Archive for December, 2006

Now Showing at the Downtown IMAX: Polar Express 3D

…the best 3-D viewing experience I’ve ever had. If there’s a choice, try the IMAX version. Or go twice. This is a movie that doesn’t wear out.” -Roger Ebert

Rog is right. We went last night to the Esquire IMAX and were impressed. There are parts of Polar Express 3D where you think you can grab the floating yellow ticket. And yeah, I was sober. Other exciting moments were the roller coaster train rides…and of course the train coming at you out of the screen. Whew, wotta ride!

The kids had a lot of fun and so did I. IMAX, though, is not cheap. 15 bucks a person (adult) and 13 bucks a kid…it’s not the Nutcracker, but it’s a refreshing, fun change. The theater was not packed on Thursday night, probably because it was a weeknight and this movie has been out for a few weeks–the 3D version, that is–oh and that’s THIS year. (I didn’t know before I started blogging on this that the 3D version has actually been out since 2004, repeating in ’05 and again this year–)

It’s definitely worth the price, though, for young and old. If you haven’t seen it yet, I heartily recommend bundling up the kids and taking them. Better yet, take the neighbor’s kids. Remember, it’s fun!

It’s a grid, baby

Yesterday I was asked for directions by several folks as I was out for a lunch walk on 29th Street. “Which way is U Street?” a lady asked. A man checked with me, “Is this P Street?” Of course, being a friendly person, I always give directions–even if I don’t know where I am…HAH caught you there, didn’t I?

Actually, downtown Sacramento is perhaps one of the easiest cities to navigate on foot. The entire downtown/midtown is on a grid. There’s no A or B, but we start with C Street and move alphabetically to W Street. (M Street is Capitol Mall as you approach the Capitol Building, and is Capitol Avenue on the other side of it.) We start at the Sacramento River with “Front Street” but after that is 2nd Street and onward to 29th. C through W Streets are positioned roughly East-West and 2nd through 29th Streets run roughly North-South. If you need to find a business that sits at, say 1100 O Street, you’d go to the intersection of 11th and O Streets. If you were on W Street, you’d walk north to O Street…

Now granted, if you were DRIVING…that’s a different story, because several streets are One Way. And even I can confess to turning the wrong way down P Street many years ago after having lived in another city for a few years. Driving is a little more complex, but the same grid applies. If you get close enough to your destination, you could always park and walk the rest of the way.

Consider this Resolution: Walk more in 2007

Not only will you feel better, look better, and be more relaxed, but you will (should you decide to walk to work or to the local grocery) be contributing to the improvement of our local air quality. Can’t walk 10 miles to work? Can you bike it, or part of it and RT the other part? It’s inconvenient if you’re overscheduled, but in the long run, it’ll keep you sane. (Sanity being ‘relative’ this time of year…!)

We have a lot of nice parks here in Sacramento, as well as canals and bike trails in my part of town. If you’re in Natomas or Elk Grove where you’re burbed behind a wall from everything, ask yourself why that nice developer didn’t create a more walkable neighborhood. Like maybe putting a grocery store in the middle of it all or zoning for a few shops here and there? Then again, there’s downtown, midtown, and parts in the East and South which are very walker friendly. We’re even listed on the Walkable Neighborhoods website as an up and coming city–“second tier” but moving right on up into premier.

John at Uneasy Rhetoric wrote a really nice treatise on expanding your walking and here’s a link to it. I couldn’t think of any more reasons or tips than he has in the list. Check it out. Tell us if you have any of your own. See you out there–walk walk walk!

President Gerald Ford Passes Away – Sacramento Connection Remembered

Tonight the nation mourns the loss of President Gerald Ford. Ford ascended to the presidency after the resignation of Richard Nixon, in 1974. Despite being from Michigan, Ford’s got a Sacramento connection too. In 1975, while walking from his downtown hotel to the State Capitol, a hand with a gun emerged from the crowd. That hand and gun belonged to Lynette “Squeaky” Alice Fromme, a member of the Charles Manson Family.

Ford of course wasn’t hurt and actually even gave remarks almost immediately afterwards from the Senator Hotel. He’s seen in the photo above at McClellan Air Force Base, waiting to board Air Force One. (Notice his Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld in the photo, descending the stairs to the plane). Gerald Ford, 1913-2006.

You say you want a resolution?

A new year is rapidly approaching and with it often comes thoughts of changes we’d like to make in our lives.

Whether it’s finally going 100% vegetarian, getting more exercise, relaxing more, or dropping a few pounds, you can do it all here in Sactown.

We’ll be posting a few ideas and local spots to help you help yourself. Let’s all have the best year of our lives (so far) in 2007!

Resolve to make a difference in ’07


If you’ve ever contemplated community service but aren’t involved with an organization that does volunteer work, I recently discovered an excellent community-based organization that will link you up with projects happening right here in our community. Hands On Sacramento has year-round volunteer opportunities posted on their site, with a big push for a Day of Service on Martin Luther King, Jr. day. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer around the holidays, but the need is just as great throughout the year.

Winter Solstice: The sun is reborn

It’s that time of year again–the “shortest” day of the year, Winter Solstice. This year it technically falls on December 22nd, where daylight is short and the sun is weak.

As a former practicing pagan (back in the day, when I lived in Minneapolis), I was wondering if there was anything going on in Sactown this season. I know there are pagans here, as there are those of every religious/spiritual persuasion. I want to check in after being “checked out” for some time.

But it seems that pagans in Sacramento are practical–they apparently had their celebration on December 16. Seems odd to me–kind of like having Thanksgiving on a Friday in another country. But then again, pagans are informal in many respects and very open minded. It’s an everyday magic kind of thing.

By the way, in my research today, I discovered a local newspaper, and a druid school. I don’t know if these are active, but if you’re interested, here you go.

Tales From the Dark Side: Moving

movinghouse_300x193.jpgNot a real couple…notice the perfect hair and smiling faces.
Moving sucks. Let me rephrase that. Moving during the Christmas season REALLY sucks. At least we didn’t get rained on and we certainly didn’t overheat like we have in the past carrying box after box of my collection of Dostoevsky in the original Russian (yeah, I really HAVE read The Brothers Karamazov in the original text–it’s much better than the dry Constance Garnett translation most of us sleep through in our college lit classes). But I digress. We’ve discovered a few new things this move.

A good place to buy boxes in a hurry: U-Haul on Franklin and Broadway–you’ll think the place is closed because it’s not lighted up like a Rivercats game, but a nice young man will help you carry your stuff to your car. If you don’t use all the boxes you purchase, you can return the unused one with the receipt and get your money back.

How NOT to order a U-Haul truck: Don’t wait till the last minute. You’ll wish you had reserved something a week before. Don’t expect to walk on a U-Haul lot and get a 17 foot truck. You might end up with a scary 24 foot truck with headlights that don’t work. We did–but all’s well that ends well. Our junk is out of one house, and in the next. Minus a few Monopoly play dollars that had somehow hidden under the kids’ beds for a few years. (Yeah, when you do your spring cleaning, move EVERYTHING–not just the peripherals–and don’t buy the kids any board games with small pieces like Operation or Monopoly or Junior Scrabble…)

Sale of just one condo creates a buzz

According to R.E. Graswich, there’s been a buzz that may dampen one of my beefs with our fair governor: he may actually move into a local residence, albeit one where he can still keep an eye on his office.

Top of town: There’s been chatter in city circles, including those in position to know, that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and first lady Maria Shriver have been touring the new 15-floor hotel and condo tower under construction at 15th and L streets. Yes, there has been talk about the Austrian Oak buying the penthouse and moving in for the next four years. No, a deal has not been signed. Asked for a response, the governor’s spokesman, Darrell Ng, said: “He does not own and has not bought property there. Other than that, we have no comment.” The hotel is a Marriott Residence Inn with a Randy Paragary bar and kitchen. It opens in a few months. …

This got me thinking–does he like living at the Hyatt so he can intimidate with the Capitol Dome in the background? If that’s a criterion, this may be more than just rumor. Seriously, Arnold, I think most people don’t forget you’re governor. Enough with the dramatic staging–life’s not a press conference.

A Lonely Jew at Christmas

Man, this time of year is always tough for a nice Jewsih girl like me (if any Jewish mothers are reading this site and have a handsome son for me, please comment back). It makes it even harder when certain items that are used to celebrate the season have no place in the mainstream shopping malls or even specialty stores. I’m not asking for equity in holiday items or displays in stores, just throw me a freakin bone! I went to no less than TEN stores yesterday in search of a dreidel and came up empty-handed. I know Wal-Mart has been atempting to gain press by saying they’re bringing the Merry Christmas greeting back instead of the generic Happy Holidays one (really just to cover up their dismal sales figures for 2006), but did no retailer get the memo that people celebrate more than one holiday this time of year? Target had some Channukah cards and wrapping papers, but there was no such luck at Cost Plus, Pier 1 Imports, Linens and Things, the Hallmark store, Macy’s, Z Gallerie, Doubleday Bookstore, and two Holiday stores at Downtown Plaza. Rest assured ” War on Christmas” believers, there were ornaments and decorations, and clothes and games and slippers and all things Christmas at each of these stores. I’ve come to terms with the holiday season and can sit back and enjoy a good holiday tune or two, but it’s nearly impossible not to feel alientated when not one of the stores you normally shop at will even recognize that your religion and holiday exist.

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