Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rennaisance Fair Attitude

Somehow this guy seems not be quite in the right spirit.

Cali drivers, take 2

I've complained about the mind boggling incompetence of California drivers before, but today, some 20 of them took it to a new level. Diamond Blvd to Willow Pass is a two lane left turn. A bakers dozen who somehow passed the exam decided that the best way to utilize them was by using the right lane only--blocking anyone behind them from using the left one in the process. WTF??? So it only took twice as long for everyone behind them.

I can understand that the concept of multiple lanes might overtax one or two people's brains, but 20??????

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Five or more...

Great day in the city, but I am shot for today. Before coming up with my New Year's resolutions, I thought I'd take stock to the rhythm of fives (or more). Feel free to add yours.

Five movies you can watch over and over again?

Kill Bill Vol 1
Mary Poppins
Pulp Fiction
My Fair Lady

Five songs you find yourself belting out in your car?

Amazing Grace
Running--No Doubt
Dancing with Myself--Billy Idol
Danny Boy--(just about the only song that makes my cry)
The River--Springsteen

Five favorite vacation spots?

Anaztasi Ruins

Five (or more) favorite roads?

Highway 1 between Santa Cruz and Ft. Bragg
New Zealand Highway 5
CA 4
Alaska 1 (Anchorage -- Homer)
Stilfser Joch
Dear God In Heaven Who Came Up With This Idea??--AKA HI 30 between Kapalua and Waihee
Icefield Highway in January

Five favorite towns?

Chiang Mai
Santa Cruz

Five books you've read more than five times?

Beneath Another Sky--Ridgeway
Exodus--Leon Uris (not since 1990)

Five places you really want to go?

Torres De Paines
All parts of the Himalaya

Five (or more) favorite views

Belize's Barrier Reef
Yosemite from Ohmsted Point
Cliff House in Mesa Verde NP
Waimea Canyon
Muir Beach
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Mt Cook

Five (or more) worst meal ever?

Soft shell crab
The fish the first night in Ambergis Caye
Eggs sunny side up in Kamphaeng Phet (not for me, but for the 40 other tourists)
Hash (made from the leftovers of the meat sauce, made from the leftovers of the solyanka, made from the leftovers of the steaks made from the leftover of the rib roast,... do I have to mention it was in Moscow?)
Waaaaay-past-it's-due-date oyster on the Champs Elysees
Bandera Annual Silver Sage Corral Benefit Chili Cookoff
Fried rat in a Shan roadhouse (actually, not bad until I saw the ingredients on the way out--I puked until the next morning)

Five (or more) worst smells?

Tanneries in Marrakech
Farting sea lions at Pier 39
River/sewer/water source/pool in a small town outside Melacca
Feast of St. Anthony (bir sardine cookoff in Lisbon)
The 5 climbers on the bus back from Mt. McKinley
The old Forrest Service latrine at Valdez Glacier (they posted a sign apologizing for the "putrid conditions")

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Turkey Day

What happens if you turn left at the end of the driveway and just keep going? I did just that to escape tryptophan and Black Friday and 6 hours, some interesting driving and a few black bear tracks later, I was 20 miles outside South Lake Tahoe. Sadly, the only skiing was a few runs at Heavenly. Drove back late Saturday to escape the first interstate-closing snow of the season and spent Sunday watching the first season of Newlyweds and predator-shopping at Macy's.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Working hard

I was sailing in the Caribbean, so there haven't been updates in a bit.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Weird California

Last weekend took me through the only US town ever founded by Chinese, the Sacramento Delta--as close as you can get to dirt poor Louisiana backcountry in California, over the capital's Disneyland; all the way to the gold discovery reenactment in Placerville, known throughout the world as the original Hangtown and, not coincidentially, the birthplace of Kinkade galleries.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How many ensigns can spell Ticonderoga?

Fleet week. Really too crowded to see much, but I went for a two hours walk through the City's newup and coming section: Hayes Valley, a fine mix of Gucci and druggy. There is a really cool German restaurant next to the homeless shelter, though.

I didn't even know SF has a new metro system, much less that you can take it right to within 500 feet of the Pacific.

The Blue Angels were pretty cool, but I felt sorry for the Coast Guard guy flying the Hercules right before them--cool job and all, but he has to know that everyone who's watching is there for the F18s.

Dumbest sign ever

Ocean Beach

20x zoom on a point and shoot--cool, eh?

The Nimitz

To put it in perspective


Saturday, October 07, 2006

A perfect Saturday

Cal plucks, trusses and roasts the Ducks.
Vols neuter the Bulldogs.
Auburn Tigers loose.
LSU Tigers drown in the Swamp.

See you in the Top Ten.

Even better the other Tigers manhandle the Yankees. Not that I care about Detroit. ;-)

Oh, and Indiana won their first Big Ten game this year. Go Andrew!!!

PS. Someone should go after Oregon for bribing referees. They've got a touchdown and a few pass interferences deeded to them, and they got away with the worst personal foul I've seen in college football in a long time.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Gay Square Dancing Makes Me Giddy With Happyness

I don't really know why, it just does. Or it did for the first time today at the Castro Street Fair. The sight of buff, bare breasted, hatted and booted cowboys two-stepping with each other is at once beautiful and deeply subversive. Only downside: I haven't heard this much Shania since my last trip to Alberta.

The other big event in the city was the reopening of the Emporeum as the biggest Bloomingdales outside of 5th Street. Amazingly, putting it next to Nordstrom didn't create a spontaneous implosion that would have sucked the Powell/Market corner into a blackhole of hipness. The biggest jaw-dropper is the hand bag floor--yes, they have a three-football-field floor of handbags surrounded by smaller stores for the more exclusive handbags. I think I might be able to get away with a few in SF, but I couldn't make up my mind between Spade and Tumi. The Diors, D&Gs and Versaces were also cool, but way out of my price range...

OK, seriously, though, it must be the only food court that sells sashimi by the pound, and slices and dresses it for you on the spot. Mhhhhh, Saku tuna.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Top 10 things I learned over the weekend..

The other pictures that go with this entry are here

1. Dragon boat racing is THE place to meet hot, buff Asian-American women.
2. 90% of the people who are into leather shouldn't be.
3. Wearing a full latex suit in 80 degree weather is NOT sexy.
4. Hard core leather freaks are totally nice people.
5. Furries are bitchy.
6. Some people can walk with 5 pounds of metal hanging off their privates.
7. There has to be an age limit on public mastrubation--and it's not 80!!!!!!!
8. Fosters and teriyaki chicken is a killer combination on an empty stomach.
9. The SFPD recruits at the Folsom Street Fair. Lets try that in Alabama.
10. Pink channeling Joan Jett is cool,but very un-NBC.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Last weekend

Not much...crawled out of bed, drove 3 hours to Yosemite, spent the weekend hiking around and a few hours trying rock climbing on big granite domes up on Tuolumne Meadows . I've never been that scared in my life: The thought of sliding down a 500 foot cheese grater had me glued to the wall. The whole time. Maybe I'll think back in a few weeks and go "Hey, that was FUN!"

By the way, that's not fog, it's smoke from the Star King fire. Made the high country smell like a giant smoker.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Food, glorious food...

Deep fried Mac'n'Cheese. We are one chicken fried Triple Whopper away from Armageddon.

Just in time for the fall sports season. The first week of football basically sucked. Cal lost to the Vols, and had a bad half before putting it to Minnesota. But most of all, I feel sorry for Farve who should have left for pretty much any other team. What the hell was he thinking staying under Mike McCarthy--who worked the Saints offensive juggernaut before running what was left of the 49ers into the ground. Yeah, he was his coach in 99. But that was under Holmgren, probably the best QB coach ever--and even he said that Farve didn't need much coaching except for telling him when to not throw the ball. And my former hometown team reached a new low against Rutgers.

Oh, well, at least the Buckeyes won.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

East of Vineland

I was planning to spend Labor Day relaxing from the product release I've been working on for the last couple of months or so, but then I changed my plans on Wednesday to a visit to North Eastern California.

To my utter surprise, the natives out-redneck Alabama.

It seems that the area between Redding and the Oregon border is the natural habitat of metalhead-biker-Jeff-Foxworthy-wannabes. I've never evahr seen people visiting national parks and museums attired in gimme caps, wife beaters, greasy jeans and Harley-Davidson boots.

Best quote of the weekend "Yo bitch are too stupid to tell a cave from a fucking hole in the ground"--Skinny biker crawling out of a plugged up lava tube entrance.

Caving in 30 degree 100% humidity caves at 6000 feet kicks mountain biking's ass as aerobic exercise, by the way, but the tubes in Lava Beds NM are really cool--bats and all.

I've never been east of Shasta and always thought that it really isn't too impressive from I-5, but now I have to Samuel L. Jackson it: "Shasta is a motherf#$@ing Motherf&#@er of a mountain." Even from 80 or a hundred miles away, it completely dominates the skyline.

Monday at Lassen was probably the most georgeous day I've ever spent in the mountains: warm, clear, not a cloud in the sky.

By the way, remember the Coors waterfall? "Taste the Rockies" my ass--the fall is in Northern California.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Californians aren't the worst drivers...

...Just the most incompetent. I still amazes me that here in the Bay Area, the following lead to immediate gridlock:

-Exits. Even if it's on the right of a seven lane freeway, half to people slow down to 20, a quarter tries to exit by cutting across six lanes, and a quarter stops to ask for directions.
-Parallel parking. Four lane city street, parkee swings out into left lane (or the first of the opposite lanes), backs up to the curb at right angle, hits the curb, gets out of the car--which now blocks both lanes causing other drivers to pass across the center divider effectively shutting down both directions--to assess the situation, asks a few pedestrians for their opinion, gets back into the car, maneuvers back and forth a bit more, gives up, and cedes the spot to a city bus which fits easily.
-45 degree parking. Should be easy, right? Well, most Cali drivers miss the spot on the first few tries necessitating backing up into traffic a couple of times.

Not that I did much today. Biked for an hour on the Mt Diablo foothills, went to the Oakland Chinese festival, bought a few t-shirts from a 4 foot Chinese grandmother who spoke perfect idiomatic Oaklandese, shopped and peoplewatched(*) at the Berkeley Bowl, had lunch and killer coffee at Cactus and Hudson Bay Caffee in Rockridge.

(*) Berkeley Bowl has the best and cheapest produce section in the Bay Area even beating the farmers markets. Kaffir lime, curry leaves and hot mint are some of the less exotic foods. But it's also a great place to see hippies, peacenicks and vegans have total meltdowns. First of all, parking is a bit limited (see above), then the store is usually overcrowded, the aisles are too narrow for two carts to pass, and you can't tell from the end of the line if the cashiers are on PCP, or downers, or both. And then the pushing and shoving starts and peace, love and happiness go right out the window. Today's episode had a henna-haired vintage-Joplin-attired Deadhead and a 70year old hippie Cal prof in bike helmet, ratty sweater and denim short shorts go at it after he cut in line by resolutely ramming his bike into the line at the register. Nice wresting match for the handlebar, and I learned quite a few new cuss words from the "weaker" sex participant and the dozen or so shoppers who joined in. Since this is Berkeley, I really wonder why they couldn't just have a spiff or two before they go to the store. But no matter how much people bitch, they'll be back for the produce and the 9c/pound bananas.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Don't stop pouring sugar on me!

Ok, I totally succumbed to my 80s roots this weekend. (Hangs head)

Let me start with "I love the unfortunately named Sleep Train pavilion". Three miles from my place, free parking, friendly ushers, kick-ass sound system and $5 Corona. Light years better than the Tweaker Center with its Clear Channel stormtroopers. And seats 30 feet from the stage.

I didn't really know what to expect out of Journey, but they sounded as good as I've ever heard them--even on the drawn out Stars&Stripes opener. Jeff Scott Soto has a great voice and is totally cute, but he channels Morrison far more than is good for him. Occasionally it was eerie to watch a blond Jim playing with Journey.

When The Sun Goes Down in the City still puts me to sleep, but hey, the place overlooks the bay. They were really tight on their more uptempo stuff. Neal still brings the 'tude and Ross looks like a mix of the druggy firefighter from Rescue Me and Cliff Richards, but still plays a hell of bass guitar. Standing ovations--encore--setup change to (inconceivably) a mix tape of The Who and Blondie.

And three bars into Let's Get Rocked, everyone was Jour-WHO? Def continued to kick Journey's ass into another dimension. The were beyond awesome, not letting up for two hours--let's just leave it at that--including something like a 20 minute rendition of Rocket and the entire stadium singing Happy Birthday for Vivian.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Love Land

I'm really no prude, but this theme park outside Seoul leaves me somewhat weirded out.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Monday, July 17, 2006

Packing light

After 20 or so years of traveling, I can do 2+ weeks with just a carry-on bag without breaking a sweat. But this guy takes it to a whole new level. I've been on busses with backpackers coming down from a few weeks on the PCT or in Denali NP, and I can't believe he found a ride after a few days.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Dell desktop: $400
AOL broadband: $19
Inability the recognize satire: Priceless

He's the pretty one...

From the Guardian's coverage of the G8 meeting

"I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of
the world, like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion, and
I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia
would do the same," Mr. Bush said.

To that, Mr. Putin replied, "Quite honestly, we certainly would not
want to have the same kind of democracy that they have in Iraq."

Are we diving now?

Since it's a stiffling 102 in Concord, I went out to 72 degree Alameda and visited the USS Hornet. Great view of the city from the flight desk, original Sojus capsule, Apollo capsule, and the Airstream NASA converted into the quarantine pod for the astronauts. Getting up and down all those freaking ladders took almost 4 (interesting) hours.

The engine room was a bit underwhelming--I was looking for something like in Titanic, but unfortunately, they used steam turbines which are a lot smaller and don't have any of these dishy crank shafts.

The funniest moment was when the retired commander who ran the tour rang one of the communication bells in the boiler room:

Female--who's only there for her husband and has watched way too much Das Boot--: "Are we diving now?"

CDR: "Ma'm, this is an aircraft carrier. If it is diving, we are in real trouble."

People on the tour we still breaking out in church giggles when we reached the flight deck 30 minutes later.

Monday, July 10, 2006


I finally had time to post the pictures from the Sierra and EL AY.

Another link to the greatest explanation of the Boob in Chief in like eh-wah.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

Hello back from LA. I wasn't looking for it, but I got two cool 4th pictures today.

A patriotic street person on Venice Beach.

Not Independence Day related, but David might want to apply.

2540 crosses next to Santa Monica Pier.

Monday, June 19, 2006

More on Larry

Since a friend asked me about the Larry Spring pictures below. If you want to know more about his discoveries... He doesn't have a web site as far as I can tell, but his stuff gets quoted all over alternative science sites. Just google for Larry Spring Electromagnetic or Larry Spring Quantum and you'll enter a universe of unconventional thought.

Among the amazing discoveries and proofs:

"At the Borderland Conference, Larry demonstrated this theory by using a parabolic dish lying face up on a table, suspended at the focal point of the dish was a ping pong ball. When Larry dropped other ping pong balls from any angle, THEY ALWAYS TRUCK THE BALL AT THE FOCAL POINT. If the incoming energy had been lines of force or undulating waves, they would have all had different angles of deflection and missed the focal point, I was quite impressed..."

"If it is quantum (a quantity) shaped like a ball, it must have a three dimensional size. This can be readily determined by running the energy through a chicken wire grid like screening gravel."

" The magnetic energy is driven from the transmitting conductor by a magnetic field that is expanding in all directions at a speed of 186,000 miles per second, which is probably about 200,000 times the expansion rate of exploding gunpowder. "

My weekend

Involved trusting "Biking Northern California". In a word...DON'T.

Why Fußball Beats Football

I could talk aesthetics, more fluid play, no endless commercial breaks, or that 95% of humanity can't be wrong. But it's really all about the fans: Could you imagine this at a NFL game?

Monday, May 29, 2006

The other Ft. Bragg

A bit more out there: Not only do they sell Bettie Paige's understuff, someone even reinvented quantum physics in a run down shop front. And he looks like Dr. Emmett Brown.

Seal pics

Look Cat, that's how seals look on the camera we talked about...

And more of the coast: lighthouse, abolone divers, cormorans...

North Coast

A long weekend in Mendocino County. Unbelieveably pretty, but unfortionately, so yuppiefied that Doug Sahm would have to blow his mind morning, noon and night.

I created quite a scene when this ad made me laugh so hard that I spewed my cafe espresso across main street. At least someone is still stoned--I am just not sure if it's the dog or the owners. Even Schlapp is a better guard dog; and he gives Pluto a run for the money.

The only house listing for less than 7 figures. ;)

Standing a mile in the Bay

I didn't know Berkeley had a 3/4 mile fishing pier. Apart from Angel Island, definitely the best view of the city.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006