One of the joys of retirement is being able to read when I wish, not when I have time after completing lesson plans and grading papers.

Reading 1

During the last month I’ve read, or re-read, a dozen books. I have all of Lee and Miller’s Laiden books and re-read most of them. They are good, well-paced stories with interesting characters. Having already read most of them a couple of times, it is not necessary to read all of the detail work and get bogged down in description; I can skip that and read what I consider to be the interesting part of the stories. In re-reading the short stories I can skip those I found less interesting, or just plain didn’t like, and only read those I enjoyed.

Cyador's Heirs Reading
Cyador’s Heirs

Reading 2

Yesterday I finished Cyador’s Heirs by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. and today I finished David Drake‘s latest RCN book, The Sea Without a Shore. Both were excellent books. I’m several chapters into both The Kraken Project by Douglas Preston and To Do or Die by Mike Shepherd. These are also good stories but not as compelling as the other two books.

Earlier this month I also finished The Price of Peace and They Also Serve by Mike Moscoe.

Reading 3

Where is the best place to read? I don’t know.

Maybe on my exercise bike with music in the background.

Maybe in the living room in my recliner and a cat or two on my lap.

The Sea Without a Shore Reading
The Sea Without a Shore

Maybe in my wife’s backyard garden on a perfect afternoon, which is where I finished The Sea Without a Shore an hour or so ago.

Maybe at the beach on a warm Spring day with a soft breeze and a bit of jazz from my iPad.

Yeah, they’re all the best place to read, especially when almost everyone else is at work.

Wet Paper

I cannot remember a time when my family did not get a daily paper but I can remember how ticked off we would be when what we got was a wet paper. And, here in the 21st century, we’re still getting them.

I do not know when newspapers were first delivered to a person’s home on a subscription basis but I remember the Los Angeles Examiner and later the Herald-Examiner, and still later the Los Angeles Times being delivered to our home in the San Gabriel Valley. My little brother had a paper route for the Her-Ex (an afternoon delivery). I’d help him fold and wrap the papers on a rainy day and did the Sunday morning delivery, as he was a “late” riser. We made sure that the papers were delivered in the middle of the driveway or on the front porch of the subscriber – dry. If something went wrong (wet paper) you either got a phone call from the subscriber or an earful when you went door to door to collect the month’s subscription fee.

You’d think, or at least I would, that in the intervening half century publishers would have figured out how to get newspapers delivered to their subscribers dry – especially considering their ongoing fight with digital media. But this does not seem to be the case.

OC Register 5.28.14 wet paper
OC Register 5.28.14 – Wet Paper

Today my paper was thrown in my wife’s rose bushes and our automatic sprinklers (M-W-F) soaked it through. Perhaps I should clarify things – I subscribe to two papers the LA Times and the Orange County Register (both are delivered by the same person). The OC Register was soaked through and the LA Times was thrown in the middle of the driveway and was dry.

On previous occasions when I’ve contacted the Register or the Times I’ve gotten a polite reply and another paper was delivered later that morning. Not today. Today I was chided for not reporting small problems previously and no replacement paper was delivered – it is now almost 11 am.

Email to OC Register at 6.12 am: “Over the last several weeks the delivery person has several times thrown my papers into areas reached by my sprinklers – today my copy of the OC Register was soaked through. To dry it out would take a week.”

Reply from OC Register at 7.16 am: “Thank you for contacting The Orange County Register.  We do apologize for the wet papers you have experienced.  I have contacted your carrier to request that he deliver your paper to the middle of the driveway and to bag it daily to make sure you have a dry paper to read daily.   Please contact us each time you have a delivery issue so we can work to get the issues corrected for you.”

The issue was – today my paper was wet and unreadable.

The proper reply was – “We’re sorry; a replacement will be delivered as soon as possible.” Or even better – “We’re sorry; a replacement will be delivered as soon as possible and you will not be charged for today’s newspaper. Thank you for your long-standing and continuing subscription to the Orange County Register.”

And I still don’t have a copy of today’s Register – ah well, what can you expect for $40/month?

Hey, I think I’ll send Customer Service a copy of this post and a link to this blog. Hmmmm – and a copy to the Publisher/Editor too.

Today I . . .

Today I awakened at 4 am (or, more properly, was awakened by my wife’s alarm clock). I helped her out of bed and got her going on her morning rituals. I made tea and breakfast for her and went back to bed (4 am is much to early for enlightened retirees like myself).

Turn off the flash . . . or else . . .
Turn off the flash . . . or else . . .

Today Genghis Kat (Smoke) and his Horde (Mist) woke me up at 5.59 am for their 6 am breakfast. I fed the cats, brought in the papers (OC Register and the LA Times), made my wife another cup of tea and myself some coffee. I sat down with coffee and the papers and turned on Eyewitless News. In between sections I made her a thermos of tea to take to work.

Today we actually got in the car a little after 7.30 am (way late) but still got to her school before the opening bell. I drove home, got some more coffee, sat on the exercise bike for an hour and a half. While on the bike I finished the Times and read several chapters of David Drake’s latest RCN story The Sea Without a Shore. After getting off the bike I fixed another cup of coffee and sat in the living room reading and watching the news.

Today was gorgeous and I couldn’t stay inside. Took a salad and cold soda from the fridge and got my book and the puzzles from the papers and tossed them all in the car and drove to the beach. Found a parking space on PCH north of the HB Pier near a bench and camped there for the next two and a half hours. Lunch, puzzles, a good book, great weather and plenty of people to watch . . . ahhh retirement.

Today I stopped by Home Depot on my way back from the beach and bought a hanging plant to replace one that had died during our heatwave a couple of weeks ago and also some rope to fix a patio lounge chair.

Today I picked up some British sweets (candy) for my British wife at our neighborhood 7-11 (it has a section of British foods in the back). I brought her home from work and made her another cup of tea. Went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s.

Today I got myself a beer and my book and lounged in my wife’s garden in the chair I had repaired. I fixed dinner and Charlie fed the cats. We ate while watching a dvr’d episode of Wild Tuna. Following dinner, Charlie again adjourned to the patio to read and I sat back in the TV lounge chair she bought me several years ago and turned on the Dodger and Angel games. (As I type this the Angels are leading the Mariners 4 to 3 and the Dodgers are leading the Reds 5 to 0.)

Cats and Mouse.
Cats and Mouse.

Today I am retired – no student papers to grade, no lessons to plan – aaahhhhhh, paradise.


Adams Avenue – another Accident waiting to happen

A couple of hundred yards from our house is Adams Avenue. From Mesa Verde Drive East to Beach Boulevard it is six lanes wide, three lanes in each direction with a wide median (concrete with bushes and trees in our neighborhood). The “official posted speed limit” is 45 miles per hour. Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach seem satisfied with actual speeds as I have seen police with radar guns only twice on this road in the twenty plus years my wife and I have lived here.

It seems to me, however, that the actual speeds are too fast. Is 55 too fast in a 45 zone? or is it just about right? or, for some (many? most?) is it too slow? Well, whatever.

Sometime around 6.30 this morning as I was having coffee and reading the paper and my wife was outside reading and having a cigarette there was a loud bang and crunch. She rushed in to tell me about it but I had heard the noise myself. I figured it was yet another accident at the Adams intersection a furlong down the street from our house and didn’t want to add my presence to the looky-loos on the scene. A minute or two later I heard the siren from fire rescue – the nearest fire station is just another furlong up the street (about a quarter-mile from the accident prone intersection).

Adams Freeway Accident 5.19.2014
Adams Freeway Accident 5.19.2014

Last week there was an accident just a half mile west of this intersection that took out a gas pump at one of the four gas stations at that intersection.

Several years ago there was an accident at our intersection in the evening that had a medivac helicopter land in the street in front of our house. Medivac helicopter? we’re just two miles from a major hospital and ten to fifteen minutes from Hoag Hospital if you obey the speed limit and stop at red lights.

Slow down, be careful. If you are going straight watch for those turning left in front of you. If you are turning left, ten to thirty seconds waiting for oncoming traffic to pass won’t kill you – turning in front of and trying to beat that speeding oncoming traffic could kill you.

Drive Safe – Arrive Alive


Huntington Beach Piffle 1

One of the nice things about being retired is being able to read and work on puzzles in the middle of the day. Last week I took myself to the beach three times to do so. To the north of the Huntington Beach Pier there is a nice bike/walking path with benches, grass and on the street parking. It is elevated above the beach and gives one a good view of the beach, the pier and people. Park on the street (with a city parking pass – $125 or $50 if you are 62 or over or are disabled – so I don’t have to feed the parking meter) and take several puzzles from the LA Times and OC Register, a book, and a Trader Joe’s salad.

It wasn’t too busy or crowded, as it would be in the summer, and I was able to read, puzzle, eat and people watch to my heart’s content. If I was still teaching, I would have been in the middle of my fifth and sixth period classes – chuckle, chuckle, chuckle. I took a couple of pictures and posted them on my Facebook page for my still teaching friends and fellow retirees. Ahhh . . . my new purpose in life – to sow jealousy and envy among those still cooped up in a classroom with forty teenagers.

On one of those days it was too windy to sit on the bench and eat or puzzle. So I parked in the small lot just north of the pier and ate and read in the car. The blowing sand was pelting the few people on the beach and most of those out walking had sweatshirts and jackets. I thought about taking a walk out on the pier but there was just too much sand and dust in the air – let those who didn’t have the available time I had brave the elements to do so.

Piffle 2 – Goodreads

Being as I’m reading a lot of books these days, I decided to get a Goodreads account and get some more recommendations. I spent a good deal of time on Goodreads rating books I’ve read and posting a few reviews of some of those books. I am up to 1200+ books and am adding to the “Read” list as I go through our garage shelf library.

One of the problems I’m facing is that as I go through Goodreads lists of books by authors is that I remember reading only somHB Puzzles and Booke of the books by a given author but some of the book names are so familiar that I’m not sure whether or not I’ve read them. Well, at least, I’ll be able to go to the bookstore with a list of books to check and see if I remember the storyline. Of course, if it’s an older book, it means a trip to the library or a used book store not Barnes & Noble or

Piffle 3

Goodreads also has links to authors’ blogs and I discovered that Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (the Laiden Universe – have a second site called the Splinter Universe – short stories by both Lee & Miller and others. If their Laiden books and other novels don’t come often enough for you try