EppsNet Archive: Orange County

The Holy Fire is Now the Forrest Fire

It’s wildfire season here in Southern California . . . The closest fire to us at this time is the Holy Fire, named either for its proximity to the small mountain community of Holy Jim (see map), or because God is purifying us with flame. Jesus returned as a burning bush and inadvertently ignited Trabuco Canyon. A suspect, Forrest Gordon Clark, has been arrested on suspicion of arson. He looks normal. The fire has been renamed from the Holy Fire to the Forrest Fire. 🙂 My wife is in the insurance business. Every summer she gets calls from people living in fire zones wanting to buy a homeowners policy. There’s no concept of guaranteed issue with homeowners insurance like there is with health insurance. — Does your house have a pre-existing condition? — Yes, it’s on fire. — OK, your first month’s premium will be $500,000. Read more →

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 →

Stumbling Blocks

I was walking near the Orange Circle this afternoon . . . Chapman University, which is nearby, must have been having a graduation. I saw a young woman in a graduation gown cross the street toward me. She was wearing high heels and when she stepped onto a set of those sidewalk bumps that keep blind people from inadvertently striding into traffic, she lost her footing and almost fell. “Are you okay?” I asked. “Yeah,” she said, “I stumble in that same place every day.” Is it good or bad that she’s graduating? It’s good in that she won’t stumble there anymore, but it’s bad in that she’s leaving without having mastered the skill of walking on sidewalk bumps in heels. Now she’ll have to go out into the world and compete with people who can walk around without falling down all the time. If she went to a better… Read more →

HireRight and the Background Check From Hell

I got a job offer recently contingent on a background check to be conducted by a company called HireRight. HireRight has an office right here in Irvine but for some reason, everyone I communicated with during the background check, either by phone or email, was in the Philippines. Why is that a problem? Well, if I were tasked with doing background checks on people in Orange County, it would be to my advantage that I live here, I work here, I know people, I know the companies and I know how to get things done. For the same reasons, if you wanted to do background checks on people in the Philippines, you’d be better off hiring someone in the Philippines to do them. The first communication I had from HireRight was this email: The dates of employment we have currently verified for your employer Company A differ from the dates… 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 →

Learn to Code

I’m a programmer . . . Job searches for me go like this: I’m old, I have to compete with people half my age, but I’ve worked in Orange County since forever so I know some people, and I can write good code in interviews, which the majority of programmers who show up for interviews can’t. I was out of work on January 5. It’s now January 24. I have three job offers and picked the one I like best. Moral of the story: Learn to code, kids . . . Thus spoke The Programmer. 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 →

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 →

See You in Hell

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE] I’m hearing a lot of Orange County residents complaining about the heat this weekend. Take it from someone who knows about heat: 98 degrees is not heat. You’ll see what I’m talking about soon enough. Enjoy the 98-degree temperatures while you can. On a related note, why does everyone say “Jesus Christ, it’s hot” and no one says “Satan, it’s hot”? See you in Hell . . . Read more →

The Coffee Goes to 11

We stopped in at the Nespresso coffee bar at Geary and Grant just before leaving San Francisco to drive back to Orange County. For the iced latte that I wanted, the menu offered a choice of three coffees ranked by “intensity”: 4, 9 or 11. The 4 seemed too low, and I saw no reason to go with the 9 and leave the extra two intensity points on the table, so I selected the 11. I didn’t notice any off-the-charts intensity as I was drinking the coffee but it kicked in on the drive home, somewhere near Salinas. I could have driven straight through to South America, such was my level of alertness and energy. 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 →

Prescience

Unexpected rain in July makes my decision not to wash my car since last year look eerily prescient. Read more →

The Bamboo Ceiling

Michael Wang had a 4.67 GPA and a perfect ACT score. He placed first in the state of California at the AMC 12 – a nationwide mathematics competition. He performed with the San Francisco opera company, and sang in a choir that performed at Barack Obama’s first inauguration. He volunteered his free time to tutor underprivileged children. He applied to seven Ivy League schools and was rejected by all seven. I saw recently that a local kid from Fullerton High School here in Orange County was accepted at all eight Ivy League Schools. His name is Fernando Rojas. Here’s another young man, Harold Ekeh, who was also accepted at all eight Ivy League schools: Last year, Kwasi Enin was accepted at all eight Ivy League schools: A study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade examined applicants to top colleges from 1997, when the maximum SAT score was 1600 (today it’s 2400).… 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 →

Carjacking Diversity

Carjacking is like STEM in that it’s a profession in which women are seriously underrepresented so I celebrate this woman as a champion of diversity and inclusiveness. Read more →

Next Page »