we have lingered in the chambers of the sea


in this issue of omgwtf

Look what I found! poppy seed salad dressing
billiards world championship poll remarks
yet another tide pool expedition
pictures of food



Things That Have Recently Made Me Happy
hey, I’ll take what I can get

Food: Poppy Seed Salad Dressing
First off, I don’t know what poppy seeds are supposed to taste like. I got a bottle of Kraft Poppy Seed Salad Dressing because it was on sale and also because I wanted to know what poppy seeds taste like. According to Kraft’s website,

KRAFT Poppy Seed Salad Dressing is a specialty dressing with real poppy seeds in a rich, sweet dressing with subtle spices … a premium specialty dressing with superb flavor, texture and cling.

Superb… cling?

The dressing was viscous and had an interesting, somewhat ambiguous taste. I couldn’t decide if it belonged drizzled on salad or ice cream. Should I dip strawberries in it, or bacon? Is it mustard or mayonnaise? In the end, it did a good job coating lettuce leaves and mortaring them together with its Powers of Cling and I grew accustomed to its mysterious flavor.

Food: Cherries!
They are in season and the price dropped to $1.79 a pound out here recently. I loaded up.

life is just a bowl... ...of cherries

“Life is just a bowl of cherries…”

What do you think this idiom means?



How Should A Legitimate World Championships Fill Its Field?
mild snafu, but here are my remarks anyways

I mistakenly thought I had set the poll to conclude this past Wednesday, but it’s actually set to end next Wednesday. So, rather than have us all sit around in uncomfortable silence with the occasional cough, I’ll just ramble a bit on the topic.

Invitation Only
Having an invitation-only world championships automatically introduces bias. Even if the committee doing the selection is well-respected and well-run (like in my scenario), biased choices are still a possibility.

Invitation & Qualifiers
This is the most popular format today for most major professional events and tours that I know of, including the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA). I believe this system was designed to acknowledge, and reward, the accomplishments of established professionals (hence they are invited) while allowing the “regular joes” of the world a shot at stardom via qualifier.

Qualifier Only
This format, ideally, would guarantee a certain level of play (assuming each qualifier has a good-size field, let’s say 64) at the world championships. Everybody has a chance to play and the advancing players should be of professional cailber. It is possible that someone could hold a qualifier with 63 newborn bunny rabbits and one pool player, though. In which case, you wouldn’t have to be very good to advance.

This is the format for the current U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. No one is barred from playing (except women in the case of the aforementioned tournament). If you can make it and pay it, you are in. This can be a good format because, although you may get a WIDE range of skill (and let me tell you, there are people that play in there that even I can beat), a top player will always win if the field is a good size (say around 256). The only complaints I have ever heard about this system is that the “dead money” (those D-players who won’t win but want to try for kicks or experience or bragging rights) determines how far a good player can go. If you get a soft draw, you go further. While this is true, there is no doubting that after a few rounds, all the dead money is, indeed, dead, and all you have left are live sharks anyways. There is also the question of how big the field would be. The 256 used by the U.S. Open is good — for the U.S. In order to make it fair for the entire world, would 512 be enough? Maybe 1,024? What do you think? I can only imagine the logistical nightmares of a thousand-player field…

Anyhoo, so far, the top three leaders in the poll are: 75/25 invitation & qualifier (36%), open (26%), and 50/50 invitation & qualifer.

Feel free to leave your comments!



tide pools up north
colder, wetter, and now with 95% more seals

I went up north for the holiday weekend and my brother, mother, and I decided to take a trip to the (somewhat) local tide pools which we hadn’t visited in probably a decade. I grew up fascinated by the ocean and its critters so, yeah, you’ll be reading a lot about ocean life on this blog.

The tide pools are located off the very beautiful and sometimes deadly Highway 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway. I really love this road. If I ever get a driver’s license, I’m going to drive the whole danged thing as my first road trip.


This is part of the Devil’s Slide area.

How fun would this be on a skateboard?!

From Wikipedia:

Devil’s Slide is a name given to a steep, rocky coastal promontory located about midway between Montara and the Linda Mar District of Pacifica. The terrain is characterized by steep, eroded slopes with natural gradients ranging between 30 and 70%. There are small coastal valleys throughout along the major drainages within the Montara Mountain watershed. The soils in these valleys are deep and moderately well drained and have developed along the low terraces and alluvial fans of the stream channels.

Immediately north of Devil’s Slide is a stretch of California’s State Route 1, famous for closures and landslides, which also is referred to as ‘Devil’s Slide’. Construction of the road began in 1935 and was completed in 1937, replacing the steep, narrow, and winding Pedro Mountain Road. It is known for the landslides and erosion that often occur during winter storms, sometimes making the road impassable. The first major landslide destroyed much of the road in 1940, and a cycle of building and destruction has prevailed since.

Read more about Devil’s slide at Wikipedia by clicking here.

After a refreshing drive through the very early morning, we arrived at the entrance to the short trail down to the pools at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.

land to sea

I took a series of photographs and attempted to stitch them together into a panorama. Click on the photograph to see a much larger version. That’s my brother on the right. Say hello! Without him taking over techie duties, this blog would not be nearly as cool as it is now. Thanks, bro!


I noticed two major species of anemones up here. There is the standard nuclear-green glow variety…

healthy nuclear glow

…and this yellowish-green version.

dressed in camo

I’ve seen the yellow variety down here in the south, but I have never seen them grow to that size, which is about 6-8 inches across. Down here, they are usually small members (about 1 inch wide) of a colony as opposed to a large, solitary individual.

Here’s a picture of several tide pool critters. That’s a tiny tide pool sculpin (Oligocottus maculosus) hanging out there by the rock.

a rock pool block party

Below we have a live chiton (Mopalia ciliata) on the left clinging to a rock and a dead one, insides picked clean, on the right. The interior of this chiton is a brilliant turquoise blue, but they also come in pink, green, and cream. The shell is composed of eight plates and when dislodged, a chiton usually starts to curl into a ball for protection — not unlike a pillbug.

outside... ...inside

You can see the texture of the soft rock that makes up some parts of the tide pool in this photograph. The constant wear of wind and waves carves pools and interesting structures.

nice rock

There was a group of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) clocking us from nearby. They watched us from the rocks for about an hour before they schlepped it to shore.

This is where the San Vicente creek runs into the ocean. Native Americans populated its shores as early as 3800 B.C.

It was mid-morning now, and lots of people were coming in to visit the tide pools. Since we already had a good three hours there before the crowds, we went to get breakfast.

A short drive back down the highway and we were at the Princeton by the Sea. It was still early and the only place we could see that was open was Caffe Mezzaluna. It helped that we were cold and sleepy but the food and coffee were great!

caffeine = good smoked salmon + cream cheese + bagel = good

Caffe Mezzaluna
459 Prospect Way
Princeton by the Sea, CA 94038
(650) 728-8108


Since it was still morning when we were done and we still had the whole day ahead of us, we drove further down the coast to a point my brother and I like to call The 19th Hole.

We call it The 19th Hole because of the big, grassy rock you see below.

All the other rocks are, well, rocky. But this one rock is half covered by what looks like a well-kept fairway guarded by a variety of seabirds.

Below is a view of the rock formations on this beach. You can tell that the rocks are sedimentary and that seismic action from long ago tilted them into the way they are now.

The bigger rocks in this area housed many different species of crabs. We didn’t see this many at the earlier tide pools. This pinchy critter here is a Porcelain Crab (Petrolisthes cinctipes).

those are some... ...big ass claws

The sun came out so we wandered the beaches.

While on the beach, we came upon the carcass of a leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the largest of all living sea turtles and the fourth largest modern reptile. It hadn’t been dead all that long, I think, but it was beginning to decompose and scavengers had already eaten the soft bits. It was easily 6-7 feet long and I have no idea what it might have weighed. I am not sure what killed it, either, since there were no bite marks from sharks or cut marks from the propellors of boats that I could see. Surprisingly, it didn’t smell at all. What did smell were the carcasses of two harbor seals nearby. Those smelled like horrifically stale public bathrooms.

They’re kind of icky, but if you want to see photographs of the dead turtle, click on the following links:

1 | 2 | 3

Here is a Striped Shore Crab (Pachygrapsus crassipes) in hiding and the vivid edge of a Gooseneck Barnacle (Pollicipes polymerus) attached to the holdfasts of washed up seaweed.

if she calls, I'm not here natural lipcolor

Some California mussels (Mytilus californianus)


…and blue sky…

the bright side of things

…and blue water with more harbor seals. Click on the photograph for a larger version. You won’t be disappointed — some of the seals have funny expressions. 🙂

whatchu lookin' at?


It was mid-afternoon now and so we headed back to Princeton by the Sea for Barbara’s Fish Trap, one of the best restaurants in the area.

I got fish & chips, one of my all-time favorites.

my favorite

My brother’s seafood combination pasta. Yum!

my mom's favorite

And, of course, no fine national holiday spent hopping about coastal rocks would be complete without…

no better way to end the day

Barbara’s Fish Trap
281 Capistrano Road
Princeton by the Sea, CA 94018
(650) 728-7049


And that was my 4th of July.

We now return to regular billiards-related programming.


11 Replies to “we have lingered in the chambers of the sea”

  1. That Caffe Mezzaluna food looks amazing! I love that you said the harbor seals were “clocking” you lol. It tickles me when I hear pool lingo incorporated into other things.

    1. My brother was actually the one who mentioned they were “clocking” us. 🙂 He specifically noted that they were sizing us up and gauging how much of a threat we were — so they were not merely watching us, but clocking us! 😉

  2. Those are some amazing pix. Looked like a great trip with my favorite things…..the ocean, food, and family!

    Oh, and as a side note….I love poppy seed dressing. Different brands have a slight difference in taste so try a few when possible. Besides salad dressing, I also have used it to marinated shrimp or chicken before grilling. YUM! 😉

    1. I have used salad dressings before as a marinade so I really look forward to trying your suggestion of using it on chicken or shrimp! 🙂

  3. We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
    By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
    Till human voices wake us, and we drown

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