Friday evening, relsqui zipped out to Santa Cruz for her birthday. We ate at Rosie McCann's and left shortly after their apparent conversion from restaurant/bar to club/bar. Why they try to be a dance club is utterly beyond me.
We skipped out of there and went to a little hole in the wall I learned of quite some time ago. The place is actually a bit difficult to find -- The Poet and Patriot. The evening consisted of singing really loudly to various music on the jukebox and meeting a few random people.
We failed at getting relsqui drunk, though she did sample a number of beers and mead. That's gotta count for something. Given that I was driving, my intake was light.
Saturday morning after about 4 hours of sleep, we headed out to Monterey to go to the aquarium. Two particular highlights of that trip -- they picked up a new sunfish and a great white shark. The shark is young -- a little more than a year old and due to be tossed back to the ocean in not too much longer.
The sunfish was amazing. They used to have one in the main tank, but they got rid of it due to its size. They built a larger one and this sunfish is massive. It was probably something around 8 feet in length. What makes it interesting is its shape. It doesn't have the structure which we normally think of for a fish. Picture an 8 foot square. Now, make it a prism by extending its width about 3 feet or so. Attach a fin to the top and bottom -- probably around 4 feet long each -- and give it eyes and a relatively small mouth which stays open.
A picture from wikipedia:
The outer surface is apparently something like 4 inches of collagen which deters any potential predators by its taste. They apparently contain a neurotoxin as well. They're generally safe from predation once they grow to full size, though it's thought that an occasionally orca will go after one. Whatever does go after them had better be hungry.
Interestingly enough, they target feed it because of its limited mobility. This one has apparently learned to recognize a human hand at the surface of the water.
Got back home in the evening and had a little bit of time to mess around.
Sunday morning, we went off with the parents to Treasure Island. My father was in the Navy and my mom expressed some interest in taking him around to see the area again. He wasn't stationed there, mind you. He was there for a bit while in transit to other places. That was kind of interesting.
The evening was taken up by dinner with zweeb and greenbuttercup at Pizz'a Chicago -- the best pizza place in the history of Man as far as I'm concerned. Our waitress there was Sarah -- the same one who aided in my proposal to relsqui
That was followed shortly by a concert that relsqui's dad was in. The concert was a bit more culture than I was really prepared to deal with, I think. The music was nice, there was one soloist in particular who stood out.
After a fashion, I thought the presentation was a bit pretentious. It is my opinion that one ought to strive to create as low a ratio of applause to music as possible. Applauding at the end of each piece and a second round during any personnel changes may have dampened my enthusiasm somewhat.
Lacking the availability of flowers, I thought it would be amusing to get relsqui's dad a Chia Pet (which he insists on pronouncing with a hard ch). He seems to have enjoyed that 8)
I've been playing a bit more Gran Turismo 4 and won a very interesting car as a prize -- a Mitsubishi HSR-II:
Here's a picture of one:
What makes it particularly interesting is that it has panels on the rear which act as ailerons to help the car turn. When raised in tandem, they act as an air brake. They apparently focused on active aerodynamics with this model.
The car has about double the horsepower of anything else I have in my garage. I've been racing with my heavily modified '86 MR2 up to this point. I'm been using this one for the higher powered races now which the MR2 was inadequate for. Because it's 4-wheel drive, it tends to understeer much more than I'm used to -- I've been sliding my MR2 around corners for quite some time now. This has resulted in a lot of left-foot braking on my part to transfer weight to the front wheels, produce better steering, and slow much later than others on the track. This has an adverse effect on the wear of my front tires, but that can't really be helped until I start really developing a style for this car.
Things to work on include using throttle earlier on the exit of the turn to keep my turbochargers spooled up and tuning the car so that it turns more evenly.
I suspect that much of my interest in it comes from a desire to start living in the future.
Lastly, I came to an interesting conclusion today. I believe a mixture of being in a long-term relationship, a lack of suitable waitresses at game night, and other factors has worn down my previously legendary ability to flirt.