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Coming to you from the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago...

We spent last Thursday night with our good friends Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell, watching the taping of "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me." The taping runs about 90 minutes, including retaping Peter Sagal's flubs. Also, they have to cut out the dirty jokes. Well, the worst of them.

The weirdest part is that during the taping it seems like it is primarily the Peter Sagal show. The interview of the Not My Job guest goes on and on and on. It feels like you hardly hear from the panelists at all. In the end, so much of Peter Sagal in cut out that the role of the guests is much larger in broadcast version of the show.

And finally, they really do flip a coin when two panelists are tied before Lightning Fill In the Blank. Carl hands Peter a quarter and one of the panelists calls it, but this is cut out.
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Here are finally some photos that we took during a 5-day vacation trip to Yosemite in February. It was the first time that we ever went there.

We reached the park late at night, so the first we saw of it was through the window of the hotel room. It was not easy to get enough concrete information about camping for someone who knew absolutely nothing about Yosemite Valley, so we stayed under a roof.

The next day we went to the visitor center to get our bearings and also saw a talk at the Ansel Adams Gallery. Late in the day, the snow began.

The next day was clear, so we headed up to Badger Pass for some snowshoeing. We didn't quite make it to the rim of the valley, but in the photo you can see across to Upper Yosemite Falls.

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We went for a hike on Sunday up Stonewall Peak in Rancho Cuyamaca  State Park.  Ever since I saw it from the ridge across the road, I wanted to do the short hike to the top.  All that granite!



The trail up turned out to be a little more groomed than I prefer.  It was mostly over five feet wide, gently sloping with many switchbacks, and fairly crowded.  And when we got to the bare rock on the top, there were concrete steps and steel railings.  I was hoping for something a little more challenging. 

We headed down a different trail, on the trail north side, which much less used and less maintained.  I found it significantly more pleasant. 

The area burned a couple of years ago.  After that, it was apparently pretty bad, with the bare ground eroding away and the trails washing out.  By now, there is a considerable amount of growth and some flowers, but not yet the level of shade described in Jerry Schad's book.



The combination of undergrowth and dead trees made for good bird watching --  shrubby plants are generally a better environment for animals than mature forests, and the birds can be easily seen from far away perched in the burned trees.  In particular we saw many woodpeckers (the one I got a good look at was an acorn woodpecker).  Stonewall Peak is known for swallows; we saw tree swallows, which have a distinctive green back.  We also saw a pair of western bluebirds. 

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A month or so ago we went for our first trip together up to San Francisco.
It was my first time there. We only had a three day weekend and the forecast was for foul weather, but it was our anniversary and we didn't know when we would get to go if we postponed the trip, so we went. We knew we wouldn't be able to see much in under three days, so we figured we would focus on having fun rather than maximizing the number of sites checked off on a list.

 

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