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Monday, September 5th, 2005

Time Event
My weekend
My brother and sister-in-law were in town for this weekend, the first time in the three years since I've lived in the Bay Area. Highlights (or, at least, specific things I recall):

* On the first weekend of each month at Baker Beach a group of volunteers (shoot, don't remember what group) demonstrates how the disappearing carriage 6" rifled gun works at Battery Chamberlain. Casey, Mindy, and I helped "fire" the gun. I've been to Baker Beach several times before but have never seen the gun in the emplacement. "We keep it covered up" was the explanation the volunteer gave me for why I'd never seen it. "Good thing it wasn't a snake." "Or a puzzle clue."

* We got street-side seats for the Grand Prix SF, although it was entirely unintentional (and a bit annoying). After firing the gun at Baker Beach, we wanted to visit Fisherman's Wharf. I figured to take Bay Street across town, but, that street was blocked off for the bicycle race. Worse yet, nearly every other street within 12 blocks of the Wharf was grid locked because of the traffic changes. I asked help from a friendly cop but he just said I should have heard about this because it'd been advertised in the paper and on TV all week. "Thanks."

* There's an elevator that runs from the water to the top of each tower in the Golden Gate Bridge. Today a crew was training what to do should the elevator, installed when the bridge was constructed in 1935, get stuck, either at a platform or in the middle of the shaft.

* There's a LEGO store at the Hillsdale mall. They sell bulk parts that are vended in bins of identical pieces. The effect in the store is rather like Apple's stores, but for LEGOs; the part wall is back-lit and the pieces are in cylindrical bins. The overall aesthetic is quite nice. I now want to build something out of LEGOs. My brother want the Imperial Battle Cruiser kit for Christmas. Oh, they also had a cute kids' LEGO table that would be perfect at work [sic]: it comes with three chairs, three base plates for build on, and a bin in the center for all the spare parts. This would be much better than letting all the parts scatter across the floor at work.

* We want to the M's game with Oakland at McAfee Coliseum. Our seats were in direct sun the entire game and it was a hot day already. The park hands out free one-person packets of SPF 45 BullFrog sun screen for anyone who asks; very nice. My arms still smell that smell I associate with "sun" (ie, sunscreen).

* When I bought the tickets to the game I got nice seats, not knowing where anyone else sits, of course. It turns out, our seats were adjacent to a couple of other Seattle Mariners fans, so we weren't entirely alone in a sea of yellow and green Athletics fants.

* I played Monopoly for the first time in ages. In fact, it would well be the case that the last time I'd played, it was against Casey when we were still in grade school. Wow. I had to buy the game for the occasion today. Three player games are different from two player ones, though. For instance, in a three player game, it's pretty hard to purchase all the properties in a single color group on your own. So, if you want a monopoly, you'll need to bargain. But, near as I can tell, after you have such a monopoly, your best strategy is to block as many other monopolies from forming as possible. If I pick up Oriental, Vermont, and Connecticut avenues (the light blue group) in some way, then I can devote my game to improving these properties and blocking all other groups. Then, I just want for my opponents to happlessly land on my squares and slowly (or quickly, even!) drain them of their capital and properties. So, having figured this out, I'm unsure I'll play Monopoly again anytime soon. At least not with three or more players. Possibly with one other person the game plays differently (because, you'll be able to scrounge together a monopoly without trading for it).

* I checked my e-mail several times over the weekend but never did more than check that there were no fires. I spent less time this weekend reading e-mail than in any weekend in the past year, I believe. (Now that Casey and Mindy have left for Seattle, of course, I'm binging on e-mail.)

* Despite any words to the contrary by the waitstaff, I do believe that King of Krung Siam at San Antonio Shopping Center does use MSG normally. I asked for "no MSG" on our dinners the other night and they were _so_ much better. I could taste the chicken and curry, not "this tastes like MSG", and no oogy hangover.

* I sat in traffic for nearly 2 hours stuck in the Grand Prix SF. My gas mileage is going to be really low for this tank.

* A co-worker reminded me that the Computer History Museum is open to the public on Saturdays, so Casey, Mindy, and I checked it out this weekend. Very neat stuff. They have one of Google's first-generation racks of servers, the old "corkboard" designs. The docents have stories about nearly every artifact in the place, so I gave them a few new ones about the Google rack. They're working on restoring a PDP-1 at the Museum. Pretty neat.

We did more stuff this weekend, but even this is a lot. It was a fun weekend. I won't see my brother and sister-in-law again until Christmas (I'll be home for Thanksgiving, but they'll be with her family, out of town).

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