metapost: I'm at it again...

I've been farting around with the CSS again, as you may have noticed. Stuff that was at the bottom is now over there to the left. Bram just updated the "Enjoying" section with (almost) all-new stuff. I've put the Archive into a pop-up menu (just click and pick). And there's also a new section on the left called "Photos" with links to our Flickr page and to chamisa. So, not too much different.

Think of it as version 2.5.


Clouds, Unretouched

Barn Raising

The New Mexico Fencing Foundation is leaving the Genoveva Chavez Community Center. We've leased space in a light industrial building off Cerrillos. There was work to be done to prepare for opening (hopefully at the beginning of September), so we headed over yesterday to help — not really knowing what was involved.

The big project was installing the floor — a raised wood floor, about 24' x 40' for fencing. We arrived soon after work had begun on it, around 1:30. There were a dozen, more at times, other fencers, parents, and relatives there helping out. We kept on going and pushed through to finish it, wrapping around 10:00. Monica was also working on the doors and lights.

[click for larger]


Plywood over a 2' grid of two-by-fours, all stuck down with our new favorite construction timesaver, Liquid Nails, and secured with wood screws. It's solid, but will be easier on the knees than the concrete floor. Apologies for the poor quality of that last picture showing the finished product; the camera doesn't like low light under the best of circumstances, but looks like there's some water on the lens (from our day at the beach, still working on getting the photos from the trip posted) — it's not really that spooky looking.


Back in NM

We returned from our week-long trip in Southern California on Sunday. Still trying to figure out the best way to share our 200+ photos, but here's a rundown of what we did:

Saturday Arrived into San Diego and promptly headed north to Los Angeles. Hardly any traffic in our direction, up the Pacific Coast Highway (which really isn't that scenic at all). Met up with Emi, Steffen, and Isa for a coffee and walk around their neighborhood, marveling at all the green.

Sunday Wandered around downtown Hollywood, by our hotel, for a bit. Met up with Emi, Steffen, and Isa and headed out to the recently reopened Getty Villa. Lunch there, and then a couple hours among the artifacts and around the grounds. We were on our own for dinner, so found a barbecue joint.

Monday Went to visit Steffen at the Hammer and to check out the Société Anonyme show, which was a pretty amazing collection of some of the most influential Modern artists. Lunch at the best vegan I've ever had (the secret: it's all fried). We said our goodbyes — they're moving to Montreal, but spending a couple months in Düsseldorf first — then swung by Amoeba Music, then went up by the Griffith Observatory for a hike that gave us a view of the sprawling city.

Tuesday At the Getty Center when it opened, took architecture and garden tours, never really making it inside, just enjoying the buildings and the grounds. Then we hit the road east to Palm Springs. When we arrived there in the late afternoon, the air temperature was 113°, the pool was 91°. And, trying to sit poolside in the evening, discovered that it doesn't really cool off that much after sunset.

Wednesday Joshua Tree National Park, where we asked the ranger for suggestions for things to do in the park that wouldn't kill us. After the orientation video, he sent us to a few spots that were short walks or overlooks that we traveled to in our air-conditioned car. It actually was cooler up there, breezier, and all quite pretty. Afternoon, recovering around the hotel and pool.

Thursday Left Palm Springs in the morning, which got us into the San Diego area around noon. Parked at Qualcomm Stadium, took the trolley into the Convention Center for the San Diego Comic-Con. Spent a few hours there, registering and getting an overview. Dinner that evening at the home of Chris, a friend from college, and his family.

Friday The Con. All day. It's really, really, really big.

Saturday Met up with Chris and his family (and some of his kids' friends) for an afternoon at the beach at Coronado. I spent a fair amount of time in the water, attempting to bodysurf, but just getting battered around. Unseasonably warm, we were told, but the water was the usual colder than you'd think. We went our separate ways to clean up, but met back up with Chris for dinner at a little cafeteria-style Thai place (one with Chihulys on ledges all around), a stroll around the waterfront and some picture-taking, and back to his place to sit outside and visit some more.

Sunday Back to Santa Fe.


topics of choice

Seated outside at Birds for dinner tonight (across from a big Mind Head center), enjoying watching the valet parking guys. $3.50 for them to back your BMW SUV 40 feet further down the block, parallel parked in front of the next restaurant. Excellent.

They also had a piece of paper taped to the side of their mobile podium/ops center. Didn't get a good photo, so copied it down instead:

Topics of Choice
1. Relationships
2. Children
3. Family
4. Relatives
5. Dating
6. Workplace
7. Driving — Flying
8. Friends
9. Music
10. Bosses
11. *Sex
12. Technology
13. Fashion Faux Paux [sic]
14. Gym
15. Political views

*Have fun with it!


overheard: hotel lobby

"I dunno how I'm gonna tell my sister. Pat Sajak's a jerk. He just ignores you.

"Not like Bob Barker. No, Barker takes the time to talk to you. He makes the effort, y'know? But not Sajak. He's too important. Whadda jerk.

"Now Vanna, she's nice."


going to CA

Arrived safely (if tired) for a week in California: visiting the Bodwins in LA; the 100 degree-plus weather (and wildfires) in Joshua Tree; and the Keeneys in San Diego.

Oh, and we're going to some comic thingy.



back east: the more things change

There has been an incredible amount of development in Arlington this year. Older properties torn down, mixed-use and residential high-rises going up. Most had begun when we left last May, but the progress, after a year away — for me — is a little disconcerting. What was once a used car lot is now townhouses; the 7-11 has been replaced by a 15-story building; stores have moved, or closed completely.

And not just places, but — of course — people, too. Elizabeth and Ernesto are engaged; she made it into the Foreign Service and her first posting will be a year in Indonesia. Valerie and Georg are married; he's finished law school and is studying for the bar; and their dog Bentley apparently can fly (more on that later). Allison has quit drinking and smoking completely. Rob is engaged. Brian's moving out. Brad and Suzanne sold their condo, and bought a house. Rachel and Dion moved to a 2-bedroom on Key Blvd. And these are just the people I know about.

This trip has been a really odd mix of the familiar and the new. The details are different, but the patterns are the same. My first night here, Valerie was out in the courtyard throwing a tennis ball for Ruben to fetch (she was dogsitting Miz Mary's new, adorable puggle). We sat on the sidewalk and she filled me in on the latest news, Elizabeth and Ernesto came up and chatted for a bit. So familiar. The next morning, I got myself a coffee and a muffin and sat on the bench. Plenty of people came through, but I didn't recognize a one.

Today, after a bit of cleaning and fixing, I was heading back over to the condo to re-hang one of the blinds. Opening the door to 1713, almost ran right into our (former) downstairs neighbors Leif and Jen. She's due in January, they're looking for a house. They came up for a look at our place (empty now) and we were chatting and the next thing I knew it was 45 minutes later. Just like old times, but not quite.

After Mary got home today, she picked up Ruben and we walked up to Whole Foods. On the way, we met a couple with another small, mixed-breed dog (Zeus, the cockapoo), and in the course of dog-related small talk, discovered that they had just been at the bike store, where she had just been test-pedaling some road bikes. The next words out of Mary's mouth were "how tall are you?" One thing lead to another, and an hour later, this couple are in the courtyard here, trying out Mary's one-year-old-rode-three-times-is-looking-to-sell Trek 2100 road bike. Two hours later, we've had beers with them; Valerie and Georg take Bentley out for a walk, come back, leave again for dinner; Allison and her dog Bohdi stop by; Ruben and Zeus have completely exhausted themselves from running in giant circles; I've met a new resident (Arvin) and I find myself telling him "The Story of How Mobil Almost Tore Down All of Colonial Village to Build More High-Rises Just Like Rosslyn."

I'm back, I'm gone, I never left.

[Ruben waits not-so-patiently for Mary to finish shopping.]


back east: people (and foods) I miss

After meeting with the realtor, had lunch with Mom + Dad, who brought a "pig picnic" — bbq pit beef sandwiches and dry ribs from Andy Nelson's.

Later, dinner with Bob + Claire at Quarterdeck. Below: Bob greets dinner; the crabs; hamming it up with Claire.



back east: arrival

I'm in Virginia for a few days to meet with our realtor and get our condo in Colonial Village ready to list for sale. Arrived at National Airport (I refuse to call it by its (new) full name), and took the Metro back to the old place.


Everything is so green..!


The New Indie One-oh-one-five

At Pancakes on the Plaza, the new folks behind Indie 101.5 FM (who are the same ones behind Blu 102.9) were announcing their presence. This means the demise of the station that we've been listening to since Monica found it a few months back. It's still a pretty eclectic mix, and it seems like I might actually hear some of the music the hip kids are listening to these days instead of just reading about it, but I worry that it's not going to have the same local flavor (as in the recently mentioned Joe West). The new Indie 101.5 site isn't quite finalized, so the playlist's still at the old KWRP one.

Also: we have some iTunes credits to use by the end of the month. Any suggestions?


Pancakes — On The Plaza, And Elsewhere

Pancakes on the Plaza is a Santa Fe institution (or so we're told), a big community event. I was curious, but we weren't feeling ambitious enough to actually plan on eating there. Just hopped on my bike to see what it's all about.

The first thing I encountered was the Vintage Car Show. That was a treat. [Click for larger]


The Plaza was pretty packed; three huge tents were serving, and you couldn't really tell where the lines ended.


Back home, where Monica made Double Chocolate Pancakes.

Vegas, Baby

Been interested in Las Vegas (the one here in New Mexico) ever since we passed through there last year. A recent article in New Mexico Magazine (oh, look, Santa Fean Joe West is their featured artist this month) highlighted Las Vegas and mentioned something about their three-day Fourth of July festivities. A good a time to go as any. We headed out on Monday.

It's about an hour from Santa Fe, so we got there around noon, parked near Old Town, and followed the crowds and sounds of music to the festival. A bandstand, set up in the plaza, ringed by vendors of various sorts. We wandered the festival, and then a bit around Old Town. To be honest, there wasn't much other than the old buildings — this was a boom town in the late 1800s, fueled by trading and the train — in varying degrees of preservation. [click small pix for more detail]


Around the time the rain rolled in, we'd decided that we would get in the car, go find the coffee shop we stopped at last year, and check out that area. On the way, passed by the Carnegie Library, a legacy of Andrew Carnegie's philanthropy. It's small, but still in use as a public libarary — and it has a card catalog.

The Super Chief Coffee Bar is all finished and was pretty full of lunchtime diners. An iced mocha, some brownie, and we ducked outside to photograph the cowgirl mural that, from the look of the photo in the article, had been repainted. And it had, according to the credits on the wall — where we also learned it had originally been painted for Red Dawn. A few more shots, then back in the car. We came into town the back way, and so figured we'd leave via the main road (as we did last time). So you can understand our confusion when we got to the turn we remembered and found this.

Figure it's for a movie, maybe even for the upcoming No Country For Old Men, adapted from the Cormac McCarthy novel.

About halfway between Las Vegas and Santa Fe is Pecos National Historical Park, which we'd not heard of until M&D&S visited in the spring, bearing a Boston Globe article about it. With plenty of time left in the day, we decided to check it out.

The Pueblo of Pecos has a history that spans centuries, as a settlement of around 2000 people developed during the 1400s. Through encounters with, subsequent subjugation by (and revolt against) the Spanish, dealings and conflicts with the Plains Indians, it was a central, thriving community until the early 1800s. Now, the ruins of the pueblo — once, a five-story walled town — and the missions (one was burned down during the revolt) form the basis for this park. There is a trail, an easy mile-and-a-quarter gravel path that loops around and through the pueblo that offers amazing views of the surrounding area. As we were there, gray clouds in the distance occasionally flickered with lightning. We took our time, climbing down into the kivas and examining the new adobe that's being used to repair the church, then left for home. [click small pix for more detail]


At home, there was an invitation from Jett & Serena to go see District B13. A series of pretty spectacularly put-together action scenes. A lot of fun.


Jemez River

I really like those burritos at the Farmers Market. But, they just can't compete with the ones actually served at Santa Fe Baking Company. Crispier. Gooier. Warmer. We had some yesterday morning.

And then headed to East Fork of the Jemez River for a little hike. It's about an hour to the trailhead, about 10 miles beyond the Caldera, and we hit the trail around noon. It starts through a pine forest and the smell was just wonderful. It's an easy, meandering trail.

And, at one point, you can go down to the river, or to the "box," kind of a little canyon. We opted for the latter, at which point the trail just drops about straight down for a quarter-mile, opening on the river.

And the first river crossing.

We sat for a bit, considered our options, and figured that by following the river, we'd meet up with the trail eventually, and avoid that climb back up. There was some traffic, other hikers and fishers doing the same thing.

And so the river crossings continued. I stopped photographing at some point. We grew to understand another hiker's comment about why he wears sandals on this trail, so he didn't have to keep taking the boots off and putting them back on.

We got away from the river trail (or it got away from us), and we wound up on some of the cross-country skiing trails, which led us back to the river. And to the cows.

That's when it started raining.

Yes, the weather out here can turn at any minute, we know. We've read that. We've experienced that. We also know that, every day this past week, it's rained in the afternoon. So, with the rain jackets safely in the trunk of the car, we settled in under a tree to wait for it to pass. After about 30 minutes, and with the promise of clearing skies, we headed back out. At which point it stopped. It was just about a quarter-mile to the road, and from there, a quarter-mile back to the trailhead.