(You might need to enlarge the maps to see what I'm talking about. Or you could very well not care, in which case, you can scroll right past the next six pictures.)|
Since I was going to need to make the return trip home in the middle of the night and since I didn't want to die by falling asleep on the freeway, I decided to rely on various forms of public transportation for my weekend trip to San Mateo (just south of San Francisco) in May. The plan was to take the Greyhound up from North Hollywood to San Francisco on Friday night, then take a subway to the bus stop, where I could pick up the bus to San Mateo at 8:58 p.m.
But the Greyhound wound up being an hour and a half late, so I didn't even get to San Francisco until after 8:00. Okay, after the subway ride, I could catch the bus at its next stop time: 9:58 p.m.
So first, I took a brief walk from the bus station to the subway station.
The purple line represents the entire route of the subway line I was on. There's a red star at the bottom of that hook shape -- that's where I wanted to get off so I could walk to the bus stop.|
But then the supposed subway did things I wasn't expecting a subway to do. After a series of stops at clearly-labeled underground stations, suddenly, the train emerged onto the surface and began driving alongside the streets. Every so often, a passenger would press the stop button and the train would stop at a seemingly random location, the stairs would descend, and the passenger would get off. These stops had no correlation to the stops indicated on the subway map, and since all of these stops were taking place in the middle of dark streets with no nearby signs, I had no idea where I was or where my stop was.
As a result, I wound up traveling all the way to the end of the route. As the train reached the end of the line, I prepared to get off and try to figure out where I was. It was at that point that all of the lights went out, the first two cars of the train separated from the car I was in, and I was left alone in a dark, locked car. (I should have taken a picture, but I was a little spooked by the whole situation.)
After a couple of minutes of me trying to figure out how to get out of the car (the doors wouldn't open from the inside with the power off), a worker came by to inspect the car. When he turned the car back on and opened it up, he was surprised to see me standing right there at the door. I guess the San Francisco subway system doesn't get too many stowaways.
|After several minutes of trying to figure out where I was and which way was southwest, I began to walk toward the bus stop. Well, I certainly wasn't going to make it there as quickly as I expected. Next bus: 10:58 p.m.|
|And then I got lost trying to find Mission St. It felt like I wandered around a lot more than the line indicates.|
|But finally, I made it to the bus stop. Did I mention that San Francisco gets cold and windy at night? You start to notice when you walk around for roughly an hour. And of course, one of the panes of glass at the bus stop was missing. Eventually, the bus arrived and I relaxed for the one-hour trip to my hotel. I liked the bus simply because it was an enclosed space.|
|Here's the scrolling information display on the bus. Sorry it's blurry -- it's difficult to take a picture of an LED sign in the dark on a moving bus.|
|I was too busy announcing the fighting robots to take any pictures of them, but here are some of the other things I saw at the Maker Faire. This is a picture of me as rendered with orange and green LEDs. If you squint, you can tell that it's me. It also looks a little more like me at full size.|
Burning man! Burning man!|
Not really. It was a huge sculpture designed to repeatedly catch fire.
But Maker Faire did allow me to see things that are best expressed in words I never would have expected to see together.
|For example, "People driving around in cupcakes."|
|And "Electric giraffe."|
|As I said, I took the bus up to San Mateo because I needed to travel home late Sunday night. Here's a picture taken at 3:00 in the morning at a Burger King in Coalinga Junction, which is more or less the halfway point between San Francisco and Los Angeles. I think Coalinga Junction serves primarily as a place for buses full of people to stop, stretch their legs, and get something to eat. I've never seen a Burger King so busy at 3:00 a.m.|
|About a month and a half later, I was in San Francisco again to announce RoboGames. Again, I was too busy to take pictures. But this isn't going to end well.|
|While in San Francisco, we visited Alcatraz. I knew I shouldn't have pulled out my bag of cocaine during the tour.|
|Quickly adjusting to life in my new home, I made a shiv out of the earpieces of my glasses.|
|Jeez, you'd think they would have corrected things after the earthquake by now.|
|Poor Bay Bridge. Everybody always ignores it to take pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.|
So here are some pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge!|
At regular locations along the bridge, they've installed telephones so stranded motorists can call for help and suicidal people can call for counseling.
|If you're planning on jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge, I would think you'd already know that it would be fatal.|
|Even the portable bathrooms used by bridge workers are painted International Orange!|
Well, that's as appropriate a picture as any to end with. Thanks for reading!