GRoK This!

Tuesday Aug 18, 2009

Our visit to the RSM City Council

On Wed, Aug 12, about a half-dozen of us from the Canyon Democrats went to the RSM city council meeting. The city council had obviously been expecting some commentary on their letter (see page 5 of Aug issue of Trabuco Canyon News), because they moved the public comments portion of the meeting from the end to the middle. They called Ron Shepston up first. Here's Ron's speech:

I'm Ron Shepston and I'm here to speak on behalf of the Santa Margarita residents who are members of the Canyon Democrats.

To say that we're disappointed in your letter to President Obama published in the Trabuco Canyon News would be an understatement. To say that we're appalled that you as a City Council would inject politics on an issue as important as health care would be closer to describing our disillusionment.

Your letter to President Obama was irresponsible as elected representatives of RSM. As individual citizens you have the right to say anything you want within the law. As members of the RSM city council you have an obligation of integrity and honesty. You were elected because the citizens of RSM trusted you. We think you have betrayed that trust.

Publishing a public letter as the City Council which contains, political talking points, fabrications and deceit and is a blatant display of divisiveness is a breech of the public trust of those citizens who look to you for honest policy in the governance of RSM.

It is one thing to step outside the bounds of the job as a city council to comment on national affairs and it might be warranted in something as important and momentous as a health care bill. What is not warranted is to approach it politically and apply the rules of politics that includes lies and deceptions. Your obligation and responsibility morally excludes engaging in politics in the performance of your job as council members.

We are not so naive as to demand change though we fervently hope that those of us who believe in honoring the public trust might convince you to learn and practice separating governing and politics for the good of those you represent especially including those who disagree with you politically.

Next, they called me. I spoke mainly to emphasize the points in Ron's speech. I noted how RSM has 7,000 Democrats, which is about 25% of their voters. I also noted that in RSM Obama got 42% of the vote last November and McCain got 53%. Obama's 9,494 votes means that around 2,400 non-Democrats voted for Obama. I told them that their hyper-partisan viewpoint ignores those people I just described, and that each one of their talking points can be refuted by simple on-line searches. Bob Turner, another member, spoke next. He talked about the number of patient deaths per year due to the broken system. Lastly, there was a woman who spoke about the care she got in a foreign country and how our country's system is better than socialized medicine. Several of her points are easily refutable as well.

The council's response? Well, they're not really ignoring us, they said. They sent these recommendations up to DC and Sacramento all the time. They respect our point of view. The mayor took a pot-shot at Pelosi, saying that he doesn't like when she calls fellow Americans "un-American" when they are expressing their points (overlooking the fact that she's not annoyed about *what* they're saying but rather *how* they're saying it). The mayor also said that phone calls that he has received have been about 80% in favor of their letter (call them at 949.635.1800 and tell them your opinion!).

We left after that and went outside to talk to an OC Register reporter named John Crandall. He says he's going to include us in the article he's writing.

So that's about all I have to say about what happened. I think it went about as well as could be expected, although I should have asked everyone to phone in their opinions before this meeting. I think that this is a very good start for us getting involved at the local level, and I look forward to us doing this type of thing again. Thanks to all who attended and thanks to Ron and Bob for speaking! We talked at our next meeting about drafting a resolution regarding their letter.

If you like the work we are doing, and would like to help us out, please drop by ActBlue and donate a few bucks to us. Thanks!

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Monday Aug 17, 2009

The government can't do anything right

This is making the rounds. I can't take credit for it, but also can't find who to credit.

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US Department of Agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and tTechnology and the US Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issed by the Federal Reserve Bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the local police department.

I then log on to the internet which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration and post on and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.

And apparently, the Global Positioning Satellite system is POS, right?

The only reason government doesn't work is because conservative Republican administrations defunded and/or patronage staffed them with people with ties to special business interests: to wit the last FDA, Dept of Interior and Agriculture under Bush. No one seems to have a problem with pumping over $500Bil to the Defense Department which last I hear is a socialized entity.

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Tuesday Aug 11, 2009

Gavin Newsom's talk

Tonight, Gavin Newsom, CA gubernatorial candidate and SF mayor, came to Orange County to speak. I took the opportunity to go see him. The talk started at 6pm, but I arrived late (6:45, darned traffic) and as a consequence I had to stand just outside the packed room. I couldn't hear everything, so what follows is just from the sparse notes that I took.

First, he's an engaging speaker. Like him or not, you won't fall asleep when he's talking. Good pace, voice and does it in a casual manner.

He favors a CA constitutional convention. The US Constitution has had 27 amendments in 221 years. The CA Constitution has had over 500 amendments and revisions in 160 years. It's longer than any other state constitution except Alabama.

Bobby Kennedy is hero of his.

On poverty: Bobby Kennedy speech still applicable after 40 years. Frustrating. 40% of African Americans had no access to banks in SF [Gary: couldn't open accounts. Don't remember why]. He helped create program to fix that. The current Governor has never mentioned homeless problem.

Someone brought up Kevin Starr, who said something about higher education and centrist politicians. This segued into talk about open primaries. Newsom thinks that they have merit, but you have to be careful or you might be a Democrat running up against two really rich Republicans.

He's not running against anyone for governor, he's running for governor on a set of ideas. Your call on whether you like those ideas or not.

He considers himself to be "pro job" Democrat. You need workers to do the jobs, and you need corporations to provide the jobs, so treat them both well.

On prison reform: compare number of schools built vs number of prisons built lately. Compare cost of tuition vs cost of incarceration. Some prisons are at 300% capacity. These are not conditions conducive to rehab. Is "war on drugs" producing desired results? We need more things like "Step Down" programs.

On Prop 13: Need honest debate on it. Sales tax is regressive [hits everyone evenly, even those who can't afford it], but property tax is progressive [only affects those who can buy property, and is dependent on the value of the property]. No one supports property tax change for residents. Need to talk about industrial/commercial side. Talked about split rolls, which brings us back to Constitutional Convention.

Afterwards, I had a chance to introduce myself as president of the Canyon Democrats club, in the reddest part of Orange County, and that we'd love to have him as a speaker. He seemed very willing and his staff that I spoke to said that he's always willing to do those kinds of talks, so hopefully sometime (early next year?) we can book him.

Friday Jul 31, 2009

Gilroy Weekend

This past weekend, we once again trekked up to the Gilroy Garlic Festival for my birthday weekend. One of these days, I'll somehow manage to go to both ComicCon and Gilroy when they are on different weekends, but who knows what year that will be.

So Laura and I headed up Friday morning. We had all day, and so I suggested taking the 101 up because it was nicer than the 5. Bad choice. We had bad traffic from downtown L.A. to Santa Barbara. Three to four hours that should have taken half the time. We had dinner reservations at 7, but had to postpone them until 8. We were having dinner at Ciao Bella in Ben Lomond, and had invited some friends, Clyde and Bob, along as well. I've only been to Ciao Bella once, and it say the least. The walls were plastered with different decorations. Kind of eclectic. The food was Italian, and good. The outdoor dining was great, as it was in the center of a grove of towering redwood trees. The entertainment last time was...unexpected. The owner, and some of the staff, came out on a stage in the back area, as cross-dressers, and did a dance or two. It was so weird that we had to come back and invite friends along. The restaurant has changed hands now, though. The food was good again, but the entertainment was different. We didn't get to see much of it as we were seated outside and the entertainment was inside. It was much tamer, though. Bellydancing and a magician and some of the staff doing improv.

Saturday, we made it to the festival by 10am. It turned out to be a cooler weekend than usual. That's to say it was in the mid-80's instead of mid-90's or 100. Dre and John showed up soon after, and we met them in the Wine Garden. Luckily, they were willing to take turns buying food items with us and then sharing with everyone. It's a way to have a little taste of everything. We tried a whole bunch of food, and I think almost every type of meat at the Louisiana Cajun Lady (boar, venison, kangaroo, alligator, buffalo). I'm glad they were game (yeah, that's on purpose) to try the different stuff. Unfortunately, Kristen couldn't join us in the evening for dinner, so Laura and I were on our own for dinner. We went to Famous Dave's. That's some gooood BBQ. Our diet went right out the window that day.

We drove down to Big Sur on Sunday along Highway 1. That's always a nice drive. Along the way, we stopped at Ragged Point for lunch. Nice place with good food. Might have to return and stay the night some time. We made it to Big Sur in time to go to the Big Sur River Inn, grab a drink and sit in the adirondack chairs in the river, soaking our feet. The water was cold, but it was very relaxing. We stayed there for a few hours until it was time to check into our motel, Ripplewood. There are some cabins along the river that were taken this time, but I want to stay in them sometime in the future. We stayed there long enough to check in and then we went back to the restaurant at the River Inn for dinner.

On Monday, we continued our trip south on Highway 1. We stopped at Piedras Blancas to see the elephant seals. I always get a kick out of watching them for 15 minutes or so. After that, we visited Hearst Castle. We had both been on Tour 1 before, which is the general tour, so this time we went on Tour 3. As someone who works Renaissance faires, I'm very interested in that time period. It's one thing to read about it, but it's another to be able to see actual paintings, sculptures and furniture from that time period.

We stopped briefly at the winery in Harmony (population 15), and then stopped for dinner at Bon Temps Creole Cafe. We'd seen it before because it's in San Luis Obispo just before you get on the 101 from Highway 1. We like cajun food, so we thought we'd give it a try. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great, either. Maybe we're just spoiled by Bourbon Street Shrimp. After that, it was straight home, except for a stop for gas in Ventura. I got out of the car, started pumping the gas, went inside to get a soda, came back out thinking about how nice it would be to be done with the driving and be back home, got in the car and started to drive away. Notice something missing? I didn't, until I heard a popping sound as we pulled away. I looked in the mirrors and realized that I had not put the hose back on the pump and it had now come off of the pump and was still attached to the car! This is the first time I've ever done this. I backed up, took the hose off, laid it next to the pump and went back inside the station to tell them. They were amazed that I had actually come back to tell them. Most people just take off. The equipment is obviously made to take this type of incident into account, because it popped off at a joint, and no gas came gushing out. It looked as though I could have popped it back into place, but it doesn't work quite like that. They took my info, and told me that if there's no internal damage, there will probably be no charge. Otherwise, my car insurance should take care of it.

Beyond that, the rest of the trip was uneventful, and we arrived home before our self-imposed deadline of midnight.

Whew. We pack a lot of living into a few days.

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Thursday Jul 30, 2009

DWOA (Driving WithOut Awareness)

We have several roundabouts in Ladera. I personally like them and think that they're better than stop signs. I haven't had a problem navigating them, but apparently others do. Case in point:

This morning I'm walking the dog, it's around 6:15-6:30, and I'm just around the corner from a roundabout. From up ahead, I hear a noise like a collision. So, Ginger and I jog up ahead to make sure no one is hurt. However, there's no car at the roundabout. The center of the roundabout is a circle of rough cobblestones with a landscaped center. Starting on the cobblestones, and continuing straight to the next street, is a trail of liquid. Gasoline? Water? I take Ginger to the center to look at it. A jogger passes by and jokes that we're on the wrong side of the road. I tell him what I heard, and he says that explains the white minivan that passed him, smoking. I look closer at the liquid and determine that it's oil. So, it appears that someone didn't see the roundabout, drove straight up onto it, ruptured their oil pan, and just kept on driving. They won't get far because it looks like all of the oil dumped out. How someone is that unaware while driving is beyond me.

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Tuesday Jun 16, 2009

Looking for short story

I was eating some spicy beef jerky that I bought this weekend, when I remembered a bit of a short story that I had once read. I can?t find it on the web, but maybe you guys can help me. Here?s the story as I remember it. I?m pretty sure it?s a fiction story.

It?s told from first person view. This guy walks into a restaurant (in Mexico? Texas?) and orders some food and some chilies to go with it. The food comes, but the chilies are not hot enough for him, so he asks for something spicier. The waitress brings back some spicier ones. Still not hot enough, so he asks for even spicier. She brings them back and he starts eating them like they?re not spicy at all. The waitress decides to introduce him to the mayor(?), who?s known for being able to eat really spicy chilies. They decide to have a contest. Lots of townsfolk come to watch. The two sit down at a table with chilies and some bread. The loser is the one who reaches for the bread first. After the first few, sweat starts breaking out on their forehead. Finally, the both eat this one chili that is just a jolt of pain. Both eye the bread because they are barely able to stand it. Finally the guy grabs the bread and eats it. He thinks that he might have been able to win, but he had looked around at the townsfolk and realized that the mayor?s reputation was on the line and decided not to ruin it. The mayor looks thankful and relieved. Townsfolk cheer for the mayor, everyone?s friends. Happy ending.

The real story is told much better than this. Please let me know if you find it.

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Friday Mar 20, 2009

Obama, meet Godwin

From Wikipedia:

Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies)[1] is an adage formulated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states: "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."[2][3] References to Godwin's Law often actually refer to a corollary of it which determines that the person who first makes an unwarranted reference to Nazi Germany or Hitler in an argument loses that argument automatically.

The Christian Worldview Network has published these articles:

Beyond those little gems, there's this theme running through their various articles. Please note that I kept the emails, but some of the web content that is pointed to by the emails is now gone.

  1. Is Obama a Muslim?
  2. Is a Muslim the next Antichrist?
  3. Is the Apocalypse coming soon?

Fearmongering? Nah. They would never do that.

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Tuesday Mar 10, 2009

An Evening with Stephen Hawking

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a friend of mine that Stephen Hawking was going to be talking here in Southern California. For those of you who don't know who Hawking is, shame on you. He's only the most brilliant mind in physics that we have. For you, I say go read "A Brief History of Time". Unfortunately, he' also afflicted with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), so "talk" is certainly not used here in the literal sense.

At any rate, not even knowing what he was going to talk about, I bought tickets. Heck, I'm sure he'd have something interesting to say about shampoo and conditioner. It turns out his talk was entitled "Why We Should Go Into Space", as I found out when I received the ticket in the mail. I also found out that the event was held in Pasadena. I would be leaving from work in San Clemente and traveling up there. That's 70 miles through rush hour traffic. Luckily, the traffic was fairly light, and I made it up there in about 1.25 hours. By the way, Carl's Jr, it's not really supposed to get all over the place. I wish the traffic were a bit lighter, though, because the 110 north of LA is really fun to drive on when there's no traffic. Especially coming back home, where there's this little negative-bank turn that gives you a bit of a lift as you go over it.

There was a huge crowd there. In fact, the event sold out. It started a bit late, but when they finally announced the start, the whole room gave him a standing ovation as he entered from the back of the room. There were a few tech glitches in getting things right, but it got started soon enough. He wrote the speech ahead of time, and then delivered it line by line during the event by prompting his computer, which did the text-to-speech conversion. I won't go into the details of the speech, because I've found the whole text online. He's got a good sense of humor. I wish I could find the GDP graph. Hawking talked about increasing NASA's budget by 0.25% of the national GDP and what that could accomplish. The graph, showing NASA's budget from the 1960's on in relation to the GDP, really hit home. I also liked how he delved into Christopher Columbus and the New World, and how that discovery helped Europe and the world. Know that Hawking thinks in the long term. It took longer than a year, or five, or ten, for the New World to truly affect Europe. Likewise, our exploration of space will help us in the long term, as in tens or hundreds of years from now. But he says we should start now, and I agree with him. The knowledge and any new resources that we gain could help us solve our problems here on earth.

After the speech, there was a set of questions posed to Hawking by five high school and college students. All submitted in advance, of course, to allow Hawking to compose responses ahead of time. Some were humorous, and some were serious. One question was about cats landing on their feet and buttered toast. Hawking's assistant rolled out a small table with a toaster, bread and butter on it (no cat) and proceeded to do the experiment right there. That was funny. I wish that the serious ones were more profound, though. If I were to pose a question to Hawking, it would be something more like this:

Using the type of technology that we know about now, like chemical engines, or ones that we can envision, like the engines that emit photons that you mentioned, we could explore our little area of space, but it would still require many lifetimes to travel to another galaxy. If we did send such a generational ship out into space to another galaxy, there could be the chance that we later discover other means of travel, such as wormholes, that would get us to our destination much quicker, and would catch up to and pass the generational ship that would have been launched much earlier, rendering that ship useless and almost pointless. Should we bother trying to travel to other galaxies until we discover new modes of transportation beyond our current concept of propulsion?

And now I'm going to go off on a tangent. It's funny how much roads can be associated with your memories. The Pasadena Convention Center is within walking distance of the Pasadena Masonic Hall, which I passed on the way home, and which I've been to on several occasions for Victorian balls. Off of the 110 is the Heritage Square Museum, which is home to several Victorian houses and other buildings. My friends Shawn and Colleen Crosby were caretakers there for a while and actually lived on the premises. Jerry and Jill Wood were married there, and I was lucky enough to attend. Unfortunately, Jill died last year of cancer.

The trip also reminded me of when I first started working Renaissance Faire in 1987. For that year and the next, the faire was in Agoura Hills, and I took the 101 to the 5 to the 710 to get home, since I lived in Downey. Further down the 5, I passed by the Carmenita exit, which I used to take to get to the house that David, Randy and I rented in Cerritos. And finally, passing by all of the construction near the 5 and 91, it reminded me of what that intersection was like before all of that mess, when I had to get to and from Disneyland where I worked as a busboy and was living in Cerritos with my parents (around 1982).

A lot of history on that little stretch of road, especially with so many roads here in Southern Cal.

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Wednesday Feb 11, 2009

OC Register shows its bias

(This is about a week late, but I've been busy. But better late than never, right?)

Some say that the Register's libertarian/conservative bias only shows itself on the editorial pages. Well, unfortunately, here's a case where it's not confined to that section.

On the Sunday paper (Feb 1), there was a story on the front page entitled The Young Recolor Political Map. It shows a nice big graphic of how Orange County's younger set are turning the county blue. Now the story could have reflected the graphic and continued on about how well the Democratic party is doing and how it was making such inroads. Or perhaps it could have split the article between that and the Republican party's reactions and how they're going to stage a come back. Or they could have done what they did, which was to make it all about the Republicans.

The first two paragraphs talk about Democrats. Then it immediately goes to Republican and how they are reacting to the news. When I turned the page, I saw a picture of Lindsay Hopkins, whom I know. She's been a great political director, and I was hoping to hear some quotes from here. I was very disappointed. Besides no direct quote from Lindsay, there was also no quote from Frank Barbaro, the chair of the county party. But there were plenty of quotes from Scott Baugh, chair of the county Republican party, and Shawn Fago, past president of the OC Young Republicans and Lauryn Picciano, current president of the OCYR. The article only returns to the Democratic party for the last few paragraphs, past the time when most readers would have given up reading the article. The rest was all about Republicans and how the Democratic surge is temporary.


(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Monday Feb 09, 2009

Starting a huge history project, and you're invited to contribute

It's at, and I'll just repost what I put on that site:

Welcome to Huzzah! wiki. The purpose of this website is to be the raw source of information for a future website called Huzzah! That site's purpose will be to present the news of the Elizabethan times in an entertaining and modern style, like Yahoo! news (see example). Each day from roughly 1559 to 1603 (that's around 16,000 days!) will have their own page. Each person and place that is referenced here will also have its own page. Feel free to add to it.

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Wednesday Feb 04, 2009

When Good is evil

Here at work, they issue employees Treos. They install Good Mobile Messaging (GMM) on them so that employees have access to their Outlook email. Me being the good employee I am said "Can I get that installed on my personal Treo as well so that I can check my email remotely?" And so GMM version 4 got installed. I soon ran into the first gotcha. GMM took over my phone's address book, and all of a sudden I didn't have access to my hundreds of contacts that I had accumulated over the years. Slight panic sets in. However, I checked on the web and found a solution that let me have my address book back.

Flash forward a few months. I notice that there's an "Upgrade available" message on the GMM screen. So, I click it and rather easily a new version of GMM is installed (version 5). I had forgotten about the previous problem and went on my merry way.

Flash forward a week or two from that. I'm in downtown LA with my wife, who's looking for fabric, and I need to look up a number for someone, so I go to my address book...and it goes to GMM. Yikes. I looked on the menus for a way to switch it back, and then finally go to the Web on my phone's browser and end up finding the same solution that I had used before. So, I do the same thing...with no luck. Slight panic again. I try it a couple of times in case I did something wrong. No go. Now I'm frustrated. It should be easier than this. So, I decide to wait until that evening back home to do a more thorough web search for a solution.

It turns out that GMM 5 is harder to avoid than GMM 4. So, I decide to delete Good. Just rip it out of my Treo. That didn't quite work. I had to go in, using Filez, to delete the GoodAddressBookApp and reboot. That ended up giving me an infinite loop on bootup. So I hard-reset my Treo, wiping out all of my data in ROM. Note to self: remember to hotsync before mucking with the Treo again. Luckily I had done a fairly recent hotsync, and luckily I had moved most of my apps to the memory card, so I only lost a few addresses and no other application data. But, thankfully, Good was wiped from my Treo and I have access to my own address book again. If my employer asks if I want Good re-installed on my Treo again, the phrase "not in this lifetime" will be running through my head.

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Monday Feb 02, 2009

The end of Ken Calvert's political career

Last week, Ken Calvert, along with the rest of the House, voted NO on the stimulus package. And he was proud of it, notifying all his constituents through an email. Perhaps he forgot that he won his district by about 3% last November. Perhaps he thinks that Bill Hedrick gave up after losing to him. Perhaps he doesn't know that the DCCC has created ads targeting his decision. Who knows. At any rate, I hope his constituents remember this decision in two years and, assuming that the stimulus works, remember that Calvert didn't lift a finger to help.

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Tuesday Jan 27, 2009

JBoss Web Hosting

A few weeks ago I finally decided to go for web hosting of my software and websites. I needed more than simple web hosting, though. I also needed a JBoss and a MySQL server. I found all of that in a company called eApps. It's costing me $30/month for all of that, plus I've installed their Subversion server as well. That's a lot better than the $40/month package that I currently have with Cox. I'm almost finished with the transition and can soon cut off the Cox home power user plan and just go back to their regular plan.

This is, I think, part of the future called "cloud computing". Not only are these companies giving you hardware to use, but they're offering applications as well. I don't have to worry about downtime or upgrades. That's all taken care of for me. Also backups, although I still worry about having backups for what I think is my most valuable data, which right now are my blog entries. Luckily, I can set up their MySQL to make a backup onto my own local copy of MySQL (my blogsite stores the entries and comments in the database).

So now and soon will be served from eApps instead of my home computer.

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Monday Jan 26, 2009

College dorm reunion

I went to school at UC Irvine from 1982-1986. During that time, I stayed in the dorms. Well, I stayed in one dorm (Bahia) for the entire four years. It was interesting meeting new people each year, and being able to see a pattern on how things worked. For example, When students first got there, it was party time. Then the first mid-terms came, and it got quieter after that when they saw their scores.

Two sets of friendships came from that time. The first was from my first two years there(82-83,83-84), and then the second set was from my last two years (84-85,85-86). Back in the 90's, the second set had some reunions. Now, with Facebook around, and also armed with the Alumni directory, I decided to hunt for as many dorm-mates as possible. I managed to get a hold of a couple of them from the first set (James and Leanne), and they knew some of the others, etc. We agreed to have a reunion on Jan 24, so I set one up at Karl Strauss at South Coast Plaza. I dragged my wife to it, telling her that she'd get to know me even better and understand what those days were like. It's always a little dicey asking your spouse to a reunion, because there's a good chance they're going to get bored.

I recognized everyone when they came in. Everyone looked just about the same (maybe minus some hair) as they did when I saw them 25 years ago. Mark Essayian and his wife, Colleen and Amir Bacchus, Rick Sanzimier, Jeff Claproth, Neil Schmidt, James Ni, and Tim Mengle were all there. The rest couldn't make it but really wanted to be there. The night was filled, of course, with us all catching up on what we were doing now and then swapping stories from the past. I brought along a few pictures, which helped ("Oh, yeah, I remember him/her!"). All in all, a great night. I had thought that we would be fine with another reunion about six months from now, but it seems everyone else wanted something earlier than that. So, I'm going to set up either a Google group or a Facebook group (or both). We'll continue trying to find other dorm-mates and trying to pick a time/place where more of us can meet.

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)

Monday Jan 19, 2009

You know you're in trouble...

when you go to get a haircut and the person asks you if she should use scissors or an electric gizmo. How should I know? Just do it the way everyone else does! Geesh. I really don't pay attention to how they cut my hair. Then, while she washes my hair and afterwards cuts it, she treats my head and hair like it's made of china. It's ok, I won't break. Really. Can they give these people a couple of weeks more training before they release them into the wild? Just askin'.

(Crossposting to LiveJournal, and WordPress using Crossposter)