Road trip

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Usually Memorial Day weekend is the first Yuppie Camping trip of the year, but this year M & I were doing something different. My friend Erin and her friend Timmion had won a weekend at the Gunn Ranch in a silent auction. They were kind enough to invite a group of us to share it with them. The husbands weren’t able to come along, so it was M & I embarking on a road trip. M came and picked me up at my office, ready to hit the road: (Photo Courtesy of M)

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M & I are very road trip compatible. We both like to stop at fun little places along the way, like this cute little farmstand:

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They had served homemade ice cream, so naturally we had to partake:

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It was a nice little spot to stop, very picturesque:

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But we had places to go, so we hit the road. A little while later, we both needed a potty stop and happened upon the Information Center at this little town, where the proprietor was rocking this fabulous ensemble:

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Too hard to see in this photo? Lucky for you, he started flying a kite:

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Why yes, that is a red plaid shirt and camoflage pants. (I can’t make this stuff up, folks!) The route was long but really beautiful. I shot this from the car window:

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Ridiculous, right?

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Cultural rollercoaster

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Our day started early, with a trip up to SF for the Bay to Breakers. I managed to live for seven years in the Bay Area without attending this “cultural outing” but Erik & Nerissa have been a number of times, so we were happy to join them for the festivities. Nerissa was the only one who was organized enough to come up with a costume, which she assembled outside the parked car:

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In case you didn’t guess, she’s a pirate cupcake:

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(Her shirt has three cupcakes on it, labelled vanilla, chocolate & pirate) With Nerissa’s costume complete, we headed to the start line. It’s fun to walk behind a pirate cupcake and a tall dude:

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We passed a hilarious mural on the side of an car wash:

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The scene on the way to the start line was quite amusing. Only San Francisco can take a race and turn it into this kind of spectacle:

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After an amusing walk, we made it to the starting line:

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It wouldn’t be San Francisco without some picket signs, hilarious and otherwise…

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Even the SFFD got into the act:

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It was fun to walk along with all of the freaks (I mean, participants) and get to see all of the crazy costumes. We passed my favorite building in San Francisco: (Yes, that is furniture attached to the exterior… )

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Eventually, the route headed up Hayes Street, a formidable hill. From this vantage point, it was amazing how many people were out doing the event. The view in front of us:

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And the view behind:

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Crazy, right? We got to see the salmon people going against the crowd:

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And this awesome guy:

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Eventually, the heat, crowds and terribly unattractive naked people got to be too much and we abandoned the route. Nerissa ditched her headgear in a conveniently placed shopping cart and we headed for brunch.

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After a delicious brunch and a not-so-delicious MUNI ride back downtown, we headed for the SFMOMA to see an exhibit that T was interested in. The rest of us were more interested in the air conditioning than the artwork, but we still found some enjoyment. Here, Erik contemplates the genius of post-modern painting:

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And T & Erik ponder the imponderables of modern sculpture, such as “Why are those spiders all in a pile?”:

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There was a lot of that going around, as these people wondered why there was an old man head in the courtyard:

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I genuinely like modern art, and there were some really nice pieces like these hanging metal sculptures:

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But other times, you just have to laugh, like at this “torso flour bag”:

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But the best piece of post-modern art was actually not in the museum, but on the roof of the building across the street:

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It’s hard to see in this photo, but if you look closer:

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T. really enjoyed his exhibit and all of us had a good time experiencing the two extremes of San Francisco culture.

Take a hike

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Saturday dawned nice and sunny. After a hearty breakfast, we decided to take advantage of the nice weather with a hike in the South Bay. Naturally, I had to kick off the day with some silly pictures:

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How would you like this job?

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Why are they watering the rusty farm equipment?

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The hike was fun, even if it was crazy hot.

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After the hike, we had a little lunch and then a little rest back at the house. Later in the evening, we headed up to T and my old stomping grounds in Oakland. We had a delicious dinner at Shen Hua and then dessert at Fentons. I had my usual hot fudge sundae with peppermint ice cream:

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Yummy!

Adventures in science

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We arrived in SF without incident and my brother Erik was nice enough to come pick us up at the airport. After the obligatory “man hug” we hit the road.

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We met up with my sister-in-law Nerissa and had an excellent dinner in Palo Alto. The next morning, we decided to head down to the California Academy of Sciences, which T was really eager to see, having read about their green initatives and impressive renovation.

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The building is definitely impressive, with fancy automated vents and green roof:

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Inside, there’s a big glass atrium dome with a huge rainforest display:

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We started with the rainforest display, which was amazing. There are tons of butterflys and birds flying all around. At the bottom is an aquarium with some narly fish in it, that covers a glass walkway. It was pretty cool to see people walking around under the gross fish. I tried to get a picture, but it’s hard to see:

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You learn all kinds of things about the rainforest. That nature is gross…

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weird…

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cute…

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and beautiful:

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We had a great time. There were some wacky hijinks:

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There was a very preachy global warming exhibit that had a suggestion board. Buried amongst the sanctimonious advice was this little nugget:

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So, Erik decided to add his own to the mix:

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Yes, I am in fact 12 years old. My one critique of the museum was that throughout our visit they would take random pictures of us, which is fine but then as you’re leaving they had actually printed them out vs. just showing them on the screen. I did take a picture of one of them, because it was hilarious, but still not so green:

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We finished the day with a snack in Cole Valley. I had an unbelievable goat cheese & pear tart:

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The fog was just coming over the hill, which I loved so much when I lived here:

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What a great way to start a vacation…

Leavin’ on a jet plane

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It’s been a while since T & I have gone on any kind of vacation. Between his school, my work and the fact that most of my vacation time gets spent going to training camp and races, it just hadn’t worked out. This year I was determined to go somewhere and we’ve really been wanting visit my brother & sister-in-law since they bought a new house back in November. So, when I found some good airfare deals with Virgin America, we were good to go.

As usually happens, we factored in long security line times and there weren’t any so we had a little time to kill. They had a Dish D’lish at the airport, which has yummy cookies and makes an excellent place to grab a preflight snack and take a silly picture of your hubby.

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The cookie was yummy and best of all they hadn’t jacked their prices up in the usual airport fashion. We wasted a little more time and then it was time to check in. I was very interested to check out Virgin America, as they are so often compared to JetBlue which is one of my favorite airlines of all times. For the most part, they are very similar. They have the little tv’s in the seatbacks:

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But the Virgin America system is a bit more sophisticated than JetBlue, complete with fancy controller in the armrest:

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You can order food, movies and whatnot on their little menu, which is convenient (but I like that JetBlue still has free snacks, which Virgin does not.) They did have this cute detail at the end of their wings, which I liked:

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All in all, I’d definitely recommend Virgin America. They are particularly awesome for short flights, but I’d fly them across the country if their fare was comparable to JetBlue. All in all, two thumbs up!

I want to ride my bicycle

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With Ironman looming large on the horizon, I’ve been pretty motivated to get out and train. It helps that I’ve found a training plan that really works for my schedule, but even more helpful is the fact that I’m scared to death that I won’t be ready in time. The weather was actually nice for a change, so I decided to do a ride up to Edmonds which is just north of Seattle, right along the coast. The route I found was pretty nice, winding out of our Ballard neighborhood and then through some low-traffic neighborhoods all the way to Edmonds.

After the crappy weather rides I’ve been doing, it was great to be out in short sleeves and no jacket. There were a fair amount of hills along the way, which slowed me down a bit, but led to some pretty views along the way. Case in point:

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I’m sure the folks of this neighborhood are probably used to people snapping pictures of their view, but I still felt like a huge nerd. Oh well, it was nice to catch my breath before the next hill. 😉

Office pranks

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My co-worker Kris is one of those people who always has crazy stuff happen to her. So, when her flight turned back to the gate to evacuate the sick passenger seated right in front of her at the height of the swine flu panic, we pretty much assumed she’d get the swine flu. But after a few days of not contracting the virus, we decided a prank was in order. (You can’t prank someone when they have the swine flu, that’s just bad manners… )

So we ‘quarantined’ her cubicle by wrapping it in plastic tarps and caution tape:

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It’s hard to see from this pic, but the top right sign says “how you get the swine flu” with this picture on it:

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Gross, but funny…

Luckily, Kris is a really good sport and thought it was hilarious:

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A very enjoyable way to start the week…