A weekend trip out of town, even just up to Sacramento ... probably a good idea. It's nice to get out of the city, if only to regain one's perspective on surroundings.
While the favorite ex sleeps off the doldrums of a night short on sleep and a morning stuck in a Saturday make-up class (the professor is the one making it up ... which apparently means all the students have to as well), I took a walk to the nearest strip mall for some Pho' and fresh air. Aside from a couple people walking their dogs, and one retiree on her Saturday speed walk, I was the only one wandering the meandering sidewalks — think on that a minute; the sidewalks aren't made straight here, for getting from place to place, because it's assumed if you actually have to get somewhere, you're going to drive in this town. There were trees, and grass, and city-employed gardeners mowing the meridian lawns. I walked by a couple cookie-cutter apartment complexes, and a whole bunch of McMansions that make up the bulk of the neighborhood.
The houses are sort of nice, in a simpletonesque sort of way. But they have no character. Maybe they will somewhere down the line, kind of like how the cookie-cutter homes of my grandparents' Palo Alto neighborhood now seem quaint and retro, even though every house is exactly the same save the landscaping and the color. But at the moment they seem a lot like an analogy for the housing boom of the last decade or so: a whole lot of hot air and plastic, with little actual value in the end.