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Fortune Cookies and Falafel

Posted on November 20th, 2016

Dave!Guess Bullet Sunday is just going to have to wait, because I've got one last day in San Francisco...

Which started rather late, because I was wiped out from a late night of enjoying the smooth, soulful, vocal stylings of Jester and Mustache Harbor for their second sold-out show at Bimbo's 365 Club last night.

It was every bit as awesome as Friday's show, where we were once again transported to OUTERRRRRRR SPAAAAAACE...

Ace Fontana Rocks the Crowd with Mustache Harbor.

WE LOVE YOU, ACE FONTANA!!!

Ace Fontana Rocks the Crowd with Mustache Harbor.
Jester as Ace Fontana as Ace Frehley — ©2016 by Tananarive Aubert Photography

   
I had two things left on my San Francisco agenda, which Jester was willing to accommodate... 1) A FALAFEL WRAP SANDWICH... and... 2) FORTUNE COOKIES FROM GOLDEN GATE FORTUNE COOKIE COMPANY...

Ace Fontana Rocks the Crowd with Mustache Harbor.

After that it was off to the airport so I can rest up before tomorrow's early morning flight.

Thanks a million times to Jester for making everything in my San Francisco holiday possible!

   

Mustache Harbor

Posted on November 19th, 2016

Dave!Live music is a treat I don't get to experience often enough. Mostly because I almost always have to travel to get to it. This trip to San Francisco was all about getting to finally see a Mustache Harbor show... of which my long-term friend, Jester, is a part.

Last night was the first of two sold-out shows at Bimbo's 365 Club, and it was glorious...

Ace Fontana Rocks the Crowd with Mustache Harbor.
Jester as "Ace Fontana" singing to a legion of Mustache Harbor fans on SPACE NIGHT!

   
Fantastic show. And a pretty great way to spend an evening. Needless to say, if Mustache Harbor is ever playing in your neck of the woods, they are well worth checking out.

Because who wouldn't want to experience a band brought together by their astrological signs and a love for vintage soft rock and sweet staches?

   

Deconstructed Buddha on Lotus with Om

Posted on November 18th, 2016

Dave!I love tattoos. LOVE them.

Had I started getting tattoos earlier in life, my arms would already be covered and I'd be starting in on my back and (probably) my legs. We have no choice as to what genetics are going to deal us in the card game of life, but being able to permanently make visual changes with tattooing is a wonderful freedom I'm fully onboard with.

Today I got my seventh, thanks to the unparalleled line-work talent of Michael Dematty at Black & Blue Tattoo in San Francisco. My right arm tattoos are all Buddhism-inspired designs I've drawn up, but I have yet to get an actual Buddha. The problem being that my arm is too skinny to get a classic "Buddha on Lotus with Om" design that will look how I want it to look.

So I took a cue from the culinary world and deconstructed it into separate pieces... which ended up fitting the space perfectly and turned out exactly as I had hoped. Which I knew it would, because that's what you get when you hire somebody as talented as Michael Dematty to ink your work...

Dave Deconstructed Buddha on Lotus with Om Tattoo.

As with all my tattoos, I drew them up in DaveToon black-and-white style. The "om" enlightenment at the top was written in Tamil (one of the oldest languages on earth) so it would look different from the om in my more traditional "om mani padme hum" tattoo that's already on my inner arm...

Dave Deconstructed Buddha on Lotus with Om Tattoo.

Annnnnnd... guess it's time to start thinking about my next tattoo...

   

Moon

Posted on October 27th, 2015

Dave!

Last night was my first time seeing Walk The Moon live.

It was also my first time seeing a show at the Nob Hill Masonic Center.

Hopefully it won't be my last for either one. Thanks to Jester for inviting me to such a fantastic show...

The Masonic San Francisco

The Masonic San Francisco

The venue is right across from Grace Cathedral...

The Masonic San Francisco

The evening began with an opening set by Holy Child, which I had previously seen live when I was in San Francisco for Betty Who. They were followed by a band I had never heard of before called Saint Motel...

Saint Motel

I really, really enjoyed their set. Saint Motel is an amazing live band. Wasn't as impressed with their studio albums, but maybe they'll grow on me.

The main act was Walk The Moon and they were fantastic...

Walk the Moon

You can get a taste of what they're like live in this video for Different Colors...

They are best known for their hit single Shut Up And Dance...

I was worried that my favorite song off their latest album was skipped, but We Are the Kids came along in the encore...

If you ever have the chance to see Walk The Moon live, it's an opportunity you absolutely should not pass up.

Back to real life.

   

Marin

Posted on October 26th, 2015

Dave!And so today I flew to San Francisco for one night only to attend a concert with long-time blogging buddy, Jester.

Needing to kill ten hours before the big event, Jester drove us up to Marin County. Believe it or not, the only part of the region I'd ever visited was Sausalito at the bottom-most tip. Everything north of that was a mystery. A MYSTERY IN THE FOG...

The Golden Gate in the Fog

Our first stop was a pumpkin patch because Jester wanted to make pie...

Punkins

Pumpkin measured $12... including tax!

Punkins

Further up the coast...

Punkins

And finally we arrived at out destination, Point Reyes and the Point Reyes Lighthouse...

Point Reyes Lighthouse

Point Reyes Lighthouse

Point Reyes Lighthouse

The hundreds of stairs down weren't a big deal... the thousands of stairs back up was agony for an out-of-shape bastard like me...

Point Reyes Lighthouse

Point Reyes Lighthouse

On the way back, Jester and I saw something odd. A kind of weird machine or something...

Point Reyes Lighthouse

A stop at Olema Farm House Restaurant for mac & cheese lunch...

Olema Farm House

And then... a quick stop at Stinson Beach before heading back to the city...

Stinson Beach

Where we saw a seagull hauling off a whole crab...

Stinson Beach

A great day, and the main event hadn't even started.

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Routine

Posted on April 18th, 2014

Dave!My lunch routine on a full work-day in San Francisco has been the same for years...

• Taxi to the Fisherman's Wharf.

Johnny Rockets (Streamliner Burger, no grilled onions, no mustard, add ketchup and mayo).

Crazy Shirts (T-shirt shop).

• The Pier 39 Sea Lions.

Sea Lions!

• Trish's Mini Donuts.

BAG-O-DONUTS!

• Hard Rock Cafe (to check out any new pins).

• Street Car back to work downtown.

   
It's always the exact same thing.

Which is why I appreciate it when something happens to break up the routine. This time it was when I was walking past a guy buying a hotdog at a small food shack called the Doggie Diner...

Doggie Diner

After he picked up his food, he asked where their bathroom was.

I'm sure the order-taker told him there were public restrooms at Pier 39. I would have told him to use the garbage can out front.

And that's a wrap on my lunch hour.

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Early

Posted on April 17th, 2014

Dave!San Francisco is one of the easiest gigs I have because it's only a two-hour flight out of Seattle. Adding in a drive to the airport, wait time, flight time to Seattle, and layover time... and I can get to The City by The Bay in under 6 hours. This is nice, because if I have an afternoon meeting I can fly down that morning instead of the day before. Heck, I could even fly back same-day if I wanted to!

In theory, it all sounds great when I'm booking my flights, as I'd really rather spend a night in my own bed than a hotel room.

Until the alarm goes off at 3:30am and I am forced to climb out of my own bed so I can get ready for my drive to the airport.

At which point it completely sucks, and I curse myself for being so stupid as to schedule such an early flight.

Which is why I just spent the last hour and a chunk of change-fee money to reschedule my next four flights. But it's all worth it, because I am definitely getting too old for this shit. 3:30am wake-ups are a game for the young, dammit.

So if science wants to go ahead and figure out the whole Star Trek teleportation thing, I'd really appreciate it.

In the meanwhile, here I am in San Francisco again. Guess I'd better get to work.

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Ink

Posted on January 24th, 2014

Dave!IT'S TATTOO DAY!

Originally I planned to fly back home today. But the layover for the connecting flight was awful, so I decided to leave tomorrow instead. This meant having to add an extra day to my hotel stay at "The Handlery Hotel" (instead of the Parc 55 Wyndham where I usually stay). When I called, they wanted $160 which was surprisingly high for a Friday night... especially for a 3-star property. Usually downtown San Francisco hotel rates plummet over the weekend when there are no business travelers to gouge on pricing.

A quick check at the 4-star Wyndham (which had availability this time), and I could get a much nicer room for $120.

Which meant The Handlery was basically saying "WE WILL PAY YOU $40 TO WALK TWO BLOCKS!"

And so I took them up on that generous (but very stupid) offer.

Anyway...

Time to get more ink work on my forearm band...

Four Noble Truths Tattoo

Beautiful line-work courtesy of Michael DeMatty at Black & Blue Tattoo...

For Noble Truths Tattoo

I started with the Roman numerals.

Then added a Dharmachakra, the spokes of which represent The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism.

Now I've surrounded the Dharmachakra with symbology representing The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. You start in the upper-right where there's the acknowledgement that suffering exists, move to the bottom-right which ties our suffering to our desires and craving, move to the bottom-left which is the need for cessation of suffering causation, then move to the upper-left which leads us back to The Noble Eightfold Path and a quest for enlightenment and freedom from suffering.

Which is just a long-winded way of saying that the tattoo is a reminder for me to stay on The Right Path.

And so... three parts down, three to go...

Forearm Band Tattoo Map

And now I suppose I should pack my suitcase so I don't have to do it at 4:00am tomorrow. Blargh.

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Who!

Posted on January 23rd, 2014

Dave!Who?

BETTY WHO! And tonight Jester and I got to see her perform LIVE!

Which was the perfect end to my day, even though it's now 1:00am and I'm ready to slip into a coma. Maybe it's because I'm old, but I thought 9:30 was a really late start-time on a work-night to be holding a concert. It was made all the worse when you consider Betty Who didn't even take the stage until 11:45...

  • 9:30-10:00 • Great dance remixes that set the tone for Betty Who perfectly, culminating with a great Blondie Heart of Glass remix. I had Shazam running the entire time so I could track down what was being played.
  • 10:00-10:45 • Some of the shittiest, most mind-numbingly boring, repetitive, redundant club music I've ever had to listen to. Absolute torture. I was THIS CLOSE to walking out.
  • 10:45-11:20 Music by Holy Child. Didn't hate it. If not for the terrible sound system at the Rickshaw Stop, I might have actually enjoyed their set.
  • 11:20-11:45 A better selection of club music.
  • 11:45-12:40 Betty Who...

She totally lives up to the hype. Her music translates beautifully to a live set. Her performance was energetic, infectious fun and Betty gives 200% to her audience. She has a commitment on stage that equals any "big-name" act I've ever seen...

Betty Who in San Francisco!

And that's what made this show so fascinating for me.

I was in Seattle as the grunge scene started to ignite. I saw small bands before they were huge bands. It was a genuine thrill to see these musicians in their early days, watching them work through the kinks, find their footing, and then go on to become these massive success stories.

Betty Who has the same feeling about her.

The sound system at the venue was awful. Weird things were happening with the mix. Betty's earpiece looked to be malfunctioning. The lighting was off. Her backing tape was miscued half the time. But it just didn't matter. Betty Who has the talent and star power to rise above it all. And the audience loved her.

I am genuinely thrilled, again, to see an artist at the beginning of their career. This was the last date on Betty's first tour and her first show ever in San Francisco. You can't help but wonder where she'll be a year from now... five years from now. Opening for P!nk on an arena tour, I'd imagine. She's that good...

Betty Who in San Francisco!

Betty Who in San Francisco!

   
Anyway... I had a great time. Though I did have to climb up on a table when I thought I might inadvertently be having sex with the two guys grinding away in front of me. They apparently liked Betty Who's show even more than I did.

Betty promised another EP with new songs will drop this Spring.

Then she stepped into the TARDIS and faded off stage, becoming one with time and space.

   
If you haven't bought her EP yet, you're missing out. CLICK HERE TO BUY IT! BUY IT NOW!

   

Sanfrisco

Posted on January 22nd, 2014

Dave!"I DON"T LIKE SANFRISCO ANY MORE!"
        —Kid waiting in line for a cable-car ride this morning.

Much like the side dish made famous as a "San Francisco Treat," I find Sanfrisco delightful. I fall in love with the city all over again every time I'm lucky enough to come here and never pass up on an opportunity to visit... even if it's just for a job.

After breezing though mountains of paperwork and a presentation, I was able to escape for an afternoon of bigtime fun with long-time blogging friend, Jester (right after randomly running into another bloggity friend, Dickie Maxx!).

First it was lunch at Boudin Sourdough (where we both got a slight case of food poisoning?). Then, after neither one of us could think of anything to do, I remembered an ad for "The Walt Disney Family Museum" I had seen yesterday, and away we went.

The museum is a pretty big deal, encompassing three buildings in The Presidio. I never quite figured out what a museum dedicated to the life of Walt Disney is doing in San Francisco, but they couldn't ask for a more beautiful location. The view from the back of the museum's glass panorama wall is great...

Walt Disney Family MuseumView

Having nothing to do with the mega-corporation that is The Walt Disney Company, the museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to Disney's life, and was founded by his eldest daughter, Diane (who sadly died last November).

Everything about the museum screams "quality," and the numerous displays all look as thought they could have been designed by Disney Imagineers (and who knows, maybe they were!). The lobby features some of the many awards won by Disney, including his Emmy and numerous Oscars...

Walt Disney Family Museum Lobby

Walt's early days are explored via audio recordings of Disney himself, which are accompanied by fantastic Monty Python-esque animation screens. Throughout the displays are many photos, letters, and other personal effects which are (as with everything in the museum) beautifully exhibited...

Walt Disney Family Museum Early Days

Walt Disney Family Museum Animator

Eventually... inevitably... you get to Mickey Mouse, whose creation is given an entire room. Here begins Disney's many, many innovations when it came to animation, including the way audio was recorded via visual cues. There were no multi-track recorders during those early days, so coming up with the sound for a cartoon was an elaborate affair involving several people working together at the same time. An interactive display shows how it was done...

Walt Disney Family Museum Sound Station

And, of course there is a nice chunk of Mickey memorabilia...

Walt Disney Family Museum Mickey Poster

Walt Disney Family Museum Mickey Clocks

The animation process is explored thoroughly, and displays include many props... including an original Disney animator's desk and the revolutionary multi-plane camera, which added depth and realistic camera panning...

Walt Disney Family Museum Desk

Walt Disney Family Museum Multi-Plane Camera

Animation cels, color tests, production drawings... it's all here...

Walt Disney Family Museum Drawing

The section on Disney's war-time contributions is interesting. In addition to anti-Nazi propaganda, Disney artists did all kinds of things to support Allied war efforts... including illustrating pin-ups for the troops, which I did not know. Why children were included in the drawings I can't fathom, but there you have it...

Walt Disney Family Museum Hitler

Walt Disney Family Museum Pin-Ups

It's not all fun, games, and gratuitous cartoon nudity though... the museum also takes a look at the not-so-nice stuff that Walt went through. Including a cartoonist strike (which Disney attributed to a Communist plot... but wasn't everything back then?)...

Walt Disney Family Museum Strike

And then things get really interesting because... DISNEYLAND!!! Here the museum pulls out all the stops, and leads you through all the planning that went into making the park...

Walt Disney Family Museum DISNEYLAND!
Click photo to embiggen in a new window.

Walt Disney Family Museum Disneyland Map Plan

My favorite part of the museum is a relief map of Disneyland... not as it exists, but as Walt Disney had dreamed it would one day be. So much of it is the same as what we ended up with, but very different at the same time. Space Mountain, for example, had the roller coaster on the outside of the structure instead of being a dark ride inside of it. Thunder Mountain Railroad was not the high-speed thrill-ride it turned out to be, but a scenic ride through the American Southwest (and included a ride under a waterfall). It's all just so fascinating. If you're a Disney parks whore like me, you could stare at it for hours...

Walt Disney Family Museum Disneyland

Walt Disney Family Museum Disneyland Space Mountain

The museum is a cradle-to-grave experience, and includes a nice video montage retrospective of his life as you exit...

Walt Disney Family Museum Death

Walt Disney Family Museum Legacy

And, no, you don't get to see Walt Disney's cryogenically-preserved body at the end. You do get to see a very nice tribute to one of Walt Disney's favorite artists, the incomparable Mary Blair, if you go down to the restroom level though...

Walt Disney Family Museum Mary Blair Tribute

Walt Disney Family Museum Mary Blair It's A Small World Artwork

   
All in all... the museum is worth your valuable time to visit. I had a great time, could have spent the entire day here, and thought it was worth the $20 price of admission because there's just so much... stuff... to see.

Since taxis didn't seem to exist in The Presidio, we decided to try an Uber driver. For those not in the know, "Uber" is an iPhone app that allows you to call a car to your location and have them drive you to your destination. It's pretty cool, because you are given a map with a real-time GPS location of your driver, the driver's name, a car model, license plate number, and an estimated time of arrival. For the budget-conscious, there's an Uber-X service, where you can hire regular people driving their own vehicles to give you a ride. In San Francisco, the price is up to 35% cheaper than hiring a taxi. Needless to say, this is not without controversy. Taxis are regulated... have experienced, knowledgeable drivers... and operate under safety standards dictated by the city. With Uber, you're just getting some dude and their car.

The first diver I tapped was nearby and had an estimated arrival time of four minutes. But, even after calling me, he couldn't figure out how to enter The Presidio and ended up driving all around it trying to find a way to get to us. It was pretty comical watching his GPS location on the map, because he'd drive one way... get frustrated... turn around... drive the other way... get frustrated... turn around... AND EVENTUALLY CANCEL OUR PICK-UP BECAUSE HE COULDN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO FIND AN ENTRANCE! I was relieved to get the cancelation, because the ETA went from 4 minutes... to 8 minutes... to 12 minutes... and I was going nuts (on the bright side, we got to watch the worst 20-minute parallel parking job EVER).

When I tapped a new driver, he was much more knowledgable on how to get to THIS MAJOR CITY LANDMARK, and picked us up in just five minutes. Nice guy too.

If you want to try Uber for yourself (and live in a city it services) you can get $20 applied to your first ride by using the promo code ba9az (just tap the little "person" icon in the upper-left corner of the FREE Uber App and go to the PROMOTIONS link).

   
Anyway... Jester and I goofed around the Mission District for a while, and eventually decided to find a tapas bar for dinner. Yelp suggested a tiny little place called Lolo, and off we went...

...to a fantastic meal. Seriously delicious food. The guacamole was flavorful and amazing... the chips super-crispy... the corn with crema was so tasty and sweet it was like candy... the quesadillas unique and mouthwatering... the flaming cauldron of melted cheese was creamy and dangerous*... the berries and mascarpone with honey crumbles was mind-blowing... everything was great, and the service excellent as well. Highest recommendation for Lolo!

Lolo Flaming Cheese Cauldron

*Dangerous because the cheese is kept melted under an open flame and, if you're not careful (like me), you can set your chips on fire!

   
Thus ends my first day of adventure in Sanfrisco, and how great was that? The kid complaining about the city this morning obviously didn't spend time with Jester, Mickey Mouse, and a flaming cauldron of cheese.

   

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