Saturday, September 30, 2006

Show and Tell

I know they did it when I was in elementary school. Do they still do it now: Show and Tell? That's where you'd bring something from home and get up in front of the class and tell them about it.

So here's another attempt at a trip down memory lane- My own Show and Tell:

I won this Pocketdish as an instant win in one of the sweepstakes I've been entering. Won it a month and a half or two months ago and had no idea what it was, as all they said on the web site was I'd won a Pocketdish. They said it would take six to eight weeks to arrive. Looks like they got that right.

They said something about a list price of two or three hundred dollars. The Pocketdish site shows this one as valued around $149. Still, a pretty good win, as far as value goes. I have no idea what I'll do with it, though.

It says you can store and watch T.V. and movies on it, or store music. Kinda hard to watch anything on a two inch viewing screen. I'll have to play around with it and see if it's something I'll end up using. If I don't think I'll use it I suppose I can always give it away to someone who will use it.

Strike up another win for the Freddy.

The Ten Year Plan?

I was curious when I first read of this Phil Mangano guy coming to town just what type of proposals he would float for ending homelessness. Nothing concrete was said in the first Times- Standard article. Apparently nothing concrete was said when he showed up either, according to today's story on his appearance, Friday in Eureka.

He's calling for a "ten year plan" to end homelessness. He says the Veterans Administration reduced homelessness among veterans 25% over the last ten years. Actually, he said the VA worked to reduce homelessness. One could interpret that to mean they just tried.

Did anyone attend this meeting? Did he give any concrete proposals as to how this is going to be accomplished? I'm all ears. Ok, since this is a blog, I'm all eyes.

Mendocino D.A. Race Lives On Despite Death

For those that didn't know, the Mendocino County Board of Supes has appointed Assistant District Attorney, Keith Faulder, to cover the late Norm Vroman's position until January 1. I would think it might be a safe bet that he'd also be appointed to the four year term if Vroman wins come November.

But the race is still on. The Fort Bragg Advocate- News ran a Q & A with both Vroman and his opponent Meridith Lintott a while back and decided to go ahead and publish it despite Vroman's death. According to Ukiah Daily Journal Editor, K.C. Meadows, Lintott wanted to change some of her answers when she heard the Q & A was still going to be published, but the Advocate- News used her original ones.

I agree with K.C.: I don't see anything in Lintott's answers that really needed changing, although I'm sure all of us would like to be able to go back to something we said or wrote in the past and do it change a few words around.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Mr. Tom: R.I.P.

Poor Mr. Tom died this morning. He was one of our tom cats. Our fuzzy little buddy. We will miss him dearly.

We're not sure what he died from. He started losing weight real fast a month or so ago until he was just a shell of what he used to be. He went from 12 pounds to, I'm guessing, less than five in a month to a month and a half's time. You could literally feel the outline of his skeleton. It was quite upsetting. I figured he had leukemia, or some such.

We finally took him to the vet a few days ago and the vet couldn't find anything wrong with him except he was anemic. He gave us some antibiotics and steroids to cover anything he might not have found. They didn't work.

It broke our hearts as he got worse and worse and could hardly walk. Last night he was sleeping between us on the bed. About 2am he started wailing like he does when we put him in the kitty carrier and take him to the vet. He did that for about an hour, then quieted down.

After a while I could feel him going through convulsions. Just short ones about a minute apart. Then, about 4:30 he had a major seizure. It lifted him right off the bed and woke Connie. We both figured he'd had it. Connie wondered what we could do to help him. I told her there was nothing we could do except wait for the vet's office to open and take him in to be euthanized.

I couldn't sleep after that. Tom was stiff as a board from the seizure. I figured he might already be dead. We covered him with a towel and let him lay there. As I played on the computer I figured, and hoped, he was dead, not wanting him to suffer any more.

About 7am I heard some weird breathing sound in the bedroom. It couldn't have been Connie. I went in and could see it was Tom. He seemed to be having trouble breathing. Connie awoke and told me she'd felt him a little earlier and he was still alive. She was upset to see him having trouble breathing.

We decided to take him to the vet for the last time. We called and the vet's office wasn't open yet, but they said they would be in a few minutes and to go ahead and bring Tom in. I was dressed enough already to handle going down there. Connie almost was.

I went to look at Tom and thought he was dead. I told Connie. She looked but couldn't be sure he wasn't breathing. I wasn't completely sure but pretty sure he wasn't breathing. Besides, his eyes were open and pupils were dilated. I flashed a light in his eyes and they never changed.

I asked Connie if we should go ahead and bury him but she said she didn't want to bury him if there was a chance he was still alive. She suggested calling the vet and ask for advice.

The doctor said it sounded like he was dead as it should be easy to tell if he wasn't breathing but, if we wanted, we could bring him in and he'd listen to his chest. Connie finally agreed he was dead.

We wrapped him in a towel and buried him under one of the apple trees outside our back door.

We'll miss poor Tom, but at least we still have two and a half other kittens to enjoy and be annoyed by.

Sold! So Soon?

Security National closes the deal on the Balloon Tract.

I don't think I would of done it, at least not so soon. Eric commented elsewhere it might have been a bad move politically to close the deal on the Balloon Tract so soon. My take is just a bit different, although he makes a good point.

My concern is more along the lines of buying something and not being sure you'll be able to do what you want with it. What if the forces of darkness win out and the powers that be decide they won't allow a privately funded project be built on that property?

It sure would be a drag to pay two million bucks, plus whatever cleanup costs, then find out the only thing that they'll allow you to build there is some government project. I would have waited until it was a little more clear as to what was going to be allowed there.

Then again, maybe they'd have to buy the property first just to get started in going through all the hoops they'll need to go through before they begin construction?

Elias On Bonds

I've never considered syndicated columnist, Tom Elias, to be one of the big thinkers in the commentary business. Nonetheless, I always try to give credit where credit is due. I actually thought he brought up a good point in this commentary on how to deal with infrastructure improvements without relying on bonds.

He suggests:

Here's how: First, the politicians would have to pledge they would find that same $2.5 billion they say will be readily available each year for bond repayments and set it aside for construction. Do that, and they'd spend the $38 billion base amount of these bonds without paying a cent of interest.

Now why didn't I think of that? Actually, I suppose I have but never went so far as to explain it that way. Not good for someone like me, with a big mouth, that always votes NO on bond issues and urges others to do the same.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A New Shady Operator In Town?

Just noticed this article in the Arcata Eye about the North Country Fair, held in Arcata a couple weeks ago. I've never been to that event myself.

Anyone know this Washington Vera fellow? He's the guy that bought the North Country Fair from the old owner. The Arcata Eye makes it sound like he's someone that we might want to keep an eye on. Hard to say whether he's just not good at what he does, or he's trying to scam people.

Mendocino Campaign Finance Proposal Nixed

Looks like the Mendocino County Board of Supes shot down a proposal to restrict campaign finances within the county. Unlike Humboldt's Measure T, it looks like this one would have just restricted donations from outside the county to $5000 and limited individual contributions to no more than $500.

From what I can see, this makes a lot more sense than Measure T. If this would have been the issue last March, instead of Measure T, I likely wouldn't have supported it, but I wouldn't have actively opposed it either.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Governator Signs Global Warming Bill

From the Sacramento Bee (username humboldtlib, password blogspot): "We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming before it is too late," Schwarzenegger said during an address before signing the bill.".

Thanks, Gov, for helping me make up my mind. I figured my vote was torn between you and the Libertarian. I'll be voting for Art Olivier, the Libertarian Party candidate for Governor, now.

North Coast Travelogue 9/24-9/26

Drove down to the Bay Area, yet again, last Sunday. Next time you go by Confusion Hill, take a look out towards the Eel River. You can see the outline of the bridge bypass they're putting up. Seems like they're moving right along with that project. Why does this seem to be going quicker than the freeway widening down in Santa Rosa?
Anyone ever use those highway rest stops Caltrans maintains? I haven't used them much in the past but found they can be quite nice to have available when you're spending a lot of time on the road.

When we first started shuttling back and forth to the Bay Area, the ones on 101 were closed, for whatever reason. I think it was a couple months ago we noticed they opened one, the Moss Cove Rest Stop, along the southbound lane between Laytonville and Willits, so we began stopping there when in need.

Not a bad stop, but not much shade in the summer when you need the shade the most. One thing I found interesting was people, who looked like locals, driving up and dumping their trash in the trash cans. I bumped into a guy yesterday who's in charge of maintenance for three of the local rest stops. He said that it was an an ongoing problem with the trash cans and, during deer season, they'd often find deer entrails and such in the trash.

Nice to have the Moss Cove option, but I prefer the Irvine Lodge Rest Stop.

I hadn't stopped at the Irvine Lodge Rest Stop in years. It's in the northbound lane between Willits and Ukiah a few miles north of the Moss Cove stop. We stopped there for the first time a couple weeks ago and what a pleasure that was.

Plenty of shade. Clean restrooms and they just put in new turf. Real peaceful stop. Probably not as many people using it as you can't see it easily from the road, unlike Moss Cove which you can't miss.

This is where I met the maintenance supervisor yesterday. He pointed out the fence along side the creek. I was surprised to learn it was made of concrete. One of those phony wood things. Fooled me. He also told me the rest stop up at Legget was supposed to be opening up for business today (Wednesday).

Friendly guy, that maintenance guy. He's in charge of all three of those stops. I'll have to say though, as a libertarian, some of this rubs me the wrong way: He was telling me he asked for more trash cans, the old ones needing replacement. Instead of just getting the old 55 gallon drums, like they're using now, his boss told him they were going to be getting "bear proof" cans that weigh 300 pounds. Never mind there hasn't been any bear problems there.

And as nice as the lawns they put in look, this is just a rest stop, not a golf course. Why go to all that expense and effort just for a place for people to take a leak? That's just the way the State works. And we wonder why government costs so much.
Going through Mendocino I pointed out the Vroman For D.A. campaign signs along the road to the wife. She commented that they should be taken down since he'd died. I suggested that maybe his supporters might still want him to win. That way they could take their chances with whoever the Board of Supes appoints to the job as opposed to Vroman's opponent winning.

Not sure if that's what they're thinking. I'm just assuming there's as much vitriol against opponents in this race as we've seen in the Gallegos/ Dikeman race up here. I realized later I hadn't noticed any of Vroman's opponent's signs on the way down. I made a point to look for his(?) signs on the way back north. Only saw one, on the west side of the freeway while going through Ukiah. Vroman seems to at least won the sign war.
We were actually given the heads up by a fellow UCSF Oncology Clinic regular about a place we might stay for free while in San Francisco. Turns out a hospital owns a local hotel and often provides rooms to its own, and I guess other hospital's, cancer patients. Shame on me for forgetting the name of the hospital, but it was something like Pacific Medical Foundation.....something.

We had to give that a try. You have to set it up through the American Cancer Society, I believe. Connie made the phone calls and after a few days we got confirmation for our room.

I was a bit apprehensive about this. The Cathedral Hilll Hotel is on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco. First, I don't like staying in San Francisco. Second, what if it's some dump? After reading the Yahoo Reviews ( mine's the latest up there.) I still felt apprehensive, since I tended to focus on the negative reviews, which were actually in the minority.

It got even worse when I realized I forgot to make reservations for our second night at Days Inn, Novato. I figured we'd try one night at Cathedral Hill. If it worked out ok, we could stay there for two days the next time. If not, at least we weren't stuck there for two nights.

When I mentioned I forgot to make reservations at Days Inn, the wife wondered why I'd do that, as she made reservations for two nights at Cathedral. That pissed me off, but what was I to do? I thought I'd told her just to make reservations for Sunday night there. Oh well. Cathedral Hill turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Pretty easy to get to: Just go left after the Golden Gate Bridge, instead of going right to 19th. Take a left at Lombard and then a right on Van Ness. Only took 15 to 20 minutes after getting over the bridge.

We get there and I was pleasantly surprised to find all kinds of room in their parking garage. A bit confusing to getting around in there as the signage wasn't really clear as to where you needed to go. Turned out we ended up parking right near to the entrance to the hotel lobby just by accident. Later, we managed to move our truck even closer. Beats the UCSF parking garage any day.

I was surprised at the amount of activity when we entered the hotel lobby. I'd kinda expected this to be some old has- been that had seen it's better days and now just served as a low class hotel. Not so. There were all kinds of people coming and going and some just hanging out in the lobby, reading or talking on the phone.

The people at the front desk were friendly enough. Along with the keys to our room we got vouchers for two days of breakfasts at their breakfast room, which actually isn't a breakfast room in the sense we've been used to. This was actually a restaurant. They just offered a buffett breakfast along with everything else.

I asked about internet access and the guy told us they had WiFi, but it was AT&T, not provided by the hotel. Whatever plan you decided to use was between you and them. That done, we went to our room.

We were on the sixth floor- sixth out of eight. Despite complaints I'd read about slow elevators here, I found them to be just as fast as any others in town. Sure, if you try during certain time frames when people are coming or going a lot, it may slow down because of all the stops. Otherwise, I didn't find any problems with it.

Our room was just fine, despite some of the reviews I read. In fact, we had two double sized beds instead of one there. There was a TV, coffee pot and a desk. That was about it. A refrigerator would have been nice, but that's one thing they don't provide.

First thing I tried to do was go online and was immediately a bit put off by the AT&T interface. You turn your computer wireless connection on and select the ATT connection. You connect to their web site and try to register. I finally figured out I needed to click on the Connect Now link.

The guy at the front desk told me it cost $9.99 for 24 hours. A bit pricey, but since we got the room, breakfast and parking free, who was I to do the complaining? So, I figure $20 for two days. I can handle that. Problem was, I couldn't find that in the plans they presented on their web page. They only had three options and the cheapest was $25 for three days. I ended up choosing that one.

After entering the credit card info, it told me it couldn't accept my debit card. So, I tried my credit card. Wouldn't accept that, either. Then I realized one thing my form filler program didn't fill out was the state of residence. I manually entered that and the card went through.

It said something about successfully opening my account so I figured I was good to go. I go to check my e- mail and I get the Firefox window saying page couldn't be located, or whatever it says. I tried a couple other pages and get the same thing. It looks like I'm not connected, but my wireless program says I am.

I go back to AT&T and start looking around. After about ten or fifteen minutes I realized I wasn't logged in to them. I go back and forth for about ten minutes and finally figured what I needed to do and finally got logged in. If I had to do it over again right now I'm not sure I'd still be able to just log right in. Not a real user friendly interface on that web page, at least for me.

But, it worked. Next thing I noticed was the room seemed to only have the old style two pronged electrical outlets. I needed the three prong to run the laptop off external power. I looked around and couldn't find a three prong until I went into the bathroom which had one. So, I'd use the laptop for a couple hours, then go into the bathroom and plug it in and let it charge.

That was kind of a hassle, for sure, but it was doable. It wasn't until the next day I happened to look behind me and notice a three prong outlet on the wall next to my bed. How in the world did I miss that? Too far to use with my computer on the desk, but the sill of the window was wide enough for the laptop so I moved operations over there. Everything worked fine then.

One thing that sucks just about anywhere is being a smoker. I'd thought about this earlier: It's not gonna be easy to take a smoke break in an eight story hotel. One thing I noticed about this place, though, was a noteable absence of No Smoking signs. We were in a No Smoking room but there was just a small note on the back of the room door about not smoking.

First I just went down to the parking garage, as it was almost open air. That wasn't as bad as it might seem as the longest part of walking down there was the walk from the room to the elevator of probably 80 feet. On the way back up one time, I decided to check out the so- called Patio.

The Patio was an atrium type place on the fourth floor. They have some kind of meeting room in the middle, a bunch of plants and even a small pool. Not bad. I didn't see any No Smoking signs and the presence of a few ashtrays let me know smoking was allowed there. That became my new smoke break spot.

Getting to the UCSF Oncology Clinic took a little bit of figuring out, if only because of all the one way streets in S.F. But, we made it there in fifteen or twenty minutes despite making a few wrong turns. That's a good thing because we had to be there at 9:30 for blood work and then at 3:30 to see the doctor. Five or six hours is a long time to twiddle your thumbs at UCSF.

So, we were able to drive right back after the first stop at UCSF and hang out at the hotel. I played on the computer and the wifey tried to catch up on the sleep she lost the night before. She didn't sleep well, nor did I, but I can handle it a little better.

As far as food went, we ate at the restaurant in the lobby the first night, pricey though it was. I forget what the place was called. Their web page says "Hilltop Restaurant". I think the picture is the same place but the name was Jack's...something. Good food but not really affordable for us. I ended up buying two separate orders: Steak Fries and some Chicken Strips. The wife ordered a quesadilla.

I also broke with tradition and ordered a beer with my meal. $4.50 for one beer. Is it that much everywhere? Actually, we came out ok at around $25 after all was said and done. I felt that wasn't bad. The waitress told us later they didn't charge us for the Steak Fries. I have no idea why but that was awfully nice of them.

Breakfast there was pretty nice. I'll admit to prefering the normal motel breakfast room where you just show up, sit down and eat, but this was ok. As I mentioned before, this is actually a restaurant dining room. Some people are actually buying regular breakfasts, including the buffett. Others, like us, have vouchers for the free buffett.

The first morning it was fairly busy there. The second it was almost standing room only as there was at least one foreign tourist group in there having breakfast. The food was good, though, with more than just your standard motel breakfast room fare. They had scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and a wider assortment of cereals available than I've seen in other breakfast rooms.

And we got it all for free.

We left around 8:30ish Tuesday morning. The wife always talks about not wanting to deal with the evening rush hour when leaving UCSF. I figured what's the difference? A rush hour is a rush hour. We got to 101 quick enough, scary that it was. Once we got over the bridge and around Marin, the southbound 101 traffic heading towards S.F. looked like it was at a standstill. We were flying right along.

In fact, we made pretty darn good time coming back. Not quite the four hour and forty five minute record I made earlier in the year, but not bad. Even after being held up south of Confusion Hill from this wreck, we still made it back here in around five and a half hours, and that's with maybe four pit stops along the way.

I'll be happy to go back to Cathedral Hill in the future but probably only when we have to stay two nights. If we have morning appointments and thus just have to stay one night, we'll likely just stay at Days Inn, Novato, at least while we can afford it. Then again, there's always the Native Daughters of the Golden West house to stay at, as well. It's nice to have lots of options.

A Fun Newfound Blog

Not exactly local, so it won't get listed on my local blog list, but I've been enjoying this newly found blog. One of the bloggers, Mermaid, is from Arcata. The other two aren't.

I stumbled into this one after seeing Mermaid's blog listed in Humguide. Problem is, Mermaid doesn't update her blog very often, which left me no choice but to leave one of my "time to shut down this blog..." notices in her comments. Looked at her profile and found the Dumb Crap blog, which I find pretty amusing.

I've added Dumb Crap to my daily blog read list.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Gallegos Taking Heat Again

I guess it's nothing new but, ouch, this doesn't look good. Whether he was helping out a contributor, every defendent gets treated that way, or a little of both; Doesn't look good.

Monday, September 25, 2006

More on Drugs (and Vroman)

Just noticed this commentary by the editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal. It's a eulogy for the late Norm Vroman, District Attorney of Mendocino County. Something you don't hear very often here or anywhere else: Vroman saw alcohol, not methamphetamine, as the real threat in Mendocino County.

I've heard similar sentiments against alcohol in regards to other illicit drugs, but I don't believe I've heard the meth vs. alcohol argument before.

T- S Does More NORML News

Once again I'm surprised that the Times- Standard used a press release from the National Organization For the Reform of Marijuana Laws as fodder for a news item. Somewhat pleased, though, as well.

I remember them doing two or three days of coverage a while back of the NORML convention in San Francisco (or was it somewhere in the East Bay?) earlier this year and was surprised when they did that.

It's good to see some things a lot of people aren't aware of get occasional coverage. I just wonder if Joe and Jill Sixpack enjoy seeing NORML coverage in their paper? Hard to say.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

SacBee Covering Blogs

I don't know if this is, has been, or is going to be a regular feature in the Sacramento Bee, but today they take a look at a few blogs that someone there apparently follows. That, or maybe he just surfed around and randomly picked a few blogs to feature.

Interesting idea, but I didn't see any that I would want to add to my list.

They even suggest, at the bottom of the story, that if you have any blogs you think they should look at, send them an e- mail. I might send in a few I have on my list.

Oh, as usual, if asked for a log in at the SacBee site, you can always use humboldtlib for username and blogspot for the password.

My Mendocino County Blog

I almost feel guilty about this, but I started a new blog. Well...kinda. Well, actually I did but I'm not sure just how far I'll go with it. Since the Ukiah Daily Journal started up their own blog spot, I figured I'd try it out.

I obviously don't live in Mendocino County, but I do travel through there often enough. I also check out the UDJ web site just about every day, now that they've been updating it regularly. I figure, if I see something of interest in the UDJ, I can blog on it not just here, but there.

I don't really like it when people have multiple blogs as it makes it too hard to follow. But, doesn't look like many, if any, people are using the UDJ blogs so no harm done. If I find it's too hard to come up with stuff to post there, I'll just shut the blog down, assuming they have a way to do that. I know I had a hell of a time logging in to make my first post so the interface isn't real user friendly.

I will try to shut my blog space down if I don't end up using it. No use cluttering up cyberspace with a dead blog. We'll see how my foray into Mendocino County works out.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Rob Arkley A Billionaire?

Everybody keeps saying that Rob Arkley's a "billionaire". Now Cap'n Buhne seems confused that Forbes magazine didn't list Arkley on their recently released list of "Richest Americans". He points out that Security National's own web site describes the company as a "multi- billion dollar business".

I suppose I might be off base here, but I've said before that, to my knowledge, Rob Arkley isn't quite yet a billionaire. I mentioned some time ago speaking with someone who knows Arkley quite well. He told me Arkley had indicated to him he wasn't a billionaire...not yet, anyway.

Of course, that was earlier this year and I don't know exactly when the conversation he had with Arkley took place so my info could be outdated.

I think the confusion exists because many people equate Rob Arkley with Security National Corp., which is a fair equation to make. That said, it would depend on how much of a stake Rob has in Security National.

Security National, being a corporation, is publicly owned, I would think. It likely has numerous shareholders. How many shares of Security National does Rob Arkley own? Just because Security National is worth billions, doesn't necessarily mean Rob is in complete control of all those assets.

It would be interesting to know just who owns the majority of Security National. I wouldn't be surprised if the Arkleys do own most of it. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't possess assets worth over a billion dollars themselves, either.

I suppose, in the end, it depends how you crunch the numbers.

Ukiah Daily Journal Goes Interactive

I guess interactive is the right word.

I was doing my daily check of the Ukiah Daily Journal web site and noticed they 'd started a blog. Kind of hard to notice, at first. I noticed a link for K.C.'s Blog in the left sidebar, went there, and noticed the September 20 entry where he mentioned they'd started a "community bulletin board".

Doesn't look like anybody's taken advantage of the bulletin board as of yet. Have to keep an eye on it and see if anything develops. I can't help but wonder how many people in Mendocino visit the UDJ web page and would even be aware of the bulletin board? Then again, seems like a number of us frequent the Times- Standard's web page.

Moving even further into interactivity, I noticed mention that the UDJ has set up their online stories to accept comments, joining the evergrowing number of newspapers that are doing so. This is another one that might be slow to get going as the link for comments is quite a ways down towards the bottom of the page so not easily noticed.

My comments might be the first up there, so far, as I didn't notice any others. I first took the opportunity to ask a question brought up on Eric's blog regarding the death of D.A. Norm Vroman: How will this affect the D.A. race down there? Does Vroman's opponent win by default?

Scroll down and you'll see my comment. I have to wonder if any staff members monitor the comments? I'll have to remember to check back and see if my question is answered.

I also had to make a somewhat light hearted comment in regards to this story on the Ukiah Police Department using T.V. ads for recruiting. My comment being that "We have the potential to hit a lot of people" is probably a poor choice of words for a police officer trying to promote his department.

I wonder if the Times- Standard will follow suit and allow comments to their online stories? They're owned by the same company and seem to use the same webmaster. I checked earlier on and don't see any comments links yet.

I suppose- some of their staff having visited the local blogs- I wouldn't blame them if they didn't. They might want the headache of dealing with some of the outlandish comments we see here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

John Jones Comes To Town

Republican congressional candidate, John Jones, met with the Republican Women's Federation in Eureka yesterday. What??? No one invited me? Probably just as well as I probably wouldn't have shown up anyway.

I've been trying to decide what I'll be doing come Election Day in this race. The last few elections, if there was no Libertarian Party candidate running for congress, I didn't vote in the congressional race.

But that was usually with Lawrence Weisner running in the Republican slot. I wouldn't vote for him as he seems too much of a hard core War Party candidate and I don't see any compelling reason to vote for Mike Thompson, despite him actually casting a decent vote on a few issues now and again.

What about this John Jones guy? From what little is mentioned in the Eureka Reporter about his positions on the issues, he sounds ok to me, except when he gets to Iraq and the War On Terror, where he comes off as pretty much in the War Party camp. Almost like we're back to square one as far as choices here.

Then again, there's always Pam Elizondo, the Green Party candidate. I've said here before that anyone that would show up for a candidate forum in a T shirt is my kind of guy or gal. Still, there are some principles involved here.

I'd feel much more comfortable wasting my vote on her if she was still with the Peace and Freedom Party. Besides, it looks like she's one of those global warming alarmists and I don't know that I could even waste my vote on one of those.

One of those times where it's nice to also have the choice of None Of The Above.

Lockyer's Latest Stunt

I know I'm not alone in seeing Attorney General Bill Lockyer's lawsuit against auto companies as just what it is: An election year publicity stunt.

Still, It's good to see some of the media blasting Lockyer over this.
Both the L.A. Daily News and the L.A. Times published editorials today criticizing the lawsuits. Hopefully we'll see more Lockyer bashing in the papers over this stunt. Whether it will affect his run for State Treasurer remains to be seen.

Mendocino County D.A. Dies

Norman Vroman, District Attorney of Mendocino County, died yesterday. The Ukiah Daily Journal story on it is here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Governator Passes Prop 83 Type Law

The Governator signed a bill yesterday that apparently contains many of the provisions of Prop 83- the upcoming ballot intiative that supposedly strengthens law against sex offenders. I can't help but think that much of the reason for this is just election year pandering. Then again, maybe it's just insurance in case Prop 83 fails at the ballot box?

Luckily this law doesn't have at least one bad element of Prop 83: The increase of the distance that sex offenders must live from schools from 1000 to 2000'. Similar laws elsewhere have ended up shifting the bulk of sex offenders to rural areas where schools aren't so close together.

Hopefully, the passage of this law might result in Prop 83 failing. Problem is most people probably won't be aware of this new law and it's human nature to want to join the lynch mob when you have an unpopular target. Prop 83 will likely pass anyway.

At least a couple newspaper editorial boards have come out in opposition to Prop 83. This editorial from Sacramento Bee was the last one I noticed. I haven't seen any papers come out in support. I wonder if the Eureka Reporter or Times- Standard might be the first?

Speaking of Education:

The Education- Industrial Complex marches onward with the Chancellor of the University of California at Irvine saying he's going to press ahead with plans for a new law school associated with his campus despite an advisory agency saying there's no need for a new law school in the state.

I'll have to admit to having to eat a bit of crow on this one. I do tend to stereotype many politicians and bureaucrats at one time or another. I would have thought the California Postsecondary Education Commission would have approved a new school just because of who they are. I guess I got that one wrong.

Scrap Any Balloon Tract Plans

Well, I guess that's it. Since David Cobb explained to us in his My Word piece today we can't extend Waterfront Drive south to the Balloon Tract, the Balloon Tract will just have to stay as it is for eternity.

He mentions traffic congestion already being a problem down in that area and suggests any development on the Balloon Tract will only make it worse. Well... he specifies big box stores as what would make it worse, but we all know that increased congestion is inevitable no matter what is done with the Balloon Tract, assuming whatever's done attracts people.

Sorry to those of you that want affordable housing, government offices, or even a multiple use commercial center there. David Cobb has told us the way it is. Damn! I thought we had something going here.

He's does make a point about the wasted money, but I'd say that's a problem with government, not private development of the Balloon Tract.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Klamath Dams

More in the news today about the dams on the Klamath River, with dam owner Pacificorp saying fish ladders wouldn't likely be an effective way to get salmon back upstream. They propose trapping and trucking salmon instead. Whatever.

I was under the impression that fish ladders were an integral part of any dam that was on a river with migrating fish. I guess not.

Still, there's the calls for tearing down the dams instead, thus reverting the Klamath to its original state. I'll never understand that. Sure, the salmon might be suffering from low flows, disease and such with the dams there, but I don't see how removing the dams would rectify that situation. At least with the dams there you could release additional water from time to time to keep the flows up.

I don't know what the answer is to this fishy problem, but I don't think tearing down the dams will help anything. We need both the water and power the dams provide.

Speaking of District Attorneys...

Worth Dikeman tells us what's on his mind after his firing.

Mendocino County District Attorney, Norman Vroman, had a pretty serious heart attack yesterday.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bass Out Pounding The Pavement

Eureka Mayoral Candidate, Virginia Bass, was out going door to door yesterday. Her newfound husband, Matt, was walking point ahead of her. He made the mistake of coming by my house.

I saw him coming to the door and went out to see what he was up to. After I got to talking at him, he waved over Virginia. She ended up stuck talking to me, as well. I probably used up forty five minutes to an hour of their precious campaign time. A fun time indeed, talking politics and all.

Nice folks. Seems we know a lot of the same people. I probably scared them off with my endless chatter. They'll likely not make the mistake of coming back to my house again.

New Law Signed: Ballast Water Treatment

The Governator just signed a law that will require treatment of ballast water from both small and large ships- the problem being those ships ballast waters often contain non- native plants and critters that often end up establishing themselves in California waterways.

This is probably long overdue. My question is, how are they going to "treat" that much ballast water? I guess even the powers that be don't know yet, as they have until 2020 to come up with some standards. Anybody have any ideas on how they might end up treating all this ballast?

Let's hope the cure doesn't end up worse than the disease.

County Redevelopment Plan Nixed

I was pleasantly surprised to see the county's five year attempt at developing a redevelopment agency finally get tossed. I got the feeling, just from what little I've read in the news, that the supes, with the exception of Rodoni, were pretty determined on making it happen.

This isn't necessarily the end of it. They might well broach the issue again once they get somewhere with the County General Plan.

Probation For Robbery?

Is there a problem here?

I'm reading
this story in the Eureka Reporter about some arrests that were made recently. One of the arrests was that of Jacob Gabriel of Eureka. They arrest him for a couple robberies and attempted robbery earlier this month.

Yet the Reporter notes:
At the time of his arrest, police said Gabriel was on active felony probation for robbing U.S. Bank in Henderson Center last year.

He was convicted for robbing a bank last year and he's out on probation already? Is this one of those Gallegos plea bargains I keep hearing about?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Cleaning Up The City

I was just over at Art Olivier's web site. Art's the LP of California's gubernatorial candidate this time around. I went there to check out other things but saw a link on his Issues list for The Fight Against Drugs. This reminded me of Eureka Mayoral candidate, Jerry Droz, and others' proposals for getting the meth houses out of Eureka.

Everybody wants to run the drug houses out of town, as Olivier points out. That said, I was glad to see Olivier mention that those drug houses will likely just end up somewhere else. I can't help but wonder if the druggie house a few houses up the street has some of the tenants from the drug houses Jerry Droz supposedly shut down with his civil suits?

Probably not, as Droz has only lived up here four years. I think most of those people were here before then. Oh well, maybe the next new neighbors we get will be from one of the Droz' more recent civil cases.

Homeless or Illegal Campers?

It took me a while to figure out why I kept seeing people being arrested for "Trespassing", when I'd read the arrest reports in the local papers. At first I assumed they were arresting anti- logging protesters.

I finally came to realize it was homeless types that were being arrested for being where they weren't supposed to be.
I'll have to admit to wondering, where are these people supposed to go? You have to sleep somewhere.

This isn't a new problem up here, for those of you that haven't lived here long. We used to have a homeless encampment out on the south spit. I can't remember if it was before or after that that we also had one up at Clam Beach. Both of those were eventually broken up and their residents sent scattering to the four winds.

I was of mixed mind even back then. On one hand I thought maybe this was the only way to do it: Give the homeless a place they could camp out and let them concentrate there, rather than in town somewhere.

Problem with that was, they still ended up in town, if for no other reason than panhandling or making their regular trip to the welfare office. They'd also make a mess of their encampents, just as happens here in town. Eventually, someone has to spend a whole lot of effort cleaning up their mess.

That's one of the questions I have about the Balloon Tract: No matter what ends up being built there, unless it remains an empty lot, where are the people camping there going to end up?

Sex Offenders/ 9th Circuit Court

The Los Angeles Times had a couple interesting stories today.

This one is an informative look at Prop 83, the initiative on the November ballot that places further restrictions on sex offenders. Some interesting stuff there, at least to me, although I was aware of some of the things brought up.

This one takes a look at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and some of its rulings that are being reviewed by the Supreme Court. Will the recent ruling against Worth Dikeman be one of them?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fairchance's Election Predictions

I forget who it is that runs that Sunday Night News With Fairchance blog. Is it Mike Buettner? Someone posted here or somewhere else who it was.

Anyway, Fairchance went out on a limb and posted his predictions on a few of the local elections. Here's how he sees it:

FairChance.Us Candidate Rankings Not an endorsement. Rankings are projected election results, kind of serious, kind of for fun. Ranking updated periodically.

Humboldt County Fourth District Supervisor
1. Bonnie Neely
2. Nancy Flemming

Arcata City Council (2 seats available)
1. Dave Meserve
2. Mark Wheetley
3. Alex Stillman
4. Michael Winkler
5. Dana Quillman
6. Jeffrey Schwartz
7. Bobby Harris
8. Nick "Eeyore" Page

Mayor of Eureka
1. Virginia Bass
2. Peter LaVallee
3. Droz

Eureka City Council 1st Ward
1. Mary Beth Wolford
2. Larry Glass
3. Tish Wilburn

Eureka City Council 3rd Ward
1. Ron Kuhnel
2. Jeff Leonard

Eureka City Council 5th Ward
1. Mike Jones*
2. Nancy Abrams

Boy, I don't know about that. At least as far as Eureka Mayor and City Council goes. But I'll have to admit I tend to be pessimistic about elections. Remember, I'm used to losing and would expect this time around will be no different, especially since we are in California.

I'd like to think he's wrong about Kuhnel in the 3rd Ward race. Most people I personally know wouldn't vote for the Local Solutions candidates and I think would likely vote for the status quo. But, again, I'm pessimistic and wouldn't be surprised if the Local Solutions gang takes the day.

I hope Fairchance has guessed it right, at least for some of the races, and I'm wrong.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Google Forms PAC

I guess this really isn't anything all that new, but why do I find it troubling that Google has formed a political action committee? I suppose it's because, after reading this article in the San Francisco Chronicle, it looks like Google's jumped into the world of political corruption with both feet.

Still, I guess it's nothing new and, as I've said here before, you can hardly blame a company for getting involved with politics since politics can either make them or break them.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Cellphone Ban To Be Signed Today

A bill outlawing talking on a cellphone without a hands- free device, while driving, is expected to be signed into law today. I believe it becomes effective in January 2008.

This is one of those weird ones where I'm strongly opposed to it in principle, but am kinda glad to see it happen.

I don't like having yet another reason for people to be pulled over for doing nothing really wrong, at least in and of itself. At the same time I've nearly been hit, at least once, by someone obsessed with talking while driving, and that was in the Eureka Mall parking lot!

I'll also admit to being annoyed by people that think they're so important they need to be talking to someone every minute of the day. I thought it was bad up here. Down in San Francisco, it seems half the people have a cell phone to their ear at one time or another.

This is one where it's easy to point fingers. I have a cellphone in my truck- one of those old analog type bag phones. I don't use it while driving. In fact, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I use it in a year.

Wish more people used them like I do.

Blogspot On The Blitz

First Eric's blog goes down, then Hucktunes. Now my blog isn't working. Looks like a rolling blackout for blogspot. Never seen it happen like this before. When will it get fixed?

More Endorsements

So, the Central Labor Council endorsed Bonnie Neely. The Democratic Central Committee endorsed LeVallee, Glass, Kuhnel and Abrams for Eureka City Council, and then backed Prop 89, the Clean Money Initiative, and opposed Prop 90, eminent domain reform.

These endorsements are so predictable, although the Times- Standard article on the Democratic Central Committee mentions there being "much debate" on Prop 89, which surprised me. I'm not really pointing a finger, though. I figure I'm fairly predictable myself.

Let me predict the rest of the Democratic Central Committee's positions on the upcoming ballot initiatives, their decisions for those having been rescheduled to their October meeting:

I say they recommend a YES on all the remaining initiatives, the one exception being Prop 83, which deals with sex offenders. That'll likely be YES, as well, but there could be some lefty arguments that might arise to lead to a NO vote, or at least some debate on the issue.

We'll see if I'm right after their October meeting.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Prop 90 (revisited) and Prop 89

I've said here before that I supported Prop 90, that eminent domain reform initiative on the November ballot. Eric Kirk took the opposite position on his blog a while back, with some points well made.

Now, Senate Republican Leader, Dick Ackerman, has come out opposed to Prop 90, citing reasons along the line of Eric's.

I am certainly re- thinking my position on this initiative. Prop 90 was one of four or five eminent domain initiatives that were circulating and was the only one that made it to the ballot. Too bad one or two of the others didn't make it so we could have taken a closer look at them.
L.A. Times columnist, George Skelton, shows some common sense every now and then. Today he comments on Prop 89, that public financing of political campaigns intitiative.

I Believe In UFOs.

I see Glenn Franco- Simmons, over at the Eureka Reporter, is following the masses in that word- use snafu that always irks me. He writes:

"I guess I should also believe in black helicopters, UFOs and aliens.".

Of course you should believe in UFOs, Glenn. UFOs are Unidentified Flying Objects. Unidentified flying objects certainly do exist. Just because they're unidentified, doesn't mean they're alien spacecraft.

Let's stop using the acronymn, UFO, to replace flying saucers, or alien spacecraft. That bugs me about as much as using track when it's supposed to be tract. Then again, I think I got over being bothered by that last one.

A Sore Loser

Here's someone who, not only takes his politics seriously, but seems to be a real sore loser. The guy who supposedly hired him, not the guy who just got convicted. There must be more than meets the eye in having a seat on a water district board.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Flemming Spaghetti Feed

We'd heard a couple days ago that Nancy Flemming would be having a spaghetti feed as a campaign event. We thought off and on about attending as it was just a few blocks from our house: The Odd Fellows Hall on Buhne Street.

I wasn't sure I really wanted to deal with that, after driving all the way up from Novato. Then again, Connie doesn't feel like cooking much after a long drive like that and, besides, what else am I gonna do? So, we decided to walk on over to the Odd Fellows Hall.

I've never been to any of these spaghetti or pancake feeds that are held by various groups throughout the year. I was surprised at how many people were there. I'd say around a hundred people, maybe more. In fact, after I got my plate I was wondering if there was a free seat available. Found one without too much trouble, though.

What a gala event. All kinds of people there: Jerry Partain, serving spaghetti, along with Joy Finley. Rex Bohn at the microphone when we first got there. Roger Rodoni, Dave and Penny Elsebusch and probably many more I didn't see.

All in all a pretty fun time. All for just $5.00 a plate. I'll have to do that again.

North Coast Travelogue: 9/10-9/13

Had to go down to UCSF again on Sunday. This time we had to stay two nights, so I was hating it.

We left Sunday about 11am and wouldn't you know it, the first car to go speeding past me was a Subaru. This was down past Garberville. I couldn't help but laugh but was disappointed the gal didn't have a Kerry For President bumpersticker on the back of her car.

In fact, after that, I made a point of looking out for Subarus and saw quite a few, but no Kerry stickers. Even stranger, after I started really paying attention, I didn't see any campaign stickers on any cars the whole trip down there, with the one exception being an old Kerry sticker on the back of a mini- van. Campaign stickers must be going out of style.
I keep telling myself to keep some band aids in my truck, if for no other reason than sometimes I cut myself when I'm at work. Just by chance, about a week earlier I'd put four band aids in the bag I carry around with me. Good thing I did.

As we're coming up to Novato, I decided to pull off the freeway for a final break before heading into the city. We pulled off the same place we turn to go to Day's Inn, and drive a quarter mile or so south on the road to the hotel. Found a perfect place to pull over.

I get out to take a leak but, before I go to the bushes, I reached for a book behind the passenger seat that had the instructions to where we were going written down. I had trouble getting the book out and brushed my hand on the truck as I pulled it out. Didn't feel a thing.

So I go relieve myself and as I'm zipping up my pants, there's blood all over my right hand. Apparently I'd cut myself while getting the book out but was unaware of it until I looked at my hand. What a mess. It was really bleeding.

So I ask the wife to look in the glove box where I thought the bandaids were. She can't find them. Then I remembered I might have put them in my bag. By the time I get the band aids, there's blood all over the place and I was wiping it up with some dirty napkins. I only had four band aids and had three cuts- one each on three fingers.

To make things worse, even after I wiped the blood up my hands were all sticky from the blood so it made it hard to get the band aids to stick. In fact, the first one got blood all over it and was rendered worthless. I finally managed to get the cuts taped, cleaned up a bit, and was on my way.

Lesson learned: Keep a box of band aids in the glove box, along with a good supply of napkins or paper towels.
Normally we stay at the Day's Inn in Novato on Sunday night, then drive to UCSF early next morning, take care of business, then be out of there before noon and home before dark. This time, not only did we have to stay over two nights, some relatives of the wife had given us the heads up on a place we could stay in Frisco on the cheap. It was supposed to be close to UCSF, too.

The Native Daughters of the Golden West has a big house in San Francisco. It serves as both a place for members to stay, and their state office. If you're a member, and they have the space, you can stay at that house for much less than a hotel would cost. It costs $20 a night per member, $30 for the member's guest.

To be a member you pay $25 a year and have to be a native born Californian gal. Connie's parents paid the $25 and Connie had to send them her birth certificate. Then, they had a meeting of the local "parlor" (out in Samoa this time) to approve the membership application.

Easy enough, but I was a bit leery of it. First of all, I simply don't like staying in San Francisco. Second, I was under the impression, from what Connie said of the meeting she went to, it was mostly older women and, from some reference to religion I saw on their web page, I wondered if this group, or at least the members, might be big on religion.

I didn't want to have insult added to injury and have to stay in San Francisco and spend the night where everyone was involved in some prayer meeting, or some such. That is NOT my idea of a good time, but this was not to be.

The NDGW house is on the corner of Fulton and Baker in the city. Looking at the map I made some rough plans to get there, knowing roughly the area where it was. What Connie picked up on, and I totally missed, is that Fulton is a cross street of 19th Avenue, which is the street we use to go to UCSF anyway. Once Connie brought that to my attention, I figured that should be easy enough.

So, we end up heading East on Fulton. One of my worries about this thing is parking, as NDGW didn't have any dedicated parking space I was aware of. The trip down Fulton didn't make me feel any better as cars where parked bumper to bumper along both sides of the road.

We finally come to the corner of Baker and Fulton. I thought, using the map at, that the house would be on the southeast corner. It wasn't. So we look at the numbers and realize it was the one on the other side of the street. We couldn't see anything from the street to identify it as such, though. Looked just like any other house.

I needed to find parking now and, surprised as I was, just as we realized what house it was there's an open parking space just to my right. The allow parking nose- in on this street.

So, I park the car and we walk forty or fifty feet to the house and can see the NDGW seal above the entrance to the place. The trees along the street blocked us from seeing it.

We open the silly security gate so many San Francisco houses have and press on the intercom. Some gal says she'll be right there. She comes to the door after a minute or so. Connie says who she is and we're allowed in. She proceeds to take us on a tour of the place without even verifying our identity(?).

This place is pretty impressive. Four floors with, I think she said, twenty plus rooms in all. It has one of those old style elevators where you can see the floors pass by as you go up or down. The rooms are all nice, some big, some small. I thought it weird that all the doors to the rooms were open, too, so you could see inside all of them.

Nothing but single beds in the whole place, from what I could see, but the room we ended up in had two singles. Most rooms had a small television, but no cable tv, just broadcast channels. No phones in the rooms, either, but they had a phone you could use on the second floor.

The second floor had a good sized dining room and a VERY well equipped kitchen: Any cooking utensils you might need, microwaves, toasters, commercial refrigerator/ freezer...everything. And we had full use of it. Anything we needed to use, was ours to use, so long as we cleaned up after ourselves. Next to the kitchen was a large dining room (meant for meetings and such), where we could eat. They just asked that we be sure and use the placemats they provided to avoid stains on the tablecloth.

They also had a history room, a parlor (living room) and a TV room, with cable. Never made it to the TV room.

After the tour, she handed us our key and a form to fill out which she told us to just drop off in a birdhouse looking thing in the kitchen when we left. Amazing. Didn't even make us pay first, or ask for a credit card number, or some such.

She gave us a room on the fourth floor. Normally I wouldn't like that but, with the elevator so close, not too big a deal.

We went out to get our stuff from the truck and when we get to the street, there's two open parking places right in front of the door. I tell Connie to stay right there and I'll put our truck in one of the spaces. I run to the truck, get in, grind gears trying to hurry.

In just the 30 seconds it took me to do that, the two spaces were taken.

I back up real fast, to get the space I just gave up. In just the 15 seconds it took me to back into the street, someone took my old space. DAMN! Just what I expected, except I actually had a place to start with.

So, I drive up to the driveways to the NDGW house. Figure I can't park there but I can unload. We unload and I start driving around looking for a parking space. I drive around two blocks probably three times and there's not a space to be found. It's getting dark and I'm wondering if maybe I should just go to UCSF, park in the parking garage and take a cab back to NDGW.

Just as I'm making maybe my fourth pass, and approaching the corner near the front of NDGW, a car pulls out of a space just in front of me. A small car and not much room there. A driveway on one side and a car just to the rear. I'm not sure if there's enough room for my truck. There was. I just made it, with about and inch between the back of my truck and the car behind me and just enough room for people to use the driveway.

Problem solved. As we were preparing dinner later on, I was telling the house manager of the ordeal. She says, "You know you can park in our driveways? Just stay off the sidewalk and put one of these signs on your dashboard so we know you're a guest...". NOW she tells me. Oh well. l actually went out and moved my truck back to the front of the house, worrying about a replay of my earlier misadventure.

One thing I was worried about with NDGW was internet access. If there were a bunch of people sitting around talking about religion, or other dull matters, I'd go nuts if I didn't have the internet to entertain me. Turned out not to be much of a problem.

While we were being given the tour, the manager, whose name escapes me now, mentioned that while they don't provide internet access, you can receive wireless from the cafe across the street. Oh really, says I. She said it works. Just to make sure I confirmed the phone line on the second floor as I figured if wireless didn't pan out I could always hook up to the phone jack.

Turned out the phone jack wouldn't work as the phone was spliced into the wall connection, rather than having the clip in plugs that are nearly universal nowadays.

I tried connecting to the wireless across the street from our room, once we were settled in. There were three networks showing. Two of them appeared to be secure and I couldn't connect to what seemed to be the open one.

I tried relocating to the Parlor, as it was at least lower, thus closer to the source. I connected, check my e-mail and then went back upstairs. I tried it again in the room and this time I connected right away and never had a problem connecting again.

In fact, that signal seemed faster than the hotspot at Novato Days Inn. The Days Inn connection says I'm connected at something like 11mps. NDGW's bootleg connection showed me at 55mps(!). I didn't know it could go that fast, but I'll admit I'm kind of a dummy about such things. For all I know 55 might be slower than 11, but some sites I frequent did seem to load faster at NDGW than they did at Day's Inn.

Anyway, all in all it wasn't bad. No prayer meetings, but that might of been cause we were the only guests that night. I didn't see anyone else the whole time but the managers, who were quite friendly. Good thing about NDGW is they don't really have a mandatory check out time, either, so if you had a few hours between appointments somewhere you could always come back and hang out there for a while if you wanted.

One downside, not so much about the NDGW house, but the neighborhood there: I've never seen so much trash on sidewalks before in my life as they had around there. All kinds of trash, lots of it, and no one seemed inclined to pick any of it up.

NDGW is a nice option to have. Quite honestly, I like the freedom of a regular hotel room, as at the Day's Inn, but you know what they say: Beggars can't be choosy.
Didn't get out of S.F. until four 4:30ish Monday. Luckily, Connie only made a reservation for Sunday night at NDGW. I wanted to get out of town, to the Day's Inn. Connie suggested it might not be a good idea to drive this part of the drive during the rush hour but, if we stayed in Frisco another night, we'd probably end up leaving during the morning rush hour, so what difference did it make, was my thought.

We had a reservation at Novato Day's Inn. A good thing, too: Just as we approached the off ramp for Day's Inn, you could see a big traffic jam starting, not a quarter mile north of where we were getting off. Cool. Dodged that bullet.

Turned out to be real cool. A fire just south of Petaluma had just about closed 101. Smoke was in the air, as we could see from Day's Inn. Traffic was still almost at a standstill hours later. We lucked out.
Day's Inn was almost a bit different this time around. We ended up in an upstairs room for the first time. This, despite having made a reservation. Then again, I made the reservation only a day early so I should cut them some slack. Funny thing was, the air conditioner in that room seemed to work better than the ones in the rooms on ground level. You'd think with heat rising, the higher rooms would be warmer.

Once again, we enter the room to find no fridge or microwave. We called the desk and mentioned it. They said they'd see if they could find one and called a few minutes later apologizing and saying they didn't have a fridge or microwave available, but if we needed a fridge we were welcome to use the one in the Breakfast Room.

Turned out, we didn't have anything for the fridge. I assumed Connie had brought food for two nights. She hadn't. We ended up having to eat at the Garden Court restaurant which is part of Day's Inn.

I'd gotten an internet survey from Day's Inn a couple months ago, wanting to know how we felt about the Inn their service. I gave them fairly high grades but mentioned in the comments section that their breakfast room needed work, citing no decaf coffee, uncooked hardboiled eggs and such.

Others must have mentioned it as well. Last time around I pointed out the airpot labeled "decaf" to Connie, although it was empty that time. This time it was full and everthing was fully stocked. Their maintenance guy was manning the room refilling everything as supplies went short. Looks like they took their Breakfast Room critiques pretty seriously.
That was pretty much it for a long trip, at least long by my standards. Made it back in good time. We'll have to go back again within a few weeks. Not real enthused about staying at NDGW again, despite how nice it was there. The wife really likes it, though.

We ran into another Eureka couple at UCSF, as we often do. We told them about NDGW. They, in turn, told us about something they found: A place they often stay for free. We'll be checking that one out soon.
Speaking of Travelogues, as Erik Kirk noted on his blog a while back, Ed Denson has a blog up now that deals mostly with his travels. A fun read, for me anyway.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

SacBee Says NO on Prop 86

I was pleasantly surprisd to see the Sacramento Bee join what seems to be an ever growing number of newspapers opposing Prop. 86, the new tobacco tax that will be on the ballot in November.

Sure, not the only paper, but they are somewhat prestigious in that The Bee is supposedly a regular read for many of the movers and shakers in the state.

That said, I really wonder just how much editorial endorsements accomplish, either for issues or candidates? Regardless, it's a good thing to see positions and arguments that reflect your own get some press.

Oh, and as usual, if asked for a login on the Bee web site, password is humboldtlib, username is blogspot.

Hate Those Billboards?

I guess I'm one of the few that don't. People have been complaining about the billboards along the highway between Arcata and Eureka for some time. Seems to me there used to be a few more than there are now, but I'm not really sure. Now it looks like there's a possibility of the rest of them being taken down.

I hardly notice them. There's not all that many. I probably won't notice if they disappear. Thing is, I have to travel fairly regularly. I've think the signs can be a useful heads up. I don't know that I've ever seen a billboard for a particular business and gone to that business because of it. I just like putting that info in the back of my mind for future use.

What would you do if you're traveling, decide you're hungry or need a hotel, but you're somewhere you've never been before? Billboards and other signs along the highway can help you out.

But that's just me- loneliest guy in the world. I'm sure most everyone else hates them.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Local Candidate Pages

Heard Nancy "Nan" Abrams new radio ad the other day. I noticed she mentioned her campaign web site and it got me wondering about who's up to speed and who's not, as far as web presence is concerned.

Looks like both Nancy Flemming and Bonnie Neely have their sites up, which covers the Board of Supes race.

For Eureka City Council, I see Jeff Leonard has his page up. I believe he was the first to do so, unless I missed someone else's.

Another incumbent, Mike Jones, has his up as well. Not much there, but good for a start.

ancy Abrams, as I mentioned, has been advertising her site during her radio ad. Not a whole lot there, though, at this point. All I see is a phone number, e-mail address and a link to Paypal for donations.

So, at this point, none of the first ward candidates; Wolford, Glass or Wilburn, seem to have a web page. Leonard does for second ward, but nothing for Ron Kuhnel (could have sworn I saw one somewhere, but it's not listed on Humguide or the League of Women Voter's Smartvoter page).

Ward 5 comes out the winner with both Abrams and Jones putting pages up, although Abrams' needs to get hers finished.
In the Mayoral race, Pete Levallee is the only candidate whose page I can find. Are the other candidates not going to bother? I see neither of the three mayoral candidates bothered with the LOWV Smartvoter page, either.

The only campaign page I can find in the Arcata City Council race is Dave Meserve's. Hard to believe, out of all those candidates, only one bothered with a web page.

None of them, including Meserve, bothered with the Smartvoter page, either. I wonder why? It doesn't cost a thing to set up a Smartvoter page with LOWV.

If some of the candidates do have pages up and I haven't found them, don't blame me. If they're that hard to find, they're certainly not going to be found by someone just casually interested in finding them.

No More Stealing Free Papers

Ok; Those of you that are going around emptying out display racks of the Eureka Reporter and theNorth Coast Journal, for whatever reason, better stop it.

The Governator just signed a new law making it illegal to take a certain number of free magazines or newspapers without the intent to read them. Unless I'm mistaken, the law should take effect January 1, 2007. So, if you just can't help yourself, better do it now to get it out of your system before then.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

E/R Goes After Rambling Jack

So the local newspaper wars have come to this?

The Eureka Reporter, apparently jealous of Rambling Jack, of the Mckinleyville Press, has to try to one up Jack by running this article on a gas powered bicycle. Now even Jack's bike blog is a fair target?

Can't we just all get along?

Where was I on 9/11?

I noticed a few weeks back the Times- Standard invited readers to send in their 9/11 experiences for possible publication in their obligatory 9/11 memorial issue being run tomorrow, I thought I'd break with the crowd and do mine early. Should have probably ignored the event altogether, as I usually try to ignore the main media topic of the day, but decided what the heck. But, I should be able to avoid the touchy- feely type stories we'll hear from most media outlets.

So where was I when it happened? Right here, sitting at the computer. Actually, I didn't have my Alienware machine back. I was using my old 600mhz E- machines system and had just started doing my morning computer routine: Check the e- mail, check the news, enter my sweepstakes, check more news and then answer any e- mails that required a response. I don't know that I'd even heard of blogs back then, although I'm sure they might have been around.

Back then I'd wake up a bit before 6am(?) and get right to it. That morning was no different. I went through my e- mail and there wasn't any mention of anything newsworthy. The wife had the clock- radio set to wake her around 6am and the radio came on right about the time I'd finished the first look at my e-mail and I was heading up to the web to take my first look at the news.

Unlike a normal morning, this time the radio didn't have the usual music or talk radio that would normally be on. I heard President Bush saying "Looks like an act of terrorism might have occurred...". I thought, "Hmmm... wonder what that's about...", not being particulary worried about it. The wife got up and said, "That's just what I needed to wake up to...".

I kept up with my web surfing. For the life of me, I don't remember if CNN had any mention of the attacks at the time- CNN being my usual first stop for news each day. The wife went right in to the living room and turned on the TV, catching the first coverage of the attacks as they were happening.

"So, a plane ran into the WTC?", thought I. Not enough to break my morning routine. I went through some of my news sites when the wife says from the other room, "LOOK, another plane flew into the other building...!". That was enough to get me out of my chair to take a look. The replayed the second plane crashing into the building as I entered the room.

"Boy, that's some heavy shit...", or some such, I thought to myself. Nonetheless, I wasn't really all that surprised, or shocked. I went back to the computer and started entering my sweepstakes. Back then, with dial- up, it could take up to an hour and a half to enter my sweepstakes.

I couldn't help but overhear the news on the T.V. I remember one correspondent saying he'd talked to one of the WTC building managers and that there'd normally be around 10,000 people in the buildings at that time of the day.

I don't remember just what I was doing when the buildings collapsed, but I do remember going to the living room and seeing the buildings come down. My first thought was of the firefighters. They must have all been killed, along with whovever was left in the buildings. If most everyone was still in the buildings, then at 8 or 9,000 people, that must be the biggest mass killing since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I went back to the computer and started going back through my news, after my sweeps were taken care of. I had an internet buddy, Michelle, back then. We used to chat on Yahoo Instant Messenger. I don't remember who paged who first, but we ended up chatting around then. She was a bit upset and was trying to contact her kids in Washington State to see if they were ok.

She wondered what I was doing and I told her the same thing I was always doing at that time of the morning: entering my sweeps and checking the news. She said something along the line of, "Not gonna let anything interfere with that, huh". "Nope", says I.

Don't remember how long I stayed on the computer that morning. It was pretty much a normal morning for me.

Went to work at nine or ten, as usual. At my first stop one of my customers came out a bit excited and asked me if I'd heard what happened. I told her that yes I had and that it was "really something, huh.". I guess she assumed that with something like that happening I would have taken the day off. Nope, although that was back then and now I'll use just about any excuse for a day off.

That was pretty much it. A normal work day, a normal day pretty much all the way around for me.

Not for some, though. I remember the wife's parents and some of the Matteolis, from across the street had headed for the Bay Area that morning. They turned around at Santa Rosa when they learned what happened and that everything had pretty much been shut down. They got back later in the afternoon and I remember Janna and Maria looking a bit freaked when they got out of the van.

Connie's dad looked pissed. Oh, and I remember some guy earlier in the day- he must live a few blocks from here- he's driving all up and down the street with a couple American flags stuck in the bed of his pick up truck. He looked all pissed off, as well. I wondered what I was supposed to do while he drove up and down the street: Salute the flags?

But that was pretty much it. I did have a couple concerns: Is this the beginning of a long string of attacks on the U.S. mainland? Will they start doing crap like they do in the middle east, suicide bombers and all that? What direction will the inevitable lynch mob take when it gets formed up to get even for this? People are people and most are going to be seeing red after this. They'll want blood, very possibly anybody's blood.
It wasn't until a few days after 9/11 I remembered a warning about 9/11 I'd read in some paper some weeks before the attacks, although for the life of me I was unable to locate that news article to confirm the timing.

I was going through the news up at, one of my regular stops each morning, when I found an article on Osama Bin Laden. It included an interview with him. I can't remember what paper it was but I don't believe it was a U.S. paper. In the interview he said, as best I remember, "There will be a significant act taken against the United States within the next three weeks.".

I remember wondering just what he meant by that. Another embassy bombing, or an attack on some American ship somewhere?

I'd swear that article appeared within a month of 9/11. I did a half- hearted effort in searching for the article to no avail. If anybody wants to give it a shot, like I said, I don't think it was a U.S. paper. It might have been British, but something keeps telling me it was the India or Singapore Times or maybe an Austrailian paper. Anyway, one of the papers from down there (pointing southwest).

If anybody finds that article, let me know what date it was published.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Time To Buy Gas

In case you're one of those that buys gas only when you absolutely have to, now might be the time to make an exception. According to yesterday's Times- Standard, Renner Petroleum's cardlock stations were selling gas for under $3.00 a gallon the other day. Not sure what it's going for now, but I'm going down today to find out.

Of course, Renner generally sells for ten cents or more less than the other stations around here, with Costco even underpricing Renner. I've been told that Renner prices can change in just seconds, as they're adjusted to the current price Renner buys it for, or some such.

Had a friend tell me he filled one tank on his truck and then the second one. When he checked his bill later in the month, he noticed the same gas he put in the second tank was a penny more or less than the first tank. He called Renner and asked and was told the prices changed based on the current...whatever it was called.

This is good news for some of us that use a lot of gas, especially after the dire warnings we heard of gas prices going through the roof due to that screwed up pipeline in Alaska. Interesting that we always find some corporate conspiracy when gas prices go up. Who do we blame when they go down?

Sonoma County Short On Benefits Bucks

Nothing really new here, as I believe I've referenced problems that Sonoma and other counties in the state are having in meeting their commitments to their employee's retirement funds.

I'm still curious, though, why we never hear anything about Humboldt County and its employee retirement funding.
I find it hard to believe Humboldt's retirement funds are fully funded when other counties are facing multi- million and even billion dollar shortages.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Eureka's Population Down???

Kudos to Eureka gadfly, Howard Rien, for yet another hard- hitting attack on Measure U, the upcoming extension of Eureka's Utility Tax. Still, I can't help but wonder if enough hasn't been said on that already?

What piqued my interest in his commentary was his statement: "And keep in mind also that city employment has increased while city population has decreased in the past decade!". Can this be true?

I wouldn't be surprised if more and more of the working people have moved to other places while more of the riff- raff have moved to Eureka and the rest of Humboldt County. That would explain why Eureka has become more and more liberal, shall we say, over the last ten or twenty years.

I find it hard to believe the population has declined, though. I'm wondering if he means the ratio of city employees to city residents has increased over the last ten years, as that seems to be the trend in all governments over the years?

Have any numbers to through at us in regards to this, Howard?