Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Local Apartment Dweller Gives Thanks For Colder Weather, End Of Interminable Swimming Pool Season

By Nita Keswick, Quilt staff


Despite rising fuel costs, Ron Milanek couldn’t have been happier when he finally turned the heat on in his one-bedroom apartment last night. 

“The lower temperatures should mean that a lot of the bullshit around here, if not over, is at least going to be quieter than it usually is for the next few months.”
Ron Milanek.

Cooler weather traditionally means that Canoga Park’s boisterous populace will be spending more time inside which may result in fewer people congregating below Milanek’s balcony around his apartment complex’s pool — an outcome that this Thursday, he’ll be thankful for.

“I actually moved here for the pool,” he admits. “It’s kind of ironic because I’ve never gotten to enjoy it.” 

Photo courtesy Ron Milanek.
Milanek notes that during warmer weather, despite the pool’s posted hours of nine a.m. to nine p.m., “people are out there from about seven a.m. until well after two a.m., blasting music, cursing and fighting.  Kids are screaming constantly. Constantly. I think the capacity for the pool area is 22...? There’s usually about sixty people there on any given day. Or night.”

“All of the patio furniture ends up in the deep end pretty much every weekend,” he reports. “And almost none of these people even live here — I have no idea where they come from.”

“Two weeks ago I woke up and looked out the window to see some guy giving himself a 'Reseda bath' [cleaning one’s anus with a damp shop rag —Ed. ] in the shallow end. I watched him go out a side entrance to the RV that’s been parked in front of the place for the last three months.”

The 38-year-old Walmart shift manager thought he’d seen it all until late September when “there was some crazy standoff involving a guy with a gun down there. Not only could I not use the pool, the cops made everyone stay inside. I got written up at work for being three hours late.”
Standoff Room Only: Vassar Avenue was crowded with both helpful lookee-loos
as well as a bevy of emergency response professionals in September — thanks to an
old-fashioned summer poolside standoff, inconveniencing one and all.   Staff photo.
“The only time I’ve ever been able to use [the pool area] was one morning in August. I went down there at 9:30 when it was somehow empty,” says Milanek, originally from Chatsworth. “I wasn’t there for two minutes before I cut my foot on a broken beer bottle and then as I was stumbling around trying to stop the bleeding, I burned my other foot on a pile of hot charcoal from a barbecue that someone dumped out by the side of the pool the night before.”

Alcoholic beverages, glass containers and grills are all prohibited in the gated pool area, though, to be fair, copious graffiti on the heavily-vandalized Pool Rules signs does make it hard to decipher.

Some argue pool rule violations are forgivable since signage may be difficult to read. Staff photo.
Despite the drawbacks of living by a pool he's unable to enjoy, Milanek admits — in the spirit of the holiday — he’s still grateful about his situation. “Those poor bastards who live near that piece-of-shit women’s club have it much worse,” he notes, referring to Canoga Park’s infamous anything-goes night club. 

And as for his ‘Turkey Day’ plans?  “I had to put in a request months in advance but I managed to get the day off and I’m looking forward to a nice, quiet Thanksgiving. My girlfriend and her parents are coming over so that should be nice. I’m doing all the cooking,” he says, opening his refrigerator to show off a large turkey and all the fixings of a traditional Thanksgiving feast. “Look at all this stuff! I spared no expense this year. I’m nervous but excited.”

Heading outdoors to the walkway outside his apartment door, a rare pre-holiday calm has settled on the usually noisy complex, further improving Milanek’s already pleasant mood.  “Tomorrow should be good, though. No one at the pool — and the unit next door is vacant, so that means peace and quiet. At last.”

The pool area as depicted on the rental ad Milanek answered versus a photo of the pool
on a normal afternoon. "I don't know where they got that thing," Milanek says of the top
image. "It doesn't even begin to resemble this place." Images:, R. Milanek.
Suddenly the quiet is punctured by the arrival of two men piloting clanking handcarts laden with cases of beer and oversized stereo speakers as they round a corner and roll down the walkway to stop at the adjacent door. 

“F_ckeen, we can move in the furniture an’ shit on Friday — after the housewarming party an’ shit. Man, this Thanksgiving is going to be off the f_ckin’ hook! Here, hold the lease so I can open the door an' shit,” one of them says to his friend while fiddling with a single key on a key ring. 

“Yo, what the f_ck you lookin’ at, homie?” he barks at Milanek.

Ron Milanek sighs, then calmly pulls his phone out of his pocket and Googles the number for Norm’s Restaurant in Van Nuys.

“Uh, hello.  Are you guys open tomorrow?”

Friday, November 4, 2016

News In Brief — November 4, 2016

A bountiful harvest of important news, in
easy-to-digest pellet form. Now gluten-free!

•   •   •   •   • 

Controversial 'Dia De Los Muertos' Festival Returns To Canoga Park
The polarizing, family-friendly Día De Los Muertos festival will take place on Sunday November 6, from 10 am to 5 pm. The event will feature a beer garden, a children's art pavilion, vendors and food concessions. Live music, Aztec dancers, chalk artists, and many unflattering effigies of Donald Trump are scheduled to appear. The annual street fiesta and classic car enclogment of Sherman Way has been a source of friction since its inception due to its controversial name. "Technically, it should just be Día De Muertos. The 'Los' in this case is completely unnecessary. Christ almighty, that 'Los' drives me up the wall every year," says Dr. Morris Detzer, head of Spanish Language Studies at Pierce College Winnetka. Canoga Park Friendly Neighborhood Council festival organizement chairperson Murla Havemeyer explains that "whoever filled out the Special Event Permit Application with the City of LA Bureau of Street Services back in 2000 must have thought ['Los'] was correct so that's why it's there. And I just re-submit the same application every year." Havemeyer suggests those bothered by the inclusion of the extraneous article "pull the stick out of their ass and find something worth complaining about. Like how China Buffet's been closed for the past month or so."

•   •   •   •   •

Popular Chinese Food Buffet-Style Restaurant, China Buffet, Closed For The Past Month Or So
China Buffet, a restaurant offering Chinese food in the buffet style, has been closed since sometime in late September. The eatery, at the corner of Sherman Way and Jordan Avenue, has been popular among locals for its $4.99 all-you-can-eat weekday lunch special. "But the thing is, you had to buy a drink, too, or they charged you $5.99. So it wasn't really $4.99. That's how they got you," explains local gourmand Téodor Pasternak. "What I would do is go up [to the buffet] like six times. I was useless the rest of the day, but by God, I got my so-called '$4.99' worth." A sign in the foyer of the locked restaurant announces that it is temporarily closed for remodeling although no such activity has been noticed by hungry passersby who have pressed their dirty hands and greasy faces up to the windows to peer inside.
•   •   •   •   •

Civic Media Organization 'Voto Latino' Tailors Message For Canoga Park
Voto Latino, a non-partisan organization aimed at encouraging young Hispanic men & women to exercise their right to vote, has erected a large sign specifically tailored to one of Canoga Park's largest demographics. The billboard, located at the northwest corner of Roscoe and DeSoto Boulevards, in Canoga Park's civic-minded Roscosoto neighborhood, depicts a normal campaign sign designed to appear altered to promote the organization's message. "We wanted something that would really resonate with the typical Canoga Park resident," says Voto Latino director of Hispanic cultural outreach, billboard division, Colleen Chang-Schultz. "And what better way to promote the ideals embraced by Canoga Park's enormous tagger population than the concept of a billboard illegally defaced with spray-painted graffiti?"

•   •   •   •   •

Fans of McMuffins, Illegal Street Racing Excited For Time Change
The Canoga Park Department of Clocks and Time-Keeping announced that Daylight Savings Time is upon us once again. Or will soon end. No one is sure which. "What's important is that residents remember to turn their clocks ahea—  no, wait, back one hour on Saturday at two a.m. Those with grandparents living nearby should expect calls asking them to come over and reprogram the clock on their microwaves," says department head Donald Kronester. The archaic clock rejiggering, a semiannual tradition for as long as most can remember, has ceased to serve any useful purpose since the advent of electric lights in the late 19th century. Adds Kronester, "The good thing is with McDonald's finally serving breakfast all day, you're not going to get screwed out of an Egg McMuffin if you forget about it and show up late. Or would that have happened in the spring when we lose an hour? I can never remember." The additional time will be put to good use by some as street racers will have an extra hour tomorrow night to enjoy Canoga Park's fast-paced and increasingly popular sport of illegal street racing. "Yo, I heard that we can f_ckeen tear up Topanga [Canyon Boulevard] between, f_ckeen two and three a.m. an' shit — and since that hour don't technically exist an' shit, the LAPD can't f_ckeen legally touch us," says illegal street racing enthusiast Davtak 'Davvy' Barsamian, "an' shit."

•   •   •   •   •

Nearby Areas
West Hills' Stolen Taxco Trails Park Sign Replaced
West Hills 'Exclusive' Neighborhood Council president Bob Rawlins announced this week "that our long neighborhood nightmare is over — the [Taxco Trails Park] sign has been replaced." The approximately one-acre neighborhood park, located at the corner of Platt and Saticoy, in West Hills' exquisite Platticoy neighborhood, has been missing its sign since late September when it mysteriously disappeared overnight. In an unrelated story, James "Jimmy" Tasko, 16, of Reseda publicly thanked his friends on Facebook "for helping me with that crazy shit we did a few weeks ago" and inquired if anyone knows how to secure a heavy eight-foot long piece of wood to a bedroom wall.