I think I'm going to have to adopt some sort of mature air for the month and a half that I have left in high school, since I'm now sure that I'm on my way to UC Santa Cruz. I vacationed in Santa Cruz this past week during Spring Break just to find my way around the campus and city.
I went with my mom, her boyfriend Steve, my sister Lily, her friend Melissa, and our two dogs. We set off on Thursday morning in two cars - I drove in my own car, and everyone else drove in my mom's big ol' Nissan truck. The trip to Santa Cruz was pretty fast. We went down a coastal route, which made for nice views of the Pacific. I pretty much followed behind them until we entered San Francisco, where I got off the wrong exit and found myself searching for them around the Presidio for a while. In the end, we arrived at our campsite in the Henry Powell state park.
The first day, we drove around the city and the campus for a while. I found myself constantly telling Lily and Melissa to stop embarassing me, as they were pretending that they were girls from some sorority and inviting everyone to their party. Not only are they both 13, but there are no sororities in UC Santa Cruz. Whatever. I was trying to convey some sort of collegiate air of my own, anyway, so there's no need for me to complain about false appearances.
We did stop off at the Boardwalk on the first day, and I got in some games of DDR. There's one booth on the Boardwalk situated right outside an arcade. All that's in this small booth is a DDR Extreme machine, so you can show your stuff as people walk by. This means HUGE crowds. The first day that I was there, I met two DDR Freak members, Rancid Fish and The Burninator. Yeah, we danced it up. Good times. And I failed at Cartoon Heroes. But that's getting into specifics.
We ate at this nice diner, and I tried to get Lily and Melissa as quiet as possible with their remarks about hippies. I tried to get them to realize that there's a variety of people in Santa Cruz, and that they really don't care about what social norm they fit into. I found myself starting to talk louder than them, though, so I shut up sooner or later.
That night I made the bad decision of sleeping in my car. I thought it'd be warmer than sleeping in a tent. Turned out that it was just as cold, and going to sleep on a car seat is torture. During the middle of the night I tried to cram myself into the back of the car, but that just made me wake up with major back pains.
The next day was the actual tour of UCSC. We woke up pretty early to get there to find that our reservation for the tour wasn't recorded, so we just had to wait an extra half-hour to start off. I think the tour was what really made my mom make up her mind about the college. Besides the amazing academics and student life that we were shown, the architecture and the flora (and often the combinations of the two) were simply beautiful. No wonder people flock to UCSC for the art programs - just gazing out at one of the many ocean views or taking a walk through the multitude of forest pathways is probably enough for anyone to write a symphony or paint... something... big.
At the end of the tour we were dropped off at the Student Center where we had some good pizza and I bought myself some stuff. I'll be sporting my UC Santa Cruz hoodie for a while; I'm so proud of myself. I also got a bumper sticker for my car. Yeah, I'll make a comic about that, be patient.
We met up with Paula and her son Scott Rugg, family friends of ours. Paula was the vice principal of my elementary school, Weibel, back in Fremont. They had just finished taking the campus tour too.
We decided to make our way to one of many tourist attractions in Santa Cruz: the Mystery Spot. It's... a MYSTERY! So I'll uh, make this text white so you have to highlight it to read it. OMG spoilers. The Mystery Spot is this area about 150 feet in diameter in De La Veaga park. When you enter it, soon you find that gravity itself is actually thrown off. It's easier to climb uphill. You can place balls on a slant and they'll actually go uphill. Our tour guide had a multitude of levels and compasses to prove that this place was legitimate. You don't really believe it when you're there, but as you leave you sorta realize what you just did. This is an actual place where gravity is thrown off. The trees around the area all of a sudden become very twisty and slanty once they pass through the Spot. No birds nest in the Spot. It is rather strange. Check it out if you're ever down there.
For dinner we made our way to Capitola, an upscale neighborhood. We ate at Gayle's Deli, which, according to my mom, is at least state-renowned. We walked the dogs through the city, and stopped off to look at a few stores, one being a sword shop. That place is pretty nice. Some parts of the street that runs parallel with the shore remind me of Puerto Vallarta.
We said our farewells to Paula and Scott and went back to our campsite, where we made s'mores. This time I tried sleeping in a tent, but it was still pretty damn difficult. I was sorta resting on a bump, and I've just become too accustomed to sleeping on mattresses. I don't think I've ever mentioned how much my back has been aching from weight training. Agh.
The next day was TEH DAY O' FUN! We met up at the Boardwalk with another one of Lily's friends, Morgan, and his dad Brad. I made it very clear that today I would completely branch off from the rest of the family and play DDR all day. And I did.
I also tried my hand at Percussion Freaks, which is mildly easier than Beatmania. Beatmania and Dance Maniax were also there, but BM was turned off and Dance Maniax just looked... boring.
I ended up spending most of my time in the booth where I was the first day that I got there. Not many other DDR players came around, so I got to play game after game of Nonstop Random All Difficult. That is so amazingly fun to do. For some odd reason, I found that I could play about 6 consecutive games without taking a break or getting thirsty. While I'm sure that's not very healthy, it shows how much my stamina has grown. My sister can pass Heavy 7-footers now, so she played along for a while, and some other people who work at the Boardwalk are really, really good at DDR as well, so I sorta had some competition. That was fun.
Wow, there's only like one more paragraph left to do, but I have to go. I shall complete this. I swear.