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Thin Sweet Slices of California

I-5

I-5 Northbound, 2-11-09

The trip out west to attend ER&L 2009 at UCLA, with some vacay tacked on, was just glorious. I took many notes and even got vigorous and drafted several essays, including one that has been percolating in my head for a year, and took some pictures as well.

Before it all gets away from me:

Lunch with dear friend John K. in Berkeley, followed by the first of four pilgrimages to homebrew stores in the Bay Area (why not?)

Suddenly finding myself at Union Square for Chinese New Year, and after having a succulent Cunningham at the Clock Bar, watching the dragon twist and dance its way down the street

Joy-riding through San Francisco with no place to go, no promises to keep — just a road trip down memory lane

A quick, foodalicious stroll through the Ferry Market

Dim sum at Yet Wah with my friend Marsha, where we were served “horse berries” (we finally translated this to “spare ribs” — tiny pork spareribs in a tangy peppercorn sauce). Not every day you have horse berries!

Dinner Sunday night with my smart, funny, ever-inspiring California writer friends, hosted by Marie and Chris, who kindly put me up for two nights. Still thinking about that fume blanc and the banana cream pie. I think I agreed to write a book… memory serves poorly

Lunch at “Rose Pistol” (Rosa Pistola) with Alison — who is even more fun in person than as my long-time virtual friend

A yummy but quick and un-spendy meal of tapas and a glass of wine at Soif’s in Santa Cruz

Late-night chatting and then a seriously yummy breakfast (poached eggs and polenta) with friends Dinah and Gail

A drive down 101 in diorama-perfect weather, the mountains and ocean uncurling around me as I listened to podcasts and let my mind take off its girdle and chill out

A drive up I-5 through immense, rounded, snow-tipped mountains of startling majesty, a part of California I had forgotten

Lunch and In-N-Out

In-N-Out, Santa Barbara, 2-10-09

Lunch at In-N-Out both days (burger and fries in one direction, vanilla shake in the other)

Burmese takeout at Chez Walt in Palo Alto, followed the next morning by a quick stop by Peet’s on Middlefield Road for just-roasted coffee in the bean (the TSA agent dipped her face toward the bag as it went through security and sighed, “Peet’s smells so good“)

And of course…

ER&LElectronic Resources and Libraries — a great conference, revived, as one friend noted, by its new location in LA. Well-attended, fun, info-packed.

The ILS panel I was on with Andrew Nagy of Serial Solutions (Vufind, Summon) and Tim McGeary of Lehigh (OLE): this was a smart, fun conversation with a group of engaged listeners, and I never had any urge to go online, show a slide, or do any theatrics. Plus the time spent chatting with Andrew and Tim was a real gift; we sat out on a patio talkin’ libraries and wondering why we hadn’t gone to UCLA.

I’ll be wearing California on my hips for a couple of weeks, but it was worth it!

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