Sunday, December 28, 2008

Just be happy I don't twitter.

Because if I did, you would see a lot of this:

17:00 12/23/08 Stuck in traffic
18:00 12/23/08 Still stuck in traffic
18:30 12/23/08 Not out of LA. Gone 5 miles in last hour
19:00 12/23/08 Still stuck in traffic
20:00 12/23/08 Over Grapevine, not raining yet
22:00 12/23/08 Taking a nap while Nico drives
23:00 12/23/08 Starting to rain
02:30 12/24/08 California is huge
02:45 12/24/08 10 and a half hour drive, and now we're sleeping in an RV?

Nico and her sisters have gone facebook crazy. Evidently, they update their facebook pages more often than they do their blogs: #1, #2, #3. I would know for sure, but we are not yet friends.

I finally got around to updating my own facebook page. (Really all I did was add my real name to the page...I had originally created the thing because I kept getting emails from old friends who were trying to add me to their list of friends.)

Note to readers: Feel free to add me as a friend, but don't expect too much in the way of content over on the facebook page.

Facebook readers who happen to make it over here: Yes, this is about as good as this blog gets. And yes, if we went to elementary school together, I am dying to hear from you.
These are a few of my favorite things

Riding the cable cars for no apparent reason, except that you can buy an all day pass for $11.

The birthplace of Irish coffee. (Hey, it's not any more touristy than cable cars.)

Seeing the unexpected.

Ice skating in the middle of the City. Lasko trivia: Nico and I own our own ice skates. This might only sound unusual to my local readers . (Note: Owning your own ice skates becomes a bit of a chore, as you find yourself dragging them on vacations where you think there might be an ice skating rink. Ice skates are heavy.)
Serenity Now

A photo I snapped at the Japanese Tea Garden moments before a squirrel decided he was entitled to my bowl of crackers/cookies. I was able to wrestle the bowl away from him, but he did get away with an almond cookie. Also, he caused me to spill my cup of tea.

Score: Squirrel 2; Lasko 0

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The addiction kicks into high gear...

(Alternative title was: Will someone please tell Nicole that it is a Lasko family tradition to open Hanukkah presents on the morning of Hanukkah Eve?)

(Alternative title #2 was: Screw You Bill Gates.)

Nico gave me a cool Dell Mini for this the first night of Hanukkah. (Don't be too impressed with Nicole, I think it was free as part of a promotion with the far more expensive laptop she bought for herself.)

To make things interesting, the Mini comes standard with greatest accomplishment of the year was getting pokerstars to run on the thing with only about a half hour of effort. I'll be coming to a Starbucks near you soon.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Near 18 wheel pileup

Nico and I were on our way home from a crepe run this morning when we were unfairly reprimanded for avoiding a 9 bicycle (give or take) accident.

We're the purple arrow in the picture above. We need to make a left at the fork to get's not the easiest turn on a tandem even when there is no traffic, and today many other bicyclists were out enjoying the 42 degree air (actually, it was probably up to 50 for the ride home). From the left, I see at least 4 bicycles moving at considerable speed; one of them was another tandem. I didn't even bother looking right, as I knew there was no way I could make the turn ahead of these bikes. So we stopped. I was probably a foot from the right hand shoulder; I could have been a little farther over, but this was an unplanned stop. At this point, the other tandem decides to make a right (which again is a pretty difficult turn without traffic)...either their high speed, or our presence (still stopped) on the path causes them to do a rough dismount. (I say: "Nice paint" as their non-Santana appeared to be painted in the same shade of Dupont Shadeshifter as ours--my comments were ignored by the other tandem team). Before the path has cleared, 4 more bicycles come up from behind us. The last bike in line yells: "Tandem, you can't just stop there." I think he came closer to hitting one of his riding partners than us. I yelled back (a little too late): "I have to disagree".

After looking at the aerial shot, I've come to the conclusion that any bike coming from behind us should have seen us from 200 feet away. Does anyone reading this think I should have done something differently?
Don't know much about Biology

Three nights a week I have been going to ProSport Physical Therapy for an hour or two of torture. [Open that link at your own risk; my browser is telling me it's dangerous...] I'd go into great detail about the torture, except it really isn't very interesting. Now you're thinking: "Nothing on this blog is very interesting..." But I digress. ProSport is kind of interesting because they treat a lot of pro athletes. It makes me wonder, if I saw Shawn Green or Paul Kariya out of uniform, would I recognize either of them? Although their jerseys (and a hundred others) hang in the gym, I figure they would not be wearing them during their torture sessions.

Anyway, after humiliating me in an inchworm race, one of the PT aides asked how much chemistry I had to take to become a pharmacist. (You need one year of general chem to become a physical therapist, I am told).

So I counted:
1 year general chem
1 year organic chem
1 quarter analytical chem (also called quantitative analysis)
1 year biochemistry
2 years medicinal chemistry

Chemistry was not one of my stronger subjects. I would say I'm in the wrong profession, but I can't recall having the need to use any chemistry since graduating.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Just like a merit badge...

At least I think it's just like a merit badge.

The Rainbow Girls have these patchwork quilts. (Nicole has several of them, and if anybody thinks patchwork quilts are at all interesting, I can post some pictures.) I think when you accomplish something or provide some sort of service, you get a square...eventually someone sews all your squares into a quilt, and you get a quilt rack. (I can post a picture of one of those too, if anyone is interested.)

So anyway, Nicole has been gluing crucifixes and pineapples on a quilt rack over the past week; today, said quilt rack made it's way out to the garage. As I returned from bicycling, a strange woman appeared and said: "I'm here for the quilt rack." My first thought was to ask: "Who the hell are you?" But then I realized that as long as she was taking the quilt rack away, I really didn't care. After she left, I was kicking myself for not offering her another one.
Low budget tri bike

(Alternative title was: "Because everybody loves a big blue penis." But then I thought: "Nobody loves a big blue fact, the only thing worse than a big blue penis is two big blue penises.")

Since the doc ordered me to cut out the running, I have switched to bicycling. Unfortunately, a couple of years of hanging in the garage caused my tires to deteriorate. Fortunately, I love buying bicycle parts...

I started off with these cool blue tires. They are super fast...I might try them on the tandem. And all that blue got me thinking: "I need some new handlebar tape..." Then the new handlebar tape got me thinking: "I need new handlebars..."

After 60 miles of riding with the clip-on aero bars here's my review:

1) I'm much faster
2) I look cool (or at least as cool as one can look riding a Schwinn)

1) The bars are adjustable in like 16 will take me 6 months to get them set right
2) In order to get them setup comfortably, they cover just about everywhere I might want to put my hands on the drop bars
3) The brakes are really far away
4) My scapula hurts

Monday, December 01, 2008

The carny asked my dad if that was Steve Poltz on the tube.

(Alternative title was: Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine.)

The sun was out, gas was cheap, and bicycling 90 miles seemed like a really bad idea. And so we took a little drive down the coast.

The tortoises also found the weather to be just perfect. Here's Number 5 (she's like a hundred and something) and her diminutive friend Shellie (Shellie is actually much, much smaller than number 5...artists call that perspective, or something).

Later, we headed to the mall, where Steve Poltz was playing a gig at the Apple Store. I know you are probably asking yourself: "Who the hell is Steve Poltz?"

He's the occasional lead singer of the Rugburns. He wrote some really irritating Jewel songs. And maybe you've heard this one in a Jeep commercial:

[The old man who walked into the frame is Father John, a local priest; he requested to hear some songs about church buses.]

Once again, I am reminded that I said I would not be posting any more pictures of myself...but if Steve Poltz is allowed to post pictures of himself with Peter Buck (of REM), I should be allowed to post pictures of myself with Steve Poltz. [If you're keeping score, this gives me a Michael Stipe number of 3.]

Friday, November 21, 2008

Our dating days are over and done...

Grade 1 strain of my achilles tendon. That link doesn't sound nearly as bad as the marathon doctor made it sound when he sentenced me to physical therapy and 21 days of not running.

In other news, I finally pulled the trigger on a tank of gas. I was hoping it would get under $2/gallon, but the car demands premium, and I didn't think I would make it home from work today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I am told I am going to be dragged to a vampire movie in a couple of, not a cool vampire movie like the 3+ hour version of Salem's Lot...more like some remake of Interview with the Vampire for the 'tween set.

So anyway, I was going to create a T-Shirt to voice my displeasure, but to those unacquainted with me (which I sure hope is everyone in the theater), it may appear that I actually like books/movies that were made for teeny boppers (but for some unknown reason are read/viewed by the middle aged...)

If anyone has any other suggestions, the best entry can have my ticket.

Friday, November 14, 2008

To be clear, I said: "I like caramel apples..."
You then said: "Yeah, candy apples are really good."
They are not the same thing.

Since trading my 8 hour (hourly) days for 10 hour (salaried) days, I have fallen behind on my blogging. My sincere apologies.

Where was I? Oh yes, apples. Nico and I spent an extended weekend in the San Bernardino Mountains. First we caught the end of apple season in Oak Glen. We had planned on picking our own apples, then making our own cider...but it was really, really cold...and most of the apples had either been picked or already fallen to the ground. So we ended up buying both apples and cider.

And then it was off to Lake Arrowhead, for what was supposed to be a relaxing couple of days in mid 60s sun. It turned out to be a very, very cold couple of days in 30-40 degree sun. Here's Nicole at our hotel enjoying her favorite past time.

PS: Although running around a lake might sound like fun, I recommend against any sort of physical activity at 6000 feet.

PPS: Mazel Tov to the Bar Mitvah Boys Men.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Farewell email to coworkers

(Alternative title: Movin' on up [up the stairs, if nothing else])

My friends:

It is with mixed emotions (really mostly sadness, except one of you will probably forward this email to Rich, so I can’t write “mostly sadness”) that I announce my abrupt relocation to a new position upstairs.

These last few years, I have enjoyed working with all of you as much as it is possible to enjoy work (unless we’re talking about international wine critic Robert Parker…I am certain he likes his job more than I do mine).

All extended lunch requests will be approved (until 12/31/08) for anyone wishing to dine with me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Democracy in Action II

Alternative title: "I'm riding the bullet train to your central nervous station"

Alternative, alternative title: "Do you people realize we don't have twenty billion dollars now? Do you people realize we won't have twenty billion dollars in twenty years?"

Some notable propositions that passed (or appeared to be passing at press time) no particular order:

Proposition 8 (Same Sex Marriage Ban). Note to fellow straight people who voted for Proposition 8: Why do you care? [After re-reading that sentence, it may be interpreted that I was writing to: "fellow straight people who voted in favor of Proposition (like me)", when in fact I was writing to "fellow straight people (like me) who voted in favor of Proposition 8 (unlike me). I would like two important things to be clear: 1) I am straight and 2) I am not going to be the guy telling my grandchildren about how I once voted for segregated drinking fountains.]

Proposition 8 (continued). Note to gay people who voted against Proposition 8: Why do you want to get married? You all have a good thing going: No divorce attorneys, no alimony...someone please explain it to me.

Proposition 1A (High Speed Bullet Train). Sure, I'd like to be able to get to the City in 2 hours...restaurants in SoCal suck; and I am absolutely all in favor of better public transportation...but, just because bonds do not feel like real money, does not mean we don't have to pay for this stuff (twice as a matter of fact, if you include the interest). Also, by the time the thing is finished in 20+ years, 2 hours is going to seem like a really long time to get anywhere.

Proposition 2 (Standards for Confining Farm Animals). Okay, I really don't care about this one either, but I really wanted an excuse to type: "Buenas dias los pollos locos", which I'm hoping means: "Hello crazy chickens", only in Spanish, because all our chickens and/or chicken eggs will be coming from Mexico.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I still think America's great

Elections Day Freebies:

1) 12 Oz coffee at Starbucks
2) Scoop of ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s (5-8pm)
3) Red, white and blue sprinkled doughnut from Krispy Kreme

Interestingly, Starbucks and Krispy Kreme were going to require proof that you had voted, but it turns out this is illegal [you can't "pay" someone to vote], so all you have to do is show up and ask.

A coworker pointed out that I had left off: #4 Flu Shots (today being flu shot day)...these are really only free in the sense that my desk chair or computer is free, but it does beat paying a nurse to stick a needle in me.

PS: My arm hurts.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I Wish I Was In Tijuana

(Alternative title was: "Don't Box Me In", which is entirely more appropriate, but nobody except a roomful of 50 year old men at a Stan Ridgeway concert would get).

I know I promised there would be no more photos of the author, but I have not worn a Halloween costume since I was 15. If you call me and a couple of friends putting on trench coats and telling people we were the Ramones a costume, that is...yeah, I know, the Ramones didn't wear trench coats. I vaguely remember someone applying shaving cream to a stranger's front door, and then the stranger, who turned out to be an LA County Sheriff, chased us around for a while...

Anyway, the pole dancers to my left (your right as you are looking at the picture) won 1st place, and I came in second (as a bottle of Vicodin). The "Desperate Housewife" to my right was third. If you're wondering why your prescription drugs cost so much, it's because 2nd place paid $50 out of the petty cash box. I think I would have beaten the strippers, but I decided early on in the costuming process that I would be showing no skin. [Original plans called for me to wear the vial and nothing else...which would have been fitting given our current economic conditions.]

The prize money almost paid for dinner at the Coach House, where Nico and I saw Stan Ridgeway. I was planning on being a bottle of Viagra for the concert (the prescription label is replaceable), but the costume was pretty uncomfortable. Also, outside of my work place, dressing up as a prescription vial really is not that funny.

Friday, October 31, 2008

People like crap II

That is the only possible explanation for why nobody watched Arrested Development while Two and a Half Men is still on the air.

On that note, I have a new personal record to report: I made it through 17 minutes of Kath and Kim. To be fair, I ran 14 miles shortly before collapsing on the couch, and was unable to lift my arm to find the remote to surf over to CNN. [I know you're looking at me Anderson.] If my math is correct, I would have to run 24.7 miles to watch an entire episode.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Democracy in action

Propositions that did not qualify for the November 4th California ballot:

1335. (08-0002, Amdt. #1S) Bans Abortion of Viable Fetus Unless Necessary to Save Mother’s Life. Declares God Creator of Life. Constitutional Amendment and Statute. FAILED to Qualify.

1336. (08-0004) Bans Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Criminal Penalties. Constitutional Amendment and Statute. FAILED to Qualify.

1337. (08-0005) Bans Activities Defined as “Human Cloning.” Criminal Penalties. Constitutional Amendment and Statute. FAILED to Qualify.

1341. (08-0009) Marijuana Legalization. Individual Rights. Constitutional Amendment. FAILED to Qualify.

1342. (08-0010, Amdt. #2NS) Redevelopment Areas. Limitations on Using Property Tax to Secure Debt. Statute. FAILED to Qualify.

08-0015 "California Nonpartisan Primary Initiative." ADDED to Initiatives Pending at the Attorney General's Office.

1346. (08-0014) Legislators' Terms in Office. Campaign Contributions and Junkets. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. ADDED to Initiatives in Circulation.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Autumn in California

Alternative title was: "If you want your house to look bigger, buy a really short surfboard"

I am pretty sure that this is a picture of me. I am also pretty sure that there are way too many pictures of me on this blog...after today, no more pictures of me. [As you can see, I have grown quite proficient at surfing in one foot waves.]

In other news, I officially have no where to store a surfboard.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dolphins to the left, dolphins to the right...

(Alternative title was: "I'd have a really cool picture of me surfing with dolphins, had Nicole not stolen my camera.")

We've had a week of negative tides here in the OC. [A negative tide is a somewhat rare occurrence that causes "sea level" to be below sea level.] During a very low negative tide, you walk about 3 quarters of the way to the end of the pier without getting your feet wet...and probably to the end without getting very deep.

On Tuesday, I took the opportunity to run a few miles on the hard packed (usually underwater) sand. I was treated to a pod of 8 or 10 dolphins frolicking around in the waves; Yesterday, I was surprised to see that a couple of them were still around. They were far more interested in catching fish than paying attention to spectators on surfboards.

*All photos are historical stock.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Life, Death...

Here's a neat little table I stole from CNN:
A picture is worth something something...

You can tell how the market is doing just by looking at the start page of cnn. [Hey Guy #2: Don't look so happy, you're still down 20%.]

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Safest City in the World

Last night, I attended my first (non-race) organized run. I kept up with the "fast" group for about 3 miles, before they got away. That would not have been a big deal, except the run was 8 miles long...and it gets dark pretty early this time of year. Again, not a big deal, as I was running in the safest city in the world; except for the fact that with safety comes homogeny. Everything in Irvine looks exactly like everything else in Irvine. I got a little lost, and ended up running a couple of extra miles to find my car.

I was surprised at how many women run around the streets of Irvine solo. Note to murderers, rapists, and kidnappers: It would be advisable to get in shape before attempting any sort of crime against foot athletes.

In other running news, my hip hurts. Las Vegas Marathon is not looking promising at all.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Started yesterday off with an argument with Nico: Am I now old enough to be president, or was I old enough last year?

I suppose the point is moot, as there was no presidential election last year.

I bought myself a surfboard, and attempted surfing. Still working on that part.

Nicole sprung for an Aptera reservation. I get (all electric model) #1691. Aptera plans on making 10,000 cars in 2009, but best outside estimates point to only 2000. I am hoping to take delivery on my next birthday. They're supposed to start selling them in December...I believe the production model looks like this:

Friday, October 03, 2008

I pass by Mutt Lynche's twice on my normal seven mile run. People drinking from schooners are always having a better time than me.

The marquee is always worth reading.

I have never run by Mallarkey's so I cannot comment on Mutt's claim.
Bicycle Pork!!!!!!!!!!

I take it back, John Campbell. I did not realize you were voting for a bicycle tax deduction.

Believe me, I will be saving those receipts.

In other news, I've been thinking of taking up archery.
I am so dissappointed in you, John Campbell.

The $700 billion figure so often mentioned will not be spent, but actually entirely invested with three different mechanisms to ensure that the taxpayers get all their money back.

First, these "troubled assets" will be purchased at less than the expected net present value of their cash flow. That means taxpayers should make a profit by holding them to maturity.

Second, taxpayers will get warrants to purchase stock in the companies from whom these assets are bought. That is more profit potential if the companies recover.

Third, whoever is president five years from now is required to offer to Congress a proposal to recover from these same companies any net loss incurred by the taxpayers to that point. No investment's return is certain, but this one looks pretty good. It for sure will not cost anything close to $700 billion over time.

Furthermore, you are not bailing out companies when you buy assets from them at 30%-60% of what they paid for the asset. That's a bath, not a bailout.

I'm a little busy today, so let's just start with those last two sentences: If you are buying assets for 30 to 60% of "what they paid for the asset", but the assets are currently worth nothing, that is a bailout. We (the taxpayers) are not buying depressed property that will one day be worth more, we are buying bad debt...the Federal Government does not have the same stomach for collecting debt as does my Uncle Lou.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I'd rather be a cowboy than to stare blank at the walls

I have been spending too much time in web meetings [is that one word?] as of late. Maybe it's because I'm a PC, but I swear there is nothing more boring than watching a hand icon click through eight screens while a voice explains: "3.2 is so much more user friendly than the old version."

Are there people out there that learn this way? I like to doodle during web meetings.

Seriously, I received no training on the old version, if the new version is so much easier to use, I think I can figure it out on my own.

To make today's web meeting feel more like a real meeting, it was held in a conference room; the facilitator's screen was projected on a wall by LCD, while he spoke from somewhere in Kansas. The room was large enough to need two speaker phones, but not large enough to actually allow two speaker phones to be in the same room together. If you have never heard two speaker phones in the same room at the same time...well, there's a pretty good reason for that.

This post looks a little short. Did you know that my people invented that little hand icon?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A romantic vacation for just the two of you...and eight of your closest friends.

The things people would yell: "She's not pedaling...and neither is she, or she, or she, or she..."

Word on the street: This bike is actually a few triplets coupled together.

Monday, September 29, 2008

That's Armageddon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dow down 778, worst point drop ever, after the House rejects the $700 billion bank bailout plan.

Strangely, since I have not looked at my 401k (and I won't be for a long, long time), I haven't really noticed.
May your year be filled with apples and honey.

.ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי העץ
Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha‑olam, bo're p'ri ha‑etz.
Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.

יהי רצון מלפניך, ה׳ א‑לוהינו וא‑לוהי אבותינו, שתחדש עלינו שנה טובה ומתוקה.‏
Y'hi ratzon mil'fanekha, Adonai Eloheinu velohei avoteinu, shet'hadesh aleinu shana tova um'tuka.
May it be Your will, LORD our God and God of our ancestors, that you renew for us a good and sweet year."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Blogger Toys

None of you have signed up as frequent readers, and I know there are at least three of you.

I am very disappointed in all three of you. Do you have any idea how many hours it takes to come up with clever things to write here every day (or at least every week)? By contrast, I have never made an update to my facebook page (which I do not even remember registering for) and I have four friends.

Monday, September 22, 2008

LBS Blues

Took the tandem into the shop (50 miles from our house) for a tuneup on Friday. I do most work myself, but I had a few issues I could not fix--at least not without buying some expensive tools.

1) Cassette: 3 cogs are worn enough to make the chain skip. I had already bought a replacement (ebay "bargain"). I have a chain whip and a cassette remover, but the biggest wrench I own is an 8" Crescent. I could not get the thing to budge. I would have gone out to buy a long 1" wrench, but since the bike also needed #2 and #3 below...

2) Headset: Steering has been indexy for over a year. I took the headset apart a few months ago and re-greased everything...I saw no evidence of pitting. Things seemed better for a while, but that may have been because I had not tightened it enough. I replaced the bearings/retainers last week, at which point I noticed that the fork crown race had some pits; not having either a fork crown race remover or a replacement fork crown race made this seem like a good job for the shop.

3) Rear wheel: The spokes on one side of the wheel sound a little looser than the other. Both wheels appear to be true at this point. I do have a wheel truing stand, but I need to get some practice on cheaper wheels first. Also: I do not have a tension meter, and I have been asked more than once if I'm tone deaf. This also seemed like a good job for the bike shop.

Estimate on Friday for the tuneup (which included fixing all 3 problems above): $120
Estimated date of completion: Saturday (when I inquired via email); Tuesday (when we actually brought the bike to the store).

Call #1 came on Saturday: "Stoker's bottom bracket needs replacing"...I had forgotten about this; it felt very jerky with the cranks off, but with them on (without the chain), it was not noticeable. "The front is better, but could use replacement, as well". Estimate: $50 each (for Shimano 105). I am almost certain it's going to turn into $80 each.

I'm still waiting for call #2: "You need a new headset". I'm debating between going with another Tange ($40) or upgrading to a Chris King ($120).

So far, I'm up to $220 (which will really be $280 unless they give me a rocking good deal on the bottom brackets). Once again, I am reminded that this is not a sport for the light of wallet.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Twitter? I just don't get it.

I can assure everyone that my mother does not care if I'm eating soup.

Eating soup? Research shows that moms want to know.
Running late to a meeting? Your co–workers might find that useful.
Partying? Your friends may want to join you.

(Email sent to my coworkers)

As some of you may be aware, today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Feel free to talk like a pirate in the breakroom and hallways; however, it is inappropriate to talk like a pirate with our patients.

But just in case any of the patients start speaking Pirate to you (or in case any real pirates call), here's a list of useful Pirate phrases.

I have also found this English-to-Pirate translator (I cannot seem to find a Pirate-to-English translator).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Olin Stephens dies at 100; yacht designer known for America's Cup winners

Stephens produced designs for more than 2,200 boats, including Dorade, which won the 1931 transatlantic race, and America's Cup defenders including Ranger, Columbia, Constellation, Intrepid, Courageous and Freedom.

Speaking of Olin Stephens, here's an "improved" version of an old, old, Shields. Yes, that's a cabin.

Sailors: the boats owner has a pretty interesting blog.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Since I only need one copy of the Big Lebowski, and many of you are probably wondering what to buy me for my birthday:

How about reserving an Aptera for me? Your gift will not only help the environment, it will also help me achieve my goal of looking like I come from the future, without having to shave my head. FYI: That's a Seinfeld reference, and is in no way meant to imply that any of my readers look they are from the future.

Important note: I have not fully decided, but I think I would prefer the plug-in electric hybrid. But if any generous gift givers think the all electric model is the better choice, I will certainly not complain.

Since many of you like the environment, but don't like me enough to spend $500 on a birthday gift for me, I have set up a "Buy Michael and Electric Car" fund. Your donation is fully refundable if I choose not to purchase an electric car--this is the same deal you will get from Aptera.

Things you can never find when you need one...

Alternative title #1 was: "Hot showers are highly underrated"
Alternative title #2 was: "How to tell when you need a new water heater"

Since I went with "things you can never find when you need one" here are a few things you can never find when you need one...#3 is actually something you can never find when you're angry.

1) A camera
2) A fire extinguisher
3) A horn

Sorry, back on topic:
After a cold shower on Thursday morning, I made a valiant attempt at water heater repair after work on Thursday. Water heater repair did not go well, and resulted in a small electrical fire.

The photograph above does not accurately capture how small the "closet" in which our extra short water heater is supposed to fit is. [Is that a sentence? I've been taking cold showers for two days, my brain is frozen.] Getting the old one out required digging up the patio and sawing part of the old heater off; getting the new one in required sawing off part of the house.

A big thank you to Newport's best handy man (apparently not actively seeking business, or else I am sure he would have a dedicated website promoting said handy man business).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The only living boy in New York

Each of my neighbors has at least 5 surfboards in his/her garage; I am the sole resident of Newport who does not own a surfboard (or know how to surf). Since it will be winter before we have any leadership that might be interested in redistributing the surfboard wealth in this country, now seemed like a good time to learn.

Campus recreation (my employer for job #2) runs these surfing classes...which are actually taught by a Laguna Beach surf shop...Laguna Beach surf shop employees tend to be more attractive than UCI staff. [Wow, that last line could be misinterpreted in so many ways. What I meant to say was: I believe the class is being taught by the cast of Blue Crush.]

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I am told I have a birthday coming up. You will not hear that from me, as I have made a concious effort at my last few jobs to convice everyone that I was born on December 25th. Nico usually ruins my fun.

Anyway, I do not need 10 copies of the 10th anniversary edition of the Big Lebowski. I just need one copy, so please coordinate with each other.

P.S. To any co-workers who might be reading: I also lied about my middle name (it is not really Bart).

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Orange International Street Fair (I am now caught up)

After the weekend at the beach, we still had time to meet some friends for some impromptu beer drinking.

Here's Nico and mi amiga Kelly (who lives in a cool house within staggering distance of said fair).

We watched the American Wake (my new favorite Irish band) over on Irish street before heading over to Mexico street, where Nicole's boss was working a beer booth. Tom helped answer the question: "Is free Michelob Amber Bock better than $5 Bass Ale"? Thanks for the free beer, Tom!

And here is my very good friend Nam (who might be angry that I am posting this picture) and his niece/nephew inside Watson's Drug Store. We were trying to hit the pharmacist up for some free medical advice, but the pharmacy was closed.
Weekend at the beach (catching up on some old business)

Some might think it's crazy to pay to stay in a beach cottage when you only live four blocks from the beach. But they are really cheap, I was able to get a reservation for one, and I wanted to see the controversy first hand.

So off we set on the bicycle [the Friday before last--sorry I'm a little behind]; Nico thought we were going to San Diego, but must have been happy when we stopped after 7 miles in Crystal Cove State State Park.

We had one of the few rooms without a view, but here are a few shots from the (shared) balcony:

We spent a lot of time drinking expensive drinks at the Beachcomber, but managed to get out for a bike ride down to Dana Point. To mix things up, we biked out of Dana Point Marina the back way. Here's a picture taken from the top of what might be the steepest hill in Orange County:

Overall, I found the cottage to be a little on the uncomfortable side. The accomodations are about what you would expect in a State Park, I guess. If you are used to camping, it will feel luxurious...if you have our tastes, it will feel like camping.