3 men & robot, to say nothing of the cat

Giant Sea Bass with Visions of Sardines Dancing in its Head

The Pineapple Express spent the day spraying down my Californian vacation, again. This had been forecasted, but who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without the misery of knowing about it beforehand. Rather than just mope about all day, just talking about the weather and watching the rain, we decided to get out. Anne and I enlisted Dad and Chris to come with us, giving us the titular three men. Siri served as robot and Toonces was the cat. 

Not knowing where we were going, naturally I drove. Today’s outing was to the Monterey Museum of Art, which as it turns out none of us had ever been to and no one had a very clear idea of where it was. It didn’t help that the museum had two separate locations. I use my phone to navigate, even to places where I have been many times before. It helps with traffic. We all tried to do this navigation in our heads, Dad, Chris, me and Siri and we all arrive at different results, and ended up jeering at one another in the end.

My Dad’s house is situated on a road that runs along a ridgeline. The southern side of this road has a steep, almost cliff-like drop-off, which would be perfect for anyone of the finales for the enumerable SNL renditions of Toonces the Driving Cat. Unfortunately, when I really needed that cliff, I found myself in downtown Monterey. We must not think of the things we could do with, but only of the things that we can’t do without. We safely parked at the museum.

In life, I have always noticed that it is the fixed idea of each member of family that he is doing everything. The art museum was a little underwhelming, especially for such a vibrant artist community. It didn’t help that its main gallery was vacated at the moment. Monterey is such an outdoors oriented community that after the aquarium there really isn’t all that much to do on a rainy day.

Fortunately, Colton Hall is just across the street. This historic hall was the largest building west of the Rockies when it was first built. It has served as the city hall, a schoolhouse and most famously where the California constitution was written and ratified. Its curator was a genial and informative man. Such is life, and we are but as grass that is cut down, and put into the oven and baked into bread again. Apologies to Jerome K. Jerome and in advance to my family for this post. It is my attempt at humor and was not intended to offend. 

Murder by Death

Giant Green anemone

Murder! Involving Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot and their like— Roundup all the usual suspects! All of them have been gazetted with accounts of their many famous investigations into multiple homicides. I know that they hoe close to law enforcement, always sheltering in their lee. This symbiotic relationship has protected them from suspicion, for way too long. Invariably in these stories, some loathsome individual is first killed. No one ever likes these people. In fact, the list of their many detractors usually fills out the rest of the cast and if not for the intervention of these busybody do-gooders that would likely be the end of it all. The premature death of these Cretans would serve as a beneficial cautionary tale, warning others to be more respectful of their fellows, less they too suffer the same fate. All that would be lost are a few bad apples and society would go on and be much better without them. But no, Marple, Poirot and their ilk quickly descend upon the once tranquil English country village and in the name of law and order begin asking all sorts of awkward questions. Questions that soon spur further homicides. If only they had left well enough alone. British ‘30s murder rates would plummet in their absence, but then so would ratings on BBC TV.

Monterey Aquarium

Sand crab

The Monterey Aquarium is a world-class institution that I like to visit regularly and I am always able to find something new to see there. Exhibit A, the above pictured Sand crab. Located at the western end of the second floor, in s a tiny tank, about a dozen members of this species were on display. Filter-feeders that are constantly waving their antennae. They live in the splash zone on beaches and feed on plankton in the water. When threatened, they burrow into the sand.

Today’s forecast threatened rain, but in the end it never did. The aquarium was mobbed with school field trips, but we persisted. Dad wanted to make clam chowder for dinner tonight. So, I started fishing out some clams from one of the tanks. Anne and Dad ran interference for me with the docents, while I stuffed them in my bag, but eventually we were booted from the premises. Afterwards, we walked down Canary Row to Ghirardelli’s, for some ice cream. There is nothing like fresh seafood, even if it is “farm” raised seafood.