Archive for 'photos'

Go Ahead And Compare Atari Desks

Ok, so remember that last post about the old photo of an Atari 800 on a desk from 1983? The one that I said reminded me so much of the old Atari 800 I grew up with? The one that I said that I was pretty sure my parents had walled off as a disaster area? Yeah, well, my memory was correct, and my parents are awesome. They just sent me a photo of the desk, taken today.

Here’s, again, is the photo from 1983 that Pesco’s friend sent him:


And here’s the photo taken today, April 14, 2008, of the Atari 800 I grew up with that’s still sitting in my parent’s basement:


See why I saw some similarities? Gotta love the wood paneling, right? Ok. So mine’s a bit messier… but I can blame that on 25 years of usage… right? Er… probably not. Next step will be turning on the Atari 800 and seeing if I can coax it to do something next time I’m at my parents’ place.


There’s a radio station here in San Francisco called KFOG that puts on a big concert, called Kaboom on Piers 30 and 32 every year, which is followed up by a big fireworks display synchronized to music. Sunnia and I try to go pretty much every year — especially since it’s free. Except… this year, it wasn’t free at all. Apparently the costs have gone up, so they decided to charge everyone $10 to go, which really isn’t that bad a deal, and actually could cut down on the crowds, which might be nice. However, before we even had a chance to make that decision, Byung and Greg invited us to skip the crowds and watch the fireworks from the comfort of their sailboat out on the bay. Cool!

Sunnia cooked up a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler and we drove up to Emeryville (where they keep their boat). We were a bit late and then got lost in the parking lot (don’t ask) trying to find the right dock. However, we eventually got there, and joined the crew of folks on the boat, which included 8 other adults and 5 children (I think all under the age of 6…). 6 of those 8 adults were all sailors, so Sunnia and I went below deck to get out of the way and hung out with Byung (and ate too much food) while we motored out. When I was a kid, I went sailing a few times with my Dad and Wil (on a much, much smaller sailboat), but it’s been at least 20 years since I’ve been on a sailboat, so it took a little getting used to the motion.

It had been crazy windy and cold (as the weatherman said on the radio “unseasonably cold and blustery”) all day long, and when I’d been walking Sugar earlier, I got worried about just how icy cold it would be on the water. And, indeed, even though I came bundled up in four layers, I was told I probably wasn’t wearing enough. So I stayed below deck on most of the ride out — and as we left the dock, the water seemed pretty choppy, so the ride was a bit bouncy. However, as we passed under the Bay Bridge (both the new and old part), amazingly the wind went away and it actually became pretty nice out, so we popped out to see the view. We motored over to McCovey Cove, with a nice view of AT&T Park and then anchored to wait for the show. Apparently someone was supposed to bring a boombox so we could hear the concert and the music synchronized to the fireworks, but somewhere along the way it was forgotten. No matter. Soon enough, the fireworks went off — and we were actually really close to the barge where they were setting them off. It was a long show (20 to 30 minutes or so) and both kids and adults seemed to enjoy themselves. About 3/4 of the way through, I figured I might as well try to see if my cameraphone would work and snapped a bunch of pictures. Unfortunately, most of them look like a boat exploding in the Bay:


Oh well. I did get one that actually looks like fireworks:


All in all, pretty cool. After the show, they turned the boat around and started to motor back, just as we had motored in, and we were all amazed at how nice it was out. Not too windy. Not too cold. Then, apparently, the sailors noticed that there was another sailboat nearby… and it had its sails up, rather than motoring. In an effort to defend their honor as sailors, they put up the sail, turned off the motor and away we went. We got to sail all the way back and it really was a lot of fun. As we got close to dock, Byung asked me if I would blog about this… so, what else could I do? All in all, it was a really fun experience, both the fireworks and getting to hang out on the boat. Hopefully we’ll get to go again sometime.

The View From The Top

Okay, I had you going with that last post, right? I don’t post for a month, and you figure you’ve got at least another few weeks before I’m back at it. However, with all that travel, I might as well post at least some images. So, this is from the trip to Atlanta, where I got to stay in the Westin Peachtree which (I learned from a voiceover in the elevator) is the tallest hotel in the western hemisphere. When I checked in they asked if I wanted a floor closer to the ground or higher up, so I said higher up (I never seem to get that option). At this point, I had no idea how tall the hotel was, having only been focused on finding the hotel itself, rather than how many stories it had (I hadn’t looked up on entering it). They gave me a room on the 39th floor, which isn’t bad. The elevators I entered only went up to 45, so I assumed that was as tall as it went. The entire building is a cylinder, so each room is wedge like, with floor to ceiling windows curving around the outside (pretty cool, actually). Even at the 39th floor, it seemed like there weren’t many other tall buildings around, so I snapped some photos with the camera phone:


So that was fun. Of course, my second night there, I got to have dinner at the Sundial restaurant, which happens to take up the top 4 (72 through 75) floors of the building (and, yes, it rotates) — at which point, I discovered my “high” room, wasn’t really that high up the building. Turns out folks who room on floors 46 through 70 get their own separate elevators. And, of course, the Sundial restaurant gets its own damn elevator, which happens to be glass and on the outside. Lots of fun, though some people who I shared the elevator with were apparently afraid of heights. Either way, it was sunset, so I snapped a couple shots out the window from the 72nd floor:


Not much else to report from Atlanta. I did have one fun experience, though. I normally am better at preparing before going on a trip to a city I’m mostly unfamiliar with. However, this time, I didn’t even bother to figure out how to get from the airport to the hotel, figuring I’d just grab a cab and “how bad could it be.” Well, it would have cost $30, which isn’t too bad, but the insane line waiting for cabs had me thinking twice. I saw various airport shuttles and wondered if the Westin had one. Someone at the taxi stand told me they did, but gave me directions I think were more designed to get rid of me than help me reach my destination. I found a courtesy phone and called a different Westin (the Peachtree wasn’t listed — which I knew was a bad sign). The woman their told me that there was another shuttle called the Linq (or Link, I forget) that would take me to the hotel.

I headed back outside and found the shuttle… which had a line nearly as long as the taxi line. And there was one shuttle at the front and it looked like a minivan. The wait was going to be ridiculous. I asked the woman in front of me if this was the right line, and she said “well, this is where the reservation said to go” and pulled out a printout reservation. Reservation? Oops. So I wander off and see another long line, and ask the guy at the end if it’s to buy tickets on the shuttle. He thinks so, but notes there are no signs and there doesn’t appear to actually be anyone at the front of the line serving people. Oh yeah, the cost for the shuttle: $20. We stand in line for about five minutes with nothing happening, and the guy says that he’s been to Atlanta before, and he remembers that there was a train, so he’s just going to take that. He seems like a nice enough guy, so I tell him I’m following him.

We wander over to the MARTA, which is the subway there, and discover that, unlike just about every other subway station I’ve been to in the country, people are *damn friendly*. The woman at the ticketbooth knows exactly where I need to go to get to my hotel. Total price: $1.75. Then, again, as I actually used the ticket to enter the station, there’s another MARTA employee waiting at the gates, asking where my destination is, and again telling me the best way to get there. Very easy. Got to chat with the guy I followed and he’s an interesting guy. He’s an IT manager for the United Nations and had worked there for over 20 years. Had some fascinating stories.

Anyway, after all that, it should come as no surprise that I just took the MARTA back to the airport at the end of my trip as well. I wanted to get to the airport by 9am, so I left the hotel at 8am, figuring that there would be some rush hour traffic on the subway in the middle of downtown. Apparently, folks in Atlanta aren’t big fans of their public transportation system. As I rode the huge (probably 5 or 6 stories in one go) escalator down, I realized I was the *only* person on the entire escalator. At 8:15am (I was a little late) at what appeared to be the middle of downtown. Oh well. Made the trip even easier.

Also, when you get to the airport, if you’re flying Delta (I was), you can actually check-in, getting your boarding pass, and check your luggage from inside the MARTA station, avoiding all the main terminal lines. All in all, quite nice. So, if you’re flying to Atlanta and your hotel is somewhere downtown, skip the cabs and the shuttle and just take the MARTA.

Happy Cows…

One cool thing about having the new phone is that I’ve finally got a semi-decent camera phone. I guess I’ve had it for a while, but since it wasn’t my real phone, I never really thought about using it for taking photos. So now I can do posts like these, including some photos snapped with the cameraphone.

Way back when, Sunnia and I used to take our dog Sugar hiking in Sunol, which was a lot of fun. But, the hike is pretty strenuous and Sugar can’t handle it any more. However, for a couple weeks we’re taking care of Vince and Natasha’s dog (so they can go get married somewhere), Apple. And, since Sugar is still in Chicago and today turned into a gorgeous day, we thought we’d take Apple hiking in Sunol.


It really is a beautiful place, and is great for dogs because there’s also a nice creek that runs through part of it where the dogs can swim. I discovered a pretty cool feature of the cameraphone as well. It has a “sports” setting that will let you snap from 5 to 30 photos in rapid succession, which I tried to use (not all that successfully) to capture Apple chasing a stick in the creek.


As you walk up the hill, though, there are some great views.


At the top, you can look down on quite a view, with some huge birds (hawks? eagles?) flying around below you. I tried to take a photo of the birds, but I didn’t do a great job. You can still see some of the scenery, though.


The coolest part of hiking in Sunol, though, is that the hiking trail is actually through a cow pasture, and there are a lot of very big cows that don’t seem particularly afraid of you. Early on there was a fairly big cow that started jogging towards us and I began to get nervous… until Sunnia started “mooing” at it. She claims that all you need to do to stop a cow from charging you (and I’ll admit, the cow wasn’t charging, just jogging…) is make a loud mooing noise, and maybe raise your arms to look bigger. I’m not sure I believe her, but it seemed to work.

Of course, if you’ve seen the Real California Cheese commercials, you know that “happy cheese, comes from happy cows… and happy cows come from California.” So, here you go. Some happy California cows.


Not sure how interesting a blog post this is, but, hey, I’m still getting the hang of this blogging thing, and throw in that camera phone and, wow, two new things at once. Next thing you know, I’ll even be messing around with Flickr.