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What Made You Happy today?


Hotplant
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Can I please ask a question, without sounding stupid, I'm in Liverpool UK and it is 2.26 am, wht time is it in the usa???

It depends where in the U.S. one lives. The contiguous United States cover 4 time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific.

For instance, it is now just past 3am in Liverpool as I write this. In New York, you subtract 5 hours from Greenwich Mean Time, which makes it just past 10:00pm.

Each time zone is an hour less as you move West, so here in Los Angeles, it is just past 7:00pm. California and the Pacific Time Zone is 3 hours behind the East Coast and 8 hours behind the UK.

Alaska is another two hours behind the West Coast, and Hawai another hour behind that...Hawaii is 3 hrs behind California, 6 hrs behind New York, and 11 hrs behind London.

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It depends where in the U.S. one lives. The contiguous United States cover 4 time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific.

For instance, it is now just past 3am in Liverpool as I write this. In New York, you subtract 5 hours from Greenwich Mean Time, which makes it just past 10:00pm.

Each time zone is an hour less as you move West, so here in Los Angeles, it is just past 7:00pm. California and the Pacific Time Zone is 3 hours behind the East Coast and 8 hours behind the UK.

Alaska is another two hours behind the West Coast, and Hawai another hour behind that...Hawaii is 3 hrs behind California, 6 hrs behind New York, and 11 hrs behind London.

I thought it was bad enough here changing one hour forward and one hour backward.....

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It depends where in the U.S. one lives. The contiguous United States cover 4 time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific.

For instance, it is now just past 3am in Liverpool as I write this. In New York, you subtract 5 hours from Greenwich Mean Time, which makes it just past 10:00pm.

Each time zone is an hour less as you move West, so here in Los Angeles, it is just past 7:00pm. California and the Pacific Time Zone is 3 hours behind the East Coast and 8 hours behind the UK.

Alaska is another two hours behind the West Coast, and Hawai another hour behind that...Hawaii is 3 hrs behind California, 6 hrs behind New York, and 11 hrs behind London.

nevermind

Edited by docron
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To Walter, (don't worry this is nothing abusive), many congratulations to your son, and I mean that, swimming was the one thing that I was really good at, but I didn't realise it until I was older, I got my qualifictions to become a lifeguard at the age of 15, but I never used it . Now that I am older I can appreciate the work that people have to do in swimming, to reach their goals. Good luck to him and make sure he continues to achieve better things. I still swim a bit now but when I was younger I loved it, I won 2 years free membership to any swimming pool in 1970 & 1971, and I went as many times as I could. I wasn't the fastest by any means but I was a strong swimmer and it gave me a sense of purpose. I still remember my parents being so proud of me when I was asked to be a lifeguard at a "Help The Aged" marathon in Liverpool. Tell your son to strive for more. My best wishes to him and I hope he is successful.

Joe, I just saw this post while lurking around and wanted to say "thank you" for your kind words.

Peace.

:)

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This post actually applies to the Monday and Tuesday just concluded(Aug. 20 & 21).

On Monday, I had just recovered an item lost on the bus at their Lost and Found. It was early afternoon in Santa Monica, mere blocks from the pier. Although I still had some errands to run, and I was planning on making a trip to Amoeba later, I just had a sudden whim to walk to the pier and take in the sights and sounds.

Living further inland, I don't get to the beach as often as I did when I lived and worked in Santa Monica. You sort of take it for granted. As I walked down to the end of the Santa Monica Pier, past the Carousel, past the fish n chip stands, cotton candy and the Arcade, past the Ferris Wheel, it struck me that I probably hadn't made this walk in months.

When I finally reached the westernmost end of the pier, I took a seat on one of the benches and exhaled. There were the usual row of fishing poles leaning against the rail, a cute, blonde girl busking in front of the Spanish restaurant at the end of the pier. The cries and wails of children sampling the delights of the amusement park were behind me, and gradually were subsumed by the more immediate sounds of the seagulls and the ocean.

All of a sudden, I felt lighter...like a burden had been lifted off my shoulders. As the warmth of the sun beamed upon me, I was simultaneously cooly caressed by the ocean breaze, and I found all my cares and concerns blown away with it. It's hard to describe the pleasure one feels, the restorative effects one gains by the dual experience of sun and wind upon one's face and body.

Unfortunately I wasn't dressed for the beach, or I might have taken a dip. But hours slipped away as I just sat and took in the sights. A seagull alighted upon a rail next to me and, followed shortly after by another bird, kept me company for the afternoon.

As I watched the sun make its westward descent over the ocean, I found myself transfixed by the abstract shapes and patterns its glittering reflected light casts upon the deep green sea. One could also see how and why the Impressionists were so inspired by sunlight.

It was a little after 2pm when I first sat down and nearly 6pm when I at last roused myself from my perch at the end of the pier. I had let all my errands and responsibilities take the day off...I would get to them another time. I actually felt younger, fresher leaving the pier than I did when I arrived. I need to do this more often I said to myself as I headed to meet some friends for a movie.

Tuesday morning, along with the previous day's errands I had put off, I had some bills to pay and some books to take down to work. After having some breakfast and dropping off some dry-cleaning however, I was at the West LA transit center where I immediately saw the #534, the Mailbu-Trancus Canyon bus getting ready to leave. I don't know why, but I felt compelled to get on that bus....as if I was caught in its tractor beam.

So there I was...chucking the day's responsibilities yet again and heading for the beach. But this time, a different beach. The Santa Monica Pier is fine, but there's still a lot of people around...and it is not the best place for waves or to swim.

I used to take the Malibu-Trancus bus a lot when I was younger. It leaves the Transit Center on Fairfax and takes the 10 Freeway west to Santa Monica, where it heads north on Pacific Coast Highway, passing beach after beach after beach. Santa Monica Pier, Will Rogers State Beach, Topanga, Mailbu. It also stops where the Getty Villa entrance is, should you be inclined to take in some ancient art.

But I was heading even past Malibu...to the very last stop of the route, just past Zuma beach. In fact, the spot of beach I was heading to was where Zuma beach meets Broad beach. There's far less people than at Malibu or the main Zuma beaches. The waves aren't big but they have a nice shape, and unlike the murky deep green of the waters further south, you get a more turquoise colour here.

Since this was a spur of the moment excursion, I was again unprepared for a day at the beach. I was wearing jeans, a pink and blue striped polo, and tennis shoes. I had my backpack, but no towel. And no phone...I had left that back at home, charging the battery.

But so what...serendipity calls for making do with what you got.

As I walked along PCH until I got to the beach entrance, with every step I felt more sure that I had made the right decision. There was a film crew setting up in one of the houses along the private beach, but I didn't pay it no mind...it could have been for a commercial or a porno, I didn't care.

When I reached the part of the beach I was heading for, I took off my shoes and socks and gingerly made the march to the sea. Years of city living have softened my souls somewhat, so that I'm not accustomed to walking barefoot on hot sand as I used to be.

It was probably around 10:30am and the sun was already burning bright. I found a nice uninhabited part of the beach just before it slopes down to the water...about 100 yards south of the house the film crew was setting up. PCH was behind me, but the width of the beach plus the sound of the waves drowned out any sounds of cars, etc.

Plopping my backpack and shoes down, I sat down and took off my shirt, leaned back and wiggled my toes in the sand. There was a gaggle of grommets getting surf lessons to my left...little boys and girls getting their first taste of the natural high that is surfing. Of course, first they had to learn how to make the transition from being prone on a board to standing up. That was quite amusing to watch, and every now and then, one of them would actually achieve standing position. For a time, that is, until the wave would toss them from their board. Fortunately for the little ones, the waves weren't large...a more manageable 2-3 feet on average.

So there I was, soaking up the sun and enjoying the rhythmic crashing of the waves. I kept an eye out on the horizon for any sign of Cortez's galleons and guns. The nearest human to me was a hundred yards on either side, with the exception of the occasional person strolling along the beach and the occasional grommet the ocean would spit out.

Plenty of birds for company, though. Seagulls, pelicans, crows, all kinds of birds. At one point, I was roused from my reverie and discovered I was flanked on either side by a row of gulls, gaze fixed to the sea. "Ha! Let Cortez try to storm this beach now" I thought to myself. Naturally, the birds weren't really watching for Spanish marauders...they were looking for fish.

That's the sort of silly things I occupied my mind with...if it was occupied at all...for the better part of an hour or two. And boy was I happy! No thoughts of work, family, the election, the modern world, the forum, texts, computers...nothing. I was totally unreachable and unavailable to the world.

It was blissful peace and joy.

What a tonic it is, to just sit and listen to the roar of the ocean and marvel at the architecture of waves. Man's engineering is no match for Mother Nature's when it comes to form, function and beauty. Even though the sun was high in the sky, you never got too hot, for there was the constant sea breeze and an occasional blast of crashing wave spray hitting your face to cool you off. Plus, the added joy of digging your fingers and toes in the sand, below the sun-baked surface and into the wet, cool sand underneath.

I didn't have a watch with me, but it must have been nearly 12noon, when the waves started getting bigger and the surfing class was finished with their session. Nice walled sets of about 4-6 feet started rolling in. The lure was too great. Even if I didn't have a swinning suit with me, I had to get out in the ocean and taste those waves. Besides, I didn't have any sunscreen with me, and I had already been laying out in the sun for an hour and a half or more. If I didn't want to burn, I'd better get in the water.

Emptying my pockets of wallet, keys, etc. and placing them in my backpack, I bounded down the sloping sand into the surf, just me and my blue jeans. After being in the sun, the cool water was refreshing. Cool, but not too cold...just right for a hot August swim.

I swam out to where the waves were breaking and body-surfed a few in. I could keep an eye on my backpack from where I was, as long as I didn't let the current drift me too far north. If I saw anyone walking towards my backpack from the parking lot, I could swim in with the surf in less time than it would take for anyone to reach my backpack. Plus, in all the times I had been to this beach I had never had any problems with theft. So I was fairly secure that my backpack and shoes were safe and I could concentrate on the waves.

After a half-hour of body surfing, I swam just beyond the impact zone, and floated on my back, gently bobbing up and down as a swell would move past me. Ahhhhh, now this was livin'...enveloped by the cool ocean, my arms spread out with only my head and toes sticking up from the water, bobbing along with the sea. I have got to do this more often.

Then, just when I thought it couldn't get better, it did.

I figured I had been out there dozing and floating a good half-hour, and that it was probably time to head back in...especially when I saw I had drifted a bit further than I wanted. As I turned and righted myself to make the swim in, I was met with the sight of dorsal fins heading my way. I know enough about the differences between sharks and dolphins to know that these were dolphins, so not for a moment was I scared that they were sharks.

All I did was stay still and tread water as I waited for the school of dolphins to pass by. There appeared to be six, maybe seven, of them...it was hard to ascertain the definite number as they were never above the surface at the same time. Some would be submerged while the others would not.

They didn't seem to be in any particular hurry, just gliding with the current, so I got a good long look at them as they approached and swam by me. Maybe they were looking for food? They had also attracted attention from the shore, as beachgoers lined up on the sand to gawk and take photos, and the few surfers in the water took a break to pay tribute.

But I was the only one outside the surfline that was smack in the middle of the dolphins' path. It was all I could do to remember to breathe. I didn't make a noise or move, as I didn't want to startle them. As they passed by me, I thought I was having an out-of-body experience. Dolphins are so beautiful, such graceful creatures, and to actually be close enough to look them in the eye as they went by...I had goosebumps. I was tempted to reach out and touch one, to feel their sleek grey-black skin, but I didn't dare move.

From the time I first spotted them heading my way to the time they swam by and continued on their way up the coast til they were out of sight, it must have been a good 15 minutes. A glorious 15 minutes.

Everything else after that pales...even the seal I later spotted surfing among the waves. After I swam back in, I grabbed my backpack and shoes and went to the rinsing off area to rinse any stray sand from my hair, jeans and feet. I sat on a bench long enough for the sun to dry me and my jeans off...and enjoy the sound and view of the ocean a little longer.

It was a little ater 3pm when I finally left. I noticed the film crew was wrapping things up as I walked by and I wondered if they had noticed the dolphins and gotten some footage of them swimming by...probably not.

I made a mental note to start coming to the beach more often. It's so easy to take the beach for granted when you live here. Even when you get busy and distracted by other things, it's easy to say "I'll get to the beach soon...one day." One day turns into weeks turns into months and before you know it, you haven't been to the beach in ages.

When you finally do hit the beach, you are reminded why you love it so...and vow not to let so long a time pass before indulging in its pleasures again.

On the way back, I got off at the Santa Monica Pier to have dinner at The Lobster...lobster, natch. After that, I finally took the cd player out of my backpack and put on some tunes for the bus ride home: Van Morrison, Live at the Fillmore West Oct. 1970. I was home and in bed, soundly asleep by 10pm, a rarity for me.

Today is Wednesday... back to work and all that. But thanks to the last two days I have spent seaside, I feel more rejuvenated, refreshed, and happy than I have felt in some time.

Edited for spelling.

Edited by Strider
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That was a great piece of writing, Strider.

I don't know if I can make it to the beach anytime soon, but maybe I can find my own "pier" and chill out for several hours and rejunenate.

I could use a good healthy dose of that.

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