Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Not Gone But Distracted

I meant to go back to The Last Bookstore in downtown L.A. I didn't make it. I was seduced by the 99 Cents Only store. And Samy's Camera. More about that later.

There was a moment when I looked at the woman in the chair and I felt, something. Well, it was more than that; like time traveling to a bookstore off of Market Street, past the hot pretzel store.

More like a window. But there was a place where broke folks could do serious reading. You could find books for 25 cents or four for a dollar.

Magazines for a dime or high toned ones for fifty cents. A place where you buy underground comix like Dirty Duck and Mickey Rat. Or Pudge, Girl Blimp.

Have I written about this before? Hold on...

Dang it. I think I have a cootie in my browser.

So I'll have to stop being an old fuddy duddy and deal with something trying to report back to home base. 

But there is something about her looking for a resting place. A place where solid words are still honored and not used as a weapon or talking points. Which I'm not going to be able to contemplate because something is messing with my system.

Because you have to invade to sell. Sell, sell and keep selling no matter what.

Whoopie, assault capitalism.

(Not against capitalism. Not necessarily for it either. I am against malware.)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pershing Square Downtown Los Angeles 2014

I was feeling blah so I went for a walk. Which means I hopped a bus, a bit of a train and then I walked around downtown Los Angeles. So much has changed.

There was a time when you walked quickly and held your nose as you passed Pershing Square. It was a camp town for the homeless and those that didn't have any other place to go. Or got chased out of those cities and wound out downtown.

There are still homeless folk in the park but not as many as there use to be. The area is being upscaled so that there is more cleaning, more hi-rise apartments and more hi-toned, expensive stores coming into the area.

There has been ice skating for the holidays for a couple of years. Not sure how they manage to keep it skatable but they do find a way. Unless it is really hot. On this Saturday it was about 79F/26C so it was doable.

There was more ice walking than skating. I think TV bamboozled folks into thinking all you have to do is lace up and go. But it was good to stop and reflect on how you can turn a corner and see something amazing.

Ice skating without ear muffs or pants in November.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My First Time at L.A. Auto Show

I have known that there is such a thing as an automobile show. Apparently it is a big thing. But seeing as I don't drive and have limited interest in automobiles (unless they are painted in an artist way or are creatively off the mainstream) then I had no need to go spend money traipsing over the L.A. Convention center.

Until this year. See, I really want a self driving car.  Hell, I want the majority of Los Angeles to have a self driving car. Why? Because most Angelenos can't drive. They cut right in front of city buses. They have the phone in their face slurping something as they turn the corner and almost hit me.

I have witness bone stupidity from people behind the wheel. It is time, long past time for these people to be placed in a controlled vehicle.

So, I got to thinking. I think a lot and most times nothing comes from it. But this time I was thinking harder than usual. Maybe Google and the other autonomous car vendors will be at the show. And I could get a gander at what I think could be functional available by 2017 in California.

So I take a bus, another bus and a train to the Convention Center. Big honking place.

I get my ticket and turn a corner and bam, there it was. This model is from Volvo and the person, who is not a booth bunny, told me that in Sweden they are just about good to go.

I'll put Sweden in the summer on the bucket list of travel possibilities. It doesn't bother me I would travel half way around the world to test out the car. I'm impatient.

So I found one car I was sure that I'd find more. I spent three hours in that joint. Verily I looked at just about every car in the place. There were plenty of hybrids. Electrics. Diesels. A ton of red cars; pretty, shiny things that will guarantee you will be pulled over every night for the next 15 years.

I almost bought food at the event until I understood that $11.00 was the starting point for most meals. That frugal bone started to twitch and I made do with a $5 frozen drink.

Back to hoofing. I saw high toned low end cars and beep-beeps that where encased in plastic walls so that no mere mortal could touch them.

I'm still hoofing for another autonomous car. I'm about to give up when I found one at the Honda area. More on that later.

Lessons Learned

I have to say I had per-conceived notions about who goes to an auto show. Now, some of those notions were correct. There were T-shirt wearing offenders like "I (heart) rim jobs. 

But really there were families, married people and not always the husband as the car junkie. There were dad's introducing sons to the car life. There were women who knew what the lingo was and comparing gears to wheel base ratio something or other.

It was Greek to me but god bless 'em. Oh, one more thing.

I was in the rest area. This married couple sat beside me. Dude was telling his wife/partner/significant other that the Ford trucks will be converted from a steel base to a composite one because of up coming EPA regulations.  He also said that the steel industry was busy trying to kill or alter the requirements so that steel would be in the trucks.

From the way he was talking, it sounded like the word environmental was a pejorative. 

Anyway, it was an experience I'm still processing. On account it took three hours to get home. 

Yeah. Another reason why I want the car.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Health Literacy 101 Project - Rx Prototype Video

This is the prototype that I created for my health literacy class. I have some ideas that health literacy could be improved by using social media apps. One of my goals is to introduce this option to information workers, librarians and other content creators that need to make content quickly.

My other goals were:
  • Be a friendly nudge on checking prescription label information.
  • Keep it simple while conveying the four main points .
  • Create it totally in the app; that wasn't possible because there is no captioning in Adobe Voice. I had to use Camtasia for open captioning the video.

The video was created using the Adobe Voice app on the iPad. As of this date, there is no direct to video export. After you upload the video to the Adobe site you can obtain the embed the video.

Now theoretically, you could use software like SnagIt or Camtasia to screen record the audio and video and then bring them into your video editing program of choice.

Theoretically speaking.

And I hear that there are a number of free and web based screen recording programs as well.

Anyway if you are here from the class and you have any questions please ask and I'll respond as soon as I can.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Books, Bread and Soul Work

I may have misread a sentence. I thought it said that books do soul work. It didn't. But it isn't unreasonable to think so; there are books that do soul damage under the guise of being right, being authentic or being the other and the other is always in power mode over the lesser.

I know that there are books for me that got me to this point in life. I needed to know that there was something other than what I was currently experiencing. Science fiction and adventure books carried me down the road.

These days I consume paper books, audiobooks, podcasts and other ways to keep me steady and on the path of ...

Well, on the path. That path leads to temptation. No immediate access to a book or spoken word recording could lead a person to seek oral gratification.

This is a dangerous place for carbo-holics. Bread, bread products, pastries, cakes and more stuff. It is still new in town and they are still knocking out the kinks but dang it I've been twice and trying hard not to make it three times in a month.

It is not the best bakery but it has tasty treats and is affordable. Now me, I liked the Squid ink bread ball. I also liked the chocolate then bread then chocolate then coffee and then something else bread ball.

Then there was this:

Never mind the super sized Ding Dong, which was just dandy, those creme puffs had actual cream; more cream that puff. I'm talking if you eat a loaded creme puff in the company of men folk they will get distracted watching you trying to eat said cream puff.

I may have shared too much.

Now I know I have to eat more responsibly. I try. I voluntarily eat veggies. I cut back on the fat when I remember. But it has been a hard week. Stupid people to the left and idiots on the right.

I want solace. I want comfort. I want more cream puffs!

And I can't have any more. I've exceeded the oral gratification budget for the week and probably month. I now need to hunker down and do some of that soul work like write; trying to figure out how to do my health literacy final project and do laundry.

Why am I always doing laundry?

Laundry can be soul work but you have to be willing. It takes time and acknowledgment of responsibility. And, as I was reminded this week, Americans talk a lot of shit but are unwilling to step up and do the do.

 I may be a little angry.

I need a book.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Walking Down Union Into A Wider World

Things are going on, I'm spending so much time on computers that the last thing I want to do is write for myself. This is why I need to take walks. When you walk you see things that are only glints in eyes as you drive.

There was a painted Chevy van in the in the USC Pacific Asian Museum parking lot. From a distance it look like someone got happy with a spray can. I move closer to it and find out there is a story and meaning behind the art work.

No spray can was involved. This was an installation created by artist Haider Ali for the exhibition From the Grand Trunk Road to Route 66: Visiting Truck Artist Haider Ali.

I guess it is a fusion of traditional Pakistani truck art with some of the icons of California and the U.S. painted added. It is vibrant and colorful. Step a bit closer and there is meaning on top of meaning.

The few people that stopped for a moment looked at it; did not see it and walked on. There was an information sign that gave background about the work but most people glanced and walked on.

When I cam home I did some research about Pakistani truck art and that is how I moved just a bit into a wider world.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

On This Day It is About the Choices

On this day it seems time to come back to the stoop. Never a good idea to type in anger and I was really angry for a long time. I still am, but I've coaxed it back into the chamber of invisibility. I've soothe it and fed it some ice cream.

I've told it humans will be ok in the long view of things. I've held my anger as we read books of magic and fantasy. I've given it a carrot spinach potassium boost. Maybe too much Hop Woo's Soy Soaked Chicken.

I've let my anger watch that scene from Luther where Alice does what needs to be done.

(Spoiler Alert: Don't Watch if You Haven't Seen the Series. P.S., this is a rough scene, beautifully written and acted but harsh like real humans. The UK accents can't cover-up everything so, yeah you have been told.)

Alice is straight up crazy but the girl has got style.

And she deals hard. Alice does what some of us wish we could do to the bad people of the world.

We don't because there wouldn't be anybody left breathing. I think we intellectually know this and millions have watched Alice give a listen to her uninhibited side that says "F-ck it, remove the problem."

I hear you Alice, but no, no we can't go down that road. We have to find another way.

As I type this I think there has been another school shooting. Damn.

A.O. Scott from the NYT has an essay about the death of adulthood. I don't agree with all of it but I don't disagree with some of it.

I haven't given up comic books. I'll read anything that has print and if that happens to be a YA book yeah, what's it to you? I shouldn't read Neil Gaiman's Sandman? Cuz if I have to choose between reality TV and old school Doom Patrol then it is the Doom Patrol all the way.

On this day I have to learn not to be so defensive about my choices.

Some days it is hard to listen to what passes for conversation and debate. There are some mean, ignorant SOB/Bs in the world. But you can't allow them dominion either.

So on this day I keep working on the projects that I think could help myself and others. I'm trying to  reduce the amount of unnecessary yakity yak and engage with people who have some sense. A lot of people have been de-friended or digitally kicked to the curb. Others I'm giving a wider bit of distance.

I want to be thoughtful. I want be respectful. But there is that teeny tiny part that is keeping a side eye on Alice. Keeping an side eye on the Alice in all of us; which can be exhausting.

On the archiving tip, I think I'm going to hang out a bit more at the BBC 1914 website where they are reviewing events in that year. The site is 1914 Day by Day. You might find me in the cartoon section. Hmm, the podcasting section looks tasty too.