Rule Number 5

Rice-o-Roni... The San Francisco Treat!

Today was awesome!  Ok, we started toward San Francisco Tuesday night knowing that there was only one ferry that you can take to get to Alcatraz Island and that it was sold out.  I knew we would be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge (I didn’t know that a heavy fog regularly rolled in so thick that you wouldn’t be able to see the bridge!).

Behind all that Fog is the Golden Gate Bridge!

I knew we would be able to see a trolly cable car.  And I knew we would be able to see the rolling hills that San Francisco is famous for (although I wasn’t aware of exactly how steep they truly were!).  But I must be honest – I wanted to tour the Rock!  I kept hope that we would be able to get on that sold out ferry.

Pier 33 - the only way to get on the Rock!

We left early from the hotel and crossed the Bay Bridge that we had crossed the day before, took at least one wrong turn in town, headed to Pier 33, hunted for close parking, all while Stephanie continually reminded me of the prior day’s event (see A Great Adventure) and respectfully asked that I not turn up any steep hills.  We finally found a public lot for a mere $20 a day…  What a deal… for the parking lot company!

Despite the large signs reading, “there is no attendant on duty, pay only the machine” and “This guy (picture of a guy) is an imposter, DO NOT GIVE HIM MONEY, pay only the machine” and “DO NOT PAY AN ATTENDANT, HANDWRITTEN PARKING SLIPS WILL NOT BE VALID!”, there was a short asian man in a parking-lot-looking attendant shirt, taking cash from cars that pulled into the lot.

A Copy of the rules went to every inmate

I hesitated, but pulled out my credit card and said to the impostor who was blocking the machine, “excuse me – I need to get to that machine”.  This sly guy – grabbed my card out of my hand, turned around and swipped it into the machine, then handed it back to me – took the ticket that printed out and walked over to my car.  I followed him after checking the machine to make sure it didn’t have any strange looking devices covering the card reader.  He wrote down part of my license plate on the parking slip and handed it to me – asking that I put it on my dash.  I couldn’t believe I let this guy take the credit card out of my hand!  I called the number on the signs and reported this strange behavior.  The lady that answered assured me that there was no attendant on duty and that she would send a manager out.  I figure, as long as I max my card out before this guy gets to try it, I’m good… :o

Anyway, We walk to pier 33 and ask the question I already know the answer to because I had just confirmed it online that morning –

“Are there any tickets for Alcatraz today?”

“Yes, 10:30am.”

“Are you sure, we would really love to go to …. uh?  oh… umm… ok – I’ll take two adults please!”

Behind Bars!

That’s right – we got on the ferry!  Apparently there are several hotels that are granted several tickets and ‘sell’ them back if they cannot fill the seats.  If you get there early enough, you can get on a sold out boat!  We took several pictures on the way over, several while we were on the Rock, and several on the way back.  I stood in a prison cell, walked the corridors, listened to the self paced audio tour, and loved every minute of it!  I enjoyed listening to former inmates talk about how bad it was.  One of the prisoners stated that he was there for four years and it “straighten [him] up”.  Later on the tour it talks about when they closed down the prison because the correctional system changed from punishment to rehabilitation.

Zander in front of the Rock! (bad hair day?)

That struck me as odd since I had just heard  an old prisoner say how it straighten him up.

My favorite part of the tour was rule number 5.  Its in every inmate’s hand book and it goes like this:

You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention. Anything else is privilege.

I almost purchased a copy to give my children as they grow older…

Movie Reviews myThoughts

A Night at the Movies: The Dark Night

Ok – I know it was likely irresponsible of me, but I went to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight.  I really enjoyed Batman Begins and knew this was also Heath Ledger‘s last movie – I really wanted to see it.  I text messaged a friend at 10:30pm and asked if he wanted to see it with me and within the hour we were on our way… to a sold out theater … without tickets.  Minor oversight, one quick call on my cell and we had tickets to another theater across town.

I’ll start with what I didn’t like – they changed Rachael!  In Batman Begins, Rachael was played by Katie Holmes – very cute… but this version was played by Maggie Gyllenhaal – Not as cute.  The movie wasn’t quite as dark as Batman Begins either.  What I really loved about Batman Begins is how it really removed the cartoonish nature of some of the Batman villians as well as Batman’s charactor.  I’m not saying the The Dark Night is comical at all, just not as dark as Batman Begins.  My only other negative thoughts are the length.  Some movies are three hours long and at the end you say – wow, that was fast – I wish it were longer… this isn’t one of those movies.  It had about three endings – kinda like a preacher promising to close the sermon down at noon on a Sunday morning, then preaching to almost one.  Sometimes you don’t mind if the preacher just kept on going, other times you think – “I wonder how long the wait is at the restaurant…”

Ok – on to the positive: Heath Ledger.  He was amazing.  Did you see Johnny Depp play Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl?  Do you know how he brought something special to that charactor?  Well, Heath Ledger did that something special for the Joker.  Don’t get me wrong, Jack Nicholson played a great Joker – but Heath Ledger was truly amazing!  He really took the charactor over the top in the best way.  If I were rating the movie based soley on his performance, it would easily be two thumbs up, 5 stars, a must see.  But, I’m not rating the Joker only…

In all, I give it 3 stars out of 5.  They traded out the eye candy, they missed several shots at a big ending, but the Joker was amazing, the special affects were good, and a few other points I will keep out of the review so I don’t ruin the movie for you.  For now, I have less than three hours before I have to go to work – so g’nite!


I don’t fast forward the iPod commercials

Ok, I actually watch a lot of the commercials, even though we have DVR (the best and worst thing that ever happened to TV – maybe a separate blog…).  Some commercials aren’t interesting, aren’t imaginative, and aren’t fun to watch.  Some commercials are boring, are dull, and are annoying.  Some.  But as a drama troupe member for years, and a drama troupe leader for many more years, and a lifetime class clown – short sketch comedy keeps my interest.  Commercials that are interesting, imaginative, fun to watch and not boring, dull, or annoying – fit the bill.

The iPod commercials are great!  The dancing, the music, people enjoying themselves, doing the whole “dancing like no one is around” thing.  *** A.D.D moment, I just laughed out loud at a Buger King commercial where a guy does a rolling jump out of his car to get to the door of the restaurant without waiting to park, as his face slams into the door, a voice over says “It’s the burger you can’t wait for”, and his car rolls into a parked car – very funny.***  wait… iPod commercial, dancing, Sorry, I’m back.  At the bottom of this post is one of the commercials I’m talking about.

By the way – I don’t own an iPod – the commercials are great, but the price is just too high for me… besides, no matter how great the commercials are, I have no expectation that owning one will make me a better dancer or have a better life.  But watching them does give make me smile, 30 seconds at a time.

Do you have a favorite commercial?