Tag Archives: general


Regular trash pickup resumed this morning, meaning that our neighborhood should be spic-and-span by tomorrow morning.  It is starting to look like a regular cesspool.  Around every toter, there is a swarm of flies.  Virtually no one is able to fully close the lids on their containers.  It’s about damn time these “sanitation engineers” are getting back to work.

I don’t begrudge them their ability to strike and hold out for better pay, but I think they’re going to get the short end of the stick in the long run.  They’re going to have to pay 20% of their medical costs starting next year, and with the way health care costs keep spiraling upward, that 20% is going to eat into their new salaries very quickly.  Then again, it’s only a 5-year deal, so I’m sure they’ll be able to renegotiate then if costs are out of control.

Whatever.  My trash is getting collected tomorrow, and (hopefully) the county will formulate some sort of reasonable rebate for those of us who have been without service.

Stink, stink, go away… and don’t ever come back!!!

It's official

Intel will cut 10,500 jobs in the next yearOuch.

Once again, I’m counting my lucky stars that I didn’t get a full-time gig there.  My deepest sympathies go out to those who will be affected by today’s news.

Edit: More local information from the SacBee:

The company said the bulk of the cuts to its work force will come from marketing, management and information technology workers. Because Folsom is headquarters for Intel’s IT department, employing up to 1,800 workers to manage the company’s internal computer networks worldwide, the cuts could hit particularly hard in the Sacramento region. It also has a large contingent of marketing staff.

How many lightbulbs does it take to change the world?

One.  And you're looking at it.

Looks like it's time for another good old fashioned Sagara Science Experiment.  The article makes some fantastic claims:

Compact fluorescents emit the same light as classic incandescents but use 75% or 80% less electricity. […]

Swirl bulbs don't just work, they pay for themselves. They use so little power compared with old reliable bulbs, a $3 swirl pays for itself in lower electric bills in about five months.  Screw one in, turn it on, and it's not just lighting your living room, it's dropping quarters in your pocket. The advantages pile up in a way to almost make one giddy. Compact fluorescents, even in heavy use, last 5, 7, 10 years. Years. Install one on your 30th birthday; it may be around to help illuminate your 40th.  [Emphasis mine]

I don't particularly care too much about the money savings — although that would be a nice benefit — but the convenience of having to replace a lightbulb only every 5 or so years is totally worth it to me.  So, I'll give it a shot.  I've heard that the CFLs still have a small delay after the switch is flipped on compared to their incandescent brethren, but I'm willing to give it a shot.  If the delay isn't unbearable, I think we may have found ourselves a new type of lightbulb.

One Red Paperclip

Holy crap, he did it!

This dude started out with one red paperclip and traded his way all the way up to a house.  No money ever changed hands; it was strictly barter.  Amazing.  Check out his blog for the whole story.

Happy 4th!

And what better way to celebrate than to eat 53 and 3/4 hot dogs!  Congrats, Kobayashi, and honorable mention goes to the nerd from San Jose who put down 52 dogs.

A 160-pound wonder from Japan set a new record by devouring a sickening 53 3/4 frankfurters in 12 minutes to win the annual Independence Day hot dog eating competition on Coney Island.

The feat earned Takeru Kobayashi, 27, his sixth straight title in the event, held at the original Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand on Brooklyn’s seashore.

He broke his own record of 53 1/2 hot dogs, set at the same competition two years ago. […]

His strongest competition was Joey Chestnut, a 220-pound civil engineering student from San Jose, Calif., who set an American record by eating 50 hot dogs during a qualifying tournament in Las Vegas.

Chestnut jumped out to an early lead in the competition, sometimes jamming franks into his mouth with two hands as the crowd roared.

But Chestnut struggled, red-faced, with veins bulging in his forehead, the Japanese star methodically chomped dog after dog, often dipping them in a soft drink before cramming them into his mouth. Kobayashi passed Chestnut with about three minutes left in the contest.

When the clock expired, Chestnut had swallowed 52 Nathan’s franks — not quite enough.

And, yeah, the look on his face doesn’t even come close to the pain I’d be feeling if I ate 12 hot dogs in 12 minutes.

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Story on MSNBC

It's not all bad

Life in the ‘Lope isn’t all bad.

On Saturday, The Bee ran this story about a boy trying to raise funds for his recently-deceased father’s funeral:

Eddie Mendez Jr. died a week ago with his 15-year-old son giving him CPR as his wife held the phone and called out the instructions from a 911 operator.

The 38-year-old Rio Linda tree trimmer was a poor man, which became all too clear by the order of things in the days after he inexplicably stopped breathing. […]

Today is the car wash. That’s how the Mendez family hopes to pay for everything.

Nicholas Mendez, the son who tried to keep his father alive with chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, is the force behind the event.
The car wash begins at 9 a.m. in the parking lot of Original Granite’s restaurant, 6749 Rio Linda Blvd., in Rio Linda.

“I’m going to look at it like it’s helping my family out. I wanted to have a good funeral for my dad,” Nick Mendez said. “He didn’t want to be cremated. I really respect him and love him and I want to give him what he wanted. ”

The Mendez family borrowed from relatives and “everybody we can think of” to pay for the funeral, said Dawn Mendez, Eddie’s wife.

She is intent on paying everyone back. […]

Yesterday, they ran a followup story about the overwhelming response from the community:

By the time 15-year-old Nicholas Mendez arrived with pails and soap to begin washing cars Saturday morning, the line of well-wishers was stretching down Rio Linda Boulevard.

All day long they kept coming, forming a steady stream of minivans and pickups and luxury cars, each one touched by the story of the boy who tried to resuscitate his dying father and who is now trying to pay for his funeral.

“It’s just not right,” said Jerry Bergen, who lives in Fair Oaks but steered his Mercedes-Benz to Rio Linda to donate his Saturday golf winnings to the Mendez family. “This kid probably hasn’t had many breaks in his life to begin with.” […]

The modest funeral on Friday cost $6,000, far more than the tree trimmer’s family could afford. They borrowed what they could from friends and acquaintances. […]

When family members arrived at 9 a.m. to begin washing cars, they saw a line of waiting clients and a stranger who handed them a fistful of donations she had collected from people who had already come and gone.

“People washed their own cars and gave us donations,” said an incredulous Dawn Mendez, Eddie’s widow.

Many of the donors didn’t bother with the car wash, but wound their way through the crowd to tuck a $20 into Nick’s hand. They recognized him, and his mop of blond hair, from the newspaper photograph. Many of them gave him a hug and handshake, too.

“One lady came up to me, and she was crying on my shoulder,” said Kaitlyn Mendez, 12, Eddie’s daughter.

By the time Mark Granite arrived at 10 a.m. to open his Original Granite hamburger stand, there were about 40 cars waiting to be scrubbed in his parking lot.

“It shows there are good people,” he said. “Some people gave $100 or $200 without even washing the car.” […]

A stranger approached the boy before noon with an envelope.

“He said, ‘Count it after I leave. I hope it helps,’ ” Sublett said. It contained about $3,700 in cash.

A group of firefighters from Rio Linda pulled up on an engine with a $1,000 donation. Mel Rapton, a Honda dealer, drove up with a check for $500.

A man from the Pomo Indians tribe brought a $5,000 donation.

James Thompson came before noon with his children to help wash.

He didn’t know the Mendez family but was moved by their plight.

“It wasn’t my payroll weekend, so I didn’t have money to give, but I figured I could help out,” said Thompson, who spent more than five hours on the job, proud that his 8- and 14-year-old daughters refused to stop washing cars and go home.

As much as I rag on Antelope (stolen cars, gun shots, the constant presence of police helicopters), it’s not that bad of a place.  The people we’ve met are all extremely friendly, and reading about an event like this confirms that they have good hearts.

What a great kid.  I wish him the best of luck.

(I know that it’s technically not Antelope that the story is talking about, but it’s close enough.)

A Class Act

2015-11-04: You can REALLY tell that I hadn’t yet become a parent.

Just a little anecdote to share about an incident yesterday that gave me the warm fuzzies.

I’m taking summer school at Sac State.  They break up the summer months into two six-week sessions, meaning that they have an abbreviated amount of time in which to cram a whole semester’s worth of information.  You don’t want to miss class for even one day, or else you risk falling hopelessly behind.

Anyway, yesterday was Week 1, Day 3 of Financial Management.  This twenty-something girl walked into the classroom about 15 minutes after the professor had started lecturing, and he immediately pounced.

Prof: Are you enrolled in this class?
Girl: (meekly) Yes.  This is my first day of class.
Prof: (utter disbelief on his face) Excuse me?
Girl: This is my first day of class.  I couldn’t make it before because my daughter was graduating from kindergarten.
Prof: (pauses)

It was at this point where my inner Engineer kicked in, and I sat there in schadenfreudic anticipation, waiting for him to rip her head off…

Prof: Good for you.  Congratulations.  You’re darn right you couldn’t make it. (smiles)

And with that, the girl took her seat, and the lecture continued.

I was blindsided by his kindness, understanding, and lack of cynicism.  I’m quite sure that if this had been Linear Systems Analysis, or Analog Circuits, or any other of a number of Engineering classes I’d had at Cal Poly, the professor would have eviscerated her on the spot for missing the first two days of class and then having the nerve to walk in tardy on the third day.  It’s not that I think that Engineering professors are bad people, it’s just that sometimes I think that they lack a little in the empathy department.

Now, of course I’m making gross generalizations here.  Not all Engineering professors are dicks, and I’m sure some Business professors are.  It varies on a case-by-case basis.

I think what really got to me was my anticipation of a very negative reaction.  I’m quite disappointed in myself for feeling that way, so I owe a debt of gratitude to the good professor for setting me straight, and showing the whole class that a little kindness can really make someone’s day.

By the way, the good professor’s name is Ralph Pope.  If you ever have the chance to take a Business class at Sac State and his name is on the list, do it.  He’s a little unorthodox, but it’s safe to say that he’s one of the professors who actually cares about his students.

100% Badass

Holy crap, read this guy’s obituary.  Highlights:

He volunteered to join a reconnaissance patrol whose mission was to capture an enemy prisoner for interrogation.

As he and his comrades walked up the rough slope of Hill 499, they came under enemy attack by automatic weapons and small-arms fire. Bleak tended to the casualties and then rejoined the men to continue fighting up the hill. From a concealed trench, communist forces again mowed down many U.S. soldiers.

At this point, Bleak ran into the trench, killed two of the enemy with his large hands — breaking one’s neck and crushing the other’s windpipe — and killed a third by plunging his trench knife into the man’s chest. He then jumped atop a fellow soldier to block the impact of a grenade that had just bounced off the man’s helmet and rolled into the trench.

During that engagement, Bleak was shot in the leg but ignored his wound to care for others. Later, while heading back to Allied lines with a wounded buddy hanging from his broad shoulders, he was attacked by two communist soldiers armed with bayonets.

“Closing with the aggressors, he grabbed them and smacked their heads together, then carried his helpless comrade down the hill to safety,” according to Bleak’s citation for the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest award for valor.

This man was the real Ultimate Fighter.