Monday, November 07, 2005

June 16th

Another great weekend. My parents came out to celebrate my Dad's birthday, and I reveled in another opportunity to entertain and explore. They were on their own for Thursday and Friday, and we joined forces over the weekend to form the King Squad, a ragtag group of misfits with superior powers of reason and humor who conquer everything in their paths.

The bullet points for the visit:
  • Went to Scott's Seafood on Thursday Night. By far the fanciest restaurant I've been to in... well, I was going to say San Jose, but quite possibly ever, not counting weddings and such. Unbelievably good food.
  • Went to hear the San Francisco Symphony play in the Flint Center Friday night. Wonderful concert. I haven't heard live classical music (not counting Christopher O'Riley) since going to my brother Pat's Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra concerts back in the day, and realized how much I'd missed it. The program featured pieces by Britten, Stravinsky, and a composer named Oliver Knussen. The whole show was good, but I particularly enjoyed the selections from Britten’s “Peter Grimes.”
  • Saturday morning had breakfast with my aunt Fran, cousin Jenny, and... um... cousin's daughter (so is she my grand-niece? second cousin?) at Jenny's house. It was a really fun, relaxing, enjoyable time. Great to get caught up with them, and fun to hear the adults interacting.
  • Drove up to Millbrae and took BART downtown. Mom was On A Mission to check out a huge fabric store called Britex. Dad and I discovered Union Square, which I'd never seen before, spent some time there, then walked around a bit and checked out "Cody's Books," which is in the process of opening a store just north of Market.
  • Took the N line out to Golden Gate park and had lunch in a good Mexican restaurant called "La Fonda."
  • Walked into Golden Gate Park. Made a detour into the botanical gardens that turned into a really long and pleasant stroll. There's an amazing variety of plants and trees in there, we saw a lot but I'll need to come back sometime.
  • Walked up past the Japanese Tea Gardens to the new De Young Museum. Explored the sculpture gardens, admired the building, and speculated on some construction occurring nearby.
  • Swung down a road to a nifty lake near the park's center, with lots of paddleboats and a large hill rising in the center. We found a bridge and crossed over. After about ten minutes of ascension and crossing a waterfall we got to the top, and were rewarded with pretty impressive views of the bay, the ocean, Golden Gate Bridge (I bet this is the only place in the park where it's visible), and much of the city including the Transamerica building.
  • Caught the N line back downtown, and reversed routes to return home.
  • They cooked a really excellent meal - Beef Stroganoff, which I haven't had in a darn long time.
  • I educated Mom and Dad on "The Daily Show" (though I picked the wrong episode, definitely not Jon's best) and "Sealab 2021" (the hilarious robot episode).
  • On Sunday went to PBC, a church that colleagues of both my parents have recommended, and crashed their Missions Sunday.
  • Went hiking. Got sort of lost. With Mom's superior map-reading powers we were able to reorient and get where we were headed. Found yet another really spectacular vista point with a great view of the Santa Clara Valley.
  • Went for a drive. Mom treated Dad by renting a red Mustang convertible for the weekend. We stopped at Erik's for sandwiches, took the top down, crossed the mountains and motored along the Pacific Coast.
  • Stopped at a really cool beach and hung out. It was definitely too cold to swim, as always, but many people were out walking or lying on the sand. The beach looked impressive because it was shaped like a semicircle, with high cliffs on all sides (with two slopes you could scramble down) and the cliffs extended out quite a way into the water. There were some impressive breakers thrown up when the waves crashed against the cliffs. While sitting down we met a man who was walking with his bird (I thought it was a parrot but it wasn't, I don't recall the species now) named Jonathan. Really friendly guy, we talked a lot about his bird and what it was like raising him. Later on Dad and I went exploring along the ridgeline and discovered a cabbage field that extended all the way to the cliff's edge. Very cool.
  • Drove back home, picked up some Mr. Chau's Chinese Fast Food (same place I ate at before, they were slightly more polite this time) and rented "A Beautiful Mind," which Mom and Dad have wanted to see for a while. My reaction was largely the same this time around as the first; I really enjoy the bits where [SPOILERS] he's crazy and thinks he's a spy. Some really cool shots, especially the crazy magazine walls. But the movie totally loses me at the end with one of the worst lines in all cinema, something like "It is only in the mysterious equations of love that we can discover true logic and reason," which is not only clunky but also amazingly, infuriatingly, absolutely wrong. Anti-right. It is the antithesis of 25 years of my personal experience and I refuse to entertain the possibility that it is correct. (But I still enjoyed watching the movie.) [/Spoilers]
  • And that's it! They flew back home today. As always I loved having visitors, and having them in particular was a lot of fun. I didn't miss playing Civ IV once the entire weekend (and believe me, that is saying a LOT.)

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