Round Three: A Reistafel by Any Other Name, June 25, 2016


After the Symposium


Folks went their ways after the Saturday Symposium with plans to meet for dinner at Borobuder, an Indonesian rijsttafel restaurant. I was amazed—and a little concerned —that we could make reservations for that many people on such short notice.


We had some time, and John was kind enough to chauffeur Lee and me through Golden Gate Park to the Beach Chalet. Lee mentioned that—of all the times he had visited San Francisco—he had never seen the ocean. The Beach Chalet houses some of SF’s famous WPA murals.


Explaining that New Games includes aspects of competition for you all is not necessary. John and I exhibited some competitive behavior as we began a form of Liar’s Dice, filling Lee in on various bits of trivia about Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, and the history of the bay area. Innocent facts about Spreckels Lake being filled once a year with sugar topped by a giant Strawberry Hill soon escalated into wild explanations about the origins and various plans for the Panhandle. Don’t remember if it was John or I that upped the ante by surmising —at one point—that the Panhandle was originally supposed to maintain the same width that John McLaren could throw a gold nugget during an earthquake and extend as an urban recreation zone to join the Bay Bridge with the not-yet-built Caldecott Tunnel.


It was perhaps this spirit of amiable one-up-personship that got us banned from the Beach Chalet for the next six months. Who knew an innocent question to the docent could result in a reenactment of the 1906 big one, perpetrated on the replica that used to proudly stand in the lobby?


(To be honest, it’s been a few weeks since all this happened, and I may be misremembering some of the details. The questions may have been resolved with a Google search, or two.)


The restaurant was close enough to downtown that we decided not to drive. It would be easier and cheaper to take an Ubercar than searching for a parking spot. Instead, John took us to where he and I would be staying that night, which turned out to be a different neighborhood that didn’t have any parking. It didn’t take more than a few blocks of searching to find a spot where we could abandon park his vehicle and this uber-virgin got to witness the miracle of technology.


Not sure what digital arm wrestling will look like in the future, I think I caught a glimpse while watching Lee and John see which one could summon the first Uber. I think John won, but have to acknowledge that he had home-court advantage.


We made it downtown. I tried to suppress my yokel ways by not oohing and aahing at all of the tiny screens that people were brandishing. The restaurant could, indeed, seat our party. As near as I could tell, our group arrived on foot, by BART, personal vehicle, and probably one or more uber alles.


The food was as good as I had hoped, and the company was even better. That dining experience allows me to delay the necessity to fly to Amsterdam for a few more years. The seating arrangement was a series of tables pushed together, so conversations were mostly limited to folks who were sitting in relative proximity.


I’m embarrassed to admit that with all of the excitement I had forgotten reistafel means lots of sate. At the first bite I was transported. That’s not an excuse for what happened later on. In retrospect, I think a better excuse might be the carryover from the earlier SF trivial pursuit contest John and I and shared.


The night before Doc Brown had mentioned that she is slowly transforming the medical profession. As near as I could tell it has something to do with flow and interoffice campfires. (It might be best if she explains it herself.) That afternoon Lee told us about his work with justice and restitution. It seemed appropriate to mention the semi-New-Age, traditional Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono. I was doing a lot of that, myself, in preparation for this weekend, and it seemed to fit into the conversation.


At one point the talk turned to folks’ health and such. Here is where the carry over from the earlier, competitive trivia contest reared its head. I chimed in with being a cancer survivor (At this point, aren’t most of us?), having strange growths the size of citrus fruit removed, and complained about getting out of breath when walking up a couple of flights of stairs—even though I row a 10k more days of the week than most. Won’t bore folks with details of my declining health here. Instead, you can choose to be bored by clicking here. (Caution: If you think these updates are on the long side, you may want to skip my annual letters.)


After my litany of complaints our own Doc Brown—clearly reverting to diagnostic mode—responded, “Tell me more about getting out of breath.” Her unofficial diagnosis is that an enlarged liver is taking up too much room, preventing my lungs from expanding to an appropriate size under stress. The treatment is to go on a three-week, TQI (To Quiet Inflammation) diet. Must admit, the book looks interesting.


Folks split up and went their ways after dinner. John and I accompanied Jamie and Betsy to the BART station. I was trying not to stare at all the hip folks who were out clubbing on a Saturday night. Turns out I don’t get out much and a night in the city was bedazzling.


After dropping our Seattle couple off, John suggested we walk back a few blocks to a spot where it would be easier to grab a ride back. I noticed his slight limp at about the same time I began panting from the slight uphill incline.


We debated whether to use his phone to call an EMT or an uber. The uber won. Once back to his car we made the obligatory shopping trip to a late-night market and called it a day.


Next installment: Round Four: The rePlay and beyond


Humbly submitted by Todd Strong


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