Slight Return

My second trip to San Francisco was shorter, but sweeter. And despite being there for less than five days, I managed to consume more alcohol than the last two-week jaunt, aided and abetted of course by winebratsf. It may have been a washed-out weekend, but it was a fun one.

So huge!

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Now, though, I’m looking forward to getting back to Durham this evening and staying there for a while. We’ll see how long that lasts, anyhow…

Rosé By Any Other Name Would Not Taste So Sweet

“Here, the intersection of the timeless moment is England and nowhere. Never and always.”

“It’s like honey / you can’t buy it with money”

I find myself, as ever, with nothing useful to say.

The Two Hour Stopover…At Home

It has been a week where my world has turned upside-down multiple times, involving four states and the knowledge that very soon I’ll have spent more time in San Francisco this year than my own house. Oh, and I’m currently on a plane to Atlanta.

And yet, despite all that, things seem more stable than they did last week. But that’s probably a story for another time and place. This is the week where I went to Cincinnati, failed to escape from a house where a group of us were trying to rescue a stolen painting before a museum opening, went to the cinema and tried to work out exactly what cartoon character George Clooney reminded me of in Hail, Caesar! (still haven’t worked that out, but it was a fun film nonetheless), finally ate Skyline Chili, and discovered the horrors waiting at the end of April in Pandemic Legacy. All in all, a delightful introduction to Ohio, though I think I am cured of my need to ever try Skyline ever again. I may also have completely wrecked Tammy’s plans to eat healthy, continuing my evil schemes to visit and up the sugar content of all my friends. Bwahahaahaha.

Skyline!

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The fifth plane ride in four days. But a bigger plane at long last! A 737 with big engines and lots of people onboard. But due to canny (or uncanny, depending on how you want to look at it) planning, I managed to get home from Ohio with five hours to spare before the next flight. Same minds would have stayed in the airport and migrated over to the other terminal. However, this is me. Instead, I went home, made a cup of tea (I am still nothing but a stereotype), showered, re-packed, and then headed back to the glorious delights of RDU Terminal 1. It was nice to see the house again, if only for a little while. Unfortunately, my cardboard mountain continues to grow in the absence of recycling pickup:

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I would like to say that after this week, things will calm down a touch…but that appears not to be the case. Atlanta this week, and then a mid-week trip to San Francisco again for work. This, however, does have the benefit of being able to visit winebratsf again, to a) bring chocolates and thus mess with her sugar levels (I’m dedicated to this plan, you know), and b) participate in cocktail making and Gilmore Girls marathons.

After that, though…I would like to stay in Durham again for a while, I have windows to replace and family visiting. Plus, it is almost March. That snuck up on me.

Are You Being Served?

Well, not yet. But probably soon.

An odd week. And likely to get odder.

Finally, Durham

It has been a long time. But I am currently about to spend my second night in Durham for what seems a long, long time.

Meanwhile, we may trace the import of American Prom Culture to the UK to Grange Hill in 1989. Or thereabouts.

(yes, past the Death of Danny Kendall now)

Second week of San Francisco (okay, apparently, I’m legally required to point out that it was Newark, just in case people get the wrong idea) was much quieter than the first, mainly because I was working onsite, but partly because I fell ill around Tuesday evening.

It is nice to be home (in the Durham one, anyway), but I spent most of Saturday in a tired haze, and it’s the end of Sunday right now. A weekend pretty much lost.

But, look on the bright side, I guess: a week in Durham! Complete with a Spark Meetup on Tuesday night, and then a weekend of finally getting back into the Chocolate Room and making the first major batch of chocolates for the year.

Talk Of The Town

It has been an odd week. My one-week trip to San Francisco suddenly became two, with a week-long preamble before the actual engagement. So I have spent the week in a hotel lobby working during the day, and then sometimes braving BART in the evening for a quick trip into the city.

Of course, I’m not quite in San Francisco itself, but Newark, which I didn’t know existed before Sunday evening (natives of the Bay Area point out that is a good thing, and really, I should have remained in that blissful state of ignorance). Exploration of the city itself was therefore put mostly on hold until the weekend.

But what a weekend! Saturday was split into two - firstly, the traditional ‘Ian walks for miles and miles and is then surprised that his foot hurts’ approach. This involved a quick breakfast of macarons, a voyage to Dandelion Chocolate (they have a brownie flight, which seems the most SF-thing ever), a disastrous attempt to visit Costco (on a Saturday afternoon no less - what was I thinking?), a pilgrimage to DNA Lounge, and then the long, long walk to the where I was staying. Turns out that they weren’t joking about the hills. Not one bit.

Having had something of a rest, it was time for the second part of the day. I have a new friend! Winebratsf of LushiousLushes had spent part of the week taunting me with the abundance of dark chocolate digestives in San Francisco, but also suggested that she could show me some edited highlights of the city. Which mainly included gin (Whitechapel), whiskey (Whiskey Thieves), with a brief stop for food and stocking up on spirits that aren’t on the NC ABC list.

Eventually, after a merry night (and learning lots about American whiskey!), I staggered back home . Or rather, continued my week-long foray into the world of ride-sharing. I can see why it’s popular. They gave me $50 of free credit for signing up, and it was pretty easy to get places using it. That didn’t stop me from feeling guilty about it, mind you. I wonder if the geospatial / communications tech could be commoditized and passed around to local taxi companies.

Sunday! Brunch! More walking! And then back to the hotel. With ibuprofen to help my poor foot. Sadly, I had to skip Oakland this time, but hopefully, I’ll be back!

San Francisco

Concrete!

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Brownie flight.

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jwz.

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Did I really just walk all that way? (Yes)

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Gin!

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The legally-required photo of a tram in SF.

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Om nom nom

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Suddenly, Columbia???

I’m writing this from the second gate change in Charlotte airport waiting for a flight to San Francisco, haven been driven up by Tammy from Columbia. Now, my intended weekend was to relax after a rather stressful deployment to Nashville1 and then roll into work on Monday to finish off a project that has been hanging over me for…oooh, about three months.

The snowstorm put a pretty stop to that. Instead of flying home on a leisurely basis on Friday afternoon, I had to rush back to the airport in Nashville on Thursday night…but all the flights to RDU had already been cancelled, so instead I found myself flying to Columbia, SC, to spend a rather impromptu visit (and I think I caused sadness by not having brought any board games with me. So, a note: along with the passport, always carry an emergency board game). It was a fun weekend! Just not the one I was expecting.

And instead of gingerly making my way back to Durham today, it’s San Francisco. My first-ever visit to Silicon Valley. This has the potential to be exciting, but I can’t help but feel that it would have been better if it was next week instead of right now…


  1. ask me sometime about how I managed to avoid re-writing the Spark Thrift Server by writing a one-line Scala function that turns a Spark Dataframe into a Hive DDL string and some hasty Hive Metastore schema changes. It’s exciting! Or…not. [return]

An Infinite Tiling of People

After a bad week where it seemed like a Hadoop cluster generated every possible problem (up to and including spontaneously generating new cluster IDs for the namenode and datanodes), it was nice to be back in Durham, even only for a short time.

But, no time for love, Dr. Jones, as after waking up on Saturday morning, it was time to re-pressurize my back right tyre and head all the way to Raleigh where I met up with Tammy, Robert, the two smaller humans, and Christie for a visit to the Escher exhibit at the NC Museum of Art. All this time I’ve lived here, and this was the first time I’ve visited!

I can definitely recommend catching the exhibit in the upcoming (and last week), with one tiny caveat: if you don’t like crowds, try and go during the weekday if possible. There were so many people around that it did at times tip over into being ‘not fun’. If that happens to you, a quick escape to the West Building will lead to fewer people, airy spaces, and the ability to breathe. We didn’t even attempt the Da Vinci exhibit, as that looked even worse (with the additional complication of having to go through a metal detector).

Otherwise, I spent the weekend watching Series 9 of Grange Hill. Yes, the Zammo series. It was probably about a year or so before I really started watching it as a child (I’m guessing ‘87 or ‘88…looking at the wikipedia synopsis, it must have been ‘87), but it’s interesting to see how much gets rattled through alongside the ‘drugs are bad!’ plot that winds through the episodes. We get prejudice against single mothers, underage drinking, ill-advised student-teacher relationships, bullying, foster care issues, open warfare between the staff and governors, threats of strike action over lack of school resources, DANNY KENDALL, dealing with grammar school / secondary modern merging, and yes, the strange person that comes to school on the first day of the fifth year after not shaving all summer. Ahem.

That’s more than you’d see in a lot of ‘adult’ drama serials these days.

Anyhow, a terrible week where we lost David Bowie and Alan Rickman, and I watched Grange Hill and felt old. Plus, all the hot chicken places recommended in Nashville are either shut or close early on Sunday, which is less useful when today is likely the only time I would have been able to go into Nashville itself. Bah.

Suddenly, Nashville

What I didn’t realize about Nashville is that it would be this cold. Seriously, it’s like Boston in March out there (of course, minus the snow). Hot chicken is planned for later in the week, work schedule permitting (ideally, I’d like to go to Hattie B’s this week, and then Prince’s next week, but we shall see).

I’m pausing now to start an amazing new dimension to my travelling life. After over three years of consulting at Mammoth Data, this time, this time, my friends, I have brought tea bags. I will be making a proper cup of tea in my hotel room for the first time.

(yes, the first time it occurred to me in all those years was last night around 11pm. And yes, I did treat it as if it was up there with discovering fire or gravity)

Back now. The lack of a spoon almost led me into stormy waters, but I discovered a plastic straw thing that seemed to work (it did not melt in the tea, so that’s a start). I feel that I need to bring a travel mug to make it a proper cup, though. And that means I can buy a new mug! So this new approach of high living is turning out dividends already.

First restaurant visit of the trip was Local Taco, which sadly made me think that it has been too long since I’ve been to La Vaquita. Not terrible, but not exciting either. Tomorrow, though, a Korean flavour: Soy Bistro. I’m hoping it’s good, because if it is, I’ll likely be eating there several times this week…