Long ramble about my first week in San Fransisco

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Note: I will add pictures and stuff to this post as I get around to it.

I am on the CalTrain, on my way to William’s place.
I’ve been in San Fransisco for almost a week and haven’t really blogged much about it yet.
(Hah, the built-in spell checker didn’t complain about the word “blogged”!)

My hotel is quite a bit further from work than when I cam here for my job interview.
This has necessitated my learning about the local transit system.
Things are (somewhat unnecessarily in my opinion) confusing because there are a number of different transit systems with their own schedules and quirks.

The bus I take to and from work every day is run by “Muni”, San Fransisco’s municipal transit system.
There is no municipal subway system.
Instead there is BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), stations for which can be found underground along San Fransisco’s Market Street, which is the central street off the city.
The reason it isn’t a municipal subway is because it extends all over the place, well beyond the boundaries of ‘Frisco.
It’s kind of half-way between Go Trains and our Subway, with a dash of the Scarborough RT thrown in for good measure.

Sorry, I didn’t mean for this to become a long diatribe on the transit system here!

Well, along with getting used to the transit system, I am also becoming familiar with the area around my hotel.
I am staying at the “Courtyard Marriot by Fisherman’s Wharf”.
That’s a pretty unwieldy name.
As it suggests, I am staying very close to Fisherman’s Wharf.
I’ve often walked past the place where Ted and I had clam chowder earlier this year during WWDC.
I’ve even had the clam chowder again (served in a sourdough bread bowl! Yum..)

So far I’ve usually seen it only at night from the windows of the “F” streetcar on the way back to the hotel in the evening.
(The number 10 bus I take to get in to work does not return by the same route to the hotel).
I’ve posted a few pictures of Market Street at night.
These are usually taken near Market and 1st Street, which is the closest streetcar stop to work.

Yes, this is a bit of a rambling post.

While I am rambling, I must apologize to David Barker for deciding to *not* go to the Exploratorium to get him a poster (or two?).
Since I rely on transit, it is a pain too go much of anywhere.
I have lots to explore right nearby, so I am going to do that.
Today, for instance, I walked south to a big Barnes and Noble store.
I’ve never been in a B&N before, but it’s just like Chapters/Indigo in Toronto really.
I was looking for books on Python, which I have had a hard time finding in Toronto.
(Ugh, more weight for the trip back!)

[The train just went through San Mateo]

I went to the Apple store the first night I was here, even before going to the hotel.
Being the savvy traveller I am, I did not take a cab from the airport, but used BART instead.
It cost me about $4.50 to get from the airport to Market Street.
I picked up a cable that lets me plug my new iPod into a TV so I can show movies and slideshows.

Wednesday night was interesting.
On Tuesday I had to write up a short bio about myself that included personal interests.
I mentioned in the bio that I enjoy playing German board games.
About 1/2 hour after I sent that to Philippe, Jeffrey (who sits next to me at work) turned to me and asked if I wanted to go gaming on Wednesday night, even though he couldn’t go himself.
Well, to make a medium-sized story short, I ended up going.

It was a long bus ride out on the #38 bus to Geary and 42nd Street.
I got there early, so after spending a few minutes knocking and not getting any answer, I went back up the hill to the Walgreens to kill some time.
Walgreens is kinda like Zellers.
My host, Mike, was in the Walgreens too, but we didn’t know each other yet, so we passed each other without comment.
After a while I went back down the hill and met Mike.

It was sort of like a mirror universe version of Hrach’s basement, except this was an upper-floor of a townhouse overlooking the bay.
They had the same stack of games from which to choose, and a “new game” to try out (it involved lasers!)

[Belmont]

I met Mike’s game-mates Eric, Keith, Brian (the friend of Jeffrey’s through whom I was invited), Jordan, and .. um, David?
Damn, I can’t remember if that’s his name for sure.
Sorry he-who-I-call-David!
We played a bucket pyramid game, which was a lot of fun, quickly followed by “Poison”, which I was surprised to find out I won after two rounds.
Then we split up into two groups (which often happens while gaming since people arrive late), and I played “Chiamo” with Eric and Keith.

[Redwood City]

We had a hell of a time getting a handle on the game.
I was certain it was the same game I played with Luisa’s dad and his friends years ago, but Luisa assures me this is not the case.
Maybe I’ll ask Tony as a confirmation.

Continuing with the gaming non-theme, I usually do gaming on Friday nights, not Wednesday.
Last night it was Rolemaster, a fantasy role-playing game.
I played remotely using my new PowerBook and Vartan’s videocamera hooked up with FireWire.
When I was sick a while back we tried out this kind of setup using Jeff’s PowerBook and my iSight at home.
Jeff didn’t have his iSight with him, so I did a one-way video chat.
Actually, that was Rolemaster too, which makes sense as it really would not be feasible to play general games via video-chatting!

This time Jeff was going to be late because he had to go to an office party for Davis.
So I got Michael to bring my new PowerBook (which I haven’t even seen yet!) along with Vartan’s videocamera, which I have been borrowing for a long time to convert video tape to DVD.
The video camera has a superior picture to the iSight (which makes sense, since one costs just over $100 and the other was closer to $1,000!).
The audio seemed no different, but I blame iChat for that since I know from tests I’ve done locally that the sound from the video camera is excellent (and in stereo!).

Overall it worked quite well.
I was able to follow what happened in the session and could contribute as well.
In fact I also had a secret channel of communication with Hrach via MSN, which I used a few times.

[Palo Alto]

As an extra bonus, the session was much earlier for me than usual, since I was on Californian time.
Everyone wrapped it up just before 11pm!
I actually “worked from home” at the hotel in the afternoon so that I could be ready when they started around 5pm local time.

[California Avenue]

I still want to hear the session’s mp3 log so I’ll ask Michael if he can copy it to the g5 tomorrow.
I have full access to the g5 via ssh, which has been great.
I tried VNC a couple of times, but that was glacially slow and painful, so it’s strictly command-line access.

[San Antonio]

Well it’s getting near the end of this little train ride (5:09pm), so I think I will stop now.
I am posting pictures to Flickr all the time, and adding them to my “San Fransisco” set in chronological order, so be sure to check that every now and again.

friends, Reid, work.

About rae

I'm a long-time Mac and iOS developer. I'm also a big fan of Ruby on Rails and relational databases. I tend to work remotely, in my basement with occasional trips to the office. I'm also a big videophile, both TV and film, and can't wait for a good, inexpensive home 4k solution.

4 comments on “Long ramble about my first week in San Fransisco

  1. rae Post author

    Wow that came out a lot less coherent that I would have liked. Oh well. I mostly blame the keyboard of the iBook I was using. The space bar does not work when I hit it with my left thumb, which is how I normally type. So I was constantly concentrating on using my right thumb, which made for a somewhat more distracted writing style.

    No, really!

  2. Mike

    Hey Reid,
    It was a pleasure having you over Wednesday night. I’m kind of an absent minded fool and have misplaced your email address. I sent you a PM on BGG before I realized that you’ve not logged in there for quite some time.
    Anyway, I hope the rest of your stay in SF goes well. And I’ve forwarded your website (since I can’t seem to find your email address) to this Wednesday’s host.
    Oh.. and you should have told me you’re working on Chandler. That’s pretty cool news.
    –mike

  3. wjr

    It was good to see you on Saturday!

    If you’re looking for books, you should go to Stacey’s – it’s on the south side of Market Street between 2nd and 1st, so it’s only a few minutes from OSAF. Very nice independent bookstore. I haven’t checked their computer book section recently, but I’d expect it to be good.

    There actually is a subway in SF – some of the Muni lines run underground under Market Street, in a tunnel above BART. It’s not all that long, and basically duplicates BART along its length, but you’d use it if you’re going on one of those Muni lines to somewhere BART doesn’t go (which is most of the city).

  4. David "I Have My Own Exploratorium In My Head Anyw

    Never mind about the posters. You’re like the fifth person I’ve asked to do it since the Incident. One of them from CBC actually said she would, no problem, she’d probably get one for herself too, and then when she came back said “What are you talking about? I never said that?” Hired for her typing skills, apparently.

    So San Francisco has rocks, right?

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