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Let's see if I can get this show on the road once again. It may need a jumpstart, but I'm betting the Christmas season will provide some blog fodder to work with. Hmmm... Yeah, both the technical side and the photo notes have things that can be updated. ...and life in general? Well, that one will have to wait a bit. ...but that's only because today is Shopping Day! Yes! All for one and one for all <g>!

Go for it, guys!


Merry Christmas!


Off work, off line, off duty...


no post


Some recharge completed, but another day or two before get back on-line...


Letters from camp (I mean, why not?)

Dear Russ,

Today Dad and Jean came by at 0800 and drove Shelley and me over to Seaside to look at a car. Yes, your sister was the proximal cause, but Dad aided and abetted, and Jean and I are married to them. ...and yes, the Seaside right down the road from Monterey, the Monterey over on the coast (hence the name "Seaside") and all too close to the dreaded Monterey Bay Aquarium. (For those of you just joining us, Shelley could easily move into the Aquarium and watch the river otters all day and help tuck them into their kelp beds at night. As matter of routine, she keeps their webcam up here at home to watch them frolic about when she's not there.)

While the backstory on this latest piece of family history is well known to you, the impetus for this particular excursion was Shelley's widening of the search parameters from a fifty mile radius to what eventually became a two-hundred mile radius (nope, nothing in Modesto). ...and the the dealer she found for 'the ideal car' was a true delight: he attempted to set his hook a little too early over the phone by using the, "I have a lady who wants to buy this one so I can't hold it" lure; but unfortunately for him, we both told him, "Just sell it to her and we'll find another one". Funny thing, when we got over there he wasn't available, but had assigned us to a very nice young man whose company we thoroughly enjoyed.

Much hilarity ensued at the dealership, with Shelley driving the car on the freeway in a town unknown to her, and the poor salesman having to deal with Dad and Shelley and me (for the other readers: Dad is a retired CPA, Shelley is Shelley, and I handle purchasing at my job.). Jean chose to relax with coffee in the lounge while the three of us enjoyed working the salesman over a bit.

Technology even came into play at one point: since Dad had driven us over, we didn't have a copy of one of our vehicle insurance cards with us. Daniel was at home and pried himself from World of Warcrack long enough to retrieve a card from a car and fax it over to the dealer from the refurbished all-in-one in back (did I even tell you that story?)

All in all, the fishing at camp was good, and they even had a cookout going with hotdogs and soft drinks and snacks for all the people invited to the "Two Day Sale" (which has been going on since Christmas). Oh, and Stephanie is getting married; she changed her plans from the big wedding and they're just going to the Caribbean for a simple wedding and will come back to a party at the house they'll buy. You don't remember Stephanie? She's the finance closer over in Seaside, but don't visit her just now: her cold is really terrible.

After the negotiations were concluded, the four of us headed out to lunch at a local restaurant recommended by both Vaneel and Stephanie; it's the Fish Wife on Fremont at Trinity (if you see this sign, you've gone too far West:);

How can they do that?!?!?

It serves excellent calamari and clam dishes! There's a Starbucks around the corner too! By that point coffee was more of a necessity than a luxury what with the three hour trip home and such.

The boys? They survived the day; but there was no evidence either of them left their rooms for other than the most basic needs (food was not one of them). ...but then again, it's Christmas vacation, and a computer game marathon served well to keep them from making O. Henry's The Ransom of Red Chief sound like a tea party (not the Boston kind).

The drive home was uneventful, other than the tire pressure alarm coming on (and the predictable response from the passenger seat); but a call to Dad (about thirty miles ahead of us) let us know that he'd had the same issue with his Avalon after leaving his dealer when he purchased it. My physical inspection of the tires at break stop and the handling of the car hadn't shown anything, but you do know of my co-pilot's proclivity for caution...

All in all it was a very full and very interesting day. As soon as we find a way to shoehorn the six-foot teen into the vehicle, we'll drop by. That could be a while though: I just realized the four of us have driven something like 1500 miles since Tuesday morning. Perhaps I'll offer smoked tri-tip and you'll drive down this way?

My best to you...
Your brother-in-law,

Greetings also to Aunt Ann and Mom; maybe this will save you a phone call?


Today? A well earned day of rest...

Later, folks...

The Conjuror
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"Any sufficiently advanced technology is
indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke, "Technology and the Future"

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