Day 106 and 107: Cake, Crucible and Crash-Nap

Tomorrow starts a long weekend. That means if I’m going to get birthday shopping done for my muse, I need to do it today. It’s much easier to keep secrets from her when she’s at work.

First it’s another battle of wills at Delessio.

This woman is making four incredible cakes at once. She’s a bakery ninja.

I’ve never seen this sign before, but it’s not new. I’ll have to stop in and see what sort of flying thing they make.

Some of today is spent retracing steps to places I’ve enjoyed during my time of.

See the top window? That’s one of my favorite downtown offices.

Being a port city, San Francisco has a lot of excellent places to find gifts for a muse.

If you know she’s reading your blog, though, it’s best to show pictures of places you went into and places you didn’t, to keep her guessing. Otherwise she figures things out. Sorry, love.

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These are great stores, and they’re a big part of this city’s history. Gump’s opened in San Francisco in 1861, and Shreve opened in 1894.

She knows about one of her presents already.
She’ll be taking some classes here:

The Crucible

If you haven’t been to The Crucible in Oakland, I’d recommend looking into it. They teach welding, electronics, blasksmithing, stone carving, fire dancing, and all sorts of other cool stuff. The muse is going to take their glass kiln-casting classes, because there’s something specific she wants to make out of gears and glass.

See, if you know her well, she’s easy to shop for. Maybe the Crucible sells those outfits too.

What brings me back to this dome isn’t shopping, but hopefully some bad sci-fi.


As it turns out, the new Vin Diesel movie is actually not as horrible as the reviewers think it is. I wouldn’t make a very good critic. I’d much rather enjoy a sci-fi movie than hate it, and usually that’s enough.

The last time I was here, I was above the dome, not below it. Either way, the view is nice.


Back at home, I have a mini-project to do. The muse’s new mobile phone charges from USB ports, but only specific ones. It’s very picky, which is a pain.

…so I’m building a “no whining” cable for the phone. Using this, it’ll charge off of anything.

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It works perfectly, and the phone’s a lot less fussy now. No matter what you plug it into, it charges right up. It’s not 100% safe, but that’s not required of anything, ever.

The 2-year-old cat has decided resistors are really (really) fun. (sigh)

…and the 18-year-old cat fell asleep on his face without actually lying down.


Tonight we’re heading to Epic Roasthouse. We’ve been there for brunch, but never for dinner. Good food, friendly staff, and a fantastic table outside.

…and very nearly another seltzer fight.

Random assertion: An all-female blacksmithing class is just about the sexiest thing you’ll ever see, but don’t get in the way.

Steganographic data: 1822/6.4

Days remaining in Secret Plan 158: 3

Published in: on September 5, 2008 at 2:15 pm  Comments (3)  
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Day 62: Zombie Phones and Baby Alligators

While my phone was busy finding the limits of the text messaging infrastructure, my muse’s phone has decided to turn any battery placed inside it into a lump of coal. Two so far this month. I want to stencil little battery icons on the side of it, like mini kill-trophies.

She’s giving me that look.

Side note #1: When her last phone died a few years ago, I took it apart, soldered in a bypass for the charging circuit, and kept it running for a full year. Yay zombie phone!

The look She’s giving me now says “Oh no you’re not.”

Might be time for a new phone.

Today I’m getting a lot of work done on Secret Plan 161, but instead of finding a sensible quiet desk, I’ve walked to Delessio at Market & Valencia.

Delessio is right next to Flax, an excellent art supply store. Mmmmm.
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After a few hours of heads-down work, I decide to go find Gene for a chess lesson. I walk down to Union Square, and there’s an art festival going on. It’s fun; I sit with a book for a while to see if Gene shows up.


Twice in the past week I’ve seen him right here, but not today.

If I can’t predict when he’s going to be here, I don’t stand a chance of beating him at chess. There are rules which determine when he comes here, where he sits, and how his pawns move as the game opens. I’m going to try to figure them out, rather than relying on luck. Next time I come, he’ll be here. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Side note #2: A few years ago, I taught my muse to play chess.

You know how baby alligators are so cute, but then they grow up and become unstoppable predators? That’s basically what happened. I haven’t beaten her at chess in a long, long time.

Fond Memory 1: A place called Beaulieu-sur-Mer in the South of France, 2003.

A gentleman brings us drinks as we sit facing each other over a beautiful marble chess table. He pauses, chuckles, and softly says “Elle va gagner.”

If the waiter can tell you’re getting your butt kicked, then you might have taught your student too well.

Fond Memory 2: San Francisco, 2006.

After trash-talking and wagering ourselves into an epic battle, the game begins. A few moves in, she gives me that look: “Oh no you’re not.” …and it’s all over.

Her queen must have been sleeping with with one of my pawns, because she just showed up behind the whole line, and left a trail of carnage on her way to the king before anyone could even find the emergency exit. Ow.

(It doesn’t mean she’s ready for the pro chess circuit, just that she specifically knows how to beat me. That’s comforting.)

I guess I’m lucky. Most people don’t get to keep the baby alligator once it becomes dangerous. And it doesn’t usually look this good.

Random assertion: There are no dice in chess, which does not mean there are no surprises.

Steganographic data: 1862/6.7

Published in: on July 21, 2008 at 10:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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