It has been an outrageously busy couple of weeks, with some hope of relief now that it is done. A quick pictorial, but you'll have to excuse the awful quality. My Samsung u740, as a camera makes a great phone.
Drive to Down East Maine for a couple of anniversary parties, held on Grand Lake Stream. Great weather, good to see the relatives.
Drive 8+ hours to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, where we had a cottage on a lake. This is for the annual Storyland visit, but the cottage turned out to be nearly 2 hours away - it's amazing how far things can get even in a small state when there are no highways connecting them! This is the Kancangus "Highway", one of those windy 55 MPH roads where you're lucky to be approach 45 due to the slowpokes on the road. Nice views, but at the cost of an explosively high blood pressure.
But we had a good time once we got the traveling done and had suprisingly good weather for what has been a generally pretty sucky summer, weather-wise. Some lazy times on the beach at the lake, a little fishing, a little reading.
I didn't get nearly as much reading done as I had hoped. The only book I finished wasn't even one I brought. They had lots of books at the cottage and I couldn't resist One Fearful Yellow Eye, an early book in the Travis McGee canon. It was a typically great entry in the series, which right to the end was entertaining, even if I felt it devolved into too much pointless violence. But the early ones especially were filled with the incredibly pointed, curmudgeon, interior dialogs the series was famous for, and this one was no exception. A nice story of sex, blackmail, tragedy and violence. Perfect vacation book.
I was back for one whole day, whereupon I flew out to San Francisco for the Intel Developers Conference. On the way, my sore and swollen throat, which deserved its own emergency room visit the night before, devolved into my very first case of laryngitis, so while at the conference all I could do was croak like a frog. Just great.
But it was a good conference, learning lots about new Intel software and hardware, and included a great talk by the head of Dreamworks, complete with two 3D movie scenes. The first one was an adaptation of the escape by the evil leopard from the prison and the second one was a preview for the upcoming Monsters Vs. Aliens. Cool stuff! And it looked great in 3D.
Spent the next day doing touristy stuff in San Fran. Rode the cable cars for the first time, ate at Fisherman's Wharf, bought knick knacks:
Then we drove out to Sonoma Valley to stay with a co-workers friend.
We did some hiking, wine tasting, fine eating. It was a blast. I really enjoyed the Jack London State Park, which included the heartbreaking story of Wolf House, a grand mansion London and his wife Charmian built that burned down a month before they moved in. Needless to say, they were heartbroken and it very may well have contributed to London's premature demise at the age of 40 just a couple of years later of a failed kidney. Great hikes with interesting buildings.
The next day we hiked at Sugarloaf State Park, which included some very nice vistas, as well as deer. We got very close to four or five, which scampered nicely through the woods.
I bought a case of wine, from various wineries we went to, including Paradise Ridge, Ravenswood, Mayo, Teldeschi, and St. Francis. I bought mostly zinfandels, but my haul also includied a rose, a couple of zin ports, a barbera and a couple of syrahs. And they even survived the ride back in the luggage compartment, after I bought a wine shipper. Didn't realize that United has begun charging for baggage - US$15 for the first bag and US$25 for the second! It had been awhile since I checked baggage. Now I know another reason not to.
But the major haul was scoring a bottle of St. George Absinthe! Woo Hoo! That's very hard, if not impossible, to get here on the east coast. Watch for a full review on InAbsinthia. I was also able to recommend a bottle of Obsello for our host.
But after a couple of days of wine tasting and hiking, it was time to go home. And that was via the red eye. I did manage to sleep a bit and the flight, a non-stop one, was uneventful, so I can hardly complain. But I'm still recovering and probably ought to go to bed.