Monday, June 29, 2009

A Good Weekend

The weekend weather did prove to be hot around San Jose, but we managed to find some relief by heading to the coast for parts of Saturday and Sunday.

We spent Saturday morning taking a tour of the historic house and gardens at Filoli. Strange name for a place, but it is actually a very impressive country estate built around 1915 for William Bourn and family. It's now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It's located about halfway between San Jose and San Francisco.

Part of the formal Gardens

Front entry of the house

Pond and more gardens

And finally what country estate would be complete without a pool? At this point in the tour, the temperature was in mid 90's, so I was wondering what would happen if I "fell" into the pool.

Saturday afternoon we headed out to the coast to try and escape the heat. We found a nice spot of beach just off of highway 1 south of Half Moon Bay.

Tonja rocking her new hat.

A can of Oly freaked out by the sun.

Another full day, as we finally checked out the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Sunday morning. We've been down to Monterey a number of times since we've lived here, but hadn't been to the Aquarium. Lots of interesting animals from otters, to sharks to penguins. It's pretty impressive. The entry fee is a little steep and they have a pretty aggressive message of conservation, so it kind of puts you off eating seafood a little bit, but other than that, worth the visit.

Feeding Frenzy!

A Fish!

A Turtle!

After the Aquarium, we decided to take a drive down 17 Mile drive witch runs along the coast and past Pebble Beach Golf Course. Some pretty impressive views of the ocean and ridiculously large houses. This area of the coast was actually pretty windy and foggy. Unfortunately, our camera decided to stop working after the aquarium, so we didn't capture any photos of the drive, which probably okay, because I think I've exceeded the amount of photos any person would actually look at in a blog post. Anyway, it was a fun weekend out and about.

Friday, June 26, 2009

From The Beer Fridge: Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema

The weather's been hot down here. And there is no relief in site as this weekends supposed to see temperatures rise into the mid 90's. Although, I'm usually not a huge fan of summer seasonal brews. However, since it's been so sunny and warm, we've been giving a few a try.

This week we've been drinking Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema from Anderson Valley Brewing Company located a short drive north of the Bay Area in Mendocino county. We actually took a tour of Anderson Valley Brewing back during Easter weekend. It's a very chill place, that even has a public frisbee golf course on the premises. At that time I tried their ESB and IPA. Both solid beers as I recall.

Anyway, back to the Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema. This was a beer that took a little getting used to. It's described as a "copper ale with a smooth, malty, and lightly sweet flavor with a delicate hint of spice." I usually head the other direction when I hear sweet and beer in the same sentence. However, we picked up a sixer and as it turns out, this beer gets better with every bottle (and I mean over a couple of days, not in one sitting). I don't have a super sophisticated palette, but the spice flavor (ginger perhaps) does a a good job of knocking out the sweetness that exists, so even though the flavor is somewhat complex, it is quite refreshing as a warm weather beer should be.

This may seem like an odd comparison, but after a few different tastes of this beer, I finally realized what this beer reminded me of. An unsweet version of A&W cream soda. Sounds kind of strange, but the beers creaminess just reminds me of a bottle of unsweet cream soda. Cream soda for adults. Anyway, it's a beer that I'll be enjoying during this weekends "heat wave".

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We live where?

Ironically, one of the things I haven't quite figured out about where we live, is actually where we live.

When we travel outside the area, we just tell people we live in San Jose, which is correct. However, it's when we talk to other people who live around San Jose that I have a problem. Since San Jose is a city of one million people, it makes sense to tell people that you live in a certain district or area of San Jose. That's how it was in Seattle, you lived in Ballard or Fremont or Capital Hill etc...

Although San Jose does have neighborhoods and districts, we apparently don't live in one of them. We live in no man's land. Our neighborhood doesn't have a name. In fact there are even pockets of neighborhoods around us that aren't even incorporated by the city of San Jose, yet geographically we're smack in the middle of the city limits. Invariably, we tell people we live a half mile down the road from Santana Row or Valley Fair Mall. People figure it out. But, this doesn't really help build one's sense of community, when you identify the neighborhood you live in as being down the road from a mall, even if it is a nice mall. The other option is to tell people we are kind of by the Pink Poodle...also not helpful.

So, before we leave here, I'd like to try and figure out exactly where here is. So, I start with the closest neighborhood that I can identify. Burbank. How do I know it's Burbank? Because the historic Burbank theater proudly or not so proudly says so:

This theater is so historic that I can't find much history on it, other than the fact it's out of business and at one or two points in its history was an "outstanding" adult theater.

As real estate agents say: Burbank is a transitional neighborhood. If you should be so inclined, here's a link to Burbank's history. As interesting as this is, we don't live in Burbank. We live four blocks away from its border, so I guess I should keep looking...I'll keep you posted if I figure this out or I might just give up and go back to the beer fridge.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I just can't have a blog without talking about beer...

One thing I've always intended to set up once we finally settle into a more permanent living situation is a kegorator (as several friends have already done). This seems like it will be even more of a must if my friends and/or myself continue to produce homebrew. The idea of having one or two draft beers on tap at any time seems like a logical and sensible thing for any home. As I've seen more kegorators, the one draw back seems to be that you end up locked into one or two types of beers until you drain your kegs. Which isn't necessarily bad, but if living in California has taught me anything, it's that variety is the spice of life. Solution? Beer Fridge.

I've recently discovered the joys of a beer fridge. We were fortunate enough that our current apartment has a built in beverage fridge. Since we already had a wine fridge, I called dibbs on this as the designated beer fridge and with the help of BevMo haven't looked back since.

Now, when I say beer fridge, I'm not just talking about two or three kinds of beer. I'm talking about a beer collection. A place that holds a bounty of brews from domestics to micros to bottled home brew. A fridge with some staples ( in my fridge Oly and Racer 5 IPA) along with an ever changing rotation of seasonals and special anniversary brews. A fridge that takes you on an adventure every time you open the door...okay perhaps I'm over doing it. But you get the point, it's fun to be able to select your evening beer based on your mood, the weather or what you are having for dinner. So, needless to say I'm going to have plan on a beer fridge and a kegorator at some point in the future. Stay thirsty my friends...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Never a Dull Weekend and White Water Rafting

We've always known that our stay in the Bay area wouldn't be long term. As a result we've tried hard to see and experience as many of the sites and activities as possible around here. Although, this has made for some very busy weekends, we've done and seen some great stuff that we'll never forget.

This past weekend was no different as we spent Saturday enjoying the warm weather down in Santa Cruz. And on Sunday we took a highly anticipated white water rafting trip with some of Tonja's extended family.

The trip was 18 miles on the Middle Fork of the American River, which is located about 3 hours east of the Bay area. There was a variety of class III and IV (and V depending on who you ask) rapids. The highlight of the trip is called the Tunnel Chute, which was actually carved by a gold mining company many years ago as they were attempting to divert the river's flow. But, now makes for a memorable white water ride. I don't currently have pictures from our trip, but I found a pretty good video of what it is like. Needless to say it was a lot of fun to go through.

There is actually at least one class V rapid, some call it a Class VI called Ruck A Chucky Falls. However, due to liability, we were only allowed to watch our guide from shore, take our boat through the rapid. But, that was still entertaining to watch as our guide got stuck in an eddy for about 10 minutes. Although this is also not from our actual trip, here is a video of what the guides experience going through that.

A fun trip for sure.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Still got it...

I've been attempting to do a little photography with my free time. They say you should attempt to capture everyday here you go. This is about as everyday as you get.

Can you reboot something that never started in the first place?

Well, I tried to start this blog about 3 months ago. For some reason I didn't do much with it. Mostly, because I forgot about it. Not sure why. It's not like I don't have the time. So consider this a reboot.

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