25 August 2015

The Classics: Be My Baby by the Ronettes

I love this song. I love a lot of the Wall of Sound songs (a lot of people do -they are really good!), which I recently found out featured the same session musicians as the Beach Boys songs that I also love. So that's fun.

23 August 2015

Weird Al: Not My Favorite Music but Super Nice Guy

Cute Pups is Cute
As part of this disturbing story about a girl that was bullied because she was a fan of Guardians of the Galaxy (me too!) and Star Wars (first three movies only, thanks) the local Garrison or whatever it's called of Storm Troopers made sure she got some custom armor, which is totally rad.

Weird Al was also involved in some way and it turns out that he is legendarily nice! Who knew?  This story moved me in a way that I did not expect:

When I was a kid I played the accordion. I wrote “Weird” Al a fan letter that was basically. 

We play the same instrument, we should be friends! 

A month later he sent me a note that said. 
We are not friends. We are brothers! With the note was a sheet music of all his songs. 

How great is that? That is the greatest and I love it.
People are terrible, but sometimes they are not. In summary: Ruby the Dog is the cutest.

I Went There: Seattle

View from the Hard Rock Seattle Rooftop Deck (Sunset)
(One in an occasional series.) 

One of the perks of my job is that when I'm not working from home in serious business clothes boardshorts* I get to fly around the western United States and meet with customers, do work stuff, stay in nice hotels, see the sights, soak up some of the local color (so to speak), take the occasional yoga class, eat free food, drink free drinks. It's not bad!

Very occasionally I will have time to catch up with friends and/or family. Seattle was one of these times: got my work done, and then I had time to wander around downtown and buy cool stuff (which I almost never do), enjoy some of the touristy spots, hang out with my peeps.

Pike Market is tourist mecca but it was surprisingly pretty good in person. Overpriced, sure, but there were actually a lot of delicious items for sale there, such as local produce and seafood. I went during peak summer season and it was crazy packed but when I was back in the evening after the happy hour at the Hard Rock it was just me and the junkies and other homeless, of which there were many.

I can confirm that the "original" Starbucks is a cool little coffee shop, which makes it the inverse of every Starbucks that has opened since the original. Funny how that works.

If you can make your way to Seattle for an all-expenses-paid trip then that is definitely a thing that you should do. If not then hit me up and you can come with me next time. :)

* Shirts optional, unless I'm on a call, because I need something to clip to my microphone. 

22 August 2015

Get Your Read On: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

Finished The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. An epic story, very well told. Highly recommended.

The book reminded me of Bridge of Birds which is long out of print and, in my not so humble opinion, excellent.

Get them both on Amazon (or borrow my copies).

Could do an in-depth review but I'm busy. You're just interested in a book to read, right? Right.

In unrelated news I picked up some hummingbird feeders because this place could use some local wildlife and also they are savage little beasts

21 August 2015

I Went There: San Diego

 (One in an occasional series.) 

In seven short days earlier this month I was in Vegas (we talked about it), briefly home, Whale's Vagina San Diego, very briefly home, Seattle, then finally, happily home. It was a full week.

The view from my hotel in San Diego was good enough that I took a picture in the daytime and evening. Not a bad work environment, yeah?

This year was a lot better than last year, not least because I fired the lying slooze I took with me last year and also because nothing under the bed tried to kill me. Big win all around.

20 August 2015

Han Yolo

Scott send me this, because he is awesome like that. He sent it just before I went to Vegas a couple weeks ago and it was prophetic because that is the same brand and size of vodka that we ended up ordering. In summary: I love America.

18 August 2015

Cats are Great: Crossfit with Lucky

Baby Weights bc My Lower Back Is (Apparently) Made of Tissue Paper
Some people think cats are only okay. I get it. I'm on board with the concept, understand the sentiment. I think cats are great, but I also think dogs are great, and octopi are great. If you had a pig that was funny and did funny pig-things then I would think that is pretty great, too. I'm an equal-opportunity appreciator of animals. (Except 'toy' dogs - animals are not 'toys'. Ugh.)

So when Lucky the Cat made his gym visit the other day I made sure to take a short time out and greet him warmly. Some cats (or dogs, or octopi) would be frightened by the loud noise of weights being dropped and bars banging around and so forth. Lucky, in true cat fashion, strolled through the front door into a room full of deadly objects and ignored them completely, because he doesn't give a shit what you're doing. He wants to check it out, maybe get some attention if you're not too busy working on your cleans or whatever, maybe have a lie down. He decides when he gets there.

Anyway, that's the fat kid, and also a cat. It's the little things.

12 August 2015

Health Check: BMI

Company has us do a cursory annual checkup to get a 20% discount on our health insurance. I dread it because I have to give blood and that means I have to lie down while it happens because it makes me woozy. :-(

The other thing they do is take height and weight measurements and return a BMI result. Turns out my BMI is out of the normal recommended range, which means that I either need to lose some ell bees or the BMI reference range is... flawed? Probably both.

10 August 2015

Visual Aid

Visited with a friend of mine that is cat-sitting. One of the cat's people (the cat does not belong to you, you belong to the cat) is a graphic designer and she made notes in this style for all things cat-related. They are awesome.

The best part about this artwork is that the cat himself is not at all 'cute'. He is the cat analog of my friend Chad Wesley Smith: a triangle-shaped head planted directly on enormous shoulders, with no discernible neck. Yeti is a good name for him. The cat is not at all fat - he's more like a brick with four legs and a tail. But: super cute drawings!

09 August 2015

I Went There: Las Vegas (Surrender / Flosstradamus)

Vegas Photobooth is Best Photobooth*
(One in an occasional series.) 

Vegas is great in small doses - I can do everything I want to do in 24 hours and after that I just want to get the hell out of town. If you can't fit it all in in 24 hours then you and I are having very different experiences and you should come with me next time.

That said: Met some friends in Las Vegas for a quiet, introspective afternoon/evening/night/morning of dinner and light conversation. Our dinner reservation was at 8 PM, and I got back to my room at juuuust before 6 AM.

"Stayed" (read: stored my suitcase / showered / changed into my suit) at the Venetian, which is nice because Tao is a good option for dinner (you gotta eat(?)) and your club entry fee is included, should you decide to go to Tao.

We opted to get a bottle/table at Surrender so we could soak up the sweet hotness that is Flosstradamus. I described it as 'turnt as fuck', which was apt. Flosstradamus is on fire right now: They killed their set, and then they wadded it up into a ball and launched it on a rocket into the sun. Champagne was sprayed, fun was had, people were [REDACTED], and [REDACTED] and we ended up [REDACTED]. 

Caught my flight home, took a much-needed nap but didn't even put my suitcase away because I have to travel twice this week. Yeesh. I'm tired just thinking about it.

* I'm not in that picture - that is my friend Scozzo, last seen trying to kill me buying me drinks in Manhattan.

07 August 2015

Baby Sloth!

We love sloths around here. They are built to hug. Who doesn't love that?

This guy lives at the ZSL London Zoo, which is redundant because ZSL stands for Zoological Society of London. Whatever. Enjoy. 

06 August 2015

Cat Sitting is Fun. Ish. Fun-ish.

Thirsty Cat is Thirsty
You Taking a Picture?
When I babysit my friends socially awkward cat we have a pretty good time. She is the cat-analog of the last girl I dated in that our relationship improved dramatically when I learned she preferred to be ignored. 

Stella Cat wants to feel like she is stealthy (she is not at all stealthy). Best if you don't look at her. As long as I did not try to do something weird like pet her or sit by her or notice her directly then she will sit close by (NO TOUCHING, unless she sits and touches you), drink my water, or maybe rub her face on the camera when I tried to take a picture. Anything more than that and she gets uncomfortable. My friend's wife, who picked the cat out at a shelter, was hoping for a companion that would sit in her lap and be her friend. She gets none of that, and instead says, "we just have to find new ways to love her". Life lessons!

She is not the worst cat - she is harmless to anything but the couch, and although her social awkwardness is awkward she avoids all people equally (though she seems to like me well enough). She even lets you pick her up, after a fashion. We had some good times watching HBO and napping. Plus she made sure to get some cat hair in my work bag so I could wear it on my suit the last time I had a meeting. Good one, Stella Cat.

05 August 2015

Local Wildlife: Green June Bug, with Bonus Fig

This One is Mine - Get Your Own
I live in the cheapest one-bedroom-with-a-garage apartment in Eastside Costa Mesa. It's not that bad of an apartment, but as my good friend Mitch Broadsky once told me, "you know what 'not that bad' means? It means it's not that good, either." (This is a universal life truth that I love and cherish; they should print it on money.)

Looked at moving but the garage requirement and the fact that I prefer to put my money in the bank light my money on fire keeping my car running means I am better off where I am. You care. Anyway, one of the highlights of this dumpy-ass apartment with the shady-as-hell alley that runs behind it is the adjacent truly-shithole-of-a-triplex that fronts the shady-as-hell alley. That place is very definitely a dump but at some point in the distant past a resident planted some fruit trees: apricot, peach and fig, plus probably others that didn't thrive on neglect and have since given up.

The adjacent backyard is fenced, overgrown and filled with derelict trash. The fig tree is something of a minor miracle, situated adjacent to an alley that runs between a strip mall and apartment complex, surviving the worst drought in recorded California history, and literally covered with the most delicious figs you could hope to eat. In order to get to them I have to stand on a rickety-ass fence and maybe lean on another rickety-ass fence (of course all fences are unstable, bc: see previous descriptions of the units) and brave birds and bird poops, fig leaves (not for nothing, but: fig leaves are irritating as hell when they touch your skin), and green june bugs that are perfectly harmless but can be a bit distracting if they lift off in front of your unsuspecting face and/or you grab one when you are trying to get your mitts on a tasty fig, which: fucking hell, man.

Turns out another name for the green june bug is "fig beetle", which makes sense as these guys are all over the figs, as are the local birds and whatever else can get their paws/claws on them (raccoons, possums, rats, and etc). They are very beautiful - photos do not do them justice as they do not come close to capturing their radiant green iridescence. They are also only slightly more aerodynamic than a VW bus, and although lovely to look at they will bump into / land on your face if you accidentally harass them. Just clumsy or something more... sinister? Hard to say. Proceed with caution.

Note that they will not actually do anything to your face but if you want a big ass beetle strolling around on your gob while you stand/lean on two rickety ass fences then you should become an entomologist and/or stop by my house and see how it feels. To be honest, it's not that bad. And the figs are superb.

04 August 2015

Local Wildlife: Paco the Lizard

This little guy would fit comfortably on a quarter when I took the photo. I haven't seen him for a couple weeks so hopefully he is still kicking around, doing lizard things. There aren't many cats in the area but pretty much everything will eat a lizard that size, including other lizards. With some luck he is lurking around in the ivy downstairs, waiting for it to be less scorching hot so he can get out and hustle up some grub.

03 August 2015

It's the Little Things: Take Pride in Your Work

The toiletpaper fold is a universal at hotels. I usually do not take much notice but: look at this work right here. Look at it! How can you do better than this? You cannot. This detail-oriented employee took the time to make a perfect, crisp, symmetrical fold and then did the exact same thing a second time(!!). 

Towels folded? Meh. Sheets tucked? Whatevs. Anyone can do that. This origami is a triumph; the best of its type I have ever seen. I left a tip for the cleaning staff on the strength of this effort alone

02 August 2015

I Went There: San Francisco

Not Pictured: GG Bridge (at left)
(One in an occasional series.) 

I went to San Francisco (again). The weather is famously unpredictable-trending-to-bad but it was very nice again this time. Weird.

Hotel was the Westin St. Francis in Union Square. As before the problem with hotels in Union Square is that you have to walk some distance to find a decent restaurant. 

Best part about the trip was the view from my hotel room. It is easy to get bored and cynical about traveling when you do it all the time but the view, which was panoramic and stretched from the Golden Gate bridge to the west and beyond Coit tower to the east, was pretty sweet. 

01 August 2015

League of Legends: Piglet's Rekt Dance is Boss

Hello readers! Long time no read! I've been busy. I went some places, did some things. More on that in a future post.

When I'm not jetting around our great nation being awesome at my job I spend my free time wondering if my back will stop hurting watching League of Legends on YouTube. More fun than it sounds. Take my word for it.

I wish I were super good at something (anything) so that when I wrecked rekt foolz like Piglet* does here I could do a little dance move to remind myself that I am the shit. Keep your eye on him in the upper right corner.

Some players say that this is disrespectful. I think getting rekt under your own tower in lane is disrespectful. The dance is just to remind you that you got your ass handed to you. If you don't like the way that feels then play better. Plus the dance is funny as hell. Keep on being awesome, Piglet. LoL needs more of this.

* Yes his name is Piglet. How great is that? Pretty great.