December 31, 2006
I'm about to kick off a six-month, seven-moon string of moonlight hikes with GOPS (where we do it with clothes on). Tim, the usual moonlight hike leader, is taking a sabbatical to lead an Adventure Cycling tour across the U.S. (among other things).
Coming up on Wednesday, January 3, I'll be leading a moonlight hike starting at 7 PM. Meet at the eastern end of the Rimrock shopping center at Gene Autry and East Palm Canyon in Palm Springs. Non-members pay $2. Bring a flashlight (probably unnecessary) and water (necessary).
I'm looking for suggestions for locations for future moonlight hikes. Here's my list of places so far:
- South end of the South Lykken
- North end of the South Lykken
- Pushawalla ridge
- Magnesia Falls, Palm Desert
- Painted Canyon
- Garstin trail
Where I don't want to lead moonlight hikes: Museum Trail, any part of the North Lykken.
Obviously, a vista point is a nice objective for any moonlight hike. A spot with a view of the valley lights is a great place to stand and socialize. But if you've got a flat place to suggest, I'm open to it. The trail should be easy enough to follow in moonlight that we don't risk a lot of injuries. Moonlight hikes up on Mt. San Jacinto don't work well because the tram stops running at 9:30 PM (or thereabouts). This time of year it's too cold up there for me, and when it's warm enough the tram schedule prevents us from enjoying a real night hike.
Best Buy Tries To Go Postal - Cops Do NOT Join In The Fray
Story of a guy who bought a CD at Best Buy that wouldn't play, so he returned to the store to ask for a refund not more than 3 minutes after buying it. The Best Buy store gives him the line that there are federal and state laws against refunding money!! Customer laughs. Store calls 911.
And now here comes the sort of vague Martha-Stewart-how-did-she-do-that miracle: while waiting for the cops to show, our customer gets Best Buy corporate customer support on the phone, explains the story, and gets customer support to agree with him that the store is out of control. He doesn't tell us objectively how long it took for the cops to show. Maybe it was a Saturday night in a drug-riddled town with an inadequate police force. So by the time the police actually drive up, the store manager has handed back the guy's money to him.
By the way, it was a Tony Bennett CD!
Bush Not Alone
Along with the president (who was indeed cutting brush and riding his bike – issue of horsing around unaddressed) 500 members of Congress have skipped Ford's state funeral. Six supreme court justices are staying at home, along with all but two members of the cabinet! The article points out that Bush also skipped Reagan's funeral, but he was at the G8 conference that time.
Perhaps some of these non-attendees need to be reminded that Betty Ford is still quite definitely among the living and she knows ALL the dirt!
4 Gb Flash Drive For $17.98
At OfficeMax. Go for it.
DailyLit is a way to surreptitiously goof off at work while expanding your mind. Non-workers may want to use it too. You can sign up at DailyLit to have them e-mail you a daily chunk of one of the public domain books they stock. A chunk is supposed to be readable in five minutes. You can control the frequency at which you get the e-mails. And it seems to be entirely free.
Is That Smaller Than A Breadbox?
I link to this only mildly interesting story that equipment willl be placed on taxicabs in NYC to map cellphone dead spots, because the unidentified author (FoxNews) was so geeky as to describe the equipment as "about the size of a computer modem." Other geeks might wonder if he means an internal or external modem, but most readers will own computers that had a modem built in when they bought it, so all they know (if they know they have one) is that it must be smaller than the box of the computer itself. Maybe he had originally written it as "about the size of a cigarette pack," only to have his editor reject that as somehow politically incorrect.
December 30, 2006
Naked Guy - NY Times Magazine
Uh, dunno why it took so long, but [fixed link] NY Times magazine has an obituary for Andrew Martinez, The Naked Guy, along with a good photo I'd not seen before.
Kansas City Unsafe?
"Kansas City and its suburbs last year had a higher violent crime rate than many of their peers, including metropolitan St. Louis, Denver and Minneapolis." And again compared to its vaguely unidentified "peers" public opinion says "Nearly half of Kansas City respondents said they felt crime was a bad problem outside their neighborhood community." But that's outside their communities...so home is safe, but they read about crime elsewhere??
Jenny, Coming From Boston
It tells you how slow airline travel is these days that I can read blogposts of Bostonians trying to fly to Palm Springs before they actually get here.
Getting All Anal
The long-time reader will recall that back in February 2005 I finished painting the concrete floor in my "storage room" (an otherwise nearly useless third bedroom). Then, instead of organizing it, I moved all my still-packed boxes and bikes and junk into it. I probably had visitors coming. Two or three weeks ago I finally got around to emptying the room and starting to set up shelving. When I saw that I needed a couple more legs for the setup I visualized, I had to order them from The Container Store. Their nearest store is in Pasadena, which is more than a couple gallons of gasoline away.
Now today I have gotten all the shelving put together. I am missing only one part - actually just half a part, but I can fake it until I get that. I took a couple of photos to both please and irritate the anal retentive reader. The pleasure comes from seeing an empty room with shelving all ready. The irritation from the fact that I didn't put the shelves in all symmetrically. It wasn't until after I took these photos that I vacuumed off the dust which I had carefully brought with me from Boston. It's stickier than desert dust.
You'll get no "Before" photos from me, but I have friends who've seen it in its piled-up state. All those piles are sitting around in my living room right now. Next half of the project.
WW3 In Soviet Eyes
The government of Poland is opening up formerly secret Warsaw Pact archives. We learn that they thought that in the event of nuclear war, NATO forces would bomb Poland out of existence.
Middle East Empires
Also see their History of Religion.
Top Ten Of 2006
Flickr has this thing called interestingness which is an algorithm that is supposed to get around the obvious shortcomings of mere popularity. Good intent, but the guys at Flickr, as good as they are, are not Google. Interestingness can be pretty easily manipulated, and generates results that I don't agree with. Nonetheless, it's a thing I can use. And here I'm going to use it to highlight My 10 Most "Interesting" Public Photos Uploaded In 2006! These ARE public, but interestingly (ha ha) enough there's a lot of flesh, so it's up to you if this is SFYW (Safe For YOUR Work).
Chess at CMEN
Wahhabism vs. Historical Preservation
Here's yet another thing going on in the middle east to piss people off. Wahhabism's zeal to observe the commandment against idolatry has led to the Saudis destroying all historically significant structures in Mecca. The birthplace of Mohamed himself is about to be bulldozed.
...finds by a Lebanese professor, Kamal Salibi, which indicated that once-Jewish villages in what is now Saudi Arabia might have been the location of scenes from the Bible, prompted the bulldozers to be sent in. All traces were destroyed.
This depressing pattern of excavation and demolition has led Dr Angawi and his colleagues to keep secret a number of locations in the holy cities that could date back as far as the time of Abraham.
December 29, 2006
Gerald R. Ford
I'm back from paying a visit to St. Margaret's in Palm Desert where Gerald Ford is in repose. It was a 3½ hour opeartion, about 3 hours of spent just waiting to go through security at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden...and I'd gotten there before the worst of the crowd. All that for one of the briefest visits to a church I've ever made. As our bus pulled up to the church I overheard parents advising their kids to pray as they walked because they wouldn't be allowed to stop, and they were right.
I didn't realize I'd get these nice little souvenirs just for visiting:
I've also got a few photos of the 747 waiting at Palm Springs airport to take Ford to Washington tomorrow.
Bush Blows Off Ford
Bush (the current President) will stay at home in Texas, pretending to cut brush or just riding his bike, rather than fly to Washington for Ford's state funeral. Well, we'll just have to put that on a sticky note so we can be sure the same respect is shown to Bush, if he gets a state funeral.