Archive for August 2008

Post-call post

August 21, 2008

I never got around to writing this last night, so I’m writing the next morning on the bus to work. Just a quick report of my post-call activities. I had a nice lunch down at Crissy Field and did some walking along the tourist bicycle course that passes thru that part of the Presidio on the way to the GG Bridge and beyond. The giant globes were part of an exhibit about global warming and maintaining our beautiful planet.

In the evening, we returned to Orson with Dan’s parents for their monthly special dinner. It was infused vodka cocktails and BBQ this time. And delish as always. I’m not sure what the star of David on the sausage was all about. Food Network Canada was there following Elizabeth Faulkner around, so look for the back of our heads on cable TV in a country near you soon.

I also watched some “Big Love”, but i won’t bore u with pix of that- just bore u with this entry about it.

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Soda State/Pop State

August 18, 2008

Dan will kill me for beating him to this nugget of gold. Ordinarily, I would send this around in a spam e-mail, but I’ll try posting it here instead. Have you seen this map from Strange Maps? Based on an extensive survey, it maps the counties where people use “soda” or “pop” to refer to “soft drinks.” Apparently, there are some confused people (ahem) who refer to cold drinks as “cokes.” Questions come to mind, like:

Do Southerners simply have a regional loyalty to the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Corporation?

What are all those Southerners doing in Trinity County, CA?

Why the strikingly round island of “soda” around St. Louis?

What “other” term is being used in central New Mexico and North Carolina? Is it really true they call soft drinks “dope” in the Tar Heel State?

Strange Maps’s commentary is great, too. For example:

“The word ‘pop’ was introduced by Robert Southey, the British Poet Laureate (1774-1843), to whom we also owe the word ‘autobiography,’ among others.Even though it was introduced by a Poet Laureate, the term ‘pop’ is considered unsophisticated by some, because it is onomatopoeic.”

My first iPhone dream

August 18, 2008

I try not to bore too much with tales of my dreams.  But this was a milestone, my first iPhone dream.  To echo Brad, it really has been the best money i’ve probably ever spent (other than the NYTimes online crossword subscription).  My dream:  I was with Noe and Siobhan, trying to play some of the phone games, but could *not* navigate to the proper screen to start up “Bubbles”.  You are famliar with the anxiety– can’t quite seem to get to your destination?  Oh, and of course, Noe seemed to know how to use the phone better than I did.

It was just a dream….

Weekend report (08/08/17)

August 17, 2008

It’s my turn to record our latest activities, as Troy is sleeping off a busy overnight shift.

On Friday, we took our last survey as participants in the UCSF Gay Couples Study. We’ve been filling out surveys every six months for the past three years, so there’s some nostalgia there, and we celebrated by having dinner at Anchor & Hope, a downtown seafood restaurant that’s fairly new, and just barely on the good side of kitsch (as far as the decor goes … you know, wood plank benches, giant fish art, nautical ropes draped over beams … at least the servers weren’t dressed like pirates). But whaddaya know, the food was pretty darn good. We tried “Angels on Horseback” … you want to guess what that is?

It’s okay, I’ll wait …

So, the correct answer is: oysters wrapped in bacon, dipped in secret sauce. Basically, if you wrap anything in bacon, it tastes good, and this was no exception. Troy had a perfectly seared tuna, and I had their version of fish and chips, which I didn’t realize when I ordered it, because they call it something like “battered white bass and rosemary potato wedges.” Right. It was far better than average, but unfortunately for this review, I recently had the best fish & chips ever at the restaurant in Sea Ranch (go figure), so they didn’t quite reach those standards. Bottom line: we’ll go back, but probably not soon.

p.s. The UCSF people have offices in the Bechtel building, where Russ (Troy’s dad) used to work, so there’s even more nostalgia there (for Troy).

Saturday, I got back into the footie with Russ (of Wayne & Russ), taking the Caltrain down to Santa Clara to see the newly revitalized Earthquakes defeat the (former) top team in the league, the New England Revolution, 4-nil. That’s four goals for the good guys, and my word, were they spectacular. Even the clean sheet was an accomplishment. It was a scintillating affair, and if I sound a bit British right now, it’s because football does that to me. The Quakes seem to add a new player every week, and just keep getting better. That’s good, because we’re still a long way from playoff contention.

He's one reason we're good now!

Sunday was a matinee performance by the Lamplighters of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado. My family grew up with G & S in Seattle (we went every summer thanks to Grandma and Grandpa’s subscription) so Mom and Dad and myself (is that correct grammar, Mom?) were happy to see the Lamplighters put on a fantastic performance of one of G & S’s very best. The sets and costumes were bright and appropriately gaudy, and the quality of the players was top-notch. They updated the patter song re: “I’ve Got A Little List” to skewer everyone from politicians, to conservatives and liberals (that last one got a bit of rogue applause), cell-phone drivers and iPod users. I saw their version of Pinafore with Ethan & Cathleen a year ago, and was impressed then, so hopefully I can drag Troy to one very soon. They’re doing Iolanthe in January, if anyone wants to join us.

Speaking of funny costumes, I better start planning my latest Japanese history class tomorrow. I’ve only got two and a half weeks until it debuts. I’ll try to blog each week’s class here … sort of like a correspondence course. (That’s how Fozzie Bear learned to drive you know).

Very sad news

August 14, 2008

I have some very sad news to report to my Utah and Tennessee family members. SFGate is reporting today that Longs Drugs has been sold to CVS pharmacy. A very important part of our formative years will soon no longer look the same when we go back for nostalgic visits to Countrywood Shopping Center. With a CVS sign, it will no longer be the store where I went to buy Volcano rocks for a quarter. It won’t be 3-year-old Brad’s destination when he escaped out of a window at naptime and took off across busy Treat Blvd. on his big-wheel (to be rescued by a good Samaritan). Sigh. goodbye Longs!

The Longs era is over.

The sale of Longs Drugs Stores Corp., the 70-year-old chain based in Walnut Creek, to the East Coast’s giant CVS Caremark Corp., spells the end for the last major regional chain drugstore in the country. After the transaction closes at the end of the year, CVS will slowly start converting the stores, and the Longs name will fade into retail history.

We’ve seen it before: Emporium Capwell. Thrifty Payless. Joseph Magnin and I. Magnin. But that doesn’t necessarily salve the frustration of consumers, who bemoan the loss of their neighborhood drug store, or the 22,000 Longs employees who face an uncertain future.

CVS officials say they have no plans to close stores, particularly in Northern and Central California, where the Rhode Island chain has virtually no presence. And, they say CVS intends to retain as many employees as possible and continue Longs’ tradition of catering to regional tastes in some locations.

But some Longs customers remain loyal. “Longs is the type of store in summer that’s going to carry 50 different types of sun hats and have a garden department. I would go to Longs to buy gifts because they had a lot of neat stuff,” said Kent Carthey, 65, of Pleasanton. “I don’t think I’d go to CVS for that.”

So, you have til the end of 2008, or maybe a bit beyond, to join me in one last pilgrimage. :(

Fare thee well!  [not my hands, obviously]
Fare thee well! (Not my hands, obviously.)

The ferry home

August 11, 2008

Blogging from the upper deck of the Intintoli, another Monday workday draws to a close. I’ve ordered up a glass of the boat’s “premium” Chardonnay (Salmon Creek) and am sitting back and relaxing. I should be cracking open “The Man Without Qualities,” but after 600 pages, it has really started to lose what pre-WWI Austrian charm it had, and it has already started to feel like a chore. Blogging instead is so much more appealing when your new phone is still only weeks old.

It doesn’t seem to be a game day, thank god, so the boat is pretty quiet, devoid of obnoxious Giants fans. There are maybe 6 other people and they are so far well behaved- quietly working on their laptops for the most part. Probably blogging the joy of ferry reverse-commuting like me.

And it really is a joy. I wish I could do this every day. You may know that I used to take the ferry or bus to work about 90% of the time … a few years ago. Then, after service cuts which eliminated the later evening ferry runs, and 3 quick fare increases, I now ferry it only about 15% of the time. Buying a Prius didn’t help either. The economics with a hybrid car now make it about 30-50% more expensive to ferry than drive. And don’t get me started on having to land at Fisherman’s Wharf instead of the grand old Ferry Building. I had to trade the most glamorous entrance into the city for landing in the 4th circle of hell. At least in the winter, there are no “living statues” getting jiggy to Calypso music. (But in August…). One final complaint is that the new Wharf arrival means *2* buses home instead of one and a delay of 15 more minutes.

Sorry about that tangent. Complain, complain. I guess that is what a blog is for (that and discussing the population centers of the states).

So anyway, the usual routine is to read a book or paper on the boat, sometimes enjoy a nice beverage, listen to a podcast on the bus, and then be home just as sweetie-pie is putting the bucatini in the pot. Yum. Can’t wait.

the prison means I'm almost home

Moon(light)ing Peter’s blog

August 10, 2008

Troy and I are contributing to Peter’s politics blog. My first post is about a big-picture predictive model for presidential elections.

Update [Troy]: BTW– If you are into the election this year, please feel free to participate on “Politicana” as well with your thoughts and comments.