5/17/14

Life Lessons At The Bus Stop

While waiting for a bus one time, I visited with a lady and her little CockAPoo.

I didn't know this at the time, but "CockAPoo" is an old Indian word for "happy little ball of fluff," which exactly summed up the entire being of this tiny dog.

Whenever someone would walk by, the little CockAPoo would get way more excited than should be legal, and would bounce up and down yelling, "Hey! Hey! Hey! Look at ME! Hey! Hey! Hey! Look at ME!"

The people would not only look, but they'd stop and pet and coo and tell the lady what a cute little dog she had, which she already knew, but she seemed to like hearing it again and again. Then the CockAPoo would lick their faces off.

This reminded me of a story, which I told the lady, and I'll tell you now.

Years ago I remember being in a similar situation, only it was a different town, and I wasn't waiting for a bus, I was waiting for my wife to be done with her shopping, and the dog wasn't a CockAPoo, it was a German Shepherd and the lady was a man. But other than those trivial details the situation was exactly the same.

The man's German Shepherd was young - not much more than a pup - and the man had it sit on the sidewalk as he walked away. It wasn't tied to a fence or anything - it wasn't wearing a leash at all - and it just sat there and eyed the man intently as he strolled off.

The man got about 30 feet away, then he stopped and just stood there. The dog didn't make a sound, but just kept its eyes on him the whole time. People walked by and they'd say something to it or snap their fingers at it, yet the dog didn't take its eyes off the man for a second. Suddenly, he made a gesture and said something, at which time the dog bounded happily to him and received a treat.

The man explained that this was a police dog in training, and what he was doing was working on the dog's ability to focus entirely on the handler when in a crowd and not be distracted. He said that this particular dog was one of his advanced students who'd be graduating soon and joining a police department shortly thereafter.

The lady thanked me for the story and said it was "interesting," just as a few more people walked by and the CockAPoo went nuts.

Then the bus came and I got on, so I didn't get to talk to her after that. But I did reflect on the CockAPoo versus the German Shepherd, and it occurred to me that were I to draw some kind of analogy from this, I guess I'd have to compare my attitude in life more to the CockAPoo than the German Shepherd, and to carry it a little further, I'd say that I probably have to admit that I've been trying to hang out with German Shepherds for a long time now, when I really belong with the CockAPoos.

The conclusion I'd have to come to, then, is that I don't focus very well - which is why I never wanted to be a cop or a banker or a real estate agent or an astronaut or anything like that.

Being more of a CockAPoo, I'm more interested in what's going on around me - all the time - and I want to greet it, yap at it, lick it, and maybe even pee on it if I can get it to hold still long enough.

I don't want to invest in it and wait for the long-term dividends, like the police-dog-in-training does while standing there waiting and focusing, with the hope of getting that treat when all's said and done.

I want to play with it. NOW.

I'm definitely a CockAPoo, because they seem so much happier and they live life to the fullest no matter who's walking by. They love everyone, and if the German Shepherds of the world have a hard time dealing with that, they can just go bury a bone and leave me be.

5/14/14

GADZOOKS it's GODZILLA!!

Apparently, Dorian and I only have a couple of days left to live.

This is because Friday is the day when a giant, mutant lizard will rise up out of the ocean and stomp the bejeezus out of us.

LOOK!..


When this poster was released about a week ago, I first saw it as an ad on a website while sitting in our little apartment, and let me tell you, I sprung-up and yelled, "Honey, RUN!" Because according to the graphic, Godzilla is going to take about three more steps and then squoosh our entire block.

The tall pointy building seen in the skyline next to Godzilla is The Transamerica Pyramid. It's not only the tallest building in San Francisco but it's just a few blocks away. Here's a photo I took of it from my window..


The blonde lady shown in the picture is on a sign outside our window because we live over a strip-club here in North Beach. There are actually three of them on this corner, one across the street and two more a few blocks down. So yes, on Friday Godzilla is going to squoosh strippers too. That means you can expect Pat Robertson to hit the airwaves on Saturday to claim that God sent Godzilla. He even has "God" in his name, so it must be true!

Godzilla's direction of travel shown in the movie poster means that us and all those strippers, the doormen and the guy who runs the liquor store between the strip-clubs will be reduced to bio-matter between his toes in about ten seconds, assuming we don't get blasted first by his fire-breath. In which case I guess we'd be ashen bio-matter.


So yeah, it was nice knowing you all. If I owe anyone money, come around on Thursday and I'll settle all my old scores, but after that you might want to get the hell out of San Francisco. 

Now that I think of it, it might be a good time for us to take a vacation.



5/9/14

A Beginner's Guide To The Alcoholic Content Of Beer

copyright: somchaij / 123RF Stock Photo
As an experienced consumer of fine beer, I am more than abundantly qualified to educate beginners on the merits of such, with the topic of alcoholic content being a favorite of mine.

This is due to the numerous debates I’ve been privileged to engage in with various associates while seated at the local tavern, with the subject consistently drifting to this topic whenever some innocent newcomer would wander in and place an order for an Amstel Light.

Our small yet hardy group is, for the most part, made up of Samuel Adams drinkers with the exception of Seamus, who is a Guinness man. The poor, unsuspecting rapscallion who dares to order an Amstel is bound to be the recipient of merciless teasing for assorted reasons such as the rather bland taste of the product and the lack of creativity in the labeling, but mostly for the slight alcoholic content of 3.5 for which Amstel Light is famous.

On this day, I have decided to abstain from my usual tavern session and pick up a 12-pack of Samuel Adams Boston Lager for home consumption. No sooner had I twisted the top off my first libation of the evening and logged on, did I find this chance to write on a topic that familiarity holds out in front of my face to taunt me, as one would taunt a dog with a pork chop.

This is not a chance to be passed up, as I’m in the unique position to consume the beer as I write and, having decided to do so already, I’ve taken the liberty of finishing off the first one just after completion of the first paragraph and shall now break to complete the second of many yet to come. As a personal investigation for the sake of journalistic integrity and accuracy, I shall consume one Samuel Adams per paragraph, making this a virtual measurement of the alcoholic content of beer and the effects thereof.

<-->

That is some NICE beer, that Samuel Adams! I’ve just completed the second and can hardly notice the alcoholic content of 4.8 like the label says, but it’s a smooth beer with a great finish meaning that the after taste is lingering, yet not harsh in any way. The label also says there are 160 calories per serving and, although I didn’t see any in the bottle, I’m sure I’m still going to have to run an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill tomorrow to burn that off.

Granted, I wouldn’t have to be concerned with the caloric content of the Amstel light but you’d be hard pressed to find me buying any of that stuff to bring home. I shall examine the label further now as I consume the next one.

<-->

The label says that they only use the finest of ingredients,like two row barley and german noble aroma hops. I always thought Sam Adams was an American beer and that there weren’t any germans in it or their hops, but that’s okay because we’ve made up since the war and I’m somewhat of a German expert because I dated a pretty blond Germerman girl named Inga. She was a great cook, having studied inFrance, which seems weird but you forget that when you dig in to her Bratwurst Crepes. Inga and I dated for a few months but broke it off when I found her in bed with Ramone.

He was that fashion photographer she met at Steve’s party and couldn’t stop talking about at which point I was sure it was over because I saw the way she looked at him. Also I see by the old grammatical structure that it’s time for another beeeer yay!.. lucky me!

<-->>>

The alcoholic content ofbeer is something that shouldn’t be ignored, because if you have too many of the beers and drive a car or something you could get hurt or hurt someone else so that is why I always have a designed driver or I just sit at home and drink my beers like tonight. I think there is a Seinfeld rerun on and it’s my favorite episode, where jerry and his friends see how long they can go without sex, but this topic is important so I am going to stick with this until Irun out of the beer.

<.I--*@-_()@*-->>

I have this to say about old Sam Addams, and that’s that it’ss a heavy beer that has lot of calories and so I’m feeling a little full but I enjoy the taste so much and this topic is worth persuing. I’m just glad this isn’t Amstel light you know what I mean? Because the light is lighter and won’t have the same affect as the Adams will when you’ve finished, expecially if you’re trying to make a point or something. I don’t have a dog but a pork chop would be really good right now.

Bturp loodle twik ""><<< 

Inga was a good cook and I don’t think I’ve dated a girl since then who could cook like that especially not lately. She made an omelltte one time that had eggs and stuff in it but she didn’t tell me the rest, she said just eat it and see, and so I did! It was delicious and I think it had some real crab meat and some kind of cheese maybe french cheese like bree or somthing. I’m getting hungry talking about all this. A pork chop ommelette would not bebad at all.

 <-a-><-->>p*-->

I took along break that time because I had to have chips and dip with a sandwich with my last beer because all that talk about Inga cooking made me so hungry and stuff. I really miss her. I was sure she loved me because I loved her but I guess she likes fashion and photogophers better then me. Irony of all that is I was going to be a photographer at first because I was on staff of my high school yearbook so every picture in there is mostly ones I took but why would she care about that this many years later?

<-->.,

Beer has alcoholic comment enough so that you like drinking it and if you have more then you should then you don’t care because you don’t even know how many beers you had like after a few you had. I had about 4 I think but maybe more who is counting anyway? I think now Iwill make it 5 and themn type more comments about alcohol and Inga and pork shops.

<-- poo="">

I really really really reallyreally really miss inga and Ithink I am going togo call her now if I can find her mumber. I threw it out long time ago but I think I can find it if its not in the trash. I can gooogle it if that dosnt work or call Ramone haha! I bet he has it because he got it at that party that night.

<-- -ii--="">

Don’t go telling me she didn’t give it to him because shedid and later she gave him lot more than that. I think if I see him Im going to kick his you know what. I bet mister big shot fashion photogerper never had a fight in his life. I bet if I knock his teeth out he thinks twice next time before telling pretty german grls that they make good models so let him shoot them. We will see who gets shot, RAMOOOOOOOOOOOONE

<-->>>oo<<!!! nn 

 Her number was still in myphone! I took it out but forgot I left in in there incase I wanted to call her sometime. I called it and she did not answer it was some stupid lady name janet who said she do not know inga and I had the wrong number STUPID LADY!!!! I think she was ingas roommate. Now Im really sorry I quit smoking because I really really want a cigartit. <-usandmyteddyboo>

I think Iam getting rally full of the beeers and it would help if inga were here but she is not so Ithink im going to watch tv now is jerry is still on. I will finish this later if I remember it. Ihave to find the remote but I cant member if where it is where I had it. I cant fine it so never mind I will have the last more beer and do another pargraph to talk about alclohic comtest of poke shops and inga cooking ombullets

<--><-="">ioajhngiw<--><-->oknbft<-f9fyryr--="">

Im going bed now byee thanks for riding my artclue



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5/8/14

Book Poop In North Beach

There is a rather odd art installation on the Northwest corner of Columbus Avenue in North Beach called "Language of the Birds."


Basically it consists of a large group of books that had been gathering on the corner but a dog came running through and startled them, so they took to flight and at the same time, pooped words all over the sidewalk. They were that scared.


This corner is near my apartment and I need to traverse Columbus to get anywhere, but I try to avoid the book poop as much as possible, as adjectives can be quite slippery and nouns are almost impossible to scrape off the bottom of one's shoes. I hate coming home and getting yelled at by Dorian because I've tracked poetry all over our nice new carpet.

A plaque mounted nearby gives this explanation..


"Historically "The Language Of The Birds" is considered a divine language birds use to communicate with the initiated. Here a flock of books takes off from the plaza to fly the urban gullies of the city. The fluttering pages have left a gentle imprint of words beneath them. These serendipitously configured bits of local literature reveal layers of human culture, nature and consciousness."

Also from metaphorm.org we learn a bit about the book poop words on the sidewalk..

"On closer inspection the fallen words are in English, Italian and Chinese and were selected from the neighborhood’s rich literary history, ranging from the Beats, to SF Renaissance poets and Chinese writers, over 90 authors are represented including Armistead Maupin, Gary Snyder,William T. Vollman, and Jade Snow Wong."

Despite the messy literary sidewalk, "Language of the Birds" is quite clever in that it ties in with such a literary neighborhood, that being North Beach, where beat poets used to hang-out. They were all over the place in the fifties and sixties but most frequently seen at City Lights Booksellers, which is across the street from the book-birds. City Lights even harnesses the sun via solar panels on their roof to power the birds at night. Yes, they light up after dark, and not a taxpayer dime goes into the electricity because the solar panels charge the batteries during the day and keep them lit at night.

So basically, the sun feeds the book-birds that poop words on one of our sidewalks, and they do all of that right across the street from a genuine Banksy, which is graffiti that's held in such high esteem that no one will paint over it because Banksy has become internationally renowned. (NOTE - Actually, Banksy's work has been removed in the past. We hope that doesn't happen here, as we can see this one from our window).


"If at first you don't succeed, call an airstrike"

And to top that off, on yet another corner across from all of this are three strip-clubs that sit next to each other where sexy girls stand out front and invite you in to watch them dance topless after you've admired anarchistic graffiti and slipped on literary poop.


I love this neighborhood.

5/7/14

Tommy The Homeless Guy

Tommy the homeless guy got kicked out of Starbucks.

He was never actually in Starbucks to begin with, he was on the patio outside, but I guess his salty language got to be too much for some people. They complained to the management and he was promptly ousted faster than a trash can tumbling down the street in a gale force wind.

I’d only spoken with him once before, while waiting for a bus downtown and, having decided to bide the time on that particular patio on a busy Saturday afternoon I found nowhere else to sit but at the table next to his.

I thought, “Well this guy is kind of wacky, but maybe it’ll be interesting,” so I sat down in anticipation that he’d strike up a conversation, which he did after I’d waited approximately 2.4 seconds.

“Nice fuckin’ DAY, eh?” said he.

Like I said, he got booted for his frequent F-bombs, and also probably because he smells like a bucket of rotten skunk shit.

“Yeah, it’s pretty awesome,” I said. “I’m glad it’s finally cooled down.” This was worth mentioning as heat-waves are rare here in San Francisco, but they're not really heat-waves anyway. It had topped about 82 degrees that day. Yikes!

“You evah eat gaytuh?”

It took me a second to figure out that “gaytuh” was “gator.” He went on to explain that he was from “Floriduh, where the gaytuhs is good eatin.”

I said, “No, I don’t think I’ve ever had gator.. unless I thought it was chicken or something and someone was playing a joke on me.”

That was a joke in itself and I admit it was lame, but I quickly realized Tommy the homeless guy had left his sense of humor behind a dumpster somewhere, so it didn’t really matter. He didn’t laugh at anything I said during the entire conversation, which was like hanging out with my high school gym coach all over again, except Tommy didn’t smell like Old Spice.

I missed my old gym teacher.

“Oh man, if you eatin gaytuh you KNOW it! That’s some good eatin theyuh. Dey’s hard ta kill too, but if ya git um unawayus (unawares) yu kin sink dat knife in and slit em from da throat all da way down to da nuts and all dat gut spills out and dey is dead fastuh dan you can count tuh ten.”

I thought it funny that you never hear tough guys talk about bunny rabbits that way. “Dems good eatin if’n you can sneak up behind one and kill it dead.” It’s always crocs, gaytuhs or beahs.

I wanted to ask him if gators really had nuts and I was really curious how you sneak up behind one and catch it unawares, but I didn’t get a chance to ask him about that because a pretty girl walked out of the Starbucks right then.

He abruptly shut-up and watched intently as she crossed the street, latte in hand, and ducked into the art gallery on the opposite corner. This inspired another vivid description from him, but it had nothing to do with reptiles. Instead, it was a loud, brash and awfully uninhibited rant about what he’d like to do to that young lady should he ever catch her in a back alley.

I was growing increasingly thankful that my wife wasn’t with me, not that she’d be shocked or anything, but for her own safety and mine. If he tried to harm her I’d have to try and stop him. I say "try," because Tommy weighs over 300 pounds and stands about 6’4”. He’s a huge, smelly maniac with women and reptile issues.

He bragged about this “bodacious fucking hutch” he’d built over by the medical center about three miles “down yonder,” and how much he missed being able to crawl into it and just get away from civilization because he’d made it virtually invisible, being behind the dumpster the way it was.

His impromptu homestead came to a quick end one day when some staffers from the medical center tried to toss garbage into the dumpster but missed, so it all landed on him instead. He said he stormed into the lobby and threatened to grab the little woman behind the desk and “string her up by her boobies,” which is the point where security came along and informed him that police were on the way.

He seemed to actually be surprised by this. A huge, smelly homeless guy covered in garbage bursts into the lobby and threatens to string up the receptionist behind the counter, and he’s surprised when they call the cops on him.

I didn’t say he was bright.

Of course, this is the same guy who was describing his dumpster estate as if it were a mansion in Pacific Heights.

As I approached the Starbucks patio yesterday, he was standing on the public sidewalk just outside of the waist-high railing, gazing sadly at the plastic chair he’d formerly occupied day after day.

“How ‘bout dem gaytuhs, huh? Dem’s good eatin!” I said, as I came up behind him.

He turned and looked at me with the same expression he must have had on his face when the cops destroyed his beloved dumpster hutch months earlier.

“Dey went and kicked me outta heah man, now wheah I’m gonna go, huh?”

He looked like he was going to cry. First, they had kicked him out of the store and now he couldn't even sit on the patio! I was tempted to invite him to stay with us but then I pictured what my wife would look like wrapped up in plastic bags and stuffed in a freezer, and changed my mind.

“Sorry to hear that, Tommy. You can’t just hang out at that coffeehouse patio across the street?”

“Naw man, dat lady who runs da joint don’t like me none. Said I called her a bitch to her face one day.”

“Did you?”

“Hell ya, man.. she didn’t let me use da bathroom ta wash up in, dat bitch. But now dat I called her dat she don’t let me in dere at all and I can’t even go neah da place. Woman is stuck up if ya ask me.”

I hadn’t asked him that.

I offered to get him something from Starbucks, because I’m just friendly like that and I don’t judge anyone and I really didn't want him to sit on me, but he declined and said he was “jist gonna move on, maybe to anuthuh town where da bitches ain’t so stuck up and shit.”

I wished him well. Then I went in and ordered an iced passion tea, which I took back out to the patio and enjoyed along with a nice, peaceful solitude.

A very quiet and peaceful solitude, free of gators.

It was lovely.



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5/1/14

The Phantom of the Tiny Little Theater

A guy named Ramin Karimloo tears up the London
stage as The Phantom of the Opera
I once played the lead role in "The Phantom of the Opera," but unfortunately it was all in my head.

This is because I had dreamt it.

There I was, swirling my cape around and making grandiose gestures in front of about a hundred people who sat in awestruck wonder, which was more likely due to the fact that I can't sing than anything else.

I sing about as well as actor Gerard Butler, which isn't saying much because he can't sing worth a lick either. Who in their right mind would cast someone like me or Mr. Butler in the lead role of a musical like that, I ask you? Might as well cast Russell Crow, who also can't sing worth a lick.

Gerard Butler looks all menacing as the phantom, but sounds like a wet mop
in the film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's famed musical.
Wet mops are not very menacing, most of the time.
So it's a good thing it was only a dream and therefore the only person who really heard my pathetic rendition of "The Music Of The Night" was me, aside from the dream people who were present in my head that night. There were only about a hundred of them because the dream took place at a tiny little theater I used to work at as company house manager, which only had ninety-nine seats. I guess someone must have been standing in an aisle.

In the dream I gave it my best shot, belting out every line of all the songs while prancing about the stage like I owned the damned place. If I recall correctly, Christine Daae was played by Scarlett Johansson. No, my dreams are not in the least bit Freudian.

The PERFECT "Christine Daae," Scarlett Johansson,
who, oddly enough, can't sing worth a lick either.

In reality we never would have staged something like "The Phantom of the Opera" at that little theater; it just wouldn't have worked. It didn't work very well in my dream either, as we got a smattering of lukewarm applause at the curtain call and the audience seemed like they couldn't get out of there fast enough.

But the really strange thing occurred about a week later, which was.. are you ready for this? A sequel dream! I believe this is the only time this has ever happened to me. I've had recurring dreams before, where you dream the same thing or almost the same thing over a period of time, but in this instance my follow-up dream a week later was in real time and picked up where the other one had left off.

After having dreamt about performing as the phantom I later dreamt I was back at the little theater in my position as company house manager, and we were just finishing up one of the regular shows we did like "Spoon River Anthology" or something. You know.. regular community theater type stuff.

In this dream we'd just finished the curtain call so I was standing in the lobby wishing patrons a good night as they slipped out through the front door, just like I did after each show in my real life job there.

Suddenly an old man had a heart attack right there in the lobby and collapsed in front of me. He'd clutched his chest while going down, so I leapt forward to help him, cradling his head in my arm and yelling for someone to call 9-1-1. Luckily, he was a "dream old man," and wasn't based on anyone I knew in real life.. I'd never seen him before.

He was still conscious as he managed to ask me a question while gasping for breath..

"Say, aren't you the young fella who played the phantom last week in 'The Phantom of the Opera?"

"Yes sir, I am" I reluctantly admitted to him.

"Well, what do ya know about that!" His slight grin turned into a frown.. "that sucked too!"

Then he died.

I'm not sure what Freud would say about the first dream or that follow-up "sequel dream" a week later, but upon reflection I think the universe was encouraging me to stay out of musicals.

I wish it would encourage Gerard Butler and Russell Crow to do the same.

Russell Crow as Inspector Javert in the film version
of Les Miserables.
..................W-E-T M-O-P................