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Stephen Mack
When our family moved to California from England in 1979 (when I was age 12), my brother Phil and I wanted to visit Santa's Village (in Scott's Valley, off Highway 17 on the way to Santa Cruz) more than any other place in the world. -
When our family moved to California from England in 1979 (when I was age 12), my brother Phil and I wanted to visit Santa's Village (in Scott's Valley, off Highway 17 on the way to Santa Cruz) more than any other place in the world.
(Image from a blog post by a woman named Wendy Lawton with her own recollections of visiting Santa's Village.) - Stephen Mack from Bookmarklet
My father had become tired of living in England, feeling that the tax rate had grown too high and the standard of living had grown too low. There was labor unrest (I recall nurses, taxicab drivers, and garbage collectors all being on strike at the same time) and my father wanted to move us to Silicon Valley. But the house he'd bought wasn't ready yet, so when we moved in the Summer of 1979, we rented an apartment in south San Jose, near Cottle Road. - Stephen Mack
At the time, there was a theme park not too far called Frontier Village.( There wasn't much to do for us in Summer -- my dad was working, we didn't know anyone, so my mother would take me and my brothers Phil and Rob and sister Jo to Frontier Village quite a bit, until we got sick of it. But we saw signs advertising Santa's Village. - Stephen Mack
The ads made the place look magical: Igloos and cabins and sleigh rides and reindeer and elves and mushroom houses and treehouses and snow. - Stephen Mack
We'd pester my mother endlessly to visit. But it was a long and hot summer, and my mother had zero interest in driving over the Santa Cruz mountains on highway 17 to visit the place. (She was always a bit of a nervous driver, and highway 17 had a deservedly awful reputation as a dangerous highway -- before it was upgraded, it was poorly graded, prone to closure due to rockslides, had [and still has] very windy turns, and was frequently shut down due to accidents.) - Stephen Mack
Occasionally we'd go to the beach in Santa Cruz when my mother was feeling brave enough, so we'd drive by the Village in Scotts Valley, catching brief glimpses of it from out the window. And it seemed like it was shut down -- we thought just for the Summer. - Stephen Mack
It got to the point where we'd built it up in our minds as being greater than Disney World, Sea World, Six Flags and Marine World all rolled into one. - Stephen Mack
Eventually our mother promised us a visit when it got closer to Christmas. - Stephen Mack
It became her go-to stick and carrot. "If you don't clean up your room right now, you can forget about Santa's Village." "Good job on that test. When we visit Santa's Village, you can have an extra reindeer ride." - Stephen Mack
And so then the fateful day in October was settled, and we all bundled up in our VW camper van (my mom always liked VW vans) for our visit. - Stephen Mack
We were all so excited it was indescribable. My youngest brother, Rob, was nearly carsick from the windy road. But we finally took the exit for Santa's Village (called, to this day, "SANTAS VILLAGE ROAD" on the exit sign) and drove into the parking lot. - Stephen Mack
The lot was deserted, but we attributed that to us being early (the flyer we had said it was open at 11, but we got there before 10:30). - Stephen Mack
The gates were padlocked. A sign, with the ink from the letters smeared and leaving trails of ink, said: SANTAS VILLAGE CLOSED FOR REMODEL REOPENING CHRISTMAS 1980 - Stephen Mack
We were heartbroken. - Stephen Mack
We hadn't thought to call ahead. - Stephen Mack
The world wide web was not even in an embryonic stage. So there was no web site to consult. - Stephen Mack
Dejectedly, we got back in the car and eventually settled on the steam train rides at Roaring Canyon in nearby Felton. - Stephen Mack
I don't think it's inaccurate to say I was in tears. - Stephen Mack
I never forgot that sign. Starting in November of 1980, a year later, at age 13, I began calling the phone number of the place to find out when it would re-open. - Stephen Mack
The recording on the phone number had few details ("Ho Ho Ho! You've reached Santa's Village. We are currently closed. Please leave your message for our elves after the beep.") And then one day, the number was disconnected. - Stephen Mack
We would hear rumors of remodels and transactions to re-open the place. - Stephen Mack
Every time we'd drive by, the igloos and mushroom buildings and cabins looked a bit more worn down. - Stephen Mack
By about 1985, when I graduated from high school, there was no longer much sign that there had been a theme park there. And honestly I don't think I really gave up on wanting to visit the place until about then. - Stephen Mack
It lives in my mind and heart today as a metaphor -- for longing, for a promise of enchantment, a broken promise. - Stephen Mack
But someday, I will take my children to Santa's Village. We will ride the sleigh ride. We will visit Santa. We will see elves making toys. We will climb the tree house to survey the snow-lined cabins. Christmas is eternal. Somewhere. Someday. Somehow. - Stephen Mack
-- fin -- - Stephen Mack
**claps** finally!! :) - Ken Gidley
I had the great pleasure of visiting Santa's Village several times as a child - but it was in the San Bernadino Mts in So. Cal., near Big Bear Lake. It shut down in 1998, but rumors of a resurrection exist: - Ken Gidley
I can understand how disappointing it must have been for you, Stephen. But can you imagine the disappointment in your parents seeing that sign and realizing the stick and carrot was gone? :) - Stephan from iPhone
Ken, wow, fascinating link, thanks -- maybe there is a chance I will one day take my kids to a Santa's Village. - Stephen Mack
Stephan, I'm sure you're right, but it's also balanced against the fact they never had to hear us beg for a visit anymore... :) - Stephen Mack
I'm in a Santa's Village Facebook group (also one for Frontier Village) and it's really cool to see members' old pictures of their visits. Someone even converted old home movies & posted them. I completely understand the longing you describe - it held a very similar thrall over me too, even when I was a teen living in Ben Lomond seeing the abandoned park every day, it felt like something on my childhood to-do list that I'd never gotten to check off. - Starmama from FFHound(roid)!
This was the completely opposite of our childhood. When we moved to CA, seeing the ads for Santa's Village freaked us out so much, it became a threat with my mother. "If you don't clean your room/eat your veggies/pass that test, I'm going to take you to Santa's Village!" - Anika
Anika: That's awesome. - Stephen Mack from iPhone
We have our lovely, faster, precious Internet speed back :D #fb
For years, I have threatened to write a book. And now I'm going to. Started doing some preliminary outlining for a nonfiction, pop culture-related project I'm going to work on in my spare time here and there. I'm really happy with the idea and I think that, even it's never published, it could be useful to someone. ‪#‎jazzed‬
Good for you 20 minutes a day would make bunch of words - WarLord
That's what I'm hoping, too! - Jed
Hi, dear friends on FF, I'm #RTmalik. ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌AndThisIsWhatMyStrollingAndGrinningLooksLike,Folks!! :))
Hi, dear friends on FF, I'm #RTmalik.  ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌AndThisIsWhatMyStrollingAndGrinningLooksLike,Folks!! :))
گوودوو :))))))))))))) #غپلو - پریســــــا
((((: <3 اِس غپلو نے ہسنے تے ٹُرنے دے صدقے تھیواں میں - ifti
<333333 شرارت آپ کی آنکھوں سے ٹپک رہی ہے آر ٹی ملک صاحب :))))) - wicky
:) - ma∟ıĸ
so cute <3 - Kanga-na
<3 <3 <3 ماشااللہ، چھوٹا سا ننھا سا پیارا سا کیؤوٹ سا سٹائلش سٹرولر - QT
hello little fella! :)) <3 - ►JontyPi◄
:) - ma∟ıĸ
Every time I see this post, it #makes_me_smile! :)) <3 - NajVal
What NajVal said! :)) - iFriend
too cute and endearing! <3 - w4?
:) - ma∟ıĸ
Love the way you stroll and smile, RT Malik! :)) <3 - Bluetooth
:) - ma∟ıĸ
oooye hoooye!!!!!!!!! :))))))) <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 - alavi
:) - ma∟ıĸ
<3 غپ غپ غپلو غپ غپ غپلو :-)) - chotA
Best word of the day: Sitzpinkler
Zulema ❧ spicy cocoa tart
Pretty LaBelle
Dear hummus and black bean chips: I love you.
Zulema ❧ spicy cocoa tart
Andrew C (✔)
It doesn't really make sense for a centaur to have two rib cages.
And two stomachs but (apparently) only one brain. - John (bird whisperer)
And six appendages. - Jennifer Dittrich from iPhone
I don't think you can really make sense of the actions of mad geneticists who create bizarre human-animal hybrids ;) - Victor Ganata
But there is a set of genes you could manipulate that would cause that sort of reduplication to give you two thoraces and an extra set of limbs #NotMedicalAdvice - Victor Ganata
@John:a cow has four stomachs, though. @Jennifer: the arms have hands with opposable thumbs, markedly different from the horse-derived limbs. - Andrew C (✔)
Yes, but that still adds up to six. It's part of why dragons are a bit WTF as well. - Jennifer Dittrich
Six limbs in mammals is not entirely unheard of, although certainly not normal - Victor Ganata
The six limbs are probably easier to gengineer than the double thoraces. Although the redundant set of lungs would probably provide a selective advantage, assuming they're functional. - Victor Ganata
I bet the human-sized neck/throat limits how much air can be exchanged though. - Andrew C (✔)
Help, I'm being cyberbullied! - Andrew C (✔)
Zulema ❧ spicy cocoa tart
Steven Perez
Photo "Winter Wonderland" by Kilian Schönberger (@Schoenberger_K) #500px
Photo "Winter Wonderland" by Kilian Schönberger (@Schoenberger_K) #500px
Corinne L
Stephen Mack is one cool dude. Helpful, funny, and kind.
he's aight - MoTO: #TeamMarina
Awwww, thank you! - Stephen Mack
Indeed. He's also one of the most interesting people I've ever met. - Jenny H. from Android
*blush* - Stephen Mack from iPhone
I haven't met him but I hear that when he smiles, birds break out in song. - MoTO: #TeamMarina
It's cos he carries bird seed with him. - Pete
He definitely has a big heart. A truly considerate and caring person. :) - Zulema ❧ spicy cocoa tart from Android
Jason Toney
Curry would get my MVP vote so far this season. He's, by far, the most entertaining player this year on the best team.
Victor Ganata
That moment when you look in the drafts section of your e-mail client, find a message from eight years ago, and realize that the reason why your friends never set up that blind date for you like they said they would is because you never sent a reply :D
I still hold them responsible. THEY SHOULD HAVE HAD YOUR BACK. - Stephen Mack from iPhone
LOL, I remember wondering if they had changed their mind because they had come to the conclusion that it might be a terrible idea. - Victor Ganata
Should I ask how one ends up with 8 year old drafts and not notice them till now? I only have 2 drafts currently, one addressed to myself that will never be sent, and the other is an unfinished email to one of my managers that will get sent tomorrow, as soon as I can think of the rest of the stuff she wants to know. (it's one of those periodic "give me 3 answers to 3 questions" things, that are looking for ideas on how to improve things) - April Russo
An awesome trivia question heard on the Mike Francesa show earlier today. Who is the only player in NFL history to both win and lose the Super Bowl with two different teams?
I thought I had the answer, but I was just barely off. - Julian
The player won and lost with one team, and then eventually went on to do the same with another team. - Julian
Is it a kicker or punter? - John (bird whisperer)
Not Finkle. - Joe
I will say that I thought that it was Adam Vinatieri. However, he did not play in Super Bowl XLIV (2009 season) with the Colts, which the Colts lost. - Julian
I also just missed with Earl Morrall. - Julian
lolhusband thought Ottis Anderson, but while he was MVP for the Giants one year, the St. Louis Cardinals never made it to the 'Bowl. - Stephan!e•CogSc!L!brar!an
Well I finally had it with the pain and made an appointment to see about hip replacement the fun begins.
Hope it works out for you. - Anika
Me too! - Valz 4 TEAMMARINA
Ditto what Anika said. - MoTO: #TeamMarina
An unexpected visit at work from my wife and two-year old, can’t get any better than that! (They brought gifts too.)
I now have a coffee maker so I don't have to hop a mile to get coffee. I know my foot needs the exercise but this makes me happy. And lazy. And happy. - Stephan from iPhone
Udmurt people - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -
Udmurt people - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The Udmurts are a people who speak the Udmurt language. Throughout history they have been known in Russian as Chud Otyatskaya (чудь отяцкая), Otyaks, Wotyaks or Votyaks (most known[citation needed] name), and in Tatar as Ar. There have been claims that they are the "most red-headed" people in the world.[4] The members of the long-extinct Budini tribe, who are said to have been precursors of the modern Udmurts, were described as being predominantly red-headed by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus ." - Eivind from Bookmarklet
Ref: Ginger map of Europe: (they mostly live in the red blob in Russia) - Eivind
So many redheads, you can see it from space. - bentley
Oh, that's not a photo, bentley, it's just an illustration. - Eivind
Ohhhhhhh. Silly me. - bentley
:) - Eivind
Happy birthday bestie!
Happy birthday bestie!
Happy birthday, J-Wo! - Larua Boats from Android
All the hearts and all the feels. I love you too - Johnny
Happy birthday, Johnny! - Stephen Mack from iPhone
happy happy birthday sir johnny! - Sir Shuping is just sir
Happy birthday, Johnny! - Corinne L
Happy birthday, J! :D - Jenny H. from Android
Happy birthday! - Maitani
Happy birthday Johnny :) - Pete
Happy birthday :) - Eivind
RT @sbartner: How people ignored each other before smartphones.
RT @sbartner: How people ignored each other before smartphones.
Zulema ❧ spicy cocoa tart
t-ra supports #LOLSpidra
got my new tablet set up. so far I like. anyone have an opinion on the google music feature? I havent used it before but feel tempted if I can get my playlists on here.
i like it. i use it to access my home collection while i'm at work. - holly #ravingfangirl
I second holly on that. I really like it. I find myself using it more than I do iTunes. - MoTO: #TeamMarina
I use the Amazon music...mostly because it was the one that I found first and they offered a cheap option of uploading all of my music there, but I can play it on my tablet, on my amazon tv, etc. freaking love it. but i like google music too :) - Sir Shuping is just sir
Maybe I need one of y'all to give me a primer on Google Music because I found it to be a royal pain. - Corinne L
i remember you had trouble, Corinne. - holly #ravingfangirl
I think part of it has to do with my mutant status. Technology is not always my friend. #sadtrombone - Corinne L
wait how do you get mutant status? I want that. - t-ra supports #LOLSpidra
Mine is due to the fact that whenever I am under emotional duress, I render electronic devices useless. I have yet to use my mutant powers for good. With great power comes great frustration. - Corinne L
Friendfeed, I need your help. Best rub for pork butt: GO!
A little sweet... a little heat. - Julian
Is there a go-to rub that is a staple or is every pit different. - Johnny
Recipes are often pretty jealously guarded :) - Jennifer Dittrich from iPhone
And highly debated! - Julian
Ah. That's why I can't buy rub from America or the ones already here cost 5 times as much. - Johnny
From what I've gathered, most of them are based on pepper, paprika, garlic powder, salt and sugar. - Johnny
So... wait... ok... not only do I need a rub, I need a brine for injection AND a cider/vinegar spray to mop with. BBQ IS SERIOUS LIKE WOAH - Johnny
Apple juice is a good ingredient for a pork injection. Maybe a little peach nectar, too. - Julian
*takes notes* Peach nectar. - Johnny
I guess I should also come up with a name like Big Johnny or Texas Smoke Pit House Dry Rub Butt... Maybe "Bearded Wombat BBQ Rub" - Johnny
Pork butts aren't rubbed in Texas. They're slow-smoked. - Jason Huebel
I should mention, as much as I like a lot of the various traditional Southern versions, this is my favorite pork butt recipe:, which involves an overnight cure, and then slow roast. It's great with the condiments they mention, but also just by itself. Any time I've made it, there haven't been any leftovers. - Jennifer Dittrich
rub your beard on it - Jeff (Team マクダジ )
Stephen Mack
Ready for the SF Edwardian Ball
Lookin' good, Mr. Mack! - Anne Bouey
I second Anne! - Jenny H. from Android
Thanks! That was really fun. - Stephen Mack from iPhone
I always think HD streaming video looks really good…until I pop in a Blu-ray. Physical media still wins, so far.
I'm a terrible fan, my Pats sweatshirt is in the wash.
Your sweatshirt is more than a year old, worn in everyday life so it's needs washing and has been worn when they don't win. You're good. - Johnny
Don't tell my dad. lol - Heather
RT @historypixs: Marlon Brando before and after makeup on The Godfather:
RT @historypixs: Marlon Brando before and after makeup on The Godfather:
So, news: I'm now the TV editor for FreakSugar. :)
I've never been an editor before. :) - Jed from iPhone
Rock on! - Corinne L
Yay! - Yolanda
Congrats! - WoH: Professor MOTHRA
I've been saying that FreakSugar has been lacking representation in the transvestite community for such a long time. This is welcome news. - Mark H
@Mark H - :) - Jed from iPhone
Thanks everyone! - Jed from iPhone
Congratulations! - MoTO: #TeamMarina from Android
Woo hoo! - Soup in a TARDIS
Congratulations, Jed! - Stephan from iPhone
\o/ Congrats! :) - AHnix (Anna Haro)
Woo-hoo! - bentley
Congratulations! - Jenny H. from Android
Thanks, everyone! I'm pretty pumped! - Jed from iPhone
woot and congrats! - Sir Shuping is just sir
Steven Perez
APOD: 2015 January 17 - Comet Lovejoy s Tail -
APOD: 2015 January 17 - Comet Lovejoy s Tail
"Explanation: Sweeping north in planet Earth's sky, Comet Lovejoy's greenish coma and blue tinted ion tail stretched across this field of stars in the constellation Taurus on January 13. The inset at the upper left shows the 1/2 degree angular size of the full moon for scale. So Lovejoy's coma appears only a little smaller (but much fainter) than a full moon on the sky, and its tail is visible for over 4 degrees across the frame. That corresponds to over 5 million kilometers at the comet's estimated distance of 75 million kilometers from Earth. Blown by the solar wind, the comet's tenuous, structured ion tail streams away from the Sun, growing as this Comet Lovejoy heads toward perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun, on January 30. While diatomic carbon (C2) gas fluorescing in sunlight produces the coma's green color, the fainter bluish tail is tinted by emission from ionized carbon monoxide (CO+)." - Steven Perez from Bookmarklet
Jenny H.
I finally got my residency permit! I'm legal! <3 <3 <3
Congratulations!!! - WoH: Professor MOTHRA
Woohoo! - Kirsten
Thanks! I'm pretty excited about it! :))) - Jenny H. from Android
Yay! - bentley
YayYayYayYayYay!!! - vicster
If you're happy, I'm happy. But in my heart I'm thinking: "Shes' not coming back... *sniff*" - MoTO: #TeamMarina
Yay, you can have sex! Oh... not that legal... - Melly
*\o/* boom! - t-ra supports #LOLSpidra
B, I'll be a regular visitor to the homeland, don't you worry. Melly. :D Thanks, guys. I'm glad you've got my back. :) - Jenny H. from Android
So, how do you feel about ruining your new country? :-) - Todd Hoff
I can't wait! :P - Jenny H. from Android
Congrats! - Anne Bouey
Congratulations! how long it took to get it? - непростые коротышки
By their counting, more than 12 months, by my counting, 15. - Eivind
*\o/*!!! - AHnix (Anna Haro)
@eivind hmm, quite a time. good they hadn't lost papers :) - непростые коротышки
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