Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tracy Today's forgotten anniversary

The first post at Tracy Today came up on May 20, 2005.

Hate UPS

I'm on crutches after the surgery, and the teamster only waits enough to write a yellow notice, but not enough for me to hobble from the bedroom to the door. Unbelievable.

So full of hate.

I hopped to the driveway and expressed my rage by shaking the crutch at the back of the departing brown truck.

Ship FedEx!

Monday, May 29, 2006

My neighbour Jim

My neighbour Jim is a drummer. I can hear him jamming in his garage right now. Actually, it's sort of nice.

Memorial Day

It's the Memorial Day, the one and the same day that Google decided is less important than Konan Doyle's birthday. It seems that while we were mesmerized by the genius of Sergei Brin, Yahoo managed to roll out a search engine which delivers result just as good, according my evaluation. I wonder how they do it? The Google's famous PageRank algorithm is certainly patented.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

TRASH @West: Recycling

Recycling week.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Post surgery

I am at home after my knee surgery, sitting in the bed, because hopping around on crutches is not very enjoyable. I foolishly thought that I may have free time for a blogging hurricane, but in reality there's not much happening since I do not go outside.

The surgery was carried out in the Doctor's Hospital at Manteca, because it was easier to schedule than in our own (Sutter Medical Center, or a part of it, at Tracy and Eaton).

When I was sitting in the hospital's lobby, I read a local paper, "Manteca Bulletin". The big story seems to be the removal of abandoned vehicles from an (infamous?) appartment complex. Also, three residents of the complex with closest ties to gangs were displaced elsewhere in Manteca. That town certainly lives up to its reputation of the drug capital of California, it appears.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

This is a Garden Waste week.

Mongolean BBQ arrives!

I found the place. It's located in the little strip mall between the Grant Line and Costco parking lot. Since I'm a kind of man who travels to Sacto in order to eat in the Mongolean BBQ at Howe, investigating our very own place is my highest priority. So far though, signs are mixed. The place looks like a chain.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Mongolean BBQ arrives?

A commenter mentioned that we have a [new] Mongolean BBQ place at Grant Line somewhere. I wish he mentioned the nearest intersection.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

King of Mattresses

We went to buy a mattress to our local Manchini's SleepWorld, near Michael's. The logic behind it was to get a free delivery from a local outlet. We bought a King size mattress, which the salesman, Mr. Bill McClamy, called "Eastern King" persistently, and even had it written that way in the receipt. We were lucky, Bill told us. 9 out of 10 Kings sold in California were California King, but, miraclously, they had a conventional (ok, Eastern) King in stock somewhere, so we were to get it delivered the next day (on Monday).

The delivery happened on time, but when the workers left, I found that they delivered us a California King after all. I called the store, and the gentleman on the phone (Ron) speculated that Bill used the default in the another computer when he re-entered the purchase, so it came out as California King. My, my. See what happens when disparate computer systems are not well integrated?

We deliberated about settling for California King briefly, but alas, we already had the sheets.

Ron promised to have us all squared up on Thursday.

{Update on Thursday: They did replace the mattress and everything is fine now. Or so it seems.}

Sunday, May 14, 2006

TRASH @West: Recycling


Friday, May 12, 2006

Chamber of horrors

I read an article about the power struggle in the Tracy Chamber of Commerce in a paper issue of Tracy Press in a doctor's office today. They also have an Web version. Tracy press appears to provide an excellent coverage of the issue without taking sides, which is really surprising and delightful. Usually, a town newspaper is someone's pocket, and that someone is friends with someone running the chamber. But perhaps it's only as sign telling just how insignificant our Chamber is on the radar of town movers and shakers.

Is there anything besides a clash of egos in the story? I think there must be. Firstly, a Chamber of Commerce is a union of businessmen, so it collects dues. But why won't the dissenters (which, as I understand are the absolute majority) quit and form a new chamber? Because there can be only one - the one recognized by the city government and put into the phone book. The government is the gatekeeper.

Since I am not an American by birth, it was news for me that a significant amount of business (and, thus, money) may be involved. In 1999, I went to Edwards AFB for the 50-th Anniversary of Breaking the Sound Barrier airshow. Before we went down, an American friend of mine picked up a phone, called Mojave Chamber of Commerce, and asked: "We are coming down for the airshow, would you recommend a decent motel?"

Unfortunately, Denise Ellen Rizzo of Tracy Press does not go out of her way to explain in every article what businesses Mr. Dan Maloney owns (if any), who he knows in the government, who his friends are, and so forth. Or, if he's only a hired gun, then who pulls the strings in the board. Someone (maybe Denise) did reporting on that before, but I cannot find a reference now. It would be an interesting piece of investigative journalism, but alas, there's not even a reference to any previous piece.

Current board looks like this (from tracychamber.org):

Dale Backlund, Dow Chemical Co.
Juana Dement, Realtor
Mike Gilbert, M. J. Gilbert Construction
Walter Gouveia, Tracy Unified School District
Ray Morelos, El Castillo Cafe
Karen Mudd, Sutter Tracy Community Hospital
Richard Pifferetti, Tracy Gateway
Dr. Ian Pulliam, Patel, Pulliam & Medical Associates
Irene Woods, Regency Real Estate

So, we see a government exec from TUSD, two realtors, the guy from the bottle factory (presumably), a development middleman, and a small assortment of bona fide businessmen (and businesswomen).

I know I should've tracked this, but at the time I thought it too insignificant.

By the way, ousted Steve Hartje has a curious history on this blog. I recorded him proclaiming full support for the Bow Tie redevelopment hallucinations, where he imagined yuppies coming out of appartments to sip on lattes (instead of druggies coming out to ask for spare change).

I don't think this affects me in any significant way, because we aren't having a new bond at the moment. But still, funny things are going on.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

Garden Waste week. Actually, the city website provides this information, for those patient enough to dig through it and struggle with their concept of "Web Application".

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Chinatown and fortune cookies

I'm back from a trip to the San Francisco's Chinatown, which I visit once or twice a year. This time I finally found their famous fortune cookie factory in the Ross Alley. Fortune cookies made there are much better than the common variety sold in Safeway.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Manila Paradise Buffet - ToDo

Speaking of Washington Mutual, there's a new cheap looking eatery behind their location at Tracy Boulevard and 11th Street. It's called Manila Paradise Buffet. Since they sit right across the street from the "Japanese fast food" ran by Vietnamese, I would not be surprised if this place were run by a Mexican family. But as long as it's good, I have no complaints! I do not speak Tagalog, so it'm not going to be disappointed like in Osaka at Fillmore in San Francisco. Staff there does not speak Japanese despite their proximity to Japantown.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The value of brand

My daugter went to get groceries today and called me:

HER: Dad, I cannot find Food4Less!
ME: It's across from the McDondald's. And it's called FoodMaxx now.
HER: Oh. That's right.

Yeah, that's right. We still call it Food4Less.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Washington Mutual

I was flipping an old Business Week in a dentist's office today, and ran into an article about difficulties of mortgage lenders. It mentioned in passing that Washington Mutual started as a loan provider, and they diversified into retail banking later. They also bought Providian, which is a second-tier credit card company. WM attempts to diversify as much as as they can, but "they have to retain 65% of assets in mortgage lending in order to continue to qualify for a federal charter of {some term-of-art which I forgot}".

The things you learn from old magazines. At one point I considered a checking account with WM in order to diversify from my current bank and its policies. Ah, the irony!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Summer has started

With a certain degree of precision, it can be said that Tracy has two seasons: Winter and Summer, and last week we went from one to the other.

In Winter
- I wear black t-shirts
- We use heat
- We do not open windows
- We do not water the lawn
- We sleep under two blankets

In Summer
- I wear white t-shirts
- We use air conditioning
- We open windows (sometimes)
- We water the lawn
- We sleep under a sheet

The chance is complete on all counts and happens within the same week.

Monday, May 01, 2006

City Pride of April

I received the city newsletter today (May 1st), together with a utility bill. It's an April issue, and it contains such useful tidbits of information as:
- April 8, Household Hazardous Waste collection event at the airport,
- April 24-28, Annual Spring Clean Up for residents on the West Side of Tracy Boulevard.
I am being sarcastic here. Of course, this information would be useful if the city supplied it one month ago.