Humble Origins

The original Microsoft headquarters, Albuquerque, NM. Annual gross revenues, $16,000.

The first ten employees, plus a pizza delivery boy who stepped into the lower left of the frame by mistake. Any one of them could purchase a small nation today, for cash. Original Intel HQ, Menlo Park. I happened across these pictures on a listicle and it struck me just how…Van Nuys-ian they were: low-rise, utilitarian and anonymous.

Could this mean genius is flowering in my neighborhood, underfoot yet unrevealed? If not genius, then a fresh, paradigm-crushing business model? Is someone quietly assembling the next Death Star just beyond my back yard? Let’s take a walk into the world behind Target and find out.

Empty, but I think they used to make furniture out of recycled wood.

“Deliveries in reap.” This building say go away and says it with unintentional poetry.

Looks empty, but was recently the production offices for Workaholics.

Full to capacity, but in the business of renting space for someone else’s dreams. That’s a very old paradigm.  LA 1.0.

Sketch Paper Design, a post-production facility.  Promising. Plus a pirate flag, which isn’t. Too self-referential.

Somehow I don’t think Document Engineering, Inc. is headed for the NASDAQ. Glover looks like B-roll footage for a crime story on the local news.

I found this logo plastered on a door to a windowless bunker and was instantly intrigued.  What the hell is The Lucky Hand, Inc? What is the significance of the hamsa, the eye in the palm?

Nothing on the exterior hinted at what lay within. The row of well tended roses only enhanced a riddle straight of Thomas Pynchon, like the Trystero society in The Crying of Lot 49.

Look closer, said the palm.  I ward off spirits.  I am known since antiquity as a protector against the Evil Eye.

Well…a little Googling tells us it’s an air freshener company.

Killing evil odors, that’s Van Nuys for you.  Better as a mystery than a product. But then mysteries usually are.  Humble score: 100.

Walking to Target

First we saw two people in a bathtub
First there were two people a-frolic in a bathtub
Then this lady committed seppuku
Then this lady committed seppuku

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Then this girl appeared out on nowhere and asked if she could use my phone.  She ‘needed a ride’.

So I lent her the phone and she proceeded to talk for ten minutes about how Julio needed to come over right now and ‘smoke her out’. Cause she wasn’t gonna take Araceli’s b*******  anymore.  She was tired of it.  She was done with that, so done with that, you have no idea how loco and she needed to get high and she was tired of everybody’s stupid b******* and no one listened to her anyway.

She got down into a squat and rotated away from my gaze,  murmuring and gesticulating.  Finally I walked around into her field of vision, and she turned away from me, annoyed to have her privacy intruded upon.

‘I’m just going to be a minute.  Okay?  Jeez.’

She took another five.

She handed the phone back without thanks and started throwing rocks at a metal pole.

I see two lessons here.  Always take the railroad tracks instead of the street. Don’t lend your phone to strangers.

The line starts here

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Holding up deal coupons, Target, Van Nuys.  Thanksgiving Day. Discounted flat screens, Playstations and other temptations which would cause one to forgo dinner with family, await.

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Back in the break room, employees prepare to face the horde.

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Wal-Mart, Panorama City. Taking no chances with civil unrest.

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All the way around the building, four hours until doors open on Black Thursday, formerly known as Thanksgiving.