walking: fun sights and looty goodness, part 1…

I may have mentioned before that I find walking in one’s neighborhood a very excellent thing, as it leads one to discover things one might not have otherwise found. My recent walking addiction – while initially started for health and the goal of walking the Secret Stairs – has also had neighborhood exploration as a factor. And explore I did this weekend.

The first walk this weekend was on Saturday with Sarriah, who has become a regular walking partner. It was probably our fourth walk – we’ve decided that we’ll walk once every weekend. And perhaps more often, depending on schedules. It actually wasn’t in my neighborhood, but it wasn’t too far from it either. And our planned meeting corner just happened to have a yard sale happening. And at this yard sale was something I had planned to get at some point, at the low, low price of $25:

Which came with these cool thingies:

Now I have to figure out how to use the damned thing, as I’ve only used a sewing machine once before, in a galaxy far, far away (aka Conejo Players), but I know I can do it! (And yes, it works – we tested it before I bought it).

While continuing on our walk, we happened upon yet another yard sale, whereupon we both purchased jewelry. My haul:

And we managed to walk up these stairs, which, according to Google Maps, is part of Micheltorena Street:

I couldn’t go all the way to the top (Winslow Drive), but I was happy that I made it to Larissa Drive, from which I could see the hills of Silverlake, with Sunset Boulevard shops running along the bottom of the view:

More walking found us suddenly at the top of the famous Music Box Steps, so named for being a character unto themselves in the Laurel and Hardy comedy The Music Box (a still from the movie – featuring the steps – can be seen here):

And the view from above is lovely:

More and more walking brought us to a part of Silver Lake Boulevard that runs under Sunset Boulevard and, as I am a sucker for arches and tunnels, I had to take a photo before we ventured into the tunnel:

Soon enough we ended up where we started, whereupon Sarriah ventured off to parts westward for another meeting she had lined up. I, however, was left adrift, not yet wanting to go home. Calling several friends revealed that no one was free to hang out, so I drove home, parked and decided to go for another little walk…

(to be continued…)

damn that fitness bug…

…that’s crawled up my ass.

A couple of weeks ago I thought it might be nice to start exercising a little. I mean, there’s a gym in the basement of my work building and I don’t have to pay anything to use it. I’ve used it before. It’s not like it’s an unknown quantity. Sure, it has bested me in the past, but I haven’t developed a gym phobia as a result of my unsuccessful battles. It’s just that I was either constantly forgetting my gym clothes or lazy (or both). Finally I remembered my stuff, found something resembling energy, thereby heading down to the gym to use the treadmill after work. How I slogged through the thirty minute walk I’ll never know. But I made it. And did crunches when I got home. And strained my back, which put me off of exercising again.

But wait! It was not for months and months on end this time. For a week later I once again had an overwhelming desire to use the treadmill! Which I did again the following day and the day after that!

And so an exerciser was born.

There has only been one day in the last week where I haven’t had at least thirty minutes of exercise and on that day I spent in my new apartment (isn’t it pretty? And now it’s got furniture in it!) making lists and sketching and doing general “What do I need to make my apartment Home?” kind of things.

Now I’m eagerly waiting for my payday tomorrow so I can pick up a fitbit and a new pair of athletic shoes (because my older pairs are not providing the support that I need). These are the things that are keeping me motivated, as is keeping my Runkeeper profile updated.

A big thank you goes out to CuteNerdBoy for his help, recommendations and support. (If you click on that link, be prepared for much angst and emo-ness. But things have smoothed out between us and we’re still good friends, even if we don’t hang out as much as we’d like to.) Thanks also go out to CuteFilmNerd, with whom I’ve retained a close friendship, for his encouragement. I’ve also gotten him on Runkeeper and he’s used it pretty much every day – it seems to be keeping him motivated too.

(Also, there is a chance that I may be re-befriending HSTeacher. We’ve gotten back in contact and have discussed getting together for dinner – if our schedules ever mesh. But he hasn’t been instrumental in the whole fitness thing. Movin’ along…)

One might ask, “So, Carol, why do you have a fitness bug up your ample yet shapely butt that has infected your brain with a possibly incurable Corpus sanus bacteria?”

Good question, anonymous reader! And unlike many good questions, I actually have an answer for this one.

I’m tired. Tired of my loss of flexibility (though I’m still more flexible than one might think when looking at me). Tired of a certain loss of mobility. And very tired of so much lost stamina. I lose my wind so very easily and I am sick of it.

While I’m not completely happy with my current weight (the heaviest I’ve ever been), the actual existence of the weight doesn’t psychologically bother me. My contrary nature almost wants to keep it on so that I can show people that a person doesn’t have to be thin to be healthy (my vitals are still amazingly good – better than many people my age, despite their size) and sexy.


My various injuries and ailments have taken their toll and that, combined with the added weight, makes me more uncomfortable in my skin than I’d like. And I’m just sick of being uncomfortable.

Thus the exercising.

Losing weight isn’t my primary goal, but I’m fully aware that it will be a very noticeable side-effect of my efforts. I have no problem with that, as some of my clothes have gotten a little too tight and I just don’t have the money for an all new wardrobe. And I have some very cute clothes that I haven’t been able to wear in a while, so it would be nice to fit in them again.

“But Carol,” my hypothetical reader may ask, “while being comfortable in your skin is a very good reason to start exercising again, could there possibly be an external reason for this flurry of activity?”

Oh, you saw right through me, Clever Hypothetical Reader. Yes, being comfortable again is a very good (and still primary) reason for my single-mindedness of late. But yes, there is another reason why I want to build up my lost stamina: The Secret Stairs of Los Angeles.

I love hidden stairs that connect neighborhoods. And there are a fair amount of these hidden staircases not far from my new place. I’ve long wished to attend these walks, but the desire has grown keener over the past month, accompanied by a disappointment that I cannot hope to participate at this time.

So I’m getting myself stronger. I will be able hike up Los Angeles’ secret staircases and enjoy the sights that these hikes have to offer.

Ooh, I’m getting all excited again! Is it 5:30pm yet? Can I leave work and get on the treadmill again? Pretty please?

it’s a sickness!

What is? Playing with this damned website, of course.

I’ve found a template that I really like (it’s simple, yet flexible): Platform by PageLines. They have a Pro version that I may purchase at some point, but even the free version has built-in flexibility that I like without having to go in and tweak the code. I just wish it were fluid width as I may keep this for a little while. At least until I find something that’s super dynamic (i.e. tweaking photoblogging templates to make them work for my blogging purposes – when I have the time and patience to do that).

Unfortunately I’m at the point where I’m spending too much time getting the tiny things just right because I can’t possibly post an entry unless everything is absolutely perfect, can I?

(Damn my OCD side. Or my perfectionist Virgo rising sign. Whichever you feel like damning, go for it!)


zombie printer…

…at least, that’s what I hope to get when all is said and done.

I have an Epson CX5400 which hasn’t worked in about three years. Mind you, it should work: the ink is new, the heads move back and forth, all of the mechanics seem just fine. It just refuses to print words upon paper.

I’m loathe to just toss it. I’m positive that it’s an easy fix. There does seem to be a way to fix it myself (taking it in for repair would most likely cost more than I paid for it in 2004), but I’m not about to take it apart. I have neither the mechanical know-how nor the patience. But I have ordered a head cleaning kit which may do the trick. If it does, yay! I’ll hand it off to someone who can use it, since I have a new Lexmark x4850, which I got for an excellent price and which works wonderfully. The kit only cost me $9.95 plus S&H. If not, well, then I’ve only sunk in $9.95 plus S&H and will be finally willing to take it to my local electrical waste site, where it will join the old CRT monitors and desktops (minus the hard drives I’ve removed) that I got rid of a couple of weeks ago.

*crosses fingers*

unbelievable generosity

Well, my participation in Holidailies didn’t last long, did it? Obviously I just can’t get myself to writing these days, so I’ll just move along to the main point of this entry: Christmas and CuteFilmNerd’s unbelievable generosity.

CuteFilmNerd and I went up to Fresno to visit my mom, my sister and her family. This time around we opted to stay at a motel, since last year we had to sleep separately when we stayed at my sister’s place. In the main rooms. With children and dogs traipsing through early in the morning, which isn’t conducive to sleeping. It made it a much more relaxed visit for me and, I think, for CuteFilmNerd. And, even though CuteFilmNerd isn’t big into holidays, he appreciated being around my family for the second Christmas in a row. It was very sweet.

I thought I was doing pretty good with the Christmas present getting (got him a number of things that he’d been talking about for awhile, including a film splicer used at MGM decades ago, which he had been looking at on eBay over the previous months), but CuteFilmNerd went a little crazy with the presents for me. I’m still stunned.

Beautiful toaster oven, which I've been wanting forever, and a very cool cookbook.
Beautiful toaster oven, which I've been wanting forever, and a very cool cookbook.

A few politically themed gifts, which makes a lot of sense with us, as we originally bonded over politics.
A few politically themed gifts, which makes a lot of sense with us, as we originally bonded over politics.

Browncoat goodness! Yay!
Browncoat goodness! Yay!

A Sherlock-tastic Christmas, including a couple of DVD sets of rare Holmes recordings. CuteFilmNerd certainly knows my love of Holmes.
A Sherlock-tastic Christmas, including a couple of DVD sets of rare Holmes recordings. CuteFilmNerd certainly knows my love of Holmes.

And the pièce de résistance:

An amazing camera. All of the previous photos were taken with the CoolPix that CuteFilmNerd gave me. I'm still kinda reeling.
An amazing camera. All of the previous photos were taken with the CoolPix that CuteFilmNerd gave me. I'm still kinda reeling.

What a sweet, wonderful man. How did I manage to luck out with this guy?

Now I’m taking the rest of the week off to get things done around the apartment (we were working only two days anyway). I haven’t been around much this past week, what with work and shopping and parties and travel, so the cats have been really missing me. Right now I’m surrounded by cats on the sofa. I’m going to be around so much this week that by the end of the week these cats are going to be ignoring me.

“so close. just a few weeks away from a real audible connection.”

So, the last few days have been chock full of interesting things. The least of these was the acquisition of a new phone: Google myTouch 3G. My last phone (Nokia 6133) had been bugging the crap outta me – my first one died in March after less than two years and the replacement was getting buggy. I was surprised because my previous phone was a Nokia 3220, which I got free when I signed up with T-Mobile in 2005 – it was a sturdy little phone that I only replaced in 2007 because I wanted something a little fancier and I’d dropped it a billion times on hard pavement and cement and the reception was finally starting to get spotty. Its replacement was seriously disappointing.

Both CuteFilmNerd and I picked up the myTouch on Satuday. While it’s not perfect, I’ve been thrilled with it so far, while CuteFilmNerd has been a little more frustrated. But, while he loves his toys, he’s less of a tech geek than I am. Once he’s got it all down, I think he’ll be very pleased with his selection.

Here’s my new baby, with all of the accessories that came with it (the only accessory that I purchased was the acrylic case – it even came with a 4GB mini-SD card):


On Friday, I attended American Cinematheque’s special event The American Cinematheque Blows Up the Internet: Webisodes on the Big Screen, thanks to the auspices of CuteFilmNerd, who was volunteering to photograph and write up the event only because I desperately wanted to go. And why did I want to go so badly? Because they were projecting the second season of The Guild and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. And Joss Whedon and Felcia Day were schedule to participate in a Q&A session. It turns out that they weren’t the only participants: Joss’s brothers Zach and Jed, Maurissa Tancharoen (co-writers on Dr. Horrible) and Vincent Caso, Sandeep Parikh and director Sean Becker (all from The Guild) also sat up on the stage. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I was a bit of a wuss, so I didn’t pose for any photos with anyone (not to mention the place was packed with geeks far more aggressive than me). All wasn’t in vain, however:

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While Joss Whedon was a bit reserved (which is fine – I understand how geek fangirls and fanboys can be sometimes), Felicia Day was such a sweetie. I introduced myself and said hi and as she shook my hand, someone she knew swooped down on her and commandeered attention. I had turned around to leave and suddenly she was right next to me, asking if she had said hi to me. I pulled out my Dr. Horrible DVD, feeling kind of awkward because I very rarely ask for autographs, and she just signed away, then shook my hand before going into the theater. Very sweet.

It was great seeing it on the big screen. And while things didn’t go quite the way I might have liked – at least according to the absurdly high hopes I held – it was still a fun evening. I’m very happy CuteFilmNerd got me into the event and volunteered just because I wanted to go. Turns out he enjoyed the events of the evening too.

Last night CuteFilmNerd got me into another event that he was working: the 100th birthday celebration of Carla Laemmle. Carla is the niece of Carl Laemmle (the founder of Universal Studios) and uttered the first lines in Dracula (1931). It was a lovely evening and I was fortunate enough to meet a woman who is still beautiful and gracious and whom I hope to emulate when I’m even half her age:

2009-10-20-LAEMMLE (169a)2009-10-20-LAEMMLE (170a)

I relayed birthday wishes from Eric that he had tweeted to me. Her response: “Thank you. That means a lot to me.”

The true definition of a class act.

However, a very unexpected plus for me was meeting Ray Bradbury. In 1985, when I lived in a Northridge apartment, I saw him speak at Cal State Northridge and was very impressed, then again this year at the Forrest J. Ackerman tribute. I’ve enjoyed his work over the years, though I’ve, by no means, have come close to reading a large percentage of his work.

I had noticed him during the after-event reception, when he was on his way out but still posing for photos with various people. Not wanting to be obnoxious, I stood off to the side and took some surreptitious photos:

2009-10-20_CarlaLaemmle_100_B-Day (8a)2009-10-20_CarlaLaemmle_100_B-Day (7a)2009-10-20_CarlaLaemmle_100_B-Day (9a)

Then, as he were definitely leaving, his assistant noticed me off to the side, saw the camera in my hand and asked if I wanted a photo. Not surprisingly, I leapt at the opportunity. While not saying much, he was very sweet and took my hand after the photo.

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All in all, quite a fun, geeky few days, all shared with my handsome film nerd:

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I wouldn’t mind having more days like that.

camera looty goodness…

Back in December, a bunch of things were stolen from CuteFilmNerd’s car. I didn’t mention it in my entry, but one of the things that was stolen was my messenger bag with my digital camera in it. While it wasn’t the most technologically advanced camera, it took nice enough photos and I’ve been missing it ever since, forced to use my crappy camera phone if something visual tickled my fancy.

The beginning of July marked the birthday of The Awesome Michelle, who received an awesome camera from her awesome husband.

(There’s a lot of awesome going on on West (By G-d) Virginia. Who knew?)

Michelle realized that four digital cameras were two too many, so she offered the UCF folks two cameras to a good home. Timorously I raised my hand and thusly I was rewarded with a camera. Yay!

So last Friday I was home – it was one of my Fridays off – and I was puttering around my very hot apartment, trying to get some household chores done without incurring heat stroke. I heard the doorbell ring, but I was in my bedroom in the back, with hands full of stuff. Plus I never like to answer the door when I’m not expecting someone to come over. So I didn’t answer the doorbell.

About five minutes later I went to the front door and opened it, then looked downward to see a box sitting on the doormat.

“Wha-?” my mind said. Packages are rarely received because UPS and FedEx can’t get in unless someone is home and willing to answer the gate buzzer, which rings through to my roommate’s landline. His phone didn’t ring, so I was unaware of package delivery.

I picked it up, hoping there was no ticking or buzzing (because aren’t the only people who send packages through the USPS Unibomber types [says the woman who recently shipped something on CuteFilmNerd’s behalf via USPS]), then I looked at the return address. It was from West (by G-d) Virginia! WooHoo!

And here’s what I found upon opening the box (sorry – these photos were taken with my camera phone – I haven’t figured out how to take a picture of a camera with the camera I’m taking a picture of):
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On Friday I played around with it a little, but didn’t really take photos. I had too much to get done. Saturday, on the other hand, I was a photo-taking maniac:

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Handsome CuteFilmNerd enjoying a basil lemonade at Cafe Flourish.

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A yummy vegan reuben sandwich from Cafe Flourish. Some say it’s the best vegan reuben sandwich in Los Angeles. It’s CuteFilmNerd’s favorite sandwich. I think it’s good, but not phenomenal – the avocado competes too much with the thousand island dressing and the texture of the tempeh doesn’t quite work for me. However, the accompanying quinoa tabbouleh is amazing – fantastically fresh ingredients that leap on your tongue and do a happy little flavor dance.

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Vegan ice cream at Sccops near Los Angeles City College. The place is a bit of a hipster hangout, but the ice cream is fantastic, with interesting flavor combinations. Plus they always make four vegan flavors each day. Whether there will be any left when you get there is another matter.

And, of course, I took photos of the boys:

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Matisse was pretty laid back about the whole thing.

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Edison was a little tougher, but I finally got a good photo.

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Unfortunately, BJ decided he wasn’t in the mood. The best I could get was this somewhat blurry photo. I’ll get him yet, though, I swear…

The new camera also has a panoramic option, as can be evidenced by my attempted panorama of my crowded bedroom.

And, of course, I had to test the video option on the camera, which, while not stunning (it’s not a camcorder, after all), was much better than my previous camera’s, as can be seen in these wholly uninteresting videos:

On the whole, I’d have to say this camera thing is a rousing success. A big thanks to The Awesome Michelle!

it’s all mine…

…and it’s soooo pretty! Came all charged up, ready to run, which was good, since I needed it for meetings on Saturday (which is when I picked it up). At the Coordinating Committee meeting I stroked it lovingly, in full view of everyone, and made MusicianMan sputter a laugh as I mouthed, “My preciousss…” The chair of SoCal Grassroots even made mention of my new acquisition, since I opened it and worked on it while at a meeting at his place earlier in the day.

Later that night, while at HSTeacher’s home, I loaded up some nice programs. The next day the two of us sat in his living room, quietly working on our respective laptops (his is a 15″ Apple Titanium PowerBook) much as another couple would read the newspaper on a Sunday morning. The extent of our collective geekiness made me laugh.

Next step in entering the 21st Century: getting high-speed intenet. Then a cell phone with Bluetooth (which may end up being a hand-held).


fun with photos…

I have a nice little digital camera that ModelGirl gave to me a few years ago. I carry it in my purse, because I never know when I’m going to see something that I think is picture worthy. Like this:

(Good to know, Person-Who-Lives-In-My-Neighborhood. I’ll look you up if I’m ever in need of sadism or masochism.)

Or this:

(All hail the Three-Eyed Simpsons Fish!)

Or even when in San Diego for the recent California Democratic Convention, catching the oh-so-dreamy John Edwards winning delegate hearts all over the damned place:

Disclosure: I was heavily leaning towards Edwards before the convention, because I agreed with his positions and because, while in Washington, DC a couple of years ago, while sitting in John Conyers’ office with MusicianMan, Mimi Kennedy and one of Conyers’ top aides, the aide told us that Edwards was the one to watch, should he decide to run.

On the Sunday of the convention, I made sure I was in the main room for Edwards speech, because I was really interested in what he had to say. I had caught a few minutes of Hillary and Barack the day before and wasn’t all that impressed, although the electricity in the room with Obama was palpable. Somehow I ended up near the stage when Edwards came in the room. He started off on the opposite from me and just walked the aisles, shaking hands with everyone he could, and next thing I knew there he was in front of me. So I stuck my hand out and it got shook. And I tingled. Yea!

So I maneuvered myself and found myself sitting on the floor right at the velvet ropes and heard every word. When I wasn’t taking pictures, that it. His honesty and sincerity connected with the audience. Forget Obama. Forget Clinton. There was no substance to their speeches. There was plenty of substance in Edwards speech and I believed every word, which is amazing, considering I’m one of the most cynical mo-fos you’ll ever meet.

Edwards is the man.


That’s when I want it.

I’ve been waiting for it forever, or so it seems. It would have been mine two weeks ago, were it not for accidental holds on bank accounts and PayPal moving slower than slow. Not in time for the California Democratic Convention the last weekend of April, when it would have proven incredibly useful. Not in time for the Communications Committee meeting this past Saturday, where I’m still serving as Secretary because no one else will, even though I’m vice-chair now, in addition to being Tech Committee Chair and Endorsements Committee Secretary, because I seem to be more than a little bit masochistic. Communications between the main parties have been ongoing, making sure that progress is being made, but still.

I want it NOW.

Tuesday, tomorrow, it should be mine. Possibly Wednesday, depending on how slow UPS decides to be. Maybe I should have had it sent to my work address, but these things are tricky, receiving packages at a high-security workplace. I should know better than to work on government property.

Still, I’ve waited this long. Surely another couple of days won’t kill me.

Will they?

Before the weekend. I will have it before the weekend. In time for Saturday’s Coordinating Committee meeting.

I will, won’t I?

Soon I will have my lovely new (to me) 12.1 inch G4 iBook, with 1.2 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 30 GB drive, Airport Extreme and AppleCare.

Then, all will be right with the world.

Well, all except for wars and hunger and poverty and cruelty and…

Surely my iBook can solve those ills.

Only time will tell.