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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

It’s All Happening at the River

Since the weather was so nice today, I took a walk in the Effie Yeaw Nature Center’s land by the American River. I was surprised to see that much of the action in Sacramento these days is happening by the river.

First, I ran into our esteemed legislature, wandering around aimlessly for a change.

Who did I find wandering around in his own world? You guessed it, I ran into the Governator himself.

Ignoring the political happenings, I ran into this aw shucks darling display of deer just being deer.

As a special bonus for readers in colder climates, I stumbled across an early sign of spring. These wild daffodils smelled as good as they looked.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Geography Can Be Fun, Really

Alright, people, no snickering.


The New York Times provided this great map.

Thanks to the British and their remarkable skills at coming up with ridiculous names for small villages,geography has become fun again.

Back in the olden days, when I was working in Britain, our local rambling club had its annual Christmas hike and lunch at an inn in standing just behind this quaint village sign, I kid you not.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Words to Live By

The Guardian has provided today's words to live by in its article covering today's general strike in France. The strike is protesting of the Government's failure to do anything about rising unemployment.

Today's words to live by. . .

'The latest unemployment figures could not be released today because statisticians are on strike.'

I don't know why, but that made me smile deep, deep inside.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Traveling for work

The Onion featured a story that,from my previous experience,captures the essence of business travel.

'DES MOINES, IA—While en route to visit her cousin in South Bend, local divorcee Janet Linden, 37, told reporters Monday that her initial self-consciousness at drinking a beer by herself at Dugan's Sports Bar in the Des Moines International Airport was somewhat mitigated after she saw a woman approximately her age doing the same. "I guess it's not that bad," Linden said as she straightened herself up in her bar stool and brushed some cat hair off her skirt. "What's wrong with a single, independent woman having a cold beer while she's waiting for her flight? It's perfectly normal. Just ask that lady over there." Linden considered approaching the other woman to chat before realizing she had been looking at a mirror at the other end of the darkened bar.'

I remember once running into I guy from college at the Minneapolis airport,both of us in suits from client meetings and exhausted at the end of our traveling weeks. We had a drink together and entertained ourselves by pointing out other folks in the airport who looked as washed out as we did. There was no shortage.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Musical Personality Disorder

In my amateur music career, I have encountered some repeated instances of an annoying personality disorder that I have defined as NAMBES, Novelty Amateur Musician Blowhard Expressive Disorder. The severity of this order varies among individuals, with the more mild cases being only annoying, and the severe cases approaching comprehensive dysfunction.

The most remarkable observable symptom of NAMBES is the compulsion to share one’s belief that one possesses unique and excellent knowledge of music and musicianship through talking about music, while demonstrating mediocre musical abilities at best.

NAMBES is most commonly found in practitioners the more obscure musical genres and instruments (novel musical applications). The afflicted individual needs to specialize in a field of music that is rarely performed or taught in schools, such as renaissance music. The self delusion of excellence necessary to fuel this disorder is difficult to maintain if one plays a more common instrument, such as piano, guitar or any of the normal band and orchestra instruments. In the case of a more common instrument, the presence several of truly superior musicians in the community (possibly in the house next door) makes maintaining the delusion of one’s superior skills very difficult. Therefore, you can observe this syndrome readily in early music organizations.

The most remarkable observable symptoms are seen in communications. The typical case will not be able to resist vocally enumerating the irrational basis of his excellent musicianship, such as fabricated personal relationship with noted musicians (sorry, no pun intended). The individual will normally exhibit musical skills at a level near or below the average skill levels reference group in which he participates, or claims to have participated in. The individual will be unable to critically evaluate his playing, while freely providing unsolicited advice and criticism of other’s playing. The individual will normally exhibit a level of listening skills insufficient for successful social interaction. The individual is normally shunned by other members of community music groups.

In the most severe cases, the individual will describe to others a personal history that can not be verified, and appears to be fabricated at best. As other members of musical groups react negatively to the individual, he may fabricate even more fantastic fabrications, which reveal inconsistencies that are obvious to the listener.

If you want to meet several of these individuals, I suggest you become president of a local early music society.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Saint Vincent Lombardi Performs another Miracle!

In the wake of yesterdays airplane crash in New York, I couldn’t believe everyone survived. Turns out a higher power, none other than Saint Vincent Lombardi, soon to become the patron saint of cheese and whining nasal accents, intervened in a Time of Great Need.

I quote from the New York Times:

The lead officials in Thursday’s rescue spoke about the coordinated efforts amid the brisk current and freezing temperatures that enabled every passenger and crew member to reach the shore safely.

‘I was worried if we didn’t get them out right away,’ said New York Waterway captain Vincent Lombardi, first on the scene, ‘there would have been casualties.’

What more evidence of miracles do we need for sainthood? That’s right Pope Benny, I am talking to you. If you can make Pope Pius the Nazi Collaborator a saint for his miracle of silence and collaboration during the genocide of millions (while you were parading around in your brown shirt, I might add), canonizing Vince Lombardi is the least you could do.

Ave Saint Vincent Lombardi of the Green Bay!

Seven weeks indulgence is granted for reading this post while standing on your head, because I say so.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On A Mission, Mission San Francisco Sonoma, That Is

We visited Mission San Francisco Solano on Monday, on K’s furlough day. K now has one mandatory furlough day per month, along with all management employees at the City. We decided to use each furlough day to do something fun and different. K chose her day well, the weather was unseasonably beautiful. We had sunny skies and high temperatures in the 70’s.

The Mission is located adjacent to the town square in Sonoma, which is a beautiful small city surrounded by vineyards and gentle green hills. The mission looked exactly how I would expect a mission to look.

This mission’s history is tied to General Vallejo, who was a pretty interesting guy. He managed to prosper under Spanish, Mexican, and American rule. No small task. This is the only mission built by the Mexico, and it is the last mission built in California. Mexico wanted a mission further inland than San Francisco, whose damp weather had caused health problems, and they wanted a military presence closer to the Russian outpost at Fort Ross. In 1834, the mission was secularized and General Vallejo was given command. The original Franciscans had more or less given up on the mission after a revolt of the much abused neophytes (Christianized natives) in 1826. It’s amazing they didn’t revolt in all the missions, given the inhumane treatment they received. However, it is interesting that the clay roofs we associate with mission architecture were developed in response to the need for roofs that could withstand flaming arrows.

One of the barracks rooms was been restored. What seemed strange to me was the short length of the sabers. Perhaps the troops didn’t anticipate using them on horseback. I liked seeing the classic Zorro felt hat on the shelf.

These barracks have their own historical relevance. Their soldiers ignited the Bear Flag Rebellion , and revolted in the mission’s plaza. Supposedly, the flag was crafted in the room you see here.

The original flag was lost in a fire following the San Francisco Earthquake, but some folks made a detailed copy in 1905. That flag is displayed at the mission.

The mission’s church was decorated in the early 20th century, and it is a good example awesomely strange interiors you can see in Mexican churches all over California.

This mission is run as the State Park, and it has a great museum. It’s worth a visit.

General Vallejo’s house is a ten minute walk from the mission, across beautiful trails. Central Sonoma is gorgeous. The house itself is a Victorian, filled with knickknacks built by a man who was above all a modern man of his age.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Prince Harry - Racist Sloganeer or Military Banterer?

Britain has its collective knickers once more in a twist about the off-color remarks of their young Prince Harry.

This time, he was caught calling a fellow soldier a Paki, which in British slang is an uncomplementary ethnic slur used against British of Pakistani origin. The Guardian's take on this provides good reading,including interviews with some British military personel about the usage of offensive banter.

This short excerpt from an interview with a senior NCO was too much fun to keep to myself.

'I might call somebody a bent bastard and the guy might be a homosexual but I don't mean it like that. It depends how it is said. If I went up to him and jabbed him in the chest and said "you are a fucking bent bastard" then it would be using the term badly, but if I want to go up to someone and say "come on you bent bastard, get a move on" then that's quite a different thing. . . The guy that Harry called a Paki wasn't crying or moaning about it. You don't know if he gave him much stick back and called him a posh ginger twat.'

I can't help love an enilisted man who speaks to defend the Prince by calling him a 'posh ginger twat'. A satirical genius is at work in the British Army!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Oh, Those Wild and Crazy British

A friend just emailed me a link to an unbelievable British farce. This is definitely worth reading.

Obsession, deception,comic relief,it's all there, in real life,

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Six Digits,We Have Six Digits!

After a short drive to practice with my Friday consort, the deed is done. Finally,I can truly feel secure in my membership in the Junky Car Club.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, January 09, 2009

On The Edge of Greatness

I am a mere three miles from attaining a goal I have only dreamed of all my life. Yep,I'm gonna git 100,000 miles outta our a 1996 Honda Civic. I have been driving that car for the last seven years. Stay tuned to see what it looks like with the big 1 on the left!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

A Culture War I can Believe In

Tom Hodgekinson, Britain's idler,has declared war on the Dominant paradigm. The first battle is the Do Less Campaign. I quote from The Idler:

'The way to thrive in 2009 is simply to join the Idler’s Do Less Campaign. It’s simple: you just do less. That means less shopping, less driving, less holidaying, less working, less spending. And more sitting around at home, more reading, chatting and drinking. Doing less is cheap and easy and it’s kind to the environment. The era which privileged the busy high achiever is coming to an end. That system has been found wanting, and there is a new world out there, a world of more fun, more freedom, more time for reflection and contemplation, community and cooking, making and mending. John Calvin - you have so much to answer for.'

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Years This Time Around, Fireworks, Finances and Forests


Welcome to 2009, the year that promises not to be 2008. That’s good enough for me. At the very least, we’ll see a president who won’t make me feel ashamed in front of foreign visitors. I fear history will sum up our nation’s last eight years with the image of a flying shoe.

We celebrated New Years at our neighbor’s place with a couple of mutual friends. We ate some party sandwich type hors d’oeuvres, drank a few too many Champaign cocktails, and, in the local tradition brought from the southeast, did fireworks. The fireworks you can buy here sit on the ground and shoot out sparks and whistle. We placed them on a ladder, since looking down at fireworks just doesn’t feel right. Anyway, here’s what you missed.

Our neighbor is a pyromaniac, so she always buys a ton of fireworks in June, in the couple of weeks when youth organizations are allowed to sell fireworks in parking lots (obviously, what could make more sense in a state that doesn’t see rain between May and November). I will never understand California laws. Never. I digress.

When one of the biggest fireworks (these big things cost $30 or more each) failed to ignite after the fuse burned down and fizzled, that wasn’t going to stop the show. Why not rip open the top, stick in the lighter, and light something in there that looks like a fuse?


We did our annual year end accounting of financial assets. Thanks to the magic of the internets, you can actually get that done on the morning of New Years day. We saw only a modest (at least relative to current conditions) percentage decrease in assets. This is one of those times when having only slightly more risk tolerance than Casper Milquetoast and the positive outlook of a hair shirt wearing millenialist pays off. Who knows what next year will bring?


After lunch today, we went for a walk in the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, which is a cool little riverside forest a couple of miles from our place. The nature center is part of Ancil Hoffman Park, whose history is associated with Max Bear Sr. in this somewhat convoluted way. In addition to being an elected county supervisor, Hoffman was Max Baer’s manager. Go Figure. Apparently the relationship was very good for Baer, Hoffman, boxing and the local community. I took the opportunity to use the new camera to annoy the local fauna.

Now I need to work on taking more flattering pictures of humans.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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