Archive for March, 2008

Don’t meth around

If you’re at home tonight at 6:30 PM and you want to watch the local news…you’ll get a healthy dose of Crystal Darkness instead. All local channels will be broadcasting with focus on our area and the “Meth Epidemic.” While I am cynical as to whether it is “just now” an epidemic, or if it has been an ongoing problem, I guess it is just a question of semantics.

Meth is here in Sacramento and the outlying cities, and if you don’t know what it looks like or how to spot the symptoms of someone using it, you might be caught unawares. Meth is involved in a lot of horror stories–and that lady with no teeth outside the Alhambra Safeway? I think she’s taking meth, or was–if she isn’t already dead.

If you live in Lavender Heights (part of Midtown), you should also watch the program…I learned something new today. Evidently meth is a popular choice in the Gay community. I wasn’t aware of that, but if you live in certain areas, your neighbor might be using. Or if you rent, you might want to check out who might have been living in the Victorian walkup before you–they may have left a gift that keeps on giving behind.

Seriously, if you can’t catch the program tonight, TiVo it. Or check out the website. Education, education, education. Education, prevention/treatment, law enforcement.

A poll on the KCRA website shows most people think law enforcement is the best way to handle the meth problem. Look around, people…we’re facing budget cuts and guess who gets hit first? Law enforcement, firefighters, schools.

Besides, if you don’t know what to look for, what it does, how to get help if needed–then when does law enforcement come in? It comes in when things are already out of hand. Law enforcement gets involved when there’s already a serious problem. Law enforcement gets involved when the user is on his/her way to prison or the morgue.

I am not a cover girl.

And so it begins. The mayoral race, that is. Sigh. Tonight’s “not a cover girl” statement was the latest mailout from the Fargo campaign. The message being…she may not be much to look at but the city sure is something…?

I can’t recall the last time I got a mailer on ANYTHING from Fargo’s office.

It seems that we got something from the Johnson campaign already, but I suspect it got recycled without being read. (No political motive or statement–just a high volume of recycled letters/ads/Pennysavers, etc.)

My thought on the awesome city-ness of Sacramento is that actually Arnold Schwarzenegger had a lot to do with the uptick in our city’s popularity, thus prompting investment. But what do I know? I only live here…

Medical aesthetics in Sacramento

My ringer finger looks like a purple snowman – fat and bulbous between each joint – courtesy of having tripped into my house on Saturday evening.  Taking every opportunity to evaluate aspects of our fair city for you, dear reader, I decided, given the fingers deepening hue and increasing size, to go for x-rays on Sunday afternoon (Happy Easter!).

 I took some reading material with me, expecting a wait, though was pleasantly surprised to wait a comparatively short time (the nurse said always come in after lunch) at Mercy’s urgent care center on Folsom, just east of Alhambra.  I did read this article about the importance of aesthetics in medical facilities: prettier, quieter places speed healing it seems.

Urgent care here fit the ugh-profile well: old furniture, peeling wood veneer, ugly, 80s wallpaper. Though I’m sure it was still clean, the antiquated look felt dirty too, especially where the aged showed in dings, peeling stickers, and tattered posters.

A nicer setting would be amazing and I believe it would make seeking medical help more pleasant and less scary, but I only want facilities to worry about it if it doesn’t increase costs. I don’t want more medi-cal patients going without healthcare because a doctor has to pay for the water feature in the waiting room, instead of covering what the state won’t reimburse.

But the care was speedy and the nurse was nice – I had my x-rays, found out there was no fracture and was sent home to do what I had been doing: ice, advil, and elevation.

By the way, if you’ve never thought about key-strokes per finger, you do, in fact, use your left ring-finger more than you might think in the average blog post. Time for more ice.

Sheer Beauty

You gotta get out to the American River Parkway, specifically the area between 160 and the new concrete railroad bridge.  Ideally, zip out along the bike trail that starts at 19th & C.  Right under the first bridge is a burst of pink.  Check out the poppies that are exploding along the trail, and listen to the birds muttering in the underbrush.  The apple blossoms are incredible, and then you cross the pedestrian bridge.

If you’re on foot, take a right onto the dirt paths and try not to step on the wildflowers.  Bask in the sun reflecting off the river, and wonder what the rusted-out metal structure is, towering over that weird dip with all the shards of glass scattered about.

The rest you can discover for yourself–I wouldn’t want to give away all the surprises.

Sunday Buzz

If you see a bee buzzing around, it might be one of the few survivors from yesterday’s overturned big rig on Highway 99.

What I found most amusing was this excerpt from the report in the Bee (which incidentally is another coincidence):

Getting information about the incident wasn’t made any easier when CHP Officer Michael Bradley, reached by phone at the scene, had to sign off abruptly while he went at it with a bee in his car. Once he got that situation under control, Bradley was back on the line.

I can just imagine the drama. Stay tuned for the local production of “Officer and the bee.”

Paranoia in the City

A week ago a colleague asked me if I had noticed the “working girls” at the corner of Florin Road and Greenhaven. The corner she’s talking about isn’t too far from my home, and I go by there nearly every day. My response was…what?!? They must have drifted over the I-5. She tells me there’s now a bunch of young women in boots and short skirts walking the street over there. So I decided to keep an eye out to confirm this phenomenon.

I drove by slowly the next day. A lot of young women, yes. A diverse group of females. Most of them were dressed in “come hither” clothing. However…they looked like they may just be students from Kennedy High on their way home, after a stop at the BK or Marshall’s or something. They certainly weren’t strutting like the gals on Stockton Boulevard. My thought is: these were students trying to look “cute” or “hot”–or just trying to look like one of their favorite BRATZ dolls. It was yet another moment I asked myself…where are the parents? Where were the parents? Do they know their daughter looks like one of Elliot Spitzer’s special friends?

Buy the hype about a Buyers’ Market?

By now, most of the country knows that Sacramento and large parts of the Central Valley are poster children for the housing market’s Big Crap-Out ’07-’08.

There was a slight glimmer today as the figures for February sales show that they didn’t slow down by as much they have been. So, for those who remember high school or college calc, that means the derivatives are perking up, even as the primary graphs still point down. Housing sales are still dropping, but in February they just dropped by less. Wow, I feel tremendously better, don’t you?

Here’s the thing, though, if you want to buy a bargain basement house in Natomas or West Sac, you’re in luck. But if you’re buying in stronger area neighborhoods, don’t start counting your savings quite yet. This is due to one thing: sellers partying like it’s 2005.

If you’re a buyer, dealing with sellers who aren’t in foreclosure, or even preforclosure, but who refuse to recognize that their homes simply weren’t worth what they paid in 2005 when they paid it in 2005 and definitely aren’t worth that now.  I feel bad for these sellers, but not enough to be charitable about it.

So when does the market come back? And since the above-linked article still tells us things are sliding, when do we really know we’ve hit bottom?

I should’ve bought in 2001.


Tahoe got a new toy this week with the opening of the Heavenly Flyer – a zip line that takes riders whooshing down the mountainside on what a Bee writer describes as “dental floss.”  There’s a cool video at that article that gives you an idea about the fun.  Holy crap it’s expensive though. Even if you have a season pass, you’ll have to pay extra. 

 Frankly, I can probably enjoy a leisurely ride down a ski lift just as much and save the extra cash – and worry less. Or maybe not, it’s all tiny cables, isn’t it?

More on the current mayor and what’s up, down, and next

From the Bee, a Q&A with current Mayor Heather Fargo, who’s approval rating is about as fabulous as W. That can’t bode well. It’s not a fantastically in-depth session but I’m guessing it’s just the first in what will be a lot of increased ink about various would-be mayors.

And: A Bee writer begs us not to use “Hillary v. Obama” rhetoric to describe the Fargo v. Johnson match-up. And there’s not a lot of love for Mayor Fargo generally:

Fargo proved in no time flat that she is politically tone deaf and is surrounded by people who give ineptitude new meaning.

Her strength over Johnson is her grasp of local issues and her experience in government. So what does she do right out of the gate? She hurls slimy accusations at Johnson that prove to be completely baseless.

It took Bee reporters 2.3 seconds to establish that Johnson doesn’t owe $45,000 in back taxes as Fargo had breathlessly claimed moments after Johnson announced his candidacy last Wednesday. Proof was in the documents that Fargo’s staff provided to The Bee, but apparently they didn’t read them.

There’s some questionable stuff about Johnson in there too, but since they seem to be baseless allegations, I won’t spell them out here until they get a base (if they do). No need to feed the google machine.

Will Fargo’s bumpersticker read "I wish I was a little bit taller . . ."

The Bee runs an editorial today that praises Kevin Johnson’s entry into the race, but not quite Johnson himself, explaining that Sacramento needs a good Mayorial fight to get us back paying attention to our own city again.

 The Bee cites our neighbors West Sac, Citrus Heights, and Rancho Cordova as cities on the move while we just kinda sit here letting progress march right on past as we pass the time counting foreclosure signs in Natomas. Yeah, we could stand to, like, do stuff around here again. Can we redevelop something? Anything? K Street, Railyards? Something that’s not a condo or loft development would be good – ’cause those aren’t selling.

 Anyone have input on whether Kevin Johnson as the Other Candidate is going to give us a good, content-filled race centered on the issues facing this fine town, or whether it’ll just be “hey, Beat LA, go Kings” and no substance?  Having watched Arnold in town for these past few years, I’m not expecting much from celebrity candidates.

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