Thirsty in San Carlos

Meet a little dude with a cup.

dude with cup

Oh and here's a tiny turtle.

turtle with cup

It looks like they're lined up for something.

turtle and dude with cups

What are they waiting for?

dude under faucet

Maybe they couldn't find the Irn Bru.

clay figures near faucet

Liquid Gold

Oh, man. I'm walking the streets of San Carlos, scoping out shooting locations for wee toaty explorers when I pass a British store. And inside said British store, visible from the window, is pure liquid treasure from Scotland. And not only that, but they have the sugar free version:

3 Bottles of Diet Irn Bru

Thank goodness I drove here! I can take some home.

Irn Bru is an orange soda with added iron and caffeine. The story in Glasgow was that homeowner's insurance could come with a special Irn Bru rider for stains in the rugs, it was so hard to get out. It tastes about like what you'd expect a ferric orange soda to taste like. It's so bad, it's awesome!

So the only question left is what to eat with this wonderful virgin apéritif? Well, what could America offer that could equal to iron-laden, innards-staining goodness?

Ben Franks

Yeah, a good bit of nitrates should do the trick.

On the way down here, I stopped at a gas station somewhere west of Davis. (It's so weird to be heading toward the coast and be heading west. It's very hard to overcome habit when choosing interstate exits. "Goin' to the sea, gotta choose I-80 East. No, wait, dang.") A guy in Charles Nelson Reilly glasses came over to inspect my windshield while I tried to fill up.

I told him that I didn't care if there were cracks, it wasn't my car. He said that it was okay because the window didn't have any cracks or chips. I'm sure it was just my imagination that filled in the extra "yet" at the end of his statement. The reincarnated Charles Nelson Reilly is going around threatening to smash windshields, people. Somebody bring back Match Game PM, quick.

Another neat thing was this place called Suisun Bay, which seems to be a storage place for ships. They're just sitting there, tied together, waiting for a war. They're not going to be ready, it looks like.

Reserve Fleet

Boy, I should change the title of this blog to The Abbot's Slideshow Travelogue. I hope you're not bored. There are only two carousels left.

Or were they called carrels?

Anyway, tell me whether you think this guy's name is real:

Remember the Good Old Days: War, Protest, Goin' to Jail

So, I've always had this problem. My head is full of songs; I'm a-buzz with music. And it pops out when I'm not paying attention. I don't mind that. It's fun to have a constant soundtrack. The problem is that I only know about five words from any of those songs that live in the ol' noggin. "WE may never pass this way again...hmm hmm hmm... WE may never pass this way again..." On and on.

I think it drives the people around me nuts.

"Don't you want somebody to love? ... la la la la .. uh, Don't you want somebody to love? Don't you want somebody to love..." And on and on and on.

Driving you crazy yet?

A revelation came to me today via Chris Roberson's Interminable Ramble: It's TV's fault. I grew up on a steady diet of K-tel and Freedom Rock adverts:

I can't believe Dream Weaver isn't on that album.

What else has TV done to my brain?

WE may never pass this way again...

A Walk in the Woods

Nevada County (CA) is a part of the Nevada Irrigation District, which means that it is criss-crossed by a series of irrigation canals. These canals provide a way to move water from the snowy mountains down to houses and farms. More important (to me, for this post), they provide nice walking paths through some beautiful trees. Today, I walked along my first canal: the Banner Cascade Canal.

Parts of the canal are built up dirt and other natural ingredients.

Other parts have a concrete liner.

Concrete Lining on Cascade NID Canal

My personal image of a canal is based on my experiences with the C&O, the Erie and the Forth & Clyde canals. Those are big enterprises suited for boat traffic, with locks and goldfish and donkey tracks. The concrete-lined sections give this canal the look of an abandoned amusement park ride.

But don't be tempted to install a Small-World-After-All boat; the canal varies in size and parts are enclosed in piping. The piping is sparse, so mostly it's just a nice walk along rippling water.

On one section, adjacent landowners have installed home-made bridges. What entertains me is that several are retractable drawbridges of one sort or another. This swing bridge is probably the best of the lot.

For most of the time, you're embedded in trees too much to get a view, but when it pops out, it's lovely. I hope I can get back up here when there's some snow.

view from Cascade NID Canal

I don't know much about the canals and only stopped because I saw a sign at a parking pull out. So I have no idea how long the thing is. Where I joined the canal, there was a nice bench. You couldn't sit on the bench, but I thought it boded well for future opportunities for rest.

The sign says, "Wet! Please Don't You'se. Walt was from New York!" (Walt is on the plaque on the seat back.)

Walt Wells' Bench

There were no other benches in the stretch I walked. As I walked along, the canal curved around a lot of hillsides. I kept hoping to come around the bend and see something. I'm not really sure what: maybe a lake or a big faucet, but something. The real trouble with a canal walk is that it is linear: it's not like a walk around the lake. Every step you take forward will have to be taken again in the other direction. Gosh, though, the hope of discovery was an addictive pull that dragged me beyond my own estimation of a reasonable halfway turnaround point. After about two hours, though, I came to the first road crossing and decided that was far enough. The canal is a big enterprise after all.

I took a break and played pooh sticks for a while. Then I hobbled back down the canal side. My feet hurt, but I figure after a four hour walk, I can now eat whatever the heck I want. But what do I want?


So I unsubscribed from two email groups today, the Greenbelters and Greenbelt Geeks lists. All of our stuff is now in Chicago. It was taken in this truck:

On the other hand, the Brunette is in Maryland. We are still officially residents of the cooperative: the sellers are having trouble with making it to settlement, so the process has been delayed. She is with her brother, sister-in-law, niece and a happy dog. For a time, though, we were staying at a hotel near BWI because it allowed cats. At one point I came upon a man having a lot of trouble finding his room. Can you guess which room he was in from this sign?

And I am in Nevada City, staying at a friend's house, keeping up with work and trying to keep on top of our own home buying process. I'll have to come up with a blog nickname for this Nevada City friend. For now, I'll call her Cucumber. I flew here along with our cat, Tubby.

Tubby behaved very well on the plane and seems to have already forgotten that he ever was apart from his friend Grendel.

I'm going to miss many aspects of life in a cooperative community, especially one so interesting and progressive. Even more, I am nervous about the likelihood of ever having neighbors so awesome as our zombie friends. I hope you all come to visit.

It's going to be a different kind of world out here in the Sierra Nevadas. I wouldn't be surprised if we run into nearly as many culture shocks as when we moved to Scotland. The blogging will continue, of course. There'll be plenty to write about with both a new job and a new home in the same year.

Some Signs to Tide You Over

Still pretty darn busy. I thought I'd clear out the iPhone cache while in the hospital waiting room.

This is a sign in a cafe in Nevada City. The next picture is a close up.

Anyone who is tired of cleaning up after a dog will be quite disturbed to find this requirement to also clean up after wheels.

I stopped by the dentist to get a "deep" cleaning on one side of my jaw (because I needed the little break it gave me), and saw this sign. I think it reads like an invitation.

But the best sign of all is this one in the basement of Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.

Still swamped. Enjoy these signs I've seen recently.


Not much activity at the blog 'cause we've been selling and looking and buying houses. And now we're going to be packing. A real post will arrive any day now. Keep checking the mail!