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Archive for the ‘Morons’ Category

"You want me to wear what?"

“If she only had a brain…”

Dear College Coed,

In the future, you might want to put down the cell phone and stop texting when a customer is waiting to pay you.

Love,

Me.

 

PS: You’d think this would be obvious…

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Let's be careful out there

Let’s be careful out there

Do you remember those films in driver’s training classes, the ones that are supposed to teach you about the hazards of the road? Inevitably, at some point, a child rushes out from behind a parked car and you have only a moment to avoid hitting him.

Tonight was one of those moments.

I had gotten off the #12 Santa Monica Bus at my usual corner, Palms and Sepulveda Blvds. Now, before I go any further, you have to understand this is a busy, dangerous intersection. It’s not Wilshire and Sepulveda, thank Heaven, but it’s heavily traveled, and I regularly see bad accidents and near misses there. People rush yellow and red lights, they turn after the lights have changed, the setting sun is often right in your eyes, pedestrians regularly do dumb things… the whole nine yards. (1)

So, just before 5PM, I’m waiting to cross Palms to go home, keeping my usual eye on traffic. Sure enough, there is a car with a couple of people in it (older, but not elderly I think, and I believe a woman was driving), next to me, waiting to turn right, across my path. And, of course, the driver is watching the oncoming traffic on her left, never once looking right to see anyone on her right, the direction in which she’s turning. I can’t tell you how often I curse under my breath at people who do that. (I was once nearly run down by a USPS driver doing just that. But, hey, he yelled “sorry,” so it was okay.)

So, I take note of her, but then I hear a man yell “STOP!!” and a little girl of around five goes zipping past me into the intersection trying to beat Daddy across the crosswalk, which was already flashing red.

Naturally, this was the moment the car, whose driver had never looked right, chose to start her turn.

And also the moment the little girl, in her pink outfit with a pink helmet on a pink bicycle (still had the training wheels on) heard her Daddy and stopped right in front of the moving car.

I of course, am standing there like a moron not believing what I’m seeing.

Thank God the driver must’ve heard the father or caught a glimpse of the girl, or both — she stopped in time so the child experienced only the barest tap (I heard her say “OW!”). The kid then rode to the other side, while the Dad stopped long enough to slam his fist on the hood of the car and yell a choice word or two (I’ll leave them to your imagination) and then catch up with his daughter, who I imagine was in a deserved bit of trouble.

The driver sat there in shock, and I walked home imagining the horror I’d just missed.

Naturally, the vast majority of the blame is on the driver. Too damn many people never look right when turning right, so focused they are on the oncoming traffic and looking for a chance to go. If the girl had been injured or, Heaven forbid, killed, I’d have gladly testified against them.

But the father bears a bit of blame, too. Let’s face it, little kids are often idiots, blissfully unaware of the dangers of the world. She’s out on her bike, riding with Daddy, the crossing signal goes red, and I can just imagine her saying “I’ll beat you!”

Now, such a moment is unpredictable, but what on Earth was he doing letting her ride along Palms at rush hour, with that intersection in their path,exposing her to foolish drivers? His own carelessness could have cost him his daughter.

Thankfully, no one got more than a fright this afternoon. I hope they all learned a needed lesson.

Footnote:
(1) The LA City Council deserves a lot of criticism for this. While they concentrate on tree-trimming regulations and more benefits for their union cronies in order to buy votes for reelection, an intersection like Palms and Sepulveda (and its twin Palms and Sawtelle) have inadequate traffic control: no turn signals, leading to all sorts of messy, hazardous situations. Daily. Their neglect of street maintenance and traffic signals is scandalous.

 

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fire fireman

First things first: I’m okay and so is my own apartment. No property loss, don’t have to relocate. I was lucky. Not so much the guy who started the blaze, however. We’ll get back to that.

About 7 PM last night, while I was fixing dinner, the alarm bells went off outside my front door. Didn’t think much of it at first, since there have been false alarms in the past, but then I heard noise in the hallway and popped my head out… and smelled smoke.

This one was for real.

I grabbed my laptop and USB drive (to access important papers I keep online and my bank account) and headed out to the street. It looked like a disaster movie outside: three full engine companies had showed up and were already attacking the fire. I could see smoke pouring from one apartment, and it billowed out the openings at the end of the hallway like smoke pouring form an old coal-burning engine, black and thick.

Like I said, I was lucky. Though only a few doors down the hall from me, there were two closed fire doors in between, keeping the smoke out. And LAFD responded so fast and put the fire out so quickly that it didn’t spread from the original unit, though the hallway is black with smoke stains, and the people below have water damage.

The moron who started the fire, however, paid a price. Apparently my guess was right. Per the LAFD, a fire started in the kitchen, a grease fire, and he tried to put it out by throwing water on it. It probably blew up in his face like this:

Hence he is now in the hospital with burns to his arms and head. And probably facing lawsuits. Idiot.

(In case you think I’m being callous, I do sympathize with him for his injuries, but he damn near burned me out, too. So sympathy is limited.)

I did feel sorry for the animals, too. I saw one woman desperately trying to get her cat into a carrier (It was probably thinking “We’re going to the Vet? NOW???”), and a poor border collie was just shaking with fear as its owner tried to calm it. All the noise and the smells were probably too much for it.

Some observations:

  • Fire doors are good things. I will never complain about them being closed and annoying again.
  • Everyone needs basic fire extinguisher training and have a fire extinguisher in their kitchen. I’ve been trained, but my extinguisher is overdue for replacement.
  • I also need a “go bag” ready for an emergency evacuation. I knew what I wanted to save, and I got out pretty quickly, but, had I been forced to relocate, I’d have had only the clothes I was wearing.
  • Whatever the favorite charity is for the Los Angeles Fire Department, it’s getting a donation from me.

So, let’s see. I get sick Friday and my building nearly burns down Saturday. I wonder what Sunday has in store?

Don’t answer that.

PS: The apartment where the fire started is locked up, naturally, but I’ll see if I can get some decent pictures of other parts..

PPS: Got some pictures.

Fire casa de vida apt door

That’s what’s left of the front door of the apartment.

fire casa de vida hallway

Black is not the original color for this hallway, trust me.

fire casa de vida fire door

The fire door did its job.

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Me, after this weekend

Me, after this weekend

 

Of course, I’ve had worse stretches of days, but this has been among the worst in a good while.

The plan had been to take last Wednesday and Thursday off to…

a) Get my boss to stop nagging me to take time off (we can only accumulate so much);
b) Take advantage of the quiet intersession period at UCLA and the Friday state holiday;
c) And just to do things that I’d like to do, instead of what I have to do, and enjoy a five-day weekend.

Silly me.

Instead, what happened was:

I got sick for the first three days with a miserable cold. Only started getting better yesterday.

Got turned down for an apartment I wanted because I don’t make enough money, even though it’s less expensive than where I live. As you can imagine, I enjoy being told that, at age 55, I’m too poor to live in a distinctly average apartment, and I want to thank my employers, the UCLA Library System. While you hire more and more upper management, staff aren’t paid enough to live on their own in decent surroundings. Love you, too.

That rejection, of course, happened after I paid $635 for a deposit and credit check fee. I’ve been promised the $600 deposit back, but the credit check fee is “iffier.” If they had already started the check, then I’m S.O.L. Considering only less than an hour went by between my application and learning I’m too much of a peasant for them, I had better be refunded that, too.

Oh, and —yay me!!— I lost my Kindle Fire. (Pause. Heavy sigh.) Yes, you read that right. Sometime Saturday, while shopping at either Costco or the Albertson’s next door, I must have become distracted and left it in the cart or on the counter. Called them, but neither lost and found had it. If the apartment failure was embarrassing, this one is heartbreaking. That was a gift from a friend, and anyone who knows me knows how attached I was to it. It literally went almost everywhere with me. And now I’ve stupidly lost it. I’ve de-registered it, so no one can buy stuff on my account, but I really hadn’t planned on the expense of buying a new one — oh, and a new over-priced case, too.

(Secretly, I blame the late, lamented Notespark synched notepad applet and Apple computers. If Notespark hadn’t gone out of business, I could still have used it for my shopping lists, instead of Evernote. And if Apple hadn’t made my iPod Touch obsolete with its iOS upgrades, then I could have used Evernote on my iPod Touch, which can be slipped into my shirt pocket, instead of my Kindle Fire, which has to be placed in the basket while shopping. And then forgotten. See? It’s not my fault.)

Like I told a friend, if this keeps up, I may start to get cranky.

As it is, the weekend has a few hours to go. I wonder what else can happen?

I’d better not ask.

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Gripes

satire dwarf grumpy

So, I nearly get run over twice this morning on my way to the bus to work. First by an idiot bicyclist who comes up behind me and does nothing to signal she’s there. If I had taken one half step to the right at the wrong time, she’d have taken my knee out.

Note to bicycle-riders:  you do not own the right of way. You may feel virtuous for being healthy and saving the Earth or whatever, you may be hugging yourself and kissing the mirror in self-delight, but you are still riding a vehicle that can cause injury. Keep it on the street where it belongs, not the sidewalk. And if you can’t, at least have the courtesy to signal!

The other incident was the usual moron turning right but not looking right, thus not noticing the pedestrian on the curb, because said moron is too busy watching traffic on his left. I really think I should have the right to fire an incendiary round into the gas tanks of said morons

This has been your public-service gripe of the day.

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