Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as an Anonymous Motorist stopped her truck in the middle of road, popped her hood open and started performing a few repairs. "Sheesh," said Bob, "What's she doing, changing her spark plugs?!?" In the end, she just performed a few minor repairs and continued chugging her way down 7th Street. I guess it could have been worse ... she could have given herself a Lube Job ...!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "the Sloth," a job candidate who showed up on the doorstep of Capitol Records in Hollywood yesterday with just enough gumption to get out of bed, but not enough to really pound the pavement. I overheard him yesterday trying to convince a security guard to let him in. "I'm here for a job," the Sloth explained, "Can you just send me on upstairs? I want to be a big time record producer." "Well," said the guard, "You don't seem to be on my list here ... do you have an appointment?" "No. Do I need one?," the Sloth replied. "I can't let you upstairs if you're not on the list," said the guard. "But you don't understand," said the Sloth, "I want you guys to hire me!" Thus far, I was in the Sloth's corner, but wait until you hear what happened next. "Have you tried submitting a resume?," asked the guard. "What's a resume?," asked the Sloth. "Well, it's a document that lists your experience," replied the guard. "Why the hell would I need something like that," said the Sloth, "I've got talent and that's all I need." "I'm sorry, sir, but I can't help you," said the guard, "Why don't you just send in a resume?" "Could you create one for me?," asked the Sloth, "I'm really kind of busy today but I trust you to do a good job for me ... just make sure you mention how talented I am." That security guard had the patience of Job. Maybe he can moonlight as a Job counselor ...!
Monday, June 27, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Rushin' Russian, the scourge of American Flight #1563 from Los Angeles to San Francisco. He spent the one-hour flight rushing around like a chipmunk with Attention Deficit Disorder. He twitched; He stretched; He opened and closed the window shade again and again; He continuously crossed and uncrossed his legs; He counted his Rubles over and over; and last but not least, he slurped his tomato juice, then dribbled it all over his fake lizard skin sport coat. If you ever find yourself sitting next to him in a plane, I have just one word for you: Nyet!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
It was Hunting Season at 7th and Montana this morning as a group of children made the scene on a Scavenger Hunt. Evidently, one of the clues required them to get a lid from a Starbucks coffee cup. From Starbucks, they continued on down Montana in search of various other clues. That's what I love about Our Favorite Starbucks. You never know what you'll find. Why just last week, FBI officials found the Notorious Mafia Crime Boss, Whitey Bulger, hiding out several blocks away. Bulger -- wanted for 19 counts of murder, racketeering, extortion, money laundering, conspiracy and drug dealing -- was living in a rent-controlled apartment (pictured below) with a stockpile of ammunition and more than $800,000 hidden in the walls. Who knows, maybe the Scavenger Kids will find Jimmy Hoffa ...!
"To protect and serve coffee" ... that must be the motto of the Vancouver Police, at least where Starbucks is concerned. A squad car filled with police officers made the scene yesterday at the Starbucks near my hotel, and they didn't waste any time ordering-up a round of cappuccinos. There was a 1:1 ratio of police officers to locals. "Wow," I said, "I guess we're all pretty safe in here!" The officers were wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying firearms. "You bet," said a local who was sitting at the next table, "Someone has to keep Starbucks safe." "What a riot!," I replied, a little too loudly. The officers looked in my direction. I guess Vancouver's finest isn't laughing these days when they hear the word 'riot' ...!
Friday, June 24, 2011
Eureka ... My corporate hosts here in Vancouver discovered a perfect way to save time by combining dinner and desert into one convenient delicacy: Sushi Ice Cream Cones! I sampled one -- raw tuna in a mini-maple waffle cone -- which was the perfect complement to a quick through Gastown. And that's exactly what I'm doing this morning -- taking a stroll through the city's historic Gastown district before hitting the road ...!
My sister and brother-in-law, who love Vancouver, gave me a list of things to see here but, unfortunately, I've spent most of my time in meeting rooms. Yesterday, I slipped away long enough to cover one of the items on their list: The Black Frog, Gastown's monument to a good time. A famous, local pub, the Black Frog promotes itself as "Vancouver's friendliest place to grab a bite." I guess they must cater primarily to frogs. From the moment I walked in, I was surrounded by a swarm of flies so thick I could barely make my way to the bar. I'm sure it's a great place, but after a while the fly-to-human ratio had me running for cover. I guess they need a few more frogs to balance it out ...!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
It was a picture perfect day yesterday in Vancouver ... and what a beautiful city this is. Everywhere you go, it seems, you're surrounded by nature. My hotel is on Coal Harbour, a beautiful stretch of water between Vancouver's downtown peninsula and the Brockton Peninsula of Stanley Park. The Coast Mountains, a snow-capped range extending to Alaska, give the city a majestic look, dwarfing the many glass skyscrapers that line the coast. Vancouver is a thriving metropolis. More than 2 million people live here, but it feels like a small town. Everyone is friendly, unless -- of course -- they're losing at hockey. Signs of the recent riots are still everywhere here, but mainly what you find -- in the form of graffiti along some of the major thoroughfares -- is a sense of shame. "Rioters Don't Define Us!," proclaimed one note near the city's famous Gastown District. I guess their anger at losing the Stanley Cup runneth over ...!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The accountant -- known for spreading out his confidential paperwork all over Our Favorite Starbucks -- turned over a new leaf this morning. He's gone digital. I couldn't help noticing that he's using fancy new laptop. And he's not the only one to get an upgrade. I have a new Spycam and -- guess what -- it has a zoom lens. I put it to the test today, zooming-in on the accountant's paperwork and -- what a treat -- I could read account numbers in full high-definition. Later, on my flight to Vancouver, I discovered that my new Spycam has another interesting, new feature: a flash. There I was, trying to quietly photograph the Annoying Brat sitting across the aisle from me, when the flash went off. "Oops!," I said. "What was that?," asked the Annoying Brat. "That light?," I said, pointing out the window, "I think it was a UFO ... !"
Monday, June 20, 2011
I've said it before and I'll say it again: "Our Favorite Starbucks is going to the dogs." Yesterday, it seemed like there were more dogs than people. And that's not all. The dogs are starting to act more and more like the customers. Take the photo above: A pack of pooches descended upon an Anonymous Newcomer -- a poodle mix -- and sniffed her butt in unison. If that's not behavior they learned from the Zombie, I don't know what is. I guess that's what happens when you treat your dog like a person ...!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Gypsy Clothes Lee," an unfortunate fashion victim who made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning dressed like a cross between one of the villagers at Castle von Frankenstein and a Flower Child. She wore a red, translucent shawl, gold sparkly earrings, a bright orange t-shirt and a psychedelic skirt that should have tie-dyed a merciful death in the '60s. I'll tell you what, if she's not the most creative dresser in town, I'll eat my tin foil hat ...!
Saturday, June 18, 2011
NATO forces were nowhere to be found this morning at 7th and Montana as a dead ringer for embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi made the scene, no doubt intent on establishing a new base of operations. "Good God," I said, "Is that who I think it is?!?" The dictator was traveling incognito. He wore a black leather jacket and matching cap with dark sunglasses which -- combined with his frizzy black hair, pencil thin mustache and pockmarked face -- left no doubt as to his identity. I reached for my Spycam but was seconds too late. Gaddafi marched up 7th Street as though he were leading a military procession. "Did you get him?," asked David. "Not yet," I replied, "But stay tuned." I chased the fiend up 7th Street and caught up with him just as he was entering his getaway vehicle, a slightly used white Nissan Sentra. The purpose of his mission at Our Favorite Starbucks remains unclear, but rumor has it he's smuggling Apple Fritters to his forces in Tripoli. Now that's what I call heavy artillery ...!
Friday, June 17, 2011
The Prophet -- a local loon known for being a know-it-all -- finally proved that he doesn't know everything at 7th and Montana this morning ... and believe it or not, I was involved in his "undoing." "Hey you," he said to me, none too politely, "How does our weather around here compare with London?" He thought I was British. "Hmmm," I said, "Maybe you should ask them." I was standing near David and Kerry who recently moved to town from London. "Oh," said the Prophet, "I thought you were British. What do you do?" I had no intention of telling him about my real job, so I said, "Oh, I'm very involved with the Internet. You know ... blogs and that sort of thing." To emphasize my point, I waived my Spycam in his direction and quietly snapped a picture. "The Internet," he said, "Let me tell you all about the Internet." And he did. By the time he was done, I knew he deserved some special recognition. On the Internet, of course ...!
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Baskin-Roberta," an attractive young woman who made the scene at 7th and Montana yesterday wearing a dress that resembled the classic Baskin-Robbins logo. It was brown with bright pink polka dots. "Quick," said Robb, "Look at that woman. She looks like she's wearing the old Baskin-Robbins colors!" I reached for my Spycam. What can I say ... it was a slow news day. "Did you get the shot?," asked Robb. "I did better than that," I said, proudly, "I got a shot of her pointing her butt at the camera." "One of these days," Robb laughed, "Someone is going to catch you taking a photo and scream 'Hey, everyone, look at the pervert!" Perhaps he's right. And when that happens, I'll be in 31 flavors of deep shit ...!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I'm the first one to admit that they don't exactly have the best pastry selection at 7th and Montana, but something I saw yesterday at the Starbucks on the Universal Studios lot really takes the cake. More than half of their pastry case is taken up by Peppridge Farms cookies. They don't even bother to take them out of the bag. Now that's what I call pure hydrogenated goodness ...!
Neighbor Robin's cup runneth over at 7th and Montana on Monday and I couldn't help noticing that she's not the only one. The baristas have been getting more and more generous with the regular customer's lately, especially when it comes to frothed milk. Some love it, others foam at the mouth. I think it's a bit much but what do I know ... I never order a cappuccino.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as a Mysterious Individual -- a male in his mid-thirties -- made the scene wearing florescent green legwarmers, rolled-up jeans and a pillowcase tied around his waist. "I think it's a kilt," said one onlooker. "No," I replied, "It's just off-kilter." I would have called the Fashion Police but something tells me this guy has Diplomatic Immunity ...
Neighbor Robin proved once again yesterday that she's the Queen of Multitasking at 7th and Montana as she simultaneously texted and talked on the phone. "Wow, I'm impressed, she's doing at least two things at once," I said. "Make that three," said Robb, helpfully, "She's also sweating like a pig ... we just finished working out." "That's incredible," I said, whipping out my spycam, "It must be a new world's record!" Just then, Robin took note of her surroundings. "Did you just take my picture?," she asked. I changed the subject. "We're just marveling at how well you multi-task," I said, "It's amazing that you can do three things at once." Something tells me she'll soon be adding a fourth activity to the list: Throwing my Spycam off the Santa Monica Pier ...!
Saturday, June 11, 2011
I shared my flight home from Silicon Valley yesterday with a group of Japanese Tourists. Not that I have any problem with tourists, Japanese or otherwise, but I couldn't help noticing how many of them were snapping photos with their cell phones. Take the man sitting next to me on the minibus at the American Airlines terminal in Los Angeles. The minute the bus started moving, he whipped out his cell phone and started shooting a video of everything around him. "You know," I said, as he gathered footage of the crowd, "Some folks don't like having their photo taken ... I hope you're getting release forms signed from everyone!" He laughed. I waited until he pointed his camera out the window, then quickly gave him a taste of his own medicine ...!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
All was quiet at the Starbucks on Technology Drive in San Jose yesterday. Too quiet. I sat there for fifteen minutes watching for signs of local lunacy. You know what I mean: An opera singer locked in the bathroom; A jittery nutcase throwing hot chocolate at passersby; a notorious newspaper thief. Hell, I would have settled for a cross-dressing zombie. But no dice. I finally had to settle for listening-in on a conversation between a local police officer (pictured above) and the woman he was trying to impress. "It's all a matter of training and patience," he said, explaining how he single-handedly prevented a teenager from spraypainting graffiti on a wall. I kept him under surveillance for about 10 minutes, snapping picture after picture. I guess his training didn't include watching for Spycams ...!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Terry," a fugitive from the Fashion Police who made the scene at Starbucks this morning wearing a white terrycloth bathrobe. Granted, this isn't that unusual considering the number of folks who show up wearing pajamas, but this wasn't 7th and Montana. It was the Starbucks at the hotel where I'm staying in San Jose. I tried to get her attention but she was busy reading something on her cell phone. Maybe it was a note from Anthony Weiner ...
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
They say that the early bird gets the worm, but today at 7th and Montana I learned that there's such a thing as being too early. I arrived before any of the Local Loons. On a normal day, I swoop in, grab my coffee, quietly photograph an oddity or two and leave. But today nothing unusual happened. "Shoot," I said to Robin and Robb as we walked back up 7th Street, "Nothing blogworthy happened today ... it looks like I'll have to dig into the photo archives." And just then, as if on cue, "Daisy," the local loon who rides around town with a menagerie of stuffed animals and just about every plastic flower known to man glued to her bicycle, rode by humming a tune. "Phew," I said, "Saved by the bell." "Quick, Marty, get your camera out, again," said Robb, "There's another live one coming!" It was the "Unabomber," known for his peculiar taste in military vests and duct tape. "Hallelujah!," I cried, "I guess that's what they mean when they say 'Ask and ye shall receive ...!"
Monday, June 6, 2011
Wires were crossed this morning at 7th and Montana as one of the new Baristas made me what sounded like an unusual offer: "Would you like a sample of our three region blood?," he asked. "What?!?," I replied, "Nosferatu to you, too!" Truth be told, he was mumbling. It eventually dawned on me that he was offering me a sample of three region brew, a "deep, lush, lively" new coffee blend combining the tastes of Latin America, Asia and Africa/Arabia. Once I learned what he was really talking about, I was a lot more positive. O Positive, that is ...!
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Tension filled the air at 7th and Montana this morning as the 21st Century's answer to a Valley Girl made the scene, complete with a nasal, gag-me-with-a-spoon accent and a one-word vocabulary. She used the word "like" so often that some of us started a running count. "Like ... um ... I sort of called him to see if he ... um, like ... sort of likes me and I ... um ... ya know ... like sort of liked his answer ..." she droned. "Great," said her friend. "No, grating," I thought. The conversation went on for like an eternity. When she finally left, I couldn't resist saying loudly, "She's not very likeable, is she ...?"
It was a case of "Beam me up, Scottie" yesterday for an adorable Scottish Terrier who found no sign of intelligent life at 7th and Montana. The "fun" began when an Anonymous Skateboarder nearly ran the poor dog over in front of Our Favorite Starbucks, then just shrugged it off and continued zipping down the street as if nothing had happened. The dog, who was tethered to a table, took it personally. In what can only be described as a Doggie burst of Adrenalin, he raced after the skateboarder, barking to beat the band and dragging an entire Starbucks table with him. A Pot-head who was sitting in front of the Greens-up salad restaurant tried to come to the rescue, but I think he made the pooch even more nervous. Doggone it, can't we all get along ...?
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Penelope Peacock," the most colorful character to make the scene at 7th and Montana in months ... and that's saying a lot. Her hair was at least five different colors, none of which occur in nature. There was bright pink, aquamarine, yellow, electric blue ... and I think I even spotted a variation of puce. It was as if she had her hair done somewhere over the rainbow. Either that or Jackson Pollock threw up on her head ...!
Friday, June 3, 2011
Creativity ran amok this morning at 7th and Montana as Ace Photographer Kovar asked the Baristas to whip up a concoction all his own, something I call the Teaparty Espresso. It includes: One mint teabag, a half-cup of drip coffee, globs of foam and two espresso shots. "How is it?," I asked. "Well," he stammered, "It's ... it's ..." "Putrid?," I offered. "I was going to say interesting," he replied. Whatever it was, it inspired him to new creative heights. He spent the next ten minutes taking photographs of the sidewalk ...!
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Not all things go bump in the night. Some do it in broad daylight. And if you don't believe me, just ask the Friendly Regular who inadvertently hit Neighbor Kerry's brand new car this morning in the Parking Lot from Hell. It was just a minor fender bender, and Kerry wasn't in the car when it happened. She was sitting with me in front of Our Favorite Starbucks. Some people would have fled the scene, but the Friendly Regular was nice enough to find Kerry, give her his business card and promise to pay all damages. Good for him, I say. If you want to know his identity, my lips are sealed. But here's a hint: It's the same guy who on September 27 said he couldn't understand why a "bevvy of beauties" helps me with the crossword puzzle on Sundays but seems to leave him alone. In retrospect, maybe they're afraid he'll bend their fenders ...?
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
It was a touch of refinement mixed with sadness this morning at 7th and Montana as an Anonymous Bicyclist made the scene talking to himself. "No one has any sophistication these days," he muttered, "Present company accepted, of course." And with that, he pulled up alongside the garbage can in front of Our Favorite Starbucks, pulled what looked like a slightly dented tea tray out of his backpack and began loading it up with scraps. Very sad ....