Washoe County Republican Precinct Meetings

Saturday I attended the Washoe County Republican Precinct Meeting for my precinct. Two years ago when I attended the Republican caucus for the presidential election there were several hundred people and McQueen High School was overflowing. I would guess that 40 to 50 precincts meet at McQueen High School. There are 261 registered Republicans in my precinct and I have no idea how many Republicans in all the precincts that meet at McQueen.

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The meeting started out with all the attendees from all the precincts in the entry way of the High School getting instructions. I would estimate that there were about 50 people in total attending. We split up into our precincts and went to separate rooms for the actual precinct meeting. There were two people from my precinct, myself and another woman. So I was the meeting chairman and she was the secretary. We elected ourselves as delegates to the county convention and central committee. Then we voted in the straw poll for our choices for the senatorial and gubernatorial races. Then we adjourned.

You would think that if you were a hard working well organized candidate you would try to attend the these meetings or at least have someone there representing you. It was interesting to note that only two candidates were represented. It makes me wonder if the other candidates even care about the people they would represent if they were elected.

It was quite impressive that Sharron Angle's husband was handing out campaign literature and she was at the meeting. Sharron Angle is running for the U.S. Senate. Angle and her husband live in our general area. She said she was going  to try to attend  all the precinct meetings around Reno. I think the other represented candidate was Brian Sandoval but I'm not sure. I talked to Sharron briefly and had my picture taken with her. I was impressed with her and I liked the fact that she makes her positions very clear on her web site. Many candidates don't. I was a little put off by the fact that another woman I talked to said that Angle is just too much of a right wing fringe candidate. My politics are probably closer to independent than to Republican but I find the whole political process fascinating.

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The straw poll ballots were counted later in the afternoon at the Washoe County Republican headquarters. I got  an email with the results.

GOVERNOR
 
Jim Gibbons            45.6%
Brian Sandoval       41.4%
Mike Montandon     12.6%
Brian Krolicki             0.4%

U.S. SENATE
 
Sharron Angle         42.9%
Sue Lowden            18.4%
Danny Tarkanian    15.2%
Mark Amodei           10.0%
Bill Parson                  5.8%
Brian Krolicki              5.5%
Robin Titus                 1.3%
Chuck Kozak              0.3%
Mike Wiley                  0.3%
Brian Sandoval          0.3%

Quick trip to Sacramento by Train and Bus

I thought about titling this post Sacramento Through the Back Door, a take off on Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door. My back pack was packed and it was on my back as I got on the bus at the Reno Amtrak station.

My oldest daughter lives in Oakland. We recently decided to meet half way between Reno and Oakland for a chance to catch up. I took an Amtrak bus to Sacramento and the Amtrak California Zepher train home. This proved to be a smart move because by the time I headed home a big snow storm had hit us and chains were require on interstate 80 over Donner Pass. The train however was only a few minutes late. It was warm, very comfortable, and very scenic. The only delay was when they positioned a train snowplow in front of us so that the train could follow it over Donner pass.

We had a great time in Sacramneto. We visited two great book stores, Beers Books and The Avid Reader.

Our dinner out was the Sunday night before Martin Luther King Day. It turns out that most restaurants in Sacramento downtown are closed on Sunday night. The restaurant where I finally got reservations was fantastic. Aioli Bodega Espanol is a Spanish tapas restaurant. The ambiance was relaxing. We had a bottle of wine and several different types of tapas and talked non stop solving the problems of the world. Then we went across the street to Crepeville and had crepes for desert.

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Breakfast Saturday morning was at the Tower Cafe. The rain was pouring down but they had a heated tent outside where we waited for a table to open up. The breakfast was worth the wait.

My daughter dropped me off at the train station at 11:30 and I was back in Reno about 5pm. We have planed to do a Sacramento weekend again in a couple of months. It was so much fun.

Men to Match My Mountains by Irving Stone

I have read quite a bit of American history over the last year. I've enjoyed it and learned a lot. But everything I have been reading took place in the eastern half of the U.S.  So I decided I wanted to read Men to Match My Mountains by Irving Stone about the explorers and early settlers of California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. I wanted to be able to visit the locations and learn more about the history of the area where I live.

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Men to Match my Mountains was written in 1956. The writing is not as compelling as the best current history writing but the story itself is so compelling that the book is a classic. It took me a long time to read. In fact it is overdue at the library. But Men to Match my Mountains filled the bill and enlightened me about history that I knew little about.

It was fun to read about Theodore Judah who laid out the route for the first train route across the Rockies. I followed that route when I took the train back from Sacramento last week.

It was interesting to read about how California was settled by the Mexicans, how the Americans moved in, the enormous role that John Sutter played in settling the area around Sacramento, and how the American Lieutenant John C. Freemont  in 1844 on one of his exploring trips came south from the Oregon border.

"The next two weeks were spent in this frightening death like country until the party reached a thirty five mile long lake which Fremont called Pyramid Lake and from which his men gorged themselves on salmon trout. On this newly garnered strength they pushed through to the present site of Reno and south of that to the Carson River."

Last summer Duke and I explored that area north of Reno in a wonderful road trip.

Virginia City which is a very short drive southeast of Reno was the center of the silver mining that was done on the Comstock Lode. It was fascinating to read how the rich silver deposits were discovered and opened up.

The miners were looking for gold and ignoring the fact that the Mexicans kept talking about how much silver was in the area. B. A. Harrison  from Truckee Meadows collected some rock from the area and sent it to be assayed. The editor of the Nevada Journal in Nevada City, California split it in two parts and sent it to two independent assayers.

"On July 1, 1858 the Nevada Journal published the results of the two assays: the black rock was incredibly rich. It not only proved the Mexican cry of "Mucho plata" with its one third assay of silver, but also contained high proportions of gold, antimony and copper.

Hundreds of miners walked out of the California mines and made their way over the Sierra Nevada on horseback, muleback and foot. The first legal claim office was setup in V.A. Houseworth's saloon. In Gold Canyon the old timers were lost in a flood of newcomers. By mid July all roads and trails over the mountains were jammed with thousands of men pouring into the new fields."

The money that came out of the Virginia City area is staggering. In 1875 "the Consolidated Virginia and adjoining California mine were the richest producing mines in the history of the world." At that time they paid over $1,000,000 a month in dividends  Today Virginia City is a small little town with an economy that seems to be centered only on tourism. What a change.

I'm looking forward to continuing to read about this area and to traveling around to see the sites I am reading about. Can you recommend any good books?

Eric Richert – Knowledge Work Infrastructure Consultant, Former VP of Sun Microsystems iWork and Open Work Programs, Hiker, and Director for Kirkwood Meadow Public Utility District – Episode 9 Marion Vermazen Podcast

Eric Richert – Knowledge Work Infrastructure Consultant, Former VP of Sun Microsystems iWork and Open Work Programs, Hiker, and Director for Kirkwood Meadow Public Utility District – Episode 9 Marion Vermazen Podcast

One of the things that I did when I was working at Sun Microsystems was to help develop tools and systems to give Sun employees the best, most productive and effective work environment possible. The products that we developed included a work from home program, a flexible office program and change management and collaborations tools among other things. The program was called Open Work or iWork and I am very proud to have been a part of it.

My guest on the podcast today is Eric Richert who was my boss  during my last few years at Sun. Eric was Vice President, of Open Work Solutions at Sun.

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Eric also is an avid hiker and talks about his recent trip to the Dolomites in our conversation

To listen to the podcast run your mouse over the bar below. You will see a play button that you can click on.

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You can find the article by Horst Rittel  which talks about wicked and tame problems here.

There is also a Horst Rittle Melvin Webber article on the same subject here.

The Wikipedia article about Wicked problems is available here.

If you would like to know more about Sun's Open Work program the Sun web page about Open Work is here

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Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center at University of Nevada Reno

I've lived in Reno for two and a half years and there are Reno places I haven't been and Reno things I haven't done. I made a list. This year I want to do it all.

One place on my list is the Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center at the University of Nevada Reno. We had a friend from the Bay area visiting the last few days. We were going to go snowshoeing but the weather has been kind of crumby (Rain!) so we decided to check out the Planetarium.

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The planetarium is relatively small it has a 30 foot diameter dome over a 60 seat theater. The small museum and the gift shop are free and the shows in the planetarium are pretty cheap. As a senior I got in for $4 and my friend got in for $6. We saw The Living Sea show which was OK. The photography was pretty amazing but I thought the commentary was pretty boring. I wish we had done one of the digital starshows.

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The free museum and gift shop were really cool. The gift shop had neat stuff like a book on soda pop experiments, ant farms and crystal growing kits. Purchases at the gift shop are tax exempt.

The museum had large rotating earth and moon globes, meteorites, a fascinating display about optical illusions and and a fun black hole demonstrator. For 25 cents we got several ball bearings to drop into the vortex and watch them orbit and accelerate into the hole. 

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I picked up a brochure about becoming a member of the Friends of the Planetarium and also a membership application for the Astronomical Society of Nevada. The whole visit was fun. I would recommend it.