Friday, January 4, 2008

Lonely Walk

For some reason I didn't see a lot of people out and about on my walk today. Due to the heavy rain I'll admit I did make my walk today much shorter then normal. Since it had been raining hard for quite a while many of the gutters ( especially at the bottom of hills) were full to over flowing. In some cases there was quite a lot of water being thrown into the air when the water rushing down a gutter ran into the tire of a parked car.

I was thinking that in places where they have lots of hills and get a lot of rain they should think about incorporating small hydro electric generators into the storm drain system. When the gutters are running full like on days like today you could probably generate a lot of electricity and all of it co2 free. Of course you would only be generating electricity when it is raining ( or a few days after a good rain since I know the gutter in front of my house will often have a fair amount of water running in it for 2 to 3 days after a storm. Who knows maybe places that get a lot of rain will adopt something like this as we seek out more ways to generate power without generating more co2.

Last night we lost power for a couple of hours. Luckily we didn't lose power today ( yet). I broke out the old Colman camp stove so I was able to get dinner fixed on time. Man that stove gets things hot quickly. Glad I didn't burn anything but in one case I came pretty close to creating some prime charcoal.

I baled on walking to the store today but then again we have enough food in the house so I didn't have to go to the store. Looks like there wil be some breaks in the rain so hopefully I'll be able t get to the store and home without getting soaked. I don;t mind if I get wet going to the store but I don;t want to bring a bunch of soggy food into the house.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Feeling like a Schmuck

I let a friend down today. Luckily he is a very forgiving friend.

My neighborhood has a lot of stray cats in it. My last indoor cat was one of these strays that somehow convinced me to"adopt" him. I think in reality he adopted me but that is besides the point. Unfortunately my last indoor cat got sick and died a couple of years ago. Since then I have been putting out food and trying my best to tame another one of the local strays. This stray is a solid grey kitty. He is an older cat since some of his grey fur is turning white. This grey cat is very scared of humans and at first would run away if he say me. For some reason this stray cat drew my attention.

I started out by putting out food for this cat. Unfortunately there are several other strays that also come by for the free food. When ever I say this one grey kitty though I'd put on a big show of putting out food for him. After several months every once in a while Id catch this grey cat sitting in my backyard waiting if I didn't already have food out for him. After several more month it got to the point where this wild cat would let me pet him, if I moved very slowly and softly spoke reassuring words.

During the summer I normally don't see my grey friend much but I see him almost every day in the winter when it gets cold and it gets harder for him to find food on his own. On cold days like today I try to always to get the cat food out early since I know the cats will need some extra food to help them get by. The problem is I got distracted this morning. I got busy doing things and had things on my mind. I completely forgot about my old grey friend. I didn't even realize my oversight until I went out to start fixing my dinner. When I wen to the kitchen I looked out the sliding glass door and there was my grey little friend. He was sitting up on the work bench of the BBQ tucked up into a tight grey furry ball. He was just sitting there waiting for me put some food out. As soon as I saw him I felt like a schmuck. I let my self get distracted and let my friend down. I quickly went out and put his food out for him. He let me pet him a few times before he started eating his dinner. I know he was extra hungry tonight since he ate longer than I have ever seen him eat in the past. After he had eaten his fill he walked off into the upper part of our back year. I don't know where he goes to spend most of his days and nights. I know sometimes he sleeps in out shed in our backyard. I have some nice warm blankets up on a table top in the shed and I know he sleeps on those blankets some times during the day. Where ever he was going tonight I hope he has a dry warm place to be on a cold wet night like tonight.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What to you hear Starbuck?

Nothing but the rain sir....

So today I got me walk in the rain. It came down pretty steady for the full walk. That means I got to listed to the sound of the drop hitting the hood of my rain jacket throughout the walk. I also got to watch the water flow in the gutters, watch it come rushing out of culverts and get me nice and wet. By the end of the walk I was cold, wet and enjoying every minute. I did a longer walk just so I could watch the water flowing down a small creek in a canyon up above my house. If it keeps raining today I'll be sure to spend some time sitting by the window watching the rain come down.

In case you are wondering about the title of this post and the first line it comes from the miniseries of the new Battlestar Galactica.

Monday, December 17, 2007


I was so disappointed when I woke up this morning. The rain for the day had ended. I was so looking forward to walking in the rain this morning. I love walking in the rain. I like watching the water flow down the gutter, run off of hillsides, form puddles etc. When I was younger and we had a weekend place in the mountains in northern CA I remember spending hours on a bridge watching the water flow down the river. The higher and strong the river was flowing the more fascinated I would be watching the water go by. There would be certain ripples in the water that would be the exact same for several minutes and then something would happen that would cause the ripple to change shape for a while before going back to the way it was before. I also really like the sounds of a strongly flowing river that is all brown from the dirt that has been washed into the water by the rainfall runoff. Since I don't live near a major river these days I have to settle for the weak alternatives like water flowing down a gutter.

Instead of taking a long walk in the rain I steeled for two shorter walks. The first walk was to the store. I only needed a few items at the store today so I walked instead of taking the car. Today makes 25 miles that I have walked instead of taking the car within the last month. THis works out to about 1 gallon of gas that I have saved by walking instead of taking the car. Doing my part to help keep additional pollution out of the air. While surfing the web this weekend I found something I really want. It is called a Hook & Go It is a device you can bring to the store and after you check out you can hang your grocery bags in it and then wheel the bags to your car or to home. Having one of these would mean I can walk to the store a lot more often since I could then easily bring home more than one bag worth of goods. To bad the only place I know that has this item is currently sold out, Hopefully they get a new supply in quickly.

Hopefully the weather predicators will be correct and it will be raining tomorrow so I get my walk in the rain.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Trail Running Wiener Dogs

Today I decided to go for a walk on the trail at Leona Heights Park. To be honest this isn't really much of a park. It is more like a gated off parking area next to the road. There is a nice creek that runs through the "park" are there is a trail that follows the creek up the canyon away from the road.  The start of the trail has a series of wooden bridges that allow the trail to  cross the creek several times. It was surprising how much water was flowing in the creek given the small amount of rain we have had so far this year. 

Shortly after leaving the bridges behind the trail becomes a little challenging. Since the trail runs along side a creek there are several places where a good portion of the trail has washed away and the trail is very narrow. There are also places where the trail is muddy and you have to be careful with your footing. In many places it is a pretty sharp drop off down 20+ feet to the rocky creek bed if you should go off the edge of the trail.  I had worked myself a pretty good way up the trail and was facing a decision. Did I want to cross the creek yet again ( this time on a single plank put down so you didn't have to get wet going across the creek) or back track a little bit and take another trail that went up the side of the canyon. As I was trying to decide what to do along comes a guy running up the trail. Behind him were 3 small dogs. One dog was a black Lab puppy. The other two dogs were wiener dogs. The runner went past me with a nod and a friendly hello and he went across the plank crossing the creek and up the steep section just after the creek crossing. The dogs didn't find the creek crossing so easy though. The plank was up on some rocks. While these rocks weren't much of a problem for your average person to step onto they were quite the obstacle for all three dogs.  The Black Lab puppy took a few moments trying to figure out how to get on top of the rocks to the plank that crossed the creek. After a few moments the Lab puppy decided he would skip the plank and jumped up on another smaller rock and slid his way across the rock to a point where he could jump to the opposite bank. The wiener dogs though felt their best option was to use the plank, if only they could figure out how to get up the rocks. 

The runner had stopped at the top of the steep section of the bank and was calling encouragement to his running companions. After several anxious moments the first of the wiener dogs figured out where to jump to be able to get to the creek crossing plank. The second wiener dog took a while longer to finally figure out how to get to the top of the rock, even after watching his partner figure it out.  Finally the runner and his doggy companions were back on their way.

I decided to back track and take the other trail and explore the canyon wall leaving the creek behind. Unfortunately the several different trails I explored ended up being pretty over grown. I could have pushed through the brush but it looked like I was going to come out into someone's back yard and I didn't want to do that so I started to retrace my path back down to the creek trail. From pretty far up the canyon side I could see the run and his dogs heading back down the creek trail. Suddenly there was a bunch noise from the dogs. It seems one of the wiener dogs had slipped off the trail and had slid down into the creek bed. Needless to say it was way to steep for the poor dog to work his way back up onto the creek trail under his own abilities.  The runner had to work his way down into the creek to rescue his dog. Of course then the runner had the same problem of how to find a place where he could get back himself and dog back onto the trail. All the while the other two dogs were making anxious sounds not sure if they should try and follow their master or stay where they were.  After a few minuted the runner finally found a place where he could climb out of the creek and back onto the trail with his dog in hand. With runner and dogs reunited on the trail once again the group continued on their journey towards home. 

For most of the rest of my walk home I pondered how wiener dogs aren't the best breed of dog to have if your hobby is trail running and you want to take your dong on lots of trail runs.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I over did the walk yesterday. Saturday is normally my long walk day. For the past couple of Saturdays I did walks of a bit over 6 miles. Since I had done more walking leading up to yesterday I figured I'd only do about a 5 mile walk on Sat.  Unfortunately I decided to do some trail exploring and wound up walking over 7 miles. Kind of wiped me out for the rest of the day.

My walk yesterday took me up the stairs that are part of the Cascade in Juaquin Miller Park. Who needs a stair climbing machine in a gym when  you have a place like this to go up and down at. The top of the cascade is the back wall of the Woodminster Amphitheater.  The whole cascade was restored a number of years ago and it is a really nice place to visit, especially on a clear day when you get some great views of the whole Bay Area.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Catch 22

Ok so the big community meeting to discuss keeping the road I talked about yesterday closed to traffic happened last night. It seems the powers that be want to open up the road again just as soon as they can get the creek protection permits to do some work on the road ( like installing new guardrails to replace the ones that have slid down the bank and fix the road where dirt has slid out from under the roadway).  Where the city is going to get al the money to make these repairs is unknown since the city is dealing with budget shortfalls and can't even hire enough police to deal with the ever increasing crime rate.

OK here is where the Catch 22 parts come up. One argument the city is making for re-opening the road is that it is a public road so it needs to be open so all the public can use the road. The catch is that under a city resolution the road can be shut down if to many people from outside the neighborhood  are using a local road instead of the major arteries. In other words if the public uses this local road to much then yes it can be shut down.  This is good news for those of us who want to keep this road closed because most of the people who used the road in the past were from outside the neighborhood. The bad news ( again a catch 22) is that since the road has been closed for 10 years due to the landslide there is no documented study proving that the road was getting to much usage from non neighborhood traffic. In order to get the information we need to get the road closed we have to open up the road again so the study can be conducted to prove that the road should be closed to traffic again. SIGH

The irony is that if this road is opened to traffic again it will get a lot less usage by the local people ( since this narrow road will be to dangerous to walk, ride or dive on in the view of many people due to how narrow the road is and how steep the bank is leading down to the bordering creek) so the road will get a lot less usage that it is currently getting from the locals ( who the road is meant for) and be mostly used by people from outside the area who are using the road to avoid back-ups on other larger roads or using the road as a short cut.

In the end the city will likely send hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be better spent else where only to then have too conduct a study and discover that the road is getting to much non-local traffic which will open the door to the neighborhood pushing to have the road closed again.