March 25, 2008

Located at the corner of Lone Tree Way and Golf Course Road, Go-Go Yoh-Go is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. Welcome to the second installment of the Antioch places. Antioch is a friendly city, and I am here to discuss some the more interesting culinary options it has to offer.

Antioch has a handful of franchised ice cream venues peppered around town: two Baskins Robins, two Rite Aids, two TCBYs, a Dairy Queen, and Foster Freeze. If you wish you can also throw in Hazel’s. However, I am only aware of a single yogurt shoppe. In fact, other than Yogurt Castle in Walnut Creek, I am only aware of these two businesses trying to market frozen yogurt to the masses.

GO-GO, is tucked into the corner of shopping center. The building is covered in warm yellows and greens. Its pink and blue tables and chairs give it a hint of retro décor. The Starbuck-like-atmosphere is pleasant. A soft blue couch awaits an afternoon of relaxing, while an upright piano can’t wait to entertain. The owner’s niece is very skilled pianist, and can entertain a crowd with fancy classical choices. As can some of the other staff members. However, the real selling point is the small lagoon that can been seen from the window. As spring lights up the local foliage and trees begin to sprout this little reflecting pool is most captivating.

Moreover, GO-GO seems to be in vogue with the local Deer valley high school students. I have seen casual dates on the weekend, and I could only imagine it as a pleasant after-school hangout.

It is a unique blend between the restful evening get away and the after school date.



March 24, 2008

How do you focus your energy? During my school years, it was simple; I loved to learn. I would go to class, and absorb, listen, think, debate, discuss, write, think, learn. I think I may have missed two days of school in my life, and since summer school was optional, I think I actually went to school more days than were offered during the year. I went because it was fun; I could talk to my friends, and I could debate the topics. Of course during high school I did not fit it much, little odd (if you know what I mean, liking school and all. Whoa did I stand out.)

Then college came along, and it was even better – I could focus on what I wanted, I did not really have to take those stupid classes any more (you know which ones I am talking about). I was able to focus, to sharpen my knowledge. A few months before graduation of my bachelor’s degree, I came to the realization that I had “run out of focus” I was done. Next month I would have to enter the “Real” world and get a job and turn into a corporate clone, and my personal opinion about this kind of cloning is bleak, very bleak.

Alas, I was a good clone. I went to work, on time, did not complain, got the job done, and wore the right cloths. Well, for a while at least. As you enter a different environment, there is always something that proves, to yourself, you just are not up to the challenge. The first day of high school, and you get trash canned – not by the bigger kids. That would be too normal. You get it from your grade school buddies playing a (less than) funny joke. Entering the work world is all about being a freshman again. There is nothing that can prepare you. I promise that first month you will have two left feet, and possibly two left hands, and maybe even two heads. (And you might be purple) Just like high school all over again, bummer.

Since I was missing school, I decided to rejoin the ranks of the academic community, in search of an MBA, consuming night classes and performing my clone duties during the day. For a while, I was good, but then I “ran out of focus” again. I was done, again. I, of course, considered a PhD and decided against it because it too would be done. Moreover, I felt it was time “grow up” and be done with school.

Enter TradedTen. Traded Ten, TTen, or the abbreviation many of us shy away from TT. TradedTen is my never ending obsession, it is a company. My brother and a few friends decided they were going to do something great, and started working, and flopping, and floundering. A while later they ask for guidance. They are still doing something great, but now we are doing it with focus, and passion. When men put their minds to something, and know how to succeed, they are a force. Even God has to go to great lengths to stop them. Think of the tower of Babel (http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/babeltowerof.html) Or Abe Lincoln’s dedication to what he knew was right.

We have more power then we think. How do you focus your thoughts and actions?

Over thinking it?

March 18, 2008

Yesterday I was accused of over thinking a topic. Have you ever been exposed this sort of abuse? I hope not; it is foul.

By my nature I am nerdy kind of guy, a software developer by trade. My brain was wired a specific way to solve society’s specific software problems – how is that for an ego. If God wanted me to be a musician he would have made me taller, given me a receding hair line, some musical talent, and a dandy personality – I would look something like this [^], However, God already made one of those, so to be unique he shortened me up, rewired my brain, added some weight around the middle, and gave me a snarky personality.

What was the topic you ask? “Theorizing about artificial physics in an artificial environment for mostly entertainment value.” Sounds inherently heady, eh? Let me translate one more time … I was writing the rules to a role playing game. No longer does it seem so heady; it is just plan nerdy, personally I like the first description better. I had no idea the level of commitment that role players have to their role playing systems. They should have a dummies book “Talking to gamers for dummies” I would recommend a copy to everyone after this discussion.

Recall I am software developer, which is really a code for a person who breaks a lot of systems to discover the limits of the system. Have you ever tried to talk to an extreme gamer? That is hard enough, but to tell them that their system is broken… oh my, let’s just say I found thin ice; where’s that book when you need it? First rule when talking to a gamer, their preferential game system is law; second rule, don’t tell them there world is broken. Some key words that may hint you have discovered the game system: 3Dr2, WOD, Second Ed, gurps, d20, etc.

From my perspective I am trying to dissect and understand the physics of the artificial world, what are the important elements? Per our understanding, if I jump off of a cliff, I need to account for some forces acting on me. More specifically, I need to know the interaction between me and the planet, (am I on the moon, or earth). How much atmosphere does the location have? A thick atmosphere, like earth, could limit my falling rate (before I splatter). What if I have a cool-fancy-state-of-the-art Acme 4000 Jet pack, how does that affect my impending doom?

What if I asked all of these questions in relation to d20? Holy cow, you would have thought that I kicked the gamer’s child. Not only was I told that gravity is non-essential force in the d20 system, but Acme does not produce products in this alternate reality. Uggh. I began to feel that I could not win… And then my witty opponent allowed frustration to get the best of him. You could see the frustration start in his left hand; wash across his face, and out the other side. It was classic. As the frustration touched his lips, I was downright accused of over thinking his system. I am still in shock, days later.


March 17, 2008

What is Antioch? Fancy and posh; not really, however, the city government believes the city is a retirement community with many golfing options. Although I don’t have the facts to back that up, I am fairly sure Antioch is just another bay area commuter city. Over the next few post, I will be exploring the city, the good parts and the not so good parts. I have been living here for nearly fifteen years, and hopefully can guide you through our city.

My first topic will be the Risotto restaurant, 4605 Golf Course Road at Lone Tree Way, the second restaurant at that location, and the second Italian joint in town, Olive Garden was the first, Vinette (the original at this location), and then Johnny Carino’s. Of course others may have come and gone, but these are the major choices.

This weekend my Wife and I were going to the new fat-free-all-healthy-completely-organic frozen yogurt shop in the same plaza when we decided to dine at the Risotto. Walking into the building is quite a pleasant experience; a country Italian truck to the right displaying seasonal ornamentation, a handful of Italian wines, and a choice variety of other fun-to-look at items. To the left was a wonderful looking dessert cabinet. Straight ahead was a grandiose bar.

The wait was trivial, and the hostess shuttled us to our table, in the main dining area. While we were dining, there were at least ten other parties and the room was generally quiet.

The new Risotto décor is so much better than the original. The art is more Italianesque and the original deconstructive architecture was removed covered by linens hanging from the ceiling. An Italian restaurant should be Italian; the original was not, but Risotto is better now.

The menu has a curious slow dining label, warning the hasty American population that this restaurant will serve its food when it likes. I found that entertaining, however, there service was not especially slow. We had a pleasant conversation while our food was being prepared. And the spinach pear salad was delightful, while the linguini carbonara was equally wonderful.

Absolutely no complaints.  Risotto has become a wonderful dining experience. Risotto would be a wonderful location for a prom dinner, a night out (as their bar is well stocked), or a simple dining experience.


March 14, 2008

Post nuclear attack; everything you know is upside down; how do you survive? The government is gone, and there are no rules.  Can you uphold your moral code; can you continue to be civilized? Where do you draw the line? This is a phenomenal discussion of humanity.

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