Lake Tahoe

I spent Wednesday, August 25, 2010, through Friday, August 27, on a relaxing company trip to Lake Tahoe. I'd never been to Lake Tahoe during the summer before.

The trip reminded me of my company's Hawaii trip, perhaps because we stayed in a resort along a beautiful beach. Lake Tahoe is pretty, like parts of Yosemite, definitely prettier than I imagined.

On Wednesday, the bus I rode on the way to Lake Tahoe broke down on the way up, but we got rescued quickly by another bus.

Dinner that evening was on a lawn near the beach. Yay, smores!

On Thursday, I helped run a small puzzlehunt for my coworkers. (Note that I didn't say short; no puzzlehunt is ever as short as advertised. We knew ours would run longer than we promised, so we warned everyone about the realistic timing.) I designed two of the six puzzles and staffed the site with my most difficult puzzle so I could help teams as they struggled.

The puzzlehunt went well. We got a lot of positive feedback and the clue I developed was the hardest in the hunt but also the favorite. (I think people enjoyed it because it referenced a lot of internal company knowledge, often in a funny/punny way.) I'm proud of the experience we provided.

We had a bbq lunch in the early afternoon, again at the same place near the beach. I loved the dessert, a great strawberry shortcake. Okay, well it wasn't strictly speaking strawberry shortcake--it was pound cake with whipped cream (vanilla or passion fruit flavored) and a mixed berry compote.

After lunch, I went wading in the lake and also threw around a disc for a while on the beach. This caused me to get really dusty. I was outside so much (the afternoon on the beach and the morning on a totally exposed field manning my puzzle) that I thought I might have gotten burned through my shirt. Luckily, I didn't, and I wore sunscreen everywhere else.

Dinner was at a banquet near the resort's pool. During dinner, inspired by a puzzle clue (that I didn't write), I tried a lemon drop drink and liked it. After dinner, I also discovered that my boss's boss makes good margaritas (or whatever it was that we was mixing).

Given my crowd of friends and coworkers, I mostly played games after dinner, mainly Dominion and Liar's Dice. I also played games the previous evening.

Over this trip, I met some new coworkers and bonded with some old ones. Overall, I had a good time and left feeling very relaxed and refreshed.

Sorry, I don't have pictures to share. (The only pictures I took were of teams solving my puzzle, and neither are of general interest nor give a general impression of setting.)

California Avenue Farmers Market

While out running on Sunday morning, the 18th of August, 2010, I happened upon the California Avenue farmers market. I'd forgotten the market existed.

I glanced only briefly at it before I realized that because I was running I didn't have an ID, much cash, or an ATM card on me. I decided to return later in the day.

Upon my return, I explored the market thoroughly. Though slightly smaller than Mountain View's market, I definitely prefer this one. It has a few bakeries that serve pastries, making it an appropriate morning breakfast destination (unlike the Mountain View farmers market, which has only one bakery and that bakery sells only bread, nothing sweet). It also has more organic food, including four organic stands devoted to peaches and the like. (Mountain View only has one dedicated organic peach stand.) In fact, the vast majority of stands on California Avenue are organic.

I also liked the larger number of prepared food stands. There's a stand selling sauerkraut, another selling pickles, two Indian takeout joints, one with a cylindrical oven for naan, a stand selling rotisserie chicken, a crepes stand, a Mexican stand (specializing in Oaxacan cuisine) associated with a good neighborhood restaurant, a frozen yogurt stand (from the shop down the street), the same sorbet stand with unusual flavors (things like pluot and snap pea) that's also at the Mountain View market, and a stand selling freshly squeezed juices. Phew: that's quite a list. I bought part of my lunch from the "raw guy", a stand that sells home-made flaxseed cones filled with sweet stuff (e.g., mixed berries in syrup) and savory stuff. I had the savory Thai one, loaded with cabbage, mango, tamarind, and more. It was good.

I bought a bunch of stuff to bring home: canneles, a chocolate souffle cake, a quiche, various vegetables and fruits, and a jar of pickles. In the process, I re-learned/remembered that farmers markets are expensive.

Incidentally, I like fun, friendly booths. One booth had a bin for "cosmetically challenged" apples. (I guess they couldn't label the bin "ugly" apples, because I think those are a particular type of apples.)