Friday Dec 05, 2008

Terminal 99

I am sitting in Terminal 99 of SFO waiting for Flight 889 to PEK to board. Clyde has wedged himself between the small of my back and my seat. I can feel him breathing. He is quiet now, but wasn't on the ride up here, and will surely be making his displeasure loudly known when I put him back into his carrier and board the plane.

Worshipful Jim brought me the airport this morning. I'd taken the mighty 22 down El Camino from the Marriott and met him at vets at 7:30 am. One of the veterinary technicians came in early so I could get him. We arrived at 8:15 am, which helped make both the check-in process and security rather painless.

I've been working on a couple of blog posts on my E90, and will upload them once I get into Beijing and have settled in a bit. The short of it is that the last two weeks have been extremely rewarding, both in the tasks I was able to accomplish and the family and friends (including co-workers, ex-co-workers, neighbors, and lodge brothers) whom I was able to meet. And, of course, in getting Clyde through the process of getting his health exam and the teeth extraction which was needed.

Well, that's it for now.

Monday Dec 01, 2008

Goodbye San Francisco

Took Matthew to the airport. Walked down Powell, caught BART out to SFO, and took the airport shuttle. Again, very convenient. This past week of staying in the city, driving places with Aram, taking public transportation, or just walking has been great. Has allowed me to experience the city in a good way.

That said, here are some observations:

  • There is a large homeless population in downtown San Francisco
  • The bus system seems to be more for "lower class"
  • BART seems, well, old
  • Many buildings are unoccupied

Another thing is that pedestrians definitely have the right-of-way. And, they predominately tend to follow the Walk and Don't Walk signs.

Saturday Nov 29, 2008

Hs Lordships

Had an early 70th birthday celebration for my dad at Hs Lordships. A very nice family gathering. The brunch was good, but I still need to watch what I'm eating. I've kept to smaller portions than I used to have when I lived here last. My cousin Steve was there with his dad, his wife, their daughter, and their granddaughter. Four generations together.

California Academy of Sciences

We went to the Californa Academy of Sciences today. Didn't much like the concrete slab walls on the exterior, but the exhibitions and living roof were fantastic. And, although I found the show at the Planetarium (entitled "Fragile Planet") to be a bit too preachy, the thirty-minute show was definitely time well spent.

Thursday Nov 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

We had Thanksgiving at my sister's house. A big mash-up of family members from her side of the family and her husband's. Wonderful time.

When I got back to the hotel, I found out that an order I'd placed on amazon for things that were hard to get in China was declined. Turns out the credit card company was being extra-cautious during the holiday season, and wanted some confirmation that it was actually me making the purchase.

After confirming to the credit card associate that I was me (?):

  • Where are you out of?
  • India, sir.
  • I know, but where? Not Mumbai by any chace?
  • Yes, Bombay.

We talked awhile about what was happening. At the end of the conversation, I told him that my heart went out to the folks there.

And, indeed it does.

Matthew and the Cable Car

I took BART out to SFO today to get my son, Matthew, who flew in from OKC. Very convenient. Just walked down from Nob Hill to the Powell Street Station, boarded BART, got out at the end of the line, took an automated shuttle, and that was it.

We rode back from the airport the same way. However, to get back up to the hotel, we took a cable car up Powell Street. When I was getting in line to get tickets, a girl offered me two three-day pass tickets. She and her friend had used two days, were leaving, and didn't need the third. I said sure and asked her if she wanted anything for them. She said nope, and, just to make the experience more pleasant, "Happy Thanksgiving".

Indeed.

Matthew's room is on the fifth floor looking out at the Transamerica Building and surrounding skyline, with a wonderfully illuminated Coit Tower in the background. Looking straight down, he can see both the Powell and California cable car lines, which cross right outside the hotel.

The room itself is wonderfully updated, just like mine. I have to say that Marriott did a wonderful job in restoring the Stanford Court, which finished a $35 million dollar renovation earlier this month. A fantastic combination of old and new.

This is the first time he's ever spent more than a day in The City. I think it is a great way to start.

(I'm also blown away that each of our rooms are only $115 a night... a special price through their website.)


For dinner, we walked down California towards Van Ness Avenue, walked over to Hyde, and ate at the Nob Hill Grille. The food was great. And, for desert, I had one of the best cupcakes I've ever eaten.

After dinner, we once again made use of our cable car passes and caught a ride back up the hill. This time, we sat on the outside benches.


The streets aren't nearly as busy as I remember them, or would expect them to be during the holiday season. Also, the receptionist told me that there are floors in the hotel that are closed... just not enough people registered to keep them all open.

Wednesday Nov 05, 2008

Thanks Goodness

In the immortal words of Roger Daltrey:

   This is my generation
   This is my generation, baby 

Saturday Oct 11, 2008

What We Need is a REAL Maverick

I gotta admit that I've not paid too much attention to any of the Presidential or Vice-Presidential debates. My mind was set on whom to vote for immediately after Hilary dropped out of the race.

That said, I did take a keen interest in the SNL debate between Biden and Palin:

And, after watching it nigh-on 25 times, it's got me yearning for a real maverick. Somebody bold enough to go through 4 G Negative Dive flipping a Russian MiG pilot the bird, brash enough to do a flyby twice without authorization, smart enough to learn from his mistakes, and resilient enough to get back into the cockpit after losing his RIO in a training accident.

Yep, it got me a hankering for the only real (well fake) maverick out there:

Tuesday Oct 07, 2008

Editing Help, Please!

I just saw this news article:

    Police say Kentucky woman kills self, daughters

A tragic occurence to be sure.

But, my first thought was this was a joke lifted from a M\*A\*S\*H episode... the one where Major Burns he'd commit suicide and then kill Hotlips O'Houlihan if she ever cheated on him.

For crying out loud, this is from the AP appearing on a Forbes website.

Tuesday Sep 16, 2008

Appalling: Star Trek's Takei marries partner

I found this story to be absolutely appalling:

A Buddhist ceremony? I mean, I somehow figured it'd be more, well, Jewish... with Nimoy officiating.

So it goes...

On a serious note, even though I don't know him from Adam, I've always considered Mr. Takei to be a true gentleman.

His actions today have done nothing but re-affirm that feeling.

And, I'm going to refrain from saying "live long and prosper" since 100,000 or more people have already done so.

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