Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"It absolutely will not stop until you are dead"

Arnold's feeling wonderful about the "great, great accomplishment" of a state budget that basically cuts education and social spending off at the thighs has passed in California.

Cuts, cuts, and more cuts -- and of course, no new taxes. Brilliant republican money policy that's worked so well in our country in the last decade!

A while back, I heard Arnold say that there was too much "fat" in their budget, and the legislators knew where it was. So let's look at the "fat" they cut:
Public education: $4.3 billion in direct cuts and another $1.7 billion in deferrals
Higher education: $3 billion in cuts
CalWorks: $528 million in cuts
Home health aides: $226 million in cuts
Medi-Cal: $1 billion in cuts
State workers: 13.8% total pay cut (in unpaid work furloughs)
Local-level governments: $4 billion in total cuts

According to the article cited above, "There are no new taxes here unless you count fee hikes to college students, pay cuts to state workers, and benefit cuts to millions who rely on state benefits new taxes. Rejected was a $1.50 per pack tax on cigarettes. Another item rejected was a $15 annual vehicle license fee hike. And the big one that has been rejected is the 9.9% tax on oil extraction that would have given around $1 billion to higher education and could have offset some of the cuts there."

Brilliant republican governance at work!
But hey, prisons went relatively unscathed! Good to know that they're investing in the future... just what that future might look like, however, is beginning to sound a little like a certain movie that starred the Governator -- in which a few rebels fought against killing machines....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Well, I just got word that I will not be able to start school at all in the 2009-2010 academic year. Thanks to the Governator's budget cuts, the entire California State University system (of which Sonoma State U is a part) can't accept any new students. I'd hoped for a special enrollment exception, but it didn't come through.

I heard the State-terminator on NPR a few weeks ago talking about how they have to cut the "fat" and the "waste" in their budget to survive the recession. Since when did education become fat and waste?

I'm really bummed about this; I'd hoped to be able to continue my quest for a criminalistics degree. I have outstanding grades and a very good GPA, I'm a hard worker with specific goals in mind, and I'm trying to transfer from a very good school (Penn State). But it doesn't matter, thanks to the miracle of the Bush Economy (thanks, Tengrain) and the thievery of Wall Street billionaires.

The only way a college can make money is to get more students, yet they can't accept any more students because they don't have the staff and money to open more classes. What a ridiculous situation. It's like the conundrum of not being able to get a job with experience, but not being able to get experience without a job. It's stupid. But the state school system has no choice.

Guess I'll try other schools in the area, and just take basics and stuff I need -- then try to transfer to Sonoma State (which is the only school in the area with the criminalistics degree) later. Matty tells me he's hearing it'll take years to close California's budget deficit. That's pretty depressing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Why is West Virginia only "almost heaven"?*

The reason is that Sonoma County IS heaven. Look at these photos from the Matanzas Creek Winery website: Holy moly. This winery, and thus these beautiful places, are only 12 minutes from Rohnert Park.

*No offense meant to either John Denver or the state or West Virginia

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Check out the forty billion wineries in Wine Country! Wow. They're everywhere! Here's just a tiny piece of the map, containing my future homebase:
So I've been getting lists of companies in the same industry as my current job, all in towns around Rohnert Park. I've got a list, complete with addresses, of 45 companies so far. I figure I'll compose a knock-out cover letter talking about how I know this industry and have worked in sales and marketing in this industry, etc. -- something that will maybe attract someone's eye if they're looking to fill a general slave position with someone who can do a little of everything and a lot of many things.

I'm blastin' out the resume all over that area, hoping that someone will at least want to talk to me when I get there. I really can do a lot of different things, and I'm a fast learner.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The route and stops are planned!

So Matty McMatterson will be coming on the trip with me, after poor Matt R. realized he just didn't have the money to make the trip. This will be even more fun now with my Matty!

We started talking about specific routes and stops, and normally I am not good at planning stuff (just ask Kat, she'll tell you), but this time -- thanks to the wonders of the internets -- I was able to plan all the stops AND hotels and stuff!

I decided to give our patronage to the cheap but always clean Motel 6 chain. Once I figured that out, it was easy to plan!

I also decided to skip the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, because on the map it looks like it's kinda in the middle of suburbia and golf courses. Ugh. So we'll just have to look along the way for my Lesser/Greater Prairie Chickens!

STOP 1, Saturday, August 1: Hammond IN, which is right near Gary Indiana (hee hee hee Gary Indiana Gary Indiana Gary Indiana let me say it once again! Gary Indiana...).
Driving distance: 9 hrs 19 mins (counting a detour to drive through Gary Indiana hee hee hee Gary Indiana Gary Indiana that's the town that knew me when! hee hee)
Room rate(always for 2 full beds, non-smoking, pets okay): $55.99. And if we pay an extra $2.99, we can get WIFI!

STOP 2, Sunday, August 2: Lincoln NE, where we might be able to stay with a school chum of Matty's
Driving distance: 8 hrs 9 mins
Room rate: either free or $45.99

STOP 3, Monday, August 3: Cheyenne WY
Driving distance: 8 hrs 9 mins, and that's counting if we drive through that Pawnee National Grasslands (in Colorado) that I wanted to drive through.
Room rate: $51.99

STOP 4, Tuesday, August 4: Wells NV
Driving distance: 8 hrs 30 mins
Room rate: $40.99!!!

STOP 5, Wednesday, August 5: ROHNERT PARK CA!
Driving distance: 8 hrs 27 mins (going through Napa Valley!)
YAY! We're home! Free room! (well, after we pay rent...)

Wow. This is really happening.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Future birding: Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie!

While perusing my route along I-80 last night with girlfriend AB, I saw that just south of Chicago near Joliet, IL, lies Midewin (mih-DAY-win, according to an article I read) National Tallgrass Prairie. Sounds awesome! So I googled to see what might be in store for us as we cruise across.

Turns out, I might be able to see some really good stuff -- according to a Chicago Wilderness article:
As its prairies have been restored, Midewin has attracted growing numbers of rare grassland birds. In fact, the site first came to ecologists’ attention in 1982 when iologists visited it and noticed upland sandpipers. Birders will also observe loggerhead shrikes, bobolinks, eastern meadowlarks, Henslow’s sparrows,
grasshopper sparrows, and many other species of grassland birds.
The Audubon ornithological summary continues, as this prairie is listed as an Important Birding Area:
Midewin provides crucial habitat for breeding Upland Sandpiper, Bell's Vireo, Bobolink, Dickcissel, Sedge Wren, Eastern Meadowlark, Henslow's and Grasshopper Sparrows, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Northern Mockingbird and Loggerhead Shrike.
During spring and fall migration, large numbers of migrant grassland and shrubland birds pause and rest at Midewin, while the small wetlands attract migratory rails, snipes, Marsh Wren and Swamp Sparrow.
This site was chosen as an IBA because it met the criteria for breeding Upland Sandpiper, Willow Flycatcher, Sedge Wren, Loggerhead Shrike, Bell's Vireo, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Bobolink. [I bolded potential lifers]
I could see a few lifers at this place! Nowhere, however, did I see anything about the ever-elusive Prairie Chicken (either greater or lesser). So I'll keep looking for that. I thought I'd seen mention of the Yellow-headed Blackbird as well, but nothing here. That would also be a lifer.

Still--this might be a great place to stop and check things out!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Moving date announced!

August 1, folks. That's when Matt Rupert, and possible Matty McMatterson (who's trying to wimp out on the boring drive and fly instead) will begin our epic car journey to California.

Of course, now that I've picked a date, I'm already wondering if I should fudge on it....