Thursday, July 27, 2017

Renovation 5

Picture Legend

1. Church of the Gesù, Rome Italy
2. Hardy
3. Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple
4. Beth and her yoga
5. Martian Mouse Trap
6. Mongolian Man Eater
7. African Land Snail in the restroom
8. Michael Deutsch and Michael H. Parsons
9. Pictures
10.    ^
11.    ^
12.    ^
13.    ^
14.    ^
15. Grand Park, where I was
16. People at Grand Park
17.               ^
18.               ^
19. My view
20. More Fireworks
21. Mike Alvidrez
22. “The Beguiled”
23. My room
24. Arclight Theater
25. Cinerama Dome
26. Sister Kate Micucci, Sister Alison Brie, and Sister Aubrey Plaza
27. The mist
28. Lovely Emi and her yoga enthusiasts
29. Claudia Christen
30. One of Claudia’s memes
31. My coffee

Rome, Italy. Church of the Gesù. June 23, 2017

   Inside the office of the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father General Arturo Sosa was speaking with the Provincial of the California Province U.S., Fr. Michael F. Weiler. They spoke in furtive and guarded tones.
   “Well, he does know the background. He’s been on site... how long now?” Sosa asked.
   “Five months.”
   “How much time does he spend actually in the hotel?”
   “As little as possible. We want to keep his exposure to a minimum,” Weiler replied.
   “Good,” Sosa continued. “I doubt there's any danger in just having him assist when the time comes. There should be a psychiatrist present, anyway.”
   “And what about the exorcist? Any ideas?” Weiler  asked.
   “How about Kirinan McCalister.”
   “McCalister? I thought he was over in Uzbekistan. I think I read he was working on a dig somewhere in the Kyzylkum.”
   “That's right Mike. But he's finished and came back around two or three months ago, He's in Los Altos now.”
    “What's he doing there? Teaching?”
   “No, he's working on another book,” Sosa said.
   “Don't you think he's too old, though? How's his health?”
   “It must be alright. He's still running around digging up tombs,” Sosa replied. “Besides, he's had experience.”
   “I didn't know that.”
   “Ten maybe twelve years ago, in Africa. The exorcism supposedly lasted for months. I heard it damn near killed him.”
   “Huumm, okay. I’ll get in touch with him.”
   Weiler stood up and kissed the hand of Sosa.
   “Goodbye Father Superior.”
   “Goodbye Mike.”
   Weiler turned to leave.
   “Oh Mike...”
   Weiler turned around.
   “We want to keep this as quiet as possible. There is little benefit in antagonizing SRHT.”
   Weiler shivered at the mention of the organization.
   “Yes,” he said. “I understand.”

Los Angeles. June 23, 2017

   I told Tommy about the elevator shaft. He didn’t say it but I knew he thought I was crazy.
   Cliff didn’t remember last night’s incident at all. He thinks I’m crazy too.
   Maybe I am.
   Am I slowly losing my mind like Jack Torrance in Stephen King’s novel “The Shining?” Would I start mumbling to myself and typing “All work and no play makes Rick a dull boy,” over and over again. Will I stare dazedly off into space for hours at a time, start drinking, and throw tennis balls against the walls. Will I turn against my friends and family at the bequest of that which now inhabits the soul of the Las Americas, and go at them with an ax and crowbar?!

Southeast 1 Construction Notice
To: Las Americas - All 2nd & 3rd Floor Units
From: Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff
Date: June 23rd, 2017

Re: Window Work

Dear Residents,

You are being notified that in-unit work has been scheduled for your unit. Los Angeles Building & Safety regulations require safety bars to be installed on each 2nd and 3rd floor window. These bars are designed to protect against accidental fails. They will not impede the windows from opening.

The contractor will need access to your unit on either Monday, 6/26 or Tuesday, 6/27 for approximately 30 minutes from 8am to 4pm to install safety bars in your unit. You will not need to vacate your unit when the contractor arrives to do the work, but you will need to allow them to enter.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding the work. We appreciate your cooperation.


Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff

   Screw this! I’m getting my shotgun out and will put a load of saltpeter up the butt of the first contractor who tries to get in here!
   “Accidental fails.” I assume they meant accident falls.
   I’ve spent the last 13 years in my room with no urge whatsoever to take a running header through my window to the forecourt below. There’s no way I could, or anybody else, accidentally fall out of the window.
   What they are doing, however, is denying us 2nd and 3rd floorers one possible way to get out of the room in case of an emergency, let’s say a fire or rat attack.
   They’re trying to keep us in here.

June 24

   I saw another young and pretty black lady sleeping on the street nearby. She was lying down at the 18 bus stop on 6th Street between Central and Alameda. She had a little dog, a miniature poodle type thing, tied to her by a leash.
   The dog looked at me briefly, then returned to sleep.
   That was at 5:30am. I was on my way to the Try and Save supermarket to buy some groceries. I bought as much as I could carry back to my room, about $60 worth.
   And 10 tacos from the Jack that lives in the Box.
   The kitchen was still closed at that point. When I went down to water the thirsty plants at 5:30pm it was open. It’s a big room now, with two ovens, a sink, and nothing else.
   The sink has a garbage disposal now. It didn’t used to.
   It’s not plugged in though. I didn’t see where it could be plugged in as there’s no receptacle nearby.
   I’m sure that will be worked out in the distant future.
   There’s a big 3 by 4 foot rectangular hole in the wall right above the sink. On the other side of the hole is a one floor drop into the basement below... where the rats live.
   For some reason once I saw this hole I felt an urge to jump through it.
   I think it needs some safety bars.
   I’ll ask Tommy to put the common TV in the kitchen so Hardy will have something to do other than sit outside in front monitoring the traffic.
   Perhaps Tommy will.

June 25

   I attended the “Coffee and Dharma,” discussion group at Higashi Honganji this morning, then the weekly service, then a another discussion group as this was the last Sunday of the month, and they have discussion groups after the service on the last Sunday of the month.
   The discussion at one point turned to the divisiveness that permeates our political system these days, and some took the position that we might appease the Republicans by acknowledging that their positions are valid, we just disagree vehemently with those policies.
   I pointed out that that position sounds reasonable, but that it was hard to deal with people who live to advance their ideology despite facts that counter their core beliefs.
   “The legislatures in North Carolina, or South, one of the Carolina states, made rising sea levels... illegal. How do you deal with that?”
   No one had an answer.
   I ate two donuts during the course of these groups. I’m fat now.
   Later I used reverse psychology on my beautiful and esteemed yoga teacher, Beth, by messaging her on Facebook and pleading with her not to read “Renovation 4,” while informing her that I had used two of her pictures in the post.
   “Bad things happen to people who read it,” I maintained.
   Then I provided a link to “Renovation 4,” with the adage “Don’t read it!”
   She’ll read it for sure now, maybe.
   The people must be warned.
   I received this response from Beth. “Oooooooo!”
   I wondered what that meant in Beth Speak.

June 26

   They boarded up the 3 by 4 foot rectangular hole in the kitchen. My urge to jump through it accordingly dissipated.

Southeast 1 Construction Notice

To: All Residents at the Las Americas
From: Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff
Date: June 26rd, 2017
Re: Kitchen Offline

This notice is to inform you that the kitchen will be closed from 8am to 4pm tomorrow (Tuesday, 6/27) while the countertops are installed. You will receive $64 cash per diem for the day.

   $64. They’re trying to buy my soul.

June 27

   I waited patiently for the construction people to come and put the “safety bars” in my window.
   They never came.
   And now the danger of falling out of my window continues.
   I feel unsafe.
   I received the following notice on my door today.

(CCP 1954)
Pursuant to California Civil Code Section 1954, Owner does hereby give notice to access the dwelling located at: My address

The owner, owner’s agent or owner’s employees will enter said premises on June 28, 2017 during normal business hours between 10:30AM - 11:30AM for the reason set forth in the checked numbered item(s) below:

Pest Control Services

   So they want to control my pests do they!
   I hope they bring a whole lot of rat traps for the rats that live in the walls.
   They probably won’t though.
   They only concern themselves with cockroaches.
   We shall see.

   I don’t have cockroaches in my room. They’re downstairs though, on the first floor, the kitchen, and in the basement.
   And they’re getting bigger.

June 28

The exterminator came this morning at 10:30am. His entire extermination protocol consisted of placing a Catchmaster Insect Trap and Monitor, a little 3 by 2 inch cardboard thing, on the floor under my sink.
   After he left two two inch cockroaches came in through the wall, looked at it, and began laughing.
   Then they left.

   As I watered the garden this afternoon I noticed an influx of Martian Mouse Trap plants (Nepenthes spathulata) growing by the east chain link fence that separates the hotel’s property line from that of our neighbors.
   There were little mouse bones scattered near them.
   I thought about pulling them up but decided to confer with the garden ladies before doing so as I was not fully aware of the ramifications of killing them.
   I was quietly thankful that no Mongolian Man Eaters had infiltrated the garden as of yet.

June 29

   I found an African Land Snail in the restroom today and took a picture of it before taking it outside of the building and letting it lose.
   I don’t like killing things as my Buddhist teachings tell me to “have an unswerving kindness toward members of the animal kingdom.”
   I assume the cockroach bait has no affect on snails.
   I didn’t think much about it, except I was kind of freaked out by it’s size.
   I found a centipede, a real centipede, not one of those human things, in my kitchen once.

   Somebody is building something in the empty lot right next to our building. That lot has been empty for the 13 years plus that I’ve lived here and now somebody is building something on it.
   I don’t know what yet. Who ever is building it has dug long trenches on the dirt ground, and several vertical structures have now popped up in several places. Square structures that stand about three feet from the ground surrounded by vertical pipes.
   It doesn’t look like a refurbished parking lot to me.
   I don’t know what it is.

   I saw this story on the Internet machine today.
   "City rats are among the most important but least-studied wildlife in urban environments," the team of U.S. and Australian researchers and pest control experts wrote in the Journal of Urban Ecology.
   Michael H. Parsons, lead author of the paper and a visiting research scholar at Fordham University, is offering a "reward" of up to $1,000 for access to an appropriate rat-infested location in Manhattan.
   In return, the homeowner will get free, confidential extermination services — once the researchers are done studying the rats.
   We have rats here. I think I’ll contact Dr. Parsons and give him and his team free reign on our rats.
   Perhaps he can deal with snails as well.

July 1

   On my way to the Hippie Kitchen and Rite-Aid this morning I saw the same young black girl with her little dog sitting with her stroller in the sidewalk at the westbound 18 bus stop.
   There are literally hundreds of folks who live on the streets a few blocks west of where she was sitting. Many have makeshift tents that line the sidewalks, some just sit on the streets, some are sleeping, laying out.  
   Perhaps this pretty, young girl is trying to distance herself from them, but she’s picking a very odd and public spot to do it.
   Or perhaps that’s her plan, to be in a public space where there is less chance of others bothering or attempting to abuse her... and her dog.
   I feel sorry for her. I wish there was something I could do.
   There was a sale at Rite-Aid on Thrifty Ice Cream. Buy one 1.5 quart container and get one free. I bought some last Thursday after yoga with Beth, and I bought some more today. I now have six quarts of ice cream in my freezer.
   I’m fat now.
   Later in the afternoon I took another look at some of the photographs taken by Gudrun G & Fatemeh B (9 thru 14 above), and couldn’t help but notice some of them seem to have changed in slight, almost imperceptible ways.
   This is not only strange but decidedly odd as well.
   What do you think?
   No one had access to these pictures but me.
   Who would do such a thing?
   Or what?

   We received a notice today that the laundry room is now open. It only took them a year and a half to renovate it, a year and a half of dirty, stinking clothes and residents.
   Ha, ha, just kidding. I don’t think I’ll ever use it. I like the free coffee at the laundromat too much.
   That and the Spanish television.
   I don’t speak Spanish, but they always seem to having such a good time on Spanish TV. They sing and dance all of the time.
   The building’s power went off during the afternoon and evening twice.
   I don’t know why.

July 2

   No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. The Las Americas, SE1, not sane, stood by itself against its urban sprawl, holding darkness within; it had stood so for one hundred years and might stand for one hundred more. Within, walls continued somewhat upright, bricks met at times, floors were infirm, and doors sensibly shut themselves; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of the Las Americas, and whatever walked there, walked alone.
July 3

   All residents received a mysterious notice on their doors the other day. It informed us that the building’s power would be off from 8am to 5pm on Thursday the 6th and Saturday the 8th. Apparently the renovators were going to do some electrical work.
   There goes my ice cream.

   I wrote the following E-mail to case manager Henry today.

To: Henry N. Jul 3 at 7:49 PM
Dear Henry,

If you're still alive (we haven't seen you for awhile and miss you very much) we could really use some blank tracking sheets over here at the Las Americas. Usually LaShunda would handle something as complicated as this but she seems to be on vacation. If you could bring some over that would be just swell, as many on the Shelter-Plus -Care are starting to go crazy because they don't have any tracking sheets being afraid they'll get kicked out of the program for non-compliance.

  Thank you,


I received this reply:

Your message to henry@_ _ _ _ _ _ couldn't be delivered.
henry wasn't found at _ _ _ _ _ _

Original Message Details
Created Date:    7/3/2017  7:49 PM
Sender Address:    rickjoyce@_ _ _ _
Recipient Address:    henry@_ _ _ _ _ _
Subject:    Tracking Sheets

Error Details
Reported error:    550 5.1.10 RESOLVER.ADR.RecipientNotFound; Recipient not found by SMTP address lookup


July 4    Independence Day

   I spent the day watching Marilyn Monroe documentaries and a NOVA special about why sharks attack.
   Because they’re hungry?
   At 7pm I left the Las Americas and made my way to Grand Park downtown. A fireworks display was to occur precisely at 9 and this was the only way I had available for me to celebrate the day.
   Myself and about thirty five thousand other celebrators (according to KTLA News).
   To enter the park I first had to pass through a checkpoint wherein I had to empty my pockets and submit to an electronic wand scan.
   I knew how these kind of things operate and prepared accordingly.
   I hid my M4a1 carbine, Mk 46 machine gun, M9 Beretta, MK 12 Mod 1 SPR sniper rifle, M136 AT4 rocket launcher, M224 60mm mortar, Ontario MK 3 Navy knife, karambit, Strider SMF,  Ka-Bar, body armor, cigarette lighter, and twelve 40mm grenades about my person in such a way as the security guy conducting the wand scan would just register my pants zipper, my belt buckle and my jacket zippers as the only metallic entities upon me. I even had to put two of those grenades up my butt to get them all through, but that’s the price one pays when taking preparatory precautions before advancing into a large crowd of unknown individuals.
   It’s good to be ready in case of emergencies (I was forced to leave my old M9A1 flamethrower at home as it was just too bulky).
   As I approached the entrance I was told to take everything out of my pockets. I dutifully got my keys, wallet, cell phone, and a half empty pack of cigarettes I happened to have (I was smoking at the time).
   As I got near the check point a small black security lady looked at the things I was holding.
   “You can’t bring those cigarettes in here,” she said.  
   “You can’t bring those cigarettes in here, or a lighter if you have one.”
   “You’re kidding?!”
   “I suppose I can’t bring in my blunts and eight balls either!”
   “Nothing.” I turned around and walked away in disgust.
   Then I walked over across the street to another entrance line, kept my damn cigarettes in my pocket, and entered the park.
   After decorously pulling the grenades out of my ass I headed to the gourmet food trucks to get something to eat, it being the 4th of July and all.
   There were long lines at every truck. I checked out some of the menus. There were Japanese, Argentinian, Hispanic, Turkish, Indian, Burger, trucks, and many more.
   But I noticed the prices were just outrageous. $16 for a freaking hamburger. All of the trucks were just as expensive. Even ice cream was like $8 for whatever it was they were selling.
   If I was with a girl, or woman actually, then I guess I’d be forced to buy this crap and feed her, not wanting to appear cheap and all.
   And I imagine many of the men there were caught in that particular trap.
   But not me. I decided I wasn’t that hungry and moved on.
   I walked through the crowd as inconspicuously as possible, trying to figure out where the fireworks would be discharged from and situating myself in the best possible spot to see them.
   And that seemed to be the northern end of the park, near the water fountains (picture 15. I was situated on the stairs to the right).
   I waited there for about an hour, watching the people wade through the waters of the lower fountain, sit on structures then told to get down by security people, eat, listen to the deafening music coming from a DJ to the south.
 I saw people everywhere and doing all kinds of things.
   But not smoking.
   Promptly at 9pm the fireworks began. It seemed like they were being deployed from the roof of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (34° 3′ 23″ N, 118° 14′ 55″ W) on N Grand Ave (pictures 19 & 20).
   The show lasted for 15 minutes, at which point I spent 30 minutes getting out of the park, which dumped me near Hill St and 1st. I continued downtown to Broadway and 5th, to Rite-Aid where I bought some milk and ice cream (my refrigerator should keep it cool if I don’t open the freezer door during Thursday’s power outage), I then bought a carnitas quesadilla from a Mexican food place run by Asian people on Spring and 6th.
   I went home and ate half of my food while watching Robert Wise’s 1971 “The Andromeda Strain.”

July 5

To Richard Joyce    Today at 11:52 AM

Dear Ricky

   After 27 years at Skid Row Housing Trust, including 13 years as Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, I have decided to step down as CEO next year to allow new leadership to advance the Trust's mission.
   I have made this decision with a sense of fulfillment that many of my professional efforts have been realized. The public perception of supportive housing has forever changed thanks to our partnerships with renowned architects to design beautiful residential and community spaces that foster reconnection, healing, and dignity. Housing First, a model that Skid Row Housing Trust began piloting in the early 2000s, is now a nationally-recognized best practice for serving homeless individuals that many once thought to be "unreachable." And the Trust's affiliate Property Management Company is a model of blended management that puts a premium on keeping our formerly-homeless tenants successfully housed long term.
   Additionally, there is increasing public awareness of the value that permanent supportive housing brings to our communities. Skid Row Housing Trust advocated strongly for the passage of both Prop HHH and Measure H, which will provide significant local support for both capital development of supportive housing as well as the intensive wraparound services needed to help stabilize the lives of formerly-homeless people in permanent supportive housing. Nevertheless, the disheartening increase in our region's homeless population is a call to action to redouble our collective efforts to end homelessness, and today the Trust is well situated to answer the call.
   It is time for me, the executive team, and the Board of Directors of Skid Row Housing Trust to plan a successful transition of the Chief Executive Offer role.  I have communicated to our Board that I will stay on as CEO for at least another year so that a succession plan can be finalized and a thorough, intensive search for the most qualified person to assume the role of CEO can be accomplished.  It is the Board's and my joint decision to continue to stay on at the Trust as an ambassador after the successful succession.
   It has been the honor of my professional life to lead such a wonderful organization that is unafraid to take on one of the most challenging issues of our time - ending homelessness.  Skid Row Housing Trust has become known for its innovation in housing production and services delivery, its thought leadership, and its commitment to finding decent and humane solutions to homelessness.  Without reservation, I am supremely confident that the Trust will maintain its leadership role in the coming years.
   The Trust will send out public notifications when it is ready to accept applications for the CEO position.  In the meantime, I am looking forward to an exciting final year as CEO and in making a successful hand-off to my successor.
   My deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported my efforts and those of Skid Row Housing Trust. Thank you helping us touch the lives of tens of thousands of homeless and low-income men and women with your generous confidence and support.

Very Truly Yours,

Mike Alvidrez
Chief Executive Officer

   In order to prepare us for the big power shut off tomorrow the building’s power turned off then on three times today, which meant of course I had to reboot my TV and computer three times.
   I get the feeling the building is laughing at me.

July 6

   I was up early and finished my morning routine (check E-mail, read from “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Don Quixote,” Finnegans Wake,” “Love in the Time of Cholera,” “Sold,” “Young Man Shinron,” “Human Trafficking, Human Misery,” Naomi Klein’s “No is Not Enough,” And “How to Clear Your Home of Ghosts & Spirits: Tips & Techniques from a Professional Ghost Hunter,”  two hours of vigorous yoga/calisthenics, 400 meditation breaths, and a six mile run.. and shower) by 7am.
   I had noticed the young black girl and her little dog sleeping at the bus stop again and thought I’d do something for her.
   I went to the McDonald’s on Central and 7th and bought her a deluxe breakfast consisting of 3 pancakes, hash browns, eggs, a sausage patty, 2 strips of bacon, and an English muffin. I bought her dog 2 breakfast burittos (not normally known as dog food, but they don’t sell dog food at McDonald’s... or do they?). I bought myself 2 breakfast burittos and hash browns, and I bought her and myself coffee.
   I returned to the bus stop and woke her up.
   “Miss...” I said.
   She looked up at me, looked at the bag I was holding out to her, smiled, and of all the possible things she could have said to me (“Thank you ,” “Oh that’s so nice of you,” “Take me!”) I did not expect “I don’t eat McDonald’s.”
   I returned home and ate her breakfast.
   She was right of course. No one should eat McDonald’s.
   They didn’t even give me any syrup for the pancakes.
   I turned my computer and T.V. off at 7:45, allowing them to shutdown properly.
   The power was supposed to be shut off precisely at 8, so they shut it down at 7:56.
   I laid down for awhile, then near 9am went to the building’s entrance and waited for the garden ladies.
   Chris (the lady on the right in picture 10) and Fatemeh (the lady on the left in picture 13) showed up. Hardy was there.
   The lovely and vivacious Fatemeh brought cookies. I returned to McDonald’s and bought coffee.
   We didn’t get much gardening done but we had a good time.
   After they left at 10 I walked to the post office on 7th and inquired about my toaster that had been delivered to the Las Americas at 7:16 the previous evening when naturally no one was there to receive it.
   The postal guy said I would have to go to the annex on N Alameda near Union Station to get it.
   I briefly stopped at the Hippie Kitchen before going to yoga with Beth at the Abby Hotel on San Pedro and 6th.
   After yoga I walked to a check cashing place on Broadway and 6th to buy a roll of quarters to be used for bus rides and laundry. I put them in my backpack.
   Then I walked to the Regent Theaters LA Live 14 on Olympic Blvd near the 101 freeway.
   I had wanted to see “Baby Driver,” with Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx, but the Internet machine had lied to me telling me that it would start at 2:15pm. I arrived at the theater at 1:39 and discovered that “Baby Driver” didn’t start until 3:15.
   I saw Sofia Coppola’s version of “The Beguiled,” instead as it began at 2pm.
   This was the first time I’ve been to a movie theater in about six years. It cost me about $30 to get in and for popcorn and coke (the popular drink, not the white powdery substance).
   I don’t think I’ll be coming back anytime soon.
   The power was back on when I returned to the Las Americas at 5. I watered the plants and went to my room.
   I chased two rats out of there before noticing a notice on my door from the SE1 Renovation Staff. They were going to postpone Saturday’s power shut down until Monday.
   I watched “The Exorcist,” before going to bed and dreamt of being molested by Sac spiders.

July 7 2:33pm

   John Miller, the tall SRHT representative, gave all of the residents of the Las Americas 20 inch Lasko floor fans today, which was really nice of him.
   I suppose the Trust feels guilty that the in-room air conditioners are not yet on line, and that Los Angeles is currently experiencing ambient temperatures in the 90s.
   They don’t want any heat related deaths to occur now do they.
   It wouldn’t be good publicity.

July 10  Monday 8:03am

   The power throughout the building went off. The sound of my three fans which I usually find so comforting, dissipated and then died out all together. Even the large grandfather clock in the northeast corner stopped functioning, which was odd as it doesn’t run on electricity.
   I briefly panicked, feeling alone and without resources.
   The encroaching heat drove me out of my room, and I took my office chair out to the little hallway next to the fire escape door where there was a slight breeze and read from Naomi Klein’s wonderful book (all of her books are wonderful, thought provoking, and terrifying) “No is Not Enough,” until 10am when I left the Las Americas.
   I mailed a letter to the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) as I hope to volunteer there as a Hotline Advocate.
   There’s a pretty good chance that I won’t be accepted due to my colorful past, but all they can do to me is say no.
   I next walked to the library where it was nice and cool.
  At 1pm I left and took the mighty Red Line subway to Hollywood’s Hollywood and Vine station, from which I walked south to Sunset Blvd. and the famous Arclight theater, which is adjacent to the famous Cinerama Dome where my dad and I watched “Thunderball” together a long time ago.
   I was there to see “The Little Hours,” staring three of my favorite actresses, Alison Bree, Kate Micucci, and Aubrey Plaza.
   The film also features performances by Dave Franco, John C. Reilly, Nick Offerman (who in the film walls up his wife along with a dog and a boar. One would think being walled up was enough) Fred Armisen, and Molly Shannon. 
   The story concerns a young servant (Franco, the youngest of the infamous Franco brothers) who flees from his master (Offerman) and takes refuge at a convent full of 14th-century horny nuns.
   This film is not your typical nun story, and not for the faint of heart.
   The following is part of a review by Rev. Alexander Santora:
   “Medieval nuns Alessandra (Alison Brie), Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza) and Genevra (Kate Micucci) are the leads in this story inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio. In the opening scene when they encounter the gardener looking at them, they berate him in expletives that would make potty-mouthed comedians Wanda Sykes or Amy Schumer blush.  It was so shocking that the audience of some 50 mostly young adults burst into laughter. These nuns speak in 21st-century shock language with accents that are more Manhattan than Bologna.”
   “The sisters have been known to physically attack people,” warns Father Tommasso (Reilly).
   I enjoyed the movie very much. I wish I could watch it again right now.
   I also enjoyed my popcorn and soda.
   The film was only 90 minutes long and I was out of the cool (bordering on cold) theater by 2:30. The electrical guys had until 5pm to finish up, but last Thursday the ended early, so I headed back home after buying two gallons of milk from Rite-Aid.
   The power was still off at 3:30 when I returned.
   I continued to read Naomi’s book, becoming terrified.
   The power resumed at 4:33. I powered up my computer and television, both having been shut down properly that morning. Everything was running nicely when the power abruptly shut off.
   It stayed off until 5:27.
   This is just another example of the renovators attempts to drive us residents stark raving mad.
   My grandfather clock began working at midnight.

July 11  6:12am

   A thick white mist began to manifest itself over the construction sight next to the west wall of the Las Americas.
   I went outside and looked at it. The site had a chain link fence surrounding it and the fog, or mist confined itself just outside of it.
   I returned to my room. The mist would remain next door throughout the day when the sun’s heat should have dissolved it.
   The media came and took pictures then left.
   I felt uncomfortable near the mist. Somehow it felt sinister to me.

July 19 5:32pm

   We were given another notice that someone would come fix the fire alarms in our rooms sometime between 8am and 4pm on either Friday the 21st or Monday the 24th.
   Instead of a nice, blinking fire alarm on my ceiling, I’ve had a plastic rim with electrical wires hanging from it. It’s been like that for about a year now.
   It will be comforting to be protected again.

July 24  5:00pm

   The fire alarm people never showed up.
   It’s almost as someone, or something, wants all of us to die in a blazing inferno.
   I don’t feel comforted.

July 25 9:23am

   I received a notice on my door this morning dated July 24th.

   Dear Residents,

   You are being notified that there will be a temporary electrical shutdown this Wednesday, 7/26 for approximately 2-3 hours.

    The electrical shutdown is part of a city required inspection of the building. The power should be shut off for no more than 3 hours.

   We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.


     -Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff

   What possible inconvenience could a 3 hour power outage cause?
   That aside, this notice was totally unacceptable.
   I immediately E-mailed my lovely case manager LaShunda the following message:

   Hi LaShunda! It was nice seeing you yesterday.

A construction notice was placed on my door this morning alerting me to the fact that there will be an electrical shutdown tomorrow for approximately 2 - 3 hours but it does not say when this will begin. Residents like myself need to know that so we can shut down our computers and other delicate electronic devices. Saying there will be a shut down at some point during the day is not sufficient information. 

I don't have John's e-mail and I'm waiting for a new phone, so if you could please contact him about this matter and get back to me I would really appreciate it.

Thank you

   She made a timely reply:

I truly apologize, you can maybe reach him in the office 213-683-0522 ext. 150

   To which I also replied:

That's the thing LaShunda. I don't have a phone right now. Mine was stolen, and I'm waiting for a new one which should be here in a week.

   To which she replied:

   Okay. Regarding this matter go downstairs and speak with Tommy the Property Manager he should have more information regarding the shut down..

   To which I replied:

   What matter?

   No, what I really wrote was:

   Tommy always says he knows nothing about nothing concerning construction. Never mind. I'll borrow someone's phone. Sorry I bothered you.

   She replied:

   No worries, sorry you could not get the information you were looking for…

   Tommy somehow got in the mix and he replied, rather formerly I believe:

   The electrical shutdown will start between 8:00am and 10:30am it should not last no longer than 2:oopm.

   The difficult syntax aside, Tommy’s pissed off at me since I busted him and the case managers pilfering 3 of our pizzas yesterday at one of our resident meetings rather than offering second helpings.
   I was just trying to help him. I’ve seen men go to state prison for less.
   He’s also upset that SRHT made him move back into the Las Americas. He had been living the good life over at the New Genesis on 5th and Los Angeles for the last year.
   Anyway, the information he provided wasn’t very helpful, was it? I still don’t know when I should shut down my delicate electronic equipment. My computer, my TV, the surveillance hookups I use to monitor Tommy’s, Lashunda’s, the SRHT and mayor’s offices. You can’t play around with this stuff or it goes bust real fast.
   Sometime between 8am and 10:30. Well, it’s a good thing I have yoga tomorrow with my lovely Italian friend Emi at 11 (I know what you’re thinking... I’m cheating on Beth, right? Well, you’re absolutely right. Men are pigs. They’d do yoga with mud if they could). At least I’ll have something to do during this horrible time.
   But what could cause my usually helpful case manager to be afraid to simply make a phone call to John?
   What terrifies this normally stout young woman?

July 26  Wednesday 10:21am

   The power shut off abruptly at 10:21. Fortunately my computer was shut off at the time, so as far as that was concerned there were no problems.
   I used the time wisely to walk over to Joshua House (Christian Health Center) on Winston St, right behind the L.A. Mission, to make a dentist appointment (Lovely Emi contacted me earlier and told me she had lost her voice this morning and would not be holding her class, allowing me to remain faithful to Beth... for the time being).
   I then walked to the VA Clinic on Temple to make a regular doctor’s appointment. From which I walked to the Central Library on Bunker Hill, as I needed to turn in some books which were due to be turned in.
   I bought some milk at Right-Aid on Broadway and 5th, then walked back to the Las Americas.
   It’s a good thing it was only 84 degrees outside today.
   The power was back on when I arrived at about 1:30. That was good.
   Apparently it had been off for less than an hour, according to my neighbor, so I hadn’t really needed to walk around all that much, but I got some good stuff done, burned a few calories, and had some nice milk to drink. 
   I noticed on my Google Calendar that the actress Claudia Christen’s birthday was coming up, August 10th to be precise, so I decided to start working on a birthday tribute to the lovely lady.
   I’ve enjoyed her work throughout her career (“The Hidden,” “Babylon 5,” ”T.J. Hooker”), but more than that, she’s a wonderful and funny person. I follow her on Facebook, and anybody who follows Claudia will periodically receive memes that more often than not will make those people laugh, like picture #30 above.    
   She’s the only person I know who does this, so I was very happy to begin this project.
   While I work on this I have a picture of Claudia on my wall. She stares at me all of the time.
   She’s dong it right now!
   At 6:30 I walked over to Higashi Honganji for the by-weekly study group, wherein Rev Peter Hata (a master jazz musician) teaches us students about Pure Land Buddhism, or Shin Buddhism to be exact.
   Everyone was getting ready for the big Obon Festival this weekend, so we were kicked, unceremoniously I might add, out of our usual meeting place, the conference room, and into the actual Hondō, or main hall, where the Sunday services are held.
   There instead of studying this time, we practiced chanting. We chanted and chanted.
   Shin Buddhist’s like to chant a lot.

July 27 Thursday 4:38am

   I had begun my morning routine and at about 4:38 I made my first cup of coffee of the day. I looked down at it when it was ready, then took a picture of it. Picture number 31.
   That wasn’t good, I told myself.
   The Garden Ladies didn’t show. Me and Hardy were waiting outside the hotel’s front entrance at 9:00 for them to arrive, but they never did.
   At 3:00pm we got tired of waiting and went back inside.
   It’s as if the universe... or something, had plucked them out of existence.
   At 7:23pm Hardy knocked on my door to tell me I had some visitors downstairs.
   “Who are they?”
   “Hell, I don’t know, man. Go downstairs and find out!”
   I had never had visitors before. Who could they be?
   On the first floor I found several dark men wearing fedoras, black overcoats, and gloves. It looked like they had stacked several boxes of, of, I don’t know, some kind of tools or equipment in the lobby.
   “Can I help you?” I asked.
   One of the men, tall, with black eyes, mustache and goatee, came up to me.
   “Mr Joyce?” he asked.
   He held out his hand. “I’m Mike Parsons. I hear you have some rats.”

To be continued


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