Monday, October 31, 2011


This past weekend I escaped to Portland and northern Oregon. Here's part one.

Friday night in Portland = drinks. First stop = the Kennedy School.

McMenamins turned a historic 1915 schoolhouse into a hotel with multiple bars.

Besides the Brewery, seen here, there was "Detention," where you could smoke cigars.

There was also the Boiler Room, where I spent most of my time. Outstanding cocktails.

Boiler Room

Stop #2 = the world-famous Horse Brass Pub, which had just begun their 35th anniversary celebration week. Specially on tap = "Don the Younger" from Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa, CA. I'm an aficionado of RR, and of course I jumped at the chance to try this unique brew. Verdict = outstanding, and even though it was listed at 5.5%, it packed a punch.

The Horse Brass had plenty of other beers on tap, obviously including Portland-based breweries.

As a nightcap, I headed to Voodoo Doughnuts (#2 - less of a line), to get some of their kooky creations.

Yum... the bacon maple donut was easily the best (it's just to the left of the pure maple bar).

Raspberry-filled donuts never looked so cool. (Reminds me of Psycho Donuts in Campbell, CA)

Morning after = food cart time. The breakfast burrito at Nuevo Mexico (owned by the ex-drummer of the Shins) is outstanding (and half of it will fill you up).

A couple of carts down was a waffle cart, and their cornbread waffles are now in my top 3 all-time. I think this mixture of eggs, meat and waffle was called the Incredible Strong Man.

Next, it was off to Belmont Station to buy (surprise!) bottles of beer.

Their selection is outstanding, especially when it comes to local brew (like Rogue, seen here).

I was especially impressed with the number of beers from Hitachino Nest Brewery in Japan (one of my personal favorites). The Lacto Sweet Stout was pretty good, if mild on the alcohol (only 4%). You could pay an extra $1.50 to drink a bottle on the premises (good deal!).

After this, it was off to the Columbia River Gorge before heading to wine country. To be continued...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Genealogy Numbers - Weekend Food for Thought

The other day in my class, we read a story involving the ancestry of the narrator. That led to an interesting discussion about each person's number of ancestors.

I'm no genealogist, so perhaps my understanding of the following is completely off base, but nevertheless I thought I'd use simple mathematics to point out some fascinating numbers.

You = 1 person

Your parents = 2 people

Grandparents = 4 people

Great-grandparents = 8 people

Great x2 = 16 people

Great x3 = 32 people

Great x4 = 64 people

Great x5 = 128 people

Great x6 = 256 people

Great x7 = 512 people

Great x8 = 1,024 people

Great x9 = 2,048 people

Great x10 = 4,096 people

Great x11 = 8,192 people

Great x12 = 16,384 people

Great x13 = 32,768 people

I work in a city with a population of about 40,000, so knowing that I have nearly as many great (x13) grandparents (and considerably more great x 14 grandparents) is virtually impossible to fathom.

If the pattern continues up to great x20 grandparents, each individual would have 4,194,304, or roughly the size of Los Angeles proper.

Most fascinating of all, most peoples' great x20 grandparents wouldn't have lived even just 1000 years ago. If you take me, for example (b. 1982) and go back in increments of 25 years (a good average in my case, since it's approximately how old my parents were when I was born, how old my grandparents were when my parents were born, etc.), my 4,194,304 great x20 grandparents would have lived in the 15th century.

I don't know about you, but I find it extremely humbling to know that my existence is the result of millions of individuals procreating.

That's your weekend food for thought. :-)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

San Jose Sharks' Lokomotiv Tribute Decals

As the venerable David Pollak reported today on Working the Corners, the San Jose Sharks will be wearing decals on their helmets this season honoring the 44 people killed last month in the Russian plane crash that wiped out the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL team, including San Jose prospect Daniil Sobchenko.

I noticed the decal on Brent Burns' helmet during the home opener, since I was much, much closer than my usual last-row-of-the-upper-deck seats (thanks Bill). Here's a less-than-in-focus picture, but you get the idea. The letters are Cyrillic (Russian).

It's a nice touch. I'd buy a few to help support the families of those killed - please leave a URL in the comments if you know of a website offering them, provided the money goes their way.

By the way, on the opposite side of the back of the helmet is a Hockey Fights Cancer decal.

Go Sharks, and rest in peace, Lokomotiv.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Loose Ends Photos

I've been so busy lately in my professional life that I haven't done many updates about my equally busy personal life (work hard, play harder). Here are the odds and ends of the last month and a half.

I went geocaching for the first time with the bros. Haven't been since, but it was "an experience."

I went to San Diego (previously posted), and loved Coronado Beach.

So did this couple.

The Hotel del Coronado is worth seeing even if you're not staying there (and I wasn't).

Got to see my only road MLB game of the season = Giants @ Padres. Pablo Sandoval hit 2 home runs that day (his second one is seen here).

Gorgeous ballpark - almost a shame it was entirely orange inside. ;-) Giants won 7-2.

I scored tickets to Band of Horses @ the Fillmore, right before it sold out. Very good show (third time seeing them).

Got to see one of my favorite musicians, Patrick Wolf, at Bimbo's 365. Completely different show from his normal sets = quiet and subdued rather than loud and rambunctious. Still amazing.

Got to go up to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. This is the set of Measure for Measure, which I HIGHLY recommend (it closes in early November, so get a move on - it's worth the drive).

Jim Vandermeer stares into my camera at the San Jose Sharks Teal & White autograph session.

My buddies Patrick, Keith and I got about 10 to 12 autographs, including Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray, seen here.

I usually don't post work related stuff for privacy reasons, but I took my class to Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California.

We hiked to Bumpass Hell, seen here.

We also saw the Jelly Belly Factory on the way home (I had never been, and I'm a Bay Area native).

In one show, I got to see (for the second time) Buddy Guy...

...and (also for the second time) BB King.

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival this year was pretty fun - this is my alternative rock idol, Bob Mould.

Big crowds for HSBF (Fitz & the Tantrums are onstage).

I succumbed to the hype regarding Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco = this is their Ma Po Tofu, recently listed as the #1 culinary dish to try in SF this year. It's good... without superlatives, though.

Got to see Abigail Washburn and Robyn Hitchcock in Felton (right across the street from my church).

Even got Robyn Hitchcock to autograph my copy of The Soft Boys' Underwater Moonlight.

Artisanal ice cream is all the rage in the city. Bi-Rite (menu seen here) and Humphry Slocombe are equally amazing. Where else can you get bourbon ice cream?

Fleet Week was impressive - it was even better from the rooftop of my friend's fiance's place.

I hadn't attended Off the Grid before last Friday. All the main food trucks in the city congregate in one location (on this occasion it was at Fort Mason). The Chairman Bao truck served some pretty awesome steamed bao rolls.

It was pretty popular.

Another awesome find from Off the Grid = the $5 Moroccan veal tongue taco from the Taco Guys truck. Worth every penny - I wish I could have one every day.

These guys are definitely worth seeking out in the North Bay (or even more easily at Off the Grid).

My buddy Bill and his wife Christina finally made it out to San Jose for a Sharks game. His fandom is now complete (he's been a fan since 1991, despite being a New Jersey native).

We got excellent seats for the occasion. :-)

I had been to Alcatraz only once before in my life; having Bill in town was the perfect excuse to go again.

Not to mention that it was during Fleet Week.

I enjoyed my visit much better the second time around (18 year olds don't appreciate anything ;-) ).

Despite its reputation, Alcatraz wasn't all bad, considering its amazing views.

Lastly, I made it to see the stellar SF band Girls @ the Great American Music Hall.

Excellent, excellent show. It helped that I was front row, esp. since it was sold out.

So that's what I've been up to lately... pretty boring, right? ;-)