Safety First – Smart Phones Second

Look Ma. No hands-free.

Studio City Multi-Tasking Geniuses

I remember when multi-tasking while driving was considered changing CD’s.  No wait.  Let’s be honest.  Cassette tapes.  Okay, 8-track.  Compared to today’s daily driving ritual, changing music while steering and watching the road is primitive.  Today, everything in life – our conversations, our own thoughts, and yes, driving, has taken a backseat to our smart phones.   I’m sure I’m not the only one and in fact, every so often there is a tragic story of some nice housewife who died on a train track waiting for the Bed, Bath and Beyond website to upload.  I understand.  A good deal on towels is important.

 Driving The Valley Lazy

It’s a grey area for the law, but distracted driving is clearly black and white.  The cops have a right and should pull you over if they sense you’re not in the present world of driving.   Seeing you engaged in the deep world of online stuff, no matter if it’s searching for an open restaurant, they will nail you, as they should.  Me, being a writer, my mind is constantly going.  I’ll be on the road and suddenly a new idea for a screenplay or simply a great Tweet will occur to me.  I will pull over and park.  I don’t care if it makes me a little late.  I have decided the idea in my head is more important and so is my safety and everyone else’s.

Ventura Boulevard Movement

Maybe it’s the music that comes on the radio or a news report or you pass an intersection which brings back subconscious memory and triggers your deeper thinking creative mind strategies, but for me, driving stimulates ideas.   Like working out at the gym.  Physical movement gets my mind going.  It’s like when I moved from L.A. to New York. Suddenly 25 years of being in a car was now replaced by walking this giant myriad of concrete structures, this mysterious canyon of people and ideas and commerce.  Not so much on a flight. Even though I’m moving much faster, it seems slower.  Time to sleep, read or watch a film.   Not for strategic creative thinking, which is what I’m good at.  However; driving along Ventura Boulevard does move my mind.

Searching on Google Maps is one thing; checking Facebook is another, but writing an email to a colleague, while you’re at a stoplight is almost okay, but I wouldn’t advise it.  You may be in the middle of a thought then awoken out of it by the impatient honking of the guy behind you.  

The Drive of the Valley

But, it’s perhaps driving in the San Fernando Valley which is such a unique experience. In some ways it’s like living in a small suburban town which sits in the middle of one of the world’s biggest metropolis.   Studio City is just this nice section of the Valley you can find great restaurants and shops and still find quiet off the grid streets where the cutest of homes live.   And, yet, Studio City is a showbiz town.   CBS Studio Center (aka Radford Studios) is right here, where they shot Mary Tyler Moore, Gilligan’s Island, and even going way back to the Keystone Cops.   Right across the street from Trader Joes.

I called 818 Cash for Cars

The mind is mysterious thing.  It can look for answers even if we don’t know there’s even a question.   Things can plague us. Those things we want to take care of but never do.   I had a car I loved, literally to death.  I drove it cross country three times and it was just sitting in my driveway like an ex-wife.  It’s visage nagging me incessantly.  Finally, I decided to do something about it.  I called 818 Cash for Cars.  Within an hour and a half, a rep was at my house with cash in hand and all I had to do was sign a few forms and hand them over the keys. Easiest thing I’ve done all day.

You can really get lost on those little smart phones and ironically they can easily block out the larger world outside your car.  Do yourself a favor and pull over, park, then look at your phone.

Be safe out there.


Short Cuts, Ice Coffee, and Laurel Canyon

Like making coffee, 818 Cash for Cars is simple and tasty.

Life’s Little Short-Cuts

One of the greatest little joys of living in Los Angeles, is finding your own sweet little short-cuts.   This is especially true of The Valley.   Just last night, I was coming down Laurel Canyon south towards Ventura Boulevard and about a block before Ventura was a chance to make a left onto a diagonal street.  That little street is called Ventura Place.   Streets can be like unknown actors.  You never know they exist until you see them; then you need them.

Laurel Canyon: The Vein of L.A. to Studio City

Studio City my destination and two short blocks and I was a making a cut-through past several cars waiting at the stop light.   Saved me some time and put me in my direction.  I probably saved a couple of minutes waiting for the light to change at Laurel Canyon.  Laurel Canyon, the vein of travel from the middle-class values of the San Fernando Valley through the hidden hippy, rock n roll and movie star world of the canyon and through to Hollywood, where all the magic is manufactured and spit out onto the world.

Hoity-Toity SUV’s

Drivers seem a lot more aggressive in the Valley than they do on the other side of the hill.  Maybe it’s because the Valley is so spread out, they feel safe driving like a maniac because there’s supposedly less cops.  And, indeed, I’m sure the Valley is much harder to police than the other side of the hill.  Especially since West Hollywood and Beverly Hills have their own municipal police force.  But, why the traffic tension, you may ask.  It’s often these impatient high-ticket SUV’s.  Like they own the road and have no idea or don’t care they are pummeling a deadly weapon your way just because their biggest fear is they’ll arrive 30 seconds early at a hoity-toity restaurant.  Forget them, I say.  They are miserable people driving around tiny little houses on wheels and hate the world.

Ice Coffee Magic on a Hot Day

Short cuts are a good thing in life.  I like all kinds of short-cuts.  For example, I have a system of making coffee that saves time.  I make it in advance of when I need it and let it drip in the freezer so it comes out like ice coffee.  I know. Imagine hot water dripping through a coffee filter in a freezer.  Another shortcut in my life is 818 Cash for Cars. More than once I’ve had to get rid of an old car of mine like a bad cousin camped out on my couch too long.  I don’t have to hassle with putting an ad in the paper or online, then have to deal with people calling me and coming to my house.  But with 818 Cash for Cars, all it took was a quick and friendly phone call and within an hour, a representative was at my house with cash in hand.  I signed some paperwork and gave them the keys.   Then I enjoyed some nice ice coffee and ruminated on my new secret way of making a left on Laurel Canyon.

Be safe out there.


Great Driving Music Can Make the Difference

Your Personal Soundtrack

If you’re like me, you worry about everything.  Especially when it comes to your car.  Living in a city like Los Angeles, you’re gonna live half your life in your car.  And, when you’re not in your car, you’re gonna be worrying about it, paying for it, keeping it healthy, safe and running.  The right music can make the difference.

Image Conscious Driving

It’s hard in LA if you’re image conscious and who isn’t. Let’s face it.  For me?  It’s all about getting from point A to point B.  I’ve lived in cities around the world, like New York, San Francisco, London, where having private transportation is actually a deficit, not an advantage.  Streets are too small, parking a job unto itself and why bother when you live in major cities with state of the art public transportation.  Unfortunately, L.A. really hasn’t had fully functioning public transportation system since forever.

You Aren’t What You Drive

I’ve had the honor of owning all sorts of cars in my day.  And whether it was a beater I had to drive between big pay-days or a leased Beamer, I’ve had the experience of always seeing someone else with a better car.  It’s natural.  And, if your car ain’t up to snuff; if there’s some body work needed doing or it just doesn’t have the juice you want to feel under your feet, you can always turn to music.

The Right Music

Having the right music playing can take your head space to a place where the type of car you have doesn’t matter.  A decent sound system and these days you can plug your smart phone in and listen to whatever you want.   I love soundtrack music.  Trainspotting is a great one.  The combination of random selections from Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Pulp, Primal Scream, Blur and more, makes for a great drive.  Good music on the box in my car elevates me to that great feeling of freedom and inspiration.  I can tackle anything.  Even gridlock on the 405.

Enjoy Pulp’s Mile End from the movie soundtrack Trainspotting.

Drive safe,

Steven Alan Green 5/24/17