Friday, August 01, 2008

The Rocket Has Landed

This is the 978th and final post on Rocket Fever.

After more than three years, this blog has fulfilled its purpose. I started Rocket Fever to tell the story of my journey into the uncertain world of my life after Cleveland. RF followed me through my rehab assignment in Lansing, and on to my regeneration in Los Angeles. Then it became a chronicle of the wonders of living in such an amazing city.

And now that I know the difference between the 405 and the 105, why the Clippers aren’t worth anyone’s time, where the city’s best lunch can be had ... it’s time to retire this Web space. Residency and familiarity have taken away the wide-eyed tone that gave Rocket Fever its voice.

That isn’t to say that my L.A. story is over. For the first time in my adult life, I’ve reached three years in a city and have no immediate plans to leave. I’ve been a mover all my life, stretching back to the days when my sister and I would go back and forth between our parents’ houses every week. I’m honestly confused over how to proceed at this point: Will I try and build upon a life in one place, or will old habits rise up and push me to some other point on the map?

I have no clue, but I do know that answering that question will be my next great adventure. One, though, that won’t be chronicled online. This will be a more private endeavor.

I’d like to thank everyone everywhere — Los Angeles, the Midwest, down South, the East Coast, abroad — for reading and commenting. We’ve had some lively conversations on Rocket Fever (mustard vs. ketchup, the relative merits of the drunk dial, olive burgers), all because of you. And a special thanks to Hud, my co-contributor on the site all these years.

Which leads me to ask: When will Maggie start her blog?


And always remember you can catch me at Hudson & Gaines, The City Desk, The Dopp Kit, and my Flickr page.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

First Quake!

A 5.4 earthquake hit Southern California today. It lasted for no longer than five seconds.

As luck would have it, I was using the facilities when it started. First I thought one of the exhaust fans on top of the building was going too fast. Then, when the walls started to shake, I realized it was a quake. I quickly went to the doorway (luckily remembering to zip up), as did my cross-hall neighbor, Will. We exchanged "Whoa!"s, and then it was over in a flash.

No damage visible here in Los Feliz. As you can see, a few things fell off shelves, but that was the extent of the disruption here.

Mike reports things are fine up in Glendale, except that Maggie was disappointed her nap was interrupted.

UPDATE: Suddenly aware of my own mortality, I'm getting tacos from Yuca. You just never know when that carne asada may be your last.

UPDATE: Through the strife, Yuca still makes an amazing chili cheeseburger.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

If you don't get goose bumps watching this, you're not human.

Bigger version here.

Thanks to Rotan for passing it along!


So there’s not tons to add to this, and I don't want to ruin the effect by overstating things, but I just can't get this video out of my head. What a gorgeous thing to have this four-minute piece of unbridled celebration pop up on your screen. Dancing, as it's titled, isn't a joke at someone's expense, it's not a political message, and it's only kind-of sort-of just-barely an ad for something (kudos to the sponsor for staying largely out of the way).

What a fun thing to watch! A hundred viewings will reveal a hundred new details: the guy in Paris who bites it as the crowd rushes in (:54), the kid in Fiji who flips into the water (1:26), the guy in Sweden on the right who might be the best dancer in the whole thing (1:33), Matt stopping to laugh on the Solomon Islands (1:40), the people on the bridge in New York (2:56), the toddler living it up in the right corner in Mexico (3:24), the guy doing a John Carlos-inspired move on the left in Brazil (3:35).

And I'll be happy to engage in what The New York Times calls "one-world feel-goodism" in its piece on Dancing. All hail the genius of video editing for concentrating into a few short minutes the beauty and joy that exists everywhere. There's a lot of bad shit that goes down all over the world, and I understand why a lot of it is newsworthy. But a century of courageous international reporting on upheaval and destruction has left too many of us looking at the world with a skewed perspective. Karis, my globetrotting girlfriend, has taught me what this video shows: The world is dominated by benevolent people who go about their lives same as everyone else, and a few of them love dancing in a crowd.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Three Years of Independence in Los Angeles

It was around July 4, 2005, when my Ford Focus and I ended our cross-country journey to L.A. We had bested urban obstacle courses, endless plains, mountains in the clouds, violent storms, mechanical failure, Utah, and the searing desert heat. It most certainly doesn't seem like yesterday.

Happy Fourth of July, everybody. Rocket Fever loves you.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Introducing The Dopp Kit

For years, my good friend Brent and I have had a running conversation about male grooming in general and shaving in particular. We talk shop about products, technique, mystique. After so many evenings of such back and forth, we recently hit upon the idea to start a blog on the subject.

The Dopp Kitt, in its first couple weeks of existence, has already hit upon various creams and aftershaves, the unfortunate tinkering P&G has done to the beloved Old Spice brand, and, um, baby wipes. But the blog is going to be much more than just a litany of product reviews. As I write in the introduction:

The few square inches comprising a man’s cheeks and neck are his domain in total. They are his ever-changing canvas, a lifelong work that may be perfected but will never be finished. ...

Every man shaves. The organization man shaves every day. The independent shaves as he pleases. Even the most pious Muslim must have shaved once. Splash warm water, apply lather, scrape with a blade. This is the ritual that each of us share.

Brent and I invite you -- all of ya, women included -- to submit your own posts on the vagaries of grooming. Especially about the best way to get at the area directly underneath the chin, my personal Bermuda Triangle of shaving.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Big Uno

One of the joys of my life for the past year has been watching Margaret June Hudson grow up. This is the most time I've ever spent with an infant, so I never appreciated how new humans change almost every day. In 12 months she’s gone from a kitten-size package with closed eyes to a Buckley-size little girl with eyes that melt your heart. I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens next with Mike and Becky’s daughter, and I'm already in line for tickets to her Nobel/Pulitzer/MVP acceptance ceremony years from now.




Friday, June 13, 2008

The Long, Satirical Arm of the Law

R.J. White and I have cooked up a new occasional feature for The City Desk: a police blotter highlighting some of the more notable acts of law-breakage in the city. Check it!