Showing posts from 2005

I voted

I haven't had much time to check in here for awhile. Some interesting stuff has happened along the way. I've been to San Diego. I spent a lot of time looking for an anti-virus and firewall program that didn't screw up my computer as Norton did. And I voted.   We had an election last week. Measure W, to approve a study to consider the implications of a public takeover of Cal-Am, died on the vine. I thought it was amusing to see all of the NO on W signs. The "on" was in small type, so it looked like NO W from a distance, blazing in Republican Red. Amen to that, the W in the White House, naturally.   I actually voted for Measure W. I went back and forth on it for a long time. My problem was that my distaste for Cal-Am and the Water Board are equally strong. In the end I decided I could afford $14 dollars for more information. After all, it didn't commit us to anything but a study. But everyone else was tired of studies. Can't blame them for that.   I was

Ace Hill

A few days ago I saw in the Herald a small obituary for Ace Hill, who was my favorite local jazz pianist.  Many years ago, back in the mid '80s, we used to go listen to him and the Ace Hill Trio at the old Monterey Bay Club in what was then the Monterey Sheraton. It was the best jazz club this town ever had. It was cozy, intimate, warm and inviting. Unfortunately, when Marriott took over the hotel, they turned it into just another sports bar, I guess because its cheaper to buy a big screen TV than pay for actual talent. One weekend a friend of ours, an accomplished musician herself who conducted a choir my wife played for, was in town for the Bach Festival. We asked her if she'd like a little jazz on top of her Bach. She replied "I won't tell anybody." She asked Ace to play My Funny Valentine for her, and he complied. When we left she said "He sure knows his way around a piano." Just before his breaks he would play a little tune called "Hold I

Save the Adventures

I had a letter published in the Herald today. I wrote to support the preservation of two businesses near Monterey's Municipal Wharf, Adventures by the Sea and Monterey Bay Kayaks, both of which are on city property at Del Monte Beach. It seems the city is still considering evicting them in order to knock their buildings down to open up the last sliver of bay views from Del Monte Boulevard. It was right to relocate and demolish the meat packing plant, Jaguar dealership, motorcycle shop and dry cleaner that were between the street and the beach. A beautiful park now is in their place. However, these last two businesses provide shoreline recreation opportunities, and cannot be relocated inland without destroying their function. A little better view would not compensate for the loss of their services. It might make the beach look post card perfect, but there will be less to do once you get there. Keep them there, please.

It pays not to cave... that is. We have an Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card, which is the railroad equivalent of those airline mileage credit cards. It was issued by MBNA. A couple months ago we got a notice in the mail indicating that the terms of our account were about to change. It said that if we were late on even a single payment, MBNA would have the right to permanently increase our interest rate without giving notice. This would be in addition to any late fees. Naturally, I wasn't too keen on this. In fact, I considered it totally unacceptable. Late fees, a single penalty for a single offense, are one thing. Perpetual punishment for a single offense is quite another. The fine print (it was all very fine print, actually) said we could reject the change, if we did so in writing. However, if we rejected their terms, they would have the right to cancel our account at any time. Not a pleasant prospect, since we're saving up for some free Amtrak trips that we could probably not otherwise a

101 Facts About Me

1. I was born at the old Carmel Community Hospital on November 3, 1959. 2. My educational history: -1962-1964 Bay School, Carmel, CA (Preschool) -1964-1968 River School, Carmel (K-3) -1968-1969 Liberty School, Salem, OR. (4) -1969-1971 Cummings School, Salem (5-6) -1971 Whittaker Jr High School From Hell, Salem (7) -1972-1974 Judson Jr. High, Salem (7-8) -1974-1978 Verdant Vales School (boarding school), Middletown, CA. (9-12) -1978-present School of Hard Knocks. 3. My favorite band of all time: The Beatles 4. My favorite bands of the ‘70s: Tie between the Doobie Brothers and Fleetwood Mac 5. Favorite jazz musician: Diana Krall. My wife calls her my “girlfriend." I have all of her albums and both DVDs. 6. Current occupation: Audio/Visual technician in a hotel conference facility, nearly 9 years. I do sound for wedding ceremonies there, too. Lots of weddings. 7. Previous occupation of note: movie theater management at Capitol and Elsinore theaters in Salem, and the Golden Bough and

Bumper Sticker Sightings

Yesterday I saw an interesting pair of bumper stickers on a car at Del Monte Center. One said: War is not the answer The other said: I'm proud to have a son in the Army ----------------------------------------- A couple weeks ago I saw this wonderful philosophy: Work like you don't need the money Love like you've never been hurt And dance like nobody's watching

Facing the competition

Among many it is accepted as gospel that when a big chain store moves in, the locally owned businesses are driven out of business. Certainly that has been the case in many communities. However, based on local experience, I've witnessed several cases where local stores gave up too easily. H&H Hardware in Seaside was a good example. They were probably the best hardware and home improvement store the Monterey Peninsula ever had, plus they had an exceptional arts and crafts department as well. But when Orchard Supply moved into Sand City, the owners of H&H almost immediately threw up their hands and gave up. What a waste of community goodwill. Orchard, while nice, never lived up to its promise. I can't tell you how many times I've gone in there looking for something basic that they didn't have, including lamp parts, and standard recessed shower soap dishes. Furthermore, Orchard Supply's service has deteriorated in recent years. Their slogan "We've got

Popular trends, an update

A little over a year ago, I posted an entry called Popular Trends that I hope will go away soon. I thought it might be interesting to see if anything had changed. So here is a status report: Reality TV. Status: the novelty seems to be wearing off, but its not waning fast enough for me. Shouting news commentators. Status: Fox is still at it, but CNN canceled Crossfire. Breast implants Status: there is a growing "natural beauty" movement. Websites such as DOMAI and Super Beauty honor the beauty of unenhanced natural nude women. A related picture book called Natural Beauties is a best seller on . Dove, the beauty bar people, have launched a Campaign for Real Beauty with the goal of showing women of all ages that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. They've teamed up with the Girl Scouts on a self esteem program. Electronically enhanced vocals of female pop stars. Status: Still there, but may be waning as singers like Norah Jones grow in popularit

Schapelle Corby

I just read of a disturbing story about a 27 year young woman from Australia who may be facing a firing squad in Indonesia, for allegedly smuggling marijuana into Bali. Schapelle Corby maintains her innocence, and there is reason to believe the contraband was planted in her bodyboard bag by smugglers without her knowledge. At first I wondered if it was a legitimate story, since so much content on the internet is biased. So I did some research of Australian news articles which indicated it was true, and ongoing. But don't take my word for it. Do a Google search on " Schapelle Corby" for the latest news. Here are a couple of relevant links: Save Schapelle From An Indonesian Firing Squad Petition: Free Schapelle Corby

Things I've learned

At 45 I guess I'm officially at middle age. That means I'll live to be 90. Anyway, it seems like a good time to reflect on some of the things I've learned over the years, listed in no particular order: If you hear or smell anything unusual, find out what it is right away. Meals seem to be more satisfying when potatoes are somehow involved. Cultivate your friendships. Time spent with friends and family is never wasted. (See Tiffany ) The time to buy drain opener is before you need it. Read the owners manual. Don't trust Mapquest. You can never win a political argument. However, in the company of those who have open minds, you can have some very interesting political discussions. Ditto for religion. At the grocery checkout, always put the bread on the conveyor last. This keeps it from getting squished by other items at the bagging end. There’s nothing wrong with sex. When you get onto the freeway, keep plenty of space between you and the car ahead. It makes it much easier


"So often we rob tomorrow's memories by today's economies." -John Mason Brown With a carefree smile Framed by straight brown hair A sparkle in her eye As she passed on the stair It made me feel warm Every time she was there. It all was strictly business In the workplace you know Leaving much about each other That we never get to show Feelings just get buried Gotta go with the flow. We’d put our heads together And we’d get the job done Sometimes she’d say “I love you” It was only in fun Our friendship got a start But it never got to run. Then  one day she was leaving A career move she said She needed it of course Got to go where life led A chance to get away And to keep her soul fed. On the steps that final day Her eyes looked a little sad I wanted to say something But expression could be bad The talk was mostly business It was all we really had. I gave a little parting gift The card I made 

Muddy Waters, Muddy Thinking

A landmark cypress tree on Scenic Road is perilously close to falling into the Carmel River. So is a section of Scenic Road.   Because...   The river has eroded the bluffs right up to the edge of Scenic Road   Because...   The river was breached in an unusual way this year. Instead of cutting straight through the beach, they cut a diagonal trench to the northwest   Because...   There has been an ongoing dispute between Monterey County, residents near the Carmel River lagoon, and the Department of Fish and Game   Because...   The Fish and Game biologists say the steelhead need more time to adjust to the semi-saline lagoon before being washed out to the fully saline ocean.   So...   They have ordered that the lagoon not be breached until nearby homes are perilously close to flooding   Which...   Upsets the neighbors   So...   They breached the river at an angle to somehow minimize the trauma for the fish.   So...   The river did what it does naturally, and carried sand out to th

Republican Dictionary

Activist Judge: one who makes a ruling that we don't agree with. Collateral Damage: innocent people we accidentally kill in order to eliminate terrorists who want to kill innocent people. Compromise: abandoning our principles. Conservative: American, patriotic. Constitutional Amendment: what we propose whenever an activist judge makes a ruling we disagree with. Democrat: Liberal (see) Environmentalist: nut case who prefer trees, deer and whales over corporate profits, 10-lane freeways, and cheap oil. Fair and Balanced: whatever makes sense to us. Family Values: exemplified by good Christians who don't have sex except to make babies. Indecency: bare breasts. Liberal: traitor. Media Bias: any report which presents facts that contradict our beliefs. Mission Accomplished: the easy part is over. Minimum Wage: excessive compensation for our front-line employees who do the actual selling of our product. Moderate: some weenie trying to have it both ways. Morality: No se

I killed some software last night

It was Roxio Easy CD & DVD Creator 6. I had been using if for a little over a year, and it was the buggiest program I ever used, not to mention one of the most expensive.   My computer came with Adaptec Easy CD Creator 4. It was an excellent program, very easy to use, reliable and stable. Adaptec became Roxio somewhere around version 5, and I got version 6 because I needed its new video making capabilities for a wedding video project.   For making videos, version 6 was a bust. The DVD maker had a bug in the audio video synchronization which made it impossible to see beforehand how the finished product would look and sound. A downloadable upgrade, which was supposed to fix the bugs, rendered the entire thing useless, by preventing video burning entirely! Technical support was nonexistent. They told me to uninstall the whole thing, and reinstall it without the patches, which of course put me right back with the problems I started with. I ended up buying a different video program a

Monitor Replacement

I had to buy a new computer monitor. My three and a half year old ViewSonic flat screen CRT died suddenly,  deciding to display only a three inch high section of the screen. I had warranty work done a year ago for another problem, so it didn't seem worth the trouble to pay to have it fixed now that it is out of warranty. My first monitor lasted six years. I'm bummed that the ViewSonic didn't make four. Shopping for a new one was a frustrating experience. It seems standard Cathode Ray Tubes are no longer in vogue. They lack the "cool factor" of the new flat screen LCDs, even though the newer technology costs three times as much. Besides costing more, LCDs are overrated in many ways. They are still a youthful technology, while the good old CRT has been finely perfected over the course of 60 some years. LCDs don't display as many colors as a CRT, which is important for photo editing. Moreover, LCDs still look like you're viewing through a fine mesh screen

Tsunami Warnings

We've all seen the horrible news showing the Indian Ocean tsunami damage. I made my contribution to the Red Cross , and I hope you have too. Now, I have a question about this that's been bugging me for two weeks now. They say the Indian Ocean, unlike the Pacific Ocean, does not have a formal tsunami warning system, and that's why nobody was prepared. That sounds like a cop out to me. It is common knowledge among scientists that a large earthquake in the ocean will almost certainly create a tsunami. Warning system or not, the earthquake was detected by scientists in the region, and its offshore location determined fairly quickly. Did none of these scientists consider that a tsunami might follow? Did they try to contact the authorities? They didn't need a formal tsunami warning system to get the word out. All they needed to do was contact radio and TV stations, and direct local police to warn people away from the beaches. Back in the mid '60s, long before the Paci