Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

Changes to California Highways (The Website) – Sept to Dec 2016

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Dec 30, 2016 @ 11:09 am PST

First and foremost, the numbers at the start of the update are 39,653 songs on the iPod, with approx 383 on the “5 or Less” list and about 7200 on the “10 or Less” list. This is because updating the highway pages is a chance to play down the music lists. We know what is important. Alas, I added some music during the process, and ended up at 39707 songs total. 5 or less playlist at 407. 10 or less playlist at 7168.

We’re at the end of 2016. Updates were a lot less frequent this year — perhaps every four months, which is far too far apart. The end of 2016 has seen the election of Donald Trump, promises of Infrastructure Funding that may be like sugar plums, the passage of Measure M here in Southern California which will fund massive transit and less massive transportation improvements. What will the future bring? It is anyone’s guess, but most people are glad that we’re looking at 2016 in the rear view mirror.

Updates were made to the following highways, based on my reading of the papers (which are posted to the roadgeeking category at the “Observations Along The Road” and to the California Highways Facebook group) as well as any backed up email changes. I also reviewed the the AAroads forum. This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(1), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail) from Mike Ballard (sdmichael @ AARoads)(2), Ryan Carrigan(3), Coatamundi @ AARoads(4), Mike Cussen(5), pderocco @ AARoads(6), DTComposer @ AARoads(7), Andy Fields (Andy3175 @ AARoads)(8), Neal Parish(9), Sparker @ AARoads(10), Michael Regan(11), Max Rockatansky(12), Joe Rouse (jrouse @ AARoads)(13), Joel Windmiller (14): Route 1(1,7), Route 4(1), I-5(1,2,10), I-8(1), I-10(1), Route 11(1), Route 12(11), I-15(1,2), Route 17(1,9), Route 20(13), Route 24(9), Route 25(12), Route 29(1), LRN 33(12), Route 36(1), Route 39(1,10), Former US 40(9), Route 41(14,12), Route 46(12), Former US 50(9), Route 58(6), Route 65(1), US 66(1), Route 67(1), Route 71(1), Route 75(1), Route 76(1), I-80(1,4,13), Route 84(1), Route 85(1), Route 86(8), Route 91(1), Route 99(1,14), US 101(1,4,13,8), Route 108(1), Route 113(11), LRN 120(12), Route 125(1), LRN 125(12), Route 126(1), Route 138(1), Route 146(12), Route 156(1), Route 163(1), Route 180(14), I-215(1), Route 237(1), Route 241(8), Route 246(1), I-280(1), Route 299(1), Former US 399(12), Route 371(1), I-405(1), Former US 466(12), I-580(1), Route 710(1), I-805(1), Route 905(1), and Santa Clara County Route G4(1). In terms of link lists, the history links were updated(3). Also updated was the page with links to historical maps of relevance to California Highways(9,12). I’ll note there were some particular good background information posts on AAroads — I’ve hopefully been able to capture that information so it isn’t lost into the void (with attribution, of course). I’ll also note that reading AAroads reminded me of my philosphy on this website, and why it is so important: I focus on the history and actual routings. I don’t view it as my place to speculate on numberings, control cities, or opinions on what should be or what Caltrans got right and wrong. That way leads to Dyspepsia, which I understand is a city on an underserved state route somewhere.

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California Highway Headlines for December 2016

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Dec 28, 2016 @ 5:15 pm PST

Another year has come to an end. 2016 has been a tumultuous year, with seemingly a larger share of significant deaths (although perhaps it wasn’t 2016’s fault), a transformative election (from California’s point of view, not transformative in a good way), and significantly decreased funding for highway repairs and improvement (although there were some bright notes at the end of the year). Here are the headlines from the last month of the year:

  • New freeway connectors help reduce border congestion. Construction crews just wrapped up a year-long project that will help reduce congestion at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. Three freeway connectors that link SR 905 and SR 11 to the northbound South Bay Expressway opened to traffic today.
  • Richmond-San Rafael bridge corridor work to be topic of open houses. A pair of open houses on access improvement work planned for the portion of Interstate 580 along the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge corridor will be held next week in Richmond and San Rafael. The Richmond open house is 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 8 in the council chamber at City Hall, 450 Civic Center Plaza. The San Rafael meeting is 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 9 at San Rafael City Hall, 1400 Fifth Ave.
  • Caltrans outlines Riverside, San Bernardino District 8 freeway projects in next 5 years. A list and a map showing 20 Southwest Riverside County Caltrans District 8 freeway projects either underway or planned for the next five years now available from the district offices in San Bernardino were handed out at a Riverside County District 3 Municipal Advisory Council meeting in Anza Nov. 9. The information is available on request from residents in Riverside and San Bernardino County. Caltrans District 8 is a part of the state transportation agency’s efforts to be more transparent with their projects. The district offices are located at 464 W. 4th Street in San Bernardino or and can be reached by calling (909) 383-4646.

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Stop Blaming 2016

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Dec 27, 2016 @ 1:02 pm PST

With Carrie Fisher’s passing, folks are at it again:

  • “2016? Really?”
  • “2016 – You’re so fired!”

Folks, 2016 had nothing to do with it. 2016 is an artificial construct — a number that we put (and I emphasize, *we put*) on a collection of days starting at some arbitrary point. In this case, where ever the Pope decided to put January, and counting from what was then around the birthday of some Jewish carpenter. Why aren’t we saying, 5777, you’re so fired, or whatever Chinese year it is, or whatever the Islamic calendar is.

Furthermore, if  you’re the religious type, why aren’t you blaming God? After all, doesn’t God dictate what happens in the world? Doesn’t God work in mysterious ways, bringing people up to heaven (or sending them to you-know-where) for whatever reasons he wants? When a loved one dies, don’t we say, “There, there. They are with God now, in his warm embrace.” So go ahead, get pissed at God for taking Carrie Fisher and George Michael and Prince and all these other people. While you’re at it, get mad at God for taking all those good people that did nothing to deserve it, the children around the world, the people in Aleppo, the babies that dies of Ebola and Zika and Cancer and all sorts of horrible things. Oh, and blame God for taking Castro as well.

But we don’t blame God, do we? We blame 2016.

We can’t admit the truth. Neither God nor 2016 had anything to do with it. God may not even exist (or if God does, he (or she) might have a deistic view of things, setting the universe in motion and letting it play out.

Blame Time. After all, they named Trump “Man of the Year”.

Seriously, blame time and coincidence.

Time is relentless. It marches on, and we have no way of stopping it. People grow older, and they die. Furthermore, as we grow older, our icons grow older as well. We reach a point where a lot of our icons — from stage, screen, literature, and politics — are growing older as well. Growing older has a price. Death. It is something we will all face one day. So we grow older, our icons grow older, and the seemingly all seem to die in a bunch. Or at least those of whom we care more die in a bunch, and it hits us harder. It makes us realize that they are near our age, and as they are passing away, could we be next?

But all of these celebrities, and even Fidel Castro, have one thing we may not have. They’ve done big things, and these things will live on long after they die. Castro will live on in his impact on the people of America and the people of Cuba. John Glenn will live on for his achievements. So will Justice Scalia. As will Carrie Fisher, who will live on forever in the Star Wars mythology. As will George Michael, in his music.

But will we? Who will remember us?

So go on. Do something big. Make it so that you are remembered in this world even after you pass. Live on — not in a highway name or a name on a building, but in the hearts of those you have touched through your actions. Create the stories that they will tell in the future.

But stop blaming 2016.

My condolences to Debbie Reynolds, the Fisher family, her friends and their families. My condolences to everyone who has lost someone they have loved this year. They will live on in your memories and the stories you tell about them to your children and others.

Exploring the Tension

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Dec 27, 2016 @ 10:24 am PST

userpic=trumpA friend on Facebook recently posted about the situation with the Rockettes performing at Trump’s inauguration, contrasting it with the situation of the baker refusing to make a cake for a gay couple. My response touched upon a number of the tensions inherent in our American Experiment, and so I decided to expand it into a post.

When considering this issue, there are a number of “rights” that come into play. There is freedom of speech, which generally gives you the right to express your opinion, whether that expression is through words or through action (as the courts have recognized that certain actions, be it flag burning, pornography, or silent protests, are all forms of protected speech). There is your freedom to practice your religion, which generally applies to what you do, as opposed to imposing your beliefs upon others (although there is a recognized tension there). There is equal protection under the law, which generally means freedom from discrimination for protected classes. These classes are typically based on things like race, creed, sex, sexual orientation, and so on.

So let’s look at the baker who refuses to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. He’s a businessman who has the right to serve whomever he wants, right? Actually, based on the sign, it is to refuse service to anyone. If you are his establishment, causing a ruckus and harassing other patrons, he can refuse to serve you and ask you to leave. If you aren’t wearing a shirt and shoes, he could refuse to serve you. But could he refuse to serve you just because you were black? Just because you were a woman? Because you were Jewish? No. Those are protected classes, and equal protection under the law trumps (so to speak) his right to refuse service. The courts have ruled that sexual orientation is a protected class, so he couldn’t refuse to bake you a cake just because you were gay (irrespective of his personal beliefs). The same is true for a government worker issuing a marriage license.

Let’s look at the Rockettes. In general, when you work for someone you need to follow your employment contract and what your employer says, unless it bumps into equal protection under the law. Individuals can exercise their freedom of speech by refusing to work for Donald Trump’s inauguration; this refusal isn’t based on Trump being a protected class, but because of his political actions — his speech, in other words. You have freedom of speech in America, but you don’t have freedom of consequences from that speech. Depending on what you do or what you say, those consequences could include losing your job. That’s the risk.

With respect to the Rockettes, in general, if their employer has signed a contract for them to perform, they need to perform. They don’t have to be happy about it. Within the boundaries of their contract, they could express their speech through costume modifications, signs, etc. They could individually refuse to perform, but their employer would have the right (but not the obligation) to terminate their employment. They are free to express their speech, but the place they express it may come with consequences. In the case of the Rockettes, their employer has indicated there will not be consequences if an individual refuses to perform, but that ultimately was the employer’s choice.

As for Mr. Trump: The refusal of so many performers to perform should give him pause, and to ask himself, “Why?”. He should be aware enough to realize that his speech during the campaign and his speech as demonstrated by his cabinet nominations has had an impact. He should be asking himself if perhaps he should rethink what he said — and even more importantly, how he said it. Perhaps he might get more respect — and more performers — if he pledged to respect equal protection under the law, asked his followers to respect equal protection under the law, and perhaps eschewed the effort to speak within 144 characters (going instead for more nuanced and well-thought-out speech).

The President’s Wife

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Dec 26, 2016 @ 4:01 pm PST

Jackie (Movie)As is our holiday tradition, we went to go see a movie on Christmas. Our daughter was joining us, so we had to find something acceptable to all three of our. The first choice, Hidden Figures, was not yet in general release as was only at the overpriced Arclight theatres. We ended up seeing Jackie at the Laemmle Town Center in Encino.

Jackie tells the story of Jacqueline Kennedy right around the time of the assassination of her husband, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, framed by a reporter supposedly interviewing her about her last days in the White House.

I found the story…. ponderous. You didn’t learn that much about her, you didn’t learn that much about him, you didn’t learn that much about the Johnsons, you only briefly saw the kids reactions. In fact, the entire movie seemed to be watching Jackie’s reaction to all of this, wondering what her legacy would be, and planning the President’s funeral.

There needed to be more. There needed to be insight — real insight — into their relationship. We know the very early days of Jackie from Grey Gardens. We know her end as a recluse widow of Aristotle Onassis. But who and what was the real woman? That we don’t see. Portman’s Jackie is stiff and cold; one wonders what the President saw in her other than glamour.

This is not to say I didn’t like the movie — it was good. It just wasn’t one I’d go out of the way to see again.

It did raise a few interesting questions, such as the whole White House transition. Having to pack and move out in the middle of grief — just the whole transition process of packing your family in the White House environment — is fascinating. However, this was only touched upon, not explored in depth.

We did discuss afterwards who was the first Presidential wife to really re-embrace a political and active role. The first, of course, we Eleanor Roosevelt. But after that? Bess Truman? Mamie Eisenhower? Jackie Kennedy? Lady Bird Johnson? Pat Nixon? Betty Ford? Rosayln Carter? Nancy Reagan? Barbara Bush? Hillary Clinton? Laura Bush? Michelle Obama?

I think the only ones who really had that identity absent their husbands, post Eleanor, were Hillary and Michelle. The rest were more minor causes. Where will Melania fit in the pantheon of First Ladies? Will she embrace or shy away from the role? Hard to say.

Theater vs Theatre

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Dec 25, 2016 @ 1:55 pm PST

I just went to find a show and get tickets online for my annual Christmas movie. It was a royal pain. The theater (my spelling for movie palaces) websites were slow and painful, and it was difficult to find prices. When I could, they were ridiculously expensive for movies. Reserved seating at AMC was ~16 with service charges; Arclight was~17 plus charges. We ended up at a Laemmle with general seating for $13 per ticket with service charges.

I contrast this with the small theatre I attend. Going through Goldstar, I can see great shows for under $15 a ticket, often even less with the comp train. Even paying full price, I’m only a little more and I get to see live entertainment. Movies are the same performance whether I see it in the theatre, or on my TV screen at home.

Tell me again why I should go out to the movies? I’m starting to see few benefits for doing so, vs. just waiting for scripted dramas at watching it at home. The shared experience? Puh-leeze. Nothing the audience does changes the performance or the energy on the screen. If I want the shared experience, I’ll go to a live show where I can actually impact the actors.

The big screen? Again, puh-leeze. I can have an equivalently large screen, with equal resolution, and no people talking or walking in front of me, plus I can pause the show to go to the bathroom. Tell me again why I should see a movie in a theater, considering the hassle and the price.

It has gotten to the point where, when I go see a movie once a year, I’m reminded of why I only see a movie once a year.

So you want to get me a present….

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Dec 25, 2016 @ 7:00 am PST

So you forgot to get me a present for the Christmas or Chanukah this year (and I know you did)? Don’t despair. Here’s what you can get me:

  • If you are someone who hates liberals, who despises Clinton and Obama: Please, give it up (or at least give up your online animosity towards Obama, Clinton, and liberals). You won the election, both Clinton and Obama will be gone from the elected political stage in a month. It’s not worth the anger. As for the Liberals, remember that this country was made great by people from both sides expressing their views and finding compromises that both could grudgingly accept, even if they found them a little distasteful. Liberals want this country to succeed just as you do (even though you might not believe it). Let’s tone down the animosity and the partisanship.
  • If you are Liberal, and/or utterly despise Donald Trump: Tone down the rhetoric. The hatred has quickly become one note, and you will come to realize it isn’t worth it — it may feel good now, but remember that it didn’t feel good when they did it to Obama, or when they will do it to the next Democratic President (and there will be one). What you do now is poking an anthill with a stick, and it doesn’t help the country. We should be respecting our President as much as we can, and being generally silent when we can’t. Note that I didn’t say agree. We should be continually working to rebuild our party(s), and insisting that Congress and the Courts do their job to uphold the constitution, limit the Presidency as the Constitution designed, and to investigate any malfeasance (as was done for past administrations). We should figure out how to find compromises to make this country succeed, instead of being small children and insisting that it is our way, or we take our toys and go home. As for Trump, we need to play to his ego, and convince him that he is at the crossroads of going down as one of the worst and most divisive presidents, or one of the greatest presidents who unified the country after years of intense partisanship. He needs to do the latter — abandon the tweeting, pick good and qualified advisors and cabinet heads and listen to them, and work to best serve not only those from the electoral majority states that won him the election, but those voters who are a majority of those who vote who voted for his opponent. He is better than that — he must be positive, not punative.

Folks, we all want this country to succeed, grow, and prosper. We may disagree on how to get there, but our goals (I hope) are the same.  How we behave on the network — at least many of us — does not help us get that goal. Don’t become the Internet 4Chan wants. We are so much better than that.

And that, friends, can be your holiday gift to me.

May all of you have the merriest of Chrismas Days (if that is your celebration), a Chappy Chanukah and a Gud Yom Tov and Chag Sameach (if that is your celebration), a blessed Kwanza (if that is your celebration), or just a relaxing day off of work while everyone else celebrates, thankful that the holiday music is finally coming to an end.

What, Me Worry? | What? Me Worry!

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Dec 23, 2016 @ 9:13 am PST

userpic=trumpMy 57th year starts concurrently with the term of President Trump? Should I be worried? Here is some news chum related to the subject:

  • The Power of the President. There are some out there worried that Trump may attempt to abuse his power. But what power does the President have, in reality. Just ask President Obama. A Vox article reports that he didn’t realize how limited the Presidency was until he became President. The article notes that, on a great many issues, the president isn’t the policy-wonk-in-chief, he’s the coalition-builder-in-chief. And without a strong enough coalition, he can’t get his way. This is true on issue after issue — from gun control to the cap-and-trade bill to immigration reform. In terms of actually getting things done — and especially in terms of creating large shifts in policy — the path will be slow. Of course, there’s always Twitter, where Trump is a master of creating problems. Just ask Lockheed Martin.
  • The Power of the Courts. There’s another roadblock in the way of Trump’s excesses: The court system. The LA Times has an interesting article on how the court system will serve to restrain Trump. Georgetown law professor David Cole, who in January will become the ACLU’s national legal director, said he is “optimistic the courts will stand up against abuses of power” in the Trump era, citing the courts’ moderating impact on “war on terror” following the 9/11 attacks. For many executive orders, the courts have limited their application or applicability (even under Obama). Further, the courts tend to preserve constitutional rights once granted, and tend to hold with precedence.
  • The Power of the Shul. One thing many people didn’t realize was that no matter who won the election, Clinton or Trump, there would be a Jewish In-Law in the White House. In this case, it is Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump — and the two of them are shul shopping. Once we get past the point that, no, this isn’t shoe shopping :-), there is a serious question. Many Jews supported Clinton; more overall than Trump. Can politics be left at the shul door? This is something I often face — we have many Trump conservatives in our Synagogue’s Men’s Club (in fact, we’ve had a similar political chain: I (a Clinton/Obama Liberal) termed out as MoTAS President, and my replacement is a strongly Conservative (who I think supports Trump). Yet we’re able to set aside politics and be friends. Will this be possible for Jared and Ivanka, and will their new spiritual leader be able to provide any influence to the new administration.
  • The Power of 4Chan. On the other side of the potential limiting factors of the above is the rise of “4 Chan Politics”. 4Chan politics, according to TechCrunch, is the rise of the people “emboldened by the seeming anonymity of the Internet and the ability for things that happen there to have real-world consequences – that have hijacked national discourse. They are the hackers who sway elections, who break civil contracts, who leak pictures of us naked. They are the eggs and Tumblr-posters who call each other – and others – the worst of slurs. They are the ones who sit behind their keyboards and rail at the world or, worse, pull the strings to which they have access from their secret places. […] They are people who have been given a megaphone and prefer to burp and curse and shout into it rather than help. They are the ones who yell “Jump” to the man on the bridge because of his implied weakness.” Donald Trump is clearly a 4Chan politician, given his use of Twitter. The article is a really interesting read. It talks about how these folks threaten free speech — for when they are called on their idiocy, they tend to attack the “free speech warriors” with DDOS attacks and such.

Of course, one can ignore it all, stick one’s head in the sand, and wonder all day instead what your testicles do when you are just sitting there. You know you wanted to know.