We’re currently in Oakland…thinking of going to San Jose later…

After a walking filled day (details in A Tour of Countercultures on KG’s blog) we were eager to spend an evening sitting…sitting in the ball park stands that is! We were disappointed to find out that the San Francisco Giants didn’t have any home games while we were in town, however one of KG’s friends pointed out that the Oakland A’s played 3 times this weekend. How convenient! And it was actually convenient because the BART train runs from a station only blocks from our hostel right to Oakland Coliseum.
While on the train KG got a little anxious. Her history with transit isn’t exactly exemplary and there were multiple lines going to multiple cities going through our station. Despite having researched it fully before hand she got panicked that our train wouldn’t stop where we needed to be. We both knew it did so I, being the patient & empathetic person I am, just ignored her.
When our train arrived at the station (as I knew it would) we followed the crowd to the stadium. It was very unclear where to enter the building, although we did find a nice man to direct us. Our impression of the Coliseum?
“I don’t like all of this concrete & chain-link…I feel like I’m entering a prison.” – KG
The interior was an improvement, although definitely not up to AT&T Park standards (but now I’m getting a day ahead). Maybe it was just that they didn’t invest much in the upper tier concourses, but we found the place lacking in amenities. Where were the TVs? I feel like you should be able to go anywhere in the building without missing anything (that’s how it is at our arena at home) but it was impossible to follow the game during concession visits. And getting anywhere from our cheap seats was like an impossible maze…one with no signs…well that would be ones like “Merchandise behind Section 209” but then no direction on how to get behind Section 209, which involved going down levels through the stands. Where are the back staircases? Anyway, enough ranting…
The game itself was a delight! We pretended we were Oakland fans and cheered & booed along with the hometown crowd:
We made sure to munch on delicacies the ball park had to offer, aka hot dogs & churros. I love churros!
As the sun went down and the game continued under the lights it got a bit chilly. We sweatered up and continued to soak in the atmosphere. Live sporting events are so much fun. It always amazes me how much a person links their identity to the team they cheer for and how passionate a crowd can get πŸ™‚ The game had a low score with only two runs, both by the A’s, having been completed going into the top of the 9th. The Rays came back to get one, but it was too little too late and root, root rooting for the home team ended up being a good idea!

Post-game was a fireworks show! Yay! Although again we were confused and the whole thing seemed very unstructured. For the regulars I’m sure it was a breeze but we felt jostled and lost. In the end it cost us a viewing spot on the field. We did get right down in the bottom level though and had an amazing view of a spectacular show. The whole thing was timed to Green Day music, as it was Green Day A’s Day…not really sure why, but it made for an even more thrilling show. There were a lot of fireworks, with a wide variety and length. I wouldn’t have expected such a will produced show from a place that offers this at least monthly. Fireworks are not cheap and that display would have broke me!

I know I have complained quite a bit about the Oakland Coliseum but I have to give them props: they know how to control a crowd! When leaving we were ready for the train station to be an absolute madhouse…but it was the smoothest exit I have ever had from a sporting event (and that includes one at my same town arena!). KG, being someone with logistical experience had some thoughts on the situation as well as the full story. Check out her β€œWhy are people stopping? Oh, churros! That’s allowed.” post.

Our hostel had organized a party in the basement common area for last night. Unfortunately it started at 9:30 and by the time we got back from Oakland things were starting to wind down. Or maybe I should say fortunately because once we’d changed out of our outdoor layers and got downstairs with our bottle of wine we were too tired to be convinced to go out to the club with the remaining drinkers. We felt a little lame, but were perfectly content in that. As people filed out it freed up the pool table and we decided this would be our night:
In the end things got better as a few French men joined us. I think their names were Thomas & Thomas, although KG thinks I’m wrong. It’s entirely possible; I have a bad habit of not listening to people when they tell me their name. We played best of three for both pool and foosball. I am proud to say that my team kept it close for pool, although we lost in 2 games. It was an accomplishment though because KG’s partner was quite good. But then he was my partner for foosball and we totally won πŸ™‚ Although it didn’t result its many crazy stories as the night before it was a really great time and perfect for how low-key we were feeling.

Until tomorrow!
Love & Luck,


Homeless or Hippie: A Game for All Occasions

Ladies & Gentleman…Young & Old…Please gather around as I introduce to you the greatest game to ever be invented. Some have gone as far as to praise it as the “most fun game ever” and “even more fun than our awful Justin Bieber trivia game.” Let me introduce to you:
Homeless or Hippie!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know you are all eager to learn how to play but first let me explain a bit of its origins. While exploring San Francisco yesterday KG and I wandered into the Haight-Ashbury district (you can read all about our day at A Tour of Countercultures). KG mentioned that when she was in this part of the city 2 years ago she found it difficult to distinguish who was homeless and who was just a hippie. We laughed and continued navigating through the eccentric neighborhood. But being the creative, inspired and slightly asshole-ish person that I am, I knew this could go beyond a mear comment…it could be a sensation that would sweep the nation! And Homeless or Hippie was born.

Now because you have been so patient I will teach you how to play. I find rules are usually best understood when accompanied by an example. You might think this is excessive, being as there are actually only 5 steps in this game. However it is a lot more involved than you think so lets play a round together right now.

Step 1 – Identify a Subject
I have done this for you this time…

Step 2 – Ask yourself “Homeless or Hippie?”
This part seems simple, but it is definitely the most difficult part. Initial judgements are not always correct. Consider our example specimen:
Tie-Dye screams Hippie. But then you look at how dirty it is and wonder if the shirt was simply the only one she found in the Goodwill. Take in the ripped jeans…Homeless? But the general style of her outfit…Hippie? For me I think the fact that she is wearing a hat for fashion rather than function gives it away…

Step 3 – Yell out your Answer!*
You’ve examined all the angles, you’ve considered all the possibilities and you’ve come to a laborious but well-thought-out decision. Now share it! This step is most effective when with other people who are also playing but can be executed even if you are alone.
For the above…HIPPIE!

Step 4 – Compare your responses with those around you.
Sometimes it may just be realizing you all came to the same conclusion. Sometimes it is realizing you we’re the only one who picked your choice. (Sometimes it is realizing you are the only one playing.) Either way, discuss how you came to your decision. Remember, Homeless or Hippie is a game of sportsmanship, so politely listen to others’ opinions & reasoning and only engage in constructive discussions.

Step 5 – Laugh!
This step will happen rather organically. The game is just too fun to resist!

Now that you know how to play I have kindly provided a collection of photos to practice with. These are all people I actually saw while walking down Haight Street. Yes, I was a creeper trying to stealthily talk their pictures without them noticing…but it’s totally legal since they were taken in a public place. However you might notice that I have taken steps to protect their identities. Tell me: Homeless or Hippie?

Got those ones? Then you’re moving on to the Advanced Class. When you’ve completed all these you will be ready to take the game to the streets: Homeless or Hippie?

Love & Luck,

*Disclaimer: Please consider your surroundings before completing Step 3. There are some situations when yelling out your answer can be difficult, dangerous or hurtful.

Dear San Francisco

Dear San Francisco,

Why do you close so excessively early? I mean all I wanted was a lovely evening full of the things I love, aka coffee shops and beer, and you keep trying to shut me down.

You’re like, “Oh, you want to have a warm beverage while doing a little blogging?” And when I smile & nod you slam the door in my face…all “No coffee for you!”…Jerk. I should not have to try 3 separate coffee shops just to find one open past 6:30pm, and then have the last close at 7:30. At home I can hang out pretty much as late as I want. I don’t think I’ve ever had a place close before I was ready to leave…until San Francisco.

But it’s not just the coffee shops, oh no! It’s also the bars. Is it normal in America for bars to close between 12:30 & 1:30? Because at home they will never throw you out on a Friday night before 2:30am…sometimes you’ll still be partying past 3. I found to odd that our first bar was closing at 12:30, especially when the night life here is said to not really get started until 11pm. So we went to a second place that was all like, “Come in here! We’re still open!” But an hour later it made a totally bipolar switch to “No! Get out! We’re lame & closing!”

Basically San Francisco, I think you should learn to be open later. That is all.