Philz Coffee coming to Ice Blocks

Philz Coffee of San Francisco is opening a store in the Ice Blocks Shed on R St between 17th and 18th. It is exciting to see new development and new business coming to this area, only a few blocks from where I live. The store is due to open July 20th or shortly thereafter. 

However, I caution you about giving Philz you business. Philz is the one coffee place in San Francisco that steadfastly refuses to have reusable mugs for customers. I’ve talked to a lot of San Franciscans who won’t go there for this very reason. Philz is part of the throw-it-away culture that believes in convenience over responsibility. 

Since the store is not open yet, I can’t say whether Philz Sacramento will have the same policy, but if they do, please boycott them. If they do, it will be the only coffee place in Sacramento that refuses to offer customers a choice. Every locally-based coffee company and even the national chains do offer a choice. 

Posted in food | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Auburn to Folsom backpack

AmericanRiver_bottom-of-trailI’ve been away from my personal blog for eight months, in part because I’m now doing an additional blog for Sacramento Transit Advocates and Riders (STAR), and in part I’ve just been busy with life. A backpack seems like a good time to start again, since many of my posts are about backpacking, and backpacking season is coming on.

I took light rail and the Placer County Transit light rail to Auburn bus up to the transit center/train station, and then walked to the trailhead. Picking a different route to the trailhead from the one I normally use, I realized that Auburn Alehouse is on the way, so had to stop in for a beer. This is one of three breweries in Auburn, but the other two are not on the way anywhere, so will require a separate trip. From the Auburn Staging Area, where the Western States trail ends, I headed down the trail westward. Though the Pioneer Express Trail has had many different routes over the years, it seems as though it has settled into following the Shirland Canal and then down the Cardiac Bypass trail to the Pioneer Express Gate (174).

A short ways below the tail reaches the river. I reservoir full pool, the river ends here, but with the reservoir low it flows for several miles down as far a Mormon Ravine. The huge gravel bar here, deposited at full pool, has been cut through by the recent high water. The river is a beautiful blue green, though I’m sure it was sediment laden during the warm rain runoff this winter.


Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies mating

Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies were everywhere, in fact almost the only butterfly I saw. Though the caterpillars feed only on pipevine, the adult nectar on almost anything in bloom, and the Blue Dicks were the most common flower along the trail. Though the green growth is lush, the bulk of the flowers have yet to come on. Other flowers were Forget-Me-Not (possibly), lupine, poppy, painbrush, iris, wallflower, and of course shrubs of which buckbrush Ceanothus was the most common. Redbud was brilliant where it grows, but not widespead.

I camped at an old homesite where a long abandoned road comes down, one of the few good flat spots along the trail. The apple tree there was in bloom, though most of it is now dead. A bit further down I ate an orange, very tart, and I wonder if that is just the taste of oranges back in the old days before they were bred to be sweet, and bland.

There were a passle of people near Mormon Ravine and Rattlesnake Bar, running clubs and runners, three backpackers, and several families. But the rest of the trail was mostly empty.

Poison oak is already growing into the trail, this will be a good year for it, so I’m glad I did this section early.

When I got to the Folsom truss bridge, the parkway trail was signed as closed, and I realized that 26 miles on the trail had left my feet pretty sore (I’ve neither been backpacking nor hiking much, just bicycling and walking), and I was unlikely to finish the 28 miles back home, so I walked to Folsom light rail and went home.

With the deep snows in the high Sierra, I imagine I’ll be backpacking and hiking a lot more in the Sierra foothills and the coast ranges this year, maybe not getting into the high country until late July.

This trail, in addition to being called the Pioneer Express Trail, is part of the American Discovery Trail (ADT) segment 5, Auburn to Sacramento. For other ADT trips, search American Discovery Trail.

Photos on Flickr:


Posted in American Discovery Trail, Backpacking & Hiking | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

more ADT backpacking

Continuing walking and documenting the western-most portion of the American Discovery Trail (ADT), I backpacked from Virginia City to Tahoe City. From Virginia City to the Tahoe Rim Trail above Carson City, the trail is more characteristic of the Great Basin than the Sierra, but the remainder is higher and wetter.

Washoe Valley

Washoe Valley

I took the Amtrak bus to Reno, went on a side trip to the Patagonia Outlet, and then hitchhiked up to Virginia City (no public transportation). Dinner at the Red Dog Saloon while my devices charged, and then out on the trail about sunset. The route follows Ophir Grade, a road that was the original route serving Virginia City. At Five Mile Reservoir, which is a holding pond for water in the Marlette to Virginia City water system (no water access, however), I took a wrong turn along the new pipeline road, since this waypoint was not in the ADTS document, and it looks invitingly flat though it later does two major roller coaster dives and climbs. The correct route turns left on an old road and goes up nearly over the top of McClelland Peak. Rejoining the route west of McClelland, it descends into Washoe Valley at the ranger station and campground. This section from Virginia City to the campground is dry.

Continue reading

Posted in American Discovery Trail, Backpacking & Hiking | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

IMDb Top 250, finally!


Spirited Away, IMDb #29

Yesterday I accomplished watching the IMDb Top 250 movies. I have been keeping track of the movies I watch since about 2002, but it was not until about four years ago that I decided to watch all of the movies on the top 250 list. I got to 240 about a year ago, and then progress really slowed, as every time I watched a movie, another one would pop up on to the list, and something I’d watched, drop off. Culturally popular movies tend to skyrocket onto the list, and then steadily drop down, and often off, the list over time. Some movies were hard to come by, with the library not having copies and not seemingly available to rent and download. I ended up renting a number of movies from iTunes since the wait list for library copies was weeks or months.

My ratings of movies agree with the masses on IMDb about 60% of the time, maybe a little above or below, but occasionally I strongly disagree. Of the five movies I’ve rated at 10 of 10 (Rififi, Spirited Away, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, and Chinatown), only Rififi is not on the list, though it still is a respectable 8.2. On the low end, movies I rated 4, 3, and 2 (The Departed, Gone with the Wind, Barry Lyndon, and Scarface) are still in the top 250.

I am in the process of moving my “movies watched” list from a Macintosh application, DVDpedia, to IMDb. There is a some loss of function, but there are benefits such as not having to enter movie data manually, and changing IMDb entries as movies moved up and down. I used to keep track of the Roger Ebert ratings on movies, as his ratings matched my own more often that other sources (but not always!). But with Roger gone, this became less and less useful. Moving to IMDb is part of my general move from laptop to Internet resources, towards the time someday when I have Internet access but no laptop. iOS devices instead.

My IMDb page is at, for your entertainment.

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Escalante way back

paintbrush & sandstone

paintbrush & sandstone, Deer Creek

I am gradually digitizing my slides, and I just completed all my Escalante trips and uploaded to Flickr. Here they are, if you like old photos. The first two trips were taken with an Instamatic square frame camera, the next three with an Olympus OM-1, and then an Olympus Stylus. I’ve also included my three more recent trips, all digital. I took several trips during my no-photos time, as well, but of course have no record of those.

Posted in Backpacking & Hiking | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Theatre Spring 2016

The links to each play will, sooner or later, expire.


Posted in Theatre | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading in the digital world

I was recently looking at my “library” of books. I have only a few very favorites remaining as physical copies on my bookshelf, but I have many Kindle and Audible books. Just as in the old days when I had many unread books on the shelf, many of them purchased and unread years later, I have many unread on my digital shelf.

So I’m going to get many of them read this summer by “reading” (listening) while I’m backpacking. This is something I’ve shied away from for years because I don’t want to separate myself even a bit from nature. I’ve often taken my iPod nano (or other devices) to read just before bed, but on most days I’m exhausted and fall asleep, and spend too much time the next day trying to figure out where I was, so I can continue from that point. Unlike some people, I seem to remember nothing of what I “read” when I’m asleep. On my last backpack trip I “read” quite a bit, finishing one short book and half of a longer one while hiking, and also got another half short book read while on the train (Amtrak and BART).

I have a number of books in both Kindle and Audible versions, which with the WhisperSync technology allows me to switch back and forth. After buying a Kindle book, the Audible match can be purchased at a considerable discount. Strangely, it doesn’t go the other way, having purchased an Audible recorded book doesn’t provide any discount on the Kindle book. At any rate, many of my digital books I can read with the Kindle app or listen to, so I’m listening to them on my iPod.

goodreads_logo.pngAnother change I’ve just started is to keep track of the books I own, am reading or want to read, online. I picked a service called GoodReads. I’ve loaded most but not all of my digital books there, and am now going to keep track of my status there instead of in the Macintosh application BookPedia. I have yet to move everything over, and have not input any of my physical books at all, but will.

If you are interested in what I own, what I’ve read, what I’m reading, and what I want to read, it is there in my profile on GoodReads. You can also see my favorite authors, or at least the ones for which I’ve created a separate bookshelf.

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment