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Karlos the Jackal

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Oh, geez, San Francisco! I forgot! [Dec. 9th, 2008|01:33 am]
Karlos the Jackal
And all of you on tenterhooks!

Well, here's the wrap-up:

The evening of Day 4 (Sept. 6) we went to an Indian restaurant with Nicole and Mick which was, to be honest, not particularly good.  (Also, they were the second place in San Francisco that didn't take credit cards!  What!)  We then went to City Lights, the bookstore founded by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  Sue bought a copy of Howl because he felt that she should, and I picked up a Phil Spector biography.

Then we went to a little cafe for dessert.  I neglected to write down what I had but it was very good -- possibly a chocolate torte? Or something similar.

I think the thing that would annoy me the most if I lived in San Francisco is transportation.  Public transportation was very slow and very crowded -- our experience, of course, was very limited (and in the tourist-heavy Wharf area), but our local guides did not have kind things to say about it either.  But if you own a car, you might drive (say) 20 minutes to your destination, and then you spend at least another 20 minutes driving in an outward spiral looking for a place to park.

(It makes me crabby when people complain about having difficulty parking downtown -- "well, the Parkade is free after five," I offer, and they stare at me and finally blurt,  "that's, like, a block and a half away!"  Or best of all, the woman to whom I pointed out the drop-off/pickup window in the one-way alley -- "but I don't come from that direction!")

Day Five was only a half-day, which we began by poking around Japantown for a little bit.  We then met Nicole and Nicole's taciturn daughter Julianna, and went for lunch at a Mexican hole-in-the-wall in Nicole's Inner Sunset neighborhood.  We also stopped by the nearby Le Video, San Francisco's Scarecrow, and took a look around.

Then we came back home.
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San Francisco, Day 4, Part 1: The Rock [Oct. 8th, 2008|01:35 am]
Karlos the Jackal

One thing I have realized is that I really like tourist locations, but I'm not all that hot on being a tourist -- I like to know my way around and know a few secrets as well.  So I think it would be fun to work at a tourist trap -- like, for instance, Alcatraz.  You start and end each day with a relaxing boat ride, you spend each day with a captive audience, and if you need to get a hold of anyone, you can just use your...cell phone!  ah ha ha ha

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An Evening with Groucho [Sep. 26th, 2008|02:48 am]
Karlos the Jackal
(I know that everyone is on tenterhooks waiting for me to finish writing about my trip to San Francisco but I must interrupt myself for a moment.)

Tonight Sue and I went to see Frank Ferrante perform his "An Evening with Groucho" one-man (plus a pianist) show at the Mt. Baker Theatre.  (It was actually in the small theater, which has room for maybe 160 people.)  We had seen Frank exactly three weeks ago in San Francisco at the Teatro ZinZanni -- those of you who have been paying attention will remember that I talked about that over here.

It's a fun show -- he tells very brief stories about the Marx Brothers and sings several songs, but mostly the conceit is an excuse for Frank to wander among the audience talking to people -- well, teasing them, more often than not -- and Frank really shines at this, with an incredibly quick wit and improv skills.

My favorite bit: For some reason, several people were wearing nametag stickers.  Frank pulled off one guy's tag and stuck it to the guy's bald pate -- "Frankly, it helps with the glare."  For the rest of the night, Frank made him keep it on his head, at one point taking tags from other people and adding them to the guy's reluctant collection.

(We were sitting in the upper-stage-left-hand corner, so he didn't get as far as us; we avoided a repeat of last time.)

We got comped in again -- same as ZinZanni -- so I bought a DVD of his "Groucho: A Life in Revue" -- I feel like he deserves something from me, after all.  He was in the lobby signing them, so I spoke to him briefly, telling him that we had seen him a few weeks ago when we were with Felicia in San Francisco.  "Oh," he said, perking up, "you're the one who blogged about it!  I 'humiliate' people!"  I am only very slightly abashed.

Frank's doing another show Friday, two on Saturday, and two more on Sunday.  Fun times; check it out.
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San Francisco, Day 3: Mission, Accomplished [Sep. 18th, 2008|01:34 am]
Karlos the Jackal
Mission Dolores

On Friday, September 5, we met Sue's friend Nicole for lunch at a place in Japan Center called "On the Bridge."  The name is eerily apropos:
On the Bridge

And the inside is very cute: See more...Collapse )
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San Francisco, Day 2 Part 2: Five Courses, Nine Inches [Sep. 15th, 2008|12:58 am]
Karlos the Jackal
After the Musee Mecanique, we ambled our way back to Pier 29 and Teatro ZinZanni, where Felicia works.  She -- graciously and unexpectedly -- comped us into the evening's show, and paid for our dinners as well (!).  The dinners were five-course deals, interspersed with sort of circus-type entertainment.  You would be very proud of me -- I tried almost everything except for the all-tomato salad.  I even tried the corn flan, which was odd.  The Egyptian lentil soup was pretty great -- thick and earthy.

The circus bits centered around Cleopatra (Debbie de Coudreaux -- one of only two Americans to have starred at the Moulin Rouge), who shows up in our world under the mistaken impression that our chef, Caesar, is actually her Caesar.  Caesar is played by Frank Ferrante, "the greatest living interpreter of Groucho Marx's material" (New York Times).  (A couple of days after coming back home, we got a postcard with Frank Ferrante on it -- he's doing his Groucho thing at the Mt. Baker Theater.)

Throughout the course of the show, Caesar pulls people out of the audience and humiliates them in front of everyone.  This is the sort of thing that makes me feel ill, but unluckily for me, I am strikingly handsome and hard to miss -- and sure enough, late in the show, Caesar came straight for me...Read more...Collapse )
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San Francisco, Day 2 Part 1 (addendum) [Sep. 14th, 2008|02:10 am]
Karlos the Jackal
After some WILDLY CLEVER Googling ("musee mecanique monkey song") I figured out that the song that the monkeys are playing in my YouTube clip from my last post is Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass's version of "A Taste of Honey."  It has been stuck in my head for days!  Go listen to it!  My favorite monkey is the one in the lower right-hand corner.  The little guy is trying so hard!

(Monkeys show up at around the one minute mark.)

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San Francisco, Day 2 Part 1: Put Another Quarter In [Sep. 11th, 2008|01:24 am]
Karlos the Jackal
On Thursday, September 4, Sue and I met up with Felicia and went to the Musee Mecanique (warning: sound), a collection of coin-operated automata from, mostly, the early-to-mid 20th century.  Here is a compilation of clips that I took while there (warning: more sound):

As you can tell, drunken, maniacal laughter is pretty much inescapable at the Museum.  Some of these automata are quite large -- Laffing Sal is nearly 7 feet tall -- while others are darling miniatures, including a number of itsy-bitsy dioramas featuring various styles of executions, one of which is seen in the video above (Sue: "Waaaugh!").

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San Francisco, Day 1: Tomo! Tomo! Tomo! [Sep. 8th, 2008|02:35 am]
Karlos the Jackal
Most of Wednesday was spent travelling; we arrived at our hotel around 10pm.
San Francisco, from Hotel Tomo
We stayed at the Hotel Tomo in Japantown; here is the view from our 6th-floor room.

Hotel Tomo is, more accurately, HOTEL TOMO! and brightly-colored exclamation points abound, including our room number:

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Waking Up is Hard to Do [Aug. 15th, 2008|02:11 am]
Karlos the Jackal
I went to the hospital again today with kidney stone pain that the Percocet was not strong enough to overcome.  They gave me an even more powerful (!) pain killer -- Dilaudid, a morphine derivative -- and suggested that I use it regularly -- like every 6 hours -- for the next 48 hours, but I don't think I'm going to do that -- it makes me really woozy and I'm just in general not excited about taking stuff like that more often than absolutely necessary.

In any case, the next time kidney stones come up on the ballot, I am voting "no."

Here is a more natural painkiller -- listening to Neil Sedaka singing "Breaking Up is Hard to Do."

I love the melody line of the verse and the harmonies are really nice as well, and the way the nonsense vocal line continues underneath knocks me out, and -- oh, shit, are those sleigh bells?  AWESOME

As far as the video goes:  I think it's tremendous the way Sedaka turns away from the camera so that he can dramatically turn back at the beginning of the first bridge -- and then he immediately gets this look of doubt on his face, like he's not sure that that was such a great idea.  I also like the teenagers who, I assume, got drafted into lipsyncing and look like they have no idea what's going on.

The song -- which the host refers to as a "Oldie Goldie" -- hit #1 a mere 4 years previous.  It's a great song, and that's not just the Dilaudid talkin'.
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Another update [Aug. 4th, 2008|01:31 am]
Karlos the Jackal
I seem to be back to normal, which is to say, back to my regular levels of back and stomach pain.  Sometimes I feel a twinge and wonder if it's the kidney stone, but if I'm still not sure after a few seconds, that means it's not the kidney stone.  My assumption, then, is that it's moved on to the bladder, although I've seen no further sign of it.  (I have -- apologies -- a funnel/sieve device with which to attempt a daring capture.)

I got nothing creative done while on the Percocet, which seems a little dissapointing for those expecting "Kubla Khan 2: The Wrath of Khan."  I did, happily, get a song finished a few days before, which coincidentally sounds sort of what I would think I would make if I did write a song on Percocet.  (Here is my drowsy blog entry on the song.  Fans of The Newstand will be pleased to note that Newstand employee Peter is featured therein.)  This gets me up to #3 in my "one song a month" 2008 plate-cleaning project, so you can see how well that is going.
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