May 25th, 2009

Island in the Sun

They Don't Have Memorial Day in India, Either

Sometimes you just need to get away from...your life. You know? Like when something funny is going on with your computer and you don't know what's going to go wrong next and when you're completely slammed at work because one of your co-workers is on a long vacation and you have to do everything? So it was good timing that Jess and Colin had scheduled their wedding reunion for this weekend. (What's a wedding reunion? Well, it's where, in theory, all the awesome people who came to the awesome wedding reunite and be awesome together again! But most everyone flaked, so only a few of us were able to make it, which was okay, really.)

Since the original plan for the wedding had been to camp in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, that's where we were camping for two days and one night. I reached there around 4 and just in time, as Jess and Colin and Jofish and Erin were about to embark on a hike. But I was really just in time because as we were about to leave, Erin ran into a family friend who gave us a tour of the observatory! Telescopes are crazy. Jofish almost broke the rolling roof. Yeah, the ROOF IS RETRACTABLE! It's pretty sweet.

Then we hiked up the Bald Mountain Trail and Jess kept trying to catch lizards. I saw a few things in the wild that I'd just seen in the zoo, like a turkey vulture and some velvet ants. We told jokes. We definitely didn't turn back before we reached the top, no sir, we definitely made it all the way to the pub and bald eagle refuge. Definitely.

After the two-hour hike, we were very hungry. Death had arrived, and Ben showed up a little later. Dinner was pretty awesome. Jess fried up some rice flour-battered chicken in peanut oil...and then improvised some onion rings. I'd brought some Cajun salmon from Trader Joe's that Jofish grilled to yummy perfection. He also grilled up some zucchini and squash that we dipped in balsamic vinegar. There was also a salad with strawberries and other fruit and goat cheese. And Ben skewered some red peppers and onions and mushrooms. Death cooked up some chicken sausage, but I was positively stuffed by that point. Camping with foodie friends is way better than camping with family! This was my first time camping with not-family.

Then, of course, we sat around the campfire and made 'Smores, and Ben and I sang "There's a Hole in the Bucket." We got to sleep at about half past midnight.

We slept in the next morning—well, some people took morning hikes, but I curled up in my tent and read some Sherman Alexie. Breakfast was full of chicken sausage (both Jess and I had bought packs from Trader Joe's) in baguettes with dijon mustard or in tortillas with hot sauce. There was also bacon for the bacon-eaters and bacon-flavored eggs.

There was some badminton and Frisbee for a bit, and Dan and Perlick finally arrived, having missed out on the awesome Saturday activities. We played games for a while. Ticket to Ride: Europe is pretty fun! A game centered around building train routes is not as dumb as I thought. Zendo is also pretty fun! A game centered around inductive logic is not as complicated as I thought.

Our late lunch involved a lot of chicken sausage and chips and grilled mahi-mahi along with sausage-shaped food made of animals I don't eat. Death and Ben had left by this point, unfortunately.

And then we hiked to Pluto! The park has a Planet Walk that's designed to show you the relative distance between planets by making you walk it. I had no idea the outer planets were so fucking far apart. While Earth and Mars were relatively close, each outer planet was almost a mile apart (each mile representing millions of miles of spaaaaaace). It's nuts. We played Botticelli on the way, which was great because it kept us occupied on guessing names instead of how far we were going. Even though we considered turning back around Neptune and Uranus, we made the difficult homestretch to Pluto. And on the way back, Dan stumped us for waaaaay too long with Chuck Norris, which led to my trademark exclamation of "OH MY FUCKING GOD!" when I figured it out.

I couldn't believe I'd survived another two-hour hike, but I guess your body can handle more with friends. My left knee was not happy, however. Ah, old war injury.

After the camping weekend was over, I headed into Sebastopol to visit Tris (sainfoin_fields). She welcomed me to Soviet Narnia, and I met Thea, her roommate, in a much healthier state than when I'd first met her a couple years ago. I had arrived just in time to help them get rid of some sweet, delicious, refreshing Coke, which was just what I needed after the hike (sucking Colin's water just wasn't enough). I was not that hungry at first, but I hungered up enough to join them for a little pasta. Then we watched I ♥ Huckabees, which started out promisingly enough since Albert's opening monologue sounded like me. It was sort of funny and interesting as an existential comedy, but I don't think it worked for me as a whole. Which was sad because Tris and Thea both loved the movie. Alas, earwax.

This morning, I believe I fixed the issue with my computer that the camping trip distracted me from thinking about! I mean, a new issue will rise to take its place, but I think that one's gone for now.

I also pan-fried some turbot for lunch. I didn't even know what turbot was until I looked it up, but it is apparently a flatfish known for its good flavor. I don't think I did a great job cooking it (I would have preferred to have it grilled, but it turned out we had an excess of food!), but it tasted like fish! And now my apartment smells like fish. Damn.

After clearing a movie off my DVR, I headed over to TimeCube for some fun and chicken paté. We played Bang! A game centered around shooting your opponents is as fun as I thought. I also played an iPhone game that Colin and Co. designed called Taxi Ball, which is like Crazy Taxi meets Marble Madness. And an early-stage version of a word poker game where I bluffed my opponents into debt.

Now I'm going to watch another episode of Star Trek. Tomorrow, life begins again.