clevermynnie: (see us waving)
Having spent the last week in the Bay Area, I am now in transit passing through Phoenix, which means I actually have time to write!

I had wondered if it was going to be weird returning to the Bay Area for the first time in 4 years, mainly because of the bizarro past-life vibe that Los Alamos still gives me. But actually, it was just lovely to be in San Francisco again. This is a great time of year to be there, what with the greenery and the clear air and the temperate weather and the way that everything goes into bloom. I had a nice dinner with [livejournal.com profile] mr_ron and his girlfriend, spent the weekend in Napa with [livejournal.com profile] chih and everyone, got to have banh mi with Jessica and meet her boyfriend, and saw my undergraduate mentor and catch up. It was really enjoyable, with jaunts to Berkeley and through Chinatown and up Coit Tower. I loved being back in Berkeley; it was comforting and great, not quite like home, but like an old friend you're really fond of. And it was fun taking around some of the people I work with in Ireland, and eating more than my share of Mexican food and sushi (and, intriguingly, the sushirrito).

I do notice variations, though, in the rapport that I have with various old friends. When you've had a lot of life events pass there's a sort of disconnect that starts happening, and I could feel that with some of the people I saw, where we're all in very different places now and it's noticeable even if it's still good to get together. Though in some ways maybe that's nicer than going back to someplace you're still disentangling yourself from (Philly, I'm looking at you) and navigating that whole experience. A lot of things have happened since I lived in the Bay Area and saw many of these people, but mostly life has gone in a positive direction and that's comforting.

I didn't have time to see everyone in the area that I would have liked, since I was in SF for work and had a pretty packed schedule. Nor did I get to revisit every old haunt! But what's most important is that I had Cheeseboard Pizza... and in a weird turn of events, meet the son of the woman who wrote the Cheeseboard cookbook. Would I consider moving back to the Bay Area? I certainly would, though not for awhile yet.

And now I am going to San Antonio to see Jeanine and her family, run my trail 50k, and hopefully track down some sopapillas. Hopefully good news to follow.

california

Jan. 25th, 2009 10:06 pm
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
I also took a few pictures on my trip once we got out to California. Which, let me tell you, is a nice place to visit from the East coast in the winter.


hammock and pond, originally uploaded by clevermynnie.



mountains, pizza, fog, cinder blocks )
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
I got up at 4 AM yesterday morning and went to the airport with Ben to come out to California. It's sort of ridiculous taking a 6 AM flight to the west coast because it means you arrive before lunch here, but it feels really late especially when you get three hours of sleep before leaving.

We met Joao for lunch (cauliflower-pistachio-onion pizza, mmmmmm) and chatted a bunch, and I was surprised to find out that while he and Gersende can come to the wedding, they are moving to Switzerland in December. Then we went up to LBL and I discovered that two of my ex-coworkers are leaving, one retiring and one taking a faculty position in Utah. It took some time but it happened, the people that made Berkeley for me are trickling away. There will still be some, but I wonder if I'll come visit in December again like I did last winter.

After that we found Daria's house, where we're staying, and took a short nap before I had to leave for Laura's bachelorette party. That was a lot of fun, really hilarious, though I feel at this point that I've had the only male stripper experience I ever really want to have. I think it is hilarious that the only person who was not embarrassed by the male stripper was gay. :)

There's too much delicious food in Berkeley. It is hard to be here and not want to eat at all my favorite places, which would consist of like 30 meals and leave me staggering back to the airport come Sunday. It definitely expanded my culinary horizons to live here, and we make a lot of food at home which is similar to stuff I discovered here first.

berkeley

Jan. 17th, 2008 06:52 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
Berkeley was hectic but nice, which is also kind of what getting back to Philadelphia has been like.

Basically, in Berkeley I ate delicious food and saw a lot of people. I had some time with Daria, Hollis, Sherri, Jessica, Rich, Kyle, and all the LBL people I used to work with (I walked up there two days I was there). I also had a lot of time with Joao and Gersende, since I was staying with them, and it isn't an exaggeration to say that I spent most of my time there talking to people. I didn't quite catch everyone I would have liked too, both due to time and availability constraints, though. But I did manage to eat at the Cheeseboard, Cha Am, Gelateria Naia, La Note, Gregoire, and a new place I had never been to before but really liked--Taste of the Himalayas. I miss the quality and price of Berkeley food very much.

It was rainy most of the time I was there, but it was beautiful and quiet, and reminded me of the things I liked about living there. Because it's the rainy season, it was quite green, especially up on the hill where LBL is. And it was warm, at least compared to what I knew I was coming back to. And how nice it is to be somewhere that isn't all flat when you're walking around!

I was so happy to see everybody, and it's nice to still have a single place where I can visit lots of friends. Actually, Los Alamos at Christmas used to be like that, but it occurs to me now that I saw a greater number of friends in Berkeley than I did in Los Alamos.

Two things of particular note: firstly, a friend of Joao's (and indirectly of mine) had extra symphony tickets for Thursday night, so I went with him to see Deborah Voigt in concert. That was amazing, because I am no soprano connoisseur nor do I listen to lots of vocal classical music, but her voice is so lovely and mellow, well-rounded and powerful, and overall very impressive. They picked nice things for her to sing, the four last songs of Richard Strauss and a piece by Samuel Barber called something like Andromache's Farewell. The symphony also played Beethoven's fourth symphony after that, which I had heard a few times before but never listened to so closely. I liked it a lot more when not trying to compare it to other Beethoven symphonies, which are less whimsical and more powerhouse-like. But anyhow, the evening was great and the seats were amazing. The other thing that was fun was having brunch with Hollis, which ended up being a long discussion about WoW. He was in the same place I was a few months ago with his main, wanting to get into raiding but not sure how to do it, and it was fun to talk about. And he agreed to officiate our wedding! :D

Overall, it was a great way to end the vacation.
clevermynnie: (I see beauty)
Things are hectic and I'm getting bad at updating. But the rest of my Berkeley trip was really great!

After having sushi with the two talk organizers Wednesday night and seeing the great co-op that Jessica was living in, I headed up to Berkeley on Thursday. I took a much-needed nap and then went to LBL to chat with ex-coworkers, eventually having sushi with Joao, Gersende, and Bill. I talked some to Armin, who recently had twins, and it was really nice seeing him because when I was there in January he seemed very stressed and freaked out. But now he was a lot more relaxed, having gotten used to the time demands. Also apparently Armin's dad was a visiting professor at Penn this semester, but just went back! I saw his name somewhere and briefly wondered, but it's not a bizarre last name. I saw Hollis for lunch and pie, and spent some time with Daria wandering around and seeing Carmina Burana for free. And I had a drink with Sherri, had sushi a few more times, and went to a big BFC dinner and loup-garous party on Saturday night, replete with Thai food and Max, a German student I used to work with who I really miss. I had brunch with Natalie, which was really enjoyable and awesome, although I wished Juhi could have been there! I saw Ron, though only briefly and in very unpleasant circumstances... I am hoping things start to go better for him soon. Overall, I really did very little other than hang out with people and eat fantastic food, and happily I got enough from SLAC in per diem to cover all that sushi. Bwahahaha.

I read two excellent, very different books on the plane rides there and back. One is a book I'd been meaning to read for a long time, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and one is a book I'd never heard of, John Hodgman's The Areas of my Expertise. I recommend them both, one for interesting social reading, one for 700 hobo names.

Now I have piles of finals. Quantum mechanics final tomorrow, E&M final Monday, biophysics final Wednesday. That's also in order from hardest to easiest, so presumably after tomorrow I'll feel a lot better.
clevermynnie: (Default)
I went with Joao and Gersende to LBL this morning, intending to chat with the people I used to know there. I sort of figured that most people would have like fifteen minutes for me and then need to get to work, but I didn't count on the procrastination that can be induced by the return of an exile! I thought I would probably leave before lunch, but instead I stayed until 7 pm catching up with various people. I talked to Bill, Steve, Sherri, Armin, Masaaki, Michael, Kyle, and Natalie, and of course Joao and Gersende, though I'm staying with them so I see a lot of them. I was really touched how many people heard I was coming and wanted to see me and talk to me about graduate school and also what they've been doing.

For dinner, some of us went out to Joshuya's, which remains some of the best sushi I've ever eaten. Yum to the ten. We need to figure out if one of those restaurants by Rittenhouse Square is any good.

The last project I did before I left LBL was the edge effects study for LBL CCDs, which I finished a week before leaving and ended up with great data for. I didn't have time to write a paper before leaving, but I wanted one and so I told Natalie I'd write a draft and e-mail it to her and we could work on it remotely. I wrote a couple pages of a draft, but it was summer and I was having fabulous trip after fabulous trip, and basically I just dropped the ball and never did it. But I told her that today, and she was like "oh yeah, I forgot about that", and I talked to Steve about it too and we're on! One of my extracurricular things this semester is to get that damn paper out!

Speaking of which, I am officially published! It was in the December IEEE Transaction on Nuclear Science, and Natalie and I looked it up to make sure it was there and then shared an official handshake. This seems like a good note to end on.

moving on

Jan. 2nd, 2007 12:26 am
clevermynnie: (Default)
I'm in Berkeley! I was supposed to be here yesterday but that didn't quite work out, so I came out today on a different flight. There was a massive amount of fog that stopped flights from landing yesterday evening and early this morning, but mine was late enough to take off on time (although it was apparently oversold and they had the next available seats free Thursday). And I managed ten minutes talking to Daria in the Albuquerque airport, which may not sound like much but we thought we'd miss each other completely. So I made it here, in the mean time discovering that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is not just a sci-fi classic, it's also a really good book.

More recently, I discovered to my great sadness that the Phoenix Pastifico closed, and the Cheeseboard won't be open during my stay here. But tomorrow I'll likely go up to LBL, and I had great Portuguese/Brazilian food for dinner with interesting people, and overall I'm happy to be back even if it's not for long.

nobel prize

Oct. 3rd, 2006 09:12 am
clevermynnie: (Default)
Weeeird... George Smoot won the Nobel Prize. I remember last year when the prizes were being announced, a bunch of us were at tea trying to guess who at LBL could win one. He was there talking with us (he was pretty much always at tea).

I really wish I was at tea today to hear people talk about this! And I bet there's a free cake or something! Why couldn't he have won last year?
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
I really want to take a short trip to Berkeley to see my friends and the place I miss so much. But even on unpopular weekends to travel, it would be about $300. I don't know if it would be very responsible of me to toss that away for a weekend... but I really want to go! *sigh* Maybe I should look for a longer chunk of time to spend, but ironically, I can't go for fall break because that's precisely when Joao and Gersende are visiting.

My courses are going alright. Stat mech and liquid crystals are very similar: somewhat difficult, great professor, just got the first homework that's due next week. I've seen stat mech before, but Vijay's version is from a very different perspective. I'm liking both of them, though... they're interesting and engaging.

Quantum isn't quite as great... I'm much more familiar with the material, and it's a little boring at times. The professor is condescending, too. But I'd rather have a condescending professor who overexplains things than a completely incomprehensible one. I maintain that either no great professors teach quantum, or that quantum turns great professors into okay ones. The homework is menial, not unreasonable, but very long. Bleah.

And teaching is great; it's easy and relaxing. But grading sucks! It takes forever and I have a hard time balancing the desire to give students useful feedback with the desire to finish quickly. I'm hoping that if I give lots of comments early in the semester, they'll improve and I can be more terse later on.
clevermynnie: (I see beauty)
Dear Berkeley,

I will miss:

*Cheeseboard
*LBL
*Zachary's
*Gregoire's
*the view from the Campanile
*the view from the end of Building 50
*walking through Stephens Hall
*the BART
*games with Ron, Jonathan, and Modi
*the BFC
*Loups-Garous
*Gelateria Naia
*the CCD lab
*my officemates
*looking up to Natalie
*my moved on school friends
*San Francisco, everything
*the many great hikes
*the Bay, which makes the city beautiful
*all the different cultures
*cheap sushi
*flagrant liberalism
*trees and beautiful suburbs
*all the beautiful campus buildings
*the professors that I liked
*the Gourmet Ghetto
*Monterey Market
*all of my apartments

Berkeley is where I really became my own person. I did some stupid things and you can always see in retrospect ways that you could have used your time better, but when it comes down to it, I've done so many fulfilling things here. I haven't always been happy, but I've been mostly happy, and I've become stronger and more capable than I could have imagined myself five years ago, when I moved here from Los Alamos. In my experiences in Los Alamos I see my home, my soul, my roots, but in my time in Berkeley I see myself becoming who I wanted to be, by my own volition. I built myself and my success here, and I feel a great sense of self-made-ness looking back. Part of my reluctance to move on is that I'm worried I won't love Philadelphia as much as I love it here, or that I won't love Penn as much as I love UCB, or that I won't find as cool friends as I have here, or that I won't succeed as much as I managed to here, despite some missteps. My chief regret in my time here would be that I worried so much about my future and my failures, and from the perspective I have now, that looks like a ridiculous waste of time. I'm proud that I had such a blast here, though, even this last year when I was working off an imagined debt.

Thank you, Berkeley, for never letting me stop having fun. I'll be back.

bfc

May. 15th, 2006 06:21 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)

card, originally uploaded by clevermynnie.

I went to a very nice Ultimate BFC Party last night with many of my friends from work, a huge amount of tasty food, and some fun games and conversation. I was given a very nice picture which will hang in my Philadelphia apartment to remind me of one of the many, many things I'll miss about Berkeley.

clevermynnie: (I see beauty)
I realized, too late, that I missed the Men's Octet SuperSproul... it's hard to hear about these things when you don't spend time on campus! But I caught their last show of the year, Unbuttoned, tonight with Kurt, Heelo, and Daria. It was a blast, and was very laid-back; they actually had two different audience members come up and do karaoke with the Octet, and they got questions from audience members, put them in a hat, and answered them. (Questions like, most embarrassing octet moment, to which one guy responded that after they sang at a sorority, apparently all the girls thought he had an erection the whole time, and kept whispering about it; how they decide who plays the girl in the choreo, when they always make the guy with the highest voice do it) I know all the songs they sang because they passed out song lists for us to make requests from, and they sang the Cal Drinking Song, Sons of California, I'll Be, Princess Papuli, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Bomp, Uptown Girl, Bohemian Rhapsody, Men in Tights, Jitterbug, Where the Party At, Comfortable, Ring of Fire, Loved by Mary Jane, Tearin' up my Heart, and a Disney Medley that had songs from Aladdin, the Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Cinderella, Pinocchio, and probably more. They sang Baby Got Back after inhaling from helium-filled balloons, which was really hilarious. They had some alumni sing solos for Loves Me Like a Rock, Paperback Writer, and Little Red Riding Hood. (I still remember one of the times I went to the 1 pm on Sproul performance, and sat in the front in a red sweater, and they sang that song to ME... which was really weird, but funny.) And they closed, joy of joys, with the Elephant Love Song Medley from Moulin Rouge. It was especially great because it had everything I love about the Octet in spades: the choreo was funny and clever, the stage presence was great, and the singing was amazing. There was a great part when they sing "Love lifts us up where we belong" when two of the guys were held up on the knees of the others, and two guys in front made a sort of prow of a ship, and they re-enacted a Titanic moment. It was so, so, so funny and awesome and great.

Argh! Berkeley, I'll miss you! Someone tell me that Penn has great a capella!

going away

Mar. 30th, 2006 12:00 am
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
I'm leaving tomorrow (today) at 4:00 AM for Michigan. I'll be at the Michigan visit weekend until Sunday, when I'll jet over to Penn to spend Monday looking around there. And on Tuesday I'll come back to Berkeley.

I'm really afraid... I have a hard time believing things are going so well. What if I don't like Penn? What if I don't like Philadelphia? What if somehow, things don't work out? I've been hopeful but fundamentally pessimistic for so long that it's hard to get out of, and the moments of clarity I can manage sort of consist of me, slackjawed, whispering "we did it!" and almost crying. Suddenly Berkeley is like a dream, like I'm already gone.

This is very exciting, but I always get a little sad at change. Even exciting, awesome, fabulous change that is the culmination of all my dreams. Heh, that really makes me sound silly. :)

Have a great weekend, guys.
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
Berkeley is very beautiful and green, and I love how clean the air feels when it's been raining. I even love going out in the rain, probably because I don't have to do it that much.

My job is going very nicely; my boss congratulated me a lot on my award, commenting about how I was competing with graduate students and how great it was, and that was really nice to hear. I'm working on my paper for Transactions on Nuclear Science, and that should be out by the end of next week (including time for other people to take a look at it). I have a bunch of other stuff on my plate too, both in terms of data analysis and some code to write, and a bunch of interesting lab work once the dewar comes back from being leak-checked.

I went to the first lecture of atomic physics with Stamper-Kurn on Tuesday, and that was really cool. The class looks interesting, if somewhat hard, and he lectures quite nicely. I think I'll get a lot out of it, and he said he's going to try to teach us general atomic physics as would be taught in most courses, but also a lot about where Atomic/Molecular/Optical physics is as a field now, which should be great.

And I'm having fun with my early semester free time; I saw Daria last night and we made a nice pasta dish and had the wine that Joao brought me from Portugal. It had a really great, complex taste, but also very subtle; it wasn't as assertive as most red wines, but was very nice. It was very much like a port, actually, which makes sense.

I like this. I hope things keep going well.

The moon is yellow silver
Oh the things that summer brings
It's a love you'd kill for
And all the world is green
clevermynnie: (Default)
I love that my room is all mine, that it has all my books in it, my art on the walls, my photos in frames. I can't tell whether it's a reaction to not sharing a room anymore, or a reaction to my first room of my own as an adult, or what. I can only imagine the feeling will intensify when I get my first apartment on my own.

If you look one way out my big windows, which cool my room so quickly I have to be careful about opening them, you can see big trees and blackberry bushes, and a sort of patio backyard. The other way, you see the alley that goes to Oxford St., which is the mechanism by which I can hear what my neighbors are doing. Most of the time there's nothing to complain about, although sometimes there's a late-night party, or a loud person on a phone, or that kid who's apparently learning to play the clarinet (not that there's anything wrong with that, but beginning clarinetists are awful to listen to). It's lovely after yoga to lie in savasana and hear the rush of cars and the whisper of voices come in through the window.

This is also the time of year where I catch sunset every day from my window at work, facing the bay from six stories up in the Berkeley hills. It pretty much never fails to be beautiful, always in a different way, unless it's seriously cloudy or raining. Today the sun set into a large bank of clouds over San Francisco, and turned the sky and the bay pale orange. It's the water that really makes the view so lovely, I think, the way it reflects the sky but also changes it.

I'm still looking forward to travelling, though, and seeing Ben in Los Angeles and my family and friends in Los Alamos. Do you guys have any special plans for the holidays?

my december

Dec. 2nd, 2005 03:53 pm
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
Progress with graduate school applications proceeds. I turned in all my transcript requests today, and have done some work on all the online applications. I have a draft of my statement of purpose that I'm working on... [livejournal.com profile] sunshine__girl found it to be too apologetic, though, and I agree. It's really tricky to get the tone just right. I wish I could just talk to some admissions people. But anyhow, I'm not doing too badly on getting everything done.

Two of my work friends, Joao and Gersende, had their car totaled the other night near MLK and Cedar. It's a shame because they just bought it a couple of months ago, and they'll have to buy another car now. They seem relatively unharmed, though, which is very fortunate. Please remember to drive safely, guys, especially late at night and in weather, because car crashes can be so dangerous and I don't want to lose any of you. :( It's good, though, to see the kindness that comes out in the people I work with.

I love the rain here, when I don't have to do much walking in it, but the air cools and the water rushes down the sides of the street. And the city feels cleaner afterwards, fresher. I look forward to the greenery of Berkeley winters... though I'm also reeeeally looking forward to going home and skiing as much as possible.
clevermynnie: (Default)
I had a very nice time last night at the Albatross Pub, Berkeley oldest pub and from what I could see, its most beautifully decorated. First I watched the first half of the German episode of Monty Python with my coworkers (highlights: the Lumberjack song in German and the Bavarian restaurant sketch... "He's reading the menu in Bavaria! Where the trees are made of wood! *marching*"), had some dinner at La Burrita, and then went to the Albatross. I should have tried one of their many kinds of beer, but instead I felt margarita-y and ended up with a spectacularly alcoholic margarita. Alas. We played Mafia, and I was God the whole time (I'm rarely God in Mafia, for whatever reason), and much fun was had.

Aaagh, NSF application! My proceedings paper is nearing completion, though.
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
The first two days of last week were a tangle of frustration at work, mostly various instrumentation problems and things continuing to fail in incomprehensible ways. One of my feelings about experimental work is that it's partly a tightrope walk over chaos; most of the time, things work as expected, but sometimes they don't in a very impressive display of the limits of our knowledge, and even when things are working, there's that knowledge that at any moment, you and your experiment could hurl over the edge. I should probably view it as an interesting study rather than annoying and frustrating. But luckily I didn't have to, because on Thursday and Friday, everything started lining up a little more, so I could leave for the weekend and feel like I really accomplished something.

On Friday night, Ben and I ended up going to see Brothers Grimm with Ron, which was really good and a very visually nice movie (and good god, I didn't recognize Heath Ledger at all). It strikes me as the sort of thing [livejournal.com profile] hans_meinigel would love, for the folklore and the old German-ness and for the ogling of Heath Ledger, who plays a very Sam-compatible character, other than the straight bit. It was a fun flick. Saturday, plans for San Jose fell through, so Ben and I picked up some Point Reyes blue cheese, a bit of Brie de Meaux (I bet you didn't know that Brie came in strengths, but Brie de Meaux is the strongest, and extremely good), and a loaf of Cheeseboard suburban bread and headed up to Lake Anza. I really love it there, although apparently it can get horrifically crowded in the summer sometimes. But it was very nice, and we swam and ate and slept in the sun. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, but Ben and I have been systematically working our way through the fiction works of Charles McCarry, most of which are out of print, but available in the UC library system. They're really good, and I highly recommend them to you all, especially Miernik Dossier, Tears of Autumn, and The Secret Lovers. They're spy books.

We made a very nice pizza Saturday night that you would like to try, because it's delicious and really easy. Buy one of those Pillsbury canned pizza crusts, fresh rosemary, prosciutto, nectarines, and feta. Bake the pizza, per the directions on the can, with about a tablespoon of the chopped rosemary, topped by a layer of prosciutto slices, topped by a layer of somewhat thinly sliced nectarines, toppewd by some crumbled feta. It was really yummy. Pancetta works in place of the prosciutto, and peaches can be used in place of the nectarines. We picked nectarines because Safeway had some very ripe ones.

And today we went out to the Solano Stroll, a yearly street fair on the border between Berkeley and Albany. We got there at ten to hear Ron play with Tatsumaki Taiko, had some funnel cake, watched the umbrella parade, listened to my officemate Sherri's band, Apocalypso Now, went to various booths (the best of which were the cheap Chinese food booth, the LBL booth, the library 25 cent book booth, and the place where I re-registered to vote. who knew there was a special election coming?), and eventually walked over to Ron's for snacks and Buckaroo Bonzai.

Now I'm reading Neuromancer and going to sleep.
clevermynnie: (Default)
What's weirder than distance or no-distance is short-distance, where it's non-trivial to see your significant other, but it isn't several hours in a car or on a plane. It's about a forty-five minute drive from Foster City to Berkeley, and a one-hour BART trip. So mostly Ben and I are together on weekends, though last Wednesday I went down there for dinner and a walk through the waterways. Foster City is really a very nice place, with a nautical theme.

We started roasting chickens on the weekends, and also started a blog about it, [livejournal.com profile] perfectchicken. The chicken this weekend was great, though I should probably save my comments for the blog whose sole purpose is chicken. We also went to Muir Woods this weekend, which is beautiful and lovely and nearby. We hiked in, walked through the extremely accessible and somewhat touristy center stretch (the one that's all paved and full of strollers), and headed up this back trail until we found a nice little meadow to sit in. We broke out some sourdough bread, Point Reyes blue cheese, white wine, and books, and had a really relaxing afternoon. I didn't realize how small the park was; we walked around the entire circumference in very little time. But it's really beautiful and worth seeing (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] hckydntst for recommending it).

We also went out to the Balclutha, a 19th century sailing ship that you can see at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco. We went to see this because Ben wants to win this contest on GameDev of writing your own game with some specific elements. His will have pirates, and obviously pirates need a ship, and obviously a pirate ship needs accurate textures and shapes. And so there we were on the Balclutha, me looking at the view and the water, and Ben photographing the deck and the ropes and the anchor. It was fun, really. :)

For the fourth of July, Ben went back to Foster City to work on his game, and I went to San Francisco with the BFC (LBL Bloody Foreigner's Club, which has several of my officemates... Max, Martin, the other Martin, Gersende, Sara, and Federico were there this particular time). We went to Powell for lunch, walked up to the Civic Center, went to Pier 39 to see that the stinky sea lions were gone, had drinks in the bar upstairs at Boudin's Bakery, went to a restaurant in North Beach for dinner, and watched the fireworks at Ghirardelli Square. Last year, the fog rolled in shortly before the fireworks started, but this year it was the other way around, so we were treated to a very nice view and a really impressive show. I had a great time. :)

My weekdays are pretty busy, with swimming and class and work and homework and piano etc., but my weekends have been very relaxed and nice.

steph

Jun. 30th, 2005 06:05 pm
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
The last person who visited me from New Mexico in my flurry of entertaining was Steph. She came out Monday night, left Friday afternoon for a friend's wedding in Santa Rosa, reappeared for a few hours Sunday, and then went back home. She just finished her undergrad, like me, and she's taking a year off and working at the lab, probably before applying to some sort of graduate/professional school.

Some background... Steph and I have been friends for a long time, close friends. We got really close in 7th and 8th grade, spent a ridiculous amount of time together, and had various kinds of crazy antics. We passed notes in class until our geometry teacher separated us, and then after that we flashed signs to each other. We ran out of a hot bath at her house in the middle of the night and rolled in the snow. We wrote each other letters in classes we didn't share, long, winding, grammatically unsound piles of fun that I still have a bunch of, addressed to George and Ringo (our Beatles pseudonyms). In 9th grade, we crushed on the same guy. We were on the swim team together, in a lot of classes together, and always really close. During senior year of high school, we drifted apart a little... we were both changing a lot, and for both of us some things about senior year were really hard, and hard to share with each other. We went off to college, still got together over summers and winter breaks, and sometimes I'd see her in San Diego when I went to SoCal to visit Ben. I guess we haven't seen each other regularly since high school, although we correspond. What always strikes me when I see Steph or talk to her, though, is how easy it is to get along with her and open up to her. Partly history, I guess, and partly the fact that for a time, it felt like we were two halves of the same person, and that feeling is still there when it's just the two of us sometimes. Even though we've changed a lot since then, into two distinctly different people.

Her arrival was kind of a mess, because her plane was late, so she barely caught the last AirBART shuttle, then accidentally ended up in Daly City (which would've been okay if she could've caught another train back, but it was the last train of the night). Ron very kindly agreed to drive me to Daly City at 1 AM to pick up Steph, for which I am extremely grateful. The other time Steph came to Berkeley, the crappiness of the AC Transit system caused me to be super-late picking her up from the Amtrak station, which is in a very shady part of Berkeley. I got there and she was gone, and I ran around looking for her and wishing we both had cell phones, until eventually my roommates came and got me, and told me Steph had walked to a nearby gas station to call me and wait for me to come get her. This wasn't quite as bad.

Tuesday, after I came back from my quantum lecture, we walked around Berkeley. We went on campus, went up to the top of the Campanile (which I'd never done before), walked down Telegraph, looked at body jewelry, and eventually ended up at Cheeseboard for dinner. On Wednesday, we walked down to the Scharffen Berger factory in West Berkely for the factory tour. The Scharffen Berger tour is a lot of fun; I highly recommend it. First they sit you in a room and tell you about the company, how it was founded, where they get their beans from, how they make chocolate. They pass around unroasted beans, roasted beans, nibs, milk chocolate (40% cocoa), semisweet (62% cocoa), and bittersweet (70% cocoa). The milk chocolate was the best I've ever tasted, creamy and flavorful, and the semisweet was great too, but the bittersweet was just amazing. I love good dark chocolate. Then they walk you through the factory, which is extremely cool to see. It's a working factory, so everything's on a very big scale. I can see why they give the tours for free; when you leave, you want desperately to buy a lot of chocolate. The whole building smells like chocolate, strongly, because they roast and crush the beans there. Just writing this and remembering the smell has given me a serious chocolate craving.

On the way back we stopped at this pet shop, which resulted in Steph and I holding seven-week-old bunnies, amazingly soft and cute, and seriously considering buying them. The bunnies were that cute... I don't want a bunny much, nor have I ever. Cats have so much more intelligence and personality. But the charm of the bunnies was overwhelming. They had the little twitchy noses and floppy ears, and we agreed that after buying the bunnies, we'd name them something disgustingly cute, like Mr. Hugglekins or Wiggles. It's amazing we made it out of the store at all.

We had dinner at Tako Sushi with Ben, and sat and talked about various things. Most of the best parts of her visit were like that. On Thursday afternoon, after lunch at India Palace, we went into San Francisco. Walked up the main part of Chinatown, had milk tea, bought a lot of fudge from Z. Cioccolato (chocolate, double chocolate, white chocolate macadamia, cafe latte, pumpkin, and reese's peanut butter cup fudge), headed over to Coit Tower. The view from Coit Tower is beautiful, though somewhat overpriced. It was cool to be in these various high places now that I can actually point out a fair number of landmarks. We were walking to Ghirardelli Square when we passed a place that claimed to have the best truffles in San Francisco, so we got some. The lemon truffle I had was truly outstanding. We split a sundae at Ghirardelli Square, which had too little of their fantastic hot fudge, and then sat out overlooking the marina and eating fudge. There was really a lot of fudge. By now, it was nearing dusk, and I was becoming actually somewhat sick of chocolate. We walked to the BART and went home, and had a really early bedtime.

On Friday we went up to LBL for the car show and a live band (in which my officemate Sherri plays the congas), and also to see Joao before he left for Geneva and Lisbon. We looked at the view, definitely my favorite Bay Area view, and then delivered Steph to her friend Fred, who drove her to Santa Rosa for the wedding.

She was back for a few hours Sunday with Ben and I, helping us make a tasty brined chicken and some stuffing. I think that the two big results of me seeing so many good high school friends in Berkeley is that I appreciate much more how happy I am here, and how at home I feel, but I also really want to go to graduate school near some of these people. I love them and miss them. Everyone I care about should be within an hour's drive of me.

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clevermynnie

January 2017

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