Facts About California

More facts about California

Here are some facts about California that I had to look up when I was taking a California history class. They are interesting, especially since I have lived here all my life and I didn’t know many of these facts. I waited to post these until the anniversary of its statehood on September 9, 1850.

1. California joined the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War, in 1848. The U.S. paid Mexico $15 million for war damages. In turn, Mexico ceded nearly half of its territory, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. California officially became a state (the 31st) in 1850.

2. California was originally known as the Grizzly Bear State. As California boomed—and the bear population was wiped out—it became the Golden State.

3. The grizzly bear on California’s current state flag is a tribute to Monarch, a 1,200-lb. wild California grizzly bear captured by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst (or, rather, the reporter he hired, Allen Kelley) in 1899. Monarch was sent to San Francisco, where he was a star attraction at Woodward’s Garden and then Golden Gate Park until his death in 1911. The last reported sighting of a wild California grizzly bear was in 1924.

4. While Monarch is front and center on California’s official state flag, which was adopted in 1911, the bear flag image dates back to 1846, two years before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. A group of Americans who’d settled in California, which was then part of Mexico, feared they’d be expelled. They invaded the Mexican outpost at Sonoma and captured the retired general Mariano Vallejo. A few days later, they raised a flag that featured a red star and crudely drawn grizzly and declared the land the California Republic.

5. And who designed the original flag? William Todd, nephew of Mary Todd Lincoln. It’s a small historical world.

6. The one-word state motto, an exclamation-point-less “Eureka,” hearkens back to the exciting days of the Gold Rush. But the exclamation of “Eureka!” is attributed to the Greek scholar Archimedes. According to legend, he had an epiphany as he stepped into a bathtub and watched the water level rise—he realized that the volume of the displaced water was equal to the volume of the foot he’d submerged. And then he ran out of the room to tell others about his discovery… while he was completely naked. (More on whether that ever actually happened here.)

7. California is the only state that’s hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

8. California is the most populous state (and the third largest by area). To put California’s population, approximately 38 million people, in perspective, one out of every eight Americans is from California.

9. The fortune cookie was inspired by the Japanese fortune tradition o-mikuji and invented in California.

10. I can haz state recognition? In 1973, the sabre-tooth cat, Smilodon californicus, became California’s state fossil. A year earlier, Assemblyman W. Craig Biddle had nominated the cockroach-like trilobite for the honor. Nearly 2,000 museum curators and fossil experts backed him, but the bill never made it to a vote. A year later, the sabre-tooth cat made it to the floor and passed. The one no-vote? Senator W. Craig Biddle.

11. Despite living in Los Angeles—a city known for its traffic—for 78 years, writer Ray Bradbury never learned to drive.

12. California’s most famous for its Gold Rush which began in 1848, but it also had a Silver Rush in the Calico Mountains from 1881 to 1896. By 1904, Calico was a ghost town.

13. The mineral benitoite can be found in California, Japan, and Arkansas, but only San Benito County, California, has it in gemstone-quality deposits. The California State Gem Mine in Coalinga allows the public to dig and take home a quart-sized bag of treasure.

14. Thousands of U.S. banks failed after the 1929 stock market crash—by 1933, only 11,000 were left. All of San Francisco’s banks, however, survived.

15. The highest point in the contiguous U.S., 14,494-foot Mt. Whitney, is only 76 miles from the lowest point in the contiguous U.S., Death Valley. They’re both in Calif— well, you know.

Unhelpful School Bookstore

Two weeks into classes, I got an email from the on campus bookstore. “We’ve loaded all of your required books into your bookstore cart, so all you have to do is supply payment.” This might have been helpful two weeks before classes started, but two weeks after classes started, not so much. I’ve finished several books, and have needed the textbooks for multiple assignments.

Last semester, I tried to order textbooks from the on campus bookstore, only to have my orders cancelled 3 times. I gave up. I heard that the same thing happened to several of my classmates this semester. I rent from Amazon now. Those books they put into my school cart will probably stay there all semester. Hopefully, they’ll be removed before Spring semester started.

What a Week!

Last week was especially busy. My hours changed a lot with the first week of school. Work and school are taking up a lot of my time, as they should. A few days, due to various reasons, I left the house before 7am and didn’t get home until close to 9. By the time I settled down, this didn’t leave a lot of time for chores and sleep.

I managed to get the garbage out on Monday. I also managed to get a few days of clothing packets done. Shirt, pants, underwear and socks. The bra and shoes were separate, but they were easy to add. Boy, did this save time in the mornings.

I didn’t manage to get all the way through the readings for the week, but, thankfully, most of the classes have the longer readings scheduled later.

I am using the weekends to catch up on reading and writing. I am almost finished with my long reading for this week, that’s due on Tuesday. I hope I’ll make it.

I know that the first week of school is always a little crazy, so I am not too worried about the rest of the semester. Figuring out campus and getting from building to building is new. Room and building changes will settle down after the first week. Finding students to commiserate with will come with time.

Back to homework! I’ll post more later.

My Teacher Is an Idiom by Jamie Gilson

My Teacher Is an Idiom

My Teacher Is an Idiom by Jamie Gilson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a cute little book that popped up when I was searching for books about idioms for school.

It is a middle school aged book and is full of middle school issues.

I think it was just ok. The drawings were good, and the story was fine. Nothing wrong with it, but it just didn’t grab my attention.

View all my reviews

Getting ready for school

I have been checking and checking for any information from my professors for a couple of weeks now. I got the message that one class has no textbooks. I got the book list for 2 other classes. I am impatiently waiting for the other 2 classes.

I did a dry run of the path from the parking lot to each of the buildings I need to go to. I have made library room reservations for the first class and I am waiting for the timing to schedule the next room. I can only do them 3 days in advance. 3 days! It’s catching up to me.

I will wait patiently. I am pretty much as prepared as I can be without information from the professors.

Last week of summer semester

I finished up summer semester at the beginning of August. One class ended at the beginning of July. The other two ended at the beginning of August. I knew that I had an A for the first class. I still had to do the last week of school while attempting to prepare for a week off for vacation.

One instructor sent a message 2 weeks before class was over, telling us that if we are prepared, go ahead and submit our final paper. Phew. 2 classes done!

The last instructor told us that if we were happy with our midterm grade, we could go ahead and skip the final. She would be dropping the lowest grade. She also gave us the option of taking the final a week early. I debated taking the final at all, since I had received a passing grade on the midterm. I ended up taking it, 4 days early, figuring I couldn’t make my grade any worse. I had a week before the grades were posted, but I was done with the class!

As soon as I submitted the last assignment, I got my reading lists from 2 of my Fall classes. I haven’t started reading yet, but I am ready! One week to go!

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was dreading reading this book for class, but I was pleasantly surprised. The two sisters in the story are very much opposites, but still are managing to get through life.

Movies that were made based on this story miss a lot of the humor and sarcasm that is written into the book. This is definitely a case of the book is better than the movie.

View all my reviews

EVELINA – or, the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World by Frances Burney

EVELINA - or, the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World

EVELINA – or, the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World by Frances Burney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up for required reading for a school class. I was expecting it to be dull and horrible, but it wasn’t.

The story was good and had a good flow to it. It was a little difficult to read, because it was written so long ago, but I still enjoyed it.

My classmates were interested in the fact that there hasn’t been a movie made of this story. I am surprised. It was good.

View all my reviews