Welcome to Glenn's Blog!

Here I will periodically post random thoughts and stories about what's going on in my life and the world around me. As if anyone cared. But seriously, you've found your way here, so hopefully you will enjoy at least some of what I have to say, even if you aren't entirely interested in it. At the least, it should be a good way to waste time.

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Saturday, December 29, 2018

San Francisco

It's Saturday, December 29, 2018, and I'm just back from 3 days and 2 nights - and 40 miles of walking, according to the Health app on my iPhone - in San Francisco. This morning I walked to Panera and Safeway, and I was struck by just how cold it was. It wasn't this cold in San Francisco. In San Francisco I could do a 7am walk without a jacket even, as it was easily 15 degrees warmer than it is here in Sacramento in the morning. I checked my Weather app. 35 degrees. Yikes.

As I strolled through the Fort Mason, Marina, and Fisherman's Wharf areas yesterday morning, I was struck by the dichotomy of San Francisco. It is at times serene and beautiful, at other times ugly and crazy. And noisy. But peaceful. And inspirational and disgustingly deplorable. It's basically a microcosm of American society, the good, the bad, and the ugly all rolled into one.

And I love it.

I love strolling through the streets lined with quaint shops and interesting architecture, narrow multi-story housing buildings that must cost millions. Every time I go to San Francisco I try and visit, or at least walk through, something or somewhere I haven't been. Or at least haven't been in a long, long time. On this trip I started at Ocean Beach and walked a few miles along the beach. I actually found several fully intact sand dollars, which is somewhat rare as they tend to all be cracked and broken by the time they see fit to show themselves amongst the sandy dunes. I also went through the Embarcadero, from the Ferry Building to the Marina, though that is pretty common for me to do. I enjoyed some clam chowder one night at Pier 39 while watching the bustling hordes of people, bouncing off of each other as they wander around like children lost in a candy story. Overwhelmed.

I walked up Columbus Ave through North Beach, which I hadn't really ever been to, through Washington Square Park and eventually through Chinatown and up on into Union Square. I treated myself to a movie (Mary Poppins Returns) at the Metreon AMC, an area I've never been in I think. I had lunch at the Italian Homemade Company, which I had never been to. It was good, fresh, homemade pasta (tortellini in my case). Not especially cheap, and an a somewhat informal and less than spacious seating area of rickety tables and barstools. But it somehow felt uniquely San Franciscan. I went to a couple of used book stores and bought some new treasures at great prices. I went to a comedy Club - Cobb's Comedy Club - which has the look of an old institution of the formal glory days of live entertainment. It was nice though, although being a 'party of 1" got me squished in between two tables of 20-30 year old couples. They had a surprisingly expansive food menu, and it all looked pretty tasty, though I had already eaten at the little cafe next door. And they have a two drink minimum; it occurred to me that I've never been anywhere that had a drink minimum. Not that I mind, except their drink prices were incredibly inflated. One block away there's an old sports bar that has a happy hour featuring $3 draughts and well drinks. I think that's the best drink special I've seen in San Francisco. I had a Stella. And also a $7 margarita that was quite excellent.

And of course what trip wouldn't end correctly without a trip to Ghirardelli Square? I had my staple of a Nob Hill Chill. The guy who made it filled it a bit short, about 3/4" from the top. When I made a remark about it being a little short, he tried to tell me that's "how they're made" and that I "could have whip cream if I want". No, sir, that's not how they're made. Not usually. But I let it go and went on my way, and enjoyed the drink whilst sitting by the bay and watching the waves lap up against the shore. And I thought to myself, in the words of Kurt Vonnegut (or rather his uncle Alex Vonnegut), "If this isn't nice, what is?"

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