Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Once Upon A Time In The West - Part III

Last time we spoke I was laying my head down in Redwood City. The next morning I had a dilemma. There were two things in the general area I was interested in seeing – the Winchester Mystery House near San Jose, and The Mystery Spot back down in Santa Cruz. I ended up going with The Mystery Spot, mostly because the Winchester house cost $30 and the Mystery Spot only $5. I’m still not sure which was the right decision. The Mystery Spot wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it was still incredibly entertaining despite some initial disappointment. The Spot is basically a crooked cabin with all kinds of deceiving Escheresque angles, built on the side of a steep hill. It’s a gimmick. And I’m fairly certain most people going through the Spot know it’s a gimmick (some seemed genuinely convinced, and others seem convinced for the benefit of the kids with them). What makes it not a totally rip off is the tour guides that throw out all kinds of terrible puns and one-liners related to the house, and the kids. The kids were the best part. To them it was proof of real, actual magic existing in our world and they were simply in awe. They had the same kind of reverence for this little two-room engineering stroke of genius that I had for the Grand Canyon. They were falling all over the place, hanging from things that made it look like they were swinging at unnatural angles, climbing walls that made them look like Spider Man and just having a blast. I left feeling much less than ripped off, which is something I was expecting to feel when I first arrived.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Once Upon A Time In The West - Part II

When we last left each other I was on my way to San Diego to visit an old friend that I hadn’t seen in an embarrassingly long time. I spent two good days hanging out in Ramona, just outside San Diego, playing with a bunch of dogs, a few horses, and a pig named Chloe. My friend and her adopted family surprised me with a really good home cooked meal (probably the last home cooked meal I had since whatever the most recent major holiday was) and a birthday cake. Technically I left out on my birthday, but with time zones and all that it was technically my birthday by the time I got around the cutting the cake. Before completely ducking out of the San Diego area I took a side trip to Escondido to visit the Stone Brewing Company and take a tour of the brewery and sample some beers. The brewery itself is pretty typical – they take you through the process, give some samples, and then send you on your merry way. Where Stone excels about the rest is in their bistro and beer garden attached to the brewery. They serve pretty much every Stone beer currently in circulation on tap, in addition to several beers they distribute, and a variety of others in bottles. They also have a surprisingly good menu, though I did a little tour of the appetizers with quail knots (basically buffalo wings with quail and sriracha sauce) and boar ribs.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Once Upon A Time In The West - Part I

First off I suppose an explanation is in order as to why I’m not in Ireland like I said I would be. It was too expensive. That’s pretty much it. It’ll happen sooner or later. As a last minute backup plan I decided to pick up where I left off on my Truth or Consequences roadtrip from a few years ago and fly out to Albuquerque, rent a car, and continue heading west and then take PCH as far north as I can get in a little over 2 weeks.

Things started out a little shaky when we sat on the runway in Charlotte for an hour because of storms in DFW and missed my connecting flight, got bumped from my first standby flight (though it seems my luggage caught the flight), and finally got to Albuquerque 6 hours late and exhausted after being up for 30 hours. Unfortunately I only managed about 3 hours of sleep, but I had plenty of highway ahead so I sucked it up and hit the road. Well first I hit the pharmacy for some food, Duran Central Pharmacy to be exact. It’s a full service pharmacy that also happens to have a small cafĂ© in it with some excellent food. My meal was a New Mexican special called Carne Adovada, which is a thick stew-like dish seasoned and thickened with lots of red chili and big chunks of tender pork.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dragon*Con 2012 Pictures

Dragon Tales

If it weren’t already apparent, I totally lied about blogging my time at Dragon Con. Between the late nights of getting back to the hotel at 2am, early mornings, and “that one night” in which most of us had way too much to drink, it just wasn’t worth the hour or more of sleep I’d be losing each night to write up the day’s events and upload pictures. Though I’ll be honest, I got way more sleep than I ever expected.

It’s pretty easy to sum up Dragon Con in one sentence; sci-fi and fantasy themed chaos. Sure that glosses over the hundreds of hours of panels filled with science and technology experts, actors and actresses from TV shows and movies, New York Time bestselling authors, and thousands of square feet of vendors peddling everything from Firefly t-shirts, to crocheted Dr. Who figures, to leather corsets, to original paintings and sculptures. It still all boils down to 4 days of chaos. Granted, it’s mostly well organized chaos. But it’s chaos none the less.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Unleash the Dragon

I've been pretty disappointed that I haven't gone on any trips, even weekend roadtrips, since I returned from Nova Scotia. I've had to reevaluate my Ireland/Iceland trip because of the fact that it's prohibitively expensive to get from one Land to the other. There's no direct routes. A few times I've almost booked a flight to Portland, Maine because I've been wanting to go there for a little over a year now. Instead I stay home, work on some new art projects, write, and be mostly boring. This weekend I'm not only going out of town, I'm doing something I've never done before. I'm attending my first convention.

Sunday, June 3, 2012