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Trip to (Un?)civilization
Old 06-06-2007, 11:33 AM   #1
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Trip to (Un?)civilization

Just got back from a trip to the Bay Area (we moved it in 1999) and got together with some old friends. I hadn't been back there since a brief visit in 2002. This trip was mind-blowing after living in the country for eight years. Some things:

1. The traffic was worse, and amazingly bad everywhere. Traffic jams mid-day on Sunday, for example. And not only on freeways, but on surface streets too.

2. Tailgaters and aggressive drivers all the time. How does anyone keep his/her blood pressure down?

3. Fun to see the reactions of old friends when I told them I'd retired. Best reaction "Well, to each his own."

4. Noah's bagels are great -- one of the few things we can't get out here in the boonies.

5. Played in a jam session at the International Cafe in the Haight district. Incredibly nice group of guys, nice vibe.

SFGig.jpg

6. Visited the area of the Oakland Fire, where we'd rebuilt our house after it had burned. The new houses are all built right to the property lines -- all jammed together.

CrowdedHouses.jpg

7. It was fun to see how the trees I'd planted had grown.

TreesIPlanted.jpg

8. There's such a difference between life in the country, in the different neighborhoods of SF, and in the different suburbs (e.g. Moraga, California). Amazing to see it, but glad to be home.
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:42 AM   #2
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Great post all the way around. Sounds like you had fun but also got a good reminder why you moved to the country. DW and I moved from DC to the country in North Florida about three years ago. I still travel to DC about eight times a year for w*rk, so I know exactly how you feel going back to the Bay area. Man, it just gets crazier and crazier every time I go back there and I love being reminded why I live in the sticks. My pace has slowed considerably but the cities seem to just keep getting faster.

My wife is from East Bay and we go out there one or twice a year. I'll have to ask her about Noah's bagels and hit that place up the next time we're out there.
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:50 AM   #3
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I know what you mean about going back. Somehow you expect it to feel like home again, but instead it's like another planet. My old home town is nothing but paved parking lots like the old song goes.

At lesat it makes you appreciate your current home that much more.

Thanks for the pix. How do those improv places work? Do you just say slow blues in B-flat? Read from a fake book? I was always curious and would like to do it myself somewhere.
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Old 06-06-2007, 12:14 PM   #4
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my best friend who lived in hollywood hills had a house on a street like that where they also build to the property line and right to the set-backs. mostly pretty to look at only they left no room for even their garbage cans. so all these million plus dollar houses have trash cans right out in the open. and you can't even walk your dog on those narrow, windy, shoulderless streets without the fear of being hit. by the price and demand for such places i'm sure someone loves it. but for me, no thank you.

ps just looked closer at your pic. yup, garbage cans in front of every house. very classy, not.
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Old 06-06-2007, 01:33 PM   #5
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We're just ending 3 weeks in San Diego county. Suburbia. A total change from our urban life. It is truly amazing how an extended stay makes you realize how fundamentally life is different. We even have trash in the streets here too but it is in three different types of plastic bins on wheels that are rolled out to the curb Monday morning by 8am, recycle-trash-clippings.

Bike lanes everywhere but no bikes. Sidewalks on both sides of every street but no pedestrians. Cars in their (4-car) garages to protect them from the heat. When we drive (of course), it seems that there are no other inhabitants until we reach the main thoroughfare.
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Old 06-06-2007, 01:36 PM   #6
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I know what you mean about going back. Somehow you expect it to feel like home again, but instead it's like another planet. My old home town is nothing but paved parking lots like the old song goes.
At lesat it makes you appreciate your current home that much more.
I've been back to a lot of places I used to live in, and none of them feel like home anymore.

Except home.

I haven't read a thread yet on this board where someone said "It's great to be back in the city after that countryside vacation-- all the peace & quiet was killing me!!"
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Old 06-06-2007, 01:40 PM   #7
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I'll say it. After our trip it was good to be back in the city. No bugs. No prickly heat.
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Old 06-06-2007, 01:47 PM   #8
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I think the photo in your avatar is a fake. Didn't you have a TV series with Eddie Albert?
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Old 06-06-2007, 01:55 PM   #9
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I think the photo in your avatar is a fake. Didn't you have a TV series with Eddie Albert?
Dang, I had a hard enough time with the Marcus Welby* reference, but this avatar talk is pushing even the limits of my pop-culture trivia knowledge!


*Doc, you're lucky that Andy didn't pick Jack Klugman from the ol' "Quincy" series... or even worse, Howie Mandel from St. Elsewhere!
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Old 06-06-2007, 02:02 PM   #10
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How do those improv places work? Do you just say slow blues in B-flat? Read from a fake book?
Well, they're all different, of course. At this session, most people didn't use a fake book. The other trombone player had one open (you can see it in front of me), so I used that for some songs. The ones we played were 'Round Midnight, Stella by Starlight, Bag's Groove, You Don't Know What Love Is,

If you're lucky you get to call a song. During a break, the leader asked if there was anything I'd like to play. I told him a couple, but we never got around to them.

The leader (if there is one) will let you know when he wants you to solo, and you take a chorus or two.

Go for it, Rich, you'll be glad you did. It's important to listen a bit and get a feeling for the vibe of the place.

Here's a picture with my cousin (who lives in SF) at the keyboard:
Jam.jpg
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Old 06-06-2007, 02:13 PM   #11
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[quote=TromboneAl;523337]Go for it, Rich, you'll be glad you did. It's important to listen a bit and get a feeling for the vibe of the place.
[quote]

Maybe I will. Get out the old horn and do some pushups for a few weeks. There must be an improv place somewhere nearby. Course it could all be Manilow and Julio Iglesias.

My other post-FIRE quest: get a license for a street corner in New Orleans where we have a timeshare, dark glasses, Fedora hat (upside down on the sidewalk in front of me), and play solo, chat with the crowd, maybe create some gigantic fake story about who I am and where I've been, then take my earnings for a nice dinner at Ralph and Cacoo's place. Turbo Dog and some barbecue shrimp sound fine.
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:03 PM   #12
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My other post-FIRE quest: get a license for a street corner in New Orleans where we have a timeshare, dark glasses, Fedora hat (upside down on the sidewalk in front of me), and play solo, chat with the crowd, maybe create some gigantic fake story about who I am and where I've been...
"Why, thank you, ma'am, thank you very much, that's quite generous of you. Me? Oh, well, I'm nobody particular. I just come here most evenings to play my horn and hope to earn enough to keep body & soul together.

"Y'see, I used to be a well-known doctor-- teaching, big hospital in a major city, loving wife, great kids, gargantuan Class "A+" RV-- I had it all. Life was great and we were all so happy. Then, one day it happened and I've never been able to give it up. It's a craving I can't find my release from, no matter how many 12-step meetings I go to. So I just keep struggling along, hoping that one day I'll find a way to put it all back together again.

"Alcohol? Heck, no, can't stand the stuff. I'm talking about the discussion board at Early-Retirement.org..."
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Old 06-06-2007, 05:36 PM   #13
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"Why, thank you, ma'am, thank you very much, that's quite generous of you. Me?


Good - very good. I'll hire you to write my script.
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Old 06-07-2007, 12:47 AM   #14
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hey al - did you stop by the chocolate cafe on college ave?! one of my main priorities when i go up is to eat at all my favorite spots - the best breakfast joint in my hood now is denny's
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Old 06-07-2007, 10:31 AM   #15
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No, but we did walk around on College Ave near Ashby. We were also going to eat at some of our old spots. We went to Little Shin Shin's on Piedmont, which we remembered as being very good. I don't know if it's under new management or what, but it was nothing special.

Some of our old favorite eating spots in the Bay Area: Flynt's BBQ, Le Cheval, Lo Coco's, i Fratelli, Tommy's Joint, Olivetto's, and Zachary's Pizza.
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Old 06-07-2007, 12:36 PM   #16
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mmm: Bittersweet cafe (the chocolate one), rustica pizza (oakland/montclair), barney's burgers (oakland), venus cafe for breakfast(berkeley), arizmendi bakeries for pastry and pizza (oakland)...oh i'm getting hungry...i'm starting to forget names! oh no, time for a visit...
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