There is hardly a part of poor James Stark that has not been shot, cut, set on fire, hacked off, or sent to live in Burbank.
There is no weird woman in Los Angeles he has no history with, no kind of supernatural life he has not kicked the ass of, no lame bar where he has not had a drink, no clever but tough yet deep inside nice bartender he has not hit for a smoke, no repulsive act he has not commited.
You get the same thing as in the other three books. Extra noir dialogue, smartassness, a clever phrase here and there, blood and guts.
I forgot to mention that on one of the airports there was a display of antique boardgames:
I didn't know San Francisco had a sign-in-the-hill like Hollywood
The Segway trip ended in a ... rather scenic place:
So there I said goodbye to my steel pony, good old seggcrates, and went out for a walk.
We had a grilled cheese sandwich, went to the hotel, yadda yadda yadda. The next day
was our last day off. We had a car. So we went to ... Fry's! We got a metric crapload
of gadgets, including a tiny USB battery, a powered 7 port USB hub, beef jerky, usb flash
drives, SD cards, cables, a sim card, a camera, a Nexus 7, a backpack, and other stuff.
After fighting for two hours to get a phone with a data plan, we sailed off, guided
by google maps and EDGE. Yes EDGE. It worked, though!
We had a very vague notion about heading north, into San Francisco, across the
Golden Gate into who knows where (ended up being Napa Valley).
So, we started, and found ourselves into (I think) the Presidio Park, which is lovely
but the pictures are in Lucio's camera, so it's up to him to post a link to them in
And of course, the Golden Gate. Which is a very photogenic piece of iron. So we got off the
car, at the parking lot, and saw this:
A little walk through a fort...
And there it was.
Of course I took a ton of pictures. The rest is in the gallery if you want to take a look.
So, we got a cup of ghastly coffee, got back in the car and set across the bridge.
Then there are some hills, and this cute tunnel:
Nice landscapes, in a surprisingly rural area 15 minutes off the city.
Then the infamous homemade jerky incident happened.
nota mental: contarle a mis nietos que no comi beef jerky casero por culpa de @ralsina
So, homemade-jerky-less we continued into the Sonoma Valley, and got to the Viansa Winery
where we stopped for a taste (Lucio, I don't drink. Also, I don't drive so just a taste).
It's a really nice place. Lovely handrails, too.
We got some souvenirs, some picnic supplies (salami, cheese, olives, Pellegrino
lemonade, crostini), and started off again. We forgot to reset the GPS so instead
of going back, we kept forward into Napa Valley. And we got to some vintner's
monument which closes at sunset. Right on time.
We got back via Oakland, at night which means there's no more pictures. I was shocked to
find out that not only does ask.com still exist, but that they
pay for billboards with inane questions in them.
The rest of the trip was basically work, with dinner excursions. We had american (Cheesecake Factory),
lebanese (at tannourine ok, sort of boring), and ....
mongolian at Little Sheep Hot Pot.
At the mongolian restaurant none thought of bringing a camera, so the only picture that
exists is taken with a Nexus 7's front-facing camera. Since the Nexus has no camera app,
I had to take it using twitter. I am ashamed.
So, what is that? You get a pot of soup which is about 40% garlic, 40% pepper, 20% unknown
things, and you check boxes in a menu for things to dip and cook in them. Since we are
adventurous nerds, we included:
Rice and pig blood cakes (tastes exactly like a rice and morcilla sandwich)
Goose intestines (taste like intestines)
Assorted meatballs (including beef tendon meatballs (taste like nothing))
Assorted beef slices (looks creepy, taste as beef)
and a ton of other stuff. The bad side of it is that after a while it all has exactly the same
taste: hot, spicy soup. The good side: it's fun to eat, and filling.
We had a last shopping spree a few days later, (I got shirts, 24 pairs of socks,
a suitcase to put all the things I could not fit in the old one), and I started back
alone to Argentina (Lucio stayed).
The return trip was complicated.
I forgot the carryon suitcase in the airline's desk, so I had to do the security check twice.
I didn't know the checked-in suitcase was headed to Buenos Aires directly, so I tried to check it
out and back in, and thought I had lost it. Of course, not lost, but I paid 5 dollars for a cart
I used for 5 meters.
Dallas->Ezeiza plane got delayed because it was "too full" (WAT?)
Forgot my passport in the backseat pocket, so I had to run across Ezeiza twice to get it back,
got so flustered and nervous my blood pressure spiked. Not fun.
Got stopped at customs because I had not declared my laptop on the way out. Luckily, I talked
my way out of it.
But got back, was fun, and very useful in the work-related bits.
In an uneven series, this is a good one, better than the 4th book, which was a not-so-good one.
Reading the series entirely in sequence in a few weeks, I noticed a few things.
1) The character sprawl is totally out of control, so much that the author had to use two books to tell the story of a few weeks or months. That's nuts, and hurts the books, because there are a lot of characters that are, simply, not very interesting.
2) This story seems to be about 40% done, which means another gazillion years waiting for it to end.
3) Unlike in star trek, here even is bad, odd is good.
4) If I had the time, I am sure I could find trends in word and expression usage. Neep and nuncle, leal and "The bastard of" are on the rise.
5) I don't regret reading it but ...
6) The situation, after thousands of pages, is completely unresolved, and it's becoming a bit grating to move the actual plot so slowly, even with all the things that are happening. It feels like noise.