Archive | March, 2012

Cutting back…

31 Mar

Got a call this morning at 9:00 from the HR lady at Home Depot. She said they were “drastically” cutting back on hours and that they wouldn’t need me today (was scheduled for four and a half hours).

Then a couple hours later, her assistant called and said that they were cancelling the Sunday morning store meeting (they have those about once a month).  I heard last week that they were cutting back on hours in general. I’m sure the higher ups know something we don’t know — why are they cutting back?  Maybe the economy is not recovering as well as the mainstream media would have us believe.

It doesn’t look like I’ll be making any signs, except for possibly some of the more permanent types. They have a couple people who work with markers and get them out quickly, which is what they need to do on Wednesday afternoons and evenings to get ready for the weekly sales that start on Thursday morning.  But, I’ll be glad to make signs anytime they ask — that’s one of my favorite things to do.

I’m gradually getting to know the paint department system… learning where all the products are and the various products available — every day I learn something new. This weekend I’ll be going in to identify the paint locations. There are dozens of “bases” that we use to  mix colors. We enter the color data in the program and it gives us a “base” to use — from light values to dark. Then we have to go find the base (that’s my biggest problem — locating the base I need to mix the color).

So, to solve this “where’s the base” problem, I’m going to make a chart that I can use to immediately go to the exact location of the base. They don’t have any visual aids available to help you find the various products. So, I’ll make my own and then make them available to the new people who show up.

Enough about Home Depot — what else might be of interest…  here’s one of my favorite photos taken on our wedding day.  In a couple months we’ll be celebrating our 47th anniversary.  Thanks to Sylvia’s excellent character qualities, we are still together and still “best buddies”… one of the things that has made life interesting for us is the word “opposite.”  If I like something, she’s not going to like it. If she likes something, I’m not going to like it. The phrase “opposites attract” is very accurate. You put the negative charge of a magnet close to the positive charge and, bang — they powerfully attach to each other.  We do have the basics in common (faith, politics, attitude toward children, and other primary concerns), but once past the basics, we’re on opposite ends of the spectrum. Spice is the variety of life… or something like that.


John and Sylvia - June 12, 1965 - Pacific Palisades, CA


By the way, while I’m thinking of it … for now, I’m going to change from “brez” (an old high school nickname) back to my favorite handle – “Johnny”… I have always preferred the name “Johnny,” but when I reached my mid-twenties, people started calling me “John” for some reason — I guess because I was older? — did I outgrow “Johnny?”  The name John goes back to the 1800s. My dad’s father was John; my dad was John and I’m John — and now we have John number four… our son “John” (but I call him Johnny).

So, I’ll try that for awhile…

All for now



aka Brez or John



20,000 and counting…

27 Mar



As the old song says… “This Could Be the Start of Something Big”…

I downloaded a music notation program ( to convert my playing to written notes.  I’ll make this 2-5-1 exercise available to those who want more details. It’s a little hard to figure out how to learn this exercise  just by watching this video.


Here’s a photo of me playing with the Army band in Augsburg in 1964…

“Those were the days, my friend”… — this is one of the more popular selections that the dance band played. Yes, those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end.


So, while I was playing in the band, I also had the special blessing of meeting Sylvia Bergin of Dublin, Ireland. We met in Augsburg at the snack bar on the Army base — in August of 1963.  When it came time for me to part with the military lifestyle, I took my discharge in Augsburg. This was in August of 1964. Then off to Dublin to meet Sylvia’s parents and family. On the way to Dublin, we stopped in London for a few days — here we are — two young kids at 24 years of age… just getting under way:


John & Sylvia at Trafalgar Square in London - 1964


We met in August of 1963 and we are approaching August of 2012 — 49 years of friendship and the sharing of hundreds of life experiences.  So far, so good.  I’m one of the lucky ones…

Have fun out there…




40 years later…

23 Mar

Here’s the photo of the sign I managed to get done… 40 years since the last lettering job  — I was pretty rusty and didn’t have any professional tools, but I sort-of got their brush to work.  And, I found some paint in a drawer that worked OK — at least it was opaque.  By the way — for all the DIY painting jobs you may have coming up, this paint I used is called Behr Ultra …(;vgnextoid=01283cf81ba10210VgnVCM100000166310acRCRD;view=13).

Lettering a light color on black was a good test for this paint … it has both the primer and the finish in the same can. It covers well, as you can see.  I’m going to use it next time I have something to paint — which will be soon.


That’s it for now .. have to hit the sack early tonight. Need to report for duty at 5:00 AM tomorrow … 5:00 AM?  “Yer kiddin me.  Nope… not kiddin”  (  But, normally I don’t go in that early.







The sign situation…

23 Mar

Well… the red letter day was put on hold.  Lisa wanted me to make a sign, but she put a hold on it due to a necessary copy confirmation. She wasn’t sure about some of the copy and is checking on it.

But, yesterday actually became a lettering day. I was on a 5:00 pm to midnight shift. Upon my return from “lunch” at 10:00, one of the assistant managers, MaryAnne, asked me if I could make a sign for her right away. The weekly sales start on Thursday, so all the departments have to  get some signage up to reflect the sale prices.  Martin and another young lady do those “fast” signs with markers. But, MaryAnne needed a hand-painted sign done.

So, when she asked me if I could paint a sign for her, I had to say yes, but I was a little concerned since I haven’t made a hand-painted a sign since the early 70’s – like 40 years ago.  A little scary. Plus, it was after ten and she needed the sign done before I could clock out.  Interesting…

No easel, no decent brushes, no lettering enamel or poster paint and the need to make a 36×72 inch sign, full of copy, before clocking out… a little bit of panic setting in.  Plus, the panel was coated flat black on a very rough surface.  I had to get it done somehow.

First, I complained to MaryAnne about the lack of necessary tools to produce the sign — my normal response… I’m a bit of a complainer. So, I got that out of the way quickly because the clock was ticking and I knew I had to get this done pronto. So, I found some house paint in a drawer — the young lady working on the “fast” signs gave me a couple brushes to choose from… this is impossible… how can you paint a sign with this stuff?  On to the layout — I got the copy and proceeded to make a scale drawing.  It took about thirty minutes just to make the drawing… without a scale drawing it’s impossible to paint a decent sign.  So, I got that done and then penciled the layout on the panel. This is a 3 foot by 6 foot panel flat on a table — no easel to work with. How can you paint a sign on a table?

I put the panel on the floor and got started — was able to stand up and start at the top. Got the so-called brush out and the Behr house paint.  Thank goodness the viscosity was just right to do the lettering. So… I proceed to make the first letter I have painted in 40 years…  an “R”… it was OK, but the brush and the panel did not like each other.  Keep going… have to get this done before I can go home… I’m thinking, as I do the next letter.  It was kind of a rough start, but the old skill was coming back quickly… reminded me of riding a bike — you don’t forget. So, with each letter my confidence was increasing. I forgot to check my watch when I started, but midnight came and went. Keep going.

Got the last letter done at 1:25 AM… washed the brush out and put the paint back in the drawer. So, it got done somehow… it looked like a sign by a pro who hadn’t done any lettering for 40 years , but it was the best I could do.

I saw it this morning — the first thing you see as you walk in the east door — it looked a little better this morning. Then I looked at the other signs around the store… yes, it does look pretty good. Not real good, but it’ll do for now.  So, I have my assignment — get some pro brushes and some poster paint and get some practice time in. Then I’ll be ready with the proper tools if I’m asked to make another sign at some point in the future.

I’ll get a photo of it later today and post tonight.

So, that’s how the first sign-painting gig went down… pretty scary, but it worked out OK.





One sign… coming up…

21 Mar

Red letter day — Lisa wants me to make a sign for the store.  I expect this will be the first of many.

I sent some drawings to her a couple weeks ago and she appreciated the design and actually paid me for my time — The Home Depot doesn’t want you to do any work “off the clock.”  So, I gave her my hours and she’s paying me.

Sign design for me is a hobby — it’s a fun thing to do and I’m always looking for a sign job to do… love the signs.  I guess it starts early.

I remember going to my dad’s sign shop on Robertson Blvd. in Beverly Hills before we moved to the Palisades — that means I was somewhere between four and eight years old when I would go with him to the shop. So, I was introduced to the sign business at a very young age and I took to it.  It’s the only thing I have consistently done over the last 58 years (I worked full-time as a screen printer in dad’s shop during the summer of 1954 — 14 years old).

Here’s the sign I did for Lisa — they’ll use it during their weekend promotion time:


14x22 counter card for Home Depot promotion


Another good development at the store (for me anyway) —  Jo Anne (HR) has me on a good schedule so that I can work somewhere between 8:00 am and up to 9:00 pm.  That’s ideal for me due to some feet problems combined with working on a cement floor. After about 9:00 pm, my feet do not like to be used — they rebel big time.

So between a good schedule and the sign-making work getting under way, I’m a pretty happy camper these days.

In other news… Steve went to New York this past weekend to spend some time with brother John. Being half-Irish, they went to a few pubs on Saturday to celebrate Paddy’s Day.  Then he took the train back to Angie’s on Monday.  Haven’t heard from him at all… but, no news is good news.  That means he’s keeping busy and enjoying the scene there.

all for now









Remember the Bay Theater?

16 Mar

A little family history … we moved from West Hollywood to the Pacific Palisades in the summer of 1948. One of the main roads from our house to the “Center” — where the drug store and a few other stores were located — was still a dirt road: Swarthmore Avenue from Monument to Sunset Blvd.

In 1950 (I was ten years old), the first theater in town was built at the corner of Monument and Sunset. That’s where I discovered the Hopalong Cassidy movies — every Saturday afternoon we would go to the matinee to see “Hoppy” in action…

Hoppy getting ready to make a move...

I have several Hoppy stills that I bought off the ebay site many years go.   I’m still a big Hoppy fan… I have all 66 of his films on video (the older VHS style).  They were copied from the original 35mm negs, so the image is super sharp.  I like the early films the best — from 1935 through 1939.

Here’s a photo of the Bay Theater — a very contemporary structure for 1950…


The Bay Theater on Sunset Blvd. in the Pacific Palisades... 1950


This was the only theater north of Santa Monica, so it was always very busy. It was also one of the theaters used for “Major Studio Preview” film.  On preview night you were not told what the film would be. It was a “test” — after the film we were asked to fill out short review cards… to give some feedback to the film production company.

The most unique film I remember at a major studio preview was “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” — that was probably sometime in 1955. Then they would take the feed-back from the audience and either make changes or leave it alone.

The other unique experience was when “The War of the Worlds” was released in 1953.  It was the first movie I saw that employed “surround sound.”


New job at Home Depot. I’m working in the paint department — I’ve been around paint since my teen years (the 50s), so I’m very comfortable working in that department. I also have almost 50 years of experience in the customer service business — I enjoy helping people get the products they want.  I expect they will have me make some signs at some point, but, for now, I’m quite happy working in the paint department.  My co-workers are all very helpful and friendly… I’m havin fun…!

Steve left for Maryland this past Wednesday — he plans to spend about six months there working on his music. The plan is to produce another album.

All for now…






Family movement picks up next week

9 Mar

Family update… Pauline and Nicole will be packing their bags soon. She and Nicole are scheduled to arrive in San Diego on April the 7th. They’ll be here for five weeks. But, before they arrive, Angela and family will be in San Diego from March 30th until April the 8th. I expect we’ll have some sort of get-together on the evening of the 7th.  Rob and Skyler will probably be here, so for one day, we’ll have three of the five kids here plus four of the five grand children.

But, before that happens, Steve will be flying back to Angie’s on March the 14th. He’s planning to spend about six months with Angie and family. It’s sort of an R & R time for him … some rest and relaxation — some time to get another album done and time to get to know his relatives back there (a very large extended family on Majid’s side).

Since I’m on the subject of family, here’s a good one… I met with my cousin Randy this afternoon. He and Ruth are spending the week at their Lawrence Welk timeshare. He’s a very interesting guy… it’s an honor to be related to him. He was a helicopter pilot during the Viet Nam conflict and survived two tours of duty there. He received the first battlefield commission of the Viet Nam war. Then he went on to a career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He flew helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft until he retired a few years ago.

His son Randy followed in dad’s footsteps and flew for the Marines for many years, was promoted to Lt. Colonel and was then chosen to become an astronaut.

Randy Bresnik (far right) - Mission to the space station - Oct 2009


So, Randy became the first Bresnik in outer space. The connection to flying is that his grandfather (my uncle Albert Bresnik) was Amelia Earhart’s personal photographer.

Here’s a photo of Uncle Al at work — taking photos of Earhart at the Burbank Airport in California in early 1937.

Uncle Al taking a photo of Amelia Earhart - early 1937


Things get underway next Wednesday – Steve off to Maryland and then lots of activity for many weeks.

That’s it for now…