Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Drawing Blood

I hate having my blood drawn probably because I hate needles. Nonetheless, I can deal with it. It seems nowadays I have to get my blood checked every time I have my prescriptions renewed. Apparently prescriptions are only good for a year. Then I have to go down to North Coast Family Practice and have somebody ensure I'm still alive so they'll renew my prescriptions.

I'd usually just set up an appointment with a Physician's Assistant- P.A.s being less expensive to see than doctors. Both the ones I'd see would always "suggest" having some bloodwork done to find any hidden problems. Not a bad idea and the first time I went in- not having seen any medical people for years- I went along with it, got the tests done and everything seemed ok.

Went along the time after that, too. Test came back showing my triglycerides were high. I was given some samples of some prescription (Loptor?) to see if that would lower my triglycerides and was told to go get my blood drawn again in two weeks to see if the medication worked. I never got around to it.

The next couple years I went in to renew prescriptions I deliberately- well... kinda deliberately- made sure to try and alternate between P.A.s in hopes they'd forget about the blood test I never got around to taking. Somewhat silly, as they have my medical records with them. They'd always give me the form to go get another blood test and I'd usually find an excuse (actually some very good excuses) for not bothering with it.

Those two P.A.s left North Coast Family Practice fairly recently for reasons unknown to me. At the same time I went to get my prescriptions refilled and found one had expired, which I found rather odd as I usually refilled both at the same time. At any rate, the pharmacy contacted NCFP and got the renewal authorization, but only for a 30 day prescription, not the 100 days I prefer.

Ok. So now I guess I have to go back to see the medics again, although I suppose I should anyway. But my two P.A.s were no longer there. This time I had to see a doctor.

This doctor wasn't going to take any of my sluffing off the blood tests. He set me up to take the blood tests and said to come back in a week when he'd check the results of my blood tests and he'd renew my prescriptions. Damn! He's wise to me. I guess I have no choice but to have my blood drawn now.

Thing is, I just looked and noticed the 30 day prescription they authorized the other day is actually good until next year so I could probably go a couple months before I have to deal with renewing. I suppose I could blow it off again, but I won't.

I blew off the blood test last Friday, telling myself I'll do it first thing Monday. Came Monday and I was thinking of going in there on the way to work, since I had to go to Myrtletown, anyway, and the old General Hospital is right along the way. Problem was, I got hungry. The blood test form specified I'd been fasting.

I wondered if I really had to be fasting and assumed for cholesterol checks I probably did. I had to eat something, though, by the time I went to work. I went ahead with breakfast figuring I'd take a chance on it.

Stopped by the lab on the way to Myrtletown. The lady at registration said they wouldn't draw blood if I'd eaten with the last twelve hours. Just as I figured.

She did say they opened at like six or seven in the morning, though, so I figured I'd come back right around seven on Tuesday morning.

That worked out perfectly. Got in there right around seven and was the only one there. Registered, had my blood taken and was home before seven thirty. Not bad. And the girl that drew the blood did it quickly and painlessly. Gee....I'll have to do that again sometime.
One time I ended up with the blood test from hell there. I think that was the one where I came back with high triglycerides, but I can't be sure.

I went in to St. Joes/ General Hospital that morning. I believe I was paying cash for the blood test back then, went around $300 or so, right out of my pocket.

Nothing unusual until some gal I'd never seen before came out to the waiting room. She called out my name and I responded. She comes up to me and says, "Hi, I'm ******. I'm new here.".

Just what I needed. I get nervous enough with needles and blood tests, now this. But that's ok. I'm here to help.

We go into the drawing room. At that time they had four of five booths in one room. As we went in there I noticed someone getting blood drawn in the booth behind ours.

She feels around and thinks she finds a vein. She tries to insert the needle. She can't find the vein. She keeps trying, finally settling on one location. She still can't find blood. She explains to me that she's having a little trouble and keeps poking around. Still no blood.

She tells me she might need some help and, without taking the needle out, starts calling to the guy drawing blood in the booth behind me. "Yoo, hoo. Ken? Ken, you there? I need some help...".

Problem is, Ken was already done as I'd seen him get up and turn down the hallway. I'm just envisioning, as she bobbing her head around trying to see in the other booth, the needle ripping my veins apart as it's still in my arm. I'm thinking to myself, "And I'm paying for this...?".

There was someone standing on the other side of the booth, behind her, the whole time that seemed to work there. He apparently didn't hear the gal working on me. I finally mentioned to my gal that there was someone right behind her and maybe he could go find Ken. She turned and asked him to find Ken.

Ken comes back and sits down. Finally the needle is taken out of my left arm. No blood came gushing out, either. At least that was over.

Ken takes a look at my right arm, feels my hand and says that I feel cold and clammy and my veins are probably real tight from being nervous, or some such. I kind of resented that as it almost seemed like he was trying to blame it on me. But, he was right. I was nervous, but if I my veins weren't shrunk when I went in there, they sure would have been after the last five minutes.

I didn't say anything, though.

Ken says he can do it in one vein he finds in my right arm but he needed to use a smaller needle and it would take longer to get the right amount of blood than usual. I tell him to have at it.

After a couple of minutes, or so, he gets the blood. They tape cotton on my arm and away I go, thinking to myself, "And I paid $300 out of my pocket for that?".
I related the story to the nurse a week or so later when I went in to N.C. Family Practice. She says, "You know, I used to do phlebotomy. You don't have to put up with that. You can insist on someone with experience....".

I responded that the girl had to have someone for a first "patient". If everyone refuses to have her draw their blood, how is she going to get the confidence and experience to succeed at her new job?

I realize I was hating it but, as I always say, I'm here to help!

L.A. Times Addresses Car Seizures

Nice editorial in the L.A. Times today on the recent state supreme court decision nixing seizure of cars by local governments. Wish I'd of written that.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy Tenth, Blogosphere!

I was just made aware that the blogosphere is supposedly ten years old this year. What isn't explained is what exactly is considered the birth of the blogosphere. Maybe the first blog posted on the internet? How would you know when that was posted?

Nigerian E- Mail Scam Evolves

The Sacramento Bee reports that a nigerian type e-mail scam picks up this time of year in college towns. Supposed renters are sending supposed deposit checks to potential landlords, ripping off the gullible ones.

They refer to Davis in the story but I can't help but wonder if they might try targeting Arcata sooner or later. Or have they already?

As an aside, I'm with the commentors on the story (comments are at bottom of story) I can't believe the girl in the story went along with this scam for so long.

Oh, as usual, if asked for a login, you can use humboldtlib for a username and blogspot for a password.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Eureka #1 In Traffic Accidents?

Why does this surprise me? I know Eureka has its fair share of auto accidents, but I wouldn't have expected Eureka to have so many more than other cities.

Not shown on the online version of the story is a map of Eureka showing some of the intersections that are accident hot spots. Among them: Fourth and F streets, 5th and H, Wabash and Fairfield, Henderson and Broadway, Henderson and E and Buhne and H (that's Carson Park Ranger's corner. We'll blame him for that one).

Most of those are heavily traveled intersections and one would expect the more heavily traveled intersections to naturally have more accidents, but wouldn't intersections with heavy traffic tend to make drivers more alert? I don't know.

The article throws out three possible reasons for Eureka's high accident rate: Bad driving, lack of enforcement and bad street design, suggesting it might also be a combination of all three.

I have a hard time believing people are going to speed and run stop signs simply because of lack of enforcement and I'm also not so sure that our streets are designed better or worse than elsewhere.

But, someone is at fault in just about any accident and I suppose one could say that equates to bad driving. So why are there so many bad drivers in Eureka? It's either something in the air, or maybe it has something to do with attitude?

I suspect there's a certain attitude prevalent in a lot of Eurekans that results in bad driving. Why that certain attitude- whatever that attitude is- prevails amongst so many Eurekans and not in cities elsewhere, I have no idea.

Maybe it is something in the air?

Arcata Mulls Taco Truck Jerk- Around

Troubling, but not unexpected, news from Arcata this morning: More regulation for the sake of regulation on the way in a proposed attack on so- called taco trucks. Not that anyone seems to be complaining...except competing businesses, of course.

Sure, some taco trucks have semi- permanent locations. One in Eureka that comes to mind being Speedy Taco. They're always in the parking lot of the Broadway Theaters. I suppose such a presence could become a problem but Speedy Taco apparently has some sort of arrangement with someone to do business there.

I assume the Arcata taco trucks have some sort of arrangement, as well.

So who's complaining? Larry Garcia, of Luzmila's Mexican Restaurant is the only one quoted in the story. He's upset that he's lost considerable business to the taco trucks. He says the taco trucks slashed his business income in half. So, the idea of jerking around the taco trucks with regulations for the sake of regulations sounds good to him.

Larry needs to realize the taco trucks got some of his business even without seating or bathroom requirements. Even if the taco trucks get stuck with those requirements, he's not going to get that business back. For one reason or another, some customers prefer the taco trucks over his brick and mortar business.

I can sympathize with Larry's frustration in that the business he runs naturally has some disadvantages compared to a taco truck, but that's just the way it is, and always will be. Instead of trying to drag other businesses down with him he should figure ways to compete with them.

Working to remove regulations that might impair his profitability makes more sense to me than dragging everyone else down with him but that's still not likely to get all of his lost business back.

Some people like to eat in conventional restaurants. Some people like taco trucks. Most of all, people like choices.

Jerking around taco trucks with needless regulations will improve no one's lot, not even Larry Garcia's.
Next question is: Will the City of Eureka play monkey- see, monkey- do and consider doing the same thing? They better not. You don't be messing with my Speedy Taco.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

State Supremes Nix Local Car Seizures

Some of you may remember a while back the City of Eureka was considering seizing cars of suspects arrested for soliciting prostitutes or violating drug laws. This the result of a suggestion by then police chief, Dave Douglas.

The main reason for tabling the issue was, at the time, the City of Oakland was involved in litigation over those very same practices and the council wanted to see what resulted from that court case. No other considerations on the issue seemed to concern the council, if memory serves me correct.

The State Supreme Court (as always, if asked for a login, use humboldtlib for the username and blogspot as the password) finally got involved and ruled against the seizures this last Thursday. Unfortunately, it was a narrow victory with 4 judges ruling against the cities and 3 ruling for.

Too close for comfort for me as I'm not only opposed to vehicles being seized when someone hasn't been convicted of a crime, I don't think any of the parties involved in prostitution should be arrested in the first place.

One wonders if any similar cases might make it to the federal Supreme Court?

Chuck Needs Readers

Chuck, over at the Chuck For... blog needs some readers. Apparently his readership has dropped off rather significantly the last few weeks.

I believe his is the only blog from Oregon that I have on my blog list and can't remember where I bumped into the link for it.

He's a past democratic candidate for congress and an active member of the Oregon State Democratic Central Committee. Despite all that, he's not as much of a lefty as one would expect, being a gun aficionado, among other things.

He tends to write a lot on national issues, but now and again he'll post some pics of guns he uses in wild west/ historical re- enactment type stuff. Stop on by and see if he piques your interest.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Just noticed the folks over at Myrtletown.net are offering t- shirts for sale. I'll have to take a look at them and maybe buy one next time I stop by Myrtlewood Liquors.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bottled Water Is Good!

I was surprised to see a rebuttal in the Eureka Reporter to Susan Morton's op- ed the other day about bottled water. Not that I didn't expect someone might have something to say about it. I just didn't think the reason would be chlorinated tap water.

I've been even more surprised that chlorinated tap water wasn't brought up in any of the debates over water fluoridation, either here or anywhere else. Being opposed to water fluoridation- not for health reasons but as a matter of choice- I was expecting a comment from fluoridation proponents any minute:

We chlorinate water to make it safe. Should we take chlorine out of our water as well....

I don't know about that. I do actually have a Multi- Pure water filter that removes chlorine from the water, although I don't believe it removes fluoride. I don't know what to think about the supposed ill effects of chlorine Ms. Lewis refers to, although I've heard some of them from way back when.

Interesting ideas she brings up about using ozone or ultraviolet light for treating water, though. Maybe we should take a look at those options? I don't know.

One thing I'm wondering is how much of the bottled water being sold is chlorinated? After all, I'm told a lot of bottled water comes from a tap somewhere.

Food For People Overdoing It?

I think the Food For People (FFP) might have gone a bit overboard on this one. They're advising people to throw away any cans of Castleberry Beef Stew they still might have on their shelves, FFP having distributed some of those to the needy a few months ago.

It's not that the particular item was on the recall list, it is simply made by the same company that had some other items recalled a while back. How far do we want to go with this? Stop buying food from any company in Augusta, GA because one company there recalled some items.

Hey, I'm probably more paranoid the most about a lot of things, but this seems like a bit much even to me.

I've actually partaken of the stew in question. Winco stocks it and it's quite a bit cheaper than Dinty Moore Beef Stew. I stopped buying it, not because of any recall, but because it should more properly be called soup. Pretty thin stuff to be called stew, in my opinion. I guess it's cheaper for a reason.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

E/R Does Myrtletown.net

Kudos to Myrtletown.net for getting themselves on the front page of today's Eureka Reporter.

Of course, the wi- fi network they've set up in Myrtletown isn't really news to those of us who frequent the Humboldt blogosphere. Nonetheless, I did find the story of interest as it described how the network was put together. Sounds like a fun project to be involved in.

As for myself, if someone set up a wi- fi network in my neighborhood, I think I'd still prefer my trusty old hard line dsl.
The Humboldt Hotspots web site was mentioned, as well, that site being run by the folks at Myrtletown.net, if memory serves me correct. I'd been a bit disappointed in that site as it didn't seem like it was being updated very often.

Some time ago I noticed that Dave's Place, in Eureka's Henderson Center, had a sign out front saying they were a wi- fi hotspot. I'd sent notice of that to Humboldthotspots but never saw it added to the list. Just checked and I see they've added it.

Good to see the site's still active.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Stupid Kid Games, Stunts or Pranks

How about another trip down memory lane? Remember all those stupid things you did as a kid that you would never do now? I'm sure most of us can think of at least one.

Uncle Enore, over at the Bunch of Dump Crap blog, got me started on this. He was ranting about people spitting on the sidewalk, or some such. I reminded him that honking loogies can have it's fun side. Reminded me of a true story that happened when I was going to junior high school in Tustin, CA:

I was walking down Charloma Drive on the way to school with a couple friends. Somehow we got started in the silly little spit fight. We started gargling up big loogies and spitting them at each other's legs or feet and see if the other guy was quick enough to move his feet out of the way.

Thing is we did it slow enough so it wasn't too hard to avoid the loogie. I don't think we really wanted to hit the other guy.

So, I go overboard and generate the mother of all loogies. I go to spit it between Mark's legs but missed and hit him right on the front of his pants below one of his pockets. Ooops!

That thing must have splattered to three inches. It grossed us all out. Mark's looking down on it going something like "Oh no, oh no...", grossed out as the rest of us and trying to figure how he's going to get it off of him. Strangely enough, I think we were laughing about it at the same time.

All of the sudden Mark throws up his breakfast on the sidewalk. At least some of it. Then we really started laughing, even Mark.

He eventually scraped it of his leg with a stick and we laughed all the way to school.

Sounds like fun, huh?
Another stupid game that comes to mind off the top of my head was this tough guy bb gun thing we'd do.

I had an old Crossman spring loaded bb hand gun. Didn't have a lot of power, but could still hurt you. I remember we'd back off a few yards and shoot each other in the butt with it. Then, you'd move closer and keep shooting until it hurt to much or someone just chickened out.

Stupid, huh? Don't try that at home, kids.

Anyone else have any stupid games, stunts or pranks you did as a kid that you'd like to share?

Humboldt Heat Waves

Yep, it has been warm lately, as the Times- Standard reports. Wouldn't have been surprised if some record was broken, but couldn't be sure. Actually, I thought Sunday was the warmer of the last few days if only because there wasn't enough of a breeze to notice. Temperature wise, I guess Saturday was the warmest.

Seems to me we had a short heat wave up here in the summer of '74(?). I forget just what month it was in but, if memory serves me correct, temperatures were up in the eighties for three or four days. To add insult to injury, not only was it humid, there was no wind to speak of.

No air conditioners around here so nowhere to hide from it and all I'd do was sweat, take a cold shower and start sweating again. Miserable days, indeed, unless my memory is playing tricks with me.

Any old timers out there remember that one?

Freshwater Gets Fish Ladder

I wanted to comment on today's Times- Standard story regarding the fish ladder that's been installed at the dam at Freshwater County Park but, since the story doesn't seem to be available online, I guess I won't.

Except to say I'm somewhat puzzled that it looks like it took a while to figure out how to get the ladder set up right.

I believe I was in elementary school when I first read about fish ladders. I probably didn't read much but, whatever I did read, gave my young mind the impression that fish ladder technology was pretty well established and that fish ladders were a common addition to dams on waterways with migratory fish.

Apparently my impression was wrong and there aren't that many fish ladders actually in use, even today? Does Ruth Lake have fish ladders on its dam? I've only been there a few times and can't remember if it did or not.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bloggers Get Attention In SoCal

Should we be jealous? Looks like some blogger/ gadfly types in Southern California are actually getting some attention from politicos down there.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Humboldt Rats

One thing there's a lot of up here, at least in Eureka, is rats. You'd think with all the wild creatures up here, including domestic dogs and cats, rats wouldn't get along so well. That doesn't seem to be the case, unfortunately. Rats give me the willies.

Yesterday, I discovered yet another one, this time in my garage. Thought I'd heard something chewing on something while I was in the garage a few weeks ago but it seemed to move on as I just heard it that once. I figured the cats probably got it.

Then, yesterday morning I went out to the garage and was standing by the workbench. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a blur as something ran from the washroom into the garage and heard whatever it was bump into something.

If I didn't hear it bump into something I might of assumed I was just seeing things as it was so fast I didn't really get a good look at it. Best I could tell from what I could see was it was a large brown rat.

I thought it must have ran back under the house by going under the stairs by kitchen and made a note to put some rat poison back under the house again. That's something I tell myself do to every three months or so but I end up blowing it off and just do it when I think we have rats again.

Just in case it came back out again, I put one bait tray in the entrance way to the washroom where I'd seen it earlier and figured I'd put some bait in my favorite baiting spot- below the floor under the kitchen sink- when I got home from work.

Turned out the rat wasn't under the house. It was still in the garage.

I got home from work and was unloading my stuff when I knocked over something near some shelves near the front of the garage. All of the sudden a gray rat comes running out, heads a few feet down the driveway and turns around and runs back towards me. I took off running into the garage. The rat went right back to where he was, hiding under some stuff I had leaning against the shelves.

So, I went ahead and put the other bait tray alongside the wall where I figured the rat was probably hiding.

That was the first time I recall actually having a rat in the garage. Wonder how he got in there? I suppose he could have just walked in one of the doors as rats do move around in the daytime. And there probably is some way to get in there from under the house, despite my attempts to seal off any openings.

Never needed to deal with placing bait out there after all was said and done. About an hour or two after I'd come home I was standing in the garage with the music on and the rat comes out of hiding and scurries out of the garage and around the corner of the house. I guess he doesn't like music?

Good. Now maybe the cats will take care of him.
Oddly enough, I don't believe I had much of a rat problem anywhere in Eureka except this house and the best place I ever lived: Trinity Street in Myrtletown. I don't recall ever seeing or hearing a rat before then, even in the dump I lived at on West Del Norte and Union Streets. There must have been rats there. Maybe I just didn't notice them?

I didn't notice them at my place in Myrtletown, either, at least at first. Then, one day, I found a couple of big brown wood rats had taken residence up in the old concrete incinerator in my small yard.

It was a small square concrete thing that was falling apart. I'd burn trash in it on occasion but eventually started throwing stuff in it, including food, and just letting it sit. Finally, I decided I should stop that practice and give up the burning altogether. I went out with a shovel to dig all the stuff out of the incinerator and, as soon as I touched the pile of trash, a couple big rats jumped out and ran off.

Happened so fast I didn't have time to react. Then I had to wonder: What do I do now? I cancelled my trash digging operation until the rat problem was resolved.

Last time I remember dealing with a lot of rats was in Mexico and the parents dealt with them. They placed big steel traps out where the rats hung out, for whatever good they did. Rats thrived out in the back of our house back then.

But traps it would be. I believe I went down to Mark n Save and bought a couple of the wooden rat traps. Went home, baited one with cheese and put it right next to the incinerator. Came back in about ten minutes and one rat was dead in the trap. Baited and set the trap again and came back in about fifteen minutes and I'd caught the other one.

Problem solved, or so I thought.

A friend at work, John Kraus, told me, If you see one rat, there's likely more... I thought about that but for some reason didn't keep the traps out. Yes, there still were rats there although, in fairness to the rats, they seemed content to be outside rats. Never had any in the house.

I used to feed birds back then by putting birdseed on top of the wooden fence in the yard. One night I was out under the car port and out comes a big brown rat along the top of the fence and starts eating the bird seed. As I got up to go in the house he scurried back from wherever he came.

I went and got my pump action Daisy bb gun and went back to where I was earlier. Didn't take too long for the rat to show up again. An easy shot as he wasn't more than maybe twelve feet away. I'd pumped up the bb gun as much as I dared earlier and, once I got him in my sights, let loose a bb at him.

I hit him, but couldn't tell where. He squealed and took off a runnin'. I don't believe I ever saw him again, but it might have been because I didn't look often enough.

Later I got in the bad habit of dumping organic food out on the lawn- in this case 9 Grain Cereal. I was thinking the birds might like it but one day, while laying on the sun deck, I looked down and there was a black and white rat partaking in my treat for the birds.

He took off as soon as I got up to go inside. I went in and came out with my .22 pistol. I figured it was a straight shot down so it wouldn't be a danger to anyone else. Never got to find out as the rat never came back.

That one looked like the kind of rat you could buy in a pet store. Wonder if it was somebody's pet at one time?
After we left Trinity Street we never had rat problems that we noticed while living in Cutten. We were living at our current house for years before we realized we had rats. I understand the houses across the street have rat problems, the old group home I'm told having a real infestation at one time.

Why it took so long to notice here, I'm not sure. Probably because we didn't have cats for some time and, once we did, we'd find all kinds of dead mice and rats in the yard. Don't you just love it when the cats bring a dead rat with its head all chewed up and drop it off on the stairs to your back door?

It might also be because it takes a while to get the eye and ear for signs of rats- things you just don't notice normally but you become adept at picking up with experience. Biggest giveaway, I've found, is hearing a bump or hearing something fall over where there shouldn't be any critters at the time.

Of course, finding food containers with holes in them and the food being eaten is a giveaway, as well, but we've only had rats in the actual house once and that's how we noticed it.

When we had our bathroom remodeled the new bathtub was one of those jacuzzi type things and an access hatch to the water pump was made behind a kitchen cabinet. We didn't think about it at the time but the water pump was basically underneath the house with full access to any critter that wanted to get to it. We've had critters take up residence under there many times since then.

We foolishly left the hatch door off, not realizing at the time how many critters liked the underpart of our house. The wife opened the cabinet one day and bags of food had holes eaten in them and the contents were strewn about.

Closed the hatch, end of problem, at least for inside the house.

Except, of course, one stormy night when one of our kittens, the late Mr. Tom, came to the back door with a live rat in his mouth. Too cold and rainy to play with it outside so he thought he'd bring it inside with him.

I saw him at the door but didn't see the rat. I let him in, he comes in and lets the rat go and off it goes to underneath the computer table. To make matters worse, he seems to lose interest in it and we can't get the other cats to get much interest in it either. I don't remember how we got rid of that one. I think I used something to pick it up and throw it back outside.

Thanks, Mr. Tom.

Biggest one we've seen here was one that one of our kittens must have killed. It was laying dead out in one of the paths of my vegetable garden. It was a big fuzzy, black Norway Rat, I believe. I'd say it was eight to nine, maybe ten, inches long, from nose to butt. Hope we don't get any more of those.

Anybody have any fun rat stories of their own?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Forever Stamps Are Here

An AP article in today's Times- Standard finally brought it to my attention that the U.S. Post Office has started issuing the long awaited Forever Stamp. You buy them now and they're good forever, saving you the hassle of buying those one or two cent stamps whenever the postal rates go up.I'd read about the idea some time ago but thought it was still in the discussion stage.

I don't use stamps much anymore, so they often lay on the desk for some time and I end up having to buy a bunch of one cent stamps when the rates go up. Then it gets confusing cause I have some new stamps, some old stamps and the one cent stamps. The other day I wasted a couple because I put the wrong ones on an envelope.

It didn't even strike me the last time I bought stamps that I'd just bought the Forever Stamps. I didn't even figure it out yesterday when I went to put a stamp on an envelope and didn't notice a monetary value on the stamp- All that was on the stamp was a picture of the liberty bell and First Class Forever. Finally after I read the news this morning I realized they finally issued the stamps and those were the ones I'd bought last time at the post office.

Kudos to whoever came up with this idea.

Redway Gets Affordable Housing

The Redwood Times reports on the grand opening of the Redwood Village Apartments in Redway. Those apartments being billed the supposed affordable housing we keep hearing we need more of.

Not much to see in the picture provided. I would have like to see something taken a little further away to get a sense of what these apartments look like. I'll just assume they're something along the line of the apartment projects scattered around other towns that the various housing authorities put up and maintain.

The sight of them isn't something that gets me all excited and wanting more of them, not that they're all that bad.

So how much does affordable housing actually cost?

I'm guessing it must be less than $1000 per month as that's what the one guy said he was paying to stay at a local motel- not a bad price for staying at a motel, by the way. Anyone know what kind of rent these places go for? In all the talk about affordable housing, I don't know that I've ever heard anyone define just what affordable is.

Second question: What's does one pay for rentals in Southern Humboldt? For some reason I've been under the assumption places would rent cheaper down there than up in north county.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Eureka Gas Highest?

Just noticed this story in the business section of the Times- Standard. It quotes a AAA press release and says we're tied with Chicago for having the highest gas prices in the country.

What I don't get is, using the AAA's own gas price finder web site, I find San Francisco gas ranges between $3.18 to $3.90 a gallon with an average price of $3.51. Compared to Eureka's average of $3.42, I'd say San Francisco's looks more expensive than ours, on average.
Hmm... I just went to the gas finder web site again to get the url and noticed the prices had changed just in the time I wrote the above. Now the higher price has dropped to $3.80 and the average price is $3.46. That's still higher than what the Times- Standard reported for Eureka but the price for Eureka gas might well have changed on the AAA site since the story was written.

Tickets, Please?

Don't even try and tell me nobody got a ticket out of this traffic accident? Two cars supposedly going 60 miles per hour down H Street in Eureka causing a three vehicle accident and nobody gets a ticket?

If the Times- Standard had it right (story not available online) and the two cars were racing north on H street, they were also going the wrong way on a one way street. H Street is a one way street heading south. I think the Eureka Reporter has it right but, if not, there's a couple tickets to give away right there.

It's probably not over yet. I imagine there needs to be further investigation?

Everybody Needs A Cause

I guess everybody, myself included, has to have some sort of cause to fight for. I'll never understand the ones obsessed with gay marriage, though. In this case, certain groups seem to feel really threatened by the idea that gay people might end up married and even go so far to worry that gay couples might benefit from domestic partnerships.

How silly. I thought that fight was winding down. I guess not.

I won't be signing those petitions.
Then there's Eureka resident, Susan Morton, whose cause seems to be getting people to stop buying bottled water. See; there's someone that can be found to fight for just about any cause.

Actually, she makes a good point about bottled water. I think we have fine tap water up here. I've never understood why people buy so much bottled water. That doesn't mean I don't think people shouldn't be able to buy bottled water. I'm not sure whether she's suggesting that, or not.
We do have good water up here.

When I was with the national guard, we used to take a big water tank to annual training with us. We called it a water buffalo. A 500 gallon tank with some faucets at the bottom to supply water to troops in the field.

It was a sad day, indeed, when the water buffalo ran dry. Then we had to drink the worst water I've probably ever had in my life: Tap water at sunny Camp Roberts, CA. It tasted awful, having sulfur or some such in it. Worst part is you could drink it and drink it and it didn't ever quench your thirst and you had to drink a lot of water down there because it got really hot.

Bottled water was fairly popular at Camp Roberts back then, long before it became the rage it is today.
When the wife was staying in San Francisco her and the niece pretty much lived on bottled water. She said the tap water was really bad. I never tried it but using it to brush my teeth didn't bother me. It did surprise me, though, as I thought San Francisco got its water from the Sierra Nevadas. How could mountain water taste bad? Maybe it's something with the plumbing?

Drastic "Cuts" To Education?

Once again the state budget is in the news and once again everyone seems to be upset that lawmakers couldn't pass the budget on time. Am I the only one that doesn't really care?

After all, I read somewhere that the last time the budget was passed before the deadline was the budget where the state went into so much debt by spending money from revenue that couldn't be sustained.

I was curious about one thing, though: I've been reading a little the last few days about the supposed drastic cuts Republicans are proposing. I couldn't help but wonder if this was the same old Sacramento double- talk we hear every year. Might it be different this time and actual cuts to spending are being proposed?

I doubt it. Nearly every time you hear about cuts being made in the budget- any government budget- they're really talking about spending not being increased as much as some would like. The San Diego Union- Tribune confirms this is the case with all the claims of cuts to education supposedly being proposed by Republicans.

The Republicans are actually proposing a 3.8% increase in spending for education, not a cut.

Yep. Same old, same old.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I got in my truck about a half hour ago and caught part of Democracy Now on KMUD. They were playing a recording of a witness to an execution. I thought it was live, at first, but came to find out it was a recording of an execution by electrocution of a guy in 1984.

I've always felt executions should be available for viewing on T.V. or other media. I don't understand the supposed outrage when films of executions end up on the internet, as was the case with Saddam Hussein.

Shouldn't people who are part of a society that creates and enforces laws like the death penalty see the end results of laws we've created?

If you're an advocate of the death penalty, perhaps thinking the death penalty has some deterrent effect, wouldn't there be more of a deterrent effect if more people witnessed them?

Maybe not. It could end up like all rest of the violence we perpetrate across the world with so many Americans thinking they're just watching a movie and, perversely, soften the impact of the violence.

Still, I think we should take the chance and make executions public in this country. We need to witness what we're responsible for.

Water Stuff

I love the sound of rain on a summer morning. Love the feel in the air, too. Doesn't look like this bit of rain we're getting now is going to amount to much, though. Too bad.

I don't know that I'd want it to rain all summer long, but maybe once a week would be nice.
We don't have it so bad up here, as far as water goes, as others do. Sonoma County is enforcing water restrictions now while trying to maintain water levels in the Russian River and Lake Mendocino. They've even got water cops going around placing warnings with people they find wasting water. If corrections aren't made, water users face stiff fines.

That's one government job I wouldn't mind: Water cop, or water nazi for those that like to throw around the n word. I don't know that we need such critters up here as I've heard nothing about water shortages in Humboldt. Still, I do see people wasting water now and again up here and I don't like people wasting water.

One of the guys who worked at the group home that used to be across the street from my house seemed to have a thing about water. He'd stand out in front of the house hosing down the front porch and sidewalk for what seemed like an eternity- long after any cleaning function had been completed. Drove me nuts.

A couple weeks ago I was over at St. Joseph's Hospital and, as I went in the main entrance, there's a guy hosing down the sidewalk in front of the entrance. I come out maybe 25 minutes later and he's still hosing down the sidewalk, occasionally directing the spray on some of the shrubbery nearby. Just getting the foliage wet, not seeming to get any water to the roots.

What the heck was he doing? That's no way to water the plants and the sidewalk had long since been washed off.

Wonder what St. Joe's water bill is each month if he does that all the time?

I suppose we all tend to think everyone else wastes water but ourselves. I suppose I'm guilty of that as well, but I really do try to not use more water than necessary. About the only time I feel guilty about my water use is when I need hot water. In this house it seems like you have to run the hot water for five minutes before you finally get even warm water.

That, and washing my truck, but I haven't washed my truck in months. But that's not so much because of the water conservation issue. That's mostly because I'm lazy.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pay Our Government Employees More?

Once again we're hearing about how poorly our local government employees are being paid. The Eureka Reporter gives us a comparison between our local governments and other municipalities.

Sure, local government workers may not get paid as well as those in some other places. I still say they make decent money. I'd almost be willing to kill to make the money some of them are making.

We don't want to get into a bidding war with other cities and counties for employees. That will only break us. Money is the motivating factor for a lot of job choices, but not the only one. The Eureka Reporter, in a story on the Eureka Police Department, quotes my old national guard buddy, Sgt. Bill Nova:
“Pay’s nice to have — it’s great — but that’s not what motivates 99 percent of cops.”

He should know. I believe he has around 20 years or more with the department, as do some others. Others will always be chasing the money. I don't think we should be bending over backwards trying to keep them.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Coal: The Other Non- PC Alternative

Two alternative sources of energy often go unmentioned nowadays: Nuclear and coal. It seems some in the environmental movement are now taking a second look at nuclear but coal seems to still be mired in obscurity.

Meanwhile, we keep beating ourselves over the head with corn- based ethanol which, as we're starting to see is likely more trouble than it's worth.

Lowell Miller, from the U.S. Department of Energy, tell us a little about coal and its possibilities in the Sacramento Bee (if asked for login, humboldtlib is username, blogspot is password).

It amazes me that liquid fuel can be made from coal, but it can and the technology has been around for some time. Now it might be getting close to being cost effective. Will political correctness have us throwing coal out as an energy option? Only time will tell.

As an aside, I'd heard the military was researching coal based fuels for their aircraft. Apparently it works. I wonder how well? Anybody heard how the testing went?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Good News For Humboldt Hearts?

Hard to say.

The Times- Standard reports this morning on a recently released report by the state on which surgeons and hospitals have the best record as far as survivability in coronary bypass procedures.

A local cardiac surgeon seems to have come out looking pretty good, whereas some highly thought of hospitals and doctors, UCSF Medical Center being one, were given bad marks. That certainly makes me wonder about the methodology used. Might places like UCSF tend to handle the more difficult cases referred to them by less experienced doctors?

I would think so but I bumped into this article from today's San Francisco Chronicle and it doesn't really clear up the issue. It says the study gives credit for doctors and hospitals that handle the tougher cases but it also says they include fatalities that might not be linked to coronary disease.

Not sure I trust the conclusions of the study.

Gas Price Variations

Doesn't explain why gas in Humboldt is more expensive than most other places but the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat takes a look this morning at the reason for the price variations for gasoline in Sonoma County.

At first glance, I thought their prices varied more than Humboldt's. Upon closer scrutiny it looks like they're about the same as Humboldt with prices varying up to ten cents a gallon.

Still, their prices seem to vary among many different stations, as best I can tell, whereas Humboldt's seem to be Renner Petroleum, with the lowest, versus all other stations that seem to be around ten cents more expensive than Renner's on average.

Oh, and then there's Costco, which the AAA web site doesn't show a current or past price for.

That AAA Gas Price Finder is pretty neat. I'll have to try that next time I head south, although the Willits Safeway seems to always have the lowest prices in my experience.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Big Heist In Fortuna

Here's something I would of thought would have gotten more press, especially since you don't hear much about siphoning gas anymore. That's rather odd in itself with the high price of gas.

In any case, this was some heist and I have a hard time believing two guys got all that gas by just siphoning it into five gallon gas cans (200 times) and carrying the cans to a larger container. They would have had to use a long hose and pump, I would think.

Of course, the article doesn't say they siphoned it but does seem to suggest it. Could they have just used the rental yard's pumps?

100k A Year For What???

I'll agree with Pete Nichols of Humboldt Baykeeper on this one. Paying $100,000 a year for a Director of Maritime Commerce seems a bit silly when only two ships a month come to Humboldt Bay.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Take Out Is Cheaper? Sometimes

Past L.P. gubernatorial candidate and San Diego anti- tax gadfly, Richard Rider, clarified something for me the other day: It can be cheaper buying take- out food than eating or drinking it where you bought it since sales tax is applied to food eaten in- store but not to take- out.

Funny. I had it in my mind it was the other way around. In fact, his e-mail was rather timely as I was curious buying an iced tea at Eureka's Fresh Freeze yesterday. The menu said a large iced tea was $2.25 or thereabouts and I paid more than that when all was said and done. I figured it must be sales tax, having assumed take- out is taxed.

The gal at Fresh Freeze never asked if the iced tea was for take- out, but they always do when I buy food there.

Here's a link Rider provided and here's Rider's piece on it:

The sales tax rules on food and drink purchased in fast food joints is tricky indeed, and varies from state to state. I bet a goodly number of these eateries do it wrong.
Here's some advice -- whether or not you want to eat in the building, ALWAYS say it is "to go." Skip the food tray, and maybe skip the sales tax. Or maybe not. No fast food outlet will care whether you change your mind and actually DO stay inside to eat -- they are just following the government's sales tax procedures.
Of course, it is more complicated than that. Coffee at a Starbucks almost surely can avoid the sales tax if it is "to go." But at Subway, it is best to order your COLD subway sandwich and drink separately from your hot food, as they will likely charge a sales tax on the full amount, even though only part of the order is hot food (such as their wonderful meatball sandwich).
For restaurants where 80% of the food is consumed on the grounds, they likely will always charge sales tax on everything -- following the law.
It's a rather complicated law. There is a 30 page oddly readable tome available online from the CA Board of Equalization. It is "must reading" for any restaurant owner.
So remember my skinflint motto -- when in doubt, "take it out."

Some Plugs In Appreciation

Thought I'd give some local businesses a plug here since I've had good dealings with them in the past and just recently. Funny how they're both in Friendly Henderson Center, but I guess it shouldn't be a surprise since I live near there.

First hat tip goes to Finnegan and Nason Auto Supply on the corner of Henderson and F Streets.

I actually don't go there all that often if only because I don't buy auto parts that often. But, when I have, I'm impressed with the staff's friendly and helpful manners. Yesterday was a good illustration of it:

Went in last week to buy a pair of split ring pliers. They had one in stock but, for reasons I won't go into here, I didn't buy it. Went in the next day to buy the tool and someone else had already bought it. They ordered another one for me and said it should be in on Tuesday.

Went in yesterday and it wasn't in its spot on the rack. Asked about it. They checked the computer and said it should be in store. They looked but couldn't find it. The sales guy finally gives up but tells me he has a pair in the back room I can borrow and brings them out to me. He doesn't even know my name but loans them to me anyway.

I went home and took care of what I needed them for and took the pliers back telling him I'll buy the other pair when they find them.

That wasn't the first time they've done something they didn't have to do.

One time I went in there with a problem with the ball on my trailer hitch- the exact nature of which I can't recall right now. I didn't even end up buying anything. The sales dude just tells me to hold on and takes my hitch ball back into the back room and runs a grinder brush over the threads of the trailer hitch ball for me and fixed the problem. No charge and no sale.

What a bunch of guys!
Henderson Center Pharmacy ( I guess it's Redwood Pharmacy now) gets my next hat tip. I started going to them years ago after I got diagnosed with high blood pressure and finally had to buy a prescription.

I started going there because when the P.A. at North Coast Family Practice wanted to know where I'd like my prescription sent, I wasn't sure what to tell him. I suggested maybe Rite- Aid or Longs since, being chain stores, they'd probably have the lowest prices. The P.A. had a nurse call and check. Nope. Henderson Center Pharmacy had the lowest price for what I needed so Henderson Center Pharmacy it was.

Been going there for years now. Last week I went there and came away pretty happy with them.

I went in to pick up a prescription for the wife. One prescription was for a magnesium supplement. Went to pay the cashier and she told me insurance wouldn't cover the magnesium as it was available over the counter (OTC). She then told me that it would be around $20.00 for the bottle but I could get a considerable discount by buying it OTC without having the pharmacist "fill the prescription".

I'd read of this before. When a pharmacist fills a prescription they charge for it even if you could grab it off the shelf yourself. I remember when I'd first heard of this I began noticing the pharmacist going out on the floor and taking cough syrup, or some such, off the shelf and adding it to the bag with the rest of the prescription. I wondered back then how much extra was being charged for that. Over time I'd forgotten about it.

Anyway, the gal asked if I wanted to cancel that purchase and grab my own bottle off the shelf. For some reason she couldn't just cancel the deal and sell me the one she already had in the bag. I canceled it and she even went out to the supplements shelf to find the magnesium for me. She couldn't find the particular brand we wanted, probably because the one we already had was a higher dose than commonly sold. She told me she'd order it for me and it should be in the store the next day.

Came back the next day and the magnesium was there. Same brand they had the day before for half the price. I paid around $10.00 instead of the $20.00 I would have if I'd had the prescription filled for me. What a deal. The neat thing is, the cashier was the one that saved me the money. I wouldn't have thought of it on my own.

Kudos to Henderson Center Pharmacy in Friendly Henderson Center.

Feel free to plug one of your favorite businesses in the Comments section.

What About King Salmon?

Not quite sure just what went on here. The story is that residents of Field's Landing were given a talking to on earthquake and tsunami preparedness.

What about the people who live in King Salmon? Maybe they were included and just not mentioned in the news item?

I've always felt the people in King Salmon and Field's Landing would be in deep trouble if a tsunami were to arrive quickly. Keep in mind there was a seismic generated wave that hit our coast back in '92(?) spawned by the Petrolia quake. It only took ten minutes to get here but it was only a foot high, or so I remember reading at the time.

I think it would be difficult for anyone in either Field's Landing or King Salmon to get to high ground in ten minutes. Looking at both places Field's Landing folk seem to have a straighter shot at getting away from the water. King Salmon residents would have to go some distance north, along the beach, before they could turn and head inland, and that's assuming the roads were still in condition to drive on. If they had to walk or run they'd be history.

King Salmon does have some high ground at Buhne Point, though. That's the high point of land on the southwest end up Humboldt Bay Power Plant. Still, it would take some time to make it there, too, especially on foot.

Glad I don't live in either of those places.

Stossel vs. Moore

One of the Left's most hated, John Stossel, tells us about an interview he had with one of the Right's most hated, Michael Moore. Note there's two pages to the piece.

I thought it ended rather abruptly, then I noticed the Next link at the bottom of the story.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Look Both Ways...

...before crossing the street.

I learned that as just a wee little tyke. That lesson seems to have gone by the wayside through the years with fewer and fewer people doing it.

So, I have to wonder if Eureka's pilot project for crosswalk control is going to really accomplish anything. Looks like the pedestrian pushes a button that turns on some flashing lights near the crosswalk, supposedly alerting drivers to the pedestrian's presence.

Why do I think this might end up doing more harm than good in the long run?

Maybe because if drivers get used to seeing the flashing lights they won't be as alert for pedestrians that are crossing the street without flashing lights? Or, maybe because pedestrians will figure they have the flashing lights so they can just cross the street without checking for traffic?

Probably a little of both.

Dem Targets X- Raters For Taxes

At first glance I thought the roles were being reversed here, with a democrat going after the porn industry and republicans apparently defending it. Not really, though.

You have a democrat looking for more sources of revenue for pet projects and republicans opposing the bill because they oppose tax increases in general.
I guess that's just business as usual in the state capitol. Still, seems a little weird to see a democrat targeting porn oriented businesses.

What gets me in reading the article is no mention is made that nearly all the things he's targeting are already taxed one way or another.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Places I've lived In Humboldt

I should probably title this Places I've Lived In Eureka since I've spent almost my entire 34 years up here in Eureka. I spent a year outside of town, though.

I moved up here around the beginning of August in 1973 with a friend I'd been living with in Orange County, Jim Broughton. I was going to just move up by myself but, when I mentioned my plans to Jim, he said he was interested in heading up here too. Neither of us had ever been here before.

We drove up Pacific Coast Highway, cut across to I-5 when we reached San Francisco, and took Hwy 299 from Redding. We drove in to Eureka on a cool summer day with patchy fog- something we don't seem to have much anymore.

First stop: Sun Harvest Natural Foods, corner of 4th and ?, in Eureka. Second stop: Kacy's Market on Fifth, where the old Co- Op used to be until recently. It was there we had to sheepishly ask where we could find a place to rent. Someone suggested the Tri- City Advertiser (now the TC Weekly).

We couldn't find an Advertiser right away, so we drove around looking and ended up out at Three Corner's Market on Old Arcata Road. We asked the guy working there if he knew of any places for rent. He suggested trying The Squires Apartments back down the road and gave us directions.

We found the apartments up on Pidgeon Point Road. They had a sign outside: House of Squires. We came to find out the place used to be an old rest home run by Floyd and Ruth Squires and family. It was really scenic and very quiet. We liked it.

Ruth Squires was there at the time and told us the only place she had open was the five bedroom upstairs. It was $500 a month- a lot of money for us. We took it.

It really felt awesome to leave the big city and actually have a place right across from a big stand of redwood trees. I couldn't believe I'd done it. I felt a step or two above those Southern California city dwellers.

We lived there for a few months and found a few people to put in the other rooms. The Squires finally sold the place. The new owner died shortly after he bought it and someone else bought it: Joe Scarpellino.

His daughter, Dorothy, moved in shortly thereafter. I guess she was kind of a manager but I don't recall her really doing any managerial type stuff. I ended up moving in with her shortly after she showed up. She had a one bedroom upstairs on the other side of the building.

I ended up working as a dishwasher for the Scarpellinos at Sabrina's Restaurant right after that. Not long after, it seemed Joe either sold or lost the Squires apartments. I forget just what happened. Dorothy and I ended up staying at her parent's house in Eureka on the 3300 block of K street for a while. I forget how long.

All kinds of the Scarpellino's friends and family had followed them up here from L.A. Some of them stayed at Joe and Sarah's house now and again. It was quite the busy place.

Eventually, I felt I should have my own place, especially after Dorothy dumped me. I ended moving back, to all places, the Squires Apartments. This time I just rented one of the rooms downstairs. There were a bunch of bedrooms downstairs that were rented separately with a common kitchen.

That just wasn't me, though. I either didn't fit in, didn't like the crowd, or maybe it was because I didn't do much but store my stuff and sleep there. I didn't feel comfortable there anymore. I looked for a place in town and found one- probably the biggest dump I've ever lived in: 502 West Del Norte Street, Apt#1. That's just a block or two from the church with all the fuss over Teen Challenge.

That was a dump, but it was close enough to Sabrina's, where I still worked, and close to the bay, where I fished quite a bit. I was surprised I lived there so long. In early '77 I moved out. I was going to basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. I saw no reason in hanging on to that dump. I just cleaned the place up real good and left. Never notified the building owner. I doubt he cared.

That place was demolished shortly after I left. There's some modern low- income type apartments there now. I think there was a murder in one of those apartments a while back.

I came back from basic training not knowing what I was going to do or where I was going to stay. Spent my first night back at the Downtowner Motel. Then spent a few nights in friends houses. It wasn't long before Babs Francis dropped my name to a friend of hers. They needed a caretaker for some property they had out in Maple Creek.

So I went for an informal interview with Bob and Judy Phanenstiel(sic?). They let me have the job. Wasn't much. Just basically a $50.00 a month stipend and free lodging at a cabin they had on one section of their property. No running water, no electricity. It was a challenge to me and seemed fun, me being an outdoor survivalist type back then.

Their property was on the Kerr Ranch. They leased it and had some cattle on it. I actually enjoyed it for a while but, after I had to put my dog, Nika, to sleep, it got a bit weird out there all by myself. That, and the fact my truck had broken down earlier on in that adventure, I was stuck out there, depending on a ride from the boss to get into town and he only came out there on weekends, if that much.

After about a year I figured it was time to move on.

I went down to the national guard armory in Eureka and asked the First Sergeant if I could draw a pick up truck to move my stuff to town. He let me use one. I don't know if they still do it but it was common practice back then- one of the bennies of being in the Guard- for guardsman to borrow unit equipment.

I went back up for the last time, loaded up all my stuff and brought it back down to town. Joe Scarpellino had a storage facility he was renting out on Jacob's Avenue. He let me store all my big stuff there. I don't think I ever went back and cleaned any of it out. Wonder if it's still there?

I still hadn't a place to stay at that point and, in typical national guard tradition, First Sergeant David gave me a key to the armory and let me stay there, jobless but not entirely homeless at that point. I don't remember exactly how long I slept at the armory but maybe three months.

I finally got a job pumping gas at the Texaco Star and Bar on Fourth and M Streets in Eureka. Part time but it was just enough to get me out of the armory. I found a trailer to rent at Eureka Trailer City on Allard Avenue. Not the best location and, in hindsight, not much of an improvement from the dump I had on West Del Norte Street. I stayed there for probably over a year.

I'd finally gotten a better job from a contact I made with a customer while working at the Texaco station. Funny thing was, I'd moved on to a different station- same boss- and was working full time as "manager" of the Beacon station on Myrtle and McFarland in Eureka. I was doing ok and when the call came from the Humboldt Bay Power Plant regarding my application for a security position there. If I wanted the job, I could have it. I took it.

The boss at the gas station then offered me the official manager position and a salary to stay on but I went for the security job as they paid pretty good, even at that early time. It wasn't a year or two after I started the pay doubled, as I recall, going up to around $10 and hour. Good pay back then in the late '70s.

One of the gals that I worked with at the power plant had an uncle that lived out in Cutten who had a rental. Her husband drove by the trailer one day and mentioned it, suggesting I might want to take a look at the place. I drove out there and thought it would be perfect for me.

The address was 2611 Beechwood Drive (they've changed the number since then. Some 9-1-1 conformance thing), out in the Ridgewood Heights area of Cutten. It was a very small...what would you call it...cottage (a friend labeled it Fred's Shed)? But it was CHEAP. I believe rent was something like $125 or $150 a month.

It was on the same property as the owner's house and there was plenty of room. I even started my first garden there, with the owner's permission. He had a rather large garden of his own.

I enjoyed my stay there. Real nice neighborhood and I felt like I'd be going on vacation driving back from town on Walnut Drive with all the trees and such. Quiet and friendly and we even had our own neighborhood store: Ridgewood Heights Market on Avalon Drive. They even sold gas there back then.

But the house did have some drawbacks. In the wintertime it was damp and cold, with only a small electric heater. It helped a lot when I bought a dehumidifier and took some of the moisture out of the house. Still, in the wintertime, the sun never hit the house because of the private tree lot to the south. I'd come home at 3pm and there's still be frost on the roof.

After three years it was time to move on.

Back in the rental market after three years I was shocked again at the rents, but I've found that's just the way it is. Seems like the average rent raised $100 bucks or more every time I'd move. But I got used to it and the next move was worth it.

I found a place I've mentioned before here: My studio on Trinity Street in Myrtletown. I forget exactly but that place was like, maybe $425 or some such. Seemed like an awful lot, especially after paying only $150 a month for three years. But, I had my first washer and dryer, wall to wall carpeting and more.

Really nice place. Looking back it was probably the best place I ever lived. I was there maybe four years there and probably wouldn't have moved if we hadn't been evicted. The owners had the place on the market before but I was told they were asking too much and they couldn't sell it. They put it on the market again.

I wasn't worried. It was a duplex and I figured the only people who might be interested in it would be someone interested in rental properties.


Some lady bought it who wanted to live in one part and her daughters would live in the other half. Damn! To add insult to injury, I had to hear it from the other tenants rather than the landlord herself.

I drive by the place fairly often. It's the gray duplex with white trim a couple spaces behind B&B Grooming. I lived in the two story section in back. It's changed through the years with the vegetation having grown considerably since then, so it doesn't seem quite the same. Good thing, otherwise driving by might bring a tear to my eye remembering the best years of my life.

Anyway, time to move again.

Found a place fairly quick and, strangely enough, off we were to Beechwood Drive in Cutten again. This place was on the other side of the street and down a ways from Fred's Shed. It was a nice place with washer, dryer and wall to wall carpeting. It was behind the owner's house and attached to it by a deck.

It was good to be back in that neighborhood and we enjoyed the Cutten atmosphere once again. Only problem I had arose when some people bought the lot right behind us and put one of those prefab trailer houses on it.

I had enjoyed our privacy with the empty lot. Now, not only did they cram themselves in next to us, I got the feeling they didn't like us intruding on their privacy from the way the guy would glare at me whenever he'd come outside. What an ass. We were there first.

We were there maybe a couple years when Connie got the bug to buy the house we live in now. At first I balked at how much we'd have to pay each month but finally decided it would be best to own rather than rent. We went ahead and bought this place right smack in the middle of town on Trinity and E Streets. Something rather odd for me as I never thought I'd buy a place right in the middle of town.

But we're here and it doesn't look like were going anywhere, at least in the short term. I often wonder if I did end up moving, sometime in the future, how I would describe my stay here?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Humboldt Salad Bars

I tend to get hungry for salads in the summertime. Had a craving for a salad the other day and actually, since it has been sometime since I've stopped by any salad bars in Eureka, I found myself stumped as to where I might go.

Only two salad bars came to mind:
Carl's Jr, at Victoria Place in Eureka, except last time I was there they stopped doing the salad bar. It wasn't a big one, but there was enough there to satisfy my salad cravings.

The Sizzler restaurant, in north Eureka, was probably the best one. They even had a make- your- own- taco section with it. Haven't been there in some time. Is Sizzler still there and offering their salad bar?

I never take notice when I drive by there.
Anyone know of any other salad bars around that aren't too expensive and offer a lot of variety?


The North Coast Journal (I know. I know...it's The Journal now) had a couple pieces in it that I found of interest this week.

The first was Hank Sims' cover story on the conflict between the proposed Bay Trail vs. the North Coast Railroad Authority. I found the inside look at the NCRA not just interesting but entertaining for some reason.

I've said many times before that starting up rail service up here is a pipe dream, if not a boondoggle. After reading Sims article, I feel the same way.

Not sure what to think of the Bay Trail proposal. I don't believe such a trail would add much to the economy, as proponents suggest. I can't believe all that many people would use it. Still, it would be fun to have. So would the railroad.

Question is, are either worth the money?
The Media Maven, Marcy Burstiner, brought up a good point in discussing coverage of crime around Humboldt. Specifically, she mentioned the Thomas Applegate murder and subsequent trial- the result of Applegate walking into a home in Bridgeville killing someone. She suggests most information reported just came from trial coverage and many aspects of the story went uncovered.

I hadn't realized I'd been thinking the same thing until I read that. I'll admit I didn't read coverage of the Applegate trial word for word, but I scanned most of the stories. What I always wondered was why the guy went into that house, twice, and killed someone he didn't know. Did I miss something?

I must have or it was just a random murder by a nutcase. Anybody read something I didn't about that case?

Burstiner suggests consulting pysychiatrists, sociologists and such. I wondered if the easiest source for that information might have been Applegate himself? He's been convicted. Anyone thought of asking him why he did it?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Your Police Unions At Work

I'm not sure what to think of Senate Bill 1019, the recently killed legislation that would have added more transparency to our law enforcement agencies in regards to accusations of wrongdoing. I don't know enough of the details so will withhold comment.

I am sympathetic, though, to the law enforcement side if only because of the vitriol we've seen on the Humboldt blogs against what seem to be any and all law enforcement personnel.

That said, Steve Greenhut, takes a look at how that bill was killed and makes some good points in regards the process and the law itself. What should be most disturbing is that this isn't just a special case in Sacramento. It happens all the time.

When Cops Attack [Each Other]

Speaking of law enforcement unions, looks like things are getting ugly down Sacramento way.

Oh, almost forgot; If asked for a login, as always you can use humboldtlib for the username and blogspot for a password.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Laundromats Going By The Wayside?

That's not quite what they're talking about here. In this case they're talking about laundry facilities in apartment complexes. As a result of vandalism, some are considering no longer offering laundry facilities to tenants.

Will more and more property owners stop providing laundry facilities? Might happen.

Driving around town, I've wondered lately if those old laundromats we all know and hate are slowly going by the wayside? Some certainly are. I know all the ones I used to frequent before moving up to owning my own washer and dryer have disappeared, with the exception of maybe one.

When I first moved up here and lived out on Pigeon Point Road, out Old Arcata Road, I used to use the laundromat at Glenwood Center, corner of Glenwood and Myrtle in Eureka. That went by the wayside I don't know how many years ago. I haven't noticed just what sits in that spot now.

After that, when I lived on West Del Norte Street, there used to be a laundromat on B Street, right near Wabash. I don't think that place lasted very long. Now it's a paint shop- the one right next to Rainbow Auto Body.

When I finally moved up to a half way decent place out in Cutten, I used the laundromat where the Cutten Inn currently is. Seems to me Cutten Inn replaced that laundromat quite some time ago. I think it wasn't much after I moved away from Beechwood.

I imagine quite a few other laundromats I'm not aware of have gone by the wayside as well. Have any new ones started up anywhere? None that I can think of off the top of my head.

There's still a few old timers around, having been here since I moved up here. The one at Burre Center in Eureka, across from Long's Drugs, comes to mind. I believe I used that one once or twice for some reason. The one next to the old Bonomini's Market, on Little Fairfield Street is still there as well.

The trend seems to be for more and more people to own their own washers and dryers. After all, laundromats are a pain in the neck. You'd think I wouldn't think much of it back when I had no other way to do my laundry, but I hated it even then, although I suppose I accepted it as one of life's miserable duties.

I used to hate that: Getting all my clothes together, driving to the laundromat and sometimes having to wait for an open machine. And let's hope you didn't forget to buy detergent at the store beforehand so you didn't have to mess with those coin- operated laundry detergent machines.

Then you'd sit and wait...and wait...and wait. Really sucked if you didn't have anything to read. Seems to me it would take up at least half of one day a week to do your laundry in the laundromat and it wasn't fun at all. I hated that.

One of the better step- ups in life I had was back in the early 80s when I moved from Beechwood Drive in Cutten to Trinity Street in Myrtletown, Eureka. First place I ever had with, not only wall to wall carpeting, but a washer and dryer. I LOVED that washer and dryer. Free at last, free at last, thank god I'm free from laundromats at last.

I told myself back then I will never be without a washer and dryer again. If I end up homeless in the streets my washer goes with me. My shopping cart will be used to push around my washing machine (no room for the dryer, but I can air dry).

So far I've kept that promise to myself and have always had a washer and dryer. I hope my good luck in that regard continues, but life isn't over yet.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Fluoride Joins The Conspiracy?

I guess that's what Terry Clark is trying to say.

Her column in today's Eureka Reporter ties together the Burgess and Moore shootings in Eureka, some questionable dental practices and the pharmaceutical industry's ties to the medical profession to local water fluoridation.

I've gone on record here more than once in opposing fluoridation of public water, and not because I consider fluoride any threat to public health. I just think fluoridation should be a personal choice.

One thing that I've always found surprising about the fluoridation issue is the number of dentists who support fluoridation. I would think it would be in their economic interest if water was NOT fluoridated, assuming claims of fluoridation's effectiveness are true.

I don't see how either fluoride, or dentists, can be tied to the supposed conspiracy going on regard medications that Terry Clark seems to be referring to.

One thing I would like to know is who supplies fluoride to the water districts- pharmaceutical companies?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Abrams On The West Side

Green Party gal, Nancy "Nan" Abrams, tells us her experience with the degradation of Eureka's West Side in a My Word column today.

I never knew she lived just three blocks from me and am not sure I consider this neighborhood part of Eureka's West Side. I figure the West Side starts a few blocks west of E street, but why quibble over labels when a degraded neighborhood is a degraded neighborhood?

She does make a good point that it's not the drug rehab houses that degrade neighborhoods, although they might well contribute to it. She says it all has to do with drug users that live in the area. That might well be true but I am surprised at what seems to be her advocating stricter enforcement of drug laws and imprisonment of drug users:

Law enforcement has to do everything at its disposal to keep drug sellers and users off the streets.

Whatever. Problem is, where you going to put all the drug users, Nan? The jails and prisons are already full.