Memorial Day 2009: San Francisco, Berkeley, Flight of the Conchords

A 3 day weekend? Why, let’s have a road trip!

But first, let’s spend Saturday hanging out and relaxing, and not getting stuck in traffic with everyone else.

Instead, we left on Sunday. We checked in at the Oakland Marriot at around 2pm, and right away we got in the BART headed to San Francisco. More specifically, to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.
We’d eaten a small breakfast, so by the time we made it there, we were ready to sit down and eat. And what better place to do that than Cha Cha Cha! The place was busy, but luckily we got to sit at the bar right away. A pitcher of sangria, and 3 different dishes later (plus an awesome caramel-covered bread pudding for dessert), we were feeling quite good, and more than satisfied. This is definitely a cool place to eat, and the food is delicious.

At Golden Gate ParkAfter eating, we went for a little walk around Golden Gate Park. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t cooperating, so we didn’t get to enjoy the beautiful gardens as much, but that’s not saying we didn’t have a good time.
We walked through one of the many gardens, took some silly pictures, and headed back to the Haight.

We went into a few of the shops, killed some time and had some fun. Kelly even found something to wear at Burning Man that we could afford -because there are LOTS of things that would be great for Burning Man, but they’re just too expensive.

On Monday, Memorial Day, we headed out to Berkeley. We stumbled for a while looking for a place to eat, and we ended up going into Ann’s Kitchen, which served a glorious American style breakfast, perfect for the occasion.
The weather Gods (or the spirits of all those fallen soldiers) made this day much nicer, which we welcomed as we walked up and down Telegraph street, and checked out the shops and the diverse crowd that was doing the same thing we were.

We also checked out the UC Berkeley campus, where we proceeded to shmoop on the grass by the library. Good times.

Rock ParkWith a lot of time to kill, we went on Wikitravel to see what we could do in the area, and that’s how we found out about the Indian Rock Park. Finding it curious enough, we went and checked it out.
Sure enough, it was just a big rock. But lots of people were there, mostly hanging out, and some practicing rock-climbing, some others photographing and at least a couple smoking marihuana.
From the top of the rock you can see most of the Bay. Sadly, it was mostly covered in fog, but despite that, we enjoyed the panoramic view.

However, the main event of our trip was a Flight of the Conchords concert. They toured the US in 2009, and this was their last stop. We HAD to see them, since Kelly and I both enjoy them.
At around 6pm, we sat on the balcony of the Berkeley Community Threatre. The opening act for FotC was Arj Barker, who played Dave in their HBO series. Little did we know that he’s a stand up comedian, and his routine was a great ice-breaker for what was to come. His style was sometimes very close to Dane Cook, but that’s alright by me, since it makes me laugh.

But then, it actually happened. Lights went dim. And …

Of course, that video is not from the same performance that we saw, but it was similar, and set the tone for what was to come: over an hour of silly songs, and the goofy kind of humor that only New Zealand’s fourth most popular digi-folk paradists provides.
There were lots of laughs, some songs I’d never head before, and a lot of singing along with Bret and Jemaine. It was a great live show, and some of the antics that they put on onstage were worth the ticket and the traveling.

To sum it up, we had a great time, and it was a weekend that won’t be forgotten. Or, to use the vernacular, an EPIC WEEKEND.

Bike to Work 2009

Today is the official Bike to Work day in 2009. I hope you rode your bike if your commute is less than 10 miles one way!

Purple BeanAs for me, I started the day early. I took off at around 6.45am, and headed to one of the participating coffee shops, the Purple Bean. I showed my helmet, and they hooked me up with free coffee! Yeah!
The barista was very friendly and attentive, and asked me what I wanted. I told her I had no clue, since I never drink coffee… so I asked her to make me something sweet, and she served me a Mocha. It was delicious!
MochaI sat outside while I drank my coffee -it’s kind of hard to sip on a very hot beverage and ride in traffic- and watched the day roll by. A lot of people in their car checked me out as they got their coffee at the drive-thru, but at least there were banners everywhere that explained why there was a silly guy sipping on coffee next to his bike. I nodded at those that established eye contact as I chilled out.

After finishing my coffee and leaving a small tip, I moved on to the Reno Bike Project.RBP pancake feed
Just like last year, they were doing free breakfast, which included pancakes, bacon, hash browns, fruit and coffee. However, this year was better than last. It was at their new location, which is a lot more visible, welcoming and easy to find. There was also a DJ, who was playing some very cool chill-out music.
The RBP staff did a great job at keeping the food available, and there wasn’t even a line to get food! They opened their garage door and set up a small kitchen facing 4th street. It was perfect, and it showed that they thought it out very well. The RBP continues to be a kick-ass place, and I’m really glad that they’re only a couple of blocks away from work.
RBP kitchenI hung out at the Pancake Feed for about 30 minutes, and chatted it up with a few strangers. JP Zunini (whom I met when I was an exchange student) from KRNV was there and interviewed me, so I might be on the news.

A great way to start a Friday, and now I have a lot of positive energy from having had such a good start to the day. If you’d like to see how my ride went, you can check out my bike route here.

Good day!