Archive for January, 2008

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Once again, friends and I reuned at Rubicon on Tuesday night for $2 pint night. We had a rollicking discussion of rafting, teaching in Thailand and poorly-fit REI backpacks. As usual, the assortment of fixers, grungies, regulars and the like populated the joint, filling it to capacity.

After a couple Monkey Knife Fights apiece, we called it an evening and called for the check. Imagine our collective surprise when we read the print

“7 Monkey Knife @ 2.50 17.50”

Alas! $2 pint night is no more. It is now $2.50 pint night. This recession is hitting everyone, so bring some extra change!

Afterwards, one other stalwart soul joined me at the final night of Lipstick, as DJ Shawn Slaughter is moving to El Lay. I’d never been; although the weekly night of BritPop at Old Ironsides had long beckoned, I’d never actually…

Four times the local fun – and all without central air!

Even though I don’t have kids (nor am I expecting any, thanks, it’s just holiday overeating), I still find myself reading the SF Chronicle’s parenting blog, The Poop. Maybe I read it because I think things called “The Poop” are inherently funny. I don’t know.

Anyway, I read a fun interview yesterday with a local mother of quadruplets, Gen McNulty. Gen and her husband Connor have a great blog on their journey into immediate superfamily-dom. The site follows the couple through a sometimes scary pregnancy and the births and homecomings of four a-dang-dorable little kids: Russ, Libby, Molly, and Ally.

I’m sure it goes without saying that to most people, one child is a daunting prospect. But four! And this mom had to learn to manage the whole flock in a Sacramento home with NO CENTRAL AIR during the summer of 2006. Were you guys here that summer? That summer was bad, bad, bad. For that alone, I would award Gen mother-of-the-year every year, from here on out.

Filled with impossibly cute photos, the blog isn’t always rainbows and stuffed animals, like when Gen McNulty opened up about the well-founded anxieties that keep parents of high order multiples awake at night. These kids seem to have beaten every odd stacked against them – but, naturally, fears linger anyway.

It’s a fun read and a great testament to the Sutter NICU. I don’t ever want to have a high-risk pregnancy or ailing baby. But if that happens, I’ll hope to be in Sacramento.

13 Miles of Sacramento

Out of my house and over to Curtis Park via 10th Avenue. A cornucopia of two-story houses that aren’t quite pretentious enough to be in East Sacramento, but not so bland that they’d fit in Elk Grove. This is my favorite neighborhood in the city. South around the park, passing an Asian-American couple with a baby in a stroller. They look happy.

Right on 12th Avenue, and over the bridge by City College. The Railyards are still deserted, with that maze of tracks sitting there, its mounds of toxic dirt sticking their collective tongue out at Paul Petrovich.

A little jog left on Freeport and the ever-changing marquee at Land Park Ski. Right again on Sutterville and the slowing growing decomposed gravel path around Land Park. We’ve also got Ford’s (justifiably) Famous Hamburgers with its gigantic meals and delectable fries.

Crossing Land Park Drive, there’s that independent market on the left, which looks to be in the same vein as Lee’s Food King back on Franklin. The traffic starts to thin out as I cross the aching-to-be-part-of-Rails-To-Trails tracks that run north-south next to the Zoo.

The river. It’s glassy and calm as I turn right and head north on the levee. The sun is setting in the clouds behind and to my left, lending an even more soothing light to the proceedings. A couple engaged in earnest conversation. A bundled up biker. The occasional swallow. Highway 5 burbling along to my right, a broken muffler chirping up now and then to add spice to the audio track.

Miller Park is…

“Sick out” or?

Apparently a huge number of RT mechanics called in sick today. Could it be valid? Call me a Pollyanna, but the cold, rainy weather in Sacramento right now tanks. And in my office, the heating is not optimal, so we have people wearing parkas in their cubicles. Get cold, get sick. Cause and effect.

If I were working in a dank garage twisting stuff on a bus engine, I might catch a cold too. But then again, I just may be “sick” of my contract or “sick” of how management is running things. I might also be “sick” of not having decent health insurance.

If that’s how it works, maybe I’ll just call in sick to the presidential elections. That might help things. As if.



After blogging about it, planning to do it, putting it off, forgetting to do it, neglecting to do it, etc, we finally – FINALLY – got our act together and sent our check to the nice people at Full Belly Farms. We’re now proud, satiated members of Full Belly Farms – a local CSA. I owe it all to my old friend Jen who’s flickr page and blog are chock full of hunger-inducing shots of fresh food and strive to impress upon readers the importance of locally and sustainably grown food. Jenn takes the sort of food photos I dream about taking. Jealous!

Anyway – this is our second CSA box. Last week, I had to use google and a flickr tag search to identify all the goods we picked up. This week, everything in the box is more familiar, even though we don’t exactly know what to do with it all. As I type, the smell of roasted vegetables is filling our apartment. Red and yellow potatoes, green garlic, several kinds of squash and winter root vegetables. Some fresh rosemary from our porch – the only thing out there that hasn’t succumbed to frost and improper drainage. It’s probably the simplest meal we’ll eat all week, but it will probably be the best too.

All that for just $17 a week. Good nutrition. Good for the environment. Good for easing liberal guilt in a far more meaningful way than “carbon offsets.” [wink] Pretty much good all around. It forces us out of our culinary box and into theirs. You should join.

A Sacramento Weekend

As with all truly great Sacramento weekends, this one included a trip out of town. Hood Mountain in Sonoma, baby. Mind-bending views of Sonoma’s Valley of the Moon, and peregrine falcons swooping and diving so close you can hear the wind whooshing through their feathers. Highly recommended for a day hike.

I then spent a good chunk of the rest of the weekend being frustrated by my 1940’s Sacramento house. Two-prong outlets! Drippy small short sink! Drafty windows! Yeah, it’s cute, and yeah, even though I’m outside of The Grid I can still bike to bars, but sometimes I think a Natomas Beige would have much fewer headaches. I also went to Home Depot on Florin, which is an exercise in lowest common denominator and “I don’t know, but I can find out for you.”

So after successfully installing a GFCI in my micro-bathroom (Hooray! Now I can blow-dry my hair in the shower!) I got cocky and decided to go three-prong in the kitchen. A little screwing, little prying, and all of a sudden I’ve shorted out the cirduit and my fridge is running courtesy of an extension cord plugged into a power strip in the living room.

At least the low is only supposed to be 35 tonight.

Survival of the Fittest Building

I went to Crest Theater last night, to watch the Orphanage, and as I sat down I was asked, “Do they have screenings here?” I didn’t quite understand the question, looked puzzled, and thankfully the question was rephrased; “Do they do other events here? That’s a big stage.” Aha! I understood and rambled off the number of events they house in the theater: film festivals, concerts, lectures, and standup comedy performances.

While listing the events, it occurred to me the diversity the Crest offers up. In order to survive, and creep towards profitability, the Crest has adapted. I suddenly was impressed with the Crest. I was also, suddenly, and equally, disappointed with the Tower Theater. The Tower seems to consistently bemoan it’s inability to compete with the new movieplexs (Oh no! Not the big bad Cine Arts complex on K Street!).

Tower seems focused on their value as a landmark; they foolishly bank on their history as their meal ticket. Meanwhile, the insides are dilapidated, and I don’t blame anyone for fleeing to another theater. “Wait,” they cry, “it’s not our fault! We don’t have the money to spruce the place up!” Well, Tower, I’d suggest you figure out a way to augment that meager art film income. Crest looks for other income streams, why shouldn’t you?

In fact – call me a bastard if you want – if those who run the Tower are to stupid to try something new, I hope the place does get torn down.

Drinking too much of what they’re selling

They say it’s a buyer’s market these days. Kinda. Not as much in the city core as out in the flood plains, but still, there’s some truth to that.

We’ve been flirting with they idea of homeownership, but for now remain faithful to our comparatively cheap rent and primo Midtown location. Of course, checking out some of the more interesting new building developments in Down- and Midtown Sacramento has been quite a hoot. One wonders, first and foremost, how it is that the American Dream has rooted so deeply within our collective minds that houses separated by 36 inches – that’s one yard or slightly less than a meter – are SO much better than condos taking advantage of those available extra 18 inches.

But the best – er – most noteworthy of the new developments? The Whiskey Hill Lofts on S Street, just down from the Big Horse Safeway. No, not the ones at S and 21st (which are not so hot and overpriced as well) – these are several shades of Nevada desert (or is it leftover school district) mustards and adobes. There are several floorplans – some actual lofts and some more traditional condos. There’s only one in MLS right now, and it’s listed at $495k. For 914 square feet. WIth 2 bedrooms and only 1.5 bathrooms. And Ikea bathroom fixtures. Really? Seriously? Plus $300+ in HOA fees? Now I know you’re joking.

Are there real estate reviews? Am I breaking a shopper code? I can’t help but want to let people know there’s better out there. I can’t think of a thing that makes these properties more worthy than, say, Tapestri Square’s intro level 36-inch-spaced home. At least it’s – you know where this is going – detached.

It may still be nothing compared to LA or SF prices, but there are still things that are just too much money in Sacramento. And for Whiskey Hill, you’d have to be drunk to buy what they’re selling.

Sacramentals? Sacrametroids?

Yes, the possibilities are nigh on endless.

Whatever you choose to call yourself, this particular Sacramendicant availed himself of the Dine About Town this past Monday night. $30 for a 3-course meal at any of several restaurants. I wandered by Ella round about noonish, and asked the perky hostess if I could get a reservation for that evening.

“Sorry, we’re all booked up. We’ve got a waiting list…what time would be good for you?
“You know, I’ll take any time. I’m easy like that.”
“All right. I’ll put you down for “Any time!!!!”

Yes, she did actually give me four sassy exclamation points on the reservation sheet.

That was obviously the key, for when I called back around 1:30, the answerer told me, “Four exclamation points, eh? I guess we’ll have to fit you in. 5pm or 7:45?”

I went with later.

I got there at 7:00 on the nose to find…


I’m not sure if it would be “Sacramentens” or “Sacramentans,” or something else all together, but I’ll continue. Years ago, a national radio host railed against the people of Sacramento insisting they were angry, bitter folk who loved complaining. I was a bit taken a bit, and, irony aside, angry. However, the longer I live here it seems true. We love to complain, and judge. Yes, I suppose people everywhere hates something, but here, we seem to revel in out hatred, and eagerly complain to anyone.

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