Monday, June 25, 2007

TRASH @West: Recycling

It's the recycling week on the west side.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wind Turbine starts fire

There's a small (relatively) blackened patch on the south side of I-580 near the top of the Altamont. A regular kind of grass fire, nothing special. The only odd thing is, it does not come close to the freeway, so it wasn't started with a cig stub thrown out of a car.

If you look at the top, you can see the remains of a wind turbine laying on the ground. The supporting latticework is still standing.

It looks like the turbine jumped its pivot and fell on the ground, starting the fire.

The today's lesson: always navigate wind turbine formations from the upwind, or else you may get your head chopped off by falling parts of rusty turbines.

Pleasanton Singles

I saw a roadside sign, obviously placed without the consent of either City or Caltrans, advertising a website "" ( exists as well and is exactly the same deal). The front for the website asks all sorts of private questions, ostensibly for the purposes of establishing a profile. There is no "about" section. The domain is registered through a proxy in Baroda, Gujarad, India. The server is hosted by The Planet, and belongs to Trusted Signles of Dallas, Texas. That's not so bad, right? Trusted Singles is a well-known name for a company trying to cater to narrow segments. They simultaneously run Republican Singles and Democrat Singles, Starbuck Singles, Christian Singles, and whatever singles.

In some areas they face stiff resistance from established players, for example Gay Singles are well served already. Also any single with two brain cells remaining would know better than fall into a database with low population count.

The question remains though, why does it have to take so much sleuthing to find who is behind Pleasanton/Tracy Singles? Do these people have something to hide?

Another thing, I have had my run-ins with The Planet before. It's a hosting service specializing with hosting dubious websites, spammers, etc. In my specific case it was, a specialized blog scrapper. You only use The Planet if you want to be shielded from abuse complaints.

So, if I were a single, I would stay away from this.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

Garden Waste week in the West.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Neighbours and being involved

This morning around 8 o'clock, cops hauled away neighbour's car for parking near a hydrant. The car actually belongs to the neighbour's teenage son, by the looks of it (I never asked).

I thought about coming over and pounding on the door, but something stopped me. If there was any immediage danger or a fire, then... I am clearly not neighbourly enough. On the other hand, the towing procedure made awful noise with all the diesel engine running and chain rumble, so it seemed inconceivable that the neighbours would sleep through it, considering that it was right next to the house. I guess being young and healthy has its drawbacks, especially when coupled with wild partying the night before or whatever it was.

When cops took away my car (because they were incompetent and recorded its VIN wrong [link]), my (other) neighbours also discussed letting me know, as it turned out later, but they knew that I was away on a business trip. This guy seems to be away as well... Hmm. What to do?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Instapundit and downtown revitalization

An unusually insightful post from Glenn [link]. He seems to be on the roll ever since explaining to Krugman why Edwards can't represent the poor.
He's right that [bricks, banners, trees stuff] doesn't work. But downtown Knoxville has gotten better -- the Insta-Daughter and I had lunch downtown on Market Square today (her idea) -- and it was a bustling scene. Knoxville tried the trees, banners, brick-paved sidewalk stuff. But what mostly worked was businesses starting on their own, and people moving downtown. There's now a booming downtown scene, but it's pretty muched happened spontaneously, not because of the city's various development schemes, which have been going on since Nixon was President. But one thing has made a difference: Parking! It's easy and cheap to park, and that's key.

Tracy, fortunately, does not need an excessively robust revitalization program. We did have a functional downtown before. Now it is up to the city hall not to ruin the good signs by taking away our parking for brick-paved stuff, and take it easy on low-income housing assistance.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Taiyaki is a kind of traditional Japanese pastry. It is always made in the shape of a fish. Traditional filling is a bean paste, somewhat sweet, but mostly it has a taste of starch. The color is close to violet.

This particular example was acquired at Nijiya Market in San Francisco Japantown. Nijiya is the anchor supermarket in their mall, but annoyingly it's not easy to find. The only entrance is from the corner of Webber and Sutter. You can't get to it from inside the mall.

I prefer Tayaki hot. These days nobody cooks them. We simply drop them into a microwave oven.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tomo Sushi in Pleasanton

I'm your neighbourly connoisseur of Japanese eateries within the driving distance from Tracy, it seems. Today's victim is Tomo Sushi Bar & Grill at 724 Main Street in Pleasanton. We hit them at about 16:33, and there were no other customers.

Unlike the Blue Fin, Tomo is run by actual Japanese. Not sure if I want to speculate about the ethnicity of the sushi chef in Mrs. Takahashi's establishment, but in this case the whole crew (with the exception of one miscellaneous Mexican guy) was Japanese. While we were eating, our waitress boasted how her kids are made to speak Japanese only. "Zettai", she said. Ugh, right.

The fare seems pretty good. Of course, I tried their tonkatsu, as I always do in a new place. The pork was not selected optimally, too white and thus too dry, but a good quality piece. It appears that picking a perfect piece is not very easy, the only restaurant capable of it which I know is Osaka at Filmore in San Francisco. One tonkatsu runs $16 - an average price. Miso soup is somewhat unusual, perhaps made by the chef. They eschew the seaweed for some reason. Tofu is hardly ever present either. I think I like it.

The service was very good, better than average. I cannot be sure that it stays that way when the place fills up, but signs are good. Recommended.

TRASH @West: Recycling

Recycling week is coming west of Tracy Boulevard.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Mexican stores at Central Avenue

I inspected the two Mexican stores at Central Avenue today, in the endless quest for tongue. Apparently, we have two: Mi Esperanza at address 918 and Camecuaro at 1002.

Of the two, Mi Esperanza looked more prosperous, bigger and busier. But it had a long queue of people at the meat counter, so we ended getting the tongue at Camecuaro.

We did, however, scoop some of the Mexican bakery at Mi Esperanza.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Ninjutsu demo tomorrow

Our local Traditional Martial Arts Academy is going to demonstrate their arts tomorrow at noon at Lincoln park. It's the flat space along Eaton Avenue, near the city library.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Update - Mei Mei

The Mei Mei, a cheap Chinese buffet at 11th near Blockbuster, is no longer a buffet. They had a remodelling, and now it's some kind of odd and confusing arrangement. I guess their customers ate too much. The selection also took a nosedive. Pork disappeared a year ago, and not it's pretty much a combined meal.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

Garden Waste week in the West.