BUY A RICE COOKER AND STOP THE INSANITY!

144367204I made rice the old-fashioned way – in a pan, on the stove.  I did it this way for donkey’s ears.  Admittedly, I ended up with unpredictable consistency, but I had fresh-cooked rice.

I also had the cleanest stove in town.  I cleaned my stove every time I made rice because it boiled over onto the stove.  To say I hated cooking rice would be an understatement.  Actually, I hated the clean up.

 

I knew there were rice cookers.  I live in an Asian neighborhood near Los Angeles so my favorite stores all sell rice cookers.  Even Wal-Mart sells rice cookers at a reasonable price.  Would I buy one?  Nope.  Why buy a technologically advanced appliance when a pan of water on the stove does the same thing?

104221028After cleaning up a particularly nasty batch of rice starch from my stove top, I began to imagine what it would be like to never do this again.

As I scrubbed a blackened burner cap, I imagined popping rice into a self-contained electrical appliance that only required me to specify “White” or “Brown,” add water, hit the ON button, and walk away.  What would it be like to return later to a batch of perfectly cooked brown rice – no muss, no fuss?

Curiosity got the better of me.  I used my Internet connection appropriately to research rice cookers: manufacturers, pricing, features, retailers.  Wow!  Information was so compelling that I wanted a rice cooker and I wanted it now.  I ran out, paid retail, brought that baby home, unpacked it, and made my first batch of rice.

OMG!  What was I thinking all of these years?!

bowls-rice-abstract-variety-grains-colorful-ceramic-against-woven-water-hyacinth-mat-41588460 No, I did not have an Epiphany, I had a cellular level experience that could only be described as “love at first batch.”  It was magical.  I had only seen rice like that in vegetarian or Chinese restaurants.  Even more amazing, when I stored it in the fridge, it stayed beautiful and fluffy…only colder.

 

Cleanup?  Trust me, it was another dimension of easy.  There are even websites devoted to other things you can make using, say it with me, “Your rice cooker!”  Been there, done it, love it!  I made amazing frittatas, and a luscious pineapple upside down cake.  They were so good there were no leftovers!  Check out these ideas:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/arielknutson/surprising-things-you-can-make-in-a-rice-cooker

It turns out the rice cooker is a sort of one-stop appliance.  Who knew?  I like it better than my slow cooker because it seems to cook faster, which translates into using less energy.  I haven’t done the research on utility usage so don’t quote me.

My advice to everyone – buy a rice cooker.  Get one for yourself because you deserve it.  Buy one for a friend or family member because if they have a rice cooker, they can spend more time with you when they have perfect rice every time. 126993461 Of course, every bride needs a rice cooker because that first year of marriage has enough stresses and messy rice should not be one of them.

I admit it, I was insane for not buying one sooner.  I’m better now, and you can be, too.

Run out and buy a rice cooker.

120398809                                                                                                                                                   You can thank me later.

BARRY GIBB AND THE BOWL FULL OF LOVE

Bowl 6414

Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, California. June 4, 2014. Barry Gibb Mythology – The Tour video marquee before start of show. (Photo by Samii Taylor)

Last night, Barry Gibb played the Hollywood Bowl for the first time, but hopefully, not the last.  Even before the opening graphic roll, the crowd was chanting “Barry.  Barry.”  Gibb took the stage to the applause and adulation of a packed house of fans…and their children who drove them to the venue.

Fans may be middle-aged and gray-haired, but they know their artist and willingly paid the price and hiked up the hills of the Bowl to pay homage to the eldest of the Bee Gees.  Faithful fans and new converts were more than rewarded for their efforts.  Gibb provided over two hours of flawless entertainment, presenting an entire retrospective of tunes from the Bee Gees’ first composition, to their first radio hit Spicks and Specks,” to classics like Spirits Having Flown,” and, the Brothers’ favorite composition, “Immortality.  A bonus track was Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” performed in tribute for a recent Sydney performance of “Stayin’ Alive” by The Boss.

Near the end of the show, Barry announced, “Okay.  I can take it if you can.”  Cue the disco set.  The pin spot hit the mirror ball and the crowd went wild.  They love it all, but this was what they came for.  This part of the Gibb music legacy embodies the strongest memories of millions of fans.  The crowd stood and swayed the entire set, cell phones in hand, documenting their moment – data charges be damned!

Like fine wine, age has only improved this artist’s perfect vocals and style.  Gibb paced himself so that his signature falsetto remained clear and strong the entire night’s performance.  The tunes are a bit slower in tempo, enabling listeners to savor the moment.  Gibb sat out a few songs to give solo time to other artists in the ensemble.

Eldest son Stephen Gibb provided vocals and guitar the entire concert.  His thin frame and youth belie the strong, deep-throated rock vocal performance on a song penned by his uncle Maurice entitled “On Time.”  There is no falsetto here, but Stephen brings forth passion born of experience with life.  A well-known artist in his own right, he more than held his own with Dear Ol’ Dad, and the crowd added another generation of Gibb to their list of favorite performers.

Bowl Stage

Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, California. June 4, 2014. Barry Gibb and band onstage during Mythology, the Tour concert. (Photo by Samii Taylor)

The bare foot beauty of the tour, Samantha Gibb, gave an equally stunning performance on several songs on the playlist.  The only daughter of Bee Gee Maurice Gibb, she delivered clear, strong lead and back up vocals.  Sammy also has a solo career and proved she lacks nothing when it comes to her unique style and talent.  The audience buzzed with their appreciation of both.

Backup vocalist Beth Cohen provided vocals on Gibb penned songs for other artists like Barbra Streisand’s “Guilty” and Dolly Parton’s “Islands In The Stream.”  The Mythology backup singers are ladies who prove they bring more to the table than window dressing.

What could have been a sappy and manipulative tribute to Gibb’s late brothers, Andy, Maurice and Robin, was tasteful, insightful and seamlessly blended into the show.  Photos of the brothers were inserted appropriately and allowed Gibb to share insight into the brotherly dynamics they shared.  It was not morbid or trite, it was reassuring that this family is as real as the rest of us.  Gibb sang the first verse of  “I Started A Joke,” then the video screen behind him switched to archival footage of Robin singing the rest of the song.  The collective heart audibly skipped a beat upon seeing this perfect use of technology and talent.

Sadly, a portion of the audience felt the need to leave after the disco set.  “We’re not finished,” Gibb calmly announced.  He wasn’t kidding.  The encore included a moving tribute to wife, Linda.  “Words” are all he has to take her heart away – so it has been for 40 plus years.

The stage was set to match the no frills, all class tone of Mythology, The Tour.  The lighting design was visually exciting with no gimmicks.  The accompanying graphic displays were crisp, clean, and added to the overall entertainment experience.  Tasteful camera shots for the big screens brought everyone closer to the action without frenetic switching and Dutch angles.  This was a real class act.

Mythology audio engineer, Randy Lane from Clair Brothers, masterfully mixed intelligible lyrics, distinguishable instruments, and just the right amount of echo and delay.  Compression was perfect – nothing squashed.  Equalization was perfect – nothing gritty or offensive.  At a solid 80-85 db in the cheaper seats, the mix level was loud enough to be heard, but not ear-splitting.  It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Moti Gibb

Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, California. June 4, 2014. Barry Gibb performing onstage at Hollywood Bowl. (Photo courtesy of Moti Gibb)

Clearly, Gibb’s stunning performance at the Hollywood Bowl has not become part of music mythology – it has become part of the rich entertainment heritage that is the Gibb family’s music legacy. With a strong voice, a great band, a pro crew, and a talented family to back him up, it is quite possible that for Barry Gibb, reinvention means another era of popular music history is yet to come.

TIME. NO TIME.

May 23 was the last day of classes at Cerritos College.  I eagerly looked forward to my six weeks of time off so that I could reconnect to my other world, which included family and friends.

I was thrilled to think about being able to catch up on all the bookkeeping that I had to do because I was too busy to get it done during finals week.  NOT!  I was thrilled to think about all the housework I had to do because I was too busy to get it done during finals week.  NOT!  Actually, my family was thrilled about that one.  In reality, I was thrilled about all the creative writing I had not been able to do during the entire semester because I was too busy to get it done.  YES, I was!

Well…Larry the Cable Guy would be sorely disappointed ’cause I did not “Git ‘er done!

My first week, I spent days getting my computer back to a state that I could call “fully functional.”  In mid semester, I had a meltdown after Apple advised me to erase and reinstall the OS.  Oops!  That didn’t work…three times.  Getting everything transferred from external hard drive(s) to my desktop took about four days.  Frankly, I’m not sure I have it all, but I know where to find it if I need it.

I managed to do a bit of gardening in the first weeks.  At least, now, my neighbor doesn’t shake her head sadly as she views my front planters that look like something from a Tim Burton movie – filled with dead or dying plants.  Jack Skellington would be proud, but I was not.

After my son pointed out that, “You have way too many clothes you’re not wearing,” I sorted everything and donated the “unworn” to the consignment store.  It does feel good to unburden oneself of too much stuff.  Oh, my gosh, it was Senior Discount Day!  We went right in and found a few things we really needed.  We got a 30% discount card, too!  Balance was achieved.

Although I did not accomplish my To Do List, there were small victories, indeed.

  • I rescued a road weary Lhasa Opsa who was living under the neighborhood cars.  Dexter is thrilled to be living with Miss Pat and the two monster cats.
  • I researched and purchased a new van.  When the appraiser writes on the bottom of his offer, “Approaching 300,000 miles.  SELL TODAY!” it’s time.  Actually, that van is was a living testimony to Honda having built a better mouse trap!
  • Joe and I purchased office furniture that will insure we are more organized in our small spaces.  That led to sorting of files, which led to dumping of files, which left us with a feeling of accomplishment.

There were a few other small victories along the way, but all-in-all, it has been a good start to mid summer break.

Now, get out of my way because I have a ton of work to do and July 7 is only four weeks away!

 

TAKE THIS JOB – I LOVE IT!

Sharon Plump is a Groundskeeper with the Facilities Department at Cerritos College.  When she is mowing, edging, and trimming, Plump is smiling – even when no one is looking.  This woman’s mantra is, “I love my job!”

Johnny Paycheck’s Country music hit “Take This Job and Shove It!” chronicles an employee who hates his job, has had enough of the boss, and tells him so in no uncertain terms.  This song became the battle cry of the American blue collar, white collar, no collar worker in the 1980s.  Plump’s  uniquely positive, upbeat attitude toward her work makes her the antithesis of Paycheck’s antagonistic employee.

Passion for gardening and the outdoor life began when Plump was eight.  She learned her gardening and landscape skills from her grandmother.  When she graduated high school, Plump took a job as a bank teller.  It took one day for her to realize she was in the wrong business.  Even though she is a people person who is eager to serve, she found it very difficult to deal with difficult people and their money.

Plump left the world of high finance and took a job with a landscape company.   She likes to challenge her body so being a groundskeeper allowed her to be outside, gardening, and interacting with people.  “Gardening is a free stress reliever,” says Plump.

Plump was serious about her new career, taking classes and obtaining certificates in landscape maintenance.  Even when she was employed at other southern California colleges, she always had her eye on Cerritos.  She knew about the college because her mother was a Cerritos College graduate.  When an opportunity to work with the Cerritos Facilities Department was posted, Plump did not hesitate to apply.

Sharon Plump was the first woman groundskeeper hired by the Cerritos College Facilities Department.  Facilities Manager Tom Richey is very proud to have been the one to hire her.  “Sharon is one of my best hires,” says Richey.  The boss is also proud to let you know that Plump was awarded Employee of the Month after only six weeks – faster than anyone else in the department.

Richey recognized a special spirit in Plump.  He assigned her to the college Quad so that she could interact with students who hang around the Student Center, especially the athletes.  Plump may be maintaining grass and flowers, but garden fairy is also scattering the spiritual pixie dust of her positive attitude and timeless wisdom.

 

 

Plump and fellow teammate Donnie Hawkins believe it is important for employees to make the effort to reach out and show students and teachers respect by developing relationships.  Students often thank them for their hard work, letting them know how much they appreciate what it takes to make the campus clean and attractive.  “One little girl brought me a box of my favorite chocolates,” Plump revealed, “just because she thought so much of what I did for her campus.”

The Facilities Department company jackets are emblazoned with the words Facilities Team.  Richey says it takes a lot of work to communicate the vision of the department to employees these days, “Everyone has a different idea of what the work is.”  Older people have a different view of the job than younger people.  Communication is the key to getting the job done.  Not only does Richey have to communicate his vision to his team, but he also has to get the college instructors and Trustees to realize the vital role of his department.

 

 

Plump and Richey share a core vision – that their facilities department is the foundation of the education process at Cerritos.  Without the work of custodial, plumbers, groundskeepers, painters, and tradesmen, the campus would not be well-maintained, would not be a comfortable work and study environment, and no one would want to be there.  Plump points out the people judge the inside of a college campus or restaurant by the way it looks on the outside.  She believes that people make snap judgments based on appearance.  “Sometimes, they don’t even make it inside because of the way it looks on the outside.”

Sharon Plump and the Facilities Department Team work very hard to make sure everyone who steps on the Cerritos College campus will like what they see, want to come inside…and decide to stay.

 

Portfolio Potpourri

Thank you for viewing my online digital portfolio.  I hope you enjoy your visit.  Please check back from time-to-time for my content updates.

The projects viewed here will offer a variety of my interests and showcase my abilities in writing, recording, photographing, videotaping, and editing multimedia productions.  I am proficient in a variety of multimedia production software, and can post content across multiple social media platforms.  My main interest is in creating original content in a variety of genres.  I especially enjoy interviewing people and finding their unique story, then bringing it to light as a part of our global living history.  Frankly, my dear, I love weaving a great story anytime, anywhere.

INFOGRAPH

Build A Better Burger was an open assignment with no specific subject matter required.  The concept is original and utilizes content photos from various free photo sites on the web.

MUSIC REVIEW

Gary Numan CD review composition, song posted through Soundcloud.

PHOTOGRAPHY

My photographic section features architecture and organics found on the Cerritos College campus in Norwalk, California, as well as the Professional Dancers’ Society Gypsy Robe.

PODCASTS

Morgan Brittany – I interviewed Brittany before her performance of The Lincoln Portrait with the La Mirada Symphony in La Mirada, California.  Content for both podcasts was recorded by me, then edited in Garageband, as required by assignment.

Opinion – content was written and/or recorded by me, then edited in Garageband, as  required by assignment.

SLIDE PRESENTATIONS

All photos were shot by me on either a Sony NX30 video camera using Photo Mode or on my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone.

 

NO JUST CAUSE: Childhood Abandonment and Murder

www.nydailynews.com/news/national/cbs-air-recording-woman-murder-article-1.1785141

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2562207/Jason-Bohn-claims-murdered-Weight-Watchers-executive-girlfriend-27-traumatized-career-obsessed-MOM-child-shes-footing-legal-bills.html

In a world gone insane trying to justify sin, Jason Bohn’s attorneys use his childhood as defense for the brutal murder of girlfriend Danielle Thomas in their New York apartment.  Her body was on ice in the bathtub four days before police found it.  Thanks to CBS and the Freedom of Information Act, we can hear the eight minute cell phone recording of Bohn strangling Thomas to death.

Poor little Jason Bohn was abandoned by a career-obsessed mum who went off to have a highly successful life in publishing, without child in tow.  Bohn’s abusive dad turned him on to cocaine.  His grandmother cared for him until she was placed in a nursing home.  Bohn went into foster care where he was documented as a very angry, violent young man.  The good news: Bohn grew up to be an attorney.  Instead of ‘Young Man Triumphs Over Childhood Adversity,’ the plot twisted.

A psychiatrist/consultant for ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,’ testified Bohn suffers from ‘Intermittent Explosive Disorder.’  Bohn apparently did not know what he was doing as he stomped, bludgeoned and strangled Thomas.  Add Bohn’s well placed notes, and call to an ex-girlfriend stating he was completely drunk and blacked out, and a gullible jury could float this boat.

Frankly, my dear… no matter what psycho-babble defense you spin, Bohn intentionally chose to kill.  He warned Thomas that he would kill her and her little dog, too.  At what point does someone not realize they have another person’s body in their hands and they are harming that person?  At what point do the words, ‘You’re killing me!’ lose their meaning?

I weary of people abdicating responsibility for their actions because they had a hard life, their parents didn’t love them, they were bullied, and my personal favorite, they were too rich to know the difference between right and wrong.  What dollar amount is attached to that level of irresponsibility?

Man always knows what he is doing, no matter how heinous the crime.  Man always seeks to avoid the consequences of his actions.  A young child commits a transgression of innocence.  Parents and society train the child in the way he should go.  That older child knows how life works, is without excuse, and the penalty phase kicks in.  It has been that way since Cain killed Able.

When society buys into perversions of justice and common sense, we are lost.  When anything can be used to justify anything, we are lost.  Reading this story, I fear we are lost.

MORGAN BRITTANY: Marriage and The Two Actor Household

Actress and political commentator Morgan Brittany and stuntman Jack Gill first met in 1980 when they were both working on the successful TV series The Dukes of Hazard. Morgan had been warned that stuntmen were nothing but trouble. When Jack tried to chat her up, he recalls, “She was a bit frosty.”

Once Morgan and Jack started talking they never stopped. These two straight-arrow actors had a proper “no living together” engagement, followed by a big family wedding. That was over 30 years ago. They never stopped working, and they never stopped being married – to one another. Morgan and Jack even raised two children who are “in the biz.”

In a world of Hollywood shack ‘n’ rack relationships and cheater scandals, these two have as normal a life together as you could imagine. I just had to ask, “How do you do that?”

Morgan attributes the success of their marriage to having only actually been together five out of the 32 years of their marriage.  They have very busy schedules that often keep them miles or continents apart. One of the drawbacks of a two actor household is that you can never really make plans. Things change and plans require instant rearranging by a very understanding partner. Fortunately, Morgan and Jack understand one another, and the love each has for their craft.

Morgan considers herself fortunate to be married to a guy who is not only well respected in his craft, but is well respected in his personal life. It is a very good life.

And that’s a wrap!

ACTIVE MINDS – Survive Suicide, Take Back Your Life

Suicide – the number one killer among Baby Boomers and young men age 17-25.  As a Boomer, I grew up being told that we had everything to live for – economic prosperity, advanced technology, medicine that treated illness and prolonged life.  As the parent of a Millennial, I believe my child has even more reason to live.   If everything is so great, why are people choosing to end their lives?

Among Boomer men, the reasons for suicide range from economic devastation to catastrophic illness to loss of a beloved spouse.  Among younger men and women, suicide is prompted by depression, self-esteem issues, and loneliness.  Men and women are both susceptible to suicide, with men four times as likely to attempt suicide and succeed.  The method of choice for men is hanging or firearm.  Women tend to consume pills or use less traumatic methods of demise.  Women attempting suicide are generally crying out for help rather than being intent on taking their lives.

Family and friends left behind are devastated by the loss of their loved one.  Once the initial shock of the loss passes, they are consumed with guilt.  Many spend the rest of their lives trying to make sense of what they believe to be a senseless and selfish act.  They live with guilt for not having “been there” for the victim.  They forever wonder if there was something they could have done or said that would have prevented the suicide.

Active Minds is a national organization with chapters on college campuses.  The organization is run by students for students.   Johnny Estrada, president of Active Minds – Cerritos College, says that many students like him have attempted suicide and failed.  They have come to terms with their past mental state and sought help.  They have decided that speaking about the unspoken, the stigma of suicide, is the best way to dispel the shame associated with mental illness.  These are the survivors.  They want to help others take back their lives!

Dog Tired And Running With The Pack

NEWS FLASH: To friends and family everywhere.

You may have noticed that I have not been able to make any of the highly amusing and personally insightful posts that I had promised when I started this blog.  Heck, I haven’t been able to post even a line or two just to keep you updated.  I’ve been really busy getting an education, honest.  As I near the end of my first semester at Cerritos College, I am exhausted, but committed to staying the course to acquire my degree.  I also take great comfort in knowing that the 17-21 year olds next to me who are sharing the experience are just as tired as I am.

Entering the academic world again has been much like childbirth – a woman suffers like crazy during the process, but is ready to do it over again because the joy outweighs the pain.  Frankly, I have a vague memory of what it was like in high school to have back-to-back, coincidental assignments due.  Nevertheless, I notice that even after all these years, teachers/professors have still not gotten together ahead of time and chosen different due dates for their projects.  It’s probably prohibited by their contract.  Either that or they had chips, salsa, and hearty margaritas one night, threw a burrito at a calender, and selected their project due dates with the help of the cosmos.

My sleep schedule this semester is quite deja vu – a four hour maximum, just like my rock ‘n’ roll days.  However, the emotional thrill is not quite the same.  Getting up at an ungodly hour of the night, flipping on the lights and computer to work on Photoshop assignments or dredge the nooks and crannies of the web for a research paper does not carry that unique adrenalin rush of flipping on the lights in a recording studio and prepping for the day’s session.  Thankfully, my office does not smell like those recording studios, permeated with the aroma of cigarettes, Heineken, and ganga.  Instead, I deeply inhale the warm fragrance of fresh espresso and cinnamon.  Then as I knock back another Five-hour Energy drink, I muse that if only these had been around when I was in rock ‘n’ roll, we would have never gone home!

Surveying the sea of student faces on campus, I see the same sparkle in their eyes as I do in mine – the sparkle of desire to achieve the goal set before us of getting the necessary credits to move on to university.  Although… I could be mistaken.  That gleam could be the glaze of total exhaustion that heralds a 24-hour sleep cycle as soon as we walk out of our last class on the last day of school.  Till that moment, we’re all dog tired and running with the pack!

I will refrain from posting a selfie on my blog with a glowing, yet fatigued, grin…just so you will know it’s me.

SUICIDE – You Cannot Come Back

Ask anyone, either they have been personally affected by suicide or know someone who has been affected by suicide. Since 2010, suicide has been the number one cause of death among middle-aged Americans. Over half of the suicides are completed with a firearm. It is estimated for every suicide completed, there are almost  25 attempts – an average of one person dies by suicide every 16.2 minutes. There are also three female suicide attempts for each male attempt. It is suspected that the emotional state of women often leads them to attempt suicide as a cry for attention rather than a true desire to end their life.

Suicide has typically been viewed as a problem of teenagers and the elderly.  However, the surge in suicide rates among Baby Boomers is surprising.  From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans age 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people.  That was up from 13.7 percent. Although suicide rates are growing among both middle-aged men and women, men are far more likely take their lives. The suicide rate for middle-aged men was 27.3 deaths per 100,000, while for women it was 8.1 deaths per 100,000. (The New York Times)

Family members of suicide victims are left behind feeling hurt, confused, angry, betrayed, and guilty. Most blame themselves for not being able to stop the suicide from taking place. “I just wish I could’ve talk to him one last time,” said Rosanna G. in response to her brother’s suicide by hanging. The families of suicide victims feel they were robbed of their loved one.  Many blame the loved one for being selfish for taking their life and not thinking about how that single, final act will ultimately affect those left behind. “It’s been four years and I still haven’t recovered,” Osiris B. admitted about losing her best friend to suicide.

The signs are usually there, if we really look for them. If any of the behaviors listed below occur, reach out and do all you can to help prevent the person affected from taking their life. Not every who is depressed will take their life, but they do need a helping hand to overcome the stresses of their are under.

Listed below are a few signs to look for according to suicide.org.
• Appearing depressed or sad most of the time.
• Talking or writing about death or suicide.
• Withdrawing from family and friends.
• Feeling hopeless.
• Feeling helpless.
• Feeling strong anger or rage.
• Feeling trapped — like there is no way out of a situation.
• Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
• Abusing drugs or alcohol.
• Exhibiting a change in personality.
• Acting impulsively.
• Losing interest in most activities.
• Experiencing a change in sleeping habits.
• Experiencing a change in eating habits.
• Losing interest in most activities.
• Performing poorly at work or in school.
• Giving away prized possessions.
• Writing a will.
• Feeling excessive guilt or shame.

PUTTING THE “I” IN TEAM

I considered myself a good team player until I did a recent video team project.   I may be a closet control freak.

When assigned a Multimedia Reporting team project, I assumed we were all on the same page, shared the vision of the assignment, and it was going to be great.  Hmm.

1)  Enthusiasm is no substitute for a cohesive plan.  Team projects are like playing telephone – things get lost in translation.  Shooting scripts and other bits of paperwork keep people and projects on task.  Investing five minutes to type an outline with specific questions to ask, shots and coverage to get saves heartache in post, and insures a better grade.

2)  Cell phone video is…  Cell phones are NOT video cameras.  We all shoot video with cell phones, but sometimes we forget to turn the darned thing sideways.  In our excitement, we do not pay attention to details.  I should invent an app that prompts to turn the phone horizontal in video mode.  Until then, stop, take a breath, and make sure the phone is shooting video in horizontal format.  Did I mention cell phone video is shaky?  I’m buying a cell phone tripod today.

3)  Cell phone audio is…  I video taped my project expert using a cell phone and a pro digital audio recorder.  Big deal – there is no time to replace audio in post!  Our projects are quick and dirty, in a clean sort of way.  The best plan: use a video camera with external microphone.  Double check your audio before the interview to make sure you have sound on tape.

4)  All editing is not equal.  I’ve done fast and furious audio/video editing for money and I love it!  Tag team editing is ineffective.  If someone has never edited, they don’t really learn, and if you’re up against deadlines, it makes things more stressful.  I would rather have two video projects where we switch off in sub teams.  That gives everyone a chance to work the full project and provides time to teach someone new to editing why it is so much fun.

5)  iMovie will bite the hand that edits.  Trust me – do a few edits and close out so the software can keep up.  Better to close than to lose it all when the system RAM overloads and shuts down.  I hate that.

6)  Silence is golden.  Without an amazing library of jingles and music drops, skipping the musical interlude may be the better part of valor.

I had a great time with my team, aside from technical issues.  Now that I know the lay of the land, I’m prepared to be an I-ncredible team member for the next round!

DO PEOPLE DO THIS AT HOME?

WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGES!

I admit it – I am a clean freak.  I’m not Felix Unger freakish, but I love clean things, especially clean public restrooms.  What I encountered at a Cerritos College Learning Center restroom was an offense to my senses, and plain old common sense.  I was so physically disgusted that I loudly remarked to anyone within earshot, “Really?  Do people do this at home?!”

I have been at Cerritos College since January and I am impressed with the cleanliness of the entire campus, especially the restrooms.  When I saw two stuffed toilets, Starbucks cups, trash, and toilet tissue on the floor, I was shocked.  However, when I closed the door of the lone, semi clean stall, I knew strangers had been in our house.  The back of the normally clean door was covered with a juvenile missive in bright red ink, complete with graphic.

The amount of spent hand towel paper on the floor usually tends to increase at noon, causing me to wonder why people cannot pick up what they just dropped.  I also wonder what the heck their house looks like.  I have adjusted to this, but when I saw the other, I went looking for a possible source of the interlopers who trashed our territory.

I didn’t have to look far.  Opposite the restroom is the first floor Teleconference Center.  On the glass door was a sign: New Student Orientation – Here.  A young female student helping facilitate the event informed me that there were high school students on campus.  I told her that I suspected they had trashed the restroom and escorted her across the hallway to show her why my knickers were in such a twist.  She was visibly disgusted.  With a grimace on her face and intent in her walk, the young woman stomped down the hallway in search of a facilities person to help restore normalcy to our world.

I walked home that afternoon trusting that someone would give those high school animals a good talking to about respecting the property of others, and behaving like ladies at all times, in all places.  My work there was done.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words so here are a few thousand words more.

 

Cerritos College Learning Resource Center.  April 24, 2014.  Norwalk, Calif.

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif.

 

 

Cerritos College - Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center restroom.  April 24, 2014.  Norwalk, Caif.  (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library, first floor restroom. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif. (Samii Taylor)

 

Cerritos College - Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center restroom.  Toilets are stuffed with trash, paper and Starbucks cups are discarded on floors.  April 24, 2014.  Norwalk, Caif.  (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library, first floor restroom. Toilets are stuffed with trash, paper and Starbucks cups are discarded on floors. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif. (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College - Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center restroom.  Text has been scratched into wall tiles.  April 24, 2014.  Norwalk, Caif.  (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library, first floor restroom. Text has been scratched into wall tiles. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif. (Samii Taylor)

 

Cerritos College - Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center restroom.  Graffiti scrawled onto the back of a stall door with red Sharpie.  April 24, 2014.  Norwalk, Caif.  (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library, first floor restroom. Graffiti scrawled onto the back of a stall door with red Sharpie. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif. (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College - Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center restroom.  The Teleconference Center is opposite first floor restrooms.  April 24, 2014.  Norwalk, Caif.  (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center. The Teleconference Center is opposite first floor restrooms. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif. (Samii Taylor)

NEW STUDENT ORIN

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center. First floor Teleconference Center hosted New Student Orientation. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif. (Samii Taylor)

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEHIND THE WHEEL Are You Distracted?

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  Students from Cerritos College admitted to driving while texting, eating and searching for the perfect iPod beat.  Not everyone had an accident, but they knew someone who did.  Even Det. Carl Anna from Norwalk Sheriff Department has reached for that pesky cell phone or turned to correct his kids.  Distractions that affect drivers range from riding with Fluffy on their lap to reaching into the back seat to check a pizza receipt.   Angela Hoppe-Nagao provided stats on the emotional aspects of the worst driving distraction – road rage.  Her advice is to not take the mistakes of other drivers so personally.  “You never know what the other person is going through.”

Someplace That’s Green

As I was wandering the Cerritos College campus during my break between classes recently, I came across a flower bed with some of the most beautiful Birds of Paradise that I have seen in a long time.  I was so struck by their brilliance and beauty that I spent the next hour roaming around campus finding beautiful little niches of green and splashes of color.

I confess, I thought the campus was pretty dull looking until I saw the variety of flora on display.  Daniel Becerra from Facilities said that Cerritos College maintains a wide variety of trimmed shrubs, well-manicured grass, rock gardens, desert plants, and an assortment of shade and sun plantings tucked away in little areas around the campus.  Caring for the greenery is a full time job.

When I finished my photo safari, I was refreshed and mentally revived.  That is the gift nature gives us every day.  Trees and flowers live to not only purify our air and provide oxygen for us, they offer us free beauty.  Most people probably never even notice the beautiful growing things in their path every day.  Maybe I can change that with a few photos.

A wide expanse of well manicured grass provides a refreshing green belt on the quad between the Athletic Department buildings and the newly renovated gymnasium at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A wide expanse of well manicured grass provides a refreshing green belt on the quad between the Athletic Department buildings and the newly renovated gymnasium at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

 

This beauty keeps its branches low for sitting on, but he branches reach skyward to provide cool shade on a sunny day.

This beauty keeps its branches low for sitting on, but he branches reach skyward to provide cool shade on a sunny day.

A large rock resembles the shape of a Golden Grizzly, the California state animal, in a rock bed outside the library at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A large rock resembles the shape of a Golden Grizzly, the California state animal, in a rock bed outside the library at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

Outside the Student Center dining area, a tree with a split trunk offers shade on a sunny day at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

Outside the Student Center dining area, a tree with a split trunk offers shade on a sunny day at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

A large rock resembles the shape of a Golden Grizzly, the California state animal, in a rock bed outside the library at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A large rock resembles the shape of a Golden Grizzly, the California state animal, in a rock bed outside the library at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

A spent flower is poised for the perfect moment to shed its seeds and start life all over again at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A spent flower is poised for the perfect moment to shed its seeds and start life all over again at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

The planter bed around the water feature in the middle of the Quad is bursting with color at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

The planter bed around the water feature in the middle of the Quad is bursting with color at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

The variegated Mock Orange bushes outside of the Student Center are kept well manicured at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

The variegated Mock Orange bushes outside of the Student Center are kept well manicured at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

Sword ferns about to drop the last of their bright red berries in a flower bed at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

Sword ferns about to drop the last of their bright red berries in a flower bed at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

A gnarled tree trunk offers tone and texture, light and shadow to students passing by at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A gnarled tree trunk offers tone and texture, light and shadow to students passing by at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

Late season camellias are in full bloom at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

Late season camellias are in full bloom at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

Delicate red, feather-like flowers offer tasty sweetness to bees and humming birds on campus at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

Delicate red, feather-like flowers offer tasty sweetness to bees and humming birds on campus at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

Giant Birds of Paradise make a bold display on either side of the walkway of the Athletic Department at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

Giant Birds of Paradise make a bold display on either side of the walkway of the Athletic Department at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

A tree trunk grows sideways, offering it's rugged beauty for all to see behind the Student Center at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A tree trunk grows sideways, offering it’s rugged beauty for all to see behind the Student Center at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

A large alligator lizard pauses to express his annoyance at being disturbed while sunbathing on the steps of the Student Center at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A large alligator lizard pauses to express his annoyance at being disturbed while sunbathing on the steps of the Student Center at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

The Kindness of Strangers

I stopped into American Way Thrift Store in Burbank, California, to find out what happens to this type of retailer in a down economy.  Janet Ashe, General Manager, of American Way Thrift Store revealed that they, too, face hard economic times.  Before the economy took a bite out of people’s pocketbooks, American Way would take in as many as five grocery bags of donated items from one person – now, getting one full bag is a bonus.  Pastor Gretchen Bingea of American Lutheran Church said there has been a marked increase in the number families facing hard times that access help at the partner organizations the church supports to help meet the needs of the Burbank community.

 

http://www.talonmarks2.com/multimedia_reporting_sp14/kindness_of_strangers/

The Small, Small, Small World of Southern California Area Historical Miniature Society

Buena Park, California.  April 12, 2014

The SCAHMS show was in town this weekend at La Quinta Inn of Buena Park.   SCAHMS is part a world-wide group of people who create and show amazing miniatures of everything from people to military ordnance to the fantasy figures of popular science fiction and beyond.  This annual event takes model making to a whole new level.

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Top: “Wagons of Yesteryear”  miniatures by C. Reed West

Center and Right: “Mayan Warrior” flat miniature by Penny Meyer

Bottom:  Best of Show: “Huey In Maintenance” by Oliver Doering

 

Thirty-two years ago, artist Penny Meyer was hired by Testor Models to revamp model kit assembly pages to make them more appropriate for American model enthusiasts.  One day, she saw her boss sculpting a little Chinese Boxer from the early 1900s.  He told Meyer there were miniature model kits for every genre of human existence throughout time.  Once she learned there was an entire universe of tiny people to paint, Meyer was hooked!

When Meyer entered the world of historical miniatures, she was one of only three women involved in the hobby.   There was a period of adjustment for the guys, but women of all ages are now involved in this unique art form in all of its genres, especially in the creation of fantasy figures.  Models come as three-dimensional figurines, flat meta, bas-relief sculptures, and half-rounds.  Meyer paints flats, which compliment her talents as an illustrator.  Depending upon the complexity of a piece, it can take 40 to 80 hours for her to finish one piece, which would then sell for around $600.

Historical miniatures are extremely fragile pieces of art.  Artists “hover” over their work because even bumping a display table could mean disaster.  In the case of this year’s SCAHM Best of Show winner, Oliver Doering, any damage to his piece would represent the loss of five years of his life.

Doering’s “Huey in Maintenance,” a Huey helicopter torn apart for repair, is a hybrid of model kit pieces and hand-made pieces.  Doering is humbled by the fact that the Huey has won Best of Show twice in a row.  For him, building the models is more than a hobby, it’s a lifelong passion.   He would consider donating the Huey to a museum for people to enjoy, but would never sell it.  “I can’t sell it,” says Doering, “It’s a part of me.”

Let’s All Tweet Like The Birdies Tweet – Or What The Tweet Is That?

It is official – I have now joined the masses of Twits out there in Social Media Land.  As near as I can figure, I have tweeted well over 100 individual and unique entries.  Is that twittered unique Tweets?  I’ll get back to you on that.

Initially, I was resistant to signing up for an account.  I really did not want to be one of the flock.  However, it was mandatory for my Journalism – 121 Multimedia Reporting class so I did it.  Besides, my instructor, Alicia Edquist, made it look so fun… in a strange sort of communication-based way.

After three months of having a Twitter account, I can honestly say that I see where it can be a tattle tail’s best electronic weapon.  If I had this kind of technology when I was a kid, I would have snapped pictures everything my little brother did and tweeted my mom.  He would have been so busted!

Things I learned from being a Tweeter, which sounds like an old audio joke, but I digress.  My observations from the Twitter wire:

  • The first TWEET is the hardest
  • There’s a lot of TWEET out there
  • Not all tweets are the same
  • Some people should never TWEET selfies… trust me, I know
  • Double spell check before hitting TWEET
  • It’s easy to go one TWEET over the line
  • You are what you TWEET…now and forever
  • A well-crafted TWEET will get retweeted
  • A well-crafted TWEET will get retweeted – and favored
  • Hashtags are your friends
  • Only @ the ones you love
  • You can TWEET till you’re blue in the beak and still not get a lot of followers
  • Avoid Twitter Rehab, TWEET responsibly, fellow twitterers… twits… whatever.

 

The most important thing to remember, if you are gonna TWEET, get one of those cute little battery chargers, ’cause live TWEET sucks up the juice.  See you on the wire!

 

P.S.    Jimmy Fallon – your HASHTAG Wednesday’s ain’t got nothin’ on my journalism class.  Just sayin’.

Wait, he’s got a #.  I can TWEET that!

GARY NUMAN Works Dark Magic on SPLINTER – Songs From A Broken Mind

RATING    ***** out of 5 Stars            Electronic, Synth-pop, Industrial, New Wave, Darkwave

www.garynuman.com

 Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 6.15.16 PM

The first time I heard “I Am Dust” from SPLINTER I was hooked!

Normally, I’m a pop/rock girl with a tendency toward good ol’ 70s-80s music. The industrial-techno-electro strains of SPLINTER touched my soul so much so that I bought the CD a few days later. Gary Numan’s music calls to me today as it always has.

SPLINTER is Numan’s 74th album. His first American hit was “Cars” in 1980, which helped mark Numan as a pioneer in electronic dance music. The cutting-edge sounds and performances on SPLINTER are Numan the Innovator at his best!

The term Darkwave aptly describes the musical offering embodied in SPLINTER. The bass lines are heavy, sometimes ominous, but never conventional. The driving beat and syncopation are uniquely Numan. The melodies are woven of intricate and well-crafted patterns. The classically rendered sound waves within each composition meld into colors that draw the listener deeper into the imagery of the song. No two songs on SPLINTER sound the same.

I greatly appreciate the space Numan leaves in his compositions. I can never anticipate where the breaks will be or how precisely they will affect the lyric lines. Numan is a master of using a break as a composition.

The overall theme of SPLINTER – Songs From A Broken Mind is deeply spiritual – dealing with God, man and lost love that can never be restored.

The lyrics brazenly sing the unasked questions religious dogma fears. SPLINTER expresses doubts about God, while acknowledging the insidious, destructiveness of man. In “Splinter,” Numan pens the lines, “I don’t believe a word of ‘The Word” is true, I don’t believe in the goodness of people like me, I believe everything bleeds from the fear of man.”  Deeply scriptural.

One of my favorite cuts is “We’re The Unforgiven.” It speaks to the vanity of once perfect beings who crossed a line that sealed their fate – eternal separation from God. The line “Once there was life and we were strong, full of pride…now we’re just a ruin.” reminds me to be weary of my prideful self lest I, too, fall into eternal ruin.

I would love to have tea with this untrained musician of a man who says he is “just good with sounds.” I want to hear about the images of the mind that form the amazing dark magic that is Gary Numan in SPLINTER.

 

Trustees Hear from Students Trapped At Cerritos College

CERRITOS TRUSTEES

It was standing room only as the Cerritos College Board of Trustees assembled to hear student comments in support of adding classes to the upcoming summer session.  More than 100 students packed the room and the crowd spilled out into the courtyard.

Many of the students attending wore red squares on their clothes in support of the newly formed Social Equality Club.  Club President Jennifer Ovalle and co-founder Jimmy Valdez said the Club was on hand to represent students who could not be part of the political process.

Club member Earvin Chavez gave a comprehensive PowerPoint that outlined the reasons for adding classes.  Not to leave the issue without a solution, the Club presentation included information from the Chancellor’s Office and the Adoptive Budget sighting numerous existing, funded sources that could be tapped to provide the necessary monies to pay instructors and cover other fees associated with the addition of classes.

At the heart of the plea for additional classes is the fact that students cannot get the Math 40, 60, 80, and English 52 and 100, all of which are required to graduate or transfer to another school.  Student Catarina Morales has been at Cerritos for seven years, Matthew Gill has been here five years.  Neither student can move on because they lack the required core classes.  Year after year, they show up in classes that are closed, hoping to get a slot.  Thus far, they have been unsuccessful.

Jimmy Valdez told the Board, “Being here changed my life.”  Without the education he is getting, Valdez would be on a totally different track that includes being involved with gang activity.  For him, being stuck at Cerritos is almost counter productive.

Jesse Pelayo pleaded for the addition of classes for a very personal reason.  “My son is coming here.  I don’t him to be restricted.”

Board Member John Paul Drayer suggested polling the students to see what classes they need most.  “We survey students for food vendors.  Why not summer school?”

When asked why there was a problem with a computer science student getting a required math class,  Math Chair Scott O’Neil said, “There is a 50% failure rate… students have to repeat the classes.”  This situation necessitates wait listing spring, summer and fall classes.

The last slide in the Social Equality Club presentation was the Cerritos College Mission Statement.  “Not adding these classes,” said Chavez, “fails to support student success.”

 

Do The Math – Cerritos College Needs More Classes Or Student’s Fail

April 2 – Norwalk, CA

The Cerritos College Board of Trustees meeting tonight was anything but dull.  It was standing room only and the line extended out the door into the courtyard.  Tonight’s Hot Topic: whether or not to add 100 extra classes to the Summer Semester.

One reason for the capacity crowd was the large number of Social Equality Club members and concerned students who turned out in support of adding extra classes to the upcoming schedule.  Club President Jennifer Ovalle and co-founder Jimmy Valdez presented an impressive PowerPoint outlining the cost of added classes and the various funding resources the Board can utilize to overcome any lack of funds required to make the classes a reality.

Several board members stated that adding classes had already been done with little or no effect on the problem.  Scott O’Neil, Chairman of the Mathematics Department, revealed that while he has capacity classes, the Department also has a 50% failure rate.  That means students are required to take the class again or they will not matriculate to the next level.

Several current Cerritos College students recounted that they have been at the campus between three and seven years, but are unable to graduate because they cannot get the Math and English classes required to transfer to university.  One girls said she shows up every semester, standing in the back of a capacity classroom only to be turned away – again.  A former gang member named Johnny felt that coming to Cerritos College saved his life.  For him, not being able get the required classes to complete his education means he cannot move on with his life to get further away from a deadly past.

Ian Adams, editor of the campus magazine Modern Corsair, came out to support the Social Equity Club and protest recent tuition increases.  Adams believes the Board has raised the cost of tuition beyond affordability for most students. “If they (students) can get Financial Aid,” Ian said, “it still won’t cover the cost of tuition, books, fees, transportation and housing.  They need that education to survive!”

Many students entering Cerritos College directly out of high school are unemployed.  Add the ever increasing cost of transportation and housing to the normal costs of education and it becomes clear that higher education is now beyond the reach of most students.  The current Catch 22 at Cerritos College is an unexpected nightmare for them.

While the Board listened politely, they seemed unprepared to deal effectively with an issue that continues to present itself.  Apparently, nothing they heard was news.  They even requested information from the Social Equity Club that had already been presented in previous meetings and documents.  The Board’s resolution for tonight was to resolve to have additional information to present in two weeks at the Wednesday, April 16 meeting.

 

http://www.talonmarks.com/news/2013/11/18/social-equality-club-seeks-to-address-social-inequalities/

GYPSY AWARDS KEEPING TIME FOR 2014

http://www.talonmarks2.com/multimedia_reporting_sp14/pds_awards_samii/

PDS Gypsy Awards 2014

PDS Gypsy Awards 2014

TOO BUSY TO BLOG

When I started this blog, I never dreamed that I would be too busy to write it. I thought I could check in every week and drop a pearl of wisdom or at least a pebble of insight that would encourage you to “Get going!” and “Hang in there!” or at least “Switch off the tube!”

After roughly 60 days, I find the homework quotient to educate this old dog is somewhat overwhelming. Having never been a full time student, I had no idea how much studying and paperwork was involved. I thought I was organized and committed – this would be a piece of cake. Reality check!

I feel guilty about struggling to keep up the pace. I rise at 4 a.m. and go to bed at 11:30 p.m., I only nap Monday afternoons for an hour, and I have missed so many episodes of Big Bang Theory, I feel estranged from the gang. My TV experience now involves catching up on Fallon’s Hashtag Wednesdays and reviewing global news. A Tweet or retweet may be included, but don’t count on it.

I wondered if this is worth the effort. I wondered if I could go a full four years.

One of my original questions was whether I am relevant in this generation, do I have anything to say worth hearing. I was on the verge of issuing a resounding, “No!” However, a friend suggested that perhaps I was here to help change the way others look at the world, no matter how skewed my perspective may be.

During my second debate in Radio & TV class, I was gifted with an unanticipated occurrence. I was opposed to “free Wi-Fi for all” based on security issues and the possibility of government censorship/takeover. When I finished my dissertation, a classmate said that my reasons for opposition were something he had never thought about, that I had given him a new perspective on several issues. Others agreed with him.

I was humbled to think that, whether or not they agreed with my position, at least my classmates had begun to think outside the cage. That is a very good thing, indeed

SAMII’S MIAMI – Blast from the Past

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=ztLhps9iYr-E.k8QYC632ib9g

I grew up in Ft. Wayne, Indiana – a beautiful farming community at the junction of three rivers. I loved the green of spring, the bounty of summer harvest, the crisp Autumn breezes… and I loathed the freezing cold winters. Folks, I lived my entire childhood dreaming of sitting on a dock in Miami Beach, Florida. It was warm there. It was sunny there. The breezes were tropical there. I knew that if I could just make it to Miami, I would be happy forever.

In January 1977, I got the chance to go to University of Miami to take audio classes. I sold everything I owned and drove my little Gremlin as fast as I could to Miami. Did I mention it was 15 degrees below zero with a -45 degree windchill the day I left the Fort? Well, let me tell you, my first day in Coral Gables was beautiful. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and it was the coldest it had been in South Florida in decades. Yep, I was freezing. It mattered not because I was in Miami. Who am I kidding, I WAS FREEZING IN MIAMI! Fortunately, things got better, ie. warmer. I spent four wonderful years living my dreams of being an audio engineer and sitting on a dock in the warmth that is Miami Beach. I hope you enjoy this map of some of my favorite places in the sun.