Just found this in a ticket and had to share.
AXXX FXXXXX, the supposed author of the mm_menu.js file that the Health Center web site uses, says:
So for your benefit, I’ll now tell you how to fix the mm_menu.js. Follow these simple instructions:
1. Acquire one (1) shotgun. Loaded, preferably.
2. Acquire one (1) shovel.
3. Pump mm_menu.js full of buckshot until you feel better.
4. Repeat Step 3 as necessary or desired.
5. With the shovel, dig a hole.
6. Dump the remains of mm_menu.js into the hole.
On the bus this morning, I listen to two students discussing their progamming assignment. From her voice I think one is a Latina. The other is a white man who sounds Southern Californian. She is tutoring him. He asks her question after question like “How do you count mouse clicks?” She answers him with assurance and accuracy. Her phone rings. She speaks animatedly in Spanish. She hangs up. Where were we, she asks. He asks another question about the homework. “I already told you, and she makes a connection between and earlier solution and the question he just asked. “Do you have a study partner?” she asks. He does. “Good, then you won’t have a problem then,” she says confidently and with the tone of experience.
This is what “diversity” is for. The brightest kids in the state regardless of who or wherefrom coming to UCSC to be scholars together. It’s about ending whatever it was that would have kept that girl from getting here before.
Parts of the trip I took last week I planned ten years ago. Which doesn’t seem that strange since one of my guidebooks was “Big Oak Flat Road” which was written in the 1950s. I’ve gone on road trips with out-dated guidebooks before. The last time I looked in vain for a campground near Growlerville (aka St. George) and then realized it had been converted to a prison. But that’s another story.
After an amazing weekend at Pantheacon, I left San Jose headed for Roseville where my friends A and A were putting me up for a few nights. The good thing about furloughs is that you get time off. That bad thing is that I have a 7% pay cut, so vacations tend to include hospitable friends. (I have a guest room here, for those friends contemplating a holiday in Santa Cruz.)
Roseville has such a pretty name, and perhaps some ancient guidebook describes a different city than the one I saw, which even A described as “horrible, horrible. ” It is a kind of boom town, with strip mall after strip mall, and all the streets seem to be named “Stanford” which was disorienting. It’s a place where the twentieth-century threw up.
I had every intention of a wholesome visit to the Sacramento museums, but instead I turned north to visit Malikoff Diggins. I’ve wanted to see the ruins of a mountain that was washed to the sea, causing so much destruction that a farmer filed a lawsuit. Never before had environmental destruction been an impediment to getting gold out of the ground. It changed the world through its awfulness. I take hopefulness from this.
Originally, the town had been called “Humbug” because whatever gold the original prospector had found hid itself from the men who came afterward. Gold Rush towns have silly names just like Web 2.0 products did. Humbug is now the ghost town of North Bloomfield which I found deserted since it was a weekday in winter, and what with the budget cuts for the parks, most of them are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays anyway. Its graveyard is more evocative than most, as it is the final resting place of souls who died even farther down a dirt road, across a green river, than other towns I visited that day, like Nevada City, and Grass Valley.
I drove through those two towns, but didn’t like them much. There are lots of contractor trucks, and a desperation in the air. I felt safe since I had I decided to drive the invisible sedan instead of the art car truck this time.
In Grass Valley I stopped at Laura and Sarah’s Golden Empire Market where the cook asked, “What can I make for you?” so sincerely and warmly my heart melted. I asked for a quesadilla (yes, I’ll take the peppers), and enjoyed the clamato drink so much I had another while I waited for her to finish. House of Quality, indeed.
Grass Valley is home to the Empire Mine State Park, but it was closed too. I wandered around anyway and discovered that the good bits, that is, the ruins of mines and such are carefully fenced off so that now the park is just a nice place to walk the dog. The mine ruins are fenced off because they might be dangerous, what with the asbestos tailings and all, but I got the feeling it was because they are too expensive to provide security for, and those kinds of places do tend to attract drunk idiots after hours, and who needs a lawsuit? What with the budget and all. So I don’t blame them.
I heard running water and found a gentle place to stop a while and listen to the stream rushing down the ravine into a mountain of tailings before changing course.
That night, A & A and I tried a Mediterranean restaurant in Sacramento, but that was as close as I got to Sutter’s fort. The next day I left early, and tried a chain pancake diner that offered a gluten-free menu, fresh ingredients, and coffee in cups and saucers. It’s the sort of place where you can hear the conversations of everyone but you don’t mind because it feels like you’re sitting in someone’s kitchen. As I left, I chatted with a couple of regulars, learned they have a daughter in Aptos, and they love it. They asked me about my trip, and I said that I was visiting State Parks, but they are closed during the week because of budget cuts.
Cheerfully, I went on: “But last week I signed a petition to get a proposition on the ballot so that we can pay a fee with our car registration. It will fund the parks and Californians won’t have to pay fees to get in.” They both thought that was a great idea. “Why shouldn’t we tax ourselves to keep our parks open to all Californians for free? It doesn’t make sense to tax ourselves $6 every time we feel like visiting one of our own parks, does it? Why not just pay $5 once?” Their smiles fell a little at the phrase “tax ourselves” but there was no arguing the logic and they wished me well. I hope they vote for it and tell their redstate friends.
I drove south, and then east toward Coloma. I’d visited the place where the gold rush started before, but this time I was headed for Prospector Rd, which was once “the main route from Coloma to Georgetown.” I wanted to drive it because I read that it was haunted, but on that glorious morning I met only its own natural beautiful self. I eventually rejoined Highway 49 (the miners’ highway) and skipped towns I’ve been to before like Placerville and Amador city, and stopped in Jackson for lunch. The deli had that familiar old make-do feel to everything like these towns do, which is most obvious in the restroom. I was delighted to find pear and dried cranberry salad with feta in the case right next to the meatloaf.
A black fur coat with suede lapels –too small, dang it–attracted me into “Heaven on Earth,” a used clothes store and I had a great time finding a few new skirts and blouses. The owner gave me a cash discount, which seemed a very gold-country custom. She recommended another co-op down the street where I found a cute NSFW velvet dress. That owner said I could use the restroom to change in, even though it was otherwise Out-Of-Order. “But only if you model it for us,” which of course he thought I wouldn’t, so of course I did.
Jackson is a real town, and it has a nice feel to it. The owner of Heaven on Earth asked me what my next stop was and when I said “San Andreas,” she asked “Why do you want to go there for?” I tried to explain, “There’s a history museum…” and she shrugged, but now that I’ve been there, I understand her disgust. San Andreas does have a terrific history museum, but the historic main street is hemmed in by disinterested twentieth-century ruins of every decade except the last. Part of the problem with San Andreas is that because it is the county seat, it puts entirely too much attention on crime stories like Black Bart, Joaquin Murietta, and the various hangin’s that were committed there, both legal and lynching. And it’s the seat of a county called “Skulls.” (According to Bill Bright’s “1500 California Place Names,” a great traveling companion.)
The museum is housed in the old Hall of Records building, just like ours (in Santa Cruz) used to be. Behind that is the old Court House, and behind that the jail and the jail yard. It just goes on and on and because it was a Wednesday afternoon, I had it to myself and could freely be creeped out by the fake bodies in the jail beds. It made me want to buy a pack of cigarettes.
I had started out that day seeking ghosts on a glorious mountain road and they seemed to find me there in that jail. So it perked me up to find this car parked outside. That’s the Black Bart Inn on one side of the street, a grave yard in the distance, and the ubiquitous Real Estate Office in the Historical Building next to the museum. You can’t read the bumper stickers on the car but they are: “All Who Wander Are Not Lost,” “Keep Missoula Weird,” and “The Goddess is Alive and Magic is Afoot.” My people.
That night I saw Avatar in Angel’s camp. Others have said better what it is. I’ll just say it is a gilded turd.
I stayed at A’s lovely little place outside of La Grange that night. She has a view of the valley and Coast Range that cannot be properly photographed, but I was attracted to this pretty valley looking southeast from her driveway.
And then it was on to Coulterville. Have you been there? Such a sweet little crossroads town. I remember picnicking there with my family when I was a girl, sitting on the train engines. That morning I ate at the diner and marveled at the layers of time and cultures, business and pleasure that this land is.
That tall thing is a stamp mill. Four huge hammers would pound gold-bearing quartz to a powder that was then mixed with mercury. The amalgam of Hg and Au would then be heated, the Hg would boil off (mostly) leaving the pure gold behind. An ancient alchemy. Kinda dirty though. You can see a wagon wheel to the left. The wheel is part of a bench that looks exactly like the benches I’ve seen made out of teak farm wagons from China and I think that is what it is: the discarded historic farm implements of a land undergoing a gold rush right now. To the left of the stamp mill is a miwok wikiup, which seem to be erected in a fit of guilt and patronage at all the historic sites these days. This one serves as the centerpiece of a “Peace Garden.” Across the street is a real estate office that is, itself, for sale.
Since I was in Coulterville, I decided to take one of my favorite drives, the Priest-Coulterville Road up to Highway 120 and then to Big Oak Flat. If you have the time, always take this road instead of highway 49. I forgot to take pictures.
When I was a girl Big Oak Flat was where we went to mass if we had to go to mass, while we were camping at Pine Mountain Lake. I think we may have gone to mass here a few times, but it is so ridiculous to take four girls from age 10 to infant to mass in the middle of a camping trip, I think my parents eventually realized that God didn’t intend for them to do that. I drove up to Mt. Carmel for the cemetery and took this terrible picture, but while I was there a cute terrier came up to me and tried to get in my car.
Lucky for me, “Smitty” drove up and said he had been looking for her. We chatted about how great dogs are, and I learned that he was 80, his wife was 76, they had just gotten her from the pound down in Oakdale, he used to drive the school bus, and before that he did lumbering. He did not say how he came to be on oxygen, but I could imagine him swinging a bus around mountain curves with a Camel hanging out of his mouth. I suppose had made the right decision the night before about the smokes. I said I was doing a history tour and showed him the guidebook. He was familiar with it. He told me about an arrastra that he and his crew had found while lumbering: 4 miles outside of Groveland, take Shanahan Road, just past Sugar Pine Ranch. An arrastra is a poor man’s stamp grinder. You know the gold is in the rock, but how do you crush it without capital? You get a mule and a post, and a big rock. Here’s a picture of one.
I hadn’t planned on driving that way, but with a secret arrastra to find, why not? Smitty’s directions were perfect, but alas, no arrastra was to be found. I found the arrastra location between the two streams, just like he had said, but the BLM had done some stream “restoration” and it was gone.
Since I had driven past Groveland, I decided to continue on to Second Garrotte. The first town after coming up the Priest grade and entering the forest is Big Oak Flat. Although the Oak is long gone, the road still curves around it, which I think is just delightful. The second town is Deer Flat, but it’s not really a town anymore, although it was an Indian town during after Big Oak Flat was founded. The next town is Groveland, which started out as First Garrotte. Someone was also hung in the next camp up the road, so that town became Second Garrotte. Unlike the oak down the road, this town was able to keep theirs, although the rest of the town is gone.
Second Garrotte is on “Old Highway 120.” There’s a hotel that is trying to stay in business. A few houses along the way that are recently constructed. I found a freshly built Mormon church, so it must be more populated than it looks.
From Second Garrotte I went down Priest grade. I was headed toward an old settlement in my guidebook called Keystone, although since I had never heard of it outside that book I doubted I’d find anything there. The book said that at the half-way point on Priest grade was a spring. I’d been up and down that road dozens of times, but I had never stopped at this wide spot to find the spring.
There it is (with my invisible car). You can see New (and sickening) Priest grade is across Grizzly Gulch.
The springbox is there, full of trash as they often are, and without water, although the land around had plants that need more water than rain provides so perhaps the spring flows at other times of year.
My adventures on the way to Keystone will have to wait for another night: Red Hills ACEC, Crimea corral, Negro Peak, Copperopolis (both real and the fake), and the search for Sappho of Green Springs. Read it here.