An Example that Eradicates Excuses!

Let’s start at the bottom: my friend Erika (long-time friend from the ‘boro) is chugging a boot of beer at Suppenkuche (world’s best family-style German restaurant). At the top, her husband chugging the same boot, but like a woman. Look closely: his left pinky is starting to creep up to Full Salute.

These kids, who have their own kid by the way, managed to make their way out to visit SF from Denver. They flew in early Sunday morning, and were back on a plane to Rocky Mountain highs on Wednesday night. Shocking? Not yet. But read on… look at all the awesome stuff they got to do while visiting the Hotel Hansen for three short days:

Sunday: a quick brunch at the Crepe House on Polk Street was followed by a roughly 4-hour walking tour of the highlights of northern SF. We walked from Polk Street up Nob Hill and descended into the nostril-raping fishmonger markets of Chinatown (Erika: “I just wanna see it!” My wife: “Why?”); once we realized that we were bigger than all those people, we were able to do our White People On An Agenda walk, throwing elbows & upsetting apple carts until we were able to breach like whales onto the shores of North Beach (for you non-Bay Area folk, this is our version of Little Italy, with fewer people from New Jersey who claim to be Italian).

We strolled through North Beach at a leisurely pace, were appropriately accosted by the restaurateurs on the sidewalk – seriously, it makes me feel wanted, and therefore I enjoy it and consider it appropriate – as we headed northward to the Place Where Hope Comes In A Bread Bowl, Fisherman’s Wharf. For all its splendor and hub-bub, the Wharf is not all that spectacular. There are restaurants, there’s a fun sourdough bakery that you can see inside of, and then there’s just a bunch of frikkin’ tourists & sailboats. But we checked that box for them, and even went over & saw the sea lions relaxing on their K-dock.
We had also JUST missed a ferry over to Sausalito, which Ryan really wanted to refer to simply as ‘Saucy’, so we nixed that idea. (Erika: “Can we just kill an hour down here until the next one?” Me: “Killing an hour down here is more like torturing your own will to live right out of every fiber of your being, but yes, if you want, we can.” Ryan: “Well don’t sugar-coat it, tell us how you really feel.”)
Onward we strolled, back toward the nowhere-near-setting sun on a leisurely waterfront walk. I continued to parlay my perfunctory prose of prior periods in SF’s history into what seemed to the unweary an unquestionable, unforgettable and unique monologue as we gallavanted along gaily toward the Golden Gate. Boat, boat, another boat, $10MM waterfront home, guy that shouldn’t be running without a shirt on due to man-boobs, little girl flying kite, middle-aged nerd flying 12 kites and making little girl feel insufficient… and left turn into the delightful ‘Marina’ neighborhood. More restaurants, small independent candy store, over-priced clothes & accessories store, hey there’s Mr. Man-Boobs running again, open house, cougar, another cougar, cougar’s Mom, some over-paid venture capital analyst with too-white teeth, Pottery Barn… and south to Union Street.
I took Erika & Ryan to That Takes The Cake for a sample of what I have come to consider the world’s best cupcake. (Seriously.) But this is what I love about having grown up in a small town: we all immediately noticed that we could get one freshly-baked cupcake for $2.75, OR we could get SIX freshly-baked-yesterday cupcakes for $9. For those of you math-challenged folks, that’s nearly a 46% discount for 24 measly hours of sitting around the bakery… or $0.05 an hour of staleness. “We’ll take the ones on sale.” “They’re all on sale.” “Maybe to you, honey.”

A quick phone call home to Denver for the parents to check on their offspring, and we quickly realized we were pooped. We headed home to enjoy our cupcakes – after all, as soon as we took them out of the shop they started depreciating. Upon our return, we rested, shared the splendor of sugary substances with R, and then decided we’d DRIVE over to see the Painted Ladies (a.k.a. the houses from the opening credits of Full House), maybe even do a drive-by of Haight-Ashbury.

Painted Ladies pictures carefully procured on our professional-grade photographic paraphernalia, we sallied forth to Haight-Ashbury, saw the freaks, and then spent about 90 minutes sponsoring a trip to Amoeba for Ryan. (Aside from being a funny nerd-brother, he’s an even bigger music nerd; I couldn’t very well let him leave SF without experiencing the heaven that is the Bay Area’s second-largest used records store. FYI, the nuts in Berkeley also have an Amoeba, which is reportedly bigger.) Proudly, Ryan exited having refrained quite well, purchasing less than $30 worth of merchandise but feeling satisfied. Spinning his new purchase in the Prius on the way home, even their tour guide felt this was a day well-spent. To reward ourselves, we ordered Chinese food for dinner (Tai Chi on Polk Street still can’t be beat) and stayed in to watch ‘Baseketball’ and ‘So I Married An Axe Murderer’. The latter is a San Francisco specialty, but I have to admit it’s starting to lose some of its appeal to me. It may have something to do with The Love Guru.

THIS WAS JUST SUNDAY, people. They said numerous times that they couldn’t believe how much we’d done & how much they’d seen in just six or eight hours.
Monday: Luckily, they were off to drive up through the redwoods (they stopped at Muir Woods) to Wine Country, where they’d booked a night at a Bed & Breakfast that included bike rentals in its rates. This, people, is genius. They got there early on Tuesday morning, started drinking & eating & doing what people do in Sonoma, and they never had to get back behind the wheel of the rental! They wined & dined, realized that Sonoma’s still a small town that closes around 8pm especially on a Monday, and retired to the spa/sauna in their manse-for-a-night.

(The following details of their romantic evening at the B&B have been edited for time & have been re-formatted to fit this screen.)

Tuesday: They rode out to more wineries, saw some more beautiful scenery, and came back into the city to help pre-celebrate my pre-birthday at Suppenkuche and drink beer out of oversized glass footwear.
Wednesday: I didn’t even get to talk to them about what they did on Wednesday before they flew back (I was working all day & they got themselves to the airport easy-peesy). But what more COULD they have done, really? They talked about trying to get in on a brewery tour (Ryan = beer nerd, his third ‘nerd’ in this post alone), and they wanted to maybe see the Presidio or go to the Cable Car Museum… no idea what they ended up doing, but holy crap they’d already done a lot.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I lay at your feet your duty: you must find the defendant, Excuse Not To Visit Guilty #3 “I Don’t Have Enough Vacation Time”, guilty of fraudulently portraying itself as a Valid Reason Not To Visit. I think that’s clear. You can be in and out of San Francisco in three days & do more in that time period than some people do in an entire month in Denver, Chicago, St. Louis, or rehab. That’s clear. The evidence has spoken for itself. I think that’s clear.
Nothing further, Your Honor.

Back in ACTION!

After an almost two-week respite, I got my ass out of bed before 6am and went for a run this morning. Did the hill at Taylor & Broadway, the Broadway side because it's got stairs. Think I did 4 or 5 repeats on the stairs, and one or two recovery loops up & down the Taylor side. Best time getting up those stairs: 43 seconds. Now this was admittedly not a huge distance, nor was it an extremely long workout, but considering that my recent caloric intake has greatly exceeded output, it still made me feel much healthier & less pudgy. Plus I'm on my way to the opera at the ballpark, where I'm bound to need an extra inch in the cumberbund, so I've alleviated some future guilt. Logical, right?
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June 19, 2008 – Phylicia Rashad turns 60, looks 100

Y’know how every year, around their birthday, people always find one new person who also has that exact same birthday? And they always get excited… “Oh my gosh, what are the chances??? That’s awesome, we should share a cake! Let’s have a double-bday happy hour with our co-workers! Oh man, make sure you get me a card!”

I found out this morning that a co-worker has the same birthday as me, and I said “FUCK! That’s my day, asshole! Get your own damn birthday! I fuckin’ hate sharing my birthday with you! You’re gonna get all the presents & I’m gonna get screwed AGAIN!”

That’s just how I feel.

Oh, and today really is Claire Huxtable’s 60th. But check her out on IMDB. She looks like Leatherface, only more menacing.


My wife is awesome. Less than a week after she was running around like a nut, trying to get everything done during her Busy (with a capital B) time at her new job that she loves, she has totally come to my rescue.

As I twittered yesterday, my fingers are in lots of pies… Even though most of them are fun pies for me to have fingers in, they still require effort, attention, balance. If I go too deep into one pie, a finger pops out of another, and both the pie and my sense of fulfillment are deflated, pierced, wrecked. And they start to rot. My wife has graciously swooped in and offered her assistance. She's there to help me keep each finger in each pie at just the right depth. And I love that about her.

Tis true that, behind every man who aspires to be great, there is a woman who has already figured out how to be both great AND patient while that man figures the whole thing out.

Thank you, dear.
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Last night R and I and her brother Adam went to Cobb's for some $7 stand up comedy. Arj Barker and Doug Benson were there, and this teacher from Oakland named Chris Tinkle (not making that up) was the emcee. I definitely laughed my ass off for a straight 2 hours, so as far as getting our $'s worth, mission accomplished. But the bigger news is that I can finally confirm for myself that what I read in Franklin Ajaye's book is true: a) comedians have a near-impossible career if they tell themselves that every bit of material has to be 100% original, because almost every joke has already been told somewhere, and at least one member of your audience was there when it was; and b) your subject matter is only maybe 40% of your schtick – more important is the voice/character you use to talk about it. Put simply, in comedy, the message is less important than the delivery.

This isn't exactly a higher being standing on a stage somewhere with a mic plugged directly into my brain & sharing some huge secret… But it does mean that I can stop stressing about originality or about inadvertently bogarting someone else's material. I can focus on figuring out which inner demon can have complete control of my brain and my body for 10-15 minutes of harvesting laughter. That, dear reader, is a comfort.

Sent from the tippy tips of my thumb nails. :-P

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My friend Rommy is on today’s Pew-Pew tmblr. 4th picture down. While I acknowledge & respect the glam rock shot, this one made me spit out my Dal Makhani:

I think his Rock Band just won the Bay Area’s Battle of the Rock Bands, in which he & his band raised money for a charity & rocked out. One might assume that’s where his Pew-Pew picture came from, but it actually wouldn’t surprise me if that’s from a completely different event. He often dresses like a cerca-1979 rock star, except he’s Middle-Eastern.
Rommy’s exactly the type of dude that gets on sites like this. He’s rarely NOT the reason most people show up at parties where he’s at. And he’s always got some sort of bit that’s a total crowd-pleaser; in college, it was the Rommy Belly-Slap (I named it, not him; I don’t know what he calls it). He’d get all drunk & put on a fro-wig and then come out lifting his shirt up, slapping his belly all while doing some sort of Carlton-esque Egyptian carpet dance. We’d all applaud, encouraging his antics… and then we’d give him crap the next day for breaking sh!t or for getting the cops called on us. He couldn’t win.
Anyway, point of this post was to share the website & spread that Tom Cruise picture that caused a lentil shower in my cube-ikkle. I’ve tried to cook up a few other posts lately, but nothing seems to totally mushroom like it normally does, so I’ve decided not to try and force it. It’ll come. It always does.
BTW, Twitter is no longer my main obsession. My new main obsession is my Blackberry. My NEXT obsession will be the new podcast that Cermak & Dan & I will start recording in a few weeks. And my next obsession after that will be the Russian Hill version of Living Room Improv, directed & starring yours truly. :-)
What? You don’t plan your obsessions? You should. Makes them much easier to manage. Like a trip to the zoo. You wouldn’t NOT plan your trip to the zoo, right? You know what happens to people who don’t plan trips to the zoo, right? They miss stuff.