Friday, February 27, 2009

Quick shot from SFO.....

One of the many reasons that I like San Francisco is how a great view is right around every corner. I was riding the cable car back to my hotel tonight and looked up to see this view of the Transamerica Tower with the Bay in the background. This picture doesn't do the scene justice.

Day 2: Roaming SF

After a big day of business (and seeing an old friend,) I set off walking to explore SF and find some dinner. I ended up walking 3 miles to Fisherman's Wharf, where I had some chili - served in a sourdough bread bowl - very nice, and very SF. The walk finished at Ghiradelli Square, where I hopped a cable car back to my hotel.

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Scene from a San Francisco institution - Lefty O'Doul's

After seeing the band with the digeridoo while scouting for a spot to grab some dinner, I looked up past the band to see a sign for Lefty O'Doul's.

Lefty's - located 1 block off posh Union Square - is a tavern opened 51 years ago by guess who, Lefty O'Doul. O'Doul was an interesting character - he made the major leagues as a pitcher, then as an outfielder, then managed for a while developing players like Joe DiMaggio. He also was instrumental in the creation of the Japanese professional baseball league. (Learn more at Lefty's wikipedia page.)

His place was kind of dive-y, as you can see in the picture, but in true San Francisco style, the place was very memorable. The walls are a virtual San Francisco baseball hall of fame (covered with pictures of O'Doul and other San Francisco baseball icons), the food was good, and Lefty's had a two person jazz band playing. I'm not sure if any other city would have a dive-y sports bar with live jazz located 1 block off of the most expensive real estate in the city, but I sure appreciate San francisco even more for it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

OK, it's not all work.....

While in SF I caught up with an old buddy, Bob Harrington, in his native environment (anywhere alcohol is served.) This time, it was the very excellent Thirsty Bear.

Bob is a Bay Area native, which is easy to tell once he starts talking ("dude," "rad,)

SF night scene#2

Here's something you don't see everyday: a street band featuring bongos, an electric guitar, and a DIGERIDOO!

(it's apparently a rock digeridoo, but not amplified. I can report, though, that the combined sound was pretty good, and drew a good size crowd.)

This was shot just off posh Union Square. Note the Powell St cable car moving in the background.

Scene on my way to dinner (#1)

My $52-per-night-but-still-good hotel (hotel Bijou) is 1 block off the Powell St cable car line, so I wandered in that direction after today's conference & post-conference networking. Here's one of 2 only-in-SF pictures from the night:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Next stop SFO!

Perfect day for flying from CHO (Charlottesville) to SFO. (via Charlotte.)

One odd story so far: I brought an orange to eat on the trip, and asked the TSA security screener if I needed to eat it before passing thru security. The screener - with full seriousness - said the orange was OK, provided I didn't squeeze out the juice.

(solids OK, liquids bad, in case you are as confused as I was.)

Good thing we have crack rulemakes at the Department of Homeland Security on the job.

I landed in SF @ 8:30pm (local) and quickly headed to my favorite all-night noodle bar for some thai beef soup. I promptly crashed after that, as my body realized that it was 1:30 in the morning back east.

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
Click to go to my online photography

World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous