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Live from San Francisco

Proof you wouldn't want to travel with me.
What are those areas, those vast expanses of land suddenly interrupted by huge, closely placed circles (like crop circles, only there are no crops, only brownish-gray rock and dirt)? Flying over Colorado, Nevada, and California, I entertained myself by creating sweeping conspiracy theories involving those perfectly shaped circles. There were rectangles and squares occasionally, too, but the circles seemed more suspicious to me, probably because there was usually a lone road nearby, a perfectly straight line appearing to cross the entire earth and ending abruptly within miles of the perfect circles - ending, themselves, in a circular blot of concrete at the base of barren, rocky mountain. I imagined there was some sort of door built into those mountains right where the road ended, that the huge earth cobblestones were the upper operating pieces of massive fans or solar panels cooling or lighting a secret city, or a torture complex, or medical testing grounds. I would imagine, though, that if I had a large torture complex that I didn't want the public to know about, I wouldn't place it smack in the middle of an otherwise empty region of rocks and dirt; the panels of my torture chamber lights and the lone road ending right at the entrance to my secret dungeon might as well be flashing neon lights in the shape of an arrow: Large Secret Torture Chamber Located Here!

Seriously, though. What are those things?

Help me, internet. You're my only hope.
Also, California natives, I have a geographical question for you: when one is en route into San Francisco imagining what kinds of horrid experiments are taking place beneath the desert-like region one has been flying over for the past hour or two, and suddenly the the terrain turns to one of thick evergreens on hills dotted with what look to be mansions and resorts, and then just as suddenly it turns into hugely huge vats of colorful hugeness (uh, they're huge.) that appear from the sky to be watery paint? WHAT THE HELL ARE THOSE?! I've been racking my brain ever since I saw them. Are they algae lakes? Do they have something to do with wastewater treatment? Are they naturally occuring? Are they related to the bay currents? From the sky, they literally look like one of those old fashioned painter's palettes, the way the shapes of color are distinctly separated from one another, but if you look closely, you can see swirls and distinction within a single paint color (in this case, mauves, browns, pinks, greens, blues). I must know what this is. And I must know NOW.

Lack of space = cool urban atmosphere.
I haven't had a chance to do any sightseeing yet, but I did go to a nice Italian restaurant in downtown San Francisco last night. Being from the midwest, the first thing my work partner and I noticed about this city is the close proximity of everything here. There is no spot of ground that isn't covered with a house, condo, shop, restaurant, crowd, or street. Because of this, there are restaurants whose tables actually spill out into the alley ways: my work partner thought this was genius. Open your door, grab some tables, string some lights across the alley, and voila! A quaint local restaurant. He decided our city needs some alley restaurants, but somehow I don't think it would have the same effect in midwest suburbia.

It's all about work-life balance.
Now I'm off to eight hours of some kind of training I signed up for six months ago. Six months ago, when I wasn't busy at work, as opposed to now, when I have a pile of stress-inducing papers with me that I'm not exactly sure I'll be able to work on. After all, I can't be expected to forego my sightseeing requirements for WORK, just because WORK sent me here! I mean, come on!

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