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"We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey."
~John Hope Franklin
Some of my earliest memories were leafing through National Geographic magazine at the library with my grandmother or watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom on Sunday evenings with my dad. I loved being transported, if only for a moment, to the plains of SubSaharan Africa watching a lion stalk an antelope or on top of Mount Everest risking life and limb to reach the top with enough canned air and daylight to make it back to base camp. I remember playing adventurer in the open spaces at the end of my street while growing up. Climbing trees, setting traps that never worked and riding my bike through tall grasses exploring my world as if I was the first person to ever do it.
Flash forward...ahem...a couple of years, and I find myself preparing for a round the world vehicle-based expedition in my Toyota Land Cruiser. The dream is to drive through multiple continents and a myriad of countries experiencing the world free from airplane flights and drivers that never quite put you in the action. We've built the truck and we're getting ready to depart in the next year. I've traveled in the past, but traveling for a few weeks or months is not the same thing as driving around the world.
While preparing for this trip of a lifetime, I stumbled upon a magazine called Overland Journal that embodies the true nature of adventure while using your own vehicle. Overlanding is about exploration, rather than conquering obstacles. It's about using your vehicle to get you places where few people get to go so you can commune with nature in your own way- bicycle, raft, kayak, or on foot. The goal of Overland Journal is to encourage people to explore their world, whether it be in the mountains 100 miles from home over a weekend, or on a 30,000 mile journey crossing multiple international borders.
Overland Journal is a fantastic magazine packed with the latest gear to get you out exploring and get you home safely. Their editors test and retest products to help you spend your money wisely. The travel articles are second to none and truly capture the essence of what it means to be a traveler.
I can't wait to finally get on the road, to experience life from the ground level. No, I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list.
"I don't understand banks. Why do they attach chains to their pens? If I'm trusting you with my money, you should trust me with your pens."
Doomsday preppers are a funny bunch. They come up with all kinds of crazy prophecies about an economic collapse or an explosion of a mega-volcano that will drive people to start haggling like Mad Max in a post-apocalyptic Bartertown. Personally, I think preppers are just making excuses so they can hoard without all the judgement about having a psychological dysfunction.
Nope, I'm no prepper. I still keep my money in the bank and I haven't taken to purchasing large stocks of gold, silver, toilet paper and feminine hygiene products to use as currency when this supposedly inevitable collapse happens. Maybe I'm crazy, but more than likely, they're the ones that are a couple of french fries short of a happy meal.
I can't say I like Chase, but I also can't say that I hate it either. All banks nickel and dime you with unnecessary fees and penalties for using your own money- so it basically comes down to service and how you're treated when you use a certain bank. Are you cattle or are you treated with a little respect? Even if it's disingenuous customer service patter, I've been treated like a real person more often than not at Chase.
So, until I completely snap, start storing army rations and carve out a hollow spot in my mattress to store my fortune, I'll be keeping it at Chase. I might also be stealing some of those pens just in case we need them to barter.
"We'll provide complete solutions for do-it-yourselfers, wannabes and do-it-for-me homeowners."
I like to think of myself as a do-it-yourselfer, but I'm probably more of a do-it-for-me homeowner.
When Astrid and I moved to Santa Cruz, we had a ton of updates to do on our little cottage before we actually moved in. The house was built in 1947 and the windows were last replaced in 1972...obviously in the seventies nobody cared about energy efficiency or quiet for that matter because these windows were awful! They leaked cold air, were pitted and dirty, and allowed traffic noise to come in! We needed a change of view, so we decided to update the windows with vinyl, dual panes throughout the entire house. A pricey proposition...
Dale at Interlite was super helpful and helped us come to a decision on what windows would be best for our budget and needs. He ordered the windows that same day and we had them within a week. Our contractor installed them over the next couple of days and the change was remarkable. We could no longer hear traffic noise and the cold air drafts were gone! I totally recommend getting new windows if you have the money. Our new windows make the house look updated too!
We used Interlite again for a thick glass shower door and they came through again with a beautiful frameless European style glass door with chrome hinges and handles. They had the option of regular glass or treated glass, but the woman on the phone recommended the regular glass as long as I treated the glass myself with RainX. We saved $200.00 and have a door that repels water now!
I'm totally happy with Interlite and I recommend them for your remodel too!
"If a tree falls in the woods, and there's no one there to hear it, how will the Environmentalists react?"
If you know me, you'll know that I'm an avid indoorsman who's highly regarded for my skill at building rubber band balls, paperclip chains, staple removal and writing Yelp reviews. I like to take a break once in a while and get outside to clear my head...or destroy printers with a baseball bat like those guys from Office Space. When I do get out, I like to take a walk in Arana Gulch.
Arana Gulch is a rich habitat of wetlands, live oak forest, and coastal terrace prairie that is quite literally in my backyard. Trails run through the open space from either Agnes Street to the north or the Santa Cruz Harbor from the south. Hiking and biking are allowed on the primary trail north to south, but the real beauty is in the loop that encircles the prairie and that's only open to hikers. When you walk here, you're instantly transported to a natural wonderland full of ancient oak trees that grow over the trail. Spring is a perfect time to visit Arana Gulch as amazing wildflowers are in bloom all over the prairie in whites, pinks and purples.
You'll definitely never be alone here. This space is well used by hikers, walkers, bicyclists, dog owners, birdwatchers, homeless folks who camp nearby and some kids who like to smoke "the pot". If you search the bushes hard enough you might find some interesting things. On a recent walk I saw tighty-whiteys hanging from a tree branch, a full tent setup in the underbrush, and someone's water supply. The best find ever however was when I was 10 years old and my friend and I found a whole stash of porn mags on the bluff overlooking the harbor.
That was seriously a good day.
Anyway go to Arana Gulch, you'll never know what you'll find.
"Lie to a liar, for lies are his coin; Steal from a thief, for that is easy; lay a trap for a trickster and catch him at first attempt, but beware of an honest man"
A wise person once said, "There is honor among thieves." In this case if that means that these guys steal wine from the rich and sell at a low price to the poor, then those are just the type of egalitarian principles that I can stand behind.
No one likes a cheap wine, but everyone likes an inexpensive wine, right? Well that's the philosophy behind a new wine merchant that just opened on Domingo Avenue in Berkeley- which, by the way, is becoming a bit of a Mecca for specialty foods recently...Their whole goal is to provide their customers with wines from all over the world for between $15-$20 bucks! Not a bad goal. They do this in a completely unpretentious way, these guys just love wine and love to share their passion with their customers.
I popped in yesterday and met one of the partners, Rod, who was really personable. He informed me that they were in their soft opening so their stock was a bit low, but don't let that stop you from heading in to check the place out and pick up some good wines at a low price. They'll be adding more wines over the next few weeks as well as a selection of fresh artisan cheeses from California and around the globe. They'll also be doing weekly wine tastings in the future as well as working with another newcomer to the neighborhood, Amphora Nueva to do some tastings together.
In all, Wine Thieves looks to be an exciting addition to the neighborhood. I'm looking forward to the day when I can go get fresh baked bread at The Bread Garden, a bottle of wine and some cheese from Wine Thieves and a bottle of olive oil and vinegar from Amphora and head up to the hills to eat, drink and take in the view of the bay.
Gourmet Ghetto, eat your heart out.
"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists."
~ Joan Gussow
Thankfully, the folks at McClelland's Dairy in Petaluma trust cows over chemists too. I mean, why wouldn't you trust a cow? They're relatively quiet, they're docile, they have big, soulful eyes, you know- they're cows. What's not to trust?
Those chemists on the other hand, they're a sinister bunch in their white lab coats, side-parted hairdos and thick glasses- testing all kinds of creepy chemical formulas on unsuspecting humans and passing it off as food. I don't trust 'em and you shouldn't either.
Anyway, I digress. I had the chance to try some organic European-style butter from McClelland's Dairy at the Grand Lake Farmer's Market a few weeks ago and fell in love with the creamy, salty richness right away. I bought a tub and brought it home to put on a loaf of bread. But something amazing happened...
I realized you can put butter on EVERYTHING. So I tried it out. Butter on my apple- excellent, butter on my hamburger- butter makes the burger, butter on my cheese- pushing it, butter on my pasta- duh, butter on my orange- okay, that wasn't so good. Anyway, you get the point. Julia Child was right when she said, "With enough butter, anything is good." I love Julia.
So be sure to check out McClelland's Dairy at your farmer's market or in your local food store and be prepared to savor some mighty fine butter.
I just got an email from Susan at Kimber's Farm Fresh Eggs letting me know that they didn't move to Arizona as they told me they were going to do...so get on over there for some great local foods and support your local farmers!
"I love my storage unit, it's nice and big. I can store anything I want in there, except a rotting pig."
~ Tom Megalis
What is it about storage facilities that bring every drug-addled, lithium-taking, stanky-armpit-smelling, cross-eyed freak-of-nature out of the woodwork? Rolling doors and padlocks must represent Nirvana to these mutants because they flock to storage facilities by the dozens, chain-smoking cigarettes and generally tweaking out while they visit. It makes a relatively normal person wonder why they keep stuff in these facilities...
Granted, not EVERY person who stores their belongings in a storage facility is a tweaker. In fact, one in 11 households in America rent some form of self-storage space to store the crap that they can't fit into their houses. From Christmas decorations they use once a year, to sporting equipment they'll never use again...from personal trinkets to office supplies...from winter clothing circa 1983 to comic book collections, the plethora of storage facilities speak to the fact that we're more willing to rent an extra room to hoard our poor life decisions than to actually turn around and try to sell it on Craigslist...or better yet, just get rid of it.
After three years of moving around the U.S. and the world, I unloaded my stuff from Metro Storage's 'Catacombs of Consumerism' on Saturday for the last time and closed my account. I'm done with storage. I'm a free man. A little older and a little wiser. No more sharing the elevator with ingrates for me. No more wondering if people are storing dead bodies in the unit next to mine. And no more paying people to store shit I never use anyway.
Thanks for letting me keep my stuff there Metro, but I'm out!
Back in 1962, when the Pan-Am Worldport (now Terminal 3) opened at Idlewild Airport (now JFK). It was probably looked upon as one of the great modern terminals in all of airport history. A quick Wikipedia search informs me that it was the first terminal in the world to feature a jetway instead of the prevalent airstairs, meaning that you didn't have to walk outside to enter the plane. It was obviously the beginning of many modern conveniences like computers the size of houses, automobiles that hovered above ground and personal jetpacks.
Fast forward to 2009 and although computers are now the size of a notebook, I still haven't seen hover cars or jetpacks. I'm pissed. I was promised a jetpack. I WANT MY DAMN JETPACK! For that matter, I want a talking house and a robot that brings me food and porn, I'll never leave!
At JFK, Terminal 3 is now occupied by Delta Airlines. Its once grand elliptical roof on concrete pillars now looks like a ragged and shabby reminder of the future that never arrived. The building is musty, hot and stinky. Walking by the bathrooms, one is bowled-over by the scent of urinal deodorizer cakes, urine and feces. Nasty water marks stain the walls and ceilings. Birds fly throughout the terminal shitting on whatever they please. The entrance from the AirTrain is hidden up a huge ramp that one must climb while rolling their suitcases behind them, the elevators that were promised on the exterior signs were broken. They fail on many accounts.
The only bright spot about Terminal 3 is the newer stores for some quick shopping before your flight. The CNN Newsstand has some great newly-released books, there's the obligatory Starbucks for coffee, you can visit the Discovery Channel store or pick up some fresh sandwiches and salads at Balducci's.
More than anything else though, Terminal 3 is just a completely depressing blast from a very distant past where everything was going to be so easy and futuristic. What happened?
Tear this building down right now and start over. This time don't promise me a jetpack if you can't deliver.
"Everybody go, hotel, motel Holiday Inn
Say if your girl starts actin' up, then you take her friend."
~ Sugarhill Gang- Rapper's Delight
I can't say that the Fishkill Hotel & Conference center is anywhere near as cool as the lyrics of Rapper's Delight seem to suggest. No, Fishkill isn't exactly a destination hotspot. You're not going to find massive amounts of people booking vacation travel to Fishkill to get away from it all. In fact, the only reason you'll end up here is because you're tired and you pull off the highway, or you're like us and got it on the cheap from Hotwire.
The hotel is pretty dilapidated. The hallways were kind of smelly and the carpets were threadbare. In our wing, there were random mini-fridges sitting in the corridor outside the rooms. You would think that the management might move those...
The room itself is pretty decent and at $70.00 a night, I ain't complaining too much. Marble and dark wood cabinets, down duvets on the bed, an array of pretty comfortable pillows, free WiFi and plenty of hot water. We don't have a TV at home, so we took the opportunity to check out some shows- I have to say, I'm not missing much.
The staff were really helpful too. Mohammed helped us during check-in and he was gracious, accomodating and funny. He switched our room from a double bed to a king size bed at no additional cost. When we saw someone deliver food to him, we commented on how good it looked because we were starving. He offered us some of his food! He was serious. Way cool.
Anyway, it's hard to beat the price. If you're traveling through, stop in and check it out.
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"All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies."
Santa Cruz, CA, Vereinigte StaatenYelper seit
August 2008Dinge, die ich mag
adventure, rock climbing, curry, overland travel, dark chocolate, India, tea, indie music, Indian food, Sicily, traveling, meditation, social media, surfing, nonprofits, Bourbon, craft brews, photography, blogging, cookingHier bin ich häufig anzutreffen
My Land Cruiser in the middle of nowhere.Heimatort
Santa Cruz, CA bit.ly/cGNhS9Mein Blog oder meine Website Wenn ich nicht gerade yelpe, dann ...
I'm climbing a rock or traveling in the backcountry.Warum du meine Beiträge unbedingt lesen solltest
I know the difference between there, their, and they're.Meine zweitliebste Website Was ich zuletzt gelesen habe
Salt: A World History by Mark KurlanskyMein erstes Konzerterlebnis
Oingo Boingo- Santa Cruz Civic AuditoriumMein Lieblingsfilm
Something decadent and memorable- no doubt involving massive amounts of cheeseErzähl's nicht weiter, aber...
I double dip the samples at grocery storesMeine neueste Entdeckung
Swan Oyster Depot!Ich schwärme gerade für