Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dr. Anderson, welcome back... weeeeeee've missed you!

Special knowledge to my brothaman Malice, who will henceforth be known as Doctor Malice. BOOYAH!

Between him, schedule1, MM and HisHighness, I've got two doctors and two federal agents in the wedding. Sweetness!

Day 5: Even Jews go to church on Ash Wednesday...

Yesterday was our longest driving day, as we ran the 230 miles between Cayucos and LA. Woke up at our great suite at the Cayucos Sunset Inn and looked out on balcony view of the ocean. Not bad... tasty breakfast of waffles and sausages for me, oatmeal and fruit for Knucklehead, as we headed further down the coast towards LA. We stopped in Santa Barbara for a tasty lunch at the Sojourner Cafe (picked out for some good veggie options for Knucklehead) and then, we did what any good Jews in Santa Barbara would do on Ash Wednesday. We want to the Santa Barbara Mission. The chapel was really beautiful, and there were a lot of interesting artifacts around the place. After that, we hopped back on the highway towards LA and got our first taste of it around 30 miles out... rush hour traffic. Knucklehead was doing the driving, luckily for me. Eventually, we made our way to the Santa Monica Pier to see another beautiful pacific sunset. These are the things that make me happy. That, and Ms. Pac Man, which I played on the pier. We met up with Knucklehead's cousin JR, M and her beau for some amazing mexican food in Santa Monica, Lulu. I left the crew to catch Houston Person at Charlie O's in Van Nuys. He played an INCREDIBLE SET. Then, I made my way back to Museum Mile to Molly Molloy's for more drinks with JR and Knucklehead, and caught a great punk-celtic band there on the way back to JR's place.

Now we're in San Diego and awaiting WA's DE-FENSE! The sun is peaking out, and I have a good feeling.

De-FENSE clapclap De-FENSE clapclap

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Day 4: There is so much magnificence in the ocean...

Can't blog too long, as Knucklehead and I got a great deal on a b&b room by the ocean and want to enjoy it, but yesterday was our lone day to ourselves and it was awesome! First, PCH 1 was a-ma-zing. I'm someone who advocates less driving, but for this, I'd make an exception. We drove 90 of the most incredible miles I've ever seen yesterday... jagged rocks and mountains covered in green, red, yellows overlooking beaches and the ocean. And we had absolutely stunning weather most of the way. Words cannot describe it. Knucklehead did the bulk of the driving (she feels like I don't let her drive enough in NY) She picked out an awesome hike in Big Sur (by awesome, I mean not too hard and beautiful) that lead through a small swath of forest and ended by an inlet right on the water. She also picked a good place to eat, Nepenthe, which sat on top of a mountain overlooking the ocean. There was a 40 percent markup on the food, but it was pretty darn good and the view was worth it. We also stopped by hearst castle, which was opulent beyond words. Feeling not as hungry and not as opulent, we stopped at a diner across the street for dinner. Turns out that coming to Cayucos on Fat Tuesday was a great idea for the deal we got on our awesome b&b, but not so smart for dinner, as some restaurants were closed, and others were having crawfish bakes for Fat Tuesday (Knucklehead would not have liked that).

today, it's on to LA. Santa monica, venice, and van nuys for Houston Person. can't wait!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

San Francisco gives us a parting gift, and the beauty of Monterey Bay...

The trek continues along quite well. Day 3 is winding down a little early as we've got a great, glorious, and packed day ahead of us. So much going on, but here's the recap:

Woke up. Didn't choke up. Saw my AK, it was broke up.

(sorry, old habits0

Despite T's perfect combination of firm and comfy mattress, I was up at 7. Again. I hope I wake up then today because we need to get on the road. Anyway, I really loved my time in San Francisco with Knucklehead. Before we left, we decided to make two final stops, once again to Amoeba (for gifts for hosts), and breakfast. Ameoba wasn't open yet, it being 10am on a holiday. So I begged and pleaded with the security desk guy, who was polite but firm. Another dude walks up from the store side of the locked door, I ask him. Tell him I just need two cds, I know exactly what and where they are, I'd pay him in cash, and so forth. He asks what two CDs, and I say "The Coup's Pick a Bigger Weapon and the New Orleans Social Club." He thought about it for a minute and went off into the cd racks. The first guy says to me, "You know he used play with The Coup, right?" Turns out he was their guitarist for the Party Music Tour. He also let me buy the cds. Still no Kill My Landlord there, though.

On towards Breakfast. Knucklehead wasn't super excited about stopping too long, but I talked her into checking out Zazie's with me. Heard about it on the chowhound boards, and maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan was it good. We got a few things and split em. It was great- turns out in San Francisco, you can buy just one pancake, which is great for osmeone like me who gets serious bouts of indecision when ordering breakfast. One pancake, these amazing roasted potatoes that came with whole roasted cloves of garlic mixed in (which i spread all over our toast), and a 3 mushroom/spinach/fontina omlette, fruit, toast. With drinks, it was about 20 bucks, and by far our best meal in San Francisco.

Monterey was incredible. We checked out the aquarium with J&NH3. They, like T, have been absolutely amazing hosts. They then showed us the scenic drive here at Monterey Bay, and it was absolutely fantastic. Words cannot do it justice, and hopefully we'll have pictures to share upon our return to NYC. But one of the most spectacular views of the ocean. Really tremendous. Got to see a sunset over the Pacific, which always makes me happy. Dinner on the water, a bit overpriced but tasty. Gotta get to bed, tomorrow's our big day alone!

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Monday, February 19, 2007

So long, San Francisco...

It seems like we just got here. Actually, seeing as it was less than 36 hours ago that we landed, we DID just get here. And while we didn't quite do everything we wanted (the Dashiell Hammett walking tour book is out of print, hasn't been at City Lights in years), we DID hit two of my favorite San Francisco stores, tooled around the Haight, saw the sea lions at the pier, and scaled Coit Tower for an amazing view of the Bay. Phe Nom In AL. Went to dinner with a bunch of Risleyites (and out for drinks after as well).

We didn't spend nearly as much time here as I would've liked... I feel like I'd want to do at least a week here by itself to do it properly. But that said, it was still a tremendous time. I missed you, San Francisco, and will be back soon (hopefully sooner than 7.5 years).

Next, on to Monterey... more sea life and fun with friends! More views of the water!

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

On getting older, and friends with funny names...

I sometimes wonder if I'm turning into my dad a little bit. Schedule1 would be happy to know that his constant irritation about my being late from time to time has worked, and I've started to get serious about being on time to things. He wouldn't be as happy to know that it manifests itself a little like how my dad does it, but it'scertainly made me aim for efficiency on this trip.

We don't have enough time. I spent three weeks in the Bay the last time I was here, and it wasn't enough time.

The other reason I'm feeling a little like my dad and older is I'm up at 7am. GRANTED, it's 10am to me, but still. I need sleep. What the hell am I doing up? And yet, as I look through T's GREAT view of the city, with the sun slowly warming the tops of the buildings, I have this urge to just start walking up Haight until I find a place open for brunch and plopping down... or maybe just walking all the way up Haight till I get to Amoeba (which will undoubtedly be closed, even if I get there at 9am).

Knucklehead was teasing me on the ride from SFO to T's place that "she doesn't have friends with funny nicknames, like Fucko or Horsecock, or Full Boat, or the Shark" and so forth. Well, after I had gone to sleep, Nads woke me with a phone call, and lo and behold, my Risley reunion got one bigger, as Hot Pants is in town from his travels and joining us for dinner. So there's me, Knucklehead, Hot Pants, Nads, TheThirstyWhale, Red Izaac, and JSD. Plus possible sos. Chinese New Year in Chinatown, SF. Not a bad end to the day. The question is, should I go back to sleep, or start it now

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Day 1: Stress and San Francisco start with the same letter...

The trip to California started out, uh, rather auspiciously. Knucklehead and I arrived at Kennedy airport to the absolute craziest madhouse of people I have ever seen in my life. And of course, in the madhouse, they lost my luggage, a new bag that was a wedding gift. Plus more madness at the car rental, and arriving in San Francisco at 1pm turned into 4pm.

But the three hours and massive amounts of exhaustion and grumpiness couldn't ruin the day. 60 something degrees, no sheet of ice on the ground, a great walk in Golden Gate park, stumbling on drummers and fire jugglers, and dinner down on the pier. Take that, JFK and Delta Airlines.

So tired from the week that we're passing on the Budos Band show at the Boom Boom Room. Sigh. Had so been hoping to hit that set, but the room shakes when I blink, and I don't want to fall asleep at the wheel on Pacific Coast Highway 1.

We're staying with a friend of Knucklehead's on Haight. The City of Fog is our oyster. Tomorrow: Ameoba Records, City Lights bookstore, a walking Dashiell Hammett tour, dinner in Chinatown with a pack of Risleyites. What could be finer?

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Off on a great vacation... but first, something about New Orleans.

I know I've been negligent these last few weeks, dear readers. Between work, trips to Philly and DC, and other mounds of planning, I've been more than a little distracted. And now, I'm signing back on to tell you I'm going to California to see some folks. Should be an awesome time, travelling down the coast for a week. Anyone have any recommendations for this time of year?

I also was moved to write again by the devastation that seems to stay mired in New Orleans:

A year ago, Ms. Larsen, 36, and Mr. Langlois, 37, were hopeful New
Orleanians eager to rebuild and improve the city they adored. But now they have
joined hundreds of the city’s best and brightest who, as if finally
acknowledging a lover’s destructive impulses, have made the wrenching decision
to leave at a time when the population is supposed to be rebounding.

Their reasons include high crime, high rents, soaring insurance premiums
and what many call a lack of leadership, competence, money and progress. In
other words: yes, it is still bad down here. But more damning is what many of
them describe as a dissipating sense of possibility, a dwindling chance at
redemption for a great city that, even before the storm, cried out for great

“The window of opportunity is closing,” Ms. Larsen said, “before more
people like us give up and say it’s too little, too late.”

From the Judy Miller, drumbeat to Iran War Times. The conditions are still so bad, that some are leaving. Why does this government fail here? How can we think about building some other nation when we can't even support our own?