Sprocketts by the Bay

Sprockett family adventures as California residents


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Computer History Museum

Nearly everyone in Silicon Valley says, “Oh, the Computer History Museum? It’s awesome!” And my internal monologue conversation responds with, “Yeah, sure, but how awesome can a museum be about the history of computers?” Turns out, pretty awesome. There are opportunities to play, to watch videos, and to read engaging displays. Oh, and to pretend like you own the Google self-driving car.

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The museum starts clear back with the abacus and slide rule, so you’ve got quite a long way to process through the history of computing! We gave ourselves two and a half hours to explore and ended up being chased through the last 50 years by security to get us out of the building at closing time.

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We learned a lot about how computers have been used and developed, rivalries in the world of computing, who has been successful and why (and who has not been successful and why), how computers have been used throughout history, and where computers are headed, with the added bonus of a bit of a walk down memory lane as we saw the computers and computer games of our childhood featured in the museum.

Before you go, check GroupOn — there are frequently two for one deals. But go! It was worth the trip.

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A Day in Sonoma

Friends visiting from St. Louis provided just the nudge we needed to finally make a trip to California’s Wine Country. We went with a “wing it” approach and were surprisingly successful, especially since the advice I’d been given was to make appointments at the wineries. We started the 70-degree, sunny fall day with a free wine tasting at Cline Cellars. Cline offers five free tastes, but our bartender told us he “didn’t count so well” so we added a few extra sips, to, you know, truly evaluate which was our favorite.

Enjoying a wine, cheese, and crackers lunch on a beautiful day at Cline Cellars.

Enjoying a wine, cheese, and crackers lunch on a beautiful day at Cline Cellars.

Following lunch, we took a tour of the property, unfortunately missing the promised view of the crushing, but getting some quality time with this guy:

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And these guys:IMG_9563

Content with Cline (and with full intention to recommend it to other friends visiting the area), we drove directly across the street to their sister winery, Jacuzzi Winery. Yes, that Jacuzzi, who, interestingly enough was known first for the invention of the propeller. The Jacuzzi brothers used the propeller technology to create a hydrotherapy whirlpool bath to treat one of the brothers’ young sons who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. We again happily enjoyed our five free tasting and “splurged” on a thimble-sized chocolate glass filled with dessert wine. (Total cost for an enjoyable hour at Jacuzzi Winery? $10. Another great find!)

Chocolate + dessert wine = brilliant

Chocolate + dessert wine = brilliant

Needing a breather from our wine tasting, we wandered across the hall where we sampled unique olive oil/vinegar combinations in the little resort-style shop. (Because what goes better with a belly of wine than a bunch of olive oil and vinegar? But no, really…) My favorite was a lemon olive oil and a raspberry balsamic vinegar. Set on the olive oil/vinegar tasting, with flashbacks to our super-fast, semi-forced balsamic vinegar tasting with Mom and Aunt Cathy in Sydney (you try seven different balsamic vinegars in less than 10 minutes and remember it fondly, I dare you), we went for a little walk around the Jacuzzi property, which was in diligent, and cordoned off, preparations for a wedding later that day.

Being my mother’s child, I encouraged our group to wander through the blocked off patio as if we didn’t know we weren’t supposed to go through to get a view of the vines and the mountains beyond.

Worth the rule breaking. ;)

Worth the rule breaking. 😉

Content with our first two winery experiences, and prepared to safely drive, we jumped in the car to explore more of Sonoma. A 15 minute drive down the road, we found Gundlach Bundschu Winery. I spent an hour there and still cannot pronounce its name. This was the first place we had to pay for a tasting, but for only $20, the four of us made out with yet another set of nice wine tastes. The winery has a beautiful patio area (reservations required), but we were still able to enjoy their grounds with a bit of light hiking (as much as you can do in a dress and flip flops) around.

Three wineries in one day had certainly gotten us ready for dinner, so we headed to Sonoma. Sonoma’s central square is as absolutely sweet and idyllic as you would imagine for a quaint downtown in wine country. And even more so with a family fair set up in the middle of the square to celebrate the grape crushing. We made a lap around the square to fully evaluate our dining options and eventually selected Della Santina. I would classify this restaurant as an uninspired Italian restaurant, but I think the fact that we waited over an hour for our simple pasta dishes made them taste better. Although not the highlight of our day, our discussion of superheroes and our distaste for the last season of “How I Met Your Mother” made for nice evening.

As we left the restaurant, we learned that the evening parade (again, in celebration of the grape crushing) was just about to start. We paused to watch for a few minutes before leaving to make the drive home, partially against the grain of the parade, which added some excitement in the form of avoiding running over parade marchers or floats as we drove the opposite way down the narrow street. It was a very successful first trip to wine country and one I am eager to repeat.

Come back soon, April & Brendan!


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UCSF Conference: What’s Next in Global Health?

There is not a good way to describe UCSF’s “The Science of Global Health: What’s Next” conference, so instead, I will post the names of presenters as a memory to myself, a brag to all my public health friends, and a look of confusion at my star-struck giddiness from my non-public health friends. The day, which celebrated 10 years of Global Health Sciences at UCSF, pulled in many of the “big hitters” in the field for a day of panel discussions, presentations, and thinking about where we are headed in global health. It also was a motivator to me to have done something so meaningful in the field of global health that, by the end of my career, I can become one of those invited speakers.

The line-up:

  • Jaime Sepulveda, Executive Director, Global Health Sciences, UCSF
  • Sam Hawgood, Chancellor, UCSF
  • Harvey Fineberg, UCSF Presidential Chair and Visiting Professor, UCSF
  • Richard Feachem, Director, Global Health Group, UCSF (and founding Executive Director of the Global Fund for AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis AND a Knight of the British Empire)
  • Larry Brilliant, President and Senior Adviser to Jeff Skoll, Skoll Global Threats Fund
  • Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • Ramanan Laxminarayan, Vice President, Research and Policy, Public Health Foundation of India
  • Gavin Yamey, Lead, Evident to Policy Initiative, UCSF (and a co-author of Global Health 2035, a proposed next step beyond the Millennium Development Goals)
  • Haile Debas, Director, UC Global Health Institute
  • Paul Farmer, Kolokotrones University Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard University and Co-founder of Partners in Health
  • Mary Wilson, Visiting Professor, UCSF
  • Eva Harris, Professor and Director, Center for Global Public Health, UC Berkeley
  • Peter Hotez, Founding Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Mark Rosenberg, President and CEO, The Task Force for Global Health
  • Roberto Tapia Conyer, Director General, Carlos Slim Foundation
  • Larry Rand, Co-Director of the new UCSF Pre-term Birth Initiative ($100 million funded by the Gates Foundation and the Benihoff family)
  • Zulfiquar Bhutta, Founding Director, Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health, The Aga Khan University
  • Mariam Claeson, Director, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Jennifer Howse, President, March of Dimes
  • Paul Wise, Richard E. Behrman Professor of Child Health and Society and Professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy, Stanford University
  • Dean Jamison, Senior Fellow and Health Economist, UCSF
  • Roger Glass, Director, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health (who I creepily smiled at on the balcony during a break when it was just the two of us out there…but hey, I got to interview him the next week for a project I’m working on, so all’s well)
  • Peter Singer, CEO, Grand Challenges Canada
  • George Rutherford, Director, Prevention & Public Health Gruop, UCSF
  • Stefano Bertozzi, Dean, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
  • Julio Frenk, Dean, School of Public Health, Harvard
  • Joy Lawn, Director, MARCH Centre, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • Chris Murray, Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
  • Colin Boyle, Deputy Director, Global Health Sciences, UCSF
  • Chris Elias, President, Global Development Program Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Eric Goosby, Director, Institute for Global Health Delivery & Diplomacy, UCSF and Former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
  • Lincoln Chen, President, China Medical Board


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J+J: Wedded Bliss

We had an absolute blast celebrating our cousin, Jill, and our new cousin, Jerry’s, wedding this September. Taking after Jerry, I’ll do this post in pictures and captions.

Meeting my beautiful new little cousin and holding her like a dollie. #NotAParent

Meeting my beautiful new little cousin and apparently holding her like a dollie.

Bow bouquet for the wedding rehearsal.

Bow bouquet for the wedding rehearsal.

Getting ready, Nick fixing Jerry's tie. Superman cufflinks, a gift from the bride, already on.

Getting ready, Nick helping with Jerry’s tie. Superman cufflinks, a gift from the bride, already on.

The handsome groom, ready to go, and posed in the traditional "before the girls arrive" prom pose.

The handsome groom, ready to go, and posed in the traditional “before the girls arrive” prom pose.

Who is getting married today? THIS GUY!

Who is getting married today? THIS GUY!

Pre-wedding stop at the soda shoppe while the bride got ready.

Pre-wedding stop at the soda shoppe while the bride got ready.

Seeing each other for the first time before the wedding (and cousin Karen, aka The Flash, in the background).

Seeing each other for the first time before the wedding (and cousin Karen, aka The Flash, in the background).

The original four cousins.

The original four cousins.

And the entire Ebmeier clan.

And the entire Ebmeier clan. Despite the stage lighting, we’re a good lookin’ bunch, eh?

Mom, Laura, Nick, Andrea and Dan pre-wedding/pre crying at the ceremony (at least Nick and me)/pre dancing our tails off after eating 8 different types of cakes at the cake buffet.

Mom, Laura, Nick, Andrea and Dan pre-wedding/pre crying at the ceremony (at least Nick and me)/pre dancing our tails off after eating 8 different types of cakes at the cake buffet.

Our beautiful new baby cousin. Sheer adorableness.

Sheer adorableness.

Cousin Carl performing the ceremony, clergy badge, rockstar mic and all!

Cousin Carl performing the ceremony, clergy badge, rockstar mic and all!

A little spin, photos, and alone time before the reception. Clergyman Carl plays a dual role as chauffeur.

A little spin, photos, and alone time before the reception. Clergyman Carl plays a dual role as chauffeur.

"The stone." This used to only come out at family reunions, but is now starting to make cameo appearances. To officially join the Hamlow family, one must kiss the stone. At least they don't keep it in the cow pasture anymore. You new joiners are lucky, lucky!

“The stone.” This used to only come out at family reunions, but is now starting to make cameo appearances. To officially join the Hamlow family, one must kiss the stone. At least they don’t keep it in the cow pasture anymore. You new joiners are lucky, lucky!

First dance.

First dance.

Mad Men.

Mad Men.

...and the stylish ladies.

…and the stylish ladies.

Congratulations to Jill and Jerry! Thanks for an incredibly fun (and delicious) weekend in the heartland!