Wednesday, March 27, 2013

(empo-jooryst) Now it can't be told

Yesterday, a jury in Rancho Cucamonga, California returned guilty verdicts in a criminal trial.

I have not said anything about this until now, for a compelling reason - I was an alternate juror on that jury, and obviously a juror can't discuss a trial while it's going on.

It turns out that a juror can't discuss a trial after it's ended, either. You can thank the O.J. Simpson circus - I mean trial - for this:

Gov. Pete Wilson on Monday signed bills spawned by the O.J. Simpson double murder case that make it illegal for witnesses and jurors in criminal trials to sell their stories until the case is finished....

Under the legislation, AB 501 by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) and SB 1999 by Sen. Quentin Kopp (I-San Francisco), it will be a crime starting Jan. 1 for jurors, witnesses or potential witnesses to provide information for compensation, a practice known as "checkbook journalism."...

Jurors will be barred from engaging in any arrangements for compensation until 90 days after being discharged.

Well, how does this affect me, you may ask? It's not that people are beating down my door offering to pay for my story. All that I can say, look to the left over there. While it's a stretch to say that one of those boxes to the left may qualify as "compensation," you can't be too careful.

So I'll tell a few stories about my jury July.

In the meantime, now that I am now able to read about the case and the particulars online, I'm going to do some catching up. When you're a juror, you are only supposed to base your decision upon evidence that is actually presented in court. If there was any coverage of the crime when it originally occurred, I'm not supposed to use it as a juror. In fact, I don't even know if the defendant hired his own attorneys to defend him, or if he were assigned a public defender.

After this self-imposed cone of silence, I have some catching up to do.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The third E is Eating

(Continued from previous post.)

So I was driving westbound on California Avenue, which is now a mixture of residences and car repair shops with the occasional other store thrown in. At the end of California Avenue, where it intersects with both San Antonio Avenue and Mission Boulevard, you can find Ramon's Cactus Patch.

This restaurant, which has been on this particular corner for over 50 years, and has been in existence in various Ontario locations since either 1937 or 1938, bears the distinction of being the first Mexican restaurant in Ontario. Except, however, that back in the 1930s, advertising a restaurant as a "Mexican" restaurant would be bad for business. (As I learned during my tour of the museum, the desegregation of Ontario public schools was a controversial issue in the 1940s.) So Ramon referred to his business as a "Spanish" restaurant - at least until he had a regular clientele.

I learned a lot of this while waiting for my order. Two articles - one from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin's David Allen, the other from a local Upland newsletter - told of the history of the restaurant. (I couldn't find the Allen article that is at the tables of Ramon's Cactus Patch, but Allen has written about the restaurant several times, most recently here.)

The food is nothing fancy (no Chinese fusion here), but is very good.

I just regret that I waited so long to visit the place.

Ramon's Cactus Patch, like the museum, has limited hours. It closes for two hours every afternoon, and it is closed all day Sunday.

So how was your Saturday morning?

The second E is Education

(Continued from previous post.)

So after my Ingress/RunKeeper game play, I ended up back in the parking lot from which I had started.

This was the parking lot for the Museum of History and Art in Ontario.

I hadn't been here in several years, so I timed my Ingress/RunKeeper game play so that it would be completed by about noon - the time that the museum opens. (Check the museum's schedule; it is not open every day.)

From now until April 7, the north end of the museum includes an exhibit entitled "Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider." This is a discussion of the foods eaten by the California Indians. The exhibit is described as follows:

The foods of California's Indian peoples were - and still are - as varied as the landscape, as are the methods of preparing them. Now, a new exhibition tells the story of foods important in the lives of Native Californians, including fish, shellfish, seaweed, meat, vegetables, berries, fruits, flowers, nuts, seed and salt.

Other than the seaweed, salmon, and cider, two other foods caught my eye. The first was acorns. The exhibit talked a lot about grinding acorns and making acorn bread.

The second was something that I didn't realize was a food. Perhaps you've seen the commercials for the Chia-Pets and similar items.


Well, it turns out that the Chia seed is edible - and that Indians ate it. Luckily for them, they didn't have late night television.

The permanent part of the collection includes a variety of items related to the history of the city of Ontario. I had remembered the Hotpoint portion of the exhibit from a previous visit, but I spent most of my time in the "Roads" section. While Route 66 did not traverse Ontario (it went a few miles north of Ontario, through Upland), there were three U.S. routes that did go through the city, including routes 60, 70, and 99. Initially, all three of them went down Holt Boulevard, but then Route 60 was moved south, to Mission Boulevard. Eventually U.S. Route 60 was decommissioned in California, and the number was used for a state freeway a couple of miles south of downtown Ontario. Route 99 also became a state route, but you have to go all the way to Bakersfield to find it.

The relocation of U.S. Route 60 to Mission Boulevard resulted in a reconfiguration of the city of Ontario - one that adversely affected the businesses on California Street. So after I left the museum, I drove west on California Street. And after my exercise, and after reading about the delicious Chia seed, I was hungry.

(To be continued.)

(empo-plaaybizz) The first E is Exercise

I use a number of applications on my Android phone, including the two applications Ingress and RunKeeper.

I've previously mentioned Ingress in this blog (and have mentioned it more frequently in some of my other blogs). If you haven't heard of it, it's a location-based game from Google that can be played on Android phones. It's best described as a 21st century version of geocaching, except that in this case the caches are virtual. Ingress still requires you to move around in the real world, however, and visit particular locations to play the game.

I haven't mentioned RunKeeper in this blog, but I have discussed it in my Empoprise-BI business blog. One such discussion can be found here. RunKeeper, like Ingress, uses the GPS properties of your phone, but in the case of RunKeeper they are used to track your exercise, including (of course) running, as well as other exercises such as walking.

I have run hot and cold on both Ingress and RunKeeper. However, during the last week I've had the opportunity to get re-acquainted with both applications. (I can't tell you why I've had this opportunity, at least not yet; I should be able to discuss the opportunity in this blog at a later time - perhaps in July.) Basically, I'd use RunKeeper to get out to a particular point, and then I'd play Ingress.

In the ideal world, I'd be able to use Ingress and RunKeeper at the same time. That way I could play the Ingress game, and record my exercise while doing it in RunKeeper. However, I couldn't figure out how to do this; Ingress is a notoriously sensitive game, and if you leave it to do something else, the game is no longer active.

Finally, my boneheaded brain determined that if I started RunKeeper first, and THEN started Ingress, I should be able to use both applications simultaneously. I tested my theory in Montclair this morning, and discovered that it worked.

So I was off to downtown Ontario.

As I have previously mentioned, downtown Ontario has a number of Ingress "portals" where you can play the game. So I parked in a parking lot near one of these portals, started RunKeeper, started Ingress, and set off to play the game.

I didn't visit every Ingress portal in downtown Ontario - there were two that I skipped - but during my walk, I was able to visit six Ingress portals in the vicinity of Euclid Avenue. I walked approximately 0.8 miles during my Ingress gameplay, which is better than nothing.

So after doing that, I ended up back at my original starting point.

(To be continued.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks for western San Bernardino County

From, a website that lets you enter a city name (or an address) and display income or rent information for that geographic area.