Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Big Trip: Santa Cruz

It's amazing how one state can be home to both the ugliest place on earth and one of the prettiest. Driving through the desolate wastes of southeastern California I thought this is probably what it's like to live on the moon -- or Mars. Just dirt and rocks. Then you get to the other side of L.A. and right around Ventura things start looking nice. And right around Santa Barbara you start thinking this is paradise. Santa Cruz is almost as pretty. I've been here before, but I came down from San Jose and didn't get to appreciate the relaxed, unpretentious prettiness of Highway 101 between Ventura and Santa Cruz -- it reminds me a lot of my place of birth, northeastern Oregon, minus the ocean of course. But there's something peculiar about this place, and I noticed it the last time I was here. Few people smile. Few people look you in the eye as you pass them on the sidewalk. This sort of introvertedness is reminiscent of Canada, and I don't miss it. In Texas you can hardly look at someone on the street without getting a big smile and hello. But here, nothing. What is it about paradise that makes people so weird?*

Anyway, I hauled my sick self out of bed and spent part of the day at UCSC. It's the prettiest campus I've ever seen. Huge redwoods, high desert-ish ruralness, and a view of the Pacific as you come down Hagar Drive that is simply breathtaking. I didn't last very long at the symposium today. Got a serious case of hot/cold flashes, which means I've got a fever, and I almost keeled over during one of the lectures this afternoon. Gonna skip the banquet tonight, and watch M*A*S*H reruns and order room service. Blech, I'm so sick of eating out. [Note to Carnaby: please tell Mrs. Fudge that I'm looking forward to some home-cooking in Seattle.]

Haven't decided if I'm going to stay another day and rest or try to push on to Oregon tomorrow afternoon once the symposium is over. I'm tempted to stay. There's probably something very therapeutic about resting on the beach...

[*OK, after a very nice day on campus and around town I have to amend this. Most people I encountered this time were friendly.]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Navy has a tradition of helping their own. Elroy day, a former bubble head has an incredible story to tell. He was blinded in a home invasion in North Carolina in 1995. He recently applied for and was accepted into the Purple Heart Service Foundations job training program to teach him how to become an at home call center agent. Against all odds, working with a disability that would stop most everyone else, he graduated. He completed 600 hours of hard training and now he is reaching out to other blind and vision disabled veterans to tell them about the opportunity that he had. He wants other blind veterans to come and join him. You see, he has a dream of opening a blinded veterans call center. Staffed by former members of the US military who are now blind, for what ever reason. You can help with his dream, just spreading the word. If you know of any veteran who is vision disabled, have them contact Elroy Day immediately . They can email him at or call Ms. Thompson at 703 835 3531.
And remember, the Navy has a tradition of helping their own.

8/03/2007 8:39 AM  

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