The Naked Truth 


The good thing about this iPhone 7 Plus is that it’s ridiculously huge, which makes blogging much easier than using one of those puny phones. Or, in this case, not having to get my lazy rear out of my La-Z-Boy lounge chair and sit at the computer desk.

Anyway, there were some strange things afoot around the office today and believe me when I say I’ve seen some strange things going on around there.

Like the guy in the rat costume picketing outside Starbucks, or the couple lighting up something that wasn’t a cigarette or vape. No, nothing like that, but definitely weird.

I sit next to a window on the second floor of our building and as I do on occasion (in order to give my eyes a break), I’ll look away from the monitor and out that window. Most of the time I just see the usual pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk which is no big deal. But sometimes, something will catch my eye when I didn’t intend to take a little break and I can’t help but stare.

Today was that day.

As I sat there plugging away at a project, I happened to notice what appeared to be a woman walking down the sidewalk — totally nude. But nah, maybe she was wearing flesh-colored leggings and a top that made her appear like she was naked. It happens. Right, ladies? 

By the time I gave a second glance, she was to a point where I really couldn’t see much anymore because the signage and a tree outside the adjacent building were obscuring her. But I seemed sure of what I saw.

I told a coworker about to look out the window and see if she could confirm my suspicion. But again, the naked lady was gone. But as I was telling her about what I had seen, local city guides were on their radios walking in the same direction of the lady.

Then a few police officers on bikes were behind them. Then a few more. We had to go check this out now.

But before we did, something else caught my eye: a guy walking down that same sidewalk carrying a cross with an American flag draped around the top half of it. I told my coworker to look out the window and this time I had a witness — she saw it, too. I wasn’t totally mad.

So we decided to see what was going on and my eyes were not deceiving me.


I was right. The woman was indeed naked and the police attempted to cover her with a towel. But as you can see by the strategically placed emoji, it didn’t cover everything. While in custody, she struggled with and yelled at the officers meaning she probably wasn’t doing too well mentally or was under the influence of something.

That was that. A naked woman and a guy carrying a cross. Definitely strange.

We went back to our desks and about an hour later, something else caught my eye.

It was a guy on some kind of three-wheeled vehicle that looked like it was being propelled by an electric motor. He was flying down the street and positioned on top of the contraption, legs resting on the frame and wide open. It looked like it was made from really flimsy pipes and kind of reminded me of this:


Now just throw three wheels on this thing, lay it on its side, sit on top and there you go.

I’m going to try not looking out my window too much tomorrow. I might see something even more odd, if that’s possible.

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Lyft Lyfe


CLICK ME IF YOU USE LYFTI had been silent about this since the moment I considered it. Why, I don’t know. Maybe I was being too critical about all of the negative aspects that may come with being a driver for one of the many ridesharing services which, in this case, is Lyft.

But I guess the only way to find out was to get involved. So back in October, shortly after my scooter accident and the purchase of my car, I signed up to be a Lyft driver. And I’m not gonna lie – I also applied for Uber. I figured now that I was driving again I might as well see what this was all about.

I ended up with Lyft for many reasons. Their vetting process, vehicle inspection locations, and customer service (for drivers) were all superior to Uber. I have yet to have my car inspected for Uber because their nearest location isn’t really convenient and frankly, I’m not doing this as a full-time gig. If it were then I wouldn’t have a problem with finding the time to get it done.

(Side note: I was also a vetted driver for the short-lived Sidecar service.)

Anyway, I was approved to hit the road way back in December but never bothered to go out to try to make some money. But that changed today.

Shortly before the start of the Super Bowl, I decided to give it a shot. I ended up parking for a little bit by our local airport – it’s about 5 minutes from home – to see what was going down. I figured having an airport in close proximity would prove to be a goldmine, but it depends on many factors.

Not a single ride request showed up on the app. Besides, this airport currently only allows drop-offs for ridesharing services but I see people waiting all the time across the street. It’s a way to skirt around the rule since you aren’t on airport property to pick up your ride.

After waiting about 15 minutes, I decided to drive down to the gas station then go home since it didn’t seem like a lot was happening. But on my way to the gas station, I got an alert for a pick-up which was only a mile away. I had been so hesitant to try this whole thing out and like new every job, there’s a bit of nervousness when you start.

Long story short for my first rider, it went well. They were on their way to a Super Bowl party and had a bag of goodies they were taking. The destination was 8 miles way so we had a good chat on the way. I dropped them off and thanked them, rated them, and drove away.

Simple, painless, and paid. I could probably get used to this.

Still in Online mode while driving away, I got another alert for a rider that was close by. And here’s the thing: although I was a little bit farther than I had preferred to go, Lyft requires that drivers be at a 90% acceptance rate or they are penalized or something. It’s all new to me. I had completed one ride with another waiting. If I had turned this one down, 50% acceptance. Why mess with things?

Lesson 1: Always accept new rides when you’re starting out. It’s just smart.

So I accepted the ride and picked them up. The difference here was that they weren’t sure of the physical address; just a general area. I can see why: it was condo complex and having delivered pizzas in the past, they can get confusing. Another easy pick-up and drop-off.

By now, I was out for about 2 hours (1.25 of actual Lyft-ing) and had completed two rides, the second one with my fuel warning light flashing. Remember? Low on gas? Fortunately, my car is an econobox that gets great mileage so it wasn’t a major concern but I stopped and got some nonetheless.

Afterward I figured I had put in enough time for the day and headed home to have dinner with the family. Shortly after I arrived, I got a text from Lyft stating that my first rider may have left something in my car. I checked the back seat and sure enough, they did.

Lesson 2: Make sure your ride has all their personal belongings at drop-off, checking either visually or by asking.

So I called them and verified that their items were in my car and I would drive back to deliver them. But rather than drop them off at their destination, they told me it would be fine to leave them at their house which I thought was a nice thing to do. They could have been mean about it being Super Bowl Sunday and all but they weren’t. I appreciated that.

So let’s get to it. Is driving for one of these rideshare companies worth the effort?

Lesson 3: This will not make you rich.

There are so many variables involved that can make or break you: time of day, time of year, local events, weather, etc. all have an impact on what you are paid. If you rely on this as your sole source of income, you’d best hustle and alternate between Uber and Lyft apps when the other isn’t busy. I don’t plan on doing this full-time but it’s nice to know that should I need it, it’s there.

In the end, before Lyft’s fees, I ended up with about $20 after 1.25 hours of driving. By comparison, I make more at the office but I’m sure others probably don’t. Once Lyft deducted their fees it dropped to about $16. Then, of course, factor in the daily wear-and-tear on your car, gas, and everything else and chances are I made much less.

But I suppose there’s more to it than that.

It’s the freedom to go online when you please to make a few [extra] bucks. It’s meeting new people and helping them get where they need to be, especially on a day when many probably shouldn’t be driving. And while I don’t deal with the public at the office, it was a welcome change to do it again and have conversations about whatever came to mind.

Would I give up my job for this? Perhaps if I was making much less money at, say, a grocery store I probably would. This freedom is so much the opposite of the shackles of retail but if you’re working there part-time to keep your affordable health insurance, this is a great way to earn a few more bucks.

Do I plan on doing it again for extra money? Sure. It’s easy and pretty fun, and Lyft no longer requires that unsightly fuzzy pink mustache on the front of your car.

And I’m sure there’s more I will learn along the way but for now, it’s not all that bad.

 (Note: Already use Lyft? Click the logo at the top!)
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It’s Only A Little Rain


Friday as seen from my deskThe family ventured out this morning as we normally do each Saturday and for the most part our Saturdays are uneventful.

But today? Hmm.

Our first stop was PetSmart where we had to pick up some bags of vittles for the cats and one smelly dog. Not a whole lot going on there. We also made a few random stops at the same shopping center and again, nothing of note.

Then we made the mistake of going to Michaels. Ann’s a crafty one and needed some yarn to make us all warm and fuzzy hats to wear on our next snow trip – yes, snow! The weather has been rather wet lately (see photo above) and it’s been dumping feet of fresh snow in the local mountains.

We walked into the place after almost being run over GTA V-style in the parking lot by several impatient drivers. It seemed people were running around as if their hair was on fire and they were in need of finding a place to soak their head.

The line of people checking out was way beyond the capacity of the holding area. I mean, really. This is Michaels. The lines aren’t this long even during Christmas or if they are having a big sale. It was ridiculous so we walked back to the car, dodging even more bad drivers along the way.

Our next stop was Kmart where we ended up finding more than we thought we would: Christmas merchandise was 90% off so we stocked up on rolls of wrapping paper and cards. We then made our way to the cashier.

The lines here were just about the same as they were at Michaels. What the hell was going on?

We eventually got through that mess after listening to the person in front of us haggle the prices of everything she had – and ended up leaving half of it. Some people.

On the way home we passed by Ralphs or, as I used to call it when I worked there, The Place Where Dreams Go to Die. Guess what? The parking lot was at near capacity.

It took us a moment to figure out exactly why everyplace was so freaking busy today.

hurricane

Remember that I had said it’s been a little rainy here lately. It really has been, so much so that it’s made a huge dent on our drought conditions and turned the local mountains nearly pure white. Absolutely beautiful. And on the day I took the picture shown at the beginning of this post, I sat at my desk and watched a barricade being blown into the street by strong winds and saw palm branches fall from on high. They could knock someone out cold if they hit them.

We’ve been hit by a series of storms with today giving us a break, and that’s exactly why the stores were busy.

See, most Californians don’t handle the rain very well. We get spoiled by our 72-degree average temperature so when things start to dip below that or – Jeebus forbid – a storm is approaching, most of them lose their freaking minds.

And the storm approaching tonight/tomorrow morning is supposed to be one that will last all day Sunday and into Monday. Again, rain. Not snow, not a hurricane, not a tornado. Just rain.

But our weathermen with goofy names like Dallas Raines and Johnny Mountain have made the next one sound like it’s gonna wipe us off the map, and the wiping is scheduled to commence at 2:15 am according to local reports.

That’s the exact reason why people were our in force and acting so nuts today: because it’s going to rain tomorrow. The masses were stocking up on corn nog and wadded beef in preparation for the onslaught of wet stuff falling from the sky, then will be hunkering down in their homes to wait out the storm for the next few days.

It’s no wonder the rest of the country makes fun of us.

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Blogging Is Dead 


Me and blogging are in a relationship — and it’s complicated.

In a time when social media and viral videos are still king, it looks as if blogging — personal blogging at least — is all but dead.

I remember a time when I could write a post and get a reasonable number of interactions/hits/visits coupled with an occasional comment or even a discussion. But then again that was when “blogosphere” was a media buzzword and before Twitter and Facebook were on the radar. I’ve been at this in one form or another since 2004, just months after Facebook was founded, and years before Twitter would arrive. These days it’s much easier to post a blurb on Facebook and wait for the usual suspects to start clicking that reaction button to show their approval, disgust, etc. Or type “Amen” to send prayers up because…never mind.

And this has never been a profitable venture for me. If anything, it costs me to run this dog-and-pony show in the form of domain ownership, mapping and, of course, my own time. While I do have ads here, I’ve yet to reach my $100 threshold to cash out the revenue they generate and they’ve been in place for years. I’m still nowhere near that threshold.

Maybe it’s because I’m not smart enough to do something stupid enough that will drive the traffic and revenue up (look up any “YouTube sensation/star/personality”). Or maybe it’s because personal blogs just aren’t a thing anymore.

So with all that said, you might be glad to know that I’ve once again ponied up my annual fees to keep this here blog alive for at least another year.

Why?

I like owning a domain and having an email associated with it (send one to dave_at_holographicmeatloaf_dot_com and I will reply unless shit gets out of control). I’ve owned it for years and don’t want to lose it. And it looks much more legit having your own address rather than  an unsightly [username_dot_host_dot_com] URL. Even if you have readers, nobody will want to remember all that crap.

I also like telling an occasional story, with pictures, that nobody on Facebook would bother reading if I had posted it there. Anybody can write a blurb about something stupid that happened in the Costco parking lot but not everyone can tell a cohesive story,  and my stories sometimes require more than 140 characters.

Plus, this year marks my 10th year using WordPress as my host having moved from Google’s Blogger platform, which is as ugly as a website built and hosted by Geocities or Tripod. Look those up, kids.

So even with the doom and gloom of not being what it used to be, I’m still keeping the faith.

And if you’re reading this, thanks for being a part of it.

Composed on my iPhone with the WordPress app because I was too lazy to clean off the stuff from my desk 

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Dear 2016


On a personal level, you were a mixed bag.

In February, I was finally hired at my job after working months as a freelancer and I love it. I can’t imagine being anywhere else (in terms of commute, location, the job itself). Also in February, I had a little incident with the parking garage arm while exiting on my scooter. I didn’t write about it since it happened at work.

In April, Ann spent a few days in the hospital after experiencing chest pains. Everything checked out fine and she’s has no problems since.

The summer saw us spending time at quite a few local spots and some not as close.

And in October, I had a second incident on my scooter which was a little more severe than the one in February. But I’m fine and it’s all taken care of, even if the scooter was declared a total loss.

All in all, the good definitely outweighed the bad and for that I’m thankful.

But enough of me. Nobody can look back on you, oh 2016, without thinking about all of the talent we’ve lost. I compiled a list of those I could think of, and note that since starting this list I had to reluctantly make some additions to it:

abe vigoda
Abe Vigoda of Barney Miller

alan rickman
Alan Rickman

alan thicke
Alan Thicke

arnold_palmer
Arnold Palmer

beth howland
Beth Howland of Alice

billy paul
Billy Paul, known for his hit song “Me and Mrs. Jones”

carrie-fisher-debbie-reynolds
Carrie Fisher (12/27/16) and her mother Debbie Reynolds (12/28/16)

dan haggerty
Dan Haggerty of Grizzly Adams

dave mirra
Dave Mirra

david bowie
David Bowie

david huddleston
David Huddleston, who was in two of my favorite movies: The Big Lebowski and Blazing Saddles

doris roberts
Doris Roberts

erik bauersfeld
Erik Bauersfeld, voice of Admiral “It’s a trap!” Ackbar

florence henderson
Florence Henderson

garry marshall
Gary Marshall

garry shandling
Garry Shandling

gene wilder
Gene Wilder (seen here in Blazing Saddles)

george s irving
George S. Irving aka Heat Miser from The Year Without A Santa Claus

george kennedy
George Kennedy

george martin
Sir George Martin, producer extraordinaire

george michael
George Michael

glenn frey
Glenn Frey

gordie howe
Gordie Howe

greg lake
Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake and Palmer

harper lee
Harper Lee

3201004P NEW YORK METS
Broadcaster Joe Garagiola (seen here with Gary Carter, who died in 2012)

john glenn
John Glenn

jon polito
Jon Polito, who also was in The Big Lebowski

kenny baker
Kenny Baker

kimbo slice
Kimbo Slice

leon russell
Leon Russell

leonard cohen
Leonard Cohen

maurice white
Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire

merle haggard
Merle Haggard

morley safer
Morley Safer

mr fuji
WWF star Mr. Fuji

muhammad ali
The GOAT

nancy reagan
Nancy Reagan

natalie cole
Natalie Cole

pat harrington
Pat Harrington of One Day At A Time

patty duke
Patty Duke

pete burns
Pete Burns

RA1004_PRINCE
Prince

prince be attrell cordes
Atrell Cordes aka Price Be of PM Dawn

robert vaughn
Robert Vaughn

Rod Temperton
Songwriter Rod Temperton

ron glass
Ron Glass, also of Barney Miller

vanity
Vanity, Prince protégé

zsa zsa
Zsa Zsa Gabor


So hey, 2016. Your time is up.

Seriously. Get out. You’ve done enough damage. Nobody will miss you.

Here’s wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2017!

 

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