Boy! I love warranties

Driving to work at 4am.

I accelerate to pass yet another San Diego asshat driver. Really? The freeway is wide open and you’re playing pacecar, racing me?

Dumbass left in the dust… 

I’m slowing down back to my normal cruising speed. Cruise control takes over and I settle in for the 25 minute ride. Then there’s a little yellow light on the control console. Humm, That looks like a little motor. 

HAL 9000

I ask the computer what’s wrong?

“All systems check OK”

“Are you on acid?”

“All systems check OK”

The computer is giving me two different readings. “Well that’s annoying,” I think to myself.

I also think this is reminiscent of the exchange between David Bowman and HAL in 2001 a Space Odyssey. 

I vaguely remember this symbol being printed on the gas door. Something to do with emissions control. I keep driving but am paying more attention to the control console and the engine status. 

It’s Labor Day, so I know there’s no point trying to get the car to a repair facility. I’ll “baby it” until I get to work, then check the gas cap.

I get to work, & park. I check the gas cap, then screw it back down until it locks.

Heading home after work, the little annoying light is still on.

Okaaay. Something is not right.  I get home and decide that after work tomorrow, I’m going to have to drop the car off at a local dealer to be checked out.

I drop the car off the next afternoon.

The local dealership is nice, efficient and I hope good. I have trust issues with mechanics and dealerships.

The dealership puts me in a fully loaded X3. Nice, if a bit large.

The service guy tells me my car should be ready to go the next day. 

Overheated Car

Late in the afternoon, I get a call from the dealership, it’s a thermostat.

How is that NOT a big enough issue for the computer to scream about?

Oh well, obviously the thermostat broke in the open position. I’m glad I didn’t just write it off as a gas cap and drive to Riverside in the heat.

Not a pretty image!

Anyhow, it’s a free repair. The dealership is going to be free under warranty. 

All in all, aside from the inconvenience of having to take the car to a dealership. It’s a good outcome.

I’ll have my lady back and then figure out what to do with the rest of my “weekend”.

Another Workweek in the bag

And thank GOD!

The place I work is a dumpster fire.

We’re losing people, including a director that has barely been there a year. I can’t blame anyone for leaving, and the fact that people are jumping ship as fast as there are speaks well of the job market.

I’m sitting at a bar waiting on a buddy. We’re going to have beers and burgers and commiserate.

Our workplace is mind numbing. I honestly feel like working there has made me stupid. Perhaps I was stupid for accepting the position in the first place.

We both need to drink and eat, and then forget, if only for a short time what a waste of time the place is.

For fuck sake we’re both better than this, and we both know it. Depression, Stress, and feelings of abject hopelessness are the common elements of being there. Both of us are trying like hell to find something else.

If I could, I’d pimp us both out for sex work. At least then we’d know we’d done a good job and the job was finished.

Humm… Nah! His wife would never go for it!

My buddy said he’d take a job for the same money cleaning toilets. Essentially that’s what we’re doing anyway. He puts it this way, “Our job is to apologize, and give people free shit.”

Sadly, he’s absolutely correct.

I don’t know how much more I can take.

The last time I was this angry and pissed off with a job. It was a company that catered to the entertainment industry. That place was so bad, I threw up every single day, on the way to work.  Eventually, after throwing up on a poor cactus I just stopped going in. I seem to recall their HR finally getting interested and demanding that I make the drive down there to sign paperwork. They threatened to hold my paycheck until I went back in. I told them about this wonderful technology called a FAX machine.

Eventually, they sent me my check.

Then I took them to EDD for breach of contract and won.

I really hate Busybodies

Gladys

Abner! There’s something strange going on over there.

There’s a whole lot of folks that won’t get that reference.

For those of you that do… Well, we’re probably of a similar age.

Anyhoo, I’m heading into the laundry room (Locked by the way, so I have my key.) and this old woman comes out onto her little patio to tell me that I’m not allowed to use the laundry room.

“Is it out of order,” I ask.

“No you can’t use it because it’s for residents only.”

“I’m a resident.”

“You can’t be, you’re not old enough, so don’t lie to me. I’m calling the manager.”

“Call away! I pay my rent on time and cause no-one any trouble. Let’s see how this plays out with Michelle.”

Laundry Room

I walk into the laundry room and go on about my business. She on the other hand does not go about her business. Apparently, Now I’m her business.

“I’m not calling the apartment management, If you keep putting your clothes in the washers I will unplug them when you’re gone,” She yells from the safety of her patio.

“Look ‘Gladys’ that would be a mistake on your part, I’m a resident here and have been for a year and a half,” I say loudly.

I’m calling the cops!”

I think, “OH for Fucks sake.” 

I go back to the door of the laundry room, “Really? You honestly think that this is a matter for the police?”

“Yes, I’m afraid!”

I on the other hand am PISSED. All I wanted to do was get my laundry in the washer, go back to my apartment, have another cup of coffee, some breakfast, and then come back to put my stuff in the dryer.

“Afraid of WHAT? Its broad daylight, there are people all over the place, what could you possibly think is going to happen? You’d be better served by minding your own business, instead of trying to provoke a conflict. If you think something is amiss after observing a situation for a few minutes, then call the cops.”

“You’re wearing a ball cap, and you look too young to be here. You’re up to no good.”

I take off my baseball cap, just to check and make sure it’s not a confederate flag, or an American flag, or NRA logo or a Swastika. It’s not. It says, “Dive” with a small little divers flag. 

“Look you old crone, profile much? Is the white in my beard not enough for you? The crows feet around my eyes don’t tell you I’m old enough? Who the hell died and made you die Führer? Where exactly do you get off calling someone a liar to their face? What would it take, you want to see the gray hair on my balls? Would that do it? ”

Gladys2

Crossed a line there… I know. The stunned look on her face was damn funny… and totally worth it.

Just as I delivered that line, Michelle, the apartment manager was rounding the corner. She laughed out loud.

I turned towards the sound.

“Oh hey Michelle, sorry about that, would you explain to this person that I’m a resident?”

Michelle in her usual calm way said, “Sure, Happy to do it.”

“Thanks”

I went back into the laundry room, and went about my business. I could hear the wannabe Gladys Kravitz saying, “How was I to know?”

Michelle responded, “Because he had a key to the laundry room.”

“Well, he was rude to me.”

“From what I heard, it sounded like you provoked him. He’s one of our best tenants, quiet, generally nice, pays his rent, makes good suggestions, takes action when it’s warranted, but mostly keeps to himself.” 

Laundry started, I locked and closed the door to the laundry room, then went back to the relative solitude of my own apartment.

Over my next cup of coffee a bunch of things that went through my mind.

Trump

Why was that lady afraid? What prompts fear that makes you treat complete strangers as if they’re out to get you?

I’ll grant you, the chaos of our nation isn’t easy to deal with.  I wonder if unreasoning fear is part of what’s driving the chaos.

Yeah, Trump may not be your guy or even the guy, but he’s only the most recent in a long line of Presidents, and he’s not a dictator. Well, not yet anyway.

Nixon

I mean, you could say that the quality of Presidents, while always hit & miss, has perhaps been more miss than hit since the Nixon administration.

Perhaps longer, but I came of age the day Nixon left office under a cloud of corruption and scandal.

I can’t comment too much on Presidents up to the Nixon era because I was blissfully ignorant & uncaring of anything except my next little league game.

What happened to live and let live? Why would someone feel it’s necessary to try to reach out and control the actions of a complete stranger, especially when there is nothing to gain and the likelihood you’ll start a conflict?

It makes no sense to me. 

NAZI SS

Maybe I’m the odd man out. I just want to get through my day unmolested and without molesting anyone else. I’m seeking peace and simplicity, not angst and conflict (conflict leading to complication).

To put it simply, I just want to be left the hell alone.

I care nothing for politics. I care nothing for grandiose protests or demonstrations. Largely, these acts of theater don’t bring change.

I sure as hell don’t believe in vandalism of anyone’s property (state or private) whether I agree with them or not.

There is a better way, a peaceful way. It’s the way of listening and speaking with calm and logic, not violence and cruelty.

If someone isn’t going to listen to rational conversation, they’re not going to listen to riots. They’ll take action, usually draconian, but they will not have heard what you were trying to say.

ISIL

Granted, I didn’t practice what I preach this morning. So sue me, I hadn’t had my second cup of coffee yet.

In retrospect, perhaps I could see why the lady was afraid. If all she’s been seeing is CNN and Fox News. Perhaps she’s concluded that anyone wearing a dark colored hat is ANTIFA and she’s afraid of what that means. 

ANTIFA

I know I find myself looking at the ANTIFA crowd and thinking that they behave a lot more like fascists, and look more like the Symbionese Liberation Army, or ISIS than the historical depictions of the NAZI SS.

At least the SS was neatly dressed and you typically saw their faces, instead of looking like the depictions of traditional roadside bandits, or bank robbers.

My Grandmother once said, “If you’re doing something where you feel you need to cover your face, it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing.

She had a point. Protesting in the open where people can see your face says two things. 1) You’re not ashamed of your position. 2) You want to stand up and be counted and recognize there may be consequences. 

I have respect for anyone who is open and unafraid to speak their mind. I don’t have to agree, but I do have to respect their dedication and position.

I wonder if the need to control other’s actions is a reflection of just basic insecurity.

The world is too big to control and there are too many moving parts so people try to control the local things; don’t Smoke, don’t drink, don’t let your children walk home or ride the bus. Don’t eat fatty foods, don’t get fat, don’t be too thin.

Does insecurity inevitably lead to imposition of measures to control everyone else? 

If that assertion is true, it leads to a simple equation. You must be an elite pulling the strings, or else you’re one of the people being led around.

So you’re right back to fear being the root cause of a lot of the problems we see today.

My friends, its time to step into the light. Go forth into your day and your community being unafraid. Choose to see the better in people and understand that we all have the same basic needs, wants, and desires.

Speak your mind, listen to others, and really hear them. You don’t have to agree, just acknowledge that other peoples opinions and beliefs matter too. Recognize that you’re not necessarily right, and treat others with respect. Instead of running to tell a cop someone dropped trash somewhere, bend over and pick it up. Set a good example, and pay no attention to the people acting badly.

Hopefully, in time, the world will become a better place because we choose to lead by example, not by force.

That’s not to say force is off the table. But it should always be a last resort.

Time to put the clothes in the dryer…

Holy Hannah

IMG 0531

Yesterday was pretty darn amazing.

We had the hardest rain we’ve had since I can remember. The rainfall seems to have been about 3 inches per hour and we were lucky that it didn’t rain the whole hour.

It was torrential, with thunder and lightening and even a little bit of hail at one point. I’m glad I didnt’ have the car washed before I came up to the mountains.

There was so much so fast, that the flood control channel (Which used to be a nice creek) was cresting it’s banks. That doesn’t sound very impressive until you realize that the channel is 50 feet deep and at most point at least 100 feet across.

The whole house was shaking like there was a train going by and huge rocks were tumbling by.

Throughout the town dry creek beds were suddenly full again. Rocks and debris was scattered everywhere and I couldn’t help but think how quickly nature could reclaim the area.

That was us in the mountains, down on the valley floor to the north, they got the 3” of rain per hour, a full hour of rain, and then they got the runoff from the mountains. So for them it was a double whammy.

The bridge is out on one of the roads connecting my end of town to the rest of town. Road crews have, as always done a great job of clearing the debris. It’s going to take a while to put the bridge back in order, even now I hear the distant beeping of the heavy equipment working down there.

It’s a pity that we can’t save all the water. Of course you’d need huge settling ponds to allow it to seep into the ground  That would probably be impractical, but it does seem such a waste given the ravages of the drought up here over the past five years.

Even though it was raining so heavily, I enjoyed the show. I like the sound of rain on the roof and the occasional rumble of thunder. I’m not sure I like the ground rumbling due to boulders washing down from the mountainside. The dog really doesn’t like that sound.

This morning the air is crisp and clean the temperature is very comfortable and the humidity isn’t as unbearable as it was. 

It’s the “Goldilocks” time that happens after a really good storm.

I’m planning on enjoying as much as I can until I have to return to San Diego.

And I got a free car wash out of the deal.  Thanks Mother Nature!

Happy August!

Soon the kids will be back in school, and traffic will be a bit better, at least during the school day.

The mess will start as the “Special Little Snowflakes” have to be dropped off, and picked up.

But traffic to and from the beaches will easier and at the times I usually travel that’s a good thing.

Selfish Huh?

Well see how you feel sitting in San Diego traffic that’s bumper to bumper for no reason other than the roads are clogged with possibly the worst drivers in America, then add to that young drivers in a hurry to get to their fun.

Yeah, I’m selfish.

Ok Time to set some boundaries!

We’ve all been there. The person across the table from you is paying far more attention to their phone than they are to you, Even though they’re supposed to be there to talk with you.

We are becoming slaves to our technology… Some would say the ship has sailed.

This fact crashed through my ability to ignore it, in a major way a couple of days ago while I was having my hair cut. 

Yep, the barber was texting while he was cutting my hair. Uh excuse me? I’m paying for 30 minutes of your time. The expectation is that I’m going to get 30 uninterrupted minutes.  Surely the person at the other end of that conversation knows you’re at work, and what you do for a living.

Needless to say I will not be going back to that shop.

This got me thinking about some boundaries that we should start observing.

  1. If you’re with people in the real world, pay attention to the people you’re with, not the phone. Try silent or do not disturb mode.
  2. If you’re texting with someone, finish that conversation, before you join the conversation with a group of real people
  3. If your phone rings while you’re with friends, and you must take the call, it’s your children, your mom or whoever, excuse yourself and step away, or out of the building to have your conversation. Keep the conversation brief.
  4. If it’s a call you don’t have to take, Send it to voicemail. You can do that by discretely pressing a power, or volume down button.
  5. If you’re Skyping with someone, the rest of us don’t want to be involved in your conversation. So, stop screaming into you phone. By the way, that also includes not turning up the volume to drown out the crowd around you.

You have voicemail on your phone, USE IT!

Imagine a world where we turned on our phones only when we were intending to use them. No more annoying ringtones in public places, people actually speaking to other people on the street (Gasp). No more people walking into fountains, or open elevator shafts, or manholes.

What a concept!

Imagine having sex and not hearing the insistent buzz, ding, chirp of your cellphone demanding your attention. After all are you going to accept a Skype call while you’re nailing someone to the sheets? Do you really need to share that?

If you get someone’s voicemail leave a damn message! After leaving a message, how about waiting an hour or two before sending text messages, or emails, to find out if the other person got your voicemail.

You might also consider setting up a list of preferred people that will have the ability to ring through your do not disturb setting. Like your kids, your mom, and your spouse. I’ve done that and exactly four people have that privilege. They’ll get through first try, anyone not on that list will go to voicemail.

Headhunters, placement agents, etc… 

YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED to call, hang-up, call, hang-up, and call, hang-up trying to bust through the DND setting. Nothing you have to say to me isn’t going to wait an hour. If you’re one of those people and have tried that with my number, I can tell you you’ve been blocked. I have no desire to speak with you.

Just because we live in a mostly connected world, doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to be available to everyone all the time.

Try this as an experiment sometime. Turn your phone off while you’re driving somewhere. I’ll bet you get to your destination less stressed.

I guess I’m just an old guy. 

I like the convenience of the technology, but I refuse to become a slave to it.

If you try to call me and get no answer, it’s nothing personal. I just prefer living my  life in the real world, I’m not quite ready to join The Matrix just yet. 

If you are offended by me not answering your call, just imagine that I’m naked with someone!

That image alone should make you hesitant to call me at least for a couple of hours.