Wedding Post Part I: Not the Wedding
I have loads of blogging catch-up to do--sorry about the hiatus (over two weeks!). But this past week was a spectacular trip to California, for Jofish and Erin's wedding and associated festivities. I was out in California Tuesday through Sunday--when booking a frequent flyer ticket on United, I was in blackout territory unless I went early... oh no, taking vacation days in the Bay Area... not that ;).
Anyway, I did so much on this trip that I decided to split the blog post into two parts: the solo portion, puttering around the Bay Area, and then the wedding itself--where I was joined by my sweetie! Bringing a date to a wedding... that's a new one for me (and for Sarah as well!)
The flight out was uneventful... I took my usual window seat. However, one interesting item--a group of white sticks pointing out of the ground, with a ring road leading to each one...
Oh yeah... wind turbines! Cool. I back-calculated our rough location, and I guessed that we might have been over western Nebraska.
I landed at SFO, and BART delivered me just in the nick of time to join a walking tour of the historic buildings of San Francisco's Financial District. The guide is a historian who is writing a book on the city, and shares his great stories. For instance, the city requires that developers include privately-owned public spaces (POPOs)--little parks that the public can access. One of them is on the roof of a bank building--they sold off the air rights (the right to build in the space above the building) to an adjacent building that wanted to go higher. The guide said, "I've met bankers who have been working here in the financial district for twenty years, and they've never wandered into this space"--the way to enter these spaces was worth the price of the tour alone.
There were also neat architectural oddities, such as the "narrow building" (130 Bush): 20 feet wide, 80 feet deep, 10 stories tall--originally built as a garment manufacturing building.
And this one: they were building a skyscraper, but the existing building owner steadfastly refused to sell. So they agreed to let the building stay in place--building the skyscraper over it. Also, the small-building owner has the air rights to all the apartments above him--so he gets rent from the square footage above his building!
Plenty of other historically interesting and beautifully detailed buildings. Unfortunately, some of the locations were security-conscious and don't allow photography. But that just means you'll need to go on the tour yourself sometime! A strong recommendation to all of my Bay Area (or visiting) friends--it's a great way to spend a few hours in SF.
Afterwards, I thought, "Huh... am I near the Instructables office?" As a matter of fact, I was just a few blocks away. I wandered in unannounced, and walked up the stairs... "BATS?!!!?!!!" "Hi there Christy!!"
My coincidental timing was excellent--it was U-Boat's birthday, and he was celebrating with ice cream cake! Yum, cake. Also, Quinzee was there semi-randomly as well... excellent on seeing more people.
And the placard on the Instructables bathroom made me laugh:
That evening, I headed down to South Bay, to join Jofish and his crew for a bachelor party... well, if you can call a "hang out at a bar with the groom, bride, both their parents, and a whole bunch of friends" a bachelor party. A nice time, but I was coming up on 24 hours awake, so I left the party early.
The next day, I headed up to East Bay. First on the list was to hit a restaurant recommended to me by Judy (my former landlady): Bakesale Betty, a sandwich and pastry place in North Oakland's Temescal District, run by an Australian transplant who cooked at Chez Panisse Cafe for 3 years. They do one sandwich exclusively: fried chicken and cole slaw... it's seriously tasty. But it was huge... and I was far too filled up to try their pastries, alas. My advice: split the sandwich with a friend, along with a bag of baby carrots, and then you'll have room for dessert. Patron seating is outside, at ironing boards and stools on the sidewalk... pretty fun.
Then I killed some time walking along University Avenue in Berkeley, to meet up with some architects that we have worked with out there. Got a little bit of work time in--it was also great to see them and catch up on their current projects.
The photo below was just a condo building along my walk (The New Californian)--I was trying to figure out if it was a renovated existing building, or a new building made to look old. I'm guessing the latter, but some of the molded masonry/terra cotta panels make me say, "What, people are still making decorative elements like that?" Aha... apparently the latter: The building was designed by Oakland architect Kirk Peterson, who favors historically influenced design and who has designed several other Berkeley buildings, including the Bachenheimer and Gaia projects, Southside Square, and 1717 Fourth Street.
I originally made plans to have dinner with the lovely and brilliant Dr. O (a.k.a. Paramecium Woman); however, she had to cancel out on me at the last moment (don't worry... not due to another bike crash). However, she let me know in the morning, so I started sending out text messages, to see if I could catch folks I would miss otherwise.
Result: a nice Indian dinner with Spackle over near the Rockridge BART station! Having friends with flexible plans just rocks. Man... Rockridge is a hip/gentrified neighborhood... I think that in the future, if I'm at a loss on where to have dinner, I'll just take the train out there and walk down the street, picking a restaurant at random (we had fun cocktails and pretty decent Indian at Khana Peena).
It was great to catch up with him... his sweetie M. is currently teaching up in Eugene, OR; Spackle is planning on making the move up there sooner or later, when he can find work. They are considering buying in Portland (110 miles/2 hours away), and Michael can shuttle back and forth given a more-flexible academic schedule, while Spackle will have an easier time finding work in town.
The next day was picking up my sweetie at the airport, and heading up to California wine country for the wedding... which will be continued in Part II...