Archive for February, 2008

A Malibu Moment

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

I was standing in line at the Malibu Ralph’s supermarket on Superbowl Sunday, grabbing last-minute stuff for our party. Half the town was there doing the same thing, so I had a lot of time to stare at the tabloid rack. The usual suspects stared back at me: Britney, Lindsay, Mel. It’s sad how fame highlights our all-too-common personal problems. None of these troubled souls would garner so much as a mention in the local police blotter if not for their fame, and yet here they are, paraded daily in our faces so we can… what? Pity them? Not likely. So I guess we’re supposed to take delight in their misfortunes, right? (There’s a creepy pop-psychology term for that: Schadenfreude. Try dropping it at parties. It’s fun.)

So the checkout line finally gets me to the register and I’m still gazing at the covers of the Enquirer, Weekly World News and People as I absent-mindedly load my stuff onto the conveyor. Suddenly Gary Busey’s head pokes in from behind the rack: “Excuse me, where can I find the bottled salsa?” The checker and I both startle. “Uh, aisle three”, she says after a moment. “Thanks,” says Gary Busey and he’s gone. The checker and I exchange a glance. Then the giggling starts.

Fire and Rain

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

It’s been raining on and off today and yesterday, and I for one am rejoicing. It gives me great satisfaction watching the puddles grow and the gutters flow. An English buddy of mine thinks I’m crazy, but then he hasn’t lived through a decade of drought either. Malibu, if you haven’t heard, is the home of the year-round fire season. The canyons that make up 3/4 of the city’s real estate are essentially tinder boxes and every year we live in fear of the hated Santa Ana winds, the hot, dry and merciless hell’s breath that rakes us over several weeks a year, usually in late October. This past year was an exception. We got hit twice, once in October where we lost 21 homes, and then again in November when another 58 dwellings were reduced to heaps of ash. It’s an ever present spectre, fire. I know several people who’ve lost their homes in the recent conflagration, and several more who suffered from the Great Blaze of ’94. Yet they all want to or have rebuilt, usually on the exact same plot of land. I’m fortunate to be on the ocean side of Pacific Coast Highway, on Point Dume. We’re reasonably far from the major burn areas, yet we were still told to evacuate during the last episode. Your confidence is greatly shaken when you find your roof, lawn and cars covered in a layer of ash, and the sky is dark gray with smoke.

So you can say that rain for Malibu is a major blessing. I can sit at a window and just watch it for hours. Really. It’s that surreal to me. And I love when our hills turn verdant and green, if only for a month or two. Looks like the coast of Ireland, with lots of mansions thrown in for effect.

Full Lunar Eclipse

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

The day started with rain and, for Southern California, a bitter cold of 48 degrees. I had to wear a sweater — imagine. After a hectic day at my desk, I was glad to be driving home. The stars were out and I had some good tunes on the CD player. But all the way I had a vague sense that I was missing something, so with about 5 miles to go my cell phone rang. It was Tristan calling to remind me that tonight was a full lunar eclipse and I was “missing it”. So I pulled into the dark parking lot next to Malibu Seafood (best food deal in town, BTW) and turned the car around to watch. There it was, a nearly full moon, blood red and ghostly, hovering half way up the eastern sky.

I love stargazing. I’ve been fascinated with astronomy and the space program all my life. But whenever I have a quiet moment like this to myself, I invariably start hearing the voices of old school teachers and narrators (think Carl Sagan) intoning on the scientific aspects of the event. “The red patina is the result of excess pollution in the Earth’s atmosphere, made all the more garish by the light of the nearby city…”

But tonight I just told the narrator to shut up and let me have a quiet few minutes to enjoy it.

Getting in Shape (again)

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Finally joined the local 24 Hour Fitness gym near my office in Santa Monica this week. It’s one of their “express” facilities meaning there’s no showers, pool, or raquetball. Perfect. I use the locker room at the office and jog the half mile to the gym. First workout was mostly just a light upper-body. That was last night at 7:00. This morning I’m sore as expected but not too bad. Will try to go back this afternoon if I can skate out of here (work) for an hour. I think this will work well for me.

The goal, as always, is to LOOK GOOD NAKED. And maybe lose 10 lbs in the process.

Hello world!

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

So I finally have a blog running on this site. Welcome!

I’m going by Zumajim simply because my real name is Jim and I live in the vicinity of Zuma Beach, in Malibu, CA. I don’t actually spend a lot of time at Zuma — or any other beach for that matter — as much as I’d like to. Rather, I’m a middle-class working guy with a wife, two kids, a dog and a mortgage the size of Gibraltar. So why do I live in Malibu? That’s a topic for another time but suffice it to say I’ve lived here since 1993 and hope to stay for the rest of my life, however long that is. (I’m turning 50 in a few weeks and thoughts of mortality are just more common lately. If you’re not there yet, just wait…)

Oh, and what’s the point of this blog? Will I be discoursing on all matters sublime and ridiculous? Perhaps. But really all I want is an online journal like so many of my friends keep. And I do like to let loose with the occasional rant. Living here gives me plenty of fodder for that.

So thanks for checking in — ZJ

ZJ at home