Monthly Archives: December 2008

My Last Day of the Year

Today, in what could at least theoretically become a tradition, I headed down to the San Diego auto show since I was off work. With robot_grrl working, and Derrick in Arizona with my in-laws, I would have been at loose ends, and an auto show sounded like a good way to kill the day.

I take The Coaster to work at least 3 days each week, and since I was going to the Convention Center which is easily accessed from The Coaster, I took it down today.

This morning was my first time to take it beyond work, and my first trip that was for pleasure, not work. I also wasn’t listening to a book, or reading one, so I was paying more attention to what was going on. I also brought a camera to get some pictures on the way — The Coaster is the most scenic commuter rail line I’ve ridden on. So I can describe my trip, and include some of the pics below the cuts.

Trip down on The Coaster

This wasn’t always part of their advice

In the bottom of an article in today’s online ABQ Journal (a.k.a. The Albuquerque Journal) about snow play in the Sandia Mountains, ends with a ranger advising people cross-country skiing or snow shoeing from the Sandia Crest: “Also, bring a map and know how to use it, have a charged cell phone and take plenty of water.” Back when I was living in Albuquerque, and involved with winter mountain sports a bit (mostly cross-country skiing), the emphasized part wasn’t part of the recommendations for spending time in the woods.

Times have changed. And, I’ll have to admit I’ve had a small part in it — having worked in and around Cellular Telephony my entire career.

Final Update (unless I find more news)

After my last posting, we ended up sitting for another ten or so minutes, before the driver was informed that he needed to take us back to the Oceanside Transit Center (where we started, by then an hour before). We eventually returned (but only after the driver had to walk back to the eastbound control cab and release a brake he’d forgotten about — probably the emergency brake that the first driver had used to stop the train.

After we returned to the station, we waited another 5 or so minutes for a different train. Once it got there, it was about half full and almost nobody got off — which I’m still trying to figure out. We crowded on, along with the people expecting the 2 or 3 trains that should have left in between ours and the one that finally left.

Both times by, I got a bit of a look at the scene. The police had the road blocked off on both sides of the tracks — and there are several there between the Sprinter’s dedicated line, and the two or three shared by the Coaster, the Surfliner, the Metrolink trains (although they never actually go south from Oceanside) and the freight trains. On the east side of the tracks as we were coming by on the way out, I did see the bicycle and a tarp that may have covered the body. Other people on the train thought that they saw shoes, and even a face, and concluded that it was probably not an adult. When all is said and done, especially this week, I really hope that they are mistaken.

Once we got past the first stop (we were about halfway there when the accident occurred, they are really close together) the train operated at normal speed at least until my stop. At my stop, I was feeling that I should be extra careful when crossing the tracks (and I always wait for the warning signal to stop ringing and look both ways before crossing the tracks).

This was definitely not how I’d envisioned spending the evening. Instead of spending time with my family, I got home after robot_grrl and Derrick were in bed, and Tara’s parents were nearly ready for bed — a situation not helped by my father-in-law falling down in the back yard trying to get the dog to come back in.

FWIW, there is a very short AP report (here). It doesn’t give much more information that what I’d gathered myself. I’ll probably check tomorrow and see if I can find any more detail.


It sounds, from hearing the investagating deputy talk to an NCTD offical, that we are going to be allowed to continue. We only sat about 45 minutes.


We’ve received word from an NCTD employee. The sherrif’s dept., and possibly the cornorer’s office, may have to talk to the passengers. Until they get here, we’ll just have to sit tight. Of course the fact that a passenger threw up, so the door is open and alarmed, makes sitting tight a bit less plesent.

Train Accident

This afternoon I was on the Sprinter that left Oceanside about 5:03. Less than 2 minutes after leaving the station, as the train was crossing Wisconsin – 1 or 2 streets after the Oceanside transit center – the driver sounded the horn, and made an emergency stop. But not in time to avoid hitting a bicyclist.

Now, 35 minutes later, we are still sitting, waiting for a bus to either take us to the next station, or back to the transit center.

More as details become known.

Should I mention…

That it is 53 degrees and sunny this morning in San Diego?

I didn’t think so 🙂

Pasole time

Today is the holiday potluck for my new team. Following on with a personal tradition dating 15 or more years, I’m bringing a pot of pasole(*). Since the pasole needs to be kept hot, it is sitting in a crock pot on my desk, which is making me hungry.

more pasole ramblings

I got my whale tail

One of the downsides to moving from Illinois was that I had to give up my Route-66 license plates. I know many people who admired them. I figured that since I really don’t like boring blue and red on white plates (and it sometimes seems that 48 of the states have those as their default plates — o.k. I know it isn’t quite that many) I would get those in honor of having grown up about half-way down Route 66 from Chicago to LA.

But, I moved to California and was going to be stuck with blue and red on white default plates again. So, before we left I looked at the plate options for California and decided that the Coastal plates (a.k.a. “Whale Tail”) where my favorite. Of course when we went to AAA within the requisite 10 days of arriving, we had to get sequential default plates. At that time, robot_grrl ordered up custom plates of the “Kid Friendly” verity. However, anything I could think of to put on them was taken. So I resigned myself to having to wait until I could order whale tail plates with my number.

Then, a few weeks later, I went online and requested plates that incorporated my car model with my nickname, and was able to get them! But since I ordered them online, they had to be shipped to a DMV office, and I chose the one near where we were staying in temporary housing.

A couple of weeks ago, Tara got word that her plates were at the AAA office where we had initially got our plates. We drove down there on the way to December Nights and got them.

On Tuesday I got a letter from the DMV informing me that my plates were available. So I called the DMV — and had to call the toll-free number which was probably routed to Sacramento or wherever the central switchboard for the DMV is located. The operator (once I managed to force my way to an operator) didn’t sound sure about having custom plates sent to a AAA office from a DMV, but took the information. Yesterday, I got a call from the Oceanside AAA office, my plates were in.

Now my car proudly sports a set of Whale Tail license plates:
Picture below

Feeling a bit wimpy

After reading about all of the snow in the region of my previous (well previous if you don’t count the temporary housing for two months) residence, I’m feeling a bit like a wimp. Here I am sitting in my office wearing a heavy sweatshirt over a long sleeved shirt and not feeling all that warm (nor that cold). I wore this, however, since this morning’s temperature in Oceanside was reported as an unseasonable 38 degrees (yes 6 degrees ABOVE freezing). Of course all I was wearing over this was a light weight jacket, hardly warmer than my windbreaker. (FWIW, the thermometer in my car said it was 42 when we left about 6:30)

On the other hand, I was genuinely chilled on Wednesday. But that may have had something to do with standing in the pouring rain for 15 minutes waiting for the shuttle bus that was running late, then standing in limited shelter on the train platform in the same pouring rain for another 10 or 15 minutes waiting for the train.

Of course there is also the fact that since loosing 70+ pounds between 2006 and 2008 (and only gaining about 6-10 of it back since) I’ve been more easily chilled. Often sitting in an air conditioned office after drinking a cold glass of water I’ll find myself shivering quite hard until I put on a sweater. For at least a couple of years prior to 2006, I rarely wore my sweaters and sweatshirts in the Chicago winter, even with the thermostat turned down.

But, I still feel a bit wimpy wearing clothing this warm when I’m not having to deal with snow measured in, or nearly in, feet and sub-freezing temperatures and sub-zero wind chills.

In other, not entirely unrelated news, we heard yesterday that my In-Laws were near Albuquerque on their way to their winter home in Coolidge, Arizona (coming from Rockford, Illinois). They left on Wednesday in, or just ahead of, the snow. They should be fairly clear the rest of the way, and will make it on to San Diego (Oceanside) in a few days to join use for Christmas and then leave us childless for the rest of the vacation.