Life In The City

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Old UCLA CHS Is Changing

A LOT of construction work going on.  Many of the corridors having yellow caution and red danger tape.  The old main lobby, Cafe Med, and Biomedical Library still look mostly the same so far.  The old Polar Shock orange drink is gone, both from Cafe Med and the gas station at Santa Monica Blvd. and Beverly Glen (the latter has ICEE drinks now, which is close but they don't have orange yet, my favorite flavor!).  Rumor has it the lobby of the CHS will be changed as well.  I am waxing nostalgic and trying to enjoy the last remnants of the old hospital whenever I visit the library.


posted by Mark Wizard at 11:56 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Old UCLA CHS Library Revisited

Back when Mom was in the old CHS for surgery, I used to go to the Library here.  It's been a long time, much of the hallways look different to me now.  Somehow, however, it is still comforting to be here again.


posted by Mark Wizard at 2:01 PM 0 comments

Friday, April 6, 2012

Detroit Part 2: The Decision

When I last posted, I had a major decision to make.  Well, after giving it much thought, I have decided to stay in California.  Why?  Well for three reasons.  One: California is pretty much all I know.  Two: The girl from Detroit didn't really go for me anyway.  And Three:  I met a girl from Los Angeles last week who is really hot, so if I want love I don't have to travel across the country to find it!


posted by Mark Wizard at 3:25 PM 0 comments

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Should I Move To Detroit For Love At First Sight?

Okay, I have to admit the title for this post is a bit unusual.  I mean, I live in sunny Los Angeles (I am actually getting a bit of sunburn from going out in the daytime), so why on earth would I go to Detroit?  I mean yeah, they make great cars there, but if I travel just 30 minutes I can be at beautiful Santa Monica Beach enjoying the waves.  Still, I met someone who made me think twice.
I was doing laundry the other day, and I met this beautiful girl.  She was some sort of PR / marketing wiz, and the firm she was with had recently fallen apart.  Her hometown is Detroit, and she was feeling homesick.  Plus, there was a new business opportunity back home that looked promising.  So her ties to California were dissolving, and she felt the old places calling her back.
I gave the idea a lot of thought.  Should I pick up and leave everything I know, for a town I know nothing about, just so I can have a chance with this incredibly beautiful woman who just appeared in my life.  Next time I post, I will let you know what I decided.


posted by Mark Wizard at 2:20 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Downtown Blues

The other day I had an errand to run downtown. I haven't traveled there much over the years. I mainly stick to Century City, Santa Monica, and occasionally The Valley. I have heard much on TV about the re-vitalization of downtown, but I was hard pressed to see it during my latest visit. I was only there for a short time yesterday, but while I was there I saw people who are poor, homeless, miserable, and without hope.

One man in particular caught my attention. He had what appeared to be an assortment of his personal belongings lined up on the sidewalk, as sort of a garage sale, but without the garage. While I am sure most of the things he had for sale meant a great deal to him in terms of sentimental value, they didn't have a lot of monetary worth. He had a few DVD's available, and at first I thought perhaps he had some recent theatrical releases, the illegal kind Jack Valenti would have sent his stormtroopers after, in his heyday. However, they were just a few run-of-the-mill videostore titles from the late 1990's, the sort of thing you could have found in the one-dollar bins at Blockbuster or the late great Hollywood Video. I felt bad for the man with the sidewalk sale going on, because I knew the odds of anyone buying those particular movies were between slim and none, and slim left town.

There is a lot of talk in the news these days about the economy, and about how it is improving. It may be. I have to say, however, that I see little evidence of it on the streets.


posted by Mark Wizard at 7:24 PM 0 comments

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Night At The Mall

One night, a couple years ago maybe, I had gone over to Gelson's at the Westfield Century City (formerly known simply as Century City Shopping Center, or Century City Mall). After the store closed, I decided to take a look around the mall. I had been going there for 20 years. My first visit was in 1989 when they still had a record store called Nickelodeon. I eventually grew very fond of that store, as well as Brentano's, the AMC 14 Theatres, Toys International, Johnny Rockets, and the old newsstand in the food court on the main level. In fact, the main level was the ONLY level in the old days, other than whatever second levels existed in the department stores and the cinema.

The mall is different now. Most of the old stores are gone, replaced by new stores that are popular with a new generation of shoppers. I know the only constant in life is change, but as I walked around the center after everything but the new AMC 15 was closed for the day, I started feeling homesick. After so many years of having everything a certain way, I had gotten attached to the way it used to be.

As I wandered near the underside of an escalator, I saw a custodian working near a door that I had not noticed before. Come over here, sir, he said to me. I have something I want to show you. He opened the door, a door that didn't seem to have any purpose, as it seemed to lead straight into the innards of the escalator, and beckoned me to step into it. I crossed over the threshold.

As I stepped through the doorway, I found myself over in the old food court, looking the way it did in the 90's or early 2000's. It was daytime now, although the sun was filtered through a heavy layer of cloud cover. It was approximately noon, and a brunch was being served by the management. The group of tables and chairs normally set in the food court had been extended over near the door to Brentano's and the ticket windows for the old AMC 14. All of the people eating were dressed up for a special occasion, and most of them were older. There were flowers arranged on some of the tables, but for some reason I could not smell them.

A waiter offered me a seat and I sat down across from an elderly couple. They smiled and nodded, but didn't offer anything in the way of conversation. The waiter served me my brunch and I started to eat. I could not taste or smell the food. I started to have a feeling something was out of place, but couldn't quite put my finger on it.

The maitre d' came over to me and asked me how my brunch was. I told him, perhaps not in total honesty, that it was fine, but that I had a question of my own. I asked him, is this real? No, he said, this is another place and another time, and I am afraid you can't stay. I am sorry, but you must go back.

Then I woke up.


posted by Mark Wizard at 2:16 PM 0 comments

Saturday, September 10, 2011

California Dreaming

Perhaps the most beautiful part of the Century Plaza hotel is the California level. A grand, classic ballroom, it has withstood the test of time. Great for large parties and conventions, it has retained its good looks over the years.


posted by Mark Wizard at 8:38 AM 2 comments