Wednesday, June 07, 2006

June 7, 2006
Four days ago I was standing in a wheat field in the middle of Kansas, and today I'm staring out a sixth floor window at the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. Today is Kathy's birthday (56) and I treated her to one of our favorite cities. We landed at noon and took a shuttle to Lombard and Sansome, just below the Coit Tower and a stone's throw from the Embarcadero. Wonderful to be cold (the ultimate vacation for two desert rats). Treated Kathy to a great lunch at the landmark Fog City Diner. Drank two glasses each of sparkling Gloria Ferrer, assorted breads and soups, racked up a decent bill ($75 plus $15 tip), but, hey, it's my Honey's birthday.

The condo belongs to our good friends Mike and Phyllis Hawkins. Very generous of them to let us borrow it.

Walked up to Chinatown at about seven in the evening and had a light dinner at Sam Wo's. The same abusive Chinese waitress we always have. She barks at everyone, and we watch in awe, like the Yahoos we are (I told the couple next to us, "We fly in every year to watch this abuse, because you just can't get enough of this where we come from.") Sam's prices are amazingly low. Had the special fish salad ($8), Kung Pau Chicken and Won Ton with Pork BBQ ($21, left $25 cash).

Strolled down Grant, just by accident, saw the historical marker for the first "American building" in Yerba Buena, which later became San Francisco. Big adobe building high up on this hill, that is today in the middle of Chinatown. Ironic, no?

Don't tell anyone but I left my cowboy hat, my scarves, my boots and my cell phone and my laptop at home. I needed a vacation from being Bob Boze Bell, although I did bring my sketchbook and dutifully did my six sketches, or I should say I've done two, need to do four more.

I brought a great book to read: An Informal History of The Pulp Magazine, by Ron Goulart, which gives a great overview and background and tracks the progression from dime novels, to the pulps to comic books. What's amazing to me is that True West really grew out of the pulp phenom, but then didn't evolve, but stayed pulp way too long (2000!), although there are those who believe we made a mistake by leaving that dead niche. Recently we flirted with running some pulp pages so the old guys would get a thrill, only to find out that pulp paper is now more expensive than gloss, mainly because no one uses it anymore.

"You must dare to disassociate yourself from those who would delay your journey. Leave, depart, if not physically, then mentally. Go your own way, quietly, undramatically, and venture toward trueness at last."
-Vernon Howard

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