Saturday, May 26, 2012

Poetry In Motion

Imagine being the person that is just having the shittiest of days...and then you get on board this train.

All Those Innocent, Weather-Worn GAP T-Shirts

Discovered on Broadway (near Jackson Square).

My Morning Commute

Yesterday was the first time that I saw rain in weeks. Strange. Other than that, my commutes over to San Francisco have always been pleasant, due in part to the fact that this is where it begins: Walnut Creek BART station.

My New Favorite Brewery: 21st Amendment

Not the BFOD IPA.
I no longer have the luxury of going into a bar and asking for a Manny's or Mac & Jack. (Oh, how I miss you both!) That being said, I have to find something new; something that will match or exceed the taste and quality of the aforementioned microbrews. And in doing so, I discovered a magnificent brewery in South Beach: 21st Amendment*.

I walked over there from work Thursday night, found a place at the bar, and ordered myself a Brew Free or Die Hard IPA. By their own admission, it's their top-selling beer, and I can see why that is. It's fucking delicious. After I polished that one off I merely ordered by pointing at whatever looked good around me at the bar. The gents that were sitting next to me had the beer pictured to the left. Unfortunately, I forget which brew it is. After the first beer I was starting to feel hungry. So I ordered a Reuben, and it was well worth the $11.95. Good beer, good food. (Fuck you, Ram.)

The best part is that while you can absolutely order from a huge list of specialty microbrews--they have a fucking wheat beer that is fermented again with watermelon!--these babies are available in cans in local stores around town. My only concern, thus far, is where in the hell I'm going to keep all my beer cold when I move in to my new place next week. (There's hardly any room in the refrigerator!)

I highly recommend you check it out; if not at the brewery itself, then pick up a six pack and go have fun at Mission Dolores Park.

*Named after the amendment to the U.S. Constitution that repealed Prohibition.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How They Hire Those Shirtless Boys to Open the Door for You at Hollister

Watch until the very end. Enjoy.

Via Towleroad.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Starstruck: Meeting Robin Williams

When I worked at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington, I was lucky enough to be the only available cashier when Robin Williams--yes, the Robin Williams--walked up to buy some magazines. He was filming a scene for "The World's Greatest Dad," and he was on a short break. The scene that they filmed in our store is shown within the first five minutes or so of the film. It wasn't anything too exciting, except for, you know, fucking Robin Williams being in our bookstore!

Here's how my conversation with Robin Williams should have played out:
"Hi, there!"
"Just these for you today?"
"Yes, please."
"You know, I must say that your performance in
 Dead Poets Society was absolutely amazing."
"Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that."
"You are very welcome. And thank you!"
"Have a good day now."
"You too, Mr. Williams!"
(Note: Money would have been given, and change returned, but I didn't feel it important to necessarily include that in the dialogue. Get over it.)

Now, here's how my conversation actually played out:
"Oh, well, thank you."
"... "
"Have a good one."
"You too."
My coworkers all had the same response when I told them what happened: "PATCH ADAMS?! ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?! WHAT ABOUT (insert any number of good Robin Williams movies, or any number of awful Robin Williams movies)?!

Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby"

This actually looks really good.

(Also, excellent choice for the background music: Jack White's cover of U2's "Love Is Blindness" from their 1991 album, Achtung Baby.)

Finally, A Song for Marathon Runners!

158 Days Later; Or, Part II

Twin Peaks and Sutro Tower (As Seen From Noe Valley)
Where was I? Oh yes, I traveled to San Francisco twice in 2011. I had a blast each time. Don't even get me started on how Cinco de Mayo went down. I don't think that I will ever top that night. Memories! Speaking of topping that night ...err... never mind. I digress. You know how people always share with everyone that they're going to move to (or live in) _____________ someday? Well, I started to tell people that I wanted to live in San Francisco someday. Did I have any plans to do it anytime soon? No. Most of the time people just say that they're going to move, and then they never do. They get comfortable; the risk can be too much for them. It's understandable.

I soon realized that my life was in decent enough order to put my words into action. I mean, why wait? In fact, what would I be waiting for, exactly, before I decided to move anywhere outside of Seattle? Fear of the unknown would be the major element holding me back. As I told several people, "if you wait for everything to be perfect, then it'll never happen." And it's true. I would still be in Seattle if I had decided to wait until I had a huge chunk of money saved, and until I secured a job and a place to stay. But that's not to say that I didn't have a plan.

My timing (with quitting) was perfect; the bookstore that I worked at for nearly three years was just beginning the process of hiring seasonal gift wrappers. I emailed the manager and inquired if I could apply. She sent me the available shifts, and I signed up for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The job didn't start until the day after Thanksgiving, and it went all the way through Christmas Eve. That extra money would definitely help me out. Of course, at that time I didn't yet know that I was going to move to San Francisco. I was merely covering my ass with bill payments and rent until I found that replacement job (that would never come to fruition). I would be valeting five days out of the week, and gift wrapping three days out of the week. As I recall, I only ever had one day off during the week, if that.

I was able to put away a good amount of cash during those four weeks. A few days prior to my last day at the bookstore, my manager approached me and asked if I would like to come back and back fill a bookseller position while one of his employees was out on medical leave. Honestly, he beat me to the punch, as I was going to ask him if I could stay on and help out wherever needed.

And that was my life for the next four months. The first week of January I started working at the bookstore as a bookseller on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays; I valeted Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

In an effort to cut costs as much as possible, I asked one of my fellow office coworkers if I could move into the spare bedroom that she and her girlfriend had in Queen Anne. They acquiesced, and I was supposed to move in at the end of January. However, I managed to talk one of my good friends into letting me stay at her place in Northgate. You really can't do any better than free. Although, there were some conditions: I would surrender my furniture, and agree not to cash out my IRA. (She cares about my financial future.) We definitely made some great memories in the three months that I lived there.

To be continued...

New Album by Animal Kingdom

One of my new friends (in Walnut Creek) introduced me to this amazing band from London. This is their first single from their newly released album, "The Looking Away."

The video don't understand it--but the song is really good. "White Sparks" is my favorite track on the album. Check it out!

Perks of the Job (Location)

Beautiful view of San Francisco City Hall

Sunday, May 20, 2012

156 Days Later

Pink Apartments in the Mission
"I've realized that Seattle has nothing more to offer me. It's been fun. Time to move on. I'm thinking...Bay Area." I posted that on Facebook on December 16, 2011 at 5:19 p.m. Three days later I purchased my plane ticket to San Francisco and never looked back. In the 156 days since I first declared that I intended to move away from Seattle so much has happend.

Let's start at the beginning...

For 19 months I worked in an office that was populated by fucking idiots and kiss-asses; the CEO was an asshole; the wages were unfair. In the beginning of November, days before our annual performance reviews (the time when we're typically supposed to get raises), the decision came down to lay off 30 people (seven percent of the company's workforce). According to several seasoned employees this was in order to prevent people from getting raises and weed out the people that weren't doing the company any favors (financially). This came the week after I was spending significant amounts of time merely sitting at my desk weighing the pros and cons of simply getting up and walking out on that piece-of-shit job.

Our floor manager got us all together and informed us of the news. "If you're at this meeting, then you still have your job. It sucks (having this dark cloud over us), I know, but let's just get back to work, people." It's really fucking difficult watching a grown-man cry in front of his employees. (Note: this was the only manager that I could tolerate; he was one of the only reasons why I managed to stay there as long as I did.) We all went back to our desks and commenced in the obligatory gossip: "Who got canned?" "Why do you think s/he did?" You get the point. I went to my desk and decided that I wasn't going to keep working. Instead, I decided to make the decision about whether or not I wanted to work for a company that engaged in all of this bullshit. You have to stand up for yourself at some point, right?

I put in my headphones and found a song for inspiration: "Paradise" by Coldplay--don't judge--blaring it until I nearly went deaf. Now trembling with anxiety, I got up from my desk and walked into my manager's office and asked to speak with him. "Not another one," he said. As clearly and coherently as I could, holding back my emotions, I explained to him how I felt and what I was doing:
"I'm done. November 14 is my last day."
"Can I ask why?"
"Honestly...I fucking hate it here..."
"I have nothing against you. You've been a great boss, and I'm sorry if I've been difficult at times. But I fucking hate how this company is run, and the people upstairs can go fuck themselves. I'm not working here anymore after the fourteenth."
I shook his hand and proceeded to make my rounds around the office letting people know the news. (As a side note, a handful of other people quickly followed suit and quit.)

Did I have another job lined up? No. What I did have, however, was a part-time job that I could easily convert into a full-time job, as well as a chunk of money saved from said job. I started valeting on Fridays and Saturdays back in mid-August in order to pay down debt faster and just to have some money saved in the bank; living paycheck to paycheck is a real bitch. My original plan was to utilize my valet income and savings to stay afloat long enough to find a new full-time job. What really happened was that I became lazy and applied for maybe three or four jobs max. I interviewed for one, but I didn't get it. In hindsight, I'm glad that I didn't; if I had, then I would probably still be miserable, and the rest of this story would not have come to pass.

I was in a rut. I needed something new, or else I was just going to perpetually take on the same shitty office job that pays the bills again and again ad infinitum.

Earlier in the year I made two trips down to San Francisco: once in May for both a vacation and a good friend's wedding, and again at the end of July to run in the city's marathon. I wish I could explain what drew me to the city, but I can't. I was just drawn to it. It was different and exciting. Perhaps I could have wound up in a different city if I had traveled elsewhere (Chicago, New York City, Boston, Portland: major cities).

To be continued...