Results tagged “California” from kwc blog

Balloons!!

|

Copy of IMG_9641

Copy of IMG_9492 Copy of IMG_9674

Copy of IMG_9426 Copy of IMG_9404

Copy of IMG_9527 Copy of IMG_9524 Copy of IMG_9695

d and I went on a hot air balloon ride over Napa on Sunday -- quite a blast. It floats so smooth and gently over the valley, highly recommended. All of the balloon rides happen at sunrise so it's like seeing a secret side of the valleys: hot air balloons being inflated on railroad tracks and parking lots, flying over the vineyards, and then landing in whichever field the winds take them to. By the time the first winery opens they're already gone.

More photos

Wimpy California

|

Friday's rainstorm was quite a day: our roof at work poured water, we lost power at home for 12+ hours, two lanes of the highway were closed between home and work, and trees were tipped over on my commute. I also hear that Highway 17 was closed and an 18-wheeler tipped over and closed the Richmond bridge. Other areas suffered 80+ mph winds, but all of the damage in my area was from about 3 inches of rain. Go Cali!

DARPA Urban Challenge quals

|

I flew down to Victorville for the day to watch Wednesday's qualifiers. It probably wasn't the best day to visit as the good teams had already qualified -- CMU, Stanford, Cornell, UPenn, Virginia Tech, and CarOLO -- and the really bad teams (i.e. crash-worthy) had already been disqualified. What were left were the teams that, while not dangerous, didn't have all the bugs shaken out, which meant a lot of delays. In the six hours that I was there, I only saw one run, which occurred after about an hour of delays. The run was by Team Gray on the 'C' course, which seemed to go well enough for three laps before some sort of incident required the team to jump in the golf cart and go service the stopped vehicle. I also saw the comically large OshKosh vehicle get stuck trying to navigate its way to the B course.

The highlight was going through the team pits and getting to peak in everyone's cars. Team Gray's was one of my favorite cars because they've compartmentalized their processing to a small blue box with dual Pentium Ms, which stands in stark contrast the the 10-20 rack Core2Duo units that several other teams are using. MIT's and CMU's cars were covered with every sensor known to man. Hopefully I'll have time to post some photos soon.

Some of my co-workers got to see Stanford's smooth A course run, which was brought to an early close due to its great execution. Apparently it took them two tries to pass the course -- their theory was that DARPA's radios were causing interference with the velodyne. They also saw Caltech's A course run, which was dangerously amusing: the van ran the wrong way on the course, to the terror of the DARPA stunt drivers.

DARPA has hundreds of Ford Taurus' for the event. The cars are pretty cool -- the interiors have been replaced with a roll cage and bucket race seat, and many appear to have wireless cameras attached to the roof. You could easily shoot a Hollywood movie using the Urban Challenge as a backdrop: abandoned, decrepit military housing with identical DARPA vehicles parked in the driveways as robotic cars creep around: a utopian universe gone awry.

Sign of the apocalypse

|

cali666.png

MacArthur Maze already reopened

|

I couldn't quite believe it when I read in the paper today that the MacArthur Maze is already re-opened. The contractor,C.C. Myers, had predicted this short of a timetable (and banked money on it), but it's been less than a month since the interchange collapsed. Somehow they (Caltrans, C.C. Myers) managed to cleanup the debris, test the damaged concrete and steel, put together a reconstruction plan, ship parts from Pennsylvania and Texas, and get it all assembled.

I once watched a video in engineering class where two teams raced against each other to each build a house in under 24 hours. That was plenty impressive, but there were test runs, much planning in advance, and amazing feats of spackling. Repairing a freeway interchange with no advanced notice in 17 days seems more impressive to me.

04-29.freewaycollapse.jpg

The news coverage on KRON 4 has me and d in stitches as the newscasters attempt to show how you can circumnavigate the current mess in the Maze. I believe their eventual advice was, "Good luck." (and a whole heap of BART tips)

The Chronicle also has its fun quotes:

"We're screwed, huh? That's going to be rough on everybody," said Joe Dorey, 55, an engineer who lives in Oakland.

Getty Villa

|

getty.villa.1.jpg

I'm a fan of the Getty Center in LA and have been looking forward to the opportunity to visit the Getty Villa ever since it reopened in the beginning of 2006 after extensive renovations. The villa was constructed as a semi-recreation of the Villa of the Papyri, so named because many rolls of papyrus were discovered inside. Since its restoration, it houses the antiquities collection for the Getty. Architects for the Getty Villa relied on detailed floorplans drawn by Karl Weber, who excavated the Herculaneum villa in the mid-18th century. Volcanic gases forced the original excavation to be halted, and parts of the original villa remain unexplored.

The Getty Villa recreation is fun because it is a fake recreation: the architects were free to take odd liberties that restorations must avoid. Corinthian, Doric, and Ionic columns are intermixed, a Pompeii fountain recreation sits at the end of one of the villa's axes, travertine connects it to Meier's Getty Center, and other historical anachronisms and locational amalgams are present throughout. The architects even went so far as to add a modern "excavation" theme to the renovation. You're forced to walk up flights of stairs so that you enter the villa site from above. You then descend down stairs surrounded by concrete pressed to look like layers of wood. An archeological-styled ramp allows you to cross artificially added levels of the dig.

On the one hand, the architects went to great lengths to use Weber's floor plans of the buried Roman villa -- they even located atrium designs from other villas to determine whether or not the atrium should be one or two levels -- but then they throw accuracy out of the window to represent architectural cross-sections of history, ancient Roman and modern. Perhaps the cross-section is useful, because the Villa is there to house real artifacts of Etruscan, Greek, and Roman past. It is easy to discern simulcra from relic.

I have visited the actual archeological sites at Ercalono/Herculaneum and Pompeii in 2001, seen the old mosaics and paintings, and walked the layers of excavation. More than those sites, though, I was reminded of Forest Lawn Memorial-Park and Cemetary in Glendale, CA, which has a stained-glass recreation of the Last Supper, a full-size David statue, and many other replicas that I briefly talked about here. I had visited Forest Lawn because Umberto Eco mentioned it in his essay on "hyperreal" museums in Travels in Hyperreality and my frequent visits to Glendale made it an easy stop. I dug out my old notes on Travels in Hyperreality for this post to try and find a Forest Lawn quote that would describe the nature of the Villa. Surprisingly, I found this quote instead:

...We try to think how a Roman patrician lived and what he was thinking when he built himself one of the villas that the Getty Museum reconstructs, in its need to reconstruct at home the grandeur of Greek civilization. The Roman yearned for impossible parthenons; from Hellenistic artists he ordered copies of the great statues of the Periclean age. He was a greedy shark who, after having helped bring down Greece, guaranteed its survival in the form of copies. Between the Roman patrician and the Greece of the fifth century there were, we might say, from five to seven hundred years. Between the Getty Museum and the remade Rome there are, roughly speaking, two thousand. The temporal gap is bridged by archeological knowledge; we can rely on the Getty team, their reconstruction is more faithful to Herculaneum than the Herculaneum reproduction was faithful to the Greek tradition. But the fact is that our journey into the Absolute Fake, begun in the spirit of irony and sophisticated repulsion, is now exposing us to some dramatic questions.

I'll have to thank my past self for anticipating the reopening of the Villa and my eventual journey there.

I took a lot of photos and instead of processing them, I went ahead and posted a full set: Getty Villa Photoset (~200 photos). For those that want a briefer tour, I also put together a set of highlights

IMG_1069 IMG_1040 IMG_1183 IMG_1244 IMG_1209 IMG_1147 IMG_1115 IMG_1217 IMG_1199 IMG_1251

Stormtroopers on Parade

|

Rose Parade - Stormtroopers

When you wake up at 4:30am to go to a parade, your mind is bound to go a bit crazy. When the mind struggles to put together a thought, it often grabs the first it can find and holds it in an iron vise. In d's case, this thought was the Star Wars opening theme song, which she blurted out repeatedly while sitting in the stands, waiting for the sun to rise. I joked with her that the first band to walk through would play that song, further cementing it in my mind.

We didn't know that George Lucas was the Grand Marshal...

501st Stormtrooper Legion. Ewok float. Grambling State Marching Band, aka "The Best Band in the Galaxy" in Imperial and Twilek garb. Naboo Palace float with multiple Amidalas. Anakin. Maul. And more -- I did my best to document it all.

rose.parade.starwars.amidala.jpg

There was much more to the parade than just Star Wars, but it was a fun touch, as was the weirdness of seeing George Lucas and Darth Vader stroll out to mid-field to do the coin toss for the Rose Bowl.

Rose Parade - Star Wars-04 Rose Parade - Star Wars-20 Rose Parade - Star Wars-28 Rose Parade - Star Wars-05 Rose Parade - Star Wars-07 Rose Parade - Star Wars-48

Rose Parade - Star Wars-17 Rose Parade - Star Wars-31 Rose Parade - Star Wars-26 Rose Parade - Star Wars-30 Rose Parade - Star Wars-01 Rose Parade - Star Wars-18 Rose Parade - Star Wars-37 Rose Parade - Star Wars-51 Rose Parade - Star Wars-52

More photos

Driving to Humboldt

|

Humboldt is home to every manner of redwood-tree attraction, from California's largest redwood state park, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, to the One Log Cabin to Confusion Hill -- it's the type of place photographed in old B&W California tourist photographs with cars driving through trees.

The best part about driving to Humboldt to go stroll among the redwoods, though, might be the driving. Heading north out of San Francisco you pass through the wineries of Dry Creek Valley (Unti is a favorite), Calistoga, and Russian River Valley. Then at Cloverdale you have a choice: north to Ukiah and the Mendocino Brewing Company, or east along 128 to the Anderson Valley Brewing Company and Anderson Valley wineries, or you could always head to Ukiah first and take the scenic route via 253 and do both. In Anderson Valley you might hear someone speak the Boontling dialect, which seems made up to attract tourists, but I haven't been yet to find out. If you headed out to Anderson Valley you'll eventually end up in the seaside town of Mendocino; if you take the faster route to Humboldt up 101 you'll pass through some more wineries in Hopland.

As you cross into Humboldt county you'll come across Benbow Lake State Recreation Area and the nearby Benbow Inn, which my dad and I had a good lunch at. Then you're in Garberville, last stop before the Avenue of the Giants and Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  Granted, with all the alcohol-related stops I mentioned above, you might not be making it that far without a designated driver or a spare liver.

What I learned about property in Humboldt

|

I'm back from the end of my summer travels typing on my brand new laptop, which arrived just as I was taking off on this travel-ending trip to Garberville, right in the heart of southern Humboldt County, California. We were up there to visit a ranch that's been in the family since the late 1930s. I hadn't been there in about twenty years -- I believe I was six for my one and only trip -- so it was one of those trips where your brain tries to make sense of the memories of a small child superimposed upon what the adult brain feels like it is experiencing for the first time.

My last trip involved swimming in streams, running after a bull, and learning how to shoot a pistol; this trip was more business. The property has been abandoned for quite some time and we were there to ascertain its value and learn about the logistics of property ownership in Humboldt County from realtors there. Garberville held the title of "Marijuana Capital of the US", though we were told it was now something like 10th place. A thriving marijuana industry creates some interesting issues: someone might be growing pot on your land, someone might be defending that crop of pot, and some DEA agent may be trying to seize your land for that crop. So my dad and I had some open conversations with the realtors there about this issue and learned some interesting facts:

  1. Marijuana production has shifted from outdoor growing to year-round indoor growing operations. This has created a social tension between the off-the-grid environmental types and the marijuana growers. The indoor growers use diesel generators for power, which leads to pollution of the land and water. Water is perhaps the single-most important resource in South Humboldt as it's hard to come by -- make sure to look for water rights if purchasing property there -- so a lot of growers end up getting turned in by their neighbors either due to oily slicks showing up in the local drinking water or because of the loud annoying noise of the generators.
  2. There are rarely prosecutions in Humboldt County for marijuana. California's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program funds seizure of marijuana plants, but it doesn't provide any funding for prosecution. The police will come in, seize the plants and equipment, add it to their tally, and then leave. The federal government isn't as nice, but they aren't as involved.
  3. It is very easy to get legal work in Garberville -- it is far more lucrative to get $200 for cleaning a pound of pot, so there are plenty of job openings of the W-2 variety.
  4. There isn't much pot-related violence in South Humboldt. There used to be back in the day, but it has settled down, and the Mexican cartels haven't made it that far north yet.
  5. If you are an absentee landlord and need to cover your butt, you can probably just call the local sheriff's department and give them permission to search your property on a regular basis.
  6. The marijuana trade helps keep the property values in South Humboldt up. Many of the sellers will ask for 50% down cash for property ranging from $100K to $600K and will get it. You generally can't get a mortgage on a property without a house, so to protect against the risk of a buyer defaulting-by-jail, sellers ask for this higher down payment -- they also ask because they can.
  7. If someone is driving a brand new pickup with a diesel fuel tank in back, it's not because they are in the construction business.

Wireless Caltrain?

|

Caltrain has successfully tested a proof of concept for wireless Internet on its trains. I'm a bit torn over this, but not too much. In the past I've felt that I'm much more productive while programming on Caltrain because I don't have Internet connectivity -- I can focus on programming instead of answering e-mail or surfing the Web; however, my Caltrain trips are pretty short now, so I don't work on the train anymore.

Instead, I treat the train as my 15 minutes of morning entertainment and 15 minutes of cooldown after work, long enough for a podcast or a chapter of a relatively easy book. Without wireless, I would have to make sure that I 'sync' anything that I might want, i.e. plugin the iPod/PSP or get the right book off the bookshelf. But sometimes I get on the train and find that I'm too tired to read the book I selected or I forgot to put the latest Daily Show on my PSP. Wireless on the train would allow for "just in time entertainment": go straight to the train station and stream whatever content I want directly to my laptop or PSP. I imagine I could even try and figure out how to play some multiplayer Nintendo DS on the train. Hopefully others will find this announcement exciting, as Caltrain could use some stronger ridership -- but not too strong, because I don't want a bunch of people hogging my bandwidth ;).

Caltrain Wireless FAQ

Cali was an archipelago

|

image by Ron Blakeybldgblog has done a nice job of putting together Ron Blakey's beautiful maps of the formation of the North America continent:

Warty comb jelly movies

|

Photos won't do the warty comb jellies at the Monterey Bay Aquarium justice. Neither will these low-res movies I took because warty comb jellies are one of the simply coolest creatures that nature has created. If I had a lot of time and money, I would make a feature film where giant warty comb jellies take over Earth and force us to dance at all night raves to their bioluminescent glory.

warty comb jelly warty comb jelly warty comb jelly

Monterey Aquarium Cliches

|

Treasure Island being redeveloped

|

treasure.island.plan.jpgd knows I'm interested in SF's Treasure Island -- last year she showed me another class' studio where there were maps of Treasure Island GIS data and development ideas that I wanted to rip off the wall and run away with... I'm strange enough to find such things very cool. It's a good thing that I didn't steal all their work: d just forwarded me an article that says those proposals may become a reality: Towers, farm seen for Treasure Island: Self-sustaining neighborhood of 5,500 residences proposed.

San Jose civic center opening

|

sanjosecityhall.jpg

(photo via sanjoseca.gov)

d and I were snarking on the new San Jose City Hall yesterday, with neither of much of a fan. I believe my quote was, "It looks like a bad Richard Meier knockoff." Well, it turns out that, um, it was designed by Richard Meier.

Pinnacles photos

|

My Pinnacles photo album is up, as is horizonline's (we have very different photography styles).

Highlights: * The moon was showing its face during the afternoon, and I managed to capture a nice image of a plane contrail crossing the moon. The moon also makes appearance in several other photos (good size reference for how big the rocks are). * We also ran across a bunch of different lizards. You can decide whether you like vertical lizard or horizontal lizard better. * The small-but-adventuresome Balconies Cave makes a brief appearance in some of the photos * Things shaped like things: Bird-shaped rock 1, Bird-shaped rock 2, Wizard-shaped tree

Pinnacles-21 Pinnacles-25 Pinnacles-04 Pinnacles-22 Pinnacles-13 Pinnacles-44 Pinnacles-41 Pinnacles-40

Getty sun comparison

|

The advantage of going to the Getty twice, as well as having a partner the second time around armed with another camera, is that you have plenty of photos with which to make comparisons. Our most recent trip was much later in the day that my first trip, and the sky was slightly more overcast, which meant that the dramatic shadows of my previous photos were missing. However, we were also there fairly close to sunset, so we got to watch as the building transitioned from bright white to orange hues. The reflections off of the curved structures were also much more intense, and in some cases were reminescent of Gehry buildings.

Getty Sun-01 Getty Sun-15

Getty Sun-03 Getty Sun-04

More photo comparisons are in the extended entry. You may want to check out horizonline's Getty photos -- I stuck with a telephoto lens while horizonline used the stock EF-S rebel lens (save time and weight). She ended up taking many of the photos I wish I could have taken (including some of the ones seen here), given that I often had to stand halfway across the plaza to even be able to get enough of what I wanted into a shot.

Photos: Getty Skyline

|

I took far too many photos at the Getty. To reparaphrase a familar quote: "I have deleted more photos of the Getty than you have ever taken." To deal with this overwhelming glut of photos, I've have winnowed the photos down to two sets: 'skyline' photos and 'sun' photos. The 'skyline' photos are better described as photos taken with the camera pointing upwards, as I focused on the various corners and edges that Richard Meier used in his design. The 'sun' photos take advantage of the fact that I've been to the Getty twice at different times of day, so I have some comparisons of how the building captures and displays light.

The 'sun' photo series is still being put together, but here is a sampling of the 'skylines' series (~70 photos total). I would have whittled my photos down more, but this is also a test of my new Flickr Pro account and how easily Flickr handles large numbers of photos.

getty-08 getty-skylines-38 getty-skylines-42 getty-skylines-35

Getty Skylines Photoset

Gehry's House

|

gehry-3

Over the weekend we swung by Frank Gehry's house in Santa Monica. The location suprised me, as I expected someone like Gehry to live in an ultra-exclusive, gated community with huge walls and attack dogs keeping people away. Instead, his house is relatively modest on an open public street in Santa Monica.

His house isn't in his blobular, twisted metal style. Rather, it has more in common with his earlier works like Edgemar that emphasize simple rectilinear forms. The materials are also fairly modest, making use of both wood and corrugated steel, as well as copious amounts of plants to provide some sense of privacy. Although you can see a large portion of the house in this photo, the actual front of the house is well-protected by dense foliage. Driving down the street it is a home that you notice, but it does not overwhelm the neighborhood that it is in.

I felt rather bad when I noticed his dogs come out onto the patio, as architectural appreciation shifted into the realization that I was point a camera at someone's private home, and it's understandable that he's building a new house (so I hear). Even with his windows set relatively high, it must be disconcerting to regularly have cameras pointed at your home.

Gehry House Photo Album

F--- Atherton!

|

... well, their Caltrain stop at least. Caltrain has put up a proposed service schedule that is, IMHO, pretty awesome, though it will require a lot more planning to make sure I catch the right train. The major improvements are: * you can now sleep in an hour or two later and still catch a Bullet train * for half-peninsula commutes, the Limiteds are now very similar in speed to the Bullets there is a new-style of Limited that is designed to shot you from San Jose to the mid-Peninsula quickly and vice versa * They got rid of the Atherton, Broadway, College Park, and Paul stations.

For my particular BART-Millbrae-Caltrain commute, where my Caltrain stop is a second tier stop (Hillsdale, SM, MP, SC) the philosophy appears to be that they stack two Caltrains for your stop within 15 minutes of each other -- i.e. if you miss the first train, then another, similarly fast train will be along in 12-15 minutes -- but if you miss the second train, you will have a long wait (~50 minutes). In my experience, BART will be more than 15 minutes late on a regular basis, so I will have to figure out how to properly buffer my schedule and yet still take advantage of the faster service.

Of course, just as happened last time, there will be long, drawn-out community meetings in which this schedule will get modified; in particular, Atherton and Broadway might be able to get themselves back on the schedule.

More LA buildings

|

The NYTimes has an interesting article on Mayne's new Caltrans District 7 HQ in downtown LA. The progress photos from the construction site don't look nearly as interesting as the photos the Times took, but having already seen the Frank Gehry's Disney Concert Hall and Jose Rafael Moneo's Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the completist in me wants to make sure that I see all of LA's big new buildings.

Proposition Hell

|

I had a hard time going through all these propositions. parakkum's entry inspired me to finally bite the bullet and work through how I was going to vote on each. I decided to post my recorded thoughts here because, the fact is, these propositions were complicated, and I could be swayed by a well-reasoned argument on some of these.

1A (No): Ensures local property tax and sales tax revenues remain with local government thereby safeguarding funding for public safety, health, libraries, parks, and other local services. I'm voting no, mainly because California suffers from enough bureaucratic hoops when it comes to how money is spent and where it comes from.

59 (Yes): Public Records. Open Meetings I like the openness principle this law embraces, so yes.

60 (Yes): Election Rights of Political Parties This pretty much sounds like a restatement of primary principles. While I think our election process in this country is flawed, 60 sounds better than the other proposals.

60A (No): Surplus Property This is a hard one. It's such a narrow way to pay off our debt because it only targets one very small source of income (2-3 orders of magnitude less than the debt it attempts to repay), and by making that source of income unusable, I don't think it will have much effect. I'm voting no, as I don't think the payoff is worth having this on the books. BTW - why the hell is this 60A? Were they afraid of running out of numbers?

61 (Yes): Children's Hospital Projects I agree with parakkum that this doesn't address the real problems with child healthcare (mainly that many are not covered), but I still support throwing money at structural needs in the hopes that they may secondarily address the overarching problem.

62 (No): Open Primaries A whole-hearted no

63 (Yes): Mental Health Services Expansion and Funding. Tax on Incomes over $1 Million. Initiative Statute Sure, why not. I don't make $1M ;). On a more serious note, California could really use better mental health services.

64 (No): Limits on Private Enforcement of Unfair Business Competition Laws I'm voting no, mainly because it seems like it would help companies pollute more easily and engage in other forms of bad behavior that don't necessarily constitute monetary damage.

65 (No): Local Government Funds and Revenues I'm voting no (as I'm voting no on 1A as well)

66 (Yes): Limitations on "Three Strikes" Law I'm voting yes, as I'm against mandatory sentencing guidelines. The US incarcerates an absurd number of people, and has very little to show for it in terms of public safety other than massive costs that take away money for more useful measures.

67 (Yes): Emergency and Medical Services I'm voting yes on this. Emergency medical is hugely expensive, especially in California, where we allow companies to abuse illegal immigrants, in effect creating a large workforce without any medical coverage (but often in need of it). It will also help community clinics, which will improve the overall health of the community, which is good for everyone.

68 (No): Tribal Gaming Compact Renegotiation I hate all these Indian casino propositions. I don't think they should be on the ballot they're so stupid.

69 (No): DNA Samples I'm not necessarily against collecting DNA samples from felons, but I think this particular proposal does not contain the proper balance necessary between privacy and public safety.

70 (No): Tribal Gaming Compacts. Exclusive Gaming Rights. Contributions to State (see 68)

71 (Yes): Stem Cell Research. Funding. Bonds I'm going to go against parrakum, man of bio that he is, perhaps because I've been reading Castells recently. The IT boom emanated from California due to a convergence of many factors, including strong public funding to promote growth of that industry here. This boom produced obvious benefits for California, though the bust had its problems as well. I think the factors that were present in California for the IT boom (strong university tie-ins, public funding, culture) are present for a boom around stem cell research as well, and I would like to keep California on the cutting edge of scientific and technological breakthroughs. I'm voting yes (because I also don't think stem cell research is evil, though it does have to walk a careful moral and ethical line).

72 (Yes): Health Care Coverage Requirements I agree with parakkum here. The businesses that California wants to keep (e.g. high tech) already offer health insurance, and the ones that don't offer health insurance (grocery stores, Walmart, etc...) can't leave. Good health helps everyone.

Beautiful photo essay

|

A photo essay like this brings tears to my eyes, tears of laughter that is. Don't click on the link if images of wounded cars offends you:
- Pacific Beach, June 14, 2004

(via kottke)

TurboTaxDrain, California State Edition

|

Paul updated his budget tools so that you can explore California's budget now as well. It quickly puts into perspective how hard it is to balance the budget: 3/4 of the budget is split evenly between education and health & human services. If you cut education, you're damned for ruining the future of our children; if you cut health & human services, old people will beat you with their dentures.

As with Paul's federal budget explorer, you can input your own approximate taxes to see what leeches are sucking on them.

Los Angeles Cathedral

|

I got some shots of the recently built Catholic cathedral in Los Angeles while I was down there for Thanksgiving. Although it's big like a cathedral, it does defy expectations in terms of design. It reminds me most of the MIT church in terms of its unconventionalness, though even in it's "sparse" appearance it still managed to cost a pretty penny. The coolest feature is probably the tapestries on the inside, which were designed using a computer program that allowed them to weave in an especially high amount of realism into the faces of the saints that are depicted. The sculpture of the Virgin Mary below was done by Angelica Houston's husband and is supposed to be a blend of all races. My Aunt says that all races ends up looking a lot like Sandra Bullock.
12-08-03.virgin mary-1.jpg
Los Angeles Cathedral

Arnold is here to pump up our deficit

|

Get ready for impact - Arnold is rolling into town to demonstrate how he will decrease our deficit without increasing taxes or cutting spending.
Schwarzenegger Begins as Governor Today

Update: satellite view of fires

|

Monday:
10-27-03.satellite fire update.jpg

Weekend:
satellite photo

Update: my old neighborhood is on fire

|

10-27-03.scripps ranch fire map.marked.jpg

The red circle shows approximately where I used to live. It was an elevated cul-de-sac that overlooked the Miramar Naval Air Station.

My old neighborhood is on fire

|

I had been watching the news about Rancho Cucamonga being on fire in SoCal. What I didn't realize is that there are now multiple fires down there, including all around where I used to live. I found this photograph, which was taken less than two miles from my old house:
fire photo

Apparently, the particular fire that is burning my old neighborhood (Cedar Fire) was started by a moronic lost hiker who lit a signal fire. The San Diego firefighters are screwed because they sent their planes to LA to fight the fires that were raging there. I guess it's a good thing that my parents sold there house down there.

Also, honeyfields posted that she was stuck in LA. I was wondering why, but this photo gives a better clue:
satellite photo

- SignOnSanDiego.com > News > Metro -- Fire crews battle to limit damage from raging wildfires

Yes, California, We Got Screwed

|

The energy companies finally got fined for manipulating the energy market. So how much is the penalty for such actions that cost California $9 billion? <dr-evil>ONE MILLION DOLLARS</dr-evil>. You see, ladies and gentlemen, if you are an energy company, you can only get fined for the amount that you get caught stealing.
- Another Friday Outrage

Cali Edubacation

|

I was cruising my usual papers, and I noticed that there appears to be a new Op-Ed format that the papers are using for their pieces. It goes somewhat like:

1. Introduce problem
2. Describe how California tried to solve that problem
3. Recommend the opposite

For example, in the NYTimes, Krugman talks about the lessons we can learn from California's energy deregulation. Also, from the Washingtonpost Op-Ed section, Lessons From California (washingtonpost.com) talks about how not to do tax policy, which places some blame on voter initiatives back by Arnold, who apparently isn't Republican enough for the true Republicans. Gee, and I thought the Daily Show campaign slogan for Arnold would appeal to them: "Cutting violence in half with a laser guided chain saw across a charred landscape... for the children."

Survivor: California Update

|

Finally, a candidate that can take on the Governator and protect us from the Rise of the Machines: Save our State, Vote Terry Tate
- NYTimes article