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  1. Trader Joe’s vs. Safeway – a Price Smackdown!

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    July 31, 2013 by Dan

    I do a bunch of my shopping at Trader Joe’s; it has that (less-pain-in-the-ass) + (kinda-hippie-organic) vibe that middle-aging urbanites like me enjoy. I’ve been shopping there for well over ten years, since I lived in Boston and used to go to the branch in Cambridge near the river. When I lived in Chicago, I was incredibly excited when a branch opened on the north side of the river. TJs was, I figured, going to be a cheaper way to live-while-broke than bargain-hunting at the Jewel near my apartment. What I didn’t know, and what I’ve never bothered to calculate, is exactly how much cheaper TJs is than your average grocery store. Inspired by this post, I hopped on my bike today and went up to the store for a bit of staples buying. When I got home I hopped online and compared my trip today to the list prices at Safeway. I was shocked. Crazy, huh? One shopping trip, on a bike, and it’s nearly $40 cheaper! And it’s not including some other stuff which would really exacerbate the difference (booze, olive oil, maple syrup, coffee, laundry detergent, etc.). This data won’t change my life much, as I do most of my non-vegetable shopping at Trader Joe’s. But it sure does make me feel validated. Some explanations for objections: “You didn’t use a Club Card!” Yes, I know that Safeway sometimes has better deals if you use a club card. Some of the prices above are with a club card, and I’m certainly not above going down there and taking advantage of such deals when I run into them. However, I’m not going to waste time by checking club card deals and delaying my shopping on the hope that the store puts something that I want on discount. I …
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  2. Leaving WordPress?

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    July 31, 2013 by Dan

    This site has been running on WordPress for nearly eight years; WP has gone from v 1.0 to Dominating the World, and I’ve been clunking along on it, hacking around with php, changing themes, etc. But I’m thinking about migrating it to Squarespace. For simplicity. There’s a certain cost in maintaining, upgrading, and figuring out WP problems (right now, I can’t get a banner to work up top, because I can’t upload any pictures to the WP media library. I have no idea why. I could mess with settings and .htaccess and such, but every time I do that I bring the site completely down), and I think I’m getting tired of them. BUT – maintaining my own WP installation does give me a certain amount of credibility…and, given what I do professionally, that credibility is sometimes helpful. So…for now, stasis.


  3. An Italian Lake Wedding

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    July 11, 2013 by Dan

    Our real reason for going to Italy was the wedding of Carolyn and Mark. Carolyn is a dear friend of mine (we’re approaching 20 years of buddyhood) who lives in Switzerland, and she and Mark decided to get married on lake Garda because…well, it was beautiful, of course. But the real reason is that they’re both crazy athletes, and having a place where you could swim and bike was high on their list. Triathletes…gotta love ‘em. Getting to Garda was (for once) pretty smooth – we got the earliest possible bus out of Tirol, which put us on the train platform four minutes before the southbound train. Naturally, said platform didn’t have a ticket machine, which resulted in me grabbing 50 Euro from Julie, sprinting downstairs, under the tracks, up the stairs, and to the station, all while a crowd of class-bound schoolkids gawked at me. The ticket machine was infernally slow in processing my request for a ticket to Verona, but finally spit it out just as the train was pulling around the corner to the station. Another sprint, and…victory! We were on the way to Verona. From Verona (where Julie out-of-nowhere busted out the opening monologue to Romeo and Juliet, another train to Desenzano, where a sleepy train station and helpful agent got us to a bus that would drop us in Salo. We had a moment of comedy when the bus was careening down a hilly road and I noticed that we were passing the Hotel Panoramica. Wait…weren’t we staying at the Panoramica? I hit the stop button, and the driver immediately slammed on the brakes, to general uproar. But we got there, then headed down to town, where we immediately made a friend. Little did we know that the bane of children of Tiger parents everywhere …
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  4. South Tirol – Finally, hiking

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    July 9, 2013 by Dan

    I was going to hike on our last day in South Tirol no matter what. I didn’t care if it was hailing flaming meteors in the midst of an acid rainstorm; we were going to get out there. We woke in good time, had our breakfast of bread, coffee, cured meats, fruit, and yogurt, and packed up a bag. We had raincoats, boots, warm clothes – everything but rain pants, which we both own and have taken on every trip we’ve been on together except for this one. Because we’d never needed them. Great work there, especially given what the morning looked like. We took the same trail as the one we aborted the previous day, walking up the side of the valley on a ver well-marked path. The weather stayed as it had started – misty, cloudy, but not quite raining. Somehow, miraculously, it stayed that way. We walked above the valley through deciduous trees, revelling in how easy it was to find our way. As we made our way up, the trees changed to evergreen, and my mountain jones was satisfied. How can you be sad in a meadow like this one? Sure, it was cloudy and tough to see, but we saw only a few other people on our way up, finally making it to my unstated goal – an Alpine Club hut. These huts are perhaps Europe’s greatest gift to civilization – a series of little bunkhouse/restaurants up in the mountains, staffed by young men and women who make hearty meals and pour beer for tired hikers. And they’re everywhere in the Alps. This one was on a paved road, but it fit my bill, standing at above 2000 meters with our first real-clear view of the Dolomites. And, of course, pilsner on tap. There were …
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  5. South Tirol outdoors – clouds and rain

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    July 9, 2013 by Dan

    We woke from our first night in South Tirol to a gray, miserable-looking day. After a leisurely breakfast, we hung around for a bit and waited for the clouds to clear, which they most definitely did not. Read. Lunch. Read some more. Eventually I lost my patience and forced us out the door and up a nearby trail, where we immediately ran into the smallest church in the world (or so we thought): See how dark that picture is? Ten seconds after that photo, the skies turned black and opened the floodgates on us. We walk-ran pell-mell down the slippery, rocky path, returning to our room after twenty minutes with soaked pants, socks, feet, and souls. “Let’s dry things off and try again,” I said. Julie, long-suffering, agreed. We waited around with our stuff in the sun – because now it decides to come out – and decided to take another route – down to the valley and up the other side, where the sun was lancing down through the clouds. The trail itself was a path of dreams – a soft dirt clearing through greenery and shrubs. Lovely. We emerged from the trees and got a wonderful view of St. Pietro. Today was really shaping up…until we looked down the valley and saw the clouds boiling up down there, a sea of gray and black. It was right out of one of the Mordor scenes from The Lord of the Rings. See that tunnel-looking thing? It was coming towards us like a demonic smoke ring. We could hear the panicked whinnying of horses from the farm down below, and the wind was whipping hard enough to tug at the hat on my head. “We gotta get out of here,” I said. I’m a good outdoorsey guy, but getting caught …
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  6. Odd Craigslisting

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    July 3, 2013 by Dan

    I’m trying to sell a wine rack on Craigslist, and I got this message yesterday. I walk around understin the politics wish you niggas father understood came had all kind of buzz Isaiah say one day any discount? E mail me when you are reading this so I know we can both arrange a specific time to meet to finish this off thanks I really don’t know what to do with it.


  7. South Tirol – getting there

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    July 2, 2013 by Dan

    I wanted to go to South Tirol so we could see the Dolomites. And so I could speak German. I have this thing about speaking German in countries that aren’t technically Germany or Austria – it’s a kick. I’ve also spoken German to people in Brazil, Argentina, Nepal, and Indonesia, and doing so in Italy seemed like it would be a kick. South Tirol is an odd place – it was ceded to Italy by the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. (Another side note – are there two countries that are more different than Austria and Hungary? How did they make one thing out of that? It’s nuts) Italy was happy to take the region, as it controls the critical glacier and winter run-off from the Alps, giving Italy dibs on the water. The people were less happy, as they only spoke German, and it really made no sense for them to be nominally part of a country with which they shared little if any cultural commonality. The upshot of all of this is that the region is officially part of Trentino, Italy. In the town of Trento everyone speaks Italian. In Bolzano (Bozen), an hour north, German is all you’re going to get. To learn more, check Wikipedia. On the train north of Trento you can see and feel the difference. The houses have crossed-wood architecture, the people suddenly become blonde and blue-eyed, and all of the newspapers have umlauts instead of accents. Our plan was to take the train to Klausen, where we would pick up a bus to St. Pietro in the Val Lunes. I had obsessively researched the bus schedules and the timing looked good – we should have reached our destination at around four pm. All systems were go as we reached Klausen. The …
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  8. Bologna – but really, the truth

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    July 1, 2013 by Dan

    Bologna may have the best food in the world. Or so they say. We had heard good things, so we planned to spend the better part of two days there, hanging out and eating. Grant and Ellen dropped us off at a train station early in the morning on Monday, and we joined a horde of office workers and schoolchildren on their way to their mornings. The train was crowded enough for us to need to hang out in the linkage for a bit, but eventually everyone bailed out and we were able to sit and enjoy our croissants. The sun was shining as we exited the train station, and after a few minutes of casting about we figured out where we were going. “It’s so warm,” I said. “I might wear shorts later.” “No way,” said Julie. “I’m serious,” I said. It was. Almost seventy degrees at ten in the morning. We walked a little ways on porticoed sidewalks until we reached the center of town, where the map on our handy Rough Guide said our hotel was. One minor problem: the map in our handy Rough Guide was completely wrong. The address was right, but the street was so small it wasn’t marked on the book map, or on the small maps in the window of the tourist office. But, at least there was a tourist office, with a helpful woman behind the counter who happily pointed out exactly where our hotel was; around the corner, two blocks away. A quick cleanup, and we started to explore. Oddly enough, Bologna has its own leaning towers – not quite as pretty as the more well-known one in Pisa, but they still lean. And the folks there are really into smoking. But really, it was a quiet town of cobblestone …
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  9. The best Pig in the World? Maybe (Part II)

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    June 25, 2013 by Dan

    Our plan was to get in the car and go to Antica Corte for lunch. We had heard about the place from friends. It’s a farm-cum-restaurant that specializes in aged Culatello, which may be the best pig product in the world. Culatello is a form of prosciutto, only made from a certain part of a certain type of pig (the pig only sits on its left leg. The hame is only made from that left leg, which makes for a better flavor, some say). Now, this is a bold claim, as I’m something of a pork purist. I own a copy of Pig Perfect by Michael Kaminsky. I wrote a note to Trader Joe’s when they changed their bacon provider, making it worse. I make my own pulled pork barbecue, and it’s quite good. So you might say that I was eager to check this place out. Anyway, Antica Corte was about a half-hour from where we were staying, and we had reserved a 10:30 tour. We drove in past an unremarkable-for-Italy church that pre-dates anything in this country. And then to the main house. We were greeted by a slender young guy in a suit and tie. He blinked at us from behind his glasses. “Hi,” said Ellen. “We’re booked for a 10:30 tour?” “Yes,” he said. “Right this way.” He opened a door and started in about the room we were in – it took us a few minutes to realize that this was actually the tour, and we had started it. We were all a little fuzzy from the gustatory celebrations of the previous night, so perhaps the confusion was entirely ours. Anyway, we walked through several rooms in the old manor house, marveling at the fire pits, chandeliers, and things so old they defied our conception …
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  10. The Best Pig in the World, part I

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    June 21, 2013 by Dan

    Remember our pals Grant and Ellen from Japan? If you don’t, you should. If you need a primer, go here. We were Internetting back and forth in February and March – Ellen was hoping to come out to California to visit an uncle, and we would get to hang out a bit. That didn’t work out, and set off the following chain of communication (paraphrases): Us: Bummer. But we’re going to Italy in May and June for a wedding, you should totally just hop over, because it’s pretty much on the same continent as you! Ellen: Done! What weekend? Us: Pausing. You guys are awesome. They flew to Italy a day late after the plane problems, rented a car, and picked us up in cold, rainy Parma on a Saturday evening. We had a joyous, hug-filled reunion, then made our way to the town of Salsamaggiore, where we were staying at the Antica Torre, an incredible place to stay. We were met by the wonderful host, who showed us the little apartment where we would be staying for two nights. We immediately got down to business: Wait…what’s that in the lower left corner? That’s right. Cheese and cured meat from Parma. Say what you will about the place, but the delis are choice. After our snack of cheese and meat, we retired to the dining room for…more of the same. I do not physically possess the words to write about how good the aged parmesan was. It was salty and crunchy, and sweet and wonderful. Then, they gave us a ham course. Again. Words fail. Up to that point of my life, this was the best cured ham I had had. End of story. Of course, after that, they served lasagna, which was so good I forgot to take a …
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  11. Parma – Saving the Day With Food

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    June 18, 2013 by Dan

    There we were in the cafe with two empty cups and nowhere to sleep for the night. I broke out our trusty Rough Guide and took a look at the options listed there; nothing really appealed to us. “Let’s go back to the unhelpful tourist office,” said Julie. “That’s what they’re for, right?” She was, as always, correct. We trundled our rolling luggage back across the square and to the office, where the unhelpful woman behind the counter looked at us strangely – were we going to ask about luggage again? I explained our predicament, and she gave us a little book of Parma hotels. “Or,” she said, “you could go to the other tourist office. They have lists and can help.” The other tourist office? “Four blocks away,” she said. We bumpity-bumped our bags over the sidewalks to the town’s main piazza, where a small amount of traffic wound its way through an enormous open plaza, ringed by restaurants andporticoes. The tourist office was in one corner, and was stuffed with brochures, couches, and a friendly attendant. She gave us a list of hotels with prices, and we sat on the couch and looked at the phone. I was steeling myself to make a call – I have a little angst about non-English phone calls these days – when the woman spoke up. “I am happy to call for you,” she said. “If you know where you would like to stay.” You know in the movies when the trumpets sound and the sun comes out from behind the clouds? This was like that. In three minutes we had a place to stay at a reasonable rate, walkable from where we were. Getting there involved bumpitying our bags about halfway to the train station over a sidewalk we had trod …
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  12. Down and Out and Up in Parma

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    June 17, 2013 by Dan

    We weren’t supposed to spend the night in Parma. Our plan was to hop on the train at Vernazza, do a two-step, get to Parma, drop our stuff at the left luggage counter, hang out and eat some ham, then get picked up by our friends Grant and Ellen at the train station at 8pm, at which point we would head off for a wonderful agriturismo weekend. The best-laid plans, as they say, never survive contact with the enemy; in this case, the enemy was weather and British Airways. When we reached Parma it was cold with occasional spitting rain, the kind that feels like the sky gods are angry with the ground. The train station was under construction, so we made our way to the temporary terminal – an outdoor mishmash of white clapboard with a ticket office, a couple of cafes, a bookstore, a Parma culture space, a tobacconist… “Where is the left luggage?” I wondered aloud. Then I wondered the same thing to a ticket agent. Her English was fantastic. “No let luggage,” she said. “Is there anywhere to leave a bag?” I asked. “No,” she said.” I got the feeling she was asked this quite a bit. I also wondered what happened to the left-luggage guy while the construction was going on. Did he just get to hang out for a few years? My questions bounced around in my brain with nowhere to go. After a quick, dispirited conversation, we decided to walk downtown and see if the tourist office could help us. Me being me, I also made us stop into a hotel to see if I could charm the front desk attendant into letting us keep our bags there for a few hours. “No,” she said. “I can’t do that.” Parma 2, us 0. …
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  13. Five Lands

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    June 14, 2013 by Dan

    “Where are you guys from?” asked the woman. She was sitting at the table behind us, dressed in nice-post-hike chic. “San Francisco,” I said. “I knew it,” she said. “I could tell from the way you were talking that you were Americans.” I smiled. Were I a terrible person I would have answered “That’s an easy guess even without us talking,” or “Just like half the people here,” or something like that. I’m not a terrible person, so I made cheerful conversation; she and her husband were versions of the kind of person I hope to be when I retire. See, the Five Lands are crawling with Americans. It’s like a horror movie where a Rick Steves guidebook gets ripped open and spews out mother-daughter hiking pals from Newport. Don’t get me wrong – it’s quite a pretty area. But somewhere along the line it became a Place to Go, and a bewildering number of people are there during the spring and summer seasons. At least during the day, it’s kind of a mess. I’m not trying to seem petulant here. We stayed in Vernazza and it looks like this: That’s some serious prettiness. The chic woman at the restaurant had warned us to start hiking the trail to Monterosso as soon as we could in order to avoid the crowds. Because we are not notably early risers while on vacation, that meant that we got going at 9:45. Luckily we were going in the opposite direction from most of the tour groups, and didn’t really see many people until an hour and a half in. So, we were able to climb up, up, above Vernazza. The trail winds along an old trading path, and passes by quite a few private homes. This one felt the need to protect itself …
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  14. A Pisa stopover

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    June 12, 2013 by Dan

    Pisa is one of those places. Well, Italy is full of those places, but Pisa is really one of those places. Pisa is, of course, famous for the leaning tower, which was first a screwup, then a weird series of makeup attempts, and now one of the Must See It Attractions in the area. We had no plans to go to Pisa at the outset. But then we were leaving Florence on our way to the Cinque Terre, and it was a beautiful day with no real need to head all the way to the coast at the outset, and so…we decided to stop over. One quick trip to the incredibly convenient and absolutely open left luggage later, we were wandering our way through the small streets of Pisa, lost, hoping to find the Tower. We were laughing and joking around, not entirely sure where we were, when this suddenly reared up in front of us. It is awesome. And I mean that in the stop-in-your-tracks way, not the normal California way where a great meal can be awesome, or finding an extra five dollar bill in your pants can be awesome. No. The tower is something else. Photos don’t really do it justice – it’s beautiful and strange and really not like anything I’ve ever seen. Just as impressive, and somewhat overlooked is the Duomo. One hundred years of building effort and dozens of remodels later, it was our favorite of all of the Italian cathedrals. Again, pictures are pointless here. Just go, and let your mind be blown. Of course, the place is completely full of people doing things – the Campo dei Miracoli is full of t-shirt vendors, tchotchke shops, souvenir hawkers, and hundreds of tourists, all doing the perspective hold-it-up thing with the Tower. But who …
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  15. Florence – apartment-staying and Duomo-hopping

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    June 11, 2013 by Dan

    Florence is a ridiculous place. When I started writing about it with my little treatise to Florence at night, I was trying to create a mood – quiet, reverent, art-ish – that doesn’t exist in the city during the day. It’s a hyper, crowded town, with endless piazzas, tens of thousands of tourists, the requisite thousands of touts, guides and sellers, overpriced restaurants, terrifying lines, and a general feeling of unsettled-ness. It’s like being in an incredibly big, crowded city, except it’s a pretty small place. We had arrived in Florence and checked into our Airbnb, a fantastic apartment right near the central leather market, in a stone building hundreds of years old, hosted by a cheerful mohawked Italian and his friendly German girlfriend. They lived in a loft in the living room, we were in one of the bedrooms, and some other guests had the second bedroom. It was quiet, comfortable, and had the most amazing door: Bred the host was kind enough to make us coffee and give us a first-day lunch recommendation. We went and had maybe the best plate of pasta I’ve ever put in my mouth. Spaghetti with spicy sauce. So, so, so, so good. That, plus wine and bread and grappa, and we were ready to go. The name of the place is Trattoria Barrasca, and if you’re there, go. Over the next couple of days, we saw a good bit of town, and while I won’t say that I know Florence or have done Florence, I got a bit of a sense for the place – a fantastically arty (classical) town with a bit of an arty (modern, playful) underside. Of course, the first pictures we took were self-referential. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hire a PI while here? But we soon …
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  16. Florence at night

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    June 10, 2013 by Dan

    On our first night in Florence, we slept for seventeen hours, until 2:30 in the afternoon. I saw the clock, started, and nudged Julie. “It’s 2:30,” I said. “In the morning?” she mumbled. “No. Afternoon,” I said. We panicked – showered as fast as we could and ran out into the street for a quick lunch at a touristy sandwich shop (nothing else is open in the afternoon in Italy), then careened into the tourist throngs in the Piazza del Duomo. It’s really hard to describe the throngs in May in Florence, but I’m going to try. Imagine a crowded public square – like one where they’re showing a movie or a fairly popular band is playing. But instead of all looking up at the stage or the screen, the thousands of people are gathered in discrete groups, listening to guides through little earphones or wandering around in a daze, cameras focused on places up high. It’s like that all day – from eight – thirty in the morning (when the Uffizi opens) to well after dark, when the museums close and everyone’s gone to bed. And then Florence becomes wonderful. After dinner, after the hordes have returned to their hotels and gone to sleep, after about ten in the evening, you can walk through the streets without having to dodge hundreds of others. Corners and alleyways beckon, and you can find a small coffeehouse/bookstore/bar with a decent bottle of house wine and play cards in the company of blue-haired students and the kind of things that make you feel at home. We stayed until a little after midnight; the cafe was playing R.E.M. and the Cure, and we sat on the balcony, looking down at the street and the people. And after playing cards, we walked to the Piazza …
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  17. Italy – Getting There

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    June 5, 2013 by Dan

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    We knew we were going to Italy quite some time ago – a dear college friend of mine was getting married, and when she let us know in Octtober that it was going to be in Salo, on Lake Garda, in Northern Italy, our conversation went something like this. Me: So Carolyn’s getting married in Italy in June Julie: OK! Me: So we should just get tickets, right? Julie: OK! Me: Ten days? Julie: OK! Not a lot of disagreement in our marriage about this kind of thing. So I sat down in front of a laptop in October, after the save-the-date arrived and tried to figure out how to get us there. I had about 100,000 British Airways miles to burn, and Julie had about 88k sitting in an American account, so after some doing, I figured out a routing. San Francisco – Dusseldorf – Milan, leaving on May 22. AirBerlin using BA Avios miles. Milan – Dusseldorf – Los Angeles – San Francisco, AirBerlin business class using AA miles. We didn’t have quite enough for this one, so we had to buy 12,000 AA miles for around $150. That’s an expense I’ll take. Then, a few months later, we started to get antsy. I kind of wanted some more time, and Julie wanted to see Florence. Unfortunately, the schedule and schlep didn’t make a whole lot of sense. We had the following conversation: Me: I wish we had more time. Julie: Me too. Is there anything we can do? Me: No. Wait, maybe there is. I think I got an email a bit ago… I had received an email from British Airways in January that I had completely ignored – something about our flights. I went back and dug through it and…our flight to Milan had been cancelled! …
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  18. Back in the States, or the Italy Chronicles, part I

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    June 4, 2013 by Dan

    Well, we’re back in the States after two weeks in Italy; we were there for a wedding and decided to make a Real Vacation out of it. I’m still a little woozy and headachey from the jet lag (it gets worse as I get older. Like pretty much everything except for my judgement and capacity to overanalyze things), but I thought I’d do the same thing here that I did for our Japan trip last year, and talk through where we went and perhaps give some advice Getting There We did a two-step with miles this time around, flying coach with AirBerlin from SFO – JFK – DUS – FLR, then back in AA business class MXP – JFK – SFO. This time around there wasn’t any lounging with celebrities or ridiculous airport bourbon tastings, just a bit of oddities with doing flights on one airline with miles from another. Anyway, the flights were fine. We got there. Accomodation Places to stay in Europe are expensive, full-stop. Not quite Japan-$200-for-a-hostel expensive, but not great. We did a mix of things, using Airbnb in Florence for a wonderful experience, staying mostly in two-star and three-star little boutique hotels, and burning points on our final night for an airport place. No real splurges, but no dumps or dives, and one real standout. Getting Around We used the train, mostly. Efficient, cheap, gets you there. If you’re going places that aren’t big cities and aren’t on a train station, there’s usually a bus, and you’ll probably screw up at least one of the busses. But it’s not too bad – schedules are generally online and sometimes in English. So that’s the start of it. More to come, in typically exhaustive fashion.


  19. Corporate busses, who runs ‘em?

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    May 10, 2013 by Dan

    Corporate busses are a thing in San Francisco. I’m not going to comment here on whether they’re a Good Thing or a Bad Thing – I’m probably too close to that argument. But what I did start thinking about when I was going for my morning run today was… How come nobody has come up with a list of all the companies that run shuttles? Then, I realized that I am the guy who decided to document all the police agencies who can arrest you in San Francisco. I’m probably the guy to do this. Please note that this list is just from inside my head and what I’ve seen. If there are more, add them in the comments and I’ll update. Fair? Google – Big white busses, run by SFO shuttle Apple – Big gray busses, not sure who runs them Facebook – Big white or blue busses, run by SFO shuttle Genentech – Branded, so you’ll always know who they are LinkedIn – Just graduated to big ones, run by Bauer’s, I think. Electronic Arts – Big branded Bauer’s busses Yahoo! – Never seen ‘em – they don’t run through my area eBay – Never seen ‘em. Cisco – White, functional, SFO shuttles Box – Large blue busses Dropbox – New kids on the block – just saw their small Bauer’s airport-rental-car-size shuttle the other day That’s what I’ve seen lately. I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that the guys at Stamen made an amazing map of these busses. It’s already outdated – the big tech companies are all doing it these days.


  20. Cosplaying

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    May 9, 2013 by Dan

    I’m not a cosplayer. I’m not into cosplaying, don’t go to conventions, dress up, or even put on a costume for Bay to Breakers. So that’s my introduction to the part where I say that this article about cosplaying is one of the best things I’ve read online in a while. Good writing about an interesting, sorta-obscure-but-really-a-thing subject. Isn’t that what journalism should be? On another note, I’m writing this from a bus, and we just passed a group of outdoor personal-training types who were bending down and lifting balls up and over their shoulders, alternating with each lift. Then a couple of sleeve-tattooed chefs taking out the compost at Delfina. At 7:45 am, though, San Francisco is 40% people in workout gear.