Fear and Loathing on the 4th of July: Meditations in Squaw Valley

13568993_10154386269209390_2852460438790668632_oAmericans spend a lot of time in their cars. Californians in particular spend most of their time screaming at assholes in hybrid cars who don’t know how to accelerate on the 101.

Spending time in the car gives you a lot of room to think about things. As a single woman working in Silicon Valley, I spend most of my time alone…contemplating. I think about my job more than I think about any relationship I’ve ever been in. All signs point to me needing a vacation, so I took one.

My two friends and I set out to relax from our busy careers. Yes, careers was a deliberate word choice, because each of us is on a path right now. Of course, being on a path scares me to death, so eventually we had to veer off of it.

Squaw Valley California is so close to the Nevada border that if one were so inclined to throw their money away at a casino with little regulation, one could feasibly get there within a half an hour. It’s also one of the most tourist heavy places near Lake Tahoe, the bluest lake in all of California. Of course, Tahoe is like any other tourist town. All of the food costs more than you’d expect, and any souvenir you even consider buying is priced like it’s a precious jewel. In reality, the things that appear in gift shops are probably made for pennies.

I drove for about 6 hours to get here. That’s pretty much how long it takes to get from sunny San Jose to placid Squaw Valley. Our hotel sits in the shadow of two great giants, mountains that if climbed would make your legs hurt for weeks. There’s a little cable car that takes you up to the top of one, but you have to pay 44 dollars first. Once at the top, there’s a cliffside pool…but of course there’s another fee for that. Who knew it was so expensive to experience the great outdoors. Mother nature intended it to be free.

But, where there’s America, there’s industry. Tahoe City takes in millions each year, and I guess some of it goes to preserving its splendor. Continue reading



by Ron Whitehead

“Give me liberty or give me death.”
Patrick Henry

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
 –The Bill of Rights, 1st Amendment

“Pray for the dead; fight like hell for the living.”
  –Mother Jones

When in the course of human events
it becomes necessary for one people

to dissolve the political bonds which
have connected them with another

and to assume among the powers
of the earth the separate and equal

station to which the Laws of Nature
and of Nature’s God entitle them,

a decent respect to the opinions
of humankind requires that they

declare the causes which impel
them to separation. We hold these

truths to be self-evident, that ALL
people ALL people, not just property

owners not just the wealthy not just
the military not just the power-elite,
ALL People are created equal, that they

are endowed with certain Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty,

and the pursuit of Happiness, –
that to secure these rights,

Governments derive their powers
from the consent of the governed, –

That whenever Government becomes
destructive it is the Right of the

People to alter or to abolish it
and to institute new Government

laying its foundation on such principles
and organizing its powers in such form

as to effect the Safety and Happiness
of the people it represents. Governments

long established should not be changed
for light and transient causes; and

experience shows that humankind is
more disposed to suffer than to right themselves

by abolishing the forms to which they are
accustomed. But when a Long Train A Long Train of

abuses continues to reduce them under
Absolute Despotism it is Their Right it is

Their Duty to throw off such Government
and to provide new Guards for future

security. – Such has been our patient
sufferance and such is now the necessity Continue reading