Starry Wisdom

Entropic Words from Neilathotep

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lazy Saturday

This Saturday I woke up early and did some cleaning in the kitchen while listening to an episode of Bullseye. I was very interested in the Brian K Vaighan interview, and I thought I might go and get the first collection of Saga at some point. A little bit later I went to the coffee house on the corner and got some breakfast and did some work, and was reminded that it was Free Comic Day via a post on facebook. I decided to see if my neighborhood comic store, Isotope was participating, and they were, so I decided to head over there at 11 o’clock when they opened at 11:00. I picked up some free comics I plan to give to my nephew when I am in Chicago later this month and the Saga Graphic Novel.

I spent the rest of the sunny day at a long, several blood mary brunch at Absinthe, a couple of hours in the Suppenkuche beer garden, an impromptu cookout at my house, and then hanging out at our neighborhood bar late that evening with some friends in from San Diego. It sounds like I did a lot (ok, not really), but I never really went more than 3 blocks away from home. Lazy!

posted by neil at 8:50 pm
under adventure,Milo,rambling  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Only two weeks later…

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. We had visitors in from out of town both weekends – although only had a guest staying with us this previous weekend, which was cool. Wohali and I walked around the neighborhood yesterday, taste testing macarons from the four stores that sell them. We tasted pistachio macrons from each, and crowned Chantal Guillon the winner, with a very natural taste which was not too sweet, and a well textured cookie.

Much else fun and excitement was had, enough that makes me want another weekend to relax, but in other, very important news, I sold my car this morning. I posted it friday afternoon on Craiglist, and now it is gone to its new home. I suppose I could have gotten a few hundred dollars more if I tried harder/waited longer, but I made more than my bottom line, and it seems like the people who bought it really like subarus, so I know it will be appreciated. It feels weird to not have my own car, but I do have access to one, plus a zipcar membership, so it will be OK!

posted by neil at 7:41 pm
under adventure,food  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Now what I thought I was going to write about

I had some ideas about what to write about today, and then, well, work got busy and I forgot.

But then I had an idea to write about, one that is interesting but which I am not really completely familiar with yet… And that idea is POPOS – Privately Owned, Public Open Space. These are public spaces in downtown San Francisco that are privately owned. It turns out that there are a fair number of them within walking distance of my office on California between Montgomery and Sansome. I’ve chatted about them some with my coworkers in the past week, and we’re going to start checking them out on our lunch breaks.

For more information:

Spur has a good article about the POPOS, and a map of them.

One of my favorite podcasts, 99% invisible, did a great story on them a couple of years ago, definitely worth a listen!

Podcast Powered By Podbean
posted by neil at 12:07 am
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Sunday, September 18, 2011


Yesterday, Mackenzie, I and about eight other friends drove up to Marshall, CA to eat oysters and clams at Hog Island Oyster Farm. This was a celebration for our friend Ali’s birthday this Monday. Unfortunately, Friday night was a night where I needed a drink or five (not the best end of the week at work – nothing terrible, just lots of last minute work of the sort I abhor), so we woke up in the morning a bit later than intended. We actually only left about 15 minutes late, but I was lax in looking at the direction on the map, so I blindly followed the GPS to go up 1 through Mill Valley, instead of going all the north and cutting across on Francis Drake. This is more or less meaningless to 99% of humanity, but the important thing of note here is that yesterday was the first part of a two-day National Multiple Sclerosis Society Waves to Wine bike ‘tour’. The first day started in SF and went through Stinson Beach going up 1. So basically, I had to navigate around hundred and hundreds of bicyclists, on a twisty, hilly road – which was harrowing. I was very glad when we finally made it to Tomales Bay, and only had to deal with the normal weekend cyclists, which are much easier to navigate around.

Once we got to the Oyster Farm, we began to quickly consume/over consume shellfish. We (much of the we being myself) shucked dozens of oysters for eating raw, as well as grilling some up. We also grilled up 2lbs of manila clams. All of this was delicious, but even more delicious (maybe) were the oysters that we got up that were grilled by the Hog Island people with a delicious maple chipotle sauce. Actually, why bother comparing, it was all delicious, as were the accompaniments we brought up from home – cheese, charcuterie, bread and a lovely melon and feta salad that Mackenzie made.

If any of you are anything like me, you will probably be saying “This Post is Useless WIthout PIctures”. Yep, I forgot to snag my camera as I left in the morning, and my 3+ year old iPhone is just too slow/cruddy for me to bother with much. I really need to consider getting a new phone one of these days…

posted by neil at 11:12 am
under adventure,food  

Monday, August 1, 2011


I finished the last post with me heading back to San Francisco, on July 11th. I had a four day workweek ahead of me before going on to my next weekend trip, but in the meanwhile, I went and saw the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

The movie was pretty good, and I think I would give it about 7 out of 8 rabbit turds, on the rabbit turd scale. I think that as a whole, the two parter was quite well done and reflected the novel quite well. What was not great was coming home at a quarter to four and having to get into work by 9am the next day. Luckily for me, my next trip didn’t start until Saturday, because the next trip was vegas.

Las Vegas July 16-18

This was a trip to Las Vegas for my friend Steve’s bachelor party. I won’t say much about this, but I will show a picture of my dinner that saturday.

And then back to SF for another 4 day work week. It took me until Thursday to really recover from the weekend but the week did feature a trip to AT&T park to see the Giants beat the Dodgers, and to see Brandon Belt come back up to the big leagues with a Home Run.

And then Friday it was on to the final trip of July.

July 22-24 Lake Tahoe Camping

We went up to DL Bliss State Park on the shores of Lake Tahoe for our yearly camping trip and river float. The latter, well – it wasn’t much of a float. It was more of a river fiasco, truth be told. There was still snow on the tops of the mountain, and as that might lead you to believe, there was lots of water in the river systems. However, the river float is at the start of the Truckee river, where it flows out of Lake Tahoe, and this flow is controlled by a large dam. The dam was completely closed, because there was lots of water downstream, about two and a half times more water than one would expect. Unfortunately this meant that there was about 1/3 as much water as expected in the float area. The float was slow, shallow, and tedious. We didn’t even make it half of the route before calling it a day in a little over two hours. Our less was learned – if the commercial river rafting company is closed, don’t bother with the float.

We got back to camp a bit earlier than typical, and used the time to visit the beach at the camp site. This was fun, and we decided we wanted to come back again the next day before we left the area, which we did for a nice afternoon swim and lake float. This helped us avoid a lot of the traffic leaving the area, and as we were planning on stopping in Davis for dinner with Mackenzie’s sister’s family, it helped out our timing. We had a nice visit in Davis, but poor Orrin got stung in his foot by a bee. He took it well, was more annoyed than anything else at the problem. After dinner and some visiting, it was back home.

I am now in the middle of 12 nights at home, before heading to Redding this weekend to hang out at Mackenzie’s parents’ house with some friends (her parents are out of town). Unfortunately Mackenzie was out of town herself last weekend, to go to LA for her friend Melissa’s birthday. I skipped the trip due to all the traveling you read about above and the previous post. However, on the bright side, my friend Joan was in town from Toronto for a tech confernce. I got to hang out with her Friday night and Saturday, and wander around my home, San Francisco.

posted by neil at 8:03 pm
under adventure,travel  

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summertime Adventures – July 2011 (part 1)

This July has been jam-packed with adventure. I was away from home every weekend this month, until this, the last weekend. As such, I didn’t have time to keep up with my bills (I managed to pay my cell bill on the last possible day), let alone my blog. But as I am home this weekend, I have had time to go through the photos I took, a pre-requisite to the blog post. So here we go on a recap of the month:

July 4th Weekend – Donner Lake

Our friends Tori and Steve invited us to their cabin on Donner Lake for the July 4th weekend. It was a great weekend, jam packed with fun and food (all the couples invited took charge of a meal to prepare for everyone. Mackenzie and I took Sunday dinner, for which we did a tacopalooza – carne asada, carnitas, and chicken tinga, served with all the trimmings -I should make a separate post on this.

We spent most of the time during the days on or by the lake. Tori and Steve rented a speed boat on Sunday, which the group took turns using, and on Monday, July 4th, they rented a pontoon boat, which we could all fit on. We spent a great afternoon out on the lake (which was freezing cold, no wonder, there was stills now on the mountains).

As Tuesday was a work day, and in particular I had to be in by 9am, we had to leave before the firework show at the Lake. However, on our way back to San Francisco, we stopped at Mackenzie’s sister’s house in Davis, to visit her family and go see the fireworks. Her nephew, Orrin, who was about 16 months months old, had fun with Angry Birds on my phone, and watching the fireworks.

This is the full gallery of photos posted from the trip.

July 9th Weekend – Chicago

I was home for only a few nights before heading to Chicago that Thursday afternoon for my nephew Milo’s second birthday weekend. Thanks to spending several days in Burbank for work earlier this year, I had a free flight on Southwest airlines, which I took advantage of for this trip. This meant, of course, that I flew into Midway, which is quite a bit farther from my parent’s house than O’Hare, but my parents graciously agreed to ferry me to and from the airport.

The fast paced nature of the month makes the early part of the trip hazy, but I know that on Saturday my parents had Milo at their house, as they do almost every Saturday. We had a fun playing in his sandbox, drawing with chalk, and playing with toys.

I thought Milo was his normal, light-hearted self, but my mom was a bit concerned as he had a bit of a bowel issue that day. We took him home to his parent’s, and then I went out to dinner with my parents.

This brings us to Sunday, the day of Milo’s birthday party. The party was to be held at his house, and his dad, my brother, was going to cater it, as he did last year, and the main course was to be smoke brisket. The plan was that my parents and I would watch Milo again during the day, as Keith and Sarah prepared for the party, and then he would take him back for his party around 3pm. However, I woke up to the news that my brother was violently ill, had slept in the bathroom, and was not able to make the food. Sarah, while not a cook, is a great super-connector, and she enlisted one of their chef friends to help her with the brisket, and other friends to help set up for the party.

Our morning with Milo was fun, although he did seem a bit off. He took a longer than usual nap, and we set out for him to be late to his own party. Things started to turn concerning right before we pulled up to the house, as Milo puked a bit in the car. Thankfully we were almost there, so we rushed him home, and his mom changed him, and as he seemed that he was OK, he was able to attend and enjoy his party.

In hingsight, maybe he shouldn’t have been eating deviled eggs, as he threw up again an hour or so into the party. I helped Sarah get him cleaned up and changed, and all the poor kid wanted to do at that point was watch his favorite TV show, “Martha Speaks”. Keith, who was still pretty out of it, took him into his bedroom and they watched tv together. So not only was Milo’s dad unable to attend the party, but Milo got knocked out of it too. I carefully washed my hands after getting him cleaned up.

At this point, I was roped into assembling my parents’ gift to Milo – a pretty awesome kitchen set. Despite the small size of this project, it was incredibly complex, and took over two hours to assemble. Milo came out, part way through, to supervise.

Then Monday, the day I was to go back, I woke up at 7am to my mom telling me that both her and my father had gotten violently sick. Bleh, I thought, and went back to sleep, to be awoken by some thunder a bit later. It turned out that the thunderstorm knocked out power for my parents’ house along with a few hundred thousand other houses. This was the second time his summer my parents had no power for more than a few hours, and after the last storm my dad had gone out to buy a generator. I helped him (well did most of the work) to get it set up and running so that they could have power for the duration of the outage (which turned out to be about 24 hours more). However, I also got picked up by my brother to spend the day with him and in theory get a ride to the airport. But since Milo wouldn’t nap, and ended up running errands with the two of us, and Sarah was also Ill, I took a cab to the airport from their house, instead of subjecting Milo to another long car ride. Oh, while I was there that afternoon, we put together my present for him, a push bike, and I played ball with him in the house.

This post has turned out to be quite long, and since I promised I would post something tonight, and need to watch true blood, I will leave this as TO BE CONTINUED.

posted by neil at 9:38 pm
under adventure,Milo,travel  

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nephew Time

I’ve been traveling since last Saturday – first I was in the florida, with Mackenzie for her cousin’s wedding/a family get together. And then, Tuesday evening, I flew to Chicago to see my family.

Wednesday I spent time with my 94 year old grandma, and today I got to spend time with my 21 month old nephew, Milo. My brother brought him to my parents house, and then the five of us went to the Kohl Children’s Museum. The museum is full of things to entertain kids of various ages, and while Milo is a bit young for a lot of the things there, he still has fun. In particular he seems to be obsessed with the Potbelly Sandwich Works room, which is a food service simulation, where kids can make sandwiches from rubber food shapes, work fake cash registers with fake money, and etc. Milo adores putting the fake food in baskets and playing around the back of the counter. He actually kept himself entertained for a good 45 minutes or so there!

We left right around museum closing time, then brought in dinner to my parents house. Milo didn’t want to eat his dinner, while my dad and I were out getting food for the adults, but he shared his dad’s al pastor torta and rice. We then watched a bit of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and then, since it was almost bed time, my brother put him into pajamas before taking him home.

posted by neil at 9:05 pm
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Wine Road Barrel Tasting

This weekend some I want barrel tasting in Sonoma County with some friends. Barrel tasting is where barrels are tapped before the wine has finished aging, usually somewhere between 6 months and 2.5 years after bottling, skewed more to the former. People can taste the wine early, and if they desire, purchase wine futures – the wine bottled, after aging is complete – at a discount.

We started off at Timber Creek Estate, which hosts tasting rooms for multiple wineries, as well as a local olive oil store. We tasted at the three wineries that had tastings on the weekend – Kokomo, Amphora and Papapietro (there was barrel tasting the previous weekend as well, with a different set of wineries). It started raining soon after we arrived, which pretty much set the pattern for the day, but it also likely helped to keep crowds at bay.

After we finished we headed to David Coffaro, where we were greeted with a tasty chicken and white bean cassoulet, as well as an incredibly cute and obviously underfed winery dog.

We visited a couple of more wineries, Bella, which has a fantastic cave

and Zichichi which has a cool name. By the time we were finished there it was 4pm, which was the end of the event. We headed back to San Francisco to have Chinese food in the Outer Richmond and calling it a day.

posted by neil at 9:41 pm
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ankle Update

Today was my last day of Physical Therapy. My ankle works pretty well these days – it has about the right range of motion. Sometimes it hurts a bit after doing something like jogging around the neighborhood, but not too bad. The biggest thing left to do is recover strength in that leg. To do this, I think should start hopping on that one leg at all times! OK, not really, but I need to start not using the ankle as any sort of excuse – and start going to the gym.

posted by neil at 11:00 pm
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Working on Presidents’ Day

Today is a federal holiday here in the United States, Presidents’ Day, née Washington’s Birthday (observed). It’s a very common holiday for workers outside of government to get off, but alas, my company does not give us the day off. Instead, we get a holiday on Martin Luther King day, since being PC is more important than being patriotic!

Anyway, the great part about working on this holiday is that there is almost no traffic. Today’s drive to work was approximately as fast as possible, taking speed limits into account. Hitting every green light might take it down from 14 minutes to 12 minutes, but the chances of hitting every green light has to be almost zero.

This all being said, my favorite winter holiday is Casmir Pulaski Day. Sufjan Stevens wrote a song about it, sort of, not really.

posted by neil at 10:00 am
under adventure,rambling  
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