Vin Scully Avenue on Google Maps


Vin Scully.

The Los Angeles Dodgers.

Pretty much one in the same.

Scully has been the voice of the Dodgers since 1950 or, if you’re keeping score at home, a whopping 66 years.* He’s been graced with just about every broadcasting award you can think of and is a member of the Hall of Fame—deservedly so, as nobody calls a game quite like him.

The accolades are endless. And now, thanks to a Los Angeles City council vote of 12-0 on January 29, Scully’s name will become a permanent part Los Angeles as his name will be emblazoned in white across a street sign’s blue background—a most appropriate color scheme—as what is now Elysian Park Avenue will be renamed Vin Scully Avenue in his honor.

Ever humble, Scully had always waved off the notion of such honors in the past. But with his announcement that 2016 will be his final year behind the microphone, his reluctance had to give in to the harsh reality that Dodger fans will indeed miss him once this season is over.

Sorry, Vin. You truly deserve it.

And while no official date has been planned for the name change, you can rest assured that it will not be without the usual pomp and circumstance* that accompanies such an event.

But it seems that the people at Google Maps are on top of things.

I discovered this a few days after the City Council vote. For reasons I can’t particularly recall, I was scrolling around Google Maps and came across Dodger Stadium. In the process I noticed that the street that is still, for the moment, Elysian Park Avenue had already been changed (click to enlarge).

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Perhaps it’s just Google’s way of being ahead of the game, knowing that this street name will indeed be changed in the near future. Or maybe, just maybe, they are big Dodger fans—or Scully fans at the very least.

Bing? Nope. Yahoo!? Bzzt. Only Google has changed the name.

I’m not quite sure how I’m going to react when I hear Scully call his last game, but I can almost assure you that there will be tears involved. As a fan who has heard announcers come and go, the one constant in Los Angeles was the smooth voice of our beloved Vin Scully. We’ve been lucky beyond measure to have him stick around for as long has he has but like all good things, they’ve got to end sometime.

But soon, Los Angeles will forever have a small part of the town named after our Vinny and naturally, it’s the street leading into Chavez Ravine.

And we wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Sunset. Echo Park. Grand.

Vin Scully.

Fits right in there, doesn’t it? 

*That’s Scully talking right there.

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At Last


In my Year in Review post, I had mentioned that (among other things) there was a good chance that my current freelance assignment was going to turn into a permanent, full-time affair.

I had been freelancing there since August and only had maybe three weeks off between then and today. They called me back when one of the other proofreaders—that’s what I’m doing yet again—went on vacation in September. I’ve been there ever since.

Then things got interesting. The word was that we had just landed a huge project with a current client and they were going to be in need of help. Naturally, the company started to search for potential candidates so that they could be in place once the work started to materialize. That said, they let all employees know that this was also an opportunity for them to move up and into one of the new vacant positions.

One of them was Proofreader*. Naturally, I applied.

And although I’d been there since August, I was still a bit nervous about how I would measure up against others who might have applied—and if they would even consider me at that point.

But my worries were all for naught. For some reason, they like me but I guess the feeling is mutual: I really enjoy working there, especially someplace that is not Ralphs. (In fact, I’ll refer to the new place as Not Ralphs or NR for this post.)

About two weeks after submitting my name, I was informed that my freelance gig was extended until January 31 and, as of February 1, I was officially hired. No more freelance; I was now an official NR employee.

And I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was.

No more waiting until Thursday or Friday to find out if I was returning on Monday. That was probably the worst part of freelancing: figuring out the bills when nothing was guaranteed the following week, and how to split what could have been my last paycheck into little chunks in order to pay everybody. That game was finally over.

No more going home after 3 or 4 hours when there was little work. Granted, I’m paid well enough to where even working 20 hours a week at NR was significantly more than what I made for 40 hours at Ralphs (not that I ever got more than 30 hours while there but you get the idea). Now that we’re starting to get the work for the new project, it’s full-time hours. There’s going to be plenty of stuff for us to do.

I no longer have to travel light. I’ve started to decorate my cubicle with personal items, something I refused to do while freelancing. In fact, my old Ralphs name badge is now one of the items on my desk—just because.

It’s Monday—Friday, 9 to 6. Bank holidays are paid days off and we get so many freaking perks as far as days off go that it’s insane, but NR knows that happy employees are good employees. Some of those days off include three Summer Days that we can use during the summer months in case we want to do something with the family. Then there’s floating holidays and personal days, not to mention two weeks of vacation that accrue each calendar year. I can finally take a vacation with the family and have money to do things. That will be nice when the time comes.

Speaking of money, we spent last Saturday at a local outlet and did some serious shopping. I can’t tell you the last time we did that but I can say with certainty that it wasn’t during my 18 months at Ralphs. We could barely pay the bills, let alone treat ourselves to much of anything.

Then there’s the commute which is about 20 minutes from home. It’s an easy ride on my trusty scooter that is easily filled with gas on less than $3 a week in most cases.

And the views downtown are spectacular, as is walking down to the marina during lunch.

My Chinese zodiac sign is the monkey and in this, the Year of the Monkey, it seems my luck as finally changed. As I’ve mentioned to HR and the boss, NR is exactly where I need to be at this point in my life.

NR is everything my last place wasn’t and I am so freaking grateful for the opportunity they have given me. I look forward to being there for a long time.

*I’m a much better proofreader when I’m being paid to do it. Considering the time I write these posts, I can’t much guarantee ye olde blogge will be 100% free of errors so don’t bother to point any out Smile

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Bad Luck Beard


First of all, if you’re reading this post via a link posted on Facebook (they generate automatically), you’ll notice I’ve been absent for over a week. I do that from time to time so that I don’t get too caught up in any of that funky shit going down in the city.

And so far, it’s been rather nice. The place gets to be like freaking Groundhog Day at times. Yeah, I’m sure I’m no better but meh, it’s not about me. Or is it?

But moving on…

I’m don’t make myself out to be the very superstitious type in that I don’t believe in any of those silly things.

Black cats? I’d have at least a few if I could.

Walking under ladders and opening umbrellas indoors? Pfft. Whatever. Makes no difference to me. I’d do it all day.

But on occasion, things will happen that sort of leave me wondering.

Our office was closed from Christmas Eve until January 4. With such a long time away from work, I decided I’d try something different: to grow a little bit more facial hair since outside of a goatee, I really never have before.

Well, make that one time. I was growing one while working at Ralphs but for some reason, it was against their grooming standards. Goatees were fine. Arms covered in tattoos* were fine as were any kind of body modification. You know — pierced noses, lips, and eyebrows? Stuff like that.

Fingernails of ridiculous length that were slathered in the most hideous display of ungodly and unsightly sparkly trinkets and colors? No problem. In fact, we’ll have you cashier so that everybody can see them!

But facial hair that went below the earlobe? TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE! When I was told this, I returned the next day sans all facial hair. The manager asked why.

“All or nothing,” I replied. “Go big or go home.” Ralphs is a really, really shitty place to work, by the way. I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now.

Anyway, when it came to growing this facial hair, it was to be kept nice and neat. I didn’t want it to extend down my neck and shake hands with the hairs on my chest. Blecch. Nasty. I’m not a big fan of that look. It’s just…Chewbacca.

So I started my vacation with this little plan. I began to shave around it every day in order to keep it neat-n-tidy. It was working rather well and I was happy with the look so far. It was to stay on my face.

Then a few days after Christmas, the world of hard rock lost one of its most badass bassists and guttural vocalists in Lemmy Kilmister.

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And that was the end of Motörhead.

Three days later, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Natalie Cole passed away.

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I didn’t really give it much thought because, as I said before, I’m not one to give much credence to superstitions. But I kept the beard of sorts going.

Then on January 10, 2016, the real bombshell: David Bowie died. I think this hit the world like a ton of bricks.

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Of all these musicians’ passing, Bowie had the biggest impact on me. His songs are just timeless and the soundtrack of my youth.

Now was when I started to think about the facial hair. It just seemed odd to me that all of these musicians were suddenly passing away after my decision to let it grow out a bit.

Then yesterday…

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Glenn Frey, one of the founding members of The Eagles, died. This was yet another guy whose music was a big part of my youth. So many good memories growing up and listening to The Eagles as we wasted what seemed like endless summers.

So yesterday night, after thinking about all of this, I looked in the mirror and grabbed my trimmer. The beard was getting rather unkempt; longer than I had wanted it. It was also grey, and I’m not the kind of guy who runs to Walgreens for a box of beard dye. It made me look old(er) and I didn’t want that.

I then trimmed the facial hair down to what would be manageable with a standard razor.

Today I shaved it all off.

And hopefully, that will end this streak.

Not that I believe in that kind of stuff, you know.

*I have nothing against tattoos. I have one myself and plan to get more. Like the body mods and fingernails, I’m only using them for comparison to the less noticeable sideburns-below-the-ear look.
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Another DMV Visit


As some of you may know, I haven’t had much luck in passing my motorcycle skills exam. In fact, I’ve failed it twice (and you can read the reasons why both here and here).

But today was different. I knew I was going to pass it and with flying colors. Or so I thought.

I took some time off of work to squeeze in my DMV appointment and still managed to get in some hours once I was done. And you know what? Even though I had a scheduled an appointment well in advance and only had to take a simple skills test, I accomplished absolutely nothing during my visit.

Here’s how it all went down.

But first, this. Now that I’m on two wheels, parking at the DMV isn’t as bad as it used to be. There are designated areas for motorcycles and more often than not, they are empty. And now that the other local office is going under refurbishment, the traffic at this particular location is ridiculous – if you’re in a car. As for me, I whiz right by the lines of cars waiting for parking spaces and pull into the motorcycle spot. It’s like nobody is there.

That’s until you get inside.

Anyway, once inside, I was directed to Window 30 since I already had my appointment scheduled. When I finally got helped, it started off rather painless. I told the clerk why I was there and handed him the necessary documents: my permit, registration, and proof of insurance. Simple. I’d be done in to time.

But then things hit a snag.

The clerk was carefully inspecting my proof of insurance and registration. Just when I was about to ask if there was anything wrong, he spoke up.

“Do you have any other documentation on your bike,” he asked. Why would I? What more could you possibly need or, in this case, what more would I need to carry on my bike in the event I ever needed any of it?

“No, I don’t. Why?”

He took off his glasses.

“Look at the VIN on both of these. They don’t match.”

Say WHAT?

I grabbed them both and, using those keen proofreading skills that got me out of that grocery store job, read them both. They matched until I got to the last six digits.

“…oooh. I see,” I said. The VIN on the registration was correct. The insurance? Although the make and model matched mine, the numbers didn’t. He then spoke again and, considering I’d taken some time off work to get this crap done, gave me news I really didn’t need to hear.

“Unfortunately, I can’t let you take the exam if these don’t match.”

But I can see his point. Technically, I had no insurance on the bike which obviously doesn’t go over well with them and at this point, I started to feel like one of those seedy people I see waiting at the DMV because it was almost like I was trying to pull a fast one over on him.

Okay, I get that. But wait. Remember I said that this would have been my third time taking the exam? I thought about this after he told me I couldn’t proceed. I got a *little* bit agitated once I figured things out.

“So wait. You mean to tell me that I took the exam twice already with the same documentation and nobody noticed anything?”

It’s obvious that the previous two clerks who let me take the exam weren’t exactly dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s. Then again, I wouldn’t expect anything less from those who work at the DMV (much like the USPS or any other government agency).

The clerk began to apologize as I tried to remain calm.

“And I can’t check anything right now because our computer system is down,” he said. Hey, now there’s a total surprise – their system was down. “But if you want to wait about 15 minutes…”

I’d had enough – and was annoyed. “No, I don’t. I already wasted a day of work. I expected to get something done today but I guess not.”

He handed me my registration and insurance card and I began to walk away, but not before he called me back to tell me I had forgotten my permit.

At that point, I almost told him to keep the damn thing. But I’ll get to that later.

So I gave Ann a call once I left the building and told her to double-check everything with Big Insurance Provider to make sure it’s kosher. (Since the annual premium on the scooter is so cheap, we pay it in full.)

After I hung up with Ann, my mind started going again and I thought of two more things. First, if I had been riding since July 2014 and never changed any of the information on my insurance, it seems to me that the premium we paid was going toward covering some else’s scooter. Right? This sure wasn’t my VIN on there but when entered on the Big Insurance Provider’s website, it comes up as the same make and model as mine. Really weird. I guess we didn’t think twice about it and could be partially to blame for this whole mess.

That, or Big Insurance Provider screwed up. I’ll go with that.

Second, being I had the wrong number on there, I had technically been riding all this time without insurance. But hey, at least I was permitted, right?

Ahem.

Once I got home, there was an email waiting for me from our provider with my new insurance card attached – the one with the correct information that I had relayed to Ann while I was still at the DMV. I printed it out, stuck it under my seat, and rode to work.

So now, after all that, I have to schedule yet another appointment to take the exam and hope that I pass it just so the state can add two little digits onto my existing license: M1.

Now, about the dismissal of my permit at the DMV. I have been in the market for a new bike for some time now and have gone to a few different dealers. I struck up a conversation with a salesman at the last one I visited on Monday regarding all the BS you need to go through to take the exam and its overall difficulty.

“A buddy of mine rode for nearly 40 years without an M1 license before he finally took the exam. And he didn’t pass it,” he told me.

At my current age of 46, I don’t intend to be riding (or for that matter, still breathing) when I’m 86. But considering what a mess this whole examination process has become, riding without the endorsement is beginning to sound like a good idea.

After all, this dude did it for almost 40 years. And that would mean one less DMV visit I’d have to make.

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But This One Goes to 11


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Well, here it is. Over a week into the new year and you finally get a new post. Terrific!

That said, I need stuff to write about. I’ll be trying my dang-doodly-darndest come up with topics of interest and whatnot without trying to step on too many toes along the way. Try, at least.

So what’s with the 11? This year marks my 11th year of blogging which I started over on Blogger, a site which apparently hasn’t much improved in terms of…everything, and still looks like something created with Geocities or Angelfire. I can’t say anything about Tripod, though. It seems they’ve upped the ante.

I’ve renewed my domain mapping which means that whenever you type in the URL, it will redirect to my WordPress-hosted blog. I will be renewing my domain just before its expiration as well.

So Happy New Year, and I promise to get off my duff and get back to creating the low-quality content you’ve come to expect from me. I’ll also be cleaning up the joint with a new header, links, theme, etc. It needs to be done.

And speaking of the new year, did you see Jesus on the Rose Parade float? It’s not his first time, either! But this year’s Jesus – that could be my new band name – was much thinner with darker hair than the one on the link…

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…and looked much more like a certain galactic princess.

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Anyway. Yeah. I’m back.

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