Tag: sacramento

The West is Big, y’all

The West is Big, y’all

There’s something Kevin Standlee​ said in a File 770 thread (it’s about halfway through the comment) that I wanted to do a little expounding on. Family and folks who know the area I grew up, bear with me, as none of this is going to be all that unusual to you. What I am about to quote came up in a discussion about whether Spokane was close to Seattle.

In my experience, a lot of people who haven’t actually lived on the US west coast think everything here is in the same place. Disneyland is just outside of San Francisco. You can see the Space Needle from Portland. And obviously everything in the same state is within a few miles’ of everything else.

Kevin knows what he’s talking about — he and I grew up in the same general geographic area, although that area is about 150 miles in diameter around my hometown. My hometown is a small Western city that has the distinction of being one of six control cities on Interstate 5 (the other five are all major cities you’ve probably heard of).

From my hometown, it is approximately an hour and fifteen minutes to the nearest state university. The next one is about two hours fifteen minutes. The other state university in our third of the state is about three hours away over a mountain pass. And my alma mater, in a major metro region that holds most of the sports teams we root for in my little city, is about three hours away, if you’re pushing it and not stopping.

And we’re big enough to be a control city — that’s the one the signs point to as the next destination — on the major north/south artery of the West Coast.

A couple other thoughts. I live in Sacramento now. A friend and I once drove from Portland to Sacto, getting out of the car once. It took us eight hours. Another time, I had to drive to pick up somebody in Los Angeles — the Hollywood area, to be precise. Mom and I left Sacto at 4:30 AM. We stopped for gas once and breakfast once, but we still didn’t make it to his place until 11:30 AM.

One last thought. California numbers its freeway exits by miles travelled, starting with 1 at the southern end for N/S roads and the western end for E/W roads.

The actual little town I grew up in, just south of the minor city I describe here, is exits 667 and 668 on Interstate 5. At that point, there’s still another hundred odd miles to the Oregon border.

The West Coast is *big*, y’all.

People I Think Are Quite Keen: Richard and Jennifer Crawford

People I Think Are Quite Keen: Richard and Jennifer Crawford

(What is this? An Introduction)

So, it’s Thursday. Who’s going to get the first nod as a person I happen to think is quite keen? Well, it’s actually two, partly to make up for the fact that I’ve just decided to start this, thus I missed last Thursday, and partly, they’re married, so it’s fitting to honor them together.

So, the first entry in the people I think are quite keen goes to my good friends Richard and Jennifer Crawford.

I’ll start with Richard. I’ve known him since 2006, and have been herding cats, err, Wrimos with him in the Sacramento area since 2007. He’s the best damn co-ML anybody could ask for. He’s also a really good writer with a wonderfully wicked sense of humor. (Don’t believe me? Just go peer at his bibliography page. Anybody that writes zombie stories about Santa’s elves is my kind of person.)

Ah, but that’s not all Richard does. He’s also an excellent code monkey, keeping systems running. Always good, and it means he’s inclined to a technical bent as well. This comes in handy at times, such as the wonderfulness of the Virtual Plotbox, a virtual rendition of the black container I carry to Sacramento NaNoWriMo get-togethers. This means he’s a geek.

Lastly, he’s my GM. I’ve never actually played at a table with people and real dice before, but now I’m getting the chance. So very awesome. Add to that the randomness he posts to his twitter feed, and it’s really a shame not a lot of people know about Richard, because he’s just that awesome.

Ah, but somebody as cool as Richard needs somebody just as cool to be married to him, and that’s where Jennifer comes in. Jennifer is quite amazing. She’s a bit of a tech geek too, but more to the point, she’s a singer, a hell of a baker (she made Richard Dalek cupcakes for his birthday once and a Cthulhu cake another time, and does a wonderfully tasty kitty litter cake), and an artiste with the knitting needles. Totally an amazing woman.

With all this, she still manages to keep Richard and I on task when it comes to keeping the region organized and she’s decided to join us in writing every November. She’ll never share, but I consider it awesome she just comes and writes.

She loves cats. (Richard does too, but Jen does especially.) Between the two of them, they’re host to six furballs — Rosemary, Azrael, Nutmeg, Rupert, Ingrid, and Sherman — and manages to find the time and attention for all of them as well as happily posting their pictures to the internet, which is required. Cat people are generally good people in my book.

Plus they are both big-time geeks. Don’t believe me? Go look at their posts on the Dalek invasion at their house: Infested! (Richard) and The Doom That Awaits You All (Jennifer). Such geeks. Such wonderful, wonderful geeks.

My kind of people, and I’m glad I know both of them.

Want more of either/both of them?
Richard can be found at his blog and @underpope, his twitter.
Jennifer hangs out on her blog and @jenipurr, her twitter.

[sactown] State Capitol Building

[sactown] State Capitol Building

So, I’ve promised a friend I would start taking pictures of Sactown to show her. It gets me out of the office at lunch — most of these will be walking distance from work — and it lets me see a bit more of the city I live in. I’ll start the series with this shot, from last Friday, of the State Capitol building here in Sacramento.

I joke Sacramento is a company town. People look at me strange until I point out that the company is the State of California, and when the state hurts, everybody hurts. And it’s been really bad times for the State of California for years. We papered over a lot of it with the housing bubble, but eventually those things come back to haunt you.

That said, I love our state capitol building, and I especially love it this time of year with the Christmas tree in front.

[tftc] OMG fog

[tftc] OMG fog

[Yet another post in my occasional series “Tales from the Commute”]

The commute was ugly today. It looked like this most of the way:

It was fun fighting that, when you couldn’t read signs until you were almost on top of them, and people disappeared into the fog way too easily.

But at the bottom of my offramp, it looked like this:
No fogPhoto by retstak

Go figure.

fogtown

fogtown

Fog townPhoto by retstak

The first fog of the year has come to Sacramento, shrouding the skyscrapers in mystery. I had to get to work early, so I managed to catch them in that peaceful moment when it’s not night anymore, but it’s not really day yet either. It’s perfect.

[tftc] Attack of the Quack

[tftc] Attack of the Quack

[Fifth in an occassional series about things I see on my commute.]

Today, on my way home, I get up on the freeway, and a couple vehicles in front of me, I see a truck. It looked like this:

Hmmm, says I, it’s a Duck truck. Now, I don’t root for the Oregon Ducks, but they play in the same league as my beloved Cal Bears, so it’s still nifty to see. I begin to wonder if it might be the equipment truck. I decide to overtake and I snap one more picture of the side of the truck as I go by:

Keep on Duckin'!Photo by retstak

It made me laugh. So I asked over on Addicted to Quack, an Oregon sports blog, about what that truck was. And sure enough, my guess was right. You see, the Ducks played Tennessee in Knoxville on Saturday night, and the afternoon commute hours today were just right for the Ducks’ equipment truck to be passing through Sacramento on its way home to Eugene from that game.

I wonder if Cal has a similar truck?

Apocalypse Sacramento

Apocalypse Sacramento

Greetings from Sacramento, where the apocalypse seems to have begun…

(No, not really. Just playing around with the solarize feature on my phone. And yes, I like that skyscraper a lot. And yes, one of these days I’ll have something substantial to say that isn’t a post with a picture.)

majestic

majestic

Fiddling around this morning with the phone and discovered how to set the camera in black and white mode. I kinda like this — there’s a solemn majesty in it.

As an interesting compare and contrast, here’s a color photo of approximately the same scene I took just prior:
Skyscraper in colorPhoto by retstak

Yah, I think I like the black and white one better.

Two things

Two things

  1. It was a beautiful morning in Sacramento this morning. It hasn’t started raining yet, but over the last hour, the clouds have rolled in, so it’s coming
  2. I heart fortune:
    Your fortune for the day
    Q: How many members of the U.S.S. Enterprise does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: Seven. Scotty has to report to Captain Kirk that the light bulb inthe Engineering Section is getting dim, at which point Kirk will send Bones to pronounce the bulb dead (although he'll immediately claim that he's a doctor, not an electrician). Scotty, after checking around, realizes that they have no more new light bulbs, and complains that he "canna" see in the dark. Kirk will make an emergency stop at the next uncharted planet, Alpha Regula IV, to procure a light bulb from the natives, who, are friendly, but seem to be hiding something. Kirk, Spock, Bones, Yeoman Rand and two red shirt security officers beam down to the planet, where the two security officers are promptly killed by the natives, and the rest of the landing party is captured. As something begins to develop between the Captain and Yeoman Rand, Scotty, back in orbit, is attacked by a Klingon destroyer and must warp out of orbit. Although badly outgunned, he cripples the Klingon and races back to the planet in order to rescue Kirk et. al. who have just saved the natives' from an awful fate and, as a reward, been given all light bulbs they can carry. The new bulb is then inserted and the Enterprise continues on its five year mission.

[TFtC] A bad accident

[TFtC] A bad accident

[Fourth in an occasional series]

My entrance to Interstate 80 is usually Elkhorn Blvd. (For those of you who don’t live in the Sacramento area, this tidbit isn’t going to mean much, but it is what it is.) I have three options — Elkhorn, Madison, and Watt — but of the three, Elkhorn is the closest to my house and it has the advantage of putting me just high enough above the I-80/Cap City split to get over into through traffic before the split happens. Given that the Cap City backs up like *crazy*, this extra bit of space is important.

But that’s not the point here. The point is, to get out to the freeway on Elkhorn, I have to get down to Elkhorn and follow it along for a ways.

Ah, here’s an approximate Google map of my commute:

View Larger Map

Elkhorn is the road that curves across to the east above the “North Highlands” label. Anyway, I had just made the left (the right angle onto the road) and looked down to the next light to see flashing lights. Oh, oh, something’s going on. As I get closer, I see a school bus sitting by the edge of the road, and it’s all smashed in on the left and rear sides. A bit closer than that, and there’s an Arco gasoline tanker truck sitting on the median with its front all smashed in. There are flares in the road, and a CHP officer is waving us through the intersection despite the red light. (The accident was blocking all the lanes going in the other direction, but our lanes were relatively clear.)

Given the orientation of the accident, and the fact it was an an intersection, I’m fairly certain somebody was racing the light. Although, at work, one of my co-workers said that, really, neither of those vehicles should really be racing a light.

Here’s a story done by one of the local TV stations, which says that there were no kids on the school bus. You ought to watch the footage, though — that’s a pretty impressive smash-up.

There’s some other thoughts I have on similar matters, but it’ll hold. Stay tuned.

You see the strangest things on the road

You see the strangest things on the road

[Second in an occassional series that I’ve dubbed “Tales of the Commute”.]

So the car ahead of me in the onramp today was a Lada. Now, first of all, that’s not exactly a common brand here in the United States. I’m a bit of a Russophile, so I recognized the Russian car company, but I’m not sure others would. It’s not overly suprising to see one here as there’s a large Russian community in Sacramento, but it’s still unusual.

But it wasn’t just the unusual car type. Attached to the bottom were a pair of balls. You know, the ones people attach to their trucks to suggest that it’s their *ahem*. Again, other than the slight incongruity of them being on a Lada, no big deal.

No, what got me is that the balls in question were dark blue with a yellow stripe down the middle.

I really don’t want to know.

baseball and a status update

baseball and a status update

God, has it been nearly two weeks since I bothered to update my blog?

Ah, here, have a picture:

I took this at the Rivercats game last night. It’s the first time I’ve been out to Raley Field, and, while the Cats sucked rocks through a bendy straw last night, it was a perfect night for baseball, especially as the sun started to set. For those of you who don’t know, the Rivercats are the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s, and the stadium is just across the river from downtown Sacramento. (That gold bridge on the left? That’s the Tower Bridge, which crosses the Sacramento River, and is generally one of the two things used to as icons to identify Sacramento. The other is, of course, the State Capitol building.

Anyway, just letting folks know I live. I’ll have more to say later.

The day I was a superhero

The day I was a superhero

Yesterday, on my walk between the parking garage and work, I found the following juxtaposition of signage:

The chalked message up close, so you can read it:
What the chalked message said...Photo by retstak

It was one of those moments where I just had to pause for a moment and laugh (and of course, take a picture). Somebody has a sense of humor in this town, and it’s those sort of wonderful serendipitous moments that I love very dearly. So yesterday, I walked past the message, head held high, as I obviously was a superhero. Only superheroes may pass. The sign said so. Thus, by passing it, I must have been a superhero, no?

I wasn’t a superhero today. We had a spectacular light show and plenty of rain last night, and the chalk was washed away. Mundanity returns. So sad.

At the new office…

At the new office…

It was very strange this morning after I dropped my mom off at her work in Rancho Cordova. Instead of doubling back to Folsom Blvd and following it all the way back down to the office at the corner of Watt and Folsom, I instead got on Highway 50 and headed for downtown. Yeah, the office moved downtown, very close to the corner of 5th and Capitol here in downtown Sacramento. Today’s the first day for the company at the new office. It’s going to take some getting used to.

I’ve already had to move cubes once today as the first cube I chose was driving me absolutely crazy — I’ve found out that I really don’t like sitting exposed with my back to the rest of the office. I’m not sure if it’s involuntary reactions to the times my mother sat quietly behind me watching me do things when I didn’t know she was there or if it’s just the occassional bout of paranoia that I’m prone to. Anyway, I’m much happier in my new cube, where I can see most of the office and don’t feel like everybody’s staring at me when I’m not looking.

Another thing that keeps striking my brain as wrong is the cubicals. Instead of the old full-high cubes, our new cubes are half-height, so if I lift my head, I can see across the office. (This also may have played into the involuntary twitch reaction.) They’re also beige instead of the blue-grey our prior cubicals are. For the most part I like it, as it’s nice to have line of sight to the far end of the office, but I miss the storage space up above the desk that our old cubes had.

But anyway, some normality is returning to my world as Luigi and the bad dudes are now adorning the top of my cube again, the binders with my ESX guides are sitting on my desk, and the only thing I’m waiting on to make my cube fully my own again is to hang up some important papers on the walls. It’s still a bit bare, though. I should find a good Cal picture (or maybe a pennant) to hang in the corner and make this cube even more my own.

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