It's an Exciting World

The life and times of David Geisert





Steph and I decided to do a trip to Europe with Ricardo and Irene, some friends we met through Michael Kehoe.  We talked through a lot of the options and based on deals we found decided to do Barcelona together.

Our original flight Monday morning got cancelled and we got moved to one 8 hours later. We got the info when we woke up on Monday. I got some work in before we had to head to the airport. This was nice and bad, as it meant we lost most of a day in Barcelona, but I got time to put my work in a good position before leaving.

We also had our flight plan changed from a layover in the US to a layover in Madrid, meaning we had an 11 hour flight from SFO to Madrid.  This was preferred by me, and we had a nice seat layout with Steph in the window and myself in the aisle.  I have to say travelling with the switch was amazing.  I played a ton of games, and Steph and I were even able to play some multiplayer on it while on the planes.  This is something I recommend to anyone travelling together.  I will have to get a good set of earbuds to share the audio for next time.

We got to Madrid and made the transfer without issues.  I still find it annoying to have to go through customs, then back through security, but can understand why countries want it that way.  I was surprised by how easy it was to get through the EU customs.  We then got to Barcelona and took a taxi to the hotel, which was a quick.  We had originally planned to do a spa on Tuesday, but that got pushed back due to the delay.  We were still able to do our dinner plans at 7 Portes, where they had good traditional paella.  After dinner we took a walk around the port and then headed into the Gothic Quarter.  We found an alley to grab drinks in and had a relaxing evening absorbing the ambiance of the old city.

On Wednesday I headed off to the Sagrada Familia after breakfast, with Steph going to Park Guell.  Both are by Gaudi, but they have very different feels.  I really enjoyed the Sagrada Familia and the part that Steph had complained about, long lines, wasn’t an issue with the time slot method with reservations.  I just showed up when my time slot was, and walked right in.  I loved the columns and how they split at odd angles as they made their way to the ceiling.  It was a gorgeous church.

We met back at the hotel and walked a little down the street for a nice lunch at Madeleine Mon Amore.  We walked down to the old city and had the spa treatment we had meant to do on Tuesday.  It was relaxing, with Steph and I spending about an hour in the pools before our massage.  We tried all the pools: hot, warm, bubbly, cold, and salty.  The cold was very cold, as it has ice melting into it.  Getting in gave a shortness of breath, and once returning to the hot pool caused a pleasant tingle all over.  We had our massage in the warm pool, and it was different.  The floating massage we had involved a neck pillow and pool noodle under the knees for floating support.  Then the masseuse would pull and rub different parts of the body.  This worked well for the feet, hands, arms, and head.  It didn’t give them any leverage on the back, making that part of the massage not as good.  I also didn’t like the feeling of my feet and hands being rubbed when they were so pruny. 

After about 2 hours in the pools I was ready to get out.  I left the others there and headed to a coffee shop to get dry and have a bit more caffeine.  Ricardo joined me shortly thereafter and we had some good conversations.  Both of us had or most traumatic experiences close to home, and were glad we had moved away.  We wandered around the nearby park for a bit before the women joined us.  We walked up to the Cristopher Columbus stature and the Arc de Triumph.  Steph and I then headed back to the Gothic Quarter to wander around a bit more, and we found a vegetarian place on a little square.  The food was decent, and I appreciated the conversation and feeling of being in the old square.  We then wandered the quarter some more before finding a place serving churros and drinking chocolate for dessert, which was amazing.

I wasn’t able to sleep that night, which was a bit of a issue as we had scuba diving the next day.  The place was about an hours drive outside of Barcelona on the Costa Brava.  We ended up at the dive shop early enough to have a bit of a breakfast there.  We geared up, which was a little disconcerting.  Steph’s tank was having issues, and by the reactions of the staff that might have been common.  I was also only given a pressure gauge, no depth gauge.  We didn’t cover any profiles before the dive, so I was just trusting that we would be staying in limits, but based on max depth and time we weren’t even close to issues.  I was still uncomfortable with it.  We got to beach Badia de Tossa which was gorgeous.  The castle and beach combo was so picturesque.  The dives went off without too much going wrong.  One of the people who tried to join us had a mask issue and wasn’t able to resolve it.  This was probably for the best as he was super flaily, and then tried to come join us on his own once he had it fixed.  We got to see more than I was expecting in terms of life.  There were a lot of large schools of fish, and dozens of eels.  We were able to see two octopi.  The octopi were about the size of a basketball all together, which is bigger than the octopi I’ve seen before.  I was impressed by the life and variety.

We got back and had a much needed nap, then headed to a nice dinner at Bistro Rastroterra.

Friday we had a tour to see the Spanish wine country.  We got to the tour launching point early and grabbed a coffee before getting bussed to the first winery, Jean Leon.  It was a pretty area, but the ego of the place was a bit much for me.  The next winery, Familia Torres, was a much larger estate with a really well done tour.  I enjoyed it much more.  The third, Friexenet was a sparkling wine that is termed Cava for the region, much like Champagne is for the region in France.  This was by far my favorite as they had an elaborate set of cellars, and the product was in my opinion the best of the grouping.

Dinner was at a place in Barcelona called Can Nico and it was the worst meal of the trip.  The food wasn’t seasoned well and overcooked.

Saturday we relaxed fo the morning and then headed to a place near the hotel for lunch.  In comparison dinner the night before Xorus was amazing.  It was probably the best meal of the trip as the food was amazingly well seasoned and perfectly cooked.  We split up after that with Steph and myself going to the Teleferic de Mon Juic.  This was a gondola going up to a castle overlooking Barcelona.  The ride was ok, but the views from the top were certainly worth it.  We ended walking down from there through the Garden de Larybal to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.  This was a massive museum that we could have spent all day in.  We got to see some old Romanesque church frescoes as well as modern art, including a Picasso self portrait.

We met back up with Ricardo and Irene for dinner at Hissop.  The tasting menu was amazing, and we had a great conversation about music and games over dinner.  Afterwards we got lucky and found a tea that Steph’s mom had been asking for in the quick mart right outside the restaurant.

I really enjoyed Barcelona.  The city has a great history, great food, and is very walkable and bikable.   The tree lined streets with large pedestrian routes down the medians made it feel much more inviting as a city.  I was especially happy to see that all those routes were very much in use.  I would recommend a visit of a few days here.

Omescape: Joker’s Asylem Escape Room


We met Riley and Rong at Omescape and jumped into the Joker’s Asylem escape room. George showed up a little late, which was good. The room really required 5 people to complete, as at one point all 5 needed to be doing something simultaneously.
Afterwards Steph headed off to play some Betrayal Legacy while the rest of us went to a bit of coffee and brunch. Riley and Rong decided they needed a real meal and went to some Korean BBQ, while George and I went back to his place and played some Smash.

Global Game Jam 2019

I participated in the 2019 Global Game Jam at the Oculus HQ location.  I had a great time and mad a fun game, Hermit Crab Simulator.  The game turned out pretty well, and we had it working great on the Oculus Go, as well as a web portal for anyone that wants to just try it out on web.  I got to talk to some of the Oculus group, and worked with some pretty good devs.  They weren’t experienced in Unity or VR, so it took a little bit to get them really going.  They all contributed meaningful work, which was great.  I was especially happy with the Audio work from Niko.  He did an amazing job on the game music, which is worth a listen on its own.  Here is the link to the global game jam page.

Under The Jungle

Steph and I headed to Mexico for a week of cavern diving training.  We got to use Steph status from her work trips for probably the last time, but use of the lounge and an upgrade was very nice.

We got to the airport in Cancun and pretty quickly got to the transfer we had booked.  We got to the dive shop and Rory was willing to drive us to the grocery store that evening.  We got a good amount of food and headed back to the room to crash.  The next morning we started the training with a checkout dive in about 7 feet of water.  It went decently well as we went through all the drills.  We got out of the water and redid a good bit of the gear before debriefing.  We were pretty tired so we went straight to the room and relaxed for a bit before calling it a night.

For the first trip with videos click here.

The next day we did a lot of navigation theory, and did dive plans for the Taj Mahal cavern.  The dives didn’t go exactly as planned as we were going slower than expected, and I called out the first reference point in my dive incorrectly.  We still got through most of the skills with minor hitches.  I lost buoyancy pretty badly on the turn of my dive and hit the ceiling.  That evening we again just relaxed, and I got some good cuddles from one of the cats that frequents the area, the aptly named Mustacio!  He jumped into my lap and started purring, kneading, and drooling.


The next day we went to Cenote Chiken Hal.  These dives didn’t go as well, and we had to repeat the first dive, focusing on the command chain: breathing, buoyancy, trip, position.  These were really hard for me, and the better I was doing the more uncomfortable I was getting.  The correct position had my neck, shoulders, and back hurting.

I decided that I was done with the training at that point.

I did go on a guided dive through a cavern called Dream Gate after that, which was gorgeous, but otherwise I sat at the room/shop.  There wasn’t much else to do in that area, and there were limited transportation options.

Steph completed the course and is now certified in Cavern Diving and Intro to Cave Diving.

We then went to Cancun, and had some amazing food.  We especially enjoyed the Benazuza restaurant, which is a course based meal.  They had some great mixology to start out the dinner and amazing food throughout.  It was better than some of the best dining we’ve had in the bay area and I can see why it was ranked in the top 5 in the world on trip advisor.

We went to Chichen Itza and saw most of the city.  It was pretty amazing.  Tikal was only slightly more impressive.


Social Wednesday

I took Steph’s car to Shoreline lake, and got there a little after 10am.  I had a long meeting with, then Tina and Irene showed up and we chatted while hanging out in the shade.  Adam got there with his mother and we decided it was time for lunch.  We got in line at the cafe and Jeremy joined just in time to order with us.  We chatted for the better part of an hour before Adam had to leave, and then chatted for another hour before Jeremy and I decided to go kayaking in the lake.  We hopped in and did one and a half times around.  We got out and Tina joined us for some more chatting and helping to pack away my kayak.  The photo below is partly obscured by the rubber band holding the phone.


That evening Steph and I had a nice date dinner at Pazzo, and Italian place nearby.  We hadn’t been there before so I thought it would be nice to try it out.  The food was tasty, but I found it to be a bit loud.

Solo kayaking Corkscrew Slough

I went for a long solo kayak in my new Oru folding kayak.  It went really well for the most part.  I started at about 10am and ended a little after 1pm.  I was able to get Lyfts both ways and it was pretty convenient.  The route on the map is shorter than the real one because on the left side of the map where it goes through the middle of the wetlands I was lost.  Navigating when everything looks like water from the surface, but you get close and it is mud bars just under the surface, its tricky.

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There were also two choke points where the water was flowing rapidly.  The first one was going the way I was going so I just rode it, but the second was going the other way and I had to portage around it.  That proved tough, but since the kayak is so light it wasn’t too bad.

I saw a ton of birds, at the end there was a flock that was murmating.  I also saw some harbor seals relaxing on the bank.

Kayak Camping in Tomales Bay

I got a group of 7 together to go kayak camping in tomales bay.  Five of us got there on Friday around noon and got onto the water as quickly as possible.  It was a 5.6 mile paddle to the beach we had been given, Tomales Beach.

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We had a long stopover on Indian Beach, which was approximately the halfway point.  There we pulled out the stove and cooked a bit of sausage.  After everyone got some food we got back on the water and made the final push to our campsite.  The fog was rolling in low and it was difficult to make out the far shore.  We started up a nice fire pretty quickly and got everything nicely set up.  A Prius showed up later from the service road and a few guys got out and set up a camp.  I was pretty sure that they weren’t allowed to drive in.  They looked like they were crabbing and fishing. We had a good fire that night and good food.  Riley cooked up a storm, and had brought way too much food, but we weren’t complaining.

The next morning Riley cooked up a lot more great food, and I headed out to meet up with Tina and Amit, who were coming in a day late since Amit had to work on Friday.  I got some good alone time on my paddle back, and made it to Inverness much faster than anticipated.  It only took me 1:45 to paddle the 6 miles back.  I got in early enough to have a nice meal and rest at the diner next door, where I got a huge veggie omelette.

Tina and Amit got in and we got onto the water pretty quickly.  The wind didn’t gust as fast on the way out with them as it did on Friday, but there was a lot more consistent of a wind.  We did a break at Indian Beach again, after which Amit took off and outpaced us by a large margin.   We were paddling near a large group that was heading towards Marshall Beach.  They were somewhat annoying, and had been slowly leaving behind their slow members.  The fist ones they left behind I don’t think made it to the campground.

Once we got in Steph got the fire going again.  She had a log with lots of sap on it, and once it started burning it put off a huge flame and lots of black smoke.  I was pretty impressed.  We had a great fire that night, as we had only gone through a third of the wood on Friday.  The food was amazing again, with Riley providing asparagus and bacon, with Adam providing spit-forks to roast them on.  We sat around the fire and talked for hours.  Eventually we ran out of wood and went to bed.  The next morning we had a long trek back, that was mostly uneventful.  We grabbed lunch in Point Reyes Station and dropped by the Cowgirl Creamery.   We got back and took care of the gear and vegged the rest of the day.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Michael and I had a fun day together, with a hike in Pacifica along the coast, then an evening where we went to Cupertino for Shakespeare in the Park of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  It was very well done, and the picnic with everyone was lovely.  The show was much funnier than I was expecting and the acting was some of the best I’ve seen in any play.  I brought some of the rosemary cider from Redwood Coast that was made with the rosemary from our yard.

Pinnacles Hike

Adam planned a hike for us to go to Pinnacles National Park, and it was an interesting time.  We headed to Tina’s in the morning to carpool the two hours there together.  We got in a little early and I grabbed a few apricots from the tree that overhangs Tina’s driveway.  They were delicious.  We drove to the park which had a surprising amount of traffic heading south on 101.  Once we got to the side roads there wasn’t any more traffic; although there was a little construction.

We got to the park and took a few minutes to get situated before starting on the hike.  The first part was steeply uphill, and directly into the pinnacles for which the park is named.  They were gorgeous formations with lots of bright red/orange and green/yellow lichens.  We got up to the high pass and I was already running through several liters of water, despite it only being about two miles of hiking.  We stopped by a reservoir on the way down so I could filter some just in case.  Then we got into the first cave system.  It was a short bit, but the caves were nice and cool compared to the 90’s and sun that we had up to that point in the hike.  We scrambled around the caves, eventually finding the exit and continuing down to the eastern parking lots for a lunch at the picnic tables there.

Adam pulled out a salami and ate it, while the rest of us had nuts and trail mix.  A few miles later Adam was regretting the salami, as it was strongly messing with his hydration and thus temperature regulation.  The hike was mostly flat on the second half of the day, with a longer caves section that was prettier in my opinion just south of the western parking lots.  We emerged a little worse for wear and tired.  Tina was amazing enough to drive the entire way back home, and we all crashed pretty hard that evening.

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