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In Santa Monica

I’m here at the hotel in Santa Moncia, just before 10 AM local time. My flight got in a little early. The flight was more than half empty, I’d estimate. There were some bumps, but nothing I’d consider moderate. I managed to sleep about 2 hours on the flight, and spent most of the rest of the time nearly finishing up The Many Worlds of Barry Malzberg,

I’m feeling feverish again–I thought it was perhaps because I was crammed in on the plane, but I don’t know. The only medicine I have with me (because I was feeling better) is Tylenol PM, so I’m running over to the drug store to get some Advil. The Tylenol PM seems to do nothing for the fever.

I managed to get the same room here at the hotel as I did last time–which was back in September, I think. It’s close to the elevators, which is good, but it looks right out onto the pool–in fact, there is a door and I can walk out there directly from my room if I wanted to. I don’t think that will be too much of a problem, as even in late January, swimming conditions aren’t optimal in L.A.

Lisa is picking me up at 11:30 to go to the kickball game. Mom and Dad are meeting me for dinner at 5:30. I’m off to get some Advil and then maybe some breakfast.

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On my way to L.A.

Up at 4:30 AM ET. I’m all packed and ready to go. The car was waiting out front when I woke up this morning at 4:30, which was good because they’ve cut it close the last couple times I’ve used the service. Looks like my flight is ontime as well. I’ve given Zeke a ton and a half of food, even though the neighbors will be in to check on him.

Off to the airport now.

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Finished Harsh Mistress

I finished The Moon is a Harsh Mistress about 10 minutes ago. It was pretty good–I give it 3-stars–but of all Heinlein’s award winning books that I’ve read, I rate it only above Stranger In a Strange Land. I think that Starship Troopers and Doublestar were both better stories. I also liked Podkayne of Mars better too. But it wasn’t bad. The writing style was interesting, different from much of what I’ve read of Heinlein.

I’m going to start reading The Many Worlds of Barry Malzberg next and I’m looking forward to the change in pace and style.

I went to T.G.I.Friday’s for a late lunch today–something I rarely to these days anymore. But I was craving quesadilla and figured, why not? When I got home, I read for a little while and soon grew sleepy so I napped for about an hour. It’s been a lazy day.

All chores are taken care of. I’ve still go to pack but that shouldn’t take long. The hosue is clean and I’m more or less ready to head off to L.A. Car picks me up at 5 AM.

If I get into L.A. on time (I’m scheduled to get in at 9:30 AM PT), then I’m supposed to go to Lisa and Andy’s kickball game tomorrow. Lisa is picking me up at the hotel at 11:30. And then dinner with Mom and Dad tomorrow evening.

Oh, one last thing–this is my one hundredth post to this journal. That’s roughly three posts per day over the last month.

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Which religion is right for you?

I came across this quiz online. It contained 54 questions about various beliefs, etc. I took it because it thought it would be amusing, not because I beleive these statements actually reflect a set of beliefs. But the results were suprisingly accurate anyway. My results are below. At the bottom, there is a link to take the quiz for anyone who wishes to be similarly amused.

You scored as atheism. You are… an atheist, though you probably already knew this. Also, you probably have several people praying daily for your soul.

Instead of simply being “nonreligious,” atheists strongly believe in the lack of existence of a higher being, or God.

atheism

75%

agnosticism

58%

Satanism

50%

Paganism

42%

Buddhism

29%

Judaism

25%

Islam

25%

Christianity

17%

Hinduism

0%

Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.com

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Lots to do today

I have a lot to do today in preparation for my trip to L.A. My neighbors are going to be watching house and checking in on Zeke while I’m gone so that much is already taken care of.

I did get started up again on exercises this morning. I started out with 25 pushups after getting out of bed. That means 26 tomorrow.

I have one more load of laundry to do, but can get that done a little later today as I won’t actually pack things up until this evening.

Among the things that I do need to get done today:

  • Clean the kitchen
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Vacuum the house
  • Clean off the kitchen table (lots of mail scattered across the table that needs to be organized)
  • Take out trash
  • Pack for the trip

With respect to the latter, I haven’t decided yet if I am going to bring both my work laptop and my iBook with me or not. I’m leaning toward both at the moment, but we’ll see. It’s a lot to lug around through the airport.

I also want to finish reading The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress today. I’ve got about 100 pages to go and I’m pretty sure I can finish it up today, although that might take time away from getting the chores done. That’s always the problem. Not only that, but it’s a beautiful day today, clear skies, very light breeze, and the temperature is near 60 degrees! 60 degrees on January 28! I’m thinking about pulling the chair out into the front yard and reading outside for a few hours.

Anyway, lots to do, and I’m feeling lazy. Perfect combination.

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Why I won’t gamble

Having seen that I am going to Las Vegas in March, I’ve had friends and family urging me to at least try some gambling. After all, why else go to Vegas? Having heard this enough, I’ve therefore decided to put down on virtual paper the reasons why I won’t gamble. So, what follows are those reason, in order of least important to most important. Hopefully, this will explain things once and for all.

Reason #1: I don’t think of gambling as fun
Some people go to Las Vegas (or any place with casinos) because they get a thrill from gambling, an endorphine rush, a kind of “high” from the experience. While I applaud these people and their ability to find enjoyment, and while I make no judgments, I can say quite firmly that I am not one of these types of people. I once spent $10 in a casino on a cruise ship and it was the least-entertaining $10 I ever spent. When I walked into the casino, I was happy; when I left, five minutes later, I was annoyed.

Reason #2: The house always wins
This is undeniable. Play long enough, and no matter how much you win, you’ll end up losing more. This is true of any game that is heavily dependent upon chance, but moreso when stakes like money are involved. Now, for someone who enjoys the thrill that comes along with the risk; for someone who enjoys the thought of potential winnings, this reason doesn’t matter. But as I stated in reason #1, I am not one of those people. Add to that the fact that I am too conscious that the house always wins that this would probably affect my decision-making negatively, almost assuring that I would lose whatever money I would have spent on a chance. I simply don’t see the fun in playing a game that involves money when the odds are stacked greatly against you.

Reason #3: I don’t want to throw my money away
This is really a corrolary of reason 2. Knowing that the house always wins, and knowing that I don’t enjoy gambling, it would be insane of me to throw money away on it.

Reason #4: What if I won?
I have always said that I never want to win money. I’m not even going to try and explain myself here, as when I have stated this in the past, people think I am completed nuts. But it’s true. I’ve never played the lottery or entered any luck-based contest where I could win money because I don’t want to win money. I’m not looking to get rich quickly. But what if I gambled and I won? It would be, in a sense, easy money, and might I not be tempted to try again to win even more? Might I not become so greedy that I become blinded to the fact that I don’t like gambling, and keep throwing away money, in hopes of that slim chance that I might win again? Might this not become addicting? I don’t honestly know that I would be strong enough to resist such a temptation if I were to win even once. It is for this reason, more than any other, that I will not gamble. We all have to know our limits–I was taught this more clearly than ever back when I was taking flying lessons. I might be able to throw away $50 at a blackjack table (unhappily). But what if, before my $50 was gone, I ended up winning? If that happened, then I might not be able to stop.

So then why go to Las Vegas at all?

I would think the answer there is an obvious one: to hang out with friends.

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Studio City

I woke up this morning missing Studio City.

This happens now and then. I think it was the fact that it was bright and sunny out this morning (although only 41 degrees) and the quality of light reminded me of waking up in Studio City on a Saturday morning. Studio City was great on Saturday mornings. We’d get up usually around 9 AM. Tawnya would go to the gym. I would get up and walk the half-block down Tujunga to Ventura and get a Coca Cola Big Gulp from the 7-11 on the corner. Then I would return home, and sit out on the porch, chair propped back, feet up on the railing, whatever book I was currently reading spread open on my lap. I would sit there for hours, soaking in the words and the sun. It was wonderful.

I’ve never been a fan of L.A., even though I lived there for nearly 20 years. However, I’ve said it before, and will say it again now, that if I did ever move back to Southern California, the one and only place I’d choose to live would be back in Studio City.

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What books to take to Santa Monica?

I’ve only got tomorrow to do a whole list of chores and errands and then I fly to L.A. at 6 AM Sunday morning. So just now, before heading off to bed, I scanned the bookshelves, trying to decide what to take with me to Santa Monica.

It’s hard to decide because I can never tell how much I’m actually going to read. Sometimes I’ll read a lot while in L.A. Other times, hardly at all. It always seems like a great way to get a lot of reading done. There in the hotel room after work with nothing to do, grab a book, walk over to the beach, plant myself on a bench and read into the setting sun. Never happens. Usually I’m wiped out. I have trouble deciding what to eat, if I eat by myself, or I’m going out to dinner with friends and by the time I get back to the hotel, I’m too tired to read.

Anyway, seeing as how I should finish up The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress tomorrow, I ended up pulling two Barry Malzberg short story collections off the shelf:

  • The Many Worlds of Barry Malzberg
  • The Beet of Barry N. Malzberg

    (I’m in the mood for short stories and Malzberg is one of the finest short story writers I’ve ever come across. I place him up there with Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison, also he is stylistically, very different from either.)

    The thing is: will two be enough? Maybe, maybe not, so I need a third as a backup, just in case. (There’s almost nothing that annoys me more then finishing a book away from home, and not having a backup to get started on right away.)

    So I need to scan the shelves a little longer–but not tonight. I’m wiped out and off to bed.

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  • Back to push-ups and sit-ups

    I spoke to mom today and she mentioned that she had started up at a new gym and it got me thinking that I really need to get back into the swing of things. I’d been doing pretty well for a while, daily pushups and situps, but that seemed to wane away after I got back from Hawaii.

    So tomorrow I’m starting again, same way as I did last time. I use a fairly simple formula: start with x pushups and y situps. Each thereafter, do x+1 pushups and y+1 situps. Continue x+1, y+1 until I can’t possibly go any higher. When I last left off, I was up to 30 pushups, twice a day (morning and evening). I’m too embarassed to mention how many sit-ups I could do. That was three months ago, so I’ll probably have to start lower.

    I really should find a way to work in some cardio as well, but I’m so out of shape, cardio-wise, that it’s like climb out of painfully intense gravity well. I can barely think about running for 5 minutes, let alone 20 minutes three times a week. But if I don’t do it now, I’ll only regret it later.

    Anyway, I’ll get started with the pushups and situps because I can do those in the comfort of my bedroom, first thing out of bed, like I was doing before, to get them over with. (Also, not a bad way to get the blood flowing at 6 AM.)

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    Itinerary for Santa Monica trip is firming up

    As of this moment, I’ve got one kickball game to attend (assuming I get into L.A. in time), two lunches already scheduled, and three dinners. Plus and entire Saturday with some friends. That leaves three slots open for lunch, and three slots open for dinner. The lunches will fill up. Don’t know about the dinners.

    That’s all squeezed in between 4 full days worth of Crystal Reports training classes. Hopefully, nothing churns an appetite like database reporting.

    I’ve been having some problem with remote access to my office, but that was taken care of today (in theory). I’ll know more when I get home this evening, as it will be one of the first things that I’ll test.

    Incidentally, I have a bad headache right now. Took some Advil about 40 minutes ago but they might as well have been placebos for all the good they’ve done.

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    Laughing outloud in the middle of the night

    I woke up in the middle of the night last night, to a strange sound–strangely familiar, actually–and for a few seconds, I couldn’t quite place it. I live close to a railroad line and often hear freight trains sounding their horns in the middle of the night. In a half-sleep stupor that noise can sometimes sound eerie–almost like a human voice wailing.

    But that wasn’t the noise.

    It took only a second or two, but I finally realized what the noise was–because I could still hear it.

    It was the sound of my own laughter.

    That’s right, I once again woke myself up in the middle of the night because I was having a dream funny enough to make me laugh outloud. This time, unfortunately, I can’t remember what the dream was, not a single detail. But I do remember that by the time I fully recognized that I was laughing, I was nearly sitting up in bed. That, of course, made me laugh even louder and that in turn scared Zeke (who was curled up at the foot of the bed) who woke suddenly, and jumped off the bed.

    Zeke went into the kitchen to nibble at his cat food.

    I went back to sleep.

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    Smallville 100th Episode

    That was one of the best Smallville episodes ever. The lead-in had me jumping up and down and hooting and screaming. It was a really well done show overall. I can see how they’ve set things up for Clark to begin to discover what his purpose really is.

    Incidentally, Kryptonsite (http://www.kryptonsite.com) appears to be so busy right now that I can’t get the page to load. A lot of people must be checking in to see what happened in the episode–it won’t air for another 90 minutes on the west coast.

    What’s frustrating is that I realized that since I will be in Santa Monica next week, I’m not sure I’ll get to see next week’s episode. The hotel that I stay at does not, for some reason, get the WB on their cable service.

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