Posts Tagged ‘california’

My lenses were perfectly clean for this photo.

My lenses were perfectly clean for this photo.

I just spent the week in Pasadena in Southern California. Several of the jaunts made during the week were into Los Angeles.

It almost seems like a different state, except that I have not really been to many other states so I can’t necessarily compare. While I have lived in Santa Barbara for three years it is not quite at the same level as Pasadena/LA.

There were some definite surprises while I was there, the Huntington Library (and gardens) were very nice. They had some good exhibits (one on science) and nice green gardens. I don’t think they conserve as much as residents. Also the Griffith Park Observatory was really fun. Aside from being all about astrophysics it was really cool to see a lot of kids and adults interested in science.

They did have a large tesla coil that I could not find the on switch for, one day.

Also Southern California has a lot of frozen yoghurt places that sell the whole thing (including toppings) by the ounce. Either they do not exist or I have not found them around Sonoma county. I think it is a really good idea but do not know the extent or viability of the business model outside of Southern California.

The biggest surprise of the trip was the free wifi on the Airport Express bus from Oakland Airport. Stream the Colbert Report in traffic is just flat out neat.

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Some people blame the oil platforms for the tar on the beach when it is all natural seepage.

Some people blame the oil platforms for the tar on the beach when it is all natural seepage.

There are a handful of topics that really bother me when the government starts to consider them. Recently the California state legislation is considering taking away the autonomy of the University of California and placing it under direct control of the legislature.

Now this appears to me to be one very large bid idea. The University of California is one of the most respected and recognized university systems in the world, when I was talking with professors are other schools for graduate programs most if not all had been to UC Santa Barbara for some conference or another, ant this is just one of the campuses. I have gone through the California public school system from kindergarten through a BS in Physics and I can say that some parts definitely need improvement. However one of these is not the UC (I am looking at you standardized testing).

The Regents may make some decisions that I disagree with and some that I fully encourage, but by being autonomous they can make controversial decisions (such as operating Los Alamos National Laboratory). And as long as they remain autonomous they can keep making decisions, if they were run by a legislature that take months to agree on a budget then the Universities would have a larger budget problem.

I hope that these amendments to remove the UC autonomy do not pass and encourage everyone who lives in California to write to their assembly-person about the issue.

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Sigh of Relief


If only my GRE will go as well as the presidential election.

If only my GRE will go as smoothly as the presidential election.

It is over. 

We now have President Elect Barack Obama.

Concern and worry over this part of the election is now fading away as worry and concern over local California propositions take over. All of the propositions I care about 1A, 4 and 8 are still too close to call and Measure M (for Sonoma-Marin county) has not been decided one way or another.

1A is for California high speed transit, 4 is parental notification of abortions, 8 is the gay marriage ban and M is for a smart commuter train through Sonoma and Marin counties. I really want a yes, no, no, yes. So far though it looks like yes, no, yes, maybe.

In any case I am glad to have taken part in election Barack Obama.

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The cliffs overlooking Dillon Beach

The cliffs overlooking Dillon Beach

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”

When Mark Twain said this he was absolutely right. 

I normally live about thirty minutes inland from the beach in Sonoma County, I spent last week at Dillon Beach at a family owned beach cabin. The week before it was between 90 and 100 degrees outside with the skies white from smoke (we had fires south, east and west of us). So we went to the beach to get away from it all.

The first day the afternoon had sun once the fog burned off. The second day we had sun for about three hours as the sun set. There was no sun the third day.

Sitting inside I could see families unload from their cars, wrap themselves in wind snapped towels and walk stubbornly down to the beach. They were going to have fun dammit. Later in the day the parents would return looking fairly unsatisfied with their California beach experience. The children seemed happy enough.

Despite the bad weather I was happy to be at the beach. Well when I say “at the beach” I mean sitting inside overlooking the beach with a sofa and a book. The best thing about the beach house I stay in is that there is no internet, no television and no cell phone signal. There cannot be more then four grounded plugs. I suppose there is a radio; I doubt it works. 

I am going back in September, the weekend before I return to school. Once back I will be on the beach once more. Or at least admiring it from the library.

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