TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10
Three days after freestyle motocross rider Jeremy Lusk crashed headfirst into the earth while failing to complete something called a “Hart Attack Backflip With Full Rotation,” the Temecula-based daredevil leaves his broken body in a Costa Rican hospital bed and goes to his Maker. He was 24. Lusk suffered severe brain damage in the crash—obviously, even more severe than whatever wacky way his head was working after he crashed the very same way during the semifinals of the 2007 X-Games . . . and decided to keep on competing in the sport. Then again, personalities like Jeremy’s are the X-factor of X-treme sports—their crazy courage and the wonder of where it will lead them creating the bottom-line question that they answer with every trick in every event. We react naturally—with exuberance—when they emerge successful, or even just living. But we’re uncertain how to feel when they don’t. How do you mourn a fatality like this, a death that was perfectly preventable—if only the deceased had denied the thing inside that made him feel most alive?
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11
The reconstruction of the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony is nearing completion in the hills east of Temecula. As an artist, myownself—a creature of the fickle and whimsical gods of inspiration—may I just say that it’s fuckin’-A-bout time? It’s been more than five years since a wildfire roared through the small collection of cottages sprinkled across 10 acres of a 300-acre nature conservancy, where writers, artists and composers could retreat in solitude and get busy with their muses. Who knows where they’ve had to rendezvous in the meantime, but speaking from personal experience, cranking out 800 words of high art every week ain’t easy if you don’t have the right environment. No, I have never actually stayed at the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony. I don’t think my particular muses—the goddesses of Cynicism and Smartassery—work best in its small cottages surrounded by silence and absent such technologies as telephones, televisions and computer connections. To us—and I think I can speak for the girls here—alla that solitude just translates into no Internet porn. My apologies, Mr. Mindenhall, but no can do. As for all you other highfalutin’ creative geniuses who’ve had to do without your most-conducive environment for so long, well, I feel for you. Of course, that’s what she said . . . and bing-bang-boom, looks like I’ve done it again! Ain’t art grand?
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12
Anniversary of the night I broke up with my first girlfriend, Debbie. Drove home crying and singing along with Nazareth’s “Love Hurts.”
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13
Anniversary of the night Lisa—my fiancée of seven weeks—broke up with me . . . to get with a guy just out of prison. Drove home crying in a thunder-and-lightning rainstorm.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14
Anniversary of the night my girlfriend, Donna, broke up with me—moments after I arrived at her apartment in jacket-and-tie, holding a bouquet of flowers and a reservation at a fine restaurant and after she gave me a beautiful ceramic piece she’d painted with a heart at Color Me Mine. Drove home thinking, What the fuck? This year I spend the evening in bed with my laptop watching Wristcutters: A Love Story, which I have to pause for 45 minutes halfway through to accept the sobbing call of a friend whose relationship broke up moments before during a romantic Valentine’s Weekend getaway to the Sierras.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15
Anniversary of any number of first days of the rest of my life. I celebrate by watching the NBA All-Star Game.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16
The City of Industry planning commission, displaying the desperation of a hick town determined to put itself on the map (cartography alert: it’s already there), approves a plan to build an football stadium and retail complex in hopes of attracting a National Football League franchise. How passé. The longing for an NFL team derives from a bygone era when a big-league sports franchise really was one of the marks of a great city. But when the Rams and Raiders left Southern California after the 1994 season, this region opened a new era of sophistication—set a new standard for the truly modern metropolis—when it reacted by telling the NFL to screw itself. The Rams and Raiders left because the politicians of St. Louis and Oakland used taxpayers’ money to bribe the teams’ owners, the late Georgia Frontiere and the good-as-dead Al Davis. Good riddance. If the Rams or Raiders—or some expansion franchise—were playing around here we’d be saddled with watching their crappy games every week. The cities getting NFL teams these days aren’t the great ones, they are the Nashvilles, Jacksonvilles and Charlottes of the world, gullible towns that believe they are “major league” because they’ve been bamboozled into forking over millions of dollars to NFL crooks for a team that’ll be gone as soon as somebody else offers more. Welcome to the sucker club, City of Industry.