Category Archives: Miscellaneous

First Blog From The Smart Phone Means…

That I have no excuse to let fifteen days pass between posts. Crap.


Adios, Star Pine

the star pine

Star Pine in memoriam.

The Araucaria hterophylla that loomed large over my life, the one that shadowed my childhood, met its end today. Melodramatic? Maybe, but the only real home I’ve ever known took a hit and I’m going to ruminate on it.

On the southeastern corner of my parents house, the Norfolk Island Pine pictured above dominated the edge of our unfenced front yard. When my parents bought the house in the early 1980s, the tree didn’t even reach our house’s lowest roof slat. At the end, it could have easily towered about seventy or eighty feet in the air at its tip top.

Cliche alert: the gigantic fixtures of our lives that we take for granted are immemorial and invisible until they’re removed; sometimes, they have to go because they’ve reached their obsolescence naturally. Other times, it’s because their stubborn roots are screwing up your house’s foundation and the neighbors callously dismiss them as an unnecessary eyesore. “Screw you, neighbor” you mutter under your breath, “you don’t talk about my tree like that, asshole. I don’t care if your dog is really cute and friendly.” You stay quiet, though, until cooler heads prevail and the removal preparations are made.

My dad, with his fatherly resignation and dour humor, said several times that he feels like his main duty as of late has been consigned to declarations of “Kill that thing.” Is this an overreaction? Couldn’t we just plant a new tree, or at least enjoy the extra space afforded for the front yard? No, not really. Count the rings of the poor pine’s trunk and they’d be equivalent to the time it took for my parents to raise a family and retire–time that it took for my brother and I to become young men. Now that time is over. We still got pictures.

And, in lieu of some new star pine seedlings, I’ll plant these couple memories here in case I forget about the old star pine: the miserly San Diego rain, when it actually did deign to fall on our plot, made the sodden ferns of the pine bob and sag as they dripped moisture.  With the proper gold-grey lighting from the street lamps, the tree hulked and swayed in the rain like a shadowed giant, breathing slowly in the dark. Then, in the driest summer months, I remember picking up the brittle, brown ferns that it shed and running my thumb across it’s needles as if they were tines on a comb. The tree trunk was dry and hot to the touch. From the end of the street, the pine remained utterly still, an immovable sentinel. It distinguished our house from the rest of the pre-fab homes on our street. It changed and stayed the same every year, defining a big part of my family home. In my mind, it probably always will.

Vaya con dios, big guy.

Blogs Of My Brother

Roomba Cat

A visual representation of the lofty standard of achievement that we can all aspire to in the New Year.

My brother very recently graduated from USC film school and has started a blog called In Which I Do Things I Don’t Like. As is so often the case in our creative lives, his effort is already more aesthetically pleasing and effortlessly more humorous than the three dour posts I’ve thrown up on this blog so far. I really need to change this blog’s name. Not even Malone and/or Stockton would name their blog something so asinine.

In the spirit of change, I also hope to change my blogging habits as well, gathering inspiration from my bro’s internet resolve. I put in a feeble writing effort just before the end of last year by participating in my first NaNoWriMo; still, the process did afford a few momentary brain spasms that lead to some pretty joyous writing. More of those moments need to come to fruition, so I am going to write each day, too. In this new expectation, I am resolute. All of this will be lost in the Google cache ether eventually, anyway, so I think I can get over the fear that besets all “two posts in six months” bloggers, namely that most of my posts will be soul-crushingly inane and only succeed in proving the meaninglessness of my opinions and thoughts. If I’ve learned one thing in my two years of working in blogging and internet video, it’s that all of one’s efforts should be conceived with great ambition and viewed with even greater humility. Chances are pretty good that, no matter how brilliant your musings may be, they will never attract as much praise as some cat riding a goddamn Roomba.

I may write about my efforts and/opinions in SEO (fans of the blog may remember that’s my job now), college basketball and other sports ephemera, and the dark, frighteningly absurd or absurdly frightening attic corners of the internet. Or, you know, whatever’s hot on Google Trends.

I’ll leave the Things That I Don’t Like Doing to Spence. Happy New Year.