Brave New World
(13-22 October 2005)

22 October 2005
-Won a substantial chunk of change at Oaks for the first time, which was fun.  There may be a bit more of this in my future, depending on how consistently I can at least break even.  It's a lot of fun to have for free, or get paid for.
-Pumpkins!  Looks like we'll be carving when Em gets home...
-Sometimes there just aren't enough explanations.
-Hung out with Mesco & Afsheen in a great but whirlwind catch-up session.  They're in town for a wedding of a friend I don't know, so it was fortunate to get time with them at all.  As we discussed, if only Emily & I could re-stage our wedding every year, then everyone would be in the same place to hang out again.

21 October 2005
-Poker Night was an unexpectedly good time last night, as many many folks showed up just about when I was expecting to call it off.  I picked up $22, but rookie Leslie was the big winner.  Sometimes, one just seems to have peoples' number.
-Em absconded with my book!
-I have rarely done anything so consistently frustrating as to try to create this forum for RMI on the EarthLink servers.  Holy cow.  I have been sent into a flying, fist-pounding, hair-pulling rage by this process.  The events that create such overwhelming frustration are mostly driven by the fact that EarthLink doesn't use MySQL, which is a near-requirement of online forums these days, & that it seems to have trouble actually making PHP work despite claiming otherwise.  I think I'm going to throw my computer out the window soon.  Hate.

20 October 2005
-Exit Em, stage Santa Barbara.  She's going to be traveling even more than I have lately, which is a lot.
-I love lists.  Boy, do I love lists.  I especially love lists of books, one of my other favorite things.  So when Jenny posts that there's a new book list out, I clearly have to check it out.  Turns out I've only read 14 of the offerings, but I'm not precisely impressed with the list overall.  Starting it in 1923 is all well & good for Time to put their little slant on it, but the complete omission of Ray Bradbury, Tim O'Brien, & Aldous Huxley from such a narrow range as the last 83 years is unforgivable heresy.  I also dislike the lack of ranking amongst the hundred picks, but I can let this slide far more than the lack of the above authors.  Did I mention that Brave New World came out in 1932, well within the bounds of the list?  The list reminds me of about 5 books I've been meaning to read, so that's nice, but I can't say as I trust it as a definitively compelling list.  Interestingly, 18 of the 64 Book Quiz books made their uninformed cut, which isn't bad at all given that quite a few BQ books were before the 1923 line.  Though it should be noted that 3 of those 18 are the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which they list as one book, which is another mistake of this list, since they don't count other series (notably the Rabbit series from Updike or the Narnia series) as one volume.  Silly.  Finally, I can't wait till my generation starts deciding these things, because then we'll be over The Grapes of Wrath already.  But then again, it's currently running 21st on the Book List, so mayhap we'll never be rid of that tome of iniquity.  Sigh.

19 October 2005
-Mayhap is a word.  & Xanterra was Amfac & changed their name.  Thus the great debates from the trip are resolved.  How did we rely on our knowledge before the internet again?
-Tried to find some links about Em's adventures in the Fresno media, but sadly the Fresno TV stations aren't very good at getting their material over to the internet.  Regardless, she's becoming an all-star in progressive politics for the region.
-Lots of work to do!  Very exciting things in the works.

18 October 2005
[from Clovis, California]
-Em had a press conference in Fresno today with the same folks she did a conference with a while back... mostly retirement coalitions & such.  It was well done, a bake sale to raise money to fight the prescription drug industry on these propositions, but some of the methods were a might bit cheezy.  Not that Em had particular control over that aspect of it.
-Wow.  It's like I'm really part of a team here.  Crazy.
-After the train back, we'll actually have some time at our house.  It's been a long trip, but a good one.  Em's tagging home & taking off for Santa Barbara as well, but I'll actually have some time to settle into a routine again.

17 October 2005
[from Clovis, California]
-This is starting to feel like an endless tour.  We were home for about 2 hours this morning after a crack-of-dawn flight out of SLC; just enough time to get picked up by Gris, unpack/repack, & be on our way to the train station in Emeryville.  I've been a little sick, migrainey, exhausted, & then slowly recovered all in the span of the afternoon/evening.  Em debated a doctor on Fresno local news over props 78 & 79 & did very well in pointing out that the doctor was a drug industry shill & that the lawsuits she was afraid of are actually the fault of said drug companies.  Then the first-ever win in Ticket to Ride for someone other than Jen or myself was visited upon us by Emily.  The kids are growing up fast, & Meggo seems to have undergone the same change in hair color that I did at her age, living just miles down the highway.  While I'm not invested in the playoffs, the NLCS game tonight was almost enough to get me excited again.  If my thoughts seem crazy scattered tonight, it's because I am.

16 October 2005
[from Salt Lake City]
-Today was mostly driving as I completed the entire 1,010.6-mile tour from here to Yellowstone, around the park, & back again.  We managed to see the Roosevelt Arch (picking up a second new state, Montana, for Em), the Hot Springs themselves, & get some last-minute souvenirs, as well as CD's of my parents' digital pictures.  Don't spend any time in Pocatello, Idaho if you can help it.  Finally, try not to find hotels around the Salt Lake airport, because they're impossible to locate.  Ah well.  'Twas a great trip & I'm going to miss both the park & my parents a great deal.

15 October 2005
[from Yellowstone]
-After a day like yesterday, methinks everyone's a little worn out today.  Plus I missed my wake-up call today, or I should say it missed me.  So it goes.  Still a great breakfast & an opportunity to finally see Old Faithful (twice!), once from a distance on the nearby geyser loop.  Other National Parks are great & have their spirit, but no park (not even my beloved Grand Canyon) had quite the distinction of Yellowstone.  There is no other place remotely like this in the world.  It's a last link to the molten eras of the past.
-After more than 8 years, I have had to retire my NFL Nationals 1997 Star of the North keychain.  This may not seem like much, but it's a pretty huge deal to me given how much time I've logged with that in my pocket every single day.  The new keychain is less likely to crack (the old one was a surprisingly resilient plastic that has almost cracked through entirely at the chain edge) as it's all metal & presents a representation of buffalo with a label of Yellowstone National Park.  We'll see if this one can make it a full decade.
-Came up to Mammoth Hot Springs after a long goodbye to the Snow Lodge.  We had stops at other falls & the largest geyser imaginable.  The Mammoth Lodge is quite different & feels like it hasn't been updated since the '20's, which is nice in some ways but mostly uncomfortable.  The lobby is also too simple & overly lit.  Nevertheless, there are herds of elk on the lawn & we saw a buffalo use a crosswalk, so there's plenty of fauna.

14 October 2005
[from Yellowstone]
-Yesterday was a lot of travel that didn't seem like too much.  Flew into SLC, met my parents, rented a car, & headed northeast.  We had a bizarre eating experience at a Village Inn in Roy, Utah... they had breakfast burritos with green &/or red chile, but both forms had meat.  Then it was up through Idaho (new state for Em), over into the Grand Tetons, & then up to Yellowstone at dusk.  The lodge (Old Faithful Snow Lodge) beat my expectations by a fair bit, with one of the greatest lodge lobbies I've ever seen.  We missed Old Faithful last night, but got cold doing it.  There's always today.
-Mudpots at dawn!  We didn't sleep on a typewriter as before, but the scene amongst mist & sunrise was just as glorious as any memories.  Sweet Fountain Paint Pots.  On the way back, we saw 3 herds of buffalo & were able to get within about 10 feet of one of them, seeing about 12 adults & 3 calves!  Unreal.  We followed this up with perhaps the best breakfast ever, featuring the world's largest cinnammon roll, in the Snow Lodge dining room.
-The day seemed endless, & I've rarely lately needed so little sleep for so much activity.  We went on a full tour of the interior loop of the park, with stops at West Thumb to see phenomenally colored pools & geysers, Lake to see Lake Yellowstone & the Lake Hotel, & then the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which I recall as one of my favorites from being here as a child.  I remember Artist's Point having an incredible view of the waterfall, but the brink of the Upper Falls was by far the highlight of this leg of the tour, featuring a direct view of the water tumbling over the edge.  Truly tremendous day.
-Another dinner & latenight reading by the fire in the beautiful Snow Lodge lobby.  I never want to leave.

13 October 2005
-Mayhap it's time to really revisit limit poker again.
-Well my bags aren't quite packed & I'm not quite ready to go, but I have that early early morning anticipation of a grand adventure.  It's just edging towards 2 in the morning & I'm about to wrap everything up around here, pack, & then anticipate our 5:30 departure from the Big Blue House for points northeast.  Very exciting.  I just love this feeling of reaching out into the uncertainty of the coming days & really breaking out of my molds & taking a great fun trip, not to mention seeing my parents.  There's something about early morning preparations for a journey that make them some of my favorite times of my life.  Soft quiet on the verge of spectacle.  In the absence of a computer, updates about Yellowstone will appear upon my return.  Catch you on the flip side of this here verge.

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