Feb 25, 2009

A young boy is becoming a Man, right in front of my eyes.

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of my son.  For a number of reasons.  
Lets start with the Presidential Address.  Although he wanted to watch something else, he listened.  And he listened intently.  Odd, for a nine year old who can hardly finish his math homework without being tied to his chair.  
During the speech he understood that President Obama was talking about responsible spending. Ben then looked at me and asked if the President was talking about saving money. I told him that was correct. He then told me that his school, Gretchen Higgins, no longer has a librarian.  He said they have to go find their own books, with no help, and when they are done with the books, they have to be returned (by the students) exactly where the books were found. He explained that this is very difficult.  
Even a 9 year old feels the effects of this economic crisis, and he hopes that the President will be able to institute change, the kind that get him a librarian.  Well said Ben.  Well said.
Now, lets revisit the beaver pond.  When last we left, we had spent a nice time there, walking around and exploring every little place the beavers might be.  We have been there a few times now.  And every time, Ben talks about how dirty the place is.  And it is; there is a lot of trash. So after some time discussing our options, we decided the best thing we could do, in the Beaver -vs- the City of Vacaville fight, was to pick up some of the trash. 
I can't even begin to describe how proud I am of the little guy in this picture.  If there is one thing a divorced family can unanimously agree upon, its to bring up a child and help mold him into a man who is a good person. I'm pretty sure we are on the right track.Getting ready seemed important, right?  Always be prepared?  Glove up boys!This tree appears to be a popular snack bar.  Sorry Gramps, this is one snack you won't be eating. Get back to work!Ah, a couple of fine workers working for a couple of fine BeaversAhh, there is our dashing Narator.  Gloved up and NOT performing a proctological exam. Performing a public service.  Oh yeahWell, we picked up as much trash as we could fit into our bags we brought along.  I think we should have brought bigger bags (and stronger, mine was ripping when we were done).  Sadly, though, you can barely tell the difference.  But we did something good, and our intent was genuine.  And that alone is more than one soul needs in a weekend.
Thanks Ben, for giving that to me.

Feb 24, 2009

Unexpected Nature.

Of all things to find in Vacaville, a beaver lodge is not one of the ones I would expect to find.

A while back, along a jogging trail the city put together, a couple of beavers moved in and set up shop.

From what I understand, the Beavers have become something of local celebrities.  A one point the city attempted to remove them, but to no avail.  They have decided they like where they live and simply remade their home.  There is fear if there is enough rain the beaver activity wil end up causing flooding.  However, there has been enough public outcry to make the city cease and desist all attempts at disrupting their home.

So, in a city of nearly a hundred thousand, wild animals are still happy to call it home.  We then walked down the path for a little while, and its actually a pretty nice day.  The sun was out, intermittently, and it was actually on the warmer side.
A short walk down the trail and we found ourselves at the frog pond.  Here its prety muddy, and messy, so we didn't get to far unto it
I'll say one thing, if there is one thing that is certainly good for the soul, its taking a little boy who loves the living the heck out nature and letting him run wild in it. We had a pretty good time.  The only thing that would have made it better was if the other half was, cause I miss her.

A little introduction for friends found.

With the advent of my facebook page I have connected with quite a few people from my past.

So I'm sure, over the next few days, I'll be adding to the blog roll of people I am following.

Welcome to all and any who stop by my little corner of the internet.

And for those who read my last post as their opener, I promise, its not all so gushy.

Feb 22, 2009

I'm facing the truth, and getting the better of it (as I see it anyway)

I have been debating this post for a while now.

Should I put my feelings to words? Should I then post these words on the web for anyone to read? Should I open myself up in such a way that leaves nothing to hide? I have started and erased this post a dozen times now.

Finally, I have decided to open up about a few things. But first, there needs to be a bit of back story:

On December 2nd, 2007 I got my ass kicked. This isn't some metaphorical way to say I lost a card game. Nor did I take a beating in the stock market. I was assaulted by someone who was clearly not thinking straight and wanted nothing more than to hurt me.

I was training a new employee. Less than 10 minutes before this event took place I had been telling him how, in our profession, you have to be prepared to deal with anything from day 1 on the job. Many jobs start you off in a room with a computer and a training program. The idea is you can make mistakes that won't effect the company, and hopefully learn from these mistakes and not make them again. There is no real threat of any harm in this kind of training. In the type of training I do, there is a very real threat of harm from the moment you walk through the doors.
I heard a noise coming from the room next door and left my trainee to deal with the what he was already doing. I found two people involved in some sort of physical confrontation. Here I thought I knew what to do and how things would go down. I separated the two, and gave clear directions to both. Both followed my lead. I followed one, and when I was about to close him in his room I simply asked his name.

He began screaming at me, "You know my fucking name! Look it up yourself!" I was taken aback a little. Then realized he had a roommate. Figuring the guy was too hot to be locked in a room with a roommate, I ordered him out and to face the wall. My partner was joining me now. I directed the person to put his hands behind his back, which he did. My partner (I don't think I will refer to him as a trainee anymore since his future actions showed a far greater level of experience) had handcuffs out and was about to put them on this person.

What happened next was something of a blur. Our detainee turned on us. It happened so fast, and later accounts from witnesses say I was hit in the face and fell to my knees. I have absolutely no recollection of this initial hit. My partner was struck as well. Before I knew it, I was on my knees. I knew my partner was somewhere close by but I couldn't see him because I was being hit repeatedly on the back of my head and neck.

For anyone who is not sure of whats happening here, its an ass kicking. People, in the midst of some sort of critical incident, talk about how time slows. I don't think I ever really knew what that meant until this incident took place.

I was doing my best to defend myself, and look for a way to make some distance between me and my assailant. And during the course of this, the following things went through my mind (and it amazes me how, a year and a half later, these thoughts can be recalled so clearly):
  • I couldn't see my partner. I knew he had been hit, I knew he was bleeding, but given my current circumstances I was unable to look for him.
  • I remember thinking these exact words: When is this guy going to stop hitting me?
  • I heard my partner get on his radio and say these exact words: Code 3, top tier 529.
  • I remember thinking these exact words: Wow, for a new guy, that was an excellent code call.
All these thoughts probably happened in less than a second. I was reaching up above me with one hand to try and grab hold of the assailant and drag him to the ground. With my other hand I was doing my best to deflect the blows that I couldn't even see coming. As soon as my partner got out our distress call he jumped into the fight. Our assailant was taken to ground, directly over my head. Now he is on his stomach and I thought we might get the upper hand. He continued to fight though. My partner was struck repeated in the face and I was doing my best to avoid getting kicked in the face. Eventually our assailant was able to escape our grasp, and I saw my opportunity for a little bit of tactical space. I pushed him away from me, stood (and I'm not even sure how I was able to do this after the beating I had just taken) and drew my Taser.
The assailant turned again towards us and started to advance. I turned on the Taser and took aim, a LED light aimed at the center of his chest. The effect of the Taser LED is extremely effective. It seems most people, even those who are somewhat disturbed, fear an electric shock. The assailant, at my directions (which involved me yelling, cursing, and spitting because I was so mad) went to the ground, on his stomach, with his hands behind his back. We placed handcuffs on him, just as help was arriving.
The whole thing probably didn't take more than a couple minutes. But most people have never had someone attack them. I'm not talking about a little resistance, I'm talking about a full fledged attack. And he hit me hard. I had a hard time moving my neck for about 2 weeks, but physically I recovered.
Which brings me to the point of this post.
Its been nearly a year and a half since the incident. Physically I am fine, however, mentally I don't know that I am. I have experienced a growing sense of anxiety about my profession. I have started having what has been called panic attacks at the weirdest times. I have not been sleeping well and having nightmares. I started taking benedryl at night in order to help me sleep without waking 4 or 5 times.
Why am I spilling all this now? Partly because I'm tired of bottling it up. Partly because I know those who follow this posting habit of mine are people whom I trust and love. And partly because I need to put my feelings into some sort of words in order to overcome them.
About four weeks ago, I was so despondent about my situation I cried on my wife's shoulder, not able to take it any longer. So I ended up doing something I thought I would never do:
I'm seeing a shrink.
Doc, as I will call him, is what I would call a stereo-typical head doctor. He wears glasses, he has a mustache, he wears black turtle necks under sweaters and sport coats. And he talks with this odd sort of sound that says (in my head, anyway), "I'm a PhD, I'm very smart and you are lucky to have the benefit of my knowledge." Of course, he is actually fairly pleasant, if you can get past the quirkiness. But it has certainly been beneficial to talk in a "safe environment" and come to grips with these things.
A fellow blogger, who I have been religiously following since I found my voice here, recently posted about labels, and the importance of not letting a label rule you. Apparently, according to Doc, I have PTSD. I guess its not just for Vietnam vets, its for me too. He believes going to work where I do forces me to confront the "trigger" on a daily basis, and has brought me to where I am today.
So I am seeing a shrink. I suppose I should refer to him as a therapist, as shrink might seem somewhat derogatory. Its helpful. It takes a lot to admit that. Where I work you don't talk about these things. People might see it as weak. Or people don't want to talk about it, hoping it will never come to be. But the truth is I am seeing a shrink. I am working on my issues. And I'm going to be fine.
I have friends who support me, and as I said in an earlier post, I will never be able to truly express my appreciation for them. I have a wife who loves me. I hope I can manage to at least express how much I love her. And I have a shrink, err, therapist, who wants to help me.
(Now I am done expressing, as it can be a messy task)
I'm pretty sure there isn't much that can't be fixed with support like this.

Feb 20, 2009

The Social Networking Revolution

I recently sat down in my friend Dean's office. He looked at me and said, in all seriousness, "I've hit an all time low."

For a brief second I sat wondering what dire news he was about to deliver to me. A thousand different scenarios went through my head in less than a second, yet that second seemed to take hour to transpire.

Dean, not realizing the mental trauma I had just suffered at the false belief that something was horribly wrong, continued on without any hesitation.

"I have a Facebook page."

That was it? Really? I couldn't believe he decided to preface his statement in such a way. But why not, really? In the past, I have watched the MySpace revolution. I watched people at work use it and abuse to the point our I.T. department had to block MySpace because it was contributing to a massive amount of wasted man hours (to that end, I am dreading the day when I go to log on to Blogger and find it blocked as well).

Originally I scoffed the MySpace folks. Words like "immature" and "high school" were, in my mind, associated with MySpace. But like some sort of viral infection, MySpace took hold of people everywhere and has become an Internet Institution.

Since then, others have popped up, similar in theory. is one where people can sign up and look for old classmates (just as the name implies). is similar in nature. Facebook is much like MySpace. Most of these sites allow the user to post pictures, videos, blogs, and most importantly, they allow to network with friends and relatives in a way that was not possible in the past.

Again, my original thought was that these sites were for high schoolers. However, I found myself thinking yesterday, "I wonder whatever happened to..." So I have contemplated my own Facebook page. I know I have friends who are on it. I know I have some relatives who are on it. How can it be bad to connect with those from the past? I think I might give it a try.

Its been 14 years since I graduated from High School. At that time, I had a small group of close friends who pretty much said goodbye the day school ended. I don't know what happened to most of them.

So, I figure, it can't hurt to look. Time will only tell if I actually find anyone I want to even connect with after this long.

Feb 16, 2009

An old hobby resurrected.

Somewhere along the line I started keeping fish. With a little bit of studying and a little preparation, I jumped right in to the hobby.

When I moved up here almost 7 years ago, the hobby must not have moved up here with me. I have posted in the past my pursuit of a hobby, and I am happy to report that I didn't have to go very far once I simply opened my eyes and looked around.

Some of my friends have fish tanks. S (Wife's friend) has a 29 gallon tank she keeps an assortment of goldfish in. Dean recently upgraded his own 20 gallon tank to a 55 gallon. So Over the past couple of months I have become jealous of their particular ventures, and a little bug started nagging at the back of my mind.

I started with a 10 gallon tank, thank I quickly let go to almost nothing. It was in a horrible location and I admit I was a poor Aquariest. But over time I made a few changes and the result was as follows:
A new stand, a new location, and paying far more attention to the details.

For anyone who doesn't have a aquarium, let me fill you in on a few of the benefits:
  1. It provides a rather attractive addition to any room assuming the setup is well maintained.
  2. With the only light being in the room being the aquarium light, it makes something to watch that is extremely relaxing and almost mesmerizing.
  3. It requires a fair amount of attention, which is something I was lacking: a hobby.
After a while, I started getting the itch for something bigger, with more of a natural look. Wife likes the colorful rock, little castles and statues. I like a more natural look. I want to look in and see what the underwater world really looks like. Since I don't have a home that is built into the ground and looking into a running river, I have to make my own.
First, a new tank. I can thank Wife for that, for knowing me and seeing my needs without even having to ask about them. The new 29 gallon tank is wonderful, and fits in the living room very well. Now I needed something to put it on. I can thank my father-in-law for helping me with this project, as well as Iver, for the use of his table saw. The finished product is excellent.After a little preparation, and a little hard work, we were putting the thing together. I am happy to report that right now I have 39 gallons with of water in living room and I'm just fine with it. Here are some photos from start to the present.

The cloudiness went away after a day or so, and cleared up nicely.My assorted tetras are doing nicely. 3 Red and Blue Neons, and 3 Black Skirts. And of course, our long term residents are doing well in the 10 gallon down below.So there it is, in a nut shell. However, I'm not done yet! I have decided that the plants I have in my new aquarium are simply not good enough,so I will be removing them. I went to the beach today, braving gusting winds, rain and 25 foot swells in order to find some driftwood. Right now I have the pieces cut and and soaking in water in the backyard in order to water log them. After they are in place I will be getting a new high output light source and planting live plants.
Oh yeah, I have big plans. For some examples, if you are curious, check the follow link which will provide some examples of similar setups:
AquaiaCentral (my favorite new forum)
I'll be following up in the near future with my progress.

Feb 11, 2009

Lessons in life are taught at night (at least this night)

Today I learned a small lesson. I can't control everything. I guess this seems like an obvious statement, and some might even call me ridiculous for making such a statement (or at least waiting until I am 32 years old to figure it out).

For this lesson, I thank two of my friends. They don't even know they were involved in this little bit of learning that is simply part of life. There wasn't an argument, there wasn't a differing of opinions. But two friends acted as they saw fit, and Wife and I were there to take the brunt of it because we made a simple decision.

I don't hold any ill will towards my friends. And as the aftermath of this whole, silly thing is yet to be determined, again I realize, I can't control everything.

Friendships have a funny way of effecting people. We strive to be good friends. We are honest, we are compassionate to the needs of others, and we care for those that are close to us. We hope that our friends strive for the same.

Sometimes we make decisions that effect our friends. Some times these decisions make everyone happy. Sometimes these decisions make everyone unhappy. Sometimes, it is a little bit of both.

An old saying comes to mind, "Damned if you do, damned if you don't." I spent a good deal of my night, upon learning of this little lesson-to-be, being frustrated. I wanted to call my friends, and speak my mind (which probably would have only made things worse). Wife, thank goodness, was there to keep me in check. We talked about the issue at hand, and simply decided we can't control how others feel or act, nor should we judge them for their feelings or actions. Perhaps there were some false expectations set. Perhaps there were some hopes that were high then dashed to pieces. This wasn't our intention. If this was the case, for that we are sorry.

So the end result is this: I let go of my frustration about the whole thing. Wife and I made a decision based on our needs, not the needs of others. And as it turns out, our own decision has had an effect on others. I don't claim to be a social psychologist, but I can say that our decision has ruffled a few feelings. But we here in our house make decisions that are best for us. And we made the decision that we did. This is something we can control.

How others feel about it is beyond our control. So to those that are unhappy, I say this: I'm sorry you feel this way, but you have to respect that we are doing whats right for us and not necessarily anyone else. I am comfortable with this.

I certainly don't wake up in the morning wondering how I can upset my friends. But unfortunately this happens from time to time.

I simply do my best to avoid such a thing.

Feb 10, 2009

Sailing the Single Sea - Part Duex (thats pronounced "duh")

When last we left our fearless travelers, they had finished a fantastic day on Catalina. Where to next? Mexico!

We meandered the vessel throughout the night and finally made our way to bed. When we awoke, we were in a foreign land. No, it wasn't like we woke up in OZ (we knew this from the lack of munchkins and no yellow brick road). We were in Ensenada.Bienvenido a Mexico!!

This is quite possibly one of the larges flag poles I have ever seen. Ensenada, Mexico is no small town. With a population over 400,00, there are quite a few people living there. Their chief forms of industry are fishing, tourism, and wineries. Ensenada, or the area around it to be more precise, produces about 70% of the countries wines. And in recent years, they have started exporting to other countries making Mexico a formidable opponent to the major wine producers around the world (heads up, Napa).
Our first order of business was to hop on a bus and take a tour of two of the local wineries. The countryside was very scenic, although is was fairly sparse in certain areas. Our first stop was Casa Pedro Domeqc. The name Domecq is attached to various alcohols that come Mexico, most notably Kahlua (a coffee liqueur). Now, however, there is a large assortment of other drinks, including wine. About 45 minutes from the cruise ship port we found our first stop. We saw a room filled with 100's of barrels of aging wine, then wound our way into the cave.
Lining the walls of the cave were hundred upon hundreds of bottles of wine. I assume for the purpose of aging, once they are bottled and out of the barrel (I guess?). The cave is the ideal place for aging, as it is a cool, dry place. And the temperature is easily controlled. Topside it was somewhere in the 70's. In the cave it was about 65. This temperature is maintained year round. Of course, they went to some great lengths to make the presentations of their beverages. At one point, I thought I had spotted a cave gnome. As it turns out, after closer inspection of the photo, its only Wife, hiding behind an old wine press. After leaving Domeqc, we found ourselves on the terrace of L.A. Cetta, another winery. From there we saw some wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. And of course, every rich and wealthy family, as Cetta is a family business, could be happy without their very own bull fighting area? Once off the terrace, we wandered around Cetta with tour guide, however, he seemed more interested in getting to the wine tasting than he was telling us about the winery. So we were whisked through the winery and off to the tasting room.

One thing of note, soil that is good for grape vines is also good for olive trees. And here we tasted a wonderful olive oil, and some very tasty olives. These we brought back with us. Beyond that, Cetta was not as interesting or informative as Domeqc. Too bad.

We returned to the ship and dropped off our souvenirs, then took a shuttle back to the main shopping area of Ensenada. Anyone who has ever been shopping in a tourist-type town in Mexico should know the drill here. Most of the stores carry similar, if not identical items. So it doesn't take very long to walk into a few shops and feel like you have seen it all. The streets are filled with vendors, some more pushy than others. The worst was this insanely cute little girl, probably about 8 years old.

She immediately honed in on Wife and I. Trying to peddle some gum and other silly trinkets I would never buy. I quickly showed off my prowess in using the native language and said, "No, gracias." The little girl quickly replied, "Si." It wasn't a question, it was a statement of fact. The gift of tongues quickly kicked in, and this young lady and I got in to a heated verbal debate about whether or not I was going to purchase something.

"No," I said.

We were now across a street and down a block and she was relentless in her press for a purchase. I, being determined not buy anything from her. Wife and I quickly came up with a compromise, as we feared she might be joining us for dinner if we didn't shake her soon. We pulled a couple bucks from Wife's pocket and handed the little girl a dollar. She beamed with delight, said "Gracias," and was on her way.

I felt like the victor here, as I did not buy anything. She was happy, because she got my money. Everybody won. I wish that I had asked her name and gotten a picture with her, and I would have even given her a little more had we done so. However, hindsight is always 20/20.

The rest of the day in Ensenada was spent in a single store. One we found to actually have stuff other than the normal trinkets and doo-dads.

Bazar Casa Ramirez. A wonderful little shop, a really nice gal working inside, and we spent quite a bit of money here. If you are looking for more than the standard souvenirs being peddled on the streets, this is a decent place to visit.
We finished out shopping, had a small snack and made our way back to the ship.
The next day, we barely left our stateroom. We were recouping, and simply relaxing. We ordered breakfast in bed, we slept in, we watched TV, took a nap. It was fantastic. Sadly, we spent some time that night packing. We had quite an assortment of things we were bringing back, so I left the packing up to Wife, as she is a miracle packer. I however, found myself getting into trouble.All in all, it was a wonderful vacation. It was a sad and somber thing, coming home. But of course, its always good to be home. And I doubt I'll ever get a sanctioned picture of me with a bra tied to my head without being on a cruise ship.

Feb 8, 2009

Cruising, I get wet, wife doesn't, and Bison roam the streets.

I have been trying to post something regarding our little Vacation, but have been having trouble accomplishing this task. I think I have come to the conclusion that I am trying to cram too much information into a single post. So, I will be breaking it into pieces.

So, without further ado,

Cruising the 1 Sea (we never saw the other 6) - Part 1.

Leaving out of Eureka for Southern California is a breeze. Alaska Airlines has non-stop flights all the time from the Arcata Airport (which is really in McKinleyville, and really should be renamed in my humble opinion) to LAX. The only problem here is I hate flying. It scares the crap out of me. However, once, on a flight to this very same airport, my good friends discovered a simple way to help me overcome this fear, or at least help me forget about it for a while. For this I think them. Nancy, our stewardess, also recognized me as one who is fearful of flying. She accommodated my needs with expert precision. For this I thank her.

We landed, hailed a cab, and headed for San Pedro, to the Double Tree Hotel. Anyone who has stayed at a Doubletree should know about their warm and very tasty "Welcome Cookies." And indeed, they are warm and tasty.

The next morning, we drove across the Port of Los Angelas. For those who don't know, the POLA is the largest and busiest port in all of the United States. It is also the third largest in the world, bested only by Singapore and Hong Kong. So when I say it took us 20 minutes to drive across it, that was on a freeway. With no traffic. In a jam, it might take a couple of hours.

Once in Long beach we found Paradise waiting for us.
While not the largest vessel in the fleet, it was as large as ship either of us had been on before, so it was really large in our eyes. After being accosted my multiple Carnival employees and being forced to pose for cheesy photos, we made it into the Grand Atrium. A 6 storied atrium with glass elevators and piano bar. Wow! This really was paradise!! The staterooms were opened and we began our initial trek to our room. For anyone who has been on a cruise before, there is a lot of walking involved. This is the view from our room down the hallway that led directly to the bottom floor of the Atrium:Yeah, that's right: the hallway seems to never end. It was a long way from our end, the aft of the vessel, to the atrium, which was near the center. Yikes.

After getting settled we had some food, did a little exploration, and the had some more food. We walked some more, had some more food, and walked some more. We went to the Casino (games of chance are played here) after the ship was more than 3 miles off shore, then walked some more, then ate a little more, then walked some more.
Whew!! I need to go to bed.
I woke up early, the next morning and headed up to the top deck of the boat, and found the sun rising over the Pacific. I don't get to see this very often, and took the liberty of snapping a candid photo of the sun as he was just waking up.And it was so warm. The forecast for Tuesday: Warm. Sunny. No wind. Perfect.
Wife and I hit Catalina at separate times. She departed earlier than me, in order to catch an Eco Tour that wound its way into the mountains and saw American Buffalo, which are actually not buffalo at all. They are Bison. Bison Bison, to be scientifically correct.
The bison (not buffalo) were brought to the island a number of years ago to be props in a Zane Grey novel that was being made into a movie. Later, when editing the movies, the director cut all the scenes that included the bison. Then, after cutting the animals that were brought to island specifically for the movie they no longer starred in, the director claimed to be out of money and never shipped the animals back to wherever it was they came from. They are now permanent residents.Wow, they all look like little ants from up here!!

Later, wife went on a semi-submersible submarine. It was Yellow. I'm pretty sure no one lives on it, nor does it have it's own theme music.
It does, however, have Fish Torpedoes! That's right folks, you push the button and fire fish food like underwater projectiles to the waiting masses of what appear to be ravenously hungry fish.Submarines and Fish Torpedoes. Oh, good times.

I myself went for a different sort of adventure. That's right, SCUBA at the Casino Point Underwater Park. Thanks to the guys at Catalina Diver's Supply for hooking me up.So, armed with ghastly amounts of neoprene and some SCUBA gear, off to the point we went. I jumped in the water and immediately noticed I was not at home. Here, looking from the surface to the bottom, I could actually see it. Here was my initial view of the kelp forests.Holy smokes!! I am underwater and can see farther than the length of my hand. Crazy. Note the little fish that resembles a gold fish. That is our state fish, the Garibaldi Fish. Its a glorified gold fish. It looks something you could win at the fair after a lucky ping-pong ball toss. Only in California, I guess.Ahead is my dive buddy. He was from Canada, and was boasting earlier how he and his buddy and some girl got really drunk the night before. I only show him here in order to show a little scale, human compared to the giant kelp stalk, eh.
When the light comes through the water, like it is here, it is referred to as God Rays. I promise, this looked way cooler in person than it does here thanks to my P.O.S. camera. Some day, I'll have a cool camera. Some day.....
We spent the rest of the day doing a little shopping, and finding some food. Sadly, Steve's Steakhouse was closed until 5, and the last tender back to the Paradise was at 4:30. So we ate at Armstrong's. Pretty good food. I had fried scallops and oysters. Wife had fish and chips. All in all, it was a beautiful day in Catalina. Later, we went back to the boat. We walked around for a little while, ate some more, then walked around some more. I can't be certain, as it was already last week, but I think we might have eaten some more somewhere in there.

In our next installment, we stop in Ensenada, Mexico. We tour some wineries, we eat some nachos, spend a ridiculous amount of money in a single shop, and I get into an argument with a 6 year old Hispanic girl trying to peddle Chiclets.
Stay tuned.
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