Sunday, August 27, 2006

Californians aren't the worst drivers...

...Just the most incompetent. I still amazes me that here in the Bay Area, the following lead to immediate gridlock:

-Exits. Even if it's on the right of a seven lane freeway, half to people slow down to 20, a quarter tries to exit by cutting across six lanes, and a quarter stops to ask for directions.
-Parallel parking. Four lane city street, parkee swings out into left lane (or the first of the opposite lanes), backs up to the curb at right angle, hits the curb, gets out of the car--which now blocks both lanes causing other drivers to pass across the center divider effectively shutting down both directions--to assess the situation, asks a few pedestrians for their opinion, gets back into the car, maneuvers back and forth a bit more, gives up, and cedes the spot to a city bus which fits easily.
-45 degree parking. Should be easy, right? Well, most Cali drivers miss the spot on the first few tries necessitating backing up into traffic a couple of times.

Not that I did much today. Biked for an hour on the Mt Diablo foothills, went to the Oakland Chinese festival, bought a few t-shirts from a 4 foot Chinese grandmother who spoke perfect idiomatic Oaklandese, shopped and peoplewatched(*) at the Berkeley Bowl, had lunch and killer coffee at Cactus and Hudson Bay Caffee in Rockridge.

(*) Berkeley Bowl has the best and cheapest produce section in the Bay Area even beating the farmers markets. Kaffir lime, curry leaves and hot mint are some of the less exotic foods. But it's also a great place to see hippies, peacenicks and vegans have total meltdowns. First of all, parking is a bit limited (see above), then the store is usually overcrowded, the aisles are too narrow for two carts to pass, and you can't tell from the end of the line if the cashiers are on PCP, or downers, or both. And then the pushing and shoving starts and peace, love and happiness go right out the window. Today's episode had a henna-haired vintage-Joplin-attired Deadhead and a 70year old hippie Cal prof in bike helmet, ratty sweater and denim short shorts go at it after he cut in line by resolutely ramming his bike into the line at the register. Nice wresting match for the handlebar, and I learned quite a few new cuss words from the "weaker" sex participant and the dozen or so shoppers who joined in. Since this is Berkeley, I really wonder why they couldn't just have a spiff or two before they go to the store. But no matter how much people bitch, they'll be back for the produce and the 9c/pound bananas.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Don't stop pouring sugar on me!

Ok, I totally succumbed to my 80s roots this weekend. (Hangs head)

Let me start with "I love the unfortunately named Sleep Train pavilion". Three miles from my place, free parking, friendly ushers, kick-ass sound system and $5 Corona. Light years better than the Tweaker Center with its Clear Channel stormtroopers. And seats 30 feet from the stage.

I didn't really know what to expect out of Journey, but they sounded as good as I've ever heard them--even on the drawn out Stars&Stripes opener. Jeff Scott Soto has a great voice and is totally cute, but he channels Morrison far more than is good for him. Occasionally it was eerie to watch a blond Jim playing with Journey.

When The Sun Goes Down in the City still puts me to sleep, but hey, the place overlooks the bay. They were really tight on their more uptempo stuff. Neal still brings the 'tude and Ross looks like a mix of the druggy firefighter from Rescue Me and Cliff Richards, but still plays a hell of bass guitar. Standing ovations--encore--setup change to (inconceivably) a mix tape of The Who and Blondie.

And three bars into Let's Get Rocked, everyone was Jour-WHO? Def continued to kick Journey's ass into another dimension. The were beyond awesome, not letting up for two hours--let's just leave it at that--including something like a 20 minute rendition of Rocket and the entire stadium singing Happy Birthday for Vivian.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Love Land

I'm really no prude, but this theme park outside Seoul leaves me somewhat weirded out.

Thursday, August 10, 2006