Archive for October 2012

Sandy

October 30, 2012

For the first time in our lives, we were not in harms way for a hurricane / Nor’easter that hit New England. While our east coast friends were getting doused with heavy rain and wind, we were sitting nicely on our balcony watching the sun go down into the Pacific.

When we lived in Billerica, we ALWAYS lost power. Always. One of the real useful sources of information I use is Twitter. Billerica Police has a twitter account (BillericaPD). They keep it up to date with very local information about stuff like trees down or flooding. If you live in Billerica, get yourself a twitter account and follow them. They also feed information from neighboring towns.

Billerica also has a service called “Billerica Code-Red” (Click here to register ) Code red is a free service that Billerica uses to reach out to neighborhoods with emergency information, like power outages, school closings, etc. By the way, it’s free.

Facebook seems to be useful for seeing how your friends are getting on. Though some of the pictures are not always the real deal. Photoshop seems to be alive and well. One of the pictures making the rounds was the pictures of the guards at Arlington National Cemetery. Nice picture, but it wasn’t taken yesterday. I recommend snopes.com for an excellent source for information about computer myths and hoaxes.

That’s all for now. I hope that everyone gets there power back on and everything cleaned up and back to normal.

Joe

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Pedro

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Geography Lesson

October 23, 2012

This past week Paula and I took a little trip up the road to the thriving metropolis of Fresno, California. We were there to attend the Grand Chapter session of the Order of the Eastern Star ( henceforth in this post called OES) for the state of California.

The session is held every year at this time. Typically held in central California for a couple of reasons. First, it levels the pain everyone feels for traveling to the session (after all regular unleaded is running at about $4.75/gallon).
Here’s a map of the route.

Second, prices of hotels, convention centers and restaurants tend to be a tad bit lower than in LA or SF.

So the trip is about 250 miles give or take. The first part of the trip is through downtown LA on the 110 freeway (I110 for you easterners). As we head north, we go through the San Fernando Valley. The San Fernando Valley is pretty much ugly urban sprawl.

Once you get to the town of Castaic, we enter a section of road known as the Grapevine. The Grapevine is about a 40 mile stretch of road through the Los Padres National Forest. We begin a climb from about sea level to about 3ooo’ ASL. The road snakes back and forth. Trucks are expected to stay to the right (They do mostly). The Grapevine is pretty much uninhabited. On the way south, we stopped for gas at a gas station in Castaic. This was the first gas station that I have seen in our travels across the county with pay toilets. ($.25 please). Actually, if you bought gas, they will give you a token, but still. The Grapevine can be pretty nasty in the winter with rain and icing roads.

Once we got through the Grapevine, we enter California’s Central Valley. First we get to Bakerfield on I5. Farms as far as the eye can see. There is a lot of Railroad traffic. It is not uncommon to see freight trains with over a 100 cars heading down the track. I saw several bulk haulers filled to the brim with carrots. We see orchards, vineyards and farmland. The central valley is where much of America’s food comes from.

We pulled into Fresno after about six hours of driving. We stayed at a La Quinta Inn for about $65 per night. Pretty mediocre hotel. The rug in the room was filthy. The WiFi was slow. The breakfast room was crowded. On the good side there was an El Torito Mexican restaurant on one side and an IHOP on the other.

We had a great time. We met up with some of our OES friends from Massachusetts and of course our OES friends from San Pedro.

TTFN

The Balcony

October 14, 2012

Time for another update. We have this really nice balcony here at our place in San Pedro. First of all the balcony is made of concrete and steel. No wood to rot and crash down on oneself. Of course the weather here is pretty dry, so if it were wood it probably wouldn’t rot anyhow. At any rate, it isn’t going anywhere. I don’t ever want to have a deck collapse ever to happen to me again.

When we moved here from Billerica, the only furniture we brought with us was two pieces of pseudo patio furniture, a love seat and a rocking chair. The balcony is mostly shaded by the balcony on the unit above us.


There is a view of the pool and hot tub. Sometimes occupied, sometimes not. There is a lot of trees and foliage that tends to insure privacy from our neighbors across the way.


The view is eastward toward Long Beach. All one can see is parts of the oil refinery and parts of the container ship loading cranes. But in the evening all one sees are the lights of Long Beach and San Pedro.


In between the two buildings in this man made stream, that runs 24×7 by some pumps somewhere. So we listen to a lovely running stream. It tends to mask the noise from our neighbors, which is good.


We’re still trying to figure out whether or not gas grills are allowed or not. Haven’t got a straight answer from anyone. We’ll wait and see.

So here is the best part, my mother-in-law doesn’t like to go out on the balcony. Don’t know quite why but it gives Paula and I additional privacy. I can go out in the evening and a taste of Scotch or Irish Whiskey and smoke a cigar. And read my iPad. Life is good.


Lately, the temps have been dropping a tad, usually in the mid-sixties. For my M-I-L, that’s freezing, for me it’s just right. I know for New Englanders, that’s not very cold. There were some nights in September when it was still pretty warm out there, but the peace and quiet is worth it. Last night for example, it was 66 and clear. I sat out side reading and smoking a cigar. Listening to the running stream.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Pedro

Whitney & Cleopatra

October 7, 2012

Busy weekend. It started on Friday. We were waiting in the Cell Phone lot at LAX for Andrea to arrive. [Cell phone lots are places where you can hang out for free to wait for someone to arrive. Passenger calls you when they get out to the curb and you go pick them up. LAX has one, BOS has one. Follow the signs to find them.]

So while waiting we got a call from our R.E. agent in New Hampshire. She told us that she had a couple of prospects for renting our condo in Plymouth. Good news indeed.Then we got a call from Dr. Sheila. [Paula’s boss at Chelmford Ped’s] She called to tell us that she was in Long Beach for the weekend. So we made plans to meet up later in the day. Then Andrea called to tell she was at the curb. Off we go to fetch her.

Our plan for Friday was to go to the Grammy Museum in downtown LA. We had seen review of a new Whitney Houston exhibit. I don’t have any pictures. Mgmt was real stinky about allowing folks taking pictures. They had lots of memorabilia of many big name acts. You could listen to some of the major hits of acts like Beach Boys, Woody Guthrie, R&B acts. Interesting stuff. Of course you exit through the gift shop. Lots of CD’s and T shirts. All over priced. There was a greatest hits CD for Whitney for $30. You can buy the same album on iTunes for $15.

We had dinner at lodge. Every other Friday is pub night at the lodge. Food and drink for reasonable donation.

On Saturday we were off to see the “Cleopatra” exhibit at the California Science Center. We started with Imax film about Egypt. Narrated by Omar Sharif. Omar sure has aged gracefully. Film had nothing to do with Cleopatra. Mostly about the Nile and Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Interesting stuff.


We had lunch in the big cafe. Then on to the Cleopatra exhibit. Not quite as good as the King Tut exhibit, but interesting nevertheless. Here you could take as many pictures as you like, just no video and no flash. No problem.

The exhibit was mostly artifacts from archeological digs in waters off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. All of these pictures are taken from my iPhone. It was a fun afternoon. We will have to go back for more sometime.

Here are some of the pictures:

You can’t talk about Cleopatra without talking about Hollywood. They had shots of many women who played Cleopatra, including of course Elizabeth Taylor. (By the way, that was such a terrible movie.Three hours of interminable drivel.)


Claudette Colbert


Interestingly, no art or sculpture has ever survived to give any hints what Cleopatra actually other than words that said that she was drop dead gorgeous.

Here’s some other art works.


Done by 4PM. Now off to Long Beach to find Dr. Sheila.


That’s enuf for this post. Next post will be on Paula’s birthday dinner.

TTYL

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Los Angeles