Thursday, April 15, 2021

If At First You Don't Succeed

So, after the last mailroom break-in, management solved the problem of the dime-store handle, which was so easily hacked last weekend, by installing what looks like a duplicate dime-store handle.

Only this time, they’ve put up some sort of iron barrier behind it.

Inside View

I can’t even speculate as to how this is to prevent entry, once the outer door handle is hacked again ─ maybe the perp can't reach in or stick something in to manipulate the unlocking mechanism, but time will tell.

Speaking of firsts ... back in December, going through books stored in the outdoor storage area, I found a book I’d had for more years than I could remember. Realizing that, though I’d had it for years, I’d not read it ─ for whatever reason, I removed the book from storage and put it on the nightstand in the I’ll get around to it pile.

I finished Walter Mosley’s Blood Grove the other night (which, by the way was such a wild ride that, when I got to the end ... feeling exhausted because I felt like I was going through the experiences with him, I closed the book, took a deep breath and heard myself say to myself “That was stressful”), but well worth the read.

Last night I got started on the book I’d pulled out of storage.

How long have I had that book you ask?

Looking at the publication date of 1960, I've held onto the book for decades.

It appears to be a First Edition, purchase price, back in the day, of $10.95.

Thinking it might be another found treasure, like the 1969 autographed copy of Louise Huebner I’d held onto, I did a little research and found used editions now going in the range of $60 to $120, which is meh.

This book isn’t autographed. One of my Walter Mosley books is autographed, but I’ve never had an opportunity to meet Ru.

Twin 1 did ... met Ru that is, back in June of 2019, when Twin 1 had an appearance on the set of Good Day LA to discuss her work with the homeless on Skid Row.

I’m thinking, an autograph might bump the book up a hundred or so. However, there was one seller offering a “collectible” for $4,748!

I’m not exactly sure what a “collectible” is, but good luck with that because ─ even with an autograph, that’s excessive for a used paperback with black and white photos.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

One Happy Buddha

Do you recognize this Buddha?

It’s the one that graced the corner of partner’s roll top desk at the Pain Cave ─ minus the ying yang cups that is. The cups are a long time possession of mine.

As to how I came into possession of that happy Buddha, Trainer and partner parted ways last Friday. 

It was amicable.

After a year of wrangling over price, partner decided to move his family back to the Philippines ─ where his other business interests are, and sold his share of the business to Trainer.

Partner abandoned the desk, which Trainer is keeping, and the Buddha, which I offered to buy but Trainer said “No. You can have it”.

Trainer also let me have the lucky numbers from the desk, and these guys ─ which Trainer no longer wanted to see on the walls.

They’re Thai wooden hand-carved musicians, which might be what Dawn calls “found treasure” because of the jewels.

My luck has been pretty good, so I won’t need to hang the numbers. I’ll just store them, and the musicians, in the outdoor storage area until I’m led as to what to do with them.

Heading out to run errands this morning, I left Head Maintenance Guy (HMG) inside my unit alone, tending to the smoke detector. And, yes, the detector decided today was the day to work my nerves and start acting up again.

At any rate, HMG being otherwise occupied upstairs, it gave me an opportunity to talk to Assistant Maintenance Guy (AMG) ─ standing downstairs in the quad, about his experience in having tested positive Covid 19.

Seeing him up close, he looked like bloody hell ─ tired, skin grayish in color, shoulders slumped.

“How are you?” asked I.

He said he was excessively tired, couldn’t walk far without stopping, can now barely make it up the stairs in the complex without holding onto railing.

He has a cough he says he can’t get rid of and, while going through it, he not only could not breathe, he could not eat. Lost 20 pound in two weeks.

And even though he couldn’t eat, he had been plagued with excessive diarrhea during the time he was under medical care ─ where he says, “They gave me everything they could think of”.

”Glad you’re still alive”, said I and asked if he’d been vaccinated before the prognosis.

He had not, but plans to get vaccinated when his wait period ends in something like 30 days.

Evidentially, after testing positive, being hospitalized, recovering, there are x number of days before one can get vaccinated.

As to how he caught Covid, AMG made no mention of HMG having contracted it first, possibly passing it around. He thinks he contracted it at Sam’s Club.

Asking if I’ve been vaccinated, I replied, “No. I’m waiting to see the long-term side effects”.

AMG did not judge me, as Big Friendly Guy and Handsome Man did when they said they’d both been vaccinated, asked if I had and were visibly appalled when I’d said “No. I’m waiting to see the long-term side effects”.

All of a sudden, Handsome Guy took the position of talking down to me, like I was a child ... “It’s like any other shot. You’ve had shots before haven’t you?”

"Sure, but all I'm hearing are short-term effects. I want to know what the long-term effects might be."

Big Friendly Guy actually got mad, a little loud and challenged me with “And just what are the short-term effects?”

“I’ve heard, you get a sore arm and a little tired”, said I.

”Exactly!” said Big Friendly Guy and turned his head away from me, signifying that’s all there is to say.

On no he didn’t, said I to myself, getting hot under the collar that as old as I am, older than either of them, and probably wiser, that they’d attack me over something that was none of their business in the first place ─ my body, my choice. So, I reiterated ─ punctuating my words in a short staccato manner, through clenched teeth, “Those are the short-term effects. I’m waiting to see the long-term effects. I’ll keep wearing a mask, social distance, I’ll be fine."

They got the message, backed off, and I went on my way. LOL.

Big Friendly Guy appears to have gotten over the confrontation because, seeing him in the Laundry Room this past Sunday, he was off his judgmental soap box and back on terra firma.

So, I don’t know about playing it smart, as AMG calls it. It’s a choice I’m making to be cautious ... waiting ... watching, willing to accept the consequences of my action or inaction, saying to AMG, “I’m 77 years old. If waiting is a mistake and I end up dying, I’ve lived long enough.”

Looking at the news this morning, it appears my being cautions ... waiting ... watching has already paid off.

I actually remember scoffing when J&J came out with a vaccine. Isn’t that the group that caused cancer in women with its talc powder ... allegedly, thought I at the time. Who’s gonna trust their vaccine?

Evidently, a lot of folks trusted ‘em. And now we’re hearing about blood clots, with one death.

Would that person still be alive if they'd taken their chances and waited? 

I dunno, but something to think about.

Returning to the complex after those errands, I saw the old smoke detector has been replaced with a newer version. There was also an email from Complex Manager that, if the problem persists, they’ll call in an electrician.

Problem detector replaced, an electrician if problem persists ... I can only attribute this to my having threatened to do what I learned a few weeks back from The Talker ─ I threatened to call the Fire Department, have them come look at what I felt was a defective detector. LOL.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Lessons Not Learned

Another quiet weekend around here, that is ..... if you don’t count when I took a stroll down to the mail center yesterday to pick up mail delivered the previous day and saw this ....

It’s difficult to see through the security gate, but the left side has been torn down, mail boxes looted.

Looking for stimulus checks, I imagine.

I’d blogged, back in early March, about installation of the security gate and door, accessed by use of our common area key. I’d commented that we should be okay insofar as break-ins “for a while”. Emphasis on “for a while” because, looking at the dime store key handle, it didn’t look like much of a challenge for a seasoned criminal to pop, unscrew or pry loose.

It appears that’s exactly how entry was made.



When will this management group learn you get what you pay for ─ all that iron gate and a cheap key handle.

Returning from the Pain Cave this morning, "closed" sign removed from the security gate, I was able to get a better photo of inside.

Looks like management has been able to re-secure the bottom row of boxes.

The security people, who drive around the property once a night, don’t get out of the car. They just do a loop around the property, take off and their agency gets paid.

In the upper right hand corner of the photo is a camera. Doesn’t seem to be serving a purpose insofar as identifying the culprit(s).

With management personnel living right above the mail center ─ seeming not to hear the banging and clanging of boxes being broken into, management might consider a ring camera type set up, attached to the staffers, so they can't continue to ignore.

So there’s that.

And speaking of lessons not learned, there’s this ...

With the climate being what it’s been since George Floyd was murdered by Chauvin & Company, you’d think this Virginia Cop Joe Gutierrez would know better than to harass, intimidate, pepper spray, a Black man, let alone an Army Lieutenant for no reason whatsoever. Gutierrez went so far as to threatened to have Lieutenant Nazario's commission taken away if he lodged a complaint.

In the video, Gutierrez appears to be looking for an excuse to kill Lieutenant Nazario.

The Lieutenant was smart to have driven to a lighted area and kept his hands raised, even though Gutierrez ordered him to unbuckle his seat belt because, had he lowered his hands to do so, Gutierrez would have used that movement as an excuse to shoot. Like what was done a few years back to Philando Castile.

Philando was just a passenger, disclosed he had a license to carry and, when he reached for license and registration ─ as requested even though he wasn't driving and shouldn't have been asked, the cops murdered him.

As for threatening the Lieutenant's commission, now that the world knows this happened and the Lieutenant is suing, I hope he takes Gutierrez' pension, house, car ... everything.

Since the cops can't seem to manage their hatred, maybe they'd think twice if they were made to realize how much they have to lose if they don't keep their hatred in check.

Consequences should be part of their training.

I don’t even know what to say about the latest ─ the kid murdered for having a car freshener in his rear window.

Not sure this was even a real thing, I googled “is it illegal to hang air freshener in car”. Evidently, it is in California ... “You cannot hang items, or objects, from your rear-view mirror because it could possibly obstruct your view”.

I don’t recall reading that in the DMV book or seeing it on a test, but I bet it will be covered in the next edition.

At any rate, a further example of lessons not learned ─ the cop that chose to shoot even though the atmosphere is what it is.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Big Reveal Part 2

At Wednesday’s session, Trainer said his wife had visited the studio, took one look at the position of the treadmill and said “NO”.

Nothing else, just “NO”.

As a consequence of his wife’s resounding NO, I walked into the Cave this morning and found ......

Treadmill is now on the opposite side of the room, facing the picture window, open areas well within sight.

Perfect placement and, oddly enough, telling the story of my life — as it is now, because the placement has my back to the feng shui Relationships corner, back to Family wall.

My problem solved, Trainer’s problem solved as he can still fold it up out of the way, and Trouble with his wife avoided — had he ignored her opinion.

Exiting the kitchen yesterday, headed for my perch on the couch by the patio window, I grabbed the cell phone and took a photo of what I saw across the way.

It’s Assistant Maintenance Guy! He’s back, and appeared to be measuring the window for screens.

Glad he survived his diagnosis.

He’s friendly and chatty when Head Maintenance Guy isn’t around. So, I’ll have to catch him during such a moment, tell him it’s good to see him back, ask how he feels now and find out how it was when he was going through having tested Covid positive.

It’s looking like I’m going to have to spoil my view of outside, keep the blinds closed, or only partially open, now that the ugly curtains are gone and there’s a wide open view to inside my unit from across the quad.

I almost got caught fully nude one morning.

It was back in 2013, when corporate took over the complex and was having the building painted.

There were a few days when the windows had been covered with tarp, taped in place, leaving me foot loose and fancy free inside, insofar as walking around not fully clothed, while blinds were open to allow some little sunlight to seep into the unit through the tarp. On one such morning I was on the computer, not semi but completely nude while waiting for bath water to run.

All of a sudden, I saw an edge of the window cover being ripped away.

I didn’t know I could move as fast as I did, when I jumped up, crouched down and fled into the back room.

Painting completed, a worker had climbed a ladder, gotten onto the patio, and was stripping away the window coverings.

Don't think the worker was faster than I, caught a glimpse of anything. But, if he did, all he would have seen was a brown flash.

With office staff now all present and accounted for, having lived through and around Covid, the governor declaring California open again, things might get back to somewhat of a new normal around here ─ with maybe outdoor events.

I’m just looking forward to when I can safely walk the University’s campus again, and for in-person 5Ks to restart.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Cat People

Returning from the Cave yesterday, I swung by the mailbox and, as I passed the pool, I spotted something odd.

Turns out it’s a cage .... cat trap.

Some time ago, management posted notices to our doors indicating they were going to trap the stray cats roaming the property and turn them over to Animal Control.

First, they got rid of Cat Lady (rightly so, she was a menace). Now they’re after her cats, but I don’t believe for one second management will do something humane, like turn the cats over to Animal Control.

The joke’s on them, because there’s more than just that one Cat Lady here on the complex.

One, a friendly old lady who exercises daily by walking around and around and around the property with her walker, is like a pied piper ─ cats follow wherever she goes.

The other, who I think hit the blog once before as Little Linda, is a stone cold beoch ─ not very old, and a drinking buddy of the neighbor I recently blogged about being moved in with family because drinking got the best of her and she could no longer care for herself.

Little Linda is decidedly NOT friendly to people, but falls under the category of cat lady.

There’s probably plenty more cat ladies around here, but these are the only two ─ other than the original cat lady, that I'm aware of.

At any rate, figuring management’s plan to trap the strays wasn’t going to sit well with any of the cat people, I pictured that trap, and others I've not yet spotted around the property, being destroyed.

Surprise, surprise ... management was expecting the same because, on the notice was a caveat that, “Anyone seen tapering with these traps or seen trying to free any captured cats will be receive a lease violation up to termination of their lease.”

I wonder if the other cat ladies can use typos in that caveat as an excuse, if caught tampering with the cages ─ that they didn’t know they were doing anything wrong because they didn’t understand what “tapering” meant. LOL.

While I was photographing this cat trap, along comes a cat.

I began, in my mind, screaming at it to “DON’T GO IN THERE. IT’S A TRAP!”

Must have heard me because fortunately it didn’t.

Instead, the cat went under the chairs to take a nap in the shade.

Hopefully, the cat didn’t later ─ seeking water and food, get herself trapped.

How do I know it’s a herself, not a himself?

That’s because, the cat being a long-time fixture around the place, if she’s not seen for a while, I’ve encountered cat people out looking for her, asking if I've seen the “mama” cat.

The strays aren’t hurting anyone. They help to keep the lizard population down. So, I don’t know why the big deal about getting rid of them.

Residents wishing to save them may have to Anne Frank 'em ─ hide cats in their units until management gives up and gets rid of the traps.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Found Treasures

At Monday’s big reveal of the Pain Cave’s renovation, I saw that partner’s office had been demolished to expand the workout area. He and Trainer are now sharing an office in the back.

While working out that day, the corner of partner’s desk caught my attention. I don’t generally pay attention to such things, so I’m beginning to think reading Dawn the Bohemian’s blog, is causing me to develop an eye for what she calls “found treasures”.

Curious, I stepped into the area at the end of my session for a closer look, asked and got permission to take a photo.

The desk appears to be like the roll top oak desks I’ve seen in very old movies.

”If your partner ever wants to get rid of this, you should buy it” said I to Trainer. “I think it might be valuable ... something an art dealer/interior designer would be interested in”.

What do you think Dawn? Am I developing an eye for found treasures ... did I nail it?

And btw, I noticed partner has got his bases covered, what with the buddha on the desk and the No. 9 (good fortune) No. 1 (new beginnings, freshness) No. 2 (cooperation/balance, as in the yin and yang).

Interesting how partner is into drawing good chi to himself, but not sharing this with Trainer; and it may be Trainer is just not interested, thinks it’s all hog wash. In which case, what Trainer thinks doesn’t matter because, sandwiched between my good chi and partner’s, Trainer is reaping the benefits.

Elsewhere ─ even though a strange car is still in Assistant Manager’s parking stall, and even though I haven’t physically seen her or Complex Manager, I have it on good authority both are back in the office.

No explanation as to where they’ve been for two weeks, but the timing suspiciously coincides with the CDC recommended quarantine period of 7-14 days after a person is exposed to someone who is symptomatic or has tested positive for COVID-19, so I’m going with that.

Assistant Maintenance Guy (AMG) is still out. Covid must be kicking his arse, because it didn’t take this long for Head Maintenance Guy to recover from his diagnosis.

Ironic, isn’t it, that staff locked the office as protection from our infecting them, and they end up infecting each other and/or having to quarantine under threat of having infected each other.

Walking into the Pain Cave this morning, not expecting to see a mirror to deflect the badly located treadmill ... and I didn't, there was no mirror, I’d taken the precaution of slipping into my pocket the Stone I received from Debra at She Who Seeks for participating in her fun tin foil hat contest.

It evidently helped, as I walked away from this morning’s workout unscathed ─ no backache caused, no doubt, either by a discordant spirit who saw an opening last time to hit me in the back or stress from worrying that I was facing a wall.

I had a mean spirit ghost push me to my knees once.

Living in Long Beach at the time, I was walking along the beach path, passing the gated entry to the boat landing. All of a sudden, I felt a shove, lost my balance, fell to my knees. As there was no one anywhere near me, I knew it was a mean spirited spirit. As to WHY me, I figured he was racist, didn't like a Black girl living her life, walking by his landing, while he was stuck in the netherworld. LOL.

Didn’t stop me from taking that same path several times after, but I was careful to silently, mentally, address the gate guardian, saying I was on to him, that shoving me was mean because I wasn’t bothering him, and never had another incident.

True story ... and I’ve got others.

Monday, April 5, 2021

The Big Reveal

Last night, looking at video of the completed renovation of the Pain Cave, I spotted something that gave me pause.

The warm up station, i.e., treadmill, was crammed in a corner, facing a blank wall.

With a huge picture window where one can look out upon the world, and all the now open space adjacent to, why crammed in a corner, facing a wall, back to the open space, thought I.

I’m not a mafia don that it’s not smart to leave your back open, yet and still it’s smart not to leave your back open.

Trainer knows nothing about the art of placement, but his partner is Thai and, from the tassels, wall hangings, water fountain and Buddha altar he has in his areas, you’d think partner would advise Trainer.

Maybe it’s sabotage, a jealousy thing because Trainer is making a name for himself, doing better business than partner but, whatever the reason, not only did the placement appear esthetically not pleasing, it made me uncomfortable just looking at it online, so I texted Trainer that I didn’t care for it.

Later, I thought about how nervy that was, and worried he might take offense.

I’m not trying to tell Trainer what to do, it’s just that I don’t like to tempt fate. I'm not one to test the boundaries of proper feng shui. It’s like knowing the rules of the road, breaking those rules, hoping you don’t get hurt or hurt someone else.

I don’t know all the specific rules of feng shui, but I think I was born into knowing what I do know, because I’ve always had a feel for placement before I discovered there was a word for it ─ feng shui.

Just to make sure I was justified in not liking the idea of the treadmill facing the wall, back to all the open space, I went online this morning and found the following.

“Save space. Cram it all in, doesn’t really matter right? Um… wrong. Research has shown that sitting with your back to a door releases the stress hormone cortisol, whereas sitting with a view of a door releases the feel-good yummy hormone oxytocin ... Facing an insurmountable obstacle (like an unmovable wall) generally has the effect of squashing a person’s spirit rather than inspiring them to do great things”.

Trainer, not offended, replied to my text saying he’d put a tablet (little tv) on the treadmill, so I’d have something to look at while warming up. That’s not the point, so I texted back it’s a bad luck position.

And just for the record, it’s not just a few minutes of facing the wall while warming up. The procedure is a 5-minute treadmill warm up, split second water break, routine reps, 1 minute back on the treadmill, split water break. A second round of routine reps, another minute back on the treadmill, split second water break. Then we go through that process twice more with two different cross fit routines, finishing with a water break and cool down on treadmill.

So off I go this morning, not wanting to see a little tv on the treadmill but seeing one on the treadmill nonetheless.

Trainer tells me he’s placed the treadmill in the corner because I’m the only one using it and, when I’m done, he folds it back up against the wall to be out of the way.

”I’m the only one using the treadmill?” asked I “How does everyone else warm up”.

”They do jumping jacks and squats”, said he.

”I can do jumping jacks”, said I and proceeded to swing both arms over my head while simultaneously not lifting self off the floor, but instead moving one leg to the side, then the other leg.

”That’s a jack”, said Trainer. “Not a jumping jack”, LOL.

So, I understand his logic ─ I’m old, have to warm up the gentle way, but placement is still wrong ─ bad juju, negative chi.

Bad juju can be offset with tassels, like partner uses, but Trainer is not a tassel kind of guy. So, I suggested a mirror on the wall, because any bad chi would hit the mirror and bounce back out of the room. Also, I could focus on the mirror, instead of a blank wall, and see what’s behind me.

I didn't even look at the tablet while working out. Just looked at the wall.

Will I get a mirror? I dunno, but definitely something needs to be done because today I walked away with lower back pain.

Feels like I've been punched.


I think not.

And while I’m at it, if you’re interested (even if you’re not) here’s a rule to follow re placement of your bed. At all costs, avoid positioning your bed in line with the door. It’s called the “dead man position” or “coffin position” because the feet or head face the door and resemble how the dead are carried through open doors from the house.

“Chi (energy) enters rooms through the doors and windows. Sleeping directly in line with the door places you right in the pathway of all the forces that enter the bedroom. You should feel safe and secure when you’re sleeping, not worried and vulnerable.”

So, is anyone going to have to move their bed? LOL.