Monthly Archives: February 2003

Thursday, 27 February 2003

Orion Odyssey

Yesterday Michi and I went downtown to buy Master of Orion 3 and finally go to SFMOMA. Alas, EB Games and CompUSA didn't have it when Michi asked around 1pm. But EB Games said to check back later that day. So we decided to go to the museum first and then come back. When we arrived at the museum though we found out that it is closed on Wednesdays. Wtf?

So we went to Cartoon Art Museum instead which is just around the corner. Part of the exhibitions were really good. I really liked the "Hate Mail" exhibition that showed controversial newspaper strips for which the artists received lots of hate mail. I found all of them great! Some other strips displayed in the museum don't make much sense if you don't already know them because they are out of context. But that didn't really bother me. They had a lot of original art there so I looked at them closely to try to learn something.

My favorite piece in the whole museum was one by a local cartoon artist named Jason Shiga. He created an interactive comic strip in the form of a huge poster. You start to read the strip in the middle of the poster and then follow pipes from one frame to the next. Every once in a while you will have a choice of where you want the story to continue. For example right in the beginning this little boy is buying ice cream. You get to decide if he'll get vanilla or chocolate. Turns out the chocolate ice cream makes him sick, so the story is totally different from the vanilla storyline. And best of all, the comic even features a time machine. Yay! I really wish he would sell this as a poster. I found out that he sells it in comic book form though so I might buy that. I wonder how many of the books you need to make the poster yourself?

Afterwards we went back to CompUSA but they didn't even know what we were talking about when we asked for Master of Orion 3. At least I got to try out the new 12" Apple Powerbook. Whoa! I want!

So we went on to EB Games but they didn't have it either. They told us to come back today after noon. So we'll do that. They better have it today. I can't see Michi being sad like that. And the worst thing is that everybody else seems to have gotten their shipment of MOO3. We heard reports from people elsewhere in the Bay Area (like San Jose and Palo Alto) who didn't have problems buying it. You just couldn't get it in San Francisco.

[Archive Link]  Posted by Edda at 21:49 CET  |  [Comments Link]  1 comments

Wednesday, 26 February 2003

Stuff Happened

Friday we finally did the hike from Land's End to the Sutro Baths. It was a beautiful day and not very windy. We didn't explore all the paths though so I think we'll go back some day to do that. From Point Lobos we took the bus to downtown to meet up with David in the Playstation store at the Metreon. Dark Cloud 2 had just been released and we had read a couple of very promising reviews, so we wanted to playtest that. David also found out that DDR Max is out. The prices at the Metreon were too high though so we went to EB Games. David bought Dark Cloud 2, DDR Max and Parappa the Rapper 2.

Dark Cloud 2 is a fun game so far. And I haven't even had the chance to test all the features yet. The invention system is kinda fun, although I see me running around with that damn camera all the time trying to find stuff I can make a new invention out of. David also managed to get me interested in DDR. It's actually quite fun and a good workout too if you do it long enough. The harder songs are also insanely challenging for me at the moment. But I'm sure I'll get better with a little practice. DDR Max also lets two players play simultaneously on different difficulty settings. So David and I can play at the same time with him doing more complicated steps than me. That is a lot of fun.

On Saturday Pooh took us shopping for snowboard clothing for David. I found those cool earwarmers that wrap around the back of your head, thereby not messing up your hair. I had seen them first in Chicago on some of the people I met there and I'm glad I own a pair now for the next winter in Berlin. I was also very tempted to buy me a new winter/snowboard jacket because they were so reduced in price and I've wanted a new winter jacket for a while. Unfortunately though the women's jackets all have these icky pastelly colors and the men's jackets are a little too tight around the hips for me and have too long arms.

The evening was spent playing games and drinking with Pooh and Brina's ex-coworker John. It was the first time I met John in real life. He is a fun guy!

On Sunday David's sister Jennie came to visit us with her little daughter Gwen. We had fun playing with Gwen. She's a cutie.

Monday Michi and I had to get up early because the house cleaners were coming to, well, clean the house. So we left the house by 9:30am (which is really early for us). It was pretty overcast so we decided to go to SFMOMA. On the way there we came by a bunch of very interesting stores though (e.g. EB Games again where we checked for Masters of Orion 3 which of course wasn't yet available). We also bought a couple of new Lone Wolf and Cub books in a comic store at the Metreon.

We met up with David for lunch and later didn't really feel like spending more time walking so we we saw Daredevil at the Metreon instead of going to SFMOMA. On our way home we checked two more stores to see if they sold the third volume of Lone Wolf and Cub because the first store had been sold out of these. Alas, none of them had the third volume. All the stores had all the books except the third. Strange. We also happened upon a flyer for an asian film festival in March. That looks very interesting, so we'll try to catch a couple of films there.

Today (Tuesday) Michi and I went to "our bench" in Golden Gate Park where we read books (Michi finished Otherland and I continued to read Ender's Game) and I drew a bit.

[Archive Link]  Posted by Edda at 06:33 CET  |  [Comments Link]  1 comments

Thursday, 20 February 2003

Time Travel

Yesterday's episode of Enterprise was about time travel. Episodes about time travel are usually my favorite kind of Star Trek episode. And this one was pretty good as well. David was ecstatic when he found out that the Tholians where in it because he remembered them from an episode of the original series.

Later that evening I caught the last twenty minutes of a ST:Voyager episode which turned out to be about time travel as well. Odd.

[Archive Link]  Posted by Edda at 23:25 CET  |  [Comments Link]  1 comments

Windy City

Yesterday we wanted to walk along the trail from Land's End to Pt. Lobos. When we got there though it was so freaking windy that we decided to do it some other day. Instead we went to Green Apple Books, used book store on Clement St. That store was great. It is packed with books. Every surface that is not needed for walking on it is loaded with books. We spent quite some time there (I could spend a whole day in there without getting bored. I just love books). Afterwards we walked down Clement for a bit to look at the cute little, mostly Chinese, stores in that area. After a while we found a store selling Japanese action figures and anime related merchandise. Of course I was weak and couldn't resist buying a whole set of 1 inch porcelain Totoro miniatures. It's all David's fault. He showed me the damn movie and ever since I cannot walk past Totoro merchandise.

After that we took the bus down Geary to an art supplies store where I bought some paper that I can use my new markers on. The other paper I tried didn't go well with the markers as they bled too much. I haven't tried drawing on the new paper yet but it's very smooth so I'm confident I'll like it.

[Archive Link]  Posted by Edda at 23:19 CET  |  [Comments Link]  0 comments

Wednesday, 19 February 2003

Damage Report

So I’m back in San Francisco after two days of snowboarding. I have bruises on my knees and butt and sore muscles in places where I didn’t even know I had muscles. But snowboarding is so much fun I’m already thinking about going back. But let me start from the beginning.

We left for Tahoe Saturday morning at 6:30am. Pooh had spent the night at David’s place so we could get going as early as possible. There wasn’t much traffic and we arrived at Sierra (our first ski resort) around 10:30am. First we walked up the bunny slope and I strapped on the board for the first time. One of the first things I tried was doing a turn. Of course that resulted in me eating snow. Then Pooh told me to start with the basic thing first: how to brake. I then proceeded to edge my way down the slope (without turning) to get a feel for the board. When we had walked up the slope three times we were tired of it and also pretty exhausted. So we walked back to the car for some water. Michi and I also bought a pair of wrist protectors each because we kept hurting our wrists when trying to catch a fall.

When we came back Pooh and Michi showed me how to skate after getting off a lift and took me on my first lift to the top of a beginner’s slope. Getting off the lift must be one of the scariest things for most beginners and I was a little nervous too. Of course I fell :) After making it down that slope for the first time I had decided that I didn’t like the way I had my bindings mounted to the board (goofy, right foot in front) and walked to the car again to switch that while Michi and Pooh rode the slope some more. Then I went down the slope with them a couple of times. I fell a lot, especially on my knees and butt but I managed to do a couple of turns, even two or three in a row without falling. After a couple more rides down the slopes Pooh decided to call it quits for that day because her knee started to hurt. Michi and i rode some more but after a while my knees and butt hurt so badly (I kept falling on ice) that I quit as well (the slopes were about to close anyway).

We got into the car and drove towards South Lake Taho to look for a place to stay. It took us an hour to get there because what seemed like hundred thounsands of other people had the same intention. We then spent another three hours looking for an affordable place to stay. We had totally forgotten that it was President’s Day weekend (and also Valentine’s Day Weekend) which made the prices for rooms skyrocket to unbelievable dimensions. $250 for a room for one night were not uncommon. And we’re talking just simple motels here, nothing fancy. Also motel owners dictated the prices completely at will. One motel was $150 per night when we asked at first and when we came back 15 minutes later it suddenly was $200. We were very frustrated. Finally we found a motel run by a very nice Chinese couple who offered us a room for $150 for the first night (their last vacant room) and a better room for the second night for $59. We were so exhausted from snowboarding, the room search and sleep deprivation from the night before that we just found us a random place to eat near the motel (a sandwich place that turned out to fix pretty good sandwiches) and then went to bed at 10:00pm and slept until 8:00am on Sunday.

When we woke up the next day the scenery outside had completely changed from no snow to 6 inches of snow. It was beatiful with the sun shining and all. That day we went to Heavenly which was only a five minute walk from our motel. The gondola ride up to the resort is beautiful with a gorgeous view on the lake. Heavenly is a very beautiful resort but unfortunately tailored for skiers and not for snowboarders. The first slope we tried started out very nicely and with the fresh snow falling didn’t hurt as much as it had the day before. But after a while the slope turned into this almost flat and quite narrow trail that required snowboarders to hop along or remove one foot from the binding and skate until the next drop. That was no fun at all and also very exhausting. When we finally reached the bottom of the slope we noticed that we had missed the exit to the top of the gondola. The only way to get back there from where we were was to take a lift to the very top of the mountain and then go down a very flat, narrow and long looking trail and an expert slope. We didn’t really want to push our boards again so we stopped to have lunch.

We ordered a bowl of chili each and they told us they had just run out and we would have to wait 10-15 minutes before the new one was ready. We waited but when we got back there was still no chili. So they gave us our money back and said we could still get chili in 15 minutes. We waited some more (while getting colder and colder) but the chili was still not done. So they told us we could get something else instead. So we got hot dogs. Oh well. At least they were free. By the time we were finished with lunch we were half frozen because the sun had been gone for the time we were there and a chilly wind was blowing all the time.

So we walked to the next slope (one that would take us even further away from the gondola but we weren’t going to spend a couple of hours pushing our boards along flat trails. I began to get better and managed to do quite a few turns without falling and also learned how to brake when facing the hill (i.e. with my back downhill) which I found harder than the other way around. The other slopes we did that day were better but still very narrow and sometimes quite flat. Also we had to wait half an hour in order to get on some of the lifts because there were so many people trying to get on. So I guess I won’t do Heavenly again with a snowboard. We came down to South Lake Tahoe at a different spot than where we had started but fortunately there were shuttles bringing people from one spot to the other.

In the evening we met up with a couple of Pooh’s friends, had dinner with them and spend most of the evening chatting with them. They had to leave after dinner though because they had to work the next day. They drove us back to our motel where we played a game and watched some TV before we went to bed.

Monday we did not hit the slopes because Pooh’s knee hurt too much. Instead we left town around 11am and spent over an hour in a traffic jam while trying to get out of the city. Turned out the jam was caused by a single traffic light. Argh. We had a couple of other jams on the way, so it took us 6 hours to get home instead of just three to four.

It was a great weekend and I hope I can go up there again soon. While I was there I learned:

  • …how to snowboard
  • …that 80% of all motels in South Lake Tahoe seem to be operated by people from India
  • …that once you cross the state line from California to Nevada every hotel also has a casino inside and you get asked if you want smoking or non-smoking when you enter a restaurant
  • …that there are four year old kids who can snowboard better than me
  • …that there are better times to go snowboarding than a holiday weekend
  • …how to operate a tissue properly to blow my nose while wearing gloves
[Archive Link]  Posted by Edda at 10:50 CET  |  [Comments Link]  0 comments

Saturday, 15 February 2003

Breaking Bones

I feel much better today. So Michi and I will go snowboarding at Lake Tahoe with Pooh until Monday. I'm very excited about this. I've been wanting to learn to snowboard for years now but never got around to it. And now I'll do it at one of America's nicest ski resorts. Whee!

[Archive Link]  Posted by Edda at 06:46 CET  |  [Comments Link]  1 comments

Thursday, 13 February 2003

Back in Spring

We're back from Chicago. I'm a little sad because we had such a great time there. The people we met were great. I just wish we could've spent more time with them. Unfortunately I caught a cold somewhere and currently spend most of the day feeling miserable (but not miserable enough to stay away from the internet). I'll post more when I feel better...

[Archive Link]  Posted by Edda at 01:09 CET  |  [Comments Link]  3 comments

Thursday, 6 February 2003

Chicago

Tomorrow (well actually today) Brina, David, Michi and me will fly to Chicago to attend RandyCon, a weekend full of playing games and hanging out with friends and also Randy’s birthday party. I won’t have internet access while I’m there but wouldn’t have time to go online anyway. Be back Monday.

[Archive Link]  Posted by Edda at 09:25 CET  |  [Comments Link]  1 comments

Wednesday, 5 February 2003

Quake

Oh and by the way, we had our first earthquake on Sunday morning. Actually it was a swarm of little quakes, the strongest being a 4.2 (which was the one we felt). Actually I didn't even feel it. I stood in the kitchen making breakfast when I heard the cupboards rattle. The others were lying on the floor in the living room and actually felt the ground shake.

Maybe I'm immune to quakes or something. I once slept through a pretty big one in my hometown of Koblenz that hit in the middle of the night. The whole city was awake and scared but I didn't even wake up. Oh well...

[Archive Link]  Posted by Edda at 23:39 CET  |  [Comments Link]  0 comments

Japan Toys

David found this great store on Haight Street, kidrobot. They sell all kinds of vinyl toys, like action figures, mini figures and best of all mini remote control cars. And they only sell the good stuff from Japan. When we were there last time I bought a customizable action figure and a kidrobot T-shirt because I really like their logo. Next time I go there I'll test drive some of the mini remote controlled cars. And then I'll decide if I want the very cool looking, super small minis with infrared technology by digiQ (who also do mini tanks that can play laser tag *drool*). Or the half an inch larger, radio controlled Bit Char-Gs that don't look as cool (imho) but are manually customizable. Hmmm.

Michi and I walked through Japantown yesterday. And oh my god, the Japanese are truly the masters of gadgets. I had lots of fun browsing through the stores and admiring all the crazy stuff. This only reassures me that I definitely have to go to Japan one day (when I have lots of money I can spend on stuff).

[Archive Link]  Posted by Edda at 23:27 CET  |  [Comments Link]  1 comments

Sunday, 2 February 2003

Oops

Oh gosh, it's been over a week since my last post. Where did all the time go? Last weekend our friend Chad came to visit from LA. He stayed until Tuesday night and we had lots of fun. Saturday was Game Day (boardgames) with 12 people where I got to meet new friendly gamer people which was cool. Sunday was the other Game Day (American Football). We watched to game but it was rather boring so we talked and drank beer most of the time, mostly missing the few good scenes in the game.

On Monday Chad, Michi and me drove to Monterey with Pooh, her sister and two of her sisters friends where we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Aquarium is very cool but a little overpriced for my taste ($18 per person). I got a couple of cool pictures though which I will make available online soon. In the evening we had sushi (yummy, and it's so cheap here) and then went to a jazz club with a live band. Normally I'm not necessarily a jazz fan but played live in that club it was very good.

Tuesday was a great day so we met up with Pooh and her friends again and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge (all the way accross and all the way back). In the evening we went to a great Thai place that Pooh had found and later to an Irish pub and then to a Tiki bar where we had a bunch of good cocktails. Naturally we were all quite drunk after that (I was almost drunk enough to let people persuade me to dance). Later we went on top of Pooh's roof from where you have a gorgeous view over San Francisco and the GG Bridge. Chad left later that evening. It was great meeting Chad and I hope we'll get to spend some more time with him soon.

The rest of the week was spent by going to the Japanese Tea Garden (which is great, but unfortunately there was no water in most of the ponds because they were cleaning them) and Chinatown. Chinatown was nicely decorated for the Chinese new year. I especially liked Stockton St. where the Chinese people shop and you can find almost no tourists. It felt like a completely different world: all the signs were in Chinese, the sidewalk was crowded with Chinese people, and the stores sold funny vegetables and super fresh fish and seafood. I wanna go back there with somebody who speaks Chinese so they can tell me what all the signs mean and translate the menu in the restaurants for me.

[Archive Link]  Posted by Edda at 02:22 CET  |  [Comments Link]  0 comments

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