March 26, 2010:
Before I get started on this entry, I should give you a quick a rundown on the cool people that were letting me stay at their place, and who were going to give me a tour of San Francisco and Bay Area:
VERONICA!: [On Left] My cousin through blood. Her mom is my dad’s aunt on his dad’s side. Yeah, tracking family connections is hard and only should be attempted by professionals. She works as a animal biologist with an emphasis on impact on animal habitats. Now that I’ve written that sentence, I have a powerful feeling that I’m absolutely wrong. Hopefully Veronica won’t get annoyed and boycott me from ever visiting again. She also loves the arts, working out in the field, and ciopinno seafood stew!
DENNIS!: [On Right] Veronica’s husband, so that I guess that makes him my cousin-in-law? I don’t know how that’s supposed to work, so I’ll just settle for cousin. He was a firefighter until he was injured on the job, in a burning building to boot. If he could, he’d be back out there stopping fires and eating ridiculously good Fire House food. He knows a hell of a lot of stuff about a hell of a lot of stuff. Also, he drives just this side of crazy, but he’s good enough to pull it off.
Okay, so those are the principle players in my education on all things Pleasant Hill, Oakland, Berkley, and San Francisco. Now you’re caught up.
I slept deep, which meant waking up was slow going. But I did persevere and gain consciousness around 9:30 or so. In time for some breakfast of omelets and tea. I bought my return tickets for my return to Anaheim on Amtrak, and was able to knock about ten bucks off the price by merely choosing a different origin point. (Thanks for the idea, Veronica!)
The idea for today was to check out the Oakland and Berkley area, and finish of the day with a viewing of a revival of Captain Blood at the Paramount Theater. This sounded like a better plan than my non-plan of “taking in the sights.” We were on our way in minutes.
One of the few things that I wanted to check out while I was in Berkley and San Francisco was go to both of the Amoebas there. I know, the best one is in LA, but I just wanted to be able to say that I’ve been to every Amoeba Records in the world. Then I’d feel like a big shot.
So we drove around the Oakland and Berkley hills, checking out the San Francisco skyline all along the way down to UC Berkley. We got out of the Dennis’ truck and walked around campus, and were on our way to walking down Telegraph Street when my eyes caught upon one of many bums lounging around the campus. I guess the thing that truly caught my attention was the bum typing on his laptop.
Yeah, welcome to Berkley.
It took a second for my mind to register what I had just glimpsed. And I brought it up to Veronica and Dennis. Dennis suggested we go back and talk to the tech-savvy homeless man. It seemed like it would be worth the second or two. We walked over to the guy and gave him a dollar in exchange for a picture of him and his set up. And upon the second look, we realized that not only did he have a laptop, but he also had two solar panels on his shopping cart.
No where else have I ever seen a bum with such a technologically advanced shopping cart. It was more than a little impressive and funny.
We continued on to Telegraph Street, where I checked out the Berkley Amoeba. I bought a Granddaddy album and continued on to try another local record store called Rasputin. Rasputin was very impressive, and I was able to buy a used copy of Patton Oswalt’s newest comedy album “My Weakness Is Strong.” I might even slightly prefer Rasputin over Amoeba. But let’s keep that between you, me, and the internet.
We headed to Jack London Square to check out the Bay, and grabbed a beer at Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Tavern. It was an old whaling boat that had been hauled to the shore, cut in half, and converted into a tavern. After that, we headed into Uptown Oakland to eat at Luka’s, and meet up with some friends of Dennis and Veronica’s.
After the whole group and been assembled and fed, we walked over to the Paramount Theater to watch Captain Blood. First of all, Paramount Theater is a fixed up old-timey theater, and it is a beautiful work of art, with a man playing Worlitzer Organs just to introduce us to the overall ambience of the theater.
After looking around the theater thoroughly, we settled in to participate in a Raffle, and then onto watching Captain Blood, the movie. Its an old style movie that pretty much helped to make Pirates of the Caribbean exist at all.
Errol Flyn plays a doctor that is forced into slavery for doing his job. He then turns to a life of piracy to strike back at a government and world that didn’t seem to care. Olivia de Havilland plays the girl that helps him out of a terrible situation, and who is, of course, deeply in love with Captain Blood. Though Olivia’s character can be very dumb and stubborn, but she does a good job of hiding her baffling intelligence. My cousins’ and their friends and I enjoyed the movie, with some gentle teasing of the flick mixed in throughout. Captain Blood is a classic. It launched a thousand careers and genres.
After the film, we headed back home to watch a little TV and slip off into slumber land.
But before that happened, Dennis stumbled upon the Cannabis Planet channel. Apparently it’s a new channel, just starting out in the Bay Area. Gotta love Frisco.
Topics of Conversation @ Berkley: Flash Gordan, Led Zep, Bubbly water, W’ahmbulance, Hippie Living habits and biology, sublte manipulation, solar panels, etc.