Monday, September 27, 2004

To Clutter is Human, to Organize is Divine

I encountered this the other day on my commute through Hollywood. A woman that looked to be in her 50's, or even older-enough-to-know-better, was sporting this magnetic sign on her truck door. She was Dee Saar, Space Diviner, offering Organizing Services.
At first I figured it must be a Feng-Shui thing, but then my friend Stevel (known by his Halloween costume as the lesser of two Evels) suggested that she's probably just doing closet organizer consulting. What secrets might spring forth from the closets of West Hollywood residents?

Seems wacky- gets worse...

Her sign read, " a member of NAPO," with a reference to their website:
I checked it out- it's the National Association of Professional Organizers- Los Angeles Chapter. This page shows the "Specialty Types" that fall within their association, including anything from helping those with Attention Deficit Disorder, to performing Word Processing or facilitating Disaster Preparedness. And, yes- Closet Organizing was in there.
I dare you to find a weaker, looser connection between virtually unrelated businesses.
But why "Space Diviner?"
Correct me any time, but I thought a Diviner was someone capable of foretelling, or even affecting the future. So a Space Diviner might, then, be able to provide us with glimpses into the probable outcome of the next Mars landing, no?
Say she peered ahead and foresaw the astronauts contracting highly contagious illnesses- you know- they'd cough alot and we'd worry we'll catch it when they return.
She could very well go down in history as the woman that brought us
Dee Saar's Epidemic, but then who am I to divine?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Stardom Achieved!!!

Yes, I've been awarded the Turquoise Star- the honor bestowed by E-bay when a user achieves a feedback rating of 100. Now when I sell anything a turquoise star will show beside my username (see chart below for the rocky road yet ahead).
It's difficult not to gloat. They just emailed me a special certificate to display, wished me success while I continue to shoot for the stars, and stated they would be cheering me on.
I'm really at a loss for words right now but would like to thank all of those who have made this possible: my Mom and Dad, my closest friends, girls I've recently dated, the guy up the street who said "have a good one", and the Baby Jesus.
I promise you all I will remember who gave me my start, and remain unchanged by success.
In case you couldn't see this big day coming, go to my profile and click on the foreboding audio clip.

Stars are awarded to eBay members for achieving 10 or more feedback points. Here's what the different stars mean:

Yellow Star (1st star) = 10 to 49 points
Blue Star (1st star) = 50 to 99 points
Turquoise Star (1st star) = 100 to 499 points
Purple Star (1st star) = 500 to 999 points
Red Star (1st star) = 1,000 to 4,999 points
Green Star (1st star) = 5,000 to 9,999 points
Yellow Shooting Star (1st star) = 10,000 to 24,999 points
Turquoise Shooting Star (1st star) = 25,000 to 49,999 points
Purple Shooting Star (1st star) = 50,000 to 99,999 points
Red Shooting Star (1st star) = 100,000 or higher

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

[--Consensus Programming--]

if (your dream = group dream)
then [your dream
= "Reality"]

if else (your dream
> group dream)
then [your dream
= "Hallucination"]

Quake 'n' Bake

Pretty bloody hot weather here in L.A. Some say it's earthquake weather; some say that for an educated adult to even say such a thing is ridiculous. Looks like we failed to materialize the quake that was predicted to have happened east of L.A. by Labor Day:
Whether it's just around the corner or not, an interesting email is circulating again (originally July 2000) with earthquake survival techniques that challenge those recommended by the American Red Cross. In fact, it's all over the web and has elicited a counter-response from the Red Cross. They claim the contrary techniques do not wholly apply to the better built structures here in the U.S., and maintain that "Duck and Cover" is still the optimum approach. And, besides, they say, "it's easier to teach."
Smells a little of ass-covering to me.
Here's the article:
Or check out the ARTI website:

And here's the Red Cross email:

Recently it has been brought to my attention the an email from Doug
Copp, titled "Triangle of Life," is making its rounds again on the

Internet. This message, below, originally distributed on July 14, 2000,

remains the same. Its content has been reviewed by the U.S. Geological

Survey and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for concurrence.

"Drop, Cover, and Hold On" is CORRECT, accurate, and APPROPRIATE for use

in the United States for Earthquake safety. Mr. Copp's assertions in

his message that everyone is always crushed if they get under something

is incorrect.


July 14, 2000

Recently, the American Red Cross became aware of a challenge to the

earthquake safety advice "Drop, Cover, and Hold On." This is according

to information from Mr. Doug Copp, the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager

of American Rescue Team International (a private company not affiliated

with the U.S. Government or other agency.) He says that going

underneath objects during an earthquake [as in children being told to

get under their desks at school] is very dangerous, and fatal should the

building collapse in a strong earthquake. He also states that "everyone

who gets under a doorway when a building collapses is killed." He

further states that "if you are in bed when an earthquake happens, to

roll out of bed next to it," and he also says that "If an earthquake

happens while you are watching television and you cannot easily escape

by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the

fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair."

These recommendations are inaccurate for application in the United

States and inconsistent with information developed through earthquake

research. Mr. Copp based his statements on observations of damage to

buildings after an earthquake in Turkey. It is like "apples and

oranges" to compare building construction standards, techniques,

engineering principles, and construction materials between Turkey and

the United States.

We at the American Red Cross have studied the research on the topic of

earthquake safety for many years. We have benefited from extensive

research done by the California Office of Emergency Services, California

Seismic Safety Commission, professional and academic research

organizations, and emergency management agencies, who have also studied

the recommendation to "drop, cover, and hold on!" during the shaking of

an earthquake. Personally, I have also benefited from those who

preceded me in doing earthquake education in California since the Field

Act was passed in 1933.

What the claims made by Mr. Copp of ARTI, Inc., does not seem to

distinguish is that the recommendation to "drop, cover, and hold on!" is

a U.S.-based recommendation based on U.S. Building Codes and

construction standards. Much research in the United States has

confirmed that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On!" has saved lives in the United

States. Engineering researchers have demonstrated that very few

buildings collapse or "pancake" in the U.S. as they might do in other

countries. Using a web site to show one picture of one U.S. building

that had a partial collapse after a major quake in an area with

thousands of buildings that did not collapse during the same quake is

inappropriate and misleading.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which

collects data on injuries and deaths from all reportable causes in the

U.S., as well as data from three University-based studies performed

after the Loma Prieta (September, 1989) and Northridge (January, 1994)

earthquakes in California, the following data are indicated:

Loma Prieta: 63 deaths, approximately 3,700 people were injured. Most

injuries happened as a result of the collapse of the Cypress Street

section of I-880 in Oakland.

Northridge: 57 deaths, 1,500 serious injuries. Most injuries were from

falls caused by people trying to get out of their homes, or serious cuts

and broken bones when people ran, barefooted, over broken glass (the

earthquake happened in the early morning on a federal holiday when many

people were still in bed.)

There were millions of people in each of these earthquake-affected

areas, and of those millions, many of them reported to have "dropped,

covered, and held on" during the shaking of the earthquake. Therefore,

we contend that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" indeed SAVED lives, not

killed people. Because the research continues to demonstrate that, in

the U.S., "Drop, Cover, and Hold On!" works, the American Red Cross

remains behind that recommendation. It is the simplest, reliable, and

easiest method to teach people, including children.

The American Red Cross has not recommended to use a doorway for

earthquake protection for more than a decade. The problem is that many

doorways are not built into the structural integrity of a building, and

may not offer protection. Also, simply put, doorways are not suitable

for more than one person at a time.

The Red Cross, remaining consistent with the information published in

"Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages," (visit states that if you are in

bed when an earthquake happens, to remain there. Rolling out of bed may

lead to being injured by debris on the floor next to the bed. If you

have done a good job of earthquake mitigation (that is, removing

pictures or mirrors that could fall on a bed; anchoring tall bedroom

furniture to wall studs, and the like), then you are safer to stay in

bed rather than roll out of it during the shaking of an earthquake.

Also, the Red Cross strongly advises not try to move (that is, escape)

during the shaking of an earthquake. The more and the longer distance

that someone tries to move, the more likely they are to become injured

by falling or flying debris, or by tripping, falling, or getting cut by

damaged floors, walls, and items in the path of escape.

Identifying potential "void areas" and planning on using them for

earthquake protection is more difficult to teach, and hard to remember

for people who are not educated in earthquake engineering principles.

The Red Cross is not saying that identifying potential voids is wrong or

inappropriate. What we are saying is that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On!"

is NOT wrong -- in the United States.

The American Red Cross, being a U.S.-based organization, does not extend

its recommendations to apply in other countries. What works here may

not work elsewhere, so there is no dispute that the "void identification

method" or the "Triangle of Life" may indeed be the best thing to teach

in other countries where the risk of building collapse, even in moderate

earthquakes, is great.


Rocky Lopes, PhD

Manager, Community Disaster Education

Preparedness Department

American Red Cross National Headquarters


I love it when they say, "a private company not affiliated with the U.S. Government or other agency."
Yeah- the government- my first choice for truth.

Well, before we go, check out the triangle of life refuge in this photo (no, forget the fireman!). It's so spacious it's more like a rectangle, ain't it?
Remember this if you're caught in traffic around tall buidings or underpasses during a quake. Get next to the SUV/truck with the most obnoxious lift-kit and enjoy the show.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Party T.J.Style

This Quote of the Day from the O.G.- Original Government.
Ah-the way we were.....

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all."

Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

YOGA in L.A.

Let me be the first to admit that I do yoga. My defence, however, is that I've been doing it daily for almost 20 yrs, and at home. Getting inappropriately biblical, This delivers me from fad-ism, But leads me not into modesty.

Anyway, I've been intrigued by the current fascination with yoga. It's quite something to consider women in L.A. charging along in their SUV's, on the phone, on the horn, not signalling, cursing others, en route to yoga class.
Such at-oneness, compassion, detachment; such higher focus.

It's only natural that new interpretations for the time-honored yoga postures would evolve, with an emphasis on today's lifestyle.
They're not as esoteric as you'd think. We've all seen people lane change incorrectly by not performing The Twist posture first. How about that woman who failed to focus on The Wheel? Lord knows we've had our fill of guys driving like The Cock while on The Phone (sorry). Regrettably, few of them advance to higher union with The Tree, or detach from The Bridge.
Below are examples of a few of the modern renditions I've encountered. Onward progress!

The Headstand

The Plough

The Sideways Crow

The Sponge (Hindu- The Corpse)-group variation.

Los Angeles Quotes- From the Respected and the Drunk.

"Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles."
Frank Lloyd Wright

Now, I'd say that's from a respected source.

It brings me to another quote gleaned from a few drinks at the Beauty Bar in Hollywood. Another patron laid this one on me during an otherwise forgotten conversation:

"Los Angeles is the last major city in the world to be civilized."

Anonymous or not, it sounds authentic, and using it either makes one appear up on his history of the world, or, goddamn it, he's seen the place!

That one is usually food (and drink) for thought whenever the LA bashing begins. It never fails to spiral downward into impassioned rants against rude, mindless drivers, inconsiderate pedestrians, general lack of culture, and specific proof of idiocy.

Oh how we malign the one we love.

So let's leave with this one- positive or negative, it's pregnant with promise:

"There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California."
Edward Abbey