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Category Archives: people

The Cecil Hotel, LA

Recently I binged the Netflix documentary series Crime Scene The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel, it was an interesting watch, if you’re into real life oddness.

It centres around the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, a 700-room hotel opened in the mid-1920’s just before the Great Depression, along with several grand hotels in the area it enjoyed a period of opulent prosperity and was aimed at the middle class traveller and business men. After World War II the area, also known as Skid Row, fell further into transience as fortunes changed, the stark increase in sex workers, drug dealing and users, along with those unable to afford rents and the increasing protocol to herd the homeless into a manageable area of the ever expanding City, increased criminal activity.

Curiously ever since the Hotel first opened it has been linked to suicides, mysteries and murders. The first documented suicide was January 22, 1927, when Percy Ormond Cook shot himself in the head while inside his hotel room after failing to reconcile with his wife and child. In 1967 “Pigeon Goldie” Osgood long-term resident, a retired telemarketer was found dead in her room, she had been raped, stabbed, beaten and her room ransacked. Her murder remains unsolved. The Press often linked the hotel to numerous serial killers. Frequently residents had died from drug overdoses or long term substance and/or alcohol abuse. There is even a Wikipedia page detailing some of them.

The documentary beds itself around the disappearance in February 2013 of young Canadian student Elisa Lam. She was an avid blogger and frequently documented her travels, fashion, life thoughts online garnering many regular followers. When away from home she called home everyday, after her parents hadn’t heard from her they called the LAPD and news started circulating about a missing person. As the Police struggled to piece together Elisa’s movements they released the elevator CCTV footage, it went viral and set in motion an interesting series of events.

An army of ‘web-sleuths’ scrutinised in meticulous details, frame by frame, the cctv sparking the beginnings of numerous conspiracy theories, many still perpetuate. Things like, why’s the time stamp jumping, the door isn’t closing, whose that shadow. Suddenly people across the globe were gathering in FaceBook groups to discuss minute anomalies, some visiting the hotel to re-enact and trace where she had been. What I found very telling as the documentary continued was how this congregation of unqualified amateurs ardently believed they could succeed where the professionals could not and that they believed every morsel of conjecture and hypothesis from a straightforward mugging gone wrong to the CIA using vanishing vaporise lasers. But there was more to come.

SPOILER ALERT :: if you don’t want to know the outcome I’d suggest ceasing here …. thank you for reading ….

……

….. Okay dear reader, I hope you’re not eating or drinking while you read on.

…….

About two to three weeks after Elisa’s vanishing a few hotel guests and residents started to complain that the water had an odd odour and taste and the water then started to change colour to a sludgy brown. A maintenance worker was sent to inspect the four roof top water tanks. Sadly one of them contained the floating bloating remains of a young girl, later identified as the missing traveller.

Now the merry band of web sleuths really had something to get overly involved with. From behind their screens and keyboards they pieced together bits of facts with leaps of notions, ignored some elements and fantasised others, to quite catastrophic levels.

Attention turned to how did Elisa get onto the roof. The access door was locked and alarmed, this meant that the hotel management had to be involved, a member of night staff had to have killed her. The design of the building meant that there was a metal fire escape on the outside, a series of stairs and platforms covering all fifteen floors, including the roof, accessed from a hallway window that was not alarmed, locked or monitored in anyway. Debris on the roof showed that it was frequently used by people to smoke, drink, take drugs, have parties etc.

The nature of her discovery caused a media frenzy as a police chief was leaving the hotel trying to get through the jostling crowd of reporters he was asked a question which he hastily replied “When Officers approached the water tank the hatch was closed”. The web brigade pounced on this to mean that she must have been dumped because no-one could close the hatch from the inside, so it must be murder. The officer was correct in his statement, because when the maintenance worker noticed the hatch was open and that’s when he discovered the grizzly contents and had closed the hatch from habit as he called for help.

Searches across the internet brought up ‘evidence’ of a Mexican death metal singer called Morbid, due to his chilling lyrics, which included a reference to a girl drowning and his dark videos addressing death (one was filmed at The Cecil), along with having stayed there, meant he must have lured her to the rooftop and killed her. He was hounded, trolled, and harassed over a period of months, received death threats and villanised as a murderer by the Court of Online Public Opinion. It caused him to suffer a breakdown and such depression that he attempted suicide. The ‘evidence’ grasped by the onliners was years old and at the time of Elisa vanishing Morbid was in Mexico but even still today eight years later he still get mail labelling him a murderer.

One aspect of Elisa’s life was, to some degree, suppressed until late on in the investigations and not readily available, she had been diagnosed as bi-polar and had a history of intentionally not taking the prescribed medication, which had caused her to experience strong psychotic episodes, along with hallucinations in the past. Armed with this knowledge, along with the Coroner’s report showing toxicology levels and there being no evidence of any assault or violence on her body, it was concluded that her death was accidental.

At the end, I felt sad that this young life had ended, that so many innocent people had been branded and abused because of tenuous links but mostly I was concerned, almost worried, about the mob mentality and power of online collectiveness. This ferocious hungry entity eagerly hurrying for instant information, affirmation and inconsequential action feels a little bit like Pandora’s box.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2021 in Films, In The News, people, Review

 

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Shouting At Burglars

During the course of conversation I recalled an anecdote which had my carer laughing. Hopefully it will bring a chuckle to your chops too.

When I was about thirteen or fourteen there was an incident. When I lived with my parents we were in a very rural village, lots of woodland and open marshland. In the early hours of a morning my Dad was woken by a sound, thud-thud-thud, reasonably rhythmic in nature. He asked my mum who sleepily thought it was the pile drivers across the marshes, but not that early in the day, unsettled he got up to investigate. I had a pet rabbit Rv who as soon as he heard people movement would thump his back legs against the back of his hutch wanting out into the enclosed courtyard. Rv’s hutch was against the wall of the garage, beside the window of the workshop area and opposite the kitchen window and door, Dad thought it was Rv getting his Thumper action on. So he unlocked the kitchen door and shouted across the courtyard to Rv “Shut up, you noisy bugger!” As he crossed the hallway he noticed that the garage side door was ajar, which was extremely unusual, it was then a penny dropped. Dad went back upstairs to get dressed and when he went to the garage there every yard or so was a hessian sack each with the contents of our big chest freezer, the rhythmic thud being the closing of the heavy freezer lid (it didn’t stay up). As shocking and upsetting as the event was at the time, we couldn’t help but wonder what said burglar thought was going on when he heard a deep voice declaring “Shut up, you noisy bugger!”.

Fast forward about seven years, I was home alone, Mum and Dad were away visiting old friends. At the same time the flat roof of the garage was being replaced. By the end of day one the roof had been stripped back to its rafters and the new boards just laid on top. As I was about to get ready for bed I opened the front door to call the cat in “Kevin! Kee-viiin, move your backside“, as I stopped to see if the ginger and white blob was approaching I heard distinct foot steps on wood echo through the garage. Yikes!! I locked myself in and immediately rang the police. The culprit was caught trying to break in elsewhere. Yet again I can only imagine the shock the fellow must have felt as all of a sudden someone is bellowing a name, telling him to move his backside.

Hee hee…

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2021 in Life, people, Pets

 

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Now listen here 2021!

How has it been for you so far?? Really! Well I say…..

Me? Well let’s see, it’s frigging freezing and I’ve that niggling nasal drip making the throat feel suspect, is it a head cold wanting to brew or just changing temperatures doing their thing or something far more suspicious. After a zoomy chat with a hospital consultant, letters are being sent as no one from my GP Surgery has contacted me about the requested pneumonia vaccination and to remind them I’m highly vulnerable and need a home visit for any jabs. Grocery delivery slots are getting snapped as quick as they are released, good job I’m still eligible for the eight hour priority slots. Several of the carers with the agency I use and likely ones I see have tested positive for CoVid and today my front door has decided no one shall pass.

It decided to be sticky of a morning and we put it down to the colder than a witches tit night temperatures, as it wasn’t a problem during the rest of the day. This morning my beefy stout carer semi hurled herself at it so I messaged my awesome superhero Neph thinking it might just need some WD40 and a stern talking to. Neph rocks up in a shortsleeved tee shirt (I’m sure he’s part polar bear) and when I suggested he lock the door and feel how it’s sticking, did so and it stucked stuck.

Not very does often he get a perplexed expression on his face but as he fedangled the lock, huffed the handle mechanism, brute yanked the door, perplexion indeed crossed his face. “hmm, I don’t think it’s the mushroom, more like the bolt not lifting in the spag at the middle”. Well I think that’s what he said, it all sounded a bit wigwam for a ducks bridle to me.

Now I’m not saying that Facebook can predict the future but across the past few weeks there was been an ad appearing for “Panes In The Glass” a local small business advertising window repairs, hinge greasing, lock maintenance etc, I read their reviews and recognised the van so they’ve been to my area before. It’s getting late on a Saturday afternoon so thought, mentally prepare to leave a message which I did and within two minutes he called back and after spouting forth about spags and mushrooms he thought “it might be the gearbox” (don’t you just love the variety of technical language). After a discussion about what is likely involved and how things will go, weather permitting and if Murphy can keep his law to himself, on Monday a very nice man is going to try and fix it.

Now let’s hope the carers due across the next couple of days get the message to use the back door. 🤞

We haven’t even reached double digit January yet and already 2021 is being a 🤬. Although I did managed to get a surprise treat to BFF, some strictly not birthday flowers some just because flowers (it’s her birthday in a couple of days and she told me to only send a card). And a special kitty cat in Switzerland sent me some new year wishes 😸.

Sure hope I get a fantastic prize after passing all these tests.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2021 in Life, people

 

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My Bubble Done Burst

My bubble just burst and BFF has left to return home. You see she had planned to come visit as soon as she got home from her June/July visit and again as her travel date approached there were changes with Covid rules that threw everything in the air. Anyway, it was decided that her visit would indeed be classed as ‘essential’ because she’d be my primary sole care provider, leaving the hovel only to get food. So our plans went ahead ……. a few minutes ago her taxi turned the corner and she’s setting back for home.

We always have fun, eat foods we don’t usually eat, watch films and documentaries, play games, talk, laugh, cry, discuss, entertain and be entertained my Signor NotMyCat, go to bed late, lay in even later. A few chores get done and of course online shopping for those thought-about-semi-essential items. I became designated yarn unwinder as she crocheted a ripple blanket, this time breaking her speed record (I’m claiming credit for it). But all too soon it comes to a close, and I am eternally grateful to BFF’s hubby for letting her come for the extended pj-party.

Our viewing list is quite extensive when seen altogether.

  • The Queen’s Gambit
  • The Crown (series 4)
  • Making A Murderer (both seasons)
  • Joe Exotic The Tiger King
  • Secret Love (Netflix documentary)
  • Stepmom
  • Johnny English
  • Johnny English Returns
  • Johnny English Strikes Back
  • Mr Holland’s Opus
  • Extremely Loud Incredibly Close
  • Forrest Gump
  • Sweethome Alabama
  • Atonement
  • My Big Fat Greek wedding
  • Bridge of Spies
  • October Skies
  • Little Man Tate
  • Most Hated Woman in America
  • Twenty Feet From Stardom
  • As Good As It Gets
  • Ruth & Alex

I cannot begin to fathom the intelligence of Joe Exotic and the Making A Murderer documentaries, it certainly made for conversation and the Making A Murderer became compelling viewing as we waited for the next twist and turn to the fates of the family members. If you’ve got twenty hours spare I’d recommend it, it will boggle and bewilder beyond sanity.

Soooo, yeah, back to my usual with a bump…..

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2020 in Films, Life, people, Projects

 

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Tim Minchin

It’s not very often that my ear worm chooses a whole artist but recently while lazing in bed or pootling on the iPad I suddenly get the urge to sing “……fuck I love boobs though…..”, maybe it’s just as well I am not out and about in public!

Tim Minchin describes himself as a musician, but this underplays his artistry, his creative skills and his often dark humour. How he analyses the things that make you think, how he dissects and interprets thoughts, ideas, philosophies and puts them into a song that hooks you in linguistically, musically, emotionally and mentally. But what is it about his creations that seem to appeal to me.

Maybe it is his acrobatic linguistics and agility, in songs like Prejudice or his piano whimsy of Rock & Roll Nerd, maybe it is the poignancy of I’ll Take Lonely Tonight or the deep thought of Not Perfect, perhaps it’s the pure risqué amusement of Inflatable You or the musicians amusement of F Sharp, he performs a couple of beat poems which take you on a journey so adroitly, especially Storm. It could be the absurdity that he sees meets with me.

Now I should add a warning here, he uses language some don’t care for and he has opinions that some would not agree with, especially on the controversial topics like religion, creationism. It is not a mocking attitude, more of an “I’ve read and listened but still don’t understand how people wholeheartedly believe ‘this'”.

I enjoy watching his live performances as his expressions and timings add another layer of language, there are few piano players that almost mesmerise me, Jools Holland is another, Tim seems to throw his hands (and sometimes feet) at the keys and they always hit the right notes, the right way at the right time, he cannot sit still as he plays (unless it’s a serious song). He tends to perform barefoot, a throwback to early experimental days where going barefoot helped him feel confident and quelled the stage nerves.

It took me a while to decide which song to link here, I make no apology if you find yourself merrily, absentmindedly singing “…..fuck I like boobs though….”

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2020 in Music, people, Review

 

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Newer History

From time to time I surprise myself when some profound statement emerges from my fingertips and such an occurrence took place last week.

A pal had posted about the annoyance she felt at the hypocrisy she sees online, that groups while complaining about history, use history as validation and evidence for their actions. I saw her point and responded

History is history, we should learn from it, all of it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the triumph and the disaster, the compassionate, the whole, it’s ripples and it’s consequences. After all the shouting, breast beating and hash tagging, what will have changed for the better – very little quite possibly and that’s the saddest footnote for history to teach.

Me on Facebook

There is currently a tv advert for Persil which includes the phrase “hashtags can’t plant trees and tweets won’t clean oceans”, making reference to actions speak louder than words. Has social media turned the majority of users into outspoken criticisers, has it given the multitude a venting platform for vitriol, perhaps that’s a subject for another day.

As we move into black history month (it’s October in the UK) I agree with the thought that more perspective is needed regarding how history is taught and what history is taught. History is a subject that will keep growing, look at the past hundred years or so, what parts should be picked out to teach, the speeches of Martin Luther King Jnr alongside the riots and protests of Black Lives Matter; the horrors of the Holocaust and Russian pogroms and the teachings of Mahatma Ghandi; the nursing prowess of Mary Seagrove and the South African apartheid movement. The advances of industry and science and the violence of protests, riots and oppressive regimes. It’s sheer volume means we cannot cover it all.

The recent yelling and vandalism regarding the historical slave trade has highlighted a gaping hole in subjects covered, the actions taken have been destructive rather than constructive. I’m not sure if this programme is available worldwide but the tv series “The House History Built” is excellent, it traces the history of all who lived in one house across centuries.

Nothing is clear cut, everything exists in the grey area.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2020 in General, In The News, people

 

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Knobble-bobble hat

Like most things it started with a throw away line.

Recently we have been having some glorious sun shine weather, which can be pleasant but can also bring other problems. Behind glass that sun is powerful and unrelenting, we all know that sensation of handling a piping hot steering wheel. My carer has a natty little sporty car and the gear stick (stick shift in some lands) is metal, it doesn’t sit in the shade of the dashboard but bakes from the direct sun through the windscreen. Throughout her shifts, even with the window cracked ever so slightly the metal heats up and up to ouch level.

So Friday I googled and found a crochet pattern for a mini coupe and began twiddling the yarn. When she returned for the tea time visit I surprised her with a half done cover and asked her to see if it fit the knob snuggly enough (it did).

By the time she (as she said, excited with anticipation) returned to throw me into bed, the cover was finished with a frilled edge, drawstring base and a Pom-Pom on top.

Her smile was a lovely satisfying reward.

It’s the little things that make the biggest impact.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2020 in General, people, Projects

 

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Repeat the Prescription for Frustration

Dear Reader, for your delectation and delight I have for you the next thrilling instalment of ‘How to get a prescription’. If you recall, yesterday I had to and fro-ed between Pharmacy and GP to get my prescription, as of last night a second script was being pinged over to the Pharmacy.

After fuelling my motivation with a little chocolate I dialled the pharmacy and asked if they could find me on their system (yes), had my prescription been received (yes – things are looking up), how do I go about paying for it and getting it delivered – pregnant pause of ominous silence – the mighty powers that be have decreed that they cannot take payments over the phone for prescriptions and the drivers are not permitted to carry any cash, so in short, there isn’t any way a housebound cripple can pay for meds so they can be delivered. Typical, unsurprising, almost expected.

While pondering who to ask to expose themselves to the idiocy of people during this pandemic in order to collect this not exactly necessary concoction the phone rang.

A far too intelligent for her post Pharmacy lady called and put forward an option. The specific, exact same as prescribed VitD is available to purchase, over the counter, no prescription required, and it can be paid for over the phone and delivered for free, AND it’s cheaper than the current prescription charge (£9.15). Yes, we will go for that, except she has none in stock *sigh* but it will be on Monday and things can be sorted then.

So essentially if you ever fall ill, don’t need a prescription. If you do, be in a category that doesn’t pay. If you do have to pay, don’t be so ill you cannot get your carcass to the pharmacy. If you can’t, well ‘computer says no’.

We wait for Monday…..

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2020 in General, Life, people

 

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Prescription For Frustration

Remember the good old days, when a fat expensive ink pen splurged over crisp white paper, that was ripped from the pad with a confident flourish. You clutched said note to the Pharmacy, holding hope and relief as the concoction was dispensed and off you tootled with the miracles of modern science in your tender hands – the whole process taking a mere few, almost imperceptible, minutes *sigh* oh the nostalgia.

But progress brings change, advancement brings efficiency and new methods need learning. I am at the end of day two of getting a prescription sent, filled and delivered and as I type, the system does not have the drugs to my door.

My Rehab Consultant is pretty gung-ho on MD-ers taking Vitamin D, whereas my various other Consultants are non-plus about supplements, during a video conference the subject was broached but no firm action decided upon as I tend to take an over the counter one anyway (when I remember ….. which reminds me …. be right back) . Anywho, Hospital sent request for high dose VitD capsules to GP, sometime passed before I received a copy of the hospital report which had detailed under action that a prescription request sent. I had heard nothing, not surprised, my GP surgery hovers between ‘in need of improvement’ and special measures with the CQC.

I have not had a prescription for anything in around, fifteen years, but have heard many a saga from many a person about the trials and hassles of getting their drugs. Taking the bull by it’s wot nots yesterday I called my surgery and they tapped their keyboards, scratched their heads, did the do, asked questions to which my answers perplexed them further, and sent the prescription electronically within moments to the Pharmacy of my choice (in the room next door to Doctor’s reception, they could literally have shouted it across).

Today I call the Pharmacy to see how I, as a house bound crip who has to pay for and then get it delivered, get my hands on this chemical sunshine ………guess what…….. it’s gone missing in the system. (I stifle urge to say “Computer says no”).

I called the surgery and asked the question, which was met with another round of perplexed replies which eventually settled on resending the request and ‘hopefully’ the Pharmacy will call me back shortly. “Hopefully”, hmm, my cynical self thinks that is going the way of common sense and logic, I also foresee getting two scripts for the same thing and both being filled and charged for.

So here I sit ….. waiting ….. wondering whether to call the Pharmacy or wait for them to call. With my mind conjuring visions of electronic prescriptions pinging and ricochetting like ball bearings in a pinball machine around the clouds, which are looking ominously heavy as I stare out the window.

Progress ….. tis a wonderful thing.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2020 in Life, people

 

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Staycation

This morning BFF flew home to Bonny Scotland after staying here to take care of me for a smidge over two weeks. After the stress and worries this year has thrown at me, the postponement of our April pj-party due to CoVid19, it was so unbelievably uplifting to have BFF walk through my door.

Our time together has three main heading, films, food and yarning. Now that might be silly chatter yarning or the more creative productive yarning. This time as well as some cat protection blankets we also tackled some rather cute cat toy mice and fish.

Previous visits have been invaded by the black and white bundle of adorability, affectionately known as Mickey #NotMyCat, this time he brought his brother Ginger #NotMyCat2. He’s a lot more timid but did like to snooze comfortably and alone either on my bedroom windowsill or the woollen blanket on my bed, he’s also very vocal and announces his arrival. Both offered their approval of the crocheted toys, plus the rubs and snooze spots, and especially the edible treats.

My BFF is multi talented, not only did I get a much needed hair cut but a pedi soak too. Mickey gave the humming, vibrating bowl of water a glare, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d decided to dip a paw in but instead he gave it the usual cat statesmanship glare of indifference crossed with that ‘stupid humans’ expression they are so adept at.

After 187 consecutive days I escaped the confines of my dusty hovel and we ventured along the High Street, suitably covered in my new denim jacket (Christmas and birthday present from BFF) and wearing a natty face mask. A few errands were ticked off the list, social distancing guidelines and hand sanitising adhered to, the find trousers task one sadly was not successful.

This visits films included

  • Spitfire
  • The ugly dachshund
  • Armstrong
  • The absentminded professor
  • Kinky boots
  • Summer in February
  • Hidden Figures
  • Broken Flowers
  • The Great Gatsby
  • First Man
  • The Parent Trap
  • Flight
  • Born On The Fourth Of July
  • A summer place
  • A single man
  • First Wives Club
  • Calamity Jane
  • The Iron Maiden
  • A map of the world
  • Capote
  • Pollyanna
  • There’s No a Business Like Show business
  • American Pastoral
  • Walk The Line
  • The Crown Seasons 1 & 2

Back to our respective routines, counting down and conjuring up, until we can get together again.

Oh the tasty treat pictured, it’s enchilasagne …. enchiladas but layered in a lasagne fashion, it is so delicious and no layer out weighs another. BFF made a second batch so there are more for me to enjoy. Did I say my wonderful BFF was multi talented???

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2020 in Films, General, Life, people

 

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