So I've been falling down on the job, I think... I'm approaching having taken 1000 photos in California, and I've posted only a very few here. Most of them are snapshots, of course, and so not very interesting or compelling. And then at least half are of the boys. But anyway... I'll be trying to post more of them.
And apologies to everyone to whom the colors look funny or washed out. I'm "tailoring" them for the Windows gamma and also embedding the color profile, so they should look about right on Windows and on anything which obeys color profiles, namely Safari. So they probably won't look so hot in non-Safari browsers on the Mac, but otherwise should be good.
This is the ocean (bay) side of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
I went walking in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park yesterday... the trees are just amazing. The forest is lush and green, the trees are beyond enormous, and it's very quiet. It really feels like another world (except for the tour group!). The tour group had its purpose, though, because you get some sense of how big and tall the trees are. You may notice that the stand of trees in the distance is devoid of branches... that's because the branches are significantly higher up.
So this is curious... there's a McDonald's in one of the smallish central valley towns (in Cali) that has a double-lane drive through, and they make a big deal of it (lots of signs and all). However, it's only double-lane up to the point at which you order. So there are two lines of cars ordering, but they merge to pay and pick up food. Can anyone explain why this is useful?
Seems to me that it doesn't alleviate any bottlenecks. The bottleneck at fast food places is almost always the food preparation, not the speed at which cars move through the line. If you had an amazingly good food prep crew, then maybe you'd benefit by having a complete double-lane drive through. But having two lanes which feed into one just seems silly.
And now I've devoted far more time and thought to this than it's really worth.
So last Saturday (I haven't had time to write in a week!) we spent the day in San Francisco, mostly in Chinatown. Even though I lived out here for three-ish years in the mid-90s, I never got to Chinatown. Weird. Anyway, Chinatown was really cool. We went to a highly recommended but off-the-beaten-path restaurant (The Pot Sticker), which was amazing. The people were really nice and friendly and the food was SO good. They accidentally made too many pot stickers so they just gave them to us. I was really full.
Then we spent some time wandering around... we were looking for Ten Ren tea company, which we found... so cool!
They have TONS of loose tea (all of those large gold canisters lining every wall), of varying grades. Basically you decide the kind of tea you want and then they have several grades of that kind, and you pick based on smell, look, and price. I got 2 ounces of several different things, including some hand-rolled "pearls" (shape, size) of jasmine tea. I also got a tied green tea (it looks like a ball, about 3/4" in diameter) which opens when brewed, revealing red and yellow leaves inside... looks like a flower. VERY cool.
One of the amazing things about this part of Northern California are the redwood forests. In Felton (about 10 minutes inland from Santa Cruz) there's a railroad that takes you on a tour up through a redwood forest. The train is pulled by an old steam engine originally designed for logging (it can take 12% grades!)
The trees are just amazing. They're HUGE and they're TALL (the tallest ones in that forest are about 300 ft. tall). More amazing to me, though, is their age. One grove that the tour stops at (you get out) is made up of a ring of trees that all formed from a "mother" tree in the middle (they're all really the same tree). The "child" trees are 900 years old, and the "mother" was 2000 years old when it died (as the children grow, they starve the mother for light and water).
So those child trees were alive long before Europeans found the "New World"... they would've been "born" around the time of the crusades. So that would put the mother being "born" sometime well before the rise of ancient Rome and maybe even before ancient Greece. That's just really mind-blowing to think about. There's a pervasive sense of ancient in that forest.
So I had to build a dam last night at 12:30 am. Our garage is full of all our stuff from Texas and it has been pouring rain and so last night we discovered that the water leaking in from the side door to the garage was getting dangerously close to the aforementioned stuff. So I go outside in the pouring rain to see what can be done.
It turns out that the people who decided to do all this gravel and landscaping and such along the side of the house also thought it would be clever to make the concrete slab at the entrance to the side door of the garage the lowest point on that side of the house. I wonder why water congregates there.
Happily, there were several large stepping stones neatly arranged along the side of the house, plus a whole bunch of loose gravel to cover up the mud and dirt. So I took the stepping stones and set as many as I could down in front of the garage door, all butted right against each other, and then I took a bunch of gravel and filled in all around and on top. A dam! Very nice. Of course the water still wanted to congregate, so with a bunch more moving of gravel it was redirected out into the front yard (which is sloped away from the house).
Yay. Our stuff was saved. I was really, really, really soaked.
The movers came tonight... a little bit early (expected them tomorrow). Time for a big, giant, WOOHOO! It's like Christmas in... uh... March. My amp, my recording gear, my Tele... yesss.
I feel alot better about all the crap we moved. I was worried it was a LOT, but in our garage it doesn't look absurd. Whew. Not that I know where to put it all. We have a living room and three other rooms (aka bedrooms), and that's it. So the guest bedroom may also be the office, the recording studio, the creative workshop, and the photo lab. I hope our guests don't mind sleeping with the Tele. It doesn't snore.