Wipeout Run

24 Aug

Last Saturday James and I made the trek down to Santa Clara for the Wipeout Run with a bunch of James’ colleagues. It’s a non-timed run (most people walked) with a bunch of fun obstacles and a little bit of jogging between them. It was supposed to be 5k but it felt like less.

This was the first obstacle. You had to run across a beam and the the red bars at the top would slowly spin around and knock you off.
IMG_20150822_141329The next obstacle was just a wall to climb over – pretty easy and boring. The next one was called Big Balls, so of course I made James stop running to get a photo. IMG_20150822_143329It was fairly difficult – I saw hardly anyone made it all the way and James was the only one in our group who did (I was close though! I fell off on the third ball).

This is his stretch (or as James would probably call it, his “hero move”) for the final platform. IMG_20150822_144723The next one wasn’t so much an obstacle as a bouncy castle. Here is James psyching himself up to tackle it.IMG_20150822_145536And after that was a huge waterslide! IMG_20150822_150948The water was so refreshing after running in the heat (as long as you didn’t look too closely at how dirty it was). Some of us decided to do the waterslide twice – here are James and Josh on their second time around. IMG_20150822_152204Whee! IMG_20150822_152205Right afterwards was another, non-water slide. I think James ended up going on this one three times because the line was super short.IMG_20150822_152727I don’t know what happened between that photo and this next one. IMG_20150822_152726 I wish I’d taken video because those two photos were one right after the other. There is a Missing Link between them that shall forever remain a mystery.

There was also a slip’n’slide with some really gross foam at the end. I accidentally got some in my mouth and spent the next few minutes spitting it out.

This next obstacle had two spinning balls that would knock people off the beams and into the water. A couple of people in our team – I think Kelly and one other person – made it but the rest of us fell and Sean lost his glasses in the pool. =( IMG_20150822_154450James did better than I did. I made it like … two steps but he got about halfway. IMG_20150822_154932Then there was one more waterslide and we were done.

Yay team Rage Skippers!IMG_20150822_160927Here James and I are at one of the photo stations afterwards. IMG_20150822_161739Afterwards we went to Red Robin for food. We all massively overate (bottomless fries!) and James ordered a giant onion ring tower.IMG_20150822_181709So yeah, that was our Saturday. It was really fun and the lines weren’t nearly as long as we had anticipated.

I don’t know about the others but James and I were wrecked the next day. We were supposed to go jet skiing with Eliot and Michelle but ended up cancelling and just flopping around the house. Also in between the Wipeout Run, Lake Tahoe and the waterpark we went to last weekend, James has a very strange three-tier tan going on (James: patent pending).

Kaye and James Go to Concerts and Feel Very Old

14 Aug

Last week James won a work lottery for some tickets to the Fall Out Boy/Wiz Khalifa concert. It was in Concord, which is normally a 45 minute drive from San Francisco but because of rush hour and concert traffic actually took us 1.5-2 hours.

I’d read reviews that the food was overpriced and terrible so we brought our own. We also brought our own water but had to take the caps off the bottles before we went in. Security said it was requested by the band but James reckons it’s so the venue can sell more water inside. He said “if I’d known I would have brought extra caps” (but I was like … how would you even do that? Who keeps extra caps???)
IMG_20150804_183034We had really great seats – the first row in the upper section. We were the only ones in our row for the majority of the night, though two separate groups of kids tried to sneak in and were kicked out (also they knocked over one of our capless drinks *sigh*).

Wiz Khalifa was on before Fall Out Boy and I was familiar with most of his songs which was nice. You know the lyrics from Young, Wild & Free where he sings “So what we get drunk? So what we smoke weed?” James will lift Mouse up and kind of bounce him around. “So what we have fur? So what we eat kibble?” It mainly works of the super blank look on Mouse’s face.

He had a gold microphone engraved with a pot leaf (which made me laugh and laugh), and at one point there were giant inflatable joints getting bounced around in the pit. IMG_20150804_205839In case you didn’t realise, Wiz Khalifa really likes smoking weed.

Fall Out Boy was where all the pre-teens went nuts. It was a good show and they played everything you’d expect them to play.
IMG_20150804_225042At one point they had these giant bouncy balls bouncing around the audience and one came from behind and hit James right in the head. =D

James said that he actually preferred the Wiz Khalifa set because he put on a better show. I enjoyed them both, though I was definitely getting tired towards the end of the night. I don’t have the energy (or rather, the inclination) to stand up and sing along for every song but our great seats meant that most of the time I could just sit and enjoy the show.

The majority of the audience were 14 year old girls, which makes me feel like I have extremely daggy taste in music. Fall Out Boy must be like … the Backstreet Boys of the current generation or something. I’m pretty sure I have more in common with the parents escorting their kids to the concert – at one point I saw a middle aged guy reading a kindle and I thought to myself “ooh there’s an idea”.   IMG_20150804_222903After the concert was over we trotted to the car to try and beat the majority of the traffic. As we were going to the car we were saying how pop music isn’t being written for our age anymore. A lot of the music that night was about rebelling against The Man and it was with some sadness that James acknowledged he probably is The Man.

Then a day later we went to Crittfest which is a Google Play Music sponsored concert that takes advantage of some of the bands in town for Outside Lands. The acts were Hot Chip, Leon Bridges and Langhorn Slim, none of which I am cool enough to have heard of.

Florencia and I took the Caltrain down to meet up with James. We had lunch (salmon sushi rolls, some sort of salty fish salad, fries – though I was sad because they didn’t have the truffle fries that James said they often have – and a billion desserts) and met up with his team to go to the concert.
IMG_20150806_142658Play Music had some VIP tents where they had lots of scotch, margaritas, snacks and most importantly, seats and shade! IMG_20150806_152830

There was also a super premium VIP tent for the Play Music partners. We had several VIP passes in our group so took turns taking advantage of the much shorter beer line.

Even though I didn’t recognise any of the music I had a lot of fun listening from a distance while chatting with James’ friends. I definitely prefer that kind of concert atmosphere, possibly because I was able to stuff my face the whole time.

Here is a slider I got from the Bacon Bacon food truck (misleadingly named for there was only a single bacon on my slider) and a cookie from one of the snack tents. IMG_20150806_155205There was also Hawaiian shaved ice and fresh hot donuts which I had with chocolate and rainbow sprinkles and James had with cinnamon sugar. And at one point, an ice cream truck. IMG_20150806_161435I was actually already pretty full by that point, but ice cream!

James and I were so exhausted by the time we got home. We went to bed at a total old-person time and had to wake up early the next morning because we were heading to Lake Tahoe with our friends. But that is a story for another blog post!

Feathering the Nest

12 Jul

I’ve wanted to get a big reading chair for awhile and have my eye on this one from Restoration Hardware:

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image from Restoration Hardware

I ordered some fabric samples online and put them on Kyoto’s current favourite sitting spot to test their fur resistance:
IMG_20150706_161146But I think he caught on.IMG_20150706_161333Luckily Mouse hasn’t figured it out yet.
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Alcatraz!

25 Jun

James and I had put off going to Alcatraz for ages. I’d read that the night tour was much better than the regular tour but you had to book months ahead and, well, we’re just not that organised. But when Luke and Madeleine told us they were visiting for Memorial Weekend it was the perfect opportunity to go. We checked with Michelle and Eliot who also wanted to come, tickets were booked, and we were all set.

The ferry ride there was quite windy but had great views of San Francisco and Alcatraz.
IMG_20150523_180717When we landed we walked uphill from the dock to the main building. Inside, we lined up (at the prison showers!) to get headphones for the audio tour.

We paused our tapes to explore the rec yard, which was one of the areas that they had opened just for the night tour. Here are James and Luke playing imaginary baseball with an indifferent seagull.
IMG_20150523_190509The audio tour was top-notch. It navigated you through the space really well and went into a lot of detail about prison life and various escape attempts.

The only bummer was that there were a lot of people, so the portions of the audio tour where you had to stop and look at stuff you were always in a crowd. I had to be a bit strategic to get this photo.
IMG_20150523_185940The tour guided you through the prison library,solitary confinement cells, visiting area, guards’ offices, dining hall and hospital, giving you information about each location. It was all woven together really well.

This was the program showing the available talks and the parts of the prison that they had opened up for the night tour.
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(lol #cellfie)

I feel like we got the best of both worlds because it was nice and light for photos for most of the tour, we got to see the beautiful sunset, and then it was all dark and atmospheric for the last hour. James went back in the prison after most people had left and said it was much spookier empty.

We spent maybe an hour and a half touring the prison and the rest of the time listening to talks. The talks were held outside and it got quite chilly after the sun set so definitely bring a warm jacket.

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It was super touristy but I think it’s one of those touristy things that’s popular because it’s really worth doing (other things on that list for me: cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and a cycling tour of Napa, both of which I keep meaning to blog about).

But yeah, the Alcatraz tour was really interesting and informative, and if you’re visiting San Francisco I would highly recommend going!

A Day at Maker Faire!

5 Jun

Last month James and I met up with Nick and Kelly at the Bay Area Maker Faire. It’s a fair celebrating science projects and DIY stuff and we thought it was worth checking out!

We were greeted by an enormous fire-breathing robot.
IMG_20150516_103643To interact with the different exhibits you had to sign a waiver and get a wristband. If you went to the booth right by one of the main entrances the line was really long but on the other side of the booth (like literally steps away) there was no line. Score!

This was a cool rhino that you could get inside.
IMG_20150516_113732Also an arena with a bunch of modded bicycles that you could play around on. There were a couple of weird tandem bikes (like where the other seat was on the handlebars), one where the bike went in the opposite direction that you pointed it in, and another where the back half would swing around on its own and made steering really difficult.
IMG_20150516_105640My favourite exhibit was a pedal-powered ferris wheel. It could only fit three people and they gave you quite a generous go on it so the line took awhile to get through (and a couple of people got all the way to the front only to find out that they didn’t have the required wristbands).

The ride needed all three people to be a similar weight or else the lightest person would swing wildly around so I went with a couple of smaller girls while James, Nick and Kelly went together.

James and Kelly were a bit wary so they weren’t pedaling as fast as they could. =(

We also saw a robot that could do that movie thing where someone spreads their hand on a table, gets a knife and stabs it in between each of their fingers really fast. Though there were some stab marks on the dummy hand so I don’t think the technology is quite there yet to demonstrate it with a real one.
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Afterwards we had lunch. I bought some fairy floss for dessert but it was $10 for a bag. What a rip! $10!

We did see something that I had always thought was a myth …
IMG_20150516_130856We wandered inside the main expo hall which had people demonstrating and selling cool stuff. We saw a machine that used magnets to draw cool patterns in the sand, some pixel art that James really liked, and a gumball machine that released a gumball when you gave it a secret knock.
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While Nick and Kelly looked at the lego exhibit James and I watched some drone battles. People had modded drones – one had a baseball bat attached to it! – and were fighting each other in the air. It sounds cooler than it actually was because the drones kept malfunctioning (the baseball bat drone could barely get off the ground) and we had to watch like, 5 aborted matches until we saw one where they actually got to fight. And the actual fight was crap – they would gently brush up against each other which would send one or both crashing to the ground.

James: Are you writing about the fight? And how lame it was?
(long pause) 
James: 
I feel ignored.

We also got to try an Oculus Rift and saw a cannon that shot what I think was puffs of dry ice.
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And here is James in a battle bot. =)
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There was so much other stuff to explore – a sauerkraut-making class, a building full of 3D printers and big piles of lego you could play with.

Oh yeah, and right at the end we saw an actual battle bot (sorry James) shoot a cannon at a car.
IMG_20150516_160810My favourite was still the ferris wheel though. Or maybe the wacky bikes. Nah, it was all great. It was a super fun day!

(But seriously, it was the ferris wheel)

Finally Adjusting to San Francisco

8 May

I don’t want to jinx it but I think after 8+ months in San Francisco I’ve finally gotten over my homesickness. It was truly awful for a really long time. A short, but by no means exhaustive list: I would cry (not even tear up; like, legit sobbing) when I heard my parents’ voices, when I saw anything Seattle-related and when I saw heartwarming scenes of people surrounded by friends and family on TV. It’s better for James too because he was feeling guilty and stressed worrying over me – he said that he used to panic if he missed the first bus home.

Our social calendar is more jam-packed in San Francisco than it was in Seattle. We still don’t have a group like we did in Seattle but we have lots of individual friends and that is getting us by for now. A few weekends ago we went to a lame Cinco de Mayo celebration in the Mission with Eliot and Michelle. There were a couple of food trucks but the stalls were mainly commercial – like for insurance and lasik eye surgery. Laaaame.

This was the only slightly non-crappy business stall at Cinco de Mayo – the Wheel of Rice where you could spin the wheel to win silly little prizes like spatulas and get free rice samples.

IMG_20150502_134219(I don’t remember making Mr. Burns hands)

Then on Sunday we had lunch with Bo and Christine in Mountain View, dinner with Chris and Alex in San Jose, and post-dinner Game of Thrones with Eliot and Michelle.

When we were talking with Chris and Alex, Alex was talking about how much she hated San Jose (which I totally get – every time James and I drive down that way it’s a huge reminder how we would absolutely hate to live there. It’s just so sprawly – nothing but houses and roads, and the weather is way too hot). But when Alex was talking about how miserable she was it made me realise that I wasn’t anymore.

A big part of it is that I’ve found a teeny tiny circle of friends. Helen and Anne Marie are also free during the week so we meet up every week for walks and girly things like brunch and afternoon tea. Last month we went to Kitchen Story (which blows Melbourne brunches out of the water. James wants to go because I keep raving about it) and a couple of weeks ago we had afternoon tea in Japantown. Then this week a bunch of us went to Erica’s rooftop pink party (where I got horribly drunk off just three cocktails).

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image stolen from Erica

James and I have also been going to a board game meetup every fortnight. Everyone there is super nice and it reminds me of playing games with our friends back in Seattle. And James found out that he actually has friends in common with two of the board game guys!

Now that I’m not miserable anymore hopefully I can get back into the swing of things with gym and writing. I’m also very conscious that I’ve been neglecting the blog! We’ve been doing a bunch of stuff so I have a backlog of updates. =)

Hiking Around Mount Tamalpais and Lunch at Fish.

28 Apr

Last Sunday we went hiking with Daphne, Chris, Lisa and Cagri. It was a beautiful sunny day – perfect hiking weather, which I’m learning seems to be almost every day here.

The drive up was pretty packed, but I think there were enough different trails that no individual trail was particularly busy. This is us at the start of the hike.

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image from Chris

We intended to do the Rock Creek loop but there were a lot of crossroads and the trail wasn’t well-signed (which was weird because it wasn’t a remote area – at some points we were walking next to cars on the road). I think we managed to stay on the trail for most of it, but we made a wrong turn somewhere in there because we finished much faster than we should have.

Never mind, there were so many hikes in the same area that we just started on another one!

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image from Lisa

We had a peek at the Mountain Theater where they were rehearsing what looked like Peter Pan. The construction was super elaborate and you could see the water from the top seats.
IMG_20150426_110436Then we kept randomly walking. It was a pretty easy hike through meadows and then forest. I preferred the forest parts because we weren’t in the sun as much.
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After the hike we drove to Sausalito for lunch at Fish., a super popular cash-only restaurant. We got there around 1:30pm and there was a massive line.
IMG_20150426_132551It took a long time to get to the front, and the line stayed out the patio gate until around 3pm. At least you could buy drinks while you waited, so everyone got beers and I had a nice refreshing water.

James and I ordered fish and chips and some BBQ oysters. At just under $60 for the two of us it was pretty expensive, especially for a cash-only place!

The food was great though, and the portions were generous. I couldn’t finish mine and had to give James one of my fish and a big handful of chips.
IMG_20150426_142314Stuffed, we went home where I napped until it was time for us to go to Eliot and Michelle’s place to watch Game of Thrones and eat brownies.

It was a pretty busy Sunday but it was nice to get out and explore a bit. =)

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