Fall cleaning

Just a few changes to help make my site look a little more spiffy.

I’ve added a module to the right showing my latest blog posts. It seemed kinda silly to post elsewhere and leave this blog hanging. It’s not like I haven’t been writing, just not on this blog.

Hopefully that’ll change soon, but there’s a lot of other things I’ve got to work on. Stay classy.

What are the worst “sexy” costumes?

With Halloween falling on a Wednesday, it seems students and others moved the grown-up partying to this past weekend. Young adults in costumes were definitely out in force in Davis and in Chico this weekend.
I know others have pondered this in the past, but it’s amazing how some can take a holiday now geared for kids and totally make it inappropriate for said children. I know some alcohol awareness groups deplore how Halloween is now a drinking holiday.
On the costumes, I’m not really complaining. As a relatively young man, I certainly enjoy how some of the outfits look. In my limited observations, “sexy” costumes are most often worn by women. That’s not to say that men couldn’t get involved.
It’s always been my belief that someone can take any costume and make it “sexy” — often by tightening something here or loosening something there. Sexy cop. Sexy cat. Sexy nurse. And on and on for almost anything.
But is it true? Are there some costumes/occupations out there that can’t be made sexy?
Taking a look at a list of the worst jobs in the country (via a CareerJournal article on the “Jobs Rated Almanac”), it seems like many of them could, surprisingly, be made sexy:

  • 1. Lumberjack
  • 2. Fisherman
  • 3. Cowboy
  • 4. Ironworker
  • 5. Seaman

It might require some ingenuity for some of these occupations, but they could all work. There are four more on the list that might work. However, I don’t think “Sexy Stevedore” will come up soon.
I guess in the end, I could only think of one career/occupation that would be hard to “sexify”: Hazmat crew member.
Do you know of any occupations to add to the list of bad costumes?

The Guild of Douchey Drivers

Driving can be a challenge. It’s compounded when you have some bad-mannered drivers on the road. For lack of a better name, I’ve decided to call them “The Guild of Douchey Drivers.”
And, man, the guild was out in force over the weekend in the ‘mento. Two drivers got impatient and leaned on their horns. In another incident, one driver left the scene of a property damage accident without leaving his information — although there were two witnesses.
Twice Saturday, I was stopped at a light waiting to turn right. Both times, some male driver behind me impatiently honked his horn raising my ire.
The first time, I shrugged my arms at the guy and he gesticulated back. I was a little angry, but I tried to keep cool as I finished my turning motion. I was slightly amused to see where the gentleman was in a tremendous hurry to reach — Super Wal-Mart.
It happened again later in the afternoon. Stopped at a light, trying to keep an eye on the traffic lights and vehicles before making my move. Again, some young man decided that honking his horn would magically clear the way. When he didn’t get the desired result, he honked his horn another two or three times.
I definitely kept my cool this time. I just waited until traffic cleared and the light changed. The guy kept honking even as the oncoming traffic was turning left. Sorry, man. I’m not willing to drive into oncoming traffic for you.
First of all, I don’t understand what the horn-honking is meant to accomplish, especially because it’s a non-emergency situation. I’m always going to come to a complete stop and wait for the intersection to be clear before moving forward. I’m not going to short-circuit that approach and risk my safety for the driver behind me.
In fact, the horn-honking is going to make me drive more safely. From a safety standpoint, I have to look behind me when a horn goes off to see what’s going on. It’s a distraction I have to account for.
Additionally, the driver’s impatience tees me off. My first thought is to do the opposite of what this boorish man wants. I don’t want him to think that such an inconsiderate tactic actually works. I also don’t want to give the satisfaction of him pushing me (and others) around.
Although I try to avoid it, I may have been a member of the Guild during my driving career. I can only control my driving so I resolved to not let these drivers get under my skin. It’s still a sad statement that these types of drivers are on the road.
Here’s the kicker. I walking from a parking lot in Davis Friday night when I hear a loud crunching noise. It turns out that an older SUV pulling out of a space backed into a nice, newer Volkswagen, leaving a nice big dent in the left rear bumper. The SUV driver got out and inspected the damage as a witness and I headed back toward the scene.
The SUV driver asks the female witness if the damaged car was hers. It wasn’t — well, sorta. Her vehicle, just to the left of the damaged car, was slightly scratched.
The woman asks the driver if he needed paper to write down his insurance information. He doesn’t seem to reply before he walks casually back to his vehicle and gets in. I didn’t quite know what to expect — was he grabbing some paper or was he going to park his car so he could better handle the situation?
He does neither. The SUV gently backs up and pulls out of the parking lot.
I’m flabbergasted. I ask the woman if she was doing what I was doing — writing down the SUV’s license plate number. Yep, we both got it.
Who leaves such a relatively innocent accident scene when there are two witnesses? All one needs to do is leave insurance and contact information.
Turns out the woman is a retired cop and she calls the police. We both give statements to the officer who arrives on the scene.
While we’re recalling what happened, other officers pull two vehicles in separate, unrelated incidents. That was part of five pull-overs I saw during my first hour in Davis Friday night. Three of the pull-overs seemed to be because the vehicles didn’t have their lights on.
It looks like Guild membership is increasing.

Has Chico “made it”?

This is a question that’s always on the back of my mind. Chico’s a pretty decent city, but how does it compare to other entertainment centers? When can you can say Chico has crossed over into the realm of “big city”?
Of course, Chico doesn’t compare when held up against the ‘mento or San Francisco, but I see things that I would view as “big city” elements. Having big-city elements can be a good or bad thing. On one hand, it could mean a wider array or entertainment. It could also mean more violence.
Case in point — street advertising. I noticed a truck and several scooters advertising a national brand of rum last weekend. I thought driving around in circles all night might be one of the worst jobs to have on a weekend evening.
Although a little tacky, one generally doesn’t see that in a small town. Chico’s party culture might be the key factor on this.
It might be a taste of the big city in little Chico, but here’s a counterpoint. I ran into the truck driver taking a photo outside City Plaza Saturday. He said he came up from San Diego for about two weeks for the promotion. Asked for his impression of the area and the downtown “scene,” he said it was quiet.
Perhaps the advertising cart is before the horse in this case. What do you think?

For the birds

I keep an eye on things going on in Atlanta. That’s why I was interested to learn that the Georgia city is in line to receive a new WNBA franchise.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there will be a contest to name the team. I wonder what it will be. Aside from baseball’s Braves, most Atlanta teams are named after fierce birds — Falcons, Hawks, Thrashers, etc.
If they’re going to follow that trend (and WNBA team names often mirror those of their NBA brothers), what is this team going to be called?
My colleagues were bouncing bird names around, but none of them sound right. It would be cool if the phoenix was involved because of the mythic bird’s connection to the city, but it’s unlikely because of the city of the same name.

Falling for fake Internet sizzle

The Internet, in all of its glory, often fails to deliver what it promises. Part of that is human nature — many of us oversell an item in order to generate some interest in an item. Goodness knows, look at MySpace, any dating site and the real-life bars.
Two recent things have got me hopping. Two sites promised me items from beloved institutions only to let me down.
I was surfing the Stockton newspaper Web site when I noticed an ad touting a huge gift card to the Ikea Stockton.


Ikea, for those who may have not experienced it, is a mega home-furnishing store offering decent furniture at good prices. It’s a huge step up from discount retailer furniture but a few steps below a full-blown furniture store.
Put another way — if you think spending more than $450 on a couch is ridiculous, Ikea is the place for you (although they have some pricey couches).
As someone who really, really enjoys shopping at Ikea, I figure I would’ve known about Stockton receiving a store. A quick check of the company’s Web site quickly refutes the ad — the nearest store to Stockton remains in West Sacramento.
Disappointment no. 2 is an ad that I see all the time on MySpace. Among the dating service ads, this advertisement for an “NPR Ringtone” pops up:

As an avid listener of National Public Radio, I believe the ad is referring to some sound from the broadcasting service. “NPR” could stand for something different — like Never Preach to Rhinos (sound advice).
The promo doesn’t make sense — why would it be an “NPR” ringtone? Is it some theme song from the network? Is it NPR newscaster Carl Kasell just saying “ring, ring” over and over?
While the advertiser got me to click on the link, I hit another wall. It’s a ringtone service that wants me to input my phone number and other information before I can enter the site.
Thanks, but no thanks. I definitely don’t want to wind up in a situation where I’m giving billing information to some unknown third-party site just to satisfy my wandering curiosity.
Both of these are kind of bummers. I’d like to see these things exist, but sadly they don’t. I’m keeping my hopes up — I’ve heard there’s a bridge in Brooklyn on sale at eBay.

More local changes

I’ve noticed two small local changes that have have been on my mind over the past few weeks.

  • When the heck is Cold Stone Creamery’s downtown location going to reopen? It’s been closed for weeks with just a sign on the door saying they’re working on stuff.

    I’d be worried the company might be easing its way out of the area because I’ve seen it happen with restaurants elsewhere. However, I’ve seen signs of progress in the location. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  • While shopping at the local grocery store, I’ve noticed Butte Creek Brewing Co. redesigned its logo, cases and overall look.

    My first impression — it’s a bold, streamlined look that adds some design consistency across the product line. They’re definitely emphasizing their organic brewing method. All and all, a simple label might stand out better against the colorful clashes one sees from many other small breweries.

    The company’s Web site has a teaser image showing the new logo and look.

I guess a Nobel prize is all right …

… but it’s no Grammy. As I’m sure many know by now, Al Gore and a UN committee won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize (BBC News article).
Earlier, I predicted Gore would be up for a Grammy for his spoken-word efforts. I guess he decided to skip the minor leagues of awards and go for the big payoff.
Congratulations on Gore and the other Nobel laureates. Although Gore has already said he would donate his portion of the $1.5 million prize to the Alliance for Climate Protection, that much money would have helped pay his utilities bill for a couple of months.

Two pianists enter a bar …

… and only one leaves.
You would expect more violence when you read about dueling pianos, but both performers survived. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I walked into 33 Steaks, Booze and Jazz last Friday, but I was quite pleased with what I found.
It was a rousing, high-spirited affair as the dueling pianists played different standards over the past couple of decades. “Yellow Submarine” lured me into the Main Street establishment. The next few songs kept me wanting more.
The energy of a live music performance was encapsulated within the two baby grand pianos, but there was none of the insistent overwhelming wall of sound a full band normally produces. The singing is lounge-y but a lot of fun. One could listen, sing along, dance or chat with others.
I guess you see things like dueling pianos in bigger cities like the ‘mento or San Diego, but their act seems pretty new for this area. Although I’ve heard Chico has played host to such performers in the past.
The dueling pianos play at 10:30 p.m. Fridays at 33. I’m definitely planning a return trip.

The blogging thing

I’m surprised at MySpace. It’s been an Internet phenomenon for more than two years, but they still can’t get their blogging tool to fully work in Firefox. For shame, Tom. For shame.

On the subject of blogging, I wanted to announce the newest and coolest blog to hit my profile in the past 10 minutes. I’ve started up a pop-culture entertainment blog on NorCal Blogs. It’s the Buzz Blog. It’s sorta like my old pop-culture column, but slightly more frequent and vastly more banal.

To keep tabs on all of my blogging endeavors, I’ve added a little widget to my profile. All of my blogs are now squeezed into a tiny space.