My recent spate of travelling has finally come to an end. I was supposed to go camping this weekend in Desolation Wilderness, but it’s raining there all weekend, so we decided to postpone. In our defense, it’s still covered in 10 feet of snow right now, but we were willing to use snowshoes. However, there’s not much worse than hiking and camping when it’s rainy and miserable. I have to admit that I’m not too disappointed to be sleeping in my own bed this weekend.

Remember that nagging soccer injury I whined about earlier? Well, I reaggravated it by not stretching at all when I was at home, and then walking 12 miles a day in DC and playing Ultimate as soon as I got back to Berkeley. So now I’m back to stretching, etc., but my plan to run the SF half marathon with Joel and Matt is in jeopardy, as they’ve been training all the time I’ve been gone, and I’m a bit hesitant to run until I’m sure my hip is better. Also, my natural laziness is kicking in. I need some motivation!

Okay, this is the last picture-laden update for a while. Here’s where I’ve been.

Down the Coast
William and Jeff came to visit early last week, and we drove down the coast on Highway 1, mimicking the route that I took two years earlier with James, Grant, and Alex. It’s such an awesome drive, though, that it was just as good the second time around. And this time we went bowling in Pismo Beach, too. Yeah!

I had a field day with my camera, of course. This time around I paid a little more attention not just to the natural beauty, but also to how the man-made creations (bridges, roads, buildings, people) fit in.

On the way back up, we stopped at Hearst Castle.

I like that last picture because it’s actually upside down! Here’s the original. The second picture has some nostalgic value, too. I was trying to recreate from memory a similar picture that I took maybe 10 years ago the last time I was there, which I subsequently used in the Image Inpainting project Wing and I did. To tell you the truth, other than that, I don’t like it too much.

Prog Week
Last week I went to a couple of shows at the Fillmore. Both were, as it turns out, what you’d call “progressive rock”: interesting melodies, time signatures, and song arrangements. First was Porcupine Tree, who sport a pretty potent blend of heavy prog and pop. Their show was terrific… one of the ones where when you’re leaving the venue you can’t wait to go back home and put on some of their CDs. Here’s a sample song: Blackest Eyes. If you give it a listen, make sure to listen at least a few minutes in to hear the contrasting styles.

Then the next day I saw Pinback, who are more “acoustic” and fall a little more loosely under the term “prog”. They’re an awesome band, but the show wasn’t quite as fun as the first time I saw them. Some of the songs were great, but others were totally uninspired. Oh well. I can still listen to their CDs :). Here’s a sample song: X I Y.

The Secret Spot
Last Saturday we went to Stinson Beach for Meg’s birthday. On the way back, the people in my car decided to stop at one of my favorite places ever, a pretty isolated rock outcropping about 200 yards off of Route 1, south of the beach. I first happened upon it a couple of years ago, and since then I’ve found it endlessly calming and beautiful, so I keep dragging people there :). This is actually the first time I had my camera along, though, so I took a couple of pictures.

See that little black sand beach under the cliff in the middle of the second picture? (You can only just see a tip of it in the picture.) It’s my dream to go there one day…

Chicago
I went to Chicago for PLDI. I met up with an old friend, had deep dish pizza, went on another architectural boat tour, and oh yeah, attended some talks too :).

The last picture is my favorite.

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2 Responses to

  1. ratatosksv says:

    My life goal is to swim in the outdoor pool at Hearst Castle.

    • aj says:

      The docent who was giving our tour claimed that he and the other docents were allowed to swim in the pool once a year, during some Hearst Castle employee gala or something. So that’s one way you could do it: become a docent at the Castle.

      The other would be to just jump in during a tour. I bet you could swim for at least 15 minutes before they could forcibly remove you :).