Thursday, July 15, 2010

Under Construction

As you probably guessed, yes! I'm retrofitting the blog to be easier on the eyes and hoping to post more photos and art, at least, even if I can't get more writing done for a while.

Seriously, I spent three nights in hotels this week, and even though I was home every night (weird series of events) or maybe because I was home every night and had to leave again, I'm looking forward to being a really flaky employee all week next week and probably tomorrow, too, because I feel like I earned it. All that time in the car means a lot of thinking that wants to be blogged, but by the time I get home I have other priorities (travel reports, staring at Brent, vacuuming, spending hours reading Hyperbole and a Half because Allie is GENIUS with the pixel-y bears, gratuitous bloody imaginary childhood drama, and the furry Alot).

Anyway I want to unlock the blog and that means giving it a little attitude adjustment and fine-tuning my philosophy. The journal of a new life needs a shiny new book, with archives available, of course.

All that driving also means I'm getting a crash course in Northern California life. I have decided I am pretty much guaranteed to fall in love with every place I will ever live, because every square inch of this planet is unique and worthy and wonderful. But California is special to me, almost as special as Wyoming, and Northern California is proving to be a fascinating microcosm of the American Dream in a way I didn't anticipate.

For instance, today after a half-day workshop on membrane filtration, I drove home. I drove about 55 miles, through Calaveras, Amador, and Sacramento counties, and over Pardee Dam. And in that short distance -- because relatively, for me, it is a short distance -- I saw: corn fields, vineyards, goat ranches, llama ranches, turkey ranches, a quarry and gravel plant, cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, hawks, junkyards, a nursery with acres of flowering shrubs and fruit trees, reservoirs, wetlands, general stores, town squares, cemeteries, grasslands, taco shops, donut shops, market stands offering fresh strawberries and white nectarines, the unmistakable pot-bellied reactor towers of the Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant (which was closed by public referendum in June of 1989), several bronze representations of Mark Twain, and, in a strip mall on Folsom as I came into town, a store called Spy Outlet.

What's in your 55-mile radius?

I didn't get pictures of any of that; between the BlackBerry and the Garmin GPS, there are enough devices threatening my life by distracting my attention without me taking photos from the window of my moving vehicle. But I did snap my favorite local landmark, the beacon on the horizon that means I'm minutes from my front door, the 3-million gallon concrete Alhambra Reservoir, looming over East Sacramento in the afternoon sun. There's a public art installation on the side that makes it an incredibly striking and unique component of our public water system. It's quite possibly the most beautiful drinking water storage tank I have ever seen.

My new neighborhood cornerstone weighs quite a bit when it's empty, but the water it contains, when it's full, weighs 12,500 tons. Wow.


Blogger a572mike said...

If you ever get a chance, go to Amador Cellars on Shenandoah Road, outside of Plymouth, they have a really cool straw bale and concrete building for their tasting room.

May 22, 2011 at 11:19 AM  

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