Gone Fishin’

Gone Fishin’

Last Friday I went with some friends down to San Pedro, where we hopped on a boat and went out into the ocean for some evening fishing. It was my first time on the ocean, which was quite a pleasant experience. It was also my first time fishing since my early teenage years, and I can assure you that there is quite a difference between fishing on the ocean and fishing in a small Midwestern pond. Once I got the hang of it, I began reeling ’em in. I managed to catch six fish total, two sculpin and four halibut. One of the sculpin was too small so I had to throw it back. I had the other filleted on the way back to shore and ate it for dinner Sunday night. The fish was tasty and the fishing trip was a lot of fun.

In other news, I recently stumbled upon the following quote from Alec Baldwin:

“What Vick did is, obviously, senseless and reprehensible. But I believe Vick, as a wealthy and talented athletic superstar who performs his job out in the open before crowds of amped-up and highly opinionated fans, suffers an unfair disadvantage as compared to, say, the heads of a meatpacking plant or the directors of a medical research lab where animals are suffering the cruelest imaginable abuses behind walls and doors that remove them from our sight and, therefore, judgments.”

Alec Baldwin expressing his views on the Michael Vick case in the Huffington Post.

While on one hand I tend to agree with the spirit of what he’s saying here, he does seem to oversimplify a bit, lumping arguably legitimate causes (food and medical care) in with much more difficult to defend practices, namely a barbaric entertainment ritual and senseless gambling. Anyway, I just thought it was an interesting topic.

And finally, via greenlagirl I found this fascinating site that serves as irrefutable evidence that democracy is a farce: MAPLight.org. Enjoy!

Why I Don’t Blog

the javajunkee with a goatee
the javajunkee with a goatee

I guess I’m going to have to just get back in the habit of posting random pictures and videos I find on the Internet here, because at least then I’d be doing something with this blog. I’m starting to realize that I like tinkering with things and figuring out how they work more than I like to use them, in many cases. Setting up WordPress on my site, finding a theme, adding plugins, modifying the look/feel… that was all so much more entertaining than writing a blog post from time to time.Then again, maybe I just don’t feel like talking about my life, for fear of sounding self-absorbed. Because I’m totally worried about that. By the way, here’s a picture of how I look with a goatee (in case there were any doubts about my self-absorption):

Anyway, in terms of what’s been going on with me lately, I’ve been staying pretty consistently busy at work. That, and every weekend I have either service obligations of some sort, or various types of gatherings/activities with friends. It’s all pretty enjoyable, but leaves little time for blogging. One event I went to recently was a “Blogger Prom.” It was a pretty cool event, packed with some of the most well-known bloggers (and twitterers) in LA. I felt shamefully outclassed, not only because my version of dressing like the it was the 1980s was to wear a suit that fit like I hadn’t worn it since the ’80s, but also because I’ve gotten to be about as prolific with my twitter account as I am with my blog. Nevertheless, I had a great time with T doing a review on how to hack clash of clans, and I even got to hang out and chat with Moye and meet her friend Lisa. They handed out raffle tickets at the event for drawings that were held periodically throughout the event for various types of door prizes. (Pauly Shore even called out some of the winning numbers.) Those who didn’t win any prizes were free to turn in their tickets at the end of the night for a pretty awesome goody bag. Somehow I managed to misplace my ticket at some point in the evening – I think I tossed it out with a napkin. I turned out every pocket of my three-piece suit at least a handful of times trying to find that damned ticket before finally giving in to the fact that it was gone. I cursed the fact that I seem to be prone to losing things (lost my cell phone and digital camera last year, and had my GPS unit stolen, among other things), and went home goody-bag free. T assured me she’d split some of the goodies with me to make up for my loser-ishness.

Photo concept stolen from Moye. Along with arrow.
Photo concept stolen from Moye. Along with arrow.

Anyway, that was a few weeks back. Since then, I went on a trip to Columbus, Ohio, for work (where I got to see Yuka), and went on a few other local outings. Last week I went on two LA-specific outings. For starters, my friend M has been trying for a while to get me and some of our other coworkers to come along to a Flypoet event in Inglewood. While it is a shade of difference from the type of poetry we typically workshop in my graduate studies, or the stuff my former coworker Kim Young writes, it was still rather impressive. As T observed, sometimes spoken word artists strive to make up for what they lack in poetic quality with volume of delivery. The acts we saw last week were thankfully not those types of artists. They were all quite skilled, and I liked some more than others. I especially had a fun time with some of my coworkers on the ride back to the Valley from Inglewood, laughing and joking about the “My Visit to Inglewood” essay I could write as a small-town boy from the Midwest about the scandalizing experiences I had. (And while it was a good laugh at the time, I can’t for the life of me remember what happened that night that would qualify, but you get the picture.)

Next up was the Dodger game I went to with 50 of my closest friends on Friday night. At least, that’s what it felt like. One of my coworkers looked into what sorts of group rates were available for a trip to Dodger Stadium, and it worked out that we could get tickets for $25 a piece to sit in the “all-you-can-eat” section of the outfield. The game was rather entertaining, as baseball games go, and the company was nice. A couple of friends and I managed to put down 7 Dodger Dogs over the course of 12 innings. We were pretty proud of ourselves.On our journey across the vast parking lot near the end of the game, we came across one of our coworkers who’d left during the 9th inning with her son and granddaughter. They were still looking for their car. They described the vehicle to the handful of us, and we fanned out in our paths toward our van. Just a few rows up, I spotted her car almost as though I’d known right where to look. I called her cell phone and did my best to navigate her to where I was, i.e.: “I’m in a row of cars… just walk past the other rows of cars, and turn left when you get to the row I’m in…”

As we rode back to the office in the van, one of my coworkers was commented that he was amazed that I’d found the car so easily. I jokingly explained that my knack for finding things that belong to other people must somehow be related to my aptitude for losing things of my own. I didn’t bother to mention it, but in the last year and a half I’ve lost at least one pair of sunglasses, a digital camera, a smartphone, a netflix dvd, and probably some other things I can’t think of at the moment. (I’m inclined to include my GPS unit that was stolen out of my car in that list… but I had help with that one.)

Once we arrived back at the office and each got into our own vehicles and rode home, I was pleased with the evening we’d had at the ball game. I may not be a sports fan, but I am able to enjoy and appreciate games from time to time.I walked into my house around half past midnight and set down my things in the kitchen, only to see a reminder note that the cleaning lady was coming the following morning, and that I’d need to leave my share of the payment – $20 – on the kitchen table. I realized I didn’t have enough cash with me, so I went back to my car and went to the ATM down the street. This apple didn’t fall far from the tree, you might say, and since my mom is a crazy cat lady, I couldn’t help but be preoccupied with the stray cat wandering across the parking lot as I went through my transaction at the ATM. I was having off-and-on success getting the cat’s attention, but it simply stared at me like I must be out of my mind, and I wasn’t able to coax it in my direction at all. Oh well – it was late and I was about ready for bed.

On the way back to the house, I noticed that I didn’t have my phone. Hmm. Must’ve left it in the kitchen with my backpack. I got home and looked around the kitchen, and wasn’t able to find my phone. I searched my car. No phone. I went back to the ATM. No phone. I came home and searched the kitchen. Still no phone. I ransacked my car again. Still no phone. I made my third trip of the evening to the stupid ATM, and still no phone.

At this point, I was kicking myself in the ass repeatedly over the stupid “finding other people’s stuff and losing my own” comment. My blackberry had been a (costly) replacement phone to make up for the last smartphone I lost, back in November of last year. What was I going to have to do to replace this one?

I resigned myself to the fact that I must’ve left it at the ATM and that someone picked it up, and hoped that the person who snagged it would be an honest person. It occurred to me to check out where the phone was using Google Latitude, and I could see from the most recent signal that it was somewhere in Chatsworth, but not at the ATM. Then it occurred to me to use Google Voice, the service through which I recently scored a new SoCal phone number, to send a text to my phone asking the finder to please email me. Then I went to sleep.

Lo and behold, when I woke the next morning, I had an email in my inbox asking where I could meet to retrieve my phone. Hooray for honest people!! I picked up my phone shortly after noon, and rewarded the finder with a $20 Starbucks gift card (cash would’ve seemed so profane… but now that I think about it, so does supporting Starbucks).

The moral of the story is, if you want me to hold onto something for you, I’d recommend that you staple it to my hand.And with that – I will strive to write shorter blog posts in the future, in hopes that doing so might increase the speed with which I get them posted.

Done and Done

the grimace was from the glare, not the pain of saying good-bye
the grimace was from the glare, not the pain of saying good-bye

As I mentioned in the previous post, my hopes last weekend were that I would be able to sell my motorcycle after the buyer had it checked out at the local shop. The mechanic said it was a great bike, but that the front seals would need to be replaced soon, and so I was only able to sell it for the minimum I’d set for myself, $3000. All told, I probably lost a couple/few grand on the whole experience, but it’s finally off my hands, so it’s time to move on. One nice bit about the sale is that the buyer instructs skydiving and also works at a place with a windtunnel skydiving simulator, and he said if I come early on a weekend morning I might be able to try it out free. So I’ve got that goin’ for me.

I’m not sure why I planned it out this way, but as soon as I got rid of my secondary vehicle, I dropped my only remaining vehicle off at the shop for repairs. The up side was that I brought my bicycle along to get myself to work after dropping the car off, and realized that I’d forgotten how pleasant it can be to ride the bike to work. Sure, I get a little sweaty, but I end up feeling somewhat energized, too. Unfortunately, it took all week to finish the $2k repairs on the car. I had engagements in Bakersfield on Tuesday and Malibu on Wednesday, so I had to rent a car for two days, which left me feeling like an asshole for declining rental car coverage on my insurance policy. I will be rectifying that situation very soon. I picked up my repaired vehicle Friday afternoon, and it looks good as new. Still, I don’t think I’ll be able to shake the sense that the car, which was brand new just one year ago, is now “damaged goods.” Oh well. This morning I rode my bike to work again, not because I had to, but because it feels nice. Maybe I do still have two vehicles.And now here’s a picture of the cat who lives in my apartment, just for fun:

I see right through you
I see right through you

Progress, not Perfection

bastards can't parallel park

I am moving along very gradually in my efforts to take care of the damage that was done to my car three weeks ago. Today I finally called the LAPD to file a report, and then went online to file a claim with my insurance company. It turns out that my deductible is in fact $1000, as I feared, so I could end up paying for all of the damage out-of-pocket. Lame.

I am also finally about to sell my motorcycle. A guy came and looked at it last weekend, and seemed to like it. He’s paying to have a mechanic give it a good once-over tomorrow to ensure that it’s free of problems, and as long as everything’s in order he’ll stop by Sunday evening to buy it. I’ll be sad to see her go :-(

What the Hell Happened Here?

Colin and I spotted a banged-up truck on Parthenia somewhere between DeSoto and Winnetka and snapped this photo on the way back to the office. From both directions (to lunch and back, that is), the appearance of the damage made it seem as though it must have been inflicted from above. I’m sure there’s some rational explanation for it, but I prefer to think a small UFO made a not-so-soft landing in the truck’s bed.