Category Archives: Essays – Non-Fiction

Non-fiction thoughts, memories, etc.

Why I Sometimes Distrust Google Maps and Why I Am Sometimes WRONG To Do So.

Freeway 1-2

I live in Los Angeles. I work roughly 25 miles from where I live. The commute, by L.A. standards, is not bad either in length or as a result of general traffic patterns (traffic pattern being much more important here than distance). But if I leave for work right in the midst of the worst part of rush hour things can still go awry during my commute. Luckily these days we have Google Maps and Waze.

Now my only problem with Waze is that it seems as though it always sends me wandering about town, turning here and turning there, as though I am a sailboat desperately tacking into the wind in an effort to get where I’m going.

Google Maps does not seem to do this quite as much. Which I appreciate.

Both of them take note of traffic issues along the various routes that will get me where I’m going.

So I’ve taken to starting up Google Maps Navigation when I start off for work. Usually I head for the freeway the way I like and let it adjust as it always wants me to make a left where I make a right to head towards the freeway. The other day I took its directions and it led me to a different onramp of the same freeway and it was quicker to get there for a variety of traffic-y reasons. Big win!

So this morning I followed its advice again, but quickly realized it was taking me somewhere else…still on a route towards my ultimate goal, work, but not the way I expected. So I just sort of did what it said, singing along to my playlist, until I realized it was leading me to….THE FUCKING 101 SOUTH? OH NO YOU DIDN’T!

Now if you don’t live in L.A. you may not realize the HORROR of this realization. The 101 South heads right through Downtown L.A. I am not going to Downtown L.A. I want to avoid everyone who IS going to Downtown L.A. But…the freeway I DO want to get on runs NEXT to the 101 South for a bit and thus you can use one to get to the other depending on where you are starting out. But it’s just generally a bad idea in my experience.

So now I am in the lane of no return. I cannot make a different choice. I am cursing Google Maps. It is still saying I will make it to work by 8:15 but I do not believe it, not for one second. It has led me to the dreaded 101 South for gods sake. I declare, over the Mozilla song that is playing, I am THROUGH with Google Maps that we will be breaking up. But for today I have no choice but continue onto THAT freeway.

From the street I can the freeway on the overpass. It’s moving, but slowly. Now that isn’t particularly telling, slow is the norm for this time of day on MOST L.A. freeways. But I KNOW it will get worse. I KNOW it will come a screeching halt and I will have to muscle my way across multiple lanes to get to the freeway I want, fighting morning commuters who have no intention of letting anyone merge or change lanes.

I sigh. I make peace with how long it will now take me to get where I’m going. I feel deeply betrayed by the fact the Google Maps is STILL telling me I will get to work by 8:15. I get on the freeway.
But…it’s not as I anticipated. Once I get past the initial merge the whole thing opens up quite nicely. I move easily across four lanes to get into the lanes that will put me on the 134 East. I am actually driving at the speed limit. Soon I am no longer even side by side with the 101 South and find myself heading over the hill between Glendale and Pasadena with only one slow down (the usual one in Glendale, no idea what that is about but it happens every damn day) and then I am on the 210 East moving at a good clip.

I now feel a bit guilty for all the evil things I shouted at Google Maps. I wonder if it will let me take it all back. I don’t want to break up, especially not when I make it to my exit from the freeway at exactly 8:10, meaning that, depending on stop lights, I will likely pull into work at exactly 8:15. I glance down at Google Maps to see if it’s gloating or glaring at me. Luckily Google Maps is quite forgiving and simply tells me to turn right at the next light. I declare that I will never again doubt my beloved Google Maps…even if it directs me to one of the more dreaded freeways in Los Angeles.

Unless it directs me to the 405 for no good reason. If that happens WE ARE DONE!

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Filed under Essays - Non-Fiction

The Loss of Our Shamans

O'Donoghue's 2

So it’s been a rough start to 2016.  So many great artists lost in the first two weeks of the year.

I continue to be amazed how personal these losses feel.

The first time an artist I loved and had been deeply affected by died was when John Lennon was killed.  I was in high school.  My Mom even understood how deeply I would be affected by this loss because the news broke while I was out somewhere and when I got home she simply said, with great gravity, “You need to go talk to you brother.  He has something to tell you.”  My brother is five years older than me and at that time was my guide in the music world.  I have always appreciated that my Mom understood that I was going to truly grieve the loss of John Lennon and that I needed to hear the news from others who also understood the magnitude of the loss.

There have been many since that night.  Some great actors, some great musicians, some great dancers, some great painters, some great writers…people die.  Artists are people…thus artists die.

I have to agree with this tweet by Juliette@ElusiveJ: “Thinking about how we mourn artists we’ve never met. We don’t cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves.”

Exactly.  So when they move on to whatever the next adventure is after this life, we feel the loss deeply, intimately.  We are usually a bit embarrassed by it as well, but we shouldn’t be.  Artists are often, not always, but often a type of shaman.  They guide, they inform, they clarify, they focus, they heal, they push, they demand, they hold us gently as we work desperately to become worthy of their efforts.

So here we sit, dizzy from loss at the beginning of this new year.  Trying to make sense of our lives now that some of our greatest shamans have left us.  But they left their work, they left us bright lights shining along this path to guide us on our way.  It’s up to us to do the walking.

Bliss Out.

 

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Filed under Essays - Non-Fiction

Welcome!! Sit down and let’s chat for a bit…

Hiya Folks!

Well the lovely Jules has decided to get the band back together so I’m restringing my blog and gonna get ready to do some word jams with my old blogging buddies.  Amazing things happened the last time I was shouting from the rooftops with these people, so I fully expect all hell to break loose this time.

I’m going to have to slowly get the hang of WordPress but I have some great support from the brilliant Patricia so all will be well…or at least hilarious.

So here’s to Written On The Moon.

Moon and Fountain

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Filed under Essays - Non-Fiction