Archive for the ‘unemployment’ Category

Apparently Beggars CAN be choosers

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

My departure from San Francisco didn’t go as smoothly as I had expected. When I last posted, I was just waiting for the Salvation Army to come pick up my couch, my bed, some desk drawers and a plastic table & chair set I had on my back porch. I had never had any experience with the Salvation Army before, but I assumed they took peoples’ old stuff and gave it to the less fortunate.

It turns out that assumption was very inaccurate – the Salvation Army is pretty picky. Of all of my stuff, they were only willing to take my couch. The other stuff wasn’t new enough or in mint-enough condition. Well crap. I was planning on heading out of town as soon as they picked up my stuff, and now I’ve got all this stuff in my apartment an no way to get rid of it. I called my landlord to explain the situation, and she said she had never dealt with a problem like this before. Really? I just can’t believe this doesn’t happen fairly often. Surely other people have made the same mistake about “donating” the stuff they didn’t want any more. I mean I thought I was doing a good deed by making this donation, but now I was in quite a pickle.

After my landlord sounded like she was at a loss for ideas and was distraught about figuring out what to do, I had another idea. I called 1-800 GOT JUNK. It turns out this is a brilliant service. They were able to come the following day to pick up my junk. They were a little vague about how much they would charge me, but it sounded like it would be somewhere between $99 (minimum) and around $500 maximum. Sure that sounded steep since I thought someone should be happy to have my “junk,” but I was in a tough place and they sure seemed like my best option. I arranged for them to meet my landlord there first thing the following morning, and they were going to give me an estimate and then I would give them my credit card number over the phone.

I finally got out of town, but it was raining really hard and it was 5 PM on Friday by the time I returned my cable box and the keys to my drum rehearsal space. I was headed to Modesto to visit my friends there one last time on my way out of town. It took me 30 minutes just to get onto I-80, and it took another 2 1/2 hours to get to Modesto. Not as fond of a farewell to San Francisco as I might have hoped for.

The next morning my landlord called and said that the painters showed up at my apartment and said they wanted my “junk,” so she just called 1-800 GOT JUNK and canceled my appointment. (sigh) well at least it got resolved.  I must say I was very impressed with my experience with the good folks at GOT JUNK and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again should I find myself in the same situation.

I don’t consider my real road trip to have begun until Friday, when I left Modesto. I’ll give you a recap of the first day on the road shortly…

10 Things I’ll Miss About San Francisco

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

I decided about a month ago that I’m leaving San Francisco and moving back to Atlanta (where I grew up). It was a very difficult decision – as cities go San Francisco is hard to beat. Still, I’ve just had this gut feeling that I wanted to move back home sometime, and now seems like as convenient of a time as I’ll ever find. I will miss many things about San Francisco, and here are ten of those things. Those of you who still live here, remember to take advantage of them.

10) Food – almost every restaurant I’ve been to in this city is great. I can’t imagine how fierce the competition is in the restaurant business, but it sure is nice to be a customer. Some favorites that I’ll remember fondly are: Andalu, Izzy’s, Tokyo Go Go, Godzilla, Slanted Door, countless cheap high-quality Pho places, Tu Lan, Firefly, La Taqueria, EOS, The Pork Store Cafe, Trattoria Contadina, Burma Super Star, Dragon Well, Firecracker, Giordano Bros., Ozumo, Fog City Diner, In-n-out. The list goes on and on, but I have to stop because I’m getting sad.

9) My Apartment – I’ve moved a lot in the last decade, and prior to my current apartment I’ve felt like all I needed was a place to put my stuff. I still feel like that’s all I need, but it sure is nice to have a place that I love. Thanks to Carrie for convincing me to spend more than I wanted to on rent 🙂 My apartment is a one bedroom loft with 1.5 bathrooms and a back porch where I have a beloved weber gas grill (no, it’s not called a barbecue, silly west-coasters). It’s also located in the heart of Noe Valley, which I will get to shortly. Here are some pics of it when it was naked before I moved in:

Noe Apt 1 sm Noe Apt sm 2

8 ) My Neighborhood – Like I said, I’m in the heart of Noe Valley. I live right next door to a grocery store, and right across the street from a Taqueria and a great Breakfast/Brunch restaurant. I have 3 coffee places, 3 bars, and two bagel places within a one-block radius, and a little farmer’s market on weekends in a nearby parking lot. Sure, it’s true I have to deal with the stroller parades on the weekends, but it’s well worth it. I really feel like Noe Valley is one of the best kept secrets in the city.

7) Walking – I’ll just never do it in Atlanta, and that’s kind of depressing. I know I’ll drive everywhere. I love putting on my headphones and walking around the city. When my unemployment first started, the weather was still beautiful. I’d fire up my iPod and walk to Dolores park, where I would just chill out and read for a few hours. I fear there will be no comparable experience in Atlanta. Then again, hopefully I’ll be employed again shortly so maybe I won’t miss it as much as I think.

6) Wash & Fold – When I lived in NY, really the only option for laundry was to pay for Wash & Fold service. I fell in love instantly, so when I moved to SF and saw that it was offered right down my street (and also discovered that the dryers in my building can’t dry for crap), I was once again hooked. Now, I had to break-up with the first Wash & Fold place because they kept losing socks, changing the color of other socks, and giving me some lady’s underwear (big and not sexy if you were wondering). It looks like the current place is getting sloppy too, but it’s worth enduring ’cause it’s so nice to not have to do laundry myself.

5) My Gym – It’s pretty cool to be able to have Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Yoga all in one place. I also get to train with two phenoms: Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez. If you’re at all curious you should go check out Fairtex. I hope I don’t get fat when I move. Actually, my other MMA/BJJ coach Alex is fighting tonight in Lemoore.

4) Bubble Tea – You’re probably thinking “hey, couldn’t this fit under food?” Well yeah, maybe. But damn, 10 is a lot of things to come up with. Bubble Tea is that Asian delicacy that puts tapioca pearls at the bottom of their milk tea beverages, and gives you a giant straw so you can slurp the pearls through the straw. They are dee-licious (even though the first time you try one you might think it’s weird). I’m kind of a Lactard, and I still think they’re so tasty they’re worth the mild stomach ache!! Quickly is my favorite chain, Thai iced tea is my favorite beverage.

Quickly Thai Iced Tea

3) Live Music – Wow this is a great city to see live music. Every band worth seeing will make it to San Francisco sooner or later, and every venue here has it’s own charm and personality. The Fillmore has a greeter!! That’s probably where Wal Mart got the idea. I’m surprised and tickled every time I see that guy and hear “welcome to the Fillmore” in a booming voice.

The Shows that really left an impression on me: Ray Lamontagne at the Warfield, Spoon at the Fillmore, Feist at Bimbo’s, Wilco at the paramount, Josh Rouse solo at the Swedish Hall, Broken Social Scene at the Grand, The Arcade Fire at the Warfield, The Decemberists (at both the Warfield and the Fillmore), Guns n’ Roses at the Warfield, The Polyphonic Spree at the Great American Music Hall, The New Pornographers at the Warfield. I’ll really miss those venues and the convenience of getting a last minute ticket on Craig’s List.

2) The Mountain Winery – this could fall under the general category of music, but it deserves its own mention. I think it’s my favorite venue ever. First show I saw there was Damien Rice, and I think it was the best. He played past his curfew and they pulled the plug on him – literally. That somehow made it so much cooler. Still I would go see absolutely anyone there just to be there – that venue is very close to heaven.  In the future I can really see myself planning a visit to the area around this concert schedule.

1) The People – All that other stuff is just stuff. It really wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable without good company, and I’ve enjoyed plenty of good company during my time in San Francisco. I look at my friends the same way I look at music. It’s cool to explore a number of different kinds of music and try to understand and appreciate them. I’ve been fortunate to have friends and coworkers from several different “genres” here, and it’s made it a really rich experience. It makes me sad to think that it might be hard to keep in touch with 2,500 miles and 3 hours between us, but luckily most folks in SF are tech-savvy and I know that really helps our chances. Add me on Facebook if you haven’t already!

That’s my list. I think my next post might be about the things I’m looking forward to in Atlanta. Stay tuned.

“To learn all about those things you just can’t buy”

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Comcast now has the first season of “Silver Spoons” available On Demand for free. In general I hate Comcast. I think they are an epitome of an evil corporate giant. They charge way too much for cable, and they fill my mailbox with glossy fliers every week trying to convince me to use their internet and home phone service. Their customer service is bad. But I have to give them credit that some parts of On Demand are awesome.

Silver Spoons

Rules of Unemployment – a little back story on how I stumbled on this discovery. I have established many rules for myself while unemployed. First and foremost is that I won’t watch any TV during the day – generally meaning 9 to 5. I even go so far as to cover my TV with a blanket so I won’t be tempted in a fleeting moment of boredom.

However, since I’m my own boss there are certain loopholes to all of my rules. If I’m home and eating a meal by myself, I will sometimes turn on the TV. Especially if I’ve taken the time to cook myself something tasty. So that’s what happened today – I made myself a bacon, egg & cheese bagel sandwich and I figured I should sit down and enjoy it. I’m caught up on all of my Tivo backlog, so I decided to peruse On Demand and I saw “Silver Spoons” under their “top picks” category. At first I thought it probably wasn’t THE silver spoons, but I was excited to find out it was. So here it’s only 10:30 AM, and I’ve already spent 30 minutes of my day breaking rule #1. In some ways I’m an awesome boss, and in some ways I kind of let myself down by being such a push-over.
Time Machine – It is really weird to go back and watch this show from my childhood now that I’m closer to Ricky’s dad’s age than Ricky’s age. It’s also weird to see just how different the world is and Sitcoms are compared to 1982 (that’s 25 years ago, which is terrifying to me). A few observations:

  • The characters are all caricatures – there is no subtlety of any kind in the show. I remembered the show being great when I was a kid, but now when you watch it the dialogue is on par with Saved by the Bell. It’s funny and terrible at the same time.
  • The production is so simple – there is no background music at any part. It really feels more like watching a play than a TV show because of this. Many many clips on YouTube have better production values than this show.
  • Kate Summers is pretty – she is Edward Stratton III’s personal secretary. The fact that she’s pretty isn’t necessarily a surprise, but she is not hot. She is not sexy at all by today’s standards. She is wearing a below-the-knee skirt and a long-sleeve blouse that doesn’t really give you an idea of what kind of figure she has. Her hair is 80’s big, and her pretty face is really what defines the character. There’s still clearly sexual tension between Mr. Stratton and Kate, but it’s not in your face and it doesn’t need to be. If this show were produced today, I just imagine she’d come off a little sluttier, and it’s kind of a nice change of pace that she’s not the slightest bit slutty. I mean I’d still like to see her naked, but it’s different.
  • Ricky’s roommate in military school is played by Jason Bateman, and he is a huge asshole. It was just one of those “oh wow, look who that is” moments.

I’m sure the rest of my day will be extremely focused to make up for that early infraction, but I thought my discovery was worth sharing. If you have Comcast, you should take 30 minutes and enjoy this blast from the past. I’m pretty sure I won’t watch another episode today, but I’m also pretty sure I’ll watch the whole season before too long.