October 24th, 2014


Plan A, Finally

After carrying them around all week, it finally sunk in that I did not have any need for my keys, so I put them in my backpack aka luggage.

Swim suit, Hawaiian shirt, socks & tennis shoes, with only my room key card in the shirt pocket, beach towel over my shoulders and sun hat on my head,went to the beach. Took off shoes & socks and went wading in the ocean until I couldn't feel my feet.

Sat in the shade under the pier, enjoyed to ocean, and kept wondering why I couldn't just sit here and enjoy the sunshine & white noise and occasional eye candy. A surfer answered that for me, indirectly. This one guy in orange trunks, shirtless, on a full sized board sat for many minutes at a time, waiting for a wave, and rode each one for the 10 seconds it was alive. Over and over again. He was still there an hour later. I just don't have that kind of concentration, or ability to stick to a routine task.

I can't really force myself to enjoy myself just sitting. After about 90 minutes I walked back to the motel, changed into cutoffs and a T-shirt, went back across the overpass to the pier and had lunch at the restaurant there.

The clam chowder in a bread bowl was okay, the way overpriced seafood pasta bowl was a total WTF.Could not taste the crab slivers because they were caught in the cooked spinach leaves. Speared what I thought was fish, but it was a slice of artichoke heart. There were enough slices to build two artichokes. The scallops were baby baby ones, overcooked. there was also rehydrated dried shrimp. Pinwheel pasta was undercooked slightly, everything was lightly touched by alfredo mist. And the shaved parmisan on top never got hot enough to melt.

Walked down the promenade slowly, stopping often in the small dollops of shade, because there were a lot of bikini clad women on the beach. There were a lot more people in general on the beach than there have been for the rest of the week. Friday early adapters I guess.

There was zero surf when I began my walk, but by the time I got parallel to the mob of surfers, there were small waves. But it was like the ski slopes - bunny slopes. Safe for children - and there were many with and without adults - and a lot of women. I got a few photos, but won't look at them till I get home to the big PC.

Just hung out along the beach all day, wandered back to the motel at about 5, changed again into swim trunks and went for a dip in the pool. Had it all to myself. Warm water, 6 to 8 feet in the deep half. Very relaxing.

Changed again, walked down the block to Barrelhouse 101, a local place where they had the World Series on three screens, and KC scored their final 2 runs as I watched. Not happy. Hopefully the Royals' pitching will return to opening day form.

Had the short rib poutine, which was much better than expected. Shredded beef on top of mushy fries, topped with some kind of crumbly cheese and the gravy was served on the side. Had the bread pudding for dessert, huge scoop of vanilla ice cream on top almost disguised the fact that the pudding was way overdone, not hardly alcoholic, and pretty much the worst bread pudding I have ever had in a restaurant.

They sat me under the line of fire of a ceiling fan which was going 200mph, and I was sneezing by the time I left. It was also a lot colder outside than it has been, so I'm drinking hot tea instead of cold cola. Part of that is I finally got a touch of sunburn.

Walked back to the motel, and here I am.

All I have to do to pack is throw all the dirty clothes into the backpack,

Plans for tomorrow:
Finish packing
Check out by 10:15 and walk to the train station. It's 20 minutes, but there's no real alternative. Pacific Surfrider to Santa Barbara and Coast Starlight to San Jose. Light rail to Fair Oaks and walk the last mile home. Should be home by 10. 

Slarty Animated

It's a Woman!

I have been reading a lot of short SF stories by beginning writers, thanks to the last two issues of Writers of the Future somehow landing on my Kindle. And I have noticed something not politically correct.

Most of the time, I can tell if the writer is a woman.

There's no value judgment here, it can be on stories I love and on stories I ditch after a few pages, and all levels in  between. But I usually notice the writer's gender in the first page or two.

So you're going to tell me of course, because WOF prefaces each story with a bio of the author (and of the illustrator as well). But no, I skip those because I don't want to know anything about the writer until after I have read the work. I think it is enormously rude of WOF to put those in front and not after the stories.

It isn't the subject matter, men and women have approached the same subjects, often in the same issue. It has to do with phrasing and a little bit of vocabulary. Sorry, I have not dug into this enough to give examples, except in vague terms.

except for one example of a man's writing. The story was one of those "retired military men form vigilante posse" tales. The main character was all about minor details of military order when they didn't really apply. Women don't tend to do that. The story was so stilted that way that I bailed after 4 pages.

This is not to say that if I cannot tell, then the woman writes "like a man". Nope. Everything I have read (and that's all her novels) by Margaret Atwood are gender neutral to me. Amy Tan, on the other hand, screams "I am a woman" on every page. Most of Sherri S. Tepper's work holds no gender for me, except when she delves more into fantasy than sci-fi. Truman Capote, for all his flamishness IRL, reads like a male writer.

Just a personal obvservation, no value judgment, YMMV.