Well, good morning and welcome to another foggy morning on the California coast. Remember, fog is a good thing here. It rolled in yesterday around sundown; and, with any luck. should clear by afternoon. So far, we've had two really nice days and I'm hoping for enough to qualify for one of those bumper stickers Dan Seto has to put up with over there. You know, the one that goes "Another Wonderful day in Paradise." ...or something like that <G>.
Actually, Shelley was somewhat concerned as we hit the coast on Saturday; Morro Bay, the city just south of Cayucos, was shrouded in fog as we turned onto Highway 1 for the last leg of the trip. "Not to worry," I said, "Fog is our friend. We just left the heat of that desert we live in; the fog here says it will be cool and clear shortly." Sure enough, 1201 and about thirty seconds, it cleared up and stayed that way until nightfall.
I forgot to mention the nature trail version of our trip over this time around. As we leave the Central Valley, we pass through some large agricultural areas. Near Interstate 5, we start to leave the irrigated sections of land and move into foothills. About the only sights to see are the occasional ground squirrel and maybe a jackrabbit; this time Daniel spotted a coyote moving through a field. That set the stage for "critter watching" for the balance of the trip. He was hoping for a repeat of the evening when a very large owl flew in front of our car for a time.
He didn't see the owl, but he logged an impressive array of fauna as we traveled on one of the back roads. It started with a pair of ground squirrels on a fence post. That caught Shelley's attention; she just loves cute little furry things. ...even varmints. But in looking to another post for more of them, she found what she called a "big ugly lizard." Dunno; I was driving. It could have been anything from a gecko to a Komodo Dragon... If either lived in the area...
Then we started seeing hawks out for the hunt. Slow lazy circles for the most part; but every so often we'd see one in a tight pattern. He'd seen something and was just waiting for that second move. We probably saw at least one every mile for about twenty miles. As we passed into a oak grove, I commented to Shelley that there were likely deer possible in this area as the trees looked like they'd been trimmed up to a common height. Sure enough, about a minute later, she and Daniel spotted a doe and a youngster just off the road. Well, that certainly qualified as a highlight for this trip.
On the computer and web front, Jakob Nielsen's latest is up dealing with what I will call the homogenizing of web sites. He pushed one of my buttons on this one; I may rant later...
Just a thought or two this morning. ...especially as this is a short post. A few items bounced onto my screen and into my field of vision last evening and I thought I'd take some time away from the family stuff to hold forth on religion. No, not the type you're thinking of; my position there is rather well established to the Reader. No; rather, take a moment to think of advertising as a religion... You think not? Hmmm... If you have several minutes to spare in your day, drift on over to this article in Stayfree magazine where two academics of disparate views have a go at the topic.
After you've digested the article, take another few minutes to read (or re-read) Chapter One of the cluetrain manifesto. Spend a moment in contemplation of the part where Joe Six-pack starts laughing. ...or just have a quick read through the 95 theses.
...and just for the record, I'll throw in The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
My question to you: What happens to the established Religion of the Almighty Advertiser when enough people start laughing?
...or are you already laughing? I suspect most who frequent the Daynotes Gang might be. Outpost.com; CommuniGate Pro; Atomz... Voices talking. ...and inquiring. ...and others listening. ...and responding. The new marketplace.
How much television do you watch now? ...and what type of shows? ...on what channels?
...and if you do watch television, which I choose as an example of where a huge chunk of the advertising dollar and hence product cost is derived, what do you take away from it? Information? Lessons on how real people live? ...or how perhaps they should live? ...or not.
Oh, you don't really remember what you saw? ...but you remember it was entertaining. Could the word "diverting" be a better fit?
Salami. ...and clam chowder. ...and garlic bread. ...and shrimp. Somehow, we just don't seem to eat the same here as we do at home. Shelley tries, of course. She's adamant about me not leaving her stuck with the kids. Let's see: American male, late forties (I can still say that for a few more months), family cardiac history, over forty, poor past history of eating habits, did I mention over forty?, high triglycerides and cholesterol (under medication and that's a story for another time), and in a somewhat stressful, dual job six-day work week environment, not to mention the two short (and one not so short) blood pressure enhancers in the same household...
Okay, she tries. But over her, she also tires. ...and we are on vacation! So heart-healthy meals also take a vacation from time to time. ...like the salami kick. No one knows where that one came from. We don't eat salami at home. ...ever. But on one trip over here, Daniel insisted he liked it. Shelley and I conferred; concurred he'd never had any; deferred to his request; and procured a small package of low-fat<g> salami. We figured one on us could eat it when he finally tasted it and decided he didn't like it.
No such luck. It was weird; out of nowhere, this kid decided he liked salami at the beach. By the slice, in a sandwich, as a garnish... So now we buy the jumbo pack of low-fat salami and use it in darn near everything. My beach sandwiches have honey-roasted turkey with salami in them. ...those that aren't just filled with salami. ...and the boys can't get enough. ...and we don't eat salami at home at all.
Then there's the Great Coast Dinner... We do have to wear Shelley, Guardian of the Fat-Free LifeStyle, down a little; but once we do that, we can convince her the clam chowder and garlic bread from the place across the street really balances out all the salami consumed earlier in the day<G>. Of course, that starts the debate about which place makes the best clam chowder... And you do have to test occasionally...
...and no take-out pizza. We haven't found a place that makes one worth ordering. There's a frozen brand or two... but the guys generally soft pedal the pizza gig here. While at home... hey, there they'd go for it five nights a week if she let them. What? Oh, Syroid Special for the other two.
We ended up having pizza for dinner... But not take out. Oh, and with peanuts...
Wednesday turned into one of those non-beach days we do every so often over here. After a late start by everyone, we headed into Morro Bay to feed the ground squirrels by Morro Rock. Usually this is a "Shelley and the boys" gig while I stay home to clean up or work on-line or some such; but today Daniel asked if I would go along. Heck, I'd just be trying Mandrake on the laptop, or finally doing the bio page, or, or, or... Nah, off to varmint watch with the family. Shelley picked up some peanuts for the little critters on her store run in the morning (running low on essentials like salami), and the little guys must remember her from the last time the way they came running up. Until Daniel or Bradley threw a handful of peanuts right at them... Then again, they're all having fun: Shelley, Daniel, Bradley, the ground squirrels... How about Dad? Dad did okay; he found a ship in the channel with a unique configuration.
Now, please understand: most of what I know of ocean going vessels I learned from Tom Clancy novels<g>. ...and after that disastrous half-day boat ride off San Simeon some years back, they'll be darn little blue-water sailing for me. But there was this ship in the channel. ...and, while its basic configuration was of a cargo vessel, the center was loaded with equipment rather than cargo. ...and it seemed to be "working", passing back and forth in the channel and out past the breakwater from time to time. A closer look confirmed it was a United States Military Vessel. ...and it wasn't a Navy ship!
Meet the USACE Yaquina. She's a dredge, currently working with a platform crane to re-work the entrance to the protected harbor at Morro Bay. Well, that beat ground squirrels all to death for me.
What next for fun? Off to downtown Morro Bay to let the short people play at the park while we wait for the trolley. It's a short wait made easier by the guy who brought his tennis racquet and balls to the park. ...to play with his dog. No fool here; he'd hit the ball farther than he could throw; the dog would give chase and return the ball to his feet. ...and, no; it wasn't a Border Collie. The Border Collie likely would have passed on the balls he sent into the harbor; this big lug went after everything.
On the trolley, Shelley mentioned a pizza place in Arroyo Grande the pastor had taken us to a few years back when we ran the couple's retreat. Hmmm... Our boys; pizza; done deal. Off we went.
The Klondike Cafe specializes in reindeer sausage from Alaska in addition to the usual fare. It's located in the basement of an office building in Old Town. The gimmick is the flooring, or rather the floor covering. You see, your appetizer is peanuts scooped from a bin near the counter. ...and you just toss your shells on the floor. You should have seen Bradley's face when I told him he could actually throw his tailings on the floor and not have to pick them up! He loved it. Daniel of course was too blase about the entire thing. ...and Shelley? Well, lets just say she cannot even begin to deal with a floor covered with a half inch of crushed peanut shells. She controlled herself; but I could see she just wanted to grab a broom.
Thursday was just a very long day for those of us busy trying to do nothing. Shelley buzzed off to do some laundry while the boys and I shoveled out the stables. Shelley went back to watch the laundry dry while the boys and I worked on their homework (yep, no rest for any of us; just a scaling back). Then, while we waited for Shelley to wait for the laundry to dry, I threw Grandpa's soundtrack from Somewhere in Time on the CD player; I figured a little derivation from Rachmaninoff wouldn't hurt anyone. ...and I could use a little quiet background music as I ate lunch.
So Daniel walks over and asks me what's with the sad music? Sad music? I guess what the guys hear me play most of the time is Christian rock and alternative... So I tried to explain the concept of classical and soundtrack music to him and his brother. Null set. I suggested they watch the waves and the birds in flight out the window while the music was on and see if anything seemed to flow together. Null set. Okay then; just deal with this as one of those "Dad Things".
"No problem," says my oldest, "Come on Brad; we'll play army men. ...and since it's Sad Music, we'll just blow them up!"
So there I was at lunch, enjoying my turkey and salami sandwich to a piano solo of Rhapsody on a Theme of Paginini accompanied by "whooshes" as the bombs exploded...
Welcome to Saturday morning. The end of the week for some and the start of the week for others...
Friday became a short day at the beach as the fog never really lifted. The boys and I went down anyway for a few hours, the boys to play with their beach toys and me to get my daily exercise with the shovel<g>. Shelley had the sense to stay inside and watch from the window. Still, we did get a few things done; though we need to start the mental process of returning home to the 104F temps.
In the odds and ends department: Someone was lame enough to spam the UserFriendly community on Wednesday... Sheesh, you'd think they'd at least do some research first on who the heck they were sending to. Maybe they got a clue when their ISP shut them down within an hour...
...and I leave you with a thought from the Saturday morning cartoons:
...and that's enough heavy thinking; I'm on vacation. One more day of fun and then another travel day. Seems we have to be back in town Monday in time for soccer practice for one of the boys. I'm sure glad they're young and healthy; going from high sixties to low one-hundreds would/will slow me down.
...and I don't know about super-mom either; she seems to be having less reactions to the new med, but I don't think she's ready to try heat yet. We'll both find out: she'll try taking Bradley to soccer so she can talk with the other soccer moms; I'll stay at home and wait for the cell phone call that says she's surrendering. ...and, no; it does no good to explain it to her as she simply must try it for herself. Ah, well.
I do think we've qualified for one of those bumper stickers. Our ocean time is dropping and the boys aren't arguing about going in. On the other hand, our reading is up and the boy's proficiency on Nintendo is much better than it was a week ago. ...and I don't even want to think about wearing a belt. ...or shoes. ...or a regular shirt.
So, one more day here in our version of "Battery Recharge Land". It's been a fun trip this time. We have some hope of coming back for a day or two close to Daniel's birthday in late August. Poor kid; his birthday is on the day after school starts...
...and that puts me into a contemplative mood as quickly as anything will: this year Daniel will enter fourth grade; Bradley will enter first grade; Shelley and I just celebrated out tenth anniversary (we dated for seven years prior); and I'll turn fifty in a few months. Lots of things happening; lots more to come...
All content Copyright 1999, 2000 Daniel C. Bowman . All rights reserved.