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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Parking Lot Etiquette

We've all either seen or experienced the following:

A vehicle is backing out of a parking place. The back-up lights are on, and you can tell that the driver is doing everything "by the book." about two parking spaces away a pedestrian is walking towards the already-in-motion vehicle. The pedestrian sees the vehicle moving but continues walking anyway. The pedestrian/moron decides that the driver is an idiot for not watching where they are going and either yells at the driver or smacks the body of the vehicle. The driver immediately stops. The pedestrian walks past the car, makes eye contact with the driver, then makes some form of gesture - verbal or "hand signals" - indicating to the driver that they are the ones that made the mistake!

Personally, I own a lifted truck, designed for on- or off-road travel. The top of the bed of my truck is five feet off the ground. One thing I've noticed since I bought the truck is that there are a great many people in the Los Angeles area that are LESS than five feet tall! The only thing that saves their lives when I'm backing up is the fact that the wind caught their hair and blew it up into my line of sight. I even watched one man walk behind my truck while it was rolling and throw his hand in the air to let me know where he was (probably the smartest thing he's ever done).

When I grew up, parking lot etiquette was understood by everyone. The basic rules are as follows:
  1. If you are walking through a parking lot and see a car coming out of their spot, stop walking until it is clear! This way you don't "accidentally" get run over.
  2. When walking through a parking lot, cross the driving parts of the lot as if you were crossing a street! Look both ways, then cross at your own risk. Don't walk through the middle of the lane as if you are the king or queen of Dipshit Island!
  3. If you are driving through the parking lot, either looking for a spot or leaving the lot, and a car begins to back out of their spot just ahead of you...STOP YOUR CAR! The ten to thirty seconds that you are delayed will simply not ruin your day (and if it does, you were already going to be late anyway). The driver of the other vehicle doesn't get the crap scared out of them when they almost make impact with you or you lay on your "asshole button" (also known as the car horn). Noone's day gets ruined. As a matter of fact, that person will probably pay it forward and not ruin someone else's day!
Those are pretty simple rules. Not all that complicated as far as I can tell. I used to think that maybe those rules were only taught to American children while they were growing up, because when I moved to San Diego it was only other ethnicities (i.e. not white or black...ahem...sorry...not "caucasian" or "african-american") from other countries (read: Mexico) that broke basic rules of parking lot etiquette. But after I moved to L.A. I realized that it had spread like a disease through that area, to the point that I, myself, am the occasional offender!

We need to get back to basics in the parking lots. We need to teach our children the right and wrong ways before they become offenders. And maybe, just maybe, I need to pretend that I really didn't see that tuft of hair fly up over the bed of my truck!

Monday, May 16, 2011


Proposed Texas immigration law contains convenient loophole for ‘the help’
By Brett Michael Dykes

Texas has long been a hotbed of controversy on immigration issues. And a proposed immigration bill in the Texas state House is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows. The bill would make hiring an "unauthorized alien" a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, unless that is, they are hired to do household chores.

Yes, under the House Bill 2012 introduced by a tea party favorite state Rep. Debbie Riddle -- who's been saying for some time that she'd like to see Texas institute an Arizona-style immigration law -- hiring an undocumented maid, caretaker, lawnworker or any type of houseworker would be allowed.

Why? As Texas state Rep. Aaron Pena, also a Republican, told CNN, without the exemption, "a large segment of the Texas population" would wind up in prison if the bill became law.

"When it comes to household employees or yard workers it is extremely common for Texans to hire people who are likely undocumented workers," Pena told the news giant. "It is so common it is overlooked."

Jon English, Rep. Riddle's chief of staff explained that the exemption was an attempt to avoid "stifling the economic engine" in Texas, which today is, somewhat ironically, celebrating its declaring independence from Mexico in 1836.

"Excepting household workers from a anti-immigration laws renders the law impotent and self-contradictory, just like the current U.S. immigration policy, of which it is almost a perfect microcosm," legal ethics writer Jack Marshall wrote on his blog. "It guarantees a measure without integrity that sends a mixed enforcement message and does nothing to stop the long-standing deplorable 'we don't want you but somebody has to do those menial jobs' attitude that has paralyzed our immigration policy for decades."

Rep. Riddle made headlines last year when she claimed unnamed FBI officials had told her that pregnant women from the Middle East were traveling to America as tourists to give birth, and then raising their children to be terrorists who could later enter the U.S. freely as citizens -- so-called "terror babies," a devious offshoot of "anchor babies." She became somewhat infamous on the web when she stumbled repeatedly in a CNN interview about the claims, complaining later that host Anderson Cooper's line of questioning was more intense than she had prepared for.

"They did not tell me you were going to grill me on specific information that I was not ready to give to you tonight," Riddle said when Cooper pressed her for more details. "They did not tell me that, sir."

Cancer - A Long Overdue Update

Part III – A Long Overdue Update

    It's been a while since I've updated this part of my blog; things have been a little crazy. My wife has now completed five of her six cycle of chemo, with the sixth one scheduled for Friday. Before the last cycle we received some amazing news; she's now cancer-free!

    She's still suffering from the side effects of the chemo, and she's confused as to why the sixth cycle is required, knowing that the side effects are cumulative (each cycle is worse than the last) and that she's cancer-free. The doctor has explained to her that the minimum treatment is six cycles, but she's concerned that the chemo drugs are indiscriminate in their killing, and that if there are no remaining cancer cells to kill, how many "good cells" are going to suffer? I understand her logic, but I'm the type of person that tends to "follow protocol" when I'm dealing with important things like this.
    The side effects are bad enough that she had to take a medical leave-of-absence from work. She's been home for about a month now. As far as we can tell she's probably going to be out until the end of July; maybe even longer, but we hope not. The sooner the chemicals are ot of her system the better as far as we're concerned. She was sick before we knew that she had cancer, then had three surgeries in January, directly followed by the chemo treatments. She's tired of "recovering," and she's defensive about getting the final chemo treatment.
    On a good note, now that we know she's cancer-free we're making plans for a victory celebration. Ideas are "a-plenty" for ways to celebrate; the most popular being a family vacation centered around either a cruise or a trip to another country. She also wants a formal party of some sort where the men's dress is coat-and-tie and evening gowns for the women. Whatever we end up doing, it's going to be amazing!

    When my wide was first diagnosed, one of her main concerns was, "Will I live through this?" The doctors assured her that she would and tried to calm her fears, but our day-to-day life, as well as our outlook on life-in-general, immediately began to change.

    Before the diagnosis we lived day-to-day; well, we existed, that is. But things we were either afraid to do or that we didn't want to waste time day-dreaming about suddenly had more of a sense of urgency about them; they needed to get done, and we needed to do them! My fear of heights took a back-seat and I decided that if she wanted to do something, I was going to do it with her! I didn't care if she wanted to do something as crazy as jumping out of a perfectly good airplane! Thank God she's dead-set against riding the rides on top of the Stratosphere hotel in Vegas!

    Personally, I had already made the decision that even if her condition had been terminal (and thank God that it isn't!) that I was going to do my best to complete the items on her bucket list before I even started on mine. Now that she's cancer-free we've decided to not only dream about things that we want to do, but we're going to do everything in our power to make those dreams happen.

    The lessons we're taking away from all of this:

        Follow your dreams!
        Live! Don't just exist
    ...and the old cliche:
        Don't sweat the petty stuff!
        Cuz it's ALL petty stuff!