Put it anywhere


I find it interesting that, in Southern California at least, it is okay to just leave your shopping carts in the middle of the parking lot.

Not only is this okay, it's actually ENCOURAGED by large, stand alone, retail establishments. How?

They put in one cart return location NEXT TO THE STORE ENTRANCE.

I'm 100% convinced they don't understand the concept of making life easy for customers. Look, customers actually don't want to actually WALK the forty yards to return the cart, so put the cart return spaces all over the parking lot for convenience. Do they think the loss of maybe 4 or 6 parking spots is going to adversely affect the bottom line? If anything having all the carts in six places around the parking lot will the time of that poor employee that has to spend 50% of his work day rounding up the carts from all over the parking lot.

And speaking of those parking spaces, I also find interesting the fact that, in the car-centric culture of Los Angeles, parking spaces are smaller around here than they are any place else. Maybe the reasoning goes there are more cars, so we have to fit more of them in to our parking lots, so let's make the spaces smaller since we'll have more of them? I don't know. I do know that even with my narrow car, I have to squeeze into parking spaces and squeeze out through my door to get out of my car and not hit the car next to me.

Maybe that's my problem. Maybe I should just open my car door into the cars next to me. Maybe that's just expected here.

I think I'll find a Jag to park next to next time. Or maybe that Lotus I saw.

Hello, Southern California


Drove down to Los Angeles today. I'm in town to deal with my condo. I had hoped to leave this morning around 9:00 AM. That was pushed back to 11:00 AM, then to 1:00 PM.

I actually departed at 2:14 PM.

Bob and Suzanne, whom I'm staying with for the next few days, made arrangements for Hester Bell, whom I haven't seen for over a decade, to have dinner with us tonight. Dinner was at 7:00 PM, "so don't be late!" Suzanne let me know. I wouldn't have thought that 4 hours and 46 minutes would be enough time to drive door to door, but, hey, what do you know? 4 hours and 45 minutes is enough!

Go fig.

Last time I drove this stretch of freeway was heading back from the area, after having visited with Mom, as she came through the area, and with Paul, as he graciously let me stay with him. I plan on staying with him and his family on Saturday night, too, before driving back on Sunday morning for the afternoon's practice.

I had talked to Jessica before that drive up. She had made a comment about how she would hate having to make that drive - too much time alone, too much solitude. When I replied that I didn't mind it so much, she pointed out that I've always been better at being by msyelf. I guess a solo 400 mile drive gives one a good chance to be alone.

That drive back had two adventures: a dog, and a lot of honking. The dog happened at some point north of Bakersfield, on the side of the road. The dog looked starved. It also looked pregnant. It was wandering around the side of the road, maybe looking for food, and looked up as I drove past. I was debating stopping to rescue it, when I noticed another car had already stopped, and a person hoofing it back to the dog. I continued driving, hoping that person was rescuing the dog, and not intending to kill it.

The honking part of the honking adventure came from me. I was following a car in the left lane, expecting the car to pass the cars in the right lane. Except, it wasn't. Traffic may have been too heavy to pass effectively. However, that means that traffic was also too heavy to be reading when driving.

The driver in the car in front of me kept looking down, instead of watching the road. Now, I'm assuming he was reading and not looking at some body part that, honestly, you shouldn't be looking at when driving 75 MPH on an interstate road. Every time he looked down, I honked.

The first part of my honks were respectful, a little tap to ask him to keep his eyes on the road.

After ten minutes of looking down, I started laying on the horn.

I was not happy with this guy who thought it was okay to drive in the fast lane, at over 75 MPH, and read at the same time. For goodness' sake, subscribe to podcasts!


Today's drive down was also full of adventures, and continued the trend of fire.

So far, every drive I've taken down to Southern California with Kris has included a fire along the side of the road. Today's fire wasn't even out of the Bay Area. It was along 85 near the (southern-most) 101 merge.

Of course, once you come to expect fires, you'll get a bonus one, too.

The second one actually had a plane flying around dumping fire suppressants on it. If only I had driven slightly slower:

On my drive down, I was using the car's navigation system to let me know both how far I had to drive, as well as how long I had to drive. When I originally hopped in the car (at 2:14 PM), it said I would arrive at 8:19 PM, well past the 7:00 PM dinner start. However, shortly into the drive, I noticed that for every 4-5 miles I drove, the destination time dropped by a minute. By the time I stopped for gas, I was going to be only 30 minutes late.

I arrived 1 minute early.

I'm hoping tomorrow works out better than today did with planning. Of course, that Starbucks is looking good for its wi-fi for work tomorrow.

Back from L.A.


Returned from Los Angeles today. Specifically, Pasadena. Today is the 34th wedding anniversary of my dear friends, Bob and Suzanne Diller. I had an absolutely wonderful time this weekend, despite sleeping through part of the party and missing out on seeing Wook. Perhaps his being busy with SIGGRAPH this week will mean he won't I missed him.

Lots of interesting things happened on the trip. On the way down Saturday afternoon, about 82 miles north of L.A. (or, at least where the mileage signs say L.A. is), there was a raging fire on the opposite side of the road. It was quite impressive. On the way back, the burned area was significantly less impressive.

I spent time with Bob, Suzanne, and Savita. Eileen, a friend of the three, also spent time with us. We swam in the pool, grilled out (and in), ate leftovers, slept a lot (except Bob), read a bunch, and had a wonderful anniversary picnic. Others at the picnic included Mark Ross (haven't seen him in ages!), Kevin and Pam (with the two boys Alex & Brandon), Lon and Hester Bell (recovering from many international conferences, strange diseases and a new grandchild!), as well as Harold Felton. Apparently I missed Yosufi, Edie, Daniel and Sarah during my very strange Sunday afternoon nap. Boo!

The drive down and back were uneventful, though the drive back had a few harrowing moments (involving slow moving vehicles, asshole drivers and not a few poorly labelled exits). I'm happy to be home, but I'm also very happy I went.

Happy Anniversary, Bob & Suzanne!