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May 31, 2005

Customer Service

This morning when I got into my truck to drive down to Cathedral City to have a lovely lunch with my friend Martin, I spied a chip and a crack in my windshield. Of couse, I was immediately in denial. But there it was. I'm pretty mystified at how this happened. Just before I put the truck into the garage the day before I had washed the windshield and dried it thoroughly with paper towels and this chip was big enough I should have felt the towel drag over it. The crack, well that could have happened during the night as the windshield cooled.

So after lunch I drove over to Palm Springs Auto Glass (which like at least half the things named "Palm Springs" is NOT in Palm Springs), which had given me satisfactory service when I had the driver's window replaced last autumn. The "technician" (what DO you call 'em?) said it was not repairable, but required a windshield replacement. I called my insurance company, since this was going to be my first insurance claim in more than 25 years, and I expected things had changed. They had a list of "preferred" providers and, lo, Palm Springs Auto Glass was one of them. So I told them to go whole hawg on that windshield. In less than an hour it was finished, and it looked good.

BUT, it seems that the guys had just sort of ignored the wire that led from my satellite radio antenna, along the molding of the windshield, and then into the body of the truck. They had just gone and whacked away regardless, putting several nasty bites into the wire. My Audivox receiver could only give the "Acquiring Signal" message, with occasional "No Antenna Detected" messages. The mechanics tried to repair it, but this ain't just a piece o' wire. It's some magically woven stuff, designed to conduct that faint, faint satellite signal along for quite a few feet, before dropping its high fidelity signal into my electronics.

Well, they just gave up and agreed to pay the cost of replacing the antenna. Fine, but where do I pick one of these up? I tried calling Sirius where they let me sit on hold for a long, long time, forcing me to listen to The Pulse which is a decent channel of theirs, but through a cell phone it's a horrid thing...and it gets really confusing when the DJ accepts a phone call from a listener. Finally, when a human got to me, he said their regular dealers (Circuit City, Radio Shack) wouldn't carry an accessory like this and I should just "Go to a truck stop." That was it, like every truck stop in the country would stock this. I tried calling Audiovox, but their phone menu was outrageous. "For business hours, press 1." Naturally, no one would press that. But the descriptions for each subsequent menu item were never less than a full paragraph long. It was surreal! I selected something that was possibly relevant and only got the message that I should call back during normal business hours. Obviously they wanted me to press 1. I'm not sure why normal business hours couldn't have been squeezed into this vast accumulation of verbage they used for a menu.

Like a helpless twit, I cruised out to the Flying J in Thousand Palms and the Pilot on Indian. Of course they didn't have it, but the Pilot did actually have Sirius units available. I came home and called Crutchfield. What a delight their customer service was after the crap I'd been listening to all afternoon. Like air conditioning on a hot, desert day. They had just what I needed and were very efficient. Unfortunately, I will not be able to have this all repaired before I leave for AIDS LifeCycle, so during my trip to Long Beach I will have to entertain myself with MP3s. My favorite EE has suggested I try plugging my household antenna into it, which I shall try. The plug is the same, but the household antenna is not designed to be stuck on the outside of my truck, so we'll have to see if it can work while sitting on the dashboard and looking up through my new windshield...which is, BTW, pretty nice. All those little pits have disappeared.

| permalink | May 31, 2005 at 10:13 PM | Comments (3)

9 From The Bay Area

Atop Twin Peaks Buddha California Poppy (2)
Candy Tuft (2) Chinatown Flags except this one, right?
Ferry Market Old Saint Mary's Cathedral Old Saint Mary's Cross

Filed under Photography | permalink | May 31, 2005 at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

AIDS LifeCycle

AIDS LifeCycle starts this coming Sunday. I'll be leaving Friday to go to the bay area for that. Answer to FAQ #1: Yes, the ride goes from San Francisco to L.A. this year as it has every year since 1994.

Answer to FAQ #2: Yes, you bet I am still accepting donations. Just start here to make your donation.

Answer to FAQ #3: Yes, indeed, I still need donations, because the donations go to the anti-HIV & anti-AIDS programs at the LAGLC and THEY need the money because [hold on while I check Google News just to be sure...] because there still is no miraculous retroactive cure for HIV & AIDS.

Oh, answer to FAQ #3, subscript A: Yes, I have made the minimum $2500 with a lot of room to spare, thanks to my good donors, but this is not relevant. Go back and see the answer to FAQ #3.

There's a rough map of the route here, confirming that day 1 is substantially shorter. It does not confirm whether the shorterness is due to (1) moving the start of the ride to the Cow Palace or that (2) after ALL THESE YEARS, my favorite LifeCycle/AIDS Ride participant, Lorri Jean, will actually be riding a bike! Lorri is the CEO of LAGLC and lays claim to the original idea for the AIDS rides, which she generously loaned to Dan Pallotta. So Lorri will be on a bike this year, and we will see if that means she will irritate and outrage the San Francisco riders more or less compared to previous years.

During the ride, which is 7 days long (yeah, that's the answer to FAQ #4), you will theoretically be able to follow along at experience.aidslifecycle.org where photos & video will be available. There will also be "blogs" (they used to call them diaries) by five participants. I am not one of the five. No, after pulling into Paso Robles I just don't have the energy to write a couple of paragraphs that will wrench a few more tears or dollars from potential donors. I'm more like to observe that it would be nice if we would stick to riding single file on 101. My crystal ball tells me that the five bloggers will be a man from SF, a woman from SF, a man from LA, a woman from LA, plus a roadie.

You will also find a link allowing you to send a message to a participant...a participant like me, but don't send me one. What they do is print these out and then put them into giant loose leaf notebooks in numerical rider (by rider number, that is) and if I remember and can find the press tent I can go there and thumb through something bigger than a Manhattan phonebook just to see if I got a message. When I get home, I can check those messages on the website, too. The way to get a message to me on the ride is to call my cell phone. I'll turn it on a couple of times a day to check for messages.

This is not a FAQ, but I actually got asked by a person who knows me, and the answer is: Yes, I will be taking photos on the ride and sharing them with you when I get back.

Filed under AIDS Rides | permalink | May 31, 2005 at 09:38 AM | Comments (1)

Good News/Bad News

We could see the smoke from this fire from the pool party I was at in northern Cathedral City yesterday. The good news is they saved the Desert Palms (which had its own fire a few years ago). The bad news is they saved the Desert Palms (what a miserable place to stay).

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | May 31, 2005 at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

More on Kodachrome Super 8

In this NY Times article we learn that Kodak (in the person of Robert Mayson) agreed to meet with "Pip Chodorov, a principal member of Paris's thriving Super 8 filmmaking scene" regarding the recently announced discontinuance of Kodachrome Super 8 film. The important fact in the article is here in this sentence: Mr. Mayson agreed that Kodak might produce more Super 8 Kodachrome, if the format's enthusiasts can find a way to process it. A devil's bargain. Let's see how much they love Kodachrome now. Are the filmmakers willing to organize some sort of cooperative, or get some government subsidies, or rely on the generosity of some wealthy patron so that they might continue to operate a Kodachrome processing facility at a loss? It could work.

Filed under Photography | permalink | May 31, 2005 at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2005

Some Items

Cookin' With Google. Just give it the ingredients in your fridge and it comes back with recipes for them.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has a weblog! It's just the big stuff, not every little kitchen grease fire. Lot of brush fires.

Here's a news article that says King Sihanouk has a weblog. This AP story got repeated throughout the media over the last day or two, but so far no one points to the weblog itself, and I haven't been able to find it. The article refers to www.norodomsihanouk.info which is the King's official website, but damned if I can find a weblog there. I did find this, but it ends in April 2004. If someone can point us to the blog itself, we would appreciate it.

| permalink | May 30, 2005 at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2005

Mecca Hills

We're back to brown.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Photography | permalink | May 29, 2005 at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

4 of 'em

Mausoleum Corridor Mausoleum Decoration Garden Cross Gladstone Quote

Filed under Photography | permalink | May 29, 2005 at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

Weather On Cape Cod

I've been getting hints that things have been cool and/or wet in Massachusetts...but just hints. Like nobody wants to come right out and say they haven't seen the sun in 10 days, or all of their umbrellas have rotted with mildew. But I did run across this in the Cape Cod Times.

Erosion closes popular Truro surfing beach

TRURO - There will be no hanging ten at Longnook Beach this Memorial Day weekend.

Truro selectmen have closed the back-shore hot spot until further notice due to cliff erosion.

"We just want to make sure the banks are stable and no one's going to get hurt from a cave in," said Paul Morris, the town's director of public works. "This last storm really did it."

It was a woolly scene at Longnook yesterday. The northeaster that wouldn't die kept blowing, and below the jagged, concave cliffs the ticked-off Atlantic kept slamming the beach.

Right beyond the "Danger Sliding Cliff" sign it looked like the world ended. One wrong step and you would disappear, maybe a hundred hard feet down, into fog and rain and the cold ocean.

"There's no beach there for them to lay on and do whatever they do," he said. "The water's right up to the cliff at high tide."

Cape Cod National Seashore chief ranger Steve Prokop checked on conditions at Seashore beaches, which include dune-backed beaches like Coast Guard Beach in Eastham and Marconi Beach in South Wellfleet.

"All our public beaches are open and accessible," said Prokop. "The storm surge is dissipating as we speak."

But Prokop urged care when traversing the outer beach.

"There are some areas of erosion up and down the shoreline that you really want to stay away from," said Prokop. "It could be slightly overhanging and give, and you would drop a long way."

Here in surf-free Coachella Valley, the temperatures abated some after last weekend's fabulous rush of highs. But this morning! Well! Nine o'clock in the morning and I step outside and I find myself wondering what is this? What is this strange sensation on my skin? I checked my thermometer and read 74°! The sun had been up for hours and the sky was clear, but still only 74°. Get the down comforter and crawl back in bed!

| permalink | May 29, 2005 at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2005

This Is Weird

A "vice president of a New York banking corporation" drove to some woods in Union Beach, New Jersey (time of day unspecified), undressed himself, put on a condom and then waited until a woman came along jogging. The vice president then lunged at her, probably in an attempt to assault her. Much to the man's chagrin, I am sure, the woman turned out to be a police officer and used her cellphone to call in reinforcements. Story here. I guess it's the condom and the fact that he's a professional are the two things that make this weird.

| permalink | May 28, 2005 at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

Getty Museum

Getty Flowers Getty Museum Getty Museum Getty on a Winter Day Getty

Filed under Photography | permalink | May 28, 2005 at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

Flickr Postcards

Delivr.net creates emailable postcards from other people's Flickr images.

Filed under Photography | permalink | May 28, 2005 at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

The Safe Sex Penis Rides Muni

This is Safe For Work.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | May 28, 2005 at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2005

My Gay.com Ideal Man

hot looker

| permalink | May 27, 2005 at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)

New Deal In Color

Ah, a news article about a display of Kodachome images dating from 1939-1943

The images were captured by renowned photographers Russell Lee, Marion Post Wolcott, John Vachon, who began his career photographing the rough and tumble streets of 1930s Omaha, and Jack Delano. Recruited by the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information, their task was to document the ravages of the Great Depression and reflect the dire straits of rural America in celluloid to garner support for FDR’s New Deal initiatives.

And ya know what? The new, startling accuracy of Kodachrome was deemed too intense to publish. The gov't stuck with reliable black & white; the black & white images we're all familiar with.

All this info appears on a web site that exhibits that all-internet-is-local syndrome. The photo exhibit is taking place in "Durham Western Heritage Museum, 801 South 10th St. through June 5." All righty. Everyone knows where the DWH Museum is, right? A fuller inspection of the page turns up no city name, but there is an ad for Homer's, which features the best selection for new and "used CDS, DVDS & LPS" in Nebraska. So we're somewhere in Nebraska. This all sounds a lot like college stuff, so I'm going to guess Lincoln. Homer's is no help, as they have locations in both Omaha and Lincoln. Oh, hey! There's an "About Us" link at the top of the page. Unfortunately, it tells me that this publication covers Lincoln, Omaha and Council Bluffs (which is Iowa). That's no help! Let's cut to the chase and Google "Durham Western Heritage Museum." And here we have it. The museum is in Omaha! I was so wrong. It's in the old Union Station. And here's the info on the Bound for Glory: America in Color exhibit.

Check out this photo!

Filed under Photography | permalink | May 27, 2005 at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

Houses of Worship on Wilshire Boulevard

Wilshire Boulevard Temple (3) Wilshire Boulevard Temple (2) Wilshire Christian Church (2) Wilshire Christian Church (1)

Filed under Photography | permalink | May 27, 2005 at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)

Bosworth Hospitalized

Oh no! Desert Hot Springs' only reliably decent city councilman has been hospitalized with pneumonia.

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | May 27, 2005 at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

Central Missouri Photos

This morning I happened across the very good photos of 10thAvenue on Flickr. He's got a lot of photos of central Missouri: Columbia, Jefferson City, Fulton, etc. Lots of panoramas too!

Filed under Photography | permalink | May 27, 2005 at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005

Somebody Needed a 2x4

When we go on a hike around here, it's always a standing joke that the leader only remembers to count heads after we've had the opportunity to lose 1 or 2 guys. But get this! A Cathedral City middle school takes a trip to Knotts Berry Farm and nobody counted heads. A 6th grade girl got separated from the group at the park (the "farm?"). She didn't know where the buses were, so she sensibly turned herself into security who took her to the lost kids corral. Nobody from the school missed her. The bus took the remaining kids home, and that was that. Her mom finally got a call from Knotts Berry Farm to come get her girl (or at least that's how I read the story, which is written to local journalistic standards). Can you effin' believe it?!

The "2x4" reference is to some old joke about how to work with a mule. First you hit it between the eyes with a 2x4. That's just to get its attention.

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | May 26, 2005 at 06:28 PM | Comments (1)

Health Center in DHS

Development of a medical center in Desert Hot Springs is being considered. This seems, to me, a lot more important than the recent notions (not mentioned here on Ron's Log) of a grand new Civic Center. Having yourself a little cardiac arrest here in DHS means you will wait for the ambulance to come up from Palm Springs — and it's got to come on one of those routes that may be closed due to flooding or drifting sand. And then you ride the ambulance back to Palm Springs. So, it'd be nice if this medical center could house an ambulance, too, if only so an emergency trip to Palm Springs could be accomplished in half the time.

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | May 26, 2005 at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)