Friday, September 23, 2011

Bomb Squads and Heroes

Hi. I was planning to write about Jamaica tonight, but then some crazy stuff happened today... And let me start by saying, I do realize that this post is pretty long. I started writing about today and this is what came out. I didn't even include some other cool stuff I want to save for another post. What I'm saying is that constructive criticism is welcome here. If this is just way to freaking long, please tell me. If so, what should I have left out? The whole eye doctor thing? What?

I really want to know what you think because I want you to come back!

So... today... my boyfriend, Michael, and I took my mom to the eye doctor because she's had something going on where she's felt like she's had an eyelash in her eye for weeks. Michael and I were sitting on the step outside because the waiting room was full.

There were group of people across the street - maybe forty of them - all dressed in black, standing on the sidewalk. Were they with a funeral or something? In the Ross Dress for Less parking lot? Hmm.

Dr. Harry Hovanesian, who is way cuter in person, fyi.
I went in and talked with Mom and her doctor, who I love btw. If you need an ophthalmologist in L.A., Harry Hovanesian at Specialty Eye Care is great.

The other doctor in his practice wasn't in today, and he was covering both of their appointments, and they were both booked solid - and he had a surgery emergency. He was worked, but he was totally nice, very thorough, and ultimately found that Mom's only real issue right now is that her eyes are super dry. He gave her some eye drop samples to take four times a day, and sent us on our way. I have to admit the banner on their website is a little odd, though.
Specialty Eye Care Medical Center's website banner.
I hope those aren't the doctors' eyes. Or the patients'...
Meanwhile back outside, the people in black have taken over our side of the street, and are all huddled beneath trees in the medical building parking lot like chickens under a shady bush (which I now know all about, since my farm-sitting vacation last month in the Berkshires). (Chickens hanging out under bushes for shade, that is.) Oh, and it was hot, thus the need for the shady trees.
Sherman Oaks Fashion Square Mall is where the tall tree on the left is, Mom's Eye Center is on the right. We were sitting on a step by the car on the right. Evacuees were under all the trees and anywhere there was shade. (GoogleMaps pic)
I asked one of the - I don't know - humongous group of mourners? What was happening? They said they'd been evacuated from the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square mall across the street because of a bomb threat. I had to ask why they were all wearing black. Was it a religious thing? It wasn't the Scientology 'black pants/white shirt' uniform. Something for a movie or television show?
Crappy iPhone pic of evacuees huddled under trees.
They all worked at Macy's. Black is their uniform. Anything black. Then they laughed and pointed at me. I was wearing black yoga pants and a black t-shirt. I fit right in with the evacuated Macy's employees. I looked just like one of them. I could have been herded into some bomb scare evacuation Macy's round-up for questioning as a terrorist suspect! I figured I'd better get the hell out of there. We got in the car and pulled away from the men and women in black.

It was weird. They were in every bit of shade on both sides of the street for blocks around, a couple groups of 20 or 30 people were marching down the sidewalk in one direction or another - not all in black, but mostly. It wasn't just Macy's employees, there are more than 100 shops in that mall. There were lots of people outside!
Crappy iPhone pic of evacuees evacuating.
I felt like I was in Men in Black, or that movie with Nicholas Cage and all the angels in dark coats who stop to watch the sunset. Or The Matrix.
"Men in Black"
"That movie with Nicholas Cage & all the angels
in dark coats who stop to watch the the sunset"
"The Matrix"
I just had to drive by the mall, since it wasn't cordoned off - just the entrance and the other side street were closed. I pulled over to try to get a good photo with my iPhone for Twitter, but it came out crappy. I was too far away. We drove by again and gawked at the cops and the security guards and the news vans pulling up and all the chicken people under the trees, and went to get something to eat. (I don't mean to say they were 'chicken,' like scared. We just started calling them the chicken people.)

There was a barbecue place nearby we wanted to try and when I looked it up on Yelp, it apparently had a killer happy hour, so we went to Mr. Cecil's on Ventura Blvd. It looks sort of like the House of Blues on the outside. Well, not really, but it sort of reminds me of the House of Blues.
Mr. Cecil's California Ribs
We went in and it was totally cute and comfortable. We sat at the bar, which is where you have to sit to get the happy hour specials, and asked the happy looking guy eating by himself what he was having. We ended up ordering based on his recommendations - exactly what he was having: a big ass bucket of beef ribs, (sorry, vegetarians/vegans, but I'm not in that phase right now and my doctor says I have to eat meat because I'm protein deficient and allergic to dairy and soy), hush puppies (cut in half with a little butter - my doctor also says I can eat a very small amount of butter for some reason, thank God), green beans with garlic and tri-tip tacos. Actually Michael ordered the tacos on his own. Al hadn't mentioned the tacos.
Check out this Happy Hour menu. And you get A LOT OF FOOD
for these prices! (I lifted this pic from
Al was the guy eating by himself watching the Cleveland Browns on the TV above the bar. There was some sort of kismet because the Browns are my dad's favorite team. He's CRAZY about the Browns, and is making me go to his friend Charlie's house on Sunday to watch a game. I'm a basketball girl. I don't generally do football unless it's the Superbowl or a bunch of friends are involved, but Dad just beat leukemia and he really wants me to go, so I'm intent upon going and having a good time.
What I'll be watching at 10am on Sunday.

Anyway, our food came and it was all fantastic. We were psyched. All good. So good I asked Al where he was eating tomorrow. He actually recommended a Jamaican place down the street called Sattdown Jamaican Grill, and you already know I have a thing about Jamaica. I think I'll like this place, too. Their motto is:

That's what I'm talkin' about. Mon.

Chef/Owner Tony Hyde
of Sattdown Jamaican Grill
Suddenly, Al was joined by four friends at the bar and we were a 'bunch'. We were talking and laughing and eating, and his friends were flirting with the bartender/waitress who was working the whole place by herself because the bartender wasn't coming in... kind of like the eye doctor. (?)

Anyway, she was adorable and kicking ass and we were all having a great time - me, Michael, my mom, Al, his friends and Alison the bartender - when Michael leaned over and whispered to me that one of Al's friends was Captain Sullenberger. You know, the airline pilot who ditched the US Airways plane in the Hudson River in 2009, and saved everyone's lives? That Captain Sullenberger.
That's the guy! Hi Captain Sullenberger!
 I looked again at the man I'd been talking with for 30 minutes and I swear... maybe it wasn't, but I seriously think that was him. Actually I thought it was Capt. Sulleyberger until Michael corrected me on his name. Mom didn't think it was him but admitted he looked just like him. I looked at him for the next half hour and I'll swear again. That was freaking Captain Sullerberger. Sullenberger. Whatever. We would have asked him... but we didn't.

Angelenos rarely call people out on being famous. It's not really a social faux pas, but we just don't really do it. Except when it's someone we really, really love and just can't help ourselves, then we try to casually say something without calling any attention to ourselves - and we'd never ask if we could take a photo. Although we will try to get a photo without anyone noticing, as if people can't tell we're really taking a photo when we're trying to look like we're checking our emails on our iPhone. And if we've had a few drinks all bets are off and it's photos all around!  : P

So we got some chicken wings to go for later (per Al) and had our big "Cheers" goodbye and the three of us walked out of there full, including our 'to go' order, for $41 plus a great tip for Alison. Happy hour ROCKS at Mr. Cecil's.

We drove past the mall again and it was still closed and the black chicken people were still in their shade huddles, but there were a lot more news vans now. We were thinking they should just let those people go home, but then realized that all their cars were in the parking structure that was cordoned off.

We heard on the news on the radio that the bomb squad had been called in because of a suspicious package. You can mess up a town if you forget a package somewhere these days. I remember a freeway being closed down because of a package, which they had to blow up to make sure it wasn't a bomb. 
Moonwalker Bomb Robot

It was actually somehow comforting to see all those people getting the hippity hop out of that mall so quickly though, and staying out till the 'all clear.' It was a great fire drill, anyway. Never hurts to be prepared. Makes me want to go buy one of those fire ladder things to hang out my second floor apartment window onto Hollywood Boulevard that I've been meaning to get since I moved in here seventeen years ago.
Note to self: Tuck a pair of yoga pants & a t-shirt into that ladder thing, so you don't have to run around in that pink satin robe all day,
especially since you'll have a cat in a day pack on your back.
2nd Note: Keep a day pack & a pillow case with that ladder thing, so you can throw the cat in the pillow case and stuff him in the day pack.
Copy that. √
We got back to Mom's house and watched the mall on the news, while I looked up Captain Sullenberger to see if it was really him. Again. I swear it was him! It even said online that he's working at CBS News now, and the L.A. CBS Studio is right up the street from Mr. Cecil's. I'm telling you, it was him. I'll ask him next time we go there. Or Al, or Alison. It sure looked like him.

It's funny. We could have lunch next to Johnny Depp (and have) or dinner next to Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston (and have) but the one we get all giddy about is the airplane pilot hero. And I guess that's the way it should be.

Oh, and it wasn't a bomb.  Which is good.


  1. When I go to the eye doctor, all that happens is someone gets an eye exam! You overachiever!

    p.s. I've never understood this whole blowing something up to make sure it isn't a bomb strategy. If it's a bomb, ISN'T THAT WHAT THEY WANT IT TO DO?!

  2. I love your plan for the fire ladder and pillowcase. Brilliant!

  3. Hi Skye,

    That's what I'm saying! Stuff keeps happening to me... When am I going to get time to back up and write my retrospective!?

    I often say, "I'll sleep when I'm dead." I can't blog when I'm dead though, so something's gotta give. ;)

    As for the blowing up the bombs thing. That is weird, isn't it?

    My story never even made it to the 11:00 news! I guess they were either embarrassed to have given so much attention to a pair of unaccompanied 9 West pumps (or whatever it turned out to be), or maybe they just don't want to give freak balls any bright ideas about shutting down Disneyland with an empty box.

  4. Hey Amy!
    One day I'll blog about having to jump from my 2nd floor balcony after giving up on finding my cats in the smoke. (We were all OK, my neighbors weren't...)

    But now I think about that kind of stuff. I could scramble down the trees without a ladder if I had to where I live now, but it wouldn't be easy, and I'd definitely need to toss Cokie in a bag and climb down with him on my back.

    In fact I'm going to start keeping a cat carrier in Cokie's room and one by the front door. That way I can always at least throw one out the window before I make my news worthy (or at least Twitpic worthy) descent.

    And the pillowcase thing is an old trick of my mom's. We didn't have 'cat carriers' when I was little. We use pillowcases!

  5. We useD pillowcases, that is to say. I have cat carriers now. I still use pillowcases in a pinch though.

  6. Boy, I hope you don't have many days as.... interesting! as that one. I think that would wear even a drama queen out!

  7. Man - my life is really boring compared to yours. What are you doing for excitement tomorrow?