Category Archives: General

Whoa! It’s Good to be Takei

Today the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that no state could deny two people of the same-sex a marriage license. In my adult life, I never would have expected this to happen. It really moved me when the decision was made as it impacts a huge number of people that I know and even more that I don’t know. I’m lucky to be a resident of California which after a misstep in 2008, finally got their act together in 2012 (with help from the same Supreme Court).

People ask me if I will finally get married and my answer is always the same. Marriage is not something that is at the top of my to do list. I don’t need a marriage to show that I am committed to one person or another. I’m not a deeply religious person so the faith-based part of marriage never appealed to me. The civil side of marriage is very appealing as it helps one get a house and leads to other financial and personal benefits (wills, healthcare, company benefits, etc.) and to boot you can spend the rest of your life gazing into each others eyes and wonder just what the heck are we doing together in this crazy life.

I posted a comment on a friend’s Facebook profile that basically sums it up. Getting married is like wanting a puppy. Seems like a good idea when you are all new and excited, but in reality it is a lot of work, costs lots of money and you have to be willing to clean up all the poop that comes with the love. I think more people should realize that before taking the plunge (Pets or Marriage!).

Having committed my views to my blog (unusual for me to be this personal but heck, I was moved by the weekend’s activities.) I will now probably make a fool of myself and run off to get married in Vegas and end up living in a hotel somewhere trying to figure life out. (Wait, I am technically living in a hotel now – crap! I’m already halfway there!!)

On another note: In celebration of all the pride going around, I finally got around to watching “To Be Takei” the documentary about my favorite Trek Star, George Takei. I credit George with being one of the reasons that society in general has changed their views on the LGBT community since he came out of the closet in October 2005. Personally, his appearances on Howard Stern and just being an advocate on TV and hundreds of appearances and parades has put a familiar face on an issue that makes many uncomfortable. This comes out (pun intended) in his movie where he talks about his issues over the years. I, for one and grateful that he has taken this step and helped so many, many teens and adults alike have a positive role model.

The other big item in the documentary is George’s role in getting the musical Allegiance to Broadway. Its such a personal story for George and I am glad he is finally getting a chance for it to make it to the Great White Way. I hope to see it someday to support George in his life’s legacy work. It’s the least I can do for someone who has provided me personally with lots of Star Trek lines to quote and has helped many people laugh on Facebook and Twitter, and been such a strong advocate for LGBT everywhere.

Snow Lies

Massive Lake Effect Snow Wall in New York via Sploid

Massive Lake Effect Snow Wall in New York via Sploid

Personally, it seems like it is all made up stories that weather is still existing in the rest of the country. Here in LA it has been the same 72 degrees for a while with just the occasional sprinkle here and there. I went to work the other morning and it smelled like rain, but it wasn’t until I got to the park that I actually saw moisture on the ground.

Meanwhile, the rest of the country is experiencing brutal cold and deep snowfalls. Part of the same jet stream that is locking us into dry, dry conditions. I only hope that somehow we get a more favorable jet stream soon, otherwise we will be rationing water and not flushing the toilet when we pee. Eww. Please let it rain soon!!

Stock Sunday!

Apple, Inc. just did a 7/1 split last Friday and their stock is now a more affordable $93ish a share compared to the $650ish it was on Friday. I’ve been tempted to get the stock since it was $11 back in 2003 when we first started looking at the market. My fictional 100 shares bought back then would now be worth $65,590. Even if I had bought some fictional shares back in 2006 when it was $85, it still would have been worth 65K, but only with a profit of $57K. At least fictional shares don’t have any capital gains taxes!!!

I’ve been toying with the idea of finally getting some stock, but part of me thinks that tech is riding a bubble and I am wondering if there is a bust lurking on the horizon, especially when companies like Uber are worth $17 billion! Maybe it’s worth that much because of all the kidnappings?

At any rate, I’m not much of an investor and I pay attention to the market as much as I pay attention to Soccer – I get excited every few years (like the World Cup) and the rest of the time it’s just an “Oh OK” when I hear about it. Perhaps if I was an investor, I’d be living the life of luxury in a penthouse apartment or enjoying leftovers in a cardboard box.

D-Day – 70 Years Later

It blows my mind that it has been 70 years since Allied troops invaded Normandy in a quest to liberate Europe. I totally remember when it was the 50th anniversary and thinking man, that was a long time ago! Doing some mental math, its weird to think there was less time between the end of World War II and the opening of Disneyland in 1955 and the 9/11 terrorist attacks and today.

There are a lot of great tributes to those who fought and those who sacrificed their lives in the hopes of making the world a better place.

Just a couple to get you started:

The Army Site

Scenes from D-Day – Then and Now on the In Focus Blog

As yesterday’s photo showed, I’ve made it to the coast of France near Mont Saint-Michel, but I do hope one day to visit the beaches of Normandy to pay my respects in person.

Let me add my small voice to the millions who say Thank You to the veterans of this and all wars for their service to this country and the countries of our allies.

Some Hope!

Late tonight (early tomorrow in Australia) they have reported that they have spotted debris floating in the ocean that could possibly be MH370. I’m hoping that the families and everyone else in the world will finally find out what happened..

Update (3/20/14):
Paul sent me a link to the Aviationist who has a great recap of the story so far.

Save the Lick Observatory!

When I was president of my High School Astronomy Club, one of my favorite field trips that we would go on was to the Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton outside of San Jose. We would always take the back roads from Livermore instead of driving up the steep side from San Jose. It would take longer, but it was a fun trip. Whether we were visiting exhibits or just setting up the school telescope on the side of the road, it is a place filled with great memories.

The other day I discovered that the University of California has challenged the Observatory to find alternative funding or face closure in 2017. Apparently, $1.5 million a year is a bit pricey and the UC would rather spend that money on the bigger observatories they are associated with in Hawaii. I think that having the UC support the Observatory is a no brainer and hopefully, they will see the error of there ways.

In the meantime, there is a great website where you can do a myriad of things to support the Lick Observatory: Donate money, join Friends of Lick Observatory, send letters to UC Leadership, or even send comments and ideas on how to help save the Observatory.

I’m still deciding what I am going to do, but I am leaning over joining Friends of.. I’ll let you know what I do!

What is a hero?

I was shocked when I wandered across CNN’s web page Saturday morning. I was just expecting to see more of the same news: US getting ready to go to war with Iraq, The intense cold in the rest of the country, Tsi-tsi fly mating season beginning in Southern Africa. I didn’t expect to see such a world shattering piece of news on a web site. I guess its my first notification of a disaster by web. Of course, I am talking about the breakup of the Shuttle Colombia over Texas and Louisiana.
Like most people around my age, I remember where I was when the Challenger exploded back in 1986. I still get sad when I think of that accident, and this accident just re-opened old wounds. Why do I mourn seven astronauts that I barely even knew. I knew the basics of the flight: a very rare all scientific flight, good ol’ Colombia, the second shuttle and the first one to orbit the earth, and that at 16 days, it seemed like an awfully long time to be up in space.
But why do I mourn this group of people? I think because they are very similar to the firefighters and policeman who ran up into a burning crumbling building on September 11, 2001 and those passengers on United 93 who told some terrorists what to go do with themselves and sacrificed their lives to save others. These astronauts: Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon were doing something that most of us only dream about doing. They were visiting the stars and expanding our knowledge of the universe. They transcended earth-as-normal and worked for all of us. They helped us believe that no matter what sort of zaniness goes on in the world, that somehow it is all insignificant, and maybe, just maybe things will turn out all right.
I certainly hope that the investigators will be able to figure out soon what exactly happened, and that it doesn’t take us years to recover. Part of me hopes that it will spur innovation and maybe new types of shuttles. Another part of me worries about those guys up on the International Space Station whose ride has just broken down and they don’t know when the next taxi home is. Deep down though I feel that things will be all right.
Some useful links:
CNN’s Shuttle Coverage
Nixlog’s Columbia coverage including Infographics links

Remembering September 11

What a strange year it has been. On September 10, 2001 the most important thing that was on my mind was that ESPN had way too many pop-up ads. I was also still chuckling over the movie “Rat Race” which I had just seen. Five days earlier, I was hired by Disney to start on Oct. 6. I was nervous about my tryout for “The Weakest Link” to be held on September 11, and I was looking forward to a day at the LA County Fair. In the back of my mind, I was thinking of getting into the Tour Guide business. Something I think I would be good at, plus a great way to travel around the world. All that would change the following morning.

Susie rang the phone around 6 or 7 in the morning. I can always count on a call from her when something like an earthquake happens. I remember waking up to the phone and hearing that the TV was on. Roger occasionally will have the TV on in the morning, but something was amiss. I stumbled out of bed and into the horror of what we all witnessed that day. I think the first tower had already collapsed and the second one was still there.

I look back at that day and some of the entries that followed. I watched TV a lot (well being unemployed there was not much else to do). At the time, I didn’t think it affected me more than any other disaster normally does, but looking back I realize it was different. I didn’t sleep well for months. My whole plan of getting into the tourism industry was shot. Even a backup plan working for an airline seemed far out of reach. A year later, we still haven’t moved. I have only been on a plane once since that fateful day – and that was to interview for Yahoo. My annual birthday party almost didn’t happen, more than a month later, not many people were in the partying mood. It wasn’t until mid January, that things slowly started to return to normal.

So here it is a year later. I feel like a whole year has just flitted by. I find myself in basically the same position as I was last year – still looking for a new apartment and a better job. Next month, I will turn 30, and it is my goal to make next year more productive (really not that hard when you think of it). I also am going to work on my relationships. I think every level of relationship in my life has suffered the last year, and I resolve to make it up to everyone.

As you remember September 11, think of all the people who lost their lives and how it has changed or not changed your way of life. Don’t dwell on the negative, but use this event and create positive from it.


Moving the Super Match

Well the apartment on the street of yesteryear was directly out of yesteryear. Needless to say, we won’t be moving there anytime soon. No AC, smallish rooms, and no garage as promised pretty much shot down this apartment. One of the other oddities – no cable in the front room – only in one of the bedrooms. I think if there had been an AC, we might have overlooked some of the other items. The building was built in 1948 to house Warner Brothers employees, so it had cool history, but when the rental guy says the power in the building isn’t able to handle something like even a window AC, you tend to get worried about your computers and TV.

Mandel’s big party was a success. I even managed to eek out a win during the Hollywood Squares segment of the party. Me and my fellow contestant tied at one game a piece, and then he missed the tie breaker sending me into the bonus round. Since this was a Match Game/North Hollywood Squares party, the bonus round was a Super Match. I managed to do OK, ending up with enough cash to get something from the small box. I was happy as all get out. Someone later in the party managed to score something from a bigger box, and a great time was had by all.

It did make me wish that I had more time to hang out at people’s parties. I’ve missed my fair share of events in the last month or so due to the busy schedule at the park. Hopefully, as my seniority improves, I will get some more weekend nights off. Or at least, I’ll move into something else that will give me the weekends off again.

Internet World

Well I never did make it over to Internet World. Haim gave me the scoop, and I ran out of time to get over to the convention center. I have been out-of-sorts since Friday. I hate working at two different jobs in one day. It feels like two full days on one nights sleep. Going out on Saturday night didn’t help. Well, it did help in that it was the most fun I have had going out in awhile. I was not really in the mood to go out, but after some prodding I had a great time. It was a good combination of company and music. The worst part about club music is sometimes you hear a really groovy (yes I said groovy) song, and there is no way you will ever know what it is. It took me almost two years to track down the last club song I really liked.

I had Sunday and Monday off of work and it was nice to relax. We did make it out to Timothy’s 16th Birthday Bash and the rib joint in Glendora. For his birthday, I gave him a copy of L.A. Bizarro, a book that all people in LA should own. I figured it was a bit more interesting guide to LA than most, and since he will be out and about exploring on his own, he might as well find some weird and bizarre stuff.

I have had some issues with my DSL over the last few days. When I want it the most, it just isn’t working. Then I have to sit around for an hour or so and hope it comes back. Last night, I even tried to bypass the DSL and use my wonderful Pac Bell dialup account (free for DSL customers!), and yup, it was not working either. Me suspects they have larger network issues than just DSL problems. Hopefully, I can get some answers soon, and it doesn’t turn into another Earthlink fiasco.