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Naked from the Neck Up
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Road Tripping via Facebook
Topic: Vacation

Just back from a 12 day road-trip. I posted my status to Facebook pretty much at each major stop. Here are the headlines from Facebook, with additional notes in (parentheticals):

Maurice is about to get lunch and then hit the highway. "On the Road Again"! 12:50pm Feb. 20.

Maurice is most of the way to L.A. I-5's a bore. Podcasts preserving sanity..sorta. 7:36pm Feb. 20.

Maurice is hangin' at Matt Carlstrom's in L.A Ain't ya jealous? 10:17pm Feb. 20.

Maurice just watched part of a bad Turkish film from the 70s...or is that redundant? 2:40am Feb. 22.

(Which is what happens at 1 in the morning when you're having drinks with someone who speaks Turkish!)

Maurice is looking at a gray sky in Palm Springs. Where is Monsieur Soleil?! 11:51am  Feb. 22.

(I stayed two nights with my friend Patrick. His condo is part of what used to be a motel where the Rat Pack hung out.)

  Palm Springs...hence the palm. Feb. 22.

Maurice is bound for Adventure...or Arizona...or something that begins with A. 1:06pm Feb. 23.

Maurice is about to go night night in Tempe after good food, a couple of sips of tequila, and good company. 11:36pm Feb. 23.

(I was stayin with my old friend Jerry and his other half, Jon, and their two very excitable and very tiny doggies.)

Maurice just came back from touring Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin west home in AZ. Ain't ya jealous? 4:26pm Feb. 25.
 
Maurice is bound for the Grand Canyon today. 9:31am Feb. 26.

Maurice : a) thinks Jerry & Jon are Th_ aw3s0m3; b) waved at Prescott for Dave; c) is having lunch in Flagstaff before pushing on to the Grand Canyon. 2:31pm Feb 25.

(Arrived at the Grand Canyon just in time to watch the sunset from the South rim, then went out into the night to look at the stars in the blackest sky I think I've ever seen) 

Maurice just watched the sunrise from the rim of the Grand Canyon. Epic! But his toes are still cold. 6:55am Feb 26.

(The pic is from a few hours after sunrise when I hiked around a bit of the south rim, after a shower and breakfast.)

Maurice left the majesty of the Grand Canyon many hours of driving behind, and tonight has a view of the Stratosphere from his hotel window. What a step down! 6:19pm Feb 27.

(My route to Vegas was via Davis Dam, Bullhead City, and Searchlight, places I'd not been since the early 70s. Sadly, you can't drive over the dam any more.)


The view from my hotel window. Is Vegas flipping me off? Feb 27.

(Since the Stratosphere was so close, I strolled over and paid the $13 to take in the view from the top.)

Maurice has left sin city for The Middle of Nowhere. Google map 89415 if you want to know where The Middle of Nowhere is located. 5:19pm  March 1.

(Here I stayed at the El Cap Lodge, saw my sister a few times, and our mutual friend Georgana took us on a tour of the Old Courthouse, which has been closed for as long as I can remember. At one point something like 2000 pigeons were living in the place.  Ick!)

Maurice had ribs for dinner. Mmmm yummy. For some reason now he wants decaf. Is this what rural life is like? He's forgotten. 1:12am March 1.'

(This was at the home of my friend Vince and his family.)

My late mama's headstone, gone a year and a half but not forgotten. Hawthorne, NV. March 2.

Maurice is bound for nieces. 2:09pm March 2.

(In Fallon, NV, where I visited with them and my great niece, and they brought along their boyfriends and other friends...I'm left wondering if they're inadvertantly starting a commune.)

Maurice is at Sherri & Art's in Carson City. Tuesday: Reno...not Janet. 12:36am March 3.

Maurice thinks he's going to need to buy a set of tire chains to get back home. 2:21pm March 3.

(I drove to Reno and met up with former Hawthorne residents Liz and the Allen family. Evelyn and Dean Allen offered to let me stay at their place to avoid driving back to Carson City in the snow...and I was left wondering if the passes would get so much snow it would be difficult to get home!)

Maurice just found out that a friend of his from long ago passed away a while back, but he hadn't heard til now. :(. 10:53pm March 4.
(I learned this from my friend Cody...we toasted the deceased when we went out for a drink after he got off work.)

Maurice is on the downhill side of Donner pass and only hours from home! Thanks Evelyn & Dean! 3:20pm March 4.

Maurice made it back to SF just in time to park his car and run out into Market St. and join a march to City Hall. Wow, it's a big crowd! 7:13pm March 4.

Here's the route:


 

 


Posted by molyneaux at 11:11 AM PST
Updated: Friday, 6 March 2009 12:01 PM PST
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Friday, 7 September 2007
It's a Museum... OF THE FUTURE!
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Vacation

In Seattle with family.

Finally going to the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.

No photography.  Rats!  I wanted a pic of me with the 6-foot Next Generation Enterprise that my buddy Andy Probert designed.  Alas.

Cool stuff abounds. Models and costumes and robots, oh my.  I particularly like Luke Skywalker's lightsaber suspended a few inches from his severed hand.

My hands-down favorite thing has to be the full size Blade Runner "Spinner" flying car.  I wanna ride!

Afterwards, it's a lunch for my brother in the Space Needle restaurant next door.  I'm reminded of the joke as to why the restaurant in the Space Needle is the best one in Seattle: because it's the only restaurant in Seattle from which you can't see the Space Needle!

 

 


Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007 8:22 PM PDT
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Thursday, 6 September 2007
Super...sonic
Mood:  energetic
Topic: Vacation

On my drive to Portland, OR last month the upper portions of Mt. Shasta were lost in the clouds.  On the way back I did get a look at the mountain, but not as good a one as I'd have liked, as the view from I-5 is only okay.  Today I got the most unusual perspective on Shasta...from the air. My flight to Seattle passed just west of the mountain, and I was practically looking straight down at it from 30,000 feet.  You'd think it would look punier from so far above, but you'd be wrong.  The immensity of it and its origins as a volcano are all too apparent from above. Sure, it's dormant, but I couldn't help a fleeting thought of what its erupting would do to the little Alaska Air jet that bore me.

The remainder of the flight was almost as scenic. We flew just west of Crater Lake, and then near Mt. St. Helens.  Did I have my camera ready?  Nooooo...

Arrive in Seattle to meet my brother and family. After shoveling fast food into my face and checking into our hotel we make a beeline for the Museum of Flight.  It's a great museum, with a section devoted to old WWI era aircraft that I loved. The whole place is very comprehensive, with many fine examples; everything from an Italian Monoplane to a Lunar Module!

We walked through the Air Force One that served U.S. Presidents from Ike to Tricky Dick. I resisted the urge to spit where Nixon had parked his flabby arse...but just barely.

I love airplanes. I got into them in Jr. High School, partly through discovering building airplane model kits, and partly through a fascination I developed with the abandoned Boeing Supersonic Transport.  Sadly, since the Concordes've all been grounded, my liklihood of exceeding the speed of sound have been reduced to near nil!

I may never get to ride an SST, but at least I got to walk though one today, as the museum has a Concorde on display.  It's cool to see how tiny the windows are and how narrow the fuselage is, but my one disappointment is that they have plexiglassed off ALL of the seats.  I understand they don't want people sitting all over the place and ruining it, but it would've been nice had they left ONE row available so you could sit down and see if you though it was cramped. 

Then again, how concerned are you with elbow room when crossing the Atlantic in 2.5 hours?

 


Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 10:52 PM PDT
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Monday, 13 August 2007
Another 24 Hours
Topic: Vacation

Our film is to be screened Thursday night, but I feel like I need to get back and take care of some work, so, much as I'd like to hang out in Portland, I decide I need to head back tomorrow.

However, since Scott had takem the day off, we now have the whole day to hang out and decompress after the madness of the previous 48+ hours. We look at the film a couple of times, and both agree that it's better than what we expected for such a compressed shoot.  We discuss briefly how to make some adjustments to improve the film before submitting it elsewhere. In 48 hours there ain't much room to polish!

After breakfast at a Cameo Cafe, a local place famous for its pancakes, Scott suggests that we drive out to the number one tourist attraction outside of Portland: the Multnomah Falls, part of the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. It's a fairly short drive, and the falls are very pretty, and going at a good clip for August.  We decide to hike up to the top.  It's a long set of switchbacks, and my slightly bum right ankle forces me to pause a few times, but we make it.

Scott & I on the trail

Upon our return to Portland we get some shaved ice and stroll through the city's beautiful municipal rose gardens. Ahhh.

Afterwards we stop in a neighborhood that's home to a number of Portland's gay bars, but there doesn't seem to be a gay neighborhood like you'd find in San Francisco or Seattle. The hardest thing for me is that they still allow smoking in the bars there, which tends to make me want to finish my drink quickly and flee.

Next we meet Scott's friend Paul for dinner at an Ethiopian place called Queen of Sheeba that Scott really likes. Afterwards, we adjourn to a really cool venue called Ground Kontrol that is full of arcade video games, most old, and also has a bar.  Mmmm...beer and Burgertime. That's the ticket!


Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 10:53 PM PDT
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Thursday, 9 August 2007
Road Trip (retrospective)
Topic: Vacation

I5 through central CA is one boring road though...so boring I'm not going to write anything about it, save to say I'm very grateful for cruise control, Podcasts on my iPod, and the AC which makes me forget the 97F outside temperature that my car's video screen constantly displays.

So, why am in on this enless stretch of gray asphalt in the middle of August?

A few weeks ago I was told by Scott Cummins—who directed Starship Exeter: The Tressaurian Intersection—that he'd gotten a team together to enter the 48 Hour Film Project when it lands in Portland. I immediately volunteered.  Scott told me I'd be the Property Master.

So here I am, en route, with the car loaded with as much stuff as I could fit that I thought might be useful: tripod, varizoom controller, christmas tree lights, odd goggles, art tape, leftover construction elements from the Flight Control set, etc., etc.

I'm not usually much for driving long distances. In most cases I prefer to fly. But, as I'd never been to Oregon before nor could I put all the stuff I had with me in airline bagage, it made sense to hit the highway.

After dinner in Redding I push on north. The scenery gets more interesting as I5 approaches Oregon, but the upper half of Mt. Shasta's lost in the clouds, so I don't get a good look.

I wasn't planning to push on all the way to Portland today, figuring I'll drive until I get tired and then find a motel somewhere.  I cross into Oregon, pass Ashland, gas up in Medford, and decide to do one last half hour and call it a night in Grants Pass.

I figure I'll read for an hour, but I turn on the TV out of curiosity and discover the AMC show Mad Men that Jim was telling me about. It's about an advertising agency in 1962. I get sucked in, enjoy it, decide I'll have to see more, and then I'm out like a light.


Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 10:55 PM PDT
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Friday, 6 July 2007
What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas
Mood:  silly
Topic: Vacation

Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
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Thursday, 5 July 2007
Breakfast in Bleaksville
Topic: Vacation

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. 


Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007 2:07 AM PDT
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Wednesday, 4 July 2007
Independence Day
Topic: Vacation
My week’s vacation shifts into actual “holiday” mode today, as I join my friends Matt and Diana for 3 days in Sin City. Ok, I have to say it...it’s fraking HOT.  The temperature hit 116F...one degree short of the record for this time of you.  Jennifer was right when she described being in Vegas like “living in a blow drier.” We’re staying at the Mirage, so we cab over, check in, then hit the buffet for brunch.  Four plates of food later I’m ready for a nap...but the room’s not ready yet, so we wander.  First stop: watching a white tiger from behind a very thick plexiglass wall. We step outside to make our way to Caesar’s.  Did I mention it was hot?  We while away the afternoon in air-conditioned luxury, clothes shopping.  Got a couple of nice new shirts. 

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?


Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 10:56 PM PDT
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Tuesday, 19 June 2007
Shut Up & Enjoy It
Mood:  irritated
Topic: Vacation

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.

 


Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007 2:12 AM PDT
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Monday, 18 June 2007
Badgers and Mule Deer and Bears, Oh my!
Topic: Vacation

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.

Breakfast: At Nicely's in Lee Vining, CA, next to Mono Lake.  Mmmmm...biscuits and gravy

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.


Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 10:56 PM PDT
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