Today, we drove from Queenstown to Glenorchy (by way of a fantastic garden) to Paradise… and from Paradise, we walked to Isengard. Or at least, the site where Isengard was filmed. A few times we had to pause for some sheep or some cattle. Such is the kiwi life, apparently.
The art garden has a website!
We’ve arrived in our final destination — Villard de Lans, where Scott and Freddie are going to tie the knot. Evan and Karen and I spent yesterday morning hiking Col Vert, which was deemed by Freddie as “the hardest hike in the area.” (Scott and Freddie had taken their families up it the day before we arrived… we took their grumblings about the difficulty as a challenge.)
We did 700+ meters of elevation change (more or less straight up and then straight down) and 6.9 miles of hiking, according to Karen’s fancy watch. It took us 2 hours to go up, about an hour to go down, and we spent about an hour at the top going “Wow” and eating. I didn’t injure myself or faint, so I win.
Then we climbed down and spent most of the day drinking wine. France is okay.
The bench at the top of Col Vert
The view from the top
Me, sitting on top of the ridge
Taken from 1/3 of the way down, the notch we climbed on top of
Yesterday was a beautiful day for a baseball game… and my friend Jo is a Padres fan, so she organized an outing to AT&T Park. Madison Bumgarner took the mound for the Giants, and unlike the last time I saw Bumgarner pitch, he did an outstanding job, holding the visitors from down south to 1 run on 6 hits over 7.2 innings of work. The Giants offense gave him all he’d need in the first on a single, pickoff-throwing-error, sac fly combination followed by a Pablo “Panda” Sandoval homerun.
While Jo was less than pleased with the outcome, I was secretly enjoying watching the local boys do good. After all the Twins games I’ve been watching lately, it was fun to finally cheer for a winner. (The Twins actually managed to win yesterday, but I was too busy watching the Giants to watch that one. I did have the radio streaming on my phone before the Giants game started. Smartphones are magical that way.)
Total Lunar Eclipse seen from the beach just off the Great Highway in San Francisco
One of the advantages of being sick is that I went to bed early on Friday night. As a result, I had no problems getting up at 5:30 and driving out to the beach to see the total lunar eclipse on Saturday morning. It was a pretty awesome sight as the moon was an eerie blood red.
I attempted to photograph it, but even my good camera isn’t that good. I was also doing long exposures without the tripod, so most of my photos turned out blurry… and by the time I really figured out what I was doing, the sun had started to rise behind me. But for those of you in the middle or eastern part of the country that couldn’t see it, here’s the one shot I managed to get that isn’t so bad. I bet that ship under the moon had an awesome view.
I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately about the weather in California, or lack thereof as it were. It’s not really a secret that the first snow of the season is somewhat of an event for me. As we get towards the end of October and I’ve not once thought about even wearing a sweater, it’s starting to hit home that there will be no first snow for me this year. Oh sure, I will go home to Minnesota for the holidays and there will be snow on the ground or I could drive to Tahoe, but that’s not the same. The first snow comes with a smell in the air the day before that puts me in a mood to bake cookies and drink cocoa. It’s how I mark the passage of another year. (It is probably not a coincidence that it tends to happen shortly in advance of my birthday.)
But this year…
This weather thing has already screwed me up a few times. I nearly forgot to plan my trip home for the fair and other Minnesota summer things because it never stopped feeling like spring in San Francisco. Baseball season is ending in a week, and I am not prepared because I see no leaves turning colors. My roommate reminded me about Halloween and I realized that I haven’t even thought about it once… partly because we were talking about it while swimming in an outdoor pool. Last weekend, I caught the intro to the local news and the weather promo was “Later we’ll tell you about how the temperature might change by as much as five to ten degrees next week.” And that was said without irony.
Harvey once told me that he didn’t understand why people from Minnesota complained about the lack of weather. His metaphor was something akin to why a person would ever want to eat a glass sandwich when they could eat steak all the time. Well, Harvey, if all you ever eat is steak, it gets boring. I need my seasons to remind me that life isn’t permanently on pause.
For reasons relating mostly to boredom, I made an absolutely ridiculous pie last week. What you can’t see in the picture is the layer of raspberry and blackberry compote on the bottom. It’s covered by a layer of lime curd whipped with cream and then some pretty delicious Italian meringue, made with the help of a stand mixer. (I’ve hand whipped a meringue once before… I never want to do it again.)
It might not be as pretty as the magazine cover, but it sure was delicious!
Today at work, I made a reference to Doogie Howser, M.D. The research assistants gave me a puzzled look as, apparently, they have never heard of him. This wasn’t even a look of “Oh, I sort of know what you’re talking about,” but of complete ignorance of the boy genius. This appalled my (also 27 year old) officemate and me. We set about surveying the office and determined the exact cutoff for knowing about Neil Patrick Harris’s pre-How I Met Your Mother fame.
For starters, we confirmed with everyone older than or the same age as us that they knew the show. Thus, we concluded that this is one of those cultural phenomenons that most people who were cognizant in the late 80s and early 90s knew. Of our seven research assistant types (recently out of college), all of those who graduated college in 2009 gave us blank stares. (However, one How I Met Your Mother fan wants to Netflix it now.) Of the three who graduated in 2008, two had heard of it and one had not. We contacted the older brother of the one who hadn’t heard of it, and confirmed that he knew of the Doogmeister, thereby removing any bias of her environment growing up and solidifying that this is an age gap thing. But here’s the exciting part — she is exactly one day younger than one of the 2008 grads who does remember watching the show.
Therefore, we conclude that the cutoff for knowing about Doogie Howser, M.D. is February 1, 1986. All those born February 2, 1986 and later have no idea who he was. And some of these people are college graduates.
You can commence feeling old now — I sure do!
Edited to add: So, apparently Doogie is on Hulu and I’ve been reminiscing this evening. The conversation summed up at about 1:57 into the second episode of the first season manages to hammer home the point that this show is old from the other direction.