Fizzy Thoughts

Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Pipe Masters 2012

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This is why we go to the North Shore of Oahu, so Hamburger can watch the pro surfers do their thang at Bonzai Pipeline (the first four pictures are Backdoor, though, not Pipe…these are the things you learn when you live with a surfer).

IMG_1220 IMG_1221 IMG_1224 IMG_1229 IMG_1234 IMG_1268 IMG_1272 IMG_1275 IMG_1278 IMG_1209 IMG_1285 IMG_1289

Written by softdrink

January 7, 2013 at 6:00 am

Posted in Hawaii, travel

I’m baa-aack

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We spent 13 full days in Hawaii (on the North Shore of Oahu, to be exact). Here are a few statistics:

Days it rained: 13

Rainbows: lots

Spicoli moments: 2 (You know that scene from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” where Spicoli opens the van door? Yep, that.)

Dogs on scooters: 2

Hikes: 3

Walks along bike path: numerous

Pairs of tennies left behind: 1 (too muddy to pack)

Visits to Coldstone: 2

Visits to other ice cream shops: 3

Visits to Kua ‘Aina (a sandwich/burger joint): 3

Kua ‘Aina fries consumed: too many

Go Karts raced: 2

Visits to bowling alley: 2

Book stores visited: 1

Books purchased: 1

Books read: 8

Written by softdrink

December 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Posted in Hawaii, travel

Weekend Highlight

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Big excitement!!! You will never guess what happened yesterday!!

I saw a banana slug (I told you you wouldn’t guess.)

Why is a banana slug exciting? Well, because we were on a steam train cruising through the redwood forest outside of Santa Cruz, and the conductor told us to be on the lookout because banana slugs like to cruise around in redwood forests, so I was hoping to see a little palish-yellow blob on the forest floor. I had actually stopped looking when I saw IT (really, it was hard to miss as it was crawling up a tree (at least I think it was going up…hard to tell with slugs) and it was freakin’ ginormous (for a slug), so there was no point in all the prior eye strain). I all but screamed at Hamburger “Oh my god, LOOK AT THE BANANA SLUG!”

Unfortunately, the train was moving and my cell phone was in my pocket, so I don’t have photographic evidence, but I swear the thing was easily 8 inches long, bright yellow, and looked just like this:

Isn’t he cute?


Okay, then you probably don’t want your child applying for college at UC Santa Cruz:

Yep, their mascot really is a banana slug. And he reads Plato…smart cookie, that slug.

Written by softdrink

June 3, 2012 at 6:00 am

Posted in travel

Travel update

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While I was off not-blogging, I read (some), but I also plotted adventures. Although I won’t be going anyplace new or exotic, I have made definite plans to:

Go to Hawaii. Specifically, the North Shore in December. This will be our (our being me and Burger Boy) fourth trip to watch the pro surfers surf big, scary waves. We scored cheap flights (Allegiant Air just started direct flights from Santa Maria (about 45 minutes south of us) to Honolulu…yahoo!). And I found a studio apartment to rent…with the all important beach cruisers included. So we’ll be spending the two weeks before Christmas peddling around the North Shore and hanging out at the beach. I. Can’t. Wait.

Go to HB’s family reunion this summer. In Sunriver, Oregon. Again. But hey…it’s a cheap vacation, and I love Oregon.

Go to Vegas, baby. This will be a very quick trip in October to see a Cirque du Soleil show. My mom and her friend will be on their way home from a mountain bike trip (my mom rocks) and I’m going to fly over (again, thanks to Allegiant Air and their cheapo flights) to meet up and then drive home with them…the next day. As I said, a quick trip. But I’m a whore for Cirque du Soleil shows. (We’ll be seeing Zumanity, if you were wondering.)

Go to Booktopia. This is also in October, in Santa Cruz.

Go to Santa Cruz. Yes, for Booktopia. But it’s also where I am this very minute, since it’s HB’s birthday (I’ll rat him out…he’s 46).  We’re gonna ride the roller coaster at the Boardwalk (a tradition with us in Santa Cruz) and then maybe ride the old train through the mountains. Woo-woo.

It makes me very happy to have my vacations all planned out for the rest of the year. While spur of the moment trips are fun, I like to have something to look forward to.

How about you…got any fun vacation plans?

Written by softdrink

June 2, 2012 at 6:00 am

Posted in travel

the Tucson story…finally

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Tucson was fabulous, in a number of different ways.

Other Jill (the blogger known as Rhapsody in Books, but who I call Other Jill, because, well, I’m Jill. Ergo, she’s Other Jill) was kind enough to host Alyce and I for the Tucson Festival of Books. This was pretty darn close to a spur of the moment trip, and I’m ever so grateful to OJ (and Jim!) for taking care of me for the weekend. This was the view of the sunrise from my bedroom (I miss this house and it’s views):

Unfortunately, Billy stayed home. Which is too bad, since Sheep in the Basement was looking forward to meeting up:

What surprised me the most about Tucson were all of the cacti. But Jill, you say…it’s the desert. There’s supposed to be cacti. Well, yeah. But these are some serious cacti. Ginormous, prickly fellows hanging out everywhere. As well as cute little fuzzy cacti tucked in small corners. In fact, there are cacti of all shapes and sizes and colors EVERYWHERE YOU GO, especially in the foothills. It was beautiful. I literally stood at the windows on a number of different occasions and just stared at the landscape. It was enthralling.

Those holes are from woodpeckers, who like to build little homes inside the saguaros. After the woodpeckers leave, other birds move in. Good for the birdies, not so great for the saguaros. This is what one of the birdie boot-condos looks like when it’s been removed:

I never knew the desert was so interesting!

And then there was the Tucson Festival of Books. I may be shunned from LA for saying this (and won’t that break my heart…not), but the TFOB beats the LAFOB hands down. Free parking, free panels (LA charges a modest processing fee for the tickets, which can add up, especially if you’re unsure of what you want to go see), flat campus (major bonus when you’re there all day, for two days), a separate kid’s area (no dodging the strollers!), friendlier people, a less zoo-like atmosphere, and better panels made this the more enjoyable experience. And okay, so I’ve only been to two LAFOBs, but I’d fly to Tucson any day over driving down to LA (especially since I’m still bitter over the fact that LA moved the FOB from UCLA to USC just as I was figuring my way around the UCLA campus).

So who all did I see? I’m glad you asked!


Susan Casey (author of The Wave), spoke on the Farallon Islands (subject of her first book, and weirdly close to where I live…why have I never heard of them??), as well as giant waves and the crazy guys who ride them (subject of her second book). I’m currently reading The Wave, and it’s quite interesting, in a “holy shit are they ever crazy” kind of way. And bonus, she’s a really engaging speaker AND she had slides (I love me some visual aids). This was a great start to the day!

Ilie Ruby, Sarah McCoy, and Naomi Benaron: Kind of an odd trio, I thought. I’ve read Ilie Ruby’s book (The Language of Trees) and Naomi Benaron’s Running the Rift, and have been meaning to read McCoy (I just might have come home with The Baker’s Daughter). The subject for the panel was writing about a sense of place, which all three authors do well. Otherwise, though, the authors didn’t seem to have much in common. Sarah McCoy has a sparkling (seriously, there’s no other way to put it) personality, and the other two seemed withdrawn in comparison, although I know that’s unfair. I saw Benaron the next day on a completely different panel, and she fit in way better with that group.

Tayari Jones, Victor Lodato, Lisa Tucker, and Diana Abu-Jabber: This group had some interesting things to say about the writing process. Not that I want to be a writer, but I’m always fascinated by how they work. That wasn’t the topic, though. It was really Fractured Families, but they talked about a whole bunch of stuff. Tayari Jones has a beautiful voice…I’d go listen to her talk just for the pleasure of listening. And I haven’t rad her book, but I liked what she had to say about her characters and her writing process.

Tiffany Baker, Joshilyn Jackson, Amy Stolls: Although Joshilyn Jackson stole the show (she’s funny!), I ended up buying the recent releases for all three of the authors (Baker’s The Gilly Salt Sisters, Jackson’s A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, and Stoll’s The Ninth Wife). So you might say this was the most successful panel. 😀

Saturday evening we (Jill, Jim, Alyse and I) met up with another J-blogger, Jessica of Quirky Bookworm, and Liza Bakewell, author of Madre:Perilous Journeys with a Spanish Noun (which is a fun book), for dinner at Blue Willow. Liza brought along her daughter, and let me tell you, that kid was the best conversationalist. She obviously takes after her mother. They were great fun!


Kathryn Bertine, Naomi Benaron, Amy Snyder: All three authors are serious athletes and have written books featuring athletes or extreme sports. It was an interesting discussion (the subject was Going to Extremes), especially the stuff on the Race Across America, a non-stop 3000 mile bike race. Just the thought makes my thigh muscles seize up.

Sam Keen: OJ said a lot of his talk was from his book, The Disappearing Spoon, which I haven’t read…yet (I bought this one, too). Dude looked like he was both 12 and a younger version of my eldest cousin, which was a bit disconcerting. Still, he managed to make the periodic table interesting, which is saying something.

I also tried to listen to a guy who takes pictures of outer space, but I got turned off by his geekiness and the geeky chatter of most of the people in the audience (geeky being defined as shit I didn’t understand), so I left. Honestly, I was just there for the pictures.

The end.

Except for the next morning we went and had breakfast at a local park and walked around to look at all the cacti. I was in heaven. Then we left for the airport and home.

Really the end.

Oh…and I have some quotes that I wrote down from some of the panels…more on that another day.

Now I’m really leaving.

Written by softdrink

March 20, 2012 at 6:00 am

Tucson pictures

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So I wrote a post on Cloud Atlas for yesterday, and boy was that exhausting. Good thing I haven’t read many books this month…that means there’s nothing waiting for a post!

Except Tucson. And that photography class from last month. *sigh*

But instead of fretting over words, I’ll just offer up some photos from last weekend (iPhone photos, though, so don’t get all excited):

Evidently I have a thing for cacti.

Words to follow…I promise.

Written by softdrink

March 18, 2012 at 6:00 am

Posted in travel, Tucson

the National Steinbeck Center

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When I mentioned that I was thinking of stopping in Salinas to visit the National Steinbeck Center, Other Jill warned me that there is nothing else in Salinas and I should pack a lunch.

She’s right.

Actually, I knew this because my college roommate was from Salinas (poor thing) and I visited her a few times during summer breaks. Salinas is only a two hour drive north of where I live, but it’s pretty much a foreign land (it’s inland, and surrounded by farmland, and honestly, there’s nothing of interest there (for someone from the coast) except for John Steinbeck stuff).

But I was on my way to Sacramento and figured it would be a good way to break up the five hour drive. And it was.

The National Steinbeck Center is actually pretty cool, despite it’s unassuming exterior.

It sticks out like a sore thumb though, since it’s at the end of the historical Main Street district (which was a pretty un-happening place). I was only there for an hour, so I just got an overview of things (while I wanted to visit the museum, I also wanted to get to Sacramento before dark). But I was able to see Rocinante (the truck Steinbeck drove around in for Travels with Charley…and I tried to take a picture of the surprisingly small interior of the camper but the flash bounced off of the Plexiglas…which kind of scared the hell out of me because I didn’t know my iPhone even had a flash),

and get an overview of his life (I didn’t know he was married three times, or that he was a war correspondent, or that he had travelled through Russia and wrote a book about those travels (which I may have bought at the museum store)), and check out a few other treasures, such as this box that he carved for the manuscript of East of Eden (it says timshel):

I also fell in love with this quote:

So if you ever find yourself driving past Salinas (hey, it could happen…it’s on Highway 101 which runs down California and conveniently connects San Francisco to me and me to LA), this place is worth a stop.



Written by softdrink

February 22, 2012 at 6:00 am

Posted in museum-y stuff, travel