7-30-07 (11:51)
  • went to lassen this weekend. we left friday after meryl got off work and drove for a couple hours until we got to fairfield. the traffic was bad pretty much the entire way so we decided to eat dinner and wait out the traffic. as a result of the long dinner and the shitty traffic, though, we didn't get to lassen until around 11pm. we went to a couple camp sites and they were completely full which was unexpected, but not the end of the world. rather than going to some crowed cookie cutter campsite (alliteration) we decided to camp out at a picnic spot which was empty and still had a pit toilet and level ground for the tent. we set up camp in the dark and got to bed around midnight.
  • the next day we broke camp and had a clif bar and water for breakfast; yum. we drove to the lassen summit parking lot which is around 8,500 feet in elevation. from there is about 1,950 feet and 2.5 miles to the summit, making for a 5 mile hike. the sign posted at the base of the trail says it takes 4-5 hours round trip, and i think johnny said it would take us about 3-3.5 hours. i was a bit concerned because i'm out of shape and elevation takes it out of you even more quickly. thankfully, though, my body tends to answer the call despite my not keeping it in the greatest condition. i was tired after less than a quarter mile, but i plateaued and never got really tired. we stopped several (7?) times on our way to the top, and twice on the way down, to take pictures, rest and drink water. we made it to the top in 85 minutes and back down in 53 (with about 20 minutes of enjoying the view and eating another clif bar at the summit). so the entire hike was only 2hrs 18min and we were both satisfied with ourselves for that. afterwards we drove to the bumpass hell parking lot and walked to the thermal features they have there. that was another 3 miles round trip with a 700 foot change in elevation. all told we hiked 8 miles at elevation with a change of about 2,700 feet. frankly, i don't think either of us thought we would have done that - me because i consider myself in pretty bad shape and meryl because her knee still isn't great after the surgery. plus, i didn't think we'd have much energy after doing the lassen summit. i'm not even sore, i've got some tightness in my lower calves and some chafing, but i wouldn't mind going ahead and doing it again.
  • after doing that we decided to change the plan and leave lassen to visit chico (because neither of us had been there before) then drive to clear lake state park and camp there. chico wasn't as bad as i had always heard. certainly the outskirts of the town were depressed, but the downtown area was nice enough. we stopped at a little pub for an early dinner and had a good meal. the pub even played immortal technique, ice-t, and mitch hedberg. afterwards we went to some root beer/ice cream joint that had dozens of sodas and good ice cream sundaes. having had our fill of chico, we left for clear lake and (hopefully) a nice place to camp for the night.
  • the drive there was nice - we took a lot of minor highways, parts of which reminded me of the blue ridge parkway back east because of how fun they were to drive (fast road with turns and hills). it's a good thing i got my rear suspension taken care of before the trip. the landscape varied from the barren heat of chico to the wooded areas around clear lake to the farm roads alongside vineyards that were reminiscent of napa. finally we arrived at clear lake state park and inquired as to the cost and availability of camping. there was only one spot left and the cost of camping was $29. we opted to continue on the road in the hopes of finding something better. it's definitely disconcerting that, as taxpayers, the price for a camping spot in a state park is $29. there are hotels in many spots throughout the country that are $20-30. why should it cost $29 to set up a tent and sleep under the stars? edward abbey is turning in his grave.
  • after driving around for a while and not finding a suitable place to set up camp we elected to drive back home.
  • yesterday was a relatively lazy day - we watched a couple movies and i watched the rest of season six of the west wing, as well as a couple episodes of the sopranos, season 3.
  • tomorrow i leave for la. i'll be there for a while to watch the dodgers/giants series (bonds isn't going to play for at least 1 out of the 3 games, i hate that guy). what the hell does he get paid for?
  • bill walsh died today. unlike lombardi and some other football geniuses, walsh left a legacy of coaches in his wake - shanahan, holmgren, hackett, green, seifert, fassel, and many others who worked under those who learned from him. he also crafted the most successful offense of all-time and had a nose for talent - young, montana, rice, haley, lott, craig, etc.

  • 7-26-07 (17:40)

  • it's interesting to note which people brought up the pat tillman death, and at what point. at first it was guys like limbaugh and hannity, and they brought it up to drum up support of the war and in the spirit of jingoism (it recalled the old poem "dulce et decorum est..."). now, though, people on the left, like olberman and those on air america, bring it up as an example of the politicization of tillman's death and corruption (because of the cover-up of the truth behind tillman's death - friendly fire, and, according to his mother, possibly murder by someone on our side).
  • obama said that he'd visit leaders like castro if he became president. today the clinton camp attacked his decision to commit to such a thing and called him naive. the whole thing has become a two-day story, which is pretty silly if you ask me. both candidates' spokespeople looked pretty petty when they debated it on hardball today.
  • going to lassen (again) this weekend. hopefully we'll be more prepared this time. plan on hiking to the summit, seeing some sights and then driving back.
  • noise pollution isn't talked about often enough. they need to come out with some bullshit study that finds posits that noise doesn't have a deleterious effect only while the noise is being heard, rather that it causes internal stress that haunts those affected by it for hours after exposure. then they can come out with another study that identifies a disease (let's call it noise sensitivity disorder, aka NSD) that leads to heart disease, diabetes, and erectile disfunction. maybe then a debate about noise pollution can begin.
  • seems like everything is a disease these days.

  • 7-25-07 (00:25)

  • tivo's great and all, but the software could be so much better. ease of use, an undelete feature, more control over the options, etc. would all make it a real winner.
  • lindsay lohan is pathetic.
  • tcm is great.
  • bored. not tired.

  • 7-23-07 (18:58)

  • took the car in today to get the rear struts replaced (finally). over $600 later and it's done and i can finally stop worrying about it.
  • working on my aunt's kitchen this week. she's got three layers of wallpaper on the wall which is unusual, and annoying, but it'll get done nonetheless.
  • had a little phone interview with a contractor today. he does mostly commercial stuff, though, so it wasn't really what i was looking for. while i was talking with him my cordless phone ran out of battery life so i hooked up the other phone and called him back. after doing that we got disconnected a couple more times. it was a disaster in more ways than one.
  • if i had a truck i'd pick up people's trash and take it to the dump for them, at a cost of course. the strike seems to still be going and it's affected different areas to differing degrees. my aunt has had her trash picked up twice and we've had our trash picked up once. some places still haven't gotten any service since the strike began.

  • 7-21-07 (17:21)

  • went to lafayette to sell my old sony receiver. kinda sad to see it go. i got lucky driving out there though - had all lanes open east through the tunnel, and looked at the traffic coming back with dread knowing that i was in for a long wait. but by the time i got the money from the guy and he tested it out, the traffic had cleared and all tunnels were open going west.
  • yesterday i had a short work day because i only worked on touchups and cleaning up the workspace. got a call from my sister around 1130 telling me that my dad (who has been to northern california to visit twice in the ten years i've lived here) was coming to town and that we'd go out to eat lunch because he was only an hour away. after some dawdling and getting lost, the two of them showed up at my place at 3:30. we went out for what ended up being my only meal of the day. afterwards we came back to my place for a bit and talked about movies and such. meryl came home from work and then we decided to go to the a's/orioles game. sarah had to wake up early so we dropped her off first. the game was pretty uninteresting except for ellis breaking up a no-hitter in the 7th inning with a homerun. i've been to about six games at the coliseum and the a's have only won once; against the bosox in the 11th thanks to a chavez walk-off homer.
  • meryl's with her mom this weekend doing arts and crafts. i'm here catching up on sopranos watching, movie reviewing and mp3 sifting.
  • updated the afi list to include a color-coded marking of films i haven't seen as well as those that appear in my top 25.
  • seen 22 movies in the last 21 days and that's a better pace that i've had over the last few months.
  • going to watch beckham now...

  • 7-20-07 (11:13)

  • there was a 4.2 earthquake around 4:30 this morning and the epicenter was pretty close to us. i was having trouble sleeping last night and felt dizzy and nauseous and then the earthquake woke us up. afterwards i looked around the apartment and looked outside, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary so i tried going back to sleep. i still felt dizzy, though, so i didn't get much sleep until around 6am. i still feel a little nauseous right now so i'm not sure what's going on.
  • finished up the laundry room at my aunt's place today. looks like the kitchen is next, that's going to be a bit tougher.
  • the move on the part of the democrats to get a bill passed that would bring the troops home was a good one. i don't think it was a good move in terms of bettering iraq or our standing in the world, but from a political point of view it was wise on their part. the democrats don't want to inherit a problem if they get into the white house so if the bill had passed then the troops would have come back and iraq may not have been front page news everyday. even if they didn't get the required 60 votes (and they didn't, they only got 52), they still won because the war is unpopular and it makes the administration and the republican party look unresponsive and unwilling to change course. so, it was good politics, but, as usual, that's not what makes the world better. to me, the move is just further evidence that both parties play the partisan game when they feel it will help them win in the future.

  • 7-16-07 (22:09)

  • neighbors had some fight tonight. it was entertaining for a couple minutes, but it was essentially an unstaged episode of jerry springer heard through the front door.
  • haven't been too lucky in my job hunt. part of this is because i've been picky and part of it is because i haven't been checking as many sources of jobs as i should.
  • got a couple more offers on the corrado, but nothing over $500.
  • going to sell my copy of "my dinner with andre" on dvd. it's been out of print for a while and fetches upwards of $100. i've heard from a couple sources that criterion owns the rights and that they plan on releasing it on dvd in the future, so it seems to make sense to get what i can out of the dvd while it's still rare. i actually have several dvds that are worth $50-100+ because they've gone out of print.
  • still working on converting my dads vhs to dvd. i've got about 170 to go which means about 340 more hours.
  • taking my car in next monday to finally get the rear shocks taken care of. the front shocks cost about $700 so i'm expecting the rear to be the same, if not more (because they're in worse condition).
  • finally got a few long film reviews in after a couple months of shorter reviews. watching good movies helps.
  • saw an ad for a professional organizer the other day. i don't know how much she charges, but it seems like something i could do, i just never knew there was a market for it. i love organizing and archives and storing things. unfortunately i don't have enough stuff to keep me busy with projects like that. if you know anyone who could use an aspiring professional organizer (or handyman/utility guy, for that matter), then lemme know.
  • been having slightly more fun with cooking than usual. i think having copious cloves of garlic on hand helps in that regard. in general, i think being good at anything is as much about creativity, experience and knowledge as it is about having the proper tools.

  • 7-16-07 (14:22)

  • started looking for ways to unload the corrado. pick and pull offered me $121 for it. a single door handle is worth more than that.
  • haven't gotten much done today.

  • 7-15-07 (17:04)

  • been watching more movies lately, that's always good. saw the newest die hard flick today. according to imdb.com the director of the newest installment was born in march of 1973 and was 13 when he first watched die hard. obviously this is impossible since die hard was released in july of 1988.

  • 7-14-07 (18:03)

  • ran a bunch of errands today. washed the car, went to amoeba, got some stuff for the baseball scrapbook (which still isn't completed), dropped off some stuff at goodwill, etc.

  • 7-11-07 (16:53)

  • this week i'm working on the second bedroom in my aunt's place. don't think she has anymore work for me after that. been following up other job leads - one with a tile contractor, but i'll have to wait a couple weeks on that one before i know the verdict. the other is for the cal alumni association. called the lady and i think she called back, but she didn't leave a message. it's easier to look for a job when you're actually unemployed, but then you don't have the money so...
  • ladybird johnson died today (or yesterday?). she was one of the more important figures in the environmental movement so it's sad to see her pass.
  • caught up on my movie review queue today. i feel like i'm always busy these days.
  • much has been made of john mccain's trouble these days. i still think he'll emerge as a top two candidate in the republican party, but i've been known to be wrong. i think he's closer to the base than giuliani and i think romney's war chest is bloated because of his personal wealth and (i suspect) his rich mormon contributors. i also think that, like it was for bush in 2000, south carolina could be a turning point for mccain. he's been courting the christian coalition vote for well over a year now and i suspect he'll get better support in the more conservative states which could help him raise more money and give him greater momentum leading into the home stretch. i also think that playing the underdog has proven fairly beneficial - you don't take the heat like the front-runner, for one. bush, kerry, and clinton were all behind in the early polls and found ways to win their pary's nomination.
  • i also have to say that i disagree with the people who are advocating pulling out of iraq. that's an unpopular stance for a leftist to take, but i don't think that leaving the mess that we've created is what's best for the region or the world. i also think that the politicization of this decision is unfortunate and is, ironically, what got us into this bullshit in the first place. i don't believe in the reasons for going into iraq, i don't agree with the way in which it was executed, i don't like anything about it, but i do believe in commitment. i think leaving would create a vacuum that would likely end in genocide and civil war and a destabilization of the region. of course anything we do over there is tainted so we're more or less stuck. i think that our troops need to be considered peace-keeping forces and be at the control of the iraqi "government." there are all sorts of ethical considerations and implications to a policy like that, but we've destroyed the country and thrown it into a state of chaos so we need to do every peaceable thing we can to get their systems (power, water, sewage, governmental, etc.) back up and running efficiently while keeping the peace. hopefully that would include a greater focus on lending our knowledge on implementation of governmental systems like schooling and economic stimulus than policing the populace.

  • 7-8-07 (20:16)

  • watching ferris bueller's day off.
  • chipotle is probably my favorite place to eat out. it's cheap, tasty, and healthy.
  • finished the fifth season of the west wing yesterday. aaron sorkin wrote for the first four, but left after that. it's still good, but the characters have changed and the writing isn't as smart. i'm onto the third season of the sopranos as well.
  • meryl made me breakfast on my birthday. afterwards we went to santa cruz. we played some kickball (which ended in a tie), ate, and watched the best private fireworks show of my life. luke always does a good job. also got a nice birthday cake to take home.
  • got a bunch of stuff this year. a few books, a bunch of posters (national park and movie themed), some dvds, and more.
  • worked on painting my aunt's living room last week, going to finish that and move onto one of the bedrooms this week.
  • new seven wonders of the world were released yesterday. the easter island statues didn't make the cut and that's a shame.
  • ferris bueller car.
  • been looking for carpentry jobs, but haven't had any luck so far.

  • 7-3-07 (23:08)

  • i think not having a fixed schedule is nice on the one hand because it allows me flexibility to run errands and work on projects and do stuff at my leisure. on the other hand i don't have a fixed time when i watch movies or update my page, etc. i watched the most movies when i was working nights at tower and would eat dinner and watch a movie. it was a good schedule and the routine lent itself to getting plenty done. without the routine my life seems to go in more pronounced ebbs and flows - i'll be really busy for a couple days and then have one lazy day. today's a busy day. i had three ebay auctions end, i've gotten a lot of email, i got a bunch of blank dvds in the mail (for the vhs to dvd conversion i'm doing for my dad), etc. hectic.
  • the whole libby situation is predictable. it's funny, but not because bush commuted libby's sentence, rather because of his reason for doing so. in his speech he said that the punishment was "severe" which is funny because he said early in the investigation that he would be tough on whoever was responsible for the leak. it's also funny because bush was the governor of texas which doesn't think it's too severe to give the death penalty to mentally retarded murderers. it's looking as though he'll likely pardon libby in his final days as president. i didn't hear any of the right-wingers talking about bush's decision, but i would expect their line to be something like: "the left's outrage over this is hypocritical because clinton pardoned more people during his presidency, including one of his donors." this is a typical tactic employed by the right - when they can't be outraged about the principle of something and when the facts aren't on their side, they accuse the other side of being hypocritical. this is what many of them do on the global warming issue, for example. i've heard limbaugh talk about al gore's private jet and how polluting it is, for example.
  • worked at my aunt's the last couple days. finished the entryway and one wall of the living room. doing it one wall at a time is a bit slower, but much better from a mental standpoint because i don't get tired of doing a single task over and over again.

  • in the process of uploading my updated pictures page. it's almost 10 gigs, though, so it's going to take about a day.