Yesterday I was downtown bringing Leah dinner, and since I paid to put the car in the garage I stayed in town for a little while to make it worthwhile, and I walked around on the Promenade. There were about a million people out there. Today I didn't get outside all day, so when Leah got home from her evening activities I asked if she would take me out, and she did. And we went to the Promenade, and there were about ten people there. It being a Monday night instead of Sunday makes a difference, and so does that yesterday was balmy and beautiful, while today it's cold and alternately drizzling and pouring down rain.
[note: I decided to start taking advantage of the 'extended entry' feature here in MT, to reduce load times for the front page. Click the link there to keep reading; or, if you're already reading by entries, ignore this little interjection.]
It was all good, though, because we didn't have to fight our way through crowds, and there was no one in most of the stores we went into (though sadly there were so few people in the Coffee Bean, where Leah wanted to buy a cookie, that the guy sweeping up had to call someone from the back to tell us that there were no vegan cookies to be had). We even got some personal shopping assistance in the Gap, where I was looking at things I might want for my birthday. The only place that was crowded was Barnes and Noble, where I took Leah to show her a great book of Japanese teen fashions I saw there yesterday. I wish more people around here wore stuff like that. That is, I wish they wore stuff like that if they could do it in a fun and lighthearted way, like the folks in the book (most of them anyways) seem to be doing, instead of the horrible pretensious wise that most Americans trying those sorts of fashions tend to display.
Now we're home, and despite that we wanted to be in bed by 9:30 today, are still awake. Leah is training again tomorrow, as she did today; and thus has to be at the store at seven in the morning, as she did this morning. So we'd better get sleeping soon!
It took me a little while to figure out what it is that seems so odd about this grid style of road layout which we have here, but now I've done it. (Actually, I did some time ago but I never had occasion to write about it before; since I didn't do anything today worth commenting on, it now gets its chance.) And that odd thing is, there are no small residential streets.
Really! Sure, some cross streets are less important than others: only about every third one gets a stop light on the big up-and-down streets. Really, though, that owes as much to the need to not stop traffic entirely on the streets going into LA than any superiority inherent in thoroughfares like 17th here; 17th isn't visibly any more a big street than, say 16th. The result of this is, you can be in a little residential neighborhood and go two blocks over, and all of a sudden there are restaurants and cell phone stores. It isn't that one street has both kind of things: there are houses on some parts of Mass Ave and commercial establishments on others. It's that what I'm used to is a branching road structure, where you go from main roads to secondary roads to lanes to driveways. There isn't anything like that here. There are main roads (Olympic and Wilshire one way, Lincoln the other), but all the rest of the streets, like our 17th here, vary startlingly in their nature, and it changes the whole idea of neighborhoods.
Ah well, it's interesting to me anyways!
Aaron tells us that today was probably one of the nicest days we're going to see in LA, and nice it sure was. It's been raining a ton lately, but today was clear, and the rain had the effect of clearing all the junk and smog out of the air, making it as clear as I've ever seen it here (and about as clear as it ever could be: that is, all the way). It's amazing: we can see all the lumps and bumps of the Santa Monica Mountains just west of town, we can see all the way to the San Gabriel Mountains over on the other side of LA in the north-east... we can even see the horizon out on the ocean, instead of a vague indistinct blur! Indeed, one better: we can see a little piece of that horizon from our roof! Woohoo, sea view! even if it is about two inches long at arms length.
We were up on the roof because asides from being clear it was also sunny and warm, nay, hot; the hottest it's been in two weeks, since Valentines Day or so. And like she did Valentines Day Leah had the day off, so we spent all day hanging around and doing nothing: cuddling, eating and lounging around on the roof sunbathing and reading and drinking beer. Actually, only I drank any beer: it was left over from the Superbowl, so you can tell we're big drinkers here. It was a little past its prime, I'm afraid, but still quite potable. We also made some ice tea (it was so hot it practially demanded we do so) which was a little more refined and civilized.
Asides from all that relaxing we also cleaned house some, especially in the bathroom, which really needed it. I would describe some particulars, except that I don't particularly want to relive them at this moment. But be assured, dear reader, that you would find them amusing were I to recount them. Aaron also had the day off, and whether we inspired him with our cleaning or he had the same idea himself, he cleaned up his and Kimberly's room something fierce, and in fact put us to shame. Ours is more an on-going project, you know. The only problem with this parallel cleaning effort was, he tied up the washing machine all day with his massive pile of laundry (which was all Kimberly's, I imagine), so we were barely able to make a dent in our own (all Leah's I can assure you). On-going, on-going. But it's more relaxing that way.
I shouldn't try and do any web design stuff when I'm tired like this, much less messing around with the horror that is Moveable Type here. Being appreciative of the comments you folks have been leaving (thanks! and keep em coming, it's great to know people are reading our nonsense!), I thought I'd finally fix up the comment listing pages so they don't have that blue header and other oddities, which resulted from me never paying them any attention before. And I don't think I made things worse, but they aren't all the way better neither. Ah well, tomorrow I'll fix that.
And if I do, it'll be one more productive thing for me than I managed today, because I had a very slow non-productive day. I played some computer games, but I guess that hardly counts. Leah, on the other hand, worked ever so hard all day--because really, if truth be known, she does most of the work over there at that store. Only it's all work that everybody else doesn't think about, or they only notice when if it happens not to get done, so they don't always appreciate nearly as much as she deserves. Which is frustrating and stressful, as I'm sure you can imagine. I don't do much around here, but I did manage to cook her a dinner of coconut bismati rice and curried tofu and chickpeas (the former tasting somewhat better than the latter), but she's already done away with any superiority I may have thus gained by baking me a treat for my birthday. But I can't eat it yet, of course, so more about all that tomorrow.
Well, actually it's my birthday. But you just can't deny those Beatles.
And a nice birthday it was. Leah had to work, but that just let me loaf around all morning (and also work on my little home page a bit) so no complaints there. Plus, she had a good day at work so so much the better. She was done at 4:00, so I went in and we walked around a bit and went down to the beach, and then came back to the promenade and went to my (sometimes) favorite restaurant, McDonalds, for dinner (actually we went to the food court there, so Leah could get some real food while I ate my processed fat). Sadly, something--it may have been the McDonalds, but I'm not pointing any fingers--made my stomach a little upset, so I didn't get to eat any of the delicious cheese pie Leah made for me. I did have some for lunch, though, so that was all good. (I should note that my desire for cheese pie subconsciously represents my stuggle against veganism: it contains only one ingrediant that Leah can eat, and that one is refined sugar. Heehee.) Then Leah gave me my presents--clothes, but that's what I asked for so it's not her fault. I even got a present from Kimberly (she's not only a housemate, she's also Leah's boss!!) because she felt bad for taking Leah away from me on my birthday. She gave Leah something too. All in all it was a wonderful day, and I sure am lucky to be living with such a nice girl.
Oh yeah, lots of people sent me nice birthday wishes and e-cards too, which were all most appreciated! Thanks everyone!
So besides being my birthday, yesterday was also the birthday of Eileen, a woman Leah works with. To celebrate she invited a bunch of people to some sort of bar or club in Hollywood, but since apparently driving over there is rough, she and her boyfriend rented a van to ferry the whole lot. Which meant that they all had to first gather at her house, which is nice cause it let Leah and me show up there and pay our respects, without having to go dance and things. We can't do all that, cause we get tired.
But we certainly did our duty, cause we were over there for about two hours, which is certainly long enough for a respectable party on its own. It was kind of fun being with real humans of my own age in a social setting, which I haven't done in some time. Not that I'd want to do it on a regular basis, you know, but every once and a while it's probably healthy. One thing that did cheer me up, though: the birthday girl herself was turning 30, and everyone else there (with the exception of baby Leah at 22) was around the same age. And while obviously more mature than me in many respects (the respects that I don't care about, mostly), they sure were't old responsible adults neither. So as I enter my 28th year (that's what it is after I turn 27, right?) I can take heart and take hope that maybe, it isn't all over quite yet.
Like was the case a few weeks ago, Sunday coincided with a sunny day, hotter than the average run. Today was hot indeed, amazingly so; it's still hot now at 10:30. Everyone was out this afternoon, on the Promenade, at the beach, driving their cars around or sitting in them, standing still, on Santa Monica Blvd. I didn't go anywhere in the sun: my enjoyment of it was limited to sitting on the roof reading. And I couldn't sit up there for very long, neither. It felt like an oven. When I went to pick up Leah from work this evening at 9:00 we walked around a bit, and it was cooler inside the stores than it was outside. At 9:30 at night. On March 7th. I'm not used to this.
We went to church this morning, the 11:00 service, and it was pretty nice. Better than the 9:00 they have there anyways, which I think is kind of silly. The only problem with the 11 is that they sing the communion litergy from the beginning to the sanctus, which is irritating to begin with, and more so when the priest has no real singing voice. It's not that she's a bad singer, really--no big problems with pitch--it's just not so pleasant to hear all those nasal vowels and hard 'r' sounds of her spoken voice come out without any change in her singing. Also they do the new version of the Lord's Prayer, which I certainly don't object to but is hard to get used to. It was fun to sing some, though.
The first full weekend of March marks the beginning of summer in Southern California, we find. It stayed so hot last night that I woke up a bunch of times from the heat, especially since we don't have any top sheets on the bed, only a comforter. It also probably didn't help that we had the windows open, and the highway (US 10) isn't so far away from us. They save the biggest loudest trucks to go by in the middle of the night, I find. All the opressive good weather makes us miss New England; awake at around dawn I thought it was cloudy out, and that pleased me much, but when I woke up later I saw that the sky was still as blue as can be.
But we mean to take advantage of the summer while it's here, and since Leah has the day off we're going to drive off into the wilderness and be tourists. If we survive I'll write all about the expedition in these pages.
Our little vacation is over, and it sure was fun. We return hot dirty and very tired and glad to have gone, but glad to be home again as well.
We decided to go south, down the coast to Crystal Cove state park, which is sort of in between Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach. For the latter half of the trip down we took US 1, the Pacific Coast Highway (it runs right by our house so we could have taken it the whole way, but between here and there it's kind of like the Atlantic Rt 1 in southern Maine), and there sure were some interesting vistas. Low flat wetlands backed 20 miles inland by the big old Santa Ana Mountains; expensive developments built in said wetlands with water access for each house, and masts poking up between the tile roofs; oil derricks scattered liberally among the luxery, including one on the grounds of the Hyatt Hotel (at least it looked that way); and all that luxery leavened by not only those derricks but five or six whole oil refineries or power stations, and about ten giant oil drilling platforms visible what looked like about three miles off the beach.
But we left all that when we got to the park. First we went out to look at the ocean from Pelican Point (we saw no pelicans, but I did see a roadrunner up on the bluff above the beach, which I though was pretty neat), and then went down to the beach for a while. Then we got back in the car and went up to the other part of the park, the backcountry part, where we hiked about 4 miles over the hills and through the canyons. Four very hot miles, I assure you, cause not only was the air temperature in the high 80s or even 90s (we passed an electronic bank sign that said it was 93), there was almost no shade the whole way, what with the no trees and all. There was onle little patch of trees down in the bottom of one valley, where a bit of a stream ran through, and I took a picture of them. As far as animals are concerned we saw a whole lot of rabbits, squirrels and lizards, as well as one snake, but no mountain lions or rattlesnakes, both of which we were warned against in the trail map. I can't say I was unhappy about that.
Then to cool off we went back down to the shore and climbed around a couple bluffs of vary curious rocks (more pictures were taken) and in and out of a number of sea caves (it being low tide). Down there we added a small white egret or herron to our list of wildlife, and it suffered us to come quite close indeed without it taking fright, but sadly my camera took that moment to run out of batteries. So we turned for home, stopping only to eat some delicious Thai food on the way.
The only unfortunate bit of the whole experience was, I made a delicious lunch for myself, but then in the hurry of getting everything else to bring I left in on the coffee table in the living room. So I whined and moaned about that for a while when it was time to eat, but Leah kindly gave me half of her burrito that we bought at the co-op on the way out, which was nice of her only it tasted too much like hippies for me. Fortunately we also had some chips along, so I survived. Mothers and other concerned individuals should also note that we were well covered with sunblock, so I didn't get any sunburn at all (despite the raging hot sun) except on my forehead, where all the sunblock washed off while we were on the hike, from the sweat.
So that was our day, and don't you know that we'll sleep better tonight than we did last night.
There was my birthday and this Eileen person's, and today it was Kimberly's. We don't see her very much cause she's always working, and when we do see her here at home she's usually working here too. Or collapsed in front of the tv, recovering from working. She's the acting manager at Leah's store, so she has to work more than anyone else there, even Leah, which is saying alot. So for her birthday we're making her a shirt (making use, for the first time, of the t-shirt transfers I bought about six months ago) featuring a slogan by Leah and a design by Danny: 'Eat soy,' it says; 'Drink Water, Breathe Lululemon' (Lululemon, in case I've failed to mention it before, being the name of the establishment in question). Then on the back it says 'lululifer #0903xx' for her birthdate (with the real numbers for the year in place of those 'x's, of course.
It's gotten a bit cooler out, and is all foggy as a result, but we still envy the folks back in New England their snow. It's no fun sleeping in all this heat, especially when we pause to think that it's going to last for the next eight months or so. We shudder to think. So we're glad the heat's broken for now, anyways; but if anyone elsewhere in the country is looking for a little heat, we'd be glad to trade some of ours away.
Just a little update from yesterday's post: Kimberly liked the shirt, and both she and Aaron were very impressed, having neither of them ever even heard of t-shirt transfers. And I put the design picture up for you to look at if you're curious.
It's nice, now that I've been here for a month and a half or whatever, to finally have a good solid base of food in the house. Not to say that Leah didn't own any food when I got here, but... I don't know how to finish this sentence. So for a while we had to buy everything for anything we wanted to make, which requires more advance planning than I can usually manage.
Now, though, we have flour and sugar and salt, and a reasonable array of spices, and two kinds of rice, and unopened containers of things like soup and peanut butter and pasta, so I feel like if I want to have a little snack or a little dinner the ingredients for something, at least, will be at hand. It makes grocery shopping a little less stressful too, cause I know that I won't starve if I forget something; but rather, each trip to the store is adding a little bit the bounty which is collecting in the cupboards. Of course, I still need to make special trips before preparing most dishes from actual cookbooks, to get things like coconut milk or mangos, but that is to be expected in even the best-run households.
You know you're all set when you find food you didn't know you had in the back of the cupboard. 'We have applesauce? Good deal!'
In entirely unrelated news, I'm thinking of moving squibix.net to a new host, not coincidentally one that offers mySQL, which would mean I could host this blog on my own site instead of being beholden to EVula. I don't have anything against him, sure, and rather appreciate his kind services; but it sure would be easier to make changes to the blog templates--especially the stylesheet--if I could edit them directly instead of through the MT interface. That would also let me add database-y goodness to the rest of the squibix web, starting probably with the poor old words site but extending eventually, hopefully, to the front page itself; saving me a whole lot of work in updating. That's the plan anyways. I've installed mySQL on my own machine here and progressed as far as creating a table of grocery items and prices. (No, I'm not fixated on grocery shopping: that was the first example in the book I have. It does tie this entry together nicely, though, now that I think about it..) What I haven't been able to do is make the database talk nicely to PHP, but that'll come in time, I'm sure. It seems to be a problem with my particular installation here, anyways. So, things to look forward to.
Today was very pleasantly foggy; the fog of last night was supposed to disappear early today but it never did. It wasn't really thick like a Maine fog, nor yet the sort of mist you get from warm weather over melting snow, but rather like a cloud blowing in from the ocean right at ground level. You could see bits of it moving: at the intersections you could see it flowing up the streets leading from the ocean into LA, even as far up as our house on 17th. And down by the shore it was thicker still, so that you could barely see the end of pier from the beach at all.
And I sure loved it. I really enjoy weather of any sort, which is one reason why I'm not a huge fan of LA; we get so little of it. I took a little walk and took some pictures to remember the situation, because I'm sure summer sun will be back before too long. Looking at the palm trees in the fog made me think of hurricanes. I wonder if they ever get those here?
Since I've moved I've been almost completely unaware of what's going on in the world; what with not getting the newspaper, not having a radio in the house that other people turn on, and having a million channels on the tv, a million minus four or so of which are not news. That's not to say I don't read, or listen to the radio, or watch tv: in fact, in my small way--about sports from the tv and about tech issues from reading on the internet--I'm perfectly well-informed. But as for general news, I don't get a great deal.
Not the I really mind the state of affairs, but I suppose it isn't really ideal. There are some big things happening out there in the world, after all! So I try and do something about it, but it's harder than I imagined. In Lexington, I could absorb all kinds of news by mistake: the paper open on the breakfast table, the radio on before dinner. Now if I want to be informed I have to make a conscious effort at it! And my time is filled up with other things--my time and set habits, both--so current events barely gets a look in. Things are changing now, though, because I've started to listen to WBUR over the internet; thus getting All Things Considered and Marketplace and things at a time when I'm more likely to be able to listen to them. Also I'm starting to get used to reading The Economist online, though it's still nothing like lying down on the couch with it and reading through from beginning to end. So I'm now upgraded to not completely ignorant, and if present trends continue I'm on track to be as informed as any other average American by the end of next week.
Leah had the day off today so we just relaxed all day, and loafed around, and generally enjoyed ourselves. The beach was gone to (by us), brunch was eaten (ditto, naturally), and a movie was watched this evening. In between all that hard core relaxing we cleaned the house some (an on-going project, as I believe I mentioned). That's all.
I signed up for a new host for squibix.net, so now all that remains it to transfer it over. There may be some little hiccups with the changeover though, so I'm going to wait a bit before I do it; not that I'll take any steps to ameliorate the situation in the interval, it's just something that needs to be waited on. For peace of mind, and stuff. Also, I need to warn folks who have content hosted on the site, or email accounts with me. You know who you are!
Today, we're told (though we've done no independent research to verify either of these claims) is both Einstein's birthday, and Pi Day. The first of those needs no explanation, I imagine: you all know who Einstein was (think shaggy hair and relativity if you're drawing a blank). Pi Day, on the other hand, might not ring any bells, but I assure you it's quite simple. Pi is some sort of Greek letter, and math types use it to represent a number: in fact, the number you get when you divide some part of a circle by some other part. Something along those lines.
In any case, the number pi (and if I could get some unicode action up in the house here I'd show you something like π) is an irrational number, which means it can't be represented in decimal form: only approximated. And they approximate it as 3.141592... &c &c; so you see why it's celebrated today, which is 3/14 in the American style. (Observant readers will note that neither Pi Day nor its close relative Mole Day can be celebrated in England or, indeed, anywhere else in Europe (I don't think). Just another thing we've got on those dirty Yooropeans.)
Now, as to the question of why pi is so celebrated, we come to a trickier matter. After all, I understand that there are other irrational numbers out there--hordes of them, even--as well as things called 'imaginary numbers,' which sound even more fun! (for numbers, that is: you gotta cut em some slack). And yet pi seems to be folk's favorite. In that movie Contact (warning: hideously irritating Flash intro) it was even said to contain a secret message from the aliens, or at least from some aliens anyways. Maybe that's it. Or maybe math teachers just need something to get excited about.
In any case, I'm aware that I've imparted you this information too late for you to be able to do much with it in the way of celebrating or trying to get off work/school (unless you're in Hawaii or the Aluetian Islands or something), but in case you're curious for next year, I've aquired some tips about how Pi Day is meant to be observed. Ready? Eat pie, and act irrationally. Ha ha, get it? Although I must say I'm quite in favor of both of those suggestions on general principles, so I can't really object. It might be kind of like Lent to a vegetarian though: how will we be able to tell my Pi Day from any other day of the year?!
Oh yeah, and besides Einstein Day and Pi Day today is also Theresa's birthday, so a big shout-out to her: Happy Birthday! She's a math and physics type, so I guess she picked a good date to be born.
Me and Leah are both a little sick today. First I started feeling a little weak and fever-y and she took all kinds of good care of me, and then she started feeling under the weather herself so I took care of her, a little. She wouldn't let me do very much for her, though, on the grounds that I was sick first. We had an altogether pleasant time, lying in bed reading all afternoon, while we waited for our computers to get updated. First we reinstalled Windows on her laptop, which was suffering badly under the accumulation of spyware and viruses, and then I put Panther (Mac OS 10.3) on my machine here (slowest. installation. ever.). I like it so far, but I miss my clear dock and my variably sized desktop icons. Having iChat back more than makes up for that, though. And getting a working iPhoto when I buy iLife will be even better.
And that's all. Thanks to the 'tired' part of that title there, I believe I will now be going to bed. Read the entry below this one if you haven't already, if you're looking for cleverness and humor. It's so clever and humorous, even, that it's worth another look even if you've already read it!
I drove Leah to work today at around 1:00, and when we left the house the sun was shining bright above us. When we got downtown, by contrast, all was cloudy and gray, with the clouds so low even as to be obscuring the tops of some of the higher buildings--which in Santa Monica don't run to more than 15 stories, tops. I didn't give it much thought--I hadn't really been paying attention to the weather earlier, and while 10 minutes or so is a bit quick for clouds to come in, it's not unheard of--so it wasn't until I was driving home, about an hour later (I also took a walk), that I realized the extend of the strangeness.
And that was, the clouds were just over downtown! Now, that might not sound that impressive if you're thinking of a downtown area like that of Los Angeles proper or even little old Boston, but this is Santa Monica we're talking about. And here were these considerable clouds, rolling in heavily laden with moisture... and disappearing somewhere around seventh street. I went straight from downtown out to Staples, which is just outside of Santa Monica in LA--about 35 blocks from the ocean--and the sky was totally clear overhead. Pretty amazing!
As things cooled off the clouds did a little better on their inland progress, and by a couple hours after sunset they settled in nicely all over town, and all the way down to the ground too. It's fun bring inside a cloud: it reminds me of Ithaca. Visibility is about three blocks, I'd say; two, closer to the shore. Wonderful cool too.
Still no news on the website move--Earthlink is holding on to my domain registration with a grip of iron I guess. Maybe I should give them a call. One thing I know, though, when I have MT on my own server Ima add a little customization feature that'll provide a seperate 'weather' field for each post. If such a thing is possible. Which I think it is.
And one final note: I took Leah to work at one, right? And she's still there. She expects to be until midnight! Poor thing. Good thing I take such good care of her.
Since Leah worked until 2:00 AM last night (!!) she's taking it easy tonight, and only working until... well, she's still working now. Only this time I get to be at the store with her keeping her company! Actually, she's not even working now; we're just waiting for the seamstress to be done working so she can lock the place up. She would be doing some organizing-type work, except there's no three-hole punch to be found, and such an object is absolutely essential to the endeavor at hand. Thrilling, isn't it?
Today is Saint Patrick's Day, it seems, and Santa Monica is sure excited by it all: there were bagpipers out on the Promenade all day, and the green beer was flowing freely in the seventeen British pubs we have within a ten-block radius here, and at Hooters just next door. Even the weather got into the action: no rain, but a very Irish fog-and-low-clouds. And to top it all off, I wore green--purely by accident, though, I assure you. And now we can go home. Woohoo!
Yet again I'm writing this from Leah's store, only this time we're not the only people here: no, the place is full to bursting with store emplyees and their siblings or significant others. Why are we all here? It's a party! A pricing and tagging and inventory party! Yup, we've been here since 8:00 and there's no end in site; we're supposed to be here to midnight (and Leah told me 10:00!), but the boxes keep coming.
What we're doing is, the store got a big shipment from Canada (Lululemon is a Canadian company, and this is their only US location so far), and somebody needs to take everything out of the boxes, count all the items to make sure the invoices are right, reprice everything with price tags more appropriate to US currency, and put on the security tags. All told it takes, oh, thirty seconds to a minute for each garment, and there are about a million... a billion garments to be done. It's kind of fun... for a little bit. But now my back hurts and I'm glad to take a break to write here. I'm glad I don't have to do that sort of thing for a full time job! Poor Chinese factory laborers. On the other hand, I did work on web sites all day, and by 5:00 my arm was dying with pain. The desktop is too high for comfortable long-term mousing, is the problem.
In other news, other people at blog.evula.net had been reporting spam in their blog comments in the past week or so, and today I joined the ranks of the spamees. Four junk comments deleted from two IP addresses, which have been banned. But I'm sure they have more. Pretty irritating. I'll think about what can be done about it if the problem gets worse.
I mentioned a couple days ago that we were having some curious weather; well, it turns out it's positively normal around here, shocking as it may be to newocomers. They even have a name for the phenomenon--or if not a name exactly, then at least a quick prepared formulation that weather forecasters can rattle off quickly, in the expectation of having everyone know what they're talking about.
That formulation, of course, is 'clearing to the beaches,' as in 'Low clouds and patchy fog clearing to the beaches by afternoon' or 'Low clouds and dense fog clearing to the beaches by afternoon.' You see the tremendous variation involved. Now, I haven't been here long enough to know if this is a commen occurence, but from the fluency with which the 'to the beaches' phrase is uttered it seems very much like it must be. Furthermore the locution, if not the weather pattern itself, seems to be confined exlcusively to Southern California, at least if Google is anything to go by. Clearly, though, more research is needed into this topic.
And oh yeah, we've had Low clouds and fog clearing to the beaches by afternoon each of the past four days.
So, first i'd like to say that i'm sorry for not writing in this blog like, in forever. But as dan has noted, i've been, like, working and stuff. what real adults call "busy." (i almost feel like a real adult, and i think i would more, except i work at a store where we wear the comfort equivalent of pajamas to work, so it's hard to get all hard-nose-y.) We have a visitor down from Canada who is visiting us this week, you know, just for a little "visit", and that means everyone is doing a little "extra" to show how good a store we are. For my part that means a little bit of extra working, extra running around, and extra being awake. all this extra anxious energy makes me a little bit shakey, but tomorrow i have a day off, so i feel better. .. until i think of the mountainous pile of laundry flowing from the closet... then i get anxious again.
But i was cheered today, because all day i was waiting to come home and watch a taped version of the TV show "True Calling," starring my friend and co-worker Michelle Harrison! The show airs Thursday nights at 8pm, but we couldn't watch it last night because of the pricing and tagging party. So we watched the show tonight, and boy was it a time!
Here's the synopsis. In short, the show is about this girl who works in a morgue who sees dead people come to life and say "help me," then immediatly afterwards she wakes up in her bed the same morning and has the day to figure out how to stop the murder. Actually, that's not in short, that's the whole freakin show. stretched over an hour. AN HOUR. TV sucks.
Anyway, Michelle plays a reporter who's tryin to crack the story on this girl, and who also happens to be the best actor in the whole outfit over there, but it doesn't help much given the writing they're working with. Michelle says she's on two more episodes this season, and if the show gets picked up for a second season, she may do more. As much as i want her to have more work, i hate to unleash this monster of a gag-fest show on the american market for anouther year. But next week Jason Priestly joins the cast, so who knows, it may pick up!
The bottom line was, it's really fun and weird to see someone you know on TV pretending to be someone else. Because it's like: "Hey, it's Michelle! What is she doing all in the morgue, bein mean, and acting like a reporter? she's so nice and not in a morgue most of the time, and she folds pants for a living!"
i hope i have more friends who i can see on TV, and maybe one day in GOOD shows.
Today is the first day of Spring, we're told, though you'd hardly know it here in the land of eternal Summer. Well, maybe not eternal Summer--folks here sure think it gets cold at times--but eternal warm-enough-that-Spring-isn't-as-exciting, that's for sure. There are no new buds pushing up through the soil, or anything like that. On the other hand, Capistrano and its swallows aren't far from here, so if you want some real Spring action you could always head over that way; those birds are due in any day now, I understand. Also, I got a new bike!
As you may recall from an earlier post, I've been using Leah's bike since I got here--which is fine most of the time, like where I want to vistit her at work or bring her something, but which is a little less convenient when we want to bike somewhere together. So I've been meaning to get one of my own, and now I have; though I don't exactly have it yet. But I will soon.
We got it at REI, and the immediate motivation for the trip wasn't the bike (that's never immediate) but the fact that I needed new shoes, since I can barely walk in mine, let alone run. And I got some very nice shoes too, just barely resisting the temptation to buy this year's model of the shoes I've been wearing for the past year or two. But you don't want to hear about shoes! So the bikes at REI were cheaper than the ones at the local bike store here to start with, and they were offering a membership promotion whereby you could get 20% off any purchase for signing up. Since membership is only fifteen dollars we went for it in a second, and ended up saving over a hundred dollars. Only I wanted a 15 inch frame, cause I got sick of 13 inches with my old purple bike, and all the 15 inch bikes had the handlebars too far forwards for me; so I had to get a new thingy to attach the handlebars to the rest of the bike (I'm secure enough in my masculinity to use such non-technical terms, you see) and since they didn't have one in stock we had to order it. So next week sometime. And won't we have some fun then. I'll write more about the bike itself when I actually have it in my hot little hands, and get a chance to take it through its paces.
So I worked today, and got paid even, if you can believe that (well, I will get paid for today's work at some point in the future). Continuing in the theme of the other day, when the we had the tagging party at the store here, Lululemon Santa Monica is struggling with a whole lot of new inventory, and even more old stuff that needs to be counted and things. So I've been retained, on a contract basis, to do some of that work. It's kind of tough, cause with the new server now running (well... I should perhaps say 'with the site on the new server' at this point) there's lots of other things I'd rather be doing. But I need the money, cause I bought an awful lot of groceries today. And then there's the bike, and who knows what else. Rent and things, I guess.
While I was working, though, my site wasn't. And it's still not. I guess they're celebrating signing me up as a customer by switching all the accounts to new boxes. At least, I assume that's the reason, because if it's just random downtime I'll be less pleased. But in any case, I'm excited about the new things I'll be able to do with the squibix web when it's working, and I was already so excited last night (when I noticed the domain had been transferred) that I stayed up til midnight playing with it. Leah was away at a party (a girls-only affair) so I was bored and lonely anyways.
Alright, that's enough self-indulgant prattle. Only, I'm too tired to think of anything else right now.
My site has been down from last night, as you may have noticed: even though this blog here is hosted elsewhere, the title images are on squibix.net, and thus were missing. It sure was hard on my mind, having no web presence; so I'm glad to report that things are now all fixed, and untinterrupted service will hopefully now recommence. And I'll provide some more content too, if I ever recover from all this working. But now I'm watching a movie with my girl, so no more blogging for tonight.
After brunch this morning, we took a little trip to Will Rogers State Historical Park (only in California, eh?) so Leah could recharge her tired spirit by taking in some natural beauty. I like natural beauty too, of course, but I haven't been in LA as long so I don't need it as desperately. It was really nice up there on the former estate of the famed cowboy actor (at least, I think that's what he is: I had to look him up on Google), and even though we only got to spend about 20 minutes up there (and $5 dollars, which I happily donate to the State of California's park system) because we (both of us) had to go to work, we were quite refreshed and delighted.
And for all the Will Rogers business and 'visit a real movie star's home' hype, the scene was pretty much like you'd expect at any state park anywhere in the country, with suitable adjustments for climate and disgusting overdevelopment of truly marginal canyon land. Which is, when you get down to it, what LA is like all over: it's different from New England, sure, but not cause there's a star on every corner. Far from it! Most of Los Angeles, I'd even venture to say, is less glamorous than an average neighborhood in Bangor Maine. Well... that might be going a bit too far. But still, it I'd say that the folks who read things like that seeing-stars website and come out here with a desire to see nothing but 'movie stuff' are in for a considerable disappointment.
Though, what do I know? Maybe there really are stars all over the place, and I just haven't noticed! After all, I'm probably the least-qualified star-spotter you could find, so the place could be crawling with famous names and I wouldn't even notice! And, now that I think about it, Leah is like best buddies with David Duchovney, and she (and this week I as well) work with Michelle Harrison, star of stage and screen--I mean, star of movie screen and tv screen--so perhaps I'm a bit too hasty in dismissing the allure LA ought to hold to celebrity-seekers. And now I'm qualified to help them in their quest! Available now, for a limited time only: maps to the grounds of Will Roger's old house, and Michelle Harrison's appartment!
We just got home from the big inventory night at the store, and it's now 1:00 on the 25th, but to preserve the beautiful uniformity of our little calender to the left there I'm going to post-date this entry to the 24th. And to justify that decision, and offer the only content my dead-tired brain can manage, I present my theory of when days actually start and end:
See, clocks and calendars and things aren't able to take context into consideration; they need to pick a point to switch from one day to another, a point that applies to everyone, and it doesn't matter what you may be doing at the time. But we as humans need not bow blindly to their fiat in all cases, and this one here presents a prime example. We haven't gone to bed yet; clearly, then, it is not yet tomorrow. 'Wait, Dan!' I hear you saying. 'What does that mean when folks stay up for three days straight?' Besides suggesting that such a thing should never, ever be attempted, I say that we have another, far more obvious marker of the new day than the chiming of the pedantic clock: and that, of course, is the sunrise.
So where does that leave us? It's simple. A new day starts when you wake up from your night's sleep or at sunrise, whichever comes first (one proviso being that if you wake up from your night's sleep and then fail to stay awake past the next sunrise--if, that is, you were sleeping during the nighttime hours--that doesn't count as a new day). With that in mind, I see no moral objection to cheating a little with Moveable Type's dates. Which I will now do.
So you read about the bath soaps, yeah. Recently, though, I've begun to notice something else somewhere along those lines, yet more insidious in its effects: this time the problem isn't fruity soap but soapy pop melodies. Er... if, that is, 'soapy' has any meaning in that context. Really they're just plain pop melodies, but that turn of phase isn't clever at all, nor catchy.
Now the tunes, on the other hand, are catchy, as per order, and the last few days I've been catching them alot more than I would like. We can't wholly blame Leah for this, though, because since I control the primary means of music-listening in our abode, I usually get to select the day's tunes and make her listen to my noisy squonking non-pop. Which she takes very well, I must say, with nary a complaint. So she's entirely innocent in the pollution of my brain by commercial radio's sugary ditties.
No, the problem (this week anyways) lies in the amount of time I spent at that store, where Leah is in the majority as far as musical tastes are concerned, and where pop music over the store's speakers is the norm. And then, since I was working all those hours listening to pop, I was unable to be home listening to whatever else I usually listen to; and the end result is, fragments of two or three tunes took up permanent residence in my head over the past couple days. What were they, you ask? Well, I prefer not to relive those particular memories (it's dangerous, if nothing else: haven't you ever heard of a relapse?!), but I seem to recall Hilary Duff's song about 'Let the rain fall down' featured prominantly, as did Justin Timberlake's song about breaking up with Britteny. Which I can't think of the title to right now, nor the tune thank goodness.
Yes, a little pop has its place now and then, but my disposition simply can't handle it for exended periods of time. I'm like an aboriginal native as far as pop is concerned, or a newborn baby: all too suceptible due to my lack of exposure to the contagion. But thankfully, pop is unlike smallpox in that the recovery time is swift and nearly complete. Plus, no one ever said smallpox had a good beat, and I'm sure you'd be hard-pressed to dance to it.
So they tell us that gas prices in California are the highest in the country, and that LA's are the highest in California. $2.14 they're supposed to be, here. Well, that average must be lowered by gas stations in Pomona or Claremont or something, cause it's $2.19 here. I heard someone on the radio predicting the oil will run out in the nest ten twenty thirty years (he was vague), at which point a global recession will occur that will 'make the Great Depression look like a warm-up,' and also there will be wars and things as nations fight each other for energy. So... start putting that expensive gas in bottles under your bed, I guess. We're just glad we don't live in Malibu any more, cause it costs like twenty-seven dollars to fill up Leah's car. Pretty soon I'll have a bike and we'll be free from dependency on the evil oil oligarchs forever.
Welcome to the new location of 'squibix goes west'! Yes, this blog has come home to the squibix web. Yay!
Hmm... more testing is needed.
Today was pretty parasisiacal right from the start: clear and cool, it was such a wonderful morning that everyone should have been out playing in it, and it was just a shame that we had to stay in and do laundry and work on installing Moveable Type. Happily, both things were eventually accomplished and we got to go somewhere that was a fair match for the weather's splendors, and indeed even surpassed them: Solstice Canyon Park.
The park is in Malibu, just up a little road off PCH that you'd barely notice, because it goes up into a canyon that can't be more than thirty yards wide: so narrow that in a few seconds the canyon walls shut out the view, and the sound, of the highway and you're plunged into a cool tree-shaded canyon that looks like it can't possibly be within 300 miles of Los Angeles. It was amazing to see real trees (city trees are never the same, and even the ones in Will Rogers' were pretty dusty), and even more amazing to be walking up a narrow path besides a burbling brook. It was almost like New Hampshire!
We didn't stay beside the brook long, because we took a side path that brought us up the canyon wall back towards the mouth, and then back the other way still higher, so that after twenty minutes we were looking down at the path we had been on before from who knows how high up (though not far at all in horizontal distance). Up and up it went, and it got hotter and hotter and more an more plagues with flies; but then the trail turned downwards again, and finally back at the canyon floor it deposited us next to a wonderful ruin surrounding a waterfall, or series of waterfalls, at the beginning of the back of the canyon.
The ruins were those of Tropical Terrace, a house built in the 1950s and destroyed in 1982 by fire; but while only a quarter century old the ruins looked like they belonged to a long-lost ancient civilization, with the palm trees and succulants that had been part of the garden overgrowing the stones and contrasting very strangely with the surrounding live oak and eucalyptus. And there were stone structures and statuary and the waterfulls, only smallish trickles really but still wonderfully pleasant and cool and mossy, and rocks to climb on and deep cool shade. Photographs were taken.
Then we left in a hurry, because it had taken us how long to get to the ruins over half the mountains in the Santa Monica range, and now we had to get back in an hour to meet Leah's mother for dinner! Fortunately there was also an easy way to the Tropical Terrace, and taking it back (moving at a good clip) we found back at the parking lot in oh, fifteen minutes.
All the hurry was worth it though, because we got to go out to a very pleasant restaurant in Malibu and eat a great deal of quite delicious food. Too much, indeed, both in quantity and richness, to our poor stomachs accustomed as they are to more spartan fare. It tasted awful good though, so stomachs will just have to lump it. And now it's time for bed, and again I can say: won't we sleep well tonight.
We were sick today. And still are. That's all.
Today it was hot as anything, at least during the middle of the day, so naturally we went to the beach. We weren't the only ones to have ideas along those lines: the place was packed with both adults skipping work and kids skipping school. At least, that's what I imagine they were doing... they can't all have been unemployed and/or homeschooled. We did ask one child, who happened to engage us in conversation, whether he was cutting, but while he seemed to indicate affirmation he was somewhat reticent on the subject. So we're not sure.
But we had a good time, and neither of us was skipping anything. It was almost painfully hot at noon, at least to our poor frames unacustomed to such things; but the water was quite cold, so as long as we stood knee-deep in it things were just perfect. And we got some good sun so we can make the folks in New England jealous when we come home for a visit.
Then after that I got a new cell phone, so folks can call me again. It sure is exciting!
One thing Santa Monica is notable for, or should be if it's not, is the large homeless population. And a good many of those homeless folks supplement their income by begging, so it's normal to be accosted by people asking for change or one or five or twenty dollars. But I don't have a problem with that; this post isn't complaining about them. No, it's complaining about the odd people, also numerous, who accost you not for money but to tell you things and ask you questions and just generally be annoying.
There's one crew that hangs out onthe Promendade who's goal in life is to show you this little laminated card and ask you which of the vaguely religious questions printed on it you find the most interesting. What happens beyond that I have now idea, because I've neevr suffered them to detain me any further, but that alone is plenty annoying. Especially since most of the folks involved in this project are not what you'd call native speakers of English. Well, I don't know if that makes it more annoying or less. But it is true, in any case. Today I was out on the Promenade for about half an hour and was approached three times, twice by the same guy, and twice when I was sitting down reading a book! That's just not called for. Leah was complaining about the whole thing the other day and I argued they weren't that bad; but now I have to say: yes, yes they are.
So I don't have any idea what they're up to, but just now writing this I had an idea. Maybe, could it be, they're in on a project designed to demonstrate the silly, annoying side of historical American and English missionary efforts in non-English-speaking countries. We've all heard about the horrible evil parts, to great and indeed (in some cases) ahistorical length, but The Poisonwood Bible to one side the ridiculous doesn't get as much of a look in. But when you think about folks trying to expain existential concepts in a language of which they have only the faintest grasp, well, humor and annoyance alike are sure to result.