Wednesday, October 31, 2007

San Francisco, Wrapping it up

Next to the last day. We woke up and I had an omelet and a mocha at a place called Squat and Gobble.

We were headed to ILM for a tour but we took the long way and walked down to the Exploratorium. A lot of cool stuff that we didn't have time to see.

We continued to the bay to check out the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. I usually don't smile when I take self portraits, but I decided to buck my own system here.

Now this is a tailgate party! Wine, cheese, tablecloths?!? These Californians are really putting it to it! I have to assume that they are here watching the sailboat race and not gathering in my honor.

Now we are at ILM. I saw some pretty amazing concept art, incredibly detailed props and miniatures and Pee Wee Herman and Buzz Lightyear doing some truly awful things to each other. Unfortunately a lot of this stuff was in no-camera zones, but take my word for it - it was awesome.

After ILM we went across the Golden Gate Bridge through San Rafeal to try to get in to Big Rock Ranch, the Lucas animation company. Unfortunately there was some mix up, and while we could go in and have lunch in the common cafeteria, we couldn't really get a tour.

Some random Rolls Royce.

The terrain was really rugged and mountainous, and we were driving pretty sportily on a winding road great for spirited driving.

Lunch at Big Rock Ranch. We just barely made lunchtime, so I think they heaped our plates with what was left.

After Big Rock Ranch we drove around to Skywalker Sound, which was nestled in a secluded forest bowl surrounded by mountains and land that George Lucas owned. Seriously - he bought everything that you could see.

This should show both, with landmarks like Lake Ewok, etc.

So we get back to the Marina. It's not yet dinnertime, yet we need something to eat. What's a pair of hetero dudes to do that is both snacky AND hip?


I had my first car bomb that night, and we had some midnight pizza at our second choice. The first choice, Pizza Orgasmica, was so packed we couldn't get close to the door.

More pictures here.

I had a great time, did a little work and got to see some stuff that I may never have had a chance to see otherwise. Thanks Dave!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

San Francisco, Day 5

Is this thing on? Finally an update!

Day 5, my last day in the hotel and all work business is done. I had until noon to check out, so walked down to another local place, Tart to Tart, for breakfast, again checking out the mocha.

I got everything packed, held my bags at the hotel and walked down to the Metreon again to check out the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit. It was okay, but I should have read this review first. Goodbye, $20!

Lunch saw me at Sanraku again, but this time more miso soup, California rolls and Teriyaki chicken, which was great.

So I've got some time to kill, and I need to get closer to the Presidio. Cab? No way! I walked, after checking with the concierge about some places to check out. He suggested a route that took me through Chinatown, Little Italy (is it really called that?) and some parks.

Little did I know my route was going to be 3.7 miles, while carrying a stuffed backpack and my suitcase, which the airport told me weighed 40 pounds. Hopefully that took care of that breakfast's mocha! Here's what I walked. I wish I could show an interactive Google Map, but I'm getting no love from the pathfinding AI - it's making me look like I took all these weird side streets.

Here is the entrance gate to Chinatown. If I weren't so encumbered with my baggage I would have stepped into some stores. Plenty of samurai swords, by the way.

This is the Stinking Rose, which I walked by accidentally. I've eaten there once before when I worked at a different company, and it is AWESOME...if you like garlic. I LOVE garlic.

Street poles like this made sure I knew I was in the Italian district.

I'm on a little beach at the coast now, with Ghirardelli Square behind me, the Golden Gate Bridge to my left and Alcatraz to my right.

I finally meet up with David and we have dinner at a meat skewering place, Asqew Grill, where they actually call the non-meat items on the menu "Starches."

After dinner we head down to ILM, and outside one of the entrances is this Yoda Fountain.

We caught a screening of 3:10 to Yuma in a theater for Academy members to screen movies for consideration (Dave, correct me if I'm wrong), and it didn't disappoint. Picture and sound were top notch, and I really liked the movie as well.

More pictures here.