Posted on August 31st, 2013
Since the electrical outlet on my hotel desk doesn't work, I used the outlet on the far side of my bed. So of course I forgot my phone hanging there this morning again. Again.
Which was especially unfortunate considering I loaded in a Japanese dictionary last night for my 7:00am Saturday breakfast meeting. It's been nearly 20 years since I've spoken the language, so I really needed all the help I could get. But, lucky for me, one of the people I was meeting with spoke excellent English until our translator showed up.
After a much-deserved nap, I had four hours until I had to check in at work again.
A part of me just wanted to hang out in my hotel room since I have been to San Francisco many, many times. But I love me a veggie burger at Johnny Rockets and love me some donuts from Trish's Mini Donuts, so off I went to Fisherman's Wharf, where the sea lions were out making a racket as usual...
Turns out that Fisherman's Wharf on a Labor Day holiday weekend was not the smartest of ideas because the crowds everywhere were massive.
After lunch I was just going to go back to the hotel. But then I thought of Lombard Street for some reason. When I was a kid, I remember our family driving down it once. But everything after that is a blur. I have a photo scanned of it shot on Advantix film, which means I must have been there in the late 90's, but I remember none of it.
And so off I went to Russian Hill to see "The Crookedest Street in the World"...
To my knowledge, I've never actually walked up the hill, so I decided to give it a try. I was glad I did, because the view from the top is pretty great...
And that was that.
Drinks for work followed by a nap followed by dinner followed by blogging.
Next up... sweet surrender to sleep.
Posted on August 30th, 2013
Bullet Sunday on Friday? YOU DRUNK, BLOGOGRAPHY! GO HOME! Except I was too traumatized from nearly getting ran over this past Sunday to blog, so prepare yourself... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Dog! I just gotta get this out of the way before I forget... Chicago Veggie Dog? Awesome. Chicago Veggie Dog in San Francisco? Not so much...
Not that is was bad... but, just like bagels outside of New York, it just wasn't the same. Of course, now I want nothing more than to fly to Chicago and get a real Chicago Veggie Dog, which is a tough craving to get out of your head.
• Closure! Usually, the drive from San Francisco to Oakland is a breezy 15 minutes over the Bay Bridge. But since the bridge is under construction over Labor Day weekend, getting from one side of the Bay to the other is a bit more of a challenge. Whether you go north over the Golden Gate then on to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge... or you go south over the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge... you've got an hour drive ahead of you...
But the good news is that BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is still running. So if you don't mind public transportation, you can park at a station and go by rail. The interesting thing about that is having a lot of people who don't normally ride public transportation riding public transportation. The entertainment value is pretty high, but so is the frustration level. The line to get tickets is long, and people not accustomed to the machines take forever. You have people walking on the wrong train, then then blocking you from entering because they're trying to get turned around and escape after somebody tells them it won't take them where they need to go. It goes on and on. Usually I love BART, but this trip it's been driving me crazy. People need to stay home... or maybe I should have.
And in other news... Google Maps is aware of the Bay Bridge closure, and routes you accordingly. Microsoft Bing Maps, however, is not so smart...
But (and here's the kicker) Apple Maps DOES re-route you...
Which begs the question... how bad does your mapping service have to be in order to be considered a worse option than Apple Maps? And, can I just say, both Google and Bing could learn something from Apple here... map labels are so much more useful WHEN THEY ARE LARGE ENOUGH THAT PEOPLE CAN ACTUALLY READ THEM!
• Phoneless! This morning I did the unthinkable... I forgot my iPhone in my room because I was late for work and rushing around without my head attached. After my meeting, a co-worker was kind enough to drop by my hotel so I could grab my phone on the way to running some errands. I was incredibly grateful, because not having my iPhone feels like a part of me is missing. As we were speeding away, I noticed that my battery was at 5%, despite the fact that it had been plugged in all night and I just took it off the charger. So before heading back to work I had to drop by my hotel room AGAIN so I could plug it in AGAIN. Which is when I found out the power outlet on the desk was dead. I don't know why the world was conspiring against me having an iPhone today, but I do not like it. You never realize just how dependent you are on something until it's taken away, and today I found out I don't even know how to EXIST without my iPhone. As I told my co-worker, I had forgotten that before mobile tech happened everybody just kind of stumbled around in the dark banging rocks together to communicate. And it sucks.
• Cookies! Saying "I had to stop for fortune cookies" is a totes legit reason for being late to a meeting... amiright?
Sorry... but even more important than visiting my tattoo artist when I'm in San Francisco is stopping by Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company when I'm in town. I've been doing it on every trip to the Bay Area for nearly two decades, and it simply cannot be missed.
• Sports! Jester and I wandered to The Castro after dinner so we could drop in on a goodbye party for Justin. Like most bars in The Castro, it's a gay bar. Unlike most gay bars in the world, it's a sports bar called Hi Tops (home of cold pitchers and hot catchers!). This is not a big deal for me. I ended up in many a gay-bar when the brother of a girl I dated in Portland would invite us out to go bar-hopping with him and his partner. Except... one visit to the Hi Tops Facebook page told me that I had been fairly sheltered in gay bar world, because I ain't seen nothing like this...
Call me old-fashioned, but I just don't think shots should be served with a side of hairy ass.
Fortunately (unfortunately?), guys in jock straps serving free shots only happens on Thursdays, which meant I got to spend a great evening out sans hairy asses. Seeing homo-erectus-erectus (the Common American Gay) in their native habitat is always fun, and Hi Tops ended up being a really nice place with a terrific crowd of friendly people. That being said, this sports bar was a bit... different... from other sports bars. For one thing, the sports being played on the televisions include golf and women's tennis. For another, the music is awesome. One thing is for sure though, any sports bar I end up at from here on out is going to be pretty boring by comparison.
• Quotable! And now, for your reading pleasure, the TOP FIVE QUOTES from my night at a gay sports bar...
And... that's a wrap for a completely misnamed Bullet Sunday.
Posted on August 29th, 2013
I left home at 3:30am. Flew out of my local airport at 6:00am. Was scheduled to fly out of Seattle at 9:55am, but ended up delayed, so I arrived into San Francisco three hours late. This blew both a meeting and an important errand I had lined up, so my day was not off to a great start.
But after meeting up with Jester & friends for drinks and a fantastic falafel dinner, things started looking up.
It was tattoo time!
I promised myself that with each new trip to the Bay Area, I'd visit my tattoo artist, the ridiculously talented Michael DeMatty of Black & Blue Tattoo, to add a piece to the forearm band that I started back in February.
Part Two (of Six) completed!
This is the all-important centerpiece that all the other pieces will revolve around...
The circle-design is my personal interpretation of the Buddhist symbol known as the "Dharmacakra."
Or "Dharma Wheel."
There's a great deal of meaning behind it, but the most relevant part to me is the eight spokes of the wheel that represent the "Noble Eightfold Path"... one of the primary concepts from the teachings of the Buddha. They are eight ideals that Buddhists follow so as to eliminate suffering. I don't consider myself to be an actual Buddhist, but applying the Noble Eightfold Path to my life where I can has led me to becoming a much happier, healthy person. If you're interested in finding out what the Noble Eightfold Path is all about, Wikipedia has a decent introduction.
And so now I have a constant reminder of the road I strive to walk in life.
And it's cool because it kinda looks like the cockpit window of a TIE Fighter from Star Wars...
Beautiful TIE Fighter model by JR Bassett!
Different schools of Buddhism have different thoughts on tattoos. Some Buddhists believe that tattoos are a form of attachment that should be avoided. I personally feel that the impermanence of our bodies makes tattoos no more an attachment than fingernails, eyeballs, or the arm my tattoo has been written upon. It's entirely possible that my arm could be lost in a tragic boating accident tomorrow, which means it's kind of silly to think that having a tattoo on it will somehow make it impervious to change or detatchment. But to each their own, I suppose.
I'm just thrilled to have yet another bit of ink on me.
Now I just need to figure out when I can squeeze another trip to San Francisco into my travel schedule.
Posted on February 14th, 2013
I had a free couple of hours to head into San Francisco for cookies.
It was incredible out. Beautiful blue skies and sun. And I saw sea lions. And made a trip to the Museum of Modern Art. And ate at Johnny Rockets for lunch. And I got cookies.
Now it's back across the bay for me.
Oh... And Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!