Monday, April 30, 2007

BART report

There was no perceptible increase in ridership between Dublin/Pleasanton and Daly City. None whatsoever. And this is despite the fact that rides were free today. By the way, since BART's management made rides free, they did not offer MUNI interchange today, so people who habitually didn't carry correct change were caught flat-footed. Thank you BART, you're so caring! OK, not really. If BART were a real company, I would find poetic justice in ridership staying flat despite this free day idiocy. But alas, they'll just take the money from my pocket by the force of taxes, is all that's going to happen.

New restaurants in Stoneridge

Well, maybe they're not new, but I just noticed, ok? One way or the other, Stoneridge now has Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang's. Both are usually excellent, I'm going to try them presto.

TRASH @West: Recycling

Recycling week is here in the West.

Bay Area motorists face nightmarish... news media

MSM continues to unravel. Yesterday, a ramp connecting Bay Bridge and I-880 was closed for a month, and every news outlet trumpeted how commuters "face nightmarish commutes" and "turn to public transit". Lost in the coverage is the small point that, unlike the public transit, freeway system is flexible and resilient. It does not take a super genius to take I-880 or Rt.92. There's going to be a certain loss of performance, much like a RAID array loses some of it when degraded. But it's not a "nightmare", at least when compared with the nightmare of BART. You wouldn't know it from watching the news though. Is there any wonder that fewer and fewer people watch TV these days?

BTW, just to be a contrarian, I'm going to try taking I-880, then jump under and onto I-980. They have no normal ramp, but the connecting street looks very nice at Google Earth. Viva the Internet!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Summer is coming, so is A/C

I'm looking for someone to clean the evaporator core in my A/C unit, and perhaps ducts as well. The problem is how to find a contractor with a clue. I have no idea how to reach the core in my unit, and I don't want the contractor to puzzle it out on the spot.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Travelling circus at the mall

A travelling circus is set up near the mall, between Target and the nursery. It seems to operate in the evenings and on weekends only.

I am somewhat surprised that people go for this sort of thing in this day and age, because it feels somehow outdated to me. On the other hand, my kids are not that little anymore. I don't remember, maybe they would have enjoyed it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

Garden waste week at west side.

This week is also a Spring Clean-up week. I am a little late with this announcement, because the East half of town has had the clean-up already.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sacramento airport rules

I was to SAC today, it's unbelievable. Almost no check-in lines! No security lines either! The hourly parking is as nice as that in Oakland, but it's cheaper. It takes about 1 hour 20 minutes to get there doing leisurily and fuel-saving 65 mph (there was no traffic jam in Sacramento at the time).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

TRASH @West: Recycling

Woops, completely forgot. Sorry!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Trader Joe in Livermore

So, the Trader Joe's has opened in Livermore on Friday. Oddly enough, the official website does not list the new store, so the link goes to Yelp.

The store seems like a carbon copy of the old one in Pleasanton. It has decidedly better selection, but this may be an artifact of its neweness. Parking is much better, it's a normal supermarket plaza with decently sized slots. At the old place, some bitch in a Volvo dented by car noticeably when backing out because she started turning too early.

The main downside is very poor access. Driving through Livermore is a drag, no matter if you take 1st or N. Livermore. The 1st is choked now even beyond the junction with the Railroad, which sucks. Stupid Livermore. If not the piss poor parking at the Pleasanton store, I would be able to persuade myself easily that the Livermore store is not worth the trouble.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Record online and offline

I was going to write another one of those entries about the Stockton airport, but in turn this became an entry about newspapers.

The Record printed an headline article about SCK two or three days ago, which included a very interesting graphic about the passenger flow. In particular, it showed two important things: 1. The traffic in America West days declined steadily after the first boom, and 2. The traffic that Allegiant generates already outstrips America West's traffic by a factor of 3. The #1 is important because it debunks the legend about the raised landing fees being the reason why America West pulled out.

But as it turned out, I cannot find the graphic to use on this blog. I found an article at, which seems to be the very same article. However, it does not have the graphic in it.

What is it? Another misguided attempt to degrade the online offering in order to boost the paper offering?

It so, it's utterly stupid. I cannot be arsed to raise and go to the library to look up the article. And for sure the old newspapers are gone from the dispensors. What did Record win by doing this exactly? I was kind enough to give them linkage above, but that's only because this is the entry about newspapers, not airport. On the subject matter, their reporting was nothing that Tracy Press didn't do already. All they accomplished is to leave me less inclined to bother with them.

Something for Cheri to think about perhaps.

Yasoo Yani

I finally managed to hit that Yasoo Yani place in Stockton. They have the oddest working schedule, and I keep forgetting that they are closed at weekends. The decor is rather gloomy, air is chilly. Food is homestyle, but thoroughly authentic. I got a kebab with a piece of pasticia and a dolmade (they call it "Mediterranian Plate"). The kebab was very good, as long as you bite around uncooked parts. I suppose gyros is next to try.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Chillis are open

I noticed that Chillis at Grant Line and Corral Hollow opened. It was sort of hard not to notice, as they certainly grabbed a prime location.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Pizza Hut & Chicken

My old favourite "Pacific Gourmet Chicken, No artichoke hearts" was discontinued. Now Pizza Hut sells something called "Chicken Supreme", which by all rights looks just like something Round Table used to sell. No artichoke hearts in it, score. Surprisingly eadible for a pizza.

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

Garden Waste week.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Practical Solar Power

Due to insurance considerations, we are a 3-car household in a 2-car house. One car has a manual transmission, and nobody likes to drive it, so it gets to sit in the street. The car is in a decent shape and runs fine, but once we stopped driving it, its battery started to lose charge. It took about 6 months for it to discharge completely.

I installed a solar element (see the picture), and plugged it into the cigarete lighter outlet. In a month or so, it recovered the battery and now I can start the car again without any concerns.

So, this thing is not a snake oil. Good to know.



The problem with the in-city bicyclists is that the vast majority of them are utter assholes (95% by my count). On one hand they demand some sort of equal treatment, on the other hand they pee on the rules of the road at every corner. A bicyclist won't think twice to cut across a 6-lane street whenever he/she thinks it convenient. Neiter pedestrians, nor motorcyclists do anything like it, but bicyclists do it all the time.

Naturally, when assholes get into a mob, bad things happen. I like how Wikipedia whitewashes though: "As with many acts of civil disobedience as mass protest, there have been acts of violence and destruction perpetrated by Critical Mass protesters." So, the label of "civil disobedience" is attached to the mob of assholes. Nice framing!

The worst part is, since the humanity does not know a treatment for assholes, there's precious little that can be done about bicyclists. A few communities took up appeasement and toleration, making "bicyle lanes" (which bicyclists ignore when they feel like it), "trails" and so on.

Tracy is one of such appeasement towns. Naturally, results are mixed... For example, one day I was preparing to make a right turn from Grant Line into a neighbourhood. I followed a van. As I reduced speed and merged into the bike lane, I saw a bicyclist riding the bike lane in the opposite direction. He swerved to the curb, I went back into car lane, to the consternation of the driver who was preparing to pass me. I hope the jackass peed his pants at least. It would be the least he deserved.

Fortunately, Tracy is a sprawling suburb, so the geography puts a dumper on proliferation of bicyclists. But make no mistake, the menace of a bicycle is ever-present.

I think that the only recourse left to good people is to educate the next generation to place a social stigma on bicyclists. It must be a common understanding that riding a bicycle is not something decent people do.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Questing for Katsudon

I am a big fan of our Yoshi's (the one in Tracy -- no relation to the famous Jazz club in Oakland), but recently the quality of their katsudon has become a little spotty... I had to switch to tonkatsu, which is two times more expensive, but in reality is about as much fun and food. The problem appears to be the base pork: it's just cut from wrong part of the pig. See, a good katsu can't be dry like a chop, and yet it should not have too many sinews.

The best tonkatsu in the larger area is provided by Osaka at Filmore at Sun Francisco. Those people obviously do not try to save behind customers' backs. Well, there are also expensive places, like an oddly authentic Kappo NamiNami at Castro in Mountain View, but I don't count those. We are talking about the golden standard of $8 Katsudon, $12 Tonkatsu.

Going to Frisco is not always an option, so I am happy to report that there's a decent place in Dublin, in the cinema plaza, called Matsu Sushi. I started with the katsudon, naturally... Because I'm sure that restaurant owners must hate us, katsudon eaters. We are too cheap! So, if their katsudon is good, the rest is good too. Suspense aside, it was good.

If someone like Matsu opens here, Mrs. Takahashi may face tough times.

P.S. Gotta tell Mrs. Takahashi that the flash intro is an awful way to greet visitors to the website (even if it's skippable). If I visit a website, I'm there to see a) the menu, b) the location, c) phone number. The intro is a waste. The real website itself is fine, simple to navigate and to the point. I like it. Unfortunately, the joker who did it, placed the marker in the location map on the wrong side of street.

P.P.S. Yoshi's apparently was slapped with an prohibition order from government liquor authority. I wonder what's up with that: didn't pay some fee, or they found a bottle outside of fridge, or something else.

P.P.P.S. "Matsu" (松) means "a pine", and obviously the tree in the logo refers to it. I have no idea how the name came about. It may be a part of the name of the owner.

P.P.P.P.S. I forgot about the sushi, because I'm not into it myself. Reportedly, the fish in Matsu's sushi is nowhere near as fresh as what can be found in top of the line places in San Francisco. Although perhaps we're spoiled here... We even went to Kiss once. That shop is simply mind-blowing. Still, Matsu is a normal "restaurant level" sushi, a full grade up from what you can buy in a supermarket. Maybe just a a quarter point lower than what Iroha offers.

Monday, April 02, 2007

TRASH @West: Recycling

Next is recycling, although I have filled my garden bin aready.