Sunday, July 27, 2008

First full day of Dickens Universe

I feel like I'm at summer camp. When Andrew left, I had that same feeling that I used to get before Bible or 4-H camps -- that feeling like, shit, are you LEAVING ME HERE? (Although when I was in grade school that feeling never went away and I ended up calling Mum to tell her she NEEDED to come rescue me. Except one year, at 4-H camp, they knew how that plot would develop, and didn't let me use the phone.) I have a roommate. It's been a long time. I forgot how strange it is to hear someone you've just met, breathing at night. (Clearly, I didn't sleep well.) Even the smell of the bathrooms reminds me of the showers at Camp Morrow. Proust got memories from madeleines, I get them from bathroom cleaners and mildew.

UC Santa Cruz is another world. Deer wander around outside the windows of the dining hall. Strawberries are served with every meal. From the main classroom, we get a view of the redwoods. And in walking down the hill, you can see the ocean.

Today for my free afternoon, I went wandering alone in the woods. The trails were confusing... and I don't have the patience/ spatial reasoning skills for maps. So I left sticks in the shape of arrows, to mark where I'd been, a la Labyrinth. I was a little disconcerted when I came across one of my arrows before I had turned back -- must have taken a loop. But it was beautiful. I came across this fairy ring of redwoods -- someone had built a little fort in the middle.

I think it's going to be kind of a crazy busy week. I'm going to bed now (only 11:20!) so I can wake up early enough to grab breakfast before the morning session...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

regardez la lune

it's red and half full.

Friday, July 18, 2008

more sarah!

Sarah Haskins has been my hero since the analysis of yogurt commercials that target "that class of women that wears gray hoodies":

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I drink your wine

Back already but it feels like I've been gone longer.

Yesterday morning we headed to Microsoft (early!) and then waited around as they had padded the leave time by fifteen minutes TWICE. Apparently very little faith in interns showing up on time for a free trip to Napa.

I was surprised that our first stop was Andretti -- I've only been to three wineries in Napa before, and we're overlapping one? But all was happy because lunch included salad with dried cherries and wild Alaskan salmon and little raspberry cheesecake things.

Then we bused over to Artesa, which was very modern-artsy-fountains-and-we-were-built-in-the- 80s -using- lots-of-glass-INTO A HILL,and had AMAZING VIEWS (which would have been better minus the smoke). I guess when your family has been making wine since the 16th century and you like invented Cava, you can do that. Anyways, more wine, more barrels. Lots of cheese and crackers and fruit. Oh except here they play Gregorian chants for the barrels of wine. I found this ludicrous at first, but then when our guide told us that it's based on the old world philosophy that if you "bring beauty to the wine, the wine will bring beauty to you," I was kind of struck. Or it might have been the "bubbly" (they were very clear: they don't call it champagne because they have respect for a treaty the US didn't sign -- kind of like the Kyoto situation, but for champagne) kicking in.

Here's the beauty happening:

Lots of photos like this from Andrew -- rows and rows of barrels, shots down the rows of grape vines, multiplied wine glasses... I think he's interested in the mathematical sublime.

Then another bus ride, followed by strategically maneuvering to check into the hotel first so that I could take a spin in the pool before dinner. Because I only like to swim in deserted hotel pools, as no one's there to witness my version of the dog paddle and the frog.

Followed by dinner, hanging out at the foofy hotel's terrace with gas fire pits.

This morning another bus ride up to Sterling Vineyards, which is accessible via a sky tram thingy, and was my favorite for views (reminded me of Hood River Valley, but without Mt. Hood). The best part of this tour was trying the "cab sauv" from three different years... I liked the oldest one, which apparently means I like "earthy" more than "fruity." ALSO we asked about sulfites and the tour guide said that not adding sulfites makes for not so great wine that doesn't age well. Apparently sulfites in wine started with Pasteur (who, we learned at trivia night at the Rose and Crown bar, said wine was the most delicious and "hygienic" of beverages). So now THAT worry is cleared up.

At this point it was around noon, the group was chatty and tipsy, and we were deposited in the gift shop. In that situation, merlot chocolate sauce sounded like the perfect souvenir. Then back down the tram, and into the bus, with our boxed lunches (surprisingly good: but then anything with goat cheese, I'm sold). And... back to home.

lately, xkcd...


Cindy McCain: "In Arizona The Only Way To Get Around The State Is By Small Private Plane."

new favorite

Married To The Sea

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

mid week weekend

Taking off tomorrow for one night in Santa Rosa, in pursuit of the ability to differentiate between types of wine, and because it's compliments of Microsoft.

And here is a picture of a crepe that I meant to post long ago, documenting my new-found love for Nutella:

Monday, July 14, 2008

catching up

The noteworthy events of the ten (eek) past days:

- Andrew's father visited. Which meant lots of eating out, watching movies, and socializing. We spent fourth of July with friends of Andrew's dad -- including playing some version of kick ball (literally: kick the ball back and forth) and monopoly with a five and eight year old. Although at least we didn't sit at the kids' table for dinner.

- Interesting development of patchy insomnia. Including one night, and now, most mornings when the sky is just turning gray, and ending as the sun comes up.

- Still trying to go jogging, as it seems to help with the sleeping and staying sane.

- FINALLY DONE WITH BARNABY RUDGE. Not my favorite Dickens, but I'm willing to ignore that if I can find a reason to write about it. Now onto reviewing/reading before Dickens Universe.

- Tested the seating capacity of the studio on Friday, with a vegetarian sushi night.

- Went into the city on Saturday for another Shepherd play, Buried Child.

- Attended Hannah and Whitney's dinner party, which was amazing. I need a dining table. I'm so done with breakfast bars.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


It was kind of awesome. Ecological disaster, obsolete 80s toys, "stay the course" allusions, mac start up noises, and plants. [My one concern: what happened to everyone who couldn't afford the cruise space-ship?]

Pandagon reviews on politics/gender/fat politics in the film (many spoilers): by Auguste and by Amanda.