Sk8r Down in Topeka

Inspired by Little People, I've decided to do a little urban art of my own.

Meet the skater dude.

skater dude

Looks like he took a tumble.

skater down

He shoulda known better. The sign is pretty clear.

No skating

He might still be there for all I know.

skater down - long shot

I'm not nearly so good -- my little person is a giant mushball compared to his -- but it was fun to pick out a home for him. This might be fun to do on all my work travels. I wonder if you can take Play-Doh on airplanes.

I Bless the Rains Down in Africa

(Huh. I seem to have deleted my pretty bookshelf. I'll have to fix that some day.)

This is a real poster for a real conference going on in my hotel today.

follow the yellow brick road

Kansas Human Services in Disaster Summit
Fires and Floods and Tornadoes...Oh My!
Follow the yellow brick road to...Partnership!

I guess if you have a built-in story arc, go with it. They also have life-sized cardboard cut-outs of the Tin Man, Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and even the Wicked Witch of the West on a broom.

Haven't seen Toto, yet.

And I thought that coming up with a theme for Prom would be a skill with no use in later life...

Mean Girl Abuses Robot

Why isn't there any cool robotic stuff coming out of, you know, the US? I don't mean that other countries shouldn't be good at stuff (I'm not some jingoistic jerk, honest), I just want to be able to play here, too.

By the way, still only 2/3 of my screen are working. As predicted, the technician couldn't find Topeka.


I'm having a little trouble posting because it hurts my head too much to look at my laptop. The bottom third of the monitor is grey with weird stripes. It's like the paint is running off the top two-thirds.

monitor madness

I called the warranty service folks this morning. They said someone would fix it tomorrow. The operator (from Atlanta) needed help spelling "Topeka". I'm not terribly hopeful that they're going to be able to find me.

Price Break: Giant Mutant Chickens

I really like the chicken sub and the burrito bowl at our local Chicken Rico (near the Kmart). When I stopped in yesterday, though, I was greeted by one of the chickens personally. You have to admit, that's a bit of an uncomfortable situation: Hi, I'm just about to eat one of your comrades. Have a nice day.

Oh, but they're so tasty.

A Rant

From Washcycle:

A cyclist was training for a triathlon when the driver of a truck turned left in front of him. The cyclist was unable to stop or avoid a collision and hit the back side of the truck. After he hit the truck the cyclist fell to the ground. The cyclist suffered multiple fractured ribs, a concussion and body bruising. He missed two weeks of work. He was nonetheless able to eventually resume his training and ride in the triathlon.


The Montgomery County jury found for the defendant.

As you know, this kind of story makes me mad. Angry at stupid drivers for not obeying the law. But also angry at some bikers who break the law and give these juries the excuse they want to go easy on stupid drivers. Three times during my ride last Sunday I was nearly hit by drivers who failed to stop while turning right on red, didn't bother to even look around the car on their left and so didn't see me riding legally through a green-lit intersection. In two of the cases, if there had been on-coming traffic, I'd be in pretty bad shape right now. I know how stupid drivers can be. But all we hear from the media is how arrogant and stupid cyclists are. The fact is, folks, there are arrogant and stupid cyclists out there, and there are stupid resentful car-driving jury-members out there.

The thing about cases placed before a jury is that these things are not about right and wrong. They are not even about legal and illegal. A jury case is about perception. If the community at large thinks that you are in a (self-chosen) class of people that flouts the law, endangers your very own skin, and inconveniences everyone else for your own amusement, then it will be very difficult to win a jury case like this, no matter how clear it is that the driver was at fault.

And this is how bad cyclists hurt all other cyclists, good and bad. They contribute to the perception of potential jury members. It is horrible and sad that the world is this way. I'm not saying that the jury wasn't wrong. I would like to believe that if a driver injures me because he did something illegal, I'd be able to see justice. But the world is not all rainbows and unicorns. Bad cyclists who will never meet this particular biker contributed to this jury's decision.

If you believe they put a man on the moon

Moon: SF drama about a man facing trouble near the end of his 3-year commitment to solitary service for a mining company on the moon.
Theater Location: Landmark Bethesda
Noise Level: not quite loud enough -- the cow to my right was much noisier than the film
The Skinny: Excellent film with a little bit of a slow beginning. Nice exploration of identity and strong acting. (Ignoring the lack of time to grow problem, of course.)

Eating Local

I flew a couple thousand miles and then drove 30 minutes from my hotel to eat local. Local Burger is a nice little joint in Lawrence, KS, where everything is from local producers. I liked the staff and the burger a lot (the bun, not so much).

Local Burger

That picture makes it look like the restaurant is up in the tower, but as far as I can tell, nothing is actually in the tower but cell phone equipment.

I also took a walk around town. Lawrence seems to definitely be in love with its college, if the t-shirt shops are any indication. And small wonder, in these economic times. A college must provide a little bit of cushion from the storms, if not full protection. The court house, on the other hand, looks like it's ready to weather any onslaught:

Douglas County Courthouse

While I'm summing up dining experiences, the night before last I ate at Quetzal Restaurant on the north side of Topeka. The place was colorful and the food was good, but the mixture of Amazing Grace and an operatic Italian rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah (I am not making that up) was a bit much to swallow.

Tonight I stopped by the famous Bobo's Drive-In, which is a weekly stop for me while I'm in Topeka. Lunch today was at El Mezcal (which might sound like Elmo's Cow to you, and certainly cursed me with the strains of the evil red furry one's theme corrupted with s/world/cow worming through what's left of my cheese-holed brain). I don't think I'll be going back. I've been feeling feverish, headachy, and nauseated ever since.

I don't remember where I ate on Monday.

The Quiet Girl (Peter Hoeg)

As I wandered about from playground to playground, taking pictures for my art project, I found a little playground hidden behind the pool at the end of Westway. It still had some of the older equipment, including an odd blue climbing device. When I approached it, I noticed four little legs sticking out. I wanted to take a picture of the thing so I asked the kids nicely to get away from it.

"We know you're not the 'Playground Inspector' no matter what you say." I recognized the voice of Prasad, the imaginary kid from my super block. That meant the other pair of legs had to belong to Jimmy. or Timmy. or Whatever-the-heck-his-name-is. Maybe you can remember the names of all the imaginary people in your life, but I've got more important things to store in the ole noggin. For instance, I remember Quark, a TV show about garbage collectors in space that played for maybe a season back in the '70s. That might be the very thing taking up the space that might normally be devoted to remembering an imaginary child's name. I think it's worth the exchange.

"Are you smoking dope under there?" It seemed like something an adult would say. I'm always pressed to talk like an adult with these two.

"If we were," Chuckie said snidely, "we wouldn't share any with you."

The blue climbing thing "Actually, it seems to be a commonly held misconception among older folks that youngsters are constantly 'hopped up on dope.' I know my grandfather believes it. But it is only a myth, you know." Prasad is ever one for clarity.

"We might be conducting Satanic rites," the other lad suggested. I knew that couldn't be their pursuit because neither of these kids skates.

"All of this verbal communication is making it difficult to Listen." Prasad gave an inflection that made the capital letter obvious. "And if we cannot Listen, then we will not Hear."

"Oh, Lord," I said. "You've been reading The Quiet Girl, haven't you? For a book with lots of listening, I came away with very little feeling for the sounds of the city." The Quiet Girl is a quiet book with lots of violence and action played out quietly.

"Perhaps you did not listen hard enough," Prasad put in.

"I enjoyed the book, you know," I told the boys. "But much of it felt just like watching one of those confusing Danish movies where you're not really sure what's going on and whether it's because you missed some of the subtitles or what. Once you get over that, the images are fascinating. I'm glad you decided to emulate the listening detective-clown instead of the creepy earthquake children and their nuns. Precocious children with strange powers disturb me."

There was no response from the peanut gallery under the blue climbing contraption.

"Probably best to avoid head-butting," I continued, after a pause. "There was more head-butting in that book than I've read in a month of Sundays."

"I hear it!" Prasad exclaimed.

"Me, too!" said the other kid, after a moment.

"Hear what?" I didn't hear anything.

"I think it's that way," Prasad had climbed out from under the playground equipment. He pointed toward Westway. His friend had followed him out. He nodded and they both ran off toward the other side of the pool.

"I don't hear anything!" I shouted. I stood staring at the blue thing for a minute or two. "Oh, shoot, fine." I shrugged and knelt at the base. It seemed clean enough underneath, so I wiggled under and lay on my back. I could see circles of sky through the metal contraption. It was peaceful. I almost drifted off, but I remembered my backpack on the grass outside the blue thing, so I quickly sat upright and then fell back to the ground as my head bounced off the metal. I waited for my eyes to uncross, and then I, too, could make out the sound. I finally heard what the boys had heard.

The chimes of the neighborhood ice cream van.

"Darn kids," I said. "Thought they said they didn't do drugs."

I Was a Teenage Zombie

Book tale coming up soon, along with the general announcement of things some of you already know. While you're waiting, watch this trailer:

Spot the Diff

This then and now shot from the indicommons made something really clear to me about the race. Today's race is different from yesterday's. Look at that gravel road.

Ezquerra in de bergen / Ezquerra in the mountains
Nationaal Archief
Ruth Wytinck

You Were Always on my Mind

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Endless sequel to the endless series about the magical boy wonder and his band of magical misfits.
Theater Location: Beltway Plaza (Greenbelt)
Noise Level: Much Too Loud
The Skinny: Somehow, Dumbledore turned into Willie Nelson. Only for the die-hard fans with strong bottoms.

I Don't Know About Where You Come From

But in Topeka,

sauce packet

the green chile sauce is red.

Finding Myself

I don't know if I'll ever do ClearCase again, but here's a fairly simple problem that drove me nuts for over an hour tonight.

I'm trying to set up my laptop with ClearCase as a standalone server for a demo tomorrow. Of course, I'm off in a hotel instead of connecting to my company network, so I installed the server to recognize the local Administrator's group as the ClearCase elevated users group. There's a local user for the ALBD service to run under and I put it in that group. All hunky-dory, right?

Wrong, of course. Every time I try to create a view, I get this message:

cleartool: Error: unknown style protections on C:\store\ks_demo2\cc\views\MYDOMAIN\abbot\test_view.vws\.view: The data is invalid.
If the object is in the VOB's source or derived object pool, please fix it with "cleartool checkvob -protections -pool".
For other VOB objects, please fix it with "cleartool protectvob".
Otherwise, please fix the storage directory with
cleartool: Error: Unable to change permissions of "C:\store\ks_demo2\cc\views\MYDOMAIN\abbot\test_view.vws\.view": Input/output error.
cleartool: Error: Unable to create view "C:\store\ks_demo2\cc\views\MYDOMAIN\abbot\test_view.vws".

I'm still using my network ID as a user with CC admin permissions (I'm in the local admin group and I can still log into the laptop while disconnected). I tried futzing with fix_prot in this case, but the problem is not really with the directory permissions directly. The problem is with ClearCase understanding who I am.

I have to teach it a lesson.

When I run creds, I get a lot of garbage with ugly looking SIDs. I wondered if this is confusing the tool, so I set my CLEARCASE_PRIMARY_GROUP environment variable to be equal to BUILTIN\Administrators. And wah-lah! I was able to create a view.

It's still a little shaky.

All Over the World

This week's meme for book geeks is to figure out where in the world I've been in terms of the places in books I've read. I'm going to leave out imaginary and extra-terrestrial places and also limit to fiction. LibraryThing really helps out here. They have a page for your library showing places identified in your books. The data is only as complete as whatever's entered so far, but it's a nice start.

create your own visited country map or check our Venice travel guide

Funny, this mapping page considers Puerto Rico its own country, but not Scotland. I'm going to list Scotland separately.

It is obvious from the map that I'm very skewed toward reading stories set in the West, but the map makes it look as if I'm even more broad than I really am. The number of books in my library that were available to represent Canada, the US and the UK is overwhelmingly larger than all of the rest of the places combined. You'll also see below that many of the exotic places are represented in my reading by non-natives. Granted, there's going to be some slant because I read in English and we are not a large translation market here in the US.

Also, I found that many of my books are set enough in the past that national nomenclature has changed. So even though Croatia did not exist in Tesla's time, I credited it for The Theory of Everything Else.

We have a lot of South American novels sitting around the house, so to catch up I'll start with Allende.

Here are details. The links are to book tales I've written after reading these books. If I had this coverage at the beginning of a game of Risk, I guess I wouldn't be unhappy.

North America

Missing: Greenland

  • Canada - The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields). I like anything by Carol Shields. She writes quiet stories.
  • Mexico - Like Water for Chocolate (Laura Esquivel). This one is famous enough that I don't feel the need to elaborate.
  • US - Parable of the Talents (Octavia Butler). So many books from the US to pick from, I'm glad this one popped up first. It's the SFnal story of a girl with extra empathy powers who is living through the collapse of the US.
Central America and the Caribbean

Missing: Anguilla, Barbados, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Monserrat, Panama, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, El Salvador, Grenada, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Virgin Islands, Aruba, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos Islands

  • Bermuda - Breakfast of Champions (Kurt Vonnegut). I love the way this story is told; it's all shattered and brought together slowly, with humor. To be honest, I don't remember Bermuda, but LibraryThing says it's so.
  • Puerto Rico - The Sparrow (Mary Doria Russell). This is an SF story with heavy spiritual overtones. This is a great example of someone losing faith.
  • Guatemala - (updated 2009): The Long Night of the White Chickens (Francisco Goldman)
  • Panama - (updated 2009): The Tailor of Panama (John le Carre)
  • Dominican Republic - (updated 2010): The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Díaz)

South America

Missing: Argentina, Chile, Falkland Islands, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname

  • Brazil - A Samba for Sherlock (Jose Eugenio Soares). This was an interesting story imagining that Sherlock Holmes visited Brazil.
  • Chile - (Updated 2009): Bad Vibes (Alberto Fuguet)


Missing: Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo Brazzaville, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinee Conalkry, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia, Zimbabwe

  • Algeria - Loving Graham Greene (Gloria Emerson). This is the strange tale of a woman obsessed with Graham Greene and is an excellent example of westerners walking around completely clueless.
  • Botswana - The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Alexander McCall Smith). This is a very short book about a detective who also tries to pick up her van mechanic.
  • Congo (Kinshasa) - The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver). Another example of westerners wandering around clueless in Africa. This one I don't actually recommend.
  • Rhodesia/Zimbabwe - The Grass is Singing (Doris Lessing). A direct examination of racism from a white Rhodesian woman.
  • South Africa - Disgrace (JM Coetzee). I don't remember this book.
  • Ethiopia - Updated 2010: Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese)


Missing: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Georgia, Gibraltar, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Vatican City

  • The Channel Islands - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer). This is a funny book set (in flashback) during World War II.
  • Netherlands - Amsterdam (Ian McEwan). This should have been a grim book, but was entertaining.
  • UK - Whose Body? (Dorothy L. Sayers). Another country with a lot of stories. I definitely recommend Sayers' series of detective novels. They're very light but with a little undercurrent of concern about mental health, at least early on before you get caught up in the awkward romance.
  • Greece - Soldier of Arete (Gene Wolfe). This one is set in ancient Greece. The protagonist cannot remember the day before, so he has to wake up every morning and re-read his journals to know what's going on.
  • Italy - I, Claudius (Robert Graves). An interesting fake memoir of the Roman emperor.
  • Belgium - Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (Gregory Maguire). One Gregory Maguire book is as good as another. Might as well try this one.
  • Austria - The Wall (Marlen Haushofer). This is a weird SF story about a woman who finds herself alone in a valley that has been separated from the rest of the world by an invisible wall. Good thing, too, because it looksl ike everybody else outside the wall is dead.
  • France - Possession (AS Byatt). I liked this, but I don't know why.
  • Denmark - The Quiet Girl (Peter Hoeg). This is the most recent book. It reads just like you'd imagine a Danish movie to read.
  • Germany - The Book Thief (Markus Zusak). This is a must-read.
  • Ireland - I Sing the Body Electric (Ray Bradbury). This is here because of one story: "The Terrible Conflagration up at the Place". This is a less-obvious example of a non-native writing about a place.
  • Switzerland - Frankenstein (Mary Shelley). You've heard of this book, right?
  • Scotland - Poor Things (Alasdair Gray). This is a weird and wonderful book that takes place in Glasgow, which is a weird and wonderful place.
  • Wales - A Morbid Taste for Bones (Ellis Peters). I know this is light reading, but I like the cadence of the narrator.
  • Portugal - The History of the Siege of Lisbon (Jose Saramago). All of Jose Saramago's books are great. I think this is my favorite.
  • Spain - The Club Dumas (Arturo Pérez-Reverte). Much better than the movie.
  • Ukraine - Everything Is Illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer). I don't know if I recommend this or not. It was a little self-important.
  • Czech Republic - (Prague, anyway) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Michael Chabon). Another strong recommendation. The story of comic book writers in the golden age.
  • Russia - Dead Souls (Nikolai Gogol). A story about selling dead people.
  • Croatia - The Invention of Everything Else (Samantha Hunt). This was a sweet but open-ended story.
  • Lithuania - The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen). I thought this got to be a little too much by the end.
  • Bosnia - How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone (Sasa Stanisic). Interesting from the standpoint of reading about another culture.
  • Norway - Kristin Lavransdatter: The Wife (Sigrid Undset). Incredible downer. Incredible, but a downer.
  • Sweden - Updated 2010: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Stieg Larsson)
  • Poland - Updated 2010: Scum (Isaac Bashevis Singer)

The Middle East

Missing: Bahrain, Cyprus, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Ylien


Missing: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

  • Afghanistan - The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini). This might have been a great book, but I don't recommend it. It is much too horrible to take.
  • China - The Crazed (Ha Jin). A story about a man helping his decaying professor.
  • India - River of Gods (Ian McDonald) / Death of Vishnu (Manil Suri)
  • Japan - Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
  • Malaysia - My Life as a Fake (Peter Carey). Not my favorite Peter Carey, but an interesting investigation into "reality".
  • Myanmar - The Piano Tuner (Daniel Mason)
  • Sri Lanka - Free at Last in Paradise: A Historical Novel on Sri Lanka (Ananda W. P. Guruge). This one, at least, is written by a native. It's a very long book written by an ambassador and concerns the evolution of a religious man as his country also evolves in the early 20th century.

Australia and Pacific

Missing: American Samoa, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, kribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanautu, Western Samoa, New Zealand

  • Australia - Oscar and Lucinda (Peter Carey)
  • Solomon Islands - The Island of the Day Before (Umberto Eco). My least-favorite Eco.
  • Indonesia - When the World was Steady (Claire Messud). One of the sisters spends her time in Bali. I like Claire Messud's books. I think they're of the same cloth as Carol Shields' stories.


  • Antarctica (Kim Stanley Robinson)

Update: As I read more novels from the "missing" countries, I'll add them (and cross out) here.

Waiting for a Plane Like You

Well, it's been two years, but it feels the same already. I'm doing a four week stint where I'll be spending weekdays in Topeka, KS, and weekends at home. Back in 2007, I did this for three months or so.

It's hard to say for certain, but my memory seems to think that about a third of the Sunday flights out to Kansas City were delayed last time around. And sure enough here I am waiting for a flight that's been delayed at least an hour.

One nice difference this time around is that Southwest now does numbered boarding passes so we don't have to sit on the floor hoping that the gates don't change so that our place in line isn't lost.

Last Paintings Before The Show

Well, the Brunette will be hanging our paintings for the show next Monday. I'll be out in Kansas with a customer on weekdays for the next four weeks, so I can't help her put them up. Today was our last spurt of activity in getting ready for the show. I put a couple of posters into Kinko's. Speaking of Kansas, I finished the Ferris wheel from Topeka's annual Fiesta. (Did you know that Ferris was an RPI grad?)

Topeka Fiesta Ferris Wheel

I like the sky better than the Ferris wheel. I also finished one entire painting in a single sitting. This is a bigger one than the garden hose.

Falling Monkey

Not exactly high-quality blending on the background there, but that's the problem with acrylics in high temperature environments. They dry out so quickly.

So, I'll post when the reception at the Café is (it'll be free and open to the public and you're all invited). I think that all of my paintings will have been seen on this blog, but I'll also have three posters up. Also, the Brunette's space scapes will be new to you and are awesome, so you should stop by.


Here are some quotes that caught my attention in books I've read recently.

From The Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves (how's that for a long title?):

It is a fact easily discernible that governments are instituted to commit the crimes that their citizens require for gain, but cannot countenance committing privately.

From Vanity Fair:

The major plays a good knife and fork at tiffin and resumes those weapons with great success at dinner.

From Snow Falling on Cedars:

The strange thing was, he wanted to like everyone. He just couldn't find a way to do it...He loved humanity dearly and with all his heart, but he disliked most human beings.

Movie Grumping

So we watched a rented movie the other night. I'm not going to review the movie or anything, but something about the movie made me cringe. Tell me if you've seen this movie: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, girl discovers evidence the boy betrayed her, girl tells boy in no uncertain terms to leave her alone (don't talk to her again, don't come to her workplace, etc.), boy realizes girl just needs more facts and ignores her direction in order to show his true feelings (by argument or charitable work or playing a boombox at her window or whatever), girl melts and they live happily ever after. You've seen that movie?

It's a common story arc for romantic comedies, and I am worried about it. This sort of story line is the result of and a reinforcement of the American cultural belief that a) women don't always act with an understanding of the facts and b) women don't always mean what they say. I'm just an old curmudgeon, I realize, but I don't think it's good for our society that boys and men are being taught this sort of behavior through film. I am particularly disturbed by the second meme there: surely there is no need to reinforce a commonly held belief among men that 'no' doesn't always mean 'no.'

Or am I stretching it too far?

New House?

Looks like we found a house that looks perfect up in the hills near Nevada City. The other side of the house is all window.

Nice house

It overlooks this beautiful lake.

boat on lake

If nothing else, I found the place awfully relaxing.

Relaxing at the Lake

Oh, only a little over a million. Can anybody spare a dime or two?

Nevada City

Almost done with this leg of traveling. Nevada City, California, is a lovely little place. The people are friendly and the whole environment is pretty. Here is a terrible picture of the hilltops along the South Yuba River.

This is the view down the main street in Nevada City, though it's not called "Main Street".

This skinny old firehouse would make a great Buffalo wings joint.

Really enjoyed this trip so far. You can tell, because there are 168 unread items in my feed reader.


Goodness, Sacramento is flat. I flew into Sacramento on Thursday night and found a hotel at the airport before the Brunettes came to pick me up on Friday and take me off to the mountain. The land around Sacramento is so much flatter than I expected. The one thing that always makes me think of California is this:

It was much too early in the morning to get an In-n-Out Burger, but the sign itself was enough to remind me of trips to LA and Santa Barbara way back at my first post-collegiate job. I had to fly out to California to do physical configuration audits of electronic systems being delivered to the Government. I always had a great time: in the labs for most of the day and then write the reports out on the beach.

The other thing about Sacramento is that it gives me a feeling of being in the Land that Time Forgot. There are so many businesses with names that I remember from my childhood (or even more recently): Sizzler, Jack in the Box, ARCO (Atlantic Richfield), Hollywood Video.

There's even a Crown Books, but I don't think that one's related. The others at some time in the past had a presence in the Baltimore-Washington area, but I no longer see them. I think it's ironic that Atlantic Richfield continues life on the Pacific.

Maybe we'll be very lucky and find a Pappy's.

decisions decisions

So, one of the things you miss by not following me on Twitter is my public working out of the decision making process. Tonight's question was: "Crepes or whisky (spelled properly and everything!)?" I can imagine you asking, "Why the heck not both?" And the quick answer is that I try to keep my cheating ways down to one thing at a time. Self-managing requires an either/or decision there.

Crepe a la Cart

And it looks like the crepes won, though I know that the Scottish pub has a nice list of properly spelled whiskies and is in walking distance of the hotel.

I did some walking around to prepare the old stomach for some food and I have to give Boulder some kudoes. Not only are there beautiful mountains in the background, the support for biking here is awesome. They even do a great job with directional signage.

Good bike signs

Ok, here's a mountain.

boulder hill

What Ever Happened To Tobermory?

I finished the replacement to the Tobermory painting last night. I really really want to finish the Kansas painting before the show, but the hanging is the 14th of July and I'm leaving for Boulder today, followed by the weekend in California. All this traveling is making the show a little sparse.

I keep dropping things. I dropped my camera three times yesterday. The third drop popped the front lens and frame right off the camera and across the floor. Darn concrete floors everywhere. I pushed them back in and it seems to work, but I'm not holding my breath.