I'll also include some here from Missy's superbowl party, just for decoration :)
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Here I am, back in San Francisco for a weekend of personal time before a geothermal conference at Stanford on Monday. I'm staying at the same hostel that Dawn and I stayed in last March because it's so affordable and in such a great location, right near Union Square. My own room, own bathroom, free wi-fi, free coffee and oatmeal in the morning, friendly people - what more could I ask for? I love spending time in this city. It's nice to be back to familiar territory and hardly even need a map.
I was afraid the rain would get me down but since I arrived yesterday afternoon everything cleared up. Did you know that the sun always shines when I come to San Francisco? If you take me camping you are guaranteed to have a near-tornado experience with lightning and maybe even some hail, but if you take me to San Fran the forecast is for sun :)
So far everyone has been SO nice, which is a relief because I am traveling alone. My friend from work was supposed to join me, but he ate some bad peanuts in a trail mix and is stuck back in DC with salmonella eating bananas :( I was slightly distressed about this as I left the airport, but it feels good to move to my own beat. This weekend is a lot less busy and scheduled than my erstwhile trips - since I've done most of the touristy things already I'm just planning to enjoy myself. I went down to the Embarcadero to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, walked to Pier 39, hiked up to Coit Tower (never did this before!), strolled through the little Italian cafes in North Beach, and cut through Chinatown on my way back. This weekend they are celebrating the Chinese New Year, so the whole place was packed. I was feeling a little claustrophobic so I didn't hang around too long, but stopped for sushi on my way back. This is the second time I've had sushi since arriving yesterday and it might be the only thing I eat while I am here this weekend! I've hardly had any these past few months so I'm going to get my fill while I can. I haven't really felt like taking pictures but I'll post a few here from my walk just for some visual effects.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
George Bush decided that for security's sake, everyone needs a standardized personal identification card, so I am called in from work to get mine set up. I was not made aware that I'd be taking a picture and was not having a good hair day. Worser yet, I wasn't allowed to smile! I looked at the photographer incredulously and she says, "well you can smile... but you can't show your teeth". Seriously? Apparently smiling changes the attributes of your face and showing the whites of your teeth changes the whites of your eyes... who knew? I can't remember the last time I didn't smile for a picture, and I'd like to think that I smile enough that this looks more like 'me'. For some reason this whole scenario was hilarious to me and I kept laughing, making it almost impossible to get a picture. I'm sure I ended up with some kind of scrunched up, silly, half-scowl and half-grimace face on my Official Standard US Identification Card but at least we know why.
Later on, an official correspondence letter lands on my desk, handed down from my boss. We get these all the time, where people write in or email the Department of Energy and we have to write a response. The reply is printed on fancy D.O.E letterhead, copied, documented, and filed away before it is mailed. I normally don't mind writing them but this particular letter is from a senior in high school in NYC taking a public policy class. He has chosen to write to the Secretary of Energy to ask four rather difficult questions about the Secretary's position on renewable and alternative energy in the United States. Because he mentions geothermal energy once or twice in his questions this letter gets passed to my office and passed from my boss to me. Keep in mind that to be Secretary of Energy you have to be chosen and appointed by the president. I'm a little in shock as I start to craft a response, and do my best to write something as politically correct as possible! Don't be alarmed, I did consult with several people in my office and got my manager's blessing before sending it off. And hopefully the Secretary of Energy checks it over too. Oh what a funny day.