When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. - Edmund Burke
By: sp34n119w, 7:31 PM GMT on March 25, 2009
I did a bad/good thing. Apparently, March is National Independent Shops month (or, something like that) and, in celebration of that, there was a contest that required spending at an independent bookseller. Now, I had already determined earlier in the month that I was not going to buy any books this month. Nope. Not going to do it. I'm short on cash and it can wait until next month. That's what libraries are for, right? But, how could I pass up a legitimate opportunity to support a local bookstore and get a chance to win a book? I couldn't.
Plus, the contest led me to find out that a bookstore that I thought had gone away (having looked for it several weeks ago) had simply moved. Yea! It's called The Bookworm and it's in Camarillo. Apparently, I'm not the only one who had lost track of it, and she's had some trouble rebuilding her customer base.
My plan was to buy a (note the use of "a" to denote the singular) paperback, get a receipt to prove I spent money there, enter the contest, and go back another time to further explore and support the shop.
One paperback and two(!) hardcovers and some wonderful conversation later, I left the shop, and took up reading.
Not that I haven't been online or, even, on WU. I have been checking weather elsewhere in the country (since our own is pleasantly pleasant, at the moment, and likely will be from now until real heat hits) and lurking at LC's and others, but... I have mostly been reading blogs and forums on other sites. Yes, I've been cheating on WU! LOL
Also, I have been reading lots of free books and stories (which, together with the library, were supposed to help me not buy any books), and I blame shoreacres for that ;)
I don't love reading books on the computer. I'd much rather have a book that I can carry around and that allows for changing position, once in awhile. Reading on the computer is just uncomfortable. The books and stories I've found are good, though, and worth the effort.
Local news - it's that time again! Spring (April, specifically) means that the Santa Paula Airport is starting its First Sunday of the Month dealy-do. The airport museum and many who have hangars there open their doors to the public on the first Sunday of the month (duh) and it's great fun to wander about, peeking into some pretty elaborate setups people have in their hangars. Antique furniture, motorcycles, cars, and planes (duh, again), as well as new and custom objects and crafts, are on display. There is a lot of history in those buildings and this is a chance to have a look.
And that reminds me that April should also mean that Cruise Night will happen next Friday. On the first Friday of the month, April through October, Main Street is closed to through traffic and the street lined with classic cars. Lots of fun! I haven't seen an announcement, yet, though.
We still have mountain lion sightings going on. Scary for the folks who live on the edges of town and a real bummer for the critters who will likely end up dead.
In economic news...
General Motors is filming a commercial in SP this week. Why? For what? Who knows? Guess they think they'll be around awhile, still.
This economy is bad for many. In my own family, one sib got laid off a few weeks ago (oil industry work) and another is looking at reduced hours, cutbacks in the services offered, and possible layoffs (in education).
On the other hand, my mom's ARM adjusted down for the second year in a row and she got a call from Social Security letting her know that they owe her money. It doesn't amount to a lot but, taken together, will make it much easier on her as prices continue to rise.
As home prices continue to fall, home sales have gone up! In Ventura County, there was a 10% increase in home sales in February over last year. First time buyers and those looking for income properties are having a field day snapping up those foreclosed homes. Good on 'em, I say. This is California - that's how it's done. Right now, I bet that's how it's being done in lots of places.
So, I have been reminded of two things that make me feel optimistic about the future.
1) Government, as a whole, is neither ineffectual nor incompetent. My mom is getting that SS money she deserves because the folks at SS have a procedure in place that tracks and follows up on people's earnings and benefits. While some of government is mired in bureaucracy, no doubt, we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater, if you know what I mean.
I think most of us (and, certainly, the media) ignore that which is working well, and focus endlessly on the few cases where things are done very poorly. It's more interesting, but, it is not helpful or realistic.
2) Contrary to popular belief, there are those who have been careful with their money and with their credit and they are currently reaping the benefits of their thrift and foresight. People do save, they do avoid unhealthy debt, and they do plan ahead. Some of us, anyway.
Oh, if only those same people were the ones in charge at the big financial corporations, huh?
Well. I think I'm done rambling, for now.
And, I have a shiny new blog! :)
By: sp34n119w, 8:28 PM GMT on March 19, 2009
Santa Paula Fire
On Tuesday afternoon there was a major structure fire in SP that displaced 7 women and 3 young children from a residential drug treatment center.
The Ventura County Star ran a story on the fire (and another on the community response) and, in the comments, two people posted links to their Flickr photos of the fire. If you enjoy seeing the men in the yellow jackets do their thing, then these are worth looking at, here and here.
I don't know those people, btw.
I liked the pics showing the firemen bringing out whatever belongings they could carry. I have seen this before and I think it is both cool and a little weird. Wonderful, though, that they do their best to save what they can for those folks. At least one woman lost everything.
Another nice thing in the pics is that you can see how green our hills are after the winter rains! Okay, not relevant to the story, or to those who lost their homes, I know. Still, Spring has sprung.
Major structure fires are pretty rare around here. The Fire Dept. uses an old house on 10th St. to practice for them and just had a two-day “fire drill” a couple of weeks ago. So, they were ready, as always. SP fire also had help from Ventura County, Ventura, and Fillmore fire. A very big deal, being so close to downtown and scads of one hundred year old buildings!
Interestingly, the California Oil Museum is about to open an exhibit highlighting the history of firefighting in Santa Paula. They even have a replica of an existing old firetruck! They don't have the info up on their website yet, oddly, but the Star ran a very brief story about that, too.
From the City Blog (by City Manager Wally):
Until recent years the town’s firefighters were all citizen volunteers and the department remains to this day an independent fire department. It had its beginning just after the turn of the last century when flames in a downtown building, combined with the fury of Santa Ana winds, destroyed a good portion of downtown Santa Paula.
This isn't a big interest of mine but I know that some are fascinated so thought I'd share. And, I probably will check out the exhibit.
What? I needed a new blog and those pictures are good! ;)
With regard to the weather - warm! Oh, so warm! Not as hot as yesterday, not as cool as tomorrow will be, just perfect, right now.
Possible rain on Sunday, but, yeah. We'll see, as always.