Friday, August 31, 2007

Brass Horsey, that Funky Horsey

Around 8pm we started looking for a place to have dinner in San Fransisco. Nancy was telling me where to go based on this West Coast touring book she bought. I was of the mind set that a published book would be out of date concerning restaurants even it it came out a year ago, and we should just drive around for a while until we found a place. It turns out we were both wrong.

I have a theory after living in New York for 5 years. Always know exactly where you're going, because if you just start walking around thinking you'll come across a place, you never ever ever will. I have tested this theory 15 times and it has always proved to be true. I have now discovered it holds true in other cities as well. After 30 minutes of driving, looking, arguing, driving, and trying to park; we found a quaint little restaurants in the gay part of town. Well, it was San Fran, so maybe I should say the "gayer" part of town.

After eating we high tailed it out of the city and made our way to our next host family, Nancy's Uncle Harlen and Aunt Lorraine. They live in a nice little suburb called Sunnyvale.

Here is Nancy taking a load off after we arrived.

We grabbed some shut eye, hopped out of bed the next morning, and were off for our adventurous day. Harlen is retired, but has taken up photography. He has some pretty amazing photos in his collection, and since we weren't going to be able to check out Yosemite's National Park, he took us to the Stanford Campus to see an art exhibit featuring famous photographers pictures of Yosemite. To say the Stanford campus was nice would be an understatement.

We entered the art museum on the campus and were greeted by a huge horse statue. At first glance it appeared to be constructed out of driftwood, but closer inspection revealed it was actually cast out of brass.

Piece of brass cast driftwood or poo, you decide.

The marble entrance to the museum was pretty awesome.

The next stop on the party train was a little tourist town on the beach called Half Moon Bay. It took at least 10 minutes to get there on a one lane twisty road. They took us to one of their favorite restaurants there. It was a little Italian place and it was delicious. Then we walked around the downtown area, and I wondered why every downtown area in every little tourist town has at least 4 antique/modern furniture stores. Do a lot of tourist pop in looking for couches to take back home with them? I'm pretty sure even the smallest easy chair wouldn't fit in my carry on.

After pondering these things we walked down to the beach area. The water was freezing cold and the cool breeze wasn't helping. There were tons of children swimming in the ice cold water, which just goes to show ya, kids are fucking stupid as shit.

I was practicing for my audition on Bay Watch the Next Generation.

After the beach, we drove to a little winery out in the middle of nowhere. There was a barn that had an amazing, huge bar inside. We were the only people there, and this 17 year old dude was giving us tastes of the various wines they offered.

They had barrels.

To end the day we stopped off at the largest Whole Foods in California, at least for 8 more months, that's when they finish building this other Whole Foods that will be even bigger. I don't know where they're finding all these dirty hippies to work there.

We grabbed some meat to have a cook out that night.

If you look closely you can see the ravenous bloodlust in my eyes, DADDY NEED MEAT! MEAT!!!!!!!!!

The cookout was great, but that wasn't the best part of the night. If you know me at all, you know I love me my Mojitos. Well, Lorraine not only had a lime tree in her backyard, but she had fresh mint growing in her herb garden. You better believe my Mojito radar was going off. A couple of minutes later I was sipping the freshest Mojita I had ever sipped.

After we ate it was off to bed to rest up for the next days journey to Monterrey.

To be continued...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pixel Pushers and Hills

Monday night we arrived in Redding CA at about 11pm. We grabbed some food at a Denny's that the awesome GPS found for us. Next we found a Holiday Inn Express and checked in for the night. The Holiday Inn had the biggest bed I had ever seen. It took me 20 minutes to find Nancy when I got into bed, and that was with help from a Sherpa.

We woke up bright and early and took advantage of the first of many continental breakfasts at our hotel. We must have saved at least 40 bucks eating at the hotels in the morning. We just spent it on bullets later.

We hopped in the mighty KIA and made our way to Emmeryville, home to Pixar Studios. We had a lunch date with one of my old and good friends from DNA, Jason Johnston. This guy is awesome, and we used to get in a lot of trouble together back in the day. The craziest thing is Jason had a class in highschool with Nancy. OK it's not that crazy I guess.

After a 3 hour drive we make it to the Studio and have lunch at the Pixar cafeteria with some old friends from DNA and Blue Sky. The lunch participants included Jason and his awesome girlfriend Frederique, Everett Downing, Ian McGibbon with his wife and daughter, and Chris and Rena Fowler. I saw a couple people in the lunch room as well like John Collins and Amber. If I forgot anyone please forgive me, I'm old and incredibly self centered.

The Pixar compound is absolutely amazing. Every animation studio should visit and take notes. They had a delicious cafeteria, soccer field, gym, theater with literally the most high tech set up in the world, pool, and many other awesome things that made me want to kill everyone I had to, to get a job there.

I don't think they would have let us take pictures inside the Pixar compound, but I didn't ask. The only pictures we got were as we left.

After I cried for about an hour, because I wasn't employed at Pixar, we made our way across the Bay Bridge into San Fransisco.

This place was unfreakinbelievable! At one point we were driving straight up. The houses on every street are so cool looking.

Nancy was a tad winded after climbing up two of the streets.

Next stop was fisherman's wharf. I was excited because I thought we were going to see Michael Dorn in a fishing outfit. I misunderstood.

Here's my summer home. It's really hard to leave once you're there.

Here's the Ghirardelli Chocolate factory. I took my disguise kit and kept going into the store to get free samples.

This was a really cool outdoor mall thing where Nancy and I grabbed a margarita.

Just like in Seattle we kept finding post-apocolyptic firts person shooter enviornments.

I'm selling this picture to Motorola.

Nancy caught me taking a pee outside.

Thought this was a nice picture to end on.

Next time get ready for Sunnyvale and fun times with Nancy's Uncle!

Driving Sux

I wanted to throw up a quick look at our 11 hour drive to Redding, CA from Seattle, WA. We decided to get the bulk of the driving out of the way the first day. It sucked balls big time. Here is what you see for 11 hours...

And this...

And this...

And this...

Driving make Nick angry.

I did want to give a shout out to this little guy. It really helped us out on our journey, but I would like to think we helped it out in some way as well.

We kept seeing this sign everywhere. I thought is was a little vague and wasn't sure what it meant...

Until we past this! We almost missed getting the picture, but the sign was right, that highway ROCKS!

Occasionally there was a bridge to break up the breathtaking views of trees and hills.

The next blog will feature San Fransisco, and have a lot less trees.

Goodbye Seattle

This is the last installment of the Seattle pictures, so here we go:

We went to a place called the Locks, where boats drive into a thing that closes in around them, then fills up with water and lets them out on the other side. It's like a mini Panama canal, only Van Halen never wrote a song about it.

At the locks there was a partially uncovered cemetery for giant robot elves. You can see their shoes sticking out of the ground here.

This is who I'm voting for in the upcoming elections.

Here's that thing that I was talking about earlier that lets the boats rise up. There's nothing funny to say about it.

Nancy kept saying how small this tree seemed... if you know what I mean.

This building was hit by that meteor from the movie Creepshow.

Aaron took us into his awesome work for a tour. He works at Valve, it's a video game company that makes the game "Half Life". The office was super cool.

After the tour we met up with an old buddy of mine from DNA that now works at Valve, Matthew Russell. Matthew, his lovely wife Tammy, and his two little girls Gracie and Emma met us at a restaurant for dinner. A fun time was had by all. The best part however was when Matthews youngest daughter, 2 years old, climbed on his lap. For about a minute everything was fine, then she exclaimed in a loud and proud voice, "I'm peeing!" Matthew confirmed this by saying that his leg did indeed feel warmer. Kid's excrete the darnedest things. I don't have any pictures of that.

The restaurant was awesome, we ordered crab legs, and they bring them to you and just dump them on the table. I never thought I could eat enough crab legs to actually think to myself, "I can't eat any more crab legs." But damn it I did! Up yours crabs legs.

Matthew and family left. It was about 8:30 and we had to pick up Aaron's wife Reagan at the airport at 12:45 am. We decided to go see the movie "Superbad" to kill some time. Holy balls of flaming dog poop is that a funny movie. I give it 2 boners up.

The movie didn't start until 9:45, so we killed time by drinking and playing pool next door to the theater.

We wore Aaron out so he laid down at the airport. We actually sat down to wait for his wife and noticed a black bag just sitting there with no one by it. Eventually a woman that worked at the airport walked by and we told her about it. She looked unimpressed and walked off. About 5 minutes later a cop came by and cautiously looked through the bag. He found 4 passports so we all thought it might belong to Jason Bourne, but it turned out to be a families bag.

Here is one of the only pictures I got of the elusive Reagan Halifax. She was out of town the weekend we were there, so we only got to see her a little bit. We love her. Aaron's just OK, I guess.

Oh yeah, I forgot about this pirate.

So that was the Seattle leg of our West Coast tour. That next morning we picked up our rental car and took off for LA. Next stop San Fransisco.