Monday, July 30, 2007

ACLU vs. the Terminator

Here's something pretty cool: the police now have the technology to scan up to 900 license plates per hour as cars drive by. This technology, called The Mobile Plate Hunter 900, captures around 85% of the plates it actually scans - the other 15% or so can't be read b/c of the angle of the car, etc. The license plate number can then be searched in the National Crime Information Center's database, and if there's a match, the police pulls the car over and sends the driver to a Pound-Me-in-the-Ass Penitentiary.

This technology is helping to find stolen cars, round up people with felony warrants, etc. Sounds good to me!

Of course, there are always those who consider technology to be evil, and in this particular case, that bastard entity is the ACLU.

The ACLU, or American Civil Liberties Union, is an organization that helps people to fight for their individual freedoms. That sounds good in theory. But when you realize that the ACLU has helped to defend the KKK, pedophiles, neo-Nazis... well, you get the point, the ACLU is basically a terrorist organization.

The ACLU is against the Mobile Plate Hunter technology because, in their opinion, it's an "infringement on a driver's right to privacy."

Of course, we all know that if you do something in public, and if someone captures it on film, then you can't claim that it was a "private act" and someone was spying on you because - as was previously noted - you were in the public's view. Apparently the ACLU needs a lesson on public domain.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm against anyone, especially the government, poking their noses where they don't belong (unless the person attached to the nose is really hot). But this is a case where the item in question - the license plate - is already visible. To protect privacy we could just as easily pay millions of dollars more in taxes to have more police patrolling the streets so your car doesn't get stolen in the first place.

Of course, speaking strictly in terms of privacy, it would be nice to have time limits on the records captured by the system. Let's say a month. Anything stored for over the past month is then deleted or archived.

Just imagine how powerful this technology could be if it only had Sirius Satellite Radio built into it!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fire Sucks

While driving into Houston this weekend, we came across an apartment building burning right off of I-10. Over 100 people are now homeless, thanks to an electrical fire that burned 92 units to oblivion.

We saw firemen trying to put out the fire, spraying water from fire hoses, spraying Co2 foam, etc. They were doing their best, but on the way back from Houston we saw that the entire apartment complex had burned completely to the ground. All that remained were some charred remnants smoldering in the Texas heat. I had never actually seen a building of that size burn like that before.

That's when I thought - There's got to be a better way.

There's an old saying: You have to fight fire with fire. Now this doesn't always work. For instance, I remember reading an article about a guy whose drapes caught on fire, so he decided to burn other parts of his house in an effort to "fight fire with fire," much like a fireman fighting a wildfire would do. But this technique only works if you're removing flammable objects so a fire cannot spread - not if you just randomly light more stuff on fire.

So here's my idea: I think we should encourage fire to fight against itself.

It's really pretty simple. Fire needs oxygen to burn. No oxygen, no fire. So if we limit the amount of oxygen in a given radius, the fire will burn until it can't find any more tasty oxygen food, then die a slow and painful death.

So how to limit the amount of oxygen? Well, that's the main unknown. Here are a couple of my ideas:

We could drop a fiberglass dome over a smaller fire, which might crush other objects on the periphery but give the fire only so much air to eat. Of course, what would drop it? A helicopter? And how would we know which size would work? Obviously this idea blows.

But what about fire-resistant materials? What are firefighters' jackets made out of? We could roll a bunch of that stuff up in balls then mortar them over a burning building, where they could expand like parachutes and slowly drift down to the building. Just hope a nice breeze doesn't blow them over the Interstate.

I don't know how to fix the situation, but whatever we're currently doing isn't enough. I was hoping that, since Houston sucks, it would suck all the oxygen away from the fire. But as I soon learned, Houston also blows, which only fed the flames.

If you have any ideas on how to fight fire with fire, please leave a comment so the world can benefit from your awesomeness.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bowling Over

Saturday night we went bowling in Houston, hitting up AMF West Houston Lanes. We used the bumpers, and I still bowled less than 100 in the first game.

Did I say less than 100? Try 89. The 7 year-old from the lane on the side of me bowled better than I did, and from what I can tell, he wasn't using the bumpers.

I recall only one time in two games where my ball hit the bumper. And honestly, that was probably my best frame. I should have tried to use the bumper more often instead of just throwing the ball straight. Maybe then I wouldn't have this green aura of shame surrounding me.



I came in last in the first game. My sister beat me, and my wife bowled a 134 to beat us both. Betty kicked our asses! In the second game, I started off strong and ended with a still-poor-but-better-than-my-first-game 117, but my sister bowled two strikes in the last lane to beat me with 121.

But maybe my terrible scores were not my fault - maybe it's Houston! We all know that Houston sucks - maybe the black hole-like sucking of Houston sucked my ball as it headed for the pins, increasing the friction between the ball and the lane and ultimately screwed up my score.

Oh well, so it goes. I'll have to make it up on our next trip to Houston, where we're planning a mini-golf Tanorama.

Salt of the Earth

Apparently my sister doesn't like it when I refer to her as a traitor in my blogs. I don't know this for sure - I just assume, because this morning she put salt in my coffee.

For those of you who've never had several spoonfuls of salt mixed into your coffee, let me describe the taste for you: it tastes like caffeinated vomit.

Betty had taken a sip of the coffee beforehand and thought it tasted funny, but she didn't say anything about it because she was trying to be polite. She always sips her coffee the first time around to make sure it's not too hot. I, on the other hand, need the caffeine and could care less about scalding my esophagus, so I always take a good 4 or 5 gulps in the first tasting. This is a good example of when being polite can be hazardous to your health.

The massive amount of salt consumed in those 5 gulps has had strange effects on my body. For instance, I haven't sweat in several hours. I've also noticed that I'm constantly thirsty, and nothing seems to help. Also, I seem to be very well preserved this morning, which means I don't have to shower - I guess some things worked out in my favor.

So I will now apologize to my sister for calling her a traitor for moving from Louisiana to Texas, since it obviously offended her. But now I have to call her a traitor for trying to poison me.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Little Dude

Tonight I'm in Houston, visiting my nephew and Godson, Joshua.

For the record, Joshua isn't a traitor for living in Texas, unlike my brother and sister. Joshua was born here and is too young to drive or feed himself, and therefore cannot be held accountable for living in Houston. I'm sure that, once he's in Huggies Pull-Ups, he'll make the right choice to come over to Louisiana one day.

Joshua joins TJ on my list of Godchirren. I don't mean to brag, but I think I'm the perfect Godparent to both of these: TJ is my cousin's dog but thinks she's a human and has a penchant for humping stuffed animals, and Joshua is a real human who acts more like a dog - ie, eating, sleeping and pooping are his main hobbies. If I teach him to read, he'll be just like his Godfather.

I used to come to Houston to just see my traitorous siblings. But now I have a real reason to cross the border - my Godchild Joshua. Joshua, I promise to be a great Godfather to you as long as your Aunt Betty keeps putting up with my crap, otherwise both you and me are in big trouble.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Evolution and Religion

I read today that the Pope believes in Evolution. And that got me thinking...

It's hard for me to believe that there are still people who don't believe in Evolution. On the other hand, I don't believe that everything we know about Evolution is perfectly true or is the last word on the subject. Every day I read about some scientists who did an experiment which is changing the way the world looks at evolution.

In fact, I think there are so many people who believe in both God and Evolution, like me, because neither religion nor science can really produce enough answers. Whenever a question is unanswered in religion, we're told to "just have faith." And scientists, well, they still can't decide if coffee is good for you or not.

I'm a big science fiction fan, and lots of science fiction authors are atheists - or at least, they were back in the 50's and 60's when science fiction authors didn't get paid well for their work. (Those are the authors I like best, by the way.) I'm also getting more and more into history. And I think science fiction and history can tell us a lot about both those who are hardcore religious fanatics and those who are hardcore atheists:

Both groups are a bunch of arrogant bastards.

If you believe in Evolution, then you could come to the conclusion, as many have, that we need to clean our gene pool of undesirables and therefore improve the overall gene pool. This is called Eugenics. Both H.G. Wells and Hitler believed in Eugenics.

Eugenics is a dangerous idea. We know that Hitler was a maniac who wanted to kill all of what he considered undesirables, such as the Jews. And one of H.G. Wells' books, "The World Set Free," described radioactive properties so well that it inspired Leó Szilárd - the man directly responsible for the creation of the Manhattan Project which created the first atomic bomb - to develop nuclear weapons based off of nuclear chain reactions. Good job, Wells!

And if you want to learn more about religion's roles in wars, look no further than fundamentalist Islamic terrorists in today's news, or read the Bible.

In conclusion, I think that just because someone doesn't look, act or believe the same things you do, you should not feel the urge to kill them. And with that, I sincerely hope that Voldemort and the Death Eaters - who are Eugenists who want to kill all of the undesirable, such as, in their opinion, Harry Potter - can find a way to get along with Harry and the rest of the wizards and witches who are not "pure blood" wizards and witches. If the Pope can find the common ground of these two sets of ideals, then so can you, Voldemort!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mom / Mother-in-Law for President!

I received a couple of emails about my previous post, Cancer, WMDs Not Present in Bush's Colon. One person thought I was turning Democrat, one person thought I should support the Presidential colon, and several people wrote explaining how their pills will enlarge my penis and shrink my mortgage at the same time.

Let me just put the record straight: I think all politicians are bozos. As far as political alignment goes, I'm right in the middle.

Yes, for me it doesn't matter which side of the aisle your local politician sits on, I still despise him or her. For you see, that politician has sold his / her / sher (as in, a transgendered politician - it can happen!) soul for votes. I despise anyone who sells their souls for anything less than a lifetime supply of pizzas delivered free to their home.

I think the world is ready for a non-white male President. But let's look at our options:

Democrats

I don't think Hillary Clinton is the right person for the job. First, she's more of a man than 3/4 of the other candidates, even ignoring the fact that she has male genitalia. Second, Bill has been named an honorary black man, and we all know that black men like white women. And since that makes Hillary both a man and white, she no longer fits the stereotype of "non-white male."

I gotta say, I like Obama. He's like the Cliff Huxtable of politics. He's not only a good role model for black children - and let's face it, there aren't many of those around - but he seems like a good role model for whites, too. Of course, he's half-white, so that technically disqualifies him from being a "non-white male." So no Presidency for you!

Republicans

Rudy Giuliani? As much as he tries to make us think he's a woman, he's not - he's a man, baby!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IrE6FMpai8

Are there any other good Republican candidates?

The Tanory Tantrum's Official Endorsement

I really believe that women would do a better job at ruling the world than men. We men usually just end up fighting over women anyway, so it's not like they don't already rule the world. But if your mom is like my mom, then she wants everyone to be happy, polite, eat three healthy meals a day, feel good about themselves and shower daily. I think the next President can use some of these motherly qualities.

I therefore nominate my mom to be the next President. (I'm such a mama's boy, I know it.)

If you sent Mama Tantrum to the Gaza Strip, she'd have the Palestinians and Jews shaking hands and breaking bread together in no time flat. Because as much as my mom is a loving and caring woman, she doesn't put up with childish behavior like that. Believe me, I've tried - my brother and I started a border dispute between our two rooms that ended with a peace treaty and lowered tariffs for all items exported from either one's room.

The Darfur crisis? My mom would have them all well-fed and helping each other to rebuild their war-torn country. They'd better do it, too, or my dad will threaten to take his belt off and say, "Okay Darfur, I'm going to count to three and then you'd better make peace. One, two...."

For Vice President, I'd have to go with my mother-in-law. (My wife says I'm trying to rack up brownie points, but she's just mad that I didn't name her VP.) My mother-in-law is a lot like my own mom, which means she gets to make the Balkans go to Time Out if they start assassinating German noblemen.

Green house emissions? My mother-in-law makes you clean up after your own mess. I'm sure some oil companies, car manufacturers and steel refineries are in for a nice long intervention.

In conclusion, although I'm a registered Republican, I'm really just for whoever I think will do a good job. What that "good job" is really depends on what is going on in the world at the moment. And at the moment, the world blows.

Just a side note, if Jindal decides to run for president, my backing of the Mother / Mother-in-law party will be reneged. Sorry!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cancer, WMDs Not Present in Bush's Colon

About two weeks before deciding to undergo a routine colon cancer scan at Camp David, President Bush was told by his doctor that there was a "slam dunk case" that the president's colon, not to be confused with Colin Powell, had cancer. This so-called evidence prompted Bush and his advisers to have scopes and cameras inserted into their Executive Rumps in an effort to find the culprits and bring the wayward cancer cells to justice.

For President Bush, this procedure took a lot of time away from his normal duties, as well as forcing Condoleezza Rice to remove herself from Bush's ass for several hours.

Although polyps were found in Bush's "Big Putin" as he calls it, the large amount of pre-ass-scope intelligence yet lack of actual cancer raises grave concerns amongst members of Congress and the federal intelligence community.

Condoleezza Rice said, "I think that what we have is evidence that there are differences between what we knew going in and what we found in Bush's backside."

Bush, however, is not taking any chances, and has already ordered the midnight execution of 5 polyps extracted from his colon.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Found Porn

As a guy, I really hate to go shopping. It's instinctual. Back when humans were living in caves and eating woolly mammoth, the men would be brave against jaguars and 40-foot pythons, but would cringe when their wives / girlfriends / females who they bonked on the head with a bone and drug back by the hair to their caves wanted to go shopping.

Men hate shopping. It's what makes us men, other than football and penises.

Now, shopping at a place like Best Buy or Circuit City isn't really shopping. That's more like "perusing." Those places are filled with things that you can actually use, like plasma TVs, DVDs, satellite radios... but most other shops are just filled with designer jackets, women's purses and shoes.

But there is one place where a man can go with his wife, stroll around the shoe aisle and not feel like a total loser; one place where a man can go and still retain his dignity, even while his wife endlessly shops for redundant wardrobe accessories of which she already has several thousand; one place where a man can still feel like a man when holding his wife's purse as she tries on several different shirts.

That one place?

Target.

Target is what I like to call the home of "Found Porn." You know what "Found Porn" is - you see it in all women's magazines. Sure, if your wife finds you with a gentleman's magazine or something similar, there's hell to pay. But walk into your local Target store and look at the pornographic 10-foot tall ads hanging from the ceiling and you'll feel like you need to immediately go home and take a nice cold shower.

I think these ads work because women like looking at pictures of naked women. Let's face the facts - they wouldn't have all the smut in these magazines and stores if women weren't attracted to it in some way. These images are working.

When a woman sees another woman half-naked, bent over and trying to sell her panty liners on a 10-foot ad in the middle of Target, it's natural and appealing, and the woman sees the lady in the ad and says, hmm, I can look like that if I buy those panty liners. But when a man sees a half-naked man in any ad whatsoever, our first thought is, "That dude's gay." That's why a half-naked woman always appears in any product marketed solely for men. God bless marketing.

Men like women, and we hate shopping, and we know that if a hot lady will get undressed for a product then we need to have it, end of story. And women like looking at other women. So we just need to combine those two elements to make the best of both worlds. If Hugh Heffner had his Playboy bunnies half-dressed in fashionable attire, lounging on beds with designer sheets - all which would be available to women at discount prices - and occasionally pictured fully clothed walking somewhere in Los Angeles, there's no doubt in my mind that Playboy would be considered a women's magazine and then totally acceptable to read. (I think this already happened with Paris Hilton....)

But until that day comes, there's always Target.

Cheesey!

Saturday night we went to the House of Blues in New Orleans, where we witnessed the awesomeness that calls itself Richard Cheese.

Richard "Dick" Cheese is a lounge singer from Las Vegas who sings all of your favorite tunes in lounge format. He sings songs by Nirvana, Snoop, Radiohead, Sir Mix-a-lot, Motley Crue, Nine Inch Nails, Limp Bizkit, Pink Floyd - you name it, he sings it. He even sang the theme song to "Three's Company," and it was flippin' awesome!

Here's a little tidbit of the Dick in action:

"I Like Big Butts"



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCv2cgIlnHA


"Gin and Juice"



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zysWtY-VPUs


"Enter Sandman"



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8dj11BMw80


"Stars Wars Cantina" (sung to Copacabana)



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX3sI0q5iMI


Thanks again to my cousin Bo, the Big McGeezer, for getting us into the House of Blues as VIPs, even though I was wearing tenny rubbers.

Afterwards we went to see my cousin Ben, the Little McGeezer, rock out at Ernie K-Doe's Mother-in-Law Lounge. Ben was playing at a private party, but we got in, once again, thanks to Bo, and once again despite my tenny rubbers.

I hadn't eaten since my niece's birthday cake at Bouncing Tigers in Baton Rouge, so instead of introducing myself to the guest of honor - this was, after all, a private party that we crashed - I instead focused my attention on the delicious and succulent ham, turkey and rice dressing so lovingly placed by the band. (If you are the lady whom I spilled a big chunk of rice dressing down your cleavage, my apologies first for spilling that, and my apologies again for trying to fish it out.)

So thanks again, Bo, Ben, Dick Cheese and the City of New Orleans, for a great day! I'll try to remember to not dress like a redneck the next time I'm in the big city partying it up with the VIPs.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

LASER CATS!

I spent two hours Thursday night looking at hot women in skin-tight spandex crawl around on all fours. Now I know what you women are thinking: "You chauvinist pig! You are disgusting!" And I know what you guys are thinking: "Dude, why didn't you call me?!"

I guess I should clarify my earlier statement. I spent one hour and 50 minutes watching hot women in skin-tight spandex crawl around on all fours. The other 10 minutes, I spent watching my friend Leonard dance and sing while dressed as a cat.

Yes, I was at CATS! the Musical, as performed by the Baton Rouge Little Theater.

Now I know what you men are thinking: "What's wrong with you?" And the women: "Why didn't you call me?"

Honestly, I didn't know what to expect from Cats. My high school English teacher read aloud the book on which Cats is based, "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" by T.S. Eliot. I don't really remember much about it other than being confused as to how they could base an entire musical around it and have it succeed in New York for 30 years.

And sadly, I can't really tell you how much I liked Cats because, as I said earlier, I was too busy looking at hot women in skin-tight spandex crawling around on all fours to pay attention to the performance. But the parts I did watch - when Leonard was performing - were excellent. (Which stands to reason, as Leonard, along with news anchor Whitney Vann, recently won the Baton Rouge's "Dancing with the Stars.")

I met Leonard at my previous job when I worked for LASERS, the Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System. It's a shame that the State gets such a bad name - it's not the employees' fault that if they perform their jobs more efficiently then the Louisiana legislature cuts their budget. There's lots of great, talented people working at LASERS and around the State.

And since Leonard works for LASERS, and since he was in Cats, that technically makes him a LASER CAT!

Leonard played the role of Rum Tum Tugger, who is considered the ladies man, er, cat. This consisted of singing, dancing, and doing a couple of pelvic air thrusts in the face of some hot women in spandex, who happened to be on all fours. I think it's safe to say that Rum Tum Tugger is the best part to have in Cats.

So I guess what I'm saying is, if you like Broadway musicals as well as softcore porn, you can't go wrong with Cats, especially when there's a LASER CAT on the stage.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Darth Potter

The new Harry Potter book is coming out this weekend, and your local Barnes and Noble bookstore is having a Harry Potter "Midnight Magic" party. This will be our third Harry Potter party at Barnes and Noble, and I'm so frickin excited!

Half of the fun of "Harry Potter Night" at Barnes and Noble is walking to your car after you get the book. All the way from the front door to your car, you'll see kids sitting on steps and reading... adults sitting in their cars, reading... teenagers voguing in angry positions, reading. Harry Potter has made children want to read - it's really amazing to see it in action.

The other half of "Harry Potter Night" is people-watching. Everyone dresses up as their favorite character. For the sixth book's release we not only saw Harry Potters but also Dumbledores, Snapes and even a Hagrid.

I'm so excited for this release because this year I'm dressing up.

AS DARTH VADER!



I've always said that I would dress up as Darth Vader for a Harry Potter party. It's so non sequitur that it just might work. Of course, not everyone will think it's funny. In fact, I'll probably get in a fight with some Slytherins. But have no fear, I'll have the power of the dark side to guide me. I'll cut through those nay-sayers with my plastic light saber like Darth Vader cut through Luke Skywalker's hand in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

I'm trying to convince Betty to dress up as Leia. But I'm pretty sure that she'll just wear her regular clothes and stay as far away from me at Barnes and Noble as possible.

But of course, the book is registered under my name, so at some point, she will have to return... to the dark side! Muahahaha!

See you there if you happen to go. I'll be the guy in the Darth Vader outfit.

Harry Potter and Gang Suppression

I've been trying not to read the news this week. Usually I don't read the news because I'm lazy and generally just don't care about what's going on in the world. But this week I'm not reading the news because I don't want some online newspaper to try to increase their ratings by posting an article that will spoil the ending to the Harry Potter series.

The Harry Potter book comes out this weekend, but it's already been leaked online. Google it if you're interested. As for me, I'll wait until the book comes out.

But today I accidentally forgot about my vow to not read the news and went to Yahoo News, where I saw that, according to USA Today, "anti-gang legislation and police crackdowns are failing so badly that they are strengthening the criminal organizations and making U.S. cities more dangerous."

The problem is that gang members are usually underage and never stay in jail or juvenile detention for very long. And while they're in jail they make stronger ties with other gang members. (Of course, we could just try all underage gang members as adults so we could put them all away for life or just kill them all after we capture them, but apparently that is too easy for our competent politicians.) Anyway, the article suggests that we should try more intervention instead of enforcement to curb gang violence.

So, by now you're probably asking yourself, what does this have to do with Harry Potter?

EVERYTHING!

You see, Voldemort, who is the bad guy in the Harry Potter series and whose name means "Death Flight" in French, cannot die while Harry Potter is still alive. And Harry wants Voldy dead because he killed Harry's parents, plus Voldemort's just an all-around dick.

Many people think that both Harry and Voldemort die in this book, because, as I said before, Voldemort can't die while Harry's alive. But I question why either one has to die in the first place. If you ask me, if I was Voldemort, I would try to keep Harry alive as long as I could, because then I could never die as well. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me! Then Harry should do to Voldemort whatever Voldemort did to Harry, then they would live forever as long as they used basic precautions when casting spells and blowing up buildings with their minds.

So to tie this in with the gang article, I think that Harry's Gang (the Hogwarts students) and Voldemort's gang (the Death Eaters) should stop fighting and instead find the common denominator between both groups. I'm sure they can think of something. I mean, they both like magic... they both wear robes... and they both have unhealthy fixations on their wands.

Can't we all just get along?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sonoma: Days 8 and 9

Day 8, Sonoma, and that means I've reached the end of my spectrum attire. Since this was the last full day of my vacation, I figured I'd represent LSU by wearing my LSU shirt and drinking all those USC bastards under the table at every winery in Sonoma. Tiger bait!

We started off the day with a nice little breakfast in the luscious and Miracle-Gro-ish garden of our bed and breakfast, the Victorian Garden Inn. I almost choked on a chunk of pineapple after our upstairs neighbors started celebrating their honeymoon rather loudly. The woman started moaning in rapid bursts, but lucky for us, the guy was a two-pump chump.

We then headed over to the Benziger winery, which makes wine biodynamically. We took a tram tour of the winery and learned about how the Benziger family grows grapes, ages the wine in oak barrels in a cave, etc. We learned that making wine biodynamically is not just about removing the pesticides - Benziger also has an insectory where insects can go and live and devour each other, and that keeps the insects away from the grapes. A very cool idea - so cool that now Betty wants one (right next to the patio). Thanks, Benziger.

I also need to mention that at Benziger I saw a flamboyant peacock (he must have been from San Fran) and some fuzzy grapes. I wish I could sound all academic and shit by calling these things by a scientific name, but the sign just said "Fuzzy Grapes." This pic of the grapes is my favorite non-humanoid picture of the entire trip.

[Fuzzy grapes picture]

The tram tour took us through the beautiful scenery of the winery as well as Sonoma in general. The tour ended in the most beautiful place of all, though: the wine tasting room!

Benziger has a "sister winery" called Imagery, which has so-so wine but puts artwork as labels on the wine bottles, and that was pretty neat. We also drank port from a port glass, which is supposed to put it on the exact spot on your tongue where port can be most enjoyed. (Port sucks regardless of how you drink it.)

You know the rules: 2 wineries then it's time for lunch. We were going to hit up one of Sonoma's great restaurants for lunch, but honestly, we just wanted something greasy at this point, so we went to Mary's Pizzeria. Then we just walked around Sonoma's town square for a while, taking in the sights and sounds, hitting up Mayo's winery, then went back to the bed and breakfast where Betty whupped me in RummyCube.

After a quick nap we went back to town square and had dinner at the Swiss Hotel, which was one of the best meals of our entire trip. Afterwards we went to the Sebastiani Theatre, an historic theater in Sonoma, where we saw Ratatouille. (Hey, it was about having an appreciation for good food - where better to see it than in wine country?)

Thus completely vacationed out, we went to bed in a state of bliss.


Day 9, the day back to Baton Rouge. We got up early and drove back to San Francisco to drive down Lombard street then turn in our car. We took a non-life-threatening taxi back to the airport, boarded our plane, and spent the next 6 hours flying to Houston, Texas.

Wouldn't you know it, Houston sucked yet again. The last time we flew through Houston, we were in a rush to board the plane but ended up having to spend the night in Houston because there was no airport security at the gate where our plane was docked. I didn't want to spend another night in Houston, especially not by missing the plane, but our flight was delayed a couple of times because maintenance was being performed on it. Apparently there were issues with the brakes of our plane.

I'm sick of these mother-f'n brakes on these mother-f'n planes!

Anyway, it was already 45 minutes past the original boarding time when an airport clerk told everyone that it would be another 20 minutes until we even heard anything from the maintenance crew, so to relax, go to the bathroom, etc. And that's what just about everyone did. We went to the ATM to grab cash for getting our car out of BR's airport parking, but the ATM was out of order (wouldn't you know it?). We were only away from the gate for a total of 3 minutes. But as we approached the gate, we noticed that all of the people that had just been sitting there 3 minutes ago were now all gone.

Some woman, who was not the original clerk who told us we would have to wait at least another 20 minutes, spoke into the intercom, "Final boarding call for flight {whatever}."

Some guy next to me says, "Final boarding call? Is that the only boarding call? We were just told it would be 20 minutes, and my family is in the restroom."

To which the old airport hag replied, "Sir, that was the final boarding call, and I cannot announce it again. The plane has to take off because another plane needs to land. Whoever told you that it would be 20 minutes was not authorized to do so."

At which point, several of us said, "If she wasn't authorized to do so, then why did she in fact do so? And where the hell were you, you old F%)*#% piece of sh!t b!^%#!

To make a long story short, we landed safely in Baton Rouge, wined out and ready to go back to work. Goodbye, California, and hello humidity.

Thanks for the memories, California!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sonoma: Day 7

Wow, this was a long vacation. I'm tempted to not write about my vacation and instead write about my incredibly handsome new nephew / Godson, but he deserves something special, and somehow being stuck in between two blogs about getting drunk in California is not my idea of a special post. The sooner I finish my blogs about my vacation, the sooner I can tell you how my nephew will take over the world by the time he's seven.

Day 7 we left Napa and headed over to Sonoma. On the way there, we stopped by the Old Faithful Geyser (a cousin to the geyser in Yellowstone) in Calistoga. Thar she blows!

The geyser's park had a lot of stuff other than the geyser. For starters, it had lots of tourists ambling about. Maybe "ambling" isn't the right word - "milling" is more like it. A bus-load full of people in yellow shirts beat us to the geyser but left before it really let loose. Their loss. In your face, tour bus people!

The geyser's park also had fainting goats. Fainting goats are goats that faint when they are scared. I don't know if they're just playing dead or if they have epilepsy or something, but I tried my darndest to scare them and they just wouldn't faint. They are probably used to overweight Southerners ambushing them while dressed only in a thong, socks and a smile. Maybe if they knew that a cute girl had married me, they'd have fainted from shock.

The geyser's park also had a wishing well. At some point during our wait for the geyser, a small child climbed onto the well's wall. I, being my mother's child, instantaneously thought of several scenarios that involved me jumping into the well to save this child, giving him mouth-to-mouth, and getting back up in time to see the geyser explode forthwith. Then, just as I was grappling Betty and wrenching her arm in anxiety, the boy fell into the well! I stood up and ran a few steps towards him when his head popped back up. The well had been filled to the top with dirt! It's a festivus miracle! The child, oblivious to the tens of concerned citizens surrounding him, started to pick up the coins that people had thrown into this wishing well.

Then the geyser went off for a while. We took some pictures. You've seen a geyser for 10 seconds, you've seen'm all.

The town of Sonoma is pretty small. But Sonoma Valley is much larger, and encompasses cities like Healdsburg and Santa Rosa (which as 150k+ people). We stopped by Healdsburg on the way through town and had lunch in a bakery there. We then went back for dessert. Awesome!

The bakery was in town square, and also in town square was a fountain. This particular fountain had two small children - probably 3 or 4 years old - swimming naked in it. The dad told the kids to "go run around to dry off." So that's what they did! They ran around town square in circles, to the amusement of most of the tourists and to the horror of us Louisianians. I can just imagine my mom's face if she saw some naked kids in the town's fountain - think of the germs! But to the Californians, this was perfectly normal behavior. You've got to remember, Hippies grew up here.

We hit up Cellar 360, which sells wine that tastes like fermented horse urine. We then just so happened to go into Copperfield bookstore in Healdsburg, where we picked up tickets to see Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Both great books. We saw Mr. Hosseini speak in Santa Rosa, and Betty enjoyed hearing him speak so much that she's now reading The Kite Runner.

Finally, we went back to our bed and breakfast in Sonoma, the Victorian Garden Inn, where they can make roses out of toilet paper. You may be thinking that I'm going to make some kind of comment about how roses need to be fertilized, but I had to use the toilet paper rose to kill a spider that was chillin' in our room. Death by toilet paper flower!

My first impressions of Sonoma were that it's very hard to get around in. Highway 12, the main road through Sonoma, changes names and directions about 10 times. I felt like I was back home in Baton Rouge, where road names can change at any minute. But have no fear, we found our way to the wineries, which I'll blog about tomorrow.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Napa: Day 6

Day 6 of our vacation started with a bang and ended with a drunken stupor and a very long nap. Man, I miss Napa!

Our first winery was Alpha and Omega, which was in Rutherford - barely a mile away from our bed and breakfast. As this was our first winery, we were very impressed with the scenery: the lake and fountain directly outside the winery, the vine-covered entryway, and of course, Napa itself as the winery's backdrop. We got a good look at our first real wine grapes, then headed inside to do our first official wine tasting.

Here's the low-down on wine tastings: every wine tasting has a selection of wines that you either get to choose from or just drink. There's usually 3 in the smaller wineries, where there's not much supply. In larger wineries you can get 5 or 6 in a single tasting. Most wine tastings cost anywhere from $5 - $15, but we were armed with "free tastings" coupons from our bed and breakfast.

But as we didn't know how wine tastings worked at this point in our trip, we chatted it up with the guy who helped us at Alpha and Omega, Rick. Rick was extremely friendly and helpful. He told us about the winery, then gave us a little more info on how the grapes were grown, how different amounts of sunlight affect the grapes, etc. Then we started talking about Louisiana - everyone in Napa who learned we were from Louisiana expressed genuine concern about New Orleans and hoped people got their lives back on track. I love wine country.

We told Rick that we were uber-tourists, and he said that we should pace ourselves in wine country and do 2 wineries before lunch and 2 wineries after lunch. Betty and I thought this was a very low number of wineries to hit in one day, and were really aiming for 10.

But Rick was right. Oh boy was he ever right. But as uber-tourists, it was our job to ignore good advice and trek on, not stopping for snow, rain, sleet, hail nor high blood-alcohol contents.

Our second winery of the morning was the Franciscan. The Franciscan looked completely different than Alpha and Omega - in fact, all of the wineries we went to were pretty unique. The wine was okay, too. We got to keep our glasses, so we brought home souvenirs of our time at the Franciscan, which was pretty nice.

On to lunch!

Napa valley is home to some of the world's best restaurants. In fact, The French Laundry in Yountville was named the best restaurant in all of North and South America and the fourth best restaurant in the world by Restaurant Magazine. But at $500 per person, we decided instead to go eat in St. Helena, 10 minutes north of our bed and breakfast, where I got the "Very Adult Mac and Cheese."

We shopped in St. Helena for a while, even going to a place where we could do free tastings of olive oil, and then it was back to the wineries.

We hit a couple of places on the way back to our bed and breakfast, via the Silverado Trail. One place we went to was Mumm, which makes "sparkling wine." Sparkling wine is champagne, except they can't call it "champagne." It's like how only whiskey made in Bourbon county, Kentucky, can be called Bourbon. We tried 5 different types of sparkling wine and got considerably drunker as the tasting went on.

I even blogged at Mumm, but as I didn't have my computer on my trip, I blogged on paper in anticipation of turning that manual labor into an official Tanory Tantrum.

At Mumm we took a tour of how they make sparkling wine, which gave us a little time to sober up. We saw how they crush the grapes, add the yeast, mix everything together, age it, bottle it, and pack it into carts. Sparkling wine has a second fermentation that occurs within the bottle - ie, they make wine, put it into a bottle, then add more sugar and more yeast into the bottle. After the yeast dies and settles to the bottom of the bottle, they do some other stuff to make the yeast go towards the mouth of the bottle, then let the bottle's pressure blow the dead yeast out of the bottle. Asplode!

Next was Goosecross Cellars, where we learned how the wine's appearance can tell you if it's good or bad. But seeing as how I have bad eyes, I had to go to Plan B: Drinking the crap out of it.

At this point it should be noted that we drove home and walked to our final winery, Jessup's Cellar, which was just down the road from us. (And right next door to The French Laundry.)

Jessup's Cellar was by far the most fun. We chatted it up with the help, Zeke, who swirled Betty's wine because, in Zeke's words, "she sucked at it." Normally an insult like this would cause me to jump on the table and challenge the offending party to a duel. But in truth, Zeke was a green beret who was just doing time in Jessup's Cellar to wind down, which briefly made me second guess how smart a challenge to duel would be, and second, Betty really wasn't all that good at swirling her wine. (But she looked good doing it!)

It was good that we walked to Jessup's Cellar, because we stumbled on the way back. A "drunken stupor" is the best way of describing it. Along the way home we giggled over nothing, and Betty tells me that I attempted to make a very rousing speech to a mailbox. We finally made it back to the bed and breakfast, where I tried to get frisky with Betty but ended up abusing a stuffed animal. Afterwards, we slept from 6-10pm.

Ah, Napa! How I miss you!

Napa: Day 5

Day 5 of our vacation, we headed out of San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge, and tally hoed to Napa Valley. (Quick note: The Golden Gate Bridge is actually painted "International Orange," but "Golden Gate Bridge" sounds much better than "International Orange Bridge." Of course, "Tanory Tantrum Bridge" has a nice ring to it, too, if they ever decide to sell out naming rights of bridges just like they sold out the naming rights to every stadium in America.)

Driving through San Francisco was really beautiful - you've got the city, the mountains, the sea, the harbor, the gang signs on every inanimate object, etc. But driving through Sonoma and over to Napa was something else entirely. The landscape looks entirely different, and is beautiful in its own way. The hills weren't as green as we expected - they actually looked a lot more yellow - but that made the green crops stand out that much more.

We decided to stop along the way to Napa and hike up through Muir Woods, home to some really tall redwoods and one of the largest urban national parks in the world. And let's face it, we knew that if we didn't do all this sightseeing before we got to Napa, we'd be too drunk to do it afterwards. We hiked a mile uphill, looked around for a while, then trekked back down.

Okay, enough trees, let's drink some wine!

We drove down Highway 37 through Sonoma to Napa, then up Highway 29 until we hit our first stop in Napa: COPIA, the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts. (Nobody knows what COPIA actually stands for, by the way.)

Our first stop in COPIA was a wine tasting, where we learned how to swirl our wine to get maximum oxidation, which helps to make the wine more flavorful. I swirled my wine so well that it became a miniature hurricane in my glass. Afterwards, my wine certainly smelled and tasted better, but after a COPIA helper refilled my glass a couple of times, it all started to taste the same regardless of swirlage.

Quick interlude: My dad went to a wine tasting once in Lafayette. The people around him would comment on the wine - they'd smell the "bouquet" and remark on how they could smell apples, berries, cherries, etc. They'd sip and swirl wine in their mouths then comment on the type of wood used in the barrels to age the wine. They'd tilt their glass and remark on the wine's color. Then my dad would raise his hand and tell the emcee, "Mmm, I like this one!" I've got to give my dad credit on this one - if you like the wine, that's all that matters. But it was fun to learn about how to enhance your enjoyment of not just wine but any food by enjoying it with all of your senses.


COPIA also taught us the basics of how wine is made. They gave us an overview via a PowerPoint presentation, then delved into a pretty nice little lecture. But seeing as how this reminded me of college, I suddenly felt the urge to skip class, so Betty and I walked out into COPIA's beautiful gardens, where they grow grapes and other tasty stuff.

We left COPIA and checked into our bed and breakfast, the Lavender in Yountville. If you ever have a chance to go to Napa and are looking for a great place to stay, check out the Lavender. The place was fantastic!

Of course, the little old lady who checked us in went out to our car and yanked the luggage out of the trunk, then started dragging it to our room. I was mortified! Here I was, a young buck in the prime of my life, watching and pleading with a little old lady to let me lug my own bags around. The little lady, Marion, was born in England and just loved Napa so much that she decided to move there. She was probably the nicest person we met our entire vacation - she was definitely a major part of the Lavender's charm. And most importantly, she was famous around the wineries for making big burly men feel emasculated by dragging their 60 pound suitcases to their rooms.

Sweating and panting after pulling our luggage around, Marion tells us about the Fourth of July activities going on in the area. We decided to take her advice and walk to the Veteran's Home a couple of blocks away, which is the largest veteran's home in the nation. (Not as exciting as seeing the world's biggest frying pan, but still a lot of fun.) We partied it up with the locals, but seeing as how we arrived at the veteran's home 3 hours before the fireworks were set to go off, we walked past some wine fields to Bistro Jeanty where we dined on Cassoulet until it was time to watch the fireworks outside.

So day 5 of our vacation ended in spectacular fireworks. But Day 6, as you'll get to read tomorrow, knocked us off our feet.

Friday, July 13, 2007

San Francisco, Day 4

Day 4 of our vacation was an adventure! Now that we had totally conquered all of San Francisco, it was time to see what else we could plant our flag on, so to speak. So we rented a car from Enterprise - everyone said to get a convertible, but seeing as how most of California is mountains, steep slopes and tectonic plates, we went with the monster off-road vehicle of all time:

A Saturn Ion.

Okay, so I opted for an Economy class car. So sue me!

We took Highway 1 from San Francisco down the scenic route to Big Sur. If you were to drive straight from Saint Frank to Big Sur, it would take about 2 hours. But we stopped off at all the major cities along the way, and the total trip down to Big Sur was 7 hours.

Driving down California's west coast, I suddenly understood why so many people in California are concerned about the environment. California has some of the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen. The mountains are a great backdrop, the smell of the sea reminds one of vacation, and the hills are alive with the sound of music (probably from a concert filled with hippies). In Baton Rouge, all we have is concrete, power lines and sweltering heat, so we feel as if the environment is the least of our worries.

The mountains of California are not just great backdrops - they also make fun roads. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster all the way down to Big Sur. And most of the time, when you drive down a mountain, the road goes to the right, then swerves back to the left, then back to the right.

Lombard Street, the "crookedest street in the world," follows this basic philosophy. In fact, Lombard street was designed to be so crooked so that people would be able to drive their cars down an incredibly steep slope. If you were to drive straight down Lombard street, just as if you were to drive straight down a mountain, your brakes would be completely useless.

So we took these windy roads down to Santa Cruz, the first city on our trip to Big Sur. Santa Cruz has a nice beach, and lots of things for the family, too. They even have a big ferris wheel. We only stayed a few minutes, but it looked like a lot of fun. Hello and goodbye, Santa Cruz!

Monterey was our next stop. By this time we had been traveling for a good hour or so, and we were hungry. So we stopped off at Monterey's own Fisherman's Wharf and chowed down at a restaurant that Rachel Ray went to on her TV show "$40 a Day."

We drove through Carmel on our way through Monterey. Clint Eastwood used to be the mayor of Carmel, so the crime rate is really low - nobody wants to get on Clint's bad side!

Next we hit Pebble Beach. There's a golf course called Pebble Beach, as well as a beach with huge pebbles on it. Pebbles aren't the only thing on this beach... if you see a log at Pebble Beach, it's mine - I dropped one there. Pebble Beach also has birds that crap on everything, sea lions, huge cypress trees, and an infestation of tourists.

So we finally got to Big Sur. There's a city called Big Sur, but "Big Sur" is also a 90-mile stretch of California's west coast, so we called it a day once we hit that area and just turned around. It's all about the journey, not so much the destination. But along the way to Big Sur and back, we saw a lot of other great stuff, like migrant workers, more mountains, scary bridges, and all kinds of marine life, such as surfer dudes.

But it was good to be back at our hotel after a long day out on the road. And after spending so much time in the car, we treated ourselves to In-N-Out burgers and Ghirardelli's. And, man, they really aren't lying when they call them "In-N-Out" burgers - be sure to wear a diaper if you ever have the chance to eat there.

All I can say is: Big Sur and California's West Coast: Conquered!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

San Francisco: Day 3

Day 3 in San Francisco was special for many reasons. First, it was my 3 year anniversary of tricking my wife into marrying me. (A trip to San Francisco counts as an anniversary gift, right? Good! Whew!) Second, it was special because Day 3 was my Orange #2 day.

We wanted to go to Sausalito for our anniversary. Sausalito is a little town right across the bay from San Francisco, and we heard good things about it, such as it was cute, it had great restaurants, and it was fun - all of which turned out to be filthy lies. But as we didn't know this yet, we started off our day heading over to the Ferry Building via the F Market trolley (first passing our Blazing Saddles friend - "Bike the bridge, woohoo!") to buy tickets for our ferry ride to Sausalito.

We had a couple of hours to kill before our ferry took off, so we decided to do some hardcore sight-seeing. We headed over to the west side of San Francisco to the area known as "The Castro" - the predominantly gay area.

I can tell you this much - I definitely know why Christian Conservatives hate gay people with a passion. All of the gay people in San Francisco were thin, wore nice clothes, had nicely trimmed mustaches and goatees, and ran some of the nicest restaurants in all of San Fran. Basically, they were just about as French as you could possibly be. And we all hate the French.

To be honest, we didn't see many people in the Castro area. That doesn't mean we didn't see a lot of gay people - for all we know, there are gay people that are able to move around in the sunlight as daywalkers, who look and act just like us. So it's possible we met more than our share of the gays. (For the record, everyone in San Fran was extremely nice.) But since the Castro generally looked like everything in San Fran, other than having the more than usual amount of men oggling my ass, we headed over to the Haight-Ashbury area.

The Haight-Ashbury area is the historic home of the Hippies. All of the buildings are painted with psychedelic pictures, everyone wears tie-dyed shirts except for the topless women smoking weed and gathering for concerts, and there are lots and lots of homeless people. We stopped at a McDonald's so I could ride my favorite ride, and we had to be buzzed into the bathrooms as a precaution against homeless people wandering in and out.

But seeing as how we were more scared of the Hippies than the homeless people, we escaped the Haight-Ashbury area by slipping into the Golden Gate State Park. We walked up the maintenance road, dubbed Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (which, by the way, was the whitest MLK Drive I've ever seen), where we sought sanctuary at a Japanese Tea Garden.

The Japanese Tea Garden was the only thing about the entire first half of Day 3 that we enjoyed. There was nice scenery, cool architecture, friendly people, delicious tea, and most importantly, I got a really good fortune.

Okay, this is getting rather long, so let's sum up the rest of the day:

Went to the "Full House" house, which didn't look like it at all, but we watched the intro again on YouTube and it does in fact appear to be it.

Took the ferry to Sausalito, stayed an hour, then left. We might have enjoyed it more if it wasn't 105 degrees outside.

We ate dinner at a great place called Frascati. On the way there we walked down Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the universe.

We were going to celebrate our anniversary in the traditional fashion, but as most of you probably know, married men don't get lovin'. But lucky for us, we made it back to our hotel just in time for its 5-6pm wine tasting, and promptly passed out afterwards. A "happy ending" to Day 3.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

San Francisco: Day 2. The Sequel.

San Fran day 2 was a blast! I dressed in Orange, as per my rainbow attire, then we headed over to Pier 33 where we hopped on a ferry to take us to Alcatraz. Along the way to the pier we saw our buddy, the Blazing Saddles dude ("Bike the bridge, woohoo!").

Alcatraz was really neat. As everyone knows, Alcatraz was used as a federal prison, and held some of the world's most famous criminals, like Al Capone (who had syphilis, or the French Pox as us history buffs call it), Machine Gun Kelly, Robert Stroud (aka, the Birdman of Alcatraz - he was half-man, half-bird), and most recently, Bobby and Betty. We definitely put the 'mate' in 'inmates.'

One interesting thing about Alcatraz was that it was occupied by Native Americans for 18 months, calling themselves the Indians of All Tribes. The end result of this occupation was that the American Government recognized more of Native Americans' rights, and then taught them how to run casinos.

After we got sprung from Alcatraz, we went to eat lunch at Cioppino's. Cioppino, pronounced cheep-een-no, is based on a stew or soup where different sailors would just chip in different fish, tree bark, salt water, etc, and the end result would be a tasty treat. As tasty as that sounds, I went with the Dungeness crab pizza. When in Rome....

After a fine dose of Dungeness and Dragons pizza, we had no choice but to hike over to Ghirardelli's and get some ice cream smothered with chocolate. Afterwards I blacked out from the sugar high, but they tell me that I was running around half-naked, frothing at the mouth and scaring children, stopping at every table to pour molten chocolate all over my body.

At some point my sugar high turned into a sugar low, so we headed back to the hotel. We arrived just in time for our hotel's daily 5-6 pm free wine tasting. Here we met Peter and Stella from Pittsburgh, and some very nice people from Alberta, Canada. The Canadian guy was of Lebanese descent, and his wife was a teacher. Sound familiar? Peter was an older gentleman who ruminated about life and departed wisdom to his young apprentice, and Stella is a former ballerina who could have probably drunk us under the table.

After we finished our wine and said goodbye to our new friends, it was time to eat dinner. So we drunkenly stumbled over to The Stinking Rose, a restaurant specializing in dishes made with garlic. Betty got the gnocchi, and I got the 40-clove chicken, just in case there were any vampires around.

Afterwards it was time to go home and get some sleep, because the next day was our 3 year anniversary, and we needed to rest up for our trip to Sausalito. We walked through China Town to catch the cable car, which eventually took us back to our hotel. As I laid my head down on my pillow, I was thankful that I had found somebody who had put up with my crap for 3 years.

In closing, Betty wants me to tell you that the links in the above post are mostly linked to pictures of our trip. So for you less-knowledgeable computer users, that means you need to click on all of the blue, underlined text. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

San Francisco: Day 1. A novel by Bobby Tanory

Introduction

While I wait for my family to send me pictures of my new nephew (is this a subtle enough hint for you, family???), I might as well spend this time doing something constructive: blogging about my San Fran trip.

Prologue

We arrived at the Baton Rouge airport just in time to hurry up and wait. And wait. And wait. Our plane was delayed, but thankfully another plane heading over to Houston was able to accommodate us. By accommodate, I mean that I ended up being squeezed into the overhead compartment. At least I got pretzels.

From Houston we hopped right onto a plane that sailed us straight to Saint Frank. It was bittersweet leaving Houston because I knew at any moment a new Tanory could arrive into this world, pimping out his onesies and macking on all the hot little houchie mamas in the infirmary. The closer I got to rest, relaxation and drunken debauchery, the more likely this little guy would burst onto the scene. It was a race against time.

Chapter 1: Learning the Land

The cab ride from the San Francisco airport to our hotel in the Fisherman's Wharf area was not exactly as thrilling as our cab ride in New York - for instance, there were no left-turns on red from the right-most lane, no two-wheeled turns through heavy traffic, and no yelling and cursing at pedestrians - but then again it was midnight. We basically were treated to a moonlight tour of the city, which was beautiful. We passed by Monster Park (formerly Candlestick Park), AT&T Park (currently hosting the All Star game), and Coit Tower (a phallic-like protrusion that would only be acceptable in San Francisco). And at the end of our midnight endeavour was our hotel, the Argonaut, where we slept like babies. (There was something about babies that needed to be stressed at this point... hmm, what could it be?)

In the morning we awoke bright and early, fully adjusted to Pacific Time, and began our official stunt as Uber-Tourists. Outside of our hotel was a place called "Blazing Saddles," which rented bicycles that you can use to bike across the Golden Gate bridge. A friendly Blazing Saddles employee noticed us, assessed us as his first advertising market of the day, and yelled, "Bike the bridge, woohoo!" Our first solicitation!

But biking the bridge would have to wait, as we already had other plans. We walked across the street to the Embarcadero (Spanish for "pier"), which is just a street that has a bunch of piers, restaurants, sea lions and ships, and did a couple of touristy things there, like talk about how much weight we were going to gain on our vacation. In Pier 39 - the most touristy of all the piers - we borded a tour trolley that took us on a 2.5 hour trip around the city.

On our tour we realized that we had overpacked a bunch of shorts, short-sleeved shirts, and bathing suits, and had underpacked things that we really needed in San Fran, such as wool sweaters, long johns and electric blankets. Who knew San Fran was so cold?! When we left Baton Rouge it was 92, and on this nice California morning it was 55.

San Francisco is very cold and windy. The coldness has to do with being by the bay, where the fog cools everything off. The wind sometimes comes from the bay, but usually it just swirls throughout the city. Ask anyone in San Francisco about the weather and they'll give you a detailed explanation with full arm motions and everything - it's almost as if everyone is studying to be a weatherman.

Chapter 2: Seeing the Sights

The first stop on our tour was to the Palace of Fine Arts. To be honest, I didn't realize that San Francisco had anything other than gay people, hippies, and Barry Bonds, so this Palace of Fine Arts thing really blew my mind. It's a remnant from the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915 that was held in San Francisco. There's actually a lot of interesting history to this place, but we liked it because it was big.

We hopped back on the trolley and drove to the Golden Gate Bridge. You've seen this bridge if you've ever watched "Full House," and it's perfectly okay to admit that you watched Full House as a kid and furthermore that you still watch reruns of it to this day. Anyway, there was this little shop right by the bridge where I bought a San Francisco jacket because I was frickin freezing. I got a red jacket, since it was Day 1 - and as you can see from my rainbow attire chart below, Day 1 = Red.



I'll just mention some other stuff we saw on our tour and throughout the day, since we'll be getting to most of them in later blogs. We saw Fort Point, Union Square, China Town, Japan Town, Lombard street (the crookedest street in the nation), sea lions, the Cannery, Del Monte Square and homeless people. What a tour!

Chapter 3: Family Ties

Betty's cousin Taylor drove cross-country from Atlanta to Vancouver, and he happened to be in San Francisco when we were there, so we met up at Pier 39 and from there made our way over to Coit Tower. Coit Tower is where you go to get a nice view of the city, but getting there is a 2.5 hour tour in and of itself. When your parents told you that, when they were kids, they had to walk a mile, up-hill, both ways, in the snow, they probably went to school on top of Coit Tower. I'm glad I upheld my honor as an Uber-Tourist and made the climb, but damn do I need to get back into shape.

Spending the day with Tayor, his ladyfriend Christina and their bud Joshua was a lot of fun. But eventually they had to get home and we had to get to the Giants game, where we hoped Barry Bonds had injected himself with enough horse adrenaline to beat Hank Aaron's homerun record, and if he couldn't, then to see his head explode from all the steroids. Either way would be a win-win situation for me.

Epilogue

After a full day of touring the city, walking up sloped hills, running for buses and shouting obscenities at Barry Bonds, it was time to call it a night.

I've been away from the blog for too long to know when to shut up. Sorry for the incredibly long post. I'll try to keep it shorter in the future. But you know, if my family would just send me pictures of my nephew so I'll have something to do, this wouldn't be an issue.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Return of the Tantrum!

Ah, it's so good to be back home in front of my computer, half-naked and unshaven, right where I belong! I can't tell you how much I missed you all, loving readers! I want you to know that I bought you all something in San Francisco, but Continental Airlines lost it. I've certainly learned my lesson: next time I'll carry gifts on the plane with me instead of checking and/or drinking them.

I'd love to get started blogging the crap out of my San Fran trip, but first things first. I have a special announcement:

My sister-in-law is giving birth to my nephew as I type this.


(Blog interlude:

Dearest nephew, if you're reading this in the future - you know, like after my blog is put into book form and becomes so incredibly popular that it's put in every hotel room like the Bible, graffitied on buildings and sent as spam mail to anyone dumb enough to read spam mail - I want you to know that I wanted to be at least in the same city as you instead of at home blogging, but unfortunately I had to work really late all week to make up for not being at work the week before. I'm sure you understand. If you're reading this but are too young to understand, then let me make it simpler: it's your dad's fault for moving so far away, otherwise I could be with you. If you're a teenager then you already know that everything is your dad's fault.)


As most parents in today's world are morons and let their children run around like complete a-holes, I'm pretty sure that my young nephew will grow to rule the world (or at least a small empire in the southern hemisphere). If he's anything like his favorite uncle (ahem), he'll be smart, handsome, well hung and athletic, with just a dash of supernatural charisma. Of course, if he's like his da-da then he can look forward to having an incredibly awesome younger brother who will aggravate him to no end. Good times!

So here's to you, young nephew. May you be as smart as your mom and dad, as good at poker as your grandparents, as sweet as your aunt Reba and aunt BB, and as hairy as your uncle Bebo.