Life in California

For lunch on the first day of the conference, Zac Timm, his wife Coleen and I went to Lazy Dog Restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga. It was an odd place, the main attraction of which is that people are allowed to bring their dogs right into the restaurant. Why this is a draw for anyone with a dog, much less anyone without a dog, is a mystery to me.

After being seated at an outside table in the direct path of the bright, hot, Southern California sun, we asked if we could move to the shade at the next table over. We weren’t there for two minutes when a waitress came by and was very upset that we were at her table when another waitress had already taken our orders. She told the hostess who came running over and informed us that that particular table was “reserved” and that we would have to move back to our original table. That we weren’t going to do. So she moved us over to a third table on the other side of the patio. We noticed that two random guys were seated at the “reserved” table that seated four and that nobody was seated at the sunny table.Clearly it was a case of “who cares about the customer, I want my tips.”

Anyway, before all the excitement, I took this photo of Zac and Coleen being baked by the sun.

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I won’t go into all the details of why I ended up by myself in a huge suite at the Residence Inn in Ontario, California. But I did. This is the living room. The kitchen is behind me (and visible in the mirror). My master bedroom and bath are through the French doors. Another bedroom and full bath are up the stairs. I didn’t spend a waking moment in that suite during which I didn’t feel guilty.

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I had three hours on the second night between when the exhibit hall closed for the afternoon and opened again for the night. I was on my own and wanted to eat somewhere interesting. I don’t recall how I happened upon this place on the Internet, but as soon as I saw the name I knew I had to go. It was in Riverside, 25 miles away, which, in California terms, means about an hour and a half drive during afternoon rush hour. There were many moments during that hour and a half when I was second-guessing myself.

But then I bit into my bacon cheeseburger and, especially, my onion rings with homemade ranch dressing and suddenly, I was feeling like a genius. This place was good! And the drive back, against traffic, only took 20 minutes.

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It’s the nature of booth work that you have stretches when there are far more people at the booth than you can possible have conversations with — and then there are other times when nobody comes by for hours on end and you start getting a little bit goofy with people working in nearby booths. Like these two, Elisabeth Golden-Morris and Drew Hester, from the Base Sports booth next to ours at the Ontario Convention Center.

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