May 30, 2001: The Countdown Begins… Escape from LA, Part 1

All of this started playing out 16 years ago today – thought I’d bump it back to the top of this blog to rekindle the memories…

Escape from LA
by Roger Darnell

Wednesday, May 30, 2001: The Countdown Begins

As I sat at my desk at the end of the business day (night) on Tuesday, I knew I really needed to get some sleep to be ready to start loading the truck bright and early the next morning; surveying my office, though — still largely intact — it finally also sunk-in to me that I needed to get it packed, once and for all. Fast forward to 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning: I’d worked all the way through the night, the office was 98% done, the house was a scattered array of semi-packed boxes, furniture and closed boxes, all ready for the truck, and we were off to pick up the truck from Budget in Van Nuys on Sepulveda Blvd., the same place where we’d returned our truck from the 1998 move West. This truck was a little bigger — a sign that the move was a success? — and the car carrier, destined to transport our Honda Accord back across the country, may have been the same one we picked up from New Orleans on the previous trip. Beth had slept very little as well, so the recollection of truck-packing day is a little blurry. We were smart enough to request a couple of movers to come to our house at 9 to load the truck, and by 11, they were done. By 5 p.m., Read more


You Are Momentous

Happiness is more within our reach than most people seem to realize. There are many time-honored ideas and practices we all can embrace to help us increase the joy of living. This project is dedicated to John Lerew, a friend who recently passed away too young, and it’s offered as a simplified formula for achieving happiness by being momentous.

Written, produced, directed, photographed and edited by Roger Darnell: All rights reserved.


March 6, 2012: Computer 12,000

Roger Darnell

Copyright © Roger Darnell 2012
All Rights Reserved

Complete blackness veils Armstrong, sitting in age-old spot in space once known both as “living room” and “office” by owner of long-ago disconnected home, now set in increasingly bad neighborhood in suburban East Los Angeles. Dull sound like chirping crickets is all Armstrong knows besides black vagueness, odd lights and vacant memories.

Crickets raise subtle din in reality, just as depth of night slides past nanosecond by nanosecond.

Moon invades home through windows in living room and front door, and in kitchen’s door and above its sink. Foreboding shadows of night filter home’s front rooms and dusty, aging contents as though radiating darkness in through thick trees outside. Faint light-wisps trace former owner’s abandoned living room furnishings: couch, chairs, tables, light fixtures, full bookshelf adorned with old-fashioned slide and movie projection equipment, each one aiming out its concave lens in starved surveillance.

Oscillation fans also from by-gone era further decorate far wall.

Set in corner against near wall is fifty-inch flat panel television monitor with 1930s-style radio receiver set on top.

Near there, centered on main wall, is desk… upon which rests 27-inch LCD computer display, keyboard and trackball – all wireless – and below which stands slim computer tower, plugged into lifeless power strip and other small, important-looking devices. Inside CPU is Armstrong… or at least, was. Whether or not he will ever again be remains unknown. Read more


June 3, 2001: Home At Last… Escape from LA, Part 5

Sunday, June 3, 2001: Home At Last

In case you missed yesterday’s report, we did finally catch my dad (aka Big Jim, or BJ) at Cracker Barrel, along with Peggy, my step-mom. We all had a nice dinner together somewhere around 9pm, and then we all made it to the Ramada there in Crossville, Tennessee. But darned if BJ didn’t have another trick up his sleeve, and sure enough, he beat us to Boone… by about an hour!

First, though, I need to back up a little. Read more


June 2, 2001: Almost There… Escape from LA, Part 4

Saturday, June 2, 2001: Almost There

The wake-up call came at six Central time, and it actually succeeded in getting Beth to arise (it most certainly was wasted on me). Once awake, this hotel wasn’t a hard one to leave quickly, but we were a little worried to find Callie sitting in the front window, considering that pets weren’t allowed. Oh well — we figured that, if we receive a call from someone asking why they’d seen a one-eyed calico cat in our hotel room’s window, we’ll just say,

“You saw a what?!”

Read more


June 1, 2001: Catching Up… Escape from LA, Part 3

Friday, June 1, 2001: Catching Up

Waking up, of course, there they were, under the bed; and there I was, lifting the bed so Beth could scramble under to grab them, give each of our cats their ‘medicine’ and stow them in their carriers. This stuff is getting easier….

We’d settled into a nice hotel on night one, but still the sounds of the highway and the endless passing trains got us going early — or so we thought. Read more


May 31, 2001: Simply Grand… Escape from LA, Part 2

Thursday, May 31, 2001: Simply Grand

It was time to get up and get moving, but by letting Maggie slip under the covers and curl up, we were able to grab a few more minutes’ rest. Lying there returning to our senses, all the great memories were just cobwebs; the focus was all about getting on the road. All the last junk was piled near the door soon enough, and we made it to Budget by seven, just after they’d opened, to get Dad registered to drive the truck. We were among the first customers in our favorite breakfast spot on the planet (thanks Alan and Fran!) and added BJ (Big Jim) to the long list of immediate family members who have traveled the country to eat there with us. Anyway, that was the last of LA. We got back to our place, loaded the car and pulled away. Ventura Boulevard to the 405 North entrance Read more


Jan. 5, 1998: Glad 2BN Glendale

And, indeed, it was lights-out for those cats at about 6:45 on Monday morning. Beth was having none of Callie’s hiding under the bed trick — went right in after her — and the carriers were soon stuffed and loaded into our barely-recognizable car, and we into our Isuzu Turbo huge-windowed cab, the accelerator mashed into its position against the floorboard and 60+ mph average began counting down the 370 miles separating us from the property we’d agreed to lease for the next twelve months. Arizona continued impressing us with multi-colored silhouetted mountainscapes, and Saguaro Cacti covering stretches of mountain range most other plants had given up on. We thought about stopping before Blythe at the border to California, to take a picture. By then, Beth had been driving for about 40 miles. The “Now Entering State of California and Western Time Zone” sign was in the middle of a bridge across a river — no room to stop. However, after another sign, “All Vehicles Must Stop Ahead,” we found plenty of parking space at an agricultural inspection station. Read more


January 4, 1998: Praising Arizona

It was 4 in the morning when Maggie woke me up to let me know Callie couldn’t sleep. I got up and played with them a bit, peeking out the window to see that our possessions were still ours, then climbed back into bed to make the most of the warm bed where, unbeknownst to me, Beth was having a nightmare. She had also been woken up and had seen me looking out the window, but then, she fell back asleep. In her dream, I turned to her from the window and said, “Well, we might as well get going,” and she’d gotten up and started packing, swearing under her breath, “I just want to sleep; why can’t he just sleep for awhile longer?” Read more


Jan. 3, 1998: Tex Take Two

At the free continental breakfast at the La Quinta (which in Spanish, according to a famous comedy routine, means Next to Denny’s), we met an older traveling salesman named Frank. As we spoke, he told me I need to get an agent in LA, and also that I’d do well to tie-into USC. People might not have much advice to offer if you move to many cities, but it seems almost everyone knows the recipe for success in LA. Frank seemed to have the handle on the basic ingredients, didn’t he? Bidding him adios, we loaded our cooler with more than our allotted number of free bananas, got in our truck and were on our way into our ‘hump-day’ — the day in our journey when we’d pass the half-way point. Read more

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