Sky Boom

We’ve got a bit of weather moving through tonight – I love this! And with an iPhone with a pretty good video camera built in, I can share:

It also does pretty good frame captures:

There actually is the faintest trace of the bolt still visible in that last shot – click on it to blow up the image to full screen size to see it.

It’s still booming out there, but about fifteen minutes ago another cell passed right over us, it started pouring, and the temperature dropped about 15°F in about five minutes. I’ll watch from inside for now.

 

 

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Filed under Photography, Video, Weather

Frost Redux

For the first time since they started keeping records, there wasn’t a single day in February when it got to 70°F in downtown Los Angeles. The last day it reached 70°F was January 29th – current forecast says it won’t get there anytime soon. The forecast through March 13th doesn’t show it getting above 67°F.

If you think this somehow is a bit of evidence that disproves climate change, you’re an idiot.

 

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Filed under Los Angeles, Photography, Weather

Abstract Glass

To my simple eye there is a great deal of beauty and spectacle to be found in the patterns and glitter and reflections of cheap glass, lights, and mirrors of hotel ballroom lights.

 

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Filed under Art, Photography

Pre-Event Builder’s Ball 2019

If you’ve been here a while you might remember our annual Builder’s Ball fundraising event at Homes for Families, where I work. It’s tonight, so today will be a long, long day of setup, followed by a long, long evening of wonderful event & then tear down.

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Tonight’s Motorized Moron

From last evening as I was leaving the office we have all of the necessary elements – a cozy parking garage, a visitor with a huge vehicle and a tiny brain (or something tiny that he’s overcompensating for), an inability to bother reading directions, and enough Dunning-Kruger to make it into a nightmare for everyone else.

First, the cozy parking garage. There’s only one entrance and upon entering you immediately turn right. The main exit is next to the entrance, but once you’ve turned right after coming in, you really, really need to go around the loop and approach the exit head on. You need to be small and zippy to try to come back out the way you came in and make that turn into the exit lane.

Second, that huge vehicle. A full-sized Hummer. I don’t even see how he got it in to begin with. Not small. Not zippy.

Third, if you’re a visitor you need to pay in advance to exit and get your ticket processed as paid. This is particularly true if you are having your parking validated by whoever you’re visiting – if you’re at the exit you can only pay with a credit card, not the little validation stickers.

Fourth, this freakin’ moron figured NONE of those rules applied to him. The universe would bend to his will…just because!

Wrong.

I had the poor luck to be the one just leaving when Mr. Wonderful roared the wrong way out of that right turn only lane at the entrance. I wanted to get home and realized that standing on principle and getting T-boned by a Hummer wouldn’t expedite that, so I let the asshole cut me off and try to get out that exit.

And try. And try. And back up and try again. And again. Until he finally got those monstrously huge off-road tires up onto the curb and muscled it around to drop down into the exit lane somehow.

Forgive me. I saw what was coming next, as clearly as Cassandra ever did. I looked into my rear-view mirror hoping that I would be lucky and be able to flee toward the other exit that I was quite sure this clown didn’t know about. I looked…and saw three cars already backed up behind me.

Trapped.

Of course, Mr. Wonderful hadn’t bothered to get his ticket validated before he got in. Yet another silly rule that didn’t apply to HIM.

Then the real fun starts. After a good three or four minutes he finally decides he’ll bite the bullet and pay for the parking himself. Of course, his credit card gets declined by the machine. Or he’s such a moron that he’s putting it in wrong. It could have gone either way.

The honking has now started behind me. I look in my rear-view and now see close to a dozen cars behind me, all the way to the back end of the parking garage, with more coming down from the top level and more coming up from the bottom level. God alone knows where security is to punt this asshole out into the night and clear the way for the rest of us to go home.

Of course, now he wants to back up. But he can’t because I’m there. And I can’t back up because the guy behind me is just six inches back. And he can’t back up…

Mr. Wonderful is leaning out of his window and yelling at me now. I spread my arms and shrug, the universal symbol for, “WTF is your problem?”

Mr. Wonderful would now like to get out of his car, no doubt to scream in my face or take a punch at me, but his Urban Assault Vehicle is so tightly jammed into that exit slot that only the Jaws of Life are cutting him out of there. He can’t open the driver’s door because the payment/validation machine is blocking it and he can’t open the passenger side door because there’s a concrete wall there. His Hummer’s tough, but not punching-through-six-inches-of-rebar-enforced-load-bearing-concrete-wall tough.

Mr. Wonderful now decides he’s just going to put it into reverse anyway. No doubt he thinks he can just crush my van like an old beer can. (This may or may not be true – the Big Blue Max does have 198,000 miles, but it didn’t get there by being poorly designed or built.) Except that those monstrous tires are jammed into the slot now between the concrete curb, not quite straight, and he can’t get any torque or movement. He’s jammed.

I figure this is the point where he’s going to just floor it going forward and snap off the bar that’s down at the exit. When suddenly, I see movement in the rear-view.

Somewhere four or five cars back, someone got enough maneuvering room to finally wiggle out of line and cut off into the empty parking spaces. They’re headed toward the downstairs exit. The car behind him promptly backed up and followed, and the car behind me has started to follow as well. Like lightning, before anyone else can pull back behind me, I’m in reverse until I can maneuver and I’m following the line of cars down to the other exit.

First in, last out, so I’m about the fifteenth or seventeenth or twentieth car waiting in line downstairs at the side street exit, but we all have parking cards. With traffic coming out of the Trader Joe’s interfering with the smooth flow of exiting cars it takes at least another five or six minutes, but I’m finally free.

I swing around the side of the building and check as I’m driving by the main exit. There’s Mr. Wonderful in his humongous bright blue Hummer, still stuck like a cork, still with no way to get out of his car, now with a new line of cars honking behind him (what’s the problem with those folks, did they not see the mess that I was escaping from??), still with no sign of security to let him out.

Almost fifteen minutes of my life I’ll never get back just because one asshole has a huge car in order to prove something, can’t read directions, can’t drive, and is too freaking stupid and incompetent to do something as simple as validate a parking ticket (or pay for it) and drive out of the garage.

All I know is wasn’t still stuck there when I got in this morning.

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Filed under Freakin' Idiots!, Los Angeles

Spoiler Alert

There’s a white Porsche 911 that I see a couple of times a month when I’m headed to work. I always see it within a couple blocks of home so I’m assuming he lives and/or works in the area. The car is noticeable because the spoiler is always deployed.

Not a big deal – but I always loved seeing the spoiler deploy at speed and then come back down when the vehicle slowed. That’s cool!

So when I see it stopped at a light and the spoiler’s up, I figure it’s broken. When I see it stopped at a light (a couple times a month) and the spoiler’s up (every single freakin’ time, a couple times a month), I’m about 99.999% sure it’s broken.

Before I go jumping to conclusions, I checked. Yep, it varies a bit by model, but the spoiler’s supposed to deploy when you go above about 75 mph and come back down when you slow below about 50 mph.

If you’re at a stop light and it’s up, it’s broken.

So then I went and checked the second question I was interested in. It’s a newer model, probably no more than two or three years old based on the license plate numbering, so new it was worth well more than $150,000. And all Porsche models apparently come with a four year warranty.

So here’s my question – if you have a car that’s worth more than I make in a year and it’s under warranty for repairs (or even if somehow it’s not), why do you drive around for months with something obviously broken?

Really! If you care that little, I’ll tell you what – I’ll relieve you of that horrible burden! I’ll trade you straight up, my nineteen year old minivan with 198,000 miles on it for your late model Porsche 911 turbo with the one broken part. I guarantee that I’ll have that sucker fixed inside of a week and you and your slacker attitude will feel right at home in the Blue Bomber MomMobile.

I’m a giver!

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That Feeling Of Impending Doom – Again

There was a day a few days ago when I was… Disturbed. Upset. Anxious. Angry. Exhausted. Frustrated. Furious. PISSED OFF.

That fortunately doesn’t happen often. In this instance I was able to work my way through it and finally calm down in large part because I knew exactly WHY I was disturbed, upset, anxious, angry, exhausted, frustrated, furious, and pissed off. There was no secret, just a need to keep moving and work through it.

Tonight’s much more annoying.

Most of those symptoms again, although not nearly at the intensity level of last week. Yet it’s still plenty strong enough to make me feel like shit.

What my father used to call “a feeling of impending doom.”

It’s annoying because I really don’t have a clue WHY I’m feeling that way. The day had its ups and downs, there’s some stress at work with a big event coming at us like a freight train, working on the year end and audit, and so on – but nothing to justify or trigger this kind of feeling. I didn’t have any clown on his cell phone while driving try to kill me on my commute home.

Which makes me wonder – what if there’s something that happened that triggered these feelings and was so strong that I’ve just completely wiped it from my memory? That would scare the shit out of me.

“A feeling of impending doom.”

The key is that it’s a feeling.

It’s not head-based. There’s not a storm or hurricane coming. There’s not a threat of war. My job isn’t in jeopardy. I don’t have some strange growth or pain or blood in my stool. There’s no obvious evidence or warning – but my subconscious is putting together things that I can’t identify and hitting that hormonal klaxon.

That’s much more annoying.

Here’s what has not helped put those feelings at rest or calmed my nerves:

  1. Dinner (chili)
  2. Double stuffed Oreos
  3. My usual ’80’s music from Sirius/XM
  4. My playlist of favorites
  5. “Hamilton” (this might have been when I started to get really worried)
  6. “Star Trek” reruns (TOS, so it might have actually made things worse)
  7. Tuvan throat singing videos (it was worth a shot)
  8. Writing this post (although it helps – if I can force or trick myself into a place of creativity it can break the spell)

“Spell” might be the key word there. The software running on my meat computer (my ego, created by my brain) knows that this is just a mood (or too much sugar from those Oreos) and will pass. The feeling, the fear, the doom, the twisted up gut – those all come from the meat computer and the hormonal soup that it swims it.

Stupid brain.

Tomorrow the sun will rise. (Wait, is that what I found out… Nah!) Everything’s Gonna Be OK. (EGBOK!)

Unless, of course…

Nah. Let’s try bluegrass music. Sometimes that works.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul