Friday, April 30, 2010
(SIDE NOTE 1: I like Homestead and all, but is there ever a time when it's not TOTALLY FUCKING PACKED? We were there at 7:30, still light out, wall to wall people. Seriously, when do I have to go there to not get bumped into a million times by some chick taking her (admittedly cute) chi-terrier mix back and forth for some unknown reason? Maddening.)
(SIDE NOTE 2: Yes, I know that on my extended East Coast Tour I probably went to like 20 New Bars. But the Rules of New bar Night are plain and they are clear: The New Bar must be within the limits of the City and County of San Francisco. So no matter how great the Silver Peso might be or how many prototype Apple products are available for stealing at the Gourmet Haus Staudt, those bars are simply not available for New Bar Night.)
So Stephen says, "Fear not! For I can help," or something like that. Down 19th Street we walked to the Bollyhood Cafe.
Despite the name, this does not seem to be an even vaguely Indian-themed bar. I don't know, maybe since it's next door to Little Baobab they thought there was some kind of National Theming Requirement on this block or something. Anyway, nice bar! Apparently started by some guys who used to work at Gestalt before that place had what I gather was a somewhat fractious change in ownership. Nice big room, interesting beer selection, friendly bartender.
Here's how friendly: When we were there, one of those Old Drunk Guys you see in bars (and no, I don't mean me, har har har) had reached his limit and it was time for him to go. Now, at most bars, the bartender would go "GET THE FUCK OUT" or something like that, but the bartender at Bollyhood is so nice it was more like Bollyhood was breaking up with the Old Drunk Guy. "Listen," he said, "I think it's probably time for you to go." "Mmmrphrrble," said the Old Drunk Guy. "No, really, it's been great, but this isn't really working out for us, and there are a lot of other bars out there, and I'm sure you'll be happy again with some other bar," the bartender said, or something like that.
Then this guy started playing music on his acoustic guitar and singing and we had to go. Apparently live music is one of the features as well.
ANYWAY, yeah, I like it. Not really a Destination Bar but a comfortable hang. Three and a half stars.
IN OTHER NEWS, have you guys noticed this? You know the new Safeway ads with the logo that looks like this?
Does that, um, remind you of anything?
Now, I'm not saying that Safeway is aiming for the Former Punker demographic or anything, but kids who were into Black Flag would be just about at the kids & minivan age now. I'M JUST SAYING IT'S SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT. I'm not trying to start a "Flagger" movement or anything but JUST LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE AND COME TO YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS.
Oh, speaking of Black Flag, how awesome is this?
OK, this is like a fucking novel now. That'll do it for today.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Then they go out and put up a 6-2 win last night against Jamie Moyer, who's like 63 years old and has a 22 mph fastball but still. Offense!
Hey, wanna see the game today? Got $2.30?
Jesus Christ. Tim Lincecum's won 2 Cy Young awards, for Chrissake. I know it's at 12:45 on a Wednesday, but still. TWO CY YOUNG AWARDS. And he has a DOG NAMED CY. HOW CUTE IS THAT.
Little scared, though.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Went to our first Giants game if the year on Saturday. They won! The first notable thing (apart from the fact that beers cost the same this year) was the resurgence and continued amazing pitching of one Barry William Zito, now toting an unfuckingbelievable 3-0 record and 1.32 ERA. Now, I may have been a tad hard on Mr. Zito occasionally in the past, but all is forgiven.
I've heard all kinds of weirdo psychological explanations for this, like he's somehow convinced himself it's the second half of the season or something and last night an astrologer on KNBR patiently explained that no, DUH, it's because Jupiter is in Scorpio or some shit like that but I DON'T CARE as long as this keeps up. We shouldn't even be talking about this. It feels like we're going to jinx it. Just smile and nod at Z when you see him at Tacolicious and that'll be fine. He banged Alyssa Milano! But I digress.
The second notable thing is the COMPLETE FUCKING LACK OF ANY MEANINGFUL OFFENSE. You see, the object of the game of baseball is to have your runners cross home plate in quantities greater than the opposing club's runners. THIS SIMPLE FACT HAS ESCAPED THE GIANTS.
In the past 7 games, the G's have scored 1, 2, 0, 2, 4, 2, and 0 runs. My old softball team, which was comprised mainly of moderately-functioning alcoholics and guys with hip replacements, regularly scored more runs than that. We had a guy who separated his shoulder sliding into third and HE scored more runs that that. Pathetic.
The weird thing is, the Giants rank 18th in the bigs in batting average with runners in scoring position (.231), which doesn't sound THAT bad, but I am so fucking sick of seeing guys stranded on second as someone (*cough*Bowker*cough) strikes out swinging at a pitch in the dirt.
Remember how the Giants brought in DeRosa and Huff to help with the offense? .235 and .238, respectively. Oh thanks that's a big help.
What's going on here? I can think of 4 possible explanations.
1. The Giants don't understand the rules of the game of baseball
i.e., the object of the game is to score runs (see above). I consider the likelihood of this fairly low because Randy Johnson was here last year and he's old and he's seen a lot of games and probably figured it out and told some of the other guys and they probably told the rest of the players, like when that one monkey figured out how to crack open nuts with a rock and told the other monkeys and now they're basically a simian version of Emerald Nuts.
2. Not enough steroids
Now we're onto something. More steroids=more home runs=more runs generally. I nominate Bowker to get on the juice. He'll look fine with a bigger head.
3. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and those liberals in Congress
Your one-size-fits-all explanation for anything that goes wrong in the country.
4. "We're having a tough time getting runs across the board"
Gee, thanks for the insight,
Friday, April 23, 2010
Here's a peek behind the scenes at 40goingon28. Most days, I don't have to sit around and think up something to write. I'm usually so bursting with rage/paranoia/fear/anger/disillusionment that the voices in my head are screaming for release and leaving a comment on SFGate won't do, so I write it here and you read it and I find temporary relief and we all walk away happy. Or angry, or whatever.
Then today I was all "Man, I can't think of anything to write about" and I was poking around the Internets and I liked the story about Lohan's Dad showing up at her house with the cops (especially given her on-the-spot Twitter update ["i have no choice but to make this public, due to my sister's safety, as well as my own, 'my ex-dad' just WALKED INTO MY APT like the devil's"] - and what does that even mean? Loahn has an apartment like the devil's?) but honestly, at this point Lohan defies attempts to make fun of her and I feel for her anyway (CALL ME LINDSAY IF YOU SEE THIS YOU KNOW MY MAKE-A-WISH IS A WEEKEND IN L.A. WITH YOU).
So I was like "What is it? Why isn't anything coming to me?" and I realized that I'm neither (a) drunk, (b) boiling over with rage, (c) the victim of a perceived slight that the perceived slighter may or may not know about, or (d) about to unleash Hate Stares on someone talking on a cell phone at the ATM or walking 4 abreast on the sidewalk. No, you know what?
I'm in an awesome mood. Got my tickets to my first Giants game of the season tomorrow, the sun is shining, having dinner with my Lovely Wife tonight, I know where my car is, no one has wronged me SO FAR TODAY, shit is just going my way.
(Not to say there isn't some stuff going on - remind me to tell you about how my shirts keep disappearing and it's either my laundry guy or someone with a taste for slightly trendy collared shirts is breaking into my house, and also about how my dog boarder dropped my dog off THREE DAYS EARLY when we were out of town but it all turned out OK but still.)
So that's that. I know you come here expecting a certain Product, and that Product may involve some sarcasm and a Fresh and Dystopian View of the World, but I can't deliver today. Shit is just going too well.
We'll try again tomorrow.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Actually, a cleanup from the Boring Travelogue that I forgot to include at the time. One night in New York - I think it was a Saturday night, but I'm not sure, we went to the theater and saw this play that was kind of meh but then afterward we walked over to 9th Avenue to get a drink. There are a ton of restaurants and bars along there but they all looked a little too loud and crowded and stuff and we wanted something a little more mellow.
So we walked into this place that had its door closed on a very warm night (WARNING SIGN NUMBER ONE). It was kind of an Irish bar. Let's call it "McFrightening's." Very dark inside. Blaring music. About three patrons at the bar. Bald, Irish bartender. The Wife goes back to the bathroom and I order before I realize that McFrightening's is not going to be the ideal place for a relaxing drink. It's more like the place where three patrons glare at you while you drink your drink as fast as humanly possible and then pay and get out. Just as we were leaving (after, say, 5 1/2 minutes) another couple came in and ordered and then we could tell they realized their mistake too. They looked at us kind of pleadingly but we were like "Sorry, you poor bastards. We can't help you." On the way out, I noticed that the enormous fucking guy at the barstool by the door had a jagged scar from his ear down his neck. I'd hate to see what the other guy looked like.
Second unrelated thing:
We got back Sunday night late and I had the day off yesterday too because I believe in always having a day off between when you get back from vacation and when you go to work. I turned on Channel 2 around 9 and Fox was showing NASCAR racing. Somewhat odd, but I figured that a race had gotten rained out the day before and that was why.
(SIDE NOTE: For the life of me, I cannot understand the attraction in watching NASCAR. I don't want to get into a whole thing about it, but it seems terminally boring to me. I understand that some people don't like baseball, which is retarded, but de gustibus non est disputandum and all that. Still.)
So I posted one of my wry observations on the Twitter machine:
HI-larious, right? Guffaws all around at the absurdity of it all. And now let's move on.
But wait! Maybe not. One "Smokey_14" is committed to fighting misapprehensions about NASCAR. And misapprehensions r serious bizness!
Sigh. I'll try to keep it on Larry the Cable Guy level from now on, Smokey_14.
Third unrelated thing:
Local free paper/front stoop litter/would-be right-wing organ/sad shell of its former glory The SF Examiner reports:
A Mega Block Party planned for North Beach that has the potential to draw thousands of unruly partyers to the troubled stretch of Broadway could bring violence and mayhem, police and neighborhood groups say.
[blah blah blah]
Recent violence in the area includes a case in which a car allegedly ran down a pedestrian while driving away from a shooting. The Feb. 19 incident killed San Francisco resident Luis Prieto.
The issue of police staffing for the upcoming Broadway Mega Block Party has police and city officials pressing nightclubs to help pick up the costs of the additional security.
The event, which is planned for May 29, allows people to buy a wristband and have total access to at least eight participating clubs in North Beach — including Fuse, Dragon Bar and Bamboo Hut — according to event promoter Papa Entertainment.
Oh yeah, this seems like a good idea. North Beach on Saturday night is already basically an Ed Hardy date rape tequila shots block party. This idea is like hanging a huge "Free Drakkar Noir in North Beach" sign in every mall in Antioch. I hope "Papa Entertainment" gets stuck with the bill for this.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Stop One: Sine, with a little accent over the "e". It's an Irish bar in the sense that it has an Irish name and they have Guinness on tap. Full of douchebags with polo shirts tucked into their khaki shorts and wearing penny loafers or mandals. Girls with too much makeup and those little dresses that look like skirts worn up around their chests.
(Side Note: It was 91 degrees in Richmond today and like 80 when we went out so I'm describing warm weather wear.)
We had a couple of pints at Sine and left when the cover band started playing Tom Petty songs too loud.
Stop Two: We walked down Cary Street past a huge collection of Douchebags Wearing Affliction and the Women Who Like Them and went to Stool Pigeons, which is, unbelievably, a CHAIN OF SPORTS BARS with the worst name ever and which turned out to be great despite the fact that they didn't have the Giants-Dodgers game on because it wasn't too crowded and we had a nice booth.
Stop Three: Some jackass place called Europa that had techno downstairs that was bleeding through upstairs enough to make it almost unbearable.
Then we went back to the unbelievably opulent and Way Out of Our League Jefferson Hotel. $7 cab ride. GOODNIGHT EVERYBODY!
On the other hand, this hotel is kind of ridiculous. We're staying at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va., and it's so over-the-top what with the marble and the stained glass and the employees all addressing you by name and the unbelievable indoor pool and the hotel bar that looks like the lobby of a Very Expensive Bank and everything else that we keep having to remind ourselves that it wasn't that expensive. A little less than what we paid for a broom closet with a surly staff in New York. Of course, in Richmond, you can live like a king on $40K a year, so there you go.
We're here because I used to live here long ago and wanted to see how the place had changed. Short answer: not all that much. One humorous anecdote: on our first day here, I dragged The Wife to my old regular hangout, the Bamboo Cafe. Walked in around 4 pm. The place was populated entirely by guys between like 45 and 65. And ONLY guys. Like 10 of them. So I'm talking to The Wife and I go "Well, this place sure has changed." And she was all like "OK" and finally I mention later that I was a little surprised it had become a gay bar and she goes "WTF are you talking about?" And I say "Well, look around" and she goes "None of those guys are gay."
(Side note: No idea why it's called the Bamboo Cafe. There's no Bamboo, it doesn't have any kind of even vaguely tropical theme, there's no Asian food involved, nothing. It could just as easily be called "Mort's." And it looks exactly the same as it did 20 years ago.)
(Second Side Note: Maybe all those guys were the same regulars from when I used to go there. That would explain a lot. I remember all the regulars being a lot younger.)
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
So from what I can tell, DC is populated mainly by extremely preppy people wearing laminated keycards around their neck and engaged mostly in Very Important Conversation. Then every 10 minutes a brazilian cops roll up and shut down the intersection you're trying to cross and a convoy of trucks and SUVs and limos goes by carrying a lot of Serious Looking Guys in suits holding assault rifles and maybe The President. This happens so frequently it's boring and annoying instead of exciting and interesting.
There's some Nuclear Summit dealio in town, so maybe this doesn't happen every day, just every day we're here.
I love museums and DC is basically Museumland, so we're loving that. Let me nutshell it for you:
Museum of American History: Great. Really interesting, well-designed exhibits. Most people just want to see Kermit the Frog and the Ruby Slippers from Wizard of Oz, but I didn't care so much about that. Surprisingly good food in the cafe.
Museum of Natural History: Yes, all those stuffed animals are real. The dinosaur exhibit is a great place if you like screaming kids.
Air and Space: I liked it better when I was 13.
Last night we met up with a friend of mine from college and had a 4-hour
IT WAS MOTHERFUCKING RAHM EMANUEL. Hand to God, I shit you not. Talking to some chick at the bar and having a glass of wine.
My friend looks at his watch and goes "It's only 7 o'clock. Why isn't he working?" I was kinda wondering the same thing. I guess he doesn't watch "The West Wing."
Monday, April 12, 2010
- Remember Nate Appleman, the chef from A16 on Chestnut? He moved to NYC and opened his own place called Pulino's and it was fucking phenomenal. We split a pizza margherita with prosciutto and something called fazzoletti which we didn't know what that was but liked the sound of the lamb ragu and ricotta. It turns out to be these long flat pillowy sheets of pasta covered with the ragu and let me tell you you want to get up on some fazzoletti ASAP.
Fantastic meal, and then we get the bill. So it's 2 cocktails, a bottle-sized carafe of primitivo, a pizza, the fazzoletti, a coffee and a double espresso. And remember, it's in New York, and it's totally packed and super trendy. The damage? $98. We were both like "Let's get the fuck out of here before they realize they left off the food" or whatever, but it all checked out. $98!
- On the other side of the coin we have Abigail in Brooklyn, the less said about which the better but I will say that when there are a total of about 15 tables, waiting over an hour from ordering to food is totally fucked. And the food? You don't want to know.
- I liked Brooklyn a lot overall, though.
- Gotta go March on Washington. L8R.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Since we got here, we've been running around like crazy, what with the Empire State Building and the Ellis Island and the Museum of Modern Art, but let me just share a few observations:
- The ratio of tourists to NYers on most major arteries (i.e., 5th Ave., Broadway, etc.) is like 1 to 1. There are a fuckload of British people here. I have never seen so many British people in my life.
- Tourists are pretty much the same everywhere. They love taking pictures. Yesterday, at the MOMA, I watched a Japanes girl methodically move from painting to painting, snapping a pic and then moving on, like she was boringly photographing her shit for insurance purposes. Hey, how about looking at the art for a change? Look at these fucking photogs:
(Incidentally, that famous Dali painting with the melting clocks is really small. I was picturing it maybe 3 by 4 feet, but it's like a foot square. Also, Jackson Pollock paintings are way cooler IRL than when you see them in books.)
(Also incidentally (and maybe obvs.) the people pictured above are not at the MOMA.)
- Oh, speaking of ratios, the ratio of very attractive girls to very attractive guys is like 4:1. NYC would be a great place to be if you were like an average-looking guy with any game at all.
- If you're ever in NYC, go eat at Five Points. So fucking good, I'm not even kidding. I had the line-caught sustainable swordfish, but that shit was so good that I wouldn't have cared if it were the driftnet-caught unsustainable Last Swordfish on Earth.
- Then we went to dinner last night with my cousin (or nephew or something, I forget) and his wife at Odeon, which was also completely fantastic and totally lacked the pretense and arrogance I was expecting. Liz told me that it was the place on the cover of "Bright Lights Big City" but I didn't run into anyone snorting coke in the bathroom.
- Only one celebrity sighting. At Five Points, The Wife said "That's Zachary Quinto!" and I said "Who's Zachary Pinto?" and she explained he's some actor guy from some show or movie or something. You take what you can get.
- Oh, and yeah, awesome about the 4-0 Giants and I love it and whatever, you know they're going to start sucking as soon as I get back.
- Going to Brooklyn tomorrow. I wanna see if their hipsters here are like our hipsters in SF. I'll try and get some pics.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Air travel, of course, means getting to the airport 2 hours before your flight, being subjected to demeaning "security screening" by faux-police TSA agents who I wouldn't trust to repair a lamp, and then squeezing into miniscule seats for 4 hours while being offered a days-old sandwich for $7, in case you get hungry.
On the train, on the other hand, you roll up to the train station about 5 minutes before the train leaves. Walk on and pick any seat you want. They're big and comfortable. Maybe grab a drink from the snack car. And watch America slide by the window.
We were in the Quiet Car. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT CONCEPT, PAY ATTENTION. In the Quiet Car conversations must be conducted quietly and CELL PHONE USE IS PROHIBITED. I wish life had a Quiet Car. The one Very Important Business Guy on our quiet Car kept having to get up and leave to conduct Important Business on his cell phone. THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. God bless the Quiet Car.
Of course there are downsides. It took almost 4 hours to get from Boston to New York, and flying takes about an hour and a half. Once you count getting to and from both airports, though, I don't know how much different it actually is.
But I pretty much loved it. Rail travel, I am sold on you.
Last night, first night in NYC, and we got totally lucky by finding both a great restaurant and a great bar. We ate at Brinkley's, which I suppose is sort of a gastropub that features local food and wines and I had some delicious roast chicken and a New York sauvignon blanc that actually wasn't half-bad.
It was hot as fuck out last night (like 80 at 9 pm), so we wanted to sit outside and ended up on the sidewalk outside the oddly-spelled O'Nieal's. The place just had a great feel and everyone was super friendly and that whole thing about New Yorkers being brusque and rude is a total myth. They're as friendly as it gets.
Gotta go wake up The Wife and see some shit now.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
This just in: it's not all that great. I know it was built in 1912 and everything, but it is cramped as hell and you would not BELIEVE how close together the seats are. For a tall guy like me, it's kind of a fucking bummer. I guess people were shorter in 1912, but whatever.
And also, Boston fans, you apparently did not get the memo about not going up and down the aisles when there's a batter in the box. I always heard that Boston fans were so canny and so into it but they have no compunction at all about merrily traipsing up and down the aisle during critical moments during the game. SIT THE FUCK DOWN AND SHUT UP.
Maybe it would be different if we were in a different section, i.e., closer to the field, but I spent most of the game standing up to let people through. There were some lusty "Yankees Suck" cheers, but most people didn't seem any more into the game than my Giants fans are into, say, a Giants-Braves game on a Monday night. We paid $130 a ticket for this shit.
I'll tell you this, though. If there were a prize for Most Fans Wearing Team Gear, the Sox would win hands down. Even if the dude in the Sox jersey and Sox hat was more interested in yelling at his friends than watching what happens on the 3-2 count with men at second and third.
Still, it was fun, even if it was freezing (hell, I'm used to that, I'm a Giants fan) and whatever else. I feel about Fenway the same way I felt about going to the Washington Monument when I was 12 - I'm glad I collected that experience, but I wouldn't rush back to do it again.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
The first day here, we did a little walking tour past a lot of historical shit and Italian tourists jabbering loudly at each other. It was also about 80 degrees and sunny, which is like surface of the sun level shit for San Franciscans. People in Boston like to drink a lot, so we joined in.
I think we went to 3 or 4 bars last night and ended up at the hotel bar at around midnight, about which I remember nothing. We ate at some restaurant on Newbury Street called Cafeteria that has dressed-up comfort food, is too cute by half, and was so radically overpriced I couldn't believe it was packed. I mean, sure, I undertsand, but $23 for mac and cheese? Really?
(Incidentally, the picture above depicts a famer's market in the North End we stumbled across and was the only place in Boston you could buy anything resembling reasonably-priced food.)
Today we had reservations for brunch at this swank place called Post 390 and we go in there and they give us dinner menus and I'm all "I'm sorry, you gave us dinner menus!" and they were all, "That's right, since it's Easter brunch, we're only serving dinner" and I was like "What fucking dimension is this?" and we left and went to this place called Globe instead and after an early problem with being seated in NOBODY'S STATION it all turned out great and I got whatever Boston's idea of brunch is and you guys, brunch is not as important here as it is in SF.
But I'm just bitching. Boston is pretty great. Tonight is Opening Night of Baseball, which is even better than Jesus coming back from the dead or whatever he did, and everybody was on the sidewalks in their Red Sox gear and it's like 70 degrees out at 8 pm and how are you gonna argue with that? We watched some of the game out at a bar but after 4 Apple Spice Martinis The Wife had to go back to the room and that's fine with me.
Oh, wow, Steven Tyler is butchering "America the Beautiful" on live TV.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts - totally worth a visit. More later.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Don't worry; I'm going to take my Fisher Price My First Laptop netbook with me and write when I can, by which I mean the 3-hour window between getting up and drinking. Naturally, I'll be eating at some pretty amazing restaurants and hitting some cool bars, but I'll try to make time.
Among other things, we're going to Fenway for the first time. Second game of the year, against the Yankees.
Try not to fuck anything up while I'm gone.