Sunday, December 4, 2011

Amelia Earhart Resurfaces

As with most years, the latter part seems to get a momentum of its own.  Since we posted last, we've had two awesome visits from Florida friends and scouted neighborhoods for a house to rent.

Our first Florida friend to visit was Anne Hennessey.  She came out for a few days around Halloween.  This was our first Halloween in California, and we definitely wanted to check out what Halloween was like in San Francisco.  Conery and I both like going with a theme for our costume, and Anne had an Amelia Earhart costume, so we decided to go with "famous people who disappeared/died in airplane-related incidents" theme.  Catchy eh?  :o)  I went with DB Cooper, and Conery was Glenn Miller.  We had fun scouting surplus stores for our costumes.

I picked Anne up at the airport on a Friday.  When I got to SFO, I saw Anne helping some other traveler clean up broken glass from the curbside pickup lane.  I was happy to see that Anne was still being her awesome, helpful self.  I put the car in park and hopped out to greet her.  She hadn't seen me pull up, so she was surprised and happy to see me.  We hugged hello and headed to the car.  I pulled the driver's side door handle, and it was locked.  A feeling of shock and dread ran through me.  I tried the other doors; they were all locked.  Meanwhile, my car's engine is running, and I'm parked in the curbside lane preventing others from getting to the curb.  Luckily, an airport person stopped and called a tow truck.  In the year that I've had the car, this scenario had not happened.  When the car is put in drive, all the doors lock.  When I put it in park and left the engine running, all the door stayed locked.  Apparently, this didn't change when I opened and closed my door.  The tow truck driver showed up and took five whole seconds to gain access to the car.  He used the equivalent of a blood pressure cuff pump to open the door enough to get a metal wire in which he used to roll down the automatic windows.  Clever, eh?  What a way to start off Anne's visit!

There were a lot of Halloween events going on Friday through Halloween night on Monday.  We found a Halloween party going on in San Francisco Saturday night.  A friend of Conery's from work is a SF native and a self-professed tour goddess.  We met up with her at her place in Hayes Valley which is East of The Haight.  She lives with 6 other people in the ground floor of a row house.  We met a few of her roommates and had some drinks.  We started off the night at a bar called Zeitgeist.  We had some food and beer.  Most of the people there (and it was pretty packed) were in costume.  There was a woman selling tamales out of a cooler on wheels.  Apparently the woman is well-known in the neighborhood and makes tasty tamales.  Whenever I see things like that, I think about what my Mom, who is a food inspector, would think.  I think she might have issues with this method of food vending.  The bar is awesome…totally chill with friendly people.  Apparently their bloody marys are the best.  We'll be the judge of that!

After Zeitgeist, we got on the bus and headed toward the Wharf. 

Glenn and Amelia waiting for the bus

The bus at night, especially on a holiday, was quite an experience.  I like to think of it as the haunted house portion on our night.  Luckily, it wasn't too late at that point.  I'd imagine it would be way scarier in the wee hours.  We did see different groups participating in a scavenger hunt which seemed pretty cool.

We got to The Parlor for the Halloween party.  The details of the party made it sound like there were live circus/sideshow performances going on.  Turns out those were on the TVs scattered throughout the bar.  *lame*  There was a fire juggler outside, which was pretty cool.  We found out about the event via Groupon, and I'm glad we didn't pay at the door like other people.  I think we paid $15 a piece via Groupon.  By the time we got there, they were charging $60 at the door!  The venue was pretty cool, but not $60 cool.  Everyone was in costume.  There was a great Woody from Toy Story costume, complete with pull cord and stock phrases.

We rode the F-Market, which is one of the old streetcars, back to Monica's place.  We passed the Occupy SFers in Justin Hermann Plaza.  It was a little hard to tell the who was celebrating Halloween and who was a protester or homeless person.

Anne commuted into the City with Conery on Monday (Halloween).  She went to Alcatraz and did some sight seeing.  We all met at City Hall around 5:30.  

View of City Hall from the plaza

Anne brought us dinner, and we noshed on the steps of City Hall.  At 6, the City Walks organization conducted spooky, ghost tours of City Hall.  Most of the 75 or so attendees were dressed in costumes. It was really cool to tour City Hall.  The architecture is amazing, and the tour was free!

The main staircase in the rotunda

During some online research, we found a place called The Secret Alley.  On Halloween, they were showing Halloween-themed cartoons, movies, and TV shows.  The place is an artists' collective, and they host events like this on a regular basis.  It's in a fairly seedy, unfamiliar neighborhood, so we decided that if we couldn't park closely, we'd bail.  Luckily, there was parking across the street.  There were a few people hanging near the entrance.  The only reason we knew it was the entrance was that the address matched the info we found online.  One guy asked if we were looking for the Secret Alley.  We said yep and headed in.  It felt like what it must have been like to enter a speakeasy back in day, except without that cool little window that slides open just revealing the eyes of the person inside.  There were several areas where artistic things were displayed or were in progress.  We checked out the ray gun game and had some WarHead sour candy, which seemed less sour in my memory.  

Conery as Glenn Miller destroying stuff

I had to bail and take it out of my mouth; Anne powered through.  Upstairs, we checked out the place and had a drink.  

One area of the Secret Alley

We watched some cartoons and an episode of Alf.  It was super chill and the antithesis of Saturday night's crowded party.  Oh and beside the drinks, that was a free night of entertainment!  We'll definitely be going back there.

The next day, Conery and I took off of work.  On the first Tuesday of each month, you get into museums free.  There were a few exhibits which caught our collective eye.  We started off the day with breakfast at the Buena Vista Cafe and a few Irish Coffees.  After that, we headed to the Jewish Contemporary Art Museum for an exhibit on Harry Houdini.  The museum was pretty cool, and the exhibit was large and full of various mediums of information.

By the time we finished the Houdini exhibit, we only had time for one more museum.  SFMoMA was closest, so we went there.  There were several exhibits from their permanent collection that I had not seen yet.  During the special info sessions for members we attended earlier in the month, one of the curators talked about a few of the pieces in the permanent collection which really piqued my interest, so it was really cool to see those in person for the first time.

After SFMoMA, we hit Chinatown for a little shopping and dinner.  The R&G Lounge did not disappoint.  It was a brilliant end to a fun-filled visit from Anne.

Check out the next post for 2011's last visitor, Lisa Poulson!

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