Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I lived in this house for three years. The rent was cheap and it was really close to work...I had an oil well in my front yard. (by the way I lived across the street from Belmont High School and about four blocks from the new Belmont Center)

I lived in the fourth house down from the left:

This house was built for the foreman that managed the field I worked in 70 years later. It had, under many years of paint, mahogany baseboards, ceiling trim (10ft. ceiling), doors and fireplace mantle. Also, if you notice they built the house for the SoCal weather, hence the steeply sloped roof so the snow will slide off.

It was freezing in the (SoCal) winter and ungodly hot in the summer. It had no closet space to speak of, just enough to hang your Sunday suit and a few other things, jackets hung in the entryway.

I loved that place. I could walk to the store at any hour, even though it was in the middle of the Diamond Street gang territory, because, while they didn't know me, they knew I worked for the oil company that had a well on their friends house property. Our trucks were never bothered, and our sites never graffiti'ed, outside of occasional outsider gangs "pissing on the wall".

The best thing about the house was the parlor. It was small, about 8 x 10, but it had a 10 foot ceiling. It was lathe and plaster and I had a new upright piano and lots of time. The acoustics were great for playing for yourself as the whole room filled and seem to direct the sound right back to you without echo.

The few years I lived there were worth every dollar my parents spent on piano lessons.

The few years I lived there were worth every minute.

Update: Just wanted to mention that I was single when I lived there, I moved out and into the suburbs of "Beautiful Downtown Burbank" because I was ready to get married and Downtown Central L.A. was not the place to convince a lady you're worth a shit.

Also, the picture was taken from the derrick of a well I worked on. The derrick was long gone, and it was a bitty D6 beam unit, but still there and pumping away for over 90 years.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Belmont Learning Center Opens

And it came in at of cost of just $400 million.

When it was slated to be opened back in 1998 it was the most expensive HS ever built. However, the LAUSD and certain political activists, decided that being there was oil nearby and earthquake faults, the complex shouldn't be allowed to open.

I worked that oil field for twenty years, and it wasn't a gas producing field...there was NO methane problem. The problem they will now face is that being the field is no longer reducing the pressure that these wells were relieving (and there were over 1300 holes punched into this field that where just "kinda" abandoned) in about 5 to 10 years the city will see gas build-up and oil seeps so that the Temple-Beaudry district will resemble the La Brea Tar Pits.

As far as earthquake faults... well we live in So Cal, if you don't live on one, you live close enough to it that it's probably going to fuck up your day.

Reading The Constitution

It's something I now realize I should have done years ago. Oh, of course we read it High School, but at the time it was just another assignment to get through, and the classroom discussion was minimal.

I bought the Heritage Guide to the Constitution almost two years ago, I started to read it once and got sidetracked, but about two months ago I was desperate for something to read and I picked it up again.

This is an excellent reference book. It takes each Article,Section and Clause and cites debates of the Founders on the issue and interpretations and rulings from the three branches of gov't (where applicable).

I decided to read no more that one clause a day, I'm up to "Presentment of Resolutions"(Article 1, Section 7, Clause 3). This has given me time to actually try to digest the thoughts and arguments and internalize them.

The men were giants. There were the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists who came up with a document that the states could agree on, balancing the power of the National Gov't with the power of the the individual States and restricting the power of each branch of the gov't so that no one branch could control the process.

I'm still dealing with Congress and have the President, Judiciary, Military, Treasury to go, not to metions getting to the Amendments.

I also have a copy of "The Federalist" that I bought at the same time, and only got through about 1/2 of the "Editors Introduction" (it's 84 pages). I'm now really looking forward to getting back to it so I can compare my approvals and misgivings about this document.

Now I could use recommendations of books similar to "The Federalist" that covers "The Bill of Rights".

Friday, April 18, 2008

I couldn't come up with a heading for this entry because I really don't know how I feel. I'm 54 today, and I'm torn between the joy of having lived this long with all the idiot decisions I've made over all those years, and the realization that because of those decisions I'm not where I thought I should be.

My major joy is my son. He has grown up into a compassionate and moral man. At 19, he doesn't really have a pointed goal of what he wants to do, but he's not accusing anyone or anything of stopping him from achieving it, and I would do all in my ability to help him achieve is goals.

I"m very conflicted on this anniversary. I feel I've done good in my life, but feel that there is so much more that should have been done.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Saving My Past - Part II

A long long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while.

(Don Mclean , American Pie)

A long, long time ago I got a turntable that plugged into my computer. I was so excited that I was now able to save all my albums that I ran out and bought a 100 gig drive that would store nothing but music. Over a year, and I hadn't even filled 8% of that drive.

I got off work early today by swapping a couple hours with my relief that he needed yesterday (by the way Dennis you owe me $1 due to shift differential), and I got an urge to listen to stuff I hadn't heard in forever, so I figured if I was going to listen, might as well record.

I started out just flipping through my collection, but that only lasted for the first two albums, now I'm looking for specific LP's and being I've had cats for many, many years, the bastards liked to sharpen their claws on that nice wall of cardboard. That means that half the ends of the record sleeves are unreadable and I found out that my kid liked to listen to the records, just wasn't to meticulous about filing them back where he got them.

It seems that whatever particular album I'm looking for isn't where it should be, that means flipping through everything and that leads to "OH WOW" I haven't heard that in ages so I'll pull it out and get to it after these others.

So far today I've listened to Bowie, ELP, King Crimson, Lee Michaels, Zappa, Stevie Wonder and have The Tubes, Springsteen, Iron Butterfly, Doors and Led Zeppelin sitting at my feet ready to go.

One thing that has amazed me is the condition of my records, for being anywhere up to 40 years old is that a majority of them are without major clicks, pops or scratches, not perfect, but as close as a normal person could keep them while enjoying them.

I've always loved my music and have always tried to take care of the discs. No multi-platter disc dropping turntables, dust them off before playing and put them away in the dust sleeve and jacket when done.

Another album is coming to a close, so gotta go.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Had to go yesterday to get my "random" drug test. Outside of the fact that I had to drive 16 miles to a site right next to the entrance to LAX, it really wasn't a big thing. I haven't done drugs in a long, long time, hell, I'll try to tough out a headache before I'll take an aspirin. With my consumption of beer at times...well I feel sometimes you just have to pay the piper to play.

The reason for the snide quotes around "random" is due to a mid-life crisis, or some other reason like I just felt like it, but for the last 7 to 8 months, I've let my hair and beard grow. I now have a full beard and a really cute ponytail.

I'll post pics sometime before I mow it all down because I'm thinking it will most likely be clean shaven and 1/2"(max)on the hair.

I did this as an experiment to determine if the hair growth of hippies caused any of the brain defects that seem to crop up with the look. It doesn't seem to have any effect on my generally pissed off view of the world in the sense that I despise Commies, Socialists and all the posers that believe that "Big gov't is stealing our freedoms...but, if elected, I will make sure gov't cures your ills if you pass this law".

I really believe that I got called in to "piss in a cup"...again, is that my foreman seems to think I'm a threat to his job. I DO NOT want his job. The foreman doesn't do much except dump the blame on the Operators for things not working right, so I just sit back and wonder how long the owner can delude himself that there are 7 people that don't know their ass from a hot rock and maybe, just maybe, someone needs to come up with an actual business plan.

My job this weekend was suppose to paint a tank, but I pointed out (on Thursday)that we had no rollers to complete the job. I was told there had to be rollers out there as he had just bought some (4, about a month ago and used). The foreman didn't come in on Friday, so I now get to assign jobs to myself (no problem), but on Monday, I'll get bitched at for not doing the job HE wanted done.

I've managed a small oil company...when we were getting around $6.00 a barrel way back in the '90's...we'd lose money in the short run, but with 4 generations of experience, knew that it would cycle and eventually come out ahead.

If there is a plan for Monday, outside of complaining about the tanks not getting painted, I'd like to see or hear about it

Maybe I should start using drug again, that would give me a reason for MY failure to get the job done.

Nope, I think I'll fight it out to the end.

O.K., It's Just Hot!!

Over the last three days it's gone from 72 to 92 degrees. I know I live in what is really a desert and I expect high temps, but this 20 degree jump in two days just doesn't give you much of a chance to adjust.

Thursday, I was doing some labor intensive work, and it was pleasant, I didn't mined much at all. Today I was just washing down an area with a high pressure hose and was sweating so much that after about 15 minutes I couldn't see through my glasses so much perspiration had dripped and dried on the lenses.

Maybe there is something to thing Global Wormering thing...or it could be that being the last few summers have been fairly mild, we're due for a real bastard of a heat wave this year.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

No Taxation Without Representation

Wow! Here it is April 10th and I have a feeling something is hanging over my head that needs to be done. Oh, yeah...I'm right on it, it'll be done tomorrow, if I can figure out where I filed my W-2.

I was watching Glenn Beck tonight and saw where the top 10% earners pay 70% of taxes and the top 1% pay 40% of that. Sounds fair to me.

My boy, who is trying to figure out what he wants to do with himself, is working a crappy job. I did his taxes a while ago and along with getting the 300 some-odd dollars they took away in taxes, he is entitled to another 300 dollars.

How did our tax code get so screwed up that when you pay taxes, you can get it back, PLUS, you get back more? I can understand when someone is hovering around minimum wage getting back what they paid in, but to say they get back what they paid, and then Double it is insane socialism.

Now, on top of that, he will get another 600 dollars back as an "Economic Stimulus Payment".

Someone who paid around $340 in taxes, gets a return of $1250, and we wonder why the country runs a deficit.

Monday, April 07, 2008

L.A.'s Moratorium On Vilolence

From the L.A. Times April 4, 2008

You'd better not kill anybody after 6:01 p.m. today, or you'll really rile the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. It has passed a resolution declaring a 40-hour moratorium on violence, starting at a time that marks to the minute the 40th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr..

How'd it go? 3 dead and 18 wounded.

Pretty typical numbers for Los Angeles, guess the gangbangers didn't get the word.

I'm Trying

I came by here today, like I do every day, but I haven't listened to the news or had a chance to cruise the web in the last couple of days, sometimes life just gets busy and you have to deal with it.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

I'm just feeling lazy and I used up so much energy writing this post over at the Rott. I just decided to copy and paste it here. I don't think the Emperor has a copyright clause that anything posted there belongs to him.

Santa Ana teacher arrested after students find gun in her class

HT: LC Intellectual Conservative

A Santa Ana elementary school teacher was arrested after students found a handgun and ammunition in the drawer of a supply cabinet of her classroom, officials said Thursday.

Jayne DeArmond, 51, a third-grade teacher at Diamond Elementary School, was arrested on charges of felony possession of a firearm on a campus and misdemeanor child endangerment after students discovered the unloaded handgun and ammunition about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday,

Perhaps this particular person should be charged...third grade...unloaded handgun and ammunition, any 8 year old can figure out how the two go together...not to mention, an unloaded handgun is not going to do any good in a crisis. If she really needed the gun, it needs to be loaded and in her immediate control.

Students were moved to another classroom after the gun and ammunition were found.

Good thing, you never know when those cartridges will jump out of the box, into the mag, and chamber themselves to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting populous.

"It's dangerous not only for the school, but for the whole community here,"

Yeah right, after spontaneously loading itself, the gun could run through the neighborhood wasting all who cross it's path...or the third grader likes the way people fall down when he says bang.

Counseling has been made available to students and staff,

And the school district social workers are able to justify their jobs for another year by convincing these children that they were traumatized by the thought that they were near a firearm.

Students had access to the cabinet where the gun was kept,

This was STOOPID, and the teacher should be hed accountable for this breach of common sense.

The students who found the gun told an instructional aide, who told Pelasky. She notified school police, who confiscated the weapon within minutes,

Sounds like the rugrats actually do listen to grownups sometimes. They did what was right. I wonder if they've ever had an assembly by Eddie Eagle?

After conducting interviews, police took DeArmond into custody. Authorities said they also searched DeArmond's car.

G-d, if she had one gun, she must have an arsenal stored close by.

DeArmond was released late Wednesday on her own promise to appear in court. She could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Guess not.

School police will be conducting an initial internal investigation of the incident, which will be followed by an administrative investigation into how the gun arrived on campus.

My guess...the teacher brought it.

In a letter sent to homes Thursday afternoon, Pelasky reassured parents that "our school is a safe haven for our students."

Except for the facts that...if anything happens...you get to wait 5 to 20 minutes for the police to arrive and set up a perimeter, then try to figure out what's going on in the building, then execute a plan...or, if the teacher felt the need for a gun close at hand, it should have been in her possession, loaded and out of "little prying eyes".

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Damn...I Think I'm Getting Old

It's April again. I've almost completed one more cycle around the sun in a couple of weeks and I'm staring to think that gravity has gotten the upper hand on me. I'm not just grunting when I stand up, I groan when I sit down.

It's not just the pains that I expected at this point from growing up...motorcycle "accidents"...Cadillac v 450 Honda, dirt bike riding (I can make that jump), hiking (I can make that jump), all the way back to jumping off the roof of a house onto a concrete patio (I was 8 and only minor damage ensued), because I knew I was invincible.

Well, maybe I am invincible, but I ache.

At the moment it seems I'm either trying to stretch out some bastard knotty muscle, or trying to find the back-scratcher so I can get to that fraking iItch in the middle of my back.

I figured it out today, I really do walk at minimum 5 miles a day at work. During these miles, I have to bend waaay over and around to reach valves, tighten leaky things and read gauges somewhat accurately that can be anywhere from mid-calf level to 8 feet in the air.

My company is on the verge of making a comeback, and I'm trying to use all my abilities to get us over the edge, but I get no respect from my "foreman" and two of the guys (out of four) don't give a shit about anything but having the "job" to come to.

The other guy seems to think that (even though he's been there a decade) that things will change and we'll get the basic tools and supplies we need.


I do know that the company has massive debts (due to lack of maintenance), but at $104 a barrel, when the industry ideal was $30, I think there may be money to mitigate some of our dilemma, or at least correct existing problems to stave off future disasters.

I wonder how many of my aches are because of my age, or how much I hate my job?