Whew. Busy month!
I am now out of Oceanside, California and living in Phoenix. Just in time for summer! Yay! (note: sarcasm). But despite the Venusian temperatures, I'm really happy to be here. My girlfriend +Amy Eichsteadt
and my best friend are both here and I have been enjoying every minute with them! So in the interest of fielding the (few) messages that I've gotten from the (also few) people who follow me on this, here's what I've been up to for the last month...Warning: long post ahead
My month of fun and weird started like this. One Saturday in April (just prior to moving to AZ) my girlfriend and I went to the Arizona Native Plant Society's meeting in Flagstaff. Pretty fantastic, and we got to hear some exceptional speakers on a wide range of ethnobotanical subjects. We had planned to camp that evening, but the cold and rain put a damper on those plans and so we overnighted in Prescott. And discovered a wonderful micro-mead-ery downtown. Seriously, who knew that craft mead is a thing?
The next day: The thought was to go to Sedona and so we headed off early. But a wrong turn (seriously, those roads are not marked well) lead us off in to Prescott National Forest. The road become progressively more narrow and less improved until we were forty miles in to a one-lane, dirt "highway" (county road 5, apparently).
We stopped and I left some art (giant head by +Sondra Carr
and steel dog by me) in the middle of nowhere. If you ever get a notion to find it, it's at: 34°56'46.8"N 112°48'59.2"W. Or thereabouts. I'm not sure of the accuracy of my phone's GPS.
We kept going on that road until we came across a couple of cowboys on horseback. These were the real deal: leather chaps, big hats, denim dusters, and all that. We asked for directions to... well, anywhere really, with the goal of not running out of gas far from civilization. They kindly pointed us toward the freeway.
We got to some semblance of civilization around noon and decided that since we were close to the Grand Canyon, we may as well just go to the Grand Canyon. Which is far, far better in person than photos can show. And is apparently full of elk. So a bit of hiking, a bit of lunch, and we were off again, this time toward Flagstaff and then home.
But not before running in to a blizzard. At 8000', this sort of thing even happens in May. Go figure. Finally go home to Phoenix around 6p, and then home to San Diego (which was only home for a few more days!) at 1am.
The next weekend was a busy one, filled with moving and moving and moving. Despite living in a storage shed by the beach in Oceanside, I somehow managed to accumulate a bunch of stuff. Go figure. And of course, I had office stuff to move as well.
Three days after that, my girlfriend and I were off on another epic road trip. This time to Santa Rosa for a friend's wedding (hi, +Janelle Black
!). We had a few days and so we first went to Ventura and spent the night sleeping in the car in a random parking lot. The next day was spent driving up Route 1 all the way to San Francisco. Which is, without a doubt, the most wonderful drive I've ever been on! We stopped at Hearst Castle, saw some giant seals, and did a lot of meandering. At some point, I'd love to take that drive again, but start from Tijuana and go all the way to Vancouver!
Santa Rosa is a beautiful town in the middle of wine country. Amy is a gardening enthusiast and so we toured a few different nurseries. And let me tell you, the variety of native flora is absolutely incredible! While in Santa Rosa, we stayed at an Air B&B thing: a cute vintage trailer in someone's back yard! Quite cozy and adorable and with great gardens. Of course, we had to do some wine tasting as well. Best wine ever, but at $75 a bottle, not something that I would normally pick up.
The wedding itself was beautiful and we got to hang out with a lot of people from my Burning Man family. The theme of the wedding was "whatever" and so I went in my steampunk formal wear. A number of the guests were in some sort of costume. All in all, an enjoyable evening of friends, old and new, and adoptive family (note the photo-booth photo)!
Following Santa Rosa, we went up in to redwood country for some camping and stayed at Bullfrog Pond. The trees were absolutely mind-boggling! We got back from this little adventure about a week ago.
Then it was helping my friend with her art project for Artel Phoenix at the Clarendon Hotel. This is an event where the hotel grants a number of artists a room for the week and they turn it in to something other than a hotel room. The title of this project was "McMuses Instant Inspiration" and it was likely the hit of the event! We had lines ten and twenty deep to get in to the room!
So the idea of the project was that the room was turned in to a cave that participants had to crawl through. At various points in the cave were "muses" (I was one of them) who could answer questions and dispense advice. I must have met with scores of people during the event.
I was "the muse of practicality" in that I gave useful advice. And yes, there was a "muse of impracticality" as well. You could choose your own muse (which was part of the fun). I was amazed at how intimate people were willing to get in telling me about their lives and their problems. Many of the questions were about careers or travel or art or love (as could be expected). And then there were a few stand-outs.
One person asked, "Which is stronger: love or gravity?" Being a physicist, I felt qualified to answer that and of course my answer was "love". It doesn't drop in strength with the square of the distance. Gravity does.
But the most most memorable was from a middle-school (or maybe early high-school) aged (I am terrible at guessing kids' ages) girl who came to my cave in tears and asked, "Will I ever be anyone's first choice?" Absolutely broke my heart. Yes, I gave good advice. No, I won't tell you what it was.
That was last weekend. And at the same time I was moving in to my new office space. I was able to find a fantastic little office for one-third of what I was paying in San Diego, with everything included. It has a park-like courtyard and even comes with an office cat!
And of course (this being my life, after all), it isn't a normal office space. It's also home to a secret foundation (who I will not mention by name) that does something pretty fantastic, but which puts them in the line of fire of a few criminal groups. And so now I am in a space with a scary-awesome security system and a really big guy with a gun. Who, fortunately, likes me.
So, now that I have a bit of breathing room.. Art project time! Which will be in a separate post.