Monday, February 28, 2011

Rubbing One Out; The Last Howl in the Alley

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Why small dogs?

I understand the security-minded reasoning behind a big dog -- a fucking mean, menacing muthafucking attack dog that will bite your arm off -- like a pitbull or Rottweiler.

But, I never understood the attraction to small yapping dogs. Why? Unless you're a spoiled heiress, who is cool with adorable, furry, little creatures that urinate and defecate inside a $5,000 designer bag.

The smaller the dog it seems, the more annoying the bark. For one, the emitted sounds are utterly atrocious.

Yap. Yip. Yap Yapyapyapayapayap! Yap. Yip. Yappppppppppppppp!

I'm speaking the truth here -- every small dog I encounter during my daily existence in the slums of Beverly Hills -- won't stop barking. Fucking barking.

Yip. Yap. Yapyapyi! Yapayipayap! Yap. Yip. Yapppp!

If we're friends and you own a small dog, then please send me a 3,500 word email explaining why a fellow pet owner willingly upsets the harmonic flow by letting their dogs bark... nonstop.

For the love of God, please explain...someone...anyone... why small dogs?


Most people are civil and take the high road when it comes to dealing with incorrigible pet owners. I try keep the relationship simple: 1) clean up any dog shit, and 2) keep the barking to a minimum. Luckily, our neighbors do a great job with the feces removal department and keep our sidewalks clean. Alas, the canine sounds from across the alley tilt me to no end.

I only ask my neighbors to abide by two simple fucking rules. But one twat thinks she's above the "good neighbor policy" and ignored rule #2... keep the barking to a minimum.

If this were the East Coast, I would have already confronted my neighbor and they'd would've apologized and actually stopped because East Coasters are more civil to one another. But here in California, the sunshine-baked denizens of Los Angeles are selfish, self-involved, self-absorbed shitstains. They only care about how they look, and not about doing the right thing.

In Puppycide, I chronicled a festering problem with dog owners across the alley who constantly left two huge-ass dogs in the backyard when they went to work. For 8-10 hours a day, the dogs were chained up outside and went apeshit crazy when they spotted squirrels, heard other dogs bark, and attempted the scare the shit out of anyone who wandered into the alley. The actress who lived above them couldn't sit out on her porch and read scripts because the dogs would angrily bark at her until she left. The dog owners refused to keep their pets inside because the big dogs would've destroy their quaint apartment while shitting and pissing on their material possessions. Their "stuff" was more important than whether or not the dogs bothered us as we (the neighbors who shared the alley) bore the brunt of the noise pollution. I chatted with other neighbors (and a few maintenance guys who encountered the wrath of the dogs) and we were all in accordance that it had to stop, even if it meant gong through red tape and dealing with city agencies like Animal Control. The actress filed the paperwork.

I couldn't wait, so opted for technology. You should read Silence of the Dogs, the back story about the purchase of a gizmo that prevented dogs from barking, which I tested within minutes of its arrival -- I approached the dumpster, the dogs barked and jumped against the fence like the raptors in Jurassic Park, but I pressed the button on the gizmo, and...


Viola! It worked. I zapped the dogs and they shut up.

When my neighbors refused to fix the problem, I took matters into my own hands and altered how the big dogs barked. The results were remarkable and reduced to acceptable volume level. Whenever I took out the trash, I hid the gizmo in my pocket so when the dogs charged the fence... I instantly zapped them and they whimpered off. Sometimes, the dogs barked when I was writing in my office, so I had to zap them through the window, which only had a 50% success rate. The gizmo was most effective when I stood within 10 yards (luckily separated by a fence). The couple who owned the big dogs moved out sometime over Christmas/New Years, because when I returned from NYC, the two growling beasts didn't confront me every time I threw out an empty can of seltzer. I don't know if they left on their own accord, or if they got in trouble because the actress complained so much that the landlord or Animal Control finally pressured them.

Exit the big dogs. Enter the small dogs.

Equally annoying. Once the big dogs left, I noticed the new pesky disturbance -- the two small dogs in a different apartment building across the alley. I guess the two big dogs were so vociferously mean that they drowned out the whinny yelps from the small dogs. Or maybe that the big dogs are gone, the little dogs think that they own the alley?

Man, I never thought that I'd miss the big dogs, because at least their barks had a little punch. The small dogs? Sort of like being forced to listen to the new Justin Beiber record while seventy-five different sets of nails screeched on a chalkboard.

The owner leaves the two hell dogs outside in a fenced-in terrace with astroturf -- which is unfortunately out of range for the zapper. Whenever bums and homeless people wandered into the alley and dug through the dumpster, the dogs went berserk. They won't stop even after the bums left. They never stop. They were the worst possible nightmare for any neighbor -- an alarm that will never turned off. Nonstop.

Yip. Yap. Yap. Yip. Yipyapyapyipyap. Yip. Yip. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yip. Yap. Yap. Yip. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap. Yip. Yap. Yip. Yap. Yip. Yap. Yip. Yap. Yipyapyapyip!

I usually kept my ire in check, until I crossed paths with the dogs. My toilet exploded on Sunday and I destroyed three perfectly good towels in the process of cleaning up the flooded bathroom. I was was livid and fucking pissed, because instead of watching the Knicks game, I was dealing with a flood. When I dragged the soaked, toilet water-logged towels out to the dumpster (nowhere near my neighbor's building's dumpster), the dog alarm went off.

Yap. Yap. Yip! Yap! Yap. Yip. Yap. Yip. Yap. Yipyapyapyip!

"Shut the fuck up!" I screamed to no avail.

I didn't realize how loud -- top of my lungs loud -- I bellowed. Aside from Melissa Leo, I'm confident that I dropped the second loudest f-bomb in Hollyweird on Sunday. I frightened the neighbors on all sides. Nicky freaked out. I scared everyone, except the one person I wanted to spook -- the actual owner -- who was nowhere to be found.

Typical. Always absent, while the dogs cause trouble. Canine sound pollution. Do we need anymore pollution over the skies of Los Angeles? With carbon emissions from cars and planes taking off at all hours from LAX, not to mention all of the chem trails. I gotta breathe toxic air, but do I really have to deal with toxic noise pollutions from tiny shaggy canines that I'd like to punt over the Hollywood hills.

I took out my frustrations by penning a note...
Dear neighbor with the incessant barking dogs,

I'm kindly requesting that you reduce the excessive amount of noise pollution that your dogs generate. At the present status, your disruptive dogs disturb the tranquility of the neighborhood.

Your dogs (that you leave out unsupervised on your terrace) will be under heavy surveillance over the next week beginning immediately. If conditions do not improve and the noise pollution continues, then I will alert the proper authorities about your inability to comply with city noise ordinances.

Just to be clear so we're on the same page here -- your dogs are loud, so minimize the barking, otherwise the Los Angeles County of Animal Care and Control will intervene.

Your cooperation in this matter is appreciated.

Your Inconvenienced Neighbor
Last week, I spotted my neighbor doing laundry. I tried to complain about her barking dogs, alas, the twat ignored me. I was invisible to her and her fucking mutt almost bit me. I wrote about our unfriendly encounter in Matisse's Chroizo.

Alas, the note to the twat will have to suffice. Even if it's a literary gem -- it's passive-aggressive cop out. I'm being fair to my neighbor because she has a week to get the dog's shit together, otherwise I'm gonna drop a dime on the pesky, irksome, over-sized rats. The City of Angles is broke and the state is even broker. A struggling municipal agency like Animal Control is looking for excuses to generate revenue. They will jump at the chance to slap an "excessive barking" fine on my neighbor. I hope the twat rips up my letter, because I'll enjoy the payback when those slimy, money-grubbing fucking bureaucrats have a go at them.

I thought for a moment that I'd be a dick if I ratted them out -- but that thought subsided. You're not supposed to rat out your friends (and good neighbors), but they ain't my friends, which means that egocentric fucktard neighbors are fair game. A more callous adversary would have already complained to Animal Control, but I fired a warning show and gave them a legit chance to improve their behavior. They should be thanking me.

I should record (video and audio -- the audio could be a good podcast) the dogs yapping it up all day long, then find out where the owners worked and I'll stand in their cubicle and blast the recording. Full volume. Barking dogs. All day long. See how they like their precious little mutts now.

Yip. Yap! Yapyapyapayapyip! Yap. Yip. Yapppp!

I know -- it's absurd and inappropriate to disrupt someone at work like that, but that's essentially what they are doing to me -- because I work at home.

And how about sleep? The dogs from hell yelp and whine in the earliest of hours on weekend mornings -- particularly when I'm hungover to all hell -- so is that acceptable behavior, to fuck with a hungover neighbor? What happened to civility?

If you think I'm overreacting, then how about the next time you are hungover, I'll blast a mashup of the barking dogs with Justin Beiber's greatest hits, meanwhile mixing up a pitcher of Margaritas on your nightstand. Not much fun is it? Unless you're an alcoholic homosexual dog loving Canadian, which in that case, I'll make you listen to anti-gay sermons from the Reverend Jerry Falwell.

My biggest dream? Not to sell a screenplay, but to wake up and write in my office with the windows open (for an entire day) without hearing a single yelp from a fucking purse dog.

I've never hired anyone to whack a dog before, but it's disturbing that I know someone who knows someone who can take care of my problem for me for just a few hundred bucks. Maybe $1,500 at the most?

What's the going rate to silence a dog these days?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Matisse's Chorizo

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Washed-in morning. Cotton-candy mouth.

Awoken from a dream. My alarm clock? The conversational chatter from the neighbor across the alley. I stepped outside and looked up. A cigarette snugly fit in between her fingers from her hand that lazily hung out the second-story window. She gripped a land-line cordless phone with the other hand and rapidly spoke in Farsi.

I stopped because of the music. Sounds. Musical sounds of unknown origins. Which one of my neighbors on the other side of the alley were watching a Bollywood musical or blasting gypsy music peppered with Egyptian scales. And was someone actually practicing a xylophone too?

The unfriendly woman in a purple sweater allowed her leashed shar pei to nip at the bottom on my jeans when I walked down the alley. The hashed-out censor in my head muted my scornful thought: "Hey, fuck you lady! Your yapping wrinkled mutt bit my ankle! You're lucky that I don't drop a dime on your ass and report you to L.A. Animal Control as an animal hoarder!"

The heartless twat drizzled a thick, bluish goo into a gurgling laundry machine instead of reeling in her ornery canine. I didn't exist to her. Me? A mere scruffy ghost to my neighbors, maybe even a scruffy goat? No, definitely a ghost. I'm invisible.

Who knows if anyone of my neighbors were callous snitches who answered one of those "If you see something, say something" HSA-funded advertisements that the Military-Entertainment-Fear complex pawned off as each American's Patriotic duty. The entire campaign in the War of Terror became a successful re-branding of Soviet Union-era intimidation tactics against the populous. The intelligence apparatus easily converted your paranoid neighbors into "snooping toms" in order to keep America terrorist-free. They were an additional layer of surveillance in our post-modern digital age and kept tabs on your comings and goings. Domestic espionage.

While continuing to reside in a major metropolitan area, I will NEVER evade the Watchers -- security/traffic/copter/satellite cameras -- for more than a couple of minutes at a time, but even when I'm off the grid temporarily, I'm still being watched by my fellow humanoid homegrown spy network (armed with iPhones, Crackberries Droids, and other tools of the citizen paparazzi), who filled in gaps for the Great Eye in the Sky.

They knew your every move before you made it.

My every move.

Every move.

My. Every. Move.




My. Every. Mood.

The Eye saw me kick the dog before I sauntered down the street and paused in front of a palm tree. I hoisted my own CrackBerry toward the sky and snapped evidence of the white smudges. Zig-zag. Zag-zig. Across the sky. More chemtrails. More jets. More unknown contents. Aluminum? Unknown? Harmless or helpful? If the smudges over the horizon were helpful, then some slippery politician would have seized the opportunity to steal credit for "saving the world" by curing the ills of out environment, and signing autographs for his best-selling book en route to accepting a Nobel prize (and hypocritically flying first class on Royal Scandi Airlines).

I forgot what day it was. It is.


Fuck. The cluster of hungry hipsters in front of the coffeeshop narrowed down the choices to Saturday or Sunday.


On Satursundays, the undersized pixies in scarves and oversized sunglasses and their douchenozzles boyfriends, clad in plaid-checkered shirts and tight black jeans, all impatiently waited for an empty booth at my small, yet beloved coffeeshop. They hovered and drooled over the outdoor tables filled elderly ladies in hats and pearl necklaces. They wolfed down omelets. Wolfed. Even though the post-Church crowd were spiritually nourished after services, they were still famished in the food department.

At that bewitching hour, the coffeeshop's clientele were divided between: 1) religious Baby Boomers observing the Sabbath, and 2) disenfranchised, spiritually-rudderless Gen X-Y-Z philistines.

Regardless of who worshiped who/what, everyone in search of food had to wait for their place in line. But... not me.

Life is so much smoother if you're well-liked by the right people in this fucking town. Or I should clarify -- well-liked by the powerful watch guards of Hollyweird holding the clipboard.

The omnipotent list.

Coincidentally the cosmos aligned perfectly that my faded ass stumbled into the one joint in all of Los Angeles where I actually had some pull. That juice finally came in handy on a slammed Sunday. No wait. I got bumped to the top of the list, a welcomed a perk of a valued regular (good tipper) at a family-owned and operated business -- a true rarity these days. Miserly corporate conglomerates boast about their so-called rewards clubs, but those mega-monsters can't match the residual benefits of a small business who look out for their best customers.

No list. I didn't even put my name on a list. I bypassed all of the hipsters by simply making eye contact with the owner's son (a.k.a. the guy with the list). He nodded and I nodded back. I discreetly passed the drooling hipsters and walked into the back. I slid into an empty stool at the end of the counter. Right above my head, a Eastwood's spaghetti western played on the TV.

The mayhem behind the grill was organized chaos -- nonstop chatter mixed with food lingo and broken Spanish. Much needed communication at the busiest moment of the week. And in a city with "special" denizens, that also meant lots of "special" orders.

The Beatles faintly played on the radio. Penny Lane sounded like a hapless opening act that none one in the crowd paid any attention and talked over, because they anxiously awaited the headlining act -- the symphony of sizzling bacon and sausages.

I never saw anyone work faster than the two cooks. Two cooks, only two. They did the work of eight men. They were octopuses. Octopi. It seemed like 16-arms cranked out a variety of breakfast dishes every twenty seconds. All sorts of eggs concoctions. Fried. Sunny side. Over hard. Poached. Scrambled. One of the prep cooks in the back emerged with a pair of tightly-rolled breakfast burritos. Piles and piles of yellowish greasy potatoes were quickly converted into darkened strands of hasbrowns. French toast. Banana pancakes. Canadian Bacon. Real bacon, but sadly a health-nut ordered that lame excuse of a substitute. Turkey bacon. The methadone of bacon. Turkey bacon.

The lottery winner of the day was the fortunate soul who ordered a swirling maroon and gold plate of Chorizo and scrambled eggs, which reminded me of a Matisse painting.

Maroon + Gold = Matisse's Chorizo and eggs.

A young woman with a Rhode Island accent sat on the stool to my right. She wore her pajamas pants, flip flops, and a UCLA hoodie and updated her Facebook status on her iphone while simultaneously tearing apart creamers and dumping them into her coffee. The silver-haired gentlemen three stools down ruffled the pages of a gaunt copy of the L.A. Times. He took a more classy and dignified approach while dressing up for breakfast: a paisley bow-tie and seersucker suit. He looked more like a clarinet player in a Dixieland jazz band who had been up all night playing sets in the basement of a whorehouse, than one of the Bible Beaters grabbing an omelet after communion. The clarinet player sipped a cup of black coffee infused with four spoonfuls of sugar; the only thing keeping him awake and face-planting onto the counter. For me, a strong big-assed iced tea was the only thing that kept me awake. Although a bump of nose candy would have been fine and dandy. In an L.A. diner full of Jesus Freaks and hipsters, the percentages were good that someone was holding cocaine.

A sticky cup of maple syrup became my first nemesis of the day and it made a few pages of a book stick together. Dirty plates scraped against each other as the busboys rushed back and forth clearing off tables to seat the ever-growing line outside. The clattering of silverware and plates (made in China) sounded like a gentle rain. Bright beams of sunlight cracked through the chemtrail-laced fog and blasted its way through the front window. Even though I sat all the way in the back, the sun was so intense that it blinded out Eastwood on the TV. I considered wearing sunglasses to shield myself from the irritating beams.

The waitress whizzed by in front of me with a maroon and gold swirl dancing on a plate followed by its own chemtrail of deliciousness.

Matisse's Chorizo.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Nine in a Box

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Two-story box. That's what we live in. Our box is very similar to the one that you'd see in the trailer for the The Slums of Beverly Hills movie, except that our box isn't pink (e.g. check the :09 mark in the trailer).

Our box is broken down into seven apartments. Nine of us live here -- five solo tenants and two couples. Here are their stories...

The ginger appeared about once a week. He's the 20-something guy in our apartment building who got shut out of a parking space. Seven units -- six spaces. I suspected that our slumlord had a bias against gingers. Occam's Razor simply suggested that the ginger got shut out because he was the last person to rent an apartment. Now, he's stuck on a waiting list until the next tenant moves out. For now, the ginger circles the adjacent blocks in a desperate search of a spot because parking is ridiculously sparse in our hood.

The artist, in her late 50s, uses her studio space a few days a week. Nicky is convinced that she lives in the building because she's actually been in her apartment (more like a huge one-room studio) and noticed a bed in the corner. I told her that most artists that have studios also have a crash space to sleep or to hook up with art groupies. The artists' car is noticeably gone more than 50% of the time during the day an almost 90% of the time at night.

The 40-something-year old French lady chain smoked. I didn't know she was French at first until I heard her speaking on the phone. When she first moved in, I assumed that she was an American, but since my discovery, I noticed a ever-so-slight accent. Maybe she was born her to French immigrants? Or maybe she was born overseas and migrated to LA? Who knows. I'm pretty sure she's a gourmet chef because I noticed a tons of cook books on shelves in her kitchen. Her evenings were spent sitting on her couch, smoking, and watching the alphabet news stations in the dark. At night, I often passed by her apartment only illuminated by the flickering glow of the TV.

The single girl with dark black hair has never said hello to me. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed she was shy, but maybe she's just an embarrassed USC grad who's stuck in a dead-end gig as a waitress? Every morning around 10am, she slammed the door to her her apartment and stormed down the stairs. She's always wearing the same clothes -- black pants and a white dress shirt. That's why I knew she was a waitress. I wonder which restaurant she worked at? Maybe she'll talk to me if a tip was involved?

My only problem with the hipster couple above us is their kitten. Sometimes that fucker is jacked up. Are they putting meth in his water dish? On the other side, I bectha my neighbor vents her frustration about her wacky neighbors by writing diatribes on her LiveJournal blog, or making fun of me on Facebook: "My neighbor downstairs smokes weed all the time and constantly yells at his TV expressions like: 'HIT YOUR FUCKING FREE THROWS!'" On a good note, I found inspiration when my neighbor played her violin in her practice room, located right above my office. As much as I rag on Los Angeles, thousands of creative types are sprinkled throughout the city hell-bent on chasing their dream. I dunno what sort of market Hollywood has for violin players, which is probably why she recently took up the ukulele. Nicky told me that the other day she was practicing a performance of Cee Lo Green's Fuck You.

And then there's the angry-pissed off-unfriendly yuppie across the hall who drives a BMW. His friends that visit him also drive BMWs. I think it's a cult, or a club, or just required membership to being an LA Douchebag. Angry BMW guy constantly walked around with a permanent scowl. I attempted to say hello and introduce myself on numerous occasions, but he always avoided eye contact. Well, you know what? Fuck him that guy! The BMW guy probably leased the BMW and spent most of his income on payments and insurance. He has next to no furniture in his apartment -- just a plasma TV, a couch, and a dining room table. Nothing else. He's a suit of some sort. Haven't figured out what. I noticed one thing -- he liked baseball. In the summer's at night, there was always a baseball game on. Made me wonder if he was one of those geeky fantasy baseball league guys?