when i flew to california after high school i had no friends here

quite a change from Illinois where i had gone through kindergarten to high school knowing pretty much every single kid.

was i popular? when youre the only Black kid in your grade it helps to be popular, but for sure everyone knows you. i was also loud.

santa monica college, 1984, michele had ripped runned fish net stockings, a skirt of some sort, a raggedy sweater, converses with words written on the sides with lipstick, she had the blues eyes the blackest hair and more lipstick on her pout

i said hello to her in the outdoor arena where bands would play at lunch time.

she had a wild looking friend with blonde dredlocks and barbie head earrings.

both a bit intimidating because not one girl looked like either of them in my preppy midwest high school, but this was exactly what i wanted when i moved to LA so i said hello again

i have no idea how i got a date with her but i did and one led to 100. she lived in malibu in a neighborhood where every house is worth at least $2 million, but she was not rich, far as i could tell. maybe her dad had money since he was an engineer way down in manhattan beach but their house was modest and so full of love.

the mom, the brothers, michele, the cats, the food, the open mindedness of everyone.

when i say i have had a charmed life this is exactly what i mean. if i had picked the blonde, none of this would have been the case. but fate put michele next to me and even though we broke up three times, we got back together repeatedly and i learned that Geminis are just like that, as is the world, so just roll with it and stop taking everything so personally.

she taught me about U2 and poetry and journalism, as in that was a path one could actually take and make a living from, and it would be honorable. before her i just assumed it was created inside a hollowed out volcano somewhere and delivered by magic.

we went to foreign films and talked all night on the phone and kissed and kissed and drove and drove because i lived in inglewood which was 32 miles away. 

worth it. every time. every single time.

after a while her mom said oh tony just spend the night.

i was so catholic and so midwestern and such a virgin, i declined the first few times but you do get drowsy after smoking a little weed on zuma beach under the stars.

i forget where i read it or heard it. it was either a model or a porn star or an actress who said

guys move to california and they think they’re gonna meet some hot native californian and make out on the beach and live the life everyone sees in movies but not it’s not like that.

and i know the world famous busblog says nothing in here is true but lets pretend for this minute that sometimes things are true here

you can move to california (or wherever) and you can have whatever it is that you want

and it will not be what you expected it to be.

but it will be perfect for you.

and sometimes it will be even better than you ever dreamed of.

happy birthday michele!

so many prayers to the bu

When I first moved to LA, I had no friends. After a while I met a punk rockish girl at Santa Monica College who turned me on to poetry, environmental issues and journalism. She was amazing. She lived in Malibu.

We started dating and I would drive all the way out to her place by County Line, just above Zuma. She still lived with her parents, who were so nice to me. They knew it was a long drive back to Inglewood where I lived and they suggested that I spend the night out there more than she did.  Even her brothers were great to me. It was a dream.

I tweeted to her today to tell her that I was thinking good thoughts about her sweet parents. She replied saying thank you, that they had evacuated safely. But she said the house was in the path of the fire and things didn’t look good for it.

Even though the dad was an engineer, his wife and kids were basically hippies. Beautiful, loving, throwbacks. Sometimes you think, oh it’s ok if a house burns down, they’ll get insurance to build a cool modern replacement, but if there was one family who wouldn’t want a modern anything it’s them. They would prefer that their quirky, humble, super-real home remain as is.

And that’s what I’m praying for tonight.

When I saw this Wally Skalij image from the LA Times of what appears to be some emus and a donkey at Zuma today, I thought, yep, that’s so Trancas. Funky, weird, and super chill.

im gonna see U2 today

its the 30th anniversary of the Joshua Tree record.

30 years ago i was dating Michele who loved U2 and we would listen to them all the time.

we went to the concert at the Sports Arena and it was so good i cried more than once.

tonight i will probably cry again even though they’re playing at the cavernous Rose Bowl.

i often think to myself what a lucky life i have had. Michele was my first friend in California and ended up quickly being such an important person in my life.

she turned me on to poetry and environmental issues, she majored in journalism, lived in Malibu and was so into the Cure and U2 and foreign films.

id drive all night to the furthest stretches of Zuma to see her and walk to the beach and sleep in her parents house and talk about everything you could ever imagine. i would be such a different person, and i doubt a better one, if i hadnt taken the risk and said hi to the pale, red lipsticked girl who had scribbled words on her chuck taylors.

i would love to be going to this show tonight with her.

today is michele’s birthday, shes 24

michelethe best things ive learned ive learned from women.

and the least likely things ive learned, i learned from my girlfriends

i have been extremely lucky with love.

these women have all been super smart, and thankfully patient, but most of all, genius

michele lived in malibu. i loved her family and fortunately they loved me right back. i tell these stories every year because i like to remember them.

the drive was always so long to get out there but it was always worth it. we talked a lot, she and i. we were so young. people worry but they shouldnt. some kids just like to talk with their gf/bf. hold hands and watch movies.

its weird that now i work right across the street from our favorite movie theatre: this little indie place that specialized in foreign films. i lived in inglewood at the time. i would drive to zuma, hang with her family and we would drive into hollywood and watch a movie, then id drive her home. then id drive back to inglewood.

it was a lot of driving. i was 20. what did i care. i loved her. what wasnt there to love? dark hair, red lips, blue eyes, pale skin and the most beautiful words from the most concerned mind. she was from another world. i was from the dirt. she was from the heavens.

she would see a whale in the sea and cry. shed stand by the railing and it would swim and she would see an entire novel. a mini series. she would weep during the sad parts and bawl during the happy parts. and it all took place in seconds. i didnt even look at the whale because there was a damn movie happening in her face. the weirdest and most beautiful movie. she’d apologize for crying and i’d apologize for not crying.

she taught me about poetry and journalism and the rest of my life has been about

well, not about whales.

not yet. that is.