Thursday, May 28, 2020

haircuts

I've written before about how much I hate getting a haircut. It isn't so much the haircut itself, but the time it takes to go to the barber and then possibly have to wait that is what I don't like.

Now in my elementary school days, I hated haircuts because of the above, plus being laughed at the next day in school over the damage my FOB barber did. On haircut day my dad would come home from work and we'd go to this barber shop where two elderly Japanese men who spoke no English cut hair. I had no idea what they were saying, and all of the magazines to read while waiting were in Japanese so I had no idea what those said, either. And most of the time we had to wait.

In this pandemic time with barbers and hair salons being closed, lots of hair is growing long. I see it during Zoom meetings. But, the longer the salons are closed, more and more hair is being cut at home on a DIY basis. Honestly, unless someone has a really odd or extreme haircut I don't really pay that much attention. And from the DIY's I've seen for those I know, they've done a pretty good job.

I gave in several weeks ago after getting fed up with my hair feeling too long, so I did a DIY using some clippers I got from Amazon. It didn't turn out too badly, which in large part is because I trimmed everything the same length using the #2 attachment.

The second DIY, I got bolder and tried to shape/fade it using the #1, #2 and #3 attachments. This time the results weren't so good, but then neither were they so bad. And I discovered through these two cuts that I actually enjoy cutting my own hair. I see it as a challenge.

This has led me to decide I'm no longer going to the barber, I'm just going to cut it myself whenever I feel it needs cutting. Making this decision has been remarkably freeing! It's not so much saving money but just the idea that I can cut it whenever I want. I like my barber (despite our opposing political views.. but then never argue politics while someone is cutting your hair) but I would always go on a Wednesday because that's the day she is there and the owner of the shop isn't.

The owner used to cut my hair but one time she wasn't available, so Irene cut it and I liked it so much that I've stuck with her over the years. But being the chicken that I am, I don't want to have to say no if both Grace and Irene are there and my turn comes up with Grace. Instead, I always go on Wednesdays, Grace's day off.

That's moot now, since I've decided to just do it myself. I'll miss Irene, but not enough to keep going for a haircut. I wonder how many other people made the same decision during this lockdown?

As for blades, I got this hair clipper pictured below. It works well and seems to be really sturdy. I'm happy!



Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Costco in the senior lane

The past few days I've been looking at old posts I've made in this blog and many of them have to do with my weekly trips to Costco and posting pictures of "finds" for the day.

Well in this time of Covid 19 pandemic, it's no longer a weekly trip but I have a feeling that will resume in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile, Julie and I made the trek yesterday. Thankfully, we were able to take advantage of the early senior shopping hour from 9:00-10:00 during weekdays. When we arrived around 9:20, there was a short line for seniors and a longer line for non-seniors who were waiting for the normal 10:00 opening. Our wait was hardly anything; Julie waited in line while I went to get a cart and by the time I returned it was our turn to head in.

The store was pretty crowded, full of seniors and also health care workers who've also been accorded the privilege of the early shopping hour.  Stocks were plentiful on just about everything except they were out of sanitizing wipes. We got what we needed and exited the store at 10:00. By that time there was quite a long line of people snaking through the blocked off parking area so we were glad we were able to go when we did. The gas pumps, which for the last few times I've gone were nearly deserted, were looking back to normal with lines of cars in every lane.

I've got one picture for you, the only "unusual" purchase:


Costco is selling this 10" and 12" set for $29.99, a pretty reasonable price. We don't have any cast iron cookware. Julie was like, what do we need more pans for? I said there's some stuff that just does better with cast iron. I don't really plan on using them that much since they're a pain to care for as compared to non-stick pans, but for times when a lot of heat is needed and/or something that is oven safe, these will do the trick.

Seeing these long lines at Costco reminded me of the long lines back in 1973 when the oil embargo hit. Those of you old enough, remember those times? We certainly weren't used to having to wait in line for gas, and on top of that, prices took a big jump. Gone were the days of gasoline in the high 20's/low 30's cent per gallon range. I remember seeing a news segment back then showing one station charging 54.9 cents per gallon and my jaw dropped. How could we ever afford prices like that???

Then there were the long waits in line, which led to implementing the odd/even rule as to which day you could buy gas, depending on the last digit of your license plate. Maybe they should do that at Costco now, odd/even depending on the last digit of your birth year. One big difference between then and now is while people are (or were) hoarding toilet paper and germ killing solutions, you can't really hoard gasoline.

Well, most people can't hoard gasoline.





Monday, May 25, 2020

Resurfacing

It's been slightly more than five years since the last entry in this blog. If your (or my) existence coincided solely with when postings were made here, then our last frame of consciousness would have been May 15, 2015. That is, until today when you and I plopped down smack in the midst of a pandemic, the Covid-19 Pandemic, to be exact.

What's with everyone wearing masks? And seemingly terrified of proximity with one another? Has everyone gone radioactive?  

Turn on the news and that would provide a quick education as to what's going on. We'd learn about the virus (98%), a brief update on the weather (1%), and gape at sports played to empty arenas (1%).

Wow.

Well, in reality we do know what is going on and as far as filling in the 5 year gap from the last post, maybe I'll get around to it and maybe not. While putting up with this current "sheltering in place" and, in less PC terms, "lockdown" or "revocation of rights," I started reading the posts I've made here, starting with the first one back in 2008 and working my way forward.

Recently I had pondered writing an autobiography, both for posterity's sake and also something to give the kids so that they wouldn't be as clueless about me as I unfortunately am about my own parents. So far procrastination had outweighed my good intentions.

Then I started reading my own blog and noted that a good deal of the earlier posts recounted the things that have stuck most in my mind up through college. I realized, hey, there it is, already written!  I figure a good deal of what I'd be putting in an autobiography is already in this blog.  What a time saver! What I plan on doing is cutting and pasting all of it into one massive Word file/book since all of it exists nowhere else except on this site.

That'll give me something to occupy my time while waiting out this lockdown.

Our current state of things brings to mind one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite groups because the eerily bizarre lyrics seem prophetic to these eerily bizarre times. Here's a YouTube version but in case it gets taken down (like the majority of the YouTubes I had posted in previous blog entries, leaving only a hole in the ground where they used to be), I'm also reprinting the lyrics.


"King Of The World" (Walter Becker & Donald Fagen)


Hello one and all
Was it you I used to know
Can't you hear me call
On this old ham radio
All I got to say
I'm alive and feeling fine
If you come my way
You can share my poison wine

[Chorus:]
No marigolds in the promised land
There's a hole in the ground
Where they used to grow
Any man left on the Rio Grande
Is the king of the world
As far as I know

I won't take your bread
I don't need no helping hand
I can't be no savage
I can't be no highwayman
Show me where you are
You and I will spend this day
Driving in my car
Through the ruins of Santa Fe

[Chorus]

I'm reading last year's papers
Although I don't know why
Assassins cons and rapers
Might as well die

If you come around
No more pain and no regrets
Watch the sun go brown
Smoking cobalt cigarettes
There's no need to hide
Taking things the easy way
If I stay inside
I might live til Saturday

[Chorus]

Friday, May 15, 2015

deja vu

Today I just happened to be looking at an old post from this very blog, in which I mentioned something that I thought was interesting from a book I'd been reading.  Hmm.. that book sounded familiar to me, not in a sense of having read it back then, but in a more current sense.

I headed over to my Amazon.com wish list and lo and behold, there it was, on the list!  



Well gee, I guess I can take that book off my list now, seeing as how I've already read it. 

But then, maybe not. If I can't even remember reading it then maybe I ought to read it again. At least I've been consistent over the past six or so years; what interested me then still interests me now. Since there's several other books I'd like to read and seemingly not enough time to do so since trivial things like having my job get in the way of what I'd really like to do, I'll gladly delete this book from my wish list.

And one of these days I'll actually watch all the movies and TV shows that have piled up in storage boxes in their DVD and Blu Ray cases, and read the unread books and listen to the unlistened-to CD's, too. 

Why not just buy them when I'm ready to watch, read or listen? Because they might not be available, that's why. Another thing I noticed from looking at the old post I linked above, which led me to look at a few more, was that most of the YouTube videos I had embedded on the page were no longer available. Yanked, no doubt, because of copyright issues or whatever, but they were gone with no clue as to what they were even about since I didn't label or title any of them. Only a blank screen was left.
 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

catching up

My last post was in March of 2014. The next one might be tomorrow or it might be next year or maybe this is the last one, who knows.  For whatever reason I just felt like writing today.

It's been over a week since I deactivated my Facebook account. Pretty much every time I logged in, I sat there thinking how much of my time I am wasting and does most of what I am reading really matter in the grand scheme of things?  Finally I decided no, it doesn't so I just quit cold turkey.

One of the things I considered was thinning out my list of friends.  Most of them were like me and rarely, if ever posted anything.  If they never post anything then you never know what they are up to anyway unless you take the drastic step of actually trying to contact them.  I don't even know how to text on my technologically challenged cell phone which means I'd have to talk to them (as in, using my voice) and in these days of electronic communications the thought of me vocalizing is sort of terrifying.

Facebook follows the 80/20 rule.  80% of the posts come from 20% of the people. And of those posts about 80% of it has no real significance to me and a lot of the remaining 20% isn't earth shattering if I overlook it.

That's not to say I don't value my friends but I've embarked on a mission of trying to remove as much noise from my life as possible. By "noise" I mean stuff that takes up time that in retrospect I could really live without.  What? I can live without friends?  That's not what I mean; what I mean is I could live without nearly everything they plaster on Facebook.

In the end I just decided to deactivate my account.  "Deactivate" is Facebook's terminology. I can still log in at any time and have everything restored just like it was, in case I regret my choice.  So far I've resisted.

I also closed out my Linked In account.  That decision was a no-brainer. I think Linked In is one of the stupidest things going.  Do I really care to hear that so-and-so just added a new skill to their repertoire?  Or who they are now "connected" to?  Or that someone has endorsed me for some skill? Or that someone I've never heard of thinks I am so special they want to connect with me? That's nice, but I don't think any of that stuff has any credibility within a you scratch my back I'll scratch yours framework.

Linked In calls it "closed" and Facebook calls it "deactivated."  I suppose it ought to be just as easy to open what's been closed as it is to activate what's been deactivated but Linked In made it sound more final than Facebook.

In either case, it is finis.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

private

A few weeks ago I stuck in the 210 Freeway logjam on the way home from work when I spied a white BMW that had this sign taped over its license plate: 

PRIVATE

I did a double-take. This wasn't a new car just off a dealer's lot, this was clearly a used car, albeit in nice condition with some custom rims. 

I managed to pull alongside to see who was driving.  It was some white guy on the younger side of middle-aged and he didn't look like he was on drugs or anything.  Beside him was a female passenger. I also managed to pull ahead of him and saw that he had a matching plate on the front of his car.

Maybe if California ever needs to balance its budget again they can offer "Private" plates for an additional fee, like they do with personalized plates.  Maybe this practice would spread to other things, like private drivers licenses or private credit cards.  People could decline to have their picture on their license or passport for an extra fee and in its place would be like what you see on Facebook or Linked In when the account holder hasn't uploaded a picture.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

trifling matters

Yesterday one of Amazon's Gold Box deals was something I'd never heard of: a watch winder. Normally $266, it was on sale for a limited time for only $149 and selling quickly.  I had to look.

There it was, and apparently for real, although I have to say I was wondering if this was a gag listing.  A machine to wind your watch?  Why would anyone need a machine to wind a watch? Just wind it yourself!

Some research informed me that self-winding watches, if not kept in motion to be kinetically wound, will wind down and then require resetting. Some people have multiple watches and thus need to make sure that all of them receive enough motion to stay wound, which is what this watch winding box machine does.

Now, the item on sale was for a single watch so that sort of goes against its use for people who own multiple watches.

Wow, there are people who have machines to keep their watches wound.  Amazing. I guess if you are an executive on the go, you just don't have time to make sure your watch(s) are wound.   I imagine these machines are for the rich and famous; people who don't have time to deal with trivial stuff like keeping a watch wound.

That reminded me of long ago, just starting out career-wise, going to Dorman Winthrop's on La Cienega Boulevard to purchase dress shirts. I noticed they had no pockets. What kind of cheap shirts were these??? I asked the salesman why they had no pockets and was informed that executives and other rich folks, presumably the types who would wear these shirts, did not have to deal with trivial matters like putting trivial things in their pockets.  They had other people who handled stuff like that for them.

By the same token, maybe watches for the rich and famous shouldn't need a second hand, or for that matter, a minute hand either.  Why should they have to deal with such trivia as seconds and minutes?  An hour hand ought to be sufficient. As they incrementally remove each time-indicating element, the price of the watch goes up, same as how you pay extra to have them take the salt out of that can of soup to make it healthier.

Well heck, the ultimate display of rich and famous-osity would be to not even wear a watch.  You are at a level in which you don't need to deal with time; others deal with it for you.

Someone asked me if they take the pockets off of men's shirts, why don't they take the pockets off the pants, too?  I suppose because that would make the pants look like they were made for girly-men.