Why I Like Rain

I like this rain image, with the trees and the hills. Photo courtesy of the odysseyonline.com

 

Living in the Los Angeles area, particularly in the past few years, I haven’t experienced too much rain, Southern California being a desert climate and all.

Now that it’s been raining in my neck of the woods for the past day or so, I thought it would be a good idea to chat about why I like it.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the floods or the mudslides in the hills that oftentimes happens when too much rain occurs; my heart goes out to the five folks that died due to the mudslides in our area.

Here’s the reason why I enjoy it when it rains, however…

Besides the fact that with the seemingly endless drought that has persisted in my state of California, we certainly need the rain,

As someone on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, namely high functioning Asperger’s Syndrome, there are certain sounds that I enjoy, sounds that I find comforting and give me a feeling of coziness, when I want to bundle up in bed with a blanket and eventually fall into a nice sleep.

Along with helicopters and planes (I know, that’s a bit strange), rain is one of those sounds.

To me, rain is a sort of personal message from God that I need to slow down.

Take a bit of time off.

Rest and recharge.

It just feels so cozy to me, and I always feel a tiny bit disappointed when rainstorms end and the sun comes out.

The ironic thing about these sentiments?

I used to have almost the opposite opinion about rain during the spring as a young person, because I played baseball and storms would always wash out games.

Now if it rains and I find that I’m unable to play my pick-up softball games on weekends, I shrug and go “Oh well”, my thought being that it’s not the end of the world.

I think that’s called maturity.

Anyhow, I’m liking this rain that’s hit L.A.

As soon as I finish writing this, I’m going to jump into my bed, pull my covers up, and enjoy the coziness that it brings to me and my senses.

 

Another image of something that gives me such a cozy feeling. Photo courtesy of siyathanews.lk

 

Advertisements

Random Thoughts As 2017 Ends and 2018 Begins

A familiar image for the next few days…

 

I’LL MAKE THIS BRIEF, CLEAN CUT, AND STRAIGHT FORWARD…

 

It seems that as the number in front of my age increases, the time goes faster and faster.

I could say that it was due to my being busy with so many things;

My college alumni band duties,

Playing pick-up softball on Saturdays,

Working out on an almost daily basis to continue getting in shape,

Working on choosing the right foods to eat to stay healthy, to keep the hypertension away, and to keep from getting a heart attack or a stroke as I’ve officially given up red meat,

Writing and posting articles on this blog and what for all intents and purposes is my business – my sports coverage blog, SoCal Sports Annals http://SoCalSportsAnnals.Wordpress.com

And turning fifty as I celebrated that milestone birthday at the beginning of the summer.

 

In quite a few ways 2017 was a bit scary for those who were and are against our President-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

As well as for those who were against bigotry (read: Charlottesville), war, and a country that’s at it’s most fragmented state since the Civil War.

For those who favor true diversity and who feel that immigration is vital for a country’s growth,

And for those who lost their homes to fires in both Northern and Southern California and to hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico,

2017 wasn’t that good a year.

Thank God some glimmers of hope emerged with the defeat of Roy Moore, a man accused of trying to hook up with underage girls (and being successful in a few cases) and who once said that this country was better during slavery, for senator in Alabama, and Democrats winning some state offices in Virginia.

That gives me hope for 2018, as the midterm elections will be one of that year’s highlights; it will be a golden opportunity for the reasonable Americans to send a message to President You-Know-Who and his supporters by voting those in Congress who don’t care about the poor – or anyone who’s not white, male, straight, wealthy, conservative, or a combination of the five,

Out of office.

We’ll see what happens there.

I think I’ve written enough, so I’ll end this with this wish of a very Happy, Safe, and Prosperous New Year for me, my family, my loved ones, and everyone else.

I pray that 2018 is safer, more harmonious, and just plain better than 2017.

 

Something nice to look at as winter hits its full stride…

 

“Work Is Not Supposed To Be Enjoyable”: AN EXTREME REBUTTAL

An illustration of someone who evidently enjoys her job. Photo courtesy of teflonline.teachaway.com

 

WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T ENJOY WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING?

I remember a few years ago reading something online about people who were stressed out, burned out, and generally unhappy in their jobs, the article offering suggestions on how to cope with that.

I also remember reading one particular comment in that section by someone who apparently was a miserable jerk because he wrote that those who were miserable in the workforce were nothing but whiny crybabies who need to understand…

A. That work isn’t supposed to be enjoyed, but is supposed to be difficult, which is why it’s called work, and,

B. People who feel otherwise are losers who need to get over it and feel lucky they’re earning a paycheck.

If I ever came face to face with this guy, I would tell him in no uncertain terms that he is nothing but a mean bully who a firm believer in misery loving company.

And who is just plain wrong.

Bluntly put, a career need not be eight hours of hell following orders from bosses who are essentially schoolyard bullies or supervisors with the mind of and who behave like slavery-era overseers.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that sometimes a person has to do whatever is necessary to survive, and to keep a roof overhead and the family clothed and fed if he or she has one.

I know this because like probably 98% of the world’s working age population, I worked at jobs l absolutely hated, ranging from telemarketing to working in retail, particularly at a luggage store in the early 1990s that felt much like a prison sentence, I hated it so much.

The minimum wage salary I made peddling luggage and handbags felt like blood money, as I felt that the only difference between me and a slave on a plantation was that I got a paycheck.

Those dark days were the product of me believing that making money however possible was the most important thing, and I eventually learned that nothing can be further from the truth – at least as far as I am concerned as I can’t speak for everyone else.

That luggage salesman gig taught me once and for all that you have to like what you do for work, else it’s just not worth it in the long run, and especially when you factor in mental health as I suffered from a couple of nervous breakdowns and some suicidal thoughts stemming from my unhappiness in some of the jobs I had.

There’s an old saying…

Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.

No statement can be more truer than that.

 

Here’s my point:

A person needs to have a passion for whatever job or career he or she may be involved in.

Happiness, enjoyment, and work satisfaction are essential or else bitterness and depression will set in; I know this because that’s what happened to me.

It was wanting to enjoy my work – as well as being able to work without some bully or overseer, I mean boss or supervisor, micromanaging me and telling me how much I need to improve or flat-out suck, looking for faults and reasons to fire me – that is the reason why for almost ten years I’ve been an online writer with two blogs (including this one) and working on a book about my life and struggles as someone with Asperger’s Syndrome in mainstream society called WALKING ON EGGSHELLS.

Which is getting closer to being finished and ready for (self) publishing, by the way.

While it hasn’t been the most lucrative venture, I can safely say that I very much like what I do and am pursuing my passion.

My message for all you folks who are hating on their jobs is this…

Unless you would definitely be on the street if you quite your hated job today, you don’t have to suffer through misery, because life is too short.

Go paint or work with kids.

Write a book like I’m doing.

Or anything else that you have a passion for.

Find your happiness.

It may the thing that will restore your mental health and save your sanity.

 

It’s my hope that everyone can find this. Photo courtesy of idealistcareers.org

 

 

I’m A Lifetime Resident of Los Angeles and I’ve Never Had A Car: Why?

A common occurrence in America’s second largest city for the past sixty years: parking lots that are supposed to be freeways, this one the 405 in West Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of  la.curbed.com

 

THE VARIOUS REASONS I NEVER HAD AN AUTOMOBILE IN A CITY WHERE THE AUTOMOBILE IS KING

 

I know that in the City of Angels, I’m something akin to a freak of nature, a space alien who’s on the wrong planet.

Or seen by at least a few people as a “loser”, or someone who is somewhat less of an adult, because of this:

I have lived in the greater Los Angeles area for over forty years, and I’ve never owned a car – nor do I ever plan to own one.

Let me go right into the reasons why…

 

1. TRAFFIC, AS IN L.A. HAVING THE WORST IN THE U.S.

Of the over ten million people who reside in Los Angeles County – and in neighboring Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties – no one enjoys the gridlock traffic jams that have been part of the Southern California landscape and culture since the 1950s, when the automobile became the virtual symbol of L.A.

For me personally, it’s more than merely being annoyed while stuck in parking lots that are supposed to be streets.

A personal part of this Asperger’s Syndrome that I have is that my anxieties grow to a pronounced level, a 12 on a scale of one to ten, whenever I feel like I’m in a hurry to get someplace (which is much of the time) and the bus I’m riding in – my main form of transportation – is either stuck somewhere in traffic or stops because the driver is ahead of the bus route’s time schedule.

Yes, I know that plenty of aspies drive cars just like neurotypicals, but If I were driving a car, those anxieties could lead to me doing something that’s not good, like get into an accident because I’m trying to go somewhere too fast, or get into a road rage situation.

For me, it’s just easier and simpler to let the bus, Metro Rail, or taxi driver do the driving; it would save me and everyone else some potentially bad disasters and incidents.

As for Uber and Lyft, that’s an option that I’ll probably be using in the near future.

2. DWB – DRIVING WHILE BLACK

I’ve heard too many stories in the news about how African-Americans like me have been stopped, searched, handcuffed, arrested, and killed while driving by white police for no other reason besides the color of their skin.

Getting racially profiled like that has happened to me more than once while riding my bicycle in Santa Monica when I lived there in the early 1990s; while I wasn’t handcuffed, I would be stopped by motorcycle cops and given tickets for reasons I don’t know to this day.

Experiencing what those fellow blacks have experienced is something I want absolutely no part of, which is why for me, driving my own car is not worth that risk.

 

 

A major part of driving a car as a black man that I want NO part of. Photo courtesy of justicenotjails.org

 

 

3. AFFORDABILITY

I don’t want get into any details about my income as I feel that’s no one’s business, but suffice it to say that it’s not at the level where I can afford to buy and (particularly) maintain a decent car.

And as for financing and monthly payments, that’s likewise something that would induce a level of stress in me that I do not need at this point in my life, as I want to live more simply.

Worrying about money for gas, and fixing my car if it broke down and needed new parts like an engine or transmission is something that I don’t want to do.

4. BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

I definitely don’t need to contribute to the dirtying of the air (despite changes to cars that have offset that) that the exhaust from cars brings.

One can say that by not driving, I’m doing my part to improve the environment and slow down the global warming that’s getting to be more and more of an issue.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE…

It’s just simpler for me to take public transportation, an area where Los Angeles has improved as there are things like the various Metro Rail lines and a planned “Subway To The Sea” going from downtown to Santa Monica that didn’t exist twenty years before.

Besides, when I had my bicycle I recall crashing and wrecking it at least three times in a twelve-month span, scraping myself fairly badly on one occurrence.

I can only imagine the ramifications of going through the same thing while driving a car.

I know that having never had one has led at least some folks to see me as a loser, or something less of an adult.

If you are one of those who are of that opinion because I don’t drive and have never had my own mode of transportation other than a bicycle, go ahead and think such.

It’s OK.

I have to do what’s right for me, no matter what.

 

A part of Los Angeles culture that I likewise want no part of. Photo courtesy of abc7.com

 

 

 

 

HORRORS IN LAS VEGAS: Thoughts on the Largest Mass Murder in U.S. History

A nice shot of the Las Vegas Strip at night. Photo courtesy of topoftheworldlv.com

 

Nearly sixty people dead in a little over ten minutes.

More than 500 people injured.

 

I have been to “Sin City” multiple times, including on the occasion of my 40th birthday ten years ago.

And have enjoyed myself immensely each time as I consider Nevada’s largest city “Disneyland For Adults”, staying at places like the Rio, Circus Circus, and the Venetian.

I particularly like the buffets, which I consider the best on Earth – I especially recommend the buffets at the Rio and Red Rocks Casino/Hotel (wonderfully delicious!) – and enjoy playing video blackjack, video poker, and the slots; I once won $39 on a lucky video poker hand.

No, it’s not a lot, but still…

Being the baseball fan that I am, I even went to Cashman Field to check out a 51s, the local minor league team, game.

I was impressed at the $1 hot dogs and the other low prices, including the seat above the 51s dugout that I was able to get for around $7, when the same seat at Dodger Stadium would cost at least fifteen times that.

And yes, I’ve seen some shows, including the Pirates spectacular at Treasure Island and the show given in the Casino at the Rio, as well as that big fountain show outside the Bellagio.

So when I found out about those mass murders at that Route 91 country music festival on the Strip the other day, not only did it sadden me,

It led me to say a prayer of relief that my relatives and friends who live in Vegas were okay; thank God they weren’t near that concert when those horrors went down.

I won’t go on about how I’m tired of these shootings, which have been more and more frequent in this century; memories of that Sandy Hook tragedy where twenty first graders were gunned down, and that student at Virginia Tech killing those 32 Hokies are still fresh in my mind.

 

 

How could I possibly write an article on Las Vegas without including a picture of this sign? Unfortunately Mandalay Bay, where the shooter killed those people from one of its windows, is on the left. Photo courtesy of  urbanmilwaukee.com

 

 

Ditto with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killing 13 of their fellow Columbine High School students in April of 1999.

Nor will I go on about the need for gun control, as so many on both sides of the issue rave on about every time something like this happens.

The two questions going through my mind right now as I write this is,

 

“Are these killings ever going to end?”

“Is this evil ever going to stop?”

 

Of course I don’t even begin to have the answer to that, but I will say this…

If people stop going to Vegas,

Stop partying at the clubs, gambling at the casinos, eating at the yummy buffets, going to see big names like Elton John and Britney Spears at their shows,

Then Stephen Paddock (the man who was responsible for the evil carnage) will have won.

I, for one, plan to revisit that city when I get the chance, as soon as I’m financially able to enjoy myself there without going permanently broke as I’m not exactly Bill Gates – or even the average home-owner-in-the-suburbs-with-the-suit-and-tie-job guy.

It goes without saying that my prayers go out to the 58 people who are no longer with us, and their families who are grieving, due to Paddock.

I particularly pray that we NEVER have to experience what those folks experienced.

Or ever hear news like that again.

 

#PrayForVegas

#VegasStrong

 

 

 

A memorial to those killed in the mass murders at the Route 91 Music Festival in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of chicagotribune.com

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…