Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day Trip, Night Flip

So throw that original plan of playing tourist in San Francisco out the window until tomorrow. Instead, Lyndsay and I rented a car and headed south on Highway 1 through Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz all the way to Monterey. Here's what we found:


Pumpkins galore and more!

The Ocean? Who knew!

Still there? Just checking.

The road ahead


Just in case you don't read the text...

The Boardwalk

He was ready for his closeup!

Clam chowda and a bread bowl. I asked for supersize. I guess on this coast it's "chowder" now that I think about it.

Zoltar and best best friend/mortal enemy Merlin

Tha canday! Tha canday! Sugar high!


Zippy little rental car

Mini mansion.

Straight up mansion!

Spanish Bay

Spyglass Hill Golf Course

Cypress tree forest. And an arrow telling you to go off-roading.

Cypress Point Lookout

The Lone Cypress

Red & green plants, rocks, water, sky

Pescadero Point

Pebble Beach: the sign

Pebble Beach: the course


Santa Cruz Boardwalk (+1 ominous shadow)

Fresh produce (Yum strawberries!)

The sun beginneth to setteth over the oceanus pacifica


Mucha handstand attempt!

Mucha handstand attempt #28: success!

Success! Time to dance!

San Fran International airport terminal, where after taking the BART to get to the hotel, I was let down by the courtesy shuttle and ended up splitting a cab with a cute girl. Sorry Adam fan club, didn't get her number.

Now for tomorrow's plan, reference the end of the post prior to this one.

Let's go get lost
Let's go get lost
Blue you sit so pretty
West of the One
Sparkle light with yellow icing
Just a mirror for the sun
Just a mirror for the sun
Just a mirror for the sun

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Real San Francisco

Last night I went downtown with Joey. We ended up at the office of some of his friends for a game of poker. It ended up being me and 9 dot com startup execs and employees from various companies. I'd never really played much poker before, much less for money, so I decided if nothing else I'd be paying to get a lesson.

I lost most of my money before I finally got a good feel for what I was doing, but eventually I found a rhythm and started choosing the right hands to play. I was down to $3.25 when a really good hand followed by a really good bluff turned my game around. I took the $3.25 and turned it into nearly $100. I managed to be one of the final four at the table, but my strategy of never backing down to Joey failed me. I'd called his bluff twice already and won, but the third time we went head to head he took me all in and his trip 2s beat my pair. This is his stack of chips after he took my stack and took me out of the game.

It wasn't a bad strategy and I didn't mind passing chips to Joey anyway, but I knew I was testing my luck going all in. And now I know how to hold my own in a poker game.

Today we played kickball in Golden Gate Park. It took a little while to get things organized, but once we did it was a lot of fun. Sloshball, as it's called, is made difficult by the fact that you always have to have a cup in your hand, so you basically only have one free hand to field the kickball. That and the fact that you're drinking hard cider.

Joey did his typical Joey thing. Our team strategy of kicking right at him never paid off as time after time he seemed to manage to make unbelieveable catches.

Later we saw the city hall building, and now I'm inspired to do more touristy things tomorrow. Tentative plans are Fisherman's Wharf, Embarcadero, Coit Tower, Chinatown, and The Palace of the Legion of Honor (or however much of that I can fit in).

Tonight we had some amazing Mexican food on Mission St. I plan to continue to take advantage of the authentic offerings around here while I can.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

San Fran Plan

After a trip through the Sierra Nevada on I-80, we got to our hotel just north of the San Francisco airport. I hopped a BART train to meet up with Joey at his place after he got off work. The BART gets a bad rap, but it's actually a pretty nice system, especially compared with places like Philly or Chicago.

It was a really nice day, but I got to see some of the famous fog rolling in.

I got off the BART at one of the Mission Street stops and got to experience some of the flavor of the city on my walk into town. The districts in the city are all tiny and dense, and the ethnic makeup of the city can change from block to block.

I got to Joey's place a bit early, so I walked up Bernal Heights, which is only a couple blocks from his place. Great views from the top, and the fog rolling over the top of the hills was fascinating.

We hung around at Joey's apartment for a bit before heading into downtown. He found himself a nice, cosy place in a good location.

Downtown we ended up at a bar celebrating Oktoberfest, so we went along with it and bought boots of beer.

This morning, we woke up to a clear sky and decided it would be a great time to check out the Golden Gate Bridge. Joey had only driven across it in the past, so we decided to walk it instead. As we drove up, we saw the beginnings of fog coming into the bay.

The bridge is definitely quite the structure, and experiencing it with partial fog cover was actually really neat.

After the bridge and drive through town, we decided to play some tennis. We found courts near his place and played for about 2 hours (3 sets). It's definitely a game that you have to play regularly to maintain. I hadn't played in almost a year, and I realized I was trying too hard to play at the level I was at last summer when I couldn't control my serve or backhand and dropped the first two sets pretty quickly. The third set was much more evenly matched after I brought the serve under a little more control and started worrying about getting the ball back across the net rather than going for kill shots. I still lost the set, but I broke Joey a couple times and had several games go to deuce 3,4,5...

Anyway, playing just makes me want to get back to playing more regularly.

Then we went back to his pad to watch the Ducks game (a blowout for the Ducks!) and I watched the pilot episode of Man Men, which Joey is raving about. Joey's TV doubles as a computer (or it may be the other way around), but as I sit here typing this post I'm having to move my head left to right just to take in the enormity of the screen.

Our most recent entertainment came when Joey swatted a fly on the carpet, and then had Thomas eat it. Thomas is Joey's robot vacuum. There was just something mildly hysterical about Thomas cheerily beeping to life and immediately sucking up the fly.

Tonight we're going out again... somewhere or another. Then the big event tomorrow is Sloshball, a game of kickball involving alcoholic cider at second base.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

This Just In

In case you haven't heard, Oregon State just beat #1 USC.  I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this, but it does give me a little more hope for Oregon at USC coming up next weekend.

I watched the last part of the game during commercial breaks while watching the season premiere of The Office.  I think it's one of the funniest episodes ever.  Plus there was a huge plot development I didn't see coming... (spoiler in white text) Jim Proposed to Pam.  Wow!

Other major news of the day:
- Talks on this $700 billion bailout fell apart (I hope they keep falling apart until that number goes down)
- McCain's showing up on Capitol Hill to rescue the economy isn't going particularly well
- Palin had a laughable interview with Katie Couric
- WaMu just bit the dust
- American troops exchanged fire with Pakistanis at the Pakistan border
- There may or may not be a presidential debate tomorrow
- There's this new fitness trend called "laughtercise."  They're making workout videos with standard routines, only done while cracking up.

While all this was happening, we were driving through the Nevada desert.  Other than the Bonneville Salt Flats, there wasn't a whole lot to see during the drive.

The most exciting part of the drive (for all the wrong reasons) was getting stung by a honeybee at a gas station while filling up.  Apparently a truck carrying bees stopped to fill up - something they're not supposed to do during the day.  I got one caught in my sweatshirt hood, and now I have a lump on the back of my head.  It was ridiculously hard not to swat them away while they were buzzing in my hair at the pump, but I managed to not get stung again.

Pulling into Reno, I immediately saw where I was going for dinner (conveniently right across from the hotel).

Cheeseburger and Animal Style Fries.  Definitely took a night off from eating semi-healthy.

We're staying at the Nugget owned by some guy named John who can't help but put his name on everything.  We're probably the youngest people at the hotel from what I've seen.

You wouldn't want to be presented with this dilemma during an emergency in the hotel:

The pool is really nice, but almost more for show than utility.

And of course there's a big casino.  A very busy casino, which isn't surprising since it's a huge hotel with two 29 story towers.

I'm up on floor 21, with a good view South.