Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Double the Fun

It's been a while since I discovered something new in my yard in Jersey City via my mom's wildlife motion-activated camera.

And while I was disappointed I found no new animals...I did find something unexpected.

The raccoons are teaming up now.

Friday, June 28, 2019

First Time I've Argued With A Cop INSIDE the Country

Guess who got a ticketed warning for not pushing the walk button this morning?

On a dead-end street with only an alley outlet, where construction has blocked the sidewalk access to other routes. And while I stood there yes, arguing with the motorcycle cop, another person ON HER PHONE did the same thing. Not because she was being a scofflaw (though technically she was as was I) but because who the hell stops, pushes a button, and waits at a dead-end street that gets maybe 50 cars a day total, all turning into the parking garage at the dead-end? I've seen maybe two cars on that road in the two years I've walked 2x daily across it.

"Are you in a hurry, ma'am?"

"Yes. I have 45 seconds to get to that crosswalk there to push the walk button before the next light cycle, since I can't walk on the sidewalk after that due to all the construction going on."

"Construction takes time, ma'am."

"I'm going to do this again. I'm not standing there in the sun at a road with no cars."

"Then next time you'll get a real ticket."

Oh boy. Is it worth hundreds of dollars in jaywalking tickets to refuse to cave into an incredibly stupid rule? This reminds me of the time I was willing to be jailed for refusing to bribe a security officer in Congo. FOR FIVE BUCKS I could walk onto the plane. FOR FREE, I could risk going to jail in Kinshasa of all places. Of course, this is actually legal here, just stupid. I don't do stupid well.

Bonus! Two people from the office spotted this event and called me as soon as I got to work. Ha ha...the humiliation.

Burbank. What a ridiculous place. Charmingly eccentric, yes, but also quite absurd in how it incentivizes driving over walking. Blocked-off sidewalks where the options put the walker at risk. Bicycles sharing the walk with pedestrians because the streets are dangerous. Walk signs that don't automatically change without a person pushing the disgusting button. Motorcycle police pulling over walkers. Gotta keep Burbank safe for cars, you know!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Container Garden

Here's something fun I did on Tuesday night...

...because sometimes I go through phases of trying to do something besides work all the time: I went to Los Angeles City College for a community class in container gardening.

The teacher gave us all wooden planters and some cuttings. I planted them on Wednesday and so far, it looks like the jade plant might make it. And my kale and radishes are starting to sprout.

Monday, June 17, 2019


For once, my pottery turned out all right.'s too small, but other than that.

I'll keep working to make a mug big enough to carry around the amount of coffee most people like to drink (me included).

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Before and After

Here's a look at the downstairs "kitchen" back when I first bought the house. I knew immediately what that was sticking out of the wall, much as I recognized the bare pipe in the middle of the bathroom ceiling (home to a future showerhead). 

And here's that same space once BBF and I sorted it out. (The gas nib was already there as well.)

Not bad, huh?

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Heading East

I turned my back just long enough to pat down some dirt in my balcony garden containers, and this packet of Siberian Kale seeds tried to fly away to Siberia. 

Saturday, June 08, 2019

In Flight

My friend Steve posted about his 18th wedding anniversary.

It feels like just a few years ago that I flew back from Australia to attend the reception, then Turbo bought Henry the 1990 Ford Taurus down in Torrance and we started the long drive to Manhattan.

And I can't believe how close we are to another ten years since my last round-the-world trip. The difference between 2001 and 2011 felt massive. The difference between 2011 and 2021 seems minor.

The passage of time is alarming and terrifying. Awareness that life is short does not change how I approach every day. I wish it did, but we all still have to function and get shit done, even if we're aware of our aging brains and bodies.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Old Tech

After too many unruly morning ride-shares to Newark, I called a taxi for this morning’s ride.

I've had to wait 20 minutes for a Lyft I'd scheduled the night before, and I'd watched drivers disappear en route and another one be scheduled...and have to wait another 20 minutes. I'm not sure why—I guess leaving super-early is a problem from Bergen-Lafayette.

The taxi driver showed up early, the dispatch office called to let me know he was out front, and I didn’t have to make small talk or worry about how I was going to be rated. He also knew the difference between the drop-off points and nimbly navigated the airport.

I never take taxis FROM the airport cuz that’s at least fifty bucks, but I have had a lot of problems with that as well. Last time I found myself swearing to grab the bus on future rides, no matter what time of day I arrive.

I think I’m switching back to taxis for crack of dawn rides to Newark. This was so much more predictable than a Lyft or Uber. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019


Want to hear me talking nonsense about travel?

Click here to my talk on Amazing Nomads, a feature on the World Nomads website.

It's less embarrassing than I anticipated. I frequently have to go before audiences at my job, and it's made public speaking much easier for me than it used to be.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Digging Up the Past

I headed over to the Jersey Room at the public library to see what I could find about Breadalbane Terrace.

That's the side of my JC house. I'd learned previously that the original developer of my block had descended from the Breadalbane branch of the Scottish Highlander Clan Campbell.

My block is so distinct with its tin bay windows. Surely there must be some info out there, I thought.