Note: I warn you ahead of time this post may change the way you feel about me as a potentially normal human being. I’d advise not dwelling on it too much and just chalking it up to “Oh that Will… the lengths he’ll go to about something so trivial — and then write about it!” But if you want to overthink my sanity or lack thereof, that’s OK.

Whilst most of my communication is done via fingertips and a keyboard, my job has me writing violation notices in triplicate on an almost daily basis, and as such I’m always searching for a gooooood ballpoint pen to provide whatever boost to my crappy penmanship. My journey has led me to find two of my favorites. The Staples 1.0  and the Paper Mate Profile 1.4. Both of these instruments are gloriously smooth. In fact the latter claims to be the “World’s Smoothest Pen.” I am unable to refute that trademarked boast, but I don’t agree with it, I think the Staples 1.0 edges it out.

Trouble is the pen containers themselves that encase their ink cartridges are relatively bulky –additionally so with the inclusion of rubber grips — and as a result, carrying the requisite two (“always have a back-up!”) in my uniform shirt pocket while on duty is not an option.

Enter Pen No. 3. The Bic Clic Stic, the very model of compact and slender efficiency, two fit in my pocket like they were custom built for it. See how it and the Staples 1.0 compare, below:

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The only problem is the Clic Stic does not write to my satisfaction. Not that it’s bad, it’s perfectly acceptable. But in the environment within which I scribe, i.e., usually while on my feet outdoors holding a ticket book at somewhat of an awkward angle while trying to write information legibly in very small areas on a slightly unstable surface, it’s just does not feel as comfortable as either the Staples or Paper Mate.

With an acceptance of form over function, I made do with the Clic Stic because of its overall design until it dawned on me a few weeks ago, that I might be able to do a simple hack involving the taking of the ink cartridge out of the Staples and/or Paper Mate and swapping it for the one that comes standard with the Clic Stic.

Of course, when that dawning occurred I was down to my last Staples 1.0 and upon removal of the pens’ respective guts I found the Staples ink cartridge was about a quarter-inch longer than the Bic’s. Since an irreversible trim would be in order with no guarantee of success, I wasn’t about to risk sacrificing it without some back-ups on hand.

And that brought me to a local Staples last weekend, where I spent 10 minutes wasting my time scouring their huuuuuge selection of pens only to find that particularly store on that particular day didn’t have a single Staples 1.0 in stock. Much grousing ensued and led to me taking a box of Paper Mates to the register. When the cashier asked me if I’d been able to find everything I wanted, I curtly told her absolutely not. When her bored looked turned to one of mild surprise I insisted she not worry about it because the last thing I wanted to do was waste more time talking about it. After all, a pen’s a pen, right? Wrong.

Next I went to Staples.com and found a box of a dozen of them was only going to cost $5.29 — but get this: the only shipping involved a whoppingly excessive $9.95 charge. Much WTFing ensued until I discovered that Staples offers free delivery to its stores for customer pick-up, so I selected that option and a couple days later after being notified via email that my order was delivered, detoured on my way home to pick it up. I was humorously not surprised to find my box of pens — roughly 5″ x 3″ x 1″– had been shipped in a box that was easily 18″ x 12″ x 4″. Ironically, Staples has apparently never heard of padded envelopes, which they sell.

Long story short, I sat down yesterday with six of the Clic Stics and six of the Staples 1.0s, and about six minutes later, having successfully completed the final pen hack I now had the best of both worlds where form equaled function: a half-dozen fully operational Clic Stics holding their freshly trimmed and installed supersmooth Staples ink cartridges. And there was much rejoicing.

 

A couple days ago over on Facebook I posted about getting a pair of cheap seats to the Vin Scully Appreciation Game at Dodgers Stadium in September and how by not spending $1,400 for butt rests down near the field I would have mooooore than enough to get a “SCULLY 67” customized Dodgers jersey honoring The Greatest Broadcaster Of The Last 67 Years And Of Aaaaaaall Time who I unabashedly idolize and cherish!

Turns out easier said than done.

Almost immediately after securing the tix, I went to the store at MLB.com and tried with aaaaaalll my might to order one but for reasons unknown to me, when you enter “SCULLY” in the name box, it gets rejected. Period. To paraphrase the pop-up error message: “Noooooot! Please try again.” Don’t believe me? See the screengrab below (click to enlargify) and/or go try it for yourself.

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Suitably apoplectic, the only alternative I found to circumvent the heinous ban was to enter Vin’s last name backwards — “YLLUCS” — and then actually consider making the purchase and taking the jersey to a tailor to have the letters re-reversed into the proper order, at additional expense of course. I kid you not, this was a length I was willing to go. This is how much I want to celebrate and recognize the retiring institution that is My Vin, who has been around every spring and summer of my e-n-t-i-r-e-t-y  — all the more remarkable because it’s happened in my native city where history and longevity don’t mean shit. Additional disclosure: This fervent drive to represent is augmented by the fact that for the previous two seasons as a DirecTV subscriber, thanks to the greedy SportsNetLA debacle, I was unable to watch games and hear Vin at will as I had been aaaaaall my previous years on this planet.

But first bless me, I opted to do a desperation search for “Scully Custom 67 Jersey” in faint hope of finding any other options. And as miracles would have it found an eBay page for a obscure little local El Monte outfit called TNS that was offering what appeared to be Exactly What I Wanted readymade for sale — and at $6 less than what MLB.com was charging.

So I went ahead and ordered it, triple-crossing my fingers that I wasn’t getting supreeeeemely ripped off.

The jersey arrived from TNS (here’s their Facebook page) Tuesday night — and boy did I NOTNOTNOT get ripped off. In fact the jersey deserves a triple OMG for being beyond my expectations. Feast yer eyes at the authenticity and gorgeousness with details like an embroidered Vin Scully signature and a microphone patch on the sleeve!!! And the fit? Perfection!

I will wear it soooo proudly for Vin Scully Bobblehead night Tuesday, September 20, and Vin Scully Appreciation Day, his final home game of his illustrious and incomparable 67-year career, September 23.

Whether the pitcher hits the stone, or the stone hits the pitcher… It’s gonna be bad for the the pitcher.

Silence!

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I’m not sure if Christmas as I used to anticipate/celebrate it is a thing of the past. This is the second year Susan and I collectively shrugged when the topic of a tree came up at the beginning of the month. And when it came time to mount the lights to the house, I was notably bah-humbuggy in doing so and then didn’t add the decorative reindeer and light trees to the yard.

1934191_211594125839635_3439375567731108525_nAs for gifts, there just weren’t any big ticket items on my list… though I suppose I could’ve used a new clutch for my truck. But how do you wrap that much less put it under the tree we didn’t get? The one thing I told Susan I needed was a new watch, as the date function on the cheapo one I bought at Big5 a few months earlier had crapped out, and she fulfilled that and then some with a solar-fueled Casio. She also surprised me with a cool tripod for my iPhone and a magnification stand thingamajig that’ll probably be more practical as a conversation piece than an actual tool.

Susan gave me no ideas what she might want. So I got her the new Adele album and a hardcopy of the sequel to “To Kill A Mockingbird,” plus a few other stocking stuffers that she enjoyed. I also picked out a new area rug on the fly to replace the one Bonnie the pitbull had peed on to death. Ever the romantic, I know.

10270284_210791665919881_2697434772938340703_nSpeaking of Bonnie, the news that she was adopted last weekend was probably the best gift Susan and I could’ve gotten.

It disturbs me a little, my holiday harumph. I do love the season. There’s not a decorated house I pass be it ultra-elaborate or strung up with just a single sloppy strand that I do not sigh with joy at.

In the end our Christmas, while not one charting high on the memory meter, was still one filled with cheer and good will. And egg nog.

Last night/this morning showcased the first Christmas Day full moon since the year Nineteen Hunnert and Seventy Seven so of course having gotten up early, I snapped it from our porch pre-dawn as seen below. Murry Christmas!

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thelastorchid

Susan’s company’s move a few months ago had her bringing home a dinged up orchid plant that at the time was just lots of thick, waxy leaves and little hope that the porch environment would be conducive to it flowering.

Or so we thought. Maybe it was the excessive heat and humidity. Maybe it was magic. It was certainly nothing I did, but dote on it and cross my not very green thumbs.

Within a few weeks a couple “branches” for want of the right word grew, first one and then a second, and from them more than a score of little nubs exploded into full-blown blossoms that never ceased to amaze me every day.

Equally impressive was how long the blooms lasted. I’m used to flowers that come and go over the course of a few days — maybe a week or two. Not these orchid blooms. They hung around and hung around until it finally started getting cold this past few weeks. Pictured up close and personal above is the last of them, snipped this morning and now stationed on my desk in a little pot of water where I will enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

With a little Quicktime trial & error I figured out how to include the footage of two perspectives in one file, so now for something completely different… For the first time I documented a bike ride (involving the CicLAvia of October 18, 2015, that sequed into Mr. Rollers’ Chinatown meetup and birthday ride) with cameras simultaneously mounted to the handlebars and the seatpost, resulting in this 5-minute hyperlapsed perspective on the 105 minutes recorded of the trip that’s probably guaranteed to induce vomiting or seizures or both.

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