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September 2nd, 2013

Training Day

Whoever made up my room yesterday changed the radio alarm setting from OFF to ALARM, so I woke up at 8. Boo, Hiss. Turned it off and slept till 9. No towels, and I really needed a a shower or some reasonable facsimile thereof, so I put on my swim trunks and a shirt & tennies and went downstairs for a swim, figuring there were towels by the pool.

And was surprised twice:

1. It was raining (and kind of chilly)
2. There were no towels down there

So I hunted up a housekeeper and she found me a pair of still warm from the dryer bath towels. Went upstairs and had my shower. Did all my morning stuff, was happy to see I'd guessed well on the overnight insulin dose, and went downstairs to check out. There were three people ahead of me. I'd paid on check-in, so I thought "screw this" and just left my key card on the desk and left.

Walked across the street to the Waffle House, had a delicious apple waffle and iced tea, then walked to the light rail. Did not bother to buy a ticket because the Amtrak transfers I was given Saturday were still good.

Took the train to the station, had a seriously boring conversation with a Hugh Daniel sized 20-something fellow who sat facing me (light rail has a lot of benches where one faces front the other faces back) wearing a very often-washed blue Tshirt with a Superman S on it. It actually fit him. He had a small stack of clipboards with petitions on them. This was his 2nd job - he got paid for the number of legitimate registered voter signatures he was able to drum up. Today's issues were one to reverse a deal the Governator had made with local tribal casinos to allow them to partner with Las Vegas "businessmen". Another was against letting under-18 transvestite students from using the restrooms of their chosen gender. He didn't understand what the third one was about, "but nobody is signing that one anyway" he said. I told him I was a Seattle voter. One thing he said which I agreed with is "All you have to do to stay registered is vote every other year. How hard is it to vote, anyway?"

He got off at 16th Street, where there was a Pride event of some kind.

Apparently there was also a traditional chalk art on the sidewalks thing at another stop, but someone behind me said on a day like today it would have to be watercolor.

Finally got to the station, in plenty of time to grab the 12:10 instead of the 3:20 I had originally signed up for. With the Capitol Corridor trains one ticket fits all. Bought a diet Pepsi and a thing of chocolate covered donettes from the machine. Sacramento Station used to have a world class gift shop, but the place is a mess, all black plastic and signs saying it is being remodeled, but it has been that way for more than a year, and no signs of progress.

Sat down in the section marked for people who needed a ride to the Amtrak platform which is a mile from the station, with steep downhill and uphill stretches. Not something my knees want to do. Nobody came to get us. Finally I went out to where the shuttles were, and was not allowed on because some lady with a cane behind me was given priority. Driver said another cart would be by, but it never came. He got back and took me and one other person there, with about 5 minutes to spare. Not as good as it sounds because by then most of the good seats are taken.

Thanks to it being cloudy, the bad seats were not as bad as they usually are.

Not a bad ride, no screaming children. I was on the right, nobody sat next to me. On the left were three young couples who really needed to get a room. They were fun to watch, at least.

After an hour I went to the snack car and got a hot dog.

Got a glimpse of the old and new Oakland bridges side by side, but far away and I had the 35mm lens on the camera, so it will be tough to crop it to make it a picture. Did get some good shots of the new 49ers stadium under construction.

Arrived on time at San Jose, my car was still where I had parked it, and there were now many more empty spaces in the lot. Drove home, Kaan was poised by the door ready to run outside, but he was successfully repelled by the Safeway bag which I used for snacks and the stuff I wanted to have handy on the train.

I have been reading Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary's) by Jodi Taylor ever since finishing Gerrold's Voyage of the Sea Wolf, which, by the way, was pretty good once it got out of "describe everything all at once in great detail" mode. Taylor's writing is pretty good, though it has been injected more and more with Britt slang as the story progresses, and it is obvious that the author has a clear image of each of the characters, but does not do a good job of sharing these with the readers. Ditto some of the internal politics.

I had tried M. Todd Gallowglass' The Dragon Bone Flute (A Novella of Music and Magic) for a bit, but put it aside when the hero, after several chapters, was addressed as "Elizabeth". This after a narrative which was clearly about a young boy. Especially the descriptions of how he was bullied by the bigger mean boys. Girls are simply not challenged by the bully to spend a night alone in the dragon's cave from which no one has ever returned. That's boy stuff. I got the book on my Kindle because Mr. G was on a couple of panels with me at Westercon, and he told some good stories there.

Also on my list from there was R. I. Partridge, but she has chosen to publish her stuff via her web page, which is not the way I want to read.

Dinner tonight was a relay. Bacon. Then KFC mashed potatoes and gravy, then some baked beans. And ice cream. All while watching Who Do You Think You Are? in which Cindy Crawford's lineage is traced straight back to Charlemagne.

The program is what made me try Ancestry.com, but the more episodes I watch, the clearer it had become that the Ancestry.com part is almost useless, it is the series of professional archivists and genealogists and historians whom the producers pay to archive dive and go on camera to educate the shill. In this case starting in Boston, then a couple of places in the UK and finally Germany.

Flipped all the calendars in the apartment, and opened the new ones (NFL cheerleader calendars start in September). 2013 Redskins went to the back wall where Seagalls had been pulled from. Sept-Oct are half-height, but it may make a comeback for Nov-Dec which are full pagers. 2014 Redskins went in its place. Jets came down, replaced by Tampa Bay. Dallas 2013 is staying up for now, because Ravens 2014 is even uglier as a calendar than Seagals. Still in transit are Colts and Saints.

didjiman's panorama calendar owns the livingroom wall, September is a very artsy autumnal photo. My calendar in the kitchen is also kind of artsy.
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Plans for tomorrow:
Work. No idea what I'm doing.
UPS, pick up a calendar and cat food

Sactomental

Some things about my trip to Rancho Cordova, which is a suburb of Sacramento.


  • Every time I arrived at a light rail station, it was halfway between trains (they run every half hour)
  • In all 7 or 8 light rail trips, I was never asked to show a ticket
  • There are a lot of smokers out there, and the light rail stations are not smoke-free zones
  • Every light rail trip included at least 6 bicycles on the train, but there are no special provisions for bikes
  • There are special provisions for wheel chairs and walkers
    • the front of the train always stops at a platform level with the floor of the train
    • Anyone with a wheelchair, cane, walker or stroller or a service animal or a blind person's cane can use this entry/exit. And their whole extended family with them.
    • This requires the driver to get out of the cab, unlatch the safety panel, and then re-latch it. PITA.

  • The pedestrian traffic signals are programmed to be mean and stupid. If you push the button 1 second after the light turns green, you have to wait through the entire cycle (about 4-5 minutes) for the WALK light

 

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