Nice shot: Load a Christmas tree edition

'62 Chevy C10'56 Chevy 3100'60 El Camino

More goodies found in the Cars & Trucks section of our local Craigslist.

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Double barrel.

I started a load of laundry around 8:30 last night and had time to kill until it was done. Spur of the moment, I decided to fire up HBO GO and revisit an old episode of the Sopranos. I’d absolutely loved the show the first time and figured episode one, season three wasn’t a bad place to dive back in.

The intro sequence began. And just as it had nearly a decade before, the song worked its way into my head. “Woke up this morning got yourself a gun…” When I finally went to bed a few hours later, that chorus was still playing on a loop between my ears.

…and it was still there when I woke up at 5 am.

Two cups of coffee later, I was strolling through the early-morning streets of North Beach when I heard a distant, drunken voice singing.

“Mamaaaa, just killed a man…Put a gun against his head, pulled theeee trigger, now he’s dead!” It gave me the creeps. As a former Midwesterner and friend of outdoorsmen, I’ve always tried to dodge the gun debate, but this particular set of circumstances felt strange to me. It wasn’t just a dude sitting in the dark singing about hurting people at 6:15 am. It was a moment that stopped me in my tracks and left me contemplating culture, violence and how quickly I needed to get the hell out of there. Queen fan or not, it was time to move along. 

Music-wise, I suppose it’s nothing a little Vince Geraldi can’t fix. Culture-wise, well, that fix is a whole lot more complicated.

All debate aside, take care and beware of what might get stuck in your head. If you’re up for it, try a little tenderness.

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Thanksgiving snapshots generally feature families, food and maybe a snowstorm. While I support all of the above, our California Thanksgiving was dedicated to sleeping past 7 am, strolls on the beach and making the most of our free continental breakfasts.

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Word on the street.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, the homeless population in San Francisco seems to be perpetually on the rise. Whether it’s mental illness, drug abuse, skyrocketing rent prices or simply the fact that the weather is fairly mild all year long, there are people living on the streets around every corner. As a dog walker and neighborhood wanderer, Woody the dog and I are often up early and out late which leads to a number of encounters with the unfortunate.

It was a quarter past nine last night when we decided to make our way around our picturesque block. I was looking out toward the moonlight over the Bay Bridge, when I noticed a plastic bag with battery-powered Christmas lights glowing inside and a backpack tossed in the middle of the sidewalk. I pulled the leash tight as the silhouette of a man digging in the trash can came into view.

An attempt to show respect for the fact that the sidewalk would be the man’s bed for the night, we kept our distance. Woody stayed quiet. I tried not to stare. Then, unexpectedly, he popped out of the can and looked our direction. I worried for a moment we may have startled him. I prepared to be yelled at. 

“HAPPY THANKSGIVING!” he exclaimed with a burst of energy and enthusiasm.

A whole wave of emotions came over me. All the typical middle-class impulses. I should give him money. I could arrange a Thanksgiving dinner for him. Maybe cover a motel room for the night. Fifteen different scenarios popped into my mind. But instead, I kept walking. I told him to have a good night. Perfectly lame. Perfectly benign.

While he’s probably forgotten about the encounter, it made quite an impression on me. And with that, I say HAPPY THANKSGIVING! May we all have the wisdom to appreciate what we have.

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On the dotted line.

Look back on all the advice you’ve ever heard. Combine that with the every graduation speech you’ve ever had to sit through. Now pile it all on top of every inspirational article, Podcast or book you’ve ever considered or possessed. Has anyone ever mentioned that getting what you want out of life isn’t just about the hard work you’re willing to put in, but also your willingness to sign contracts?

Take the last four months of my life, for example.

First, we moved to a bigger, better apartment—which came down to negotiating the end of one lease, signing another and preparing to get all of our crap from one address to another all while updating the utilities, the mail and every point of contact we’d ever made. It was all about filling in numerous blanks, on multiple forms for a variety of different people and organizations.

Then, for some unexplainable, impulsive reason I traded one perfectly good Toyota for a newer, bigger Toyota. Buying a new car was exciting, but I quickly discovered that the only thing dealerships do better than attempting to sell people stuff is providing them with a litany of forms to be filled out once the sale is in progress.

In the midst of trading SUVs, we were also planning a wedding. A gathering of friends and family to be remembered forever. And then came the licensing paperwork at the courthouse, cake paperwork, catering paperwork, ring-sizing and insurance paperwork. The number of fill-in-the-blanks required to celebrate our love nearly broke my heart.

And just yesterday, jet lagged but jolly, my coworker and I arrived at a hotel in Dublin. A significant event in my professional life, a week of planning for 2019 began with a form requesting all the details of my identity.

So forget what you’ve heard about higher education, early risers or the benefits of a balanced diet and exercise. If you believe a life well lived is a life of progress and change, you’ve got to be extremely patient when it comes to paperwork.


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Chapter two.

Love is such an illogical scenario.

But if I’ve learned anything in the last 40 years, it’s that the best things in life—for the most part—happen to be illogical.

The moment I met Naomi things got illogical real quick.

We each drank enough coffee that afternoon to fuel a small army.

We didn’t talk as much as we were suddenly engulfed in conversation. I found out quickly that I could make her laugh and ALMOST keep up with her quick wit.

She’d traveled the world, I’d traveled the Midwest.

She’d settled down—fully committed to the same job and apartment for nearly seven years.

I was in the process of reinventing myself yet again—fully committed to keeping life interesting with a seemingly constant cycle of change.

She was California with New York roots.

I couldn’t stop talking about Kansas.

It became very clear that we had very little in common except for the mutual desire to keep the magic of that afternoon going. Our chance encounter in Oakland turned into a twelve-hour date.

At the end of the night, we planned to meet again. And each date led to another. Which ultimately led us here. Celebrating love…and a life full of illogical scenarios.

Let's do this

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Nice Shot: Fly Away Edition

Life has been hectic the last couple of months…but not so crazy that I haven’t had time to poke around Craigslist looking for big, beautiful tail fins.

'61 Cadillac'59 Chrysler'57 Lincoln

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