Thursday, July 31, 2008

We may have just walked through the hood

Had breakfast at the hotel, which is quite handy. We were in a hurry to catch the ferry to Sausalito, a fact that I failed to mention to Melissa. One bus and a short walk later, and we missed the ferry by about 15 minutes. Oops. The plan for the day had been a little packed, so this just forced us to take it a little easier, which it turned out was just fine. The ferry building was redone in 2003 and is very nice. It's actually full of amazingly swanky shops, like caviar and fancy cheese. Anyway the whole area has been redone since it's where that double decker interstate fell down during the earthquake in the 80s and they torn in down completely at some point in the 90s I think. What was the deal with building highways by the water?

The ferry ride across the bay was amazing, and cheaper than the boat tour. Seeing the city from a distance is pretty cool and not being able to see the bridge due to the fog was a good bit weird. We walked a bit in Sausalito and found this Italian-ish cafe for lunch. I really do enjoy sitting at a table on the sidewalk and eating, although I think I got a bit of a sunburn. Spent a little more time walking around some shops, then caught the ferry back to San Francisco.

Having spent as much time as we did in the sun, we were a good bit tired, so decided to just head back to the hotel for a break. Instead of the bus, we took the cable car, since I mean, you just have to. It's really fascinating how the whole system for the cable car works. You feel like you are a going a bit slow, but then you hit the huge hills, and it's like, thank god we're on this thing. It stopped a few blocks from the hotel and on the way we stopped for some coffee. One unrelated side note, afternoon TV is a lot of Golden Girls.

For our evening the plan, as suggested from the concierge, was to head to the Mission district for dinner and hanging out. It's supposed to be the hip area of town. We took a bus there, a bit a longer than our previous ones, and a bit more crowded. When we got there, well, it looked a bit sketchy. There were enough people there who didn't look skethcy that we continued to walk for a bit. There were some nice restaurants and bars but it was mostly crappy shopping places, kinda like what I remember the bad parts of Canal St looking like. We walked about three blocks down, then crossed over a block and walked three blocks back. We maybe saw four places we go in? Yeah, we were disappointed. One of the places that looked nice was this little tapas place, so we went there. Good call. After dinner, grabbed the bus back to the hotel, and after a little TV and Internet, hit the hay.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I just like saying it

I've been spoiled by short flights. I'm normally going to like Florida or Texas or maybe Chicago. It takes a good bit longer to get to the West Coast, even longer if you are using Southwest and you stop twice. Anyway, we left home around 10am, and got to the hotel 7pm local time, for a grand total of eleven hours of travel. Fun. Oh, and the Denver airport still gives me the willies. The hotel concierge recommended a little Chinese place nearby for dinner which turned out to be pretty good. After dinner we walked the neighborhood a bit, then went back to the hotel. It felt a little weird to go to bed early, but the two hour time change made a difference and the day of travel had taken it's toll.

Tuesday morning we took advantage of the hotel continental breakfast and spent a little time just hanging out in the lobby. We then took a bus over to Union Square on our way to the SF Museum of Modern Art, SFMOMA. The guest exhibit was Frida Kahlo, and it was pretty cool. It definitely helped me that I had seen the movie. The rest of the museum was only so so far me. There's normally only so much modern art I can take. We walked down Market a bit looking for a place to eat. It was interesting to see so many fairly well dressed people walking around in the windy chilly weather. We eventually decided on this little French sandwich place. It was tasty. The whole thing felt very European.

After lunch we walked over to Union Square to do some shopping. Melissa went to H&M, Neiman's, and Macy's while I went to Brooks Brothers, Williams Sonoma, and Borders. The stores here are huge. Williams Sonoma was four floors, which is actually a bit much. I spent most of my time in Borders but had a helluva time finding a book to buy. Eventually went with a Teri Pratchett book as recommended by the Vaths. We took the bus back to the hotel, got cleaned up, and I spent some time talking to the concierge over coffee. With a better feel now for the area, we did a little walking again, this time with much better luck. We made our way to Filmore and Broadway which is actually a pretty nice scenic overlook type spot. Damn shame we couldn't see much due to the fog. Still, what we could see was pretty cool. Since the area near the hotel is called Japantown, we figured sushi would be a good call for dinner, so we went to Osaka as recommended by the hotel. Very tasty. I never knew you could get fried soft shelled crab in a sushi roll. After we got back to the hotel, we jumped in the rental car, and just drove around for a bit. Large cities at night are always pretty to me, and it was nice way to wind down the evening.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Austin, TX

Visiting a place where you used to live makes for an odd trip. You feel at home, and yet it isn't home any more. You have a giant list of things to see and do, which likely isn't possible to do in a short time, and even if it were, it makes for a fairly hectic trip. You have people you want to see but getting to see them all proves difficult. Despite all of that, or maybe because of all of that, Melissa and I had an amazing trip to Austin last weekend. It was the first trip back where we really had no event to attend so it afforded us to the perfect chance to do all the things we wanted to do.

We drove there on Wednesday and the drive was fairly uneventful other than traffic in Houston due to rush hour. We met up with Taylor, Carrie, Jerry, and Dot at Kerbey Lane and enjoyed the good food and good company. After dinner settled in at Jerry's house and Dot must be commended for making the guest area of the house very homey. I'm still amazed there was guest shampoo.

I started off Thursday with lunch at Jason's Deli with Carrie. Just like old times. In the afternoon and sat with my old co-workers at IBM and slipped into my old desk routine, which meant lots of we browsing and coffee with Thanh. After work Jerry and I went to Opal Divine's for some after work beer and conversation. Still odd to think that was the Sea Island Shrimp House building. The gang met up with us there and then we went to Mangia for dinner, the one on Spicewood. We even took the crazy hill down to 360 on the way back to Jerry's. I also believe that night we played some crazy rabbit game on the Wii. The Rock Band like portion of that game was highly amusing.

Friday Melissa dropped me off at IBM and I went to lunch with my old co-workers at Trudy's. The afternoon was filled for me with Warcraft Beta news and conference calls. We met up at the Riche's condo that evening for a nice refreshing dip in the pool and a visit from Sara and the kids. Catherine was amazingly cute and talkative and Elizabeth, well, was just tiny. Surprisingly Melissa was OK around the infant so that's good progress. We went to Trudy's for dinner, which means it was an all Trudy's day for me, and then back to Jerry's.

Saturday we started with a visit to Ikea so that Dot could introduce us to her heritage (she's Swedish). The meatballs were quite tasty and the showroom was pretty cool. I like how they show you what to do with small space. I'm certainly going to keep them in mind when we eventually get a house. We had Rudy's for dinner, followed by beer at the Gingerman, and topped it all off with dessert at Chez Zee. Pretty much a perfect Saturday night in Austin.

Sunday we met up at Alamo Drafthouse to see the Dark Knight. Though we were there 30 minutes before show time, we wound up in the front row. It was nearly as painful as I expected and the movie, just wow, amazing. It's been a while since I thought a blockbuster movie was also a good movie. It should be required viewing for everyone. After the movie, we did a little driving through the hills, then went back to Jerry's for a nap. We went to Shady Grove for dinner, Oasis for drinks at sunset, and Mozart's for coffee on the water.

Monday we drove home. Nothing special.

A big thanks to Jerry and Dot for putting us up and the Riches for hanging out with us as we dragged them across Austin. Austin itself is a great place to visit, but it wouldn't be nearly as fun without y'all.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Sack O' Fun

It's odd to think that the old house in Waveland just isn't there any more. I can close my eyes and picture it and all of the furniture and yet I know none of it is there. Sometimes it's a little too much to think about. What's also odd is the new house in Waveland is almost done. All the talk over do we rebuild or don't we rebuild and then when to rebuild is all over and the house is almost done. Of course, it's in that annoying almost done phase where it feels like it should be done tomorrow but more likely has like six weeks left.

Shooting off fireworks on the beach with Jerry felt like old times. You know what didn't feel like old times? Paying for them with just our money. :) Come back adults, we need your money!

Melissa and I have already fallen through on our snowball pact. My laziness combined with her realizing just how much empty calories they are didn't help. We did go one day and I got a lemon meringue flavor. It was delicious.

Rode the streetcar downtown last night from the LaBorde's. Good times. It had been a long time since I did that. Need to make sure to do it again fairly soon. Everything just feels right when doing that.

I had another "I feel old" moment today. I'm talking to the girl behind the counter in the coffee shop, asking her how she likes working there, and she says "I like it, I mean, it's chill ya know?" I agree with her, it is "chill". It just wasn't something I would have said.