Thursday, November 27, 2008


As is tradition in my extended family that are my in-laws, today around the table we will state what we are thankful for before we get to eat. A good tradition I think. Some people roll their eyes at the thought of having to think so deeply but I believe it is important to reflect occasionally. I believe it is also important to be thankful for ones bounty regardless of what that may be. Everyone's definition of bounty is different after all.

Today, at the table my statement will be thus:

Gratitude is not always a spontaneous emotion; often, it's a matter of choice. It's a perspective of appreciation that doesn't necessarily make life easier, but it always makes life better.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thoughts of the Holiday Week

The week of American Thanksgiving is once again upon us. It came so fast this year. Isn't it amazing that every year Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to arrive quicker and quicker? Is it a function of our modern, media driven, chaotic world that time seems to flow by us like a raging river? Or is it just a sign of age?

Last night through the driving rain we drove up to Cambria for our annual pilgrimage. I thought I would use that word, pilgrimage, apropos isn't it? I mean really, how often do you get to use that word.....but I digress. For those Canucks reading this blog the U.S. Thanksgiving occurs on the last Thursday of November, always. Most companies, except retail and restaurants are closed on Friday, making for a nice long 4 day weekend.

This morning I awoke to the quiet that is Cambria. I ventured out for a morning stroll and was greeted by hummingbirds, woodpeckers, blue jays and squirrels. It was like a scene from Snow White. As I walked up the hill my thoughts couldn't help but wander to a quieter, simpler time. Why couldn't I live in a place like this? Quiet, peaceful, filled with wildlife and beauty..... Do these thoughts date me? Do thoughts like these happen only to the older crowd? Is city life only for the young?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

AT and T uVerse - The Direct TV Switchout

Dena & I spent 2 weeks planning for this. I suppose I should have run it like a project with a written plan and all that but frankly, it's my everyday life and I don't have the ambition to do that. So, when I say planning, I mean writing down TV shows we watch and rabidly watching everything that we had stored on the DVR. Wow, that was tough. A couple nights that we were up past midnight.

So, yesterday we were supposed to get our new AT&T uVerse cable TV via fiber + high speed internet. After waiting all day the tech called at 3:30 pm to re-schedule it for this morning, Sunday, at 8am. Well, I want it installed so I suppose I'll get my ass out of bed early on a Sunday morning.....

I know there are issues with installations and I understand that but sometimes it can be very frustrating. I remember when I was working on VoiceMail systems and voicemail was a new service. No one really cared if it went down. Then, as it caught on we could only take it down in the wee hours of the morning as now it was considered vital. We've come full circle with voice mail as now people don't care again with the advent of text messaging and the proliferation of cell phones and email. Well today, DVRs , cable TV and high speed internet are the same way. We were beside ourselves with the 5 hour loss of services today. And now we have to set everything back up again, setup all the shows to record, change our email addresses and on and on it goes.....
As a word of caution, AT&T uVerse is affiliated with Yahoo! so your choices of email addresses is extremely limited as most good addresses have been used already. My new email address sucks.

Current issues:
We are unable to remove reruns from our recording listing and the internet was installed with 3mb instead of the 6mb I ordered. We are awaiting resolutions to both.

We'll see if this is all worth the $ 30 a month savings....and the promised awesome picture and the additional features. One feature I'm excited about it the programming of your DVR via webpage. If I forget to program a show to record, I can log in anywhere and do it. That's cool, but will it work?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pictures from the Edge

Sometimes I have the coolest job. I was fortunate enough to get to go on a tour of our Century project. This is the building that Candy Spelling bought the top two floors of for $ 47 million. I can tell you that I stood in her pool on the top floor, floor 42. The cement wasn't even poured yet, but I was there. I've also stood on her balcony and in her bedroom. It was quite a day with taking the manlift up to 37 and then climbing up ladders for the last 5 floors. It was dizzying and exhilarating. Attached are a few pictures.

<--- This is her balcony on 41. Avenue of the Stars -->

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Repeal 8 Rally

Today there was another rally in the Los Angeles area speaking out against the passage of Proposition 8, it's inequality, and highlighting it's broad reaching implications. Today it was at LA City Hall. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke as well as Robyn Tyler, Ricky Gervais, and some of the openly LGBT politicians in Los Angeles. The event featured a well rounded speaker line up, a well attended and behaved crowd with lots of poignant and amusing signs on a warm LA day. I couldn't tell you how many people were there. It was impossible from me to tell, me, just being one short little person among so many but there seemed like 1000's and 1000's. The news will tell us I suppose. Here's a pix of us with Los Angeles City Hall in the background.

As the Mayor spoke I felt myself welling up. Wow, I was a part of this. I called my sister and she said probably the most succinct comment of all, "It's ridiculus that you have to march and rally and protest for this." Of course, she's up in Canada where human rights are fully granted including the right for all to marry, the right to smoke marijuana and the right for women to go topless if they so choose. What a novel concept, equal rights for all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Travelling Again....

After six months of business free travel, I have hit the road again. It's only for 2 nights away but it might as well be an eternity. I can't remember what day it is and I'm breaking my cardinal rule for business travel, NEVER eat in the hotel. I've done that 2 nights in a row. They have a sushi restaurant in this hotel. You'd think I'd shy away from that wouldn't you? Well, you're right, I should have. Probably the worst sushi I've had in over a year.

But the real crux of the problem is the design of the hotel. I'm staying at the Crowne Plaza hotel on the San Francisco peninsula. The hotel is designed sort of like a donut where the rooms are the pastry all around the outside and inside, at the bottom or in the hole are the common areas. The bar, the restaurants and the pool. As I sit here writing this in my hotel room I can hear this one woman laugh in the bar. Everything richochets off the walls and up......up and up and up to the top floor so that I can hear every single noise. I feel like going downstairs and slapping this woman for her irritating laugh. This morning, I was awakened at 5:52 am by the sound of the bus boy pouring water into the glasses in the restaurant. I'm on the top floor and the sound travels so well that I can tell exactly the noise I'm hearing and where it's coming from. Last night I had to call downstairs and tell the front desk to turn the TV down in the bar, I didn't like the movie.

I should have known trouble was brewing when I walked into the room last night and there was this lovely little bag on the bed. It contained sleep aids. Ear plugs, a CD of calming sounds, lavendar linen spray and an eye mask. Ambien will hopefully save me this night. Please, I beg of you, save me.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Beauty of Ebay and Online Shopping

With the Internet now you can find just about anything. Gone are the days where I had to drive to several different stores to find the right this or that. I can just go look online, buy it and have it shipped right to my house. Sure, this doesn't work for everything. Brick and mortar stores still have their purpose.

For example, I will only buy clothes in a store where I can try them on. Oh, wait. Let's modify that. I bought underwear and bras online, however, this was only after I purchased the original from the brick and mortar store, walked around in them for a day or two to make sure, then went online and purchased a whole bunch more. In my opinion there's never too much of a good thing especially when it comes to bras and underwear.

What about that part you need to fix something? I needed bulbs for Dena's Porsche and could only find one in the regular auto parts store. I went online, and magically I received it. What about that lightbulb that just burnt out in the chandelier? Wouldn't you just run over to Lamps Plus to buy a new one? I didn't, I went online, found one and bought it. What is also great is that you can comparison shop. If I went to Lamps Plus and bought the bulb I would pay whatever they charged because I just spent an hour of my day doing it. I'm not going to visit multiple stores generally for this kind of item. Online, I shopped for the chandelier bulb, found one for $8 and then found a box of 10 on ebay for $ 13. I don't need 10 but I was going to buy two.

Our consumer based world is changing and only the creative, innovative and forward looking will survive from a retailer point of view.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Blowing in the Wind

This is a picture of the cake we had at our friend's election night party. Don't you love it? I do. And how true it was....

As we drove home over to our friends house I felt a stir in the air. Looking up I began to see leaves rustle and palm fronds sway. Ah, a little breeze. How lovely for a California autumn evening. During the course of that night we gathered around that glowing orb, drank champagne and patted ourselves on the backs while listening to inspiration. A man who stood for hope had won the presidency. An electorate had spoken and that emotion that only homo sapiens can feel had won; hope. Forget that he was the first black electee or even elected president, forget that. That was but a footnote in the larger voter message. That message was Hope and she was who voted on November 4th.

As we drove home late on a night filled with emotion I rolled the window down. The wind whipped through the trees now, rattling trash cans and making the traffic lights sway. Something was in the air now and it was strong. The winds of change were blowing and as the election polls closed all across this great land the wind blew stronger. It blew until it had whipped itself into such a frenzy such that hasn't been seen in a century. Yes, I can feel it, did you?

Today as dawn broke the air was calm but as I stuck my nose out the door something was different. Yes, there it was, change. Ah.......change was finally here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day Elation.....

Last night Dena set her alarm for early. The polling place near our house opened at 7am. She wanted to be there early. There has been lines all week at the early voting station that have been 3 - 6 hours long. It's been all over the news. Amazing how the news creates mild hysteria isn't it..... The news has mentioned they might run out of ballots, too. Dena wanted to make sure her vote was cast. She was at the polling place at 6:30, there were about 100 people in line already. She has never waited in line to vote, ever. She's been voting for almost 30 years.

Why is this country expected to turn out in record numbers for this election? Why now? Has the usual apathy wore off? Was the "get out the vote" message successful this time? Is it because it's a black nominee versus a woman nominee? Is it because George Bush is so stupid and we're all tired of it? Or is it because American's have been hit so hard in their own personal pocket books? Hmmm. Me thinks it's all about the money. Isn't it always all about the money.

Dena left the polling place at 7:30 am, the line now stretched around the block and she could not see the end. She called me all excited like a 5 year on Halloween Night, all giddy and chatty. She said she was vibrating. If only every election was so well tended.

Let's hope tomorrows post is also happy and full of elation.

Monday, November 03, 2008

This sums it up nicely

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, 'What is Politics?'
Dad says, 'Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I am the head of the family , so call me The President. Your mother is the administrator of the money, so! we call her the Government. We are here to take care of your needs, so we will call you the People. The nanny, we will consider her the Working Class. And your baby brother, we will call him the Future. Now think about that and see if it makes sense.'

So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what Dad has said. Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parents' room and finds his mother asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed.
The next morning, the little boy says to his father, 'Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now.' The father says, 'Good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about.'

The little boy replies, 'The President is screwing the Working Class while the Government is sound asleep. The People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit.