SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA: The Three Things I Like Best About That City

My favorite image of the town I grew up in and lived for 22 years….

 

Everybody has a hometown.

Technically, I have two…

Riverside, CA, fifty miles east of Los Angeles, where I was born, spent the first nine years of my life, and have idyllic memories of as I lived with loving grandparents in a rural community outside of that city.

The other place I consider my hometown?

Santa Monica, CA, fifteen miles west of downtown Los Angeles, a town famous for its beach and pier.

It’s in Santa Monica where I lived for 22 and a half years, eighteen in one house.

It’s in Santa Monica where I spent my pubescence, adolescence, and young adulthood.

And it’s in Santa Monica where I did the milestone/rites of passage; play little league,  get my first  (unrequited) crushes on girls,  graduate high school, work at my first jobs, things like that.

Though it’s approaching twenty years since I lived there, moving to Culver City at the end of 1998, there are three things about that seaside town that provide fond memories.

I won’t waste any time with listing those three things:

 

1.  THE AFTERNOON SEA BREEZES

Being that it borders the Pacific Ocean (or technically, Santa Monica Bay), Santa Monicans have been blessed with what I call God’s air conditioning, as starting at roughly 3:00 p.m. winds from the ocean cool that city – and neighboring ones like Venice, Pacific Palisades, and Marina Del Rey – and make it very desirable while starting at between five to ten miles inland the temperature significantly rises.

On hot days, that means that while people in Santa Monica and other beach cities are reveling in those cool breezes, folks living inland are suffering.

Why else does the beach in Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu, and other places get crowded with wall-to-wall people during heat waves?

 

 

A VERY nice view of the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu, and Point Dume at sunset. Photo courtesy of shuttlestock.com

 

2. THE VIEW OF MALIBU AND THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS ON A CLEAR DAY

On a clear day, particularly after it rains, I always loved looking north and viewing the Santa Monica Mountains and various places like Pacific Palisades, Malibu, and Point Dume.

The views of those area is especially spectacular from the Santa Monica Pier, which I took some time to do on Christmas morning in 1998, just a few days before I moved away as I wanted to set my eyes on that incredible view one last time.

I unfortunately haven’t been able to see that sight due to the pier being crowded with tourists and life’s obligations in general, but rest assured that view is something about Santa Monica that I’ve always appreciated.

 

 

My all-time favorite place to eat – sorry that the picture is so small! Photo courtesy of camposfamousburritos.com

 

3. CAMPOS FAMOUS BURRITOS, ON 20TH STREET AND PICO BOULEVARD

There has been no other place where I’ve preferred to eat in my lifetime.

Since age eight, I have been enjoying the tacos, nachos, and burritos from what was originally called Las Palmas until it was renamed Campos around the late 1970s.

Having lived two blocks from Campos for 18 years, I have had a long history with that place…

I remember taking field trips with my junior high school Spanish class to that Mexican eatery for lunch, taking dares to drink the hot green salsa.

Though I was a bit too much of a goody-goody to do so, many of my friends have ditched school to enjoy Campos food.

I can recall taking dates there during my early 20’s.

And my latest enjoyable memory of Campos?

Going there on my 50th birthday to buy avocado burritos, which incredibly enough I had never tried as I always preferred ground beef tacos in my youth and chicken tacos and burritos in later years.

I don’t have to tell you the waves of nostalgia that passed through me that day.

In fact, if someone asked me what my number one memory of living in Santa Monica is, Campos would be it.

I thank God that there’s a branch about a block and a half from where I live in Culver City; their tacos was the first meal I had upon moving there.

I’m quite proud and blessed that I’ve been eating and enjoying Campos food for over forty years, and will continue to.

 

So there they are – my three fondest memories of my twenty-two and a half years in Santa Monica.

Hopefully these descriptions make anyone from that town who may be reading this smile.

 

 

The inside of the Original Campos on 20th & Pico in Santa Monica, which is so successful there are several branches all over Los Angeles’ Westside. Photo courtesy of tripadvasor.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THREE YEARS OF HARTLAND CHRONICLES: The Anniversary Post

What I’ve been doing for the past nine years. Photo courtesy of writersonline.workshops.com

 

COMMEMORATING 1,095 DAYS OF THIS BLOG/SITE

 

I know it’s a tired cliché that I reckon folks are tired of hearing, but…

Three years goes by quite fast, doesn’t it?

I recall like it was yesterday (another cliché) the day I began this blog;

I simply wanted to assert my independence in writing online, as I had spent the previous six years posting articles for HubPages.com and Triond.com (which is no longer in existence), sites that paid royalties – yes, I made a little money from them – that to be honest I was getting a bit tired of.

Particularly in the case of HubPages as while I enjoyed posting on that site, after spending so many years with them I wanted the freedom to write without someone saying that I needed to change this or that, or not accepting my pieces because they didn’t like the way I made a point.

It was similar for the sports sites I wrote for, Bleacher Report and Fansided, as I was on them for seven years before starting Hartland Chronicles; I wrote sports stories on this blog for the first few months before starting SoCal Sports Annals in January of 2015.

Here’s the link to that site, which for all intents and purposes is my being-my-own-boss job; check it out, I think you’ll like it: http://www.socalsportsannals.wordpress.com

Looking back, I understand that sites like Hubpages need to maintain a certain standard of quality.

However, the fact that I wanted to determine what was quality and what was not ultimately led to my starting this blog of my own.

In other words, it was the freedom that having my own blog offered that led to starting one.

Which is much like someone starting their own business; they do so because they don’t want to be at the mercy of some employer, much preferring to work for oneself than working for someone else.

That’s always been my ultimate mindset and – I realize now – my ultimate goal for my work life: not answering to someone else.

 

 

I have so felt like this guy over the years, and sometimes even now; left out of things because (in my case) misunderstanding and intolerance of my having Asperger’s. Photo courtesy of anxiety.org

 

 

ANOTHER MOTIVATION FOR STARTING THIS BLOG OF MINE:

Like I did on Triond and Hubpages, I wanted to have a site where my experiences with having Asperger’s Syndrome can be expressed.

I’ve transposed a few of my Asperger’s articles onto this site as well as give regular updates in the progress of my book describing my experiences of being on the Autism Spectrum, WALKING ON EGGSHELLS,

And not only will I continue to do so, I have started posting excerpts of WALKING ON EGGSHELLS on this site, the first one appearing a few weeks ago (hope everyone read it!); I’m going to post the next one later this month – hope it’s checked out!

I reckon some are asking why I’m writing about having Asperger’s, both in book form and on this blog…

In a nutshell, it’s both a sort of therapy of me as being on the spectrum has not been fun,

And a way for people to understand Aspies better as misunderstanding is a root of mistreatment, bullying and all those other bad things that folks with Asperger’s and others on the autistic spectrum go through.

Not that writing about my struggles with being an Aspie has been the only topic I’ve written about, as things ranging from God/religion to movies to politics to health issues to music (yes, I still think boy bands suck!) to racial issues have appeared on here.

And will continue to do so as issues come up.

 

 

Always a good source of therapy and a way I can relax; looking at nice nature scenery like this…

 

 

THE INEVITABLE QUESTION: HOW HAVE I LIKED WRITING ON THIS BLOG?

The short answer: It’s been good.

An outlet for expression if nothing else, which is important.

Of course it would be great if the number of reads were more than what they are as while it improved this past month thanks to an article I did about the best summer songs – here’s the link to find out what they are: http://www.hartlandchronicles.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/eight-essential-summer-songs-my-personal-favorites/

There have been quite a few days where I would get no reads at all, leading me to wonder if I was wasting my time.

I quickly came to my senses on that one – else this site wouldn’t exist – as being able to write what I know/want and getting it out there is what’s important to me.

And I do appreciate the nearly forty followers I have.

Bottom Line: It’s been a good three years having my own personal blog where I can write and express myself without anyone looking over my shoulder and acting like my “boss”, telling me my stuff is no good or not good enough.

I don’t know where it will all lead at the end of the day, but I certainly hope that Hartland Chronicles is still going strong in another three years.

And that people will be interested enough to visit it and read what I have to say.

 

BY THE WAY:  Watch for the next excerpt of WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, which will pertain to being an African-American on the Autism Spectrum and will appear on this site next week.

 

An essential tool of my trade for nearly a decade now…

 

 

RANDOM THOUGHTS OF SUMMER

Being that I grew up in Santa Monica, I thought it only appropriate that I posted a picture of its beach. Photo courtesy of shutterstock.com.

 

I think it just comes with the progression of life in general;

The notion of summer being one long holiday when you’re a kid, ala the end of school and that “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers…” thing.

Think about it…

Unless you screwed up in class and got bad grades during the regular school year, thus sentencing you to hard time in summer school,

Or if you’re of high school age and working at some crappy minimum wage, no benefits or basic rights, one step up from slavery type of job – or trying to get such,

Summer is three months (or two and a half today) of fun as in going to camps specializing in things you love to do, taking vacations to far off exotic places, visiting paradises like Zuma Beach in Malibu or Disneyland or whatever theme parks you may fancy, and watching spectacular fireworks displays on the evening of July 4th – and buying firecrackers and setting them off yourself.

Which you can’t do anymore in all but perhaps one or two communities in the Los Angeles area.

Not to mention hanging out at the local swimming pool and eating delicious barbecue at parties.

Or doing nothing at all, like many of us did back in the day – or at least I did as the majority of my summers were spent lazing around at my grandparents’ in Riverside, CA, not venturing outside until dusk due to the 90 + degree weather, watching TV, getting to play outside until 8:00 p.m., and essentially just vegging.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr0tTbTbmVA

I forgot how good this song was; an essential tune of summer by Will Smith, or the Fresh Prince (& Jazzy Jeff) as he was known then when this dropped in 1991. Courtesy of YouTube – just click on the link.

 

Unfortunately, all that ends when you become an adult in society’s eyes.

Contrary to when you’re a kid, life doesn’t stop when June 21st comes around;

Rent and bills still have to be paid,

Your place of work doesn’t go on a two-or-three month hiatus as the best you can expect is two-week vacation – and that’s if you’re extremely lucky as you can’t put it past your overseers – I mean supervisors – to come up to you at the very last minute and inform you about some big project that you need to do, thus nuking your long-awaited freedom.

Personally, like more or less every other youngster I used to think that summer was the best time of year, for obvious reasons.

Now, and for pretty much my entire adulthood – I would say since my early 20s – that is not the case as I prefer Spring and Winter.

Spring? the leaves are just budding and it’s not so hot.

Winter? I like the chilliness and bundling up.

Not to mention the major holiday commemorating the birth of our Lord and Savior that anchors that season.

 

Another essential thing about summer; fireworks displays like these in Long Beach, CA every 4th day of July. Photo courtesy of timeout.com

 

Speaking of chilliness, there’s one big reason why summer doesn’t particularly hold my fancy anymore…

THE HEAT.

My body has gotten less tolerant to it as I’ve gotten older.

And the fact that it’s gotten hotter the past decade or so – we all know how temperatures have reached 120 degrees in places like Phoenix, AZ the past few days (my condolences to those folks) – hasn’t helped.

To sum it up in three words…

I HATE HOT.

And to sum up my feelings about this just-begun season…

I miss the way summer was as a kid, the way it was something to look forward to with all the fun and relaxing that often went along with it.

Now, that’s not really the case.

It’s a bit of a pity, but also inevitable as that’s part of one’s evolving as an adult, the responsibilities that don’t stop just because it’s June, July and August.

As such, for those who can afford it,

I hope your summer’s a good one.

 

I like the rainbow-like colors of these lounge chairs at this beach. Photo courtesy of the odysseyonline.com

 

 

 

PRAY FOR MANCHESTER

Let me join the rest of the world in praying for the folks in that northern England city that lost 22 people in that blast the other day.

Like every other decent person, it broke my heart when I heard about that suicide bombing in the lobby of that arena after an Ariana Grande concert.

Did Islamic State (or ISIS), the group that claimed responsibility, REALLY think that their cause for worldwide Sharia law would be furthered by killing kids outside a pop concert?

Here’s to praying that Manchester, 180 miles north of London, fifty miles east from Liverpool, and home to two of football’s (or what we in America call soccer) most iconic teams, Manchester United and Manchester City, heals sooner than later.

The Best Way (for me) To Help Panhandlers and the Homeless

 

A feast for the less fortunate during Thanksgiving. Photo courtesy of csmonitor.com

 

 

The other day I was at a bus stop when a young man approached me and asked if I could spare him a dollar so he could get something to eat.

Being that I live in Los Angeles, CA, the homeless capital of these United States, such interactions are very commonplace as if you are out and about in L.A. on a regular basis, you can expect for the less fortunate to ask you for money.

I reckon roughly 98% of folks, out of compassion and conscience, give money to the panhandlers when asked.

While I have much compassion thanks to Jesus being my Lord and Savior, my way of helping those unfortunates are a tiny bit different.

Though I have given money to those I see living on the street, sometimes without them asking, there’s another way of helping them that I much prefer – and which I did for this particular young man…

To be brutally honest, I have never really felt comfortable giving cash to people on the street, for this reason:

 

You never know if they are going to use the cash to buy food, like they always say they are, or if they are going to use that money to buy alcohol, drugs or even cigarettes.

 

Am I saying that all panhandlers use the money given to them to get drunk, get wasted, or pollute their lungs and ours with tobacco smoke? Absolutely not!

What I’m saying is, you don’t know if they are.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t want to enable those bad behaviors, behaviors that (for booze and drugs) may well have led them to being in that less fortunate situation.

No, I am NOT saying that all homeless are there because of booze or drug problems as I’m well aware that there are many young people on the street who are runaways or (worse) throwaways, but still…

Anyhow, fear of enabling is the reason why I did this for that young man who asked me for a dollar…

 

RATHER THAN GIVE HIM MONEY, I BOUGHT HIM FOOD.

 

I took him to a CVS store across the street and bought him an ice cream bar, which of course he was quite grateful for.

That’s how I prefer to help panhandlers and the homeless as I have promised myself that whenever someone asks me for money, I always ask if they’re hungry, which I’ll expect them to answer in the affirmative.

Then I tell them, “I’ll be happy to buy you something to eat.”

That’s when I go to whatever convenience store or fast food place is nearby – I once bought someone in a wheelchair a bag of potato chips and a banana from a 7-Eleven when he asked me for some change – and buy something for them.

It cuts out the middle man and more importantly…

 

It guarantees that your money will TRULY help that person, rather than possibly feed his alcohol, narcotic, or nicotine habit.

 

Of course if you want to give panhandlers your money, by all means do so; it’s not my intention to tell anyone how to do good.

But the bottom line, at least for me, is that it’s better for me to actually buy food and drink for panhandlers and the homeless rather than give them my change and risk enabling them.

Plus it obviously helps them in the long run.

Which is all any decent person wants to do.

 

Enjoying a meal during what I’m sure was some holiday. Photo courtesy of rt.com

 

 

A NEED FOR REST: Why I’m Taking One Day A Week Off From The Internet

 

One of the two tools of my work; been that way for the past nine years. Photo courtesy of Isk.me

 

THE SHORT ANSWER TO THIS…

Avoiding Burnout.

This past Sunday I decided to do something that I don’t remember doing for quite a while:

Spend a day without going online.

Being completely internet-free.

Taking the day off, as because of my duties running my sports fan blog  (here’s the link for you to check it out), http://www.SoCalSportsAnnals.Wordpress.com,

As well as following various games on the blog’s Twitter page and keeping it’s Facebook page current,

As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome whose mental being is very important to me, it was wearing me down.

So I took the day off and rather enjoyed it, doing virtually nothing for the bulk of the day.

And from now on will make it a point to take one day off from the Internet a week – Sunday in my case as that’s the best day for me to do so.

 

As much as I enjoy my work, blogging and writing my book on one of these things, this picture illustrates my feelings quite well. Photo courtesy of wittyfeed.com

 

 

I reckon most folks will think, “Big Deal! People take days off all the time!” and not consider this blog entry of mine something worth paying attention to.

But I think this ought to serve as a friendly tip for those who feel that they are working too hard and are sensing a dread of doing whatever their regular duties are.

After my restful Sunday, without any intentions to preach or telling folks what to do I’m convinced once and for all that people need to take one day off a week.

God certainly knew what he was doing when after creating the world, “On the seventh day He (God) ended his work which he had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all his work which He had made.” – Genesis, 2:2

SoCal Sports Annals’ Twitter and Facebook pages – where I’m usually on – can wait until Monday.

Taking Sundays off will be good for my mental and emotional well-being.

And if you can, though it doesn’t have to be on a Sunday, I hope you are able to take one day off from your work to completely rest.

Do nothing.

Be lazy, if you want to be honest.

Your mental health will appreciate it.

 

 

The other main tool of my trade; I’m on one of these up to five hours a day/night, hence my need for a day off per week. Photo courtesy of tablet-news.com

MORE IMAGES THAT SOOTH ME: Springtime Scenes

The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Photo courtesy of dreamstime.com

 

A few months ago, I posted photos on this site depicting winter scenes that give me a good feeling, photos that lessen any anxieties I have due to my being on the Autism Spectrum (Asperger’s Syndrome to be precise).

As Spring is my favorite season – not too warm, new bright green leaves budding that looks nice – I wanted to post scenes of Spring that, when I’m experiencing any negative feelings or having a bad day,

Makes me feel better, even though as much as I wish I were at these places I’m unable to.

It’s my way of getting back to nature.

Hope these pics give you a good feeling, too…

 

 

Photo courtesy of lovesphotoalbum.com

 

This is a really good image, the leaves growing on the trees and the cows grazing on the grass.

It reminds me of when I was eight years old and living in the country; I had two calves that I had fun taking care of.

 

 

Photo courtesy of beautyscenery.com

 

I’ve always liked wide open spaces like this, particularly since I live in the vicinity of the nation’s second largest city where it oftentimes feels so cramped and crowded.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of freebestwallpapers.blogspot.com

 

A classic springtime image: brightly colored flowers blooming among bright green grass in a meadow.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of keyword-suggestions.com

 

Love these budding leaves on these trees in Switzerland…

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of lifeseasons.getitguru.it

 

Check out these wildflowers with the spectacular mountain range in the background!

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of wallpaperfx.com

 

I SO wish I was at this place; it’s more or less perfect with the forest, mountains and trees bathed in all that green and blue (the sky, that is).

I guess I’m a nature person at heart.

Perhaps I’ll get to see places like these someday soon…