Ah, San Francisco, with your urine-soaked streets and parks. You certainly have a smell and a look like no other. You get an A+ for making tourist traps too, and even provide a great free workout via stairs up Lombard street. Union Square is a mob scene disaster to shop/walk/breathe. Haight Ashbury is touristy weird, but has a great bookstore and is fun to walk a bit and people watch, checking out the old Victorian houses in the neighborhood. Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point, and the park = the best thing going on out here.
Then there is Fisherman’s Wharf. I knew it was a trap, but we had to eat before we got trapped on that awful ferry to the prison. Do you know what these people did to me out here? We went into some chowder restaurant and they had soup and chili in bread bowls. The menu read: “Stagg chili – $8.25.” I asked Bob, I said: “What’s Stagg chili?” We discussed it amongst ourselves and concluded that it must be the West Coast’s answer to Black Angus. Well, I get a bowl and it tasted like holy hell. Super bad. But I ate it anyway because it was the most expensive cup of chili I ever ordered in my life.
I get back here tonight and I’m still thinking about how awful that expensive chili was. Do you know what Google told me? It’s a can of chili. These people served me cannedchili out here.
As soon as I find my receipt I’m going to tell you who did it. And no, we did not mistakenly wonder in to a soup kitchen (although that is a real possibility out here, and you will know you are in one because there will be a Bernie Sanders sticker covering up the broken window, and they will probably be dishing out Bison Chili straight from one of Ted Turner’s fourteen Venezuelan ranches). Anyway, I ate my can of “chili” and prepared to go to prison. How fitting.
A disappointing and frustrating visit. A perfect example of what happens when government gets its claws into anything, and completely ruins the experience by apparently making the goal to sell tons of cheap tickets in high volume vs. offering a curated private experience, and letting guests choose their preferred mode of experience.
I was not able to get a single photo inside the main cell block because I was too busy elbowing my way through. Compared to Missouri State Pen; Eastern State Pen; Mansfield Reformatory; and the West Virginia State Pen, Alcatraz (my former holy grail of abandoned prisons) gets an “F -.” The more than failing grade is attributed not only to poor general guest experience, but in lack of access to the buildings. All four of the prisons mentioned above are proud to offer about 95-98% guest access to the public at an affordable admission price. Alcatraz is not a private business, so it doesn’t feel the need to be good.
I’m not saying I’m somebody, but when the author of “Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums” tells you to skip this one, I’m trying to do you a favor. You aren’t going to be able to see anything except the back of the head of the person who is walking in front of you. Really, truly, terrible. A big fat, glaring FAIL.
Also, I’m not sure why you can’t take a helicopter over there. Do you think I wanted to spend my free time sitting on a ferry squeezed in between some people I don’t know? For God’s sakes, some poor kid played his harmonica THE ENTIRE BOAT RIDE. I thought I was in steerage on board the Titanic, and I thought I WAS GOING TO DIE ON THAT FERRY.
I just sat on that boat, watching this poor old guy pick his nose, amazed that I had found a mode of travel worse than commercial air. I did, I found it, and it was this boat. Don’t do it to yourself.
But on a high note, there was Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge. Neither of which, I might add, gave off the merest hint of urine. And no one, not even one time today, tried to make me eat canned chili.
As always, we notate our adventures in our “Play” Journal by Stealth Journals. Stealth Journals is a line of indexed book journals. “Play” should be used to record all of your good times!
Eighteen miles of paved bike/walking trails along the coast. Magnificent, but crowded!
In 1879, an unknown writer (Robert Louis Stevenson) holed up at the French Hotel while waiting for Fanny Osbourne to divorce her first husband so they could get on with their lives.
Scenes from Big Sur
Dear Sur: You are prettier than Montana. We drove you twice just to make sure.
Scenes from San Simeon
Elephant Seal Pups:
Scenes from Hearst Castle
Let me put it to you this way, it takes a certain type of asshole to stand in front of you at the very end with his hand out for more donation money after the $50.00 tour, while we are all standing under a ceiling that is plated in 22 carat gold leaf. Just kidding, no one had their hand out. I’m referring to the audio tour guide begging for more donation money as we rode the bus down the hill. Hilariously tacky!
I do have to say that the Roman Pool seems haunted, though. I kept waiting for something to swim up to me. I don’t know what, but I felt like something was brewing underneath that pool. Maybe they buried the bodies down there.
We keep an analog version of all of our travels carefully notated in our “Play” Journal by Stealth Journals. “Play” is an indexed book journal that should be used to record all of your good times!
First of all, as usual, the art that I think is “Halloween Art” is not marketed as such. But c’mon, man!
I forgot to take a picture of the placard, so the one below is just self-titled by me: “Eat Your Heart Out.” I think that pretty much sums it up. Dig the claws!
Gratuitous skeleton art. Self-explanatory.
I actually find Summer Days by Georgia O’Keefe to be quite peaceful and inspiring. It’s a life / death / rebirth type of thing. Plus, I love those desert southwest mountains.
Edward Hopper’s A Woman in the Sun qualifies as Halloween art because of the color of the light coming through the window, shining a sliver of afternoon death into the room. That light is the color of death. I don’t know how I know, but I know it. I saw it in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and on another afternoon once, when I was much younger. Now I saw it in Hopper’s painting. I wonder if he knew it too.
This last one is not obviously Halloween art, but this is the scariest thing I saw. Leidy Churchman has painted the view from 432 Park Avenue, a 1,396-foot-high luxury condominium completed in 2015. The placard goes on to say that the building “sparked an outcry over … the stratospheric cost of its apartments,” and “hinting at the glaring divide between the ultra-rich and ordinary New Yorkers.” Let me tell you something. I would take the ultra-rich view over the poor person’s view AFD (I’m looking at you, Skyliner).
What scares me is this recently growing trend in the media to perpetuate the cultural belief that “ordinary” people should have a hatred of the rich. I find that completely unacceptable and plain stupid. Why all this rich shaming? When was the last time a poor person gave you a good job, and opportunities for growth and development? I’m so sick of this ignorant crap everywhere I go lately! I really haven’t gotten political on this blog, but my visit to New York is bringing some things out in me that need to be said to any liberal imbecile who happens upon this page. My message to you? Quit hating people who are achieving things, you bunch of losers! Keep your heads down and work harder. Make something. Build something. Have an idea and develop it. Or better yet, go live in Venezuela and see how that works out for you.
Hate the rich? Are you insane? I love them. I want to learn everything they know and become one. I don’t want to drag them down to my level. I want to rise to their level. That’s the difference between a liberal and a conservative. We want to pursue or make our own opportunities. We don’t expect someone to hand us money because we were born or because we need something. If we need something, we will go out and work and get it. If we are sick or hurt, we figure out how to work anyway. Rise, bitches. Rise. Or get the hell out of America. I’m sick of paying for your CUSSING safe rooms and supplementing your so-called “living wage” that you think everyone is entitled to somehow.
Okay, that’s all. But I’m not taking it down. And guess what? If you leave me an asshole comment, I’ll just code you to SPAM. So eat it up. Liberals.
Soho / Chelsea Market / Greenwich Village
Too crowded, but fun to walk around in the neighborhoods for a bit. The Moleskine store – where I am LOVING yellow! Fiore’s pizza – 165 Bleecker Street. Best slices we’ve found in the last three years. Lombardi’s? Eh. Sal’s? Get the hell on with your flat pepperoni. I’m telling you. Fiore’s. They even had that grandma.
New York Public Library
Beautiful museum-like space, with a gift shop and a small cafe, but I swear to God, we did not see one book the whole 30 minutes or so we walked around exploring. I don’t get it. We did see one giant door that was chained up. I wish I took a photo. It must be where all the New York liberals hid the books that offended them. The experience actually really pissed me off. Because I love libraries, and this my friend, was not a library. It was a commercial monstrosity. Quite frankly, it was a bullshit library, and 5th Avenue is just awful smell-wise and crowd-wise. It’s like being shuffled and beaten in a bad dream, all with the constant stench of human excrement and urine forever stuck in your nostrils. I fully intend to NEVER darken the streets of 5th Avenue again. I’ve never smelled anything like it.
Brooklyn Heights / Brooklyn Bridge Park / Cobble Hill
This was actually the highlight of Labor Day to me, walking through this neighborhood. I wish I took pictures of the views from Brooklyn, looking at both bridges, and from the park in Brooklyn Heights, looking over towards Manhattan. I highly recommend that if you have never ventured over to Brooklyn, you need to do it ASAP for a beautiful neighborhood walk. Really picturesque and almost quaint, even. And, there were no stinky smells in Brooklyn. Zero, none, not one.
At the corner of Henry and Amity Streets in Cobble Hill, a building caught my attention. I looked up and saw the sign:
Montana – Beautiful. Livingston, Bozeman, Emigrant, Big Sky. We will see you again soon.
Yellowstone: Apparently, where the dumbest people in the world congregate, to elbow each other while fighting over the opportunity to photograph buffalo alongside the road. It concerned me greatly that we found our way among them. 35 mph for 3 hours. Can we please have this day refunded to our life bank?
Jackson, WY – Grand Tetons and the Snake River. Taggart Lake secluded hike. Beautiful patio dining at Signal Mountain Lodge.
Idaho Falls – a dignified standoffishness. Steak bites with gorgonzola sauce. Greenbelt river walk.
Salt Lake City – the Mormons seem to be doing very well with their cult out here. Butternut squash on a patio. Ruth’s Diner.
We keep analog versions of our travels inside our “Play” Journal by Stealth Journals. “Play” is an indexed book journal that should be used to record all of your good times!