Friday, November 27, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Me Want Sushi!

Sarah asked, "What do you want to do for your 40th birthday?"

Jason replied, "Why, go to Tokyo for some good sushi, of course!"

And so it began: the planning, the guide book purchasing, the sleeping
pill prescriptions, the "konichiwa" practicing...

Tokyo it was. The plan called for a 6:00 AM
Thursday departure that got us into Tokyo at 5:00 PM Friday. Sounds painful, but that International Date Line kinda messes with you. Basically, it's about a nine hour flight each way. And, although we pretty much lost a Friday, we had two Sundays!

The plan was to hit Kyubei for dinner the first night. Of course, we say that like it's old hat, but we had no idea where to go or what to do. Based on extensive emails from Joe Cupani, solid Beaver County boy and Carnegie Mellon grad, and a few guide books, we decided to hit the best available sushi restaurant as our first Tokyo food experience. When we arrived at our hotel, Jason asked the front desk person for help finding Kyubei and his response told us that we were on the right track: "Ooohh, Kyubei! Wow!"

That's our sushi chef below, and let us tell you that it was - BY FAR - the most amazing sushi experience of our lives. Spiritual. Ephemeral. Ethereal. Frackin' killer sushi!

From the bowl of baby sardines to the still-twitching shrimp, it has devalued every other sushi meal for all eternity. It was that good! And the toro or otoro or whatever they call the fatty tuna belly, mmmmmm! Words cannot describe how good, how amazingly good, the fish tasted.

Jason is still not sure whether it ruined sushi in America, or gave him a new appreciation for all raw fish from here on out. And since he's now over 40, the "here on out" is starting to seem mighty short!

But there was a lot more to Tokyo that just eating fish. We hit the Tsukiji fish market (to look at fish) the next morning at about 7:00 AM, which was like 3:00 PM Tuesday our time, or something like that. Tsukiji (pronounced Ski-Gee. or so Cupani said) is a huge marketplace where fresh fish is auctioned each morning, and where fishmongers sell the freshest, most beautiful available bounty of the sea. The guidebooks said to be there early, and even though we were there at the crack of early, we missed the big auction. But, there was still plenty of action to be had.

No single photo captures the scene, but just imagine the most enormous tuna that you've ever seen - hund
reds of them - plus tons of random fishes of all sorts, octopus, squid, clams, scallops, and on and on and on! Plus, hundreds of people jamming the tiny aisles, hand carts, powered buggies, and random tourists like us trying to both take pictures and not get killed. Good times!

More photos are below, but it was an amazing experience. And, it was like going directly to the source. The red Ahi tuna, which is kind of a pinkish translucent red in San Francisco, was the deepest blood red we've ever seen! And the toro, which is $6 or $8 PER SLICE in San Fran was $12 or $13 for TWENTY fresh pieces at the market! Heaven! And the REAL wasabi! Oh my God!

We did some non-fish activities as well, like the Meiji Sh
rine and shopping in Harajuku and Shibuya. Sarah found some great earrings, Jason found some more sushi, and we both found a new favorite city! It's amazing how many people were on the sidewalks, yet it was quiet, clean, and no one was bumping into you.

Speaking of the people over there: AMAZING! So darn nice! We'd open a map, and someone would ask us if we needed help finding something. We'd talk in English, they would smile and do their best to help us understand what they meant. No rude looks, just smiles from nice, genuine, helpful people.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. We had a solid 48 hours on the ground. Jason had his best-ever sushi. Sarah had sore feet. And we both had a new appreciation for Japanese culture and people.

Domo arigato, Japan, for the best possible 40th birthday anyone could ever ask for!

See all of the photos in the slideshow below, or click here for the full screen version.

Monday, October 19, 2009

OFS c/o '90... We've Got Spirit!

Just a quick post to share the slideshow from my recent 20 year high school reunion. What an amazing group of people I went to school with. Happy to re-connect with so many people from my youth. Speaking of which, our class ages very well - everyone looked pretty much the same! Yay! :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Woo hoo!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Relaxing Hawai'i Videos

Hawai'i is hella relaxing! Seriously, if relaxing were a sport, Hawai'i would always win the championship. Need proof? Here are two great videos from our recent trip to Oahu...

Here's Sarah during a hard-core relaxing practice session...

You can even relax under the water, as we did while watching this turtle dude swim around...

See - wasn't that relaxing?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Biking HMB

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dinner at table 52.jpg

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Excellent mid century modern design exhibit at SFO! #awesometown
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Monday, June 08, 2009

HNL is groovy.jpg

Awesome wood carved walls at the Honolulu airport.... Always makes me hum the Hawaii 5-0 theme song. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

For my friends from home.jpg

WRV north shore, Oahu!
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Saturday, June 06, 2009

LOST fans might recognize this.jpg

YMCA camp Erdman, aka the others camp on Lost!
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Friday, June 05, 2009

Manly man drink.jpg

Jason always gets the girly drinks!
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Hawaiian paintings.jpg

A local artist painting mangrove poles. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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Whistle while u work!

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Nice to have a navy seal helping us today! Go Chris!
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Making progress.jpg

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

North shore.jpg

The view on way to KaBOOM build.... Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Go USA.jpg

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Visit from Flat Stanley!

Isabel Calaba, George's first-grade daughter, has a friend who recently had a freak accident. Stanley Lambchop had a heavy bulletin board fall on him and flatten him! It was a scary event, but Stanley - now known as "Flat" Stanley - is taking full advantage of his new, um, measurements. He's been rolled up, used as a kite, and even mailed around the country.

Well, Isabel sent him out to us in San Francisco, and we took him around for a quick tour with his new buddy from out here, Flat Freddie. Here are some of the snapshots:

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Why women drown...

I have a bunch of random photos scrolling on my desk's digital photo frame, and one that keeps popping up is below and it always makes me laugh. It's from a white water rafting trip from a few years back, and it was taken at the "tunnel chute rapid" where there was the chute and then the tunnel (hence the name...). I wonder if Sarah and Marissa and Meighan and Joanna remember?

I wonder if they remember how technical it was and how scary the guides made it seem and how they gave us detailed instructions and how it was so important to do this and so critical not to do that? I wonder if they were paying attention...

Well check out the photo below! The poor guide is pointing to the spot of multiple deaths and you four girls heard nothing but the word "camera" and then became oblivious to the life-saving instructions and started posing like Paris Hilton outside the Bellagio.

Yeesh. This is why women drown!

Here's the sat map of the rapid, in case you need your memory jogged:

View Larger Map

Oh, by the way, who wants to go rafting again this summer?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Monitor over banana

I've grown tired of the DW's photo updates from her "work" trip to Hawaii, so decided to let her (and all of you) get a glimpse of my view during breakfast and lunch today. While there isn't a wave or a beach or a palm tree in sight, I think that you'll agree that it's just as good as being in Hawaii...

In this lovely shot, taken from my desk in San Mateo, CA, you'll see my expertly-created caramel latte (nice froth, if I do say so myself), along with my banana and my Nectar bar. Ahh, breakfast is so much better over a keyboard.

And this beautiful lunchtime shot, again capturing my stunning workday view, shows my lack of daytime culinary adventure, since I had another banana for lunch (the same as if I were marooned on a deserted South Pacific island!).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Moon over Waikiki

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Adorable by Pierce!

Listen to this message from my nephew... and then imagine the big grin on my face as I played it over and over again on my drive home today! (just click "download" and it should open and play in iTunes or another media player).

New level of adorable....

Courtesy of my nephew Pierce!

Adorable by Pierce!

------ MMS ------
From: +17572413109/TYPE=PLMN
Sent: Mar 4, 2009 5:26 PM
Subject: VN 00003.amr

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Random pictures from my morning run in Waikiki

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Saturday Skiing in Tahoe

Well, not much skiing. We did as many runs as beers we drank.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On hope...

As the presidential inauguration approached, I thought a lot about what I might post to our blog. The problem for me has been that I have so many strong emotions all at the same time, I feel like I need to come up for air. I thought I'd share just a few of my thoughts and observations ... if no one reads this that's actually OK with me. I think simply documenting some of these emotions is gratifying enough.

I am from southern Virginia. Although the area has lots of wonderful qualities, it's a pretty racist part of the country. Jason also comes from a similar area outside of Pittsburgh. What I'll never understand is that my hometown, much like Jason's, is also extremely religious. How can these two things coexist the way that they do? It's always baffled and frustrated me.

Watching President Obama be sworn in today touched my heart in so many ways:

* I am encouraged that maybe one day, racism in this country will no longer exist.

* I admire the emphasis that Obama (and Biden) put on family - they both clearly adore their wives and children.

* I love that Obama is open to new ways of doing things - and that he asked Biden to be his running mate because he didn't want a VP who would be a "yes man."

* I appreciate the realistic way in which Obama characterizes the hard work in front of this country - and the notion that we are all accountable for our future.

* I see Obama's spirtual side at work when he speaks of what our future can hold if we work together to get there, and remain faithful.

* I recognize the stillness of someone who is so passionate about his beliefs that he's willing to do whatever it takes to achieve greatness for our country.

* I see a man who worked very hard to get to where he is today - and I want to be of service, to do what I can to help make this country even better.

Most of all, I see hope. I am hopeful that one day more people in this country will see that by including others, we are a better and stronger nation.

What an exciting time. I wouldn't trade being a part of this movement for anything. In honor of this time of change, I need to figure out what my service project will be. I have a few ideas in mind, but more on that once I make up my mind.

All this, and the Steelers are going to the SuperBowl, too!

Celebrating Hope!

Sarah and I cracked some "Obama Presidential Ale" to celebrate this new, happy, hopeful chapter in American history!

Yes We Can!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Spectacular Sunday

Jason and I are sitting at Sam's having lunch....reggae music playing and very light breeze. Should have brought sunscreen. It is seriously hot out here!
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FW:Winter Hike

sitting on top of san bruno mountain on a lovely winter day.