Hollywood Permaculture, from Mad Scientist to Mad Comic

Next to bicycling, rail is the most “green“ form of transportation.  Appropriate then that I rode several trains today, from Carpinteria into Los Angelos and then around the city.  First was the Amtrak Surfliner, then the LA light rail Gold Line out to Highland Park to meet with Ray Cirino. 


The LA Weekly called Ray a “permaculture mad scientist“ and the name seems fitting. Ray’s zeal for ecological solutions was infectious, as he took me on a whirlwind tour through his realm of experimentation and invention, the pinnacle being a hybrid rocket/cob oven. Other inventions included a rocket patio grill, a parabolic solar cooker which ignited paper in seconds, a rocket patio heater he got up to 2000 degrees to temper metal and his current project, a rocket dragon oven built on a trailer to take on the road. Ray said he intended to help make life sustainable out of necessity, because the times are changing. The goal was creating neighborhood based food systems, water harvesting, simple living and demostrating that permaculture is possible.  

Ray hooked me up with a place to pitch my tent for the night:  the LA Ecovillage in lower Hollywood.  I rode the Gold Line to the Red Line then rolled my bike over to set up my tent. Then it was off to Meltdown Comics to hear my favorite comedian Marc Maron.  On a whim I sent Marc a too-personal email with the subject “I rode a bicycle 1100 miles to see you“.  For the first time, Marc wrote back and said he put me on the guest list at the show tonight.  I was flabergasted, and thrilled to see the comedian in person who‘d kept the funny alive in the depressing Bush years through his show “Morning Sedition“. Check out Marc’s current WTF Podcast for thought provoking and rib splitting interviews with other comedians, including big names like Robin Williams.


The Red Line dropped me on the Walk of the Stars, and I rode over to Sunset Boulevard for the show, but first had dinner at the Sunset Grill (yes, the one in the song).  I bought a Grilled Banana Nutella Croissant for Marc, keeping in the tradition that his fans have of overfeeding a self-admitted food addict.  But Marc kicked alcohol and drugs, so as he said, there aren‘t many pleasures left.

His comedy bit was hilarious.  Marc‘s genius at humor is making fun of the human condition, primarily he makes gentle fun of himself, his relationships with women, with food, with nicotine. He is a master of delivery, but not above laughing with the crowd. You can tell he loves the stand up. Then he dragged me up on stage and had the audience give me a round of applause too. Talk about an awkward moment. I guess I had asked for it, since I‘d written a pretty personal letter thanking him for helping me turn my life around. It was true.  Thanks again Marc, and keep the funny alive!

I rolled down Hollywood Boulevard after the show, high on my own Grilled Banana Nutella Croissant and on my joy at completing my trip in grand Hollywood style.

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