EppsNet Archive: Irvine

Math Skills of the Average American

My son was home for a visit this past weekend. After a family dinner at the Irvine Spectrum, we found ourselves in a women’s clothing store with a sale going on: 40% Off All Merchandise + An Additional 10% Off. My son said to me, “Isn’t that just 46 percent off? They probably want it to sound like you’re getting 50 percent off.” “You can’t underestimate the math skills of the average American,” I said. Right on queue, a woman said to her husband, “Why don’t they just say 50 percent off?” “Exactly,” he said. Read more →

Making it Through High School Alive

Baltimore schools spend a staggering $16,000 per student – the fourth-highest rate in the nation – and still an investigation by Fox45’s Project Baltimore revealed that at six city schools, not one student scored proficient on the statewide tests for English and math. At West Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High, one of five high schools and one middle school where not one student scored a four or a five on the state test, only one out of 185 students who took the test last year scored a three, while 165 students scored a one, the lowest possible score. — Zero Hedge The schools are: Booker T. Washington Middle School Frederick Douglass High School Achievement Academy at Harbor City New Era Academy Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood High New Hope Academy It looks like if you live in Baltimore, you want to avoid sending your child to a school whose name… Read more →

Looking For a Vet in Orange County?

We took Lightning to Animal Hospital of Irvine his whole life — 13 years. We boarded him there too when we went out of town. They took excellent care of him. How do I know that? Because years ago we used to board him at PetSmart and it was always a struggle. He didn’t want us to leave him there. I thought it was because he didn’t want us to leave him anywhere but when we started boarding him at Animal Hospital, his tail was wagging like crazy when we dropped him off. They gave him lots of attention and took him for lots of walks and even let him out of the kennel and let him walk around the office. We had to let Lightning go last weekend. Wendy, one of the staff members, came into the procedure room where we were waiting and said how sorry she was.… Read more →

It Never Ends

I just received an email alerting me that the Irvine Public Schools Foundation’s annual fundraising campaign ends December 31. Let me guess, the next annual fundraising campaign starts on January 1. Read more →

My Dog Is a Genius

This needs a little setup . . . I used to take Lightning on weekend mornings to the Irvine Dog Park, then afterward to the Starbucks drive-thru, where I’d get a beverage and he’d get a pup cup (a cup of whipped cream). He loves Starbucks. He used to get super animated from the time he saw we were turning left on Irvine Center Drive (toward Starbucks) to the time he actually got the pup cup at the drive-thru window. He also knows the words “Starbucks” and “pup cup”: He’s too old to enjoy the dog park now — he doesn’t walk well and he can’t see — so I walk to Starbucks myself on the weekends and bring the pup cups home for him. Today I took him to the Starbucks drive-thru, just like old times, and he got super excited again when we got there, just like old times.… Read more →

Moving Back

Our boy was home recently for a visit . . . he lives in San Francisco now . . . we were driving to dinner one night and his mom, from the back seat, said to him, “You can move back if you want to.” “I don’t think I would move back to Irvine,” the boy said matter-of-factly. “I meant you can move the seat back. I have plenty of room back here.” Read more →

Walking in Irvine is Not a Good Way to Meet People

Unlike walking in San Francisco, walking in Irvine is not a good way to meet people. This is what my walk to Starbucks looks like on weekend mornings . . . Read more →

Dogs in San Francisco

If you’re a dog or a recently released felon, you are welcome in San Francisco. Not only are there lots of people walking in SF, there are lots of people walking with dogs. French Bulldogs, Huskies and Pomeranians seems to be especially popular. Until he got too old to really enjoy it, I took Lightning to the Irvine dog park six days a week (it’s closed on Wednesdays) for years. I’ve spent a lot of time around dogs, so I’m better than most people at identifying dog breeds. We were walking in San Francisco last weekend when my wife pointed and asked “What kind of dog is that?” Before I could say “It’s a Labradoodle,” our boy said “Labradoodle.” I must have been visibly stunned because he then asked me “Were you going to say ‘Goldendoodle’?” “No . . . you’re pretty good at identifying dogs now.” This is a… Read more →

Walking in San Francisco

Our boy is working and living in San Francisco now, We went to visit him last weekend . . . It’s hard to drive and park in SF so a lot of people walk to where they need to go. Our hotel was a few blocks from the boy’s apartment but for the most part, we left the car in the parking garage and walked everywhere. On a couple of occasions, we met one of his co-workers walking past us in the other direction. (His office is nearby, 7-8 blocks from his apartment, but it’s a startup, not a huge company like Transamerica with lots of employees.) On another occasion, we met a couple of his college classmates from Cal sitting near us at a local eatery. This is not to mention the friends, classmates and co-workers that we planned to meet up with because they also live in the… Read more →

It’s Later Than You (I) Think

Driving through the parking lot at Irvine Marketplace, I slow down to let an old man walk across in front of me. Hurry it up you elderly bastard! As I get a closer look, I recognize him as a former college classmate. Which means he’s the same age as me. He is fatter and balder than I am though, so at least I’ve got that going for me. Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Ask More Questions

You need to ask more questions. I think there’s a general fear about asking questions. There’s a risk of looking foolish in front of the whole group when it turns out that everyone else already knows the answer. It’s actually very unusual for someone to ask a question to which everyone else knows the answer. If you find it happens to you a lot, you probably want to get that checked out, but normally it’s very unusual. Another scenario: Somebody, maybe a teacher, says something and you think “That doesn’t make sense. I wonder if it makes sense to everyone else. Rather than risk looking foolish in front of the whole group, I’ll wait and see if someone else asks a question.” So you wait for someone to ask a question and no one asks a question. Why? Because they’re all waiting for someone to ask a question. Many people,… Read more →

Lasts

End-of-winter-break dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse, after which the boy headed back to school for his final semester . . . Read more →

As Bad as the Real Obama

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. “Obama!” “Put the mask on.” “Come on!” “You’re not doing your job. Geez, you’re as bad as… Read more →

It’s Election Season in Irvine

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. Read more →

This New Coffee Place is Not Going to Make 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. Read more →

Good Riddance to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

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. — West Antarctic Ice Sheet’s Collapse Triggers Sea Level Warning – NBC News.com 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. Read more →

Spa Day at the Vet and Erica’s Departure

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.… Read more →

A Trip to the Vet

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.… Read more →

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