So on Friday, on the advice of LJ, I went to Yuri's Night, Bay Area Chapter. The night bills itself as "A science and sounds expo" in honour of the anniversary of the flight of the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin. And there were a fair number of geeky exhibits and speeches and things, but the event starts at 7pm and goes on until 7am the next day, and by about half-way through the whole thing is just a rave.
Many of the participants are also participants in the acclaimed Burning Man, such as the Laughing Squid folks, who have some great pictures of the night. It was a pretty awesome event, especially surreal because the whole thing was held on what was very obviously a military installation run by NASA; not exactly the venue you expect to be associated with, for instance, a stall selling vegan-organic-wheat-free-raw "piazzas" (pizza shaped, but not baked... and not very nice).
My accomplice for the event was Nick, and we ended up spending quite a lot of time in the licensing dome run by DeMaTerial camp, who apparently provide the same surreal experience of voluntarily subjecting yourself to a pointless, endless round of government bureaucracy at Burning Man itself. After it got cold we ended up in the Laughing Squid bus with a large number of random people who were disproportionately (a) young, (b) hot, (c) from Stanford, (d) working for Google this summer, and often a combination of these traits (the would-be Googlers agreed that it's sad that Google are evil now but said the free gourmet food would probably compensate).
Having arrived straight after work around 7, we eventually left at around 2am, hitching a lift back to SF from a lovely couple who had just moved back to the bay area from NYC. The husband of the pair also had an awesome story about Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse that I shall hold back for later anecdotal use.
I think it's fair to say my weekends in SF have been, on average, a lot more interesting than my average London weekends.