Tropichronic Packaging FAIL


I stare into refrigerators pretty frequently. I’ll swing that door, I haven’t gone shopping in two weeks, and yet I’ll open and stare at its cold insides over and over. I found this carton of OJ at my parent’s house. Tropicana wants to rescue the rainforest, 100 sq. feet at a time. Bravo. All they ask is that you log on to their site, and enter in the code. The code? It’s printed on there. Where? Who the fuck knows.

Find it?

It took me a few seconds. Maybe you’re quicker than I am. But I assume you got slightly annoyed. I did. I got annoyed that that code was hard to find, and my ecological code finding experience you created for me was ruined, Tropicana. I could go back to the carton of mystery, grab the code, save some wild toucans from going extinct…but seriously Tropicana? How difficult is it to add an arrow? I’m an idiot after OJ, and I’ve got milliseconds to be distracted from my beverage. You got in my way with some altruistic copy, but design wise, totally blew it. Make it easy for me. How none of the art directors suggested an arrow, or how a suggested arrow got shot down, is beyond me. Packaging fail.

I wonder how this went down when creatives got their first look after printing the prototype. And let’s hope there was a prototype.

Open on two guys , both wearing hoodies. It’s late, 2:35 a.m. One of them is eating Pringles, the other a Snickers.

“What the–? Did you see this packaging? It makes no fucking sense now with the numbers up there. Shit. How are people gonna see it?!”

They’ll get it. People aren’t stupid. Respect your audience.

People aren’t stupid? Can YOU find the code?

What code? There’s no code.

We are so fucked.

Picture 2But the grovestand gurus are no stranger to design debacles. Look at their new cartons. Arnell did some repackaging work months ago.

People hated it so much Tropichronic scrapped the residesign and went back to the old one.  Good move orange men.

And then, another flub. This doesn’t make me want to drink your orange juice any less. It’s better than beer, and I really like beer. But don’t expect me to fall into your marketing ploys any longer.

P.S. Been loitering by the fridge. Found some cabbage, cheese, and burrito size tortillas. Dinner!


Enter the Dragon

How come no one talks about Bruce Lee’s karate instructor? We think he was born with these mythical powers, but at some point, Bruce was getting his ass kicked by the older kids: Frank, that tall kid named Ken Yoo, and John Wong (the one with bad acne). They all beat the crap out of seven-year-old Bruce Lee after school in Hong Kong…and some twisted part of me takes comfort in knowing that.


My mom had us take karate lessons when were younger. Gil and I never made it past orange belt, but we still had fun dicking around in our shin guards and foot pads, breaking boards with our elbows and sending kids to the mat with a swift kick to the chest. We were likewise destroyed by older kids with mustaches during weekly sparring matches who should’ve never been let into class.

Nicky, one of the older kids – and by older, I mean 12 – would warm us up. Stretching and leaning and punching the air, i.e. wasting time. Pops was the owner and main instructor of Sherman Oaks Karate. He’s short, more heavy than set, and has maniacal Einstein hair. Frizzy and comes out from the sides. He probably has a lot of ear and nose hair too. My dad, the litigator, often runs into him waiting in line at the Encino Washington Mutual. Fuck you Chase. My bank will always be WAMU dammit.

ANYWAYS. My older brother Edahn, actually did make it far. He competed in a Kumite. Yeah, just like in Bloodsport. I was seven, and watching the jujitsu weapons competition was much more interesting. Kids my own age playing with Sais and Daggers and Spears! How fucking cool! Awestruck, I had to be pulled away to watch Edahn fight.

Edahn, under Pops’ tutelage, had quickly advanced up the ladder. Squaring off against kids from other LA studios, my heart filled with pride and acid reflux from all the soda. Meanwhile, Edahn was executing dragon sweeps and axe kicks on kids from Inglewood. The Small boys are famous for their long legs, and kids from all across the city learned their lesson that day.  Edahn was up 3-0 and moved forward. This big Asian kid came up next. No. Not Asian. MONGOL. A descendant of the Khan himself! Eight foot five, 280 lbs. at least. Danny Larusso versus Johnny from the Kobra Kai.

The fight started with points on either end. Minutes later it’s 2-2, first one to 3 wins. Sherman Oaks Karate was lighting the place up. My dad was taking pictures. My mom was putting Iraqi curses on the other team. Edahn was out for blood, cool and convincing. Gil and I were eating popcorn and confused as to what was going on, but excited when our brother dealt or received violence.

The ref started the action, and they went at it. The Mongol heaved forward for a punch. Edahn sidestepped him, then clocked the guy in the back of the neck with a ritch hand.  The ref blew the whistle. My brother was disqualified for an illegal move. Turns out Edahn was Johnny, making US the Kobra Kai.  He went home with a big trophy that came up to his knees. But I swear – when we brought that piece of fake gold and machined marble home, it towered over all of our heads.

Royal Grounds

Cafés are making a comeback.
My second home
an office
a place to sit
alongside desperate Melrose screenwriters
overworked med students
and a crow of Israeli mothers –
a Hebrew gang in pink jumpsuits
absorbing caffeine and the cappuccino gossip.
A blonde sits in a square table to my left,
her face weighted down with eye makeup.
Green gray sludge takes control of her eyelids
and ruins her job interview.

The manager has just given me the look:
‘You gonna buy something or what?”
I reach inside my pockets and jingle keys
My eyes scan the coffee menu
For a well-deserved minute
Until they give up
Now I’ll sit back down
to steal more wi-fi
and eavesdrop
on your conversation.

Thread Count

When the rain gets heavy we stay under covers
Looking to ride out the day under cotton

Your small face and palms resting on my chest
Prying for answers to questions too afraid to ask
The green rug cluttered with socks, burnt matches, earrings

A clumsy trail of sex and bitter arguments
Your jeans keep the chair warm, heels hidden behind the door
Don’t forget to take them with you when you leave

In the morning we are thirsty and crave carbs
French toast and coffee, head back to bed
We are without shirts on top of one another
And then
Why don’t you write songs about me?
The voice is yours – small, defiant, inquisitive.
The stillness of the moment
like the pelting of thick rain on cheap glass.

My eyes are distracted by the spider chandelier.
Bulbs out
a tug of chest hair.
Am I not inspirational enough for you?
My hands dig fast fast through her hair now
pull her head towards mine, kiss hard, let go…
It would be one of the last few times-
The words come when they want to.

In a few months she will wake up to me and leave.
And it will take months, months
To put this all into words.