Saturday, August 28, 2010

On Pacific Island music (now - Pacific Island Dancers of Chino Hills)

As I mentioned in a post in my Empoprise-MU music blog, I first encountered Pacific Island music when I needed to select a theme song for my college radio show. Eventually I used M.K. Moke's "Moana Chimes" (after a period of using Roy Smeck's "Indiana March"), but I really hadn't run across much Pacific Island music since that time until I was invited to a Saturday evening luau.

At a senior citizen assisted living center.

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but I figured that the center would serve some pineapple, and I figured that perhaps some of the 80-year old women could still hula, so I went there with an open mind.

As it turned out, they did serve pineapple, and a variety of other foods (no roasted pig with an apple in its mouth, though). And the dancing was NOT done by the residents. Instead, the entertainment was provided by three dancers (two female, one male) and one drummer from Pacific Island Dancers, a group based on the "island" of Chino Hills, California.

Their show (presented in the parking lot of the complex) was billed as a tour of the islands, starting and ending in Tahiti, with stops in Hawaii, Samoa, and New Zealand. Much of the dancing was done to pre-recorded music (with the drummer augmenting things on some songs), but the final dances were accompanied by the drummer alone.

They also had an audience participation segment. No, none of the residents participated, but they did get five family members to go up front and shake around a bit.

A fun time was had by all. In addition to performing at corporate events, Pacific Island Dancers also offers instruction for all age groups.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Finding the local blogs

While searching for the slightest mention of a particular Ontario, California mayoral candidate, I made a discovery about the Original Skrip blog. I normally read it via Google Reader, so I just see the RSS version of the posts and don't see the entire blog in all of its goodness.

It turns out that if you actually visit the blog, you'll find a list of local blogs in the upper right corner, including this very Empoprise-IE blog. I was familiar with some of the listed blogs, but hadn't heard of some of the others. In particular, the Goddess of Garey Avenue was new to me. How many goddesses can a single city have? And yes, "GOGA" was inspired by the similarly-named Goddess of Pomona.

The Goddess of Pomona has been trying to get me to start a blog for quite some time now, so I’m finally having at it.

I have been mentioned on several other Pomona blogs over the past couple of years and was first mentioned on the the Goddess of Pomona’s blog several years ago when I was really into sungazing while on Garey Avenue. And that’s where I got my name The Goddess of Garey Avenue.

Now I'm wondering if there are any other emperors in Ontario.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why social media political campaigning is rapidly becoming a necessity


I have previously noted that current Ontario Mayor and mayoral candidate Paul Leon has an online presence, while mayoral candidate Frederick Minook does not.

Why is this important?

Because, as of this evening (August 24, 2010), if someone were to search Google to find out who the heck Frederick Minook is, my previous blog post on Frederick Minook would be the first search result that they would encounter.

In my blogging, I've tried to corner the market on obscure topics before, but I've never had the (theoretical) potential to affect the future of our great city.

Of course, I'll grant that most people don't make political decisions based on Google. But it's still scary to think that if someone isn't promoting their own cause, an interloper could come by and do it for them.

(empo-tymshft) An Inland Empire 2010!

You may recall that I wrote a post a couple of years ago that talked about bulletin board systems (BBS'es) in the 20th century Inland Empire.

But that isn't the only time that I wrote about BBS systems. Matt Munson (who was mentioned in my 2008 post) apparently found a reference to my BBS'ing days while perusing the August 2004 archive of the Ontario Empoblog, and Munson ended up writing a post about his own BBS'ing days. Excerpt:

[B]ack on July 1995, I had plans for my first bbs where I wrote my plans for a message base lineup, but I only had 60 megs to run a bbs and I decided to run a part time bbs, but that was kind of not cool because people did not know the difference not to call at the daytime when they were supposed to call at night.

But Munson's time in BBS-land hasn't ended. The post includes a link to a BBS that Munson started in 2002, and is still going strong today.

Yes, a link. The BBS world has changed since the time that I'd dial in to a BBS via a modem. These days, there are new ways to access such systems.

There are three choices for interactivity, you can visit with a web browser to read the message forums, and download files (such as the telnet client and offline message reader program), flash based terminal program where you can do most things on my bbs except for downloading and uploading files, and the telnet connection where you can visit my bbs like if you were dialing with a modem.

But once you get to the BBS via the newfangled methods, it's just like you were interacting with a BBS in the 20th century.

Well, with one exception. This post includes a signature block which would have mystified me if I had seen it on the Grotto back in the day:

~ I am on twitter: @thinktank79 on Twitter ~

I can see the 20th century version of me asking, "What's a twitter?"

Now, I could conceivably join the BBS just to answer that question, and even though I'm reluctant to add yet another login (BBS systems don't support Facebook Connect or Twitter OAuth), I just might do it in this instance. But if I do, what should I use as my handle? Wasp the Houseboy? Ontario Emperor? 20th Century Modem Man?

Friday, August 20, 2010

London, Redlands, and trees

Back in July, the Financial Times of London ran a story on ESRI's Jack Dangermond. But perhaps the readers of that esteemed paper didn't get some of the implied local references. For example:

He does have an indulgence, however – trees. A keen conservationist, he buys thousands of acres of “junk” land in southern California in order to reforest it.

Considering that Dangermond works in Redlands, his appreciation for trees is understandable.

More here, including Dangermond's thought on his technology and the virtues of running a private company.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why the Echo Hills Golf Course won't be replaced by a Hilton any time soon

Someone who worked for a Hilton call center in Hemet two years ago has made some allegations about some bad timing on Hilton's part.

Employees of a Hemet reservation call center for Hilton Worldwide were sent to the Philippines to train agents at a new call center there only two months before Hilton announced that it was closing the Hemet office....

[A]t a 2 p.m. meeting on Aug. 4, Hilton told its Hemet employees what had been rumored for months: that the center on Florida Avenue would close, on Oct. 6. Documents say 295 people will lose their jobs.

Hilton has been somewhat tight-lipped about the matter.

[A]lthough office staff handed out the phone number of a public relations executive, he did not return calls seeking comment. Four hours after the layoff was announced, that executive, David Trumble, Hilton's director of corporate communications for the western United States, e-mailed a three-paragraph statement....

Trumble took seven days to respond to e-mailed questions about Hilton's operations, including whether Hilton had call centers in the Philippines, whether Hemet employees were sent there as trainers and whether Hemet employees would receive relocation assistance.

He did not answer the latter two questions. [Former employee] Stroud said Hemet employees were offered relocation help.

This isn't the first time that Hilton has sent employees to the Philippines to train their replacements, according to this 2009 article:

Some of the 176 soon-to-be laid-off employees of the Hilton Reservations & Customer Care call center in Humboldt Industrial Park traveled to the Philippines to train workers for a new facility, according to several sources at the center.

The local call center is scheduled to close Dec. 8, a company spokesman confirmed earlier this week.

About a dozen workers, who requested anonymity because they remain employed at Hilton, claim multiple contingents of workers from the local call center have traveled to the island nation to train workers.

A spokesman for Hilton Reservation Worldwide did not return calls seeking comment on the claims.

Interestingly enough, the same article from 2009 stated that the center in Hemet was "scheduled to close." Presumably if out of town newspapers were reporting this, the employees in Hemet already knew it; they just didn't know when it would happen.

Note to Hilton employees - if you're sent on a business trip to the Philippines, polish up your resume before you go.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Angus - the magical name

Use of the correct term can make a big impression, as any "automotive specialist" who "consults" with individuals on the purchase of "pre-owned cars" can tell you.

McDonalds knows a thing or two about marketing, which is why this announcement has appeared.

McDonald's is launching a new Angus Snack Wrap in Southern California stores, including in 111 of its 134 Inland locations.

Using words such as "Angus" allow McDonalds to potentially increase its profit margin by marketing to a more upscale clientele, or at least to those of us who want to pretend to be upscale. Slashfood observed the following during an Angus Snack Wrap taste test:

We attended a product-tasting event yesterday afternoon in a three-story restaurant with wood-paneled walls and modern accents, where people were using the free wifi and enjoying complimentary manicures. Sounds fancy, eh? The restaurant, by the way, was a McDonald's. (And those manicures were exclusive to the event.)

I'm not sure if I want a McManicure in a restaurant, but perhaps I'll try an Angus Snack Wrap if I'm in a snack mood.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Golfers in Hemet will weep

The stereotypical image of a golfer does not necessarily correlate with the stereotypical image of the Inland Empire. Golfers are supposedly urban, rich, and (until what's-his-name became popular) white, and the Inland Empire is generally none of the above.

But despite this, golf is popular outside of the elite circles, and was doing pretty good business in more remote locations.

Well, WAS is the operative word. The Echo Hills golf course in Hemet is closing after nearly fifty years in business:

"The business didn't support the costs," said owner Phil Crockett.

Interestingly enough, Echo Hills is (was) the only course in the area that was a 9 hole course. The others are 18 holes. The Press-Enterprise claims that the 9 holes, as well as the short walking distances, effectively gave Echo Hills a niche that made it popular with children and senior citizens. The fees ($10 to walk the course) certainly helped with popularity, but apparently didn't help with the bottom line.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The yards are still selling

You'll recall that I wrote about Ontario's new limitations on yard sales, after reading Matt Munson's post on the topic.

The first official yard sale weekend was the weekend of August 6-8, as I noted in these two posts.

After that weekend, all yard sale activity in the city of Ontario was supposed to cease until Friday, November 5.

Yeah, right.

Last weekend, I saw several signs in Ontario for yard sales. I should have taken pictures like the blogger/journalist that I am supposed to be, but I didn't.

Don't know if the code enforcement police toured the neighborhoods looking for offenders.

Incidentally, if you want to see the full text of the city ordinance, you can find Ordinance number 2924 here (pdf).

Yeah, but does Frederick Minook tweet?

It's always interesting to see the people who choose to follow you on Twitter. (My Twitter account name, by the way, is @empoprises.) Some people follow you just to increase their follower count, or to hawk their "social media expert" wares. And others follow you because of the things that you talk about, and since some of my tweets involve the Inland Empire (all posts to this blog generate Twitter entries), there are various Inland Empire people who choose to follow me.

And one of my recent followers is @mayorpaulleon. He uses his Twitter account and his website to promote all things Ontario. And, of course, the presence also helps to promote Mayor Leon himself. Nothing wrong with that, because if it were, I'd have to go back to posting under a pseudonym.

It should be noted, however, that this is an election year, and Mayor Leon is running for re-election. So naturally there's an interesting in seeing who, if anyone would choose to run against him.

Liset Marquez has linked to the list of candidates and almost-candidates, the latter being people who pulled papers, but didn't end up officially filing. Or perhaps they filed but didn't have enough signatures.

At the end of the day, only two candidates are running for the position of Mayor - Leon, who qualified for the ballot on August 2, and Frederick J. Minook, who qualified for the ballot back on July 14.

Now I'll admit that I haven't really followed city politics all that closely lately, so maybe those in the know already are familiar with Minook. I, however, am not. So I am depending upon the web to see what I can find out about him. Be cautioned, however, that there is always the possibility of two Frederick J. Minooks in the area, so perhaps I'm a little off here.

Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Minook donated to Damien High School.

At one point Minook apparently applied to become a member of the Citizens Redistricting Commission, who solicited comments about him.

San Bernardino County documents for this election (see page 57) list Minook's occupation as "Retired Technical Supervisor."

And that's about all that I found, which may not bode well for Minook in this election. Let me give you an example - a Google search for the quoted phrase Frederick J. Minook only presents 6 results (which will presumably increase to 7 after this blog post appears). By way of contrast, John E. Bredehoft yields over 300,000 results. And we already know that I wouldn't get any significant amount of votes in any election. For one thing, I don't own my own domain name like Mayor Leon does.

Obviously Minook does not have the technical savvy that Suzan DelBene and Dave Reichert have. But then again, the election season is young, and maybe Minook will get a YouTube channel before Leon does.

Then again, perhaps Minook is more savvy than we thought.

And in case I get audited by some election commission, here's some equal time for Paul Leon.

OK, so maybe these videos don't show OUR Minook or Paul Leon. (But there is a Mayor Paul Leon video on YouTube.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Better ways to reduce the dangers of our stereotype

Contrary to popular belief, every resident of the Inland Empire does not have his or her own personal meth lab. Neither does every resident of West Virginia, but West Virginia University is pursuing ways to improve meth lab cleanup:

[Suzanne] Bell and her research group will investigate if the standard cleaning and purifying procedures used to clean homes and apartments which previously served as meth labs really work.

“It’s important to clean it up properly because so many toxic chemicals are used in the preparation of methamphetamine and demolition of the site is not always possible or appropriate. The danger to future occupants is chronic exposure to residuals of these hazardous compounds,” Bell said.

So how will this research be conducted?

Bell and graduate students, Rona Nishikawa, Lucy Oldfield, Travis Doria, and Holly McCall, will simulate meth labs to gauge the effect of the chemicals used on living environments. They also hope to visit former labs to gather samples. Field sites provide the best research environment because it is impossible to simulate an entire meth lab in the academic laboratory.

I wonder if the simulation will include a mobile home, a picture of dogs playing poker, and a television set tuned to Jerry Springer.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Villaraigosa wants ONT. Why?

Local new agencies printed two stories about Ontario International Airport recently.

This one (from the Press Enterprise) notes that Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa does not believe that his city should give up control of the airport.

This one (from the Daily Bulletin/San Bernardino Sun) notes that it will be a long time before airport traffic returns to previous levels. In fact, consultant Warren Adams won't reach the 2007 level of traffic (7.2 million passengers) until 2040.

Yes, 2040.

Personally I believe that Adams' crystal ball is a little crowded. For one thing, if LAX continues to suffer from overcrowding and pollution and noise and bad policing and a myriad of other issues, Los Angeles city government may become more active in encouraging more people to travel out of ONT than out of LAX.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

(empo-tymshft) Let's demolish stuff for healthy living

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a guy.

I am a guy.

These two facts will be key to this post.

But first let us return to a time when Schwarzenegger's native land was the just-defeated enemy in the war of the United States and others against fascist aggression. The great expansion of the California economy that resulted from World War II was followed by an even greater expansion of the California economy that resulted from the Cold War. When I moved to the Inland Empire in the early 1980s, there were military facilities all over the place, and they were supplied by major defense firms that were also all over the place. Southern California wasn't filled with waitresses who wanted to be actresses - Southern California was filled with military officers who wanted to make huge money working for defense subcontractors.

And in a few short years it was over. The Cold War ended, and the buildup of huge military forces was replaced by a rapid reduction in military facilities. Bases were closed, defense contractors laid off thousands, and the region entered a painful new phase.

One of the decommissioned areas was March Air Force Base, way out in the middle of nowhere south of Riverside, and south of the brand-new city of Moreno Valley. March Air Force Base became March Air Reserve Base.

And recently my governor watched as the remaining buildings at March were destroyed. And it sounds like it was pretty cool:

The first step is the removal of some 40 older buildings, a process that began with a ceremony presided over by Schwarzenegger near the intersection of Riverside Drive and Cactus Avenue. Two pieces of heavy equipment demolished the old Air Force child care center that most recently housed the Somerset Academy for special education students.

If you go to the Press-Enterprise article, you will see pictures of the two pieces of heavy equipment.

So what's happening out there? A hospital center is being built:

The governor said the efforts could turn the former base property into what he called "The Mayo Clinic of the West."

"We're celebrating something no one has ever done in the world. We're building the first health and wellness city," said Schwarzenegger, who flew in to March Air Reserve Base.

Oh well, California has always been a land of dreamers.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ontario lawn owners set up safe and attractive garage sales

Follow-up to my earlier post.

While driving down south Euclid Avenue at about 7:15 this morning, I saw two garage sales being set up between Mission and Philadelphia.

View Larger Map

Now I normally don't take that route, so I don't know if Friday morning setups of garage sales are usual at that time on a Friday. But it's possible that this is an indicator of a LOT of lawn activity this weekend.

I checked the Daily Bulletin's garage sale ads, and at the time I checked it there were 37 ads. Only 13 of the ads were for Ontario, which seems rather low to me.

Reminder to Ontario, California lawn owners - today is a garage sale day

As Matt Munson posted on July 24, and as I posted on July 29, this is one of the only four weekends within the next twelve months that Ontario, California residents will be allowed to have a garage sale.

Here's the notice from the city, in case you missed it.


Garage Sale Rules Have Changed

A City Permit is no longer needed for a garage sale. As of June 17, 2010, an ordiance amendment went into effect to allow garage or yard sales only on fixed dates, four weekends per year. Ontario residents may now have four garage sales per year, instead of two sales per year. The dates for 2010 are August 6, 7, and 8th and November 5, 6, and 7th. The dates for 2011 will be posted on the City web site later this year. The new ordiance will help to reduce parking and traffic problems, and will help to keep the City a safe and attractive place to live.

So if you're so inclined, skip work today, throw a bunch of stuff on the front lawn, and sell it.

Or do it tomorrow.

Let's see how "safe and attractive" Ontario looks over the next three days.

Better yet, let's see how many people hold garage sales next weekend, when it's illegal to do so.

[7:55 AM - FOLLOW-UP.]

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ontario, California tweeters

Back in May, I wrote about the "My Local Pledge" people. They still have their @OntarioCA Twitter account, with local content such as the following:

It's Legal Drinking Age Day! To those 21+ what is your favorite adult beverage & where do you go to get it?

For some strange reason, no one has been moved to respond to @OntarioCA's tweets lately. To be fair, however, Twitter only keeps about four seconds of tweets online in its search engine, so older tweets to @OntarioCA such as this one can't be called up on Twitter any more.

I poked around and found @OntarioCAAlerts, a service that posts hourly weather reports. Not exactly interactive, however. (@OntarioCAJobs is similar, sort of.)

Now Wefollow has an entire directory of Ontario, California Twitter users. However, until recently I was not part of that directory - when I joined Wefollow, I was restricted to using three tags, so I chose business, music, and inlandempire. I've since added the Ontario, California location (and an ntnbuzztime tag).

Regarding Ontario, California Twitter users, be sure to check out Etsy lover @lanakinbuddys; the auto tweeters @SavageBMWParts, @EconixUSA, and @BoshartEngineer; and @DaveyDESTRUCT.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Who are the business champions for the Inland Empire?

If a product or a philosophy is going to take off, it needs one or more people to champion it. But this not only applies to products (iPhone) or philosophies (the Tea Party movement), but also locales.

I moved to the Inland Empire over twenty-five years ago, but I have not worked in the Inland Empire in nearly twenty years, having had jobs near downtown Los Angeles and in various locations in Orange County. During that period, the Inland Empire has been poised to take off, only to ebb back again due to September 11 or a housing crisis or some other cause.

I look at other areas, and I find Joan Koerber-Walker championing Phoenix, and Jesse Stay championing Salt Lake City.

So who are the business champions in our area?

You certainly have the organizations, such as the Inland Empire Business Journal, the Business Press, Inland Empire Magazine, and Yahoo's directory for the Inland Empire. There's The Bizz (associated with the Los Angeles Newspaper Group), but it hasn't posted a new article since February 22. (Oh yeah, there's My Local Pledge.)

But who are the PEOPLE who are championing the area? Jack Brown? Jack Dangermond? (Hmm, should I start using the nickname "Jack" when writing about the area?)

So who do YOU look to as a champion out here?