Friday, October 31, 2008

The Arrival

The brothers have arrived _ a bit road weary, but safe and sound. We went out to Cha Cha Cha last night. Mike took pictures. They're in his camera.

We all rode to the airport at 5:30 a.m. to deliver Mike. It was weird dropping him off and driving back home with Brian.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kettleman City

My brothers are on a road trip to California. For those who don't know, Brian is moving here to SF. Mike is keeping him company and will fly back to Milwaukee on Friday morning. They stopped for the night in Kettleman City, which I had never heard of.

Sounds like an interesting place. It's 93 percent Hispanic, the median age is 24, the median income is $29,300 and 73 percent of the people work in the agriculture industry.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gin Update

The estrogen didn't work. The peeing has not abated. In fact, just the other day, two hours after I took her out, Ginger stood in the middle of the living room, looked at me, squatted and peed on the rug. Sigh.

The vet thinks she may have a pinched nerve that's preventing her from realizing she has to go until it's too late.

Stay tuned ...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Trattoria Contadina

On Sunday, I met Mary, my visiting godmother (and faithful blog reader!) and her husband, Peter, for dinner in North Beach.

The Whigs

My pictures from the show are too dark, so I grabbed this one off the Internet. The Whigs have one of the best new albums out right now. They were young and energetic. They opened for The Kooks, who I skipped. And I really enjoyed The Warfield. I hadn't been there in years.

The Ramp

Afterwards, Beth joined us for lunch at The Ramp. We soaked up the sun and the 70-degree Indian Summer temperatures.

Open Studios

On Saturday, Jenny and I headed to the Bayview to check out Open Studios -- when artists open their studio doors and sell their wares. The highlight was Public Glass, a glass-blowing studio. This guy was making a pumpkin.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rent Rant

I just learned about an interesting loophole in SF's rent control policy. If a building owner chooses not to raise rents by the minimal annual amount allowed by law, those increases can be "banked" and implemented all at once. As a result, I just received 30 days' notice that my rent is going up by 7 percent or $100 a month!

Doesn't this defeat the purpose of so-called "rent control?"

Gin + Estrogen

The vet started Gin on estrogen pills yesterday. Amazing how similar dogs are to humans. He thinks this might help her control her peeing problem. My fingers are crossed. I was late for work this morning after an incident in the lobby. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SF Tourist Advice

Because my new office is downtown, at lunchtime, I go for a run along the Embarcadero. This puts me into the path of lots of tourists. Disclaimer: I love tourists. I will go out of my way to offer advice or give directions just so the tourist will see how friendly it is here. That said, there's no reason to go out in public with a neon TOURIST sign plastered to your forehead.

10. Don't wear those bright colored fleece jackets with SF logo. You obviously didn't know that San Francisco is cold, foggy and windy a lot of the time and were forced to make this purchase at Fisherman's Wharf.
9. Don't take public transit during rush hours. You will be annoyed and so will we.
8. Don't wear socks with sandals. This makes you not only a tourist, but a foreign tourist.
7. Don't put your camera around your neck. I can't believe people still do this. Over your shoulder or across your torso, if you must, but wearing a strap around your neck is dangerous for you AND the camera.
6. Don't wear shorts. We just don't.
5. Don't see the homeless people. I don't mean self-consciously ignore them, I mean just don't see them. I know. This is bad. Very bad. It happens.
4. Do walk a dog. Borrow mine, if you must, but this is a sure-fire way to fit in.
3. Do use a cell phone, ear buds, headphones. People here don't communicate much anymore. They're plugged in, turned on and tuned out. Again, bad.
2. If you're a guy, don't wear cropped pants or a sweater around your shoulders. See #8 above.
1. Don't call it "San Fran" or "Frisco." You will be mocked - either to your face or behind your back. "Ess Eff" or, better yet, "The City."

Fellow San Franciscans? Any worthy additions?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Chores

How often do you find that the fear and apprehension about an activity is worse than the actual activity? This happened with me and my closet. No, the photo is not my closet, but it sure does look nice. Cleaning the closet took only two hours from start to finish. Then, I did three loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen and my bedroom. Thank goodness the weather was crappy all weekend. No temptation to go out and play.

Friday, October 17, 2008


With apologies to Ron and/or Julia.

From a 2006 interview with The Guardian: Gwyneth Paltrow divides her films into two categories: those she does for love and those she does for money, or "shite" as she calls them, tentatively road-testing the British vernacular. ... Into the latter goes "this terrible movie called View From the Top that Harvey Weinstein talked me into doing".

Also, the film was finished in 2001, but its release was delayed because of 9/11.

Good Actors/Bad Movies

Why do good actors make bad movies?

Granted, "View From the Top" is a few years old. But did Gwyneth Paltrow, Mike Myers and Candice Bergen REALLY need a paycheck that badly? Or did they read the script and REALLY think that watching small-town Donna Jensen chase her dream of becoming a flight attendant was funny?

Mark Ruffalo gets special dispensation. In 2003, co-starring with Paltrow was reason enough for him to make this stinker.

Note: the DVD extra about the history of flight attendants was totally engaging.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Caught Red-Pawed!

Well, almost. I caught Gin sauntering out of the kitchen yesterday just as I was coming home from work. Sure enough. There was a pool of pee. Then, this morning, around 4 a.m. I heard her walk into the kitchen. No, I don't know why I was awake. But she's also not usually anywhere but on the couch at that ungodly hour. Another pool of pee.

Good call, intrepid readers.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mystery Solved?

Not quite.

Thanks to everyone who voted on the pee-on-the-kitchen-floor issue. It looks like my faithful readers believe it's Gin. However, I'm afraid to announce that after spending nearly $1,000 at two veterinarians (more on that later ...) I'm really no closer to knowing who's doing the deed.

The cat vet thinks it's Arthur because ... well ... acting out is just something cats do. On her advice, I bought Anti-Icky-Poo. No kidding. That's the product's name. I washed the floor with it, hoping to remove any trace of urine smell. For a whole week, it worked. No pee on the floor. Problem solved? Not quite. Yesterday and today brought me fresh puddles. Big ones. And, yes, the litter box is clean. Suggestions?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Foreign Cinema

When old friends come to visit, I want to show off SF. Yesterday, was a picture-perfect Indian Summer day.

First, we met for a drink at Medjool, the rooftop bar that has graced these pages in the past. Then, we headed next door for a fabulous dinner at Foreign Cinema. They have a beautiful outdoor space and they show a movie on one of the giant brick walls. And next to the tables, they have those old-fashioned speakers that you used to hook on your window at the drive-in. Very cool.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Last night, I was in the mood for a light-hearted, fun-type movie. Instead, Netflix provided me with the following:

1. Rails and Ties -- When a mother commits suicide by parking her car on the train tracks ...
2. Reservation Road -- The lives of Ethan and his wife are thrown into chaos after their 10-year-old son is killed in a hit-and-run accident ...
3. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days -- In the last days of communism in Romania, a young college student wants to end her unplanned pregnancy ...

Seriously. Nothing light or fun there.

I chose #1 and it ended up being one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Reminded me of Kramer v. Kramer. The kid's a dead ringer for that little blonde boy and Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden are awesome. It's also Alison Eastwood's directorial debut.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pandora Radio

I'll admit it. I'm slow to embrace new technology. I think it scares me.

At my friend Matt's urging, I checked out Pandora Radio this week and I'm in love.

For a music fanatic like me, it's like all the Christmases and birthdays of my entire life rolled into one.

The concept is simple: create your own commercial-free radio station. You enter the names of songs or artists you like and Pandora serves up dozens of old and new favorites. If you like music, visit Pandora Radio today!

(Gosh. They should hire me to do a commercial.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Peeing on the Floor

Someone's peeing on the kitchen floor and all I know is that it's not me. This has been happening for several weeks. Sometimes it's a little puddle. Less often it's a big puddle.

Gin is 13. Maybe she's starting to have bladder control issues. Her dog-walker now comes just twice a week instead of every day. Is she having trouble holding it while I'm at work?

Arthur is almost 3. I've had him for a year-and-a-half. I don't keep his litter box particularly clean, but it never bothered Cleo. And why, after all this time, is it suddenly not good enough?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

DJ Mike

After a long and tiring day, I headed to a really nice bar called The Red Room to hear Mike do his DJ thing. It was really fun - kind of like listening to Mike play records in his living room, but better.

The Anniversary

On Sunday, Mom and Dad threw themselves a darned impressive 40th anniversary party. The food was incredible, the setting was beautiful and the company was perfect.

Shaelin took a lot of photos. Here's one of Mike.


The table - complete with personalized M&Ms in fall colors.

Shelly (aka flower girl), Mom and Aunt Penny.

Kim giving a speech - as usual.

Shaelin and Dad.

Brian was coming down with a cold.


On Saturday, I was lucky enough to go see the Brewers play their first playoff game in Milwaukee since 1982. It was, by far, THE MOST EXCITING sporting event I've ever attended.

Tailgating before the game. I ate the best bratwurst ever. I think grilling it in a parking lot makes all the difference.

Mike's Brewers bottle holder was too cute.

Every one of the 44,000 fans hung on every pitch, every call, every inning. It was incredible. I was one of the very few people NOT wearing Brewers attire.

After the win, strangers gave each other high fives and chanted "Let's Go Brewers" as they left the stadium.

My Morning Jacket

On Friday night, Amanda got Brian, Mike and I free tickets to see My Morning Jacket at the Riverside Theatre. They were much better than the last time I'd seen them.

Cirque du Soleil

On Friday, Mom, her friend, Diane, and I went to the Cirque du Soleil matinee. We had nose-bleed seats, but because so few tickets had been sold, they closed off our section and we got moved to the floor where we could see the sweat on the performers' faces. It was an awesome show!

Check out Saltibanco here


I headed to Milwaukee on Thursday and ended up sitting in the Denver airport for a three-hour layover. Fortunately, my "time-to-kill" coincided almost perfectly with the Brewers playoff game. The Phillies won.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Heirloom Tomatoes

I'm not a big tomato fan, but Heirlooms are in season and they're so beautiful, I couldn't resist picking up a couple at my local produce market. I topped them with some basil and mozzarella for a very nice dinner last night.