Archive for July, 2011

Horses over Surfing

July 25, 2011 1 comment

Before we came out here, I really wanted to go surfing. I’ve only done a surfing class once in Maui and figured California would be the perfect place to hone my nonexistent skills. When we got here in May, the water was ice cold. It hasn’t gotten any warmer. This past weekend we went over to Half Moon Bay for either some surfing or horse back riding.

The microclimates around here can vary drastically but, from what I hear, are relatively consistent. Take where we live for example. In the morning, it’s usually overcast until maybe nine or ten o’clock. Then, the clouds disappear for the rest of the day. You’ve got blue sky all day long and temperatures between seventy five and ninety with little humidity. We’re spoiled.

Then, you drive up north a little ways on I280, and you always notice cloud embankments peaking over the mountains to the west. It never fails. There are always clouds rolling over the hills, and I think it’s such a cool sight when you’re driving by.

Clouds rolling over the Santa Cruz mountain range

The problem is, during this time of year, those clouds extend out into the ocean. Half Moon Bay seems to be covered by clouds in the summer. They said the best times to get cloudless views of anywhere along the coast are during spring and fall. When we went to Big Sur, there were no clouds. We must have been on the tail end of the spring season. When Jen’s parents came, they had a pretty cloudy experience.

But back to Half Moon Bay and surfing. It didn’t happen. It was cloudy and the water seemed to have gotten colder since we got here. I guess that’s pretty normal too. You can’t surf without a wetsuit and an iron resolve. I gave up on the idea of surfing a few weeks back. No problem, I’m sure I’ll pick it up the next time we go to Hawaii.

Instead, Jen heard about some cool horse-riding you can do over in Half Moon Bay where you actually get to ride on the beach. This sounded pretty cool, and although my step-mom was nearly killed a few years back in an accident involving a spooked horse, a tree, and lots of broken bones, we were up for the challenge.

It was actually a lot of fun. There was no organization to the place and hardly anyone spoke English besides the phrase, “Stop, please.” Our guide was a kind-hearted Mexican cowboy who smiled a lot, said little, and just sort of wandered around or near us while the horses just walked along the route to which they were accustomed.

They didn’t allow any cameras or cellphones or really anything on the journey, but I can see why. They probably had a lot of knuckleheads trying to take pictures while riding a horse and either dropping the camera or spooking the horse with that stupid noise that digital cameras make in an effort to try and sound like their mechanical ancestors. Being the knucklehead I am, I tried taking a picture and this is the best I got.

Just above that horse's ass is my lovely, headless wife

We were riding along with a family from the area who had come out for the mom’s birthday. Their daughter was a bit freaked out and was kinda cute as she got frightened early on, but quickly became the most annoying girl ever as she ran her mouth through the entire ride complaining about everything. Our cowboy smiled and hooked a lead rope up to her horse in an effort to shut her up, but she kept complaining the entire time. The parents were nice and we talked for a bit. The horses followed no line and just went where they wished, so Jen and I would only be able to exchange a few words before getting some other horses caught between us.

Jen had a faster horse and mine was kind of lazy. She was usually near the front of the group and I was usually near the back, somehow sandwiched between the father and son. Whenever I’d try to make my horse trot a little in an effort to get by my wife, the kid’s horse ahead of me wasn’t having any of it. I’d speed up and so would he. A couple times, his horse purposefully cut me off and nearly ran me off the road, which, my horse thought was a great idea because it gave her some plants to eat.

We eventually got control over our beasts and were able to stay closer together. The trail went down on the beach for a while, which was really cool. The hill we went down on was really steep and you had to lean far back in the saddle and trust that your horse knew what they were doing. Jen’s took the hard way down but thankfully she made it unscathed. Riding on the beach was pretty cool, even though the clouds weren’t cooperating.

After we got back to the stables, Jen and I drove down to one of the beaches we trotted along earlier. It was cloudy and a bit nippy, even though we’re in the middle of July. Funny how that works. I think it was the combination of the cold air, clouds, and big waves, but it kept reminding me of sitting on the edge of Lake Superior, except saltier.

Gloomy day on Half Moon Bay

Categories: travel

Savannah Chanelle

July 25, 2011 1 comment

We’ve been laying low since Melissa and Angelina left, taking in sites around our immediate area. I’ve found my favorite winery, and it’s not in Napa. It’s actually on the same road we live on. You just turn left and follow Saratoga Ave through the town of Saratoga, and then the road starts winding up the mountains and eventually reaches Big Basin.

There are a few vineyards along the way, one of them being Savannah Chanelle. I stopped there once on a day when I went for a run up in the mountains. I was the only one there for a while and chatted for quite some time while they kept pouring me extra tastings until I became a member. They can be very persuasive. I was a bit tipsy when I went running, but that’s part of my training regimine.

At the time I’m writing this, their website is permanently Under Construction. I gave a few tips on using WordPress for an intermediate site while they’re working on a new site which they admit probably won’t happen for a while. In exchange, they gave me a bottle of their 2006 Zinfandel, of which they’ve only got a few handfuls left. Score! That one, I’ll have to age. Their zinfandel was my favorite, closely followed by their diverse pinot noirs. Their reds were amazing and surpassed any others I’ve had on this trip. I’ve been there four times now. Now that I’m a member and they’ll be shipping wine to me back home, I get all the free tastings I want. I’m using my status for free drinks while we’re out here.

The plot on which they set up shop is amazing itself. They do a lot of weddings there and I can understand why. It’s beautiful.

A beautiful fountain

A beautifuler wife

If you walk down the path past the tasting room, they’ve got a nice little grove of redwoods by a stream. We took this shot while the two dorks were still in town:

Forest nymphs

We went again over the weekend because their manager, the guy who gave me the free wine, told us they had a couple guys coming in on the weekend to play some music up the hill by their vineyards. Hoping for more free wine and some great music, we went on Friday. It was a small crowd and great music. These guys played a bunch of music out of a request book but they kept pushing us to use their website to email them song requests. It felt a bit odd to be sitting twenty feet from the performers amidst a crowd of maybe twenty people, and having them ask us to email them song requests. The fact that no one really got good phone service up there didn’t seem to bother the performers. Anyhoo, it was a lot of fun and they played me some Toad the Wet Sprocket, so I left satisfied.

Being the exclusive member that I am, they’ll ship me two bottles every quarter. This is our first wine club membership, so we’ll see whether it’s worth it after all the shipping costs. We’ve got a pretty good stock of their wines that will be coming on the ride home with us, so we should be set for a couple days.

Categories: travel

I Got E-Metered

July 18, 2011 1 comment

What I thought was garbage on my doorstep was actually Scientology propaganda cleverly disguised as garbage. It was a free personality survey called the Oxford Capacity Analysis, a name which has no affiliation whatsoever with the real University of Oxford and is full of such insightful gems as “Do you speak slowly?” and “Do you sleep well?” It’s meant to make you feel like a horrible person because Scientology can help with that.

The local church of Scientology was just a short walk down the road, so I took this as an invitation to get an insider’s scoop. There were two women working that day who were eager to help, having been trained in smiles and flattery. I told them I was there to learn more about Scientology because all I’ve heard is a biased representation through the media. They commended me on my candor and flattered me some more before the tour started. We’ll call my tour guide Mary to protect her identity and because I don’t actually remember what her name was. Speaking of names, the receptionist has never actually heard of the name, Chad. I had to spell it for her. As I recall, she thought my name was fantastic.

Mary led me a few paces to an immaculate office containing a fancy desk and some bookshelves filled with L Ron Hubbard literature. She explained that all their churches contain one of these unused offices for their founder. I’m not sure whether they expect him back at sometime or whether it’s just a good way to start the tour.

I scanned the bookcases a little more closely because I thought that my dad had a few Hubbard Science Fiction books on his bookshelf when I was growing up. The guy has written a ton of books, mostly being a science fiction author prior to his onset of omniscience. Mary told me that none of those books would be on these shelves because these ones all discussed Scientology, life, and all other manners of truthiness vomited from Mr. Hubbard over the years. She slipped and actually said, “No, these books are all fiction.” I had to stifle a laugh and she immediately corrected herself and moved on. The bookshelves contain loads upon loads of festering crap gobbled up by his followers on a continual basis, for a nominal fee.

She pointed out a few sunset pictures on the wall and explained that L Ron Hubbard was a professional photographer. The pictures were nice, but nothing a grade school kid with a camera, an ocean, and a sunset couldn’t reproduce in a heartbeat. Mary told me that Hubbard was a professional in over forty areas. Geez, they really got a hard-on for this guy. If being a professional means that people will buy something from you, then of course Hubbard was a professional of many stripes. The guy might as well have been a self-proclaimed god. Any garbage he wanted to sell, his adoring followers bought, and are still buying today.

The tour continued and I was led into another room full of posters outlining the basic ideas of the faith. As Mary explained, the idea of Scientology is to become “Clear.” She pointed to a poster that had a frowny face guy on the left without Scientology, followed by an expressionless face in the middle representing one who had just started Scientology, and on the right there was a smiling, happy face representing the douchebag who made it to the Clear level and was letting the world know. Becoming Clear, she said, involved ridding yourself of negative charged energy, which were represented on the poster by a gross red blobby ball. Apparently, these little red balls of negative charge are what make us feel bad. She was serious. I don’t know if they’re actually red or actually anything, but when I asked her to explain, she just kept saying they were “charges,” and pointed out that when you’re really angry, you feel “charged.” Riiiiiight.

I wish I could have taken a picture of some of these posters. They were so dreadfully bad I felt it would be a shame not to share them with the world. But I was trying to be polite and respectful of this nonsense, so I stayed my hand.

The next room contained information about Auditing. This is the process where you level-up in the church. You do so by sitting with an auditor who asks you questions and takes readings from an e-meter. The e-meter is a joke of a machine. It’s got two tin cans, a needle that looks like a speedometer, some fancy dials, and a mild electric current. It’s the distant retarded cousin of the polygraph machine, something you could easily replicate using two potatoes, some copper wire, and a paperclip. I’ve only seen them in pictures and on South Park, so I couldn’t wait to have it read my mind.

Mary explained the basics to me, once again referring to those damnable little charges we’ve got mucking up our life. Apparently, the e-meter reads these made-up charges and, when you’re thinking of a negative memory, it will show it up by making the needle move. She placed the tin cans in my hand and asked me a few questions. She told me to think of a negative memory and was excited when the needle went up, telling me that it caught on to my negative association. I was thinking about rolling around, covered with cute puppies. She asked me to think of another negative emotion, and the needle went up and she once again assumed she caught me with negative charges coursing through my veins. I was thinking about sex, but not a negative sexual experience, a pretty damn good one in my book. With only one dial, perhaps it’s hard to separate negative feels from puppy pile cuteness from fond sexual memories. I’m sure, if she interpreted my results, she’d try to weasel out some bullshit explanation or accuse me of cheating. I was having fun.

In between questions, I noticed that if you squeezed the tin cups, you could make the needle move. I asked her about this as I was intentionally making the needle jerk from left to right, sometimes holding it shakily in place before letting it go. It wouldn’t take long to become quite adept at this. She looked at me like I was an idiot and told me it responded to body movements as well as negative charges. Convenient. It’s a bit disconcerting, though unsurprising, that they’ve built their religion around a parlor trick, something that can easily be reproduced and explained by an elementary course in physics. But ol’ L Ron has them convinced. He’s quoted as saying, “The Emeter is never wrong. It sees all, knows all.” Perhaps it gets confused when it comes to puppies or sex.

All fun must come to an end, and she separated me from the machine, then went on to explain about all the good works their church does. She focused on the arm of the organization they use to try to convince recovering drug addicts they’re being helped, called Narconon. Mary once again pointed at some big, gaudy posters highlighting the program. One bullet point was crammed with new age nonsense words, explaining how toxins are stored in your fatty tissues and that mega-vitamin doses and saunas can help cleanse and purify your body. I asked for more specifics about exactly what toxins were being talked about and what scientific basis there was for the concept that fatty tissues held excesses of such toxins but not oxygen or hamburgers. She mumbled something about poisons and “anything bad” but failed to elaborate further, claiming that the true test of something is whether it works or not. This wasn’t working for me.

My skeptical questioning caused her to bring me to another room filled with tall posters, of which there are many in the church, explaining how after 9-11, they set up their pseudo-science rehab shop a few blocks away to help fire-fighters and police officers who were still having respiratory problems. The coup de grâce to end all doubt was a picture of one of the firefighters, freshly emerged from the sauna, holding a white towel covered in blue streaks, which she said were tested by science and found to be high in manganese. She said this was proof of the healing properties of their sauna, because the firefighters breathed in lots of manganese. She left out the fact that the mega-vitamin doses also contained a lot of manganese so even if it were the case that science found manganese, it would be useless. The fact that they colored the towel blue is another cute parlor trick, reminiscent of the recent surge of foot pads meant to draw toxins from your body, but merely relieve your foot of dead cells, causing an icky black stain on the pad in the morning. The parlor trick is in the visual representation of gunk coming out of your body, and the new-agers and Scientologists are keen on pointing to that discoloration and crying, Gooooal!

I told her I was skeptical of the whole thing and she applauded me, consoling me with the fact that, if I read all the literature, I’d become a believer. I don’t think I could afford all the literature in this racket.

Mary brought me back to the e-meter room for a little chit-chat. I didn’t have the heart to bring up the whole Xenu thing, the reports of physical abuse by their miniature leader, David Miscavige, or their hatred for Psychiatry. I guess I didn’t want to get her little red negative charges boiling, though I assume she’s above all that. I brought up the survey they dropped on my doorstep and explained some of the reasons it was so, well, shitty. She continued to smile and told me that I didn’t have to take the test, but upon further questioning, she stated that members repeatedly take the test to see how far they’ve progressed. They have graphs and everything.

We discussed the relative usefulness or idiocy of one of Hubbard’s quotes, namely:

What is true for you is what you have observed yourself. And when you lose that you have lost everything… Nothing in Dianetics and Scientology is true for you unless you have observed it and it is true according to your observation

Mary was ga-ga for Hubbard and loved this quote, clinging to the “what is true for you” fallacy as being greater than any kind of evidence which could present itself. I argued that “true for you” is essentially meaningless and that, no matter how hard you believe, if the doctor says you’ve got cancer, there’s a good chance you’ve got cancer. Refusing to see something for what it is does not alter reality.

She handed me a free DVD and said that I should come back some day and watch one of their movies which contained an actual interview with L Ron Hubbard, a fact which she was terribly giddy about. Seeing her prophet on TV seems to be a real high for her. Yea, no thanks. I said goodbye, she complimented me, again, this time on my sandals, and we parted ways.

As entertaining as this was, I don’t think I’ll be back. I feel like I’ve got all sorts of toxins in my fat cells just by listening politely to this crap. Perhaps a sauna will cure me. I wonder what colors I’ll sweat.

Categories: religion, travel

Mountains and Palm Trees

July 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I was staring out a window today at some nearby mountains, mindlessly focused on nothing in particular when I realized I was looking past at least five different palm trees without even registering them. They were a novelty when we first arrived. Palm trees were something we’d see at most, once a year on a vacation to somewhere warmer. Now they’ve become commonplace. The mountains too, have become part of the background noise; something which we’ll eventually drive over en route to somewhere else; something which I almost find myself chastising for blocking the sunset.

It’s funny how quickly you adjust.

In three weeks from now, we’ll be on the road back home for at least three months. Jen got a travel assignment back at the unit she left prior to moving out west, in a strange but fortunate turn of events. It leaves open the possibility of travel nursing in the near future without having her commit to another job.

To be honest, we’re thinking we probably won’t take another travel job in the future. This trip has been amazing and I don’t think we could have picked a better location. There’s just so much to do within a few hours drive of our area. The problem is, we can’t think of another travel nurse destination which would offer so much. The only ones that look somewhat appealing are in Alaska, which is too far to drive, or another which occasionally pops up in Missoula, Montana. We’re firmly in agreement that anywhere we may go, we’ll be taking our dog with us. It’s been harder than I would have thought to leave behind Piper, a fact which dog lovers can attest to, but one which took my own firsthand experience to ring true.

Apartment and city living can be a bit of a strain at times, and we’re both looking forward to moving back to our house in a quiet neighborhood. I can’t just go out the door for a run or a bike ride, without stopping at an insane amount of lights which take half a lifetime to turn green. I rode twenty-five miles through San Jose on my bike a few days ago, a trip I don’t intend to repeat.

Of course, we knew and expected all this when we moved here. Pleasantries be damned. We had a whole new coast to explore, and we’ve made great use of our time. The first half of this trip was an unending maelstrom of short trips all over the area, to the point of exhaustion. We’ve got all the major West Coast attractions in. I adore Big Sur and am in love with Yosemite. Muir Woods and Tamalpais State Park will live with us forever, having been the place I proposed to Jen. Napa Valley is always new and exciting, and despite our frugality, it has managed to make a significant dent in our wallet every time we go. San Francisco is a different world, a vast city in which there is no shortage of surprises or things to explore. Lake Tahoe is breath-taking and deserves weeks of exploration, not just a quick weekend drive around the lake. Even the little trails I’ve gone running on, up Mission Peak, down Los Gatos Creek Trail, and up and down St. Joseph’s Hill have left a permanent impression with me. I can only describe it as surreal.

We’ve got two weeks until Scott and Betsy visit us, and we’ll be in whirlwind tourism mode for a few days. Later that week, we’ll have to find a way to pack everything back in the Jeep for a few more days on the road before returning home. And just like that, our western tour will be over.

We’re planning on getting back home as soon as possible, driving straight through and stopping only a night or two. Jen won’t sleep after her shift that Friday night. I’ll pick her up from work in the morning and after a few last minute details, we’ll be hitting Highway 80 straight back home. I’ve taken off a week and a half. We’re going to try to squeeze the trip back home into as short a timespan as possible. We’ll spend a day back home, and then we’re heading up north to the UP to unwind. My family has a cottage on Lake Superior up in Agate Harbor where we can lie low, undisturbed, and recoup. We’ll finally have Piper again, who was previously at the cottage when she was about ten weeks old; a trip well documented in photographs.

As I write this, the sun has now set. I can only make out the silhouette of one of those palm trees. I’m back in the city, congested with cars and people in an asphalt valley. I’ll miss this place tremendously, but it will be good to go home.

Categories: travel

I Made it Through a Kirk Cameron Movie

July 16, 2011 Leave a comment

I was perusing Netflix today, and much to my delight, they had Left Behind II: Tribulation Force  on demand. This must be another sign of the apocalypse, and I couldn’t be happier. I managed to watch the whole thing!

If you’re into the whole Christian snuff film genre, where there’s only two classes of people, nihilists and Christians, where curse words don’t exist, where the women are kept around only for encouraging and seducing men, one in which you’re sure to leave as a convert, praise Jesus, then you’re going to love this box office hit. For fuck’s sake, they had fire-breathing Jewish prophets! No shit! They actually had fire come out of their mouths to defeat the evil, trigger happy, United Nations gestapo, right after they got done spewing New Testament verses you see on coffee mugs. It was marvel of a film.

So a little background: in the first film/book, Left Behind, the rapture actually happens. No, not like the fake rapture predicted on all those billboards earlier this year. This is the real deal. There are people-less clothes and driverless automobiles everywhere, or at least in the Midwest and South. All us nonbelievers finally get the comeuppance we deserve. Especially those smug Catholics. You’d think life would be much better without all the fundies, but that’s not what Jesus H. Christ has in store for us. Oh no. He’s just getting started with fucking the rest of us over.

This movie follows the up and coming Antichrist. No, not Obama. It’s some other non-American sleazeball trying to sell world peace, Nicolae Carpathia. He rises to the top of the UN, declares a one-world currency, and everyone loves him. That is, everyone loves him except the Christians who are in on the whole joke. This guy is none other than Satan wearing a human suit, a fact which becomes immediately apparent when a Christian shakes the devil’s hand.

Fun fact: When you shake hands with the devil, his eyes fall out and veins appear on his face

I didn’t edit that picture. That’s exactly what happens in the film while a Christian shakes the Anti-Christ’s hand. The devil is revealed by poor Photoshop skills.

I absolutely adore how they try to convert you around every corner in this movie. There’s an Oscar-worthy scene in which a whiny guy walks out of a church service to go home and spin his old-school revolver around the table, threatening suicide, only to be mentally subdued and converted by the non-Kirk-Cameron star of the film, some guy who’s supposed to be a pilot but reminds me more of David Puddy from Seinfeld.

I bet they both have Jesus Fish on their car

We’re even blessed to have Kirk Cameron give his Way of the Master spiel where he pins down some random dude, getting him to admit he’s a thief, a liar, and *gasp* an adulterer because he thought girls were pretty. This is all very confusing as throughout the movie, you’ve got Christians gone wild who are constantly lying about their intentions and stealing the Anti-Christ’s secret documents and email. Thievery, when done for Jesus, is good and totally righteous. High five!

And of course, aside from being completely useless in the movie, they give one woman a role in which she sits by some guy with a burnt face, telling him about Jesus until he finally says the prayer and immediately dies, presumably going up to the big G-rated cloud orgy in the sky.

But, by far the best conversion scene was the one where Kirk Cameron and David Puddy stopped time in order to get past the armed UN guards so they could have two vagrants convert a Jewish rabbi. This high ranking rabbi was going to soon announce to the world that this Carpathia chap isn’t only a nice guy, but the messiah they’ve been looking for all these years. Kirk’s not having any of that, so he smuggles this meshuggeneh to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, where two homeless men are ranting about the end times and UN guards are shooting anyone who attempts to approach the bums. Some chick in a white dress sings amazing grace and the UN guards freeze in time. Kirk and Puddy stroll through to the homeless men and this rabbi fellow, who has apparently never heard of a New Testament before, hears a few random, cherry-picked verses from the New Testament, and is immediately convinced. Time unfreezes and the UN guards start shooting everything until the climax, where the two homeless men pull an old carny trick and burn them to death by breathing fire on them. WWJD, indeed.

Accept Jesus or Die, Mother Fucker!

Yes, yes, it sounds confusing. But it’s in the most infallible book ever written. It’s true, trust me.

Of course, the next day, during the big press release, the rabbi pulls a one-eighty on Carpathia and instead of promoting the Anti-Christ, he says that all the bullshit prophecies actually point to the Anti-Anti-Christ. That’s right, he’s talking about our buddy, Jesus! Oh. My. God. You gotta be shitting me. I’m sold.

There’s even a love story. Well, maybe more of a courting story. There’s a whiny grown woman who needs her dad’s and pastor’s approval on everything, especially when it comes to love. If you’re a woman who wants to feel sub-human, you’ll adore this film.

I give this film two upright crucifixes held high. See it now. Before it’s too late.

Categories: movies, religion

Tooling Around San Jose

July 12, 2011 Leave a comment

I had the afternoon to myself as my wife took the girls up to Napa Valley, so I figured I’d ride my bike to the nearest park with a disc golf course. It turns out that the nearest one is over twelve miles away, but what the hell, I had a full afternoon and I planned a stop midway at the Gordon Biersch brewery to tip back a few pints.

I’m a lot more comfortable riding on these city roads now. It’s pretty nerve-wracking at first because it seems that, no matter what route you take, you’re going to be overwhelmed by automobile traffic. A lot of roads have a well spaced bike mini-lane, but you have to fend for yourself most of the time, often choosing whether it would be better to die from getting hit from behind by oncoming traffic or by being cut in two when a car parked on the side of the road suddenly opens their door as you pass by. It’s a delicate balance, and you learn to have eyes everywhere and hope they see you.

And as always, wear your helmet. You’ll at least stay alive long enough to disapprovingly rebuke the mom texting in the minivan who pins you between herself and a parked car while making a right turn.

As it turns out, if you bike 12.5 miles in the city, you’re more than likely have to bike that same distance back. Having forgone basic arithmetic, it came as a surprise to me, halfway through, that I embarked on a 25 mile journey. During rush hour, nonetheless.

Riding during the normal mayhem is fun but if you really want to live, take your bike to the streets during rush hour. The bumper to bumper traffic and lightning fast lane changes ought to satisfy any thrill-seekers’ palate. The lights are timed even worse for bikes during this timeframe, so no matter how hard you peddle or yell obscenities, you’ll always end up at the intersection just after the light turns red. There were at least four blocks where I rode as hard as I could, screeching to halt as the light turned red, only to be greeted each time by the same group of people walking the same way as I was riding. I was panting for breath. They were looking at me quizzically.

I made it there and back in one piece. The park with the disc golf course was a sad imitation. It took a while to find it. I rode up and down Hellyer park, which is a nice, green, and luscious park on the edge of the foothills, but couldn’t find a single disc basket. Only when I left the park, crossing underneath Highway 101, did I come upon the disc golf course. Whereas Hellyer park was vibrant with life, the disc golf course was a deserted afterthought. Nothing but scrub brush, dead grass, and dirt. The baskets were packed so closely together that, even with pictures of the course at the start of each hole, you couldn’t tell which one you were aiming at. I had a feeling there were rattlesnakes everywhere so I tread lightly and avoided the brush.

The disc golf course was a bit of a disappointment, but I can appreciate the reason it had to be that way. With open green space inside the city such a commodity, it would be inappropriate to plant a disc golf course in the middle of a well-to-do park. Instead, the only place one could thrive is on a rejected lot by the highway. I’d like to go to some parks in the mountains to find a good disc golf course, but my bike marathon only brought me a tiny way through the city, and there’s no way I’m peddling ten times as far just to get up into the mountains. I’ll have to wait for the Jeep and a willing wife.

Categories: travel

A Couple More Dorks

July 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Melissa and Angelina are visiting us this week, but did not have the courtesy to bring our dog. I’ll let it slide this time, but next time I’d make a plea that our peers popping in pack Piper in a pre-approved package on the plane. It’s just common courtesy.

We’ve dragged them to the beach, over some winding, vomit-inducing hills, into some unknown wineries, and eventually up into San Francisco. We get a smug satisfaction when people visit now, because it makes us look soooo cool because we’re experts on everything. I’m sure they think we’re as cool as we do.

Jen is the resident expert on Santa Cruz

We got to see more of San Francisco this weekend. This time, we took one of those double decker tour buses that you can hop on and off all day. It was filled with bad puns and worse jokes, the kind you’d expect from any tour guide worth their salt. We got off at Chinatown and walked through a bunch of shops, purchasing a few pieces of touristy kitsch you may some day see on our refrigerator.

The tour was all right. I expected it to be a bit more informative, but besides the bad jokes, we got a few passing references to the earthquake last century, and many more recommendations on where to get the best pizza. The top half of the bus was packed and we were only able to sneak up there later in the day after most people got off at Fisherman’s Wharf.

We turned our attention to Ghirardelli Square, which, aside from being a hard word to spell, is actually the closest I’ll probably ever come to Willy Wonka’s sublime chocolate factory. We ate ourselves sick on a few free pieces of chocolate and some massive ice cream sundaes which I’ll pay off in a few more years.

True happiness in the palms of my hands

So then the girls wussed out after only a few shovelfuls of fudge layered ice cream and Jen was all like, “Let’s take a picture of us all acting like we just ate too much ice cream.” The results were spectacular as you may imagine but I’m not supposed to show you those pictures. Instead, I’ll leave you with this gem, which was as close to the ideal that it might pass off as believable. Maybe.

Melissa just looks creepy, Jen must not have known I was taking the shot, but Angelina looks legit

The cloudy day cleared up later in the afternoon, so we went to walk the Golden Gate Bridge which, for some reason, we had not yet done on this trip. I get to run on this bridge in my upcoming race and it looks fun, but tiring. You gotta watch out for bikers on that thing. They’re all over the place and it gets kinda crowded.

They're all wearing matching San Francisco sweatshirts. Somehow, they convinced me to jump on the bandwagon.

In case you’re not convinced of the dorkiness of this crew, I’ve got two more pictures to share with you. I’m probably not supposed to be doing this, but on the internet, I am a god.

The first was the culmination of some good old peer pressure to get a jumping picture which we promised no one would ever see. I’ve anonymized anyone who may be offended at me sharing this picture, so that no one gets embarrassed.

And lastly, any trip to San Francisco would be incomplete without visiting the Full House houses. You remember that old show with Uncle Jessy, Cut-It-Out guy, and the Olsen Twins before all the crack? I present a recreation of the opening credits in which the main characters run up the hill facing the Painted Lady houses.

♫ What ever happened to predictability... ♫

Categories: travel