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2021 October 14

Secret Walks: Downtown

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 09:30
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On Saturday 9 October, my wife and I were feeling lazy, so we did one of the shortest walks from Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover—the downtown loop.  The loop itself is only 1.5 miles, but we added 1.3 miles at each end, for a total of 4.1 miles.  We did not eat lunch on this walk, but I did have sorbet at Mission Hill Creamery.

Much of the interest of the downtown walk is the public art.  I took pictures of a lot of it, but only include a small sample in this post.  Because discovering the art is half the fun, I’m not revealing the locations (though most are pretty obvious just walking the length of Pacific with a few excursions out a block or two to the west).

A lot of the artwork is in the form of murals, which often are not viewable from directly in front. I played around with perspective transforms on several of the images, to see if I could get a more centered view—many of the views shown here are not possible in the unmodified world.  Some of the murals have also faded rather badly, and I used a little post-processing to restore them to closer to approximations of their original colors.


Dr. Miller’s house was a good coffeehouse for several years, but it has been closed for a while now. I think that there were plans to reopen it as a pizza or beer place, but the pandemic seems to have stopped (or delayed) that. Too bad, as they are one of the few places downtown that would have adequate outdoor seating.


Far West Fungi has a nice signboard.

2021 October 5

Secret Walks: Wharf-Seabright

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:06
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I’m behind again on blogging about our walks from Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover. On Saturday 2 October, my wife and I did the loop walk from the Wharf to Seabright.  The loop itself is 3 miles, but we added 1.4 miles getting there and 1.5 miles home, for a total of 5.9 miles.  We had lunch at the Picnic Basket on Beach Street.


This streetlight, between Depot Park and the old bridge with the Howe truss is a little fancier than most in Santa Cruz.


Across the river from the Boardwalk were a number of birds—I think that they may be egrets, but even with max zoom I could not get a good look at them. I’m wondering if I should get a camera with more optical zoom—even if it would weigh twice as much.


These shutters (on Hiawatha, if I remember right) are rather amusing. The residential neighborhood here is surprisingly quiet, given the noise and tourist traffic on the streets that surround it.


This wind vane was just one of three on the house—either the person living there really likes windmill-style wind vanes, or they make and sell them.


This mural seem to be a fairly new one. The DNA helix is twisted the wrong way.


This house added the flag, in case anyone was unclear about the inspiration for the choice of colors.


Our former next-door neighbors used to own the TeaCup Restaurant, before the Loma Prieta Quake of 1989. The sign seems to have ended up as a decoration for someone who collects commercial signs (they have several decorating the house).


I rather liked the nautical theme for this house’s porch railing, though it is on a busy street, in a not-so-great neighborhood, so I would not want to own it.


We saw this plant along the river levee (just a little below the RIverside bridge), and we wondered if it might be the endangered Santa Cruz tarplant.  I don’t think so, as it seems too large and does not have the dark centers to the flowers that most photos show. 2021 October 8: My sister tentatively identified this as gumweed (genus Grindelia), but which of the gumweeds is not clear—perhaps Grindelia stricta (coastal gumweed).


Here is a close-up of one of the flowers. Can anyone identify it for me?


And another close-up.


In the Beach Flats Garden, the corn is easily 4m high.


Poets’ Park is one of the smallest parks in Santa Cruz, though it does include a small community garden, extending the Beach Flats garden.


Beach Flats Park has a large mural surrounding a small park—here is one of the panels from the mural.


Another school-themed panel from the mural.


This part of the mural does not have the heavily Mexican theme of the rest of the mural—it seems to have been taken from George Ow’s photos of the now defunct Chinatown.


Yet another panel of the mural.


After lunch at the Picnic Basket, we tried to head home through Neary Lagoon Park, but the floating docks were still closed for removal of tule (though they were supposed to have reopened the day before). So we detoured through the neighborhood just north of the park, where we saw the Neary St. Memorial Library—a little free library that we had not seen before. The library is “in memory of Beverly Barnes, who created this library for everyone to use and enjoy.”


The same house has this very fine decorated mailbox.

2021 October 4

Secret Walks: Arana Gulch-Jose Ave Park

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 17:54
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I’m behind again on blogging about our walks from Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover. On Saturday 25 September, my wife and I did the loop walk for Arana Gulch and Jose Ave Park.  The loop itself is 3.3 miles, but we added 2.4 miles getting there and 2.8 miles home, for a total of 8.5 miles.  We had lunch on the way home at Charlie Hong Kong.


On the way to the beginning of the loop, we passed this cute little free library on Broadway—it is modeled after the house it is associated with.


Arana Gulch as many fine coast live oaks, some with branches brushing the ground.


Arana Gulch also seems to have ground squirrels, though we saw only the holes and not the rodents themselves.


We had never walked on the Marsh View Trail before, but it has some fine views of the wetlands for the creek that ends in the yacht harbor.


Another view of the marshy part of the creek.


Another fine tree with dramatic branches.


The Marsh Creek Trail is worth taking just for the fine twisty trees.


Yet another lovely tree—this one with a large hollow.


And another.


After walking the trails in Arana Gulch, we took the bridge across the creek, which has these fine steel panels of fish.


The creek looking upstream from the bridge.


Zooming in a little to see the fallen trees across the creek.


This birdhouse may have the only vacancies in Santa Cruz.


The great-blue-heron sculptures are one of the highlights of Jose Ave Park.


The oversize heron footprints (to match the statues) in the sidewalk are a nice touch.


On Eddy Lane, just across from the park, there is this “Book Bot”—a very fine Little Free Library.


Another “Little Outdoor Library Thingy” on 7th Ave.


Coming back over the bridge, I took a picture of another of the fish panels—the series seems to show salmon spawning.


Leaving Arana Gulch on the west side is the Hagemann Gulch Bridge. It took bicycle activists many years to convince the City to install the bridges to provide pedestrian and bike access across Hagemann Gulch and Arana Gulch, and the final placement of the bridges was not optimal, but they are heavily used now.


There were 3 raptors circling over Arana Gulch as we were leaving. I don’t have much zoom on my camera, so this was the best shot I could get of a pair of them, after cropping out a lot of blank sky.


We walked back along Soquel, passing this small mural on Mackenzies’ Chocolates.


I’ve always liked this back door, which used to be for the Bicycle Trip (before they moved) and is now for the Childish Toy Shop.


We passed one more little free library on the way home (on Cleveland)—I may have included a photo of this one in previous post.

2021 October 1

Edition 1.3 released today!

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:50
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I finally released the new version of the textbook Applied Analog Electronics today at The book is a little longer than the previous editions:

Edition 1.1 Edition 1.2 Edition 1.3 type
659 673 691 pages
337 342 348 figures
14 14 14 tables
515 523 528 index entries
162 162 169 references

The newest edition adds a new section in the active-filters chapter, some additional explanation at the beginning of the FETs chapter, a constant-current circuit for electroplating the Ag/AgCl electrodes, and a few pieces of advice in the design report guidelines.

The chapter on design report guidelines is available free as a separate publication:

The minimum price is still $7.99, but I’m doing a special one-month coupon that lowers the price to $5.99, just for my loyal blog readers! One nice thing about selling through Leanpub is that purchasers get all future editions published through Leanpub as part of the price—the company is trying to encourage authors to publish book drafts through them, rather than waiting until the book is completely polished. That means that people who bought (even with free coupons) earlier versions of the book will get this release for free, and anyone who buys now will get the benefit of future releases. I will still provide coupons for free copies to instructors who are considering using the textbook for a course—contact me if you need a copy!

As before, I am still offering 25¢ rewards for the first report of each error (no matter how small) in the book.

I have recorded video lectures for the book. Playlists are at for the first course and–khjVV52ZWU_Usc3e6KV9J for the second course. The first playlist of 122 videos runs about 27:16 and the second playlist of 50 videos runs about 12 hours, so the average video length is under 14 minutes.

There may be one or two videos added and existing ones may be updated, but the set of lectures is essentially complete. Many still have only automatic closed captioning, but the captions will (slowly) get hand edited.

Vaccination rates in Santa Cruz County

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 15:48
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I’ve been watching the vaccination rates in Santa Cruz County for some time, and I remain confused.  The CDC site shows


Sorry about using an image for a table, but CDC’s web page made getting the raw data difficult.

What confuses me is that they have been reporting 99.9% of us old folks having at least one dose, but only 90.1% have full vaccination.  I have great difficulty in believing that they have reached and convinced all the old folks to get their first shot, and even more difficulty believing that 10% of those who got their first shot never got their second shot.

I think that there are record-keeping errors.  Two possible errors occur to me: one is that a lot of the second shots were recorded as first shots, which would inflate the first-shot number and deflate the second-shot number; another is that many of the first shots went to people who were properly in a different county (Monterey, perhaps), which would inflate the first shots considerably.

Statewide shows 92.5% of 65+ folks having at least one dose and 73.7% as being fully vaccinated.  Again, this is a huge gap.  Either California has been doing an absolutely terrible job of delivering second doses, or they’ve been doing a bad job of keeping track of who has had both.

I suspect record-keeping errors in the early days of the vaccination campaign, before they figured out how to handle the paperwork, as younger groups are showing much smaller fractions of the population being only partially vaccinated (other than teens, many of whom one would expect to still be between shots).

It might be worth some time from Public Health in Santa Cruz County to track down the ≈5000 people that are 65+ that they believe are only partially vaccinated and offer them a second shot.  If the old folks have already had the second shot, then the records can be corrected.  If not, we could close the gaping hole in immunization.

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