I try to get home for the holidays every year. Usually, it happens at Christmas. However, a confluence of various opportunities and uncertainties arose and led me to make my visit early. This week, in fact. The good news was that the usual blanket of snow hadn’t yet smothered the tiny mountain hamlet that was my destination. The bad news was that summer was clearly over.
Well, we weren’t about to let a little bit of weather stand in our way, and went ahead with plans for a beach picnic. The lateness of the year worked in our favor, as the beach was deserted except for the occasional cyclist on the bike trail. We roasted some kabobs and washed them down with a few beers.
Later that night, we drove to Montbleu at Stateline. The place was practically deserted, quite unlike the way I remembered it. I might have attributed the emptiness to it being neither summer nor skiing season, but the casino next door was closed. The reason for the emptiness, I was told, was the ever-increasing number of tribal casinos in California. Once upon a time, gamblers in California could choose between only two destinations: Las Vegas or Tahoe. Now, there is less reason to make the long and sometimes treacherous mountain drive to Tahoe.
For example, there are six tribal casinos in San Diego county alone. One can drive to one at whim for an evening’s entertainment and be home in plenty of time for bed. Fortunately, Tahoe has still got plenty of skiing. Let’s hope that global warming has nothing to say about that.
On the next day of my visit, we went bowling. I haven’t been bowling since the last time I visited, or possibly the time before that, so naturally I lost badly. I blamed it on a sore leg that I’d developed on the airplane.
After some tacos, we decided to go Geocaching. This is something I haven’t done in a while, either. But as it turns out, there’s a nice Droid app for Geocaching. With that installed, I suddenly had a shiny new GPS device, one that I wouldn’t even need to preload with cache coordinates. We found six of the eight that we looked for, and I suspect that one of them wasn’t even there anymore.
The next day, I returned home. After six hours in airports and on airplanes, I resolved that next time, I’d book a non-stop flight. I also resolved to wear flip-flops to the security checkpoint, to get a bigger duffel bag for my clothes if I’m going to have to check it anyway, and to not climb over any unfinished wooden railings. Even though it happened the day before, having two hands full of tiny splinters continues to prove that was a bad decision.
I didn’t do much the next day, except to observe that my neighbor has apparently bought Rock Band 3. So I can look forward to enjoying a pretty much continuous background rumble of bum bum bum, doop doop doop and boochie boochie boochie until the novelty wears off.
Halloween I pretty much sat out. I only received an invitation to one Halloween party, and even that was just the nearest tribal casino trying to scare up a bit more business. Nobody here at La Casa de Replicantes felt like putting up decorations, or even handing out candy, or even ignoring the door. So we went to the movies. The only movie showing that even slightly interested us was Red.
This would be the year’s other “over the hill action movie,” with Expendables being the first. Red was all right, I guess. The story hinged just a bit on suspension of disbelief, since one of the characters is kidnapped but then becomes a loyal member of the adventuring party. Or, maybe not, since there is such a thing as Stockholm Syndrome.
There were still some other confusing bits, though, and I had questions on the ride home such as “Who shot X?” and “Who did Y shoot?” Then again, if you’re the sort of person to ask such questions, maybe this is not quite the right movie for you. Red was far from the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but I’d still put it into the Rental camp (Or Matinee, if you’re really bored.)
And that just about covers it. Visit again tomorrow, when I may or may not make disparaging remarks about witches, pumpkins, and black cats.