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October 14, 2010

Touch the Magic: the Bay Area

Last I left you, dear readers, I was ensconced in a most melancholy state, brooding somewhere in the depths of Orange County. A lot has transpired since then. For starters, I have moved to a new time zone and am writing this from my new apartment. But more on that (very) soon. Today, I discuss what passed in the interim, namely a trip to the Bay Area for my five-year college reunion, Cal's Homecoming Game against UCLA, and most importantly, another reunion tour with the maladjusted boys formerly of 1524.

The initial planning for the trip had begun months before while I was still in the midst of misery in Chicago. With the Cal-UCLA game and my five-year college reunion on the same weekend, it seemed only appropriate that I should attend—a last hurrah before I ventured back into the dark abyss of reality from which I had been hiding for the past three years. A quick conferral with fellow 1524-er G-Unit, and a possible reunion tour was in the works.

It was about time, too. One was long overdue. Though we had maintained contact through regularly scheduled conference calls (replete with action items and meeting minutes, obviously) since we all dissipated from that vaunted house some three years ago, the three of us had not conducted a full-fledged reunion in over two years. With me in Chicago, G-Unit on the East Coast, and P-Diddy still holding it down in San Francisco, meeting up was a chore. Homecoming seemed like an ideal time to remedy the problem—until a well-timed wedding forced P-Diddy to drop out of a large part of the festivities. (Well-timed because it was to occur on 10/10/10—the triplet holy grail!—not because it forced out P-Diddy.)

Although not totally derailed, only curtailed, the reunion tour still required a third party. A quick call to the bullpen ensured that G-Unit and I would not be left high and dry: JK-47, a fellow Cal alum and close associate of 1524, would be filling in. What resulted was a whirlwind tour of much of the Bay Area, encompassing San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Napa, and Sonoma in less than four days. Needless to say, there wasn't much relaxation in this vacation.

East Bay: Still Dead to Me

It being my five-year reunion and all, I suppose it was inevitable that I would have to return to the East Bay, despite declaring it dead to me many times over. Since we were staying with P-Diddy in Oakland, I ended up seeing more of it than I had in many years—probably since I graduated. Frankly, I wasn't moved this time around any more than I was when I first left. While some parts of Oakland are pretty nice, the area is far more suburban than I like. So, in short, it's still dead to me. And this time, I mean it!

Napa and Sonoma: Wine Clubs Add Value

Probably one of the more idiotic decisions during our 1524 days was to join a wine club in Napa. We were in our early twenties; who does that? But this trip we reaped the rewards of our youthful foolishness. Since both G-Unit and I were part of clubs (in Napa and Sonoma, respectively), we got a full day of tastings for free—and in two cities. That combined with the free tours and the nice weather made for quite an event. This is likely one luxury I will stick with for a while.

San Francisco: Still Awesome

It's been more than three years since I left San Francisco, but each time I go there, it has a powerful effect. This time around was no different. Though our time in the city was brief (the focus was on Berkeley), I still got in some good times: lunch in my old 'hood (i.e., the IS); drinks in my old work 'hood (i.e., the Financial District); and Sunday brunch in the Mission. Yes, that one. I even made time for some late night food at Cancún Taquería, an old staple from my rough and tumble youth.

Berkeley: Bulldoze People's Park

Finally, there was the main event: the Homecoming Game and post-game festivities in downtown Berkeley. The most important lesson coming out of this trip: I am no longer eighteen years old. Nor can I behave like I am without dire consequences. Kickoff was set for 12:30 pm, and the sun was out the whole time, making for a hot, sweaty time. That, combined with the yelling and screaming and walking (those damn hills!), resulted in me both losing my voice and fading fast as the evening progressed. I'm pretty sure by 10 pm, I was deaf, dumb, and asleep—in short, not a great situation.

But I can't complain much. Cal won after two weeks of heartbreaking losses, I got to catch up with a lot of old friends, and saw probably my last game at Memorial Stadium for the next couple years. (Cal plays the 2011 season in AT&T Park in SF and I likely won't make any other games this year.)

There was one thing, however, that disappointed me greatly: much loathed People's Park was still teeming with bummery, hooligans, and failed human beings as always. Some day I will be back—with a bulldozer. Mark my words, bums. Your days are numbered! Add that to the list of irrational obsessions, I suppose. (Zodiac!!)

* * *

So, all in all, it was a great trip. With my time of revelry drawing to a close, it was nice to end things in the Bay, where I first got my start after leaving the fold. By Sunday evening, I was on a flight from SFO to LAX. And that's when the trouble began. More soon, dear readers!


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