Just Learned About You

Recently we stumbled upon some statistics about you – our visitors to Today in Montclair.  According to the Quantcast seers, you are an older, over-educated crew with eclectic interests.  Here are the detailed findings.

Quantcast Demos

Your Rank and Serial Number

Quantcast produces core demographics for Today in Montclair visitors, along with a number that displays how we vary from the “100” national average.  When 55 percent of visitors are male, this reflects a “111” index because the male-female split is usually 50/50.

Anyway, our demos reveal a crowd that’s settled and accomplished.  Over three-quarters of us have gone to college or graduate school.  We are doing pretty well financially, with 37 percent earning $100k+ per household.

We’re also long in the tooth.  Nearly half of visitors are between 35-49 years old, while another quarter are in AARP territory already.  Some 81 percent have no kids at home, which reflects our collective age.

Quantcast - Audience Likes

Your Myriad Pursuits

Montclarions turn out to be curious beings but not exactly Renaissance scholars.  Quantcast reports that our visitors are twice as likely to surf nature, political and travel sites as average U.S. web visitors.

Regional and local news, like Today in Montclair, would be consumed at 1.7 x above average.  However no one seems obsessed by local happenings, as other high level interests include non-profits, online trading and car rental sites.

Finally Montclarions are likely to continue learning by visiting school, books, news and reference sites at 50 percent above average rates.  Rounding out the probable pursuits are gardening, food and technology as well.

Although all these online results come with built-in biases, it’s still fascinating to peer into the mirror and see the reflection…of granola techies, perhaps.

Sibley Geology In Full View

Our local volcano is now dressed in its finest greenery, so this is an ideal time to stroll around Sibley Volcanic Preserve (map).  Typically the scenery is wonderful before things dry up and brown out – just look at the panorama snapped this week.

Classic Sibley View

Volcanic Time Capsule

Besides soaking in the views, it’s also worth contemplating the 10-million-year time capsule underneath your feet.  Sibley is one of four volcanoes that originally erupted near San Jose, and slowly traveled northwards.  Presumably it will pass us by, in another 10 million years or so.

Interestingly, the Sibley volcano tipped sideways and and was pretty much hidden from view.  When gravel rock mining took place years ago, volcanic features became more evident.  A few Berkeley geologists discovered this wonder and have studied the rocks and formations in detail.

One of these Berkeley geologists, Steve Edwards, first mapped the area in the 1970s and later joined the East Bay Regional Park District.  He shared the geological underpinnings in KQED’s Quest program last July.

Touring The Volcano

Just like all the earthquakes around here, the volcanic activities were triggered by plate tectonics.  You can walk up to Round Top (1,763 ft), the highest point in the park, where Pacific and North American plates crashed together and molten basalt lava flowed.

Then walk a quarter mile northeast, and arrive at the volcano top near the gravel rock quarry’s edge.  It turns out there are all kinds of lava flows, bake zones and lava holes scattered throughout Sibley as well.

Stop and stare at the basalt rock, and all their unusual shapes.  Geologist Andrew Alden recently pointed out spheroidal weathering.  “To paraphrase an old Grateful Deadhead saying,” said Alden, “the smaller they grow, the rounder they get.”

So head up to Sibley Preserve, for another perspective about your local volcano – those rocks actually tell quite a story.

More info:   Sibley Volcano Regional Preserve ExplorationVoice of the VolcanoBasalt of Sibley VolcanoSibley Volcanic Preserve Sibley Trail Map

Let’s Try Some Yarn Graffiti

Here’s a new kind of urban folk art that we could embrace.  Imagine if Oakland’s chain-link fences were decorated with yarn graffiti, displaying colorful patterns “painted” by aspiring artists.

We recently discovered some yarn graffiti in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh (PA), where three dream-catchers were woven into a bridge overpass.

Yarn Graffiti

What’s amusing is the initial response from a Pittsburgh councilman, who wasn’t quite sure what to say about this yarn-art when it mysteriously appeared on the Schenley bridge.  According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Before his chief of staff tracked down the source of the creations, city Councilman Doug Shields had fun with the idea that it might have been a bit of unsanctioned expression, saying, ‘This is yet another example of the worsening economy’ — graffiti by yarn instead of paint, ‘although this seems to be more pleasing to the eye and is far easier to remove.’

Just like our nice wall murals, this yarn graffiti seems like another way to dress up Oakland.  I’m wondering how you would feel if yarn designs starting running amuck around the city.

Oakland’s 13th Worst In Crime

Oakland does have high crime rates, when you look at both violent and non-violent crimes.  According to the MetroCrime 2008 Rankings, Oakland came in 13th worst out of 388 U.S. metro areas.

The CQ Press produces their rankings based on FBI crime statistics for six crimes:  murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft.

Unlucky 13

For each crime type, CQ calculates the number of local crimes/100,000 population as well as variances vs. national averages.  Then CQ adds these six variances together to issue the metro results.

We’re not saying that violent crimes aren’t important.  However burglaries and motor vehicle thefts also contribute to quality of life, and should be included when assessing Oakland’s crime issues.

With this 13th ranking given to Oakland, we don’t have much farther to fall…sigh.

Oakland From Afar

We’re away from Oakland for a few days, and on the chilly East Coast.  There are no blossoms or signs of spring here.  There is plenty of crime and mayhem.

Essex County, NJ bears some resemblance to Oakland.  It’s home to Newark as well as Short Hills.  Of course, this is part of the Sopranos’ playground.

With all the Montclair and Oakland happenings, we are missing home now.  Please feel free to post messages about doings today in Montclair – and we’ll be back in a day or so.

Looked Around And Saw Blossoms

While Oakland began grieving today, we looked around and noticed all the spring blossoms.  What a relief to see all the seasonal flowering – whether next to highways, in cultivated gardens, or across open spaces.

Poppies Oakland

Our hearty California poppies are making their first appearances in various nooks and crannies.  Take a look at these “jailed poppies,” growing behind a chain link fence right now.

Lupines Oakland

The lupines are also showing up in open spaces and other odd places.  I spotted some of these wildflowers between Highways 24 and 13 today, on a small strip of land.  They were mixed together with the ubiquitous poppies, which were opening too.

Calla Lily Oakland

My personal favorites, the calla lilies, are appearing in gardens everywhere.  They have opened fully and are ready for admirers to ooh and aah.  Here’s a close-up image of this architectural flower.

All these shots were taken by Oaklanders in the past week or so.  Like your neigbhors, consider stopping to appreciate this multi-hued beauty contest.  It’s bound to perk you up.

Oakland Cops Killed In Our Backyard

What a sickening feeling, when we heard that three Oakland police officers were killed today along with one suspect.  Another officer remains in critical condition, and on life support.  Cop killing is rare indeed, and last happened here five years ago.

Two related shoot-outs took place today.  The first shootings occurred near the Eastmont police substation, while the later ones followed the suspect to 74th Avenue.  Check out the battleground in this Google map, below.

Eastmont Mall Area

Of course, this killing spree happened right in our backyard.  If you are a frequent flier, then you typically drive right past the old Eastmont Mall to the Oakland Airport.

We notated this Google map, by tagging Montclair (“A”), Eastmont (“B”) and the Airport (“C”).  The Eastmont area is at the halfway point, and the quickest way over to Hegenberger.

Montclair To Airport

It’s hard to comprehend the senseless killings and mayhem in this place today.  You could start driving on Rt. 880 to the airport, but is that really the right reaction?  These shootings won’t change my route yet, because I think they are just too random and rare.

Maybe this is how people who live in war zones start to feel.  There are some who batten down the hatches and stay in the green zone.  Meanwhile, others ignore the stormy weather and go about their business anyway.

More info:   Check out the Oakland Tribune’s report, several photos which don’t seem real, and early video with Acting Police Chief Jordan.  Also read the San Francisco Chronicle’sreport with updates, and national coverage from the NY Times and AP Wire.