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My Daily Life and Thoughts while in San Diego | List of Best Posts
This blog is where I express myself to the world or at least to those who might stop by to read what I post . Maybe God will use what I post (I am a Christian and this blog will have a most decidedly Christian bent to it) to good effect in the lives of my readers.

I may turn some of my posts into a book. I may cease blogging here altogether. Who knows. But for now..I am content to post away in this, my own little corner of the world.

Rather than reading through my now lengthy list of posts you may wish to read what I consider to be my very best posts or you can just read the posts that deal with a single subject category that might interest you.

Please know that I am open to any input on any topic I write about. If you have something to say about anything you see written here please....feel free to speak up in the form of leaving a comment or sending me a PM (private message).

And if you are in San Diego and wish to meet the one and only Carlos (that's me )...drop me a private message. I always enjoy meeting one of my readers!



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My Abbot and Costello moment on the trolley and the nature of San Diego society as seen through thrift stores!

Posted 07-21-2009 at 01:12 PM by carlos123
Updated 07-22-2009 at 10:03 AM by carlos123 (Changed who did what between Abbot and Costello...had it wrong initially.)

Abbot and Costello were two comedians in the olden days (for those of you that might not know) who had this one comedy routine that was really funny.

In short Abbot grills Costello on the names of players on a baseball team that he is going to be the coach for and which Costello is a member of.

Who is the name of the first base man, What is the second base man, and I Don't Know is on third. Which sets up a hilarious exchange between them when Abbot mistakenly thinks Costello is being funny with him when telling Abbot the names of the team members.

Well I had my own Abbot and Costello type moment on the trolley yesterday!

Me: Excuse me do you happen to know which stop the Salvation Army thrift store is at?

Fellow Passenger: "Big Flea".

Me: Big Flea?

Fellow Passenger: "Big Flea!"

Me: Oh...yeah big flea market. That's right.
Thinking that I had more or less settled the conversation with this person who had mistaken the Salvation Army for a big flea market (I could see where someone could call it that in the local San Diego slang) ...I went back to looking out the window to see if I could figure out where to get off at.

His girlfriend then spoke up and told me that he had meant to say "Pacific Fleet"! Not "Big Flea".

I just about rolled out of my seat as my body convulsed with internel spasms of laughter that I was not allowing to fully come out.

Must have been funny to watch the contortions on my face as I tried to keep the laughter off my face LOL.

This happened after I had already visited one thrift store called AMVETS off the Washington trolley station. That thrift store experience had not been very good.

On a first glance over their sunglasses (I really need another one since mine barely are able to hang on to my nose since the one side of them has no ear piece) I found one that seemed to be just what I needed.

When I asked how much it was the lady behind the counter told me it wasn't for sale until they could price it (never mind that it was behind a glass enclosed counter). After some discussion with her...when she asked me if I would like to talk to a manager I said "sure!" thinking that the manager would be able to give me a price on the glasses.

No go! No tag no selly. Odd I thought. I mean that the manager was not willing or able to set a price on a cheap pair of sunglasses.

Oh well...as I stewed a bit about that one wondering what kind of craziness this was...I proceeded to look at shorts. Carefully picking up 3 of them to try on.

Thing is I couldn't see where the dressing rooms were. After asking a salesclerk where the dressing room was I ended up finding out that they had NONE!

Amazing! So I put the shorts down on a rack, left them there, and did what any good customer would do...ask for the manager again.

And of course, managers being what they seem to be down here, this manager did what any "good" manager does down here when confronted by a persistent customer. He repeated the San Diego AMVETS "truth" that there is no dressing room and further told me that if I buy something...well...that I am stuck with it even if it doesn't fit.

To which I responded quite incredulously..."What kind of a thrift store is this?" and then left to go find another thrift store.

I didn't walk out in a huff and a puff. I was just a bit...well...astounded. I mean how does this thrift store stay in business?

As I waited to get back on the trolley and continue my journey to the Salvation Army Thrift store downtown..., I started asking the local yokals waiting with me at the trolley station about the AMVETS thrift store and what to me was it's unusual practice of not having dressing rooms.

They of course gave me an earful of insight and advice leading me to realize that it's somewhat common practice down here.

Sure enough on getting to the Salvation Army Thrift they too did not have any dressing rooms!

Unlike at the AMVETS store however, a person at the Sally Ann Thrift took the time to explain to me why they did not have any dressing rooms.

Apparently people were doing all kinds of things in the dressing rooms other than trying on clothes at one time, such that the cops were there all the time, and they got tired of it. So they closed them down.

The Salvation Army Thrift also allows one to take clothes back that don't fit once you get home with them. For up to a full 7 days. A good compromise I think.

He got a real kick out of my saying that it seemed like everyone was out to scam everybody else down here (after explaining that I had come down from Canada) with nobody trusting anybody else.

As I continued with my day...this experience highlighted for me the differences between the US (at least in the big cities) and other countries like Canada. Edmonton, where I lived prior to coming to San Diego, was also a big city but no thrift store without a dressing room, where one was stuck with clothes one bought...even if they did not fit, would have survived in Edmonton. They would have quickly gone out of business.

And the thrift stores there did not have cops acting like dressing room attendants there. There was no need.

The contrast between the big cities of the U.S. and that of other countries where I have lived is quite striking. In a bad way.

I have lived all over the world and have never encountered such a breakdown in the morals of a society as I have here.

Young people especially here, seem to have few moral values. Have not grown up learning discipline or self-control. Where the overriding philosophy of life among the young is "Whatever feels good, do it!".

Mind you this phenomenon is also coming into Canada. Young people in Canada, at least as I experienced them, are nothing like their parents and the older generation. They too are growing up somewhat amoral (having no moral preferences rooted in right and wrong values).

What is strange here in the U.S. is that one would think that with all the "Christians" around that the young people in general would have a greater moral grounding. But...they don't.

And the result is that stores like thrift stores have to get rid of dressing rooms and take other measures to curtail the ridiculous nonsense that happens in a society where moral, right and wrong values, are no longer respected, taught, or held up as worthwhile.

People here, as a society, are just not raising their kids up right it seems to me.

And the society just keeps sliding downhill into a greater and greater degree of moral ambivalence where right is no longer right all the time and wrong is no longer...well...just wrong. Where everything becomes relative.

I miss the generally trusting nature of Canadian society. It was rare for me to be distrusted up there by salescrerks and store managers. Thrift store managers generally were able to make decisions on the spot regarding all kinds of things and one could usually count on them being at least somewhat disposed to listen to reason.

Not here it would seem. That's too bad.

I am still very glad I moved down here but sometimes, like yesterday, I start missing a society that is less in turmoil, less divided, where the cops are tremendously professional overall, where people...well...just trust each other more. And public servants are generally polite and understanding if they cannot entirely always give you what you want.

God willing, I am only here in passing with my eventual destination being a country in South America where I hope to end up and retire at...so I am not sweating it but still. These kinds of things still stand out to me when contrasted with other places I have lived at. I imagine for most long time San Diego residents who have not lived in other countries, this type of thing is just...well...the way things are.

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Posted in Personal Life, Funny
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  1. Old Comment
    Welcome to CA and the first 40 years of my life. We were rather poor after my father suffered a horrible debilitaing auto accident and always shopped in thrift stores. I was often ashamed of my wardrobe as I attended Hollywood High school with TV child actors and children of famous people. In my senior year, our student body president was John Ritter who was the son of Tex Ritter and who you will probably remember from 3's company. He was a regular really nice guy and his mom baked cookies for every school occasion.
    I was lucky to have 5 really great friends who knew about my lack of money and whenever something came up that they wanted me to do with them, they would help me collect soda bottles from the neighborhood to raise money to finance my way to the event. Thanks to them, I even got to go to a Beatles concert when I was 12.
    Later, as an adult, I found the value in shopping thrift stores.
    Being half Russian, I think my genes know instinctively how to beat the system. If you know anything Russian history, you will know what I mean.
    Whenever I shop in thrift stores, I come armed with a tape measurer and know my personal measurements. I keep a list of things I would like to buy but wait for half price days on that particular ticket color and hope it is still there. In my mind if it is a luxury, it has to be at the right price or I don't buy it.
    It's not that I can't afford it. I have enough plastic to go on a world class shopping spree, but at my age, I no longer believe in carrying debt so I live a more frugal lifestyle.
    The Salvation Army and Goodwill will rip you off any time they can. They need to make huge profits to support their other endeavors. Look for local food bank, senior center, CHOC (children's hospital of California) or other charity thrift stores. They often have sales where you can buy a whole grocery bag of clothes for a couple of dollars. Garage sales are also good, but you really need a car to get around to enough to make it worth while, but keep an eye out for those in your neighborhood. In fact, you could talk to neighbors to hold a neighborhood garage sale and find lots of bargains for yourself. We have one in my neighborhood. You can set up in your yard and be put on the map or for $10.00 get a space at the community center. It's lots of fun. And stuff is dirt cheap because most of the people here really don't need the money, they just want to get rid of the stuff and enjoy the day. Anything left over is put on the curb as Free.
    Sorry you had that bad experience.
    Posted 07-21-2009 at 09:01 PM by yukiko11 yukiko11 is offline
    Updated 07-21-2009 at 09:30 PM by yukiko11
  2. Old Comment
    Outstanding input Yukiko! Thanks very much.

    Armed with your input I am confident that my thrift store experience will greatly improve. I will certainly check out the more out of the way and less known thrift stores like you mentioned.

    In fact I swung by the neighborhood one tonight to check on a pair of shorts (my only shorts at present is made of polyster or some such and I sweat to death in them if I sit for too long in the trailer...the heat is becoming almost unbearable). They have a nice big dressing room so I can try things on there just fine.

    It must just be in the inner city where thrift stores don't have dressing rooms (or public bathrooms for that matter).

    Goodwill up north in Canada was fantastic! I used to get great deals there. There was another one, an American store that came to Canada, called Value Village. That one was high priced but had a much bigger selection.

    You know what's ironic is that Edmonton which has one fifth of the people in the San Diego metropolitan area had something like 15-20 really good thrift stores all by itself. I don't think San Diego has that many...which considering the population is rather odd I think. Maybe down here it's a status thing where less people shop at thrift stores or something. Up north they were very popular.

    Salvation Army had 3-4, Goodwill had about 6, Value Village had another 5-6, and then there were a whole slew of smaller one's all over the place. And garage sales galore. I had a truck then so I could get around with no problem.

    I used to LOVE making the rounds of the thrift stores in the city once in a while and shopping. I especially liked shopping for these old time, 100% wool sweaters that no one else liked. They were great for keeping warm during the winters...well not quite warm, I was never warm, just less cold than would have otherwise been the case LOL.

    Trouble is I had no place to hang them until they dried in the truck I was living in, so usually I got a good month or two out of each sweater before I had to wash it and dry it whereupon it would shrink to nothing at which time I would give them away to the thrift stores .

    It was great fun going to thrift stores in Canada. It was like going on a treasure hunt.

    And I would often get a real thrill out of buying little things for my wife. Like little Disney figurines which she liked and other such things. Surprising her. That was a lot of fun. I miss doing that for her.

    The thrift stores down here, at least the one's I have been to so far, seem kinda run down as if the only people who shop at them are the down and outers or something. Up north lots of folks shopped at the thrift stores.

    I will definitely keep my eyes open for smaller, out of the way, and less known thrift stores Yukiko. Thanks for the input!


    PS. John Ritter was your class President heh? I didn't realize I had someone that connected to a famous person reading my blog Yukiko (referring to you). It's an honor to have you reading my blog. Now I can say that even a classmate of John Ritter reads my blog! That's sounds...well...quite impressive
    Posted 07-21-2009 at 10:43 PM by carlos123 carlos123 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    I am so busy that I print this entry and take it home.
    I will read it before I go to bed.
    Posted 07-22-2009 at 03:23 AM by haller32 haller32 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Gosh haller32...I don't know what to say. I mean it's never even crossed my mind that my writing might be interesting enough to someone that somebody might even print it out, take it home, and read it before going to bed.

    I don't know what else to say other than thanks for the indirect compliment I guess. I do hope that you won't end up with nightmares about being packed like a sardine into in an overcrowded trolley or not being able to find a pacemaker at a thrift store because they won't let you try one on or something LOL.

    You sound like you work the night shift. I couldn't help but notice that you posted your comment at 2:23 AM (I assume that's your time).

    Posted 07-22-2009 at 08:43 AM by carlos123 carlos123 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    John Ritter was not that impressive when I knew him. His father died in his senior year and his mother made every effort to make it liveable. He was a cheerleader, a good student and in student government at the same time I was in my Jr year.
    Looking back, I think his mothers greatest wish was for him to live a normal life. Many years later he appeared on a Tv show about mothers and talked about how his mother was his main support in his life.
    The only unusual thing I remember is when I went on the overnight senior trip to Disneyland with a senior who was a good friend and I saw him and another friend get out of a really rad antique car to get on the bus with their dates. He was never in the theater arts classes and made his career entirely on his own. He deserved what he earned and I am so sorry he died so young.
    We had a lot of perks in that school, We had David Lean the director of Dr Zhaviago introduce his movie before it premiered. We were called the Hollywood Shieks after the ulitmate Shiek Rudolph Valentino and we had Orville Fox a famous musician play music to one of the Shieks silent films. That was how he earned his fame over the years of silent films. Carol Burnett, who attended Hollywood High came every year to attend career day and talk about the possibilities of going into show business. I am not posting this to drop names,, however, these people made me realize that anything is possible and the only failure is not to try.
    I have not named everyone, but I am grateful that they were there to inspire me to use my own particular gifts in my life.
    Posted 07-22-2009 at 04:02 PM by yukiko11 yukiko11 is offline
    Updated 07-22-2009 at 04:16 PM by yukiko11
  6. Old Comment
    You sound like you had a wonderful time in high school Yukiko...which undoubtedly laid a good foundation for the rest of your life both in wonderful memories to treasure and valuable insight into what true success is really about (which doesn't neccessarily involve money and fame).

    By the way I think I got you beat...well...kinda, with respect to famous persons we might have come into contact with .

    I once, get this...actually shook the hand of King Juan Carlos de Bourbon y Bourbon the King of Spain! Yup. I shook his hand personally. Eye to eye.

    He became King after Francisco Franco died. Francisco Franco was dictator of Spain from just before the Second World War to the 1970's or so.

    Thanks for sharing Yukiko. You always have interesting things to say.

    Posted 07-22-2009 at 05:56 PM by carlos123 carlos123 is offline
    Updated 07-22-2009 at 06:04 PM by carlos123
  7. Old Comment
    Wow cool! Real Royalty!
    Never had that priviledge, but life isn't over yet LOL )
    You never know what is around the bend!
    Posted 07-23-2009 at 08:58 PM by yukiko11 yukiko11 is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Yean King Juan Carlos was actually a down to Earth, very nice guy. Me and some others from our high school had been taking a lunch break from sailing lessons on that particular day (at a local seaside restaurant) and up comes this absolutely HUGE speedboat. Out steps the King.

    He comes up to us and asks us how we like Spain and otherwise how we were doing, shook our hands, got himself a drink or something and then took off in his speed boat.

    After shaking his hand I quickly tried to go and get my camera (back with the sailboats if I remember right) and quickly found out that the seeming lack of security was not really as lacking as I had at first thought.

    Those old guys lounging around revealed themselves to be security personnel who kindly informed me that I would have to wait until Juan Carlos left before being allowed to leave the area LOL.

    No visible, highly obvious, black business suit, secret service agents there but security nevertheless.

    Posted 07-23-2009 at 10:03 PM by carlos123 carlos123 is offline
  9. Old Comment
    Yeah, that's life, we are good but just not good enough! )
    However, when we get to heaven, they may be our servants! You never know.
    Posted 07-24-2009 at 01:26 PM by yukiko11 yukiko11 is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Yeah...it would be real nice to have servants waiting on me hand and foot in heaven while I sip on some cool tea on the balcony of my castle among the clouds.

    It would be ironic if the rich and famous in this life become the servants in heaven.

    The sad reality though is that many people, including many among the rich and famous will not end up in heaven at all but rather in hell.

    Posted 07-24-2009 at 02:48 PM by carlos123 carlos123 is offline

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