Saturday, March 29, 2008

And back to our regularly scheduled program...

My day started with taxes. Time to get these done and away with. As the image above indicates, it did not go as well as I'd have liked. I owe very little but that wasn't the problem. Last year when I filed with H&R Block, it was a pretty reasonable price. At least I remember it being like that. As a return customer, I was expecting not just similar, but quicker service. They had all of my info on their computers after all, but alas. Fail. It was just as slow and I had an extra form that needed to be filled out for stocks because some stocks were automatically sold to cover the profit/discount from the ESPP. Anyways, ok that was nice to get that handled except the cost of services some how almost doubled from what I recall from last year so no more H&R Block. >=P And the tax lady, telling me to buy a house so I can deduct property tax and mortgages? Mind your own business! You're looking at my records. I obviously can't afford a mortgage in the Bay Area. OK, end of tax rant.

So I was also antsy about time because I wanted to get to the San Francisco Sketch Crawl at Ghiradelli Square.

A lot of people were drawing the other people drawing which I reminded me of art school but it also made me think "that's something you can do all the time!" Well, at least if you're a student. As for people, I thought getting out and drawing people in motion was more interesting. Personally speaking.

Teleport! Headed over to the Redwood Regional Park in Oakland for a hike. This is by the Canyon Meadow Staging Area. I was supposed to meet Ed and co. here for some light picnicking and a hike but got there a little late. Maybe today was an antsy day cause with no cellular reception in the middle of the woods, I didn't know if they we late or had run up the trail.

I'm usually more patient but something about sitting still did not jive with me today. So off on the trail I went.

and went...

obviously taking pictures along the way.

The weather was nice. Warm enough but not so much that a hike would cause you to get uncomfortably hot.

And then up a trail...

So this is about at the sharp left turn on the left side of the map. The blue X's are guesses at where I took these pictures. So I've already walked 1.5 miles and you'd think I'd have seen Ed and co. by now or more likely they were late and I should walk back. Nope, let's climb up the 30% grade hill instead??? So up the mountain I went. Up the trail. The even shrinking in width trail.

Until better judgement and irrational fear of non-present woodland creatures made me turn around.

I'm probably 1/2 a mile up the mountain by now.

So with the return walk back I managed to walk 4 miles supposedly looking for Ed and co. but that really turned out to an adventure in "male exploration." I really should have taken one of those map pamphlets. If I had continued on that trail, it would have looped back around.

Oh well.

So I did find Ed and co. at the picnic area (duh!) They had just finished eating but were hanging around. Karen and Jason were playing with their cute kid Theo. I started at the picnic foods so quickly that there are pictures of neither picnic of picnic foods. After an hour or so of lounging about and recharging on nourishing foods, I guess I was ready for more. Ed, Karen, Emily, and I went for a hike while Daphne stayed behind to read/sleep and Jason and Theo stayed below to play.

They had signs along the trails warning us about newts and trouts. Here was a ~5 inch newt crossing the street. I guess we just missed mating season.

Oh yeah, so that map above shows the trail we took. I don't think those maps are to scale. The curvy part on the left side of the trail on the map; yeah there were like 5x more curves. It was hard to tell just how far we were along the trail. I wish they had trail markers on the trail with corresponding indicators on the map. Just a thought.

We did hear a bunch of coyotes while on the hill. They were so goofy sounding we thought it might have been people making the sounds but some of them were just too good to be humans. Jason had taken Theo for a stroller ride along the trail and was convinced they were all coyotes.

Ok, about 7 miles +1 from walking to/from Ghiradelli to Fort Mason.

Dinner. Too tired to cook but still managed to walk 8 Clement block (and back) for food. =P The "Phở" on the sign had always kept me away from this place. I don't want to get my Phở from a nice looking place like this. I'm sure I feel it to be overpriced and not "good enough" to cost more but then I read on yelp that they served crab + garlic noodles so I thought I'd go try this place out. Not for the Phở but for the regular menu items I guess I overlooked.

I've never had crab + garlic noodles before but I was really pleased with this dish. Let's just say it had a new flavor previously unexperienced; and it was really good too. Not salty. And the crab flavor was really integrated into the overall flavor of the dish. I wasn't too hungry so I got the smaller serving and it turned out to be just the right amount. I left thinking about when I'd be able to come back and try more of their (less expensive) foods to see if they can all taste so good. The service was really good too. Well the one main guy. He seemed like the head chef but was running around doing most of the servicing.

Busy day. So tired.

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