May 20 2009

Nevermind – it’s not important

Updates and ramblings …

Nam, the other tech at my office, is on a much-deserved vacation. The week before he left it was rather slow, but it seems that all hell broke loose the day he hopped on the plane. The first few days were a hectic mess of working on multiple projects/problems for clients concurrently. I’m not begrudging him for taking a vacation, but I have been rather swamped for the last week. He  won’t be back until next Tuesday. I may give him a big hug when he walks through the door.

My 365-day photography project is still coming along rather well. I did sorta mess up and failed to take a picture one day – but I did take one about 30 minutes after midnight of the next day (before going to bed) to make up for it. Christine says that it should still count, since my “day” doesn’t typically end until around 12:30 a.m. anyhow. While I see her point, I’m going to try and not repeat the minor infraction.

I still get occasional calls from creditors looking for Melissa Hayes, the person that previously had my work cell phone number. It’s down to just one, maybe two, calls a week. I finally got a live person to pick up on one of the automated messages so I could tell them that it was no longer her number.

A few weekends back I took off to Big Bear by myself. I needed a break from people and felt like clearing my head. It was a much-needed trip and I came back feeling a lot better.

Christine, Sam, and I enjoyed going to the Renaissance Faire not long ago. Sam was the only one of us who dressed up, but we had a good time. I’ll definitely consider dressing up the next time I go to one.

I’m looking forward to this weekend. With as busy as I’ve been – and another 3 days more of it – it’ll be nice to end it with a 3-day weekend.

This entry does that … it just keeps talking …

Sep 1 2008

Back to nature to escape the heat

It’s been too warm and humid lately for me to feel up to doing much physical activity. The result of remaining sedentary for so long is that I’m finding myself pretty out of shape. Christine recently asked if we could go up to the mountains to get away from the city life and to reconnect with nature. Seeing how this was the last weekend before Sam and Rece began school, we decided to go.

We drove up to the San Bernardino National Forest and made our way from Lake Arrowhead (or at least above it) to Big Bear. With some quick checking the night before, I had found a couple of hikes that we could do and downloaded the coordinates for a half a dozen caches that sounded interesting.

The part we’ll likely remember the most is the hike up to Castle Rock. It’s a short hike of about 1 mile each way. What makes this hike interesting is the steep incline – about 600′ in 1/4 mile. Our not-so-top physical condition and the higher altitude made this short hike seem like quite a workout. When we finally did reach Castle Rock, gasping for breath, we were rewarded with a beautiful view and plenty of fresh air. Rece and I decided to climb to the top of Castle Rock and had a lot of fun climbing the rocks. The view from the top was definitely worth it. We enjoyed a hearty lunch of MREs and relaxed for awhile.

After finishing lunch and making our descent, we drove around Big Bear Lake before heading back home to feast on nachos and beer. A good day, indeed!

We snapped a few pictures along the way. Here’s the photo gallery from the pictures taken with my camera.

This entry’s legs feel just the right amount of ache.

Jul 1 2007

A Day at the Zoo

Spent Saturday with Christine, Sam, and Rece at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. Even though Rece had a severe (and blistering) sunburn from the day before, we had a lot of fun. We were smart enough to wait until mid-day to get there, as it we knew it would start to cool off at that point. It turned out to be a warm day, so our choice proved to be wise.

I’ve posted pictures on my Flickr account, if you’re interested.

This entry likes wild animals!

Mar 26 2007

What a weekend!

This weekend was a blast! I won’t go into detail, but here’s a list of some of the more interesting things I encountered/saw over the last couple of days …

  • Garter belts
  • A trapeze
  • A woman stuffing herself into a human-sized balloon
  • A crazed man on a pogo stick wearing a glitter-stuffed speedo
  • A go-go dancer
  • A woman wearing a black pleather trench coat, a black eye patch and speaking in a fake Russian accent
  • 2 midgets
  • 9 dead gay guys

Yup, that was fun!

This entry was highly entertained.

Dec 5 2006

Route 66 & Calico Ghost Town

This weekend was a lot of fun. Christine turned … um … 33 … [ahem] this year and to celebrate we decided to take a road trip to Calico Ghost Town via Route 66.

The one bummer about the weekend was that Rece has been screwing up BIG TIME in school, which meant that he had been grounded, thus missing out on this adventure. Hopefully this helps him learn a valuable lesson.

So the three of us (Sam, Christine, & Gabe) hopped in my car and departed for San Bernardino where we’d connect with Route 66 at the original location of McDonald’s. From there we drove up the historic highway, geocaching along the way. Once we got through Victorville, we got back on the I-15 and drove in to Barstow, where we had made plans to stay for the night.

Being winter, it gets dark quite early. We weren’t anywhere near tired yet and were itching for something to do. On our way to the motel from dinner we noticed a drive-in theater, so we hooked up the laptop I brought along and looked up the movie times (love free wireless!). It worked out that we had plenty of time to get there in time to watch Flushed Away, so we made our way there, being sure to check out the (not so) happening main strip of Barstow. The bar at the restaurant connected to our motel was apparently the hot-spot that night.

I parked the car with the back facing the screen and all three of us packed into the cargo area (with the seats folded forward) and wrapped ourselves in bedding borrowed from our motel room. It was quite chilly (I was fine, but the girls were “freezing”) and we laughed at the ridiculousness of the entire ordeal. The movie was entertaining and Sam got to experience her first drive-in movie.

We were up bright and early Sunday morning and enjoyed a tasty (hot) breakfast at the restaurant connected to the motel. After breakfast we set out towards Calico Ghost Town. Along the way we came across the location of the first Del Taco and we stopped to take some pictures. The following 45 minutes were spent driving my Ford Taurus wagon around Dukes of Hazard style in pursuit of a cache. Try as we might, we just couldn’t find the right road to get there and none of these dirt roads showed up in Microsoft Streets & Trips (to no surprise). There were quite a few homes with many (inoperable) vehicles in the yard, our car was chased by a pair of large dogs, and I half expected for somebody to walk out of their front door carrying a shotgun — yes, it was that bad. We never did find the cache, but despite all this laughter was a-plenty within our group; nothing seemed to dampen our spirits this weekend. Having given up on the cache, we drove on to Calico Ghost Town.

Now it had been a good 20 years since I had last visited the place, and it looked quite different than I remember. For a ghost town, it sure looked a lot more lively than before. Seems the place has become more of a tourist trap than an historic landmark. With this in mind, I just went on enjoying it for what it was and had a lot of fun learning about the real history of the place and checking out the mines. It wasn’t too difficult to get a mental image of what it must have been like to have had lived here when it was all a bustle with over 3000 residents in its heyday. Once we’d had our fill of history and cheesy gun-fighting scenes (the one we watched was very bad), we stopped by the Calico Cemetery to seek out information needed for a geocache.

Departing Calico, we picked up a couple more easy caches and pointed the Taurus in the direction of a challenge: the BLACK BOX mystery cache series. This is a cache that requires one to find 3 other caches, each containing a piece to a puzzle that needed to be solved in order to be able to find the 4th, and final cache. I’m horrible with puzzle-style caches, but Christine loves them and seems to have a head for the stuff, so I was happy to join her on this one. The easier way to get to this cache was to find an access road that would get you part-way to the top, but after looking for 30 minutes and not locating it, we opted to park at the closest spot available and just billy goat it up to the top. No problem! It was only .37 miles from the car, yet took us a good 30 minutes to scramble up a loose, rocky, and steep slope to the upper access road. We swore quite a bit, between laughing, cursing the cache owner for clearly mis-labeling the terrain rating on this one. We found the cache, collected our first piece to the puzzle, then made our way back down. Round-trip this cache took over an hour to find once we left the car and it was then beginning to get dark. The other caches of this series, we decided, would have to wait for another day.

Back on the road, we made our way over to Route 66 to drive the portion between Barstow & Victorville (that we had skipped over the night before). We found one more cache along the way. Christine had wanted to go to the Mad Greek in Baker, but after explaining that it was near Death Valley and about an hour in the opposite direction of home, she resigned to skipping it. While driving, my memory sparked, sputtered, caught fire, caused a lot of smoke, and then revealed that it knew of a Mad Greek location in Corona. We pulled off the road so I could consult the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Microsoft Streets & Trips) and was pleased to discover that Alzheimer’s hadn’t begun to settle in and that there was in fact a Mad Greek in Corona, but he’s apparently undergoing psycho-therapy and doing quite well as of late. We dropped in to discover that madness wasn’t too far off: they were out of gyros — a Greek restaurant out of gyros. Yes, we gawked. Yes, we stared incredulously. No, we didn’t go mad … nor did we go Greek; we went Mexican … Miguel’s Mexican restaurant, to be exact.

With full tummies we made our way home, our minds also full with pleasant memories of all the fun we had over the weekend.

We took over 200 pictures, but I managed to prune the total down to 56 of them and put them up on my Flickr account. You can check them out here.

This entry is happy that it doesn’t live in, or anywhere near
Yermo, California — despite the original Del Taco.