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Kepler at Fort Funston

We took Kepler to Fort Funston a few weeks ago, as it was highly recommended by all dog-owners.  He had a blast!

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There he is looking happy at the beach!  We literally saw hundred of happy dogs:

We also saw some hang-gliders overhead. P8090512

We also saw the most impressive dog, who ran straight up the steep cliffs in to retrieve a ball.  The incline is literally about 75-80 degrees with respect to the ground (almost perpendicular).

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Perseid Meteor Shower

The perseid meteor shower is happening right now!  We went up to Monte Bello Open Space Preserve last night and stayed for two hours watching the meteor shower.  There were about 20 cars when we got there, including a pack of “teenagers” (they might have been closer to my age) who kept using a green laser pointer to point out constellations and meteors.  Very annoying, especially when you’re adjusting your eyes and looking out for any flashes of light, but it ends up just being them and their laser pointer.  It made me feel quite old, since I had one of those “stupid kids these days…” moments.

Anyways, we saw a good bunch of really good meteors, the kind where someone sees it first, and you hear lots of ooh-ing and then you turn in the direction of pointing, and then you still get to see a good trail of light!  There were a lot more smaller ones, but those were always the most exciting.

Our past trips to Monte Bello at night have been pretty quiet–you need an Astronomy permit to open the gate to the parking lot, so there aren’t usually that many people around.  I guess meteor showers are the exception.  If anyone lives in the Bay Area and is interested in Astronomy, you can request an Astronomy permit from the open space preserve website for free, and you can go up anytime after-hours to observe.  It’s a great program for amateur astronomers, since it’s a relatively close place where you can see the night sky with less light pollution.  Almost every time we’ve gone, we can see the Milky Way very clearly.

If you haven’t caught any meteors yet, there’s still time!  You should be able to see some tonight still.  Enjoy!

We’re going white water rafting and then going to Lake Tahoe for July 4th festivities this weekend! I’ve never done/been to either, except if you count artificial whitewater rafting I did in China. I hear the rafting places make you wear helmets, as well as sign a waiver, so I’m sort of scared of how turbulent the water will be. I hope I make it to watching fireworks Saturday night =)

Pictures to come after the weekend.

For ultimate frisbee players, in case you have somehow missed out on this:

Beau Jumps Over A Guy

The youtube version’s audio has been deleted (copyright), but I’ll include for people who are too lazy to click the link. You’ll miss out on the music and the classic line at the end though.

And the amusing follow up (this is actually Beau in the chair, I believe)

I wish I could jump half that high…

Cat yodeling is a pretty recent phenomena. Here’s the original Engineer’s Guide to Cats video that references/invents it:

If you don’t have the patience to watch it, basically the engineer “yodels” his cat, or the cat meows and he moves his hand quickly against the cat to simulate a yodeling sound. After I watched this video, I would try to yodel Zorro, but he didn’t really meow too much. I guess many other people had the same problem, because these engineers just released another video completely dedicated to Cat Yodeling and how to achieve it. Here it is:

And if you really just want to skip to the cat yodeling, here’s the video with just the yodeling bits:

So basically the key is that you have to annoy the cat first so that it will meow when you throw it up 4-6 inches. This seemed to do the trick, and Zorro is a mighty fine yodeler! Although by constantly pestering him and annoying him in preparation for yodeling, he also seems to be getting over his excessive affection towards human beings.

Yesterday, Google officially launched Sky Map for Android phones.   It’s an app that allows you to navigate the night sky and find certain stars, constellations, etc.  What’s really cool is that you just hold the phone up in the direction you’re looking at, and the stars on the phone match up with the ones you’re viewing in the sky.  It’s like magic! Except it’s a combination of GPS, compass, and date-time info.  But still, pretty awesome.  Here’s the video from the Google blog entry about sky map.

Actually when I downloaded and installed the app, it was the middle of the day at work, so…no stars visible…except the Sun!  So I took it outside for a test run, and used the search feature, which points you toward the object you’ve entered.  Sure enough, it found the sun!  Later last night, we found some more constellations and stars.  Hopefully we can go camping soon so we’ll be able to see more stars without the light pollution.  It works really really well from what I’ve seen so far, and hopefully there’ll be an iphone version as well, so it can reach a larger user-base.

Ramen House Ryowa

Before I moved to the Bay Area, I equated “ramen” with “instant noodles.”  Who knew that there was non-instant ramen??  Well, there is, and it’s what the instant stuff is based off of.  It’s also much tastier, and probably healthier.

Today we hit up the farmer’s market and then headed to Ramen House Ryowa in downtown Mountain View for some delicious ramen. The noodle house has a pretty unique layout, with two U-shaped bars inside, so they only need two waiter/waitresses for the whole restaurant.  Definitely not a fancy sit-down restaurant place, but cozy and comforting with their big bowls of noodles.

I ordered my usual, the butter corn ramen, and Tyler ordered the Ryowa ramen.  While we were waiting for the noodles, I had a tiny bit of kimchi (there’s a bucket of it in front of every few seats).

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Yum, usually I avoid all spicy foods, but it’s not actually not that spicy.  Our noodles came pretty promptly, and here’s what they looked like:

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Above is the butter corn ramen.  Yes, that’s a slab of butter on the corn.  They are not joking around.  Luckily, it melts pretty quickly, so you aren’t stuck looking at a big piece of butter the whole time.  It also includes half an egg, some bean sprouts, stewed pork, and seaweed.  Delicious!  I mostly just love anything with corn in it though =).  Here’s Tyler’s Ryowa ramen, without the egg:

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It has a much stronger flavor, and is saltier and spicier (the butter corn ramen is not spicy at all).

Everytime I come to Ryowa, I start out with a huge bowl of noodles, and think to myself, “There’s no way I can finish all this, we should have split a bowl.”  But somehow, 20 minutes later, I’m staring at a noodle-less bowl, fishing out the last bits of rogue corn.

If you try out Ryowa, try to avoid weekend peak lunch hours, especially on Sunday during the farmer’s market.  We made it there at 11:25am today and didn’t have to wait, but shortly after, a line started forming.  They don’t close in the afternoon before dinner, so a late lunch is also an option.

We’ve also tried their gyoza, which is pretty tasty.  Their fried chicken seems to be pretty popular as well, but when we ordered it, I think we got unlucky and got lots of fried-stuff-without-chicken bits.  Their fried rice seems to be a common order as well.

Other cool things about Ryowa: they always have the same Japanese tv show playing, featuring a pet chimpanzee and other animals that the tv show host anthropomorphize.  Very cute, but also very very weird.  Also, you get to watch cute little asian kids slurp down huge bowls of noodles.