Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Eyeballs

Recently I participated in a macular degeneration study up at the Moran Eye Center.  I don't have the problem...  I was a "control" subject.  Thought I was gonna get a big hunk of money for volunteering (not really), and I should have, considering all the tests I went through, but all I got was a really good eye exam and a pirate eye patch (too late for halloween).  I shouldn't complain...after all the tests, my eyes look in excellent shape.  So I thought I'd share a couple of eyeball pics with you.  Don't know what the pics mean, but the eyes are healthy (click for a bigger image).



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Travels With Lacey--Wine Country

We had some time before we were due in Santa Barbara, so we decided to drive inland over the hills to Paso Robles.  Willis had said the area was famous for its Zin, definitely something to check out.

The drive through the hills was quite pleasant, but things were very dry...  Then we found a collection of one of my favorite things...  old trucks!



We arrived in Paso Robles and enjoyed a walk around the center of town and the little old ladies who ran a town museum in the old library.  Then we went exploring the area.  Lacey dropped me off at the airport where there was a car museum and a airplane museum...  then went off shopping!

The car museum displayed a collection of cars owned by a local entrepreneur...  He had one big surprise for me...  a gullwing Mercedes 300!  What a rare find...




Besides owning everything else in town, this guy also had a winery...  with deliveries formerly done with an REO Speedwagon!


The War Birds Museum had a collection of old jet fighters, kinda worn out, but they were trying to restore them.  My favorite plane was the old DC-3 gooneybird...


Lacey picked me up and we decided it was time to do the obligatory winery visit.  Close by was a fine establishment with patient help (the place was yet to get busy).  We sampled til we got a good buzz, then bought everything in sight!  We retired to their outdoor plaza for a bit of lunch and a search for a good motel.  Amazingly, using an old ID which I won't reveal at this time, we scored an incredible deal at the finest place in town.  Besides a fine room and beautiful grounds, it had its own weather station (I never found the "rock").


 Since we were back in the center of town, we could walk to a restaurant and hit a winery store front on the way.  Again, getting a buzz, we bought up the place, then was directed out the back door to an alley where we found one of those "organic" places" and had an incredible meal.  Just check out this appetizer, think we didn't order that up right now?

"Braised Lentil Tacos, Ginger-Carrot Puree, Candied Jalapenos, Cashews & Coconut, Watermelon, Cilantro"

Again, incredible.

The next day was off to Santa Barbara, where we drank up all the wine we bought and had another great meal dished up by Chef Rob.  And then finally back to Orange County.

Final pic...  this little guy was so cute...


That ends Travels With Lacey...  a fine, fine adventure...

Travels With Lacey--Back to Morro Bay

Leaving the Hearst Castle grounds, we drove to a nearby ocean overlook in search of the elephant seals.  Sure enough, there they were, laying around on the beach (and cavorting with each other out in the water...  I swear, they were "doing the thang..."  But I only got a pic of them enjoying the post coital...


Then is was back to Morro Bay, which we felt deserved a little more discovery.  We had just enough time to catch our favorite representative at the local Chamber of Commerce office.  Sure enough, she enthusiastically gave us way more info on restaurants and places to stay then we could absorb...  what fun!  Anyway, we got a decent place to stay and headed to a nearby restaurant just in time for the fog to roll in.  What a great table with a terrific view...  of nothing!  But before the fog, I did get a shot of my buddy pelican and the seal "island" out in the bay.



Predictions were for more fog the next day, dampening our visit to Morro Bay.  However, I woke the next morning to an absolutely glorious sunshiny day, with vestiges of the full moon sinking behind Morro Rock.


I took a wonderful walk along the docks and found a cute park of kids at the far end...


After breakfast, it was off to find a winery...

Travels With Lacey--Perving at the Castle


We finally reached the Hearst Castle, a goal of Lacey's for many years.  $25/ea/tour, 3 different tours...  crazy, Hearst makes more money from tours than the newspaper biz...  Anyway, the castle is a magnificent example of conspicuous consumption...  those Deer Valley homes with their $19K refrigerators don't even come close.

There were so many photo ops, I didn't know where to start.  But then I noticed quite a collection of marble statues spread around the grounds and inside some of the "common" areas.  So the perv in me took over...  Get ready,  hormone rates are about to explode...


 And on to the show...







This one above was pretty funny...  many women in the tour just had to sit next to it and strike the pose... while their partners snapped their pics.


Orgy time around the pool...











I've got more than this next guy...




Is the above what they call homoerotic???




Ok, now just to cool off a little, a few other pics of things I found interesting...  First, a feature on the walls of the "home theater"...


Now a place setting at the master dinner table...  note the mustard and ketchup bottles...


A neat Chinese lamp...


A way cool Deco clock (I really wanted this, tried to sneak it under my coat but was caught and sentenced to do this blog)...


And now our tour guide (!?!) posing with some of the outdoor features found on the guest buildings around the castle...




This next pic is kinda weird...  don't know how to explain it...


And, finally, a neat mosaic...


And that concludes this tour of the Hearst Castle...  I have to admit, it was quite worth seeing, even though it's out of my price range...  And I have to give Hearst some credit, he's given the castle and thousands of acres around the castle to the State of California for preservation.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Travels With Lacey--The Big Stone and Moonstone


After the auto museum, we headed further north up the coast.  We wandered through Solvang, the Danish village/tourist trap, thankfully off season and a weekday.  Then it was off through a million miles of vineyards, looking for Route 1 and the coast.  Murro Bay called to us, we stopped to admire "the rock" and walk along the boardwalk.  Discovering the local Chamber of Commerce, we interrupted a woman trying to close up (early, I noted).  She was kind enough to invite us in, way too kind it turned out...  I think we were the only tourists in weeks...  wow, she went on and on about the local area...  finally recommending Moonstone Drive up the road in Cambria.  So off we went seeking lodging for the night closer to our San Simeon destination the next morning.


Yep, this is what we found on Moonstone Drive...  a wonderful mile of inns, motels, restaurants, and some homes, all facing stunning views of the Pacific.  And, off season, we got a decent rate on a beautiful room at the Sea Otter Inn.


After checking in, we still had light enough to explore the shoreline...  and found the tide out and the seals in.



And just to prove I was there...


That evening we dined at the Sea Chest restaurant, a very excellent seafood meal, great wine, wonderful companionship.  A special birthday evening...

The next morning was cloudy and foggy, but still clear enough to explore the boardwalk that runs the length of Moonstone Drive, with little parks on each end.


"I shall always love a purple iris..."


My buddy and his buddy...


Then it was off to the Hearst Castle...