Ah Bugger

The vapid utterings of a neurotic mind.

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Location: DC, United States

I ain't too proud to bug.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Last night I had a really difficult time finding my fancy hotel. I should have considered that an omen. I got into my room and it had that funny aura of not being completely clean, but I had already brought all my crap into the room which meant that I had no real interest in repacking and complaining and having to move. Perhaps if I had a crew, or the hotel did in case of such emergencies... Not even when I noticed something floating around in the toilet did I pack up and leave. (I have lost my shimmer). I spent some time pondering the floater. It looked like a cigarette but without a filter. It was so curious. Only about 1/2 an inch long, it was burnt at one end and looking like a new cigarette tip on the other. Weed? Were people smoking weed in my non smoking room, while they were cleaning it for my messing up pleasure? Then I got to thinking that smoking weed while cleaning would probably be more fun than not smoking weed while cleaning which then made me come to the realization that the reason I don't clean is because I don't smoke weed.
I looked closer, and it did not make sense that the burnt end was twisted. What the heck was that thing? I flushed him to hell and HE STAYED IN THE BOWL! Get away from me, I screamed. Then I took all the towels (were they clean!?!??!!?) and placed them all over the floor in my walking path. I took saniwipes and rubbed down the remote control. They came away cruddy. (I was going to say smeary, but that was too gross even for me!). But I needed to watch TV so I went and washed my hands (again!) and wrapped the remote in a saniwipe.
I watched TV and found I could not sleep in my (is it clean!?!?!??!?) bed. Besides, there were constantly shadows outside my door and it scared me.
This morning I awoke to find that I could not take a shower. The water would turn on, but that's it. No temperature manipulation there. Grr. By this point every towel has been used to keep from touching any surface. I went to get my free breakfast and I missed it. So I sat in my room and ate food from my cooler.

Tonight is no better. I feel dirty just sitting in this room. (And not dirrty either). I am finding wee little dead bugs everywhere. But I am again too lazy to deal with it which means another room with towels covering everything and my inability to sleep because I am afraid the living bugs will come and exact revenge on my for what my cat does to their friends. But I am BUG! I am your leader.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


I waltzed into The Big Easy in the afternoon on Thursday and found a hotel in the middle of the French Quarter to reside in. I decided (and this was huge because for most of this trip I have been confusing people with my hobo-like appearance) to dress up and see what the French Quarter had to offer. I went to the lobby to ask the concierge for advice on a fine dining establishment, hoping against hope that his idea of fine dining was not the Hustler restaurant on Bourbon Street. His idea was for me to join him in going to the Saint's pre-season game, which I did. The game was pretty full with everyone wearing Saint's paraphernalia, but they still lost the game. Dan and I decided to hit Bourbon street. He used to be a drummer and played with the likes of Chaka Khan. He was appalled when I told him about her hissy fit in Boca, Marci.

In New Orleans, some bars will give you three drinks for the price of one and then you get to walk around town with said drinks. Well, I was not up to drinking all those beers, so while I carried them around for a while, I saw some street musician and gave him one. But he is not pictured below. These guys were great. So I danced while they sang. I got rhythm. (As evidenced from my hula dancing to their "sitting on the dock of the bay").

Friday was the anniversary of hurricane Katrina and people were preparing for the hit of Gustav. It was a really interesting time to be in the city. People seemed laid back about the whole thing, yet many were planning to leave by Sunday. One girl at my hotel hoped for a bad hurricane, so she could leave New Orleans for good. I told her to just do it, but her mother seems to have a rather strong hold on her. If there is one thing I have learned on this trip, it is that you cannot wait for other's to be okay with what you are doing. Sometimes you just have to go do what is best for you. I hope she does. She seemed like a really sweet girl.

I decided to take a tour of the city. We saw the beautiful traditional homes of early New Orleans...

And the ugly new traditions of the Big Easy. Three years later and still living in FEMA trailers. We went to one house in the lower ninth ward that the tour guide referred to as the Wizard of Oz house based on how it seemed to have just landed on the lot. Everything was askew and absolutely destroyed by the hurricane. There were still clothes hanging from a hook on the door and dishes in the sink. This was the destruction to the house. Someone painted band-aids filled with love on the side of the house. What struck me most was this doll who seems to epitomize the whole disaster. She seems to be waiting for someone to save her. Broke my heart to think of the little girl who had to leave her behind. A lot of the houses still bear their markings from the rescue teams that came through. Usually there would be an X with a date, the group that searched (DEA, ASPCA), how many people found inside and their status (alive, dead), and finally any info for others coming through (missing stairwell, etc). This house, amongst many others, had "TFW" spray painted on it. This means toxic flood waters. The toxicity of the water was a big issue that remained long after the floods had receded. The symbols on this house mean that they came by on Sept. 12. They did not enter, probably due to the tfw, and they found no bodies. I can't decipher who searched it. It looks like "ME" to me.

Katrina was of course just the first part of a one-two punch. Rita came in and flooded them all over again. Below you can see the watermarks of the flooding from both hurricanes.Of course, not all of NO is based on what happened 3 years ago. People were dying for all sorts of reasons before Katrina came in with her fury. Yellow fever seemed to be a big killer. AND NO IS currently the murder capital. (C'mon DC, we can't let them have our title!) As everyone knows, the cemeteries are above ground due to the fact that when you were to bury your loved one, you were forced to place them into filthy water. So they opted for crypts, which goes against the beliefs of many of the Catholic residents. The caskets rest on shelves in the crypt for one year and then the bones are placed in the "basement" of the tomb and the shelves are free for the next dead person in your family. It's these swamps that make the land very unstable. Weird how people always want to build on inappropriate land. I mean, Chicago is built on sand. Didn't anyone read the biblical verse about the house built on sand and yadda yadda yadda?But these live oaks are so beautiful and they grow so crazily. This one is 300-400 years old and named after some Scotsman, I am too lazy to look up, who had donated this land and also a ton of money for schools to be built all over the city. (I think it was McDonogh). See how they placed telephone poles to keep the tree from splitting apart?There is plenty of Gustav preparation going on. Sandbags were placed.All the windows were being boarded up. (I was thinking that this would be a great time to get to NO and offer to board the windows at $10 a pane?)After the tour, I wandered about and had a $7 lime slushy. Basically a margarita without booze. But $7! Jeepers, had I known that it would cost that much, I would have gotten the tequila. At least then I may not have cared. I love these frozen drink shops.

I ate a Muffalatta which was created in New Orleans and is so tasty. It is like an Italian sub but with an Italian dressing. Mine had olives on it. Delish.

It was sooo hot that I drank a gallon of water and it never came out again. (You are welcome for my subtlety there). I went to Cafe Beignet where I spoke to a couple from Calgary about the Stampede and also the firm conviction that all Canadians seem to have that the US shot the September 11 plane that crashed in PA down. Why don't we (Americans) have this notion? It seems reasonable to me. We also talked about the impending storm and whether or not it will truly hit New Orleans, and if it will be a hurricane at all. I am fascinated at the preparation this time around, though I bet plenty of people will just be hunkering down again, even with the mandated evacuation.

I stopped by Cafe Du Monde, but I hate chicory and I am still not sufficiently recovered from the beignet incident in Chicago, so I meandered over to the flea market where I bought two cds of New Orleans jazz.

As I was leaving NO, I was stuck in a fair amount of traffic. A lot of cars were packed and heading northeast. I am curious how everything will pan out. The skies were blue and everything seemed so peaceful while I was in town.

I really loved the city. The people are friendly and happy. The diversity is great and there is so much to do. I believe this was my favorite city so far.

Off to the beach along with the rest of ya'll. I did not plan my visit to the Atlantic well. Stinking 3 day weekend. (Ha! Never thought I would say that!)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Arizona is Artsy

At least I am attempting to take artsy photos. The twist? I am driving really fast while taking them....
The last one is a little blurry, but I like the way it looks. Off to Texas!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Long and Linky. That's Los Angeles for ya.

Okay, so leaving Los Angeles was really hard. However, staying there was really expensive. I felt like I was back home for a second when I got to my car and found a $70 parking ticket on it. Woo! That’s money well spent. When I saw that, I just turned on my heel and kept up my shopping spree in Beverly Hills. Yeah, so $70 turned into $300. Well played, LA. Well played.
Los Angeles was a lot of fun. I can’t remember what I have already told you, so if I am repeating myself, please forgive me. I am currently in Yuma, Arizona at a Mazda dealership getting a wickedly overdue oil change in the Gray Steed. The mechanics are all at lunch so, as usual, my timing is impeccable.

I am headed to see my friend Clussy in Austin and I cannot wait. I told her I would be there on Sunday and I really hope that’s true. I do have 1100 miles to cover in that time and there is the whole matter of finding out whether or not there is a basement in the Alamo. (I guess I missed that part in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure – please don’t ruin it for me).

I think the last time we spoke, I told you about seeing the taping for “’Til Death”. On Saturday, Cary and I went to Runyan Canyon and hiked about.

I was, of course, wearing the flip flops. The view there is remarkable and as we stood on the peak, the sun set and we could see all the lights of the city. The smog was lovely, too. Then Cary and I went and had dinner at Chateau Marmont. The food there is good! I had pickled vegetables, which is unusual but really yummy. Our waitress was utterly adorable and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing her in the films before too long.

I planned to leave LA on Sunday and after having the most delicious scone ever at the Newsroom Café, I drove into the biggest traffic nightmare of my last 5 days. I was meeting my friend Michael in Marina Del Ray. I finally found a space to park in and Mike and I met for the first time since he and I went to a play together in DC in 1997. (A play in which his friend was starring and had nudity of which he did not warn me. Sitting that close to the stage made for a rather shocking experience. I am apparently still not over it). Seeing Mike was soooo much fun and it is wild to me that so much time can pass and some friendships just have something that holds strong. His wife is a writer on the new Jay Mohr show and after finagling tickets to see it, I opted to stay in LA for a couple of more days. We parted, he to get a manicure (such a girl) and I headed to Manhattan Beach where I got to chase waves with my new friend Ellen’s 2 little girls.
I checked back into my hotel which is in Korea-town, not Chinatown as I had originally thought. I met Cary at the Saddle Ranch, where we befriended two lovelies. Saddle Ranch is hysterical. There is a bull on which you may ride. One girl, wearing a dress, had to hold on to her talent because it was threatening to bust free. (See what I did there? Bust? Haha). The controller of the bull did all he could to titillate (Again! I am on fire) the men in the crowd. After a few beverages and plenty of cajoling from my table, I was somehow convinced to ride the bull. I am smart enough to address the bull controller so that I was not a skanky cowgirl. See? Saucy! Thanks, Casey.

On Monday, I went to Beverly Hillsand bought a couple of magazines to read. Psychology Today, Vanity Fair and In Touch. (I like to see the celeb's kids. I know it’s weird, and I hate how exploited they are, but aw, they are so cute!!). I sat down and had veggie juice and Gazpacho at Urth Coffee. (I am so very Hollywood! Are you curious which magazine I read?*). Afterwards I went to a nail salon and had my wretchedly hideous feet attended to. The woman who was dealing with my feet had an interesting story. When she first came to the States from Mexico, she could speak barely any English. She had to go to immigration a lot, which was next to a medical school. She thought that she’d be a good nurse, but the lack of English was a huge barrier. She busted her tail and became a nurse. (Her actually story was a lot more detailed and interesting. I swear). In any case, she was an interesting woman who seemed to never let anything get in her way and I was really impressed an inspired by her. And my scandalous feet were preeeeettttttyyyyy again.

After my pedicure is when I looked at my car and figured that the ticket is already there, so I might as well go find some cute LA type stuff. I bought a cute top and I highly recommend a store called Crème on Charleville Blvd in Beverly Hills. The items range from cheap ($9 for silver earrings - which I did buy) to pricey ($295 for a hand bedazzled IPhone case - which I did not buy). The owner is adorable and helpful and super sweet. I would shop at her store every day.

Afterwards I met with Cary to go to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. We saw the X-Files movie there. Traffic was bad (can you believe it? In LA? I hear you saying that’s implausible). We missed the first 10 minutes. That was a dumb movie. It was not even an X-File. And at the end, if you stay through the credits, Scully and Mulder are in a row boat with the camera directly about them, and they look up at us and wave goodbye. What the..? That movie was dumb. I hear that it was written quickly before the Writer’s Strike so they could get it filmed quickly, and that’s why it sucks, but why waste time making a beyond sub-par film just to make it? I mean, I know I got through college writing papers that way, but this is professional. PROFESSIONAL!!! I did find Julie Andrews' star on Hollywood Blvd, though. That soothed the burn a little.

We left Grauman’s to drown our sorrow and confusion in cholesterol at In-N-Out Burger on Sunset. I have been told that this is the greatest burger ever and while, yes, it was good, I would not say great. The fries were not that interesting. I am no expert on fast food, and so I guess in the realm of the fast food burger world, it was pretty good. I left Cary at the burger joint and headed to the Cat and the Fiddle to meet Mike for some beers. We had a blast laughing about our high school days (he was two years under me).

On Tuesday, I finally took it upon myself to experience Korea Town. I needed new face cream, so I found a beauty supply store in which I was introduced to a Korean cosmetic line and now am somehow the proud owner of. I have never heard of this line, but the girls inside swore by it and so I am going to trust them. I have gone from Shiseido (Japanese), Clarins (French) to Ossion (Korean) in a year. They gave me a ton of free goodies and so I loved them even more. They tried to give me a suitcase as a special bonus, but where am I going to put that? So I said no thanks and got a bunch of free samples instead. Woo.

I called Cary and we met at the Studio where “Gary Unmarried” is being filmed. We went to an art studio in Studio City whose curator is Angela Cartwright, of “Lost in Space” and more importantly (at least to me) “The Sound of Music”. We were welcomed by Mardjie who allowed us to view all the work while telling of its’ history and that of the artist’s. The work is B&W photography which they print there from the negative. I cannot wait to finally repaint my place and get to pick out some works. I really loved Angela Cartwright’s mission photos and there were some great old Hollywood prints of Groucho Marx as an old man, and the like.

We got to the studio to watch the taping of the new CBS show. A woman, whose child was an actress, was there in line with us. She kept pulling out her kids headshot and she somehow managed to get herself into the VIP line. (And then into the front row! Well done). She seemed like she wanted to somehow pass off the headshot to someone on the set, but I think she was shuffled out before she had the opportunity. She should have just dropped it onto the floor. Maybe someone would have found it and thought "Jinkies! This is the girl we have searched for and now she will be a huge star and she and her mother will not have to fly all the way back to South Dakota and start another boring year of being a second grader and a mother to a second grader". Props for being aggressive.

The show was great. The cast were consummate professionals, capable of taking any scene back to whichever line the director asked for. They were also a ton of fun and filled with energy. Paula Marshall is sooo pretty in person. Skinny as a rail. Geez. Of course, the script was the best part.
After we left, we went to the Brass Monkey where people of all shapes and sizes could brutalize sing their favorite karaoke songs. Jonah Hill was there and sang Waterfalls with his buddies. I managed to stay off the stage.

On Tuesday morning, I met Cary for the last brunch at the Newsroom Cafe again. I had oatmeal for yum's sake!

Afterwards I drove up to the Hollywood sign and then my time in LA was over.

* I read Vanity Fair

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Loopy in LaLaLand

I have been in LA for a few days. I met up with my friend Cary in Malibu and we wandered along the beach where we happened upon some surfers and a naked dude who was sunning himself on a little towel. I averted my eyes, but then looked back to make sure that he was indeedly nekkid. Then I came around a big rock and ANOTHER naked dude was there to be found. I averted my eyes and kept on walking. (Because I am a lady).
We went to the Dresden Room where we found this couple, who apparently have been performing there for centuries. I think what keeps them together is their hair dye. I want to be like them when I am a little bit older. Who will be my hair dye love connection? Afterwards we went to the Joy Luck Club? The Good Luck Club? I don't recall. But it was a cute place and I spied Ryan Gosling hanging out. I did not tell him about the paper I wrote for college citing his film Lars and the Real Girl. Yesterday, Cary and I talked with French film director Pitof. That's my BC Lions t-shirt! I look a little crazy, but it was late and I am a little crazy. We also went to the Sony studios where we wandered around, having a chance to peek at the Angels and Demons set. We wandered through an airlock, but I can't remember the book well enough to know what part of the story the airlock is in. But when I see the film, I can holler, Hey! That's the airlock I wandered through! Yay! We watched the filming of 'Til Death. I took this photo with my phone, and I am not certain how legal that was, so I hope no one gets mad at me... Watching a filming was fun. I had no idea that soo many people were on set. I almost got run over by Tom Hanks on a bicycle(R)*. I was pulled to safety in the nick of time by Cary. Phew.
I got to meet some of Cary's friends, Ellen and Mark. They are both awesome.
I also went back to Burbank, where I lived for a few seconds 14 years ago. (Yipes). I almost could not find my way around. Everything is different. I don't think I could live in the Valley again. (Princess is back!)

*All rights reserved by Mark.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

(Insert Debbie Downer music here)

Today sucked.

I was thinking of leaving the post with simply that, but you, my intrepid reader, would be saddened. I simply cannot think of a fate worse than that (except for maybe my day).

Two days ago, while in San Jose, I noticed that finally a rock had gotten to my precious (new) windshield and gave it a nice hole which the windshield then decided to share with the rest of itself. The crack went halfway across. As the day shuffled off its mortal (immortal?) coil to pass into the next, the crack carried on with its journey (much as I am) across the windshield.

I then decided it would behoove me to call in the guards to replace this detriment to my driving safety. The cavalry arrived at noon, which meant I got to hang out at my motel (yes, Motel. How far the mighty have fallen) until close to 2:00pm. I liked the guy who installed my second in two months windshield, so chatting with him was fun.
I proceeded on my way, new windshield intact and grande latte in hand. Speeding happily down the highway, I got busted. By a motorcycle cop. He asked what color my eyes were, and I batted the lashes and said "blue, and yours?" He answered by asking how much I weigh. Well, Mr. So-and-so, I am a lady! So he asked me again. And I responded by accidentally closing the window. So, I got myself a ticket. Though he was nice and reduced my wild infraction and attempted to send me on my way. As I turned the key in the ignition, I realized that maybe my battery was in love with the old windshield and did not want to go on without him, so I got nothing. I tried and tried, but to no avail. I waved to the cop. He waved back. I shook my keys at him. He gave me a thumbs up. I gave him the come here, and he finally did. He called the highway patrol for me and AAA before zooming down the street. I then gave me key another twist and it turned out that the battery simply did not want to perform while the cop was watching. Don't know what the battery was afraid of. Maybe because I have a packet of salt on my gear shift, the fear was of "a salt and battery". I feel bad for not waiting around for the rescuers, but my need was over and I had a castle to see.

I headed off to Santa Cruz, home of the University of Dr. Becky. I drove around, but the restaurants were closed between 3-5 and it was 3:30. So I headed to the Mystery Spot, which took me on windy gravelly roads and honking cars. Well, honking at me, because I decided to go slowly around a sharp turn, and dammit! That was too slow! They wanted $5 for the tour and $5 for parking. So I, being slightly grumpy, turned around and left. Seriously, $10 for some optical illusions and a bunch of kids. Bah! So, I missed Santa Cruz, Becks. Arg. Next time we will go together.

So I drove into Carmel so I could have lunner at the Cypress Inn, which is owned by Doris Day and her son. Well, I drove all the way into Carmel, all the while being passed by Lamborghinis and Ferraris. I thought wow, the people here are RICH! But it was a car show and so all the streets were packed and there was noooo parking anywhere. Again, I was forced to move along.

I was driving down Hwy 1, and the views should have been beautiful, save for this bloody fog. See it? That is no wave, that's fog and it kept touching me and my precious car. So, I was forced to drive 1.4 mph down a windy, fog ridden road for 100 miles. Finally, I got to San Simeon where W.R. Hearst built his crazy palace. I have been so excited about seeing this place. I watched Citizen Kane, which is loosely based on Hearst. I used to read Cosmopolitan, which is a Hearst publication. I watched the TV movie The Hearst and Davies Affair. So, basically, I am an expert. (Rosebud). I finally got there, and walked into the visitor's center, right as they are closing up. AWESOME. So, this is what I got to see of the crazy Castle:
Sweet. It's not even in focus.

So, today was an exercise in futility. Tomorrow, I am headed in La La Land. Yay! Friends! As for tonight? I will attempt to sleep well in my bed in this motel in a town where no one I saw was less than 30 pounds overweight. G'night!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Clang Clang Clang goes the Trolley

San Francisco!

Today I wandered about San Francisco. I opted to stay near the airport which saved me about $400! I figure, hell, if I lived here, I probably would have to drive into SF, so why should it be any different while I am visiting, right?

My first stop was to Haight-Ashbury where I found the smell of patchouli wafting through the air. It was cold, and I wore my jacket (the temperature is interesting in SF). I found all sorts of head shops and a neat store in which one could find pleather pants in every colour (oops, not in Canada anymore) color and pattern. They were also over $100! But it was a neat store and I would love to be rich so that I could have bought a bunch of cool things for Halloween. (I was thinking I could buy patent leather yellow pants and go as a New York taxi cab or silver pieces to go as a disco ball).

I then headed over to Pier 39 where I wandered about. I went to the Alcatraz pier (45? 41? 31?) to see about tickets for a tour to the Prison. Alas, sold out until Thursday! So I had to make due with a photo from the pier. I noticed then that a bunch of sea lions decided to chill out by the pier. They were noisy and raucous like college kids on spring break. Funny. It was soo hot at this point that my t-shirt was sticking to me. My jacket was long forgotten in my car.

I started to walk to Ghirardelli Square, but I only had two hours on my meter, so after about 10 blocks, I returned to my car and drove there. I bought myself a cone of the mocha chip (same as what I had for my birthday at Ghirardelli's in Chicago with Marci).

I wandered over to the Golden Gate bridge and walked over half of it. (Proud of me? I hate bridges, especially suspension bridges). Well, the fog was so low and so insane that you could see nothing! Seriously! Look!I do not know whose disembodied head that is. But see how the bridge just disappears into the fog? It was crazy.

I stopped for Pizza and noticed this very creative spelling of Canadian Bacon.

At 7:00PM I went back to Haight-Ashbury for a ghost tour. I joined three others and followed a tour guide around. It was soo cold that we were all shivering. I was wearing a thick sweatshirt AND a jacket. The weather here is crazy.

The tour was cool because our guide is not only a ghost hunter, he is a historian. I got a great lesson on the architecture of the Haight area, along with a history of the residents. We passed by Janis Joplin's home (well, two of them. She moved around a bit?). A 19 year old kid was shot to death in front of the one house and now people hear running there, like how it must have sounded as he was running from the crazy dude that shot him.

I am super skeptical about ghosts. I want to believe, but I simply don't. The tour was neat, though, and after we bade the tour guide adieu, the four of us settled into Trax for a brew. This place is apparently haunted by some feller that got himself shot. The staff found a photo from the origins of the bar (1940) and in it is a the guy who many of them had seen haunting the place. I, however, saw no one. Not even a server. We had to go to the bar (which was fine, the bartender was adorable. I asked him about the ghost and he said he did not want to see him. I personally think the bartender would scream like a cheerleader and run out of the room*). It was fun talking to the group I was with. The one guy was local, married and expecting his first kid in February (Shh, don't tell anyone. He said he had not yet told anyone). He is also an author: freelance and books. The other two were from Houston and were attorneys. They had twin sons and were married. They seem to be connoisseurs of ghost tours. Me, this was my first. It was neat.

I DO know the way to San Jose

Yesterday was an exciting day. I met with a classmate from BU at a great little Italian restaurant in San Jose. He brought his gorgeous wife and their three year old son who was nearly kidnapped by me, especially after he waved goodbye to me from his car seat as they drove away. But honestly, I can only run so fast in these flip-flops. It was fun getting to hear a current BU student's take on the program. Thanks for lunch, Paul!

Lucky for me, the Winchester House of Mystery was right next to the restaurant.I walked over and paid a million bucks to see this crazy house that Sarah Winchester, recipient of the Winchester Firearms gazillions ($20M in addition to $1000 a day), designed and had built (The photo only shows a portion of the enormous house). Apparently, she was haunted by the ghosts of those killed by Winchester weapons and was told by a medium (in Boston) that she needed to move out here and build a house on which the building never stopped. She renovated and built onto her home for 36 years. The work went on 24/7. The building grew to 7 stories. Then the earthquake of 1906 struck and destroyed parts of the house. It caused the fireplace in the room that Sarah used as her bedroom to collapse and trap her inside. She was convinced that the earthquake happened because the spirits were furious that she had completed parts of the house and so she boarded up the 30 front rooms so that the house would never be complete. You can still see the damage caused by the quake in those rooms.
It was important to her to confuse the spirits (so goes the reigning theory) which explains cupboards that are only an inch deep, doors that head nowhere, and the stairs that lead directly into the ceiling.

She was also fixated on the number 13 (thirteen holes in the drains, thirteen panes of glass, thirteen windows) and on spiderwebs. This window was in the bathroom that contained a shower which was unbelievably high tech for those days. When Sarah Winchester died, she left the insides of the mansion to her niece, but the house was left to no one. So while it cost several million to build, it was sold for about $100,000+ to a farmer who wanted the land.

They say it's haunted, but I would never be able to find my way through the house in a way to be able to find out for sure.

After I left the mansion, I headed into San Francisco to watch a Giants game. I was about a block from the stadium at 4:45 (the game started at 4:05) when I noticed a ton of people in orange shirts coming towards me. What the...? 4:05 start time was in EST. GRRR. No baseball for me. But the Giants won. And I went to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and it was great.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Trees are red on the inside, like you and me.

I went through the Redwood Forest yesterday. I thought these were the huge red ones. Nope, they are the tall ones. And they are gray on the outside. Perplexing. It is the sequoias that are the huge ones. I planned to go the Sequoia Forest, but it is on the east side of California and that is way out of my way, so I am going to have to miss out on it for the sake of seeing Carmel.

I do not know why I look like an eight year old in all of my pictures.

The coast is beautiful and really rocky. Oh, and I think I may have seen a herd of elk, but truthfully I was driving too fast to see for sure and I did not feel like turning around. That is the problem with traveling alone, you notice things too late, or not at all.

Well, I am off to meet a classmate for brunch. Then it's off to the Winchester House. Woo!

Buggy has gone dune buggy

Boy, they sure scare the crap out of you when you want to rent a dune buggy, but I guess it is for the best. Still, after the instructions, I thought for sure I would return (if I returned) with at least a broken arm. Nothing like that happened, though, and I was riding high on adrenaline for an hour. Because I was going out on my own, I went with the suggestion of a bigger engined vehicle. I am a badass!

See? Badass. (They made me wear a camouflage helmet which helped in the badass department, but not in the pretty, pretty princess one). I got a ton of instruction, which was a tad overwhelming during its delivery, but once I got out on the sand, was very helpful.

Boy, you have to gun it up hills and then watch out because that hill may suddenly just drop off and there you are, airborne.

I played it safe to get used to the buggy (or because I am a nerdy chicken), and then I started gunning it and flying all over the place. My true colors showed themselves on one hill as I noticed the drop off and got scared. I stopped and tried to turn around. Oops, now I am stuck in the sand. 2 gentlemen came and rescued me, but I had to go down this hill with a massive drop. Scary! So I squared my shoulders and went for it. Gah, my stomach sank, but I made it and then felt proud, powerful and a little embarrassed all at once.

I kept going for an hour. My abs were killing me. The way the dunes roll throws you all around and I had to fight to keep my seat much of the time. The day after, my body was killing me. (Shoulders, belly, wrists)!

It was so much fun!

I did not get to try to sand board because I was too lazy to get the board, walk up a hill, fall down a lot, get back up the hill and try again.