On the Corner of Self-Absorption and Regression

During the Renaissance, egomaniacs of privilege had paintings of themselves commissioned. They put on dour faces as if inconvenienced by the whole thing, but unless they were of royal lineage, no one was holding a gun to their head. They loved every minute of it. It was all just part of the act.

Later generations went for pop art images of themselves a la Andy Warhol. The bright quadrant of cartoonish images screamed, "I'm hip, I'm rich, and I must be colorblind!" The less wealthy went for caricatures of themselves, sketched at Disneyland and at beach boardwalks.

But Los Angeles isn't just an egomaniac's mecca; it's the land of babies. Once people come into money they hire people to make them grilled cheese sandwiches and make their beds. They get swimming pools and install elaborate water slides. They stand in line for three hours to get the newest iPhone and have public tantrums while waiting for it. What sort of self-portrait would cater to these foot-stomping arm-crossing whiners? They want to see a likeness of themselves sans the flaws, but also want to cater to their over-indulged inner child. What better way to achieve this than to have their image encapsulated in a toy?

The medium du jour? The Etch-A-Sketch, created by Etch-U-Sketch.

You can purchase your likeness in size small or large, without the magic eraser powder. You can order a poster print of your image. You can even purchase a sped-up video of the process to embed into your Facebook page.

For those not nominated, not cast and not auditioning, this slice of validation can be hung over mantels and in the grand foyers of your family home. Hundreds of years from now, your descendants will peer into that red plastic frame and think, "Wow, they really must've been something."


Hunting Down Kogi

Oh the Kogi truck, that ever-elusive roach coach. Worshipped by hipsters and glorified by L.A. Weekly and Thrillist, the vehicle pops up only in the trendiest of places. Too cool for the old-fashioned Sunset Strip, it swings by The Edison downtown, K-Town, Silverlake - even East L.A. Forgettable, even gang-infested neighborhoods are made trendy by the Kogi truck, and boast about it to all who visit. "Forget the chalk outline of the body on the ground," they insist, "The Kogi truck was here!"

City corners that are desolate one minute will suddenly fill up with cheerful, anticipating crowds. Some aren't even hungry but will eat it anyway. They are determined to taste what the hype is about, and just as determined to brag about it, hence adding to the hype.

What does the Kogi truck serve? Mexican Korean fusion. Warm Mexican corn tacos are filled with Korean barbecue, and seaweed salad replaces the salsa. It's divine. How do I know? My friends and I finally encountered the wandering trendmobile, and were so excited, we took photos.

How does one know where the Kogi truck will spring up? People stalk and hunt Kogi's whereabouts the only way they can; through Twitter. One could go to their new permanent fixture, but it just wouldn't be the same. In this age of convenience, we ironically have a sense of satisfaction of hunting it down ourselves.

Catch the Kogi truck HERE!


The Haunted House of San Pedro

I wish to report that a friend and I did a drive-by of the infamous haunted house in San Pedro - the Jackie Hernandez house. Urban legend has it that an ashen-faced corpse of a man with a red flannel shirt tormented the resident. Documentary footage showed an orange-reddish substance oozing from the walls, and tests returned claiming it was blood plasma high in copper.

Like any supposedly haunted house, I am never scared of the ghosts, but the fed-up residents who have to deal with weirdos like me. Some say the house was on 355 11th St., but that ended up being a well-preserved Victorian, and didn't match the documentary footage. Like many Californians who think anything built before the 80's is "old," I think residents tagged it as the Hernandez home because Victorians have the generic haunted sheen from horror flicks.

Others said the house is on the 500 block, so we cruised the second alleged address, 591 11th St. After the infamous Manson murders, Sharon Tate's abode was torn down and given an all-new address. That seemed to be the case in San Pedro as well. The house numbered 591 was missing and the facade standing where it should be looked brand new. Did I mention the shirtless chubby guy grilling in the backyard? Yea, that killed it for us.

My friend and I took a picture of both facades. Discuss.