What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

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  • There is nothing to deter you from making lots of photographs with your full heavy kit bag like an intense peeling sunburn across your shoulders and back.
  • Spending time with your son being hurled down the "Pacific Spin" at the water park while being seriously sunburned across your shoulders and back is 100% worth the trouble.
  • I thought I knew a lot about the California landscape, having driven through it and flown over it at varying altitudes countless times. Then I took the train from San Jose to San Diego.
  • At night, it is better to fly.
  • In Los Angeles, yes there really are people dumb enough to drive their boyfriend's new car in between the rail-crossing barriers, panic when they see the 9:20 commuter coming toward them, decide to drive away in the opposite direction on the railroad tracks at high speed while calling said boyfriend on the celphone -- until the damage to the auto suspension halts the car between streets, paralyzing all north/south rail traffic for an hour or two until an offroad-capable truck can come to haul away the car and an inspector ensure that she didn't do any serious damage, which the police and boyfriend search for her since she fled the scene, in a less-than-optimal neighborhood, on foot.
  • Buildings are strongly directional, even ones I wouldn't have expected. They all face the street. None of them face the tracks (even train stations).
  • My beard grows much faster than I realized.
  • The Chevy HHR has the worst driver visibility I've ever experienced. How do they get DOT approval on this thing?
  • Just as it's difficult to go photographing on the street while in the company of someone who wants to hold hands, it's difficult to actually see museums while in the company of people who think museums are (a) phenomenal wastes of skateboarding time or (b) great places to meet guys.
  • Just the same, seeing the Harry Callahan show at MOPA for the second time was worthwhile. Like so many, he was clearly caught up in how things look when photographed.
  • The people who probably created most of the Dead Sea Scrolls were seriously-deranged paranoid religious nutjobs living in a tiny isolated community. In other words, a lot like tiny isolated paranoid religious nutjob communities today, everywhere from Waco to the West Bank.
  • When the computer graphics in a brand-new IMAX film are less compelling than those in some games, even the the general audience notices, and are vocal about it in the lobby after the film.
  • Deliberately traveling without a computer (the only available choice up until the last decade) makes you paranoid about filling CF cards but otherwise is no big deal and the reduction in travel weight is a real blessing. No real escape from email (the Treo kept that from happening), and a handheld GPS did a good job of filling-in for Google Maps. No online games, no endless web browsing, no blogging, no RSS. And no withdrawl symptoms, as far as I can tell.
  • Rebecca couldn't deal. She brought her macBook. I stayed away from it. She sat in a hotel room while we had fun.
  • I wish we had a pool.
  • There are some really good and unsung artists working at Legoland. I did not expect this at all. Every diorama is packed full of little stories, classic examples of what Ben Lifson (and Hayao Miyazaki) talk about as "specific" character -- and this made from the uniform little pieces of Lego figures.
  • Zac Ephron and little kids in cute Einstein outfits are bigger news than Karl Rove.
  • It was too long.
  • It was too short.

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