Archive for June, 1999

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second day of conference, out to dinner (David’s Delicatessan for Hungarian Goulash) with Stephanie and Brad, to Metreon, and then “The View”

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first day of conference, max’s for dinner

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met with forrest, took muni, too much at amoeba, ate at cha cha cha carribean restaurant

My impression of San Francisco

My impression of San Francisco after a day and a half: I don’t like it.

I checked out the Gay Pride Parade this afternoon… it was an awesome thing to see the gay and lesbian community able to congregate and enjoy themselves as they are, not having to put on a front for anybody. I think if people realized how many folks they deal with on a daily basis are gay, they might not have such predjudice towards them. In any event, I don’t think any guys were checking me out (oh well). :) I have some good pictures of the event that I’ll post to the web site when I get them developed.

Unfortunately, while I did enjoy the parade, I ended up going a couple miles out of my way just to cross the street by my hotel. If I had realized I could use BART underground to cross the street, I could have cut that way short, but I didn’t until the parade was just about over anyway. Such is life, I guess. Another day of good exercise, but my feet are blistered, especially after yesterday and last night.

I’m also a tad frustrated with some of the conference registration stuff… I don’t think I’m all that stupid, but I’m confused by a lot of the registration options and events between now and Tuesday. I’m trying to get all that crap straightened out.

And one thing that really disheartens me about the city is the large amount of homeless on the streets. It’s by far the worst I’ve ever seen, even more than Philadelphia, New York, and DC. It’s not unusual to run into two or three on a single block. The thing is, the standard “get a job” response from people doesn’t come close to applying here — these are some sick, sick people: serious mental and physical problems that really keep them from ever “fitting in” with society. It’s sad… but there’s also a lot of very belligerant folks on the street that are a bit agressive. One guy today ran out into the street, yelled at a car, “Damn it, I told you to go around the corner! I’m not ready to leave yet!” and then walked away. It clearly wasn’t anyone he knew… who knew what was going on in his head.

I was going to go back to the Elbo Room tonight to check out Dub Mission, but after last night’s experience, I think I’ll stick with listening to the mix tape I bought. That and maybe watching a little TV.

Tomorrow I will have to finally venture out on the MUNI as I go to the Asian Art Museum to meet up with a fellow I worked with at MWC. I figure I’ll combine that with a trip to Haight Street so I can buy way too much music (I can’t wait to see Amoeba Records, which boasts an astounding half-a-million new and used CDs. Also planning on visiting Open Mind Music, Streetlight Records, and Street Beat, among others.

The Crackwhore Incident

I started the day off with my usual continental breakfast (croissant with butter, apple juice, English Breakfast tea, and fresh fruit) but also went for a later, more complete breakfast downtown at Jim’s Coffee Shop. This certainly wasn’t a trendy coffeehouse for beatniks or anything, but rather a simple restaurant with booths as well as stools at the counter. I had the heart-stopper special: eggs over-medium and link sausage. Mmmmm. The smell of the place reminded me of my grandparents’ house when my grandmom cooked breakfast.

On my way back to the bed and breakfast to get my car, I got the most unique plea from a panhandler I’ve ever heard: “Do you have 75 cents? I need to get my hair greased, and I’m a buck-fifty short…” I had to give her props on that one, so I gave her the fifty cents in my pocket.

The word was that this weekend was going to be one of the worst traffic weekends in San Francisco history because of the Gay Pride Parade and the X Games, so I allowed myself plenty of time. Turns out I made it in plenty of time with my rental car return (which also turned out to be a lot simpler than I had expected), caught a shuttle back to the airport and then to the hotel (on which I met a woman that lives in Manasses, VA and also grew up in NJ), and was checked into my hotel by noon, a full 3 hours before actual check-in time. So, without too much delay I set out to explore the city.

I walked up through Chinatown, which is one of the better Chinatown’s I’ve been to. Good selection of restaurants and some nice, small markets as well. I picked up some Dim Sum tea and green tea for my hotel room. I then walked towards the Bay, figuring I’d check out the X Games. By the time I made it to pier 30, it became clear there was no way in hell I was going to get into the recently-constructed pavillion: there was a sign saying it was filled to capacity, PLUS there was a half-mile line to get in. Needless to say, I didn’t have the ultimate interest or patience to wait that long to see the X Games.

I did dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant I had passed earlier in the day, Golden Flower (with an accompanying Vietnamese name) at 667 Jackson. Very good pho and fresh spring rolls and friendly service. I did confuse the waiter, though, as I tried to impress him by ordering number five in Vietnamese (“Nam”). Turns out “Nam,” with the accent I pronounced it with, was another type of Pho further down the menu. I tried. :)

I came back and finally spoke with my friend Elly after a bunch of phone tag (actually I just kept on not being there when she called after I paged her). We’ve known each other for seven or eight years from back on GEnie, but had never met in person (I don’t think we had ever even talked on the phone). We decided to meet at the Elbo Room to check out the Wicked Session featuring DJ Sep, Stephen Kent, and Peter Valsamis. Elly identified herself to me as “the girl with pink hair” and I identified myself as “the plainest looking person you’ll see.” Both were true. :) Even though we are on opposite sides of the spectrum, we had a good time hanging out and just talking about everything from old times on GEnie (how dorky is that!) to religion to music. It was cool. Elly had to leave early because she was working on something for the WEB’99 conference I’m going to next week. I hung out for a while longer — the show was really unique. Basically, a female DJ spinning breakbeats, trance, and trip-hop accompanied by one guy playing drums and another guy playing assorted percussion and a didgeridoo (at the same time!). A full review of the show will be at the UA Journal.

Coming back I didn’t realize the BART subway system wasn’t like New York’s (open all night) but was rather like DC’s (closes early). So at 1am, I was stuck in the Mission part of San Fran with no clue about how to get back to the hotel. The bus system, MUNI, is rediculously complicated to a newcomer, so I just started walking trying to flag down a cab. In a half-block period I was offered drugs and, honest to God, approached by a crackwhore. And then later, when trying to wave down a cab, a guy across the street thought I was waving to him, and came across the road asking me, “You looking for the Mexican?” I’ll let you imagine the rest of the conversation that ensued. Needless to say, it was an uncomfortable stretch of time between when I found out that BART wasn’t running anymore trains in my direction and when I finally managed to find a cab with no one in it (and God only knows where the hell I was at that time).

I did come away from the night having heard some good, unique music as well as dub mix tape by the DJ spinning.

It was my last day

It was my last day at auc and my last night in Palo Alto. Work was pretty standard; I will miss working with the folks there, though… I really liked working alongside Cindy, Stephanie (who I may see again later in the trip, with her husband), Paul, George, Jamie, and the rest of the crew.

For dinner I went to Bankok Cuisine (the restaurant I had passed by on Tuesday night on Lytton Street for some Thai food. This is the first ethnic restaurant I’ve been in here that actually played authentic music (Rangoon was playing R&B of all things). I took a seat out back and had hot tea (which was Jasmine, fortunately, and not the thick, orange, overly sweet Thai tea I had one time) and ? chicken, which had a unique kind of curry (?) as well as peanuts, potatoes, and ?. It was extremely good and the price was quite reasonable.

Three Seasons was no longer showing at the Aquarius, but Run, Lola, Run was showing. It’s a German suspense/action movie that’s gotten some recognition since Germany hasn’t put out a whole lot of successful films in the international market. The basic premise: a guy is involved in shady dealings (of some sort, we never find out specifics) and on his way to deliver 100,000 marks to his “boss,” he gets distracted and leaves the bag of money on the subway. A bum gets away with it and the guy has to meet his boss in 20 minutes. He calls his girlfriend in a panic, blaming her for not having picked him up when she was supposed to and begging her to help. So begins the actual running. Set to a furious techno soundtrack (produced by the director himself), Lola bolts out of the house to collect and deliver the money to her boyfriend. Three different versions of the 20-minute mad dash are presented, each with a slightly different twist that affects the rest of the story. As Lola runs into various characters repeatedly, we get split-second snapshots of that character’s future; their futures change as drastiacally as the ending of each scene for Lola and her boyfriend. It’s a blast to watch. My only nitpick — the ending was unsatisfying and didn’t quite fit with what had happened earlier in the scene.

After the movie I went to the Creamery for a small mint oreo ice cream and then headed back to the bed and breakfast to chill out and IM for a little while.

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out at night with everybody, saw stanford, Rangoon Burmese restaurant, Blue Chalk bar

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out to dinner with Andi, saw Maltese Falcon

This jet lag thing

This jet lag thing is working pretty well for me — waking up at 7am and being ready to go is a strange feeling. Of course, the overly sleepy feeling that hits at 4pm slows me down. :)

Good lunch today — an Afghani restaurant (whose name I don’t remember). Insanely good chicken kebob.

Tonight I walked downtown to check out “Citizen Kane” at the Stanford Theatre. Quite an experience — I don’t know if this is an original theatre from the 40’s or not, but it’s gorgeous inside… a classic movie house, complete with organist. I had never seen this classic movie before, so I was happy my first time could be on the big screen. Great flick… after watching Orson Welles here, it’s easy to see where Kelsey Grammer got his whole acting style from.

For dinner I broke my rule of “no chain restaurants while on vacation.” I wanted something quick that I could take back to my room, so I got a sandwich from Subway. I regretted it when I saw that a Thai restaurant was still open and mostly empty. Oh well…

I have dinner plans for the next couple of nights that will take up my evenings, but on Friday night I hope to check out “Three Seasons,” a movie by a Vietnamese director. Quite frankly, there’s just not many Vietnamese movies coming out… last contemporary one I saw was “Scent of a Green Papaya.”

It’s a pretty neat thing

It’s a pretty neat thing to say I worked in the same office that Adobe started in and to be right down the road from where the semiconductor was invented. Can’t say I’d be comfortable living in Silicon Valley, but it’s a good place to visit, especially working in a hi-tech field.

I decided to take a walk into downtown Palo Alto tonight to see what was happening and to scout out the town. I wasn’t expecting much, but as I walked down University Avenue towards Stanford University, I became more and more impressed with this cross between Philadelphia and Fredericksburg. There are countless restaurants, and very few of them chains. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to eat, so I stopped in at Pizza-A-Go-Go… decent pizza, good surf-oriented decorations.

I also stopped into Megabooks, a relatively small used/new bookstore. I really liked the note on their sign: “David sells for less than Goliath” (this store is directly next door to Border’s). I bought a couple of really nice books there (can’t mention them because they’re gifts for people who may read this)… the owner seemed nice, too.

Then I stopped by Compact Disc Land. Despite their pretty bland name, they had a decent selection of used jazz LPs. I picked up two Archie Shepp LPs (one looked to be in Mint condition) for $7/each… can’t beat that.

And check out what I have planned for tomorrow evening after work: Citizen Kane on the big screen. Yeah, man…