WEEK 27 2008

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First Post, 17 March 2002
Six Years Ago, This Week, 2002 Five Years Ago, This Week, 2003 Four Years Ago, this week, 2004 Three Years Ago, This Week, 2005 Two Years Ago, This Week, 2006
A Year Ago, This Week, 2007

Saturday 5 July 2008
Saturday - my sister, niece and brother in law came down from Reno and we had a nice visit and little barbecue. The smoke in Reno, well, Sparks, has been bad and they were happy to be in clearer air. They are staying in a nearby hotel, for $52 a night on the 4th of July weekend - travel must be down a lot. We didn't do much, sat around and talked.

I turned on my Linux box downstairs for the niece to play on - WebKins and such, which worked fine once I'd downloaded and installed the Adobe Flash player (by clicking on the 'install flash player' link on the web page). She's never used Linux before, but had no issues with it, other than the missing Flash player.

Mildly apropos of that: I hear someone - Dell? - is offering a 'Vista Bonus Pack' on their computer's now - and that it's Windows XP Pro, with a coupon for getting Vista later, if you want. Wow. What a disaster this must Vista must be for Microsoft. OSX has a far more intuitive interface, Ubuntu has similar functionality and is free - all Windows has going for it is user familiarity and it's backwards compatibility.

 They plan on breaking the backwards compatibility - have already done so in part with Vista, and Office 2007 has dispensed with decades of user familiarity. I've never met anyone who needed anything that wasn't already in Office 2000, and never met anyone who liked Office 2007.

Freedom, glorious freedom. Some moron, out in the Martinez valley somewhere, is shooting off a gun this evening. First whistlers, then firecrackers, finally the distinct multiple reports of a firearm. Bah. The dog was traumatized last night, but at least it was actually the 4th. No sirens, so the gun (sadly) probably wasn't an irritable neighbor.

Amusingly the SF police had big plans to crack down on fireworks there. Big fines, aggressive patrolling, all sorts of posturing took place from various city officials before. But that evening a local news reporter caught multiple videos of police cruisers just, well, cruising past illegal fireworks displays in the streets.

The reporter, young and female, was aghast at the whole thing, all these little people acting as scofflaws, ignoring the public display down on the waterfront where they could be directed here and there via closed off streets, herded into tidy pens, and generally controlled by their betters...

Friday 4 July 2008

Friday - 
Happy  Birthday  United  States  of  America.


The Star Spangled Banner

By Francis Scott Key

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Thursday 3 July 2008

Thursday - in the morning we headed over to San Luis Obispo for a visit to Leons Book Store, as we always try to do. Shockingly it was closed (We actually stood there, debating for minutes, as to whether we were in the right spot, if it was the correct storefront, or just the 'pink romances' annex. Finally the truth sank in). Apparently the building has to be completely structurally remodeled for earthquake resistance and the current owners decided not to try to hang on. Leon himself opened the store in 1969 but passed away a couple of years ago. Article about it here.

It's sad, the passing of an era, but at least my friends daughter coaxed the demolition workers to pull a couple left over stack signs from the walls for us: DRAMA and RELIGION as it turned out. For me, SCI-FI or MARITIME might have been more appropriate, but you take what you can get...

Leons Book Store, after the fall
It's both larger and smaller without the books.

On the road in the afternoon, up to SF via the 101, then over to Martinez. The smoke was thick was we approached Salinas, and then faded away. I'm guessing this was probably the Big Sur fire. Partial fog in the city, nice and clear in the east bay.

As usual the TomTom GPS attempted to steer me into the middle of San Jose. It tried this on my last trip, when we were actually aiming for Fremont. My working hypothesis is that it was built there, and has an electronic homing instinct that kicks in.

Then it tried to get me to  take the 237 exit from the 101 and go up the east side of San Francisco Bay and take the Bay Bridge across to SF. Insane. We ignored it and simply took the 101 to the 9th Street exit, close to my traveling companions apartment.

Wednesday 2 July 2008

Wednesday - we had a nice lunch in Morro Bay, at the Chinese place down at the end of the waterfront. Perused for cheesy souvenir's and some salt water taffy.

In the late afternoon it was time to make some jam from all the berries. It went pretty well - we even had a little left over jam to spread over various things!

Days are walking about the towns, or sitting at the beach. We tear the teen age boys away from the computers and teevee and tell them to leave and not come back until dinner.Which is fine with them, they just need a push. Nights are usually reading, Scrabble, or watching back episodes of Buffy on the DVD player. All very low key and relaxing.

Tuesday 1 July 2008

Tuesday - berry picking! We went to Carson's farm, same as always. There was no sign out by the road. We entered anyway and then found a little "closed" sign down the access road. Ignoring that we then came to the berry field, which was blocked off by a backhoe parked sideway's across the dirt road. We ignored that, collected baskets, picked our two flats of strawberries, and then left a note and cash in the little wooden box sitting by the barn.

Heh - there were a couple of polite notes and other people's money already in it...

To be honest, it's not as bad as it sounds. The same thing happened last year, except farmer Carson happened to be there and mentioned that the closed sign "didn't really mean closed, just nobody around" and that "it was only berries".

 Monday 30 June 2008

Monday - it was nice at the beach. Smoky - but that is most of California these days. The dry lightning storm started, they say, 15,000 fires. That's right: fifteen thousand. But enough complaining, it was pretty darn nice on the coast!

What to say about Cayucos this year? Well, it was a new rental, not directly on the beach, but beautiful, big and nearly new. The guest book started in 2005 I think. I had a private room, with a huge king sized bed. There was a huge kitchen, and large teevee in the front room, and a sit down table suitable for eight easily, even more if needed. The beach was two minutes walk, where the sand was sandy, the water wet, and it was a good place to be...

Sunday_29 June 2008

Sunday - Saturday afternoon I headed back from Yosemite to Lancaster. I'd intended to leave on Sunday, originally, but was tired enough after the long trip up to rethink things. Sunday I was supposed to pick up the boys and head to the coast - four hours driving. On top of six or seven hours on the way down it'd be a horrible day. So before lunch on Saturday I packed up and headed south.

No big problems on the way - I did run low on gas and retrace my path briefly, about 8 miles worth, rather than risk going up the Tehachapi grade with the check fuel light on. I put in about 19 gallons, so it was probably a good idea, the vehicle would have been on fumes at the top of the grade.

I leap frogged with my friend Tim, who was also on his way back. I'd stop for lunch or to check directions, he'd stop for lunch and kid breaks. At  Bakersfield we split, with Lancaster off to the left and LA along the 99 to I-5 on the right.

The cats were fat and happy when I got in, mostly uninterested in me - I'd only been gone a couple of days. The weather was decent, in the 80's, and clear - nice after the smoke and haze of the central valley.

Sunday morning I got up, packed a few more things, picked up the boys and headed out to Cayucos, via SR-166. I like that road, it's two lanes but enough happens along the roadside to keep one interested. They boys were good company, as usual, and we made it to the coast by early afternoon.

Picture of the Week
ground squirrel near channel
Photo Notes: A ground squirrel, poking it's head out of a burrow.

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