Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Senator Craig denies he's gay

Seriously, could I hate the news media more? This was an actual top-feed headline on the Google news page. Breaking news? Give me a fucking break. Ridiculous.

And the Storm of Twenty-o-Seven

So, Liz and I are back from Chicago after having a wonderful time at the Stargate convention. It was a hoot and a holler and a half, I tell ya. Liz is marvelous company. We laughed a lot. I don't know how much you all care to hear about this since you don't watch the show, but...I'll do my best to have an un-boring recap.

We left Rochester on Wednesday evening. On our drive to Madison we saw a rainbow, an Amish horse and buggy, and a giant pita bread truck-vendor-thing completely destroyed by fire on the side of the interstate (with firemen and stuff still tending to it). Don't know what happened there, but someone didn't get their pita bread fix that night!

We then arrived at Sarah's new apartment. It's pretty nice--it's 2 levels, which makes it interesting. We pretty much just hung around. We went and got donuts. The next day we went and got ice cream. We saw Sarah's mom who asked us about the Stargate convention. I said to her, "Well, they sell general admission ticket at the if you want to go it's not too late!" We then got a huge kick while at the convention by spotting a lady who looked A LOT like Sarah's mom (especially the hair) and Liz said, "Hey, I guess Sarah's mom decided to come after all!" Big laughs. Then, whenever we saw that lady we had to say, "Hey, it's Sarah's mom!" [Note to Sarah: We called her 'Sarah's mom', not Mrs. Symes or Penny]

Uh, yeah. So Thursday afternoon we took off for Chicago. It was raining the whole time. As we neared Chicago it got even worse and the traffic was horrible. As we were nearing the hotel I hear sirens going off.

"Are those tornado sirens?"

"Sounds like it."

"Ok. Well, if you see a tornado, let me know. So I nothing, since we're stuck in traffic."

There apparently were tornado touch-downs (or just funnel clouds?) and high winds and lots of rain that night. Parts of Chicago flooded. Apparently, downtown Chicago was cut off from the airport region for a while because the roads were flooded. Anyway, Liz and I got a big kick out of the news reports the next day. Apparently, Rochester isn't the only city to sensationalize storms. Our favorite was the newsguy who kept referring to it as "The Storm of Twenty-o-Seven." Since when does anyone say that for 2007?

Anyway, there were all sorts of flight delays Thursday and Friday. The convention schedule had to be changed around a bit because the actors slated to appear at certain times weren't in Chicago yet. The poor guys had to travel for 24 hours then go give a talk at a convention immediately upon arrival. What a trooper. I was paranoid that Michael Shanks' flight would somehow not make it on time and we wouldn't be able to see him, but no worries. He made it there.

The first guy we saw was Obi Ndefo. He played a good jaffa on Stargate. I thought he was cute. His talk was ok, but not earth-shatteringly good. I felt bad because not a lot of people were there yet, being the first talk on the first day and with all the flight delays and all.

The next guest was Carmen Argenziano who played Jacob Carter (Sam's dad) on Stargate. He was pretty funny. I think he'd been drinking a bit. But he's the dude who had really horrible flight delays and had been traveling for a super long time, so you can't blame him. Then I got Carmen's autograph (you had to pay extra for Obi' thanks). He even personalized it for me. How nice.

That night they had a "Cabaret." I don't know why they call it a cabaret seeing as there's no singing or dancing involved, but whatev. It featured Carmen, Jay Acovone (Kawalsky on Stargate), and Dan Shea (Siler on Stargate as well as Stunt Coordinator for the show as well as Richard Dean Anderson's stunt double). It was more like a comedy thing. They had written a skit about characters from the show. Then they picked people from the audience to act out the scene. It was funny enough, but not hilariously so.

Saturday started with Morena Baccarin (Adria on Stargate and Inara on Firefly). She's the most beautiful person ever. Liz and I both have girl crushes on her. Her talk was pretty subdued, but interesting enough. It involved more talk on Firefly than Stargate (she was on that show more than's also a really good show, fyi). This picture I have of her wasn't taken by me. I stole it from someone else. I hope that's ok...but who the hell reads this but people who don't care about Stargate anyway? So I deem it unimportant. All my pictures of her were blurry (none of my pictures turned out that great). Isn't she pretty??

Ok, then...Jay Acovone gave a talk. He plays Kawalsky. He was funny enough, I guess. I don't have a picture of him from his talk.

Then Dan Shea (aforementioned stunt double) gave his talk. He was hyper-active. And funny. I also don't have a picture of him from his talk.

Then we got their autographs (except for Dan's because he was charging extra).

That night they had a Dessert Party where you go and sit at a table and the guests rotate around the room talking for a short time with each table. Dan, Jay, Morena, and Steve Bacic (a goa'uld from Stargate) were involved in this. This was pretty fun. That's where that picture of Liz and I was taken. I'm putting it on my blog even though Liz already put it on hers. Here are some other pictures from the Dessert Party. Dan is in the yellow shirt. Jay is in the greyish shirt. Steve is the one with the beard. Morena's the hot chick. Jay and Dan are kissing in one pic. Interesting.

Ironically, Candy and Jake were in Chicago Saturday and Sunday and staying at a hotel about 5 minutes away (Dan's wedding). But our schedules were such that we were never able to connect. :(

Sunday morning started off early at a Breakfast. Same deal as the Dessert Party...only a breakfast and different guests. This time Paul McGillion (Doctor Carson Beckett from Stargate: Atlantis) and Cliff Simon (Ba'al from Stargate) were there. It was interesting. That's all you care to know, I'm sure. Here's a pic of Paul that I took subversively (we weren't supposed to take pictures here).

After the Breakfast, Steve Bacic did his talk. He cracked a lot of jokes. Not exactly my style of humor, but it was entertaining. I also didn't take this picture, so thanks to whoever did!

Cliff Simon spoke next. His talk was very interesting. He is from South Africa, so he talked a little about that. He has a nice accent. He is SUPER buff. A very scrappy buff.

Paul McGillion was up next. He was super funny and was definitely one of my favorites of the weekend (possibly even better than Michael Shanks, if you can believe it). He was just really nice and funny. I don't have any pics of him from his talk. His talk ran late, making me almost miss my photo op with Michael Shanks and Cliff Simon.

Now, I had signed up for a Cliff/Michael combined photo op which was scheduled to start at 2:35. Paul's talk didn't get over until 2:50 or so. In my head I was thinking, "They wouldn't start the photo ops until his talk was over--otherwise it wouldn't be fair." So I waited until Paul was done before heading to the photo op room. Oops! Turns out they didn't delay the photo ops! As I approached the room a Creation (company putting on the convention) lady was yelling, "Anyone else for the Simon/Shanks photo op?!?" "ME!!!!" I ran in and was shoved over to the two of them. I must have looked completely frazzled (which I was), as both Michael and Cliff were laughing at me. I beamed uncontrollably, thanked Michael (who said something in return, but I have NO IDEA what...can't remember anymore!) and managed to completely ignore Cliff. Sorry! Like he cares. He just stood for a couple hundred photo ops. I don't think he'll care/notice if one person forgot to thank him. :) I haven't seen the pic yet. I have to wait 2 weeks until Creation gets it on their site, or whatever. I hope I/Michael/Cliff aren't blinking. That'd be a bummer.

Then the moment we've all been waiting for: Michael Shanks' talk. Woo-hoo!!! He was very funny and charismatic. And HOTT. Seriously, the guy is smokin.' Yeowsa. He plays Dr. Daniel Jackson, the HOTT archaelogist on Stargate. The first picture is mine, but the last couple aren't.

Then we got their autographs. Liz and I always managed to thoroughly entertain ourselves while waiting in the autograph lines. After that, we left for home, arriving back in Rochester at midnight or so.

So all in all it was AWESOME. Totally worth it. I love being a dork.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Everyone, start building your ark!

So, Rochester and the SE Minnesota vicinity had a crap-load of rain this past weekend. Parts of NW Rochester got 11 inches of rain in 24 hours. Holy crikey!! Needless to say, various area were flooded. Rochester actually faired pretty well, due in large part to the massive flood control project that was built after the Flood of '78. But other smaller communities didn't fare so well. Lots of homes got flooded, roads deteriorated, etc. 6-7 people died because of it in SE MN...I don't recall the exact number. Our counties are in a 'State of Emergency.' But life for me is going on exactly as normal. So no worries.

I had to laugh at all the sensational headlines being pumped out. Giant headlines on the front page reading dumbass thing like, "DEADLY DELUGE" and "FLOOD '07"...and other asinine things I can't recall right now. Stupid media hype. Remember how they ruined the Perseids for me?? Bastards.

My cousin got married this weekend during this so-called DEADLY DELUGE. The wedding went off without a hitch and everyone got home fine. Although we did drive through a mildly flooded intersection on the way home. Glad I was in an SUV. Anyway, I have included a video here of Riley dancing at the wedding. Because I think it's funny. Sorry it's sideways, but I always forget that I have to film things in landscape mode on my camera. I used a program to rotate it the correct way, but vsocial for some reason doesn't let me upload that one. Hmm. Anyway, she does an especially fine move towards the end of the song. (as an informational aside, the next song played was Motley Crue's 'Shout at the Devil'...which Riley seemed to enjoy just as much). Also included is a family pic, sans Brian and Joleen.

So, I was looking through my mom's computer's video files via our network, and I came across an abhorrent piece of video-art. I was first and foremost ashamed that my mom had it saved on her computer. I can only hope she downloaded it from one of the 9 billion email forwards she gets without knowing what it was. Anyway, it's a bunch of "patriotic" images being shown to the tune of an incredibly annoying country song apparently entitled "In God We Still Trust." I watched it and almost vomited in my mouth. When I was laughing hysterical while simultaneously crying inside, that is. This contains some of the most hilarious patriotic photo-shopped images ever. You know, the eagle and cloud and flag images. Man, it's great. But it absolutely pisses me off that this person is completely ignorant regarding the founding beliefs of America. Hey fuck-head...the US wasn't founded to be a religious country...actually the contrary. And many of our founding fathers weren't even Christian...some quite possibly atheist, actually. Man. The human race. Love to hate 'em...or something...

So I'm leaving tomorrow to start my WEEKEND OF FUN with Liz. We're heading to Madison tomorrow evening to see Sarah for a short spell before we hightail it on Thursday to Chicago! Yee-hawsers! Why are we going to Chicago, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you. And keep your damn judgments to yourselves! We're going to a Stargate Convention! Yay!!! We get to see Michael Shanks! Yay!!! It's weird how only sci-fi shows have conventions. And the thing is, if any other popular show had a convention (say 'Grey's Anatomy' for argument's sake) then TONS of people would want to go to it...I mean, I'm sure lots of people would love to go somewhere to hear Patrick Dempsey et al give a talk and sign autographs and have photo ops. Bt just because conventions happen to feature sci-fi shows, people view them as freaky and weird. Whatev. MICHAEL SHANKS!!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Why Are My Undies Always in a Bunch?

So I was doing laundry today and was annoyed by my perennial underwear issue. Every time I take my laundry out of the dryer to fold, all of my underwear is inside-out. Now, I don't fold my underwear--I'm not that anal. But, I do like to make them right-side out. So it annoys me to no end that I always have to turn them right-side out. I can never just take them out of the dryer and throw them in the laundry basket. Now, I don't turn my undies inside-out when I take them off, so I know that when they go in the washer they are right-side out. But their final laundered form is always inside-out. Does this mean that I should take them off inside-out? Will they then come out of the dryer right-side out? So what I want to know is:

1. When you take off your undies (or 'panty' as Koreans are wont to say) are they inside-out or not?
2. When you take your undies out of the dryer are they inside-out or not?
3. How anal are you with undies when you fold your clothes? Do you care at all if they're inside-out? Do you fold them? Etc.
4. Should I not be using the term 'anal' when discussing undies?
5. Does using the word 'undies' make me seem 6 years old? What do you generally call your underwear in everyday speak? Underwear? Undies? Panties? Undergarments? Unmentionables? Lingerie? Boxers/briefs (for you males out there)? Shorts? Pantaloons? Diapers?


My cousin is getting married tomorrow. I went shopping with my mom the other day for something to wear. I ended up buying a dress at Herbergers. The dress retailed for $100, but I got it on sale for $18. Talk about a deal!! Later that day, I was in Macy's and I saw exactly the same dress 'on sale' for $80. Let's just say that made my day. Macy's can suck it. Money-gougers. Dress fashions at the moment are flattering for me, which is a nice change. Usually I'd rather kill myself than shop for dresses. It's quite fun now, though. If only that would happen with swimming suits...

Do you say 'swimming suit' or 'swimsuit'? Or do you Kiwis say some other weird term? I think you do...trying to think of it...still trying...tog? Togs? Something similar sounding to that?? Am I nuts?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Things That Scare the Bejeezus Out of Me (in no particular order):

1. Guns
So, I don't live in fear of guns or anything. I guess I should say handling guns. When I actually hold one in my hands and load it and stuff, it freaks me out (granted, I've only done this once, but it was scary). It might be specifically handguns, as I actually have shot a rifle before and I don't recall being scared about it. It might be that rifles are generally used for hunting animals...handguns are generally meant for shooting people.

2. Motorcycles
Never rode one and I don't think I'd ever want to. And if I did, I'd definitely wear a helmet. I hate driving behind/next/near them. I always visualize them suddenly and inexplicably losing control, crashing, then having me run over them. Not pretty. I think lots of motorcyclists do irresponsible things. In CA it's ok for motorcycles to drive between cars in traffic. It's freaky and I don't know how more motorcycle accidents don't occur.

3. Fundamentalists
Yeah. Unquestioned conviction in bigoted and intolerant beliefs. 'Nuff said. Shouldn't 'nuff really be written 'nough?

4. Squid
Tentacles and...those long tentacles (are they called something different?). And their eyes? Creeeepy... Did you know that they move via a jet propulsion system? That (along with having a built-in writing implement) is their only redeeming quality. And nothing smells worse than dried squid. Trust me. *gag, vomit*

5. Octopuses
Again with the tentacles. There are too many arms to keep track of! Plus, they have suction cups on them. And they have a bulbous gelatinous head with creepy eyes. Plus, they're smart and may have both short and long term memory. That's what makes them uber creepy.

6. Jellyfish
More tentacles. Maybe I should just group all these under a fear of tentacles? They're hard to see. They're gelatinous. They're poisonous. They eat and poop out of the same orifice. Man o' creepy are they? Ugh. Then again, I think Man o' Wars aren't technically jellyfish...

7. The oceanic world in general
It's so incredibly foreign to me. It's so incredibly unexplored by mankind. It's so incredibly dark and deep. And it's inhabited by the above creepo-suave creatures (well, not guns, motorcycles, or fundamentalists) plus other scary things like sharks. And other things that look really prehistoric.

What scares the bejeezus out of YOU? Post a comment and let me know!


On a different note...

My grandma (who has bad alzheimers and lives in an assisted living facility) fell down last night and broke her hip. She has to have surgery today. It's funny (as in odd, not haha) how "young" people can fall down and have no problems whatsoever, but when old people fall down it's like guaranteed to break them somehow.

Aging is weird, when you think about it. It's like your cells are just falling apart and failing. It reminds me of one of the problems with cloning. If you clone a sheep and the DNA was taken from a 3 year old sheep, then the new sheep will, in effect, be 3 years old at conception. So cloned...things...have a shorter lifespan than the original. Unless they're mechanical clones like androids, cyborgs, or cylons or something. Then all bets are off.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Make new friends but keep the old;
One is silver and the other's gold.

So, I spent this past weekend in the Twin Cities. On Friday evening I had some drinks and Thai food with my middle school and high school best friend, Emily. Somehow we never saw much of each other in college even though we both went to UW-Madison (and lived in the same dorm our sophomore year and lived on the same block our junior/senior year). The last time I had seen her was in May of 2005 randomly in a bar in Madison for like 5 minutes. Well, she's getting married in September, and seeing as she lives only an hour or so away, we decided it was about time we got together again. I feel really bad that we lost touch with each other for so long...I've never even really met her fiance (except for randomly in a bar in Madison for 5 minutes). Anyway, it was really nice and imo, we got along just as famously as before. Let's hope the feeling's mutual! :D After we had dinner we met up with Liz, Laura, and Michael at an ice cream place. Good times were had by all.

From there, I went over and crashed at Liz's place until Sunday afternoon. We hung around. Went out to eat. Watched some Seinfeld. Went to see The Simpson's movie. There was a big ol' storm on Friday night. Super strong winds and unending lightning. The sky was constantly lit up. It was cool. I saw some freaky streaks that looked relatively close and had to have hit the ground...or a tree, or something. I slept on Liz's futon in her living room and she has big ol' windows right in front. So I had an excellent view of the storm from my bed.

The next day as we drove to eat, we saw lots of damage along her street in the form of downed trees due to the excessively strong winds. I have stolen some pics from Liz to put on my blog of trees that fell at the building she works at (a couple blocks down from her apartment building). Crazy stuff.

Here's a picture of her cat, Daniel. We're buddies. I think he's the only cat I can pet/hug that doesn't give me an allergic reaction. Rock on, Danny-boy!

Last night I couldn't enjoy the Perseids as the sky was completely cloud covered. We had big storms throughout the night. It was much worse in the Cities, but it was pretty strong at parts in Rochester as well. For a while it wasn't raining in Rochester but there was a great lightning show in the distance (towards the Cities). I had taken the screen off my window the previous night in case I wanted to go out on the roof to view the Perseids (what a joke). So I layed half on my bed and half out the window and watched the oncoming storm for a while. It was pretty nice. At least I had something cool to watch if I was going to be denied the meteor shower. But then it started raining and hailing. So I went fully inside.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Family Reunion at the Cabin

So, last week or so my family spent a week or so at our cabin. I was there, my parents were there, my grandma was there, my uncle and 2 cousins were there for part of the time, another uncle for a while, Brian and Shannon and Riley and Nora, and Joleen and Sunny and Wicket were there.

I don't recall anything specific worth mentioning about it at the moment. But I am putting my favorite pics up for you to view if you so wish.


Picture of the kids, grandkids, and grandma--I personally love how Brian is wearing a life jacket. You never know when the deck may flood!

There was a bald eagle flying around our bay the whole week, setting up camp in a nearby tree. Whenever we saw it out and about we had to make sure Wicket was not running wild--perfect food for a bald eagle! On another note, our cabin is on Eagle Point Road...the road was named by my grandpa!

We don't have a bathtub in our cabin (only a shower), so when I was young I had to take a bath in the kitchen sink. Here's Nora having a bath in the aforementioned sink. Hygienic? Whatev...

Sunny was all excited about playing his banjo on the dock of the bay. I love how Sunny and Joleen's carry-ons for their flight to Minnesota were a banjo and a dog. What a bunch of weirdos. :) Sunny's pretty good at playing the first 10 seconds of 'Dueling Banjos.'

My eldest niece, Wicket. Is she not the most adorable thing ever? She's now up to 3 lbs. What a tubbo.

My dad bought a jet ski earlier this summer, so we got to have a lot of fun on that. It was about time we bought another aquatic vehicle...the speed boat we had was used when my grandpa bought it...when my mom was in high school. So our jet ski is nice and it has enough power to pull skiers and tubers, so that's good. Plus, it's just fun to ride around on.

This picture just cracks me up. My dad on a floaty thing with a beer and a dog. Ahh, the good life...

So the bugs were kinda bad one night, so Brian decided to zip himself up in Riley's PlayHut. Then we laughed that it was called a play hut, because who would ever look at this and call it a hut?? No one, that's who.

I just love this picture because Riley looks like she's being raised by wolves. She absolutely loved playing in the dirt. I dubbed her theme song "I Like Dirt" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Then I kept singing it ("I like dirt, I like dirt"). She then started saying, "I like dirt!"

One of my favorite pastimes was trying get her to repeat things I said. She likes repeating me. Which means I also have to keep my foul sailor-mouth in check when she's around!

Joleen and Sunny. 'Nuff said.

The Perseids
All hype, no show

Since I'm a huge-o dork, I was all excited about the Perseid meteor shower this year. For those of you who don't know, every year Earth moves through the Swift-Tuttle comet stream. In other words, there's a comet named Swift-Tuttle (stupid name, imo) that orbits the sun. This comet has a trail of dust and shit. Every year Earth passes through this trail of crap. This trail of crap takes the form of meteors when they enter into and get burned up in Earth's atmosphere. Cue meteor shower.

So, I've been all excited about this meteor shower for the last month (at least). Like I said, I'm a dork. It was supposed to be all awesome this year because it coincides with a new moon ("no" moon). Meaning the night sky is really dark so you can see more of the opposed to last year when the Perseids coincided with a full moon, the light of which drowned out much of the meteors. Also, Mars right now is really bright in the NE sky (where most of the meteors will appear to be).

Yeah, so anyway. I was all excited to go out and view this magnificent show of stellar/burning dust beauty. What dampened my excitement? Mother Nature. What a bitch. She decided to give Rochester about 75%+ cloud cover last night. I was still optimistic at this point. At 1am my mom and I drove out a bit to escape the bright Rochester city lights. We gazed up into the cloud gaps in the sky. For like 45 minutes or so. I saw 1 decent meteor, a couple ok meteors, and maybe 4 really crappy faint ones. This is not what I was imagining, especially after reading that it was going to be awesome with as many as 60-120 meteors per hour during peak times (which was 1-2am central time. Apparently). Sure, I blame some of this on the clouds. But we did have decent sized clear windows in parts of the sky that they should have been in. I think that even with a clear sky it would have been a bust. It was hyped up so much it was bound to be a disappointment. Stupid people who over-hype things.

So it's supposed to be pretty good tonight as well...but we're supposed to get severe thunderstorms tonight. Fie on you, Mother Nature!!!

I can only hope that they just suck everywhere, regardless of weather. Because if I can't enjoy them, dammit, no one should!!! I don't know. Maybe it was the clouds and maybe we were out during an uneventful 45 minute window (although it was during the supposed "peak time"). In any event, this turned out to be all hype and no show. Bummer. Maybe the clouds will miraculously lift tonight and I can go out and see some hot meteor-on-meteor action. One can only wish.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Don'tcha know, eh?

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

20% Upper Midwestern

5% Midwestern

5% Yankee

0% Dixie

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Menu
Provided especially for Brighton's perusal

So, I have received a copy (2, actually) of the menu I had at TFL. Please note that we were served everything on this menu. Well, both Sunny and Joleen had slight variations on some of them (different flavored sorbets, soups, etc) but all in all they were about the same. For the record, the date on the menu is wrong. They typed June 08 when it should be July 08. I guess cooking skills don't translate into typing skills. Plus, Sunny even got one of them signed for me by Thomas Keller. Ooh! In case you can't read his writing, it says, "It's all about Finesse." Ok. So without further ado, here is the menu:

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Blog Backlog

Ok, so here is the rest of the info on my trip to CA. I will start with our backpacking trip. Joleen and I went backpacking in Lake Tahoe. It was kind of funny, because a week or so before I left to visit Joleen was when the ginormous fire was ravaging the Tahoe region. So I called Joleen and asked, "So, does this fire affect where we are planning on backpacking?"

"What fire?"

Ohhhkaaaay... She's always in the loop, that Joey.

Well, the fire was right around where we were supposed to go backpacking. We weren't sure what to do because you need permits and stuff to hike in the various areas, and other parts of Tahoe were already booked. We didn't want to backpack in our planned are if a) it was burning down or b) it wasn't burning down but it was covered with sooty air and stuff. We didn't know until like the day before if we were going to go or not. But the day we left was when they had it almost all contained and apparently the air in the area was fine. It was kind of nice because it was way less crowded than usual due to people staying away because...well, the area was on fire. But we never saw any trace of fire or fire damage while there, so that was good.

Anyway, I won't bore you all with specifics on our route, but it was in the Desolation Wilderness. Parts of it were very desolate. Hot and rocky. Very rocky. Annoying rocky, not big cool boulder rocky. I got gigantic blisters on a few of my toes. Both my big toenails are still red/purple and I'm just waiting for them to fall off. My right foot "pointer" toenail has already fallen off. But there's a little toenail already in place, so no worries. Poor toenail. It's fallen off 3 times in the last...5 years or less.

We took off a bit before lunch then hiked...8 miles or so to where we camped (Gilmore Lake). We stayed overnight there then hiked back the same way. At the end of the first day I was DEAD. Almost literally. I could barely move. After disposing of my pack I still walked around like a 90 year old arthritic man. Seriously. I woke up in the middle of the night and I hurt so bad I almost had a panic attack because I honestly thought that I wouldn't be able to walk the next day. Then I'd be stuck in the middle of the Desolation Wilderness with no food. It was bad. Seriously. But while I still hurt the next day, it was nothing compared to how I felt trying to sleep that night. I think laying down aggravated everything. the above pic is the Lake where we camped. Below are some more pictures from our backpacking trip:

The next night we stayed at a campground next to Lake Tahoe. Here's a picture of Lake Tahoe. I took in in CA and the land you see is Nevada. That night I chased a bear up a tree. Apparently, I'm that scary. I went to the bathroom and as I was leaving I looked over and there was a tree next to the bathroom facility. Standing next to the tree was a bear. Decent sized. I shone my flashlight at it. It stared at me. I took a step forward. It started to climb up the tree. Then it stared at me some more. We had a good ol' fashioned staring contest (in the words of Conan O'Brien). Then I moved again and it attempted to climb higher up in the tree. But it couldn't get higher than about 3 feet. Maybe it was too tubby or something? Anyway, that was exciting. I have good luck (?) with seeing bears while camping with Joleen (if you recall, we had a bear encounter in Yosemite last September).

As we were packing up the next morning, we had our cars doors opened as we walked back and forth packing stuff into our car. This little girl walks up to me and says, "Excuse me, but a squirrel ran into your car." Whaa? So I poke around in our car and, sure enough, a squirrel runs out. I just kept thinking how freaked out we'd've gotten if we were driving down the road and suddenly a squirrel starting running around in our car. "SQUIRREL!!!!!" *crash*

Also while visiting Joleen we went camping and hiking in Big Sur. It's along the coast of CA, south of San Francisco. Down to...Carmel, or thereabouts. It's supposed to be a super pretty drive. It was pretty nice. Nothing mind-blowing, imo. Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures on the way there when it was a nice day. On the way back it was super foggy and misty so it wasn't that pretty and the views kinda sucked. So we don't really have any good pictures of Big Sur. The coastline, anyway. We went on some hikes. Saw a couple of waterfalls. Saw a lame-ass water wheel. Hiked up to Buzzard's Roost with a "superb panoramic view of the Pacific." Not so superb. And not really that panoramic. Whatev.

We went to the Napa County Fair on the 4th of July. The fair kinda sucked. They didn't have cheese curds, mini donuts, or funnel cakes. What kind of fair doesn't have funnel cakes?? They did have churros, though. There are lots of Mexicans in Napa. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it was an interesting change from Rochester. We saw fireworks there. They were pretty good.

We also went to see the newest Harry Potter and Ratatouille. And played Trivial Pursuit.