Early in the game a long foul ball game out toward our seats near the left field foul pole. I could see that it was going to bounce on the rubbery surface they have in the foul areas, and it looked very promising, because I figured it would lose speed and be catchable. I was on my feet and trying to remember what Cheryl told me about fielding a ball without gloves, as they do in cricket. ("Extend your arms and bring the ball toward you to cut the speed," for instance.) The ball bounced and I swear it was heading right for me, but someone two rows down extended a hand of stone. Instead of the ball coming into my waiting arms, it deflected away and other people pounced on it. Ah, well, too bad. Maybe I should ask my director if the person buying those seats is in for next year, whether I could buy a few tickets. Not a lot -- they're too expensive to afford regularly -- but it's still nice.
The result of the game? Oh, yes, the Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 in a fairly crisp, quick game that lasted less than two hours. The Giants finish the season in third place in the National League western division with a record of 75-87, but at least we finished four games ahead of the hated rival LA Dodgers, and we were in contention until the last week of the season.
Raven O'Neill joined me at the ballpark, and as I was walking from the BART station, I got a call from David Gallaher. He and dinogrl were joining Adrienne Foster and her friend Russell (whose last name I keep forgetting) at the ballpark, and would Raven and I be interested in going to dinner afterwards? The answer was yes, and Dave made reservations for us at the Buca di Beppo on Howard Street in San Francisco. The six of us met at the statue in Willie Mays Plaza after the game, and as it was still quite a while before our dinner reservation thanks to the fast game, we went and browsed at the Borders across the street for a while. Adrienne pointed out to me -- and I ended up buying -- a photographic collection Railways of San Francisco.
Then we ambled up to Howard Street. On our way, Cheryl Morgan called me from the British Fantasycon. Everyone said hi to Cheryl; however, she sounded really tired, and there was so much street noise that we couldn't really hear each other that well, so we only spoke for a few minutes. She has posted the results of the British Fantasy Awards on her blog.
We were early to Buca, but they found us a table after only a short delay. I really like Buca di Beppo. I was astounded to learn they were actually a chain; when I first went to the one in San Francisco, it seemed so quirky that I'm surprised that it's actually mass-produced quirky. The restaurant is a southern Italian family-style place, and it is deliberately designed over-the-top, with the walls covered with photos of things Italian and cheesy -- and I don't necessarily mean the kind of cheese sprinkled over the food. It's really "family style;" indeed, I'm told that at most Bucas (I've never been to any of the others), you actually enter via the kitchen, and one of the best seats in the house is the Kitchen Table, a table for six actually located in the kitchen. (Apparently the SF Kitchen Table has been the victim of a remodeling when they expanded the kitchen and added another floor to the restaurant.) Another treat is the Pope Room, where a large round table good for 15-20 people is surrounded by pictures of various pontiffs "in Sistine splendor." It's loud, it's fun, and the food is pretty good, too.
The proportions are huge. For the six of us, we ordered a small mixed green salad, garlic bread, escarole side dish, small eggplant parmigiana, small chicken marsala, and a large spaghetti with meat sauce. As usual, we had a lot of food left over. (I would have asked for the leftover spaghetti, but as I'm heading out to Chicago tomorrow, I couldn't use it; otherwise it probably would have been good for at least two or three lunches this coming week.) Mind you, I had to try and hold myself back somewhat: large servings of bread and pasta are not the best things to be scarfing down when you're a diabetic. That I over-indulged was shown by a blood sugar reading of 140 some 2 1/2 hours later when I got home. Bad Kevin!
I fretted a little bit about this in the restaurant, point out that one of the best ways to counteract this overload of food is to immediately get out and exercise. So after we finished eating and said our goodbyes (Dave & Spring had driven; Adirenne & Russell were taking Caltrain), Raven and I walked back toward BART. Raven lives nearby, but rather than just send me home immediately, she proposed that we walk down to the San Francisco Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street, which we did, and then we continued down the Embarcadero to the Bay Bridge and back. It was a nice pleasant walk, with the weather cool as I like it, and I could feel less guilty, too, as I had gotten some exercise.
I recall that some time ago, the walks I took today would have left me completely worn out. Now they seemed trivial, and I felt I wasn't pushing myself enough -- and my blood sugar readings agreed. I think this is progress. Now let us see if I can stay exercising and eating properly during this business trip.
Finally, we were back at Embarcadero BART, where I bade farewell to Raven and dropped down into the subway. Unlike my usual luck with these things, a Dublin/Pleasanton train came along a minute after I got to the platform, and the transfer at Lake Merrit was only four minutes. As I left the train at Union City and it pulled away, the automated announcement made me realize how lucky I was: "8 car train for Fremont in 26 minutes."
Tomorrow morning, I'm thinking of taking the morning Capitol from Centerville up to Oakland Coliseum and transferring to BART there instead of bus-to-BART-to-BART. If I do that, there's a chance I might be able to get on an earlier flight and connection to Chicago, which I would prefer, particularly as I've never been to this location before and would prefer to have a little bit of time to explore. Assuming the hotel does indeed have internet connections, I'll try to report tomorrow about how it works out.