Thursday, July 17, 2014

oh, the sports

Ahoy,

Last weekend the RRS and our friend J made me go watch a soccer game. We went to a Nike party at 6th & Mill, they called it the Hall of Phenomenal. I guess I didn't have a bad time. There was a giant screen and benches. We got there early enough to secure great seats. Nike also provided snacks aplenty, which I'm a big fan of. Let's face it, it doesn't take much to make me happy.There was also a taco and burrito stand. This place had everything you need to watch sports, minus the alcohol. But I think it would have been nuts if they added alcohol to the mix, so it was more like good decisions on Nike's part. It was an incredibly pleasant experience and I would be happy to watch another sporting event there, even though I don't like sports or spectating sports in general.

Since it was right behind our climbing gym, we got to climb for a bit after the event. The evening ended with a party that was pretty low-key. I'll admit I'm of the demeanor where low-key parties are way more fun than rowdy parties. I've never understood the attraction of shouting over each other at other drunken people you will likely never see again. But this was a great party consisting of food, conversation, and board games. I aspire to lead a relatively PG life.

falteringly snored,
jt

Friday, June 27, 2014

Kevin was here

Ahoy,

I went on a bicycle adventure with my brother but my bicycle promptly malfunctioned when we started bicycling. We took the bus to the Getty Villa with our bikes. We tried to hop on the architecture tour but had a lot of trouble hearing the fella, so we hopped off that activity. When we left, we had to wait nearly an hour for a bus that had space on the racks for our bikes. What a drag to be stuck on the side oceanfront for so long. We didn't want to ride on the side of the highway because, you know, the imminent death upon falling over thing. We were reminded upon multiple occasions to take pictures together to send to my mom, because, you know, her life is consumed by taking and showing pictures to her coworkers.

Immediately after we got on the trail, I noticed my bike had a flat. We were in between places and far from anywhere, so I probably rode on my flat for way longer than I should have. One could say stranded on the PCH is a fear I never anticipated. We made it to omusubis in Santa Monica and my brother liked them. I guess you could say this was the beginning of a rather ambitious walking food tour. We moved onto a taco truck in Venice and sausages shortly after. One might say this food part was successful because we had more food than we needed. What is a life well-lived if not filled with indulgences?



We ended up taking the bus the rest of the way home because, you know, my bike was broken. The bus driver ended up being super nice and interesting. K thinks he learned more from the bus driver than the museum tour guide. I sometimes find myself wanting to write positive feedback cards to bus drivers, because they only really get cards for complaints. I think excellent customer service deserves just as much recognition. I implore you, thank your bus driver today.

We went to the drive-in that evening. K worked on his Botcon costume until the wee hours of the morning. What an action-packed day.

woefully detached,
jt

Thursday, June 12, 2014

adventure seeking

Ahoy,

Our friend J suggested the Rustic Canyon Loop Trail while A's sister was here for a visit. We started from Will Rogers State Park. The trail goes into another park at some point and ends back in Will Rogers. The last time J and I went to this park, we went on a very short walk up to a view. It was incredibly non-rigorous. This time we were on a 5 mile trail that proved to be rigorous and diverse.


We began by walking down into a canyon to meet a brook. And spent a good deal of time following this brook and hopping to and from either side of it. The crossings weren't too bad, but there were many crossings. We eventually noticed orange flags tied to trees to mark the "trail." Also be warned, there is a lot of poison oak and ticks are common (but our team didn't encounter any ticks). At one point we heard loud buzzing and noticed on the side of the canyon was a large beehive. Quick and cautious steps were taken here. Although they aren't in your way, it is unnerving to hear such loud buzzing so close. The flags marked the trail up until just about the waterfall, and the path clears up and becomes a bit more obvious.

Shortly after, we came upon a  cluster of shacks/shanties/houses that once housed nazi sympathizers. Interestingly enough, even the ranch we parked at was first built by nazi sympathizers in anticipation of America falling to the Germans. The shacks deeper into the property provides more eerie evidence of its former residents. The buildings were also used for artist communes after the war. They are now abandoned and covered in graffiti.

To get back on course, we scrambled up a trail that looked questionable. We crossed the canyon onto the Backbone Trail, a shaded, dirt path going up the side of the mountain. This trail was super steep and looked like it could be a mountain biking trail. As we climbed higher and higher up and the trail became increasingly steeper, we balked at the thought of someone riding a bike down the narrow and bumpy path. At the top, we were awarded with spectacular views flanking us on either side. We followed the ridge back towards the ranch and thanked our lucky stars for getting us to the end and back to civilization.

unwaveringly doubtful,
jt

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

not really my first time

Ahoy,

The RRS spent the week telling everyone it was to be my first time at Yosemite. And I didn't really have the heart to take away that excitement by telling him it wasn't. I had been once before with my family on one of those obnoxious Chinese tour bus groups. My most memorable experiences from that trip were finding a bug in a hotel room and sleeping on the bus. It was fabulous, exactly how I want to travel. 

Our weekend freed up unexpectedly and we thought we'd make the drive to Yosemite. Google maps told us 4.5 hours, much to my dismay. "Only 4 and a half hours!" he said. We have differing perceptions of time in a moving vehicle. We spent a good deal of time sitting in traffic in the park. Oh, the irony, is not lost on me. It was probably worse than a theme park. But we were able to take the roof off and gaze upon the majesty of the trees and the rocks despite the sea of cars. Some nice folks let us stay with them and we set up camp for the night.

The next day we set off early to see all the rocks, trees, and waterfalls. The first stop was one of the vistas that were packed the day prior - of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Falls. It was still early and relatively not crowded. Another quick stop at Bridalveil Falls, and we were off to rent bikes.


We zipped around the Valley like he did when he was a kid. We saw Yosemite Falls, teepees, rocks, Mirror Lake, rocks, more waterfalls, rocks, trees. I'm sure you're familiar with it. Our big activity was to go on the Mist Trail to Neveda Falls. Waterfalls, and rocks - the usual. Despite how short the trip was, we had a great time and were able to pack a lot in. We each came home with a fine collection of mosquito bites.


dustily quenched,
jt

Thursday, June 5, 2014

confessions

Ahoy,

For a while, we would play these songs to signal going to sleep and waking up. You should give it a shot. They are so appropriate.

This is our bedtime song:


This is our morning song:

dangerously popular,
jt

Thursday, May 29, 2014

last minute accommodations

Ahoy,

As a somewhat last minute trip, we scrambled and made our way out to Yosemite on probably one of the busiest weekends. It didn't take long to drive to the general vicinity, but there was a ton of traffic up to and past the gates into Yosemite Valley. It probably took about 1.5 hours to get through Yosemite Valley. In addition to our lack of preparedness, we weren't able to make any reservations because it was less than a week's notice we gave ourselves to plan this trip. The RRS selected one of the walk-in camp sites farther from the Valley, figuring it would be less full. He was wrong, they were full. All full. The whole park was full from now until kingdom come. The park ranger told us not to rely on cancellations and directed us to outside the gates to forest service or a hotel. I stuck around and asked questions that led to our eventual entry with the mission to go make friends with campers who had the foresight to be better prepared and forward thinking than us.

We got a "home run" on the second try and this nice family from the East Bay let us stay with them. They even had a fire roaring. I couldn't believe our good fortune in successfully finding somewhere to sleep, and also the fire that they let us cook with. You all are probably well aware that neither the RRS nor I were boy scouts and our perpetual struggles with making our own means of cooking. It probably would have taken him days to get a fire going like that on his own.

The folks we stayed with ended up being familiar with trad climbing, and one of the guys even wrote a book about Yosemite adventures. One of the best parts about places like this is the interesting people and friends you can make along the way. Everybody is always so nice. We even thought the park rangers were very nice during our trip. Their blatant avoidance of our infractions and cheerful greetings are definitely something to remember.

More to come.

sneakily mosquito'd,
jt

Thursday, May 22, 2014

late out the gate

Ahoy,

We went to Tram this past weekend, but I forgot a camera because I'm a bad documentarian. And also, we probably should have stopped watching tv/climbing videos earlier than we did the night prior. We awoke so much later than we were planning. Thanks in great part to our friends we were riding with giving us a shamefully much needed wake up call, we made it out the door with absolutely no time to spare. Perhaps we should begin instituting a wake-up call system, wherein the first awake calls someone else to confirm everyone is going to be on time. I feel like I'm still not at the point in my life where I can be relied upon to rise and arrive somewhere early on a weekend. Is that even a reasonable goal in my lifetime?

It was our first Tram trip of the season and weather was perfect. Given our past experience (READ: fumblings) with Tram season passes, we opted against it this summer. It's always been somewhat of a scramble to get our money's worth out of it. Last summer, it was closed for 1/3 of the time due to everything being on fire. The pressure to not get gypped is too much, maybe because we are suckers. But this year is a new year and we will not be fooled once more!

We ended up running into a ton of friends up there, kind of a rarity I'm told because it's so easy to hide from/avoid people. I'm always delighted when other people are there that are girls. Too many of these trips I feel like I'm the token female and it is always drastically less fascinating than the boys lead you to believe. It was a great intro to the climbing season and the brisk temperatures were oh-so-refreshing as we came out of that heat wave that set all of southern California on fire. It is not even summer.

meekly trained,
jt

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

love letter

Dear Morning Rice,


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love you cool and fresh straight out of a bottle bigger than my head. I love you in more appropriately sized bottles. I love you chilled in a glass if I must absolutely share. I love you abroad and imported. I love you anytime, all the time, not just in the morning time. I love your elusive nature, and exotic locales. I have spent far too many days without you in my life. Far too many years not knowing of your clean and crisp riceyness. If I could have kegs, swimming pools filled with your glorious liquid, I could finally die happy. A little bit nutty, a little bit toasted, a little bit sweet, but entirely riced to perfection.

forever & always,
jt

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

shouldn't be summer yet

Ahoy,


This seems so long ago, so far away. The frozen depths of winter was not here long enough for me to appreciate the emergence of 90+ degree days. Sometimes I am certain I will perish and crumble into the dust of this questionably habitable desert. 

aridly dusted,
jt

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

secret stairs round 2

Ahoy,

On a terribly hot Sunday morning, the RRS and I inched our way to Sunset and Santa Monica Blvd to where walk #20, the Sunset Junction Loop began. He picked this one because the description mentioned "coffee and sweets." The highlight was at the top of the neighborhood on a horrifyingly steep hill that afforded a great view of downtown LA. We ended at a crowded Intelligentsia. You can guess whose idea that was.

The following weekend, we made our way to walk #41, Pacific Palisades-Castellammare. It's right across from the ocean, and probably has the best views of the ones we've been on. More than once, we would come up to a view of the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other side. It was magical. The neighborhood is "plagued" with landslides so there was evidence of desperate measures on every hillside. The houses here were incredibly extravagant and varied. The end of the walk takes you onto the beach. We finished with a "snack" at Gladstone's that totally spoiled our dinner.

I spent an afternoon with a friend and we went on walk #18, the Music Box Loop. The stairs featured here were used in the 1932 academy award winning short film, The Music Box. The roads in this neighborhood could definitely use some looking after. It was a really windy day and palm tree fronds were crashing all around us. This walk ended at Cafe Tropical where they have massive pastries.  We started with dessert because we are responsible grown-ups.

This book has been a lot of fun so far. I've had it from the library for months. I should probably just get my own copy rather than monopolize this public resource.

frightfully astir,
jt