mercredi 12 avril 2006

Conference? What conference?

On the way up to San Francisco.

I really had an excuse to be up in San Francisco over the weekend. It was only the biggest educational conference of the year, you see. Even though I wasn't presenting (next year.. or maybe the year after..), it was a good opportunity to see what else was being done, as people from universities from all over the world, as well as governmental organisations and other educational institutions show up.

Okay, theoretically, it would have been a good opportunity to see what else was being done, if I'd spent any real time at the conference itself. Under the bad influences of my friends (okay, I might have been part of these bad influences), we ended up attending the bare minimum. And by that, I mean we went to our school's reception and perhaps a grand total of 5 hours of presentations. 5 hours spread out over three days is very little time spent working, a lot of time spent playing.

Instead, we walked around, window-shopped, ate, and drank. Jen came along for the ride (in fact, she the driver), but was only around for the fun stuff. Yes, we played MASHOP and hangman on the car drive up and down. I won't get into all the details, but let it be known that the results of MASHOP have Jen as an actress living in a shack at the law school with her 45 children and driving a golf cart whereas I will be living in Tijuana as a Motel 6 Maid but at least I get a Jag. At least we missed out on our potentially terrible honeymoon locations: in the back of a semi in Fresno for Jen, on a Disney Family Fun cruise with my husband's parents and siblings and his siblings' screaming offspring on the way to Orlando for me.

And Jen blew me away with her hangman skills, correctly guessing a famous celebrity with this: [ _ _ _ E] [ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ] and no hangman letters (each separate word is in its own brackets, because I couldn't make it display correctly otherwise). But, I daresay I held my own by correctly guessing the famous fashion designer with only an incorrectly guessed "r": [ _ _ _ _ _ ] [ _ _ _ _ _ _ ].

My friend Kim and I spent a lot of time giggling and pointing whenever we saw conference-attenders who weren't at the conference. Yes, I know, we hardly were there also, but at least we weren't dorky enough to wear our badges at all times. Yet many of the conference escapees did. Why, do you want the whole world knowing your full name and affiliated institution, as well as the fact that you are currently not at the conference? We didn't! So we didn't wear our badges. Simple as that. Although, we did wear our badges outside of the conference center on two opportunities: to take pictures of us having midday margaritas across the street from the conference and to take pictures of us making sad faces outside of the convention center. Oh, and we spent an inordinate amount of time quasi-stalking this hot presenter from Oxford. It was the accent, you see.

We had a marvelous lunch at Citizen Cake one of the days. Yes, we walked there from our hotel, and then walked to the convention center from there - approximately 4 miles, once you count in all the detours we made to go shopping. All in the name of good ol' procrastination.

By the way, did I mention that our hotel was used in the filming of Vertigo? Apparently, there are also ghosts in the hotel, which freaked the living crap out of me (even though they were nice ghosts, or so Kim said), and the one night that Jen was in Santa Cruz I slept with all the lights and the television on. I hated ghost stories as a child, and still do, and refuse to watch scary movies. I would like to point out that there are NO mention of ghosts on their website.

Lovely dinners were also had at Café Claude (I can't get enough of French food! Or french fries either, for that matter) and Watergate. Jen, by the way, is fully exempt from my rule where I am the only person who gets to choose restaurants. (See, I am not totally uptight).

We also got dim sum, naturally. You can't go to San Francisco without getting dim sum. And yum - chicken's feet!

Luckily, the weather wasn't absolutely terrible, and the cherry blossoms were out. For the last four years, I've been in Washington DC during the blooming of the cherry blossoms, and was rather sad that I wasn't there this year. This made up for it, though.

Funny signs are everywhere, such as at this barbershop...

...and at a hot dog cart near one of the Powell Street stops for the cable car.

How in the world do these cars stay parked? I don't know if you can really tell how steep the angle is from this picture, but really. It's a miracle. And if I lived in San Francisco, I would never drive anywhere. No, it'd be cabs for me, all the way, for I would not want to deal with parking situations like this.

Oh, and the weird little bunny. We were in a wine bar after dinner one night, and I saw these cute little figures perched on a ledge near our table. The back of their heads even said "I [heart] LA". I totally wanted one, and contemplated taking one because hi, there were like 4 of them on the ledge and I had spied another 6 on the bar counter - surely they wouldn't miss one. But Jen didn't approve of my kleptomaniac tendencies, so when the owner came over with our flight of 6 dessert wines (yum yum!), I asked her what they were. She explained that they were dunnies, and better yet, that we could each have one! The dessert wines were great too, by the way. Maybe they had to do a little something with the "scary bunny" video I posted on Monday.