Thursday, March 29, 2007

Also, the current blog title is really lame.

Any suggestions?

Real updates, coming soon. For real soon, not like "will post my pictures" soon.

Sigh. I keep meaning to post an update about my new student life. But the first day was just so overstimulatingly good, and there's so much I want to say, that it never seems to get written. I promise to post something for real tomorrow, after my first full week. Ooh, but I do have two quick pieces of news to share. Even though my room isn't opening up til the 1st, one of the other roommates in my new place ended up going out of town after all this week, so I was able to move into her room on Tuesday, which means no more commuting. I officially live in Santa Cruz now! Yay! Also, I have a job interview on Saturday.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rebecca's life - it's back, in FAQ form!

Big fat apologies to those of you who haven't been getting all the emails you are owed (and to those whose inboxes I've spammed with inanity), to those whose phone calls haven't been returned (I'm hoping this list is very short though!), and to those with whom I have been a little CRANKY for not being familiar with all the details below. I've realized that there's the slightest chance I haven't been as forthcoming with all the Rebecca News as perhaps I could have been. So...

Let the FAQ begin!
You have probably asked me one or more of these questions in the last few days/weeks/months. Yes, you. In lieu of continuing this maddeningly repetitive game of 20 questions about my life, I'm nailing the answers to the figurative wall of this blog. So, read closely. There will be a quiz. (Or, if you want the Cliff Notes version, just read the bold parts.)

Q: Hey, Rebecca, I've been following your blog and I see that you have been traveling gypsy-like across the country. Um, why's that again?
A: What a fine question. While visiting those fabulous people I have been missing for the past year was it's own reward, the actual point of it was to move to Santa Cruz to go to culinary school!

Q: Oh, so you're going to be a chef!
A: That wasn't a question. And if it were, I would answer NO, I do not want to be a chef. I want to do outreach work, teaching healthy cooking and nutrition. I may end up working with some type of community organization / non-profit / school, ideally getting low-income families cooking fresh healthy meals. (Here's where I tell the story about the homeroom kids not knowing lemonade is made from lemons, and digress into a rant about the pathology of the American food culture and our disconnect from our own food sources and agrarian past...)

Q: Isn't that a random/idealistic/penniless career choice?
A: I used to think so, and am pleasantly surprised to find that the answer is NO!
#1: This is NOT a career change. (hey, look, I have a "career"! My first clue was when the "teaching/tutoring" section suddenly took up my whole resume.) This will just add flexibility to what I already have experience with- I'd be able to switch up a little of that, a little tutoring, a little ESL teaching, a little non-profit office type work... I'm so marketable.
#2: There's been lots more attention and even funding for this type of work, with all the fuss over diabetes / childhood obesity etc in recent years.

Q: SO, what's this school you're going to again?
A: It's called Bauman College, after the founder. (You may remember that I previously linked to their vaguely informative youtube video.) It's pretty much what you would expect from santa cruz - a hippie veggie place (they probably call it "holistic and plant-based" or something.) This place is for real though, I think they do a good job of bridging the touchy-feeliness with the latest science / practical applications. They also offer nutritionist training, but I'm enrolling in the "Natural Chef" training program.

Q: So what does one study to become a natural chef?
A: Click on the link, people! Geez, do I have to do EVERYTHING around here? The short answer is:
"Required topics include: Culinary Nutrition and Kitchen Basics (45 hours), Food Foundation I (45 hours), Food Foundations II (45 hours), Ethnic Cuisine and Dietary Approaches (45 hours), Farm to Table (45 hours), Client Services (45 hours), Therapeutic Applications I (45 hours), Therapeutic Applications II (45 hours), Public Meal (45 hours), and Final Presentations (45 hours)"

Q: Public meal, as in, you have to actually cook for real people?
A: Oh yeah, and how. In the last newsletter, they included this link for the last session's Culinary Showcase. (warning - pdf. It's worth your while though - It really shows off what the graduates can do. lots of pictures and recipes.) Whoa, I'm going to be able to, like, COOK!

Q: Will you cook for me?
A: YES :)


Q: When does your program start?
A: TOMORROW!
Yikes! I'm going back to... school?? Huh??

Q: What's the schedule? Is this program as INTENSIVE as that TESOL program you did?
A: NO. I'm sure I'll have my share of homework and stuff, but the classes are Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 10-3. I believe this qualifies as "part time." It lasts for 5 months, which is shorter than most traditional culinary programs, so I will be done by the end of September. There's also an "externship" which partners you with an appropriate institution - in my case maybe a soup kitchen or school.

Q: OK, enough with the food. How about shelter?
A: Well, as previously mentioned, my mom's friend Sue has been fabulous in that department. Unfortunately she's 1.5 hours north of Santa Cruz. The good news is I did find a great place to live in downtown Santa Cruz! After so. many. listings of expensive or run down or rural places populated by surfer dudes, crazy commune types, college student partiers, uptight 30 somethings, and people who don't call you back. My new home, as of April 1, is a lovely old victorian house, with high ceilings, nice kitchen, 4 bedroom, 2 bath, washer dryer, 3 chill housemates, and CHEAP rent. YAY!!!! Address forthcoming.

Q: What about employment?
A: Uh... I'm working on it. My last check from the CHC got lost in the mail and I'm looking forward to depositing it soon, does that count? No seriously, I have a couple of good leads - ideally I will end up working at an independent bookstore, with some hours with a fancy Huntington Learning Center type tutoring place (not the demographic I'd prefer to teach, but I need something that will actually pay the bills.)


Q: Um... I really have to pee. Can I go now?
A: Yes. Yes you may. Sorry for the TMI.

Thus endeth the FAQ. After the bathroom break I'll be taking questions from the audience. Seriously, if you aren't bored by my life yet feel free to ask me more in the comments section. And I'll be sure to update more regularly from now on.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Happy Birthday!

The cumpleaƱera this time is Sue, who doesn't even read this blog, but deserves huge birthday wishes. Not only for being the fabulous person that she is, but for providing me with shelter, food, internet, you know, all those basic needs, and generally putting up with me for the last couple of weeks. I'm sure her opera and steak dinner will keep her entertained on her big day, though I'm still partial to tiny cakes :)

Friday, March 23, 2007

And now a word from Austin

Okay, I'm jumping in here to save Rebecca from herself. After 10 consecutive posts, she might start to feel that she has an obligation to her readership to continue providing daily commentary on movies, tv shows, and road trips. So I'm inserting a post of my own to give her a breather and let her reevaluate her priorities. And/or find a job.

This week has been blissfully devoid of any activity, following a few weeks of thorough insanity. Two weekends ago I flew back east (all please bow before the altar of JetBlue and its nonstop Austin-to-Boston flights, particularly when they're on sale) to attend B's uncle's memorial service, and get an unexpected day of WMSHC in the bargain. It was actually a wonderful weekend, despite 3-4 hour commutes every day for (wait for it) five consecutive days. WMSHC was loud and crowded and well-arranged and AMAZING... and really, you could almost say the same about Sunday's service. Well, not so loud, perhaps. It was held in this incredibly beautiful, slightly decrepit former-synagogue-turned-fine-arts-center


and provided a really moving overview of his pretty remarkable life. One Fung-Wah bus, two cab rides, and a plane flight later, I was back at work at the preschool as if the whole trip had never happened (but if it didn't happen, why was I so sleepy?????).

Next came SXSW with visits from Peter (who sang with us on Wednesday, came out to eat with us afterwards, and then disappeared never to be heard from again) and Jim (whom we managed to see almost less than we saw Peter, despite the fact that Jim was staying with us for three days). The moral of this year's SXSW was that there are so many free shows happening everywhere in the city that you go, why on earth would you pay money for a wristband? I mean, I didn't pay money for a wristband, but still. B&Q staked out a patio table at the out-of-the-way Brentwood Tavern on Friday and we camped out there to watch a lineup of local talent - including our hugely talented country-rockstar pal Brennen - with pitchers of beer and onion rings and friends coming and going.

Saturday I had to show up as part of the World Can't Wait contingent in the Million Musicians March for Peace against the Iraq war. It was actually a pretty good turnout and we made $30 in donations, which sounds pitiful but is actually UNPRECEDENTED. (I'm crediting my 64-oz. Nancy's yogurt container with the slit cut in the top which I covered in WCW stickers on Friday. Nobody can resist sticking money in a round container with a slit on top!) On the downside, I got my first sunburn of the year. Stupid Texas. Sunday was my birthday, and R&I cooked a small feast and had a bunch of friends (okay, let's be honest, they were the same friends we sang with on Wednesday and saw at the Brentwood Tavern on Friday... we're not THAT popular) over to celebrate. And then this week I've done nothing. Absolutely nothing. I love it.

Only four more days of work at the preschool! Then I fly back to MA for the Repro Rights Conference at Hampshire College, and when I come back, I'll be a brand-new woman with only one job! My co-teacher Noelle is also quitting (she's planning to spend April being sugar-daddyed by her rich indie musician boyfriend while she looks for another job... Richard, how come they don't sell your CD at Target?) so we may have to spend a few weeks getting together for lots of drinking and cursing and wearing of provocative clothing other activities we're usually not allowed to do when we're together amongst the 4-year-olds. (Speaking of provocative clothing, one of my preschoolers wandered up to me the other day, grabbed the neckline of my shirt with both hands, and pulled it upward to a more modest position... and then yesterday, as soon as I entered the classroom, one of the little boys turned to me, pointed his finger at me, and was like, "Nice outfit!" Hmmmm... I'm not sure what sort of lesson I should be taking away from this.)

Okay! I'm off. Now back to Rebecca's regularly scheduled media reviews.

Love,

K

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Consider this a PSA

I Think I Love My Wife is bad. Like, really really bad. Like, one of the worst movies I've ever seen bad. What, you won't take my word for it? OK, but you'll be forced to read my ramblings on how a movie can possibly suck this much.
(Vaguely spoilery, but you're not going to see it anyway, right? Right???)

I only went in the first place because Sue, who knows these things,had read several good reviews. I mean, the NYT actually said, "Mr. Rock has not only done his best work as a director and screenwriter but has also made an unusually insightful and funny mainstream American movie about the predicaments of modern marriage." Uh, did we see the same movie? I was bored from the first shot - a nondescript suburban house, joined shortly by the dreaded voice over. The movie is a cliche populated by cliches. And the casting is so above the level of the movie, it feels even more implausible. I'm not even a big Firefly fan, and I didn't for a second buy that Gina Torres would ever be so one dimensional as to have a life centered around arranging playgroups and shopping for sconces. The evil temptress (who you can spot a mile away thanks to her short skirts and insistence on smoking - gasp - in non-smoking areas!) isn't even convincingly tempting. There's no real motivation for Chris Rock to keep seeing her. As if it weren't bad enough that CR is mindnumbingly dull (cuz he's being a "serious" actor, see), that even ruins the times he does turn on the class crude comedy - it seem disjointed and out of character. If you haven't already left the theatre, you'll be treated to the extended viagra scene. And the Attack of the Musical Number (hey, maybe if we sing, they won't notice that this ending doesn't make any sense!)

The reviews that did trash it tossed around the word misogyny a lot. Yeah, the portrayal of women was insulting and trite, but not particularly surprising. It's not like the men come off too well either. More than anything I'm confused by how anyone thought it was a good idea to conflate the infidelity with race/class issues. It's not enough for the evil temptress to be all, well, evil and tempting. Her real crime is to show up at CR's all-white firm and almost get him fired by dragging him into her world of N-bomb dropping and ghetto boyfriends. This was just... creepy, and not the kind of social commentary one hopes for from a prominent black celeb.

BUT on the plus side I saw a preview for the new movie that stars Keri Russell, Nate Fillion, and pie! Where can i sign up??

(ps - this post will allow comments now. stupid new blogger.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

At the risk of further mockery...

Are you in need of something to aid and abet your procrastination?
Have you ever watched Star Trek?

If you answered yes to those questions, you MUST check out Wil Wheaton's hi-larious episode recaps. I'd come across these before, but forgot all about them until today. Who knew wesley would grow up to be so enjoyable?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Here's hoping we don't get to 5

This is the closing scene of the movie I watched the other night - I can't believe it's actually on youtube. It's a really hauntingly beautiful Turkish folk song, and this lyric from it has been running around in my head:

If only I were a nightingale in the garden
I would sing all my songs for you
My soul wouldn't have the strength for wars



And here is a nice article written by, of all people, my current housemate. Would you believe it just happened to come up as the first article (of 6,411!) when I googlenewsed "war anniversary." He covers the military for Sue's paper, and has been to Iraq several times. At the st pats party we were at on saturday, people kept pushing him to admit to being pro or anti-war and he was very steadfast in his journalistic objectivity. In keeping with that, his piece for monday's paper just nicely showcases people caught up in the war, for better or worse.

Nothing says happy birthday like...

Tiny cakes!!!!!!


Friday, March 16, 2007

In no particular order, the news of the day

1) ecuador and mexico are playing a friendly match in oakland - all the spanish speaking car dealerships seem to be offering contests for free tickets. Too bad I'll be in class in Santa Cruz, or I could actually get some more use out of my Tricolor jersey.

2) Fans are going crazy over Veronica Mars cancellation rumors. Yeah, all the good shows die young. The worst part is that Rob Thomas, the creator, is proposing to save the show by skipping 4 years ahead, portraying Veronica on Alias as an FBI agent, and ditching most of the cast. Oy.

3) As a newly instated California girl, I can and will poke fun at all the new englanders digging out from the big storm.

4) Watched this excellent documentary on the Turkish music scene with Sue and friend tonight. If applicable, add to your netflix queue.

5) This weekend's must haves: green for St. Pat's day, anti-war protest gear, and birthday candles for Ms KT's 25th!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Where are those New England place names when I need them...

In my commute I pass so many signs to "Pleasant Hill" and "Pleasant Hill Road" I can't get 205 out of my head. Good thing there's a San Francisco sing coming up on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

still on wmshc high

despite the post convention hangoverness, tonight we managed some pretty excellent singing and "fellowship" (sorry kt, couldn't resist the quotes there). And sheldon's pictures!!!!

Some choice moments:
Our favorite Austin leader
Can't wait to get this one into a frame :)
Is it possible for a picture to be this cute without a baby in it?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

On anniversaries, Best. Things. Ever. and friends who are cooler than me

So apparently yesterday, March 10, was the 10th anniversary of the airing of the first ep of Buffy. An event for which we should all give thanks. Yes, yes, go ahead and mock my buffy obsession. Or you could read one of the many articles celebrating Buffy and maybe watch an episode or two :) I may not have "spent most of the day entombed in my living room watching every episode I've got on DVD" but only because watching all 151 episodes takes longer than 24 hours, and my DVDs are in my car in the BART parking lot in Orinda I got to spend all day singing with my favorite people. Which is even higher on my list of Best Things Ever in Life. My 5th consecutive WMSHC by the way! Making it my 4th anniversary of singing regularly (if the last year can be called regularly...) So really this post goes out to Andrea for dragging me into the Buffyverse, and Jenna and Briana for dragging me into singing.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Monday, March 05, 2007

3791

That's miles traveled this time, not altitude. Since my last oil change right before leaving Oak Park on Feb 16th. (8,000 miles since purchasing the car on December 19. Please don't hate me, car! I take you to exciting new places and don't burn your upholstery with my cigarettes like your previous owner!)
I'm still waiting for google maps to come out with an indiana jones style animated red line to mark my epic travels, but until then, you can check out this plain old map of the least direct route ever between between two points (aka my travel route over the last 16 days.) Lauren, Ruth, Katie, Richard, and MP - if you're ever doubting my love, just look at this sad empty friendless direct route i could have taken. (Highway 80, she's a mighty good road...)

travel notes from the last leg:

my stop outside of LV was all it promised to be... the famous casinos of downtown LV really are that giant and shiny and crazy, especially when the sight comes upon you at night after driving through the empty empty desert all day. In my decidedly less ritzy hotel I even stopped down in the casino to play a few quarter slots, despite my general revulsion for all things gambling. (Richard is probably still sore at me for my grumpiness during our visit to mohegan sun.) I planned to just use up my $8 (what i had in my pocket), but i shockingly (my results at gambling usually match my attitude.) ended up winning a bit pretty quickly so I just went through my winnings and broke even. Not the worst way to kill time, but not my finest half hour either.

If Idaho in June was the worst smelling drive I've ever made, southern ca in march was the best smelling. From bakersfield north for several hours i kept my windows down and floated on the incredible smell of all the fruit trees in bloom. and if it wasn't just the most perfectly gorgeous afternoon to match. (a woman in the parking lot of trader joes, which i conveniently passed in bakersfield, said "i wish all summer could be like this." Which made me happy to only be passing through on this glorious day and not have to stay for the actual summer.)

Oh yeah, the google map doesn't lie, I did make it to the end of the road in orinda ca! Staying with a great friend of my mom. but the trip doesn't end here - i'm off a bit later to scout out my new home of santa cruz. in no particular order, my to do list in the next couple of days (before flying east for convention) reads:
shelter
job(s)
oil change/car wash/carbon emissions offset (what's the one from your bumper sticker, kt?)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Coming up for air

I keep meaning to write about our Very Busy Life, but then I just get too busy with said life and too lazy to post and we just keep doing more things and then I get even lazier and then we do more. Bah. We've had three wonderful visits in the past three weeks - from my parents, Rebecca, and Christina - with too many good times to enumerate. Event highlights included a day trip out to Fredericksburg (a cute, goofy, touristy town out in the Hill Country which boasts 10,000 residents and 300 bed-and-breakfasts); going to hear Barack Obama speak; the Texas State Sacred Harp Convention in College Station (home of Texas A&M, Scott's alma mater) which included a night of good old fratboy-style drinking on Saturday night with Scott as our able-bodied tourguide (who better to lead us than the graduate of a university where longstanding tradition mandates that in order to earn your class ring, you first have to drink it out of a pitcher of beer?); the Zilker Park Kite Festival; and more eating out than we've done in the past year. Next weekend I'm heading back east for B's uncle's memorial service, the week after that is SXSW and another houseguest, and two weeks after that I'm heading BACK east for the Reproductive Rights Conference at Hampshire College. I gave my notice at the preschool and will be finishing up there and starting to work full-time at NARAL starting in April, and this summer I'm going to Israel on a free birthright trip where, as best as I understand it, our tourguides will be extolling the virtue of the state of Israel and encouraging me to join the army. Never a dull moment.

If you want to see a few pictures from the end of February, go here.

And, unrelatedly, here's a story that I've been meaning to post for some time because it totally caught my fancy: "Sweet freedom for man found innocent after 30 years: Robert King Wilkerson cooks up a new life as a candy maker" (worth a free registration with the Austin American-Statesman online just to read it... or you can try clicking here if you don't feel like registering). It's the story of a former New Orleans resident who moved to Austin after Katrina. He spent almost 30 years in solitary confinement for a crime was wrongly convicted for. While in prison, he learned to make candy using butter and sugar packets collected at breakfast, and now that he's been freed he continues to make homemade pralines and sell them to earn a living. According to the article, the candy allows him to cover his $350 rent, most months. "Being known as an American political prisoner has its perks. He is feted and toasted by the network of radicals permanently outraged by the Establishment. Here's a picture of him with socialist historian and author Howard Zinn; here's another with U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California. 'It's a circle I got introduced to I never thought I would,' he says. 'Not that I wanted to.' In November, heiress and arts patron Ann Getty invited him to her San Francisco mansion. A living political art installation, he arrived each morning at 8:30, made pralines in her restaurant-size kitchen all day and left at 4. At the end of the two weeks, she presented him with a new industrial-size stove. It would take up almost his entire living room/bedroom, though, so it has stayed in California. 'A lot of these white activists don't understand,' Harkness says. 'He lives hand-to-mouth.'" Robert King Wilkerson's candy can be ordered online at www.kingsfreelines.com. I haven't actually ordered any yet, but I'll let you know how it is when I do.

Okay, after that long ramble, I'm off to bed. R & I accidentally-on-purpose napped from 6-8:30 this evening, so we're extremely untired, but work does beckon tomorrow morning, so I'll do my best.

G'night!

K

Saturday, March 03, 2007

the ups and downs of roadtripping

Hey, altitude, haven't commented on you in a while!
Aspen: 7930 feet
For comparison
Quito:
9350
La Paz:
11811
highest point on my drive:
10424 (on the pass after leadville, co.)
(independence pass, the more direct route to aspen, is closed for the winter but
stands at 12095 feet)

So my stay in Aspen is already up! Got in on Wednesday night as planned, which I still can't believe. At this point I consider myself something of a veteran driver. 10 hours on the interstate? no problem. But unfortunately the drive from Austin to Aspen is not that simple. Well, til Amarillo it was no problem. (The most eventful part of that drive was my visit to Walmart. So, I know Walmart is eeeevil, but it's hard to remember that when I'm able to stop at 10 pm in the middle of nowhere texas and buy my tom's of maine spearmint toothpaste and my kashi honey almond flax granola bars. At a serious discount. And the store was spotless, uncrowded, and the staff was superhelpful. I'm still holding onto the receipt to prove it really happened.)

After Amarillo things got much less fun. There's no interstate, just cutting back and forth between random 2 lane highways. Where I narrowly avoided a $190 ticket, despite barely going above the speed limit while people passed me all over the place. So after that I steadfastly drove the exact speed limit, which meant constantly decelerating to 55, 35, etc as you pass through towns. Then I hit the mountains. I knew there had been crazy snowstorms lately and it was getting dark, so the smart thing to do would have been to just spend the night in one of the friendly budget motels in the small towns in southern colorado. But I was anxious to get on. So I kept on up and over lots of mountain passes. Despite driving 20 mph and braking the whole way down, I still managed to skid at one point and dent my fender on the guardrail. Nothing at all serious, I was totally fine, I was just pissed at the money it will eventually cost me. At that point I decided I should just get off the road. But it took another 30 min to get off the mountain and finally back to an interstate (70). And at that point I was in crazy resort land, near Vale. Every place I inquired at was over $100. Sooo I pressed on. Through the national park. Finally I'm at the turnoff to Aspen, so it seems crazy to stop there. Another icy country road. I survive, near Aspen and make call #16438 to MP. She gives me directions. When I get to town I can't read a single street sign, my poor car is barely pushing through the heavy snow, snowplows are driving indiscriminately both ways down the street. I pull into a shell station to make call #16439 and try asking directions. Despite being past midnight and having parked in the appropriate parking spots, the giant gas truck pulls up to fill up the station, and starts yelling at me "you have to move your car! hurry!". Flustered I pull out and await better directions from MP. Finally get the directions and set off for her apartment (at this point about 2 min away.) The first turn and - I'm stuck. Perpendicular in the middle of the street. Fortunately before the hyperventilating took hold, the kind snow plow men had to come to my rescue and tow me out. Another call from MP wondering how I possibly hadn't gotten there YET, and I start off again. I was shocked when I was finally able to pull into a parking spot in her apartment complex. Fortunately no ones drives around Aspen (hmm, i wonder why) and they have a great free bus that goes right by the apartment here and into town, so my poor poor car has been getting a much deserved rest.

The one thing about that drive is that I must say it was STUNNING. First I passed through the Texas panhandle - starkly beautiful backcountry, red rock formations, dust storms, so much tumbleweed it quickly became less than charming. Was immensely happy it wasn't quite tornado season yet. Then into the Rockies, which need no introduction. So strange to start out the day in flipflops and 80s weather, and end it as mentioned above. That kind of climate variation in a day's drive seems normal in Ecuador, but in our giant country it's really surreal!

As for Aspen itself, it's a cute town with laid back skibums on one hand, with free hybrid busses, vegetarian restaurants. Then on the other hand you have foreign tourists in furs shopping for louis vuiton and jewels. Throw in crazy festivals always going on (right now the HBO Comedy Arts festival, so posters everywhere for stephen colbert's appearance, and cell phoned network execs roaming the streets.) The ski lift takes off right from town. MP has this amazing mountain view from her apt. It's a bit of a change from Austin. Not sure if I could ever live here, but MP loves it. She skis almost every day (goes into work early, then gets in a 9 am run, and back to work.) and there's ridiculous nature everywhere for hiking, running, climbing, etc. She's mostly been working but we went out to a great restuarant on thurs night, and had some drinks with some people from her work yesterday.

Next stop: saturday night in Vegas! Uh, how did that happen? I think most of you know that's probably my last idea of a good time, and I've watched way too much CSI to ever feel safe sleeping in that town. Since I don't fancy sleeping in the desert or the many state/national parks, I have made a reservation at this gem. No kidding. Again, this was definitely not part of my plan. But it was either there, or Motel 6 again for the same price! So assuming I don't hit it big and hole up in the penthouse, I'm aiming to put this roadtrip to an end in Orinda, CA, on Sunday night!