Month: December 2019 Page 1 of 3

new years eve 2019

Division by 3. Yep. 2019 is divisible by 3. In fact, you can add all the numbers in the year and still divide by 3. Is there any significance to this puzzle? Well, anytime you can add all the numbers together and that number is divisible by 3, the main number is as well. For example: 34,5261 – added together is 21, (can be divided by 3) which added together again is of course 3. So, 34,5261 can be divided by 3. Is this important in life to know?

I don’t know. What I understand from the above is how little we know about the universe, god and the meaning of life. Something so seemingly innocent as the above equation that always works implies a grand design. An architect of intelligent planning and creation. Mathematics in general, is powerful proof of god’s existence. What about numbers that aren’t divisible by 3? How about Fibonacci numbers? Prime numbers? And do I care? Just what does all this mean to me?

Rather then hurt my tiny little brain with this spiral into oblivion, I’m going to look at only the transition from 2019 to 2020. I have this song going through my head now… “in the year 2525, if man is still alive – if woman can survive, They may find…”

Personally, it’s been a tough year. With so many ups and downs I felt like I was in a life sized game of Chutes and Ladders. I’m not getting into any specifics for the moment. Almost everyone has their own version of the ups and downs game. I definitely don’t have the market cornered where that’s concerned. It all boils down to big potatoes, small potatoes. What’s important to me isn’t always important to another and the reverse holds true. My big potatoes or life lessons are small potatoes to another.

Will 2020 be the same as 2019? I sure hope not. IN fact, I’m sending out some amazing vibes to anyone and everyone I meet just to help change the Status Quo. Perhaps, I will infect the people I meet with a newfound love of life. Give people a new reason to get up off the couch and explore the current confines of our planet. Our temporary planetary prison.

Then again, perhaps I will just start living my own life.

episode II – the witcher redeemed

This morning while making a breakfast of sourdough toast, curcumin, avocado and sauerkraut piled high on top, I thought now is a good time to continue watching the witcher on Netflix. I’m so glad I did. Episode II reeled me into a magical and emotional landscape that was unexpected. Although there was the typical political nod when a Baird is singing in a tavern about a potion that causes abortion – which makes me think that either the writers dislike the right so much they had to say something -be it so small, or the producers said “you know what would be great? Let’s stick it to the right…”

The thing is – no one cares. Not the right or the left. Or the middle. Which is how I like it. Being entertained when I watch a story unfold is why I enjoy a show/book/play etc. And this, the second episode sucked me into a world unlike any other. I am in LOVE. Notice the capitals? With Yennefer. She is the deformed and somewhat ugly (again, I didn’t think she was ugly for a moment) adopted child that discovers she has some latent magical powers. When a witch is led to her by her unintended use of magic, she begins training in some of the mystic arts.

Why am I in LOVE? A little history, please. OK, since you asked…(smile)

As I was growing up in beautiful North Hollywood, Ca, I always felt like an outcast. You see, I had this Huge space between my teeth with a capital “H”. Bigger than David Lettermans of right bashing fame. I once had a girl I was dancing with in a nightclub ask me directly – “do you have any friends that have good teeth?” I felt ugly. So I became something else while growing up, that my fellow classmates would use to displace my ugliness. I excelled at science and most teachings presented during my elementary years. I ran for president of service club and won! Sometimes I think it’s because the other kids felt sorry for the little boy with the facial deformity.

Whatever the reason, I instantly identified with Yennefer. I found her quite stunning and beautiful. Because of her struggles to understand and cope with her physical attributes. This begs the question: did the makeup artists do a good job at creating a homely, undesirable and unattractive woman? Not really. But I understood on a deeper level, having considered myself undesirable as a youth. My unattractiveness followed me like a plague all though my teens, even though I had dated some of the most sought after girls in Junior High and High School. It’s taken me almost 50 plus years to begin to overcome my unnecessary and misguided thoughts of desirability.

As the episode comes to a close, I am once again reminded of the political musings of the writers. As the witcher and the Baird are traveling on a desert road after being captured and released by the elves instead of killed by them, the Baird gleefully composes a tune, misstating all the facts, making the witcher the hero – defeating the elves against all odds to become victorious in battle. The witcher says “that’s not how it happened…where’s your newfound respect?”

The Baird replied, “Respect doesn’t make history”

the witcher

(the Witcher is a tv series on Netflix now)

Decades ago, when I was around 10 or so, there was a very loud smack around the corner from my house. I was playing outside at the time, my sobriquet was “professor”, an apt nickname chosen to reflect my scholarly pursuits of the day.

I ran around the corner to see a vehicle wrapped around a tree. There were body parts scattered about, some hanging from a thread of skin and others dangling in the summer breeze. Blood was everywhere. This was my first time in the presence of death and dismemberment.

I was not affected by the gruesome scene played out with such dire consequences. In hindsight, I realize that blood and guts don’t affect me much. Not in a Dexter way (see TV series of the same name) but in a reality way. People were screaming and crying and the sound of sirens was off in the distance, getting ever closer.

I stayed until help arrived. While I was doing nothing to help, being only 10 years old, I now understand that just being there was giving the injured something to hold onto, no matter how small. When the medical technicians began their administrations, one told me to go home and let my parents know what I had seen. I took half of the advice. I went home. I said nothing. It was my secret.

This brings us to the title of this post. Witchers are beasts and monster hunters, that develop almost supernatural powers to battle and rid the world of these beasts. And the show starts with an absolute explosion of an opening! A Witcher is fighting a monster while a gentle deer ponders the outcome. The Witcher defeats the monster but not before the deer is fatally injured becoming the Witchers dinner that evening.

Some tense moments follow in a tavern. We are introduced to various characters, furthering the plot and backstory. This is where my real life story above and the make believe one of the Witcher (what? you thought the Witcher is real? Really?) blend together.

For some reason, there always seems to be a major battle between kingdoms portrayed during the early centuries of sword and sorcery. And like all battles, bloody beyond belief. How many ways can you decapitate a soldier? How many ways can you gut a person or shoot an arrow through the head? Quite a lot it seems. With limbs flying in every direction, heads rolling left and right, guts spilling on the battlefield, I was overwhelmed. What happened to the young boy that was barely phased seeing real life blood and guts unfold in front of his very eyes?

That boy understood the difference. In the Witcher, which I will continue watching for now, the battles are some producers or writers idea of what people, want to watch. I find it very hard to accept that people love seeing battles where mutilation is the norm, surviving – the oddity.

I believe the writers and producers could have made a much classier show, intelligent and witty, without devoting so much time to the myriad of ways a person can be killed. Hopefully, there will be no more battles since the entire cast has pretty much been wasted and sliced beyond recognition. I find some of the characters intriguing, others not so much. Fortunately, I started on the 4th episode. If I had started on the first, I would no longer be watching this series.

I hear a voice that sounds like mine, coming from a tavern, in some castles keep, next to an amazing and beautiful scrolling countryside…

“Barkeeper! Another brew… and one for my friend…”


mushroom adventures!

You’re probably wondering if I’ve been sniffing paint again. And you would be right. In some alternate universe on the infinite plain of possibilities, I am. Sadly, or smartly, I’m not doing that on this plain of existence.

Instead I went hiking today with my my BMP. Which stands for Belgium Monster Puppy. I am always wondering if one morning I will wake up without any arms or legs from the very sharp piranha like teeth she has. One really good thing about her though, my adopted cat Mookie no longer comes into my room at night and pushes me with her paw for attention. Small favors, huh?

Looks fairly innocent? This was right after she ate two older hikers coming down the mountain. Makes, ya think, right?

I always love hiking after a recent rain. Mushrooms start springing up like wild flowers, almost everywhere! Of course I snapped a few pics for a quick post here.

Christmas Eve, part II


But something was amiss. Where was the ghost of disappointment past? Don’t these things always happen in threes?

In addition, the air was brisk and cold, icicles began forming with each and every step that was taken. Where was the ghost of disappointment past? Helping some other souls? On vacation in Bora Bora? Or something less sinister like out to dinner with other ghosts eating ghost food. Although that also raises the question as to what constitutes ghost food and is it even healthy?

And then there was a total moment of utter clarity. Perhaps there was to be no disappointment ghost of the past. In fact, as I looked around me, the company I had, the brightly colored homes bursting with various Christmas light shows and cheer, a moment shared, a meal planned, the first few episodes of “Lost in Space” season II enjoyed under a toasty blanket. Just perhaps there wasn’t to be a ghost of disappointment past. Perhaps not even a small ghost. And then (smile), I completely figured it out.

It was Because we had the three “L’s”. And when the 3-L’s appear , ghosts simply cease to exist.

Life, Love and Laughter.

Christmas Eve

I started writing this post as a blow by blow account of the evening. After reading the first few paragraphs over a few times, I realized the direction of the post had taken a wrong turn. Was the evening great? You betcha. And yet there is always another story to tell when recounting an evenings events. A story that involves not only the physical aspects, but also the emotional ones as well. Add some supernatural phenomena and you have all the makings of a classic.

Our story begins at 6pm exactly. The rain, which had been expected, had bypassed the valley, leaving scattered and lonely clouds to show the storms passing. The air very frosty, so I practiced saying “I see dead people” over and over because it was so cool! The plan was to walk the northridge mall and people watch as they were buying last minute gifts. Alas, this was not to be. The mall had closed for xmas eve at 6pm sharp. It was then we encountered the first supernatural event of the evening. The ghost of disappointment present. (cue eerie chains rattling and spooky sounds)

“You cannot roam the pathways of the mall this eve. Closed we be while others grieve.” the ghost of disappointment present said eerily.

“OK, ” we replied. “Do you have any other suggestions Mr. ghost of disappointment present?

“Thank you for asking! I was a tour guide before passing into the spirit world. It feels good to share some ideas every now and then. How about going to Target or Walmart? There should be quite a few last minute shoppers there” The GDP said.

This time, however, we were not going to be denied! We consulted with the ghost of disappointment future “google” before heading to either one.

Target was open, google said! Yay! Happily, we headed over the hill to the closest Target. Arriving, we noticed throngs of people bustling about, purchasing last minute gifts before heading off somewhere, somewhere important they had to be. But something was amiss. Where was the ghost of disappointment past? Don’t these things always happen in threes?

Stay tuned for part two, too tired for now to continue…

***movie review***


Thought I would start off Christmas Eve morning with a holiday movie, fresh from Netflix. The movie was released on Netflix, November 1st, 2019. I passed by it many times, thinking “oh. another silly rom-com about elephants in the wild that need saving from evil poachers and rugged man gets perfect woman”.

For whatever reasons, on Christmas Eve Eve, I decided to give this movie the 10 minute watch review. If after 10 minutes I lose interest, off it goes into the discard pile. Longer than 10? Well, I watch it until it’s over. I settled in with a wonderful slice of miyoko butter, sauerkraut, parsley, sourdough toast and my special blend coffee. In addition, my favorite decadent ChocZero monk fruit chocolate bar (scrummy!)

I almost didn’t make the first 10 minutes. Very formulaic and tedious. Let’s discuss:

A woman ( Kristin Davis) Kate, surprises her husband with a vacation second honeymoon to Zambia after her son leaves for college. Now, with an empty nest, the husband tells her he’s not in love and is going to move out. Of course she decides to go to Africa anyway, without him.

Arriving in Zambia, a man at a bar starts a conversation with her because she has food enough for two people and of course she’s sitting alone. The man (Rob Lowe) Derek, is rugged, handsome, worldly and every womans fantasy. And yet, the woman is still upset, especially about going to Africa alone.

At this point, I knew they would somehow find each other and the romance would stutter along, sometimes boldly and other times with a squeak. But something, perhaps the sap in me, kept me glued to the screen. I could almost see what was coming. In fact, the writers even played openly with the formula by having Derek say “Didn’t see that one coming” and “I saw that one coming” and “should’ve seen that one coming”.

Even knowing they would get together in the end, I couldn’t stop watching. At times, tears were running down my cheeks (sappy guy I am, huh?) when some of the goodbyes were said. Again, I knew the goodbyes weren’t going to last. Didn’t matter, I was still affected.

Kate just happens to be a veterinarian (I know, right?) and wants to help the elephants after Derek lands to save a baby elephant. Poachers killed the mother for her tusks. Kate becomes hesitant to leave after learning about the organization that Derek is part of, deciding to stay longer.

I was laughing and crying as the writers were tugging at my heartstrings and it didn’t matter. I was hooked. Rob Lowe played an excellent mans man, in the tradition of Tom Selleck, Sam Elliot, John Wayne and Pierce Bronson among others. Kristin Davis did not seem like a vet to me, but that didn’t matter as she played a strong mother figure restarting her life after divorce very well.

Rather than continue to give away the plot, which I really can’t be guilty of because each step of the way they telegraph what’s about to happen – take a chance yourself. Be warned, you’ll need to get past the obligatory opening setup subplot in order to get to the beef brisket. Side note: keep some tissues handy, …just saying.

This movie gets an “I am a Sap” rating from me. I would write more but I need to replenish my fluids from all the happy tears I’ve been having from writing this review.

turning points

I was retelling a story the other night, which I’m going to share here today. The names will be changed to protect the guilty of course. No graphic warnings needed as there will be no photos associated with this post.

The following true events recounted as told to me by Carlj:

Carlj: About 30 years ago Ceej, I had a relationship that I considered very loving and good. The highs were amazing and the lows sometimes devastating. Overall, the chemistry was great. At least until a few “turning points”. I didn’t even know what turning points were until 30 plus years later. By then the damage to the relationship had already occurred.

And unknown to me as well, I had the power to change the events for the better. Did I? Did I even try? Nope. In fact, I doubled down on my spoken thoughts and concerns. OK, I get it, you’re asking me to get to the point? Or turning point in this case…

My girl Nancy called me in the wee hours of the morning, during the middle of the week and said, “Come over and service me, right now. You’re my man and I need you”

WOW! Any normal male wouldn’t even take the time to gracefully hangup the phone. To be sure, I was a normal male, but something prompted me to say, “I have work in the morning. Are you crazy?” Or something to that effect.

Fast forward to the second event. Nancy, was in a small fender bender one evening coming back from a clandestine meeting with another man. Did I know about it? Not at the time. But still, who did she call? Me. Crying and upset she reached out to me. Once again I was in bed and said, “I have work in the morning. Glad you’re OK. Talk later”

Two attempts at making a solid connection. Two attempts refused. What could I have done differently? The first attempt I could have explained myself better “I have work in the morning. I love that you continue to bring the wolf out in me, you’re offer is so tempting! Could we take a rain check for tomorrow evening? Nothing would make me happier than to service my woman”

Second attempt: “I have to work in the morning. Can the car be driven? Do you need a tow truck or a ride? I am so glad you weren’t hurt, darling. Please call me after you know more…love you”

Even though the second attempt sounds better, the correct thing would have been to go there. Accidents/deaths/sadness are somethings you share with a loved one to lessen the impact and get comfort from. And I failed both attempts at a loving connection.

The damage had been done and events were set into motion that ended our relationship. And they continued to pile on. It was easier to double down adding new reasons as well, than to back up and rethink it all. Just one moment in time, where if I had really listened, might have changed the dynamics of our relationship completely.

So Ceej, I know you’re curious and want to ask, if I could go back in time and change my actions to obtain a better outcome, would I?

Ceej: You are not only wise and fascinating Carlj, but also a mind reader?

Carlj: LOL. You’re funny Ceej. But no. Not a mind reader. To be sure, I would not change anything. It pains me to say that. The lessons learned are more important to me now that I understand them. Even if it took thirty years or more. This “turning point” was huge and not hidden from sight at the time and yet, I couldn’t see it much less understand it. Time teaches.

Ceej: Well, thank you for being here Carlj, that’s all the time we have on this blog, so join us next time for:

“the intensity of life”

terror has a new name

Got a Belgium Malinois puppy a few days ago. A more appropriate name would be Belgium Monster Puppy. From the dark lagoon. Evil with a capital L. The sheer energy of the pup would power the Worlds Fair in Chicago. Who needs Tesla? I have a BMP.

Since the little girl never stops moving or chewing or jumping or biting, I have been learning the hard way that she is training me to behave. Who knew? Once again my geriatric pups warned me but alas I didn’t listen.

Well, the rain finally came. A little too late for me to have the fireplace going this evening. Perhaps tomorrow? I managed to rain proof whatever I could, before cooking a huge pot of shrimp and veggie soup. The BMP has discovered the doggie door and has gone through it about 10 times in the last five minutes. Probably wondering if it’s like the Lost Room mini series where going through a door using a special key takes you anywhere.

There are no words of wisdom tonight. No clever thoughts. No major epiphanies. Just the same questions I’ve had for the last few days. Will the new season of Lost In Space be as good as the first? Does Dr. Smith shop on Amazon for evil gadgets to mess with the Robinson’s? Are square wheels really round wheels that are missing a circumference? Will I sell my house and move out of state?

Stay tuned for “As the Puppy Bites” or “One Carl Flew over the Malinois Nest”

factors and turning points

Roads. What are roads? Are they physical pathways that move object A to point B? Are they a physicists dissertation on the nuances of free neutrons and the directions the neutrons travel? OR can they be emotional or mental pathways a moment can take at any given point in time? Are there factors that determine the direction of travel?

I’ve been reading somewhat haphazardly, “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” Not the religious story or even the short lived series about the end of the world. This story is not a story at all. It’s a way to prevent putting your worst foot forward in any relationship you have. John Gottman has been researching relationships and has come to some very helpful conclusions and insights. Along with the Four Horsemen which are: Criticism, Contempt, Defensivesness and Stonewalling, he also brings up the following:

Turning Towards – Turning Against – Turning Away. He calls them “Bids”. Now I’m not going to get into the specific details of the above. Perhaps after reading this, a quick internet search will explain much better than I can. What brings me to even write about this, being the avid researcher that I am, is I tend to condense and simplify.

The concepts seem very sound and based on good data. What I feel and intuitively grasp, is something a little less intense then the above. But, more to the point for at least, me. I like to think of the above as “Turning Points”. Yep, lump them all together under one big umbrella, and maybe I said umbrella because it’s going to start raining here in a few hours…(smile) Most likely it’s my subconscious mind always trying to get a leg up and be heard.

Because of the impending rain and various chores coming up, I will write about them later, after filling up my fireplace with logs for the long rains ahead. All the while sipping on a warm cuppa of tea.

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