Wednesday, April 04, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO: A Series of Reviews




March 29 - April 3, 2007.


TOM: That's me. Hi. I just returned to San Francisco for a long weekend, for the first time since 2001. Before that, I had lived in the Bay Area since 1988. I had an awesome amount of fun, and spent an unfortunate amount of money. These people helped.

MATT: aka Matty C. One of my best friends from college. An occasional commenter here. Has lived on Ashbury St. in San Francisco for eight years. Is not a dirty hippie. My tour guide, navigator, innkeeper, and enabler for the weekend. A writer of short stories (check the link), and a budding filmmaker and actor (you should see his performance as "Guard #2"!), having collaborated with various friends and acquaintances on several short films. Has an inflatable mattress on which rested my carcass during my visit to the City. Does not have an internet connection, due to a recently broken computer -- an iMac, which abruptly decided that a little less that two years of properly working was quite enough. This made finding places and information more difficult than it needed to be. Don't buy Apple, people! Writes internet ad copy for a living. Does not have a car. Can juggle four tennis balls. Likes: experimental fiction; hot chocolate; puppies (I assume). Hates: bees.

IAN: You know him! You love him! Friend, blogger, raconteur. What more can I say? Ladies and gentleman -- Mr. Ian T. Brill! [APPLAUSE]

KATE: Does not have a hyperlink. A friend and co-worker of Matt's. Often gives Matt a lift to work (see above in re: no car). A fine and fun and lovely young lady who accompanied us on some of our revelries. Has a new bike. May have told me at some point that she has read this blog, though I could be imagining this through alcohol-soaked memories. Possibly annoyed by me, due to my aforementioned soaking in alcohol, somewhere around (I'm estimating) 3 AM Saturday night/Sunday morning. (Not in a gross way! Just in a drunk Tom way.) If she does read this blog: I'm sorry for my possible obnoxiousness. (Matt has informed me I was not obnoxious, at least not unusually so, considering everyone else was also soaked in alcohol, but I always feel it's best to apologize, just in case.) Should prove her existence by leaving a comment.


Thursday, March 29.

THE DRIVE TO SAN FRANCISCO I am a star.I am a star.I am a star.
It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down, I had the radio on, I was drivin. It was "crisp and clear", more clear than I can remember this nearly 400-mile drive ever being before. Everything was blue and green, and my mp3 player was "kicking out some boss tunes". Very few law enforcement vehicles sighted; was able to maintain "high speeds on cruise control" for long, long stretches. I am not a fan of long drives, especially solo, but if you have to do it, "this is the ideal". Deduction for arriving in the Bay Area during "rush hour", due to poor planning (though traffic was much less horrendous than it could have been). Deduction for "wicked sunburn" on left arm and left side of neck, due to more poor planning (no sunblock, which became a recurring theme throughout my trip). I looked like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters.

FAT SLICE PIZZA, HAIGHT ST. I am a star.I am a star.I am a star.I am half a star.
This isn't even the best pizza on Haight St., let alone in the City, but for someone who's been stuck with little better than Domino's within a 20-mile radius for the past six years, it was "just what the doctor ordered" (well, not any doctor concerned with my "dangerously high cholesterol"). Had a pepperoni slice, "thick with cheese" and "wide as my face". It was "gooey and greasy and delicious", a great reintroduction to San Francisco while waiting for Matt to meet me after his job.

GOLD CANE I am a star.I am a star.I am a star.
The first bar I set foot in on my return. The bar was "well-lighted" at that time of the late afternoon/early evening, with "plenty of seating" at nice tables. I had one beer and paged through the Bay Guardian, one of S.F.'s fine free weekly newspapers.

THE BAY GUARDIAN I am a star.I am a star.I am a star.
One of S.F.'s "fine free weekly newspapers". Had an article on Bryan Lee O'Malley, and one on antique S.F. bars.

AMOEBA MUSIC I am a star.I am a star.I am a star.I am a star.I am a star.
The "greatest music store on Earth". The one in Berkeley is the original, and the one in L.A. is even bigger, but I'll always prefer the Haight St. location. Housed in what used to be a bowling alley, Amoeba is "ridiculously massive", with new and used sections of "pretty much any musical genre" you can imagine (although they didn't have the Hoyt Axton CD I was looking for, "damn it"), as well as a large DVD section. While waiting here for Matt to meet me, I bought the new Ted Leo, the new Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, and the "latest" Lemonheads (which came out last year, apparently).

Reviews "pending".

HOBSON'S CHOICE [no review]
Matt and I walked past this Haight St. bar on our way to dinner. This is where we noticed the Zagat Survey "review" posted in the window, which was the basis of all the "random quotemarks" we kept "joking about" for "the rest of the weekend", as well as those peppered throughout this "blog entry".

DARLA'S RESTAURANT I am a star.I am a star.I am a star.I am half a star.
Claims to be home of "Possibly The Best Burger Around!". I don't know if I would go "that far". But the burger I had was indeed "very good", served on a French roll and smothered in grilled onions and mushrooms and "enough grease to lubricate a battleship engine".

VIDEO NOOK I am a star.I am a star.I am half a star.
We "rented" two videos here: Shopgirl and Melvin Goes To Dinner. Small but interesting selection. Has reputation for "screwing customers on late fees".

MATT'S APARTMENT I am a star.I am a star.I am a star.
"Cozy" studio apartment, "conveniently located" on Ashbury, a few blocks up from the "freak show" of Haight St., with "easy access" to public transportation or "pot, shrooms, doses". Packed with "more books than most libraries", as well as many maps of "places that don't actually exist". Location in nice neighborhood in San Francisco probably costs "a hundred million jillion dollars" in rent.

SHOPGIRL I am a star.I am a star.I am a star.I am half a star.
I had spent all day driving, and Matt had been at work (he only works Tuesday-Thursday, the "lucky bastard"), so we didn't feel up to much more excitement for the rest of the evening than watching a DVD with a couple of beers from a Trader Joe's "grab bag". Shopgirl was "fine entertainment", a "sharp and funny" movie with "truthful observations on the nature of love", and "great performances" from Steve Martin, Jason Schwartzman, and Claire Danes, who "showed a little tuchis", which was an "unexpected bonus", and who should be making more films like this rather than "those goddam bizarro ballet-dancing Gap commercials".

And that was my first day back in "Baghdad by the Bay". Much, much more recapping to come, but I want to post what I've got so far to let you fine folks know I'm back home, safe and sound, reunited with my sweet, sweet internet access. It's nice to be home, but at the same time -- I already miss S.F. again.

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