Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Vacation FastForward for SAB

Day 4: shot a 108 from the white tees at Harding, packed for Yosemite.

Day 5: woke up at 3 a.m. so I could get a jump on the possible Yosemite Valley Memorial Day Weekend traffic. Got a beautiful, and I do mean beau-ti-ful Sunrise Breakfast sandwich from Carls Jr. and a grande drip from Starbucks in Bakersfield, CA. It was 6:15 a.m., and though this may seem strange, I would be dozing off within 45 minutes, so the wife took control of the helm while I snuggled into the navigator's chair from some quality shut-eye.

By around 10 a.m. I was exiting a tunnel in the Sierra Nevadas and saw this (keep in mind I've never been to Yosemite):

So I rattled off 10 pics or so and we jumped back into the car so we could get down into the action. I remember feeling this way the first time I found a Playboy magazine....they get really good writers!

So we started driving on down the hill. We couldn't see Bridalveil falls, but the wife wanted to stop at the next restroom, so we pulled into one, and looked up:

I shot this from where I parked my car. Apparently Yosemite is for the lazy.

Quick Skiletsrage tip: don't go through life unprepared, like I do. In my haste, and excitement, I left my camera's ISO setting to 1600 for the next 300 pictures.

Ran around this spot for 30 minutes, having fun in the enormous mist that is expoding up into the air. Came out drenched, but laughing. If only the rest of my life could go that way: drenched and laughing.

Now we decided that our Yosemite Rookiness must be shed, that we would get back in the car and drive to our destination without spazzing out again. 75 seconds later I parked the car and jumped out like a 6 year old who'd been shooting liquified candy and Coke straight into his veins.

How could I not?

By noon we finally made Curry Village. Did I really just get up in Los Angeles this morning, and see all I had seen by noon? Not sure, I'll write more later....

Almost forgot about the Vacay FF:

Day 5: We hiked Vernal Falls, and attended a rehearsal dinner that evening.
Day 6: Had breakfast at the Awahnee, checked out Yosemite falls briefly, took shots of the Bride getting ready, and attended the wedding.
Day 7: Checked out Yosemite falls more closely, wandered around the the valley like some hippie, got denied from Glacier Point (closed due to traffic), and headed out to San Luis Obispo.
Day 8: Woke up and had breakfast in SLO, at one of my all-time favorite breakfast restaurants. Headed to Santa Ynez for wine-tasting.
Day 9: First day back at work. Joy.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Vacation, Day 3 (a few responses)

For now, as I have a tee time I need to get to shortly, I'm going to post a few comments from Tuesday's blog entry, and respond to them.

First, Random said:

"Don't understand. Was the Korean woman just some lady who was playing in ahead of you? Or was she part of your group? And if the former, wtf!? How did she know Viper V's acrimonious nickname? You need to stop being so Krypt'c - who do you think you are, Liquido? Don't you know I depend on Clipstone St. for my daily dose of union bashing and tepid Republicanism, so I demand pellucid clarity."

Dear Random: JV and I were playing with these two Korean women. I think she picked up "JV" from hearing me refer to him that way. I'm not totally sure, but I don't remember him introducing himself as "Hi, I am the JV." Further, I totally agree that I have started to edge into Krypt'c's realm, however innocent and unintended. For that, Liquido, 1 complimentary serving of coffee and cruellers. And finally, while I do condone union bashing, what is up with the fallacious argument style of pinning me as a Republican? And Republicans as tepid? I am just not a Democrat nor a Republican, but if I had to say which party was more tired and in need of some resuscitation, well....let's just leave this one alone for a while.

And from Random again:

"...Saw the SNL skit when it originally aired. Just remember two years from now if Gore is running for Pres. that I was the first on the Machine to mention it when we were having the political debates a few months ago. I'm pretty much pulling for Gore right now, but who knows what will happen in two years. Bush will probably blow the world up - he already categorically shot down direct talks with Iran, and the Iranians clearly want them - so the presidency will be moot. Stupid.

Are Clipstone St. and the Crackpod replacing the Machine?"

Dear Random: I think the Dems are positioned to secure the Presidency (at least GW has done all that any liberal could possibly hope for, and then some), but let's not start positioning why they will be ineffective - and blaming it on the Repubs - before they even get there. As for CS and CP replacing the machine? I think the machine is in hibernation, or some sort of mourning, but it's hard to think that it could actually be replaced. Only time will tell, eh? OR....the owl of minerva spreads her wings at dusk, right? Remember that time that I told you Henry Allison kicked me out of his office hours? That was kewl.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Vacation, Day 2

Today this Korean woman in her mid-60's was standing next to me on a putting surface in Pacoima, holding the flagstick as JV blasted out of a greenside bunker. Lofting gloriously through a shotgun splatter of sand, Viper V's ball went higher than it went long, and it's spin caused it to stop almost where it landed; it was truly a beautiful shot.

My Korean friend's comment: "Nice out, JV!" And she meant it! Therein lied the beauty. For 7 holes, her English was limited to "nice shot" and "pass the bourbon." But now, here as a witness, she felt comfortable enough to call my friend by his acronymous nickname. I could have kissed here right then and there....but she probably would have kicked my ass.

P.S. I shot a 107, and I was proud. I've got a few funny anecdotes about the experience if I remember tomorrow........

Monday, May 22, 2006

Vacation, Day 1

Technically, I suppose it's the 3rd day of my vacation, but I'm calling it Day 1, as today is Monday and all my work friends and foes had to go in to work. Poor slobs.

This morning I slept in till 7 a.m., went straight for the coffee in my bathrobe, and sat down at my laptop to check in and see how work was going. Most things looked pretty good, and for the things that did not: I'll be back in a week. Touche!

For lunch I made a steak sandwich on grilled sourdough with cheddar cheese (from Wiscansin) and a smoothie. A little Chia forest was growing in the yogurt, so today's smoothie was just fruit and milk. Pretty tasty little beverage nonetheless. I put Vanilla Slim Fast in it....that's my trick.

Next I dashed off to take care of some urgent business. And when you have too many things to get and not enough time, where do I suggest you go? That's right.....ReXall.

Today's purchases:

Can you guess which product got first use?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A little snack to hold us over....

Apparently David Wells is not a friend of "scabs." Typical Union b.s. if you ask me. If someone wants to do the work, then more power to them. Of course, that's not the gist of this article, and I think I might have to agree with what the round man is saying here.

Hmmmm....inflation? Recession? No. No way. So what if the average condo is 10 times an average salary? So what if it's now necessary to have two incomes to attain the same standard of living as one full-time income 30 years ago? I'm actually a big fan of the cost of gas going up, though. I mean, seriously, what if the rest of the world lived and acted like Americans. Then we'd really see some global warming.

Oh, and here's a fun site.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Couple of photos

Lucky Baldwins in Pasadena....on the highly recommended list:

So far, at least tied for the best course I've played.....PGA West in Indio, CA:

Easily the best swing I've seen in a while:

Monday, May 15, 2006

Back to the Grind

"That blows."
-my wife in response to asking me if it was really Monday, and not Thursday. It was really Monday.

So I received this among my daily barrage of spam today:

SurePayroll, formerly OnlinePayroll by Wells Fargo security Alert

Dear [My real name omitted to keep hits to my blog at their current low levels],

We are committed to protecting you, with the latest technology to keep your details secure, and dedicated teams to monitor online activity and intercept any suspicious actions. And we do everything we can to protect our online customers, but the steps we take can be much more effective if you work with us to protect yourself.

05/16/2006 our security system detected an unsuccessfull access attempt to your online account from Ip address that does not correspond to your current address:

[My real address (curious?) again omitted for the above stated reasons]

Please click here to confirm your current address or change it online.

If you do not confirm your address until 05/21/2006 your account will be SUSPENDED for security reasons and we will send you an Activation Code by post which you will need to renew your online payroll service access. You will receive this within seven days if your current address is not confirmed.


(c)2006 SurePayroll. All Rights Reserved.

So I was about to post my Social, all my financial usernames and passwords, and the true identity of Night Rider to my blog when I realized that these guys can't even spell 'unsuccessful' correctly? What is up with that? First Wells Fargo can't seem to manage their teller/customer ratio, and now they can't spell.

All kidding aside, despite their weak attempt to boost savings accounts, Wells has always done me right. I give them 2 thumbs up. Now if they really want to impress me and gain some credible propaganda on this site, they should aim for 2 enthusiastic thumbs up!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Drugs are bad, mgay?

Sometimes, in a moment of frustration, or rather a succession of moments of frustration, I think that smoking a cigarette will be good. Now, remember, I'm a cool guy, so I'm not about to tell you that smoking ain't cool. No, I enjoy a cig or twelve - well, the days of smoking 12 are long gone actually - when I've had a couple of cocktails, other people are lighting up, and the stars align just right. But when I'm sober? I take one drag and my skin turns green, just like it did when I first sampled a fine Camel tobacco product at age 12 in Baja Mexico. Ahhhh....those were sweet times........

I had smuggled 3 cigarettes in a carefully packaged Ziplock baggie down across the border. To shake the trail of desperados and various native Federal agents [read: federales], and the non-stop circumspective parental unit, not to mention the failsafe watchdog grandparents, I took great precaution to hide the smell of said "joy device." Once in Mexico safely, I was still far from safe. Only a novice would succumb to such naivete; I still had to get these little guys from my bag to my lips, apply a flame and inhale to enjoy the goodness. What's a 12 year old boy to do?

Me, my brother, and my best friend took the contraband (some call this "running") down to the beach, headed due north at least 100 yards (because this was soooo far away from the parents), and then hid amongst the gigantic rock reefs that lay barren from the low tide. Here is where we partook. Here is where we were Men. Here is not where our parents told us what to wear; our teachers told us what was good, and maybe what was bad; here is where I smoked a cigarette even though I hated it. But I remember that it was almost dark, it was warm but we had to wear pants and long sleeves, and we huddled in our new Mexican hideout and thoroughly enjoyed our freedom. I remember smoking and laughing about 'who knows what,' and I clearly remember thinking that 'this was so great!!'

Today at work I couldn't remember my password to resubmit my expense report that I submitted - incorrectly - 3 days ago.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Coffee & Cruellers, Part III?

This is a simple point and shoot picture from the campgrounds at San Elijo, CA. I spent 10 years living in San Diego, almost all of that time within a few miles of th ocean. Will someone please help me understand why I now live in Hell A? Why have I have chosen to live and work in a concrete jungle? LA has nice beaches I suppose, so it's "nobody's fault but mine, nobody's fault......."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Nether Regions

My back has been hurting me since Sunday. Didn't really do anything in particular to it; just have always had problems with it. Funny thing though, is that this time - the first and hopefully last time - the back pain is accompanied by testicle pain. Yep, my balls hurt. I can't really say "hurt," it's more of a faint discomfort, kind of like, "do my balls hurt.........why, yes, I think they do, a little." And then it's gone and I fear that I'm becoming a hypochondriac. Which of course is the first sign of impending hypochondria: the fear that you are a hypochondriac. Maybe I should get this checked out. The hypochondria I mean, for every man must live with a little ball pain at different times in his life or the other kids will pick on him. Those punks.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My Beef w/ The Draconia

I told you I would get my money back from the Grove parking management, and that they had their chance to make it right, but opted to stick to "policy." I just got back from Big 5 Sporting Goods, on yet another trip to try and find the perfect pair of sunglasses. For me, the perfect pair of sunglasses feels like butter when I slide them onto my face; they just need to feel "right." Next, the PPOS must have really good glass. I like polarized, but rose is quite nice as well, but it's just more about clarity of vision, and you can tell when you put on a pair. Now the final element: a low price. It's this final peice of the pie that makes PPOS so hard to find. If the first two are present, the last is almost never there. And I hate spending money on sunglasses as they just don't seem to stick around long.

But today I found a nice pair of Bolle's. Their not true PPOS, but they're close. I had narrowed my selection from about 6 pairs of sunglasses with the help of an employee, asking her opinion of all sunglasses, even asking her to try on certain pairs and rate them against others. So we finally got down to the runner-up, and what would be my choice for the day. One is a nice fitting, polarized set of New Balance for $29 (reduced from $80), and the pair of Bolle's for $70. I liked the Bolle's more, but not $41 more, and as I was about to settle [note: "settle"] for the New Balance, I asked if the Bolle's were on sale. At this point I was feeling pretty weasel-y as this was the same girl who helped me 3 weeks ago and scolded me for reaching into the case when she left it open. But this is when Karma kicks in. Her response: "They just went on sale. I can give them to you for $29." Bingo!!

I don't care if these glasses cost $1.05 to produce, this was all about buyer experience. I like the glasses, they're obviously not the best, but they'll work. To me, they were probably worth about $50, so the original price tag seemed a bit of a stretch. But at $29, when they weren't even marked as "On Sale," I feel like taking more of my sporting goods purchases to Big 5. Seriously, I'm a loyal customer and I will try to buy more stuff from them in the future based on today's sale.

Now the Grove on the other hand, they're still #1. Numero Uno on my Shit List that is....and I'm still going to write my letter tonight, and I think we'll still see a refund as a result.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

C'est La Vie

"Try to love all people. Get into the habit of loving, and you will see how your life will fill with more joy and happiness."
-Leo Tolstoy

Sometimes this is a tall order. Yesterday I went and saw Mission Impossible III at the Grove in Los Angeles. When the Grove first emerged, first rose up out of an empty lot, I actually liked it. I absolutely loved the new theater with it's big cushiony seats with cupholders and comfortable armrests that could be up or down. I was in hog heaven. Over the last year, and only because of my love for the theater, I have fought off this feeling that the Grove is actually more hassle than it is worth. The Apple store is cool, the Barnes and Noble is great, Nordstom and Crate and Barrel are that I think of it, the stores aren't the problem. The problem is that everyone goes there. All the time. And trust me, it's not that cool. So I'm showing my true colors; I don't like crowds. I like having people around, but I don't like having to find the last available parking space in an enormous 7 story structure.

And so here is my problem: the parking. And you'll notice that I said, or rather typed "my problem." Yesterday I lost my parking ticket. Now everyone and their Llasa-terrier know what this pay the maximum. Which at the Grove is $19. But gentle reader, for fear that you do not know me well, let me assure you that I understand rules, and I understand why we must have them. Without a rule like that, people could park there all day, and
then "lose" their parking ticket. I get that. But as a customer who spends quite a bit of money there - or actually it's my better half who does that - I appealled to the parking management's sense of fairness by explaining my situation.

Me: I have lost my parking ticket, and understand that the policy is to pay the maximum rate. But I was hoping we could pay a lesser amount as I am not lying to you about the lost ticket.

Her: You must pay the maximum rate, which is $19.

Me: {curious why she chose to restate a policy I had just told her I understood} I understand tha ma'am. I'm asking if you can make a one-time adjustment.
I have my ticket stubs from the movie I just saw, and my wife shops here frequently, and even has a Grove number so that you can look up and see how much she spends.
[it should be noted here that we don't spend a fortune there, but a pattern can be viewed that we do spend good money there, and consistently.]

Her: I'm sorry, sir, you must pay the $19.

Me: Again, I understand that is the policy. I can pay the $19 as it will not break the bank, but I am not going to be leaving here as a happy customer, and I can find everything that is here, somehwere else.

Me: {after waiting 20 seconds for her reply, that did not come} Are you still there?

Her: You must pay the $19.

At this point I just handed over my ATM card to pay the $19. Here is where the Grove loses though. They get $19 from me yesterday, and now I will make sure that I recoup this money either by writing a letter to the management office, or by simply choosing to not shop there. It's not about the $19, it's the principle, and this is what I think flew right over this woman's head. Yes, you must have a policy like this, and yes, sometimes it may need to be enforced because there are very good liars out there. But in this case, they have lost 2 customers who on average spend more than $19.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Crackpod makes a good point here today. This morning I woke up and my first thought was, "Man, I've got to get up," and I really didn't want to do that. Why not though? My second thought was that I get to get up today. Some people don't have that option. We're the lucky ones. I get to get up today and do whatever it is that I want. For some strange reason I have decided that what I want to do every Monday through Friday is put on a suit and drive all over LA. But again, at least I have options.

"It's about the choices we make."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Crackpod is relentless......where's he get the mojo?

I see that as of 7:12 pm, Crackpod has 2 more visits than me today. I suspect I'm getting quality visits though.....

Army Ranger Workout Program

Tomorrow I start "Fitness Solution 2006." I've been beta testing it for the last 4 months in my head, and I think we're ready to roll it out. Tonight we're celebrating with a DiGorno pizza and a bottle of Ravenswood Zinfandel (you happy Tovar?).

FS06 will include the Army Ranger Workout Program, which will eventually make me a better soldier, "so I have that going for me........which is nice."

This afternoon I wrapped up my day in a cigar store on Melrose. This place sells the usual tobacco products, a very small assortment of soda pop, had a few waters for sale, and even has an espresso machine. They also have some nice couches and leather chairs on which patrons can casually enjoy their tobacco product of choice while catching up with an acquaintance, or soaking up the ass-beating the Pistons were handing the Bucks on this fine and glorious afternoon. I was logged into my laptop, deliciously enjoying the new connection speed of my wireless modem while casually enjoying the no name cigar I fetched from the discount bin.

I've been in this shop once before, so I knew the layout, but I was not aware of it's grandeur. Today's crew, all of whom seemed to know each other, included a guy I was sure had wandered in off the street and passed out directly on the first couch he could find; a couple of college bro's who kept barking various and completely inconsequential certainities to each other; some fellow dressed in a suit sans tie (what a pussy, everyone knows that real men wear a throat-choking tie like me) and suglasses {this guy was yelling at the guys in the back corner that they in fact were pussies b/c they were playing online poker on their laptop instead of real poker}, a guy with 2 scripts (who knew!?), some other riff raff types, and me.

Best thing overheard on this afternoon visit:

Suit guy{in an exaggerated tough guy voice, directly at a smaller guy}: "Do you know who I am!?"
Guy walking outside w/ 2 scripts in hand: "It's not 'Do you know who I am? It's do you know who you used to be.'"

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

This Blog.......if Fired!!

Scotty's blog has now surpassed me in visits; what the *H* is going on here? I've got to dig deep, find an answer, do something. Is this the beginning of the end for me?

This probably isn't the best response to Crackpod's assault on my masculinity, but I'm going to publicly repsond to his post today (which can be found here).

Today I found a package laying around with it's waybill missing. Value of the package? Oh, nothing much, $15,000. Why am I most proud of this? Because it made me feel good; it made me feel good to find something that two other parties were very worried about. But let's look deeper. Was I really only interested in retaining their business? No, and that's a cheap shot you scalawag. This customer really doesn't represent much revenue to me. Was it that my company would have paid a $15,000 claim in 6 more working days? Well, I'm glad that we won't, but it wouldn't have affected me personally in any way, shape, or form. Not even remotely.

I did drink two Grande drip coffee's from Starbucks today, and I am feeling a little amped right now. I actually don't like the feeling, so I think I'll go counter it with a nice Vodka back later to post some more just so I can scam some more visits.