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I finished off my epic three-week stint in Alhambra late last month. In addition to acupuncture and transformer-purchasing, I took a walk in the park and hung out with some geese.
My short weekend in San Francisco consisted mostly of reuniting with my long-time friend, Damon, for a double-date at my favorite SF institution, the Stinking Rose. Their slogan is “We like some food with our garlic” and should go on to say, “But our garlic hates being photographed.”
After a delicious dinner of garlic-saturated crab, we headed over to Jonell’s in the Tenderloin area. Surrounded by rambunctious Koreans, beer-slamming bums, and free-styling meth heads, we were easily the most normal people in the joint. Then another long-lost buddy, Aaron, showed up with some friends and… yeah, still the most normal people there. It was good.
We ate breakfast at another of my favorite restaurants, the Pork Store on 16th and Valencia. After spending an hour driving circles around the 1600 block of Valencia looking for the “giant pig right outside” a few years ago, the location of this establishment is burned fully into my brain. I ordered Eggs in a Tasty Nest. It is one of few dishes I have ever ordered where the deerishusness of the food outweighs the dorkiness of its name. Then it was off to Golden Gate Park to let our food and the comfortably relaxed oddness of our surroundings digest.
After NoCal, it was time for the big rafting trip that has been planned since the beginning of time. I hadn’t seen Daun and Steve since last year, so it was fantastic to be able to hang out with them. At this point, I was starting to get tired of traveling as often as I do, so I could have done without the other zillion people involved in this trip.
After a night at Steve’s house with six other people, we all drove out to a friend’s cabin near the lake. Around two dozen people were staying there. It was a big cabin, but dayum. I usually get a hotel when I anticipate quarters being this close, but given the spread-out nature of rural towns, it would have been an inconvenience to my friends. The food and fellowship were all good, but my favorite part of the trip was going to the lake with Daun and the cabin-owner’s giant standard poodle.
Dinner on the deck was delightful:
And the rapids a tad bit frightful:
But as long as you love me so… IT’S SUMMER DAMMIT.
The next stop was last year’s transitional hometown. My plan was to move all my stuff out of Todd’s storage shed and find a centrally-located place to live while I wait for my car to be finished. Neither of those happened. As they say, “Don’t tell God your plans.”
Instead, I stayed with my friend Matt, who is long-term baby-sitting my furniture (all three pieces of it). His apartment has a fantastic view and his cat is much less evil than regular cats.
Unfortunately, it was at least 10 degrees hotter than the already record high temperatures Seattle was experiencing during the time I was there. It was really nice of everyone to remind me that I’m from Austin and should be accustomed to 104-degree weather, and I am. I’m also accustomed to air-conditioning in every building I enter. Seattle doesn’t have that. Thus, frequent trips to Starbucks and other AC-friendly outfits were made. Since it’s noticeably cooler by the water, Matt and I went to Alki Beach for a Coast Guard party one day.
Matt went to Vegas over the weekend, so I hung out at Mose’s house in Tacoma. We simultaneously went on a drinking rampage and hung out at Laura’s flower shop while she prepared a large order.
The weather cooled off just in time for me to head off to the next place, which is seemingly in a constant state of super-cool.
It was time to mix it up again and visit a new place. I booked a room at the Embassy Suites on the state line near the Heavenly Gondola, which I totally took advantage of and rode like my trip depended on it. Embassy ended up being a good choice because the rooms were big, we could park for free in the Harrah’s lot just a few yards away, and they had a free happy hour from 5:30 to 7:30 every evening.
Our healthy dinner:
Oh yeah, did I mention it was right by Harrah’s? We may have spent a few minutes there. When I wasn’t downstairs drinking and gambling, I was upstairs at the cigar bar. I don’t remember whose idea it was to go there, but it was a good one. The living room setting was comfortable, the crowd was nice and not too big, the drinks were great, and the bartender was cute, friendly, and amply knowledgeable on cigars. Not that I’m not the best judge, but I appreciate that she put on the appearance of being very helpful.
On the last night, we had sushi at Naked Fish down the street. Good music, good service, and probably as good as sushi gets for where we were (by a lake, not an ocean). This is also where the babies are hung.
No better picture of the South Lake Tahoe sunset has ever before been taken.
Sadly, not all my travels can be fun and games. I had to go to Glendale to look at my car and sue someone. Before the anticlimactic magic happened, I wandered around the newish downtown Glendale and saw some frogs.
Looks like I’ve found a new place to settle for awhile. Please, hold your applause. For those thinking, “Why Sacramento?” …well, why the hell else?
After a few weekends of blissful vacationing, my new person and I have decided to try living together. Long-distance relationships are a bitch, especially when they’re not even necessary. So far, we’re putting the “fun” in “functional living arrangement.”
Last night we went ice skating. We’ve been frequenting Family Skate Night lately for a relaxing, yet aerobic change from the usual parties and wining and dining. The night boasts a wide array of games, but the only one that ever interested me was Red Light Green Light.
Unfortunately, the integrity of the game was challenged when the caller said, “Green lighthouse,” and forced all moving skaters to return to the starting line. My partner and I both maintain that she technically said the words, “Green light,” and therefore skaters should be admitted to move forward to claim one of the five pins placed at the far end of the rink. We became further disenfranchised upon learning that only two of the pins (colored florescent orange) were available to skaters who brought their own skates rather than renting them at the rink. This posed a difficult challenge to my partner who brought his own goalie skates, which are a hindrance to speed skating.
Therefore, we participated in Name that Disney Movie, in which a clip from a Disney movie is played for skaters to guess. He happened to have been paying attention while watching “The Aristocats” 20 years ago, guessed the movie within the allotted time, and won me a prize.
This is not the prize, by the way. This is the thing that you win so you can exchange it for a prize. The prize is something from the snack bar, but I was not hungry or thirsty. We are holding this plastic bowling pin for ransom in the car until the rink meets our late demands for chicken fingers and cola.