Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mole Control? We hope so!

Bowser digs deep holes
Could this be good mole control?
Dig your heart out, pup!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gala Day and Our Return

Well, we're back. And have been for quite some time. But we've been busy. Our last night in San Diego was pretty fun. We attended the ESRI Conference Gala together - free of charge because Dr. Hung gave me his ticket! The theme of the gala was El Corazon de Mexico. Eh.

But before I get to that, I have to post pictures of our hotel elevator. Because John really got a kick out of the thing and made me take pictures of it -

When it was first installed, it was the fastest elevator EVER. When it was first installed.

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of pictures from the gala because I was having some real lighting issues that were frustrating me. We also spent much of our time waiting in line for various things. But we got to watch some of the sunset over the bay while eating dinner -

One of the things we stood in line for was a free caricature. I've been wanting a caricature of us FOREVER but I can never justify paying for one, especially since John and I are both such exceptional artists ourselves. (If I do say so myself...) But I'm glad I never bought one because this one was free.

The artist did a REALLY good job on John. I didn't have my glasses on that night, so of course this looks a little different, but I thought the artist captured my eyebrows and nose pretty well. I also thought that he flattered me very much with his drawing. ;)

Fun Fact - He did this with a black crayola marker.
We also stood in line for a joint-tarot reading. It was pretty fun. Our favorite parts include:
John - A positive thing he brings to the relationship is his ability to "weather the storm." The card reader didn't say that I was "the storm" but it's no secret that I can be a bit tempestuous...
John - Challenges he brings to the relationship include that he focuses a lot of his attention and time on the esoteric (BINGO!) and that he can have a little bit of a split personality. (She didn't even know he was a Gemini - she got that from a CARD!)
Erica - The reader said that I'm very sure of myself and that I know what I'm about but I especially know what I'm not about. I thought that her emphasis on the word "not" was right on the money for me. She called this a positive for the relationship; in my experience, it has been a good thing, but it's also brought about some pretty big challenges and obstacles to be overcome...

There were fireworks at the gala, but they happened during our reading and I didn't want to be rude running off to take some pictures. So sadly, no fireworks pictures tonight.

We rushed home after the gala (literally RAN much of the way) so that John (and I, I suppose) could catch the new episode of Futurama. The next morning, John had to help "tear down" the conference. I spent the morning saying goodbye to the bay, checking out some of the shops that I had been curious about during the trip, and being harassed by young and old men alike. I guess I looked particularly attractive walking around and sweating in the heat. (Looks of annoyance only seemed to enhance that attraction.)

We took the hotel shuttle to the airport along with another lady who attended the conference. Sort of. She said that her company sent her a whole bunch to do while she was gone, so she ended up spending much of the week in her hotel room processing data. Bummer!

Here are some pics that John took from the plane -

We had a TERRIBLE time flying home. Delays, overbooked flights, chaotic gates, annoying passengers... Seriously sucky. But we were SO relieved when we saw John's parents at the airport and realized that finally, we were getting to go home! We had an awesome time the next day just relaxing in Kingwood with the parentals and with the dog. Pools rule.

Since we've been back, I've been working the mornings in the library and spending the afternoons cooking and cleaning while John spends practically all day every day working on his thesis. I'm really proud of him and can't wait to congratulate him when it's all over!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Family Night at the ESRI Conference

Yesterday morning, John walked me to the starting line of the ESRI 5K. It was a really fun race and the weather was gorgeous. Nice workout. I really need to make exercise a regular thing again!

At 4:00 I joined John for Family Night at the conference. I was finally able to see all the exhibits and the stuff that John had been doing all week! We had a lot of fun walking around collecting swag. I just hope we can still pack everything up for the plane ride!

John at the conference -

John reading instructions for a pedometer that was given away at the conference -
This one difference between the two of us. I never read instructions for stuff like this. He does. But it worked out for him because now he isn't stuck reading all of the settings and such in metric. :)
John and me posing for a pic with some celebrities at the conference -
We ate dinner at de'Medici, where I had eaten a few days ago. We weren't asked once if we wanted more bread. We also were not visited by anyone other than our waiter and our busboy. So I really do think something weird was going on when I ate there the other day! We went to the Ghirardelli shop for dessert where I had a really crappy mocha. John had a chocolate malt shake. We stayed up late watching Mitchell and Webb clips on youtube. Fun times. :-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Cute baby duck that was hanging out at the Marriott pool - Click the pic to enlarge.
Have a nice day!

Trolley Tour Photo Post

Yesterday I hopped onto a trolley tour run by Old Town Trolley Tours. There are several stops on the tour where you can hop off the trolley and get back on another one later. I stopped at three places. First, I hopped off at the Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island where exterior shots of "Some Like it Hot" were filmed.

Here's an interior shot of the old hotel -

Hotel Exterior -

Coronado Beach -
Waves crashing on rocks at Coronado Beach -
I hopped back onto the trolley and got back off at Balboa Park to see some more of the gardens.
Japanese Garden -
Orchids in the Botanical Building -
Monarch outside of the Botanical Building -

Last stop was in Old Town San Diego. My favorite place so far on this trip is the Casa de Estudillo -

Walking around Old Town was really fun.
This is one of the weirdest things I've ever seen -a self-playing piano with a weird puppet -
Candle Dipping -
Old Town is like a giant Mexican market.
Hummingbird Feeders and such -
Clothing -
Pottery -

Adobe Blockyard Demonstration -
Wagon -
I met up with John for dinner. Best dinner we've had yet from Royal Thai. :-p
That's all for now!

Monday Afternoon Boat Tour

First of all, I've made mention of pedicabs. This is a pedicab. Pedicab drivers are desperate to carry people to their next destination a few blocks away. A few of the drivers have even called out, "Anywhere you want to go, $2!" Really? I doubt it...
Monday was a relaxing day. John worked in the morning. After walking him to the convention center, I returned to the hotel and vegged. When he got out of work, we signed up for a one-hour boat tour of the harbor with San Diego Harbor Excursions. We bought our tickets at a discounted rate at the TI. The tour offered a great view of the city -This gull (I think a non-breeding laughing gull) followed us a good way on our tour. I couldn't help just staring at it for a while.

Other people noticed it, too. The woman below is holding up a cracker. The gull generated a lot of attention as it started flying lower and lower towards the cracker. It ended up nabbing it right out of the woman's fingers and flying off. The gull was awarded with cheers and a round of applause from just about everyone on the top deck of the boat. I was surprised that it didn't come back for more.
I came prepared with binoculars, which means we didn't have to rent any from the tour gift shop! (More than once on this trip, I've wished I had a Birds of California book.) Here's John taking advantage of our "free" binoculars -
This is a really cool tour boat. It starts out as a tour bus, but then it splashes into the water and becomes a boat. I love it. (But it's a lot more expensive than - over double the price of - regular tour boats.)Here are some sea lions -

Here are some humans -Our tour narrator trained in the Marines here so he knew all about the ships and air crafts in the area. Sadly, I don't remember anything he said about them! But here are some pictures -
Here's a better view of the Star of India ship -
After our tour, John and I headed to a nearby grassy area to just hang out and enjoy the warmth of the day. Still early in the afternoon, we headed back to the hotel where we napped and napped and napped some more. Dinner was at the hotel restaurant, Brian's 24. We had a coupon card for a 10 percent discount, which was a good thing because the food was not as good as its price would lead one to believe...