Automated Public Toilets

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Ok ok, so I admit this is like my 3rd post about San Francisco, but it was a pretty eventful day.  Here is a photo of an Automated Public Toilet:

One San Francisco Automated Public Toilet

In San Francisco there are 25 Automated Public Toilets, at least according to a post from about 5 years ago.  A lot of cities have installed toilets like these.  Some are free, some cost 25 cents; but the most important fact is that they’re automated (meaning they clean themselves) and they’re expensive.  About $300,000 a piece expensive.  I saw my first one on Union Square but it was occupied so I didn’t get to check it out…This Monday though, I found another in Washington Square and decided to give it a shot.  Yeah, I know it’s kind of weird, posting about public toilets, but if you surf the web, a lot of people actually have posted about automated toilets too.  So anyway…back to my exciting experience…

Gross? "Double yes."

It looked interesting at first, and strangely private, the Automated Public Toilet.  The future is now came to mind as I pushed a button to open the door, which slid to the side –Star Trek style.  I walked inside, pushed another button and the door closed.  “Can you hear me?!” Paul yelled from outside; apparently the world couldn’t see me, but I could hear the world…awkward.  Approaching the usual amenities I noticed that there was no toilet paper to be found, the smell was terrible, and decided there was no way I was sitting on a wet toilet seat with someone’s tobacco remains…Graphic?  “Yes.”  Gross?  “Double yes.”  And so I opted for the Washington Square Park Non-Automated Public Toilets and was completely satisfied.

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San Francisco Roller Coaster Ride!

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As promised: a ride through San Francisco.  This city is seriously like an amusement park; and the people who dare to ride their bikes to work, rock my world.

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A day in San Francisco

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It’s always been a childhood dream of mine to visit San Francisco, and now, living just hours away, I can!  A group of us were itching to do anything exciting before the next Sac City College semester, so yesterday morning, we all piled into Paul’s suburban and drove to San Fran.  We had no plans, just spontaneity; and spent the day wandering the city from Little Italy to Chinatown to Ghirardelli Square.  I’m currently editing a few youtube clips so you too can take a ride on the roller coaster of hills.  –They’re seriously unbelievable.

For now, I invite you to take a photographic look at A day in San Francisco:

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San Francisco’s Union Square

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Union Square Christmas tree

With Thanksgiving past and Christmas fast approaching, I’ve decided to mingle my summer posts with a few current ones, otherwise I’ll forever be behind.

Here’s a post from Union Square in San Francisco:

I’ve always wanted to wear flowers in my hair, like the song, when I go to San Fran, but unfortunatly, like every other time I’ve been to the bay,  I totally forgot again.  Union Square is a fancy shopping disctrict.  You can find all the ritzy stores with stuff like $200 lacey leggings and CZ encrusted flashdrives.  Yep, Hello Kitty never looked better.

Macy's

My favorite was the giant Christmas tree all decked out next to the ice skating rink.  The store I enjoyed visiting most was Macy’s: 7 stories of departent shopping delight topped off with the Cheese Cake Factory.  We indulged ourselves with dessert before dinner and drove off to the Italian district’s North Shore Pizza afterwards.

My favorite part about San Francisco is that it never ceases to surprise me.  The city is just so big!  I’ve been there three times now, but I don’t think I’ll ever know it by heart until I live there for at least a year.

"I left my heart in San Francisco"

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A Sunbathing Sea Lion

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Sunbathing Sea Lion

Yesterday we saw a sea lion sunbathing off the Sacramento River.  He’d climbed onto the lower dock in Old Sacramento and fellow tourists stopped by to take a look, while Channel 13 news caught the fun on film.

After the sea lion encounter we walked over to the tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain to see if they were giving any tours.  She’s a beautiful vessel and according to Atlakeunionpark.org: …a replica of a typical European merchant trader of the turn of the nineteenth century.  Unfortunately there was no one aboard, but I’ve found her future tour schedules; and looks like the she’ll be in town through mid-December.  I better plan a trip soon!

Mast of the Hawaiian Chieftain

Apparently the Hawaiian Chieftain tours up and down the West coast often accompanying Lady Washington, the official boat of Washington State.  It’s amazing what a little research can tell you.

Along with regular tours of the ship, adult groups can pay to learn how to sail the Hawaiian Chieftain right now in Sacramento.  School, church, service and senior groups are also welcome to the Hawaiian Chieftain’s Voyages of Discovery educational programs.  Pretty neat huh?  I really hope to take a tour soon!

It’s amazing to me how much there is to do in our little Sacramento.  It’s no small town but it’s certainly no San Francisco either.  Looking back on this summer though, I seriously have a list of posts to catch up on before I’m all up to date on this summer’s adventures.  Let’s just say you’re in for a real treat!

The tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain

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The California State Fair

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California State Fair Bear

One afternoon Ammon, Rayla, my other brother, Helaman & I jumped into “Floyd” (Rayla’s pink rimmed Civic) and drove to the California State Fair.  Being low on funds, we didn’t spend any time on rides, but we did enjoy a few corndogs, lemonade and took advantage of practically every free event possible.

Like most fairs Cal State had its 4-H barns and pony shows, public bluegrass bands and Win-A-Chevrolet! contest forms -so naturally we signed up and got free water bottles.

Two of the most interesting exhibits were about music and bugs.  We took a stroll down Abbey Road, played a little “Heart & Soul” and watched a life-sized locust scare a little kid.  Here’s Helaman’s reaction to how mosquitos drink blood:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gNwuA0c5_g

I wish I’d caught a picture of the puppet driving the Coca-Cola truck up and down the street.  Now that was cool!

Here’s a few pics from our state fair adventures:

Helaman and the grasshopper

Ahh!! Spider prey!

Stilt Walkers!

attempting to play "Heart & Soul"

Strolling down Abbey Road

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Step back in time to the 4th of July

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Rayla, Ammon, and me hanging at Discovery Parkice cream cart

This 4th of July I didn’t attend any parades or watch much of the musical, “1776”, but I did have a family barbeque and watched a lot of fireworks in remembrance of the men who fought many battles for our freedom.  I’m so thankful for the sacrifices made and those continuing to be made today.

Before the evening festivities, Ammon, Rayla & I made a trip to Discovery Park in Sacramento.  It costs $5 dollars a vehicle for a day at the “beach” -on the river.

"I'd like to buy the world a Coke"

Discovery Park sits where the Sacramento and American rivers meet.  It’s very pretty and on the 4th of July, full of people.  There were barbeques under the trees, ice cream carts, boats, life jackets and a huge Fire Fighter Dalmation.

We stepped in the river for a bit, but it was really cold!  So instead, while we warmed up, and dried off, Rayla broke out the Cokes.  Now what’s more American than that?

Check out a Youtube clip of our Discovery Park trip here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E38njtmq1Rw

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“The Elephants are Coming!”

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the poster

On one end of the Downtown Plaza Mall, in good old Sacramento, we saw an entire store stuffed to the rafters with: Elephants.  Elephant shirts, elephant toys, elephant books, all things elephant; and a poster asking the question, “Andy Swan Guinness World Record for most Elephants?”.  I don’t know if Mr. Swan has met his goal yet, but it was pretty incredible seeing his collection.  I’ve decided that it’s the perfect place for an “I Spy” photo op; but I’m sure I’m not the only one to have that idea.

I love this sock elephant

I tried my best to google Mr. Swan as I don’t like leaving everyone in the dark on why anyone would collect so many elephants; but unfortunately, information was scarce.  I did learn that there is an Andy Swan, who is a clown in Sacramento, going by the name of Zippy; and that he attended a clown convention a while back in Anaheim.  He also drives an “Elephant” car.  Sooo, I’m assuming this is our man.  I further proceeded to look up the current Guinness World Record for most assorted elephants, but…their website wasn’t working for me.  I also checked the web and facebook pages for the Westfield Downtown Plaza Malland found nothing on Elephants.  Hrrumph…For now, I will trust that it is Zippy working toward that Elephant goal and I wish him luck!  Here are some fun elephant pictures to look at:

*Update!  Thanks to Rick Swan, I’ve had confirmation that Andy Swan, also known as Zippy the Clown, is indeed the collector of all these elephants.  Visit his webpage, http://largestcollectionofelephants.com/ for updates on Elephant counts and the future ceremony for breaking the record!  

Also check out this Sacramento Bee article for more on Andy’s collection: Clown Pays Tribute to Late Partner-Brother With Tiny Elephant Display

Elephants here

Elephants there

"The Elephants are coming!"

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Sacramento Jazz Jubilee

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the Syncopated Sea-Monkeys

Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, about a month ago…was excellent.  Ammon’s band played so we got free companion passes: Rayla, Helaman, and I had a blast.  Jazz Jubilee is pretty much a festival of music glory located in Old Sacramento (which is a cool spot all its own).  Bands come from all around, jazz and blues groups, but this year there were some sweet tribute bands and other genres.  We saw Johnny Cash and Santana tributes; Ammon and Rayla saw more jazz than I did, but I loved my Jubilee experience.  The crowds, the high school jazz groups, my magical pass that got me into any show: all definite pluses.

masquerading

My favorite stop of the afternoon was Evangeline’s.  It’s this costume, practical joke, miscellaneous everything shop in Old Sac.  One time I bought an anklet there for 75 cents, and then saw the same one in San Francisco for $3.75!  Yeah…I’m a winner.  But anyway after exploring the mysterious open door to Evangeline’s costume mansion, Ammon, Rayla, and I broke down and bought masks to wear for the night.  Loved the purple jewels, the feathers, and of course the attention.  Especially when people joked, “Who are those mysterious girls?”  -not to Ammon of course.

I wish I had made myself get out of bed Monday morning when they went for a final Memorial Day round of awesome, but I have this horrible habit of getting to bed late and sleeping in, so…yeah didn’t happen; but I do have a youtube clip from my final night at Jazz Jubilee; “living proof that Rayla does know how to dance”.  You can pay the big bucks for a day pass into any show at Jubilee, or buy a couple tickets; if we didn’t have passes, we’d definitely go for dancing right outside the tent for Free:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdGXKo6JjfI&feature=channel_video_title

Rhythm Vandals: Tribute to Santana

I love California.  The sunshine makes it feel like a party everyday, minus 90 degree muggy weather at the capital…gotta relive that adventure since my camera freaked out on me and I had to delete all of my pictures, but next time, promise!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post: an aspiring world record collection of pachyderms.

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the Tower Bridge is yellow?

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Tower Bridge

On another downtown Sacramento adventure the question of the day was: Why is the Tower Bridge yellow?  We all knew it was because the town voted on it and picked gold…which unfortunately turned out to look more yellow than anything; but we wanted more information, so we asked Rayla’s mom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0g87kjZI8g

According to further google research I’ve discovered that plagiarism is shamelessly committed in the internet cloud as pretty much every description of Tower Bridge history reads the same…of course you can only tell the same story in so many different ways.  I liked an LA Times article from 2002 when the community voting first began.

My stepdad told me an interesting story about how when they were painting the bridge in 2002, some people got upset about spray paint falling into the river.  So they covered sections of the bridge in plastic, filled it with air, like a bubble, and painted in there.  Pretty sweet eh?

the Tower and trains

Every time I’ve described the bridge as yellow, a local corrects me on it being gold.  So, I’ve decided that a true Sacramento Californian must refer to the Tower Bridge as not yellow, but gold; although in reality, when the sun hits it just right…it’s unfortunately yellow.  I bet up close it looks gold.  That will be my next goal, to capture of a photo of the Tower Bridge where  in fact it is gold.

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