Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Changes and More Changes

Lately, I haven't written much about anything else besides The Henderson Press, my DVD reviews, my newfound, but probably long-simmering, love of sandwiches, and my new lifetime goal of reading all the Star Trek novels available. It's because over the past few weeks, up to spring break this week, Dad has been at work at La Mesa Junior High and the weekends are really when we do anything, but then it's just errands which aren't always worth writing about. I can find a story in anything, but over myriad visits to Walmart Supercenter and various supermarkets, we just know what we need to get and then we go. No real need to observe what's around me because I've seen it all before, with the long lines, the one line at the Redbox machine, kids spread around the store, whichever one we're at, and more. There's less personal value in it for me because I know all this too well. Meanwhile, once we get to Henderson, with Las Vegas nearby, I know I can flood this blog with stories for years on end. If you can't write in Las Vegas, then you should quit. I will never quit.

There was something telling today when we went out, though. The food court has begun to change in the Westfield Valencia mall. Kato Japan, which we've known for years as what we pass when we enter the mall through the food court and that we've tried once or twice, is gone. The former location has a black curtain across it. The sign has been either taken down or covered up in the same black fabric. On the second floor of the mall, right when you get off the escalator that's across from the mall's main entrance, there used to be a dog shop, with dogs in cages behind plastic windows. It closed last year and was replaced by a motorcycle accessory shop, which has also closed. On our way back to the food court from the Shops at The Patios (as the area is called), where we went to see if any new eateries had opened up before we four fully decided on the food court (Mom and Dad were waiting at the food court while we checked), Meridith and I saw that the motorcycle shop was gone, yet there were black plastic curtains covering the windows from behind, with a slight view right down the middle at the entrance. We peeked in and found that there's going to be an arcade there, and someone was inside, installing one of the machines. No pinball machines from the little I could see, but it makes sense. The only arcade in the Westfield Valencia shopping district is next to Edwards Valencia 12, called Full Tilt, and it's a sad-looking arcade, with the machines perpetually on sale, with price tags stuck to them.

My only question is: How does the mall plan to manage this? I can already sense occasional fights among teenagers, and kids hanging about for hours, so what's the plan? It's probably why I didn't see an arcade at Galleria at Sunset in Henderson. Security at the mall doesn't want the added burden of that, although kids are much more polite in Henderson than they are in Valencia. They're more genuine too.

While Meridith had a salad from Burger King, Mom a Whopper, me a Double Whopper, and Dad something from Panda Express, I noted how when we live somewhere for many years, nothing really changes in the area. And when something does, such as a furniture store being replaced by a bank, as it was next to the Sheriff's station near the mall, it's so subtle that it doesn't mean anything. But now, with the makeup of the food court changing, with two as-yet unclaimed spaces that have been boarded up for some time, with an arcade going into the mall where I'm sure no one expected one (though I'm sure the owners are going to get some good business from it), it's clear that massive changes only happen when we're getting ready to move.

Another case in point is when we went to Big Lots in Canyon Country before we went to pick up Tigger and Kitty from Precious Pets Grooming. Every single time we've gone there, from the first time to the time before this one, when Big Lots was offering 30% off items on a Sunday in early March, I've always struggled with how many DVDs and books to get, based on what interested me. I spent a lot of time each time counting books, counting DVDs, gauging my interest in every title I held. Some I kept because I absolutely needed to read it, such as Never Break the Chain: Fleetwood Mac and the Making of Rumours, and some I gave up, like Slam by Nick Hornby, because I still wanted to read A Long Way Down and wasn't ready yet for Slam. I know one doesn't lead to the other, but I've got to really want to read a book and I didn't want that one yet.

Today at Big Lots, for the first time ever, I bought nothing. I had picked up I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee, and That's Entertainment! III, and Michael Clayton, and carried them as I looked at an utterly devastating book section, but decided that I didn't need them so badly. I thought of watching Michael Clayton to see how Tony Gilroy is as a director before The Bourne Legacy comes out, but it doesn't matter; I'm still going to see The Bourne Legacy. Samantha Bee's book seems more like a read from a library, and I bought That's Entertainment! because of the crumbling MGM backgrounds, showing the stark reality of Hollywood, while actors like Fred Astaire and Esther Williams introduce clips. I don't think I'd find the same in That's Entertainment! III, since that came out in 1994, well after the MGM lots had been sold off, which is why they were in such a state of disrepair in the first movie. I like watching reality puncture Hollywood puffery.

That I walked through the book section--picking up one book, briefly reading the inside flap, and putting it back not five seconds after, with the process repeated a few times--without picking up anything that I really wanted to buy, shows the sorry supply at Big Lots right now. I don't know if it will change, because there were at least 10 copies of the extended two-disc set of Peter Jackson's King Kong, at least 15 copies of The Astronaut Farmer starring Billy Bob Thornton, and I lost count of how many SpongeBob DVDs I saw. No Star Trek DVDs that I had hoped to find, which was really worrisome because there was a slew of them when I wasn't looking for them three visits ago. But there were the same Star Trek figurines from the latest movie that were there last time, yet still no model of the Enterprise. Shouldn't that be part of this collection of figurines? I have no favorites among that group in the movie, but I do love that starship.

Disappointing as it was not to find one book or DVD that I just had to have, I'm happy at this development because things always change when we're getting ready to move, besides the moving part, life will change, and this time, it will be for the best and greatest, as high as those adjectives can go. It makes me wonder what else might change in this valley before we leave. It's bound to happen more and more. That's just the way it works.