Freesteel Blog » Escape from San Francisco

Escape from San Francisco

Thursday, March 15th, 2012 at 9:37 am Written by:

Last night here, unless the train ticket purchase fails. It’s horribly late and I have been doing a lot of pdf webscraping work that is about as far from enjoyable as can be imagined.

A few days ago did a bike ride up the peninsula and onto the Golden Gate bridge.

Then there was a Sunday lunch across the water in Berkley with all my long lost folks, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Quite a sizable crowd of what should be complete strangers, but aren’t.

Of course it’s always difficult to explain what the heck I am doing here anyway, because I then need to explain what ScraperWiki is, and that’s pretty difficult. Anyway, one of the cousins appears to make a living by marketing a special proprietary GUI system builder. Who’d have thought that could possibly work out given the number of free frameworks that exist everywhere?

The bike had a puncture when I tried to use it again to get to play underwater hockey with the local team, so I had to beg a lift.

It was a good game, though the pool was a bit weird, with a rough sandpaper-like surface on it that makes it impossible to skim along against the floor with the puck ahead of you without experiencing skin abrasion which, more to the point, slows you down. The puck itself was metal coated, because the plastic ones get ground into dust. Also, the pool had these metal water inlet studs every two metres with exactly the same dimensions and colour of the puck. So I spent a lot of the time being vague and not knowing what I should be doing. I had the hand signals you’re supposed to give to say where you are supposed to be playing in the field explained to me three times.

The next day (yesterday) 13th March, Mark and I arranged to go for a dive at Point Lobos marine reserve in Monterrey:

Unfortunately the British weather was really kicking in, with rain, grey skies, a strong sea swell and completely crapped out underwater viz. The fish were very large and there was a huge amount of colour on the rocks when you were close up, so I could see that this place deserved to be a popular diving spot. Just not today. Humph. Did all the hard work and driving around. The seals are very tame and you could see them underwater. Also, just before we submerged on our second dive, there was an otter raising itself up on a patch of seaweed.

Back home, washed the kit and fetched a couple of mission district style burritos which seem to weigh about a kilo each.

Mark has a technique for eating only half of it, and saving the rest for lunch, but I polished mine off and failed to eat anything the next day (today).

I went down to the CodeForAmerica offices and gave them a presentation about ScraperWiki — or more to the point the structures of webscraping in general. It’s not possible to tell if I taught them anything or not. People either seem to know everything or they know nothing because they don’t program. There’s never a stage in between where you know some stuff, but not all the stuff, and there’s something identifiable to learn.

The day then deteriorated into more miserable pdf hacking that isn’t getting me where I want to be. And then I found the bike seat had been stolen as well as loads of plastic rubbish pushed between all the spokes. Thank you San Fran. I’m out of here I hope. Maybe I’ll come for a longer period with Becka when we can go out caving, canyoning and diving in the surrounds for a year and stop wasting time on work.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <strong>