Ah, Memories (Sysabend Dump)

userpic=compusaurThe documents I’m currently reviewing brought this poem to mind, which was published in Datamation in their 1975 April Fools issue:

On either side the printer lie
Fat stacks of paper six feet high
That stun the mind and blur the eye.
And lo! Still more comes streaming by.
A fresh SYSABEND dump.

Ye printer clacketh merrily.
Alack! What can the matter be
That made SYSABEND dump.

My TCAM hath no MCP?
My data cannot OPENed be?
Consult my neighborhood SE?
The devil take thy dam and thee,
Thou vile SYSABEND dump.

Assemble modules on the fly
And link for yet another try.
With SUPERZAP a patch apply


On either side the printer lie
Fat stacks of paper twelve feet high
That blow the mind and blast the eye.
Gadzooks! How shrill yon varlet’s cry
As sixteen megabytes go by
In yet another dump.


My First Time

userpic=blushingSome recent articles that have come across my RSS feeds have gotten me thinking about my first time.

Yes, my first time.

I really mean it. Of course, I’m talking about my first live theatre. What did you think I was talking about?

Seriously, my first time was going to see “The Rothschilds” at the LA Civic Light Opera in 1972. This was when we still got the Broadway stars, so we actually had Hal Linden in the cast (who I later thanked when I saw him a few years ago at On Golden Pond at the Colony). What brought back this memory was an article on the rich score of The Rothschilds, which was prompted by the new production of Rothschilds & Sons at York Theatre Company. The new production is a one-act version of the show that hopefully addresses the book problems that plagued the show the first time around (even though I loved the score, and often walked around UCLA whistling the overture). Even better was the news that they are recording the new score. Hopefully, I’ll have space on the iPod.



userpic=compusaurToday’s EaterLA brings news of the closure of the last Good Earth restaurant in California. This brings to mind a story…

When I was in college at UCLA in the late 1970s/early 1980s, I used to hang around the UCLA Computer Club (3514 Boelter Hall — we would receive mail addressed to “the messiest room on the 3rd floor, Boelter Hall”). Club members would regularly walk down to Westwood to get dinner — this was when Westwood was a much more vibrant college town than it is today (alas).

At this time, there were two general interest bookstores in Westwood: the Pickwick Bookstore near Westwood and LeConte, and College Books (or was it University Books) near Westwood and Weyburn. College Books originally had a basement from which they sold textbooks, but by the early 1980s they had lease out that space to the Good Earth. The Good Earth was one of the restaurants regularly frequented by clubbies (there was also a Thai place behind Ships, but that’s a different story). The Good Earth seemingly had nuts of some variety in every dish one could order.

One day we went to the Good Earth for dinner. As I recall, someone ordered their meal with no nuts. After this, everyone started requesting no nuts, eventually resulting in our singing “nuts, nuts, nuts, nuts” in the manner of the Monty Python spam routine.

I guess you had to be there.




We got back from vacation Tuesday, and I spent yesterday at home catching up. As a welcome-back, here are a few news chum items that caught my eye over the past two weeks, all having to do with looking at the past (which is appropriate — I meant to post this yesterday):

  • Pop Culture References. Mental Floss has composed a list of 11 Pop Culture References that young people won’t get. This includes a lot of things from the 60s and 70s, and a little earlier. My favorite example of such references are in many of Stan Freberg’s work. For example, he has the line “You over here on a Fullbright?”, when most people these days have no idea what the Fullbright Scholarship was.
  • Diskettes. A very nice history of the floppy disk from HP. I remember all of these formats, from the 8″ on down. I particularly liked the mention in the comments of SCCS, the Southern California Computer Society. I was actually a member in my early days (back in the late 1970s).
  • Surfridge. Whenever you take off from LAX, you fly over a community that no longer exists. What this article calls “Surfridge” was originally part of Playa Del Rey. Growing up in Westchester and PDR, I had loads of friends who lived in the houses that once existed on those hills and on the sides of the airport. I always think of them when I see the dead streets.

Of course, people don’t always get current pop references either. Yesterday /. reported that a majority of people think the Internet Cloud is affected by the weather.



Revisiting the Old Neighborhood

This afternoon I had to pick up my wife and daughter from LAX, so I drove down a little early to visit the old neighborhood. I grew up in Westchester and Playa del Rey, communities just north of LAX. We live there until 1972, at which point we moved up to the Brentwood and Pacific Palisades area, and I moved from Orville Wright JHS to Paul Revere JHS (and eventually, Palisades High).

This morning I drove down by the old house on 80th Street, and parked on 79th, just in front of the gas company property, and walked about a bit. The neighborhood has changed quite a bit. There seem to be more and more houses packed in: there are more on 79th, and even more one street over towards the wetlands (Veragua, which didn’t exist when I was young–neither did Cabora). When I was little, I hadn’t noticed the houses. Walking around as an adult, I notice how the community wasn’t cookie-cutter. Each house was different, and many were designed with decks to catch the open breezes. I contrast that with the San Fernando Valley, where you can see common floor plans in neighborhoods, and common layouts even in mid-priced areas. I also noticed how the square footage down there was smaller, and consquently, houses were consistently multi-story. In our neighborhood here in Northridge, we’re mostly single-story ranch homes.

I walked by my old house, which I can still recognize from the driveway. Most of the other houses in the area I don’t recognize anymore, and many of the vacant lots have houses now. That’s not a surprise–it has been 30 years. More surprising is that areas where there were Gas Company pumping spaces now have houses. I wouldn’t want to live in those houses (such as near the corner of Gulana and 83rd).

I walked down to the market, which is still a Dales Jr. The Union 76 (owned by Bill Yarnell) is now an AMPM, and the Chevron at the far end (owned by someone whose daughter, I think, was named Kathleen) is now a private auto service. Other than the Dales Jr., only the Elks and KoC remain from the 1970s.

In the other direction, I walked up 80th to Berger, up to 81st, across 81st to Zayanta, down and around a bit, and back to my car. Pretty houses, but I don’t recognize much from the 70s. There must have been a lot of remodeling going on. The dirt hill that used to be on the other side of Berger is all filled in (that is, the area between Berger and Hastings, and between 80th and 85th). Further, all the houses on the other side of 80th are new. I wonder if anyone from my era (1965-1972) still lives there. I doubt it. There were a few vacant lots; I’m guessing those are former Gas Co. pumping station lands).

I then drove past my elementary school (Paseo Del Rey), and over by my first house. It seems that the airport has taken even more land. I don’t remember the last street being 91st, and most of the land near St. Bernards being gone. Westchester HS nearly back up onto the airport now! I remember there still being houses over on 92th. We lived near the top of the hill on 90th (that’s the first hill W of Rayford), and there was nothing I could recognize of that house.

I did some more driving around. Most of the original Airport Marina hotel is gone, although the back parking structure looks the same. I saw where my brother went to elementary school (Loyola Villiage). I also drove by Emerson Adult School, which I’m guessing used to be an elementary school before the airport got too close (I’m guessing elementary because the only JHS’s were Wright and Airport, and Airport was torn down in 1971).

It was an interesting walk and drive, providing quite a few compare and contrast memories.


Theaters I Have Known

Yes, with an “er”, because I’m talking about movie theaters. What prompted this was an article in the LA Times about the Graumann’s Chinese Theater being sold… again. Thus, a recollection of some theaters that are no more, and some still hanging on.

The Nuart and Paradise in Westchester. I remember seeing loads of kids movies there when I was young. Both are now professional offices.

The National in Westwood. This was the big brown Whale of a theatre. It’s been torn down, but I remember seeing 2001 there with Karen Pratt (who died far too young), and seeing both Star Wars and Indy Jones there with the UCLA Computer Club.

The UA 4 in Westwood, below Wilshire Blvd. I remember seeing a really obscure movie there, “Another Nice Mess”, which was Nixon and Agnew done as Laurel and Hardy.

The AVCO Cinema Center in Westwood, where I saw Fame, and if I recall correctly, 9 to 5.

The Culver, which is now the Kirk Douglas. My girlfriend of the time (in college days) and I would regularly see horror movies there, and enjoy watching the people yelling “Don’t go into that room” at the screen.

The Paramount on Sunset, where my parents always took me to a movie musical when I was young.

As for the theater that prompted this story, the Graumanns? Sad to say, I’ve never seen a picture there. It now seems so forlorn, surrounded by the Hollywood/Highland center, with the Chinese 6 multiplex taking all of its business, used only for special showing. The footprints are still there, but I think the newest is from the premier of the first Star Trek movie. So it remains a faded star, surrounded by costumed superheros and fake movie stars. Sad.


Articles and Memories

Sometimes, the lunchtime reading triggers memores (cue harp music) in this case: “bridge”, “Panns”, and “Busch Gardens”

    Bridge. The NY Times has an article about how a school in NY is using bridge (the card game) to each elementary and middle school students math and social skills, in an environment that draws students away from the iPods and other technological chains. That brings back memories of hours spent in the UCLA Computer Club playing bridge. Not very well. Even though my grandfather was a contract bridge grand master, my major problem was that I never bothered to count points. I’d see what I had a lot of, and what I had a little of, where I had a bunch of guaranteed tricks, and use that to bid. I never understood bidding conventions, other than the bid meaning: that’s where I want to be. Still, bridge provided one of the social glues in the Computer Club—you could usually scare up a game, and it was a way to interact with people.

  • Panns. The LA Times has an article on the death of Eldon Davis. You probably don’t recognize the name, but if you live in Los Angeles, you know his work. He’s the designer of the “googie” style of coffee shop. Notable examples are Norms, Johnnie’s, and Panns. Now Panns still exists at the intersection of La Cienega, Centinela, and La Tijera in Westchester, and it is pretty much unchanged in design. I haven’t been there in ages, but I have memories of going there as a kid, especially after temple or when we were visiting Builders Emporium, which was across the street.
  • Busch Gardens. The Daily News centennial series has a mention of the opening of Busch Gardens in Van Nuys. This was the brewery tour that used to exist with an exotic bird show. I remember the tour well, and I still try to see if any tram lines exist whenever I drive by. For the longest time, there was a flock of feral parrots in North Hills that were released when the garden closed.

Marvin Hamlisch and Me: A Story about cahwyguy

In the spirit of last night, a story about me. In part, this is prompted by my finding a certain piece of paper while going through my dad’s autographs, which I’ve scanned and posted with this entry.

Back when I was in high school, probably 16 or 17, I was part of the high school class at Wilshire Blvd. Temple. As I wasn’t teaching, I didn’t drive all the way to WBT from Brentwood: we had bus transportation provided by the Temple. The rabbi at that time, Larry Goldmark (who is now at Temple Beth Ohr in La Mirada), had arranged a speaker program of famous Jews. This included folks like Ed Asner, Monty Hall, and many others. This particular day in question, the speaker was Marvin Hamlisch. I presume it was an interesting talk (I don’t remember any of it). What I do remember, however, is that at noon I got up and started to walk out to catch the bus. Hamlisch stopped what he was saying, turned to me, and asked where I was going. I indicated I had to catch a bus to get home. He said he didn’t like his audience to walk out on him, and said that he would give me a ride back home. So, after he finished his talk, he kept his word and gave me a ride back home. I remember that on the way we stopped at the newsstand in Westwood so that he could pick up the New York papers — it seems “A Chorus Line” had just opened and he wanted to read the reviews. When we got back to my car, I grabbed a piece of notebook paper and had him sign it for my dad.