New Travel, New Year

This is the start of the travel planning year. I have two vacations already defined and perhaps a third in the wings for this year. The first one will be around April and will take me up to Portland for a few days of walking, eating, drinking. April is the perfect time for Portland. Before the tourist season and the weather may not be totally inviting to many. But for walking; its ideal. Much like Seattle was in November. I’ll fly up and train back so I can keep my united frequent flyer miles active.

The next trip will be a road trip up the coast from San Francisco to Fort Bragg. I have not done that part of the drive yet so need to see a part of the coastline which I have read a great deal about of late. This trip will take about 4 days as well and be done in a rental car.

The final trip this year is to Japan using my miles. My goals are to spend a few days in Tokyo and get back to a few places and then train down to Hiroshima. I’ll stay at Hiroshima for about 3 days and then back to Tokyo and back home. I don’t see a pressing need to visit India or Singapore any longer. Just adds more time and expense. Japan is what I want.

Lurking just ahead of me is a bigger and more aggressive plan next year. I will simply disappear in 2016 for months and perhaps longer. I know what I need to get this done. Many factors in my life will come together and I will be able to do the trip to places and do times in the places with no hurry. I already know what I want from this. Fly to Japan and take the Ferry boat from Osaka to Shanghai. Then train to Hong Kong. Stay there for whatever time and then Singapore beckons a 24 hour train trip to Chiang Mai Thailand. A month would be perfect in Thailand. This is only the barest of outlines and there are so many places inbetween here and there to see while I still have juice in my life to do the things. I’ll get back after months with no car, no home, but money still in the bank. I may hit the road again and do the train trip here I have wanted for so long. The amtrak across the USofA completely. I merely want to have months and months of travel with nothing holding me back or pushing me forward. Its not the destination or the road or the signs or the places. Its the movement I miss so much. I once said in my earlier blog while sitting at the Changi Airport in 2011 eating a breakfast it was “not being here or there”.

I miss that sensation. I also want to simplify down to a level of only a backpack and a tablet. No phone, no pool, no pets. Stay tuned here to see me start outlining the grandest of trips. I know what I need to do for money and for time and what I want. Its time to get what I want. I’ve given for years and sometimes I’ve felt used and abused. People have felt its okay to do that to me and if they cry and make a mess of emotions, I’ll just not erase those etcha sketch lines. Wrong bucko.

 

I want to be alone

So what did she say?

In the movie Grand Hotel, she says,

I want to be alone

She also clarified a line attributed to her outside of the movie as being the same. It became

I want to be left alone

Why is that important and who really cares? Lets face it, Greta was a beautiful and sensuous woman who never married, never had children and lived life the way she wanted. I started on the trek to find out because of a Van Morrison song I happen to like a lot.

I ended the 30 minute quest before a meeting I have coming up because the quote always intrigued me and left me wondering. The song by Van I always felt was much like a lot of his other work. Darkly beautiful, sensuous, willful, emotionally binding but right under the surface. Just perhaps like Greta herself.

 

Walking, Wondering

I’ll be heading out for my evening walk soon. My nexus 6 is juicing up and the Endomondo app is waiting for its hour and some in the sun. Soon either Google Play all access or Pandora will take me down the streets and sidewalks of the neighborhoods of Fremont. I always feel empowered and ready when I head out the door. Its like a moment in the sun when seeing a drab day and feeling that intense burst. My feet strike the pavement in some rhapsody of lefts and rights. I can feel the world gearing up to welcome me. Dogs run at me and bark. People smile and wave or just ignore. I’m good with the first and better with the last.

I never liked walking with others either in my city rambles or my daily strolls. Its an invasion of privacy and when I think back on the moments I almost stopped because another would walk with me; I now know that it will never happen again. I am a solitary creature and its okay.

Walking simply re-invents the world and its places in a 90 minute or so showcase of the things possible, alternate realities that I shamble through, women yelling at their kids, husbands watching. Powerless. There is nothing that makes them empowered. I feel for them.

It dawned on me over the weekend that now I can do whatever the fuck I want to do and no one can tell me I’m making a horrible mistake or starting the wrong path. Lets face it; each thing has its value. So I walk. I wonder. I wander.

Then I process the comments and collaborations of the intense, sublime, asinine. And I exit the other side. Blogpost intact. Now I’ll change and go forth.

As the song says,

don’t remind me of my failures. I have not forgotten them

Finally, New Blog Post!

Its been about a week for me to get back to the blog. I did an interview with “some big IT company” this last week and in retrospect I’m glad to not have gotten it. I think I’m spoiled with the way things are now. Moved past that and now am back to being okay happy with each day with IBM.

I went out and bought a brand new Weber BBQ grill today. For a long time at the fractured house, did not feel like partaking of the food I enjoy cooking. It felt really good to get the grill, start planning a few meals on weekends with the daughter force, and have Free wanting to contribute with his great food. Next weekend is the first BBQ and we’ll do Ribs, Chicken, some of my potatoes, sausage, and cauliflower. I like to prepare the potatoes a certain way that has always seemed really good using Bernstein’s Salad Dressing. The sausage is a simple thing but we have always liked it. So welcome back to the BBQ era.

I have been considering Android a lot lately and what makes me like it so much. Its not just the freedom with the Nexus devices that I like. Its more like the vibrant developer community, the custom ROMs which come out, the ability for developers to make a new thing from the baseline that they get. Its like Linux in so many ways because it is Linux in so many ways :-). The newer breed of Nexus user seems to have predetermined ideas about what its supposed to be or do and I think they want the platforms to be successful commercially when they are not really meant for that. They are really meant to stretch the horizons and showcase the platform. I think the financial success stuff is given by the vendor like HTC, Samsung, LG. We should leave google to making these reference platforms which the developers can extend, enhance, and make do more.

I have also been thinking about my vacations this year. I am probably going to do three or four. I want a trip up Highway One north of San Francisco probably to Fort Bragg or Mendocino. I want a train trip at least one way to Portland and then spend a few days tramping around the city, drinking its beer, eating the food. Perhaps one more vacation elsewhere which would make three. I take off more frequently on weekends for shorter getaways.

Anyways, that’s about a wrap for the big thoughts and what I’ve been doing. This blog has always been more of a personal reflection and a release for me. Maybe some folks want to see more pondering around Linux and Android or perhaps stories or memories of working in various places. Sorry. I just do not have a clear direction when I fire up the wordpress application on my Nexus 9. I just let the things go. I do think a lot about the archeology these days. Its like this invisible connection to those days. Other things are more transitory but for some reason the vivid memories of the doing of the archeology always remain and I still see being in the field in Barstow digging. Walking the path of a electrical line down at Edwards AFB. Seeing the sun touch the top of those big trees in the Eldorado. I feel like there are still thousands of stories about those people, those days.

Another Week to Start

      Its an interesting perspective going into next week. First off, we have HTC and Samsung showing their new toys. I will never buy either. Then a tasty rumor surfaces that there will be two Nexus phones. One from Huawei and another from LG. I would like to see a choice like this. I think its very smart if they do it to offer a phone from a new face out there and then an established purveyor of Nexus toys.

I’d like to see a new tablet which would build on the Nexus 9 with some key differences. Give the building and construction to someone new as well. Perhaps Nokia. Imagine the new N1 tablet recast as a Nexus device with perhaps a few changes. Maybe new processor power, 3g of memory and storage choices from 32 to 128g of memory. No matter what; its fun to read and hear about the rumors. The Nexus thing is always fun and each time, google stretches some boundaries and people seem to misunderstand the purpose of the Nexus line. Maybe I should state the ones I believe are true:

The Nexus line is not meant to be financially successful. Its meant to provide a view of a device that’s a reference platform which twists our viewpoints

The Nexus line is supposed to showcase some facet of Android. Either support for new hardware or a new version of Android.

Not everyone is supposed to buy these things but yet it seems more and more people that don’t know fastboot and adb or factory images buy them. I buy them for just those reasons. Strange and esoteric tools and techniques, a quick route to root, ability to unlock things easily by running simple commands.

Finally, the Nexus line is not meant to be a showcase of a commercially viable device. Its meant to capture a certain view and use of Android that is not commercial. Call it a developer preview of a thing which is not complete. Yet know the Nexus line is measured exactly in the opposite way from which it is intended.

I’m also always amazed by the seriousness that we all put into these gadgets. As a tool user, I pick the things which will make it easier, more fun, more of a learning experience. Android seems to fit here better. I’ve tried Apple gear and there is no playing, hacking, changing on it. I cannot learn on something I cannot hack on or add to or change. I just get a thing that Apple intended me to have. It becomes boring and less than useful in short order. That’s what happened to me and the Air Pad 2. I got tired of its strict adherence to some design philosophy and UI approach which is… boring. Its simply not able to become “mikes device”.

Finally, we come full circle to life how it is now. Tomorrow I have an interview which could change things quite a bit for me. I would only be there for about 9 months or so and then I’d take off some months for travel after having saved some amount of money which I am well on the way to now. I would leave the US behind for perhaps 2 months and do this trip to Asia I have wanted to do. Perhaps ride the ferry boat from Osaka to Shanghai. Then the train to Hong Kong. I would linger in each place as I would want. No clear next thing to do and spend months in the endeavor. I would return around March or April and figure out my next thing. I may come back with no job, no house, no car. Just me. But I will have learned an immeasurable thing which comes with travel. Perhaps I would make it to India and see friends there. Maybe stay in Chennai for some weeks and get to Mumbai and New Delhi. I have friends in those places now.

I would do long walks in each place and learn and experience and become more and less. That’s what travel does for a person. You face the real you and then find out what you thought was real morphed and you learned even more.

Imagine learning that in one day, the entire life thing could change so significantly. Its rather unnerving and exciting.

I’ll close this out now and see what tomorrow may bring.

Home Again – The Trip from Palmdale

Yesterday was probably one of the best yet longest travel days because I decided to head home last night instead of staying in San Simeon. I took Highway 126 over to Ventura and then drove up Highway 101 to San Luis Obispo. At this point, Highway 1 and 101 diverge and you are at a decision point. Drive farm and pastureland on the 101 or head over to one of the most beautiful parts of the Highway 1 adventure. I think of all the places I’ve driven the part of Highway 1 from San Luis to Monterey is the best. Way before my ex-wife would do this drive regularly but I wanted new memories and new photos that are mine.

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This photo is along the route and you can see a fisherman on the rocks. One of so many pulloffs. I also tried to find one that my ex-wife and I used to stop at. This proved more difficult because there are probably hundreds of these pulloffs and I don’t have the pictures any longer. It could have been here too I guess.

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They all look about the same and the mark of the “spot” was that there was nothing unusual about it or any markings that it was some awesome spot. I just wanted to find the place and now I’m sure I got close.

Along the route, one sees the small villages like Cambria which people stop along the road to shop, eat, stay. Very beautiful places that mark the route that the Highway 1 takes.

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After going through the lower parts of the drive, Highway One wends along cliffs that abut the ocean. Its a windy, beautiful, unique drive that is marked by crashing waves, heroic rock outcrops, and small restaurants with cabins like Lucia Lodge.

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We stopped at so many of these places way before. The Lucia Lodge restaurant looks down on this canyon where deer used to ramble and eat the flowers. Notice the rainbow!

Finally, I recommend the beauty of any of the places you may stop along the route.

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Just the most beautiful spots to partake of when you do the drive.

I got home in the evening, ate a bowl of chili here, and considered what I had seen. A beautiful end but a long driving day where I reclaimed the coastline and got new pictures. Well worth it.

If you have the chance and opportunity, do the drive. Just break it up into days and stop and stay in San Simeon or at the Lodge with the cabins. Look at the lonely cliffs that dive into the relentless ocean. See the beauty of the coastline in an amazing engineering feat where bridges built in the 1930s provide vistas of their own.

Now I’m home. Back to work. I want to go back again with my daughter and give her the gift of Highway 1 along the coast from Monterey south.

Relocation Day — Desert to Ocean

Today I pack up after my two night stay in the Antelope Valley and head toward the ocean and Highway One. Its still rather early here so its breakfast first in the free zone at the hotel. I love the waffle machine! Probably around 10am, I’ll head down to the 126 road via the US 5 again. Then over to the coast and up through Santa Barbara and the ocean villages which make the transition from 101 to 1.

What I learned about going back to the Valley is that this is most likely the last time for me to go. My last connection Frank is gone and there really is nothing holding me here besides old memories which bump around and made me remember a few places which were still there like the Longhorn Bar and Grill and a few of the homes my mom and I lived in. Its a weird thing to return each time and I feel less than ever connected. I drove by the High School I went to, the park I used to hang out in, and then drove down Lancaster Boulevard. Now known simply as the “Boulevard”. There is not a single place remaining so while it was interesting to see what they had done to the place I used to walk and even work, nothing really sticks in my memory any longer.

Another thing is that the older memories when my ex-wife and I lived here also went their own way into history. She is so little a part of any of my life these days that I can see her with some degree of clarity. When you are close to someone you really ignore certain aspects of their personality and what they do. You just kind of accept the things because you believe that the good outweighs the bad. I’ve rethought that basically. While she has good in her I am not expecting to find it any longer. The only connecting point are the kids. I don’t have much good in me unfortunately. I’ve tried to have something redeemable but alas; I don’t. I am just me and people have to accept me for what I am. If not, I will invite you to stop reading here and go to some socially or intellectually redeemable property where you can read all sunshine and flowers or deeply challenging mental exercises.

Now the ocean will beckon and I will drive up the coast to San Simeon today. The hotel there is for a single night and tomorrow I’ll be up around 7am to get home by 11am or so. The path to the ocean takes me through sleepy cities and long remembered but not seen locales where the ocean bumps the coast in a never-ending  erosion and deposition dance.

Next post I will be home. Perhaps with some photos from my Nexus 6 to state where I’ve been.

Days of Deserts

I made it down to the Antelope Valley last night after a few stops for things. Dropping into the valley from the 138 highway from the I5 was the same memorable drive even though it was nighttime. Seeing the familiar road signs and shadowy Joshua Trees reminded me of the places here and why I always thought that this place was special. Its not only geography but the unique nature of desert ecosystems. When you drive down from the I5 you see the other ecosystems declare and then fade away. Juniper Trees with their most fragrance of all wood for burning. The mixed pine higher on the I5.

In getting here, I took the 166 highway which cuts from the US 101 to I5 so I could test my mettle on the grapevine. Truth be told that was only stressful part of the drive. The grapevine and before is a crazy mix of 18 wheel trucks moving between the two right lanes, cars and trucks careening in a somewhat balanced mess in the other lanes. I was glad to get off the freeway and then see the isolation of a state highway which links the communities and places.

I’ve wondered how many of these little roads actually connect places which would give the traveler a more meaningful roadtrip. I saw a few out on my trip. It would be fun to go north to south using these state highways and local roads and see what there is. I think most people though are only interested in going as fast as they can and don’t really care anymore about the places inbetween. Too bad.

So, being here in Palmdale, with its memories and haunts; I will venture forth for a day of exploration and doing absolutely nothing here beyond what I want to do. Perhaps take a few pictures with the Nexus 6 of the various places. Remember back to the few places still around and those long lost days of youth. Attend Franks memorial service perhaps later today or not. I don’t feel some pressing need to do anything demanded or wanted of me today.

Tomorrow, I will wend my way to highway 126 and then begin the trek up Highway One to Cambria and San Simeon and toodle along and stop and photo, eat, remember and try to find “the spot”. We shall see if Mike will be successful. As I mentioned, I am doing a lot of this trip to replace some older memories which need erasing or updating of those other days with my ex-wife. In retrospect, something was always wrong for all those years and sometimes a person cannot read the signs and things just go on in some weird turn. So be it.

Now I’m off!

Changes and Re-Arranges

Good luck to my friend Deepak on his and family’s changes. I know things will be great for you in the new place. I’m changing my location a bit as well in about 30 minutes. Will soon depart for the trek to soCAL to go to my friend Frank’s ceremony and then down to SCALE13 and see some other friends associated with one of the grandest and most sustaining software worlds I’ve been around since about 1998. Linux and open source really are exciting vistas to me and they power so many things from small rigs to giant aircraft to spaceships. Truly remarkable how far its come from my first stumbling days with distributions which either are gone or have morphed a few times. Back then we had a single choice for Network cards and a single choice for Sound. The 3Com 905 and Soundblaster were our choices. Linux on laptops was truly an adventure back then but I worked with this small OEM out in Round Rock Texas and we certified Linux on a Dell Inspiron laptop way back when. People are still wanting Linux on this or that but Dell, IBM, and others were doing it last decade. The early adopters were an adventurous and experimental type and we got so many desktops and workstations to certify from Dell it was truly amazing. We had to ask them to stop sending monitors each time :-).

Then I was invited out for this series of meetings before some Linux show because Dell wanted to showcase Linux on an Inspiron laptop at the show. A few years later after this adventure with RedHat they listened and started offering Debian as a choice for a preloaded Linux distribution. Yes folks; that was around 1999 and 2000. This preloaded stuff is not new.

Anyways, wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year for the second time and a great weekend. Let my travel mode commence.

Driving Highway One

I made one more change to my trip plan this weekend. There’s a part of the coastline which is rather special for me which is by San Simeon and the Hearst Castle.

Central Coast Map

Its been awhile since I’ve been there and probably the last time was with my ex-wife. We had a turnoff we called “the spot”. We would often stop and eat there from food we had taken or stop on some camping trip down the coast and enjoy the wondrous scenery.

I always felt that the compelling thing about the spot was that it was not special in any way or form. It was just another turnoff but somehow we had taken it and made it another thing. The test now is on Sunday to find it again on my own and reclaim it. It perhaps sounds childish after all that’s happened but these spots that we once touched also belong to me and I want the memories back or I want to make new ones. I intend on eating lunch there and erasing some of those old lines on the etcha sketch.

I’ll stay along the coast Sunday night in San Simeon as well because I just feel the need to get back to the wondrous Highway One. It travels this beautiful path along the ocean and I’ve loved doing the drive from south to north. I have not done the one from Santa Barbara north to Monterey in quite some time. I’ll just take that back too and make a new memory or two.

Soon, I’ll be at my last work day this week and I can leave a lot of the BS behind for some days and get away by myself on a road trip to say goodbye to Frank first off down in the Antelope Valley. The drive up rekindles the wonder I have always felt in the drive of the pacific. Blogging will come to find itself as well from my trusty Nexus 9.

The PCH awaits my pleasure and soon I’ll be on the road again. A weekend of driving awaits and while others wonder at it; all I can say is that its a singular goodness for me. The road stretching out before me kindles a wanderlust, a sense of desire, a need.

I’ll be writing more here over my weekend. Stay tuned.