Topic: Just Cause...
Nothing bad happened. Get it? Nothing...bad...happens!
And the full moon doesn’t affect you, either.
Knowing I was coming to Vegas for a while, I had chatted up a few locals via the net to see if there was anyone worth hanging out with. Of the guys I chatted with, one fellow named Keith seemed a sane enough fellow, so, I met up with him and two of his friends and went to breakfast at a local restaurant some distance from the strip.
Now, mind you, I grew up in Vegas, and I lived in BFE Northern Nevada for far too long, but I cannot for the life of me see what the attraction is of Vegas. Once you get outside the tourist trap that’s the Strip, it’s just endless suburban sprawl, Houses, too few trees, and sandy empty lots between neighborhoods. Bleak bleak.
Keith returns me to the Strip where I meet up with a buffet-stuffed Matt and Diana at the Bellagio. We almost go into a Picasso ceramics exhibit there, but end up moving on.
It’s still hot. Not as bad as yesterday, but still up there.
Red Square at Madalay Bay was our spot for pre-dinner refreshments. We had some lovely Vodka drinks, but no cuisine inspired us. We ended up at...
...New York New York it’s a Heck of a Loud place. Had a decent dinner and decent tequila at the Mexican place there. Finally, we end up at the Imperial Palace where Matt and Diana gambled. Me? I grew up in Las Vegas and Nevada, so gambling has zero interest for me. I bid them good night and head to my hotel room.
The temperature at midnight? 90F
Did I mention it was hot?
You can love your friends and still want to hit them with a shillelagh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shillelagh_(weapon)).
There are some things you just can’t share with people who are not like minded.
I can be quite the talker, I admit. When I have something I’m interested in and passionate about, I can ramble on with the best of them. On the other hand, I can also be pretty quiet, especially in a place where there’s a lot to see, like, say, Yosemite yesterday.
You’d think we were trekking up a mountain, in the Sahara Desert, after having no water for a week, for all the complaining I endured over a measly mile hike down and then up 400 feet over a span on a mile each way. Numerous comments were made about how stupid it was to do a hike without water. To put things in perspective, this walk was the equivalent of walking to Tommy’s and back, only slightly more steep in a few places, and with no Margaritas at the bottom.
Who knew humans were so fragile? What an idiotic culture we live in where people believe they can’t walk a few miles without a life support system.
Coming back up is going to be hard!
Argh! I’m being bitten!
They always tell you to take water when you’re hiking.
Bitch bitch bitch.
There seemed to be less concern about the wild bear we saw than a lack of a pint of water. There’s a lack of perspective for you...
Wanna hike with me? Here’s some guidelines.
1. Drink it in. If I believed in God, this is one of those spots where you’d think he/she/it had kissed the Earth. Soaking it up. It’s not like you see this every day. Quit yammering on about pointless drivel and appreciate where you are. If you can’t, stay home.
2. Stop your grousing. You’re gonna get winded. You’re gonna be hot. You might even get a few bug bites. You might not have a drink for a little while. Life’s not all escalators, air conditioning and screen doors. Enjoy that fact.
But some people are never going on a real hike with me, water or no water.
It's been a long time since I set foot in Yosemite, other than stopping for a moment on my way through. In fact, I can't recall a single substantial visit since the early/mid 90s. Stupid, considering how close it is (4 hours to the Valley), and how much I like it there.
Two of the members of my road trip had never been before, so I decided to spend a few hours in the park before we headed back towards the Bay.
Here's how the day went, in brief bites...
Bye Bye BFE: Hawthorne's so small that even gassing up the car at 7 a.m. I run into people I know...specifically, my brother in-law, on his way home from the graveyard shift.
Tioga Parties: Bad jokes about "Tioga parties" abound as we drive up and through Tioga Pass (elevation el. 9,943 ft. / 3,031 m); portal to Yosemite from the Nevada facing side.
The High Country: First stop is Tuolumne Meadows (pronounced "too-all-oh-mee"), which is not far into the park's eastern end. I've stopped there before, but never really hiked around, so I decided to stroll the ½ mile to Soda Springs.
High points: dipping my toes into the Tuolumne River, and following an animal which we jokingly referred to as a "beadger" (not beaver nor badger), but which, on reflection, was probably a marmot.
A Wet One: shortly down the road from Tuolumne Meadows I pull over at Tenaya Lake. Ever since I went to New Zealand in 2002 I like to not just look, but immerse myself in places I visit. At Tenaya Lake, this takes the form of wading in the surprisingly temperate (for a mountain lake) water. Ahh... refreshing!
View from the Top: Shortly up the road from Tenaya Lake I pull out to Olmsted Point, a spectacular view of Tenaya Lake, Tenaya Canyon, Clouds Rest, and-most impressively-Half Dome, peaking (I meant that word) up from a not-yet visible Yosemite Valley. Clambered over the rocks here to get some photos of each other. I love this spot!
The long down: Highway 120 down towards the Valley is a 45 minute gauntlet of trees, the view of which no one but me really seemed to appreciate very much.
Grin & Bearing It: Spotting the Tuolumne Grove pullout, I did just that, and we hiked down the one mile and 400 feet in altitude to the grove, through a beautiful old forest of white fir, Douglas-fir, sugar pine, and incense-cedar. At the bottom, half the party went into the grove and the other half walked all that way for nothing, since they sat at a picnic table instead of doing the couple of hundred yards through the "Sequoia Gigantea", thus missing out on the change to walk along, atop, and crawl though one of these fallen giants. Their loss.
Highlights: we saw a bear in the trees at a bend in the path. We heard then saw baby birds in a small hole in the side wall of a tunnel tree. We saw a mule deer doe on the return loop. Hope the bear didn't find her!
Lowlights: See the next entry!
Flattened Cranes: Knowing we'd probably not be having a full meal until after leaving the park, I pulled into the Crane Flat rest area. An ice cream bar, egg salad sandwich, water and one Lunchables later, I felt ready for the rest of the afternoon. The name of Crane Flat led to a series of smart-aleck comments about various flattened wildlife, mostly from me.
The Valley Floor:
Too many people at Bridalveil Falls, so I didn't stay at the bottom long. I led my party back along the path, then took a detour to wade in the stream flowing down from the falls. It was 97°F, so, whew, did that feel good! I sat on a rock in the stream and enjoyed the cool. As at Tuolomne Grove, half of my little party didn't join in this. Again, their loss!
As we drove towards Half Dome, we pulled over to gawk at some Mule Deer. Four of them. Two bucks and two does. No bears this time.
Exit, stage west: Our brief tour of the Valley over, I set the Prius for points west.
Sushi: Not a conversation. More a dissertation on it. Not everyone found this appetizing.
Cooing o'er Cows: Someone in the car likes cows. We saw a lot of them. We heard a lot of "awww"s.
No Chains Required: Upon reaching the outskirts of the East Bay, it was suggested that we stop in Livermore or Dublin to get dinner. After it turned out there wasn't a Marie Callender's for 30 miles, there was a consensus about going to an Applebee's. Once we got there I recalled why I never go to these places. The menu is...bland. S.F. has spoiled me for restaurants.
Cool sweet cool: Arrive back in my neck of S.F. It's 59°F. That's a 38° drop from afternoon in Yosemite.
It's good to be home.
Just found a note I'd scribbled on a receipt Saturday December 16, 2006 in Berkeley. I was trying on clothes at Shoka. One pair of jeans elicited the following from friend-cum-fashionista, Becky:
"Where did your ass go?"
Part 1: Dim Sum
Dim Sum's my first meal of the day today, as I join my friend Steve and his two rambunctious sons for lunch. We stroll down Balboa to a local place I've never been before. The food is pretty good, but there's a lot of the dishes that just aren't my bag. Some really yummy buns, though!
We're joined by Steve's brother. I really like Steve, but he's straight married man, so I figured, can it hurt to meet his gay brother? His brother's a nice guy, but we don't get a chance to talk too much. They're off for a hike, but the time they expect to get back is after my presumed dinner engagement with Terry and Carol, so we have to part company early, alas.
Best moment of this part of the day: As we walked from the restaurant I grabbed the shoulders of Steve's oldest son and pushed him around like he was staggering. For the rest of the walk he was excitedly telling me to "Make me drunk again!"
This is how kids end up with Child Services, isn't it?
Part 2: From Agave to Elderflower
Evening rolls around and I pick up Terry and Carol and we head across the Golden Gate to get dinner at Guaymas in Tiberon. The food is very good, but we arrive later than we'd hoped to and the wait to get drinks, seated, and fodd is longer than any of us would like. The only real downside is that they screwed up my first margarita order and then I find it and the subsequent margie kinda bland. Tommy's, how you're ruined me!
Back at Terry's, the forst order of business is to mooch a glass of the soon-to-be-released St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur from Carol. Not sugary like so many liqueurs, sniffing this you get flowers and fruit. It's got a flavor that hints at lychee. The first time I sipped it a few weeks ago I was surprised how it hot the front of my tongue and spread across the sides. Great stuff, and I need to get a bottle as soon as I can find one.
Armed with this delight to the palette, I plop down as Terry pops the new Casino Royale film into the DVD player, and, thoughg I'm really tired, I somehow make it through the film without dozing.
I'll admit it: I'm no Bond fan. I don't think I've ever really gone out of my way to see a Bond picture, and I don't think I've sat all the way through any of them since the Roger Moore days. But I liked this film. It's tongue ocassionally touches cheek, put its not planted there. Bond's a serious customer and a misanthrope. I liked that a lot of the film was about the game in the casino, rather than excessive action sequences, albeit there were plenty of the latter for my taste.
If this is the shape of things to come, I'm more likely to see the next one. That's not to say I'll got out of my way to do so.
But what would you expect? I'm a tequila snob, not a martini man.
Maybe if 007 started sipping some Reserva...
Was out too late last night at a party at my friend Marty's place. No drinking, just out much too late.
Hauled my headachy carcass out to have breakfast with Ben. After that we strolled into Golden Gate Park and went to the top of the DeYoung Museum, from which we could see Ben's new house over in the Sunset. I checked out the distances between the Museum, Botanical Gardens, etc., in preparation for visitors I'll have here in a few weeks. All very walkable.
Golden Gate Park is a size enigma. It seems huge when you drive past it. I mean, it goes on for over 50 (short end) blocks. You drive and drive and drive along this wall of trees.
But then, you walk through it, as I did this afternoon with my friend Steve and his two boys. We started from our Outer Richmond neighborhood and walked all the way to Stowe Lake and onto Strawberry Hill, then back again, each way being about half the Park's total length. You look at that on a map and it looks long. You walk it...it's nothing. Steve's two young sons, alternately riding and walking their bikes, had no trouble doing it.
Given that, and given how close I am to the park, it's stupid that I'm not there all the time. Maybe this little walk will make get me out there more often.
I can't talk about it.
Let me clarify:
I can't talk about specifics. I can't talk about the case.
I can, however, talk about the experience.
I've never been deposed before. Today, I was. Nearly seven hours (with breaks) of questioning. Tedious. Nerve wracking. Why? First, there's the mind numbing detail to be discussed. Second, there's the questions, especially when you know they're trying to get you to say or characterize something in a particular way to help their case.
You have to be honest—sworn testimony and all— so you start worrying that maybe you misremembered something and it'll come back to haunt you.
It ended just before 5, but it's not over. I probably have to appear at the hearing.
Oh, and then I have to do another deposition for a client of mine.
I can't talk about it, but I don't like it.
I could, however, go have a couple of stiff drinks.