Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The S.T.A.K.E. Act

I mentioned here before I'd heard an ad on the radio trying to recruit guys or girls, 14 to 16, as "Tobacco Enforcement Agents". Not sure what that meant, at the time, but I heard the same ad yesterday and managed to get the phone number.

I just called that number and got a very live, and pleasant, lady on the other end.

She basically said what I expected: They want kids to try and buy cigarettes from businesses, and will pay them for doing so. Pay isn't much but, when you're a kid, money is more valuable than it would be to someone that has to pay bills.

They actually have a web site.

Sorry, but I'm not happy with this, despite the niceness of the girl I spoke with. We should also wonder just how far this will go. We've seen with drunk driving checkpoints, that police have expanded the purview of those quite a bit beyond their original intent.

Are these Tobacco Control Agent kids akin to another Hitler Youth type organization? Only time will tell, but I suspect they might well be. When kids are told it's ok to spy on other people, that often follows them through life.

Poo On Higher Education?

I don't know that I'd go that far. But I have said here before I think higher education, at least as far as four year or longer universities are concerned, is one of the most bloated, bogus institutions in this country today: The centerpiece of the Education- Industrial Complex.

Not that universities don't have their place, I just think their usefulness to the average person is vastly overblown. I'm actually quite friendly toward the smaller community colleges, like our very own College of the Redwoods, and think more people should take advantage of them, assuming they don't have something else already going on in their life.

This commentary in the Dallas Morning News echoes a lot of what I think about higher education. I wish I'd see more such commentary going around rather than complaints that not everyone can attend a university.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rail Passenger Service Infeasible

I thought that was a pretty interesting piece Aaron Antrim had published in the Eureka Reporter this morning. I guess the gist of what he's trying to say is that passenger service never really has been considered by the powers that be in all the talk of resuming rail service in Humboldt County.

He also puts some facts and figures behind what myself and others have been saying for some time: Passenger rail service won't be cost effective up here. Of course, as I've said before, I don't think freight rail service would be cost effective up here, either.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Read the fine print.


Someone posted a link to the Daily Triplicate- the newspaper for Del Norte County and Southern Oregon- the other day, so I added it to my news list. A few interesting things happening up north, but this letter to the editor really caught my eye this morning:

What? The fine print on the labeling of the hoses the guy buys says... hose contains carcinogens... wash your hands after every use... do not drink water from this hose?

I'm wondering if the last hoses we bought were the same kind? I didn't read the labeling.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Let It Grow?!?!?

I couldn't help but laugh- with all the controversy regarding pot being grown indoors in Arcata recently- at the newest web site added to the Humquide web site: A hydroponic gardening store in Arcata.

Candidate Info and Choices

Someone posted a comment somewhere in one of the past posts wondering how we could go on talking about elections without mentioning the League of Women Voters' Smarvoter page. We'll, most regulars here know I've mentioned it before if only to remark that few candidates ever use it. That still seems to be the case today with none of the candidates in the two races on my ballot having provided any information on themselves to Smartvoter.

But, some info is starting to emerge in the College of the Redwoods Trustee election. Two candidates have statements about themselves in the local papers today.

Richard Dorn had his info published as a letter to the editor to the Eureka Reporter. Is it just me or does his letter come off as kind of tacky self- promotion? Not that he shouldn't strut his stuff, being a candidate. I just thought it might come off better if he'd had someone else sign the letter and send it in for him.

Either that, or it might have been good in a candidate statement opposite the other candidate's statements, but I thought it came off tacky as a letter to the editor all by itself.

I would have missed candidate Dick Twiddy's My Word column this morning if I hadn't remembered to check out the Times- Standard web site, this being the second day in a row the T-S skipped delivery to my house.

I was thinking about voting for Twiddy but I wonder about him being in Louisiana all the time? It seems every time I hear something from, or about him, he's back in Louisiana helping with hurricane recovery efforts. Would he ever show up for the trustee meetings?

Will the third candidate in that race, Cole Machado, send something in to the papers with information on himself? We'll be watching and waiting. I'm still not sure who I'll be voting for in this one.
Lucky for me, the Harbor Commission race doesn't appear on my ballot this time around. Naturally, this one seems to have degenerated into a left vs. right wing thing, at least according to David Cobb. Along the lines of Jake Pickering style, Dave starts off by equating the candidates he opposes with George Bush. Wow.

Still, the lines do seem to be drawn left vs. right with at least two local left wing bloggers endorsing Higgins and Quilez. If I were voting in that race I might just be petty enough to vote for whoever the lefties oppose, but I'm not. Besides, I'm not all that happy with the status quo in regards the Harbor Commission, anyway.

I think if the Harbor Commission race was on my ballot, I'd likely stand aside and not vote at all in that one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Poo on Drunk Driving Checkpoints

Thank you, James Bovard, for your commentary on drunk driving checkpoints. More probably needs to be said, but it's good to see I'm not alone in my contempt for those things.

Some of you older folks might remember the old vehicle inspection stops the California Highway Patrol used to run here in California. They stopped doing them quite a few years ago. I believe it was because of some court decision. Too bad they couldn't apply that decision to the drunk driving checkpoints.

What they'd do is set up a checkpoint somewhere. Unlike the drunk driving checkpoints, these were unannounced and set up somewhere you wouldn't see them until it was too late to avoid them. They'd wave you to the side of the road and check your vehicle for mechanical flaws: Horn, turn signals, tires and so on. They'd give you a fix- it ticket for anything they found wrong.

Last one I ran in to was on Myrtle Avenue in Eureka, out in front of the PG&E office. I was driving east coming up off Old Arcata Road, turned the corner and there it was. Too late to avoid it. Don't remember if they found anything wrong with my car that time, or not. Seems they usually did.

Regardless, I hated those things then and continued to hate the vehicle inspection stops long after they stopped doing them. Now, if only the courts could get around to ending the drunk driving checkpoints.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Times- Standard Blasts Schoolduggery

Rather couragous of the Times- Standard to blast Eureka City Schools over what seems to be the squandering of millions of dollars of bond money. It's so non- pc to say anything negative about schools, at least in some circles.

I can't help but wonder if this is just the tip of the iceberg?

Let Pharmacists Prescribe?

Looks like there's a movement afoot to allow pharmacists to prescribe some behind- the- counter drugs without physician oversight. Sounds like a great idea to me. Might even help bring some associated medical costs down. I'll have to keep an eye on this and see what players enter the fray, coming out for or against the idea.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Force In Humboldt

I suppose Humboldt is no different than anywhere else as far as having people who like to force their will on others.

This fluoride issue we've dealt with before. I mentioned back then how troubling it is to me how some people don't give a second thought to forcing their will on others, even in issues regarding drinking water.

Another example is Eureka's Historic Preservation Ordinance. City council critters, and others, are suggesting revisions to the ordinance. Some of them, seems to me, give little thought to personal choice in the matter. Apparently, some are concerned that a homeowner or two might try and opt out of the proposed ordinance. How dare they?!!!

That's old news, in a way. When this ordinance was first established homeowners were allowed to voluntarily opt out, myself being one who opted out. I'll give at least some credit to those who came up with the ordinance that they allowed an opt out. Still, I suspect others wouldn't have allowed it if given their choice.

I'm actually very sympathetic to the ordinance, being somewhat of a history buff. That's one of the reasons I bought the house I live in now. But I don't want repairs and such to my home subject to the whims of the city council or historical society.

This latest idea of being able to establish a historical district with just 60% of the residents of a neighborhood approving it is frightening indeed. Granted, it's better than the old 50% requirement, but still, not enough comfort for me.

Think I'm paranoid? Just read what Ted Loring said in regards Jeff Leonard's proposed revision that would exclude homes, already opted out of the ordinance, from being swallowed up into a historic district by a 60% vote:

Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Ted Loring made clear he felt such a revision would jeopardize the very intent of such districts.

If some property owners are allowed to opt out, Loring said, the districts would wind up with “Swiss cheese” like holes and lose the very historic feel the district aimed to preserve.

I suspect Loring doesn't want this ordinance to allow any voluntary opt outs.

Hey, I don't want all Eureka's old homes to be replaced by the new tract housing type homes and apartments we see in new construction nowadays, but I do want control over what is done with my own house. I'll opt out of any new ordinance, assuming I have the choice, even if I don't plan on doing anything to change my home's appearance.
I wonder how many people who oppose water fluoridation support forcing homeowners into historical districts? What about the other way around?

Instant update, just a few minutes later. Just thought of this:

Most of you that have been coming here a while know about the World's Smallest Political Quiz. That quiz supposedly identifies your political leaning(s) as to whether your Left liberal, Right conservative, libertarian or authoritarian.

I wonder if you could use the fluoride and historical district issues as a local political quiz:

If you support water fluoridation but oppose historical designations, you're a Right conservative?
If you oppose water fluoridation but support historical designations, you're a Left liberal?
If you support water fluoridation and historical designations, you're an Authoritarian?
If you oppose water fluoridation and historical designations, you're a Libertarian?

Nah. I'm not sure that would work. It almost seems right but something's missing. If nothing else, I don't really have a problem with historical designations, it's how you force people to comply with them that I have a problem with.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Things To Do In Humboldt County

I was making my occasional stop- in at the Humboldt County Lines online magazine and noticed our very own Andrew Bird has an article featured. Top Ten Things to Do in Humboldt County, lists some popular activities for Humboldt residents.

I guess there's other things to do, as well. I kind of sorry he didn't include sitting at home in front of the computer, rain or shine, playing Aces High, like I always do. Then again, I know of only two other people in the county that play the game- and I'm sure they don't play as much as I do- so I guess that shouldn't be in the top ten.

And, of course, he didn't mention anything about doing drugs, but we don't need to go there.
Taking another look at HCL, I see Andrew actually has two of his articles featured. The second one is on preparing for winter, something I suppose most of us do late, if at all.

Some comments on a couple of his suggestions:

Bringing in patio furniture- Good idea. I'm not sure spraying them with WD40 is really worthwhile as you'd have to keep reapplying it as it wears off. I would think paint would be a better idea for metal, assuming it doesn't ruin the appearance of the item in question.

Also, something that most people don't do, myself included, is to bring garden hoses inside. The longer they're outside the quicker they degrade.

Vehicle maintenance- I remember the first year I moved up here. Winter came, and pretty much everyone who lived in the apartments I lived at had their cars break down. We ended up with a mass hitchhiking effort to College of the Redwoods until the situation was resolved.

Not sure if it was the weather, or what, but it was uncanny how everyone's cars seemed to break down within a week of each other.

I don't really worry much about winterizing my vehicles anymore, not since I started using those ubiquitous oil change places we have. I stop in to the Chevron Oil Stop place at least twice a year and they pretty much check everything and take care of any deficiencies.

Andrew also suggests checking and possibly replacing windshield wipers. Good idea, as well, but I'm still haunted by the first time I replaced my wipers.

I think it was four years ago. We were going to make our first trip to UCSF Medical Center and it was supposed to rain. I took my truck in to Super Lube and had the guy replace my windshield wipers along with the rest of the stuff they do.

Funny thing was, the wipers I had on the truck worked just fine. I just figured they'd been on the truck for a couple years and probably needed replacing so went ahead and got new ones.

The new ones worked fine for a little while and then they started leaving streaks on the windshield. Finally, I went to good ol' Finnegan and Nason Auto Parts in Friendly Henderson Center, Eureka, and told the guy my problem.

He actually came out to my car and put the new wipers on himself and pointed out what was wrong with the ones I'd bought not all that long before. It was the way they were manufactured and they'd developed cracks so they didn't wipe the windshields fully clean anymore.

Great, says me. Problem solved with these new wipers.

Nope. The ones he sold me started streaking and I could see no reason for it. A year or so later I bought yet another pair from somewhere and they streaked from the get- go. They're streaking my windshield to this day and I'm afraid I'll be wasting money if I buy another pair of wipers that just end up doing the same thing.

Goes to show the truth to that old saying: If it ain't broke, don't try and fix it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jurrasic Humboldt?

I often scoff at those who promote tourism as a cure to Humboldt County's financial woes. At first, I thought Denver Nelson was just another one of the sell- trinkets- to- tourists crowd but, taking a closer look at his My Word piece this morning, maybe he's on to something.

He suggests bringing back dinosaurs and turning Humboldt County into a dinosaur preserve. Cool. That would certainly bring people to the county. Even I would be willing to travel to see real dinosaurs.

Question is, can they really create dinosaurs from DNA? I don't know but, since HSU boss, Rollin Richmond, is a former geneticist, I'd suggest he get right on it and let us know if it's possible.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bob(?) Barnum Fights TPZ Ordinance

I believe that's supposed to be Bill Barnum, isn't it, that spoke to the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce against the recently enacted county ordinance "banning" home building in timber production zones?

It might be a surprise to some that I don't have much of a problem with the ordinance at this point. If nothing else, I don't want insult added to injury in this Maxxam/ Palco debacle and, not only lose Palco, but lose more timber land to development, as well.

Not that the land in question could have been developed anyway, could it? That's why I used quotation marks with the word banning in the first paragraph.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Reason T.V.

Looks like Reason magazine has started using Youtube. Here's one of their first shows starring Drew Carey, a libertarian:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Defense Calls....Jeffrey Schwartz?

Interesting observations on the ongoing Arkley/ Glass saga in a My Word column by Jeffrey Schwartz- the very same fellow who recently left the district attorney's office. Unfortunately, that piece isn't available online yet (that seems to happen a lot on Sundays), so you may want to go out and buy a hard copy of today's Times- Standard.

Anyway, Schwartz goes on to say, among other things: "...Arkley therefore did not threaten Glass. I see just the opposite.....Arkley never had Glass' vote and never needed it. The only logical thing Arkley could have been doing is threatening ruination of other council members through Glass....If you leave alcohol out of the equation, nothing else makes sense."

There you have it, folks. An anti- Arkley, Glass fan and past prosecuting attorney for the district attorney's office has said that Arkley didn't threaten Glass, although he supposedly threatened other council members.

Of course, he's basing all this on suppositions and trying to suggest Arkley's motivations which he can provide no solid evidence for. He then goes on to refer to leaving alcohol out of the equation. Why should we leave alcohol out of the equation?

Rob Arkley is innocent of threatening Glass, according to Schwartz. If the investigation is to proceed, we'll have to see if the remaining council members felt threatened by Arkley's confrontation with Glass.

I know. A rather convoluted mess based on guesses that no reasonable jury should convict on.

The defense rests.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

SacBee Does Scotia

The Sacramento Bee takes a look at the Palco/ Scotia situation. Makes the situation sound a little rosier than the news we get locally. Or maybe it's just me?

As always, if asked for a login, you can use humboldtlib as the username and blogspot as the password.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Spam Forwarding Addresses

Was just made aware of this e-mail address run by the Federal Trade Commission(?) to which you can forward fraudulent spam you receive. I don't know that it's really meant for all spam, just spam used for fraud and/ or phishing: spam@uce.gov

I used it for the first time the other day when I received one of those supposed letters from the Internal Revenue Service telling me they owed me a big refund. Didn't receive any acknowledgment that my forwarded e-mail had been received and have no idea whether they actually do anything in regards those frauds, but, you might as well give it a try. It would be nice to see some of these scammers get caught and prosecuted.

Oh, and to mention it again: Don't forget to forward any of those phony Paypal e-mail messages to spoof@paypal.com. They actually send you an acknowledgment and will tell you if it's a scam, or actually an e-mail sent by Paypal. They also try to shut down whoever's doing it, although I don't know if they try and prosecute (they should).

I get a lot of the phony Paypal e-mails and always forward them. A few days ago I forwarded one to Paypal that was actually a legitimate Paypal e-mail. Something in the links of that e-mail made me suspicious. First time I've gotten it wrong with the Paypal scams.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Ron Paul Stuff

More Ron Paul stuff from the National Review, no less!

How To Vote November 6?

Received my ballot for the upcoming local elections in the mail yesterday. I'm not quite sure how I'll be voting in this election, assuming I vote at all, but I'll hold off on sending my ballot in until I can see if any more info on the issues and candidates emerges.

As I mentioned here not long ago, there's only two races going on this time: County Board of Education and College of the Redwoods Trustee. I only know a little about two of the candidates and none have chosen to add any info about themselves to the League of Women Voters Smartvoter page at the time of this writing.

Jake Pickering, as we all know, is running for a seat on the County Board of Education. I suspect he's the one who made comments in regards himself and that race back on the Speaking of Elections...thread of October 7. The 7:48 comment is classic Pickering.

Richard "Dick" Twiddy is someone I actually kinda know from way back. He used to work for PG&E at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant when I was a guard there. Recently he's got his name out there by being one of the members of the Humboldt Taxpayer's League who supported the lawsuit against the Eureka Redevelopment Agency in regards the Golden/ Vellutini project on the Eureka waterfront. He's also had a number of letters to the editor published on various issues.

Aside from the personalities, I'm wondering just what issues apply to these two particular races? While we can be assured Jake Pickering will make this a Left vs. Right thing, there must be some nuts and bolts issues they'd be dealing with as either a board member or trustee.

Anyone have any insights on the candidates and/ or issues involved in these races?

Court Halts Jessica's Law

The State Supreme Court put a halt to Jessica's Law, at least with regards to four registered sex offenders. Hopefully the ruling will end up applying to all the other registered sex offenders as well.

Jessica's Law, you might recall, was the recently passed initiative that forbids sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of schools and parks. This rules out living pretty much anywhere in some urban areas and has left many offenders homeless or forced to move to rural areas.

Worthy of note, is that one of the plaintiffs in the case was convicted as a sixteen year old of having consensual sex with a fifteen year old. Just another illustration of why we need to not just get rid of Jessica's Law, but take a look at how we label sex offenders in the first place.

I'm very proud of opposing Jessica's Law from the get- go.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

North Coast Travelogue: 10/7-10/8

Got back from San Francisco again last night. First time I think I've had to drive down there since at least early summer, the wifey's brothers and sisters having been picking up my slack.

This time it was kind of iffy for us if we'd be staying one or two nights. Wife had an appointment at 1:30 in the afternoon on Monday. Normally, if we can get out of there before 3pm, I'll go ahead and try to head home. If not, I stay another night. Problem is, you never know how long you'll be there regardless of when your appointment is.

I ended up making a reservation for just Sunday night. We stayed at the Native Daughters of the Golden West Home (NGDW), corner of Baker and Fulton, San Francisco this time. Our usual place, Cathedral Hill Hotel, we were told didn't have any rooms available.
In one way this made what might be a tricky schedule easier.

The folks at NDGW are pretty easy going about check out times so it made scheduling a bit more flexible. The big disadvantage to NDGW was very limited parking available.

We left a bit later than we expected on Sunday, having to double back to the wifey's parents house to pick up some things the wife forgot. Then I had to stop by Taco Bell on Broadway and get myself a big glass of iced tea for the road. That was a mistake, I soon decided, because the iced tea just didn't hit the spot with me that day like it usually does. Maybe cause it's not summer?

Saw three wild turkey on the side of the road near Legget.

As we were just north of Laytonville, something hit the windshield. Sounded like a rock and I expected to have the windshield crack. The wife saw it hit and said it was a bug. Must of been some bug to make that kind of noise. Luckily, no cracked window.

Went pretty smooth until we got to around the Ignacio Parkway turnoff a bit south of Novato(?). First time I remember traffic getting backed up for so long that time of the day. I believe it was around 3:30ish.
After about maybe a half hour of stop and go, the pace picked up again and I figured that must be it and it would be smooth sailing in to The City. This was not to be.

As we approached the hill heading up to the tunnel before the Golden Gate Bridge, things started slowing down again. Finally, slowing down to a crawl, off and on. That's never happened there before. Finally, we see a neon sign stating parking for the air show is full.
So that's it. We stumbled into the last part of the air show that was part of what we found of later was San Francisco's Fleet Week. Bummer.

But I figured once we got to the Bridge, it should clear up. The clutter seemed to be from the parking for the air show, to the west at Golden Gate Park.
I was partly right, but the clutter never ended. We ended up crossing the Golden Gate Bridge not going faster than 35mph, if that. I know we went down to 15.

I figured maybe it would clear up once we passed Toll Plaza. Nope.
Bumper to bumper traffic was headed both ways; Both down 19th Ave and the way we went, towards Lombard Street. I've never seen it so congested and it's never taken us so long to get through San Francisco. It actually would take sometimes two cycles of red and green lights to make it through an intersection.

We finally made it to McCallister. That was a real blessing after dealing with Lombard and Van Ness.

I realized later, after looking at the map, that I probably should have taken Gough Street, as that went to where we were going and I noticed it wasn't anywhere near as congested.
Reason I didn't was because I'd never been on Gough and didn't know what it might be like. Looking at the map later, it looked like it would have been a good choice.

But, we made it and closed in on the NDGW Home. Now my next worry: Parking.

There's only two dedicated parking spots for NDGW and they're right in front of the two car garage. All it would take was for two other people with cars to be staying there and I'll have to go elsewhere for parking.

As we drove up I saw what I thought was a couple cars in the parking spaces. I kept driving and the wife asks what I'm doing. I told her the parking spaces were full. She indicated they weren't. I drove around the block to show her and found she was right. I was looking at the cars in front of the front entrance of NDGW, not the garages. Both those spaces were open.
Cool. We made it.

Had some internet problems at NDGW which I describe separately in a post below.

Monday, we headed for UCSF Medical Center at around 11:45. Although we had a 1:30 appointment we still had to do bloodwork earlier and, potentially, a big problem: find parking. The usual times we get to USCF the parking garage isn't a problem. During mid- day, though, it can sometimes be a challenge, if not impossible, to find parking. Middle of the day like this wasn't a good time for a worrier like me.

So we left a bit early and I was surprised how close NDGW was to UCSF. We'd stayed there twice before but I'd never noticed the closeness as compared to Cathedral Hill Hotel. It took less than ten minutes.

Next pleasant surprise was there was plenty of parking space on the D level of the parking garage where we prefer to park. Things were just falling together.

Got a couple sandwiches at Subway, including a couple of iced teas. I actually bought the larger one and they gave me the smaller cup. I guess it was included with the meal. I took the big one with me to the clinic and put the smaller one on my truck's cup holder to drink on our way home.

We managed to get out of the clinic a little after 2:30 and out of the parking garage before 3pm. A little later than I'd like but I'd made up my mind I was determined not to spend another night in The City.

I started drinking the iced tea I'd left in the truck as headed down Irving to 19th Avenue. By the time I'd turned on 19th, I thought I had a problem. I started getting what seemed to be stomach cramps. Iced tea sometimes does that to me depending on what I've been eating. Was I going to shit my pants???

NOT HERE! We're flying down 19th Avenue and there's NO place to stop. I didn't say anything to the wife and just tried to control the pain from the cramps. Gradually, as we drove along, the cramps went away, especially after I passed some gas. Whew. Scary.

I suggested we consolidate some stops to make it home quicker and rather than just use the drive through at the Willits Taco Bell for dinner and make a separate bathroom stop at one of the rest stops north of Willits, we do both at Taco Bell, buy gas and then no more stops until Eureka.

Didn't work too well. Connie couldn't get into the girl's rest room. The door was locked for at least ten minutes before I finally had her use the men's room and stood guard outside. No one ever came out of the girl's room by the time we left.

Then the usual hang up at the merge as you go through Willits, with the usual suspects staying on the right until that last moment so they can go to the head of the line. I blocked one car from merging but the time wasn't right to block the one that ended up in front of me. People were being too nice.

It would be great to have all the early mergers go bumper to bumper and keep those trying to nose into the front of the line out, but it's easier said than done. Maybe some day.

After gassing at Safeway, no more stops and things went pretty quick. I don't like driving at night but was somewhat relieved when the sun went down as the low sun beating me on the side of my face through the window was taking its toll. Seemed like the ride went faster after the sun went down, as well.

Good news is we won't have to go down there again, unless unforeseen developments arise, for three more months. Bad news is, we still have to go back.

Free San Francisco Wifi

So we get to our room at the NDGW house. After we get settled, I hook up the laptop to check my e-mail. I might have mentioned before, they don't have desks in the rooms at NDGW so you often have to use the floor. I almost have to use the floor, especially since I bring along a standard keyboard to use with the laptop. No tables in the rooms big enough to accomodate my stuff.

We were on the third floor this time, as opposed to the fourth where we usually stay and I've successfully used the wifi connection from the Hot Chili Kitchen, across the street from NDGW before. I have had some problems connecting, though.

This time it seemed to be working ok. I figured since the third floor was probably closer to the source, it should work better, and it did on Sunday night. Next morning, though, things went south.

I got up and went to check my e-mail and enter my sweepstakes, first thing. I couldn't connect. I tried about three times with the last time finally getting what seemed to be a good connection but, within minutes, the signal faded to almost non- existent. I tried a few more times before realizing I was playing a losing game.

I finally went down to The Parlor- their name for their large living room- where I knew I'd always connected well before. It was on the second floor and not far away. Set up and tried to connect. I seemed to get a good connection again, but after a few minutes the signal got worse and worse.

I couldn't figure why the signal was fine the night before but so erratic now although I know atmospheric conditions affect radio and night and day often affect the atmosphere. All I could do was look through the list of connections the computer's radio was detecting and see if I could freeload on a different one. Most of the connections displayed were secured.

Then I noticed it for the first time. I don't think I'd seen that connection last time I was here: Free The Net, it was called. Hmm??? I guess that means it's free, but is it legit, or some connection a hacker put up? I gave it a try and hooked up right away. I got a good signal and it stayed good. Finally got most my internet stuff done. Didn't have enough time for everything.

I tried again later back in the room. Same problem with the signal dropping and, oddly enough, I couldn't detect the Free The Net signal in our room. Only in The Parlor.

So later on, about an hour before we leave for UCSF, I go down to The Parlor to check my e-mail for the last time before leaving. Tried the Free The Net connection, connect, and immediately get taken to this page. It didn't take me there before.

Ahhh... so this is what they're doing.

Apparently, Meraki- a private company- is trying to establish free wifi throughout San Francisco. This doesn't seem to be the wifi network San Francisco government officials keep talking about. They're still talking about that one.

I noticed they offer a free booster for their network and decided to try and get one but it wouldn't accept my address because I don't live in San Francisco. Well that's ok, says I, I'll just let the NDGW House manager know about it.

Meraki offers free indoor and outdoor boosters for their network. They're trying to get everyone to take part in expanding San Francisco wifi. How they can afford it, I don't know, but I'm sending an e-mail to NDGW this morning and suggest NDGW take Meraki up on the offer.

I figure putting an indoor booster in The Parlor on the second floor might get the signal to the third and fourth floors and an outdoor booster would send it further around the neighborhood. Good deal, especially since Meraki's providing it free.

When we got to UCSF I made a point of tracking down one of the powers- that- be to suggest they see about installing Meraki boosters on the campus. He said they're already planning on it, although I'm not sure if we were talking about the same network.

Cool stuff, although I can't help but wonder why I get so excited about it. I prefer hard- wired DSL.

I wonder if Meraki would be interested in teaming up with Myrtletown.net in expanding their network?

President Hillary Saves GOP?

Interesting commentary by the Orange County Register's, Steve Greenhut. He seems to despise Hillary as much as I do. He seems to think, absent an unlikely Ron Paul victory, a President Hillary will help the GOP pull itself back together.

I'm not so optimistic. I think partisanship, rather than principle, will rule the day although certainly they'll have a target to rally against in Hillary.

As an aside, anyone notice the big Ron Paul sign in that guy's driveway on Herrick Avenue in south Eureka? As you're driving east, and start to go down the hill into the golf course, it's off to the right.

Might not be there today as the wind would probably blow it down.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Speaking of elections...

..I went to check out the League of Women Voter's Smartvoter page to see what will be on the ballot this November. Not much, in my district anyway. Just a county board of education and College of the Redwoods Trustee seats. Boy, sounds exciting.

I see Jake Pickering is running for the Board of Education seat. I wonder if he'll get shellacked like he did last time he ran for...what was it... the water district seat?

I notice, once again, none of the candidates running have added any of their campaign info to the Smartvoter site. I never cease to be amazed that candidates don't take advantage of that free service the League of Women Voters offers.

Everybody's Happy...

..with Caltrans' plans for straightening out Highway 101 at Richardson Grove, at least according to the Redwood Times. Looks like all kinds of people showed up at CalTrans' open house on the issue, with the notable exception of our very own Eric Kirk.

Myself? I suppose their plan's ok, but I would have liked to see them take at least a couple of the big trees out, if for no other reason than to piss the tree huggers off.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Paintball Guns Are Dangerous?

I guess so. My first glance at this Sacramento Bee story (if asked for login, use humboldtlib for username and blogspot for the password)on the dangers of paintball guns I thought it was another cry to ban yet something else. Reading further it seems the guy just wants to get the word out that paintball guns have the potential for lethal injuries- his wife having been killed from an improperly removed paintball CO2 cartridge.
I believe we have at least one paintball club up here. A few years ago I ran into a kid who I knew from juvenile hall. He was at the Eureka Safeway on Harris, near Redwood Acres Fairgrounds. He said he was in some group that met regularly in the woods back behind Safeway and would have at it with their paintball guns. He loved the game. I think I would too. Sounds fun.

Of course, like anything else, they can be misused. It seems every now and then our neighborhood is hit with a rash of vandalism to cars. The latest one being a few weeks ago the vandals seemed to be using paintball guns.

I almost didn't notice it, at first, but while loading stuff into my truck one morning I happened to see small yellow specks of something on my trailer. Closer inspection revealed a big splotch of yellow paint on my left rear tail light with smaller drops radiating away from where it struck. Luckily, it was still wet and I easily wiped the paint off the truck. The force of the pellet actually cracked the plastic of the taillight but not to the point the light had to be replaced.

I'd noticed the car parked in front of me had also been hit in the same spot. I was under the impression that car belonged to someone in the drug rehab place across the street so I didn't bother notifying them.

Later in the day that car came back and parked in the same place and I realized it actually belonged to the daughter of the lady that bought the house next door. I noticed she still had the paint on the back of her car. I pointed it out to her and she said it was the first she'd noticed it.

Then I noticed the paint was still wet. Apparently paintball paint doesn't dry as ordinary paint does, giving you time to clean it up. Good idea. I think I'd prefer getting that on my truck rather than eggs like the vandals usually use.
Speaking of CO2 cartridges; The old fashioned ones can be dangerous too. I'm sure many of you remember taking the spent CO2 cartridges from bb guns and making them into rockets.

You'd fill them with match heads (NOT THE STRIKE ANYWHERE KIND!) leaving one match head sticking out the top. Set the cartridge on the ground at an angle and light the exposed match head. WHOOOSH!!! Those things could really take off.

That's good, clean fun. Problem is, every now and then something goes wrong and the cartridge will either blow up and seriously injure or kill someone or end up doing damage as a projectile.

Don't try that one at home folks. I read some years ago about some kid in Mckinleyville getting killed playing with those home made CO2 rockets.

Hmmm...I wonder how many match heads it would take to fill a paintball CO2 cartridge?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Jobs I've Had

Since Jennifer, over at the House of Sand and Fog, went through all the jobs she's had in her life, I decided to take that trip down memory lane and do the same. Those of you not interested had best move on.
1971ish, age 16- First job I ever had was a dishwasher at the Snack Shop- a Denny's type restaurant- in Corona Del Mar. That was at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and McAurther(sic?) Blvd. I ran into an acquaintance who worked as a dishwasher there and he asked if I was interested in trying it out. I gave it a shot.

I worked the night shift Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Work wasn't too bad and it was really neat being a teenager in high school with all that money.

I think I only had that job for about three or four months before quitting. Seems longer than that, though.

1973, age 17- A friend and I got a job through another acquaintance at the Costa Mesa Car Wash. I mostly vacuumed the cars out before they went through the washer.

Not much fun, that one was. What made it worse was I was pretty much living away from home for the first time so the money made was money that needed to be spent. I don't know that I lasted more than four or five months before getting out of there.

I quit that job for a job that ended up being my shortest held job ever: A maintenance gardener that I did for one day.

That job paid real well for back then. I think it was $5.00 an hour, over twice what I made at the car wash. Problem was...it sucked.

Had to drive north to the smoggy, more congested, parts of the county- places I'd hardly ever been to- meet up with the crew, and follow them around. Being the new guy I got the crappy job: clipping around the sprinkler heads with those hand clippers. That was back before string trimmers were around. Couldn't kneel and do it, either, like I did at home. You had to bend over, clip, and move on. Time was money.

My dog got loose and was picked up by animal control that day. I used that as an excuse to skip work on what would have been my second day. Told the boss I had to go to the dog pound and get my dog. Never went back after that except to the boss's house to get paid.

Moved to Eureka within a week or so of that.

Late 1973- Just an off and on type of work but did painting for Floyd and Ruth Squires who had numerous rentals around Eureka. They were my landlords at the time and often hired tenants to do work. We appreciated the work and the money.

Also worked for Floyd Squires Jr. at least once, doing painting. No complaints from me about Floyd Jr. He treated me well.

Later '73 or '74- The Scarpellino family took over Floyd and Ruth Squire's House of Squires, out on Pigeon Point Road, where I lived at the time. I forget who it was that asked. It might have been Dorothy that asked if I wanted to wash some dishes at Sabrina's. That was across from the Eureka Theater on F Street back then.

I took them up on it and ended up working there for three years, at least. I started out as a dishwasher and delivery guy (back then we were the only place in town that delivered pizza). Ended up as a cook and opening the place each morning. That was more than just a job. It was a way of life, since most my friends worked or hung around there.

I left there when I went to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri for basic training with the National Guard.

1976- Came back from basic training and was jobless. The gal at the employment office said I could get my job back at Sabrina's if I wanted as they'd be required under law to hire me back. First of all, ownership at Sabrina's was in transition around that time, if memory serves me correct, and I had a suspicion the place wouldn't be open that much longer anyway. I was right.

Second, it was time to move on and see what else was out there to do.

Stan and Babs Francis recommended me to some friends of theirs who I was vaguely familiar with. The Pfannenstiels had a ranch of sorts out in Maple Creek and needed a caretaker. They offered a $50.00 stipend and free housing. No running water, electricity or gas in the housing, though.

Back then I was an outdoors guy so I jumped at it. Enjoyed it for most of a year. Got a bit lonely up there when my dog was killed so I moved back to town.

1977ish- Took a month or so to get a job once back in Eureka. Finally got a part- time job at the Texaco Star and Bar gas station, corner of 4th and M Streets in Eureka. This was in the middle of summer and, unlike now, there was no overhead protection there then.

That job was a toughie cause you'd be out in the sun and on your feet the whole shift, with few breaks, if any. I often wondered why I'd stayed at Sabrina's for so long. Now I knew: There were benefits to working at Sabrina's like free food, beer and good company. The only benefit to that gas station job was you didn't have to decide what to wear to work. They provided uniforms.

At one point Dave, the manager, was warning me about being fired. They were coming up something like $20.00 short- almost to the penny- every day that I worked. I told Dave I didn't know how we were coming up short and, if it continued, I'd quit.

Wasn't long after that Dave told me that the owner, Jerry Ruell, wanted to see me in his office. "This is it", thought I. I was going to get fired.

I go into Ruell's office and first thing he asks me is whether I'm good with numbers, or some such. "Yep, he's going to fire me.". Then to my surprise he tells me he's sending me to a full time shift at one of his other stations. I'd been working part- time all this time so this was a promotion!

So I end up being the morning open- up- the- shop guy at the Beacon station, corner of Myrtle Avenue and McFarland. Not only did I have a full time job, this place had a cover over the gas pumps to fend off the sun and rain. Not bad.

Right after I started at the Beacon station, one of the young guys I worked with at 4th and M stopped by and told me they were $20.00 short the day after I left. I think I know who was doing it.

1979(?)- I'd met a guy while working the night shift at 4th and M Streets. He was in a security guard uniform and that piqued my interest. He told me he worked at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant and he made something like $4.50 an hour. Nice pay for that time. I decided to put in an application there.

They actually called me, which was a surprise. Went to an interview with the then head of plant security, the late Gordon Busey, a former Captain with the Eureka Police Department. Surprising me even more, I got hired, although just as a relief guy to start. That meant I just covered for other people that were sick or on vacation.

But turnover was fairly high there back then and I got plenty of hours in. Finally, I seemed to get full time all of the sudden. I'd gone to annual training with the national guard for two weeks. When I got back, enough people had quit to put me in a full time slot.

That sort of attrition didn't make PG&E look all that good to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission- Humboldt Bay being a nuclear facility- so shortly after that they nearly double the pay and we ended up getting $10.00 an hour, very good pay for the time.

I stayed there for eight and a half years. Eventually they decommissioned the nuclear unit and most of the guards weren't needed anymore. I believe only five, plus the supervisor, would stay on. I had just enough seniority I could have stayed on as the relief guard, and they'd said they'd make sure the relief guy got enough hours to live on. I decided, once again, it was time to move on.

1988- Once again I was surprised to pass an interview and get hired as Christmas help for United Parcel Service. The job only lasted a month, but it was fun and payed well. They called me back the next year to see if I wanted to do it again but I had other commitments.

Sometime around then, either before or after UPS I ended up working full time with the national guard. Our full timer had to leave for training and I weasled my way into taking over for her for three months. Once she returned, we weasled a way for me to stay on for three more months.

Made good money in that time, but had really had enough of it. I was a real gung- ho guardsman back then. It was a fun hobby to me that paid well. I thought I might enjoy doing that as a career. Like anything else, once you do something all the time it gets old.

1988- The unemployment office really sucked back in those days. They had a system set up where they stuck you into certain job functions. If you listed yourself as a plumber, you could only look at job announcement for plumbers. I forget what I listed myself as but the jobs I could search for were limited. It was really dumb because there might be something out there you could do you'd never considered.

The College of the Redwoods job service, I forget what that office was called, was much better. Anyone could see all the jobs that were being offered. That's where I saw a flyer for Group Counselor, Juvenile Hall.

I thought that might be something I might be able to do and filled out an application. I actually got a job there as Extra Help, which isn't too big a deal, but I got enough hours in to make ends meet. I also volunteered a lot so got to know the ropes better than some of the help so staff would often call me first to fill an opening.

Then I got the Permanent Part Time position and eventually, Full Time.

Spent like three to three and a half years there before moving on.

1992- I think it was around '92, maybe '91, when I went on temporary duty with the national guard and flew off to Saudi Arabia. Spent four months there.

Then I came back and decided, since gardening was my big hobby at the time, I'd do something for a living I liked to do and started Fred's Yard Service. Big mistake.

Actually, I liked it a lot when I first started out. My time was my own to do as I liked as long as I got my work done. Then, when you get older it takes it's toll on you. I don't enjoy gardening around the house anymore, either.

A friend down south owns a software company. He told me once how he likes computers for a hobby as well as work. I told him, the way it works with me is if you try to turn your hobby into a job, you end up losing a hobby.

Time for a change. What will I do next?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

3000 Miners Trapped?

This just in, but I have a hard time believing it. 3000 miners were in a mine a one time? Whatever. I suspect it's probably more like 300, or less. Developing.

Hillary vs. Paul in 2008?

Speaking of the 2008 presidential election- a subject I actually find quite dull at this point in time- I think the race is the democrats to lose. Seems to me the Bush Administration is [rightfully] held in such low regard by most people the dems have a big advantage right from the start.

I say that with a somewhat heavy heart because my gut feeling is Hillary Clinton will end up being the democrat's candidate for president after all is said and done.

No, I don't like her. I think she's both a disgusting person and politician, but I think she'll be the one. I hope I'm wrong and, in the back of my mind, keep hoping she'll have a Paul Wellstone moment one of these times she's flying around the country.

Not too happy with the republican choices, either, with the exception of Ron Paul as I've mentioned before. He won't win the nomination, though.

I was actually thinking that Ron Paul is probably the only one that has a chance of defeating Hillary. He's the only republican that seems to appeal to both the Left and Right, at least to some extent. Probably because he's the only GOP candidate that is strongly against the Iraq war and is willing to stand alone and say it.

With that in mind, I found this commentary a fun read. The writer tells us why Paul is the GOP's best choice. He's right, as far as I'm concerned. Problem is, Paul won't win the nomination. Even if he did, despite feeling he's the republican's best choice, I don't think he'd win against Hillary. Too many people fear liberty.

I hope I'm wrong.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Little Late?

I thought maybe I'd missed it. I guess not.

I saw the news reports of this shark attack that took place over at Moonstone Beach last Thursday in at least three other newspapers around the state-- last Friday.

Wonder why it took so long to show up here? Both the Eureka Reporter and Times- Standard published the story today, five days after it happened.

Monday, October 01, 2007

What To Do About Indoor Grows

Everybody's talking about the problems with indoor pot grows, especially in Arcata. I can understand the concern, but I don't know that zoning laws are going to help that much, if at all.

Our very own, Ed Denson, made some suggestions and observations. He might be right with some of those.

Seems to me the only thing the landlords can do to protect themselves, as far as here and now, is to be sure they have something in their rental contract that allows them to make a monthly inspection of the entire premises before they allow a tenant to rent the property.

And after they've rented the property, INSPECT IT! I don't know that they need to schedule their inspection for the first of each month.

Then again, heck, why not? If a tenant/ grower knew the landlord would be coming by to walk through their house on a certain day each month, they wouldn't have enough time for pot to grow.

I know that's easier said than done and most landlords don't have the time or desire to do inspections each month, but makes sense to me. Seems like about the only thing they can do to protect their property at this point.

Gallegos Back In Jail

No kidding Gallegos is a common name. Yet another Gallegos captured and sent back to jail. This is at least the third Gallegos- not counting our D.A.- that I've seen mentioned in the paper over the last couple weeks.