Shipping off tomorrow!

Well, it's finally here: a whole month in Europe!  I'm very excited for tomorrow, when I head off to London!  In case you haven't seen all the posts, emails, etc about how to keep in touch (congrats for finding the blog), here's where you can find me:




Skype: stantheman286

I promise I'll try to upload photos and write as often as I can, but no guarentees :)

Wish me luck and stay in touch!


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"I had a weekend"

Well, it might not be as awesome as Cal's was in 4YOV (Google it), but hey, I'm quite happy with it.  In my new Eurostyle blog fashion (and I thought only pillows came that, can't believe I said that), let me give you the quick run down:

  • Drove to BART on Friday and biked up to Rob's place in Nob Hill.  Had a fun evening touring North Beach and checking out a rum bar in the Western Addition with an awesome pirate theme.
  • Woke up Saturday early, geared up, and headed out for a 55 mi bike ride (or 80 km, more on that later) with Ray and 3 of his buddies.  A quick route breakdown: Sunset -> GG Park -> GG Bridge -> Sausalito -> Mill Valley -> Mt. Tam and reverse.  Click me for the route map!
  • Rushed back to Rob's, showered, threw on some new clothes and biked back down to BART and got to Milbrae just in time to miss getting a ticket.
  • Headed over to MV for Lesley's bday pub crawl up the peninsula.  Glad we only made it up to PA on Caltrain; I was running on about 3 hours of sleep lol.  LOTS of fun and some good dancing!
  • Passed out at home in SJ at 2/3am, woke up at 9ish and got all dolled up and headed up to SF again with Kristen on Caltrain to see Wicked.
  • We bummed around town, grabbing a random bus and heading down to Hyde and Polk streets for some $3 wine and Thai food.  Made it back in plenty of time for the last train back (I am a little gun shy after last time.)
  • Spent at midnight.
Whew!  That was my weekend, a totally random mix of events that just so happened to collide at the same time.  It was so much fun, it's made me reconsider my idea to someday move.  I mean SF was just gorgeous and clear, you should've seen it.  Plenty of FB pics (and videos lol) from the festivities, check em out.

Now on to the fun moments.  I started out Saturday's ride in slightly dismal spirits after I lost my bike computer.  I forgot to click it all the way in after playing with it on BART, so it was a little loose.  In the middle of the Haight, I hit a bump, and the thing went flying like 20 feet.  It landed right in an intersection just as a MUNI bus turned and smashed it.  Ouch.  Luckily, there was a bike shop only a block from where we started our ride, and so I got a new one after getting him down a few bucks in price.  We had to stop anyways after Ryan's pump kept blowing up tubes since it was misreading the air pressure.  Man, I wish I would've seen the guy on his phone who freaked out when Ryan blew the second tube and it sounded like a gunshot!

As I started the ride, I was amazed at how fast I was going.  30 mph down a side street, wow!  Ooops, no wait, that's in KPH... dammit.  I forgot to change it.  Oh well, I'll just fix that later.

Mt. Tam was my fear on the ride, since I'm more of a distant guy, and growing up in MI, I'm used to flat.  However, it looks like all my hill biking around here has paid off, since I was able to keep up.  The best part was the downhill of course.  Ray and I shot down the other side towards the Marin Headlands, clocking in at around 32 mph, which was a great feeling, especially hitting the 15 mph curves!  One car was going slow, admiring the park, while we ran right up on his bumper.  I was talking to Ray about passing the guy when something I've never seen before happened: the guy pulled over to let us bikers (or Lance's as Ryan puts it) go past.  Awesome!  

We stopped at my usual sandwich place in Sausalito to rest up, grab some food, and watch the older guy at the water balance rocks and chew people out for taking pics without paying.  Always a treat!  We almost lost a bike to the water, but luckily it was saved by Ryan as it hit the rocks, whew!

Getting to the pub crawl was a rush.  I was hoping to go home to dress up, but there was no time, so I just said f*** it and went in a t-shirt and jeans.  I mean it's the bars right?  Lots of fun, especially getting to BART after I showered.  I didn't want to mess up my hair biking back so I wore my warming cap under my helmet.  There's a picture txt floating around somewhere with the photo of me putting it on, looks like I'm in a shower cap lol!  But hey, it worked!

Wicked was awesome, I'm glad Kristen and I got to go after so much trial and error with our busy schedules.  I'm also glad to learn I have a buddy who has likes to go to coffee shops not for coffee, but for chai tea like me!  Learn something new everyday about people.  And $2.95 wine bar happy hour = happiness.
Anywho, that was my crazy weekend, what was up with yours?  Today it was back to the usual, taking a break.  I'm looking forward to my bday this Friday (and I hope everyone can come!) 

In the meantime, Eurotrip in a little over 2 weeks, wooooo!  Am I ready? guys should know me by now.  I've been ready for months, you know how I roll.  Just look at this: my customized guidebooks (I ripped apart several huge ones and made mini ones to save space):

Every time I do something even so little as ripping up my guidebooks, I get so stoked.  This is going to be hella fun....oops, excuse me, a lot of fun!  Even today, buying a collapsible bowl and water bottle from REI just gets me all excited.  Can't wait!  Oh, and I just got word from the travel forum I follow that my Nook is the way to paperbacks, just 24958203480238 books on one thin device. (a bit of an exaggeration I know)

Tomorrow I'm *hopefully* off on the new (old) bike to commute...still haven't bought a new back wheel to fix the (supposedly) hacked axel.  Oh well...if it breaks, it breaks.  I need to check if I even have the right tire to carry with me, so I might not even go, we'll see.  I think I can take another bike day off  :-)

Stay classy readers!


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Mistakes Can Lead to Fun Misadventures

You might find this quite surprising, but I actually wrote part of this blog on the Caltrain baby bullet somewhere north of Mountain View at a quarter to 10 in the morning.  Why so?  Well, let's just say I had a bit of a "misadventure" Sunday that has turned out to be a very enriching experience, in more ways than just one.

The story begins on Sunday afternoon.  I parked and took the Caltrain from SJ to SF around 3 p.m. to visit Rob.  He had just moved into the city and was getting back from San Luis Obispo today, and I figured I'd pay him a visit and help him unpack a bit.  I arrived a little late, thanks to all the people getting on for the Giants/Dodgers game (glad to see we've won two in row!), but with the walk from Caltrain up to Rob's place in Nob Hill, I got there just as he was pulling up.

Let me just say that Rob got him self a decent place in a very nice area.  He's RIGHT on top of the hill on California right by all sorts of stuff.  One word: jealous.  That and he's paying less than I am to live in SJ.  Lucky devil.  I took a ton a pictures, please bug me if you want to see them. (you know who you are!)  I'm going to be watching how all this pans out for him, since I've always been interested in living in the city, although lately I've written it off for a place up in the PacNW.

We unloaded his car, then he said we had to drive to Livermore to drop off his car at his old place, since he didn't have a parking permit yet.  I was ok with the trip, as long as I got back at 10:15 p.m., which was the last Sunday Caltrain.  I must say they really like to keep the South Bay separate from the elite culture of SF.  I really hate that, it's part of the reason I chose to drop SF in my places to live.  It's just too full of it self.  But that's for another time...

It took us a while to get to the East Bay (there was an accident on the Bay Bridge), but we made it by 8 and had time to grab some things, chat with his roomies, and have a celebratory beer.  Then his old roommate Bill dropped us off at the Dublin BART station, where I figured we'd get off at Montgomery and then part ways, me heading down 4th to Caltrain.  Plenty of time, I thought.

Let me just say that I've always prided myself in my navigation abilities, especially when it comes to mass transit.  Schedules are my life, I love to plan out trips.  I always make sure I know all my connections and have plenty of time.  This time it was going to be close, but I kept joking with Rob that, "I could always just crash at your place and take an early train back."  I was in utter shock and embarrassment when I whipped out my iPod and opened up the Caltrain app to see the schedule:

San Francisco to San Jose: 9:15pm to 10:15pm (last train)

I glanced at my phone.  It was 9:03 p.m.  At the same moment, a very low warning message (not just low, like turn-off-the-damn-phone low) shot up onto my phone's screen.  Uh-oh.  I quickly called and texted Kristen with what little battery life I had, but she didn't answer.  Rob's phone was also dying, and we were speeding down the blue line towards the transbay tube.  Time to make a decision.

Of course I had been kidding about the whole staying the night thing, but actually I had been reassuring myself with "what-if's" the whole time.  I guess it's good to be a worrier like me sometimes, it makes you consider all the pros and cons.  The good news was I was with a good friend and in a familiar city and my car was cool for 24 hrs, plus I don't have a fixed work schedule.  Hell, why not?

I ended up spending the night, chatting with Rob and his new roomie Neeko and talking about all sorts of random stuff.  I passed out on his couch at midnight in my clothes.  I loved the fact that it was cold enough that I needed a blanket.

I woke up this morning, did some telecommuting (I brought my work notebook and laptop with for some reason) and waited for Rob to get up.  I could have left earlier, but it was his first day of work, and I know him very well.  Luckily, he woke up on time, and we headed down the hill to his work.  We parted at Kearny and power walked over to 4th and got on the baby bullet to San Jose.

It's just amazing how many bikers got on the train, I mean, wow.  The whole bike car looked full as I jumped on board and powered up my Nook.  I relaxed, read my book, and even jotted down some blog notes (some of which I wrote onboard).  At the moment, I quickly realized I was following my dream in a way: waking up in SF, walking to the train, and commuting to SJ for work.  Of course, I'd skip the VTA since I was driving (which would change things GREATLY), but it still gave me a rough idea of the experience.

I don't know what to say, I dropped SF on my list of places to live for many reasons, but I definitely enjoyed the commute, especially on the train.  Being able to relax and even get work done (especially if I had a laptop connect card) could definitely be a routine for me.  Maybe in SF.  Maybe in Portland.  I don't know, it's still all up in the air.  Of course, my rational self still says it's totally unfeasible with the damn VTA taking an hour and half to do the 10-15 minute car ride to my work.  That and the whole way SF people are a little bit high and mighty.  Yea, it's still probably not for me, but maybe a commute in Portland or Seattle would be nice.  Walking in the chilly fog was awesome; I could definitely see myself enjoying that every morning, especially if I was half awake lol.

Oh well, after Europe, the gears will start churning at full speed on the next few years.  In the meantime, wish me luck on the start of my 2-12am Japan days!  Maybe I will get to work Sunday and not Friday?  Who knows, I'm beat and need a shower, later gators...


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