Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Busy Saturday in California

We had a busy day last Saturday, our last full day in the San Diego area.

First, we went to the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore for an author signing. Given that Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle were to be there, I bought not only A Mote In God's Eye, which they co-wrote, but also Niven's classic Ringworld. When I found out that Niven had failed to show, I figured at least I could get Pournelle to sign. Then I found out that Pournelle was not there, either. Sigh. At least I got Fred Pohl to sign one book -- the experience marred by an awkward conversation with him when he noted my name was spelled the same way as "Jon Sherman," who I eventually determined to be "Jon Stewart." Also, I returned Ringworld.

And I didn't have to wait in the huge line...that was the Anne McCaffery line. Christina did, however, and got two Acorna books signed.

After the book signing, we headed off to Del Mar to watch the races. Between us, we ended up about $5 up (not counting admission, parking and food). I bet mostly based on the horses' can I lose if the horse has as part of his name the conference I'm about to attend. Answer: I couldn't.

I did manage to lose out on an exacta when the second place finisher was disqualified for interference. Fortunately, I had placed a bet on the new second place finisher to place, so it wasn't a complete loss.

It was fun, though, and something we'll probably do again when we return..if it's during racing season.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Wish I Was in Tijuana...

We had a bit of fun yesterday with an excursion south of the border. We come out here often enough, and we had a nice trip last summer to the border town of Tecate. Unfortunately, while Tecate has plenty of authenticity, it lacks for souvenirs. That isn't a problem in Tijuana.

We parked a short walk from the border and took the bridge over the border crossing. We attempted to take a couple of pictures at the border that we could blend seamlessly, but failed on that account.

After we made our way past the many souvenir sellers (with only one purchase), we were feeling the need to get out of the heat. We ducked into Cafe La Especial where we enjoyed some authentic Mexican food.

We wandered down the streets and picked up a few more items; we made an abrupt U-turn when we reached the open-air drug market in front of the jai alai stadium.

For some reason, there were a bunch of donkeys painted like zebras. We avoided them.

It was definitely just fun to walk around a Mexican town for a few hours and have a meal. We'll have to make this a regular occasion, although maybe we'll try to make it beyond Tijuana to one of the beach towns.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My rating did what now?

Well, the new American Go Association ratings are up. After my 3-1 record at the last tournament, my rating went from 19.0 to...19.1? (That's a drop, for those who aren't familiar with the rating system.) I'm still 19 kyu, just as I have been since May. (My 2-2 record in Richmond in June moved me from 19.3 to 19.0.) Given that my opponents went 3-7 in games not involving me, strength of schedule definitely hurt me. And I can consult AGA ratings FAQ question #8, "I was 3 and 2 in my latest tournament, yet my rating actually went down! What kind of a crazy system is that?"

I probably won't make it to a tournament again until late October. I'm hoping to study and improve by then. I guess at that point, I may have the choice between entering at 19 kyu and having a good shot at another trophy, or entering at 18 kyu and having a shot at kick-starting my rating. We'll see.