Back home, yo! Lots o’ crap tonight!

Google mania may have reached a new high. Or should I say a new low? I’m completely neutral on the topic, myself, but the things people are doing to get a GMail account are simply ridiculous. I wish such effort could be directed towards eradicating racism, or getting George Bush out of office. Or even getting Pavement back together. So anyway, yeah, I have a Gmail account, what will you give me?

In taking two cross-country flights in the past few days, I was given the opportunity to watch three movies. Since I had some work to do, I blew off one of them, called “Chasing Liberty,” which looked to me like a truly insulting hour-and-a-half with Mandy Moore as the president’s daughter running amuck in Ally McBealish misery ’cause her daddy keeps sending the secret service on her dates. No thanks.

However, I did partake in Calendar Girls, a movie about a bunch of naked old Brit ladies in a calendar who want to sell the calendar, buy a couch and donate it to a hospital. After one hour of this I happened to look around the plane and notice that almost everyone was drooling, not because they were looking at old ladies, but the because the movie had put them to sleep.

So today on my way back home, I was presented with this conundrum. First, though, a note. It wasn’t really a conundrum as much as it was a time-budgeting issue. I had four tasks for the trip home: read some more of the captivating Stephen Ambrose book D-Day, get a little work done, read today’s New York Times and finally, watch the movie Love Actually.

I managed to get all four in, although I only scanned the New York Times, which easily was trumped by the movie. So, how was the movie? Well, of the three I’ve had the opportunity to watch this week, it was the best one. Hugh Grant, as usual, plays a bumbling, clueless single man who Brit-mumbles and is the picture of self-loathing. Everyone else is looking for love. Keira Knightley has still never been seen in a shirt that fills her whole upper body (but damn she’s cute). Even Billy Bob Thornton plays the President of the U.S., which was really very disturbing to think about until you realize you’ve just left the state where a former steriod-chowing, womanizing action-film actor is the governor. Oh yeah – did I like it? Well, I must admit it certainly did have some funny moments and I’m shocked to say that I give it a B-minus. Just to make sure, I looked around the plane and caught many other males around my age laughing, too. So there (sticking my tongue out).

So last weekend, as I mentioned, I went to Newport, Rhode Island with Stephanie. We did what many other people who go to Newport do – we drove to the mansions and gawked at ’em. We even went inside one of them, a behemoth structure known to man as “The Breakers.” I don’t have any friggin’ idea why it’s called that, but one could assume that because its on the ocean that, perhaps, waves were breaking somewhere on the premesis. Whatever. The Breakers was owned by the Vanderbilts and man, those cats knew how to live. Sadly, they would not let us take pictures inside – a place filled with all kinds of crazy ass stuff like imported marble, gold ceilings and all kinds of other richie-rich crap. I jest, but it was quite amazing, actually. The coolest part was that every single piece in the house was an original – right down to the clothes that were still in the walk-in closets. I did snap some interesting photos here, including one of a cute little bunny rabbit on the grounds. I loves me a cute little animal.

After Newport, we drove directly to Logan Airport, where I was dropped off for my work trip to San Francisco, a city which I absolutely love. Every time I go there, I am stunned by the incredible sights – I always seem to find something new and beautiful to gawk at. I’m not so sure why I found this picture of the majestic Bay Bridge to be so fascinating, but since it’s my weblog and bridges amaze me, I will show the picture:

I must also make note of the hotel I stayed in which, completely unbeknownst to me, was one of the more frou-frou joints in the city, a place called The Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel. Now, I am most definitely no high-falutin hotel-stayer. Let us not forget my stay at the Hotel Del Sol in SF a while back, right? Here’s the deal: I went online and found this place for $160 a night, so I pulled the trigger, not having any idea whatsoever that it was a Daddy Warbucks hotel, right? So yeah. It was nice, but not my thing. Regardless, one must be impressed by a U.S. Mail shaft in this hotel which ran along the length of elevators – essentially an 18 floor mail slot. If you drop your day’s mail into the slot on the 18th floor, down it goes until it lands safely in the box at the ground floor of the hotel. Neato:

I would also be remiss if I didn’t share a few pictures of a restaurant/bar at the top of the hotel called, fittingly, “The Top Of The Mark.” The hotel sits in a part of town called Nob Hill, which supposedly is one of the higher points of the whole city, so by going to the “Top of the Mark,” you get some pretty damn nice views of the city, some of which can be found in this set of pictures. While the last picture (#9) in this set is not taken from the top, it remains one of my favorite shots I’ve taken in a while….

Song now playing: Shirley Ellis – “The Clapping Song”