August 31, 2005

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

A note: yes, there are many more pictures of San Francisco than LA. That’s because we were on foot much more in the former city- and that’s ‘cause nobody friggin’ walks in LA.

Here We Go:

Right after arriving in San Francisco, we took off for Golden Gate Park, and specifically an area known as “Hippie Hill.” Upon arriving we happened upon a performance by something called the San Francisco Mime Troupe- who since they spoke, sang, and danced, were certainly the most vocal mimes I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, the “mime” performance, nearest we could gather, was a dramatization of bad acts by the CIA, with various vignettes set in different countries, such as Panama, Nicaragua, and Iran. After a skit in which the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran was portrayed in glowingly positive terms, a man got up and recited a poem, the highlight of which was “America, America, you will be humbled/America, your towers will crumble,” after which the audience applauded. We left right then; even my sister, whose politics are about 45 degrees to my left, was horrified.

The sister and I, in front of the Bay Bridge. Not sure which part collapsed during the ’89 World Series earthquake- anyone remember?

Alcatraz. We didn’t take the tour, but if we had I would’ve spent the entire time reciting lines from “The Rock”- “I’d take pleasure in guttin’ you, boy!” “What kinda FUCKED UP tour is this?”

Lombard Street, America’s most crooked street.

Becca and I, overlooking the skyline.

The historic “Real World” house, from the 1994 season, which housed Puck, Pedro, and the others.

A unique San Francisco character known as the Bushman. He crouches in front of a garbage can, disguised as a “bush,” and then jumps up to scare passersby. An act that, for some reason, never gets old.

Authentic San Francisco crab bread.

Amy and Becca try on their pimp hats.

As do I.

Lots of Steve Silvers in San Francisco. Here's a bust of the late, great creator of “Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon,” a popular musical revue that is America’s longest continuously-running stage musical. The show’s author was #1 on Google for “Steve Silver,” prior to the creation of this blog.

The famed City Lights bookstore in North Beach. I appreciate its historical value, of course, but on its own merits City Lights doesn’t compare with the Strand in New York. Also, way too large a collection of Ward Churchill books.

That’s what I’m talking about.

Hanging off the trolley. The one at Lake Harriet is merely a pale imitation.

Even this coffee company’s headquarters has a Starbucks in it.

SBC Park- now with 100% less Barry Bonds!

More about those Steve Silvers- here I am with Stephen A. Silver, a longtime reader of this blog who we met for dinner before the game. Nice to finally meet him after years of correspondence; as you can tell he’s a much better dresser than I am.

Meanwhile, back at the stadium, the Giants defeated the Phillies on shutout pitching from Noah Lowry, who needed last-out relief help from LaTroy Hawkins. Tons of Philly fans on-hand though, and the Phils do still hold the wild-card lead.

The Giants have decided to borrow the Mets’ innovation of holding “ethnic nights” late in the season in order to drum up interest, and unfortunately, we missed “Jewish Night” by just a few days. We were there for Irish Night, which unfortunately did not include the serving of Guinness in the ballpark. What was served, however, were garlic fries- which made the entire stadium smell like garlic.

The kids get their own, private, SBC Park in center field. Call it the real ballpark’s Mini-Me.

News flash: P.J. Carlesimo has retired from NBA coaching, and is now giving tours at the Robert Mondavi winery in Napa.

The Niebaum/Coppola winery. In addition to great wine, a mini-museum of film memorabilia, including Coppola’s father’s Oscar (for scoring “The Godfather”) and an elaborate Coppola family tree. The highlight was probably the offered deal in which $200 buys a large bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with the “Apocalypse Now Redux” DVD.

More Silvers, I tell ya…

Rosebud… Hearst Castle, in San Simeon.

Skeeball in Santa Cruz, with the 27-and-over world champion.

Becca and I, on the beach of Carmel (not pictured- former mayor Clint Eastwood).

I got a snake, man!

SO MONEY, AND YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW IT: Me outside the Dresden room in LA, sight of the “kill the bunny” scene in “Swingers.” Also visited the Derby (where he meets Heather Graham), and drove by both Mikey’s apartment and the 101 coffee shop (“Our little baby’s all growed up!”)

Silver and Rockwell- badasses. Blogger extraordinaire Jordan was kind enough to host us the first two nights in LA. Be sure to check out his forthcoming book and reality show.

Becca and I at Universal Studios.

If you’ve got a two-year-old delinquent in your family, the kind who likes to hit traffic cops with Lexuses, moon their rivals, and smoke pot “once in a blue moon,” this is an ideal gift. And yes, we’re still glad to be rid of him.

The happy couple, in Beverly Hills on our first anniversary.

In Orange County, The Shadow knows.

Not pictured: A few other notes from the trip:

- I enjoyed San Fran a lot, but man, what a weird city in terms of weather. Fog every day we were there, and the temperature varies wildly depending on what part of each hill you’re standing on. Not that there’s any rhyme or reason to the cold levels on each part of the hills… like in New York, you have to walk everywhere, but unlike New York, there are extremely steep hills all over the place.

- As demonstrated by Hippie Hill and other places, the freaks/hippies/hipsters in San Fran make the New York version look like Young Republicans by comparison. My sister said I’d be a conservative Republican if I lived out there but, I told her, since she supports the continued existence of the State of Israel, she is too.

- Still, a beautiful waterfront on all sides, and walking across the Golden Gate Bridge was a blast. Take it from my girlfriend, the bridge designer.

- We stopped by Berkeley and I found it, I don’t know, underwhelming. Maybe it was just because school’s out and no one was around, but it didn’t seem any more interesting than any other college town.

- Loved LA. I know lots of people hate it, but I loved every minute I spent there. Didn’t see any celebs though, probably because we weren’t on foot that much- because NOBODY WALKS.

- Also in LA, nice to finally meet Scott Ganz, the blogger/screenwriter (and one-half of Yuppies of Zion), who I’ve been reading for 3 or 4 years. I had thought that Scott was the one who coined the phrase “Fat Fat Fatty” (in reference in Michael Moore), though he informed me that the etymology of the phrase comes from the original film of “The Producers.”

- It’s a small (Jewish) world- we met an Israel-trip friend of Becca’s who she hadn’t seen in years, and her husband was the brother of a girl I knew in college.

- All in all, a wonderful trip, my first visit to the Golden State in 15 years. It probably won’t be another 15 before I go back.

Posted by Stephen Silver at August 31, 2005 05:04 PM

whya re you wearing a WI Sweat shirt??? Aren't you from MN?

Posted by: A at August 31, 2005 05:15 PM

or perhaps Berkely was underwhelming after having spent 4 years at the 'deis ...

Posted by: LilB at August 31, 2005 06:23 PM

sf native here...the part of the bridge that collapsed was on the Oakland side; your picture has the SF side in the background.

glad you could experience our freaky weather...but we wouldn't trade it for anything.

Posted by: tim k at August 31, 2005 09:51 PM

You will be back in less than 15 better visit me when I go over there!

Posted by: A at August 31, 2005 10:11 PM

Great photos!

Posted by: Jeff S at September 1, 2005 10:33 AM

Dude... I believe it's actualy lobster bread. (And this coming from a currently-kosher-kid!) If you ever need an animal identifier, especially when it comes to invertibrates, please feel free to call me.

Glad to hear your trip was buckets of fun, Biotech!

Posted by: Marti at September 1, 2005 04:22 PM

Thanks for all the pics! So cute! Congrats on the anniversary!!

Posted by: Caryn at September 1, 2005 07:50 PM

" you can tell he’s a much better dresser than I am."

If I had less tact, I might say something about that being a rather backhanded compliment. But then, I'd never say anything like that. :-p

Glad you liked LA, too. I had a blast working in the DA's office there, and hearing yet another East Coast native bitch about how much they hate LA would've been tiresome.

I hope for your sake you at least tried to connect with Emily, or I imagine she may hurt you whenever she's back on our side of the country. ;-)

Posted by: Dave J at September 1, 2005 11:29 PM

Great trip report! As a San Francisco resident, I enjoyed your perspective. And even for me, the bush man never gets old.

Posted by: Mark Schulman at September 5, 2005 07:20 PM

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