Quake

Up until yesterday, I have experienced only 2 earthquakes in my life. Both were in Illinois, and I have lived in California over 12 years.

The first quake was in 1987. Technically, I didn’t feel it. I was in my grandma’s front yard talking to a friend. When I came inside she asked, “what in the hell was I doing out there?” Because the house had shook a little. I joked, it was probably an earthquake. Sure enough on the news that night we had maybe a 2.0 or something.

The second was in the early 2000s. I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of the chain on a table lamp jiggling. Again, another minor quake.

Yesterday, I was in a meeting and felt two quick bounces. I thought maybe someone had dropped a really large box in the room above us. Then we all agreed, it was definitely a quake. It lasted maybe 1 second and was over. There wasn’t any time to get under a desk let alone get scared. We all had a good laugh and consulted our phones.

Within minutes it was reported. We had a 4.3 earthquake and we were about 10 miles from the epicenter.

There’s a pretty active fault line near the area we were at. Last year there were about 200-300 quakes in that region. When you go to the USGS website, you’ll see earthquakes are happening all the time. Good or bad, I’m not sure. I’m glad to have the first Cali Quake out of the way.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

We have 4 Cooper’s hawks that were born in our neighborhood some time ago. They’re adolescent birds now, so they’re spending a lot of time hunting and squawking at each other.

Typically, only 1 or or 2 make it to this age from what I’ve heard from our tree guy. So to have four is a big deal.

Last night I came home and 3 of them were in the same tree when the fourth arrived with something in his talon. The others figured it must be dinner time and rushed over. They all picked at it until finally the one dropped it. Turned out to be a pine cone. Wah wah.

I did a little research on these birds and they are one of the most common type of hawk. They’re a medium sized bird and mostly hunt other, smaller birds and critters. We have a ton of hummingbirds around us too, and surprisingly, they make a a lot of noise too.

Another thing I learned about these hawks. They evidently shit white paint, all over my car.

These hawks remind me of a funny-ish story from about 10 years ago. It was in our old neighborhood in Chicago.

I was out walking my dog and noticed my neighbor Margaret looking at something. It was a small hawk on the ground. It was about the age of the ones around me now. It was old enough to be out on it’s own, but not full-sized and it was being stalked by a cat. Margaret was worried for both animals and said she thought the hawk might have an injured wing and wanted to help it out.

So I went back to my house and grabbed our dog’s metal crate. I came back with the crate and a pair of yard gloves. The hawk hopped around Margaret’s yard a little bit, but wasn’t hard to catch. I gently wrapped both hands around it like I was Jim Fowler taking it to the “Tonight Show.”

I held the surprisingly subdued raptor and admired its sharp talons as inserted it into the dog crate. That was all it took to bring the bird back to life. It went berserk and flapped it’s wings and shrieked. Worried it might hurt itself more in the cage, I yanked it out and let it go and it flew up onto another neighbor’s roof. Apparently the wings were working.

I took the crate home, and grabbed the dog to finish the walk we had started earlier. When I came back around the block, the hawk was back on the ground hopping around again. So I took the dog home, got the yard gloves and brought the hawk to our backyard where I thought it would be safer.

The poor bastard I should have left well enough alone.

Then I started Googling trying to figure out who to call to come get the bird, and possibly hand me some kind of honorific for being such a great steward of wildlife. Instead, I learned that I had broken several laws and could be sentenced to 2 years in prison and subject to a minimum of $10,000 in fines for violating the migratory bird act.

I eventually got a hold of someone at a bird sanctuary about 2 hours from Chicago. I lied and told him the bird just happened to be in the backyard and appeared injured. He told me I could bring it out to them and they could nurse it back to health. Since it was just a Cooper’s hawk, and not rare at all, they probably wouldn’t bother.

It was a little bit of a downer to find out I wasn’t saving an endangered species. At least I could get on with my day of not doing anything useful for the environment.

I went to check on the hawk, and he had keeled over and died. I felt terrible, and yes, I probably accelerated his inevitable death by a day or two.

So I put the gloves back on, and wrapped my hands around his rigid body. Figuring such a majestic bird deserved something better than a garbage can funeral, I tossed him in the creek behind our house for the closest thing to a burial at sea.

So, if those 4 hawks in my neighborhood are reading this, just know that if something happens to you here, you’re on your own.

Fabletics

I was at the mall to drop off something at the Apple Store and noticed they were finally putting something new in where the Gap used to be. There was a huge sign with the words “Fabletics coming soon” covering the space.

Later, I started seeing Fabletic ads with Kate Hudson on my phone, my iPad, and my laptop. And not just general ads, but all of them featuring her in yoga pants. Before that day, I had no idea this brand even existed, let alone seen one of their ads. It was like…magic.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not stupid. I know brands use geo and spatial location through public wifi and other means to retarget ads. What I still don’t know is how did they finally figure out how to show me something I actually gave a shit about?

Same Clothes

I have heard that Mark Zuckerberg wears essentially the same thing everyday. Supposedly he got the idea from Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein. They did it to avoid wasting brainpower on deciding what to wear everyday.

I’m the opposite. Deciding what to wear feels like the only win I can get on any given day.

I ❤️ Radio

I saw a bumpersticker for “Relevant Radio AM 1280”. I looked it up and it’s a Catholic radio station. In this modern age of websites and apps, what better metaphor for the Catholic Church than an AM radio station. On the far right end of the dial.

What’s their pitch? Tune in mornings during your daily guilt trip to find out nothing has changed in 831 years.

Dog Gone

I received a set of these six balls as a gift for my dog from my son. They have teeth painted on them and they squeak. My dog has gone bat shit crazy over them, and not in a good way. She whines when she’s around them and even more when she’s not.

She’s never acted like this with any toys I’ve bought before. She’s had plenty of stuff that squeaks, so it’s got to be the teeth.

I think it’s some kind of maternal instinct kicking in, because she could have easily destroyed all of them in minutes after I released them into the yard. Instead she tries to get a couple in her mouth at one time, and bats them around with her feet.

It was kind of cute in the beginning. But after two days of nonstop whining I had to throw them in a bag and hide the bag. I’ll save them for when my son is home and is trying to get some sleep.

https://vimeo.com/343489329

The gift

When we first moved to the California, we didn’t know a lot of people. My wife met a woman at her job named Reneé. She too had recently moved from the midwest. So, we started hanging out with her and her husband Mike since they didn’t know a lot of people either.

We didn’t have a lot in common with them, but they were really nice, and we enjoyed their company. Coincidentally, my birthday fell within the short time frame we knew them. Mike found out, and surprised me with a gift and dropped it by the house.

When I got home, I opened it. It was a copy of “Cigar Aficionado” magazine. He got a me an annual subscription. “Shit,” I said. My wife asked what’s wrong. I replied, “Mike thinks I’m an asshole.”

Word Nerd

If I had a chance to do it over again, I would have major in linguistics or etymology. I find language and words fascinating. Also, if someone asked me what I plan to do with that major, I’d say come up with new words for some of the terrible ones we use today.

Such as…

Widower It sounds like the husband did it.

Rapist, Racist, Sexist The “-ist” suffix sounds like a skill, or something you went to school for, and not a reprehensible character flaw. How about an actual pejorative suffix like “-ite” , or “-tard” instead?

Pedophile It’s like saying, he’s a connoisseur, an expert, like a sommelier…if you will. You wouldn’t ask the liquor store cashier about a fine bottle of wine. So why would you talk to just any old child molester?

Sex Worker What was wrong with porn star? That seemed way more flattering. Think about, you don’t have to be a household name to be a star in the porn scene. You’re a star by default. Sex worker, is so lame. It sounds like a boring fucker. Besides, they already have a perfectly good word for someone who treats sex like a job. It’s “spouse.”

Conceived Sounds like something you did with a whiteboard and post-it notes. If it was planned, then I’ll make an exception.

Big and Tall We’re not fooling anyone here. These stores really should be called Big “or” Tall.

Stranger Things

Now that Game of Thrones is over, I can spend more of my energy hating on Stranger Things. I used to feel badly that this kid annoyed the shit out of me. But now I feel vindicated. What a little asshole.

“…people everywhere should be on the lookout for Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo, who has just begun production on an eight-episode Netflix prank series targeting our most laugh-ready of societal victims: People just trying to find a damn job.”

The AV Club

https://news.avclub.com/gaten-matarazzos-cool-new-netflix-prank-show-is-all-abo-1835529125

I tried watching Stranger Things in the beginning, and couldn’t stand it. Never mind the blatant smarminess of 80s era Speilberg. It’s the hype around how accurately it captures the times that I think is bullshit.

I lived in the Midwest during the early 80s and so my credentials to nitpick this show are impeccable.

No one under 19 listened to the Clash in Indianapolis, let alone any of the podunk towns outside of it. They still don’t for that matter.

Second, the slang. No one EVER said “chill”. They didn’t even use that word in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” We didn’t call each other “douchebag” or “mouth breather” (no one Tweeted either). In those parts, being a douchebag and mouth breather are socially acceptable. So they’re not insults. If anything, you were a pussy, a fucker, or a dick. Or a butthole, if your parents were in earshot.

Lastly, kids with BMX bikes wouldn’t be caught dead riding with kids on Schwinns and Huffys. You can fight me on this one.