progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from the Marin Headlands, between Sausalito and Tennessee Valley:

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So it’s officially official: I will be working at Mt. Tamalpais State Park this season. Met up with M___ and we did the “walkthrough” of the place where I’ll be living. I say “walkthrough” in quotes because it’s just a small RV, with barely enough room for walking. There also seems to be an issue with the water, so there’s even more of a reminder of my years at Big Basin. It’s OK, I have a few other irons in the fire right now, and am hoping that I’ll finally get a full-time position this year.

Crossed the straits over to the surplus store in Vallejo to get a new pair of uniform pants. My uniform allowance finally showed up, and I used the sunny weather today as an excuse to make the trip. Also combed the thrift stores there, wound up coming back empty handed on that front.

Did I tell you I found a CED player? The store I bought it at, surprisingly, didn’t have any discs* so I had no way of testing it. I found a disc of Semi-Tough elsewhere, but the test is still...inconclusive. The disc emerged from the player BROKEN, so whether it was the player’s fault or the disc was that way to begin with (it was in pretty sad shape!) is yet to be determined. I need to find a way to get into this thing all the way; the compartment on top (to replace the stylus) opens, but it looks like the actual lid is held on with hex bolts on the underside. I’m guessing RCA really didn’t want users trying to service these things!

*I say “surprisingly” because usually when people unload these things, they also drop off their entire video collection, which means a huge stack of CED video discs.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Acacia Walk in the Berkeley Hills:

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I’d write about the latest on Confirmed Bachelors, but I’d rather just show you. Also includes my latest thrift store find:

Work has been hellish. I’d go into details, but I think I’d rather just forget most of it. Saturday, in particular, was extremely stressful. I’m taking a few days off next week. I think I’ve earned it.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Chamberlain Creek Falls in Jackson State Forest.

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What a switch last week has been from the norm! I spent the weekend with [ profile] snousle and Ray (not on LJ) at their country home in the mountains of Mendocino County. Mostly it was a relaxing weekend, starting with a social evening at the town bar in Ukiah but it was mainly very mellow, with home-prepared meals every night (well, take-out pizza on Thursday, but other than that...).

Chester went through his paces on Saturday as I went out on a long car trip out to the coast. I stopped off half-way to take a detour on the forest roads to see Chamberlain Creek Falls. This is really one of my most-liked California waterfalls of the ones I have visited. It has one of those features I really love in that you can actually walk right up to the falls. The daring could strip down and drench themselves in the spray. There were too many other people visiting to be daring.

Stopped off in Fort Bragg for lunch, but elected not to visit the beach there, as while the town was nice, the beach looked pretty scuzzy. So I drove up to the town of Cleone and went to the beach at MacKerricher State Park instead. There were some very dramatic rock formations, perfect for watching waves crash.

I also visited some thrift stores in Ukiah and Fort Bragg but came back empty-handed. The selection was disappointing; contrary to my expectations, I tend to find more interesting junk in Hayward and at the El Sobrante Thrift Town in my own backyard. The fact that one of them was called Paul Bunyan Thrift Store just made it all the more disappointing.

Saturday night was Movie Night! So we watched my favourite episode of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl as a short subject and a prelude to the main feature. Which was Twinsanity, the video title of the 1970 film Goodbye Gemini. Two mentally disturbed fraternal twins (Judy Geeson and Martin Potter) find debauchery and tragedy in swinging London. It’s very 1970, has strong acting performances all-round and, best of all, has a plot that subverts almost every expectation you have. Just when you think you know where this movie is going, it yanks the rug out from under you. Gripping from beginning to end. I had a hunch about this film when I picked up the VHS tape mere weeks ago at Half Price Books, despite never having even heard of it before. What a find!

I definitely have to thank Tony for being such a gracious host. What a cool guy! What a cool home!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from...I think...Fuddrucker’s in Concord. Somewhere I ate this week, at any rate. They say the memory is the first thing to go:

 photo CAM01054_zpsf6eb7a5d.jpg many changes all at once. Thanks to [ profile] albadger I have entered the Flat Screen Age with a new (well, new to me, anyway) Vizio flat-screen TV. With [ profile] bigjohnsf in tow, we travelled to Fry’s in Concord to get supplies; like an HDMI cable (my old TV, being analog, was not HDMI-ready) and a component switcher box (so I can hook up both my DVD player and my laserdisc, and any other devices I might get in the future that require RCA cables). I love it and it works fantastically, although having to manually switch picture modes depending on what media I’m watching is slightly annoying. You’d think that would be something that they’d be able to program in to do automatically based on the received media signal.

I understand there are some places that refuse to accept old CRT televisions but I lucked out. I went to the El Sobrante Thrift Town donation station and they took the old Zenith, no muss, no fuss. What a relief, I have enough clutter in my life without an outdated 27" TV adding to it.

Looks like the washing machine is the next thing to be replaced. The old Kenmore looks to be on its last legs. A trip to get a new one is scheduled for mañana. Stay tuned...
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from El Cerrito’s Fairmont Park, under BART tracks:

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Took Chester out for his first wash last week. Amazingly, that didn’t bring the much-needed rain. Rather less amazingly, he’s already filthy a week later.

Had an odd thrift store experience this week. I spotted a VHS tape I wanted for *ahem* selfish reasons. But I really ought to have looked at the tape more closely, as it turned out to be not the tape I was looking for, but another video in the same series. Acting on a hunch, I returned the next day, and checked the video whose box was of the video I had. Sure enough, it contained the video I wanted. I wound up paying twice what I wanted but fortunately, these were thrift store prices, so it was not an expensive lesson. But always check the inside before you buy!


Mar. 24th, 2014 05:21 pm
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Kennedy Grove. Just capturing the state of the handlebars:

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Just got an e-mail from the lady at Samuel P. Taylor State Park saying they’re hiring and a call from a man down at Big Basin scheduling an interview. So I’m still not 100% sure where I’ll be working/living by April, but it looks like my life for the next nine months is going to be very different.

I did pizza night this past Thursday, where I met up with [ profile] hardybear for the first time in ages. Did the circuit of Hayward thrift stores; there’s a new one in Eco Thrift’s old location on Mission south of Industrial, so now there’s three to choose from. Also visited the Union City Library, which has a deck that overlooks a pond with geese and ducks. Most unusual.

I’m wrapping up the writing project that has occupied most of my free time since the New Year. Now at 40 chapters, it’s looking as though it’ll be complete by about 45-50. My faithful readers are going to hate me for all the dangling plot threads and sequel hooks I’m throwing out right at the end, but it will have a decisive finale.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

The peninsula. It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping!

Had a bizarre experience on the peninsula this weekend. It seemed I managed to find a couple of unusual double-duty businesses there. Is the whole peninsula riddled with these kinds of places? First up of note is The Movie Groove and Grind Coffee Bar in Redwood City, which is a café and a video store. Their menu is a bit daunting for the neophyte, but the friendly guy behind the counter talked me through the process of ordering. They hand-grind the beans for every cup of coffee they make. I just got an ordinary cup of French roast; a good, safe try-out for any coffee place. It was a little like dying and going to Coffee Heaven. It was so rich, it was a little like a mocha, though there was no actual cocoa in my cup (unless he put some in when I wasn’t paying attention—unlikely).

I also had a meal at a place called Chez Nicole in San Mateo. The name suggests a fancy French bistro, but it’s located in a rather threadbare strip-mall, and has a sign out front that reads “Donuts [sic] and Chinese Food.” It doesn’t bode well, but if you’re in need of life-shortening cheap Chinese fast-food, this fits the bill for a lot cheaper (if not necessarily better) than Panda Express. And the doughnut rack was empty by the time I visited. It’s clearly just a pretext to serve food all day, even if my orange chicken tasted a little doughnutty.

My pretext for visiting the peninsula was to visit the peninsular thrift stores, but the experience was a tad disappointing. Savers in Redwood City was promising (and unusually well-organized for a thrift store) but they didn’t have anything in particular that I needed, and there were some really aggressive shoppers there. Maybe if I could revisit during a weekend it would be less chaotic. “Pick of the Litter” in Burlingame was disappointing, rather geriatric and containing seemingly a single rack for men’s clothes. They did have a Conn console organ there if anyone’s interested (but beware, a Conn is not a Hammond!). The Goodwills in Burlingame and San Mateo were clean but didn’t thrill me.

That just leaves Thrift Center in San Carlos. You know, the Hayward Thrift Center is one of my favourite East Bay thrift stores that is not Thrift Town. Their Vallejo location was a bit of a dark cave but mind you, I’ve only been there once. How was the San Carlos location? I’ll never know, they appeared to be open (and they said they close at 7 PM, and it was 4 when I visited) but their door was locked.

Back on the subject of Peninsula coffee, in my research I unearthed a San Mateo coffee house that serves the infamous Kopi Luwak coffee for $40 a cup. While I profess curiosity, I really, really, really don’t feel compelled to shell out $40 for the pleasure of sipping something that’s passed through an Indonesian wildcat’s digestive system.

[ profile] albadger treated me to a viewing of Ratatouille, which I’d never seen before. It was cute!

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