not really a blog -- just a few pictures

Friday, August 25, 2017

Gen Con 2017, Eclipse

I went to Gen Con again this year with comrades Rob, Karen, Art, Lou, and Terry for Gen Con’s 50th anniversary.  By coincidence, the eclipse this year was the day after the conference, and visible from Rob and Karen’s hometown, and I went home with them to see it.


Here’s the vendors' exhibit hall.  My picture doesn’t show how busy it was - it was a crush most of the time.


My favorite costumes this year were “Not Stan Lee” and this creepy Joker.



We got up at the crack of dawn every morning to play D&D at 8:00 a.m.  Here we’re fighting swashbucklers in a warehouse that we accidentally set on fire. :O



There were retrospective panels for the 50th anniversary.  Here’s one with the D&D 5th edition authors Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford, in the middle.  They graciously signed my Player’s Handbook. :)



The D&D 3rd edition authors also did a panel.  My picture shows (from right to left) Jonathan Tweet, Skip Williams, Monte Cook, and Rich Baker.  The moderator was Peter Adkison, on the far left.  Adkison was Wizards of the Coast CEO when D&D 3.0 and Magic: The Gathering were created, and now owns Gen Con.  The authors also signed my 3.0 Player’s Handbook from the day. :)



It was a good year for schwag.  By continually pestering some Dungeon Masters, with Rob’s Twitter skills, and with some running, we were able to get some rare promo copies of the new “Lost Tales of Myth Drannor” book.  We also found some nice fezzes - here we are playing in our new fezzes with our favorite DM John.


The conference and the hotels sold out early.  Here’s (I guess) a gamer without a room sleeping outside the conference center around 7:00 a.m.


We spied the St. Louis arch driving to Rob and Karen’s.


Here are Rob and Karen watching the eclipse - the second picture shows the darkness during totality. During totality, the sun just appeared as a bluish flame-like corona around the black disk of the moon, which was astounding.




Sunday, May 21, 2017

Laguna Seca

Last weekend I went to the Ferrari Challenge at Laguna Seca, with friends/teammates Jason and Prateek.


Here are some of the cars lined up on the straightaway.  A sign gave their speed as they exited the straightaway, typically 130-140 MPH.  Here’s a video.



The “corkscrew” is the most unique feature of the track at Laguna Seca; Wikipedia calls it “...one of the motorsport world's most challenging turns, due to the drop in elevation as well as its blind crest and apex on the uphill approach,” and we did see one car get turned around on it.  Here are the cars going through it, and here’s a video.


We also got to see a lot of new and classic Ferraris, and the garage tents where mechanics worked on the cars.






Trump is a dangerously stupid, racist, sexist, fascist liar: part 1

Donald Trump is a dangerously stupid, racist, sexist, fascist liar.  Republicans control Congress and the Supreme Court is split, so it’s on the public to stand up to Trump.  So, get out and join the anti-Trump protests.


Here are some pictures of protests around the San Francisco Bay Area since Trump’s inauguration.

The NoWallNoBan protest in San Francisco’s Civic Center, February 4, marched “against Donald Trump's racist and exclusionary Executive Orders.”



The NoWallNoBan protest at Sunnyvale City Hall, February 12, marched “against the racist and exclusionary ban on Muslims along with the bigotry targeted towards Latino, BLM, women, LGBTQ and all other affected minorities under the new administration.”



“Not My President Day” protest in San Jose, on Presidents’ Day (February 20).



Tech Stands Up’s Pi Day Rally advocated for “inclusion, diversity, and civil liberties” in the face of Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.


The March for Science Silicon Valley was April 22, and marched from San Jose City Hall to Silicon Valley Comic Con :) at the convention center.  The “goal was to promote evidence-based policy in the public’s best interest.”  




The People's Climate March and Rally, Santa Cruz edition, April 29, marched for climate action “on the 100th day of Trump’s presidency,” from San Lorenzo Park to downtown.




On April 15, I also joined the counter protest against a white nationalist Trump rally in Berkeley.  Unlike the other protests here, there were both anti-Trump and pro-Trump factions there, and both sides came to fight.  I captured some of the chaos on video here.






Friday, March 31, 2017

Los Angeles

I was a tourist in Los Angeles for a few days, which combined great museums with the wonder of continually sitting in traffic.

The Getty Center has a great room full of impressionist paintings like Van Gogh’s Irises and Monet’s Portal of Rouen Cathedral in Morning Light.  My pictures are Cezanne’s Still Life With Apples and part of the Center’s exterior, which sits on a high hill overlooking the city.
















The Huntington Library has a Gutenberg Bible and Shakespeare First Folio, shown in the pictures; and an illuminated manuscript of the Canterbury Tales, the Ellesmere Chaucer.
















In the Huntington’s art collection, I was surprised to find one of Joshua Reynolds's paintings of Samuel Johnson, which are a popular internet meme.



















At the La Brea Tar Pits, I saw some fossils from the pits and a current excavation.















The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is next door.


















Griffith Observatory.



















Downtown, I saw the Pueblo, the site of the original Spanish settlement in Los Angeles; and the Bradbury building, whose atrium has great wrought-iron work.




















Grauman’s Chinese theatre, Gene Kelly’s handprints, and Orson Welles’s star on Hollywood Boulevard.
















Downtown, seen from the car. :)