Archive | September, 2011

Bathroom Adventures

26 Sep

Sometimes I get vertigo in the bathroom. Not really bad, but just enough to topple around and unnerve the people around me trying to complete their grooming rituals. I’m actually not sure how much it bothers people around me, but when I momentarily lose my footing, I’m fairly convinced everyone else notices too.

I blame the window. The bathroom on my hall has a window that starts at a bit above my knee and goes upwards to around my head. There is no screen so you can stick your head outside and look straight at the ground three stories below. To be honest I think I’m afraid of flipping my hair to dry it out, slipping on a rogue splat of Crest and cartoonishly falling to my death through the window. The feeling only lasts for a second, and usually just results with me stamping my feet a bit, but still. I’m not a fan of this window. The view is great; sometimes I see people practicing tight rope walking or deer nibbling on morning dew, but I can’t shake the feeling that it will be the end of me. For now I’ll just use the sink farther away from it.

Put Put

21 Sep

Turns out, I’m not so bad at mini-golf! I went down to the boardwalk for the first time a few weeks ago and got to go inside the arcade. The first thing I noticed when I stepped inside was the thick, sweet smell of weed. I’m still getting used to how frequently I encounter it. I’ll go jogging and see people casually snapping bowls on their porch or along the riverside. It’s accepted and to some degree ignored.

Back to the mini-golf. The course is entirely indoors and is pirate themed. It was a fairly crowded night, but despite the wait for the holes I had more fun playing mini-golf than I ever have had before. The energy of the room is contagious. I got to go back to the boardwalk, this time with the UCSC Frolic, which is an amazing way to start the school year.

The Dipper, the most famous coaster at the boardwalk, is a must. It starts off how all coasters should; completely encased inn darkness and full of dips (DIPPER!?!?!?!) and tossling. The only regret I have from the whole evening is waiting for half an hour to go into the haunted house and finding that my definition of haunting and terror is very different from the standards of the spook house.

Despite being sticky and queasy from deep-fried holy goodness and touching more handrails than I care to recall, I left feeling impossibly happy.

Sushi is Delicious

10 Sep

It is. If you haven’t tried it, do it. Raw fish doesn’t want to hurt you, it just wants to fill your belly with tasty delight.

This is my home now.

 

I think sushi is more than just a food, it is an art. The chef must find combinations that work with the raw fish that can both compliment it and not hog the spotlight. Even rolls with no fish in them are good, like sweet yam rolls and avocado rolls. Both are creamy, but well-complimented with soy sauce or on their own with rice and nori. Lately, I’ve become aware of the phenomenon of macadamia nuts in sushi. I like it. Actually, I like it a lot. Typically macadamia nuts are served as a dessert, whether it be covered in chocolate or mixed into a cookie batter. But in sushi it adds a sweetness and texture that can really add to the experience. Plus, macadamia nuts are good for you!

I’ve also been trying out rolls with fruit in them, which seems like it would be an illogical pairing. Turns out, it’s not so bad. I went out to dinner to Sushi Garden in Capitola and tried their mango unagi roll. It ended up being my favorite roll of the night. There is also a restaurant in my home town that pairs grapefruit, avocado, tuna, and lemon olive oil together into a quite flavorful appetizer. If there is an odd pairing of flavors you’ve enjoyed, let me know! I’d love to have something new to try.

Walnut? Why not!

9 Sep

After 7pm, cats own this city. The twilight draws them out from under the cars and from behind the bushes and they roll around in front of their houses taking the post of lazy guardian. The cats have no fear. During my first month in Santa Cruz I was out walking after dinner and paused to read a poster stapled to a light pole. I was startled when two twin tabby orange blurs coiled around my legs and started chirping at me. One followed me with mild amusement for about a block until we crossed paths with another cat. There is a silent agreement to not cross into another felines domain, and the cats respect it. Maybe I just never noticed the cats in San Diego. Maybe they were just content to their backyards. But the cats here are bold and I love it. I feel like a little kid when I go out walking and see a cat. I point excitedly and gawk and no one, including the cat, is as excited as me.

DOES ANYONE ELSE SEE THAT CAT?!

The houses the cats kick it in front of are also neat. I’m used to seeing Spanish influence predominantly, and while that is still present in Santa Cruz, there are also a great number of Victorian homes. They are beautiful and ornate with bay windows and spires, bright tiles and funky accents, and trim around the roof that makes some of the houses look more like they are made of ginger bread and decorated with icing rather than made of wood and shingles.

Mission Street

There is something romantic about wide, curved windows. I picture a family sharing a meal and looking out the window or perhaps reading a book in the window cill and watching beads of rain trail across the glass. Walnut street in particular is full of these beautiful old homes. My favorite is this big yellow one with pink accents. There is a statue of a woman in the front yard and a plaque near the door describing the history of the home. I believe that the building was constructed for a man’s new bride, but the details escape me.

I think what I like the most about these homes is how personal they feel. They look like someone really put a great deal of effort into building them and adding minor additions to personalize it, down to the tangerine rectangles on the wooden door. The homes act as a reflection of the family living inside; warm, inviting, and a curiosity.

Abandon Ship

7 Sep

Abandoned places are great. They’re eerily beautiful and hypnotic, which makes them great for exploring. I went to CSU Monterey yesterday which shares its grounds with Fort Ord, a military base that’s been abandoned for seventeen years. The grounds are forsaken. The buildings are full of smashed glass from the windows and the halls of the old barracks have mattresses and wooden dressers scattered throughout them. Graffiti is scarce, which is surprising considering how long the buildings have been left to sit. What actually drew me to walk into the old buildings in the first place was actually the graffiti on the far side of one of the buildings.

Post-apocalyptia much? Apparently there are some geocaching locations around and deep inside the buildings. I wish I’d brought a camera, it was really something to see. Good thing there’s the internet!

The only other experience I’ve had with abandoned buildings is from my road trip last summer. Arizona is full of old pit stops that have dried up for some reason. People don’t need little hotels on the outskirt of the Arizona desert like they used to.

I really wish I’d spent more time at Fort Ord. If you’re in town and checking out Cannery Row, go to the school. It’s only a ten minute drive away. Who knows what adventures are to be had.

Spiders

6 Sep

This is why you don’t try to help spiders. As a rule I try to not kill bugs that have stumbled into my house/ presence, especially spiders. The octo-appendaged critters keep me and everyone else I know from being harassed by other bugs.

This isn't the world I want to live in

So, I was getting ready for bed and noticed a spider hanging out over my bed. No big deal, I thought. I’ll just transport it outside so it can continue to protect the good people of Earth from terrible bugs that want to take over the world. As I was moving it over the bed, I lost my handling on the paper that the spider was on and dropped it.

Why? D:

Why spider? Why would you do this to me? I tore up the blankets and sheets but the spider was no where to be found. All I wanted to do was put you outside, you would have liked it there. But now I have to wonder if you will crawl in my mouth while I am sleeping.

Not cool.

Bow Ties are Cool

5 Sep

Oh Doctor Who, why can I find no consistently reliable source through which to watch you?

As far as sci-fi goes, Doctor Who does a fairly good job of avoiding cliches and when it is a bit corny its due to the limited budget for special effects and not the story. Matt Smith recently took over for David Tennent as the beloved Doctor. I’ve had a hard time warming up to him; while he still has the charm and whimsy of the ten Doctors before him, there is a darkness and shortness to his personality.

I guess this is the logical consequence of 900 years of loneliness and disappointment spanning the entire universe. The Doctor picks companions and shows them everything beyond time and space with the hopes that these experiences will enlighten them. But he also picks companions for more selfish reasons. His companion keeps him from allowing his power over time and his access to the TARDIS to be abused. In The Waters of Mars, the companionless Doctor accidentally encounters a group of astronauts who are destined for an untimely death. The Doctor cannot interfere since the death of the astronauts, especially of the captain Adeliede, will put into motion events paramount to the advancement of the human race. The point in time is fixed. But despite this, despite having encountered similarly grim fixed points in time and accepting it as an unfortunate but necessary sacrifice, the Doctor tries and change the course of this event.

The Doctor:  For a long time now, I thought I was just a survivor, but I’m not. I’m the winner. That’s who I am. A Time Lord victorious.

A Time Lord falling prey to the notion that he is a demi-god, when in reality he is just a man. Alright, not quite a man, but by no means a being above the laws of the universe. The universe does not bend to anyone’s will, even that of a Time Lord. When The Doctor begins to regenerate (changing from David Tennent to Matt Smith), the loss of faith in himself is apparent and carries over into the personality of the new Doctor. Don’t get me wrong, Matt Smith is not a bad Doctor. The show is still quality sci-fi, it’s the Doctor who has changed. He is short with his companion and is less hesitant to violence as an answer for conflict. Kinda makes me want to rewatch the 2005 season with Christopher Eccleston and watch the progression of the Doctor from then to now, especially with what I know about the most current Doctor.

Also, River Song. So. Awesome. But no more spoilers. Away in the TARDIS!