Get your Rice-A-Roni, hop off that trolley and settle in.
Tuesday, 9/19: I arrive about an hour late at the Oakland Airport. What's this? Oakland? Isn't this a San Fran story? Calm down. I flew into Oakland because JetBlue doesn't fly into San Fran. And, hey, I'll take bigger seats and TV over any other airline all of the time. I cab it to my friend, Faith's place in San Francisco (henceforth to be called SF). I've known Faith since she was 16, since I dated her big sis for almost 2 years back in the day. Faith and her fiance',Keith, graciously allowed me to stay with them. Upon my arrival, Faith and I walk over a few blocks for some fresh seafood loving. Lunch at Swan Oyster Depot was ridiculous. Lobster and crab cocktail. Clam chowder. Oysters. More crab. And the guys helping us were so friendly I thought I was going to get a rub down and happy ending! After lunch, we went right next door to See's Candies. We were like kids in a...well....candy store! The lady behind the counter kept giving us samples and I started jumping around like a crackhead after a fix. Dark chocolate is my drug. I bought about a gajillion pounds of chocolate, but got full after 2 pieces. Go figure.
The plan was to pick Keith up from work and head to Alcatraz. We get to the Pier 39 and head to the ticket counter. The young girl behind the counter says, "Alcatraz is closed today." Bewildered since she had checked it online earlier, Faith questions the teen. "It's the guards day off!", she says in disgust. As if we had asked her to birth our baby. Which we did right after causing much chaos, police calling, running, etc. Disappointed, we walk around the pier a bit.
The sea lions cheer us up. We literally stood there for about 20 minutes just watching them bark, play, sleep, posture, etc. One was clearly the king of the group and kept crowing about to prove it so. 2 others kept playing "King of the Hill" and knocked each other off of the barges. Funny stuff.
On our way back home, they drove me to Lombard Street. Yep, the famous winding street. Whose idea was this? I mean, bad enough you build a city on hills (Seriously...who builds a city on hills?!!), but a street like a roller coaster? Way to go, road crew. Still, cool to look at and watch everyone try to make it down. I'd hate to live on that street though. After fun on the windy street, we head home before going out for dinner. Another friend, my homie, Diana, had just moved back to SF. We met her for dinner at a restaurant of her former employ. Awesome food and wine and good time had by all!
Wednesday, 9/20: Started off a bit late. Diana and I were renting a car to go to wine country. The closest rental place was about 2 miles away. I had to hoof it there to pick up the car. Those damn hills! After picking up Diana and realizing I didn't like driving in the city, I put her behind the wheel and we headed off to Sonoma.
It was a nice drive over The Golden Gate Bridge. We didn't have time for me to get out and take pics, so I took them as we drove. Not bad, eh? I took plenty more both on the way there and back. Getting both the day and night bridge shots. Suck on that, Annie Liebovitz! After about an hour, we hit the first winery of interest. Cline Vineyards. Spent a bit of time there chatting with the woman behind the counter pouring us our wine and I ended up buying 2 bottles of wine.
We get a map and head down the road. The wineries were a bit far from one another, so it took longer than we thought. We ventured forth to a few others. Benziger, SL Cellars and Mayo. We tried to get into Kunde vineyards, but they closed their doors on us. Bastards. So, we did donuts in the vineyards and created a crop circle in the shape of me giving them the finger. Pretty intricate design, but a credit to Diana's driving! More drinking...uh..tasting, bottle purchasing, etc. We close down the last vineyard and head back.
After stopping at Al's Comics on Market St. (Thanks for that suggestion, Blair!), I drop Diana off and head off to meet Louise and her friends. Louise had a pass for an advance screening of Borat. If you don't know who that is or what that is, then where have you been?! Briefly, Sascha Baron Cohen is a British comedian/actor who created different characters that he showcased on his HBO show, Da Ali G Show. Borat is a character that is a journalist from Kazakhstan and comes to America to learn more about the culture. Misinterpretations and hilarity ensue! Anyway, this movie isn't being released until November and MySpace was holding 26 screenings around the nation. Rumor had it, that Cohen himself was going to show up at one of the screenings. Louise was convinced he was going to be at ours. I was skeptical at first, but then we kept getting delayed by some annoying punk on a microphone who wasn't funny or entertaining in the least. Suddenly, the crowd to the right goes nuts. Yep, Cohen had entered. In character. You can barely make him out in the pic up there, but that's him! He spoke for about 10 minutes and we all collectively wet ourselves. "San Franciscos is very liberals! You let retards out of cage!" The movie starts after he departs and it was one of the most irreverently hilarious, yet politically conscious films I have seen in awhile. Go see it when it comes out. I'll be there again. To make sexy times in your pants!
Movie ends and we head to the mecca of burgers. Yep, what's a west coast visit without a little In 'N Out? Get your minds out of the gutter. It's the burger joint! I voraciously consume my double double and chocolate shake, then drive back to Faith's. Another great day in SF.
Thursday, 9/21: I wake up late and go to return the rental car. I freakin' knew it! Parking ticket. Grrr. Aarggh. I drop it off and they inspect it. The dude doing the inspecting was Filipino and I guess he realized I was as well. What with the last name of Aquino and all. He notices a nick on the window. Which I swear was there when I picked it up! I just didn't notice it until later. We were Filipino brothers, so he let me slide. Phew. I walk around Union Square and do a little shopping. Hey, look! A Macy's! We don't have those in NYC. Let me check and see what they have. I was actually looking for a vest and ended up buying a suit, some shoes, a shirt and yes...a vest. Read the previous story from last week to hear about that store visit. Or just make it up yourself. I bet my version is better than yours!
I stop by The Metreon, where I had seen the movie the night before, to walk around. It has shops and food and an arcade. Sweet. Found me an old school Joust machine. Rockin'. I then hit a place called Beard Papa's Cream Puffs. Yeah, I had no idea what it was when I heard it first either. Melissa, my date for the ball, told me I should stop by. Best cream puffs around! When she said it on the phone, I queried, "What the hell is Papa Smurf's Puff Daddy's?" She corrected me and made fun of me until I cried like a little school girl. Yeah, she's mean like that. I rush home, since Faith and I were having dinner before meeting Melissa and others out in Oakland later. Faith and I grab some quick sushi and Japanese beer and she drives me over the bridge to Oakland. There was a special showing of Serenity that the SF Browncoats were throwing. In my honor. Okay, not really in my honor, but I can pretend.
I arrive at the theater and greet an exuberant Melissa and start meeting many of the SF Browncoats. I recognize a few from meeting them at San Diego Comic-Con back in July. They all bow down before me and praise my name. (See? Told you I was good at pretending.) We grab some beers and settle in on the couches for my 69th viewing of the movie. I think everyone in the audience could have acted out the movie. And don't think we wont do it! That's it! We'll do our own Rocky Horror Serenity Show! Genius! For some reason, the theater was a fucking sauna and it became a bit uncomfortable. I was sweatin' all up in my area and I'm sure everyone else was too. I could tell, because suddenly everyone was nekkid. A few I didn't mind, but some....*shudder*...let's just say my retinas burned a little that night. The movie ends, we say our good-byes and Melissa graciously drives me back over the bridge to Faith's. I was nervous to get in the car with Melissa. She's a huge NASCAR fan. I wasn't sure if she drove 200 mph and only turned left. Sure enough, she starts her truck up and little miss Dolly Earnhardt, Jr. starts revving the engine. After lapping the bay area 400 times (with only 2 pit stops), we finally make it to my destination. Anxious to start the weekend, I hit the sack.
To be continued...