There is quite a lot

There is quite a lot of animosity going on between the North and South. Well, I have a feeling that the Northern part of California is more invested in the animosity than the Southern part is.

But as I said, I am still figuring it out.

An up and coming artist that I had never heard of before today has created a series of paintings depicting a fictional battle between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

It’s one of those profound-as-you-wanna-be series, I guess. There is a lot of immediate humor involved. It doesn’t take much previous knowledge to appreciate the idea of an army of pizza delivery guys and big gulp slurping soldiers. But there is more thought put into it than that, as the writer of that article shows.

I think the whole thing is pretty funny. I bet the artist had a lot of fun designing them.

Here’s another article that gives even more of the story.


I woke up VERY early this morning. I had washed my hair last night, and I wasn’t sure what to do with it all wet when I went to bed. So I wrapped it in a towel and went to sleep like that.

I think I may need to wash my hair more often down here..The air is muckier…I have been feeling like my hair is dirty, and I don’t usually feel that way. Or, I didn’t in sunnyvale. I washed before it felt that way.

Anyway, I woke up, and it had dried very pretty. I dindn’t have to do ANYTHING to it.

It is free and curly and pretty. How nice! Espcially on a day when I don’t feel so good, having to be up at



But it is nice to feel pretty, even though I am tired.

Before I woke up and discovered my hair, I lay in bed in a little bit of a stupor. I was listening to some guy talk about…something…Knowing yourself? He was saying something about making sure to live your life the way you know you need to…in the middle of a list of other things he said “…and make sure to have quality time with…” friends and family, right? NO.
“..our companion pets..”

That was not was i was expecting to hear. Is that shallow? In LA, they don’t tell you to reach out to your fellow humans, they tell you to spend time with your lapdog.


However, it made me feel guilty about not spending quality time with my companion pet.

Poor Skellig.

As I was about to leave, I was saying goodbye to him, like I always do. He was looking at me, lying in the middle of the living room. I felt bad, so I went up and petted him for a little bit.

He was lying next to a blue mouse. As soon as I petting him, he started chirping, purring and loving on the mouse.

Good kitty!

He really liked it that I petted him. Perhaps I should work it into my morning routine, to pet him for 5 minutes. That shouldn’t be too hard. He was very nice.



Ah yes. Early morning Wednesday. More about that later.

On Monday night, I went to a book club. I had signed up online, and I was very excited to be part of a book club here in LA.

Remember all those warning about the shallow people here?
Maybe shallow people don’t read books. Maybe moving here means that I will never be able to discuss what I read (because I am always reading) with anyone.

How sad!

But there was a book club, and I joined it.

Let’s see…Philip, Mike, Justin, Michael, Amy, Gneb, and…oh..what was that last girl’s name? I can’t remember. We were reading Othello.
It was fabulous. A lovely INDEPENDENT coffee shop, sitting around and discussing Iago’s motives. Then we got to know each other a little bit. Everyone was friendly and intelligent. Everyone had something to say and add.

At the end, I asked everyone what they did for a living. They were fascinating. Everyone back in the bay area would say, “IT” or “Networking” or “Programming” or “databases”. They are different, it’s true, but there is a homogeneity. Back when those fields were not sinking, it was kind of fun that everybody all worked in the same field. But at the same time, it meant that you ended up talking Tech all the time.

and NOT talking about Othello. For example.

So, at this table, we had ME. Video conferencing administrator. Kind of a glamorous career.

Not compared to these people. There was a guy who was a commercial artist, an illustrator. Then the guy who wrote descriptions of action in movies for people who can’t see the movies…Kind of like closed captioning (he said it was his firm that does that), but it’s said out loud. If you can’t see what’s happening on TV, you might not be able to pick it all up from just the dialogue. So this guy writes the stuff like “Sheila enters the dining room”, or “John furrows his brow”
I think that is also tremendously cool.

Then there was the former Jazz trombone player, whose lips were wearing out, so he was an insurance guy, making sure cars get fixed right. HE says he loves cars too, so it’s not a complete departure from his passions. He’s still composing.

Then the girl who is working on a reality TV pilot, but wants to keep her integrity, so think she would like to write children’s books.

Then the guy who is an Economics professor at a state university. He was actually asked a lot of questions. We all wanted to know things about what it was like to be a professor, or what economics was really about.

Then the girl who worked for the Chamber of Commerce at Hollywood. I guess she helps with the walk of the stars…Whatever that’s called. And other things. She got asked a lot of questions about the idea ( I had never heard about this before) that some part of Hollywood, or San Fernando valley or somewhere wants to secede from the city of Los Angeles. A whole discussion of local politics ensued.

I was, I must confess, enraptured. It was hard to leave. I was there almost 4 hours.

We all had to come up with suggestions for the next book to read and discuss. We filled up a whole page of ideas. NONE of them were science fiction or fantasy-those geek staples were left entirely out.


When I told my new co-workers where i live now, one of them said, “Oh, that’s a very trendy neighborhood.”

I said, “Really?”

I had no idea.

But. As I was watching the stupid afterwork television when I got home, I turned on that stupid show “Blind Date.”
It’s the one with all the pop-up insults, and commentary on how the date is going before you know how it ended?


I am not sure what I think about this.

They went to the Irish restaraunt around the CORNER from me. THe Tam O’Shanter.
very weird.

TV is roaming about in my neighborhood. I don’t know.

Maybe I should start wearing makeup every day, In case I’m on TV.

Just kidding. I’m sure that would end up making me look worse.

Besides, since I do video conferencing, technically, I’m on TV every day.

But it was a weird feeling, seeing my neighborhood on national TV.


The Vendors came today. The Vendors bought us lunch.

For my non-IT readers, the “Vendor” phenomenon requires some explanation. Even if you are an IT person, but you are a vendor, you may need to know what it looks like from the inside.

I work for a company. And companies, in many ways are all the same. I do what I do for them, and they need someone to do it, and they are glad that they have someone reliable like me doing it. But mostly, I am not that important. I solve problems when they arise, mostly. I do other things, but as far as everyone else in the company knows, I solve problems.

People are sometimes grateful when their problems are solved. But usually, the intensity of their gratitude does not equate the intensity of their distress when they came to me with the problem.

So I am not that important in my company, not really. I just do my job and continue to solve problems.

BUT! There are vendors. Vendors are special. They are the people we pay to do certain things that we don’t know how to do or don’t have the time to do. They are not us. They are other people, other companies, who do only that one thing that we happen to need right then. And we pay them to do that one thing, because we need it.

Naturally, we think that they should be so excited to just be near us, that they would offer to do the job for free.

Naturally, they think that since we need the job done so badly we should be willing to pay top dollar.

Somewhere in the middle, we have to find a way to get what needs done. Usually, the vendor has to do some things for free. Usually, the company (us) has to pay top dollar for some things.

As you can imagine, it takes a lot of shifting and discussing and pushing back and forth to achieve the mutually beneficial balance between free and top dollar. Exaggerations on both sides, promises on the one, threats on the other. Poking, flattery, courting and playing hard to get, all these things play into the vendor-company relationship.

I usually enjoy meeting with vendors. Because I’ve always been on the company side, and I get to be the one to play hard-to-get. It’s nice to be treated like you are important. I like to make vendors take me out to lunch.

But I like meeting with vendors for another reason, too. I have to spend most of my time buried in a technology that most people don’t know that much about. But these people (or at least some of them) do know about it. They can talk about it, and answer more questions and tell me about new things that are about to happen, or things that happened in the past that I hadn’t heard before. It’s almost like a fan club.

These vendors hadn’t met me yet. I just started work there, remember? So when they met me, they wanted to know what I had done. When I said I had 5 years experience in Video Conferencing, they just about fell out. Not so many people have that.

They asked me about this and that and gave me kudos and all kinds of respect for knowing things. It felt kind of good, except there was no way to forget that these were vendors and sucking up is what vendors do. At least in those kinds of meetings.

But I think they really were quite impressed with the breadth of my experience. We were talking like equals in nothing flat. They were impressed by my experience, but even more than that.

I was a girl.

There was an additional reason I was looking forward to this meeting with the vendors. Even more than being treated like I was important for the duration of a lunch hour, I had some ISSUES that I needed to take up with them. Some of the equipment wasn’t working right, and I have problems with their service that I wanted to take them to task about.

My boss has indicated that he is pretty direct with vendors and getting what he needs from them. He has told me to do the same. No problem. That would be my preference anyhow. Isn’t direct the shortest distance between two points? Or something.

The vendors were talking a mile a minute, and telling about this and that and all the things that can be and could be and should be. I had questions, and I had no problem saying, “stop! What do you mean by that? And what about this?”

I didn’t learn without asking questions.

A lot of what I wanted to know, they didn’t have answers to. Well, I don’t appreciate that. I like to think that the people who do the ONE thing, and the ONE thing they do is what we are paying them for, should know all about it.

Whatever. They are trying to sell us something so that they can stay in business and get their bonuses. That’s fine.

Anyway, the vendors took us to lunch, and we were all talking about this and that. The guys were asking my opinion about this company and that company, what I thought about different products, etc. Then, from the other end of the table, I catch one of the guys saying, “Well, I’m sure that if it wasn’t done right, we would hear about it from Murphy…and loudly!”

Loud? I hadn’t been loud. “…i wouldn’t be loud….” I said.

Well, we were all having a good time. He meant no harm by it, I’m sure. But I began to think about it. Why would the vendor guy think of me as loud? I wonder if he thought of my boss as loud? Because my boss was probably as direct, if not more direct than I.

I think that assertive and smart in a female is particularly astounding. Women are not expected, are not taught, to demand from others. We are taught to get along, to compromise, to let it slide. “Oh, that’s okay. I don’t mind”

I wish that women could be as assertive as men and not lose femininity. Let those of us who will be women hunters and women warriors.


I had to be at work this morning SO early, it broke my watch.


It is a hard thing, being awake at 4:30 AM. It is also a hard thing to stay awake at 4:30 AM. I suppose for full disclosure, I became permanently awake for the day at 4:36. There were some snooze-alarm fits and starts before then.

As a child of the universe and an employee of the global economy, I have to be able to work in the slivers of overlapping time zones. Today’s time zones were East Coast and West Coast.

I rode in on the bus, with my nose buried in a magazine. When I looked up to see how close I was to my stop, I noticed how different the city looks in the dark. There are neon lights wrapped around the tops of some of the skyscrapers, and the lights were the focus points on the periphery of my vision, rather than architecture.

I arrived at work when the newspapers were being delivered. As I was watching the heavy stacks being carried to their individual vending machines, I looked up at the sky.

Someone at work had asked me about the Iditarod sled dog race the other day. He was asking about how long it was, and remarking about how the dogs and people would have to travel in the cold through the dark of night. I told him that dark is not so dark there, because the snow reflects all the light. There may only be a moon and a few stars, but the snow is so white that it glows.

I looked out at the sky of the dark pre-dawn morning in downtown LA and it was a dull red. All the lights of the whole city mixed with and reflected off the fog-smog of the morning, and kept the sky from being black.

Red. Or Pink. I would not have expected the sky to be that color. The lights the sky reflected seemed to be white or maybe yellow. I don’t know how the sky came out pink. Maybe it is similar to how the sky turns red at sunset because of the pollution. Perhaps LA smog makes light red.

Much later, after I had gotten the video conference for the two coasts working and could finally relax with a cup of coffee in my cube I noticed that my watch had stopped. It had stopped at 6:40. I reset it, but it is done tracing circles.

I guess I will have to go through the rest of my day without it.


So I live in Los Angeles now. Imagine that.

I’ve already talked about the prejudice the Northern Californians have towards Southern Californians. As near as I can tell, Southern Californians really don’t care what people in the north think of them. However, I’m not moving from south to north, but north to south, so I get the prejudicial remarks.

My brother says, “You going to become all shallow and superficial when you move to LA”

Well, I personally think I could stand to become a little more shallow and not suffer much. I spend too much time in the deep end of the mind pool.

My mother says, “Everyone in LA does drugs all the time.”

“Mom, don’t worry. I’m too cheap to get addicted to drugs. I would never spend that kind of money frivolously.”

“Well, okay. But how will you find friends? Everyone else will be on drugs”

I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

Another friend says to me, ” Oh no! You can’t move there. They have no culture.”

Yet another “All they care about is looks down there. People are not nice. And they are just not as intellectual as the people in the Bay Area.”

These are serious problems, I have to say. If I am stuck in a place where people only care about the surface, and social interaction would be the equivalent of living on Baywatch, I don’t know. That would probably suck.

But prolonged unemployment sucks too. I had a job offer in hand, so I went for it.

Now, I’ve been here less than a month. I have to say, I haven’t really made any friends to hang out with yet. But take into consideration that I have only left my house to go to work and buy groceries. I have not gotten involved in the social scene yet.

I have been stunned and amazed by how nice people here are.

Everyone at work has been extremely friendly. I mean, really! My boss sent out a notice that a new person (me) had arrived, and to make me feel welcome. They really have. I chat with people in the break room and they all say, Oh you must be Murphy! I was meaning to meet you. Hi!

The boss and my co-workers almost always invite me to have lunch with them. This never happened in my jobs in the bay area. First of all, people were too busy to take lunch. I always worked through lunch anyway, but even if I didn’t, I didn’t get invited to be with my co-workers. People didn’t go out to lunch so much.

At my apartment complex, which really is huge, there is an elevator. It’s pretty similar to the way Chris the man’s complex is set up. All the floors and the parking garage share one elevator.

When I was moving in, and pulling in all these boxes and bags, almost everyone said something to me. They all were willing to help me hold the door open, and often they said, “Are you just moving in? Welcome!”

Even now, people are friendly and say hello in hallways and in the elevator.

This did not happen at Chris’s complex. If you were forced to be in the elevator with a neighbor, they looked sort of embarrassed to have to be near you.

This Sunday, I went to go check out my complex’s gym. I was trying to figure out the weight machines. It always takes a while to figure out what each one is FOR, you know? They all look like medieval torture device.

There were three muscley Italian guys also working out on the machines. The gym isn’t that big, so we were running into each other a little bit. I had stopped to try and figure out what the next machine I needed was, and one of these guys asked if I needed to use the machine he had just finished with. I said, “No, this is just my first time here. I’m trying to figure out what I need.”

“Well, if you have any questions, you can ask me. I could help you.”

Now, I thought that was very nice. I certainly did not look superficially fabulous in my crabby workout clothes and lumpy body. Not the expected gorgeous LA-type anyway. But this guy, Paul was his name, was quite friendly and helpful. He helped me out a little bit, and didn’t make me feel stupid.

I thought that was pretty decent.

So far, the stereotypes don’t seem to be true. I will have to report back after I’ve been here a while, but I am beginning to think it will be pretty nice here.


The Uhaul journey I completed was complicated by the fact that I had to have my cat along with me.

Cats are not usually known as good car pets. And my cat is special. He is special in many ways, but one of the most obvious ways he is special is in how HUGE he is. He is fat, true. But he would be a large cat even if he were in shape.

Because of his size, I thought it would not be a good idea for him to travel in the usual cat-sized traveling case. I thought he would do better if I just put him in a box. So after I loaded up the truck, I set up a cardboard box with Skellig’s rug in the bottom. I thought he might like to have something familiar near him.

The box fit in the foot area of the passenger side of the truck. And Skellig fit in the box quite well. But he didn’t want to be in the box. NO! He used all his strength to stay out of the box. We shoved him in—after all we are much bigger and stronger than this housecat.

He Burst out of the box. Oh boy. I guess we’d better tape it down. That should hold him. We taped it to death. He yowled for a little bit, and then he was quiet. All right.

So I started out, on this ragingly hot day. As I got on the road, kitty was a little too quiet. I called his name:



Okay, he’s alive. Drive a little further.

Kitty! Skellig!


He’s good. Okay, I’m on the 101, getting up to speed but still in the slow lane. Suddenly, with a tremendous burst of strength, a large grey cat bursts out of his taped down box. He looked like the Hulk bursting out of his clothes.

Loose cat in the cab! Oh my goodness! What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t get over to the side! And he had already proven that he was capable of breaking loose his bonds.

While I was trying not to panic and trying to remember to concentrate on keeping this 8-cylinder leviathan on the road, my cat crawls up onto the seat and sits next to me, halfway in my lap.

He shows no inclination of moving from this spot of refuge.

My brave cat sat by my side the whole way to Los Angeles. He was calm and collected, only losing his cool when we stopped and had to turn the AC off.

He did get a little carsick, and had to throw up. If I had understood cat a little better, I probably would have pulled over. He gave several warning yowls. I cleaned it off with the spongy end of the Squeegee at the next gas station.

After that, he was perfectly fine.

I was impressed with my cat friend. That’s quite an adventure for a housecat that never goes outside.

Adjusting to the new apartment was a piece of cake, after that.


This weekend I completed my plan for getting a job in LA by packing up all my stuff and moving it to my new LA apartment.

When I started this process, I didn’t think too much about moving my things. I have moved a lot in my life, most of it as an adult. While it is difficult, I know it’s possible. I just put it out of my mind; I had enough other things to worry about.

But the day arrived, and I was faced with my piles of boxed and unboxed belongings. I had called upon my family and friends to help me, and I had rented a Uhaul truck.

After filling out the meandering paperwork and listening to all the dire warnings designed to sell the extra trip insurance, I was presented with the keys to a vast, lumbering, scraped and dented truck. After examining this land leviathan, I bought the extra insurance.

Then I drove the 2 miles to my apartment and all my things. This massive truck was the truck that I would be driving 400 miles that day. Lord have mercy. Best not think about that, one ought not hyperventilate while driving a Uhaul.

Parking the car, I noticed that some of my friends were already there. This helped take my mind off the doom of driving the truck over Highway 5, and made me think about all the things that needed to be packed.

We went inside, and all of us immediately set to work. Cheerfully, in the blazing heat, my friends set to work moving my stuff.

The incredible part of it was, as I looked at all of my things, I began to be pit-of-the-stomach afraid that, as cavernous as my beast of a truck seemed, all my stuff might not fit.

It also began to dawn on me that I was not as packed as I had thought I was. I had a lot left to cram into bags and boxes.

And my amazing friends and family packed cheerfully, like intelligent ants, moving my belongings into the space of the truck carefully, plotting out how to use the space efficiently.

I didn’t have to direct anything, which was good, because I had to pack all my loose stuff and toss the stuff I couldn’t keep.

All the while the others were packing. And when they noticed my rising panic, they reassured me that everything would be okay. Things would fit– I shouldn’t worry.

What incredible people! I could barely believe that I knew these incredibly nice people, let alone that they cared about me so much that they would work in the scorching heat to pack all of my pitiful stuff into a truck with care.

I should never have asked them to do such a thing! These fabulous people should not be doing this! I should rather have taken them out to nice restaurant and treated them to dinner, counting it a bargain because I could just spend the time in conversation and good company.

But here they were, doing this arduous task, because I needed help.

I really needed help.

There was no way I could have done all that work on my own.

I had asked for help, because I was pitiful and needy. But there was no obligation on their part to give it. Really, they could have said “no.” Any reason would have sufficed, or no reason at all. It would not have been rude or wrong. Certainly, a million things might have been more important or pleasant.

But they went one phenomenal step further and said “yes.” I didn’t deserve it. Perhaps I should have been responsible for my own crap, and hired movers to take care of it, instead of burdening my dear friends.

But I had not done that, and the time was too short now. I needed their help, and though I didn’t really deserve it, it was given.

As that realization dawned upon me, I felt truly humbled. And then God revealed himself to me in that space.

Jesus was packing my truck.

Because isn’t undeserved grace the gift of Christ Himself? And when these beloved people came to help me—they didn’t have to—they became the arms and legs and strong back of Jesus. Their actions were pure shining Christian love, pouring out from God through them to me.

Did I mention feeling humbled?

As with all of God’s gifts, there is no adequate way I can pay them back. If they had been hired movers, I could have given them my MasterCard and kept my pride. But I am not supposed to hold on to pride, anyway. The Truth reveals that I have nothing to be so proud of—I have only to rejoice in the fact that God loves me whether I deserve it or not.

And so, apparently, do Bonnie, Alex/Steve, Bryan, Chris, Dad and my brother Chris. I sincerely thank you all so much for your help. It meant a lot to me.

God bless you.

don’t stop

It’s been a week since I posted. I have thought of two or three things to post about every single day since then.

But I have had no time.

It’s been amazingly hectic. In the midst of the battle is not the time to compose the epic poem.

That comes later.

I have some AMAZING stories to tell. And I will tell them.

But it will have to be later. Perhaps tonight I will have time to blog.
My apartment is filled to the brim with Boxes, and Skellig the Brave paces and lounges among them.

I THINK I can find my computer in the middle of all of it.
When I do, I will have to find the time to write all my amazing stories.

Thanks for your patience and continued readership. I _love_ the fact that people are reading my stories and thoughts.

Don’t stop!