A Walk With the Family in Golden Gate Park

Today after we got back from church Stephanie and I witnessed a miracle, it was actually sunny outside (it’s been really, really rainy lately). To celebrate we decided that we would pull ourselves away from our wide array of screens for a couple of hours and go take advantage of the fact that we live about 50 feet away from one of the best parks in the entire world. That park, for all of you who don’t know, is Golden Gate Park and it’s kinda like the bomb.

We were excited to go snag some of the sun so we hurried up and got ready, grabbed Frank and headed out for a two hour stroll. Of course, when you head out for a walk in San Francisco you almost always end up seeing something you weren’t necessarily expecting. I guess that’s one of the perks of living here. Here are a couple of things that we didn’t really expect to see during our walk — enjoy.

The first thing that caught our attention was a huge crowd of all different types of people who were playing drums, dancing and singing together. It was nothing like we had ever seen before, kinda like a freestyle mashup of all different types of people who all happened to be hanging out at the same place at the same time. I even saw a couple of guys rockin’ a didgeridoo, which was pretty sweet.

The group was made up of black people, white people, Asian people, homeless people, little kids, hippies, hipsters and who knows who else. Even though they were all as different as could be, somehow it all just worked. This is something that I’ve noticed a lot since living in San Francisco — people can be as weird as they want and as long as they’re being themselves it all seems to work out.

As we walked through the crowd we had to stop and take it all in for a few minutes. During those few minutes I saw a young couple get yelled at by a homeless guy, an older man with a white beard scream like crazy to the beat of the drums and a younger hippie woman dance in non-stop circles. I also saw several guys with maracas.

There was a mother and daughter who were having fun, too. The little girl was dancing around and playing the drums. It was super cute.

After we left the drumming extravaganza we thought that we couldn’t top it. That is, until we walked up to the roller skating rink. Yes, there’s a roller skating rink in Golden Gate Park. We both really enjoyed the guy with the streamers.

Of course, we had to stop and snap a shot of the family. Awww, how cute. :)

Our walks are always awesome and they’re one of the few times when Stephanie and I can unplug from everything and actually talk to each other about some of the things that have been on our minds, which is super important for old, married couples like us. We both like to stay busy during the week, but making time for hanging out together is super important and something that we always need to make a priority. To be honest, I’m not always happy to be pulled away from my laptop, but when Stephanie does it I’m always thankful afterward. What an awesome wife, huh?

The Hup and Steph November 2010 San Francisco spending update

Now that it’s a brand new month, it means that there is a whole other month now behind us. In other words goodbye November and helllllo December! The fact that it’s a new month means a few things to Stephanie and I:

1. It’s now December and Thanksgiving is officially over, which means that we can now finally listen to Christmas music 24/7 (which we now do). We’re actually going to watch Straight No Chaser later on tonight so that Stephanie can get her fix.

2. We’re going to be back in Indiana later on this month for Christmas, which is the only thing that gets Stephanie more excited about than listening to Christmas music. Yeah, I’m super excited to go home, too but Stephanie takes it to a whole new level. She almost makes herself sick she gets so excited. Seriously.

3. We now have a whole new month of our spending data so that we can give our official November update. I’m not sure why I get so excited about doing this, but I just think it’s so much fun to crunch the numbers on what we spend our money on and to see what creates the fluctuations in our bank account. For instance, last month we had all of our money wiped out (except for $.65), which makes for an interesting graph to look at (see below).

Before I get started on the November spending you should probably check out our initial post called What Hup and Steph spend their money on each month in San Francisco so that you can get a good idea of why I put one of these posts together in the first place. Basically I think that it’s a great way to stay updated on where your money is going each month because knowing where your money is spent can tell you a lot about what you’re focusing on in life. Not trying to lecture anyone here, but it’s the truth and it’s even stated in the Bible: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:21.

So, with no further ado here are some more sweet looking graphs and thoughts on what Stephanie and I spent our money on in November of 2010.

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The ways that we spent our money in November weren’t a whole lot different from last month (see last month’s graph), but there are a few things that I would like to point out.

Food Spending Stayed the Same: We ended up spending the exact same percentage of our monthly budget on food — 12%. We made a conscious attempt to lower that amount by not eating out as much,  but we came within like $50 of what we spent last month. We also ended up spending the same percentage of our spend on eating out vs. eating in which surprised me since we were trying to eat at home more.

Charitable Giving vs. Entertainment: One other thing that Stephanie and I talked about working on last month was making sure that we spent more towards charitable giving than we did towards entertainment. Last month entertainment won out, but this month charitable giving took the lead.

Shelter Spending Gets A Boost: When compared to last month our shelter spend went up quite a bit and this is due to the fact that we finally got around to buying ourselves a couch. We still don’t use it a whole due to the fact that we haven’t bought a TV, but it looks great in our living room.

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Here is the graph that I’m a little disappointed but not that surprised about. I say this because Stephanie and I tried to cut down on our overall food spend by eating out less and making more food at home. I feel like we had a great start, but it seems like our busy days got the best of us as the month went on. We’ll continue to work on improving this, but due to the fact that we’re never home I’m honestly not sure how much less we can spend.

10125novemberentertainmentupdated

Sometimes categorizing entertainment gets tough due to the fact that it’s a very broad thing to keep track of. One thing that I decided to throw into this category is all ATM withdrawals due to the fact that whenever we get money out of an ATM we seem to blow it pretty fast. All of that chunk might not be entertainment, but I’m pretty sure a majority of it is.

You can also see that I added a Frank category since my friend Amanda asked me where his spending was last time around. To be honest, we actually don’t spend much money on the little guy besides some food and a bath/nail clipping here and there, but next month it will get a little boost as it’s time for the Frankster to get his shots updated. I’m sure he’s real excited about that.

10125octoberrunningbalance

I didn’t add this graph to my post last month, but I think that it’s pretty interesting to look at. This shows what the running balance of our bank account looks like throughout the month. The big drops are usually when we pay our rent or some other large monthly bill and the big spikes are when we get paid. Kinda cool, huh?

10125novemberrunningbalance

This graph has a little more personality due to the fact that we had our bank account emptied last month after someone stole my credit card number. That little gap between the bottom of the graph and the bottom line is what was left after they hit our bank account over and over with $275 Target gift card purchases. It was a little scary at the time, but not as bad as I thought it’d be. I mean, it’s only money, right?

10125octobervsnovemberrunningbalance

Here’s a look at both month’s running bank account balances with October in green and November in red. It’s not exactly synced up day for day and transaction for transaction due to the fact that we had more transactions go through on our account in October.

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One last graph that I was curious to see was when all of the transactions on our bank account actually go through so I broke them all out by day of the week. As you can see there are no transactions processed on weekends and nearly 75% of our monthly tranactions hit our bank account on Monday. I never really noticed this before so it was a little bit of a surprise to see how the transactions graphed out. I guess that’s why we make graphs in the first place, huh?

Just like with last month’s installment, if you have any questions about any of these graphs please leave us a comment and we’ll get you an answer. Also, even if you don’t feel like going through the trouble of graphing out all of your monthly spending like I did in this post, taking a look at and better understanding your finances is still an awesome habit to get into. I’ve really enjoyed pulling all of this information together each month and it’s sparked some great conversations between Stephanie and I along the way, so I would highly recommend doing it if you can find the time.

Experiencing a rare moment of thunder and lightning in San Francisco

Before living in San Francisco a thunderstorm was pretty much second nature for us. But, since moving out to the Bay Area nearly 3 years ago we have yet to see one until today and man are people freaking out about it. I decided to go check out Twitter to see what some of the other people here in SF had to say about the rare appearance of thunderstorm and here’s what I found:

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To show you just how rare it really it to have a thunderstorm like this show up in San Francisco, check out the last tweet at the bottom of the image above:

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Wow, according to this guy it’s only thunder stormed 3 times in the last 7 years.

One thing to also note is that even though this is in fact a real thunderstorm that’s happening right now in San Francisco, it’s still nothing compared to what you would see in the Midwest. To get a good since of what a real thunderstorm looks like in Indiana (including hail), check out this video that I put together way back in the day.

For some reason I thought that it was a good idea to go chase a storm and I luckily ended up getting the last spot under an awning at a gas station near my old condo in Indianapolis. It wouldn’t have been good to get stuck out in this — watch the video below and you’ll see what I mean.

An interview with the super awesome Casi of SanFranciscoNoobs.com

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Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m an internet stalker. I’m not ashamed if it and to be quite honest I’ve met a lot of amazing people and have been able to do some amazing things because of it. I mean, I usually don’t stalk for no reason (I stalk with focus!) and I feel like the stalkee to my stalker should probably take it as a compliment that I care enough to hunt them down.

I promise I’m practically harmless and most likey the worst thing that will ever come out of me stalking you is you having to meet up with me for a beer, which is just what happened last week when I hung out with Casi who runs the sweet blog SanFranciscoNoobs.com. Although she initially seemed a little hesitant to meet me in the real world we ended up having an awesome time chatting and getting to know each other beyond our Twitter account and About pages. It was kinda the bomb.

So when I meet someone who’s doing super-cool stuff I like to share it with as many other people as possible, so I thought that I would ask her a few questions so we all could get to know Casi just a little bit better. If you read these and feel like I should have asked her something else, feel free to send over a tweet to her at @SFNoobs and I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to answer it. She’s cool like that.

Here goes…

HUP: Hey Casi — thanks for answering some questions for me and for not freaking out when I randomly emailed you a couple weeks ago. I really like what you’re doing with your blog SanFranciscoNoobs.com, can you explain where it came from and what you’re currently using it for? Also, for all of those who don’t know — what’s a ‘noob’?

CASI: No problem-o Ryan. I’ve been known to have stalker-ish tendencies myself at times. Hence the noob part of my blog name a.k.a. someone who doesn’t know what the heck they are doing and is making every mistake and wrong turn possible. Including being a bit over zealous when it comes to making friends.

Which brings me to one of the several reasons why I started SanFranciscoNoobs.com, to make some friends in my new city. Surprisingly it has worked out great, even though I have scared a few people away. I may or may not have showed up somewhere I knew another fellow blogger was hanging out so I could “accidentally” run into them and become BFF’s. Can you say s-t-a-l-k-e-r! Anyway, another reason I started this blog was to force myself to go out and explore my new City, San Francisco, and squeeze every last drop of knowledge and fun I could out of it. I share my experiences so others can learn from my mistakes, help me through my adventures, and make fun of me (which I highly encourage). This city has so many different nooks and crannies to learn about I feel like I will always be a noob here, even if I’m here until the day I die.

HUP: Just like Steph and I did a couple of years back, you decided to head out to San Francisco as a couple with your boyfriend. Why did you both think that it was a good idea to make the trip?

CASI: My boyfriend (Greg) and I are high school sweethearts, together since we were 16. We have experienced a lot with each other. Learning to drive. Graduating high school. Graduating college. Good jobs. BAD jobs (I don’t want to talk about my stint at a tanning salon). Family celebrations. Family mourning’s. Living with each other. And a million other fun (and not so fun) times. We realized if we could make it through all this always by each other’s side through the good and the bad, why not make a major life changing decision we both wanted so bad. We had visited San Francisco a few times and loved every second of it. The day we graduated college the decision was made.

HUP: I know that it took Stephanie and I a while to adjust to life in San Francisco after moving out here from the Midwest. What has been the biggest adjustment for you since making the move and do you feel like you belong in the city?

CASI: I think Greg and I have suffered the most with missing our friends and family. Everyone we have ever known is someone we grew up with. Having to start completely from scratch was really tough on us. We tried going out as often as possible to meetups, bars, festivals, and other events; but we found it to be tough to work up the courage to put ourselves out there. It was just so much easier to stay home with each other and make plans to visit LA or invite old friends to come visit us. Once I got a job I was finding myself out a lot on my own at events and parties which surprisingly made it easier for me to make friends. I have made a few friends recently that have made this experience a whole lot easier. I think this missing link is what finally made me really fit in to this city.

The first day I realized I belonged here was the first time I gave directions to someone on the street. I told all of my new friends about it and they all called me a noob for being so excited over something like that. Bring it on! Noob fo life! Ooooo tattoo idea!

HUP: Anyone who lives in San Francisco has seen their fair share of crazy things. Can you name a couple of things that have stuck out to you more than others since you’ve called San Francisco your home?

CASI: Every day I see something crazy or different or out of the ordinary in this city. At first I met these experiences with wide eyes, but now they have become the norm. Then there was that one day a few weeks ago I decided to attend the Folsom Street Fair (NSFW). This street fair DEFINITELY stuck out to me. NOT in a good way. There are images engrained in my brain I can never unsee. *shutter*

HUP: You have written a lot of posts over on SanFranciscoNoobs. This might be asking too much, but can you link me to your favorite 3 posts that you can think of off the top of your head? Give it your best shot, I won’t judge.

CASI: Lucky me, I have already done this for ya! On our one year anniversary in San Francisco I wrote a post summing up everything I have done in San Francisco. My favorite things are listed in order from 1-10 and the rest is somewhat a free for all. So, instead I’ll just give you the top 3 things I have done since the one year anniversary post.

1. House of Air
2. Outside Lands
3. Bikram Yoga

Take note that the Folsom Street Fair is not in my top 3…

HUP: I know that one of the things that Stephanie and I love most about San Francisco are the amazing events that always seem to be going on. I’m sure that like us, you’ve gone to your fair share of events, too. Which ones have been your favorites?

CASI: As you may have noticed on my blog I talk a lot about beer. When we moved to San Francisco I found a new love for this tasty beverage and its wide variety and culture. So one of my favorite events in San Francisco of course surrounds the greatness of beer, specifically one brand of beer that has a good variety of brews: The Tour de Fat sponsored by Fat Tire. The festival celebrates two great things in this city, beer and bicycle riding.

I would send you a link to a post I have written, but as you may have noticed from my lack of posts the last few weeks wifi has been scarce since I’m in between houses at the moment. I will update you with a big roundup up post I have been writing during this lull, including pics/vids from this awesome festival.

HUP: Well, that’s all I have for you, Casi -thanks for taking the time to chat with me and please feel free to leave us with some randomness to close out this interview. I know you’re good at that.

CASI: The following question was asked of me recently by two close friends, “How many times do you think you use the word balls in a day?” This was brought on because I have a tendency to throw the words “balls” and “sauce” (that’s what she said) to the end of most words. In case you would like to learn a few of these gems I leave you with this: Thanks Ryan for this awesome-sauce of an interview. Your questions were amaze-balls! And, I didn’t know how to fit this one in, but … sweet-balls.

I don’t know anything about sports

In case you don’t keep up with baseball, San Francisco has a pretty killer team this year. Stephanie and I have been to a few of their games, but I wouldn’t really consider either one of us fans. Coming from Indiana where we love the Colts, kind of like the Pacers and like the Indians only because they have an awesome field we don’t really have a whole lot of baseball blood flowing through our bodies.

But, that’s not going to stop us from jumping on the bandwagon, which we’re doing tonight for the second game of the playoffs where the San Francisco Giants are taking on the Atlanta Braves. The Giants won last night’s game and I actually listened to the last couple of innings of it on the radio, which was pretty sweet. There are some hard core Giants fans here in the bay area and they’re all going nuts for their home team.

Right now I’m riding up to the game on a Caltrain that’s full of orange and black Giants fans, incuding the 4-5 people who are sitting way too close to me. I asked a few questions about the Giants to an older guy accross the aisle and he said that he’s been a Giants fan for over 20 years. He also told me that the Giants were in the playoffs in 1989 where they got waxed by the Oakland A’s (and had an earthquake during one of the games) and went to the World Series in 2002, where they lost to the Anaheim Angels in 7 games.

A couple of other guys sitting by me who were also sporting Giants jerseys jumped into the conversation and started spatting off stats about different players, who would be pitching tonight and what the game plan should be. They knew a lot about baseball and they especially knew a lot about the Giants. At this point I pretty much got squeezed out of the conversation due to the fact that I don’t know anything about the Giants, baseball and pretty much any type of professional sports in general.

You would think that since I played sports all the way through college (basketball, believe it or not) that I would have more interest in sports than I do now. But, honestly I really don’t. At all.

Heck, I don’t even own a Colts jersey, which is practically a crime in Indianapolis.

Anyways, all of this to say that I don’t know anything about sports.

But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t pretend, so off to the bar I go! (don’t worry, I’ll drink a beer for you, too)

Having Fun With Craigslist

One of my favorite things to do is write Craigslist postings. This is probably because whenever I post something I feel like I need to make it just a little more ridiculous/entertaining than the other ones I read on there.

For example, here is something that I just posted for a black, leather couch that Stephanie and I are trying to get rid of before we move (yes, we’re moving in to a new place). Click the image below so see a larger version.

Taking Boomer and Frank to Fort Funston Beach

If you’re a dog owner, then you’re probably familiar with the the give-and-take of dog sitting. What I mean by this is that any when you have a dog there are going to be times when you need someone to watch your little, 4-legged bundle of joy and there will also be times when you’ll have to return the favor by watching theirs. It happens this way because the only people who will ever even think about watching your dog will have to be both a dog owner and dog lover as well.

Bottom line: if you ever want to be able to go somewhere without your dog coming along then you’re going to have to watch some other people’s dogs as payback. They’ll mostly be dogs that you know and it can actually be a lot of fun, but nonetheless you’re going to have to do some doggy sitting sooner or later.

I wanted to throw out this little insight about doggy sitting because as I type this my homeboy (and co-worker) John Ramey is back in Indiana on vacation and Stephanie and I have been watching his dog — a cute 4 1/2 year-old Chow Corgi named Boomer. We’ll be watching her for another few days until John gets back into town and I’ve got to say that it’s going to be hard to give her up. The funny thing about this is that Boomer has been our office dog for nearly a year, but I don’t think that we’ve ever really bonded until just this past week while Stephanie and I have been watching her.

So, needless to say, Stephanie, Frank, Boomer and myself have been hanging out a lot. One of the more fun things that we’ve done is head over to Fort Funston Beach (a dog-friendly beach that we’ve been to before)  so that we all could go run and play next to the ocean. As always, it was a lot of fun and both Boomer and Frank ended up running themselves until they could barely even run anymore.

I snapped some pics and created a video story about our day at the beach (that reminds Stephanie of The Night Before Christmas) — check ‘em out below.

My latest random idea — want to rent an iPad?

Yesterday I went to a tech conference here in San Francisco and to be quite honest it was pretty much the same ‘ol same ‘ol. But, one thing did end up sticking with me after I left the networking/panel/keynote filled fun and that was that the iPad is a KILLER demo device at events like the one I went to. Many people (including me and my co-workers) were not only telling people about what we do at isocket, but we were not able to easily show them what we were doing, too. The iPad allowed us to do this quickly, easily and instantly and it allowed us to interact with interested people on a whole new level.

So, after seeing all of this go down yesterday, I started thinking about how everyone will eventually need to carry an iPad at events (and I think that people at booths will be using them, too). But, most people don’t want to drop $500 or so on a device that they’re only going to use one weekend at a time, which is why I thought that there might be a market for renting them instead. This is why I thought of coming up with an iPad rental service called The iPad Borrower where people who need an iPad for these specific situations can rent them instead of buying.

Right now I am simply gauging interest for the service and if I see that there are as many people out there wanting to rent iPads as I think, then I’ll push the idea farther along. So, I guess only time will tell and I’ll update soon if anything comes of it. If you have any questions or ideas about renting an iPad or how iPad rental would work, please feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Adventures in *almost* trashing a wedding dress with the Gaupers

A couple of days ago Ryan and Holly Gauper rolled into San Francisco after driving across the US for a few weeks, flying to China for a couple more and hanging in Hawaii. If you don’t remember the Gaupers, they are the amazingly awesome husband and wife photography duo who shot all of the amazing pics from our wedding about 6 months back. They’ve been taking some time off to see some of their family, friends and have also been setting up some photography workshops along the way. They’ve been at it for a couple of months and are now finally getting ready to start the drive back to their home state of Michigan so that they can get ready for another crazy-packed wedding season.

Before they took off and headed back home both Holly and Ryan wanted to take Stephanie and I out for a shoot around San Francisco, which we were more than happy to do yesterday (ok, we were giddy like little kids to do it). Of course, with Holly and Ryan there’s never really just a ‘normal’ photo shoot and this time was no exception. When Stephanie and I went home for Christmas Holly told us to have Stephanie’s mom ship out her wedding dress to our place in San Francisco so that we could have a trash the dress shoot. If you’ve never heard of a trash the dress shoot, it’s basically just like what it sounds — the bride gets photos taken of her literally trashing her wedding dress. This usually consists of the bride jumping in water, standing around in something messy or some other type of thing that brides aren’t supposed to do while wearing a pristine, white wedding dress. It’s become pretty popular with brides here the past couple of years and it only seems to be getting more and more popular as time goes on.

We were planning on doing something a little more on the extreme side to Stephanie’s dress (like chopping it up with scissors or covering it in paint), but as Stephanie, Holly, Ryan, Nic and I started running around San Francisco together we ended up spending so much time getting shots of us not trashing the dress we didn’t end up actually doing the trashing that we initially set out to do. I’m totally ok with this as I was honestly a little sad about the fact that we were going to ruin the dress that reminds me of the best day of my life, but I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time before we get to doing what we initially set out to do yesterday. That dress is trashed, it’s just going to take a little bit longer before it happens.

Like I said, we didn’t trash the dress, but that definitely doesn’t mean that we didn’t get some freakin’ fantastic shots. We ended up spending about seven hours driving all around San Francisco and the photos that we ended up getting out of it are really cool. Check out a preview of what we came back with below and be sure to keep an eye on Holly and Ryan’s blog for more photos and video (and the video is HILARIOUS).

Unplugging on a Sunday afternoon at Muir Woods

From what I’ve heard around the Internets lately it’s now officially Spring and in celebration Stephanie and I decided to make a trek out to Muir Woods, which, unbelievably is less than 20 miles away from our crib in San Francisco. Actually, the reason that we went to Muir Woods wasn’t really because it was Spring (that just sounded like a great intro), we actually ended up going because the only thing that Stephanie loves more than walking is walking in a park.

Although we don’t get out to explore some of the amazing parks that the Bay Area has to offer as much as we probably should, this wasn’t the first time that we’ve headed out to hike among Northern California’ s amazing Redwoods. We had a lot of fun hanging out with them at Big Basin a little more than a year ago, which you can probably tell if you watch the video we created from our little excursion.


It was an amazing day to go for a hike — check out that sun!

Whenever Stephanie and I end up going hiking there are a few things that are pretty much guaranteed to happen:

1. We’re going to have a ridiculous amount of fun running around the woods together. There’s just something about us being out in nature that makes us even goofier than normal. I’m not really sure why it happens, but it always does.

2. We’re going to get an awesome workout. I think that most people tend to take their time when hiking through a place like Muir Woods, but for some reason we really like to get after it — even to the point to where we’re breaking a pretty solid sweat. It’s not like we don’t like to take in all of the sites, but I think that we both like to keep up a pace that’s faster than most. We passed at least 10-15 people while walking the trail, which I think shows just how fast we were moving along.

3. We always get lost when we go hiking, but it always seems to work out for the better every, single time. It’s sad, but true — we always get lost. I’m sure that part of this is due to #2 since we’re moving through the trails so quickly, but I think that the fact that we get lost has only helped us do even cooler stuff that first expected. For example, we somehow made our way off of the trail that we were supposed to be following, which then led us to meeting a guy who told us all about an awesome lodge called The Mountain Home Inn. We ended up walking over there to check it out and really loved the place. I even had enough cash in my pocket for a quick beer to hold me over until we made it back down the trail.


The Golden Gate Bridge on the ride home from Muir Woods

All in all our trip to Muir Woods was a lot of fun and a great way to spend some time on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We got a great walk in, we were able to see one of the nations most beautiful National Forests and we even found a great, new place to hang — sounds like a great day to me.

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