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November 06, 2002: Election? What election?

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We had a few glitches in the second half of training today, mainly because first of all it hadn't occurred to any of the resident mollusk handler managers that we might actually need someone to unlock the door to the computer room, and then once we finally got into the room where we were supposed to be training (about the time when we were supposed to start), we discovered that they'd done something funky with the installation of the software and we had no idea how to access the test system. I hastily rearranged the training to do the non-computer section (usually done last) first, while the others dashed about until they tracked down someone who could make all the computers play nicely so we could continue.

The ironic thing is that even though we've had some fairly large complications arise in this county during the training, none of us are as exhausted and stressed as we were in Santa Clara. The mollusk handlers here all seem motivated to learn. Yes, they admit that this it's inconvenient for them to take the time out to do this, but they realize why they need the training, and what benefits this will provide for them and their respective mollusks. It's been actually quite gratifying to realize that not everyone is going to be surly and uncooperative. Even if every other county *is* surly, at least we've got Santa Cruz as a fond memory.

After the training was over one of my coworkers and I headed down to the pier for dinner. One of the mollusk handlers, having heard us wax rhapsodic about getting to try local cuisine (instead of relying on major chain restaurants) told us that the best place for seafood was a little family-owned restaurant called Gilberts, down on the boardwalk. Having no knowledge of the area at all, we decided to take her word for it. Granted we had to make three loops around the area before we finally figured out exactly how to *get* to the boardwalk (hey, it was dark and the street signs aren't always easy to find), but we finally tracked it down.

The restaurant was quite marvelous, as promised. We were seated by the windows, and had a somewhat dimly lit view of the water. Several times as we sat there during dinner, great swarms of seagulls would suddenly swirl into view, circle lazily in giant spirals over the water, and then just as mysteriously fly away. It was actually kind of beautiful to watch, in a creepy Alfred Hitchcock sort of way.

I had shrimp scampi drowning in garlic butter and my coworker got the Cajun sea bass a massive pile of fish liberally peppered and served with parmesan and chopped onions and tomatoes. We were going to be virtuous and only have coffee after dinner, but somehow the dessert tray appeared in front of us and there was this cheesecake with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, chopped almonds, and a swirl of caramel, and seeing as how both she and I are serious suckers for a good piece of cheesecake, well, so much for virtuosity.

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