It has been filibustered here plenty, but the most attractive aspect about living in California is knowing everything is new and enjoying each discovery. Perhaps too often, I have tried too hard to unearth something unique where I have gone out of my way to make a new experience rather than enjoy one of my few knowns.

There have been various levels of success in making these new discoveries. I have played mis-managed, dumpy golf courses. I have eaten lousy pizza and poorly-constructed sandwiches. I have turned a quick trip into an epic journey, getting lost and stuck in freeway traffic. I have met people who I couldn’t wait to not meet again and to close the tab as soon as possible to minimize financial and emotional damage.

But there have been some great times too and sometimes its best to enjoy what is right under your nose. Lately I have savored some of the most comfortable, pleasant experiences thus far in California. Nothing was forced. Nothing was artificial. Nothing carried high expectations or was yearned for. It just kinda happened and that makes it exponentially more delightful. There is a lot of frustration that goes along with living solo in a new place and casually admitting to only having ONE friend and spending most time exploring by myself. All of that annoyance and irritation is easily erased with an adorable smile and satisfaction that landing in California wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

Weekend golf on Saturday included a trek north to a part of LA County where I had not yet ventured. We wanted to play a non-city/county course and treat ourselves to somewhere special, even if that meant spending a few extra dollars and venturing a bit further out. When we arrived on the premises, it became clear we were in an area severely affected by the drought. The greens were the only thing green at Robinson Ranch. Well struck tee shots landed in the fairway and bounced 300-yards plus; Sometimes that meant simple pitch shot approaches, but other times it meant the ball bounded across the cart path and into trouble, never to be seen again. It was fun to flex after doing the calculation of how far each tee shot had traveled, but the rock hard brown ground wreaked havoc on our irons’ soles.

After dealing with one hundred degree heat dehydration and wayward-hopping golf ball frustration, we detoured off the 405 on the way home for a treat at Tito’s Tacos. It’s a simple menu. You get tacos. Maybe a burrito or tamale if you’re feeling crazy. The taco comes with an interestingly textured ground beef. There is no choice of chicken or pork or tongue or cheek. It’s beef tacos. The only decision to be made is whether you want your taco with or without sharp yellow cheddar cheese. The 20 minute line was well worth the wait and the tacos and chips & salsa are delivered in a brown gift box. Thank you Tito’s.

The evening after my previous round of golf ended at my favorite whiskey spot. I needed to get the taste of banquet-style beef (?) out of my mouth. I saddled up at the bar right away and had a good spot in the middle of the action. I enjoyed my Bulleit on the rocks, and another, and another, and enjoyed whatever else the bartender poured. I stayed to myself other than making  small talk with the staff. At some point during the night, I had enough liquor/courage to make eye contact with someone sitting across the bar. After another drink, it seemed like a good idea to take the open bar stool nearby. After a few minutes of (slurred?) conversation, it became apparent that while I had never met this lady, we had certainly spoken before.

How did this happen? And why was she willing to talk to me again? Stay tuned for the next entry. It’s time to shut this down to pack a bag and board a flight back home. 

The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912), were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who are credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903. From 1905 to 1907, the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.

The brothers’ fundamental breakthrough was their invention of three-axis control, which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium.This method became and remains standard on fixed-wing aircraft of all kinds. From the beginning of their aeronautical work, the Wright brothers focused on developing a reliable method of pilot control as the key to solving “the flying problem”. This approach differed significantly from other experimenters of the time who put more emphasis on developing powerful engines. Using a small home-built wind tunnel, the Wrights also collected more accurate data than any before, enabling them to design and build wings and propellers that were more efficient than any before. Their first U.S. patent did not claim invention of a flying machine, but rather, the invention of a system of aerodynamic control that manipulated a flying machine’s surfaces.

They gained the mechanical skills essential for their success by working for years in their shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery. Their work with bicycles in particular influenced their belief that an unstable vehicle like a flying machine could be controlled and balanced with practice. From 1900 until their first powered flights in late 1903, they conducted extensive glider tests that also developed their skills as pilots. Their bicycle shop employee Charlie Taylor became an important part of the team, building their first airplane engine in close collaboration with the brothers.

The Wright brothers’ status as inventors of the airplane has been subject to counter-claims by various parties. Much controversy persists over the many competing claims of early aviators. Historian Edward Roche argues that they were excellent self-taught engineers with a knack for tinkering more than for systematic research, but they proved to be poor businessmen.

(via Wikipedia)

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