Friday, June 30, 2006
Then ... "FWAUMP" ... full-truck SHUDDER ... "What was that?" Mary observantly asked with a cat carrier in her lap ... Sam (also with a cat carrier in his lap) looked to me with an expression like a flock of harpies had just landed atop the truck.
"Nothing." said I. "Just the stuff in the truck settling." I suspected that something was wrong, but just wanted to get to Des Moines, a mere 2.5 hours away...
"SHREACCCKKK" ... "thhhhhhrrrrrrrrr" .... minor SHUDDER ... "I think the tire went flat." Mary the pessimist again.
Alignment was fine ... Des Moines was now only 2.486 hours away ... "No, we are good. Silly U-Haul." I check in the rearview mirror ... Hmmm, those people seem to be staring at our back wheel well. Wonder what that's all about? Hmmm, those people are now driving up next to us pointing at said wheel well.
So, we start to pullover. Mary wants to pull to the side of I-80 ... I opt for the closed Tyson chicken farm on an otherwise empty exit.
Positives of the whole thing included lightening bug covered fields and chatting with Sam about why U-Haul stinks and "What if there are zombie chickens in that abandoned farm?" Despite it being late on a Friday night in the middle of nowhere Iowa, we were back on the road within 2 hours. When the guy was changing the tire (the tread of the inner wheel on a 2-wheel track in the driver's side back well was completely shredded), he shook his head when he pulled off the outer wheel. I asked him why he shook his head. "Well, it's pretty thin ... How far are you headed?" "Umm ... San Francisco. It should make it to Des Moines." "Yeah, that ain't going to make it." With confidence we drove onward. So, they came out to our hotel in Des Moines the next morning while we brunched and fixed the tire. Overall, the customer service was acceptable and response time was great. Just a bit upset they sent me off with cruddy tires in a truck they knew was heading 2,200 miles. whatever. that is my Iowa story.
Yes, that is my underwear in that shot above. I ripped my shorts (which were supposed to last 2 driving days) climbing in and out of the truck. It was a fabulous day for sure.
As you can see on the right, not too many fluctuations to report here, except where you are going to be. Today I am working from home, so I get the Tiburon weather you see to your right. However, if I were going to go the 15 miles into work ... well, then I could expect morning fog with a high around 63.
I no longer check out WHEN is the weather going to be changing, but WHERE.
I just thought about something, I am not even quite sure where the thermostat is in this apartment? Hmmmm...
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
"I couldn't imagine a better place to watch a baseball game." - Mary Maddux
Cameron Representing. Mary showing her "orange" pride for her new home team.
Barry pissed about another pitch outside, but Mary likes the guys spraying the field.
Best thing about a Giants Game: the first batch of garlic fries!
Worst thing about a Giants Game: the second batch of garlic fries...
It was a great game, thanks Ben for the tickets. You rock!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
This is the back patio. I agree with Eric, outside dining rocks. (It literally rocks for us; the ground is covered with small rocks. The cats often opt to escape to the hill behind our home instead of pussyfooting around.) Therefore, the one significant furniture investment we made was in the few outdoor items seen above (Mary's wicker armchair not shown). My darling wife somehow convinced me to go back out in the U-Haul to get these Target and Pier One items, despite my sincere hatred for that truck (later in the week, I'll post cross-country trip details.)
Here is the front view. A nice little garden, also can be seen from the all-important over-the-sink view.
This shot is taken facing the Bay from our patio. You can see the fog covering the area in the distance, while we keep the sunny skies.
OK, time for some rest. Most likely no blogging tomorrow as we are going to venture out to our first Giants game (not that I care about baseball these days!) I convinced Mary to go to the game with me on one condition, we get a pile of these.
Besides our home, there were two things I really wanted to get to in San Francisco: the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. One representing the force that drives the beautiful weather and much of the intriguing scenery, and the other showing the fascinating history and forward-thinking, "never give-up" nature of the city I now call home.
This past Sunday, before I started work in the new office, Mary and I took an early morning hike across the Golden Gate Bridge and back. Despite living in the Bay Area for over 5 days, we still had not been to the city. Hiking across the bridge is just one of those things on my life's checklist. After several days of sunny skies, it was fun to head down to the bay and experience the infamous fog, so thick we could not even see neighboring Alcatraz. The bridge is supposedly "5 times stronger" than it needs to be to brace the weight, salt air and tides ... and its magnificent strength shows in its architecture. While Chicago's buildings will always stand head and shoulders above any city, this structure left me in complete awe.
On Thursday (a day and a half after arrival), we headed to Point Reyes. Mary's dream to live in the Bay Area was solidified by her visits to this area ... and I wanted to see what formed such a strong bond for her.
I can truly say I have never seen such beautiful scenery ... sorry Louisiana swamps, your mysterious allure is still captivating, but I was struck dumb (smiling from ear to ear) many a time by our views. In the picture above, you will see some birds chilling on the rocks. I would love to identify them, but according to the official site:
With nearly 490 species recorded (45% of species of birds inHere is a good view ... of my beer and brat belly from Chicago days. My fresh fruit and veggie consumption, as well as leanness of meat has increased dramatically. This new diet coupled with the steepness of the hill I have to climb up from my bus stop every day should shave the belly (but the beard stays!)
North America), Point Reyes National Seashore easily claims the prize for the greatest avian diversity in any national park. The species total here, in fact, is larger than the species total in each of forty of the U.S. ! United States
I have some fabulous close-up pictures of these sun-bathing Elephant seals, but the cove is just too remarkable to not include. I really had a difficult time deciding which pictures to include in this posting. However, I am looking forward to January, when the bull Elephant seals will be fighting and the California Grey whales migrating to Baja will approach within 1/4th a mile from the lighthouse. (seen below) I'll get some close-ups then ... (also there are thousands of better photographers out there capturing the beauty of Point Reyes, you don't need my point and click shots.)
These steps were yet another belly-busting trial. However, well worth it. I must say, the lighthouse was cool and obviously spectacular views, but Drum Point Lighthouse on the Chesapeake was a more interesting tour.
I am very excited about living this close to the ocean, especially up here in the northern area of the state. The natural diversity and lack of pretentious beaches make it an ideal place to explore. If you are in the area (like when you come visit me soon), you really must visit Point Reyes.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Yes, we made it across the 2,200 miles to San Francisco! And it is wonderful. Holy cow. There are so many things to "show and tell." We have already been to the ocean and hiked across the Golden Gate Bridge ... and many other typical Bay Area things. However, we are still sans internet at home; but, we should be getting it tomorrow. I have 700+ photos to go through and decide which will help tell all our stories. But I wanted to drop a quick note letting everyone know that we are safe and happy and exhausted and Californians ... quickly learning that we are Marinians, specifically.
The weather is as wonderful as rumored. Anyway, I am looking forward to blogging again. See you tomorrow (broadband access willing.)
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Friday, June 16, 2006
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
That is so amazing. This town is home; I can't believe I am leaving it, and for California ... holy cow!
I am so excited ... can't wait to share the westcoast with friends and family. I just said good-bye to Wrigley. Nothing compares to coming out of the tunnel and seeing a pink and blue sky surrounding the lit field of Wrigley, with all the fans so focused on just having a good time. Hedonism at its best.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Eric and I started Sunday early with a Dunkin' Donuts run. We then watched as the Netherlands "dominated" Serbia-Montenegro 1-0! Our hair is proof of the budding morning start. Hup Holland and Geaux Tigers!
We then took a Lake walk so I could say goodbye to the lake I have come to love so much and happened to find some of the local ornithological wildlife (ok, one of the birds was actually just bathing in a puddle near Eric's pad.)
Chicago days are coming to a close... I'm really going to miss that stupid brother of mine.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Friday PM - After packing up the U-Haul in the morning and cleaning up the apartment, we'll drive off to Davenport Iowa, a relatively easy drive. We are hoping to meet with some of Mary's friends for dinner. We've dome this drive a dozen times, piece of cake.
Saturday, we'll get to Des Moines, IA for a noon lunch and drop off Sam with Mary's mom :(
I won't see Sam for 5 weeks! However, he'll have a great time in Arkansas with his grandparents, and Mary will meet them in South Carolina for the family reunion.
The rest of the day will be some of the most boring, restless driving of my life! We are driving across prairie hoping to make it to North Platte, NE. (I am secretly hoping to make it to Cheyenne, WY ... we'll see ... Depends if I've killed either cat by now.)
Sunday. This will be nice ... driving with mountains on our horizon! We are hoping to stay with Mary's aunt in Logan, UT, just outside Salt Lake. Both cats will be "done" with the catnip at this point ...
Monday, Mary swears that driving across Nevada is boring ... I think that is laughable from someone who grew up in SE Kansas. After the Nebraska experience, I think I'll enjoy Nevada just fine. We are looking to make it to Carson City/Reno.
Tuesday. What a glorious anniversary! We will probably wake early so we can take a nice Lake Tahoe walk. Then head for our new home in Tiburon (although we seem to be much closer to Mill Valley) ... seeing it for the first time!
Thanks sweetheart for planning a great trip, and staying on I-80 most of the time...
Yes, the blog will be closed for about a week starting Friday ... but we should have some FABULOUS pics and stories on my return.
Thursday, June 8, 2006
"That's great Granddaddy, whatever ... tell us again about the time Great Uncle Eric chased you around the house screaming with the knife from Psycho."
I remember the first time I heard about Amazon.com. It was Fall of 1997, I was in my senior year at LSU. I was taking a Lit. class on Strong Women in Literature, called "Tough Cookies." The class was wonderful and taught by a great professor, Emily Toth. One of the books for the class was not available and she suggested we go to Amazon.com to get it. Amazon?! Given the subject of the class, I assumed this was some hub of “chick lit” or something. That evening I started one of the most wonderful relationships of my life.
Amazon has always been a step ahead. Their customer service is superb! I get recommendations I like ... told when there is a problem with my order as soon as it happens ... free, fast shipping ... cheap books … e-mails are responded to quite promptly. I really like them. I was thinking about how successful they have been for me as I've become frustrated with Blogger. (Poor Blogger, I have not appreciated how great it has been for me for the past several months ... just pissed when it failed me! I need to chill.) I cannot recollect one poor experience with Amazon.
Anthony has been trying to get me to move to Books-A-Million for the better deals (although he admits that he still uses Amazon for his searching). But I can't. The customer service and selection and tools are just so perfectly orchestrated for me.
So, why the Amazon love? Well, I have decided to add my first bit of "blogvertising." I don't like those cheesy text ads from Google, or flashing banners. But, a cool little search tool for Amazon products straight from my blog. Sure, I'll use that! Text links to Amazon books that I am already talking about, why not? So, the catch ... well, I get 4% of all purchases that come off the site. However, I opted for the income to be converted to Amazon.com gift certificates, rather than into my bank account. So other people's book love will just turn into further book love from me.
Anyway, I just wanted to make sure everyone was aware of what I was doing. I don't want to be accused of deceptive practices or anything. I am just creating a symbiotic exchange.
Thanks for reading the blog ... and thanks for reading.
I am about halfway through Capote's In Cold Blood (Thanks Pablo); it is living it up to the label of classic. I am also enjoying it thoroughly as a companion to the recent Capote movie.
Next on the list, Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson. A book that examines "the belief that video games, television shows, and other forms of popular entertainment are detrimental to Americans' cognitive and moral development. Everything Good builds a case to the contrary that is engaging, thorough, and ultimately convincing."
I seem to be on a non-fiction kick.
Please feel free to use the comment section on ANY entry to recommend books. I prefer reading things recommended by friends than Dr. Stardoozle - Amazon Reviewer #44529XD.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
However, I am not there yet ... I'll give you time.
Please, please, please Google, make blogger work better.
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Sunday, June 4, 2006
As Eric mentioned in his blog, we took a brotherly trip to
It was a good time for the three "new" brothers: Me, Eric the elder and Erik the youngest.
I always seem to be the guy who gets asked, "Hey can you hold this?" I am not sure if it is because I carry my backpack everywhere so I have a certain mule-ish quality. Or perhaps people have noticed that I wash my hand quite regularly and figure I won't contaminate whatever thing they don't want to take into a public restroom or hold while lighting a cigarette. Or perhaps it is my undying consistency with standing in the same place for hours on end. I never lost that innate animal ability to remain in a well-scouted, familiar place. Therefore, people see me as a beacon of steadiness, an easy return post. Hmmm, not complaining, just noticing.
Saturday, June 3, 2006
Originally uploaded by Cameron Maddux.
Chicago is amazing, eh? I think it is great that Sears Tower and the John Hancock offer observatories. I definitely recommend checking them both out. Few cities offer you two perspectives from above them. Anyway, I am mainly trying out this blogging from Flickr thing. I may FINALLY start flickring...
Friday, June 2, 2006
People from other countries claim that Americans can't get into soccer because we aren't the "best." That's because outside the U.S., we are known for the multi-Championship-winning Cowboys and Yankees (geesh, those names). But anyone who has experienced the ravenous Cubs fans knows that winning is not a prerequisite. However, we do prefer the Hoosiers-1980 U.S. Hockey team underdog stories more than anything .. and it is all about winning.
For me, I think it is the statistics. We love our statistics in the U.S. We love to rank things also ... and numbers makes this easy... Soccer doesn't really have these. I am going to give fantasy World Cup a shot. See if I can get into the math of the game. Check out my field:
It is supposedly a good team, I don't know, I have never seen any of these guys play. I decided to not have more than 2 players from any country (not even my ancestral Dutch or the Yankee-esque Brazil), so that I can appreciate many games. You will notice no U.S. player ... I have one on the team, he was my 23rd of 23 picks. Let the excitement begin!