using pay phones?




In Limbo.

It was a surreal feeling to mail that letter yesterday to Bluehost.com, especially having it addressed directly to their VP of Customer Service, Ben Lewis. I wonder how many letters he gets in the mail, aside from company correspondence and junk. When was the last time he actually had to tear an envelope open, unfold and read a letter from a customer?

I can imagine him sitting behind his desk and looking on with curiosity as someone delivers the letter to him by hand. I wonder what his reaction would be. I wonder if he’ll want to address the situation right away and maybe even call me up himself, or if he’ll roll his eyes, crack jokes with his co-workers about it, and tell someone else to write me some kind of canned, half-assed apology offering free premium hosting for a year or some other kind of candy to shut me up and make me go away.

Have you seen Bluehost’s About Us page? Have you seen all the smiling faces on their team? I wonder if they’ll still be smiling when they read my letter.

I’ll tell you one thing. If someone from Bluehost ever tells you to submit your complaints to feedback@bluehost.com, it’s a waste of time. It’s been over a week since I sent an email to that address, and I haven’t received anything in reply; not even an automated response. This is why I resorted to writing an actual letter to the head honcho.

In the meantime, I wait. Patiently.




Dear Ben Lewis

Well, it’s been a long time, to say the least. What, almost 6 years?

It’s a long story. Just so I don’t bore you to death with all the gory details, here’s what happened in a nutshell.

  1. I transferred my blog to Bluehost.com, sometime in 2010 I suppose, under the domain leftylimbo.com.
  2. From then on, my blog survived as its own, individual wordpress entity. Which was actually awesome, btw.
  3. Towards the end of 2014, I began to have less and less time to blog, and even less motivation to do so. I began to discover that social media was a much more immediate outlet for announcements, interactivity and conversations.
  4. On October 18, 2015, I received a notice from Bluehost that my hosting account had expired, and that I had 21 days to renew safely without losing data.
  5. On November 7, 2015 (20 days after the notice), I logged in to renew my site. To my surprise, all my data had been completely erased.
  6. After an infuriating, blood-boiling conversation with two utterly useless bluehost.com customer service representatives, I was left shit outta luck. My data was irretrievable, and no compensation nor explanation was given.

So, thanks to them, I lost over 5 years worth of blog content. I’m actually heading over to the post office right now to send a letter that’s addressed directly to their VP of Customer Service, Ben Lewis.

As I write this post, I find it incredibly ironic that this FREE wordpress.com site, which I hadn’t touched for at least 5 years, has survived, completely intact, with pictures, links and everything. In the meantime, the one I spent all my time and money on for the past 5+ years has disappeared with no clue to its whereabouts.

Thanks a lot, Bluehost.

I was hesitant to start all over again after this fiasco. But at least for now, it gives me a chance to vent. Thanks for listening.