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A friend recently asked me about our trip to Cuba, to run the Havana Marathon.

Here are my notes:

  • Cuba was a lot of fun.
  • The marathon was a death march. I hadn’t trained enough and it was crazy hot and sunny and humid and all those 1950s cars belching exhaust on the roads, so I stumbled to the finish in 4:35.
  • The country has elements of the former Soviet Union, France, Detroit, and 1950s America (the cars). And Latin America.
  • Capitalism is very slowly taking hold – people run tourist restaurants out of their apartments now, as well as renting out rooms, and small time bed & breakfasts. We stayed in a bed & breakfast that was actually more like a boutique hotel, although that level of capitalism is still rare.
  • No advertisements of any kind, anywhere. Except for socialism. So many billboards promoting socialism, communism, patriotism, the fight against Yankee imperialism.
  • Fidel (now Raul) runs the country, of course. Everybody we met told us that they hate him, although maybe they just knew that’s what I wanted to hear.
  • But to the extent there’s a cult of personality, they’ve really built it more around Ché than Fidel.
  • Ultimately, Cuba seems to be going the way of China more than the way of North Korea.

Our Trip to Texas

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As told through a series of online reviews:

Tito’s Mexican Restaurant, San Antonio

Hilda’s Tortillas, Fredericksburg

Inn of the Hills Resort and Conference Center, Kerrville

Cross-G-Ranch, Pipe Creek

Heavy’s Barbeque, Hondo

Molé, Corpus Christi

Naval Air Station Kingsville, Kingsville

Blue Ribbon Deli & Coffee Bar, Kingsville

Hermann Park, Houston

Screenshot from 2014-11-24 07:52:41









Thai Bistro, Houston

Frank, Austin

Extended Stay America – Round Rock – North, Round Rock

Whole Foods Market, Austin

Black’s Barbeque, Lockhart


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Happy 33! I had a very nice birthday weekend – my birthday was on the Friday before Labor Day weekend, so that was pretty great.

We went to a churrascaria and I ate lots of meat on swords. That was fun.







Then we took Maddie to her Urban Herding class on Saturday, and then to Dog Days of Summer at AT&T Park, courtesy of Whistle! Maddie probably had at least as good a birthday weekend as I did.




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A few days ago we lived through the biggest Bay Area earthquake in 25 years. It wasn’t much.

To be fair, it had a much bigger impact in American Canyon and Napa, near the epicenter. Fortunately, nobody there was hurt, although there was a lot of property damage – including, notably, a lot of spilled wine.

Where we live, 45 miles away in San Mateo, the impact was minimal. For one thing, the earthquake was at 3:30am on a Saturday night, so a lot of people slept through it. I did wake up, but I wasn’t totally sure whether I had dreamed it or not. I went to the bathroom and then slipped back to sleep.

I take it the Big One is still coming.