Friday, February 24, 2017

Entry 369: Stick to Sports!

I read a lot of sporting news online, and then on occasion sometimes I make the mistake of reading the comments.  I know enough to stay away from the comments on the "big" sites (if you want to feel even worse about the state of humanity than you already do, read the comments after an ESPN story, especially one about race in sports), but even the comments on some of the smaller, "smarter" sports sites are getting to be tough to stomach.  Sportswriters, by and large, seem to be a mostly liberal bunch, and from time to time, since they are human, they might inject a small amount of their own personal politics into a story -- or they might keep politics totally out of their stories, but tweet about political things.  Whenever this happens there is a vocal backlash from both poles of the political spectrum.  Fellow liberals complain because they want sports to be a sanctuary from the constant barrage of political media, and conservatives complain because the typical sportswriter is espousing views contrary to theirs.  From both sides the refrain is the same: Stick to sports!

In different times, I might agree with this notion, but we don't live in different times, we live in these times.  And the following is a comment I put on a blog about this topic:
The problem with the “no politics,” “stick to sports” position is that when you have a president, as we do, who doesn’t cohere to objective reality, just being factually accurate becomes a political position. 
Trump constantly says things that are flat-out untrue — not exaggerations, not spin, not typical-politician wishy-washiness — but straight-up, factual falsehoods. And if you point this out (or use it as the intro for a silly story) then suddenly you’re “getting political,” even though you’ve done something (corrected falsehoods) that shouldn’t be controversial or political at all. 
As long as Trump continues to say things like he had the biggest electoral victory since Reagan, *everything* is going to seem political, because simply acknowledging reality is equivalent to opposing Trump, and a lot of people still wish to live in reality.
I thought that was particularly well put, as did the author of the article who said, "This is well-reasoned, insightful and eloquent.  Even with an allowance of 3500 words, I could not have said it better myself."

It is weird that one of our two major political parties is effectively willing to concede truth to the other party, but so it goes.  Republicans had a choice between reality, and Trump and they overwhelmingly chose the latter.  It's working out for them quite well in the short-term; the long-term is still an open question.  I'm a glass-half-full guy by nature, so I definitely see the path by which this Trump lovefest could backfire on Reps in the future.  But I'm also not naive.  One thing I've come to realize is that a lot of people don't want to live in reality.  It's much nicer to create you own reality that conforms to your political views, instead of vice versa.  And now with the "niche-ification" of news and social media echo chambers, it's quite easy to do as well.

Then there are others who aren't anti-reality per se, they just don't think reality is something to get too hung up on.  Living a lie is just the price of admission sometimes.  This includes most "mainstream" Republicans -- the ones who were against Trump before they were for him (over the course of a few weeks).  I don't think Paul Ryan, for example, actually believes millions of people illegally voted for Hillary Clinton.  It's just that the truth isn't that big a deal to him.  He has different priorities, and if he has to pretend that 2 + 2 = 5 to pursue those priorities, then so be it.  In Ryan's view, it's better to have a lying president who will cut taxes for the rich than a truthful one who won't.  (Jonathan Chait has a good article about Ryan's priorities.)

Finally, there are the people who don't (or can't) pay attention and just vote for the candidate from their "tribe."  I think this covers most people actually.  On a podcast I can't remember, a man whose name I can't remember (great sourcing, I know) studied exactly what were the criteria people used when voting, and it was shockingly simplistic.  Almost all of politics is identity politics.  People identify with a group, and then they vote for the candidate who best represents that group.  And once this candidate wins over the group, it doesn't really matter what they do or say after that.  If Trump has any political acumen at all (other than just getting really, really lucky), it's that he understood this much better than everybody else.

Anyway... I gotta go, but before I do, I wanted to post something.  Remember how I said that reading Trump's remarks was comedy gold?  Here's a perfect example:


Until next time...

Good soup!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Entry 368: A Doctor's Appointment and Other Stuff

S went away for the weekend to visit her sister in Atlanta, and she took Lil' S1 with her, so it's just me and Lil' S2 for a few days.  I considered going as well, but decided against it for a few reasons: (1) I'm just not as into traveling as my wife; (2) If I go then Lil' S2 has to go too and taking him makes the difficulty of traveling go up tenfold.  Lil' S1 is a pretty good traveler; his brother, not so much.  The flip side of that is that Lil' S2 is much easier at home than his brother, so we've allocated our children efficiently.

Before leaving, S pulled a fast one on me and scheduled a doctor's appointment for Lil' S2 this morning knowing that she wouldn't be around to take him, so I would have to do it.  I doubt she would frame it this way; she would probably say it was my turn or something to that effect.  It's an on-going "discussion" between us that she does the bulk of the appointment stuff (dentist, doctor, haircuts, etc.), so I think in her mind it's pretty much always my turn.  I don't completely disagree, however, I think I do it more than she realizes, and the reason she does more than me is because she wants to do it -- or rather she wants it done her way.  That's my thing: Either you do it or you let me do it the way I want to do it.  S will often want me to do something with the kids, but then she will rattle off a list of instructions I'm supposed to follow.  It drives me crazy.  It's kinda insulting, actually, because it implies that I can't take care of my kids on my own, and I'm going to bungle everything up left to my own devices.  I mean, it doesn't hurt my feelings, because almost nothing hurts my feelings, but if things did hurt my feelings, this would be one of those things.

Today was a bad day for it to be my turn.  We arrived on time for an 8:30 a.m. appointment and didn't actually see the doctor until 9:20 a.m.  I didn't get home until 10:15 a.m. and the doctor's office is only a few blocks from our house.  So irritating.  The thing is, if you are running that far behind schedule just inform your patients somehow before they leave their houses.  Send me a text alert to come 45 minutes later.  We have this technology now.  Imagine a computerized system that checks people in and out, and then automatically sends out alerts based on how many people are in the queue to see the doctor ahead of you.  That would be such a nice feature.  But considering our pediatrician's check-in system currently consists of writing your name and arrival time on a sticker.  I'm not holding out hope for this anytime soon.  Well, at least we like the doctor, once she actually is able to see our kids.

Although I didn't like what she had to say today.  The primary purpose of today's appointment was to get Lil' S2 some vaccination shots, but naturally the doctor wanted to ask some questions about his general state of wellness.  Everything is totally great except for one thing: He's still not talking.  He sometime says syllables, like if you say "hi" or "bye" to him, he will wave and say "h-" or "b-" back, and he will say "m-m-m-m-" when he wants "more" of something.  But he's only said full words a few times, and even then we couldn't get him to do it again, so it's not clear if it was on purpose or not.

I'm not worried about it yet.  I would be if I felt like his growth was stunted in other ways, but physically he's on pace -- ahead of pace, probably; he can already climb out his crib, which means he beat his brother by five months, and I thought his brother was fast -- and comprehension-wise he's also on pace.  If I say "daddy" he points to me; if I say "get your shoes" he runs and gets his shoes; if I say "brush your teeth" he goes to the sink in the bathroom.  Everything is clicking.  In a few months he's going to start talking, and then he's quickly going to catch up with all the other kids who can already say a handful of words.  I'm like 75% sure that that's what's going to happen.

And this is basically what the doctor thinks as well, but she still wants him to see a specialist.  She said that she doesn't like to wait until they are two before taking action.  She likes to be proactive about it.  S already was leaning this way, so now that the doctor agrees with her, she's all in, and so we almost certainly will take him to see a specialist.  I don't really have a leg to stand on in opposition.  And it's not like I don't want to help the development of my son.  It's just that I want to wait.  I think it's premature to get special help right now.  But I suppose it won't really hurt anything (other than it will cost time and probably money), so it's fine.  I'm certainly not going to take a stand against my wife and our pediatrician on this.

[I just found out George "The Animal" Steele died today.  RIP to the greatest green-tongued, turn-buckle-eating entertainer the world will ever know.]

Anyway...

In other news, how about that Trump press conference, eh?  This article made me laugh -- legitimately the funniest thing I've read in a while.  I know Trump's presidency affects a lot of people in a negative way, and there is nothing funny about that, but sometimes you just have to laugh, right?  I mean, we are all going to die relatively soon, anyway -- that's the biggest joke of them all -- and with that in mind nothing is too serious.  Plus, Trump just says some funny-ass shit.

One thing I found about Trump is that when I actually hear him speak, I don't think he's very funny, in large part because he sounds less ridiculous than the words he's actually saying.  He still sounds ridiculous, but he moderates it somewhat with cadence and intonation.  Judging him solely as an orator, I don't think he's awful, and he's able to mask his madness to some degree.  But when his words are printed -- oh my! -- the absurdity just pops off the page, and it's hilarious.

So from now on, do yourself a favor, anytime Trump has a media event, read excerpts of it before you listen to any audio.  It's comedy gold.

Alright, I'm done here.  Until next time...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Entry 367: Pinkeye and Socialism

Lil' S2 came down with pinkeye Wednesday night.  It wasn't too bad, actually.  S took him to our local doc in a box, and they actually had the drops onsite, so she didn't even have to bother with a pharmacy.  And by Thursday morning, after just two doses, he looked good as new.  Of course, we still had to keep him out of daycare for a few days, but even that was not such a big deal.  S and I both have sick leave, so she took off Thursday and I took off Friday and that was that.

Lil' S2 is a pretty easy kid to take care of also.  He's more independent than his brother was at the age.  Lil' S1 would be all up in your grill demanding you entertain him every moment of the day.  Come to think of it, he's still kinda like that (except, of course, if the iPad is on, in which case you, and the entire rest of the world, do not even enter his plane of existence).  His brother's more chill.  You can play with him for a few minutes to get him going, and then if you want to, you can sit down and read or work on the computer, and he'll mostly just keep playing on his own.  You will have a mess to clean up afterward -- his two favorite activities are raiding the shoe closet and strewing everybody's footwear across the house and pulling the books off the shelf -- but you will also have a stretch of relative peace, which is so nice.

While I was home, getting paid to not work and spend time with my son, I was thinking about how weird it is that something that for me and S is no big whoop, could have been a devastating blow to somebody else in worse circumstances.  I mean, if I was a single dad living paycheck to paycheck, working a job with an hourly wage, what would I have done when Lil' S2 got pinkeye?  He couldn't go to any daycare with other kids, and I imagine asking somebody already stretched to the hilt to take two days off work and forgo two days pay is a tall order.  So what does somebody do in that situation?

Naturally I started to think about things like privilege and upbringing and personal responsibility and luck, and I came to an interesting conclusion: I might be a socialist.  I've always been very liberal, economically and otherwise, but I've never really thought of myself as a socialist.  But I might be one, or at least a Scandinavian-style quasi-socialist.  My ideal economic system, the one that would be in place if everybody thought like me, is a system of free enterprise like we have now, but with stronger regulations, higher taxes, and more social services.  I don't necessarily want bigger government, but I'm not against it.  I don't think it's inherently evil.  I want smarter, more effective and efficient government.  I want government that helps make people's lives better.  If that leads to bigger government, so be it.  And if the cost of that is that people like myself have to pay another 5% or 10% in taxes, then so be that as well.

I've never really bought the argument that providing government services somehow coddles the less fortunate and leads them into a life of laziness and dependency.  But I might be jaded, because even if it does, I don't really care.  If my tax dollars allow somebody to be lazy and not work or contribute anything of value to society, oh well.  As long as these people aren't on the streets raising hell and committing crimes, it's not really a big deal to me.  Because it probably also means that other people, who aren't lazy, who are legitimate underprivileged or down on their luck, have available the resources to get help when they need it, and to me that's well-worth the trade-off.  Why are people such sticklers about the government not helping others?  I don't understand it.*

At the moment, however, I would take an Ayn Randian, libertarian asshole, like, say, Paul Ryan, in the White House in a heart beat.  Pretty much about anybody would be better than our current shit-show of a POTUS.  This week, I actually figured out my least favorite thing about him.  It's tough to narrow it down because he has so many bad qualities -- he's sexist, racist, corrupt, untruthful, and whiny as hell -- but the one that takes the cake for me: fearmongering.  He's a total fearmonger.  He wants everybody to be scared all the time.  He wants all of us to spend our lives looking over our shoulders thinking that somebody is coming to get us at any moment.  He wants white people to be scared of black people; he wants black people to be scared of the police; he wants natural born citizens to be scared of immigrants; he wants immigrants to be scared of ICE; he wants Christians to be scared of Muslims; and he wants us all to be scared of the next big attack that's just around corner if we don't acquiesce to his every command.  It's sickening.  It's utterly odious.  And sadly it works on a lot of people.

I'm out of time.  Until next time...

*Or maybe I do.  Maybe it's just good old fashion racism.  I mean, let's be honest, if the US was 99% white we would probably be much more like Scandinavia right now.  (A racially and culturally homogeneous population is one of the reasons socialism works there.)  We don't mind the government providing services to us and people like us; we just don't like the government providing services to them.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Entry 366: Does Anybody Really Care About Super Bowl Sunday?

As anybody who knows me in real life, or who reads this blog regularly (and I'm guessing the latter is a subset of the former) knows, I'm a huge sports fan.  I have been since about age six.  Sometimes I legitimately don't like this about myself.  Because I'm not six anymore; I'm a grown-ass man.  And a grown-ass man should not feel bad about himself because his team -- which is not actually his team at all, but a multi-billion dollar corporation employing multimillionaire athletes, to whom he has no direct connection -- lost a game.  And yet the Seahawks and Mariners have sent me into days-long funks many a time.  The last really bad one came after Russell Wilson threw the game-losing interception from the one-yard line in Super Bowl XLIX.  I was despondent for like a week after one.  It still pains me a little bit to think about it now.

That's the bad side of sports.  The good side is that I derive a lot of pleasure from them -- they're a great source of cheap entertainment (if you watch on TV); they're a good distraction; and knowing about sports is a big social asset (you need to shoot the shit about something).  It might even be a big professional asset.  The vice president of my company seemed quite impressed with my probability-based algorithm that won our March Madness competition two years in a row.

[In 2001 the Mariners won 116 games and then lost to the Yankees in the playoffs.  It wasn't the worst thing that happened that fall.]

Also, I ask myself, what's really the harm of being emotionally invested in professional sports?  Yeah, it feels kinda silly that my mood can be affected by how well a twenty-something-year-old throws a ball.  But this just shows I'm passionate about my interests, right?  Isn't this better than being flat-lined about everything?  I mean, if a movie buff told you about how moved they were by a certain film, or a lover of literature talked about how much joy and sadness they derive from Milton's work, you wouldn't think this was a bad thing, would you?  So why is it any different with sports?  I mean, at least athletes are real people.

But, in light of recent events, even for somebody like myself the Super Bowl couldn't seem more trivial this year.  I wonder how many people really care about it.  I'll probably watch it with some friends, and maybe I will get into it then, but I don't know.  Actually, the thing I'm most curious about is whether or not the winner will visit the president at the White House in keeping with the tradition of past Super Bowl winners.  Bill Belichick, head coach of the Patriots, is a known friend of Trump's, and a "Make America Great Again" hat was once spotted in the locker of Tom Brady.  But since then both have been very evasive and diplomatic about their relationships with Donny Despot, so if the Patriots do win as expected, I wonder if they will go or not.

I hope they don't.  It would be a big slap in the face, and I think it would matter symbolically.  Anti-Trumpers currently have no mechanism in government to stop him.  Our best hope for the time being is to make it socially, professionally, and politically unacceptable to be a Trump supporter or apologist.  We have to make it clear that a large portion of the country -- most the country, actually -- is not going to tolerate Trump's bullshit, and if you do, you are going to pay a price of some sort, and you are going to be shamed.  That's why marches and boycotts and things of that nature matter.

Now, obviously this won't work on everybody -- hardcore Trump supporters aren't going to care (and possibly not even know) what the non-Trump-loving public thinks and many people and businesses have a direct financial stake in Trump's success -- but we need to try.  We need politicians, particularly Republican politicians with vulnerable seats, to see Trump and his minions being shunned, and think, "maybe I don't want to hitch my cart to this wagon too tightly."  I seriously doubt Republican congresspeople will ever openly revolt against Trump (partisanship is a helluva drug), but you never know, and it's not an all or nothing proposition anyway.  The less support the better.  The slower things move, the less Trump can do, the better.  Damage control is step one.  Step two is winning future elections.  But that's a whole 'nother story for a whole 'nother post on a whole 'nother day.

In other news, more personal news, I started going to Krav Maga classes.  I felt like my lifestyle had become way too stagnant the past few years, and I needed to do something athletic and intense on a regular basis.  I could have gone the marathon route, but I don't absolutely love running, and I wanted to do something that would build muscle mass not just get me cardio conditioning.  Also, I've always wanted to get some basic self-defense training; if I ever get into a fight, I'd like to win it.  What I really wanted (and still want) to do is MMA.  But I settled on Krav Maga instead for one reason and one reason only: There's a Krav Maga gym two minutes from my office.  That was the deciding factor.

It's pretty cool so far, other than the fact I strained my side somehow and have to sit out for a little while.  It's super annoying.  Three classes in and already I'm injured.  It sucks being almost middle-aged.

Alright, that's all I got.  Until next time...

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Entry 365: What Am I Going To Do?

My Facebook feed has blowing up with outrage this weekend, for good reason.  We are living in outrageous times.  People online compare things with which they disagree to Nazism so frequently that somebody named Godwin formulate a law about it.  But when our government starts trying to ban people of a certain religion from entering the country, including, in some instances, people with legal authority to be here, such comparisons start to become apt.  I realize it's important not to exaggerate, and it's important not to catastrophize, so I'm not going to say Donald Trump is the next Hitler.  What I am going to say is that he's getting way too close for comfort.  And we need to nip this shit in the bud now.

The best quote I saw on Facebook was something like (I'm paraphrasing):
Remember in history class when you would learn about times of oppression and think, "If only I was alive back then..."  Well, that "then" is now.  What are going to do about it?
This is something I was grappling with before this weekend and it's intensified tenfold over the last few days.  Obviously Trump's unconstitutional, unconscionable executive orders have a lot to do with that.  But on a more personal note, I found out a good friend of mine is facing felony charges and a possible multiyear prison sentence for helping shut off an oil pipeline.  When something like this happens it really ratchets up the "I'm not doing nearly enough" guilt.

But that begs the obvious question -- what can you do?  Especially if you, like me, live in a super blue city with no real representation in Congress and have a full-time job and two young children to raise?  For now, I've been donating money.  It's not very creative or personal, but at the moment I have more disposable income than free time.  In the last few days S and I have donated to my friend's legal defense, the ACLU, and Earth Justice.  I've also renewed my subscription to the New Yorker (even though I rarely have time to read it anymore), and I think I'm finally going to give in and get a subscription to the New York Times* and the Washington Post.  Paying journalists to do real journalism is also important when you have a president who lies constantly and then tries to use the media as a bulwark against the public backlash.  So currently my contributions to La RĂ©sistance are strictly monetary, but if the moment calls where I have to take it beyond that, I hope I'll be ready.

And if you are looking for a place to donate some money, check out Puzzles for Progress (run by a crossword puzzle constructor named Francis Heaney -- I've never met him, but he seems like a cool guy).  The nice thing about this is that after you donate you will get a bunch of fun puzzles to do.  Diversions and distractions are also very important.  This is going to be a long fight.  It's going to be won over years, perhaps generations.  If you try to battle every minute of everyday, you will likely burn out quickly.  So stay fresh, stay sane, stay positive.  We will do this together.  Truth and sanity always wins in the end... hopefully.

Alright I gotta go, dad duties, see.  Until next time...

*I've resisted this in the past because I don't like that they make you pay separately for the crossword puzzle.  But given how much Trump hates the New York Times, I might have to finally get past this.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Entry 364: A Hero of the Resistance... And a San Diego Weekend Diary

Well, Donald Trump is officially the president of the United States of America and as a consequence the most powerful person in the world.  Sad!  But not as sad as I thought it would be.  I was expecting to spend this weekend in a total media blackout, watching Russell Wilson highlights on YouTube, but I've actually been checking in online from time to time to see what's going on, and I'm good.  For one thing, I've had months to prepare; for another, it's now the case that everyday that goes by is one less day in his term.  But the biggest reason I haven't been in total despair is because of the ground swell of opposition.  Most Americans don't want this; many Americans vehemently don't want this.  If we all stick together and fight as one, we might be okay.  We might even be stronger when we finally do come out on the other side.  Don't get me wrong, I wish more than anything that November's election went the other way -- it eats at me a little bit everyday that it didn't -- but since it didn't, let's hope for the best.  I mean if society as we know it is in fact going to collapse, I don't want to spend my last days in a stew of negativity.  Pessimists are bad company.

That doesn't mean we should quell the fire and outrage, though.  Let it burn within, so that we can flips things in the next election.  Well, maybe not the next election -- 2018 is going to be tough on anti-Trumpers demographically (but we should still try: Vote! And if you live in a secure area, adopt a close race in a nearby area and donate money and/or time!) -- but definitely in 2020.  Things can change.  I did my part yesterday by staying home and taking care of the kids while S partook in the Women's March on Washington.  Yep, I'm pretty much a hero of the resistance.

Anyway...

[Image snagged from Goggle]

In lighter news, my cousin got married last weekend in San Diego.  I was in attendance.  Here's a brief (not realy) diary-style recap of the events.

Friday 1/13:  I flew out on Friday the 13th, which I didn't even realize until now, but would not have cared even if I had.  I'm just about as un-superstitious as person can be.  And my flights were completely devoid of bad luck.  Everything was on time, my layover at LAX went totally smoothly (no small thing, as you know, if you've even flown through the cesspit that is LAX), and I arrived at my hotel as expected.

The only slightly annoying thing that happened is that the woman next to me put all her in-flight materials (magazine, safety placard, air sickness bag, etc.) in my seat pocket before I got on, so it was stuffed full with two copies of everything.  I noticed it shortly after takeoff, and said to her, "Uh... I think this is your stuff."  She took it back without protest.  I had one of the later boarding groups, so I think she thought the seat was going to be open (there was also a bunch of her personal stuff on my seat when I arrived), but that's not an assumption you should make on an airplane until you have actually left the gate.  She looked to be in her late twenties, and she was fairly attractive, so this struck me as a classic example of AWB -- "attractive woman behavior."  That is, something that's slightly inconsiderate -- not totally rude, just slightly inconsiderate -- that an attractive woman can get away with that other members of society cannot.  Although, I should be careful with my assumptions.  Once I shared an office with an attractive woman, and she was super inconsiderate, and I chalked it up to AWB, until one day she came in and told me that she had been diagnosed as on the spectrum.  It wasn't AWB at all; it was autism.  And then I felt like an ass.

I was supposed to meet my parents at the hotel, and then we were going to meet some other family for dinner, but my parents' flight was delayed (they didn't share my Friday the 13th luck), so I went to dinner without them.  I don't think anybody at dinner actually knew I was coming, but everybody was happy to see me nonetheless -- or least they acted as such, which is good enough for me.  I found out one of my cousins and one of my cousins' wives are both pregnant, due in May.  So along with my sister in-law (also pregnant), this means three great-grandchildren on my mother's parents' side (who both have passed) will be arriving this spring.  By my count this will make 23 total great-grandchildren.  The next generation is here, and it's a cool thing to watch.

After dinner went back to the hotel and watched Jackass 3D.  I don't care how juvenile it is; that shit cracks me up like nothing else.



Saturday 1/14: I slept in until 9:15 a.m., which means it was after noon on the east coast.  Did I mention it was nice to sleep without anybody's crying and whining waking me up at the crack of dawn?  I must have had a pretty steep sleep debt to pay off.  After arousing I texted my parents, but they weren't up and at 'em yet, so I walked up to a nearby Starbucks, and had a coffee and light breakfast while I solved the New York Times crossword puzzle (in pen, on Saturday, I might add).  I had a feeling my parents were going to want to join me as soon as I was ready to leave, and lo and behold, as soon as I put my jacket on my dad called...  It was fine.  I didn't mind waiting there (I had nothing else to do), but I had to go to the bathroom, and it was getting increasingly urgent.  I didn't want to lose my table, so I was trying to hold it until my parents arrived, but the situation reached a critical mass, so I did that thing where you put your jacket and hat on the table and hope people respect it.  And then of course while I'm in the bathroom I get a text from my dad telling me they are here and asking me where I am.

Later in the day I went to lunch at the famous Hotel del Coronado with my parents and one of my dad's friends from his teen years.  It was cool.  Then at night we went to the rehearsal dinner which was at a yoga studio.  If you know my uncle, the father of the bride, this doesn't sound that weird.  We drank kombucha beer and ate delicious vegan food.  We also were regaled with some yogic/acrobatic performances -- a guy twirling fire, a guy and a girl doing various planking poses, a woman doing a flaming hula hoop, etc.  It was a lot of fun.

Things wrapped up reasonably early -- around 10:00 pm or so -- and I really wanted to crash out early (gotta sleep while you can), but there was a stupid band playing in the lobby until 11:15.  The hotel we stayed at had a quirky, old Hollywood, swingin' joint theme to it, and on Saturdays I guess they have big band style concerts in the lobby, which is great, unless, of course, you are a patron of the hotel trying to use said hotel for its intended purpose -- sleeping.

[Hotel del Coranado -- also from the Internet I took a picture of it with  my phone, but it got deleted when I tried to transfer it to my email, because my phone sucks.  I'm getting a new one next week.]

Sunday 1/15: One problem with having a bunch of family around is organizing activities.  I think cell phones actually make this worse, because instead of just setting a plan and sticking to it, everybody communicates through text, and you end up with a clusterfuck of cyber communique, and no clear idea about what's going on.  This happened to us on Sunday trying to organize brunch with my extended family.  My dad got a bit peeved, because he felt like he and my mom got left out of the loop (which they did), and if not for a chance meeting between me and my uncle in the lobby of the hotel, they would have gone to the wrong place.

But everything got settled.  The only "casualty" was my sister's Uber account.  She was already in town for a convention, staying at a hotel in Gaslamp District, but she was staying with me on Sunday.  So she checked out of her first hotel and took an Uber over to our hotel... only to get into another Uber with my parents and me, and go right back to the Gaslamp District, next door to her original hotel.  Understandably, she was annoyed, as she could have just stayed in the area.  I tried to explain that it wasn't really any different than the original plan -- initially she was planning on going from A to B to C, but now she went from A to B to A, so as long as A and C are about the same distance from B (which they were), then she didn't "lose" anything vis-a-vis her original plan -- but it didn't really work.  It probably wouldn't have worked on me either.  Psychologically there is something extremely unsatisfying about rushing to leave a place, just to end up right back in that same place a half hour later.

We final did meet everybody for brunch.  I had a chicken wrap that was actually pretty bad.  I wish I had ordered something else.

The wedding ceremony was at Balboa Park near the San Diego Zoo.  It was short and sweet -- just the way I like it.  The reception was really fun.  They had a live band, which is an underrated asset for a wedding reception.  If the band is halfway decent (which they were; actually, they were quite good), it adds an energy to the festivities that you can't match with a DJ playing music from an iPod.  The dancing was fun, although I wish S was there with me.  It's nice to have somebody you're not related to by blood to dance with you.

Monday 1/16: Travel day.  I was worried when I got to the San Diego Airport, as the security line was backed up so far there was a line to get in line.  I'm not sure what was going on, but for a while all security checks in my terminal were closed -- like straight-up not letting anybody through.  I was anticipated waiting for hours and cutting it close with my flight (I got there pretty early, but not that early), but to the credit of the airport employees, they opened up the checks and got things moving -- like you were practically running to keep up with the line.  I made it through with no issues, and once again my flight left on time (three in a row!).

[This was the only picture I was able to salvage from the entire trip.  The line to get to the security line.]

I didn't check a bag, choosing instead to put everything in a carry-on.  As I discussed with my sister earlier, this definitely has it's drawbacks -- namely you have to lug your bag around with you through the airport, and you have to partake in the idiotic battle for overhead bin space (which can be greatly mitigated by using a malleable duffel bag, instead of a hard roller board) -- but when you arrive at your home airport at 9:30 pm and have to work the next day, being able to bypass baggage claim, and walk right out of the airport makes it totally worth it, if you ask me.

Alright, that's all I got.  Until next time...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Entry 363: Leaving Town Again (Short Entry)

I'm a man on the move -- these past few weeks, at least.  I'm going of out town again.  It's my cousin's wedding in San Diego, so I'm taking a four-day weekend and making the trip sans wife and kids.  I'm not looking forward to the travel -- so much so that I thought about not going.  I mean, it's not a great time, all things consider.  We just got back from a long vacation, and it's a long flight (and I have a stupid layover in LA), and it's also a bad time to leave S alone with the kids (winter weekends are the worst and school is out Monday for MLK Day), and I just don't like being away from my boys in general.  I worry about them constantly.  Oh, you can also toss in the fact that I haven't been feeling great lately (although sleeping in a place where nobody will wake me up at four in the morning will probably help that).  But, I really like my cousin, and I really like weddings, so I'm going.  Also it's a chance to see family I don't see very often -- aunts, uncles, other cousins, etc.  Who knows when the next time I'll be able to see them is?  Actually, a different cousin is getting married in the summer, so I do know when, but you get my point.

Anyway, gotta hit it.


[Incidentally, the Chargers' just announced they are leaving San Diego after 56 years to move to Los Angeles.  A referendum in San Diego to build a new stadium using a hotel tax failed, so the owner has "no choice" but to leave.  I mean, what do you expect him to do, use him own money to build a place for his $1.5-billion football team to play?]

Until next time...