May 31, 2006
"Bus Uncle" Found
Now, "Bus Uncle" (as he is called) has been located and interviewed. What a long strange story he has.
You Can Chew On My Left Behind
You know, Left Behind, and Left Behind, which movies completely overlook the marketing possibilities of millions of naked Christians flying into the air. If we could know the schedule of the rapture in advance, I'd put myself at a wrestling meet at a Christian high school...just to see the coaches, of course, and the 18-year old seniors.
Now [trumpet blast please] they bring you Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a videogame in which the player brings eternal peace to "Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state - especially moderate, mainstream Christians" by blasting them to smithereens with one of the weapons in your powerful arsenal.
Ah Christians! Just when you think the Moslems look bad, the Jesus boys come up with stuff like this.
What Would Jesus Fry?
Who knows? But he would do it in a Jesus Pan, that's for sure! Two for only $29.99. Plus $12 shipping!! $12! Jesus Christ!
I'm waiting for the Virgin Of Guadalupe tortilla warmer.
There's a Glorious Future Coming
"Naked Guy" Remembered
My most vivid memory of Andrew is his walking naked into the co-op dining room for breakfast with a plate of toast. He set the plate on the table, and his backpack on the floor. He pulled a small towel out of the backpack and placed it on the chair, with a dignified snap like a four-star restaurant waiter. Then he sat down to read the paper.
May 30, 2006
No One Wants To Work Today
So here is some entertainment: a video of an impressive display of precision flying with a small, radio-controlled aircraft inside a gymnasium. You can be sure this was not funded by the Pentagon.
On our way to and from Zion N.P. the weekend before last, we stopped at Kelso Depot...which just about everybody does who's taking the Mojave shortcut to Las Vegas. It's the only place to stop out there with water and restrooms, it's free, it's interesting, it's nice. But I can't help looking at it and wondering what the money spent on Kelso Depot could have done to help preserve and restore the historical parks in the Boston area.
Anyway, I got some photos into the ticket office without the problem of shooting through glass — you just gotta open the door on the cubbyhole and shove your small camera through one of the holes. They've done a nice job locating (or reproducing) office clutter from the appropriate time period.
May 29, 2006
I just noticed that one of my neighbors has attached a small Mexican flag ABOVE his American flag on a pole on the side of his house. I mention this only because I know it will piss off some people.
Those readers who have been following my slow, tedious uploading of wonderful photos of the Observation Point trail in Zion N.P. will, by now, be wanting to see visual proof that I myself (not just my camera) made it to the top. And here it is:
Goodness I was popular for 5 seconds:
"Rune and me at Epcot"
Young Europeans unashamed to admit visiting and enjoying one of America's most touristy locations. By The Norwegian.
May 28, 2006
Craigslist Palm Springs
I found out last night that the reason a Craigslist for Palm Springs has been created is that Craig himself has very recently moved to Palm Springs. I got this from such a highly reliable resource I almost tremble with the thrill of it all.
Another Fine Theater Experience
Tonight Nick and I ventured out to the Rancho 16 to catch a showing of The Da Vinci Code. We aimed for the 6:40 show, but there were later shows too. Neither of us wore a watch, but Nick said he saw a clock at the ticket window saying it was 6:45. Our ticket stubs said we bought them at 6:52.
Nobody at the ticket window told us that we were so late that the movie was already playing. We walked into theater #16 to find that the trailers and everything were done, and we were well into Silas having his fun with himself. We went ahead and got seats because, hey, I know the story and I can see it again on DVD, but for $9 you'd think someone could have been bothered to give us a choice whether to walk into a rolling film or wait until the next show.
I've sent off a brief complaint to Regal Entertainment and it might be interesting to see if they respond.
My only other complaint about the place might be that the floor was dirtier than my floor at home, and those who know me well know that is pretty dirty.
BTW, Sophie Neveu turns out to be the last descendant of Jesus Christ, and Mary Magdalene is buried under the inverted pyramid at the Louvre. HTH!
May 27, 2006
In our somewhat annual agricultural report on Coachella Valley, we've got this article in The Desert Sun telling us that for the first time, "agricultural production value" (I'm sure there's a technical definition for that somewhere) surpassed a half billion dollars in 2005. The specifics are vague: "the top three crops were vegetable crops ($213.4 million), tree and vine crops ($138.6 million), and nursery stock ($86.4 million)." "Tree and vine crops" includes all dates, citrus and grapes, which in all previous years were reported separately as bringing in the most cash. So I guess in previous years vegetable crops seemed to come in low because they subdivide the category too finely: artichokes, broccoli, carrots, various lettuces, etc. That would be like separating citrus into all the various kinds of citrus.
May 26, 2006
Here are some of the panoramas from Zion National Park.
World Gym DHS - Yet More Info
Information from a very reliable source is that World Gym is actually leasing their future permanent location. The employee at the temporary location told me they had bought their future building. Not so. The main reason for the delay is that this building is one of the very few in the valley with a basement, and World Gym wants to put all their weight equipment on the first floor (street level). The city is of the opinion that the floor is not sufficiently strong for this. So World Gym needs to reinforce the floor, or put the weights in the basement, or find a new location altogether.
May 25, 2006
Deep Creek From Mojave Dam
Yesterday was a GOPS hike to Deep Creek hot springs. They used the usual route which goes via Bowen Ranch, but I was interested in trying one of the alternate routes in. Not long ago I came across some directions for a hike from the Mojave Dam near Hesperia. I worked with those, and now with Jack's assistance will provide clarifications and specificity.
From I-15 take exit 143, Main Street into Hesperia. In about 7.3 miles Main Street intersects with Rock Spring Road and turns right. The name of the road changes to Arrowhead Lake Road. From that intersection follow Arrowhead Lake Road about 4.75 miles to the roadway that goes on the top of Mojave Dam. The GPS coordinates of that spot are N34.34620 W117.24861. You can park along Arrowhead Lake Road in a gravel patch on the eastern side. Parking is not allowed on the road that goes onto the dam. Here's a photo of the gate across the road onto the dam:
Walk the full length of the dam to the spillway, where a roadway leads to the right and down. At that point you join the Pacific Crest Trail. Follow it to the left, across the spillway and up the opposite hillside.
The hike from where you've parked to Deep Creek hot springs is less than 6.5 miles, and involves an elevation gain of only about 500 feet. So while longer, it is much, much gentler than the Bowen Ranch trail. As you face upstream you will be hiking on the left side of Deep Creek until you come to a lovely, little footbridge which beats all heck out of the clothesline used to assist cross at the hot springs.
All the photos from the hike and the hot springs can be found in this photo set. Here are a few samples:
You may recall that last year I signed up for the "Summer Discount Plan" with Southern California Edison. That gives them permission to turn off my air conditioner during periods of heavy electric usage, and in return they give me nice rebates on my electric bill all summer long.
I know these sorts of programs are not created by the electric utilities out of their pure love for the environment, but are worked out with the regulators as some kind of compromise involving new power generation facilities, higher rates, and conservation measures. So I wasn't too surprised that after I first asked to be put on the plan last year, Edison just ignored me. Only after I called them to follow-up did they schedule someone to come out and install the equipment necessary to effect the shut-offs.
Now this year I get a card in the mail saying they've added a new option where I can get even bigger rebates by giving them permission to apply unlimited shut-offs. Last year they were limited to some number of hours (I don't remember how many). So this card says that to take advantage of this swell new deal I should go to www.sce.com which you will recognize as simply the home page for Southern California Edison. No phone number, no URL to take you directly to the summer discount plan. Once you get to sce.com you've got to read around a bit to find the link for discounts and rebates, and then find the link for the Summer Discount Plan. When you get there they tell you that if you have already signed up and just want to increase your maximum shut-offs you should just check some boxes once you get into their form. So I guess these instructions would not be available when I get to the relevant page, so I just have to memorize them. But when I put in my name (copied from my bill) and my Service Account Number (also copied from my bill) it just comes back and says it can't verify me. THEN they give me the phone number to call (877-823-8716). When I called that number I found out it was just the generic Southern California Edison number. The service rep located my record based solely on my name and address and told me I was already set up for the higher rebate! Amazing, crappy uninformative mailings and website, but somehow they auto-magically know what I want?!
BTW, when I looked at the website again today I saw that they had revised it to tell those who have already signed up to skip the web form and just call the phone number.
May 23, 2006
"Naked Guy" Dies By Suicide
May 22, 2006
Zion National Park
Sorry for the interruption in posts. I've been on a weekend trip with Great Outdoors to Zion National Park. This is my first time here, as it is for several of the other guys. On our first day we took on one of the more challenging hikes, a climb of about 2500 feet over 4 miles to Observation Point. Just effing gorgeous! Never before have I exhausted two batteries in my Nikon and exhausted my entire water supply. I, myself, was nearly exhausted as well.