Muir’s Trophy Room in Haight Ashbury

I forgot to mention a little excursion I took while I was in San Francisco. I decided to take a cab to the intersection of Haight Ashbury to see where the whole hippie, free love, drug culture scene flourished in the 60’s. I believe Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia lived close to the famous intersection and I wanted to see what trace residue was still in the neighborhood.

Immediately after stepping out of the cab, I saw a brigade of homeless folks and their pets relaxing. I moved on and looked at the stores that filled the street, most of them were trendy boutiques and pizza joints, counter culture wasn’t as abundant as I expected. At the corner of the next block, a homeless guy smoked marijuana right in broad daylight. As I made it to the end of the street, I figured my next step would be to find a restaurant bar where I could relax and take in the scene. I ended up at a really weird place called Murio’s Trophy Room.

Immediately upon walking in, I realized that I was going to stick out in this place. The bartender had a big blue airplane earring hanging from his right ear and immediately came up to me and poked fun of my shirt, “Hey, how much did they pay you to buy that shirt?” I replied, “I guess, not enough..” He continued to feel me out with verbal jabs and finally said, “Ahhh, I’m just messing with you, I only pick on guys bigger than me. I used to be big, like 245 pounds, but that was before meth.”

I asked for a beer and he gave it to me on the house, said it was for tolerating his abuse, which didn’t matter much to me. A weird variation of Beyonce’s “All The Single Ladies” was playing on the jukebox, it was a bluegrass adaptation. I asked the bartender if they made food and he shook his head no, but he can do one better. He hopped over the bar and ran out the door, 2 minutes later he’s back with two menus for me to consider from nearby restaurants. He suggested I order the food and bring it back to his bar. As I looked over the menu, the bartender returned and asked what I was going to order. He liked my selections and asked if I could grab him a couple items as well. We ended up eating a big meal at the bar and sharing some calamari rings, he gave me way more cash than what it costs which translated to more free beers.

By 9PM, I think I had about 5 beers and had gained $8. As the bar starting filling up with all kinds of rogues, vagabonds, and misfits, I left the $8 on the bar and headed home. I’m not sure what I expected to see in Haight Ashbury, but Muir’s Trophy Room definitely exceeded those expectations.

When I got home I downloaded “All The Single Ladies” by The Pigs (the bluegrass version). The first time I played it, Winston flipped out, yelling “No, No, No, boys aren’t supposed to sing this song, it is a girls song”, he’ll need to loosen up before he ever visits the Trophy Room.

San Francisco, My Kind Of Place

A couple quotes from San Francisco:

A doctor moderator at a boring meet I was in: “I think there would be a confounding effect based on mathematical coupling.”

One homeless guy to another homeless guy: “I swear I didn’t hit the buy it now button 12 times, I only hit it 2 times.”

And the weirdest exchanges requires a bit of explanation. I was leaving a hotel and needed to grab a cab, there was a cab parked outside next to the curb. As I approached the cab, I realized no driver was inside. I saw two people down the road smoking and said:

Me: “Excuse me, are either of you the driver of this cab?”
Two people down the road: “Excuse me?” and then they started walking towards me.
Me: “I’m going to the Hilton, can either of you take me there?” while pointing to cab.
Two people down the road: “The Hilton, sure, that’s not too far away.”
The 3 of us start walking towards cab and about to open door, just before I open the door:
Two people down the road: “There’s no driver in this cab, how are we going to get there?”
Me: “Whoa, I thought you drove the cab, I think we got a mix up here.”
I immediately ran back into the lobby and waited for the strange people moved on.

San Fran was terrific, every twist, turn, alley, and hill brought along new sights and sounds. There’s the bay, great seafood, music, markets, rich, poor, bright and dull. The city just had everything and everyone that I was traveling with mentioned how they walked until their feet were blistered. The city makes you want to see it. I caught the red eye on Tuesday night, probably will never do that again, I was totally useless on Wednesday.

Softball is supposed to start this Sunday, I haven’t touched a bat or ball since last season.

I’m off to Orlando all next week…I’m sick of traveling.

The kids bathroom sink was dripping all day and night for a couple weeks, it is fixed now and that gives me peace of mind.

When I was away, Jaclyn reported a funny exchange between her and Winston. Winston fell asleep in our bedroom and Jac picked him up to put him in his bed. When Jac picked him up, he woke and asked why he was being moved. Jaclyn told Winston that he needs to sleep in his own room, plus he snores really loud. Winston replied, “I snore loud to keep the ghosts away.”

Two Buttons

Forgot to report on Two Buttons, the store in Frenchtown that Jac’s been excited to visit. The owner travels all over the world, collects all kinds of unique and interesting trinkets for their home and their store. Jaclyn loved the store, loved the artifacts, furniture, jewelry, clothing, and fossils. What most surprised me was that it was affordable, I expected it to be for the rich and famous, but you could find a bunch of stuff below $5 and tons of things under $50.

Definitely a good place to visit if you’re looking to see something that you’ll never find at Bed, Bath and Beyond (even though both places probably get a lot of their goods from the Far East).

Hours are 11AM to 5PM, Wednesday thru Sunday.

Home Depot Disappoints

Went to Home Depot about a week ago, wanted to get a french door replaced. The french door we currently have is very old and leaks tons and tons of cold air. I asked the people at Home Depot what a ballpark cost would be and they said it depends on many things, they sent someone to our house on Sunday morning (which is pretty impressive). The guy who came said he could replace the French Doors for a price that seemed very reasonable. We were excited and wrote a check. Whoops, he made a mistake, it is actually a french sliding door, not french doors. Well, not the end of the world, we can live with a sliding door (French Doors would be more than twice as expensive).

We cut a check and he said that a guy would come next week to take more formal measurements.

The formal measurement guy was only available to come out until 4PM on Friday, so I left work early to meet him. The guy who took the formal measurements was immediately concerned about the initial guy’s assessment, he said “there’s no way a sliding door will fit in that space”. After a couple phone calls and consulting several books, we found out that the french sliding doors is actually a french stationary door, well, a non-operationg window that would allow us to look outside, but we would not be able to open or get outside.

Everyone was very nice, they were pretty prompt, but I think I’m going to cancel my appointment and work with a company that specializes in doors and windows. I don’t want to waste anymore time or money trying to get this right.

On another note, had a great weekend with the kids. Introduced the kids to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there were a couple scenes where Winston laughed for two minutes straight. Winston also suggested that we buy Mr. Edman and Rose a football as a present for them.

Grandmom Pollock had a birthday this weekend, we went over and Winston sang Happy Birthday to her.

Dalia has been going through a phase where she tells people she’s crying because I yelled at her and I didn’t yell at her. I think she likes the sympathy she gets, I will be happy when she leaves that phase.

Both kids obsess over Ghostbusters, Slimer is their absolute favorite.

Brief Update

My work is hiring a couple folks that will help to lighten my load, as I’m still working my old job and I’ve been doing my new job since January 3rd, it will be a tremendous help.

I’m always calling Winston a knucklehead because he is often acting like a knucklehead. A couple days ago, he was showing me a magnificent train track that he constructed and I asked him where Thomas would sleep, he pointed at a little shed and said, “Right in there you knucklehead!”

Next Friday I’m off to San Francisco for the first time, I’ve always thought I’d love that city, I hope I’m right.

This weekend, Jac and I will have a couple hours to ourselves. Plan on checking out the store Two Buttons in Frenchtown, owned and operated by the lady who wrote Eat, Pray, Love. Jac has wanted to go there for years, but their schedule is always changing, they open for the first time in 2011 on Saturday, MArch 14th.

Got a bonus from work, used a decent portion of it to pay off taxes, very exciting.

Finished The Ugly American, now reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Two funny things about the book:
1. I bought it at a Borders that was going out of business in San Diego, a black man was working the register and when he saw the book, he said, “I hope this isn’t one of the censored versions”, speaking about the recent edition that erased all mentions of the n-word. I wasn’t sure how to respond, I just smiled and said “yes”.
2. The introduction mentioned that the book is for children and adults. Mark Twain wrote it more for children, but hoped that adults reading it would be reminded of their own child within. Was surprised to find out that I’d be reading a children’s book, but so far I enjoy it.
3. Mark Twain got his name while he was a river boat captain on the Mississippi. There was a guy on the boat whose job would be to let out rope with a weight attached to the bottom, he would lower this into the water to assess the depth of the river. The ideal depth for safe water to travel was 12 feet, or two fathoms, also know as a twain. They put a little mark on the rope to indicate twain fathoms (12 feet). When it was deep enough for the rope to hit the mark, the river depth monitor guy would yell, “mark twain”, assuring the crew that the water was deep enough for safe passage.

San Diego Man

I got off the plane in San Diego and was waiting by the doors that head outside for my cohorts to catch up with me. I put my hand on a 20 foot tall palm tree in a big ceramic pot and leaned against it, the tree roots started to snap and the tree started to fall, heading towards a little pogota selling cell phone charging equipment. I quickly grabbed the palm tree trunk and pulled it back to a standing position, the tree wobbled for 15 seconds and settled back into a steady verticle position before anyone could notice.

Just standing outside the airport felt like paradise, my affinity for the place increased exponentially as we passed marinas, outdoor cafes, and beach architecture. If I had a comparable job offer in San Diego, I’d be very tempted to live out there, one of the nicest places I’ve ever set foot. It was warm, clean, and a nice mix to their economy. Only drawback of the town was that I was the least cool character, it was like getting an audition to be on the cast of 90210, I stood out.

My meetings went well, being back in time 3 hours messes me up, days drag by because I wake up around 4AM Pacific Time. San Diego Dave met up with me on Saturday night and got to meet some of my work buds, then we drifted off and had some beers at a quiet Irish Pub called Fields. We drank some Harp, caught each other up, and he picked up the tab. Honestly, I wonder what in the world Dave thinks when he returns to Pennslyvania, it has to look a little drub in comparison.

Read the book, The Accidental Billionairres, The Social Network is based off of it. Excellent book, but I imagine if you’ve seen the movie, you would have no need for the book. I’m reading The Ugly American now, about US foreign policy and ammassadors. The book was written 50 or 60 years ago, but much seems the same.

Bought my kids a Whoopie Cushion, they belly laughed for a good 45 seconds after they implemented it. It was literally the funniest thing they’ve ever seen/heard, pure joy. The Whoopie Cushion ended up getting punctured as Winston and Dalia fought over it on the second night, we are now in the market for a new Whoopie Cushion, dollar store here we come!

We were advised to heat our water with an electric water heater, this way we wouldn’t have to rely on our oil heater as much. My research has a lot of conflicting data on whether it will save us any money, any input?