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Archive for June, 2008

Almost Ready

I am almost ready to go to Europe. My stuff is packed, the hotel reservations are set, I got a new camera, etc. I’m off to get an electrical adapter, but basically I’m feeling pretty good about the whole thing. I’m really looking forward to this vacation.

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Stuff I Like to Watch, but Will Never Do

I’m not a sports girl. I have a very low tolerance for being sweaty, or cold, or wet, or sore. I rarely push my body to do anything particularly strenuous… and I’d be perfectly happy living in a constant temperature of 73 degrees.

But, some of you who know me well, know that I’m a nut for most things Everest. Man vs. mountain: which will prevail? I love seeing all the geared-up, people in the prime of their life doing feats of human strength and endurance that are both amazingly impressive and shockingly stupid.

Tonight, I branched out a ways from the Himalayas and I checked out a documentary called Higher Ground from the library. It isn’t linked on IMDB, and it is not a Warren Miller film (though he has a lot of extreme sports movies with that name… but this film isn’t in that series.) Anyway, it’s a good little documentary. I am just amazed by these folks, and the nature is no wimp either… there are lots of shots of falling rocks, falling ice, a few shots of falling people.

Somebody did a cheeseball YouTube Video with various moments of the movie. Here’s the link. If this shoddy YouTube video gets your interest piqued, seek out the feature length video… it really is good.

Meanwhile, I might as well be clear: I will never, ever, do anything that daring or impressive. Climbing? Me? Nah. Maybe the climbing wall at REI, but that’s about it.

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Apologies and Weaknesses

It was brought to my attention that some people who read the previous post thought that it was harsh.
So I modified it.

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Avenue Q

I went to Avenue Q last night. It was a GREAT show. If you get a chance, go see it.

Note: this post has been edited/redacted.

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Hot and Cold

So Houston was hot; nearing 100 degrees each day I visited. Amazingly, however, I didn’t really mind it, but that’s because I was in air conditioned homes, cars, restaurants, and bars almost the entire time.

The trip was good… my family is doing well. The kids that were there got to know each other a bit better. My brother Bill took me on the New England Catamaran that I/we helped build. It was one of our father’s unfinished hobbies/projects. The boat was built from scratch. Bill helped build it the most out of all the kids, but I definitely recall helping to sand and shellac the boat and getting fiberglass stuck in my skin, and coughing from the fumes. Anyway, it is a 20ft sea-worthy vessel, a fine achievement for him.

I especially liked hanging out with my nieces and nephews who are around my age. They are fun, funny, loud, snarky, sarcastic, and fabulous. I had a really good time.

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Contemplating the meaning of life & death

My brother’s death has affected me to an extent that I really hadn’t expected. We weren’t close emotionally because of the spread in our ages (he was 60 – that’s 26 years older than me); but perhaps that’s part of why it is affecting me so much. That, and all the other stuff related to the circumstances of his death. Suffice it to say that this situation really has me thinking about how I want to live my life, what I need to do to turn that out, and how I do and don’t want to die. Then I start contemplating meaning… I mean, really What is the meaning of life? It’s all very unsettling. :(

In a few hours, I’ll be en route to Houston for the family memorial service. I’m looking forward to the celebration part… but my big family gatherings are always exhausting events. Our mom, plus at least 7 of the kids, their spouses, and probably 8 – 10 grandkids, along with a few of the greatgrandkids will be in attendance, at least. Despite the fact that I’m a gregarious and outspoken person, I can be easily overwhelmed within a room full of my kinsfolk. Really, I’m relatively tame & staid in comparison!

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How will I make this plane?

I just did something completely ridiculous. I booked myself on a flight that departs at 5:50 AM. Let’s see… they typically board the plane 30 minutes before departure, so that’s 5:20… time for the security checkpoint… parking… etc. I probably need to be driving into the airport around 3:45 AM.

Now I have never been a morning person, and 3:45 sounds more like night than morning to me. In fact, it’s so early that I don’t know if I can trust myself to wake up… I may have to stay out/up the night before so that I am sure to be at the airport on time. I’ll probably be recovering from a few cocktails and sleepy, but if I have any hope of being on time, that may be what I need to do.

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The Pocket of Winter

South San Francisco, near SFO, is extremely cold, no matter what time of year it is.

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Ugliest. Awful-est. Car. Ever.

The PT Cruiser sucks. No really. I don’t get why this car exists. I tried to change to a different car at the rental company, but no dice. So I’m stuck driving a PT Cruiser. A white one. My least favorite car color.

This car is a huge eyesore. It’s the size of a bus, but it is low to the ground. Visibility sucks, the turning radius is lousy, and nothing is in a convenient, ergonomic location. On top it off, no-one takes me seriously on the road in this awful car. Forget trying to merge in traffic! No one wants to stare at the back end of this car. I’m like Rodney Dangerfield, no respect.

The PT Cruiser reminds me of that Simpson episode where Homer gets to design a car. “Powerful like a gorilla, yet soft and yielding like a Nerf ball.”
Yeah, it’s just like that.

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Corporate Hotels

The whole concept of a chain hotel is that you know what to expect. But it can get a little disconcerting when the hotel is so similar that you literally can’t tell if you’ve stayed at that precice location before.

Last night, I experienced an overwhelming sense of deja vu. My internal dialog went something like this: “I’ve stayed at an Embassy suites that looked like this one. On a road much like this one. With a strip-mall across the street, with that Greek restaurant and the coffee shop next door. There were gray-stucco non-descript mid-rise office park offices on the street. And the landscaping was the same… Have I stayed here before? The room configuration is exactly the same. There is that almost-soothing-but-too-loud waterfall noise eminating from the fake lagoon in the lobby. No, seriously, have I stayed at this exact hotel before? I don’t recall ever staying in Milpitas before; I usually stay in Mountain View. The view from the window is similar. Have I stayed here, in this room, before?”

In the end, I decided that I hadn’t stayed at that specific Embassy Suites before. But it is eerily similar to one in El Segundo.

If you’re asking. I don’t love chain hotels that cater to corporate travellers who really just want to feel as though they aren’t staying in different places even though they are travelling every night. I really prefer some local flair.

But perhaps I’m missing the point. The local flair of California is… corporate. That’s what they do well.

Update: A fellow hotel guest was struggling to remember his floor number in the elevator. Our brief conversation was about how all the hotels look exactly the same and he just couldn’t remember what room he was in at this hotel, this time. This is a sad, sad, widespread problem.

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