LOS ANGELES -- The firestorm of the century raged through southern California last month. Its fury seared across more than 280,000 acres. At least 20 people were killed. More than 1,000 homes were destroyed. Property damage is estimated in the billions. The hell-fires were in the rural and suburban regions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties, but even those of us in the urban areas were not spared the anguish. The air we breathed was foul and acrid with smoke. Gray soot settled everywhere. At night, the distant skies glowed ominously orange. Then the rains came. Up in the mountains, it even snowed. The fires were out. Gloriously sunny blue skies returned to southern California. But, the tragedy of the people who lost everything - homes, loved ones and memories - is heart wrenching. In the spirit of neighbors helping one another, we have all vowed to help rebuild the homes and communities of our fire-ravaged fellow Californians more vibrantly than before.
A magnificent symbol of that spirit of regeneration emerged from the aftermath of the firestorm. It was the opening of a stunning landmark, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, designed by architect Frank Gehry. The building's stainless steel exterior gleams brilliantly in sunlight, soft and luminously in moon light; its sides swoop and swerve like the petals of some exotic alien flower. The concert hall is a silver blossom that bloomed on the cultural hilltop of downtown Los Angeles alongside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theater, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
I went to the first concert of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mahler's Symphony No. 2 in C minor, "Resurrection," anxious to know if the acoustics of this new Disney Concert Hall is as fine as the critics had reported. The selection of Mahler's "Resurrection" was inspired. The theme of regeneration was so appropriate for a Los Angeles that had just suffered the devastation of a firestorm. And the acoustics of the new concert hall would be fully tested by this Mahler piece. The first sting of the violin attack cut through the air like an audible knife. The cello section responded sonorously. In a myriad ways - from the solo voice of the mezzo soprano to the full throated one hundred twenty voice chorale, from the delicate filigree of the flute to the thunderous, kettle drum pounding final movement, the concert hall played like the finest of instruments. I would venture to say that Disney Hall is among the best, if not the premiere, concert hall of the world.
October began for me jet lagged in England. The first few days were in Milton Keynes to participate in a massive autograph event called Collectormania. It was the perfect antidote for jet lag - signing my name over and over and over again for about seven hours every day. It was exhausting but, at the same time, a great opportunity to say "hello" to familiar faces from past conventions.
Recovered and refreshed, I began a tour of two of the stately manors - actually an abbey and a castle - of old England. The first was Woburn Abbey, the ancestral home of the Duke of Bedford. The grand buildings were magnificently and sensitively maintained and herds of deer roamed the vast grounds of the estate. Next was Warwick Castle, the home of the Earl of Warwick. I had first visited this historic landmark about forty years ago and remember being saddened to see a brochure at the entrance advertising dinner in the baronial banqueting hall with the then-current Earl of Warwick. How the mighty have fallen, I thought. The Earl was reduced to entertaining tourists for a fee. On this visit, I discovered that the fall had been even more melancholy. In 1978, Warwick Castle was sold to the Tussaud Group, the operators of the Madam Tussaud Wax Museums. Actually, I found that the Castle had been greatly improved by the new owners. Over twenty million in pound sterling had been spent to repair, restore, and refurbish the castle since its acquisition by the Tussaud Group. The Castle's long and distinguished history was brought more vibrantly alive. Life-like wax figures of the people who had lived or visited there - people like Queen Victoria, her son, Prince Edward, who later became King on the death of his mother, a 23-year-old Winston Churchill who had visited there, and, from our recent time, a ravishingly elegant Princess Diana brought an engaging new dimension to the visit experience. If one were to visit only one castle in England, I would strongly recommend Warwick Castle.
With jet lag completely shaken off, I dove into the theater scene. Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare and the home of the best interpreters of his works, the Royal Shakespeare Company. A few nights with the Company included a wonderful production of "As You Like It" and the most original interpretation of "Taming of the Shrew" that I had ever seen. I also enjoyed visiting the cemetery of Old Trinity Church savoring memories of my student days at the Shakespeare Institute when I spent many an afternoon reading the works of the great playwright in that cemetery alongside the River Avon.
Then into London for the grand banquet table of theater, dining and just plain fooling around. I went to the National Theater for a revival of "Tales from the Vienna Woods," the Drury Lane Theater for a Cole Porter musical, "Anything Goes" and the Donmar Warehouse for John Osborne's rarely produced play, "The Hotel in Amsterdam." I dined at my favorite London restaurant, Rule's, a homey family run French place, Mon Plaisure, and a hip French bistro upstairs in Covent Garden. Selfridges has a fantastic conveyor belt sushi bar that snakes around all over the place. I fall in love with this cosmopolitan, ever-fascinating city every time I'm there.
I had to abbreviate my visit on my agent's summon to come back for a work assignment, a guest role in a Canadian television series titled "Alienated." My agent said it was a role only I could play - a character named "George Takei." I flew back to learn that I was to again fly, this time to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, for the filming. I arrived in Victoria in a pelting rainstorm. My first scenes were outdoors, so, of course, they had to be changed to work in the downpour. I played those scenes holding a drenched newspaper over my sopping wet head. I was chilled to the bones and courted my death of a cold. The people I performed with, however, were as warm and great to work with, as the weather was wet. "Alienated" airs only in Canada, alas, but the producer assured me that they are working vigorously to sell the series to the U.S. and British TV markets.
I returned from Canada to travel again for a long scheduled board meeting. Thankfully, this time I didn't have to board a plane. This meeting was to be on a cruise ship to Ensenada, Mexico - one day for the board meeting onboard the ship and one day free in Ensenada. We put pleasure before work and had our day of whoopee first. One of the unique natural phenomenons of the world, we were told, is the blowhole of Ensenada called "la bufadora." The guide told us that there are only three such marvels - one in Australia, another in Hawaii and this one in Ensenada. So, we took one of dozens of tourist shuttle buses to this highly touted wonder of the world. When we arrived after an hour's journey, there already was a crowd of tourists marching to the fabled landmark. We joined them and arrived at a cliff looking out at the ocean and a magnificent set of rock outcroppings. It was a beautiful sight. The highly hyped natural wonder, however, was a disappointment. Apparently, we were there when the tide was off. All we saw was a light spray spit up from the blowhole. A small redeeming feature was a pale rainbow that I was able to detect in the thin mist that sprayed up with each incoming tide. That made the trek worthwhile.
The return journey from Ensenada was the workday, the day of strategic planning and budget oversight. We worked as hard as we had played the day before. When we arrived back in Long Beach Harbor the following morning, an eerie sight greeted us. The morning sun hung ominously in the smoky sky like some malignant red planet. The newspaper headline read, "Wildfires Destroy Homes." It was a homecoming fraught with foreboding. The firestorm was raging through southern California.
Some of our possessions are no-brainer, have to have them, best things in the universe. Others are total beaters, through and through liabilities, that should have been trashed years ago.
But what about those possessions that fall right in between?
These are the things we love as much as we hate. Like some people or places in our lives, these objects and us have a love/hate relationship--and, surprisingly, almost as much baggage as the human version includes.
Some Redditors sat down and shared their best examples of these kinds of possessions.
lliorca336 asked, "What do you have a love / hate relationship with?"
Some set their sights on the elephant in the room. They described their excitement as well as all the issues that come with the expansive, unbelievably powerful internet.
The Whole Dang Thing
"The internet." -- LM1120
"Yup. On one side, it can really help people who feel alone. However, it can also breed toxicity." -- RHCube
"Back down it was as simple as don't use it but thats not really possible anymore" -- Derpsterio29
Even More Whole
"Technology in general."
"On the one hand, it's nice that I was able to deposit a check just now while sitting down on my bedroom. On the other, screw anyone who has the audacity to call me and greet me with a robot."
"I have it with none other than 'Google.' "
"I hate it when Google tracks my every move. I even feel scared sometimes. Like just the other day, I was watching 'Padmavat' on Amazon Prime. It wasn't even my account, but my husband's. We had to stop in the middle due to something."
"And as soon as I opened my Gmail next, the very first email on the top was a 'Spam' email asking me if I missed out on watching 'Padmawat?' Really Scary!"
"And then, I love it when it takes me down the memory lane. Like just today, my Google Photos app asked me if I would like to see where I was on this day in 2010? I thought why not. Turns out, I was at my friend's wedding. Which reminded me, 'Oh! It's her anniversary today!' "
"I simply sent one of her gorgeous pics wishing her happy anniversary. We had a long chat, after which I sent over all of the pics from that day. She was really happy to re-visit them and tagged them as the best anniversary gift!"
Others chose to discuss those necessities of day-to-day life that they've actually come to love completing over and over.
But that doesn't mean they don't get annoying all the time too.
"That weird thing where I'll waste time before entering the shower because it feels like such a chore that takes a long time, I'm gonna need 5 h to dry my hair afterwards etc., but then when I'm in the shower i never wanna get out."
Cruising, Until Your Not
"Driving is my biggest love/ hate relationship. I absolutely love the feel of driving when there's a small amount/ no traffic and the feel of being able to go wherever you want in your country is so freeing. Start/stop traffic, car maintenance costs, insurance, monthly payments, terrible roads, the possibility of an accident, driving through new places without clear signage etc..."
"Man, driving at its best is one of my favourite things in life but at its worst I wonder why I ever got my license and look toward busses with jealousy."
It Will Never End
"Cooking. I hate the necessity of having to prepare food and the process itself, but I usually like the result, and if I cook for other people, I get many compliments for how it's good."
"You know, when I hate to do that, then at least it gotta be tasty."
Others spoke about the luxuries in life. It almost feels absurd to complain about such wonderful, unnecessary possessions.
And yet, they are luxuries with a slight catch.
The Nut Barrier
"Probably my biggest trigger to ruin my diet. Doesn't even have to be good chocolate. Doesn't even have to be mediocre chocolate (by American standards). I'm talking about, like Palmer's Double Crisp super-cheap, probably-not-even-actually-chocolate Chocolate."
"My only saving grace is that I'm allergic to peanuts, and a lot of the really really cheap chocolate has peanuts/peanut butter in it, so it's no longer a temptation."
More and More
"Having a home gym:"
"Love: Not having to go far and not having to deal with other ppl and their bs."
"Hate: Everything you want is much more expensive than you expect... and you keep wanting more"
Another Take on Tech
"Modern technology. For every way it makes our lives easier, there's at least five ways it makes things harder."
"But overall, it's generally worth it... if you can get the stuff to finally work, which might take you all day."
So the next time you find yourself out of wits in frustration, only to come back to that same object or task the very next day, don't feel so alone.
Everyone out here is emotionally confused about their inanimate objects and abstract concepts.
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We live in an era defined, amongst other things, by the unparalleled barrage of content that blasts our eyes and ears throughout every hour of every single day.
Truly, it's exhausting to be alive in the contemporary media landscape.
Generations before had to deal with posters, billboards, and magazine advertisements, then radio commercials after that, and then TV commercials came along.
We thought the consumer seduction reached its peak with those.
But then, lo and behold, social media came about. And now the "information" peddled by brands and advertisers is everywhere. And so so much of it is misleading, or flat out incorrect.
Some Redditors shared the examples that came to mind.
Many people chose to talk about the marketing efforts used to push health and nutrition products onto consumers.
It's no surprise that there were so many examples to choose from. People in contemporary times are obsessed with health, fitness, diet, and longevity.
So of course, marketers have taken some liberties.
"That things with 'zero sugar' can still have 0.2 grams of sugar per unit which is why tic tacs claim to be zero sugar but can still be dangerous for a diabetic person" -- Whynotgarlicbagel
"Always check the ingredients"
"I found some 'no added sugar' ice cream that had concentrated caramelised sugar syrup as a flavoring"
"Also no added sugar just means they haven't added any sugar. Not that it's zero sugar" -- EmergencyAdvance
The Natural World
" 'Natural' food isn't your definition of natural." -- Gmax100
"Cyanide is natural" -- Izwe
"Everything is natural, nuclear power plants are as natural as beaver dams" -- Skylake52
The Anti-Fat Movement
"Low fat is good for you. Well not just clever marketing, also lots of lobbying from the sugar industry" -- UltimateAnswer42
"That's a big one. Fat being the 'bad' macronutrient was something that took me a while to unlearn. I felt my healthiest when I ate a high fat, lower carb (50g or so) diet." -- Cameron213
Give Tators a Chance
"White potatoes are somehow unhealthy even though they are a very nutritious starchy root VEGETABLE."
"Just because when you smother oil and ranch on it it becomes unhealthy does not mean potatoes themselves are unhealthy."
Leave It Alone
"Vaginal odor being bad was a thing for a while, and that it could easily be corrected with over the counter treatments such as douching."
"First of all. A vagina is gonna smell like a vagina, not like flowers. If you're concerned about the way your vagina smells you should see a doctor."
"Second of all, the vagina is self-cleaning and doesn't need extra soaps to help keep it 'fresh.' In fact, those soaps and chemicals can cause harm and create real infections."
Other people chose to point out the marketing efforts that have aimed to influence our expectations of culture and the social playing field.
What is "cool" and acceptable is what sells. The question is, who decides what is "cool?"
"Makeup as a necessary norm." -- b2lose
"Man, FU** makeup! I don't wear it and have yet to have anyone I work with question my professionalism for it. I hate it, it's expensive, and I won't wear it." -- TheRedMaiden
"I love this, and I'll also throw in: shaving as a necessity. I've had so many people tell me it's 'unhygienic' for women to have leg hair." -- buriedclementines
"That teenagers are cool, tbh. Teen culture is 95% manufactured by suits trying to make a buck." -- crookedhope
"When have teenagers ever been cool to anyone but themselves?" -- troomer50
"right? this kills me as an adult. all the cool teenager sh** that 'parents don't understand' was absolutely designed by grown a** dorks just like their parents." -- likearealreptile
Passing the Buck
"The notion that climate change needs to be combated by individuals making changes in their day to day lives by buying green products. Corporations, global shipping, and factory farms all contribute massive amounts of pollution and greenhouse gasses that can't be offset by using less straws or buying a hybrid car."
"An entire city's worth of individuals couldn't even come close to offsetting the pollution created by a handful of ships used for global shipping, yet advertising would have you think that individuals could replace real systemic change and regulation."
And then there was one total, bald-faced lie. It had to do with an upsettingly common purchase that comes with an arbitrarily high price tag.
Maybe it's time to rethink it.
Pulling the Strings of Supply and Demand
"That diamonds are rare." -- icecreamterror
"That you should spend so much on a diamond and wedding, but can barely scrape by. Sure, let's throw a $30k banquet then go jumpstart the car again to get home." -- Choontz
"Futhermore on this; that 'cognac' diamonds are a desirable colour in a diamond, and are worth more than colourless. Jewellers originally struggled to sell stones of this colour so came up with a marketing concept to make them seem more unique, more special, and just as desirable as, or moreso than, colourless diamonds (which are generally far rarer, particularly if they are classified as flawless with few/imperceptible inclusions)."
"Similar idea with "champagne" diamonds...they were given this name to make them sound more appealing, too, so jewellers could still use them and increase the volume of jewellery they produce and sell." -- teenytinytinkerer
Of course, this list is so far from exhaustive. Pay attention for just the next few hours and I'm sure you'll come up with your own list of at least ten in no time.
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In the age of the internet, sometimes it can be very cool to hate on things just because other people do. Bandwagons can be fun, right? But honestly, not all of the things hated on actually deserve it. Save your hate for things that actually call for it.
Wanna jump off the bandwagon? Then keep reading!
Film and media are probably the biggest contender for being hated on randomly. It may seem harmless, but not always deserved.
Actors are people too!
Actors who played characters that people didn't like.
Really if you hated the character then the actor did a good job (assuming that was the role).
The best cartoons.nice day summer GIF by PBS KIDSGiphy
Child cartoons. Some are actually really good, even as an adult.
I feel like watching cartoons aimed at generally a younger audience allows for you to be reminded of some life lessons, I know I forget some things, or didn't realise others, or it at least partially renews my awareness of something I should still like or appreciate
This doesn't deserve awards, it's just my opinion that is apparently shared by many.
This man did nothing wrong.
Guy Fieri, he literally is the nicest person in the world but since he looks like he was electrocuted by mountain dew people want to saw his head off.
Even before that, I was witness to his other charitable work. A few years back, Santa Rosa was hit by some terrible fires and he showed up at a few shelters and personally cooked up and served some killer buffet food. No cameras, no massive team of PR, just a dude with an assistant to keep him on schedule to hit up other shelters in the area. Guy Fieri legit earned a lot of respect in my book for that.
You know who DEFINITELY doesn’t deserve hate? Animals. They’re just living their best lives, and need to be left alone.
The best cats.
We got a black cat for the first time last year. I've since formulated the theory that black cats might get some of their reputation from the fact that people can't see them well in the dark and so they seemingly appear out of nowhere and they might be instinctually cautious because they know people have a tendency to kick them while walking in the dark. Our black cat is the sweetest cat I've ever known.
They get a bad rep.Discovery Sharks GIF by Shark WeekGiphy
Sharks. They are beautiful, complex creatures, deserving of respect and, like any wild animal should be left alone in their natural habitat, but they get this reputation as vicious bloodthirsty monsters. This is only because every shark attack is news, and only then because they are so rare. More people are killed EVERY DAY by mosquitoes than sharks kill in a year.
Any apex predator that has remained evolutionarily unchanged for hundreds of millions of years, whose existance predates TREES, is deserving or our respect and admiration. Shine on, you crazy cartlaginous fish, shine on.
So cute too!
Opossums. They're neat little critters. They eat tons of ticks that carry Lyme disease, (mostly) don't carry rabies because their body temp is too low, and they're the only marsupial native to North America! They get a bad rap because their first defense is to hiss and bare teeth, but failing that, they just play dead.
If you don't have the predisposition to hate them, you'll find they're pretty cute too.
E: this is about /opossums/, the north American species.
Kiwis, I feel for you, but this comment isn't about your possums.
Hating on other people for just living their lives also seems to be a big contender for things that don’t deserve to be hated on.
This is so true.
Unemployed people. A lot of people genuinely are looking for work and did not want to lose their last job/it was beyond their control (like a layoff) but they get so much hate and called lazy by most people. I know too many unemployed people that are actually really trying hard. They definitely aren't lazy. (Not saying lazy unemployed people don't exist, but to be fair, so do lazy employed people too lol)
Leave the weather man alone!Fox Raining GIF by Family GuyGiphy
Meteorologists. They try their best to predict the weather based on patterns, models, and data. They're not perfect because predicting the weather is insanely difficult. When they get it wrong, I think we should go easy on them. It was probably an outlier result almost no one could have foreseen.
I've seen people get angry over the meteorologists for getting it right. Like they control the weather - it is their fault we are having rain, that kind of BS. Never made sense to me, but hey, I have plenty of relatives I clashed with growing up.
Please stop being d*cks to these people.
Customer service associates.
I hate when customers think that I, the minimum wage person forced to sit there and listen to them yell, am personally responsible for every policy they disagree with. Like, ma'am, if I had that much power and influence, I wouldn't be sitting here on a Saturday evening serving you.
Wholesome and necessary.
People don't deserve hate they give themselves when they are not doing too good at the moment.
If you haven't heard it from anyone else today, I'm proud of you.
It seems like people hate on things simply because they think they're meant to hate them. But you can always be the change and make an effort to stop being an a**hole about certain things.
No matter what though, sometimes haters gonna hate
Money means different things to different people.
Reddit user, u/TopTierUsername101, wanted to hear what you would do when they asked:
Just Get The Basics Out Of The Way
There's the standard responses, where people ran down the list of the essentials they could get out of the way.
Making The Unmanageable Manageable
Could pay off all debt and put a very nice down payment on a house.
Would make the mortgage manageable.
Give All The Money To The Kids
insanely.. i'm 19 and i'd be able to pay for university, pay for my car and help my parents who are on the streets rn get back on their feet and get my siblings out of foster care
You're the person I'd want to get the 100K. I don't need it; tons of people on this thread don't need it, but you my friend sound like you could use it for good.
Allowing You To Focus On Other Things
5-6 years of rent while i get my Ph.D sounds pretty fantastic
I hear this. I'm about to move with my partner so they can continue their education and would love to have $100k to live off of while I find work.
Wouldn't Go As Far As You Think
Then there's those other people who wouldn't be greatly affected by $100k, instead saying it would continue to help them comfortably move forward. Who doesn't like to be comfortable?
It would be almost enough for a downpayment on a house for us in our area. Housing is crazy expensive.
It would be less than half of a downpayment on an avg house in my area. This is basically keeping my generation from owning property and it's terrifying.
(avg. House here is about 1.2million)
A Slow Burn
Immediately? Not much at all. I'd pay off all my debt, take a chunk out of the house Im about to sign on. The monthly savings however would really allow me to change my life though.
Same here. A lot would change on paper, but the real effects wouldn't be apparent for several years.
This, also the peace of mind that would come along with it would be the most significant Change
Preparing For The Future
Just more money for retirement. That's all, business as usual.
Same. I mean, I'd say I'd spend some and go on vacation, but my vacations are typically camping somewhere cool and then hiking, so it's pretty frugal as far as vacations go. I'd like think that I could retire a little earlier if I had an extra 100 grand thrown at me, though.
Making A Huge Impact
Finally, there's those people who would do quite a bit if you were gifted $100k. This runs the length of saving lives to crafting a livable future.
Eliminating That Feeling
I'd be able to afford my own apartment instead of living with 3 ppl. I'd be able to focus more on building my life instead of just trying to survive every day. I'd be able to donate to charities and less fortunate ppl in my area.
Overall it would make my life less stressful and make me feel like less of a failure.
America Isn't Very Good Sometimes
Dude, that's almost 7 years worth of insulin. Can you imagine not having to wonder how you were going to manage your life threatening disease for 7, well technically 6.9, years? God, I could actually put money toward my future rather than trying desperately to stay alive in the present.
If the current rate of inflation continues, and if I am lucky enough to live until 75, I will have spent over 7 million dollars on insulin alone, not including other absurdly expensive diabetic supplies, like test strips, that are absolutely necessary for my survival.
Just for some context, each test strip, without insurance, runs you around 1.50 ($75 for a 50 pack of strips) and as someone who leads an active lifestyle and is insulin sensitive, I need to check my blood sugar roughly 6-8 times a day, more if I'm sick or an unforeseen event occurs that affects my blood glucose levels.
It's f-cking criminal what my country is allowing to happen to type one diabetics like myself.
Money Can't Buy Happiness, Until It Does
It would: pay off my husband's student loans and some medical bills that he has left, pay off my dental bill, pay off our credit cards, and then maybe we could get some upkeep/fixit stuff done around the house. The rest would go into savings. We'd have a good amount of money freed up each month, and that would also go into savings.
So, really, $100k would change my life by finally giving me a decent savings account that could be used in the future to hopefully avoid debt. It would be a very nice thing to have.
Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments who became famous when he cut his 1.1 million dollar salary to ensure every one of his employees received a $70k a year salary, probably said it best when he noted, "Money buys happiness when you climb out of poverty. But going from well-off to very well-off won't make you happier. Doing what you believe is right will."
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