Saturday, October 27, 2007


Last weekend, the Wife and I took some time off for a much-needed break, and drove north to Mendocino and our first bed and breakfast experience. We found a B&B that we really liked, not only for what it was (centrally located, fantastic breakfast, stylishly appointed, fun art in the courtyard), but also what it was not (not a doily or flower-print, Victorian-style anything in sight). If you are heading that way, we highly recommend it.

We had a great weekend. We relaxed at a spa, ate fantastic food (as well as some bland food masquerading as fantastic), and did a lot of wandering around and window shopping. We bought very little, in part because most of the stores sold the same generic items you find in every other vacation/destination town: fudge that is not very good, but very expensive; a "fancy" toy store that sells the same stuff you can get anywhere, but for a whole lot more money; and the inevitable local artists and their galleries of marginal landscapes that I guess is meant to be a more upscale way of taking home memories. Mendocino does not have an old-timey photo place, but it's pretty much the only thing missing. The other reason we didn't buy much is because, for some reason we were not able to figure out, everything closed at around 2PM and didn't reopen till around 5. Some sort of hippie siesta, I think.

We also wandered around the coast, which was sunny enough to be beautiful, and cool enough to warrant extra layers of clothing. There are various chains and old pieces of wharf still on the trails; apparently Mendocino was a very busy port, but due to its crashing waves and irregular surf, a lot of the shipments had to be picked up by cranes off of the boats and swung ashore. I tried to pull one of the chains out of the ground...I was unsuccessful. I had this fantasy that, if I had been able to yank it out of the ground, the end would have been affixed to this giant bathtub plug, and the whole town would have been sucked into the Pacific. I guess, in retrospect, I am glad I was unsuccessful. My car was parked there.

This is a video I made of the surf; I included my own sound effects, in case years of CGI has ruined your imagination and the majesty of nature is not enough for you. Enjoy.

Great weekend, very relaxing, and something I hope happens again before long.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I got a letter from the government the other day...

Just finished The Postman, by David Brin, and not surprisingly, I liked it a lot. If you know me, you know my love of (a) novels set in a dystopic future, and (b) stories in general that deal with the breakdown of society and how people interact when there are no laws, no rules, no order (Lost, come back to me!). This book fit both bills nicely, and I would recommend it.

Now, however, I am faced with a dilemma: do I take the chance of potentially ruining this positive experience by watching the Kevin Costner movie? I think I knew the answer to this question before it fully coalesced in my mind (quick, name a good Costner movie that's not Bull Durham...see?), but after reading Brin's own review of the movie, that answer has solidified into a firm "no." Here's my favorite quote from Brin's review:

...watching Kevin Costner's three hour epic is a bit like having a great big Golden Retriever jump on your lap and lick your face, while waving a flag tied to its tail. It's big, floppy, uncoordinated, overeager, sometimes gorgeous -- occasionally a bit goofy -- and so big-hearted that something inside of you has to give... that is, if you like that sort of thing.

With ringing endorsements like that, I think my Netflix queue is safe.

Ps. Brin, slow down on the exclamation're not Elaine.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nice start, but...

On a couple of occasions when I have forgotten that I have TiVo and don't have to watch commercials, I have seen some ads for this group, touting themselves as do-gooders because they are providing free or reduced prescription medicines. One of the commercials I saw has grateful recipients (or actors playing such), talking about how they would have died or come close without this program.

Big Drug Companies, this is a nice start, but it's really just a drop in the bucket. People should not be dying simply because they cannot afford your pills, and they shouldn't be grateful that you dropped your exorbitant prices in an attempt to clean up your image, no matter how many times you put Montel out there with his "this is serious" look.

Here's an idea: how about a "luxury tax" style upcharge on your boner pills to really fund this program? Put your money where your [ahem] is, Pfizer, and I just might start believing that you care.