Wednesday, November 11, 2015

San Francisco Weekend 2015

Last week, C and I went to San Francisco ostensibly to play laser tag with geeks in an abandoned hospital on an uninhabited island. What actually happened was much stranger.
First, we decided that flying commercial was passe and instead, one sleepy uber ride later, hitched a ride in a friend's ultra-shiny DA42, where twin G1000s did 99.5% of the work. The flight up was a smooth ride at 6500 feet, taking in Santa Barbara, Vandenberg, Morro Bay, Hearst Castle, Big Sur, etc, before descending to land at Hayward.
A quick ride into town confirmed our worst fears - we'd literally missed the boat to the uninhabited island and I'd forgotten my swimming trunks. Instead we wandered south along the Embarcadero until we found a science fair in a baseball park where my old geology friend S was brainwashing small children about obsidian.
We checked into our hotel before returning to the wharf to catch our laser tag buddies on their way back. One fellow ran a LIDAR startup, had a few houses and a plane subscription, and once flew his helicopter just to test it - yet to schedule a lesson with a CFI.
Always pressed for time, we headed for dinner with friends (A and A) in Hillsborough, eating a literally staggering quantity of excellent SE Asian fare. Back in SF we watched another friend (L) in a circus performance where we played the part of the tech crew, adjusting lights by singing (as a group) a set of oohs and ahs. The night was still young so we headed to a series of bars with yet more friends (S and L), swapping stories of flying near misses and dome construction.
That evening we determined that ditching the commercial flight north had so incensed Southwest that they cancelled our return flight, so I found a couple of cheap flights on skiplagged and we once again wielded our credit cards with extreme enthusiasm.
The following morning we skipped dinner and shot across town to one of the S's place, dodging an extraordinary fire that had popped up along the way. We piled into a zip car and took the 280 to Santa Cruz, where we infiltrated a super-secret (hardware) hacker illuminati meeting, before heading back toward the peninsula.
S and C dropped me near San Jose airport, where I caught up with fellow Australian expat D, discussed userspace technical innovations, new approaches to moving large quantities of data, and potential travel ideas. Once at the airport I took a powernap in the lounge, then flew back to LA, photographing five distinct layers of clouds between the surface and space. Back in LA I found a new way to get from the airport back home, where I reminded myself what sleep was.

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