Saturday, March 22, 2008

It Started Out So Innocently

“They are serving as receptionists, vacuuming office corridors, spoon-feeding the elderly. They serve tea, greet company guests and chatter away at public technology displays. Now startups are marching out as home helpers."

They are here! Oh, brave new world, that has such creatures in it! It’s only a small step until they take my job away. It's scary, really scary! Hailey brought one into the house, an 'I-Dog.' "You bought a seeing eye-dog?," I said. That's the scary thing. People like me are clueless. Our children let them into our houses. They become comfortable with the whole idea of them in places of power, positions of trust. When we question why; how long will it be before they report us to them? And at what cost to our social and moral fabric?

Sure, I thought it was great when they were advertised as ‘The perfect partner,” and when they’d put E-Harmony out of business. It made sense, darn it! For a while it was great not to have to deal with all the emotional baggage. Finally, a partner who was consistently predictable and understood all my needs! Hardwired, baby!

But I truly did not know what could of come of it! I wish I’d gotten that insurance!
H/T Hot Air

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring is Startin to Pop

Bring out the Public Piano and fire up the tunes,
The Wildflowers are startin to bloom!

More pics at

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pedals and Pinot

Maya: You know, can I ask you a personal question, Miles?
Miles: Sure.
Maya: Why are you so into Pinot?
Miles Raymond: [laughs softly]
Maya: I mean, it's like a thing with you.
Miles Raymond: [continues laughing softly]
Miles Raymond: Uh, I don't know, I don't know. Um, it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet.

I thought for certain that I’d see Miles and Jack stepping towards us off of the highway. There it was, The Hitching Post, the restaurant Maya waitressed at. And driving into town, commercials for Pinot. And, granted, wishes for my own encounter with ‘Maya.’

I was in Solvang to ride the Solvang Century with my friend, Robert. It was a bookend in some significant ways. It marked 20 years since we did our San Francisco to San Fernando ride. Fifteen years ago, I’d ridden it with cheers from Kristina at the beginning and end of the race. Interestingly enough, I did receive a phone call from Kris on Friday night while driving into town.

I slogged through the ride, one pedal stroke followed by another. Mostly riding alone, as Robert had trained significantly longer and better. One thought leads to another as the miles go by; thoughts like, “I’m too old to be doing this.” And at a significantly low psychological (and blood sugar?) level, when I was convinced that they’d be dragging me off of the route at the end of the day, I decided not to do Seattle to Portland this year. Riding for long periods is difficult enough with discontinuous camaraderie; alone, for me, it is daunting at best, depressing at worst.

At about mile eighty, I found myself in dire need of a bathroom. Neither tree, nor tall building was in site. Finally, I came across the Tres Hermanas Winery. Open for wine, open for water closet. In gratitude, I look forward to trying their Syrah.

Somewhere after Tres Hermanas, I got a second wind, and was able to keep pedaling with greater energy, and slightly more speed. This took me up the BIG HILL of the climb and down the other side where Robert had graciously waited at mile 90 so that we could ride together to the finish.

The earlier thoughts I’d had—“I should have said NO to this ride,” turned to positive thoughts as I finished the last 12 miles. Thoughts of victory, and thankfulness for a long friendship. Overall, I’d finished feeling much more like Cabernet the survivor than a thin-skinned, temperamental Pinot.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Blues and Bluegrass: Enjoying the Desert Part 2

Strawberry blonde hair hanging in ringlets down to the middle of her back. Small Blue polka-dots on a white silk shirt, pleated at the elbows and hips. Ruby red lips, great set of….teeth; attractive but not stunning. More sweet than Siren. The Hotshots have a female vocalist! She belted out some great songs such as Bei Mir Bist Du Shein and Honeysuckle Rose (Well, don't buy sugar, You just have to touch my cup, You're my sugar, And it's oh so sweet when you stir it up…)

The Hotshots sound great! We took the time to hang around at Water Canyon Coffee again today, and stuck around for a listen. Some really talented guys; on clarinet, violin, bass, and drums. Combined with the vocalist, I think it may become my Sunday hangout, much like Mondays with the Kung Pao Chickens.

I was reminded of the only limerick I’ve ever written (that I’m willing to admit):

A man raised on the Brothers Grimm,
Liked his women blonde, blue-eyed and slim,
For such a fair sight,
He would search day and night,
To fulfill his particular whim.

Speaking of music, the Sun Runner’s entire publication was dedicated to music this month. From one of the articles, “Bluegrass Grows in Wonder Valley.”
“Chambers was injured with a broken back in ‘91 and in ’94 decided to go to the Roberto-Venn School of Lutherie in Phoenix, AZ, ‘to learn how to build these things, learn how to cut the wood, learn how to bend the wood, do inlays, make everything myself.” From the same article, “We do not do country. We do western, bluegrass, and gospel………Western music is a working man’s music; it was the cowboy songs on the trail and around the campfire, on a horse ride. There’s no drums, there’s no electric guitars, there’s no stars. In western music, everybody takes a part. It’s shared music. It’s very orchestrated because everything’s got a good melody line that people recognize. You know, when you sing ‘Happy Trails’ at the end of your set, everybody’s singing along with you.”

Till we meet again.