Sunday, September 25, 2011

San Francisco

Some of you guys have requested pics of my recent travels to San Francisco, California. Let me just preface this post by reiterating that I am by no means a photographer so if my photos are subpar, just remember I have little experience with a camera. Also, I really hate taking pictures of myself. Enjoy!

I had a wonderful time in San Francisco! The weather was great even though people kept complaining about how hot it was (try living in 110F heat for 3 months). I’ve visited San Francisco a few times before and each visit is filled with new adventures. There is definitely no shortage of activities. San Francisco has always been one of my favorite cities to visit because of the rich history & culture; I just love the laid back vibe. San Francisco is what Austin could be if it weren’t for the heat or frat boys. There are a lot of similarities between the two, like both cities are very dog friendly & environmentally conscious. I did more walking in San Francisco than I have my whole life including visits to New York. I’m used to walking and I actually enjoy it. I try to walk my dog 2-3 miles a few times a week whereas in San Francisco I walked 8-9 miles a day. It was well worth it. Wandering around the streets at night I always feel like the ghosts of Jawbreaker are lurking right behind me.

We spent a lot of time on The Haight. Haight St. is a lot like S. Congress here in Austin but way more touristy. I found a cool taxidermy shop, a socks & tights shop, the Bettie Page Store, and of course Amoeba Records. I did the most damage at Amoeba since they actually had several DVDs I’ve been looking for. If you’re ever in the Lower Haight area check out a sandwich shop called Love N Haight. They have the best vegetarian sammies I’ve ever eaten in my life. I also met Jake the English bulldog who owns & operates Bladerunners Salon. Jake’s been supervising Haight St. for the last eleven years; you can always find in front of his store. Jake looks like the long lost cousin of our friend Ghostface Miller. The locals call him “The Mayor of Haight.” Austin has Leslie Cochran and The Haight has Jake. Personally, I think Jake is way cooler!

I got to visit Japantown for the first time this trip out. For a Hello Kitty enthusiast such as myself, it was heaven. I ate lots of delicious pastries and sushi. I also had the best chai tea latte of my life in the Japantown Center.

I’ve visited Union Square before but was surprised to see so much more added to it. It’s a shopping Mecca for any shopaholic. I can only imagine how much damage Ruth can do there. I actually went down there for one reason: to meet Betsey Johnson! Yes, THE Betsey Johnson was live in person at the opening of her new store in Union Square. I’m no fashionista by any means, but I will spend some cheese on Betsey Johnson gear which I already have an overabundance of! I arrived early to the store and indulged in the complementary cupcakes & champagne (Betsey drinks pink Andre too!). The event was complete madness! The last time I saw that many girls crying & screaming was at an NYSNC concert. Betsey is a true rockstar in her own right. Betsey danced around while the band (Mr. Loveless) played, drank champagne, and painted a mural outside the store. She told stories about when she lived in San Francisco in the 60s, talked about her recent fashion show, and gushed about her boyfriend Bobby. After getting to meet Betsey, I am more in love with her than ever. She is such an incredible woman and I hope I look as great as she does at 69!

My other main event of the trip was to see Peter Hook play the album “Closer” in its entirety. New Order is one of my Top 5 favorite bands so this was a huge deal for me. I accept the fact that I’ll probably never get to see New Order perform so the next best thing is watching Peter Hook perform a Joy Division album. The first song he played was “Dead Souls” which is one of my favorite Joy Division songs. I don’t think Hooky even said more than two words the whole show; he just hammered out the whole album. After he played “Closer,” he threw out the rest of the hits like She’s Lost Control, Transmission, Shadowplay, and New Dawn Fades. The band sounded great (apparently his son plays guitar) and Hooky’s voice sounded great as well. Honestly, these videos do not do him justice. You just cannot believe how surreal it was to have Peter Hook standing right above me while playing Love Will Tear Us Apart. It was every Goth girl’s dream come true. What a magical night!

I spent one day in The Mission which was a lot of fun! I came across another taxidermy shop, cool record store, and a delicious cookie shop. My only previous experience in the Mission was wondering around drunk at 2AM looking for Chris Bauermeister’s old apartment. This time around my Jawbreaker obsession was kept to a minimum. I did finally get to visit Lost Weekend Video store on Valencia which is owned by Adam Pfahler. As a Jawbreaker superfan & film nerd, my worlds were colliding! Lost Weekend is a lot like Austin’s very own I Luv Video. I immediately ransacked the employee picks to behold my favorite movie of all time on Adam Pfahler’s shelf! Can you believe it?!

I've always wanted to visit Alcatraz but could never fit it in until now. Finally I got to visit The Rock and man was it awesome. The ferry ride alone is worth the trip, so many beautiful sights. The Alcatraz tour is wonderful. You get to go into the cells, the dining hall, warden's offices, recreation yard, library, and even the shower facilities (don't drop the soap). The whole building is pretty serene. One thing I learned was that the families of the officers actually lived on the premises. From various accounts, Alcatraz was actually a pleasant place to grow up if you can believe that. Three men actually made it out of the prison and into a homemade raft in the bay. No one knows if they ever made it to shore because no bodies were ever found and they were never heard from again. However, the guide said that hypothermia would set in after being in the water for about an hour, not to mention the sharks that often occupy the San Francisco Bay.

Remember that time the shark bit the Golden Gate Bridge in MEGA SHARK VS. GIANT OCTOPUS? I finally got around to visiting the Golden Gate Bridge and it was a glorious sight. To see the fog rolling through the bridge was like a scene in a Hitchcock film. It really is one of the most beautiful structures in the country. I kept getting an eerie feeling thinking about the documentary THE BRIDGE. How can something so magnificent be equally disturbing?

As much as I love Northern California, this trip made me realize how much I love my home here in Austin. Sure it's hotter than hell but at least we have decent Mexican food, Lone Stars, and Alamo Drafthouse. Ross said it's only a vacation if the place you visit is cooler than the one you live in. By that standard, there's only about three places in this country we can visit. This vacation was amazing but it sure is nice to be home. My only bone to pick with San Francisco is that I scoured every souvenir shop looking for a koozie for my collection and could not find one. How do people in San Francisco keep their beers cold? Also, immediately upon arrival home I got deathly sick from what feels like the bird flu.

Special thanks to Kevin, Shannon, and T-Bone for being extremely hospitable. Thanks to everyone who offered great suggestions of places to visit/eat. Thanks to Mom for babysitting. Absolutely NO thanks to US Airways for the bad attitudes & flight delays. Thanks for further perpetuating my belief that the airline industry is a fascist regime.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great trip to SF. Not to one-up you but, I did see Britney Spears drive by and wave while visiting Castro..but some of us are just born lucky. anyway, I shouldn't kick you while you're down.. FEEL BETTER SOON!