Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Trip Report: California 2005

I went to California to attend Matt and Tina's wedding. Of course, since weddings don't actually take that long (the actual ceremony, that is--the planning is another matter, but I didn't have to do any of the planning), I spent a lot of time with other friends as well.

Adventures on the ATA: Kintergarden in the Sky

I left on Friday morning out of Midway. The plane wes full, holding about 250 people, and left at 7:00 am. From where I was sitting in the back, I could see seven little kids. I think there were more that I couldn't see. They were well organized... they took turns crying so that someone was always making sure that this important task got done. Two of the kids only knew how to communicate by screaming, so that's what they did. I didn't mind it all very much, actually, I mean, they're kind of cute... But the lady I was sitting next to had a different take on it. "I hate kids" she muttered several times. She really wanted off that plane. "Maybe if I tell them I'm a terrorist, they'll stop the plane and let me off." Okay, so maybe I should say that I saw eight children, not seven. Do people really forget that they were once kids, too?

Uncle Mattox

I was met at the airport by Jan and Jubi. Jon was at work at the time, so he met up with us later. Jubi (who just turned two) had a doctor's appointment that morning, so we went there. Jan said I could come in with them (she didn't want me to be bored in the waiting room). There was a new doctor that day; the usual doctor for Jubi was on maternity leave. She went over the growth chart, asked a bunch of "is development going smoothly" type of questions, and gave a lot of advice about things to try next. She looked at her growth chart and commented "well, she's very small, but you two are both petite so she'll probably be short for the rest of her life anyway". Neither of us bothered to correct her, so she'll be very confused when Jon comes next time. :-) After that we went to a Pho restaurant, visited their home off of a small lake, and had afternoon tea. We spent a lot of time playing with Jubi as well. For a two-year-old she has an amazing vocabulary! That evening, Jon came home and we all went out to a Malaysian restaurant called Baba Neo, in Mountainview. Their food and service is very good, I'd go there again. Conveniently, it was located just a few minutes away from Nicole and Glen's place, where I stayed during my trip.

The Wedding

The wedding was held in a beautiful church just outside San Jose. The windows are all glass, I wonder how anyone can pay attention to the service? The reception was fun. I got to see Sam Abraham, and Steve Kilgore. Nicole and Glen were there, too. Matt and Tina did a first dance that had everyone asking them for lessons.

Hakone Gardens

The next day I went to church with Nicole and Glen. After that, Nicole took me to the Hakone Gardens. In many respects it looks like many other Japanese gardens I've been to. Nice presentation, some water, tea rooms. One thing I noticed that's different about this garden is the incredible variety of bamboo they had. There were many different kinds there. We then came back, picked up Glen, and we went to a sandwich shop called Plutos, in Palo Alto. It had a very Chicago feel to it. It also had a wall with the names of all kinds of Space/Sci-Fi personalities... the kinds of names that geeks would know. Glen and I knew all but one of them, which I looked up on Google from my phone, thereby ensuring our geek status is safe. After that, we went to the Tied House in Mountainview. I got to try a small flight of their beer, and get a souvenier logo glass to take home. Glen and I agreed that their dark beers were the best.

San Francisco

The next day I took the Cal Train to San Francisco. It had a very metra-like feel to it. The ride cost $4.95, a bit more than a comparable Metra ride would have cost, I think. I met Vicki at the Sony Metreon. For the second time, I got to be Uncle Matt. We went to the Yerba Garden next door and Vicki had me ride the merry-go-round with Wesley while she took pictures. Wesley has a lot of energy. We went to Chinatown, and then Vicki and Wesley had to get home. So I stayed in Chinatown for a few more hours, had dinner at a nice but touristy restaurant. (Bad sign: almost no locals there!) Next time I'll research a bit more before coming. All in all, a fun trip!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Trip Report: Chicago 2005

My parents and niece came over to visit last week! The weather was not the best---very hot and humid most of the time; but it was clear most of the time so I really can't complain. We went to the Millenium Park, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum, and one day while I was at work my parents went to a lighthouse in Evanston.    My niece really loves the CTA. She drew all kinds of pictures of the Chicago El stop.

Gotta Move....

Well, I got confirmation from the landlord last night; they're selling the building, so now I have to move. On the one hand, I'm bummed, because I really like my unit; not to mention that I hate moving. On the other hand, it's an opportunity. Maybe I'll get a nice veiw of the City or the Lake. Or maybe a basement in which to keep my brewing supplies or my tarantulas.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


My friend Jane has been in town for a conference, and Heidi organized a trip to the Chocolate Bar at the Peninsula Hotel. They have an all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet. Good chocolate and good friends... hard to beat that combination!

The buffet itself had all kinds of chocolate treats... Raspberry chocolate, creme brule, hot white chocolate, chocolate covered pretzels, white chocolate chips with dried fruit, chocolate covered strawberries... I think you see the theme by now.