“And You’ll Gonna Pay!”: Oh, Those Memories!

When my ex-wife and I lived in South Pasadena from 1986-1991, we encountered an eccentric French couple who became our landlords.  The woman was in her 60s, of a highly suspicious nature and was always going through other people’s trash to find evidence of their misdoings, which she never found.  She also liked to place a quarter near one of the laundry machines to see who would take it, but nobody ever did.  Whenever she got angry at a tenant, she would exclaim, “And you’ll gonna pay!”  She used to scream at her husband, yelling out that he was the son of satan and a monster.  However, her spouse merely shrugged his shoulders and turned his back to her.  Unlike the woman, he was quite cordial and agreeable and loved to fix things.  “I fix, I fix”, he would proclaim whenever we had a plumbing problem.  But he used scotch tape methods rather than any bonafide plumbing tool, so the problem always became recurrent.

The Case of the Water Men:

When we moved into this apartment complex, two men from the water company occupied the apartment opposite us on the second floor(We lived on the first floor).  Not long after our arrival, the water men left and the space was to remain un-rented for the rest of our stay.  Now many people went up the stairs to visit the apartment,  but nobody took it.  We began to wonder what was so terrible about that apartment that kept prospective tenants way.  We thought about what the water men could have done to have made the space so repulsive.  These thoughts kept us busy on dreary days and were the source of much amusement.  However, this was a case that had no solution.

Roach motel:  Reservations Recommended!

When I first told my ex about a roach motel, she envisioned several rooms with furniture, a dining table and several accessories for comfort.  She was truly disappointed when she saw a bleak rectangular box with glue-like material inside, which would be the last object a roach would see before heading into eternal silence.

My roommate and I lived in a relatively clean, well-furnished apartment for several years until a couple of girls moved in downstairs(This time we were upstairs).  For amusement and extra money these girls sold their services on the top of the roof, so their clients could get an aerial view of Westwood as a bonus.  Alas, the girls had a habit of leaving garbage bags outside their room for days.

Word spreads quickly in a college town, and soon every UCLA roach dropped its studies to head for our apartment building.  Unfortunately, these roaches were not like our current garden roaches, large and orange-brown and quite choosy about their mates, but small German roaches that mated with every female roach no matter how unattractive she might be.  Soon our apartment was full of roaches that liked the dark, especially for their nightly rendezvous.  We bought a roach motel.  The next day it was filled with roaches and a few other curious insects that met their doom.  And every day it would be the same story.  Finally, we resorted to other methods.

Retribution!

Our owner’s in-laws came over when repairs were needed.  The man was quite the gentleman, but the woman we called “The Wicked Witch of the West”, because she needled us and said that the repairs were our fault.  We honored her presence by intoning the theme from the 1939 MGM movie to set the appropriate mood.  One day she was showing our apartment to to possible renters.  She yelled at us:  “What is all this white powder on the floor?!”  I replied, “That’s to kill off the roaches.”  My roommate and I laughed and laughed, but I will draw a curtain of silence over this scene and this post.

 

A Day For Some Minerals, Part 2.

In the preceding post, I mentioned that I had sold my mineral collection to Ryan Christianson, the mineral man of eBay.  Ryan was kind enough to take some photos of some of the minerals, so I could have them for my memories.  Thus, I decided to post some of his photos along with some of mine to offer tribute to a hobby of mine that began when I was about three-years-old.  I can still see myself looking along the Rogue River bed, searching for agates and jaspers.  Then, when I was a teenager, I went to the Crestmore Quarry.  I remember I was only allowed to collect for five minutes.  However, Grandma and I brought back some interesting blue calcite specimens.  There are many recollections of walking around in the Mojave Desert in 100+ weather with a pick and shovel, wearing protective glasses.  I am grateful for the time I spent in this exciting hobby, which led me to some fascinating acquaintances.  I hope that the photos awaken a further desire in you to investigate the world of minerals.

Celestite xl cluster, 10.2 cm x 7.6 cm x 7.6 cm. Location unknown.

Celestite xl cluster, 10.2 cm x 7.6 cm x 7.6 cm. Location unknown.

Purple cubes of fluorite, 22.9 cm x 10.2 cm x 10.2 cm, Ontario.

Purple cubes of fluorite, 22.9 cm x 10.2 cm x 10.2 cm, Ontario.

Lepidolite_ large cluster of small light lavender cylindrical books, 15.2 cm x 12.5 cm x 10.2 cm. Location unknown.

Lepidolite_ large cluster of small light lavender cylindrical books, 15.2 cm x 12.5 cm x 10.2 cm. Location unknown.

Fluorite_ group of coffee-colored cubic xls, 11.4 cm x 6.4 cm x 6.4 cm, Ottawa County, Ohio.

Fluorite_ group of coffee-colored cubic xls, 11.4 cm x 6.4 cm x 6.4 cm, Ottawa County, Ohio.

Adamite_ olive green spherical xls on matrix, 8.3 cm x 7.0 cm x 4.4 cm, Ojuela Mine, Mexico.

Adamite_ olive green spherical xls on matrix, 8.3 cm x 7.0 cm x 4.4 cm, Ojuela Mine, Mexico.

Epidote_ black green tabular cluster, 3.8 cm x 2.5 cm x 5.1 cm, Baja California, Mexico.

Epidote_ black green tabular cluster, 3.8 cm x 2.5 cm x 5.1 cm, Baja California, Mexico.

Fluorite_ large sky blue cube, 12.5 cm x 7.6 cm x 10.2 cm. Location Unknown.

Fluorite_ large sky blue cube, 12.5 cm x 7.6 cm x 10.2 cm. Location Unknown.

Stilbite_ group of salmon-colored xls, 17.8 cm x 7.6 cm x 6.4 cm, Scotland.

Stilbite_ group of salmon-colored xls, 17.8 cm x 7.6 cm x 6.4 cm, Scotland.

Sphalerite w/Calcite and Chalcopyrite on Dolomite, 10.2 cm x 7.6 cm x 5.1 cm. Location unknown.

Sphalerite w/Calcite and Chalcopyrite on Dolomite, 10.2 cm x 7.6 cm x 5.1 cm. Location unknown.

Another view of specimen above.

Another view of specimen above.

Andradite Garnet var. Demantoid_ small cluster of sparkling light green xls on matrix, 7.6 cm x 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm, Ural Mountains, Russia. Photo by RC.

Andradite Garnet var. Demantoid_ small cluster of sparkling light green xls on matrix, 7.6 cm x 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm, Ural Mountains, Russia. Photo by RC.

Chrysoberyl_ yellow-green xls, 3.2 cm x 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm, Brazil. Photo by RC.

Chrysoberyl_ yellow-green xls, 3.2 cm x 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm, Brazil. Photo by RC.

Elbaite var. Rubellite. Photo by RC

Elbaite var. Rubellite. Photo by RC.

Elbaite var. Schorl_ large spray of black xls, 8.9 cm x 6.4 cm x 7.6 cm.  Location unknown.     Photo by RC.

Elbaite var. Schorl_ large spray of black xls, 8.9 cm x 6.4 cm x 7.6 cm. Location unknown. Photo by RC.

Datolite_ colorless to light green xl group, 10.2 cm x 6.6 cm x 5.1 cm, New Jersey.  Photo by RC.

Datolite_ colorless to light green xl group, 10.2 cm x 6.6 cm x 5.1 cm, New Jersey. Photo by RC.

Sulfur_ group of xls on Aragonite, 17.8 cm x 10.2 cm x 8.3 cm, Sicily.  Photo by RC.

Sulfur_ group of xls on Aragonite, 17.8 cm x 10.2 cm x 8.3 cm, Sicily. Photo by RC.

Witherite_ large colorless- yellow spherical growth, 15.2 cm x 8.9 cm x 7.6 cm, Arkansas.  Photo by RC.

Witherite_ large colorless- yellow spherical growth, 15.2 cm x 8.9 cm x 7.6 cm, Arkansas. Photo by RC.

Torbernite_ bright cluster of green blade xls, Bete Noir, France.  Photo by RC.

Torbernite_ bright cluster of green blade xls, Bete Noir, France. Photo by RC.

Aurichalcite_ turquoise blue growths, 10.2 cm x 5.1 cm x 3.8 cm, Mexico.  Photo by RC.

Aurichalcite_ turquoise blue growths, 10.2 cm x 5.1 cm x 3.8 cm, Mexico. Photo by RC.

Benitoite_ cluster of blue xls, 7.6 cm x 7.6 cm x 3.8 cm, San Benito, California.  Photo by RC.

Benitoite_ cluster of blue xls, 7.6 cm x 7.6 cm x 3.8 cm, San Benito, California. Photo by RC.

Through The Fog And Back Again With A Few Thoughts

Yes, for the last several months my life has been immersed in a mass of overwhelming detail, a plethora of responsibilities and the thickest fog of deceit.  The latter has been by far the most harmful for lies dressed up as candied truths are often difficult to sniff out.  It has taken a lot of determination and a reawakening of the mathematical side of my brain to navigate the turbulent drops life has forced me to negotiate.  But, after clearing my lungs from cold water and miasmic air, I feel a new sense of strength and direction.

In the interim, we had to sell our family home in Medford Oregon, because of financial difficulties.  This was hard for me as the home represented more than 20 years of memories.  I had also stored my better minerals there along with a myriad of books and records.  Fortunately, my manager, Charles Decker, brought my minerals home to California and put the remaining items in his guesthouse.  Thank you, Charles!

Again, for financial reasons, I decided to sell my mineral collection.  Luckily, Ryan Christianson, eBay’s mineral man, was in need of new inventory and bought most of the collection;  a green variscite, a small cluster of bright purple amethyst crystals, and a geode with quartz crystals and a fascinating light brown incrustation among some others escaped the sale.  There was also my mineral room in the garage with specimens caked with dirt and shiny metallic grains.  I set up those specimens along our brick wall.  Now, the line of specimens is 70′ long! IMG_6654IMG_6656 But, clearing the mineral room felt like a death.  The young boy who collected specimens vanished into the shadows forever.

I also decided to sell my Lewis Collection of books and other memorabilia.  That meant cataloguing each item as well as researching for a reasonable price.  Then, I set up a file that included all the pertinent data and the condition of the item.  That collection is still for sale.

In the meantime, my sister and I continue to work with Dad, giving him simple arithmetic problems to keep his mind alert.  We try to waken his mind in other ways:  by bringing up memories, taking him to places from his childhood and encouraging him to talk with others.  His mind continues to surprise us as when he translated a French passage from Alexis de Tocqueville into English!  His knowledge of Latin also remains intact.  And sometimes he makes us think!

I continue to have health problems, but some sort of equilibrium seems within reach.  So, I look forward to putting up occasional posts in the future.  I do hope they prove of interest.

 

 

At Last: Breaking The Silence For A Special Event

My life has been quite troubled in the last several months and my health uncertain, but something happened to ease my sorrow:  Recently, my caretaker, Marie Coronel Perez became Marita Eugenio Weiss. my second wife.  I was introduced to her by her cousin and my former caretaker, Glenn Malapit.  Marie and I hit it off immediately, and despite our different cultures(Marie is from Bustos Bulacan in the Philippines), we found much to share and enjoy.  She has often said to me:  ” With you, I need big, big, big patience!”, which is true.  I can’t say how grateful I am to her for her persistent optimism , fighting spirit, sense of humor, wisdom and intelligence.  No matter how rough things get, she invokes her motto:  “Think twice.  Be wise.  Be strong.”  I am very sad that Mom wasn’t here for the event, but I know in my heart she would have approved and they would have become great friends.  I wish all my followers a wonderful Easter and a life full of fun surprises and joy.OA 90OA 18OA 7OA 22OA 39 OA 54

Another Brief Note

Because of health issues, family problems and sudden changes in lifestyle, I have decided to suspend my posts until I’m able to establish some equilibrium in my life.  I am grateful to the 101 followers that have taken the time to read my posts.  I am also grateful for the many comments I have received.  I wish all my followers lives of joy and fulfillment.

“Where’s The Moon? I Don’t See The Moon!” Or, Mathematics To The Rescue

I was dragging myself up the stairs of Founders Hall.  The cement steps and barren walls reflected the darkness of the time ahead.  For, my next class was Speech Communication with Professor B.  I was not doing well in the course.  As my current lady would say:  “You’re going down, down, down!”  And so I was.  But perhaps, I should tell you something about Miss B and how I got into trouble.

Miss B was a tall, wiry lady with sharp, unforgiving eyes and a total lack of manners.  We didn’t get along from the start.  I remember her saying with a sarcastic tone:  “Look at that!  A little boy wearing his tennies!”  She was frank, if nothing else.  And when I tried to act out a favorite childhood verse, she would yell out:  “Where’s the moon?  I don’t see the moon!”  At the time, that comment stunned and hurt me, because I was quite fond of the verse I was interpreting.  Later, Professor B told me that the only thing that could save me was the final, which was a monologue of at least ten minutes.  I thought and thought about possible selections.  I knew if I picked something well-known I could be compared with the greatest and I’d come up way short.  Fortunately, at that time, I was reading some wonderful mathematical stories from Clifton Fadiman’s Fantasia Mathematica.  Bruce Elliot’s story, “The Last Magician” really appealed to me.  The main character was an old man who was fond of a magician’s helper and commits murder because of the cruel way the magician treats her when a futurist society has condemned her to death for misceganation(She was Martian and became pregnant by the magician from Earth).  So, the story had intrigue, action build-up and the main character was an old man.  And, growing up next door to my Dad’s parents, I knew my Grandpa Johnny quite well, so I thought I could act out the part with some accuracy.  Also, the story dealt with the magician trying to escape from a supposedly real Klein bottle

Attempt to picture a Klein bottle, a three dimensional surface that has only one side, which is impossible.

An attempt at constructing a Klein bottle, a three dimensional surface that has only one side, which is impossible.

and was mathematical in nature, so probably few, if any, people had seen it performed.  When I thought about all the advantages, I thought it would be an excellent choice for a monologue.  I would need to trim some parts, though.

Finally, the long-awaited day arrived.  Everyone was busy rehearsing their lines and trying to get into character.  Wouldn’t you know it?  I was the first person Miss B called on.  I knew if I wanted to do well, I was going to have to become an old man in every way.  I tried hard to imagine my Grandpa Johnny and become him.  I tried to walk with difficulty, struggle to get some of my words out and look confused.  And as I reached the podium, the words did come out.  “The harder he worked the worse he treated Aydah…  It seemed as if every time I turned around I’d find her hiding in some corner, crying… I knew she would have to die.  That was why I had pressed the button that switched the bottles the first time, before she ever did…  I guess I must be getting old;  lately I’ve taken to wondering about King Solomon.  He knew so much, I wonder if he knew about Klein bottles…”  Then, a loud applause.

“Well, Bob just disappeared!  A feeble old man replaced him!”  Professor B’s eyes sparkled with admiration and respect.   Mathematics had come to the rescue.

 

 

Something To Think About: A Filipina Secret: “Tossing The Dog”

The Philippines are a series of small islands dotting the Pacific Ocean.  Its people are predominantly Roman Catholic, except for the Muslim population of the southern-most island, Mindanao.  Therefore, divorce is not recognized and annulment is prohibitively expensive.  A Filipina’s main weapon in an unhappy and troubled relationship is “tampo”(“the silent treatment”), which can last for hours and even days.  During “tampo”, the Filipina’s soft facial features turn to stone and her eyes stare out with a cold ferocity.  But there are times when even “tampo” does not work, and if a Filipina does not have sufficient funds for an annulment, and since divorce is not accepted, it would appear that she is stuck in a miserable relationship for life.  But Filipinas are known for their tenaciousness in solving problems, so they came up with “tossing the dog” as a permanent solution to this disturbing problem.

Filipinos are known for their close, extended family relationships.  Thus, there are always a lot of relatives to assist a Filipina in a time of despair.  Making use of this fact, the Filipina always has other Filipinas to rely on when she needs to “toss the dog”.  “Tossing the dog”  is certainly a last resort, but is used more often than one might expect.  Briefly, it consists of this:  Late at night when the unsuspecting offender is in a deep sleep, a group of the Filipina’s female relatives creep up to the offender’s room.  By applying a cloth with a knock-out chemical to his nose, the Filipinas ensure that he continues to live in the land of dreams.  They then bind him with strong coiled rope and put him in a vehicle, parked conveniently near his home.  Then, they drive the unfortunate man to Pangitka Bay.  There, like looming shadows of the night, using their combined strength, they carry the offender up a rocky cliff.  When they reach the top, they give out tribal screeches and curses and “toss the dog” into the shark-infested waters of Pangitka Bay.  The offender is never seen again and his disappearance is called an unfortunate accident.  Thus, the ingenuity of the Filipina overcomes a persistent obstacle and she is at last free to breathe the air of joy and freedom.