To Mr Jim Carrey

Dear Mr. Carrey,

A couple of years back I was in Malibu at the home of Frank Davis who lives next door to your Malibu beach house. I was kicking back on the stairs leading down to the beach and recall having a brief conversation with your brother about his paddle board. So I was watching your brother and his friend paddle boarding and thinking that’s the bomb, just taking some non-pressured time enjoying nature like that, and then it hit me for no apparent reason – Dick – York.

I thought it would be nice if someone did a movie about him because he was really an underestimated actor who early in his career had a back accident in the late 50’s on the set of a film which limited his future acting abilities and which got him addicted to pain killers.

Then I was thinking who could do that and do it justice. I was watching the guys on the ocean paddling around, sipping my coffee and then thought, well Jim Carrey is pretty robust when it comes to character acting and comedy and would be awesome, could totally pull off a role like that and bring real substance to a character role portraying the late actor.

He basically died broke, bedridden and from emphysema but he is an inspiration for the way he just kept moving forward regardless of his pains and tragedies to campaign for the homeless.

For a long time I wanted to try and post this suggestion somewhere that you or someone you know might see it but never got around to it. Its finally nagged me so much over this time that I decided to post on your Twitter as well as write this in hopes it finds its way to a search engine and maybe to yourself.

I Hate Aphids

So I was looking at my midget lemon tree and saw a bunch of clumps of stuff on several branches as well as noticed that there was a lot of ant activity. I looked more closely at the branches and thought perhaps they were aphid eggs so I did a little research and found that was exactly what they were.

The ants were essentially taking care of them but in a weird sort of way. The ants stroke the aphids with their antennae and that causes the aphids to excrete  honeydew, which is a digestive by-product. At some point the aphids made it to the midget tree first and excreted honeydew which drew in the ants.

Still, I hate it. I am now trying non-pesticide ways of getting rid of the ants and drying up the aphids. I may just net off the tree and stick a bunch of lady bugs in there. Lady Bugs are an aphids worst nightmare.

Today I tried spraying white vinegar and sprinkled cinnamon, which ants are supposed to not like. If that doesn’t work I will try corn meal. They will supposedly take it into the colony, eat it and when they take in moisture the cornmeal will swell and essentially kill them by bloating.

I will non-shamelessly plug my 18MP Nikon Coolpix L620 that I took the above picture with in this post. I don’t normally upload higher MP graphic images but click to view if interested in seeing aphids and ants a little close up. Its not macor but still well enough to see.

UPDATE – I used RAID – Ended their short little reign…..

Little Red School House – Knott’s Berry Farm

ITP_-_110812-IMG_0483This past weekend me and my family went to Knott’s Berry Farm and one of the things I have always done is make a trek to the Little Red School House to gloat over how I have family that went there on my grandfather’s side under the Tice name when the school house was in Iowa or Kansas. I know in its history it moved a couple of times before its last time to Knott’s Berry Farm at the behest of Walter Knott himself.

The last time I was there, years ago, there were names on each of the small chalk tablets at the desks but this time they were all blank. I asked the person who was playing the role of the teacher if the list still existed and she said No. She looked almost exactly like an older Nina Duden, first school teacher, a bit scary.

Would have been nice if they still had the roster of children that went to it or at least their names still on the little chalk slabs at each desk. I only recall generally where the seat was that bore the name Tice on the chalk slab, it was disappointing to see that little bit had changed. I feel to my family its lost its uniqueness.

I think when most visit the school house they really don’t realize its true history and think of it more as a prop in the Ghost Town area that it is at now. I’m sure I will continue to visit it whenever I vist the theme park.

Where is the logic? Shopping bags versus garbage bags

So I was at Von’s the other day and heard someone complaining about the fact that they left their shopping bag they previously paid for at home and will need to shell out another fifty cents for new ones for all their groceries when they leave. I thought to myself , meh, and then found myself in the kitchen section where they have a plethora of “plastic” garbage and kitchen bags.

The argument about no more producing of plastic shopping bags was that they make it into our landfills as a toxic and non-biodegradable item and that the manufacturing produces gases which destroy our atmosphere – I wont debate the latter – yet there I stood in front of a dozen manufacturers of plastic bags of all assorted sizes. Unless I am missing something and even the production on garbage bags is supposed to end, the argument over plastic bags just died at my feet.

So I stand in line for checkout and most people have their ten cent cloth bags, which are supposed to have been made from recycled cloth products, but some are opting for the paper bag – double bagged even, for things like their milk. I thought to myself that this even makes less sense. Offer a paper bag that was cut from a tree somewhere that also impacts our environment by removing trees which help filter, as well as create, oxygen. Regardless of whether or not the bag has the recycled from logo on it, not all bags make it long term so they have to be replaced at some point by a new tree, or at least parts of trees that are recycled from discarded construction material.

While in line I started to think about how much money these grocery stores are actually making off of what I personally consider to be a scam. I figured it out later. If you calculate a daily customer visit (hypothetically) of lets say 1,000 customers and multiply that by 2 bags at ten cents each (.20 cents) that’s $200 a day, $1400 a week, $5600 a month, $67,200 a year. That’s significant because its money these stores would otherwise not be making.

On my drive home I recalled some of the shopping my wife and I do at small mom and pop shops, as well as shopping retailers like JCPenny, Sears, WalMart, KMart, etc., and they all still offering plastic bags. So it seems like the only people really making out here are the major chain grocery stores.

In any regard, the very person who woke up one day and said to themself, “Gee I’m just going to upset everything by making a bill to ban plastic shopping bags, put thousands of people out of work and plastic bag manufacturers out of business” I think needs a reality check on what they have started. Not that I don’t think this new system is not working, I just feel it is in conflict given the originating landfill argument to stop the manufacturing of plastic shopping bags when plastic “garbage” bags are making their way to landfills, and in greater numbers.

Whats next? Banning the manufacturing of automobile tires because the rubber will never biodegrade and they are more toxic to our environment than shopping bags? Banning motor oil, transmission fluid, shampoo bottles, diapers, printer ink?

This is just a rant so don’t hate me, just debate me.

To Mr. Clint Eastwood

Dear Mr. Eastwood,

I hate writing letters honestly so Im just going to write it here out on the internet in hopes it joins some weird circle that you catch wind of. Please direct and star as lead role in a remake of The Grey Fox, originally performed by the late Richard Farnsworth, before you die. I know you are essentially done with westerns but I totally feel that is a missed role meant for you and that you could totally pull it off.

It has all the makings of a good subtle and comedic western with an elder train robber who gets out of prison after years of being in the slammer, the world has changed around him, all his friends are gone, he knows nothing more than train robbing but since its harder to rob trains in the US he decides to try Canada. I think you could do The Grey Fox some real justice remaking this film. Please consider it.


2014 Rose Parade – Are traditional values screwed?

2014 Tournament of Roses ParadeSo this year the Tournament of Roses will allow a marriage to take place on the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s float, Living the Dream: Love Is the Best Protection, a float that was created to celebrate victories in 2013 for gay marriage “advocates”.  The issue at hand to an increasing amount of people is that the bride and groom are men, long term gay partners and the marriage will be performed in public view during course of the parade that is family oriented, including children, which makes it a like it or not event regardless of personal religious beliefs, views and opinions.

A little quick history, the first ever parade was started by the Members of Pasadena’s Valley Hunt Club in 1890 at the suggestion of one of its members, Professor Charles Holder. Most of the members had all relocated and settled from the East and Midwest and they loved their little corner of California and its weather so much that the parade served to essentially advertise to the world about their little slice of California paradise. Only about 2,000 spectators showed up at the time (c. 1890) and the good Professor is the one who actually suggested the name “Tournament of Roses.” I would advise anyone interested to view the Rose Parade wiki.

Although political agendas were not originally thought or design of the parade, throughout the years, especially in war time, there have been floats celebrating those who have given their lives, floats celebrating cancer survivors and other such theme related floats but if you read up a bit on parade history you will find the originating founders of the parade had God completely on their minds. So much so that they would not even hold a parade or related activities if it fell on a Sunday. Oh there will be those who will say that it was mostly because back then such a parade would disturb church services or tied up horses but if that were the case they could have moved the start time to after church service.

The Foundation spokesman for AIDS Healthcare Foundation said the organization supports legal same-sex marriage because it encourages more stable relationships among gay men as well as behavior that will prevent the spread of HIV. Really? The AHF’s mission is supposedly to deliver medical services and advocacy in fighting AIDS worldwide. What ever set the foundation for such a thought or statement and where is the published research that even enforces their findings? By the very statement it appears that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is not merely using their float to celebrate gay marriage advocates, as it was designed to do, but is using the float to push the political agenda of gay marriages and the decreased value of traditional marriage.

The Foundation spokesman for AIDS Healthcare Foundation also made a statement that he thinks the wedding is perfect to honor the parade’s theme of “Dreams Come True,” by showing the dream of lesbians and gay men realized. I have a bit of a problem with this actually since gay marriage is actually legal in several states – everyone has dreams – how is marrying two men during a parade even in the same spectrum of the AHF’s mission?

Why wasn’t George Takei considered? That is someone who actually and completely deserves recognition for his contributions to human rights and gay rights – a true advocate with the dream of equality. Instead, the representatives will be two gay men who were picked out of 15 gay couples to get married in public view in a venue that is really undeserving of such a thing.

By the by, I should point out that these men will not be the only gay couple to represent on the AHF float. Another couple, two women who have been together for forty-two years and married for the last five years will be riding along. The Mr. and Mr. marriage is scheduled to occur at 9:30 A.M. PST.

Look, I’m steadfast on traditional marriage but feel that if gays and lesbians want to get married it should be called an equal partnership with the same benefit rights that married couples enjoy.  I have friends that are gay and all-in-all they are the best friends anyone could have. Just because I don’t agree with their lifestyle does not mean I hate them, think less of them, makes them any lesser a human being nor will I not support their endeavors. I will be the first to stand up and say if you believe in something then fight for it and your right to be heard. I still encourage that but at the same time I am in full support of traditional family values of family and procreation. Don’t hate me for my beliefs and don’t make me believe in something that I don’t. Encouragement – man I’ll give all I can. If people want equality though, there is a flag that comes to mind with a nice old saying on it “Don’t tread on me”, that includes my beliefs. Give me respect and I will give you equal respect in return.

I live in Pasadena, will continue to show up in support of the parade, and me and my family may still be inclined to walk down the street to attend the parade since the marriage will take place at least thirty minutes or so before it even reaches us, that way I don’t have to explain anything to my kids. Everything has a time and place, even for learning about life. I simply don’t feel that right now is the time for them to learn about same sex anything. That’s also my right, as a parent.

For the FYI, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation website will be number 82 in order, right behind the (81) McQueen High School “Lancer Band” and before (83) Lutheran Mayman’s League.


I felt inclined to update this. The AHF float was toward the end of the parade and lasted about 30 seconds or so, if that, from what I had seen on TV. I recorded it to watch it later in contrast to what I had seen merely standing out on the boulevard for an hour. The float/ceremony was short and simple but my mind has not changed. I feel that given the AHF’s mission that George Takei would have been far better a representative than the AHF’s public ceremony of two men getting married.


Pasadena Tournament of Roses – Official Site

Pasadena Tournament of Roses – Wikipedia

Pasadena Tournament of Roses – Wikipedia

Tournament of Roses (Rose Parade) – Facebook

Santa Claus – Black or White?

I was just reading this story on MSN about a teacher who told his black student who showed up dressed as Santa that Santa Claus is white. Over the years I recall reading similar stories from around the country. On its own, the reduction of ethics, and common sense, among a lot of teachers is quite appalling.

I have family members who are, or have been, teachers and can solidly vouch for their integrity but there is not a week gone by that strengthens my overall outlook that the integrity of teachers is going down the shitter with reports of sexual misconduct, accepting bribes and sex for good grades, abuse or other misconduct, abusing children with autism, and even racism. All-in-all I dare say that these teachers have themselves become the bully’s. It is no wonder parents are electing for home schooling rather than expose their kids to that.

Enough of that rant. So, getting down to it, is Santa Clause black, is he white, does he carry an ethnic background at all? The answer to one of those is certainly yes. There is quite a bit of history to the founding of Christmas but I will start with how the image of Santa historically came about, that I know of.

The modern image of Santa Claus is actually derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas which also is linked to the creative tales associated with the historical figure of Christian bishop and gift-giver Saint Nicholas. Over time, character traits from tales and folklore are how the character of Father Christmas merged to form the modern Santa Claus known today. It wasn’t until the 1881 illustration by Thomas Nast whom with the help of Clement Clarke Moore helped to create the modern image of Santa Claus, which over time still continued to change a bit. Before that the jolly old fat man did not exist as the Christmas idol we have all come to know year by year. I urge anyone interested to research on their own starting with this great wiki on Wikipedia’s website.

So what the heck happened to Christmas? Most don’t even know St. Nick was an actual Saint let alone who Sinterklaas, Nast or Moore was, or that the jolly old fat dude really stands for the spirit of Christmas. Unfortunately, Santa is now the idol representative of a yearly commercial enterprise that lures people into stores with snake-charmer like abilities to buy things for friends, family and other loved-ones regardless of if they can afford them. These days I at times will jokingly say to people to have a “Merry Commercialized Christmas” and they sort of look at me funny but I can tell they know what I mean.

Yes, I’m no exception to buying anything at Christmas time but it’s for our kids really. I exercise the commercial aspect of it with my kids still as custom dictates so don’t get me wrong but my wife and I instill in them every year what Christmas truly means. It’s not all about the gifts you receive but it’s about the spirit of Christmas – family, health, religion, praying and giving thanks for what we have and for goodwill to everyone. We may buy a gift card to a restaurant or a food gift basket for someone, but I lack psychic abilities otherwise in knowing what someone actually “wants” for Christmas.

As a kid I was brought up as anyone else believing in Santa, wanting toys and candy, waking up that Christmas morning to see what Santa brought. As I got older I learned more and more what it meant. I recall when I learned that Santa didn’t exist at all and I really didn’t mind. I was watching Santa Conquers the Martians, made the same year I was born but watching it like seven years or so later.

So, black, white, ethnic background? I would say that Santa Claus represents all of the above. He is of all ethnic persuasions being that Santa is supposed to represent the Spirit of Christmas, that aspect of giving, love, happiness and joy. So the black kid going to school dressed as Santa – more power to that young man and anyone else, regardless of race, color and creed, that want to suit up and spread good cheer! As for that teacher – “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch………”

Some good reference links

Saint Nicholas – a brief history

Santa Claus Links


The History and Origins of Santa Claus

Santa Clause Wikipedia

My 10 year watch

This is my 10 year watch I was given back in March of this year by the CEO of the company that laid me off this month, eight months later. Nice but in good conscience I don’t think I will be able to wear it since it no longer holds the same value. I’ll keep it to remember what once was though.


I, President

Ive been President of our HOA since its infancy almost 8 years ago now and I still often wonder why I put myself through this hell. Some of the main reasons I got involved were 1) I wanted to be aware of what was going on in our complex, 2) I wanted to know how my money (Dues/Assessments) was being spent, 3) have some control over how money was being spent and 4) I wanted to ensure my property value and 5) because I like being a leader. Having now been continuously voted back as President by the membership (all homeowners) I have to think I am doing something right. 

Personally I hate finances but I do it out of personal necessity. Luckily when it comes to the HOA we have a a rather excellent finance person as Treasurer and I do enjoy in assisting to enforce that our budget is strong so that we are meeting our needs by keeping monthly dues/assessments as low as possible and still being able to operate and fund projects, keep our reserves and operating budget strong. We are close to 90% funded, that’s almost a million dollars, with an M.

I think what I have accomplished as a Board leader is most unheard of in the realm of HOA’s in that we have nearly 100 condo units and have successfully been able to function financially since 2006 with only one increase in HOA dues. I think that is a substantial accomplishment. I also had the intent when I first came on as Board President to make sure we were not seen as  the stigmatic HOA that people are so used to hearing about, those rogue groups painted as neo-Nazi’s or something that like to control and complain about everything and rule people’s lives.

You wont find that in this HOA, at least not on my watch. A peeve I have, although I realize the necessity of laws, is the manner in which we have to conduct business. Things just dont happen as rapidly as I would personally like. As an example, we have a bicycle room that took almost two years to complete because we do one phase, wait for the next meeting and vote on the next phase, wait for the next meeting, you get the idea. Its annoying but we do it that way to ensure our financial strength and enforce some operational rules.

Dealing with people has its moments as well. As with any condo complex we have to put up a high turnaround of renters, owners renting when they shouldn’t be (we have a rental cap), out of town owners (other states and countries) that are hard to get a hold of in the event of emergencies because they dont give us updated contact info.

As an example of an incident, we have a no BBQ rule because of a city ordinance of BBQs on condo balconies. One day a resident knocks on my door from the second floor and tells me that a smoke detector has been going off inside their neighbors unit and they were simply telling me on their way out for a walk. Well they came back a couple hours later and the guy popped back by to tell me their neighbors smoke detector was still going off. We both went up and knocked on the door, felt the walls, door and doorknob, we didnt feel anything. However, I we smelled around the sides of the door and smelled smoke. the first thing in my mind was OH SHIT we have a slow fire started so I called 911.

You would have thought that the entire Battalion showed up by the amount of fire trucks that showed up. So they went up to the second floor at the door and verified the smell of smoke, I gave the authorization for entry and they literally took a heavy battering ram and opened the door – unit doors are thick and heavy.

Once the door was opened you can see smoke roll out but the firemen couldn’t find where it was coming from. they checked every room and the kitchen and then noticed the sliding glass door open. Going out on the balcony they looked down to see someone was having a BBQ and what was occurring is that the smoke was going up, into the unit above them and filling that unit full of smoke which activated the smoke detector.

So, because the person on the first floor couldn’t follow the rule about no BBQ’s they ended up paying for all costs associated with this incident, including a hefty fine from the HOA, in due process of course. However, since the fire department had it in writing what the cause of the incident was, due process of a meeting with the unit owner was a formality.

We have had other issues as well, mail package thefts, people moving in the middle of the night, damage to property, pool parties and asking topless girls to please put their tops back on or leave the pool and Jacuzzi area. Such is life in an HOA really.

We’ve had several positive accomplishments, we have a new bicycle room for residents, the pool and Jacuzzi has been resurfaced and the deck redone in a longer lasting, low maintenance top. We are replacing sections of our tile with a a longer lasting covering with stenciled tiles, you cant even tell its not real tiles. Our landscaping is beautiful, the gym has new weight and treadmill equipment, the billiards room has been reworked, our laundry rooms are – laundering. After much grief, and three years, our aged property plumbing is also working better than ever. That was no easy task with a condo property of almost 100 units.

After this though, I will never own another condo as long as I live. I will pitch a family sized tent first. Its nice in a way to be an owner and have a Board of Directors and management company taking care of things but I like the thought of a house where the only person to answer to is me, well my wife anyway. So for now I think I will just keep doing what I do, make my contributions until such a time that we can sell when the market is healthy and move to a nice house.

And life goes on …..