Torrance residents: Be careful out there

\"crash\" If you follow current events in Torrance you are probably aware of the decision to install permissive blinking yellow lights for left turn lanes and certain major intersections in the city. The intent, of which I am in favor, is to allow cars that are sitting in the left lane at a red light with no oncoming traffic to proceed with caution. It is a great concept that I am sure everyone agrees is long overdue; however, when these signals are installed they also need to be programmed and apparently they are not being programmed correctly or whomever decided on the cycling of the lights did not give any real thought to the process or the possible consequences of their haphazard decision. Allow me to elaborate.

This evening at 9:45 my fiancee and I were walking the dogs eastbound on 182nd Street approaching Prairie. At Prairie we would cross 182nd and continue south on Prairie. As we reached the northwest corner of 182nd and Prairie I immediately pressed the button for the WALK signal to protect Tanya, the dogs and myself as we crossed 182nd Street. As we stood there waiting for our WALK signal Tanya and I noticed that all the left turn lanes for the east/west traffic were blinking yellow immediately. There was no protective green for the cars in the left turn lanes in either direction. It became clear that instead of supplementing the green light as it should, the new signal was replacing it! There is no more protective green arrow for left turns. That is not the intent of those signals; but it gets worse. Continue reading

Urgent message to all LA County pet owners

\"Jessica, I started blogging close to 15 years ago and I have never written an article that was this important or difficult to write; first, a little back-story.

Pictured above are my daughter Jess with her two Golden Retrievers, Heidi and Lauren. While most dog owners will tell you how important their dogs are to them; Lauren and Heidi were truly special animals. They helped my daughter through a tough divorce and they were very therapeutic for her in her personal life as she works as a social worker specializing in investigating the worst of the worst child abuse cases. The cases she works on are frequently in the headlines; the details of which would turn your stomach and make the toughest man cry. Lauren and Heidi provided an outlet for her and were the reason she took up running. They were frequently found at various running events with the Pasadena Pacers and everyone that interacted with the three of them seemed to always be positively impacted by the experience. As annoying as it sounds at times, these dogs were her children; they played an important role in her sanity. You may have noticed that I keep talking about Lauren and Heidi in the past tense.

On Monday, June 9 I received a frantic telephone call from my daughter; she had come home early from work to discover Lauren lying on the floor of the bathroom soaked in her own urine, breathing heavily and bleeding from her mouth. It was clear she had experienced a seizure. She was limp, listless and unable to lift her own head even with assistance. Jess got help from a neighbor to get Lauren in the car so she could be transported to her veterinarian a couple blocks away from her home. Lauren was immediately put on oxygen, given plasma and Vitamin K via an IV as her blood would not clot. After about a half hour of working on Lauren, Jess was sent home to get Heidi to have her checked out. By the time she got home, Heidi could not get up off the ground and had to be carried even a few steps to the car and into the vet where an IV was started and she was given oxygen. Continue reading

Rename Columbia Park AYSO Park

\"field Regular readers may recall that back in October I wrote an article entitled, Columbia Park, Torrance: Pay to play? To recap, the west end of Columbia Park was closed for renovations on May 20, 2013 for what was to be \”no more than thirty (30) calendar days.\” Apparently contracts mean little in the City of Torrance and instead of opening 30 days later, it was reopened September 21, 2013! When it reopened it was littered with barriers that had signs attached advising everyone that if they wanted to use the field from now on, they had to get a permit (see photo). Besides writing the referenced article I started attending Torrance City Council meetings on a regular basis so the normal people would have some representation; I ever addressed the council with my displeasure. I do not think they cared.

Anyway, fast-forward to April of 2014 and our park has more barriers, signs, and chain link fences placed all over the park making it not only an eyesore but creating a safety hazard. A couple weeks ago I decided to call the City of Torrance Facility Booking Office to find out just how much it would cost me to be able to use a small section of the park to kick a ball around. It turns out I cannot; just so you understand, you cannot either. Only AYSO can use it and they will not be using it until June or July. In other words, the Torrance residents that pay for the park and its maintenance are not allowed to use the park. We only wish it was \”pay to play.\” In our dreams. If I was angry before, that was nothing compared to how I feel now. The following is the prepared statement I made to the Torrance City Council at the last meeting, held April 8, 2014:

Mr. Mayor, City Council members, staff, audience members and television viewers: Continue reading

Columbia Park, Torrance: Pay to play?

I have a feeling this is going to be a multi-post story; so let\’s start at the beginning. Regular readers know I have two dogs, Buddy & Hershey, and they get walked twice a day, every day. To keep things interesting for the dogs we were in the habit of frequently changing the route we would walk; we might walk around the South Bay Galleria, or several neighborhood blocks and we would include the various walking paths in Columbia Park. Well, we used to walk around Columbia Park up until May 20, 2013 when we discovered the west side of the park was closed for some kind of renovation. It was difficult to see what was going on that our walking on a path was going to disrupt, but I understand there might be insurance regulations involved, so we just eliminated Columbia Park from our daily walk routine. One night, a couple of weeks ago we noticed that the park was open again so we detoured through it so the dogs could get some variety back into their lives.

As we walked through the park it was a little difficult to see what renovations might have been done, but it was nighttime, so maybe we just could not see the improvements. There was one glaring difference; all throughout the park were barriers with signs attached advising everyone that if they wanted to use the field from now on, they had to get a permit! I will admit I was more than a little miffed at the suggestion that someone would need to get a permit if they wanted to play a game of softball or a pickup game of soccer. When I got home I made a status update on my personal Facebook page asking the powers that be for the City of Torrance what was going on with our park being closed for four months, only to re-open with new fees if you wanted to use the park\’s fields. A couple days later I received the following message from John Jones, Community Services Director for Torrance: Continue reading

Torrance Chamber of Commerce: Would I join again? Pros and Cons

When I started writing the story about my experience with the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC), I knew that this would have to be broken up into at least three parts. There was too much to say, and it would have been ancient history by the time I got everything documented in the proper order. My goal in the first two parts was simple; give the back story to my time with the TACC and what happened when I was called into Donna Duperon\’s office. I did my best to not editorialize or give my opinion; I wanted to merely lay out the facts. This article will be different. I will editorialize and be opinionated. So, what happened after I left Donna\’s office?

I knew that the Del Amo Bridge was going to be opened to the public later in the day, so I stopped by to see if I could photograph the bridge before traffic made it impossible. I lucked out as there were several antique cars lining up for the opening parade; so I was able to wander around and grab a few shots. While I was there I ran into a long time acquaintance that happens to be on the Torrance City Council. I told him that the TACC had just banned my camera from their events. He proceeded to tell me about a ribbon cutting that was coming up on Saturday. Apparently the business had not given the Chamber enough notice, so the Chamber would not be there. I asked if he thought the business would like me to photograph the event; his response, \”What business owner would not want you to?\” Ironically, the answer is the TACC, I guess. Continue reading

TACC Chairman of the Board: Less than .5% of membership are complaining

Since this is part two of my saga with the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC); and some may not have read part one, I will summarize to bring you up to speed. I photograph everything. I use the photos to promote people and places. We joined the TACC last December. I photographed many TACC events, gave free publicity to local businesses that are Chamber members, promoted non-profits and shot an event at the request of the TACC President and CEO, Donna Duperron. On August 9, Donna told me camera was no longer allowed at Chamber events, even though other cameras were. On August 21, Donna said she wanted me to come to her office to meet with her and the TACC Chairman of the Board, Aaron Aalcides. If you want to read it all, please go to http://www.gotbaddog.com/tacc-no-free-advertising-wanted/.

I brought Tanya with me to my meeting with Donna and Aaron because the company that is the Chamber of Commerce member is hers. When we were seated in Donna\’s office I could not help but notice that it seemed Aaron had compiled a dossier on us. At the top of the stack of papers was a print out of the Synergy-DTI home page. His first question was why do I take so many photos? I started to explain how we use them to do Internet marketing, SEO and branding but I could tell he was not getting it. I also mentioned how I am a CNN iReporter and a restaurant reviewer for Examiner.com and the photos were used there as well. It did not matter. \"TACC Continue reading

Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce: We never asked for free exposure

I am going to preface this story by saying I intentionally did not start writing this yesterday because I did not want my anger to get in the way of my words. To be honest, I could have started writing this back on August 9 when this all started. The writing was on the wall, the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) President/CEO and Chairman of the Board just wanted to make it official. I also want to say that I have met some very nice people at TACC and if I speak negatively about the TACC it is based solely on the actions of Donna Duperron and Aaron Aalcides. Additionally, I am not asking anyone to get involved. I am just telling my story. If you want to get involved, share this story. Let people make their own decisions. As most of you have no idea what I am talking about; I will start at the beginning.

\"IndianThose that know me and anyone that has read this blog a while knows that I do event photography and photograph everything I see and do. I frequently use the photos to give publicity to the location; whether it is a restaurant or a National Park. It is free advertising, most of the time. I have yet to run into a restaurant, bar, bakery, curio shop or any other brick and mortar business owner that ever turned down free press. I get invited to the back rooms of stores and shops to see what they have that is too cool for public display. At the beginning of the year I decided I was going to start promoting local businesses and events more than I have in the past. In December, Tanya and I had joined the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce Continue reading

If you are in Arizona, you may be pregnant

They say truth is stranger than fiction, and if this does not prove it, I am not sure what will. I am talking about Arizona\’s recently passed House Bill 2036, which contains the following language: \”Gestational age\” means the age of the unborn child as calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman.\” You might want to read that again. Arizona\’s legislators have written into law that a woman is now pregnant prior to conception. I graduated from high school in 1971, which means I have not taken a Biology class since 1969 or 1970. I know that since I graduated there are new countries taught in Geography, new rules about punctuation in English class and, of course, fuzzy math. I can accept that there are going to be countries that change their names, new words will be added to the dictionary and new theories on how to solve mathematical equations. As someone that believes in evolution I can accept that people may eventually be born without tonsils, but birth beginning prior to conception? I do not think so.


I remember when I first heard about this proposed legislation, it may have been on The Daily Show or Colbert Report, and thinking that the inmates are truly running the asylum if this was \”real news.\” It seems that I learned of this legislation around the same time that Oklahoma State Senator Constance Johnson introduced her amendment to Oklahoma\’s \”Personhood\” bill, which would have made it illegal for a man\’s sperm to be spilled anywhere but inside a woman\’s vagina. The thing is, Senator Johnson was making fun of the stupid laws being proposed, and sometimes passed, that attempted to regulate a woman\’s reproductive system. She was merely showing how insane government has become. A woman standing up for women\’s rights, almost sounds natural; the Arizona legislature must be made up of all men, right? Well, sadly the Governor of Arizona is a female, Jan Brewer. I have not Googled her to find out how old she is, but menopause must have been a very long time ago as she seems to have completely forgotten the entire process of how a woman gets pregnant. I wonder how she would feel if she was in her 20\’s and now legally pregnant, unless she is menstruating. Continue reading

Hard Rock Hotel asked for free advertising

Last week I was in Las Vegas for a trade show that was being held at the Hard Rock Hotel. While I have a place in Vegas, my girlfriend likes the pillows at the Hard Rock so when business calls me to Vegas and the event is held at the Hard Rock Hotel, we opt to stay there rather than a mile away at my place. Within a couple days of my arrival, I received an email from their \”media specialist\” who had seen links to one of my other blogs on several other websites. He wanted me to \”spread the word\” about their hotel and casino. When I responded with an extremely reasonable request in exchange for this promotion, it was ignored. I guess the only good publicity is free publicity. Well, now they will get that.

On Saturday, as I was unpacking, I realized that in my haste to get back home I left some items in the closet of the hotel room. These items were a pair of slacks with a belt, a dress shirt, three ties and a tie clasp. I immediately called the Hard Rock\’s Lost and Found Department and sure enough, they had my items. I gave them my contact info and address and was told to call back on Monday, June 14 to find out when the items would be sent out and by what means. I told them I did not have a problem covering the costs for the return of my property. Monday morning I was told that the items would go out later that day or Tuesday. I was appreciative and prepared to give the Hard Rock Hotel the advertising they requested.

Wednesday morning I received a package from the Hard Rock. I was surprised when I opened the package. While the slacks, shirt and ties were enclosed, the belt and tie clasp were missing. I suppose it is possible that the tie clasp broke and fell off the tie as they moved the tie from the coat hanger it was on to the bag they put it in, but it is impossible for the belt to just fall off. With both items missing, there is no question that someone decided that they could use the belt and tie clasp. I can only guess that they did not appreciate my taste in ties as each of them had more value than the items they decided to keep.

After making the post on my blog, I shared it on my Facebook account. It was then that the plot thickened. Within a few hours of my posting about it on Facebook, I began hearing of multiple instances of credit card theft happening to people attending our conference. Between four and six people have said that their credit cards compromised! I guess some people think that it is easier to hit a conference than individuals as many people use expense accounts, so less likelihood of it being noticed. Of course, that is just speculation. However, I know that my property was stolen, not lost. I do know that there are several people from our group that are suggesting their credit card numbers were compromised. To me, where there is smoke there is a good chance that there is a fire.

So, pursuant to James Cooley\’s request, I will spread the word about the Hard Rock Hotel. That word is to make sure you check your credit card closely after staying there. Also, make sure you check your room three times before leaving and there seems to be a 50-50 chance of you recovering your property should you mistakenly leave it behind.

Geek Squad Mafia

The most difficult part of this post was coming up with a title that reflected how I feel about the Geek Squad or Best Buy. Another contender was \”Best Buy Is Not.\” You might get the impression that I am a little pissed off by Best Buy and their Geek Squad, and you would be correct. Here is the tale of my impressions of Best Buy and their team of nerds.

A little over a year ago, I purchased an H-P laptop for my assistant to use for company related tasks. I thought it would be a good idea if I went ahead and purchased their \”black tie\” warranty that basically covered everything, including accidental damage, for two years. The main reason I got it was so if anything went wrong with it, we could bring it to their nerds and they would fix it for us with no downtime. I was pretty much misled with this presumption.

It was a matter of months before parts started falling off the H-P. Time to use the warranty. We brought it back to Best Buy under the impression that they would fix it and my assistant would be back in business. Wrong.

They informed me that they could not fix it there and would have to send it back to H-P, so we would be without the laptop for a couple weeks. It was not a convenient time to go without the use of it, so I said forget it and we just dealt with a laptop that was sans a few keys.

As time went on, more parts fell off, we got indications of the monitor going bad and RAM failure forced us into backing up our data and bringing the H-P back to Best Buy, knowing that they would be holding onto it for a couple weeks. This was really my first up close and personal interaction with these geeks, and I soon determined that these guys were not geeks at all; they were impostors. I know geeks. My girlfriend is a geek. I have friends that are geeks. These guys were wannabees.

While standing around, waiting for service I took a closer look at my surroundings. Best Buy puts up a lot of poster sized photographs of a bunch of nerdy looking guys that looked like they worked as FBI agents in the 60\’s. White shirts, black ties, glasses. I then took a closer look at the employees behind the counter and it was obvious that if you looked like a nerd, you were immediately qualified to be part of the Geek Squad Mafia. This was further verified when we realized that my assistant had failed to back up her Thunderbird email. I figured that I would just buy a flash drive, back the emails onto it and let them take the laptop. Sounded easy in theory anyway.

I have never even looked at Thunderbird, so I could only guess how to back up the mail folders. My guesses were wrong. But hey, there were a slew of geeks behind the counter, one of them should know. Wrong again. Supposedly, there is not one Geek Squad member that does not own a Mac. Fine, but you mean to tell me all your customers are on Macs? You have only used a Mac? Give me a break! A real geek would know what they were doing instead of giving the lame, \”I use a Mac\” excuse.

We ended up taking the broken H-P back from them so I could go home and figure out how to backup the mail. After this was done, my assistant brought it back to the store. Then the fun began.


A couple days later, we received a telephone call informing us that the laptop could not be fixed and we should come back to the store for a replacement. When we arrived, I was informed that it was not \”cost effective\” for them to repair the laptop. They would give me a replacement that was \”comparable\”. Now, comparable does not mean they will just give me another of the same model, because according to them, laptops are only in the store for about three months. They also do not feel that comparable has anything to do with the cost of the laptop. They just find what they feel is close to monitor size, drive size, RAM and processor. While I was not entirely convinced this was the \”Best\” way to handle a customer that spends as much as I do there, it is what it is.

My assistant asked them if the warranty would transfer to the new laptop. I had not bothered asking because I naturally presumed it would. I was batting 1.000 this day. I was wrong with every presumption. Their contention was that they had honored the two year warranty by just replacing the laptop. I suggested that I still had a year left on the warranty and that they should at least prorate me for coverage on the new laptop we were stuck with. They disagreed.

So, in a nutshell, it was not cost effective for them to fix the laptop I purchased. It was more cost effective for them to give me a cheaper model than I had purchased originally, then charge me a couple hundred dollars for a new warranty. To me, this is theft. And bad business. I can not imagine the situation that would help me feel justified treating a customer like this. I know one thing for sure; the next time I have to get some warranty work done, I am going to accidentally drop kick the laptop across the parking lot. If it is going to be a matter of cost effectiveness, I might as well get a little pleasure out of the screwing I know I am going to get.

Now, if you have had similar experiences with the Geek Squad Mafia and took the time to read this entire post, I have an offer for you. Like I mentioned earlier, I know geeks. The geeks I know can work on PCs or Macs, and they have better rates than Best Buy\’s nerd mafia. Go Go Techs will give you $50 off your service charge if you bring in a receipt showing that you have tried using the Geek Squad. Not a bad deal. The nice thing is these guys are able to do many things remotely. They are also quite knowledgeable about home and office networks, and they are not going to give you the same runaround with the \”it will cost $xx.xx for us to look\” b.s. that you get with the geek Squad Mafia.