The family went up to Mountain View in Silicon Valley on Wednesday. We were all supposed to fly but my wife Debby couldn’t get all of the latkas into the suitcase. A car was required. Actually a deuce-and-a-half was required, but she managed to squeeze them into the Prius. For awhile I thought we’d have to strap the applesauce jars to the roof.
Kim’s family from Boston also made the journey. They rented a house in nearby Mountain View and invited us all for dinner on Wednesday night. It was lovely but a tad weird. There we were in some stranger’s house, eating in their dining room, pictures of their family all around. I can see the reality show now: HOME INVASION COOKING.
Stayed at the Sheraton Palo Alto. It’s next to the Westin. They’re essentially the exact same, but the Sheraton is twenty steps closer to the Bloomingdale’s in the mall. It was also Black Fridikkah you know.
The only thing my daughter Annie likes more than watching football on Thanksgiving is getting her wisdom teeth pulled with bolt cutters. So I got dropped off at Matt & Kim’s while the girls went skeet shooting or something. I dunno, they just drove away very fast. Thanks to Kim’s dad for carving. Especially with that electric knife. Had I had the honors it would have looked like the Tate-Labianca crime scene. Dinner itself was fabulous. Kim is a great cook and Matt can really open wine. I can’t describe the joy of looking around the table at all my loved ones, secure in the knowledge that the real occupants of the house are not going to come home early.
Black Friday begins earlier each year. This is good news for the idiots who camp out at Best Buy for nine days to save $4 on a battery recharger. But the novelty of shopping at midnight is gone. Now the madness begins at 8:00. If they open any earlier the actual Thanksgiving dinner will give way to tailgate parties.
On Friday we all took the CalTrans train that goes right through our room at the Sheraton straight into San Francisco. Went to Scoma’s for lunch. They have the best seafood and shortest Italian name on Fisherman’s Wharf. A San Francisco mainstay, there are celebrity photos everywhere. We sat right under Shari Lewis & Lambchop and Chili Davis.
Must say I was disappointed in the street performers on the Wharf this year. Did not see the guy who jumps out of a bush and scares the shit out of people. Nor was there the Liza Minnelli impersonator who essentially elicits the same reaction. Just a few guys spray-painted gold and Taylor Hicks.
Scary moment that night walking home from a restaurant. A bus approached as we were crossing the street. Its destination sign said: “SORRY.” Holy shit, was it planning to hit us?” The sign changed to “NOT IN SERVICE.”
Saturday was the Stanford-Notre Dame football game. There’s nothing like a college town during a big game weekend. Rowdy Stanford students and alumni packed the coffee bars and martini lounges ordering scones and extra olives until they had to be cut off.
Debby and Annie drove back, leisurely hitting every outlet store between Gilroy and Oxnard. I flew home so that I could get in my car and drive to San Diego. Destination: Qualcomm Stadium where the San Diego Chargers were hosting the Cincinnati Bengals. Football fans are a hearty breed. Every week you see them brave punishing arctic conditions, monsoons, and typhoons to sit a thousand miles from the action or just stand for five straight hours with no relief. In San Diego on December 1st it was 75 degrees with clear skies. They didn’t sell out. The game was blacked out locally – the first TV blackout in the NFL this year. But shadows were expected so I’m sure that kept a lot of fans away. Explain to me again why Los Angeles doesn’t have an NFL team but San Diego does. Explain to me why Oxnard doesn’t have an NFL team but San Diego does.
It turns out I was friends with all the radio announcers covering the game. Josh Lewin of the Chargers who once stayed at my house and didn’t break anything, and Dave Sims of Westwood One – my former Mariners partner who agreed it was wrong that I should take the fall for their last ten losing seasons. Also bumped into CBS’s Ian Eagle, the busiest sportscaster in America. He is currently in a stretch of ten cities in twelve days. This explains why he called a Charger field goal a three-pointer for the Knicks.
|Ian Eagle, Dan Hoard, some blogger|
The Bengals won (or, in Ian’s case – the Mighty Ducks won). There was a layer of grease on my car so thick it could probably squeeze through a CT-scan tube.
There is yet another mayoral election this Tuesday in San Diego. The last hizzoner resigned after 20 sexual harassment allegations of kissing, groping, and inappropriate headlocks in less than nine months in office. Toronto is missing a bet not calling itself the “San Diego of Canada.”
San Diego Union-Tribune headline: O.B. (Ocean Beach) Shrub Trimmer Faces Felony Charges.
Driving back to Los Angeles there’s always a horrific accident at Camp Pendleton that halts traffic for nine miles. I’m starting to think it’s the same accident. It actually occurred in 2004 and the poor driver is still trying to reach On-Star.
All in all, I had a great holiday. Anytime you can spend six days with your family, old friends, and the Cincinnati Bengals special team unit you have to consider yourself blessed. Hope your Thanksgivikkah went as well. Oh, in case you’re still looking to get me something for Chanukkah, I want Ian Eagle’s frequent flier miles.
If you enjoyed this, a book of my travelogues is still available. WHERE THE HELL AM I? TRIPS I HAVE SURVIVED makes the perfect holiday gift for the person who wants to go nowhere.