Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Farmer's Market

Wednesday is a day for Farmer's Market. It seems smallish this year. There were no corn and no cantelope.

The so-called Japanese Fast Food

I went to a very pecquiliar establishement at the corner of Tracy and 11th. It bills itself as "The Japanese Fast Food" joint. It is run by a young Vietnamese couple. The staple dish is a styrofoam container with steamed rice, vegetables (carrots and broccolli), and one or two sides of meat (chicken, pork, and/or beef). The meat is sliced. If you feel fancy, you add egg rolls made on-site. The food does not look Japanese to me at all, but you cannot argue with the price. It's practically a dinner sized serving for a price of a burger. It really is amazing.

This time, they were out of pork for some reason. Tough times. But on the other hand, they started to give chopsticks. Ain't it nice or what?

Invasion of Chinese Buffets, addendum

I completely forgot where the most of the price differential originates when we compare the Tracy Buffet (at Garlic Brothers location) and New China Buffet (near former outdoors store). At the New China Buffet, drinks are extra. Duh.

BTW, apparently, Tracy Buffet acquired a new employee, a Chinese man in his 20s. He's quite nice, only tends to pick my chopsticks.

B&N vs Borders

I went over the hill to Borders yesterday, because it has a better selection of magazines (on average). However, Flying was missing this time. Or have they stopped carrying it?

Tracy does not offer a whole lot in the entertainment department. Just the usual mall with shopping, and Barns&Noble. There's also a bowling alley which I visit to play DDR, but my family is not into it. A movie theater exists, of course, but it's not a huge affair like in Dublin. So, they did not screen the only movie I would watch in this cycle, "Howl's Moving Castle".

Sunday, June 26, 2005

TRASH @West: Recycling

If nothing else, you may be sure to read the trash anouncement for the week.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Midnight burger

At about 11 p.m. I remembered that I did not have a supper, so I went out to grab a buger. Not counting drive-through, we only have three places opened: In-n-Out Burgers, Nation's Giant Burgers, and Denny's. All three are located in the same area where Tracy Bulevaurd crosses the 205 freeway. The In-n-Out won on the strength of their milk shake.

I heard that we have some night life at Central Avenue, though mostly with relation to crime reports. At a quick drive through, nothing interesting springs up. Maybe it's all in some well hidden clubs, behind back doors and bouncers. But I do not recall any place with parked cars. A mystery worth investigating, I think.

Hot Tub, works now

After starting and stopping the pump 100 times the trapped air escaped and the spa works. I ordered a new filter C-4950. However, the tub appears to be a special luxury which requires special use habits. It heats up very very slowly, so it makes sense to keep it hot. This is what these thick heat-insulating covers are for. It is unknown at this time just how fast the heat escapes, and thus, how much electricity this thing eats when in operation. I'm considering draining the water a little and refilling it with the hot water from the house heater. It has to be flushed anyway.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Hot Tub, trouble with jets

I drained my hot tub to clean it, refilled it, and now jets do not work. The pump seems to work but apparently it only pumps trapped air. I have no idea how to kick-start that thing.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

Rotating posting.

The Telechron rotor

The Telechron rotor froze in my 1988 vintage kitchen range with electro-mechanical clock about a year ago. A rotor is a small contactless synchronous electric motor which is driven by an external magnetic field. I made a couple of holes in it and blew it through with WD-40, thus making it work again. Unfortunately, I know that the rotor was filled with grease and it will wear down quickly without it. I need a replacement, which still can be found for about $60. But they are not produced anymore. Once they are gone, they are gone. This range's clock is not going to work in 2015, and a great pity it is. I really like it.

My microvave is of the same year. It does have a microcontroller, which continues to work. I only had to solder a few wires once. But I am afraid its time is coming. Inevitably, the IC package will crack, oxigen get in, and the crystall will die.

It's rather ironic that fully mechanical applicances from 50s are going to outlast their counterparts from 80s, which, in turn, outlast the el-cheapo imports from China. I had a newer microwave die before, due to separation of the pin pad layers which allowed the moisture to get inside.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Hot Tub

I'm trying to drain the hot tub in my gazebo today. I wish I saved that old hose I had. It would be a piece of cake to siphon the water with a shorter piece of hose. The "normal" drain is way too slow.

Also, I'm having this problem with the cover. My cover is a thick two-piece heat-saving affair. If I leave it on, it absorbs water. If I leave the tub open, it gets full of dust quickly. Is there a way to do it right? I guess it's the time to read a home improvement book.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Apparently, my house is run in a fairly efficient manner. My PG&E bill comes to $46.47 this month, $9 for gas, $37.03 for electricity. I know people who manage to pay $100 for a similarly sized home.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

At Yoshi's tonight

My favourite J-food joint is Yoshi's at corner of Tracy Blvd and Grant Line Rd (in the same plaza as Ace Hardware and Curves). It is a sushi house nominally, but I order tonkatsu and katsu don from them, always. I am not big on sushi. Yoshi's is a lower profile place than Blue Fin, it's really nice and quiet, and tonkatsu is always excellent.

Tonight was great, starting with the following dialogue:

YOSHI & HUSBAND (bowing): Irashaimashtaaaaa!
ZAITCEV (brightly): Konbannwa!
YOSHI & HUSBAND: Konbannwa!
(Yoshi reaches for menus and hands them over)
YOSHI: Futari?

That's where I blew the game. I could have held out maybe a round or two more by answering "Hai", but I blinked. Yoshi saw through me and switched to English. ざんえんですねえー。This is the first time I said anything outside a class setting though. Am I great or what?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Invasion of Chinese Buffets, Part 3

The newest buffet is the one across the Tracy Blvd from Food Maxx, and thus the Tracy Buffet. It is the biggest and the spiffiest one, which opened with an imitation Mongolean BBQ. It received an enormously glowing review from the Delta College paper "Impact", of all places, but my love with it was not destined to blossom.

For starters, they do not supply chopsticks by default. I used to find them in their sushi section for a while, but not anymore. I do not care for pseudo-Italian section, that is to say, generic pizza and sausage. Pork is hard to find, vonton soup is also discontinued. Simply speaking, my taste in food does not match their selection, so I am reduced to eating white rice with a fork. But other buffets supply that for smaller price. To top that, I had a dispute with them once when I came during the lunch pricing and exited during the dinner pricing. So, lots of decor, not a lot to eat. Mind, the quoted 6.75 price is taken at the exit, where you tip. Tracy Buffet takes the same price at the entrance, where you do not tip (I still leave a few bucks there, but it's purely voluntary).

To give them their due, they are the only ones who supply authentic Chinese desserts: the variety of dough balls, seasme seed balls, and others. This is really high class, which justifies their prices somewhat. So it's interesting to go there maybe once in three months.

Monday, June 13, 2005

They ate my almond ... again!

An almond tree grows in my backyard. It is very young: only 3 years old. It grew from an almond nut which ended in a corner garbage somehow and sprouted. I replanted it and now I have a tree about 3m tall. It blossoms in April with pretty flowers, and brings almonds. This was the second year, and again someone ate them. I think it must be a bird, because almonds disappear in one day. Oh well.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

TRASH @West: Recycling

Rotating post.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Went to my barber today. I go to Hairitage, at the corner of 12th and Holly. Good service. One thing to keep in mind though, they are closed on Sunday.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Invasion of Chinese Buffets, Part 2

The second buffet was the one behind the Blockbuster at 11th (I do not remember its name). Unlike the Tracy Buffet, this one is designed to be cheap. It is full family operated. There are no bells and whistles, it's just good solid eating for a minimal price. For example, you have to ask for chopstiks. My favourite dish there is the sweet-and-sour pork, which they serve separately from the sause. So, I eat it separately: just the pork. It's very nice, and comes to about $6.50 at lunch.

One thing I was unable to understand about that buffet is the tip policy. They collect the money at the exit, so it's supposed to be tipped. However, if I add the tip to the card, they do not charge it. They are such nice people though, it's a shame not to tip them.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Attic fans

Hot days are upon us and I am wondering if anyone tried to use attic fans. The hot air trapped in the attic reduces the efficiency of air conditioning.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Energy saving bulb update

A compact-fluorescent bulb from my experiment has failed for the first time. It was made by Feit Electric and the one for which I have saved the packaging insert, proudly boasting a 7 years guarantee. Of course, the guarantee only means that I have to save not only the liner (which I did) but also the store receipt (which I did not), and then I have to send it to them for exchange, which probably costs about the same as buying the new one. I recall that I knew when I bought it that the Feit's marketing was probably a lie. Since the bulbs were installed in April 2001, this comes to exactly 4 years of usable life. The simultaneously installed bulbs by American Power Products and BIAX Electric continue to work on the same circuit.

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

Rotating posting: West - garden waste, East - recycling.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Water report

This is the time of year we receive the Safe Drinking Water mailing. I looked at the old ones, there was no change in any numbers in this year. In other words, water in Tracy sucked, sucks, and will suck. It tastes awful and is practically unsuitable for drinking, with the mix of agricultural runoff and chlorine. It is also rich in minerals, which makes detergents ineffectual, not to mention clogs our pipes. I'm wondering what the market for water filters is in Tracy.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Dunn is sentenced to 6 months

Tracy Press reports in an article by Ben van der Meer:

McFall, Dunn, and former state Office of Criminal Justice Planning Executive Director N. Allen Sawyer were indicted in 2002 and 2003 for their collaboration in a 2001 deal to get a power plant built in the Port of Stockton for Southern California-based Sunlaw Energy Corp.

Baxter Dunn is our former County Sheriff.