End-of-winter-break dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse, after which the boy headed back to school for his final semester . . .
End-of-winter-break dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse, after which the boy headed back to school for his final semester . . .
We had a big batch of trick-or-treaters show up at one time last night, about 9 kids age 12 and under.
“Who are you?” I asked the first kid.
“The Hulk.” I gave him some candy.
“Who are you?” I asked the second kid.
“Thor.” I gave him some candy.
“Who are you?” I asked the third kid.
“Obama.” He showed me a wadded-up Obama mask in his hand. I didn’t give him any candy.
“Put the mask on,” I said.
“I don’t want to. I can’t see.”
Meanwhile, the other kids kept coming to the front and announcing their costumes . . .
“Superman.” “Batgirl.” “Pink lady from Grease.” “I’m John Cena.” “Witch.” “Minnie.” They all got candy.
Finally no one was left but me and Obama.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“Put the mask on.”
“You’re not doing your job. Geez, you’re as bad as the real Obama.”
It’s election season . . . campaign signs dot the Irvine landscape.
As I drove to lunch with co-workers, one of them pointed out a sign for Ira Glasky, who’s running for school board or city council or something.
“He’s probably trying to cash in on the name recognition of Ira Glass,” he said.
“Who’s Ira Glass?” I asked, and he told me but I’ve since forgotten. A person on the radio, I think.
If I were a campaign manager, I wouldn’t be advising my clients to coattail on the popularity of people no one’s heard of.
“Maybe he’s trying to play into the popularity of Dashiell Hammett’s 1930s crime novel The Glass Key,” I suggested.
Another Irvine candidate, Lynn Schott, is in a local women’s networking group that my wife belongs to. I offered her a free campaign slogan — “Lynn-sanity!” — but she’s not using it.
Trying out a new coffee place by our house . . . I order an iced coffee and pay $4.50 for the only size they have, about the size of a Starbucks grande, which at Starbucks is less than three bucks.
I take the coffee over to the condiment station, taste it and decide to add some sugar.
The proprietor surprises me by walking up and saying “Taste it first before you add sugar.”
“I did taste it,” I assure him.
“Does it need sugar?”
“That probably depends on who’s drinking it. If I’m drinking it, it’s going to need a little sugar.”
I think I’ll stick with Starbucks. The coffee is cheaper and the staff lets me do whatever I want with it, no questions asked.
Two teams of scientists say the long-feared collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun, kicking off what they say will be a centuries-long, “unstoppable” process that could raise sea levels by as much as 15 feet.
I’m trying to think what the big deal is here. The Southern California city I live in, which is currently 12 miles from the coast and 70 feet above sea level, will, in 500 to 1,000 years, be only 55 feet above sea level.
My favorite beachfront restaurants and hangouts will no longer be standing, but they wouldn’t have been anyway.
I dropped Lightning off at the vet for grooming . . .
“Make it like a spa day for him,” I said. “With lots of pampering. Don’t just put him in the sink and soak him down like we do at home. Make it free pampering though, nothing that will cause extra charges to accrue. By the way, where’s Erica?”
Erica is usually at the desk on weekends but today there was a new girl. The new girl, Lauren, said that Erica is moving to Arizona and won’t be working there anymore.
“She will be greatly missed,” Lauren said.
She sure will. People are insane when it comes to their pets and Erica was always extremely patient and attentive — extremely.
I wish I had the kind of personality that makes people miss me when I go away but oh well . . . I guess I have other qualities. Everyone’s different.
Later, when I picked Lightning up, they’d put a bow around his neck, which is a new thing. Usually they don’t decorate the dog.
“Oh that’s nice,” I said. “Is there an extra charge for that?”
“Yeah,” said Lauren, “it’s 50 dollars.”
I miss Erica . . .
I’m picking up a prescription for Lightning at the vet. He takes 5mg/day of a steroid for his joints, half a tablet in the morning and half at night.
The tablets are scored to make them easier to cut in half, but the vet staff uses a pill cutter, making cutting on the scoring actually a little more difficult because you have to line up each pill.
It’s better to cut them on the scoring, because the pills are small and they can crumble if they’re cut across the scoring, but it’s more time-consuming.
“Are the pills cut on the lines?” I ask the woman at the desk. “Lightning doesn’t like it when they’re not cut on the lines.”
“He doesn’t like it?” she says.
“He feels like it doesn’t show attention to detail.”
Some of the women at our vet’s office have a sense of humor and some don’t. Today we have one of the serious ones.
“I’m just telling you,” I say. “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
One of my colleagues at work has a son in 6th grade. She’s trying to figure out which math class to put him in for 7th grade.
Working backward, we know that “normal” kids take Algebra I in 9th grade, the smarter kids take Algebra I in 8th grade, and the smartest kids take Algebra I in 7th grade. Placement depends on how a kid scores on the math placement test.
My co-worker’s concern is if her kid gets a top score on the placement test and he’s eligible to take Algebra I in 7th grade, does she want him to do that, or to wait till 8th grade?
If he takes Algebra I in 7th grade, that would mean he’d be taking the hardest math classes all through high school. Would it be better from a college admission standpoint to take easier classes and get all A’s, or take the hardest classes and maybe get a B+?
Our kid has already been through the Irvine schools. He’s in college now so I can answer questions like this with the benefit of experience.
“I like to see kids push themselves to take the hardest challenge available,” I said. “Colleges are not impressed with kids who get A’s in easy classes.”
“But what if he takes hard classes and gets a B+?” she asked.
“My advice is, don’t get a B+.”
If your kid takes hard classes in high school and gets B’s in them, he or she may not be able to attend a top university, but it wasn’t their destiny to attend a top university. Your kid is not that kind of a kid.
That reminds me . . . Olympic figure skating is on TV this week. Are you watching it? Neither am I, but I’ve heard that some of the skaters actually fall down during their program.
They’re supposed to be the best skaters in the world. Even I could go out there and skate around for a few minutes without falling down. Granted, I couldn’t do any spins or jumps or skate backwards or anything like that.
The point is that to be recognized as the best at something, you can’t just do easy things well. You have to risk doing things that are hard to do. In the skating scenario, it’s not enough to say “I didn’t fall on my ass.” No, you didn’t, but you didn’t even try to do anything hard.
In any endeavor, you won’t impress people of discernment simply by avoiding anything that might give you some difficulty. Step up to the challenge.
The world's greatest pinup model and cult icon, Bettie Page, recounts the true story of how her free expression overcame government witch-hunts to help launch America's sexual revolution.
IMDb rating: 7.1 (700 votes)
“I just tried to get into my car in the parking lot and I couldn’t open it. Do you know why?”
“Let me guess. Do you drive a white Lexus SUV?”
“Because you were trying to get into someone else’s car.”
“How did you know that.” (Answer here.)
It’s about one in the afternoon at the Irvine In-N-Out Burger. A guy who looks to be in his early 20s comes in wearing a backward baseball cap, dark sunglasses (which he never removes) and — despite a temperature in the high 80s — a pullover sweater.
To simplify the storytelling, let’s call this guy Alf.
Alf waits in line, places his order, then immediately walks over and stands in front of the pickup counter. The place is packed, and I can tell from looking at the number on my own ticket that there are about 10 more orders ahead of me, and since I ordered before him, there are about 15 more orders ahead of Alf, so there’s no reason for him to be standing at — in fact, leaning on — the pickup counter.
After a few moments, the kid at the pickup counter asks Alf what his number is.
“Eleven,” Alf replies.
“OK, we’re calling numbers in the 90s, so it’s going to be a few more minutes.”
Alf then sits down on a bench to the left of the pickup counter, where he waits patiently until they call order number 6, which happens to be my number, at which time Alf asks the kid at the counter if his order is ready yet. It’s the same kid he talked to before, and the kid knows Alf’s number is 11, so he says, “No, not yet.”
When the alien invasion come to your town, you will know them by the following signs:
The office park where my a friend of mine works was burglarized over the weekend. Surveillance cameras captured the whole operation.
“They were Mexicans,” he said. “They look like professionals. They were wearing hats and jackets so you couldn’t see their build or anything.”
“So how are you identifying them as Mexicans if you couldn’t see them?” I asked. “Because they were stealing stuff?”
We went out to watch the city of Irvine fireworks show. Best use of our tax dollars since last year’s show!
As we drove back to the house, I said, “I hope the fireworks didn’t scare Lightning.”
He was asleep on his bed. He’s not scared of anything.
We went to a comedy show at the Irvine Improv on Friday night. Gilbert Gottfried was the headliner. I happened to recognize one of the comedians, David Angelo, sitting in the back of the room before the show — I’m a fan of his work on Twitter and YouTube — and he was gracious enough to pose for a photo taken by my wife:
Now you might say that’s not a very good photo, but it is recognizable as two human beings, which is more than you could say before I spent an hour working it over in Photoshop . . .
“Where are you folks from?” the border agent asks.
“How long were you in Canada?”
“About half a day.”
“Why such a short stay?”
“We’re staying in Seattle for a few days and just came up for a visit.”
“How do you like this cold weather?”
“No big deal. I grew up in cold weather.”
My son makes a sputtering noise in the back seat.
“Is he okay?” the agent asks.
“Well, unfortunately he’s got irreversible brain damage to his frontal lobes. We still love him though.”
“Is anyone in the car carrying $10,000 or more in cash?”
“American dollars or Canadian?”
“Is that a yes or a no, sir?”
After we pass through the border check, the boy says in a mocking tone, “‘I grew up in cold weather.’ In La Mirada.”
“La Mirada is subject to extreme temperature fluctations,” I reply. “Much more so than Irvine.”
A pug (not mine) is humping a beagle . . .
“You could have puggles,” I suggest to one of the owners, “except they’re both boys.”
We got to Chili’s around 8 o’clock last night but it was still very crowded. People were waiting outside.
“How long is the wait?” I asked the hostess.
“About 25 minutes.”
I said to my posse, “I’d rather not wait 25 minutes but I could do it if I had to. What do you guys think?”
My wife said, “Put our name on the list and we’ll talk about it outside.”
“Paul — party of three.” The hostess gave me one of those devices that beep and light up when your table is ready.
At the same time, a gentleman came up to the desk to turn in his device. “We can’t wait anymore,” he said.
“Maybe you could give us his device,” I suggested after he left. “Where was he on the list?”
She went down the list of names. “Second,” she said. “Yeah, I could do that.”
My son said later, “You were just joking, right?”
“Well,” I said, “I didn’t think she would do it, but let that be a good lesson for you. If you ask for something, you might get it, but you’re not going to get it if you don’t ask.”
Now I know how Santa delivers all the presents in one night!
By the way, if you like to avoid the crowds, Thanksgiving night is a great time to go to the movies! Everyone’s either in a food coma or resting up for Black Friday shopping.
We went to the 9:30 show at the Irvine Marketplace. There was no ticket line, no one in the lobby, one girl working the box office and one at the snack bar.
The box office girl had to work double because there was no ticket taker on duty. Instead of just selling the tickets and handing them to us, she also tore them in half and said, “You’re in Theater 2.”
“We’re in Theater 2,” I repeated for the boy’s benefit.
“Are you sure she didn’t say we’re the only two people in the theater?” he asked.
Look at this picture. Donald Bren is almost 80 and yet his face looks like a snare drum with eyes.
When state funding for Irvine public schools began to diminish some time ago, my Irvine Company colleagues helped me to provide private funding support . . . Additionally, we have developed annual teacher recognition and reward programs that provide financial awards for teachers who demonstrate outstanding results in educating our students.
By making capital available for unfunded programs and providing a balanced curriculum and financial incentives to teachers based on results, Irvine Unified School District continues to rank among the finest educational systems in the nation . . .
The interview goes on in this vein: I, I, I. Me, me, me.
Donald Bren is kidding himself, along with the staff and readers of Forbes. The Irvine Unified School District’s rank among the finest educational systems has nothing to do with money, and very little to do with teachers.
As far as I can tell, it results from two things and two things only: the effort of the students and the support of their families.
My kid was in the Irvine Unified School District from second grade through high school. I’m worn out by the number of people in Irvine who would like to take credit for what happens in the schools, when at best they have no effect at all, and in some cases are actually making the schools worse by impeding the progress of the students.
I have more to say on this subject. Stay tuned . . .