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Visit to LA

Sylvia and I were in LA this weekend. Big billboards. Big city. Coming back home, San Jose felt like a tiny country town.

We stayed with our friends Kenneth Turan and his wife Patty Williams. Ken and I were roommates back at Swarthmore, 44 years ago, and now he’s a film critic at the L. A. Times. Internally you don’t change all that much after your twenties.

Kenny came to hear my panel at the LA Times Book Festival — only one other panelist showed up, (Sandra Blakeslee, who also got her son Matt to be on the panel), so I got to talk a lot.

I said the missing panelists had snorted nanomachines at a party in Venice Beach and were present in the form of one nanomachine every square millimeter on the room’s walls.

We visited Coop a hotrod/Juxtapoz artist friend whom I met via this blog. He made me happy by saying that my Bruegel novel As Above, So Below resonates with him as a practicing artist. Note the alien orange orb that appeared in this picture of Coop in front of his latest big painting.

Coop is twins, and he’s married (I think) to twins, Ruth Waytz and Ruth* Waytz. Ruth has a knitting blog and Ruth* blogs photos of her daily life, kind of an interesting accumulation.

Coop* made his own hotrod, which I find really impressive. This used to be a Model A Ford.

He also has a large collection of Japanese science fiction action figures, including a number from the Ultraman (?) series. Readers of my book Frek and the Elixir may recognize these as figures of Unipuskers. My son Rudy gave me one of these figures before I started Frek, and when I was casting about for how some particular aliens might look, I used the figure. Coop says that the shape of this figure is in fact designed to represent a boy who was very greedy about hoarding his money that his head turned into a coin purse! I’d always thought of it as a clam-shell.

Sylvia and I drove around LA a bit, we came across an interesting block or two on Vermont Street just south of Hollywood Boulevard. I loved that this store was called SquaresVille.

A mural worthy of the Haight, or, hey, even better, it’s LA, it’s the big time. I love that chrome stellated dodecahedron head. Coop was talking about painting chrome too, which reminded me of a ray tracer program by Nick Chapman that I used the last semester I taught at

I walked on the beach in Santa Monica near the pier, ants in the grid, proud to be Californian.

Bye, LA.

7 Responses to “Visit to LA”

  1. Mac Tonnies Says:

    Wow — that’s some “orb” in front of Coop. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one so colorful.
    Who knows? Maybe it’s an airborne batch of nanomachines. 😉

  2. Ross Says:

    Has Kenneth Turan ever appeared as a character in one of your fictional works? I’m just curious. I read his pieces in the L. A. Times now and then.

  3. COOP Says:

    It was very fun visiting with you at the studio! Come back anytime!

  4. Steve H Says:

    Rudy, I haven’t changed much internally since my twenties except for cholesterol deposits in my pipes. Externally I’m about the same except for some weathering and grayness in the follicles. But, seeing Coop and what he does reminds me that I dropped out of art school because I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, and I didn’t know what that was until ray-tracing was invented. Finding an artistic outlet in my forties was a big change, internally, but I still act about the same so your thesis is valid.
    I’d have called it Mr Oysterhead instead of a Unipusker, but there’s definitely a resemblance: When everything is done and said, look out for Mr Oysterhead.

  5. Rudy Says:

    Re. Ross’s question about whether Kenneth Turan has served to inspire any character in my fiction, you might check out the hero’s roommate Ron Platek in my bildungsroman novel THE SECRET OF LIFE. This book, although out of print for many years, is available as an electronic book at w w w .

  6. COOP Says:

    I think that Kanegon’s head is also meant to resemble a clamshell.
    One of the things that fascinates me about Japanese monster toys (and further back, Japanese mythology) is how often the design references come from fish, crustaceans or cephalopods. My theory is that it’s because Japan is an island nation, whereas for those of us in the West, the great unknown for our European ancestors was the forest, which is why our monsters all seem to have fur, fangs, and claws.
    Or maybe i’m full of crap.

  7. Todd PArillo Says:


    Your art is so brilliant and it really shows how hard work pays off.I have never been to California but knowing your gallery is just down the road (eugene Ore.) I will make time to see the big delio!!

    a fellow arist.


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