Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A moment from San Fran

Vacation Update: I'm in San Fran visiting my brother Patrick before he packs up and moves to his new job in LA. San Francisco is a pretty neat place. There are very few SUVs here. Lots of Mini Coopers instead. I've even seen a few Honda Insights (RIP). The weather has been good. I had never been to SF, and it was cooler than I expected. Don't visit without a jacket or "zippy," as my brother calls his outergarment. Elections are in full swing. The primaries are tomorrow. The democratic challenger to The Governator will be decided. Environmental credentials are hotly debated. I lost my cell phone somewhere. Alcohol is a sonofabitch. Golden Gate may truly be the most beautiful bridge ever erected. Muir woods are a sight to behold, and are constantly changing. One of the signature trees (the Kent tree, if I remember correctly) fell down in March 2003. It really is amazing to consider the contrast between the fact that many of the trees have stood there for thousands of years, but the forest is in a state of constant change. I saw Al Gore's movie. You should too. It's amazing to realize how the human population has exploded over the past few hundreds of years after a long period of relatively little growth. Haight & Ashbury is cool, but I'm turned off by people asking me if I want "nuggets" every few feet. I think the hippie thing has kinda gotten passe, though the vibe does pervade the entire city with varying degrees of intensity. I walked into Amoeba Music for 10 seconds and walked right back out with my wallet untouched (my brother was waiting outside with food). Five years ago I would have gone broke in there. Chinatown is trinkets and cameras, cheap souvenir t-shirts (thank you) and restaurants. but worth a stroll anyway. San Francisco did remind me a lot of Barcelona, in geography, style and vibe. Alcatraz is genuinely interesting, despite being a tourist trap. It takes its name from the Indian word for "pelican," a few of which I saw before I learned that fact. I don't know anything much about a criminal nicknamed "The Birdman of Alcatraz," but I'm interested in learning about him. There's a movie out there. Herb Caen has a long street named after him. I was surprised to find out that he was a journalist. He is dead, but his memory is still cherished in this town. I look forward to reading some of his work. Golden Gate Park is a nice place for a run. I used to watch skate videos shot in the downtown plaza known as The Embarcadero, but I didn't see any skating going on there while I was there. The city has placed little metal bars in the steps which make it tough to skate there. Speed bumps for skateboards. I fly out tomorrow, and I'm pooped so tonight I'm staying in. Fat Tire Amber Ale is overrated. Just because you can't get it east of the Mississippi doesn't mean anything. Bells makes a better Amber if you ask me. There's a lot of people exercising out here. Running and biking especially, and on average, everyone in SF looks better than everyone where you are from. My brother and I were out on a run and at the Marina we same across the stageing area for the San Francisco Escape From Alcatraz Triathalon. Never done one because I can hardly swim to save my life. Right near on the edge of the water I saw a retarded boy on a handpowered recombinant bike almost go off the edge of the sidewalk into the rocks 10 feet below. A guy on a bike basically dived off the bike to grab the seat of the the kid's rig at the last second. Scary. Everything you've heard about SF being gay is true, but I swear I saw some straight people even in the Castro. The radio out here is way better than where I'm from, where it's essentially NPR or bust. Smoking isn't allowed in the bars, and that is nice.


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