Old Sacramento, a quick look

Posted by admin on December 31st, 2005 — Posted in Uncategorized

If you know me, you know I enjoy looking around the historic parts of any community I visit. Such was the case yesterday when my sister and I took a trip to Old Sacramento. My main desire was to see some of the things I had recently read about, the original lower levels, and the water levels near this historic area, plus some other tourist type venues, such as the famous Delta King river boat. We saw all this and more. Check it out…

From a Old Sac information website:

On August 13, 1839, John Sutter landed on the shore of the American River near its confluence with the Sacramento River. With the promise of a Mexican land grant, Sutter and his landing party established Sutter’s Fort. As the settlement grew and became permanent, it attracted other businessmen looking for opportunities.
Sam Brannan established a store near the Sacramento River hoping to take advantage of the convenient waterfront location. When gold was discovered in the nearby foothills by James Marshall, Brannan’s settlement, called Sacramento, boomed. The embarcadero flourished and was the prime trading center for miners outfitting themselves for the gold fields.
But the new city experienced flooding and fires. In 1850 the new city experienced its first devastating flood, and again in 1852, the city was wiped out by high water. It was apparent that drastic measures would have to be taken if it was to saved.
In 1853 a mammoth project was proposed to raise the city above the flood. The ambitious and expensive proposal was not totally accepted until another devastating flood swept through the city in 1862. Within a few years, thousands of cubic yards of earth were brought in on wagons and the daring scheme to raise the street level can be seen throughout Old Sacramento under the boardwalks and in its basements.

(News Blab photos)

Under one of the boardwalks, the original city level. Some current store-fronts actually have the original buildings underneath them, buried intact.

Someone took advantage of an original level building. With the new drainage paths they were able to excavate and access the original construction that was buried and make a business happen.

You can see the original level brickwork.

Sacramento River along Old Sacramento.

Three river paddle boats. Forward one is Delta King.

Delta King and Delta Queen. The Queen is now running on the Mississippi River back east.

Inside the Delta King.

On the deck, looking toward the Tower Bridge.

Next blog, I’ll show you more of the Tower Bridge, as well as a quick visit to the State Capitol and the office of the Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I’ll be back…

Some basic chit-chat, Sacramento flooding, Hooters and stuff

Posted by admin on December 30th, 2005 — Posted in Uncategorized

It was getting to be around lunch time, so my buddy, Mike, suggested we go get a bite. Since neither one of us had been to the zoo in the past few days, we decided to check out a place where we could watch some wildlife while we ate. He suggested a new restaurant that had recently opened in the Sacramento area, one that was the center of some controversial decisions early on in the development stage. The location was debated during proposed construction, I assume by some “Focus on the Family” types. You know the kind, if there isn’t any $$$ in it for them or a political motive to be swayed , in the name of religion of course, they are against it and will fight, tooth and nail to prevent or pervert it.
Anyway, the place of eating enjoyment we decided to visit was… drum-roll-please… HOOTERS.

Our server, Brittney, was a doll! Talk about personable… on a scale of 1 to 10, she was an 11. She noticed me playing (working) with my new Sidekick II, and asked, “So, are you enjoying your Sidekick?” My reply, “Ahh… do you have one?”. “No, not yet”, she said. I then asked her if she’d like to be on the internet? Her reply… see below:

Here are a couple more photos from our Hooters experience.

A calendar or two purchase later, we were on our way, to check out the river. I noticed, in yesterday’s Gazette, they ran a photo of some of the flooding in the Sacramento area. It’s not as bad as the news folks are making it appear; but what else is new? Slow news days require hype, as we all know from watching our own local newsies.
Anyway, the newsies here are reporting, but not listening to the water experts. They are told, over and over, by those experts, this happens every year, but they (newsies) continually steer the story into a hype, gloom and doom scenario. Oh well, that’s the norm for them all it seems.
Here’s a quick pic of the Sacramento River near Discovery Park.

After our river tour, we went back to pick up some chicks. These are Mike’s chickens, and the very well made, and sided, chicken coup.

By-the-way, here’s more

Posted by admin on December 29th, 2005 — Posted in Uncategorized

Earlier this week I wrote about the phone call I received from a sexy swimwear designer concerning photos of a model she had once used. That model turned out to be a woman who has since quit the biz, and has now turned her attention toward the news industry. But, the once-upon-a-time self promoting model would now like all records of her past career erased from sight, by having them removed from websites for a start. News Blab did a few blogicles about this model, and her move into TV news. They can still be seen at the following URLs:

To continue this story, I promised to tell you about the TV job change, as well as the name change the once-upon-a-time model has made. Kacey Bytheway (a.k.a Kacey Aliece), as she was known in the “modeling” world as well as during her TV reporter gig at WOAY, a small station in the Beckley/Oak Hill WV market, is no more. She now goes by Kacey Montoya. The name change, for “security and safety” reasons, according to one website is the one she is using at her new TV station, KPSP CBS2 in Palm Desert California. (Palm Springs)
My original reason for recently looking into the Bytheway/Aliece/Montoya issue was one based on being told she was losing her job because of the stories, photos, and write-ups that are plastered across the internet, with her name (or one of them anyway).
I first called the local newspapers in the Oak Hill WV area, asking if they knew anything about Bytheway being “let-go”. One paper editor told me,she didn’t watch WOAY because they were so bad, Actually, both admitted they had never heard of Kacey Bytheway. I then decided to call the WOAY newsroom, where I was told, Kacey Bytheway had moved on to the town of Palm Desert CA. So, after a couple more calls, one to a competing station and the other to the CBS2 newsroom, I now knew that Ms. Montoya (a.k.a Kacey Bytheway, Kacey Aliece) was not being fired from any TV newsroom, in fact she was the CBS2 morning anchor at KPSP.
A quick trip to their website, and this is what I found.

From the CBS2 website

According to another website, Kacey Montoya is now being represented by a talent agent, Gregg Willinger. He was purported to be the one that got her the current gig in Palm Desert. News Blab attempted to contact Willinger, with negative results. He did not reply to my e-mail.

Anyway, if Kacey Bytheway, Aliece, Montoya is in fact trying to clean-up the internet of the results from her past self promotion campaign, she may have a big job ahead of her. Apparently she did a very good job of self promotion, because a search of any of her names will give you a wealth of information about that past career. Even on the ebay auction website where her trading cards are a popular item. Here are just a few I found during a quick search last night.

From ebay.com

My visit to the KCRA news studio

Posted by admin on December 28th, 2005 — Posted in Uncategorized

You may remember, the last time I was in California I was a guest reporter on the Armstrong & Getty radio show when I covered the Michael Jackson trial. News Blab featured a 10 parter for that one. You can still see them in the archives, along with all past News Blab stories. Anyway, while in California this time, I was also a news guest, although not actually on-air. This time I was invited to experience, “The KCRA 3 Experience” at the Arden Fair Mall on Tuesday. Just what is “The KCRA 3 Experience”?
It’s a news studio that the Sacramento news leader built and opened in April 2004 on the second floor of a local mall. It offers a window into news production for shoppers/viewers. Newscasts are broadcast from the “KCRA 3 Experience” Monday through Friday at noon. Mall visitors watch the broadcast as it is in progress.

I knew about this unique outlet during my last visit, and even visited it during an off-air weekend. At that time I took a few pictures, bought a few trinkets, and wrote a short News Blab story. But, this time it was much different.
I knew I wanted to visit again, so I wrote the main news anchor, Walt Gray, letting him know I was going to drop-by, and asked if he’d give me a wave if he saw me taking his photo for the website. Well, when I got there, he gave me much more than a wave. He gave me and my sister an invite into the studio during their live noon newscast. We sat on studio chairs just feet away from news anchor Walt Gray and meteorologist Julie Watts as they did their show.
Walt and Julie were great!. Both were very personable, friendly, down-to-earth, and professional. I can see why KCRA is this market’s news leader.

The behind the scene people, who were at this location, were also super! Others, at the main KCRA studio, also take part in the news production during the noon hour. The teleprompters and cameras are run from the main studio. Walt was on the phone with them between live shots, suggesting changes to the script, giving feedback on what was and was not needed, while maintaining contact with his crew at the mall studio. Another of the crew I met was Ruben, who was busily running the technical side of the show, giving the team cues, flipping switches, and keeping tabs on the stacking of stories. Others were outside with the handheld camera and producing. Although I never did get their names, they were also very friendly and professional to us. All-in-all, it was a GREAT KCRA 3 Experience, and I want to thank all involved in making our visit a fun one!
Here are a few photos of my adventure…

Walt and Julie at the news desk

Ruben at the controls

Some of the news crew

A blast from the past

Paris and I are just like peas-in-a-pod

Posted by admin on December 28th, 2005 — Posted in Uncategorized

What do Paris Hilton and Blabbing Mike have in common? If you answered, “They both have the same IQ.”, you are incorrect. If you answered, “They both carry a Sidekick II.”, you are correct. I too am now in possession of T-Mobile’s Sidekick II, which allows me to “blog-on-the-fly”. So, expect some blogging from some very out-of-the-way places, such as I did earlier today while at the Arden Fair mall. Maybe T-Mobile will soon be using me for some Sidekick II advertising, just like they use her…

Paris Hilton and her Sidekick

I experienced the KCRA experience

Posted by admin on December 27th, 2005 — Posted in Uncategorized

I’m here at Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento CA. I just left the KCRA mall studio where they go live each weekday for their noon newscast. Anchor Walt Gray invited me into the studio while they were on-air to witness their noon show in action. Stay tuned for that experience in tomorrow’s blog. A big thanks to Walt Gray for the invite!

By-the-way, Bytheway is no longer her name

Posted by admin on December 27th, 2005 — Posted in Uncategorized

I received an interesting phone call last week. That call came from Colleen Kelly, who I found out later was the owner of SexySwimwear.com. She designs, as the name explains, sexy swimwear and sells it on the internet. She, as I also found out, was a model for a number of years, and may still be. Based on viewing the page, it looks like she does a pretty good business.

From the SexySwimwear.com website

Anyway, she called me to ask if I could remove some photos that were associated with a model she had once hired, from a news story I had done a while back. Right away I had a feeling about what photos she was talking about. She explained how she had been receiving grief from the woman shown in the photos. I said to her, “You’re talking about Kacey Bytheway, aren’t you?”. She acknowledged my question with an affirmative. Ahhh… I now knew what this call was all about.

Bytheway, as you may remember, is a woman whose earlier career move was one in the direction of flashing some skin. She can still be seen across the internet, posing in various outfits, or not. Her self promotion campaign got her far, in that forum. Ebay is still a favorite place to buy and sell Kacey Bytheway trading cards, posters, and the such.

Well, News Blab did a story about her a while back featuring some of those photos, not because of the skin flashing angle, but because she decided to get out of that line-of-work and pursue a news career. She went to an LA based journalism school, then got a reporter job at a small station in West Virginia. That is where she was when she first contacted me. It appears she didn’t like the fact that her name (Kacey Bytheway) and another name she had used in the skin biz, (Kacey Aliece) were now associated on the biggest internet search engine, Google. If you typed Kacey Bytheway into Google, that News Blab story about her 2003 calendar shoot appeared on top of the search engine page, along with some other News Blab stories I had done about her.

Well, she had now contacted Ms. Kelly and was using her to try to, once again, get me to take down the stories. Ms. Kelly told me that Kacey Bytheway, whom you’ll soon learn now has a different last name, was in danger of losing her job because of the material on the internet. “Oh, you mean the material that SHE (Bytheway) had been a part of, and had self promoted all those years. The material that was associated with her career at the time, the material SHE was responsible for? Is that the material?”, I asked.
After a long discussion about the “Fair Use” clause within Copyright law, and about what happens when you do things in a career that might come back to bite you in the butt, and some moral discussions, Ms. Kelly and I parted ways via our phone call. Bottom line, the news stories were not coming off News Blab.

After the call I decided to check out the story about Bytheway being in jeopardy of losing her job because of her past. A bit of internet research, a few calls to some newspapers, as well as a few calls to some TV newsrooms helped me gather some very interesting intel.
Not only was she NOT losing her job, she was also going by a different last name and was now a morning anchor in a different market, in a different state.
Stay tuned…

Tasers can be good!

Posted by admin on December 27th, 2005 — Posted in Uncategorized

The New Orleans police pepper sprayed this man before they shot and killed him. If they had used a taser, this man would probably been alive today. After watching the video, a taser would have been the best thing. I’m guessing the NO police may not have them. This incident makes me glad the CSPD has tasers. It would have kept this lethal event from happening. Here’s one for the “Pro Taser” folder…

Man Waving Knife Killed by New Orleans Police

NEW ORLEANS (Dec. 27) - The city’s embattled police department will have another internal investigation to deal with after a swarm of converging officers gunned down a man brandishing a knife.

A man who videotaped the incident says the man carrying a knife, foreground, refused to obey repeated orders by police to lay down.
A police spokesman said the officers who fired on the man will be reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation, but he defended their response, saying at least one officer’s life was in danger just prior to the barrage of gunfire.
“You have a subject who’s lunging at them with a knife … swinging wildly at them and they’re fearing for their life,” Office David Adams, a police spokesman, said after the Monday afternoon shooting. “They had no other choice but to resort to lethal force.”
Officers repeatedly asked the man to drop the knife and used pepper spray to try to subdue him, but he used a cloth to cover his face and was still able to walk toward an officer and threaten him, authorities said.
“Evidently the pepper spray had no effect,” Adams said.
A businessman had called police after a confrontation with the 38-year-old victim in the Lower Garden District west of downtown. The shooting occurred on St. Charles Avenue, an important thoroughfare in the city, famous for its historic green street cars (which haven’t returned to service yet) and Mardi Gras parades. Yellow tape sealed off more than a block, forcing officers to reroute traffic in both directions.
Adams said he did not know how many officers fired shots or how many shots were fired. Witnesses said a half dozen or more shots were fired.
Phin Percy videotaped a portion of the incident from his father’s second-story apartment.
“The cops kept telling him, ‘Lay down. Lay down.’ This went on for about three minutes,” he said.
Trey Brokaw, a patron at a nearby bar, said he saw the victim with a knife in his hand shortly before the shooting.
“I didn’t see anyone near him,” Brokaw said. “It didn’t seem like anyone was going to get hurt to me.”
Brokaw said he did not see what happened in the final moments before the shots rang out.
The victim’s name was not released because his family had not been notified.
It was the first shooting of any kind involving a New Orleans officer since the city was officially reopened after Hurricane Katrina damaged many neighborhoods and displaced tens of thousands of residents nearly four months ago, Adams said.
Since the storm, the police department has struggled to rebuild its ranks and address questions about officers’ conduct.
Hundreds of police left the city without permission in the days after the storm. There were also allegations of theft and looting by officers, and the videotaped beating of a retired teacher by police in the French Quarter.
Two of the officers accused of the beating were fired; a third was suspended for 120 days. All three are scheduled to be tried next month. The allegations of looting and theft are being investigated.

A tree of a different color

Posted by admin on December 26th, 2005 — Posted in Uncategorized

My family and I spent Christmas at one of my sister’s house. She is a collector of many interesting and unique items. One of those items, a 1960’s vintage aluminum Christmas tree, was a topic of conversation for obvious reasons. Along with the tree was the vintage pin-spot color wheel, something that paired with the tree, made it a Christmas delight.

In the 1960s and 70s, millions of aluminum trees were sold during the Christmas season, but for nowhere near the prices they command now. On eBay, a rare pink 7-footer recently sold for more than $3,600.
The popular silver tree originally sold for $11.25 wholesale, $25 retail. Try to find one for that price today. Although some regard them as tacky relics of Christmas past, they are now highly sought-after collector’s items.

Merry Christmas

Posted by admin on December 25th, 2005 — Posted in Uncategorized



The night before Christmas at my parent’s house…

‘Twas the night before Christmas

Posted by admin on December 24th, 2005 — Posted in Uncategorized

‘Twas the night before Christmas

By Clement C. Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas
when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse.

The Stockings were hung
By the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas
Soon would be there.

The children were nstled
All snug in their beds,
While visions of SugarPlums
Danced in their heads.

And Mamma in her kerchief,
And I in my cap,
Had just settled down
For a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn
there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed
to see what was the matter.

Away to the window
I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shudders
and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast
of the new-fallen snow
Gave a luster of midday
to objects below.

When, what to my wondering
eyes should appear,
But a minature sleigh,
and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver,
So lively and quick
I knew in a moment
It must be Saint Nick

More rapid than eagles
his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and Shouted,
and Called them by Name.

“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now, Dash away!
Dash away!
Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before
the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle,
Mount to the sky,

So up to the housetop
the courses they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys,
and Saint Nicholas, too.

And then in a twinkling,
I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing
Of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head,
And was turning around,
Down the chimney Saint Nicholas
Came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur,
From his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished
With ashes and soot.

A bundle of toys
he had flung on his back,
He looked like a peddler
just opening his pack.

His eyes how they twinkled!
His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses,
His nose like a cherry.

His droll little mouth
was drawn up like a bow,
and the beard on his chin
Was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe
He held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled
His head like a wreath.

He had a broad face
And a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed,
Like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump,
A right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him,
In spite of myself.

A wink of his eye
And a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know
I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word,
but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings,
Then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger
Aside of his nose,
And giving a nod,
Up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh,
To his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew
Like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim
As he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to All,
And to All a Good Night!”

To many cooks ruin the, Santa

Posted by admin on December 24th, 2005 — Posted in Uncategorized

You know the saying, “Too many cooks ruin the broth”, well in this case they’ve ruined the Santa tracking website. Each year I check out the Norad Santa tracking website, but imagine my disappointment this year when it just didn’t seem that good, especially since they’re touting all that partnering that is taking place. You’d think, with that many high-profile / high-tech “partners”, it would look much more spectacular, for kids!

Yes, I know that these high-powered, high tech leaders of industry can do what they do, very well… but do you think a kid looking to see where Santa is, has been and is going really cares about, stars in the sky that are not just animated representations, but the array of stars visible in the sky, or , that the program is tweaked from year to year so that changes in a city’s skyline are accounted for in the database., or, that tracking paths “are numerical simulations of real airplanes, and the flight paths are real, physically realizable flight plans.”

As long as they can see Santa, and an approximate time-zone graphical travel report, with some graphics fun stuff that kids like, all will be right. Reading today’s article in the Gazette, and based on numerous writings and links on the Norad Santa website can only lead me to believe, this is a tool to show/tout to the world, what the power partners are capable of. Nothing more than a well produced, highly visited commercial for their product. Ho…Ho…Ho…

From today’s Gazette:

Tracking Santa not a joy ride
Program simulates real aircraft flight

Even if you don’t believe that Santa is real, believe this: the NORAD Tracks Santa program is quite real.
Prepared by the Colorado Springs office of Analytical Graphics Inc., the software produces real physical and numerical simulations of the flight of aircraft and satellites. The stars in the sky are not just animated representations, but the array of stars visible in the sky at whatever location Santa is shown.
And the program is tweaked from year to year so that changes in a city’s skyline are accounted for in the database.
This is more flight simulator than cartoon rendering.
“Aircraft that intercept Santa,” said Dave Finkleman, senior scientist at AGI’s Center for Space Standards and Innovation on the city’s north side, “are numerical simulations of real airplanes, and the flight paths are real, physically realizable flight plans.”
Santa’s sleigh is substituted for an airplane image and follows one of these “realizable flight plans.”
Articulations built into the program to account for, say, landing gear on an airplane, are modified here to create reindeer and Santa’s arm movements. AGI, based in Exton, Pa., provides software to more than 30,000 national-security and space professionals for analyses of land, sea, air and space efforts.
NORAD has been calling upon AGI’s expertise since 1997, using pretty much the same software that NORAD uses worldwide to operate satellites and plan its missions.
Online traffic to the site quickly overwhelmed AGI’s capacity, and AOL is now the Web host, capable of handling the 912 million hits from 181 countries the site got last December.
or jim.bainbridge@gazette.com

Norad Santa website
Screenshot of the Norad Santa website