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small red square Yesterday I got a ticket! - I haven't been apprehended for a moving violation in eight years. Bah! My crime was making a U-turn where one wasn't permitted. This means I'll lose a Saturday soon to endure that element of California redemption known as "Traffic School" - for eight hours you're drilled on how to drive. The result is you still have to pay the fine, but your record is expunged, ie they don't tell the insurance company, so you don't get a rate increase. The other time I had to go <1> was rather pleasant, and I think it's a great idea - it clears up a lot of drivers' misconceptions, concerning stuff like the rules for entering an intersection a) to make a left turn, and b) when the light is yellow. And who knows? - perhaps I'll meet someone there. This time I'll go to one that's an explicit "comedy" traffic school.

small yellow square I was in the City yesterday, visiting the Thomas Bros store inside the "tourist vee" - I've been there twice previously to buy this map, but frustrated then by a "Closed" sign since their hours are strictly bankers'. The Thomas Brothers Guide is essential to many (Los) Angelenos; you can spot dog-eared copies in many a back seat - it's a book of detailed map-pages with a street index. Each page corresponds to a square of the grid overlaid on the full map in front of the book; they also make large wall maps consolidating all this information (in fact I bet you've seen one on the wall of police headquarters in any number of movies and TV shows filmed in LA). I got one of those in 1988; it was the only map big enough to have every street on it; I also have one of their Guides but it's a 1955 edition I acquired at an antique show. (In my car I prefer the folding maps available at gas-stations.) Thomas Bros is like the West Coast version of National Geographic or Rand McNally, they make world maps too but the local ones are their market niche. They also manufacture maps of like Seattle and San Francisco, and even Silicon Valley which is the one I got yesterday. It's the same full-sized six by four feet as my Los Angeles/Orange County map.

small green square I met B down by the airport in San Bruno, where she'd just finished a two-day class in Facilitating. My plan was to go back into the City (to "Indigo"); I'd made a reservation but then she was held up, so I called & delayed it but when we saw the traffic we bailed & went the other way, to San Mateo. (Later we determined that there was a game at "the Stick": Candlestick Park or "3Com Park" as it's been renamed. Hence the terrible backup on the freeway.) We wound up at "Kisaku," the Japanese restaurant I've also visited with F and G. She had sushi, I had some too and also a big whole grilled fish which she eyed with suspicion and wouldn't try a bite of. Afterwards we drove up to the City and I performed the midway Bay Bridge-Treasure Island-direction switch maneuver I've learned of recently, so she could get a bit of the night-time San Francisco view before I zipped back to SFO in order for her to make her return flight to LA. Although B had a great time, I'm having my usual post-visitor anguish; I always berate myself because if I'd made just a little extra effort she could've had a really good time. But she's a California native who's seen it all before, so given the short duration of her stay the only reason I'm feeling bad is that I forgot to call back "Indigo", to say we weren't going to show up. I hate being flaky like that. Also we drank beers so I had a hangover-headache which struck in the night and lasted through this morning.

small blue square Amongst our topics of discussion was the condition of a mutual acquaintance who's had throat cancer and operations, and for months now has been feeding (and is now drinking to excess) through a tube which bypasses her mouth - and you think you've got troubles! Count your blessings this very moment!

small purple square I spent many hours of today spell-checking my entire journal, and the amount of errors present makes me blush. (The word processor on my dinky home system has no such proof-reading software.) I'll be correcting the entries on-line over the next few days. Very occasionally, as I scrub each entry, I'm adding links forward to then-future dates.

small cyan square This is most of an August 25, 1998 Letter to the Editor of the "San Francisco Chronicle" - it neatly sums up my outrage concerning the current scandal:

My Grandson in preschool asked his father, "Daddy, what is oral sex?" The Republican Party has done more damage to their so-called "family values" by pursuing a blundering president for his arrogance and stupidity than Clinton has by the acts themselves.

They have made a mockery of the office of the presidency. They have brought embarrassment and shame on all politicians, the blood-thirsty media, and the voyeurism of the American people, by conspiring to beat Clinton by scandal, when they couldn't do it in the polls or the voting booth.

I hope we, the people, rise up in November and teach these scumbag slimeball politicians a lesson.

 - Jack Erdemann of San Francisco

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small green square Just out at the comic shop - the third "Too Much Coffee Man" Color Special. Here's the contents of some of the thought and speech balloons of Shannon Wheeler's red-garbed character which I can relate to - Too Much Coffee Man at a party:

  • There's nothing like being surrounded by people to make one feel alone.
  • I used to be good at parties. I would walk around and talk to people. And I would actually be interested in what they had to say.
  • Now I'm bored. Parties are boring. It's the same old drunk people talking about the same stupid things.
  • But even if the people change it seems like the conversations stay the same.
He's really great - generally not so negative - check him out.

LA - Los Angeles
SFO - San Francisco International (airport)
tourist vee - that area of downtown San Francisco bounded by Van Ness, Market and the Bay, which contains Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, the cable cars, the Tenderloin, Nob Hill, Coit Tower, Lombard Street, North Beach, etc.
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<1>My violation then? Running a red light (on my bicycle)!