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Sunday, November 25, 2007

I Forget How Beautiful

I forget how beautiful San Francisco can be.

Yes, the buildings are the same ticky tacky houses, little boxes all in a row that I remember. We were awash in a sea of beige, tan, cream and brown buildings. With the exception of a few mavericks in the Haight all homes seemed to be from the same palette.

But, the parks, the ocean and sky with its ranges of blues and whites spanned by, what I think is the most beautiful bridge in the world...The Golden Gate.

Whenever the City gets too claustrophobic, there is always Golden Gate Park or the endless vistas of the Pacific Ocean to stare at and get grounded again. I would never be able to live there again. Visit yes..... live there no. I'm now accustomed to the peace and quiet of the countryside. The loudest thing at night is the hoo hoo hooing of Great Horned Owls and the howls of distant Coyotes, instead of the steady stream of traffic and sirens.

We saw the beauty of the City and some of the ugliness too. Homeless and obviously mentally ill people. We also saw the generosity of the City with the Thanksgiving food events for those less fortunate.

The City is a young person's playground and I enjoyed my times there. Now it is my daughter's turn.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Into the Belly of the Beast

Come this Thanksgiving, my hubby and I are going to venture into the Belly of the Beast. Yes....we are going into the bluest of blue cities, the looniest of loonieville towns, the city that can boast the biggest swinginest BDS, the city with the best restaurants in the world and some of the most beautiful buildings. Yep... San Francisco. Yummmmmm ...Dim Sum.

Fortunately, we don't have any political stickers on our car so other than being a SUV (yes, I really do need a 4x4 vehicle to get out of my driveway in the winter) we should be pretty incognito as dreaded conservate, rural, knuckle dragging, slobbering rednecks.

Don't get me wrong. I like San Francisco. I lived there for quite a few years, with flowers in my la la. Those were the days my friend...we thought they'd never end. It was a great city to live in. You didn't need to drive a car, everything you needed was within walking distance in neighborhood shops. The mom and pop grocery, variety store, hardware store, cute craft shops, the local pub, the head shoppe...oops I digress.

If you wanted to get anywhere in The City, public transportation was a great way to get to work......well, except for the winos in the early morning trying to hit up us commuters for some money. I could never figure out if they were just getting up early or if they were just finishing up their night or if they were like the living dead who never went to bed. It was for sure, they never washed or changed their underwear. At 5am, we commuters would huddle close together in a tight little band of brothers and try to not observe the guy barfing in the doorway.

Want to see a show? No problem. There was always something going on somewhere. Want to eat Chinese, Russian, French, Japanese, Mexican food? You betcha.. any time of the day or night a fine restaurant was open for my dining pleasure. When I had limited money, a not so fine restaurant was available. Have no money at all? Spend the day at the beach flying kites, lounge in Golden Gate Park.

Now, however, the City has changed. Oh I know, I've changed too. I'm no longer a young long haired idealistic hippie chick. I'm now a middle aged Republican stock broker. Seriously if someone told me then what I would be doing now, I would have laughed my ass off at them.

BUT the City has changed. It isn't as friendly. The pan handlers are aggressive professionals who set up work schedules and partition off territories. The gay community, which was full of interesting characters exploring the new freedom to be publicly gay when I lived in the embryonic Castro district, is strident and humorless. The gay community in the City is sick and angry with most of the moderate and productive Gays moving out of the city into suburbs to have families and a more normal life. This is a good thing for them... acceptance.. but has left the community in the city a hollow shell.

The protesters aren't idealistic and bright eyed as I remember. We were going to persuade people to see the light, change the world, and make it a better place. Now, they are mean, bigoted, violent and intolerant. They will make you see their light by force. There is no grey area or room for disagreement now. You are with them or against them and never mind trying to reason. They will destroy you, your career and your property if you dare express another viewpoint, be it a disagreement on the commandments of the God Gore on Global Warming, or that we might actually be doing something positive in Iraq, or that Bush isn't really Hilter/Satan reincarnated or that sustainable forestry with select logging isn't going to make all life on earth become extinct.

Maybe the City was always as dirty with garbage and papers blowing in the streets outside of the tourist areas. Maybe there were just as many obviously mentally ill people talking to themselves on street corners. Maybe I just don't remember or more likely I have a rosy memory of the City.

Why are we going to the Belly of the Beast. My daughter lives there and we are meeting her significant other (in the olden days I would've said boyfriend but that seems silly today). We are also going to meet his family, so I suppose this is a serious meeting. I have the sinking feeling that everyone besides us will be left, lefter and leftist liberals.

Here's to talking about food, wine, art and no politics and no religion. Ah well, for love of my child, I can put up with it for an afternoon. I plan to take some bandages to apply to my husband's tongue from biting it all afternoon and duct tape to wrap his head in so it doesn't explode.

Wish us luck.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Missing 5 Minutes.

The missing 5 minutes... and no I don't mean the Nixon tapes. I mean the last 5 minutes of a show that I've recorded on the Dish DVR. You get to the end of the show, the climax, the revelation of all that has come before, the reason for being.... and .......brrrzzztttt .... the end. Five minutes short. Program interuputs. Even less satisfactory than sex interuptus, because at least with sex you were having some interaction and fun until ...brrrrrpppp .... the end.

What are the networks thinking when they start a show at 9:05 and end it at 10:05 and my DVR ends the show at 10:00 ...effectively cutting off the last 5 mintues of the program?

Well, I know that the big issue with TiVo and other types of recording devices is that it allows us skip the commercials. Oh Yeah!!! I can understand that the companies who support the shows want to have their ads viewed. But, as a consumer I LOVE the ability to skip over the anoying advertising. The reality is that a one hour show actually consists of less than 40 minutes of actual entertainment (and that is stretching the definition a bit) and 20 minutes of mindless repetetive drivel. I've timed it.

Why do I record shows to watch later? The main reason is the sad fact that I'm old and too tired to stay up at night past dark thirty. I might want to read in bed or do something else in bed, if you get my drift. So if I want to watch Shark or Greys Anatomy, and it comes on too late, I would like to see the show at my convenience. It IS all about me, you know.

The other reason, was to watch one show on the East Coast feed in real time at 6 or 7 pm.... and then record the competing show ..after bed time of course at 9 or 10 pm. Two for one. It was perfect until the satellite and cable companies took away that ability because they wanted to force us to look at local advertising on our local stations. As if I'm interested in Joe Bob's hog feed chow or the Cowboy's Mattress Outlet. An actual store ... imagine the commercials for that one!

So, what are they thinking? They are thinking that if they make it impossible to record the shows we will be forced to watch them in real time and forced to view the ads.

I'm thinking the shows aren't all that great anyway. I'll read a book.