What Came Before Atari?

Happy Monday! San Francisco is experiencing a characteristic, and yet still disliked, period of June gloom. Of the two San Francisco summers I’ve been through, neither have been the let-me-lounge-by-the-pool-with-a-cocktail-garnished-with-a-tiny-umbrella type. Somehow I don’t think the third is going to offer respite.

With Saturday came buckets of rain, and although walking in it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever done, it did give me good reason to make grilled cheese and tomato soup. (Note: by “make” tomato soup, I mean pour from a carton into a pot and heat. That’s the same, right?)

Weekends have been full of adventure lately. Saturday started off with a 4 mile run in drizzle, (the monsoon-esque rain hadn’t started yet) for our first Team in Training coached run. More on that later!

From running, I went to the cat shelter to enjoy the company of some feline friends. For the first time, I experienced some sadness on behalf of the cats; normally, I can go in, volunteer and give them love, and leave – without worrying too much about the fate of the cats. This Saturday however, it was this duo that undid me:



Here is the description of Zac and Sissy from the SFSPCA: “Zac and Sissy lost just about everything. All they have left is each other. And they make the most of their loving relationship – lounging together, sleeping together and taking care of each other. In their last family, a move along with a pregnancy, led to their being surrendered. They need to learn to trust again. The love will follow.”

If there were room and I didn’t think our cats would have a conniption fit, I’d bring this pair home in a hot minute. If you know anyone in SF looking for cats…let me know!

However, this little puffball did make my day:

Adorable, no? Her name is actually Puff and I just couldn’t get enough! It reminded me of the days when our cats were that size!

After enjoy the lunch pictured above, my sister dropped my nephew off to stay over with us for the evening. Our first stop was the Musee Mechanique – an awesome arcade/museum of old arcade games and mechanical displays (some from the thirties!). On our way there, we did a quick detour down Lombard Street, “the crookedest street in San Francisco,” which I’d actually never done! I’d never want to live on Lombard – the crowds are huge!

Once we got there, we played silly games, many of which were much harder than video games today. There were also mechanical marvels that used to be watched for entertainment.

This is Laffing Sal – she’s sort of terrifying!

Auto racing old school style.

And newer (though not modern) auto racing. Let it be known that I beat BOTH of the boys and got 5th place overall on the machine.

Such strong men!

Part of a carnival display. They look so solemn considering they’re on a carousel.

And then this creepy thing:

What was most fascinating was to see what people considered entertainment back then – there were machines where you’d put in a quarter and it would show a tiny figure getting read their last rites by an executioner and then getting hanged. Obviously, violent video games today go above and beyond a fairly tame hanging, but somehow, the hanging displays incite a feeling of voyeurism more than Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty, although I can’t stomach the violence in those either.

The whole arcade was such a glimpse into decades past, not to mention a ton of fun, that I definitely want to go back and spend a bit more time there. The best part is admission is free and most of the things only cost a quarter!

Then we went to see X-Men (which was awesome! Nerds unite!), went home, got pizza and played Apples to Apples, and then got pie! Someday I hope to get there before a half hour before closing so I actually have a choice of pies. We still enjoyed a slice of banana cream, a scone, and a strawberry tartlet.

Sunday morning after driving my nephew home, I met up with Rachel for a long overdue tea date. We talked for almost three hours! Conversations like that energize me and this particular one helped me with a dilemma that I’ll discuss in a later post.

The afternoon meant chores – clean sheets, clean kitchen, grocery shopping. Alex’s birthday was on Tuesday, and I got him tickets to see Arj Barker, the stand up comedian. If you’ve ever watched Flight of the Conchords, he is the actor that plays their friend Dave on the show. Alex requested OSG enchiladas for dinner, so I whipped those up with some cabbage slaw and then we were on our way to the comedy club.

❤ ❤ ❤

We got awesome front row seats, but unfortunately photography wasn’t allowed. Arj, and the other openers, were hilarious. Tears of laughter were streaming down my face more than once.

Surprisingly, it was warm and balmy when we left the show, so we walked and successfully  (although somewhat painfully) resisted gelato and pastries. North Beach, the Italian part of town and the location of the comedy club, was hoppin;! We decided our next date night will be a hole in the wall Italian restaurant followed by gelato.

Before the weekend started, I was worried it was going to be too packed and stressful, but it’s Monday and I’m feeling great, so I think it had the opposite effect. Let’s hope I can carry that throughout the week!


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