Sunday, August 12, 2007

The sixth anniversary is... penguins?

So I'm at a 2/4 limit table at the Luxor, still a little steamed (and sleepy) from an early-morning tournament loss (who plays poker at 9 a.m.? Apparently I'm not the only one - hence the sleepy), when a giant penguin sneaks up behind me and goes "bap bap bap" (here you should imagine the penguin beak pecking at my shoulder). This is not a hallucination - Andrew has gotten me a life-size stuffed toy emperor penguin. Context: "life size" == "larger than the carry-on sizing bin for an airline" or "tall enough to see over a poker table". The penguin brought me good luck, though, and overall the poker play was profitable for both of us this time in Vegas. (We solved the "bigger than a carry-on" problem by sitting it on my lap in the plane, where it made an excellent pillow; it did take some explaining to get it through the security checkpoint.)

So now I have to think of something equally cool to get Andrew as an anniversary present. Suggestions from the peanut gallery are welcome, but it sounds like he wants another camera.

This was a fun trip to Vegas. We played poker in the Luxor, the Excalibur, and the Bellagio. We intended to play at the Rio and Mandalay, but they were only running no-limit at the time, so no go. Context switching from limit to no-limit is something I don't do quickly. All poker rooms we played in were nonsmoking (a welcome change from last time I was in town for gambling purposes) and had several tables running at once. All were near the casinos' sports books, so I watched an unusual amount of ESPN too. The Bellagio's poker room is very nice, but I'm not a big fan of the clientele it attracts - imagine the stereotypical young aggressive hoodie-wearing player who won't shut up about how stupid he thinks you are. Even if you're taking his money. That's just not fun. All the other card rooms seemed to have a nice mix of tourists, locals, and other assorted people who do not Take Seriously a game of low-limit poker.

We ate at Michael Mina's, which was seriously awesome. I didn't know beforehand that he was also the chef at Aqua, but the similarities are apparent. The tasting menu had this lobster pot pie thing, and tuna tartare, and the yummiest cod ever, and kobe-style beef with foie gras and lots of different sauces, and then loads of chocolate-themed desserts.. each dish seemed small, but I didn't need to eat for the whole next day because it was just that filling. I have also been instructed to try to replicate the chocolate chip cookies, which were quite something.

We saw Penn&Teller and the Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil, which were both pretty cool. It's sort of hard to describe either one, though.

Monday, August 06, 2007

the kind of summer that involves gorillas hawaii two weddings idaho harry potter vegas

Wow, it's been a busy few months. I was gonna post, and then I was busy, and then I forgot, and then my friends started launching all of these new features, so I figured I have to post. So. Features! Woot! Add a poll to your blog.

In June I ran 7K in a gorilla suit for charity. OK, not exactly running the whole way, on account of the gorilla suit being freaking hot, but at least running some. There were a few hundred of us in Golden Gate Park, which was pretty cool. This convinced me that I was quite out of shape, so I've been running more since. I figured I was getting somewhere, and then I read in the paper about Haile Gebrselassie, who ran the New York half marathon in less than an hour (which is, like, 13 miles an hour, for a whole hour?) and I'm, like, happy when I sprint at 7 mph... I take solace in the idea that Mr. Gebrselassie probably can't code his way out of a paper bag.

Also in June we went to Bryan and Anishya's wedding in Hawaii. I'd never been to Hawaii, so it was really fun to go and do all the touristy things, including hanging out on Mount Haleakala. Hmm.. I see that this deck has no photos of the 35-pound tuna that Andrew caught. Well, there was a giant tuna, which he assures me put up a fight to confound three grown men. (Except, of course, for him.) We ate sashimi for quite some time afterwards.

After last year's "no boats" resolution, we decided to spend the fourth of July at a higher vantage point, so we rode up Twin Peaks to watch the fireworks. (This is the part where I am obligated to tell you that Andrew's bike weighs three times as much as mine, and thus it was a manly amount of work for him.) It was a little fogged in but the fireworks in Marin County went over the fog line so it was a pretty cool show.

Autumn and Steven also got married in July, in a very nice ceremony with tons of people we sort of knew from school. (I counted five generations of CS1 head TAs in attendance, including me.) I knew it was the right group when I walked up and heard a vibrant discussion of whether the chairs arranged on the deck had the right symmetry, with several measuring tapes proved out to pull it.

This year also marked my 10-year high school reunion, so we went back to Idaho for the celebration. It was pretty fun, all things considered. We went hiking in the Tetons with my parents and Amy, which was cool (photos to come). My mom held up pretty well despite the challenging route up the gravelly bits of the mountain. Times have sure changed in the years I've been gone: I discovered that Idaho Falls now has two of my three essential pillars of civilization: high speed internet and sushi(The third pillar is same-day delivery of the New York Times.) The sushi was quite enjoyable and well-presented. And before you think, "how am I going to get my non-sushi-eating relatives to go to the sushi restaurant?", know that this restaurant is also a bar and grill, with actual fully-cooked fishies. I got to see lots of old friends, and say "look! I have a cool job, live in a fun city and have no children!". Andrew politely made [the same tidbit of] conversation throughout the evening and was quite a gentleman. Oh, plus, the Simpsons movie was pretty awesome. Not as awesome as the final Harry Potter book, which I read while he went out hiking with the guys the weekend before we went to Idaho (one of whom (no names) brought his copy of the Harry Potter book with them hiking (err.. I should say my copy - due to impatience with the US Postal Service, I stuck around to wait for his late copy so he could go to the bookstore before the hike to purchase the copy as I had planned to do.)).

This we're going to Vegas to celebrate our six-year anniversary. Six years of anything is a long time, compared to my life span. I think that's the longest I've done anything. (The job is coming up on six years in a month or so.) Some of my high school friends have been married for more than 10 years now, so I guess it's not that long. Well, you find a good thing and stick to it.

In theory there should be lots of summer photos up on the flickr page, but Andrew has taken a teaching job at a charter school (starting... now... ok, 7 a.m. tomorrow) so there is less time to postprocess and post the photos. But they will be up eventually.