Pillow Forts

Is there a statutory upper limit on the age in which one in need can make a pillow fort and hide in it?

How strictly is it enforced?



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As some in the US might have noticed, there are a couple of lottery drawings that have built up large jackpots, if by “large” you mean “GARGANTUAN.” And that’s “gargantuan” as in “A BILLION FREAKING DOLLARS!!!!!!!” gargantuan. (I know, it’s advertised as a billion dollars but that’s if you take the money over several decades and if you take the cash it’s only $565,600,000 and then after Uncle Sam takes his share it’s barely $340,000,00 but what are you going to do? “Marketing” – am I right?)

Anyway, at lunch I walked down the block from the office to buy a Quick Pick ticket because it’s really hard to win without having a ticket (or so I’ve heard). On the way back, I damn near got run over crossing Ventura Boulevard when an SUV ran the red light.

A Bentley SUV.

“What the ACTUAL fuck???!!!!!” as the kids say.

Bentley makes an SUV???!!!!

Yes, indeedy, they do, as in this monstrosity. 600 HP, 664 lb-ft of torque, and it starts in the range of $250,000. One would think that a car costing a quarter million dollars wouldn’t have many accessories – one would be dead wrong. Read the bit in the article about the $160,000 Breitling clock that’s an option. It almost makes the $32,000 picnic basket seem reasonable.

So I didn’t win the lottery tonight – too soon to tell if anyone else did, but I figure I used all of my luck just getting out of the way of a luxury armored personnel carrier with quilted leather interior.

But at that MSRP it would no doubt have been an honor to have been smeared across two blocks of Ventura Boulevard if I hadn’t declined the opportunity. I mean, anyone can get picked off by a BMW or Mercedes in this town, they’re thick as flies. But it would be news if you got pegged by a Bentayga!

As long as they spell my name correctly, any publicity is good publicity?

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I Left The Office Late Tonight

It was after 7:00, the building lights in the elevator lobby were already dimmed. I locked up, punched the elevator button and got on as the door opened.

As I was stepping into the elevator I could hear a door opening from the other side of the elevator lobby and a set of keys being fumbled. I held the door and called out, “Going down?” I heard a woman say, “Yes,” so I held the door. Maybe ten seconds, not even enough time to make the dimwitted elevator AI get all pissy and make that “blaaaaaaaat” sound.

The woman, who I sorta recognized as someone you see on the same floor but who I don’t know that I had ever exchanged words with before this, came hustling around the corner in the elevator and said, “Thanks.” I let the door go and we started down.

I stood in my corner and she in hers. We didn’t speak further.


Because in this day and age, and probably for as long as I can remember but we’re oh so much more aware of it today which makes it so much more a thing to be conscious of in this day and age, I know that being alone in an elevator with a strange man is for many (most?) women a potential threat. (I, an older, white, cis male, did not feel any threat.)

She did not seem uncomfortable per se, but she had her keys still out and was holding them that way women have learned to, consciously or otherwise, so they can be used to defend if necessary. (I, an older, white, cis male, did not have my keys at the ready.)

She kept her purse held up close to her body and was not quite at attention, but also not relaxed. (I, an older, white, cis male, was slouching and had my briefcase hanging loose.)

And I hated it.

I hated that the world we have built is so disgusting, so unequal, so full of violence and hatred against women, so packed to the gills with men of privilege and ignorance and self-righteousness that women who are just trying to get home from work after 7:00 need to be on guard.

I hated that anything I could have said or done would have made it worse. Any casual conversation to be polite would have the potential to be seen as a threat. Simply asking, “How are you tonight?” could have been seen as an unwanted advance, a come on, a threat.

I hated that there was almost nothing that I could do about it.

I hated that, as much as I might hate the situation, I knew that my role in it was orders of magnitude less painful and threatening than hers was.

I hated that I felt guilty for feeling so bad about the whole fucking thing when it is just my old, white, cis male privilege that lets me have that luxury.

All this in fifteen to twenty seconds as we rode down five floors. We never spoke. We never looked at each other.

Nothing to be done.

Almost nothing. But maybe don’t make it worse. Be aware, see what can remove some of the unseen but unforgiving stress. Take small steps.

Once out of the elevator I said good night to the evening security guard as I always do, and then I picked up my pace toward the front door. I wanted to make sure I was ahead of her as we left simply so that I would not be walking behind her as we both went out to the parking garage.

It’s a tiny thing. Take small steps.

Afterward, especially writing this, my brain wonders if I was imagining it all, listening to too many horror stories on social media.

I consider deleting all of this and posting some random picture.

Then I remember her standing there in her corner, keys in her fist, not looking at me.

And I hate it again. I just don’t know what else to do.


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I Don’t Even Know

Not even a “No Context For You” picture – this was on my phone today with a date stamp for a time when I’m pretty sure I was in a meeting and this wasn’t where the meeting was. In fact, I don’t recognize this at all.

I hope my phone had fun without me!

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No Context For You – October 16th






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Filed under Art, Paul, Photography

Halloween Decorations

As the seasons move on and we enter fall for the first time in our new neighborhood I notice that there are substantially more homes with Halloween decorations out than in our old neighborhood. It was one or two as soon as October rolled around, but now the number is growing. (This gives me great hope for Christmas, although it’s equally likely that we’ve just inadvertently moved into a neighborhood of vampires, ghost, goblins, and ghoulies and we’ll never see Christmas because we’ll be eaten alive on the 31st… Never mind!)

Most of meager supply of Halloween decorations are still in storage after the move, but a couple of lawn ornaments got shoved into the garage during those chaotic weeks, so this weekend I put them out in the front yard. Of course, last night we had our first severe Santa Ana wind event and they got blown over. (In the old neighborhood we were at the bottom of the hill and somewhat sheltered – here we’re at the top of it and pretty exposed. It got windy.)

No harm, no foul, everything’s back up again tonight, but in that mindset, the Halloween zeitgeist as it were, I noticed something else tonight.

From our front yard security camera, during the day (the mail carrier is likely not a ghoulie) it looks like, well, a front yard:

However, tonight I noticed that that bush in the foreground right by the porch looks quite different when lit from the porch light only:

Am I the only one that sees a crazed, screaming face in that bush? And why do the eyes follow me when I look out that window and move around the room?

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Filed under Castle Willett, Photography

Favorite Pictures – October 14th

Have I mentioned that I take a **LOT** of pictures? (Hint — I have)

As proof that if you do that, eventually you’ll take one that just pops, where you look at it and say, “Damn! I took that picture and it’s just about perfect!”

Here’s one of those that I took.

September 2009, Ventura, CA

One of the things about taking ***LOTS*** of pictures is that you get lucky every once in a while. Like when I was out on the Ventura Pier and this gull decided to buzz me and head down to the water. I take a lot of pictures of critters, and the critters are often flying. Occasionally I get lucky. Volume helps the odds.

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