Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ordering the Bar Pack

Qnty Item Description Price Extended
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 app0710ground July 2010 Bar Exam $55.00 $55.00
Application GROUND SHIPPING
Sub Total: $55.00
Taxes: $0.00
No Shipping Required (Seminar Reg/Admissions/Etc.) Shipping: $0.00
Total: $55.00

It's official.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Politics Monday: Quick Hits - Welcome 2010

Fox News gets all preachy and says Tiger should become a Christian. Because that has really worked out for Ensign, Vitter, and Gibbons?

Remember the second terrorist attack under Bush? The white powder, etc. It's back, but fake.

Sandoval is looking to make a Heller-like rebirth to right wing nuttery by calling Gibbons prudent.

Look at this chart. Just do it.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Moving and Construction

The Daily Ross is moving soon after the new year. Once the new site is constructed, there will be a link here. Until then, posting will be light.

New Year's Resolution: Move Your Money

Huffington Post is pushing people to move their money to local banks. It is an interesting idea that deserves some thought.

Travel by Train: Part 4 - The Final Leg

The last part of the trip was the part I was most excited about. The historic trip from Sacramento, over the Sierra Nevadas into Reno. Learning that the observation car is much more fun than a seat and because I was surrounded by a family that could use the extra leg room of my seat, as soon as I turned in my ticket, I made my way to the observation car.

Because the trip is historic, they narrate the trip. About every half hour or so, a new factoid is discussed over the sound system. Some interesting factoids included how the City of Roseville got its name (named after the most popular girl in town), how they engineered the path from the mountains into Truckee, and the location of the first Union Pacific robber (Verdi).

The trip was incredible. The Sierras were covered in snow and although I've made the trip probably a thousand times, the new perspective from the train was awesome. We passed Auburn, Colfax, Sugar Bowl ski resort, Truckee, and winded our way through the canyon to Reno. It took approximately 3 hours longer than by car but the view and experience were worth it; worth the whole trip up to that point.

I had lunch in the dining car. I had a hamburger and chips with a beer. A raspberry chocolate cheesecake finished me off. My eating partners included an Australian woman on her way to New York to visit her daughter and a young couple from Denver. The Australian woman was confused about American tipping so we set her straight.

I spent most of my time after lunch back in the observation car watching the rest of the Sierra pass by. I made my way back to my seat about at the time we were passing the famous cabin in the canyon. I began to get a little restless around Verdi and started making sure all my stuff was packed up.

At the station, they brought the checked bags over on a little cart. It took about 10 minutes to wait as opposed to the 20 at the airport (the Reno Airport is way slow). Reno had a nice blanket of snow on it and it was good to be back home.

Any questions about train travel?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Travel By Train Part 3: A Stop in Sacramento

The Coast Starlight pulled into Sacramento at about seven in the morning and I although it was an hour late, I still have 4 or so hours of waiting before hopping on the train to Reno. I grabbed a coffee and muffin in the station and ate breakfast, regathering my land legs and reading. After about an hour, I decided to check out the neighborhood (or at least venture out to see if it was an ok place to walk around - it didn't seem like it from inside the train station). I found a Starbucks down the street and shelled out the 3 bucks or whatever for internet. I was able to check email, and for about an hour and half, just relax in a non-train/travel environment. It was refreshing.

As the time of my departure to Reno approached, I walked back to the train station where an elderly volunteer directed me to the appropriate track to wait for the California Zephyr. It was foggy but it was now about 11 and the air was starting to warm up a bit. It was nice to think that this train ride was going to be mostly during the day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Travel by Train: Part 2 - Burning the Midnight Oil

Because the train was late getting into Salem, it was already about 6:30 by the time we got to Eugene. I had made my way to the dining car for dinner. I sat next to these grandparents from Montana and their granddaughter. They were on their way to San Diego for the holidays and the train was more convenient because of the long drive to the airport from their home and the likelihood that this time of year, the quickest route in shut down because of weather. Dinner came with salad and a roll. I had the crab cakes with red pepper sauce, rice pilaf and vegetables. A coffee and Bailey's was my drink of choice.

After dinner I decided to check out the arcade (the Coast Starlight has one car with an arcade on the lower level) before it closed. It had a few pretty old arcade games and only one (a racing game) looked any fun. It was not an arcade that would work well for kids; the racing game was the stand up type where someone would have to push the pedal and hold the kid the steering wheel if the kid wasn't tall enough.

I then cranked up the ipod and sat in the observation car to listen to more Beethoven symphonies. It was dark and the only thing to really look at were lights dotting the distance and the occasional Christmas lights of small towns we passed through. I went back to my seat and laid it down to catch a quick nap, I sat there for an hour or so before realizing it was still really early. I grabbed my book, An Empire of Wealth, and went back to the observation car. After I ordered a double scotch (the train's bartender really got into his role as a train bar tender and kept remarking on the wonderful evening on the Coast Starlight), I found a seat and read for a few hours. At about midnight I was finally tired and went back to my seat to attempt to sleep.

The Amtrak seats go further back than airline seats and there is a leg rest that rises from the chair (like a recliner) and then a footrest so you can pretty much extend all the way out without feeling cramped. I shut my eyes and lightly slept. Then, maybe an hour or so past Klamath Falls the train came to an abrupt stop and all the power went out. It turns out there were boulders blocking the tracks. After about a half hour or so, the path was clear and we started moving again. Around Redding, the sun started to come up over the Sierras and I remained in and out of sleep until Chico. At Chico I was pretty awake and decided to read some more, the next stop was Sacramento, where I would have to change trains. The surrounding air was foggy as we made our way to California's capitol. We passed the Diamond Nuts factory on the way in. I packed up my carry on and prepared to leave the Coast Starlight.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Travel by Train: Part 1 - Patience Required


Traveling by train requires patience. If you can hardly handle a four hour flight because you just want to be where you are going already, trains are not for you. Taking the train makes the actual traveling as important as the destination.

So, taking that into consideration, I was not surprised when the train was two hours late getting to the Salem train station. It helped that Amtrak told me from the start is was going to be a 25 hour journey from point A to point B. In addition, the train plods along at about 40 miles per hour (at least it seems, haven't looked it up). The slow speed is great for looking at the scenery but not that spectacular for helping the time pass.

One the train finally arrived in Salem at about 5:30pm , I went to one of the cars where I was assigned an aisle seat. I had checked two bags (one of which is my first bag moving home) and had a backpack as a carry on. My plan was to listen to all the Beethoven symphonies in order and so as the train pulled away from Salem, I pressed play and got comfortable, knowing it was going to be quite a while before I made it to Reno.

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