Category Archives: Paul

And The Flip Side Of That Is…

Yesterday I talked about “once in a lifetime experiences” and how I thought that some things that are fun and exciting (my example was hot air ballooning) shouldn’t necessarily be done just once. I thought that perhaps we should re-examine things we’ve done in the past as a “life list” thing (or “bucket list” to some) and maybe go do some of the really good ones again.

First thing this morning, serendipity reared its ugly head and I saw the flip side of that argument.

Twenty-nine years ago today, at 4:31 AM on the morning of of January 17, 1994, the Northridge earthquake ripped through the San Fernando Valley and beyond at a magnitude 6.7. There were 57 fatalities (72 if you count the heart attacks) and over $25B in damages. Our house was 5.88 miles from the epicenter. We got rocked pretty good, had shelves & things knocked over, were without power and water for a few days, but otherwise came through it okay.

(Image: Google Earth)

It was, I most sincerely hope, a “once in a lifetime” experience. I know, living in SoCal, that there could be one as bad or worse at any second, and there have been dozens and dozens of noticable but much smaller earthquakes that I’ve felt here, but the odds say that’s probably as bad as it gets.

Probably.

So “once in a lifetime” experience has a flip side. Ask anyone who’s had their life scrambled for a couple of days to a couple of years (or more) by a hurricane, tornado, brush fire, flood, earthquake, landslide, or any of a dozen other life-changing forces of nature that can just jump up and slap you at any time.

Hot air ballooning, trip to Asia, solar eclipses (thanks to Jemima Pett for that suggestion!), flying in a B-25 – all GREAT things that I’ve gotten to do once and can’t wait to try again!

Major earthquakes or other natural disasters? Thanks, once is enough.

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Filed under Disasters, Paul

In Search Of Something New

I’ve been working on a tight deadline that’s going to keep me busy all weekend, and while plowing through it I found a Stanley Kubrick film fest on some cable channel. Three truly outstanding films that I’ve seen a gazillion times and they can just be background, comfort food for my soul while my brain is occupied elsewhere.

“2001”

“A Clockwork Orange”

“Full Metal Jacket”

This obviously isn’t new to anyone who’s been reading this site for nearly ten years. I started by titling this post as “Kubrick” and WordPress gave it a filename of “kubrick-3” which means this would be the fourth time that I used that exact same title…

It would be great to be watching something new. I’ve got a “to be watched” list of movies and streaming series that could keep me busy for years. I’ve got a “to be read” pile of books that could tip over and cause a 9.3 earthquake. But any of that, while intellectually stimulating, would require me to pay attention. And my attention needs to be focused. I don’t get to attack that “to be read” pile until I get past a couple of deadlines.

I hate making Chuck Wendig wait. (Read “Wanderers,” it’s outstanding. And once I get done with my re-read of that, I get to start the sequel, “Wayward,” which I am hearing amazing things about.)

Onward.

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Filed under Entertainment, Paul

Another “Set SCE To AUX” Day

If you know, you know.

“Miles to go before I sleep…” as they say. Tomorrow will be another day.

So far 2023, four days in, is “more of the same” mixed in with “Say, WHAT?!” When the going gets weird, the weird get going.

Stay weird, freindos!

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Filed under Paul, Photography

No Context For You – November 29th

A few small triumphs, some gains, a few deadlines met – it all helps.

Step by step. It’s all progress.

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A Wall Of Green

While putting up Christmas lights on Saturday I had the most odd visual experience. In order to run an extension cord from the garage roof across a sidewalk and over to the tall, thin, Italian cypress trees that line the yard, I was right up against the trees, reaching in for the extension cord that I was threading down through the branches.

I looked up…

…and my perspective switched 90º, gravity be damned. I would have sworn that I was floating or hovering two inches above a horizontal bed of kelp or some sort of sea grass, looking off above it into the ocean – not looking straight up, vertically, at the sky above the wall of tree branches.

Even just looking at this picture my brain snaps back to that other viewpoint, like one of those optical illusions where you can either see an old woman with a huge nose or a young girl with a scarf.

Maybe I’m just having a nervous breakdown. It would explain so much…

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Filed under Christmas Lights, Paul, Photography

Cheap Thrills, Blue Tags

It happens every year. Last year it was December 5th. The year before it was November 13th. Before that November 12th. And November 30th. I had thought this year was actually the earliest yet, but I see that it’s not, by about four days.

I hopped on the registration as soon as it came in and got it back quickly, so while we’re still pretty much guaranteed to be the first ones on the block with the newest year’s tags, it won’t be the earliest.

As I say every year, cheap thrills for the little kid inside who spent way, WAY too much time on cross country trips playing license plate games.

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Sunday Night Blues

The end of October, the hockey game on Thursday, the fantastic Danny Elfman show last night at the Hollywood Bowl, deadlines at work, the Chief’s off week, family in town for the concert and hockey game…

It’s played “fifty-two pickup” with my schedule, and more importantly, my perception of my schedule.

For better or for worse, all evening I’ve had my internal clock telling me that today was Saturday, which is great because I could really, really use tomorrow to chillax and kick back.

Oops!

Tomorrow’s Monday. Tomorrow’s Halloween. Tomorrow’s payroll, and month end.

“Good thing I’m having such a great time doing so many things,” he said, dazedly, still slightly in shock. “Otherwise I could be double booking panic attacks and nervous breakdowns!”

Oh, and then NaNoWriMo starts on Tuesday…

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Why Do I Have These Apps On My Phone?

There were some updates downloading on my phone today and I saw a couple there that I had forgotten that I had.

Maybe it’s just me, but…

Granted, this state is voluntary, but nonetheless, that ship might have sailed.

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Filed under Farce, Paul, Photography

A Lousy Day To Be An American

Yesterday I wrote about “Thriving Amid Adversity” and said

“Yet we do have the ability within us to be like this flower, finding a way to get up when the world knocks us down. We can bring the tiniest bit of beauty and joy to the world, even if it sucks. We can still make it better.”

It was easy to say then, harder to do today.

There’s a fair amount of rage to deal with today. I’m functional, deadlines to keep, places to go, people to piss off, but it’s more autopilot than innovation.

“Be the flower,” I said.

Yeah, right now I might be something with thorns, at best, and I don’t mean a rose, or even a cactus. More like one of those invasive species with the pollen that’s incredibly toxic and the sap that blisters, burns, and blinds.

Tomorrow I’ll see what I can do about channeling that into something productive.

Tonight?

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Filed under Paul, Politics

Thriving Amid Adversity

There’s a drought, fourth year. We’ve got some significant watering restrictions outdoors. It’s been hot, pushing into the upper 90’s almost every day for weeks.

The lawn is turning brown. The dirt is hard packed.

Yet my little pal next to the driveway has found a way to thrive. (Assuming I can avoid running him over when I park.)

It’s hard out there for all of us. Politics. The economy. Inflation. Gas prices. COVID. Stress. Uncertainty.

Yet we do have the ability within us to be like this flower, finding a way to get up when the world knocks us down. We can bring the tiniest bit of beauty and joy to the world, even if it sucks. We can still make it better.

Even if you have to fake it. Function follows form.

Be the flower.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Flowers, Paul, Photography