Thursday, July 31, 2008

Today in Los Angeles

Today I got my first LA City library card. The Los Angeles Central Library is about 50' from the door of the building I now work at in downtown Los Angeles. I thought, wow, what a beautiful, historic place filled with resources available literally at my fingertips. I should take advantage of it. So I trotted in during lunch, filled in the brief application form and walked away with my first ever LA library card. I was hopeful and feeling just a little bit proud of myself.

Being the geek I am, I meandered through the library dodging tourists, down a few flights of escalators on my way to the "Science and Technology" section. I thought that checking out a few computer geek books would be just lovely. I entered the "section" and it was the entire floor. A little confused I asked the librarian where the books I was looking for might be. Off I went in search. It turns out that any book I might have wanted was checked out and what was left was clearly outdated and yucky. Nothing worse than a dirty old book. Do you think we get that phobia from using every one's marked up, dirty, torn paged textbooks from grade school? Perhaps I do.

So I went to the head librarian in charge of this section (Mary Jean) and asked her what the deal was. I have been trying to find somewhere to donate my not really that old computer books to. They are certainly newer, more relevant and in excellent condition compared to what's in the stacks here. She said that if I brought them to her and they were newer ( I scoff at this comment ) that she would take them. She should be damn happy to get them.

Regardless of its relevance in my life, the library is a architecturally gorgeous both inside and out and a pleasure to stroll through.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


45 minutes before our little 5.4 magnitude shaker I had left our downtown highrise building and headed for our data center in Hawthorne. Lucky I guess. My co-workers on the 21st floor said the shaking and rocking was pretty scary and then they were stuck there for awhile as the elevators were out. 21 floors is a long way down for lunch.

In the data center I had just gotten into the bathroom to blow my nose. I've been sick for almost 10 days now and frankly, the whole thing is getting on my nerves. But that's another story. As I stood over the toilet blowing my nose on some toilet paper I thought, wow, I shouldn't blow so hard, I'm a little dizzy. I grabbed the wall for support and wondered why I was so stupid to make myself dizzy and then I looked at the toilet bowl. The water was sloshing about. Then it hit me.....EARTHQUAKE!! hehe It didn't last much longer than that entire thought process and I trotted out of the bathroom to lots of people running around making sure everyone and everything was alright.

5.4 in the grand scheme of things is not that big but, it is big enough to remind us that we do live in earthquake country and we should check those flashlight batteries and earthquake kits now. And all you people that have moved to AT&T uVerse and Time Warner cable modem telephones just remember.....when the power goes out, so does your phone service. And don't even think that your cell phone will work. I couldn't get a call out today even after our little earthquake for 15 minutes on my cell. But plain old dial tone works everytime.....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

How Vicks Vapor Rub Saved My Life

As Tuesday dawned I knew I wasn't going to work. The cold had moved in to my chest and it had packed a couple suitcases so I knew it was going to be here awhile. I moped around the house, bored, sick and listless. I could feel the passages in my lungs closing up and rued the coming night. The nights are always the hardest it seems. Around 9 o'clock I knew I was in trouble. I was having trouble breathing and went straight to the medicine chest for my inhaler. The first one I grabbed was expired in 2005, panic started to build. It's never good when you feel you cannot get a breath and start to panic as it only gets worse. I grabbed another newer inhaler and sucked in but no relief seemed to come.

Dena got me to lay down and pressed an acupressure point in the middle of my chest between my last 2 ribs. I couldn't find anything on the Internet to support that this is a real acupressure point for asthmatics but frankly, there is so much information out there regarding acupressure for breathing difficulties that it was overwhelming. It never occurred to me that this was an option and here I've relied on an inhaler all my adult life. Here are just a few.

After calming me down doing the acupressure she then applied Vicks Vapor Rub on my chest and under my nose. I remember back that my mom used to do this too, although she used to use safety pins to put a washcloth between my jammies and the Vicks. I now know why she did this as the Vicks discolors your clothes. But alas, a trip to the emergency room was averted once more. Dena often jokes to anyone who will listen that she'd never been to an emergency room until she met me and now she's been to them all throughout California. Stick with me baby and I'll take you places..... As she jokes, I worry, about my weak lungs and what will happen next time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

To "I do" or not to "I do" that is the question

In a previous post I talked about the recent California Supreme Court ruling to allow gay marriage in California. If you missed that one and would like to catch up, here it is. But now what do we do? We've never had the freedom to choose before. As a gay couple living in a committed relationship for over 17 years we've never had an option to get married. Oh, sure, we could have had a committment ceremony but we figured, if it wasn't legal then what was the point. We knew we were committed, sometimes to a looney bin, but always committed in one way or another. After all, 17 years for any couple has it's bumps in the road.

Heterosexual couples have a straight (pun intended) linear path to follow as their relationship develops. That path involves courting, dating, going steady, the proposal, a term of engagement and finally - marriage. The final step. This final step requires a melding of names, families and finances. For us gay people that are in a relationship we've been stuck somewhere between the last two steps. The families are pretty much melded, what's the point of melding names, and our finances are sort of combined. Now, we can go that final half step.

Think about it. All you straight people out there.....just take a moment to think.......if you legally couldn't get married and were together with your partner for a long time and then one day someone said, oh you can now.....what would you do?

The question begs......should we or shouldn't we? And if so, why?

Your thoughtful comments are always welcome.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Living High in Gay Hollywood

In Hollywood over the past few weeks it has been time for the annual Outfest film festival. A large venue for gay and lesbian film makers to showcase their films. We usually try to attend serveral films in order to "be among our people" as I'm fond of saying.

So the other night, tickets in hand, we jump into the Porsche, put the top down and roar down Sunset Blvd. on our way to the DGA (Director's Guild of America) for a women's film. We dressed up a little, I put on some dangly earrings and my best sandals and we were ready. We were standing in line waiting to get into the theatre and an Outfest worker informs us we were in the wrong line. We were in the priority seating line. Well, harummpf. I join Outfest every year but see no real value in paying over $ 300 for priority seating and the few other perks you get.

So Dena climbs over the velvet rope (I suppose that should have been our first clue) and I follow. Except, I get my foot caught on the rope and BOOM, down I go. Faceplant on the carpet, velvet rope all over me, what a sight I made. Dena was yards ahead of me racing to get into the "regular people" line so she thought I was right behind her. As I struggled to get up, my hands burning from carpet burns and more importantly, my pride majorly hurt Dena rushes over. As she cooes over me making sure I'm ok this outfest fellow says, "since you're obviously in pain you should probably come sit in the theatre". I sacrificed my pride for priority seating. Not too bad of a trade I suppose.

We enjoyed wonderful seats at a mediocre movie seating among the rich, powerful and highly cultured lesbians.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Canadian Ingenuity

This is a gas station in Nestor Falls, Ontario, a small lake community in the rural NorthWest. The two contraptions you see facing the $$ value of pumped gas are cameras, one in a PVC tube to protect it from the elements, that are basically just cameras bought from a computer store. There is a little wire coming from each running to a tube then into the store. This is so that when you say you pumped $ 30.00 worth of gas they can prove it without replacing their pumps with those fancy new fangled ones. Who needs those anyways?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Back to Civilization

As Dena and I drive up the small township road from my Gram's house back towards civilization I'm overtaken with a swell of emotions. I'm looking forward to a nice long, hot shower and hotel room bed yet I'm very sad to be leaving my family behind. It seems that life is full of goodbyes and perhaps we are supposed to look forward to the hello's and not dwell on the goodbyes.

Everytime I think about the miles running behind us leaving my family further and further behind the sadder I get. I'm quite conflicted. I'm not sad to be leaving outhouses, mosquitoes and well water behind but I'm definitely sad from watching my little niece (held by my mom) wave bye bye with her big doe eyes.

We'll cross the border into the USA briefly, spend the night in Baudette, Minn. then drive back into Canada for our flight from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Los Angeles. Doing 4 - 6 border crossings a trip out here can become arduous as the US customs can make it quite difficult especially if you are driving a rent-a-car. We were in Morson, Ontario, home of my family. Here is a map to help you see where it is.

Well, our free breakfast calls from the hotel lunch room, so I'd better run. We'll see you all soon.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

On Top Of Los Angeles

Today I had the wonderful opportunity to aim a cellular construction camera at one of our jobsites. The camera is positioned on the Helipad of 865 Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles. This picture is of me with the camera pointing North. Those are the Hollywood Hills in the background. And yes, I'm standing that close to the edge. What a cool job I have. The building is ~ 43 stories tall. I can't remember exactly how tall. And yes, that's my Brooks Brothers no iron fancy pants shirt.