Sunday, April 30, 2006

TRASH @West: Recycling

Next week is recycling on our side of Tracy Boulevard. By the way, there's a permanent schedule at the official city website. It's a tour de force of Silly Web Applications. Would it kill them to generate a few static tables without the space-wasting sidebars? But no, it has to be dynamic.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Is this a real house?

The surreal qualities of current housing market hit home today when I saw this: What $200,000 will get you in Tracy, CA.

Living in the historic Tracy is sweet if you want to run a business. However, the crime and the split lot is not endearing. And the shack is rather hilarious. I still remember times when two hundred thousand were a real money.

Lawn, aeration and settling of

I poked holes in some areas of my front lawn. It's supposed to help, though I have no idea to what extent. And that work is quite slow. It literally takes hours to cover an area of 30 ft by 10 ft. This has a lot to do with the weight of an average human. I would not be able to drive a wider tool into the ground, so I have to scan the lawn in pitifully narrow strips, about 10 inches wide.

While I was at it, I could not help noticing that the lawn settles. It is now about 2 inches lower than the driveway surface, while it was level just four years ago. It stands to reason that all the mass which I dump into the garden waste bin every two weeks has to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is the ground. Of course, grass captures some of carbon from the air with the process of photosynthesis. But it's not much. And then three's nitrogen. I do not spread anywhere as much fertilizer to compnesate for the loss. So the lawn surface recedes continuously.

This got me thinking if they sell any sand-like mineral mix which I could spread to make the ground higher. Or do I have no other way than ripping all the topsoil and replacing the lawn afresh?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Knee brace at Hanger

My surgeon sent me to a place called "Hanger", near the Save Mart, to get my knee brace. The receiption signed me up for an appointment on 4/8 - 10 days from now. You can't make this stuff up. I went along with it, because after he the mistreatment at Reich's I do not see other options. If I knew how to take a measurement correctly, and what to expect after the surgery, I would order this on Internet somewhere, but I don't.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I'm just in from mowing the lawn. The grass had a spring growth spurt while I wasn't looking. Also, I broke one of the shrub sprinklers. Since this happens all the time, I am thinking about replacing them with pop-ups. Obviously they were installed to save costs originally. But it seems not to be worth it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Spring cleaning?

Neigbours put old furniture to the curb. That's my only clue to the Spring Cleaning, because this information is impossible to obtain otherwise. How do they know when it comes?

Monday, April 24, 2006


I finally got around to posting photos of RAV4 in Panoche Hills. URL:

Panoche Hills is the closest decent chunk of BLM land to Tracy. There's also a place beyond Oakdale and Hwy.49, but that one does not have a whole lot of space for off-roading. Panoche Hills, actually, is not off-roading friendly due to issues with the conservation. But they still have some trails left.

Motorcycle folks can visit Carnegie Area right across I-5 from Tracy, but cars and jeeps are not allowed there.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

If nothing else, I read these notest myself.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


I would not mind Expressways, though I question just how they are going to work outside of a dense megalopolis. I am familiar with their operation in the San Jose area and I am generally positive about them (as long as the center divider is not forgotten and the capacity expansion is built in).

However, the article makes a strange case of interviewing someone commuting between Ripon and Tracy. Neither of proposed expressways would do squat for his commute. Why tap him for a testimonial?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Hate Livermore. Hate! Hate!

We were driving by 580 when hunger overcame us, so we exited on Portola and ended at Strizzi's (the very same one which used to have an ad in every slot of KKIQ's rotation). Strizzi's is amuzing, but it's not what I wanted to write about. The new downtown. It's the first time I see it.

Livermore's government is a bunch of disgusting jerks, who narrowed the main street from 2 lanes each way to 1 lane, in hopes to make it unbearable for those travelling by Route 84. The idea was that people who travel to Livermore's downtown do not care how hard it is to get there, and thus, would not be deterred. Basically, they want the same downtown as Pleasanton has.

It's the new urbanism and social engineering at its finest. It's so offensive that it literally drives me mad with rage. After visiting it, I decided never spend a cent in that snakepit again.

Also, it's not much of a downtown, truth to be told. Strizi's is about the only place where a decent food may be had. By contrast, Pleasanton is lined with dozens of fine establishements. Seriously, people, way to go wasting public money.

Even Dan Bilbrey has done it much better. He did not dig up the 11th. I actually like the 10th and Central, it's just that populating them with anything interesting must be a freaking chore. My most liked place, Pizza & Pasta Kitchen, faces 11th. Fabio's is expensive, dark, omnious, drafty. Magellan's is the best place in town, period, but it's even more expensive, and drafty as well (I see a pattern - I pay top dollar to catch a good cold in this town), and located off the far end of Central. But I'm optimistic. At least our government is not a gang of sociopaths.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I just noticed that is expired and parked. I'm surprised, because usually people register domains for a year. Could it be a whole year? No, I don't think...

Bring on the offices!

Today, workers started to strip the tile roof from the house sitting in the south-west corner lot at Corral Hollow and Grant Line. This house was occupied as late as in 2002. I hope that owners held off for a payoff and are happy now, and not just being Kelo-ed by the city.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

TRASH @West: Recycling


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Breakfast in Orchard

Usually, I roll out of bed around 9, plus minus some. Due to some unusual circumstances today I had my breakfast at Orchard (at Grant Line) at around 6:30 a.m. I got a delicious egg breakfast which they call "Tracy Traditional". I was surprised just how many people were there, and also that most of them looked like retirees.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Today, a swallow returned to the nest at my porch. It's really cute, except that I have to wipe after them.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

Garden waste week.

Mountain House on the radio

I heard an ad for Mountain House. It bubble about master plan and stuff, but also promised "schools within walking distance". Say what? The place is so enormous that kids are going to have a lot of excercise walking there and back. Maybe that's the plan for healthy living! Not to mention that they were going to attend Tracy West. Was there a change in plans? The answer is actually given on their website.

Speaking of the website, the ad mentioned "". I visited that site and it immediately redirects to "". Why could not they just say "Mountain House dot net"? Must be an idea of some highly paid public relations specialist.

So, at that site they mention that every section (called "village") is going to have its own K-8 school, within the walking distance. Ah-ha. So, Tracy West it is after all. And ad omitted that tidbit.

The site also has a more readable map:

More pebbles!

I emptied a barell of pebbles into my project area and it only covered about 1/8th of the area, if that. I miscalculated. What I thought would take 2 bags of pebbles will actually take 10 to 12.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Mountain House

I saw an article at Brian's blog about Mountain House, with a striking map of the development. That thing is huge. Apparently it goes all the way to the Byron Road and across the railroad tracks, with some properties at the lake. Crazy stuff. I toured the place when it only started and it felt pretty big already.

Toyota today

I took my RAV4 for its first service today to our local Tracy Toyota, just for fun. It took them one hour, 15 minutes for tire rotation and oil change, for the cost of $47.10. This reminds me how an oil change in AutoWest Fremont, in 1997, for Dodge Neon was $56. I was doing my oil changes myself ever since. Unfortunately, RAV4 requires a scanner to reset its "Maintenance Required" light. Gotta invest in that.

Toyota has new cars on display: Yarris and FJ Cruiser. FJ looks underwhelming, frankly. Visibility sucks just as everyone says. Basically, 4Funner enworsened. Yarris appears to be a development of the Echo/Scion platform, but for some reason it remains as narrow as Echo (whereas Scion is wider). Looks like a very decent small car. The EPA rating is 34/39. That's right, incredible city mileage, but less than Corolla on the highway, and Corolla has much more car in it. I suspect may not be a huge success in Tracy. On the other hand, the price undercuts even Scion, so...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Blogs in Tracy +suicidalbckbird

No blogging scene would be complete without random teename bloggage: suicidalbckbird. Oh yes. She's also a veteran who predates every other area blog except, probably, Dave Parker.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

They take your oil!

Today, Kragen near FoodMaxx accepted used oil, which is essentially unheard of. They are always full. And on Sunday, no less! I am quite shocked.

On the other hand, the price of oil is getting so ridiculous that Auto Zone started to sell Shell. People are getting desperate, I suppose. And no wonder. I remember how a quart of Quaker State was selling for $1.34 back in 2001. It is $2.59 now.

TRASH @West: Recycling

Recycling week.

Strange fashion of falling pants

I saw a neighbourhood boy today who was running and holding his pants. I heard about this fashion (AFAIK, called "low-riders"), but it's the first time when I witnessed the comedic effect of it in full force. You can tell I do not mingle with teens all that much. And if I do, they are all nerds who wear camo - practical and convenient!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Back from Frisco

Spent the Saturday in San Francisco, walking the trails between the Cliff House and Legion of Honor, shopping, etc. Ate in Kushi Tsuru, which ended with $50 for three (after tip). Somehow I always thought that Kushi Tsuru was cheap, but apparently I only went there for lunch. Live and learn. Should have gone to Iroha.

I have a strange feeling that validation of parking tickets for Japantown garage depends on the price of purchase. I got a $30 manga in Kinokoniya for my daughter, and the validated ticket ended only $1.50.