Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fired Up

Last Thursday I was in the front room of our house, and I heard sirens. Getting closer. I sat up and looked out, and up our street came a couple of fire trucks. Hmmm, that doesn't happen very often, and it's always troubling when there's an actual fire going on up here. Of course, fire trucks don't always mean there's a fire, but not too much longer, here comes another pair of fire trucks. Shortly after, another vehicle, the size of a fire truck, but more boxlike with "Urban Search & Rescue" on the side.

None of this sounded good as far as there actually being a fire, and sometime in there, a fire helicopter joined the party. Instead of having a spotlight, it had forward facing lights, and when it circled towards us, you could see billowing smoke. Fortunately, while the area surrounding us were experiencing high winds, it has been calm in our area, so no red flag days for us.

I was curious, and was considering trying to walk to where it was going on, but never did. Fell asleep before the news came on that night, but caught it the next day.

A six room,9,100 square foot, six room house. 10 to 15 people living there. The house was apparently in foreclosure. I've walked by the place before, I remember admiring the octagon turrets. Might even have actual pictures of the place on the hard drive from my old Toshiba laptop. The before pictures are from Google Street View.

After I got home from work on Saturday, the younger and I went over to see what we could see. The street does a loop around, with houses on each end and a wide dirt trail on an undeveloped side of the hill with the namesake Sea View. Not knowing exactly which end of the street it was on, we figured it out in a hurry. Two days later, the street is still blocked off with a lot of the fire trucks, and a mobile command center on the opposite side (which is the same style of vehicle that the Urban Search and Rescue had). Parking enforcement was there, guarding the end. Asked if the street was blocked to pedestrian traffic as well as vehicles, and was answered in the affirmative. I asked how we were supposed to rubberneck then???

We walked back, and took off down the next street over, a dead end that has something of a view across the canyon, and it turns out we were able to see a good amount of the property from there.

Unfortunately, there's one person unaccounted for, an 84 year old man. One story I read said he went back in for a litter of puppies. An old guy died last time there was a structure fire up here, too.

Last stories I read, they still hadn't determined the cause. I'd speculate that with that many people, someone may have been using a hot plate in their room. Could be a smoker, too, or some other reason for all I know.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

ReCovery 2.0

Finally a follow up with a post I alluded to!!! A post about a post, as it were!!!

In my last post, I mentioned the cat post getting ratty, and not in the way cats like (although, the cat didn't seem to have any qualms about how bad it looked). In the first shot, here's a trick the guy does, he'll leap right up on the top of the post, but never in a direction where he's good for a picture. Once again, you can see it's come undone.

So, as I did three years back, it was time to re cover the post!!! Next shot is the remains of the old rope removed. This time, instead of just bolting the post down on the rope, I cut a little groove into the bottom of the base to hold the rope. Came out a lot better, but it still has a bit of a tilt.

Instead of the hokey bent over nails on the top, I cut another slot on the top and secured it with a couple of steel straps on the top. I'm still planning to make up a new wood square to finish off the top, but I could tell the absence of a claw post was disturbing to the cat, so it's sitting in it's place as is for now. Also, I had considerably more rope to work with. Quite a while back I re-did the perch in the laundry room, and added a 2 x 4 claw post to the end employing the same rope wound construction. I purchased enough rope to make that one and have enough to cover the original completely. Unfortunately, none of the cats took to clawing much at it. Sometimes, though, when the cat is riled up, he'll run in and run up the side of the post, climbed to the top with his ears back.

Hey!!! I think he likes it!!!

Monday, October 03, 2016

Backlog Random

As usual, I've got a lot more post in me than I ever get out of me!!! So, for now, here's a smattering of shots and allusions on things that could get a post of their own!!!

To start off, back in September, I believe it was, my wife and I went to a concert at the Greek. Back in the first half of the year I had a Kings game I was going to have tickets to as prize for the last design contest at work. Unfortunately, I went too long before I went to HR to pick them up, and they gave them to someone else. Oh well. That was around the time Counting Crows had announced their tour schedule, and since we've got a block of seats at the Greek, I made mention to keep an eye out for those in lieu. For whatever reason, that never came through, either, but she offered me quite a bit later tickets to see The Piano Guys there. I was a bit familiar, so I took them. It ended up being a VERY entertaining and amusing show!!! Bonus, included with the passes was admission to the Fandango lounge there, featuring various snacks before the show, and coffee at intermission!!!

Make note of that design contest reference, there's a post (hopefully) on the way about that!!!

On the week of my Birthday, the firstborn graduated from his first Navy school, and came back home for a week. He's purchased a vehicle, but doesn't have a driver's license yet. He didn't want to get it in the state he was in, due to time between the written and driving tests, so he was going to do both on his visit. Well, he was able to do half. He's got 6 months to do the other half to get it, so he'll be making another visit sometime soon. I didn't get a whole lot of pictures of him, but mom did. Here's one of my few, the reunion with his cat. Make note of the clawed to pieces claw post in the background, there's a post (hopefully) on the way about that!!!

He had his dress whites hanging in the bathroom, which I've done up in black and white. Goes rather nicely in there!!! I've been off and on searching for some black ceramic floor tile to black and white the floor in there, too. For like close to two years!!! It's not easy to find!!!

The only work day I had off while he was visiting was my actual birthday. I was thinking of going to the beach, and we were going to visit my parents that afternoon. Got a late start, and went to the Golden Star in Long Beach for breakfast/lunch. By the time we got out, it was already afternoon, so we went straight to my parents house and swam there for a while. As it was drawing towards dark, we went down to the beach in Long Beach, where they were doing a Movie on the Beach night, screening Toy Story. So I got to go to the beach that day, too!!!

Another set of tickets I got was for Dodgers -vs- Cubs. That was a fun evening, even though the Dodgers ended up losing in the 10th inning. As I recall, in the last innings they kept putting in new pitchers and every time they'd get hits right off!!! This picture of the scoreboard the inning count score looked very binary!!!

On our trip down San Diego way, as previously mentioned, we did many touristy things. One of these things, on my list on two of the other trips we'd made there but never attained, was to go to the Midway aircraft carrier. It was pretty cool, but most places we went in the actual SD area need more parking!!!

Another thing often on my list but never actually gotten to is a trip to the San Diego Zoo. This is one of my best shots from there. Richard Parker!!!

I think it was three years back, the wife & I went to Carlsbad for our anniversary. Always enjoy that place!!! We went to Leo Carrillo Ranchero while we were there, which was pretty cool. Come to find out, it's home to much pea foul. On the way back this year, we stopped there again, and this time found out there's an albino peacock there!!!

Not great pictures, but here's another fun thing that we did a bit ago. At the Ford Theater, they had a production of Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio opera... only done as a Star Trek episode!!!

None of the characters were actual Star Trek players, but adaptations of the names Mozart had in the original. The orchestra were all red shirts, and the conductor was a gold shirt!!!

Finally, I've got a few places that supposedly have Chicago Deep Dish pizza around here, but the only one I've managed to try is a place in South El Monte called The One. Pizza and Hawaiian BBQ. I've had it twice now. It ain't Giordano's, but it's not bad for South El Monte!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Night Surf

A couple weeks back, we went on a vacation with extended family down towards San Diego. We actually stayed in Encinitas, a ways north of there, just south of Carlsbad. Our hotel was only a block from the ocean, which was a good part of the reason we'd stayed there.

Every single day we did some sort of touristy thing, which was quite a drain on my parents. The second day we went to Legoland, and my parents and my wife had had enough by late afternoon, and were ready to head back. I could keep going, and my youngest and niece and nephew were all good to stay until closing, so they split and we closed that place down. On the way back, we talked a bit about going to the beach. There are houses all along the coast, so I checked and saw that there was a beach access just a couple blocks north of where we were staying, and, of course, that block over. We all decided that the four of us could go for heading over and checking it out when we got back.

It was a bit different than we'd expected. Instead of the block over sloping down to the shore area, it rose up quite a bit. At the end, it came down a bit, but not as much as the rise. From there, it starts off with a concrete path, with areas of steps going down at intervals. From there, it transitioned to wood steps heading down. Straight down, at the end, and DIRECTLY INTO THE OCEAN!!! Well, we weren't expecting THAT!!! Turns out, we caught it right at an extreme high tide!!! The beach has bluffs that rise up from the back of it pretty straight up.

The waves would recede and reveal the sand of the shore, and just to the right around 50 feet, there is a lifeguard tower, backed right up to the bluffs. My niece was the first to decide that she would make a run for it when the waves receded. She made it, of course getting splashed a bit in the process. The rest of us headed over, and stashed our gear on the tower and did a bit of shore wading. The water was very mild, and the evening was pretty warm, too. My niece had brought her purse (go figure), and among the things contained therein was a GoPro camera, which she broke out to shoot a little bit of video. Don't know how that came out, but I'd like to see.

Of course, I didn't bring a camera, so the two actual "beach" pictures are stolen from the web, and the first pic is image searching the title of this post. By the way, said title was lifted from the Stephen King short story that spawned "The Stand". Grandview Beach is what this beach is called... I cannot attest to the view, but even from the shore area, you could see a lot more stars than back home.

Good times!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Back to the Petersen

A couple weekends ago, while I was working on Saturday, I happened upon this. When there is downtime between cycles, I'll often web-surf. In the course of doing this, I discovered that that very evening, there was to be a screening of a documentary about the restoration of the DeLorean from Back to the Future!!! Entitled "Outatime: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine", all that was required to attend was to RSVP via E-mail. OK, sounds pretty sweet!!!

For further win points, it was screening at the Petersen Automotive Museum!!! I had figured, and correctly, that my wife would not be interested in attending, and my son would. On the way into the parking garage, we spotted our first DeLorean of the evening, a very nice bone stock (as far as I could tell) example, featuring the "LONE PYN" plate.

I believe we saw four more equally nice stock examples, one with a "TIME MCH" plate and one with a "DMC AUTO" or some such plate.

So, what do they do with a fully restored prop DeLorean??? They did such an exquisite job, that it became, quite literally, a museum piece!!! They now have it at the Petersen. This shot is when we first saw it. If you look closely, you can see the flux capacitor!!!

Were there any fans of the movie there??? A couple. This guy, in Marty McFly regalia, with his model time machine DeLorean. There were many Marty McFlys there, in various stages of convincing.

One guy there was lucky enough to have scored some of the Episode II Nike shoes!!!

Yet another guy had himself a nice hoverboard!!!

A better shot of the flux capacitor.

Two of the Doc Emmett Browns, there was also a kid with the visor from the end of I, and possibly II (I don't remember exactly, I've seen II a couple times, but I'm not that rabid a fan). The guy on the right played the part for Universal Studios Hollywood, driving the actual DeLorean around the place. The guy on the left, I think, has his DeLorean that he's done up to look like the time machine, and has a quite convincing voice!!!

The Petersen took good care of everyone, in addition to the show, they also had bags of chips and water bottles for the guests. They said it's the best attended movie night event they've done. After the movie (and the offer to sell you much memorabilia and copies of the DVD, then sign them) they were raffling off several items, T-shirts, various copies of the newspaper headlines from the movies, and a hoverboard. That was the one my son really wanted, and wouldn't you know, they picked a number off by ONE from what he had. Insult to injury, the person with that ticket wasn't even there!!! He was genuinely mad over that. I think a do-it-yourself hoverboard is in order.

And how was the movie??? Pretty good, well worth a watching!!! They did an incredible job on the restoration, and actually made it more functional that it had been. I learned quite a bit from it, and am now more of an expert on the Back to the Future DeLorean that I was before!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Rite of Passage

Between childhood, boyhood, adolescence & manhood (maturity)

there should be sharp lines drawn w/

Tests, deaths, feats, rites

stories, songs, & judgments

From "Wilderness"

Jim Morrison

Here's something of a rite of passage!!! I did it as a teen, as did my friends, and now both of my sons have, too. When you go to the junkyard, you are supposed to be at least 16 years old to get in. We've all now violated this rule. I suppose that if you are going to violate an age ordinance, this is about as benign as you can get!!!

I don't know if I've ever explained how Scruffy got her name, but the driver's side rear quarter was slightly cracked when we got it, but not enough to worry about. A year or so later, I managed to take out a pillar in a parking garage with the two doors (and rear view mirror) on that same side, as well as further fracturing the quarter panel. Made a junkyard run & picked up all three of these around a year and a half back on one of the junkyard half price days. Not long after, some idiot changed lanes into the front fender, also on that side, while my wife was driving, and she has failed at getting any of the insurance information, so on yet another sale day, I picked up one of those. There's always plenty of Saturns, but there is a difference between the 1996-1999 bodies and the 2000-2002, even though they are very nearly the same. I'd gone through and found the best looking one, and just as I started pulling it, checked the style. Early. Whew, glad I checked that!!! Back around again, and found a late model in good shape. Last weekend, I pulled all the parts out to clean, sand and primer them, and discovered the doors and quarter panel were all early style!!! This also worked out, as last weekend for the Fourth of July weekend, the junkyard was doing a sale weekend again. I notice they have gone from half off days to 40% off days. So began the rite of passage!!! It's something he's been wanting to do, so before we visited my parent's house on the 4th, we went. Instead of getting all new door and the somewhat rare wagon quarter panel, I just got an early model fender to go with what I have. Once I've got it all together, if you are Saturn nerd enough to tell the years apart, you won't be able to tell what you're looking at if you notice the difference between the sides!!!

One of the things that always seem to happen is the removal of several emblems. Hehe, sexus!!!

He liked the aesthetic of the place, thinking it looks a bit post-apocalyptic and commented that it smelled like the paintball arena. I'm glad he enjoyed the trip!!!

Saturday, July 02, 2016


Here's a first for our family!!! While we were vacationing in Tennessee, seeing fireflies was one of the things on our list to try and see there. We made it to the night before we were leaving without having seen any. This was our second day of going to Dollywood, and we'd started late in the day, after going to the Titanic Museum. Pretty far on in the evening, late twilight time, and it occurred to us that we hadn't even attempted to see any fireflies. We were a bit off the main thoroughfare, and saw a park employee, an older guy (there's a lot of older folk working there, one of them earlier had commented that Dollywood is their retirement plan). We ask him where we might be able to see some. He replies that there's always a bunch around his home, and I ask if that's an invitation. He laughs, and is trying to think where, when all of a sudden, we see one off in the bushes!!! We try and track it's progress, and another kid comes by and catches it. Another comes by, and I caught it. Tried to peek into my hands, and it crawls out. Ran a few seconds of video, and caught a couple!!!