Archive for December, 2006

The Trader Joe’s Blues

I was at Trader Joe’s in Orange today, purchasing my fix of gallon ice tea and some ground turkey. I always make sure to time it so that I am there during a “lull” period, but the place was packed out. I don’t know if everyone is on vacation this week, or if everyone collectively thought it was a “lull,” thus creating the exact opposite condition. Either way, it sucked.

And even though I love Trader Joe’s, it is a nightmare when it is crowded. Especially the one in Orange, which has to be one of the tiniest ones I’ve ever been in.

First, the aisles are already narrow, and when you have five people trying to get into the corner where the eggs are, it is just ugly.

Second, there is something about the products at Trader Joe’s that encourages people to pick up the package and read. I don’t know if they are reading the ingredients, or reading the preparation instructions, or what. But there they all are, just planting themselves in the aisles, taking their sweet time. I never see people in regular grocery stores just standing and reading food packages the way I do there.

And lastly, when there are too many people standing in line, the entire quarter of the store where the check-out lanes are becomes completely impassable. Sure, everybody gives a tight smile and tries to manuever their way to the wine shelves, but we all know that inside we are silently cursing the woman who is spacing out while looking at the Altoid selection and won’t move her cart.

But have you ever tried their chocolate chip cookies? Not the ones in the buckets, but the ones in the bakery section?

They’re worth the hassle.

Greetings Orange County!

Hello to my fellow authors and readers and commenters and so-forth and so-on. I suppose I should introduce myself shouldn’t I? My name’s Jon and I am ever so pleased to join the roster of authors for Orange County Metroblogging. Hooray! I’d just like to take this opportunity to wave my arms around wildly and draw lots of attention to myself. Hey look at me! Look at me!

Great, now that I got that out of my system I can tell you briefly about all about yours truly. Long story short: I (heart) OC! I am a transplant to this great county. You see, I spent my formative years in the Great Northwest fending off loggers and fisherman wishing I could live in sunny southern California — whiling away my days at the mall or the beach. That dream became fully realized when my wife and I moved to Anaheim, three years ago. We both live and work here and have a strong affection for our new homeland. As we struggled to get acquainted with our new and exciting surroundings I stumbled across Orange County Metroblogging and we both became entranced. Okay maybe not “entranced”, but we did enjoying reading the blog and even occasionally posted comments. Now, as fate would have it, I get to blog about the place I have grown to love! Sweet.

So, keep your eyeballs peeled for more posts from me soon. I’m sure I will catch you before it’s over, but in case I don’t, please have a safe and happy Hanukkah!

The pleasure’s been all mine,

Jon

Welcome Auckland!

Say hello to Metroblogging City number 51 – Auckland, New Zealand! While you’re at it, check out the Best Of on Metroblogging.com to see what else is happening around the world.

Free Flu Shots for All!

The fine folks at the County of Orange Health Care Agency are now offering free flu shots to all adults and children over 6 months of age. Shots are available at a variety of locations (listed here), including the Orange County Public Health Clinic Locations below:

Santa Ana
1725 W. 17th Street
Monday – Friday – 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Buena Park
7342 Orangethorpe
Monday – 8:00 am – 12:00 noon
Wednesday – 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Costa Mesa
2845 Mesa Verde Dr. East
Thursday – 8:00 am to 12:00 noon

San Juan Capistrano
27512 Calle Arroyo
Tuesday 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

So protect yourself! Get shot!

“Trapped” by Falling Real Estate Prices?

I just read an article in the OC Register entitled, “Falling Prices Trap New Homeowners.”

Please.

It’s called a free market, people. You cannot possibly go into the housing market thinking that prices will forever go up. Anyone who is willing to do some research, which should be anyone who is plunking down hundreds of thousands of dollars on a purchase should know that real estate prices are cyclical. To blame the home builder for lowering prices, thus meaning you cannot refinance your initial shaky adjustable rate mortgage loan, is ridiculous.

Anyone taking out an adjustable rate mortgage, or payment option mortgage, or any of those other questionable loans should have done their homework first. Usually, if you can’t afford a thirty year fixed, you can’t afford to buy a home. Unless you know with one hundred percent certainty that you can cover the payment when it adjusts up, because by nature that’s what those types of loans do, then you should not get one. You are gambling with your future.

Life is unpredictable, yes. But it doesn’t mean you can blithely take on financial risk and then blame someone else when it goes bad. The only thing they are being trapped by are their own choices.

Forget Diedrich’s Coffee

The final nail has been driven into the coffin. The deal to sell its stores to Starbucks was announced in September and this week Diedrich Coffee Shareholders approved the deal. Since the initial announcement I’ve been on a quest to find a suitable replacement, and the winner is: (drum roll please …)
The Lost Bean on Newport Avenue in Tustin (a few doors down from the Tustin Brewing Company). I received a number of suggestions including Panera, Kean, and The Ugly Mug, but none quite fit my geographic needs. My discovery of The Lost Bean was purely serendipitous. I spent more than a few hours laboring under this year’s NaNoWriMo deadline in a quiet corner of the Lost Bean. The quality of the coffee and tea easily rivals that of Diedrich’s, the service is good — at one point the barista came to me asking if I’d like a refill, and the atmosphere is right. The food is also a cut above what you’ll find at Starbucks, though they do not have as wide a selection. As an example, I could actually taste the bananas and walnuts in their banana nut bread — as opposed to Starbuck’s aptly named “banana loaf.”
And yes, they offer free wi-fi, though you’d never know since there are no signs or mention of this fact on their website.

December Meeting of the Orange County Atheists

The next meeting of the Orange County Atheists will be held Wednesday, December 13 at 7:30pm at the International House of Pancakes at 18542 MacArthur Blvd in Irvine. If you consider yourself an atheist, an agnostic, a freethinker, a humanist, or are just curious, check out this month’s event. If you’re planning on attending please RSVP at our website forums. Hope to see you there!

Anaheim Ducks on a Roll

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For those of you who follow hockey, there is a team that has one of the best records in the NHL, and it’s in my own backyard.

The Anaheim Ducks are in solid first in the Western Division with a league leading 52 points. They have won five straight road games, tying a team record, and have so far set a new record for wins at home at the hPond (Honda Center + Pond = hPond).

Forget the Kings, they are stuck near the bottom of the Western Division. If you want to see some winning Hockey, go check out the Ducks.

Does Orange County Need Football?

The city of Anaheim has been angling forever to get an NFL franchise. It looks like it may not happen anytime soon. A developer has offered 150 million to the city of Anaheim for a retail project on the proposed stadium site.

And you know what? I’m ok with that.

I’m not really a bit football fan, but I’ll watch it and I know enough about it not to look like a complete idiot at Super Bowl parties.

But really, it’s because of the greed of the NFL. They come in and give cheesy, low-ball offers for the land, and then expect the taxpayers to foot most of the bill for the stadium. Or some kind of sweetheart deal in which they lease the land for next to nothing.

With all there is to do here, is football a necessity? It isn’t exactly as if we sit here twiddling our thumbs, waiting for the NFL to come and rescue us from our boredom.

The NFL can stick it.

Since When is Disneyland in LA?

The other day, the LA Times had a special piece in their style and culture section entitled “What Los Angeles Gave the World.”

Now, it didn’t say “What the Southern California Region Gave the World,” so I fail to see how Los Angeles, which usually delights in denigrating Orange County, can lay claim to Disneyland. Oh, but maybe when it comes to world-class icons, it’s fine to suddenly associate themselves with us. Actually, beyond even associating, it brings Disneyland completely into the Los Angeles fold, just sort of lumping Anaheim into Los Angeles. Perhaps I could understand that with a city such as Pasadena, but not Anaheim. Anaheim is a city that tries to personify itself as uniquely Orange County, with the flap over the Angels franchise name as just a clue as to how fervently they view the idea of themselves as separate from L.A.

Personally, I think they’re just jealous.

Hands off, it’s ours.

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